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May 31, 2012

Intel Finally Brings Some Competition for AMD’s Trinity




Seeing that it stands no chance when competing with quad-core models, Intel has finally decided they need to address the 35W and 17W marks when AMD’s Trinity has proven to be tough to beat.

When it came to anything that involved the iGPU to be put to work, AMD’s Trinity mopped the floor with current Intel Ivy Bridge in Diablo III and in any battery life testing. With the arrival of Intel’s dual-core 17W TDP CPUs, the situation might change for AMD. Intel has launched today four 17W CPUs. The i5-3317U is the first of them and it’s not yet available, nor is it priced yet. The main frequency will be 1700 MHz, but the cores will Turbo up to 2400 MHz when both are needed, or 2600 MHz if only one thread requires the maximum attention. The HD 2500 iGPU is clocked at 350 MHz, but it will Turbo up to 1050 MHz when a 3D application demands more performance.

Here’s AMD’s problem. The Texas-based CPU designer only has a single 17W part in its mobile lineup. That is a dual-core Trinity with only 256 shaders active, and those run in a frequency range of only 327 MHz to 424 Mhz. In very specific scenarios, Intel’s HD 4000 running at more than 1 GHz was able to get very close to AMD’s Radeon 7660G. In AMD’s A6-4455M APU, the iGPU is clocked 35% lower and has 33% less active shaders. Intel's HD2500 is also handicaped as it only comes with 6 processing units instead of the full 16 as in the HD4000. Still the high frequency and the faster memory might help it diminish the gap with AMD's lesser APUs.

On the other hand, Intel’s Ivy Bridge maintains the IPC x86 performance advantage and also retains the full frequency of the HD 2500 iGPU that's running at the same frequencies as in the quad-core mobile parts. Some might argue that, when a 3D application starts, the Radeon 7620 iGPU will run at 424 MHz. It’s good, but that won’t bring back those missing 128 shaders. And 424 MHz is definitely not 686 MHz, as the Turbo clock of the Radeon 7620 iGPU is almost 40% lower than with the famous A10-4600M. The iGPU from AMD’s 17W APU is also working with the slower DDR3-1333 memory instead of the DDR3-1600 memory that A10-4600M is working with.

Intel’s new i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge mobile parts are using the same DDR3-1600 like their quad-core brothers. Even the CPU Turbo frequency is just 2600 MHz on AMD’s APUs while Intel’s i5-3427U can clock up to 2600MHz in dual-core mode, and even 2800 MHz in single-core operation. Clock for clock, AMD’s x86 Piledriver cores don’t stand a chance against Intel’s Ivy Bridge. The only place where AMD has some headroom left is pricing. Despite being built on 32nm manufacturing technology and thus having a bigger die, AMD is not likely to price their APUs at $346 like Intel’s i7-3667U is. That’s about €278 for a 1,000 unit quantity.

Should we add the fact that the unreleased i7-3517U and the 346 bucks i7-3667U come with a larger 4 MB level 3 cache and that the i5 models come with “just” 3 MB? As enthusiastic as we’ve all been about AMD’s A10-4600 APUs, we need to see some detailed reviews about AMD’s lesser APU models and see where that stands against Intel’s overpriced dual-core parts.



Sapphire's 860 MHz Radeon HD 7950 Flex Edition




Having covered MSI's rather unimpressively priced GeForce GTX 550 Ti video card, we now get to write of a somewhat more powerful adapter.

Sapphire is the company saying its piece this time. It has launched the Radeon HD 7950 Flex Edition. Featuring a dual-slot, dual-fan cooler, it operates at slightly higher clock frequencies than the original. Where the base performance is of 800 MHz for the GPU and 1,250 MHz for the 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, Sapphire's iteration sticks to the latter speed, but drives the GPU at 860 MHz.

The only other noteworthy asset is the Sapphire overclocking tool, TriXX, which displays temperatures and lets owners tune voltage and clocks. Sales should start soon. The UK price is said to be of £328.96. That's $510 / 411.25 Euro, based on exchange rates.





Tegra May Be Nvidia’s Main Product




Once Microsoft’s Windows 8 ARM Edition hits the streets, Nvidia’s Tegra 3 and the new Tegra 3+ will be free of their power envelope limitations, and we might see the company shell out some 3 GHz Tegra 3+ chips for netbooks and cheap laptops.

TSMC already demonstarted the 3.1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPUs some time ago and we reported it. Right now, the current Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 are a complete success and Nvidia proved that the trend is only going up. If last year 15 or so smartphones integrated the company’s Tegra 2 chips, this year more than 30 such designs will surface on the market. Forbes thinks that if mobile adoption of Nvidia’s SoCs continues at this rate, Tegra could end up as Nvidia’s main bread bringer in the next three years. Right now, with that modest number of 15 smartphone design wins and a not-so-modest number of tablet design wins, Tegra division brought in 7% or Nvidia’s profits for the last year.

Considering the doubling of smartphone design wins from this year and also considering the new Windows 8 ARM edition market that’s going to open now for Nvidia, the GPU company might actually become a CPU company. Nvidia itself predicts that it is going to sell around 25 million Tegra processors in 2012, and that is about double compared with last year’s results. Nobody should forget that Nvidia has two main advantages when it comes to the ARM market. They have the best graphics software system in the mobile market, and they are also very good at building DirectX drivers.

Also, the company is very involved in the software developing world and even sends programmer teams to various game developers to help them optimize their products for Nvidia GPUs. We can already see Nvidia helping selected game developers to port their games onto the ARM edition of the new Windows 8. For those that need a reminder, Microsoft is not providing legacy x86 support for its ARM edition of Windows. So any game built for x86 Windows will have to be reworked to run on Windows 8 ARM edition. With Wayne and Grey processors bringing even more performance to the table, there is a likely scenario where Nvidia’s Cortex A15 designs might end up in 300 ~ 400 USD laptops.


Gigabyte’s X11 Unpleasant Details Surface




Gigabyte took us all by surprise this morning when the company revealed its new X11 UltraBook. As we’ve reported, it looks very similar to Apple’s MacBook Air and we were hoping for some competitive price.

When news about its thickness and weight broke out, we were impressed with the 3 millimeter thickness on the slim side and the 973 grams lightness. The fact that Gigabyte is planning to price its new baby exactly in the same range as Apple’s MacBook is not the only problem. More pictures and bad news are surfacing now. While we like Gigabyte’s design choice regarding the lid, the rest of the laptop seems rather blend and just like most others. Unpleasant technical details emerged as well, as it seems that the device comes with 4 GB of RAM that are soldered to the mainboard, there’s no other possibility to upgrade and there’s only one USB 3.0 port despite having a more capable chipset.

Gigabyte’s choice in the chipset matter leads us to believe that this is rather a prototype and that Gigabyte will work on it in the next three or four months when shipping starts. The X11 is powered by Intel HM77 chipset instead of the expected UM77 chip. The mediocre 1366 by 768 display resolution and the low quality 1.3 MP webcam, along with the weak 35Wh 4730mAh Li-Polymer battery, further convince us that this is more likely a prototype. The only aspect that seems correctly set is the price range, but that’s rather Gigabyte’s target and the current X11 samples are not the final tools it will use to get there.




MSI Presents GeForce GTX 550 Ti Graphics Card




Micro-Star International has completed development of a new video card, or at least a new version of an existing graphics adapter.

The board we are talking about is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti. MSI gave its new product the model number N550GTX-Ti-MD1GD5-V2, not exactly the shortest name in the world. Anyway, the product has 192 CUDA cores, a clock speed of 900 MHz for the GPU, 1,800 MHz for the CUDA cores and 3.8 GHz for the 1 GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

That's right, since this isn't a Kepler board, the shaders operate at twice the GPU speed. The only other relevant piece of info is the connectivity: D-sub, dual-link DVI and HDMI. Unfortunately, the price of $150 (120 Euro) won't enchant too many people, especially since this is an old-generation adapter now.




Get Educated by Sharp's Medfield Tablet for 12 Hours at a Time




We've seen our share of tablets, and we'll keep seeing more, but Sharp is proving to be particularly daring in its development efforts.

One Sascha on Google+ has recently posted some photos of a prototype Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. The important part about this slate is that it uses an Intel Atom Medfield processor rather than an ARM chip. It's also worth noting that the 1,280 x 800 LCD is none too shabby, and neither is the 32 GB SSD or the 8 MP camera on the back. There's a second camera at the front too (VGA). And now we get to the good part, and we mean more than the biometric sensor and the RFID-based alarm system.

One special perk is the pressure-sensitive, 6-point multitouch display (256 pressure levels and an accuracy level of 0.4mm). The other asset is the battery life of up to 12 hours, possibly more, thanks to the wireless charging support. Seriously, we're sad we don't know when sales will start. The education market is where Sharp will send this tablet, which means the back-to-school season may be the time frame, but we can't be sure. We do know that Windows 8 versions will be available eventually though.






Windows 8 Release Preview Video Walkthrough Emerges




Microsoft hasn’t made the Release Preview of Windows 8 available for download just yet, but a leaked build did emerge a few days ago, and some enthusiasts rushed to download and install it.

There are a lot of changes to take advantage of in the new flavor of the operating system, it seems, and the video embedded below is meant to offer a glimpse at some of them. The video comes from winbeta and shows the appearance of the aforementioned leaked Windows 8 Release Preview SKU, the Chinese flavor of Build 8400, it seems. Many of the applications and menus in this version of Windows 8 are in Chinese, yet some of them were translated in English, so that more users would understand what they are all about. What’s notable is that the News app that Release Preview was recently rumored to include is said to have been removed from the installation, and that the Travel app did not work.

Overall, the changes that were recently rumored to make an appearance in the new version of Windows 8 are all there, including updated Metro applications, visual changes, and the like. Moreover, the OS appears to be moving smoother than before, most probably courtesy of the stability and performance enhancements that Microsoft already promised to arrive with it. To make a better idea of what the Redmond-based giant included in the new release, simply have a look at the video below. The platform itself is expected to become available for download very soon, as reported recently. Thus, users will be able to get a taste of all said enhancements on their own, although some of the changes might not be welcomed ones.

Following the availability of Windows 8 Release Preview in the first week of June, Microsoft is supposedly set to release the platform to manufacturing in summer, and might have the gold version ready for commercial availability in fall.



GALAXY S III Arriving in Canada with 2GB of RAM and 1.5 GHz Dual-Core CPU




Samsung has finally confirmed the upcoming availability of the Galaxy S III super-phone in Canada, along with its full specs.

Yesterday we reported that the smartphone would be offered via Best Buy Canada from $150 CAD with a new three-year agreement. Today, Samsung announced that beginning June 20 the Galaxy S III would be available through leading Canadian carriers and authorized national retailers. The SGH-i747 version of the Galaxy S III will be available from Bell Mobility, Virgin Mobile, SaskTel, TELUS and Rogers Wireless, while the SGH-iT999 model will be available from Videotron, WIND Mobile and Mobilicity. However, unlike the European version, the Canadian variations will be shipped with 2GB of RAM and Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz.

In addition, the South Korean company also mentioned that the SGH-i747 model would come with full LTE support, whereas the SGH-iT999 variation will only feature HSPA+ (42Mbps) connectivity. Furthermore, Samsung Galaxy S III (SGH-iT999) model packs only 16GB of internal memory, but the SGH-i747 will be available in two versions: 16GB or 32GB. However, both smartphones are said to embed microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to32GB). Software-wise, the Galaxy S III is powered by Google’s latest Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system integrated with TouchWiz UI 4.0.

Several innovative apps and services will be included as well, such as S Voice, Smart stay, S Beam, Buddy photo share, Group cast and Samsung Music Hub. With the preloaded Dropbox app, users will be provided with 50GB of free cloud storage for two years. “We are very excited to bring the highly anticipated GALAXY S III to Canadians so they can experience firsthand, the power, performance and passion that Samsung is known for. This next generation of the GALAXY S series is sleek and stylish, and offers users features that promote sharing, and are intuitive and powerful, allowing Canadians to enjoy a more human experience with their smartphone,” said Paul Brannen, vice president, Enterprise Business Group, Samsung Canada.


Intel Core i7 3770K Surpasses 7 GHz Clock




Just a few days after we learned about the new world record supposedly set by an AMD FX-8150 CPU, we read about a feat in Intel's side of the camp.

Gigabyte Taiwan has actually issued a press release in which it details the feat of a Taiwanese overclocker going by the handle HiCookie. By means of a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H motherboard, Corsair DDR3 RAM (random access memory) and a Corsair AX 1200 power supply, the Intel Core i7-3770K was driven all the way up to 7 GHz and beyond (7,031.71 MHz).

Three of the four cores were disabled during the run. The FSB was set at 111.63 MHz and the multiplier at 63x. Finally, the voltage was 1.956V. You can go here for the specs of the CPU and here for details on the previous record and its holder.

"Flame" - The newly found cyber super-weapon, spying and damaging Iranian computers




There is no doubt that cyber spying is the most preferred new age intelligence gathering tactic used by almost all countries, but countries like USA and China have already been exposed for using technology as a weapon.

The conclusive proof's fingering all leads to an Isarel, American joint-venture targeting Iranian nuclear facilities using the world's most advanced computer malware Stuxnet are now well known publicly. To make things even more interesting researchers at Kaspersky Labs have now unveiled another extraordinary peace of cyber-weapon, named "Flame" the data-mining malware has already caused substantial damage and massive amounts of data loss as admitted by Iranian officials. Iranian authorities are also claiming that the virus damaged centrifuges operating at its uranium enrichment facility at Nantaz and gathered data of it's oil fields by breaching into computers of high-ranking officials.

Due to the complex and very sophisticated technology (20 MB in total) used by this malware it has been labelled "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed". The ‘Flame’ cyber espionage worm is highly modular in nature and is specifically targeted at middle-east countries, the sophisticated attack toolkit with similarities to Stuxnet and Duqu malware's is basically a combination of computer backdoor, Trojan, and a worm. The success of this weapon can be gauged from the fact that it is believed to be spying since past 5 years undetected. The sophistication can be measured by the fact that "Flame" has 80 known Command-N-Control servers dedicated to itself and the modular nature of the malware allows it's controllers to load/unload code of there choice anytime.





Images Credit : Securelist/Kaspersky

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And Here Are Intel's Desktop Ivy Bridge CPUs




Intel may be trying to compensate for how spread out its first Ivy Bridge processors were, launch-wise. With fourteen of them having come out at the same time, we have quite a few desktop units to look over.

Computex 2012 will happen in about a week or so, in Taipei, Taiwan. There, many mobile PCs will be launched, as well as desktops. Similarly, desktop vendors will update their existing offers with whatever processors come out. The Core i5 units now out probably won't get so much attention on the part of most custom PC suppliers though. They aren't high-end gaming hardware parts after all. We're sure there will be quite a few people on the DIY market interested in them though, as well as on the business front. We'll start with the cheaper processors first ($184 / 148 Euro): Core i5-3470, Core i5-3470T and Core i5-3470S.

The names suggest the latter two are variations of the first, and the identical price would support that assumption. That is not truly the case, however. For one, the Core i5-3470T has only two cores. It is the only dual-core desktop chip in the new lineup in fact. Its advantage lies in its very low power consumption (35W), although the L3 cache memory isn't quite as high as on the others (3 MB instead of 6MB). The chip does have four threads though, and its clock speed is of 2.9 GHz for the x86 cores (3.5 GHz in Turbo Boost) and 650 MHz for the GPU (1,050 MHz Turbo Boost). Speaking of which, the GPU is HD 2500 instead of HD 4000.

The Core i5-3470 is a quad-core, quad-thread 3.2 GHz CPU (3.6 GHz) with a 77W TDP and the Intel 2500 graphics working at 650 MHz / 1,100 MHz. As for the Core i5-3470T, it is a 65W quad-core / quad-thread unit with 2.9 GHz / 3.6 GHz speeds and GPU performance identical to the one above. The other three chips in the line are Core i5-3570, Core i5-3570S and Core i5-3575S. All of them have four cores and four threads, but that is where the similarities end. 

In the above order, the TDPs are of 77W, 65W and 65W. What's more, the Core i5-3575S boasts Intel HD 4000 instead of 2500, although the clocks are the same as on the others mentioned up to now. The x86 cores are another matter entirely though. The i5-3570 is a 2.4 / 3.8 GHz unit (650 MHz / 1,150 MHz GPU), the i5-3570S works at 3.1 / 3.8 GHz and the i5-3575S achieves 2.9 / 3.6 GHz. Finally, the prices are as follows: $205 (165 Euro) for the i5-3570, $205 (165 Euro) for the i5-3570S and $201 (162 Euro) for Core i5-3475S.


Samsung Publishes “GALAXY S III: A Day in the Life” Promo Video




Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone debuted two days ago in a series of 28 markets around the world, and made an official appearance in some more of them today, including Australia.

The handset should reach even more countries next month, bringing along the power of a quad-core application processor and a large 4.8-inch touchscreen display. In the meantime, Samsung is making sure that users are fully aware of what its new device has to offer to them. Thus, the company published a new video promo to showcase the phone’s capabilities. Dubbed “A Day in the Life,” the clip offers a glimpse at the most appealing features that those who purchase the Galaxy S III will benefit from.

“Experience a day in the life of the GALAXY S III, and how it plays an intimate role with you and your loved ones,” Samsung notes.

Intel Intros Four 35W Dual-Core Ivy Bridge Processors




Intel really dropped a bombshell today, having officially launched no less than fourteen dual-core / quad-core central processing units, all built on the 22nm manufacturing process.

Out of the 14 chips, four are the sort that will be utilized in the construction of mid-range notebooks. They are called Core i5-3320M, i5-3360M, i7-3520M and i5-3210M. The first three are priced at $225 (181 Euro), $266 (214 Euro), $346 (279 Euro), but the fourth was not given a tag for some reason, in the Intel slides posted by Engadget. Fortunately, the rest of information is readily available. The Santa Clara, California-based company made a point of publishing it well ahead of Computex, apparently. To start off, the Core i5-3320M has a base clock of 2.6 GHz and a Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency of 3.10 GHz (dual-core) or 3.30 GHz (when only one core is used).

On the same note, the integrated graphics (HD 4000) normally runs at 650 MHz, but can jump as high as 1,200 MHz. The second chip, Core i5-3360M, runs at 2.8 GHz (3.3 / 3.5 GHz) and the same speeds for the GPU. Thirdly, the i5-3210M normally operates at 2.5 GHz, but can achieve 2.9 GHz / 3.1 GHz when necessary. Its GPU is limited to 1,100 MHz though. Fourth and finally, the i7-3520M has a base speed of 2.9 GHz and Turbo Boost frequencies of 3.4 / 3.6 GHz and 650 MHz/ 1,250 MHz GPU performance.

All processors make do with 35 W of energy and 3 MB of L3 cache, except for the Core i7-3520M, which has 4 MB L3 cache. Finally, the newcomers support HyperThreading (four threads), PCI Express 3.0, Intel Secure Key, Intel OS Guard, AES/TXT/vPro technology and Virtualization. Stay tuned as we go through all the other CPUs that Chipzilla saw fit to formally release. Products based on them won't appear until Computex, but that event isn't really far off (June 06-09, 2012).




Intel-Based Orange Santa Clara Goes Official in the UK as San Diego




As expected, Orange and Intel have just announced the upcoming availability of UK’s first smartphone to be powered by Intel technology, the San Diego.

Formerly known as Santa Clara, the smartphone will be exclusive to Orange and is expected to hit shelves on June 6. Customers will be able to purchase the Android phone for only 200 GBP (310 USD or 250 EUR) on PAYG (pay as you go), beginning next week. In addition, the carrier offers customers the option to grab the Orange San Diego for free on a 24-month price plan from 15.50 GBP a month. The package includes 50 any network call minutes, 50 texts, as well as 100MB of mobile data a month. Keep in mind that Orange UK will offer each customer who purchases the San Diego on PAYG a free monthly allowance of 250Mb of mobile data per month for 12 months.

“We’re proud to be working with such an exciting partner as Intel, and offering our customers the first Orange Intel powered smartphone on the market. The San Diego is a great addition to our own-branded device portfolio, and is testament to our heritage in offering consumers great value innovation,” said Paul Jevons, director of Products and Devices, Orange UK. The San Diego from Orange is powered by an Intel Atom Z2460 processor and comes packed with full HSPA (42Mbps) support, as well as HD Voice and HD Video. Furthermore, the smartphone packs 16GB of internal memory and a 4.03-inch capacitive touchscreen display. There’s also an enhanced 8-megapixel rear camera on the back, which features “Burst” mode, autofocus and LED flash.

Although Orange San Diego runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, the carrier confirmed that an Ice Cream Sandwich update would be deployed later this year, though no exact release dates have been unveiled. “The new Intel-based smartphone exemplifies Orange’s focus on delivering a well executed product to its users, from the quality and feel of industrial design to the overall software and applications experience,” concluded Mike Bell, Intel vice president and general manager of the company’s Mobile and Communications Group.



Google’s ChromeBox Challenged by AMD and Linux




Embedded computing specialist, Israeli company Compulab, together with the Linux experts from Linux Mint, is preparing to launch the FitPC3 minicomputer to take on the newly-announced Google ChromeBox.

Unlike Google’s new SFF, the FitPC3 is built around AMD’s Brazos platform, with the embedded T40N and T56N APUs providing the computing power. Software-wise, Compulab’s FitPC3 is coming with a Debian-derivative operating system. It is called Linux Mint, and it will be a highly-optimized version 13 called “Maya,” featuring MATE 1.2 desktop environment and the popular XBMC media center. The Compulab’s FitPC3 connectivity is well-endowed with six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 connectors and two eSATA ports. There’s also a pair of HDMI and DisplayPort display outputs along with stereo audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless N and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.

The two eSATA ports offer much more functionality than any of ChromeBox’ six USB 2.0 ports. Inside the unit we find a 2.5” hard drive, AMD’s A55 FCH and up to 8 GB of DDR3-1066 memory. HD audio in 7.1 implementation is also in there. AMD’s T40N and T56N APUs both come with an integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU) with 80 shader cores.

The difference is that the T40N runs its iGPU at a low 280 Mhz frequency, calling it Radeon HD 6290, while the T56N APU runs its iGPU at a low 500 Mhz frequency, calling it Radeon HD 6310. T40N’s main frequency is a modest 1000 MHz that will allow the dual-core processor to stay below the maximum TDP of just 9 watts. The T56N APU works at a much higher 1600 MHz, but it comes with a maximum TDP of 18 watts. Both APUs feature a single DDR3 memory channel with a width of 64 bits, and that will be enough to face any Atom-powered nettop.

The FitPC3 will most likely be better priced than Samsung’s ChromeBox and the additional USB 3.0 and double eSATA connectivity will provide much better productivity. On the performance side, we must make it clear that this is mainly an Atom competitor, as it can’t compete with Intel’s Sandy Bridge inside the latest ChromeBox. On the iGPU side, maybe, but on the CPU side, a 1900 MHz dual-core Sandy Bridge Celeron will likely trounce the 1600 MHz Brazos. If power consumption is the main issue, then AMD’s T40N and T56N APUs have the upper hand, as they consume a maximum of just 9W and 18W, respectively. Also, it is important to mention that FitPC3 will be completely fanless.






ASUS Preps Two Versions of Maximus V Formula ROG Motherboard




ASUS is just about ready to release another product bearing the Republic of Gamers brand (ROG), one that hadn't been fully detailed until now.

Fortunately, leaks happen all the time and ASUS, in this case, was unable to prevent a special tidbit of information from coming forth (assuming it even tried to). There will be two versions of the Maximus V Formula ROG motherboard up for sale starting next week. The launch will happen during a special press event at Computex Taipei. One will be bundled with the ThunderFX USB sound card and amplifier, while the other will be sold only with the dual-band mini PCI Express 802.1a/b/g/n Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card.

That said, there is one other new detail that VR-Zone found: ASUS included the Texas Instruments 6120A2 amplifier (a small chip) when it designed the mainboard. Everything else is the same as what we reported back in March.


Corsair Launches 3GHz DDR3 Dominator Platinum Memory




A couple of weeks back, we spoke about Team Group and how it had become the first company to launch a 3 GHz DDR3 memory product. Corsair is now doing something similar.

The company has introduced the Dominator Platinum, featuring a new PCB (printed circuit board), internal cooling layers and external copper thermal pads meant to hold aluminum fins with DHX (dual-path heat exchange). Corsair couldn't exactly afford not to optimize heat dissipation, since the 3 GHz speed, achieved through use of new 4 Gb chips, generates a lot of heat. There will be both dual-channel and quad-channel kits whenever the company finally starts shipping them. Overclockers will have a filled day with them. And here is where the catch comes in: overclockers are the only ones with any sort of reason to buy these things.

If you're a normal customer, you won't need to do more than gawk at the high speed and move on. Sure, the heatspreader looks nice, but isn't really likely to capture interest for more than a minute or two, not to mention that it won't exactly be visible from inside the desktop case. This is one thing that memory makers won't tell you: after a certain point, clock speeds and nice-looking cooling aren't really all that relevant. System performance doesn't actually benefit much from frequencies higher than 1,333 MHz. Sure, benchmark scores will go through the roof when hardcore modules are installed, but real-world performance won't go up by any relevant amount.

As was the case with Team Group's aforementioned product release, this 3 GHz memory is a stepping stone in the company's preparation for the DDR4 standard, and Micron is ahead of them both, having already introduced such a module. That said, sales of Corsair's 3 GHz DDR3 will begin this summer, but no capacity or price details have been provided.


May 30, 2012

VIA Launches the ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC featuring Eden X2 Dual Core CPU




Famous CPU and chip designer, Taiwanese company VIA is launching today its ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC small form factor (SFF) computer system, on its official website.

VIA’s Eden X2 dual core processor was quite some time ago. It’s an out-of-order 64 Bit architecture so it should be able to surpass any Intel Atom CPU running at the same frequency. The out-of-order architecture is also advantageous in many in-optimized scenarios where in-order architectures such as Atom usually can’t display satisfactory performance. These processors are built in TSMC’s 40nm manufacturing technology and are fully pin-to-pin compatible with VIA Eden, VIA C7, and VIA Nano E-Series processors. The company is marketing a 7 year longevity guarantee. We’re not sure what’s VIA’s interpretation of this, but we think it should mean that the CPU should be able to function 7 whole years continuously flawless.

Eden X2 is a high-performance superscalar processing architecture featuring “most efficient speculative floating point algorithm.” VIA’s Eden X2 also comes with hardware AES support and native support for 64-bit operating systems along with advanced power and thermal management. The CPU inside VIA’s ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC small form factor (SFF) computer system is running at 1GHz and comes with 2 MB of level 2 cache. The system supports 4 GB of DDR3-1066 memory, but only comes equipped with 1 GB. It is built around VIA’s VIA VX900 Media System Processor chipset that integrates VIA’s Chrome 9 HD DX9 3D/2D video processor with MPEG-2, WMV9/VC1, H.264 video decoding acceleration. The ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC come with dual VIA VT6130G RJ-45 connectors for Gigabit Ethernet connection and has 4 USB 2.0 ports.

A single USB 3.0 port and WLAN are optional, but there are two expected HD audio jacks, one VGA port, a HDMI connector and a built-in CFast socket. Only one SATA interface for a single 2.5” storage device is present and the whole thing weighs 1.2 Kg or around 2.64 pounds. The price has not been made available yet, but the dual Gigabit LAN and the low power fanless operation makes it an interesting solution.














Buffalo TeraStation 5200 NAS Debuts




Buffalo is somewhat periodic in its release of network-attached storage devices, just like it is in most other fields it dabbles in (drive enclosures, optical drives, SSDs, even wireless routers).

The product coming out this time is the TeraStation 5200 NAS, which has four drive bays and the Intel Atom D2550 dual-core CPU. Buffalo didn't exactly try to put all its NAS rivals to shame with this, unlike its recent achievement on the wireless router front. Although it did include a variety of features, it also kept in mind that small and medium businesses can't afford to pay a fortune for storage. As such, only two of the four HDD bays are pre-populated, for up to 6 TB (combined). RAID 0/1/JBOD modes are all supported.

iSCSI, replication and failover support, as well as SoleraTec Phoenix RSM ( a video surveillance asset management solution) are part of the spec sheet as well. That said, the aforementioned Atom CPU has a frequency of 1.86 GHz and is backed by 2 GB of DDR3 memory. This, Buffalo says, permits multiple services to be run at the same time. "By reducing the complexity and cost of traditional IP video surveillance storage and asset management, the TeraStation 5000 series eliminates many of the barriers businesses face when implementing and running IP-based surveillance," said Matt Dargis, senior director of sales at Buffalo Technology.

"This launch proves once again our dedication to delivering high performance solutions that serve the needs of our customers and our commitment to the SMB market." In addition to the things already mentioned, TeraStation 5200, like the others in the 5000 series, gets USB 3.0 support, Gigabit Ethernet (two ports) and, of course, hot-swap HDD support. Finally, a video surveillance asset management platform is included in the product, for high-quality video storage, access and playback.

TeraStation 5400 will replace the current TeraStation Pro Quad TS-QVL/R6, will have a base capacity of 4TB and should be available in June at an estimated street price of $879.99 / 705 Euro, or more, if higher capacities are selected.


Supermicro Launches NVIDIA Maximus SuperWorkstation




Supermicro has proudly introduced the X9 SuperWorkstation 7047GR-TRF, a high-performance server equipped with four NVIDIA Tesla C2075 GPU compute accelerators and a Quadro GPU.

What is even more important is that the system supports NVIDIA Maximus, a technology whereby a single system can, at the same time, carry out both interactive graphics tasks and heavy computations. To elaborate, the X9 SuperWorkstation uses the Quadro for displaying visuals and the Tesla for simulations. The other important components involved in the making of this machine are an Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor, a massive capacity of random access memory (512GB DDR3 1600MHz ECC), an 80 PLUS, Platinum Level (94%) PSU and the Super X9DRG-QF motherboard.

"Supermicro's NVIDIA Maximus certified 7047GR-TRF SuperWorkstation opens the door to personal supercomputing for scientific, engineering and entertainment fields, and closes the gap between design and realization," said Wally Liaw, vice president of sales, international, at Supermicro. We'll pass on listing all the other technical details, since they are ever so clearly listed here.


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