The Applied Sciences group in Microsoft Hardware have come up with an interesting tool. This is a pressure sensitive keyboard. Our minds went strait to gaming, as theirs did too apparently. They show how this could give you more control in your games based on how hard you push the button. Remember the first time you got to use an analog stick, it sure is hard to go back to a D-pad. We want to know when we’ll get to play with these cool toys made by Microsoft.
We’ve often wondered what kind of hardware the giant of the internet, Google, used to handle it’s data. They’ve recently revealed what their main workhorses are. It’s a custom motherboard made by Gigabyte with two processors, and eight RAM slots. The main point of interest on these is the fact that each server and piece of network equipment has it’s own battery backup. This may add a little money in the initial cost of the unit, but apparently it is a much more efficient way of handling power. Be sure to click over to the site and check out the shipping container setup that they use. Each container has 1,160 servers. They aren’t the only ones using this method. Microsoft has adopted it for their newer facilities and Sun has done some extensive testing on how these portable facilities handle earthquakes. You can see the quake test after the break.
Frustrated by the constant din of his Xbox 360, [Janne Ström] took action. The original case wouldn’t have near enough room for the additional cooling that needed to be installed, so he picked up Lian Li’s XB01 case replacement. He followed the illustrated disassembly guide to get the Xbox stripped down to just its motherboard. He then began fitting his coolers of choice: two massive Noctua NH-U9D0 units originally intended for AMD Opterons. The asymmetric heat sinks are intended for applications like this where dual sockets could make other devices difficult to place. Clearly the hardest part of the installation was applying an appropriate amount of thermal compound and then slowly tightening the hold down screws to guarantee even pressure. The resultant system ended up being quieter than the first camera he attempted to record it with and the attached power supply. You can see a video of it below.
[nico] pointed out something that didn’t seem to get any air-time during the recent netbook kerfuffle. Part of the original TechCrunch complaint was that netbooks are underpowered. This is a direct result of Microsoft’s Ultra Low Cost PC (ULCPC) licensing program. If manufacturer’s don’t stick to Microsoft’s restrictions, they can’t purchase XP at a discount ($26-32), which is the only way to get XP since they no longer sell it. These rules are why you can’t buy a netbook with more that 1GB of RAM.
A couple months ago we posted [Ben Heck]‘s in-progress photos of his Xbox 360 laptop (with links to his other versions). He’s just put the finishing touches on it, and dubbed it the Xbox 360 Portable. It has a removable hard drive on top and memory slots on the side. The webcam is embedded in the frame and there’s internal WiFi. With chatpads available now, he’s decided not to include a keyboard. It’s really a nice machine. Check out the video below for a tour of the system.
The Xbox 360 has a brand new motherboard. Dubbed the Jasper, it presumably has a new 65nm process GPU. The new box has a 150W power supply instead of the former’s 175W brick. They’ve changed the plug design to prevent usage with old consoles. The most notable change is the onboard flash memory upgrade. Earlier consoles only had 16MB; new ones have 256MB. The majority of this storage will be used for the new dashboard, the NXE. The remaining space can be used for game saves. With the new storage, Arcade units are no longer including memory cards. You can see more images of the boards on Xbox-Scene.