Thursday, April 15, 2010

Intel says Light Peak coming next year, can and will coexist with USB 3.0


How do you sell a generation of hardware manufacturers on yet another standard? If you're Intel, you tell them that it'll transfer files at 10Gbps and is compatible with every major protocol that came before... and if that doesn't work, you simply fail to give your competitor hardware support. But PC World reports that while Intel is still dragging its feet regarding USB 3.0, it's planning to have Light Peak fiber optic devices in the market next year. Intel insists Light Peak isn't meant to replace USB, in so much as it can use the same ports and protocols (photographic evidence above), but at the same time it's not shying away from the possibility of obliterating its copper competition with beams of light. "In some sense we'd... like to build the last cable you'll ever need," said Intel's Kevin Kahn. Now, we're not going to rag on Light Peak, because we honestly love the idea of consolidated fiber optic connectivity. We just want to know now whether we should bother locking ourselves into a USB 3.0 ecosystem if better things are just around the corner.

Intel says Light Peak coming next year, can and will coexist with USB 3.0 originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 15 Apr 2010 01:52:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Secret Behind Apple's New MacBook Graphics [Apple]


The Secret Behind Apple's New MacBook GraphicsThe new Intel Core i5/i7 MacBooks come with "automatic graphics switching technology" to instantly toggle between Intel's onboard graphics and more powerful Nvidia hardware. Sound familiar? Well, weirdly, it's not Nvidia's Optimus switcher—it's something entirely new.

Nvidia's Optimus, which allowed for basically what Apple is talking about here, was—and apparently, is—a Windows-only solution. And even on Windows, it has some irritating limitations, particularly a requirement that apps be registered with Nvidia in order to initiate a switch from one graphics unit to another. (A game, for example, wouldn't kick over to the more powerful accelerator unless it contained explicit instructions to do so.) With Optimus off the table, Apple's remaining choice is to revert to a graphics switching system like the one currently in MacBooks with the Nvidia 9400m discrete graphics processor, which requires a manual switch, and a log out/long in routine. It's awkward! So they developed something new. Ars Technica's got the rundown:

Apple's approach in the new 15" and 17" MacBook Pros differs from Optimus in two key ways. The first is that the switching is all handled automatically by Mac OS X without any user intervention (though there is actually a System Preference to deactivate it, if you choose). Apps that use advanced graphics frameworks such as OpenGL, Core Graphics, Quartz Composer or others will cause the OS to trigger the discrete GPU. So, when you are reading or writing Mail, or editing an Excel spreadsheet, Mac OS X will simply use the integrated Intel HD graphics. If you fire up Aperture or Photoshop, Mac OS X kicks on the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.

So the hardware switching occurs automatically, based on reasonable parameters (Is the laptop running a game? Using Photoshop? Etc.) The second key difference is that New MacBooks' onboard graphics are powered down when the more powerful accelerator is in use, which saves a wee bit of power, as opposed to leaving both graphics cards running. Apple told us that the lower 8-hour figure they cite for battery life is with the discrete graphics on. What's curious is that while there's an option to force the 330M to stay on, there isn't one to keep it off to stick with the integrated Intel graphics, eking out those last few drops of battery life.

Also, unlike some other graphics switching stuff, which power up when the notebook's plugged in, Apple's is solely based on the programs that are running—so you can't tell it to kick on the more powerful card whenever it's plugged in. Instead, the 330M turns on any time you plug in an external display, since the assumption is that you're powered up.

It's a slight evolution of the graphics switching concept, and an inevitable one. The final evolution, of course, will be a single graphics accelerator that doesn't suck too much power when it's not working hard, negating the need for a laptop to have two sets of graphics hardware, but hey! One step at a time. [Ars Technica]


Toshiba Regza Z1 LED TVs Can Record Over LAN [TVs]


Toshiba Regza Z1 LED TVs Can Record Over LANToshiba introduced a whole mess of new Regza LED LCD TVs today over in Japan, but it's the Z1 series that grabbed our attention: 37- to 55-inch edge-lit LEDs with USB and LAN recording functionality. Gimme!

A TV that can record over LAN isn't something that we've seen before, and would be a neat little home entertainment feature. As part of today's announcement. Toshiba's also rolling out its first Regza-branded HDD (for said recording, and sold separately). The Z1 series also features video-on-demand support, 10Wx2 speakers, Regza Link, 4HDMI interfaces and an SD/SDHC slot. The pricing will range from $2700 to $5200 when they're released this summer in Japan. The rest of us will just have to be patient. [Toshiba (translated) via CrunchGear]


DXG's 3D View sacrifices HD, but makes 3D video recording pocketable


It's not a trade that we'd ever willingly make -- dropping to standard definition for the sake of some 3D shenanigans, but DXG is offering you the choice anyway. The budget cam maker has just announced its 3D View stereoscopic shooter, which interestingly comes with a separate 7-inch LCD display (800 x 480 resolution) for playing back your recorded footage without requiring glasses -- thanks to some parallax barrier magic. We might be tempted to spend the $400 this package costs just to get a preview of what the Nintendo 3DS -- based on the same spectacle-free technique -- might look like, but retail availability isn't expected until June, which is just that tiny bit too far out for our limited attention span.

DXG's 3D View sacrifices HD, but makes 3D video recording pocketable originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Apr 2010 11:36:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TVLogic introduces a pair of 15-inch OLED monitors, one does 3D


TVLogic introduces a pair of 15-inch OLED monitors
Hot on the heels of Sony dazzling us with its 7.4-inch, $3,850 PVM-740 monitor comes TVLogic, introducing not one but two professional OLED sets that are each twice as large -- and probably at least twice as expensive. Both are 1,366 x 768 with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, apparently based on LG's 15-inch panel, but only the TDM-150W is 3D-capable. This makes it seemingly the first 3D OLED display on the market, and so it's poised to intrigue those looking to shoot the next Avatar. Again, no mention of pricing, but they won't be cheap -- the company's 17-inch LCD monitors already clock in at $3,500, and adding that O on the front should result in a big premium.

TVLogic introduces a pair of 15-inch OLED monitors, one does 3D originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Apr 2010 08:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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