SATA Speed Issue Fixed By Apple

Last week after WWDC 09, many people who brought in the new Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro’s were in for a shock when they saw that the Apple OS X showed the SATA data transfer speed limited to 1.5Gbps. Over the last week all the forums were buzzingapple-logo-black-xsan whether Apple intentionally limited the SATA interface speed limit to 1.5Gbps. While its true that there is currently no HDD available in the market which can saturate the SATA I interface bandwith, it is also true that many of the newer SSD’s are bottlenecked when used with the SATA I interface. Even though Apple did not offer any of its MacBook with SSD’s, many people used to install aftermarket SSD’s on their own. Users were impatiently waiting for a reply from Apple but Apple decided to keep mum on this matter.

Today though Apple released an update “MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7. Before updating the user must make sure that he is running on OS X 10.5.7 and has a free space of at least 3.35MB on his HDD.

Game Booster – Extract That Extra FPS.

Many people here who own a slightly outdated rig definitely crib how the latest games lag on their PC. People who know overclocking, overclock their CPU’s and GPU so as to extract the maximum potential out of their PC components but still for people who want to squeeze out the maximum performance possible I would suggest you people to try out Game Booster. Game Booster is basically a software which disables all the useless services which your PC will not use while you game. Game Booster works both under Windows XP and Windows Vista. Game Booster weighs in at only 821KB which is a boon for dial-up users and is also a Freeware.

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As you can see from the above screenshot Game Booster shows you the name of the services which its going to disable and even shows the current status of that service. The best part which I really liked about this software was the Switch to Gaming Mode!” option. When you click on it, all the useless services are disabled and the Switch to Gaming Mode!option changes to Switch Off Gaming Mode!which basically means once you have played the game you want to you can restore all the irrelevant services back to their original state. Talking about the performance of this software from my personal point of view, I would say that this software is useful for older PC’s but the impact it has on the gaming performance on newer Computer’s is negligible. Still I will say there is no harm in trying out this software, go download Game Booster from here.

TSMC To Be Blamed For The Shortfall Of ATi HD4770

We already know that ATi HD4770 is a stellar performer and comes at a steal price as well. It is also a known fact that there is a huge demand for the ATi HD4770 and ATi has been unable to meet the high demand. ATi had made sure it had the bare enough stock so as to hard launch the the HD4770 but what it did not forsee was the high future demand. The real manufacturer of the core of ATi HD4770 is TSMC and they are the ones who are unable to meet the huge demand for the card. Since ATi HD4770 is the 1st ever graphics card to be built on 40nm fabrication process and the yield currently is quite low. It is rumoured that only 30% of the total produced ATi HD4770 cores are fit for sale. This in turn may lead to ATi/TSMC facing heavy losses.

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ATi though has taken a few steps so as to cut down the high demand for the HD4770 by decreasing the price of HD4850, HD4870 and HD4890 and even launching a HD4830 which can be flashed to a HD4850. ATi also said that its working closely with TSMC so as to increase the supply of HD4770 but insiders say that the supply of HD4770 will only be increased by the end of July.ATi though by reducing the prices of their HD48xx series have just proved how much they value their customers. ATi recently also released the Catalyst 9.6 drivers which improves performance under many games.

Asus Set To Launch Asus ROG Mars Limited Edition Graphics Card

Asus is soon going to launch the Asus ROG Mars Limited Edition Graphics Card which contains 2xGTX 285 along with a total of 4GB of GDDR3 memory running at 2484Mhz having a memory bus width of 512-bit. The core of both the GTX285 is clocked at 648Mhz along with 480stream processors running at 1476Mhz. All this translates into The Asus ROG Mars Limited Edition graphics card to be faster than 2*GTX295.asus_rog_mars

The GTX295 has 1792MB of GDDR3 memory and has a memory bus width of 448-bit. The ROG’ in the name of the graphics card stands for Republic Of Gamers’. Since this is a limited edition card only thousand pieces of the Asus ROG Mars will be made with each having marked its own unique number. This monster of a Graphics Card will cost *only* 1700$ when launched which I guess makes this graphics card the costliest ever Graphics Card in the history of Computing. In this time of world recession I wonder how many people will actually buy this graphics card at a whooping price of 1700$. NVIDIA’s arch rival ATi has been cutting prices of its graphics card thus making them more VFM. One example of this is the ATi HD4770 which only has a 128bit memory bus width bus and costs less than 100$ but is nothing short of a pure Value For Money product.

Super Talent Launches MasterDrive SX Series of SSD's

Looks like all the companies nowadays are concentrating on SSD’s. Few days ago Western Digital unveiled their first ever lineup of SSD’s and OCZ announced their Agilityseries of SSD and today SuperTalent announced their new MasterDrive SX lineup of SSD’s. These SSD will come in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities. The SSD’s will have a read/write speed of 220Mbps and 200mbps respectively, all thanks to the generous 128MB of DRAM cache. The Solid State Drive will come in 2.5 inch form factor and are housed in aluminium cases. The SuperTalent MasterDrive SX series of SSD’s take only 0.15W of power when idle.

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Super Talent Director of Marketing Joe James said We developed the MasterDrive SX series to offer extreme reliability at an aggressive price point that makes sense for mobile professionals and enthusiasts. Moreover, these drives boast power efficiency and write speeds that few SSDs can match.” The MasterDrive SX series of SSD is already available on newegg.com and the 128GB version costs 359$. With the competition among Hard Drive Manufacturer’s heating up in this race of launching better,faster and cheaper SSD’s, it is only the consumer which is going to benefit. SSD’s are definitely the successor of Hard Disk Drives and it’s only a matter of time before Solid State Drives become mainstream.

NVIDA Finally Launches 40nm Notebook Graphics Card

NVIDIA today has announced 5 new mobile GPU’s built on the 40nm fabrication process. NVIDIA’s arch rival, AMD/ATi had launched the HD4860 and HD4830 way back in march which were the first 40nm Mobile GPU on the market. ATi was also the first Graphics Card manufacturer to launch a 40nm GPU HD4770 which has seen tremendous success after its launch.

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NVIDIA is finally catching up with Ati and today they announced 5 new Mobile GPU’s namely – the GTS 260M, GTS 250M, GT 240M, GT 230M and G210M. All these Mobile GPU’s have been made using 40nm fabrication process which translates into lower power consumption and better performance. These new GPU’s are based on the GTS200 architecture and supports Dx10.1 and Shader Model 4.1. These GPU also come equipped with GDDR5 Memory which offer higher memory clock speed and bandwith while comsuming less power. All the 5 GPU’s come in MXM3 interface which means that notebooks which will come with these GPU’s can be removed to upgrade the GPU’s, but this solely depends on the choice of the OEM whether he wants to use the MXM3 interface or not. The GTS 260M which is the top end card out of the 5 has a max TDP of 38W while the G210M which is the entry level card here has a max TDP of 14W. Except for the G210, all the other cards are equipped with 1GB GDDR5 RAM

Western Digital Unveils It's Own Lineup Of SSD's

Western Digital today annoucned their own lineup of SSD’s – The SiliconDrive III. Western Digital had acquired Silicon System earlier this year and these newly launched Solid State Drives from WD uses the technology provided by the same firm. The SiliconDrive III from WD will come in 2.5inch and 1.8inch form factor and will make use of both the SATA and PATA interface and will offer Read/Write speeds of upto 100Mb/sec and 80Mb/sec respectively. The WD SiliconDrive will offer a max storage space of 120GB.

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Western Digital SSD business unit vice president Michael Hajeck at the announcement of The SiliconDrive III SSD’s said – “SiliconDrive III is the first example of how WD plans to productize solid state technology developed by SiliconSystems. The launch of SiliconDrive III will also enable WD to leverage its global sales and distribution channels to accelerate the adoption of SSD technology beyond SiliconSystems’ traditional embedded systems OEM customer base into data streaming applications such as multimedia content delivery systems and data center media appliances.” There has been no announcement about the pricing of the SSD’s from Western Digital though.

Recently OCZ also launched their Agility series of SSD’s.

USB 3.0 – Advantages and Disadvantages

USB 3.0 specifications were announced at the end of of 2008. USB 3.0 is upto 10x faster than USB 2.0 and can offer a max data transfer speed of upto 5Gbits/sec which roughly translates into 640MB/sec. USB 3.0 is fully comaptible with USB 2.0 but does not support older USB 1.1 devices. At first sight USB 3.0 connector seems no different from the USB 2.0 connector but the USB 3.0 Connector has 5 more connecting pins placed deep inside the connector cover. USB 2.0 can provide a maximum of 500mA power to the USB device while USB 3.0 can provide a maximum power of 900mA, which is important for portable hard drives. USB 3.0 also comes with better power saving features so your USB powered devices will consume less power when it is in idle mode.

USB 3.0 has certain advantages over USB 2.0 which are –

1) Faster Data Transfer Speed
2) Lower Power Consumption by the USB Devices
3) Higher Power Supplied to the USB Devices, especially useful for Portable HDD’s

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As with any other new technology, USB 3.0 also has certain drawbacks which include –

1) The first batch of Motherboard’s which will be shipping with USB 3.0 will be costly but with the technology getting older price too will go down

2) USB 3.0 is incompatible with USB 1.1

3) USB 3.0 only supports a maximum cable length of 3 meters compared to 5 meters of USB 2.0

4) Another major disadvantage of USB 3.0 is that mobile phones and other gadgets which will use the Micro-B USB 3.0 connector will have a width of 12.25mm while the Micro-B USB 2.0 Connector is only 6.86mm wide

5) Currently there are no OS available in the market which supports USB 3.0 and even the upcoming version of Windows i.e. Windows 7 will not support USB 3.0 though Microsoft may add support for it later on via Windows Update

As you can see, currently USB 3.0 has more disadvantages than advantages but with time the disadvantages of USB 3.0 will reduce significantly which will help in making USB 3.0 mainstream.

Hackintosh – Worth it?

First if all, for the starters here is an introduction to Hackintosh –

What is Hackintosh?

Running a Mac OS X by hacking into its driver base and making some changes to it so as to run it on a non-Apple branded computer is termed as Hackintosh.

Is It Illegal?

Yes! Definitely! As I wrote earlier, if you install Mac OS X on a non-branded Apple Computer it is termed as illegal.

If it’s illegal Why Would Anyone Try It?

People who desperately want to try out Mac OS X and/or are not able to buy an Apple branded computer due to its high price would give Hackintosh a try. It may happen that you need to try out Mac OS X before thinking of making a complete shift to it.

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What Are The Problems With To Hackintosh??

Beside From the Hardware Incompatibilities, even if you somehow install Mac OS X you may face system instability or your Sound/Display/Wireless Network Card won’t work properly. Usually there are kextsavailable which help you get your incompatiblie driver working with Mac so it’s not much of a problem. Usually the preferred Hardware for installing Hackintosh is an Intel Core 2 Duo along with an Intel or nVidia chipset based motherboard and SATA HDD and SATA Optical Drive. IDE Drivers were earlier not supported by the Hackintosh but the latest version of Hackintosh does includes a few basic IDE drivers, same thing stands true for PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse.

Few people even launch Hackintosh version which are compatible with AMD based system’s but whether they work or not is totally erratic.

Is Installing Hackintosh Really Useful And Worth The trouble??

In my opinion, No its not worth installing Hackintosh on a normal computer since sometimes even if you have compatible hardware even then also you may face a lot of problems.

Another Option if someone wants to run Mac OS X on his computer will be to buy the EFI-X chip for 120$ and then buy a retail DVD of Mac OS X and install it on your computer. Though before buying the EFI-X chip you must make sure that your Hardware is compatible with it. The Hardware Compatibility even with the EFI-X chip is limited to a certain extent. I would also like to tell that I can’t tell you people from where to download the different version of Hackintosh since its illegal. In the end if you would like to install Hackintosh on your Computer and want to make sure whether your Hardware is compatible with Mac OS X or not, please check this wiki on Hackintosh Hardware.

Few Must Have Applications For All Your Hardware Monitoring Needs

Here are a few must have Hardware Monitoring Applications which will give you an in depth analysis of your Computer Hardware –

  1. CPU-Z This is the only software you will ever need to get all the information of your Processor. CPU-Z is made by CPUID and is one of the most popular CPU monitoring software out in the market. The best thing about CPU-Z is that it’s a freeware.

    As you can see from the  Screenshot, CPU-Z offers a very vivid detail of your Processor, including the Core Voltage, Stepping and Revision. Besides providing information about your Processor, CPU-Z also provides information about your Motherboard, RAM and the CPU cache. There is also an option to validate your CPU which will helps in online forums. The Version 1.52 of CPU-Z which is still under development is also going to provide you information about your Graphics Card.

  2. GPU-Z Unlike the name suggests GPU-Z is not made by CPUID. GPU-Z is made by TechPowerUp. GPU-Z as the name suggests provides you detailed information about your Graphics Card, including its temperature and current Clock speed, Pixel Fill rate, the die size of your GPU Core and the number of transistors your GPU has. An option to upload your BIOS to the GPU-Z server is also present. Like CPU-Z, GPU-Z also has an option to validate your GPU.



  3. Real Temp/Core Temp Real Temp is one of the most preferred temperatures monitoring software for any Core 2 Duo Owners. There are many temperatures monitoring software available for Processor’s but only Real Temp manages to detect and report the right temperature for Core 2 Duo’s. On the Other hand Core Temp is one of the best temperatures monitoring software for Intel Dual Core and AMD line-up of Processor’s.
  4. Real Temp also has an option to test your sensors so ask to make sure that they are not faulty and you are not getting wrong temperature readings.

  5. OCCT OCCT is a software which allows you to stress your PC so as to check whether the Processor, RAM, GPU works fine under load. If you have a new Computer the first thing you should do is run OCCT and stress the various components of your PC so as to check that they work fine under load and the temps under load are not too high. OCCT also shows the temperature of your Processor, GPU using the drivers of CPU-Z and GPU-Z respectively.


OCCT has a really nice layout and interface. You can chose either the predefined stress tests or do a custom one. OCCT also has an option to stress your Power Supply/SMPS which is very rarely offered by any other stress testing software.