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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.

Intel Atom Cedarview-Powered Asus X101CH Netbook Makes Appearance

Despite the delay of Intel’s mobile Atom Cedar Trail platform for low-power laptops, Acer its getting ready to deploy its army of netbooks using this architecture as an UK retailer has recently listed a new version of the ultra-slim Eee PC X101 that is powered by an Atom N2600 processor.

This chip is built using the 32nm production process and includes dual processing cores clocked at 1.6GHz with support for Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology.

This is quite a far cry from the original 1.33GHz Intel Atom N435 CPU with just 512KB of L2 cache offered in the MeeGo-running version of the Asus netbook, and should offer decent performance as well as highly improved multimedia capabilities.

These are mostly due to the new PowerVR SGX545 graphics core that Intel has introduced in the Cedarview architecture, which can support hardware decoding for MPEG2, VC1, AVC, and H.264 Full HD content as well as for Blu-ray 2.0 content.

Taking a look at the remaining specifications, we get to see that the Eee PC X101CH is also equipped with 1GB of system memory, a 320GB hard drive as well as the standard 802.11n Wi-Fi, low-res webcam, and optional Bluetooth 3.0.

All of these, together with a 4-cell battery that can deliver up to 5 hours of running time, are packed inside a slightly thicker chassis than the one used for the original Eee PC X101.

The 10.1-inch screen has a native resolution of 1024x600 pixels and the operating system of choice is Windows 7 Starter.

The UK-based retailer (that was uncovered by Notebook Italia) hasn’t provided a shipping date for the Asus Eee PC X101CH netbook, but this is listed at £213.74 including VAT, which translates into about 249 EUR. If you ask us this price sounds just about right.

Download Waterfalls, Rocks, or Candlelight Themes to Personalize Windows 7

Windows 7 users have a wide range of personalization options available for them, the most appealing of which involves downloading and installing of themes for their PCs. 

Some new themes are now available for those who are into changing the looks of their desktop to fit their mood or the outside weather.

Depending on the chosen theme, they will also benefit from new system sounds, a welcomed change at some times, that’s for sure.

One of the new themes available for Windows 7 (though it should work with Windows 8 Developer Preview as well, that’s for sure), comes from photographer David S. Sommers and features close-up images of various geological specimens.

The colors of these close-ups of polished agate, jasper, and other rocks will bring into your mind worlds outside this earth, or fantastic abstract paintings, Microsoft explains.

For those who would rather dream of the open, there is a waterfalls theme available for download, with lots of open spaces to enjoy, and with some other benefits as well.

“Gurgling canyon creeks, rushing mountain streams, and cascading, terraced rivers: Waterfalls in all their glorious diversity are featured in this free theme for Windows 7,” Microsoft explains.

For those who would rather stay indoors but still want a taste of nature, there are lots of fruits to enjoy, also in the form of a theme for their desktop PCs.

“Glistening grapes, blueberries shimmering with delicate droplets of water, lemons as bright as the sun, pomegranates gleaming with vitamins and antioxidants. You want fruit. You want this fruit. Get it free for your Windows 7 desktop,” the theme’s description reads.

And there is also a theme fit for the holiday season, the Candlelight theme, bringing to your PC’s desktop the simplicity of a meditation retreat, for example.

“These serene images of candlelight evoke mystery and warmth in a variety of settings, from the coziness of a fireplace mantel to the spare simplicity of a meditation retreat. Illuminate the wintry gloom by adding this free Windows 7 theme to your desktop,” Microsoft says.

The Macro World of Rocks theme is available for download from here.
The Waterfalls theme is available for download from here.
The Fresh Fruit theme is available for download from here.
The Candlelight theme is available for download from here.

Foursquare for BlackBerry Tastes Events, Check-In Details

A new flavor of foursquare for BlackBerry devices is now available for download from the BlackBerry App World, with features that will make the holiday season a bit more pleasant. 

Owners of handsets running under Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS that take advantage of the capabilities of foursquare will be able to inform friends on events that caught their attention, all courtesy of the new flavor of the application.

The company announced a partnership with outfits like Songkick, ESPN, and more, all aimed at offering info on various events that users might enjoy.

“Want to tell your friends which movie, concert, or sports event you’re at? With events, you can let your check-in tell them for you,” foursquare explains in a recent blog post.

“We’ve partnered with MovieTickets.com, Songkick, and ESPN to provide details for for tens of thousands of events, which means that not only can you check in to specific events, you can also look up details before hand, like movie times and summaries,” the company continues.

Moreover, the new application release brings along a new check-in detail page, which offers users the possibility to share more info on what they are doing.

“Now, with our whole new check-in detail screen, your friends can see more of your adventures, like points or badges you earned, photos you took, and add comments inline. Perfect for important movie planning,” foursquare explains.

These new enhancements add to the features and capabilities that the mobile application already had available for its users, and are complemented by some other improvements as well:

  • Made everything prettier, including your friend management screen and the help menu navigation.
  • Added the ability to share your tips on your BBM profile.
  • Updated the GPS technology to clear up any location issues and improve your battery life (score!)
  • And a lots more tweaks and optimizations. It’s a pretty big update.

BlackBerry users interested in trying out the new software update will find it available for download via the BlackBerry App World here.

Intel Allocates Half the Sandy Bridge-E CPUs in Europe to the Nordic Market

While the rest of Europe has to settle with a limited amount of Sandy Bridge-E chips, Nordic countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark have no such problems as these get half of the Intel LGA 2011 CPUs that arrive in Europe.

If you think that this is pure benevolence from Intel's side, you’re wrong, as there is quite a strong commercial reasoning behind this decision.

As SweClockers explains, the average selling price of processors is higher in these countries than in the rest of Europe.

Paired with the desire of those living in these countries to get their hands on more expensive CPU models, Intel has everything to gain by taking this kind of decision.

So, if you are living in one of the Nordic countries and want a Core i7-3960X or i7-3930K for Christmas you’re all set, provided that you can afford it of course.

8GB GOODRAM DDR3 Module Makes Its Appearance

Wilk Elektronik, the company behind the GOODRAM memory brand, has just announced that it has expanded its product portfolio with the introduction of a new 8GB high-capacity DDR3 module, adding its name to an ever growing list of memory makers that already have such solutions available.

The new 8GB DDR3 stick requires only 1.5V in order to operate and it was designed to run at 1333MHZ with CL9 (9-9-9-28) timings.

Wilk Elektronik settled for using Micron chips in these modules, which they promise deliver improved stability even when four such stick are installed for a total of 32GB of memory.

We don’t know what to make of that claim, since we are rather doubtful about running that much memory without having ECC support.

“The line of 8GB DDR3 memory modules with the frequency of 1333MHz has been created bearing in mind the users, who care not only for stability, but also capacity,” said Wieslaw Wilk, the CEO of Wilk Elektronik SA.

“The 64-bit systems, whose popularity is growing, allow increasing the size of memory,” concluded the company’s rep.

The GOODRAM 8GB memory modules are available both as a standalone part, but also as a dual-channel 16GB kit including two such sticks. Sadly, no information regarding pricing or availability was provided.

However, when the GOODRAM memory will come out the market it will have to fight against an ever increasing number of similar products as most manufacturers are racing to get out 8GB DDR3 sticks.

One particularly strong competitor is the German maker Exceleram which has just yesterday announced its own 8GB DDR3 memory module that retails for a mere $49.99 (€37.4),

This making it half the price of other similar solutions, and enables users to install as much as 32GB of DDR3 in motherboards supporting four memory sockets for as low as $200 (149.6 EUR).

Windows 8 Bootkit Demoed on Video

Windows 8 was supposed to arrive with a secure boot, but it seems that things might not be like that after all, and the first demonstration of how the User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 8 Developer Preview can be defeated has emerged into the wild. 

This is none other than the Stoned Lite bootkit that Austrian security researcher Peter Kleissner has been working on for the past few weeks.

We already reported on the matter, as Kleissner announced about a week ago that he planned on bringing its proof-of-concept to the MalCon conference set to take place in India on November 25th.

Since that day has come, the demonstration emerged as well, and you can have a look at the clip at the bottom of this article.

For those out of the loop, we should note that Stoned Lite was designed to infect the MBR, which is not being verified in legacy startup.

However, the bootkit will store components outside the normal file system, and will have startup files hooked before Windows actually starts.

It was also developed so as to patch the password validation function, thus enabling the use of any password with any account.

The bootkit remains active in the memory, and can be launched from an USB drive or even from a CD.

In Windows 8, Microsoft plans on including a variety of new security features, starting with the UEFI-based secure boot, which is mandatory for all OEMs who plan on being UEFI-certified.

The SmartScreen filtering has been improved for Windows 8 and for Internet Explorer, and applications and ULRs are being checked against a database.

Peter Kleissner, however, proves that there still are some flaws in Microsoft’s products, and that the company should consider adding more security features into the mix.

Stoned Lite is actually the second bootkit that the Australia developer created. The first of them, Stoned, affects all Windows systems from Windows 2000 to Windows 7, and has its source code available on Kleissner’s website.

Unofficial Symbian Belle Now Available for Nokia C7

Although Nokia already confirmed that the Symbian Belle OS upgrade will arrive on older models that currently run Symbian Anna, it looks like the Finnish company is taking its time and has yet to announce the availability of the upgrade.

It appears that an official Symbian Belle ROM for the Nokia C7 has just leaked and is now ready for download and flash.

However, it is important to understand that this may not be the final version of Symbian Belle for the C7, as the company included several diagnostic software.

Only Nokia C7 owners that have Symbian Anna installed on their devices will be able to flash Nokia C7 RM-675 Original RC Belle 111.030.0607 ROM using the Phoenix tool.

The folks over at SymbianTweet also made a video tutorial that explains how you can flash the leaked Symbian Belle ROM.

World’s Smallest Camera Now Available for Purchase

When we first showed you the world’s smallest camera back in September we had no idea when was this Hammacher Schlemmer creation supposed to go into retail, but now we know as the company’s has just added the camera to its website.

For those of you who don’t remember, this impressively compact camera comes with a 2MP image sensor, 640 x 480 video recording at 30 frames per second and an included 2GB microSD card, all fitted inside a body that weights no more than half an ounce.

These are also accompanied by a battery pack which charges via USB from either your Mac or PC computer to provide, at least in theory, 30 minutes of autonomy.

If all these features sound just about right to you, then head on over to Hammacher Schlemmer’s website where the camera is available for $99.95 (75 EUR).

Fujifilm's Beast of a Camera Caught on Camera

Superzoom is a term used to describe high-end photo and video bridge cameras that, well, can zoom in and out a lot, and Fujifilm's new beast easily qualifies for the moniker. 

Dubbed X-S1, it has 26x optical zoom and a lens made of 17 glass elements, of which two are LED lenses and four aspherical.

We actually already went into details when we described the beast here, so we won't start listing numbers again.

Instead, we figured we may as well show the promo video that Fujifilm made.

Check it out above and then decide whether the item is worth the price of £699, which translates into a rather steep 1,087 US (811.8 EUR), or not.

Of course, if you fancy something that doesn't need hands to 'handle', the Freestyle HD Wearable Video Camera from Swann may be more convenient and it is a lot cheaper too.

Parted Magic 2011_11_24 Comes with the Linux 3.1.2 Kernel

The latest update to Parted Magic has arrived and it's once again playing with the version number/scheme. This newest release is dubbed Parted Magic 2011_11_24, the previous one was Parted Magic 11.11.11 and the one before that was Parted Magic 6.7.

But it's not just the version number that's changed, there are some updated packages as well. Parted Magic 2011_11_24 packs LiloSetup, TestDisk 6.13 and the Linux 3.1.2 kernel.

The update also fixes a major bug that caused the secure erase command to fail. A dummy file had been left in /usr/local/bin and that was causing the problem, but it has now been removed.

There are also some changes that should fix issues where Parted Magic would not boot properly, either the pmagic-<version>.sqfs or Initramfs would not be found, even though things should be working.

There were several reasons for the issues and they should all be fixed now. On some occasions, on Windows machines, archive managers would convert the pmagic-<version>.sqfs to PMAGIC_<VERSION>.SQFS.

On case insensitive operating systems, i.e. Windows, this doesn't make any difference. But on case sensitive operating systems, this meant that the file was no longer found, when copied to a CD or USB drive.

The solution was to rename the file PMAGIC_<VERSION>.SQFS from the start and stop compressing images.

Another reason for the issues was that the original ISOs were not created with Joliet directory info, which meant that Windows saw pmagic-<version>.sqfs as PMAGIC_<VERSION>.SQFS, leading to the problems. The solution to this was to start using mkisofs with the '-J' option.

Finally, another cause for the issues was that remastered ISO images were created without long file name support. This meant that "/pmagic/initramfs" would get truncated. To prevent this, it has been renamed to initrd.img

Parted Magic 2011_11_24 is available for download on link below.
Parted Magic 11.11.11 (iso.zip) i686 [iso] [185 MB]
Parted Magic 11.11.11 (iso.zip) x86_64 [iso] [185 MB]
Parted Magic 2011_11_24 (iso) i686 [iso] [181 KB]

Galaxy Adds Quad-Monitor Support to the Nvidia GTX 550 Ti

Galaxy will soon expand its product portfolio with a new Display4-series GeForce graphics card based on the GTX 550 Ti design that breaks away from Nvidia’s two displays per card limit thanks to some specialized hardware enabling it to support up to four monitors simultaneously.

The hardware in question is actually an IDT VMM 1403 display output logic chip, an integrated controller that is usually found in multi-monitor hub devices.

Going for a quick look, the GTX 550 Ti Display4 doesn’t seem to differ all that much from the company’s other graphics cards as it uses the same in-house developed "Glaciator" cooler that makes use of large heatsink ventilated by a large central fan.

Taking a look at the rear port configuration however, reveals that this isn’t your ordinary Nvidia graphics card since Galaxy has installed no less than four DVI connectors and a mini-HDMI port.

This setup enables Galaxy's creation to support up to four monitors simultaneously, and up to three of the displays attached to the graphics card can be combined to form a single surface (for multi-monitor gaming or productivity) with a resolution of 5760x1080 pixels.

The GeForce GTX 550 Ti GPU installed is powered by a 3+1 phase VRM controlled by Galaxy's in-house G-Engine chip and it runs at 950MHz, while the 1GB of video buffer operates at 1025MHz (4.10GHz effective).

According to Expreview, the Website that published the pictures of this card, the GTX 550 Ti Display4 will be available only in Asia where it’s priced at RMB 999 (converts to $157 US or 118 EUR).

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 550 Ti is based on the company’s GF116-400 core that packs 192 CUDA processors, 32 texturing units, 24 ROP units, and a 192-bit memory bus that is usually connected to 1GB of GDDR5 video buffer.

ARM Computer Is Credit Card-Sized, Plays 1080p Video and Runs Linux

It might not exactly be quite as small as the idea originally intended, but the Raspberry Pi will probably make jaws drop regardless. 

The idea used to be for a flash drive-sized computer, but the concept has since evolved, somewhat grown in size, but not by much.

Besides, when someone sees something this small, the first assumption will definitely not be that the critter is capable of playing full HD media.

It turns out that the Raspberry Pi can definitely accomplish that, thanks to its hardware and the Linux operating system.

The target price mostly dictated how many features were possible to cram into the device.

Still, for something that will ship for $25 (18.77 Euro), the Raspberry Pi delivers a lot.

A Broadcom BCM2835 media processor, based on an ARM11 core, will handle things, along with a Broadcom GPU core, DSP core and support for Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM.

Speaking of RAM, 128 MB SDRAM are present so, ultimately, when plugged into a television set, the small gadget can play H.264 1080p30 videos.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is going to launch a slightly stronger model as well, with 256 RAM and a price of $35 (26.28 Euro).

We actually spotted this Raspberry project way back in May, when it was still at the size of a USB stick.

Originally, the plan was to have it distributed for free, which may still happen if schools and such buy them out of their own budget and then place them at the disposal of students.

On that note, even with the small physical size, the ARM computer has a memory card slot (SD/MMC/SDIO support), one USB 2.0 port, Composite and HDMI video outputs, OpenGL ES 2.0 support and various other interfaces via the 1.27 mm pin-stip.

Finally, the Iceweasel, Koffice and Python open software products will be available on it, along with support for various expansion boards.

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