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Windows 8 Finalized, RTM Arrives on August 15, "Metro" UI Name Dumped

Keeping up with schedule, Microsoft has reportedly finalized the build of Windows 8, with which the company will launch the operating system to the public. After releasing several internal and some public pre-launch builds (such as Beta, Release Preview), the company is ready with the RTM (release to market) build, which is fit for commercial release. Windows 8 RTM, in its various variants, will be available first to enterprise customers and industry partners starting August 15. The commercial launch is on course for October 26, 2012.

In related news, the threat of trademark litigation by German retail giant Metro Group has forced Microsoft to trash the codename "Metro" to refer to its new tiled user-interface (UI), which makes the OS optimized for touchscreens, but is also the primary UI for non-touch computing platforms (such as desktop PCs). According to reports, Microsoft will merely stop referring to Metro UI as such. Metro UI invited criticism from some evaluators of pre-launch Windows 8 builds, particularly from the desktop PC and non-touch notebook platforms.Sources: Computex.biz, The Verge

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Password Security The Windows 8 Way

Windows 8 implements a radical new user interface called Metro for desktop PC's, which has so far received a mixed reception. However, there's many other changes under the hood and one of those is how password security is handled, which we look at here. It's a fact of life, that in today's modern world, we have to remember a plethora of passwords and PIN's, which can be daunting. This leads to security issues as users end up writing down passwords and/or create very insecure ones which can be easily guessed. Windows 8 aims to uphold strong password security, while at the same time, easing the burden on the user. Also, passwords can be obtained in various ways by miscreants, such as phishing, keylogging, guessing, and cracking. Windows addresses each of these problems in three main ways:

Windows 8 'Irrelevant' For PC Users

Well, it looks like the Windows 8 flagship feature, the Metro interface, isn't going down too well with PC users, according to leading market research firm International Data Corp. On top of that, there aren't really any killer improvements in the operating system that make shelling out for a new version compelling. The Metro interface, while suited to a smartphone or tablet, really doesn't do anything for a desktop PC, because it's operation is very restrictive compared to the standard desktop that's been around for over 15 years on Windows and is now a very refined and sophisticated user interface. Also, the fact that many organizations have only recently migrated to Windows 7 and are not looking to spend money in the current economic climate and go through the pains of another upgrade cycle again isn't helping. The poor economy looks like it will hamper sales of Windows 8 on its target devices, tablets, too. Finally, IDC said: "(T)here will be intense scrutiny on Microsoft’s ability to deliver a successful tablet experience aboard both x86-based tablets and on devices running ARM processors. This is a tall order for Microsoft, and while the x86 tablet strategy makes sense as a transitional solution for today’s PC users, it will be the ARM-based devices that need to shine and clear a high bar already set by Apple."

Sources: xbit labs, zdnet
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