P*N’s PC Weekly News Recap

Every week I will scour the Internet for the most important PC news: new patches and demos, software updates, hardware release and everything else that is important to PC users and gamers all in one convent post. So click the “Read More” link for the full article.

Hardware News

-2TB Hard Drives Announced

This week Western Digital and Seagate, two of the biggest hard drive manufacturers, have announced 2TB hard drives. Western Digital’s 3rd generation Green Power drive is lower on power consumption and noise but is only rated at about 5400rpm, the drive is due out later this quarter for about $300. Seagate’s new Constellation drive is more about performance, boasting a 7200rpm speed. Seagate is a little late with their drive which is not expected to be released until Q3 and no price is available at this time.

-Netbook News

The Netbook platform is doing well, with a report claiming over 14 million were sold in 2008. While those are pretty good numbers for such a new product it still makes up only 10% of all notebook sales, but with many notebooks being used for work or video/audio editing its not very surprising that the small but underpowered computers haven’t been a explosive success.

In other netbook news Intel is preparing their new N280 Atom processor for release, sporting the new GN40 chipset which allows users to watch 720p video and improve overall video performance as well as a higher front side bus (667mhz vs the N270’s 533). The N280 will premier in Asus new EEE PC 1000HE.

Nvidia is also working on a new Atom based platform called Ion which can support 1080p video decoding. Atom processors are paired with the abysmal GMA 950 and Nvidia plans to drastically improve video performance by replacing the GMA 950 with a Geforce 9400. Sadly this new GPU still wont allow you to play modern games like COD4. For full details visit TechReport.

-AMD Releases external GPU for laptops

Unless you shell out the mega bucks for a laptop you wont be getting one that’s capable of playing modern games, and even when you do your stuck to a extremely low battery life. AMD aims to fix that with there new XGP (External graphics processor) Graphics Booster. It’s a little box you connect to you laptop containing a GPU similar to a Radeon 3870 that enables you to play modern games on the go, or maybe not. While this seems like a great idea, this product has some unbelievable downsides. First off your computer needs a special port to connect to that only a handful of computers support now. Then it turns out this isn’t to mobile friendly because you cant use your laptops LCD screen to play games on, it needs to be connected to another monitor. If you are still interested maybe the unbelievable $1700 price tag will convince you this technology just isn’t ready yet.

Other News

-Windows 7 SKUs Announced

Microsoft announced the SKUs for Windows 7 and it looks like they haven’t learned from Vista. In total there are 6 SKUs including a “Starter” version which is extremely stripped down and only allows 3 applications. Most consumers will be seeing the Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate versions in stores.

Full list of SKUs and details click here.

-Another ISP adds bandwidth capping

Charter is the newest US ISP to begin bandwidth capping. Rolling it out in tiers, users will be limited to how much they can download based on their cable plan. Those with a 15mpbs will be limited to 100GB of downloads, the next speed tier will receive a 250gb limit and those with the top speed tier of 60mbps will remain uncapped.

Game News

-Get a free episode of Sam and Max (or 2) or Strong Bad from Telltale for free.

If you sign up for TellTale’s newsletter (might want to use a secondary or spam email address) before Feb 28 you can receive Sam and Max Episode 201: Ice Station Santa or the 3rd episode of Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People for free. You can also pick up Sam and Max Episode 104: Abe Lincoln Must Die from TellTale or Steam for free.

-New Mods On Steam:

Dystopia and Eternal Silence are the two newest mods to make it onto steam. Dystopia is a multiplayer futuristic FPS and Eternal Silence is a pretty ambitious space mod where you are pitted against others in star fighter combat. The website for Pirates Vikings and Kinghts also claims v3.2 of their mod will be arriving on steam soon.

-Steam Deal of the Week

This week’s deal is on Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon series, the entire PC series. For $20 you can get Advanced Warfighter [email protected] and the original with its 2 expansions. Sadly this deal only extends to the whole package, the individual games are still full price. But if these PC ports are as poor as Ubi’s others it might be more worth while to pick up the console versions.

-New Patches:

Crysis Warhead 1.1: Adds 64-bit XP and Vista executables and general single player fixes. A Deauthorization tool has also been released that lets you take a uninstall off your CD key.

Team Fortress 2: A big patch for TF2 changes up critical hits in a pretty drastic way and fixes other general bugs. Full patch notes.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,