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Nov 29, 2011

AMD Not Competing with Intel Anymore, Goes Mobile

In a move than could very well be interpreted as exchanging one problem for another, Advanced Micro Devices has decided to stop focusing so much on the PC business and get its act closer together on the mobile front. 

The Bulldozer disaster, as it is known in some circles, must have persuaded AMD's leadership that the PC side of their business wasn't flying very well and far anymore.

Though everyone was expecting much from 8-core processors, the performance was, in the end, well lower than some of AMD's own previous-generation chips.

Whether because of this or something else, it was reported that Advanced Micro Devices has chosen to distance itself from its competition with Intel.

That is to say, it will focus less on processors for PCs and pay more attention to the mobile market.

As such, it will probably start to customize its Fusion platform in such a way as to create tablet and smartphone chips.

"We're at an inflection point," said AMD spokesman Mike Silverman, according to a Mercury News report. "We will all need to let go of the old 'AMD versus Intel' mindset, because it won't be about that anymore."

If anything, 2011, with more than half a year of lacking an actual CEO, was a clear symptom that Advanced Micro Devices had to do something, and soon.

The company has a new leader now and, sure enough, the man took some fairly drastic measures, and that includes more than this latest change in direction, as well as a branded RAM project.

The workforce also suffered, especially the PR and marketing departments (AMD axed large portions of each as part of its plan to cut total worldwide employee count by 10%).

The complicated thing about the focus on mobile is that ARM already has that well enough in hand, and NVIDIA just launched the Kal-El too. AMD may just be exchanging one headache for another with this.

Nvidia’s 2012 Wayne SoC Could Pack Kepler GPU Cores Says Report

The next-generation of Nvidia Tegra system-on-a-chip (SoC) device, code named Wayne, could integrate a graphics core based on the company’s upcoming Kepler GPU architecture according to a recent report that has just hit the Web.

The report, which was published by Hardcore Hardware, cites the company’s commitment for bringing CUDA to the mobile space and the architecture’s support for the upcoming DirectX 11.1 API as the main reasons behind this decision.

Other info was not provided, but we do know that DirectX 11.1 is an important feature of Windows 8, so there may be some truth behind these claims.

According to some previous reports, the Wayne SoC will arrive in two different versions in order to address the needs of a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, netbooks and notebooks.

The first version is a quad-core design, based on a yet-undisclosed ARM architecture (most probably Cortex-A15) which will include at least a 24-core GPU that resembles the contemporary graphics architectures.

For the four ARM cores, Nvidia is targeting the 1.5GHz clock speed, which should deliver triple-digit GFLOPS performance, while also keeping the per-core power consumption of the recently unveiled Tegra 3, also known under the code name of Kal-El.

The second Wayne silicon is much more powerful than the first version, as it packs no less than eight ARM processing cores and 32 to 64 GPU cores that are DirectX 11+ (DX 11.1 if the Kepler rumors turn out to be true) compliant and also support OpenGL 4.x and OpenCL 1.x as well as PhysX.

This chip is designed to go head to head with both ARM-based and x86 processors and should be used in tablets, netbook and ultra-low-power notebooks up to 13.3-inch in screen size.

No release date was made official, but presumably Nvidia is targeting the fourth quarter of 2012 so that Wayne would arrive at just about the same time as Windows 8.

Galaxy Nexus Delivered with Extra 2000 mAh Battery and Cover in South Korea

Samsung takes great care of its customers living in South Korea. It appears that the handset manufacturer offers a special bundle with the purchase of a Galaxy Nexus device.

The folks over at Reddit discovered that the South Korean version of Galaxy Nexus comes with an extra 2,000 mAh battery, as well as an additional cover that matches the former.

The bundle comes as a bonus, so Galaxy Nexus owners will be able to choose to carry a slightly thicker device or a thinner one.

The package will probably be offered in other regions as well, but it’s less likely to be offered for free. However, even at an additional cost, the bundle is quite interesting, but that will also depend on its price tag.

No clue on when this package is introduced in other countries, though.

Acer's H9500BD 3D Projector for Home Theaters Debuts

Acer may have launched a special, new 3D monitor, but that is definitely not the only 3D item that the company made public. 

In fact, the company devoted an entirely different press release just to make it known that the H9500BD projector was locked and loaded as well.

It should already be up for sale too, in North America anyway, for the price of $1,999.99.

That would be about 1,499 Euro, according to exchange rates, but it is quite possible that the price across the ocean will be a bit higher whenever the item reaches those shores.

Fortunately, Acer made a valiant effort to justify that price, and that means more than the ability to project clear images in sizes of up to 300 inches diagonally.

For one, it supports 3D, in full HD quality even, which is enough to cement its status as no slouch.

In fact, it supports the latest 3D standards from DLP, NVIDIA and Blu-ray.

Also, it can convert 2D content into 3D on-the-fly, much like the aforementioned HR274H monitor itself, via the same chip.

Other than that, the H9500BD Projector comes with S-video and mini DIN, a component video port, two sets of D-Sub and audio connectors, DVI-D, a pair of HDMI 1.4 ports and a 2.5mm audio jack.

“Home theater enthusiasts will be thrilled that the Acer H9500BD lets them enjoy an enormous 300-inch diagonal Full HD 3D projected image in their home -- a size that's much bigger than what's available to consumers with today's display technologies,” said Chris White, senior director of product marketing, Acer America.

“Anyone considering a home theater should definitely look at the new Acer H9500BD projector for its combination of high-end home theater features such as full HD 1080p video and 3D capabilities, available at an incredibly affordable price.”

Intel Broadwell CPUs to Make Appearance in 2014

In 2014, Intel is expected to launch the successor of the yet unveiled Haswell CPU architecture, which will go by the name of Broadwell and will reportedly become the chip maker’s first true system-on-a-chip (SoC) design.

The Broadwell CPU comes as a "tick" on Intel’s roadmap, meaning that this is actually a 14nm die shrink of the Haswell architecture which is expected to arrive sometime in 2013.

Compared to its predecessor, Broadwell will however feature a more integrated design and according to the Bright Side of News website will become Intel’s first true SoC design as it includes features such as Ethernet, Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 right on the chip’s die.

Right now, there is little else known about Broadwell, but since it will come as a die shrink of Haswell, many of the architecture changes and features introduced by Intel in the latter will make their transition towards this 2014 CPU.

Some of the most important changes will target the processor’s IPC performance, but Intel is also expected to introduce support for the AVX2 instruction set with the release of Haswell.

The graphics core of the chip will also be carries over from Haswell, which means that it will feature DirectX 11.1 support to become a native-Windows 8 design.

Three displays and support for 4K resolution are being inherited and Broadwell chips should be able to deliver decent graphics performance.

Just like Haswell, the 2014 Intel CPUs will use the same mobile 947 pin and desktop LGA 1150 sockets, which means Intel is now going for a two generations cadence with its platforms.

Most specific specs are not available at this point in time since Intel is most probably still working on its silicon as well as on the new 14nm fabrication technology that it has to introduce together with the Broadwell CPUs.

ARM-Powered Windows 8 Notebooks and Tablets to Debut in Mid-2013

Despite all the hype that has surrounded Windows 8 and ARM lately, the first notebooks and tablets running Microsoft’s upcoming operating system to be powered by system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices using ARM’s processing cores aren’t expected to come out until mid-2013.

The platform itself is supposed to be announced at the end of 2012, but DigiTimes’ sources report that the first hardware isn’t expected to arrive sooner than mid-2013, June to be more exact.

If these sources turn out to be right, this would mean that broad adoptions isn’t expected to happen until 2014 at the earliest.

Furthermore, the WoA (Windows-on-ARM) platform won’t actually manage to grab any share from Wintel until 2015 arrives, when this is expected to become the second platform in the notebook market.

The most important hurdles in the adoption of Windows-on-ARM are cited as being app availability (x86 applications won’t work on the ARM port of Windows 8) and the notebook’s player’s reluctance to move to this new platform.

According to the same report, system-on-a-chip designers, such as Nvidia and Qualcomm, have already started to work with mobile hardware makers like Lenovo and Asus on potential implementations of the chips, but both of these companies want to test the waters before throwing in their full support for the platform.

Both notebooks and tablets are expected to come from this co-operation , and the former will most probably target the entry-level laptop market.

However, the slow adoption rate of WoA devices could provide Intel with the time it needs in order to become competitive in terms of power consumption with ARM as 2012 will mark the introduction of its Ivy Bridge processor, while in 2013 Haswell will make its entrance to the retail market.

In addition, if ARM doesn’t manage to become a strong competitor for Intel until 2014, it will have to also compete with the chip giant’s Broadwell CPUs that are supposed to become the company’s first true SoC solutions while being built on the low-power 14nm node.

Intel’s Official Ivy Bridge Benchmark Slides Leaked

As most of you know, in 2012 Intel will update its processor range with some new chips based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, and in case you are wondering how will these perform when compared to their Sandy Bridge counterparts a series of leaked Intel slides have come to detail their performance in various benchmarks.

You can take a look at the slides provided by SweClockers in the gallery enclosed bellow this post, which details the CPU’s performance in a range of tests, from Excel to 3DMark Vantage and CineBench 11.5.

As expected, the Ivy Bridge processors manage to come out on top in all the scenarios tested, which was to be expected considering these bring some new architecture improvements and higher Turbo Boost speeds.

Of course that when graphics come into play, the difference between the two cores is even greater since Ivy Bridge went through a major redesign in this area.

The only downside that I can find to Ivy Bridge is that the first chips won’t actually arrive until April of 2012, so there’s quite a bit of wait in front of us before we can get our greedy hands on such a CPU.

Zotac Unleashes GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Limited Edition Graphics Card

Now that Nvidia has made official its GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores GPU based on the GF110 graphics chip, hardware makers have started to announce their solutions built around this design and one of the first such video cards to be released comes courtesy of Zotac.

The card in question is none other than the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Limited Edition we had a glimpse of at the end of last week, before Nvidia made official its new core.

Back then however, we didn’t had any other information about Zotac’s creation other than what was printed on the box and some rumors stating that the card will arrive factory overclocked, which turned out to be true.

The factory overclock however isn’t as surprising as some of you may believe as the GPU is clocked at just 765MHz, which represents a 33MHz boost from Nvidia’s recommendations.

“PC gaming is a strong segment that continues to grow and now is the best time to upgrade for the latest DirectX 11 releases,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director at Zotac International.

“With the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 cores Limited Edition, gamers can easily equip their PC to play the latest titles with ultra-quality settings up to 1080p – beyond what a console can deliver,” concluded the company’s rep.

The European price of the graphics card wasn’t provided by Zotac, but in the US this has an MSRP of $299, which makes it just a tad less expensive than its older brother, the GTX 570.

Both of these cards are based on the same GF110 graphics core, but in the case of this new GTX 560 Ti two out of the 16 SMs included in the Nvidia graphics core were disabled leaving the card with 448 streaming processors, 56 texture units, 40 ROP units and a 320-bit memory bus connected to 1.25GB of GDDR5 video buffer.

MSI Outs Factory Overclocked GTX 560 448 Cores with Twin Frozr III Cooler

With the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores officially launched, MSI has now introduced its own solution based on this core that uses the company’s proprietary Twin Frozr III cooling system in order to detach itself from the rest of the graphics cards built using this latest Nvidia GPU.

MSI has designed the Twin Frozr III cooler with overclockers in mind and it can offer much better performance than other similar solutions while also producing significantly less noise.

The overall better performance is possible thanks to the use of no less than five copper heapipes (two are 8mm SuperPipes) that drive the GPU heat into a large aluminum heatsink.

On top of the heatsink, MSI has installed two specially designed 80mm PWN fans, which allow for a 20% higher airflow compared to the fans on the Twin Forzr II and generate only 30dB at their maximum speed, according to MSI.

Together with the much improved cooling design, MSI also decided to pair its creation with a redesigned PWM that makes use of 6+1 phases paired with Hi-C and Tantalum capacitors for more precise power delivery.

All these changes have enabled the Taiwanese hardware maker to raise the clocks of its latest creation over those recommended by Nvidia and the graphics card now comes with a 750MHz GPU and 975MHz (3900MHz data rate) memory.

The MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr III Power Edition / OC should be available as we speak and its recommended price tag in Europe is set at 279€.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores is based on the same GF110 core as the GTX 570 and GTX 580, but it comes with two of the 16 streaming modules included in this GPU disabled.

The rest of the graphics core specs include 56 texture units, 40 ROP units and a 320-bit memory bus connected to 1.25GB of GDDR5 video buffer.

First Nvidia GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Reviews Arrive

While Nvidia’s NDA for the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores still hasn’t expired, some hardware websites have already published their reviews of the card, which managed to gather some pretty positive reactions.

Links to the reviews published so far can be found on the XtremeSystems Forum, with more expected to arrive in a short while, when the embargo for the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores will expire.

For those of you in need of a quick refresher, the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores is based on the same GPU as that found in the more powerful GTX 570 and GTX 580 to offer performance similar to the former while coming in significantly cheaper.

If you want to learn more about this new Nvidia core you can check out our previous articles on the matter as well as some pictures of Asus, EVGA and Zotac graphics cards based on this GPU.

EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Arrives in Retail Ahead of Official Launch

After yesterday we brought you the first pictures of EVGA’s upcoming GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified, it’s now time to take a look at another EVGA graphics card based on Nvidia’s yet unreleased performance GPU.

The card was pictured on the Overclock.net forum inside a thread started by a user who bought it from the local Fry’s store in Fountain Valley, California.

As you can clearly make out from the images provided, the box as well as the EVGA card are clearly marked as being the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores, a GPU that according to the leaks available until now isn’t supposed to make its official debut until later today.

On the outside, the card doesn’t seem to differ too much from other EVGA GTX 560 Ti creations as it sports a similar cooling solution, but one the inside there is a whole new core installed.

Unlike the previous GTX 560 Ti GPU, this is actually derived from the GF110 which is the same GPU as the one used for the more powerful GTX 580 and GTX 570.

In the case of the Nvidia GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores however two of the 16 streaming modules included in this GPU were disabled.

The rest of the graphics core includes 56 texture units, 40 ROP units and a 320-bit memory bus connected to 1.25GB of video buffer, just as is the case with the GeForce GTX 570.

The card's operating frequencies will also mimic those of its older brother as it will work at 732MHz, while the GDDR5 video buffer is clocked at 950MHz (3.80GHz effective).

Other features of the Nvidia GTX 560 Ti (448 Core) include support for 3-way SLI, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs.

The GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores is expected to make its debut later today, and according to the info available until now it has a recommended retail price of $289 (about 218 EUR).

Acer's Tegra 3-Powered Iconia Tab A700 Makes Appearance in AnTuTu Benchmark

In 2012, Acer is expected to expand its Android tablet business with a couple of new models based on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC and one of these devices, the high-end Iconia Tab A700, was just spotted in the AnTuTu benchmark.

The application itself provides just a few details about Acer’s upcoming tablet such as the fact that is powered a 1.4GHz system-on-a-chip (SoC) device and that is running the Android 3.2.1, also known as Honeycomb, operating system.

However, a leak that made its appearance a little less than two weeks ago has revealed that the SoC installed in the A700 is actually Nvidia’s Tegra 3 that features quad Cortex A9 processing cores and a GeForce GPU.

This will be used to drive a 1920x1200 resolution display that will most probably measure 10.1-inch in diagonal.

The previous leaks also revealed that the tablet will be available in two versions, dubbed the Acer Iconia A700 and A701.

While nothing is certain at this point in time, it seems like the two models will be extremely similar, with the Iconia A701 just adding mobile broadband support to the A700 specs list.

The Iconia A700/701 is by no means the only Android tablet that Acer plans to build around the Tegra 3 chip, since it was recently revealed that the Taiwanese maker is also working on the Iconia A511 that will include the same Nvidia SoC.

Right now, we don’t know when any of these two tablets will arrive in the retail market, or what version of Android will they end up running, but there is a strong chance that the final version will arrive with Ice Cream Sandwich on-board.

Pricing is also unknown, but don’t expect it to dip bellow the $400 mark (roughly 300 EUR).

Intel Celeron 807UE CPU with 10W TDP to Arrive in Q4 2011

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Intel will update its Celeron processor lineup with yet another chip based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, the 807UE, which thanks to its 10W TDP will become Intel’s most power frugal CPU to be built using the SNB core.

As CPU-World has revealed, the new Intel chip was designed in order to target the embedded market, which means that it will be produced in the BGA package.

In order to achieve this low power consumption of the Celeron 807UE, Intel was forced to cut back on its specs and the final result is a single core chip that comes clocked at 1GHz and sports only 1MB of Level 3 cache.

The operating frequency of the built-in GPU was also reduced so the 807UE has a base graphics core clock of 350MHz which can go up to 800MHz, thanks to Turbo mode, when the need arises.

As it’s the case with other Sandy Bridge-based Celeron processors, the 807UE lacks support for some of the more advanced technologies found inside higher-performing second-generation Core processors like Turbo Boost or HyperThreading. The CPU does however feature VT-x virtualization support.

Despite the low specs of the Celeron 807UE, the processor should come as a huge improvement over Intel’s Atom chips, while requiring a limited amount of extra power, so we should expect this to make its appearance in quite a few embedded devices.

Right now, Intel’s budget line of Celeron embedded processors includes four models with 17 Watt and 35 Watt power envelopes.

The 35 Watt models are the B810 and B810E, both including dual computing cores, while the ULV chips with 17W TDP are the single-core 827E and the dual-core 847E. Right now, the price of the Celeron 807UE is not yet known.

iOS 5 Code Confirms Next-Gen iPad 3

Registered Apple developers who have downloaded the initial iOS 5.1 beta were eager to sift through the code and see whether there were any new device designations, as found on numerous occasions in the past.

As expected, there were traces of unreleased iPad models. Four to be exact - iPad 3,1 3,2 (discovered months ago), iPad 2.4 and iPad 3,3. At least one of the designated devices is believed to be WiMAX or LTE capable and they all have a rumored March launch date.

Should Apple launch the updated tablets next spring, it would mark the third consecutive year to see an iPad refresh once every 12 months - in accordance with most iDevice refresh cycles.

(The iPhone, however, ‘skipped a beat’ this year with the October launch of the 4S model arriving some three months later than expected, disappointedly not bearing the 5.0 moniker either.)

Nov 28, 2011

Enermax Outs More Platimax 80PLUS Platinum PSUs Topping at 1500W

After the introduction of the first models with 750, 850 and 1200 Watt ratings in October of this year, Enermax now continues to expand its Platimax series with five new PSU units that are also 80PLUS Platinum certified.

Enermax' Platimax series is now comprised from a total of seven models that are rated to provide between 500 and 1500 Watts of power, and all of these feature an advanced series of technologies meant to improve power delivery.

One of the most important innovations introduced in the Platimax series is the Copper-Bridge Array transmission technology which replaces conventional wires to provide up to 3% better power regulation.

Enermax states that this improvement enables its PSUs to deliver cleaner DC power and raises the system's stability.

The Platimax power supplies feature between three and six 12V rails rated at either 25A or 30A each, and their combined power output varies according to the model.

As it's usually the case with high-end power supply units, Enermax' Platimax series features a modular cable design and all the models come bundled together with a wide variety of PCI Express connectors (both 6 and 8-pin) as well as with various SATA and MOLEX plugs.

Outside of the 80PLUS Platinum certifications, which ensures that the PSUs are able to deliver at least 94% efficiency in any usage scenario, Platimax power supplies are also compatible with the ErP Lot 6 standard.

The rest of the PSU features include 105°C Japanese electrolytic capacitors, a 13.9cm Twister-bearing fan (900 to 2000 RPM working speed), as well as the CordGuard and HeatGuard technologies.

The last one was designed to keep the fan running after the system was shut off in order to allow for the PSU to cool down.

Enermax has also provided us with prices for the Platimax power supply series and these range from £159.90 ($248 US), for the entry-level 500W unit, up to £334.90 ($520.9 US) for the top of the line 1500W model.

Intel Core i5, Core i7 Ivy Bridge CPU Lineup Detailed

In the first part of 2012, Intel is expected to introduce its first chips based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, and recently the specs of the desktop version of these Core i5 and Core i7 parts were detailed in a table leaked by a Chinese website.

Since then, the website has blocked access to the thread in which the CPU info was listed, but fortunately, ComputerBase managed to capture a screen shot of these tables and posted it on their own forum.

This new info confirms some of the Core i5 and Core i7 specs revealed by previous leaks, but also adds some new details we haven’t seen published elsewhere.

According to this table, all third generation Intel Core i7 processors will integrate 4 CPU cores, 8 MB L3 cache and have Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost technologies enabled.

The Core i7 parts, will also pack four CPU cores and support for the Turbo Boost technology (apart from the i5-3470T which is a dual-core SKU), but will come with 6MB of L3 cache and Hyper-Threading will be disabled.

As far as graphics is concerned, Intel will continue to use two separate GPUs in their desktop processors, as all Core i7 parts together with the Core i5-3475S and i5-3570K will come with the HD 4000 graphics unit, while the rest of the chips get the HD 2500.

No matter the GPU included, the base clock speed will remain the same (650MHz), but depending on the chip this can boosted to 1.05 - 1.15 GHz.

The rest of the Ivy Bridge CPU features list includes a built-in dual-channel memory controller supporting up to 1600MHz data rates, support for the AES instruction set, and the majority of Core i5 and Core i7 parts also get VT-d virtualization and Intel’s Trusted Execution technology.

As we have previously revealed, Intel is expected to release its first Ivy Bridge CPUs in April of 2012, the initial launch including third-generation Core i5 and Core i7 desktop products, and Core i7 mobile chips.

More Kernel Vulnerabilities Found in Ubuntu OSes

Several more security vulnerabilities were recently discovered in the Linux kernel packages, affecting the Natty and Maverick backport, and EC2 Linux kernels of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and the OMAP4 Linux kernels of Ubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 11.04 operating systems.

The following vulnerabilities affect the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) Linux kernel backport from Natty: CVE-2011-2183, CVE-2011-2491, CVE-2011-2494, CVE-2011-2495, CVE-2011-2517, CVE-2011-2905, and CVE-2011-2909.

The following vulnerabilities affect the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) Linux kernel backport from Maverick: CVE-2011-1585, CVE-2011-2183, CVE-2011-2491, CVE-2011-2496, and CVE-2011-2517.

The following vulnerabilities affect the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) EC2 Linux kernel: CVE-2011-2491, CVE-2011-2496, CVE-2011-2517, and CVE-2011-2525.

The following vulnerabilities affect the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) Linux kernel for OMAP4: CVE-2011-1585 and CVE-2011-2496.

The following Linux kernel vulnerabilities affect the Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system: CVE-2011-2183, CVE-2011-2479, CVE-2011-2491, CVE-2011-2494, CVE-2011-2495, CVE-2011-2496, CVE-2011-2517, CVE-2011-2905, CVE-2011-2909, and CVE-2011-3363.

As usual, you can click on each one to see how it affects your system, or go here, here, here, here and here for in-depth descriptions of the Linux kernel vulnerabilities.

The security flaws can be fixed if you upgrade your system(s) to the:
linux-image-2.6.38-13 (2.6.38-13.52~lucid1) package for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Linux kernel backport from Natty;
linux-image-2.6.35-31 (2.6.35-31.62~lucid1) package for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Linux kernel backport from Maverick;
linux-image-2.6.32-340-ec2 (2.6.32-340.40) package for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS EC2 kernel;
linux-image-2.6.35-903-omap4 (2.6.35-903.27) package for Ubuntu 10.10 OMAP4 kernel;
linux-image-2.6.38-1209-omap4 (2.6.38-1209.17) package for Ubuntu 11.04 OMAP4 kernel.

Don't forget to reboot your computer after the upgrade!

ATTENTION: Due to an unavoidable ABI change, the kernel packages have a new version number, which will force you to reinstall and recompile all third-party kernel modules you might have installed. Moreover, if you use the linux-restricted-modules package, you have to update it as well to get modules which work with the new Linux kernel version.

NZXT Outs HAVIK 120 CPU Cooler with LGA 2011 Support

NZXT has just unveiled a new CPU cooler, dubbed the HAVIK 120, that was designed to be compatible with a wide series of sockets from both AMD and Intel, including the recently launched LGA 2011 platform. 

The new cooler is actually a slightly more compact version of the HAVIK 140 which has now been fitted with four 8mm heatpipes for drawing the heat produced by the CPU in an aluminum heatsink.

This is seconded by a 120mm fan with aluminum blades that, as most other such solutions available today, is PWM controlled for adapting its speed depending on the temperature of the processor.

According to NZXT, this can vary between 1200 and 1500 RPM, delivering from 61.5 to 75.8 CFM of airflow, while the noise output level is rated at a maximum 22dBA (18dBA minimum).

Performance freaks should be glad to know that NZXT’s latest creation can be fitted with a secondary 120mm to create a push-pull configuration.

Outside of the 120mm fan, the HAVIK 120 is also shipped together with an additional pair of fan mounting clips as well as with the required AMD and Intel CPU mounting clips.

These are compatible with Intel's LGA 1155, LGA 1156, and LGA 2011 sockets and can also be used with AMD's AM2, AM3, AM3+ and FM1 processor mounts.

“HAVIK 120 is a great victory for overclockers seeking a small yet powerful fan cooler that won’t break the bank” said Johnny Hou, Founder and Chief Designer at NZXT.

“The original HAVIK 140 has been highly decorated with awards in the enthusiast community. HAVIK 120 should yield similar performance in a slightly smaller form factor for under $60,” concludes the company’s rep.

According to the company, the HAVIK 120 is available right now with a $54.99 MSRP, which translates into about 41 EUR.

Gigabyte Booktop Tablet Hybrid T1132 Gets Its Formal Wear

Gigabyte may be aiming to score some holiday sales with its newest convertible tablet, or perhaps not, given that Booktop is more a name that fits with educational venues than consumers.

Then again, people from around the world are known to seek out various things, so they may very well consider the new Gigabyte product as a viable Christmas present (assuming, of course, that the company will even get around to selling it by that time).

Or they won't. After all, the price of $1,300 is not precisely what one would look for right off  the bat, not in this economy at least.

Still, there will always be people free of monetary concerns, so the tag won't be of very great consequence.

Also, that isn't really its price. That was kept secret. $1,300 is what the somewhat weaker T1125 sells for, though this isn't a point to rejoice over.

That said, the Booktop T1131, as it is called, features an Intel core i5-2467M central processing unit, with a clock speed of 1.6 GHz.

That chip is paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GT520M GPU (graphics processing unit) which has 1 GB of VRAM.

As such, the Optimus technology is, predictably enough, present and accounted for.

It is this feature that knows how much graphical prowess an application demands and automatically switches between the integrated GPU of the CPU and the discrete card.

Gigabyte doesn't make it completely clear how much memory or storage people can expect from this pricey beast. They are no doubt customizable though.
 On the other hand, the company doesn't make a secret of the USB 3.0 connectivity (one port), nor of the USB 2.0 port, eSATA and HDMI.

Gigabyte set up a sort of contest via Facebook, which will hand out some Booktop T1132 models for free. Check out the rules of it all here.

ASUS Transformer Prime Set for December 8, 2011

We know people have been wondering how much longer they'll have to wait for the mighty Transformer Prime tablet to show up, and so have we, but we might not have to wonder anymore. 

Newegg set the tablet up as available for pre-order, but this isn't really news.

What the web did only now notice (probably because the tidbit wasn't available before) is that the release date of December 8 now figures on this product page (unless it changed between the writing of this blog and the time of reading, as such things tend to).

That means that the thing will show up in a little over a week.

Now all we have to wonder about is whether or not it will sell out within minutes/hours, like its predecessor did.

Knowing the Kal-El, it shouldn't be too hard to live up to that example, although ASUS will probably be better prepared on the supply side this time.

PR1.2 Software Update for Nokia N950 Now Available for Download

It looks like Nokia plans to release a new software update for the Nokia N9. The PR1.2 software update has just been spotted and is now available for download for N950 devices.

However, the Nokia N950 is a developer-only device and is not available commercially, but the update might soon reach the N9.

The folks over at Phonosfera took some screenshots and found lots of new features and tweaks that will probably be available on the Nokia N9 as well.

Apparently, the camera interface features a separate setting option for the flash, while on the Applications menu there’s a new button that allows users to manage apps.

A new Colour profile option is now available in the Display menu. With the Face recognition feature placed in the Gallery menu, users will be able to save name to their photos using automatic face recognition.

More screenshots with the new PR1.2 for the Nokia N950 can be found on Phonosfera’s forum thread.

Intel Prepares to Retire Celeron Brand Says Report

Intel’s Celeron brand has been with us for over ten years now, but according to some recent reports the chip maker is now getting ready to retire this name from its lineup and replace it with Pentium CPUs.

While nothing is sure at this point in time, Tweak Town seems to believe that the introduction of the recent Pentium 350 aimed at micro-servers seems to be a sign that the Celeron line will be replaced with Pentium CPUs.

This assumption seems a bit far-fetched if you were to ask me, although retiring Celeron does actually make some sense as Intel has just too many CPU brands to keep track off and this will, to some degree, simplify its naming schemes.

Until now, Intel’s Pentium line was positioned between the high-end Core range and the low-end Celeron series.

EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified Pictured Ahead of Launch

In just a few days from now, Nvidia is expected to release a new performance oriented graphics core, dubbed the GTX 560 Ti 448 Core, and EVGA plans to use this GPU in an upcoming Classified model which was just revealed by a series of leaked pictures.

EVGA’s new creation will make use of the same cooling solution as that installed by the company in a series of previous DS models, which relies on two large diameter fans for dissipating the heat produced by the card while running.

In addition to providing better cooling, this setup also allowed EVGA to raise the clocks of its Classified model over those recommended by Nvidia for the GTX 560 Ti Cores.

As a result, the GPU now runs at 797MHz, as Hardcore Hardware reveals, while the GDDR5 memory will work at the same 950MHz (3800MHz data rate) frequency as in Nvidia’s stock design.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores is based on the same GF110 GPU as that used in the powerful GTX 580 and GTX 570, but has two of its 16 streaming modules disabled.

This leaves the GPU with 448 CUDA cores, hence its name, 56 texture units, 40 ROP units and a 320-bit memory bus connected to 1.25GB of video buffer, just as is the case with the GeForce GTX 570.

The close specs of the two cards, also means that they feature similar performance, a graph detailing the speed of the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores in Battlefield 3, which was published by Nvidia a short while ago, revealing that the GTX 560 Ti 448 Core should be almost as fast as the GTX 570.

From the information that is available until now, the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores will make its debut on November 29, with a recommended retail price of $289 (about 218 EUR). EVGA’s Classified model is expected to surpass this MSRP.

iPhone 5 and iPad 3 Displays Made by Hitachi, Sony

Citing an unnamed Asian source, Japanese blog Makotakara claims Hitachi Displays, Ltd. and Sony Mobile Display Corporation have started to ship 4-inch LCD panels for the iPhone 5, and also LCD panels for iPad 3.

The Japanese blog notes that the two companies will merge their businesses with Toshiba Mobile Display Co., Ltd., to become "Japan Display" in Spring 2012.

Apple, however, also has Sharp aboard for iPad 3 screen production. A Wall Street Journal report recently got picked up by the Apple blogosphere as it added further confirmation that Apple had tapped Sharp to make the screens used in its next-generation iPads.

The Cupertino, California-based Apple is reportedly looking to diversify component suppliers for its entire product line. The reasons are uncertain, but we can all agree it’s best to have more than one supplier for the key parts in your products.

Nov 27, 2011

First Intel 8-Core Sandy Bridge-EP Benchmarks Make Appearance

Now that Intel has launched its first desktop processors based on the high-performance Sandy Bridge-E architecture, the chip maker is racing to get out the Xeon version of these CPUs and the first benchmarks showing the performance of such an 8-core SKU have recently made their way to the Web.

The chip is question is actually an engineering sample processor based on the Sandy Bridge-EP core and its performance was put to the test in both 3DMark 11 and CineBench R11.5.

In both of these benchmarks, the Intel eight-core CPU managed to outperform its desktop counterpart by quite a large margin, as the graphs put together by HardwareLuxx go to show.

From what we can tell, the ES processor used for these tests has a base frequency of 3.11GHz and Hyper-Threading seems to be working, but we don’t know if Turbo Core was enabled.

Intel’s eight-core Sandy Bridge-EP processors will be released into the Xeon E5 CPU line and according to a recent report will be based on a new stepping of this core that resolves the VT-d bug present in the current revision of the CPU.

Besides the eight computing cores, Intel's Xeon E5 CPUs can also pack a tri- or quad-channel memory controller, up to 20MB of Level 3 cache memory, 2 QPI links, 40 PCIe Gen3 lanes, and four DMI 2.0 lanes.

To accommodate all the new hardware logic, the thermal envelope of the CPU was raised from 130W in the current Sandy Bridge-E desktop CPUs to 150W.

Right now we don’t know when Intel will start selling these eight-core processors, but the chip maker said recently that it has already starting sampling Xeon E5 chips to select number of cloud and HPC computer vendors, with mass availability expected in Q1 of 2012.

Web Apps Can Modify the Firefox Context Menu via HTML5

HTML5 goes beyond just the <video>, <audio> or the <canvas> tags. And there's more to it than just the big technical features, drag and drop, filesystem support. What makes it really useful are the little things.

For example, HTML5 context menus which enable a web app to request that the browser add one or more custom entries to the right-click menu.

However, as with many other HTML5 specifications, most browsers don't support custom context menus.

In fact, Mozilla is the only one to add support and this just happened in the recently launched Firefox 8. At this time, Firefox is the only browser to support the feature.

"You may not know it, but the HTML5 specifications go beyond what we put in the pages and also define how parts of the browser should become available to developers with HTML, CSS and JavaScript," Mozilla's HTML5 evangelist Chris Heilmann wrote.

"One of these parts of the specs are context menus, or 'right click menus.' Using HTML5 and a menu element you can add new options to these without having to write a browser add-on," he said.

Since this is such a new feature, you're probably not going to encounter it on the web any time soon. But if you're running Firefox 8 or a newer version, you can check out the demo page Mozilla has set up to see the functionality in action.

And, if you're a developer, Mozilla is also providing all of the code necessary to create your own custom menus. Since this is a standard HTML feature, actually creating menu entries is quite simple.

As for why you'd want custom context menu entries, the possibilities are endless.

Just imagine all of the things you can do with a context menu in a desktop app and then remember how many times you right-clicked in a web app, like Grooveshark, expecting to see a context menu relevant to the item you selected. Of course, there's also the risk that the feature will be abused.

Intel Xeon E5-1600 and E5-2600 Won’t Show Up Until March 2012 – Report

We all knew that Intel is having troubles with implementing SAS in its next-generation server platform code named Romley, but we would have never guessed that it would take the chip maker as long as March to resolve these issues.

Of course that without its chipsets being ready, Intel also can’t release the Xeon processors using it, so these too are delayed.

According to DigiTimes, both the Xeon E5-2600 and E5-1600 series CPUs and the C600 chipsets will make their official debut in the first week of March 2012, which is a full quarter later that what Intel said initially.

The good news however is that the problems are gradually being resolved, so when the end product ships there shouldn’t be any more issues to be resolved, which is always a good thing in the server industry.

Atom N2100 Cedar Trail-M CPU Outside of Intel's Roadmap

Whatever plans Intel had made for the Atom series of central processing units, they didn't include a certain Atom N2x00 chip, but the web is nothing if not observant.

While this is not the first time Intel creates a processor without planning for it too far in advance, the chip some think will be called Atom N2100 might gather quite the following.

This is because it is intended as a cost-sensitive option, which means it will be even cheaper than the Cedarview and Cedar Trail products, which already went through their own price cuts.

As a single-core CPU, the item will probably have 512 KB cache memory and a clock speed of around 1.86 GHz or so.

Keep in mind that no specs were provided, though, and that all these numbers are pure speculation, based on what Intel has on the market right now and what it did in the past.

28nm NVIDIA GPU Roadmap Revealed

Leaks and rumors about what NVIDIA has in store have not been absent, but one has finally arisen that provides the exact plans of the company in regards to the 28nm manufacturing process. 

28nm is the technology that both Advanced Micro Devices and NVIDIA rely on for their new series of graphics processing units (GPUs).

This report has now shown precisely how NVIDIA plans to have its Kepler advance.

The high-end chip will have a smaller die than the massive Fermi and will bear the name GK104.

With 384-bit memory support, it can churn out 2 TFLOPS (30% more than GTX 580) and will be ready by the middle of next year.

Unfortunately, the prowess comes at the price of a high power consumption, 250W, which makes one wonder how much energy the GK110, a dual GX104, will need (will appear soon after).

Much sooner than GK104 will arrive the GK107, the first model as it were, which is a notebook part, with a memory interface of 128 bits and PCI Express 2 support (other GK chips have PCI Express Generation 3 support).

The GK106 will come second, a mid-range GPU, featuring 256-bit memory. Along with the GX107, it will show up at some point during the second quarter of 2012.

So far, the Santa Clara company seems to have similar designs as AMD, but the similarities end at the end of 2012 / early 2013, when NVIDIA will again launch a GPU with a massive die: GX112, with 512-bit memory.

So far, things sound optimistic, but there is always a catch and, in this case, it is TSMC that might cause disruptions to this plan, as well as AMD's own.

Many fear that the nightmare behind the 40nm low chip yields, which hit both companies very hard last year, will repeat with 28nm.  

The first signs are already showing in fact, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is already experiencing a high demand while producing only 20,000 units per month.

Nov 25, 2011

Asus’ Unreleased GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Pictured

Yesterday, we posted a picture of an upcoming Zotac graphics card that was powered by Nvidia’s upcoming GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores core and now a new image of a video card based on the same unreleased GPU made its appearance, this time manufactured by Asus.

The card is actually called the Asus ENGTX560 TI 448 DCII/2DIS/1280MD5 and was spotted by Fudzilla, who also provided the pictures accompanying this article.

Just as its naming implies, the graphics card is built on Asus’ in-house developed DirectCU II design which uses direct contact heatpipes together with large heatsinks and fans to deliver better thermal and acoustic performance than Nvidia's reference solutions.

At the same time, the high quality components installed on the DirectCu II models also improve the overclocking headroom of the solutions using them, making them highly popular among enthusiast PC users.

This time however, Asus has decided not to increase the operating clocks of its creation over those recommended by Nvidia for the GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores, which means that the GPU and memory runt at 732MHz and 950MHz (3.80GHz effective), respectively.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores is based on the same GF110 GPU as the GTX 580 and GTX 570, but has one of its 15 streaming modules disabled.

The rest of the graphics core includes 56 texture units, 40 ROP units and a 320-bit memory bus connected to 1.25GB of video buffer, just as is the case with the GeForce GTX 570.

Other features of the Nvidia GTX 560 Ti (448 Core) include support for 3-way SLI, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs.

This new GPU is expected to be launched by Nvidia on November 29 and from a performance standpoint should be almost as fast as the GTX 570.

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