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Jan 4, 2012

Radeon HD 7970 & 7950 Water Blocks from Aqua Computer Now Available

The Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 may not be available in retail yet, but Aqua Computer has already started selling a water block for AMD’s high-performance graphics cards.

Dubbed the AquagrATIx 7900, the water block uses a full coverage design meaning that it covers not only the GPU, but also the GDDR5 VRAM and the card’s VRMs.

As you can clearly see from the picture above, as well as the one in the gallery bellow, the Aqua Computer’s water block is made out of copper with a stainless steel cover, while the terminal is made out of a material called Delrin.

All these make for a particularly good looking water block if you ask us, that is available right now for €89.90 incl. 19% VAT, which is right around the $116 USD mark. The blocks are already in production and should be available for shipping in about three weeks.

Asus Transformer Prime GPS Issues Explained

Since its introduction, the Transformer Prime has received a lot of complaints about its more than unimpressive GPS performance, so recently an Internet publication has started an investigation to find out what causes these problems, its conclusions showing that a design fault of the tablet is to blame.

As AnandTech has discovered, the problems with the GPS reception of the Prime seem to be caused by its aluminum construction which prevents the radio waves sent by satellites to be accurately received by the tablet.

While the sheet of metal that is used for the Prime isn’t very thick, aluminum is very good when it comes to blocking radio waves, and Asus has placed the GPS antenna right behind such a panel.

According to AnandTech, this causes the bad reception that most Prime users have complained about, and the problem can only be fixed through a redesign of the tablet that is very unlikely to happen at this point in time.

Apple also faced a similar problem when its built the 3G iPad 2 (the WiFi-only version comes without built-in GPS), but avoided such reception issues by placing the GPS antenna behind a black plastic strip, since this material causes a lot less interference to radio waves than aluminum.

Why Asus hasn’t gone with a similar design is anybody’s guess, but the tests that AnandTech run on the Transformer Prime show it lagging severely behind the original Transformer when it comes to GPS connectivity, even if both of these tablets use the same Broadcom BCM4751 GPS receiver, this chip also being used by Apple in the iPad 2.

Asus has recently issued an update that is said to address the GPS performance of the Prime, but this only ensures that ephemeris (used to calculate satellite position) and almanac (details for all GPS satellites) data are downloaded over WiFi to speed up the process of determining your current position.

Needless to say, this update doesn’t do much without network assistance when is forced to rely on the low transfer rates (50 bits per second maximum) of GPS satellites, which are lowered even more when passing through the Prime’s aluminum case.

Arctic Outs Accelero Xtreme 7970 VGA Cooler for Radeon HD 7900, HD 7800 GPUs

Now that AMD has finally released its Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, third-party cooling specialists can announce their solutions for AMD’s next-gen GPUs and one of the first companies to do so is Arctic which was just introed the Accelero Xtreme 7970 for HD 7900- and HD 7800-series video cards.

Despite its newly found compatibility with AMD’s high-end graphics core, the Accelero Xtreme features pretty much the same design as the previous Arctic solutions launched in this range.

This means that Arctic Cooling has employed the same overall design which relies on three 92mm fans for dissipating the heat draw from the GPU and into an aluminum heatsink that covers the card attached to it.

All throughout this massive heatsink run five 6mm thick heat pipes that are connected to an all-copper base.

The base is surrounded by a mounting plate and this has been specially redesigned in order to allow the cooler to be installed on the HD 7900 and HD 7800-series graphics cards without requiring any additional hardware to be purchased.

In addition to the changes brought to the mounting plate, the Accelero Xtreme 7970 will also be shipped with the required VRM and memory heatsinks and features a pre-applied coat of Arctic’s MX-4 thermal compound in order to ease the installation process. 

Just as its predecessor, the new Accelero VGA cooler measures no less than 288mm in length, so users are advised to make sure they have enough room inside their systems before purchasing this cooler.

As far as the fans used by Arctic Cooling for its latest creation are concerned, all three of these are PWM controlled and their rotation speed is set between 900 and 2000 RPM.

In addition to the Radeon HD 7900 and HD 7800 series graphics cards, the Accelero Xtreme 7970 is also compatible with various other high-end and mid-range cards from AMD’s HD 6000 and HD 5000 series.

No information regarding the pricing of the Arctic’s new VGA cooler was provided, but the company did say that the Accelero Xtreme 7970 will become available on January 31.

Fujifilm’s Upcoming Interchangeable Camera Pictured

Fujifilm is getting ready to follow on the footsteps of the X10 and the X100 with a new retro-looking interchangeable lens camera that was just pictured in a couple of leaked images.

The new arrival will be called the LX10, or possibly the X PRO 1, and little is known about it apart from the fact that Fujifilm touts it by saying its "resolution and low noise will surpass the 35mm full size sensor," which definitely sounds good to my ears.

As Photo Rumors reports, the new camera is expected to be showcased at the PMA show next week and officially announced in February.

Until then you can take a look at the leaked pictures of the Fujifilm camera, as well as to a mockup put together by Jonker Burger, in the galley bellow this post.

Nikon D4 DSLR May Launch on January 6

Nikon’s highly anticipated full-frame D4 digital SLR camera may land on January 6 as the company has already started sending out invitations to the press for a product unveiling event that is scheduled to happen this Friday in Hong Kong.

The exact product that will be launched during this event was not revealed, but Nikon Rumors believes that this will be the full-frame D4 DSLR together with a new AF-S 85mm f/1.8 prime lens.

With the launch of the D4 and that of the upcoming D800, Nikon wants to once and for all separate its pro DSLR cameras into two distinct segments, the former coming with a low MP count, high fps, and high ISO while the D800 will shift towards high MP count, low fps, and lower ISO.

As some leaked specs published in the first half of December 2011 show, this means that the D4 will come with a 16.2MP full-frame sensor and a native ISO range spanning 100-12,800 with the ability of being expanded to 50- 204,800.

The camera will be able to capture up to 11 frames per second in burst mode at full resolution and will use an improved AF system featuring 51 points, just as in the current D3s.

Furthermore, the D4 will also receive a new face detection/recognition function that will be working in the viewfinder (Nikon has several patents regarding hybrid viewfinders) and will gain the option of using XQD memory card in addition to the usual CompactFlash.

The video recording capabilities of the Nikon D4 will also be improved, but sadly we don’t know what new features will the pro DSLR receive in this area.

The rest of the D4’s specifications list includes integrated Ethernet, the ability to assign two front buttons for controlling aperture during video recording, 9 cross-type AF sensors operational up to f/8, improved AF detection range (goes down to EV-2.0), support for Nikon’s WT-5 wireless transmitter and the ability to send out uncompressed video through the HDMI port.

According to Nikon Rumors, the January 6 unveiling event will be for the press only and the new Nikon products are expected to start shipping roughly 30 days after this announcement.

AMD’s Entry Level Radeon HD 7000 Desktop GPUs Are HD 6000 Rebrands

AMD’s Turks, Caicos and Cedar graphics cores used initially for some HD 6000 and HD 5000 series graphics cards will soon make a return as Radeon HD 7000 models despite these lacking the company’s new GCN architecture.

As SweClockers reports, instead of making any changes to these GPUs, AMD has decided to release them apparently without any modifications whatsoever in the OEM space under the HD 7000 designation.

The new lineup will include five new graphics cards, the fastest of these models being the Radeon HD 7670 and HD 7570, which are both based on the Turks core built using the 40nm fabrication process.

As many of you know, the Turks GPU packs 480 stream processors, 24 texture units and 8 ROP units as well as a 128-bit wide memory bus that can be connected to either DDR3 or GDDR5 memory.

Moving to the Radeon HD 7470 and HD 7450 here we find once more the Caicos core that was introduced with the HD 6470 and the HD 6450, featuring the exact same specs as before (160 stream processors, 8 texture units, 4 ROPs, 64-bit memory bus).

The true surprise however is the fifth, and also the slowest, of the video cards to be released, the Radeon HD 7350, since this is actually based on the AMD Cedar graphics core.

If this name doesn’t ring any bells that’s because Cedar was actually introduced almost two years ago, in February 2010 to be more precise, and was initially used for the Radeon HD 5450.

Reviving a two year old GPU is a surprising move for AMD and makes us wonder how will it fare against the next generation of CPU integrated graphics.

Naturally, AMD says that it will limit the availability of these graphics cards to the OEM space, but experience has thought us that sooner or later such GPUs always make their way into the retail space thanks to greedy AIB partners that try to profit from the name change.

Holo Theme Becomes Standard on All Android 4.0 Devices

Along with the Android 3.0 operating system version, Google introduced the Holo theme family that is present on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as well. 

Developers who already came up with software for the new operating system have already encountered this feature, meant to ease the application building process for them.

Starting with the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, Google is making the Holo theme mandatory for all devices. 

Thus, it should provide developers with the possibility to come up with apps that would run on a variety of devices without too much of an effort. 

Variation in system themes made it difficult for developers to deliver apps compatible with a multitude of devices. Google says that it plans on eliminating that. 

“In Android 4.0, Holo is different. We’ve made the inclusion of the unmodified Holo theme family a compatibility requirement for devices running Android 4.0 and forward. If the device has Android Market it will have the Holo themes as they were originally designed,” the company notes in a blog post

“This standardization goes for all of the public Holo widget styles as well. The Widget.Holo styles will be stable from device to device, safe for use as parent styles for incremental customizations within your app.”

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich arrives on devices with a Holo theme family that includes the following: Theme.Holo, Theme.Holo.Light, and Theme.Holo.Light.DarkActionBar. 

Developers can easily take advantage of these through requesting one from the manifest on their activity or application element. The application will be displayed with the unmodified theme on all compatible Android 4.0 devices. 

However, mobile phone makers will not be restricted from using their own themes on their devices. Moreover, Google says that they can now do so more easily than before. 

“In Android 4.0’s API (level 14) we’ve added a new public theme family to complement the Holo family introduced in Android 3.0: DeviceDefault. DeviceDefault themes are aliases for the device’s native look and feel,” the company explains. 

The new DeviceDefault theme family and widget style family provides developers with the possibility to come up with applications targeted at the device’s native theme without losing customizations.

RIM Cancels BlackBerry 10-Based Milan

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has reportedly cancelled one of the yet unannounced BlackBerry 10 handsets, the Milan.

The handset vendor has been long rumored to be planning the release of some appealing new devices powered by the upcoming platform, and the said BlackBerry Milan was one of them. 

The handset was suggested to be on its way to the market with a sliding QWERTY keyboard, similarly with RIM’s BlackBerry Torch smartphones. 

Codenamed BlackBerry Milan, the unannounced device was supposed to take full advantage of the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 OS. 

However, it seems that RIM has decided to put aside plans for launching this device; at least this is what a recent article on n4bb states. 

While there are no specific details available on why RIM took this decision, rumor has it that some hardware issues might have been the cause. 

It is possible that the company was unhappy with the phone’s performance capabilities, or it might have decided that the portrait sliding QWERTY was not a great option for a BlackBerry 10 device boasting a 4.2-inch screen. 

What remains to be seen is what specific devices the Candian handset vendor plans on loading with the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system flavor. Details on when they could hit shelves are scarce as well. 

Previous rumors pointed at Milan as one possible candidate for the job, and also suggested that BlackBerry London would arrive on shelves running under the new platform. 

Unlike Milan, London was said to arrive with a candybar form factor, closely resembling the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet PC that RIM unveiled in September 2010. 

The launch of a full-touchscreen device would mean that the more popular BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard that RIM’s devices were long renowned for was removed from the equation. 

Milan was supposed to continue the family tradition, though it didn’t make much sense when looked upon from a certain angle. The latest highly popular smartphones around the world came without keyboards, and RIM might have finally decided to follow the trend.

1 Million Webpages Infected by Lilupophilupop SQL Injection Attack

About a month ago, researchers from the Internet Storm Center (ISC) noticed an ongoing SQL attack and dubbed it lilupophilupop because it redirected users to a domain with that name, but since at the time there were only 80 or so infected webpages, no one gave the incident much thought. Now, the number of victims increased to 1 million pages.

“Sources of the attack vary, it is automated and spreading fairly rapidly. As one of the comments mentioned it looks like lizamoon which infected over 1,000,000 sites earlier this year,” ICS’s Mark Hofman said at the beginning of December.

“The trail of the files ends up on "adobeflash page" or fake AV. Blocking access to the lilupophilupop site will prevent infection of clients should they hit an infected site and be redirected.”

The attack has been ongoing since and the victim sites can be seen all over the world.

The figures show that 56,000 pages from the UK, 123,000 from the Netherlands, close to 50,000 from Germany and 30,000 .com webpages bare the infection. Russian, Japanese, Danish, Canadian and .org domains are also affected.

“At the moment it looks like it is partially automated and partially manual. The manual component and the number of sites infected suggests a reasonable size work force or a long preparation period,” Hofman says.

Massive SQL injection attacks are considered by some cybercriminals the best way to spread their malicious campaigns with minimum effort. 

It’s clear that the infection spreads rapidly like a plague and all the unsecure websites it encounters are easily compromised to serve a malicious scheme.

The problem with these compromised sites is that they may be sites that users visit often and if they’re served a fake anti-virus software they might be tempted to install it, giving cybercrooks the perfect opportunity to make tons of money from inexperienced internauts who really believe that there’s something wrong with their computers.

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Doesn't Have Hidden Cores

Not long ago, there was a big leak that spilled the beans on Sapphire's whole Radeon HD 7970 lineup. 

There was something weird about the sheet of paper pictured there. 

Namely, the number of stream processors was crossed out, being different from the one AMD advertised. 

While Advanced Micro Devices clearly says the card has 2,048 shaders, Sapphire's leak put the number at 2,304. 

Reports now say that AMD's senior PR executive Chris Hook denied the existence of hidden cores on the high-end graphics adapter. 

Thus, either this was a typo or the paper was part of AMD's test to see which of its partners leaked product specifications to the press. 

It's a good thing for AMD that this wasn't another case of giving the media wrong numbers. 

Giving an incorrect transistor count for the Bulldozer 8-core chip was enough.

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