Tuesday 24 November 2009

Update: OCZ Technology Announces 3.5" 1TB Colossus SSDs


 Christo [PCD]    24 Nov : 19:15
 None    Misc

OCZ unleashes SSDs tailored for desktop users

OCZ unleashes SSDs tailored for desktop users

The market for Solid State Drives (SSDs) continues to expand. While SSDs first started off being outrageously expensive due to the use of SLC NAND memory, cheaper MLC NAND technology has brought SSDs to a more mainstream audience.

Traditionally, SSDs have been offered in a 2.5" or 1.8" form-factor which is most popular with notebooks, ultra-portable notebooks, and netbooks. 2.5" SSDs can be easily added to desktop systems using 3.5" mounting brackets, but OCZ Technology is looking to cut out the middleman altogether.

OCZ today formally announced its new Colossus Series SSDs which use the 3.5" form-factor that desktop users are familiar with. The additional room within the 3.5??? casing also allows OCZ to offer Colossus SSDs in capacities of up to 1TB whereas most mainstream 2.5" SSDs top out at around 256GB.

The drives use an internal RAID-0 architecture (Indilinx SSD controllers plus a Silicon Image RAID controller) to boost performance -- reads, writes, and sustained writes are listed at 260MB/sec, 260MB/sec, and 220MB/sec respectively for the 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB Colossus drives. The 120GB Colossus shares its larger brothers read and write speeds, but its sustained writes are only listed at 140MB/sec.

“The new Colossus Series is designed to boost desktop and workstation performance and is for high power users that put a premium on speed, reliability and maximum storage capacity,??? noted Eugene Chang, VP of Product Management at the OCZ Technology Group. “The Colossus core-architecture is also available to enterprise clients with locked BOMs (build of materials) and customized firmware to match their unique applications.???

OCZ provides all of its Colossus drives with a 3-year warranty. Amazon lists the prices of the 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB, and 1TB Colossus drives at $609, $1,123, $1,770, and $3,572 respectively. ZipZoomFly has slightly more sane pricing at $438, $827, and $1,531 respectively – the retailer doesn't have pricing for the massive 1TB model.

Updated 11/23/2009
PC Perspective has posted a review of OCZ's Colossus SSD


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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Microsoft Slammed With Suit Over Killing Third-Party Xbox 360 Storage


 Christo [PCD]    24 Nov : 19:14
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Datel claims Microsoft is violating antitrust laws

Datel claims Microsoft is violating antitrust laws

Like Apple's campaign against iPhone unlocking, Microsoft has justified trying to kill Xbox 360 modding with claims that it supports piracy or other foul activity. And like Apple, it has gone to the length of damaging its own customer's legitimately purchased products to try to stomp out modding.

Microsoft, like Apple, is also tightening its control on the hardware, disallowing third party memory units for the Xbox 360. While its bricking of modded consoles hasn't earned it a lawsuit -- yet -- its decision to kill third party memory units apparently has.

UK-based Datel, which manufactures a third-party memory unit, has filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accusing Microsoft of unfairly favoring its own Xbox 360 accessories by disabling the functionality of competing technologies.

A hard drive or memory unit is necessary to store saves, Gamertag information, or software purchased on Xbox Live, though newer units have a limited amount of internal Flash (512 MB) that can be used for these purposes.

Datel's complaint states, "Microsoft's purpose in disabling Datel's memory cards is to prevent consumers from choosing a Datel product that offers far better value for the price. There is no benefit to consumers from Microsoft's decision to target and disable Datel's memory cards. To the contrary, Microsoft's actions will leave approximately 50,000 consumers with useless memory cards and (without the ability to access their data on the cards), forestall innovation, and deprive future consumers of the benefits of competition."

The company is seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction banning Microsoft from "disabling or erecting technological barriers to Datel accessories."

While Microsoft claims it killed the third-party memory units to protect consumers against cheating, it may have had other motivations, as it stands to bump its own profits by eliminating the third party competition. Whereas Microsoft's unit is only 512 MB and retails for $29.99, Datel offers a much larger 2 GB unit for only $39.99 and the unit comes with expandable/swappable capacity, via an SD slot. The company's complaint can be found here (PDF).

Microsoft experienced previous class lawsuits when its consoles damaged discs or failed with the iconic Red Ring of Death (RROD) failure which has reportedly claimed 54.2 percent of the company's consoles over their lifetimes. Microsoft has also been sued in the past for bricking its customers consoles.

Datel's no-longer-allowed memory unit retails for $39.99 and offers 2 GB of storage. Microsoft claims it has disallowed it as it "promotes cheating." (Source: Amazon.com)



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Microsoft's Mobile OS is Losing Marketshare to Apple, RIM


 Christo [PCD]    24 Nov : 19:14
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o, Microsoft looked comfortable in that market, coming off another year of growth and holding a promising 11 percent global marketshare, almost tied with Apple's 12.9 percent and just behind Research in Motion's 16 percent.

o, Microsoft looked comfortable in that market, coming off another year of growth and holding a promising 11 percent global marketshare, almost tied with Apple's 12.9 percent and just behind Research in Motion's 16 percent.

The picture became increasingly dismal for Microsoft over the course of 2009, though. According to market research firm Gartner, Windows Mobile's marketshare now stands at 7.9 percent. Apparently its competitors ate its lunch as Apple's (OS X) share rose to 17.1 percent and RIM also grew significantly, now at 20.8 percent.

That's disappointing considering that Microsoft was one of the first players to enter the market with its Windows CE, released in 1996, which went on to form the foundation Windows Mobile. One of the main problems has been the iPhone, which launched in the summer of 2007 and has since seen two compelling hardware updates, the first bumping it up to 3G and the second delivering a faster processor. States Ross Rubin, an NPD Group consumer technology analyst, "It was really the iPhone that came out full-bore for a consumer perspective. We saw app development focus on consumer applications like social networking and games.... Particularly with Apple's retail presence and advantages in that market, through design and so forth, that's where Microsoft's main challenge lies."

Raven Zachary, a technology analyst and owner of iPhone app development house Small Society comments on Microsoft's missed opportunity in the smartphone market, "It was theirs to lose and they lost it. They had everything they needed to execute, to do the right kinds of carrier deals to create an app store, create visual voice mail, touchscreens and so on. They've been in this space since the beginning."

One problem has been the segmented hardware. RIM doesn't overly rely on media to sell; rather it sells itself with a strong suite of proprietary business tools. Apple, meanwhile has a single basic hardware design (with some variations between its three generations) allowing an App to easily work on any of its phones. Windows Mobile phones, however, include handsets from HTC, LG, Samsung, and others -- in other words developers have to deal with the headache of creating multiple versions of a single app to reach the entire audience. At least Microsoft is not alone in this plight -- segmentation has also become an emerging problem for Google's Android OS.

Another problem has been the slow pace of updates. With the launch of Windows 7, many heard that Windows Mobile 7 was soon forthcoming. However, Microsoft instead released Windows Mobile 6.5, a stopgap solution. Windows Mobile 7, codenamed "Photon", has been bumped back to 2010. That delay has caused many buyers to simply not upgrade -- or more likely, pick a Blackberry or iPhone instead.

Microsoft isn't out of the game just yet. Just as Apple looked to be on its way out of the PC market, but managed a turnaround, Microsoft still can hope to right the ship and dig out a nice niche of marketshare for itself. Forthcoming proprietary phones may play an important role in that. However, the trouble signs remain for Microsoft and if doesn't take strong action, it risks losing OS war for good -- in the smartphone market.


Windows Mobile use has plunged in the last year, while Apple's OS X-driven iPhone and RIM's Blackberries have both posted impressive growth




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