IntroductionHopefully, everyone has had a chance to take a look at our in-depth analysis of the newest Seagate Barracuda drives a couple weeks ago. If NCQ hasn't swayed you yet, it should soon with the onset of next generation NCQ controllers and multiple core processors. This week, we also saw the unveiling of SATA II drives, (3.0Gbps, U300) and the ever so hyped "Hybrid" hard drives. While Hybrid drives may be vaporware, SATA II devices are here now, at least in preorder form. Although Samsung made the initial announcement, Hitachi drives are on ETA at most of the major vendors right now. We will touch on this a little bit later on.
As far as vendor news goes, there were two major announcements this week. The first was the merger of GameVE with iBuyPower. iBuyPower has been around for years as one of the major Taiwanese distributers/system builders, and it was only a matter of time before they eventually acquired a retail component channel as well. You may recall that the other distributors moved into the retail channel with stores like Ewiz.com (MA Labs) and EEbuy.com (Mighty Micro). In any case, it's good to see a vendor and a distributor working so closely together as this will ultimately lead to lower costs, and lower prices.
We originally ignored ChiefValue.com last year when they exploded onto the retail channel. Now that they have a little bit of experience under their belt, we are pretty impressed with their pricing and service. For those of you who don't know, ChiefValue is integrally affiliated with the omnipresent merchant-turned-distributor NewEgg (both merchants ship from the same California warehouse). ChiefValue tends to put free shipping on more items than the NewEgg channel, but who are we to complain?!
Finally, for those who like to work with our beta search engine (which officially comes out of beta this summer), we added a few nice little features over the last couple of weeks. On certain product searches, you will notice that we denote mail-in rebates separately (here is an example) and do not include them in the shipped price like some of our so-called competitor price engines. We've added nearly 400 new products in the last month alone as well.