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Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of the Windows 8.1 Preview, the next update of the Windows operating system, at the company's developer-focused Build conference. As part of the conference's keynote speech, the company outlined the reach, design and economic opportunities for developers to build differentiated, touch-based apps for the Windows platform, including new developer tools and increased support. Company executives also highlighted new top apps coming to Windows, including Facebook, Flipboard and NFL - clear evidence of the steady app momentum for Windows, which is experiencing the fastest growth across any platform.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was joined on stage by Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president of Windows, and other company executives to demo the Windows 8.1 Preview, focusing on key areas of personalization, search powered by Bing, increased functionality for businesses, new in-the-box apps and more. "With Windows 8 we built a new Windows, reimagined from the chipset to the experience. It was an ambitious vision, and with Windows 8.1 we refine it," Larson-Green said. "Windows 8.1 will support the widest range of tablets and PCs and demonstrates how responsive we can be for customers. The preview we are releasing today is an important step for partners around the world that are building the next generation of Windows devices and apps."

DOWNLOAD: Windows 8.1 Preview

Lenovo Gets in the 'Miix' with New Range of Touch-Enabled Windows Device

Lenovo today announced several new touch-enabled Windows laptops, along with Lenovo Miix, a platform-bending multi-mode device that adapts to a user's every need. As a 10.1-inch tablet that converts instantly into a fully-functioning, Windows 8 laptop, the Lenovo Miix combines versatility and power in one touch-enabled device. The IdeaPad S400 Touch, S500 Touch, S210 Touch, U330 Touch and U430 Touch all hail from the company's S Series and U Series, which are notable for their thin and lightweight designs.

The new Lenovo Miix, S Series and U Series devices demonstrate Lenovo's commitment to "touch" as a defining trend in consumer computing. Research analyst firm IDC expects the penetration rate of touch laptops, which now sits at close to 15 percent, to double next year. Leading that trend, Lenovo is innovating across traditional technology segments - such as desktop and laptop PCs - with its new multi-mode, touch-enabled devices.

Giada Announces D2308 Performance Compact Desktop

Giada Technology, a world famous manufacturer of compact desktop PCs, has launched one of the strongest mini-PCs on the market, the D2308. Using the latest 4th generation Intel (Haswell) Core i5/i7 CPU, with the powerful NVIDIA GTX650 enthusiast GPU, Giada has created a high-end mini computing platform that is targeted at living room computer needs and CEO-level business environments. The D2308 also features 3 antennas for maximum signal reception and wireless throughput with a maximum speed of 450 Mbps.

The D2308 is designed from the ground up for high-end home theater uses. Not only supporting Ultra HD 4Kx2K content with two HDMI outputs, the unit comes with a Bluray/DVD player. Support for the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) which provides extensive security with high levels of data encryption, allows the use of D2308-based systems in various applications in IT departments of large enterprises.

Axtremex Unveils MicroSSD Portable USB 3.0 Drive

Axtremex Technology is pleased to announce a MicroSSD, the new portable high performance external solid state drive with USB 3.0 interface. The MicroSSD is designed in a small form factor that is lightweight, durable and convenient to carry and use. It offers blazing fast data transfer rates and achieves a read speed of up to 420 MB/s and Write speed of up to 400 MB/s.

The device draws power directly from the USB port and requires no external power cord. It is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports. The MicroSSD will be available in 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. 512 GB and 1 TB capacities are being planned.

IDC Lowers Forecast Growth for PC Monitors While Average Screen Size Increases

Continued decline in demand for PC desktops has led International Data Corporation (IDC) to lower its estimate of PC monitors shipped in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13) to 33.8 million units, down from its previous forecast of 34.7 million units for the quarter. In the latest update of the Worldwide Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker, IDC also lowered its total shipment forecast for 2013 from 140.1 million units to 134.4 million units, which will represent a 9.9% year-on-year decline. By 2017, worldwide shipments are expected to drop further to 113.6 million units.

"The continued decline in PC desktops is bringing about changes in strategy and product focus in the PC monitor market," said Jennifer Song, Research Analyst at IDC. "With Windows 8 operating system, we expect to see more touch-based monitors although price points are a little high. Average screen size of the market is also expected to increase to 21.4" in 2017 from 20.4" in 2012."

Creative Revises Sound Blaster Recon3D with SBX Pro Studio

For reasons unknown, Creative's newer generations of Sound Blaster sound cards don't bear the THX logo anymore. Its previous Sound Blaster Recon3D series of cards shipped with THX TruStudio Pro software, which is replaced by Creative's own SBX Pro Studio, in its newest Sound Baster Z series. Post-processing layers such as Crystalizer, Pro Surround, Pro Bass, Smart Volume, and Dialog Plus, are each re-branded with SBX ProStudio prefixes. The company reportedly revised its Sound Blaster Recon3D mainstream sound card with SBX Pro Studio, replacing THX TruStudio Pro, and the resulting product is labeled Sound Blaster Recon3D r2. The card is otherwise identical to the original.

Based on Creative's Sound Core3D native-PCIe chipset, and a Cirrus Logic-made DAC, the Sound Blaster Recon3D r2 offers 5.1-channel output with 24-bit resolution, 96 kHz sample rates, 102 dBA SNR, a dedicated 600 Ω headphones amplifier, EAX 5.0 Advanced HD, OpenAL hardware-accelerated audio API support, and support for Windows 8. The card complies with Intel Azalia specifications, so non-Windows operating systems can run it as a generic HD audio device. The latest driver update for the original Sound Blaster Recon3D doesn't change THX TruStudio Pro from the feature-set.


Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Belkin Releases USB 3.0 Dual Video Docking Stands for Ultrabooks and Tablets

Belkin, a trusted leader of technology solutions for office, classroom, IT infrastructure and mobile environments, today announced the release of two new docking stands: a Dual Video Docking Stand for Windows 8 tablets and Dual Video Docking Stand for Ultrabooks, making mobile computing easier and more productive for business users. The stands, which leverage DisplayLink technology, allow users to turn an Ultrabook or Windows 8 tablet into a full-function desktop with a single plug-and-display USB 3.0 cable. Belkin will showcase the docking stands and other mobile computing solutions at COMPUTEX TAIPEI in Taiwan, June 4-8.

"Greater mobility and the need for an improved user experience are increasingly important to organizations that care about worker productivity and its impact on overall efficiency," said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., principal analyst, Mobile Trax. "Belkin has developed an interesting set of docking stands that really optimize the functionality of Ultrabooks, and particularly Windows 8 Tablets, in the business environment. This is a great step forward for mobile computing at the enterprise level."

PCMark 8 Professional Edition Benchmark Now Available

Coinciding with exciting new processor launches from AMD and Intel, Futuremark is proud to announce the release of PCMark 8 Professional Edition - the Complete Benchmark for Windows. Designed around common scenarios in the home and office, PCMark 8 is an essential benchmark for the latest Windows 8 notebooks, tablets and desktop PCs, especially those powered by new AMD Richland and Intel Haswell processors. PCMark 8 Professional Edition is licensed for commercial use and is intended for business, press and industry users. Additional PCMark 8 editions for home users will be released later in June.

Toshiba Unveils Powerful Entertainment PCs

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced its completely redesigned Qosmio X75 enthusiast-class laptop and PX35t All-In-One Touchscreen Desktop Computer, two powerful entertainment hubs equipped with 4th generation Intel Core processors.

"These entertainment-driven PCs are designed to help consumers do more and be more productive with Windows 8," said Carl Pinto , vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Both systems enable users to do everything from creating, managing and enjoying HD content, multitasking and playing graphics-intensive games with an amazingly responsive experience."

Acer Enhances its Flagship Ultrabook, the Aspire S7

Acer presents the next-generation 13.3-inch Aspire S7Ultrabook at Computex Taipei. In addition to retaining the celebrated characteristics of the previous model, the new S7 Ultrabook has improved battery life for all-day computing, a refined electroluminescent (EL) backlit keyboard for more natural typing, and 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling with less fan noise. In addition, it is equipped with wireless display (WiDi) technology for big-screen entertainment and productivity.

"We designed the S7 to be the best touch Ultrabook in the world, bar none," said Jim Wong, Acer Corporate President. "We listened carefully to users to find substantial ways to make it even better." The re-engineered S7 delivers improved battery life of up to 7 hours, a 33% increase from its predecessor. Its new light-sensing EL backlit keyboard is also refined, with a deeper keystroke for more natural and comfortable typing. Plus, thanks to 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling technology, the noise at maximum load is more than 20% lower than the previous S7, keeping the system quiet and cool.

ASUS Announces ET2702 All-in-One PC with 27-inch WQHD Display

ASUS today announced the ET2702 All-in-One PC with a 27-inch widescreen display and the latest 4th generation Intel Core processor. Designed to handle the entertainment and productivity needs of the most demanding users with ease, the ET2702 combines a stylish ultra-slim appearance with an impressive array of the latest PC technology.

The ET2702 features a stunning 2560 x 1440 IPS display and AMD Radeon HD 8890A discrete graphics deliver outstanding 3D performance with the latest games at the highest visual quality settings. 802.11ac Wi-Fi is standard across the range for extreme wireless data transfer rates and seamless HD video streaming, while USB 3.0 and Intel Thunderbolt ports support an ever-expanding range of high-performance wired peripherals and storage devices.

CyberPowerPC Unleashes New Desktops and Notebooks Running Core "Haswell"

CyberPower Inc. www.CYBERPOWERPC.com, a global manufacturer of custom gaming PCs, today announced its new series of desktop and notebook gaming PCs based on the 22nm 4th Generation Intel Core Processor codenamed Haswell, which promises big gains in power efficiency and graphics performance.

Because of significant improvements in thermal and power efficiency, the new 4th Generation Intel Core CPUs offers a distinct bridge between small form factor computers and powerful desktop gaming rigs giving users more choices than ever in mobile and desktop form factors, with improved performance and longer battery life. CYBERPOWERPC systems equipped with Intel 4th Gen. Core CPUs will range from Core i5 to i7 offerings - each with a minimum 10% performance gain over previous 3rd Generation processors. On the mobile side, with the new 4th Gen. Processors, customers can expect the same performance gains and nearly double the battery life.

Razer Introduces the Blade Pro 17-Inch Gaming Laptop

Razer, the world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems, today announced the Blade Pro, the latest evolution of its award-winning 17-inch gaming laptop. Powered by a future 4th gen Intel Core processor, next generation NVIDIA GeForceGTX 765M graphics and groundbreaking storage performance, the new Blade Pro is faster and more powerful than ever before.

"With the Razer Blade Pro, we've designed a gaming laptop for work and for play-appealing to on-the-go hardcore gamers, game developers, creative artists and aspiring video professionals," says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. "The Razer Blade Pro can flawlessly run the most popular creative software applications, and is powerful enough to run the most graphically intensive games on the market today."

Toshiba Unveils Portege Z10t Detachable Ultrabook

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the company's first Windows 8 device designed for business users, the Portege Z10t Detachable Ultrabook. The versatile Portege Z10t is an Ultrabook when needed and a tablet when wanted. Switch instantly between notebook and tablet by simply detaching the screen. Equipped with an 11.6-inch diagonal, Full HD, IPS anti-glare touchscreen display1, the Portege Z10t is an ideal choice for on-the-go professionals looking for a single, versatile device that offers more screen real estate than most tablets, but all the same ultra-responsive performance of a laptop.

The built in digitizer adds even more functionality for those who want to write and take notes on-screen. Ultra-slim, lightweight, encased in sleek style and dressed in durability with all the essential ports and security features, the Portege Z10t makes it easy to create, share or consume content anytime, anywhere. Powered by the latest Intel Core processors the device is equipped with all the business essential ports needed for a "dongle-free" experience, the Portege Z10t delivers excellent speed and performance - everything expected from a business-class Portege.

HP Unveils Desktop PC That Leaves the Desk Behind

HP today announced the HP ENVY Rove20 mobile All-in-One PC, the company's first mobile All-in-One PC, which frees the desktop PC from the desk and allows families and friends to enjoy a shared entertainment experience with a built-in battery, unique design and advanced touch technology. HP also announced new consumer notebooks, all-in-one PCs and printers that give people more flexibility in how they access and share information. With affordable touch technology and new form factors, HP's new additions provide seamless integration of technology into customers' busy lives.

"Customers are looking for mobility and flexibility in their computing devices to give families new ways to bring generations together," said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer PCs and Consumer Solutions, HP. "HP is evolving to meet our customers' needs by designing next-generation form factors, like the Rove mobile All-in-One PC, which will enable people to connect, share and create in ways they never imagined."

Futuremark Announces PCMark 8

Futuremark announced PCMark 8, the latest entry to its line of benchmark suites that target all PC subsystems. Designed for the new generation of Windows 8 PCs (although it should run fine on Windows 7), PCMark 8 introduces a few new tests transferred from the company's PowerMark suite, which lets you test battery life on notebooks and tablets. It introduces a few new tests that simulate load from popular Adobe and Microsoft creativity and productivity applications. PCMark 8 is developed in collaboration with a number of industry giants, including Acer, AMD, Condusiv Technologies, Dell, HGST, HP, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Samsung, SanDisk, Seagate and Western Digital. The software can be purchased towards the end of June.

Lenovo Launches Yoga 11S Convertible

Lenovo announced that customers can place orders for the IdeaPad Yoga 11S beginning today on www.lenovo.com or pre-order on www.bestbuy.com. The acclaimed 360° flip and fold Yoga 11S premiered in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show, following its popular predecessor, the IdeaPad Yoga 13.

Sized well for mobility in a thin, 11.6-inch design, the Yoga 11S Ultrabook convertible comes with choices of a powerful third generation Core i3, i5 or i7 Intel processor giving consumers the ability to create high-performance content and presentations and seamless graphics that make it a great entertainment device.

HP Expands x2 Detachable PC Portfolio to Enable Ultimate Flexibility

HP today announced the HP SlateBook x2 and the HP Split x2, two detachable PCs that offer the full functionality of a notebook with a removable screen that also is a sleek tablet. Powered by the Android and Microsoft Windows 8 operating systems (OS), respectively, these versatile two-in-one devices combine power and portability, giving customers the flexibility to create, consume and share content in more places.

HP's unmatched portfolio of next-generation PCs is designed to enable users to connect with their information on devices that easily adapt to their needs. By releasing the magnetic hinge, users can move elegantly between the two form factors -- tablet and notebook PC -- all in one device.

AMD Introduces the World's Fastest Notebook Graphics Card

AMD today launched the AMD Radeon HD 8970M, the world's fastest notebook graphics card. The AMD Radeon HD 8970M graphics processing unit (GPU) delivers the best mobile gaming experience imaginable to gamers, powered by AMD's award-winning Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture.

"Today's gaming notebooks need a graphics card that is fast, powerful and energy-efficient," said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, Graphics Business Unit, AMD. "The AMD Radeon HD 8970M GPU is the perfect combination of technologies, blending performance, immersive features and an extensive battery life that delivers an unrivaled gaming experience, even on the go."

Sony Introduces New VAIO Fit Laptop, Updates Current AIO and Ultrabook Lines

Sony today introduced the brand new VAIO Fit laptop built with Sony's innovative digital imaging, sound and display technologies. Alongside the new Fit laptops are enhancements to VAIO's All-in-One Tap 20 and L Series PCs and Sony's top-selling VAIO T Series 15 Ultrabook incorporating all around excellence in productivity and entertainment with rich touch experiences powered by Windows 8.

"We built the brand new VAIO Fit line from many of the same features as our amazingly thin and powerful ultra-premium models but at an entry-level price point," said Pedro LaFargo , SVP, Sony VAIO & Networked Products Division. "Our entire new Fit lineup is optimized for Windows 8 and incorporates the best technology that only Sony can provide from our innovative digital imaging, sound and TV divisions. The new Fit family is providing students and professionals' on-the-go with advanced performance and design."

Acer Defines Touch and Type Experience With New Aspire R7 Notebook

At a press event held today in New York, Acer unveiled the Aspire R7, a revolutionary 15.6-inch notebook that will redefine the touch and type computing experience. Featuring a Full HD 1920 x 1080 touch screen, the Acer R7 was made for the new computing lifestyle, which increasingly combines touching and typing. With a repositioned keyboard and a revolutionary "Ezel Hinge" that moves the display forward and into different positions, the R7 makes the combination of touching the screen and using the keyboard more intuitive and natural. Its ergonomic design allows users to explore and determine their own preferred way to interact with technology.

"With the Aspire R7, Acer has redesigned the laptop with an approach that's based on how people interact with their notebooks and other devices," said Sumit Agnihotry, vice president, product marketing, Acer America. "Its progressive design redefines the computing experience, so whether consumers are touching or typing, the R7 adapts to allow consumers to create, browse and share content in ways they never have before."

Acer Redefines the Computer With the Aspire P3 Ultrabook

Acer today debuts the Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook, which delivers all the benefits of an Ultrabook in a unique design that easily transforms into tablet-mode. Today, many users are faced with choosing between notebook, hybrid, convertible or tablet designs when selecting a mobile computing device. The Aspire P3 takes care of that, with no compromises required. The Aspire P3 is the ideal mobile computing device for users who create and consume content.

Weighing only 3.06 pounds and measuring 0.77-inches thin, the newly defined mobile PC delivers on the promise of Ultrabooks with excellent performance and long battery life in a highly portable form factor. It adds the many benefits of tablet with a design that allows the touch-screen display to be used freely or in the keyboard-case. This gives Acer customers enhanced mobility as well as more ways to enjoy their device using touch for the latest apps, viewing photos, keeping in touch and having fun.

Lenovo Unveils the ThinkPad S431 Laptop

Lenovo today announced its new ThinkPad S431, a premium laptop PC featuring an elegant floating design and touchscreen display. Optimized for Windows 8, the ThinkPad S431 offers enhanced performance and 15 percent faster processor speed than previous generations. The laptop is ideal for professionals who want a combination of style and substance. It is also a fit for small businesses that need a laptop to do it all – great performance for work tasks and an excellent experience for personal computing.

"The progressive design of our ThinkPad S431 will help small businesses impress their customers. We pack a punch behind that style, however, as we are committed to delivering genuine substance," said Jerry Paradise, executive director, Think Business Group. "The ThinkPad S431 offers an intuitive Windows 8 experience with the power needed to accelerate productivity."

Samsung Unifies Fastest Growing PC Line under Newly Expanded ATIV Brand

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced it will expand the ATIV brand to include all of its Windows based PCs. ATIV, previously the brand for the company's Windows based convertible PC devices, now unites all of Samsung's Windows devices under one cohesive brand, representing the convergence of PC and mobile technologies. The new product names under the ATIV brand will provide customers an easy way to understand the product segments across Samsung's PC portfolio. Samsung ATIV will also offer users a consistent and seamless computing experience across Samsung's diverse PC line.

"Samsung has been the fastest growing PC brand for the past three years1, in part because of our commitment to developing solutions that meet and exceed the ever-evolving needs of our customers," said Mike Abary, senior vice president of consumer IT product marketing at Samsung Electronics America. "Our expanded ATIV brand and the introduction of solutions like SideSync create the necessary synergy between our mobile and PC lines to create real ease of use for consumers. These synergies enable us to maintain our momentum and continue to offer our customers innovations that enhance the way they live and work."

AMD Catalyst 13.4 WHQL Drivers Released

AMD launched its first WHQL-signed Catalyst Software Suite in three months, with the Catalyst 13.4 WHQL, coinciding with the launch of Radeon HD 7990, earlier today. The Catalyst Software Suite installs device drivers and system software for AMD Radeon GPUs, IGPs, and integrated HDMI audio devices, in additional to AMD APP runtime environment, and certain media acceleration software.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.4 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

The change-log for Catalyst 13.4 WHQL follows.
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