News Bits: AMD Socket AM2, OS X Cracked, Windows Vista and Aero Glass, Flash Memory, Halo 2

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AMD Socket AM2 Launch Scheduled for June 6

On Tuesday, June 6th, AMD is officially launching its new line of processors using the (now official) Socket AM2. The AM2 socket platform will incorporate dual-chanel DDR2 memory, which will bring much improved memory bandwidth and a substantial performance increase. To everyone’s suprise, AM2 will support up to DDR2-800 in desktops, most likely we’ll see DDR2-533/667 make it to notebooks.

The transition from DDR to DDR2 comes as a good time according to some memory manufacturers, as the price is virtually the same. Socket AM2 is slated to fully replace the current socket 754 and 939 CPU’s.

By the end of the month, all dual-core, mainstream, and extreme gaming AM2 CPU’s will sample. Production is scheduled for April 30th, and orders beginning on May 15th.

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Windows Vista Aero Glass on Integrated Graphics?

Ars Technica is running an excellent article discussing the graphical user interface of Windows vista, the so-called “Aero Glass” experience. A question that haunts many notebook users and buyers alike is “Will I be able to run Windows Vista with Integrated graphics?”

Answer? Yes, you certainly can. From the article:

Microsoft is planning at least two but probably three tiers of “experience” in the user interface, meant to take advantage of varying levels of graphical power. At least in terms of basic support, machines that can run Windows XP can expect to run Windows Vista’s graphical component in a “classic mode” without too much trouble

While users with most integrated graphics won’t be able to run with the full graphical interface, they will still be able to run Windows Vista. For the full graphical experience, a DirectX 9-level graphics card with 64MB of dedicated memory should not have any trouble with Aero Glass. Remember, nothing has been officially confirmed yet.

Until a release candidate sits before us, predicting the future remains a risky business. However, Microsoft has been clear that Vista would be designed to deliver a visual experience that is appropriate to the level of graphical power in any given machine.

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Windows Vista: New Uses for Flash Memory

Samsung claims that the NAND flash memory market will be boosted when Windows Vista ships, due to a new technology being implimented into the Operating System – using USB flash drives to expand the memory of a PC, as well as support for flash memory caches built right onto the hard drive itself.

The EMD (External Memory Drive) technology will be the first to boost the demand, with the USB Flash drives being used as system memory. Windows Vista will be able to copy over data it thinks the user will need and thus be able to read it into memory much faster than if it had to be read in from the hard drive.

The next step in flash memory implimentation would include building flash memory caches into hard drives, allowing the Operating System to use it in order to decrease boot and application loading times.

This is a very promising new technology; let’s hope that it works as good as it sounds.

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Mac OS X 10.4.4 Cracked for PC

On Monday, February 13th, the latest version of Mac OS X, 10.4.4 was reportedly cracked, and made to run on a PC.

Although 10.4.4 was supposed to be a serious step forward in terms of security, the version that shipped with the first Mactels was “easy to hack” according to OSx86 Project’s website:

What this means is that Apple’s best attempts to secure their OS have, ultimately, failed. For its best efforts, the company is unable to lock OS X to their hardware. Without doubt, this will have profound impacts on the company’s future as running OSx86 on a PC becomes less a hacker’s trick and more mainstream. When all it requires is the downloading of a DVD, that’s certainly the future we’re looking at.

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Halo 2 for PC will run on Windows Vista Only

Just as Microsoft used Bungie’s Halo to market the Xbox video game console, it appears that they are going to do the same with Halo 2. As a Windows Vista exclusive, Microsoft is hoping to speed up the transition to Vista – at least for gamers. Although Bungie denies that this is the point of making it exclusive, it begs the question – “If it runs on a Pentium III-based PC, why not XP?”

According to Bungie: “Windows Vista will help bring clarity to our customers and help them get more out of their personal computing experience, allowing them to focus on what matters most to them,”

Beyond this, not much more has been said, although expect more as we get closer to Vista’s launch date. It is clear that the PC version will not have xBox live. And PC users can’t play with XBox users in multiplayer – it won’t be cross-platform. So, what do you need to run it? Good luck getting an answer.

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ThinkPad notebooks Required at Indiana State University

Going to Indiana State University? You’ll be needing a ThinkPad – Indiana State is the first public University in the state to require all students starting with the freshmen in fall ’07 to have notebook computers.

Indiana State’s vice president for adademic affairs, C. Jack Maynard states, “When we announced the Notebook Initiative last September, we pledged that our students would receive high quality, business grade laptops worthy of the investment they and their parents are making in an ISU education,”

Reasons for choosing a ThinkPad include superior service and support, the quality of the notebooks, and the wireless capabilities. Network connectivity is simplified, thanks to the ThinkVantage Access Connections, which aids users in switching from one network to the next.

Students can acquire a ThinkPad in a number of ways, either through scholarships, freshmen who have completed an Indiana Core 40 Diploma, and have a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher (out of 4.0). Other students will be able to purchase the notebooks at signifigantly reduced prices.

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