Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Onkyo Introduces Flagship THX-Certified AV Component Separates

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, NJ (8/30/10) – Onkyo, the world's premier manufacturer of advanced-technology home theater receivers, is now expanding its product line to include upscale separate components. With its announcement today of three new THX Certified components, Onkyo is now offering the higher levels of performance, quality, and capabilities typical of separates. These new products include Onkyo's first A/V preamplifier/processor that is both 3D-Ready and THX-Certified, a powerful 150-watt nine-channel amplifier, and a full-featured Blu-ray Disc Player.
"Sixteen years ago, Onkyo created a revolution in home theater with its introduction of the world's first THX Certified AV receiver, the TX-SV919THX," said Paul Wasek, Onkyo's marketing manager. "Onkyo's engineers have worked closely with THX to maximize the home theater experience for consumers. Now we are introducing a trio of high-end component separates. Their build-quality, market-leading features, and THX-Certified performance will ensure that Onkyo will quickly become a major factor in this higher realm of the AV marketplace."
Onkyo's flagship PR-SC5508 is a THX-Ultra 2 Plus certified, network-capable, 9.2-channel audio-video controller will function as the brains of the worlds most advanced in-home home theater systems. It has a 3D-Ready HDMI-1.4a interface, HQV Reon-VX video processing, ISF Video Calibration, and a long list of top-of-the line audio and video features unmatched in other products.
The networking features offer DLNA 1.5 and Windows 7 compatible connection to PC audio and internet radio. The system is configured for Pandora, Rhapsody, Mediafly, Slacker, Napster, VTuner, and Sirius Internet Radio. The PR-SC5508's component circuitry is at the far edge of the technology envelope, both in terms of sound and video quality and processing. Superior video performance comes in the form of HQV Reon-VX processing, 1080p upscaling, and individual ISF calibration capability for all video sources. This THX-Ultra 2 Plus certified system offers exceptional surround sound, height channels, setup calibration, and state of the art processing from Dolby, THX, DTS, and Audyssey, including the latter's new MultEQ XT 32. The PR-SC5508's extensive connectivity options includes 8 HDMI inputs, dual USB's, two balanced line-level XLR audio inputs, and nine XLR preamp outputs to drive the matching PA-MC5500 nine-channel power amplifier.
The Onkyo PA-MC5500 is a powerful nine-channel THX-Ultra2 Plus certified analog power amplifier that is 8-ohm rated at 150 Watts per channel, and up to 400 Watts dynamic power into 3 ohms. It utilizes Onkyo's exclusive WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) design philosophy, which proscribes low negative feedback, low distortion, extended frequency response, and a power supply with high instantaneous-current capability. To achieve all this, the PA-MC5500 uses large, custom output transistors in push-pull configuration and massive power supply consisting of a large toroidal power transformer and two 22,000 µF storage capacitors. Despite all this power, the PA-MC5500 preserves the subtle details of the sound with a three-stage inverted Darlington circuit to remove distortion and the use of professional balanced line-level XLR inputs for the optimal interface with its ideal companion, the Onkyo PR-SC5508. The 51-lb PA-MC5500 has a rigid, anti-resonant chassis, gold-plated inputs and outputs, plus multi-zone and bi-amp capability to allow full utilization of all channels no mater what the system configuration.
The Onkyo BD-SP808 is a THX Certified and DLNA 1.5 Certified Blu-ray Disc Player with a full array of state of the art technology, including Video On Demand, premium Marvel Qdeo™ video scaler, and studio-master quality Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ sound. Its superior build quality provides a robust and versatile playback solution for Blu-ray, DVD, and CD. Harmful vibrations are minimized thanks to the highly rigid chassis construction and a balanced, center-mounted drive mechanism. An Ethernet port enables interactive Profile 2.0 BD-Live features such as picture-in-picture and web-sourced firmware updates. An SD card slot allows playback of downloaded web content or stills and video from a digital camera. In HDMI Source Direct mode, the player can output the video signal in its native resolution for optional external processing.
These products will begin shipping to dealers in September. The PR-SC5508 will have a suggested retail price of $2,199, the PA-MC5500 will be $1,699, and the BD-SP808 will have a suggest retail price of $599.
Since 1946 Onkyo has been passionately committed to developing audio products that deliver uncommon performance, quality and value. Bundling proprietary technologies and innovations with other sound-enhancing exclusives, Onkyo continues to created award winning products that are lauded by many of the industry leading audio publications. The company's philosophy is to deliver products that are superbly designed and built to a consistently outstanding standard of excellence. Today, Onkyo is at the forefront of the home theater and digital revolutions. For more information about this and other fine Onkyo products, visit http://www.onkyousa.com/ or call 800-229-1687.

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Parasound Upgrades its Classic Halo JC 2 Preamp

The new Parasound Halo JC 2 BP allows audiophiles to use their high-end speakers and amplifiers for the left and right channels of a home theater system controlled by a surround receiver, or to switch back to stereo music under the no compromise control of the JC 2 BP's stereo preamplifier circuits.
SAN FRANCISCO (8/25/10) – Parasound, one of the audio industry's top manufacturers of high-end audio components, has introduced a new version of the widely acclaimed, John Curl designed, Halo JC 2 stereo preamplifier. The new Parasound Halo JC 2 BP adds a home theater bypass function that allows this preamplifier and its companion power amplifier and speakers to be connected as the front left- and right-channels of a surround sound home theater system. The new configuration provides total performance and control in both modes without compromising the performance of either mode.
"When we started the JC 2 project I hugely underestimated how many people would want to blend a JC 2 into their surround system," said Parasound's president and founder, Richard Schram. "I put the idea to John Curl, and we eventually came up with a way to implement this without touching the L and R channel audio boards. The result is a perfect sonic duplicate of the original JC 2 with the added benefit of home theater bypass."
The changes made to create the JC 2 BP included a modified potentiometer board and some clever new control software. Circuit board designer Carl Thompson revised the potentiometer board layout so that it is now equipped with four relays that short out the four-gang main volume control and both two-gang trim pots. Additional fixed resistors set the outputs to unity gain when the bypass mode is selected. Any one or more of the JC 2 BP’s six inputs, including the two balanced inputs, can be assigned as a bypass input. A new front panel includes an amber Bypass LED to indicate when a selected input is also assigned the bypass function. Parasound is including an entirely new and improved remote control handset with the JC 2 BP. In addition to fail-safe buttons to program the new bypass control function, its new shape and rubber coating improves stability over the previous model. Parasound has also been shipping JC 2s with this new remote control since July. The Parasound Halo JC 2 BP will be available September 15 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $4,500. Parasound will also offer a retrofit to existing JC 2 owners for $500, including return ground shipping in the US. This way there is no penalty for existing JC 2 owners who want to update to the bypass feature. The JC 2 will continue in the line at its original $4000 price.
About Parasound: Founded in 1981, Parasound Products, Inc., is a privately owned U.S. company that specializes in providing affordable audio and home theater components to the critical listener. Parasound's products are available from quality audio/video retailers, and select custom installation specialists. For more information, visit http://www.parasound.com/ or call 415-397-7100.

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G.Skill launches new Phoenix Pro series Solid State Drives in 40GB, 80GB and 160GB capacities.

Taipei, Taiwanー19th August 2010ーG.Skill International Co. Ltd., manufacturer of extreme performance memory and solid-state storage with solid quality, has today added three new capacities to its ultra-high performance Phoenix Pro series SSD, including 40GB, 80GB and 160GB models.

Based on the popular SandForce SF-1200 SSD controller that has been tuned to deliver an unparalleled performance in 4k random write speed up to 50,000 IOPS,
G.Skill's Phoenix pro SSD family has been the international award winning drive of choice since its recent debut at Computex 2010.

G.Skill Phoenix Pro 40GB drive provides PC enthusiasts an extremely affordable MLC SSD solution while maintaining its ultra-high performance. .G.Skill’s Phoenix Pro 40GB SSD is the perfect boot drive or game storage for desktop and PC gaming enthusiasts.

'' After impressing the G.Skill engineering team, the extremely high performance of the Phoenix Pro 40GB drives in RAID 0 offers the ultimate price : performance package, along with the additional benefits of SSDs. '' said Benson Chun, Senior Product Manager at G.Skill. The benchmark result shows the impressive performance of two Phoenix Pro 40GB drives in RAID 0.

All G.Skill Phoenix series SSD solutions come with a three year warranty and the G.Skill Technical team is always ready to provide consumers with complete technical support via online forums, telephone and email.
About G.SkillEstablished in 1989 by enthusiasts, G.Skill is a leading memory manufacturer based in Taipei, Taiwan. The company's top priority is Quality. All of our products undergo a series of the most rigorous tests and strict quality control processes. In addition to a committed, qualified IC testing house to examine our products, all G.Skill products are 100% tested to ensure the highest yield, reliability and quality.

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iPort Turns Apple iPad and iPod touch into in-wall touchscreens

San Clemente, CA—August 18, 2010—iPort®, the inventor of the world’s first in-wall system for the Apple iPod®, is once again poised to advance the integration of Apple products into the home. Since its inception, the iPort brand has helped consumers experience Apple’s products in new and exciting ways allowing them to listen to, and experience their music and video libraries throughout their home. As Apple’s products have evolved from entertainment sources to intuitive touchscreens with the iPhone® and iPad™, iPort has continued to innovate new ways to incorporate them into consumers’ lifestyles.

Continuing the tradition, iPort has introduced two new products in its Control Mount Series for the Apple iPad and iPod touch®. The CM2000 Control Mount for iPad and the iPort CM100 Control Mount for iPod touch both integrate the handheld Apple touchscreen products in an attractive in-wall frame, transforming them into in-wall touchscreens for display of weather, news, stocks and many other preferred Apps.

About iPort®
iPort, inventor of the first in-wall music system for the iPod, makes it possible to easily share music, video, and photos through any home stereo or entertainment system. Using innovative technology and a unique design, iPort is committed to producing products that are stylish, inventive, and as simple to use as the iPod.

iPort is the innovation of Scott Struthers, co-founder of Sonance and developer of the world’s first high-fidelity in-wall loudspeaker. He is a founding member of CEDIA and a recipient of a CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award.

iPort is a registered trademark of Dana Innovations. Apple, iPod, iPod touch, and iPad are Registered trademarks
of Apple Inc.
The iPort CM2000 and CM100 have been licensed by Apple, Inc., as “Made for iPad” and “Made for iPod” respectively.

The CM100 also transforms the iPod touch into an in-wall Internet radio source, and easily connects to any stereo or audio/video receiver. Users can download their choice of any Internet radio apps available in the App Store and play the audio back through any connected stereo system.

“From the very beginning of iPort, we have been creating innovative in-home solutions for the integration of Apple products. As Apple’s products have evolved from media players to intuitive touchscreens, we remain committed to this, and to making our products useful in a way that is aesthetically compelling and easy to use,” said Ari Supran, CEO of iPort’s parent company Dana Innovations.

Integrating an iPad or an iPod touch into a home automation system using the respective Control Mounts offers homeowners an elegant way to control their home entertainment lighting, climate, and more via control apps available from most home automation brands which link to the system over Wi-Fi.

The CM2000 and CM100 may be installed in either a vertical or horizontal orientation, depending on the functionality and design of the room. When installed into the iPort, the iPad and iPod touch remain constantly charged.

Availability: Now Shipping

Suggested Retail Prices:
iPort CM100 $250.00
iPort CM2000 $499.00

Become a Fan of iPort on Facebook: http://bit.ly/doo8W3

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Klipsch Introduces Reference II Series Speakers

INDIANAPOLIS (August 18, 2010) — Klipsch®, a leading global speaker manufacturer, announces today the launch of its Reference II Series speakers. The new line is an enhanced version of the company’s acclaimed Reference speakers and is comprised of 17 all-new speaker models that are infused with the latest technological audio advancements. Now in its fifth generation, the Reference II Series speakers present even higher sound quality due to re-engineered drivers and a new crossover system. Complete with proprietary Tractrix® Horn technology, each speaker offers the precision, clarity and effortless power for which Klipsch is known. The new line also exudes elegance with several cosmetic upgrades, including new black metallic finished baffles, machined Cerametallic™ woofers, logos and feet. “The latest Reference II Series shows why these speakers have remained the true essence of the Klipsch brand for over ten years,” said Mark Casavant, vice president of product development for Klipsch. “The dynamic and detailed sound combined with a vast array of speaker sizes will undoubtedly accommodate any users’ needs and produce an unrivalled sound experience.” The 17 new models consist of five floorstanding towers (RF-7 II, RF-82 II, RF-62 II and RF-52 II and RF-42 II), four bookshelf models (RB-81 II, RB-61 II, RB-51 II and RB-41 II), four center channels (RC-64 II, RC-62 II,RC-52 II and RC-42 II) and four surround speakers (RS-62 II, RS-52 II, RS-42 II and RS-41 II), which include Klipsch’s exclusive Wide Dispersion Surround Technology (WDST™). WDST is the no-compromise approach to surround speaker design because it provides maximum surround coverage and improved placement flexibility. All of the Reference II Series loudspeakers feature lightweight, rigid Cerametallic woofer cones to ensure tight musical bass response. New Tractrix horn tweeters incorporate Linear Travel Suspension and titanium compression drivers, which work together to reduce distortion and provide an open, natural sound. Available in black ash or cherry furniture-grade wood and vinyl veneers, each of these speakers boasts a stylish finish for seamless integration into any décor. “Whether you’re listening to music or watching movies, the new Reference II Speakers sound so realistic it’s like you’re being transported to the artist’s recording studio or the film’s scene,” said Casavant. “As we continue to pay tribute to over 60 years of audio pioneering and our superior horn technology, we also work to incorporate cutting-edge technologies into all our products to continuously enhance our highly efficient, signature sound.” With this new diverse lineup, the Klipsch Reference II Series now covers U.S. MSRP price points ranging from $549.99 to $3,198.99 for a pair of floorstanding speakers, $279.99 to $798.99 for a pair of bookshelf models, $229.99 to $1,299.99 for a center channel and $329.99 to $1,198.99 for a pair of surrounds.
Visit the Klipsch® Reference II Series Speakers product page, available here.About Klipsch® Premium Speakers For over 60 years, Klipsch has designed premium speakers for those who are passionate about great sound. Company founder Paul W. Klipsch started this legacy in 1946, and it continues today with owners Fred and Judy Klipsch. For over 20 years, Fred and Judy Klipsch have worked hard to maintain the family-owned company’s rich heritage, while also staying committed to innovation and delivering the world’s most powerful, detailed and emotional sound reproduction.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Onkyo Debuts its Next Generation of HT-RC Receivers

Onkyo Debuts its Next Generation of HT-RC Receivers

Onkyo HT-RC270 Home Theater Receiver. Click here to web version for more photos.

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, NJ (8/13/10) -- Onkyo, a brand renowned worldwide for quality home entertainment technology, is now shipping the newest generation of its HT-RC home theater receiver line--adding two new models, the mid-priced HT-RC260 and the more upscale HT-RC270.
Both new models are high performance 7.2-channel systems with the latest 3D-Ready HDMI-1.4a interface for single-cable connection to most modern AV components. This interface supports lossless high-definition surround sound via Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio codecs. Both models also include Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz for added sonic dimensions, and Faroudja DCDI Cinema video processing to upscale video to full 1080p output regardless of the source resolution.
The HT-RC270 is THX-Select 2Plus Certified to ensure the best possible sound, and features Audyssey MultEQ for a superior room equalization setup. This receiver is also fully network capable, with DLNA 1.5 and Windows 7 compatibility for PC audio and Internet radio via Pandora, Rhapsody, Napster, Mediafly, Slacker, vTuner, and Sirius Internet Radio.
Both receivers include seven of Onkyo's proprietary WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) amplifiers with new three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry for high dynamics and low distortion. Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DACs are provided for all channels.
The Onkyo HT-RC260 and HT-RC270 are currently available with suggested retail prices of $499 and $849 respectively.
Since 1946 Onkyo has been passionately committed to developing audio products that deliver uncommon performance, quality and value. Bundling proprietary technologies and innovations with other sound-enhancing exclusives, Onkyo continues to created award winning products that are lauded by many of the industry leading audio publications. The company's philosophy is to deliver products that are superbly designed and built to a consistently outstanding standard of excellence. Today, Onkyo is at the forefront of the home theater and digital revolutions. For more information about this and other fine Onkyo products, visit http://www.onkyousa.com/ or call 800-229-1687.

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Elite Screens new curved frame projection screen enhances aesthetic appeal and performance

Cerritos, California. August 11, 2010- Elite's Lunette has a special curve design that directly enhances the aesthetic appeal of the presentation by giving its viewers the sensation of being physically drawn into the film. As an added benefit, the curve design eliminates the "pincushion effect" commonly experienced when projecting in a 2.35:1 (Widescreen) format.

Detail of Lunette Frame

Pincushion effect is when the top and bottom center of a widescreen projection appear to droop inward. It occurs because as the length of an aspect ratio increases, the light from the projector must travel a greater distance to the sides of the screen than it does to the center distorting the size of the footprint.
Elite's curve design brings the sides of the screen forward to even out the projection footprint resulting in a perfectly formatted image. In addition to this, it creates a sense of immersion that only a curved screen can provide.
Elite's Lunette measures from 85" to 166" diagonally in 16:9 (HDTV) or 2.35:1 (Widescreen) aspect ratios. Material options include Elite's award-winning CineWhite tension matte white 1.1 gain material that is black backed to eliminate light penetration or the acoustically transparent AcousticPro1080 matte white woven material with black fabric backing material. The frame is 3.5" thick and is surfaced in black velour to avoid light reflection. Product assembly and installation is quick and easy.

Availability, Pricing, WarrantyElite Screens' Lunette is in stock now. Pricing starts at $919 (USD) and is available now through the commercial and retail sales channels. It comes with Elite's two-year manufacturer's limited warranty, which is twice the industry standard. As further testimony to the quality of their product, Elite offers a 3-year warranty program for Educational, Government, Military and Religious organizations. Elite Screens, get the big picture.

For more information about Elite Screen's various product lines, please visit the website at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103561986958&s=18175&e=001RBQb1Xo4el7PEnt2XaIaW9C-Go2TovAei7wk3GLm_R2cVYuows9SK_y2S4FNjIxTBu4wZppcUkqnQEzLMtvjJNqdqYE8QXR7-yaOQsWVyAYa8JdYxLgtvQ==.

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Vincent Audio Announces CD-S8 HDCD Player With Vacuum Tube Output Stage

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (8/11/10) --Vincent Audio has introduced a high-performance HDCD CD Player that offers the optimal union of precision CD processing with high-end vacuum tubes to bring the music to life. The Vincent CD-S8 plays both High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) encoded discs and conventional CDs. It has a premium CD transport, state-of-the-art digital processing, and a fully-isolated vacuum tube analog output stage with the option of professional-grade XLR balanced analog connections.
The heart of the digital section is a Philips VAM1250 CD transport known for its excellent optical reading performance, low playback noise, and long life expectancy. The 24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is Texas Instrument's esteemed PM1792 with a 192 kHz sampling rate. Its advanced segment DAC architecture achieves excellent dynamic performance and improved tolerance to clock jitter.
The analog output stage of the CD-S8 is a full vacuum tube section rather than a hybrid design. In keeping with Vincent's tradition of using top-rated component parts, it uses a Chinese 12AX7 and two Russian 6922 dual triode tubes, as well as premium WIMA and Solen capacitors to provide smooth, rich audio. This circuitry is housed in a physically separated section of the chassis and shielded from both the digital and high-voltage power supply circuits. This no-compromise approach keeps noise out of the signal chain and helps maintain signal purity.
The vacuum tube stage output is via rear-panel XLR and RCA output jacks for connection to a high-end two-channel preamplifier and amplifier. The player has a dedicated headphone stage with a separate volume control. There are also optical and coaxial digital outputs that allow the CD-S8 to also be used as a source for a AV processor- or receiver-based system. Two 12-VDC trigger inputs aid system integration, and the player can be operated using the front-panel controls or the included aluminum remote control.
The Vincent CD-S8 HDCD Player is now available in silver or black finish, with a suggested retail price of $3,295.
Vincent Audio manufactures high-end audio components that use vacuum tube and hybrid tube/solid-state technology to produce sound that is powerful, accurate, and texturally satisfying. The brand's exclusive North American distributor is WS Distributing, LLC, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information about Vincent Audio, visit WS Distributing's web site at http://www.wsdistributing.com/.
# # #

Vincent Audio CD-S8 Hybrid HDCD CD PLayer
Output voltage: 2.5V Continuous
Frequency range: 20Hz-20kHz
Dynamic Range: >100 dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >90 dB
Power Consumption: 25 Watts
Channel separation: >90 dB
Dimensions: 17" wide, 5.3" high, 14.5" deep
Weight: 23.8 lbs.

WS Distributing, 3427 Kraft SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512 • Dealer Contact: Tom Myers 616.885.9809 • tmyers@wsdistributing.com Fax: 616.885.9818 • Toll-Free/Alternate: 866.984.0677

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ASUS’ New B Series Notebook Highlights Design and

ASUS offers a reliable and secure mobile solution for small to medium-sized businesses with the new B Series notebooks featuring the latest graphics and battery technology --
Fremont, CA (August 9, 2010) - ASUS announces the launch of the B Series —a commercial notebook range targeted at small to medium-sized businesses yet durable and reliable enough for the enterprise. Shipping this month, the ASUS B Series notebooks offer an unprecedented package of newly introduced technologies, a comprehensive set of business features, and best-in-class three-year warranties for the demanding business user. All told the B Series delivers industry leading efficiency, reliability and security along with excellent durability.
The Ideal Business Solution—ASUS B SeriesThe B Series notebooks feature the latest Intel® Core™ processors with vPro technology as well as switchable ATI® Mobility Radeon 5470 graphics that offer energy-efficiency and optimized performance modes. Extending ASUS’ technology leadership, the B Series notebooks are the world’s first to offer ATI® Eyefinity™ multi-display technology, allowing for simultaneous connections on up to three displays for enhanced multimedia presentations or increased user productivity. ASUS has partnered with battery manufacturer Boston-Power® to provide the Sonata Long Life Battery. Boston-Power’s next generation lithium-ion technology platform provides triple the lifespan of typical notebook batteries – thus increasing productivity, lowering the total cost of ownership and supporting the environment. This enables ASUS to offer a three-year warranty on the battery, matching the industry-best three-year warranty on the B Series notebooks. And with ASUS Xpress Charge, a fully-drained battery can be charged to 90 percent capacity in just 90 minutes. The B series notebooks can be paired with the ASUS Power Station II dock for easy connections to a range of peripherals and communication devices. In addition the B series come with anti-shock hard drives, smart card access, TPM and fingerprint logins as well as ASUS Secure Delete to provide unprecedented levels of security. Reliable and secure, ASUS’ B Series notebooks are designed to perform in the business world. They have been subjected to stringent durability tests which include drop and pressure tests that surpass industry standards. The 15” ASUS B53 is available immediately. The 14” ASUS B43 will be available in the near future. For additional information including where to purchase please visit usa.asus.com.
About ASUSASUS, the world’s top 3 consumer notebook vendor and the maker of the world’s bestselling and most award winning motherboards, is a leading enterprise in the new digital era. ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today's digital home, office and person, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, displays, desktop PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia, wireless solutions, networking devices and mobile phones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 3,268 awards in 2009, and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with the Eee PC™. With a global staff of more than ten thousand people and a world-class R&D team of 3,000 engineers, the company's revenue for 2009 was US $7.5 billion.

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Patriot Launches Xporter Rage, Offering Performance and Convenience

Patriot Launches Xporter Rage, Offering Performance and Convenience
USB Flash Drives offer blazing performance and capless design

Fremont, California, USA, August 3, 2010 - Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer peripheral solutions, today announced the immediate availability of the Xporter Rage USB Flash Drive. These drives are designed to provide incredible performance and convenience and are available in capacities from 8GB to 64GB.
The Xporter Rage USB flash drives are built around a quad-channel performance solution, providing read speeds of up to 27MB/s and write speeds of up to 25MB/s. Convenience and ease of use is enabled through a capless housing lightly coated with a touch of rubber. This solution makes the Rage easier to hold and use while the retractable USB connector is protected from damage when not in use.
“The Xporter Rage USB Flash Drives are exceptionally fast and provide an outstanding value to users,” states Meng Jay Choo, Product Manager at Patriot. “Designed around the quad-channel performance solution, these drives are some of the fastest available. When you also consider the convenience and ease of use offered by the capless rubber-coated housing, Rage drives are ideal for enthusiasts and professionals who need to transport and quickly access their important data on-the-go. Rage drives are Performance defined.”
Patriot Xporter Rage USB Flash Drives are available immediately from Patriot’s world wide channel of authorized distributors, resellers and partners.

For more information about Patriot’s products and solutions, please contact your Patriot Sales Representative or visit http://www.patriotmemory.com/.
About Patriot Memory:
Patriot Memory designs, manufactures and markets high performance, enthusiast memory modules, flash products, and computing technologies. Patriot products have become world renown for their extreme performance, reliability and innovation. Patriot Memory sells its products through original equipment manufacturers, retailers, e-tailers and distributors throughout the world with operations in North America, Asia and Europe. Patriot Memory’s parent company, PDP Systems, Inc., was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA.
All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice

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Friday, August 20, 2010

ZVOX Z-Base 550HSD Sound Bar Review

Electronics continue to improve with more and more features. One that I enjoy particularly is audio and video. There are some TV shows and many a movie that I enjoy. I enjoy it through video and sound technology.

Video has come a long way over the years. What started out in the way of TV’s from black and white, to color, to high definition, and to flat panel TV’s. It continued to improve upon our viewing experience. The visuals that can be experienced can be nothing short of stunning.

Video is only half of the viewing experience. The audio sound we hear is the other half. Audio improvements have also come, from mono to hi-fi stereo, to Dolby Surround, Dolby Pro-Logic, Dolby Digital, and now Dolby TruHD. But these formats typically require multiple speakers around the room with their accompanying wires. But what improvements have come to the speakers built into our TV’s? What if we didn’t want wires and speakers all around our room? Enter the sound bar.

As an answer to this need, sound bars have been developed. They are simpler designs with less wires and speakers. Some do nothing more than provide a better stereo sound then that provided by the speakers built into our TV. They are typically a thin bar that gets installed under your flat screen. While they improve the sound, they also tend to sound a little anemic. ZVOX has provided a solution for that basic, anemic sound, whether it be the built in speakers or the traditional thin one piece sound bar.

The ZVOX Z-Base 550HSD provides us with a solution. The ZVOX Z-Base 550HSD is a unique design. It is a table top or cabinet top design, with a very sturdy wooden construction, with attractive gloss black sides. So sturdy, in fact, that it is designed to be able to support up to a 50” 90 pound flat screen TV being set on top of it, no more than 27” wide and 13” deep. With measurements of 28” wide by 14.5” deep by 3 3/8” tall, it is not a wall mountable design. But it is a space saving design, with the TV being able to be mounted on top of it. The 550HSD uses a 60 watt amplifier, has a frequency response of 45Hz – 20kHz, and weighs 20lbs.

Hooking up the 550HSD is very simple. It plugs into an outlet, and into the TV with either analog, digital, or the TV’s headphone jack. Being simple to use is also an included benefit with the included remote control. Buttons include power, auto on/off, mute, subwoofer + & -, treble + & -, PhaseCue + & -, and volume + & -. The auto on feature turns on with TV and will go into idle mode 3 minutes after you turn off the TV. PhaseCue is ZVOX’s proprietary virtual surround sound.

This design also allows for some sound unique to a sound bar. The ZVOX Z-Base 550HSD has your array of speakers across the front, as are found on other sound bars. But thanks to its depth, it also features a built in 5 ¼”long throw ported subwoofer to go with the five 2” main ferrofluid cooled speaker drivers. The wooden cabinet not only provides the strength to support your TV, the MDF wooden enclosure also helps the sound quality of the cabinet. The front firing speakers are high quality long throw drivers with Neodymium magnets.

I must admit that I was impressed with the sound out of the Z-Base 550HSD. It does not throw the same sized sound that you expect from a true 5.1 surround sound system, but I was surprised at the size of the sound stage that was projected. This magic touch is done by PhaseCue adjusting the phase of the sound. It did sound as if I had separate left, right, and center channel speakers up front. And I liked the ability to adjust the amount of PhaseCue with the remote control. The sound quality also brought out the quality of the drivers. Whether the volume was turned down, or cranked up, the sound was broadcasted clear and well articulated with natural sound. The dynamics were good. Distortion was inaudible. I was not expecting this sound from a sound bar. With an MSRP of only $449, you are getting a lot of quality sound for your money.

If there was a weak spot in the 550HSD, it would probably be the 5 ¼” subwoofer. Based on the amount of power being received from the built in amp, and the size of the enclosure, the performance of the subwoofer is adequate. While I am used to a lot more from a subwoofer, it did ok for its size. It gave a depth to the overall sound, froviding a fuller sound especially in midbass, with a presence in lower bass. But there is also no need to fret. If you are like me and tend to feel more is better when it comes to bass, there is a subwoofer output, so you can hook-up an external subwoofer. For me, the 550HSD was not good enough to replace my surround sound receiver. But for the bedroom it is perfect.

Its performance has earned our Highly Recommended reward. If you are in the market for a sound bar, you may want to think twice if ZVOX is not on your list. And with their 30 day money-back guarantee, you can rest assured that if you don’t like it, you can send it back. For more information and complete specs, check out their website at www.zvoxaudio.com.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

DeLorme Unveils New GPS Lineup, Added Topo Map

DeLorme Unveils New GPS Lineup, Added Topo Map
Coverage, and Aerial Imagery, at Outdoor Retailer Trade Show

New Earthmate PN-60 and PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator, updated topographic detail for U.S. as well as Canada, and the addition of DigitalGlobe satellite and aerial imagery to GPS data offerings.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, August 3, 2010 – DeLorme, the innovation leader in mapping and GPS technologies, is showcasing its newest PN-Series GPS receivers and related products at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show, now through August 6 at the Salt Palace here in Salt Lake City.

Also on display is DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 GPS maps and PC software, and DigitalGlobe worldwide aerial and satellite imagery for display on PN-Series receivers.

The headliner for DeLorme is still the Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator, which has generated enormous interest since its pending release was announced earlier this year.

Peace of Mind Wherever You Go

The PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator is the world’s first handheld GPS with Type & Send outbound text satellite messaging, enabling users to stay connected with friends, family, and emergency services, from locations around the world.

Users can navigate with confidence, with their position pinpointed on DeLorme Topo North America GPS maps (included). If their adventures take them beyond cell phone range, they can still send their text messages to recipients’ cell phones and email addresses, and to networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Fire Eagle,
SpotAdventures.com,or Geocaching.com. In addition, family and friends can track a user’s progress via Google’s free online maps.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $549.95. SPOT services are activated via subscription.

Next-Generation GPS Features

DeLorme has also released the Earthmate PN-60. While it’s not enabled for satellite communication, it does (like the PN-60w) offer a wealth of next-generation GPS features. They include GPX file support for superior flexibility in managing and saving waypoint, geocache, and track files; an elevation profile tool that pinpoints user location; new power management and display options that significantly extend battery life; and a full 3.5 GB of onboard memory, ample enough to store maps and aerial imagery for countless outdoor adventures. MSRP is $399.95.

Both PN-60 models offer an icon-based interface for easily moving around the devices’ map, function and activity screens.

The PN-60 models are the latest in the DeLorme Earthmate handheld lineup, which also includes the popular PN-40 (MSRP $299.95).

All PN-Series receivers are ruggedized, waterproof (IPX-7), WAAS-enabled, and equipped with a high-sensitivity 32-channel GPS chipset, and dual-core processor for blazing-fast performance. They come with new DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 GPS maps and PC software included, and offer the widest available array of supplemental map and imagery display choices (more information below).

Up-to-Date Topographic Detail for the U.S. and Canada

DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 software is the successor to Topo USA. As the new name suggests, it now includes detailed topographic and street detail for both the U.S. and Canada, along with places of interest including attractions, restaurants, lodgings, and businesses of all kinds.

The updates include over 210,000 new or updated roads, 11,000 U.S. national forest trails, and BLM and State Trust lands.

A new one-button synchronization feature makes GPS file exchanges (maps, aerial imagery, waypoints, geocaches, tracks, and routes) fast and effortless. For geocachers, Pocket Query downloads are now automatic.

DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 is available by itself for PN-Series users who wish to upgrade their maps and GPS file management capabilities, or anyone who wants a standalone PC mapping program. MSRP is $99.95.

High-Resolution DigitalGlobe Imagery

With this latest product release, DeLorme also announces the availability of DigitalGlobe satellite and aerial imagery for display on PN-Series receivers. DigitalGlobe provides imagery for locations worldwide, at ultra high-resolution (as high as 30 cm per pixel). The DigitalGlobe imagery is available from DeLorme via a low-cost $29.95 annual subscription, which entitles unlimited downloads. DigitalGlobe subscription cards can be purchased from authorized DeLorme resellers.

For even more map and imagery choices, the DeLorme MapPack offers multiple U.S. aerial imagery types, official USGS 1:24,000 (7.5-min.) and Natural Resources Canada (1:50,000) topographic detail, and NOAA nautical charts.

MapPack maps and imagery are also available for a $29.95 annual subscription, with unlimited downloads, and can be purchased from authorized DeLorme resellers.

Product Availability

DeLorme PN-Series GPS receivers, Topo North America 9.0 software, and DigitalGlobe and MapPack subscription cards, can be purchased from online resellers, and at leading outdoor retailers and electronics stores. For more information, call 800-561-5105.

About DeLorme

DeLorme is the longtime leader in innovative mapping and GPS solutions for both consumer and professional markets. Based in Yarmouth, ME, DeLorme offers a unique set of core competencies across the complex areas of map data creation and management, software development, and integration with GPS. The ability to develop all the critical components necessary to compete in the fast-changing navigation world provides a distinct competitive advantage. DeLorme is one of a handful of mapmakers that still own and produce their own content, and its Street Atlas USA, Topo North America, XMap, and Earthmate GPS products have introduced countless first-to-market innovations. To learn more, go to www.delorme.com.

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Kingston Technology Adds Water-Cooled Modules to HyperX Family

HyperX Lineup Grows with New ‘H2O’ High-Performance Memory Kits

Fountain Valley, CA -- August 2, 2010 -- Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the release of HyperX® ‘H2O’ water-cooled DDR3 dual- and triple-channel memory kits. With frequencies up to 2133 MHz and capacities up to 6GB, H2O is the newest addition to the HyperX product family and supports the needs of enthusiasts building with water-cooled systems.

“Water cooling is desirable for its quiet operation and long-term reliability. We are bringing HyperX H2O to market as a solution for PC enthusiasts who want to build water-cooled systems using high quality Kingston products,” said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston®. “HyperX H2O is a natural extension of Kingston ’s offerings for performance users. Our goal is for users of all levels and interests to have a Kingston product that meets their needs.”

Kingston is debuting three HyperX DDR3 products in the new H2O line: two 4GB dual-channel kits (2000MHz, 2133MHz) and a 6GB triple-channel kit running at 2000MHz. H20 is available through Kingston ’s channel of authorized distributors, resellers, e-tailers and retailers.

“ Kingston is also proud to announce that the original HyperX module is now called Genesis,” said Vincent Kim, HyperX product manager, Kingston . “The core of the HyperX family is the blu, Genesis and T1 series as they offer solutions in a range of densities and frequencies for enthusiasts of all levels. For system builders with specific requirements, H2O adds high performance in a water-cooling environment while LoVo is the perfect choice for an energy-efficient build.”

Kingston HyperX memory is backed by a lifetime warranty and free 24/7 technical support. For detailed information please visit the Kingston Web site at www.kingston.com

Kingston HyperX H2O DDR3 Specifications

Part Number
Capacity and Features
MSRP ( U.S. only).


4GB DDR3 2000MHz (CL9-11-9-27 @ 1.65v) kit of 2 optimized for XMP


4GB DDR3 2133MHz (CL9-11-9-27 @ 1.65v) kit of 2 optimized for XMP


6GB DDR3 2000MHz (CL9-10-9-27 @ 1.65v) kit of 3 optimized for XMP

About Kingston Technology Company, Inc.

Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products. Kingston designs, manufactures and distributes memory products for desktops, laptops, servers, printers, and Flash memory products for PDAs, mobile phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players. Through its global network of subsidiaries and affiliates, Kingston has manufacturing facilities in California, Taiwan, China and sales representatives in the United States, Europe, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand, India, Taiwan, China, and Latin America. For more information, please call 800-337-8410 or visit www.kingston.com.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Vibe Class GH Hybrid Four Channel Car Amplifier Review

If you have not heard, Vibe is a car stereo manufacturer from England. When I saw their booth at CES, they had some high quality products that really interested me. When I was given the chance to review their Space CBR Evo 12 loaded subwoofer enclosure, I jumped on the opportunity. I was very impressed with what I heard.

When I had the opportunity to review their LiteBox Stereo 4, I was equally excited. The LiteBox Stereo 4 is a hybrid type amp. Class D digital amps are becoming popular in a big way, and Vibe is taking it a step further. Class AB amplifiers are a clean sounding high output design. The downside to the Class AB amp design is they are not as efficient. Class D amps are a digital design that is more efficient, but not quite as clean sounding as an AB design. Vibe uses a Class GH hybrid design that claims to deliver the power and sound quality of the AB design, with the efficiency of the Class D design.

All of this comes in a small clean looking package of the LiteBox Stereo 4. The amp has a $479 selling price, and is a natural unpainted aluminum box measuring 11.6” x 5.3” x 2”inches. It is a 4 channel amp rated at 90 watts to each channel at 4 ohm, and 125 watts x 4 at 2 ohms, and 1000 watts max power. The frequency response is 20Hz - 20kHz, with a s/n ratio of 109 dB. There is a built-in Linkwitz-Riley -24dB/oct. crossover with HP/LP/Flat options with a range of 55-550Hz. And according to the manual, THD is at 0.01% and channel separation is rated at 74 dB, and a bass boost at 45Hz of up to 15 dB to the rear channels. There are 2 external fuses rated 30A each. The LiteBox Stereo 4 is also microprocessor controlled for protection from short circuit, reverse polarity, over and under voltage, overheating, and also controls the fan speed.

One potential downside is the location of the adjustments. All of these are located on the bottom of the amp. These include gain control for each channel, input level, Auto Sense, crossover settings and frequency adjustment, and bass boost control. As long as you do your fine tuning, mount your amp and you’re done, everything is fine. The amp looks really clean installed with all the adjustments out of site. But if you want to make any adjustments later, you’ll need to get at the bottom of the amp. More than likely if this is a negative, it is only a small one.

Input level is for high and low inputs. This lets you use low level signal inputs from RCA cables, or high level speaker wire inputs from your receiver. Auto Sense will automatically sense when a signal is received without using the remote turn-on, if connected it the speaker outputs of a factory head unit. When the Auto Sense feature is used, the remote turn-on lead then turns into a switched 12 volt output than can be used to turn on other components such as equalizers. I was surprised to see gains for each channel. Usually there is either just a single gain control, or one for the left channels and one for the right channels, or one for the front channels and one for rear channels. The bottom also shows the location of an internal fan that brings air in, and out thru vents on both ends. The amp is also light as to not add weight to performance vehicles.

The LiteBox Stereo 4 has some great features. Great features however don’t mean a whole lot if the end result isn’t great sound. So how does it sound? It’s now time to find out.

I turned to some music that I liked that was also popular and would test the performance and sound quality of the amp. No Doubt: Hella Good sounded really clean. There was a lot of instrumentation going on, and the excellent channel separation really brought them out. The bass was punchy and well controlled. Justin Timberlake: SexyBack also had nice bass extension that wasn’t muddy. The snaps were very dynamic, and the vocals were great. In Eric Bibb & Rory Block’s: Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag You Down, the pitch definition in the vocals was very nice. The resolution was excellent! The snares were crisp, as was the acoustic guitar.

Last but not least I turned to The Brunson Brothers: Fleece Movae. These boys can really wail! The acoustic guitar was crisp and very detailed. But the real jewels of this piece were the trumpets that were so amazingly clean and not overly extended. The resolution and level of detail and sound quality was amazing and just, WOW! It gave me goose bumps!

I had a difficult time on the listening portion of the review. The amp gave such ear candy I had to continue reminding myself to pay attention. I kept finding myself enjoying the music and just listening, rather than paying attention to the details to write on. And I think that is one of the best compliments to give a stereo component. Overall the amp was very detailed with a high level of resolution. The sound was really clean with extremely low inaudible noise. You could tell it had an excellent signal to noise ratio. The Class GH design seemed to really come thru.

I was hoping for great things with the amp when I heard about the Class GH design. But when I pulled the amp out of the box and hefted it, I had my doubts. The amp, for an amp, is actually fairly light. While it did not take anything away from the sound quality of the amp, it will be an added benefit as the amp is part of their supercar series where the light weight will be a benefit. The packaging was also great, from the printed box to the foam inserts to protect the amp, and the black microfiber bag the amp was in. You can tell the level of detail that is given, especially with pieces like the small round rubber spacers that would go between the screw and the amplifier, to protect the natural finish.

I know I have said it before, and I will say it again. The Brits at Vibe in England know audio. They have another winner on their hands. So much so, that the LiteBox Stereo 4 amp from Vibe has won our Editor’s Choice award. Congrats! Based on its price, features, and sound quality, Vibe has a winning combination. If you are in the market for a 4 channel amp, the Vibe LiteBox Stereo 4 should be on your short list. Reference gear used was Kenwood Excelon KDC-X991 receiver, Kenwood Excelon XR-S17P front speakers and Rockford Fosgate Fanatic HPC-1206U. For more information and complete specs, check out their website at: http://www.vibecaraudio.com/.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Patriot Launches 60GB, 120GB and 240GB Inferno Series Sold-State Drives

New Larger Capacity Inferno Series Drives Offer Cutting Edge Performance

Fremont, California, USA, July 27, 2010 - Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash and computer peripheral solutions, today announced the immediate availability of three new capacities to the award winning Inferno Series of SSDs. The Inferno 60GB, 120GB and 240GB drives build upon the earlier 100GB and 200GB product offerings found in the family.

Designed around the SandForce SF-1200 SSD processor, the Inferno series delivers incredible performance while also providing superior reliability and longevity utilizing SandForce DuraClass™ technology. Inferno’s blazing performance of 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write (sequential) are more exceptional when the 24K IOPS (write) at 4K file sizes are considered. The result is a series of SSD optimized for enthusiast use as a primary system boot drive.
“The Inferno series of SSDs are the fastest and most exciting that Patriot has yet brought to the market,” states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. “Our Inferno series has been well received and reviewed. We are excited to expand the product family with the introduction of the new larger capacity Inferno drives as well as the new 60GB capacity option. With the addition of the 60GB capacity drive, enthusiasts can enjoy the blistering performance of the Inferno SSD at a more affordable price point making it ideal as a boot drive in a high performance system.”

Patriot Inferno SSDs are paired with specially screened MLC NAND Flash to deliver class leading performance, include a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter plate for easy installation into desktop computer chassis and are covered by a 3 year warranty. SandForce DuraClass™ technology provides enhanced endurance and reliability by an average of 20x over traditional SSD controllers through innovative write technology and Wear Leveling. Check with your favorite distributor or reseller for the Patriot Inferno series SSD.

For more information about Patriot’s products and solutions, please contact your Patriot Sales Representative or visit http://www.patriotmemory.com.
About Patriot Memory:

Patriot Memory designs, manufactures and markets high performance, enthusiast memory modules, flash products, and computing technologies. Patriot products have become world renown for their extreme performance, reliability and innovation. Patriot Memory sells its products through original equipment manufacturers, retailers, e-tailers and distributors throughout the world with operations in North America, Asia and Europe. Patriot Memory’s parent company, PDP Systems, Inc., was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA.
All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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GIGABYTE On/Off Charge Works With iPhone 4

-- iPhone 4 Owners Can Enjoy Quick USB Port Charge While PC is On or Off --

Taipei, Taiwan, July 27, 2010 - GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co., Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards and computing hardware solutions is proud to announce that GIGABYTE On/Off Charge technology also works on the iPhone 4. GIGABYTE first announced On/Off Charge in April this year by demonstrating how it speeds up iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch charging from a PC’s USB port whether the PC is operational or shut down.

A derivative of GIGABYTE’s highly acclaimed 3x USB Power feature, On/Off Charge technology emulates iPhone 4 chargers by providing the current that the device requests, unlike standard USB ports whose current is capped. The result is a 40% quicker charge even if the PC is shut down. Tests in the GIGABYTE labs showed a maximum current of 0.92A to the new iPhone 4. A video demonstration is available here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MoboTV2010#p/a/u/0/tL6_tVGSSmY

“We want to assure our customers that they will be able to continue enjoying the benefits of On/Off Charge should they choose to upgrade to the new iPhone 4,” commented Tim Handley, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing at GIGABYTE Technology Co. Ltd. “On/Off Charge behaves just like iPhone 4 chargers in providing the amount of current that the device requests throughout its charge, without force-feeding or damaging the device battery.”

GIGABYTE On/Off Charge comes in two flavors: a backwards compatible On/Off Charge driver* that was made available in April, 2010, from the official GIGABYTE utility web page, and an On/Off Charge front panel connector that is available on a full range of GIGABYTE motherboards. The On/Off Charge front panel connector features a special controller combined with the On/Off Charge driver that allows the computer to detect the current required by iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch products.

About 3x USB Power:

3x USB Power technology from GIGABYTE is designed to deliver the utmost compatibility and stability for USB devices by supplying sufficient power through a single USB port. This helps free-up USB ports for using multiple USB devices and is particularly useful with PC cases that only have 2 front panel USB ports. Please visit the GIGABYTE On/Off Charge website for more details.

Download GIGABYTE On/Off Charge from: http://www.gigabyte.com/Support/Motherboard/Utility_List.aspx. Learn more about GIGABYTE On/Off Charge from the official microsite: http://www.gigabyte.com/microsite/185/on-off-charge.htm.

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About GIGABYTE Upgrade Your Life

GIGABYTE, headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, is known as a global leading brand in the IT industry, with employees and business channels in almost every country. Founded in 1986, GIGABYTE started as a research and development team and has since taken the lead in the world's motherboard market. On top of motherboards and graphics accelerators, GIGABYTE further expanded its product portfolio to include notebook and desktop PCs, digital home entertainment appliances, networking servers, communications, mobile and handheld devices, servicing every facet of people's lives at home or business. Everyday GIGABYTE aims to “Upgrade Your Life” with the most innovative designs and impeccable quality and services. Visit www.gigabyte.com for more information.

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Sonance's Product Line Now Updated In D-Tools System Integrator (SI) 5.5 Software

The latest detailed Sonance product information in System Integrator™ is now completely updated and available to current SI users.

CONCORD, CA – JULY 27, 2010 — D-Tools Inc., the worldwide leader in system integration software today announced that detailed information on the entire family of Sonance and iPort products have been recently updated in D-Tools product database, better enabling D-Tools System Integrator™ users to specify Sonance and iPort for any size project.

With distribution in over 70 countries, Sonance remains at the forefront of technology by offering innovative design solutions that harmoniously blend sound with designs favored by leading custom integrators, architects, interior-design professionals, and design-conscious clients throughout the world.

Click here to read more ...


About Sonance
Headquartered in San Clemente, California, Sonance was founded by Scott Struthers and Geoff Spencer who introduced the world's first in-wall loudspeaker system to the consumer-electronics market in 1982. With distribution in over 70 countries, Sonance remains at the forefront of technology by offering innovative design solutions that harmoniously blend sound with designs favored by leading custom integrators, architects, interior-design professionals, and design-conscious clients throughout the world. For more information, please visit http://www.sonance.com/

About D-Tools, Inc.
D-Tools, founded in 1998 and based in Concord, California, is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate system design and documentation software. The company's flagship product, System Integrator™ (SI), is a total design solution that utilizes Autodesk® AutoCAD and Microsoft® Visio for comprehensive system design, documentation and project management. For more information, please visit http://www.d-tools.com/


For more information, contact D-Tools at (866) 386-6571, e-mail at info@d-tools.com or visit D-Tools online at www.d-tools.com.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kenwood Excelon XR-4S Class D 4 Channel Amp Review

Having recently reviewed Kenwood's Excelon X1200M and after being so impressed with it, I was glad to see the Excelon XR-4S on my doorstep. I’ve been a believer of their receivers for years- I want to use the best. And that also is the case with amplifiers. I really push my amps, so I have turned to Rockford Fosgate in the past. But with the performance of their Excelon Gouriki X1200M sub amp in my recent review, I was excited to see how their Excelon XR-4S would performed.

Let’s start off with features and specs. The XR-4S is a Class D full range digital amp. What this means is that it will make the most of your electrical system, with lower current demands. That means that it will be a good performer on a stock electrical system, and even more so than other manufacturers using Class AB designs. Amplifiers produce two things – power and heat. Class D amps are highly efficient, meaning they produce high power with lower waste (heat).

Construction is quite good for the Excelon XR-4S. It is an elegant looking black aluminum exterior, with a top plate that is removable and can be rotated so the logo can be right side up depending on how you have the amp mounted. From the current orientation, all of the connectors are on the bottom, which can be very convenient, and are gold plated. All of the controls for crossover frequencies and the gains as well as the internal fan are located on the top. There is also a small mesh vent on both sides to help airflow keep the amp cool.

The Kenwood Excelon XR-4S also has plenty of features to give a delicious sound. Using a dual Power Supply helps give the power needed, even under demanding conditions. They also work together, which helps provide more stability. The Dual Sigma Drive utilizes a negative feedback loop circuit. This works to eliminate unwanted speaker movement, thereby lower distortion and give more accurate bass. There is also a built-in variable crossover, high pass and low pass filters for 2.5 – 10kHz and 50 – 200 Hz ranges at -12 dB/oct. I also can’t forget the Bi-Amp feature for use with component speaker systems. In addition there are dual gains, one for the front channels and one for the rear channels.

The Reference Fit also gives it one of the smallest footprints in its class. This is done thanks to its small size design. A high density mount circuit board and highly effective heat dissipation help to keep down the size. An enhanced air cooling and heat control system does their part to make the design a reality. All this together gives us an amplifier solution for car installations where space is limited. It's small, but has some good heft to it, and packs a real punch!

Now it’s time to take the design to the test. Let’s see how all this work actually transforms into sound. I first went to one of my favorite discs, Sound & Vision Magazine’s SACD Sampler. Why Are People Like That, was very clean and smooth, and natural sounding. Noise was extremely low. The harmonica was very dynamic, with great pitch definition. On the same disc is Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag You Down. It has wonderful vocals that come out beautifully, especially the female who can really wail! The vocals were clear, piano was natural, and percussion was crisp and detailed.

No Doubt: Hella Good, sounded amazing. It provided excellent channel separation, and definition. It is easy not to associate resolution to this type of music. Resolution is usually associated with classical or orchestral type music. But with all the instrumentation going on, the Kenwood Excelon XR-4S provided it. Justin Timberlake: SexyBack also sounded great. It provided excellent dynamics in the snaps, and clear vocals. And thanks I’m sure partly to the XR-4S Dual Sigma Drive, the midbass was also detailed, controlled, and did not sound muddy.

Going from Class AB to Class D, the Class D can sound a little strained. But I found that the Excelon XR-4S sounded full with plenty of reserves. Just crank up the volume and you will see for yourself. While I don’t think the output is quite what a similar rated Class AB amp is, it seemed so close I didn’t miss it at all. And at the same time, what I won’t miss is the extra space or currant demand that a larger Class AB amp will take.

The sound overall was very clean, detailed, with plenty of resolution. Everything I threw at it sounded wonderful, and gave me goose bumps! The imaging was also great, and the XR-4S provided a nice sized soundstage. Kenwood saves the Excelon label for their best gear. The XR-4S is deserving of it. I’m glad to see that the quality I found in the Excelon X1200M is also in the Excelon XR-4S. If you are in the market for an amp, I would highly suggest the Kenwood Excelon XR-4S be on your short list to check out. So much so, that the Excelon XR-4S has earned our Editor's Choice award! Congrats! For more information and complete specs, check out their website at: www.kenwoodusa.com.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Delve into an Immersive 3-D World with the ASUS VG236H Monitor

-- ASUS’ latest HD monitor features a 120Hz refresh rate and full support for
NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology for the best 3D experience --

Fremont, CA (July 19, 2010) - ASUS launches the VG236H—a new 23” Full HD 1080p display that includes market-leading NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ and Trace Free II technologies. The VG236H features a 2ms (gray-to-gray) response time and 120Hz refresh rate to deliver ultra-smooth 3D visuals in Full HD.

ASUS’ Color Shine technology featuring a 400-nit brightness capability lets users enjoy vibrant colors while ergonomically-designed features like swivel, tilt angle, and height adjustments ensure viewing comfort even after prolonged periods of use. The VG236H features YPbPr, Dual-Link DVI and HDMI input ports to ensure a wide variety connectivity options. ASUS’ VG236H is the ideal monitor to experience the internet, Blu-ray movies, and games in 3D.

An Immersive Stereoscopic 3D Experience with NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ Technology
The 23” ASUS VG236H monitor includes a NVIDIA® 3D Vision kit*, which features a pair of active shutter glasses with alternate-frame sequencing technology that immerses users in their favorite 3D movie or gaming world. There are currently hundreds of NVIDIA® 3D Vision compatible PC game titles** available on the market to enjoy along with exciting new title releases coming shortly.

Driven to Perform with Optimized Colors
The ASUS-exclusive Trace Free II technology combines a 120Hz refresh rate with a 2ms (gray-to-gray) response time that effectively eliminates ghosting to ensure a smooth gaming and movie experience.

ASUS Color Shine technology with 400-nit brightness provides brilliant and vibrant display colors in any application or movie. Color Shine technology uses multiple-color film layers instead of a single-film layer that reduces the diffusion of light allowing improved image clarity while at the same time enriching color density and saturation.

Ergonomically-designed for Viewing Comfort
To ensure user comfort the VG236H is easily adjustable to cater to almost any viewing angle. It can adjust swivel 150-degrees, height by 100mm, and tilt viewing angle. The VG236H provides a built-in cable management feature that helps conceal wires for clutter-free desktops.
*For NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ system requirements, please visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d-vision-about.html.
**For a list of supported games, please visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d-vision-3d-games.html.
Specifications are subject to change without prior notice. Please visit usa.asus.com for additional information.
The ASUS VG236H with NVIDIA 3D Vision kit will be available shortly at leading resellers and system partners with a suggested MSRP of $499. The ASUS VG236H without NVIDIA’s 3D Vision kit will be available in the near future.

About ASUS
ASUS, the world’s top 3 consumer notebook vendor and the maker of the world’s best selling and most award winning motherboards, is a leading enterprise in the new digital era. ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today's digital home, office and person, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, displays, desktop PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia, wireless solutions, networking devices and mobile phones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 3,268 awards in 2009, and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with the Eee PC™. With a global staff of more than ten thousand people and a world-class R&D team of 3,000 engineers, the company's revenue for 2009 was US$7.5 billion. ASUS has been listed in BusinessWeek's InfoTech 100 for 12 years.

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