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XFX Radeon HD 7770 Monster Graphics Card Pictured

Following up on the January launch of its Radeon HD 7750 sibling, XFX announced the Radeon HD 7770 Monster. With a near-identical PCB and cooler designs to the older release, the HD 7770 Monster uses a fancy cooler shroud that covers what is essentially a chunky fan-heatsink, cooling the GPU, memory, and VRM. The card ships with factory-overclocked frequencies of 1100 MHz core and 5.00 GHz memory, against the reference design's 1000/4500 MHz (core/memory). The XFX HD 7770 Monster, like its sibling, is released for the Greater China region. Find a review at the source.

Source: Expreview

DeepCool-Aeolus Big Frost Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Detailed

After a brief sighting at Computex 2012, we come across the Aeolus Big Frost dual-tower CPU cooler again. This time, the cooler appears polished and ready for market launch. The cooler is a simplified version of DeepCool's Assassin, retaining its dual aluminum fin tower design. The design consists of two symmetric aluminum fin stacks, through which six 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes pass, drawing heat from a copper CPU base. The fin-stack is then ventilated by two 120 mm fans in push-pull configuration.

The heatsink measures 126 x 136 x 159 mm, weighing 1,109 g (including fans). The fan pushing "fresh" air through the first fin stack is configured to spin at speeds of up to 1,300 RPM, with noise levels as high as 22.6 dBA, while the fan pulling air and conveying it to the second fin stack spins at speeds ranging in 900-1,500 RPM, with 21.4 to 32.1 dBA noise levels. The Big Frost supports a full range of CPU socket types available in the market today, including Intel LGA2011, LGA1155/LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA775, AMD AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2, and FM2/FM1. In China, the cooler is expected to sell for 200 RMB (US $32).

Source: Expreview

Windows 8 Out for Consumers in October, Enterprises and Partners in August

Microsoft's next big client operating system, Windows 8, will be out by October 2012. The operating system will be first made available to enterprise customers and hardware partners as early as by August, while the general public will have access to it in October. Along with availability to enterprises, Microsoft will commence the Windows 8 Commerce platform, which means developers of apps for the Metro UI can start monetizing their works.

Windows 8 will get its big sales push at this year's Christmas sales season, when the software will be sold through major sales channels, such as retail, OEM (pre-installed) and special (student, university, government). For those who didn't quite get blown away by Windows 8 (through its Consumer Preview), Windows 7 will be supported looking deep into this decade. The operating system has currently passed the 640 million mark for the number of licenses sold, making it the best selling OS in computing history.

Intel to Bring Ivy Bridge Launch Forward to April 23: Report

With eager OEMs such as ASUSTek, HP, Acer, and Lenovo breathing down its neck, Intel is reportedly pulling forward the official launch date of its 3rd Generation Core processor family based on 22 nm "Ivy Bridge" silicon, to the 23rd of April, from its older date of 29th April. 23rd April will be the day Intel announces all its processor models originally slated for the 29th.

Notebook OEMs are expected to launch their products based on these chips at the earliest, by May. The date of market-availability of these chips in the retail channel, however, remains unclear. One possibility is that Intel will announce and make these chips available on the same day (23rd), while another possibility is that it announces these chips on the 23rd, allows the media to digest them (by posting reviews), and open them up for sale on the 29th. Two models every PC enthusiast and their cat are looking out for, are the Core i7-3770K and Core i5-3570K.

Source: DigiTimes

Windows 8 PC Has Six Variants

Poking around the registry of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Windows8Beta discovered the operating system, at least the PC version, as having six variants. There are also mentions of ARM variants (for ARM tablets and notebooks), but let's look at the PC SKUs:
  • Windows 8 Starter Edition, for low-cost PCs, netbooks, nettops, etc., probably targeting emerging markets only
  • Windows 8 Home Basic, for value desktop PCs, netbooks, and notebooks
  • Windows 8 Home Premium, for mainstream desktops and notebooks
  • Windows 8 Professional, for home, office desktops and more functional notebooks
  • Windows 8 Professional Plus, for office desktops and notebooks in dense local networks, probably has extra management, data security features
  • Windows 8 Ultimate Edition, has the complete feature-set of the OS

Sources: Windows8Beta, VR-Zone

NVIDIA GK104 PCB Drawings, Unusual Power Connector Designs Surface

Here is the first x-ray drawing of NVIDIA's GeForce Kepler 104 (GK104) reference board, outlining the VRM area. The GPU and memory areas are blanked out for some very obvious reasons. Nevertheless, there's plenty of fascinating stuff going on in these pictures. To begin with, the picture confirms that the board will have 5 NVVDD phases, and up to three miscellaneous power domains. The PCB has provisions for two 6-pin and one 8-pin connector.

The funny part here is a strange new plug that has two 6-pin (or 8-pin+6-pin) stacked, while one of the two 6-pin connector leads are blanked. Some of our sources also report having seen a similar connector with 8-pin and 6-pin on samples of this card (refer to the last picture below). It's not just this, that makes the card incapable of single-slot operation, the DVI connectors over at the display IO also are stacked like on previous-generation AMD Radeon cards. Other connectors on the card are HDMI and DisplayPort. There are two SLI bridge connectors, giving it 3-way and 4-way SLI support.

Sources: Expreview, ChipHell, PHK, etc.

Possible Precedent: Accused Americans Can Be Forced To Decrypt Their Encrypted Data

The Fifth Amendment rules that nobody may be "compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Or, in other words, one has a right to avoid self-incrimination. Therefore, it's highly significant that Judge Robert Blackburn ordered a Peyton, Colorado woman accused of a being involved in a mortgage scam, to decrypt the hard disc drive of her Toshiba laptop no later than February 21. If not, she would face the consequences, including contempt of court. In a 10-page opinion, the judge wrote, "I find and conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer."

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Ubisoft Loosens Restrictions. Slightly

Last week we brought you news of Ubisoft's hard three machine activation limit on Anno 2070 and how it scuppered a review by Guru3D when they swapped out graphics cards. Guru3D's post then went viral on the web and it appears that this has put sufficient pressure or 'heat' on Ubisoft to relax the restrictions just a tiny bit, since they weren't going to use any more Ubisoft games for benchmarks. So what have they done? Allowed an unlimited number of graphics card swaps. That's it, everything else stays the same, so if other components such as the CPU, motherboard etc are changed, then one will still run into this frustrating brick wall and have to get in touch with customer support to reset the activations.

MSI Interceptor Nighhawk Military-Class Case Pictured

Unbeknownst to many, MSI took a plunge into gaming PC cases with its Interceptor series Nighthawk ATX mid-tower. This case bears the "Military Class" branding that MSI uses on some of its high-end PC motherboards. Measuring 180(W) x 475(L) x 448(H) mm, the Nighthawk is one of the more spacious mid-towers. It features four 5.25-inch drive bays (all tool-free), six 3.5-inch bays (five tool-free), and black interiors with a dash of deep blue.

It has a feature-rich front-panel, including a 12-in-1 multi-format memory card reader, audio, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Cooling system includes a 120 mm blue LED-lit front-intake fan, a 200 mm opaque side-panel intake fan, and a 120 mm rear exhaust fan. There are provisions for two 120 mm top fans, three 120 mm side fans (replacing the 200 mm fan), and a 120 mm bottom intake. Backed by a 3 year warranty, the MSI Interceptor Nighhawk is priced at US $79.99. A full review of this case with more pictures can be read at the source.

Source: TestFreaks

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off (UPDATED)

Hilbert Hagedoorn of well-known PC tech review site guru3d.com recently bought a copy of Ubisoft's Anno 2070 and wanted to use it in one of his graphics card reviews. However, he became badly unstuck. This game comes on the Steam platform and the store page states: "3rd-party DRM: Solidshield Tages SAS 3 machine activation limit". Unfortunately for Guru3D, they found out exactly what this means, which resulted in just one performance graph, an aborted review, an unplayable game – and bad publicity for Ubisoft once again. They have published an article about their experience, pledging not to use their titles again because of this DRM.

HD 7970 Overclocked to 1.26 GHz: 28 nm Tech Really Stretches Its Legs

Welcome to the first TechPowerUp news post of 2012! Read on for a couple of impressive overclocking feats with the HD 7970 graphics card.

It looks like the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 could be a bit of a dark horse and a lot more potent than its stock specifications would suggest – excellent for creating a competitive graphics card market. The reviews at stock speeds show the flagship HD 7970 to be around 10-15% faster than NVIDIA's flagship GTX 580, which doesn't seem all that impressive since the GTX 580 has been on the market for over a year now. However, what the reviews haven't really shown, is what kind of an overclocking monster the HD 7970 is. It definitely looks like AMD could have easily beaten the GTX 580 by a much bigger margin than they did, had they wanted to and it makes one wonder why they didn't.

VR-Zone have spent the New Year weekend overclocking this beast, having reached a whopping 1.26 GHz core clock speed with their HD 7970 - and decent benchmark improvements to go with it. Also, with the fan at 100%, the card never got above a very comfortable 68 degrees centigrade while running Furmark, which is amazing considering how this test is specifically designed to heat a graphics card to the max - but please see the update at the bottom of the article. The stock cooler may be noisy, but it's certainly very effective: an excellent result which will prolong the working life of the card.

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.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Hits $1 Billion Milestone in Just 16 Days

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 crossed the $1 billion mark in sales since its launch on November 8, 2011, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information. Highlighting the trend of interactive entertainment gaining a greater hold of audiences worldwide, the game achieved this milestone in just 16 days, eclipsing the record set in 2009 by the feature film "Avatar," which reached the $1 billion milestone in 17 days.

While 2011 box office revenue is on the decline — down 4 percent this year at $9.4 billion, compared with $9.8 billion in 2010 -- the number of people purchasing and participating in gaming is on the rise, with no sign of slowing.(1) With more than 30 million gamers, the Call of Duty community now exceeds the combined populations of the cities of New York, London, Tokyo, Paris and Madrid.

AMD Realizes That Bulldozer Has 800 Million LESS Transistors Than It Thought!

AMD's new flagship Bulldozer "FX" series of processors have turned out to be mediocre performers in almost every review and benchmark going, sometimes even getting bested by the existing Phenom II and certainly no match for their Intel competition. To add to this tale of fail, it now turns out that AMD didn't even know how many transistors they have! Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech received an email from AMD's PR department and this is the revelation he had to share with us:
This is a bit unusual. I got an email from AMD PR this week asking me to correct the Bulldozer transistor count in our Sandy Bridge E review. The incorrect number, provided to me (and other reviewers) by AMD PR around 3 months ago was 2 billion transistors. The actual transistor count for Bulldozer is apparently 1.2 billion transistors. I don't have an explanation as to why the original number was wrong, just that the new number has been triple checked by my contact and is indeed right. The total die area for a 4-module/8-core Bulldozer remains correct at 315 mm².

Sandy Bridge-E Benchmarks Leaked: Disappointing Gaming Performance?

Just a handful of days ahead of Sandy Bridge-E's launch, a Chinese tech website, www.inpai.com.cn (Google translation) has done what Chinese tech websites do best and that's leak benchmarks and slides, Intel's NDA be damned. They pit the current i7-2600K quad core CPU against the upcoming i7-3960X hexa core CPU and compare them in several ways. The take home message appears to be that gaming performance on BF3 & Crysis 2 is identical, while the i7-3960X uses considerably more power, as one might expect from an extra two cores. The only advantage appears to come from the x264 & Cinebench tests. If these benchmarks prove accurate, then gamers might as well stick with the current generation Sandy Bridge CPUs, especially as they will drop in price, before being end of life'd. While this is all rather disappointing, it's best to take leaked benchmarks like this with a (big) grain of salt and wait for the usual gang of reputable websites to publish their reviews on launch day, November 14th. Softpedia reckons that these results are the real deal, however. There's more benchmarks and pictures after the jump.
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