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Roccat Debuts 2013 Lineup of PC Gaming Peripherals

ROCCAT will be showing its new product developments in gaming peripherals and software at CES in Las Vegas on January 8 - 11, 2013. Some of the ROCCAT highlights at this year's show will include the brand's first-ever mechanical keyboard and the first software project for the company from Hamburg, Germany - the Power-Grid app, which has now passed Beta testing. In addition, several ROCCAT products at CES are newly available to US gamers, including the gaming mice Kone XTD and Kone Pure along with the multicolor gaming keyboard Isku FX.

ROCCAT founder and CEO, René Korte, on the significance of CES for the company: "We announced ROCCAT's entrance to the American market here exactly 12 months ago. The feedback from gamers and media worldwide has been overwhelmingly positive and we're here again to prove that ROCCAT sets the rules when it comes to gaming peripherals."

NVIDIA Posts WHQL-Signed GeForce 310.70 Drivers

NVIDIA released the GeForce 310.70 WHQL software suite, which isn't much more than a WHQL-signed version of the GeForce 310.70 beta drivers posted a couple of weeks ago. Available for 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, the drivers, much like the 310.70 beta, are a cumulative of several R310 beta releases from over the past two months. They add significant performance increases over the previous 306.97 WHQL drivers.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 310.70 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit, Windows XP 32-bit

New HD Graphics Drivers Bring Windows 8 support, Leading Edge Capabilities and More

Intel has made available the new HD Graphics driver version 15.28.7.2867, which includes support for Microsoft Windows 8, OpenGL 4.0 and Ultra HD video playback & display (4K resolution). Additionally, this driver improves the gaming fun delivered on dozens of recent PC game titles including Runic Games' Torchlight 2, Arkane Studios' Dishonored, and EA's Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes. With support for Ultra HD resolution, 3rd generation Intel Core based PCs can support playback of content at resolutions beyond 1080p up to 4096x2048 on Ultra HD displays. This driver supports both Windows* 7 and Windows* 8 and be downloaded from these links:

DOWNLOAD: Intel HD Graphics Driver for Windows 8 32-bit and 64-bit

Windows 8 Pricing Revealed

Microsoft's biggest launch of the year, Windows 8, may be under two weeks away, but there are still a couple of things Redmond managed to keep secret despite consumers getting a fair look-and-feel of the new operating system with pre-launch Consumer Previews. A large volume of Windows licenses are sold through hardware vendors, where the operating system is sold pre-installed on PCs and notebooks. The rest is sold as packaged software, through conventional retail channels.

As packaged software, the two variants of Windows 8 (Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro) will be available as upgrade and full-version. The upgrade package lets you move from an existing installation of Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, to the new OS. The Windows 8 Pro Upgrade is listed at an introductory price of US $69.99. For the same price, you get Windows 8 Pro Pack, which is a card with a software key to Windows 8 Pro (any architecture), no installation media. The OEM (builder) packages of Windows 8 (standard), which includes a key and installation media is sold in 64-bit and 32-bit variants, each priced at $99.99. Lastly, there are similar 64-bit and 32-bit packages for Windows 8 Pro, each priced at $139.99. Newegg.com is accepting pre-orders.

GIGABYTE Launches Flagship Z77X-UP7 Motherboard

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today launched their latest overclocking powerhouse Z77X-UP7 motherboard, featuring the industry's most robust 32+3+2 power design with Ultra Durable 5 high current capable components including 60A rated IR3550 PowIRstages chips from IR.

"With the Z77X-UP7 and its 32+3+2 power phase design featuring Ultra Durable 5 technology, we have created the very best CPU power design of any motherboard available today," commented HiCookie, GIGABYTE In-house Overclocking Expert. "Not only does this help extreme overclockers to reach 7GHz+ on their Intel Core i7-3770K CPUs and take down benchmark records, but it also provides System Integrators with a platform cool and stable enough to withstand the rigors of an always-on, overclocked water cooled system for their customers."

AMD Catalyst 12.8 WHQL Software Suite Released

AMD released the first WHQL-signed Catalyst drivers since June. Catalyst 12.8 WHQL is the first unified Catalyst driver certified for Windows 8, its release follows the RTM version of the operating system being available to enterprise and industry customers, ahead of the October 26 consumer retail launch. The driver introduces target-independent rasterization (TIR), an efficient new Direct3D rendering path. The driver also works to improve GPU power consumption. A suite of Windows 8-exclusive features, including native stereo 3D support and unified video API are included. Catalyst 12.8 WHQL also introduces performance-improvements specific to games, including up to 25% performance increase in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, 10% in Dirt 3, 6% in Batman: Arkham City, and 3% in Battlefield 3. Several game-specific bugs were patched.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 12.8 WHQL for Windows Vista, 7 and 8 (64-bit), Windows Vista, 7 and 8 (32-bit), Windows XP (32-bit), Windows XP (64-bit)

The change-log follows.

Intel Posts HD Graphics Drivers for Windows 8

Intel released its first HD Graphics drivers for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The drivers are Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.2 compliant, supports HD 4000 graphics, found in 3rd Generation Core processors, HD 3000 and HD 2000 graphics of 2nd Generation Core processors; complete with stereoscopic 3D, DirectX 11 (on compatible models), and flicker-free display rotation.

DOWNLOAD: Intel HD Graphics Driver for Windows 8 Consumer Preview 64-bit, 32-bit

XMOS Simplifies High Speed USB Audio Design

XMOS, developer of the industry's first event-driven 32-bit embedded processor, announces the release of its third generation family. The XS1-S Family delivers up to 700 MIPS of real-time performance per core combined with integrated analog functionality, enabling the highest quality, multi-channel USB audio applications. Combined with XMOS industry standard USB audio IP, the XS1-S Family of devices deliver the lowest latency digital audio interfaces. The first two products available in the XS1-S Family are the single core device: XS1-SU1 and the dual core device: XS1-SU2.

"The XS1-S Family builds upon the predictable real-time performance of the XS1 architecture, offering increased I/O and processing capabilities together with the convenience of integrated analog peripherals," said Tom Lee, XMOS vice president of sales and marketing. "Our customers have shipped more than half a million USB audio products using XS1 devices. The higher performance, integrated XS1-S Family and its accompanying software and tools deliver the ideal solution to an even broader range of audio applications."

Intel Centerton Atom A True Single-Chip SoC

Intel has, in the past, referred to its two-chip low-wattage computing solutions as "SoC" (system on a chip), keeping with that trend, it was assumed that "Centerton", an Atom-derived processor for NAS servers that the company is working on, could be a similar 2-chip solution with the tiny NM10 PCH sitting next to the CPU. It is now coming to light that Intel will design Centerton to run as a true single-chip SoC, without the PCH.

Centerton's core and uncore components, housed on the same piece of silicon, are detailed in the first picture, below. It packs two x86-64 cores. Each core has 32 KB L1I cache, 24 KB L1D cache, and 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache. There is no shared tertiary cache between the cores, however, they converge at the integrated memory controller (IMC). This IMC can control a single DDR3 memory channel, supporting 1.5V DDR3 UDIMMs with ECC support or 1.35V DDR3 SO-DIMMs, at speeds of PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333 MHz). Up to 8 GB of RAM is supported. The core can be clocked as high as 1.60 GHz. It features HyperThreading technology, enabling four logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. Any current 32-bit or 64-bit x86-capable OS should run.

NVIDIA GeForce 290.36 Beta Drivers Released

The latest beta drivers and the first in the 290 series have been released by NVIDIA today, supporting all graphics cards since the venerable 6-series. Their main new feature are official support for enabling ambient occlusion settings in the control panel separately for specific games and enabling NVIDIA Surround on the new X79 SLI-certified motherboards. Ambient occlusion (AO) is settable for uber-popular games The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. So, what does AO do? We'll let Andrew Burns of NVIDIA explain:
If you're unfamiliar with Ambient Occlusion, it is most easily described as a way to make in-game shadowing more realistic, and therefore better.
What he doesn't say of course, is how it kills your frame rate, especially on lower end hardware. Anyway, there's all the usual goodies in this release: 3D Vision game profiles for games such as MW3, Diablo 3 & LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (yes really). There's a HD audio update and nine fixes too, including one for random flickering of the Windows boot logo as it's loading or fading away and a fix for the mouse cursor flickering and shaking in games such as Crysis 2 & Deus Ex when SLI is enabled when using 3DTV Play. The NVIDIA product release page is here and they have a snazzy-looking driver selector here. The release notes follow.

AMD Catalyst 11.11 WHQL Driver Suite Released

Well, this 11.11 release doesn't list any performance improvements unfortunately. It contains just one new unexciting feature and a few fixes, but still has quite a long list of known issues. The new feature is Adobe Flash Player 11 hardware accelerated graphics support, including the A-series and E-series APUs. Fixes include things like Rage texture corruption, bezel compensation working correctly in Far Cry 2 and a screen tearing fix for displays in clone mode. Therefore, if your setup is working fine, there's no rush to update to this driver in case it breaks something. Note the following CAP 1 profile updates added to this release:

- Battlefield 3: Tweaks to the CrossFire profile
- Global Ops: Commando Libya: Improves CrossFire performance
- Driver San Francisco: Disables CrossFire

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 11.11 WHQL for Windows 7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit

DOWNLOAD: Release Notes
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