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Jan 3, 2012

DotA Guide: Morphling - The Morphling Introduction




DotA is one of the most popular custom-made maps for Warcraft 3. To offer players a better understanding of this complex and sometimes complicated game, here is a hero guide.

Being able to "adapt" to almost any situation, this hero can prove very powerful, specially in middle and late-game. You can recruit him from the Sentinel Agility Tavern.

A mysterious character, this hero has an even more mysterious past, as the following story will show you: "The Morphling, nature's magnum opus, the pinnacle of evolution, can force his liquid body to flow over opponents in a massive wave, forcibly moving himself as well as injuring his enemies.

At a whim, he may change the composition of his body, trading strength for agility and vice versa. 

Capable of manipulating his energy into either disable or damage based on his strongest attribute, the Morphling's most disturbing ability creates a literal clone of a chosen target, forcing them to face their own reflection as he crushes them in their confusion".

A cool set of abilities allows him to initiate or escape battles with ease:

Waveform (W) - Liquefying into small atoms, the Morphling rushes forward and damages enemies along a path. While traveling, the hero becomes invulnerable and deals: 100/175/250/325 damage.

Adaptive Strike (E) - Bombards an enemy hero with magic damage and, depending on his main attribute (strength or agility), deals extra damage or stun. With each level, the damage is increased (20/40/60/80) and:
  • Agility dominant skill: 0.25x-0.5x/0.25x-1.0x/0.25x-1.5x/0.25x-2.0x extra damage
  • Strength dominant skill: 0.25-0.75/0.25-1.5/0.25-2.25/0.25-3.0 stun duration.

If agility is larger than strength by 50%, damage will be maximum, while stun will have the lowest value. On the other hand, if you have 50% more strength than agility, the stun will have the highest value, while damage will be minimum.

Morph (R) - By using its inner-energy, Morphling is able to turn agility into strength and strength into agility. With each level, you can swap more points: 2/4/6/8.

Replicate (D) - A great ability that will allow Morph to duplicate another enemy or friendly hero. The image will only deal 50% damage, but will allow the Morph to "teleport" and take the illusion's place.

Morphling can prove to be quite a formidable opponent, specially if he's fitted with the right items: Boots of Travel, Manta Style, Linken's Sphere, Eye of Skadi, Butterfly and even Satanic.

If you have other suggestions please let all the DotA fans know in a comment.



Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon E3-1200 v2 CPU Specs Leaked




Outside of the Xeon E5 server processor series based on the Sandy Bridge-E architecture, the first half of this year will also mark for Intel the introduction of its E3-1200 v2 CPU line that is designed around the soon to be unveiled Ivy Bridge microprocessor design.

The Xeon E3-1200 v2 family will include 11 CPU models which will closely resemble the current E3-series chips based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, but will feature slightly improved operating frequencies and lower TDPs.

As CPU-World reports, only one model out of the 11 processors to be launched with use a dual-core design as the rest of the chips were built to include four computing cores.

This CPU however, which is dubbed the Xeon E3-1220L v2, is the only one to fit inside a 17 Watt thermal envelope as the others have TDPs ranging between 69W and 87W, with the exception of the Xeon E3-1265L v2 that is rated at 45W.

Intel's Ivy Bridge processors are a die 22nm shrink of the Sandy Bridge chips and feature the same architecture which will receive a series of improvements.

In the consumer version of the architecture, these improvements include a better GPU with DirectX 11 support as well as 30% more EUs than the HD 3000 GPU used in the current second generation Core processors.

Other CPU features include better AVX performance, an integrated PCI Express 3.0 controller as well as native USB 3.0 support thanks to the Panther Point chipsets, which are expected to enter mass production in the final week of December 2011.

Just like the current version of the Xeon E3 processors, most of their Ivy Bridge counterparts will also come with the integrated graphics core disabled as only four out of the 11 SKUs will include this feature.

Detailed specs of the Xeon E3 v2 CPUs are available in the table enclosed in this article, but sadly no info regarding pricing is available so far.



ASUS Mini-ITX Motherboard Makes Any Home Server Fancy




Some information surfaced about a small form factor motherboard that ASUS is working on and which is supposed to help build both servers and industrial applications.

The D25NM10-I/CSM mainboard features the mini-ITX form factor and, like most of its kind, comes complete with its own processor.

More specifically, the central processing unit (CPU) it houses is the Intel Atom D2500.

So far, nothing is too out of the ordinary, but the rest of the spec sheet makes it clear that ASUS isn't aiming for the regular target of such platforms.

Mini-ITX motherboards commonly serve the industrial sector, but ASUS took into consideration the requirements of home servers as well.

Basically, the D25NM10-I/CSM, as it is called, can serve on both fronts.

Unfortunately, this versatility could end up imposing a higher price tag than people would like, though nothing is certain yet.

That said, ASUS's still unannounced creation is equipped with an LVDS connector, five serial ports (two are RS422/485 compatible), a pin header for a parallel port, a PCI Express x1 slot, mini PCI Express, a DVI port and two Gigabit Ethernet ports.

What's more, a DC-DC converter was thrown into the mix, along with a PS/2 port, a D-sub connector, two SATA ports, 5.1-channel audio and eight USB 2.0 connectors.

Finally, ASUS managed to cram in a S/PDIF output and the obligatory memory slots (Intel's Atom handles up to 4 GB at 1,066 MHz)

Alas, there is no photo of the motherboard, so it isn't perfectly clear how cramped together all of these bits and pieces are.

Anyone intent on using the ASUS D25NM10-I/CSM for anything may want to take into account the passive cooler (the heatsink probably isn't all that small) and the fact that two SATA ports may be insufficient for storage.

Like pricing, the date of availability is a mystery, with not even the vaguest time of arrival (ETA) having been provided.

EK Readies AMD Radeon HD 7970 Water Block




Even though the Radeon HD 7970 is not yet available for purchase, EK has already started working on a water block for AMD’s high performance GPU.

The company has posted its new creation on its official Facebook page where it was spotted by Legit Reviews.

From the look of it, the Radeon HD 7970 water block seems to be in the final stages of its design and will be called the EK-FC 7970 once it arrives on the market.

Outside of the acetal top featured in the above picture, a plexi version of this copper water block will also be available.

Sadly, right now we don’t have any info regarding the price of the availability of the EK-FC 7970, but this definitely look like a great way to unleash the full overclocking potential of your Radeon HD 7970.


AMD Radeon HD 7970 Overclocked to 1700MHz Using Liquid Nitrogen




AMD’s soon to become available Radeon HD 7970 graphics card seems to be a beast of an overclocker as recently two enthusiasts have managed to increase the card’s GPU clock from the standard 925MHz, to an impressive 1700MHz.

The graphics card, which was provided by Asus, reached this 83% GPU overclock by being cooled with liquid nitrogen and was put through a run of 3DMark Vantage.

With the overclocked graphics core and the 3GB of GDDR5 memory working at 1980MHz (from the regular 1.375GHz) Shamino and Andre Yang, the enthusiasts behind this feat, managed to reach a score of P54725.

Furthermore, with the Radeon HD 7970 clocked at 1700MHz core and 2000MHz on the memory they hit P15063 in 3DMark11.

Both of these scores are truly impressive for a single-card and greatly surpass the previous world records established by Nvidia’s GTX 580 graphics card (48002 in 3DMark Vantage and 13144 in 3DMark 11).

Outside of the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, the rest of the system used for establishing these world records was comprised out of an Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E processor and of an Asus Rampage IV Extreme LGA 2011 motherboard, according to Shamino’s post on the Kingpin Cooling forums.

The AMD Radeon HD 7970 was launched on December 22, and according to AMD the card is expected to reach retail on January 9.

At its heat stands the Tahiti XT GPU that is based on the company’s new Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and includes 32 Compute Units, for a total of 2048 stream processors, that are joined by 128 texture units, 32 ROP units and a 384-bit wide memory bus.

All the hardware logic that AMD had to cram into this GPU, makes Tahiti XT the largest graphics core ever built since it features no less than 4.31 billion transistors packed inside a 365mm2 die fabricated using TSMC’s 28nm High-K process.



Huge Leak Reveals All Sapphire HD 7970 Cards, Even the 1,335 MHz Ones




There are small information leaks and then there are truly huge ones, like the one that showed how Sapphire means business. 

The year 2012 is already kicking things into high gear, even though the real product launch festival will be held at CES. 

Sapphire just became the major player on the scene of leaks and rumors. 

It slipped details not just on one of its upcoming AMD-based high-end video boards, but on all of them. 

The ones that stand out the most are the super-fast Radeon HD 7970 Atomic RX and Atomic WC. 

The RX and WC monikers may suggest the type of cooling (air and liquid-based, respectively). 

Whether this is true or not, both beasts are bound to cause a fuss with their memory clock of 5,735 MHz and GPU frequency of 1,335 MHz. 

That's 1,335 MHz out of the box, not the upper threshold to which it can be overclocked. 

For the sake of comparison, the reference HD 7970, as shown on the official product page, operates at 925 MHz. 

Besides the Atomic RX and Atomic WC add-in boards, Sapphire is preparing a Toxic 3G model, whose GPU is set at 1,125 MHz and memory at 5,600 MHz. 

Somewhat lower on the performance ladder, though not by much, is the VaporX 3G, with GPU and GDDR5 VRAM clocks of 1,010 MHz and 5,500 MHz, respectively. 

The rest of the line sticks to the reference specifications (925/5500 MHz), though only the “Da Original” exhibits the Sunnyvale, California-based company's aesthetic design. 

One of the remaining duo, the Dual-Fan 3G, features an affordable, double-fan cooler. 

As for the Sapphire Radeon DH 7970 FLEX 6G, it is particularly resourceful in multi-monitor setups, boasting six mini-DisplayPorts. 

Some, if not all, models are bound to be on display in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (January 10-13). What remains to be seen is what companies provide a good competition.


4GB DDR3 RAM Selling for $16.5, Stable but Low Price




After over a year of troubling price decline, random access memory chips and, by extension, modules, may finally experience a respite.

That is to say, the companies that produce RAM won't have any more reason to bemoan their ailing finances.

Though low prices are only a motive for happiness as far as customers are concerned, they are also an indication that those very same customers aren't buying memory in too great capacities.

Supply has been much higher than demand for many months, with episodes of slight improvement few and far between.

Due to this, prices fell almost constantly, in many cases by more than 50%.

At the moment, many 8 GB kits sell for sums on par with those that 4 GB products sported the same time last year, or even less.

Now, analysts believe that there won't be any further drop for a while.

In other words, memory prices are stabilizing, so even though RAM will continue to be cheap, it won't get any cheaper.

Prospective buyers that were waiting and hoping for further downward slides in costs may as well stop putting off their purchases.

For those who want precise numbers, 2 GB DDR3 modules now have an average selling point of $9.25, or 7.11 Euro.

In keeping with the same trend, 4 GB DDR3 products are expected to hover at the $16.5 level, or 12.68 Euro.

The second half of December, 2011 already passed by without any price fluctuations.

What's more, some PC OEMs have even increased their DRAM order volumes, to avoid possible shortages later on.

A while ago, we said that RAM was the most convenient buy during the holidays, among tech products at any rate.

The situation continues to hold true and probably will persist through the Chinese New Year and afterwards.


Triple AMD Radeon HD 7970 Setup Scores Big




If you thought the AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card was overpowered on its own, you were probably right. 

That doesn't mean people can't push it into overdrive just to see how far it could go. 

It also can't actually stop people from doing something of the sort to three of them at once. 

This is precisely what VR-Zone did: took three HD 7970 cards, set them in crossfire, clocked them at 1,100 MHz and put them through as much benchmarking stress as they could

That happened after they took just one of them and, upon replacing the BIOS and boosting the voltage from 1.15V to 1.25V, bypassed the the normal upper clock limit of 1,125 MHz. 

Ultimately the card operated at 1,267 MHz and made short work of several benchmarks, all the while being kept at acceptable temperature by good old fashioned air cooling (never went above 66 degrees).


VIA Intros VB7009 Mini-ITX Motherboard with Nano X2 CPU Support




VIA keeps updating its range of embedded motherboards and recently has unveiled a new mini-ITX solution that is built around the company’s processors and was designed to be used for POS and kiosk applications.

Dubbed the VIA VB7009, the motherboard can be equipped with a wide selection of VIA CPUs ranging from a fanless 1.0GHz VIA C7 chip to more powerful options such as the 1.6GHz VIA C7-D or 1.2GHz dual core VIA Nano X2 processor.

No matter the CPU that one goes for, the chipset used for the board is the same VX900H media system hub that also includes an integrated GPU with hardware acceleration for various HD video formats, including MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1, WMV9 and HDCP for Blu-ray content.

The VB7009 mainboard also sports support for up to 4GB of system memory via a single full-size DIMM socket and also packs a pair of SATA 3Gps port.

Throughout the board PCB, VIA has also placed various other headers for a dual-channel 24-bit LVDS interface, four USB 2.0 ports, a 5-wire resistive touch sensor, and an 8-bit digital I/O. 

The rest of the required ports and connectors are spread around the sides of the VB7009 and these include a VGA video output, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual COM ports, and other two USB 2.0 ports.

“The range of customer needs for interactive embedded devices is rapidly expanding,” said Epan Wu Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. 

"The VIA VB7009 provides a flexible and cost effective solution that can be configured to satisfy a broad range of customer requirements,” concluded the company’s rep.

VIA hasn't revealed any information regarding the release or the pricing of the VB7009 motherboard, but this is expected to be sold only to system integrators and OEMs.


Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T Gets Detailed




Mobile phone carrier AT&T is gearing up for the release of Nokia Windows Phone on its airwaves, none other than the long rumored Nokia Lumia 900, which has just got detailed. 

The handset should become available for purchase via the United States wireless carrier in the next few months. At the same time, it should be released in other markets around the world, though no specific info on the matter has emerged so far. 

In the US, the handset sports the codename of Eloko and includes LTE connectivity capabilities, Pocketnow reports. Internationally, it is known as the Nokia Ace and lacks the feature.  

When launched, the Lumia 900 will become the flagship Windows Phone from Nokia, and its hardware specifications say nothing different.

The handset will pack a 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen display, along with a fast application processor, 512MB of RAM and the same amount of internal storage as Lumia 800, namely 16GB (hopefully, Nokia will included more memory inside it). 

The new smartphone should hit shelves with an 1830mAh battery inside, as well as with an 8-megapixel photo snapper with support for HD video recording. 

When released, the Lumia 900 is expected to run under the latest flavor of Windows Phone, Mango. Previous rumors suggested that it could run under the next Windows Phone iteration, Tango. 

At launch, the new Windows Phone will sport 3G connectivity in the 1700MHz bands (making it fit for T-Mobile’s network), and will weigh 160 grams. It will be larger and heavier than Lumia 800, but will maintain the same thickness as the predecessor. It might keep the same outer design as well. 

The Nokia Lumia 900 is said to make an official appearance as soon as next week during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Moreover, it appears that Nokia will make it official along with another new Windows Phone, the Lumia 719.


Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Officially Unveiled




Shortly after the first press photo showing the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus leaked, the Korean handset manufacturer officially announced the upcoming availability of the Android-based smartphone.

Aside the phone’s full specs sheet and pictures, the company did not reveal anything else like price tag and release date.

However, there’s a high chance that the Galaxy Ace Plus will be launched on the market in Q1 2012, probably right after Mobile World Congress trade fair, which is held in Barcelona at the end of February.

As for the handset’s price, the Galaxy Ace Plus seems to be a mid-tier smartphone, so it should be priced accordingly. The device runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread operating system and Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface, allowing users to handle mobile tasks faster and more efficiently.

The Galaxy Ace Plus is delivered with Samsung’s Social Hub, Music Hub and ChatON services pre-loaded, which provides users with the possibility to connect and chat with all phone users regardless of the phone platform.

In addition, the smartphone comes pre-installed with lots of productivity apps, such as ThinkFree that enables viewing and editing of Office documents, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDFs, while on the move.

The phone is equipped with a standard single core processor clocked at 1 GHz. In addition, it packs 3GB of internal memory (2GB shared memory and 1GB of direct storage), 512MB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

It features a decent 3.65-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen display with 320 x 480 pixels resolution and 16 million colors, as well as HSDPA (7.2Mbps) and WiFi 802.11 support.

There’s also a 5-megapixel photo snapper on the back that features LED flash and autofocus, as well as video recording capabilities (WVGA@30fps).

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is powered by an 1,300 mAh Li-Ion battery, which has yet to be rated by the Korean handset manufacturer.





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