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Newsletter 2-18-2008


To kick off this newsletter, let´s cover some 3D stuff. As some of you may or may not know, nVidia has released their 3D glasses at CES. These are wireless, and connect to a transmitter that is connected via a USB port. Range is about 20´, battery life is about a week before needing a recharge (by plugging into an adapter). To make the 3D magic happen, the display must support it - and there is only one display in the US that can do it. There is a particular Samsung 22” LCD that is 120Hz and has the required 3D inputs to work (some fancy 3-pin DIN connector). There is one other display that works, an older Mitsubishi DLP TV, but for our sakes it isn´t practical or available. To make the quoting process simple an easy, I´ve added this to both TV & MAS as a bundle (in TV, look under where monitors would be). Cost is about $xxx for the bundle, which includes the glasses and monitor. The monitor cannot be purchased separately at this time; the bundle is the only way to get it. Another important note is that thing is extremely video card intensive. It has to render a frame for each eye now, so your frame rates are cut in half. Given that, the minimum video card to use is a 9800GTX+, at least if you want the best experience.

So how well does it work? Well lucky California, our nVidia rep dropped by with a fully functional 3D system and most of us got a chance to check it out. The 3D thing is no joke, it really works. It looks pretty much like the 3D movies we´ve all seen once upon a time. What games does this work with? All of them. Some fancy pants engineers at nVidia figured out how to write a driver that renders the video output from a game all kinds of 3D. Seriously, every game works with this 3D stuff to some degree. If you want specific game details, there is a gargantuan compatibility list on nVidia´s website. I personally endorse the coolness of this, as I just bought the bundle for myself!

In other news, expect slightly higher prices for most system components in the very near future. Due to the chain reaction of lowered demand, expect prices to go up a buck or two on many things. For the higher priced systems, you probably won´t even notice it. For the cheapo barebones, it could mean a percent or two of margin. I will be keeping Total Vision fluid with the pricing to match what is going on, until things settle down. I wouldn´t be terribly concerned though, but if something spikes either direction I´ll throw out another newsletter speedy-like.

Backorders! Also due to the way of things in the US right now, vendors aren´t holding as much inventory. We´ve already taken some hits on the Asus M3A78-CM, P5N-D, and Xeon 3220. As of today, those backorders have been resolved, but don´t expect stable inventory in general for the near future. Video cards have been in flux quite a bit as well, but there is usually at least one manufacturer that has them in stock. We have about 8 different video card brands available (names like Zotac, XFX, Palit, etc), and at least one is guaranteed to have what we need. The pricing, however, can be all over the place. CPU pricing can be quite bouncy as well, since the OEM or BOX version availability is a crapshoot. At least one is typically on hand, but the price delta can be ugly sometimes. Pricing in Total Vision reflects the average of what I´ve been seeing, although the past couple days have calmed down. For any large orders or long term quoting, let us go over it together it first so I can attempt to pin down our vendors on a price. If prices spike, I´d rather them eat the difference than us. And by spike, I mean $x-$xx up or down on a particular part. Oh, last thing - the GTX 295 video card is on backorder for at least 2 weeks. Don´t sell it.

Anyone ever hear of Maui before? Yes, it is a Hawaiian island, and it´s now a motherboard as well! Only MSI makes the “Maui” motherboard, but its unique. This is the first commercially available motherboard ever to have onboard component (YrPrPb for 1080i) output, both in and out S/PDIF, and a powered sound amplifier. This little guy can put out 100 watts of sound, and can act as a replacement for most of a stereo rack. Pretty snazzy, I think. Being that it is HTPC focused, it might butt heads with our Allio, so I´m not sure how much use this may be to you - but here it is:

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=Media_Live_DIVA_5.1&class=npc

$xxx (I can also get the 7.1 audio system based one as well, for $xx cheaper - weird, huh?)

We have new notebooks! They are live on the Visionman site, and can also be found in the P drive for the actual docs. In the P drive, you will find a folder named “bill”, and I have a bunch of sub-folders. The oldest date one should have the notebooks in it. I will periodically throw things in here, feel free to sell them even if they aren´t live yet. Some things in there may never go live for whatever reason, but most of it will. But rest assured, everything in there is in sellable as-is condition, and the V133 number is referenced for your Total Vision pleasure.

Phenom II´s - there may be some confusion in the near future on these. All Phenom II´s are socket AM3. The fun part is, this will fit in both AM2, AM2+, and AM3 based motherboards. We currently do not have any AM3 boards available, when we do I´ll newsletter it up. Socket AM3 boards use DDR3 memory, and support only AM3 processors. AM2 motherboards (which we sell boatloads of) use DDR2 (duh), and will take both AM3 and AM2 processors. You try to put an AM2 processor into an AM3 board, and you will let the magic smoke out, which will prevent us from RMA´ing it. Luckily, we don´t have any AM3 boards yet... but we will. Clear as mud? Feel free to email/IM me with questions on it.