Expensive boxes and cheap labels

There have been many boxes in history and popular culture. I think of the box that Adobe used in its CS3 marketing campaign; Apple’s cleverly designed product boxes; the boxes you can hide under in Metal Gear Solid games ; and the mysterious box mentioned on the most recent episode of Lost , from which one can apparently produce anything one desires, presuming of course that what you desire is an elderly character actor.

None of these, however, is quite the elusive Gadgetbox . For one thing, the Gadgetbox is quite large: think shipping container size. Secondly, it’s constructed of pure adamantium . But I digress. Let’s see what tidbits the box contains this week.

Paint it black: Xbox 360 Elite is official

Last week, we passed on the scoop that Microsoft was planning on releasing a black version of its Xbox 360 console, and lo and behold, such a console has now been officially announced. While the machine is for most intents and purposes identical to the current crop of 360s, it does add two important features: a high-definition HDMI connector and a 120GB hard drive. The console will run for $480 and be available on April 29th.

There was some murmuring that the Elite would be a limited-edition, but that appears to not be the case. Rather, the Elite will occupy the high end of the 360 line, with the Premium and Core remaining in the standard and low ranges. No price drops were announced for the existing models, which retail for $299 and $399 respectively. Black accessories like controllers, batteries, and charge packs will also be rolling out at the same time as the Elite.

For those who long to bring the Elite’s increased capacity to their existing 360, have no fear: Microsoft is releasing the 120GB drive as a stand-alone accessory on the same day as the Elite. But with a retail price of $180, adding the larger hard drive is an expensive proposition.

One notable omission from the Elite’s specs is a HD-DVD drive, which is still only available as an $199 add-on (which will not be sold in black). Could this be a sign that Microsoft is backing away from the HD-DVD standard? The original Game Informer piece quoted a Microsoft exec as saying “the format’s not proven.” Meanwhile, Casino Royale is tracking to be the first Blu-Ray title to top 100,000 units shipped, which would mean that the standard would reach that milestone in two months less than it took standard DVD. HD-DVD titles have been available for slightly longer than Blu-Ray and have yet to reach the same point. Then again, perhaps it can be chalked up to people merely loving the Daniel Craig.

While the Xbox’s lack of high definition optical drive may not be a huge blow to the 360, which still has a higher saturation than either the PS3 or the Wii, it doesn’t bode well for HD-DVD’s future.

[via Kotaku ]

Solid state drives are flashy, but cost a pretty penny

Rumors of Mac notebooks with flash-based storage have only intensified after Samsung this week announced its highest capacity solid state drive (SSD) to date. The 64GB drive actually exceeds some common laptop drives, such as the MacBook’s standard 60GB drive.

While SSDs promise lower power consumption and faster access times, they come at a significant premium. Fujitsu, for example, will be offering 16GB and 32GB Samsung SSDs at $700 and $1200 respectively. I’d expect the 64GB to cost at least $1500, which is more than three times the price it would cost you to build-to-order your MacBook with a 120GB standard hard drive.

That said, flash memory is obviously experiencing tremendous growth in both technology and sales. Prices of solid state drives will likely level off and drop in the next few years, but don’t expect to see them standard in Macs in the near future. Samsung’s 64GB drive is due to ship in Q2 of this year.

How to cheat at “Name that Cable”

This past weekend, I had to crawl under my desk so I could pack up my gaming PC. While I was on my hands and knees, staring in horror at the tangles of wires and the unionized dust bunnies, it occurred to me that I needed a good solution for cable management.

ID Pilot Wire Identification Labels won’t help with the tangles, but they will help me figure out precisely what plug in my overloaded surge protector belongs to which piece of equipment. They may be low-tech, but you know what, that’s usually the best way to combat the problems caused by an abundance of high technology.

The packs come in three themes: Office (22 computer labels, 10 equipment labels), Household (8 kitchen basics, 8 gourmet kitchen labels, 24 household labels, 8 workshop labels), and Electronics (16 home computer labels, 16 A/V equipment labels, 8 charger labels). Each pack will run you $6, or you can buy one of each flavor for $15. Of course, should you be so inclined, you could always make your own with a sheet of labels and a Sharpie, but be honest: will you ever actually get around to doing that? Buy the labels and be done with it.

[via Uber-Review ]

That’s it for Gadgetbox this week. Tune in next Wednesday when we bring you more on the gadgets and gizmos that, well, make life worth living .

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