Macworld Expo: Hardware Roundup
Although the biggest hardware announcement to come out of Expo obviously comes from Apple, there are still several major new products -- and a few minor ones -- creating a buzz at the show. From speakers to storage, you can get your Expo hardware fix here.
Apple wasn't the only company with multiprocessing (MP) news, as XLR8 unleashed a new modular MP upgrade card, the MACh Speed G4 ZIF MPe. The MPe is designed to upgrade older processors to G4 speeds of 500, 450 and 400 MHz. The modular design allows users to stack multiple processors on the card for increased performance. The cards range from $599 to $849.
Meanwhile, Sonnet has broken the 10x bus speed barrier with their line of Cresendo G3/PB 400/1M upgrade cards for the PowerBook 1400. The Crescendo upgrades the processor speed of the 1400s to 400MHz while extending battery life. It retails for $500. Sonnet also broke out of its traditional product lines with the Tango USB/FireWire PCI combo card ($140) and the Tempo ATA66 Host Adapter ($100), which supports up to four internal ATA/IDE hard drives.
Gamers rejoice -- 3DFX has jumped into the Mac market headfirst with the Voodoo 5 5500 PCI card. The card sports 64MB of on-board RAM and has been tested to work in 33MHz and 66MHz PCI slots. It's the first 3D accelerator to offer full-scene anti-aliasing in hardware and is completely compatible with QuickDraw, QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D Rave, GLIDE and OpenGL. It retails for $330.
MicroNet is showing, but not shipping, a Dual Channel FireWire RAID. They've added a second FireWire channel to the SANcube RAID array. Using built-in FireWire and a PCI FireWire card, the array can transfer data at 65 MBps.
What would be better on your Cinema Display than reruns of "The Monkees?" The ProTV puts a TV tuner in your computer on a PCI card. The Stereo version, with added FM tuner, ships in mid August for $150.
If you're stopping by the Formac booth, try out the 3D glasses with the ProFormance 4 PCI card. The work with any current OpenGL, QuickDraw, or RAVE game.
More is better. LaCie is showing a whopping big 72GB FireWire drive. What's more, the company will be shipping a tw-drive 150 GB RAID array for $2000. LaCie also have an even bigger Pocket Drive. The new 32GB drive, like the previous 6GB and 18 GB versions, comes with both a USB and FireWire port.
At long last, Adaptec has introduced FireWire versions of both Toast and Jam. The new packages support a variety of SCSI, USB and FireWire CD-R drives. Adaptec claims that the new versions are even faster.
Adaptec's USBXchange is a SCSI to USB adapter. To power the adapter, the USBXchange first tries your SCSI chain. If the SCSI bus isn't providing enough power -- for instance if a Zip drive is connected -- the adapter checks the USB bus. If the USB bus is all tapped out, the adapter can take an external power supply.
Although storage is seldom sexy, iomega announced (but hasn't shipped) a couple of new products that are rather scintillating. First up is the Iomega FotoShow. FotoShow is essentially your standard zip drive, but it packs something extra: TV connectivity and image management. The new drive displays images directly on a television without passing through a computer. It also lets users jack Compact Flash or Smart media memory cards from digital cameras straight into the drive, where they can be transferred to Zip disks. FotoShow's PictureIQ software allows for image editing and organization directly on the television screen. The product will ship late this year, and is expected to retail for $299.
The company is also getting into the MP3 market with an Iomega-branded portable music player. The player uses 40MB Clik disks for storage, which means consumers will only be paying about $10 per disk as opposed to the current $100 that most pay for the 32MB Compact Flash cards that many MP3 players rely on for storage. Although the price isn't set, iomega says the player will be in line with others on the market.
Harman rolled out a gorgeous new line of speakers called SoundSticks. The system has two 10-watt transparent satellite speaker towers, each of which has four vertically stacked speakers. Connected to the towers via a USB cable is a 20-watt iSub subwoofer, which has been dramatically redesigned to mirror the new G4 Cube.
Because you've always wanted to go for a quick 100-hour jog without hearing the same song twice, Creative introduced yet another portable MP3 player, this one with Shaq-sized storage capacity. The new Nomad Jukebox, which is expected to ship this summer, brings 6GB of storage to the portable MP3 market. The Jukebox is expected to ship this summer, and it's going to set you back about $400. But what's money when you've got every mix of every Puff Daddy song ever recorded, to go?
Microtek has released its first line of high-end scanners with the $1999 ArtixScan 1100. The new scanner features an optical resolution of 1000-x-2000 dpi and a glass-free transparency holder which loads into the bottom of the scanner to avoid the artifacts often introduced by glass.
If you've ever tried to scan objects such as food, flowers, or body parts and were disappointed by the resulting fuzzy edges and dark shadows you should check out 3D Scan's $400 Lightshow, a 3D object scanning system. Lightshow consists of a blue plastic hood that surrounds any commercial 11x17 (or smaller) scanner. The hood's inside walls have mirrors that reflect light onto the object while you scan, producing shape images against a white background. It's conceivable that advertising agencies could use the Lightshow system to scan products directly into their computer instead of paying to have them photographed.
Hewlett-Packard was showing off the $299 DeskJet 350CBi mobile printer. This compact, lightweight, color printer also includes an infrared adapter, which means if you own a PowerBook with an IR port you can send jobs directly to the printer without cables.
Artists could be seen drooling over Wacom's $4000 new digital LCD tablet, the PL500. This 15-inch pressure-sensitive tablet lets users draw directly onto the screen with a cordless electronic pen and see what they are doing at pen point. This is the first tablet of this kind to offer full 24-bit color depth, a necessity for those who require precise color display.
Once you've decided which of Apple's new iMac colors best matches your home décor, give it a home where it's sure to draw lots of attention--the home entertainment center. Eskape Labs offers a device that will turn your iMac or iBook into a TV. MyTV captures full frame rate video from TV or VCR over USB. Sound is captured through the Audio In port but synced up nicely.
Two rows away from Eskape Labs, iRez announced the $99 CapSureUSB, a device that captures video and audio data simultaneously from VCRs and video cameras over USB. Now if only there was some way to make the Mac double as a microwave...
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