IT/Enterprise

You'd be hard pressed these days to find a small business or even family home that doesn't have at least a few computers being used by a number of different local users. This multi-user scenario poses at least a couple of potential complications for managing all the files and data that gets created, stored, and used by the different users: How do you share files with the other users on your network and how do you seamlessly back up files that are stored on the different user systems? Network-attached storage (NAS) is the answer, and the new Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition Dual-drive... Read more...
Synopsis:  The Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds is a rather unique product, targeted squarely at mobile professionals who require the power, features, and performance of workstation-class machine on the go. We previously evaluated the standard ThinkPad W700 and praised the system for its performance and stand-out integrated features, like a Wacom Digitizer Tablet and X-Rite Color Calibrator. The ThinkPad W700ds takes all of the features offered by the W700 and ads a secondary, slide-out display, which increases monitor real-estate by 39%.The machine we received for evaluation was outfitted with 4GB... Read more...
When Windows Vista first hit the scene, it was quite a departure from Windows XP. It had been a while since a major desktop operating system release from Microsoft, and consumers along with many businesses, were slow to adopt the new OS, if at all. Add to that the new and sometimes cumbersome security features and reports that Vista was slower as a gaming platform, and you had an equation for slow initial uptake.  Even as service pack 1 was released adoption was still less than stellar, prompting Microsoft to launch creative marketing campaigns in an attempt to sway public... Read more...
While NVIDIA has released a number of new graphics cards for the gaming market over the last year and a half, we have seen relatively few updates to their workstation lineup in that same timeframe. It's been since mid-2007 that we saw the last major performance update to the QuadroFX lineup with the launch of their flagship QuadroFX 5600. While the monstrous G80 GPU-based QuadroFX 5600 has no doubt had competition since its release, it's been able to effectively hold off competing ATI products to reign as the performance champ throughout this last year and a half or so. Early in 2008, NVIDIA released... Read more...
In the last few years Virtualization has gone from a buzzword to a platform of choice in the world of Information Technology. Consumers already reap its benefits on a day to day basis as Banks, Internet Service Providers, online merchants, and many other companies have adopted the technology all the while transparent to the end user. The reasons why virtualization is attractive to companies are many but, to put it succinctly, it all boils down to efficiency which then translates to lower cost and higher availability. In an article on the Intel/IBM sponsored VirtualizationConversation.com, HotHardware.com's... Read more...
ATI has spent much of the last decade producing the FireGL line of high-end workstation graphics cards, regularly challenging and often times besting competing products from Nvidia's Quadro lineup. ATI's last generation of FireGL products, which we covered heavily, were excellent all around performers. It certainly wasn't perfect (a bit too loud, a bit too expensive), but was definitely solid improvements over the generation of FireGL cards which preceded it. Now in late 2008, we're seeing ATI / AMD's first moves to eventually kill off the long-known FireGL brand. Its replacement?... Read more...
When you think of a high-powered graphics workstation, the first thing which typically comes to mind is a huge, bulky tower chassis, packed to the brim with multiple processors, high-end graphics cards, and multiple hard disks. For the most part, this assumption is still fairly accurate, as these are the components which designers and artists usually require, and they aren't available anywhere else. Thus, artists have more or less been chained to their desks and their big, perfectly calibrated monitors. This isn't to say that there aren't options for the mobile workstation user, however, they... Read more...
The second day of NVIDIA’s NVISION 08 visual computing conference began with a keynote address hosted by local television personality and tech analyst Scott Budman. Budman only did a relatively small amount of speaking at the engagement, however, as he shared the stage with a number of guest speakers, including Eileen Collins of NASA, Lorne Lanning, NASCAR's Kyle Busch, and Bernard Charles.        There was no breaking news in the keynote; instead the speakers all explained how visual computing has transformed their respective industries. Eileen Collins, the first... Read more...
As digital media increases in popularity, so will the demand for larger storage options, whether in the form of increased hard drives capacities or through the use of expandable network storage devices.  The last time we broached the topic of NAS was with our article on two impressive SOHO units from QNAP.  While not industrial strength solutions, both QNAP models offered a balance of hardware and software features that made them excellent solutions for both home and small business users.  However, with the TS-101 being a single drive solution and the TS-201 being a two-drive... Read more...
ATI has been particularly aggressive with their FireGL workstation graphics card lineup over the past six months. While their flagship R600-architecture was the basis for the solid (but ultimately underwhelming) Radeon HD2900XT release for the gaming market, our tests have shown that this particular GPU architecture actually is much more competitive in the workstation market. While the R600 may not be the best choice for a high-end gaming rig, it is indeed a powerful chip for high-end OpenGL work, and as such, has led to a revival of sorts for ATI’s FireGL lineup. With an excellent performing workstation... Read more...
Earlier this year, we conducted a series of reports on both the high-end and mid-range workstation graphics card markets with a range of comparative tests. In our prior tests, we found performance to be exceptionally close between comparatively priced products from AMD/ATI’s and NVIDIA’s high-end and mid-range cards. NVIDIA is typically stronger on the high-end, whereas ATI’s cards are winning in the mid-range; it was pretty cut and dry.  However, once you start pricing these cards out, you’ll soon realize that there is a huge, gaping hole in the price spectrums of each respective competitive... Read more...
As gamers and hardware enthusiasts, it’s easy to get jaded by Extreme Edition processors and multi-card CrossFire configurations. They push performance full-bore. And although you’ll never hear AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA recommending against using their enthusiast offerings in higher-end configurations, there’s no denying that Xeons, Opterons, Quadros, and FireGLs belong to a different pedigree. It’s The Hamptons versus South Beach. You can’t go wrong either way, but there is a distinct difference. So when it comes time to pass judgment over workstation-class hardware, you might be tempted to turn... Read more...
Just a few weeks ago, we took a look at the two fastest workstation class graphics cards currently on the market, the FireGL V8650 from ATI/AMD and the QuadroFX 5600 from Nvidia. We found both products to be quite powerful and thought either one would be a solid choice for a high-end workstation.  However, the one comment which was repeated over and over again when looking at those cards was that unless you worked for a major studio or production firm, they were simply not very affordable. At nearly $3,000 a piece, the FireGL V8650 and QuadroFX 5600 require large investments.... Read more...
While high-end workstation graphics cards may be based on roughly the same core architectures as gaming-targeted graphics cards, their purposes in life are very different. While they both accomplish the same task, processing commands and rendering images on-screen, workstation cards endure a more strenuous existence than their gaming brethren. Workstation cards are used to solve huge, mission-critical problems, like helping engineers design and build cars; helping architects to planning and construct buildings, and even help to our friendly oil and gas companies to provide more... Read more...
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