This Gigabyte seemed to have subtle differences from the rest of its ilk, but we did not have any idea what they were until we scrutinised the packaging. Amongst the familiar logos printed on the box, Intel® Viiv™ and RoHS certification was new to us.
For 2006, RoHS and Viiv™ is definitely going to become commonplace for PC hardware, at least that is what we know from the whispers-and-jitters we sensed. Since that is the case, why don’t we take a look at what Viiv™ and RoHS has to offer?
Restriction Of Certain Hazardous Substances
Restriction Of Ceratin Hazardous Substances, or RoHS for short, is a EU directive that has been around for a good while. It principally deals with bans on heavy metals like lead that is used in solder. Solder is basically the ultimate electronics “glue” that sticks tiny electronic components on the printed circuit board and double as an electrically conductive path that completes the circuit.
Since traditional solder is an alloy of lead and tin, it is pretty much ruled out for use in today’s modern consumer electronics. Therefore for the sake of our environment (think cute little cuddly animals we city-dwellers don’t get to see, living in some part of the world we cannot pronounce accurately without reinstalling our toungues), our future generations (think cute cuddly little geek-kids who wield soldering irons like Jedis wield light sabers), our health (lead poisoning for humans is the equivalent to the successful reversal of the ATX connector to a motherboard) and ourselves (perpetual addicts of smoking soldering irons and LN2), and it should become clear why RoHS is important.
For now, Tin/Silver/Copper (Sn/Ag/Cu) solder is on its journey to take over old school 60/40 solder. The magic ratio I learnt to love is no longer relevant today, as you can see in the newer batches of PC hardware, such as the Asus “green” motherboards and the Built-By-ATi X1000 series of graphics accelerators. VRM components by the likes of Intersil are also available in lead-free packages to aid the lead-free wave soldering process. Analysts expect nearly all consumer electronics to comply with RoHS guidelines by the end of 2006.
Along with RoHS is the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) guidelines that does pretty much the same thing as RoHS where PC hardware is concerned. It is therefore expected that future consumer electronic products will be lead-free as legislation defines. Connection integrity should not be a problem at all for RoHS compliant PC hardware, with manufacturers ensuring that lead-free solder does not get contaminated by lead traces.
Intel® Viiv ™
Intel® has a whole bunch of press releases for their Viiv™ . You can take your time and read it here but since it is not quite the most exciting thing to do, we would just do a little summary on it for you, our dear readers.
Intel® Viiv™ is a whole new concept that addresses everything from user-friendliness of media devices, to Digital Rights Management by taking care of Intellectual Property. It is supposed to be multiplatform therefore encompassing everything from hardware to software IDs and more to come. Thanks to the sheer industry-moving ability of Intel® , it is hoped that a feasible and unified approach towards content management can be improved by Viiv™ . Below is what you would come across as the immediate benefits of Viiv™ , as modelled by Intel® .
Global, On-Demand Entertainment on Intel Viiv™ Technology-based PCs
The content services and applications announced today will be available in many locations around the world. These include services that deliver content directly to consumers, as well as solutions that will help software providers bring Intel Viiv™ technology verified content to market faster. Intel is working with some of these companies to make promotional offers and content available to Intel Viiv technology-based PC owners next year. The content categories that Intel is enabling for Intel Viiv™ technology include:
Movies, Video, TV: Rent and download hundreds to thousands of major motion picture and independent movies via subscription-based, pay-per-view or free video-on-demand services. Select from hundreds of movies to purchase and download. Choose from a variety of TV programs for viewing on an Intel Viiv™ technology-based PC and receive the latest sports news on demand or view short clips and replays of the winning goal or putt. Intel is working with such companies as Afendis AG, arvato mobile, Bellrock Media Japan Inc., British Sky Broadcasting, Broadband Tower, Inc., Canal + Group, Glowria, Gretech Corp., LoveFilm.com, MEDION AG, Movielink, NEC, Sohu.com, Telecom Italia, Tiantian Online Inc., TiscaliS.p.A., TiVo, T-Online International, Usen Corp., webs-tv Digital International Co. to enable and bring these types of movie, video and TV applications and online services to Intel Viiv™ technology-based PCs.
Music: Purchase the latest hits or subscribe to services to download and enjoy thousands of music tracks in your home or on a portable media device. Access streaming music videos on demand or view live concerts as they take place around the world. Intel is working with companies worldwide, including Afendis AG, arvato mobile, Avex Network Inc., Gretech Corp., Loudeye, MEDION AG, Napster, Oricon Inc., SK Telecom, Skysoft Co. Ltd., Telecom Italia, Tiantian Online Inc., and VirginMega to enable and bring these types of music applications and online services to Intel Viiv™ technology-based PCs.
Games: Play a purchased premier title game, including several number one titles in a variety of local markets, online with other players or play a Web-based game alone. Sample subscription-based and free gaming services that allow for multiple downloads for family and friend involvement. Consumers could also bring the arcade into the living room and access hundreds of games on demand to play online. These types of gaming applications and services will be available, accessible or enabled on Intel Viiv technology-based PCs by such companies as arvato mobile, CAPCOM, CCR Inc., DISCover’s My Games, Exent Technologies, Metaboli, NHN, Ourgame, Square Enix Co., Telecom Italia, The 9 Limited, TWP Corp., and Ubisoft.
Photos: Use photo editing software to organize, edit and share personal photos in a slideshow format on the TV screen in the living room. Add music to turn it into a memorable home movie or send it to portable media devices or burn it to a CD for family and friend sharing. Consumers can store, view, share and print photos online via online photo services. They can also create personalized home videos that are edited on the desktop PC in the home office but that can be viewed in the living room while sitting on the couch. Intel is working with such companies as Adobe, arvato mobile, CyberLink Corp., muvee Technologies, Pinnacle, Ulead Systems, and Sonic Solutions to bring these types of applications and services to Intel Viiv™ technology-based PCs.
Sounds promising isn’t it? Future proof your digital content with Viiv™ capable hardware!