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Apr 30, 2012

Nokia Asha 202 Gets Launched in India for 80 USD (60 EUR)




Nokia India has just announced the upcoming availability of the entry-level Asha 202 feature-phone. Customers get to choose from four color options, such as Dark Red, Black, Silver White, Dark Grey and Golden White.

This is a low-budget mobile phone, so expect this one to be out for no more than Rs 4,150 (80 USD or 60 EUR) outright. It will go on sale at leading retailers across the country within the next few days.

Aside from dual-SIM capability, Nokia Asha 202 features Dual SIM Easy Swap technology with dedicated SIM manager, which allows users to customize the handset and save up to five SIM cards with their own information. 

More importantly, the Asha 202 offers users access to more than 40 EA games for free. According to the Finnish company, customers who purchase the handset will be offered a 60-day promotion at Nokia Store on popular titles such as Tetris, Need for Speed, The Run and Bejeweled and other. 

Nokia will automatically waive the Rs 5200 (100 USD or 75 EUR) cost of the EA 40-game pack available for download via Nokia Store.

There’s nothing out of the ordinary about the Asha 200’s specs sheet, so expect this one to come with only the basic features. The phone runs Nokia S40 UI and sports a 2-megapixel rear camera with video recording.

On the inside, the Asha 202 packs 32 MB of ROM, 16 MB of RAM, 10 MB of internal memory, as well as microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

The phone comes with a 2.4-inch resistive touchscreen display that supports 240 x 320 pixels resolution. In addition, it features stereo FM radio with RDS, FM recording and deep social networking integration.

Nokia Asha 202 is powered by a 1020 mAh Li-Ion battery, which is rated by the manufacturer for up to 400 hours of standby time or up to 5 hours of talk time.


DELL Launches Alienware M17x Ivy Bridge 17” Laptop




American computer company DELL has just announced the Alienware M17x Ivy Bridge 17” laptop, on its official website.

The Alienware M17x is powered by Intel’s Core i7-3610QM CPU with 6 MB of Level 3 cache and a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 3300 MHz. There are two more CPU options consisting in Intel’s Core i7-3720QM and Core i7-3820QM processors with Turbo Boost frequency’s of up to a maximum 3700 MHz.

The maximum memory configuration is 32GB of DDR3 memory in dual channel mode working at 1600MHz mounted on 4DIMMS.

On the 3D graphics side, the Alienware M17x comes with two Nvidia options, the 2GB GDDR5 GeForce GTX 660M and the 2GB GDDR5 GeForce GTX 675M and one AMD option, the AMD Radeon HD 7970M with the sme amount of 2GB GDDR5 memory that seems to be the highest performing part.

The cheapest display panel is a  17.3” WideHD+ 1600 x 900 60Hz WLED. The intermediary solution is a FullHD 17.3” WideFHD 1920 x 1080 60Hz WLED.

The best display available on DELL’s Alienware M17x is a 17” WideFHD 1920 x 1080 120Hz together with a NVIDIA 3D Vision Bundle.

The standard audio option is Creative’s Sound Blaster Recon3Di High-Definition 5.1 Audio with THX TruStudio Pro Software in a two speakers configuration.

Networking is taken care of by Intel’s Centrino Wireless-N 2230 With Bluetooth 4.0 on the wireless side and there’s also a Gigabit LAN connector.

Storage is up to 1000GB that can be either in HDD form or in SSD form. There is an optional Blu-ray optical drive.

Multimedia side comes complete with a 2.1 Megapixel Full HD Camera with dual digital microphones.

Connectivity wise, the Alienware M17x comes with 4x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Ports, one eSATA 3Gb/s + USB 2.0 Combo port (with PowerShare Technology), 3x Auto-sensing jacks for Line-out (2 line out; 1x SPDIF/Headphone), one Microphone Input jack, one RJ-45 (10/100/1Gb IPv6), one HDMI-1.4 output with Audio and one HDMI-1.3 input with Audio, one mini-Display Port, one VGA Port and a 9-in-1 Media card reader.

Pricing starts at 1499 USD. That’s around 1130 EUR for the buyers from the old continent.



IDT Acquires PLX Technologies




California, San Jose headquartered company Integrated Device Technology, Inc. has just announced it will be acquiring Sunnyvale based PLX Technologies. PLX Technologies is a PCI and PCIe master that powers many AMD dual GPU cards like the Radeon HD 4870 x 2 and the Radeon HD 5970.

The latest dual GPU card that uses PLX technology is Nvidia’s recently launched GeForce GTX 690 that we've already presented here.

This move follows an entire decade of technology acquisitions for IDT. 

IDT acquired Integrated Circuit Systems (ICS) for about $1.7 billion in cash and stock back in 2005 and then acquired the PC Audio division of Texas based company SigmaTel for $80 million in July the following year.

In October, 2008, IDT purchased the video processing technology and some other assets from Silicon Optix, including the Hollywood Quality Video brand and the Reon product line and then, three year later, together with Qualcomm, it announced the signing an agreement to transfer IDT’s Hollywood Quality Video and Frame Rate Conversion Video Processing product lines to Qualcomm.

The total transaction value is approximately $330 million, but only half of this will be cash and the rest will be IDT stock. This means that IDT pays around 7 USD per PLX share, but the PLX shareholders will receive only 3.5 USD in cash and the rest will be IDT stock.



Most Useful Computer Accessory of This Year: 4 x 2.5” in 5.25” MiniSAS Enclosure




American company StarTech has recently presented the SATSAS425BK 4-Drive 2.5” SATA/SAS Hot-swap Backplane on its official website. The SATSAS425BK will allow you to install four 2.5" SATA and/or SAS hard drives into a single 5.25” front bay. 

Having a strong background in server and workstation hardware, I was put many times in a situation where, to allow installation of supplemental SAS HDD or SSD drives, I had to manually manufacture holding/installation bays.

I bore special holes in the metal casing of the system to be able to securely anchor the supplemental drives in the system and I had to design and manually build cable routing and securing accessories.

SSDs are so popular that many clients were requesting a RAID5 or RAID6 configuration next to the other eight, twelve of twenty four SAS drives inside the server. There was a lot of work to fit, secure, and cool of the extra heat from 4 or 6 extra 2.5” drives may they be SAS HDD or SSDs.

Now, with StarTech’s new product, using a single Mini SAS SFF-8087 interface for quick setup and easy maintenance and with removable trays, each drive can be replaced or swapped out without having to open up the system’s chassis.

Each removable tray has a locking mechanism that prevents unauthorized tampering with the drives, and also has power and activity LEDs. The accessory supports up to 15mm height 2.5” hard drives or SSDs.

The backplane also comes with a 40mm cooling fan to help increase air flow.

This way you can install an amazing number of at least 24 SSD or SAS drives in a full tower case using only the 5.25” bays. Add to this all the internal 3.5” bays and you have yourself a very fast storage monster.

The price in UK is 93.59 GBP including the value added tax. For the rest of Europe the price should be around 114 EUR and the US based customers should be able to get it for less than 150 USD.




Broadband Speeds, Topped by South Korea and Japan Drop in Q4 2011 (Gallery)




South Korea and Japan continue to top the broadband speed top as compiled by Akamai. The two countries saw an average connection speed of 17.5 Mbps and 9.1 Mbps. But the top 10 fastest broadband chart has changed quite a bit in Q4 2011 compared to a year before.

What's more, the global average speed dropped in Q4 compared to the quarter before it. Year-over-year though, only Romania and Hong Kong saw a decrease in average speed from the top 10 countries.

When it comes to peak speed, things look a bit better; speeds were on the rise – or at least stable – in all of the top 10 countries, headed by South Korea with 47.9 Mbps average peak speed, Hong Kong with 45.9 Mbps and Romania with 35.2 Mbps.

Speed isn't everything, coverage is even more important. South Korea leads the way again with 83 percent of connections over 5 Mbps. The Netherlands is second with 67 percent and Japan third with 60 percent.




AMD Trinity Architectural Preview - Part II




As we said in Part I of our AMD Trinity Architectural Preview, Trinity’s x86 modules are being upgraded to the “Piledriver” design.

Piledriver is being characterized by AMD as “2nd Generation Bulldozer core.”

The Piledriver compute module is comprised of two integer cores sharing a FPU unit and a 2 MB Level 2 cache. It adopts new ISA capabilities such as AVX, AVX1.1, AES, FMA3 and F16C.

This, AMD says, will lead to an IPC improvement (IPC is short for instructions per clock). The new APUs also have less leakage and a CAC reduction, along with a frequency uplift.

The Texas-based CPU maker claims performance improvements of over 26% when it comes to overall system performance, and almost 30% increased productivity when working with a laptop.

AMD is also implementing FMA3 instructions. These are SIMD type of specialized instructions just like AMD’s 3DNow! or Intel’s close copy of 3DNow!, but more complex called SSE.

AMD tried to develop sets of instructions specific to their own CPUs, but since most of the software available in the x86 market is compiled using Intel’s compiler, they had to add support to their CPUs for whatever new SIMD set Intel would be developing at the time.

The problem is that Intel’s is still practically sabotaging any other CPU maker in the company’s own compiler. Programs  compiled with Intel’s software are practically asking the CPU to provide its branding.  If the CPU is Intel branded, then all optimizations and SIMD units are used.

On the other hand, if the CPU answers with any other branding than “Intel Genuine”, then the program will ignore all the specialized units on that CPU and will run the program in the most un-optimized manner.

You have to give Intel credit for the fact that they are actually building the best compiler for some years now and that they’re offering it for free. There are other compiler developers in the market, but since developing a compiler from scratch is so difficult and no other company has Intel’s 50 billion dollars revenue, they’ve never been able to get overall better results than Intel’s solution.

Nobody can force Intel to include or exclude any instruction form its free compiler, but given the company’s financial power and market influence, they can practically sabotage any other player in the x86 field.

You are a developer and you want to clean Intel’s compiler form this idiotic brand identifying function and compile a program that will work best on both Intel and AMD CPUs, you can get more info here.

Besides, considering that AMD pays licenses from Intel to be able to implement different Intel-compatible SIMD instructions in its processors, it’s quite a serious case when Intel’s own compiler sabotages the processors of its licensee, AMD.

In August 2007, AMD announces the SSE5 instruction set, which includes 3-operand FMA instructions. Later on, in April, Intel follows suit and announces their AVX and FMA instruction sets, including 4-operand FMA instructions.

Seeing the increased FMA4 complexity and its use, AMD implements FMA4 in the Bulldozer design thinking it would better have the same ability as Intel’s CPUs.

Fearing the hype about AMD’s Bulldozer design and not wanting to risk having its own compiler optimize programs for the same type of SIMD units as the one in AMDs CPU, Intel changes the specification for their FMA instructions from 4-operand to 3-operand instructions.

The change occurred in December 2008, a full half year before AMD announced the FMA4 implementation, but by then AMD was too advanced with their design to make the switch back to FMA3.

The FMA3 and FMA4 SIMD instructions are very useful and, when optimized correctly, the software will run a lot faster on a CPU with the FMAx instructions active than on a CPU with different or no FMA capable unit.

Intel’s duck-strafe-strafe strategy succeeded because the FMA3 and FMA4 sets are incompatible with one another. Intel’s compiler was built to optimize for FMA3, while AMD’s SSE5 with FMA3 was never implemented. Instead, AMD’s Bulldozer got FMA4 that used four operands with practically no compatibility with any FMA3 optimizations.

Therefore, AMD changed its mind again and went back to FMA3 when it comes to 128-bit SIMD x86 instructions, as Intel announced it would be supporting FMA3 in their Haswell processors in 2013 and Broadwell processors in 2014.

Next to the improved ICP characteristics and the newly added SIMD extensions, AMD will also attempt to achieve a higher processor working frequency using very interesting novel technologies.

More about Trinity's frequency scaling and technologies in our AMD Trinity Architectural Preview - Part III.


Office 15 Expected to Hit Beta in June




Microsoft is reportedly gearing up for the release of a beta flavor of its Office 15 suite as soon as June, following the availability of a Technical Preview in January. 

The availability of this new version of the platform comes in line with the launch of Windows 8 Release Preview, confirmed for the first week of June. 

However, Microsoft has yet to make an official announcement on when Office 15 beta will become available for download. 

According to winsupersite, there will be some major changes in the next Office 15 release when compared to the previously available versions, some of which emerged in leaked screenshots with the product. 

For example, animations are said to be faster than before, complemented by various user interface changes meant improve the overall feel of the product.

Intel’s i7-3770K CPU Overclocked to 7 GHz with MSI’s Z77 Motherboard




MSI has just announced on its official website that the MSI Z77A-GD65 motherboard based on the Intel Z77 chipset has been successfully overclocked at 7 GHz using an Intel Core i7-3770K CPU. The motherboard is build using very high quality components and was certified to conform to the MIL-STD-810G standard via third-party laboratories.

The Z77A-GD65 motherboard is equipped with a Hybrid Digital Power design that allows voltage options to be more precisely adjusted, providing a more stable power source.

The Intel Core i7-3770K CPU was overclocked form its default 3500 MHz clock speed to a high 7000 MHz frequency.

Military Class III components are MSI's way of saying that the motherboard is using high quality Hi-c CAP, SFC and Solid CAP components that were tested by independent labs, using 7 rigorous tests meeting MIL-STD-810G standards.

Hybrid Digital Power and the Double Thermal Protection provides active protection from component damage in extreme heat or frequency conditions.

There are two levels of thermal prevention present: when the temperature reaches approximately 115 degrees Celsius, a LED indicator on the mainboard will light up as an alarm about the MOSFET's cooling status. Secondly, there is the temperature monitoring that, when the working temperature reaches 130 degrees Celsius, automatically shuts down the mainboard to prevent damage from excessive thermal conditions.

DrMOS II ensure a low power consumption and the Click BIOS II is an utility tool that integrates UEFI BIOS and Windows application into a common interface.

It allows the use of mice or LCD touch panel control for system adjustment. It also enables users to export their overclocking settings via USB flash drives, allowing overclocking enthusiasts to share profiles with other users, or to upload them onto the internet.

MSI’s Z77A-GD65 motherboard is retailing for around $179 in the United States. That’s around 135 EUR for European buyers, but unfortunately the European buyers are always overcharged, and consequently the mainboard was spotted at different online shops in the EU retailing around 180 EUR.




Origin PC EON11-S Is a Small but Strong Gaming Beast





Gaming laptops don't need to be large, especially when you're traveling somewhere and can't bring along a big, 17.3-inch beast, so Origin PC created the EON11-S. 

The Origin EON11-S is what Dell's Alienware M11x would have been had the company not decided to give up on it

Not that there won't be any competitors, Clevo has just this sort of machine up for sale through various brands across the world. 

Anyway, the Origin PC EON11-S predictably uses a third-generation Intel Core central processing unit (CPU), otherwise known as Ivy Bridge. 

Backing whichever chip happens to be chosen is none other than the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics card, with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. 

Naturally, this means that the NVIDIA Optimus technology is present (switches between the discrete and CPU graphics based on need). 

Moving on, storage and memory capacities are customizable, so even though the starting price is $999 (754 Euro), the final one may be much higher. 

As for the rest, Origin PC made sure its creation was as ready as it could be for high-quality multimedia and gaming, meaning that, with the above components covering the graphics side, THX TruStudio Pro audio technology ensures a good sound quality. 

Other specs include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, HDMI, all in a light frame (4lbs / 1.81 kilograms). 

"ORIGIN PC continues to lead the industry by unveiling our powerful, compact, lightweight EON 11-S and adding Intel's highly anticipated 3rd generation processors to our award winning lineup of desktops and laptops." said Kevin Wasielewski ORIGIN PC CEO and co-founder. 

"Everyone dreams of a laptop that is smaller, lighter, has a longer battery life and has the ability to play all of the latest PC games well. The EON11-S makes that dream a reality and without making any 'ultra-sacrifices'."


AMD Trinity Architectural Preview - Part I




A lot of info about AMD’s new Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) called “Trinity” has recently surfaced on the net. AMD’s Trinity is the successor of the successful Llano APUs that completely destroyed Intel’s competing solutions when it comes to overall computing user experience.

With the help of Llano, AMD managed to capture a very important 43 percent of the desktop market, despite the fact that Intel basically has the most powerful desktop CPU in most of the price ranges.

AMD’s Trinity is currently made at GlobalFoundries, using the tried and true 32 nm manufacturing process. AMD will gradually move the Trinity line towards the 28 nm process later this summer, but it’s a very important success for GlobalFoundries to be able to make what’s now the bulk of AMD’s production instead of Taiwan’s TSMC.

Trinity is quite a complex computing chip. It has 1.303 billion transistors and a die size of 246 square millimeters.

This makes Trinity more complex than the original “Bulldozer” that stands only at 1.2 billion transistors, with a 315 square millimeters die size.

You’ll probably notice the fact that, although Trinity has more transistors than the Bulldozer, it comes with a die size that’s 22% smaller than the latter’s. This is because of the fact that the transistors in the integrated graphic processing unit (iGPU) can be tightly packed and practically occupy a much smaller part of the die than two fully fledged Bulldozer modules.

You could say that the transistor density in the iGPU part of the Trinity is significantly higher than in the x86 part.

The x86 cores inside Trinity are slightly different from the initial Bulldozer design. Sure we still have the “shared FPU” concept, so a quad core Trinity in full configuration will come with 4 integer units and just 2 floating point engines.

In our opinion, the FPUs inside the Bulldozer design were practically 15% to 20% better performing than the FPUs inside the Thuban hexacore. The final FPU performance of the two CPUs was practically equal, despite the fact that Thuban had 6 FPUs versus Bulldozer’s 4 FPUs.

This might lead you te belive that the performance improvement going from the Phenom II FPU to the Bulldozer FPU would be of 25%, but that’s not exactly the case, since we must also consider the frequency increase that the FX line has over the Thuban.

If the Bulldozer design was a very interesting and quite logical concept, the implementation was plagued by lots of latencies and the lack of specific compiler optimizations and operating system integration.

Trinity’s x86 modules are being upgraded to the “Piledriver” design.

More on the Piledriver design in our second part of our AMD’s Trinity Architectural Preview.



HP Pavilion dvt6 and dvt7 Workstations Upgraded




After seeing new desktops all over the place, we get to examine some laptops from HP that aren't gaming-oriented, not that they won't easily handle such things if needed. 

We've said it several times today, and we'll have to say it again here: Intel has begun shipping its Ivy Bridge central processing units. 

HP, naturally, is adding the chips to its product lineup, and we don't just mean the six systems spotted last week. 

What the prime supplier of PCs in the world also has to show is a pair of mobile workstations. 

That's right, not gaming notebooks but mobile workstations, for businessmen, graphics designers, etc. Dell's Alienware M14x, M17x and M18X R2 don't have anything to worry about on this end. 

The Pavilion dvt6 measures 15.6 inches in diagonal and has a starting price of $899.99. That's 679 Euro, according to exchange rates. 

Meanwhile, the Pavilion dvdt7 has an LCD with a diagonal of 17.3 inches and a starting price of $999.99 (754 Euro, give or take). 

The Core i7-3610QM 2.3 GHz CPUs is the default option, but Core i7-3720QM and i7-3820QM can be chosen instead, assuming one is willing to pay extra. 

Whatever CPU is chosen, it has 8 GB of DDR3 RAM (random access memory) backing it up, as well an NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M discrete GPU. 

Of course, all sort of connectivity and I/O ports and plugs exist (Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth, memory card reader, USB 3.0 and 2.0, etc.). 

If you want to pre-order either one of these two machines, all it takes is to drop by HP's website and click the mouse a few times. Shipments won't happen right away though. Customers will only get their orders starting on May 8 this year (2012). 

Finally, if gaming is what you're interested in, Digital Storm's and Velocity Micro's offers may be more appealing.


Microsoft Confirms Windows 8 Release Preview for the First Week of June





Windows 8, Microsoft’s next generation operating system, is getting closer and closer to arriving in a final flavor on devices. 

The next milestone in the evolution of this platform, namely Windows 8 Release Preview, is set for the first week on June, Microsoft confirmed last week. 

The Redmond-based software company announced these plans at the Windows 8 Developer Days conference in Japan, but did not offer further details on what the next platform release will include. 

For those out of the loop, we should note that said Windows 8 Release Preview is nothing more than the Release Candidate version of the next generation OS. 

The Release Preview of Windows 8 follows the Developer Preview flavor of the platform, which was made available in September last year, and the Consume Preview that came out in February. 

The next version of Windows 8 will pack enhancements when compared to the already available releases, paving the way to the final flavor of the OS. 

Unfortunately, Microsoft is still mum on the official release date for Windows 8, though most of the rumors on the matter converge towards an October release. 

Before that, the software giant will have to deliver the RTM version of Windows 8, a move expected to take place sometime in late summer. 

Windows 8 is the first version of the OS to arrive with enhanced support for tablet PCs and their touchscreen displays. 

When released in fall, it will be loaded on slates powered by both x86 and ARM architectures, while also being available for traditional computers that require a keyboard and mouse for input and navigation. 

If the success that the previous versions of Windows 8 have registered should count for anything, we could say that the platform is bound to enjoy increased popularity right from the start, despite negative reports from research firms.


GIGABYTE GTX 680 SuperOverclock WindForce 5X Details and Pictures




More Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 SuperOverclock WindForce 5X details and pictures have reportedly surfaced on the internet. This is the second vapor chamber cooling system we see on a GeForce 600 series graphics card.

Actually, since the card was pictured before, it might not be the first time, but at the time of the first pictures, we did not have such details about the cooling system.

The other GeForce 600 series card to use vapor chamber cooling is Nvidia’s own GeForce GTX 690 dual GPU board. The GTX 690 uses two separate heatsinks with one vapor chamber cooling each.

Gigabyte’s Windforce 5x is practically cooled by five 40 mm diameter fans that will probably generate some serious noise. However, they will, most likely, offer more efficient cooling than fans that blow air in all directions.

Gigabyte used a huge, three-slot wide cooling system that has a vapor chamber at the bottom that’s taking the heat of the GPU and the on board memory. The heatsink attached to the vapor chambers is improved by five 8 mm huge heatpipes that are increasing the heat transfer from the vapor chamber top the rest of the heatsink.

The densely packed heatsink fins are topped with a metal plate, creating vertical tunnels through which the 40 mm top situated cooling fans will pull fresh air coming from the bottom of the card.

The fact that the air is travelling through the small space between the heatsink fins for a smaller distance is actually a significant improvement. If a back blowing turbine-like fan tried to push air through the entire length of the video card instead of its height as fins are oriented now, the rotational speed would have had to be much higher, and the cooling efficiency would have been considerably lower.

The thing is that pushing air through such long “tunnels” between the tightly packed fins leads to increase air friction between the air and the “tunnel” walls, and the rotation speed of the fan must be greatly increased to manage to push the air through the entire length of the “tunnel”.

There is also the problem of efficiency, as the air already pre-heated by the heat taken of some of the board’s components will be blown off over the fins that are meant to cool other components.

Gigabyte’s solution, although not quite elegant and occupying a considerable volume, is very well designed and will likely obtain the best results among the other custom cooled GeForce GTX 680 pack.






Galaxy S III to Sport a 4.8’’ Screen, New Photo Unveils




Samsung Galaxy S III, the next generation high-end Android smartphone from the South Korean mobile phone maker, is expected to arrive on shelves with a large, 4.8-inch touchscreen display, the latest reports on the matter suggest. 

The info arrives via a leaked image with what appears to be the final design of Samsung’s new flagship device, but no official confirmation on this is yet available. 

According to the photo that an “anonymous tipster” sent to Know Your Mobile, the smartphone will sport a 130mm body, while its screen will be 4.8 inches in size. 

Previously leaked images with the phone suggested that it won’t sport hardware buttons on the front, the same as on Galaxy Nexus.

In fact, the handset itself appears to resemble the latest Google phone out there, powered by the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. 

The leading mobile phone maker is determined to make the new device official as soon as next week, during an Unpacked event set for May 3rd. 

As the announcement date approaches, more and more details on what the phone could sport started to emerge. 

Thus, we can expect Samsung’s Galaxy S III to feature a 1.5GHz quad-core application processor in addition to the said 4.8-inch Super AMOLED MIPI display, along with support for HSPA+ 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps. 

Moreover, the device should sport an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with autofocus and LED flash, capable of recording videos in full HD resolution. 

Specific info on this handset will be released in the next few days, so stay tuned to learn more on what Samsung decided to pack it with. 

In the meantime, however, have a look at the aforementioned leaked image with the device to make an idea of what it might look like, but take it with a grain of salt until the official unveiling is made.



Apr 29, 2012

Script: Mura CMS




For every programming language there's an open source CMS that is considered the best and everybody loves using. Right now in PHP it's WordPress (some might consider Drupal, but that's another discussion), for Python it's Plone and for ColdFusion it's Mura CMS.

Designed to help users in managing content as simply as possible, Mura boasts all the features you may want from a CMS: graphic installer, WYSIWYG editing, cross-browser support, multi-database support, SEO-friendly, themes, plugins, multilingual, user manager, file browser, templating engine, categories, versioning, marketing tools and much more.

Some of the world-renown services that use Mura for their websites include Intel, United States Homeland Security Department, Navy's Marine Corps, Michigan State University, Auburn University, Amtrack, FDA, Lockheed Martin, AT&T and many more.

As you can see, the CMS can work without glitches in large scale projects, but it can be used in smaller projects as well.

Mura CMS' development is handled via its GitHub page. For themes and plugins, visit the Mura Marketplace.

Download  Mura CMS here.

GeForce GTX 690 Dual GPU Video Card Officially Presented




Nvidia has just announced the GeForce GTX 690 dual GPU video card, on its official website. This is a design that’s surprisingly close to the GTX 680 SLI specifications and, just as we've said, it launches just a month later after the GTX 680.

The new GTX 690 is powered by two fully fledged GK104 very efficient GPUs. As we already suspected here, the GTX 690 design will not handicap the GK104 GPU like the GTX 590 did. 

GTX 590 has significantly lower GPU and memory frequencies, but that was expected at the time as the regular GTX 580 card has a TDP of almost 250 watts. Doubling that would have meant that the dual GPU GTX 590 was supposed to handle and be able to cool a huge 500 watts worth of heat.

So Nvidia instead went for a more modest clocking of the GPUs mounted in the GTX 590 card.

Situation is much different with the GK104. The efficient design of the architecture and close collaboration with the GPU’s manufacturer TSMC, yielded a generation of GPUs with much lower heat dissipation than the older 40 nm GeForce 580.

Therefore the GTX 690 card will sport the same 6008 MHz GDDR5 memory frequency despite the fact that it will come with a 2 x 2 GB memory configuration. The memory BUS width will be the same 256 Bit in a 2 x 256 Bit configuration.

As each GK104 GPU is comprised of 3.5 billion transistors, the GTX 690 video card will come with a total of 7 billion transistors built on TSMC’s 28 nm process and offering an architecture that’s capable of 1/24 FP32 double precision floating point.

So, we have 2 x 1536 CUDA cores clocked at a decent 915 MHz base clock with the possibility of a boost clock of 1019 MHz.

Thus Nvidia’s dual GPU combination of the GK104 GPUs will come with a 9% lower core clock and just a 3.5% lower boost clock. Basically we have double GeForce GTX 680 performance in a single card.

As we’ve said before, the GK104 design on the 28 nm process is so efficient that it’s expectated that Nvidia won’t have to do too much binning to find GPUs with higher than average power qualities. The GTX 580 GPUs that were suitable for the GTX 590 dual GPU configuration were much more rare and harder to find than the GK104 GPUs.

The default power target for the GTX 690 board is 263 watts. That’s the full load power of the card without benefiting from any boost in GPU clocks. The total TDP is 300 watts.

Power will be administrated through two 8-pin power connectors that will allow the card to draw up to a high 375 watts. So overclockers should be quite safe and achieve good results even with the standard design.

Cleaning and leveling the current will be taken care of by the card’s 10 power phases, 5 phases for each GPU.

Software wise the GTX 690 will have an adjustable power target and clock frequency just like the GTX 680 has. NVIDIA’s GTX 690 has a max power target of plus 35%, which given the card’s default power target of 263 watts means you can set it up in the software and allow it to draw up to 355 watts of power.

New to the dual GPU GTX 690 is the use of the PLX PCIe 3.0 bridge chip. Nvidia’s previous dual GPU card, the GTX 590 was still using the NF200 PCIe bridge chip designed by Nvidia’s own chipset division. Since Nvidia’s chipset division has been restructured and the NF200 chip was a PCIe 2.0 bridge, the company went to a 3rd party for a new PCIe 3.0 certified bridge.

While Nvidia has not yet released the full specifications of the card, we can easily see is the official pictures that the cooling system has one big fan in the middle of the card that’s pushing the hot air out in the front and back of the card. This means that the hot air coming from cooling the GPU situated first on the left will go out of the system case and in the back of the computer. The hot air coming from the right GPU will be unfortunately blown inside the case.

This design has its advantages. As the GTX 690 is not such a hot card as the GTX 590 was, the amount of heat dissipated inside the case will be practically less than what a normal single GPU GTX 680 would dissipate in all those custom designs that aren’t pushing the heat out.

Therefore the rotation speed of this central fan will be much lower than a turbine-like back blowing fan. Those turbine-like fans usually have to rotate faster than this design as they’re pushing the air through a much longer tunnel and the friction of the air with the fins is slowing the air speed down. Thus a back, turbine-like fan needs to spin at a higher speed to compensate.

The cooling is using two separate vapor chamber radiators located on the two GPUs. 

This is the first time we’ve seen a vapor chamber used with a 600 series card.

On the connectivity side, Nvidia is using the same 3x DL-DVI and 1x miniDP port configuration that we saw on the GTX 590.

Pricing is quite an unfortunate surprise.

It seems that Nvidia wants to ride the wave of Kepler’s popularity and, at least until AMD launches its own dual GPU card, the official price will be a record 999 USD. That’s around 750 EUR for the European gamers, but we expect that Nvidia won’t miss the chance to overcharge them and we expect prices closer to the 900 EUR mark.

This makes the GTX 690 the most expensive GeForce card in the history of the company. Even the 2007 launched GeForce 8800 Ultra seems cheap at its official launch price of 830 USD.

Since TSMC is so capacity constrained and the demand for regular GTX 680 is so high, the initial availability of the GTX 690 card will appear similar to a paper launch, but that’s not the case. Nvidia has everything it needs to make as many GTX 690 card as the customers want, but right now, since there are so many GTX 680 customers, the GTX 690 will be quite rare as most of the GPU’s will go the GTX 680 way.

Wider availability is expected on May the 7th while the initial reviews should be popping up in the next two days.





Script: ProcessWire




ProcessWire is a content management system which can easily be installed and used to build nice-looking, modern websites.

On a closer look, ProcessWire is not just a simple CMS, but it blurs out the line between a framework and the CMS itself, becoming a CMF, a content management framework.

Under the hood, ProcessWire is packed with a powerful selector engine and jQuery-inspired API, allowing developers super-fast access to resources and an easy way to customize website core behavior.

As the ProcessWire homepage states: “Managing and developing a site in ProcessWire is shockingly simple-and fun-compared to what you may be used to.”

Check out a ProcessWire demo here. The admin account is 'admin', while the password is 'processwire2'. For updates and news, ProcessWire development is managed via its GitHub page.

Download  ProcessWire here.


Lenovo Laptop Enables Unbeatable Entertainment and Gaming




Propaganda is the norm on the IT industry, and pretty much every other facet of the world's economy, so we aren't all that shocked to see Lenovo praising its new notebook as the one that provides an “unbeatable entertainment and gaming experience.”

Of course, this also means that we aren't exactly buying into it, unless you add “for its size and price point” to the statement, and even then we have reservations.

As such, we'll allow you all to decide on your own if the IdeaPad Y480, as the item is called, really is all it's crocked up to be.

We'll get the tag out of the way first: $949, or 715 Euro, based on exchange rates.

The price goes up depending on what configuration you find most appealing of course, so think carefully.

The central processing unit can be the 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3-2370M or 2.3 GHz i7-3610QM, from the third-generation Intel Core series.

Meanwhile, graphics prowess is provided by an NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M discrete GPU, based by 1 GB or 2 GB of VRAM.

Furthermore, a hard disk drive of 1 TB and an SSD of 32 GB work together to make sure that not only is the storage capacity high, but that it also runs well.

Everything else (connectivity and I/O) falls in the realms of the easily expected: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a webcam (1-megapixel), a 6-in-1 card reader, two USB 3.0 ports and HDMI.

All the above are held within a brushed-metal chassis and accompanied by a 14-inch LED-backlit HD LCD (1,366 x 768 pixels) and an optional backlit keyboard.

Finally, Lenovo tossed in Windows 7 home Premium 64-bit and a 6-cell battery that can keep the whole thing running for up to four hours. Naturally, heavy gaming will deplete the energy faster.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y480
Image credits to Lenovo

Lenovo IdeaPad Y480
Image credits to Lenovo

Mind-Controlled Robots Now a Reality, for Real




It really was only a matter of time before this happened, and we only hope that the technology doesn't work both ways.

After all, it would not be fun for you to put on a cap and direct your robot only for it to suddenly decide to control you back.

Anyway, a team of scientists from Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne made a technology that allowed a quadriplegic man to record his brain signals with a special cap.

Those signals were then transferred to a small wheeled robot that could be moved left and right with just a thought.

Immobile patients in need of seeing areas outside of their hospital beds are seen as the prime beneficiaries.

There are some issues to sort out though, like the fact that the signal will degrade if you get in any way distracted. You also have to “order” the robot to stop if you don't want it to keep doing whatever you told it to.

A home version is expected to be ready in a matter of years.


First BlackBerry 10 Prototype Live Pictures Leak




Although BlackBerry continues to lose market share to Android and iOS, Research In Motion (RIM) promised it will offer those developers who did not switched sides yet, a glimpse of what's to come.

Basically, RIM tries to keep developers to its side by giving them a BlackBerry prototype smartphone that would run a modified version of PlayBook operating system.

These devices will be given to those developers who will attend to BlackBerry 10 Jam, at BlackBerry World 2012. This is a 3-day event, which is set to take place between 1-3 May, in Orlando, Florida.

Well, it appears that the first live pictures of the said device have just been spotted on CB forums, two days before the event's opening. 

Even though RIM was pretty clear and stated that this is only a prototype device, which is meant to offer developers the chance to get acquainted with the company's next generation operating system.

This means that it's the software that matters and not the actual spec sheet and design of the product, especially given the fact that RIM announced it won't be able to come forward with any new BlackBerry 10 device until fall.

Moreover, one of company's rep confirmed for CNET that RIM won't be unveiling any BlackBerry 10 hardware. Obviously, hardware is an important part of a product, but lately we've seen that software matter at least as much as the electronics inside.

RIM's only chance to survive is BlackBerry 10 platform, which is why the company wants to make sure it's a success by allowing developers to have a first look on their work. 

It's almost sure the feedback received will help RIM make some changes and improve BlackBerry 10, but it might not be enough for the company if they plan to release the first devices to run the next generation operating system only in October.


First Windows 8 Business Tablet, HP Slate 8, Spotted




In addition to media tablets, business-oriented slates will appear when Microsoft finally launches the Windows 8 operating system, although not in as high a number.

As one may or may not be surprised to hear, HP is among the companies that will launch a tablet fit for businessmen.

According to murmurs, there is a high chance that it will be part of the EliteBook product line.

For now, though, the rumored “first Windows 8 business tablet” bears the name of HP Slate 8.

The screen size is 10.1 inches, so no surprises here, unless HP somehow equips it with a high-resolution display similar to the Retina.

Given that this is an enterprise product, there isn't as high a need for HD or full HD support. No videos will be played on it after all or, at least, that won't be the point of the product.

Instead, HP focused on security, installing the HP ProtectTools, TPM embedded security and Computrace.

As people may or may not know, many electronics devices get lost or misplaced every year and, oddly enough, laptops are among the most often forgotten in airports or other transport stations, not to mention cabs.

Needless to say, tablets run the same risks, and this can lead to disasters when something holding trade secrets and other business data falls into strangers' hands.

The security features mentioned above should help mitigate the risks, which means that you'll only have to worry about premeditated sabotage attempts.

That said, HP's Slate 8 will be 9.2mm thin and capable of running for up to 8 hours on a single charge, 10 in some cases.

As for the enclosure, it should make use of plastic panels here and there, since wireless Internet and GPS don't run very well when impeded by common chassis metals. Finally, the display will be covered by a reinforced glass panel, probably Gorilla Glass.


Apr 27, 2012

iPhone 5 "Spotted" By Enthusiasts in WWDC 2012 Logo




There’s a five (5) in the WWDC 2012 Apple logo if you look from just the right angle, many Apple enthusiasts agree.

However, by connecting the squares you also get a two (2), and even an eight (8) if you look at the bigger picture.

Despite the fact that Apple does hide clues in its logos occasionally, we have every reason to believe this is nothing more than simple speculation coming from people who love Apple products a tad too much.

So much that they’ll see an iPhone in everything, pretty much like those people who see the Virgin Mary in their coffee dregs.

Not to say there isn’t an offset chance Apple will announce its new iPhone at the WWDC 12 opening keynote, but the chances are so slim it’s not even worth bothering our heads with it. Here’s why.

Apple’s press release confirming the time and place for this year’s developer conference specifically mentions all of the major activities surrounding iOS and Mac OS. And that’s pretty much it - no hardware stuff. Just software!

“We have a great WWDC planned this year and can’t wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The iOS platform has created an entirely new industry with fantastic opportunities for developers across the country and around the world.”

Apple typically doesn’t lay out its roadmap when they’re preparing to announce something big. Whenever Apple announces a major new product or refresh, the press invites generally say “let’s talk iPhone,” or “back to the Mac.”

After all, it’s misleading to suggest a complete focus on software and then BOOM! iPhone 5. Not that it wouldn’t impress people, we have to agree.

And there’s a slim chance Apple will announce some new hardware at the opening keynote. But there’s a bigger chance those will be the new Macs, not the new iPhone.



Entry-Level Sony Xperia Tapioca (ST21i) Photos and Specs Leak




We have new info on Sony’s Android roadmap for 2012. We already know that the Japanese company plans to release several Android smartphones by the end of the year, along with at least a few carrier-bounded variants of these devices.

Leaked back in January, Sony’s roadmap includes names such as Xperia S, Kumquat, Nypon, Pepper, Hayabusa, Tapioca and others. Some of these smartphone have already been announced and released on the market, but most of them are expected to arrive in Q2/Q3 2012.

We already reported today on the recently leaked Sony LT29i Hayabusa, which is slated for a June release. Apparently, this will be Sony’s new Android flagship smartphone and will feature a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and a 13-megapixel rear camera.

However, we’ve just received new info on another device that’s been part of Sony’s roadmap for this year, the ST21 Tapioca.

Opposite to Sony LT29i Hayabusa, Tapioca is one of the company’s low-end Android smartphones, so don’t expect anything outstanding from this one, except maybe the price tag (hopefully).

There is some good news though, as Sony ST21i Tapioca is said to be powered by Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Obviously, it will also provide users access to more than half a million apps and games via Google Play store, formerly known as Android Market.

Even though the smartphone is codenamed Tapioca, it’s likely to be launched under a different name. According to TechBlog, the smartphone features a decent 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports 320 x 480 pixels resolution.

On the inside, Sony ST29i will be equipped with an 800 MHz single-core processor, which will be complemented by an Adreno 200 graphics processing unit and 512MB of RAM. In addition, the handset is said to pack a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 1460 mAh Li-Ion battery.

There are no details on the phone’s price and availability, but rumor has it the Tapioca might be launched on the market as early as July.



Script: G5 Framework




The G5 Framework is a front-end framework for quickly deploying a basic website front-end, on which to add content and modify along the way.

G5's main role is to speed up development, to reduce time with repetitive tasks by providing a batch of top-of-the-line tools out of the box. Whoever created more than 2-3 web projects can see the bright part in this philosophy.

By not spending a huge amount of time in rounding up front-end utilities, which most developers end up modifying anyway to fit their overall architecture and design style, a developer has more time to spend on creative work, adding content, features or just testing.

The G5 framework is basically a project wireframe (skeleton) on which other tools can be added.

By default it comes packed with jQuery, Modernizr, IE6 fallbacks, CSS3 templates, a grid system, SEO tools, a modal windowing system, tooltips, an image slider for featuring content, and many more other features.

Download the G5 Framework here.
The framework has bee also ported to LESS under the name G5-Less.


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