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NOVEMBER 2009 • VOLUME 6 • ISSUE 12 • Rs 150

11 09

www.chip.in

WINDOWS 7 REVIEWED It’s here at last! We tell you everything there is to know about the new Windows

HOME NETWORK NIRVANA Living Smart

UUse se Wi-Fi Wi-Fi to to stream stream aand nd share multimedia all over your house

| Budget Laptops & Inkjet MFDs Tested | Wi-Fi Router Positioning

TESTED LLaptops aptops uunder nder RRss 330,000 0,000 Inkjet multi-function printers

HTC HERO AAnn Android Android phone phone finally done right

Rs 150

LIVING SMART Complete with a home theater, central storage, intelligent appliances and centralized controls, the smart home of the future can be yours today.


EDITORIAL

Budget laptops have always been a dicey proposition. The term is of course relative— you’re still paying a hell of a lot of money if you buy a cheap model—which perhaps makes it feel a lot less satisfying to buy a device you know is in some way reduced, or less capable, than the ones which are priced out of reach. There have always been several strata of laptops: our own comparison tests in years past segregated them into “budget”, “mainstream”, and “high-end”. The budget devices of course were the plainest, least attractive, and least powerful ones available—some so poor that it almost seemed cruel to recommend them since they would almost certainly reach the end of their useful lives within two years. Their bodies were flimsy, their screens were dull, and in one or two extreme cases, their buttons fell off. They had barely any expansion ports, lousy internal components, no built-in accessories, and two hours of battery life at the most. Today, prices are lower in general and features have trickled down to the extent that even the most basic laptops ought to have at least Wi-Fi, a webcams, a card reader and a DVDRW drive. And the price barrier that separated budget from mainstream is also significantly more accessible. Build quality is impressive too. In fact super-high-end laptops now have to be made of some exotic material or come with a designer’s signature to justify their premiums.

Don’t let anyone, especially a salesman convince you that a netbook is just a cheap, low-end laptop. The new variable to consider now if you're looking for a cheap portable computer is that the same amount of money which buys a low-end laptop will also buy quite a fancy netbook. While there are many situations in which a netbook is perfectly sufficient (or possibly even more convenient), it’s important to remember that netbooks are completely different devices. We've seen a lot of people wondering which is the better choice. Go for a netbook if you only want to surf the Web and chat with friends, or if you really need to travel light. But if you’re a student who is going to be typing out a 10,000-word dissertation or a businessman who needs to multitask between applications, you’re better off with a cheap but full-sized laptop. Don’t let anyone, especially a salesman convince you that a netbook is just a cheap, lowend laptop. Think hard whether you can really do without a full-sized screen and a comfortable keyboard. In most cases, netbooks are better companion devices for occasional use, but as a primary device, even the cheapest full-sized laptop today is better value for money.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

3


Contents 64 FEATURED LIVE THE SMART LIFE Your new intelligent home awaits!

NEWSWIRE 08 In the News Catch up on the latest happenings in the everunpredictable world of tech news.

14 New Products Launched Some of the latest gadgets and components, fresh off the factory lines and into our local computer shops.

TEST CENTER 20 Product of the Month The HTC Hero is India's second Android-based handset. Is it merely the evolution of an old formula, or is there more to be seen?

22 Hardware Tested CHIP put this month's selection of devices through the grind: motherboards, cameras, laptops, netbooks... you name it!

52 Software of the Month Norton Internet Security 2010 claims to be faster, lighter, and less intrusive. We'll see if it lives up to those claims.

54 Software Tested Our selection of software this month includes an entire operating system, along with utilities to keep your PC humming away.

FEATURED 64 Live the Smart Life Your home is your castle. Tech it up with our innumerable smart home solutions.

75 The Bare Essentials Budget laptops today are more than capable of multimedia and productivity work. Here are some of the best models under Rs 30,000.

80 Do More Than Just Print Multifunction devices are fast replacing standalone printers—they just make a lot of sense. Here are the best ones for your home.

86 Windows 7: The Definitive Review We've been waiting an awful long time for an operating system that could break through Vista's bad reputation. Now we have it.

60 Anand's Picks and PC Configs Anand shares his favorite light text editing programs. Power in your hands!

4

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

92 Home Network Nirvana Your Wi-Fi router takes center stage and


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75 TEST CENTER THE BARE NECESSITIES A budget laptop might be all you need for your work.

08 09

.chip www

11/09

R E 9 • Rs UE ISSU IS E 6 • ISSUE ME UME LUME VOLU VOL VOLUM 9•V T 2009 AUGUS

SUBSCRIBE SUB BSC CRIBE NOW NOW! W! Turn to page 130

DUAL LAYER 8.5GB

November 2009

SECURITY APPS PACK

A collection of 140+ free applications including multimedia, security, Internet and system tools essential for everyday computing AND a selection of 7 free antivirus programs

5 RED HOT APPLICATIONS Corel Digital Studio 2010 Corel Home Office 5.0.56 Corel Photo Album 6 Corel Snapfire 1.2 PowerDVD 9.0.1909

3 GAME DEMOS Need for Speed: Shift Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD World of Zoo

7 FULL ANTIVIRUS APPS A-squared Free 4.5.0.11 AntiVir Personal 9.0.0.407 Avast! Home Edition 4.8.1351 AVG Free Edition 8.5.409 BitDefender 10 Free Edition ClamWin 0.95.2 Cloud Antivirus 0.08.82 Beta 3

FREE SOFTWARE Busy: Free accounting, inventory and billing software

ON DVD FREE Busy accounting software and loads of other full free programs.

106 HANDS ON SELECTIVE MONOCHROME Another neat special effect for your photos.

54 TEST CENTER SOFTWARE TESTED Utilities for fun and productivity.

performs a whole bunch of new tricks, with our guide to home multimedia networking.

96 Web Watch The coolest things to do on the Web, whether you're looking for fun diversions or answers to solving your problems.

HANDS ON 102 Dr CHIP The doctor is in! He'll check out your faulty fans, misbehaving motherboards and grouchy gadgets for free.

106 Selective Monochrome Ever wanted to jazz up a photo by turning it black and white except for one object? It's easier to do than you think.

UNWIND 120 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves We were barely able to put the controller down long enough to get this review written. It's just that good.

122 Need for Speed: Shift After years of ho-hum installments, can this new formula save the NFS series?

REGULARS 03 Editorial, 06 Colophon, 08 In the News... 14 New Products Launched, 18 Personal Tech, 60 PC Configs, 96 Web Watch, 102 Drr CH C IP, P, 110 Tips Tips & T riccks, k CHIP, Tricks, 136 L Le ette tte ers, s, 132 Ma Marke ark rkett W rke atch, at atc h,, Letters, Market Watch, 138 C Conte Co nte ests sts,, 146 L La stt Wor W d Contests, Last Word

124 Halo 3: ODST Halo fans should be happy, even though Master Chief gets somewhat of a rest.

125 Ninja Gaiden Sigma II A new style of gameplay brings Ninja Gaiden closer to hordes of potential gamers.

108 Wi-Fi Heatmapper A simple, free utility turns your laptop or netbook into a signal-sniffing genius, so you can put your router in just the right spot.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

5


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NEWSWIRE

NEWS SNIPPETS

DANGER BAROMETER HIGH RISK

Virus writers are taking to manipulated updates for GPS devices. So check each download with a scanner

IN THE NEWS... COMPILED BY JAMSHED AVARI

WEB MEDIUM RISK

LOW RISK

Sidekick disaster raises concerns over online storage A series of recent high-profile cloud

mainstream and online media. Even worse,

computing failures has cast long shadows

customers were not able to back up or sync

over the entire concept of remotely storing

their devices with a desktop PC, since the

personal data and relying on Web-based

platform was designed solely for online

services.

storage (PCs can also only be synced from

American cellular service operator T-Mobile's popular Sidekick device and

TOP ATTACK TARGETS

network platform was

the cloud—which was of no use). Microsoft will almost certainly face enormous lawsuits over its inability to maintain

compromised for over

the service, but the reputation

a week, with customers

of its Azure platform, though

60%

at risk of losing all their

unrelated, will also take

50%

contacts, SMS messages

40%

and emails which are

apparent failure of all

30%

all stored remotely

related backups was not

on Microsoft-owned

immediately explained

servers (the original

by either Microsoft or

developer Danger was

T-mobile.

20% 10% 0% 2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

bought over in early 2008, making Microsoft

a severe beating. The

While Gmail's day-long outage earlier this year

Browser

Operating system

responsible for their quality-of-service

made corporates and individuals think twice

Documents

Multimedia

promises). Most user data was recovered

about letting themselves be completely

after over a week of panic and outrage.

dependent on a single vendor for their online

Attackers are finding browser loopholes and manipulated documents on computers.

The Sidekick platform stores all user

presences, users at least were assured that

Source: IBM

information in the cloud, syncing with

all their data was safe. However the near

THIS IS HOW HACKERS EARN

individual devices only when needed.

possibility of over a million Sidekick users

Customers were notified not to remove their

losing their data permanently casts dark

batteries or let their devices run out of

shadows over the perceptions of cloud-based

power, since this would wipe out even their

services, even ones which are supposed to

locally cached data, sparking fury across

have multiple redundant backups.

1

Credit card information €0.04 - €21 (approx Rs 2.76 - Rs 1,454)

2

Bank account data €7 - €690 (approx Rs 484 - Rs 47,781)

3

Hacked email access €0.06 - €70 (approx Rs 4.15 - Rs 4,847)

4

Valid email addresses €0.23 - €70 (approx Rs 16 - Rs 4,847)

5

Web proxys €0.11 - €4 (approx Rs 7.61 - Rs 276)

Selling stolen bank account data is the biggest money spinner.

GADGETS

Amazon to bring Kindle ebook reader to India Amazon, the US-based online retailer which

constantly consumer power. Battery life is

started off specializing in books, has tasted

pegged at 14 days with moderate usage.

digital retail success with its Kindle series

Indian customers will be able to visit www.

of ebook readers. Now,

amazon.com/kindlestore to buy

it's bringing its second-gen

the device, which will not be

FIGURE OF THE MONTH

device to India.

available in retail stores. Around

The Kindle's main

280,000 ebooks, newspapers

1.2 billion

feature is a crisp, 6-inch

and magazines are available,

monochrome E-Ink display

with Indian titles coming soon.

which does not consume

The device can access Amazon's

power unless its contents

online store using a cellular data

are being changed,

connection at no extra charge. Its

Source: Symantec

SMS messages were sent around the world in the 24 hours following Michael Jackson's death earlier this year. Source: Verisign

8

11/2009

unlike most devices'

price is $259 (approx Rs 12,077)

LCD screens which

plus shipping and duties.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

SMS us!  Story code: NSN to 51818


NEWSWIRE

NEWS SNIPPETS INFRASTRUCTURE

Indian private cloud service launched Zenith Infotech has launched a private cloud computing platform for small businesses, designed to let them purchase and use IT infrastructure as a single, centralized resource. The platform, named PROUD, promises to enable easier management of hardware and appliances by using virtualized machines, and to provide high availability, continuous backups and other failsafe guarantees. The cloud can be hosted on premises or at a datacenter. Users could use thin clients to connect to their work environment without being tied to any one physical terminal. Storage is taken care of with a distributed storage area network promising scalability and built-in disaster recovery.

WEB

Indians can buy from US on Ebay Ebay India has rolled out a service called Global Easy Buy, designed to let Indian shoppers buy from sellers abroad and pay a single, clear rupee amount with the guarantee of a safe transaction. The catalog of 18 million products doesn't offer everything in the US store, but costs include shipping and duties. Payments are processed via Ebay's PaisaPay gateway. The available products include clothing from fashion labels, health and beauty products, musical instruments, electronics, computer parts, car accessories, toys and sports equipment. Item availability is still subject to Indian customs laws.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Finland makes 1 Mbps broadband a fundamental human right The government of Finland has announced that 1 Mbps broadband access will be a fundamental right, starting July 2010. The move comes as a precursor to a larger plan to ensure that all citizens have access to at least a 100 Mbps connection by 2015. It is the first country to have done so. The government now considers broadband fundamental enough that it cannot be provided as a commercial profit-making venture alone. However, vague wording indicates that households in "farflung areas" might be excluded.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

9


NEWSWIRE

NEWS SNIPPETS

SECURITY

NEW SECURITY RISKS DETECTED AND PATCHED

SECURITY

SECURITY

Laptop biometric scans defeated by simple printed photos

Fake antivirus apps spreading

Several new notebook models no longer need you to enter a password to log in. Your face is scanned with biometric software, and facial features are detected to unlock the PC. However, experts from Bkis Internet Security in Vietnam have proven how easy these are to defeat. Despite more recent versions of the technique using multiple images shot

MICROSOFT WINDOWS The software giant released the largest number of patches ever in a single day—34 vulnerabilities were addressed on October 13. Five are intended for Windows 7 even before its launch, and 8 were classified as "critical". SOLUTION: Users should enable Windows Update and install all recommended patches over the next few weeks.

GOOGLE CHROME A bit of manipulated website code is all that is needed to force the browser to crash, opening up a security hole for hackers to exploit. SOLUTION: Update to at least version 2.0.172.43

Symantec reports that it

in different conditions

has tracked over 43 million

to improve accuracy, the

installation attempts for

software used by several

over 250 distinct varieties of

major manufacturers was

rogue antivirus and security

proven to be so weak

applications. However many of

that anyone could simply

these are the same underlying

hold a printed image of

program with different

the owner to unlock the

front ends, popularly calling

laptops. In some cases,

themselves Antivirus 2008

even the owner's Facebook

or Antivirus 2009, and all

profile photo could be

throwing up fake warnings

printed and used. In

for nonexistent threats such

some cases, the researchers needed to create high-contrast

as “Spyware.Monster” and

versions of the same photos, but they still worked.

“Spyware.IEmonster”. These

PC users are advised that these scanners are more of a

programs typically prompt the

gimmick than actual security. Fingerprint scanners are much

user for payments to "fix" the

more effective.

fake viruses.

WEB

PIRACY

Researcher's Twitter account blocked for malware warnings

iPhone app piracy rampant

Security researcher Mikko Hypponen of

OPENOFFICE

F-Secure recently had

A security loophole in the XML module of the free office package makes it possible for attackers to sneak damaging code onto a computer through embedded WMV videos and even change administrator rights. SOLUTION: The problem has been rectified in the latest version, 3.1.1

his Twitter account

SKYPE Software developers have found evidence of software available online that is able to tap into usually secure Skype calls using a Trojan. Using this, outsiders could listen in on your conversations and even record them. It is rumored that the software was supposed to be a secret, available only to governments and law enforcement. SOLUTION: Skype says it is working on a solution for the problem, but has not released any patch or update yet.

10

11/2009

suspended and all prior tweets deleted without warning because the

A report on iPhone app piracy

site thought his malware

by analytics firm Pinch Media

warnings were actual

claims that 38 percent of

links to Trojan-infested

jailbroken iPhones have at

sites. Hypponen's

least some pirated apps, and

account, which had

that over 60 percent of the

thousands of followers,

apps it can track have been

contained regular

pirated. The study shows that

updates about his

not everyone who unofficially

discoveries and general

mods their phones is doing so

security-related events.

to steal apps, but relatively

The tweet flagged as

few are paying for them after

malicious was a warning against a MySpace phishing site

"sampling" through piracy.

which was attracting attention at the time (www.rnyspece.

Apps such as games and

com). Despite having been sent in August, the account was

messengers connect to servers

suspended in early October. The account was restored,

or otherwise use resources

but all followers were deleted for unexplained reasons,

which burdens developers who

according to Hypponen.

receive no payments.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP


NEWSWIRE

NEWS SNIPPETS GADGETS

SECURITY

Microsoft "Courier" concepts show off tantalizing UI, more to come in 2010

Facebook clone delivers malware

While the world trades rumor after rumor about Apple's nearly mythical upcoming tablet device, Microsoft has been showing off its own touchscreen Courier concept. Gadget blog Gizmodo.com was the first to show photos and a video of the device, stating that it is in a "late prototype" stage of development. Roughly the size and shape of a netbook but with a

Security firms are warning

touchscreen on each half rather than a physical

users to verify links they

keyboard, the Courier would fold away when

receive via email or chat

not in use. The dual screens support multitouch

messages. A site deceptively

gestures as well as input with a stylus.

designed to resemble Facebook

Further unconfirmed reports have stated

video pages serves Trojans to

that the device will run Windows 7 with

users after tricking them into

additional software overlaid to drive the unique

believing they need to update

user experience, which is designed to feel like

their version of Flash. This

using a digital, web-enabled journal somewhat

new strain of malware keeps

like OneNote, but optimized for the hardware.

users busy with fake onscreen

A final product might or might not look like

Capcha requests which do

this, but Microsoft is said to be showing it to

nothing other than keep them

partners and vendors already. There might

occupied while system files

even be additional designs that haven't been

are being modified in the

unearthed yet.

background.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

11


NEWSWIRE

NEWS SNIPPETS FUTURE TECH

Intel shows off new processors, architectures and strategies at IDF 2009 Intel's annual Developer Forum was the venue for a number of announcements and unveilings that together outline the company's plans for the coming year. The most important consumer products in focus were the first mobile variants of Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture, till now seen only in high-end desktop CPUs. The first Core i7 Mobile chips will be available in regular and Extreme editions, bringing benefits such as an integrated memory

with three small OLED screens below

controller and Turbo Boost intelligent clock

the main screen was also demonstrated,

speed adjustment to laptops for the first

though there were few details about it

time. Demonstrations of gaming and high-

ever going into production.

end machines from Alienware, Asus and Toshiba were shown.

A new high-speed interconnect called Light Peak was announced for the first

Plans for future Nehalem, Westmere

time. Light Peak will adapt optical cable

and Sandy Bridge chips were also outlined,

technology for use in connecting devices

along with updates on Intel's 32-nm

such as hard drives, displays, docking

manufacturing process. A new System-on-

stations, etc at Gigabit per second speeds.

Finally, Intel's future hybrid CPU-GPU star

a-Chip (SoC) platform called Jasper Forest,

Components are expected to show up in

Larrabee was also shown off. Working

based on Atom CPUs, will enable a new

devices within a year. USB 3.0 products

samples are already in developers' hands,

level of miniaturization and control for

were also demonstrated, indicating

The first actual product will be a discrete

embedded appliances. A laptop concept

release dates in the near future for them.

graphics chip sometime in 2010.

HARDWARE

FUTURE TECH

Nvidia pulls plug on Intel chipsets

Nvidia outlines "Fermi" architecture for future GPUs Not content to let AMD steal attention with

name for programmable shader units. Current

the surprisingly good performance of its latest

GTX-series GPUs have 240, and we can safely

graphics cards, Nvidia has shared details

assume Fermi's will have improved capabilities

of its upcoming

as well. Memory

graphics processor

bandwidth will be 384

design, codenamed

bits, and fast GDDR

Fermi. With no new

5 memory will keep

In an unsurprising move,

consumer graphics

feeding the core with

Nvidia has announced it

products in sight for

information to process.

is ceasing research and

the next few months,

development work for Intel

Nvidia's focus has

features are the

CPUs due to an ongoing

been on promoting

design's ability to

dispute about whether Intel

its proprietary

process ECC (error

can block them from selling

CUDA system for

correction), and double

chipsets for current-gen

accelerating CPU tasks

precision arithmetic

Nehalem CPUs with integrated

on the GPU.

for data-intensive

memory controllers. That

Other headlining

Continuing the

applications such as

leaves only Atom and older

progression of

simulations. Parallel

Core/Pentium CPUs eligible.

graphics chips into

caching helps reduce

Nvidia also clarified that its

the general CPU

latency by intelligently

plans to release the ION 2

space, Fermi chips

chipset with improved graphics

will accelerate general-purpose computing

the L1 and L2 caches. Fermi designs are

for Atom CPUs, remain on

applications even further. The chip would

already planned for massive supercomputing

track for the end of this year.

include up to 512 "CUDA cores", the new

deployments.

12

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

arranging data in


NEWSWIRE

NEWS SNIPPETS EVENTS

Scenes from the 2009 Tokyo Game Show

What would the show be without booth babes? Japan's got plenty of these to show off too.

Journalists got several chances to get their hands on upcoming and unreleased games.

The PSP Go was on display, and should be available all over the world quite soon.

Attendees line up for a chance to play Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker.

Gagan Gupta and Avinash Bali flanking one of their living gods, Hideo Kojima.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

13


NEWSWIRE

NEW PRODUCTS LAUNCHED

NEW PRODUCTS LAUNCHED COMPILED BY JAMSHED AVARI

WACOM

security for peace of mind

TRANSCEND

Creative multitouch tablet

when performing online

Secure Flash Drive

Wacom has

when PCs are turned

announced the

off. The innovative EZ UI

second generation

lets administrators easily

tasks. The maximum wireless speed throughput is 300Mbps and it also enables 24/7 downloads to wireless clients even

set up and manage their

Bamboo interactive tablet that merges multi-

network environments. Home and

touch functionality with pen tablet

business users can seamlessly allocate

technology in a single device. Bamboo

bandwidth to suit their specific needs,

provides a simple and spontaneous

share multimedia content and set up

Transcend has teamed up with Trend

way of using your computer with the

printer or scanner functions.

Micro to preinstall Trend Micro’s

touch of a finger or stroke of a digital

PRICE: Rs 6,775 WEBSITE: www.asus.in

advanced USB Security software on

pen. Bamboo is ideal for those who use computers as part of a digital

its popular JetFlash V85 USB Flash Drive. Users now have the advantage

lifestyle to communicate, share and

COREL

of Transcend’s hardware and proven

create content. A finger tap will

Blu-ray/DVD software

Trend Micro software to share,

select an icon, open a menu or start an application. Two-finger gestures enable you to rotate an image or

store and manage their valuable data more safely and securely. Trend Micro

document, flip through a digital photo

USB Security is specially

album or presentation, scroll through

Corel has announced

developed to protect against

a blog or an excel sheet and zoom in

the newest version

malicious content in files

and out of a photo or map. With a few

of its DVD playback

transferred to USB Flash

simple strokes of the pen, you can add

software WinDVD Pro

Drives from the first moment

a doodle, signature or comment to any

2010. This release

it is connected. Upon finding

digital document, including your blog.

introduces speed

threats, the software alerts

It also lets you easily draw natural

enhancements across

the user and moves all

strokes, retouch digital images, and

the application,

dangerous files to a hidden

free your creative side.

improved Blu-ray

PRICE: TBA WEBSITE: www.wacom-asia.com

support with BD-Live, new GPU-based

the JetFlash V85 is plugged into a

upscaling that boosts standard-

computer with Internet access, Trend

definition (SD) video to HD-like quality,

Micro USB Security will automatically

ASUS

all delivered through a new clean

download and install the latest

Flexible Wi-Fi router

and easy-to-use interface. Whether

updates.

you're watching a Blu-ray disc or an

PRICE: 2GB: Rs 1,000; 4GB: Rs 1,200; 8GB: Rs 1,900 WEBSITE: www.transcendusa.com

AVCHD or SD home movie, WinDVD Asus has announced the RT-N16, a

Pro 2010 provides life-like HD video

wireless router with a host of

quality. q y Increased format support lets

quarantine folder. When

intuitive, easy-to-use o-use features.

you y watch popular video

LOGITECH

Engineered for the future, the

formats, even direct from f

Asus RT-N16 is a Wireless-N

your y camera or camcorder.

Gigabit Router offering speed for

New support for BD-Live

ultra-fast data transfers,

gives g access to bonus

Noise-isolating earphones

simplicity for

interactive features.

ease-of-use

PRICE: US$ 99.99 (approx P Rs 2,318) W WEBSITE: www.corel.com

and ease-ofsetup, and

14

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING COMPUTIN NG CHIP CH HIP IP

Logitech has announced the new MetroFi 170 and MetroFi 200 noiseisolating earphones which deliver

SMS us!  Story code: NPL to 51818


NEWSWIRE

NEW PRODUCTS LAUNCHED The products and services listed here have not been reviewed by IC-CHIP. These are not endorsements or recommendations. All prices, specifications and claims are as stated by the respective manufacturers and publicists.

customized comfort for listening to music on an iPod. While ear buds sit at the opening of your ear, Ultimate

MILESTONE

performance.

Game shopping site

Users can run up to three displays from a single

Ears by Logitech earphones deliver

graphics card,, thanks to

customized comfort by creating a

Milestone Games, a Milestone

"magic" seal between your ear and

Interactive Group company, has

the Eyefinity technology. echnology.

the outside world, dramatically limiting

announced the launch of their new

The ASUS EAH5800 H5800 Series

ambient noise. So you can hear your

game retail website, www.game4u.

comes specially bundled with DiRT

music clearly without being cut off

com, the first of its kind in India.

2—by far the most anticipated DirectX

from the world around you, both the

Game4u.com allows you to choose

11 game—pushing the boundaries of

MetroFi 170s and the 200s provide 16

from a wide range of consoles,

immersive gaming with true-to-life

dBs of noise isolation. The 170s deliver

visual realism and effects.

authentic sound quality that helps

PRICE: EAH5870: Rs 31,900; EAH5850: Rs 21,250 WEBSITE: www.asus.in

ensure you'll hear your music clearly, while the MetroFi 200 earphones give you a fuller mix with more detail in the higher-frequency range.

WILEY

PRICE: MetroFi 170: Rs 3,495; MetroFi 200: Rs 5,495 WEBSITE: www.logitech.com

Autodesk Inventor 2010 book

SONY

accessories and games for the PS3,

New Video Walkman

PSP, PS2, Xbox360, DS, Wii and

Wiley India has

PC. It also lets you place pre-orders

launched Autodesk

for games that are soon to release.

Inventor 2010: No

Sony has launched the new NWZ-

Game4u.com offers attractive deals on

Experience Required,

E440 promising superior audio and

games and consoles, customer-friendly

a continuous, step-

visual entertainment. It provides

policies and gift coupon programs. The

by-step tutorial on

exceptional audio for users who enjoy

website allows you to browse games

the essentials of

music on the go. Combined with

according to genre and platform, and

this manufacturing

Sony’s Clear Audio Technology with

has a cash-on-delivery option for

program. If you

Clear Stereo and Clear Bass the new

products over Rs 499.

want to get up and

Walkman players deliver excellent

WEBSITE: www.game4u.com

running quickly on the industry-leading

audio experiences with crisper, cleaner

3D mechanical design software,

sounds. They also feature extended

ASUS

Autodesk Inventor 2010: No Experience

battery life with and up to 30 hours

DX11 graphics cards

Required is your resource. It quickly

of music playback and 6 hours of video playback. At a featherweight

teaches the essential skills and demonstrates the software using a

54g, the NWZ-E440 also features a

Asus has launched the new

continuous, real-world tutorial project.

2.0-inch LCD screen. Also incorporated

EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5 and

Once you understand the interface and

are voice and FM recording and

EAH5850/2DIS/1GD5. The first to

how to use Inventor conventions, you'll

multiple codec support for convenient

utilize Voltage Tweak technology, these

begin actually designing and modeling

playback. It is available in funky colors

graphics cards enable users to boost

a project from start to finish. Along

like pink, violet, red and black to zing

GPU voltages via the SmartDoctor

the way, you'll learn the "why" behind

up the user’s personality.

application to enjoy up to a 38 percent

each step. The companion website

PRICE: 4GB: Rs 5,990; 8GB: Rs 6,990 WEBSITE: www.sony.com

boost. Both cards support Microsoft

provides "before and after" tutorial

DirectX 11 and Windows 7 to provide

files, enabling you to jump in at any

users w with the most intense gaming

point and compare your work with the

experience. The latest 40nm process and GDDR5 memory technologies deliver faster pr processing and general system

author's results.

PRICE: Rs 429 WEBSITE: www.wiley.com – jamshed.avari@chip.in


NEWSWIRE

PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY

FORGET ABOUT BARGAINS ON OLDER PARTS. NEW LOW-END ONES AT THE SAME PRICE ARE USUALLY BETTER VALUE. JAMSHED AVARI, ASSISTANT EDITOR - TECHNICAL

WORSE WITH AGE O

ne of the most important functions we perform as the CHIP team is to keep readers up to date about what’s going on in the markets and which products are the current best valuefor-money picks. Unlike many other types of products, PC components have very short shelf lives. The pace of this industry results in new generations of major products roughly every year, and new models of individual parts at least three times as often. I’m not saying that all technology products are doomed to becoming useless within a few months of being purchased, but they might not remain the best choices for very long. Sadly, all products shipped out of a factory are not sold when they’re within their prime, and thousands of four- or five-year-old motherboards, graphics cards and game consoles lie in warehouses and store displays until they’re sold to unwitting customers. I can still see GeForce 6600 and Radeon X1950 cards which should have disappeared half a decade ago being sold on the streets at their original prices despite current models being available cheaper. Online stores have vast collections too, with almost no indication of product age. If you weren’t familiar with Nvidia and ATI’s businesses you might have no way of knowing how many new models have been released since these were good cards to buy. And if you didn’t study their naming and numbering schemes, you might never know whether a GeForce 8800GTX or a GeForce GTX280 is the better buy today. It’s not that they won’t work— you’d still get better graphics than most

ALL TOO OFTEN, I SEE BRAND NEW PCS WITH RECENT CPUS ON ANCIENT MOTHERBOARDS

18

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

onboard systems can manage—but you won’t have any idea how much you’ve missed out on. These cards could still be great bargains if they were priced according to their ages, but that is rarely, if ever, the case. And if old parts aren’t being sold openly, they’re quietly being shoved inside new PCs. Neighborhood assemblers and big brands alike hardly ever specify the chipsets they use. All too often, I see brand new PCs with recent CPUs on ancient motherboards. Again, these feel quite fast to those who are upgrading after years. But in a little while when they want to add a hard drive, they’ll discover they don’t have enough SATA ports. Or they’ll try to play a high-defi nition movie clip, and discover their onboard graphics are completely unable to handle it. Apple’s latest iPod nano and touch models are physically identical when seen in their retail packaging, and bear no indication of their generations. The new nano has a video camera, while the new higher-capacity touches have faster CPUs for better gaming. Both devices have twice as much storage space as their predecessors for roughly the same price. Both old and new models are currently in the market. Parents shopping for gifts wouldn’t ordinarily expect there to be any ambiguity to the devices, but they too could wind up with less than what they deserve for their money. In this day and age, buyers have to be aware of what they’re in the market for. Check model numbers online and search around for news of the companies whose products you’re thinking of buying. A little background checking could save you from being cheated and help get you the best value for your money. - jamshed.avari@chip.in

SMS us!  Story code: NJC to 51818


PRODUCT MONTH

TEST CENTER HARDWARE

OF THE

SMARTPHONE

HTC HERO VERDICT: This handset has a lot to offer but the camera is not up to the mark and it still has a few bugs that need weeding out. It begs serious consideration! FOR: Smooth and responsive UI, very user friendly widgets, music player is superb, great video playback. AGAINST: Slow camera and average image quality, limited Bluetooth functionality.

he HTC Hero is the second Android powered

T

Interface

handset to be launched in the country and

The Sense UI is a simplistically designed interface.

in quite a short span. The initial model, the

Essentially it’s a total of six desktop pages with

HTC Magic was launched exclusively with Airtel and

widgets that can be assigned to each page.

so is the Hero. But it’s also available as an open

Widgets can also be downloaded from the Android

GSM model for use with any other operator.

Market. This time the app is available with the handset so you’re free to browse the variety of

Form Factor

add-ons that are available for download. This is the

There’s nothing to dislike about the handset’s

only handset with the multiple desktop option, and

design. The slight rubbery surface makes it easy

the full page widgets are extremely well designed

to grip and gives a good feel. The chin portion

and easy to use. The HTC QWERTY keypad is easy

tends to give you a sense of closeness to the

to use in landscape mode but we recommend the

microphone; you’ll never have to raise your voice.

regular phone keypad in portrait. QWERTY is a little

Trackball navigation is not new but it does beat

cramped in this case.

the nav-pad option. The keys are well placed and

While the UI does seem relatively smooth it is

easy to use when necessary. The volume keys are

also a little bit sluggish in certain instances. When

almost invisible as they blend perfectly with the

it comes to opening the album folders to view

rear portion of the handset. The display size and

images or videos it tends to take a few seconds.

resolution hasn’t been upped from the Magic’s. It’s

The transition from portrait to landscape is also a

still a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x

bit slow and not very seamless. Perhaps the 528

480 pixel resolution and support for 65K colors.

MHz processor is just a little bit underpowered than

A proprietary styled mini USB port is located

what one would need.

at the bottom and it’s compatible with the

20

11/2009

standard mini USB cables though. A 3.5 mm

Media

handsfree jack is located on the top. The saddest

We were impressed with the superb sound quality

part is, unlike some handsets if you’re using

that the Android music player delivers. Even

your own set of earphones and not the bundled

without EQ settings, it delivers crisp sound with all

handsfree, you’ll have to unplug them to take a

frequencies blending perfectly and a brilliant thump

call as the mic doesn’t seem to work with third

in the bass line. The player itself is simple with the

party headphones. The hot-swap slot for the

option of creating playlists on the go. The lack of an

microSD card is located under the rear panel.

FM radio is still a big problem.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

SMS us!  Story code: HCI to 51818


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

The supported video formats are MPEG4 and

networks with a click of a button. You can also

3GP, and videos don’t really look all that bad. They

upload images to a Picasa album or send them via

play without a hitch and you can also opt to change

Gmail.

the resolution from widescreen to full screen, cutting out the black bars from the edges. The gaming experience is still not even close

Google has its own little arrangement of goodies from a Gtalk application that also syncs with your contacts. That’s all in addition to Gmail app as

to being anything as good as that on the iPhone.

well as Google Maps which is certainly a few steps

The ones designed for this platform, although

up from what the Magic had to offer. Footprints

entertaining, are still simplistic in creation and look

is a great geotagging application that at shows you

or feel.

the location on Google maps. The funniest unniest thing is that although the camera supports geotagging, we

Connectivity

weren’t able to simply click on a captured ptured image

The HTC Hero is connectivity-ready but that isn’t

and find the position on Google Maps ps unless we

the whole truth. Yes it is a 3G ready handset with

used the Footprints app.

HSDPA capabilities and thus easily supports basic EDGE and GPRS. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0

Other features

as well and supports PC connectivity. But here’s

When it comes to the simpler applications cations such

the glitch—like the high and mighty iPhone, HTC’s

as Calendar, Alarm, Notes, Stopwatch tch and such,

Android handset also offer limited Bluetooth

if you can’t find it on the handset already lready just

capabilities. We were unable to send or receive any

get it from the Android Market, it’s all there.

data to or from the handset via Bluetooth. A2DP

The Hero comes preloaded with QuickOffi ickOffice

worked just fine with a stereo Bluetooth headset

(read only) that reads .TXT and .XLS S files

but we found the range to be a bit of an issue.

quite easily. PowerPoint files take quite uite

As usual it was externally easy setting up Gmail

a while to open and .DOC files that had

as well as other POP3 and IMAP accounts. The

any images in them refused to read while

handset is also set to handle Microsoft Exchange

normal word files were no problem. The

accounts if that’s what you use. A widget can be

PDF reader also took time opening files.

placed on one of the many desktops to give you on the fly updates of your accounts. The browser is

Camera

still the best part about the handset. It’s fast and

The Hero’s 5 megapixel camera was s

navigation is simple. Its full web capabilities with

not very good. It’s slow and unsteady, dy,

Flash support give mobile web surfing a great feel.

so almost all captured images seemed med

This Android handset comes plenty of skill to

a bit blurred. The settings include white

handle most of the popular social networking sites.

balance, self-timer, effects and even n ISO settings

First up is the ever popular Facebook that has a

up to 800. It allows you to select an n area of focus

widget all to itself, a sync option for your contacts

by touching the screen. But that didn’t make things

that also stores their profile images. Twitter is

any better. Macro shots are a problem as we could

next with another helpful widget called Peep for

never get the camera to focus on the subject of

SPECIFICATIONS

receiving and

choice.

Rs 31,990

sending updates.

www.htc.com/in

You can set

Battery

Dimensions (WxHxD): 56.2 x 112 x 14.4 mm; Weight: 135 g; Display: 3.2-inch, 320x480 pixels; Camera: 5 MP; OS: Android 1.5; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS, EDGE, 3G.

these various

Depending on how often or how much you like

functions

staying connected you can maximize your battery

up with your

life. With quite a few of the Widgets and email

accounts so

being active simultaneously with a few calls and

transactions

messages, the battery lasted for a little over a

between the two

day and a half. You can switch off the Internet

will be seamless.

connectivity and get quite a lot more. Talk time

ERGONOMICS

Pictures can

by itself averaged in at about four hours which is

FEATURES

also be quickly

not bad. So on the whole the Hero’s battery life is

uploaded to

better than just average.

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Jaina Marketing 011-46604660 deepak@jainaindia.com

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY



all of these

– shayne@tech2.com

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

21


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A STYLISH BASIC NETBOOK WITH GOOD BATTERY LIFE, THIS IS A GOOD OPTION. NETBOOK

LENOVO IDEAPAD S10-2 FOR: Good keyboard, above average performance and presence of 3 USB ports. Competitive price point. AGAINST: The color combination of this particular unit might not be liked by many. While the slim design adds to the style factor, the battery pack protrudes to spoil the look.

F

or those familiar with the Ideapad

and all other mainstream applications

S-10, the S10-2 will be an obvious

will run smoothly. The unit comes pre-

improvement mostly with regard

loaded with Windows XP Home Edition

to ergonomics. The rounded

(SP3). The hardware is courtesy an Intel

edges, overall matt finish and the color

Atom N280 processor clocked at 1.66

scheme make this netbook stylish. While

GHz, 1 GB RAM and a 160 GB hard drive.

the lilac and white unit might not seem

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 20,640 www.lenovo.com/in

Dimensions (WxHxD): 102 x 18 x 76 mm; Weight: 1.17 Kg; Processor: Intel Atom N280, 1.66 GHz; Memory: 1 GB DDR2; Hard disk: 160 GB; Screen size: 10.1-inch; Connectivity: Ethernet and Wi-Fi. CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Lenovo India 1800-4253-353 direct@in.lenovo.com

there isn’t much to differentiate the

ladies. Thankfully there are other color

S10-2, except that there are three USB

options available. The keyboard and its

ports as opposed to two. There’s a VGA

keys are larger and more comfortable

port, audio jacks, a multi-card reader,

compared to its predecessor and many

a Kensington lock slot, a 1.3 megapixel

other netbooks. While the shift key on the

webcam and a physical switch for Wi-Fi

right-hand side is revised for the better,

and Bluetooth.

the Ctrl key should have been swapped

The overall performance is slightly

with the Function key, which is at the

better than other netbooks, especially

extreme left-hand side corner.

those powered by an Atom N270

Another noticeable factor is the better

processor. The S10-2 scored 889 CB-CPU

battery runtime. With over six hours of

in the Cinebench R10 test, whereas the

juice, you can watch almost three movies

Aspire one D250 scored 848. Encoding

in a row. The speakers are loud and clear

audio on this netbook was completed in

and there’s no need for headphones.

9 minutes 37 seconds, where as the D250

Equipped with the standard netbook

RATINGS

As far as features are concerned,

very macho, it should appeal to the

took 11 minutes 37 seconds for the same

BUILD QUALITY

hardware, this one too is suitable for

task. The difference won’t be greatly

ERGONOMICS

basic computing on the go. Office

noticeable in a real world scenario.

FEATURES

applications, Internet, emails, video calls

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

22

11/2009



INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

A VERY POWERFUL LIGHT-WEIGHT BUSINESS LAPTOP.

LAPTOP

LENOVO THINKPAD T400S FOR: Stupendous performance, extremely light in weight. AGAINST: Card reader and fax modem are absent. onsidering its excellent

C

All the ports and connectors, except for

performance and ridiculously

a USB port and headset jack, are at the

light weight, we’d say that the

back, which might prove inconvenient.

businessmen and professionals who want

nothing to complain about. The laptop

to leverage powerful portable computing.

trounces other business laptops and

Most of it is courtesy the combination

gives many desktop replacement laptops

of an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400—which is

a run for their money. In Cinebench R10

clocked at 2.53 GHz and has a whopping

benchmark, the Dell Studio XPS, the

6 MB L2 cache—and of the 4 GB RAM

Lenovo Ideapad Y650 and the Apple

which is clocked at 1066 MHz. A striking

MacBook Pro scored 5231, 4928 and 5497

point is the presence of a 128 GB SSD

respectively, whereas the T400s scored

drive, which means no moving parts, no

5295, which makes the MacBook Pro its

heat emission, and faster access time.

closest competitor. In some real world

The onboard graphics should suffice

test it trounced even the MacBook Pro.

for the intended audience. There are

The unit comes preloaded with Windows

two USB, an eSATA/USB combo port,

Vista Business SP 1. The setup process

a display and a VGA port, an integrated

includes configuration for security,

webcam and hardware for 3G support.

connectivity and maintenance. A 60 day

There’s no fax modem.

trial of Microsoft Office 2007, automatic

T400S is mainly intended for

Though there's one USB port at the side, the others are incoveniently located at the back.

With regard to performance, there’s

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 85,000 www.lenovo.com/in

Dimensions (WxHxD): 335 x 33 x 238 mm; Weight: 1.76 Kg; Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, 2.53 GHz; Memory: 4 GB; Hard disk: 128 GB; Screen size: 14.1-inch; Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth. CONTACT

backups and finger print scanning is

PHONE

Thinkpad, except that it's much slimmer

included. The battery life is one of the

EMAIL

and lighter. While the metal hinges and

best we’ve seen, 5 hours 25 minutes

the plain rubberized surface of the lid

under full work load. Its processing power

BUILD QUALITY

gives it a tough professional look, the lid

is what will take this laptop places.

ERGONOMICS

The design of the laptop is typical of a

flexes a bit which is likely to disappoint.

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in

Lenovo India 1800-425-3353 direct@in.lenovo.com

RATINGS FEATURES



PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP



11/2009

23


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

COULD HAVE BEEN GREAT IF NOT FOR THE UI QUIRKS AND POOR CAMERA QUALITY.

MOBILE PHONE

LG GC900 VIEWTY SMART FOR: Well designed, good audio, plenty of image editing options. AGAINST: Very quirky UI, sluggish, XviD videos didn't play, camera takes long to focus, quality was average, battery life could have been better. The 8-megapixelcamera with flash and auto-focus is fancy but doesn't deliver.

L

G has always managed to offer us

and access to Blogger are preloaded. It

handsets with pretty packaging

comes with a document viewer that also

and the Viewty Smart is no

allows you to open presentations in .PPT

exception.

format but not .PPS.

A 3-inch screen in today’s touchscreen

SPECIFICATIONS

camera with Schneider-Kreuznach optics

when you consider the price. LG’s new

is designed to be its biggest asset but

S-Class UI with multi-touch and 3D

doesn’t deliver. Settings include–smile

menus was quite sluggish and not

shot with face tracking, beauty shot,

consistent with responses. The normal

geotagging, image stabilization and

keypad is ok but could have been better

manual focus. Image quality is not great.

laid out. The same goes for the QWERTY.

In normal daylight, black levels are quite

Rs 27,500

Audio is good and activating the

www.lgindia.com

Dolby Mobile engine gives it a serious

Dimensions (WxHxD): 56.1 x 108.9 x 12.4 mm; Weight: 102 g; Display: 3-inch, 800x480 pixels; Camera: 8 MP; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS, EDGE, 3G.

kick in the right direction. Video playback

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

LG Electronics Pvt ltd 0120-2560900 viveksingh@lgindia.com

The Viewty Smart’s 8 megapixel

world doesn’t seem to cut it, especially

deep but the focus always went haywire even with Intelligent Shot. The battery life wasn't good and

was an issue with .AVI files though it’s

averaged just about three hours and

supposed to read DivX and XviD formats

change for talk time. The battery

without conversion.

compartment tends to get very hot while

The browser supports Flash content

it’s charging or if you use the handset

but the rendering of pages is not great.

for too long. The GC900 Viewty Smart

BUILD QUALITY

The GC900 offers 3G, Wi-Fi, EDGE,

is priced at Rs 27,500 which makes it a

ERGONOMICS

Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and USB. Google

little pricey considering the issues.

RATINGS FEATURES

Maps, Gmail, Google Search, YouTube

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

24

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- shayne@tech2.com


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

THE OMNIA HD WILL BE TOUGH TO BEAT AS A HARDCORE MULTIMEDIA HANDSET.

MOBILE PHONE

SAMSUNG OMNIA HD i8910 The front camera meant for video calls also comes in handy for taking self shots.

FOR: Well designed, great camera, good audio (calls & music), reads all video formats flawlessly AGAINST: No map software included for GPS, battery life should have been much better.

T

he previous model, the i900

to handle all sorts of connectivity - 3G

when it released in September

(HSDPA, HSUPA), EDGE and Wi-Fi, GPS

of last year. Read on to find out

Bluetooth (A2DP) and USB, it’s all there.

how the upgrade did. The Omnia HD is sexier than the i900

SPECIFICATIONS

The Omnia HD is also well equipped

Omnia, didn’t fare too well

The camera is loaded with features that include Face, Smile and Blink

with its 3.7-inch AMOLED display and

Detection, Samsung’s WDR (Wide

slim black and silver lines. It’s a solid

Dynamic Range) setting, geotagging,

handset with a good grip, and it’s not all

image stabilization, scene modes and, an

that heavy making it easy to tote around.

auto stitch Panorama setting which can

With its 1GHz (combined) processor it’s

be used horizontally as well as vertically.

a speedy handset running on a Symbian

The battery life manages to make

Rs 33,990

OS (v9.4) with a little of their TouchWiz

the handset look quite good raking in

wwwsamsungmobile.com

UI featured with its widget system.

a little over four hours of talktime, so

Dimensions (WxHxD): 59 x 123 x 12.9 mm; Weight: 148 g; Display: 3.7-inch, 360x480 pixels; Camera: 8 MP; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS, EDGE, 3G. CONTACT

Samsung India 011-41511234 sarfaraz.b@samsung.com

With its superb audio quality with Samsung’s DNSe and a 5.1 Surround Sound option on-board and the ability to

you’ll easily get at least two full days of nominal usage. Like its predecessor, the Omnia HD is

read DivX and XviD video formats as well

also quite steep priced at Rs 34,000. But

as AV Out, the Omnia HD takes its media

all things considered especially the 16

functionality seriously. Since games

GB of space and capacity for more the

BUILD QUALITY

haven’t been developed for large displays

Samsung Omnia HD simply put, makes

ERGONOMICS

like this, except the iPhone, the Omnia’s

for a great purchase.

PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS FEATURES

potential in this sense is not peaked.

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

26

11/2009



INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- shayne@tech2.com


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

THE PHONE IS A BLEND OF LOW COST AND FEATURES GALORE - AN EXCELLENT MIX.

MOBILE PHONE

RAY T65 FOR: Fluid and responsive UI, good sound quality, video playback is almost flawless, plenty of features, camera is decent, battery life is good. AGAINST: UI is slightly quirky, onscreen keypad is too small, no hot swap for the memory card.

R

ay Mobiles. Heard the name?

media features include an FM radio with

Possibly. But The Mobile Store

a recording function.

by Essar (we’ve heard those names), has gone into the

The T65 is equipped to handle basic WAP and GPRS connectivity. The

mobile making business for themselves

browser is simple but not very effective.

and has launched a few handsets of

The Ray mobile phone has support for

their own under the Ray brand name.

Java and other modes of connectivity

For starters take a look at this their T65

include Bluetooth with A2DP and a video

mobile phone.

streaming feature.

The T65 is a block of a phone and the

The Ray T65 is equipped with a 3

black lined metal front and rubberized

megapixel autofocus camera and an LED

rear panel don’t exactly make it an eye

flash that can be used as a webcam.

catcher. The touchscreen display is clear

Image quality is not great but it’s not

Rs 8,999

and quite responsive with a smooth

altogether bad either.

www.themobilestore.in

3D like UI that has just a couple of

Stand alone talk time averaged about

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions (WxHxD): 58 x 110 x 12.2 mm; Weight: 113 g; Display: 1.7-inch, 320x240 pixels; Camera: 3 MP; Connectivity: Bluetooth, WAP.

drawbacks one being the tiny QWERTY

3 hours and 45 minutes which is pretty

keyboard that will require the use of the

decent. What should make this handset

stylus. The music player’s interface is

sell is the fact that its price tag is just

PHONE

a little ‘loud’, metaphorically speaking.

Rs 6,999 (street price). There are no

EMAIL

Audio quality is not bad at all but the

other touchscreen handsets that are as

decibel level is a mite low. The video

fluid and easy to use as this in this price

BUILD QUALITY

player has codecs for 3GP and MPEG4

range. So hoo-Ray!

ERGONOMICS

formats. Playback was smooth. Other

CONTACT

The Mobile Store 022-67335000 mobicares@mytms.in

RATINGS FEATURES

- shayne@tech2.com

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY



INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

27


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

A TRUE UPGRADE IN TERMS OF FEATURES, AND IT OFFERS MORE THAN JUST SIMPLE AV OPTIONS.

PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER

APPLE IPOD NANO FOR: Great design, good camera and FM reception, good battery life. AGAINST: Placement of the camera is bad.

T

he new range of Apple iPods is

The video recorder captures in a

upon us. Apple has decided to

640 x 480 pixel resolution, suitable

go with consistency in design

for YouTube but not very much else.

and I say bravo! The fifth

There are a multitude of video shooting

generation nano is still slim and sexy and

effects that make it fun to use, such

now in a polished aluminum shell. The

as monochrome, sepia, heatmap, and

UI is still easy to use and very fluid. And

cyborg. Video files can be accessed

like all new Apple devices you’ll need the

directly from the drive that appears

latest version of iTunes to use it.

when you plug it in. Apple has also

The new hardware changes include a

SPECIFICATIONS

larger display (2.2-inches) and of course

preloaded a Fitness application including a pedometer. The company still hasn’t fixed the

Rs 11,200

the VGA video camera loaded on the

www.appleindia.com

rear. The placement of this camera is a

battery issue with the Nano—it seems to

Dimensions (WxHxD): 38.7 x 90.7 x 6.2 mm; Weight: 36.4 g; Display: 2.2-inch, 376x240 pixels; Capacity: 16 GB; Video capture: VGA, H.264@30fps.

big problem as it’s located at the bottom

have the potential to drain a bit even if

right. So if you’re shooting in portrait

not in use. Music playback clocked in at

mode, your finger is, almost all of time,

about 15 hours and change.

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Apple India 1800-425-4646 indiasales@mac.com

going to get in your way. We were not sure what to expect with

The new nano comes in two capacities—8 GB and 16 GB which

this, the very first iPod with a built in FM

are priced at Rs 9,400 and Rs 11,200

BUILD QUALITY

radio and may we just say, about time!

respectively. The Indian version is

ERGONOMICS

Reception is great and the Live Pause

available in seven colors.

RATINGS FEATURES

lets you pause live radio.

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

28

11/2009

 

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- shayne@tech2.com


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

WALKMAN

SONY WALKMAN NWZ B143F VERDICT: A slick solid state music player without many frills and fancies. FOR: Good audio quality and battery life, voice recorder has good range. AGAINST: FM reception is average.

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 3,990 Dimensions (WxHxD): 85.8 x 23.2 x 14.1 mm; Capacity: 4 GB; Display: 20 mm LCD; Functions: Music, FM radio and voice recorder. Sony India 1800-1037-799 sonyindia.care@ap.sony.com

PHONE EMAIL

S

specific preferences a personalized tone

B143 has a slightly rugged looking

quality. The FM Radio's reception was

albeit a little bulky design. But

average at best. A dedicated Record

looks aren't everything so allow me to

button can be used for the radio or

give you a 'lobotomy' of sorts and fill you

the voice recorder. The B143F also

in on how good the B143.

comes with Sony's AVLS audio limiting

The UI is simplistic and quite user

www.sony.com

CONTACT

ony's latest Walkman player, the

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY ERGONOMICS FEATURES

friendly. Data transfer is multi-optional - Syncing with Windows Media Player,

technology. The MP3 player is capable of over 12 hours of non stop playback. At Rs 3,990 for 4 GB, the Sony

copy pasting onto the 4 GB of internal

NWZ-B143F makes for a pretty good MP3

memory and using Sony’s Media Transfer

player. The Zappin feature may be a little

software. No complaints about the music

redundant considering the player has a

player from its quality to decibel. The

display. The player is available in a few

Zappin feature works fine. Sony has also

funky colors so you might want to ask if

included the one touch Bass enhancer.

you're planning on purchasing it.

The customizable EQ gives users with

PERFORMANCE

- shayne@tech2.com

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY



MEDIA PLAYER

WD TV MINI VERDICT: A very compact and convenient media player for a home or holiday. FOR: Compact size, ease of use. AGAINST: No HDMI output, no support for MKV format.

N

eed a portable high-definition

The unit does not have a single button on

(1080i) movie player when on

on the body, but is completely controlled ed

a holiday? Try out the WD TV

via the remote controller. Sadly, the

Mini. The size of a pack of playing cards,

remote control does not have the option on

this one is a very compact video player

of controlling the volume which makes

which can play videos, music and photos

it a little inconvenient as you need to

right off a USB flash drive or external

use the TV’s remote control too. The

USB hard drive. The player is a straight-

interface is very intuitive and easy to

forward unit with absolutely no fuss in

follow, except that the list of the media

Rs 6,000

the installation — just connect it to the

content on the screen is a bit too tiny

www.wdc.com

AV input of your television, plug-in a USB

making readability an issue. So if you are

drive with the media content and power

on holiday and are stuck with a 21-inch

on the device. It bundles an IR remote

television, make sure you are seated

Dimensions (WxHxD): 91 x 21 x 91 mm; Weight: 113 g; Interface: USB 2.0; A/V outputs: Composite, component, optical S/PDIF.

controller, a composite AV cable and

close to the screen. The player supports

PHONE

a component video cable and a power

Xvid, MPEG1/2/4, VOB, MOV, RM, JPEG,

EMAIL

adapter. Additionally, one can connect

GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG, MP3, WAV, AAC,

a 5.1-channel speaker system using the

FLAC, MKA, OGG, APE and RA.

optical S/PDIF connector on the unit.

- francis.dsa@chip.in

SPECIFICATIONS

CONTACT

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

30

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Western Digital 9321029204 amarjeet.singh@wdc.com

   


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

SPEAKERS

ALTEC LANSING BXR1221 VERDICT: A small system that looks nice and unique, but could be louder in output. FOR: Good portability, good design, decent frequency balance, especially bass. AGAINST: Lacks adequate loudness, low SNR . his speaker set is quite compact,

T

section, hidden behind a permanent cloth

though the pics might be

grille. The output power is at 30 watts,

misleading as to the overall size of

frequency response is at 30Hz-20 KHz.

set with a subwoofer and two satellites.

and into our PC and played some single

Rs 1,690

The sats are uniquely shaped like conical

sine tones and frequency sweeps. The

www.rptechindia.com

disco lights. The speakers have a matte

bass goes low—audible clearly till 35

Type: 2.1 stereo; Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20 KHz; Sat driver size: 2-inch; Sub driver size: 4 inch; Power output: 30 watts RMS.

black finish, and are supported by a lead

Hz, after which it tapers off fast. The

colored brace on the front panel, which

highs are quite impressive at the end of

acts as a stand.

12 -16 KHz, no spikes or ‘jaggies’ in the

the units — they are quite small. It’s a 2.1

SPECIFICATIONS

Rashi Peripherals 022-67090828 response@rptechindia.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY ERGONOMICS FEATURES

The left unit has a similar lead colored

We plugged the little guys together,

sound. Frequency balance was above

volume dial positioned at the top. It also

average, with no boomy bass. But, it’s

houses the connections at the back,

not powerful enough. Even for a single

which include AC input and a subwoofer

bedroom or private audience scenarios,

input. Each satellite speaker has a single

the speaker lacks the dB SPL output.

2-inch driver housed in the front cross

PERFORMANCE

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY



IPOD DOCK

ALTEC LANSING IMT800 VERDICT: Pick this if you want a loud, bass-thumping iPod dock . FOR: Insanely loud, good bass. AGAINST: Muffled mids, expensive.

T

The iMT800 consists of a pair

Sadly the navigation buttons are hard

of 1-inch tweeters, two 3-inch

enough to make your fingers ache when

mid-range drivers and a set of

continuously used. An FM player is also

5.25-inch subwoofers that sit on both sides of the player. The player as usual

integrated just in case. The iMT800 is impressively loud but

takes centre stage, which also includes

delivers a rather muffled and flat output

a retractable supporter that keeps the

when the EQ is set to zero. It’s only with

docked player in place. Source, EQ,

the EQ turned on will you get to enjoy

Forward and Backward track buttons

the sheer power of the iMT800. The bass

Rs 19,990

are towards the top along with the

is good and gives the thump required to

www.rptechindia.com

power button/volume knob. The player

keep your feet tapping to the music. The

also includes two auxiliary-IN ports that

highs and mids aren’t quite impressive at

Dimensions (WxHxD): 556x196x236 mm; Frequency response: 40Hz to 20kHz.

allow you to connect two more devices

its default level (0) but do a decent job

alongside the dock though only one

when adjusted. Nevertheless the Altec

can be used at a time. The unit also

Lansing iMT800 is an expensive piece of

includes a sleek little remote with a clip,

equipment and it doesn’t quite add up to

BUILD QUALITY

which can be hooked on to your pant

the overall performance.

ERGONOMICS

loop preventing you from misplacing it.

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

SPECIFICATIONS

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Rashi Peripherals 022-67090828 response@rptechindia.com

RATINGS FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

32

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

 


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

SPEAKERS

HEADPHONES

ROUTER

CREATIVE INSPIRE T3100

CIRCLE CONCERTO

VERDICT: Decent build quality and frequency balance, could be louder. FOR: Satisfactory design, decent bass response. AGAINST: Lacks adequate loudness, distorts at higher levels .

VERDICT: A good pick for gaming, voice chatting and hip-hop music. FOR: Punchy bass, long cord, bendable mic, inline volume control. AGAINST: Mids could have been better.

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS

D-LINK DIR-600 WIRELESS 150 VERDICT: The D-Link Wireless 150 router is a great value for money. FOR: Stable performance, good price. AGAINST: Non-scratch resistant body. SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 3,699

Rs 399

Rs 2,700

www.creative.com

www.entercircle.com

www.dlink.co.in

Type: 2.1 Speaker system; Frequency Response: 40Hz 20kHz; Sat Driver size: 2.5 inch; Sub Driver size: 5.5 inch; Power Output: 30 watts RMS.

Frequency response: 20 Hz-20 KHz; Impedance: 32 Ohm; Maximum power: 1500 mW; Cord length: 1.7 meters.

Dimensions (WxHxD): 111 x 30.4 x 144 mm; Weight: 45 g; Standards: 802.11 b/g; Security: WPA/WPA2, WPS.

Compuage Infocom 9223325430 vinod.thakkar@compuageindia.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS

Circle Infotech Pvt Ltd 022-66711234 completecare@entercircle.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

PERFORMANCE

FEATURES

OVERALL RATING

PERFORMANCE

VALUE FOR MONEY

EMAIL

BUILD QUALITY FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

PHONE

RATINGS

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

D-Link India Ltd 022-26595765 divya.shetty@dlink.co.in

CONTACT



A

T

especially the cuboidal, straight-edged

Circle Concerto delivers on both fronts

a little difficult to blend it with your

subwoofer. The sub is very lightweight,

but it has a minor quirk that needs to

interiors. Based on the 802.11 Draft-n

made of regular MDF with a black

be ironed out. Sporting cushioned ear

technology for improved wireless

matte finish. The driver is a 5.5-inch

pads and a bendable microphone, it is

reception and coverage, this 802.11g

affair, with a power rating of 17 watts

primarily aimed at Internet telephony

router from D-Link is a really good

RMS. Then we have the 2 satellites,

and voice chat users. But that doesn’t

performer. Setting up the router is a

again, light weight slim little things

mean these can’t be used for gaming,

breeze and the configuration menus

with a centrally positioned 2-inch

music and movies. The audio quality

are simple and quite user –friendly

driver. The sound has this clarity due

isn’t top notch but way better than

even for a first timer. The router

to the mids and highs sounding quite

many cheap headphones out there.

features security options of WPA

accentuated. The high mids do tend

The mids could have been better due

and WPA2 along with the easy-to-

to get a little crystalline and edgy

to which the vocals and instruments

setup security option of WPS (Wi-Fi

sounding. The good thing about this

sound a bit flat. But gamers and fans

Protected Setup). Other basic features

speaker system is that the bass does

of hip-hop and trance genres will love

include advanced firewall options such

not overpower the rest of the sound’s

the tight bass and loud volume. The

as NAT (Network Address Translation)

frequencies, like in other 2.1 systems.

Concerto is comfortable on the ears

and SPI. The router fared well when

The main issue and drawback with this

and doesn’t feel fatiguing. A lengthy

tested and we managed to get a

speaker system is that its overall levels

1.7 meter cord sleeved in knitted fabric

decent range and signal strength in

are not loud, plus it distorts a bit at

and the inline volume control add to

various corners of our office (around 25

maximum volume.

the comfort. We say go for it!

meters, with average barriers).

good pair of headphones is the

T

he Creative Inspire T3100 has striking similarities to the older Creative Inspire pieces,

- siddharth@tech2.com

34

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

one that offers good wearing comfort and delivers pristine

sound quality. The budget-friendly

- anand.tuliani@chip.in

he DIR-600from D-Link is a very smart looking wireless 150 router sporting a black and

glossy body, though you may find it

- francis.dsa@chip.in


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

CONSIDER THIS IS MOTHERBOARD RD IF YOU ARE DEAD SERIOUSS ABOUT QUALITY AND D PERFORMANCE. CE.

MOTHERBOARD

ASUS SABERTOOTH 55i FOR: Excellent quality of components, very good layout. AGAINST: Fan for the bundled RAM cooling bracket should have been bundled.

The large heatsink for the southbridge is coated with a ceramic material for enhanced heat dissipation.

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 17,700 www.asus.in

CPU Socket: LGA 1156; Chipset: Intel P55; Memory: 16 GB DDR3-1333 (max 16 GB); Expansion slots: 2x PCIe X16, 2x PCIe x1 and 2x PCI; SATA | USB: 8 | 14. CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

ASUS Technology 022-67668800 media_india@asus.com

RATINGS FEATURES



PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

36

11/2009

 

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

T

he Ultimate Force (TUF)

Like all high-end boards by Asus, the

is Asus’ new lineup of

Sabertooth 55i features a very good

motherboards designed

layout. The CPU socket has ample

for durability and extreme

breathing area around it and you can

performance. Based on the Intel P55

easily fit large heatsinks without any

chipset, the Asus Sabertooth 55i is the

capacitors coming in the way. The RAM

first TUF motherboard built for Intel’s

slots have only a single clip—the modules

latest generation of Core i5 and Core

slide into the notch at one end and snap

i7 processors. What makes this board

into place by the clip at the other end.

special is a slew of innovative features

The chipset supports both CrossFire X

that Asus claims enhance component

and SLI in dual-8x mode. Three PCIe

life and performance. Since the new LGA

x1 and two PCI slots are provided for

1156 processors feature on-die memory

add-on cards. Out of the six SATA

and PCI Express controllers, the P55

ports supported by the chipset, four

chipset sports a simpler chipset design

are stacked vertically at the right edge

with only a single southbridge chip. The

of the board and two are placed at the

large heatsink for this chip and the finned

base inline with three USB headers (each

heatsinks for the voltage regulators

supporting two ports). Two additional

around the CPU socket are coated with

SATA ports and two eSATA ports are

pitted ceramic material that boosts

courtesy JMicron JMB322 controller.

surface area by more than 50 percent.

A bracket with two USB ports and an

The capacitors fitted are all-solid and are

eSATA port is bundled in the package.

labelled ‘TUF’.

- anand.tuliani@chip.in


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

A GOOD BUDGETFRIENDLY P555 BOARD FOR UNDER RS 10,000

MOTHERBOARD

ECS P55H-A FOR: Good value for money, good feature set. AGAINST: The heatsinks could have been of better quality. Enthusiasts will love the LED debugger and onboard buttons for power and reset.

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 8,800 www.sesindia.com

CPU Socket: LGA 1156; Chipset: Intel P55; Memory: 16 GB DDR3-1333 (max 16 GB); Expansion slots: 2x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x2, 1x PCIe x1, and 2x PCI; SATA | USB: 6 | 14. CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

SES Technologies 022-30862500 Jacques.roux@sesindia.com

RATINGS FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

38

11/2009

   

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

he new P55 chipset-based

T

The P55H-A comes bundled with four

motherboards that have

SATA cables, an IDE cable and the ECS

recently trickled into the market

eJIFFY application disc. ECS eJIFFY is a

are premium models that cost

tiny Linux-based OS which loads in a few

more than Rs 10,000. However, there are

seconds after the POST screen appears.

a few budget P55 motherboards such as

It offers tools for chatting, web browsing

the ECS P55H-A that won’t pinch your

and viewing photos.

pocket. The P55H-A doesn’t pack a lot

The P55H-A belongs to ECS’s Black

of bells and whistles but offers a great

Edition series and hence features a black

mix of features for its price. Most of the

PCB. The red and bright yellow expansion

motherboard’s features are courtesy

slots and fancy heatsinks for the voltage

Intel P55 Express chipset. It supports 16

regulators give this board a funky look.

GB of DDR3 memory and offers 14 USB

Although the heatsinks do a good job,

ports and six SATA ports—more than

they are a bit loose and shaky. The layout

enough to build a high-end gaming PC.

of the board is good except for the 8-pin

The two PCIe x16 slots support CrossFire

power connector that’s placed above

in dual x8 mode. The only extra feature

the PCI express slot. ECS has provided

that ECS has added is an eSATA port

buttons for power and reset near the

on the rear panel which is supported by

SATA ports and a clear CMOS button on

the JMicron JMB361 controller. The rear

the rear panel. The 7-segment display

panel sports PS/2 ports, eight USB ports,

debugger is also a useful feature for

gigabit Ethernet port, optical S/PDIF

detecting errors during POST.

out and discrete 7.1-channel audio jacks.

- anand.tuliani@chip.oin


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

NETTOP

ZOTAC MAG HD-ND01 VERDICT: A nettop with a rich feature set for space-constrained desktops. FOR: VESA mount, good performance. AGAINST: Average build, the stand doesn’t hold the PC steadily. fter having launched the mini-ITX

A

the bundled VESA bracket to mount the

motherboard based on Nvidia’s

unit behind the monitor to save space

Ion platform, Zotac is out with a

on your desktop. The rear panel sports

nettop based on the same motherboard.

an eSATA port, VGA connector, gigabit

Zotac calls this nettop MAG which stands

Ethernet port, optical S/PDIF output and

Rs 17,500

for Mini All-in-one Giant because it boasts

four USB ports. Additional USB ports are

www.zotac.com

of a pretty good configuration. It weighs

present on the front panel and on top

Dimensions (WxHxD): 189 x 186 x 38 mm; Weight: 678 g; CPU: Intel Atom 330; Chipset: Nvidia Ion; Memory: 2 GB; Hard disk: 160 GB; Wi-fi; 802.11n; Video out: VGA and HDMI.

merely 678 grams and is powered by the

of the unit. A card reader and jacks for

dual-core Intel Atom 330. A 160 GB hard

headphone and mic are also present on

drive and 2 GB of RAM makes it perfect

the front panel.

SPECIFICATIONS

Zotac India 022-25396230 deepak@zotac.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY FEATURES

for everyday applications. With support

The MAG HD-ND01 looks sleek with

for Nvidia PureVideo HD, the GPU is

a glossy black shell and silver borders.

capable of decoding full HD content with

The bundled vertical stand is also black

great ease. An HDMI port is provided on

and glossy. Zotac should have included a

the rear panel for connecting the unit to

cloth for wiping the exterior.

an HDTV or an LCD monitor. You can use

PERFORMANCE

- anand.tuliani@chip.in

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

LCD MONITOR

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER D190S VERDICT: This is a good option for a lifestyle home or office. FOR: Good design, slick looks and presence of a USB DisplayLink. AGAINST: The menu options are limited and the flip stand isn’t quite reassuring.

D

esign and looks are the two main

presence of DisplayLink via the USB port.

aspects that set the Samsung

So, you can connect this monitor to your

D190S apart. This monitor has

netbook or laptop, install the DisplayLink

an 18.5-inch screen with an unusual

software (downloadable for free) to use

resolution of 1360 x 768 and an aspect

this monitor instead of a tiny screen.

ratio of 16:9. It has a good viewing angle

The overall design, sexy frame and

and a response time of 5 ms. Considering

absence of a pedestal collectively add to

the stylish and unconventional design,

the slick looks. Though the rubber pads

we’d say that at Rs 8,300 this monitor is

at the bottom should hold the unit in

ideal for a lifestyle home or office. Also,

place, without a sturdy pedestal, it might

the rich colors make movie-watching

accidentally tumble, so handle it with

a treat. A hitch you might face is that

extra care. Connectivity options include

there’s almost no way to physically adjust

the uncommon USB DisplayLink and a

the monitor, except for a slight tilt back

VGA input. The hidden menu buttons are

PHONE

and forth. The collapsible flip stand

activated with a feather touch close to

EMAIL

differentiates this monitor and makes

the power button. Finally the package

it look more like a TV or a large photo

includes VGA, power and USB cables.

frame. Another striking feature is the

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 8,300 www.samsung.com/in

Dimensions (WxHxD): 450.2 x 296 x 720 mm; Screen size: 18.5 inches; Response time: 5 ms; Optimal resolution: 1360x768; Aspect ratio: 16:9; Contrast ratio: 1000:0; Brightness: 250 cd/m2. CONTACT

Samsung India Electronics 011-41511234 sabharwal.a@samsung.com

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

40

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

 


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

PROCESSOR

EXTERNAL STORAGE

AMD ATHLON II X4 620 VERDICT: The Athlon II X4 620 is here to stay and will give stiff competition to dual core processors. FOR: Performance, affordable quad core processor. AGAINST: None. SPECIFICATIONS

APACER SHARE STENO 320 GB AC202

IOMEGA HOME MEDIA NETWORK HARDDRIVE

VERDICT: If you are on a low budget and need a good external hard drive, keep this one on your list. FOR: Secure partition software. AGAINST: Obstructive rubber sleeve. SPECIFICATIONS

VERDICT: It’s pricey for 1 TB, but the add-on features really set it apart. FOR: Print server, media sharing. AGAINST: Quite expensive. SPECIFICATIONS

Rs. 5,950

Rs. 3,800

www.amd.com

www.techcomindia.com

Package type: AM2+; Speed: 2.6 GHz; Cores: 4; Fab process: 45 nm; L2 cache: 2 MB.

Dimensions (WxHxD): 81.2 x 13.4 x 130 mm; Weight: 233 g; Capacity: 320 GB; Connectivity: USB 2.0.

AMD India 1800-425-6664 fusion.india@amd.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS

EXTERNAL STORAGE

www.iomega.com

Shree Sagarmatha Distrubutors 011-41618544 techcom@airtelmail.in

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Rs. 12,000 Dimensions (WxHxD): 40 x 125 x 199 mm; Weight: 1.1 Kg; Capacity: 1TB; Connectivity: 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet, USB host; Server functionality: Print, iTunes, DLNA. CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS

Zac 9845645123 malaia@iomega.com

RATINGS

FEATURES

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

PERFORMANCE

FEATURES

FEATURES

OVERALL RATING

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

VALUE FOR MONEY

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

C

T

and refreshed Athlon II X4 620 AMD’s

for instant backup. Bundled with the

wireless devices. It can be connected

budget CPUs are finally making a

drive is a mini-CD which contains

only via Gigabit Ethernet. Just plug it in

comeback. With the Athlon X4 620 you

the backup utility and the necessary

and the drive will pick up an IP address

can now own a quad core processor

drivers for the device. The utility

via DHCP. Iomega advises you to install

that will deliver performance close to

has a very good security feature

a system tray utility, but it does nothing

Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q8200 and that

which enables you to create a secure

but launch Explorer windows for each

too for a much lesser price. Speaking

password-protected partition. It

folder icon, so it can safely be skipped.

about price the Athlon II X4 620 is not

comes bundled with a rubber sleeve

EMC’s Retrospect Express HD backup

only the cheapest quad core in the

which can be mounted over the entire

software is also included. It's capable

market but it also beats Intel’s dual

casing for additional shock protection.

of archiving files on a schedule, but

core processors. The Athlon II X4 620

Although the rubber sleeve solves its

isn’t the easiest to use. However

handled most real world tests with

purpose, the looks are blemished due

the drive has many hidden secrets,

ease but the place where it showed

to the bad quality of the material.

including iTunes Server and DLNA

absolute performance was in the video

Once the rubber sleeve is mounted, it

support for sharing your digital music

encoding test. A mere 27 seconds to

is almost impossible to depress the

and videos with suitably equipped

encode a 1 minute MPG file to AVI.

backup switch, which makes operating

PCs, laptops, LCD TVs, digital photo

That’s faster than most Phenom’s as

the drive a little intricate. Transfer

frames, etc. You can also set access

well as Intel’s Q8200. So if you are

speeds are average with speeds of

permissions for security. And a USB

planning to build a new rig then the

around 26 MB/s for single files and 18

port allows you to hook up your printer

Athlon II X4 620 will not disappoint.

MB/s for multiple files.

and share it across the network.

ompetition as they say brings out the best in people and it surely has as far as AMD is

concerned. With the newly launched

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

he 320 GB Apacer Share Steno AC202 uses the USB 2.0 interface for connectivity

and features a SmartCopy button

- francis.dsa@chip.in

I

omega’s unimaginatively-named Home Media Network Hard Drive plugs into your router and provides

shared storage for all your wired and

- jamshed.avari@chip.in

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

41


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

A FUN-FILLED DSLR-STYLED DIGITAL CAMERA THAT PERFORMS GREAT.

DIGITAL CAMERA

SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-HX1 FOR: Excellent details reproduction, sweep panorama works great, tilt screen, good build. AGAINST: Over-saturated colors, slow focussing in low light. The tilt LCD is very convenient for shooting in crowded places.

lthough prosumer digital

A

camera automatically aligns and stitches

cameras don’t match up with

the captured shots to a single wide

DSLR cameras when it comes

panoramic shot within a few seconds.

to image quality, they have

Other interesting features are smile

a lot more features to offer. The Cyber-

shutter and in-camera image effects.

shot DSC-HX1 is Sony’s new offering for

You can add effects such as radial blur,

those who want a high-end camera with

partial color and smiling faces with just a

complete manual control. This chunky

few button presses.

SLR-like camera features a 9.1 MP CMOS sensor and a 20x optical zoom lens. The DSC-HX1 packs a bunch of unique

The DSC-HX1 feels robust and offers a very good grip. The control panel has a good layout with a 5-way d-pad and

features that makes it a compelling pick

a jog dial for adjusting the ISO, shutter

Rs 29,990

for amateur photographers. The large

speed and aperture. Dedicated buttons

www.sony.com

3-inch tilt LCD panel is a great feature

are provided for selecting the drive mode

Weight: 514 g; Resolution: 9.1 MP; Optical zoom: 20x (28 - 560 mm); ISO: 125 - 3200; Shutter speed: 30 1/4000 sec; LCD: 3.0-inch; Video out: HDMI.

for shooting images in the crowd with

and focus.

SPECIFICATIONS

the camera held over your head. Also

The performance of this camera isn’t

you won't have to strain your neck while

exceptional but very commendable for its

shooting tall structures and subjects

class. The outdoor performance is great

that are high up. The Sweep Panorama

in broad daylight, but the colors are a

mode makes shooting panoramas a

bit over-saturated. The quality of video

BUILD QUALITY

breeze. All you have to do is press

recording is excellent—you get a smooth

ERGONOMICS

the shutter release button and sweep

30 fps at 1440x900.

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Sony India 1800-1037-799 sonyindia.care@ap.sony.com

RATINGS FEATURES

(pan) the camera from left to right. The

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

42

11/2009

 

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- anand.tuliani@chip.in


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

THIS ONE IS NOTHING MORE THAN A POINTAND-SHOOT CAMERA WITH A BIG ZOOM LENS.

DIGITAL CAMERA

NIKON COOLPIX L100 FOR: Good overall performance, great build quality and design. AGAINST: No manual control, ISO settings only in auto mode, burst mode is slow. The layout of the control panel is pretty standard. We like the thumb grip.

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 17,950 Dimensions (WxHxD): 110 x 72 x 78 mm; Weight: 360 g; Resolution: 10.1 MP; Focal length: 28 – 420 mm, 15x optical zoom; Shutter: 8 sec - 1/2000 sec; Aperture: F3.5 – F5.4; LCD: 3-inch; Storage: SD/ SDHC card. PHONE EMAIL

great mechanical image stabilization—the

78 mm, this hot looking

camera is usable without a tripod.

superzoom is smaller than

As per our tests, the image quality

most others in its class, and

was pretty good, white balance was

is light too. The body is made of tough

spot on (a bit towards the warm side

black plastic and boasts a good rubber

indoors) and color reproduction was

grip and textured thumb grip, that are

vivid. Where the camera falters is with

ergonomically placed making it a pleasure

manual functionality. Even most compact

to wield. A steel finish plastic plate

cameras have more manual features

around the power and shutter buttons

than the L100, apart from the fact that

adds to the aesthetics.

you cannot play with shutter speed and

The button placement's like any other

www.nikon.co.in

CONTACT

M

easuring just 110 x 72 x

Nikon India 0124-4688500 nindsales@nikonoa.net

you set ISO manually! There's only an

buttons are placed on top, while the

auto ISO 80-3200 mode, and a high

preview, menu, delete and camera mode

ISO scene mode. Macro performance

buttons are on the back of the camera,

was great though, and so was low light

along with the navigation D-pad. Overall,

performance. Macro shots were averagely

the camera's sturdy, it looks powerful,

detailed, but you can close-ups from as

and is ergonomically designed.

close as an inch. Overall, the camera is

The sensor supports pictures of up

RATINGS

aperture, the camera doesn't even let

superzoom— the shutter and power

good but there’s nothing extraordinary

BUILD QUALITY

to 10.1 megapixels, and even though the

about it. If you want a camera with lots

ERGONOMICS

body's petite, it houses a 15x optical

of manual controls, look elsewhere.

FEATURES

zoom lens. Even at full zoom—thanks to

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

44

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- nikhil@tech2.com


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

IT'S GREAT ON FAMILY VACATIONS, BUT DEFINITELY NOT FOR VIDEOPHILES.

CAMCORDER

PANASONIC HDC-HS20 FOR: Great build quality, good image stabilization. AGAINST: Grainy results in low light, full HD claim is false, oversaturated colors.

he Panasonic HDC-HS20

T

of storage from that. Of course you can

boasts full HD video recording

also keep things simple by storing videos

capabilities all over, but the

on the hard drive and still images on the

fact is that it can shoot at the

SD card, or whatever else suits you.

That's because the HS20 shoots at an

microphone embedded on the top the

effective resolution of 1.17 megapixel.

camcorder. Unfortunately you have no

Inside, the sensor is CMOS based and

option but to use that, as there's no jack

1/6 inches. There is however, 16x optical

to plug in an external microphone, or

zoom with optical image stabilization.

even a hotshoe for that matter.

maximum resolution of 1080i, not 1080p.

The build quality of the HS20 seems

There's a nifty little 5.1 channel zoom

The camcorder performs best in

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 49,990

quite sturdy with a firm yet comfortable

bright conditions, where it can shoot at

www.panasonic.co.in

hand grip, and easy to reach button

lower ISOs and give sharper and clearer

layout. The button clutter on the inside

images. In low light, however, there is

has been reduced with only the essential

noticeable compression and graininess

three buttons visible. The reason for this

in image quality. The colors in our test

is that Panasonic has finally included a

videos seemed over-saturated, making

Dimensions: 64 x 69 x 128 mm; Weight: 360g; Media: HDD (80GB), SD/SDHC Memory Card; Display: 2.7 Wide LCD (230,400 pixels); Video: 1080/60i MPEG4AVC/H.264; Audio: Dolby Digital (5.1ch); Still Picture: 2.1 megapixels (1920 x 1080); Optical Zoom: 16x; Digital Zoom: 40x-1000x; Image Sensor: 1/6" CMOS

touchscreen interface in the HS20.

them look bright and 'happy'.

HS20 uses its internal 80GB hard

There's no denying that even with

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

drive for storage, but it also supports SD

its drawbacks, Panasonic has done a

cards for expansion. With the camcorders

number of things right with the HDC-

BUILD QUALITY

maximum recording quality restricted at

HS20 camcorder.

ERGONOMICS

17 mbps, you'd easily get around 10 hours

Panasonic India 0124 - 4596800 rajat.sharma@npi.panasonic.co.in

RATINGS FEATURES

- gagan@tech2.com

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY



INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

45


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

CAMERA

KODAK EASYSHARE Z915 VERDICT: The Kodak Z915 averages out as a point and shoot camera. FOR: 10x zoom, decent build and IS. AGAINST: Struggles to focus in video mode, grainy pictures above 200 ISO.

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 11,990 www.kodak.com

Dimensions (WxHxD): 90x64x39 mm; Weight: 194 g; Resolution: 10.0 MP; Focal length (35 mm equiv): 35 - 350 mm; Aperture range: f3.5 - f4.8; Shutter range: 16 - 1/1000 sec. Kodak India 022-66416300 contactindia@kodak.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY ERGONOMICS FEATURES

uperzoom cameras have taken

S

10x zoom along with its optical image

off in quite a remarkable way and

stabilization. The image stabilization on

if you look around you’ll notice

the Z915 makes it possible to take decent

that most companies have at least one

pictures without the need of a tripod.

under their belt. As with most Megazoom

You can also record video at a maximum

cameras the Kodak EasyShare Z915

resolution of 640 x 480, which appears

includes features like Image Stabilization,

decent but the camera struggles to stay

16 shooting modes and a decent 10x

in focus when moved around, which is

optical zoom. As far as the build quality

really disappointing. Pictures taken with

is concerned the Z915 has a decent build

the Z915 feel a little more sharp and clear

quality but doesn’t quite add up to what

though there are instances when they

manufacturers offer in the same price

seem a little underexposed and at times

range. For a Megazoom the Z915 is pretty

overexposed. The Kodak Z915 is a decent

compact and can be easily carried around

point and shoot camera but there are

without much fuss.

better options out there.

The USP of the camera lies in its

PERFORMANCE

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

BLU-RAY PLAYER

PHILIPS BDP7500 VERDICT: A very good performing player with decent features. FOR: Brilliant aesthetics, Impressive output quality. AGAINST: Quite expensive. his piece of gear is one swanky

T

The player supports BD Live, and onboard

looker, filled with oodles of

decodes DTS-HD Master Audio Essential,

style and high tech sparkle. The

Dolby True HD.

brushed aluminum surface, with the

load from disc insert to welcome screen,

front panel being made up of reflective

which is decently fast. The UI is very well

dark glass.. The icing on the cake in

designed and non-tacky. We checked out

terms of aesthetics is a slight indent at

DVE test disc, Ratatouille and The last

the center of the bottom edge, which

Samurai Blu-ray discs and were quite

houses a flat blue LED. The back houses

impressed by the cutting edge clarity. In

connectors, we have a single HDMI 1.3

both static and moving images we hardly

out, a component video, optical audio

saw any traces of noise and jaggy line

and analog 7.1 audio output. Besides there

artifacts, but it was not purely absent.

D/A converter: 12 bit/150MHz; BD region code: C; DVD region code: 5; Signal to noise ratio: 105 dB; Aspect ratio: 21:9, 16:9, 4:3

is also a coaxial audio out and Ethernet

After motion, we gauged straight up color

CONTACT

port. This player also has a USB 2.0 slot in

performance, which was visually very

PHONE

the front, for all your DivX and MP3 files.

vivid, and contained a level of saturation

As for file playback, we have H.264, VC-1,

that really pleased the eye.

chassis is finished in an impressive

MPEG2, DivX Ultra, AVCHD, WMV, XviD.

The player takes about 7 seconds to

- siddharth@tech2.com

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 25,990 www.india.philips.com

EMAIL

Philips India Ltd 011-66001111 customercare.india@philips.com

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

46

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

 


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

VERDICT

MEANT FOR ENTHUSIASTS BUILT FOR ENTHUSIASTS.

PC CASE

ANTEC SKELETON FOR: 250 mm fan, distinctive look. AGAINST: Expensive, not easy to setup. he Antec Skeleton!! What

T

such as the graphics card, sound or even

better name could anyone

your LAN card.

absolute innovation at its best. It not

of patience to put things together.

only looks stunning but also has a rock

Nevertheless, installation of the

solid build quality. Come to think of it, the

motherboard and other components

Skeleton is aimed towards enthusiasts

is easy since the tray slides out. The

who simply cannot keep their hands off

problem starts when things need to get

the rig. Another aspect that will grab

connected. Since the space in-between

the viewer’s attention is its massive 250

is almost negligible, routing wires can

mm fan that’s elegantly placed above

be extremely annoying but pays off

the case. This huge fan does wonders at

once things are in place. Drives slide in

keeping your core components such as

with ease but with no locking system in

the graphics card, RAM, CPU as well as

place the drives will need to be screwed

Rs 11,500

the overall motherboard cool. You’ll also

on. Since the large 250 mm fan isn't

www.tirupati.net

find two switches beside the fan using

sufficient to cool the hard drives, an

Dimensions (WxHxD): 376 x 419 x 317 mm; Expansion Slots: 2x 5.25-inch & 2x 3.5-inch drive bays; Cooling system: 250mm overhead fan; I/O panel: 2x USB, 1x Firewire, 1x eSATA, Front audio.

which you can adjust the fan speed and

additional fan has been provided in

change the LED color.

front of the hard drive bay. The Skeleton

Despite its near naked look the front panel allows you to connect up to three USB devices and an external drive via eSATA.

SPECIFICATIONS

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Tirupati Enterprises 9339207519 mail@tirupati.net

RATINGS BUILD QUALITY ERGONOMICS OVERALL RATING

48

11/2009

At first sight installation might

case? The Antec Skeleton is

seem simple but actually needs a lot

Towards the front of the case you will



INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

also comes with a total of four hard

find a pair of USB ports, one Firewire

drive brackets that allow you to hang

port, one eSATA port, headphone/

additional drives on the sides. The only

microphone jacks along with the usual

downside that the Skeleton will face

power and reset buttons. At the rear you

other than its beefy price tag would be

will find a transparent plastic supporter

its mammoth size.

that allows you to screw in add-on cards

FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

give this bulbous open air PC

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in


TEST CENTER HARDWARE

CARD READER

APACER MEGA STENO AM400 VERDICT: This one is like any other card reader available on the roadside. FOR: Compact, portable. AGAINST: Expensive for a card reader. SPECIFICATIONS

DATA TRANSFER HUB

APACER PH250 HUB VERDICT: The Apacer PH250 surpasses most other Data Transfer hubs in both usability and performance. FOR: PC to PC connectivity, affordability. AGAINST: Nothing.

SPECIFICATIONS

USB ACCESSORY

DIGIMICRO USB MICROSCOPE VERDICT: A very useful device for viewing micro objects in detail. FOR: Self lit, easy to use. AGAINST: Stand could have been longer. SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 375

Rs 475

Rs. 6,000

www.techcomindia.com

www.techcomindia.com

www.accessinfoworld.com

Dimensions (WxHxD): 59x17x59 mm; Socket: MS/MS Duo, SD/ MMC, CF/MD, xD; Case material: Aluminium/plastic.

Dimensions: 20x20x70 mm; Number of USB ports: 3; Weight: 40 g; Connectivity: USB 2.0, PC to PC.

Dimensions (WxHxD): 33 x 33 x 110 mm; Weight: 50 g; Sensor: 1.3 MP; Magnification: 10X to 200X.

Shree Sagarmatha Distrubutors 011-41618544 techcom@airtelmail.in

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS

Shree Sagarmatha Distrubutors 011-41618544 techcom@airtelmail.in

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS

Access 022-32233353 accessinfoworld@vsnl.com

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

RATINGS

BUILD QUALITY

FEATURES

BUILD QUALITY

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

T

T

T

slots. The reader supports almost

first sight the Apacer PH250 looks

MP sensor and is mounted with a lens

all card formats but will require a

like any other ordinary USB hub but

that can magnify the subject from 10x

separate adapter to be able to read

features just don’t end there. Other

to 200x. It is actually a regular webcam

microSD and M2 card formats. The

than the three USB ports that the

with a macro lens. It has a focal

Apacer card reader is also elegantly

device sports, the PH250 also comes

length of 10 mm to infinity and can be

designed sporting a plastic body

equipped with a mini USB port that

precisely focused using the manual

topped up with a polished brown

allows you to connect to a second

mode via the focus dial. Shipped with a

aluminium faceplate. You also have the

machine thereby converting this little

small table stand, the USB microscope

option of downloading software called

black box into a Data Transfer Hub. To

is easy to install and use. One does not

“Smart TAG”, which basically helps in

be able to make this work the PH250

need an external light source as the

differentiating the types of card slots.

comes with an executable file that

Digimicro is equipped with four bright

can only be accessed once the second

white LEDs for illuminating the subject.

a card reader is useful especially if

PC is connected. The application then

The images are sharp and clear which

the need is to transfer large chunks

opens up a window divided into two

makes it perfect for those who need to

of data but the asking price for the

parts where you can view both the

take pictures of small/micro subjects.

Steno AM400 is more than double as

local machine and the remote machine.

The microscope is ideal for those in

compared to other brands. In other

The hub can also support devices that

the profession of working with small

words there isn’t much value added to

consume more power since the PH250

objects—for example, watchmakers,

the price one would be paying for this

comes with a dedicated 5V power

chip-level computer engineers, doctors,

card reader.

source.

miniature sculptors and others.

here is nothing new about the Apacer Mega Steno AM400. The Steno AM400 is a USB 2.0

card reader that has four card reading

It goes without saying that owning

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

50

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

ransferring data can at times be a real pain in the neck especially when you want to transfer files

between two different machines. At

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

his is a straightforward device for magnifying anything put in front of the lens. The Digimicro

is a digital USB microscope with a 1.3

- francis.dsa@chip.in


SOFTWARE SPOTLIGHT

TEST CENTER TESTED

INTERNET SECURITY SUITE

NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2010 VERDICT: NIS 2010 is a must have if you are looking for an effective security suite that will keep hackers and viruses at bay. FOR: Feature rich, top notch scanner and firewall. AGAINST: Manual scans are a little slow.

I

t has only been a little more than a year since

called “Quorum”. This newly developed security

Symantec redesigned their security suite to

model basically rates files based on information

meet standards that other security suites

it obtains from the Norton community.

offer. The Norton Antivirus, without a doubt,

Information sent across basically includes file

had the most effective Anti-Malware and Virus

name, file size and hash key. Even the slightest

scanner but was best known for eating into your

modification in file size causes a change in the

memory. But things have progressed significantly

hash value and the overall rating of the file.

ever since the launch of their 2009 version. With

interface is much slicker and easier to use,

to build on the unprecedented success they

though there isn’t much of a difference. The

made last year. Just like their previous version,

main page displays general information of the

Norton Internet Security 2010 promises to do

security suite along with the amount of CPU

much more than just catch nasty malware. The

clicks the security suite uses. But if you want to

security suite is the easiest to install and makes

dig deep, you will find plenty of additional links

itself home in a matter of minutes. The new

on the main page itself. For example, clicking on

version of Norton utilizes a new breed of security

the performance link towards the left flips over

The flip-3D interface gives you a graphical representation of the the total number of downloads, installs, detections as well as the total CPU usage.

52

11/2009

Compared to their previous version the new

their latest 2010 version Symantec continues

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Here you get to view the list of processes that have already been assigned a trust level based on the information gathered from the Norton Community.

SMS us!  Story code: ASM to 51818


ON DVD and gives an in-depth detail about the amount of RAM and CPU consumed. You can also get

DUAL LAYER 8.5GB

RED HOT APPLICATIONS

a more detailed view of the graph by taking into account the last 10 minutes of activity to a maximum of 1 month. Clicking on the graph lists the processes that consumed the maximum number of CPU clicks. Norton System Insight on the other hand lets you view system activities such as application installation/downloads, disk optimization, threat detection and quick scans. Tabs are also placed at the top of the graph where you can get hold of details for the current month and for the last two months. The Optimize option improves the boot time of your computer by rearranging file fragments into adjacent and contiguous clusters. Now if you thought that the new Norton Internet Security 2010 was all about fancy graphics, think again. Norton uses a combination of Quorum alongside their behavioural based detection technology called SONAR2 with a standard set of signatures. Both features work

Corel Digital Studio 2010 Corel Home Office 5.0.56

Corel Photo Album 6 Corel Snapfire 1.2

PowerDVD 9.0.1909

FU LL FR E E N VERSIO

FULL SOFTWARE AntiVir Personal 9.0.0.407 a-squared Free 4.5.0.11 Avast! Home Edition 4.8.1351 AVG Free Edition 8.5.409 BitDefender 10 Free Edition ClamWin 0.95.2 Cloud Antivirus 0.08.82 Beta3

FREE Accounting, Inventory & Billing Software

hand in hand such that, if Quorum finds a file genuine then SONAR2 will brush aside the file but if Quorum encounters a suspicious file SONAR2 will challenge the file’s integrity. But the best part of the security suite is the firewall. No matter what the situation, the program will never pop up if an application requires Internet access. Instead, it automatically assigns the required rule

TOYS GAME DEMOS Need for Speed: Shift Supreme Ruler 2020 GOLD World of Zoo

Champions Online Just Cause 2 Red Faction: Guerrilla The Secret World Time of Shadows Tropico 3

GAME TRAILERS

GAME ADD ONS

Aion: Tower of Eternity

50 PC Game Icons 26

that a program needs to access the Internet.

Batman: Arkham Asylum Wallpaper Pack 2 Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour Vietnam Glory Obscured Mod Defense Grid: The Awakening v1.1 DR Patch King Arthur Wallpaper Pack

Taking memory consumption into consideration the program left a very small footprint when idle; less than 15 MB. System

LINUX

slowdowns are also a thing of the past, with the

LINUX DISTROS

new NIS 2010 it’s all about speed, efficiency and unparalleled system security. With certification

Chrome OS 0.4.206 Beta Moblin 2.1 Preview Puppy Linux 4.3

from AV-Comparatives, ICSA and West Coast Labs NIS 2010 offers more than just security, it

LINUX TOOLS

offers peace of mind.

ALSA driver 1.0.21a avast! Linux Home Edition 1.3.0 Camera Life 2.6.3 Beta 3

- sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 1,450 SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

OS: Windows XP SP2 / Vista / 7; RAM: 256 MB; Disk space: 300 MB CONTACT

Swati Dwivedi

PHONE

9920929298

EMAIL

swati@2020india.com

RATINGS EASE OF USE FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

TOOLS MULTIMEDIA

www.symantec.com

Aiseesoft Total Video Converter 3.3.08 AnyDVD HD 6.5.8.6 Beta Auto Collage Studio 3.0 CDBurnerXP 4.2.6.1616 DHTML Menu Creator 2.9.9 iTunes 9.0.1 (32-bit) K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 5.10 Maple4 Site Creator 5.2 (3) MediaShow Espresso

INTERNET

SECURITY

Ares 2.1.1 BySoft Network Share Browser 1.0 DHCP Find 1.2 Easy WiFi Radar 1.0.2 FileZilla 3.2.8 RC1 / 3.2.7.1 Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1 Flash Movie Extractor Scout LITE 2.35a1 FlashGet 1.9.6.1073 Google Chrome 4.0.211.7 Beta Internet Explorer 8 8.0.6001.18702 Final

Ashampoo UnInstaller 4.0.2 Clear Blue Security 2.7 Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal 2010 9.0.0.714 Beta McAfee VirusScan 10 Norton AntiVirus 2010 Norton Internet Security 2010

SYSTEM Active@ Partition Manager A-PDF Text Extractor 1.3.6 Free Registry Defrag 2.40 NetBeans IDE 6.7.1

MUST HAVES MOBILE iPhone PC Suite 1.0.7.2 iTwin 2.1 Final MyPhoneExplorer 1.7.4 Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 0.4.122.0 Beta Sony Ericsson PC Suite 6 Sony Ericsson Themes Creator 4.08

Adobe Air 1.5.2 Flash Player 10.0.32.18 (IE) ATI Catalyst Drivers NVIDIA Forceware Drivers

E-BOOKS CHIP ARCHIVES June 2009 to Aug 2009


TEST CENTER TESTED

VERDICT

AN UPGRADE THAT BUILDS ON OS X’S STRENGTHS BUT WITHOUT NEW BELLS AND WHISTLES. OPERATING SYSTEM

MAC OS X SNOW LEOPARD FOR: Future-ready engineering, speed improvements, good price. AGAINST: Won’t work on older hardware. Expose now differentiates between open and minimized application windows.

now Leopard has few evident

S

new QuickTime X, are 64-bit. While this

changes but many subtle

doesn’t impact the end user that much,

ones. It's a trimmed, optimized

it is a statement of Apple’s foresight.

version of v10.5 (Leopard)

Grand Central Dispatch is another feature

which came before it—a full 7GB smaller

that you won’t see but that will make

after install! Some minor features are

applications work better with multi-core

indeed new, but the majority of the

processors. The same goes for OpenCL,

changes are under the hood.

which allows apps to take advantage of a

To begin with, installation is drama-

SPECIFICATIONS

Mac OS X Snow Leopard www.apple.com

Computer: Any Intel-based Mac (2005 onwards); Disk space: 5 GB; Memory: 1 GB CONTACT

Apple India

EMAIL

indiasales@mac.com

RATINGS FEATURES OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

11/2009

Exposé is subtly different with a more

you already have installed. Backups are

even distribution of windows when

recommended prior to the upgrade, but

activated. A nice touch is how it can now

we experienced no loss of any kind. The

just show a single app’s windows with a

rumors of being able to upgrade from OS

click-and-hold of its dock icon. The dock

X v10.4 are true, but Apple only officially

and stacks have some new functionality;

supports upgrades from Leopard.

use them a while and you’ll notice they

Snow Leopard doesn’t have any of the usual hype around new features,

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

play really well with multiple windows open. All in all, this is an upgrade that isn’t

user can see. All improvements are

as significant in terms of features as

backstage, designed to make OS X

Leopard, but contains many potentially

faster, stronger, and less prone to bugs.

important advances for the future. Sadly,

That also explains its relatively low cost.

all this is Intel-only; there’s no support for

Snow Leopard is now fully 64-bit. All

older PowerPC-based Apple hardware.

key components of the OS, including the

PERFORMANCE

54

On to what you can actually see:

an hour, depending on how much stuff

because there are barely any that the

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

graphics processor to speed up tasks.

free as expected. Upgrades take about

- tushar.burman@infomedia18.in


TEST CENTER TESTED

WINDOWS 7 TWEAKING TOOL

TWEAK-7 VERDICT: An extensive tool with tons of tweaks for optimizing Windows 7. FOR: Lots of useful tweaks, one-click optimization. AGAINST: The trial period is too short. ustomizing the look and feel

C

categories are System Information and

of Windows and optimizing

tweaks, Miscellaneous tweaks, Visual

the system performance is

customizations, and Internet tweaks.

very time consuming because

Tweaks for customizing the performance

you have to navigate through plenty of

of the core components (CPU, memory

options under various sections (Start

and hard drive), startup items, input

menu, display, Internet options, control

devices, Start menu, taskbar, desktop,

panel, and so on). Therefore a Tweaking

context menus and Internet Explorer are

tool that offers all the tweaks and

all present in the form of check boxes

$38.92 (approx. Rs 1,950)

optimization tools in one suite is very

and sliders. In addition to the tweaks,

www.totalidea.com

convenient for both first-timers and

there are utilities for system cleanup

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

advanced users. Tweak-7 is one such suite

(cache, logs and temporary files), restore

for tweaking and optimizing Windows

point management, Registry cleanup and

7. The user interface of the tool is very

security. A one-click auto-optimization

intuitive with a Windows Explorer-like

feature is also present.

look and feel. The most important

SPECIFICATIONS

OS: Windows 7; Disk space: 14 MB; RAM: 1 GB CONTACT

Totalidea Software Ltd

RATINGS EASE OF USE

- anand.tuliani@chip.in

FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

VIDEO CONVERTER

AISEESOFT TOTAL VIDEO CONVERTER VERDICT: A basic and easy to use video converting tool. FOR: Ease of use. AGAINST: Very expensive.

SPECIFICATIONS

$35 (approx. Rs 1,750) www.aiseesoft.com SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

OS: Windows NT4/2000/2003/XP/Vista; Hardware: Intel/AMD CPU 800 MHz; Memory: 512 MB CONTACT

Aiseesoft Studio

EMAIL

support@aiseesoft.com

RATINGS FEATURES PERFORMANCE

simple, yet powerful video

A

respect to bit rates, frame rates, etc. to cut

converter from Aiseesoft is the

down the size of the final file. Additionally,

Total Video Converter. Very

one can also tweak the brightness,

easy to use, this software has

contrast, saturation and de-interlacing and

a simple and user-friendly interface which

also trim or crop the video. The conversion

can be learned in minutes. Just drop the

of the video is pretty fast, but if you

video file(s) into the window, choose the

add effects and crop the video size, the

profile to which player the video needs to

process slows down gradually. A downside

be converted and press the start button.

of the software is that it does not convert

The final output file is stored in the

multiple files at a single given time. For

destination folder, ready to be transferred

the price this product sells, we strongly

to the portable device. The Aiseesoft Total

recommend the ImTOO MPEG Encoder

Video Converter has built-in profiles for

Platinum at $46 as it has better features

different types of video formats and player

and is capable of converting multiple files

types. These profiles can be tweaked for

at the same time.

one’s own preference of video quality with

- francis.dsa@chip.in

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

55


TEST CENTER TESTED

DISC BURNING UTILITY

DVD DECRYPTION TOOL

BACKUP UTILITY

CDBURNERXP

SLYSOFT ANYDVD

SYNCBACKPRO

VERDICT: If you want to use a free and bare-bone disc burning utility, download this one. FOR: Very easy to use and requires very little RAM. AGAINST: None.

VERDICT: A great tool for watching Blu-ray and DVD movies without going through any hassles. FOR: Eliminates region protection, speed control for discs. AGAINST: None.

VERDICT: If you need an all-in-one backup utility, get this one. FOR: Excellent feature set and very good help and support. AGAINST: None.

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS

Free

¤63 (approx. Rs 4,350)

www.cdburnerxp.se

www.slysoft.com

OS: Windows all (except 95 and 98); Disk space: 14 MB; RAM: 256 MB

OS: Windows All; Disk space: 2 MB; RAM: 64 MB

Canneverbe Limited

CONTACT

RATINGS

CONTACT

SlySoft Inc.

SPECIFICATIONS

$49.95 (approx. Rs 2,500) www.2brightsparks.com

OS: Windows all (except 95 and 98); Disk space: 23 MB; RAM: 512 MB 2BrightSparks

CONTACT

RATINGS

RATINGS

EASE OF USE

EASE OF USE

EASE OF USE

FEATURES

FEATURES

FEATURES

OVERALL RATING

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

VALUE FOR MONEY

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

C

VALUE FOR MONEY

that case you can change the region

S

discs, audio CDS, erasing RW discs,

code of the drive in order to play the

your computer. You can backup

creating ISO files for data backups

disc, but it can be done only five times.

and synchronize data with different

and such. Other trivial features let you

When you have exhausted the number

folders, partitions and hard drives

drag and drop files into the existing

of changes, Slysoft AnyDVD comes in

within a computer or even with an FTP

compilation, burn multiple copies,

very handy.

server over the Internet. The SFTP

DBurnerXP is an easy-to-use, free and basic application for burning CDs and DVDs. The standard feature set

includes options for burning data

use the drop box for adding files from

I

t’s frustrating to find that the DVD or Blu-ray you want to watch doesn’t play on your PC because it’s protected by region code. In

This application eliminates region

yncBackPro is a comprehensive data-backup program with a multitude of functions to maintain

the safety of your data in and outside

option can be used to ensure there’s

different locations, display recorder

code check and copy protection for

no leakage of classified information

and media information and so on. The

DVD and Blu-ray discs irrespective

such as passwords over a network.

user interface is a complete no-brainer

of your optical drive’s region code.

Automated backups is another

and the program uses merely 14

In addition to this the software also

strong point, which means that once

MB of disk space. With its ease of

offers other useful features such as

you’ve set a profile, backups can be

use, you might not need the help

skipping annoying advertisements and

scheduled and no human intervention

and support section on the website.

trailers thereby allowing you to jump

is required. The number of options,

Nonetheless, novice users can use

to the movie as soon as you insert the

configuration settings and functions is

the option. Overall, we’d say it’s worth

disc. If the whirring noise from your

quite exhaustive. The program is fairly

giving it a try, just download the 4 MB

optical drive distracts you, it is even

simple to use and very light on system

executable file and the installation

possible to lower the motor speed of

resources—the RAM usage is merely

takes merely a couple of minutes.

the optical drive.

about 17 MB.

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in

56

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- anand.tuliani@chip.in

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in


TEST CENTER TESTED

VIDEO CUTTER

MAGIX VIDEO EASY VERDICT: Easy-to-use video program, which is however recommended only for novice with no HD ambitions. FOR: Integrated anti-shake filter and scene recognition features. irtually as an alternative for

V

corrections. One can even add captions

other popular video editing

and animated title, but the thing that is

tools, Magix has now come

missing is the colored video effects, which

out with the new Video easy,

are offered by conventional video-cutting

with help of which anyone can create

programs. And if anyone feels lost, he

breathtaking videos without any kind

can simply watch the introduction video

of prior training. Importing videos goes

or read the handbook. The automatic

on smoothly; the tool even accepts the

video-cutting feature is disappointing

latest HD video codecs of camcorders

since it provides with only two styles;

and digital cameras. However, it is always

additional styles are available over Magix

recommended to convert these videos

portal website and cost extra. In case of

into a slimmer format so as to avoid

output, one has options between DVD,

jerking during editing or previewing. The

YouTubeUpload and local storage. The

cross-section is restricted to storyboard

missing burning options for Blu-ray or

with manual cutting, two cross-fade

AVCHD DVD are inconsequential.

effects along with color and brightness

- francis.dsa@chip.in

SPECIFICATIONS

¤40 (approx. Rs 2,800) www.magix.com SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Hardware: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 1 GHz and higher; Disk space: 400 GB; Memory: 512 MB CONTACT

Magix AG

PHONE

1-305 722 5810

RATINGS FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

UNINSTALLER

ASHAMPOO UNINSTALLER VERDICT: Removes programs completely and offers loads of extras. FOR: Support for Internet Explorer 8. AGAINST: Fails to uninstall certain security programs completely. shampoo UnInstaller

A

of programs, which are always active

executes what Windows fails

in the background, for example virus

to do—deleting a program

scanner, still does not function optimally.

completely from the hard disk.

The reason—the tool uses its own

A monitoring function logs all system

uninstallation routine instead of that of

changes made during an installation

the respective program. Thus, it fails to

and automatically reverses them while

abort active processes and und thereby

uninstalling the program. Thanks to

fails to remove them completely.

different wizards both these processes are

SPECIFICATIONS

The latest version now introduces two

easy to perform. However, an installation

more features than its predecessor— guar-

takes a little longer since every time the

anteed removal of files as well as recovery

$50 (approx. Rs 2,500)

uninstaller first saves the complete system

option for files deleted by mistake. In

www.ashampoo.com

configuration (registry, system file, and

addition, the defragmentation module has

so on). The new version 4.02 functions

a more effective algorithm; the browser-

more effective than its predecessor and

cleaner now supports Internet Explorer 8

identifies interlaced installations with

and with a subsequent update even the

numerous program parts in a much better

new Mozilla Firefox 3.5.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

OS: Windows XP/Vista CONTACT

RATINGS FEATURES PERFORMANCE

ashampoo GmbH & Co. KG

way. On the other hand, the uninstallation

- francis.dsa@chip.in

OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

57


TEST CENTER TESTED

VIDEO CONVERTER

CYBERLINK MEDIASHOW ESPRESSO VERDICT: For conversion beginners, thanks to the simple operation, it’s a good choice, but the format support could include a wider range. FOR: Speedy encoding, inexpensive. he future of video conversion

T

graphics card and needs just about four

lies in graphics cards, because

minutes in the fast DXVA profile. Besides,

the GPU does it faster than a

it gives better picture quality. Espresso

CPU. CyberLink MediaShow

on the other hand, is specialized in

Espresso uses ATI Stream and Nvidia

the conversion for mobile devices and

CUDA for video transcoding. The user

delivers only profiles for the different iPod

must only check, whether he has the

variants as well as for the consoles by

$40 (approx. Rs 2,000)

suitable graphics card and driver on the

Sony and Microsoft. However, web videos

www.cyberlink.com

computer. We converted the HD trailer

for YouTube can also be created as well

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

of ‘The Dark Knight’ on a quad-core with

as individual profiles. Here, the user can

GeForce 8800GT. With CUDA, Espresso

even make HD films, but only for the

OS: Windows XP, DirectX 9; Hardware: Intel Pentium IV 3.0 GHz and above; Disk space: 1 GB; Memory: 1 GB; GPU: refer to website

works around three times smoother than

Blu-ray format–MP4 or MKV format is not

CONTACT

CyberLink Corp.

without a graphics card. Compared with

possible. The competition is clearly more

PHONE

001-46-8254280

EMAIL

sales@xitinc.com

the professional encoder x264 however,

flexible in this aspect, but mostly at the

the gains are not so high, because the

cost of the operability.

x264 stores even calculations on the

SPECIFICATIONS

RATINGS - francis.dsa@chip.in

FEATURES PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

VIDEO TRANSCODER

MOVAVI MEDIA OCTOPUS VERDICT: Easy to transcode videos but a few quirks need to be sorted out. FOR: Completely automatic. AGAINST: Cannot save new profiles, crashes at times.

A SPECIFICATIONS

$30 (approx. Rs 1,500) www.movavi.com SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista; Hardware: Intel or AMD 1 GHz and above; Disk space: 40 MB; Memory: 128 MB

n especially uncomplicated

operating-comfort. Media Octopus did

film transfer between a PC

not convince us completely despite the

and mobile devices is what

conversion automation. The video profile

the Movavi Media Octopus

is based predominantly on the older

promises. Through USB, video files can

MPEG4 ASP and does not make the most

be easily dragged & dropped between

of the technical options of the devices. A

both platforms. In case of any format

modern MPEG4-AVC Encoder is included,

conversions, the software automatically

and user can create coding profiles with

takes care of it – if a suitable profile

it, but Media Octopus forgets these

exists. Completed profiles are available,

after restarting the computer. Also,

among other things, for Apple products

the conversion in the H.264 format is

such as iPod, Sony PSP and for

anything but reliable—the coding process

various mobile multimedia viewers and

either ends immediately with an error

CONTACT

Movavi

BlackBerry smartphones. What can be

message, or the converted videos cannot

EMAIL

NA

rather considered as give-aways, are

be played without errors. Movavi has

a DVD-ripper for video DVDs that are

announced an update, which will take

not copy-protected and a grabber for

care of the bugs.

RATINGS EASE OF USE FEATURES

online videos–both lack functions and

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

58

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

- francis.dsa@chip.in


TTEST TE EESST CE CCENTER ENT N TE TER R PC CON PC CO CONFIGS NFIG FIGS GS

 PSPad

www.pspad.com

verdict A powerful and featurerich Notepad replacement—a musthave for programmers. love FTP client, HEX and macro editor, color picker and translator, spell checker. hate None that I came across. Perfect 10!

SPECIFICATIONS OS: Windows All; RAM: 64 MB; Drive space: 12 MB.

ANAND'S PICKS

NOTEPAD REPLACEMENTS Freeware replacements for the plain Jane Windows Notepad  Notepad++

notepad-plus.sourceforge.net o

NoteTab Light  www.notetab.com

verdict A popular replacement for ve

verdict A great Notepad replacement

No Notepad with a good user interface and loa loads of useful features. love Tabbed interface, templates for lo pro programming languages, macro, compare mo mode. hate Could have been more feature-rich ha (m (macro manager, better toolbar, etc)

with tons of formatting options and fun features. love Tabbed interface, libraries (HTML, smilies, utilities), lots of formatting options. hate Doesn't color code HTML tags, builtin spell checker would have been great.

SPECIFICATIONS SPECIFICATIONS

OS: Windows All; RAM: 64 MB; Drive space: 3 MB.

OS: Windows All; RAM: 64 MB; Drive space: 10 MB.

 Notepad2

www.flos-freeware.ch ww

Metapad 

liquidninja.com/metapad/

verdict A super-lightweight text editor ve

verdict A plain vanilla replacement for

tha that's a lot better than Windows Notepad, bu but with limited features. love Schemes for HTML and programming lo lan languages, lots of useful options. hate Not suitable for working on multiple ha do documents, low on features.

Windows Notepad with just a handful of useful features. love Very low on resources, find and replace option, switch between fixed and variable width fonts. hate No tabbed interface, doesn't support HTML editing, very low on features.

SPECIFICATIONS OS: Windows All; RAM: 64 MB; Drive space: 700 KB.

SPECIFICATIONS OS: Windows All; RAM: 64 MB; Drive space: 100 KB.

60

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP


TEST CENTER

ANAND'S PC CONFIGS PICKS

FACE AND SMILE DETECTION ARE PASSE. TALK ABOUT SMILE SHUTTER AND HD VIDEO RECORDING! ANAND TULIANI, HEAD—TEST CENTER

SAY CHEESE! D

igital cameras have progressed far from boxy point and shoot devices that they used to be not too long ago. Resolution, LCD size and the number of scene modes are no longer unique selling propositions. Although these are important parameters, most digital cameras share similar technical specifications within their categories. For example, an 8 megapixel sensor, 2.5-inch LCD, a bunch of scene modes and 3x optical zoom lens are standard features found in entry-level digital cameras. However, there are many more striking features that digital cameras boast nowadays. Despite being slim, some cameras sport 5x optical zoom lens with image stabilization for getting blur-free shots. The focal length of the lens is now highlighted as a major feature on the packaging of certain cameras that feature wide-angle lens. Shorter focal length allows capturing wider landscapes and bigger groups of people without having to move back. Most budget and mainstream digital cameras are equipped with a 32 mm lens, but the better ones of the lot feature 28 mm lens. While optical zoom and focal length are properties of the camera’s optics, the image processor and fi rmware of today’s digital cameras offer numerous features to help you get that perfect shot. One such feature that’s not too surprising today is face detection. But an extension to this feature is smile detection and smile shutter that will raise your eyebrows. So you can be rest assured that everyone in the group has a broad smile. The smile shutter is a step ahead—

the camera will release the shutter only if the subjects are smiling. All you’ve to do is mount your camera on a tripod, enable smile shutter, pose with your friend and smile when you’re ready! Getting well-exposed shots in low light is one of the biggest challenges for digital cameras. To overcome this, some cameras offer flash exposure compensation, special ISO speed for night mode and better noise reduction mechanisms. You can further enhance and touch up your photos using the in-camera image editing feature. While entry-level digital cameras capture video at a resolution of 640x480, higher end ones can shoot videos in high defi nition at 720p and even 1080i. Sharing photos and videos has also become a lot more convenient. With support for slideshows and background music and HDMI output you can now show off your photos in style. If you’re planning to buy a digital camera, don’t go by the salesman's gyaan. Instead, make a checklist of the features you want in your camera and lookup the options on the web. Some of the good brands to consider are Canon, Sony, Panasonic and Fujifi lm. Try getting as many features as you can and do keep a budget of a few hundred rupees for additional useful features.!

TODAY’S DIGITAL CAMERAS OFFER NUMEROUS FEATURES THAT HELP YOU GET THAT PERFECT SHOT.

– anand.tuliani@chip.in

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

61


TTEST TE EESST CE CCENTER ENT N TE TER R PC CON PC CO CONFIGS NFIG FIGS GS

PC CONFIGS GAMING (ENTRY LEVEL)

Rs 37,500

GAMING (MID-RANGE)

Rs 59,000

Processor

Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300, 2.60 GHz

3,400

Processor

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400, 2.80 GHz

5,800

Motherboard

Biostar G41D-M7, Intel G41

2,700

Motherboard

Gigabyte EP45-UD3L, Intel P45

6,600

RAM

2 GB Zion DDR2-800 MHz

1,850

RAM

2x 2 GB Kingston DDR2-800 MHz

3,700

Hard disk

Western Digital Caviar Green - 320 GB SATA

2,300

Hard disk

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 - 500 GB SATA

2,800

Graphics card

Zotac 9800 GT - 512 MB DDR3

6,100

Graphics card

Palit GTS 250 - 512 MB DDR3

7,400

Optical drive

LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer

1,100

Optical drive

LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer

1,100

Network card

Onboard 10/100/1000 GbE

Network Card

Onboard 10/100/1000 GbE

Monitor

Dell 1909W - 19-inch TFT

Monitor

Benq E2200HD - 22-inch TFT

Keyboard

Circle Simple Combo

Keyboard

Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000

Mouse

Included in Combo

Mouse

Logitech MX518

1,400

Speakers

Umax PowerBeatsUPB 3200

Speakers

Altec Lansing MX5021E

6,700

Sound card

Onboard high-definition audio

Sound card

Onboard high-definition audio

PC Case

Cooler Master Elite 335 with Extreme Power 500

PC Case

Thermaltake Matrix VD2000BNS

2,800

Power supply unit

NA

Power supply unit

Cooler Master Extreme Power 500 W

2,900

Operating system

Windows Vista Home Basic

4,150

Operating system

Windows Vista Home Basic

4,150

Office suite

Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student

2,600

Office suite

Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student

37,500

TOTAL

6,900 600 1,200 -

TOTAL

HTPC

4,600

Rs 1,01,700

10,100 950

-

2,600 59,000

HOME PC

Rs 28,150

Processor

AMD Athlon II X2 245, 2.80 GHz

3,600

Processor

Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300, 2.60 GHz

3,400

Motherboard

Asus M3N78-EM, GeForce 8300

4,600

Motherboard

Asus P5KPL AM-PS, Intel G31

2,450

RAM

2x 2 GB Kingston DDR2-800 MHz

3,700

RAM

2 GB Zion DDR2-800 MHz

1,850

Hard disk

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 - 1 TB SATA

4,200

Hard disk

Western Digital Caviar Green - 320 GB SATA

2,300

Graphics card

Zotac GeForce 9400 GT Zone, 512 MB

2,600

Graphics card

Onboard graphics

Optical drive

Sony BC-5100S-OB, 24x SATA Blu-ray combo

8,700

Optical drive

LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer

Network card

Onboard 10/100/1000 GbE

Network card

Onboard 10/100/1000 GbE

Monitor

AOC 619FH - 26-inch LCD

Monitor

Samsung SyncMaster 933SN - 18.5-inch TFT

Keyboard

Logitech Cordless Desktop EX90

Mouse

Logitech Z-5500 Digital

Keyboard

Microsoft Desktop 500

Speakers

Asus Xonar DX 7.1-channel

Mouse

Umax PowerBeatsUPB 3200

Speakers

Onboard high-definition audio

Sound card

iBall EngineX with 400 watts power supply

4,400

PC Case

Included with the PC Case Windows Vista Home Basic

4,150

Sound card PC Case Power supply unit

GlacialTech Altair A381 Included with the PC Case Leadtek WinFast PVR3000 Deluxe

23,000 1,400 21,000 5,000 10,600 -

1,100 6,900 800 1,200

1,400 -

Input device

Windows Vista Home Premium

6,300

Power supply unit

Operating system

Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student

2,600

Operating system

Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student

2,600

16,500

Office suite

Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student

2,600

1,01,700

TOTAL

Office suite

Microsoft Office 2007 Professional

TOTAL 62

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

28,150


TTEST TE EST S T CE CEN CCENTER E NTE T ER PC CON CONFIGS C ONF NFIGS GS S

LAPTOP CONFIGS BUDGET

MAINSTREAM

NETBOOK

PROCESSOR Intel Celeron, Pentium Dual-Core,

PROCESSOR Intel Pentium Dual-Core, 2 GHz or higher,

PROCESSOR Intel Atom N270 / N280 / Z530

1.73 GHz to 2 GHz AMD Turion X2, 2.1 GHz

Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GHz or higher.

MEMORY 1 GB or 2 GB

MEMORY 2 GB or 3 GB

MEMORY 1 GB

HARD DRIVE 160 GB, 250 GB, 320 GB

HARD DRIVE 250 GB or 320 GB

HARD DRIVE 80 GB to 160 GB

DISPLAY 14.1-inch or 15.4-inch

DISPLAY 14.1-inch or 15.4-inch

DISPLAY 8-inch, 9-inch, 10-inch or higher

GRAPHICS On-board

GRAPHICS On-board

GRAPHICS On-board

WEIGHT 2.5 Kg to 3 Kg

WEIGHT 2.3 Kg to 3 Kg

WEIGHT Up to 1.5 Kg

OTHER Bluetooth, DVD-writer

OTHER Bluetooth, DVD-writer,

OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g or n,

Wi-Fi b/g, Webcam

Wi-Fi b/g or n, Webcam

Webcam

PRICE RANGE Rs 21,000 to Rs 33,000

PRICE RANGE Rs 33,000 To Rs 45,000

PRICE RANGE Rs 17,000 to Rs 35,000

COMPAQ PRESARIO CQ40-427TU Rs 26,000

ACER ASPIRE 5738 VHP Rs 36,100

ACER ASPIRE ONE D250 Rs 19,900

CPU Intel Celeron C900, 2.2 GHz MEMORY 1 GB; HARD DISK 160 GB DISPLAY 14.1-inch; GRAPHICS On-board WEIGHT 2.3 Kg; OTHER FEATURES Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

CPU Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T6600, 2.2 GHz MEMORY 4 GB; HARD DISK 320 GB; DISPLAY 15.6-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 2.8 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

CPU Intel Atom N270, 1.60 GHz; MEMORY 1 GB; HARD DISK 160 GB; DISPLAY 10.1-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 1.1 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g, card reader

ACER ASPIRE 4736Z LINUX Rs 28,226

HP COMPAQ PRESARIO CQ40-423TU Rs 38,500

LENOVO IDEAPAD S10-2 Rs 20,640

CPU Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4200, 2 GHz; MEMORY 2 GB; HARD DISK 320 GB; DISPLAY 14-inch, GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 2.45 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi n, DVD-writer

TOSHIBA SATELLITE L300 P501 Rs 30,500 CPU Intel Pentium Dual-Core T3400, 2.16 GHz; MEMORY 2 GB; HARD DISK 250 GB; DISPLAY 15.4-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 2.7 Kg; OTHER Webcam, Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

ACER ASPIRE 5536 VHB Rs 31,500 CPU AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL-65, 2.1 GHz; MEMORY 2 GB; HARD DISK 320 GB; DISPLAY 15.6-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 2.8 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

CPU Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T6500, 2.1 GHz; MEMORY 3 GB; HARD DISK 320 GB; DISPLAY 14.1-inch; GRAPHICS On-board WEIGHT 2.3 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

HP COMPAQ PRESARIO DV4-1319TU Rs 42,500 CPU Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4200; MEMORY 3 GB; HARD DISK 320 GB; DISPLAY 14.1-inch, GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 2.2 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

DELL STUDIO 14 Rs 42,800 + Taxes CPU Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T6600, 2.2 GHz; MEMORY 4 GB; HARD DISK 500 GB; DISPLAY 14-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 2.4 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, DVD-writer

CPU Intel Atom N270, 1.60 GHz; MEMORY 1 GB; HARD DISK 160 GB; DISPLAY 10.1-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 1.2 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g, card reader

ASUS EEE PC 1000 HE Rs 23,500 CPU Intel Atom N270, 1.60 GHz; MEMORY 1 GB; HARD DISK 160 GB; DISPLAY 10.1-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 1.4 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi n, card reader

DELL INSPIRON MINI 10 Rs 23,500 CPU Intel Atom Z520, 1.33 GHz; MEMORY 1 GB; HARD DISK 160 GB; DISPLAY 10.1-inch; GRAPHICS On-board; WEIGHT 1.2 Kg; OTHER Bluetooth, Wi-Fi b/g, card reader

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SMART HOMES

LIVING THE SMART LIFE Home is where you come to rest at the end of a long workday. Control all your gadgets together seamlessly, so you don’t have to stress out about anything. BY TEAM CHIP

hinking of the future allows us to project our dreams

T

some of the conveniences and comforts that we hope the

and fantasies, no matter how improbable, onto a blank

future will hold. That’s where smart homes come in, and that’s

canvas. The ideal future holds infinite possibilities

how we figure out what makes them smart in the first place.

with! Who hasn’t watched an episode of The Jetsons without

common, and security cameras don’t necessarily make you

wishing they too could zip around in flying bubble cars and

look outlandishly paranoid. Once-exotic technology is trickling

live in space pods with machines for every convenience? Who

down into mainstream products to the point that anyone can

hasn’t wanted to wave a finger or shout a command, only to

stuff a house full of gadgetry and string wires between them.

have invisible computers spring into action?

And builders are hyping ready-made flats with all kinds of

and none of the limitations or baggage that we currently live

In fact fiction is where some of the best ideas for the future

Home theater systems are affordable enough to be almost

electronic devices built in. What makes a home smart is the

have come from, and if we can’t have them exactly the way

way they are all put together. Homes become smart when

they work on TV and in the movies, we can at least replicate

they serve your needs through technology. That means all the

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SMS us!  Story code: CSH to 51818


FEATURED

SMART HOMES

technology needs to be unobtrusive but simultaneously easy

during construction. Power efficiency is also becoming

enough to use that you don’t end up punching buttons and

important, with more and more devices adding to a house’s

scrolling through menus for every little thing. Your projector,

load. Lighting and soundproofing make you more comfortable,

screen, amplifiers and speakers don’t make a smart home on

voice control improves accessibility for some, while user

their own, but they get closer to the ideal if you set them up

sensing can adjust a room’s climate control depending on

so you can press one button on a remote to turn them all on

the preferences of the people in it. Some of today’s most

while your lights dim and blinds close automatically.

advanced concepts even involve kitchen appliances that order

Design and aesthetics are important in making a true smart home, since the technology has to be invisible and the overall

food via the Internet as your household supplies run low. Maybe you want only a smart entertainment center, or

effect is to please and relax the owner. To make sure all

maybe you want to optimize natural light and wind to save

devices have space and there are no ugly wires running around

power. That bubble car is still a while off, but you can have

your rooms, it’s best to plan the elements of an installation

quite a bit of the home of the future today. INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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FEATURED

SMART HOMES

UTILITIES Although multi-room audio system, high-end media server and home theatre speakers are luxury, there are smarter and more affordable alternatives that can do the same job. Here are a few must-haves and handy utilities to make your home smart.

[1] Logitech Z-5500 Digital

[2] Logitech Harmony 1100

[3] Sony PlayStation 3

If your home theatre room isn’t large (around 300 sq. feet) and you want a good set of digital surround speakers, these speakers will satiate your aural desires. These speakers can belt out 500 watts of power and feature a fancy control pod to configure the speakers and sound quality. Audio inputs include discrete analog jacks, stereo line-in and digital coaxial. Price: Rs 25,000

You can control up to 15 devices with this slick tablet-type touchscreen remote control. Feed the controls of your television, DTH box, amplifier, DVD player, air conditioner and gaming console using the learn feature and you’ll have all the controls in one universal device—great for home theatres. If you want something leaner and more affordable consider the Harmony One. Price: Rs 25,000

This mighty gaming console is also a great Blu-ray player. With an exquisite user interface and support for Wi-Fi you can listen to music and watch movies and photos shared on PCs on the wireless network or LAN with great ease. Price: Rs 16,990

3 1 7

10

5

4

2

[5] iPod control [4] Automatic drapes and window blinds Whisper silent motorised drapes such as this can be controlled with the touch of a button. These can be programmed to be partially or fully rolled up depending on the time of the day to let in the desired amount of sunlight. Price: Rs 40,000 onwards

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This module helps you distribute the songs and videos on your iPod to multiple rooms in your house. It interfaces with the multi-room audio system and allows navigating the iPod using touch panels, remote controls and PCs. With a control pad installed in the room, users can sort songs by artist, album name or genre and listen to any song using the jog dial and buttons. Price: Rs 35,000 (approx)


FEATURED

SMART HOMES

[10] Elli Di it l HMR Ellion Digital HMR-350H

[9] Crestron Adagio

Fit a 1 terabyte hard drive full to the brim with movies, music and photos into this media server and hook it up to your high-definition television. This device supports nearly all compressed video formats including DivX, Xvid, VOB and MKV. It can also play media off external USB and network attached storage devices. Price: Rs 15,000

Comprising a media player, amplifier and audio distribution module, this system makes audio CDs, MP3 and satellite radio accessible from anywhere in the house. It supports up to six rooms (expandable up to 24) and family members can select and listen to music of their choice. Price: Rs 7,00,000 (approx)

[8] Pinnacle PCTV To Go HD Wireless Hook up a DivX, DVD or Blu-ray player to this device and stream music and movies over Wi-Fi or wired network to your home theatre PC or laptop—a cost-effective solution if you don’t want to splurge on a high-end media player. Price: Rs 15,000

9

8

[7] Touch switches and light control

[6] Logitech diNovo Mini This handheld Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad is great for controlling your home theatre PC and PlayStation 3 wirelessly from up to a distance of 10 meters—great for browsing the Internet on the big screen while lazing in the couch! Price: Rs 9,500

If you want to go all out and automate even the smallest things such as switching of lights, fans and appliances, you can go in for touch switch panels. In contrast to regular mechanical switches, these are digital, feather touch and programmable. The backend comprises a control system that stores presets for fan speed control, lighting and so on. This works great when combined with motion sensors and home theatre control unit. How about dimming the light and switching on the air conditioner, projector, media server and amplifier at the press of a button that says “Movie Mode”? Price: Rs 40,000 onwards

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SECURITY When you have a lavish home like these, security is a necessity to protect is your premises. By opting for home security you are able to protect yourself, your family members and your property. Having a quality alarm system in place, you can be alerted when someone is in the house while you are away. IP cameras / night surveillance IP cameras / night surveillance Motion detection cameras can detect an intrusion and trigger an alarm or alert the local police station. IR cameras can do the same in pitch darkness too. Price Rs 8,000 onwards (Approx)

[2] PTZ cameras Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras can be custom programmed to pan or zoom on an area to be monitored. These cameras can also be controlled from the monitor room or remotely via the internet. Price Rs 55,000 onwards (Approx)

8

1

[3] Video door phones View and communicate with your visitors on your doorstep before letting them in. An emergency panic alarm system can also be implemented. Price Rs 7,000 onwards (Approx)

9 3

[4] Video recording for cameras DVR (Digital Video Recorders) are connected to every camera in and outside the house. The video feeds are recorded for future references. Options of recording at specific schedules or intrusion detection are possible. Price Rs 40,000 (Approx)

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[5] Keychain alarm It is a pocket gadget that can be given to ladies, children and servants to trigger an alarm in case of a physical assault. The alarm can be programmed to trigger an SMS, email or an alarm to the local police station too. Price Rs 5,000 onwards (Approx)

[6] Motion/glass break/smoke/carbon monoxide/heat detectors These sensors can detect movement, glass window/door break-in, smoke due to fire, excess carbon monoxide in the air and heat due to fire inside the house. Price Rs 2,000 (Approx)


FEATURED

SMART HOMES 6

7

4

[10] Swimming pool alarm Swimming pool sensors can be deployed as most pools in houses are unattended. In case a child, pet or anything else accidentally falls into the pool, the sensor triggers an alarm. Price Rs 10,000 onwards (Approx)

2

10

[7] Water sensors Water sensors placed around the oor of the house can sense a ood in the house due to a bad weather or leaking taps. These sensors are useful to prevent damage to expensive house electronics and upholstery caused due to possible ceiling leaks and if you accidentally leave any taps running in the kitchen or bathrooms. Price Rs 2,000 onwards (Approx)

5

[8] Door/window protection Magnetic/optical sensors deployed along the door and window frames can detect an unauthorized entry. Price Rs 2,500 onwards (Approx)

[9] Digital door locks Numeric codes are used to lock the doors securely. This eliminates the possibility of an unauthorized entry into your house in case of a lost or stolen key. Price Rs 25,000 onwards (Approx)

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FEATURED

SMART HOMES

ENTERTAINMENT Having a home theatre in your apartment is one thing and being able to control everything, the lighting the air conditioning, speakers, motorized screen and projector lift and other gadgets is a different ball game. While an existing home cinema setup can be automated to a large extent, setting the foundation right from the beginning can give you a smart home cinema. Audio and video equipment are a given when it comes to entertainment, but first let’s take a look at our prerequisites.

4c

3

4b

4a

2b

Room design Since watching movies and listening to music involves factors like viewing distance, the placement of the speakers, and so on, the overall design of the room determines how true-to-life your home cinema feels. An ideal design can be achieved best when done from scratch, so make the changes when renovating.

2a 6

Acoustics No matter how good your sound system is, if your room isn’t designed for acoustics, your home cinema will lack the X-factor. There are a few materials used for insulating the walls for best sound proofing and effects. Some of them include rubber, carpeting, glass wool and industry-grade plywood and so on.

Wiring Proper wiring is also crucial. Ensure that there are sufficient junction boxes at different locations, as this will make future upgrades easy and hassle-free. At any given time, any engineer should be able to run cables from one point to another seamlessly.

All-in-all, hiring an architect, a good electrical and a sound engineer is the best choice you’ll make. Also ensure that each one of them knows what the other is doing, so they’re all on the same page. Now that you have your basics right, it’s time to get the gadgets in.

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1


FEATURED

SMART HOMES [1] Projector Various multimedia and video projectors are available for watching movies. But a home cinema is best when it has a good full-HD projector which can cost as much as Rs 2,00,000. Of course there are cheaper options available such as a 720p projector, available for as little as Rs 40,000.

[2] Music and DVD players If you’re spending a considerable amount of moolah on automating your entire home, you’d like a media server installed. It comes with one or more players that slide under your TV or CD/DVD rack in a home cinema. These players are wired to the media server which is placed somewhere else in the home, perhaps in the control room. A media server houses large hard drives and is meant to be used as a repository for your collection of music and movies. Also, its main purpose is to enable sharing of the content, so if you have multiple players, say one in each room, all players can play movies and music independently and simultaneously while using one common server. Kaleidescape offers a similar package for around US$10,000 where it offers multiple players with a media server. Cheaper alternatives include smaller media players such as the hard drive-based Ellion Player. To add to the entertainment room, you can connect radio, and cable TV. Using DTH for cable TV and radio together is a good idea.

5

[3] Display For a projector, you need a screen too and an HD projector goes well with a high-end screen which might cost upto 2,00,000. But if you’re looking for a standard pulldown screen, Rs 20,000 is all you need. Alternatively, you can use an LCD or plasma TV which have become quite affordable. Today, a 42-inch LCD TV can cost around Rs 55,000.

[4] Speakers and amplifier Watching HD movies on a standard low-end sound setup is a bad idea. To get the true feeling of high-definition content, you need a high-fidelity surround-sound system. Though there are decent 5.1 channel sound systems and amplifiers available out there, they’re nowhere close to the real thing.

[5] Time to put everything together Actis is one of the companies that provide solutions for putting together smart homes and offices. They design their software according to cutomers’ needs and use it on hardware that suits their customer’s budget. This hardware is sourced from companies such as Crestrone. With this they can integrate and remotely control practically anything that is electronic and electrical in the premises. Remote controls available for about Rs 1,50,000 are the size of a standard remote and are capable of controlling everything. They are pre-programmed with desired presets. For instance, when you push the ‘Movies’ button, the lights dim out, the air condition sets on a specific temperature, the projector descends from the ceiling while powering on, the screen rolls down and so on. All these things can be controlled individually as well.

[6] Good to have A basic remote control costs as little as Rs 70,000, but when it comes to automation, having a full-fledged 007-like touch-screen control panel can be hard to resist. Know how many hours of life is left in your projector lamp, check the temperature your AC is running at, flip through terabytes of music and movies and the possibilities are endless. You could even integrate the controls of all the devices in your home into this little device

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How much does it cost? Unlike computer hardware that can be bought and put together to build a PC by oneself, home automation requires the collaborated efforts of specialists such as the solution provider, architect, audio / video engineer, security experts, structured cabling experts and so on. It’s not as simple as going to the market, picking up components and fixing them yourself or with the help of your local electrician. Depending on what you want to automate, the first step is to get in touch with an end-to-end solution provider or a domain specialist. These professionals will survey your home and suggest the ideal solution. Here are estimates for an elite 2 BHK home and a basic 1 BHK home. Note that these are the approximate costs of only the components excluding the cost of installation and service fees of professionals.

MID-SIZE BUNGALOW QUANTITY

ELITE 2 BHK HOME RATE (Rs)

COST (Rs)

SECURITY

QUANTITY

10

8,000

80,000

DVR

3

40,000

Pan Tilt Zoom camera

3

Door phone

QUANTITY

RATE (Rs)

COST (Rs)

16,000

SECURITY

IP camera

6

8,000

48,000

IP cameras

2

8,000

1,20,000

DVR

1

40,000

40,000

Door phone

1

7,000

7,000

55,000

1,65,000

Pan Tilt Zoom camera

1

55,000

55,000

Sensors

3 smoke, 1 gas, 1 water

2,000

10,000

6

7,000

42,000

8 smoke, 4 gas, 4 water

2,000

32,000

15

2,500

Door phone

Door protection

COST (Rs)

SECURITY

IP cameras

Sensors

BASIC 1 BHK HOUSE RATE (Rs)

Sensors

2

7,000

14,000

Door protection

5

2,500

12,500

4 smoke, 1 gas, 2 water

2,000

14,000

Digital lock

1

25,000

25,000

10

2,500

25,000

UTILITIES

1

25,000

25,000

Touch switches

3

55,000

Drapes

3

1,20,000

Door protection Digital lock

3

25,000

75,000

Swimming pool alarm

2

10,000

20,000

Digital lock Sub-total Sub-total

Sub-total

70,500

37,500

1,73,000

5,71,500 UTILITIES

Sub-total

1,75,000

UTILITIES Touch switches

6

90,000

Drapes

10

4,00,000

Touch switches

6

90,000

Drapes

10

4,00,000

Sub-total Sub-total

ENTERTAINMENT Ellion Digital HMR-350H

15,000

LCD TV

45,000

Speakers

25,000

4,90,000

4,90,000 ENTERTAINMENT

ENTERTAINMENT Media server

8,50,000

Full HD Projector

2,00,000

Speakers

2,00,000

Multi-room audio system

7,00,000

Amplifier

1,50,000

HTPC

30,000

LCD TV

55,000

Media player (audio CD and DVD)

Sony PlayStation 3

16,900

Couch

Speakers

25,000

Logitech Harmony 525

Media player (audio CD and DVD) Couch

Screen

20,000

Control unit 35,000

Recliner

50,000

Control unit Sub-total GRAND TOTAL

3,00,000 26,85,000

37,46,500

Sub-total 20,000

GRAND TOTAL

70,000

Sub-total

2,23,400

GRAND TOTAL

8,86,400

HOME AUTOMATION SOLUTION PROVIDERS Actis Technologies Pvt Ltd 022-30808000 contact@actis.co.in www.actis.co.in Adaar Technology 9820000913 info@adaartech.com www.adaartech.com Adrett Homes 011-26510103 info@adretthomes.com www.adretthomes.com Lifestyle Networks 044-42116969 serviceindia@lifestylenetworks.com www.lifestylenetworks.com VASU Infosec Pvt Ltd 9325407068 sales@vasuinfosec.com www.vasuinfosec.com Zicom 1-800-22-4567 sales.zrpl@zicom.com www.zicom.com

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6,000

6,500

2,00,000

Media player (audio CD, DVD and Blu-ray)

6,500

1,17,500 3,63,000


PC

Media Server

CONTROL UNIT

Drapes

AC

Jacuzzi

Fan

Screen

CONTROL UNIT

DVD player

Projector

DTH box

MANUAL OVERRIDE SWITCHES (IN CASE OF SYSTEM FAILURE)

SECURITY SYSTEM

Biometric sensor

LIGHTING CONTROL

Fire alarms

Smoke detectors

Surveillance cameras

Dimmer

Lights

Digital door lock

Video door phone

Automating an entire home or office requires a series of hardware and software solutions. All the back-end hardware is pre-programmed, which includes the main control unit and various subsystems. The former is what interprets and processes all the commands and the latter execute them, as they are directly connected to the devices. So when you push a button on a remote controller to turn the lights on, the signals from the remote go to the main control unit via the subsystem, the former sends the signal back to the lights via the same route to switch them on. Each subsystem is designated several devices. For instance, the lights can be controlled via one subsystem, the security devices are controlled by another and so on. Also, all subsystems are interconnected. Finally, if one or all control units fail, the manual override switches located in the control room can be used as emergency backup for switching on the devices.

Systems and subsystems

SMART HOMES

FEATURED

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LAPTOP COMPARISON

The Bare Necessities Today's entry level laptops are feature-rich workhorses which can get all your work done. BY CHIP TEST CENTER

L

one offers the most bang for the buck.

aptops have gradually yet continually undergone a multitude

The hardware in these laptops is quite

in performance, they have much smaller screens and crammed keyboards. Also,

decent and can handle basic computing

netbooks do not feature an optical drive,

meet the needs of power users. In

seamlessly. Of course, since, budget

where as laptops have an upper hand in

the bargain, their prices have sky-

laptops are not designed for high-end

all these cases too. The only thing these

rocketed too. But when it comes to

and stressful applications, playing

laptops cannot do is, slide into your

basic office applications, emails, casual

games or using demanding programs

hand bag.

Internet-surfing on the go and light

cannot be expected. Here’s what you can

entertainment, a very basic laptop can

expect - a good single core processor

is concerned, most of them aren’t much

also suffice.

or even an entry-level dual core, around

to look at and are not the lightest in

1 to 2 GB RAM, a 14 or 15-inch screen,

weight either. Nonetheless, design-

is capable of running mainstream

onboard graphics, ample hard drive

wise what’s most notable about these

applications seamlessly and considering

space, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

laptops is their tough build quality

the dipping hardware prices, today

and a good keyboard and touch pad—

and good ergonomics. While having

laptops are quite affordable. So, unless

some even feature numeric pads. Most

all the required features, there’s very

you’re a power user and if you can

of them feature at least two USB ports

little or no fluff involved. There are no

make do with a laptop which costs

while some have three. Other standard

funky LEDs, no extraordinary sound or

less than Rs 30,000, no need to buy a

features such as a VGA port, audio jacks,

display performance, no additional or

power-packed laptop. Essentially, it’s

a webcam and a multi-card reader are a

uncommon features and such. So if

the attractive price tag which sets these

given in most laptops. What one might

you’re looking for a laptop that solves

laptops apart. This time around, we’ve

debate about is that even netbooks

the purpose without burning a hole in

tested some budget laptops to find out

offer these features and are cheaper

your pocket, these laptops are the ones

which one is most capable and which

too. Well, netbooks comparatively lack

you should consider first.

of developments in order to

Today even the most basic laptop

SMS us!  Story code: HLT to 57007

Jagdish Limbachiya

As far as the design of these laptops

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LAPTOP COMPARISON

TEST PROCESS

ACER EXTENSA 5630

Budget laptops are mainly intended

category such as the presence of the

to fit a very specific price bracket

Wi-Fi N standard are always preferred

and still deliver performance which

in a laptop. Finally we logged the

matches up with everyday computing

connectivity options offered such as

needs such as surfing the Internet,

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and so on.

checking emails, using office applicatons such as working with

Build quality

spreadhseets, accounting and so on.

Considering the purpose of these

While factors such as budget and

laptops, it is important for them to have

basic computing are prime when testing

a robust build. More than anything,

budget laptops, it is crucial to note as to

while logging, we noted the quality of

which laptop offers the most features,

parts such as the chassis, screen frame,

has the most processing power and best

hinges, keyboard, touchpad and the

build quality. This way, the comparison

battery retention mechanism.

Dimensions (WxHxD): 360 x 39 x 266 mm; Weight: 2.8 kg; Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T6600, 2.20 GHz; Memory: 2 GB DDR2; Hard disk: 250 GB; Screen size: 15.4-inch.

Performance

CONTACT

becomes evident for a buyer as to which laptop offers the most value for money.

Though performance can be considered

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 29,999

PHONE EMAIL

Acer India 080-40708700 dinesh_nair@acer.co.in

Features

a secondary criterion when buying

For a laptop to be most utilitarian while

a budget laptop, it is still a crucial

fitting into a given budget, it needs to be

determining factor of how well the

BUILD QUALITY

equipped with hardware that is capable

laptop can handle applications in

ERGONOMICS

of handling mainstream applications

comparison to other laptops. We

and light entertainment seamlessly.

tested each laptop with some standard

Furthermore, even features must be up

synthetic and real-world benchmarks.

to the mark so that the peripherals and

The former included PCMark Vantage

external devices can be connected.

and SiSoft Sandra, and the latter were

T

file compression, audio and video

to most laptops in this segment. As

encoding, Cinebench R10 and so on.

opposed to an all-black body, its bezel

First we noted the details and specifics of each core hardware

RATINGS FEATURES

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING WARRANTY VALUE FOR MONEY

he Extensa 5630 looks stylish and is more powerful when compared

component such as the chipset,

and screen frame are ash-black with a

processor, RAM, hard drive, onboard

matt finish. Also, the keyboard is slightly

graphics and so on. What goes without

arched which adds to the good looks and

saying is that the more powerful the

is ergonomically better. On the left-hand

hardware, the better the laptop will

side of the keyboard, there are hotkeys,

perform. Then we moved on to the

but this is perhaps a tradeoff where the

display type and size, which is very

numeric keypad has been done away

crucial as the laptop's screen should suit

with. Nonetheless, the overall package

the user’s needs, be it for entertainment

is a good mix suited for home and office

or work environment. A crisp, vibrant

users. This laptop is powered by an Intel

and larger screen is usually preferred.

Core 2 Duo T6600 processor. There’s

Then we logged the various

a 250 GB hard drive, 2 GB RAM, Intel

ports, connectors and other built-in accessories such as the presence of a webcam. Uncommon features in this

4500M onboard GPU and a 15.4-inch Larger laptops with their controls in front are convenient to use when on a desktop.

screen. Uncommon features include an HDMI, an eSATA and three USB ports, a line-in jack, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi N, and a PC card slot. Other features include a webcam, a DVD writer and a VGA port. Performance-wise its closest competitor is the MSI CR 400X mainly due to the processor. Notice the scores in the tables; the 5630 trounces most laptops in both synthetic and real-world benchmarks. VERDICT: If you want an affordable but powerful laptop for business and entertainment, you search ends here. FOR: Good performance, stylish looks

When placed on a lap, a laptop with the uncommon arched keyboard is more comfortable to use.

76

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

The presence of ports such as eSATA and HDMI in budget laptops are major plus points.

and great build quality. AGAINST: None.


FEATURED

LAPTOP COMPARISON

MSI CR 400X

SPECIFICATIONS

WIPRO EGO BM4930

SPECIFICATIONS

ACER EMACHINES E725

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 26,400

Rs 29,000

Rs 23,999

Dimensions (WxHxD): 345 x 37 x 224 mm; Weight: 2.1 kg; Processor: Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T6400, 2.00 GHz; Memory: 2 GB DDR2; Hard disk: 250 GB; Screen size: 14-inch.

Dimensions (WxHxD): 360 x 38 x 245 mm; Weight: 2.5 kg; Processor: Intel Pentium T4200, 2.00 GHz; Memory: 2 GB DDR2; Hard disk: 320 GB; Screen size: 14-inch.

Dimensions (WxHxD): 372 x 42 x 241 mm; Weight: 2.5 kg; Processor: Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300, 2.10 GHz; Memory: 1 GB DDR2; Hard disk: 160 GB; Screen size: 15.5-inch.

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

MSI 011-4175-8808 marketing@msi-in.com

RATINGS

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Wipro Infotech 1800-3453-312 sales.enquiry@wipro.com

RATINGS

CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

Acer India 080-40708700 dinesh_nair@acer.co.in

RATINGS

FEATURES

FEATURES

FEATURES

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

WARRANTY

WARRANTY

WARRANTY

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

W

T

C

the Extensa 5630 and the Wipro Ego, it

a small package. However, at 2.5 kg it

former has a larger screen and body, it’s

is the lightest in weight and compact. Its

isn't any lighter than the eMachines eM

heavier, has a dual core processor and a

build and portability can be compared

E725. Nonetheless, it redeems itself by

numeric keypad. Also, the E725 comes

to the eMachines D525. So, it’s an

being comparable performance-wise.

pre-loaded with Windows Vista Home

ideal pick for people who travel and

It performs almost as well as the E725,

Premium. Otherwise, all aspects are

want to work with slightly demanding

because its processor is marginally

almost identical. If you prefer a bigger

applications. It looks comparatively good

different. The Ego is ideal for people

screen, but still want a basic laptop for

but isn’t the best, as the Extensa and

who want a rugged business laptop in a

home and office use, this one's ideal. As

the Ego are better-looking. Pre-loaded

14-inch package. Also, if you’re looking

far as performance is concerned, this

with Windows Vista Ultimate, it has

for additional features such as an HDMI

laptop is a cut above the D525. Mainly,

14-inch glossy screen, a 1.3 megapixel

port and eSATA port, Bluetooth, a 2

the tasks will complete faster and

webcam as opposed to VGA, a memory

megapixel webcam and a 320 GB hard

watching movies and light gaming will

card reader, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi N and a

drive, this one will get your attention.

also be a better experience. Take a look

PC card slot. Other features include 3

Built around an Intel GL40 chipset, it

at the tables, apart from performance

USB and a VGA port, audio jacks and

is powered by an Intel Pentium T4200

and physical differences, all hardware

a DVD writer. Built around an Nvidia

processor. Graphics are courtesy an Intel

and features such 1 GB RAM, a 160 GB

nForce 730i chipset, this laptop is

GMA 4500M GPU and the glossy screen

hard drive, two USB and VGA port, a

powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T6400,

has a native resolution of 1280 x 800.

webcam, and connectivity options are

has 2 GB RAM and a 250 GB hard

The design is simple yet elegant, and

same as the D525. With regard to design

drive. This hardware suffices for office

the build quality is very good. The body

and build quality, this laptop at 2.5 kg is

applications and light entertainment

follows an all-black theme, similar to

half a kg heavier than its little brother.

on the go. The build quality and

the IBM ThinkPads. Ergonomically, the

Also, despite the large screen, its battery

ergonomics could have been better.

keyboard is satisfactory as the keys are

runtime is over four hours under medium

Although the keys are large, the spacing

large and well-spaced. However, unlike

load, which is quite good for a laptop of

and lack of tactility are disappointing.

all other laptops in this comparison, this

this size.

VERDICT: For a light in weight but

one has its Ctrl key wrongly placed.

VERDICT: If you want a basic business

capable laptop, keep this one in mind.

VERDICT: If you buy this laptop, it’ll be

laptop with a larger screen, buy this.

FOR: Easy to carry and good

due to the features and build quality.

FOR: Good battery run time and the

performance.

FOR: Good build quality, performance

presence of a numeric keypad.

AGAINST: Build quality and keyboard

and above average features.

AGAINST: Looks could have been

usability are disappointing.

AGAINST: No Windows OS.

classier.

hile the performance of the MSI CR 400X is comparable to that of

he Wipro Ego is a feature-rich, good looking and rugged laptop in

onsider the E725 as the big brother of the D525 mainly because the

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

77


FEATURED

LAPTOP COMPARISON

ACER EMACHINES EMD525

PERSONAL TAKE SpecScan

DUSHYANT KHILNANI dushyant.khilnani@chip.in Today, a 30K budget for a laptop is a good one, especially if you only want basic computing on

SPECIFICATIONS

portable, unless you want a bigger screen—

Rs 23,499 Dimensions (WxHxD): 337 x 39 x 227 mm; Weight: 2.1 kg; Processor: Intel Celeron 900, 2.20 GHz; Memory: 1 GB DDR2; Hard disk: 160 GB; Screen size: 14-inch. CONTACT PHONE EMAIL

the go. Try to get something powerful, yet

Acer India 080-40708700 dinesh_nair@acer.co.in

hence a bigger body—which adds to the weight. Decide whether you need it for home use or for the road. If you’re looking for portability, very basic computing and bare bone features, just buy the eMachine D525. It handles basic office applications such as Microsoft Office and

RATINGS

even light entertainment seamlessly. Also its 2

FEATURES BUILD QUALITY

kg weight won’t give you sore shoulders and

ERGONOMICS

not to mention the money that you’ll be saving.

PERFORMANCE OVERALL RATING

If you need a larger screen with the same or

WARRANTY

slightly better performance than the D525,

VALUE FOR MONEY

then the E725 is a very good option.

C

power with all the features, either get the MSI

is intended for basic computing on

CR 400X or the Wipro Ego. Now the Ego looks

the go. The D525 will easily handle

better, it’s more rugged, has an HDMI port, a 2

mainstream applications such as surfing

megapixel webcam and more storage space.

the Internet, emails, Microsoft Office

But, it doesn’t come with Windows and is

2007 and such. Even light entertainment

slightly heavier when compared with the CR

such as movies and light gaming with

400X. So, the comparison of these two laptops

the onboard Intel GMA 4500M graphics

boils down to portability—CR 400X—versus

and the 14-inch screen, are enjoyable.

good looks and features—Wipro Ego. Their

onsidering the basic features and hardware, it’s clear that this laptop

This laptop has all the essential

Otherwise if you want portability and

performance is almost same. In any case, these

features such as two USB and a VGA

are just examples, there are perhaps better

port, a webcam, audio jacks, a DVD writer

options available out there, so it’s always

and a multi-card reader. Connectivity is

better to do some research before buying.

offered via gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi. It

Since performance and features are a

comes pre-loaded with Windows Vista

priority for me, I’d opt for the Extensa 5630

Business. The design is office-like and

even though it’s the heaviest of all. It has

the overall build quality is fairly rugged.

features which are a rarity amongst budget

The rounded corners, matt bezel and

laptops and it's the most powerful of the lot.

glossy screen aren't much to look at.

Under Rs 30,000, I’d get a laptop powered by

Performance-wise, powered by an Intel

an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, 2 GB

Celeron, which is a single-core processor,

RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, HDMI and SATA

this laptop is ideal for office-goers who

ports, Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi N. Also, the

make presentations and basically need

screen is larger with a proper 16:9 aspect ratio.

it for work purposes. Also, 1 GB RAM and

All of this in a budget laptop isn’t something

the 160 GB hard drive should suffice for

you want to miss. On a side note, it would be

such applications.

great if in addition to features enabling

VERDICT: If you’re looking for budget

multimedia such as HDMI port and larger hard

laptop for business, this is great one

drive capacities, companies would instill

to pick.

security features such as finger print scanning

FOR: Attractive price tag, good build

and such. After all, many—if not most—of these

quality and ergonomics.

laptops are meant for work purposes.

AGAINST: Looks too basic.

NAME Contact Phone E-mail Price* OVERALL Features (30%) Build quality (10%) Ergonomics (20%) Performance (30%) Warranty (10%) Overall Value for money FEATURES Dimensions ( W x H x D) | Weight CPU Chipset | Memory Graphics | HDMI port Display | Audio Optical drive | Pointing device | Webcam Ethernet | Wi-Fi | Fingerprint Sensor No of ports: USB | eSATA | Firewire) Memory card reader | Bluetooth | IR | Modem Bundled: Recovery disc | OS disc | Drivers | Bag / sleeve | Mouse Operating System BUILD QUALITY Chassis | Screen frame | Hinges Keyboard | Buttons and switches | Optical drive tray Battery retention mechanism | Use of metal in construction Resistant to scratches | Aesthetic appeal ERGONOMICS Keyboard: Size | Spacing | Tactility Touchpad buttons: Size | Placement | Tactility Location of: Memory card reader | Audio | USB Status indicators: Bluetooth | Wi-Fi | On battery Switch for Wi-Fi / Bluetooth | Media player controls PERFORMANCE Synthetic tests: Sisoft Sandra 2009: CPU Arithmetic: Dhrystones | Whetstones Memory Bandwidth: Hard drive: Drive index | Random Access time Sequential | Random (Read/Write) PCMark Vantage: Overall | Memory | HDD | Productivity Real World: File Compression Encoding: Audio | Video POVRAY | Cinebench Battery Eater Pro: Classic | Reader WARRANTY Warranty period Service centers: Across India | Number of cities * Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra.

78

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP


FEATURED

LAPTOP COMPARISON

1

2

3

4

5

ACER EXTENSA 5630-662G25MN Acer India 080-40708700 dinesh_nair@acer.co.in Rs 29,999

MSI CR 400X MSI 011-41758808 marketing@msi-in.com Rs 26,400

WIPRO EGO BM4930 Wipro Infotech 1800-3453-312 sales.enquiry@wipro.com Rs 29,000

ACER EMACHINES E725-431G16MI Acer India 080-40708700 dinesh_nair@acer.co.in Rs 23,999

ACER EMACHINES EMD525-901G16MI Acer India 080-40708700 dinesh_nair@acer.co.in Rs 23,499

75

66

78 65

90 0

50

49 85

35 100

0

76

50 91

62 100

47 77

44

89 50

47 79

41

70 0

69

71

65

70 50

100

0

50

70 100

0

50

100

70

62

35

70

70

36.0 x 3.9 x 26.6 cms | 2.8 Kg Intel Core 2 Duo T6600, 2.2 GHz, 2 MB L2 Intel GM45 | DDR2-667, 2 GB Intel GMA 4500M | ✔ 15.4-inch glossy (1280x800) | Stereo DVD-writer | VGA Gigabit | ✔ | ✖ 3|1|0 ✔|✔|✖|✔ ✖|✖|✔|✖|✖ Vista Business

34.5 x 3.7 x 22.4 cms | 2.1 Kg Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T6400, 2.0 GHz, 2 MB L2 Nvidia nForce 730i | DDR2-667, 2 GB GeForce 8200 M G | ✖ 14-inch glossy (1366x768) | Stereo DVD-writer | 1.3 MP 10/100 | ✔ | ✖ 3|0|0 ✔|✔|✖|✖ ✖|✖|✔|✖|✖ Vista Ultimate

36.0 x 3.8 x 24.5 cms | 2.5 Kg Intel Pentium T4200, 2.0 GHz, 1 MB L2 Intel GL40 | DDR2-800, 2 GB Intel GMA 4500M | ✔ 14-inch glossy (1280x800) | Stereo DVD-writer | 2 MP Gigabit | ✖ | ✖ 3|1|0 ✔|✔|✖|✖ ✖|✖|✔|✖|✔ Linux

37.2 x 4.2 x 24.1 cms | 2.5 Kg Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300, 2.1 GHz, 1 MB L2 Intel GL40 | DDR2-667, 1 GB Intel GMA 4500M | ✖ 15.5-inch glossy (1366x768) | Stereo DVD-writer | VGA 10/100 | ✖ | ✖ 2|0|0 ✔|✖|✖|✖ ✔|✖|✔|✖|✖ Vista Home Premium

33.7 x 3.9 x 22.7 cms | 2.1 Kg Intel Celeron 900, 2.2 GHz, 1 MB L2 Intel GL40 | DDR2-667, 1 GB Intel GMA 4500M | ✖ 14-inch glossy (1366x768) | Stereo DVD-writer | VGA 10/100 | ✖ | ✖ 2|0|0 ✔|✖|✖|✖ ✔|✖|✔|✖|✖ Vista Business

Good | Good | Very good Very good | Very good | Average Very good | ✖ ✔ | Average looking

Above average | Good | Good Average | Good | Average Very good | ✖ ✔ | Average looking

Excellent | Good | Very good Above average | Average | Average Very good | ✖ ✔ | Good looking

Very good | Good | Very good Good | Very good | Below average Very good | ✖ ✔ | Average looking

Good | Good | Very good Good | Very good | Below average Very good | ✖ ✔ | Average looking

Average | Very good | Very good Very good | Very good | Very good front | front | side / rear ✔|✔|✖ ✔|✖

Very good | Average | Average Average | Very good | Average side | side | side ✔|✔|✖ ✖|✖

Very good | Average | Good Very good | Average | Poor side | side | side / rear ✔|✔|✖ ✖|✖

Very good | Very good | Good Very good | Very good | Very good front | side | side ✖|✖|✖ ✖|✖

Very good | Very good | Good Very good | Very good | Very good front | side | side ✖|✔|✖ ✖|✖

18.81 GIPS | 16.17 GFLOPS 3.86 GB/s 45.04 MB/s | 10 ms 35.02 MB/s | 30.45 MB/s 2904 | 1729 | 2405 | 2507

17.15 GIPS | 13.62 GFLOPS 4.44 GB/s 57.16 MB/s | 10 ms 40.69 MB/s | 41.13 MB/s 3022 | 1756 | 2591 | 2988

17.09 GIPS | 14.7 GFLOPS 4.48 GB/s 52.97 MB/s | 9 ms 39.72 MB/s | 38.1 MB/s 2805 | 1590 | 2586 | 2329

17.95 GIPS | 15.4 GFLOPS 3.79 GB/s 50.82 MB/s | 8 ms 39.84 MB/s | 36.72 MB/s 2348 | 1203 | 2235 | 2502

9.39 GIPS | 7.95 GFLOPS 3.91 GB/s 51.7 MB/s | 10 ms 38.71 MB/s | 29.75 MB/s 1761 | 980 | 2483 | 1949

96 sec 178 sec | 66 sec 102.51 sec | 4484 CB-CPU 1 hr 13 min | 3 hr 24 min

90 sec 189 sec | 70 sec 110.5 sec | 4121 CB-CPU 1 hr 34 min | 1 hr 51 min

97 sec 196 sec | 73 sec 113.12 sec | 3936 CB-CPU 2 hr 45 min | 3 hr

112 sec 200 sec | 71 sec 108.72 sec | 4025 CB-CPU 1 hr 27 min | 4 hr 11 min

125 sec 345 sec | 108 sec 205.92 sec | 2175 CB-CPU 1 hr 45 min | 3 hr 43 min

1 year 443 service centers

2 years 22 service centers

1 year 58 service centers

1 year 443 service centers

1 year 443 service centers

a. INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

79


FEATURED

INKJET MFD COMPARISON

Do More Than Just Print All-in-one printers have matured with time and can do more than just print documents, while economy and compactness are the biggest benefits these units offer. BY CHIP TEST CENTER

echnology in printing and imaging

T

Printing photos cannot get easier with

blessing. Those featuring an answering

is advancing at such a rapid pace

the presence of a flash memory card

machine and a handset are the most

that there has not only been

reader and image editing functions built

advanced all-in-one devices. Apart

shrinking sizes but falling prices as

into the device. You have to insert your

from these features, they also have

well. Imagine owning a printer, scanner,

memory card containing the images you

an automatic document feeder so you

fax machine, copier and phone, all

want to print, enhance the pictures on

don’t need to feed paper manually into

separately. Not only will they occupy a

the fly and fire a print command—as

the scanner when you want to copy or

significant portion of your desktop’s real

simple as that! You don’t need to rush to

send faxes. Such machines may seem

estate but also make it look cluttered.

a photo lab which will take another few

intimidating at the first glance, but even

Thanks to convergence, we have All-

hours to do the job.

a first-timer will be able to use them

in-one printers that can handle all the

Some AIO printers which have a

without any hassles, thanks to the

tasks seamlessly. AIO printers not only

built-in network adapter are a boon

user-friendly interface AIOs offer today.

print, but also work as a scanner, fax

for office users. You can not only fire

We now have devices that come with

machine and photocopier. They make

print commands over the network

navigational aids such as jog dials and

your desk less cluttered but also add

but share such a device with multiple

directional buttons that make operation

a certain level of grace and classiness,

users on the network. A Wi-Fi adapter

a breeze.

and more than anything else, they

is more advantageous as you can print

come integrated with three or four

wirelessly from Wi-Fi-enabled devices

AIO devices. While some are ideal for

functions in one package. Some AIOs

such as laptops or smartphones.

home use, others are best suited for

In this comparison we tested seven

photographers or office desks. And

come with PictBridge technology that

Such printers not only eliminate

enables users to print photos directly

wire clutter but also make life a whole

yes, owning such a device is no longer

from their digital cameras. Some even

lot simpler. If your daily tasks involve

expensive. You can buy one for as low

come equipped with an LCD display for

sending and receiving faxes, an AIO

as Rs 5,600. So turn the page and take

previewing images before printing them.

with built-in fax function will be a

your pick.

80

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Jagdish Limbachiya

SMS us!  Story code: HIM to 57007


FEATURED

INKJET MFD COMPARISON

TEST PROCESS

PERSONAL TAKE

The AIOs were evaluated on the basis

print of a 4x6 photo on a 240 gsm photo

of features, build quality, ergonomics,

glossy paper. We evaluated the quality of

performance, warranty and support.

the print in terms of faithfulness in color reproduction, contrast, image details and

Features

skin tones, image quality of a 300 dpi

We started with logging the general

scan of an A4 size photo, and the print

features of the devices. Since all AIOs

quality of a magazine page copy taken in

come with a built-in scanner, they all

normal mode.

serve as a copier. Those with the fax

FRANCIS D'SA francis.dsa@chip.in All-in-one devices are actually recommended

function, memory card reader and

Build quality

for those owning small enterprises, shops and

support for PictBridge scored additional

We evaluated the quality of the outer

even for those who run businesses from

points. Also devices that featured

shell of the AIO and the paper trays.

home, such as lawyers, interior designers,

multiple connectivity options scored

Printers that sport glossy exteriors

artists, and so on. These units not only save

higher points than those with only one

enhance the visual appeal but lose

desk space and reduce clutter, but also save

USB port.

points as they are scratched easily.

power. Additionally, the technology employed

Performance

Ergonomics

photo printer. All-in-one printers which have

Speed: We measured the pages

An intuitive UI, well laid out control

multiple connectivity options are preferred

printed per minute using text and combi

panel, and good button size, contribute

as they have less wire clutter and can be

documents in draft, normal and best

to user friendliness. We also noted if the

deployed in any corner of the office. They

modes. We also measured the time

paper trays could fold to prevent dust.

don't need to be physically connected to a

is so good that the devices can double as a

taken to print a 4x6 photo in best mode.

computer. Wireless, Bluetooth and Network

These speeds exclude the time taken to

Warranty and support

printing makes using the AIO a breeze when

spool the document prior to printing.

Moving components make AIOs prone to

used in a large office network.

Quality of fine print: We first took

mechanical problems. It’s good to have

When opting for an all-in-one device, one

prints of a text passage in 1 point, 2 point

extensive warranty and support for it.

must first decide what he/she needs from it.

and 3 point font sizes in draft, normal

For example, If you don't fax often, It is

and best modes on a sheet of Bond

Value for money

advisable to choose an AIO without a fax

paper. Then we took a macro shot of the

This was calculated by stacking the sum

option. If printing only text and office

print with a digital camera to evaluate

of the device’s features, build quality,

documents are uppermost priority, check out

the quality of character formation.

ergonomics and performance scores

which printer can perform faster (higher

Imaging quality: To assess the quality

against its price. The AIO that scored the

pages per minute) and also save on ink.

of photo print, we took a borderless

most won the Best Value award.

Another example, if you need to use an AIO in a lavish office or home and do not want wires sticking out, opting for an AIO with network or wireless features makes sense. Out of the seven printers that I tested and reviewed, I personally was taken up by the Brother MFC-490CW. It has a fax, printer, scanner, ADF, MMC reader, PictBridge, Network and Wi-Fi. The only two features that I think should have featured here is Bluetooth and a handset. The printer sports a great print resolution, a 3.3-inch color LCD display, a huge 480 page memory for fax and a four ink cartridge design, which makes this AIO a feature-rich winner amongst the rest. The printer is a great choice for those looking for a feature-rich AIO in a small and compact size. If price is an issue, but compact design and excellent performance is the need for the day, the HP OfficeJet J3608 is the answer. At just Rs 6,773, I felt that this AIO would not perform well, but I was proven wrong. The

Reproduction of colors, details, overall contrast, and skin tones were subjectively evaluated for analysing the quality of photo prints.

The combi document comprised of colored text, highlighted text, images and graphs. The most challenging was yellow text on black background.

printer is an excellent desk space saving unit for any home or small sized office.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

81


FEATURED

INKJET MFD COMPARISON

HP OFFICEJET J3608

LEXMARK X5650

CANON PIXMA MP496

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 6,773

Rs 7,500

Rs 6,995

Dimensions (WxHxD): 16.7 x 8 x 13-inches; Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB

Dimensions (WxHxD): 18.3 x 8.1 x 11.6-inches; Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB, PictBridge, MMC card reader

Dimensions (WxHxD): 17.8 x 6.1 x 13.2-inches; Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB, PictBridge, MMC card reader

RATINGS RATINGS

BUILD QUALITY

RATINGS

ERGONOMICS

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

FEATURES

ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

PERFORMANCE

FEATURES

FEATURES

WARRANTY

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL RATING

WARRANTY

WARRANTY

VALUE FOR MONEY

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

T

P

A

HP Officejet J3608. The printer has an

performance and price. Inspite of an

the Canon Pixma MP496. The MP496

excellent build quality with ergonomically

excellent build quality, it looks bulky

features an average looking design with a

designed folding input and output

and a bit ugly. It is feature-rich with

high-gloss and white body which can be

trays and an aesthetically good looking

an ergonomically designed control

easily scratched if not handled carefully.

scratch-resistant body. At first glance it

panel and buttons. The front features

The control panel is thoughtfully hidden

looks like an ordinary plain paper fax, but

a memory card reader along with

using a flap which also holds the 1.8-

it can spew text documents at a good

a Pictbridge port and an additional

inch color LCD screen. A good set of

12 pages per minute. Along with good

USB port in case the AIO has to be

buttons, menu navigation and intuitive

speed, the AIO does not compromise

connected urgently. The Scanner lid

menu interface makes the AIO easy to

on quality—the 4x6-inch photo printing

which comprises of the ADF is actually

use. The build quality does not seem to

test shows that the 4800 x 1200 dpi AIO

designed badly. It does not stay firmly

be up to the mark as the body seems

can is not only a document printer and

open but slams down threatening to

like it's made from a thinner gauge of

fax, but can also double as an excellent

break either the scanner glass or the

plastic. The scanner lid, the input and

photo printing device. Unfortunately, it

ADF unit. So if you opt for this printer,

output trays are so flimsy that they

printed a 4x6 photo in over two minutes

we advise you to handle the scanner

might break if handled carelessly. The

while the others could complete the task

section with extreme care. It did not

MP496 is similar to the Canon MP276, in

in just over a minute. Other great features

perform very well in the font print quality

terms of features. The only difference is

include a 200 page memory fax machine

test—it spews average quality prints

the enclosed front control panel which

which can store your incoming fax

at almost 14 pages-per-minute. The

houses a 1.8-inch color LCD display and

documents even if the paper runs out.

4x6 photo printing quality test turned

a neatly hidden MMC card reader which

The J3608 has a dot matrix LCD display

out to be above average, which is the

the MP276 lacks. This AIO would have

but the buttons on the control panel are

same with the photo scanning quality.

bagged the title of Best Value if it wasn't

made of rubber which makes the device

Another drawback is that the startup or

for its price difference of Rs 1,400. The

slightly sluggish when operating.

initialization time is almost 30 seconds.

performance tests reveal that though the

VERDICT: This AIO is a superbly priced,

VERDICT: Taking into consideration the

printer prints good quality text its photo

compact AIO for an office desk.

performance, feature-set and the price

prints are of average quality.

FOR: Compact size, good features and

this AIO sells at, there is little chance for

VERDICT: Good value for money.

well-priced.

it to survive in the market.

FOR: Regular office/home AIO needs.

AGAINST: The quality of color scanning

FOR: Good build quality.

AGAINST: Below average build quality,

quality is a bit disappointing.

AGAINST: Average quality prints.

non-scratch-resistant glossy body.

he smallest and most compact AIO you can find in the market is the

82

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

riced at Rs 7,500, the Lexmark X5650 stands midway between

nother AIO standing mid-way between price and performance is


FEATURED

INKJET MFD COMPARISON

CANON PIXMA MX328

SPECIFICATIONS

CANON PIXMA MP276

SPECIFICATIONS

HP DESKJET K209A

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 8,595

Rs 5,595

Rs 8,179

Dimensions (WxHxD): 18 x 7.8 x 16.1-inches; Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB, PictBridge

Dimensions (WxHxD): 17.8 x 6.1 x 13.2-inches; Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB, PictBridge

Dimensions (WxHxD): 17.5 x 6.3 x 22-inches; Print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB

RATINGS

RATINGS

RATINGS

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

BUILD QUALITY

ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

ERGONOMICS

FEATURES

FEATURES

FEATURES

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

WARRANTY

WARRANTY

WARRANTY

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

OVERALL RATING

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

VALUE FOR MONEY

S

T

S

a built-in fax and an ADF. But priced at

ration of the combined scores of the

K209A seems to be priced too high for

around Rs 8,595, the product seems to

performance, build quality, ergonomics,

the features it offers. The unit is simply

be priced quite high when compared to

features and warranty and support to its

a printer combined with a scanner which

other AIOs from the same manufacturer.

selling price. This AIO is available for a

doubles as a copier machine. The lack of

The built-in fax can hold only 50 pages

price of just Rs 5,595 and is definitely a

a PictBridge and MMC card reader makes

in case the paper runs out. The product

very good deal considering its features

this AIO almost useless for those looking

bears a dot matrix LCD display on the

and performance. This 4800 x 1200 dpi

for a fine photo printer. It has a good

easy to use and intuitive control panel.

AIO performed quite well in areas such

build quality with excellent quality paper

The AIO has a white glossy exterior

as photo and text printing. It is very

trays, but won't appeal to many as it has

which can be easily be blemished. The

similar to the Canon Pixma MP496 with

a vague design and color on the scanner

build quality is much better than the

the same build quality, glossy white

lid. Also, the body isn’t scratch-resistant.

MP496 and the MP276, except for the

finish body, the only difference being the

The easy-to-use control panel is on the

paper tray which seems flimsy. The AIO

control panel which sports a 7-segment

extreme left and has a good button size

features a 4800 x 1200 dpi printer which

display. The control panel is very

and quality. The control panel looks

prints good quality text documents but

intuitive and easy to use. It starts up in

delicate, but is quite tough and rugged.

at a slow speed of only eight pages per

an amazingly short duration of only one

The AIO scored quite well in the copy

minute. The photo printing test offered

second which is great for those who are

and photo printing quality section. The

good quality prints with above average

in need of urgent prints or photo copies.

print quality is very good even at draft

reproduction of details and colors. The

The printer sports a PictBridge port in

modes and at a maximum speed of 17

printer can only print a maximum of eight

the front which is great for those who

pages per minute. A 4x6 photo prints in

pages per minute which is the same in

need a photo printer for their home. With

barely 65 seconds (the fastest in the lot)

case of the other two AIOs from Canon.

just eight pages per minute, this printer

and the result was also quite impressive

The printer uses two ink cartridges, one

is an ideal unit for a home or small office

with very good results in image details

for black and the other for the three

only—those looking for a fast printer with

and skin tones.

colors (C, M and Y) and can be bought

a small price tag should look elsewhere.

VERDICT: A good performing printer, but

for a combined price of Rs 2,350.

VERDICT: A great AIO at a great price.

low in features.

VERDICT: An average performing AIO.

FOR: Good value for money, good

FOR: Speedy, good quality photo and

FOR: Good quality and evenly spaced

quality photo prints.

text printing.

control panel buttons.

AGAINST: Glossy finish attracts stains

AGAINST: Passable looks, doesn't

AGAINST: Glossy finish.

and finger prints, flimsy paper trays.

support PictBridge.

imilar to the Canon Pixma MP496, is the Pixma MP328 which features

he Canon Pixma MP276 bagged the title of the Best Value due to the

coring barely 27 percent in the features section, the HP Deskjet

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

83


FEATURED

INKJET MFD COMPARISON

BROTHER MFC-490CW SpecScan

SPECIFICATIONS

Rs 10,990 Dimensions (WxHxD): 15.34 x 7.1 x 14.8-inches; Print resolution: 6000 x 1200 dpi; Connectivity: USB, PictBridge, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, MMC card reader

RATINGS

NAME Contact Phone E-mail Price* OVERALL Features (30%) Performance (40%) Ergonomics (10%) Build Quality (15%) Warranty & Support (5%)

1

2

BROTHER MFC-490CW Brother 022-40988900 info@brother.in Rs 10,990

HP OFFICEJET J3608 HP India 011-30304499 in.contact@hp.com Rs 6,773

86

ERGONOMICS FEATURES PERFORMANCE WARRANTY OVERALL RATING VALUE FOR MONEY

T

he best of the lot, the Brother MFC-490CW left all the other AIOs

way behind in the features scoring 86 points out of 100. It features a 6000 x 1200 dpi printer which is great for printing quality photos. The printer uses four ink tanks which makes it more economical because you only need to change the ink tank that has exhausted, unlike other printers that have a common color ink tank. The MFC-490CW offers the network printing option (both wired and wireless). It also has excellent ergonomics due to a good button placement and intuitive menu operations. It sports a large 3.3-inch wide-screen color LCD display which can be tilted to an angle for a convenient usage. The printer performed quite well in the photo mode, but lacked in the quality of text printing. Scanning quality too was below average. As far as pure performance is concerned, this printer did not match any of the others in the competition, but due to the combined scores of features, performance and ergonomics, the Brother MFC-490CW bagged the Best Performance title. VERDICT: An excellent AIO device for small offices. FOR: Network printing support. AGAINST: Average text printing quality.

Overall Value for money FEATURES Dimensions (WxHxD) Functions: Printer | Scanner | Copier | Fax Connectivity: USB | PictBridge | Bluetooth Wi-Fi | Ethernet | Memory card reader Display type Resolution: Printer | Scanner Copier settings Max copies | Quality presets | Intensity Reduce / enlarge | Paper type | Paper size Fax: Modem | Handset | Page memory Number of cartridges Total price of cartridges PERFORMANCE Initialization time Printing speed (pages per minute) Text document: Draft | Normal | Best Combi document: Draft | Normal | Best 4x6 Photo (Best mode) Copying speed (Normal mode) Text document | Magazine page Scanning speed: A4 photo Font size test: Draft | Normal | Best Print quality (4x6 photo) Image details | Skin tones Color reproduction | Contrast Scan quality (A4 photo) Image details | Skin tones Color reproduction Copy quality (Magazine page) Image details | Quality of text Color reproduction | Contrast BUILD QUALITY Quality: Body | Paper trays Resistant to scratches Aesthetic appeal ERGONOMICS Folder paper trays: Feed | Output Display quality Size of buttons WARRANTY Warranty period

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

88 95 100

74 90 50

100

0

50

75

68

15.34 x 7.1 x 14.8-inches ✔|✔|✔|✔ ✔|✔|✖ ✔|✖|✔ 3.3-inch Color LCD 6000 x 1200 | 1200 x 2400

16.7 x 8 x 13-inches ✔|✔|✔|✔ ✔|✖|✖ ✖|✖|✖ Dot matrix LCD 4800 x 1200 | 1200 x 2400

99 | ✔ | ✔ 25% - 400% | ✔ | ✔ 33.6 Kbps | ✖ | 480 pages 4 Rs 3,010

100 | ✔ | ✔ 72% - 100% | ✔ | ✔ 33.6 Kbps | ✔ | 200 pages 2 Rs 2,327

17 sec

12 sec

16 ppm | 4 ppm | 2 ppm 13 ppm | 3 ppm | 1 ppm 93 sec

12 ppm | 5 ppm | 1 ppm 8 ppm | 2 ppm | 1 ppm 145 sec

34 sec | 43 sec 19 sec Poor | Below average | Average

39 sec | 85 sec 40 sec Good | Very good | Excellent

Good | Good Very good | Good

Good | Excellent Good | Excellent

Below average | Average Average

Below average | Below average Below average

Average | Good Average | Average

Excellent | Above average Good | Good

Excellent | Excellent ✖ Downright sexy!

Excellent | Excellent ✔ Good looking

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

1 year

1 year

* Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra.

84

63

100

0

BUILD QUALITY

49

58

100


FEATURED

INKJET MFD COMPARISON

3

4

5

6

7

LEXMARK X5650 Lexmark International India Pvt Ltd 1800-1804-477 rraja@lexmark.com Rs 7,500

CANON PIXMA MP496 Canon India 1800-3453-366 info@canon.co.in Rs 6,995

CANON PIXMA MX328 Canon India 1800-3453-366 info@canon.co.in Rs 8,595

CANON PIXMA MP276 Canon India 1800-3453-366 info@canon.co.in Rs 5,595

HP DESKJET K209A HP India 011-30304499 in.contact@hp.com Rs 8,179

47 0

50

0

50

0

50

100

79

79 100

53

52

52 79

100

88

100

100

100 52

75

79

72

72

88 92

27

40

50

57

62 61

100

0

50

100

0

50

100

68

68

66

65

60

18.3 x 8.1 x 11.6-inches ✔|✔|✔|✔ ✔|✔|✖ ✖|✖|✔ Dot matrix LCD 4800 x 1200 | 600 x 1200

17.8 x 6.1 x 13.2-inches ✔|✔|✔|✖ ✔|✔|✖ ✖|✖|✔ 1.8-inch Color LCD 4800 x 1200 | 1200 x 2400

18 x 7.8 x 16.1-inches ✔|✔|✔|✔ ✔|✔|✖ ✖|✖|✖ Dot matrix LCD 4800 x 1200 | 1200 x 2400

17.8 x 6.1 x 13.2-inches ✔|✔|✔|✖ ✔|✔|✖ ✖|✖|✖ 7 segment 4800 x 1200 | 1200 x 2400

17.5 x 6.3 x 22-inches ✔|✔|✔|✖ ✔|✖|✖ ✖|✖|✖ 7 segment 4800 x 1200 | 1200 x 2400

99 | ✔ | ✔ 25% - 400% | ✖ | ✔ 33.6 Kbps | ✖ | 240 pages 2 NA

99 | ✔ | ✔ 25% - 400% | ✔ | ✔ NA | NA | NA 2 Rs 2,350

99 | ✖ | ✔ 25% - 400% | ✔ | ✔ 33.6 Kbps | ✖ | 50 pages 2 Rs 2,350

20 | ✖ | ✔ Fit to page | ✔ | ✔ NA | NA | NA 2 Rs 2,350

9|✖|✖ Fit to page | ✖ | ✔ NA | NA | NA 2 Rs 868

29 sec

2 sec

4.31 sec

1 sec

3 sec

14 ppm | 9 ppm | 2 ppm 8 ppm | 2 ppm | 1 ppm 116 sec

8 ppm | 8 ppm | 2 ppm 5 ppm | 3 ppm | 1 ppm 98 sec

8 ppm | 7 ppm | 2 ppm 5 ppm | 3 ppm | 1 ppm 104 sec

8 ppm | 8 ppm | 2 ppm 5 ppm | 3 ppm | 1 ppm 83 sec

17 ppm | 7 ppm | 2 ppm 11 ppm | 3 ppm | 2 ppm 65 sec

16 sec | 95 sec 38 sec Average | Below average | Average

28 sec | 74 sec 14 sec Average | Very good | Good

24 sec | 69 sec 24 sec Average | Good | Good

20 sec | 43 sec 18 sec Average | Very good | Very good

27 sec | 45 sec 38 sec Very good | Good | Above average

Good | Good Good | Excellent

Average | Average Average | Average

Good | Good Good | Good

Above average | Good Above average | Very good

Very good | Very good Good | Good

Good | Good Above average

Good | Above average Good

Good | Above average Good

Good | Very good Good

Average | Average Average

Above average | Very good Good | Above average

Good | Very good Good | Good

Good | Very good Good | Good

Good | Good Good | Good

Good | Good Good | Good

Excellent | Excellent ✔ Average looking

Good | Good ✖ Average looking

Good | Good ✖ Average looking

Good | Good ✖ Average looking

Good | Excellent ✖ Passable looks

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

✔|✔ Excellent Excellent

1 year

2 years

2 years

1 year

1 year

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

85


FEATURED

WINDOWS 7

QUICK Jump lists open documents quickly

Windows 7: the definitive review There has been a lot of excitement and praise for Windows 7 before its launch. We have tested the improved features of the final release, and can now make our own judgment. BY JAMSHED AVARI AND DOMINIK HOFERER

fter Vista’s less-than-stellar

A

Installation: The goal of making

reception, it’s a surprise to see

Windows 7’s installation quicker and

that Microsoft’s latest operating

easier has largely been met. The process

system introduction has been met with

is entirely graphical and doesn’t need

critical praise around the world. Most

much user intervention. You can set up

early testers have not found anything

your network during the process so you’re

major to complain about in the beta

ready to download the latest updates as

versions and even the final release of

soon as installation is done.

Windows 7, which has been circulating

Taskbar: The new taskbar is the

privately for some time. And now, it’s

most obvious change, designed to

the moment of truth: CHIP brings you

make window management faster. It’s

its verdict after spending more than

more powerful, since it lets you launch

a month with this final version of the

programs and see previews of open

successor to Vista (as well as XP, which

windows, but the changes will take some

many users have not given up despite

time to get used to. Text labels are gone

its age). While it's clear a lot of effort

by default, and the bar shows only an

has gone into making sure old mistakes

icon even if you have opened multiple

are not repeated, there is a lot more to

copies of one application. When you

consider than just the hype.

hover the cursor over this icon, Windows 7 shows a live preview of the window

Improving all the basics

contents compete with trendy Aero

Windows 7 is satisfied with fewer

glass effects. Multiple open windows

resources than those required by Vista:

are shown as individual thumbnails in

Microsoft recommends a 1 GHz CPU and

a horizontal bar, and programs can use

1 GB of RAM. The company has learnt a

their button space to show notifications

lot from the mistakes made during the

such as file copy progress or error

Vista launch: many teams of developers

messages. The former Quick Launch

sat in their laboratories with everyday PC

bar is therefore merged into the taskbar,

a familiar fixture, is no longer there.

users and kept a close watch on them

which unfortunately makes it confusing

Instead of that you can call up the Aero

while they were working, as described

to see which programs are actually

Peek function using a new button at

in several blog posts that they have

running and which are not. Applications

the end of the taskbar, even beyond

published. With this knowledge, they

can be pinned so they are always on

the clock. If you hover over the button

have tried to optimize Windows’ handling.

the taskbar whether running or not.

with the mouse, transparent outlines

A few annoying things that users have

Moreover, the familiar positions of your

of all open windows are displayed, so

had to struggle with for a long time have

icons can sometimes change without

you can see the desktop through them.

been eliminated, and new integrated

the user realizing it. And you cannot just

This kind of transparency effect does

functions like Aero Snap and Aero Shake

drag documents or media files onto the

not necessarily consume your CPU

on the desktop allow for entirely new

icons of applications to make them open

power, since Windows 7 can accelerate

ways of window management. You can

instantly in those applications anymore.

it completely on the graphics card. Aero

now minimize windows and call them

Luckily, the customization options let you

also includes a snapping effect which

up again with mouse gestures, e.g. a

turn on text labels, but you can’t disable

lets you drag windows to the top or

simple shake movement, or can also

all the new modifications.

edges of the screen to maximize or tile

tile windows to half the screen with a

Desktop: The ‘Show Desktop’ icon in

them respectively (and the [Win] key

familiar drag and drop.

the Quick Launch area, which has been

can be used for loads of new shortcut

86

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

SPACIOUS A new look for the taskbar

SMS us!  Story code: FW7 to 51818


ORGANIZED

NETWORKED

Libraries prevent folder chaos

Sharing files is now easier

TRANSPARENT

MINIMALIST

CONVENIENT

You can get a clear view of the desktop with Aero effects

The notification area is less intrusive

Always-on mini applications

combinations, including all the Aero

Jump lists: One of our favorite new

releases will incorporate more such

Snap features). There is no demarcated

innovations is the introduction of Jump

functionality to allow for quick controls

sidebar for gadgets, which are still there,

Lists, which are program-specific

and manipulations.

and can just be dropped anywhere on

context menus that replace the usual

Libraries: Designed to help you cope

the desktop. Themes make it easy to

right-click context menus for icons in the

with the ever-increasing mess of files,

group settings for wallpaper, sounds, and

taskbar and entries in the Start menu.

libraries act as virtual folders which

Aero glass color and opacity. And the OS

They display lists of files frequently (or

aggregate your default ‘My Documents’

finally includes the ability to rotate the

in some cases recently) opened with

contents with any other locations on

wallpaper at adjustable intervals like a

that application, but you can also pin

your hard drive(s). For example the

slide show.

your favorite files onto program icons,

‘Videos’ library can show the contents

Notification area: This has also been

such as songs on your media player

of the ‘Videos’ folder as well as your

cleaned up; the most important change

or bookmarks on the Web browser.

movie collection on another hard drive

is it will show only system icons by

Once you have done this, the Jump List

and your shared home videos on an

default, i.e. the battery status, volume,

becomes a practical feature that saves

external storage device or networked

network, and security alerts. All others

time and clicks. Applications such as

PC. You can even sort and organize

are lumped into a flyout menu unless you

media players can include playback

libraries by file metadata including

specifically allow them to be displayed.

control buttons, and future software

the date they were created, the artist, INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

87


FEATURED

WINDOWS 7

album, genre, length, etc. This makes it possible to manage and share all media files centrally. Libraries aren’t just virtual though, you can save files to them and they will be placed in the default folder for that file type. As an added advantage, Windows Search indexes the libraries automatically. If you are searching for files that are stored there, Windows 7 shows you the results in a split second.

Enhanced functions Search: The integrated search function offers another new and practical

MISSING FEATURES WINFS We’ve been waiting for this one since the early days of Vista’s development, but it’s still not here. Microsoft’s new WinFS file system was supposed to use a huge database that could recognize data attributes to speed up searching and correlating different kinds of information, rather than relying solely on folder structures as we currently know them. Development continues but it’s still not ready for primetime.

feature, it not only rummages through

second-generation Ribbon interface. This makes both of them stick out from the rest of the operating system; more so because they don’t have enough features to justify the Ribbon. Still, Paint now comes with different brushes and you can create custom shapes.

Multitouch: We haven’t been able to test Vista on a touch-capable device yet, but laptops and tablets have already been announced by most manufacturers. With OS-level support for finger-based pinching and twisting, the way we interact with software could change profoundly. Notice how the taskbar is

the computer but can also be used to

ACCELERATORS

wider, and the icons are more spaced

search specific sites on the Internet or

Just like the ill-fated Smart Tags in Microsoft Office, Accelerators allow you to select text in any program and then add it to a calendar, translate, spell check, search online with Live Search, get directions using Live Maps, send by Live Mail, etc. Maybe they were too invasive or maybe Microsoft was afraid of criticism because of their close ties with their own online services.

out—many parts of the OS have been

a corporate server from the desktop. This feature was primarily intended for corporate environments, but requires only a small file in the Federated Search (also known as OpenSearch) OSDX format; so some sites have started offering them for anyone to download. The feature isn’t immediately visible until you have installed these search connectors, after which they show up as options in the Search folder. We thus quickly browsed the image database at DeviantArt.com as well as Google News, and the results seemed as if they were stored locally. You can right-click and copy or save search results too.

Windows Media Player: Version 12 of the default media player has also taken a big leap forward. While Vista and XP users have always needed to

designed to be finger-friendly. Early demos of drawing in Paint, playing interactive games and panning around Virtual Earth look great. Using touch to go through the Start menu or drag and drop files between folders will undoubtedly add a new dimension to our interaction with computers. Aero Shake and Aero Snap suddenly make even more

GUEST MODE Early demos showed a Guest Mode which basically let administrators freeze the state of an account on a PC so that no changes to files or system settings were retained when guests use it. The computer’s hard drives were locked down and even files they save were wiped out when a new session begins. Without explanation, this feature is missing in the final release.

install additional codecs or use extra

sense than they first appeared to.

Practical additions User Account Control (UAC): This should have brought more security to Vista, but it only put users off by constantly bombarding them with messages. Windows 7 now make it less aggressive, for instance the user can deactivate messages that pop up when he/she makes deliberate modifications to settings. Windows 7 only shows warnings

software like the famous all-purpose VLC

ULTIMATE EXTRAS

when programs want to modify the OS

player just to view DivX movies from the

After Vista’s promised Ultimate Extras failed to materialize, the concept has been dropped for Windows 7 Ultimate.

automatically. This new concept reduces

Internet, Windows 7 includes almost all standard codecs such as AAC or H.264. WMP also hardly stresses the CPU even in the case of HD videos and remained under ten percent resource consumption in our observations. Media Center builds on this further with improved file handling from network storage and support for Internet TV.

Paint and Wordpad: Both these programs have received facelifts to

WINDOWS LIVE PROGRAMS With the coming of the Windows Live suite of downloadable programs, regular fixtures like Windows Mail, Movie Maker and Messenger are no longer preinstalled by default. You can install whatever you like by visiting www. download.live.com.

HIT OR MISS Two alternative views for the new taskbar make it easier to find the window you want, but there's no way to trim the icon spacing 11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

though this comes at the cost of a few new security risks. Yet, the balance will

make them look like Office 2010 with its

88

the UAC dialogs by roughly 30 percent

be better and the bigger risk of people disabling UAC altogether is avoided.

XP emulation: Windows 7 is characterized by its backwards compatibility; all Vista drivers can also run under the new operating system. Microsoft also offers a solution for older programs—the XP mode, which is only available in the Professional,


FEATURED

WINDOWS 7

is easy; if you didn’t go through it during Windows’ installation, you can create a Homegroup through the ‘Network and Sharing Center’ and determine what data you want to share. Then set a 10-digit password. Other computers are added to the group by entering this password. Windows 7 will then show these computers clearly in the explorer just like an external hard disk. The Windows media player also shows the shared songs and videos. The complicated setup of network printers is also a thing of the past. With Windows 7, you just have to install the hardware once. All group members automatically get the driver and can use

FEDERATED SEARCH

the printer as if it was connected directly.

Turn DeviantArt image results into your wallpaper with a few clicks

If you take your office laptop home, you can switch over to the home network (provided that the office computer is

Ultimate and Enterprise versions. You

to more aggressive settings for going to

can make tools that are not compatible

sleep and hibernating when idle.

System recovery: If the PC refuses to

with Windows 7 run by means of

Network configuration: Windows

start, Windows 7 has something new to

virtualization. The free virtual XP

7 offers many reasons for network

help. The ‘Repair' function which you can

integrates itself unnoticed into the actual

administrators and even home users

call up while booting using the [F8] key

operating system. Visually, there is no

with multiple PCs to upgrade. They can

now offers an interface through which

difference as the programs do not run

now connect multiple PCs with improved

the user can import system recovery

inside a demarcated window which is

file sharing and security measures with

points or reconstruct a system image.

common for virtual machines. In addition,

the ‘Homegroups’ function. You can

Vista introduced the convenient Shadow

we did not notice any significant lag in

exchange music, videos or documents

Copies feature to revert to previous

comparison with a pure XP installation.

between computers provided that

versions of files in its more expensive

The host system is totally transparent.

Windows 7 is installed on all of them. XP

editions, and this is now also available in

You can install tools so that they always

users will be left out just like Linux and

the Home edition of 7.

run in XP mode, with regular shortcuts

OS X users, but a Vista update to enable

Sensors: Many laptops come with

in the Start menu as if they were normal

Homegroups has been hinted at. Setup

light sensors to control backlighting, but

configured within a domain).

programs. But XP emulation increases the hardware requirements: 2 GB of memory and a processor that supports hardware virtualization are a must.

Action Center: This is where all your system-level alerts and maintenance tasks can be taken care of from. Like the erstwhile Security Center, you can check the status of your Windows updates, firewall, antivirus and backups. You can tweak notification settings, configure UAC, and even launch the System Restore wizard from here.

Speed improvements: If you have

ACTION CENTER All your important security alerts

previously worked with Vista, you should find Windows 7 on the same hardware faster and more responsive. The new OS has plenty of tweaks and refinements to focus on pure performance. One indicator of this is that while Vista loaded 45 or more services on startup, Windows 7 loads only 30. Battery life on laptops is also noticeably improved, thanks partly INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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WINDOWS 7

now the OS can be aware of outside conditions too. Sensors for light, noise, temperature, GPS location, physical direction and position, etc would enable a whole new generation of user-specific applications, and transform the way people use mapping services and follow directions. Of course a misused sensor also increases the possibility of supertargeted advertising and the potential

WINDOWS 7 AS A SECOND OS Even if the Windows 7 looks appealing enough, you might want to keep your smooth-functioning XP or Vista around as a backup. It is therefore advisable to first install Windows 7 as a second OS. This way, you can test whether your hardware suits the requirements.

damage that malware can do, so those worried about privacy can turn the feature off through the Control Panel.

Device support Drivers: Most current hardware should work on Windows 7 without a hitch, since there are no major changes to the device driver model like Vista had. That means upgraders won’t face the same headaches that they did last time. In fact most major hardware vendors have had their drivers ready for a while now, and the nearly two months between 7’s finalization and its retail launch will have given everyone enough time to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Device Stage: Although barely any devices support it right now, Device Stage is designed to allow users to

PARTITIONING AND INSTALLATION: You need about 25 GB free space on the hard disk, preferably on a separate partition in order to make sure Windows 7 functions smoothly and with a sufficient number of programs installed. If you do not have this much space you can downsize an existing partition by right-clicking ‘My computer’ and ‘Manage | Disk Management’. If you have only one partition on the hard disk you must opt for tools like the full version of Paragon Partition Manager. Insert the Windows 7 installation disc into the drive, boot the PC, and select the empty partition for installation. After about 20 minutes, Windows 7 is at your disposal and the Windows boot manager will ask you which OS you would like to run each time you restart the PC.

control their peripherals through a

mesh in which PCs access the network through each other to boost range.

Virtual Hard Drives: Windows 7 can natively mount VHD virtual hard drive files as regular volumes, which are treated just like physical drives or partitions. You can even boot into another instance of Windows 7 which is installed in this virtual image.

Features for corporates Apart from enhanced media and user friendliness, Windows 7 comes with a few features designed to make corporate deployment easier. Most of these will be available only in the Business and Ultimate editions.

Direct Access: For those running Windows Server 2008 in their corporate environments, Direct Access allows for secure remote connections without the hassle of setting up a Virtual Private Network. It requires IPv6 and some fairly specific network infrastructure, but should allow for new levels of remote management and ease of access to networked storage, resources, and business applications.

BitLocker To Go: Drive encryption is now extended to removable drives to protect their contents even if they are

standard interface. When plugged in,

recognize multiple virtual instances of

physically lost. Administrators can set

printers, cellphones, digital cameras and

your Wi-Fi adapter, letting you establish

policies requiring BitLocker to be enabled

other peripherals that support Device

multiple connections without additional

before external drives can be used at all.

Stage will launch a window allowing

hardware. In theory, this should let you

AppLocker: Similar to BitLocker,

you to perform common tasks such as

share a Wi-Fi connection with other

AppLocker lets administrators control

syncing files and performing diagnostics,

devices, connect to multiple Wi-Fi

which programs are allowed to run on

as well as order consumables from the

networks simultaneously, or create a

the desktops they control. Security is

manufacturer and check the battery status. Device Stage windows will be customized with the product image and manufacturer’s branding.

Graphics: More of a software improvement, Windows 7 will of course be the first version to enable DirectX 11 with compatible graphics cards. Its DirectCompute component accounts for the smoothness of the Aero effects, since these are handed off to the graphics processor. DX11 will also allow the next generation of 3D games to use more realistic effects, better shadows and improved multi-threading.

Virtual Wi-Fi: This feature is so

SENSORS

ambiguous that we wouldn’t have

These will open up some new functions, but there will be privacy issues.

discovered it without prompting from Microsoft, and we apparently need new drivers before it can be tested. But the basic idea is that the OS can now

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FEATURED

WINDOWS 7

bandwidth can be saved by reducing incremental transfers.

Verdict With Windows 7, Microsoft has launched a well-thought-out and fast operating system which manages with fewer resources than its predecessor Vista required. The Home Premium version is the most suitable for a normal user; it comprises all important things like the HomeGroups functionality, multitouch support and the Media Center. Those who need professional features like the

BITLOCKER Hardware-level encryption for fixed and removable drives.

XP mode, AppLocker and VHD support should go for the Ultimate edition. Those buying new netbooks, laptops and PCs in the near future might also have the choice of the Starter and Home Basic versions. Whichever you choose, Windows 7 is fully stable and ready for

enforced by pre-approving software and

locations, network resources can be

mass public use, and should not cause

preventing users from installing whatever

cached locally to eliminate long file

any problems. Upgrading from XP is

they like, but letting software update

transfer times. Branch offices can

worthwhile in most cases, and even Vista

itself without upsetting the rules.

have their own copies of data usually

users will appreciate the better handling

Branch Cache: For users on a single

hosted exclusively at the head office.

and new conveniences.

network across multiple physical

Permissions can be set for security, and

– jamshed.avari@chip.in


FEATURED

HOME NETWORK

Home Network Nirvana To experience true media and Internet sharing joy, set up a system to stream movies and music through every room in your home network. It can be done even with your existing router. BY FABIAN VON KEUDELL

urf the Internet while in bed,

S

with networking functions, it is much

and cheaper routers on the other hand

retrieve music from your desktop

easier than you might think. CHIP shows

are usually equipped to handle only the

PC to play in your living room,

you how to set all this up conveniently.

slower 802.11g standard. Its theoretical

straight to the console. You can even

High speed Wi-Fi

to even 15 Mbit/s in practice due to

quickly send a letter to the printer while

The center of your home network is a

interference such as thick walls or

sitting at the breakfast table if you want.

normal router. You can use older models

Bluetooth devices.

This can be done with a modern home

no doubt, but a modern device with the

network. And since almost all devices

802.11n standard is a better option for

function in dual modes, i.e. it can transfer

sold today—right from TVs and game

fast Internet sharing and HD video. You

data at the 300 Mbit/s theoretical rate of

consoles to answering machines and

can identify compatible devices with

Wi-Fi n as well as the older Wi-fi g mode

external hard disks—are all equipped

the “n” icon on the packaging. Older

which the majority of devices today will

or download add-ons for your games

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

transfer rate is 54 Mbit/s , which shrinks

CHIP recommends a router which can

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FEATURED

HOME NETWORK

assign two new names for your wireless connections—one for the 5 GHz and one for the 2.4 GHz band each. Save the configuration using ‘Save Settings’. In order to ensure that an unknown person cannot creep into your network, be using. The reason is some n-standard

the antennas in, since current devices

you need to secure it. The best option is

routers will fall back to the slower speed

use internal antennae and adjust these

the current WPA2 technology with AES

for all devices if they cannot support

automatically.

encryption. Click ‘Wireless Security’ and

dual modes simultaneously. Once

Once the router is placed, you can

select ‘WPA2 Personal’ as the Security

you have a router which meets your

move on to the configuration. The steps

Mode. Click ‘AES’ under ‘Encryption’, and

requirements, you can consider upgrading

here outline the setup process for a

enter a password next to ‘Passphrase’,

your laptop with an inexpensive USB

Linksys router, but it will be extremely

ideally around 20 characters: a mixture

Wi-Fi n adapter to take full advantage of

similar for others. Open the configuration

of digits and alphabets. Save the

it. If your laptop is relatively new, chances

page of the router in your PC’s Web

configuration using ‘Save Settings’.

are it supports the n standard already.

browser, it is 192.168.1.1 by default. Enter

Even the location of the router is very

We still need to change the router’s

“admin” as the username and password.

own password from the default

important. The connection functions at

Next, set up your Internet connection as

‘admin’– this protects the settings

its best if it is mounted on a wall, as high

per its settings, either PPPoE or Static.

from a stranger’s eyes. Click on the

as possible. Besides, the router should

Now you can move on to the wireless

“Management’ tab in the ‘Administration’

not be placed directly behind a computer

security settings. Most routers can

menu and enter a new password under

or any other device which emits strong

automatically set up secure connections

the option ‘Router Password’. Save again

radiation or shields radio waves through

with other devices from the same brand.

through ‘Save Settings’.

a metal casing.

We’ll use manual settings to make the process more transparent. To set the

NAS replaces big servers

Bluetooth devices and microwave ovens

name (the SSID) of the network yourself,

Until now, the PC’s own hard drive has

have been known to interfere. You need

go to the ‘Wireless Devices’ tab and

been used to store all your photos,

not worry about which direction to point

click ‘Manual’. Under ‘Network name’,

videos and MP3s. Now, a NAS system

In case of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi g networks,

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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FEATURED

HOME NETWORK

(Network Attached Storage) takes up this work so that you can access files from any device on the network even

INFO

when the PC is off. You can find relatively

Multifunction remote control

cheap and high-capacity NAS devices

You now control your devices not only from the sofa, but also from every room in your apartment.

in the market, or you can get empty network-attached drive enclosures and add your own drive(s). If you are doing this, choose a “green” hard drive, since the task is not very demanding and it will save power in the long run. Some devices come with additional software for backups and configuration. Now you can serve up media and even create individual shares for music, videos and photos. iTunes Server and DLNA (Digital

You now require just one thing to make your multimedia home perfect: a universal remote control for all entertainment devices. Then you really won’t need to be on your feet every time any longer to enjoy your digital audio and video files. One great (though expensive) example is the Logitech Harmony 1100. You can select your devices from a huge database on the computer, without going through any

complicated programming. Even macros for various scenarios can be created easily. For example, you can use just one button to simultaneously switch on the television, switch over to the video input, start the DVD player and play the inserted disc. Everything functions through a touchscreen that displays the suitable information. Optionally, the remote control can control devices from other rooms wirelessly.

Living Network Alliance) are two ways you can tell devices to search for media on a shared storage device, so make

you might find an Ethernet port (or in

companies like Netgear make network-

sure your NAS supports these features.

rare cases integrated Wi-Fi). Some others

connected adapters which use regular

If not, you can always create a shortcut

have USB ports which let you add a Wi-Fi

video and audio inputs, but act like a

to it using Windows Explorer, or map the

adapter too. You will need to use the

bridge to your network. You could also

network store as a separate drive so it is

remote to navigate through the settings

get a combination device, which has an

always visible in Explorer. More advanced

menus and configure the set to recognize

integrated hard disk as well as network

drives allow you to determine when

your LAN. You will have to configure the

access, to store your files and hook up

they should spin down to reduce power

IP address (or set it to automatic) and

directly to the TV.

consumption, and let you define a “sleep

enter your Wi-Fi password, if applicable.

mode” for the night.

Once set up, the TV remote will let

VoIP for long distance call

you surf through the available network

You have to pay through your nose for

The TV isn’t static

resources, including your NAS. Select the

even a short conversation with your

If you are lucky enough to own one of

file you want, and just press play.

family abroad—but with VoIP, the same

the latest flat-screen high-definition TVs,

For those with less high-tech TVs,

conversation costs you just a few paise, and that too without worrying about any cable connections. Since you already have Wi-Fi coverage all over your home, you can walk around and make calls

Some NAS devices can host a spacious hard drive, connect to your network, and also connect directly to your TV and home theater.

just like you would with an ordinary cordless phone. Special Skype phones are available but expensive. A cheaper idea would be to use your Wi-Fi enabled cellphone and an application such as Skype, Gizmo5, or even chat programs like Google Talk which allow voice calls.

All the world’s a radio Finally, you can listen to music without advertisements, and tune in to hundreds more choices than our local FM stations offer. Some of the best radio stations around the world broadcast high quality streams online, which your Wi-Fi enabled home will allow you to listen to anywhere. Live365 and Shoutcast are some of the better online repositories for finding good stations. Tune in through your cellphone, or a suitable receiver box which can plug into your living room speakers or home theater. Configure all your network devices for security. Each brand's configuration page will look different.

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– feedback@chip.in


FEATURED

WEB WATCH

Web Watch AUDIO/ VIDEO TWEAKING

GO GREEN

O

ased out of the UK, Mr and Mrs

B

are equally commendable.

Green prolifically post on their

Powered by Wordpress and

blog named Little Green Blog, to

created around the Arthemia theme,

share the information and experiences

this blog goes well with the whole

equipment and gadgets. In the last

they’ve had over the years. As the

conceptualization. Plugins and widgets

decade, as the number of file formats

name suggests, at www.littlegreenblog.

have been chosen wisely to suit the

and compression techniques has

com, you’ll find various methods and

theme and avoid clutter. The main

grown, so has www.ddigest.com.

techniques to maintain a healthier and

horizontal menu bar has the necessary

Today, whatever information you

greener environment all around. The

elements that complete a blog or website

need on digital audio and video, be

main menu includes various sections

to make it look professional. Home,

it, software, codecs for all operating

such as family and home, green food,

About, Community, Advertising options,

green technology, health and wellness,

Contact details, and Library are some

ver the years, digital audio and video formats have largely changed the ways in

which we use our audio and video

and mind and spirit. These sections are further divided into relevant. Some of the popular posts are ‘Stop junk mail’, ‘Switch your light bulbs to LEDs’, ‘Gas or electric-which is more eco-friendly’, ‘six tips for a green office’ and so on. Most of the articles revolve around what the authors are truly passionate about, and that’s what makes the posts even more informative and interesting. The authors share knowledge about environmental systems, gadgets, peripherals and

issues, self sufficiency, healthy food,

such, you’ll find it here. Articles,

frugality and so on. Out of the hundreds

of sections you can explore. Despite the

product and news updates from

of posts, although there are some which

presence of some flash elements, the

around the world, latest movie

are more relevant to the masses abroad,

blog loads quickly and the navigation is

trailers, synopsis and reviews,

they are interesting to read.

intuitive. If you aspire to lead an eco-

software downloads, you name it, it’s here. ‘HDTV viewing distance

As much as this blog is inspiring and informative, its design and overall layout

friendly, healthy and green way of living, you’ll like this blog as much as we did.

calculator’, ‘ASF to AVI conversion guide’, ‘ATI DVD player review’ and ‘capturing from VHS’ are a few of the of interesting articles. Searching and navigating is fairly simple and the options available are helpful. The main sections include

DO IT YOURSELF

I

f you like to get creative with

the categories section of this

electronics and gadgets and if DIY

blog and notice the amount of

accounts for one of your hobbies,

creativity shown in the various projects

Movies, News, Articles, Software, and

here’s a link, http://blog.makezine.

implemented and shown step-wise. There

so on. The riches of the content are

com/archives.html. Head straight for

are not only DIY guides for computers

courtesy power users around the

and electronics, but you’ll see how to do

world who seem experienced with

more with a bicycle, car, home appliances

ripping, encoding and transcoding

and much more. A couple of interesting

audio and video content using various

posts are ‘Mini-joystick from a ball-point

software and techniques. Most

pen’ and ‘Build a CNC hotwire foam

guides and articles are in a step-wise

cutter’.

manner and include screen shots, to enable better comprehension and

DIY-fans will also like this very small, yet interesting blog called www.

implementation. If you want to have

diygadgets.blogspot.com. Though not as

a good understanding of digital audio

elaborate as Makezine, it is the level of

and video, bookmark this website.

creativity and innovation at this site that caught our eye.

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FEATURED

WEB WATCH

The best of what the Web has to offer this month, for fun, enlightenment, or profit.

SHOPPING

W

NEWS

hile we’re amidst this festive

such as www.indiangiftsportal.

season, shopping can be hard

com, then your options are even more

to resist, but it can be quite

and you can leverage on the enormous

time-consuming too. If you plan to send gifts abroad or to a different part of

COMPILED BY DUSHYANT KHILNANI

number of gift ideas and services.

T

hough it might sound clichéd, the truth is that fitness today has probably taken

a back seat, especially for people who

The exhaustive number of gifts at

can’t take time out of their busy work

the country, logistics are also a matter

Talash range from ladies and men’s wear

schedules. Here’s a website which will

of concern. Here’s a website that lets

to electronics, books, CDs, handicrafts,

help you rejuvenate the mind and

you send gifts to various parts of the

jewelry, fresh fruits, confectionary items

world, www.talash.com. It is part of the

and so on. Be it international or local,

IndiaNIC group that provides IT services

most brands are available. All gift items

worldwide. At Talash, many items are

are categorized into sections. Navigation

truly Indian, and are hard to find on

is simple and alternatively the options

international online shopping sites. So,

of searching by keyword or by price are

if you want to send a pooja thali along

available too. Almost all online payment

with a bunch of well-decorated box of

methods are available at this site.

Indian dry fruits, this is the site you’re

Based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh,

looking for. Of course if you bump into

Indian Gifts Portal offers similar features

websites which offer similar services,

and services on their website. Navigation is slightly different, but very easy. Also, its categorization and segregation of

body with the least amount of time

items is less elaborate in comparative

available. It is called www.shapefit.

terms. Similar to Talash, this site offers

com, and essentially it’s a website

choice of gifts by seasons, festivals

filled with tips and techniques to

and occasions such as Diwali, birthdays,

burn body fat, build muscles and to

anniversary, wedding and so on. What’s

maintain a healthy and good-looking

most interesting is that as Indian

body. Exercise guides, articles, videos,

festivals approach, you’ll notice relevant

success stories, diet tips, calorie and

gift items on sale. All-in-all, these two

BMI (Body Mass Index) calculators

websites are likely to end your search

and strength training are some of

for gifts for friends and family.

the main areas that this website covers. Each section is broken down into various categories. For instance,

REAL ESTATE

B

in the Exercise section you’ll notice a multitude of exercises meant for

uying or renting a house is no

If you’re looking for a home

specific body parts. There are diet

cinch, because there are too

for staying or for investment

charts to keep a track of how your

many aspects involved such as

purposes, or if you simply want to

workout regime and food intake strike

surroundings, locality, arrears and most

be updated about the scenario in the

a balance. There are specific workout

importantly the modes of payments.

real estate market, logon to www.

and diet plans jotted for getting

allcheckdeals.com. A Naukri.com

desired results. If you don’t get the

venture, this website let’s you browse

time to hit the gym, there are small

through most of the major cities such

exercises that can be performed at

as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai,

home or at work. Kris Bierek, the

Pune, Hyderabad and so on. Be it for

founder of this website, created this

commercial or residential purpose, or for

to help people around the world with

corporate lease, you can search the site

quality health and fitness information.

by city, your budget and by the number

He has an extensive background in

of bedrooms you may need. You can

strength training and nutrition. Click

even sift through a list of developers

on the Writers section and you’ll see

to keep a track of new and upcoming

his and other professionals’ profiles.

projects.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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FEATURED

WEB WATCH

Web dictionaries for all uses An always-on connection means you're never too far from help. Just jump to any of these resources to look up whatever you want. BY DUSHYANT KHILNANI

O

nline dictionaries have been

are relevant to various fields such as

around for a while, but today

medicine, legal and finance. It’s called

they offer a lot more than just

The Free Dictionary by Farlex. Also, the

meanings and definitions of words.

Hutchison Encyclopedia on this website

The colossal growth in the number of

is packed with loads of information

offered features on online dictionary

and facts from around the world. From

websites is amazing. In this story

Hinduism to the Mayan culture, erosion

we shall discuss some of the most

to energy, Cyprus to Costa Rica and

comprehensive and unabridged online

English to Aramaic, simply type in what

dictionaries on the Internet. While most

you’re looking for and you’ll learn about

of the dictionaries are free to use, there

it here.

www.urbandictionary.com

paid services.

the iPhone and alternatively you can use the latest audio WordWeb dictionary on

are some which even offer premium and

the go. It covers most English spellings, be it American, British, Australian, Asian

www.merriam-webster.com

and so on.

One of the most comprehensive and Webster dictionary which not only

www.shabdkosh.com and www. dict.hinkhoj.com

offers the traditional online dictionary

So much for common usage English and

and thesaurus, but has various other

slang, here are a couple of websites

features too. A few main sections

for Hindi words and phrases. You can

include downloads, word of the day,

use these websites for translating

popular of the lot is the Merriam

Hindi words into English and vice

word games, open dictionary, spelling bee hive, word for the wise and so on.

There are countless websites for actual

versa, and also get their meanings in

English words and phrases; now here’s

either language. Shabdmala even states

a dictionary for phrases and words

examples with the resulting words,

that aren’t commonly used across the

which can be quite useful for easy

globe, which includes slang language.

comprehension.

It’s called the Urban Dictionary, where

There are some features which are

you can browse through words listed

common to most of the websites. One

alphabetically, look up a specific word or

of them is the choice for integration.

phrase or simply sift though the words

Instead of re-visiting the site every

that appear each day. So if you come

now and then, you can integrate the

across some slang during a conversation

Dictionary you like into your browser

website are learner’s dictionary and

with your friend, girlfriend or foe, you

and Google or Yahoo toolbar by

Word Central. The former is a great

know where to look it up.

downloading the relevant widget from

A couple of other ventures on this

the dictionaries’ website.

source for teachers and students of ESL (English as a Second Language), EFL

www.wordwebonline.com

(English as a Foreign Language) and

Coming back to English, here’s another

number of Internet users and with the

TOEFL (Test Of English As A Foreign

great application and online English

Internet being made widely available

Language) courses. Another great

dictionary. WordWeb Online, although

on portable devices, there’s very little

resource for kids and teachers is the

not as feature-rich as some other

chance that you want to carry a physical

Word Central where kids can play word

websites, is quite useful. The installable

copy of a Wren and Martin with you.

games and build their own dictionaries

version of this application is the

All you have to do is go to your mobile

and teachers can source various ways to

most convenient of the lot. Install the

phone’s browser, look for the word and

make their teaching experience richer.

software, point the cursor to a word

get results instantaneously. If you’re

and simply right-click. The definition

searching for meanings, definitions,

www.thefreedictionary.com

and explanation of the word appears

synonyms, related words or antonyms,

Speaking of richness, here’s a must-

instantaneously. What’s most interesting

you know where to look when online.

visit online source for dictionaries that

is that, this application is available for

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With the considerable increase in the

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in

SMS us!  Story code: FWD to 51818


FEATURED

DUSHYANT'S WEB WATCH COLUMN

ONCE YOU GET STARTED, YOU HAVE TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF. KEEP THE TRAFFIC FLOWING TO KEEP THE ADVERTISING CASH COMING IN. DUSHYANT KHILNANI, TECHNOLOGY WRITER

BLOGGING: LEVEL TWO W

hat many prolific bloggers might agree with is that consistent and incremental traffic largely determines the success of a blog. Also, making a blog interesting is one thing, but always keeping it that way is what’s most important. Now the inflow of traffic and the growth of a blog are directly proportionate in ways more than one. This is where taking your blog to the next level comes in. If you’ve followed one or more successful blogs, you’ll notice a pattern. Gradually but continually, bloggers add value to their writings. Since content is more important, it’s good to pay attention to it and innovation in design can wait until your blog has good amount of traffic. If you don’t offer new and interesting content regularly, chances are that readers will re-visit a few times, but on realizing the lack of consistency, they’ll drift away. Also, even if the content is top notch but no one knows about it, you won’t have any readers in the fi rst place. There’s very little value—if any—in blogs that merely offer links to other websites and fi le-download servers. When there’s original content, it gets indexed and is valued by search engines. Whether a reader is interested will depend a lot on how the article is written. For blogs featuring fiction stories, even a sad but well-written tale can be a hit. But if you try to put across a lengthy and technical piece packed with jargon into a single post, you might loose the reader midway. In such cases, break it up into chapters, such as ‘Managing terabytes of data in 10 days’. Then each post could be about different types of data. Ranting on a subject that you’re well-versed with can be used to your advantage. Once you've built up a collection of posts, you can

offer a free ebook when a user signs up. Also, whenever you want to detail your readers about something, send them an ebook, there’s added value and they can read it at their own leisure. Send weekly or fortnightly newsletters to subscribers. Speaking of which, there should be simple-to-use email subscription and RSS feeds on your blog so that subscribers can stay updated in the way they choose to be. The idea is to ensure that existing readers come back. Now, it’s time to attract more visitors. Although word-of-mouth and emails to friends and family are effective, social networking can prove to be much more powerful. Join a couple of sites and tell your friends and their friends about the blog. Also, when meeting people, it’s good to be ready with a 30-second description. Not everyone has a very good attention-span, so being able to concisely explain what your blog is about is a great idea. Try not to overdo the promotion, too much of it can backfi re. Here’s a fun way to keep your blog lively. Actively participate on other blogs which involve people who share similar interests. This way you get updates ahd also exchange traffic, which means newer visitors. You can even have your own forums, which will mean continuous interaction amongst readers. The more value you add to your blog, the higher expectations are set, and the more your blog has to consistently be enjoyable.

ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE ON BLOGS WHICH INVOLVE PEOPLE WHO SHARE SIMILAR INTERESTS.

- dushyant.khilnani@chip.in

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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HANDS ON DR CHIP

Dr CHIP SEND YOUR QUERIES TO: drchip@chip.in

Sachin Pandit

[Q]

Yahoo entry and remove or disable the

of the burning smell. Inspect the area

SP2 and am using Mozilla Firefox 3.5.2.

blocking. Your Yahoo mails will work

thoroughly for any burnt indications. At

Whenever I try to send my emails

again.

times a new power supply unit (usually

Hi Dr CHIP. I have Windows XP

a lower quality brand) heats up fast and

from Yahoo, an error occurs and it states ‘component returned failure

[Q]

code: 0x805e000a [nsidomlocation.

been a burning smell coming out of my

burning.

replace]’. It also happens with other

computer. I have checked the system

 The power supply unit (which is the

Yahoo IDs. This problem has started

temperatures and fan control settings

high voltage area inside a computer

recently. It was perfectly working fine

and they seem to be fine. I am unable

cabinet) is always dusty from the inside.

before. I also have Internet Explorer 6.0

to detect any cause of the burning

Higher moisture levels in the atmosphere

through which I am able to send emails

smell. Please help!

during the rainy season make the dust

Hi Dr CHIP. Recently there has

– Abhay

without any issues. Please tell me how

the varnish coating smells as though it is

moist or damp. This creates sparks and short circuits inside the power supply

to rectify this problem. It is urgent.

[A] Hello Abhay, you need to act fast

unit. Something might be slowly burning

on this problem. Usually a burning smell

inside due to higher heat levels as the

from a computer is not common, but

damp or moist dust becomes a good

a serious issue. There could be several

conductor of electricity. You should

while browsing using Mozilla FireFox, you

reasons for the burning smell

inspect the power supply from inside

might have right-clicked and accidentally

 Firstly switch-off all the power to

and clean out the dust after completely

blocked the Yahoo panel from Mozilla’s

the computer and unplug the main

drying the interior of the unit. Make

Adblock. All you would need to do is go

power cable. Use your sense of smell to

sure that the power supply is drained of

to the blocking rules and search for the

locate and zero-in on the exact location

power completely and then handle it as

Thanks. – Shishir Gupta

[A]

Hello Shishir. At some point in time

there are high voltages stored inside the power supply unit even if the unit is not powered. Ask an expert to handle the problem if you are not confident enough and avoid any risk.  The similar problem of dust may be possible on the other peripherals such as the motherboard, cards and the memory chips. Make sure you clean the complete cabinet and peripherals inside the case.  The possibility of a damaged power connector or wire from the power supply Go to the blocking rules and search for the Yahoo entry and remove or disable the blocking.

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Make sure you clean the whole cabinet, especially the motherboard and power supply unit.

to the motherboard, hard drive or optical drive could be burning or over-heating. If

SMS us!  Story code: HDC to 51818


HANDS ON DR CHIP

the cable is damaged or weakly/loosely

might be software such as some versions

connected, this causes very high power

of DivX or Nero burning rom. Try the

to pass through a tiny connection causing

latest versions of DivX, use Nero’s higher

overheating or even sparking and burning.

version, update Windows Service pack

The outer plastic/rubber insulation of the

to the latest, etc. to solve the problem.

cables could be melting and causing the

You will definitely need an internet

burning smell. Inspect every cable and

connection for the updates. Make sure

connector inside the cabinet carefully.

that the system is free from viruses.

 The external power cable from the

You can also try uninstalling the DivX

wall unit to the power supply could be

and Nero software completely and

sparking due to a carbon deposit on the

reinstalling a newer version downloaded

connectors. Have these connections

from the Internet. It is recommended to

inspected.

install the Vista Codec Pack to update

 Check the monitor for any smell of

all the codec in Windows Vista. In certain

burning. It could be the similar condition

cases, disabling the thumbnail preview

repartition the drive and reformat the

as of the power supply unit.

also helps.

partitions completely. Download a utility

 Ensure that the computer is not kept

Use the ‘CHKDSK’ command from the command prompt to scan for bad sectors on the hard drive.

which can scan the entire hard drive for

near a window or in a room that has an

[Q]

air conditioner running on extremely low

my new hard disk. My system has an

try Norton Disk Doctor, HDD regenerator

temperatures especially during the rainy

Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM,

or Hard Drive Test Pilot for scanning the

season.

Nvidia 8600GT Graphics card and 160

drive. As you have mentioned that the

GB HDD. I am using Windows XP SP2.

hard drive is barely five months old, you

Recently I bought a new Seagate 500

should send the hard drive back to the

15 laptop with 2 GHz Intel Core 2

GB HDD (internal SATA drive) around

company or dealer and have it replaced

Duo processor, 250 GB hard disk, 2

five months ago and connected it to

under warranty.

GB memory with MacAfee antivirus

my system. It was basically used for

preloaded. But I didn't update my

my movie collection. I partitioned it

[Q]

antivirus because I do not have an

using my XP bootable CD. The biggest

machine with 1 GB DDR1 memory and

Internet connection available and now

partition was 300 GB and now it is

160 GB hard drive running Windows

I have a problem. The system reports

completely full. Only 5 GB is available

XP service pack 2. Till yesterday my

an error ‘Com surrogate had stopped

as free space. Now I’m receiving errors

machine was working perfectly? But

working ‘ and also ‘Rundll32error

on this drive. I performed a disk check

this morning I have noticed that when

Windows has stopped working’

using default Windows CHKDSK utility.

I press the power button, some lights

whenever I open any folder in my

After restarting, the disk checking

on the cabinet are showing up but

laptop. I need to know the reason for

hangs on the third stage. It passed

the system won’t start. I opened the

the errors and the solution too. You

stage 1 and 2 without any issues.

computer cabinet and found that the

are a great hope for me. Thanks in

When I skip the CHKDSK procedure, it

fans don’t work and neither does the

advance.

works fine, but sometimes the drive

CDROM tray eject. Even the power

hangs again and I have to restart the

supply fan is not spinning. I tried

computer. I tried checking the drive

cleaning all the components, but it still

with TuneUp utilities 2009, but it

won’t start. What could the problem

usually caused due to codecs and other

also crashes at the end of checking. I

be? I suspect the power supply to be

COM components, installed by various

don’t want lose 300 GB worth of data.

dead, but if it is so, then why are some

software, that are not completely

Also backing-up the entire data is not

lights working? Please help.

compatible with Windows Vista. These

possible as I don’t have a spare hard

[Q]

Hi Dr CHIP. I have a Dell Studio

– S. Sathiyamoorthy

[Q]

Hello Sathiya. This problem is

Hi Dr CHIP. I have a problem with

bad sectors and repair them. You can

Hi Dr CHIP. I have a Pentium 4

– Sachin

drive. Are there any other options that I can try? Thanks. – Ifthikhar, Chennai

[A]

Hello Ifthikhar. Your hard drive

seems to be in a bad shape and your data is definitely at high risk. You would need to backup the data as fast as possible. Ask a friend or your office administrators if they can help you in this situation and lend you an external/ internal hard drive for some time. Else This problem is due to codecs and components, installed by various software.

you would have to backup the data to DVDs. Once all the data is backed up,

Test the power supply using a multi-meter and check if the power outputs are correct.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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[A]

Hello Sachin, as you have notified

high. To confirm this, try disconnecting

opting for a DTH connection at home.

that you have cleaned the system from

the monitor from the TV tuner box and

I need a few details from you before I

inside, I am sure that the duct is not a

connect it directly to the computer’s

go ahead to buy one. I need some help

cause for the present problem. I suspect

VGA slot on the graphics adapter or

and information. Is Reliance BIG TV

the power supply too. There is a high

onboard graphics connector of the

going to start Internet service on the

possibility that the power supply is faulty

motherboard. If you get a display, your

DTH network? Will I get HD content if

and not supplying 12 V on the yellow

TV tuner or the cable connecting the

I opt for Reliance BIG TV? Can I use

rails—this is the reason some lights are

TV tuner to the computer could be at

the Reliance STB and get service from

working while the fans are not. To find

fault. If you do not get a display even

TATA or Airtel? Can I connect the STB

the exact problem, I would recommend

after bypassing the TV tuner, then you

to my computer to record programs?

that you test the power supply using

should try cleaning the motherboard,

a multi-meter and check if the power

memory chips and the graphics card and

output is correct. If you don’t have a

try again. If it still does not work after

multi-meter, try using another power

cleaning, then you would need to trouble

supply and check if the system works

shoot the system using different spares.

fine. If it does, you would need to repair

Call a computer engineer and have it

the power supply unit. But as the power

inspected if you do not have spares.

– Jignesh

supply unit is not expensive and can cost a mere Rs 400 to Rs 600, I would advise

[Q] Hello

you to opt for a new one. This is because

hard drive is dead and wont spin up.

a repaired power supply unit could

It is a Seagate 250 GB hard drive and

damage the other components of the

contains a lot of data. Though the data

computer in future and the new power

is not very important, I would still like

supply unit would come along with a two

to retrieve the data. Is there anything

or three year warranty.

I can do?

Dr CHIP. My computer

You can connect the STB to the computer, but you would need a TV tuner card for the input.

– Nisha

[Q]

[A]

Hi Dr CHIP. I have a Core 2 Duo

Hello Jignesh, opting for DTH

processor with 2 GB RAM and 250 GB

connection is a great move, and you will

hard drive. It has Windows XP SP3

not repent for your decision. Reliance

installed. I also have an external TV

BIG TV is definitely going to start

tuner box connected to the computer

Internet services in India using the DTH

for watching cable TV on the same

technology, but it is not yet confirmed.

monitor. I have a major problem and

We still do not have an idea if they are

am very concerned. When I switch on

going to use the same STB hardware

the system, there is no display and the

for Internet or one would need to add or

monitor power light keeps blinking. I

change the hardware at the premises.

think the machine is working properly,

So I cannot answer this question, but

but I am not getting any display. When

you can definitely inquire with Reliance

I switch on the TV tuner box, I am able to watch TV, but the computer does

A dead drive is usually opened and the platters are mounted on a similar drive to rescue the data.

not work. Please help.

viewed using the Reliance STB, but as no channels in India are presently

– Pramod

[A]

BiG TV help desk. HD content can be

Hello Pramod, the possibility of

your computer being faulty working is

[A]

Hello Nisha, there is very little

beaming HD content (except for two

that you can do with a hard drive which

south channels), there is no point of

is dead and cannot be detected. If

thinking about HD for a while.

the hard drive is under warranty, have

You cannot use the STB from one

it replaced, else if you want the data

service provider with another provider’s

to be rescued, you will have to give it

service network. You would need to

to a professional. Repairing the drive

install the STB from another DTH service

would be expensive (depending on the

and install their dish antenna too. You

problem) and rescuing the data would

can connect the STB to the computer

involve a cost which would include the

and record programs, but you would

cost of repairing the drive. You should

require a TV tuner card for the input on

get an estimate for the same and

the computer.

then decide. Get a computer service technician to help you with the needful.

Install a TV tuner card and connect the STB’s AV cable or RF cable to the TV tuner and run the program to capture

[Q] Try disconnecting the monitor from the TV tuner and connect it directly to the computer’s VGA port.

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Hello Dr CHIP. I have read

and save it. TATA Sky+ has a built-in

through your article about the DTH

recording feature which does not need

services in India and liked it a lot. I am

a computer to be connected. It has a


HANDS ON DR CHIP

built-in hard drive which can record and save the programs. Why don’t you opt for one? Reliance BIG TV also has a similar option with their STBs.

[Q]

Hello Dr CHIP. I have a computer

at home and it has Windows XP on it. My brother is a very inquisitive person and always keeps cracking my passwords and uses my computer. How can I prevent him from doing so? Please guide me with some tricks. – Shridhar Sawant

Install an external IR filter in front of the camera lens if you have misplaced the original filter.

[A]

Hello Rahul. You cannot use the

hacked camera in broad daylight as

A laptop cannot usually be upgraded in any aspect (except for the RAM and hard drive).

increase the performance of the laptop by upgrading the hardware.

the camera is very sensitive to IR light and daylight has a higher intensity of IR

[Q]

rays. The camera will give out washed

upgrade my system. My budget is

out images. You need to install the filter

Rs. 15,000. Which parts of which

back again. But if you have lost the IR

specification should I buy, so that I

filter, there is very little possibility of

can use it for playing new games and

getting one in the market.

internet use?

Hello Dr CHIP. I want to

The only way you can get one is to

– Godwin Joel

hunt for a similar camera in the scrap Use a password in the BIOS to prevent intrusions. This can even prevent the system from booting.

market and remove the IR filter from it

[A]

and mount it on your camera. Another

specify the present configuration of

Hello Godwin. You need to

way is to install an external IR filter in

your computer in order to judge which

Hello Shridhar. As there are a

front of the camera lens. IR filters are

parts need an upgrade. But casually

lot of utilities available to crack the

available, but are large in size and are

speaking, usually the motherboard, CPU

Windows password in the pirated

also expensive. I would recommend

and memory are the ones that need

zone on the internet, I would advise

you to buy another camera rather than

upgrading.

you to install a password in the BIOS

spending on the filter. Another cheap

itself. If you install a password in your

alternative is to step down to your local

with 1 GB memory should suffice for

motherboards BIOS, he would not be

spectacle shop and ask him to provide

Internet surfing. But when gaming is

able to crack the password with ease

you with waste IR lenses or filter glasses.

concerned, it would depend on your

unless he opens the computer cabinet

You would need to cut this IR glass to

present configuration because depending

and removes the battery or resets

size and figure out a way to mount it

on your configuration and motherboard

the password by clearing the CMOS

whether behind the lens or in front of it.

specifications, a graphics card can be

using the jumper. For this, you would

All the very best!

installed for a gaming performance.

Newer cabinets have the feature where

[Q]

[Q]

you can lock the computer cabinet to

customized further for better gaming

motherboard is suitable for the

prevent such cases and even thefts.

performance?

AMD ATHLON X2 7750 BE processor?

[A]

Opting for a basic Intel Core 2 Duo

need to physically lock the computer. Hello Dr CHIP. Can a laptop be

– Niraj Pal

[Q]

Hello Dr CHIP. I referred to the

Hello Dr CHIP. Which

I have shortlisted Gigabyte GA-MA78-US2H and Asus M3N-78.

workshop in CHIP which helps make

[A]

a regular webcam into an IR camera

would be a yes and a no. Yes would be

whereas Gigabyte provides ATI

for night vision. It was fantastic and I

that there are possibilities by heavily

RADEON chipset, but Gigabyte has

am having fun with the workshop. But

tweaking your operating system and

got lot more features than Asus?

now I am in trouble. I need to use the

make it perform faster. But games that

Please help and reply soon because I

web camera in my balcony and during

would require a graphics card would not

am planning to buy one. Thank you.

the day I cannot get any images at all.

run anyways.

I thought of replacing the IR filter back

Hello Niraj. In this case the answer

Asus provides NVIDIA chipset

– Mangesh Barde

A laptop cannot be upgraded in any

again in the camera, but I have lost

aspect (except for the memory and

[A]

the filter. What can I do now? Where

hard drive). Hence you cannot install

you to opt for the Gigabyte GA78-US2H

can I get a filter? Is there any other

a graphics card and make the laptop

motherboard.

alternative?

perform as a gaming computer. I would – Rahul Mani

Hello Mangesh. I would advise

— Send your queries to Francis D'Sa

say that you cannot do anything to

at drchip@chip.in

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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HAND HA HANDS D S ON ON

W RK WO WORKSHOP KSH SHOP

Selective Monochrome Make your pictures stand out by coloring only the elements that need to be portrayed while greying out the rest. BY SANDEEP BALACHANDRAN

hen it comes to expressing

W

that the colors stand out. But if you need

| Adjustments | Selective Color”. The

yourself via pictures, color

to remove small unwanted specks from

picture chosen in this workshop had very

plays an important role at

the picture you can make use of the

subtle yellows while the blacks looked

capturing and drawing people’s attention.

Clone stamp tool by selecting the tool

light grey. Selective Color allows you to

How you present your pictures makes

on the left or by using shortcut key “S”.

make changes only to the color that has

a lot of difference. This method is best

Now by keeping “ALT” pressed select

been chosen from the drop down menu.

used when you want to attract the

an area on the picture similar to specks

So if you are working on yellows, select

viewer’s attention to particular areas

surrounding. Let go of the “ALT” key

yellow from the menu and move the

of the image while greying out the rest.

and move the mouse over particle that

slider towards the positive direction to

Layer masks play an important part here

needs to be removed. You can increase/

highlight the yellows. The same applies

since they allow you to color the area

decrease the size of the Stamp Tool by

to all other colors, but you will need to

that you want to highlight, which needs

clicking the left or right square bracket.

mix and match the colors for some time to get the final outcome you feel is best

to be controlled with the precision that only a brush can provide. Certain adjustments need to be made

Step 1: Levels

for the picture. After you have made

We will now need to enhance the overall

adjustments click on “OK”.

to make the overall picture stand out.

image by adjusting the color levels. To

The selective color tool basically allows

do this click on “Image | Adjustments |

Step 2: Layers

you to make fine changes to specific

Auto Levels”. To be able to highlight color

Double click the thumbnail image named

colors. Before starting we’ll need to

of your choice even further choose the

background in the “Layers” palette to

correct the overall picture to make sure

Selective color mode by going to “Image

convert it into a workable image. You

ADJUSTING COLOR LEVELS AND ADDING LAYERS STEP 1

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STEP 2

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WORKSHOP

MAKING FINE ADJUSTMENTS AND MASKING STEP 5

STEP 6

STEP 7

FINAL IMAGE

could either rename the layer or leave it

Step 4: Brush tweaking

brush though the required parts of the

unchanged as “Layer 0”. Now, right click

Choose the black and white image and

image till you achieve what you set out

on the newly created layer and select

select the “Layer mask thumbnail” that

to do. To make things easier zoom in

“Duplicate layer”. This will allow you to

was just created. Change the foreground

when painting over the desired object.

work on your image without damaging

color to black and select the brush

the original. You can save a copy as a

tool. Choose a hard round brush from

somewhat like the image shown above.

backup for good measure.

the list of brushes and uncheck “Shape

Now that you know how to make a

dynamics”. You can also make use of

partial monochrome image, go ahead –

Step 3: Adjustments

the short cut button “F5”. Note: Brush

experiment and see how your pictures

Remember that we need to convert

size can be increased or decreased by

turn out. Keep in mind that this is best

a good percentage of the image into

toggling between the square brackets.

used when you want to highlight a

black and white. To do this go to “Image

Once done your picture should look

particular scene especially when there is

| Adjustments | Hue and Saturation”.

Step 5: Masking

Select the colorize box and enter 221

After you have selected the brush and

for Hue and slide the saturation level to

defined its size, carefully paint over the

painting your picture. You can use the

5. Or you could simply choose “Image |

areas that needs to be highlighted. If

lasso tool or even the pen tool which

Adjustments | Black & White”. Click on

you paint over an undesired location all

is the most effective way of making a

“Auto” to make the necessary changes.

you need to do is swap the foreground

selection. For the Pen tool you will need

Now add a layer mask to the black and

color with white. To do that, simply click

to click on “Paths” once done tracing

white image by selecting “Layer | Layer

on the Swap button placed just over the

around the highlight object, right click

mask | Reveal all”. This is needed since

foreground/background swatch palette.

on “Work path”, and follow the same

we will be bringing back color to certain

Remember in layer masks black conceals

process as given above.

parts of the image.

and white reveals. Keep running your

a whole lot of color in the image. There are a couple of other ways of

– sandeep.balachandran@chip.in

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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WORKSHOP

Wi-fi Heatmapper Analyze Wi-Fi signal strengths and make necessary adjustments to enhance network coverage. This free tool will display the best location for your WLAN router. BY NIELS HELD

S

ome of us who connect via a

or netbook. Start the tool and

a continuous line on the layout. End the

router often face problems such

select “I have a map image”. Now

walk by right clicking on the point you

as slow data transmissions

select the layout of your building

are currently standing on. You can undo

and load it in HeatMapper.

the last step using the ‘Undo Survey”

and connection disruptions. All these problems point towards a badly situated

Now if you don’t have an image or

router. With the Ekahau HeatMapper you

map of your apartment simply select

tab in case you misclicked.

can find the best installation locations

“I don’t have a map image”. The

found routers with details like names,

to cover all rooms with radio signals in

software should now show a grid layout

SSID, channel number or encryption

the best possible manner. The software

with the centre point being your router

on the map and show where the

also shows the security settings of all

access point.

reception of devices is the strongest

HeatMapper will now position the

with the help of color gradations from

access points within the range making it

Step 2

green to red. The device currently

Place your router possibly at a place

having the best connection with the

the tool since the tool itself requires

from where you often access your

Laptop is marked green. Once you

you to be mobile to be able to measure

WLAN such as the living room or

are done marking the signal strengths

signal strengths in different parts of the

bedroom. Now connect the router to

around your house save the overview

room. Also, it is recommended to import

the socket; an internet connection

map by clicking “Take Screenshot”.

the blueprints or layout of the building

need not be established as of now.

into the program in order to simplify

It is best to start testing along with

Step 3

the measurement. The HeatMapper

the laptop in the corner of the house

You can now optimize the location

alternatively shows the measurement

or apartment. Click on the map

of your router with the help of the

results and router location on a grid. CHIP

where you are currently standing

reception map. The map basically

tells you how to optimize your WLAN

in-order to start the measurement.

helps you analyze the signals and setup

ideal to trace unsafe and new networks. A laptop is compulsory when using

using this software. But before we start

Now walk slowly into the next corner

access points wherever you find the

you will need to download this free utility

of the building. Keep clicking on your

signals to be weak. The red areas on the

from www.ekahau.com. You will find this

current location continuously while

map show where the reception is bad.

tool under the products section.

walking. Walk to all rooms so as to draw

You can improve on the reception by moving the router around till you get a

STEP 1

green bar.

Install the software on your laptop

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– feedback@chip.in

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TIPS & TRICKS

Tips & Tricks NOVEMBER 2009

SHARE YOUR TIPS. Write to: tnt@chip.in

Sachin Pandit

TIP OF THE MONTH Excel XP, 2003, 2007 ADJUSTING DIAGRAMS AND TABLE VALUES EASILY WITH THE MOUSE One of the benefits of a spreadsheet is that you can create diagrams out of just column of figures. However, changing the height of the bars can only be done by manipulating the data and that too in a complicated way. There’s also another way to do it: You can vary the diagram values with the mouse as well—Excel aligns the underlying data automatically to the changed graphic. First of all, click on the diagram to focus on that particular object. Subsequently, click successively (not a double click) on the column whose height needs to be changed. You need to do that because all columns are selected after the first click. Now position the mouse pointer on the upper edge of the column. As soon as the curser changes into an up-and-down arrow, keep the left mouse button pressed. You can now change the height of the column using the mouse. Only experimenting will tell you the positions at which you can move and change the individual elements with the mouse in the various diagram types. While the anchor point in case of the columns of a bar diagram lies in the centre of the upper edge, you need to get the individual segments at the external corners in case of a pie chart or a circular diagram for instance.

WINDOWS

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1.

Windows XP, Vista, 7

Avoiding auto-installation of updates while shutting down the machine

2.

Windows 7

Using your own picture as the background of the login-dialog

3.

Windows XP, Vista

Having the Recycle Bin handy despite a full Desktop

4.

Windows Vista

Present thumbnails in directories as filmstrips

5.

Windows XP, Vista

Faster access to the Control panel

6.

Windows Vista

Customizing folder templates in Windows Explorer

7.

Windows XP, Vista

Testing your PC for compatibility with Windows 7

8.

Windows XP, Vista

Translating error messages in comprehensible clear text

9.

Windows XP

Starting the System Console window immediately in a practical size

APPLICATIONS

113

10. Excel XP, 2003, 2007

Checking results and formulas more easily

11. Office 2007

Finding commands faster through usual classic menus

12. Outlook 2003, 2007

Defining a preset size and color for notes

13. Word XP, 2003, 2007

Duplicating certain text parts of a document faster

14. Excel XP, 2003, 2007

Using the Find and Replace function only for text contents

15. Panorama photography

Optimally tuning wide angled photos with panorama stands

16. Picture Optimization

Optimizing boring picture compositions

17. Digital photography

Conjuring up a dynamic zoom-effect in the photo

18. Internet Explorer 8

Enabling more than six parallel downloads

HARDWARE 19. IBM / Lenovo ThinkPad

117 Resetting a forgotten TPM-password in BIOS

20. Working memory under 32-bit Using the full four GB RAM under Windows Vista 32-bit

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SMS us!  Story code: HTT to 51818


HANDS ON

TIPS & TRICKS WINDOWS

with ‘Accept’ and ‘OK’. After another click Unlike in XP and Vista, in Windows

1

on ‘Yes’ you can create the sub-folder ‘\

Windows XP, Vista, 7

7, you can change the background

backgrounds’ and copy the JPG-pictures

Avoiding auto-installation of

without having to use any external

there.

updates while shutting down

software. For that, you must activate a

the machine

From the next login, Windows 7 will

function in the registry and then integrate

greet you a background picture of your

a photo of a suitable size.

own choice.

On a notebook it is better to decide

ACTIVATING A FUNCTION: First,

yourself when Windows should install

enter ‘regedit’ in the search field of the

the available updates. The best time

Start Menu and press Enter. Now confirm

would be when it is back to the power

the question regarding the user account

supply from the electric socket. You

administration with ‘Yes’ and navigate to

should therefore change the standard

the key

The Recycle Bin serves the purpose

option, so that you do not have to wait

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\

of deleting files using Drag&Drop. But

for the installation to be done when

Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

there is something annoying about it:

you shut down your computer.

Authentication\LogonUI\Background’.

the view of the Desktop must be free,

On the right side in the window, This can be done by creating

Windows XP, Vista Having the Recycle Bin handy despite a full Desktop

so that the recycle bin is accessible.

search for the value ‘OEMBackground’. If

an additional registry entry. For that,

that is not available, create it using ‘Edit

open ‘Start | Run’, enter ‘regedit’ and

| New | DWORD-value’. Double-click on

click on ‘OK’. In Vista or Windows 7, it

the new entry to edit, change its ‘value’

is enough to just type the command

to ‘1’ and confirm with ‘OK’. Then close

in the search field of the Start Menu

the registry.

and press enter. In the Editor, navigate

PREPARING THE PHOTO: Windows

to the key ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\

uses the file ‘backgroundDefault.jpg’

Software\Policies\ Microsoft\Windows\

as the background picture and scales

WindowsUpdate\AU’. If the last sub-keys

it to the current screen resolution, as

are still not available, create these with

long as no other file is available in the

‘Edit | New | Key’. Then click in the right

suitable pixel format. The files for special

side of the window and select ‘Edit |

formats must be in the form ‘background

New | DWORD value’. Enter the name

1024x768.jpg’. Here, the file names should

‘NoAU AsDefaultShutdownOption’ and

include both values of the screen size.

then press [Enter].

The best option is to edit the different

To edit, double-click on the new entry.

3

3

You will be able to access the shortcut to the Recycle Bin even when windows are maximized.

Integrate the Recycle Bin in the

image versions using a graphics program.

Change the ‘Value’ in ‘1’ and confirm it

While doing so, take care that the

always visible, left-side of the quick-

with ‘OK’. This thus prevents Windows

maximum file size does not exceed 256

launch bar. This way, you will always

from automatically selecting the option

Kb. If required, reduce the image quality

have access to it. If the bar is hidden,

‘Install updates and Shut down’. Set the

of the JPG-file.

right-click on a free area in the taskbar

value to ‘0’, if you wish to activate this

COPYING IN THE SYSTEM FOLDER:

and activate ‘Toolbars | Quick Launch’.

option again later.

Now copy the edited JPG-files in the

Minimize all opened windows by pressing

NOTE: the displayed entry changes the

actual folder meant for OEM-providers

[Win]+[D], select the Recycle Bin and

setting only for the current user. If the

‘%windir% n\system32\oobe\info\

drag it to the quick-launch bar by keeping

configuration should be applicable to all

backgrounds’. Since this is not available

the mouse key pressed. After letting go

users, enter the same new DWORD value

in most systems, you need to create it.

of the mouse key, Windows integrates a

as described also in the Registry key

For that, and to copy the files, you need

shortcut of the Recycle Bin.

‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\

writing rights.

To delete a file, drag it to the symbol

Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

Therefore, open Windows Explorer

in the quick-launch bar. While doing so

WindowsUpdate\AU’. Then close the

with administrator rights by entering

however, you must take care that the

registry. The new setting is only effective

‘explorer’ in the input field of the Start

mouse key is released exactly above the

after you restart the computer once.

Menu, right-click on the program entry

Recycle Bin, or else an additional short-

and then open ‘Run as administrator’

cut will be created in the quick launch

Windows 7

from the context menu. In Explorer,

bar. The pointer should thus not have an

Using your own picture as the

navigate to the folder ‘%windir%\

additional plus-sign before the mouse

background of the login-dialog

system32\oobe\info’. Right-click on

key is release.

2

it, open ‘Properties’ and switch to the Instead of the regular Windows

‘Security’ tab. There, click on ‘Edit’ and

background, you would like to use one

mark ‘Administrators’ as the group or

of your own pictures right at the time

user names. Activate the Option ‘Allow’

of login.

in the line ‘Complete access’ and confirm

4

Windows Vista Present thumbnails in directories as filmstrips

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HANDS ON

TIPS & TRICKS

4

Menu Properties’ dialog, the option

QUICK TIPS

‘Start menu’ is selected, then the dialog ‘Customize Start Menu’ opens. Search

EDITING GUIDELINES With ‘Start | Run’, tye ‘secpol.msc’ and a click on ‘OK’, in the XP Professional Version, open ‘Local Security settings’ to customize them.

the ‘Control Panel’ entry in Vista in the list in the upper half of the dialog. In Windows XP, you will find the entry in the tab ‘Advanced’ in the list ‘Start Menu

A registry value in Vista adds a frame to thumbnails of graphics and photo files if desired.

You wish to give your Windows system an individual touch and hence are wondering if you could give your small preview pictures, your graphics and digital photos, the ‘Thumbnails’, an unusual frame. Of course you can! You can actually you’re your thumbnails an unusual frame. For that, start the registry editor, by typing ‘regedit’ in the search field of the Start Menu and pressing [Enter]. In the tree structure, navigate to the key ‘HKEY_CLASSES_

CREATING A PATH USING A COMMAND

elements’.

With the command ‘md’ (make directory) to create new folders, you can also set up entire paths, e.g. ‘md c:\today\test’.

between the options ‘Display as menu’,

TURNING OFF THE SOUND WHEN BOOTING

use the Control Menu as a sub-menu of

Right-click on the loudspeaker icon in the notification area, then on ‘Sounds’ and deactivate ‘Play Windows Start sound’.

option corresponds to the usual behavior

Under this entry, you can select ‘Display as a link’ and ‘Never display’. Activate the first mentioned option to the Start Menu henceforth. The second of the Control Panel, while the third option completely removes the Control Panel from the Start Menu. Confirm

OPENING SEVERAL PROGRAMS

your choice with ‘OK’. The change is immediately effective.

Keep [Shift] pressed in the start menu before the first selection in a sub-menu. Then the selection of further applications is possible.

6

Windows Vista Customizing folder templates in Windows Explorer

CLASSIC START MENU FOR WINDOWS 7

Vista tries to identify automatically as

Right click the taskbar and select properties and select ‘Use small icons’ and choose ‘Never combine’ under taskbar buttons.

to which type of files a folder contains. Then it displays this with the suitable

ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\image’.

template, e.g. in the form of miniature

On the right side, there is a value called

pictures for photos. But that doesn’t

‘Treatment’. If that is not there, create it with ‘Edit | New | DWORD-value (32-Bit)’.

always work. You can access the individual

Then open the entry by double-clicking.

programs directly from the Start Menu.

In the following dialog, ‘Edit DWORD

For that, right-click on ‘Start’ and select

customize the template for presenting

value (32-Bit)’, enter one of the following

‘Properties’. Then in the ‘Taskbar and

the folder content. For that, right-click

values, with which, you can determine

Start Menu Properties’ dialog, click on

on the folder and select the context

the different types of frames for the

‘Customize’ in the ‘Start Menu’ tab. If

command ‘Properties’. Switch to the

thumbnails.

you are using the classic Start Menu, in

‘Customize’ tab. In the combination field

Vista, set a checkmark in the following

‘Use this folder type as template’ and

frame with holes like that of a filmstrip –

dialog in ‘Advanced Start Menu options’

now change the setting to ‘Pictures and

that the most extravagant design option.

before ‘Expand Control Panel’ or in XP

Videos’, for example. Besides, you can

The option ‘2’ is a simple frame and

before ‘Open Control panel’ to activate

activate the option ‘Apply template for

option ‘1’ is a hardly visible, narrow frame.

the concerned option. Confirm this

all sub-folders’. You can thus apply this

with ‘OK’. If in the ‘Taskbar and Start

template to the entire following folder

The option ‘3’ gives your thumbnails a

If you do not want any frames, under ‘value’ enter a ‘0’ or delete ‘Treatment’.

In Explorer, you can quickly

5

Confirm with ‘OK’ and close the registry

6

editor with ‘File | Exit’. Windows will display desired frames from now on without restarting the computer.

5

Windows XP, Vista Faster access to the Control panel

You always access applications in the Control Panel. Irrespective of which program you open, the path to the control panel is always through a separate window which can be tedious.

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Pin the Control Panel to the Start menu to access important programs in a jiffy.

In the “Properties” of a directory, determine which templates Windows should use.


HANDS ON

TIPS & TRICKS

structure. Confirm the setting with a

7

mouse click on ‘Accept’ and ‘OK’. If Windows should not allocate the

b7fc-09e02a13696c&displaylang=en’. Extract the archive and install the tool. Error Messages is immediately ready to

templates independently, then you can

use. The question takes place based on

switch of this setting for all new folders

the internally stored information, so that

using the registry.

an Internet connection is not required.

For that, open ‘Run’ in the start menu,

Activate the tab ‘Lookup’ and enter the

enter ‘regedit’ and click on ‘OK’. Navigate

five-digit error number in the ‘Error Code’

to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\

field. The explanation is given under this.

Software\Classes\LocalSettings\ Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\

9

Bags. If you don’t find the folder ‘Bags’ create it by right clicking on ‘Shell’ and navigate to ‘New | Key’ and name it ‘Bags’. Now do the same by right

Windows XP Starting the System Console window immediately in a

The Microsoft Upgrade Advisor shows which components are too weak for Windows 7.

practical size

clicking on ‘Bags’ and create a key called

these are included in the test. First click

Windows opens the windows of

‘AllFolders’. Similarly, create the sub-

on ‘Start check’ and wait a few minutes

important system consoles, e.g. the

key ‘shell’ in the directory and leave it

till the result is there.

Computer Administration or the system

selected. Then click on the right side of the

The advisor gives information

services in a very small size. So you

regarding the compatibility and possible

have to drag and enlarge the window

window and start the command ‘Edit |

problems in the columns ‘System

every time. That is certainly not clear

New | Character String’. As the name,

Requirements’, ‘Devices’ and ‘Programs’.

and in keeping with times.

type ‘FolderType’ and confirm the entry

Besides, it recommends steps that help

with a click on ‘OK’. To edit, double-click

overcome difficulties. Thus, for example,

on the new entry. As the value, now enter

a direct upgrade is not possible from

consoles, there is no option to save the

‘NotSpecified’ and click on ‘OK’. Then

an XP-computer. Instead, Windows 7

window settings. With a trick however

close the registry.

must be re-installed. A backup of My

it can be done. Open ‘Run’ in the Start

Documents is thus mandatory.

Menu, enter ‘mmc’ and click on ‘OK’.

Henceforth, the operating system no longer tries to independently identify the

To check the further executed tests,

In the view settings of the

In the Microsoft Management Console

type of contained files in newly opened

click ‘See all system requirements’ or

directories. Contents identified once and

‘See all devices’. Using the button ‘Save

the user-defined settings remain intact,

report’, you can export the test results to

the four last used system dialogs. For

so that you can continue working with

an HTML file for later checking. For that,

example, to customize the window

the templates.

change the file type in the Save dialog to

for the computer management, select

‘Web page complete (*.htm; *.html)’ and

the entry that ends with ‘compmgmt.

Windows XP, Vista

click on’ Save’.

msc’. ‘services.msc’ opens the system

Testing your PC for

NOTE: The links in the dialog do not

services; ‘devmgmt.msc’ opens the

compatibility with Windows 7

always function correctly, but sometimes

Device Manager. Should the desired

lead only to the storage folder of the

system dialog not be available, you can

Even though Windows 7 is supposed

tool. The driver search must be thus

start the relevant MSC-file through the

to have a reasonable resource

carried out personally on the Internet.

‘Open’-dialog.

7

requirement, you would rather test whether your somewhat old notebook is fit for the new Windows at all.

window, now open the menu ‘File’. Here, you will find references to

Now change the size and position

8

Windows XP, Vista

of the respective program window as

Translating error messages in

you wish and close the dialog. Confirm

comprehensible clear text

the enquiry with ‘Yes’. It can also be

As before for Vista, Microsoft

that a note offers the update to a new

also offers an ‘Upgrade Advisor’ for the

In case of a system error, Windows

version for this console file. Confirm this

new Windows for free, with which you

usually delivers cryptic numbers, which

question with ‘Yes’ as well. Henceforth,

can test the system for its suitability for

hardly help any further to look for the

every customized dialog starts with the

Windows 7. The program is still in the

error. A search for the error on the

new settings.

beta phase, but is running stable.

Internet is thus often a tedious affair.

APPLICATIONS

To be able to use it you will need to install the .NET Framework 2.0. First

The freeware ‘MS Windows

extract the Zip-Archive and open the

Error Messages’ helps understand an

contained MSI-Installer packet. Then you

error quickly and offers all explanations

can directly start the tool. Before further

regarding the error codes.

analysis, ensure that you have connected

You can download this tool from ‘http://

10

Excel XP, 2003, 2007 Checking results and formulas more easily

and switched on all the important

www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.

In a comprehensive calculation, you

external devices to the computer, so that

aspx?familyid=be596899-7bb8-4208-

want it to be easier to identify as to INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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which values are a result of formulas

11

QUICK TIPS

and which data has been entered. Besides, you want to quickly verify, how formatting the formulas affect the results.

EDITING SEVRAL ROWS IN A CELL To write several rows in cells in calculation tables of OpenOffice, press [Ctrl]+[Enter] to change rows unlike in Excel.

The editing toolbar shows the

ACTIVATING A SEARCH FIELD WITH A KEY

formula saved in the active cell. If you want excel to display all formulas of a worksheet at the same time, open ‘Tools | Formula Auditing | Formula Auditing Mode’. This mode can also be activated using the key combination [Ctrl]+[`],

In Firefox, [Ctrl]+[K] sets the cursor in the search field on top-right, so that you can immediately type your search query in the Google search filed.

which can also help you switch back to

QUICKLY HIDING THE MENU BAR

the normal view.

To hide the multi-function toolbar in Office 2007, press the key combination [Ctrl]+[F1] or double-click on the currently active menu tab. Repeat to show it again.

To be able to check all calculations effectively you will need to view the formulas and their results at the same time. For that, you use two windows one below the other with a view of the same calculation. Close all still open worksheets.

DEFINING A STANDARD FONT Open the command ‘Format | Font’, in Word and select the desired settings and then click on ‘Default’ on the left.

The free tool UBitMenu integrates the menus from the old versions in the latest Office programs.

the new Ribbon-command toolbars. The freeware can be downloaded from ‘http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenulanguages’ – giving you the option of additionally integrating the usual menu structure in new multi-function toolbar. This method is recommended, since you do not need to hide any menu points and

Keep the cursor at the beginning of

ROUNDING UP TIME DETAILS

the current table and open ‘Window |

With ‘=ROUND(A1*96;)/96’ you can round up your time in Excel, e.g. to calculate work timings including the next 15 minutes.

New Window’. To arrange both views, select the ‘Window | Compare Side by Side with…’. In Excel 2007, switch to the Ribbon ‘View’ and click on ‘New

CODEC RETROFITTING

Window’ and ‘Arrange all’. Select the

You can optimize Windows Media Player by downloading a codec from ‘http://www. microsoft.com/downloads/details. aspx?familyid=06fcaab7-dcc9-466b-b0c404db144bb601&displaylang=en’.

option ‘Horizontal’ and confirm with ‘OK’. Then click on the button ‘Compare side by side with’. Then click in one of the two display windows and press the key

at the same time, you can use the new operation method. If you do not find the command you are looking for, you can simply make way for the known menus. After the download, close all Officeprograms and install the program. The tool is an add-in, which is integrated as a general template. From the next program start, you will the additional Ribbon ‘Menu’ in all Office programs in the multi-function toolbar. With that

combination [Ctrl]+[`], to display the formulas there. Every action in a Window

CAUTION: As far as possible, do not

you can access the usual structure of

is automatically visible in the adjacent

close the checking ‘Close side by side’.

menus and toolbars. When you later no

window so that you can always compare

This changes the window arrangement,

longer require the menu help, it can be

the same section. To control the

but leaves the second window open. It is

easily removed from the Control Panel in

action, you can activate or deactivate

better to close one of the two windows,

Windows later.

the scrolling of the other table in the

so that the original worksheet is viewable

displayed toolbar ‘Compare side by side

in full size again. Then save the changed

with’ using the button ‘Synchronous

data, since you have only closed the

scrolling’. Editing of values or formulas is

viewing copy till now.

12

Outlook 2003, 2007 Defining a preset size and color for notes

possible in both windows.

10

11

Office 2007

When creating a new note, the

Finding commands faster

application opens a tiny window – too

through usual classic menus

small to edit anything. So, an extra action is always required to increase

After the switch to Office 2007,

its size with a mouse which can be very

many users are irritated with the new

annoying.

operation of the multifunction toolbar. To avoid the tedious search for a

With a few actions, you can create

command, you would like to use the

a template, which can later be used

usual old menus at least temporarily.

instead of the standard note. For this, create an empty note through ‘File | New

Microsoft did not provide Excel can display two views of a table at the same time. This helps in editing and checking formulas.

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| Note’ and change its size to suit your

any option in the new Office to use

requirement. You can also assign a new

the menus established over several

color, by clicking on the note symbol on

generations of programs along with

the left in the title-bar and opening the


HANDS ON

TIPS & TRICKS

system menu and selecting a ‘Color’.

13

Alternatively, select ‘Tools | Options |

expressions in the formulas. To avoid this, before replacing, open ‘Edit | Go to’.

Note Options’. Outlook now offers five

Then click on ‘Special’ and select the

colors and three prescribed sizes as well

option ‘Constants’. This selects all cells

as other fonts for the notes.

that do not contain any formulas. Now

TIP: In Outlook 2007, you can only

you can deactivate the individual check

select the note color and through the

boxes under it – ‘Numbers’, ‘Text’, ‘Actual

‘Categorization’ of notes.

values’ or ‘Errors’, to further restrict the

If the given options are not enough,

selection. Confirm with ‘OK’. Now you can

open the system menu in a note,

execute the desired task.

select ‘Save as’ and in the following

BACKGROUND: The table calculation

dialog under ‘File type’ select the entry

replaces key words in formulas with

‘Outlook-template (*.oft)’. Then assign another name and click on ‘Save’. To use your own template,

the ‘Find & Replace’-function without With the help of a link, you can copy a selected text area quickly.

any warning. This, at best, causes error messages to appear, in worst case,

open ‘File | New | Select form’. In the

another area. First write the desired text

unnoticed, wrong results. For example,

dialog of the same name, activate the

on the first page and manually enter a

if you wish to replace the term ‘Number’

entry ‘Templates in file system’ in

page-break in the end with [Ctrl]+[Enter].

with ‘Numbers’, this also replaces the

‘Search in’ and then double-click on the

On the second page, enter the different

function ‘NUMBER’, which you have

entry that you have created.

text parts like headers and footers. Then

possibly used in a formula. The situation

on the first page, select the text to be

gets more critical, if you wish to replace

opening of the template, if you define a

copied and copy it to the clipboard. On

‘and’ with ‘or’ in the text. This also

shortcut to it in the links area of Outlook.

the second page, select the command

changes the logical function ‘AND’ or ‘OR’

For that, you will require the path to the

‘Edit | Paste’. In this field, select the type

in formulas and give the wrong results, or

directory, in which the template is saved.

‘Rich Text Format (RTF)’ and click on

perhaps no result at all – or only after its

You can find out the path as follows: in

the ‘Paste link’ option next to it. After

too late.

the combination field ‘Search in’ of the

the confirmation with ‘OK’, Word creates

dialog ‘Select Form’, select the entry

a field, which reproduces the original

‘Templates in the file system’. Now you

content as it is and usually updates it

can read the path in the field directly

automatically with a slight delay.

You can considerably speed up the

under the combination field. Start Windows Explorer with

15

Panorama photography Optimally tuning wide angled photos with panorama stands

In Word 2007, click on the menu ‘Start’ and then in the multi-function toolbar on

As a big fan of panorama pictures, you

[Win]+[E] and navigate in the said

the arrow under ‘Paste’, to execute the

have concluded that sometimes it is

directory. In the folder options under

command ‘Paste’.

very difficult to put pictures together

‘View | Advanced Settings’ you might

NOTE: For the next texts take care

to form a panorama. Especially when

need to first activate the display of

that changes to the source text are

the photographed objects are relatively

hidden files and directories with the help

made within the source area of the

close to the camera.

of the option ‘Show all files and folders’.

link. Besides, you must not make any

Then click on the template you have

changes in the linked section, which

saved, keep the left mouse key pressed

can be identified with the grey of the

When you are taking individual pictures

and drag the entry in Outlook to the title

border, since these are automatically

for a panorama, and for that, using

‘Links’ in the navigation area. As soon

overwritten. In the context menu of the

your body axis as the pivot, objects

as a small plus-sign appears, let go of

linked area, you can manually ‘Update

in the depth of the photos appear to

the mouse key. The new link has been

the links’ or make other settings through

have varying distances next to each

created.

‘Linked document object | Links’.

13

Word XP, 2003, 2007 Duplicating certain text parts of a document faster

14

Excel XP, 2003, 2007 function only for text contents

Just like Word, the table calculation

same contents, with slight changes in

offers a function to Find and Replace

the details – for example signatures

terms. After you have changed a few

– to be able to send them to two

words on a worksheet, the formulas

different recipients. The Mail Merge

compiled before with much effort cease

function would be too much for that.

to work and give wrong results.

Using a link, you can make every

15

Using the Find and Replace

You want your documents to have the

text change get copied automatically in

The culprit is the parallax shifting.

Perhaps you have not only changed the text contents, but also

When photographing individual frames for a panorama, a special panoramic stand is helpful.

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other. Correspondingly, it is difficult to

16

position them on one another while superimposing them in the photo editing.

Outside, only blurred stripes, and a sharp main focus in the center: especially in sports photography, such

This effect can be prevented using a

techniques add enormous speed. How

special panorama stand. Thus, the pivot

do we create this effect?

can be the so-called nodal-point. When adjusted correctly, the parallax shifting

Zoom effects are fascinating. They

can be avoided fro closer subjects in the

emerge when the focal length changes

photo as well.

while capturing the subject. Since the

The nodal-point is different depending

eye does not find any stop in the blurred

on the camera; its position depends on

areas, the viewers eye inevitably goes to

the focal length. Usually, it is somewhat

the sharp part of the photo. But the eye

in the middle of the lens. Therefore, the pivot of the panorama stand is not fixed in the area of the camera body thread,

hardly stays there, because the many Simple errors or miscalculations can be covered up with software.

diagonals created in the photo created by the effect also create incessant

but can be freely moved in a wide area.

background. This can be managed easily:

movement and thus suggest a lot of

While setting up, a lens with a fixed focal

simply squat and then take a picture of

restlessness. You can create the effect

length is advantageous. So, the following

the bird against the sky.

either directly while photographing or

setting has to done only once. After

OPTIMIZING ON THE PC: The picture

add it later to any picture.

mounting the camera on the stand first

can be edited very well with the help of

WITH THE CAMERA: Prerequisite is

tilt it slightly downwards and then align it

some photo-editing software such as

a zoom lens, the focal length of which

to the center by marking a center.

Photoshop. Straighten it out first – for

can be adjusted smoothly, without

that, select the ruler tool in the tool

shaking, with a zoom-ring at the tube.

Picture Optimization

list and draw a line over the horizon in

Compact cameras with an adjusting

Optimizing boring picture

the picture. Then proceed with ‘Photo |

compensator must unfortunately fit here.

compositions

Rotate work surface | Apply’. Photoshop

Another important utensil is a stand.

has already determined and entered

Set your camera on it, select a suitable

In some situations, you have to be fast:

the right value through the first action.

composition and focus with the main

take out the camera and switch it on,

Now you only have to click on ‘OK’. Now

subject in the center. If possible, select

position the camera and click. And

select a narrower, asymmetrical picture

the program automatic aperture (‘TV’),

then often, the main subject – like the

section, which will shift the focus back

then, using the timer, you can set the

seagull in the picture – is not optimally

on the actual subject of the photo – the

exact exposure duration. The camera

in the centre of the picture.

seagull. Our suggestion above shows the

then automatically determines the

optimized picture. Now pep up the dreary

suitable exposure time. At 1/15 or 1/8

colors to some extent. For that, use the

seconds, experience has shown that the

this picture could have flown away the

‘Selective color correction’, which can

zoom effect is brought out very well.

very next moment, which is why one

be called through ‘Photo | Customize’.

Now the difficult part: when capturing

must stop dithering in such situations.

In the dialog, vary the color channels of

the photo, you must change the focal

Focus for a bit and click. At that speed

Cyan-, Blue-, Magenta- and gray tones.

length as uniformly as possible. Whether

however, it can easily happen that the

The optimal values must be determined

you increase it of reduce it, is your choice.

horizon is not exactly straight in the

by tying out. In the last step, we also

The following has always worked: start

picture. This is all the more prominent

stamped out the wooden stick.

turning the zoom ring before clicking the

16

THE PROBLEM: The seagull in

in pictures like these, in which the ocean

Set the camera such that the center

ruthlessly cuts through the picture.

auto-focus field is identical with the

However, what is more important than

marking. Then set-up the camera again.

the perfect picture is that the subject

Now search a point in the foreground,

should be sharp. In this picture, the

e.g. a lantern, or a lead going back. Now

cloudy weather gives the picture a very

when you rotate your camera on the

dreary gray tone. In all, the photo is not

stand towards the left and right, the

as exciting as it could have been.

distance between the two points will

CLICKING IT DIFFERENTLY:

increase of decrease depending on the

When non-artistic reasons compel

rotation. Move the camera on the guide,

a consciously symmetrical picture

till you reach a point where the distance

composition, you must place the main

between the two markers no longer

subject off the center of the picture. This

varies on rotating the camera.

triggers and continue turning it through the exposure time. With that, you will

17

increases the excitement. In the example shows us another faux pas: the sea gull is divided by the horizon. However, it would stand out better on a single-color

116

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

17

Digital photography Conjuring up a dynamic zoomeffect in the photo

The zoom effect can be generated either directly while photographing or after by using photo tools.


HANDS ON

TIPS & TRICKS

have uniform lines stripes in the picture.

command ‘Edit | New | DWORD value’.

key pressed, till the computer is switched

If you first press the trigger and then

Then double-click on the entry to edit

off again. Then restart notebook and go

frantically turn the ring, the shakes are

it; change its ‘value’ to ‘10’ and leave

to the BIOS by pressing F1.

inevitable. The first time however, the

the ‘Base’ at ‘Hexadecimal’. Confirm the

‘Wow!’-effect is difficult to get. Trial and

value with ‘OK’. Navigate further to the

error is the way to go here. Try the trick

adjacent key ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\

several times in both directions, vary the

SOFTWARE\Microsoft\InternetExplorer\

Using the full four GB RAM

speed of rotation. Interesting effects can

Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_

under Windows Vista 32-bit

also be created if you accelerate or slow

MAXCONNECTIONSPERSERVER’. Here as

down the rotation during the exposure.

well, on the right, search for the DWORD-

Memory is currently reasonable.

USING PHOTO EDITING: The solution

value ‘iexplore.exe’ or create it, if it is not

Despite that, you are annoyed that

is the filter ‘Radial soft focusing’ from the

available. Then again, double-click to

1,000 MB of your working memory

menu ‘Filter | soft focus filter’. First call

edit and change this value to ‘10’ as well.

remains unused under Vista.

the layer palette with [F7] and duplicate

Close the registry. In some cases, this

the background layer. For that, right-

also accelerates normal surfing speed.

a computer, in which a 64-Bit-enabled

HARDWARE

CPU is running, you could – if available

Then open the Filter. With the instruction ‘radial’ you will get the desired zoom effect. Set the ‘Strength’ using the slider control to approx ‘60’ and use the quality

– use the entire four GB memory. If you

19

IBM / Lenovo ThinkPad

are not sure whether you have a 32-Bit

Resetting a forgotten TPM-

Vista, find out, by right-clicking on “My

password in BIOS

Computer” and then by clicking on

level ‘Very good’ – it avoid rough graining. After clicking on ‘OK’, Photoshop

Working memory under 32-bit

When you use a 32-Bit Vista on

click on the miniature layer and select ‘Duplicate layers’ in the context menu.

20

“Properties” – you can then see the used You have already replaced the old hard

memory as well as the Windows Version.

integrates the filter in the picture. The

disk of your ThinkPad-notebook with

Now you only have to confirm whether

problem in that: there is no sharp area

a new, bigger one. You want to use the

your CPU is 64-Bit-enabled. In order to

remaining. Therefore, with a mask

contents of the old disk in an external

be safe, ask the Tool CPU-Z. Shortly after

symbol, (circle in the right corner) put a

housing – however, that does not work.

the start, there is a window, in which the

mask on the background copy and select the brush tool. Set a large radius and the

CPU-properties are listed. If here, under TPM-boards are hardware

“Instructions”, the entry EM64T (Intel-

border sharpness to ‘0’. Set black as the

keys that ensure that the contents of

CPU) or x86-64 (AMD-CPU) is found,

foreground color and then paint over the

a hard disk can be read only on the

then your CPU can be compatible with

area, which should be sharp.

belonging computer. In order to remove

64 Bit. Start the command prompt in the

this protection – e.g. when you want

administrator-mode (context menu). In

Internet Explorer 8

to read the disk on another computer

the command line mode, switch to the

Enabling more than six parallel

– a password is required. Since this

“Windows/system32” directory.

downloads

password is entered once and not asked

18

Now type “BCDedit/set PAE

again, one hardly knows when it is

forceenable” and confirm with “Enter”.

needed. ThinkPad owners can reset it.

This is how you can activate the PAE

For this purpose, shut down your

(Physical Address Extension). If there

downloads. Sometimes however, this

ThinkPad (with the old hard disk on

are problems after restarting, you can

number is also not sufficient.

board). Then switch it on again and press

undo everything with “BCDedit/set PAE

the [Esc] key untiringly – and for as long

forcedisable”.

In contrast to the previous versions, the IE8 allows six simultaneous

Especially when you wish to download several big files from slow

as the Windows boot-screen appears. As soon as that happens, keep the power-

sources, a bigger number of possible

20

downloads makes sense. Similar to the

The DEP (Data Execution Prevention) should prevent any malicious code from being executed. Unfortunately it also prevents the desired operations

previous versions, the limit is defined

from being executed, causing them to

in the registry, however, at a different

be switched off normally. With the DEP

destination. First, close Internet Explorer.

however, the PAE is also deactivated.

To customize, open the command

You can permanently switch off the

‘Run’ in the start menu of Windows,

DEP using the command line (command

enter ‘regedit’ and click on ‘OK’.

prompt in administrator mode) “BCDedit

Navigate to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\

/set nx AlwaysOff”. When in the next

SOFTWARE\Microsoft\InternetExplorer\

line, you type “BCDedit /set PAE force

Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_

enable”, you can restart the address

MAXCONNECTIONSPER1_0SERVER’.

extension. After restarting the system,

In the right side of the window, search

the full capacity should be available.

for the DWORD-value ‘iexplore.exe’. If it does not exist, create it with the

The command BCDedit/set PAE forceenable will force your system to use the available RAM.

– Compiled by Team CHIP send your tips to tnt@chip.in

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

117


UNWIND

GAME REVIEW

THIS MONTH 120 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Quite possibly the single best game experience we've had this entire decade. 122 Need for Speed: Shift Will this new formula be enough to save a dying line of games? 124 Ninja Gaiden Sigma II A fun and engaging addition to the cult classic Ninja Gaiden series.

124 Halo 3 ODST Die-hard fans of the franchise, rejoice!

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UNWIND

COLUMN

IF I HAD TO PICK ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE THIS PLACE, IT WOULD BE "SURREAL" AVINASH BALI, CHANNEL EDITOR—GAMING

TGS 09 EXPERIENCE S

umming up my experience in Japan for the Tokyo Game Show is tough. The Land of the Rising Sun is a country of vast disparity; on one hand the locals don’t speak a word of English but on the other they go so out of their way to help you that you feel a bit guilty. They have remote controlled toilet seats but Wi-Fi isn’t free. They have tons of options for us carnivores but vegetarians have to do with bread, butter and water. And then there are places that actually offer you the (paid) services of women who can clean your ears, exchange gifts with you, or just sit and chat like a girlfriend would. It’s a bit creepy at times but that’s Japan for you, somewhat sealed off from the rest of the world; not giving a rat’s ass about tourists or any outsiders. However when it comes to games, it’s a different story. The Tokyo Game Show

JOURNALISTS WERE WAITING IN LINES FOR AN HOUR OR TWO JUST TO SAMPLE GOD OF WAR III AND FINAL FANTASY XIII that takes place every year at the Makuhari Messe is one of the biggest video game expos out there. Hardware makers and game developers the world over congregate to display their products. The expo lasts for four days of which two are strictly for the press while the other two see nearly all of Japan descending on the venue proudly displaying their cosplay skills. Since this is the Tokyo Game Show and not E3, I was expecting local games to dominate the event but to my surprise they

had an equal number of Western games as well. Sure there were JRPGs you’ve never heard of in your life but there were booths where people could sample highly anticipated upcoming titles like Assassin’s Creed 2, God of War III, Splinter Cell Conviction and so on. We got to check out some pretty cool stuff like Lost Planet 2, Crackdown 2 and some of UTV's games. In case you didn’t know, UTV has ventured into the world of video games after acquiring Ignition Entertainment, a UK based developer. Thankfully these aren’t crappy casual games shamelessly cashing in on some Indian custom or sport; these are fullfledged 3D games for current consoles like the Xbox360 and the PS3. We spent nearly an hour running around with silly smiles plastered across our faces not knowing which booth to visit fi rst! All the major players like Sony, Microsoft, Capcom, Square Enix etc had huge booths showcasing their current and upcoming games. Journalists were waiting in lines for an hour or two just to sample God of War III and Final Fantasy XIII. Even though there were no mind blowing announcements at this year’s TGS, it was still a pretty awesome experience. We got to try out some cool games and interact with a few developers who were pretty kicked about the way gaming is taking off in India. But the highlight of this entire trip would have to be meeting up with Hideo Kojima who took some time out from his hectic schedule to pose for a picture with us. We love you Kojima San and even though you won’t remember us, we will see you next year! - avinash@tech2.com

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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UNWIND

GAME REVIEW

The best gaming experience this generation has had so far. BY AVINASH BALI

R

eviewing a game like Uncharted

Naughty Dog’s technical beast grabs

hindrance but trust me, it become a real

2: Among Thieves seems pretty

you by the family jewels and makes sure

bitch during the last few levels.

useless when the world and its

you’re in the driver’s seat at all times.

Speaking of the last few levels, I

If you’ve played Uncharted, UC2

got the feeling that Naughty Dog kinda

mother already knows how magnificent it is. Mere words cannot do justice to

will seem like familiar territory. The

ran out of steam during those parts.

developer Naughty Dog’s labor of love

game’s essentially divided into two

The game’s remarkably paced from

that is the prettiest, most intense and

aspects—platforming and combat (that

the start till the very end but during

breathtaking game I’ve played in recent

includes gunplay and hand-to-hand).

the last three missions it becomes a

times. It is not without its share of

Like its predecessor the platforming

tedious grind as you take on wave after

minor flaws but nothing in the world

in UC2 remains painfully linear, which

wave of well armored enemies who

can take away from the fact that if you

means you can’t even climb a ledge

like I mentioned earlier throw insanely

as a gamer do not play Uncharted 2,

if the game doesn’t want you to.

accurate grenades at your feet. Not

you suck. It’s really that simple.

Considering the technology driving this

helping matters is the fact that your

game, this comes across as a bit of a

buddy (controlled by the game’s AI)

disappointment.

can be pretty useless during those

Uncharted 2 is a direct sequel to 2007’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, but there’s no continuation of a plot over

Gunplay as well as the hand-to-hand

segments leaving all the work to you.

here. Drake’s been approached by a

combat system have been revamped

New to the series is a brand new

fellow fortune hunter to retrieve Marco

a bit. It still doesn’t feel 100 percent

stealth mechanic that allows Drake to

Polo’s treasure that’ll help them find

natural and there will be times when

take enemies out quickly and quietly.

the entrance to the mythical kingdom of

Drake will stick to objects you really

During the latter levels this really is a

Shangri-La. Doing so will take him and

don’t him to since dropping down to

boon as you can significantly reduce

his entourage all over the world as they

lower surfaces and taking cover are

your opposition before you go in all

partake in some of the most intense

the same button. Another issue I had

guns blazing. In a way the game can

cinematic moments you’ll encounter

with the combat was that the enemy

punish you for trying to be a Rambo by

in a game till date. Most games make

AI was remarkably accurate throwing

throwing an overwhelming number of

you relive really cool looking moments

99 percent of their grenades perfectly

enemies at you.

via cut-scenes or quick time events but

at my feet. It may not sound like a

Once you’re done with the fairly

The scenery is rich and engaging, though you won't stay in any one place for long.

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Jagdish Limbachiya

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UNWIND

GAME REVIEW

lengthy single player campaign you can head online for some multiplayer mayhem. It’s no Modern Warfare but it certainly holds its own against some of the biggest MP giants in the market today. You have standard modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Domination etc but you also have certain modes unique to the game and its setting. First up is Fortune Hunter that basically is a take on Capture the Flag, only instead of capturing a Flag you’re capturing an artifact and depositing it in your base. Since the artifact is heavy you can only wield your pistol while holding onto it leaving your life in the hands of your teammates who have to escort you to safety.

Uncharted 2 kept us glued to our controllers for hours. This could easily become the game of the year.

But wait there’s more. You even have a Horde mode (that seems like the norm in action games today) where

probably run out of adjectives and (2)

moments and is a relentless assault on

you and two other friends can take on

You have to see this game in action

your senses.

wave after wave of increasingly tough

to believe the kind of stuff Naughty

enemies in levels inspired by the single

Dog have pulled off on Sony’s console.

better looking game till date and unless

player campaign. It’s not revolutionary

Making it even more impressive is the

God of War III changes that I’d say we

by any means but it’s an excellent

fact that throughout the game, the

have pretty much the best looking

addition to the series.

framerate never dipped even once.

game of our generation. Besides an epic

Considering the insane stuff that goes

single player campaign that lasts nearly

mode which sadly doesn’t carry over

down in the game, this is an immense

9 hours you have a huge variety of

to the single player campaign. Co-op in

feat. Uncharted 2 may not be perfect

online options taking the term Bang for

UC2 is restricted to a bunch of stand-

but it is the closest you’ll get to

your Buck to the next level. I may have

alone missions (inspired by the SP

perfection. It has its share of flaws

said this before but this time I really

campaign) where you and two other

but all that gets overshadowed in the

mean it. If you’ve been holding back on

players tackle various mission-based

grand scheme of things. It balances all

that PlayStation 3 purchase till date,

objectives. This is an awesome addition

aspects of gameplay really well making

your reason has finally arrived.

to the game as platforming and fighting

you feel like the star of a Michael Bay

alongside your friends in a total blast.

blockbuster. It’s chockablock full with

I really won’t waste time describing

"OMFG DID YOU SEE THAT" (feel the

And finally you have the co-operative

the game’s visuals because (1) I’ll

Exaggerations aside I haven’t seen a

– avinash@tech2.com

RATINGS

emphasis with the power of CAPS)

ACTION ADVENTURE

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves PRICE

Rs. 2,499

PUBLISHER

Sony Computer Entertainment

DEVELOPER

Naughty Dog

DISTRIBUTOR

Milestone Interactive

PHONE

022-28203319

EMAIL

info@milestoneinteractive.coms

PLATFORM

PS3

RATINGS GAMEPLAY ENVIRONMENT OVERALL RATING

  

FOR Everything about the game.

AGAINST A.I seems a bit off. Game drags towards the end.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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GAME REVIEW

Treading the fine line between arcade and simulation with some interesting results. BY AVINASH BALI

E

ver since last year’s abysmal NFS

Need for Speed Shift pampers you way

does deserve praise. Not only does it

Undercover, I’ve lost all hope for

too much as far as money is concerned.

look authentic right down to the smallest

this series. After Most Wanted

Even at the easiest difficulty level it

detail, but crashing your car in that

it was an immensely steep downhill

showers you with tons of cash after

view will convey the sense of panic

journey for the franchise ending in a

every race, never letting you feel like

and urgency race car drivers feel while

horrific crash (major pun intended) with

you've accomplished anything significant.

crashing at such high speeds.

Undercover. This year EA decided to ditch

Also for some reason you can buy a car

the Underground Tuner culture they’ve

and deck it out but 60 percent of the

things right but at the same time it

been milking all these years and head

races in this game offer their own car

also tries doing too many things and

back to the race tracks with Shift.

presets rendering your purchases and

falls flat. It’s sleek, sexy and fast paced

upgrades uselelss. Another sore spot is

but at the same time it’s also a bit too

were story driven, Shift basically doesn’t

progression. Barely will you finish the

easy and doesn’t have an identity of its

bother with a plot. You’re a rookie who

first tier when the second and third tiers

own. I really don’t see myself playing

must work his way up the ladder to win

get unlocked. It’s as if the game’s trying

it at a stretch as it gets monotonous.

the World Tour. Yes, it’s that simple. Gone

really hard to be accessible to everyone.

Still if you’re looking for a racing fix till

are the loud-mouthed angsty teenagers

Another mechanic that falls flat on its

Forza Motorsport 3 or Gran Turismo 5

who’d race you for your car. Shift is all

face is the whole Aggressive/Precision

arrive, give Shift a shot and you might

about professional racing on the track

style of driving. Are you a calm driver

appreciate the hybrid that it is.

and it delivers in that aspect.

who’s going to earn Precision points

Unlike all the recent NFS games that

Your first race in the game will gauge

Need for Speed Shift does a lot of

– avinash@tech2.com

or are you gonna bump racers off the

RATINGS

your skills as a racer and choose the

track to earn Aggression Points? It really

difficulty level that’ll stick with you for

doesn’t matter because (a) playing as

the rest of the game. Of course you can

either never really affects your progress

CAR RACING

choose to ignore the recommended

in the game and (b) you can bump nearly

Need for Speed Shift

settings and bump it up, which we

every car off the track but drive the last

encourage with all assists turned on it’s

few hundred meters in a straight line and

like the game’s controlling your car most

PRICE

Xbox 360 (Rs. 2499), PS3 (Rs. 2499), PSP (Rs. 1599) and PC (Rs. 999).

wham!, you get more Precision points.

PUBLISHER

Electronic Arts

of the time, slowing down and braking

On the plus side Shift packs in a

DEVELOPER

Slightly Mad Studios

when necessary. This will also ensure

healthy dose of variety as far as events

DISTRIBUTOR

Milestone Interactive

more income for you per race.

are concerned. In the Career Mode you

PHONE

022-28203319

have regular Races, Eliminator Races,

EMAIL

info@milestoneinteractive.com

be used to upgrade your ride or buy a

Time Trials, Drift Modes etc and a brand

PLATFORM

PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP

new one. Here arises the first problem.

new mode called Driver Duels. These

Income earned by winning races can

intense races have you going up against a single car, mano a mano in a three race battle. It gets even more intense

RATINGS GAMEPLAY ENVIRONMENT OVERALL RATING

when you play these Driver Duels online against real opponents. If there’s one aspect the game really shines in, it would have to be the flashy

11/2009

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

FOR Looks really good, sleek presentation, sense of speed is awesome, excellent cockpit view

and sleek menus, gorgeous visuals and

AGAINST

authentic car sounds. Also much has

Progression in SP is messed up, suffers from identity crisis, can get a bit boring after a while.

been said about its cockpit view that

122

  

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UNWIND

GAME REVIEW

An enjoyable romp, ODST is strictly for fans of the series who can overlook its faults. BY AVINASH BALI

alo 3 ODST is a standalone

H

down in a matter of seconds. You have

If you’re a who’s already downloaded

expansion for Halo 3 just like

to take cover, shoot carefully and at

them, you may feel a bit cheated.

Crysis Warhead was to Crysis. It

times even take a stealthy approach.

the only difference this time around

option to approach a situation

Bungie used for Halo 3 and it’s

is that you’ll be playing as an ODST

stealthily, ODST doesn’t exploit that

beginning to show its age. Sure it’s

(Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) instead

mechanic completely. On the plus side

received a graphical overhaul offering

of the legendary Master Chief. ODST

it isn’t as painfully linear as past Halo

better character models but it pales

takes place during the events of both

games allowing you to approach certain

in comparison to some of the newer

Halo 2 and Halo 3 in the city of New

enemy encounters in different ways

games on the block. Luckily frame

Mombasa where a war’s raging between

thanks to the open-world-esqe city of

rates are rock solid and presentation as

the Covenant and local United Nations

Mombasa where you’ll be searching

always is top notch. Major props go out

Space Command forces. They manage

for your teammates. Find a piece of

to the game’s OST, which simply rocks.

to repel the attack but one of the

their equipment and you’ll trigger a

Covenant ships gets destroyed while

flashback allowing you to play as one

tough to recommend Halo 3: ODST to

trying to escape, creating a shockwave

of them progressing the game’s plot in

anyone but Halo fans. Sure you can play

that takes out half the city.

the process. It’s an interesting game

it even if you aren’t one but chances

mechanic that not only allows you to

are you won’t enjoy it all that much.

to land in Mombasa at the same time

get to know your teammates better but

For starters, it’s not the longest game,

and the shockwave disrupts your pod,

also offers a welcome change of pace

at six hours of gameplay. Firefight is

separating you from your squad. The

from the lonely walk at night.

awesome but can only be played with

plays exactly like Halo 3 (well almost);

Unfortunately for you, you’re about

story is simple to understand on its own

Even though you may have the

While not being a genetically

Visually the game’s a mixed bag. It’s been made on the same engine

At the end of the day it’s really

friends on your list and there are no

but there will be times when you’ll find

modified super-soldier has its share of

new MP modes to be found. Plus, it's

yourself utterly lost unless you’ve been

disadvantages, it also provides players

not a very good looking game. Microsoft

following the series since the start.

a new arsenal to play around with. You

shouldn’t have priced ODST as a full-

have a silenced MSG for those stealth

fledged retail game but they did which

and not a super soldier anymore it’s

approaches, a powerful magnum,

is why I can’t help but cut a few points

imperative that you understand you

and a spanking new ODST VISR

recommending it only to people who

mounted on your helmet that allows

adore anything Halo.

Since you’ll be playing as an ODST

can't absorb too much damage without dying.

you to see clearly at night (a la night

Go in guns blazing like

vision) outlining friends, enemies and

you did in Halo 3 and the

equipment in different colors.

Covenant will cut you

– avinash@tech2.com

RATINGS

New to the Halo universe is the inclusion of a Horde mode called

FPS

Firefight that allows you and

Halo 3 ODST

three of your buddies to take on

PRICE

Rs 2,299

PUBLISHER

Microsoft

Unlike the Horde mode from Gears of

DEVELOPER

Bungie

War 2, Firefight is never ending and can

DISTRIBUTOR

NA

provide hours of intense entertainment.

PHONE

NA

The only downside here is that you can

EMAIL

NA

only play Firefight with people from

PLATFORM

Xbox 360

hordes of the Covenant on Xbox Live.

your friends list. This sucks if you’re a loner or have friends with radically

RATINGS GAMEPLAY

different tastes. On the Multiplayer front there’s hardly anything new here. The second disc is basically a compilation of all Halo 3 maps including the additional content i.e. Heroic, Legendary and

ENVIRONMENT OVERALL RATING

  

FOR Firefight is awesome. Tight gameplay. Killer OST.

AGAINST Not as linear as previous Halo games.

Mythic map packs.

SMS us!  Story code: UHL to 57007


UNWIND

GAME REVIEW

If frantic action games are your thing and you passed on Ninja Gaiden II, NGSII is a must. BY AVINASH BALI

T

cakewalk. It’s challenging and will beat one of those guys who aren’t used to

improved on all aspects of NG II to give

games burdened by unforgiving

blocking or have really slow reflexes.

you an easier and a more accessible

difficulty. This is probably the biggest

The action in NGS II is fast paced and

game. There’s tons of extra content here

reason it appeals only to a certain

frantic much like the Xbox 360 version

in the form of extra missions, a horde

niche. Team Ninja tried to expand that

with tons of improvements. NG II while

mode, newer weapons and improved

audience with Ninja Gaiden II (NG II) and

a lightening fast game did have some

visuals. If frantic action games are your

it worked to a certain extent but it was

framerate issues that have now been

thing and you passed on NG II because

still an extremely tough game. Now it

ironed out now. The game’s been given

you were too scared of what it would

seems with Ninja Gaiden Sigma II (NGS

a visual overhaul and looks a lot prettier.

do to your ego I most definitely suggest

II) they’ve managed to come up with a

On the flipside all the awesome blood

giving NGSII a shot.

title that can be enjoyed by newcomers

and gore from the first game has been

and veterans alike.

axed considerably and decapitating

Blood or no blood Ninja Gaiden

he Ninja Gaiden series has always had a bittersweet relationship

you over the head with a stick if you’re

Sigma II is still a solid action game. It’s

with gamers. They're brilliant

NGS II is pretty much the same game as NG II. You do have bonus missions

Ninja Gaiden Sigma II is available exclusively for the PS3 for Rs. 2799.

enemies just doesn’t feel that satisfying.

– avinash@tech2.com

To most people the omission of

woven into the single player campaign

blood and gore wouldn’t mean a lot but

but the plot stays the same. To bring

for me it was nearly a deal breaker. NG II

RATINGS

you up to speed on what’s happened so

carved a name for itself as one of if not

ACTION

far head over to our NG II review. Right

the bloodiest action games ever made.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

now that you’re back let’s address the

Without that it’s just another well made

biggest boon of the game – its difficulty.

action game. Think about it for a minute.

At the lowest difficulty level (there are

Would you enjoy Gears of War or God of

just two to choose from anyway), NGS II

War or Manhunt without the violence?

is manageable and dare I say, easy to a

No you wouldn’t because that’s the

certain extent. I haven’t tried the highest difficulty level because I value my sanity but I hear it’ll reduce you to tears. While playing through the Path of the Acolyte I found a lot more health

PRICE

Rs 2,799

PUBLISHER

Temco

DEVELOPER

Team Ninja

DISTRIBUTOR

Milestone Interactive

PHONE

022-28203319

game’s identity and in doing so you

EMAIL

info@milestoneinteractive.com

would rob it of its identity.

PLATFORM

PS3

New to the Ninja Gaiden series is a Horde mode of sorts called Team missions whereby you and another

RATINGS GAMEPLAY ENVIRONMENT

  

strewn around, checkpoints replenished

player take on wave after wave of

my health bar completely (this was

enemies in a particular level for a

present in NG II as well) and bosses

stipulated period of time. If you’re a

FOR

weren’t insanely tough (initially at least).

total loner and have absolutely no

Sadly you still have boss fights back

friends or faith in friendly AI you can

Easier and more accessible than NG II, Improved Boss fights, doesn't feel cheap, co-op Horde Mode, improved Visuals

to back that can be a real bitch if you

play these Team Missions by yourself as

AGAINST

finish up all your herbs and health on

well. But that would defeat the whole

No blood

the first one. Still this game is far from a

purpose anyway.

SMS us!  Story code: UNG to 57007

OVERALL RATING

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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125


MARKET WATCH

MARKET WATCH

CHIP brings you a roundup of

PROCESSORS: Intel NAME Intel Core 2 Duo E5200 Intel Core 2 Duo E5300 Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Intel Core i7-920 Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9650 Intel Core i7-950 Intel Core i7-940 Intel Core i7 975 Extreme Ed.

PRICE (RS.)

CPU SOCKET

3,536 3,640 6,441 9,297 9,297 10,529 15,513 15,999 18,145 31,922 32,259 57,124

LGA 775 LGA 775 LGA 775 LGA 775 LGA 775 LGA 775 LGA 775 LGA1366 LGA 775 LGA1366 LGA1366 LGA1366

NUMBER OF CORES 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

CLOCK SPEED

MFG PROCESS

BUS SPEED

L2 CACHE

2.5 GHz 2.6 GHz 2.93 GHz 3.0 GHz 2.66 GHz 2.66 GHz 2.83 GHz 2.66 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.06 GHz 2.93 GHz 3.33 GHz

45 nm 45 nm 65 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm

800 MHz 800 MHz 1066 MHz 1333 MHz 1333 MHz 1333 MHz 1333 MHz 4.8 GT/s 1333 MHz 4.8 GT/s 4.8 GT/s 6.4 GT/s

2 MB 2 MB 3 MB 6 MB 4 MB 6 MB 12 MB 8 MB L3 12 MB 8 MB L3 8 MB L3 8 MB L3

CLOCK SPEED

MFG PROCESS

BUS SPEED

L2 CACHE

2.7 GHz 2.7 GHz 2.8 GHz 2.8 GHz 2.9 GHz 3.0 GHz 2.3 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.1 GHz 2.3 GHz 2.8 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.20 GHz

45 nm 65 nm 45 nm 65 nm 45 nm 45 nm 65 nm 45 nm 45 nm 65 nm 45 nm 45 nm 45 nm

2700 MHz 3600 MHz 3600 MHz 3600 MHz 3600 MHz 4000 MHz 3600 MHz 3600 MHz 4000 MHz 3600 MHz 4000 MHz 3600 MHz 3600 MHz

1 MB L2 2 MB L3 2 MB L2 3 MB L2 2 MB L2 2 MB L2 3.5 MB L2 7 MB L2 6 MB L3 2 MB L3 6 MB L3 6 MB L3 6 MB L3

PROCESSORS: AMD NAME AMD Sempron 140 AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 BE AMD Athlon II X2 240 AMD Athlon 64 X2 7850 AMD Athlon II X2 245 AMD Athlon II X2 250 AMD Phenom X3 8650 AMD Phenom II X2 545 AMD Phenom II X2 550 AMD Phenom X4 9650 AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Ed. AMD Phenom II X4 945 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Ed.

PRICE (RS)

CPU SOCKET

2,253 3,525 3,581 3,748 3,945 4,410 4,532 5,410 6,049 6,756 8,289 13,221 14,386

AM3 AM2+ AM3 AM2+ AM3 AM3 AM2+ AM3 AM3 AM2+ AM3 AM3 AM3

NUMBER OF CORES 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 4 3 4 4

MOTHERBOARDS: AMD - IGP NAME

PRICE (RS.)

Zotac GF8200-A-E Zotac GF8300-A-E Biostar TA790GX 128M Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H Asus M3A-H/HDMI MSI K9N2 SLI Platinum MSI DKA790GX Platinum Asus M4A78T-E Asus Crosshair II Formula Asus M3N-HT Deluxe/Mempipe

3,933 5,050 5,699 5,799 7,566 7,953 9,297 10,729 11,470 15,600

CPU SOCKET AM2+ AM2+ AM2+ AM2+ AM2+ AM2+ AM2+ AM3 AM2+ AM2+

CHIPSET

MEMORY SUPPORT

GeForce 8200 GeForce 8300 AMD 790GX + SB 750 AMD 780G AMD 780G nForce 780a SLI AMD 790GX + SB 750 AMD 790GX + SB 750 nForce 780a SLI nForce 780a SLI

DDR2-800 (Max 8 GB) DDR2-800 (Max 8 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 16 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB) DDR3-1333 (16 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB) DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB)

NOTE: Street prices (incl. VAT and credit card charges) by www.techshop.in as on 10 October 2009.

132

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

D-SUB | DVI | HDMI ✔|✔|✖ ✔|✔|✖ ✔|✔|✔ ✔|✔|✔ ✔|✖|✔ ✖|✔|✖ ✔|✔|✔ ✔|✔|✔ ✔|✖|✔ ✔|✖|✔

PCIE X16 | PCI | SATA | USB 1 | 2 | 6 | 12 1 | 2 | 6 | 12 2 | 2 | 6 | 10 1 | 2 | 5 | 12 1 | 3 | 6 | 12 2 | 2 | 6 | 10 2 | 2 | 5 | 12 2 | 2 | 5 | 12 3 | 2 | 6 | 12 3 | 2 | 6 | 10


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MOTHERBOARDS: AMD - Non-IGP NAME MSI K9A2 Platinum v2 Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DS5

PRICE (RS)

CPU SOCKET

CHIPSET

MEMORY SUPPORT

9,297

AM2+

AMD 790FX

DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB)

MULTI-GPU MODE CrossFireX dual x8

PCIE X16 | PCI | SATA | USB 4 | 2 | 6 | 10

9,599

AM2+

AMD 790FX + SB 600

DDR2-1066 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFireX dual x8

2 | 2 | 6 | 10

MSI 790FX-GD70

10,304

AM3

AMD 790FX + SB 750

DDR3-1333 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFireX dual x16

4 | 2 | 8 | 12

Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P

11,208

AM3

AMD 790X + SB 750

DDR3-1333 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFireX dual x8

2 | 2 | 8 | 12

Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P

12,321

AM3

AMD 790FX + SB 750

DDR3-1333 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFireX dual x16

2 | 2 | 10 | 12

Asus M4A79 Deluxe

14,326

AM3

AMD 790FX + SB 750

DDR3-1333 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFireX dual x16

2 | 2 | 5 | 12

Asus M4A79-T Deluxe

15,147

AM3

AMD 790FX + SB 750

DDR3-1600 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFireX dual x16

4 | 2 | 6 | 12

PCIE X16 | PCI | SATA | USB

MOTHERBOARDS: Intel - IGP PRICE (RS)

CPU SOCKET

CHIPSET

MEMORY SUPPORT

D-SUB | DVI | HDMI

Zotac NF610I-C-E

2,512

LGA 775

GeForce 7050 / nForce 610i

DDR2-667 (Max 4 GB)

✔|✖|✖

1|2|4|8

Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L

2,792

LGA 775

Intel G31 + ICH7

DDR2-800 (Max 4 GB)

✔|✖|✔

1|2|4|8

Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L

3,744

LGA 775

Intel G41 + ICH7

DDR2-800 (Max 4 GB)

✔|✖|✔

1|2|4|8

NAME

Abit I-N73HD

4,256

LGA 775

Nvidia GeForce 7100 / nForce 630i

DDR2-800 (Max 4 GB)

✔|✖|✔

1|2|4|8

MSI P7NGM-Digital

6,664

LGA 775

Nvidia GeForce 9300

DDR2-800 (Max 8 GB)

✔|✔|✔

1 | 2 | 6 | 10

Gigabyte GA-EG45M-DS2H

7,000

LGA 775

Intel G45 + ICH10R

DDR2-800 (Max 8 GB)

✔|✔|✔

1 | 2 | 5 | 12

Zotac GF9300-A-E

7,001

LGA 775

Nvidia GeForce 9300

DDR2-800 (Max 8 GB)

✔|✔|✔

1 | 2 | 6 | 12

Intel BOXDG45FC

7,282

LGA 775

Intel G45 + ICH10

DDR2-800 (Max 4 GB)

✔|✖|✔

0 | 0 | 4 | 10

MOTHERBOARDS: Intel - Non-IGP MSI P45 Neo3-FR

7,281

CPU SOCKET LGA 775

Intel P45+ICH10R

DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB)

NA

PCIE X16 | PCI | SATA | USB 1 | 4 | 8 | 12

Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3R

8,289

LGA 775

Intel P45+ICH10R

DDR2-1333 (Max 16 GB)

NA

1 | 2 | 6 | 12

Biostar TPower I45

8,591

LGA 775

Intel P45+ICH10R

DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB)

NA

1 | 2 | 6 | 12

NAME

EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1

PRICE (RS)

CHIPSET

MEMORY SUPPORT

MULTI-GPU MODE

9,241

LGA 775

Nvidia nForce 750i SLI

DDR2-800 (Max 8 GB)

SLI dual x16

2 | 3 | 4 | 10

Asus P5Q Pro

10,626

LGA 775

Intel P45+ICH10R

DDR2-1066 (Max 8 GB)

CrossFire dual x8

2 | 2 | 8 | 12

MSI P45 Platinum

10,641

LGA 775

Intel P45+ICH10R

DDR2-1066 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFire dual x8

2 | 2 | 8 | 10

Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R

14,561

LGA 1366

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 16 GB)

CrossFire + SLI

2 | 2 | 8 | 12

EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1

15,625

LGA 775

Nvidia nForce 780i SLI

DDR2-1200 (Max 8 GB)

SLI 3-way x8

3 | 2 | 6 | 10

Intel BOXDX58SO

16,800

LGA 1366

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 8 GB)

CrossFire dual x8

2 | 1 | 6 | 12

MSI Eclipse SLI

20,161

LGA 1366

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 24 GB)

CrossFire + SLI

3 | 2 | 10 | 12

Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme

21,505

LGA 775

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 24 GB)

CrossFire + SLI

3 | 2 | 10 | 12

eVGA 132-BL-E758-A1

22,290

LGA 1366

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 24 GB)

CrossFire + SLI

3 | 2 | 10 | 12

Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme

21,999

LGA 775

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 24 GB)

CrossFire + SLI

3 | 2 | 10 | 12

eVGA 132-BL-E758-A1

22,290

LGA 1366

Intel X58+ICH10R

DDR3-1600 (Max 24 GB)

CrossFire + SLI

3 | 2 | 10 | 12

NOTE: Street prices (incl. VAT and credit card charges) by www.techshop.in as on 10 October 2009.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

133


MARKET WATCH

MARKET WATCH

CHIP brings you a roundup of

GRAPHICS CARDS: Nvidia NAME Point of View GeForce 8400 GS Palit GeForce 9600 GT Palit GeForce 9600 GSO Sonic MSI N9600GT-T2D1G Palit GeForce 9600 GT Sonic Palit GeForce GTS 250 MSI N250GTS-2G512-OC Palit GeForce GTS 250 EVGA GeForce 9800 GT Superclocked Palit GeForce 9800 GTX+ MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OC Palit GeForce GTX 260 Zotac GeForce GTX 260 Zotac GeForce GTX 275 Point of View GTX 260 Palit GeForce GTX 285 EVGA GTX 280 Superclocked Zotac GeForce GTX 285 Palit GeForce GTX 295 MSI N295GTX-M2D Zotac GeForce GTX 295

PRICE (RS)

GPU

1,952 5,425 6,000 6,384 7,561 7,729 8,848 8,848 9,521 10,753 11,761 12,097 12,601 16,801 20,106 22,289 23,522 26,602 31,923 32,482 32,482

GeForce 8400 GS GeForce 9600 GT GeForce 9600 GS0 GeForce 9600 GT GeForce 9600 GT GeForce GTS 250 GeForce GTS 250 GeForce GTS 250 GeForce 9800 GT GeForce 9800 GTX+ GeForce GTX 260 GeForce GTX 260 GeForce GTX 260 GeForce GTX 275 GeForce GTX 260 GeForce GTX 285 GeForce GTX 280 GeForce GTX 285 GeForce GTX 295 GeForce GTX 295 GeForce GTX 295

PCIE DIRECTX x16 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0

MEMORY | BUS WIDTH

DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10 DX 10

256 MB DDR2 | 64-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 768 MB DDR3 | 192-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 896 MB DDR3 | 512-bit 896 MB DDR3 | 512-bit 896 MB DDR3 | 512-bit 896 MB DDR3 | 448-bit 896 MB DDR3 | 512-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 512-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 512-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 512-bit 1.8 GB DDR3 | 512-bit 1.8 GB DDR3 | 512-bit 1.8 GB DDR3 | 512-bit

PCIE DIRECTX

MEMORY | BUS WIDTH

STREAM PROCESSORS 16 64 48 64 64 128 128 128 112 128 216 216 216 240 216 240 240 240 480 480 480

CORE | MEMORY SPEED VIDEO OUTPUT 460 MHz | 300 MHz 650 MHz | 900 MHz 600 MHz | 900 MHz 650 MHz | 900 MHz 700 MHz | 1000 MHz 740 MHz | 918 MHz 740 MHz | 918 MHz 740 MHz | 918 MHz 650 MHz | 950 MHz 750 MHz | 1000 MHz 650 MHz | 1080 MHz 602 MHz | 1107 MHz 602 MHz | 1107 MHz 633 MHz | 1134 MHz 602 MHz | 1107 MHz 648 MHz | 1242 MHz 621 MHz | 1134 MHz 648 MHz | 1242 MHz 576 MHz | 999 MHz 576 MHz | 999 MHz 576 MHz | 999 MHz

D-sub + DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI

GRAPHICS CARDS: AMD NAME Powercolor AX4350 512MD2-H Sapphire Radeon HD 4350 XFX Radeon HD 4350 HD-435X-YAH2 Sapphire Radeon HD 4650 XFX Radeon HD 4650 HD-465X-ZDFC Powercolor AX4670 1GBK3-P Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 Powercolor AX4850 512MD3-HV2 MSI R4850-T2D1G-OC MSI R4770-T2D512 Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 XFX Radeon HD 4770 HD-477A-YDFK XFX Radeon HD 4850 HD-485X-YDFC Powercolor AX4870 1GBD5 Powercolor AX4890 1GBD5-HM MSI R4890-T2D1G-OC Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 XFX Radeon HD 4890 HD-489A-ZDFC Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2

PRICE (RS)

GPU

2,144 2,170 2,446 4,025 4,445 5,096 5,144 7,000 8,176 8,216 8,737 9,368 9,483 11,088 13,329 16,801 17,921 18,280 31,642

Radeon HD 4350 Radeon HD 4350 Radeon HD 4350 Radeon HD 4650 Radeon HD 4650 Radeon HD 4670 Radeon HD 4670 Radeon HD 4850 Radeon HD 4850 Radeon HD 4770 Radeon HD 4830 Radeon HD 4770 Radeon HD 4850 Radeon HD 4870 Radeon HD 4890 Radeon HD 4890 Radeon HD 4850 X2 Radeon HD 4890 Radeon HD 4870 X2

x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0 x16 2.0

DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1 DX 10.1

512 MB DDR2 | 64-bit 512 MB DDR2 | 64-bit 512 MB DDR2 | 64-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 128-bit 1 GB DDR2 | 128-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 128-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 128-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 512 MB DDR5 | 128-bit 512 MB DDR3 | 256-bit 512 MB DDR5 | 128-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR5 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR5 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR3 | 256-bit 1 GB DDR5 | 256-bit 2 GB DDR5 | 512-bit

NOTE: Street prices (incl. VAT and credit card charges) by www.techshop.in as on 10 October 2009.

134

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INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

STREAM PROCESSORS 80 80 80 320 320 320 320 800 800 640 640 640 800 800 800 800 1600 800 1600

CORE | MEMORY SPEED VIDEO OUTPUT 600 MHz | 400 MHz 600 MHz | 400 MHz 600 MHz | 400 MHz 600 MHz | 500 MHz 600 MHz | 500 MHz 750 MHz | 900 MHz 750 MHz | 1000 MHz 625 MHz | 993 MHz 640 MHz | 993 MHz 750 MHz | 1600 MHz 575 MHz | 900 MHz 750 MHz | 1600 MHz 625 MHz | 993 MHz 750 MHz | 900 MHz 850 MHz | 975 MHz 880 MHz | 1998 MHz 625 MHz | 993 MHz 850 MHz | 975 MHz 750 MHz | 800 MHz

D-sub + DVI D-sub + DVI D-sub + DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI Dual-link DVI


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LAPTOPS NAME

PRICE (RS)

WEIGHT (KG.)

PROCESSOR

RAM

CHIPSET

DISPLAY (INCHES)

HDD

OPTICAL BLUETOOTH DRIVE

Acer Aspire One D250

19,999

1.1 Kg

Intel Atom N270, 1.6 GHz

1 GB

Intel 945G

10.1-inch

160 GB

NA

HP Mini-1129TU

22,310

1.2 Kg

Intel Atom N270, 1.6 GHz

1 GB

Intel 945G

10.1-inch

80 GB

NA

HP Compaq Presario CQ40-427TU

26,250

2.3 Kg

Intel Celeron C900, 2.2 GHz

1 GB

Intel GL40

14.1-inch

160 GB

DVD-writer

Acer Aspire 4736z Linux

27,999

2.5 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T4200, 2.0 GHz

2 GB

Intel GL40

14.1-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

HP Compaq Presario CQ60-313AU

29,138

2.9 Kg

AMD Turion 64 X2 QL64, 2.1 GHz

3 GB

NA

15.6-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

Toshiba Satellite L300-P5011

30,685

2.7 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T3400, 2.16 GHz

2 GB

Intel GL40

15.4-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

Acer Aspire 5738z (VHP) Linux

30,999

2.8 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T4200, 2.0 GHz

2 GB

Intel GL40

15.6-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

HP Compaq Presario CQ40-425TU

31,501

2.3 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T4200, 2.0 GHz

2 GB

Intel GL40

14.1-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

Dell Vostro A860 R521076IN9

32,118

2.4 Kg

Intel Celeron Dual-Core T1400, 1.73 GHz

1 GB

Intel 965GM

15.6-inch

160 GB

DVD-writer

HP Compaq Presario CQ60-209TU

32,604

2.9 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T3400, 2.16 GHz

2 GB

Intel GL40

16-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

Acer Aspire 5738 Linux

33,649

2.8 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6400, 2.0 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

15.6-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

Dell Vostro A840 R520972IN9

34,358

2.1 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2390, 1.86 GHz

1 GB

Intel 965GM

14.1-inch

120 GB

DVD-writer

Acer Aspire 4736 (VHP) Linux

35,649

2.4 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6400, 2.0 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

14-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

HP Pavilion DV2-1002AU

35,703

1.6 Kg

AMD Neo MV-40, 1.6 GHz

2 GB

ATI M690G

12.1-inch

250 GB

NA

Sony Vaio VGN-NW13GH

37,990

2.7 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T4200, 2.0 GHz

2 GB

Intel GM45

15.5-inch

160 GB

DVD-writer

Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T

38,999

1.9 Kg

Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500, 1.4 GHz

2 GB

Intel GM45

14-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

HP Compaq Presario CQ40-423TU

39,379

2.4 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6500, 2.1 GHz

3 GB

Intel GL40

14.1-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

HP Pavilion DV2-1003AX

39,905

1.7 Kg

AMD Neo MV-40, 1.6 GHz

2 GB AMD RS690e

12.1-inch

320 GB

NA

Sony Vaio VGN-CS32GH Acer Aspire Timeline 5810T LX.PBB0X.201 Toshiba Satellite L500-D621A

39,990

2.6 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T4200, 2.0 GHz

2 GB

Intel GM45

14.1-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

40,999

2.4 Kg

Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500, 1.4 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

15.6-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

41,539

2.7 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6500, 2.1 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

16-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

HP Pavilion DV4-1204TU

42,530

2.2 Kg

Intel Pentium Dual-core T3400, 2.16 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

14.1-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGN-CS34GH

44,990

2.6 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6500, 2.1 GHz

2 GB

Intel GM45

14.1-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGN- P23G

49,990

620 g

Intel Atom Z530, 1.6 GHz

1 GB

Intel US15W

8-inch

80 GB

NA

Sony Vaio VGN-CS17

59,990

2.6 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P8400, 2.26 GHz

3 GB

Intel PM45

14.1-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

HP Pavilion DV5-1221TX

63,013

2.7 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6400, 2.0 GHz

4 GB

Intel PM45

15.4-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGN-BZ16GN

64,990

2.7 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P8700, 2.53 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

15.4-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

HP Pavilion DV6-1154TX

67,215

2.9 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2.4 GHz

4 GB

Intel GM45

15.6-inch

500 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGC-JS35GJ

74,990

2.7 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo T6500, 2.1 GHz

3 GB

Intel GM45

16-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGN-FW45GJ

79,990

3.1 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P8700, 2.53 GHz

4 GB

Intel PM45

16.4-inch

400 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGN-Z46GD

99,990

1.48 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P9700, 2.80 GHz

6 GB

Intel PM45

13.1-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

Apple MacBook Pro MB991ZP/A

104,900

2.0 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P9300, 2.26 GHz

4 GB

Intel PM45

13.3-inch

250 GB

DVD-writer

Apple MacBook Pro MB985ZP/A

119,600

2.5 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P9600, 2.66 GHz

4 GB

Intel PM45

15.4-inch

320 GB

DVD-writer

Sony Vaio VGN-Z48GD

149,900

1.47 Kg

Intel Core 2 Duo P9600, 2.66 GHz

6 GB

Intel PM45

13.1-inch 256 GB SSD

DVD-writer

NOTE: Street prices (incl. VAT and credit card charges) by www.techshop.in as on 10 October 2009.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

135


LETTERS

STAR R LETTE

INBOX

ner gets nth's win This mo ccessories set a d by : Sponso

a co ol

re

C i rc l e

Next month's Star Letter wins a cool accessories set R

Making money online

Sponsored by:

Dear CHIP, I'm Kishore, 23, from Goa. I am not a regular reader of CHIP but happened to read your article on how to make money from blogs in the September edition. I was really looking for some more details on how one can actually make money by writing blogs. I basically am a photographer but my interest in writing has made me a parttime movie critic. I write movie reviews for an English daily here in Goa (for peanuts) and have a set of valued readers. Therefore while reading your article, the first thing that came to my mind was why not create a blog and use the reviews as material for the same? Also, since I mentioned I'm a photographer, I usually travel to places and have my own collection of quality photographs. Even these could be used for the same purpose. I would be really grateful to get your valued guidance on this and am looking forward for some much needed tips. Thanks and regards, – KISHORE Hi Kishore, Making money from a blog or website can be difficult. A lot depends on the quality of content you create, the level of your expertise in your niche and your persistence and consistency of creating fresh and stimulating content. There are millions of websites which die out due to lack of interest, time or patience from the webmaster. If you share what you're good at creating, whether it be movie reviews, photography techniques, tips etc, readers will surely come back for more. But do remember that the reviews and other content you’ve already sold are most likely now under the copyright of that company, and you might not be able to republish them. Make contact with people who share the same interests, let them know about your blog, and get their feedback. Websites like www.problogger.net will answer your queries regarding making money. Remember, being passionate about what you create is key. All the best! – TEAM CHIP

CONTACT INFO

Strong views on piracy

computers, Internet, or anything

comments like "Googling the name

Please send your letters to: editor@chip.in

Dear CHIP, Piracy is illegal and more

related to technology. The pain they

of what you need will help you out

importantly, it is a way of spreading

suffer will help them grow.

without any hassles" this article

viruses and destroying the effort of

- KIRTI

those designers who work day and

136

11/2009

seems to be one that shouts "Everyone join the pirate party, it’s

night to design things that help us. I

Mixed messages

free, easy and has close to no

think that piracy is a way by which

Dear CHIP, I'm a regular reader of

punishment!” Needless to say, I'm

a few pathetic people are trying to

the magazine, and I found the main

shocked and a bit confused. Hoping

spread viruses and fool thousands

article in October 2009, "Join the

for some clarification on what CHIP

of people of small towns who are

Pirate Party" a bit strange. Instead

intended with this article.

not even aware of this term

of demoting it, the article seems to

“piracy”. But most importantly the

promote piracy! When I saw the

Dear Rishi,

biggest problem is of those

front cover, I thought it was an

The intent of the article was to jar

parasites who sell and buy pirated

article about all the problems of

people out of their apathy towards

software and feed on the hard work

piracy. I was surprised when it

piracy. We stayed on the safe side of

of software designers. They should

wasn't. With links to the sites where

a very fine line, without telling

be sent to a place with no mobiles,

such stuff is available and

people anything they don't already

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP


LETTERS

know. The main problem with piracy

how I do things (like creating

IS that it's so common and

multiple photos of a person). With

unrestricted. Go to any street corner

CHIP I was also able to design

where a vendor sits with these

brochures for my father which

plastic bags and poor imitation

have a professional look. Your

WINDOWS 7 IS ALMOST HERE

printed box labels and you'll know

workshops section is great. We all

Run all your old programs without worries

what we mean to say.

would like it if after every 4-5

CHEAP HOME SECURITY

months you would give an extra

Build an advanced surveillance system with webcams and free software

However we did get voices from the industry, law enforcement and

book with reviews, cheats, etc of

software developers themselves. You

newly launched games (you forgot

can judge whether attitudes are

NFS Shift this month). But I would

going to change soon, or whether

say CHIP is the best IT magazine I

enough is being done.

have read for giving step by step - TEAM CHIP

instructions which even students can understand. The changes made

Game requirements

by you look great. Keep making it

Dear sir, The CHIP October issue

better!

was excellent. I liked the topic of

- VIPUL ARORA

piracy. But I must tell you that by

Rs 2

SMS US

w PC orth W acce of p IN sso rize ries s in ! , tr clud avel in pac g gam kage es , ho , mov use ies, hold bo gad oks, gets

OCTOBER 2009 • VOLUME 6 • ISSUE 11 • Rs 150

lak h

E EXCLUSIV IEWS! FIRST REV

ATI RADEON HD 55870 INTEL CORE i5 75 i5-750

For general comments, create the following message: ICCO <Your comments here> Example: ICCO The cover story was very useful

TESTED

DIVX DVD PLAYERS AMD 785G MOBOs

IS PIRACY TOO EASY? Windows for Rs 60. Five movies for Rs 100. But you're probably inviting viruses and funding terrorists...

moment we switch the STB on an error message is displayed,

providing links to the websites

DVD contents request

indicating that "The digicard is not

which give pirated stuff, you are

Hello CHIP, i’m Kaushik Deka. I am a

inserted properly, please remove

tempting readers to go to them. The

regular reader of CHIP. Since I found

and reinsert it". Even after doing it

other thing I notice is that the

CHIP the best of the best of all the

many times the same message

requirements of the games you

other magazines I’ve ever read, I

continues. The service is prompt

review are not being given. Please

would like to request you to send

but even the engineers say that

mention these as it lets us know

GamePro’s latest issues on the DVD

they cannot locate the fault. Do

whether the game can run on our

in PDF format. I would really be

DTH services run well only during

computers. But the magazine is

very happy if you continue to give

the warranty period, or do the

excellent and I hope it continues

it because most people like it too. I

technicians do this purposely?

the good work. Thank you.

hope people will be more interested

-AGASTYA GUPTA Dear Agastya,

Hi Subhash,

work, team CHIP. Thank you.

While the problems you face sound

- KAUSHIK DEKA

Finally, send your messages to 51818. Cheers! Please keep comments to 160 characters per message! Include your email address to help us reply or check out the SMS Feedback thread at www.chip.in/forums

extremely frustrating, it’s pretty inconceivable that any device

Dear Kaushik,

manufacturer or service provider

Thanks for your letter and

would want their customers to have

appreciation. We would also like

a poor experience, whether that is

Learning with CHIP!

nothing better than for people to be

within or outside of the warranty

Hi! I have been a reader of CHIP

interested in CHIP. However we have

period. As we pointed out in the

since I was in the 7th standard, now

no affiliation with GamePro and no

story, the competitive scenario is

I am in the 9th. In these two years

way of distributing their PDF copies

such that unhappy subscribers can

CHIP has increased my knowledge

either. Fortunately or unfortunately,

switch providers with minimal fuss,

so much that sometimes my

we’ll be sticking with only legally

so they’d better do everything they

computer teachers also don’t know

available material for our DVDs.

can to retain happy customers.

- TEAM CHIP

Errata

The “Story tag” is mentioned at the base of every story in the magazine and the “Rating” is on a scale of 1 to 5.

- SUBHASH KARMALI

magazine. Keep up your wonderful

about the game requirements into - TEAM CHIP

To rate a story, product review, etc look out for the story tag at the base of each article and type: ICCO <Story tag> <Rating> Example: ICCO PWS 5

in buying CHIP than any other

We'll definitely take your comment consideration.

Since we like knowing what’s on your mind and what you think about our magazine, we bring you another way to get in touch. Do you have something to say about a test or review? Liked a feature story? Was the workshop useful? SMS us your feedback!

Besides, they would have to have some kind of remote trigger to

The images of Mr Vipul Sant and

DTH woes continue

suddenly cause problems with your

Mr Rajdeep Sahrawat in last

Dear CHIP, I'm a regular CHIP reader

STB, which would be extreme and

month’s cover story were

and I like the way information

unprovoked. Your letter doesn’t say

mistakenly swapped. Also, the

about different hardware is

whether the STB and/or dish were

Canon Image Class MF4680

delivered. After going through your

replaced, whether your digicard was

review carried an incorrect Value

September 2009 issue with the

cleaned and replaced, etc. It might

For Money score; the actual

DTH cover story I have some

even be something simple like dust

score is 4/5. Both errors are

queries. I have been a subsciber of

or oxidation of the metal contacts.

regretted, and we apologize for

Tata Sky for the last 15 months. We

Ask the engineers to change the STB

any inconvenience caused as a

didn't have any problem during the

and card and do let us know how

result.

warranty period but after that

things go.

problems started pouring in. The

- TEAM CHIP

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

11/2009

137


LAST WORD

An Indian Geek in Japan BY GAGAN GUPTA

et's face it. We all have a lot of

L

mecca of anime culture, video games, and just

preconceived notions about a place like

about everything related to the youth culture

Japan. It’s far too expensive for simple

in Tokyo.

the populace and the customs seem so far out

of Japanese anime, to the exclusion of all else)

and different from anything else we're used

you may cliam to be, there's no way you wont

to. Everyone must have seen one of those

be humbled by the anime culture in Akihabara.

mail forwards that show you weird Japanese

There are multiple buildings dedicated to

inventions like a toilet paper hat for colds or

anime, manga and everything related to it.

the hair noodle protector. Not to forget the

There's even a colossal Tokyo Anime Center

kind of sexually overcharged imagery that

located a little behind Akihabara. It's not

most popular Japanese films portray. But my

enough that you can buy anything anime

experience in Tokyo proved that believing

or learn to draw anime, you can even buy

what you see in Japanese films is like believing

outfits and dress up as your favorite anime

that people burst into synchronized song and

characters!

vacations, English is scarcely spoken among

dance routines in India.

It was also great to see a thriving arcade

I’m not talking about the Japanese culture

video games, I noticed that the real crowds

heading straight to the tech side, which is

gathered around the prize grabbing machines.

probably the only reason you're reading this

Even after a few minutes of lingering, I noticed

page to begin with.

that no one actually won anything out of enthusiasm of the next teen trying his skill

modernize and electronically

with the machine. Home consoles were being

supercharge everything in their

sold at some excellent rates, especially the

country, the Japanese have a good

PlayStations. No where else in my travels have

mix of super-futuristic as well as

I seen a brand new PlayStation 3 being sold

some traditional oldschool charm.

for around Rs 10,000. Akihabara warrants a trip in itself and I

of a futuristic neo-Tokyo, you will

do plan on revisiting it for sure. But you don't

be disappointed; but at the same

have to be a geek to notice how big gaming is

time the little tech innovations

in Japan. People are always mashing away on

you see every now and then do

their Nintendo DSes or mobile phones. Saying

catch you as a pleasant surprise.

that the Nintendo DS is big in Japan would

Take for example how some

be an understatement. Just about everyone

restaurants and even hotels run

seemed to own one and many of them

purely through vending machines,

played at just about any opportunity they got.

where you pre-pay

Sony's PSP on the other hand was practically

for your meals and

invisible, which was a surprise considering how

rooms. It's a simple

well it's doing worldwide.

and effective process.

So getting back to the much hyped quirky

And without getting

Japanese technology. If you stay for a couple

into too much detail, I'd

of days, I think you'll begin to understand a

like to admit that Japan

lot of things they do that seem odd. Whatever

has the best electronic

you hear as an outsider, you'll appreciate the

toilets I have ever

harmony and convenience that their local

encountered!

innovations bring to your daily life, and things

But you cannot talk about a geek's

don't seem that weird anymore. Except for Hello Kitty. Their fascination with

experience in Tokyo

that absurd, featureless pussycat is absolutely

without talking about a

bonkers, and there's no explaining that!

visit to Akihabara—the INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

these, but that didn't seem to affect the

have gone out of their ways to

If you're expecting some sort

11/2009

culture in Akihabara, but more than actual

or how awesome the residents are. I'm

While many South-East Asian countries

146

No matter how big an otaku (maniacal fan

– gagan@tech2.com

SMS us!  Story code: BLW to 51818

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