Hot News of the Week: Jan. 30, 2009

Windows 7 to ship in Multiple Versions?

Earlier in the week evidence came to light to suggest that Windows 7 will be shipping in multiple versions. The latest version of Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install, according to a screenshot from PC Beta.

The five versions of Windows 7 are as follows: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. While the news isn’t all that surprising (after all, Windows XP and Vista were both available in a number of different versions), many people were against the idea of so many different versions as opposed to just a small, medium, large approach.

Bill Proposes Cell Phones Must Make Noisy Pictures

A bill introduced by New York Republican Rep. Peter King, as part of the "Camera Phone Predator Attack Alert Act" could reuqire  all cameras on cell phones to make a noise when taking a photograph.

Designed to protect people’s privacy (particularly children) when they’re using dressing rooms or in public places, the bill has, by our readers at least, has seen mixed reactions. A ton of you pointed out the fact that the first thing most people do when they get a phone is turn off the annoying fake shutter noise it makes when it takes a picture, and how nothing is going to stop people from sticking a piece of tape over the speaker. Too true.

Western Digital Launches 2 TB Hard Drive

For those of you whose media libraries just keep getting bigger and bigger, Western Digital this week announced the industry’s first 2 TB hard drive. The company’s 2 TB hard drive (model WD20EADS) makes use of the WD’s 500 GB/platter technology (with 400 Gb/in2 areal density), with a set of four to make up the massive capacity. The drive will feature a 32 MB cache.

The new 3.5-inch drive will be a part of the Caviar Green family, which, as the name suggests, is part of WD’s low-energy line. The drive will make use of IntelliPower, which WD says “fine-tunes the balance of spin speed, transfer rate and caching algorithms designed to deliver both significant power savings and solid performance." Overall, however, the new 2 TB drive’s specialty is storage, not speed. The WD20EADS should be filling channels and carries with it an MSRP of $299.

AMD Launches 45-nm Opteron Line

AMD Monday launched its 45-nm Quad-Core Opteron line of processors, featuring low power consumption with high-end results. According to AMD, the Opteron HE (highly efficient) line offers speeds ranging from 2.1 to 2.4 GHz while saving money during idle time, consuming 20 percent less power than competing systems. AMD designed the Opteron HP processor for businesses needing heavy processor power during peak hours and energy saving solutions during low-utilization hours. The pricing for the three chips ranges from $316 to $1,514.

AMD also unveiled the two meatier Quad-Core Opteron SE (special edition) processors, both featuring speeds of 2.8 GHz and a 105-watt ACP thermal envelope. The Opteron 2386 SE is priced at $1,165 (two-socket) and the Opteron 8386 SE at $2,649 (four- to eight-socket). Head here to get a complete list of AMD pricing.

Microsoft Pledges Support for Games for Windows

After announcing the promotion of Ron Pessner to take over the Games for Windows initiative, Microsoft once again extended its commitment to PC gaming, stating, "Moving ahead, Microsoft will continue to invest in Windows as a first–class gaming platform through great Windows out of box experiences, our online gaming services including Games for Windows – Live, MSN Games, and Messenger games, and through new games for Windows developed by Microsoft Games Studios."

It’s been a relatively bumpy road for the service, with frequent complaints of difficult matchmaking, differences between the quality of service of gold and silver subscription levels, and general reliability of connectivity. However, recent titles which have supported the network have shown significant improvements, with much improved matchmaking, UI, and more stat tracking support.  Microsoft also got rid of the gold and silver structure that is used on the Xbox 360 platform in favor of a more free and equal Live experience on the PC, perhaps ridding themselves of one of the biggest complaints regarding the service.

Email Outage at White House a Mystery

The Washington Post reports that the White House this week saw a mysterious "server outage" that shut down all incoming and outgoing e-mail for more than eight hours. none of the staff were able to send or receive email for an entire day. The use of email in the White House has been heavily debated. Helping to strengthen that sentiment was the server outage disabling email -- troubling, especially since the White House staff didn’t seem to know what caused the problem in the first place.

We still don't know," the help-line guy said, according to the Washington Post. He added that two e-mail servers had been rebooted but that two others remained out of action, with no immediate explanation. He then put the caller on hold and when he came back on the line said he was no longer allowed to discuss the issue.

Rumor: RE5 Bundle to Include Red Xbox 360

A recent post on Ars Technica claims that we could see a new Resident Evil 5 bundle for the Xbox 360. The gist of the tip is Microsoft is getting a Resident Evil 5 bundle which will include a copy of Resident Evil 5, an exclusive Resident Evil 5 NXE theme, a download coupon for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD and interestingly enough, red hardware and a red controller.

It’ll logically be the same shade as the current red controller and, while it’s the right kind of red, all it does is show us how much we don’t like like red plastic things. In a conversation with avid gamer and senior editor Marcus Yam, he put it quite plainly, “If it's gotta be red, it's gotta be HUGE, like a fire truck. Or Optimus Prime.” What do you think of a red console, yay or nay?

Intel to Reveal Eight-Core Xeon Next Month

Macworld is reporting that Intel plans to detail an eight-core Xeon processor at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco next month. The information about the upcoming reveal is scarce at best, however Macworld does say that Intel executives will discuss an eight-core, 16-thread Xeon processor manufactured with a 45-nanometer process.

Naturally, Intel fired back at the website, saying that although the chip manufacturer is presenting 16 papers at ISSCC, it didn't have anything further to share in regards to the Xeon rumor. If the processor indeed comes to light at the conference, this will be the company's first eight-core chip. Macworld speculates that the impending eight-core Xeon will probably be Intel's Nehalem EP processor, an upcoming chip designed for dual-socket workstations and servers.

  • BallistaMan
    I'm still seriously hoping Microsoft doesn't release 5 versions. 3 maybe. Releasing 5 is just asking for trouble.
  • Shadow703793
    ^+1. Starter and Basic are totally un-needed. May be for OEMs only, that'll be OK.
  • nukemaster
  • randomizer
    Starter was only released in a few countries anyway. It's a useless OS, it only supports 1GB of RAM.
  • Tindytim
    All of those versions were Debunked as leftovers from Vista. 7 will release in multiple versions, but not the same versions as Vista (don't know the specifics, so it may be more, it may be less).
  • chris312
    Yeah, I thought this was already established. The list in the Beta installation is just leftover from Vista.
  • customisbetter
    If intel comes out with the 8 core/16 thread beast, then im sure the next Mac pro will have them. Since my work is in love with mac pros, we will buy a bunch. That means that i will get to operate a machine with theoretical 32 Cores...

    Mother of God.