Monday, August 18, 2008



Nvidia's new graphics chip, the GeForce GTX280, is the latest in what's felt like a steady stream of new high-end GPUs this year, most from Nvidia. And true to Nvidia's recent marketing push, the GTX280 not only includes powerful 3D graphics capabilities, but it's also one of the first consumer graphics cards that can take over certain application processing tasks. Like most high-end 3D cards, the GTX280 (reviewed here on the Asus ENGTX280) is expensive at $650, which is about $50 more than we're used to for the fastest single-chip 3D card on the market. For that price, you get a measurable if not revolutionary performance edge. And while we're intrigued by the idea of GPU-based application processing, that capability still needs the software to catch up before it's truly useful. At the very least, wait until ATI's next-generation cards come to light next week before making a purchase. If you're interested in the GTX280 for application processing, we'd also suggest holding off until the software emerges. Just keep in mind that by the time we do see such applications, Nvidia's next expensive 3D card will be that much closer. There's actually quite a bit to talk about with the GTX280. In addition to the 3D and application processing, Nvidia has built-in support for its newly acquired PhysX physics processing software framework. It's also a part of Nvidia's HybridPower ecosystem, which has implications for system power consumption.

The biggest competitor to the GTX280, at least for now, is Nvidia's GeForce 9800GX2. That card, released only three months ago, uses two 9800 chips on a single graphics card, and sells for about $600. The GeForce GTX280 is designed to replace it. Because the GTX280 is a single chip card, one of its advantages is that you don't need to worry about how well a game can take advantage of a two-chip card, like the 9800GX2, or a traditional multicard set up.

What's most important is that the GTX280 comes in faster than the 9800GX2 on actual game tests. The 3DMark 2006 and 3DMark Vantage scores are interesting, but as synthetic benchmarks, they don't exactly represent real world gameplay. We're most impressed by the Crysis results. The GTX280 still can't hit the hallowed ground of 60 frames per second we like to see in our shooters, but it makes a significant leap over the 9800GX2. You will still experience some chop if you dial Crysis all the way up, but at 1,280x1,024-pixel resolution at high quality, you should get fairly smooth gameplay.

AMD Phenom™ X4 9000

The ultimate megatasking experience. Featuring true multi-core design and award-winning AMD64 technology with Direct Connect Architecture, AMD Phenom™ X4 9000 Series processors deliver the ultimate megatasking experience by providing direct and rapid information flow between processor cores, main memory, and graphics and video accelerators. AMD Phenom™ X4 9000 Series processors have the technology to break through the most challenging processing loads. AMD Phenom™ X4 9000 Series processors feature low latency access to main memory for amazingly rapid response and phenomenal system performance. AMD Phenom™ X4 9000 Series processors were designed for megatasking—running multiple, multi-threaded applications. Surge through the most demanding processing loads, including advanced multitasking, critical business productivity, advanced visual design and modeling, serious gaming, and visually stunning digital media and entertainment.

Seagate® Barracuda® desktop drives deliver superior performance, reliability and value for all your application needs—from mainstream PCs to performance PCs, gaming PCs, workstations, desktop RAID and personal external storage devices.

Now available in capacities up to 1 TB, Barracuda desktop drives have proven to be the most widely used and trusted desktop hard drive in the world.
Barracuda desktop drives are available with SATA or ATA interfaces.

Key Features and Benefits
  • Capacities from 80 GB to 1 TB
  • Perpendicular recording technology
  • ATA or Serial ATA interfaces
  • Wide range of cache options, from 2 MB to 32 M
  • Fast performance
  • Superb reliability
  • Eco-friendly power levels
  • 5-year limited warranty
Intel® Board D945GCPE
The Intel® Desktop Board D945GCPE Essential Series offers a cost-efficient integrated graphics solution for the budget conscious user.

This board is built with affordability and flexibility in mind, and supports Intel® Core™2 Duo processors, Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core processors, Intel® Pentium® D processors, Intel® Pentium® 4 processors, Intel® Celeron® 400 Sequence processors, and Intel® Celeron® D processors up to 1066/800 MHz system bus in the LGA775 package. Other features include dual-channel DDR2 667/533 MHz SDRAM, Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 (Intel® GMA 950), integrated 10/100 Network Connection, Intel® High Definition Audio (4 channel audio) and up to eight USB 2.0 ports.


Whether it's gaming, digital photography, or video editing, today's high-impact entertainment demands breakthrough technology. Now with a new version based on Intel's cutting edge 45nm technology utilizing hafnium-infused circuitry to deliver even greater performance and power efficiency.When more is better-with four processing cores the Intel Core 2 Extreme processor delivers unrivaled¹ performance for the latest, greatest generation of multi-threaded games and multimedia apps.

Now with a new version based on Intel's cutting edge 45nm technology utilizing hafnium-infused circuitry to deliver even greater performance and power efficiency. The Intel® Core™2 Extreme processor QX9770 running at 3.2 GHz delivers the best possible experience for today's most demanding users.

Windows Vista Extreme

When you want to have it all, including the ability to shift smoothly between the worlds of play and productivity, there's Windows Vista Ultimate. You'll never have to worry about having the most advanced capabilities—they're all here. This edition of Windows Vista offers an advanced, business-focused infrastructure, mobile productivity, and a premium home digital entertainment experience, all in a single offering.

Specifically, Windows Vista Ultimate offers all of the features found in Windows Vista Home Premium, including Windows Media Center, Windows Movie Maker with high-definition support, and Windows DVD Maker. It also offers all of the features found in Windows Vista Business, including business networking, centralized management tools, and advanced system backup features. And Windows Vista Ultimate has all of the new security and data protection features that help take Windows Vista to a whole new level of dependability.

In addition, Windows Vista Ultimate includes support for all of the new mobility features in Windows Vista, including Windows Tablet and Touch Technology, Windows SideShow, Windows Mobility Center, and other new, advanced mobility features.

Exclusive to Windows Vista Ultimate are Windows Ultimate Extras. Windows Ultimate Extras are add-ons that extend certain capabilities of your operating system or just make using your PC more fun. Windows Ultimate Extras currently available include:
  • Windows DreamScene, an Extra that enables you to use looped, full-motion video as your desktop wallpaper instead of a static image
  • Windows Hold’em, a poker game for players of all skill levels
  • Language packs for Windows multi-language interface, where users can install and use multiple languages on a single PC. Great for multi-lingual households or if you are learning a new language.
  • Secure Online Key Backup, where Ultimate users can store their BitLocker recovery password and Encrypting File System certificate on Windows Marketplace’s Digital Locker website for access to the key anytime, anyplace, and from any computer that has an Internet connection
  • BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool, an automated tool which removes the complexity of setting up your PC to use this exclusive data security feature.

IBM System i™ 515 Express

For small to mid-sized businesses with less than 40 users, tired of dealing with the challenges of Microsoft® Windows®-based servers. An easy-to-manage, easy-to-secure and highly reliable alternative to Windows®-based servers. The System i Express models runs thousands of proven industry solutions that are sure to fit the needs of almost any business.


i5/OS®, Windows Server™, Linux, AIX 5L™

Memory (Range)

Up to 16 GB

Disk (Range)

Up to 560 GB


POWER5+ 1.9 GHz

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