Turn a 3-Core AMD Phenom 2 into a 4-Core
Earlier in the week we received word that a Korean hardware review site had managed to turn a triple-core Phenom II X3 710 into a 4 core CPU. Apparently, the quick switcheroo requires a Biostar motherboard, but customers boards that have the same BIOS options can try the same technique out. The BIOS option to enable the 4th core is called Advanced Clock Calibration, and when set to Auto, turns on the 4th core.
From our experience, when AMD or Intel ships a processor with a core disabled at manufacturing, it's because the disabled core isn't performing up to snuff with the other core(s). We'd be interested in knowing if users experience any bugs with the 4th core enabled. The processor shows up with 4 cores in Windows, and according to benchmarks posted by the site, the 4th core had a real impact on scores. Those with 3-core Phenom II's, try this out!
Hacker Trashes U.S. Army PCs; Faces 70 Years
The case continues of UK hacker Gary McKinnon. McKinnon allegedly used a dial-up modem to break into American government computer systems. McKinnon is accused of hacking into computers belonging to the Pentagon, NASA, and the U.S. Army and Navy, amounting to USD $700,000 in damages.
Now, after the British Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided not to press any charges against McKinnon, he will likely be extradited to the United States to stand trial. McKinnon and his legal team had been campaigning to stand trial in the UK because it could result in a shorter sentence. McKinnon claims he is a computer enthusiast with an interest in extra-terrestrials and his hacking was only an attempt to satisfy that curiosity.
AMD Unveils 'Istanbul' Six-Shooter Opteron
AMD this week showed off the first working demonstration of its counter punch to Intel, a six-core Opteron processor code-named “Istanbul”. Istanbul is a pretty straight forward socket upgrade over AMDs current Shanghai Opterons. A 45nm processor with 6 MB of L3 cache that fits into a Socket-F style mainboard, only now with six cores rather than Shanghai’s four cores. The end result is that Istanbul will provide a direct drop-in upgrade for existing Socket-F systems without the need to change major components or perform software upgrades/changes. Read the complete story here.
PlayStation Controller Gives Girl Sores
A significant amount of people believe certain games are too violent and not great games for children to be playing. Considerably less think playing video games can cause physical damage. This week reports emerged of a 12 year old girl who had what doctors dubbed “PlayStation palmar hidradenitis.” A form of the skin disorder idiopathic eccrine hidradenitis, which is commonly found on the soles of feet and associated with excessive amounts of sports or jogging. The girl’s parents said she had been playing her PlayStation for several hours a day. Doctors said the sores were caused by intense sweating and gripping the controller too tightly. The sores disappeared after 10 PlayStation free days. Read the full story here.
Microsoft Reveals New Windows 7 Changes
The latest entry on the Engineering Windows 7 blog details some of the changes that the team has made to for the upcoming Release Candidate (RC) since the last public beta. “It should be no surprise but the Release Candidate for Windows 7 will have quite a few changes, many under the hood so to speak but also many visible,” wrote Steven Sinofsky, senior VP of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group.
The most immediately appreciable feature of Windows 7 is the new taskbar. Microsoft is changing the way a program will alert you if it requires attention. The RC will have a changed flashing animation with a bolder orange color; and instead of flashing just three times, it will flash seven times as a nod to the Windows version designation. Windows 7 will also better scale the number of large and small icons, resulting in a 24 to 39 percent increase in icon quantity before the taskbar scrolls. Click here for more.
Music Industry Wants BitTorrent Blackout
Will BitTorrent be blocked by ISPs? If the forces representing the music industry have their way, that will be the case. In its latest push against P2P, the music industry is demanding that Internet service providers block all torrent-based file sharing sites. Last month, Irish ISP Eircom announced that it wouldn't block any sites, but it would actively disconnect users it suspected of sharing copyrighted material. This isn't enough, however, as the music reps are demanding that it also block a list of P2P sites.
According to TorrentFreak, Eircom and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), the ISP will be 100 percent compliant with any P2P website blockage that IRMA requests. IRMA represents the "Big Four" record labels (EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner), who control 90 percent of the music market on the Emerald Isle. First in the crosshairs for IRMA and the music industry? The Pirate Bay. The popular P2P site is currently fighting the good fight in a Swedish court, and has already been blocked in Denmark. If this agreement between IRMA and Eircom stands, then Ireland will be next.
Dell Says Its New XPS 435 is "Mind Blowing"
Dell is ramping up performance with the Studio XPS 435. The Core i7-based system is the newest offering in the desktop maket from Dell and does have some impressive options. Users can customize the 435 with Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme processors, which come on an X58 motherboard. The 435 can take up to 24 GB of triple channel DDR3 memory as well as up to 4.5 terabytes of hard drive space. For graphics, the XPS 435 does away with the 512MB ATI Radeon 4850 offered in the other Studio XPS solutions and offers a 1 GB 4870 with GDDR5 memory. Unfortunately, the 435 has only one PCI-express x16 slot, but pictures of the case's insides show that there is room for a 4870 X2 if you decide to upgrade after purchase. Click here for more.
Cheaper Blu-ray Coming Your Way
Blu-ray-making companies Panasonic, Philips and Sony are currently working with other patent holders to establish a one-stop-shop license, which will cover essential patents for Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD. Aiming for an introduction in the middle of this year, the license program will be offered by a new independent licensing company that will be a single point of contact for licensees, greatly reducing the burden on licensed companies that would otherwise have to report to multiple patent pools.
The companies involved estimate that royalty rates for Blu-ray Disc products are expected to be at least 40 percent lower than the current cumulative royalty rates for individual Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD format licenses. What does that mean for the consumer? Hopefully lower prices. For companies, the new rates for Blu-ray Disc products will be $9.50 for a player and $14.00 for a recorder. The per disc license fees will be $0.11 for a read only disc, $0.12 for a recordable disc and $0.15 for a rewritable disc.
First Ever GeForce GTX 285 2 GB Card
Palit Microsystems this week unleashed its very first custom designed GeForce GTX 285, available in both 1 GB and 2 GB tasty flavors. According to the company, its GTX 285 2 GB graphics card is the first in the industry to offer such a heavy load of memory, however consumers who don't have that kind of cash to thrash can option to buy the neglected step-child, the Palit GTX 285 1 GB version.
Despite the different memory helpings, both cards offer the usual Nvidia goodness gamers have come to know and love, including Nvidia's PhysX and CUDA technologies. Both also offer core speeds of 648 MHz, and 2.5 GHz on its GDDR3 memory with a 512-bit interface, coughing up nearly 50 percent more performance than prior generation GPUs. And of course, more power means more gaming love. Who doesn't want that?
Mozilla Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Legal
Mozilla is now actively backing a movement that if successful, would essentially nullify copyright infringement charges against individuals that ‘jailbreak’ their Apple iPhones – a practice that Apple considers illegal. Mozilla said in comments submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office that it supports the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in its request for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The EFF wants the Copyright Office to let users ‘jailbreak’ their iPhones without fear of copyright infringement issues. Apple naturally opposes this request claiming that the act of ‘jailbreaking’ an Apple iPhone is in direction violation of copyright laws which protect its software.