PC briefs: Chip speed, ThumbDrive, Chip prices

PC briefs: Chip speed, ThumbDrive, Chip prices

Chip speed to double

Promising another leap in system performance, IBM has developed a transistor that has two gates instead of one, allowing it to operate at up to twice the speed of today's conventional transistors. The "double-gate" transistor, expected to show up in microprocessors in about five years, can also be produced much smaller than transistors used today, which means more transistors can be packed together on a chip, according to IBM. "The double-gate transistor represents a design change, delivering better performance at a smaller scale," said Aidan Kelly, manager of IBM's custom logic design centres in Europe.

New ThumbDrive range

OzEntrepreneur has added a new product to its ThumbDrive range, introducing what it claims to be the world's smallest external hard drive, the Ziv. The Ziv is a USB external hard drive that can store up to 20GB of data. It comes in an anodised aluminium casing that "will only take up half the width of your shirt pocket", according to the company. The Ziv plugs directly into a USB port, where it draws power, thereby dispelling the need for bulky external power supplies. OzEntrepreneur has also introduced two new versions of ThumbDrive: the ThumbDrive Secure, which offers password protection for sensitive data, and ThumbDrive Touch, which protects data through biometric security.

PIII chip prices slashed

Intel has cut the prices of chips from various processor families, including all but the fastest Pentium III processor for desktops. The price cuts, Intel's first since late October, are just in time for the holiday-buying season. This time around, the 1.2GHz version of Intel's Pentium III for desktops remains at $US241, its previous price, but prices for all other processors in that family were dropped, according to Intel's Web site. The 1.13GHz version of the chip, the only 0.13-micron member of the desktop Pentium III family, had its price dropped from $193 to $173, as did the 0.18-micron 1.1GHz version.

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