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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.)

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