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Dec 6, 2011

Sysinternals Suite Now with Updated Autoruns, Disk Usage, Process Explorer

A new Sysinternals Suite release is now available for download for the owners of PC running under the Windows client. 

In the latest release, made available on Monday, brings along updates for four of the tools that can be downloaded either as part of the Suite or as standalone applications.

In the new Sysinternals Suite 1.0 Build 05.12.2011, users will find that Autoruns was updated to version 11.2, that Disk Usage (DU) is now up to v1.4, that Process Explorer was updated to v15.1, and that the
new version of Strings is v2.42.

In a recent post on the Sysinternals Site Discussion website, we learn what exactly was changed with each of the aforementioned components of the Suite:

Autoruns v11.2: This update fixes a bug in the jump-to-folder function when executed on disabled items and correctly locates print monitor DLLs when they are stored in print monitor-specific system director

Disk Usage (DU) v1.4: This update to Du, a command line utility for analyzing the disk space consumed by directories, adds a CSV output option, accounts for the file system cluster size in its on-disk size calculations, and includes alternate data streams.

Strings v2.42: This Strings release fixes a bug that would result in a crash when the –n or -b options are specified without a file name.

And there is also the new Process Explorer v15.1, which comes with a new set of Windows 8 features by offering a new highlighting color for processes hosting immersive applications.

Moreover, it now “shows immersive application package names in process tooltips and as a new process view column, lists AppContainer and capability SIDs in the process security properties, and updates the GPU support to be compatible with Windows 8.“

“Other enhancements include GPU memory counters with more descriptive labels, display of the logon session ID on the security properties, and reporting of suspended processes as suspended in the CPU usage column,” the aforementioned blog post reads.

The blog entry also points us at a recent article coming from Mark Russinovich himself, called The Case of the Installer Service Error, in which he looks into how a network administrator used Process Monitor to find issues with Windows Intune installer.

Sysinternals Suite 1.0 Build 05.12.2011 is available for download, via this link.

eLocity A7+ Limited Edition Android Tablet Launched in the U.S. for $230 (170 EUR)

U.S.-based company Stream TV Networks has just announced a new addition to its portfolio of Android tablets, the limited edition eLocity A7+. The tablet is a limited edition release and will be retailed only until quantities last. 

The slate is now available for purchase via major retailers across the country, including J&R and NewEgg.com, for a suggested retail price of $229.99 (170 EUR).

According to the manufacturer, retailer ShopNBC is expected to start selling customized eLocity A7+ value bundle sales on December 8th through 19th.

Although Stream TV Networks claims that the eLocity A7+ is meant to compete with Amazon’s Fire and B&N Nook tablets, this is hardly the case, give the tablets hardware and software configurations.

The slate comes with a more powerful 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 T250 dual core processor, but runs Google’s Android 2.2 Froyo platform.

“We’re glad to follow up the A7 with a model that raises the bar. We’ve exceeded the industry standards for resolution and we look forward to continuing to push the envelope in 2012 with our upcoming product line,” states Mathu Rajan, CEO of Stream TV Networks.

In addition, the eLocity A7+ comes with full Flash support and local browser, as well as quick access to GetJar App Store with thousands of apps. It also features expandable memory of up to 100GB at the same price as the Amazon Fire.

As the name suggests, the eLocity A7+ sports a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display that boasts a high screen resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.

The eLocity A7+ is built on the popularity of the A7 tablet that was launched last year, and has similar connectivity features, including HDMI and USB 2.0 ports, as well as a microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

The tablet packs DDR2 512 MB, 667MHz RAM, 4GB of flash memory, 1.3-megapixel front facing camera for video calls, as well as Stereo speakers and 3.5mm audio jack port.

Intel: Integrated GPUs Can Compete, But User’s Perception Needs to Change

Intel has made great strides in improving the graphics performance of its chips since the introduction of its Sandy Bridge architecture at the start of this year, but the company believes that they have to change how computer users perceive these solutions in order for them to become truly popular.

"I would say that the biggest thing that we're up against is perception,” said Pat Bliemer, Managing Director for Northern Europe and Benelux at Intel, in an exclusive interview with the Nordic Hardware website.

“And it's not as much as actual performance or that ours is not as good as theirs [referring to AMD] or vice versa.

“I do think that there still is a notion with an average computer user that you need to have a discrete graphics solution and that integrated graphics is not as competitive,” continued Mr. Bliemer. “And I think this applies as much to AMD as it does to us right?"

Intel’s rep continued by saying that even if integrated graphics have greatly improved in the last year users still believe that using the built-in GPU found inside today’s processors won’t actually allow them to run the games they want or use high resolutions modes on their monitors.

According to Bliemer all these myths will continue to live on for quite some time from now, but eventually people will realize that built-in GPUs are good enough for most of the tasks that they run.

“We do think that more people will realize that what they actually have in their CPUs is good enough to run 99,98 percent of the things that they do.

“If you talk about mainstream gaming you can elegantly do it already based on GT2 [Intel HD 3000] solutions that we have,” said Bliemer.

While some of you wouldn’t agree with this last claim, there’s no denying the fact the integrated graphics have come a long way in the short time since Intel and AMD started adding GPUs to their processors, and with the advent of Ivy Bridge and Trinity the next year, integrated graphics will definitely become even faster than today.

Xbox Next Chip Taped Out by Microsoft Says Report

Microsoft has apparently taped out the chip that will go into the company’s upcoming console, the Xbox Next, with the first version of this processor being expected get back from manufacturing until the end of this year, according to a recent report.

In electronics design, the “tape out” term is used to describe the final result of the design cycle of a chip and means that the integrated circuit can be sent to the foundry for fabricating the first physical samples.

After the first revision of the silicon comes back from manufacturing this usually goes through a number of spins as the design is further refined to eliminate any potential flaws that made their way into the integrated circuit.

This is quite a lengthy process and according to SemiAccurate seems like it will be finalized by Microsoft’s engineers in December of 2012, if no major problems are encountered along the way.

The chip will then enter mass production, which is expected to take about three months, with a few more months being required for system production and stockpiling launch quantities.

This means that the launch of the Xbox Next will take place sometime in late spring or early summer 2013, although this estimate could be wrong as Microsoft hasn’t provided game developers with documentation regarding the next-gen Xbox.

If true, Microsoft’s move is indeed strange as writing a game from scratch usually takes developers about two years, provided that the company doesn’t deliver some kind of backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360.

Moving to the hardware that will be included in this chip, known internally by the code name of Oban, the only thing that seems to be certain at this point in time is that it will include an AMD graphics core.

IBM seems to also be involved, which points out to the PowerPC architecture and eDRAM memory, but there’s also a small chance that the Xbox Next will get an x86 core, similar to Trinity, developed by AMD.

Sadly, this is all the info that is available at this time, but 2012 should bring us more details regarding Microsoft’s Oban chip and its specifications.

Core i7-3920XM Is Intel’s Fastest Mobile Ivy Bridge CPU to Arrive in 2012

If you have paid close attention to News then you should already be familiar with Intel’s 2012 mobile Ivy Bridge processor lineup and its flagship CPU, the Core i7-3920XM. 

However, I am aware that not all of you may have had the chance of reading our original article (available here) detailing the mobile version of Ivy Bridge, so here we’ll take a quick look at Intel’s most powerful notebook CPU to make its entrance in Q2 of 2012.

This processor is the 2.9GHz clocked Core i7-3920XM, the bigger brother of the current i7-2960XM also featuring quad computing cores and Hyper-Threading support.

As you have certainly noticed, this upcoming CPU is clocked 200MHz higher that the chips is meant to replace in April of 2012, but other changes were also made such as the 100MHz higher Turbo Boost frequency, now 3.8GHz, and the inclusion of the Intel HD 4000 GPU running at 650/1300MHz.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? The only downside to the Core i7-3920XM is that most probably, just like the current 2960XM, this mobile powerhouse will come with a prohibitive price tag, well beyond $1000 US (747 EUR), which will make it a no-go for 99% of notebook users.

Porsche Design BlackBerry P’9981 Receives FCC Approvals Possibly Headed to AT&T

Research in Motion announced its premium BlackBerry P’9981 smartphone back in October and confirmed plans to launch the device later this year.

It appears that the smartphone has just been spotted at FCC (Federal Communications Commission) by the folks over at Wireless Goodness. Filed under model number REQ71UW, the P’9981 won approval for GSM 850/1900, WCDMA bands II and V, Bluetooth, WiFi and NFC capabilities.

Even though AT&T has yet to make any official announcements on the P’9981 release, the latest hearsay suggests that the device is expected to hit shelves by the end of the year.

Built in collaboration with Porsche Design the P’9981 is a luxury smartphone which is equipped with the same platform chipset as the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

However, Porsche Design used exclusive materials choices to build the P’9981, including a forged stainless steel frame, hand-wrapped leather back cover, along with sculpted QWERTY keyboard.

Although the smartphone is delivered with BlackBerry 7 operating system, Porsche Design P’9981 also features an exclusive Porsche Design UI on top of the mobile platform.

In addition, the exclusive Porsche Design the P’9981 includes premium, exclusive PINs that allows owners to easily identify another P’9981 smartphone user.

As we already mentioned, the Porsche Design P’9981 is built on a the same chipset platform included with the Bold 9900 smartphone, including the 1.2 GHz processor and 768MB of RAM.

Furthermore, the smartphone packs 8GB onboard memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 40GB).

On the back, the luxury smartphone sports a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash, image stabilization, face detection and HD (720p) video recording. The 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen boasts 640 x 480 pixels resolution and support for 16 million colors.

No word on AT&T’s Porsche Design P’9981 pricing options, but this one is valued at $2000 (1425 EUR).

Intel and ITRI Plan Super-Efficient and Fast Memory

IBM isn't the only company to devise revolutionary memory, as Intel and ITRI want to make their own, one that is supposed to be both powerful and very power efficient compared to what exists today. 

Back when we mentioned JEDEC and its DDR4, it became easy to see that the memory market isn't that good at progressing steadily.

Though clock speeds can and have been optimized by memory makers, there is only so much one can do within the confines of the technology.

DDR4 will be much better than DDR3, which means memory advances in leaps and bounds instead of steady steps.

At least, this is one way to look at it when compared to how CPUs and GPUs get better and better every year.

Intel doesn't feel like memory is progressing quite as fast as it should, so it has formed a partnership with Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

Together, they want to make a new type of memory that will not only be very fast, but also 10 to 100 times more power efficient than the one today.

This would both open up new prowess levels for systems as well as appeal to mobile devices, like smartphones, tablets and, of course, ultrabooks.

Currently, data is moved from the processor to the memory and back when performing tasks, which takes a lot of energy.

The new project means to stack the memory directly on top of the CPU, which would be a sure way to cut on the energy requirements.

“The memory market has been stagnant over the past few years by working with ITRI we’ll spur innovation,” said Justin Rattner CTO of Intel.

No clue yet on how long it might take for this new breed of 3D integrated circuits (ICs) to become reality and if they are an enemy of IBM's Racetrack.

iPhone 5 to Boast All-New CPU, Analyst Says

An analyst with Susquehanna Financial is boasting that Apple will build a different chip inside the next-generation iPhone 5, breaking the trend of using the same A-series chip in iPhones and iPads of the same generation.

"With respect to iPhone, iPhone 5 production is expected to start around the June timeframe," Susquehanna Financial analyst Chris Caso wrote in a note to clients.

According to a report by the IB Times, the analyst expects the iPhone 5 to have a completely new CPU that will not be present in the iPad 3.

"The processor in the iPhone 5 appears to be a completely new CPU, and different from that of the new iPad," Caso added.

The report adds the latest rumors to Caso’s claims, including near-field communication (NFC) technology, a quad-core chip clocked at 1.2-to-1.5 GHz, 1GB or more RAM, a bigger display, LTE, and inductive charging.

Windows 8 Build 8165 Images Leak, Resizable Tiles Mentioned

Following the emergence of a series of images with Windows 8 Build 8158 only yesterday, some screenshots of Windows 8 Build 8165 are also available, showing a bit more progress in the development of the platform. 

Available courtesy of Winunleaked, the new images are accompanied by a series of details on some of the customization options that Microsoft plans for the Windows 8 Start Screen.

Apparently, the company plans on offering users the possibility to resize the Windows 8 tiles, and this would be possible in this new winmain build that was compiled at the beginning of December.

Moreover, the news site claims that Microsoft has performed a series of improvements to the manner in which the mouse control works in Windows 8.

Mouse gestures work nicely in the new platform release, and Microsoft also offers users the possibility to resize tiles on the Start Screen (using fingers on touchscreens, but the option should be available for those using a mouse as well).

These features, along with others more, should be available in the beta release of Windows 8, which might be pushed to the public sometime in the first quarter of the next year.

Windows 8 beta should arrive with a series of other visual changes when compared to the currently available Developer Preview, as well as with various changes under the hood.

The aforementioned Windows 8 Build 8158 screenshots showed a slightly modified Charms Bar and re-located date and time, as well as working App Store.

Windows 8 was also suggested to come with a Storage Spaces option, meant to ensure increased reliability when it comes to stored data, as well as to lose the popular Control Panel in favor of PC Settings, as can be seen in the image above too.

Additional details on the storefront should be unveiled as soon as today, but info on other changes that the platform will sport from the Developer Preview will be available only next year, most probably at CES in January.

Asus Micro-ATX Rampage IV Gene LGA 2011 Motherboard Pictured

Asus is preparing to bring yet another addition to its impressive Republic of Gamers series of LGA 2011 motherboards with the Rampage IV Gene, a high-end solution that comes in the Micro-ATX form factor and targets LAN party goers.

Despite its small size, the Asus board includes pretty much all the features that one would expect from a top of the line ATX, or even much larger board, such as SLI/CrossFireX compatibility, a high-end VRM, Intel Gigabit LAN, SupremeFX III sound and out of the box DDR3-2400 support.

Furthermore, all the three PCI Express x16 slots included are PCIe 3.0 compliant, while the fourth black slot supports x4 speeds using the PCIe Gen 2 standard.

The expansion possibilities of the Rampage IV Gene are completed by three SATA 3 Gbps connectors and by another four SATA 6 Gbps ports, two of the latter being driven by a third party ASMedia controller.

One more SATA 3Gbps port was routed to the back of the motherboard as an eSATA connector, where users will also find two USB 3.0 ports, the now usual ROG connect and CMOS Clear switches, a BIOS flashback button, and a series of gold-plated jacks for 8-cahnnel audio with S/PDIF out.

These are driven by a new Asus SupremeFX III audio solution that promises to deliver audiophile-grade sound thanks to a high-fidelity HD Audio CODEC which is paired with an active circuit to eliminate EMI noise.

Furthermore, the CODEC chip is covered with an EMI shield and the area where this is located is electrically isolated from the rest of the board.

Sadly, no info regarding the pricing of the Rampage IV Gene is available right now. However this should be available soon enough as SweClockers reports that the Asus motherboard will become available early next year.

Intel’s 2012 Mobile Ivy Bridge CPU Lineup Revealed

About two weeks after a series of leaked slides revealed both the names and the specs of Intel’s desktop Ivy Bridge processors, a new set of Intel documents somehow made their way to the Web to detail the mobile version of these future CPUs.

Just as Intel’s mobile Sandy Bridge processor lineup, the chip maker’s new mobile SKUs will also be split between standard voltage and low power models, although it now appears that Intel has decided to kill Low Voltage or LV series.

This leaves us with only standard voltage and Ultra Low Voltage CPUs, the latter being known from 2012 onwards only as Ultra or U-Series processors, while CPUs in the former category will be known as M-Series CPUs.

Just as before, TDPs for U-Series processors will be set at 17W, while the more powerful M-Series SKUs will come with 35, 45 and 55W TDPs.

These chips will be used by laptop makers together with the Panther Point chips which will be available in four different versions dubbed the HM75, the HM76 and the HM77, with the UM77 being specifically designed for low power notebooks, according to VR-Zone.

Specs wise, the HM75, the HM76 are almost identical, except for the fact that the former lacks USB 3.0 support, while the HM77 will add RAID and Smart Response to the features list of the HM76.

As far as the low-power UM77 chipset is concerned, this is fairly similar to the HM77, but it comes with only four SATA ports instead of six (only one is SATA 6Gbps compliant), and it drops four PCI Express lanes and four USB 2.0 ports.

Moving to the CPUs in the Ivy Bridge series, these will feature similar specs with their current counterparts based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, but feature slightly higher clocks and the much-improved Intel HD 4000 built-in graphics core. Detailed specs are available in the tables included in the article.

Intel plans to release these 3000M series processors in at least two stages with the quad-core parts coming out in April 2012, while the dual-core Core i7 and Core i5 chips will arrive in May of the same year.

Sadly, there’s no mention of when the Core i3 parts arrive on the market, so those of you hoping to buy a cheap Ivy Bridge notebook in 2012 will most probably have to wait for Q3 to find such a device.

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