This Week in Geek: Hacking Your Wii, New AMD Chips, ATI Cards, and Core i7 Rumors
While the biggest buzz this week was about, well, Google Buzz, here are few hardware stories that might have been buried under the wave of social networking stories. Enjoy!
Looking to do more with your Wii? The Homebrew Channel provides a thriving community of developers and users looking to bring some amazing new features to the aging Wii console, including emulation, DVD and game playback from other regions, and the ability to run Linux. Mike Keller provides instructions for installing Homebrew on your Wii, which is easier than ever thanks to the mature Homebrew scene. Game on!
Code-named Llano, the new quad-core AMD Fusion processor running at speeds in excess of 3.0 GHz is due for release in 2011. A hybrid chip that combines a graphics processor and a CPU on a single piece of silicon, Fusion's integrated graphics processor will natively support DirectX 11, allowing users to view Blu-ray movies or play 3D games. While the heat output from all four cores on a Fusion chip could be 100 watts, AMD's new power management capabilities allow more efficient control of the chip's energy draw, ensuring a cool processing and gaming experience.
Right after announcing the affordable Radeon HD 5450 line of GPUs, ATI introduced the energy-efficient, high-performance Radeon HD 5570, which is geared toward small form factor PCs. The new card supports both Direct X 11 and OpenGL 3.2, can drive up to three monitors, and only draws 45 watts when under a full processing load. Newegg is selling the HD 5570s for around $85.
The Apple rumor mill is at it again, but this time it has nothing to do with mythical tablets: Instead, reports are circulating that Apple will release an updated MacBook Pro featuring Intel's newest Core i7 chips. What leads credence to this rumor? A recent benchmark test spotted on the Geekbench Web site lists a system that identifies itself as a MacBookPro 6,1. Current MacBook Pros identify themselves with "5,x" codes.
Details include a 2.66GHz Core i7 processor and an unreleased build of Mas OS X (10.6.2 Build 10C3067; the current release is 10.6.2 build 10C540). However, the track record of the site that announced this rumor is spotty at best, so your guess is as good as ours as to the validity of this leak.