Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DACC trustees approve bid for computers, networking to Zhai Network Parametrix

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College will continue to improve technology on campus this summer.

Trustees on Tuesday awarded a $78,836 bid to Zhai Network Parametrix for 70 Lenovo desktop computers, 70 monitors and 12 laptops. The equipment will be installed in four existing computer labs throughout the main campus.

Trustees also awarded an $80,474 bid to CDW-G for Cisco networking equipment. That will improve wireless Internet capabilities on campus.

The computer equipment will be purchased with Perkins grant funding, and the networking equipment will be purchased with the remainder of a 2008 technology and equipment bond.

"There were a little bit of funds that were left over," Chief Financial Officer Gail Morrison said of the $1 million bond, which DACC officials issued to make technology improvements across campus. "That will exhaust any remaining money."

The college used to rely on an annual $250,000 technology grant from the state to do that, but that money dried up several years ago. Afterward, the college replaced some items using grants, but not nearly as many or as frequently as it should.

A first round of funding was used to buy more than 200 computers, monitors and other equipment in the 2009 fiscal year, and a second was used to buy more than 250 computers, monitors and 62 laptops this current fiscal year.

"We're certainly much more up-to-date with our technology than we were," President Alice Jacobs said, adding that couldn't have been done without the bond. "We have to have computers and equipment that's as up-to-date as other institutions of higher education and the high schools to meet not only the needs of the students but the needs of the area employers, as well."


Friday, June 18, 2010

Lenovo Y560d laptop: works great for gaming

The 3D revolution making headlines in 2010 goes beyond just TVs and actually extends to Blu-ray players, game consoles, and even laptops. It seems every computer manufacturer has hopped on the 3D laptop display train, and now Lenovo is finally aboard too with the new IdeaPad Y560d.

Lenovo slow to follow

In terms of 3D laptops, Lenovo can be considered something of a slow starter since both Acer and Asus already come out with 3D notebooks of their own late last year in 2009. By now, over a half a year later, Lenovo was one of the few PC makers to have not released a 3D laptop model, although all this has been changed with the new IdeaPad Y560d. Of course, what do we mean by a 3D laptop? Well, we’re referring to the computer’s 3D display, but there’s also more to it.

3D display

A 3D display alone isn’t enough if you only have 2D content, so something else is required to turn the standard 2D media into three dimensions. One option for 3D laptops to display photos, movies and games in 3D is none other than Nvidia’s 3D Vision Kit, complete with glasses, that we introduced earlier in the year. Models like the recently unveiled Toshiba Satellite A665 3D notebook make use of the Nvidia alternative, and reviews, especially for 3D gaming, are generally positive with the Vision Kit. To the contrary, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560d, with its ATI GPU, goes another route by employing TriDef’s 3D tech.

TriDef 3D technology

The TriDef 3D solution was also used in Acer’s first 5738DG 3D laptop from late last year, to much less positive reception. Criticism included no support for DirectX 10 games, something that’s still an issue, a poor 3D HD experience, and a failure to work well with incompatible games (for a full list of tested games we refer you to TriDef’s homepage). Then, even when the effect did work as planned, it was nothing too spectacular. Granted, these experiences were with an Acer, not Lenovo, laptop, but many of the TriDef exclusive problems extend to the Y560d. Another glaring TriDef 3D issue is the fact that the service doesn’t work with Blu-rays, at all. So if you’re expecting a portable 3D Blu-ray player with this 3D IdeaPad Y series computer, then think again. Still, it’s not all bad news as the TriDef Photo Transformer software was said to do an excellent job of bringing 2D photos into three dimensions. Oh, and unlike Nintendo’s new 3DS, polarised glasses are of course still mandatory.

Impressive gaming specs

Aside from its 3D prowess, the IdeaPad Y560d packs some of the latest and fastest in hardware. We’re talking about the latest Intel Core i7 2010 CPU, complete with Intel’s performance enhancing Turbo Boost tech, a high-end ATI Radeon HD5730 graphics card, an HDMI port, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, up to 8GB of RAM, as well as support for HD graphics on its 3D capable 16:9 widescreen. Furthermore, switchable graphics for the Radeon card work much in the same way as Intel’s CPU Turbo Boost feature, by only boosting performance when needed, and save both power and battery life in the process.

Unique and stylish design

Looking at the IdeaPad’s appearance, moreover, it seems Lenovo have taken a page out of Alienware’s book when designing gaming rigs. The sleek black 15.6 inch 3D laptop comes with a large tribal etching on its back, struck through the middle by a white beam, lending the computer a very fashionable and unique presentation.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

MSI Unveils GT660 Gaming Notebooks

MSI recently unleashed its GE600 gaming notebook for gamers. Now the company has announced the MSI GT660, calling it the ultimate gaming notebook and bestowing upon it the title of the king of gaming laptops. The MSI GT660 is born out of a collaboration between MSI and professional recording and sound system manufacturer Dynaudio. The device is first notebook in the world to feature MSI’s TDE+ (Turbo Drive Engine+) technology which enhances processor, memory and graphics performance.

The GT660 uses the Intel Arrandale notebook platform with the Intel Core i7 processor. It comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 285M discrete graphics card with 1 GB GDDR3 display memory. With sound technology from world renowned Dynaudio, the GT660 immerses you in your games or multimedia.

MSI’s TDE+ technology enhances both processor and display performance. One touch of the luminescent Turbo hotkey above the keyboard allows users to control processor, memory and display chip performance. The laptop’s GeForce GTX 285M graphics card comes with 128 3D stream processors and supports Nvidia Cuda and Nvidia PhysX technology.

The MSI GT660 notebook comes with three DDR3 memory slots which enables users to expand memory to 12 GB. It also features the latest USB 3.0 ports which are capable of data transfer at speeds of up to 4.8 Gbs.

In terms of looks, the MSI GT660 packs a one-of-a-kind LED light show with LEDs lighting up around the edges of the notebook. This light show is controlled by a hotkey and the LED lights pulsate to the beats of music.