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Dec 29, 2011

Intel Core i7-3820 Is Based on an Entirely New Sandy Bridge-E Die

When it shrunk the Sandy Bridge-E architecture from six to just four cores, Intel didn’t only disabled some of the hardware logic found on die, but developed a new chip all together.

Compared to the 2.27 billion transistors packed by Intel’s six-core Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, the Core i7-3820 includes “only” 1.27 billion transistors installed inside a 294mm2 die, reports AnandTech.

This is a significant departure from the original 435mm2 die size of the Core i7-3960X and i7-3930K and was achieved by dropping not just two computing cores, but also 10MB out of a total of 20MB L3 cache (5MB are disabled in desktop SNB-E CPUs).

Why has Intel decided to go this route with the Core i7-3820 you ask? Well, because the company wanted to decrease manufacturing costs as this processor will sell for $285 (220 EUR) when it arrives in early 2012.

A smart move if you ask me, which should pay off for Intel in the future.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Product Family Specifications Leaked

Yesterday, we brought you some basic info regarding the Radeon HD 7000-series graphics cards that AMD plans to launch in the first quarter of 2012, and today we entered into the possession of some new documents detailing the specs of these upcoming GPUs.

The docs were provided by the Lenzfire Website and cover all the graphics cards based on the GCN architecture that AMD plans to unveil in the first half of 2012.

As many of you surely know, the first solution from the HD 7900 series to arrive will be the HD 7970 and HD 7950, which will both become available on January 9.

We are not going to get into too many details as far as these GPUs are concerned as we already covered them in previous reports, but it’s worth mentioning that March 2012 will mark the introduction of a special HD 7950 that comes with “just” 1.5GB of GDDR5 VRAM and which will retail for 399$ (308 EUR).

Right below the high-performance HD 7970 and HD 7950 will come the HD 7800 product line which will be comprised out of four graphics cards.

It’s interesting to note that the highest performing of these, the Radeon HD 7890 is based on the LE version of the Tahiti graphics core, the same one used for the HD 7900-series, and now on the Pitcairn GPU of the remaining HD 7800 solutions.

Just as it’s the case with the HD 7950, the HD 7850 will also be available in two different versions, one featuring just 1GB of video buffer compared to the 2GB used for its older brother.

Finally, the last graphics cards in AMD’s HD 7000 lineup to be based on the GCN architecture are found in the HD 7700 series.

Three solutions will be available in total, one based on the Pitcairn LE GPU, while the other two use the Cape Verde graphics core. All these three graphics cards feature 1GB of VRAM.

Detailed specifications, prices and the approximate release dates are found in the two tables accompanying this article.

Fastboot Files for Motorola DROID RAZR Now Available for Download

Motorola DROID RAZR owners afraid to flash custom ROMs on their devices will be happy to know that the fastboot files for the smartphone have just leaked in the wild.

XDA forum user daywalker04 managed to grab these important files and published them at XDA Developers for everyone to download it.

The file is over 1GB in size so make sure you have enough space before starting to download this fastboot files. daywalker04 was kind enough to split the file in two parts in order for everyone to be able to grab it.

The files were already reported as working, but it will remove the root and it will take the phone’s software from 748 to 744.

All in all, with the new fastboot files leaked Motorola DROID RAZR owners will no longer have to worry about bricking their phones after flashing a custom ROM.

AMD Makes Official the FX-6200 Six-Core CPU

Just a couple of weeks ago, we learned about AMD’s plans to introduce a new six-core processors based on the Bulldozer architecture, the FX-6200, and now it appears that this new CPU was made official by the Sunnyvale-based chip maker who has listed the new SKU on its website.

Donanim Haber has spotted the processor of AMD’s site, and its specifications seem to resemble to a great extent our original report from mid-December.

As we mentioned above, the FX-6200 is a six-core CPU which means that it comes with three out of its four Bulldozer modules enabled and has a base frequency of 3.8GHz.

The CPU will be able to dynamically adjust its operating speed, according to the number of threads run, thanks to the inclusion of the Turbo Core 2.0 technology which enables it to reach a maximum speed of 4.1GHz.

The rest of its specs are rather standard for a six-core FX-Series chip as it includes 6MB of L2 cache as well as 8MB of Level 3 cache memory, but the TDP has been increased to 125W from the 95W of the current FX-6100.

As far as performance is concerned, a slide that was leaked previously places the new Bulldozer chip between the original 3.3GHz clocked AMD FX-6100 and the 3.6GHz FX-8150 in video encoding tasks.

The same graph also shows Intel’s Core i5-2400 running this application, reveling that the two processors are almost equal when it comes to video encoding.

Pricing for this new CPU seems to be set at $175 in the US, and €150 in Europe, which makes the processor slightly less expensive than its Intel counterpart, the Core i5-2400, that retail for $184 to $195.  The FX-6100 has an MSRP of $155 US, according to AMD’s latest CPU pricing list

Sadly, we still don't know when the FX-6200 will make its appearance in retail.

CyanogenMod 9 Now Available for DROID 2 Global

The team behind the CyanogenMod 9 project promised they would release the final version of the ROM sometime in January. From time to time we’re offered short sneak peeks on their work, but we will have to wait one more month for the final release. 

However, XDA forum user ngocha2006 surprised everyone with the release the CyanogenMod 9 for the Motorola DROID 2 Global.

Although this is only an alpha release, it appears that most of the smartphone’s features are functional and there are only a handful of features that need to be fixed.

There’s a long list of features that are fully functional and a short one with things that are not working and need to be fixed in the future.

Here is the list with what works in this CyanogenMod 9 Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 Alpha 1 release for Motorola DROID 2 Global: Phone GSM\CDMA, Wi-Fi, SMS, audio, sensors, SDCard, EGL, GPS, Bluetooth, Hardware acceleration 2D and 3D, USB and charging.

The person who is responsible for this release confirms that camera, Android Market download, talk and data are not working for the moment, but other features may not be functional as well.

Fortunately, a solution for the Android Market download unable to start issue has already popped up at XDA Developers. It appears that there’s a problem with the DRM server that does not start at boot, so users will have to add one line on shell as root.

For more details on how to fix this issue or how flash this ROM onto your Motorola DROID 2 Global smartphone head over at XDA Developers thread.

It is also worth mentioning that CyanogenMod 9 for DROID 2 Global doesn’t work with Froyo kernel, so users will need to update to Gingerbread before flashing this one onto their smartphones.

Nokia Lumia 900 to Land at AT&T on March 18th

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia might have its first LTE-enabled Windows Phone available on shelves at wireless carrier AT&T as soon as March next year, recent reports suggest. 

We already knew that the handset was coming, but specific info on when that might happen hasn’t emerged so far. 

New reports, however, suggest that the smartphone, dubbed Nokia Lumia 900, could be set for a March 18th release at AT&T, after being made official at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month. 

A recent rumor suggested that HTC and Samsung were also planning the release of Windows Phone devices with LTE capabilities inside. These mobile phones are expected to arrive on shelves at AT&T too. 

Basically, this means that the wireless carrier’s users will soon be able to purchase three new Windows Phones to connect to the carrier’s LTE network, in addition to the currently available Android devices.

RIM to Launch BlackBerry Torch 10000 Soon

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has been using a four-digit model number for its BlackBerry handsets so far, but it seems that it is about to change that. 

Rumor has it that the company is gearing up for the release of a BlackBerry Torch 10000. A help site maintained by handset-insurer Asurion broke the news, though nothing has been officially confirmed so far. 

Chances are that the handset vendor will move to the new naming scheme as soon as the first devices running under the BlackBerry 10 OS will emerge on shelves. 

The upcoming Torch smartphone should be QNX-powered, which means that it would also pack higher hardware specifications. 

A dual-core application processor should be packed inside it, along with a high-resolution camera and the like. The phone might hit shelves sometime in the second half of the next year.

CyberpowerPC Also Outs Fang III Viper and Rattler Gaming Desktops

Together with the Black Mamba and Cobra gaming desktops from the new Fang III product line, CyberpowerPC also unveiled the Viper and Rattler systems that bring the prices of the Fang III line to $999 (roughly 775 EUR).

At the heart of both of these systems stand Intel’s second generation Core processors, also known as Sandy Bridge, which come factory overclocked by 10% in order to deliver even higher gaming performance.

In the case of the Viper, CyberpowerPC has decided to go with the Core i7-2600K that is paired together with an AMD Radeon HD 6870 graphics card as well as with 8GB of system memory.

Storage is provided by a single hard drive with a capacity of 2TB and the system also includes a Blu-Ray combo drive, for a base price of $1,249 US (969 EUR).

Moving to the Fang III rattler, this packs an unnamed Core i7 Sandy Bridge processors which is paired with 8GB of RAM, while for graphics duty CyberpowerPC went with an AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics card.

The rest of setup includes a 1TB hard drive and a 24X DVD burner, while pricing starts at $999 (about 775 EUR).

Both of these desktops are water cooled, in order to deliver lower operating temperatures as well as quieter operation, and are assembled inside an Azza Fusion 3000 full-tower gaming case which includes a pair of front-mounted USB 3.0 ports.

According to CyberpowerPC, every Fang III system is meticulously built to ensure optimal airflow and a clean aesthetic appearance.

All CyberpowerPC’s Fang III gaming systems can be customized on the company’s Website, where they are also available for purchase, with a number of performance hardware and components such as SSDs, Blu-Ray drives, gaming memory, gaming peripherals, business and productivity software.

Elpida Starts Sampling 4Gb Wide IO Mobile RAM and LPDDR3

Elpida has begun to promote 4 Gb Wide IO Mobile RAM and 4 Gb DDR3 Mobile RAM (LPDDR3) memory chips.

The memory manufacturer believes that these latest products can simultaneously satisfy both of the two, great needs of customers.

Those needs, for performance and energy efficiency, are rather hard to fulfill at once.

For the most part, makers of DRAM chips have been resigning themselves to creating special solutions for each of these two.

This is why low-voltage chips form a category all on their own, distinct from that of mainstream and high-end / enthusiast-grade memory.

Elpida's latest approach is the Wide IO mobile RAM, which uses the x512-bit data width, ten times larger than what existing DRAMs sport.

This enables a data transfer rate of 12.8 gigabytes per second while the clock speed is of just 200 MHz.

In turn, the low clock frequency cuts power requirements by about 50%, compared to DDR2 Mobile RAM (LPDDR2).

Given that LPDDR2 (800 MHz / 1,066 MHz) is, right now, the most widespread across mobile devices, this is no small feat.

Elpida's new 4 Gb LPDDR3 is not quite as far ahead of LPDDR2, but it still gets to function at 6.4 GB/s (12.8 GB/s in dual-chip configurations) and consumes 25% less than LPDDR2.

It has a frequency of 1,600 MHz but a data input/output width of 32-bit, no different from that of LPDDR2.

All in all, the 4 Gb Wide IO Mobile RAM and 4Gb DDR3 Mobile RAM (LPDDR3) should visibly improve smartphone and tablet performance while also extending battery life.

Volume production has not begun (that will only happen in 2012) but Elpida is already sending sample shipments to interested partners.

The outfit will make two-layer and four-layer high-density packages as well (8 Gb and 16 Gb capacity, respectively) and will explore data width of x64-bit.

Go here for the exact specifications of both memory chips.

Nokia 1 Concept Tablet with Windows 8 Emerges

Although Nokia already denied all rumors concerning a certain tablet bearing its logo that should be announced in 2012, it appears that the idea of having a Nokia tablet was more than tempting for some fans.

In this regard, a person that goes by the nickname YrOnimuS has just published an interesting concept design of a Nokia tablet.

Dubbed Nokia 1, the tablet should be powered by Windows 8 for ARM and features a large 11.6-inch AMOLED screen that boasts 1280 x 800 pixels resolution.

In addition, it packs 2GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB of internal memory, as well as a Wacom active digitizer and an ARM processor of unknown power.

Nokia 1 is supposed to weigh 580g (battery included) and is only 8.5mm thick. There’s also a 5-megapixel rear camera that can capture full HD (1080p) videos, a secondary 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 7500 mAh battery.

Intel's Only Motherboard with Thunderbolt Is DZ77RE

One would think that Intel would be particularly proactive in its promotion of the Thunderbolt interface, but a leaked roadmap slide shows otherwise.

Intel's Thunderbolt has again caught the eye of market watchers, though not directly.

It was through a motherboard roadmap slide that the high-speed connectivity technology sparked some figurative murmurs.

As usual, leaks are providing people on the web with knowledge about products that have yet to be announced.

Apparently, only one of Intel's motherboard is going to support Thunderbolt.

Though it is a lesser known fact, Intel does make its own motherboards instead of relying exclusively on manufacturing partners (MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock, ASUS, etc.).

That said, one would think that the Santa Clara giant would put more effort into promoting an interface it created itself, but only one mainboard based on a 7-Series chipset will get the USB 3.0 rival.

DZ77RE is the name of said platform, a model that will probably end up as a member of the high-end Extreme Series.

For those unaware, Intel divides its motherboards into several tiers, each with a specific consumer segment in mind.

The Essential Series is for the low-end / entry-level segment, right below the Classic Series, which serves office PCs that may want to get upgraded down the line.

Meanwhile, the Media Series of motherboards is geared towards content-creation professionals and, finally, the Extreme Series is the top-grade line

All things considered, the most sense would make for the Media Series motherboards to include Thunderbolt in their feature sets.

After all, with its ultra-high bandwidth, the connection could easily sustain multiple high-resolution video streams without image quality loss, ideal for video-editing systems.

Alas, there seems to be no Media Series board with Thunderbolt, which is somewhat confusing and contradictory to how the content creation industry is bound to reap the most benefits from using it.

Intel Medfield Reference Tablet Spotted in the Wild

We talked about Intel Medified-powered reference tablet quite a lot here, but now we finally have some pictures accompany all these reports.

The tablet was spotted into the wild by the crew from SlashGear, who snagged a couple of pictures of the device with a Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch it happened to have on hand.

Sadly, little is known about this Medfield-powered tablet, but from the images provided it seems like the screen measures roughly 10-inches in size, and sources say that this is running Android 3.x Honeycomb with Intel’s 1.6GHz dual-core Medfield Atom mobile processor. 

This combo should be able to deliver quite some nice performance if we were to believe Intel’s own benchmarks, mostly thanks to the inclusion of some special hardware logic found inside Medfield that is meant to accelerate the Android OS.

More info should be available at CES 2012, but until then make sure to check out the pictures of the tablet included in the gallery bellow.

Biostar Intros Yet Again the TPower X79 Motherboard for LGA 2011 CPUs

Biostar is well known in the motherboard market thanks to its budget-oriented but high-performance solutions and today the company has announced the availability of the TPower X79 board for LGA 2011 processors, which should reach retail stores in the coming weeks.

Biostar's creation makes use of 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 sockets.

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 than 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 THX-certified 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 a 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. 

Pricing wasn’t revealed, but we expect the TPower X79 to be one of the more price friendly LGA 2011 solutions available out there once it arrives.

iPad 3 with 8MP Camera Reportedly Launching January 26, 2012

Two separate versions of Apple’s next-generation iPad will be unveiled at the Macworld|iWorld expo scheduled for January 26, 2012, according to a report citing industry sources in Taiwan.

Apple has withdrawn its presence from trade shows like Macworld since 2009, making it very unlikely that the company has booked stage time at the forthcoming event to unveil its third-generation of tablet computers.

The Cupertino, California-based computer giant uses its own venues to showcase new products, and heavily relies on its iconic retail stores to reach the masses. However, Apple might host a special event on or around January 26, 2012.

The report in question cites sources at Apple’s supply chain partners as saying that the new models will join the iPad 2, which will sell at a lower price starting next year to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire.

As for the newer iPad 3, it will not boast the previously rumored 7.85-inch display, the sources say. Instead, it will feature the exact same screen size as the current model (9.7-inch), but with a higher pixel density.

The resolution on these new displays will reportedly be of the QXGA level - 1,536x2,048 pixels.

Samsung is said to have scored a trio of orders with Apple for the next-generation iPad. The Korea-based electronics giant will be supplying a portion of the displays, 5-megapixel camera sensors (for a lower-end version of the tablet), and the quad-core A6 CPU powering the tablets.

Sony will reportedly supply 8-megapixel imaging sensors for a higher-specced iPad 3.

Finally, Simplo Technology and Dynapack International Technology have been tapped by Apple to supply batteries with capacities as high as 14,000 milliampere-hour (mAh). The current generation of iPads offers 10 hours of battery life.

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