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Creative Introduces the Sound Blaster Z-Series Sound Cards

Creative Technology Ltd today announced its new ultra high-performance Z-Series of Sound Blaster PCI-Express sound cards, elevating the standards of technology and performance for the future of gaming and entertainment on the PC. Creative will preview the new Sound Blaster ZxR, Sound Blaster Zx and Sound Blaster Z at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 15-19 August 2012.

"The audio landscape for gaming and entertainment on the PC has changed. As content creation and consumption evolves with the interactivity of the Internet, our vision is to enable the best listening experiences for music, video and games, and to transcend the basic concept of sound quality as a specification with enabling technologies that allow users to completely customize their PC audio," said Low Long Chye, Director of Product Marketing for Audio. "For audio playback, we use studio-grade components to deliver outstanding fidelity, and then greatly enhance the listening experience by implementing our SBX Pro Studio suite of audio technologies. This enables complete customization of audio playback, uniquely catered to suit individual tastes. Our mixture of outstanding components and proprietary technologies also enables us to provide the highest quality recording experience for audio creation, which today expands beyond just music recording to include user interaction and creation with YouTube, eSports, and more."

QNAP Expands its Turbo NAS Peripherals Compatibility List

QNAP Systems, Inc. is extending the number of compatible peripherals for its Turbo NAS products. The additions, including five 500GB to 1TB 2.5-inch internal SATA hard drives, ten 2.5-inch 60GB to 480GB internal Solid State Drives, two USB Wi-Fi adapters, and one USB camera are now fully compatible. The expanded peripherals are expected to give users greater convenience and deployment flexibility.

More People Use Desktop Speakers than Headsets for Gaming: TechPowerUp Poll Trend

Last week, we came up with our latest front-page poll question, asking our readers which is their preferred audio output when gaming (playing their favorite PC games). Choices included desktop speakers, headsets, and external home audio solutions (such as HT amps, HiFi systems, etc.) Over the course of the week that followed, we accumulated over 1,800 votes to build our sample, which consists of our readers (both registered members of our Forums, and unregistered readers). The interim results come as a bit of a surprise to us.

According to numbers recorded at the time of writing this article, from 1,820 respondents, 808 (44.18%) prefer desktop speakers, a close 719 (39.31%) prefer headsets, with external home audio system being a distant yet significant third option, with 302 (16.51%) of the respondents preferring it.

Creative Unveils the Sound BlasterAxx

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Sound BlasterAxx, a whole new generation of Sound Blaster and a new genre of audio device that the world has not seen before. Specially designed and engineered to meet the audacious demand for simplicity and coolness by a whole new generation of networked mobile device users, the Sound BlasterAxx shifts to a new paradigm of literally producing great sound and becoming a great listener of sound while keeping everything amazingly simple. The sound produced by the flagship Sound BlasterAxx, a unique one-piece elegantly designed hexagonal device, simply blows people away, and yet mind-bogglingly, no power adapter is required.

Besides seamlessly supporting PCs and Macs, the Sound BlasterAxx is also designed to work intelligently with smart devices including the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and Android tablets, providing the best of all worlds. The Sound BlasterAxx leverages Creative's vast audio engineering expertise to provide best-in-class audio playback for music, movies, games and voice communications. To support the intelligent audio applications on these smart mobile devices, the Sound BlasterAxx also features advanced Bluetooth wireless audio connectivity and a high-quality dual-microphone array.

AMD and Adobe Creative Suite 6 Innovate With OpenCL and GPU Acceleration

AMD today announced a collaboration with Adobe Systems Incorporated to optimize a new set of GPU-accelerated features for Adobe products including the newly announced Adobe Photoshop CS6. Implementing GPU acceleration and incorporating OpenCL optimization improves the end-user experience by dramatically speeding up critical imaging features and generating real-time results when editing with key tools in Adobe Creative Suite 6.

"AMD brings its expertise in GPU and APU compute in the latest release of Adobe Creative Suite," said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. "This technology integration allows us to provide creative professionals with exciting new creative options and lightning-fast performance."

ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion Motherboard Detailed

ASRock is readying its second Fatal1ty-branded socket LGA2011 motherboard, the X79 Fatal1ty Champion. The company's first LGA2011 Fatal1ty motherboard is the X79 Fatal1ty Professional, which was launched in February. The new X79 Fatal1ty Champion will be launched on April 27. Those familiar with Creative Sound Blaster Fatal1ty line of sound cards will note Fatal1ty Champion as being a more feature-rich version of Fatal1ty Professional. In this case, the X79 Fatal1ty Champion is based on a completely new PCB, with the design idea of more expansion, and the latest Creative Sound Core3D audio solution.

The X79 Fatal1ty Champion features eight DDR3 DIMM slots (X79 Fatal1ty Professional has four), and a PCIe-only expansion slot layout. The LGA2011 socket is powered by a 12-phase DigiPower VRM, similar to the one on the Professional. The VRM heatsink is assisted by two other secondary heatsinks, to which heat is conveyed by a heat-pipe. One of these is connected to the PCH heatsink. Power is drawn by 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and one 4-pin Molex (angled, optional). The board features consolidated voltage measurement points, which are socketed to hold your multimeter's leads in place. The board will be augmented by a feature-rich UEFI BIOS setup program, and ASRock-exclusive features such as XFastLAN, XFastUSB, and XFastRAM will be included.

Creative Announces the Draco Junior Gaming Headset

Wrapping up the week (and the month), Creative Technology has sent out word about the upcoming arrival of a new gaming headset, the Draco Junior (model HS-430). Targeting users with an 'active lifestyle', Creative's headphones weight just 81 grams and have a behind-the-ear design, 30 mm Neodymium drivers, leatherette ear cups, a removable noise canceling microphone, a 2.5 meter cable with volume controls and a mute switch, and a gold-plated 3.5 mm connector.

The Draco Junior has a recommended price tag of 27.99 Euro and is expected to become available in mid-April.

ASRock X79 Extreme11 New Iteration Pictured, Packs Stronger VRM

At CeBIT, ASRock already grabbed a lot of attention with its unveiling of the X79 Extreme11 motherboard. The motherboard was detailed to great lengths then. It appears like the design was still a work-in-progress, and the company has an even newer iteration. Pictured below is this latest iteration. You will notice how ASRock redid the CPU VRM. While the one shown at CeBIT packed a 16-phase VRM, this one steps it up to 24. On the obverse side of the PCB, it squeezed in chokes for all 24-phases, and compact Driver-MOSFET (DrMOS) chips for 12 (probably the other 12 are located on the reverse side of the PCB). The first iteration shown at CeBIT used LFPAK MOSFET design. A DrMOS combines up/down FETs and driver IC into a single, space-efficient package. Companies like Renesas have held interest in innovating with DrMOS chips, even compacting them further. The rest of the board is identical to the one pictured at CeBIT, except that the Creative Sound Core3D chip has the signature plastic cover over it, which can be found on Creative's Sound Core3D discrete sound cards.

Source: TweakTown

Gigabyte's First Micro-ATX G1.Killer Motherboard Pictured

A little earlier, we were treated to pictures and details of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 motherboard based on Intel Z77 chipset, supporting LGA1155 "Ivy Bridge" and "Sandy Bridge" processors. Presenting, Gigabyte's first G1.Killer series motherboard in the micro-ATX form-factor, the G1.Sniper M3. This new board is based on the same Z77 chipset, and is backed by a fairly exhaustive feature-set that makes it a formidable high-end micro-ATX gaming desktop choice (good for LAN party rigs). The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 9-phase VRM, which draws power from a 4-pin ATX connector (instead of 8-pin EPS). The socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting dual-channel memory.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 Z77 Motherboard Pictured

How time flies. It's been just a little over an year since Gigabyte unveiled its G1.Killer series of gamer-overclocker oriented motherboards, including the G1.Sniper, and now it's already at G1.Sniper 3. While the original G1.Sniper was based on the X58 chipset supporting LGA1366 processors, the the Sniper 2 based on Z68 chipset, supporting LGA1155 processors, the Sniper 3 stays put on the LGA1155 platform, but makes use of the brand-new Z77 chipset. The motherboard is designed to drive up to four graphics cards in 4-way CrossFire/SLI configurations. It takes advantage of a PLX PEX8747 bridge chip, which takes in one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 link, giving out two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 links, it even has a native multiplex that splits its second downstream x16 link to two x8 links. This way, the G1.Sniper 3 is ready for 4-way action with the latest PCIe Gen. 3.0 graphics cards.

Creative Sues Huawei Over Failed Contract

Singapore's Creative filed a lawsuit against Chinese company Huawei for US $9.3 million, for the latter's failure to honour a WiMAX broadband project for which it was paid. Creative's subsidiary QMax Communications paid Huawei the amount ($9.3 million) in 2010, for setting up WiMAX infrastructure in Singapore. Creative's Q2 FY'12 financial statement, released earlier this month, stated "QMax has suspended the wireless broadband project as the vendor for the equipment has failed to deliver on the key network performance requirements set out in the relevant supply contract."

Sources: StraitsTimes, VR-Zone

ASRock Introduces Fantastic Scout Mode in its Top Gaming Sound Card - Game Blaster!

World's top 3 motherboard manufacturer, ASRock Inc., specially partners with Creative Technology Ltd, the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products for the personal computer, to introduce the most trusted sound card in mobo industry - Game Blaster!

Gamers need so much more from their rigs. ASRock Game Blaster was designed to exceed the expectations of even the most dedicated gamer. It is the first sound card coming with both Creative 7.1 CH HD Sound Core3D Audio and Broadcom Gigabit LAN in the world.

Creative Launches the HN-900 and Aurvana X-Fi 2 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the new Creative HN-900 headphones, which utilize active noise cancellation to reduce ambient noise by up to 85 percent. The Creative HN-900 headphones also feature an in-line microphone and switch for convenient one-click voice communication on the iPhone, and 40 mm Neodymium drivers and gold-plated plugs for outstanding audio playback. Dual-mode usage allows active noise-cancellation for up to 40 hours by a single AAA alkaline battery or in passive mode without power.

Creative today also introduced the Aurvana X-Fi 2 Noise-Canceling Headphones, which utilize active noise cancellation to reduce ambient noise by up to 90 percent, and feature X-Fi audio technology for improved sound quality and a virtual surround sound effect that is ideal for watching in-flight entertainment.

Creative ZiiLabs Announces 100 Core CPU

ZiiLABS, a pioneering media processor and platforms company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd), today unveiled its ground-breaking 100-core ZMS-40 StemCell Media processor optimized for Android. The ZMS-40 combines 96 of ZiiLABS' StemCell media processing cores with four 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs to deliver stunning multi-tasking application and media processing performance.

By doubling the number of StemCell Media processors compared to the previous ZMS-20, the ZMS-40 delivers twice the peak media performance, while running the larger array at lower clock speeds to achieve the same performance leads to greater energy efficiency and a reduction in power consumption of up to 50 percent. With 2X the performance and 2X the power efficiency, the ZMS-40 delivers ground-breaking media capabilities to handheld devices such as tablets, including ultra-high-resolution H.264 HP decoding of up to 3840x1080 for true 1080p 3D stereo, a rich and interactive desktop browsing experience, 2560x1600 (WQXGA) display resolution support, higher-quality video encoding and immersive OpenGL ES graphics and future support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

ASRock Readies X79 Extreme6/GB Motherboard with 8 DIMM Slots

ASRock kicked off its "Sandy Bridge-E" compatible motherboard series with one of the most complete lineups, including a micro-ATX model. It did include some oddities, such as the X79 Extreme7, with its six DIMM slot arrangement. Socket LGA2011 Core i7 processors embed a quad-channel integrated memory controller, and so it's only logical to either have one DIMM slot per channel (four DIMM slots in all), or two DIMM slots per channel (eight in all).

ASRock unveiled its latest addition to its X79 Extreme family, the X79 Extreme6/GB, which sets this oddity straight, while creating another. This model is supposed to be a notch inferior to the X79 Extreme7, yet it provides eight DIMM slots (two per channel). Other features, however, are consistent with those of the cheaper X79 Extreme4. So it's safe to call this ASRock's answer to MSI's recently-launched X79A-GD45 8D, a relatively cheaper X79 motherboard with eight DDR3 DIMM slots. 8 DIMM slots stopped being a thing of the "premium" (again, relatively), the moment Intel launched a $210 X79 motherboard that features it, the DX79TO.

Creative Announces HN-900 Noise-Canceling Headset

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the new Creative HN-900 noise-canceling headphones, a set of full-size active noise-canceling headphones that can reduce ambient noise by up to 85% and comes with a detachable cable with in-line microphone for voice communication on the iPhone.

Shut out the din in the air cabin or make clear voice calls on the iPhone with the Creative HN-900 noise-canceling headphones. The concealed microphones in the ear-cups pick up surrounding noises and these are electronically negated, effectively reducing the noise by up to 85%. With the absence of unwanted sound, the finely-tuned 40mm Neodymium drivers allow details of music or entertainment to be revealed.

GIGABYTE Launches X79 Series Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced the launch of their latest X79 series enthusiast motherboard range. Supporting the latest 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 processor family for high-end desktops, these new X79 Express Chipset motherboards unite unrivalled desktop PC performance with a new level of hardware flexibility and control. GIGABYTE 3D Power and its all new 3-way Digital Power Engine offers ultimate control of your PC's power delivery, while GIGABYTE 3D BIOS provides a wholly more intuitive and graphical UEFI BIOS environment.

"This new GIGABYTE X79 series range of boards are all about giving enthusiasts and professionals unprecedented control over their PC's hardware," commented Tim Handley, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing at GIGABYTE. "GIGABYTE 3D Power and 3D BIOS give hardcore gamers, extreme overclockers and cutting-edge content creators absolute mastery over every aspect of their PC."

ASRock X79 Motherboard Headed by Feature-Rich Extreme9 Model

ASRock's socket LGA2011 motherboard lineup doesn't end with X79 Extreme7 as thought before, the company thinks there's scope for an even more loaded model that's literally bursting with connectivity and expansion features. Enter the X79 Extreme9. This board uses high-grade digital PWM circuitry to power the CPU. It draws power for the CPU VRM from two 8-pin EPS connectors. Unlike the X79 Extreme7, this board features eight DDR3 DIMM slots, two per memory channel. Expansion slots include five PCI-Express 3.0 x16, and a PCIe x1.

Since it completely ran out of room on the main PCB, ASRock put two important connectivity features on a separate (included) addon card, called the ASRock "Game Blaster". This card occupies the PCIe x1 slot, it packs a next-generation Creative SoundCore3D audio processor (more advanced than X-Fi), and a low-overhead/low-latency gigabit Ethernet connection. It's not exactly known if this connection is driven by a Killer 2100 or a more common PCIe GbE PHY backed by ASRock's proprietary packet prioritization software (XLAN).

Gigabyte Teases with G1.Assasin 2 LGA2011 Motherboard Pictures

Gigabyte teased us with pictures of its high-end socket LGA2011 motherboard featured in its G1.Killer series of motherboards designed for the gamer-overclocker market. The G1.Assassin 2, as it’s called, is based on the Intel X79 chipset. We don’t have landscape pictures of the board, yet, but whatever little bits of pictures we do have, reveal quite a bit. To begin with, this board will retain the black+green “weapon” styling of predecessors in the series. The LGA2011 socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, in sets of two, on either sides of the socket. Each DIMM slot has its own memory channel.

From the CPU VRM heatsink, a heat pipe is finding its way to a stylized X79 PCH heatsink. This heatsink is designed to look like a handgun. Since it’s so small, it isn’t looking as realistic as the clip design featured on other G1.Killer motherboards. There are just six internal SATA ports we can find from the picture, two 6 Gb/s, and four 3 Gb/s. In terms of expansion slots, we could spot three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, these could be arranged in the x16/x16/NC or x16/x8/x8 lane configuration.

Gigabyte Displays its X79 High-End Motherboard Lineup at IDF

At IDF, motherboard vendors got to show off their near-complete socket LGA2011 motherboards based on the X79 chipset. Many of these were half-built and straight out of R&D at this year's Computex event, back in June. Gigabyte showed off its first X79 motherboards, the GA-X79-UD5, GA-X79-UD7, and G1.Assassin 2. Unlike previous generations of high-end Gigabyte motherboards, the UD7 isn't a beefed-up UD5 with added features and better cooling. The two are entirely different right from the PCB, to the features they offer.

The UD5 targets premium users, with eight DDR3 DIMM slots, geared for 3-card SLI/CrossFire, while the UD7 is bleeding-edge with just four DDR3 DIMM slots, but a wealth of overclocking features and support for 4-card SLI/Crossfire. Then there's the G1.Assassin 2, which targets the gamer-overclocker market with neat features such as hardware-accelerated Creative X-Fi audio and Bigfoot Killer NIC, with support for 3-card SLI/Crossfire.

Creative Announces a Game Changer with Sound Blaster Recon3D for PC/Mac, Xbox360, PS3

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Sound Blaster Recon3D, the USB audio device that provides unprecedented cross-platform audio immersion and realism and voice clarity for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac.

The Sound Blaster Recon3D comes in a compact size similar to a gaming mouse and easily connects to an Xbox 360, PS3, PC or Mac via USB. It dramatically improves the audio playback quality and experience with THX TruStudio Pro, a suite of audio enhancements developed by the collaborative expertise of Creative and THX audio engineers. The Sound Blaster Recon3D features Dolby Digital enabled via the optical input to provide full 5.1 surround decoding, which combines with THX TruStudio Pro Surround to deliver stunning accuracy and positional audio playback over a gaming headset and an amazing virtual multi-speaker movie listening experience over headphones. In addition, for voice communications, the Sound Blaster Recon3D improves voice quality with CrystalVoice processing, which implements innovative technologies that are specially designed to deliver crystal clear vocal fidelity in multiplayer games, online chats and video conferencing.

Gigabyte G1.Killer Series Meets Sandy Bridge with New G1.Sniper 2 Motherboard

Gigabyte released pictures of G1.Sniper 2, the company's first socket LGA1155 motherboard in the G1.Killer series of motherboards designed for gamers with overclocker alter-egos (the same market ASUS Republic of Gamers targets). The board is based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset without any additional PCI-E bridge chip such as NVIDIA nForce 200. The board supports 2nd generation Core "Sandy Bridge" LGA1155 processors. The first G1.Sniper was a LGA1366 motherboard based on Intel X58 chipset.

Apart from being yet another high-end 2-way SLI/CrossFire Z68 motherboard, which Gigabyte's mainline Z68X series motherboards already achieve, the G1.Sniper 2 packs two extremely gamer-specific onboard devices: the Bigfoot Killer E2100 low-latency, high-offload PCI-Express network controller with its of dedicated memory; and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi hardware audio with CA20K2 PCIe processor and 64 MB XRAM, backed by a high-grade Cirrus Logic DAC and OPAMP circuit, driving signal-noise ratio easily above 105 dBA with punchy bass.

ASUS ROG Launches Bigfoot Networks Killer E2100 Networking With New AMD Motherboard

Bigfoot Networks, the technology company behind the Killer line of high-performance networking products, today at Computex announced that ASUS has expanded its line of Killer E2100-based motherboards with their new ROG Crosshair V Formula/ThunderBolt Motherboard.

The new ASUS ROG Crosshair V Formula/ThunderBolt Motherboard supports AMD FX Series CPUs with up to 8-cores, DDR3 Memory with overclocking speeds up to 2133 MHz, multi-GPU technology for CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI, 8-ch HD, SupremeFX X-Fi 2 audio from Creative Labs and more. Powered by Bigfoot Networks' Killer E2100 networking platform and a host of other gaming-centric features, this AMD FX-based motherboard combines innovative design and technical intelligence to make the PC gaming experience more rewarding and accessible. This is the second motherboard offering from ASUS to incorporate Killer E2100 gaming network capabilities, preceded by the ROG Rampage III Black Edition.

Creative Labs Announces Sound Blaster Tactic3D Omega Gaming Headset

Creative Technology Ltd. today announced the new Sound Blaster Tactic3D Omega wireless gaming headset, the first wireless, cross-platform gaming headset to work with the PS3, Xbox 360, Mac and PC which is fully integrated. With the unique integration of Creative's wireless technology into the headset itself, the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Omega wireless gaming headset does not require any extra attachments to function with gaming consoles wirelessly. The headset has volume, mute and connection controls fully integrated into the headset itself, eliminating the need for any additional connectivity components. Creative's robust wireless technology is designed to eliminate static interference, which affects other headsets, and delivers game audio with ultra-low latency, a critical feature for competitive game play.

Creative Announces ZiiSound T6 Wireless Speaker System

Creative Technology Ltd. today announced the Creative ZiiSound T6 – the latest addition to its extensive Pure Wireless speaker family. The all new speaker system assumes the position of the flagship Surround Sound wireless speaker in the Pure Wireless speaker range.

The ZiiSound T6 personifies everything the Pure Wireless speaker range is, where speakers have been engineered for wireless audio perfection, based on Creative's in-house wireless technology reference system – an engineering optimisation that brings out the best wireless audio performance in Bluetooth and apt-X technologies for speakers.
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