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Nov 22, 2011

Nvidia Explains the Disappointing Tegra 3 Benchmark Results

The disappointing graphics performance showed by some recent benchmarks run on Tegra 3 powered tablets have raised quite a few questions about the power of the Nvidia built-in GPU used in this SoC, so the chip maker has recently released an official statement detailing these results.

The response came from Nvidia Poland and basically calls today's GPU benchmarks unfit for testing the performance of its graphics cores as they rely on low resolution and low complexity scenes for its results.

“When benchmarking, please be aware that popular mobile GPU benchmarks typically are not good examples of today's mobile gaming experiences.[...]

“The new gaming content to be available for Tegra 3 Enables more effects, true dynamic lighting for more realism, and high resolution environments.

“Games that are highlighted on TegraZone deliver outstanding gaming experiences on Tegra platforms, and the following titles are examples of games being developed specifically to take advantage of the Tegra 3's quad core CPU and 12 core GPU: Da Vinci, Shadow Gun, Chidori Engine, Sprinkle, Bladeslinger, Riptide GP, and Glowball - with many more to come.”

Some of the most interesting Kal-El graphics performance results made their appearance on the Web at the end of last week when Lenovo leaked the scores of its upcoming LePad K2 tablet powered by the Nvidia SoC.

The results were obtained by running the GL Benchmark graphics test suite, which was setup to work in the offscreen 720p mode making the scores comparable with some results posted for the iPad 2.

Despite the quad-core ARM chip and the improved built-in GPU used by Nvidia for the Tegra 3, this benchmark showed the LePad K2 still lagged considerably behind the iPad 2 in terms of graphics performance.

Asus Transformer Prime Up for Pre-Order on Amazon US

After becoming available for pre-order on Amazon Germany in the middle of last week, Asus' upcoming Transformer Prime tablet has now also reached Amazon US with prices starting at $492 (363.5 EUR).

The price is for the 32GB version of the tablet while the more spacious 64GB model is going to run for $585 (about 432 EUR).

As I am sure that most of you have noticed, both prices are actually a tad lower than those recommended by Asus for the Prime, but not by much.

No shipping date is available at this time, but Amazon has both the silver and the champagne versions of the tablet up for pre-order, the only thing missing being the keyboard dock.

Asus' Transformer Prime will be the first tablet to use Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 SoC and outside of this packs a 10.1-inch IPS+ panel display, 1GB of RAM, a built-in GPS, an 8MP rear facing camera as well as a 1.2MP front snapper and runs the Android 3.2 OS, with an Ice Cream Sandwich update expected to arrive soon.  

Thanks go out to Phandroid for tipping up about this.

AMD's Radeon HD 7470M GPU Spotted in HP Pavilion dm4 Notebook

It's not all that uncommon for unreleased hardware to make its appearance in various desktop and notebook systems, so we aren't all that surprised to see AMD's upcoming Radeon HD 7470M GPU listed in the recently announced HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition laptop.

No details about the specifications of this GPU were provided by HP, but fortunately just yesterday we managed to dig out some info about AMD's entry-level Radeon HD 7000 graphics cores.

From what we know, the HD 7470M should be based on AMD's so called Seymour GPU which can pack either DDR3 or GDDR5 graphics memory connected through an 64-bit memory bus.

Just like the current AMD graphics cores the HD 7470M is also built using the 40nm fabrication process and is most probably just a rebranded HD 6400M-series GPU.

Fortunately we don't have to wait all that much for the mystery to be unraveled as the HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition will be launched on December 18 in the US.

Asus Official Transformer Prime Product Page Now Live

Asus has just updated its Website with a product page dedicated to the Transformer Prime tablet, one of the hottest items on this year's Holiday gift list, which means that we are getting nearer to the release of this 10.1-inch device.

The page is available over here (thanks go out to Phandroid for spotting this) and apart from providing detailed specs for the Transformer Prime also pictures a couple of the tablet's accessories.

These includes a micro-HDMI to VGA adapter cable, the TranSleeve protective cases that are already up for pre-order on Amazon.de and a couple of other devices that should make life with the Prime easier.

As far as the specifications are concerned, the page confirms what we already knew about the Prime which is built around a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core SoC, also known under the name of Kal-El.

The chip, together with all the other components and an 10.1-inch IPS+ panel with a native resolution of 1280 x 800, is packed inside a sleek chassis measuring only 8.3mm (0.33 inches) in thickness designed to mimic the aspect of the company's Zenbooks.

The basic Transformer Prime model comes with 32GB of storage space and can be upgraded via a microSD slot, but users also have the option of going for a beefier 64GB version of the tablet.

Nvidia's fast quad-core processor is seconded by 1GB of RAM, and Asus' Prime tablet also sports an GPS, a gyroscope, SonicMaster audio and a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera.

The rear 8MP resolution camera comes with auto-focus support, an f/2.4 lens, a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, and is capable of recording 1080p video.

Outside of the tablet, Asus will also release a keyboard dock for the Transformer Prime (the original Asus Transformer dock isn't compatible with the Prime) which adds another six hours of running time to the tablet's 12 hours battery life estimate.

Pricing will be set at $499 (360 EUR) for the 32GB version, while the 64GB model will retail for $599 (433 EUR).

Galaxy Nexus Shows Up at Amazon as “Samsung Galaxy S II Nexus Prime 4G”

Rumors about the upcoming release of the Galaxy Nexus at Verizon Wireless have come and gone, but the carrier has yet to confirm the smartphone's official launch date.

However, it appears that one of Best Buy ads leaked earlier today reveals a new naming scheme for Verizon's version of Galaxy Nexus - “Nexus Prime.”

It looks like Amazon confirms the “Nexus Prime,” as Amazon is the second major retailer that prepares for the upcoming release of the Galaxy Nexus.

In this regard, the phone is now listed as “Samsung Galaxy S II Nexus Prime 4G,” but hopefully will be adjusted to reflect the correct name of the device.

There are no details on the phone's exact release date or price options, but the device shows up as backordered with a shipping time frame of 1 to 2 weeks.

ARROWS μ F-07D from Fujitsu Is the Slimmest Android in the World

When it comes to being the slimmest Android smartphone in the world, Fujitsu’s ARROWS μ F-07D handset claims the top spot, leaving Motorola's RAZR behind a little.

The handset, which can be seen in the photo attached to this article, has managed to receive the necessary approvals from the FCC and revealed itself as the world's thinnest smartphone at only 6.7mm.

For comparison purposes, we should note that the Motorola RAZR comes to the market with a body that is 7.1mm thin, and that Apple's iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick.

One of the most impressive features of the new device is the fact that it manages to remain almost as slim through the entire length of its body.

Other smartphones that are renowned for their slimness, such as the Motorola RAZR or the Samsung Galaxy S II, feature bulges at one end.

The new Fujitsu’s ARROWS μ F-07D mobile phone, however, does not, being instead mostly uniform in thickness. The difference between its thinnest point and the thickest one is of less than 2 mm, it seems.

The specifications list of the new device might not be as impressive, but they will certainly make it highly appealing among Android users out there.

The handset pack a Qualcomm MSM8255 application processor clocked in at 1.4GHz and complemented by 512MB of RAM, along with 1GB of internal memory (expandable via a microSD memory card slot, we assume).

ARROWS μ F-07D is also said to arrive on shelves with a 4-inch WVGA touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass, as well as with a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with video recording capabilities.

Not to mention that it is powered by Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and that it features support for various applications and services put in place for the platform.

The Fujitsu ARROWS μ F-07D is expected to make an appearance on the airwaves of NTT DoCoMo sometime during the next year.

Asus Gives You the Chance to Win an UX31 Zenbook

Like anyone else, hardware vendors are also preparing for the Holiday season and what better way to promote your products than giving away a few prizes to your loyal users.

Asus is the latest company to start such a giveaway enabling its consumers to win an UX31 Zenbook or the U36SD ultra-portable.

For entering the sweepstakes, one has only to log-in into its Facebook account and give a “Like” to Asus' North America fan page to be automatically entered into the competition.

As I am sure that most of you already know, the Asus 13.3-inch UX31 Zenbook is an ultra-thin laptop powered by Intel's ULV Sandy Bridge processors which thanks to its optimized hardware and software can resume from a sleep mode in just a couple of seconds.

The U36SD on the other hand is based on Intel's standard voltage CPUs making it a tad bigger that its counterpart, but almost just as portable.

Zotac's Passively Cooled GTS 450 Zone Edition Makes Appearance

The high power consumption of modern mid-range GPUs has kept graphics card makers from releasing too many passively cooled solutions built on these cores, but Zotac has found a way to surpass these issues with its recently introduced GeForce GTS 450 Zone Edition.

While the GTS 450 is no longer what we would call a cutting edge GPU this is still able to deliver some decent frame rates at lower resolutions in most of today's games as long as the image quality settings aren't turned all they way to the top.

In Zotac's latest creation, the Nvidia graphics core is cooled by a large aluminum heatsink which draws the heat from the GPU via three copper heatpipes.

This takes two PCI slots inside the system case and even protrudes beyond the margins of the printed circuit board.

Speaking of which, Zotac has redesigned the PCB to make it shorter and to decrease the power consumption of its graphics card, which can now function without requiring any additional power outside of the 75W provided by the PCI Express slot.

In order to achieve this feat, Zotac had to lower the operating frequencies of the GTS 450 Zone Edition as the GPU is now clocked at 600MHz, while the 1GB of DDR3 memory works at 667MHz (1334MHz data rate).

In comparison, the standard version of the GTS 450 comes with a 783MHz core clock and with 1GB of GDDR5 memory that is running at 902MHz (3.608GHz data rate).

“Zotac listens to the demands of silent computing users and their needs for more graphics power, which is why we created the GeForce GTS 450 Zone Edition,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International.

“With the Zotac GeForce GTS 450 Zone Edition we struck the perfect balance of 3D performance and energy-efficiency to eliminate the cooling fan, as well as the external power connector,” concluded the company's rep.

Zotac hasn't provide us with any details regarding the price or the release date of its passively cooled GeForce GTS 450 Zone Edition graphics card.

Intel's Unreleased Core i3-2370M CPU Gets Detailed

Intel seems devoted to offer its clients as many Sandy Bridge CPUs as possible from which to choose from as recently it was uncovered that the Santa Clara-based chip maker is working on a new notebook Core i3 chip, dubbed the Core i3-2370M.

This upcoming processor was spotted by the CPU-World publication in HP 's Maintenance and Service Guide for the ProBook 4530s and 4730s notebooks, while also being confirmed by an internal Intel document detailing its Core i3 Sandy Bridge chip range.

The upcoming Intel processor was designed to come as a replacement for the Core i3-2350M CPU launched at the start of September and slightly improves the specs of its predecessor.

What this means is that we will get a 100MHz bump in the base frequency of the chip enabling it ot come clocked at 2.5GHz compared to the 2.4GHz of the 2350M it's meant to replace.

The rest of the specs were left untouched so the Core i3-2370M includes two computing cores with Hyper-Threading support, 3 MB of last level cache, support for the AVX instruction set and an on-board HD 3000 GPU.

This is usually clocked at 650MHz, but can also increase its operating frequency to 1150MHz when the need arises.

Like all other Intel standard voltage notebook processors, the Core i3-2370M has a TDP of 53W.

Intel hasn't revealed any details regarding the release date or the pricing of this mobile processor, which was to be expected since this will only be sold to OEMs and ODMs.

Outside of the two HP ProBook notebooks mentioned above, the Intel processor wasn't spotted in other mobile systems, but it shouldn't take laptop makers too long to use this new CPU once Intel starts shipping it.

VIA Intros ARTiGO Barebone Powered by Eden X2 CPU

Over the last couple of months, VIA launched an entire arsenal of compact mainboards for industrial use packing their dual-core Eden and Nano processors, and now the company thought its just about time to release a similar solution of the end-user market.

The result is the compact VIA ARTiGO A1150 barebone system that is built around an 1.0GHz dual core VIA Eden X2 processor seconded by the VIA VX900H chipset.

This media system hub, as VIA likes calling it, sports hardware acceleration support for various HD video formats, including MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1, WMV9 and HDCP for Blu-ray content.

Users have the option of pairing the VIA processors with up to 4GB of system memory via a single SODIMM socket and the A1150 case also packs space for a 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD.

Front and back panel I/O includes HDMI and VGA ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB ports including one micro-USB port, three audio jacks and an optional integrated wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n.

According to VIA, the ARTiGO A1150 is ideal for a variety of applications in the home or office, including home server, media streaming and surveillance applications or for being used as a regular desktop PC with a reduced footprint.

"VIA redefinesdual core low power compact computing, bringing all the features of a regular desktop PC into a form factor that needs to be seen to be believed," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc.

"VIA has a long history in creating leading edge form factor systems, and the VIA ARTiGO A1150 pushes the bounds for ultra-compact desktop computing," concluded the company's rep.

Sadly, VIA hasn't provided us with any information regarding the release date or the pricing of the ARTiGO A1150 barebone.

Antec Eleven Hundred Case Supports XL-ATX Motherboards and 4-way GPU Setups

Antec, one of the highest regarded case makers around, has recently announced the introduction of yet another chassis in the company's popular gaming series, the Eleven Hundred, which is one of the most advanced cases offered by the company.

When it designed the Eleven Hundred, Antec wanted it to provide enough room to fit even some of the most powerful systems out there so it made the case large enough to accommodate an XL-ATX sized motherboards and four-way GPU configurations.

But since such advanced hardware also requires some impressive cooling, the case was also fitted with default 200 mm top and 120 mm rear fans as well as with additional mounts for up to seven more fans.

These will be used to blow air over the GPUs and hard drives installed, while one of the extra 120mm intake fans can be placed behind the motherboard tray to cool the back of the CPU socket.

The airflow inside the case can also be optimized by routing cables through the grommet-lined holes placed along the motherboard.

Other features include tool-less 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch drive bays installation, removable PSU intake and front air filters, front panel USB 3.0 ports, as well as support for up to seven 3.5-inch storage devices and two 2.5-inch drive bays.

"The Eleven Hundred offers a set of features that will appeal to gamers and mainstream users alike at a very reasonable price point," said Mafalda Cogliani, Global Marketing Director at Antec.

"The Gaming Series has always defined our advancement in the industry, and this case will continue that momentum," continued the company's rep.

The Eleven Hundred reaches store shelves and online retail outlets in late November in North America and early December in Europe. Antec's recommended pricing will be set at $129.95 and € 129, respectively.

Firefox 8.0.1 Officially Released

Mozilla has released its first bug-fixing update to the latest Firefox 8. The new Firefox 8.0.1 fixes two main bugs and possibly some more minor issues. A pre-release build Firefox 8.0.1 had previously been pushed to the Mozilla FTP servers.

It was later pulled, probably because it failed Mozilla's quality assurance tests. But Firefox 8.0.1 has now been officially released and it's safe to grab and install it. If you're already running Firefox 8, you should be getting an updated soon.

Firefox 8.0.1 fixes a bug that affected the Mac OS X version. In some cases, loading a Java Applet via the Java SE 6 1.6.0_29 would lead to a crash.

The new Firefox also fixes a startup crash bug that affected Windows users running RoboForm versions older than 7.6.2.

Download Firefox 8.0.1 Final via links provided below
Firefox 8.0.1 for Windows
Firefox 8.0.1 for Mac
Firefox 8.0.1 for Linux 32-bit
Firefox 8.0.1 for Linux 64-bit

AMD's Canceled Deccan Platform to Be Replaced by Brazos 2.0 - Report

With the low-power Deccan platform reportedly canceled, AMD is now turning its attention in the direction of the recently unveiled Brazos 2.0 APUs to take the place of Wichita and Krishna in its partners ultra low-voltage (ULV) netbooks, notebooks and nettops.

The decision makes a lot of sense now that Deccan has been scrapped, although it won't surely offer the same bump in performance as that expected from the Wichita APUs.

According to a source cited by Xbit Labs, it seems like AMD's cancellation of this new platform was conditioned by a series of production problems, but at this point in time we can't tell if these issues were caused by glitches in the design of the APU or by TSMC's problems with the 28nm node.

The Brazos 2.0 platform that is supposed to take the place of Deccan is based on APUs including two Bobcat computing cores, built-in Radeon HD 7000 graphics adapters, and a single-channel DDR3 memory controller.

These will be paired with the new A68 Fusion controller hub (FCH), also known under the code name of Hudson D3L, that is supposed to bring USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps support to AMD's ULV platform.

Initially, AMD's Brazos 2.0 lineup will include just the E2-1800 and E1-1200 accelerated processing units.

The former is a slightly improved version of the current E-450 accelerated processing unit launched earlier this year and it packs the same two computing cores as its predecessor, but with a 1.7GHz base clock speed and a slightly higher clocked GPU.

The AMD E1-1200 on the other hand has been designed to take the place of the E-300 and will feature a 100MHz frequency increase to work at 1.4GHz, and a Radeon HD 7310 on-die GPU that features an insignificant 12 MHz overclock compared to its predecessor.

Both these APUs will be pin-compatible with their FT1 counterparts, but installing the new FCH will require AMD's partners to slightly redesign their products as this uses the 656-pin BGA package instead of the 605-pin packaging of the previous A45.

According to the same source cited above, AMD will ramp up production of the 40nm Brazos 2.0 APUs in mid-February, 2012 while the first products to use them should make their appearance in Q2 2012.

Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard for Android 2.2 and Newer Devices

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is definitely a great mobile OS, and its visual appeal determined people to start porting various features to older flavors of Android, so that more users could benefit from them. 

One of these is the keyboard in Ice Cream Sandwich, with has just been ported to all devices that are based on Android 2.2 or newer OS flavors.

This is a direct post of the keyboard from the latest Android release, performed by XDA-Developers forum member for.digit.

Available for free via the Android Market here, the Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard can be installed on almost all devices that are based on the said Android 2.2 or newer versions of Google's platform.

Clearly, not all handsets and tablets available on the market at the moment will be upgraded to Android 4.0, but at least users can now get a taste of it through the posted keyboard.

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