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Nov 8, 2011

AMD Trinity APU Specs Revealed in New Leaked Slides

At the beginning of next year, AMD is expected to unveil its first APUs based on the Bulldozer architecture, code named Trinity, more information about these chips making its way just recently to the Web.

Spotted by Hardcore Hardware, the new Trinity pictures and slides confirm a series of other leaks that made their appearance in the last couple of weeks, but also bring a series of new details about the AMD chips.

Some of the most important of these come from a table showing the specifications of AMD's engineering sample Trinity APUs, which include either two or four Piledriver processing cores and have TDPs of 65, 100 or 125 Watts.

The operating frequencies seem to vary from 2.2GHz to 3.8GHz, and with the help of Turbo Core 3.0 technology some of these APUs can even reach or go beyond the 4GHz mark.

As far as the integrated graphics is concerned, this seems to be clocked between 563MHz and 711MHz, and Turbo Core should also be able to increase these frequencies to higher values.

AMD's next-generation APU combines processing cores based on the Bulldozer architecture with a VLIW4 GPU derived from the Cayman graphics used inside the Radeon HD 6900 series.

These cores will go by the name of Piledriver and, much like the current Llano APUs, lack any sort of Level 3 cache memory as AMD wanted to increase the die area available to the on-board GPU.

In terms of computing power, Trinity is expected to be about 30% more powerful than the current Llano APUs and will also support a series of new instructions sets introduced with the Bulldozer architecture, such as AVX and AES-NI, as well as DDR3-2133 memory.

On the graphics side, the new Radeon HD graphics core is expected to deliver 30% better performance than AMD current A-Series APUs, while also coming with a new Video Compression Engine and support for AMD's EyeFinity technology.

Hyper 412S Is Cooler Master's New Cooler for LGA 2011 Intel CPUs and Cooler Master Gives Free Upgrade to Owners of Hyper 212 EVO/Plus

Hyper 412S Is Cooler Master's New Cooler for LGA 2011 Intel CPUs

The Sandy Bridge-E Series of central processing units is about to make its debut so Cooler Master decided to release yet another cooler that supports them.

The new product that Cooler Master reportedly put together is just the latest addition to the Hyper Series.

While not exactly the biggest item that Cooler Master created, it is, nonetheless, fairly bulky itself, at 609 grams in weight.

Measuring 132 x 99 x 160 mm (5.19 x 3.89 x 6.29 inches), it uses the Continuous Direct Contact technology, a patented invention on Gigabyte's part.

Essentially, a so-called 'virtual' vapor chamber is created through this technology.

That should not be taken literally, of course, since what really happens is that the heatpipes, in this case four 6mm ones, are tightly packed on the CPU cooler base, dissipating heat, to some extent, as well as a vapor chamber from liquid cooling products.

With that to make the CPU manageable, the heatpipes lead the heat to the fin array, after which a 120mm Long Sleeve Bearing fan disperses whatever is left of it.

Speaking of the fan, it can work with a low-noise adapter (spins at 900 rotations per minute in that instance) or at full speed (1,300 RPM).

In that order, the cooler produces 16.1 dBA and 22.5 dBA of noise, which is quite a low level, all things considered.

The appeal of the Cooler Master Hyper 412S even further heightens when the price is factored in (35 Euro, or 48.16 dollars).

LGA 2011, 1155, 1366, 1156 and 775 chips from Intel are supported, as well as AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+ and FMI central processing units from Advanced Micro Devices.

Not everyone need lunge at this newcomer, though, since Cooler Master has other things to offer, and this extends to things besides other coolers.

Owners of Hyper 212 EVO/Plus, for instance, can get a free upgrade to their product, enabling LGA 2011 support (read following news to learn more).

Cooler Master Gives Free Upgrade to Owners of Hyper 212 EVO/Plus

Since the Sandy Bridge-E series of LGA 2011 CPUs is almost upon us, Cooler Master decided to grant a boon to owners of its Hyper 212 EVO/Plus coolers. 

Though the product already supports a variety of CPUs, it does not, by default, have the necessary parts to be affixed on top of the upcoming Intel CPU series.

Fortunately, instead of hoping that this would prompt people to buy a different model, like the Hyper 412, the company is lending its customers a free hand.

Anyone who owns a Hyper 212 EVO or Plus cooler, and can prove it (with a heatsink serial number), will get a free upgrade that will enable support for LGA 2011 chips.

That is, provided people actually have one of the chips or a supporting platform (Cooler Master will need either an invoice or a picture of the LGA 2011 motherboard or chip).

Nvidia's GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Get Detailed, Expected on Nov 29

We first heard about Nvidia's plans to release a more powerful version of the GTX 560 Ti at the end of last month and recently a report has popped up online that provides a full list of specifications for the graphics chip maker's next GPU.

Despite being branded as an GTX 560 product, Nvidia new solution will resemble much more the GTX 570 since the two will be based on the same GF110 core, according to the specifications revealed by TechPowerUp.

Compared to its older sibling however, the GTX 560 Ti (448 Core) will come with one of the 15 streaming modules disabled, to provide a total of 448 CUDA cores.

The rest of the 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 the GPU will work at 732MHz, while the GDDR5 video buffer is clocked at 950MHz (3.80GHz effective).

Together with the increased performance offered by the new graphics core, the power consumption of the card has also grown since the GTX 560 Ti 448 uses the same 0.950V to 1.100V voltage range as the GTX 570.

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

This is not the first time that Nvidia has decided to increase the shader count on one of its graphics cards as the company has also done the same with the GTX 260, which soon after its introduction received a 216 Core version.

The GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores will be officially launched on November 29, and its recommended price is expected to be on par with that of the original GTX 560 Ti.

Nokia X6 Receives New Update, Nokia Maps 3.06, Browser v7.3.1.33 Included

Nokia has silently released a new update for the old X6 smartphone, which is based on the Symbian 5th Edition platform.

This is the second update delivered by Nokia today, after the N9 got the highly-anticipated PR1.1 major upgrade earlier.

According to Nokia, software version 40.x.002 is rolled out in waves and availability depends on operator approvals.

Obviously, users can manually check for the new software in case they don't receive an update notification.

Assuming your Nokia X6 is on firmware version 32.0.002, you will be able to install the new update, which is approximately 8.5 Mb.

It looks like the latest software update brings several improvements, as well as the following enhancements: new Browser v7.3.1.33 and new Nokia Maps v3.06, support for IDNs and non-ASCII letters (i.e. Arabic, Chinese).

ASUS Zenbook Ultrabook Now in Singapore and Reportedly Delays Transformer Prime Tablet to December 2011

ASUS Zenbook Ultrabook Now in Singapore

Sure, the ASUS Ultrabooks were spotted well enough in the US, and one of them even got torn down, but it looks like Singapore is finally getting them as well. 

The two ultrabooks that ASUS has up for order are called Zenbook UX21E and UX31E. 

The UX21E (11.6-inch LCD) features a starting price of S$1,398, while the UX31E (13.3-inch LCD) has a starting price of S$1,498. 

For the full scoop on the hardware specs, as well as the US/ and Europe prices, just drop by here

So far, ultrabooks haven't sold very well, but it is believed that they will end up accounting for 43% of all notebooks by 2014-2015. 

This means they will, eventually, be reasonably affordable, not just super-thin and light. Whether Intel actually helps with this by lowering CPU prices is still up in the air.

Asus Reportedly Delays Transformer Prime Tablet to December 2011

Expected to arrive shortly, Asus' Transformer Prime tablet powered by Nvidia's Kal-El quad-core processor was apparently pushed back a month as the Taiwanese company now wants to ship the device with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

According to DigiTimes, Google has agreed to help Asus tune up the Nvidia Kal-El powered tablet for ICS, as the company wants to persuade the Taiwanese hardware maker not to shift its focus to Windows 8 tablets instead.

Google wasn't so helpful when it comes to assisting Asian companies to migrate from Honeycomb 3.2 to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, but the search giant is now looking to improve its collaboration with tablet makers.

Asus is one of the highest priorities on Google's list, as the company has plans to release two Windows 8 tablets in the second half of 2012, which the search giant seems to consider a threat to its mobile OS.

Initially, the Transformer Prime was expected to be released on November 9, as Asus' chairman Jonney Shih revealed during the AsiaD conference.

As many of you certainly know, the 10.1-incher is built around an Nvidia Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC) device and comes fitted inside a 8.3mm thick chassis that gets its design cues from company's recently launched Ultrabooks.

Just like the original Transformer tablet, the Prime can also be connected to a keyboard docking station to provide a more laptop-like experience.

The Transformer Prime will also come fitted with an SD card slot, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and with a mini HDMI port for connecting it to an external display.

All this hardware is powered by a massive battery (as it was revealed by the Prime's FCC teardown) that should be able to deliver an impressive 14.5 hours of battery life.

Rumors regarding the delay of the Transformer Prime come just one day after we reported that Asus Holland has suggested that the tablet won't be available in Europe until January 6.

EVGA New Firmware Unlocks the Fan Speed of Your Card

EVGA has just announced a new firmware for its 500-series GeForce GTX graphics cards that allows much better control of the card's fan speeds using the EVGA Precision tool or other third-party software.

Before this update, most of the EVGA graphics cards could only adjust their fan speed between 40 to 85 percent, but the new Unlocker BIOS increases that range to 30-100%, for greater flexibility in fan control.

In addition, to the new fan speed ranges, the update also includes the latest firmware for your card.

A list of the cards that are compatible with the new EVGA Fanspeed Unlocker FW is available here together with instructions regarding the update process, and the firmware can be downloaded from company website by clocking on link provided below.

EVGA GeForce GTX 590 Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 3072MB Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.2
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked+ Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.4
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.4
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.4
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 2.5GB Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Classified Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD Superclocked Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.2
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.2
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.1
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.1
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2048MB Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Superclocked Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Firmware / Fanspeed Unlocker Utility 1.0

Make sure to read the instructions carefully before proceeding with the update. 

Nokia N9 PR1.1 Update Now Available for Download and Nokia Store QML Client 3.18.036 Now Available

Nokia N9 PR1.1 Update Now Available for Download

Nokia has just announced that PR1.1 software update for MeeGo-based N9 smartphone is now available for download.

The update is about 220 MB in size and brings lots of new features and improvements to the popular Nokia N9.

According to Nokia, the update is pushed in waves OTA (over the air), but if you are not notified within the next hours or so, you can always check for the software update manually by going to Settings / Applications / Manage Applications / Software update.

As soon as you tap on the Software update tab, a list of updates for any apps that you have installed on the N9 will be displayed, while on top of the list software version 20.2011.40-4 should appear.

Among the most important changes included with the PR1.1 software update is the addition of music controls on the phone's lock screen, something that music lovers surely missed a lot.

Furthermore, the update brings Swype keyboard to improve the typing experience and make it more accurate and comfortable.

Those who already own the smartphone probably know that by default Nokia N9 sends all apps in the background instead of actually closing them.

Obviously, there's a setting that allows users to automatically close an application by simply swiping to any edge of the phone.

However, the new update introduces a new feature that allows users to close apps by swiping down. This new option is enabled by default now.

In addition, new indicators for standby screen (charging and calendar) have been included, along with new camera settings that allows users to take snapshots and videos with color filters (black & white, sepia, vivid, negative, solarize).

Noise cancellation has been enhanced to further reduces background noise, while the multitasking feature is now handling memory much better.

Other highlights of the PR1.1 software update include: NFC tag reading to instantly interact with NFC tags and faster MfE synch, synchronizing only active folders.

Before installing the update make sure the N9's battery is more than 50% charged and that you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.

It took my Nokia N9 around 35 minutes or so just to install the update, but only 3-4 minutes to download it.

Nokia Store QML Client 3.18.036 Now Available

Nokia has just delivered an updated Store QML Client for the owners of devices running under the Symbian mobile operating system. 

The new Nokia Store QML Client 3.18.036 arrives on devices following a series of upgrades performed to the Nokia Store backend. 

According to the mobile phone maker, the new release of the mobile client is meant to offer full compatibility with the backend release.

At the same time, the new application release arrives with new features into the mix, as well as with some fixes for issues that were found in the previous releases. 

The changelog for the new application flavor includes:
  • The Nokia Store backend has been updated on November 3, 2011 and the latest release of the client is fully integrated with the backend release.
  • Fixed: ‘Debug’ option in the client has been removed. This was meant for the R&D team. Sorry for the confusion
  • Solved: Purchase option for Symbian Belle users
  • Theme Pack (Gift Package) feature is available for Nokia C7 users
  • This feature will offer a collection of premium applications at no costs to the selected users for a period of time, e.g. 30 days
  • In the Store application, the users will see the Theme Pack banner on the home view. Upon clicking on the banner, they will be linked to the Theme Pack collection

The Store QML client is expected to turn into a final release in the near future, and is meant to replace the existing client on Nokia's Symbian^3 or Symbian Anna devices. 

The new mobile application was designed with the same features and capabilities as the official Store client (Web Runtime), the team over at Nokia Beta Labs notes. 

The new Store QML client is expected to provide users with easier navigation, as well as with a series of improvements that affect the product details view, all meant to result in a much better experience.

Nokia Store QML Client 3.18.036 beta download link below:

Intel Core i5-2435M and i7-2675QM CPUs Get Detailed

Since the original introduction of Sandy Bridge in January of this year, Intel has expanded its product portfolio to include quite a large number of CPUs based on this architecture and the chip giant is now preparing two new such models, the Core i5-2435M and i7-2675QM.

The two processors were spotted by the CPU-World website which also managed to dig out some detailed information about them.

Both of these chips are quite old acquaintances of ours as we first reported about these CPUs in August of this year when the processors were referenced in the footnotes of Intel's ARK database.

Now however we have more details to share about these CPUs, the fastest of which being the Core i7-2675QM.

Intel has designed this chip to include four processing cores, that are clocked at 2.2GHz (3.1GHz Turbo Boost), 6MB of Level 3 cache memory and it also features support for the company's Hyper-Threading technology.

The CPU integrated HD 3000 graphics core is clocked at 650 MHz and can go all the way up to 1.2GHz when maximum performance is needed.

The second mobile Sandy Bridge processor to be released by Intel, the Core i5-2435M, is designed to be used in more mainstream notebooks that don't require the performance of a quad-core chip.

Unlike its older brother, the Core i5-2435M includes “only” two processing cores with Hyper-Threading support, but these are now clocked at 2.4GHz with a maximum Turbo Boost clock of 3GHz.

The cores are accompanied by 3MB of shared L3 cache and by an integrated HD 3000 GPU with a base clock of 650MHz and a maximum Turbo speed of 1.3GHz.

Intel hasn't revealed the pricing of any of these two mobile processors, which was to be expected as they will only be sold to OEMs and ODMs.

Biostar Officially Intros the TPower X79 Motherboard for LGA 2011 CPUs

Biostar has kept pretty quiet lately, but Intel's introduction of its Sandy Bridge-E processors will also mark the arrival of a new motherboard from the Taiwanese maker that is known as the TPower X79.

Biostar's upcoming creation will use the company's now traditional black and red color scheme and includes all the features one would come to expect from a high-end motherboard, including AMD CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI support.

Just like most other LGA 2011 solutions out there, the TPower X79 comes equipped with four DIMM sockets supporting speeds up to 2400MHz when the board is overclocked.

To the left of the memory sockets, Biostar has placed a series of expansion slots, including three PCI Express x16 slots that are compatible with tri-way CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI configurations, according to Biostar.

The Taiwanese company hasn't said how many lanes are routed to each of these slots, but most probably the two red ones are PCIe x16 compliant, while the white one is limited at supporting PCI Express x8 speeds.

The rest of the expansion options include a pair of PCIe x1 slots, a legacy 32-bit PCI slot, and no less then seven SATA ports, at least two of these working at 6Gbps speeds.

An additional port is routed to the back of the board as an eSATA connector, where is accompanied by six USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out.

Two more USB 3.0 ports are available through an on-board header that is placed right near a series of Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons as well as near an POST80 debug LED display.

Power to the CPU and memory is provided via a 9-phase VRM, which on the TPower X79 gets its juice from not only just the regular 24-pin connector but also from a pair of 8-pin plugs, while a MOLEX plug delivers extra power for multi-GPU setups.

Biostar hasn't revealed any information regarding the price of the TPower X79, but it did say that the motherboard will arrive on November 14.

Fix Black Lines in App Window Because of DirectX and GDI in Windows 7 SP1, Hotfix Available for Windows 7 ‘0x0000003B’ Stop Error

Fix Black Lines in App Window Because of DirectX and GDI in Windows 7 SP1

Windows 7 users have come across an issue related to DirectX and Graphics Device Interface (GDI), in which black lines are displayed in the windows of some of their applications. 

Microsoft confirmed the problem, and is already providing customers with a hotfix designed to resolve this particular glitch.

The software giant notes that only application windows that are displayed through a combination of DirectX and GDI are impacted by this issue.

The glitch can be experienced by those running Windows 7 RTM and Service Pack 1, as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 and SP1.

“If you change the size of the application window, the black lines may disappear temporarily,” the software giant said. “This issue occurs when the application calls certain functions, such as the DwmGetCompositionTimingInfo function.”

Microsoft has already identified the source of the problem, and offered the following details:

“This issue occurs because DirectX incorrectly takes Device Bitmaps mode code path when Vista Blt mode is enabled. When certain functions are called, incorrect flags are returned to the caller. Therefore, DirectX does not detect that Vista Blt mode is enabled,” the company said.

KB 2578764 deals with this specific problem, and also offers a link to the hotfix that Microsoft Support made available.

The fix should only be deployed by those users that are impacted by the issue described above.

Device Bitmaps mode is new to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, with the software giant introducing it in order to boost interoperability between DirectX and GDI.

“Device Bitmaps mode was introduced because Vista Blt mode, which is used in Windows Vista and in Windows Server 2008, may cause high memory usage,” Microsoft added.

“When an application uses DirectX and GDI to display the application window in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2, Device Bitmaps mode is enabled. However, if the application calls certain functions (such as the DwmGetCompositionTimingInfo function), the interoperation mode is changed to Vista Blt mode.”

Hotfix Available for Windows 7 ‘0x0000003B’ Stop Error

Some applications can cause functionality issues in Windows 7, Microsoft revealed, with customers even experiencing crashes, and the less-than-loved Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). 

In the case of crashes, users can come across the "0x0000003B" stop error, according to the software giant.

This can happen if they run certain apps on Windows 7 RTM or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1). The Redmond company also notes that Windows Server 2008 R2 customers can also find that they’re impacted by this problem.

Here is the complete stop error message that users get:
“Stop 0x0000003B (c0000094, fffff8800ff22e54, fffff880098897f0, 0) - SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION.”

Microsoft did not offer a list of the applications that can cause the issue described above, but the company did offer one example.

It appears that users running Cyberlink YouCam have come across the glitch, and have had their computers crash.

The software giant not only confirmed the problem, but also offered a few details about the root cause:

“This issue occurs because the D3D9 runtime does not perform parameter validation on the rectangle values that are passed by applications such as YouCam,” Microsoft said.

“Therefore, invalid rectangle coordinates are passed to the Dxgkrnl.sys module. However, the Dxgkrnl.sys module also does not validate the rectangle coordinates, and a "divide by zero" exception occurs.”

KB 2584454 was published last month to help customers access additional details on the issue, as well as a fix.

For the time being, Microsoft Support is only offering a hotfix for download to users running Windows 7 RTM and SP1 as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM and SP1.

The promise from Microsoft is that this particular hotfix will be included in Service Pack 2 for Windows 7. But until Windows 7 SP2 becomes available for download, affected customers can already go ahead and deploy the hotfix.

Samsung: iPhone 5 Delayed by 'Overheating' Parts

New information has arrived regarding the potential delay of Apple’s iPhone 5, including one interesting tidbit about hardware parts that did not live up to Apple’s standards.
A Korean newspaper is spreading the word that iPhone 5 should have been the centerpiece of Apple’s October 4 event, but that key parts comprising the device were reported as flawed during testing, forcing the company to come up with a quick solution. That solution eventually turned out to be the iPhone 4S.

Following the rather disappointing announcement of a device that looked identical to the iPhone 4 but had the unique ability to run Siri (and even that isn’t unique to the iPhone 4S, as tests have shown), countless rumors started to emerge regarding the reason why Apple din’t deliver what the fan-base had expected.

It was speculated that the iPhone 5 was delayed due to a problem with “stability of a key part”. Production of that part had been assigned to a new Taiwanese company, according to the Korean source.

During tests, the unnamed component reportedly failed to meet the required stability standard imposed by Apple. The iPhone 5 delay at this point was inevitable.

Now, Samsung Electronics themselves seem to confirm this rumor:

“As far as we understand, Apple newly assigned production of two key components for its iPhone 5 and iPad 3 to a Taiwanese company, but these showed problems such as overheating during final tests,” said one Samsung Electronics official, according to The Hankyoreh.

(You can now use the comments to kick off the debate on which parts could those be, knowing that they can overheat - Battery? Processor?)

The statement seems to fall in line with rumors of a delayed iPad 3 as well.

Several recent reports, including one analyst account, are indicating that Apple will push for the launch of an iPad 2S next spring, and that a full-fledged third-generation iPad won’t be out until fall 2012.

It is being said that Apple is still trying to decide on the backlighting solution for its next tablet, though it isn’t clear which tablet it’s for.

Samsung Galaxy S II Gets Unofficial Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrade

Although Google has yet to release Android 4.0's source code, people are anxious to see the Ice Cream Sandwich platform working on their smartphones.

In this regard, the folks over at XDA have put together some of the Ice Cream Sandwich framework from the GalnetMIUI and CM7 and cooked a MIUI Android 4.0 ROM that can be flashed onto AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S II.

Even though it is based on a customized MIUI ROM, one of the most popular Android 2.3 Gingerbread ROMs, the unofficial Android 4.0 for Galaxy S II offers Android tinkerers a bit of Ice Cream Sandwich flavor before Google comes live with the highly-anticipated source code.

The latest version of the ROM, MIUI 1.11.7 ICS V1 fixes home and search buttons problems and the Audio issue and adds Nexus Prime boot animation, as well as the ROM Manager.

Check out XDA's original thread to learn more on the installation of the Ice Cream Sandwich MIUI ROM.

Alienware Cuts Prices for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M

Those of you searching for a gaming notebook with an interest in Alienware systems should be happy to know that the company has now dropped the prices for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M upgrade in both their M17x R3 or M18x offerings.

Before this price cuts were operated, the GeForce GTX 580M came as a $300 (218 EUR) upgrade over the AMD Radeon HD 6990M, both cards running neck and neck in most benchmarks according to AnandTech.

Now however, the price difference between the two was reduced to just $75 (54.5 EUR), which could justify the move to a GTX 580M if you need CUDA or PhysX support.

Announced at the end of June, the GTX 580M is a mobile version of the GF104/114 core that was used by Nvidia for the desktop GTX 460/560 graphics cards and it packs 384 streaming processors.

The main clock of the GPU is set at 620MHz (so the shader cores operate at 1240MHz), and this also includes a 256-bit memory bus which is paired with 2GB of GDDR5 memory operating at an effective 3GHz.

Apart from the improved clock speeds, the main advantage that the GTX 580M holds over its predecessor, the GTX 485M, is the support for Nvidia's Optimus technology.
In both the Alienware M17x R3 or M18x gaming notebooks, Nvidia's GTX 580M can be seconded by Intel quad-core processors based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, up to 32GB of RAM memory and by a maximum of two storage drives (either SSD or HDD).

A number of display options are available sporting up to Full HD resolutions and 3D-support, and users also get the usual eSATA and USB 3.0 connectivity as well as HDMI and mini-DisplayPort video outputs and a 2.1 speaker system.

The GTX 580M price cut is also available for M18x SLI configurations, but sadly no other notebook vendors have announced similar discounts for Nvidia's flagship mobile GPU.

MSI Big Bang XPower II X79 Motherboard Pictured

Yet another motherboard has made its appearance, in an unofficial capacity anyhow, namely the MSI Bang XPower II, which might just be the company's strongest platform yet, or at least very close to the top of the line.

The mere fact that it supports LGA 2011 CPUs is enough of a statement to the performance it can reach.

After all, the Sandy Bridge-E central processing units are no slouches, and the two strongest have already been spotted on retail.

As such, MSI only had to make sure its motherboard had all the components needed to enable those processors to let loose.

One of the things that stands out easily is the presence of eight memory slots, which sets the maximum DDR3 capacity to a solid 64 GB.

That's more than most people, if not everyone, could possibly have a use for, but that never seems to stop some from actually going all out and building real computing monsters.

Of course, there wouldn't be much point to a machine with so much memory if it didn't have the same level of graphics.

After all, games, graphics design programs and other such applications need their video rendering capabilities.

To satisfy any and all prospective buyers, MSI threw in seven PCI Express x16 slots.

Granted, only two of them seem to be x16, while the rest are x8 and, since the new Intel CPUs don't actually support so many PCI Express lanes, some of those switches on the board are probably used to manually disable at least part of them.

Other specifications include four SATA II ports (SATA 3.0 Gbps) and six SATA III (SATA 6.0 Gbps), plus voltage check points, on-board Direct OC and Multi BIOS buttons (among others), the OC Genie and a variety of connectors on the I/O panel.

MSI's Big Bang XPower II has a 24-phase VRM design and some awkwardly placed connectors and pin headers. No price was mentioned, unfortunately.

Video Presentation of Nokia Drive on Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia Lumia 800, the high-end Windows Phone handset that should arrive on shelves in a matter of weeks, will pack the Nokia Drive feature attached to the Nokia Maps application and service.
In the short video above, you can learn a few details on Nokia Drive, including an overview of its main capabilities, and you will also learn how simple it is to use.

Nokia Maps is one of the most popular navigation services for mobile phone users, set to become available for all Windows Phone users out there, and Nokia's Lumia 800 handsets will take full advantage of it, it seems.

Here's how Nokia describes it:
Explore with location-based apps and destination-based information. Find new places, new things to do, and better ways to get to them. Then use turn by turn Drive navigation to find your way easily and effortlessly.

Intel Cedar Trail Atom Won't Receive 64-bit or DirectX 10.1 Graphics Driver

With the launch of the Cedarview architecture Intel was expected to bring DirectX 10.1 support to its Atom CPU series, but recent reports suggest this is no longer the case as the chip maker has decided to re-focus its driver development efforts on Windows 8.
Intel started shipping the Atom Cedarview netbook and nettop chips at the end of September, while the official launch is scheduled for sometime later this month.

Compared to their predecessors, these new processors were expected to bring a series of improvements to the graphics core and one of the most important features was the introduction of DirectX 10.1 support.

However, according to VR-Zone's findings, it seems like DX 10.1 hasn't made the new Atom CPUs its way and that Intel has no plans of introducing support for this API in upcoming versions of its graphics card drivers, as some of us have believed.

Furthermore, Intel will only release a 32-bit DirectX 9 driver for the Atom Cedar Trail platform, so those of you hoping to install a 64-bit operating system on a Cedarview netbook or nettop are out of luck.

Other features, such as support for Wireless Display 1.2 and Intel Smart Connect 1.2, won't arrive until next year, but Wireless Display 1.1 should be part of the standard drive package.

The Cedar Trail platform is comprised of the Cedarview processor and the NM10 chipset, which is the same controller logic used by Pine Trail.

These are the first Atom processors to be built using the 32nm fabrication process and feature a unified architecture that packs both the computing cores and the graphics core on the same die.

Speaking of the computing cores, these use the same design as their predecessors, but the operating frequencies have been increased in order to allow for better performance.

More important changes were brought on the graphics front, where the CPUs have gained hardware decoding support for MPEG2, VC1, AVC, and H.264 Full HD content as well as for Blu-ray 2.0.

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