Test Center Briefs: A Roundup Of Hot New Products - December 2010

Nvidia Unveils Quadro 2000 Graphics Adapter

With the release in early October of the Quadro 2000, Nvidia replaces its Quadro FX 1800 for the midmarket PC for about the same orice of 599. The new Quadro 192 CUDA processor cores worked together to deliver benchmark scores about twice that of its predecessor.

To measure maximum frame rate for gaming, testers ran Dirt 2, a driving game from Codemasters Software with resolution set to 1,440 x 900, 4x MSAA (multisample anti-aliasing) and vertical sync forced off. A maximum frame rate of 414 fps was measured using Fraps 3.2.2 from Beepa. Average frame rate during game play was about 105 fps.

Where the 2000 improved most was in Viewperf's Ensight test of scientific visualization workloads, scoring 20.87, a 1,797 percent gain over the 1800's score of 1.1. In the Maya test, measuring state changes when rendering models with million of verticies, the 2000 improved by 735 percent, scoring 49.59 compared with the 1800's 5.94.

NEC EX231W LCD Monitor Knows Where You Are

One of the coolest (and most energy-saving) things about the EX231W, NEC's latest MultiSync released in late October, is something that cannot be seen. Built into the monitor is a human proximity sensor that adjusts the monitor's brightness (and hence its power consumption) based on where its user is sitting. Even better, when the user takes a break, the monitor does, too, turning itself off until the user returns.

When operational, the 23-inch panel consumes just 16 watts and puts out a maximum of 250 nits. A USB port sits atop the 23-inch TN LCD, with a maximum resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and is mounted on a quick-release four-way stand. An optional picture-frame stand, coming later this year, allows the panel to stand alone and be more portable. In addition to a DisplayPort input, the EX231W includes cables for its DVI-I and DVI-D ports. List price is $339.

Speedy Security: NetGear ProSecure UTM50

With the ProSecure UTM50, NetGear combines virus detection with antispam, URL filtering and firewall capabilities in a box that's about eight times faster than its next nearest model, the UTM25. This combination of features and capabilities into a dedicated 1U appliance makes the UTM50 a good choice for small companies and branch offices with limited space and budgets.

And if those locations are using Microsoft servers, administrators will be happy to know that the UTM50 also adds support for Active Directory and single sign-on. This allows creation of policies for Web and application filtering based on users and groups in an existing AD domain, a real time-saver both initially and for ongoing maintenance. The UTM50 supports up to 60 users and 40,000 concurrent connections.

NetGear's ProSecure UTM50 lists for $899, including a one-year warranty with 24x7 support and one-year subscriptions to third-party services.

Dell PowerEdge R815 Server Impresses

Dell over the summer unveiled the PowerEdge R815, a 48-core 2U server touting four Opteron processors (with 12 cores each) and another four Gigabit Ethernet adapters to service them. Benchmark performance delivered by the new Dell server was impressive.

To gauge the R815's console performance against other servers and workstations, testers installed GeekBench 2.1.5 for 64-bit Windows. With its 64 GB of system memory (32 GB usable by Windows) and 6 GBps 15K SAS drives, the capable machine scored an impressive 9,695. This put it in third on the all-time performance list for servers. The R815's as tested lists for $14,169.

Where the R815 really shone was in transaction processing. To gauge I/O transactions (IO/s) and transfer rates (MBps), testers used Intel's IOmeter and 100 percent random reads of 4-KB blocks. When operating on the R815 itself, IOmeter reported a respectable 9,957 IO/s and a transfer rate of 37.5 MBps. With sequential writes, delivering a peak of about 9080 IO/s and 35.5 MBps.

Kensington Car Mount For Smartphones: Safety First

The CRN Test Center received a Kensington Windshield/Vent Car Mount for smartphones, which the company began shipping in July.

Kensington offers iPhone-specific models but sent us a universal model, which holds snugly to the windshield and to devices up to 2.75 inches wide and 4.1 inches high, including most devices from HTC, LG, Motorola, Palm, Samsung and RIM. A pivoting head unit displays the device in vertical or horizontal orientation, but we were unable to expose the keyboard on the test device, an Android G1.

Still, the unit grasps and locks onto the device quickly with one hand, and unlocks with the touch of a button on the rear of the cradle. A 1-foot-long arm is much more rigid than a gooseneck--perhaps a bit too rigid--and would stay in place through pretty much anything, as does the large suction cup. The $29.99 kit also includes a vent mount.