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Budget CPUs go under the microscope

Daily Wibble Squeeze ‘em for under $50
Fri Dec 04 2009, 11:13

XBIT LABS is out to prove just how powerful a cheap modern CPU can be. Sub-$50 processors can be quite a surprise, according to Ilya. Take the Athlon II X2 215 for example, it churns out enough horsepower to run most games (on a decent graphics card), more so than Intel’s Celeron E3300.

Seagate has unwrapped its new 6Gb/s SATA-III drives, the Barracuda XT, in its 2TB flavour. Although the new drives are faster than any mechanical predecessor, it’ll still take a while to leverage the interface’s full performance – and more likely than not, SATA-III will come a bit late for HDDs and will benefit SSDs the most. Benchmark Reviews took it for a spin.

Asus has been very busy with its EeeTop PC line of products. They’ve come from a simple Atom-based mini desktop PC to the ET2002 that’s on review at Hot Hardware, where you get dual-core Atom mixed in with Ion and a tactile interface. Good stuff for under $600.

CULV laptops are meant to be everything a netbook won’t manage to be: powerful, well-specced and almost able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Hot Hardware found the Asus UL80Vt notebook to be a bit like that.

We are envious of Thrusted Reviews.  Andy scored one of HP’s Envy 15 laptops – the 1060ea version – and put it through its paces. Powerful and good-looking, there are a few issues that need addressing. Maybe HP will do it better the next time around, says Andy.

Tech Review Source has an article on the new HP MediaSmart EX495 NAS home server. It’s a heavily upgraded model with Windows Home Server and – apparently – greatly improved performance.  Four drives fit the NAS, but for $699, you “only” get a 1.5TB thrown in.

NZXT has been very regular in winning over reviewers with their cases. The Lexa S is no exception, as Overclockers Online has seen. It’s a mid-tower design prepped for massive airflow.

Small Net Builder reviews the Belkin Home Base, a teeny yet useful add-on for your home networking. The Home Base is a wired+wireless USB host for your USB devices. With this you can network printers, scanners, USB HDD and pen drives.

PC Stats has a nice little article on the 10 most common ways to kill your PC, over a quarter of which involve overloading your PSU and thereby frying several components on your board. We’re sure you’ll relate to this article. We know we did.

Ryan at PC Perps has cut a video on his own recommendations for a new PC build this Christmas. It’s not  a dream machine, but if you have about $2000 to spare, it might be worth considering. Monitor not supplied, though.

Laptop Mag has a go at Samsung’s latest and greatest netbook, the Samsung N140. The maker seems to have the design and functionality down quite well, now all they need to do is improve on the software side of things. The 10.1-incher got high marks.

Anandtech has an article on a DIY home server system. If you need something to sit in your closet, basement or otherwise obscure house orifice, you can give this article a look. Linux users might shun the Windows Home Server choice, but it’s just one approach to building your home server, innit? µ


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