News Bits: Laptop Takeover by Wi-Fi Video, Asustek Eyes Gigabyte, Core 2 Duo Benchmarks, Models Like Macs

by Reads (12,310)

MacBook hacker lessons with video

At the Black Hat 2006 conference in Las Vegas, an Apple MacBook was hacked through a third-party external Wi-Fi card. The Mac wasn’t the focus of the whole conference, although it was chosen in-part because of Apple’s smug Mac vs. PC commercials. The MacBook was chosen to demonstrate the security weaknesses in 802.11 device drivers, and the dangers of releasing a product before it’s been thoroughly tested.

The Wi-Fi weakness isn’t just restricted to Macs – it’s also a problem for Windows, and wherever multiple parties (WiFi hardware manufacturer, OS developer) are writing portions of the drivers that aren’t properly tested with each other.

Now, there’s not much to gain by hacking into a laptop from short range, but what if the Wi-Fi range is kilometers instead of meters, and what could be the potential consequences of cities providing always-on public Wi-Fi connections? Maynor, one of the hackers, pointed out, “Vendors should be dealing with it now before it is a big problem in a year or two.”

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Asustek could merge with Gigabyte

Digitimes is reporting that according to sources in the Taiwan motherboard industry, Asustek Computer is interested in acquiring motherboard specialist Gigabyte Technology. The possible merger is aimed to face rising competition from Foxconn Electronics. Both Asustek and Gigabyte refuted the merger rumors, and to date, there is no plan about a merger.

If Asustek merges with Gigabyte, the combined company’s shipments could amount to 78 million in 2006, and the merger will help Asustek take a 45% share of the worldwide motherboard market.

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Core Duo vs. Core 2 Duo comparison

Anandtech is running a very in-depth article comparing the Yonah (Core Duo) to the Merom (Core 2 Duo). They compared the Core Duo T2700 (2.33GHz) to the Core 2 Duo T7600 (2.33GHz) in an Asus Z96J notebook.

Overall, the Merom processor wasn’t a big upgrade to the Yonah, but it all comes down to the fact that the Merom performed equally or better in every performance test without increasing cost of reducing battery life. Owners of current Core Duo laptops have no reason to worry about upgrading now; you’re best off waiting for the Santa Rosa platform in 1H 2007 at the earliest. There will be a couple more weeks yet before you can get your hands on a Core 2 Duo notebook, but you should be able to grab one in the next month or so.

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Merom-based notebooks to support Nvidia SLI

Nvidia will soon announce that Merom-based (Core 2 Duo) notebooks support their dual-graphics SLI technology. It will likely be supported by Intel’s 945 series mobile chipsets.
Another rumor circulating is that Intel has reached a licensing agreement with Nvidia and ATI technologies to enable Intel chipsets to support SLI and CrossFire technologies with updated drivers. It has not been officially confirmed that Intel notebook chipsets can support any dual-graphics card technologies.

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Intel GMX X3000, 3000 final specs unveiled

DailyTech is reporting that the July 2006 Intel specification update on the G965 and Q965 Express chipsets reveals the final details of Intel’s GMA X3000 and GMA 9000 integrated graphics cores. Intel originally intended for both of the chipsets to have the same graphics cores, but has changed directions and made them two separate graphics cores. The GMA X3000 will be for the G965 Express, and the GMA 3000 for the Q965 Express. The G965 Express and GMA X3000 will have greater graphics processing capabilities.
Specifications are as follows for the G965:

  • Software vertex shader model 2.0/3.0
  • Hardware pixel shader model 2.0
  • 32-bit and 16-bit fixed point operations
  • Up to 8 multiple render targets
  • Occlusion query
  • 128-bit floating point texture formats
  • Bilinear, trilinear and anisotropic mipmap filtering
  • Shadow maps and double sided stencils

Although there is no information available on the number of pixel or vertex shaders available on the GMA X3000, the shaders are fully programmable, so the amounts can vary.
The Q965 and GMA 3000 are aimed more toward business users as part of Intel’s vPro business platform. The GMA 3000 has similar specifications to the current GMA950.
The G965 Express is expected to be available sometime this month, while the Q965 Express will have a formal launch in early September.

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Logitech enhances its Notebook Peripherals line

August 7th – Logitech today unveiled the latest additions to its growing family of portable peripherals.

The Logitech Premium Notebook Headset, Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro and Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe webcams make it easier to communicate. The Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Mouse for notebooks is another addition to the lineup.

Logitech’s senior manager of product marketing for notebook solutions, Charles Seiber, said in a statement:

“Notebooks are clearly becoming the computing platform of choice. People are using them at home, in the workplace, at school, and on the road. But to truly experience the promise of the platform, they need tools that make using a notebook as easy and as comfortable as a desktop PC — and notebooks typically don’t come equipped with these tools. We’ve conducted extensive research to understand the way in which different people use their notebooks. Our newest products and each of our peripherals for notebooks allow people to personalize their notebook experience — each product offering different benefits and capabilities, while making people more efficient and comfortable.”

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Victoria’s Secret Angels like Macs

Here’s an ‘interesting’ link – Victoria’s Secret Angels pretending to work on their Apple MacBooks. It’s a picture frenzy – and they’re high-resolution too. 😉




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