Monday, December 29, 2008

Bringing The Files Online : Gmail Drive and Windows Live Skydrive

Internet is the future, and having an online storage sure is easy. Online storage is useful when you need to upload some files that you scared might get damaged if you stored it in a pendrive or harddrive. There are 2 online storage service that might catch your attention. 

The 1st 1 is Gmail Drive, created by It uses the your Gmail account to store files by adding a drive in your "My Computer" called Gmail Drive. Currently, Gmail have about 7 Gigabytes of space, enough for storing some documents. It's limitations, however, is unable to upload .exe and .zip files nor files exceeding 20MB. You can circumvent this problem by compressing them into .rar or .7z format. 

The 2nd 1 is Windows Live Skydrive. By registering for Windows Live ID, you get a generous 25GB of space to store pictures or movie clips. You can go to the website to choose files to upload or you can just drap-and-drop with ActiveX tool installed in Windows Explorer. There are only 1 limitations, that is, files upload must not exceed 50MB.

Did any of you ever tried these online storages? Or do you think that they are worthless as it's gonna take a long time to upload and download? Then leave your opinion here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Digsby reviewed : An Almost All-in-One

If you got tired of Windows Live Messenger, there is alternative to the popular IM (instant messenger) service of Microsoft. Other than the web messenger Meebo that I reviewed, there is also Digsby, a new IM client. Digsby is developed by dotSyntax, LLC and rendered using Webkit (the same engine that powered Chrome and Safari).

After installing Digsby, I registered with Digsgy and login to Digsby. I'm greeted with a simple interface that looks good and simple in my eyes. Then it start login to my accounts 1 by 1. They got email notifications for Gmail, MSN, yahoo! and etc.

And they also have social networking shown below (source from Wikipedia):
  • MySpace: updates to your friends' profiles, status, and private messages. Provides instant access to various parts of your MySpace account, such as your profile, home page, blog, etc.
  • Facebook: updates in your friend feeds. Digsby now works with both the new and old styles of Facebook.
  • Twitter: allowing you to easily submit new "tweets", and view your friends' tweets.
  • LinkedIn: various updates from your friends.
I don't know about these social networking sites cause I never used them. But I think they fuction same way as the email notifications. Or maybe they just incorperate them into the contacts interface.

The chat interface looks good. And you can change the chat interface too. There are a lot of options to choose from, but I still prefer the "Smooth Operator" theme as other theme lags a bit whenever I want to trace back my conversation.

There is also a problem with the chat interface, where I can't see who really talking when I'm in MSN group chat session. It just display the contact name rather than the nickname of the person talking (typing I mean).

The status display are quite good too as you can type what you are doing. Or you can just choose the Away option.

Overall, this IM client is quite good, only the problem with displaying nickname in MSN group makes me from using Digsby and ditch the Windows Live Messenger.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Opera 10 alpha preview: Unfinished Porshe

Being the underdog of the Internet browser war, Opera still haven't given up it's effort of becoming top 2 or maybe top 3 browser. For you info, IE currently dominates the browser market, occupying 70% of the browser market while Mozilla Firefox occupies 20%, Safari 6% and Opera 0.8%. That 0.8% is really really low. Even Google Chrome beat it by 0.1% since it's release a few months ago.

I have been using Opera since version 8, thanks to the recommendation of a friend (jitren~). This version 10, codenamed Peregrine, retains the same visual interface as the version 9.5 Opera and up.

That visual not really bad, nor it is attractive. I just feels that that big black bar is taking too much space for tabs. I know the appearance can be changed, but still, why do Opera want that bar to become so BIG?

The Opera 10 boasts about it's ability so scored 100/100 in acid3 test. But, in my case, I only get 98/100. No matter how many times I refreshed, it still remain 98. Perhaps my download got a bit corrupted?

Since it's only an alpha version, I expected it to run into many problems, such as missing objects in browser or crash unexpectedly. Here, I must say that I'm pretty impressed with this alpha version, as it display correctly on websites that I frequently surf, expect for 1. It's the Blogger 'Create Post' section. It won't display all of the options such as font type, font size, alignment and etc. When I'm typing this post, I don't even know whether I'm in "Edit Html" or "Compose" mode.

Well, so far so good. I really like Opera browsers. Simple interface, fast load speed, and non-IE look, it really belongs to the royal section of web browser. But I will still be using Firefox for now, because I dearly need the Google toolbar (Gmail notifications and Pagerank) and the Flashgot extension (to intercept every download).

Click here to download the Opera 10 alpha 1.

Got any opinions about Opera? Or do you disagree with my preview? Then leave your comments~

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Release of AMD Athlon X2 7xxx : Cutting Phenom X4 in half

On December 15th...AMD made a cutting move...and thus...AMD Athlon X2 7xxx series is born~ Yeah~~
OK, what's the big deal about this processor? Well, it's basically AMD Phenom X4 with 2 cores disabled (just think of a hotel with a floor being cut off from access), like Phenom X3 with 1 core disabled.
However, this Athlon X2 7xxx series will perform better compared to any Athlon X2 6xxx or 5xxx that have the same clock speed. For example, Athlon X2 7750 at 2.7GHz will surely beat Athlon X2 5200 at 2.7GHz.
There are 2 Athlon X2 7xxx Series now, which is Athlon X2 7750 black edition for USD 79 (about RM 280) and Athlon X2 7550 (2.5 GHz) for USD 69 (about RM 245).

For more detailed review, click the website below:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Google Docs | meebo | 2 free web apps that I always use

"Dawn of the web are coming upon us...". Hehe, that just a dramatic sentence for this post. That sentence aside, I'm sure that the lot of you have internet connection which either use broadband or WiFi. Well...(my trademark word~) if you can go online, why not fully use what the connection have offered you? That's why I don't install things that I use sparingly, such as word processor or presentation, or even less, spreadsheet.

The first web apps I introduce is Google Docs. You might ask why don't I use the Zoho office suite, they have more apps to use. Hell...did you even read my words above? I hardly use those programs, giving me more apps that I hardly touch is useless.

Google Docs supports format such as .doc, .xls, .pdf and all openoffice formats. Problem is, to edit your documents, you have to upload the file, which might take awhile if your file is big. You can download the file you edited to your computer or just leave it on the Google server so you retrieve it anywhere.

However, there are limitations. Quote from Wikipedia, "There is a limit on how much a user can store on his/her account. Each document must be under 500k plus 2MB for each embedded image. Each spreadsheet must be under 10,000 rows, 256 columns, 100,000 cells and under 40 sheets. A user can have a total of 5,000 documents and presentations, 5,000 images, 1,000 spreadsheets, and 100 PDFs. The maximum number of spreadsheets that one can open at one time is 11. Only presentations under 10MB can be imported."

Next, the instant web messenger, meebo. It supports many protocols, which include : Yahoo! Messenger, .NET Messenger Service, Google Talk, AIM, ICQ, and Jabber. You can also register for meebo account so that it remember you settings whenever your sign in. The interface is simple, and you can edit the background or the color of the interface.

I tried the webcam chatting service, but the service seems to have some problem (on my side). My can view and hear the other people, but the other people could hear me but not see me. I will seek the root of the problem once I got time.

Still, this app is sufficient for daily uses. 1 more thing, this apps doesn't have the ability to display your pic, which is a bad thing if you like to show yourself~

Thursday, December 11, 2008

AMD Display Driver 8.12 and ATI Avivo Video Converter

AMD has released the new display driver for this month (8.12). The driver enables owners of 4800 and 4600 series Radeon graphics cards to have the privilege of able to utilise the stream processors in these graphics cards for more general computing tasks that are handled by CPU nowadays. 
Simply said, the graphics cards will help CPU in processing, IF the software supports ATI Stream.

With the ability to harness the power of stream processors in 4800 and 4600 series Radeon graphics cards, AMD has released ATI Avivo Video Converter for free. This converter uses the ATI Stream to speed up the video conversion, up to 17x the speed of CPU conversion speed.
The converter is included inside the Catalyst 8.12 suite.

You can download the driver suite here and read more about the Avivo converter here.

Successful with the conversion? Then leave your comments here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

December PC Configuration

After a month, oil prices drop, technology become cheaper, and you can get more out of your money. So here are this month's pc guide.
  • 2k pc can play games at 1440*900 or 1280*1024 or 1680*1050 resolution with medium to high settings.
  • 3k pc can play games at 1680*1050 or 1920*1080 with medium to high settings
And here's the pc guide for 2k pc:
  • CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5200+ (2.7GHz) - RM 220
  • RAM: Kingston Value RAM DDR2 800MHz 2GB *2 - RM 150
  • Motherboard: Palit AA-780GA - RM 225
  • Hard Drive:Western Digital 320GB SATA - RM 165
  • GPU: Forsa 9800GT 512MB - RM 400
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW SATA - RM 70
  • Monitor: Benq 18.5" G900HD - RM 390
  • Casing: Cooler Master Elite 340 - RM 125
  • PSU: Cooler Master Extreme Power 460W - RM 170
  • Keyboard+Mouse: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop - RM 89
  • Speaker: Logitech R5 2.0 - RM 49
Total : RM 2053
Note 1: Compared to previous month's pc guide, you get a bigger monitor (17" vs 18.5")

And here's 3k pc guide:
  • CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9650 2.3GHz - RM 510
  • RAM: Kingston Value RAM 2GB DDR2 800MHz * 2 - RM150
  • HDD: Western Digital 640GB SATA - RM 235
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H - RM 300
  • Graphic Card: Palit HD4850 SUPER 512MB DDR3 - RM550
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW SATA - RM70
  • Monitor: Benq 22" LCD (T221W) - RM 560
  • Speaker: Edifier M1350 2.1 - RM 80
  • PSU: HEC Ace power 480W - RM290
  • Casing: Cooler Master Elite 340- RM 125
  • Keyboard+Mouse: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop - RM 89
Total : RM 2959
Note 2: You get a faster processor (2.2GHz vs 2.3GHz), a more feature motherboard with HDMI and a cheaper monitor.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

6 reasons why you should not choose LabelFlash or LightScribe

Label Flash and Light Scribe are both disc labeling technologies that lets you imprint some graphics on a disc. While it may sound cool that you can "burn" images on your disc with your computer, there are drawbacks that certainly make that thought vanish with a blink.

First and foremost, these technologies doesn't come cheap. It's the exact opposite, they are very expensive. You have to purchase a Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible blank disc which is 75% more expensive than normal blank disc. Imagine, for buying every 100 Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible blank disc, you can get 175 normal blank disc.

Secondly, you have to buy the Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible optical drive(CD/DVD-ROM) too. Though I don't know how much they cost now, but it is surely more expensive than normal optical drive. Combined the cost of blank disc and optical drive together, they are really really expensive.

Third, not all software supports these technologies, that's another reason you have to fork out money to buy the software too. Freeware such as CD BurnerXP does not support both the Label Flash and Light Scribe, but shareware such as Nero supports them both.

Fourth, you have to wait for the images to be "imprint" on the discs. The drive don't burn and imprint the images at the same time. You have to do one at a time and well, the "imprint" time is not as fast at burning. Light Scribe and Label Flash have to use at least 20 minutes and 7 minutes respectively to finish their imprint.

Fifth, the images that imprinted on the disc are not colorful as rainbow. Heck, they can't even print out more than 1 color. You can only look at the disc to admire the design rather then the color. And when you put the disc into your computer, I highly doubtful you can look at the design.

Finally, you have to store the disc away from extreme heat, humidity and direct sunlight. As if that is not enough, you have make sure your hand is very clean and free of grease to prevent the smearing of your image. This only applies for Light Scribe disc.

Below summarizes drawbacks of using Label Flash and Light Scribe :
  1. More expensive blank disc as they need to be Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible (roughly 75% more expensive compared to normal blank disc)
  2. More expensive Light Scribe or Label Flash optical drive
  3. Have to buy specific software that supports Light Scribe or Label Flash
  4. Long image "imprint" time (7 minutes for Label Flash and 20 Minutes for Light Scribe)
  5. Mono colored images
  6. Exercise precaution when storing the disc (for Light Scribe)

My conclusion is, if you have money to burn, time to wait and have an artistic taste, why not use the Label Flash and Light Scribe. For other who have better things to do with their money and time, a normal blank disc is overall a better choice. In my opinion, disc are only used for storing data files, not a decoration.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

PC Guide : Buying a Pre-Configured PC from dealers or DIY

OK, you are getting your first pc, but you have no idea as to buy a pre-configured pc from dealers such as acer, asus and lenovo or make a pc from your own hands. But let's compare the pros and cons 1st.
Pros of Buying a Pre-Configured PC from dealers :
  • You don't have to give a damn about what components to choose as long the PC suits your budget.
  • You don't have to mess up your hands to assemble your pc
  • You don't need to have knowledge on how to assemble pc
Cons :
  • The price are typically more expensive than same specifications DIY pc.
  • Too many unnecessary software inside your pc.
  • You don't get to choose your components (except for dell, alienware and hp)
As for DIY, the pros are :
  • You get to choose your components, such as cheaper brand graphic card or casings.
  • You can assemble pc ( if you like it).
  • No unnessary software inside when you powered it up for the 1st time.
Cons :
  • Have to assemble your pc (most shop can help you free assemble the pc if you buy all parts from their shop)
Personally, I prefer DIY as I can have more control over the hardware I want. In the end, it's up to you.
If you decided to DIY, you can check my Hardware Rig: November PC Configuration for ideas or guides.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things to do when your hard disk crashed

2 days ago, my sis' computer crashed and wouldn't boot into windows no matter what. I tried using safe mode to get inside and it failed too. I thought maybe some virus got inside so I get my windows xp installation disc to reinstall the OS (mind you, not reformat the whole drive).
After a while, the setup stopped and inform me that the hard drive had errors. Guess it's about time the hard drive died anyway, since it has been in our service for 10 years. But what about the precious files inside? photos, songs, videos? can't i retrieve them? Yes, you can, provided that the files are not located in your damaged sector.
Here are the steps to get back your files:
  1. Get a external hard disk drive or pendrive to store your files
  2. Go to ubuntu, download the latest image file and burn it (using your families' or friends' computer)
  3. Once finished, insert it to your crashed hard disk computer's dvd/cd-drive.
  4. Set the boot priority to cd-rom in BIOS.
  5. When you are inside ubuntu, copy all your important files to your other drive.
  6. Reboot and you are done!
This is how I get back my sis files the cheap way. If you have any other ideas or recommendation, please leave your comments.
If your computer is really really old, you can check out my Hardware Rig: November PC Configuration for making your own new computer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

5 Essential Freewares for Your Computer

Sometimes I compressed some files in 7zip format and my friends can't open it. Also, when their computer starting to crawl like snail they ask me is it virus or something like that. Blah blah blah.
So here I decide to introduce some software for my readers. If you have better recommendation, please leave your comment.

  1. 7-zip : This utilitiy allows you to open multiple format such as RAR, ZIP, 7Z, ISO, GZIP and etc. It also allows you to compressed into 7Z and ZIP format, but I hightly recommend the 7Z format as it is the one of the most efficient compressor (the other being RAR).
  2. Paint.NET : Wanted to do some refinement to your pictures but without the complexity of Adobe Photoshop? Paint.Net have layers function and other effects such as sharpen, red-eye removal and soften. If you are not satisfied with the effect provided, you can download plugins to add more effect. Need some questions answer? Head over to the forum to get guides or help.
  3. Auslogics Disk Defrag : This defrager helps maintain your computer speed by making the files less fragmented. After you use your computer for a while, you might noticed your computer a bit slow. This is because all your files all cluttered together, thus making the harddrive having a hard time finding the pieces of your file.
  4. Google Chrome : If you are tired of Internet Explorer slow rendering speed, you can choose Chrome to browse the web as it has the fastest java rendering speed and open up quite fast too. It has a crash sandbox system, means that you can kill the site that has crash while leaving other sites intact.
  5. Irfanview : The Microsoft's own Picture and Fax Viewer might be good enough for someone, but surely not all. With Irfanview, you can convert picture formats, play movies and sounds(with plugins) while maintaining the open speed.
That's all for now. I still have other software that I wanted to introduce. Till next time~

Monday, November 17, 2008

AMD/ATI Catalyst 8.11 Far Cry 2 Performance Increase

According to the release notes for Catalyst 8.11, for Radeon HD 3000 and 4000-series products, performance increase in Ubisoft's graphically-demanding Far Cry 2 for single-GPU is 3~10 per cent, while multi-GPU CrossFire users can expect to see gains in the region of 8-14 per cent.

I don't believe it, so I decided to try it on my system. You can find the Far Cry 2 benchmark tools in your Far Cry 2 directory, for example : "C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\Far Cry 2\bin\"
My Setup:
  • Core 2 Duo E6300 @ 2.33GHz
  • Gigabyte GA-965p-DS3
  • 2GB Kingston Value RAM DDR2 667MHz
  • Gecube Radeon HD 3850 256MB GDDR3 @ Core 730MHz/RAM 2016MHz
  • Seagate 250GB SATA
  • Cooler Master Real Power 450W
  • Windows XP SP3
  • Catalyst V8.10
  • Catalyst V8.11
My Benchmark Settings:
  1. Run 1 : Demo(Ranch Small), 1440x900 (75Hz), D3D9, Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(None), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Optimal), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Very High), Terrain(Very High), Geometry(Very High), Post FX(High), Texture(Very High), Shadow(Very High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)
  2. Run 2 : Demo(Ranch Medium), 1440x900 (75Hz), D3D9, Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(None), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Optimal), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Very High), Terrain(Very High), Geometry(Very High), Post FX(High), Texture(Very High), Shadow(Very High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)
  3. Run 3 : Demo(Ranch Long), 1440x900 (75Hz), D3D9, Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(None), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Optimal), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Very High), Terrain(Very High), Geometry(Very High), Post FX(High), Texture(Very High), Shadow(Very High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)
I ran it 3 times each run to make it more accurate. And here are the average results for Catalyst v8.10:

As for Catalyst v8.11 :

To calculate the percentage increase, take [(Average Framerate for 8.11/Average Framerate for 8.10)-1] X 100%.
For Run 1, the performance increase is 5.52%.
For Run 2, the performance increase is 6.67%.
For Run 3, the performance increase is 6.93%.

I guess the claim is true after all, so be a wise person a download the new Catalyst v8.11 now~

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dual-Core vs Quad-Core : The More The Better?

With the advancement of computer hardware, quad-core prices has dropped down to a level that can compete with dual-core cpu (central processing unit). The quad-core cpu that are commonly known are AMD Phenom X4, Intel Core 2 Quad and the newer Intel Core i7, while dual-core cpuhave AMD Athlon X2, Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Pentium Dual-core. There are also tri-core cpu that manufactured by AMD call AMD Phenom X3.

When dual-core cpu was released, the hardware advertisers claimed that you can do more things in one time without bogging youe whole system down. That is true, as you can open a anti-virus scanner while surfing the web or playing games while converting movies. Now, software programmers have devised a way to make program multithreaded for dual-core or more, that is, make the program to utilize 2 cores instead of 1. This causes the software to compete for the cores, which also causes the system to bog down.

The arrival of quad-core saves the day, making software that utilizes 2-cores to run smoothly. However, at the same price point, quad-core cpu have lower GHz count compared to their dual-core siblings. Thus, it may seem that quad-core cpu sometimes outmatched by dual-core cpu when using dual-core multithread software. In software that optimizes quad-core cpu, they can beat the dual-core cpu by 50% or more.

Benchmark software such as PCmark or 3Dmark always shows that quad-core cpu obtains higher score than dual-core cpu. Thus we can safely conclude that in the same price point, quad-core should always be your choice.

Power consumption, on the other hand, is in dual-core favor. Those wishing to make a silent home-theater pc are better off with dual-core as they are more silent and less power hungry. Those wishing for performance are wise to choose quad-core cpu to make use of all it's cores.

In the end, if you wish to assemble a computer now, you are better off with quad-core as they are the future. The more is better afterall and you can do more in less time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

November PC Configuration

This time, I decided to make both RM 3k and RM 2k pc configuration. After configuring a pc for my friend, a revelation hit me that not all people can afford 3k also. With hardware prices down:
  • 2k pc can play games at 1440*900 or 1280*1024 resolution with medium to high settings.
  • 3k pc can play games at 1680*1050 with medium to high settings
So.......let's start with 2k pc :
  • CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5200+ (2.7GHz) - RM 225
  • RAM: Kingston Value RAM DDR2 800MHz 2GB *2 - RM 170
  • Motherboard: Palit AA-780GA - RM 225
  • Hard Drive:Western Digital 320GB SATA - RM 165
  • GPU: Forsa 9800GT 512MB - RM 410
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW SATA - RM 70
  • Monitor: Benq 17" G700AD - RM 405
  • Casing: Cooler Master Elite 340 - RM 125
  • PSU: Cooler Master Extreme Power 460W - RM 170
  • Keyboard+Mouse: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop - RM 89
  • Speaker: Logitech R5 2.0 - RM 49
Total : RM 2103

Now, let's see the 3k pc configuration:
  • CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9550 2.2GHz - RM 490
  • RAM: Kingston Value RAM 2GB DDR2 800MHz * 2 - RM170
  • HDD: Western Digital 640GB SATA - RM 235
  • Motherboard: Palit AA-780GA - RM 225
  • Graphic Card: Palit HD4850 SUPER 512MB DDR3 - RM550
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW SATA - RM70
  • Monitor: Benq 22" LCD (T221W) - RM 615
  • Speaker: Edifier M1350 2.1 - RM 80
  • PSU: HEC Ace power 480W - RM290
  • Casing: Cooler Master Elite 340- RM 125
  • Keyboard+Mouse: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop - RM 89
Total : RM 2939

That's it. Hope the guide helps you make your pc.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Notebook vs Netbook : performance or portability?

Notebook or netbook ? what's the difference between them? which is more suitable for my daily life?

Notebook, or laptop, is a portable computer that normally have :
  • Screen size : 12 Inch and up
  • Processor : Intel Pentium Dual-Core,Core 2 Duo or AMD Turion X2
  • Graphics : Integrated or External Graphic Card, from Intel GMA x3100 to AMD Mobility HD 3870X2
  • Weight : 1.9kg and up
Netbook, a smaller variant of notebook, 1st poineered by Asus with their release of Asus Eee PC 700,and now laptop companies such as Acer and MSI released their own netbooks (Acer aspire one and MSI wind respectively), have :
  • Screen size : 12 Inch max
  • Processor : VIA C7 1.2GHz, Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz or AMD Geode 800MHz
  • Graphics : Integrated Graphic Card, mostly Intel GMA 900 or 950
  • Weight : 1.1kg and below
1st, let's compare the screen size. With notebook screen size normally hovers around 14.1 to 15.4 inch, you can have a good movie viewing pleasure and don't have to squint your eyes just to see some text. With screen size 12 inch and lower, you might have a hard time typing documents in your netbook.

2nd, the processor. It is a very important part or consideration because it process the website content. The faster the processor, the faster the page loads. If you normally surf around the YouTube (which is heavy in javascript and flash) then you will know that loading that website takes longer than sites such as wikipedia or forums. With a slow processor, you browser might suddenly hangs if you opened too much tabs. The netbook cpu can't even handle 1080p movie and it will shutter all the way till the end. You can read more about the Intel Atom cpu here.
3rd, the graphic card. If your primary concern is playing games, you can skip the netbook altogether as their graphic are really really lame. Some claim that they install World of Warcraft inside their netbook, but with lame graphic card and small screen, how are you ever gonna enjoy playing that game. On the other hand, notebook have better graphic card than netbook even in the low-end section. They can handle World of Warcraft and other older games easily without breaking a sweat literally.

4th, the weight. This is where the netbook really shines. With their low weight (and small screen), they are truly fit the definition of portability. Thier weight are almost half of the notebook weight, which is a good thing if you're not into bodybuilding. Coupled with their power adapter, the max weight might be only 1.5kg. 

In the end, it all boils down to you. Which one you prefer the most. If you like to play games or watch movies, notebook is the way to go. If you surf the web more often and type short documents, netbook is you choice. Be warned that netbook keyboard is really small and not suitable for long-term typing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Core i7 have been Released!!

Core i7 (codenamed Nehalem) has been released! It combines quad-core with Hyper-threading and SSE4.2 for better multimedia editing. Be warned that Core i7 requires both new motherboard with Intel X58 chipset and DDR3 RAM. It uses tri-channel memory controller for greater memory bandwidth, so remember to get slot in 3 RAM modules rather than 2.
Below are the websites for the Core i7 review:

To know more about the Core i7 architecture, click here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Intel vs AMD : Clearing Up The Myth

Let's say you are given 2 options :
A. Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2180 (2.0 GHz) + Biostar P35D2-A7 (total price: RM525)
B. AMD Athlon X2 5200+ (2.7 GHz) + Biostar TA780G M2+ (total price: RM495)

If you choose option A because you heard people say that Intel rules and AMD sucks, then you are half right. The reason is that Intel really rules......IN THE HIGH-END(RM 600++) section, while AMD sucks because they can't compete in the high-end. But that does not mean that in the low-end(RM200~350), AMD still sucks.

Option A and B, both their performance are almost equivalent (see this, the 5200+ and E6420 you see are 2.6GHz and 2.13GHz respectively, try to gauge the performance yourself). But the difference is the motherboard. While both MB(motherboard) are almost the same price, the AMD MB sports extra features, like an integrated graphics card and smaller chipset die (55nm - means less power consumption).

Not to mention that AMD MB can support next-gen cpu while Intel cannot. Intel likes to change their chipset cpu support every year, so the Intel MB you bought this year might not be compatible with the cpu that released next year.

So it all boils down to choices, whether you prefer AMD or Intel.

Remember, this post is for the non-overclock, average guy. If you are an overclocker, stop telling people to buy Intel cpu because they overclock better, NOT all people understand or want to take the risk of overclocking.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Compaq Presario CQ40-125AX Preview

Today I like to introduce a new laptop, made by Compaq (division of HP).

Compaq Presario CQ40-125AX (Price : RM 2099)

  • AMD Turion X2 RM-70 2.0GHz
  • ATi HD3450 256MB (Good for low-end gaming!!)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 250GB HDD
  • Webcam 1.3MP
  • WiFi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth
  • DVD Writer
  • 14.1" WXGA

The reason I preview this laptop is that it's graphic card is quite good! For 2.1k, you can get a discrete graphic card that normally found in laptop that costs 2.8k and above.

IMHO, this laptop is good for those people who always play dota or CS(they can play at high quality!!). You can add another 1gb of RAM for rm60 so that it won't lag in Vista. Forgot to mention, this laptop does not come with windows vista nor xp. So you have to add another RM 250 for a Vista Home Premium Version.

You can go to this thread that is dedicated to this series of laptop, that is, CQ40 series.

This website have extensive review about this laptop, albeit it is in chinese.

October 3K PC configuration~

Yawn......time to make another 3k rig new changes on the hardware news except for the introduction of AMD Radeon HD 4670 and 4550. But no more talking (typing i mean), let's see my choice for this month's 3k PC~~

  • CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9550 2.2GHz - RM 484
  • RAM: Aeneon 2GB DDR2 800MHz * 2 - RM178
  • HDD: Western Digital 640GB SATA - RM 239
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H - RM 309
  • Graphic Card: SapphireHD4850 512MB DDR3 - RM574
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW 20X SATA (GH20) - RM74
  • Monitor: LG 19" LCD (W1942T) - RM 529
  • Speaker: Edifier M1350 2.1 - RM 80
  • PSU: HEC Ace power 480W - RM290
  • Casing: Lian-Li PC-7 - RM 220 (Get it from ATE)

Total : RM 2977

Well, it's RM97 more than the previous 3k PC, but you get a better graphic card that can beat 3870 by 40%++.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

AMD’s First 45nm Desktop Microprocessors Set to Arrive on the 8th of January, 2009.

Advanced Micro Devices plans to announce its first desktop microprocessors produced using 45nm process technology on the 8th of January, 2009, the first day of Consumer Electronics Show. The code-named Deneb chips will not get truly high clock-speed boost, but will be able to offer substantially higher performance thanks to larger cache and architectural improvements.

The first desktop processors from AMD made using 45nm process technology will be AMD Phenom X4 chips clocked at 2.80GHz and 3.00GHz, sources familiar with AMD’s plans said. The new processors will support both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, but since the initial chips will be available in socket AM2+ form-factor, the chips will have to rely on dual-channel DDR2 PC2-8500 (1066MHz DDR2) memory.

Surprisingly, but the 45nm process technology will not allow AMD to reduce power consumption of its quad-core AMD Phenom X4 process considerably and the new chips are projected to have 125W thermal design power (TDP), inline with today’s higher-end Phenom X4 chips. Still, the new microprocessors will definitely have better performance-per-watt ratio compared to predecessors.

Earlier this year AMD said that code-named Shanghai and Deneb microprocessors, which are based on the improved K10 micro-architecture, will be able to offer higher instructions per clock (IPC) throughput compared to currently available AMD Phenom and AMD Opteron processors, which should transform into higher overall performance per clock. Thanks to higher IPC and larger level-three cache (6MB instead of 2MB), the new processors are likely to offer considerably higher speed than existing quad-core chips by AMD.

Pricing of the new chips will depend on their performance against competitors as well as other market conditions.

Officials from AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Personally, I think AMD might be able to dominate the lower market where budget are most important(read: rm500 and below) to user. Intel CPU might have higher performance but they costs more too. You might say Intel CPUs overclock better. But we must remember not all people know what is overclock.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How to Choose Your Laptop Graphic Card

When choosing the GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) for our notebook, we must think about the real usage we are going to give to the machine. There are two general choices that we will use as start for an easy and comprehensive selection of our GPU, what do we want for our laptops? Integrated or dedicated graphic card?

Integrated: This GPU models are built-in the notebook motherboard, usually the power consumption is really low, as well as the heat generated.

If the use you are going to give to the notebook is limited to administrative tasks, e-mail checking, web surfing, and sporadic movie viewing, you will do it ok with an integrated card, and there is no need to aim for a dedicated GPU, which will cost way higher and raise the temperature and consumption of our laptop. The most important notebook integrated graphic cards producers are Intel, ATI and Nvidia. 

Dedicated: Designed for gamers, these graphic cards allow the portable machines to almost match the desktop ones in terms of graphic performance.

The negative side comes in form of high temperatures and excessive power consumption that makes the battery duration decrease critically. To give the reader an idea, while playing a graphically demanding game on an average nine cell battery notebook, the usage time is around one hour max.

In our days, the two major GPU producers are ATI and Nvidia. They are the higher tier and only real options for quality, compatibility and performance. Even though, if we take a more concrete look at the dedicated notebook graphic cards market, Nvidia can be considered going a little bit ahead.

Here comes a brief explanation of how the GPU classification works. Independently on the brand, the models come usually on this form:


For nVidia, the usual code is SNNNM L being S the number that indicates the generation of the graphic card, the NNNs showing us the model within the series, M meaning Mobile or Mobility, and L the code that tell us specifications of the performance of the GPU.

At this point we must clarify that the generation number is very important and even if the model code is higher in some cases doesn’t mean that the GPU is more powerful, as example, a 6600M GT graphic card will not outperformance an 8400M GT, even if the model number is lower (400 compared with 600) the generations are different (gen 8 against gen 6), and due to the advancement of its architecture the 8400M GT its superior.


For ATI, we can observe the common code is XSNNN L, where X or HD is a common indicator of ATI, S tells us the generation, NNNs are the numbers that define the model, and L is a term that is used to concrete the type of performance.

In both cases, there are common characteristics, like the model classification, from 000 to 400 it’s considered low class or low performance, from 400 to 600/700 ranges it’s the middle class, and 700+ models are considered having high performances.

There is the option to use the SLI technology, which consists on linking two differnt GPUs (SLI for nVidia, Crossfire for ATI) but in our opinion, the performance gain is not considerable, and clearly not worthed the ammount of heat, weight, and power consumption that this will generate.

Cheap Digital Cameras- What Do You Really Need?

A cheap digital camera is what everyone is looking for, but what is really important is that you know what your needs are before you buy anything. Imagine spending $150 and feeling great about the deal you got, but you then realize that this camera is not enough for which you need! Basically, we need to take a look and match the price to what your usage is going to be. Here are some of the things you need to know about in order to choose the right cheap digital camera.

Camera manufacturers all talk about the megapixel (MP) as a rating of the quality of the picture, and how good a camera is, but the mega pixel as a measurement of the quality of the camera is actually not a good point of measure.

The megapixel tells you only how many megapixels the camera has. The reason camera salesman talk about the megapixel is because it's an easy point of reference to try to upsell you. The reality is that the lens quality and the light sensors make a more significant impact than the megapixels. The thing is, it's hard for a consumer to understand all of the differences between lens quality and light sensors. That's why they all push the mega pixel. With technology improvements, the mega pixels keep getting higher, but that may not be what you really need. And is that all you are measuring your camera purchase with?

For most general users, you will never print a picture larger than 8x10. The 3.1 mega pixel prints a perfect 8x10, but the new standard is 7-8 mega pixels. Unless you are a pro photographer, then anything over 3.1 is great. So, instead of spending bucks on a seven or eight mega pixel camera, you can get anything from 3.1 on up.

The next thing you wanted to is pick the right physical configuration of the camera. You may be spending more than you need if you buy more camera than you can handle. The pro models are very cool, but be realistic about what you are going to do with the camera! How many times have you purchase something with all kinds of bells and whistles, but never learn how to use them, or had a difficult time using them? Be honest with yourself. If you're just a point and shoot kind of person, and keep with the simple camera.

A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) typically has a larger body and a detachable lens. The DSLR is usually a higher end camera, and has more features and better components. Pro's typically buy a DSLR. For many of you reading this article, the DSLR camera is more camera than you'll ever need.
Here are the pros, the DSLR will take better pictures, but you will have to learn more. They are not point and click.

Compact cameras ("Point-and-shoot" cameras) are smaller, the lens is usually attached, and the lens actually retracts back into the camera base. This is the camera that is directly marketed to the consumer market. The cameras are made with less expensive ingredients and then a DSLR, but these point and shoot cameras are much more affordable. Many of the cameras you see advertised and in electronic stores in the few hundred dollar range are compact cameras.

The pros: The prices are much better, and affordable. Cons-the camera may not be repairable and goes out of date quickly. However, in many cases by the time the camera breaks it is out of date and the costs of purchasing a new one is actually cheaper.

Prosumer is a camera that occupies the middleground. These cameras have the benefits of both styles. They come with the better prices than the Pro camera, but have marginally better components than the point and shoot cameras. Basically it is a pro camera for the mass market consumer.

Take a few minutes and think about what your needs are before you buy your cheap digital camera. If you are taking quick pictures for a photo album, then anything on the market from a mega pixel standpoint is fine. If you are taking quick pictures, then a point and shoot should work for you. The other benefit of the point-and-shoot camera is that they are smaller, and can fit easily in your pocket or purse. Knowing that the mega pixel range these days is more than the average person needs, you can find gread prices and cheap digital camera deals with lower mega pixel cameras.

Advantages of Compact Digital Cameras

Compact Digital Cameras are simple to use with no complications in their operation. Today, the compact digital cameras are available in different versions. Features are similar to mobile phones with many options and you can quickly filter the features not used by you. Compact digital Cameras are offered by leading brands like Nikon, Canon, Panasonic and Fuji and so your choice is wide for selection. Compact digital cameras are portable and small camera devices and the smallest are referred to as subcompacts. They are designed for easy use and with features of high picture quality.

The images can be stored using only JPEG compression. They have in-built flash with low power and motion picture feature. They can take pictures of long range with sharp focus. Compact digital cameras are ideally suitable for snapshot and casual use.

The compact digital cameras can transfer data when connected directly to your computer. Traditional cameras have been using serial port but today the USB is widely used. Some companies offer FireWire port or the Bluetooth in their devices. Bluetooth is a wireless network that can be used by digital camera and also by other devices for exchanging information with a computer.
Subcompact Cameras are tinier than the Digital cameras. You can easily fit the same in your pockets and purses. It gives you the advantage of carrying almost everywhere and is the handiest one. The only disadvantage is its price, which is more expensive than the digital cameras and you will have a few manual controls. This also leads to over-exposing pictures.

For photographers, while traveling, their choice is the ultra compact digital camera. Though it is smaller in size, its performance is amazing. Some cameras have fantastic in-built zoom packed and give you extraordinary picture results. The mega pixels number varies from three to eight within the various brands of cameras available. Some cameras have digital zoom but for unbelievable picture quality and clarity you should go for cameras with both digital and optical zoom.

The battery life of these cameras varies and the quantity of pictures taken will depend on exposure type. Many Compact digital cameras have inbuilt movie mode along with sound. If you plan to capture action in your camera, then you should be sure of extra battery available with you. Before purchase, you have to compare prices and performance of all the models available. If you are planning to buy a particular model, select the model number. Otherwise compare technical opinions of the compact digital cameras available in the market. Size of the device is very important and the digital technology advancement has definitely increased the sales of compact digital cameras. Though they are dimensionally convenient, the way of use is a little difficult because of its smaller controls.

Features in these cameras keep on changing and improving. They are presented with speed activation and self –adjusting zoom by which the lenses capture fast motion shots. If the compact digital camera does not have the speed-setting feature, it cannot be used in a light-changing environment.

The compact digital cameras are getting smaller day-by-day that it has reached the size of credit card and can produce decent shots. Traditional cameras had heftier counterparts, but the camera size is not a matter since the compact digital cameras deliver superb pictures and never let you down with regard to quality and clarity.

How to Find the Best Computer Speakers

With the advancement in technology computer speakers have become an essential component of the computer. With these, people can listen to music, receive instant voice messages or make calls via the computer. Microphones can also be connected to the computer and the computer then connected to public address systems in conferences and other public gatherings. You can also connect headphones and earphones to act as speakers when you don't not need loud noises. This can be applicable in open plan office settings.

When looking for the best computer speakers, you should consider factors like clear audibility, compatibility to the computer, whether wireless or not, size, appearance, availability and strength of the speaker. You may also consider the power consumption of the speakers.

Wireless speakers have more advantages than those with wires. This is because no wiring is necessary. Wireless speakers use blue tooth technology to receive sound signals. You only have to consider where to put the speakers. However, the speakers with wires are more convenient as they are not affected by walls or the furniture that may be in the room.

There are inbuilt computer speakers which are not detachable and outer computer speakers which you can detach from the computer anytime you wish.

The inbuilt speakers are controlled by the computer through special software created for that purpose, whereas the outer speakers are controlled on the face of the speaker.

Watching a DVD movie or television broadcast, or listening to music are all made possible by use of computer speakers.

Speakers with in built sound adjustment systems are an advantage, since one can adjust the sound and tone to the desired taste and preference. Some speakers even have amplifiers which help in sound upgrading and sound production.

Speakers with amplifiers produce good quality sound though they consume more electric energy, as they need to be plugged in separately.

If the computer is used mainly for entertainment purposes then the kind of speakers will have to support this. The best options for this are small woofers and subwoofers. These are upgraded forms of speakers that use modern technology to produce sound of as much quality as that of two old model speakers.

When choosing a computer speaker, it is important to know what kind of rings it has. It may either have rubber or chrome rings for vibrations. Rubber rings are flexible and are not affected by loud vibrations, unlike chrome rings which wear out each day with the number of vibrations they experience.

The shape of the speaker's housing is important depending on whether one is placing the speakers on top of a desk or on the ground. Desktop speakers should have a small housing which should not compromise on the quality of sound projections. Speakers to be placed on the ground can have a big housing so as to give louder and amplified sounds.

It is advisable to choose a computer speaker with a combination of all these features to avoid upgrading many times.

How to Buy Discount Digital Cameras

Many brands of discount digital cameras are available from manufacturers such as Kodak, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus and Canon amongst others.

l_00258291Why these cameras are discounted?  The reasons could be like they have been over purchased with a lot of stocks left or it could be a means of making you enter their store. Websites use discounted items to grab your attention to their website many times. Online purchasing has emerged as a large market and it can save some money to the company when you purchase online. As expenses such as opening a store, paying out salaries for employees, purchasing shelves and other fixtures are not incurred, these savings can be passed on to you to some extent.

By saving money on the purchase of discount digital camera, you will feel great as by not paying the full price, you still have the same quality. The digital cameras are exactly the same as the difference here exists only on the price. Hence, why should you pay an expensive price as you can get the same camera when you purchase it on a discount?  With the money thus saved, you can buy other great add-ons for your digital camera.

Finding discount digital cameras is easier over websites. The question is which digital camera to choose. You can find discount digital cameras from most major digital camera manufacturers. You should have a basic idea of the options, features and brand name of the digital camera you want to buy. You can also find from sale bills and newspapers about different types and brands of digital cameras along with the prices offered at many stores. Some times, though the deals are advertised over the web, they may not have them in their stores. Earlier the digital cameras had one thing in common when compared with non-digital cameras, (i.e.) an expensive price tag. However the cost of digital cameras has dropped so much recently that you can purchase a digital camera for less than $250.

When buying a discount camera, you have to be aware of at least the buzzword ‘Megapixel’ related with digital cameras. Megapixel refers to the number of pixels available per million or the resolution of the image. This is important to be considered because Megapixel directly relates to the image quality obtained. The factors such as budget, mega pixels, exposure control, battery life, user controls and Zoom lens are all important while making a choice of a camera and to get the best out of it. Knowing these features will save you time when you start looking for a discounted digital camera.

You have to understand also the type of software that is needed for the discount camera you have planned to buy. Because all digital cameras do not use the same software for storing or to transfer the photos from the camera to the computer. Make sure that the software supplied will be compatible with your computer, without the need for upgrading your older computer for the sake of having the photos on your computers.

If you don’t have an idea of the features you need, you can also then search by brand name of the digital camera and read all about the various models offered. Still, Price should not be the only factor when you shop for discount cameras, but also certain basic features.

Friday, August 22, 2008

3k rig of the month

I decided to make a all-around rig that can do casual gaming (that means not really care about the graphic of the game), office work, web browsing and video conversion. Why I did not want to make a 4k rig? It's because i think that 4k is a bit too much for the standard of most family in Malaysia. Besides, getting a 4k rig doesn't mean that it's value never change....let's say 3k rig would not be so hurt in both your heart and pocket when you see the price drop on hardware.....

Well, here it is.....3k rig of the month (price list taken from pc-zone):

  • CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9550 2.2GHz - RM 460
  • RAM: 2GB DDR2 800MHz * 2 - RM 240
  • HDD: Western Digital 640GB SATA - RM 255
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H - RM 310
  • Graphic Card: Gainward HD3870 512MB DDR3 - RM350
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW 20X SATA (H80N) - RM 90
  • Monitor: Acer 19" LCD (X193W) - RM 585
  • Speaker: Edifier M1350 2.1 - RM 80
  • PSU: HEC Ace power 480W - RM290
  • Casing: Lian-Li PC-7 - RM 220 (Get it from ATE)

Total Amount : RM 2880

And that leaves around RM 120 for your other accessories such as keyboard or webcam~~ But i doubt you can get both.

Anyway....Let me explain the reason I recommend the components :

  1. I think the phenom x4 performs quite well for it's price compared to Intel C2Q Q6600 (last time i checked it's rm 620). Here it says that phenom 9600 would be about 14% slower than Q6600. 9600 and 9550 have difference of 100 MHz so let just assume it is 16% slower than Q6600. As of now Q6600 is priced 34% more than 9550. So which 1 do you think is more value for $$?
  2. RAM prices are getting cheap so I think you should get the most out of 3k. I use Kingston because it's cheap...and RAM doesn't affect performance significantly as CPU.Since the RAM is 4gb I guess you would have to get vista 64 bit to use all the RAM.
  3. HDD price are getting low and you can get more space out of your money. I choose that WD 640GB cause it offer the best price/space ratio (RM 0.39/1GB).
  4. Most reviews says that it's a good mb and it's got onboard gc...quite useful when ur GC suddenly broke down, plus , it also saves electricity by powering down your gc and shift the load to the IGP (integrated graphic processor a.k.a. onboard gc) when your in the windows doing task that doesn't need gc (such as web browsing or office task).
  5. You read it's DDR3 not DDR4....personally i don't think that's much of an impact on performance though (please correct me if i'm wrong~) and it's very cheap at rm 350 only.
  6. With that GC I guess you can only play at that monitor resolution(1440*900) though......but with all the eye candys~
  7. This psu should provide enough juice to power up your got 4 sata power port to boot also.
  8. I recommend the Lian Li PC-7 cause it's made of aluminium. Yup...ALUMINIUM. Better heat dissipation, lighter compared to stainless steel. So you don't have to worry too much about the heat inside yout PC.

Hope you all like my recommendation. Please comment if your got diferrent view.

IMHO Bang for the Buck Laptop of The Month

I recently come across a laptop manufactured by Acer, model number 4530G, priced RM 1899.

Processor: AMD Turion 64 X2 RM-70 / 2.0 GHz ( Dual-Core )
Cache Memory: 1 MB, L2 cache
RAM: 1 GB (installed) / 4 GB (max), DDR II SDRAM, 667 MHz
Card Reader: 5 in 1
Hard Drive: 160 GB
Optical Storage: DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM, integrated
Display: 14.1" TFT 1280 x 800 ( WXGA ), 24-bit (16.7 million colors), CrystalBrite
Graphics Controller: NVIDIA GeForce 9100M G
Networking: Network adapter, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
Wireless NIC: Acer InviLink 802.11b/g
Notebook Camera: Integrated , 0.3 Megapixels

IMO , this laptop seems to offer the best value considering it's specs. It is powered by 2 GHz AMD Turion CPU (comparable to Intel pentium dual core 1.83GHz),  with an integrated geforce 9100 gpu (some people said that's it's comparable to a discrete geforce 8400G gpu).

For the 3dmarks score, here is it:

3Dmark 03 : 3393
3DMark 06 : 1415

For such a price you can get a good gpu, sufficient to play newer games at low resolution, or older games at medium, it is truly a bang for the buck. 

Please refer here for a more detailed review

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My First Step into Blogging~~~

I make this blog in the hope that i can express my views on pc and laptop. Nowadays most people will read before they buy something, so....this blog to provide guides or tips on the hardware sector as to make your understand more about computer hardware. Hope you guys and girls like this blog~