Sponsored video: Campaign showcases benefits of Samsung Memory

While there is often a lot of ‘press’ regarding the appearance and design of a new gadget, the hard work put in to the components inside can be neglected. In an effort to address this, Samsung have just launched a new video campaign to highlight their latest memory technology.

Explaining innovations in memory technology, in a way that an average consumer can easily understand, could have been quite a challenge! However, Samsung have taken the novel approach of using three fictional ‘baddies’: Brutus Battery, Fiona Freeze and Loading Ball Larry.

Brutus Battery

Samsung have used this character (a big, long haired, goatee wearing man) to highlight the issue of devices running out of battery – such as when you’re about to take a photo in an amazing location or when you’re on an important call. To tackle this, Samsung LPDDR2 memory uses 50% less power than the industry standard while maintaining optimal performance – which means you could get up to 30 more minutes of work or play.

Loading Ball Larry

Represented by a man in a tweed jacket and red trousers, Loading Ball Larry is used to highlight the issue of your device working slowly or crashing – like turning a simple ten-minute task into a full hour of frustration as you constantly waiting for the spinning ball to go away. An example of how Samsung tackle this is via their SSD hard drives. Samsung SSDs have no spin-up time like a traditional hard drive and can perform 110x faster than a 15K RPM hard drive.

Fiona Freeze

Fiona is a pale skin, bleach blonde, long hair woman with ripped tights. She represents (as you may have now worked out) that annoying moment when your device freezes up at a crucial moment – whether it be at the cliff hanger in a movie or while doing that crucial presentation for work.

(This post was sponsored by Samsung)

Seagate’s Momentus XT: Giving laptops a longer ultra-fast lifeline

“Turbo-charge your laptop PC with the second-generation of Momentus XT”, Seagate, the global leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, claims.

When you first buy a laptop, notebook or PC, it is great how fast they run and how instantaneous they seem to perform. Six months, thousands of pages browsed on the internet and hundreds of files, photos and songs uploaded down the line, your superfast, ultra-responsive beloved laptop is beginning to slow down.

Seagate-Momentus

Sounds familiar? This is where Seagate’s new Momentus XT may step in, the second generation of the company’s solid state hybrid drives, which, according to Seagate, will be the fastest drive the company has ever produced for personal computers.

With a simple drive upgrade, users can almost immediately boost the boot-up speed and over-all performance of their PC. In fact, so effective is the Momentus XT promising to be, that seven original equipment manufacturers are allegedly gearing up to ship laptops powered by Momentus XT, although which seven manufacturers remain undisclosed.

Not only is this second-gen of Seagate’s solid state hybrid drives almost 70 percent faster than previous Momentus drive versions and up to three times faster than a traditional hard disk, but it also provides 750GB of storage capacity.

For anyone reading this who likes to understand the reasons to why a simple drive upgrade can make their laptop run significantly more efficient before you commit to ‘upgrading’, then I will endeavour to enlighten you.

Basically – no there’s nothing basic about this technology – the Momentus XT is powered by Seagate’s Adaptive Memory and FAST Factor technologies. Whilst FAST Factor technology blends the strengths of SSDs and hard disk drives for a faster running computer, Adaptive Memory Technology effectively identifies data usage patterns and subsequently moves the most frequently retrieved information to solid state access for faster access – I warned you there is nothing basic about this technology.

A fast running laptop that has exceeded its six-month ultra-fast and responsive time span! Sounds too good to be true? Well things that sound too good to be true usually are too good to be true and the major drawback of the Momentus XT it seems is its price – $245, pretty hefty hey?

Plextor PX256M2S SSD review

Harddrives ain’t the most glamorous of components; no matter how large or fast they get. SSD harddrives have injected a bit of glamour into the market by dramatically increasing performance, but they’re usually dismissed as toys of rich gamin’ playboys. Then one – the Plextor PX256M2S – landed on our desks and we changed our minds; it was wonderful.

Plextor PX256M2S

Using flash memory – i.e. the kind found in SD cards – Solid State Drives are much faster, smaller, lighter and less power-hungry than their old-school counterparts.

The Plextor is the same size as a standard 2.5″ drive, but weighs a meek 72g – nearly half the weight of a standard 2.5” HDD. It’s also pretty aesthetically pleasing, all smooth and silvery.

Aesthetics aside, the performance speaks for itself, with write speeds of 480MBps and read speeds of around 330MBps.

To achieve that intense throughput the drive uses the latest generation of SATA interface – the 6Gbps, SATA3 kind. That means your motherboard has to support SATA3 to get the full benefits – SATA2 may provide a bottleneck to the breakneck speed of the Plextor.

Of course, if you’re spending around £250 on a hard drive, shopping around for a slightly better motherboard is worth the effort.

Beneath the 256GB model, there are 64GB and 128B versions offering “up to 370MBps” for writing and up to 110MBps for reading.

Whatever the incarnation, however, the drives are fast. A straight-up clone of our 210GB Windows 7 installation onto the drive took 45 seconds to boot the first time – down from 77 on our old 5200RPM harddrive.

After a couple of boot-ups to perfect the file-cacheing, the Plextor fell down to just above 30 seconds – considering 7-10 seconds of that was BIOS time, that’s lightning.

The included software (Acronis TrueImage HD) allows you to easily transfer your existing Windows installation over to the Plextor, although some people have reported slight files errors. Of course, a clean install of Windows will always be the best option, and any problems will be the software – not the outstanding SDD.

While we love the fast boot times, it’ll also work well if you’re looking for a second drive for scratch disks (video or photo editing) or want to use Windows 7’s ReadyBoost feature. Ideally, get two.

HP TouchSmart610: Multitouch All-In-One PC

Since the launch of the iPhone, PCs have been comparatively boring. Their designs are dull, you can’t rotate them around and poking the screen just leaves dirty marks. Not anymore – HP noticed this desktop short-coming and created the TouchSmart610. It’s interesting to look at, moves in two directions and has multi-touch compatibility. But, and this is the big question – why?

HP-Touchsmart

No-one doubts that computer’s stats. The 23-inch, 1920×1080 (Full HD) screen is impressive, especially with the LED backlight. And the screen’s ability to recline 60 degrees, tilt 5 degrees forward and swivel back on itself is unique to the 610.

It’s not let down by poor internals, either. The TouchSmart can be configured with either Intel or AMD processors, RAM runs up to 16GB, a potential terabyte of storage (or a 160GB SSD version) and a Blu-ray drive.

And there’s also plenty-o’-extras, including a 1.3 megapixel camera and Beats Audio speakers, offering possibly the best sound available in a home desktop.

So why are we feeling a little cynical? Well, the problem is application. It’s a bit hard to know what the computer will be used for. The two variations, 610 and 9300 Elite Business, have decidedly different markets – and only one makes much sense.

The 610 aims at home users, with TouchSmart software, some media manager and the inclusion of strategy game R.U.S.E. The problem is that the screen is a bit too small to replace a TV, the touchscreen useless for the majority of games and the swivel function almost pointless. It’ll be great for ergonomics, but we can’t see much regular use otherwise.

For business, however, the purpose of the 9300 is much clearer. In showrooms, for example, an employee could tap away at a computer, then swivel it around for a client to interact with it via touch. PC sharing will be a lot easier and – and this is important – seem much more professional. The 9300 also boosts the webcam to 2 megapixels (why?), but loses Beats Audio (makes sense).

If you’re a home user who needs flexible ergonomics and has trouble with mouse-and-keyboard input, then the HP is the only PC for you. Otherwise, we’re open to comments suggesting other home-uses. Business customers, however, look this way.