Haranded’s Weblog











Shahrukh Khan did it for ‘Om Shanti Om’. Now its Suriya’s turn to go the way. Suriya is gearing up for the release of his next venture ‘Varanam Aayiram’, directed by Gautham Menon.

One of the requirements of the script where his screen age spans 17 to 65 years, was a well toned physique. Stickler for perfection that he is.

Suriya got into the act and began working out for eight months under the strict supervision of a skilled trainer. The result is a Suriya with lean, muscular body and a six pack.

Suriya says, “It was the character and the script which inspired me to work towards achieving this lean, muscular look and a six pack. I felt it would lend more credibility to the character I am playing”.

Suriya cautions,’ It requires a careful monitoring of diet and exercise by a skilled, professional trainer.’

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1. Doesn’t work with universal remotes.
Sony decided not to include an IR receptor on the PlayStation 3, and home theater fans have been complaining ever since. The lack of an IR receptor means that the PlayStation 3 won’t work with universal remote controls, so you’ll have to use the PS3 controller or the separate PS3 BD remote to control it. It’s definitely a pain for anyone who is used to activity-based macros such as “Watch TV” and “Watch Blu-ray” to control their home theater.

2. It’s louder than standalones.
Although every PS3 seems to be different, the PS3 can occasionally get loud once its fans start spinning. For audiophiles, that can be a pretty big drawback, especially if you start to hear a whirr during every quiet scene in a movie. You’ll have better luck keeping the PS3 quiet by keeping it in a well-ventilated area, but standalones are quieter in general and don’t mind having other gear stacked on them.

3. Interface isn’t as easy to use.
This isn’t an issue for tech enthusiasts, but Sony’s Xross Media Bar (XMB) is packed with options and can be intimidating for neophytes. Although we generally like the XMB for zipping around the PS3’s functions, using a standard Blu-ray player where you just need to put in the disc and hit play is definitely a lot easier.

4. You have an older AV receiver and need multichannel analog outputs.
If you’re using an older receiver and want to use its multichannel analog inputs to get high-resolution soundtracks, you can’t do it with the PlayStation 3. You’re better off going with a standalone Blu-ray player with onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, like the upcoming Pioneer BDP-51FD and Panasonic DMP-BD50. Of course, if you’re OK with standard DVD-style surround sound, you can still get that with the PS3’s optical SPDIF output, which is compatible with nearly all modern receivers.

5. You want to be green.
The PS3 is great at a lot of things, but conserving power isn’t one of them. If you’re looking to stay green and limit your power consumption, you’ll be much better off using a standalone Blu-ray player. For example, the PS3 sucks up about 170 watts while playing a Blu-ray movie, while the Samsung BD-P1400 only uses about 25 watts. That’s a fairly huge difference and can easily wipe out any power savings from using other green products such as the Philips Eco TV. (Check out our guide to TV power consumption for more green tips.)

6. I need to see my receiver light up and say “Dolby TrueHD.”
Even if you do have a new HDMI-capable receiver, you’ll never get the Dolby TrueHD light to turn on with the PS3. That’s because although the PS3 can decode both DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, it can’t send those soundtracks in bit stream format and allow the receiver to decode them. Of course, this isn’t really a legitimate reason, as you’re still getting the same high-resolution audio, but some people just need the comfort of seeing the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lights on their receiver.



{March 13, 2008}   Xbox ‘540’ coming in 2009?

Taipei (Taiwan) – News about refreshed Xbox 360 consoles are trickling, which is about time given the fact that the console will celebrate its third birthday later this year. The Taiwan Economic News is reporting that first wafers with 65 nm GPUs are leaving the production lines, joining the 65 nm Xenon CPU. Rumors about a Blu-ray Xbox 360 remain alive and we are hearing first information about a possible mid-cycle refresh for the console, which will include the ‘Valhalla’ SoC.

It has been almost a year since Chartered has begun taking the Xbox 360 Xenon CPU from 90 nm to 65 nm and it really was just a matter of time until other hardware would follow. According to the Taiwan Economic News, TSMC has initiated first wafer starts of the 65 nm Xenos GPU and Northbridge. Microsoft apparently has ordered 10,000 300 mm wafers from TSMC at this time.

As it is the case with any die-shrink, Microsoft should see substantial economic advantages from this move, supporting the company’s ongoing strategy to reduce the production cost of the console (the reduction of the Xbox 360 production cost has been one of the key reasons why Microsoft’s entertainment division has been able to notably increase its profits over the past seven quarters). If the 65 nm Xenos “v2” scales down linearly from 90 nm, the new die size should be around 125 mm2, while the eDRAM chip will remain at 70 mm2. The new production process should yield about 35% more GPUs per wafer than before.

TSMC will continue to be in charge of the wafers, while Nanya will be delivering the flip-chip packaging substrates. ASE combines the silicon and substrate and is responsible for QA.

Quite honestly, we were a bit surprised to hear that Microsoft did not decide to die-shrink both the CPU and GPU at the same time, especially because two different foundries are manufacturing the chips. However, our sources at TSMC explained that Microsoft has the same production philosophy as Nvidia: Wait for a manufacturing process to mature and then run the initial wafer order. Apparently, the transition was simulated in detail by ATI and the tapeout happened without problems, at least according to our sources close to ATI. Keep in mind that ATI is only a contracted partner for Microsoft: Both the CPU and GPU are officially Microsoft parts, and the Ballmer-Gates company is the only one in the console segment following through with such a strategy.

The Xbox 360 is scheduled to ship in an “all 65 nm” package (Jasper platform) this August. Consumers won’t notice the refresh, unless Microsoft decides to put a Blu-ray drive into the Xbox 360. We were not able to receive a confirmation either way, and we keep digging to find out if the Asustek subsidiary Pegatron will manufacture regular Xbox 360’s or units with an integrated Blu-ray drive. In any case, Celestica, Pegatron and Wistron will have a busy summer cranking out millions of refreshed Xbox 360 consoles.

A more dramatic and perhaps visible change will happen next year: TSMC plans to begin producing the Valhalla chip, which will be the foundation of the mid-cycle refresh of the Xbox 360, thus called ‘Xbox 2.5’ or simply ‘Xbox 540’ (360+180), in fall of 2009. We learned that this new chip is apparently much more than a die-shrink and end up as a system-on-a-chip design. This change is likely to enable to redesign the Xbox 360 casing and go towards a slim-design, much like what Sony did with the Gen1 and Gen2 PS2. We believe that TSMC will use a 45 nm process for this Multi-Chip-Module package (CPU+GPU+eDRAM).

There are also some interesting pieces of information that Microsoft is shopping for a more efficient cooling solution – efficient in more ways than just one: Several people close to the cooling industry told us that Microsoft approached them and asked for better and cheaper cooling than what is used in the Xbox 360 right now. Some may claim that the current Xbox 360 cooler design is already as cheap as it gets, but we have no doubts that Microsoft will find a way to drop the cost once again.



et cetera