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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Intel Core i5 CPU cooling

When I unboxed the Core i5 750 CPU I went like "huh? this tiny cooler is going to cool down this number cruncher?!" So at first I was very surprised, how quiet my Core i5 system would work. While dealing with everyday tasks such as writing protocols and reading online stuff, the boxed cooler will never turn faster than 1100 rpm, it's nearly inaudible. The main reason lies in low clock rates. The cpu would hardly ever run any of the four cores at more than 1,2 GHz - remeber: the nominal speed is 2.66 GHz with a designated possible max of 3,2 GHz for individual cores in certain situations (Intel calls it turbo frequency).

So what happens when you bring the cpu close to it's thermal limits by running more demanding tasks? The boxed cooler goes wooooOOOOOOO! The sound would annoy me to no end because suddenly the boxed cooler is rocketing to 2600 rpm. Time to look out for alternatives. Screenshot on the right shows values for Intel stock cooler / one of the cores at 3200 MHz

The Zalman product I had in mind is not available in Switzerland yet, so I bought the cheapest substitude: an Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme rev.2 for just CHF 44 / €28. What can such a cooler do for you? Isn't that obvious when you look at the following picture? The smaller cooler is the Intel cooler shipped with the Core i5 750.

To me it doesn't make much sense to write a lengthy review since I'm not into overclocking. Just let me tell you, that I'm totally happy with the performance of this cooler. While using firefox it runs @560 rpm (ASUS cpu cooling set to silent profile), at full load it still remains absolutely silent @1200 rpm. You really can't hear the thing at all. While I only care for the noise level - even at those low rotational speeds the cpu temperature is 10°C lower.

on the left: values for arctic cooling freezer xtreme rev.2 / one of the cores at 3200 MHz

I will soon publish a video, to let you hear the difference between the two coolers. >> Update nov 09 - done!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 announced

So it's offical now, the Xperia X10 was announced by SE and presented by pretty Ullis Norström:

You'll find the full press release and a lot of details about the device here.

I'm very surprised how accurate all the rumors and leaked pictures were! Some of us now need to decide between the X10 and the Satio. Both are packed into a very classy design, but X10's user interface brings more of Sony Ericsson's style and Android 1.6 OS, which simply has more appeal to many out there. When the phone will finally be released to the market it hopefully features Android 2.0. (since 1.5 and 1.6 still lack some common things: for one currently it's not possible to transfer files via bluetooth, because MANY of its profiles ain't supported yet. In our office that was the main method for quick phone2phone file transfer.) Update Nov 12.2009: The phone will be released with Android 1.6

But the commercial video shows something essential: we might just focus on the simple questions and cut the geek crap, does the phone look good? does the user interface look good? Is the touchscreen responsive, does the camera shoot good pictures, can we sync our appointments and address books?

Sony Ericsson however introduces the so called UX Platform, a comprehensive way, how the user can access contact information and media stored on the device, plus also on the internet. They split this function into two new productnames: Timescape for contact information and Mediascape for songs and videos; they are accessible through the infinite button. The press release tries to explain it to us - but one has to wait and see how the functionality and performance develop during the next 4 months.

Xperia X10: has Android 2.0 and a very fast cpu, no Xenon flash, display can only show surprisingly few colors, Video Recording 854*480 16:9 / xxfps, truly multitouch capable? No automatically changing Wallpaper on X10? ds ds ds well all these features will be delivered by you or the android community I guess. Then there's timescape and mediascape ... and possibly a very hefty price tag, around €600-700.
Update 26.12.2009: sample pictures and movies taken with Xperia X10 (8MP)

Satio: has Xenon flash, 12 MP (only 9MP when shooting in 16:9), Video Recording 640*480 / 30fps, superb address book and messaging client, very good value for money.

Slashgear Demo Video

for a rather complete comparison of Satio and Xperia X10 click here [sony ericsson UK]

Xperia™ X10

112.0 x 55.0 x 13.0 mm
119.0 x 63.0 x 13.0 mm


Available colours
Sensuous Black
Luster White

360x640 pixel
16,777,216 color TFT touchscreen
480 x 854 pixels WVGA
16,536 color TFT touchscreen

External screen

SanDisk microSD™ support
Phone memory 1GBSanDisk microSD™ up to 16GB, 8GB included

GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
UMTS/HSPA 850/900/1900/2100
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
UMTS/HSPA 900/1700/2100

Performance GSM
Standby time:
Talk time:
Video call:
11 hours 0 min
360 hours 0 min
0 hours 0 min
0 hours 0 min
0 hours 0 min
0 hours 0 min

Performance UMTS
Standby time:
Talk time:
Video call:
4 hours 50 min
340 hours 0 min
2 hours 20 min
0 hours 0 min
0 hours 0 min
0 hours 0 min

Sony Ericsson Satio first impressions

(Update JAN 2011: don't buy this phone anymore! It's old by now - opt for Sony Ericsson Arc)

Finally Satio was released and became Wife's early Christmas present. While I stick to my C905 for now, let me give you some information on the perfect looking device. (Übersetzung, siehe unten)

The phone itself has the look of a high-value device, has good usability and very good display. No multi touch but surprisingly I don't miss that at all.
I won't write much, because it has all been covered in this review at gsmarena in great detail and with superb screenshots! I recommend that you read through the whole review, since it's been written in a balanced tone.

I can only add the following:

>> the S60WebKit browser is better than described in the review. While in a bus or train I prefer the news site's mobile versions a lot! It doesn't make sense to download and show the complete homepage of let's say washingtonpost.com; to big, to much commercial, to colorful, distracting. Why should my tiny mobile device care to render 500kB+ of data? That just doesn't make sense. This mobile version is what I want to see, and that's exactly what Satio presents by default. A major plus to me.

>> the xenon flash is phenomenal

>> the review states that Satio's on-screen QWERTY fares well. Me? I think it works like a charm, a lot better than I hoped for.

>> the high resolution screen is absolutely superb! Google maps and all the other apps have a lot of space to render onto.

>> unbelievable: while this might not be important to you, the phone even showed a correct thai font rendering for our thai mp3 tags!

What can be done better by Satio's successor?
  • better menu look & feel > more logical and prettier as we are used to by Sony Ericsson, less conservative and square à la Nokia.
  • the homescreen should offer more options (customizable icons at top and bottom)
  • divx & xvid support out of the box
  • hdmi out
  • 720p video recording
  • current camera is to grainy in low light (high iso) conditions
Currently there's no better cell phone available. Don't hesitate, it doesn't even cost all to much. Just be aware that you have to reload it every 48 hours.

Update: For me this has already changed in April 2010 > the HTC Desire is the recommended device!