ATI Radeon HD 4650/70: Top Value for Bottom Dollar

All right, so the AMD ATI Radeon HD 5000-series graphics generation has arrived and quickly swept the field in performance tests. If you want the whole story backed up by benchmark tests and deeply technical explanation, see our recent coverage here (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422.html). We love a great come-back story as much as anybody else, but the fact remains that a lot of buyers can’t spring $350+ for the latest dream card, much less two of them to run in a dual-card configuration.

AMD ATI Radeon

In reality, there are two kinds of graphics enthusiasts: those who will buy the latest and greatest no matter what and those who stand ready to pounce on yesterday’s must-have technology at freshly (and deeply) discounted prices. There’s nothing like a little recession to help boost the ranks of the latter group, so we thought we’d turn the spotlight just a bit and revisit AMD’s former mainstream stars, the 4670 and 4650. Why? Because while cards based on the new HD 5870 may be selling for $379, HD 4650 and HD 4670 cards start at about $55 and $67, respectively.

If you feel like getting 80% of the ATI bang for only 20% of the flagship’s bucks, then read on. We think there’s still a very persuasive case to be made for going a little retro.

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Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: November ’09

If you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right processor for your next gaming machine, fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming CPUs offered for the money.

November Updates

AMD has introduced some new CPUs since our last installment; most notably, the Athlon II X3 family. The new Athlon II X3 435 combines three CPU cores, a fast 2.9 GHz clock rate, and a low $90 price tag. Since today’s games tend to utilize no more than three CPU cores on average, the Athlon II X3 435 is a fantastic gaming processor for the enthusiast on a budget. Our Athlon II X3 435 sample overclocked to 3.7 GHz fairly easily, so there’s a lot to like about this low-cost processor. In addition to the X3 435, AMD has also created an Athlon II X3 425 with a 2.8 GHz clock speed, available for about $80.

There are a number of other new AMD CPUs available, mostly a host of low-power Athlon II X2, X3, and X4 variants. These are great for energy-efficient applications, but they don’t offer much to gamers looking for maximum performance per dollar.

Aside from those introductions there isn’t much to report on the CPU front, with Intel dominating the $200+ market with its Core i5 and Core i7, and AMD dominating the sub-$200 market with the Phenom II X4 955 and new Athlon II.

Speaking of the Phenom II X4 955, the street price has dropped to $175, making it a great deal for a premium multiplier-unlocked processor.  The Core i5 is faster, but the $25 price difference might be enough for some tweakers to opt for the unlocked Phenom II, especially since the P55 platform tends to be a bit more expensive than AMD options at this time. Either way, there are some fantastic products out there–let’s look at the recommendations.

Some Notes About Our Recommendations

This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, then the CPUs on this list may not be suitable for your particular needs.

The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance. We acknowledge that there are other factors that come into play, such as platform price or CPU overclockability, but we’re not going to complicate things by factoring in motherboard costs. We may add honorable mentions for outstanding products in the future, though. For now, our recommendations are based on stock clock speeds and performance at that price.

Cost and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t offer up-to-the-minute accurate pricing information in the text, but we can list some good chips that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest (and our PriceGrabber-based engine will help track down some of the best prices for you).

The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary. Of course, these are retail CPU prices while we do not list used or OEM CPUs.

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Intel Announces Increased Momentum for Personalized Care Management at Home with the Intel® Health Guide

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 23, 2009 – The Intel® Health Guide, Intel Corporation’s next-generation personal health system, continues to win in the personal health marketplace with the addition of a new government value-added reseller (VAR) and several new customers.

GTSI Corp., an enterprise technology solutions and services provider, is the latest addition to the list of Intel Health Guide authorized resellers. In the United States, Intel has added new customers including the Veterans Affairs (VA) Rural Resource Center Western Region, Memorial Hospital and Health System in South Bend, Ind.; Nightingale Home Healthcare of Indiana, Inc.; and all seven independently owned offices of the Home Care Group. This range of customers – from government to hospital and home health organizations – reflects the Intel Health Guide’s versatility for a variety of clinical workflows and users including chronically ill patients, clinicians and family caregivers.

The Intel Health Guide is an FDA-cleared remote patient monitoring system designed to help address the challenges of chronic conditions for patients, their family caregivers and the health care professionals responsible for their care. Health care professionals are able to customize care, gather timely information about the status of their patients, and collect and prioritize data. The Intel Health Guide offers patients an intuitive way to have timely interaction with their care providers and receive relevant self-care education, helping to minimize time-consuming and costly office visits. The system’s customizable educational content capability also makes it an ideal vehicle for delivering information to support family caregivers. Patients and their health care teams can connect via multiple connectivity options including cable/DSL broadband, cellular wireless and residential phone service.

“We believe that shifting non-urgent care from the hospital to the home through technologies such as the Intel Health Guide is central to achieving a more personalized and cost-effective health care system,” said Mariah Scott, director of sales and marketing for the Intel Digital Health Group. “Working with these organizations allows us to target our innovations across all home health settings and drive the most efficient care management available.”

For GTSI, a provider of enterprise IT solutions and services that streamline technology lifecycle management, the Intel Health Guide is an ideal addition to its current product portfolio. After 26 years of delivering health care solutions to the FDA, VA and hospitals across the country, GTSI’s reselling of the Intel Health Guide will extend its reach into private households, ensuring that health care organizations are equipped to manage chronic diseases in the home in a cost-efficient manner.

“By delivering the Intel Health Guide, GTSI will enable improved patient care and help address the challenges of a worldwide chronic disease epidemic,” said GTSI CEO Jim Leto. “Our array of services around the Intel Health Guide will help health care providers integrate the technology to enhance the patient experience and allow for truly personalized care.”

The Intel Health Guide’s key differentiating features, such as video conferencing, customizable care protocols and educational multimedia content, have also enabled a range of new customers to deploy the system. Three new customers – Memorial Hospital and Health System in South Bend, Nightingale Home Healthcare of Indiana and the seven independently owned offices of the Home Care Group – will deploy the Intel Health Guide to chronically ill patients in need of more personalized care from the comfort of their own homes. At Memorial, the Intel Health Guide will be piloted in high-risk obstetrics patients with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia who have been discharged from the hospital setting. Ongoing clinician monitoring of these patients’ vital signs and communicating with them via video conferencing is intended to catch potential health crises in advance and also prevent unnecessary re-hospitalizations.

Nightingale Home Healthcare of Indiana, which currently manages the largest number of patients monitored under a telemedicine program in Indiana and the Midwest, will use the Intel Health Guide to monitor patients with heart disease, renal disease, metabolic syndrome and orthopedic disabilities. Its goal in deploying the Intel Health Guide is to put the patient first and ensure the highest quality of care, which they expect will lead to reduced costs and fewer re-hospitalizations.

At the Home Care Group – which includes seven independently owned offices in Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan – nurses will use the Intel Health Guide to monitor patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to ensure that they can live independently in the comfort of their homes for as long as possible.

Informed by over a decade of Intel’s ethnographic research, the Intel Health Guide is designed with the needs of the elder population in mind and is used by health care professionals to manage their patients at home. It is not currently available for general consumer purchase. Intel has staffed a team of clinical experts to provide a range of professional services to health care organizations, allowing them to successfully integrate the personal health system into their current disease management programs and models of care.

For information on how to purchase this product, visit www.intel.com/healthcare/ps/healthguide/wtb.htm. For more information on the Intel Health Guide, visit www.intel.com/healthcare/telehealth. To learn more about Intel in health care, go to www.intel.com/healthcare.

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