Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

Intel announce the release of PowerTOP for Linux

Do you have issues with your laptop battery’s performance under Linux. Intel have just released the PowerTOP utility along with a series of ‘tips and tricks’ to increase your laptop’s battery life. Worth a look.

Categories: Hardware, Linux

To ATI or not to ATI

May 11, 2007 3 comments

I am planning on building a MythTV HTPC in July and I have started spec’ing components.

My requirements are as follows:

  1. Must use energy efficient components
  2. Must handle DVB-S and DVD-T
  3. Must output digitally (DVI & analogue audio or HDMI) in 1080p
  4. Must be capable of S3 suspend to memory and resume
  5. Must support Linux (obviously)

At first I thought this would be relatively easy. Most processors are energy efficient these days, so there is no problem there. Either a Core Duo or AM2 65nm EE should do the trick. 1GB of DDR2 and a 2.5” laptop hard-drive are also easy choices.

Graphics should be integrated on the motherboard to save a few extra watts and keep things cooler and should be Linux compatible… that should be easy… right? Wrong, Intel’s 965G chipset looks interesting, the 965G spec allows for integrated DVI, the drivers are fairly well supported by Linux out of the box, the GPU even handles MPEG2 and WMV decoding in hardware. The only problem is that there are no actual 965G ATX or m-ATX boards with DVI or HDMI, only VGA.

Next choice, AMD’s new 690 chipset looks interesting. I particularly like the MSI K9AGM2-FIH on with integrated HDMI and VGA. The AMD690 chipset has lots of good value boards with HDMI and or DVI and or VGA. But the GPU is ATI and has all sorts of issues like not supporting XVideo and messing up S3 suspend and resume.

NVidia are not really an option at this stage because I have yet to find a board with integrated HDMI or DVI.

I know AMD marketing recently announced at the RedHat summit that they are going to improve their ATI drivers for Linux, but how much of this is fact? Their track record for keeping promises of that sort is not exactly very good.

Have I missed out on some other option? Should I wait until something better comes along? Or should I just buy the AMD690 board and hope for the best?

Categories: Hardware, Linux

WAL-MART $299 HD-DVD player too good to be true.

April 28, 2007 Leave a comment

It seems that a Wal-Mart HD-DVD player for $299 may have been too good to be true. Both Wal-Mart and Chinese manufacturer Fuh Yuan have denied that any such order has been placed. More here.



Categories: Hardware

HD-DVD for $299, who will win the format war?

April 22, 2007 Leave a comment

Toms Hardware reckon that even though Blueray is leading HD-DVD by a factor of 2:1 any lead can probably be attributed more to PS3 penetration than to consumer mind share. They conclude that it is still impossible to predict the eventual winner of the format war. I tend to agree with at least part of their analyses, Sony included UMD as the default format for millions of PSP’s, but expensive, proprietary formats don’t tend to gain traction when they are competing with cheaper, more ubiquitous formats. Toshiba may have put Blueray into checkmate by outsourceing HD-DVD production to Chinese manufactorers. And it seems that WAL-MART may be the first to introduce HD-DVD players for around $299. Blueray machines typically cost a lot more than that. If the rumors are true then history may be about to repeat itself for Sony.

Categories: Hardware