News Archive

Tuesday, January 31st 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Rightware Releases Basemark CL for Multicore Benchmarking

Rightware, the leader in 3D user interface (UI) technologies and the provider of world’s most widely adopted benchmarking software, today announced public availability of Basemark CL, effective immediately. This OpenCL (Open Computing Language) benchmark product provides diverse performance measurement capabilities for device manufacturers, semiconductor companies and their ecosystem to test and optimize OpenCL implementations. The version launched today features tests targeted for desktop computers. An embedded profile version of the benchmark will be published at a later stage.

OpenCL by Khronos Group is the first open, royalty-free standard for parallel programming of modern processors found in personal computers, servers and embedded devices. Proper use of OpenCL can greatly improve speed and responsiveness of applications in numerous categories from gaming and entertainment to scientific and medical software. Within these applications, OpenCL makes it possible to leverage the processing power of Central Processing Units (CPUs), Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) and other processing units for general purpose computation. By utilizing an efficient low-level programming interface, OpenCL will form the foundation layer of a parallel computing ecosystem of platform-independent tools, middleware and applications.

Steam Mobile App Available to All

The Steam application for iOS and Android devices, announced last week, is now available to all gamers around the world.

Launched last week in a closed beta, the Steam app allows gamers to chat with Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, view screenshots and user-generated content for their favorite games, read the latest gaming news, stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales, and more.

CyberpowerPC to Offer Intel's Overclocking Warranty Plan

CyberpowerPC,, a leading manufacturer of custom gaming desktop PCs, gaming notebooks, and performance workstations, today announced it is the first U.S. computer manufacturer to offer Intel's Performance Tuning Protection Plan, which provides an added layer of warranty protection in the event of CPU damage caused by overclocking.

The Performance Tuning Protection Plan is a chance to experiment with the overclocking features of your CyberpowerPC gaming rig without the fear of what may happen if you push the processor too far. The Plan will provide complete one-time replacement of the processor if you overclock or over-tweak the voltage and the CPU fails.

Mozilla Firefox 10.0 Available for Download

Mozilla has today let loose the 10.0 version of the Firefox browser for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. This release includes several fixes, brings a hidden forward button (which appears when the user navigates back), Full Screen APIs, and features support for WebGL Anti-Aliasing, CSS3 3D-Transforms, and for the < bdi > element for bi-directional text isolation.

To download Firefox 10.0 (for any of three platforms mentioned above) visit this page.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 295.51 Beta Driver

Leaving AMD to deliver on the hardware front, NVIDIA has today rolled out its first official graphics driver of 2012, the beta-tagged GeForce 295.51. This build has support for GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 series desktop cards and for ION GPUs, it comes with updated versions of the PhysX software (v9.11.1111) and HD Audio driver (, and it brings new and up-to-date SLI and 3D Vision profiles.

Windows 7/Vista 32-bit / Windows 7/Vista 64-bit / Windows XP 32-bit / Windows XP 64-bit

BitFenix Ghost Mid-Tower Chassis Seen from More Angles

Remember the unnamed BitFenix mid-tower we revealed yesterday? Well it's nameless no more. The case is called Ghost and it's got more goodies than initially thought.

Seen below, the upcoming chassis has a black coating both inside and out, and features a front door that can be opened to the left or to the right, a top-placed I/O panel with four USB 3.0 ports, a built-in SATA drive dock (also found on top), and three 5.25-inch bays with tool-free mounting systems.

BitFenix's Ghost also has four 3.5-inch and three 2.5-inch internal drive trays, support for micro ATX and ATX motherboards, three pre-drilled holes for watercooling tubing (all on the rear panel), a (removable) top mesh panel with a foam dust filter, and seven PCI slots (no fans though). Still no word on the pricing or availability of this case.

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Headset Launch Delayed, Again

Market release of Razer's Tiamat 7.1 channel gaming headset has been delayed yet again. Originally slated for Q4 2011, Tiamat has been a troubled product launch for the otherwise consistent Razer. In December, Razer apologetically announced that they were facing development setbacks and had to delay market launch till end of January, 2012. Well, we're now at the fag-end of the month, with no Tiamat launch, yet. Instead what we got is another announcement by Razer, saying that the product launch is further delayed to some time in February, 2012.

Source: Razer

Shuttle Launches New Mini-PC with Z68 Chipset

Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH, the European subsidiary of Shuttle Inc., one of the leading developers and manufacturers of compact PC solutions such as the world-renowned XPC Mini-PC barebones, today announces its new top-of-the-range XPC Barebone model SZ68R5.

It is the first time a Shuttle Mini-PC integrates Intel’s Z68 high-performance desktop chipset with Smart Response Technology (SSD caching). An SSD is used here to speed up the boot process and to ensure ultra-rapid application startup. Space-saving mSATA-SSDs can be fitted in the corresponding Mini-PCIe slot on the motherboard.

Club 3D Announces its Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Card

Tens of thousands people across the world are currently celebrating the Chinese new year as they welcome in the "Year of the Dragon" and Club 3D adds another bang with the introduction of the all brand new Club 3D Radeon HD 7950, followed by the earlier introduction of the Award Winning Radeon HD 7970, the world first 28nm GPU.

With 1792 stream processors, a 384 bit GDDR5 memory bus that provides 3.15 TFLOPs of computing performance, the Club 3D Radeon HD 7950 graphics cards are intended for gamers who never settle. Equipped with AMD Graphics Core Next Architecture and the latest power management technology, this card takes a no-compromise approach to gaming.

European Commission opens antitrust proceedings against Samsung

The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Samsung Electronics has abusively, and in contravention of a commitment it gave to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

In 2011, Samsung sought injunctive relief in various Member States' courts against competing mobile device makers based on alleged infringements of certain of its patent rights which it has declared essential to implement European mobile telephony standards. The Commission will investigate, in particular, whether in doing so Samsung has failed to honour its irrevocable commitment given in 1998 to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to license any standard essential patents relating to European mobile telephony standards on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The Commission will examine whether such behaviour amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).

Gigabyte Intros Radeon HD 7950 WindForce 3 Graphics Card

Gigabyte flagged off its Radeon HD 7950 lineup with a custom-design graphics card. Carrying the model number GV-R795WF3-3GD, the card makes use of Gigabyte's custom-design WindForce 3 cooling solution strapped on to a more familiar-looking AMD reference design PCB that's colored blue. The WindForce 3 cooler consists of a complex aluminum fin array that draws heat from the GPU, memory, and VRM. Heat is supplied by several copper heat pipes, the heatsink is then ventilated by three 80 mm fans that are tilted in way that maximizes hot air to be pushed out of the rear panel and the top. Overclocked out of the box, the GV-R795WF3-3GD comes with clock speeds of 900 MHz core and 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz effective) memory. It is priced at US $489.99

Clearwire Unveils New CLEAR Spot Voyager and CLEAR Hub Express Modem/Wireless Router

Clearwire, a leading provider of wireless broadband services, today announced the availability of the CLEAR Spot Voyager, a new personal hotspot that offers super-fast speeds, unlimited* 4G usage plans, and compatibility with millions of mobile devices. The company also announced the availability of the CLEAR Hub Express, a combination 4G modem and wireless router to give your home or office high-speed wireless internet.

The CLEAR Spot Voyager gives users everything they need to create a personal hotspot for up to eight wi-fi-enabled devices, at the same time. The CLEAR Spot Voyager offers consumers a battery life greater than six hours*** and a compact form factor at 2.6 inches square. The CLEAR Hub Express provides users 4G internet and is the only piece of equipment needed to set up a 4G internet hotspot in a home or office. With the device’s built-in wireless router, users have an instant wi-fi network with no set-up or installation required.

John Browett Joins Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail

Apple today announced that John Browett will join the company as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Browett comes to Apple from European technology retailer Dixons Retail, where he has been CEO since 2007. Beginning in April, he will be responsible for Apple's retail strategy and the continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world.

"Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we've met," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple."

Jetway Develops Two Cedar Trail-Based Mini-ITX Motherboards

Intel has found another Cedar Trail supporter in Jetway as the Taiwanese company decided to use the new Atom platform for two motherboards for the IPC (Industrial PC) market. The two boards are named NF9C-2600 and NF9D-2700 and they both feature a Mini-ITX form factor, the NM10 Express chipset, two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, a PCI slot, and a Mini PCIe connector.

The NF9C-2600 can be equipped with an Atom N2600 (1.6 GHz) or N2800 (1.83 GHz) processor and also packs one CFast card socket, one SATA 3.0 Gbps and two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a Realtek ALC662 audio codec, three USB 2.0 ports, and a HDMI output. The N2600-powered version is said to cost $150.

The NF9D-2700 boasts an Atom D2700 (2.13 GHz) CPU, two SATA 3.0 Gbps and two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, a VIA VT1705 HD Audio Codec (5.1 channel), four USB 2.0 ports, and both D-Sub and HDMI outputs.

Source: VR-Zone

VTX3D Launches its Radeon HD 7950 3GB Graphics Card

A leading brand of graphics card maker VTX3D today releases HD7950 based on the latest AMD Tahiti GPU, brings the most revolutionary architectural design and powerful features to all demanding users. VTX3D HD7950 includes support for advanced DirectX 11.1, PCI-E Gen 3 and AMD Eyefinity 2.0, takes HD gaming experience to the ultimate.

VTX3D HD7950 is fitted with 3GB of GDDR5 memory, and together with 384-bit memory interface. Clocks at 800MHz core and 1250MHz (5.0Gbps) memory speed, bringing incredible performance and leaving rival behind. VTX3D HD7950 uses an innovative 28nm GCN Architecture which is designed for improving utilization and ensuring the GPU to make optimal use of its resources for maximum performance. VTX3D HD7950 is also designed to be installed in PCI-E Gen 3 that offers double bandwidth than previous generation, also minimizing latency between CPU and GPU.

XFX Augments its Radeon HD 7900 Series with HD 7950

XFX out performs the competition with the release of their AMD Radeon HD 7950s - the second in XFX’s all new Radeon HD 7000 Series line-up. Available in four tantalising versions for you to choose from- Core Edition, the multi-award winning Double Dissipation, Black Edition Single Fan and Black Edition Double Dissipation – All featuring XFX’s Ghost Thermal Solution.

Ghost Thermal technology is the optimal thermal design that allows air to pass through the heatsink directly to the PCB and core components. This exclusive design allows fan speeds to be kept lower, while allowing the heat to dissipate evenly through the card without excess noise. XFX’s exclusive Ghost Thermal design is complimented by its highly efficient HydroCell thermal solution which is a vapor chamber based on the same principles as heat-pipe technology, which uses a recirculation process and wick system for vaporization. All of this combined with XFX’s award-winning Double Dissipation dual-fan design makes it one of the coolest and quietest cards on the market while simultaneously increasing overall graphics card performance and lifespan.

Mad Catz's Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset Goes Up for Pre-Order

Announced at the beginning of this month, the Cyborg-branded F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset made by Mad Catz has now become available for pre-order. Priced at $149.99, the stereo headset features a durable metal headband, large earcups, 50 mm drivers with Neodymium Magnets, a detachable noise-canceling microphone, on-ear controls, and a 2-meter long USB braided cable (a 1m cord with a 3.5 mm jack is also provided).

To place your F.R.E.Q. 5 order just see this page. Availability is slated for spring.

AMD Validates Inphi’s Isolation Memory Buffer for the Opteron 6200 Series Platform

Inphi Corporation, a leading provider of high-speed analog semiconductor solutions for the communications and computing markets, today announced that load-reduced dual-inline memory modules (LRDIMMs), enabled by Inphi's Isolation Memory Buffer (iMB), have been fully validated and supported on the new AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors, formerly code-named "Interlagos." The validation provides memory vendors and systems designers the assurance that they can populate AMD Opteron 6200 Series-based systems with up to 768 GB of cost-effective memory for today's demanding enterprise and cloud-based applications in 2P servers.

The Inphi iMBGS02A passed several rigorous validation tests by AMD across process, voltage temperature and frequency. Now shipping in volume and fully compliant with the memory-buffer specification of the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the devices have now been verified for compliance on the AMD Opteron 6200 Series platform, for devices' interoperability.

MSI Launches its Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Card Lineup

Today, leading global graphics card and mainboard manufacturer MSI officially announces the R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5/OC graphics card built on the latest AMD 28nm Radeon HD7950 GPU with PCI Express Gen 3 support. MSI's exclusive Twin Frozr III thermal design features dual 8cm Propeller Blade fans to achieve up to 10℃ lower GPU temperatures and 13.7dB less noise under full load! MSI's exclusive Afterburner overclocking software can be used to unleash the core and memory voltage potential providing up to 37.5% overclockability!

The R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5/OC uses Military Class III components include Hi-c CAP, Super Ferrite Choke and All Solid capacitors that have passed MIL-STD-810G level testing to deliver the best graphics card performance and quality to gamers. MSI further expands its R7900 with two new products, the R7970-2PMD3GD5/OC and R7950-2PMD3GD5/OC to provide the best choice for gamers.

Tilera's 36 and 16-core TILE-Gx 64-bit processors now generally available

Tilera Corporation, the leader in manycore microprocessors, today announced several significant steps for the company including the immediate general availability of two of its highly anticipated, low-power, high-performance 64-bit processors - TILE-Gx36 and TILE-Gx16 - as well as companion evaluation systems. These processors are setting new records for performance and performance per watt, running multiple applications including networking, cloud computing and multimedia. Tilera is engaged with more than 80 customers for its TILE-Gx processors, including Harmonic and Mercury Computer Systems.

Moreover, Tilera's former CEO and Tilera co-founder Devesh Garg returns as CEO to scale the company into a leading processor provider in the market.

ASUS Launches Trio of Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Cards

ASUS kicked off its Radeon HD 7950 graphics card lineup with three models, the HD7950-3GD5 which sticks to the cost-effective AMD reference design; the HD7950-DC2-3GD5, which is a DirectCu II model that sticks to AMD reference clock-speeds; and the HD7950-DC2T-3GD5, which is a DirectCu II TOP model, which features factory-overclocked speeds of 900 MHz core with 1250 MHz memory, while the other two models feature 800 MHz core with 1250 MHz memory.

The HD7950-3GD5, which likely sells for US $449, is based on AMD's cost-effective central-fan reference design. The HD7950-DC2-3GD5 uses the company's triple-slot DirectCu II cooler, which is also featured on the Radeon HD 7970 DirectCu II, and is known to provide excellent cooling with low noise, though at the expense of its size. This card will likely be $15-20 costlier. Lastly there's the HD7950-DC2T-3GD5, which likely charges a further $20 premium for its factory overclocked speeds, taking its price close to $490.

PowerColor Announces Radeon HD 7950 Series Graphics Cards

TUL Corporation, a leading manufacturer of AMD graphic cards, today announces the graphics solution for no-compromise gamers: the PowerColor HD7950 series. Armed with 28nm GCN architecture, PowerColor lined up PCS+ and standard editions to fulfill every hungry gamer’s demand. Both editions support the latest PCI Express 3.0, easily maximizing performance by doubling the bandwidth of previous generation, delivering ground-breaking gaming experience like never before.

The PCS+ HD7950 has factory overclocked setting at 880MHz core and 1250MHz memory speed, with dual 92mm ultra huge fan and 3 units 8mm large heat pipes design, easily dissipating the heat from pure cooper base which fully covers the GPU, providing 15% lower temp. and 20% quieter noise level. The HD7950 clocks at 800MHz core and 1250MHz memory speed, ready to tackle all the demanding game titles.

HIS Announces its Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Card

Hightech Information System (HIS) today announced the launch of HIS 7950 3GB. The card provides a budget choice for keen gamers who wish to experience the latest 7900 series. With a clock rate of 800 MHz, memory clock of 5.0 Gbps as well as a 384-bit memory interface, the HIS 7950 3GB offers top-class performances just like its 7970 sibling!

HIS 7950 3GB comes with the HIS Weight Lifter that makes the card last longer. It takes some weight off of the card and the PCIe slot, providing a simple but effective solution to prevent potential damage to the card due to the card’s weight.

Sapphire Launches its Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Cards

Sapphire today launched its Radeon HD 7950 lineup, consisting of two models, the base-model single-fan, and a dual-fan OC model. The base-model sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 800 MHz core with 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz GDDR5 effective) memory, while the OC model features clock speeds of 900 MHz core and 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz GDDR5 effective) memory. The base-model features a simple single-fan heatsink without heat pipes, while the OC model uses a more complex aluminum fin-array heatsink to which heat is fed by copper heat pipes, ventilated by two fans. Interestingly, Sapphire did not release an AMD reference design model. The base model is expected to be priced at US $449, and the OC model about $20 more.

AMD Launches the Radeon HD 7950 Graphics Card

AMD launched the Radeon HD 7950 graphics card, its second high-end product based on its new Graphics CoreNext architecture. Based on the same 28 nm "Tahiti" silicon as the HD 7970, the new SKU packs all its features, while being a tone-down in terms of specifications. To begin with, it features 1792 stream processors brought about by enabling 28 out of 32 of the GCN compute units on Tahiti. It features 112 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 3 GB of memory.

Its reference clock speeds include 800 MHz core, and 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz GDDR5 effective). Due to reduced power draw, the card requires two 6-pin power inputs, instead of 6+8-pin found on the HD 7970. AIB partners are free to provide custom-design and factory-overclocked models at speeds of up to 900 MHz core with 5.00 GHz memory. Models with AMD reference clock speeds should be typically priced at US $449, with factory-overclocked ones about $15-20 higher. The cards should be available in the markets right away.
Monday, January 30th 2012

Today's Reviews

Desktop PC
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards

Aliens: Colonial Marines Cinematic Trailer

Today IGN is showing off their exclusive Aliens: Colonial Marines Cinematic trailer for the PC, Xbox360 and the PS3. Sadly no real gameplay is shown but its a beautifully rendered sequence that shows in essence a star ship or a foreign colony of Earth infested with Xenomorphs. From what is gathered of this trailer is as a player you will be playing with a group of people and not a lone soldier as previous games in the franchise have played out. Time will tell if the trailer holds true to the game with its creepy music and dark mood. One thing is certain, H.R. Giger would be proud.

The cinematic trailer follows.

BitFenix Showcases Two New PC Cases

This week at the IT Partners event in France Taiwanese company BitFenix is showing off a couple of new, yet-unnamed PC cases, a mid-tower offering easy access to its insides, and a compact model likely targeting gamers who enjoy going to LAN parties.

The larger case features a front door that can be opened in both directions (without any modification or tinkering), three 5.25-inch bays, a removable mesh panel on top, and an I/O panel with four USB 3.0 ports and two audio connectors. The smaller chassis supports mini-ITX motherboards, it can accommodate long graphics cards and large CPU coolers, and has two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA connector on the side, two built-in handles with a SofTouch coating, mesh panels both in front and on top, and a single (exposed) 5.25-inch bay.

Unfortunately the cases' prices and release dates are unknown but we'll probably find out more before or at CeBIT 2012 in March.

Update [31/1] - The 'little guy' is named Prodigy and it offers support for CPU coolers up to 180 mm tall, graphics cards up to 330 mm long, and for one 240 mm radiator.

Office 15 Enters ‘Technical Preview’ Phase, Public Beta Planned for Summer

As announced by PJ Hough, CVP of Development at Microsoft's Office Division, the next version of the Office suite (codenamed Office 15) has now entered 'Technical Preview' mode, meaning it's being shared with a 'select group of customers under non-disclosure agreements'.

"At this early point in our development cycle, I'm not able to share too much about Office 15, but I can tell you Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division," says Hough. "With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio. Quite simply, Office 15 will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than ever before."

People who didn't get in the Technical Preview Program will be able to try out Office 15 this summer when a public beta version is released. The RTM (Release to Manufacturing) build of Office 15 is reportedly planned for the end of this year.

Swiftech Komodo HD 7970 Full-Coverage Water Block Drawings Surface

Swiftech is almost ready with a high-end, full-coverage water block for AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, which its makers are touting as being a "real" full coverage block, as it's not only making contacts with all critical hot components of the card, but also physically covering the entire area of the PCB, including its reverse side, with a backplate (something that's not part of the AMD reference design). The company released CGI drawings of its product to the web.

Called the Komodo HD 7970, the block confines itself to the size of one expansion slot with an included single-slot bracket. The monolithic black design adds a lot to the aesthetics of the card, including its fittings area. The primary material of the block is nickel-plated copper. The portion of the block over the GPU has a 0.25x0.25 Micro Pin matrix, which maximizes heat dissipation to the coolant. Unlike other full-coverage blocks where a portion of the block that doesn't have flowing coolant makes contact with the VRM, the Komodo HD 7970 has "active" VRM cooling, where the area over the VRM has its own coolant chamber, and is part of the coolant's primary flow.

NETGEAR Launches New 'Intelligent Edge' Switches and Lifetime Technical Support

NETGEAR, Inc., a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, today announced four new 12- and -24-port NETGEAR ProSafe Gigabit L2+ Managed Switches with PoE+ connectivity. Perfect for organizations requiring intelligence at the network edge, these NETGEAR access layer switches are an extremely cost-effective component of converged voice, video and data networking solutions. Additionally, the complete NETGEAR ProSafe managed switch product line now includes lifetime 24x7 telephone technical support and three years of onsite service.

Data of 50 Million MegaUpload Users To Be Deleted

Let's face it, to think that every MegaUpload user has copyrighted content uploaded on the site is like saying everyone going to work at Capitol Hill is naughty (did we just say that?). Regardless, data uploaded by as many as 50 million users faces deletion this week due to non-payment of MegaUpload's dues to its third-party hosting providers.

This data could be anything from precious legitimate online data backups to the alleged copyrighted content, including data backups by paid subscribers. This, even before the users could have a chance to download their data as the site went offline abruptly on the 19th of this month. Before similar services such as Yahoo! Briefcase went offline (because the company discontinued the service), users were notified, and had a chance to download their data, as it faced deletion. MegaUpload had as many as 150 million registered users.Source: BBC

Wyse Drives Post-PC Trend - Makes World's Most Powerful Thin Client More Expandable

Wyse Technology, the global leader in cloud client computing, today announced the newest member of its top-performing Z class thin client family with the availability of the Wyse Z90DE7 thin client. Built on an extended hardware platform that includes a PCI express (PCIe) expansion slot, this extremely secure, powerful new member of the Wyse Z class family is based on Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7. Like other Wyse Z90 family thin clients, the Z90DE7 combines the raw power of dual-core AMD G-series processors with Wyse’s industry-leading firmware based on Windows Embedded Standard 7 optimized for thin client performance, security, and ease of use. In addition, the Z90DE7 adds an expandable hardware platform to deliver multimedia and advanced security applications with exceptional, uncompromised performance and quality.

Mouse Computer Launches New Desktops with 23-inch IPS Displays

Japanese company Mouse Computer announced two new desktop PC models featuring the latest hardware and Iiyama ProLite X2377HDS-B IPS LED-backlit LCD display. The 23-inch IPS display provides 1920 x 1080 resolution with a response time of 5 ms. The first of the two desktops featuring it is the LM-iS615B-P23S, and the other is LM-i735X-P23S (pictured in this order below).

The LM-iS615B-P23S features a micro-ATX slim-tower measuring 100 x 393 x 364 mm (WxDxH). It is driven by Intel Core i5-2500 processor, with 8 GB dual-channel DDR3-1333 memory. It lacks discrete graphics, and relies on the embedded Intel HD 3000 graphics. Storage is care of a 500 GB 7200 RPM HDD and DVD-RW drive. It is powered by a 300W PSU. Windows 7 Home Premium x64 is the OS of choice.

Koss Announces Porta Pro KTC On Ear Headphones

Koss Corporation, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin based high fidelity stereophone manufacturer and inventor of the world's first SP/3 Stereophone in 1958, has revolutionized the world renowned Porta Pro.

Porta Pro KTC, the most sophisticated version of the Porta Pro, features a new technological upgrade which brings listeners closer to the music they love. Koss Touch Control (KTC) remote and microphone technology, made for iPhone, iPad and iPod, gives listeners more control in fewer steps. Now listeners are able to stay connected, shuffle songs and adjust volume with the flick of a switch.

ABIT Website To Go Completely Shut By End of February

Back in March, 2009, the industry lost ABIT as a consumer motherboard vendor, as it announced its exit. ABIT had been a reputable vendor of high-end PC motherboards. The company stayed on as a shell to complete honoring warranties, with its website on a little longer, to help with drivers, BIOS, and product manual downloads, among other things. It appears now that the clock for the website has also run out. A notice on the start page of the website says that the website will go offline on the 28th February, 2012. If you have an ABIT product, it would be a good idea to download PDF files of its manuals, a copy of its BIOS (if applicable), and drives, before the website goes down for good.

Single Fan Non-Reference Design Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Pictured

A little earlier this month, we were treated to pictures of Sapphire's dual-fan Radeon HD 7950 OC graphics card. It appears that the card pictured earlier is not the only non-reference design HD 7950 from Sapphire, as it has a slightly more affordable single-fan model in the works. This model likely sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 800 MHz core, 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz GDDR5 effective) out of the box.

The single-fan HD 7950 appears to have a blue-colored PCB that is likely to be AMD's cost-effective reference design. The cooler appears to have a compact heatsink that is cooled by a single central fan. Display outputs include two mini-DisplayPort, and one each of HDMI and DVI. We're also hearing from the source that 900 MHz core with unchanged (1250/5000 MHz) memory will be the maximum factory-OC permitted by AMD to AIB partners. That is not to say that the HD 7950's OC potential beyond that will be limited in any way.

Update: Augmented with more images from Expreview.Sources: OBR-Hardware, Expreview

IBM Creates 9 nm Transistors Using Carbon Nanotubules

Researchers at IBM have developed the smallest carbon nanotubule transistor, that is 9 nanometers (nm) across. In comparison, the smallest transistors possible using silicon is 10 nm across. IBM claims its new transistor consumes less power while being able to carry more current than today's technology.

"The results really highlight the value of nanotubes in the most sophisticated type of transistors," says John Rogers, professor of materials science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "They suggest, very clearly, that nanotubes have the potential for doing something truly competitive with, or complementary to, silicon." Currently, the smallest production-grade transistors are 22 nm across.

Micron to Buy US $500M Worth Elpida Shares

Idaho-based Micron Technology is reportedly going to spend at least US $500 million in purchasing a stake in its Japanese rival, Elpida, according to a Economic Daily News report. This development closely follows reports of an equity tie-up between the two companies, with a decision emerging in February.

Taiwanese Nanya Technology and Inotera Memories stated in recent reports that DRAM makers should consider uniting their operations as such moves could contribute to the industry's sustainable development. Elpida refused to comment on this latest report. What does this mean to the consumer? The year 2011 has been a bloodbath for DRAM makers as overproduction led to drastic drops in PC memory prices, and a watershed for PC consumers as a result. These latest developments could contribute to the inevitable rebound of DRAM prices in 2012.Source: DigiTimes

Rambus Barth Patents Claim Completely Invalidated by US Government

In a landmark development, the US Government invalidated the last of three of Rambus' claims to key patents that saw it locked in successful patent-infringement lawsuits against the likes of NVIDIA and Hewlett-Packard, among others. The three patents are related to memory chip design, and are among the most valuable patents held by Rambus. An appeals board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) declared the patent invalid on January 24, according to a ruling posted on their website. The previous two were declared invalid in September, 2011.

The Barth patents have been used by Rambus to sue a long list of companies in the PC industry, including NVIDIA and AMD. It has been used to extract millions of dollars in licensing fees from the likes of the already cash-strapped AMD, through settlements. NVIDIA's patience seems to have paid off. Rambus can appeal the latest decision from the PTO. "We're evaluating our options," said company spokeswoman Linda Ashmore.Source: Reuters

OWC Announces 480 GB Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD for Macbook Air

Other World Computing (OWC), a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, confirmed at Macworld today its OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G SSD is now available in a 480GB model size for the latest Apple MacBook Air 11.1" and 13.3" models which incorporate 6G (6Gb/s) data rate capabilities. The new Mercury Aura Pro Express 480GB model combines award-winning SandForce technologies and Tier 1/Grade A Toggle Synchronous NAND to deliver data rates up to 3x faster than factory 3G (3Gb/s) options and up to 8x the storage capacity of the factory's base 64GB SSD model. The new, built-in-the-USA Mercury Aura Pro Express SSD and other OWC Mercury SSDs will be shown in Other World Computing's booth #513, Moscone Centerl, at Macworld held in San Francisco this week.

Lenovo Debuts the IdeaPad Y470p 14-inch Laptop

A quick glance over Lenovo's web shop will confirm the availability of a new IdeaPad laptop, a model called Y470p which features a 14-inch (1366 x 768) LED-backlit display, a 2.2 GHz Core i7-2670QM processor, 8 GB of RAM, an AMD Radeon HD 7690 1GB discrete graphics card, a 750 GB hard drive, and a DVD writer.

Lenovo's mobile PC also has JBL stereo speakers, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 2.0 megapixel webcam, a HDMI output, and a 6-cell battery. The IdeaPad Y470p is backed by a one-year warranty and costs as low as $799 (thanks to a special offer).

Source: The Verge

OWC Unveils the Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G Solid State Drives

Mac-loving company Other World Computing (OWC) has recently revealed a new line of high-grade solid state drives, the Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G. Designed for 'mission-critical deployments', these 2.5-inch SSDs feature a SandForce 2582 controller, Toshiba-made Enterprise Toggle Synchronous (eMLC) NAND memory chips, a SATA 6.0 Gbps interface, and OWC's Paratus Power Technology which prevents data loss in the case of power interruptions.

OWC's drives also have chip-based 256-bit AES encryption, they deliver sustained read/write speeds of up to 550/525 MB/s, and are capable of a random 4K read/write performance of up to 60,000 IOPS. The Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G drives are backed by a seven-year warranty and will ship by the end of this quarter in 50 GB ($629), 100 GB ($799), 200 GB ($1,349) and 400 GB ($2,199) capacities.

Intel Releases Seven More 32 nm Processors

US chip giant Intel has now added seven new processors to its portfolio, the Core i5-2550K, i5-2450P and i5-2380P targeting desktops, and the Celeron B815, B720, 867 and 797 for mobile PCs.

The Core i5-2550K costs $225 ($9 more than the i5-2500K) and features four cores @ 3.4 GHz (the 2500K has a base clock of 3.3 GHz), four threads, 6 MB of L3 cache and a TDP of 95W. The i5-2450P ($195) and i5-2380P ($177) have similar specs, expect their base clock is 3.2 GHz and 3.1 GHz, respectively.
Friday, January 27th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Microsoft Kinect Technology En Route Laptops

It's no secret that Microsoft's proprietary gesture-recognition technology it originally launched on the Xbox platform, is making its way to PCs, as software developers have access to Kinect for Windows SDK. What's interesting, though, is that soon people won't need a creepy-looking three-eyed device facing them to recognize their gestures. They will, instead, be embedded into notebook display bezels the way web-cameras are.

The Daily reports that it has seen a pair of notebook prototypes that appeared to have been "ASUS notebooks running Windows 8," with their web-cam replaced by a row of optical sensors on top of the screen, and a row of LEDs said to be at the bottom. Some might think that this is ASUS' very own Kinect-alternative WAVI Xtion, but The Daily also confirmed with a source at Microsoft that these prototypes are indeed of notebooks that are Kinect-enabled.
Sources: The Daily, Engadget

Buffalo Brings Remote Play and NAS Capabilities Into The Living Room With LT-V200

Buffalo Japan introduced a new generation LinkTheater product, the LT-V200. The device is basically a multi-format media player, which is nothing new, but then it also features an internal SATA port to hold a hard drive, apart from its USB connectivity, which lets it act as a DLNA-compliant NAS server. It also features a Remote Play function, that lets it stream media wirelessly to iOS and Android devices. Apart from the internal SATA port, the LT-V200 features two USB 2.0 ports (one each, front and back), it connects to the network over 10/100 Ethernet. It features a SD card slot.

As a media player, the LT-V200 supports nearly every popular video format, including MPEG-1/2, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, WMV9, DivX, DivX HD, Real Video, and FLV. Audio formats supported include AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, FLAC, Real Audio, Dolby Digital and DTS. Outputs include HDMI, SPDIF TOSLINK and Coaxial, and Component. Slated for launch in early February, the Buffalo LT-V200 will cost 14,000 JPY (US $182.4).

Source: Akihabara News

Logitech Announces Third Quarter Results for FY 2012

Logitech International today announced financial results for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2012. Sales for Q3 FY 2012 were $715 million, down 5 percent from $754 million in Q3 FY 2011. Changes in exchange rates did not have an impact on sales compared to the prior year. Operating income was $70 million, down 8 percent from $76 million in the same quarter a year ago. Net income for Q3 FY 2012 was $55 million ($0.32 per share) compared to net income of $65 million ($0.36 per share) in Q3 of FY 2011. Gross margin for the quarter was 36.2 percent compared to 36.0 percent one year ago.

Logitech's retail sales for Q3 FY 2012 decreased by 4 percent, with an increase in Asia of 13 percent, a decrease in EMEA of 5 percent and a decrease in the Americas of 8 percent. OEM sales decreased by 24 percent. Sales for the LifeSize division grew 6 percent.

Silicon Line Intros World’s First Optical Embedded DisplayPort ICs for Notebooks

Silicon Line GmbH, a leading provider of ultra-low power analog ICs, today announced that it has brought to market the SL82728 and SL82718 ICs targeted at notebooks, ultrabooks and tablets using the latest VESA based Embedded DisplayPort standard. The ICs are used to optically connect the graphics processor to the display and enable the replacement of traditional electrical connectors with optical connectors.

Strong consumer demand for high resolution retina type displays and 3D technology is driving the data rates inside mobile devices ever higher. These extremely high data rates not only generate significant EMI when traditional electrical cables are used to transport the data but also are reaching the limits of the practical capabilities of electrical cables.

NVIDIA Engaged in PsyOps Against HD 7970: Chinese Forum

A lot has been said about NVIDIA's upcoming product with which it will compete against AMD's Radeon HD 7900 series, except of course, pictures, benchmarks, and so on. Chinese tech forum ChipHell accused NVIDIA of deploying shills across forums to shape public opinion about the already-launched HD 7900 series, towards waiting for NVIDIA's competitive product, these include blind talk about imaginary performance superiority, killer price, etc.

Chinese forums have recognized patterns in this spurt of anti-AMD and pro-HD 7970 imaginary-competitor product posts and banned scores of user accounts engaged in this activity. There's a very potent reason why ChipHell's observations shouldn't be met with cynicism, or made light of. In China, competing factions in the ever-ruling Communist party have been known to use what is known as "the 50 cent army", where for a pittance, scores of internet forum posters can be engaged to perform coordinated PsyOps, to shape public opinion, and maintain public support. It is only natural, then, that competing companies in the extremely competitive Chinese domestic market resort to similar tactics, including those distributing NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards, or, as Chip Hell alleges, NVIDIA itself.Source: Hard|OCP

Power Ethernet Launches PE Socket, Integrates Power and Network To The Wall Socket

British technology start-up, Power Ethernet, has launched the ‘PE Socket’, the first product to integrate Powerline networking technology directly into an electrical socket. The PE Socket provides a simple and professional way of specifying high-speed data network connectivity throughout a building by using electrical cabling. The ‘PE Socket’ is available from leading electrical resellers including CPC and Rapid Electronics.

Based on the HomePlug AV standard for Powerline networking, Power Ethernet’s all-in-one PE Socket combines four Ethernet network ports, a fully-managed network switch and filtered power socket into a single device. It fits a UK Standard 35mm double gang metal back box and uses a building’s electrical wiring to create a high-speed and secure data network for connecting computers, Voice over IP phones, Internet-connected TVs and digital signage, home automation and entertainment systems, building management systems, CCTV cameras and other Ethernet connected-devices.

Seagate Announces Quarterly Cash Dividend Increase by 39%, Share Repurchase of $1B

Seagate Technology plc (“Seagate” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:STX) today announced that its Board of Directors (the “Board”) has approved an increase to its quarterly cash dividend from $0.18 per share to $0.25 per share, an increase of 39%. The increase is effective with the dividend payable on March 1, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 15, 2012. The payment of any future quarterly dividends will be at the discretion of the Board and will be dependent upon Seagate’s financial position, results of operations, available cash, cash flow, capital requirements and other factors deemed relevant by the Board.

Additionally, the Board has authorized the Company to repurchase an additional $1 billion of its outstanding common shares (the “January 2012 authorization”). The January 2012 authorization extends Seagate’s commitment to enhancing shareholder value by utilizing the robust cash generation ability of its business. To date, Seagate has utilized approximately $1.1 billion against the existing $2 billion share repurchase authorization approved by the Board on November 29, 2010 to repurchase 67.8 million shares. The remaining balance of the November 2010 authorization ($0.9 billion) is expected to be utilized by the end of fiscal year 2012 (June 29, 2012), market and other economic conditions permitting.

New Lesance Type-GX Reference Configuration Packs GeForce GT 630M Graphics

Japanese build-to-order PC specialists Lesance launched the BTO GSN721GW TYPE-GX reference 17-inch performance notebook featuring NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M graphics. At 17-inches size, the Type-GX serves as a portable desktop-replacement. Its screen packs full-HD resolution (1920 x 1080), the GeForce GT 630 driving it is backed by 1 GB of DDR3 memory. It packs 144 CUDA cores.

Other parts of the Type-GX include Intel Core i7-2670QM quad-core processor clocked at 2.20 GHz with 6 MB L3 cache, 8 GB (4 GB x2, DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM) memory, Intel 510 Series 120 GB SSD, Blu-ray ROM, wireless b/g/n and gigabit Ethernet connections, and USB 3.0 ports. The notebook measures 416 x 270 x 22 ~ 35 mm (WxDxH), weighing 2.99 kg. Windows 7 Home Premium x64 is the OS of choice. This reference configuration costs 101,980 JPY (US $1320).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Ultrasone Signature PRO Headphones Launch in North America

Ultrasone introduced Signature PRO, the first model in a select range of "made in Germany" headphones for discerning music lovers and professional users. The handcrafted headphones are based on the company's more than 20 years development expertise and, with patented technologies such as S-Logic Plus, offer an impressively detailed sound experience. Designed as a closed system, the first model in the Signature range will appeal to musicians, sound engineers and hi-fi lovers in equal measure. With its classical design and high-quality materials, the Signature PRO boasts and excellent sound experience combined with a stylish look, inspired from their Edition 9 headphones.

MSI Interceptor Series Raptor Case Pictured

It looks like the Nighthawk, pictured earlier this month, isn't the only Interceptor series case MSI slipped into the market this month, its slightly cheaper version, the Raptor, also made it, and was caught by reviewers at LANOC. Like the Nighthawk, the Raptor, too, is "Military Class" according to its maker, in that it features an advanced thermal/air-flow design, which is also largely tool-free, and is backed by a 3-year warranty. Another distinctive feature of the Raptor that sets it apart from other cases in its price-range is its multi-format flash memory card reader that's pre-installed.

An ATX mid-tower by type, the Interceptor Raptor measures 180 x 428 x 410 mm (WxDxH), and is made of SECC/steel and ABS plastic. Its storage area includes four 5.25-inch drive bays, one exposed (preoccupied by the card reader) and six concealed 3.5-inch bays. Ventilation consists of one 120 mm blue LED-lit front-intake fan (included), one 120 mm rear-exhaust (included), and provision for two side-panel fans and one bottom fan. The bottom and front intake include dust meshes. The front-panel includes audio, and two USB 3.0 front-panel ports. It is priced at US $59.99, making for a decent entry-level gaming rig case. Find the full review at the source.

Source: LANOC Reviews

Valve Announces Mobile Steam App, Closed Beta Now Available to iOS and Android

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the beta release of the Steam application for iOS and Android devices.

With the Steam app, gamers around the world may chat with Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, view screenshots and user-generated content for their favorite games, read the latest gaming news, stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales, and more.

Matrox Mura MPX Now HDCP Compliant

Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced that the Matrox Mura MPX video wall controller boards are HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) compliant, simplifying the work for AV Integrators seeking to enable copy protected content across Mura-driven video walls. Mura input/output boards facilitate HDCP interoperability by capturing high definition video signals from up to four HDCP sources and displaying the content on up to four HDCP-enabled displays. A video wall controller with up to six boards can support up to twenty-four inputs that are scaled, positioned and manipulated across twenty-four outputs. Designed for high-performance video walls, Mura MPX Series is suitable for a wide range of applications including corporate boardrooms, auditoriums, large venue events, digital signage, and mission-critical environments.

KidzGear Launches Headphones for Kids with Volume Limiting Technology

Kidz Gear, the Grown-up Performance, Built For Kids! brand, announced today that its award-winning line of Wired Headphones for Kids has been expanded to include a NEW Apple version designed specifically for the iPod, iPhone and iPad – the Kidz Gear Apple Wired Headphones for Kids. This Apple-specific version of the popular Kidz Gear headphones feature unique “KidzControl" Volume Limiting Technology for a safe listening experience while helping to protect children’s hearing; an Inline Microphone; and a Remote with controls for Track Up, Track Down, and more.
Thursday, January 26th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
Sound Cards

$25 Raspberry Pi Hobby Computer Doubles iPhone 4S GPU Performance And Beats Tegra 2

We have previously reported on the super cheap ARM-based Raspberry Pi hobby computer that's been under development from the Raspberry Pi foundation. However, it's now going into production and is generating a lot of interest, so interviewed its founder, Eben Upton, about it (free registration required).

The computer's primary purpose is as a computer science teaching aid in schools and colleges and also for home brew use by enthusiasts who want to tinker with it and make specialized solutions out of it. However, it seems that enthusiasts will have a nice surprise in that the onboard GPU is surprisingly good. The actual ARM implementation is a Broadcom BCM2835 System on Chip (SoC) containing an ARM 11 CPU and a custom graphics core, which has been designed by the Raspberry Pi team, including Upton. In the interview, Upton claimed that it can double iPhone 4S performance and handily beats NVIDIA's Tegra solution, because of its tile mode architecture.

Lenovo ThinkPad X130e Laptop Now Available for Order

Initially set for a December 20th roll-out, the student-friendly ThinkPad X130e 11.6-inch laptop has now found its way to Lenovo's online shop and where it's awaiting orders (actual shipments start on February 9).

The X130e features a durable construction (rubber bumper around top cover, extra-tough bezel, hinges, keyboard and ports), it runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and packs an Intel or AMD processor, an LED-backlit (1366 x 768) display, integrated graphics, up to 8 GB of RAM, up to a 500 GB hard drive (or a 128 GB SSD), Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, optional Bluetooth and mobile broadband, and a 6-cell battery allowing for up to 8 hours of operation.

Currently Lenovo is offering two base configurations for this machine, one priced at $429, with an AMD E-300 (1.3 GHz) APU, 4 GB of RAM and a 250 GB HDD, and one costing $549 that boasts an Intel Core i3-2367M (1.4 GHz) CPU, 4 GB of RAM and a 250 GB HDD. Both are available here.

Reeven Unveils RFC-01 Six-Channel Fan-Controllers in Japan

Reeven unveiled the RFC-01 "Six Eyes" series of case fan controllers, which saw the light of the day in mid-2011. Designed to fit into the 5.25-inch drive bays of your case, the RFC-01 provides six fan channels with independent speed-control knobs and diagnostic displays for each channel. Measuring 148 x 42 x 100 mm, the controller comes in two variants: black (RFC-01BK) and white (RFC-01WH). Apart from the six fan speed channels, the controller displays temperatures from six thermal zones, along with a safety alarm when temperatures exceed a limit. The RFC-01 will be priced at 4,480 JPY (US $57). It will likely be marketed under local brands such as Scythe.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

NVIDIA Releases CUDA Toolkit 4.1

NVIDIA today released a new version of its CUDA parallel computing platform, which will make it easier for computational biologists, chemists, physicists, geophysicists, other researchers, and engineers to advance their simulations and computational work by using GPUs.

The new NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing platform features three key enhancements that make parallel programing with GPUs easier, more accessible and faster. These include:

- Re-designed Visual Profiler with automated performance analysis, providing an easier path to application acceleration
- New compiler, based on the widely-used LLVM open-source compiler infrastructure, delivering up to 10 percent speed up in application performance
- Hundreds of new imaging and signal processing functions, doubling the size of the NVIDIA Performance Primitives (NPP) library

THQ Outlines New Business Strategy

THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) announced its updated business strategy as the company exits traditional kids' licensed video games and focuses on its core video game franchises and digital initiatives for the future. The company will continue to build its strong portfolio of core game franchises and align its resources to deliver games on both existing consoles and new and emerging platforms. The company intends to accelerate digital revenues by extending and supporting key console launches, and to create dedicated digital properties for emerging platforms.

"THQ will be a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises," said Brian Farrell, President and CEO, THQ. "The success of Saints Row: The Third is an example of what our revised strategy and focus can achieve. We have now shipped 3.8 million units globally and are currently expecting to ship between five and six million units lifetime on this title. Additionally, our robust digital content offerings for this game have resulted in the highest digital revenue of any console title in our history."

Intel to Buy Patents and Next Generation Video Codec Software From RealNetworks

RealNetworks, Inc. today announced that it has signed an agreement to sell a significant number of its patents and its next generation video codec software to Intel Corporation for a purchase price of $120 million. Under terms of the sale, RealNetworks retains certain rights to continue to use the patents in current and future products.

"Selling these patents to Intel unlocks some of the substantial and unrealized value of RealNetworks assets," said Thomas Nielsen, RealNetworks President and CEO. "It represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to generate additional capital to boost investments in new businesses and markets while still protecting our existing business.

Western Digital Previews Thunderbolt Dual-Drive Storage System at Macworld/iWorld

Western Digital, the world's leader in external storage solutions, will demonstrate the ultra-fast data transfer rates of its upcoming My Book Thunderbolt Duo dual-drive storage system at the Macworld/iWorld show (booth #401). Thunderbolt technology will dramatically improve workflow speed and efficiencies for enthusiasts and professionals dealing with large digital files such as video, audio and still photos.

Thunderbolt technology is capable of producing up to 10 gigabits per second of throughput on each of two channels in both directions. Users can experience very fast read/write speeds especially during applications such as video editing, 3D rendering, and other intense graphics projects. To put Thunderbolt's speed into perspective, HD media creators will be able to transfer a standard size full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds, or backup an entire year of continuous music (approx. 8,600 hours of music) in roughly 10 minutes.

Next-Gen Xbox Features Blu-ray, Will Not Play Used Games

We've got a good news and a bad news. The good news first: Microsoft will finally embrace the capacious Blu-ray disc format as its media of choice with its next-generation Xbox console. A double-layer Blu-ray disc provides 50 GB of space, letting developers load higher-resolution elements (such as textures), and more importantly, load entire games into a single disc. The 8 GB DVD9 used with Xbox 360 is posing limitations with some titles, forcing publishers to ship games in multiple discs. The new console should also double up as a nice Blu-ray home-video player, complete with multi-channel lossless audio and 1080p playback.

Now on to the bad news: Remember the good old days when you could share your game cartridges and discs with your friends, or resell them? Those are about to be numbered, at least in the case of the Xbox platform. Microsoft is designing its next-generation Xbox console in a way that restricts people from playing "used" games. We would imagine Microsoft doing this by binding each purchased game's activation to a Xbox Live account à la Steam, Origin, and G4WL. This is terrible news to services such as GameStop, which deal in used games and consoles.Source: Kotaku

Radeon HD 7950 Reference Design Pictured

It looks like Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 won't share a common design after all, as press-shots of the HD 7950 suggest. The HD 7950 is also said to use a different PCB design from the HD 7970, diminishing any chance of the HD 7950 being "unlockable" to HD 7970 using a BIOS update. The reference design card uses a cost-effective heatsink with internal ventilation using a top-flow fan, and not a fin-canal design the HD 7970 uses, which pushes hot air out of the case.

Source: OBR-Hardware

Multiple Radeon HD 7950 Cards Listed in Europe

Not to be outdone by their US-based brethren, several European stores have jumped the gun and put up for pre-order the (still not officially announced) Radeon HD 7950 aka AMD's second 28 nm-powered graphics card. The listings in Europe reveal three HD 7950s, two that seem to be based on AMD's reference design (one from XFX, one only carrying the AMD brand) and a custom model coming from Gigabyte.

All three cards feature DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 4.2 support, 1792 Stream Processors, a 384-bit memory interface, 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM clocked at 5000 MHz, CrossFireX support, and include four display outputs - DVI x 1, HDMI x 1, mini DisplayPort x 2. The 'stock' models have a GPU clock of 800 MHz while Gigabyte's card (GV-R795W3-3GD) is listed with a core clock of 900 MHz (although it may be a typo). The GV-R795W3-3GD also has a blue PCB and a dual-slot, triple-fan (WindForce style) cooler.

Giada MI-D2700G Mini-ITX Motherboard Gets Detailed

Having already confirmed its CeBIT presence, the JEHE-owned Giada crew has revealed its very first motherboard based around Intel's Cedar Trail platform. Named MI-D2700G, this Mini-ITX board comes equipped with one Atom D2700 (two cores @ 2.13 GHz, four threads) processor and with an Nvidia GF119 GPU backed by 512 MB of VRAM.

The MI-D2700G also features the NM10 Express chipset, two DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots, an active cooler, two SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, one mini-PCIe port, an mSATA connector, Gigabit Ethernet, an ALC662 5.1-channel codec, four USB 2.0 ports, and both D-Sub and HDMI outputs. The board's pricing or release date have yet to be announced.

Intel Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

Intel Corporation's board of directors has declared a 21 cents per share (84 cents per share on an annual basis) quarterly dividend on the company's common stock. The dividend will be payable on March 1, 2012 to stockholders of record on Feb. 7, 2012.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at and

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Xilence Debuts the Black Hornet PC Case

Taiwanese company Xilence Technology has now introduced a new PC chassis, the Black Hornet. Described as the 'little brother' of the Interceptor model, the Black Hornet measures 200 x 493 x 490 mm, is painted black both inside and out, and features a steel structure, a front I/O panel with USB 3.0 (x 2), eSATA (x 1) and HD Audio ports, a built-in SATA drive dock (it supports both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives), and seven PCI slots.

Xilence's case also has four exposed 5.25-inch bays, two 2.5-inch and four 3.5-inch internal drive bays, two hot-swap drive trays accessible through the front, and two built-in fans - one 120 mm spinner at the back and one 140 mm model with red LEDs in front. The Black Hornet costs 89.90 Euro and is now shipping to stores.

New USB Charger Powers 16 Devices At A Time

Charging large numbers of iPads, iPhones and iPods is a challenge for many schools, businesses and other organizations. A new 16-port professional USB charging station now makes this possible.

Compact, light and easy to use, the Power Pad 16 (DS-IP-PP16) provides the optimum power required for charging iPads and other iDevices. It can be used to replace bulky power strips and the AC adapter bricks of the standard chargers.

Scythe Rolls Out KAGEMUSHA3 Illuminated Keyboard

Scythe released a new value illuminated keyboard in its home market of Japan, the KageMusha3. The keyboard connects to the system over USB, and packs a USB hub. It is a common-membrane type keyboard, with LED illumination for the keys. This particular model features orange and blue color LEDs, which can be switched between, brightness adjusted, or turned off altogether. It features a standard QWERTY+Japanese layout with 109 keys in all. Its key pitch is 19 mm, and stroke (travel) is 4 mm ±0.5 mm. The keyboard measures 467 x 174 x 24 mm (WxDxH), its height can be raised to 37 mm with its stand. It weighs about 775 g. Shipping in August, the Scythe KageMusha3 will be priced at 2,480 JPY (US $32).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Panasonic Updating its Lets note J10 10.1-inch Mini Laptop

As part of its Spring refresh, Panasonic will roll out not only the 12.1-inch Let's note NX and SX Series laptops mentioned yesterday, but also an up-to-date Let's note J10. The J10 is a 10.1-inch mini notebook that comes with a 720p display (1366 x 768-pixel resolution) and makes use of a Core i3 or i5 processor (no Atom on this little guy).

The updated J10 also features 4 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive or 128 GB solid state drive, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, WiMAX, an SD card slot, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a HDMI output.

The 'standard' J10 model, boasting a 2.3 GHz Core i3-2350M CPU and a 250 GB HDD, is expected to cost about $1,546, while the 'high performance' J10, with a 2.4 GHz Core i5-2435M and a 128 GB SSD, should go for $2,192. Both models will ship in Japan in late February.

Source: PC Watch

Plextor Unveils PX-B950SA Blu-ray Drive

Plextor unveiled the PX-B950SA internal Blu-ray disc writer drive. Built in the 5.25-inch form-factor, the drive supports SATA interface. It is capable of burning single-layer BD-R at 12X, double-layer BD-R at 8X, single/double-layer BD-RE at 2X, DVD±R at 16X, DVD+RW at 6X, DVD-RW at 12X, and CD-R at 48X. Blu-ray discs are read at 8X, DVDs at 16X, and CDs at 48X. The drive is backed by an 8 MB cache. CyberLink BD Suite and PowerDVD come bundled. It is priced at 11,980 JPY (US $154).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Google To Supply 27,000 Chromebooks to US Schools

Google has just struck a deal that will see it supply 27,000 Chromebooks to schools in the US states of Iowa, Illinois, and South Carolina. Rajen Sheth, Google's leader of Chromebook work for business and education announced the deal in a speech at the Florida Educational Technology Conference. "We now have hundreds of schools across 41 states that have outfitted at least one classroom with Chromebooks," he said. This is a particularly significant development, as Google is nurturing its future market base, and facilitating the evolution of computing devices from bloated Wintels to efficient Chromebooks that run off the cloud.

Source: C|Net

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."

PNY Launches its Aesthetic Range of Clip Attaché USB Flash Drives

PNY Technologies, Inc. (“PNY”) is considered a leading designer, manufacturer and a worldwide leader in DRAM Memory and Flash Memory products, has announced the release of their elegant and stunning range of Clip Attaché USB flash drives. The Clip Attaché serves a dual purpose of an efficient storage device as well as a vanity feature to suit the pace and the trend of the metropolis lifestyle.

PNY Clip Attaché is encased in a colorful metallic case illustrated with 4 different floral designs (plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum) inspired by traditional Seiko art and is an effortless blend of modern technology and classic culture. Available in four different colors to choose from it provides a personalized selection of storage accessories.
Wednesday, January 25th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Apple Makes More Money Per Employee Than Exxon

In a report on MSN, Apple earned over $400,000 in profit per employee, more than Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil or Google last year. As most of its plants are located over seas this shouldn't be a surprise. However what was a surprise is the apparent brashness of a Apple executives response when asked if they could bring some of that manufacturing back to the United States where Apple originated from. He was quoted as saying, “We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” The Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”

Why Big Media Really Shut Down MegaUpload: To Kill The Competition

Judging by a report on TechCrunch reporting on a new (conspiracy?) theory why MegaUpload was really shut down, it appears that MegaUpload was on the verge of launching a new business model for artists, which would have blasted the likes of the RIAA and the big music companies they represent into irrelevance. That of course, they could not allow. The 'piracy' argument was a smokescreen.

A Faster Internet, By Google

Boffins at Google are looking at ways of speeding up the internet. Not by making the underlying physical network faster, but by improving the efficiency of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that underpins the internet. This will have the benefit of making all networks that use the new improved version faster and being more scalable with improvements to the underlying physical network. The new TCP stack will be compatible with the old one by running alongside it and only kicking in when both client and server have it installed. This is currently implemented in the Linux kernel and is in the process of becoming the TCP standard.

There are four basic ways that they're looking at improving TCP: 1) Increase the number of TCP packets sent at the beginning of a TCP connection from three to ten. This reduces latency. 2) Reduce packet loss timeout from three seconds to one ie shorten the time between retries, which is more appropriate for modern high speed networks. 3) Use TCP Fast Open (TFO) a faster way for a web browser to initiate a connection with a website and 4) Use Proportional Rate Reduction for TCP (PRR) which is a more efficient way to deal with traffic congestion.

The research team are also looking at improved transmission recovery (data loss) in noisy mobile environments. Full technical details are available at the Google blog.

First 7950 Listed for Retail

The first of many retail listings for the 7950 are up today thanks to the online distributer PROVANTAGE. Not much is known but the high retail price of $481.58. Time will tell if this is just the normal mark up for a pre-release item or if this is in fact retail. Ironically the picture they display is that of a ATI HD4850. The listed specs are as follows: HD 7950 3072MB DDR5 384BIT PCI Express DVI.


AMD Also Delivers the Catalyst 12.2 Preview driver

In addition to releasing the Catalyst 12.1 suite, AMD has today rolled out another graphics driver, a preview version of the Catalyst 12.2 which is set to come in WHQL-tagged form next month. Recommended for 'gamers', this preview release includes all the updates of Catalyst 12.1 as well as the following:

- AMD Eyefinity 2.1 technology enhancements
- Additional resolution support: Users can now choose from a larger set of resolutions when running AMD Eyefinity
- Dynamic Configuration Changes: Switching between different display configurations will occur automatically when physically plugging/un-plugging displays
- HydraVision enhancements: The Windows Task bar can now be moved and resized based on users preference
- Profile Manager improvements: Increased support for Display Groups (including 5x1) and Extended configurations within the Profile Manager

The Catalyst 12.2 Preview Driver can be downloaded (for Windows 7 and Vista) from this page (Radeon HD 7970 users need not click, this driver doesn't support their card).

AMD Releases Catalyst 12.1 Drivers

AMD has now made available the first WHQL-certified graphics drivers of 2012, the Catalyst 12.1. This release includes support for Radeon HD 2000, HD 3000, HD 4000, HD 5000 and HD 6000 series desktops (and mobile) cards (but not the HD 7970), for Radeon 3000 and HD 4000 chipsets, and features the following:

AMD HD3D technology support enhancement

- Enables support for AMD HD3D technology in conjunction with AMD CrossFireX configurations
- Delivers a new Stereo 3D mode over HDMI 1.4a connections - 1080p at 30Hz is now enabled on supported displays

To download the Catalyst 12.1 WHQL drivers just see these links: Windows 7/Vista 32-bit / Windows 7/Vista 64-bit / Windows XP 32-bit / Windows XP 64-bit

Panasonic Unveils LetsNote NX and SX Series 12.1-inch Notebooks

Panasonic unveiled new 12.1-inch notebooks under the LetsNote NX and LetsNote SX families. Both feature 16:10 aspect ratio screens with 1280x800 pixel resolution, but buyers can opt for a wider 16:9 aspect ratio screen with 1600x900 pixels. A 720p web-cam and fingerprint reader can also be opted for. Where the NX and SX differ is with the SX featuring a top-loading optical drive, while NX lacks it.

Both models are driven by Intel Core i5-2450M processor. HDD comes standard, while faster SSDs can be opted for, which boot the system in under 9 seconds thanks to Panasonic's QuickBoot Manager software. Connectivity features for both include USB 3.0, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR, and display outputs that include HDMI.

Source: Akihabara News

NVIDIA Taunts AMD's GCN Architecture Performance

As AMD's Radeon HD 7900 series is finding ground in the market, and NVIDIA's competitive product line still without a concrete launch schedule, the mind games have begun. In an interview to NordicHardware, a senior NVIDIA official said that NVIDIA expected more from AMD's new GPU family. "Honestly, we expected more from our competitor’s new architecture," the official said, indicating two interrelated things:
  • AMD's Southern Islands GPU family's performance levels are well within NVIDIA's expectations
  • NVIDIA's new architecture will be a lot more powerful than Southern Islands, because it was prepared keeping in mind a faster architecture from AMD than what Southern Islands ended up being
This latest comment could even release some pressure off NVIDIA to rush in a competitive product line.Source: NordicHardware

Backlash Over Google's New Privacy Settings

Analysts from all over the world are questioning Google's new privacy settings being implemented on March 1. Google is going to be tying its services closer together then before by allowing the privacy setting to be shared across services.

By doing this It will also be able to implement a new search for registered users. Google has stated,"If you're signed into Google, we can do things like suggest search queries, or tailor your search results, based on the interests you've expressed in Google+, Gmail and YouTube" the firm said.

Critics like the UK's Information Commissioner's Office warned that any changes must be communicated to users. They are quoted as saying, "It is important that technology companies, such as Google, are aware of the privacy concerns that exist when behavioral advertising is used to target particular content at individuals. Failure to inform users about changes may not only lead to a loss of trust in the company, but could also mean that they are failing to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act," it warned.

Antec Gives Away Free LGA2011 Bracket for Kuhler H2O 920 and 620

Antec announced today that it is giving away free socket LGA2011 brackets for existing owners of its Kuhler H2O 920 and Kuhler H2O 620 closed-loop CPU water coolers. The two were released before Intel launched its new socket, and so there are large stocks in the market that lack LGA2011 brackets. To avail this offer, existing owners have to write to with a proof of purchase of their product, and shipping address. Antec also announced that it has started bundling the LGA2011 bracket with all fresh batches of Kuhler H2O 920 and Kuhler H2O 620, which will start shipping from its factories in February.

AMD-Branded Memory Now Available In The UK, Other Parts of Europe

Following North American retail availability of the AMD Memory branded desktop system memory modules, AMD (NYSE: AMD) is pleased to announce European retail availability debuting with technology partner Patriot Memory LLC. Key launch partners of AMD Memory in Europe include: Alternate (Germany), ASBIS (East Europe), Avnet Technology Solutions Ltd (EMEA), Pixmania (EMEA) and VIP Computers (UK & Benelux). AMD Memory branded products provide an easy and straightforward experience when looking for the ideal match for gaming or multimedia PC needs.

AMD Memory is available at three different levels - 2GB, 4GB and 8GB sizes - in a range of price points and speeds. The Entertainment category will feature 1333 MHz and 1600 MHz speed RAM, designed for quiet Home Theater PC applications. The Performance version supports speed up to 1600 MHz with enhanced latency and comes in matched pairs. Finally, Radeon Edition DRAM will run at 1866 MHz, and is tuned, tested and certified for specific AMD platforms to enable maximum performance utilizing the AMD OverDrive tuning utility.

Radeon HD 7950 Overclocked to HD 7970 Clock Speed, Tested

In its latest round of pre-launch testing of the Radeon HD 7950, DonanimHaber overclocked the GPU to match the clock speeds of the HD 7970, that's 925 MHz core, 1375 MHz (5.50 GHz effective) memory, from its reference clock speed of 800 MHz core, 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz effective), and pitted it against a Radeon HD 7970 reference and GeForce GTX 580 reference. Tests included 3DMark 11 Extreme Preset, and 3DMark Vantage Performance. At the outset these figures establish the HD 7950 to be faster than GTX 580 in the two tests. When overclocked to match the clock speeds of the HD 7970, the HD 7950 on average is 4% slower than it. In related news, DonanimHaber reports that AMD could also be working on affordable variants of the HD 7950 that come with 1536 MB of memory, on the same 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface. That would probably depend on how NVIDIA's lineup stacks up against it.

Source: DonanimHaber

I-O Data Intros HDL-Z2WSLP 2-bay 2 TB NAS with Windows Server 2008 R2

I-O Data unveiled its latest home and small business NAS server, the LANDisk HDL-Z2WSLP. This model, measuring 102 x D216 x 150 mm (WxDxH), is powered by what some would argue as being overkill for a 2-bay NAS, the Intel Atom D510 (1.66 GHz), and is driven by Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system pre-configured to run headless. The OS can also be loaded with anti-virus software so you could free up system resources on other machines that pool user data on this device.

It also doubles up as a small network and print server, as it's equipped with five USB 2.0 ports, and a further two eSATA 3 Gb/s ports to expand its storage using external enclosures. Out of the box, it comes with 2 TB of capacity brought about by two 2.5-inch 1 TB hard drives. The disk trays, support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives. It has two gigabit Ethernet network connections. Common protocols such as CIFS (SMB), HTTP, FTP, WebDAV, are supported. Slated for February, the I-O Data HDL-Z2WSLP will be priced at 120,540 JPY (US $1,542).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

ASUS ET2700 All-in-One PC Coming to Europe Next Month

One month after making its North American debut, ASUS' ET2700 27-inch All-in-One desktop PC is now gearing up to reach European retail and e-tail. Set to ship in Europe next month, the All-in-One (codenamed ET2700INKS-B005C) has a Full HD (1920 x 1080) MVA display, a Core i5-2400S processor, 6 GB of RAM, a 2 TB (5400 RPM) hard drive, a GeForce GT 540M 1 GB graphics card, and a Blu-ray combo drive.

ASUS' PC also packs Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, a 3-in-1 card reader, a 2.0-megapixel webcam, a TV tuner, two 3.5W speakers (an external subwoofer is included in the package), two USB 3.0 ports, and both D-Sub and HDMI outputs.

The ET2700 runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, it comes bundled with a wireless keyboard and mouse and a remote control, and is set to cost 1,399 Euro.

Cooler Master Announces the CM 690 II Advanced Black & White Edition PC Case

Cooler Master, an industry leading chassis, thermal solution, power supply, peripheral, and accessory manufacturer, today announces the trendy and stylish CM 690 II Advanced Black & White Edition based on the feedback from market.

Optimized Cooling System

Time tested as a titan among mid-tower cases, the CM 690 II makes it possible to take advantage of excellent airflow and water cooling options to vastly reduce temperatures on system components. The roomy interior space of CM 690 II Advanced Black & White enables users to install up to 10 fans, with enlarged mesh design for superb ventilation. Users can accommodate 120 x 240 mm radiator at the top and bottom for superior cooling performance. It also supports up to 2 radiators for water cooling units, and larger CPU cooler, such as Hyper 612 PWM.

Upcoming Alienware Laptop Updates Rumored

According to (a site known for accurate tips on future Dell products), a trio of updated Alienware laptops are currently in plan, the M14x R2 (14-inch), M17x R4 (17.3-inch) and M18x R2 (18.4-inch).

There's not much info on the M18x R2 except for the fact that it will be available in both red and black, while the M14x R2 is said to come with the same colors and have 1 GB and 2 GB graphics options.

The M17x R4 is claimed to feature at least three new GPU choices, including the yet-unannounced AMD Radeon HD 7970M, Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M and GTX 675M. All three laptops should also adopt Intel's upcoming 22 nm processors (Ivy Bridge). No word on when they'll be released.


EVGA Offers Overclockers the $100 EPower Board

EVGA has now released the EPower Board, a VRM board which can be hooked up to a motherboard and/or graphics card (some soldering required) and provide more watts required for uber-overclocking.

This warranty-voiding device features a 10-phase main output, a 3-phase secondary output, digital PWM (for the main output), three 6-pin PCIe power connectors, plus EVBot and fan support. The EPower Board costs $99.99 and is "intended only for advanced users with electronics experience."

XFX Discontinues Double Lifetime Warranty with New Radeon Graphics Cards

With the introduction of its Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards, XFX silently discontinued its famous "double-lifetime" product warranty policy, which made XFX graphics cards a worthy buy for overclockers. This warranty policy also added to the resale value of these cards. It allowed buyers to tamper with the supplied cooling solution (heatsink), by replacing them with their own without voiding warranty, it even gave lifetime warranty coverage to the original buyer, as well as to the person buying the product pre-used from an original buyer.

XFX told HardwareCanucks that their Double Lifetime warranty just wasn't sustainable and so they decided against offering it on HD 7900-series cards. This is what the warranty policies of XFX' HD 7900 graphics cards look like:
  • Cards with Double Dissipation (Double D) or whose product number ends in "R" get Lifetime warranty if registered within 30 days.
  • All other cards (ex: HD 7970 Core Edition; FX797ATNFC) get 2 Year Warranty
Source: HardwareCanucks

Elpida Memory Develops Resistance RAM Prototype

Elpida Memory, Inc. ("Elpida", TOKYO: 6665 JP), the world's third largest Dynamic Random Access Memory ("DRAM") manufacturer, today announced the development of its first-ever high-speed non-volatile resistance memory (ReRAM) prototype. As the ReRAM prototype was made using a 50-nanometer (nm[1]) process technology it has a memory cell array operation of 64 megabits[2], one of the highest densities possible for ReRAM. The prototype was jointly developed with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese-funded public institution. Further work on ReRAM development is being conducted with Sharp Corporation ("Sharp", TOKYO: 6753 JP), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST, another Japanese public institution) and the University of Tokyo.

ReRAM (Resistance Random Access Memory) is next-generation semiconductor memory technology that uses material which changes resistance in response to changes in the electric voltage. This new type of non-volatile memory can store data even when the power supply is turned off. Its most attractive feature is that it can read/write data at high speeds using little voltage. While dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is superior to existing non-volatile memory with respect to read/write speeds and endurance, DRAM quickly loses data when the power supply is removed. NAND flash memory, a leading example of nonvolatile memory, retains data even when the power is removed but has performance measures that are inferior to DRAM.

Yahoo! Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Results

Yahoo! Inc. today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2011. Revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs ("revenue ex-TAC") was $1,169 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 3 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2010. Income from operations increased 10 percent to $242 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to $220 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.

GAAP revenue was $1,324 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 13 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2010.

Dospara Intros Prime Note Galleria QF580 Gaming Notebook

Japanese PC maker Dospara that specializes in build-to-order PCs and notebooks unveiled Prime Note Galleria QF580 high-end gaming notebook. This 15.6-incher packs a 1920 x 1080 (full-HD) LED screen, backed by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M graphics with 2 GB GDDR5 memory. The GPU is overclocked out of the box to offer performance close to the high-end desktops. Intel Core i7-2860QM quad-core CPU is in-charge of everything else. It is clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 8 MB L3 cache.

There's plenty of memory, by that we mean 16 GB (4 GB x4, SO-DIMM, DDR3-1333). The storage is care of a 128 GB Crucial M4 SATA 6 Gb/s SSD, which is connected to the 6 Gb/s port of Intel HM67 PCH. The optical drive is a Blu-ray ROM + DVD writer combo drive. Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is the OS of choice. Networking features include gigabit Ethernet, wireless b/g/n, and Bluetooth 3.0. The keyboard is designed to have high key travel, providing good tactile feedback. To top it all off, there's an HD webcam. The Prime Note Galleria QF580 is priced at 225,980 JPY (US $2900).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

NVIDIA Updates Fourth Quarter Revenue Expectations

NVIDIA today announced that it expects revenue for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 29, 2012, to be lower than the company's previous outlook provided with its financial results for the third quarter ended Oct. 30, 2011. Revenue is now expected to be $950 million, plus or minus 1 percent, compared with original expectations of $1,066 million, plus or minus 2 percent, provided on Nov. 10, 2011.

The global disk-drive shortage caused by the flooding in Thailand had more impact on the mainstream GPU segment than anticipated. Shipments by some PC OEMs were reduced. And the higher prices of disk-drives constrained some PC OEMs' ability to include a GPU in their systems.

FinalWire AIDA64 v2.20 Released

FinalWire released the latest version of AIDA64, the ubiquitous system diagnostics and benchmark suite. Version 2.20 launched today introduces a variety of new features, support for new hardware, and cleans up bugs. To begin with, v2.20 introduces a new GPGPU benchmark/stress-test that uses OpenCL, which lets you test graphics cards, and OpenCL over x86.

With the new GPGPU benchmark, AIDA64 adds support for OpenCL 1.2. Support is added for Intel Atom "Cedarview", and Core "Ivy Bridge" processors, along with 7-series "Panther Point" chipset. Support for the latest ACPI 5.0 specification is added. Support for newly launched Radeon HD 7970 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 (OEM) is added.
DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 2.20 Installer, ZIP PackageSource: FinalWire

AMD Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual Results

AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 of $1.69 billion, net loss of $177 million, or $0.24 per share, and operating income of $71 million. The company reported non-GAAP net income of $138 million, or $0.19 per share, and non-GAAP operating income of $172 million. Fourth quarter non-GAAP net income excludes an impairment of AMD's investment in GLOBALFOUNDRIES of $209 million, restructuring charges of $98 million, the loss from discontinued operations of $4 million, the amortization of acquired intangible assets of $3 million and a loss on debt repurchase of $1 million.

For the year ended December 31, 2011, AMD reported revenue of $6.57 billion, net income of $491 million, or $0.66 per share, and operating income of $368 million. Full year non-GAAP net income was $374 million, or $0.50 per share, and non-GAAP operating income was $524 million.

Consumers Get Plugged In with New Cisco HomePlug AV Powerline Solutions

Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking, today announced a suite of Linksys HomePlug AV Powerline solutions that allow consumers to use their home network by using their existing home electrical wiring. The HomePlug AV Powerline standard provides speeds of up to 200 Mbps* to bring streaming video, gaming, and other data-intensive applications to computers, tablets, consoles, televisions and other Ethernet-enabled devices.

"Cisco's Linksys products set the standard for great home networking experiences with their ease of use and outstanding performance," said Scott Kabat, director of marketing, Cisco Home Networking business unit. "Our new Powerline products deliver on this promise. Just plug them in, and they start working."
Tuesday, January 24th 2012

Today's Reviews

Desktop PC
Graphics Cards

Hackers Banning Innocent Battlefield 3 Players

If online gaming wasn't hard enough a game-hacking site called Artificial Aiming has some members that are now targeting innocent players for Punkbuster bans in Battlefield 3. They were able to do this by corrupting a streaming Punkbuster ban list shared by certain server admins. A junior member from the Artificial Aiming forums that took the lead on this attack is focusing on servers that use GGC-Stream. He is are quoted as saying,

"We have selected ggc-stream as the target since they have the most streaming bf3 servers and makes it very easy to add fake bans. In 2011 we hit them with a mass ban wave and now were are banning real players from battlelog while ggc-stream is totally unaware. We have framed 150+ bf3 players alone"

Origin Expands Games Catalog, DRM-Free Evangelist Joins DRM Scheme

Origin is the fledgling online download account-based DRM service from Electronic Arts launched last June, that is home to Battlefield 3. To compete effectively against other similar services, the industry-leading Steam in particular, it must offer more content. To this end, Origin has added 11 publishers to its portfolio, reports CVG. These are Trion Worlds, Robot Entertainment, Freebird Games, Recoil Games, Autumn Games, 1C Company, inXile entertainment, Paradox Interactive, Core Learning Ltd, N3V Games and CD Projekt RED. That last one is interesting, because CD Projekt RED owns and runs, the website dedicated to selling DRM-free games.

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 first quarter which spanned 14 weeks and ended December 31, 2011. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 44.7 percent compared to 38.5 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 58 percent of the quarter's revenue.

The Company sold 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 128 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the quarter, a 111 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 5.2 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 15.4 million iPods, a 21 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

TAROX Releases the Business 3000 All-in-One PC

German company TAROX Systems & Services has today introduced a new, business-minded system, a 21.5-inch all-in-one desktop based around an Intel platform. Seen below, the Business 300 AIO measures 53 x 7 x 40.5 cm and features a Full HD (1920 x 1080) multi-touch display, a 3.3 GHz Core i3-2120 processor, integrated graphics, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and a DVD writer.

TAROX's machine also has a 1.3-megapixel webcam, a card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, three USB 2.0 ports, and D-Sub and HDMI outputs. The Business 300 AIO runs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and costs 799 Euro.

In Wake Of SOPA Defeat and Rising Profits, IFPI Calls For 'SOPA Plus' Migraine Tablet

Yes, that's right, SOPA might have been set back for now, but the vested interests from the big media corporations (music/movies/news etc) that want it implemented unsurprisingly aren't sitting idle and are pushing for ever more draconian measures aka 'SOPA Plus'. A digital music report (PDF) asks for everything that was in the original SOPA and then some, with a wishlist of seven 'fixes':

Cooler Master Announces NotePal D-Lite

Cooler Master, an industry leading chassis, thermal solution, peripheral, and accessory manufacturer today announces a new member of the NotePal Series of laptop coolers, NotePal D-Lite.

Well suited for the home or office, NotePal D-Lite keeps laptops up to 15” cool and quiet with its large 140mm fan. It features an ergonomic design that supports better viewing / typing angles for longer, more comfortable, sessions. Users will immediately notice that the NotePal D-Lite is built from sturdy, yet lightweight, materials that make it easy to travel with and store when not in use. Laptops come with precious few USB ports. Knowing this, Cooler Master Engineers included a USB pass-through connector that will power the NotePal D-Lite and provide access for another USB device.

HP Agrees to $425,000 Civil Penalty for Failure to Immediately Report Li-Ion Battery

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), of Palo Alto, Calif., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $425,000. The settlement agreement (PDF) has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (3-1).

The settlement resolves staff allegations that HP knowingly failed to report immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law, that certain lithium-ion battery packs contained a defect or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. The lithium-ion battery packs can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers. The packs were shipped with new HP Notebook computers, sold as accessories or provided as spare parts for various HP models.

Fujitsu Laboratories of America Hosts Fifth Annual Technology Forum

Fujitsu Laboratories of America announced that it is hosting its Fifth Annual Technology Forum in Santa Clara, California tomorrow. The theme for this year’s event is “From Sensor Networks to Human Networks – Turning Big Data into Actionable Wisdom.” This invitation only event will feature keynote talks and panel discussions on how “big data” is transforming our daily lives and will showcase innovative new big data based solutions from Fujitsu companies worldwide.

According to industry experts, as a result of broad adoption of new technologies for personal communication and online interaction including smart phones and social networking, 2.4 zettabytes (2.4 billion terabytes) of unstructured big data will be created in 2012. These new layers of data about people, places, and things are emerging in real time from many directions, providing context around our content, location, searches, purchases, environment, and social/interest graphs. This is creating new challenges for Information and Communications Technology (“ICT”) industry around data privacy, storage, bandwidth and processing, but also new opportunities for delivering valuable services to customers and society, by converting this data into actionable wisdom.

SOPA Being Sugarcoated as OPEN?

Forgive my use of internet jargon, but after the epic fail that SOPA/PIPA legislations suffered after being faceplanted by everyone from Jimmy Wales to your neighborhood lolcat, Freedom and Democracy Corporation (read: US Congress) is working on a new legislation introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cali.), which he claims will plug the shortcomings of SOPA and PIPA.

The bill is meticulously named OPEN (riding on the "keep web open" moniker), the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act., (H.R. 3782), was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday (01/18), the same day as an Internet protest when a number of high-profile websites such as Wikipedia went dark. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has introduced the OPEN Act in the U.S. Senate. OPEN is essentially similar to SOPA, except that the discretionary authority that will address IP infringement complaints will be the International Trade Commission (ITC), instead of US Department of Justice. This would also make the legislation palatable to the international community which has been concerned over US' unilateral actions on the very functioning of the internet.

Apple the Biggest Buyer of Semiconductors: Gartner

Apple has become the biggest buyer of semiconductors in 2011, according to the latest data by market researcher Gartner. It pushed ahead of Samsung Electronics and HP. In 2012, Apple spent a total of US $17.3 billion in sourcing semiconductors as raw material in making its products. Gartner attributes Apples growth to solid sales of its iPhone and iPad brands, and the success of Macbook Air, which became a path-breaking product as it pretty-much defined the requisites of what go into making performance ultra-portable notebooks such as Intel's Ultrabook specification. Apple's semiconductor purchases grew from US $12.8 billion in 2010 to $17.3 billion in 2011, a 35 percent growth. At the second place is Samsung, with $16.7 billion in semiconductor purchases, a 9.2% growth.

Source: PCWorld

PowerVR Making a Comeback to PC as Discrete GPGPU, Real-Time Ray-Tracing in 2012

Remember PowerVR GPUs which last saw light when GeForce 3 and Radeon 8500 were around? The company behind it, Imagination Technologies, is working on a discrete PCI-Express GPGPU card for workstations targeting the media industry, which provides real-time ray-tracing acceleration. After its exile from PC graphics, Imagination Technologies worked on and achieved prevalence in embedded GPUs, GPUs embedded into ARM System-on-chips (SoCs), found in smartphones and tablets. This kept its GPU IP and R&D more than afloat.

In 2011, the company acquired Caustic Graphics, a smaller and much newer startup, which was working on dedicated ray-tracing accelerators, and had come up with a working FCPGA chip. Together the company is in the final stages of preparing a product that will bring Imagination Technologies back to the PC, only this time as a GPGPU (such as NVIDIA Tesla and AMD FireStream), and not a display-GPU. The product will be backed by OpenRL Brazil 3.0 SDK. This product will launch some time in 2012.Source: VR-Zone

Skyrim PC beta patch 1.4 now on Steam

Today Shacknews is reporting a new beta patch available on Steam. This is what they had to say, "Covering its back and yours, Bethesda recommends that you only install the patch if you're affected by issues fixed in the patch, and that you backed up your saved games before installing the beta. If you're still ploughing ahead with it, here's what to do:

1. Log into Steam
2. Click on Steam in the upper menu
3. Select Settings
4. Under the Account tab, go to the Beta Participation section and select Change.
5. A drop down menu will appear. Select Skyrim Beta.
6. Select OK.

Steam will now restart. After Steam restarts, Skyrim will be updated to the Beta version currently available.

The beta patch adds an option for Skyrim's Steam Workshop, a portal which will allow mod makers to upload their creations directly to Steam, but the Workshop won't work it and the mod Creation Kit actually launch later this month."

A list of changes can be found here.Source: ShackNews

Intel Tapping Into Entry-Level Workstation Graphics With HD P3000 Series

While its processor-integrated graphics solutions may not be a match for those from NVIDIA and AMD in terms of client applications such as gaming, Intel thinks it has a shot at the entry-level workstation graphics segment, dominated by the likes of NVIDIA Quadro FX 580 and AMD FirePro V3800 series. Workstation GPUs differ from consumer ones as they are accompanied by more API features, are certified by professional 3D modelling software, and are designed to minimize rendering errors since these renders go on to take shape as millions of dollars worth skyscrapers, for example.

Intel thinks that after the performance success of SNA, it has achieved an acceptable level of performance with its integrated graphics design to take it professional. It is doing so by creating workstation-variants of the "Sandy Bridge" and future "Ivy Bridge" silicons in the Xeon E3-1200 series, and giving their integrated graphics increased functionality. The result is a variant of Intel's HD graphics 3000 series, called Intel HD Graphics P3000 series (P denoting professional). Intel is applying for certification by 3D modeling software developers (it's important, because engineers look for these certifications before picking their hardware). The status of its certification with various vendors is detailed in the first slide below.

Antec Introduces the Three Hundred Two PC Chassis

Antec Inc., the global leader in high-performance computer components, announces the Three Hundred Two enclosure, the latest addition to their Gaming Series. This sleek, black chassis is designed to handle today's and tomorrow's high-performance systems that are custom built for gamers from the inside-out.

The Three Hundred Two enclosure is perfect for gamers, system integrators and casual builders alike because of its extensive cooling advantages and expandability.

Elecom Unveils Foldable Silicone Bluetooth Keyboards

Japanese company Elecom unveiled a bunch of new foldable silicone wireless keyboards, under the TK-FBS035E series. Available in black+gray (BK), purple+green (PU), red+black (RD), and white+gray (WH) variants, the operational part of these keyboards are made of silicone, with cellophane common-membrane printed circuit sheet, which allows it to be folded around a small rectangular box that holds the keyboard's logic, the battery compartment, and a Bluetooth transmitter that lets you use the keyboard with Bluetooth-equipped PCs and notebooks, tablets, and smartphones.

The keyboard has a standard QWERTY layout, configured for English US, and has 88 keys. The key pitch is 13 mm, and key travel (stroke) is 2 mm. When rolled out, the keyboard measures 275.5 x 96 x 15.1 mm (WxDxH), and weighs approximately 105 g. It needs two AAA-size batteries. Its Bluetooth transmitter allows a range of up to 10 m. It is priced at 7,350 JPY (US $95), and will be available to Japanese markets in February.

Source: PCWatch

Radeon HD 7950 Put Through 3DMark 11

Two different sources have put the Radeon HD 7950 through 3DMark 11 benchmark. The first is DonanimHaber, which put an HD 7950 clocked at 880 MHz core with 1250 MHz (5.00 GHz effective) through Extreme preset against HD 7970 (stock) and GTX 580 (stock), where it outperformed the latter. The second is MyDrivers, which put HD 7950 stock (800/1250 MHz) and overclocked (1030/1250 MHz) through Performance preset, against HD 7970 stock, HD 6970 stock, GTX 570 (screenshots below are in the order HD 7950 stock, HD 7950 @ 1030 core 1250 mem MHz, HD 7970 stock, HD 6970 stock, and GTX 570 stock).

3DMark 11 screenshots by MyDrivers follow.

Epson Launches the Endeavor NP30S AMD-Powered Mini PC

Famed printer company Epson has now released in its home market (Japan) a nettop/mini PC based on AMD's Brazos platform. Known as the Endeavor NP30S, Epson's compact (20 x 154 x 173 mm) and light (760 g) system features a C-60 APU (two Bobcat cores @ 1.0 GHz, Radeon HD 6290 graphics), 2 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 2.0 ports, and a DVI output.

The Endeavor NP30S costs 29,820 yen (~ $386) and can be found here.

Source: PC Watch

Giada Intros a Mini ITX FM1 Motherboard

Catering to the HTPC crowd, JEHE has developed and now launched (for starters in Japan), a Giada-branded Mini-ITX motherboard powered by AMD's A75 (aka Hudson D3) chipset, the MI-A75. This board supports FM1 processors (with a TDP of up to 65W) and features two DDR3-1600 memory slots (for up to 16 GB of RAM), four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, one PCIe x16 slot (that's x8 electrical), one Mini PCIe port, and an mSATA connector.

The MI-A75 also has two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 channel audio, plus DVI and HDMI outputs, and is available for pre-order @ 10,300 yen (~ $133.7).

StormST Unveils Still Tower Gamer Edition PC

Japanese PC manufacturer StormST unveiled the Still Tower Gamer Edition desktop PC, which is configured to offer decent features and performance at a value price point. It's more of a "pre-integrated PC", since even its chassis is sourced from other brands. The chassis is an NZXT H2 (white or black) silent case.

Innards include Intel Core i7-2600K processor cooled by SCYTHE APSALUS2 120 closed-loop water cooler, ASRock Z68 Pro3 motherboard, 8 GB (4 GB x2) DDR3-1333 MHz memory, ELSA Gladiac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1 GB graphics, Intel SSD 320 Series 80 GB holding the OS and Program Files, 2 TB storage HDD holding Users and Documents folders, Pioneer DVD writer, Antec Earthwatts Green 650W PSU, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS. All this, for 129,780 JPY or US $1,685.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Pioneer Unveils BDR-PR1 Blu-ray Writer Drive

Pioneer unveiled a new internal Blu-ray writer drive in the 5.25" form-factor, the BDR-PR1. The drive is designed keeping data archival in mind, more than Blu-ray video, since with increase in capacities of an archive media, so does the risk of random writing errors that destroy data in the archive. Stringent quality control is implemented in selection of its parts, and testing of the drive. Its mechanism also works to reduce recording variability, ensuring higher archive fidelity. In other words, it trades off speed for quality of recording.

The Pioneer BDR-PR1 features SATA 3 Gb/s interface, which is rather new for optical drives. It can write BD-R single-layer, BD-R double-layer (50 GB), and BD-R (LtH) at 6X, single and double-layer BD-RE at 2X, DVD±R single-layer at 16X, and DVD±R double-layer at 8X. CD-R is written at 40X. The drive packs a 4 MB write cache. It is slated for market release towards the end of this month, its pricing is not fixed.

Micron, Elpida and Nanya Reportedly Having Merger Talks

According to a Japanese newspaper (Yomiuri), the country's last DRAM manufacturer, Elpida Memory, is fishing for a merger with two other memory companies, US-based Micron Technology and Taiwan's own Nanya Technology.

If it will go through, the merger would create a company better positioned in the memory market, and more capable of fighting South Korean companies like Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor.

While the company didn't comment on the merger talks, Elpida's President Yukio Sakamoto is said to have made a trip to the US last week to further negotiations with Micron. It's still uncertain how advanced are the talks but a deal could be signed this year.Source: Reuters

Marketing and Prejudice Get the Better of Consumers with PC Processors: Test

At the AMD & HardOCP Game Experience event held in Texas, gamers were asked to participate in a blind test. The test involved gaming on two sets of gaming PCs with two PCs each, in each set is an AMD-powered PC, and an Intel-powered one. Participants weren't disclosed which PC was driven by what, as they were assembled in identical-looking cases (no window), with identical monitors and other peripherals. The first set is of budget single-monitor HD gaming, while the second set is high-end three-monitor gaming.

After gaming on both rigs in each set, respondents were asked to tick on a sheet of paper, which rig gave them a better gaming experience, or if gaming both had no observable difference. AMD went into this exercise expecting that most respondents will select "no difference" as their option, and so that would bring good PR to AMD, but to their surprise, most respondents selected the rigs that was powered by AMD processors.

Harnessing The Power of the Qubit to Enable Totally Secure Cloud Computing

Harnessing The Power of the Qubit For Totally Secure Cloud Computing
Researchers have succeeded in combining the power of quantum computing with the security of quantum cryptography and have shown that perfectly secure cloud computing can be achieved using the principles of quantum mechanics. They have performed an experimental demonstration of quantum computation in which the input, the data processing, and the output remain unknown to the quantum computer.
This amazing and intriguing statement has appeared in a press release from the University of Vienna. With regular "classical" computing, information can be encrypted in a secure manner. However, the servers operating the cloud aka the data centre, by definition have to know what the data is that they're working on or holding. This means that a rogue admin could snoop on their customer's private data. However, the properties of quantum physics allow a quantum computer to be oblivious of the contents of the data that it's processing and this feat is called "blind quantum computing", which is unachievable with a classical computer. So, how exactly does this work? The press release says it best:
Monday, January 23rd 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Western Digital Announces Q2 Results and Operations Update

Western Digital Corp. today reported revenue of $2.0 billion, hard-drive unit shipments of 28.5 million and net income of $145 million, or $0.61 per share, for its second fiscal quarter ended Dec. 30, 2011. Excluding charges and expenses related to the Thailand flooding and the planned acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), non-GAAP net income was $358 million, or $1.51 per share. During the quarter, the company incurred charges and expenses of $199 million related to the flooding and expenses of $14 million associated with the planned acquisition of HGST.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $2.5 billion, net income of $225 million, or $0.96 per share, and shipped 52.2 million hard drives.

Cougar Readies the Evolution BO PC Chassis

For next month German company Compucase has planned the European release of another Cougar-branded PC chassis, the Evolution BO. This 'Super Midi-Tower' is a variation of the already-available Evolution model and features a black/orange color scheme, a steel structure, support for micro ATX and ATX motherboards, and a top-mounted 3.5-inch/2.5-inch SATA drive dock.

The Evolution BO measures 223 (W) x 523 (D) x 514 (H) mm, and has an I/O panel with two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, a built-in fan controller, six external 5.25-inch bays (with tool-free mounting systems), four internal 3.5-inch trays, eight PCI slots, one 120 mm Vortex HDB fan installed at the rear (up to six more fans can be installed), and two pre-drilled holes for watercooling tubing (found at the back).

According to its maker, the Evolution BO will hit stores priced at 99 Euro.

HP Debuts the Mini 1104 Cedar Trail-Powered Netbook

Number one PC maker HP has today introduced the Mini 1104, a new 10.1-inch netbook targeting mobile professionals and students. This machine is 0.89 inches thick and features a 1.6 GHz Atom N2600 dual-core processor, an LED-backlit (1024 x 600) display, 2 GB of RAM, Intel GMA 3600 graphics, a 320 GB (5400 RPM) hard drive, and a 93% full-sized (spill resistant) keyboard.

HP's netbook also packs 10/100 LAN, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 (HSPA+ support is optional), a media card reader, a VGA webcam, a D-Sub output, three USB 2.0 ports, and a 3-cell (28 WHr) or 6-cell (55 WHr) battery.

The Mini 1104 starts at $399 and can be pre-loaded with Windows 7 (Starter, Home Premium or Professional) or FreeDOS.

Source: SlashGear

Mellanox New Pricing Structure Enables Worldwide Adoption of 10 GbE in Datacenters

Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end connectivity solutions for data center servers and storage systems, today announced a new pricing structure and expanded channel for its high-performance line of end-to-end 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) solutions. Analysts are predicting significant movement towards 10GbE in 2012, particularly with the upcoming launch of the Intel Romley and Sandy Bridge with PCI Express 3.0 platform. Mellanox’s solutions provide end users with better application performance, lower power consumption and lower cost vs. offerings currently available from other Ethernet vendors.

Transcend Releases the JetFlash 780 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Expanding its portable storage offer, Transcend has now introduced (in Europe for starters) a new JetFlash Series flash drive, USB 3.0-enabled JetFlash 780. This drive measures 70 x 21 x 8.1 mm, it weights just 7 grams, has a checkerboard design, and comes in 8 GB and 16 GB capacities.

The 8 GB JetFlash 780 delivers read/write speeds of up to 20/100 MB/s and costs 14.99 Euro, while the 16 GB model tops 40/140 MB/s and goes for 24.99 Euro.

Zignum Launches Two Bamboo-made Laptop Coolers

Because of the lignin it contains, bamboo is one of the most stable raw materials available. It offers outstanding strength and durability. And because it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, bamboo is an ideal raw material. This is why Zignum decided to make its new laptop coolers Bamboo One (article number COO-ZGLP-E1-15.BM) and Bamboo Two (COO-ZGLP-E2-15.BM) out of bamboo.

These unique laptop coolers not only have a bamboo look, but are made almost entirely of renewable bamboo, including the fan. Integrated, fold-out supports allow users to adjust the height and angle to their individual requirements. Below the bamboo surface there are one or two 140 mm fans to ensure efficient, low-noise cooling. Both coolers are suitable for laptops of up to 39.6 cm (15.6").

OCZ Releases New Enhanced IOPS Firmware for Octane Series SATA 3.0 SSDs

OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of new enhanced IOPS firmware (v1.13) for the Octane SATA 3.0 Series SSDs. The random write performance has been significantly improved, in some capacities over double that of the previous specifications, for users looking to push their SSD performance to new heights.

For all Octane SATA 6Gb/s models, the improved IOPS made possible by this new firmware allow for greater transactional performance, especially during small file and random access speeds in everyday computing applications. When compared to the previous revision, random write IOPS performance doubles across nearly all capacities when tested in IOmeter 2008:

Intel Announces InfiniBand Acquisition

Intel Corporation today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with QLogic to acquire the product lines of and certain assets related to its InfiniBand business. A significant number of the employees associated with this business are expected to accept offers to join Intel.

This acquisition is designed to enhance Intel's networking portfolio and provide scalable high-performance computing (HPC) fabric technology as well as support the company's vision of innovating on fabric architectures to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by 2018. An ExaFLOP/s is a quintillion computer operations per second, a hundred times more than today's fastest supercomputers.

Radeon HD 7950 Specs Confirmed in GPU-Z Screenshot

Here is the first GPU-Z screenshot of a Radeon HD 7950 graphics card. Although put into a screenshot with ASUS GPU Tweak tool and Republic of Gamers-themed GPU-Z, the card doesn't appear to be an ASUS-made one, and is more likely HIS or PowerColor. The device ID checks out with the one HD 7950 has been associated with. Most other features match expectations. The HD 7950 is carved out of the 28 nm "Tahiti" GPU, with 28 GCN compute units (CUs) active, totaling 1,792 stream processors and 112 TMUs. The ROP count is untouched at 32, so is the memory, that's 3 GB GDDR5 across a 384-bit wide memory interface. With a memory clock of 5.00 GHz effective, it's churning out 240 GB/s of memory bandwidth. It's just the core clock speed where we weren't on target (from the previously-expected 800 MHz), either 880 MHz is the reference core clock speed of HD 7950, or this particular card is a factory-OC variant (PowerColor HD 7950 PCS?).

Source: DonanimHaber

AMD Opteron 6200 Series Processor Family Wins the Linley Group Analysts' Choice Award

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that its AMD Opteron 6200 Series processor family, based on the new “Bulldozer” architecture, was chosen as the winner of The Linley Group’s first annual Analysts’ Choice Awards. The awards recognize the top processor products of 2011 in several major categories including embedded, mobile, PC, server, design IP and related technology. To choose each winner, the Linley Group’s team of technology analysts focused on merits of the leading products that began shipping between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

“Our analysts are deeply familiar with processor products and technology, having conducted extensive research in order to deliver the firm’s popular publications and reports,” said Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst at The Linley Group. “We chose the winners on the basis of their performance, power, features and cost as appropriate for their target applications.”

Kingmax Announces Value DDR3-2200 MHz 4 GB Memory Modules

Upon entering 2012, world renowned memory manufacturer KINGMAX has already announced the launching of its latest quad channel DDR3 2200MHz overclocking memory module series. Not only does this series support the Intel X79 series but it also processes 4 times faster than the conventional single channel products. It is certainly the best candidate for overclocking performance and a smooth internet experience.

The new series of DDR3 quad channel overclocking module from KINGMAX is designed for optimizing the maximum performance on X79 related motherboard. The main clock rate of this series is set as 1333 MHz, but it is also available in 1600MHz, 2000MHz and 2200MHz. Intel X79 is an upgrade from the previous X58 series, thus building on the X79 platform means KINGMAX’s DDR3 quad channel overclocking module offers even better performance and system stability. Moreover, this series of modules unleashes the top performance of Intel Core i7-3930K processor and takes gamers, overclocking enthusiasts and digital content producers to a never –before level of experience.

ASUS Rolls Out the Eee PC R051BX AMD-powered Netbook

Without making much noise ASUS has made available, in Germany at least, a new, Fusion-flavored (or should we say heterogeneous-heavy?) Eee PC, the 10.1-inch R051BX. Available in black (but coming soon in white), this netbook weights 1.17 kg, and has an LED-backlit (1024 x 600) display, an AMD C-50 (dual x86 cores @ 1.0 GHz, Radeon HD 6250 graphics) APU, 1 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and a 2,200 mAh battery.

The Eee PC R051BX has Windows 7 Starter pre-installed and costs 259 Euro.

Source: nDevil

Gigabyte Also Makes a VIA Nano-powered Mini-ITX motherboard

Besides the MSH61DK mentioned earlier today, Gigabyte Technology has recently unveiled another Mini-ITX motherboard, one M7V90PI which is based around VIA's VX900 chipset and is equipped with one Nano U3300 (1.2 GHz) single-core processor.

Aimed for the embedded market, the M7V90PI also packs (just) one DDR3 SO-DIMM slot, Chrome9 HD (DirectX 9) integrated graphics, a VIA Vinyl VT1708S audio codec, two SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, one PCIe x1 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 2.0 connectors, and D-Sub, plus DVI outputs.

Micron Announces Agreement to Acquire Virtensys

Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:MU), and Virtensys Ltd. today announced that the companies have signed an agreement for Micron to acquire the assets of privately held Virtensys, a provider of PCIe-sharing solutions based in Manchester, England and Beaverton, Ore.

The transaction would further strengthen Micron‘s enterprise storage portfolio by combining Virtensys’ award-winning PCIe virtualization technology with Micron's solid state drives (SSDs), enabling data centers to share local storage across multiple servers.

Android 4.0 Demonstrated on AMD-powered Tablet

While it may not be as high profile as the Windows 8/ARM pair, Android/ x86 is still a match with potential. It certainly has a long way to go but progress is being made, and proof of that progress was seen at CES 2012 where AMD showcased a MSI WindPad 110W tablet running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

The WindPad 110W packed a Z-01 APU (two x86 cores @ 1.0 GHz, Radeon HD 6250 graphics), 2 GB of RAM, and was available for some hands-on time, unlike the Tegra 3-powered Windows 8 tablet also seen at CES. Things weren't perfect with the 110W/Android 4.0 mix as the tablet did experience occasional freezes but keep in mind it's all a work in progress. People interested in converting their WindPad 110W from a Windows device to an (experimental) Android tablet can download the Android 4.0 for Brazos ISO via this page.

Source: The Verge

Intel Announces Management Changes

Intel Corporation announced a number of executive promotions and rotations today that recognize outstanding performance and assign new responsibilities as part of Intel's commitment to management development.

As previously announced by Intel’s board of directors, Andy Bryant will move from vice chairman of the board to full-time executive chairman at the company’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting in May. In anticipation of that change, Intel is promoting two senior executives, one of whom will take on much of Bryant’s prior responsibilities.

Gigabyte Reveals the MSH61DK Mini-ITX LGA 1155 Motherboard

Catering to needs of all shapes and sizes, Taiwanese company Gigabyte has developed a little, mini-ITX motherboard which offers support for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors.

Called MSH61DK, the board in question is 17 by 17 cm, it makes use of the Intel H61 Express chipset and features two DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (for up to 8 GB of RAM), two SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, two Mini PCIe slots, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a Realtek ALC 887 audio chip, and a HDMI output. The MSH61DK complies with the Thin Mini-ITX standard so it can be used within Gigabyte's All-in-One barebone PCs.

Alan Wake to Use Steamworks, MSR Given Out, Slated for February 2012

Remedy Games' critically-acclaimed title, Alan Wake, which was initially developed and demonstrated for both consoles and PCs, with the PC version being shelved, is coming to PC in February, 2012. It is announced that the game will use Valve Steamworks as its DRM and content-distribution platform, will be available through Steam store as digital-download, and its likely hard copies will also use Steamworks. Its minimum system requirements look like this:
  • Dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.80 GHz
  • 2 GB memory, 8 GB disk space
  • DirectX 10-capable graphics card with 512 MB memory:
  • o ATI/AMD Radeon 3650, 4450, 5550, 6450 or higher (per series)
    o NVIDIA: GeForce 8600GT, 9500GT, GT120, GT430, GT520 or higher (per series)
  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
  • Mouse and keyboard, Xbox 360 controller supported
The launch trailer follows.

Sony Refreshes its VAIO Laptop Line

Sony kicked off this week by announcing updates for four of its VAIO laptops, the Z, S, E and C Series models. Starting at $1949.99, the 13.1-inch Z Series machine is getting multiple new options including fresh Core i5 and Core i7 CPU options, RAID 0 SSD setups, LTE mobile broadband, and a Carbon Fiber Silver coating.

The 13-inch and 15-inch S Series laptops also get the latest 2nd-gen Core i5 and i7 processor options, but they can offer Hybrid Graphics with either an AMD Radeon HD 6470M (512 MB VRAM) or Radeon HD 6630M (1 GB VRAM) discrete graphics card. The 13-inch model starts at $799.99, while its 15-inch sibling (which boasts a Full HD IPS display) starts at $979.99. Both upgraded S Series laptops will become available in early February.

Lite-On Unveils New Value 12X Blu-ray Writer

Lite-On unveiled the new iHBS112-04 internal Blu-ray disc writer drive. The drive is built in the standard 5.25-inch form-factor, supporting SATA interface. It is capable of writing BD-R single-layer at 12X, BD-R double-layer at 8X, BD-RE single and double-layer at 2X, and DVD±R at 16X. The drive features Lite-On's ABS (auto-balanced spindle) feature, which works to reduce noise and vibrations caused by the drive when revved up and spinning at high speeds. The drive features 8 MB of write cache. In Japan, it is priced at 6,980 JPY (US $90). It will be sold under its own label and those of various other companies, as Lite-On is a major upstream ODM of optical disc drives.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Corsair Readies Individual-Sleeved PSU Modular Cables

Individual-sleeved replacement PSU cables are the in-thing with enthusiasts and case-modders now, thanks to the appealing "organic" look that they bring into cases. There are quite a few companies that have taken interest in it. These are sets of cables for PSUs in which each individual cable is sleeved, rather than a bunch of them. This also allows modders to create patterns using differently colored cable sleeves. Corsair jumped into the fray with upgrades for its Professional (HX series) and Professional Gold (AX series) modular PSUs. These cables will be available in black, red, blue, and white colors. Corsair put up product pages of these under the PSU accessories section. A high-end gaming PC using these cables was pictured by Legit Reviews. These cables are available in complete kits, their prices range between US $79.99 to $99.99.

Source: Legit Reviews
Sunday, January 22nd 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
Input Devices

28 nm struggles: TSMC & GlobalFoundries

Making silicon chips is not easy, requiring hugely expensive fabs, with massive clean-room environments and at every process shrink, the complexity and difficulty of making the things goes up significantly. It looks like TSMC and GlobalFoundries are both having serious yield problems with their 28 nm process nodes, according to Mike Bryant, technology analyst at Future Horizons and this is causing a rash of non-working wafers – to the point of having nothing working with some chip designs submitted for production. It seems that the root cause of these problems are to do with the pressures of bringing products to market, rather than an inherent problem with the technology; it just takes time that they haven't got to iron out the kinks and they're getting stuck: "Foundries have come under pressure to release cell libraries too early – which end up with designs that don't work," Bryant said. In an effort to try and be seen to treat every customer equally, TSMC is attempting to launch ten 28 nm designs from seven companies, but it's not working out too well: "At 45-nm, only NVIDIA was affected. At 28-nm any problems for TSMC will be problems for many customers" said Bryant.
Saturday, January 21st 2012

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.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.5.8 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of GPU-Z, our popular video subsystem information and diagnostic utility that provides you with accurate information about the graphics hardware installed, and lets you monitor their clock speeds, fan speeds, voltages, VRAM consumption, etc., in real-time. Version 0.5.8 introduces two new features. The first one is a render test that applies sufficient load (not stress) on the GPU to pull it out of PCI-Express link-state power-management, to ensure the Bus information is accurate. If you find the PCI-Express bus link speed or PCIe version displayed incorrectly, simply click on the "?" button next to the field to launch the load test.

The next new feature is ASIC quality, designed for NVIDIA Fermi (GF10x and GF11x GPUs) and AMD Southern Islands (HD 7800 series and above), aimed at advanced users, hardware manufacturers, and the likes. We've found the ways in which AMD and NVIDIA segregate their freshly-made GPU ASICs based on the electrical leakages the chips produce (to increase yield by allotting them in different SKUs and performance bins), and we've found ways in which ASIC quality can be quantified and displayed. Find this feature in the context menu of GPU-Z. We're working on implementing this feature on older AMD Radeon GPUs.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.5.8, TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.5.8 ASUS ROG Themed

The full change-log follows.

LucidLogix Laying Hydra To Rest?

When it first made news, it drew some shock and awe reactions from the community. LucidLogix' Hydra Engine promised enthusiasts the ability to mix and match multiple GPUs of any make, model, and generation, a model that threatened to shatter AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI. When it was finally introduced it worked, the performance scaling between identical GPUs wasn't spectacular compared to native technologies (SLI/CrossFire), but it worked as advertised.

A report by Overclockers Ukraine suggests that Lucid is finding hardware-based Hydra Engine technologies obsolete since there's close to zero patronage, and that both Intel and AMD chipsets are supporting both SLI and CrossFire (with some riders). Hydra as a concept, itself evolved to Lucid Virtu and XLR8. An MSI representative told OCUA that the company doesn't have any products in the pipeline that uses Hydra. MSI designed a few motherboards in the past, based on Lucid Hydra.Source: Overclockers Ukraine

Arctic To Sue AMD Over ''Fusion'' Brand Name

Swiss company Arctic (formerly Arctic Cooling), has used the brand name "Fusion" on its PSU products well before AMD's so-called "Fusion" APU family came to be. Arctic was smart enough to register its trademark, and is now piling up ammo to take AMD to court over alleged trademark infringement. Arctic acquired the brand name "Fusion" from Boot Up International Ltd., and its Fusion trademark is valid in Europe. Still a sizable market for AMD.

The interesting part is, AMD doesn't use "Fusion" as a brand name anywhere, except maybe its company slogan "The future is fusion", where "fusion" is used as a verb (fusion of various computing technologies to give a homogenous computing experience), and the company internally referring to its APU architecture as "Fusion", on the outside though, AMD brands its APUs under its Vision processor family, with no "Fusion" branding anywhere, except the company slogan.
Friday, January 20th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
Storage Shuttered: One Month 'Black March' Media Boycott Slated For March 1st

Yesterday, the website of MegaUpload was shuttered for good by the US Department of Justice over copyright infringement aka 'piracy' and various criminal charges (see the domain seizure graphic). This was done regardless of the many non-infringing files that people were also using it for, so for anyone that had their only copy of a file on the site, this is very bad news. It's also arguably even worse news for the site's operators, as they have been arrested and face extradition from New Zealand to the USA for criminal trial, all their assets seized, including all the domain names and computing infrastructure to run them, plus many personal belongings of very high value, such as fancy cars like Maseratis and Rolls-Royces and huge 100 inch TVs to name just a few.

However, this story, isn't really about this and we have linked to reports below which cover this in great detail (hot beverage recommended). MegaUpload was one of the biggest file sharing sites out there and in fact, one of the biggest sites out there, period. This means, that an awful lot of people all around the world have very much noticed its sudden demise (especially those with their only copy of a file, because they didn't bother to back it up, tsk) and are met with that highly unwelcome Department of Justice graphic, instead. Hence, the chances of an almighty backlash against this shutdown not happening are slim to none. In fact, Anonymous have already hit the websites of the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA & HADOPI (French three strikes) and others in retaliation, with likely much more to come, which is good or bad, depending on one's point of view and how effective one believes it will be.

Starved of Consensus, SOPA and PIPA to Get US President's Veto

Gobs and gobs of lobbyists' cash are about to go down the drain as the now stalled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) could be postponed "indefinitely". What's more, Barack Obama's (D) cabinet hinted that the President could veto the two pending House's bills out of concern that the bills Orwellian takedown provisions could damage the legitimate internet economy. This essentially means that SOPA and PIPA in their present forms are shelved till a consensus can emerge on them, which is nowhere in sight, as the juggernaut of public and institutional outrage has rolled over PR of several of the bills' previous proponents and endorsers.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, one of the architects of these two works of literature today posted a statement in response to the Senate decision to what he calls a postponment of the two bills. SOPA and PIPA have been widely criticized by everyone from large corporations such as Google and Microsoft, to the Human Rights Watch. The bills are criticized to be too broad scoped to tackle piracy and IP theft, and could be misused for corporate censorship.Source: DailyTech

Brookstone's High-Tech Cufflinks Give You WiFi HotSpot and 2 GB Storage

This is not even stuff the creative directors of the 007 franchise could have come up with. Lifestyle retail brand Brookstone listed a new pair of polished-silver cufflinks that open up to reveal a USB connector. When plugged into USB (at least as a power source), the cufflink functions as a WiFi hotspot, letting you access its 2 GB flash storage. When plugged to a PC, the cufflink connects to it as both a mass-storage device and a networking device, letting you set up a hotspot. The device measures 75" L x .75" W x .25" H each, and comes in sets of two, priced at US $249.99.

Source: TIME

AMD Rolls Out New Radeon HD 7900 Graphics Driver

Sunnyvale-based heterogeneous computing promoter AMD has today made available an updated driver for its recently-released Radeon HD 7970 graphics card. Dubbed 8.921.2 RC11, this fresh driver brings the following:

Super Sampling Anti-Aliasing and Adaptive Anti-Aliasing Preview support for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications

- AMD Radeon HD 7900 users can now enable Super Sample Anti-Aliasing and Adaptive Anti-Aliasing through the AMD Catalyst Control Center for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications.
- Applications must support in game Anti-Aliasing for the feature to work (Forced on Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center is not supported for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications).

AMD Vishera Packs Quad-Channel DDR3 IMC, G34 En Route Desktop?

AMD might be a little sore that its "Zambezi" FX processor family based on its much-hyped "Bulldozer" architecture didn't quite meet the performance expectations of a ground-up new CPU architecture, but it doesn't want to take chances and build hype around the architecture that succeeds it. From various sources, some faintly-reliable, we have been hearing that the next-generation of high-performance desktop processors based on "Piledriver" architecture, codenamed "Vishera", will pack five modules or 10 cores, and will be structured essentially like Zambezi, since Piledriver is basically a refinement of Bulldozer architecture. The latest leak comes from the Software Optimization Guide for AMD 15h family (read here), which was picked up by CPU World while most of us were busy with CES.

CPU World compiled most of the features of what it suspected to be AMD referring to its future processors based on the Piledriver architecture, that's "Vishera" (desktop high-performance), "Terramar" (high-density server), and "Sepang" (small-medium business server) parts. The three are not the first chips to be based on Piledriver, AMD has a new mainstream desktop and notebook APU in the works codenamed "Trinity", which is en route for a little later this year. Trinity basically has an identical CPUID instruction-set as Vishera, Terramar, and Sepang, confirming their common lineage compared to today's "Bulldozer" architecture. The most catchy detail is of Vishera featuring 4 DDR3 channels.

Spire Announces the BlackDragon Series Power Supplies

The BlackDragon are the new and evolved ATX power supply series aimed at the PC enthusiast and PC gamer. Equipped with selected all new high-quality components, supplying optimal power under the most demanding circumstances.

New highlights of the BlackDragon series are: Version 2.3 specification compliant, advanced circuit design with better Japanese grade A components supporting the newest Intel & AMD dual core .64 & .45 process multi-core micro-processors and supporting 4-way SLI / Crossfire GPUs.

Auto-thermal fan control, maximizing the BlackDragon's cooling performance whilst maintaining reduced sound levels. Energy sufficient, BlackDragon series power supplies are compliant with the Energy Star & Blue Angel standards. Housed in cool black powdered coated enclosures with embossed Spire logo, the BlackDragon series are backed by the award winning service program and 2 years warranty. Spire - Powered by Innovation.

Foxconn Boss Likens Workers to Animals

A pinch of Foxconn is in most pieces of computer hardware and tech-gadgets sold today, but it's known more to be one of Apple's main contract-manufacturers of products such as the iPhone. Even as Apple has to fight flames on behalf of its suppliers about the bad PR the state of welfare of their workers are given, Hon Hai Precision industry's (Foxconn's) chairman kicked off a storm with one of his latest comments, where he likened his workers to animals. "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache," said Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou.

You might excuse Mr. Gou when that statement is read without context, since we're all technically animals, so let's add the context in which he made that remark, which is what kicked off the storm. Mr. Gou was attending an year-end party (Chinese lunar year-end), which was also attended by Chin Shih-chien, director of Taipei Zoo. He followed up that comment saying that he should learn from Shih-chien about "how animals should be managed." WantChinaTimes comments that Terry Gou's words were not carefully chosen.

AMD Radeon HD 7950 Clock Speeds Revealed

This month-end, AMD will launch the second product in its high-end Radeon HD 7900 series, the HD 7950, which is based on the same "Tahiti" silicon as the HD 7970, but with a few components disabled. Reliable sources revealed to DonanimHaber the reference clock speeds of the HD 7950. The core of the HD 7950 will be clocked at 800 MHz, and the memory at 1250 MHz (actual), 5.00 GHz (GDDR5 effective). This, compared to the 925 MHz (core), 1375 MHz (memory actual)/ 5.50 GHz (memory effective) clock speeds of the HD 7970. The HD 7950 will hence be a good overclocker considering the speeds it comes with, there is scope for quite a few factory-OC models from AIBs. In related news, DonanimHaber notes that the HD 7950 on average will be US $100-150 cheaper than the HD 7970 (US $400-$450).

Source: DonanimHaber

TYAN Deploys a Series of High-density, Cost-Effective Platforms for Cloud Computing

TYAN offers numerous products for the cloud computing marketplace, including high-density computing, high-density storage, and virtualization environments. TYAN's diverse portfolio provides customers robust options for reducing capital construction and operation costs while offering higher scalability with enhanced performance and energy efficiency.

IBM Reports 2011 Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Results

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced fourth-quarter 2011 diluted earnings of $4.62 per share, compared with diluted earnings of $4.18 per share in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 11 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings were $4.71 per share, compared with operating diluted earnings of $4.25 per share in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 11 percent.

Fourth-quarter net income was $5.5 billion compared with $5.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 4 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) net income was $5.6 billion compared with $5.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 5 percent.

Zalman Releases ZM-OC2011 Retention Kit Upgrade for LGA2011

Zalman released ZM-OC2011, a retention kit upgrade for WB5 and WB5 Plus water-blocks to support Intel's latest LGA2011 socket, on which Intel's "Sandy Bridge-E" Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme Edition processors are based. The kit consists of brackets that let you use the mount-hole spacing of all previous Intel LGA sockets, including LGA775, LGA1366, LGA1155/1156; nuts and bolts. In Japan it is priced at around $19.

AMD Fusion System Architecture Evolves, Renamed to Heterogeneous

Introduced last summer at the Fusion11 Developer Summit, AMD’s Fusion System Architecture (FSA) has now been renamed to Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA). According to AMD corporate fellow Phil Rogers, the new name is (more) 'representative of the entire, technical community that is leading the way in this very important area of technology and programming development.'

Naming change aside, AMD’s solution remains the same and promotes the use of CPU and GPU cores in a unified way, so as to deliver high application performance and low power consumption.

Sanwa Supply Combines Mini-Keyboard with Gamepad and Tracking Device

Japanese company Sanwa Supply probably wondered that if mini-keyboards are going to resemble those from smartphones and PDAs, why make them boxy, why not curvy and ergonomic. It came up with the SKB-WL16BK, a wireless mini-keyboard with a 2-axis joystick that can double up as a tracking device. It would make for a nice input-device for HTPCs, on which human-interaction is far limited compared to on desktop PCs.

The SKB-WL16BK gives you a QWERTY keypad with 76 keys, multimedia keys, a D-pad that doubles up as the keyboard's arrow keys, a 2-axis thumb-stick, and two triggers that double up as left-right clicks. The main unit measures D145 x W90 x H28 mm , weighing 168 g (including two AA batteries). It communicates to the PC over 2.4 GHz radio band. On sale, the SKB-WL16BK from Sanwa Supply is priced at 13,440 JPY (about US $174.3).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Google Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2011 Results

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter and the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

"Google had a really strong quarter ending a great year. Full year revenue was up 29%, and our quarterly revenue blew past the $10 billion mark for the first time,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally – well over double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+ we will create amazing experiences across our services. I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012 – there are tremendous opportunities to help users and grow our business.”
Thursday, January 19th 2012

Sapphire HD 7950 3 GB Pictured

Pictures of the Sapphire HD 7950 3 GB graphics card have been leaked on the Guru3D forum by user asder00. No further details or specifications were given other than "Product name: Sapphire HD7950 3G GDDR5 PCI-E HDMI/DVI-I/DUAL MINI DP OC VERSION".

As can be seen by the cooler, this is a non-reference design - at least for the cooler. The cooler is coloured black, has a very modern, sharp, angular and somewhat futuristic look to it and sports two large Sapphire-branded fans. Of course, it has heatpipes and five are visible. The design of this cooler suggests that it should work quietly and cool efficiently. Connectivity is aided and abetted by one DVI port, one full size HDMI port and two mini-DisplayPorts, like on its bigger brother the HD 7970. Moving on to the box, one can see that it has a 384-bit bus and 3 GB GDDR5, again like the HD 7970. The box also shows a logo with "OverClock" written boldly in white on it. The inevitable attractive lady box art in this instance has her wearing a grey top, a partial face mask and a helmet from what looks like the wars of yesteryear, plus she is carrying a rifle over her shoulder.

Microsoft Reports Record Revenue of $20.9 Billion in Second Quarter

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $20.89 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011, a 5% increase from the prior year period. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.99 billion, $6.62 billion, and $0.78 per share, compared with $8.17 billion, $6.63 billion and $0.77 per share, respectively, in the prior year period. Prior year results include recognition of $224 million of deferred revenue related to the Office 2010 technology guarantee program.

"We delivered solid financial results, even as we prepare for a launch year that will accelerate many of our key products and services," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show, we're seeing very positive reviews for our new phones and PCs, and a strong response to our new Metro style design that will unify consumer experiences across our phones, PCs, tablets, and television in 2012."

Intel Reports Record Year $54 Billion in Annual Revenue Up 24 Percent

Intel Corporation today reported full-year revenue of $54 billion, operating income of $17.5 billion, net income of $12.9 billion and EPS of $2.39 - all records. The company generated approximately $21 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $4.1 billion and used $14.1 billion to repurchase 642 million shares of stock.

For the fourth quarter, Intel posted revenue of $13.9 billion, operating income of $4.6 billion, net income of $3.4 billion and EPS of 64 cents. The company generated approximately $6.6 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.1 billion and used $4.1 billion to repurchase 174 million shares of stock.

Kingston Ships the SSDNow V+200 Solid State Drives

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the latest addition to its SSDNow family, the SSDNow V+200. The new Kingston SSDNow V+200 solid-state drives are the ideal high-performance upgrade solution for the performance minded yet cost-conscious business or home user.

The SSDNow V+200 features the second-generation high-speed SATA 3.0 (6 Gb/s) SandForce SF-2281 Processor and outstanding sequential read and write speeds of up to 535 MB/s and 480 MB/s. The SSDNow V+200 enables fast system start-up, rapid data access and speedy copying of large files such as videos, presentations and graphics illustrations.

GeForce Kepler 104 (GK104) Packs 256-bit GDDR5 Memory Bus, 225W TDP

NVIDIA GeForce Kepler (GK104) will be NVIDIA's first high-performance GPU launched, based on its Kepler architecture. New reports suggest that this GPU, which will succeed GF114 (on which the likes of GeForce GTX 560 Ti are based), will continue to have a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. An equally recent report suggests that NVIDIA could give the front-line product based on GK104 as much as 2 GB of memory. We are also getting to hear from the INPAI report that on this product based on the GK104, the GPU will have a TDP of 225W. What's more, NVIDIA is gunning for the performance crown from AMD Radeon HD 7900 series with this chip, so it suggests that NVIDIA is designing the GK104 to have a massive performance improvement over the GF114 that it's succeeding.


ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCu II Graphics Card Pictured

Here are the first pictures of ASUS' premium DirectCu II graphics card designed around AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GPU. The design is based on giving the GPU a powerful cooling solution, backed by a custom-design PCB. Since its cooling solution spans across three expansion slots, one of the three expansion slot brackets is productively used to provide additional display connectivity. To begin with, the PCB uses a 10+1+1 ASUS Digi+ VRM that draws power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. It supports heavy overclocking, and provides several voltage tuning features.

A common metal heatsink spans along the length of the card, making contact with VRM and memory components. On top of this sits the DirectCu II heatsink. This heatsink uses a large aluminum fin-stack heatsink to which heat from the GPU is conveyed by six heat-pipes, which make direct contact with it. The heatsink itself isn't very thick, but what makes the card span across three slots are its two 100 mm fans. The GPU is clocked out of the box at 1000 MHz (vs. 925 MHz reference), and 5.60 GHz/1400 MHz actual memory (vs. 5.50 GHz/1375 MHz actual reference).

BitFenix Introduces the Shinobi XL Full Tower Case

Since its release in April 2011, the BitFenix Shinobi has proven to be our most popular chassis design yet. Today, BitFenix is proud to introduce a bigger and badder follow up to this classic design - Shinobi XL. Packing XL-ATX compatibility, superior flexibility, and an all-new SuperCharge™ port, Shinobi XL is a deadly new entry in the full tower segment.

"Since the introduction of our original Shinobi, fans have been writing in and posting in forums asking for a larger version," says BitFenix Product Manager David Jarlestedt. "Boasting all new features and nearly limitless flexibility for modders and water cooling enthusiasts alike, Shinobi XL is a lot more than just a size update - it's a complete revamp."

TSMC Reports Fourth Quarter EPS of NT$1.22

TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$104.71 billion, net income of NT$31.58 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$1.22 (US$0.20 per ADR unit) for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011.

Year-over-year, fourth quarter revenue decreased 4.9% while both net income and diluted EPS decreased 22.5%. Compared to third quarter of 2011, fourth quarter of 2011 results represent a 1.7% decrease in revenue, and a 3.9% increase in both net income and diluted EPS. All figures were prepared in accordance with R.O.C. GAAP on a consolidated basis.

In US dollars, fourth quarter revenue decreased 5.4% from the previous quarter and decreased 4.5% year-over-year. Gross margin for the quarter was 44.7%, operating margin was 31.4%, and net margin was 30.2%.

SilverStone to Release the Kublai KL04 Mid-Tower PC Chassis

For next week SilverStone has planned the retail arrival of its newest Kublai Series PC case, a mid-tower called KL04 which features a steel body and is able to house four 5.25" drives, as well as nine 3.5" and up to six 2.5" drives (just like the Temjin TJ04-E launched last week).

SilverStone's chassis measures 214 (W) x 489 (H) x 499 (D) mm, it weights 8.2 kg, and has a black paint job both inside and out, a front I/O panel with USB 3.0 (x 2), MIC and Audio ports, eight PCI slots, tool-free mounting on the 5.25" bays, and three built-in 120 mm fans, one on the right side, one on top and one at the rear (all three work at 1200 RPM and have a sound output of 21 dBA).

The Kublai KL04 will start selling on January 24th for 82.90 Euro (without VAT). A window-equipped version of the KL04 is also coming up.

Enermax Extends Staray Case Series

After its launch two years ago, the good-quality, pure and simple Staray case with its intensive Apollish light effects has successfully established itself on the market. Due to its excellent price-performance ratio, the midi tower is still very popular amongst end users as well as professional system builders. To open up new target groups, Enermax decided to extend the case series with two new models.

Gigabyte Also Unveils the GB-AEDTK All-in-One Barebone

In addition to prepping its overclocked Radeon HD 7970, Gigabyte is currently finishing up yet another all-in-one barebone, the GB-AEDTK featuring an Intel H61 motherboard (it supports LGA 1155 processors), a 21.5-inch 10-point multi-touch display, and a built-in backup battery that will come in handy during a power outage.

Gigabyte's AiO can be equipped with up to 8 GB of RAM (via two SO-DIMMs), and has a 3.5-inch drive bay, a slim optical drive bay, Gigabit Ethernet, two 3W speakers, a 4-in-1 card reader, a Mini PCIe slot, two USB 3.0 ports, and a HDMI output. No word yet on its price tag.

Gigabyte's Custom-Cooled, Overclocked Radeon HD 7970 Gets Official

Gigabyte Technology has now added to its website a second Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, the (previously-leaked) model codenamed GV-R797OC-3GD which features a dual-slot, triple-fan cooler, a custom PCB, and a GPU clocked at 1000 MHz (the standard frequency is 925 MHz).

Gigabyte's customized HD 7970 also has an Ultra Durable VGA construction (2oz copper PCB, Tier 1 memory, Japanese Solid Capacitor, Ferrite Core Chokes, Low RDS (on) MOSFET), a 384-bit memory interface, 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM set to 5500 MHz (no overclock here, unfortunately), DVI, HDMI and dual Mini DisplayPort outputs, and CrossFireX support. The GV-R797OC-3GD's price tag has yet to be revealed.

Ultrabooks to Make up 25-35% of All Notebook Sales in 2012: Acer

Just to give you an idea of how big an impact Intel's Ultrabook form-factor will have on the portable computing market, OEM major Acer's chairman JT Wang says that in 2012, just the second year of prominence of the platform, Ultrabooks will make up 25-35% of all notebook sales. In the first quarter since launch, Acer's Aspire S3 sold about 250,000-300,000 units. Despite uncertainty in the European market and slow sales expected in the US, Acer finds markets such as Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and other Southeast Asia to be the prime-movers of growth for this platform.

Source: DigiTimes

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Despite numerous efforts throughout the last decade, Kodak still hasn't been able to turn its business around. The once mighty imaging company has been on a downwards trend for a long time and now, in 2012, things reached critical levels as it decided to file petitions for chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to Kodak, this move will enable it to 'bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities' and will allow it to 'focus on its most valuable business lines'.

GIGABYTE Releases its First Entry-Level Motherboard with Dual-UEFI BIOS

After trying to avoid UEFI BIOS by sticking to "HybridEFI" workarounds to its existing AwardBIOS code on most of its socket LGA1155 and AM3+ motherboards, GIGABYTE reluctantly transitioned to UEFI with its socket LGA2011 motherboards, on which it fused its innovative Dual-BIOS technology with UEFI to come up with Dual-UEFI technology. One can imagine this to be particularly tough to implement on lower-end models, since UEFI with graphical setup program requires higher-capacity EEPROM chips, and since Dual-UEFI would need two, it would stress component costs, but GIGABYTE did it anyway.

In Japan, the company released the latest revision of the GA-H61MA-D3V (rev. 2.0), an entry-level socket LGA1155 motherboard based on the Intel H61 chipset, which features Dual-UEFI. Apart from this, the board also features GIGABYTE's Ultra-Durable 4 Classic component loadout, which consists of a new fiberglass fabric weave PCB that's more resistant to humidity that causes short-circuits, high ESD-resistance ICs, anti-surge ICs located on critical circuits, low RDS (on) MOSFETs, and a 100% high-grade solid-state capacitor design.

Samsung Debuts the Series 9 3D All-in-One PC

Samsung Electronics has today officially launched (in South Korea) its Series 9 premium all-in-one desktop, a sleek and sexy machine with an asymmetrical design which makes use of a 27-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 3D panel.

Samsung's PC runs Windows 7 and also features an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 8 GB of RAM, an AMD Radeon mobile GPU, and a TV tuner. The Series 9 AiO comes bundled with a pair of 3D glasses, wireless mouse and keyboard. No word on pricing though.

Aeolus Gamer Storm Designs Dracula GPU Heatsink for Radeon HD 7970

Aeolus Gamer Storm designed a variant of its Dracula GPU heatsink for AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card. The heatsink is designed to handle thermal loads of up to 250W, when outfitted with fans. The heatsink design consists of a nickel-plated copper base (this particular variant has a circular bump where the GPU die makes contact), with the appropriate mount-hole spacing for HD 7970. Through this base, six 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat-pipes pass, the opposite ends of these heat pipes pass through two aluminum fin stacks. Tests show that when fitted with two 80 mm fans spinning at 1,800 RPM, the Dracula keeps load temperatures of the HD 7970 about 35 degrees Celsius cooler than AMD reference fan-heatsink.

Source: Expreview

MotomoTechWon Develops World's First Smart PC With Zero Watts of Standby Power

MotomoTechWon, an energy and environmental device company in Korea, developed a new eco-friendly computer ‘SAVE PC’ adopting green technology, the first of its kind in the world. The ‘SAVE PC’ adopted a core technology that can prevent leakage of standby power by 100% to zero watts.

The standby power refers to electric power that is consumed by an electric appliance while its power is turned off. Standby power continuously leaks from PCs, electric rice cookers, TVs, gas stoves, washing machines and refrigerators as long as they don't pull their plugs out of the wall at home. For instance, when a family has a PC at home, it consumes 142KWh of standby power, emitting 65Kg of CO2 and paying 17,000 won of additional power charges annually.

Samsung Mass Producing Highly Efficient Embedded Multi-Chip Memory for Smartphones

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a global leader in advanced semiconductor technology solutions, announced today that it started producing embedded multi-chip package (eMCP) memory for use in the rapidly expanding market segment for entry- to mid-level smartphones. Samsung's new eMCP solutions come in a wide range of densities, utilizing LPDDR2 (low power double-data-rate 2) DRAM made with 30 nanometer (nm) class process technology and NAND flash memory using 20 nm-class technology.

ADLINK Launches 2nd Gen. Core i7-driven Fanless Embedded PCs

ADLINK Technology, Inc., a leading global provider of trusted I/O platforms, announces the release of the new Matrix MXE-5300 series of rugged, quad core, fanless computers, based on the high performance 2nd Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processor and QM67 chipset. The MXE-5300 is the ultimate Matrix fanless embedded computer, featuring top-of-the-line processor performance, outstanding wireless optimization capability, robust mechanical design, and Intel AMT 7.0 support. The MXE-5300's combined features make it an ideal choice for intelligent transportation, in-vehicle multimedia, and surveillance and factory automation applications.
Wednesday, January 18th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

SOPA/PIPA Internet Protests Go Viral, Hit Home

The protests to the widely condemned SOPA & PIPA "antipiracy" censorship bills have been a resounding success. They have gone viral with many, many websites blacking out and putting up protest pages, with big players taking part such as Wikipedia, Google, EFF, Reddit, Craigslist, Techdirt (greyed out) and many more taking part. Unsurprisingly, the bills' backers have not shown any sign of backing down (yet) but were prompted to make statements "wondering what all the fuss is about" to play down the damage done to their play for power, since they have recently made changes to them, such as removing the DNS blocking provisions - for now. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) senior vice president of communications Jonathan Lamy called the protests 'stunts': "It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users and arm them with misinformation. It's time for the stunts to end and those who claim to care about rogue website theft to back up their rhetoric and work with us on meaningful solutions." This is the same RIAA that sued their own customers with extortionate "settlement" letters remember.

Intel Introduces CPU Replacement Plan Targeting Overclockers

In an effort to offer some (extra) comfort to enthusiasts who like to overclock their processors, Intel has launched something called the 'Performance Tuning Protection Plan'. This offering basically ensures a no questions asked, single processor replacement, in the event of the 'death' of an overclocked CPU.

To take advantage of the Performance Tuning Protection Plan, which comes as an addition to the standard 3 year warranty (this one only covers CPUs that fail 'under normal usage') people are required to pay a one-time fee between $20 and $35, depending on the CPU model.

Cooler Master Unveils the X6 and X6 Elite CPU Coolers

Cooler Master, an industry leading enclosure, thermal solution, peripheral, and accessory manufacturer, showcases a tribute to their effort to continually innovate. The X6 CPU Cooler has arrived and is a daring new take on high performance cooling and design.

Bold Design and Innovative Features

Designed for overclockers and gamers, X6 is adorned in a satin black finish with crimson red fan blades and accents. The heatsink employs a unique honeycomb fin structure to maximize surface area for cooling. This is used in conjunction with an angled base that acts as a means to increase overall airflow throughout the chassis. Clever air duct deployment on the outer shell directs airflow to pass over critical cooling areas. X6 also comes equipped with a high performance PWM controlled fan that can be adjusted via BIOS or OS-based motherboard tuning applications.

PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 PCS Pictured

Here is the first picture of PowerColor Radeon HD 79xx PCS graphics card (note how the last two digits of the model number are blacked out). It seems this card is PowerColor's Radeon HD 7950 PCS, with which it will start its HD 7950 lineup. From this fairly large, and fairly clear picture PowerColor released, one can make out its new PCS (professional cooling system) cooler design, which uses a slightly larger aluminum fin-stack heatsink than the one found on previous generation PCS coolers. Heat is drawn from the GPU and conveyed to this fin-stack a number of nickel-plated copper heat-pipes (we count four). The heatsink is ventilated by two 80 mm fans. The card appears to stick within the confines of two expansion slots.

Yeston Straps a Monstrous Cooler Onto its HD 7970 PCB

After showing to the world its Radeon HD 7970 PCB with all components placed, Yeston disclosed pictures of exactly what it's going to use to cool the beast. Yeston's cooling solution uses two big (probably 120 mm) fans inspired by the design of aircraft turbofans, with 18 blades on its impeller. Such impellers with PC cooling fans aren't new, and have been used in case fans designed by the likes of Cooler Master. However, this could be the first time such fans have been used in a VGA cooler.

Underneath the frame holding the two fans is a large aluminum fin stack-type heatsink that spans almost the entire area of the PCB. A copper base makes contact with the GPU, from it, six copper heat pipes originate, conveying heat to two aluminum fin stacks, which are then ventilated by the two fans. When fully assembled, the cooler is so large that it appears to span across almost four expansion slots. Yeston is reportedly still working on improving the design. Let's hope it gets a lot slimmer than that.

Source: Expreview

AOC e2352Phz 3D Monitor Launched in North America

Introduced last summer in Europe, AOC's e2352Phz monitor is now making its way to the North American market to offer customers there a reasonably affordable 'flicker free' 3D experience. AOC's 3D display has a 23-inch LED-backlit panel, a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, a 2 ms response time, a dynamic contrast ratio of 20,000,000:1, two 2W speakers, plus D-Sub, DVI and HDMI 1.4a connectivity.

The e2352Phz is bundled with two pairs of passive polarized 3D glasses (one regular pair and one that attaches to prescription glasses) and has a recommended price tag of $299.

Buffalo Unveils Six ''New'' External Hard Drive Models

Buffalo unveiled six new external hard drive models under its HD-QLU3/R5 series, HD-WL6TU3/R1 series, and HD-LBV3.0TU3J series. These new models are apparently re-badged variants of previously launched models in their respective DriveStation series, but come with different (read: increased) pricing, and probably different product warranties, too.

Apparently the move to launch new (re-badged) products comes in the wake of the company reacting to sky-rocketing prices of hard disk drives (HDDs) sourced in bulk from suppliers manufacturing in Thailand, whose manufacturing facilities suffered catastrophic damage in floods last year. That, coupled with increased demand resulted in the "new" drives carrying prices roughly 50 percent higher than the models they're replacing. The new models can be identified by a "J" suffix over existing part numbers.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Buffalo Demonstrates 802.11ac Technology At CES, Develops Routers and Media-Bridges

Buffalo Technology, a global leader in the design, development and manufacturing of storage and wireless networking solutions, has validated its commitment to innovation by showcasing 802.11ac technology on the show floor at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Operating in the 5 GHz space, the next generation wireless technology boasts unmatched wireless speeds of 1300 Mbps, approximately three times faster than 802.11n.

Accompanying the 802.11ac technology is the class leading Buffalo AirStation WZR-1750H wireless router; combined, they provide complete backward compatibility with 802.11a, 11b, 11g and 11n, in addition to offering 2.4 GHz transmission speeds up to 450 Mbps and exceptional coverage. The WZR-1750H provides consumers with total aggregate wireless throughput of 1750 Mbps.

World IPv6 Launch Solidifies Global Support for New Internet Protocol

Major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by 6 June 2012.

Organized by the Internet Society, and building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event held on 8 June 2011, World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet’s continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development.

AMD-powered Sapphire Edge HD3 Nettop Said to Ship Next Month

After releasing two versions based on Intel Atom processors, Sapphire is now preparing an Edge HD nettop/mini PC which is based around an AMD APU (accelerated processing unit). Showcased at CES 2012, the AMD-flavored Edge HD3 is equipped with an E-450 chip (boasting two 1.65 GHz Bobcat cores and Radeon HD 6320 graphics), 4 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, LAN, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, D-Sub and HDMI outputs, and USB 3.0 connectivity.

Reportedly, the Edge HD3 will become available on February 1st, priced at $300.

Source: The Tech Report

Genius DX-ECO - World's First Battery Free Wireless Mouse, Now Available

Genius, a leading maker of computer peripherals, announces the world's first battery-free wireless mouse that is recharged within minutes - DX-ECO BlueEye Mouse.

Ready for a full day's use after only a three-minute charge, the Genius DX-ECO uses a built-in gold capacitor with a long life of 100,000 recharges instead of outdated, environmentally unfriendly disposable batteries. Consumers no longer need to waste time and money whether on a PC or Mac when using DX-ECO. It’s ideal for government and corporations to provide a wireless mouse option that is not only cost-cutting but also hassle-free from controlling and resupplying batteries.

HP Announces Appointment of Bill Veghte as Chief Strategy Officer

HP today announced that Bill Veghte has been appointed chief strategy officer. In addition to his new responsibilities, Veghte will continue in his current role as executive vice president of HP Software.

As chief strategy officer, Veghte will be responsible for keeping HP on the cutting edge of innovation. He will work with HP's senior business and technology leaders to help define the IT industry's future and make certain HP continues to lead the way. Veghte's new role reaffirms HP's commitment to providing customers with the latest platforms, products and services needed for success in a rapidly changing world.

Silicon Power launches a 64 GB SDXC UHS-I Class10 memory card

In order to respond to the surged market demand of USB 3.0 transmission rate and multimedia file storage, leading memory storage brand, SP/Silicon Power today announces the launch the 64 GB SDXC UHS-I Class 10 memory card that fits the standard specifications of SD 3.0. In addition to its massive capacity, it delivers the read speed of 60 MB/sec and super fast write speed of 35 MB/sec making it the perfect combination of high speed and large storage capacity.

SDXC UHS-I 64 GB Class 10 memory card brings absolutely the best of the transmission speed; it is very suitable for audio-visual professions for taking snapshots or continuous video recordings. HD photos, original RAW file or Full HD video can be easily stored. SDXC UHS-I 64 GB Class 10 adopts the most updated exFAT format and breaks the highest capacity limit of 4 GB for a single file which avoids the occurrence of lag.

pureSilicon Debuts Kage Series High-Performance USB and SATA SSDs

pureSilicon Inc., innovator of high-performance storage technology for the industry's most demanding applications, has launched a new line of enterprise-focused storage devices that give IT administrators high-performance options for power users.

The new Kage Series comprises the Kage K1 USB Flash Drive - an "impossibly thin" (4.5 mm) USB 3.0-based SSD drive that redefines portable performance and capacity for mobile enterprise and prosumer users; and the Kage K1 SATA SSD that leverages the advanced technology pioneered in pureSilicon's recently announced Renegade and Nitro devices, making it available at a lower price point aimed at power users in the financial services, science, and engineering sectors, as well as creative professionals who need fast, high-capacity storage for digital media.

ASUS’ B23E 12.5-inch Business Laptop goes up for Pre-order

ASUS B23E 12.5-inch Business Laptop goes up for Pre-order

The ASUSPRO B Series of business-grade laptops will soon be added a new model, one known as the B23E which weights as low as 1.55 kg and features a durable magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis, a spill-proof keyboard, a 12.5-inch (1366 x 768) display, a Sandy Bridge processor, and a Sonata long life (900-charge cycle) battery.

Now available for pre-order is one B23E SKU (the B23E-XH71) which packs a 2.7 GHz Core i7-2620M CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel HD graphics, a 500 GB (7200 RPM) hard drive, a 5-in-1 card reader, a 2 megapixel webcam, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, an ExpressCard slot, and a HDMI output. The B23E-XH71 runs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and costs $922.43.

Source: Laptoping

Eurocom Notebooks Supporting NVIDIA Quadro Quad 3D for Professional Applications

Eurocom Corporation (, a developer of long lifespan, fully upgradable Notebooks, high performance Mobile Workstations and Mobile Servers is now supporting NVIDIA Quadro Quad buffering via external display for an immersive and professional 3D experience. Eurocom Notebooks support NVIDIA’s high-end line of mobile GPU’s for the best in professional graphics processing.

Quad buffering is a technology for implementing stereoscopic frame rendering in computer graphics. For stereoscopic rendering, each eye must receive a separate image. Quad buffering uses double buffering with a front buffer and back buffer for each eye, totaling four buffers: left front buffer, left back buffer, right front buffer, right back buffer.

Google Delivers Chrome 18.0.1010.0/1 Through the Dev Channel

Search giant Google has once again updated the Chrome Dev Channel and released two new Chrome builds, version 18.0.1010.0 for Mac and Linux, and 18.0.1010.1 for Windows. According to their maker, these builds include the following updates:


- The PDF plugin now adds 'Rotate Clockwise' and 'Rotate Counterclockwise' commands to context menus, so users can more easily view documents scanned horizontally.
- Updated the first-run bubble text and added a link to change the current search engine.
- Fixed HTML5 showing download bar in fullscreen mode.

Alienware Launches X51 Ultra-Compact Gaming Desktop

If gaming-console manufacturers want to stifle innovation in the gaming industry with old, archaic hardware, it's time for game PC vendors to do something to woo the console crowd. Dell's flagship gaming PC brand, Alienware, announced the X51, a gaming desktop built around the size of a typical gaming console, but packing today's computing technologies that PC gamers have access to. It starts at US $699. Its chassis measures 343 x 95 x 318 mm (HxWxD), and can be oriented vertically, or horizontally. It features cutting-edge styling by Alienware with dashes of piano black, matte black, and lime. Its front features audio, USB ports, and a slot-in DVD-RW / Blu-ray ROM (optional).

The $699 base model is driven by an Intel Core i3 dual-core processor, though more powerful Core i5 and Core i7 processors can be opted for. Graphics is handled by NVIDIA GeForce GT 545, though GT 555 can be opted for. 4 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory comes standard, up to 8 GB can be opted for. 1 TB 7200rpm HDD storage comes out of the box, faster SSDs can be opted for. Connectivity includes 7.1-channel HD audio with Waves MAXX Audio Software, gigabit Ethernet, Wireless b/g/n, optical and coaxial SPDIF audio outputs. The graphics card gives out HDMI and DVI outputs. Yes, it can run Crysis.

BiTMICRO and Global Unichip Fabricate Revolutionary Solid State Drive Controller

BiTMICRO Networks, a manufacturer of high-end enterprise Solid State Drive (SSD) technologies, and Global Unichip Corporation (GUC), the Flexible ASIC Leader, have successfully taped out a third generation SSD controller. Dubbed as TALINO-DE (Translation and Linking of I/O Nodes - Device Edition), this multi-core SSD controller provides high-speed data transfer between host and storage device. TALINO-DE is seen to be a generation ahead of today's market-leading technology.

TALINO-DE features multiple embedded CPUs, high-speed serial on-chip buses and proprietary integrated data moving technology, enabling parallel access to hundreds of flash chips. Other features include full data path protection, end-to-end data integrity, embedded AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) engines for data security, embedded XOR engines for delivering faster transaction processing in RAID configurations, power management, and other resource optimization.

ECS Enables X79-Driven SAS Ports on its X79R-AX Motherboard

Intel's X79 chipset for Sandy Bridge-E platform was originally designed to have four SAS (serial-attached SCSI) channels apart from its usual loadout of SATA ports. Early prototypes of socket LGA2011 motherboards displayed at last year's Computex event (June), carried a large number of chipset-driven ports. However, Intel found the chipset-integrated SAS RAID controller (independent device from the SATA RAID controller) to have "unreliable performance", and hence changed its specification at the last moment. So the production specification of X79 ended up having the same SATA port loadout as P67 (two SATA 6 Gb/s + four SATA 3 Gb/s).

This specifications change did not result in a design change of the X79 PCH package, its die remained the same, so did its package and pin-map, which motherboard vendors had for nearly an year. So ECS decided to implement the SAS ports despite being out of specifications. LegitReviews discovered that its X79R-AX sample very much did have SAS ports wired to the PCH. With firmware of the SAS RAID controller and drivers, it could enable and use those ports. Although the SAS ports are physically present on the board, users have to enable them via the UEFI firmware setup program (BIOS).

Matrox to License Proprietary Source Code of M-Series Solutions

Matrox Graphics Inc. announced today that the source code of its M-Series drivers will be made available to approved OEM developers seeking to leverage their high level of expertise and development capacity.

Those interested in collaborating with Matrox and developing M-Series driver source code to better meet their specific requirements can contact Matrox. Developers authorized under specific license agreements can then gain access to various tools and resources, including the appropriate Matrox programmer's guide, register specifications, as well as consultation on suggested engineering and related devices to be used during the design process.

Microsoft Finally Makes It Official That It Opposes SOPA.... As Written

This is a Techdirt republished article, which we feel is important. Note that Techdirt don't use copyright and encourage their work to be copied freely.
Early on, Microsoft was a quiet -- but definite -- supporter of PIPA. When it came to SOPA, however, apparently had concerns... though it never said anything publicly, until now. On the eve of mass blackouts and protests, Microsoft has released a weak statement about how it opposes the bill "as written," which is somewhat meaningless, given that the bill is about to undergo a revision any way. Notice, too, that they only say SOPA... and not PIPA? Is it really that hard for Microsoft to realize that the whole concept behind these bills is broken? Or is Microsoft just confirming for us that it's past the "innovation" stage of its lifespan, and now moved on to the death spiral of "protecting the way things used to be?"

Crucial Releases Firmware Update for M4 SSDs, Fixes BSOD Issues

Over last weekend, Crucial released a new firmware update for its M4 series SSDs, which aims to fix several blue screen of death (BSOD) issues that users are facing. Crucial's investigation into the BSOD complaints revealed that a bug in the older firmware caused the drives to become unstable after 5,184 hours of operation. After that, every hour the previously-rock-stable drives cause BSODs. The firmware update only applies to drives connected to SATA hosts, and not SAS expanders. Crucial is still working on a firmware update for drives connected via SAS expanders.

DOWNLOAD: 0309 Firmware Update for Crucial M4
Tuesday, January 17th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Turn Your PC Into A Spam Relay With Mcafee Internet Security Software

It looks like McAfee internet security software has a nice surprise for its unwitting users. Some are finding that their email addresses have been blocked when using the RumorServer Service myAgtSvc.exe, McAfee Peer Distribution Service, which is part of McAfee SaaS Endpoint Protection Suite, previously known as Total Protection Service. c|net reports that the software allows computers to serve as open spam proxies, because the service has been hacked. The Kamaar blog first detected this problem on Jan 4th and reported on it, also giving a workaround to affected customers until McAfee fixes the problem. This problem is somewhat ironic, because the customer would actually be better off without McAfee's help, so it can't be good for the company's reputation. It's also taking them a rather long time fix a serious flaw, which doesn't build confidence in their products.

English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA

On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.

Scythe Starts Shipping the Kaze Master II Fan Controller

Japanese cooling expert Scythe announcing the availability of the successor of popular Kaze Master 5,25 fan controller. Over the time collected customer and media feedback was used to develop Kaze Master II. Second version now combines new technology and improvements to provide an even more intelligent fan controller.

Kaze Master II fan controller fits common 5.25 inch PC case bays and allows users to control up to 4 fans individually as well as monitoring of up to 4 temperature sensors. Fan speed is being adjusted using potentiometer knobs in the front panel. It is furthermore possible to slide-in the knobs to hide them after fan speed has been adjusted. Hence allows a very flat front-panel design, making Kaze Master II very suitable for pc chassis with front doors.

Kingmax Announces Client and Client Pro Series SATA 6 Gbps SSDs

KINGMAX, a world renowned leading brand of DRAM and flash memory, has launched the latest 2.5” SATA III 6Gb/s based SSD series targeting high performance users. The KINGMAX SMP32 Client and SMU32 Client Pro SSD feature the new generation SandForce controller that support SATA 6GB/s for the best performances and deliver read speed up to 550 MB/sec and write speed at 520MB/sec, thus it only takes a few seconds to boot in your operation system.

KINGMAX SSD SATA III Client series equipped with highly reliable SandForce controller supporting SATA III 6Gb/s interface to extend the lifetime of NAND Flash chips and the durability of SSD. Supporting RAISE fault-tolerant technology and ECC error correction technology to prevent errors caused by the volume of data loss, strengthen the data security inside it, and upgrade the computing performance. Moreover the data read and write times will be significantly reduced to extend the durability and lifetime of SSD.

NZXT Launches the Switch 810 Full Tower PC Chassis

NZXT, a company built on realizing the dreams of gamers worldwide, is proud to announce the Switch 810 hybrid chassis. Built for the hardcore PC enthusiast, Switch 810 is the most versatile and highly adaptable full tower chassis to date. It enables you to easily modify cooling performance from extreme liquid cooling, to superb airflow, or whisper-quiet silence.

Switch 810 aggressively eliminates heat, boasting support for 280 mm radiators, up to ten 140/120 mm fans. One of the most noteworthy features is an industry-first, unique hybrid fins that you can close to minimize noise and dust accumulation or open to expose passageways for maximum airflow.

Ideum Releases New Professional Level Integrated Multitouch Wall Display

Ideum has announced the release of its new MT65 Presenter multitouch wall display. The MT65 Presenter is a huge 65" interactive display with a 3D LCD, robust multitouch sensor, ultra‐clear tempered glass, a powerful integrated computer, built‐in audio, and webcam housed inside a hardened aluminum case.

The MT65 Presenter features a 65" 3D LCD display with full 1920x1080 HD resolution and flicker‐free FPR 3D imaging that uses an LED backlight rated for 50,000 hours. The integrated touch sensor supports up to 32 simultaneous touch points. The 4" thin Presenter is protected by hardened 3mm tempered glass and a vandal‐proof metal housing.

Elecom Also Unveils Bigger Bluetooth Keyboard for Tablets

Along with the TK-FBP029 pocket Bluetooth keyboard primarily for handheld devices, Elecom launched a slightly bigger wireless keyboard for the likes of tablets, allowing natural typing with tactile feedback that onscreen keyboards lack. Called the TK-FBM036, and available in black (TK-FBM036BK) and white (TK-FBM036WH), the keyboard measures 293.0 x 149.5 x 23.6 mm (WxDxH), weighing 33 g (without batteries). It requires two AAA-size batteries. Its key pitch is 18.5, and keystroke travel is about 2.5 mm. The keyboard package includes a collapsible stand that can be used to hold the tablet at a convenient angle. It uses Bluetooth 3.0 to communicate with the tablet, with a range of up to 10 m. Slated for May, the TK-FBM036 will be priced at 8,820 JPY (US $115).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

TP-Link Unveils New Ultra-Compact Routers

TP-LINK, a global provider of SOHO and SMB networking products, unveiled a wide range of products at CES 2012, including the world’s smallest router (TL-WR702N), a portable 3G powered wireless N Router (TL-MR3040), a new Network Attached Storage (NAS, TL-NS210) device and a hybrid Hy-Fi router that combines Wi-Fi and PLC technology in a single device.

“Championing innovation and ensuring that TP-LINK is at the forefront of the industry is at the heart of our business, so it’s great to preview such an advanced group of products at CES 2012,” said Eric Wang, country manager of TP-Link UK. “The breadth of our new products enhance the existing portfolio and reaffirm the ongoing consumer desire for fast, efficient, secure and reliable solutions.”

ASUS Launches ROG Rampage IV GENE X79 mATX Gaming Board

Rampage IV GENE continues the legacy of Republic of Gamers motherboards by delivering gamers with enhanced performance that places a premium on fidelity and speed. SupremeFX III EMI-shielded audio guarantees better in-game sound, Intel Ethernet LAN and ROG GameFirst technology boost online multiplayer performance, while ROG Extreme Engine Digi+ II digital voltage regulation promotes improved overclocking.

The board further uses Black Metallic capacitors and NexFET Power Block MOSFETs for added durability and heat resistance. Unlike budget micro ATX boards, it supports 2-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX.

Elecom Intros New Pocket Bluetooth Keyboard for iOS, Mac OS, and Windows Devices

Japanese company Elecom unveiled a nifty new gadget for those on the move, and don't mind long sessions of thumb-typing, the TK-FBP029 Mini Bluetooth Keyboard. Measuring 146 x 78 x 21 mm, and weighing 96 g, the keyboard features a clam-shell form-factor like the electronic pocket organizers of last century. The keyboard works over Bluetooth 3.0, and is compatible with Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Apple Mac OS devices (Macbook, Mac, Mac Pro), Windows devices (Windows PC, Windows Phone, Windows Embedded), and even Sony Playstation 3. The hinge of its lid can get locked into an obtuse angle, letting you place a portable device (such as your iPhone) on it. It comes in lid color options of black, white, and hot pink. The company did not give out pricing information.

Source: Akihabara News

AMD Announces the First AMD Fusion Center of Innovation

AMD today announced the first AMD Fusion Center of Innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, designed to focus on the innovative developer environment and software performance advancements enabled by heterogeneous computing. The center will fund, mentor and promote new commercial enterprises emerging from the vast intellectual property and research expertise in the University of Illinois community.

The University has been a hotbed of new start-ups since the creation of the first widespread web browser - Mosaic - developed by Marc Andreessen in 1992. Through access to AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) technology and platforms, the AMD Fusion Center of Innovation will help bridge access to new AMD heterogeneous computing technology with the innovative spirit stimulated and nurtured on campus.

NVIDIA Rushing in Stopgap HD 7970 Competitor This February?

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 seems to have ruffled a few feathers at NVIDIA and it looks like the green team doesn't want too much market exposure for it. A fairly-reliable source at ChipHell learned that NVIDIA's GeForce "GTX 680" part could be launched some time in February. The source says that this part could be competitive with the HD 7970, though not exactly NVIDIA's fastest next-generation GPU in the works. So it has to be something other than the GeForce Kepler 110, that's reportedly slated for March-April. At least the tiny pieces of specifications trickling out seem to reinforce this theory. Graphics cards based on this part apparently have 2 GB of memory, and its core clock speed is reported to be 780 MHz.

Source: ChipHell

AMD's Ultrabook-Equivalent Platform Up To 20% Cheaper

While many might think that "Ultrabook" is a generic term for a new performance ultra-portable notebook form-factor, it is a registered trademark of Intel, which governs the specifications of what qualifies to be an Ultrabook. Intel will launch a well-defined Ultrabook platform based on its third-generation Core processor family, codenamed "Ivy Bridge", later this year. Meanwhile, AMD is finalizing a performance ultra-portable specification of its own, powered by its next-generation "Trinity" accelerated processing units (APUs), which it will call "Ultrathin".

Ultrathin will be designed to offer competitive CPU performance to Ultrabook, and superior GPU performance to it, at target prices 10-20 percent lower than Ultrabook. In 2012, while Intel bagged about 75 design wins for its Ultrabook platform, AMD claims to have already won 20. AMD's Ultrathin platform will have advantages over Intel's Ultrabook with regards to platform and component costs. The average AMD Ultrathin with $100~$200 cheaper than the average Intel Ultrabook. Some notebook vendors are concerned that a competitive platform to Intel Ultrabook could result in a price-war between the two platforms, and end up reducing the prices of the now profitable-looking performance ultraportable segment.

Source: DigiTimes

Cooler Master Announces the Vertical Vapor Chamber technology

After releasing the world's first heatpipe heatsink in 2000, Cooler Master announces that it will begin to phase in Vertical Vapor Chamber technology into its upcoming retail CPU heatsinks; a technology initially developed by Cooler Master's OEM and industrial cooling division.

Vertical Vapor Chambers feature less than half the air resistance by reducing airflow vortexes and noise generated by air streaming through a heatsink. At the same time vertical vapor chambers exhibit 3 times the fin contact area, enabling faster and more efficient transfer of heat from the vapor chambers to the fins, and overall more efficient use of the available fin surface area.

Gigabyte Introduces the P2532 Series Gaming and Multimedia Notebooks

Gigabyte today announced that three extraordinary new Blu-ray gaming and multimedia notebooks in the P2532 series are now on sale in international markets. The P2532 series features three new configurations that are designed to meet the needs of a variety of users interested in mobile gaming and multimedia.

"Gigabyte has long been a leader in the gaming motherboard market and we have taken our expertise to design high-end notebooks," said Richard Ma, Senior Executive Vice President of Gigabyte. "With the P2532 series, we have developed a line of premium products that feature exceptional performance, but at an affordable price to achieve the best value for users."

Orange Systems Announces Wings Modular PCIe SSD

Japanese company Orange Systems announced a new modular PCI Express SSD, the "Wings" series, which is a collection of products: the PCIe SSD card, its SSD subunits that have to be purchased separately, and those subunits in hard cases that turn them into 2.5-inch simple SSDs. To begin with, Angelbird has three PCIe SSD main card variants: "Lite", 16 GB, and 32 GB. These cards are basically PCI Express x4 SATA 3 Gb/s RAID cards that have SATA power+data interfaces on the card. The 16 GB and 32 GB cards have a localized SSD subunit on the board, while the "lite" variant has no localized subunit, and relies entirely on attached subunits.

These subunits are basically 2.5-inch SSD PCBs stripped of their cases, which Orange Systems refers to as Wings Expansion Cartridges, which are basically SandForce SF-1220 driven SSDs with MLC NAND flash, available in capacities of 60 GB, 115 GB, and 240 GB. When attached in pairs to the Wings PCIe SSD card, the card's main controller runs them in a RAID 0 configuration that is abstract to the host, delivering increased performance. Lastly, these "Expansion Cartridges" are available with their outer shells, branded as "Crest SSDs".

Das Keyboard Reveals Mac-friendly Mechanical Keyboard

Hearing the cries of Apple fans all over the world, the Das Keyboard team has developed, and now unveiled, a mechanical keyboard for Macs. Known as the Model S Professional For Mac, the keyboard in question features a glossy black upper casing, Cherry MX blue mechanical key switches with gold contacts, Mac-specific keys (Option, Command), a Sleep function, 6-key rollover, a built-in 2-port USB 2.0 hub, and a 2 meter USB cable.

The Model S Professional For Mac costs $133 but you can pre-order it now for $113. The keyboard is set to become available on April 16th.

Gigabyte Launches the Booktop T1132N 3-in-1 Mobile PC

Gigabyte today announced that the innovative new 3-in-1 Booktop T1132N is now on sale in international markets. The 11.6" T1132N has a revolutionary design that allows it to be transformed into a notebook, a tablet and even a desktop.

The T1132N comes packed with many exciting features including a 2nd generation Intel Core i5 processor, a NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M GPU with 1 GB VRAM, THX TruStudio Pro sound technology, a capacitive multi-touch display, and an innovative docking station that turns the computer into a desktop.

Samsung SUR40 For Microsoft Surface Now Shipping

Samsung Electronics America Inc., a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Corporation and the number one worldwide brand of professional commercial display LCD products, is demonstrating its digital solutions leadership at a showcase event featuring the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface and a variety of applications from development partners at the National Retail Federation (NRF) conference, being held Jan. 16 and 17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York in Room 1A17 (on Level One of the convention center).

Available now through Samsung channel and reseller partners, a CES Best of Innovations 2012 award-winner, the Samsung-Microsoft collaboration incorporates Microsoft Surface 2.0 software and touch technology into an interactive and engaging 40-inch Full HD LCD that can be used horizontally as a table, mounted vertically on a wall or embedded in other fixtures and furniture.

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
Monday, January 16th 2012

Today's Reviews

Gaming PC
Graphics Cards

VIA Labs USB 3.0 Active Optical Cable Solution Demonstrated at CES 2012

VIA Labs, Inc., a leading supplier of USB 3.0 integrated chip controllers, announced the VIA Labs VO510 5-Gigabit Optical Transceiver which was showcased at CES 2012. The VIA Labs V0510 Optical Transceiver is used in USB 3.0 Active Optical Cables (AOC) which enables rapid data transfers and high-definition multimedia across distances of over 100 meters. Developed in collaboration with FOCI, PCL, OpTarget and UMEC, USB 3.0 AOC solutions offer exciting new possibilities in the use of USB 3.0 technology.

"This USB 3.0 AOC was designed to be fully compliant with SuperSpeed USB electrical specifications," said Dr. Janpu Hou, Vice President of FOCI. "We are very pleased to be a partner on this collaboration team. This partnership will accelerate the deployment of breakthrough USB 3.0 technologies and enable new applications for all USB 3.0 developers." As a partner of FOCI, Dr. Thomas Liu, President of PCL said "As the world leading optical transceiver ODM/CM company, PCL Technologies is excited to build and demonstrate the optical USB 3.0 cable in collaboration with VIA Labs and Foci. With the USB 3.0 AOCs providing higher data rates across much longer distances, we will enable usage scenarios in Digital Signage, Surveillance, and Zero Client applications."

Thecus Launches the N4800, Next-Gen 4 Bay NAS

Everyone knows the N4200PRO, one of the first Atom D525 based NAS. Thecus is now announcing its proud successor, the N4800. This time, the N4800 will be one of the first Intel Atom N2700 based NAS!

Gathering what's been best for the N4200 series, the N4800 also has its own fair share of new technologies with no less than 2 GB of DDR3 RAM. This very powerful NAS will become a must-have for all small and medium businesses in need of centralized storage, application serving, and top-notch response time within multi-user environments. For the more demanding users, the N4800 will also have its use at home.

Thecus Announces a High-End 2-bay NAS: the N2800

The N2800 is the successor of the N2200XXX. Keeping the SD card reader and elegant LED design, the N2800 has been tweaked after user's demands.

The N2800 will be one of the first Intel Atom D2700 based NAS! Multimedia-oriented, powerful, silent and well-designed: this NAS is very versatile. Connect it to the TV of the living room to play HD content and/or use it as a backup center for a couple of computers in your small office, possibilities are endless!

Yeston AMD Branded Cost-Effective Tahiti PCB Pictured with Components Placed

Chinese AMD Radeon add-in board (AIB) partner and motherboard major Yeston, displayed a Radeon HD 7970 PCB, which bears the AMD branding, and is reportedly AMD's cost-effective "Tahiti" PCB. It is quite likely that this PCB will be used for Radeon HD 7950, apart from affordable HD 7970 cards. Radeon HD 7950, like its costlier sibling, will have a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface.

Its designers seems to have done some clever cost-cutting which will make cards based on it more affordable (or at least more profitable), without sacrificing quality much. The PCB uses a 8+1+1 phase VRM, consisting of cost-effective ferrite core chokes, LFPAK MOSFETs, and probably a UPI-made VRM controller. Yeston will most likely use a top-flow cooler, and hence made room for two DVI connectors next to one each of HDMI 1.4a and standard DisplayPort 1.2. The dual-BIOS feature of AMD's high-end reference HD 7970 PCB is blanked out on this PCB.

Source: Expreview

Radeon HD 7950 Launch Pulled Into January, GCN-Based MGPUs in Q2

Originally slated for 9th January, and reportedly delayed to February, AMD's second high-end graphics card based on the Tahiti silicon, the Radeon HD 7950 will make it for a late-January launch, sources within add-in board (AIB) partners told DigiTimes. Previous reports mentioned that Radeon HD 7950, when it is launched, will be accompanied with market-availability. In related news, while all Radeon HD 7000M mobile GPUs launched by AMD so far are rebrands from previous generations, it does have designs of 28 nm mobile GPUs based on its new Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture in the pipeline, which will take up Radeon HD 7900M/7800M/7700M series, which will be launched in Q2, 2012.

Source: DigiTimes

TechPowerUp Announces ThrottleStop 4.0

TechPowerUp also published the latest version of ThrottleStop, a nifty utility that lets you monitor the CPU clock speed throttling scheme used by your notebook, and provides you with options to override or change it. This is particularly useful for noteboook users facing performance issues even when the notebook is plugged in, despite enabling Windows "high-performance" power scheme. The application's main window lets you perform both monitoring and tweaking, its left pane provides you with tweaking your CPU's power scheme using three methods, while its right pane lets you monitor the way in which your OS is throttling the CPU, down to the level of logical CPUs (threads).

DOWNLOAD: ThrottleStop 4.0

TechPowerUp Announces RealTemp 3.70

TechPowerUp today published the latest version of RealTemp, a comprehensive system processor temperature monitoring, logging, and clock speed monitoring utility. Version 3.70 packs several important updates over the previous version, starting with support for 6-core Intel "Sandy Bridge-E" processors, complete support for "Sandy Bridge" processors, more reliable power-consumption estimation using VID, updated i7 Turbo GT tool that lets you monitor multiplier changes with EIST and Turbo Boost playing tug-of-war, improved log file formatting, and visually-better max-temperature reporting through system-tray.

DOWNLOAD: RealTemp 3.70

Green House Intros New, 21.5-inch TV Monitor

Green House has just announced the release of the GH-TV22JLHDK, a 21.5-inch TV monitor which features a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, an LED backlight, and a digital TV tuner. This widescreen also has a 5 ms response time, a contrast ratio of 1,000:1, a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m2, dual 2.5W speakers backed by the SRS TruSurround XT technology, and D-Sub, HDMI and Composite connectors.

The GH-TV22JLHDK is backed by a one-year warranty and costs about $297.

Cedar Trail-powered ASUS Eee Box EB1031 Nettop Seen at CES

In addition to building three netbooks around it, ASUS has also used Intel's Cedar Trail platform for a new, Eee Box nettop, the EB1031. Showcased at week at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, the EB1031 features a 2.13 GHz Atom D2700 processor, up to 4 GB of RAM, up to a 500 GB hard drive, integrated graphics, LAN, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, USB 3.0 connectivity, a memory card reader, and a HDMI port (the system can play 1080p video).

ASUS' Cedar Trail-based Eee Box is said to ship in March.

Source: Notebook Italia

Scythe Launches Solid Power Bronze and Solid Power Gold Series in Japan

Scythe launched two new lines of power supply units in its home country, Japan, the Solid Power Bronze and Solid Power Gold. As the names might suggest, models of these lines are 80 Plus Bronze and 80 Plus Gold certified, respectively. These PSUs are designed to have high cost-performance ratios, and offer power capacities typically needed by today's gaming PCs. The Solid Power Bronze series includes 550W and 650W models, while the Solid Power Gold series includes 500W and 600W models.

Both lines use identical-looking bodies, measuring W150 x D140 x H86 mm, with fixed cabling, and cooled by 120 mm silent fans. Apart from 24-pin ATX and 4+4-pin EPS, the Solid Power Bronze 550W includes two 6+2-pin PCIe, one FDD power, three Molex, and six SATA power; the 650W variant has six Molex connectors, and eight SATA power connectors, instead. The Solid Power Gold 500W and 600W, apart from 24-pin ATX and 4+4-pin EPS, offer two PCIe 6+2-pin, six Molex, and six SATA power connectors.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Samsung Readies Updated, Slimmer Series 9 Notebooks

Next month Samsung Electronics is planning to refresh its Series 9 line of ultra-thin notebooks and introduce new 13.3-inch and 15-inch models that are just 0.58-inch thick and offer a battery life of up to 10 hours. The incoming machines have an aluminum casing, a SuperBright Plus display, a Core i3 or i5 processor, up to 8 GB of RAM, a 128 GB or 256 GB solid state drive (for a boot time of just 9.8 seconds and a wake-from-sleep time of 1.4 seconds), a glass touchpad, and a backlit keyboard.

The 'new and improved' 13.3-inch Series 9 notebook will start at $1,399 while its 15-inch sibling will have a base price tag of $1,499.

Source: SlashGear

NVIDIA Kepler Inbound for March-April

NVIDIA's next high-performance GPU that will attempt to restore NVIDIA's performance leadership in the consumer graphics segment, under the GeForce Kepler family, is slated for a March-April launch, according to a VR-Zone report. At CES 2012, NVIDIA focused on its Tegra product line, and demonstrated its applications in smartphones, tablets, and even automotives, but chose to avoid talking about its GeForce family.

According to the report, NVIDIA wants to avoid doing a paper-launch like AMD, which launched its Radeon HD 7970 on December 22, 2011, but its market availability was non-existent till after two weeks, on January 9, 2012. NVIDIA wants to ensure the GeForce product based on its new high-performance GPU will be available in the market on launch-day, which is pinned somewhere within late March and early April. On April 8, Intel will launch its third-generation Core processor family.Source: VR-Zone

Samsung’s Series 7 Gamer Laptop gets Colored Yellow

Samsung Electronics has today unveiled a yellow colored version of the Series 7 Gamer notebook introduced last November. Said to be 'targeting young generation and lady customers', the gaming laptop comes with a Glass Flake coating that provides enhanced durability, and features a backlit keyboard, a 17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display, a 2.1 speaker system, and a knob for switching between various power modes.

The Series 7 Gamer also packs an Intel quad-core mobile processor, up to 16 GB of RAM, an optical drive, and up to a 2 TB hard drive.

IBM Research Determines Atomic Limits of Magnetic Memory

Punctuating 30 years of nanotechnology research, scientists from IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) have successfully demonstrated the ability to store information in as few as 12 magnetic atoms. This is significantly less than today’s disk drives, which use about one million atoms to store a single bit of information. The ability to manipulate matter by its most basic components – atom by atom – could lead to the vital understanding necessary to build smaller, faster and more energy-efficient devices.

While silicon transistor technology has become cheaper, denser and more efficient, fundamental physical limitations suggest this path of conventional scaling is unsustainable. Alternative approaches are needed to continue the rapid pace of computing innovation.

2012 International CES Sets Show Record at 1.86 Million Net Sq. Ft. of Exhibit Space

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced today that the 2012 International CES is the largest in the show’s 44 year history, with 1.861 million net square feet of exhibit space. The previous record was 1.857 million net square feet of space at the 2008 International CES. Owned and produced by CEA, the 2012 International CES, the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology, runs through Friday, January 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In other show news, a keynote address by Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg, the Innovation Power Panel with leaders from Ford, Verizon and Xerox, a Brand keynote from executives from AT&T, Walmart, Facebook and GE, an LIT keynote from eBay’s John Donohue and a keynote from YouTube’s Robert Kyncl were mid-week highlights of the 2012 International CES.

Lamptron Alerts Community Against Counterfeits

This is an official public statement from Lamptron regarding the unauthorized use of Lamptron intellectual property to reproduce substandard copies of Lamptron products. We appreciate the time invested by online media sources and consumers who have assisted in reporting on this matter. Here at Lamptron we strive for the best in product quality and customer service, and it is with this practice in mind that we are making this official statement regarding the unauthorized use of Lamptron property.

As of January 2012 we have been made aware of the presence of imitation products designed to mimic the look and function of official Lamptron brand products on the retail market. These reproductions have been made with unauthorized use of Lamptron production parts and designs, along with competing materials that may or may not be made of the same quality as used by official Lamptron production parts.
Sunday, January 15th 2012

Today's Reviews

Game Controllers
Graphics Cards

ASUS VA278Q (2560 x 1440) IPS Monitor Gets Detailed

Earlier this week at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, ASUS showcased a brand new monitor designed for professional artists and photographers, a 27-inch model called VA278Q that features an LED backlight, an IPS panel, a native resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, and 178/178 degree viewing angles.

ASUS' widescreen also has a 'Smart Contrast Ratio' of 80,000,000:1, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity, a stand enabling tilt, pivot, swivel, and height adjustments, and the Splendid Video Intelligence Technology providing six pre-set modes (Theater, Scenery, Gaming, Night View, sRGB, and Standard) that 'optimize colors and image fidelity for the onscreen content'. No word yet about the price tag or availability of the VA278Q.


The Pirate Bay Shifts Away From Torrents, Replaces Them With DHT

Famous and very popular media search engine, The Pirate Bay, perpetually in the crosshairs of Big Media to shut it down, is to shift away from torrent files from next month and replace them with Distributed Hash Table (DHT) and Peer Exchange (PEX) technology reports ExtremeTech. They have actually been using these for quite a while now, as this is the technology underlying their Magnet links which have appeared next to the torrent links as an alternative way to download. They have done this, because torrent files are stored centrally on a web server, which makes them vulnerable to aggressive rights holders who want to take them down, while Magnet links are decentralized "trackerless", removing this vulnerability. Also, at the moment, it's impossible for anti-piracy outfits to tell how many files a user is sharing when using Magnet links, or what they are. From next month therefore, only Magnet links will be available. Note that Magnet links are compatible with various anonymizing services, for anonymous downloading, but there can be a significant performance impact on those services. In fact, TPB has been using Magnet links with torrents for some now too, but just did so quietly, without telling anyone.

Popular BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent already use Magnet links as easily as torrent files, so there won't be much difference to the user experience. The main difference, is that they can take a bit longer to get going, but the final download speed isn't any less, due to the cascading exponential pyramid nature of incoming peer connections guaranteed to max out any internet connection, when there are enough peers.

SOPA Stalled!

Yes, you've read that right. The draconian and much despised internet censorship bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith and being steamrollered through Congress, backed by Big Media, who's interests it serves has been stalled due to a lack of 'consensus', reports The Hill. The serious backlash from companies large and small, plus boycotts of companies that supported it, such as GoDaddy, has forced this bill to be stalled. On Saturday, the House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was promised by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the House won't vote on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) unless there is consensus on the bill. Issa said in a statement:
While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House. Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.
Note that this comes a mere hours after Smith was forced to back down on the website blocking provision in the bill (one of its central aims). The bill may still continue wending its way through Congress after a delay, however, it doesn't look all that likely, thankfully. Now the general public just need to make enough noise about PROTECT IP and ACTA so that they don't get in either, as they're really just the same thing by any another name.

An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED

A month ago, we reported that CD Projekt RED, makers of The Witcher 2 had claimed that they could identify '100% of pirates' and had started an RIAA-style 'settlement letter' shakedown (extortion) tactic in Germany. Well, unsurprisingly, this hasn't gone down too well with their customers and the outcry has been loud and strong, especially on, where their forums have been full of posts from disgruntled customers. Well, it looks like the pressure has gotten too much for them and they have backpedalled furiously on this decision and issued an open letter, published on In it, they state that they want people to continue to have faith in them and stressed how they're still totally against 'piracy' of their products and appealed for gamers to refrain from engaging in it:
In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.
Saturday, January 14th 2012

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 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.

Sony Adds Ultra-high-speed Interface Compatibility to Its Line of SD Media

At CES 2012, Sony announced it is expanding its line of SD cards with a new flagship series designed for ultra-high speed interface (UHS-I) compatibility, giving DSLR users superb speed and high performance. The new cards are available in capacities of 32 GB (SF-32UX), 16 GB (SF-16UX) and 8 GB (SF-8UX).

The new cards offer significantly higher transfer speeds up to 94 MB/s (read) and 45 MB/s (write, for SF-8UX, write speed is 22 MB/s), ideal for the burst shooting and HD video modes of today's DSLR cameras and HD camcorders (based on Sony tests and dependent on host hardware). They can also realize rapid data rates when transferring content - even large, high-resolution HD files - back to their PCs. And when used with non-UHS-I supported hardware, the new Sony cards will still maintain Class 10 speed.

Sony Enhances Capabilities of Its USB MicroVault Memory Devices

At CES 2012, Sony unveiled its enhanced USB memory MicroVault line. The new models (USM-Q, USM-P and USM-M) range from ultra-fast, high performance devices to stylish, easy-to-use models - all designed to meet consumers' various needs.

"Everyone has different requirements for what they want to do with their photos or videos, so why should all storage devices be the same?" said Viviano Cantu, Director of Consumer Media for Sony Electronics. "We're offering something for everyone with this enhanced line of USB memory devices."

Patriot Displays Range of Industrial and Macbook Air SSDs

Patriot Memory displayed its four main client bare-PCB SSD lines, the Industrial Series mSATA, Industrial Series half-height-mSATA, 1.8-inch half-height Industrial Series, and Mac Series SSD-stick. All three Industrial Series products are driven by PHISON controllers, and are available in MLC NAND flash and SLC NAND flash variants, each with its own capacity options. The mSATA MLC is available in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 128 GB, mSATA SLC from 4 GB to 32 GB; mSATA half-height MLC from 4 GB to 32 GB, mSATA half-height SLC from 1 GB to 8 GB.

The "Slim SATA" (half-height 1.8-inch) MLC is available in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 128 GB, and its SLC variant is available in capacities ranging from 4 GB to 32 GB. Moving on, Patriot has SSD sticks for Macbook Air, and other Apple devices that support this form-factor, these sticks are driven by SandForce SF-228x controllers, feature MLC NAND flash memory, and are available in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB.

Thrustmaster Shows Off Replica A-10 C Stick

Gaming peripherals expert Thrustmaster displayed its latest joystick for consumer flight-simulators, and popular multiplayer online games such as Tom Clancy's HAWX series and Battlefield 3. Its design is a replica of the flight stick A-10 C Thunderbolt II ground-attack aircraft, an iconic plane for many military aviation enthusiasts. While games like Battlefield 3 don't give you playable a A-10 C, its playable fighters are equipped with chain guns that let you perform some ground-attack maneuvers. Apparently Thustmaster got all its design rights in order, as it bears the coveted "Hotas Warthog" and USAF badges. It is accompanied by a replica throttle unit.

RunCore Displays Single-Chip SSDs

RunCore showed off its engineering potential in four "single-chip" solid-state drives (SSDs). If we're playing semantics here, almost every USB flash drive in the market these days is a "single chip SSD", but in context of these drives, "single chip" refers to a component that combines MLC NAND flash and a SATA interface controller into a single package. The number of NAND flash channels internally is not known, but RunCore thinks these chips should offer good performance in the value segment.

The blue PCBs in the first picture depict single-chip SSDs in three main client form-factors: 2.5-inch SATA, 1.8-inch SATA, and mSATA. As you can see, there's just one main chip, no controller, no cache DRAM, nothing else, except power-conditioning components and firmware ROM chips on the back side of the PCB.
Friday, January 13th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Cooler Master Elite 120 Mini-ITX Case Pictured

Cooler Master is preparing a new HTPC case for mini-ITX form-factor motherboards, the Elite 120, which was pictured at CES. It is built mostly from SECC steel, but its front bezel is made of aluminum. The case measures 240 x 205.6 x 382.5 mm (WxHxD). It features one 5.25-inch drive bay, four 3.5-inch bays, and two 2.5-inch ones. The only fan included with the case is a 120 mm front intake, but there are provisions for more fans, at least one on the side. Its front-panel includes one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0, and audio jacks.

Cooler Master HAF XM Case Pictured

Cooler Master unveiled the latest in its High Air Flow (HAF) series of cases for enthusiasts, the HAF XM. This case is designed to strike a price-features-quality sweetspot. Made of SECC steel and ABS plastic, the HAF XM measures 252 x 530.5 x 571 mm (WxHxD), weighing about 11 kg. While it can be categorized as an ATX full-tower, it doesn't support XL-ATX. Micro-ATX, standard ATX, and E-ATX motherboards are supported. Its storage bays include three 5.25-inch, eight 3.5-inch (including two that are hot-swap capable), up to nine 2.5-inch bays (converted from 3.5-inch bays.

Its ventilation stays in line with the design ideology behind the HAF series. It includes a large 200 mm front-intake (LED-lit), room for one 140 mm or two 120 mm fans in the front; two 200 mm fans on top (one included, one optional), room for smaller 140/120 mm fans on top; a 140 mm rear exhaust; room for a 200 mm side-panel intake (optional); and room for two 120 mm fans on the HDD cage (optional). Its I/O panel includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and front-panel HD audio.

Silver, Beige, and Smooth Creations Variants of Cosmos II Pictured

Early this month, Cooler Master launched its much-awaited Cosmos II case, carrying forward its iconic premium case brand into the new generation, with a new set of features that are required of cases in its segment to have. At CES, Cooler Master showed off three new variants of Cosmos II, including a premium custom design by Smooth Creations. These included a silver variant, with matte silver front, and brushed metal-like appearance on the side panel; a dark beige variant, with similar texturing; and a custom-job by Smooth Creations that features a badaxe rusty industrial paint-job, with chains replacing the four beams of the Cosmos II. Historically, Cooler Master's à la carte custom-paint cases cost in excess of $800, some over $1000. Such cases are produced in very limited quantities (go figure). The silver and beige mass-production ones, however, are expected to cost similar to the standard black one.

TUL Readies Barebones Mini PC

PowerColor's parent company, TUL, showed off its barebones Mini-PC at CES. Its main unit measures just 165 x 165 x 55 mm (LxWxH), and is available in black and white color options. Under the hood is an AMD G-Series embedded APU, backed by Hudson M1 FCH chipset. It takes in 1 DDR3-SODIMM module, up to 4 GB in size, and runs it at speeds of up to PC3-8500 (DDR3-1066 MHz). The G-Series APU provides AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, with DVI and HDMI display outputs. The mini PC barebone has room for one 2.5-inch SATA 6 Gb/s drive. Its front-panel offers one USB 2.0 port (USB 3.0 can be opted for), a multi-format card reader, and eSATA 6 Gb/s. Its rear panel connectivity includes 2-channel audio outputs, gigabit Ethernet, four USB ports, and display connectivity. The unit has an internal 40W PSU.

PowerColor HD 7970 Vortex VRM: A Closer Look

On Thursday, we got to see the first images of PowerColor's new Radeon HD 7970 Vortex Edition graphics card. At CES we got to take a closer look at its VRM. PowerColor carried forward the VRM design of its Radeon HD 6970 Devil 13 graphics card. At the heart of the VRM is a CHiL CHL8228 VRM controller, which allows software volt-modding using most of the popular tools out there. The card uses an 8+1+1 phase VRM. It uses High Current Power Beat chokes which offers PWM frequency range of up to 3 MHz.

Interestingly, while the HD 6970 Devil 13 itself, like the Radeon HD 7970 AMD reference board, used expensive International Rectifier DirectFETs in typical configuration, the HD 7970 Votex uses cost-effective driver-MOSFET (DrMOS) chips that appear to be made by Renesas. Cost effective doesn't necessarily mean "cheap", these chips, according to PowerColor, offer 93% efficiency with up to 1 MHz switching frequency. On the reverse side of the PCB, we can find the power stage to be complemented with SP capacitors that offer 40% lower ESR with and support higher switching frequencies.

Spire Introduces Sonex 6010 Versatile Gamer Chassis

Introducing the Sonex 6010 pc case, the Sonex 6010 is a versatile gamer chassis. This tower structure is well build and just pure cool looks. The meshed aluminum front panel allows unrestricted fresh air intake which is mandatory for today’s extremely hot Micro-processors, Graphic cards and Data Drives. The spacious internal design enables flexible and neat component assembly.

Sufficient room is available for the installation of larger cpu coolers and long 330mm Graphic-cards. The Chassis is pre-applied with large rubber grommet holes to feed the external water-cooling tubes into the chassis. Two drive cages with direct cooling and pre-installed front and rear 120mm BlueStar Blue LED fans. The Sonex 6010 pc case is satisfaction for the professional user, enthusiast and gamer alike.

Now Joins Opposition to SOPA and PIPA

The highly controversial SOPA & PIPA bills currently being rushed through Congress by Big Media are encountering ever more opposition from minor and major players alike, such as Google. Now, owned by parent company CD Projekt RED, has come out against these bills too and are one of many games companies to do so. They address the questions of "will it work?" and "will it stop piracy?" with the answers being sort-of and no.

AMD Lightning Bolt is USB 3.0 Over DisplayPort

AMD's competitive technology to Intel Thunderbolt, called "Lightning Bolt" (codename, marketing name may differ), surfaced at CES, where AMD was showing off its upcoming "Trinity" accelerated processing units. The technology was dissected by Anandtech, revealing exactly how AMD plans to achieve its goal of providing a much lower-cost alternative to Thunderbolt, over a similar-looking interface. While Thunderbolt is essentially PCI-Express x4 over DisplayPort, Lightning Bolt is the much more mature USB 3.0 SuperSpeed over DisplayPort. It is a single cable that combines a USB 3.0 with DisplayPort (display), and power (sourced directly from the PSU).

The part that makes it affordable is that AMD has already mastered GPU technologies that allow several displays connected to its GPUs using DisplayPort daisy-chaining; while USB 3.0 controllers are getting cheaper by the quarter. Connections of DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and power converge at a Lightning Bolt multiplex, from which the actual ports emerge. Lightning Bolt will stick to established mini-DisplayPort specifications.

Cooler Master Displays Vapor Chamber-based CPU Fan-Heatsink

There's little innovation with tower-type CPU coolers these days, barring the odd fancy aluminum fin design or heat-pipe layout. Cooler Master put its engineering muscle to use by developing a new tower-type CPU cooler that takes advantage of vapor-chamber technology. Called the TPC 812, the cooler is just large another aluminum fin tower-type heatsink with six heat pipes feeding head through the fin-stack, till the part where a specially-designed vapor-chamber element finds place.

The cooler uses a copper indirect contact base, at which the six heat pipes converge at the lowest level. Above it, is a vapor-chamber plate. From this place, two thin, broad columns arise, passing through the central portion of the aluminum fin stack. The heatsink is ventilated by a 120 mm fan. With its design innovation, the TPC 812 can handle thermal loads of up to 240W. The TPC 812 from Cooler Master will be priced around the $100 mark, and will be competitive with entry-level closed-loop liquid coolers.

Source: VR-Zone

SilverStone Debuts the TJ04-E Mid-Tower Case

Taking advantage of CES 2012, SilverStone has this week announced the successor of the 2004-released Temjin series TJ04 PC case. Known as the TJ04-E (E is for Evolution), the new chassis has an exterior that resembles the TJ04, but comes with a 'vastly' improved interior that can hold up to four 5.25-inch drives, nine 3.5-ich hard drives, six SSDs, and graphics cards up to 17 inches long.

The TJ04-E measures 214 (W) x 489 (H) x 489 (D) mm, it weights 9.6 kg, and features a steel structure, an aluminum front panel, ATX and micro ATX motherboard support, tool-free mounting for 5.25-inch drives, a custom HDD cage with built-in heatsinks and SATA cables, an I/O panel with two USB 3.0 ports, three pre-installed 120 mm fans (one on top, one on the right panel, one at the rear), and, optionally, a side window.

SilverStone's PC case is up for pre-order at 129 Euro and is expected to hit stores later this month.

Lian Li Displays PC-V700 ATX Mid-Tower

Lian Li displayed its latest ATX mid-tower case, the PC-V700 (not to be confused with PC-V700F, a different case). Decked in aluminum overall, with signature Lian Li styling, the PC-V700 fits in ATX and micro-ATX motherboards. It measures 210 x 400 x 496 mm (WxHxD). Its only exposed drive bay on its front is a valved 5.25-inch. Other drive bays include three hot-swap capable 3.5-inch bays (side), four conventional 3.5-inch bays, and two 2.5-inch bays.

Cooling fans include one 140 mm front intake, two 120 mm top exhausts, and one 120 mm rear exhaust. It features 8 expansion slot bays letting you use a double slot graphics card installed in the lowermost expansion slot. Front panel connectivity includes audio, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and an eSATA port (extended from the motherbaord).

Lian Li New Mini-ITX Lineup Also Includes PC-Q09FN

The new mini-ITX form-factor lineup also includes the PC-Q09FN, a model we overlooked in our news coverage of the Lian Li booth. Unlike the PC-Q12, the PC-Q09FN features a shoe-box design, measuring 296 x 135 x 190 mm. Also unlike the PC-Q12, it features room for a slim optical disc drive (such as a slim Blu-ray writer), and a 3.5-inch drive. Apart from these, the PC-Q09FN features three 2.5-inch drive bays, one 120 mm fan to ventilate it from the side, and front-panel connectivity that includes two USB 3.0 ports.

iiyama ProLite T2451MTS Multi-Touch Monitor Launched in Europe

Already announced in Japan, iiyama's ProLite T2451MTS touch-enabled monitor has now also been introduced in Europe. Set to reach EU stores as soon as next week, the T2451MTS features a 23.6-inch (TN) panel with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, two-finger and pen input support, a 2 ms response time, and a contrast ratio of 1,000:1 (DCR is 5,000,000:1).

iiyama's display also has a WLED backlight, a maximum brightness of 250 cd/m2, D-Sub, DVI and HDMI (x 2) connectivity, two 2W speakers, and is bundled with a stylus pen. The ProLite T2451MTS has a recommended price tag of 299 Euro but it can be found on pre-order @ 282 Euro.

Plextor Introduces New DVD/CD Writer with PlexTV

Plextor, leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media and storage equipment, announces the release of its latest External Slim DVD/CD Writer, PX-612U, with PlexTV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today.

PlexTV is a new feature enabling Plextor's DVD/CD drive to work with televisions, media players, and other USB-enabled devices. The external drive connects directly to the desired display via USB cable and the user is able to access information stored on a CD or DVD without a PC. PlexTV will be available exclusively with the PX-612U during the first quarter of 2012.

AMD FX-8150 Tested with Latest Windows Hotfixes, Still No Improvement

German tech website TweakPC did a before-after comparison of applying Microsoft's recently-released KB2645594 + KB2646060 Windows updates, which intend to improve performance of systems running AMD FX processors, by improving the way in which the OS deals with Bulldozer cores, using a top-of-the-line FX-8150 processor. The reviewer put FX-8150 through synthetic tests such as AIDA64 (CPU benchmarks, FPU benchmarks), Cinebench 11.5, MaxxPi (multi-threaded PI calculations), WPrime, Twofish AES, 3DMark (Vantage and 11), ComputeMark; and some real-world tests such as WinRAR, Resident Evil 5, and Battleforge. Barring Resident Evil 5, where the patched FX-8150 produced 4% higher performance and WinRAR, where it produced 3% higher performance, there were no significant performance gains noticed. The review can be accessed at the source.


RunCore Launches the 7 mm Pro V Ultra Solid State Drive

It has been half a year since that the concept of "Ultrabook" was proposed by Intel at Computex 2011. The concept was well-received by major brand vendors in hopes that Ultrabook can revive Notebook market demand, many of whom such as Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu, Asus, have launched Ultrabooks, or announced they are to launch one. With the expected major growth in Ultrabooks in the next few years, SSD indeed is given a great opportunity as it is one of the key components of Ultrabooks.

To seize the opportunity, RunCore, a leading supplier of high-performance solid-state drives has made its move and announced its Ultrabooks solution - 7 mm Pro V Ultra SSD. The product is a Sandforce-based SSD, and it adopts stainless steel enclosure. With SATA 6 Gbps interface it offers up to 525 MB/s read and 525 MB/s write, featuring an extreme write IOPS up to 75000.

AMD to Release 28 nm Mobile GPUs in Q2

This week the desktop space has officially entered the 28 nm GPU era thanks to the retail release of the Radeon HD 7970. It's a significant milestone for the discrete graphics market and for AMD, but it's only the beginning as the Sunnyvale-based company is currently preparing the arrival of the Radeon HD 7950 and is planning the introduction of the first 28 nm mobile chips.

While the HD 7950 will debut this quarter, the 28 nm GPUs for notebooks will have to wait a little longer, until Q2. The upcoming mobile parts are of course based on the GCN architecture and will bring DirectX 11.1 support, as well as power, image quality and display output enhancements.

The 28 nm mobile cards will (most) likely be added to the recently-introduced Radeon HD 7000M family which also includes multiple 40 nm-based cards (7600M, 7500M, 7400M, 7300M). Look for 28 nm models to be branded Radeon HD 7700M and higher.

Source: ComputerBase

EVGA SR-X Dual-Socket LGA 2011 Motherboard Seen at CES

At this year's CES EVGA probably turned some heads with its upcoming power supply line but the company had more enthusiast eye candy on display, like the SR-X dual-socket motherboard. Teased a little last year, the SR-X seems to have the same HPTX form factor as its predecessor (the SR-2) but it offers support for the newest LGA 2011 Intel processors (Sandy Bridge-E for single-CPU setups, Sandy Bridge-EP for dual-CPU 'awesomesauce').

EVGA's dual-socket motherboard includes 12 DDR3 memory slots allowing for up to 96 GB of RAM, two (one 8-pin and one 6-pin) power connector per CPU, six SATA and four SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) ports, seven PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots for SLI or CrossFireX configurations, PCIe disable switches, voltage read points, a debug LED, dual Gigabit Ethernet, two eSATA ports, 7.1 channel audio, Bluetooth, EVBot support, plus six USB 3.0 connectors (four on the back plate, two via a header). The SR-X still hasn't been priced or dated.

Source: Twitpic

HP Unveils the Durable v270w USB Flash Drive

Following the success of their v175w ice cream flash drives PNY Technologies, Inc. (“PNY”) is considered a leading designer, manufacturer and a worldwide leader in DRAM Memory and Flash Memory products, introduced a new USB flash drive, the v270w. The innovative flash drive comes in an egg shaped design that gives a light-hearted and fun vibe whilst offering fast and convenient transfer of files on the go.

The HP v270w is covered in a distinctive multicolored rubber material offering water and shock resistance that protects and prevents any data loss from accidental drops or external collisions. The egg shaped cover is embossed in wavy design which provides better grip and easy disconnection. The bright use of white and sunshine yellow exudes a playful and radiant appearance.

BF3 Helicopters Too Much Like The Real Thing – May Be Decommissioned

In a somewhat ironic case, Electronic Arts is claiming First Amendment rights to depict helicopters made by Textron, parent company of Bell Helicopter, without permission. EA has been in talks with Textron about using the likeness of their helicopters in EA's games, but the two sides are unable to come to an agreement. Now, EA can feel a lawsuit from Textron coming on, so they have made a pre-emptive strike with one of their own, according to a copy seen by Kotaku, which was filed on January 6th in the federal court for the Northern District of California. On December 21st, Textron had demanded that EA stop depiction of three of their Bell helicopters, the AH-1Z Viper, an attack helicopter (pictured) the UH-1Y, a multipurpose/transport helicopter; and the V-22 Osprey (jointly produced with Boeing) whose distinctive tilt-rotors allow for vertical and short takeoff and landing.
Thursday, January 12th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Scythe Announcing the Kaze Master Pro Ace Fan Controller

Japanese cooling expert Scythe is expanding its product portfolio by the new Kaze Master Pro Ace fan controller. The built-in technology is based on the already announced Kaze Master Pro 5.25 fan controller, which now comes with classy aluminum front panel design. Hence allows it to match more pc chassis on the market, especially pc chassis with an aluminum front panel.

New Kaze Master Pro Ace fan controller allows users to adjust fan speed of up to fans separately as well as monitoring up to 6 temperature sensors. Adjustments of fan speeds are being made using the 6 potentiometers located in the lower part of the aluminum front panel. Using the other two potentiometers located on the sides, it is possible to choose 2 of the 6 channels to be displayed on the built-in VF-Display (Vacuum Fluorescent Display).

Buffalo Readies USB 3.0 Add-on Cards

Buffalo is working on two new 2-port USB 3.0 add-on cards for desktops and notebooks. Slated for launch in late-January, these products are the IFC-PCIE2U3S2, a low-profile desktop PCIe x1 add-on card; and IFC-EC2U3/UC2, an ExpressCard-34 add-on card for notebooks. While USB 3.0 add-on card products may not be new to Buffalo, these cards are probably based on newer ASMedia-made USB 3.0 controllers. The IFC-PCIE2U3S2 includes a low-profile bracket, it draws power from a 4-pin floppy power connector. Both cards will be priced at 3,255 JPY (about US $42), in the Japanese market.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

PowerColor HD 7970 Vortex Graphics Card Pictured

PowerColor is designing a non-reference Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, complete with its own PCB and cooler designs. For the cooler, PowerColor is designing an updated version of its Vortex II cooler featured on some of its older high-end graphics cards based on Radeon HD 6900 series GPUs. The cooler design is your typical aluminum fin-stack heatsink to which heat is fed by four 8 mm thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes. Ventilation is handled by two 80 mm fans, the frames of these fans are threaded and can be twisted to adjust the distance between the fan and the heatsink, adjusting its air-flow.

PowerColor also has a custom-design PCB to go with it, only the prototype pictured has no Tahiti GPU sitting on it, but PowerColor at least has a board design of its own at hand. The PCB draws power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, a CHIL-made controller handles voltage regulation. The VRM consists of a 9+1 phase design with a few other miscellaneous power domains. Those chokes appear to be slightly more cost-effective compared to the CPL-made ones featured on AMD's reference PCB. IR directFETs are replaced by cost-effective yet durable DrMOS chips.

AMD Trinity APU Pictured in its Three Package Options

At CES, AMD is grabbing some eyeballs with a fascinating real-world capability demo of the AMD "Trinity" accelerated processing unit. At the same booth, AMD displayed the Trinity silicon in three different packages, for three different form-factors. The first one (to the left), also pictured in the earlier article, is a compact FP2 BGA (ball-grid array) package, designed for ultra-compact notebooks, ultrabooks, etc.

The second one (center) is the FS1r2 uPGA package for mainstream notebooks with slightly relaxed space and board footprint constraints. Unlike the FP2 BGA package, the FS1r2 uPGA is socketed, with extremely tiny pins. The FS1r2 uPGA is significantly bigger than FP2 BGA. The third, more familiar-looking package is the FM2, for desktops. FM2 is an updated version of FM1, on which current Llano A-series desktop APUs are based. Unfortunately, FM1 and FM2 are not compatible in any way. Learn more about the FM2 package in our older article detailing it, here.

ZOTAC Also Displays Intel Z77-based Mini-ITX Motherboard Geared for Overclocking

ZOTAC also displayed an upcoming socket LGA1155 motherboard based on Intel Z77 chipset, in the mini-ITX form-factor, which is geared for overclocking, that's right, overclocking. ZOTAC has, in the past, designed a similar motherboard based on the Z68 chipset. This mini-ITX board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, it supports upcoming "Ivy Bridge" Unlocked LGA1155 Core processors out of the box.

The LGA1155 socket (LOTES Black, powder-coated to prevent shrinking when subjected to subzero cooling), is powered by an 8-phase VRM circuitry, complete with a feature-rich controller, Pulse-made inductors, and driverMOSFETs (DrMOS), and High-C capacitors. The DrMOS chips are cooled by a high-density heatsink that shares some of its heat with the heatsink over the Z77 PCH, over a heat pipe.

ZOTAC Shows Off Pair of Intel H77-based Mini-ITX LGA1155 Motherboards

ZOTAC showed off a pair of socket LGA1155 motherboards based on Intel's upcoming H77 "Panther Point" chipset, geared for compact desktops and HTPCs. These boards have not yet been named. The first one (pictured below), appears to be the more affordable of the two. It uses a simple 4-phase VRM to power the LGA1155 CPU, which is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz memory. Its lone expansion slot is a PCI-Express 3.0 x16. Storage connectivity includes two SATA 6 Gb/s, two SATA 3 Gb/s, and an mSATA (probably 3 Gb/s). Its VRM uses cost-effective chokes, and LFPAK MOSFETs.

The more expensive-looking board of the two provides all the features of the other, while making room for an extra SATA 3 Gb/s port, higher-quality VRM that makes use of durable coils, and DriverMOSFETs (DrMOS), and DisplayPort connectivity. Other than the DisplayPort difference, both boards feature 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, wireless b/g/n (N 300) connection, USB 3.0, and display connectivity that includes DVI and HDMI.

Mushkin Unveils Three New SSD Product Lines at CES

Mushkin unveiled three new lines of consumer solid state drives (SSDs) at CES, the Chronos GO, Atlas, and Scorpion. Chronos Go is a series of simple SSDs in the 1.8-inch SATA 6 Gb/s form-factor, Atlas is a series of mSATA SSDs based on a fast controller that takes advantage of SATA 6 Gb/s interface, while Scorpion is a line of ultra-high performance PCI-Express SSDs. At the heart of all three is SandForce SF-2281 SSD controller. Chronos GO is available in Standard and Deluxe variants, both offering sequential read speeds up to 565 MB/s, and write speeds up to 525 MB/s, with 4K random write performance of 90,000 IOPS. These drives are available in capacities of up to 480 GB.

Next up are the Atlas mSATA drives. These include standard and deluxe variants, too, with the same sequential read speeds of up to 565 MB/s. It's just that the deluxe variant offers slightly higher write speeds of up to 535 MB/s, while the standard one stays at up to 525 MB/s. These drives will be available in capacities up to 240 GB. Both Chronos GO and Atlas lines will be available sometime in Q1, 2012.

Securifi Unveils Almond Wireless Touchscreen Router

Taiwanese company Securify showed off a new wireless router concept, called "Almond". Simply put, it is a wireless 802.11 b/g/n (n 300 Mbps) router with an inbuilt 2.8" 320 x 240 pixel touchscreen, with its own configuration program, which allows you to configure it on the device, without needing a browser-based setup. Its native setup program also comes with "safe" pre-configured settings for the uninitiated.

Its wireless networking component supports 300 Mbps speed with MIMO technology, supporting up to 50 clients at a time, with a range of up to 25 meters. Apart from an upstream WAN port, there are two downstream 100 Mbps Ethernet ports. Most current security standards such as WPA2, WPA, WEP are supported. Securify did not give out any more information.

Shuttle Introduces the XH61 LGA 1155 Barebone

Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH, the European subsidiary of Shuttle Inc., one of the leading developers and manufacturers of compact PC solutions such as the world-renowned XPC Mini-PC Barebones, has announced the launch of the XH61, a new 3-litre PC for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors.

Barely 7 cm high, this Slim-PC barebone extends the product range and introduces a modern 32 nm-architecture CPU platform. The Intel H61 Express chipset selected for this new product supports second-generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors for the LGA1155 socket with a TDP of max. 65 W. The two memory banks on the pre-installed motherboard can take DDR3 modules up to a total capacity of 16 GB.

Green House Releases a New 21.5-inch LCD Monitor

Japanese company Green House has this week added a new widescreen display to its product offer, the 21.5-inch GH-JAJ223SHL featuring a WLED backlight (draws up to 33% less power than CCFL LCDs), a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and a contrast ratio of 1,000:1 (dynamic contrast ratio tops 5,000,000:1).

Available in black and white, this monitor also has a 5 ms response time, 250 cd/m2 maximum brightness, two 1W speakers, and D-Sub, DVI and HDMI connectors. The GH-JAJ223SHL is backed by a three-year warranty and cost about $224.

OCZ Technology Acquires SANRAD Inc.

OCZ Technology Group, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced it has acquired SANRAD Inc., a privately held provider of flash caching and virtualization software and hardware.

"This transaction is an important step in OCZ's enterprise solid state drive strategy," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "It significantly enhances the ability for customers to increase datacenter performance and efficiency by putting more virtual machines (VM) on a server without slowing down the VM's ability to access stored data, thus substantially lowering the overall cost of deployment. SANRAD's VXL has the ability to optimize caching strategies based on the application and support for VMware's vMotion, which sets the solution apart from others in the industry, allowing enterprises to finally realize the benefit of running a single unified virtualized environment," concluded Mr. Petersen.

ECS H77 Black Series Micro-ATX Motherboard Pictured

Apart from the Z77H2-AX, ECS showed off a mainstream socket LGA1155 motherboard based on the H77 "Panther Point" chipset, in the micro-ATX form-factor. The H77 chipset has the same feature-set as the Z77, except it lacks Rapid Storage Technology, and overclocking features. Out of the box, this board supports next-generation "Ivy Bridge" Core processors.

The LGA1155 socket is powered by a 6-phase VRM. It is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3 memory; and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Other slots include a PCIe 2.0 x1, and two legacy PCI slots driven by an ITE-made bridge chip. Storage connectivity includes two SATA 6 Gb/s, and four SATA 3 Gb/s, all wired to the PCH. Display connectivity includes DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. Other connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports (all driven by the PCH). The board uses cost-effective electrolytic capacitors on all circuits that don't deal with large currents, only the power conditioning circuits have solid-state capacitors.

Lian Li PC-Q18 Tops It Off With Features

The most feature-rich in the trio of Lian Li's new mini-ITX Q-series cases is the PC-Q18. It is designed for performance desktops and HTPCs. Measuring 199 x 290 x 365 mm (WxHxD), the PC-Q18 is designed keeping in mind the need for a performance machine to be airy, and is hence complemented with large fans. It can hold a mini-ITX form-factor motherboard with two full-height add-on card bays, hence having the ability to hold a double-slot graphics card.

Storage features include one 5.25-inch drive bay, which is valved; four (yes, four!) hot-swap capable 3.5-inch drive bays, with drive caddies that are so designed to accommodate up to three 2.5-inch drives. It has room for a 140 mm front-intake and a 140 mm top exhaust. Front-panel connectivity includes audio and USB 3.0. The chassis is made almost entirely of aluminum.

Lian Li PC-Q15 Packs More Room For Storage

The second Lian Li mini-ITX form-factor case on display, targeting the HTPC segment, is the PC-Q15. Unlike the much taller yet feature-starved PC-Q12, the PC-Q15 is diminutive, but packs several storage and expansion features. It measures 210 x 210 x 330 mm (WxHxD), is wheeled, and made almost entirely of aluminum. It has one valved 5.25-inch drive bay, one 3.5-inch hotswap-capable drive bay, and three 2.5-inch bays. It has room for one full-height expansion card. Its front-panel includes audio and USB 3.0 ports.

Lian Li PC-Q12 Stands ''Tall'' In Your Living Room

Lian Li showed off an innovative new case that looks to be designed for living rooms. Called the PC-Q12, the case seats a mini-ITX form-factor motherboard, with no expansion slots, that makes it look tall. It measures 88 x 365 x 280 mm (WxHxD), and is made almost entirely of aluminum. Surprisingly, it lacks an external drive bay, and the only storage bays it has are four internal 2.5-inch ones. It is ventilated by one top 80 mm exhaust fan. On its front-panel, it has two USB 3.0 ports.

Lenovo Adds Smarter Classmate+ Laptop & Convertible to Education Roster

Lenovo announced today its second generation Classmate+ laptops - in both traditional clamshell and convertible laptop form factors - based on the Intel Learning Series. These new laptops offer students, teachers and IT administrators more ruggedness with new durability features like greater spill resistance, affordability, battery life up to 10 hours and enhanced usability with Intel Learning Series software suite for using the e-reader, web camera and digital writing features.

Thermaltake Toughpower XT Whitewashed, Too

After cases and coolers, it's the turn of Toughpower XT high-end PSUs by Thermaltake to get a whitewash, the company unveiled its "Snow Edition" variant. The Toughpower XT 1275W modular PSU is pictured below. Aesthetically, its main body is colored white, but its fan grille is the same chrome one, and its fan impeller is black (although the press-shot in the placard features a white impeller). Its fixed cabling has white sleeves, and modular (detachable) ones are pure-white flat cables, with black or red colored connectors to add a nice contrast.

The PSU has stellar efficiency, as it is 80 Plus Platinum certified. It features peak power output of 1375W, although 1275W is guaranteed and advertised. It features full bridge and LLC resonance circuitry with the DC-DC switching module, and interleaved active PFC. Its cables include eight PCIe power connectors, including six 6+2 pin, and two 8-pin. It is backed by a 7-year warranty.

PC market slips 0.2% in Q4 2011, Lenovo gaining on HP

Hit by hard drive shortages and slow economic conditions, the PC market has ended 2011 on a rather low note, with preliminary data from research firm IDC showing that PC sales in Q4 were of 92.7 million units, down 0.2% on-year. Despite the Q4 drop, the PC market still managed a decent result for the whole year, recording a 1.6% increase in shipments compared to 2010.

Back to the Q4 data though, we see HP maintaining its top position with 15.1 million shipped units and a market share of 16.31%. It's worth noting that, while it's still top dog, HP actually experienced a 15.93% drop in shipments compared to the same period of 2010. On second place, inching closer to HP is Lenovo, with a 14.04% share (the company managed a 36% growth over Q4 of 2010) while on third we find Dell securing 12.91% of the market.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo HDD Rack Pictured

Thermaltake unveiled Max 5 Duo, a nifty little gadget to put your empty 5.25" drive bays to use for. It is a combination of a 2.5-inch SATA hot-swap drive bay, a 3.5-inch hot-swap drive bay, and two USB 3.0 ports. The drive-dock part of this device is "dumb", meaning it lacks any local controller, and depends on SATA connections to the motherboard or third-party SATA add-on card. Naturally then, it "supports" SATA 6 Gb/s speeds. The USB 3.0 ports connect to the motherboard or USB 3.0 add-on card over standard USB 3.0 front-panel header.

Thermaltake Frio OCK Given Snow Edition Treatment, Too

Like with the Frio Snow Edition, Thermaltake's higher-end CPU air cooler, the Frio OCK, also has a Snow Edition variant. As a variant, its specifications are otherwise identical to the original, except that the black+red colored plastic parts (such as shrouds, fan frames, and impellers), are replaced with white+blue colored ones. The blue, of course, is an "icy" shade of it. The top shroud is black, to offer a nice contrast with the white+blue colored fan frame. Measuring 143 x 136.8 x 158.4 mm (LxWxH), the cooler weighs about 1.1 kg. It uses a slightly larger heatsink than the one found on the Frio, to which heat is conveyed by six 6 mm-thick heat pipes. The heatsink is ventilated by two 130 mm fans in "push-pull" configuration. The new variant also provides out-of-the-box support for LGA2011 socket.

Thermaltake Frio Snow Edition CPU Cooler Pictured

Responding to the market's new-found love for white colored components, Thermaltake announced a few "Snow Edition" products, including the Frio Snow Edition, pictured below. This cooler uses the same exact design as the original version, but replaces the black+red plastic parts of it with white+blue, including a white colored fan impeller. It is a typical aluminum fin tower-type heatsink with two pre-fitted 120 mm fans in push-pull configuration. It measures 139 x 98 x 165 mm (LxWxH), weighing a little over 1 kg. Another feature of this cooler is out-of-the-box support for socket LGA2011.

ECS Z77H2-AX LGA 1155 Motherboard Showcased at CES 2012

Not to be outdone by the competition, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) has brought with it at CES 2012 a couple of motherboards based on Intel's upcoming 7 Series chipsets - one is a micro ATX model powered by the H77 chip, and the other is an ATX solution boasting the Z77 flagship silicon, the Z77H2-AX.

Part of the ECS' Black Series, the Ivy Bridge-supporting Z77H2-AX features a black PCB, a 12-phase power design, a quad-heatsink cooler, four DDR3-2600 memory slots, six SATA ports (two are surely 6.0 Gbps), and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots.

Toshiba FlashAir SDHC Wireless LAN Card Pictured

Toshiba showed off the first SDHC card based on SD Association's recently-framed SD wireless LAN standard. Unlike Eye-fi devices, the card doesn't just join a wireless network, but can even create its own, by working as an access point. It packs a WiFi b/g/n (N 150 Mbps) wireless network device. It can hold 8 GB of data, and being Class-6, it guarantees 6 MB/s transfer rates.

Source: Engadget

Plextor Debuts the PlexEasy DVD/CD Burner for PC-Free Backup

Plextor, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media and storage equipment, announces the release of their new PlexEasy External DVD/CD Burner at 2012 CES in Las Vegas. The PlexEasy is a versatile stand-alone optical storage device with a host of special features.

PlexEasy is a compact 8X DVD/CD Writer with a built-in SD/MMC card reader and a USB connector. It has the ability to connect directly to a wide variety of devices including both mass storage devices and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) devices such cameras, smartphones, tablets, and camcorders. And no computer is required.

Cool Electronics, Greatly Improved Thermal Management Thanks To New Form Of Graphene

A new form of graphene created by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin could prevent laptops and other electronics from overheating, ultimately, overcoming one of the largest hurdles to building smaller and more powerful electronic devices.

The research team, which includes colleagues at The University of Texas at Dallas, the University of California-Riverside and Xiamen University in China, published its findings online today in the Advance Online Publication of Nature Materials. The study will also appear in the print journal of Nature Materials.

The Level 10 M Mouse by Thermaltake and BMW Designworks

This must be the coolest high performance mouse to be seen in some time. The Level 10 M mouse designed by Thermaltake and BMW is being introduced at CES 2012. Featuring a very high tech design, the shape can be physically adjusted to fit optimally in the palm of the hand by turning a screw on the top. It also features a perforated skin, to help deal with sweaty palms better during intense gaming sessions. The release date and price are yet to be announced as are more detailed specifications such as the tracking technology used and the DPI resolution.

The mouse was exclusively shown to Tom's Hardware.
Wednesday, January 11th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Intel's Dodgy Ivy Bridge DX11 Demo: That Ultrabook Tested

Yesterday, we reported on Intel's embarrassing gaffe at demonstrating racing game F1 1 2011 running on a prototype ultrabook with an Ivy Bridge processor, where it was really just a video. Since then, AnandTech has seen that game play on an Ivy Bridge notebook just fine, but the best proof has come now, where they got hold of the actual ultrabook at the centre of the controversy and tested it with that game. The result? It works just fine, like we suspected. It looks like Intel just need a little PR makeover, is all. Video proof follows.

New Windows 7 Bulldozer Patches Available.

Very quietly Microsoft has released two new patches available for the Bulldozer platform. According to the AMD blog these patches seem to offer little more then a 10% boost but the do improve over all performance. This is what Adam Kozak a product marketing manager at AMD had to say,

"Some of you may remember that AMD FX processors use a unique dual-core module architecture codenamed “Bulldozer”, which current versions of Windows® 7 were not specifically architected to utilize. In essence, for those with an AMD FX-8150 Processor, for example, Windows 7 sees the eight available cores and randomly assigns threads to them.

In initial testing of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, we’ve seen performance improvements of up to 10% in some applications, when compared to Windows 7. This is because the system correctly recognizes the AMD FX processor architecture and cores. Thanks to close collaboration between Microsoft and AMD, Microsoft recently completed back-porting some of the Windows 8 scheduler code for AMD FX processors into a hotfix for Windows 7."

Samsung to Release Updated Series 5 Chromebooks in Q2

At CES 2012 Samsung Electronics has revealed its plans to introduce an updated version of its Series 5 Chromebook. Coming in Q2, the 'new and improved' Chromebook swaps the Atom N570 CPU of the first iteration with a Celeron processor, but keeps the 12.1-inch non-gloss display, the 2 GB of RAM and the 16 GB SSD of its predecessor.

The Celeron-powered Series 5 Chromebooks will start at $399 for the WiFi-only model and is set to reach $449 for the 3G version.

Source: Engadget

SilverStone Displays Zeus Series 1350W Modular PSU

SilverStone showed off a new high-Wattage PSU under its new Zeus "industrial class" series, the Zeus 1350W (model number ZM1350). The Zeus 1350W relies on a single massive 105A +12V rail design. Measuring 150 x 86 x 233 mm (WxHxD), this box is longer than usual. It is ventilated by a single 80 mm fan. Already 'sounding' scary? Its noise output levels are rated to be 21~40 dBA. This PSU is completely modular, and looking at its connectors on the main unit, we can guess its connector loadout to include a 24-pin ATX connector, two 8-pin EPS connectors, about 10 PCIe power connectors, and various SATA/peripheral connectors. The Zeus 1350W is 80 Plus Silver certified. Expect an uppish (not lavish) pricing with this one.

Arctic Shows Off Freezer i30 and A30 CPU Coolers

Arctic showed of two nearly-identical CPU coolers, the Freezer i30 and Freezer A30. The two are identical till the point where the i30 is designed for Intel sockets only (LGA2011, LGA1155/1156), while the A30, for AMD sockets only (AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2). The two share a tower-type aluminum fin-stack heatsink design, capable of handling thermal loads of up to 320W.

The heatsink uses four 8 mm thick exposed-copper heat pipes that make direct contact with the CPU at the base, and pass through the heatsink, which is then ventilated by a 120 mm PWM-controlled fan with a fancy-looking frame. Rubber standoffs attach the fan to the heatsink dampening vibrations. The retention clips come attached to the heatsink out of the box. A 0.5g syringe of Arctic MX-4 compound is included, while the coolers' base don't come with the compound pre-applied.

Kingston Readies New Design HyperX T1 Ultra-High Performance DDR3 Memory Modules

Kingston showed off its wares to the media, which included one product in particular that garnered some interest, the new HyperX T1 modules. Designed keeping in mind today's congested high-end motherboards, the HyperX T1 modules feature compound aluminum heatsinks that are designed in away that doesn't make the modules thicker, but taller. These modules are twice as tall as usual kits such as the HyperX Genesis. Their PCBs, too, are taller, and probably have an exposed copper layer for heat-transfer, à la Corsair Dominator. The heatsink branches out into fins at the top, for passive heat transfer to surrounding air. These modules will probably comply with new XMP 1.3 specifications, and offer out-of-the-box DRAM speeds in the range of DDR3-2133 to DDR3-2600, with quite some OC headroom to spare.

Source: VR-Zone

NZXT Switch 810 Full-Tower Chassis Pictured

Riding on the success of its Phantom Series case designs, particularly of the ones that are white with a dash of black, NZXT unveiled the Switch 810 ATX full-tower chassis (model: CA-SW810-W1) at CES. The Switch 810 uses many of the "sharp angles" design elements of the Phantom series. It is characterized by a large acrylic window on its side panel, through which you can admire your creation.

According to the placard, it measures 235 x 595 x 585 mm (W x H x D), its motherboard tray is capable of holding large XL-ATX and EATX motherboards. It has four 5.25" exposed drive bays, NZXT populated two of these in its demo rig with Sentry Mix fan-controllers (not included with the case). The bottom-most of these includes a 3.5"/2.5" docking bay to hold and hot-swap one drive. The dock is detachable to vacate the 5.25" bay. The front-panel cluster is located behind a door above the 5.25" bays. Internally, the case is said to have about six 3.5"/2.5" bays.

Sapphire Z77 Motherboard Pictured

Here is the first picture of Sapphire's socket LGA1155 motherboard in the works, based on Intel Z77 "Panther Point" chipset. Carrying the model number PT-CI7Z77, the board will probably carry the company's "Pure Black" branding. Its chipset and VRM heatsink designs have not been finalized, yet. To begin with, the LGA1155 socket, which supports upcoming "Ivy Bridge" processors out of the box, is powered by a 10-phase VRM. This VRM uses ferrite-core chokes, Driver-MOSFETs, and a secondary NEC-TOKIN multi-phase capacitor to condition power. Three other phases handle memory and miscellaneous power domains on the board.

The processor is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting dual-channel DDR3 memory. It is also wired to two PCI Express 3.0 long slots, which are auto-configured as x16/NC or x8/x8, depending on the second slot being populated. Other slots include a PCI Express 2.0 x1, and a PCI Express 2.0 long slot (gray), which is electrically PCIe 2.0 x4, and wired to the Z77 PCH. There are two legacy PCI slots, driven by an ASMedia-made bridge chip.

ZOTAC Launches Next-Generation DIY Home Theater PC Motherboards

ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and a channel manufacturer, today launches the ZOTAC D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme - a next-generation mini-ITX platform for DIY home theater PC users. The ZOTAC D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme combines the latest energy-efficient Intel Atom processor with world-class NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors for superior energy-efficiency and stunning high-definition video playback.

The latest generation Intel Atom D2700 CedarTrail processor with dual cores and Intel HyperThreading technology enables the ZOTAC D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme to deliver snappy multitasking responsiveness for everyday computing tasks. The NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 graphics processor equips the ZOTAC D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme with hardware-accelerated Blu-ray 3D playback capabilities and HDMI 1.4a technology for the ultimate 3D high-definition experience.

Elecom Unveils New Gaming Mice with Cross Axis DPI Settings

Japanese company Elecom unveiled a new line of gaming mice featuring cross-axis sensitivity settings, giving you the ability to tune the sensitivity of the mouse by tuning the X and Y axes independently. The sensitivity setting is then displayed back to the user by LEDs on the mouse, next to button 1. The M-H1ULBK and M-H2DLBK launched today have the same exact design, except that the M-H2DLBK is capable of both wireless and wired opteration. The M-H1ULBK is wired.

The M-H1ULBK features a 5310 dpi optical sensor (can be tuned between 90 dpi and 5310 dpi), with 1000 Hz polling rate. It has a 1.8 m braided USB cable. The M-H2DLBK, on the other hand, packs a 5600 dpi sensor, which can be tuned between 100 and 5600 dpi. It offers a polling rate of 500 Hz when functioning wireless, and 1000 Hz when wired. Both measure W77.6 x D124.5 x H41.8 mm, the M-H1ULBK weighs 155 g (including cable), while the M-H2DLBK weighs 137 g when wireless, and 187 g when wired. Both mice feature 7 buttons, with on the fly dpi settings. Slated for May launch, the M-H2DLBK will be priced at 15,435 JPY (US $200), and the M-H1ULBK at 9,870 JPY ($128).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Mad Catz Unveils the Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset

The Mad Catz team has this week announced the F.R.E.Q. 5, a new gaming headset bearing the Cyborg brand which promised robust stereo sound and extended listening comfort. The headset features a lightweight but durable metal headband, large earcups, 50 mm drivers with Neodymium Magnets, a detachable noise-canceling microphone, on-ear controls, and a 2-meter long USB braided cable (a 1m cord with a 3.5 mm jack is also provided).

The Cyborg F.R.E.Q. 5 is set to ship this spring but its price tag was not revealed.

Marvell Introduces New 88SE92 Series 2-port and 4-port SATA 6 Gbps Controllers

Marvell introduced its latest line of SATA 6 Gbps controllers, under the 88SE92 Series. The series includes the 2-port 88SE9220, 4-port 88SE9230, and 4-port 88SE9235. All three take advantage of the new PCI-Express 2.0 x2 interface. PCI-Express x2 (2 lanes) has till now only been hypothetically possible, since PCI-SIG has no slot specification for it. With increasing need for system bandwidth while keeping pin-counts and package sizes low by onboard controllers (such as SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0), PCIe 2.0 x2 has emerged as a viable solution based on the proven PCIe 2.0 specification, as PCIe 3.0 is yet to attain maturity in the industry. PCIe 2.0 x2 gives the controller system bandwidth of 1000 MB/s per direction, 2000 MB/s total. This ensures that a connected SATA 6 Gb/s device doesn't face a bottleneck at a given time, something which was impossible on older PCIe 2.0 x1 chips.

This system bandwidth bottleneck alleviation also allowed Marvell to add support for up to 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the 88SE9230 and 88SE9235. All three controllers further support port multipliers. Among the three, the 88SE9230 is the top-of-the-line chip, supporting Marvell RAID software, HyperDuo (Marvell's in-house SSD caching technology), RAID 0, 1, 10 modes, AHCI, and 128/256-bit AES native encryption. The 88SE9235 is a cost-effective variant of the 88SE9230, it lacks RAID, and only features AHCI/IDE modes. It also lacks native encryption. The 88SE9220, the 2-port controller, otherwise supports all the features of the 88SE9230, except of course support for RAID 10 (since it's not possible with just 2 member disks).

ViewSonic ViewPad 10pi Dual-Boot Tablet Shipping this Month

In addition to a few new Android tablets, at this year's CES ViewSonic also unveiled a fresh dual-boot Windows/Android tablet PC which is set to hit North American stores before the end of this month, the ViewPad 10pi. This quite bulky (266 x 13.5 x 180 mm) tablet is pre-loaded with Windows 7 Professional and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), has a 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) IPS touchscreen, and is powered by a 1.5 GHz Atom Z670 processor.

ViewSonic's device also features 2 GB of RAM, a 64 GB SSD, a 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.2MP front camera, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, an SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 2890 mAh battery enabling up to 4 hours of operation per charge. The ViewPad 10pi is expected to sell for $849.

Scythe Releasing New Screw Kit for CPU Cooler Upgrades to Socket LGA2011

Japanese cooling expert Scythe has today announced a new Screw Kit for upgrades to socket LGA2011. Thanks to this new Scythe Screw Kit for Intel LGA 2011 users are able to upgrade new as well as older Scythe CPU Coolers to achieve compatibility to the recently announced enthusiast platform based on socket LGA2011. It is possible to use the new Screw Kit with the CPU Coolers Mugen 3, Mine 2, Ninja 3, Susanoo, Mugen 2 Rev.B and Big Shuriken 2 to upgrade and establish compatibility. Required screws, wrench and manual are contained in the package of the Screw Kit.

Mentioned CPU Coolers are usually mounted with a Scythe backplate designed for various sockets. Socket LGA2011 mainboards are already equipped with an own pre-mounted backplate which is firmly connected to the socket. Scythe Screw Kit for Intel LGA 2011 is utilizing this backplate and achieves a solid as well safe mounting between socket LGA2011 and the Scythe CPU Cooler. Installation still requires the Metal Assembly Clips for socket LGA775, 1155, 1156, 1366 which are delivered with the mentioned CPU Coolers.

Memoright Announces 7 mm-Slim SSDs

With the Ultrabook form-factor gaining prominence, there's an urgent need for notebook components to shape up, so is the case with storage devices. A little earlier this month, Crucial announced its latest M4 series SSD in the 2.5" SATA form-factor, which is just 7 mm-slim, as opposed to the ~9.3 mm thickness that's standard. It looks like more SSD makers are hopping into this trend, including Memoright, which launched its FTM Plus Slim series. For SSDs, slimmer 7 mm enclosures don't affect components inside, as SSDs are essentially a printed-circuit board with controllers, DRAM and NAND flash chips.

The FTM Plus Slim series have otherwise the same specifications as the regular (9.3 mm-thick) FTM Plus series. These drives are driven by SandForce SF-2281 controllers, with sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s reads, 500 MB/s writes, and 55,000/50,000 read/write 4K IOPS. They take advantage of SATA 6 Gb/s interface to achieve those speeds. Like its thicker siblings, the FTM Plus Slim will be available in 60 GB, 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB capacities.

Source: VR-Zone

Lenovo and Motorola adopting Intel's Atom 'Medfield' SoC

After many years of planning, work and investment, Intel is now finally looking ready to step up and challenge ARM in the smartphone space. Yesterday at CES 2012 Intel announced that not one but two major companies - Lenovo and Motorola, will be using its 32 nm Medfield SoC (System-on-chip) for smartphones and tablets coming out later this year.

Lenovo is set to kick off the Medfield game as soon as Q2 when it will release in China the K800 smartphone running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The K800 is powered by a 1.6 GHz (single-core/dual-threaded) Atom Z2460 chip, and features a 4.5-inch TFT touchscreen, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS. Lenovo's plans also include a 10-inch Android tablet that's likely also scheduled for a Q2 arrival.

HiFiMAN Profiles HM-601 Slim, Lightweight Personal Audio Player

HiFiMAN, a leading designer/manufacturer of highly acclaimed headphones and personal audio products, announced their HM-601 Slim, a remarkably small, lightweight, personal audio player. The new player, under the HiFiMAN Express brand, delivers audiophile performance that will drive most full-size headphones while handling major music formats. The HM-601 Slim will be shipping in January 2012 with an MSRP of $199 for 4GB and $249 for 8GB and is expandable up to 32GB.

High-speed internet has enabled high quality lossless music files and Computer Audio, aka Digital Audio, and it’s one of the hottest ways music lovers are enjoying their favorite music. With 8Gb of memory on board, the compact HiFiMAN Express HM-601 Slim is a highly affordable yet remarkably musical player with a superb D/A converter and headphone amplifier. For use with a variety of headphones, a handy high/low Gain switch allows the player to drive most In Ear Monitors (IEM) and full size dynamic headphones.

Arctic Readies the Alpine 64 PLUS CPU Cooler

As revealed on its website, Arctic will next month be releasing a new, cost-conscious cooling solution, a CPU cooler called Alpine 64 PLUS which specifically supports AMD Socket 939, AM2(+), AM3(+) and FM1 processors.

The upcoming cooler measures 115 (L) x 98 (W) x 70 (H) mm, it weights 430 grams, and features an aluminum heatsink and a 92 mm FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) fan operating at 600 to 2000 RPM. The Alpine 64 PLUS comes with pre-applied MX-4 thermal compound, is backed by a six-year warranty, and is set to become available on February 20th, priced at $14.95 / €11.27.

OWC Rolls Out External Drive with eSATA 6.0 Gbps and USB 3.0 Connectivity

Other World Computing (OWC) has this week launched a new version of its OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini external drive, one that adopts two speedy interfaces ensuring high transfer rates - eSATA 6.0 Gbps and USB 3.0 (aka SuperSpeed USB).

OWC's updated drive measures 96.52 x 139.7 x 27.94 mm, features an aircraft grade brushed aluminum enclosure, it makes use of the Asmedia 1051E and 1456 chipsets, and is backed by a three-year warranty. The Mercury Elite Pro mini is available in multiple versions, either with a 5400 RPM or a 7200 RPM hard drive, or a solid state drive. The cheapest of the lot is the 320 GB / 5400 RPM HDD model ($114.99) while the most expensive ($819.99) packs a 480 GB SSD. All models are available here.

uTorrent Use Surges To 150M Per Month, Announce New Consumer Electronics Partnerships

BitTorrent, a leading peer-based technology company, today announced that the company's flagship BitTorrent Mainline and µTorrent software clients have grown to over 150 million monthly active users worldwide.

In December 2011, the classic BitTorrent Mainline client boasted over 20 million users, while the legendary tiny-but-mighty µTorrent client grew to over 132 million users. The numbers represent an aggregate count of both software clients running on Windows, Mac, Android and Linux platforms.

The company also announced four new strategic "BitTorrent Certified" device partnerships at CES in Las Vegas including TVs, set-top boxes, media adapters, and Blu-ray players. BitTorrent Certified devices are designed to enable consumers to discover, play, share and move all types of personal media, regardless of size, type or format, so that they can play high-quality content in their living rooms. New certification partners include:

AMD Demonstrates Trinity APU, Its Own Thunderbolt-Alternative

AMD's next-generation accelerated processing unit (APU), codenamed "Trinity", was demonstrated at CES. Trinity will make up AMD's 2012 A-Series APU lineup, and will be designed for mainstream-thru-performance notebooks, and mainstream desktops (different standards for different form-factors). Pictured below is what its notebook-specific BGA package looks like. The package has an exposed rectangular die, with a stabilizer frame around it (like with GPUs). Notebooks' cooling assembly heat pipes make direct contact with the die. Trinity packs two Piledriver modules (an evolution of Bulldozer), and DirectX 11.1 AMD Radeon HD 7000M graphics (notebook APU) or HD 7000D (desktop APU).

Shown to the CES crowd was a mind-boggling demo. The public were first shown what appeared to be an ATX desktop connected to two monitors, one monitor running a DIRT 3 DirectX 11 game demo at high-quality settings, and another screeen revealing the APU to be running GPU-accelerated video transcoding. No discrete graphics was used, it's just the embedded HD 7000 at play/work. If that alone didn't raise a few eyebrows, the AMD representative removed the lid of the ATX desktop case to which those two monitors were connected, to reveal a 14-inch laptop inside doing all the work. And there's more - the laptop's main screen wasn't idle, it was running a high-definition video playback. Whatever synthetic benchmarks end up telling about Trinity, its real world performance does impress!

You have got to watch the video after the break!

BenQ XL2420T and XL2420TX Gaming Monitors Launch in North America

BenQ America Corp. today announced the North American launch of the XL2420T and XL2420TX, the company's latest gaming monitors for professional and competitive FPS (first-person shooter) games.

Engineered in conjunction with ZOWIE GEAR - a manufacturer of high-end professional gaming gear and R&D partner to BenQ - the new XL Series models reflect BenQ's commitment to delivering cutting-edge pro gaming monitors equipped with innovative features to help gamers take their performance to the next level.

LucidLogix Develops Cloud Gaming and Remote Graphics Infrastructure

LucidLogix (Lucid) today announced Virtual Graphics Ware (VGWare), its new cloud graphics software that enables high-performance, AAA-quality gaming on all levels of CE devices. In addition to cloud gaming, VGWare allows for remote graphics rendering that improves the performance of a variety of client/server applications.

The Lucid VGWare Cloud based infrastructure is an adaptive client-server remote graphics engine, which consists of massively scalable software that allows multiple concurrent applications, such as games, to run on a remote server in the Cloud or data center. This server is then able to stream these applications to client devices such as tablets, internet ready TVs, smartphones and more.

HiFiMAN Unveils EF-6 High Performance Headphone Amp

HiFiMAN, a leading designer/manufacturer of high performance headphones and portable audio products, unveiled the EF-6, a new reference quality headphone amplifier designed to properly drive the most demanding headphones. HiFiMAN’s EF-6 will be delivering in January with an MSRP of $1499.

Hand-built by HiFiMAN craftsmen, the new EF-6 flagship headphone amplifier provides audiophile quality for the most demanding listeners. Weighing in at 24 lbs, the robust chassis of the EF-6 is made of high quality, brushed aluminum and steel with aluminum heat sinks. Fit and finish hint at the amplifier’s exceptional performance under the hood.

HiFiMAN Debuts Groundbreaking HE-400 Headphone

HiFiMAN, a leading designer/manufacturer of highly acclaimed headphones and portable audio products, announced their HE-400, a high performance, planar magnetic headphone with sensitivity so high (rated at 92.5dB) that it can be easily driven by a conventional amplifier or portable audio device such as an iPod. HiFiMAN HE-400 will be shipping in January 2012 with an MSRP of $399.

In addition to the excellent sound of the HE-400, special attention has been given to user comfort and ease of use. With lighter weight than typical full-size models, the HE-400 features specially-designed, over-the-ear earpads and a flexible cable so that the HiFiMAN headphones can be enjoyed for hours on end. For a differentiated cosmetic touch, the ear cups are finished in striking cobalt blue.

ViewSonic Previews Innovative Displays, New Tablets at CES 2012

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of computing, consumer electronics and communications solutions, will showcase innovative new products during Pepcom Digital Experience, held during CES 2012. These new offerings include a 7" Android 4.0 tablet and innovative displays that leverage the company's 25-year heritage in the industry and focus on the future of workplace computing.

LucidLogix XLR8 Software Optimizes Power & Performance of Embedded GPUs

LucidLogix (Lucid) today announced GPU virtualization software designed to improve the response performance, visual quality and battery efficiency of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks, notebooks and more.

Codenamed "XLR8", Lucid has taken the core technology behind its recently announced Virtu MVP software and applied it to single, embedded graphics processors like AMD Fusion, ARM Mali, Intel Ivy Bridge and NVIDIA Tegra.

ORIGIN PC Announces the GENESIS now Overclocked to 5.7GHz, New Laptop Design

ORIGIN PC starts off 2012 with three major announcements. The award-winning GENESIS desktop has been overclocked to a record 5.7GHz with the exclusive new ORIGIN PC Phase Change cooling system. The Phase Change cooling system will be available in late Q1. ORIGIN PC launches free U.S. based lifetime 24/7 technical support on all desktops and laptops starting today. The award winning EON17-S and EON15-S laptops both receive an upgrade with the new exclusive ORIGIN PC design.

Dell Launches the XPS 13 13.3-inch Ultrabook

Dell today unveiled its ultraportable XPS 13 laptop, the most compact 13.3-inch Ultrabook featuring an edge-to-edge glass, near "frameless" display, all-day battery life, and the latest innovative technology for a superb overall user experience.

Starting at 2.99 lbs., and less than a quarter-inch at its thinnest point, the XPS 13 combines performance-oriented thoughtful design with the latest Intel technology, such as Rapid Start and Smart Connect, to enable users to be productive, connected and responsive anywhere.

QNAP Unveils New Intel Atom Powered Turbo NAS Server Range and its Latest VioStor NVR

QNAP Systems, Inc. today unveils the next generation of its extremely popular and award-winning TuboNAS server lineup, along with its latest VioStor NVR video surveillance systems. In addition, the company is pleased to debut new NAS Firmware (3.6) and a new storage expansion solution for its business-class Turbo NAS.

The new NAS series, available in 2, 4, 5, 6, or 8-drive versions, are powered by a high performance dual-core Intel Atom processor. This new range provides the perfect blend of performance, business-ready features and value that make QNAP the ideal networked storage choice for small and medium-sized businesses.
Tuesday, January 10th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

That Dodgy Intel Ivy Bridge DX11 'demo' at CES 2012

That Dodgy Intel Ivy Bridge DX11 'demo' at CES 2012 (UPDATED)

Word has been flying round the internet about Intel's dodgy Ivy Bridge DX11 'demo'. Intel's Mooly Eden, VP, PC Client Group was attempting to demonstrate a racing game on a prototype laptop – 'ultrabook' - fitted with an upcoming 22 nm Ivy Bridge processor with a racing wheel attached and allegedly rendering DX11 graphics. However, as is very apparent at the start, it's actually a video, because the control panel for the free VLC video player pops up for a few seconds. Eden then 'drives' a car and after a few seconds puts up one hand and then the other, because as he says "they are driving it from backstage". However, there was no one driving the game "backstage", as it was just a video and Eden doesn't say anything about this at any point in the presentation.

This gives conspiracy theorists lots of ammunition, as perhaps the game was actually played on a high powered desktop PC with NVIDIA or AMD discrete graphics cards? What game was it? Eden doesn't say. "IB can't really do these graphics!" they cry and so on. Sure, man 'didn't' go to the moon, either... However, we believe that while yes, there was a bit of deception going on, it was nothing more than a white(ish) lie. Why? Because Ivy Bridge comes out in April and people aren't going to forget this demo. They will immediately put IBs DX11 graphics to the test with similar games and if it doesn't deliver, Intel will have a lot of egg on its face. Here's what Intel had to say about this demo in an official statement:

Turtle Beach Announces Ear Force XP400 and XP300 Gaming Headsets

Turtle Beach, the market leading pioneers of the console gaming headset category, today announced the introduction of the feature-packed Ear Force XP400 and XP300 premium wireless gaming headsets. Optimized for wireless game audio and chat on Xbox 360 (and also compatible with PlayStation 3), these headsets debut 2.4/5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi RF wireless technology that virtually eliminates interference with wireless networks in the home. The XP400 and XP300 can be seen along with the full offering of Turtle Beach products at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 1 – Booth #21327, during the International Consumer Electronics Show from January 10 to 13, 2012.

The Ear Force XP400 and XP300 bring the wireless Bluetooth chat of the acclaimed XP500 headset, add the ease of rechargeable batteries and introduce premium features that once again push the limits of gaming headset technology. With the exclusive introduction of groundbreaking 2.4/5GHz dual-band WiFi technology, these new headsets avoid the crowded 2.4GHz band used by wireless networks, phones and other devices in the home to deliver interference-free game audio. By automatically switching between the 2.4 and 5.0MHzbands and working within the WiFi specification, the XP400/XP300 headsets navigate around other radio signals and coexist within the same spectrum as wireless networks, delivering optimum signal performance.

GIGABYTE Unveils Next Gen Motherboards with Latest Technologies At CES

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced its participation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas where it is debuting a number of new and exciting motherboard technologies that will be central to it’s motherboard design in 2012 and beyond. International media and customers will get a sneak peak of GIGABYTE’s new technologies at their suite in The Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, from January 10-13.

GIGABYTE is showing forthcoming 7 series motherboards featuring the very latest in CPU power delivery with GIGABYTE’s unique Digital Power Engine called 3D Power. Offering digital control over all the main onboard power zones, this new digital PWM design allows users to manipulate and monitor the power provided to 2nd Gen Intel Core and Next Gen processors for the LGA 1155 socket.

Razer Reveals 'Project Fiona' PC Gaming Tablet at CES

Razer, the world leader in high performance gaming hardware, is proud to announce their newest gaming concept design - the Project Fiona PC Gaming Tablet. Unlike other tablets designed for general use and casual gaming, Project Fiona is a tablet concept designed to play the most popular PC games of today with an intuitive control setup for a phenomenal on-the-go gaming experience.

EVGA NEX Series PSUs Pictured

EVGA is readying a new line of high performance power supply units (PSUs) for gaming PCs and overclocking bench setups, under the NEX Series. The company isn't new to PSUs, as it had rolled out a SuperRecord-branded 1200W PSU in the past. The NEX Series, however, is more spread out, into various price points. At least four models are confirmed, 650W and 750W models for gaming PCs, a 1000W model for overclocked gaming PCs with 2~3 graphics cards, and a bleeding-edge 1500W model for overclocking bench setups.

The EVGA NEX 1500W will include "customizable" +12V rails, we're hearing. It will probably be a mechanism with which a number of smaller 12V rails can be combined to make a larger one. It will feature a "Dummy Mode" for multiple/redundant PSU operations, an "OC Mode" that clubs all 12V rails to a single 133A one, and a very special kind of cabling. The PSU will qualify for 80 Plus Gold certification. The 650W, 750W, and 1000W models in the NEX Series will have more standard feature-sets, including modular cabling, all three of these will be 80 Plus Gold certified.

Source: HardwareCanucks

Orico Unveils a Trio of Aluminum Mousepads

Away from all the CES action, Chinese company Orico launched a trio of mousepads under the AMP series, the AMP-C01, AMP-R01, and AMP-T01 (pictured in that order, below). All three are designed with the same surface dimensions, of 295 x 240 mm. The surfaces of all three are made of sandblasted aluminum, with machine-rounded edges. Their bottom sides are rubberized to increase grip on the surface below. All three are designed for high-resolution mice. The AMP-R01 and AMP-T01 are available in two color options each, silver and black. Orico did not give out pricing details.

Source: Expreview

Sennheiser Unveils HD 700 High-Performance Headphones

Sennheiser's high-end world has plenty of excitement to offer. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the audio specialist is unveiling a set of new premium headphones, the HD 700. These fully open dynamic stereo headphones combine high-end sound with an innovative headphone design.

"The HD 700 features a perfect combination of outstanding acoustic properties and sophisticated product design," said Maurice Quarré, Director Product Lifecycle Management Sennheiser Consumer Electronics. "Its styling and material selection have been thought through down to the finest detail in order to fully exploit the sound potential of the acoustic unit."

ViewSonic Unveils Desktop of the Future with New 32'' Touchscreen Work Surface

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of computing, consumer electronics and communications solutions, along with EXOPC, today announced the EXOdesk, an interactive touchscreen desk. The companies will showcase the technology demonstration at CES 2012 as part of a strategic partnership.

Built by ViewSonic, the EXOdesk is a 32" 10-point touch tabletop that uses an HTML5 powered user interface created by EXOPC. The EXOdesk demonstrates an intuitive design aesthetic and supports gesture-based control of applications including productivity tools, social networking and games. The desk will be powered by an external PC configured with an Intel Core i7 processor, Intel's integrated graphics, and Windows 7.

iTwin Launches Multi Functionality, Expands Secure Remote File Access to Workgroups

iTwin Inc., the company that created iTwin, the world's first 'limitless' secure USB device for remote file access, today announced its new iTwin Multi functionality. This free iTwin upgrade enables users to share files stored on a computer with multiple people at the same time.

With iTwin Multi, multiple users and workgroups can simply and safely connect multiple iTwins to the same computer to remotely access, edit and share files, without the headaches associated with email, VPN, or remote access software. For example, using iTwin Multi, field sales reps can remotely download or upload the latest confidential client contracts and proposals. Similarly, small businesses such as CPA firms can securely share large accounting files and other sensitive data with multiple clients.

Plextor Announces M3 Pro Series Solid State Drive

Plextor, leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media and storage equipment, announces the release of its latest Solid State Drive, M3 Pro, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today.

The new M3 Pro Series offers improvements to the current M3S, including a significant boost in sequential and random read/write speeds. Other changes include high-grade 24 nm Toggle Flash, firmware updates, and a new 7 mm height form factor to fit ultra-slim notebooks.

Sony Develops Next-generation Display, 'Crystal LED Display'

Full HD 55-inch Prototype model Exhibited at 2012 International CES

Sony Corporation ("Sony") today announced that it has developed the next-generation self-emitting display, "Crystal LED Display", and presents a Full HD, 55-inch prototype model at the 2012 International CES (International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from January 10 - 13, 2012). It is the industry's first 55-inch Full HD self-emitting display using LEDs as the light source.

"Crystal LED Display" Full HD 55-inch Prototype

The "Crystal LED Display" is a self-emitting display that uses Sony's unique methods to mount ultrafine LEDs in each of the Red-Green-Blue (RGB) colors, equivalent to the number of pixels (approximately six-million LEDs for Full HD). The RGB LED light source is mounted directly on the front of the display, dramatically improving the light use efficiency. This results in images with strikingly higher contrast (in both light and dark environments), wider color gamut, superb video image response time, and wider viewing angles when compared to existing LCD and plasma displays, with low power consumption. Furthermore, due to the display‟s structure, the "Crystal LED Display" is also ideal for large screens.

iBUYPOWER Introduces the Erebus GT Gaming System

iBUYPOWER, a leading innovator in gaming PCs, is excited to announce the Erebus GT. Name for the God Darkness, Erebus GT utilizes epic liquid cooling and overclocking abilities to reign supreme over lesser gaming systems.

The rugged steel and aluminum Erebus GT is similar to first generation system but has been redesigned to feature a smaller footprint without sacrificing cooling ability. Like original system, Erebus GT features a top fill port, built-in reservoir that can be checked through the front panel, and transparent fins on top to redirect exhaust to the rear of the chassis.

Razer Synapse 2.0 Rolling Out To Gamers Now

Razer, the world leader in high performance gaming hardware is bringing their cloud-based unified driver and peripherals management software, Razer Synapse 2.0 out of beta.

Razer Synapse 2.0 is now available for download to the public and currently supports the Star Wars: The Old Republic gaming peripherals by Razer, the Razer Blade gaming laptop, Razer Naga HEX action-RPG/MOBA gaming mouse, and the award-winning Razer Naga MMO gaming mouse. Razer Synapse 2.0 is designed as a unified driver, so settings for Razer products are conveniently accessible through one single program instead of through separate and multiple drivers. Razer will continue to add support for more of Razer's legacy and upcoming products.

SteelSeries Kana, Kinzu V2 Pro Edition and Kinzu V2 Gaming Mice Announced

SteelSeries, the leading manufacturer of premium-quality, competitive gaming peripherals, today at the start of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, introduced a new line-up of gaming peripherals. Kicking off the mouse category for SteelSeries in 2012 is the SteelSeries Kana, also known as the Designed by Gamers mouse; and two editions of the new version of the SteelSeries Kinzu, the SteelSeries Kinzu v2 and SteelSeries Kinzu v2 Pro Edition. The SteelSeries Kana mouse was introduced to SteelSeries fans in the Designed by Gamers Campaign as Mouse 1.1, which gave more than 300,000 gamers the design choice and where 60,000 “Likes” determined the winning Black 1.1 design.

“With the Designed by Gamers campaign, it was the first time we asked our fans and followers to choose a design for us, and we were incredibly proud to see the response from the community – it makes sense that consumers, specifically our consumers want to have a say in what we’re creating, said Kim Rom, SteelSeries CMO. “This new line-up of mice were each designed to fulfill the needs of different types of players, especially those who may not need all of the customization that can be found in the SteelSeries Sensei.”

SteelSeries Unveils the Ion Wireless Gaming Controller

SteelSeries the leading manufacturer of premium-quality, competitive gaming peripherals today, introduced the SteelSeries Ion Wireless Controller. Through a licensing partnership with Zeemote Technology Inc., the SteelSeries Ion is designed to work fully with your PC, additionally the controller brings classic control schemes to touch screen devices like tablets and phones.

The compact controller connects wirelessly through Bluetooth and can be easily customized and configured through its own application on the device.

Corsair Announces New Line of Solid-State Cache Drives

Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced the Accelerator Series solid-state cache drives.

The Accelerator Series is designed for desktop PC users who want to give their Microsoft Windows® based PC a dramatic performance boost with minimal cost and hassle. Corsair's new line of SSD cache drives includes premium caching software from NVELO, for improved boot times and lightning-quick file access. After connecting an Accelerator Series SSD cache drive to their computer's SATA port and installing the caching software provided with the drive, users will see an immediate speed boost. No drive mapping, no reinstallation of the operating system or applications, and no complex file management is needed — the Accelerator Series SSD cache drive works in tandem with the customer's existing hard drive to provide optimized performance. Customers may see an improvement in file read/write speeds of up to 5x their current hard drive performance after installing a Corsair Accelerator Series SSD cache drive.

SteelSeries Introduces the Illuminated, Siberia v2 Frost Blue Headset

Kicking off CES, SteelSeries the leading manufacturer of premium-quality, competitive gaming peripherals, today introduced the Siberia v2 Frost Blue Headset. The super-bright, blue LED lights glow through the outer mesh grill on each earcup, the Siberia v2 Frost Blue's lights and soundscape can be customized through SteelSeries Engine software.

It has an incredibly lightweight, over-the-head suspension design with an active noise-cancelling microphone and circumaural earcups that feature 50 mm driver units, covered by grey leather cushions for a noise-dampening sound.

Corsair Announces New Additions to its PC Case Lineup

Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced the builder-friendly Obsidian Series 550D ultra-quiet premium case and the compact Carbide Series 300R gaming case.

The Obsidian Series 550D offers a revolutionary combination of noise reduction and a wide array of choices for customizing cooling. The rugged steel and brushed aluminum chassis comes with two 120mm intake fans and one 120mm exhaust fan. Additional fan mounting points are provided for up to ten fans total, including locations for dual side-mounted fans for drawing air directly onto GPUs, and top fan mounts spaced for radiator compatibility. Unused hard drive cages can be removed to improve airflow, and Corsair's cable routing system allows wires and cables to be tucked behind the motherboard and out of the airflow path.

SteelSeries Introduces Multi-Device, Travel-Friendly Headset - the SteelSeries Flux

SteelSeries the leading manufacturer of premium-quality, competitive gaming peripherals, today introduced the SteelSeries Flux headset. Compatible with PC, Mac and Mobile devices, the Flux features new, on-ear mesh cloth cushions that pump out impressive sound levels via its 40 mm driver units.

The headset includes cable connections for an in-line, uni-directional microphone with mute controls that connect to PC as well as a connector with a single 3.5 mm jack for Mac and mobile devices. The multi-use headset was designed to be travel-friendly, the headset earcups to fold inward when wearing it around the neck, and collapse at the earcup hangers for quick and compact storage.

Corsair Announces Availability of Corsair Link Kits

Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced the availability of the Corsair Link™ Cooling Kit and the Corsair Link Cooling and Lighting Kit.

Corsair Link is a modular hardware and software system that provides comprehensive monitoring and control of PC cooling and lighting. The two packages are complete solutions that allow customers to immediately enjoy the benefits of Corsair Link technology. Customers can then further expand their control with additional peripherals that offer Corsair Link connectivity.

Razer Reveals the Naga Hex MOBA/action-RPG Gaming Mouse

Razer, the world leader in high performance gaming hardware, is taking your intense arena battling and frenzied hack and slash gaming to the next level with the Razer Naga Hex MOBA/action-RPG gaming mouse. Inspired by the award-winning Razer Naga MMO gaming mouse's 12-button thumb grid, the Razer Naga Hex features six large thumb buttons optimized for the user interfaces found in action-RPG and MOBA games.

Excitement in the world of gaming is heating up with the rise of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre, with games like the critically acclaimed League of Legends. Games that throw champions into a ring to arm themselves, level up, and duke it out against one another while defending massive super structures.

Kingston Technology Adds HyperX Red, New Look for LoVo Memory

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the launch of HyperX Red Limited Edition Memory and a new look for HyperX LoVo low-voltage modules. These memory modules have a new look and are designed for PC modders, system builders and entry-level gamers looking to push the performance envelope.

HyperX Red Limited Edition has a sleek and aggressive look that provides a stylish accent to any motherboard or desktop computer in which it is installed. HyperX Red is Intel XMP ready and is available in 8 GB kits and 4 GB single modules at 1600 MHz and 1333 MHz, in both 1.65v and 1.5v. With the ease of installation and HyperX reliability, these new modules meet the needs of consumers and gamers alike who seek higher performance via faster speeds and larger capacities.

Patriot Announces Gauntlet WiFi Wireless Network-Attached Storage

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash, storage, and enthusiast computer products today launches its new portable cloud solution the Gauntlet Wifi. Designed for seamless integration with tablets and other popular mobile devices, the Gauntlet Wifi offers superior portability with the ability to connect up to 5 devices for immediate access to stored data on the go.

With App support for IOS, Android, and plug and play compatibility with Windows based operating systems, the Gauntlet Wifi will offer one of the most robust and easy to use personal cloud storage solutions. For ultimate portability and streaming on the go, a built in lithium-ion battery will power the Gauntlet Wifi for up to 5 hours of data streaming. Streaming content will be supported in media player applications and IE 6 or higher, Firefox, and Safari.

Lexar Also Debuts JumpDrive Triton USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced the JumpDrive Triton USB 3.0 flash drive. Available in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities, the new JumpDrive Triton is more than 20 times faster than standard USB 2.0 flash drives based on benchmark tests, offering blazing-fast 155 MB per second read and 150 MB per second write speeds for exceptionally fast and reliable downloading and transferring of content.

Lexar Announces the JumpDrive S73 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced the Lexar JumpDrive S73 USB 3.0 flash drive. The new Lexar JumpDrive S73 leverages SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology to empower users to step up to the next level of personal storage performance by transferring photos, videos, and files up to three times faster than standard USB 2.0 flash drives. Offering read speeds up to 45 MB per second and write speeds up to 20 MB per second, the Lexar JumpDrive S73 is available in 8GB (blue), 16GB (purple), 32GB (orange), and 64GB (green) capacities.

Thermaltake and Co-Brands Showcase Their Products at CES

Thermaltake, being an expert in creating exciting things and fascinating environment for all users worldwide, continues to drive toward the corporate mission of “delivering the perfect user experience” on all segment of the market. This year, Thermaltake once again leads its three brands - Thermaltake, Tt eSPORTS, and LUXA2, to presents at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 entirely new and creative innovations that comprehensively adapt to the cultures of enjoyment of entertainment, e-Sports, technology, and lifestyle”.

Thermaltake showcases a series of new innovation with high quality from Level 10 GTS case, ARMOR Revo case, Water2.0 Liquid Cooling Series, Frio Extreme cooler, Toughpower Grand 700W Platinum Snow Edition and Toughpower XT 1275W Platinum Snow Edition PSU and accessories at CES 2012.

Victorinox Swiss Army Unveils Pocket-sized Terabyte Storage Device at CES

Today at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, iconic brand Victorinox Swiss Army (VSA), the exclusive marketer of Victorinox USB Flash Memory devices, announced the launch of two new portable storage additions - the Victorinox SSD and Victorinox Slim 3.0. VSA brings more than 125 years of trusted precision, quality, function and versatility to its newest consumer electronics innovations, which is a burgeoning product category for the brand.

The Victorinox SSD (Solid State Drive) and Victorinox Slim 3.0 USBs offer unprecedented data storage capacity with security measures fit for protecting the most confidential of personal and professional documents. Each pocket-sized device packs anywhere from 16 GB to one terabyte of storage capacity, is equipped to withstand a range of environmental and daily use factors, and remains true to the Swiss Army legacy of flawlessly designed products that endure.

Announcing New Enermax Revolution87+ PSUs

The successful Enermax Modu87+ has found a worthy successor: Revolution87+ continues the outstanding power supply series. It carries over the main advantages of its predecessor such as the forward-looking, highly efficient Dynamic Hybrid Transformer Topology or the leading fan speed control that ensures a silent operation. On the other hand, Revolution87+ profits by the technological progress of Enermax engineering. Partially, the new power supplies already follow the path-breaking technology of the Enermax flagship series Platimax ensuring an extremely high efficiency and rock stable voltages.

Enermax engineers have refined the proved Dynamic Hybrid Transformer Topology of the Modu87+ series and come out with fabulous 87 to 93 percent efficiency at 20 to 100 percent load – beating even some Platinum models in the market. Revolution87+ has been tested by the international 80 PLUS organisation and gained the 80 PLUS Gold certificate. The new Enermax PSU also supports the most current ErP Lot 6 standard for computer systems with less than 0.5W power consumption in standby mode (PSU only).

ZOTAC Introduces a USB 3.0 to HDMI Adaptor

ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and a channel manufacturer, today announces the USB 3.0 to HDMI adaptor – the latest addition to its accessory lineup. The ZOTAC USB 3.0 to HDMI adaptor enables users to easily add displays to desktop and notebook systems for increased productivity.

Simply plug the ZOTAC USB 3.0 to HDMI adaptor into a USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port and connect a digital display for an instant plug and play experience. The ZOTAC USB 3.0 to HDMI adaptor supports resolutions up to 1920x1200 with 6-channel digital audio for seamless audio and video connectivity with the latest Full HD displays.

Rocstor Unveils Amphibious Ruggedized Portable Hard Drive

ROCSTOR, a leading provider of fast, high-capacity data storage and encryption solutions, announces the launch of Amphibious, an International CES Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree. The Amphibious is a secure, ruggedized portable hard drive with real time hardware encryption and offers advanced two-factor authentication, USB 2 and Firewire 800. In addition, the crypto module is FIPS 140-2 certified.

The Amphibious is considered as one of the most secure and user-friendly devices in the world for size, strength of encryption, and method of authentication. It offers users the option of using the device in a cross platform and Operating System independent fashion, and no GUI or software installations required. The Amphibious is the result of several years of intensive R & D effort and collaboration. For the user it offers the value of data security by using an original concept of two-factor authentication with Smart Card and Keypad, real time hardware encryption, and futuristic design sense. The Amphibious is appropriate for consumers, SOHO's, enterprises, institutions, military and government applications who want to store data in a secure manner.

Patriot Memory Introduces The PBO Alpine Android Powered Media Player

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash, storage, and enthusiast computer products, today expanded its media player ecosystem with the introduction of its new PBO Alpine media player. Offering the flexibility and functionality of the Android platform, the PBO Alpine will make the leap into the next generation of home media players.

The PBO Alpine is powered by an ARM926 Processor which will support HD video output in full 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. Providing entertainment right out of the box, the PBO Alpine will come preloaded with iRadio, iTV, YouTube, Picasa, and a fully functional web browser. For enthusiast buyers, the PBO Alpine will offer support for user developed Apps that can be side-loaded for custom functionality.

Samsung Unveils Optical SMART Hub to Share Content Faster and Easier

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a worldwide leader in digital consumer electronics and information technology, announced today Optical SMART Hub, the SE-208BW optical disc drive (ODD) for backing up and accessing all your media files – pictures, movies, MP3s and data files.

The new Optical SMART Hub can be accessed from your tablet, smartphone, and Smart TV and up to four devices can access simultaneously. The Optical SMART Hub helps extend the storage on devices by acting as a personal cloud. The Optical SMART Hub allows CD and DVD writing function without ever turning on a desktop or notebook. With the addition of a Samsung application, users can enable their smartphone, tablet, and PC access to the Optical Smart Hub. The app for the Samsung smartphones and tablets are available now.

Team Announces C118 USB Flash Drives

The new and delicate C118 USB Disk of Team Group Inc. owns a special eye-catching style to target the fashionable young people. Team C118 features non-toxic silicone and environmental friendly materials, integrating great fun and practical style for you to love yourself and the Earth at the same time.

As 3C products move towards more the young and fashionable trend, the R&D team not only dedicates to make high-efficiency items but developed diversified outlooks and material applications based on different locations and consumer groups. Meanwhile, the company fully understands the importance of environmental protection. To provide a healthier place for the next generation, it presents the whole new Team C118, compatible with USB 2.0 interface, at the very beginning of 2012.

ASUS ROG Phoebus Sound Card Pictured, Driven by New CMI Oxygen Express Chip

ASUS displayed its latest sound card, the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Phoebus. This card is designed for multichannel gaming audio. While it might not pack any fancy DSP that doesn't already exist, its AMP circuitry is so designed to give the best positional audio that could come handy with competitive online gaming. With this card, ASUS also brought to the fore C-Media's latest audio chipset, the CMI 8788DH Oxygen Express, which packs native PCI Express support. All PCI Express sound cards launched by ASUS so far feature OxygenHD and ASUS-rebadged AV-100 chipsets, that use legacy PCI, and hence depend on PCIe-to-PCI bridge chips by PLX to function on PCI Express.

The primary DAC for headphone/front-out channel of the ROG Phoebus is TI-BB PCM1792A, with stellar signal-noise ratio (SNR) of 127 dBA. Other main channels are handled by Cirrus Logic, probably the CS5381, with SNR of 120 dBA. There's also a tertiary Realtek ALC889 (110 dBA) CODEC that probably handles an independent set of audio channels, or handles the digital outputs, since it's licensed with a few Dolby technologies. On the AMP side, we spy bleeding-edge OPAMPs, a Texas Instruments 6120A2(?) AMP chip (for the headphones channel), etc.

Xeon E5-2670 Seen Running on ASUS Rampage IV Gene

Imagine if your micro-ATX box that looks like you borrowed it from your mom and pop could crush every other machine twice or thrice its size, at the LAN party. That's possible when you run an Intel Xeon E5-2670 processor paired with ASUS Rampage IV Gene motherboard, as VR-Zone found out. Based on the Sandy Bridge-EP silicon the Xeon E5-2670 packs 8 cores, 16 threads enabled with HyperThreading, 8 x 256 KB L2 cache, and 20 MB shared L3 cache, and a quad-channel DDR3 IMC supporting up to 128 GB of RAM. ASUS managed to slip the right microcode into the BIOS running Rampage IV Gene, letting it run the chip. The Xeon E5-2670 will be clocked at 2.6 GHz, with a TDP of 115W. "Real men use real cores," go tell that to AMD.

Source: VR-Zone

Team Group Inc. Releases the Xtreem LV DDR3 2600 Quad-Channel CL10

The global leading brand Team Group Inc. takes the lead again by launching the Xtreem LV DDR3 2600 Quad-Channel CL10 for top specification, yet again dropping another bomb in the of OC memory market.

As its previous Xtreem LV DDR3 2400 CL9 has won overwhelming compliments, the company gets the chance again to bring out the upgraded Xtreem LV DDR3 2600 Quad-Channel CL10. This limited edition is by far the fastest and the only manufacturer to meet the extremely high standards of the 1T Command rate in the market. Its efficiency is 10% better than any other Quad-Channel memory. In addition, it supports the latest Intel X79 flagship platform and adopts the new Intel Core i7 premium processor Sandy Bridge-E (LGA-2011). The excellent stability and compatibility have passed strict tests to satisfy overclocking players’ needs all at once.

Verbatim Introduces A Full Line of 2.5-inch SATA Solid State Drives and Upgrade Kits

Verbatim, the global leader in data storage technology including USB flash drives, portable hard drives, solid state drives, CDs, Blu-ray disks and memory cards, announces the availability of its 2.5" SATA Solid State Drives (SSD) and upgrade kits.

Available in both SATA II and SATA III interfaces, Verbatim SSDs featuring ultra-fast data transfer rates, faster system boot-up, shut down, and increased system responsiveness. Verbatim's new SSDs are the ideal hard drive replacements for users seeking a performance and reliability upgrade. Verbatim SSDs contain no moving parts, resulting in greater mechanical stability and reliability, increased shock resistance, silent operation, and reduced power consumption for increased battery life.

Monster Digital and Seagate Offer Seagate Momentus XT Upgrade Kits

Monster Digital, a leading innovator and developer of advanced memory storage solutions, today announced it is teaming with Seagate Technology, a global leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, to make it easy to upgrade laptop and desktop PC storage to Seagate's Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive (SSHD).

With the new Monster Digital easy upgrade kit, computer users will now be able to turbo-charge the boot times and overall performance of their laptop or desktop PCs with a quick, easy upgrade to the Momentus XT drive. Monster Digital's "Dakar" series upgrade kit will be offered with 750 GB and 500 GB models of Seagate's high-performance Momentus XT drive at suggested retail prices of $289.99 and $269.99 respectively.

HP Unveils Premium Ultrabook with Extraordinary Glass Design – the HP ENVY 14 Spectre

HP today revealed the HP ENVY 14 Spectre, a premium consumer Ultrabook PC that commands attention with its unparalleled use of glass and stunning performance.

"Sleek, midnight black glass on the outside and stark contrast silver glass on the inside make Spectre extraordinary, defying conventional notebook design," said Eric Keshin, senior vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Personal Systems Group, HP. "We chose the name for our first ENVY Ultrabook to evoke mystery, and we packed it with the best in entertainment technology to satisfy those who expect the unexpected."

MSI Z77 Motherboards and Next-Gen GUS Pictured

MSI showed off its upcoming socket LGA1155 motherboards based on Intel's Z77 chipset, designed to accommodate next-generation "Ivy Bridge" Core processors out of the box. Like many other motherboard manufacturers with similar motherboards on display, MSI's Z77 motherboards lack the final designs of their typically fancy-looking heatsinks over the chipset and VRM, and make do with basic ones that get the job done, and more importantly, let visitors take a look at the components in use more closely. MSI displayed two motherboards, the mid-range Z77A-GD65, and premium Z77A-GD80.

The Z77A-GD80 is designed for gaming PCs with up to two graphics cards, with a strong CPU VRM. The CPU is powered by a 14-phase VRM, complete with SFC chokes, compact DrMOS, and server-grade capacitors. There are three long PCIe slots on the board, but it appears like only two of the three are wired to the CPU, the third one to the Z77 PCH. Those two slots are PCIe 3.0 capable. SATA ports include four 6 Gb/s capable ones. The USB 3.0 front-panel header is angled like the SATA ports. Other connectivity includes Intel Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, display connections that include DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI; 8-channel HD audio, GbE, and eSATA.

Lenovo Unveils IdeaPad YOGA Windows 8 Notebook, New All-in-One PC

Lenovo today announced IdeaPad YOGA, the industry's first multi-mode notebook with a 360 degree flip-and-fold design. Combining the tablet's ease-of-use with the ultrabook's functionality, IdeaPad YOGA gives consumers four-in-one personal computing, with four separate usage modes in one PC. Lenovo also announced today its new IdeaCentre A720, the slimmest 27-inch all-in-one (AIO) PC in the industry.

ASUS Dual-Socket LGA2011 Motherboard Pictured

At CES, ASUS showed off its latest workstation motherboard designed for 2P socket LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-EP eight-core processors, the Z9PE-D8-WS. By the looks of it, it might not be having the voltage-delivery muscle of EVGA's SR3, but it is filled to the brim with connectivity. Each socket is powered by a 14-phase Digi+ II VRM, there are numerous other power domains. The board draws power from a 24-pin ATX connector, two 8-pin EPS connectors, and a 4-pin Molex.

The sockets are each wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, giving this board the ability to hold up to 256 GB of RAM. There are seven PCI-Express 3.0 x16 expansion slots, from which four (blue) are x16 capable, and three (black) x8 capable. There are as many as 10 SATA ports, of which six appear to be 6 Gb/s capable. In terms of connectivity, an ASpeed AST2300 provides basic display and management over IP functions; there are two gigabit Ethernet interfaces driven by Intel-made controllers, two USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel HD audio, and a number of USB 2.0 ports. ASUS demonstrated this board by running two 2P capable unknown processors, three latest NVIDIA Tesla GPU compute cards, and an ASUS-made graphics card. Unlike with EVGA SR3, which is technically a workstation motherboard designed for enthusiasts, the Z9PE-D8-WS is intentioned to be a workstation motherboard only.

Source: VR-Zone

Ozone Gaming Releases the New Optical Mouse Radon Opto

After the success of Ozone Gaming mouse Radon, in 3k and 5k versions, the gamers peripheral company is back a year later to present Radon Opto. A professional-level gaming mouse, with the same quality of his predecessors, while retaining the advantages in terms of ergonomics and customization, but with the precision that optical technology provides to this kind of devices.

Radon Opto has a powerful Avago 3090 optical sensor with up to 3500 dpi resolution, more than enough to achieve extreme accuracy. These levels of resolution combined with the internal capability of optical technology to recognize the work surface with a high level of detail, offer an excellent response especially in FPS (First Person Shooter).

TRENDnet Launches User Friendly Wireless Range Extender

TRENDnet, a best-in-class wired and wireless networking hardware brand, today launches from 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 300Mbps Easy-N Range Extender, model TEW-736RE. TRENDnet's TEW-736RE is designed to eliminate wireless home dead spots by connecting to and extending the coverage of an existing wireless network.

Above all, the TEW-736RE is designed around ease of use. Setup takes minutes, with no drivers to install. Position the TEW-736RE in an area of low wireless coverage. Then simply press the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button on your router or access point, then on the TEW-736RE and you're done-the 300Mbps Easy-N Range Extender is now extending your high performance wireless N network in an area with previously low to no wireless coverage.
Monday, January 9th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Bethesda vs Interplay, MMO license is 'null and void'

Today Shacknews is reporting Bethesda the publisher of Fallout has settled with Interplay the original publisher of the Fallout series over the frozen development of the much anticipated MMO based off of the Fallout universe. When Interplay sold the intellectual property of Fallout to Bethesda in 2007 it retained the right to develop an MMO. The stipulation was Interplay had to be in full scale development of the MMO by April 4, 2009 with a minimum of a 30 million dollar budget. Bethesda claimed Interplay failed to meet this criteria and wanted full control of the Fallout intellectual property including the developing MMO.

However, today Bethesda and Interplay have apparently called a truce. ZeniMax, Bethesdas parent company announced the following, "ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million as consideration in the settlement, each party will bear its own costs of the litigation, and Bethesda will continue to own all Fallout intellectual property rights."

This agreement also allows Interplay the right to continue the sale of original Fallout titles, including Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics through December 2013. Does this mean we will see a MMO based off of the Fallout universe from Bethesda now? Only time will tell. However if Interplay wants to continue to carry the older titles past the agreed submission date we may have another battle on our hands. War. War never changes.

Source: ShackNews

Koolance Debuts HD7970 Water Cooling Block

Today Koolance quietly debuted its latest fray into the water cooling solutions industry. Its called the Koolance VID-AR797. The Koolance VID-AR797 is a full coverage video block for water cooling AMD Radeon HD 7970 cards in single and multi video card configurations. It utilizes a high-performance microfin (0.5mm) design made of solid copper with anti-corrosive nickel plating.

Currently the Koolance VID-AR797 is designed for AMD reference layouts only and has an ETA of Jan 16, 2012. No price has yet been given.

Source: Koolance

CES 2012 - We got you covered!

CES is officially kicking off on the 10th of January and we are in Las Vegas to bring the latest hardware news. The team is ready to go and eager to jump into the fray, having arrived on the 7th of January. With many manufacturers present, the show is bound to be the busiest one yet and you may follow our coverage on our CES 2012 Live Coverage page - just click the link below!Source: CES 2012 Live Coverage

OCZ Reports $103.1 million Revenue for Q3 FY 2012

The OCZ Technology Group has just announced that, in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012 (the three-month period ended November 30th), its revenue reached a record $103.1 million, up 94% on-year and up 31% sequentially. As expected, the company's bread and butter were once again solid state drives as they alone generated sales of $95.5 million (up 130% on-year and up 34% over Q2 FY 2012).

Despite the boost in revenue, OCZ still reported a net loss of $0.9 million for the quarter, but it's an improvement compared to Q3 FY 2011 when the company's losses were of $8.3 million.

ASUS Reveals Four New Eee PCs, Three are based on Cedar Trail

Today, after talking tablets big and small, ASUS mentioned no less than four new Eee PC netbooks, three models boasting a 10.1-inch (1024 x 600) display, the Eee PC 1025C, 1025CE and X101CH, and one equipped with a 12.1-inch (1366 x 768) screen, the Eee PC 1225B.

All three 10-inch models are powered by Intel's Cedar Trail platform while the 12-inch machine is based around AMD's Brazos solution. The Eee PC 1025C and X101CH make use of the 1.6 GHz Atom N2600 CPU, whereas the 1025CE packs the 1.86 GHz Atom N2800 processor. The 1225B comes with the E-450 Brazos APU.

SD Association Adds Standardized Wireless Communication to SD Memory Cards

A new SD memory card standard can transform millions of everyday consumer electronics into wireless LAN devices with portable storage and communications. The Wireless LAN SD standard announced today is the SD Association's first wireless SD memory card standard combining storage and wireless capabilities. Consumers will be able to transfer pictures, videos and other content wirelessly from most existing digital cameras and digital video cameras to web-based cloud services and between SD devices over home networks.

The Wireless LAN SD standard combines the world-leading memory card storage standard with the ubiquitous wireless standard IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, part of the Association's strategy to expand SD services and features by incorporating other global standards. This standard is applicable to full size SD/SDHC/SDXC and microSD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. It taps into a billions-strong SD standards market for which manufacturers can develop products and consumers can reliably use Wireless LAN applications.

CyberpowerPC Showcases New Desktop and Notebook PCs at CES

CyberpowerPC Inc., a manufacturer of custom gaming machines, will hit the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at full throttle when it showcases its top-of-the-line Fang III Black Mamba gaming rig; new Xplorer notebooks PCs, and debuts an Intel-powered desktop PCs series based on the new NZXT Switch 810 gaming chassis. CyberpowerPC will also debut new systems that feature AMD's Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, which is PCI express 3.0 ready and is the world's first 28nm GPU.

CyberpowerPC's top-of-the-line Fang III Black Mamba is certain to turn heads at CES. The Black Mamba's performance is maxed with an Intel Sandy Bridge-E i7-3960X CPU and X79 Chipset with quad channel memory support. CyberpowerPC overclocks the CPU an additional 30% with its Venom Boost technology and includes its Advance Hydro Liquid Cooling Kit with all new 480 mm radiator support to keep your Venom Boosted CPU and extreme gaming GPUs cool and running quiet.

ASUS X79 Motherboards Hold 70% Global Market Share

Two in every three socket LGA2011 motherboards based on the Intel X79 chipset, globally, are ASUS. The company has amassed 70% global market share of X79 motherboards, according to the latest sales data given out by the company. That's not all, the same data claims ASUS globally holds 50% of the Z68 motherboard market, and 60% of the P67 motherboard market. ASUS' X79 motherboard lineup includes four models in the P9X79 series: the P9X79, P9X79 Pro, P9X79 Deluxe, P9X79 WS; three models in the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV series: the Rampage IV Extreme, Rampage IV Formula, and Rampage IV Gene; and Sabertooth X79.

Source: DigiTimes

AMD Appoints Rajan Naik as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer

AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced today that Rajan Naik, 40, has joined the company as senior vice president and chief strategy officer. He will report to president and chief executive officer Rory Read. Naik, who was most recently a Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Technology practice will be responsible for AMD’s short-and long-term strategy development, including market opportunities, strategic partnerships and investment strategies.

“Rajan Naik possesses a strong track record of execution in strategic planning, product and market strategy, and operational performance,” Read said. “He will help ensure strategic and operational alignment across our business to take advantage of growth opportunities in lower power, emerging markets and cloud computing.”

ZOTAC Announces a Trio of New ZBOX Mini-PCs

ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and a channel manufacturer, today kicks off the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show with a trio of versatile 2nd-Generation ZBOX mini-PCs for all your computing needs. The new ZOTAC ZBOX ID81, ID80 and AD04 series deliver outstanding energy-efficiency and stunning high-definition video playback in a compact form factor.

2nd-Generation ZBOX platform enhancements debuting with the ZBOX ID81, ID80 and AD04 series include an external WiFi antenna for superior wireless reception, integrated Bluetooth 3.0 technology and a bundled Media Remote with USB IR receiver for use with Microsoft Windows Media Center, XBMC and other popular media player applications.

Gigabyte Intros Radeon HD 7970 Base Model

Gigabyte hopped into the Radeon HD 7970 launch bandwagon with a base-model graphics card, the GV-R797D5-3GD-B. The custom-design GV-R797OC-3GD isn't launched so far, doesn't feature on the company website, and will probably join its ranks a little later, since it appeared to be using a custom-design PCB, something no card launched so far has. The GV-R797D5-3GD-B sticks to AMD-reference PCB and cooler designs, with red-colored PCB.

We have seen cases where cards with red PCB in their press-shots ended up having black PCBs in the store inventories (and vice-versa), so it looks like the only way you can be sure about the PCB color by looking at what color PCB the online store of your choice is using in its item page when you're placing your order (and return the card if it doesn't match). PCB color has gained importance with enthusiasts that like to peak into the belly of their beasts through case windows. Gigabyte's GV-R797D5-3GD-B also sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 925 MHz core, and 1375 MHz (5.50 GHz effective) memory. The HD 7970 is DirectX 11.1 compliant, packs 2,048 stream processors, and is wired to 3 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 384-bit wide memory interface. Expect standard pricing of around $550.

Verbatim Announces the Store 'n' Go Micro USB Drive Plus

Verbatim, the global leader in data storage technology including portable hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs, Blu-ray discs and memory cards, announces its new Store 'n' Go Micro USB Drive Plus, a rugged portable solution perfect for storing music, videos, school projects or photos that conveniently clips onto key chains, binders, notebooks and more.

"The new Micro USB Drive Plus is an eye-popping way of carrying files while on the go," said Mark Rogers, Verbatim Product Manager, Flash Memory Products. "Whether you are a student, businessman, photographer or road warrior, Verbatim’s Micro USB Drive Plus is the perfect USB for you - just clip it on your key ring and carry your files with you."

Elgato Preps its own Thunderbolt-supporting External Solid State Drive

German TV tuner maker Elgato has today announced an external solid state drive featuring Thunderbolt connectivity. Known simply as the Thunderbolt SSD, Elgato's drive measures 83 x 21 x 131 mm, it weights 270 grams, has a 'rock-solid' metal enclosure, and is capable of transfer speeds of up to 270 MB/s.

The Thunderbolt SSD will ship next month in 120 GB ($430) and 240 GB ($700) capacities.

Lexar Introduces New, Professional Series SDHC and SDXC UHS-I Memory Cards

Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today introduced new Lexar Professional 600x and 400x Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) Ultra High Speed I (UHS-I) memory cards, including the industry's first 128 GB SDXC UHS-I card. The cards offer outstanding performance, reliability, and compatibility for professional and enthusiast photographers and videographers alike, maximizing the digital workflow experience of capturing and managing large volumes of high-quality images and extended lengths of 1080p full-HD video.

Crucial Ballistix Sport, Tactical, and Elite Memory Now Available in 8 GB Modules

Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, today announced the immediate availability of 8 GB DDR3 memory modules across the Crucial Ballistix Sport, Tactical, and Elite series. By taking advantage of Micron's 4 Gb DRAM technology, the new 8 GB modules provide users with the maximum capacity, performance, and density needed to run data-and graphic-intensive applications smoothly and efficiently.

Available in low-latency DDR3-1600 MHz and DDR3-1866 MHz modules, Crucial 8 GB Ballistix modules can be installed in configurations up to 64 GB in some systems, including the new Intel X79 platforms. Additionally, the complete line of Ballistix memory features a new logo treatment and updated heat spreader designs.

OCZ SSDs Using Indilinx's Everest Platform Now Available in LG Z330 Ultrabooks

Indilinx, a leading provider of solid state drive (SSD) processors and a subsidiary of OCZ Technology Group, announces OCZ Indilinx SSDs based on the acclaimed Everest Series SATA 3.0 (6 Gbps) platform are shipping in LG Electronics' thinnest notebook yet, the Super Ultrabook Z300 based on the Intel Ultrabook initiative.

"We are excited to continue our partnership with LG Electronics and provide our Indilinx Everest based OEM SSDs for integration into the company's exciting new Super Ultrabook Z300," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "These custom OEM Indilinx SSDs are the ideal solution for the Z300's ultra slim and stylish form factor, and help deliver a superior overall computing experience for customers with quicker transfer speeds and faster boot up."

VIZIO Bursts Into the Computing Realm with Five Innovative and Sleek PCs

VIZIO, America's #1 LCD HDTV Company, announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO's line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.

Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.

3D Gaming Now Possible on Toshiba Glasses-Free 3D Laptop

Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced Optimized for NVIDIA GeForce 3D support for the groundbreaking Qosmio F755 3D, enabling users to experience glasses-free 3D gaming1 for the first time ever on a laptop. The update is currently available for download via Toshiba’s Service Station utility.

“We have been working closely with NVIDIA to bring 3D gaming capabilities to the Qosmio F755, a killer feature that has yet to be realized in the PC industry,” said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. “Now gamers can experience hundreds of PC games in stunning 3D without the burden of wearing 3D glasses. This update brings a new level of play to 3D PC gaming.”

Toshiba Introduces New Accessories That Expand Laptop Usage

Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced two new accessories that will help consumers and business people expand and optimize how they interact with their laptops. The new dynadock U3.0 universal docking station and 15.6-inch diagonal USB 3.0 Mobile Monitor both easily connect to any Windows-based computer and provide users with access to an additional large display(s).

“Toshiba is committed to providing its users with a well-rounded and comprehensive computing experience,” said Paul Collas, director of accessory marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. “These new accessories we’re introducing perfectly complement our laptop lineup and customers will soon find these products to be indispensable in their daily lives.”

Intel and Cavium make WiDi Deal

Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for networking, communications, and digital home applications, today announced a technology and marketing collaboration with Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) to offer Intel(R) WiDi-based products designed to enable superior wireless display consumer experience. The resulting end-to-end solution will combine Intel(R) WiDi's ease-of-use and innovation with Cavium's super low latency technology and advanced video processing techniques to further enhance Intel(R) WiDi's interactivity and broaden its target applications. As a part of the marketing collaboration, Intel and Cavium will work together to expand and grow the market for wireless display products. A range of OEMs will soon be offering Intel(R) WiDi compatible receivers with Cavium's PureVu(TM) media SoC. Live demonstrations of Cavium's new Intel(R) WiDi receivers are available at Cavium's suite at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, between Jan 10th and 13th.

Vioguard Intros Self-Sanitizing Keyboard

Cyber cafés can be a nightmare for anyone hygiene-conscious, as the keyboards and mice are shared-surfaces. With every press of a key, you could come in contact with germs like turning or pushing a doorknob. One way to keep yourself clean is with instant hand sanitizer gels. A company turned the concept around, by introducing a keyboard that sanitizes itself after each user session. The device is cleared by even the US FDA.

After each user session, the keyboard pulls itself into its sanitizer dock (like an optical drive tray), where it's bathed in intense germicidal ultraviolet light (UV-C), which is a proven germicide against flu viruses, MRSA (a highly resilient kind of bacteria pathogen), and various other bacteria and viruses. Once sanitized, the keyboard is ejected out for the next user session. The keyboard itself is a combo input device with a compact keyboard, a multitouch trackpad, and a fingerprint reader. More details are awaited.

Source: Expreview

Sapphire Launches the Pure Black X79N Motherboard

Sapphire Technology, a leading manufacturer and global supplier of graphics, mainboard and multimedia solutions has just announced a new mainboard developed to support the latest family of CPUs from Intel, the Sapphire Pure Black X79N.

The Sapphire Pure Black X79N is a full ATX sized board that supports the latest generation Intel processor family using socket LGA 2011. It has 4 DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB of quad channel memory, including the latest high speed types.

OCZ demos second-generation Indilinx Everest controller

OCZ seems to have put SSD chip development in overdrive since it's already showing off the Everest 2 controller although the first-gen Everest silicon has barely been out for a few months. Codenamed IDX400M00-BC, the new Everest chip is supposed to deliver sequential read/write speeds of up to 550/500 MB/s, up to 90,000 4 KB random write IOPS, and significantly improved small block performance.

The first solid state drives based on the Everest 2 are expected at the end of Q2.

Source: AnandTech

OCZ R4 PCIe SSD Packs 16 SandForce SF-2200 Series Subunits

No, it's not a fancy graphics card by OCZ that's pictured below, don't let the PCI-Express x16 interface and cooling assembly with vents and heat pipes sticking out fool you. This monstrosity is OCZ's R4, a complex PCI-Express solid-state drive (SSD) which packs 16 (!) SSD subunits, each driven by a SandForce SF-2200 controller. Each of the subunits is part of a very large RAID array, which is abstract to the host machine. The host only sees the cumulative capacity into a single volume.

At the heart of the beast is a spanking new VCA 2.0 processor, which provides each of those subunits a SATA 6 Gb/s link, and connects to the host over PCI-Express 2.0 x16. The sequential transfer speed of the R4 is up to 6,656 MB/s (megabytes per second). It will be offered in various capacities, 3.2 TB looks like a possible capacity option.

Source: PCPerspective

Club 3D Releases the New Radeon HD 7970

New Year's Eve Fireworks has passed and it is time for Club 3D to introduce another rocket, the all brand new Club 3D Radeon HD 7970. This is the first graphics card using a 28nm GPU and supporting Direct3D 11.1 that will initially ship with Windows 8.

Coming along with 2048 stream processors, a 384 bit GDDR5 memory bus that provides 3.79 TFLOPs of computing performance there are magnificent new technologies introduced with AMD's new high end GPU like AMD Eyefinity 2.0, GCN Architecture, AMD App Acceleration and PCI-Express 3.0 to only name a few.

OCZ Shows off Lightfoot External SSD with Thunderbolt Connectivity

On site at the Storage Visions conference in Las Vegas, the OCZ Technology Group (OCZ for short) has revealed to the world its newest portable storage solution, the Lightfoot solid state drive featuring Thunderbolt support.

Encased in a metal shell (resembling that of the OCZ Enyo), the Lightfoot makes use of a Marvell controller, is capable of transfer speeds of up to 750 MB/s and is set to be available in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB capacities. Unfortunately OCZ didn't say when Lightfoot will ship or how much it will cost.

Source: PC Perspective

AOC Debuts the Aire Monitor with Docking Station

AOC, the worldwide leader in HD television and monitor display technology, announces the Aire Monitor with Docking Station, the ultimate monitor for iPod and iPhone owners. The 23-inch Full High Definition monitor features a built-in universal docking station for iPhone and iPod that allows immediate video, audio and photo playback from the mobile device through AOC's patented plug-and-play technology.

Along with the integrated dock, the base of the monitor also includes built-in speakers with high quality SRS Premium Sound. The 23-inch AOC Aire Monitor with Docking Station (e2343Fi) will be available for $279.99 at national retailers in March 2012. The e2343Fi will also be showcased at the Bellagio, Monet 3 Ballroom, at the International CES 2012, January 10-13, 2012.

GIGABYTE Introduces Cutting Edge Mobile Products at CES 2012

GIGABYTE today announced an outstanding lineup of ground breaking mobile computers at CES 2012. All products feature GIGABYTE's longstanding commitment to technological prowess in terms of quality, performance and design. Exciting products to be introduced at CES include the S1081, a 10.1" powerful slate for productivity; and the T1006M, an extraordinary 10.1" convertible tablet notebook. Other products to be presented are the Booktop T1132N, an 11.6" revolutionary 3-in-1 notebook, tablet and desktop; the P2532F, a 15.6" blazing fast Blu-ray gaming and multimedia notebook; and the Booktop M2432, a 14" notebook that delivers the perfect combination of style and performance.

Belkin Introduces the Advance N900 DB High-Performance Wireless Router

Belkin today unveiled its best-in-class wireless networking solution for maximum speed, range and performance, the Advance N900 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router. With Belkin's exclusive MultiBeam technology, the N900 creates a robust, blazing-fast network that supports an entire household of Wi-Fi devices and media-intensive activities like online gaming and 3D video streaming. The N900 will debut at CES Unveiled on January 8, 2012, and be on display at the Belkin booth #30651 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2012 International CES.

Featuring dual-band combined speeds of up to 900 megabits per second, the Advance N900 delivers maximum data speeds on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands simultaneously. Built for high speeds, the N900 uses the IEEE 3x3 standard to transmit data on three streams, which gives 50 percent better throughput. Additionally, Belkin's exclusive MultiBeam technology delivers a high-powered signal that allows for higher and more consistent network speeds and minimizes the number of wireless dead spots. With 6 embedded MultiBeam antennas, the N900 enables optimized video streaming from multiple devices, throughout the whole home.

VIA Labs Unveils USB2Expressway Dedicated Bandwidth Technology

VIA Labs, Inc., a leading supplier of USB 3.0 integrated chip controllers, today announced its proprietary USB2Expressway Dedicated Bandwidth Technology for USB 3.0 Hubs which dramatically improves USB 2.0 performance when multiple devices are utilized. USB 3.0 Hubs featuring the technology eliminate USB 2.0 bandwidth limitations by providing full, dedicated bandwidth per port, allowing multiple USB 2.0 devices to be connected and operated at their maximum capabilities.

USB 2.0 provides 30-40MB/s of actual throughput, and this is shared across all connected devices. When multiple devices such as external hard drives, flash drives, and webcams are connected, they share available bandwidth which results in severely degraded performance. Compared to USB 2.0, USB 3.0 offers 10x more bandwidth and allows transfers as fast as 300-400MB/s. VIA Labs USB2 Expressway Dedicated Bandwidth Technology allows USB 2.0 devices to utilize USB 3.0 bandwidth, eliminating bandwidth bottlenecks and freeing each connected device to reach its maximum performance potential.

Marvell Showcases 'Classroom 3.0' Technology at CES 2012

Marvell, a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced new education solutions designed to enable "Classroom 3.0," a connected, secure learning environment that simplifies and speeds the deployment of technology to students around the world. Marvell's collaboration with Stanford University has resulted in the Marvell SMILE Plug, the first plug development kit designed to turn a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment. Designed to engage students in critical reasoning and problem solving, the SMILE Plug creates a "micro cloud" within a classroom that is completely controlled by the teacher. Marvell also announced that it has extended its relationship with the One Laptop per Child Association (OPLC) on a number of new products, including the upcoming OLPC X0 3.0, a low cost, low power tablet designed for education.

Acer Readies the Aspire Timeline Ultra Laptops

The Aspire S5 ultrabook may be set for a Q2 arrival but Acer has something slim and portable for Q1 too, the Aspire Timeline Ultra family of mainstream notebooks. These upcoming 14-inch and 15-inch laptops are just 20 mm thick and pack an Intel Core processor, SSD/HDD storage, a slim DVD writer, Dolby Home Theater v4 surround sound, HDMI and USB 3.0 connectivity, plus a PowerSmart battery that will last for up to 8 hours per charge.

Like the S5 ultrabook, the Aspire Timeline Ultra models feature the Acer Green Instant On and Acer Always Connect technologies. And like the S5, these notebooks have not been priced.

LaCie Announces Latest High-Speed Storage Solutions Featuring Thunderbolt Technology

LaCie announced its latest peripherals featuring Thunderbolt technology today at the 2012 International CES. The new 2big Thunderbolt Series delivers speed, flexibility and capacity, while the eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series allows users to connect external eSATA drives to their new Macs. This announcement follows the unprecedented success of LaCie's Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series and further asserts the company's commitment to deliver high-quality products featuring Thunderbolt technology.

"LaCie is proud to offer the widest range of storage solutions featuring Thunderbolt technology," said Erwan Girard, Professional Business Unit Manager, LaCie. "These products are some of the fastest and most flexible storage solutions on the market. They will dramatically accelerate the workflow of even the most demanding digital users."

Lenovo Reveals New IdeaPad Laptops and IdeaCentre Desktops

Lenovo today announced an exciting lineup of new consumer laptops and desktops at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, providing a variety of PCs to suit every computing need, style desire and palette preference, with the debut of new colors including Peony Pink, Electric Blue and Ruby Red.

New laptops in the IdeaPad U Series, Y Series, S Series and Z Series provide a full spectrum of styles, colors and performance for every consumer – from mobile professionals to students and everyone in between. New models of IdeaCentre desktops range from the performance K Series to the space-saving multi-touch IdeaCentre B Series All-In-One (AIOs).

ASUS Radeon HD 7970 3 GB Launched

ASUS-branded reference design graphics cards are often looked forward to by enthusiasts because they feature minimalist AIB-branding stickers. ASUS' Radeon HD 7970 3 GB graphics card launched today (model: HD7970-3GD5) is no exception to that, except it features a red-colored PCB. It otherwise sticks to AMD-reference PCB and cooler design, as well as AMD reference clock speeds of 925 MHz core and 5.50 GHz (1375 MHz actual) memory. It bundles ASUS' GPU Tweak tool that allows easy voltage-assisted overclocking. In all likelihood, it will be priced on par with every other base model Radeon HD 7970 graphics card from other vendors, around $550.

XFX Becomes The First AIB Partner to Launch Custom-Design HD 7970

XFX became the first AMD add-in board (AIB) partner to launch a graphics card based on AMD's new Radeon HD 7970 GPU, which features an in-house design. Other graphics cards launched today stick to AMD reference design. Called the XFX R7970 Double Dissipation, the card makes use of AMD reference PCB design (black color) with its own factory-overclocked speeds, but an in-house dual-fan cooling assembly. The cooler uses a large aluminum fin array to which heat from the GPU, memory, and VRM is fed by heat pipes, which is then ventilated by two fans.

The XFX R7970 Double Dissipation comes in two variants, the Black Edition variant features clock speeds of 1000 MHz core and 1425 MHz (5.70 GHz effective) memory; while the base Double Dissipation variant sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 925 MHz / 5.50 GHz. There is also an AMD reference-design "core" version in the works. The card packs 3 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 384-bit wide memory interface. It uses the same display output cluster as every other HD 7970, with one dual-link DVI, an HDMI 1.4a, and two mini-DP connectors; but features a custom-designed rear-panel bracket with XFX branding.

A video presentation of this card follows.

VTX3D Launches its Radeon HD 7970 3 GB Graphics Cards

VERTEX3D, a leading manufacturer of AMD based graphics products, is proud to announce brand-new HD7900 models, VTX3D HD7970, with higher performance and new features. HD7970 is designed to work perfectly with the latest PCI Express 3.0 bus architecture, delivering double bandwidth per lane compares to previous generation. Enhanced DirectX 11.1 version boosts up the speed of tessellation and DirectCompute, brings ultimate gaming performance you never feel before.

Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 Launched

Today is launch-day for AIB-branded Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards, also the day you'll be able to buy your card from stores. Sapphire is naturally part of the launch party, with its base-model Radeon HD 7970 graphics card. In the weeks ahead, it will launch the rest of its exhaustive lineup of graphics cards based on this GPU. Sapphire's "Da Original" Radeon HD 7970 graphics card is based entirely on AMD's reference design, with a black-colored PCB. It sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 925 MHz core, and 5.50 GHz memory, packing 3 GB of memory. Based on the 28 nm "Tahiti" GPU, the Radeon HD 7970 is a DirectX 11.1-compatible graphics card, packing 2048 stream processors, and a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. It will be priced at around US $550.

MSI Unveils Radeon HD 7970, New Afterburner Supporting its Voltage Control

Leading global graphics card and motherboard manufacturer MSI today officially announces the world's first graphics cards equipped with the brand new AMD 28nm Radeon HD 7900 GPU, R7970-2PMD3G5, which is built on the latest PCI Express Gen 3 standard. MSI's R7900 series graphics cards are equipped with 3GB of high speed GDDR5 graphics memory, and also come with MSI's exclusive Afterburner overclocking utility that allows users to adjust the core voltage to increase overclocking potential.

MSI's R7900 series also features AMD's exclusive Eyefinity multi-display technology, and combined with support for next-generation DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a interfaces, stereoscopic 3D capability, and 7.1 channel lossless high quality TrueHD and DTS-HD audio formats, consumers can enjoy the highest quality audio and visual entertainment! MSI's R7900 series graphics cards have also implemented an all-solid capacitor design to guarantee stability even when working under full loads over extended periods of time.

PowerColor Announces its Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card

TUL Corporation, a leading manufacturer of AMD graphic cards, today announces a breathtaking graphics solution: the PowerColor HD7970. Based on the 28nm GCN architecture, HD7970 enables the absurdly high frame rates at demanding setting while using less power and better transistor efficiency, maximizes the most astonishing gaming performance like never before.

Clocks at 925MHz core and 1375MHz memory speed, the PowerColor HD7970 can easily boost up your PC with the support of the latest PCI Express 3.0; through doubling the bandwidth per lane of previous generation, it can release the power of GPU to maximize performance while paired with the latest platform.

HIS Unveils its Much Awaited Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card

Hightech Information System (HIS) today announced the launch of HIS 7970 3GB. The card is the world’s first 28nm GPU graphics card, pushing the graphics experiences to an unrivalled level! With a clock rate of 925 MHz, memory clock of 5.5 Gbps as well as a 384-bit memory interface, this new 7000 series HIS 7970 3GB offers maximum and crazy performances!

HIS 7970 3GB comes in a great value with the bundled the Eyefinity Dongle – the Active Mini DisplayPort to SL-DVI Dongle. In addition, the bundled HIS Weight Lifter makes the card last longer. It takes some weight off of the card and the PCIe slot, providing a simple but effective solution to prevent potential damage to the card due to the card’s weight.

HighPoint RocketRAID 2700 HBAs Get 50% Performance Boost with Latest Firmware, Driver

HighPoint Technologies, Inc., an industry leading HBA and storage solutions manufacturer, has announced a new milestone in 6Gb/s SSD storage performance. Recent driver and firmware updates for the best-selling RocketRAID 2700 series of 6Gb/s SAS HBA’s dramatically improve the performance of RAID and non-RAID SSD configurations.

As the cost-per-gigabyte ratio of Nand Flash Chips continues to improve, SSD’s have become the storage device of choice for many PC enthusiasts, gamers and media professionals. Multi-SSD configurations, once regulated to ultra-high-end workstations and enterprise servers, are now realistic propositions for the high-performance personal computing market. HighPoint SAS 6Gb/s HBA’s are the ideal storage companion for such configurations. The RocketRAID 2700 series has been performance tuned to support today’s fastest 6Gb/s SSD’s, boosting transfer rates by as much as 50%.
Sunday, January 8th 2012

Today's Reviews

Desktop PC
Graphics Cards

Laptop Prototype Uses Eye and Keyboard Combi Control For Fast Input With Windows 8

c|net has tried out a laptop prototype from Tobii at the Consumer Electronics Show, that can be controlled with the eyes – and it works. The reporter, Rafe Needleman, was initially sceptical, as the eyes are only designed for input not output, but it turned out to be very fast and intuitive for him. It works by having the user press the Windows key, look at a tile and then release the key to activate the tile. The use of the keypress prevents one's eyes, which tend to dart around in normal use, from scrambling input to the laptop. As the user's gaze darts over the screen, the system gives an indication as to which tile is currently selected by the user's gaze to ensure accurate tile selection by the user.

To achieve this feat, the modified laptop uses two infra red emitters and two special IR cameras along the Windows 8 customer preview released a while back. They use "the reflective point of the retina, plus the glint off the cornea" Rafe was told. From this, the computer builds a 3D model of the user's gaze to work out where they are looking on the screen. Rafe concluded, "I did not expect to like it, but I did. It is intuitive to use, and very fast. Tobii has done a good job of making your glances into workable input signals."

Acer Announces the Thunderbolt-equipped Aspire S5 Ultrabook

Kicking off the CES release madness a little early, PC maker Acer has today announced its second ultrabook, the Aspire S5. Set for a Q2 arrival, the S5 is 15 mm thick, it weights under 1.35 kg, and features an Onyx Black magnesium-aluminum alloy cover, a 13.3-inch LCD screen, a chiclet keyboard, an Intel Core processor, a solid state drive, and a MagicFlip I/O port panel (found below the hinge) which includes HDMI, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt (!) connectors.

Acer's ultrabook also includes the Green Instant On technology for super fast booting and resume, and the Always Connect solution enabling users to 'manage their multimedia and data on all their devices at anytime, anywhere'.

No word (yet) on the Aspire S5's pricing scheme.
Images courtesy of The Verge.

Microsoft Works On Star Wars-Style 3D 360-degree Holographic Interactive Displays

No, you're not dreaming. The flickery 360-degree 3D displays envisaged in the Star Wars movies now exists as a prototype project from Microsoft. Called the Vermeer Interactive Display, the research project combines Microsoft's Kinect motion sensing technology to allow you to directly 'touch' and interact with the virtual image being projected, which Microsoft describes as a '3D volumetric/light field display'. In essence, it works by creating an image between two facing parabolic mirrors, which then creates the optical illusion of a colour 3D image floating above them, which can be viewed all the way round. So, could this technology eventually be applied to PC gaming giving an immersive interactive experience not seen before? What kind of graphics power would be needed to drive it? The video below gives a fascinating demonstration of this new technology.
Saturday, January 7th 2012

Today's Reviews

Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards

Sony Quits Consumer OLED Display Business - For Now Only?

There has been excitement recently, that the much-anticipated next generation OLED display technology for consumer TVs and computer monitors will finally make an entrance in the market in 2012. Fuelling this, was the announcement last week that LG is to showcase their OLED TV at CES this month. Sony was also due to introduce OLED TVs to consumers. However, this plan has now been shelved, according to The Daily Yomiuri, with Sony only continuing to sell this technology to corporate customers such as broadcasting companies, along with the associated research and development into better displays. The reason for dropping the consumer market is partly due to poor business performance in this area, so Sony cut back on capital investment, which in turn reduced its price competitiveness with its Korean rivals such as LG and Samsung.

This is a shame, because for a healthy and good value OLED TV and monitor market, there need to be many players competing with each other, which will drive down prices and increase product quality over time. However, if OLED takes off in the consumer space, it seems very unlikely that Sony wouldn't return to it eventually.
Sony XEL-1 OLED TV.Picture credit: engadget

TrendNet Launches The Smallest 500 Mbps Powerline Networking Adapter

TrendNet, a best-in-class wired and wireless networking hardware brand, announces today from 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 500 Mbps Compact Powerline AV Adapter, model TPL-406E, and the 500 Mbps Compact Powerline AV Adapter Kit, model TPL-406E2K, which comes with two TPL-406E adapters. These high performance 500 Mbps adapters come in the smallest form factor to date.

New media center devices such as Internet televisions, network video recorders (NVRs), receivers, and game consoles are now network ready-meaning they are capable of streaming large HD files directly from the Internet. TRENDnet's ground breaking 500 Mbps Compact Powerline AV Adapters connect media center devices and computers to the Internet using existing electrical lines.

TrendNet Displays 802.11ac 1300 Mbps Wireless Routers

TRENDnet, a best-in-class wired and wireless networking hardware brand, today displays from 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, the next generation 1300 Mbps Dual Band Wireless AC Router, model TEW-811DR, and 1300 Mbps Dual Band Wireless AC Media Bridge, model TEW-800MB.

The explosion of wireless devices in the home and office coupled with high demand for HD video-based content will continue to compound wireless network loading for years to come. 802.11ac is a new wireless standard designed to meet tomorrow's extreme wireless bandwidth networking needs.

Xbox 360 Most Popular Games Of 2011

Microsoft has revealed the top 20 most popular games played on the Xbox 360 in 2011 based on numbers of unique users logged into Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold members). Note that this gives a different result to the total playtime for a particular game, which has not been disclosed here. Unsurprisingly, the Call of Duty series dominates the chart, but what is sure to irk CoD detractors, but make fans very happy, is that a massive five of those positions are taken up by CoD – that's 25% of the rankings. Even CoD4: Modern Warfare which was released way back in 2007 sits at a very respectable number 14. However, top games Battlefield 3 and Skyrim did very well nonetheless, sitting at five and six respectively, with only Halo beating them at number 4. Can you guess which CoD game hit the top spot before looking at the chart?
Friday, January 6th 2012

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Cougar Announces Solution ATX Mid-Tower Chassis

COUGAR today announced global availability of their latest middle tower PC case focusing on attractive design and convenient every-day usage features at an affordable budget price point. The COUGAR Solution comes entirely black coated outside and inside, the honey-comb and mesh hybrid intake design creates a solid, rugged look with optimized ventilation characteristics.

As COUGAR is specifically targeting demanding enthusiast users and gamers, powerful high-end setups are always a major focus of attention when designing PC cases, power supplies or cooling fan solutions. Therefore, the COUGAR Solution offers a broad range of ventilation upgrade potential with up to 8 installable fans. But ventilation is more than just about fans. In order to optimize internal airflow, the COUGAR Solution has been created with a sophisticated, yet easy to use cable-routing in mind. The cable routing does not only ensure a clean inside of your system, but moreover allows your components to stay cool. In turn this also ensures a longer product life span.

World's Smallest Silicon Wire Leads To Atomic-Scale Computing, Moore's Law Continues

News of quantum breakthroughs seem to be coming every few months now, edging ever closer towards the hallowed goal of building a quantum computer using quantum qubits rather than classical bits and bringing colossal improvements in computational power. This will eventually lead to applications that we can't even imagine now and possibly a true artificial intelligence of the kind one sees in the movies. Also, it would allow calculations that would normally take longer than the lifetime of the universe on a classical computer to be made in just a few seconds or minutes on a quantum one. A goal well worth striving for.

The latest breakthrough comes from the University of New South Wales, Melbourne University and Purdue University who have developed the smallest wire yet. It's a silicon nanowire, having the tiny dimensions of just one atom high and four atoms wide. This is a feat in itself, but the crucial part is that the wire is able to maintain its resistivity even at this atomic level, making it far easier for current to flow, thereby preventing the tiny wire from becoming useless. This will help with the continuation of Moore's Law, giving us ever more powerful computers at the present rate and opens the door to quantum computing within the next decade.

TechEYE has a more detailed article about this development. This is based on an ABC Radio interview with Michelle Simmons from the University of New South Wales and makes for fascinating listening.

Lexar Introduces New, High Capacity CompactFlash Cards

Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced new Lexar Professional 400x CompactFlash (CF) card capacities, including the industry's first 256 GB memory card. Also available in 64 GB and 128 GB capacities, the increased capacity options provide enormous storage capabilities and impressive performance for photographers and videographers to capture large volumes of high-resolution images and high-definition video. These increased capacities also open the door for new uses in the industrial and commercial markets where higher capacity hard disk drives have previously been used.

The new Lexar Professional CF card capacities are speed rated at 400x and provide a minimum guaranteed transfer speed of 60 MB per second, allowing professionals and advanced photo and video enthusiasts to enjoy extended capture of 1080p full-HD video and sustained, rapid-fire shooting. When paired with UDMA 7-compatible devices, like the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader, the new Professional 400x CF card capacities provide rapid transfer of content from card to computer, significantly accelerating the digital workflow and enabling photographers to spend more time creating and less time waiting.

Steam Closes 2011 with 100% Sales Growth, 5 Million Simultaneous Users

Valve today announced the 2011 growth data for Steam, a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment. During 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to over 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100% for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale Steam's simultaneous user number eclipsed the 5 million player mark.

Meanwhile Steam doubled the amount of content delivered in 2011 vs. 2010, serving over 780 Petabytes of data to gamers around the world. To meet the increasing demand for games and services on the platform, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.

SATA-IO Releases New DevSleep Feature

The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of Serial ATA (SATA) technology, today announced the completion of SATA DevSleep, a new feature that reduces power consumption of devices. SATA DevSleep enables the development of ultra-portable computing devices based on SATA storage solutions that consume significantly less power than current offerings, resulting in longer battery life and enhanced ease of use.

DevSleep defines the lowest power state for SATA technology, allowing the PHY and other circuitry to be completely powered off, unlike existing partial/slumber states, which require a partially powered PHY. The feature allows devices to be always on and always connected without unnecessarily reducing battery life. For example, with DevSleep an ultra-thin laptop that would have previously needed to be put into standby to conserve battery life can now stay on and be immediately available for use.

Crucial Debuts the Ultra-Slim (7 mm) Crucial m4 Solid State Drive

Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, today introduced a 7 mm version of the award-winning Crucial m4 SSD to meet the need for thinner storage devices. With the same performance delivered by the standard 9.5 mm Crucial m4 SSD, the new ultra-slim 7 mm version supports the latest thin and light form factor laptop models, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad T420G, Acer Aspire 6920G, and new Intel-inspired Ultrabook devices.

The 7 mm Crucial m4 SSD is available in 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB capacities. The 512 GB capacity offering is one of the highest-capacity storage drives – magnetic or solid state – available in the market today for laptops with a 7 mm tall drive bay.

OCZ and Marvell Announce the Z-Drive R5 PCIe Solid State Drive

OCZ Technology Group, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, and Marvell, a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today unveiled the industry's fastest and most versatile PCI Express (PCIe) storage system, the Z-Drive R5. The increased performance, reliability, and endurance of the Z-Drive R5 is designed to take PCIe-based solid state storage to the next level for enterprise environments.

The Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center.

AREA Also Intros SATA 6 Gb/s Card with Switchable Internal/External Ports

Apart from the powerful little Mr. Clone 3.0 drive-cloning and docking device, Japanese company AREA also launched the SATA 6 Gb/s TwinTurbo Hybrid addon-card. 2-port SATA 6 Gb/s cards aren't new, but they either come in 2-port internal SATA, or 2-port eSATA forms, making you have to choose between the two types. This addon-card from AREA features two internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports, two eSATA 6 Gb/s ports, and uses a common 2-port SATA 6 Gb/s controller.

The ingenuity here is a simple jumper-based way of configuring those two SATA channels to individually work as internal SATA or eSATA. So now you can set the card to have two eSATA 6 Gb/s ports, two internal SATA ports, or one internal SATA and an eSATA, whichever way you'd like, by simply toggling two sets of four jumpers switching which way the data traces of each SATA channel end up. The card uses an ASMedia ASM1061 2-port PCIe SATA 6 Gb/s controller, which supports IDE, AHCI, and simple RAID modes. It connects to the host over PCI-Express 2.0 x1. Slated for May 2012, the AREA SATA TwinTurbo Hybrid will be priced at 2,980 JPY, or $38.
Source: Hermitage Akihabara

AREA Intros Mr. Clone 3.0 Disk Cloning and Docking Solution with SATA 6G and USB 3.0

Japanese company AREA announced this nifty new gadget that can help you set up a quick external storage solution, or clone SATA drives in a jiffy. Called the AREA Mr. Clone 3.0, the device is a small box measuring 72 x 48 x 10 mm, with two sets of standard SATA interfaces (data + power) attached on its two longer sides, to which SATA drives (hard drives and SSDs in 3.5", 2.5", and 1.8" form-factors) can be simply plugged in. The device takes in an AC power input (includes a DC power supply to power connected drives and itself), it can connect to a host system using USB 3.0 SuperSpeed interface.

Even without a host PC connected to it, the device can be used to clone hard drives. It will come handy when cloning drives for medium-large deployments, or moving from a slower HDD to a faster SSD. The device has its own control panel to manage and track progress of the cloning process. The SATA interfaces support SATA 6 Gb/s specification. Apart from a self-sufficient drive cloning tool, it can be used as a drive dock, connecting SATA drives (up to 6 Gb/s speed) to the host PC over fast USB 3.0 interface. Poised to release in May 2012, the AREA Mr. Clone 3.0 will be priced at 4,280 JPY, or US $55.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Toshiba to Launch SLC NAND Flash Memory Embedded ECC

Toshiba Corporation today announced the development of BENAND, a versatile, multi-application single level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory with an embedded error correction code (ECC). BENAND's diverse applications include LCD TVs and digital cameras along with robots and other industrial applications. Samples of eight BENAND products in two capacities, 4 Gigabit and 8 Gigabit, will be available from today and mass production will follow from March 2012.

The simple interface and high reliability of small capacity SLC NAND has won it wide use in consumer applications and industrial programming. Until now, the ECC has been embedded in the host processor and corrected 1 bit per 512 bytes. However, advances in memory process technology require enhanced error correction; more than 4 bit correction per 512 bytes for NAND flash fabricated with 32nm process. For NAND flash memory without ECC fabricated with 32nm and beyond, the controller in the host processor must be changed to secure the required level of correction.

Logitech Unveils Full-HD Webcam for 1080p Video Calling

Logitech today unveiled the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, making it easier than ever to capture full-HD 1080p video that's faster and smoother and performs well on more computers. The device offers breathtaking quality, allowing friends and loved ones to see and hear the real you.

"People are increasingly relying on video calling to maintain far flung connections," said Todd Walker, brand manager at Logitech. "Whether chatting with friends, family or co-workers, they want to be seen at their best through a sharp, high-quality image. The Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 can provide just that as the first webcam to offer 1080p video calling, thanks to our collaboration with Skype."

Cirago Launches Dual Drive Docking Station with Cloning Capabilities

Following on RaidSonic's footsteps, Sunnyvale-based Cirago International has developed and now announced its own dual-bay hard drive docking station which allows for PC-less cloning. This means that you can copy all data and system files from one drive to another at the touch of a button, without connecting the dock to a PC.

Dubbed CDD3000, Cirago's dock supports 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives, features USB 3.0 connectivity and comes with a one-year warranty. The device will become available very soon (probably this month) bearing a price tag of $89.

More AMD Radeon HD 7000 OEM Products Surface

Apparently, HD 7670 OEM isn't the only product that couldn't survive the prying eyes of the media, there are more. AMD's lineup of HD 7000 series OEM solutions extends downwards way beyond the HD 7670 OEM, it includes HD 7570, HD 7470, HD 7450, and HD 7350. There's no reason to cheer, though. First, these products are available only in the OEM channels, to pre-built system manufacturers so they could spice their specs sheets up; and second, they're complete re-brands of previous generation HD 6500, 6400, and 6300 families, down to the clock speeds and feature-sets. There are absolutely no HD 7000 series features, no DirectX 11.1, ZeroCore, new media-processing capabilities, nothing. The fineprint of their specifications is tabled below. Details of these chips can be accessed here.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Sony Unveils New, High-Speed XQD Memory Cards

Giving photo enthusiasts and professional photographers a new level of speed and performance, the new Sony XQD memory cards support the recently adopted XQD specification for high-speed, high-performance digital image capture.

Using the XQD memory cards, XQD compatible high-end DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera users can capture up to approximately 100 frames in RAW format in continuous shooting mode. In addition to outstanding high-speed data transfer capability, the new cards are highly reliable to protect users' data and images.

Google Releases New Stable and Beta Chrome Builds

Keeping the Chrome crowd well-stocked on new releases, Google has made available a couple of versions of its browser, the 16.0.912.75 (Stable channel) and 17.0.963.26 (Beta channel).

The new Chrome 16 build is a security update which comes to fix three vulnerabilities rated 'High', while the first Chrome 17 release brings quite a few fresh goodies like New Extensions APIs, Omnibox Prerendering (the browser will load a website in the background while you type in the URL), enhanced download protection, and a few tweaks.

Both Chrome 16.0.912.75 and 17.0.963.26 are available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux and can be downloaded via this page.

Toshiba NB510 Netbook Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of Toshiba's NB510 netbook, which will be released at CES, next week. The NB510 will be a middle-ground in terms of value and features, in between the NB520 and NB500 launched in late-2010, although it's driven by the latest 3rd generation Atom processors. This 10-incher sports a display resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, and is driven by Atom N2600 or N2800 processors; along with 1 GB of DDR3-800 MHz memory, 320 GB storage, and Windows 7 Starter Edition making up its feature-set. Available in three color options, its prices start at around US $400.

Source: Notebook Italia