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Jan 12, 2012

CES 2012: PowerColor Shows Custom Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card

Wanting to improve the reference Radeon HD 7970 design, PowerColor has developed a custom version of AMD’s graphics card that packs both an improved cooling system as well as an in-house designed PCB.

The so called Radeon HD 7970 Vortex II was presented by PowerColor at this year’s CES fair and on a first look it resembles quite a lot last year’s Devil 13 HD 6970.

The most obvious resemblance between them is the presence of the two 92mm fans, which in the Vortex II, just as in the Devil13, are accompanied by four large copper heatpipes with an 8mm diameter which have the task of drawing the heat away from the GPU and into a large aluminum heatsink.

In the case of the Vortex II this covers most of the card’s PCB and is topped by a black, with some reddish accents, plastic shroud meant to direct the fan airflow downwards.

If we were to remove the whole cooling assembly, we would see that the card PCB was also redesigned by PowerColor to feature dual 8-pin PCIe power pugs and an 8-phase VRM.

According to Hardware.fr, this will allow PowerColor to ship its card factory overclocked by as much as 25%.

No information regarding the shipping date or the pricing of PowerColor’s Radeon HD 7970 Vortex II was provided.

The AMD Radeon HD 7970 is based on the Tahiti XT core that 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.

This is linked to 3GB of GDDR5 video buffer memory which runs at 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective), while the stock GPU frequency is set at 925MHz. AMD’s MSRP for the Radeon HD 7970 is set at $549.99 (433 EUR).

CES 2012: Samsung Demos 14-Inch Transparent Screen

Samsung's exhibition at CES 2012 is not limited to Chromeboxes or the expected range of displays and media products. 

What the company has also brought along, according to reports, is a very special mobile computer. 

Only in prototype stage for now, the 14-inch notebook features a transparent screen. 

Transparent panels aren't a new idea, but Samsung does stand apart through its use of an OLED solution instead of an LCD. 

In fact, the company claims this is the first and largest OLED prototype ever presented to the public. 

Average transparency for displays hovers at 25%, but Samsung's newcomer reaches up to 40%, when turned off. 

Unfortunately, no specifications have been made public, and it is impossible to tell when transparent notebooks and gadgets will actually become reality. 

The folks at Engadget were able to shoot a video of the thing in action during their visit to Samsung's booth.

CES 2012: Fujitsu Lifebook SH771 Has Pico Projector and 14-Hour Battery Life

Fujitsu has many things on display at this year's CES and one of them is a mobile personal computer whose greatest asset is a long battery life.

The Fujitsu Lifebook SH771 is not exactly the newest of notebooks.

After all, it was originally launched months ago, in late October, 2011.

That didn't stop Fujitsu from bringing it over to this year's edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, though (CES 2012).

The company was more than willing to present it to the public again, as well as draw attention to its ability to last for up to 14 hours on a single battery charge.

Then again, that may not be entirely accurate: the notebook does have the ability to run for so long, but only if one skips on an optical drive and places an extra battery in that space instead (3-cell).

Thus, with both a 6-cell and a 3-cell battery to fuel it, the lifebook SH771 definitely has no trouble lasting throughout the day.

Spec-wise, there is a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-2640M CPU at the heart of the machine, or a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2520M.

The processor has Intel's HD 3000 integrated graphics and is backed up by 8GB of RAM as well.

Furthermore, the notebook comes with a 750GB HDD, or a 128GB SSD if users want speed more than capacity.

Other features include WiFi, USB 3.0, HDMI, Bluetooth 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and a pico projector. 

Finally, as one asset that was not initially available, the model in Las Vegas, Nevada has a pico projector where the ODD would be.

The hands-on report doesn't make it clear if the presence of the extra 3-cell battery removes the possibility of the projector being there as well.

“Fujitsu understands the importance of the balance between power and portability for modern day usage and we address those needs in our products, pushing the limits of design and innovation to bring quality and reliable products to our users,” said Mr Lim Teck Sin, vice president, Product Marketing and Engineering, Fujitsu PC Asia Pacific, back when the first announcement was made.

“The introduction of the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK SH771 marks the start of a line of products that will take our designs to the next level.”

CES 2012: Samsung Shows Off Galaxy Tab 7.0N Plus Tablet

Samsung has a new tablet for the German market, the Galaxy Tab 7.0N Plus that sports many of the specs of the non-N version but was redesigned so that Apple would no longer call it an iPad clone as happened with the previous version.

By taking just a quick look at the new Samsung tablet it becomes apparent that the most important design change made is the inclusion of a new forward-facing speaker.

A long awaited upgrade by some, this does nothing to subtract from its overall style and right beneath it stands a 7-inch PLS-LCD display which has a resolution of 1024x600 pixels.

Moving to the inside of the tablet, here we are greeted by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor that is paired with 16GB of storage space for your media consumption needs.

If that isn’t enough, a microSD card can be added, via the available port, to expand memory by up to 32GB according to bestboyz.de.

Also inside the Galaxy Tab 7.0N Plus case, Samsung has placed a massive 4000mAh battery, Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity, a GPS, as well as a GSM and HSPA modem for taking voice calls.

All these are packed inside a case that weights no more than 345g (0.7 pounds) which makes it quite portable in our opinion.

This version of the 7.0-inch Samsung tablet will arrive later this month for a suggested retail price of 600 EUR, which translates into about $763 US. It’s worth mentioning however that this is one tablet that is not going to be made available outside of Germany.

As far as the operating system run by the Galaxy Tab 7.0N Plus is concerned, the slate will initially arrive with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, but later down the line Samsung will release an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Microsoft Releases AMD Bulldozer Performance Update for Windows 7

Anyone hoping that AMD would manage to make Bulldozer chips much faster on Windows 7 systems may want to give up on that lofty wish. 

AMD has just posted a blog announcing the availability of a scheduler update for the Windows 7 operating system. 

The hotfix was developed by Microsoft, based on the Windows 8 scheduler code. 

Unfortunately, the performance benefits only amount to 1-2% on average, not to the 10% that AMD claims to have seen during initial testing of Windows 8. 

Also, not every application got a performance boost in AMD's tests, especially the heavily-threaded ones which use all 8 cores of the AMD FX-8150. 

This is explainable by the fact that such programs are “already maxing out the processor.” 

“Our testing shows that not every application realizes a performance boost. In fact, heavily threaded apps (those designed to use all 8 cores), get little or no uplift from this hotfix – they are already maxing out the processor. In other cases, the uplift averages out to a 1-2 percent uplift,” says Adam Kozak, a product marketing manager at AMD. 

This news may turn out to be somewhat disappointing after the events of December, 2011. 

Sometime in mid-December, Microsoft posted a patch that supposedly boosted Bulldozer performance in Windows 7. 

It was quickly taken down and, about a day later, AMD actually expressed surprise at the event, explaining that there were, in fact, working on two patches, but neither of them were ready. 

Though it probably didn't please the Sunnyvale, California-based company that it had to disclose information prematurely, it ended up revealing that the two-piece hotfix would be ready by the first quarter of 2012. 

Sure enough, the new blog post from Advanced Micro Devices now points towards a scheduler update (KB2645594) and a core parking scheduler update (KB2646060). 

The boost isn't spectacular, but it is free, so there shouldn't be any reason not to get it.

NOTE: If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of the support page. If the section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Windows 8 Said to Arrive in October 2012

Microsoft is moving forth with the development of its next flavor of Windows, codenamed Windows 8, but has yet to confirm a specific availability date for the platform. 

Recent reports around the Internet suggest that the release timeframe for this OS might have been set for October. 

Windows 7 was launched in October, three years ago, and Microsoft might be determined to celebrate its anniversary with the release of a new platform version. 

This week at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, Janelle Poole, director of public relations of the Windows Business Group, suggested that fall could indeed be the release timeframe for Windows 8, Pocket-lint reports. 

"We haven't talked about the release date and we generally don't. We are talking milestone to milestone, so for us right now we're talking about the next milestone being the consumer preview happening in late February,” Janelle Poole reportedly stated.

"One of the things that I think is a good guideline though is we've always said that Windows releases come round about every three years and this year will be three years in October since we launched Windows 7. So I think that's a good guideline to consider."

It has been long rumored that Windows 8 will be completed by mid-2012, and that manufacturers will receive it around that time. 

Systems powered by Windows 8 are expected to arrive on shelves in the second half of the year, and some OEMs have confirmed that at CES 2012. 

"When the next generation of Windows launches, in the second half [of 2012], we will launch another wave of Ultrabook products," Acer CEO, J.T. Wang reportedly said during a press conference in Las Vegas. 

Currently, Windows 8 is available for download as a Developer Preview, but the pre-beta period is rumored to end before January is over. However, Microsoft will not make the Beta bits available for the public until late February

You can download Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 from this link.

Micromax A85 SUPERFONE with Gesture Control Now Available in India

Micromax A85 SUPERFONE is the cheapest dual-core Android-based smartphone available on the market. Unfortunately for most Android enthusiasts, this one is only selling in India for the moment and there’s no chance that this one will be available outside the country as well. 

The A85 SUPERFONE is equipped with a 1 GHz dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 8GB of internal memory, 512 MB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

One of the downsides of the device is the fact that it runs Android 2.2 Froyo operating system instead of a newer version. However, the manufacturer confirmed plans to upgrade the smartphone to Android 2.3 Gingerbread in the near future.

To make things even more appealing for Indian customers, Micromax has just announced its new partnership with eyeSight Mobile Technologies, a company that focuses on delivering touch-free interfaces for digital devices.

The first product to integrate Gesture Recognition Technology developed by eyesight is the Micromax A85 SUPERFONE. With this innovative technology, A85 SUPERFONE users will be able to control their phones without touching the device.

They can use commands based on simple hand gestures to carry out a range of tasks such as answering calls, scrolling between pages while using an eBook application, music player, photo gallery and games.

Micromax A85 SUPERFONE is now available for purchase in India via leading retailers across the country for only Rs 15,200 (295 USD or 230 EUR).

“The agreement with Micromax will allow us to reach out to Micromax’s huge consumer base of in the Asian market which is also one of the fastest growing. Following our successful entry into the Chinese and South Korean markets, users from India can now also enjoy a completely new user experience controlling their smartphone by applying simple and intuitive hand gestures,” said Gideon Shmuel, eyeSight’s CEO.

Nokia Suite 3.3.84 Beta Available in Light of Belle’s Arrival

Nokia is gearing up for the release of a new OS upgrade for some of its latest Symbian devices out there, namely the Symbian Belle platform. In this regard, the company made available for download a new version of its Nokia Suite application. 

Currently available in Beta, the new Nokia Suite 3.3.84 release brings improvements in phone detection, while also paving the way for Belle’s release with better backup and restore capabilities. 

Nokia started the preparations for Belle’s arrival ever since Nokia Suite 3.3.75 beta was released. The Finnish handset vendor notes that it aims at offering a smoother update process. 

“New updated Nokia Suite 3.3.84 BETA contains following improvements compared to previous BETA release: Connectivity problem solved: Nokia Suite UI could not always detect the phone,” Nokia explains. 

Nokia Suite 3.3.84 Beta is available for download via link below.

iPhone 5 AWS Chipset May Put T-Mobile Back in the Game

T-Mobile's Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray has revealed in an interview that his company is ready to support the next-generation of iPhones, should Apple decide to add another carrier to its growing list of wireless partners.

T-Mobile’s head says they use a unique band of spectrum called AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) that, so far, has prevented iPhones from running on their network.

That’s all about to change (with a little luck), as the iPhone 5 will support the standard thanks to a new chipset Apple plans to use in the handset.

"The next chipset will support AWS," CEO Neville Ray told Cnet. "The challenge that existed in the past will go away."

In other words, the wireless operator isn’t moving a muscle to support the iPhone 5. Nor should it.

It’s Apple who is making the first move towards a potential relationship between the iPhone 5 and T-Mobile, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the Cupertino tech-giant is giving it too much thought right now.

Remember when Apple launched the iPhone 4S in October 2011? Even C-Spire hopped aboard next to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. At the time, T-Mobile expressed high interest in the device, but admitted that it was ultimately Apple’s decision to name its wireless partners.

"T-Mobile thinks the iPhone is a good device and we've expressed our interest to Apple to offer it to our customers," the company said at the time of the phone’s unveiling.

When they learned that Apple was not going to partner with them, T-Mobile said,"Ultimately, it is Apple's decision," and added, "We firmly believe that T-Mobile's portfolio will give any iPhone a run for its money."

Last year, there was talk that AT&T was interested in buying T-Mobile, but such plans have since been forgone.

LTE-Enabled Samsung R920 for MetroPCS Caught on Camera

We first heard about the Samsung R920 last year in August when the first test photos made with the device leaked in the wild. However, few details on the handset’s specs sheet emerged in the meantime and no pictures of the actual device were published until recently.

The folks over at XDA Developers have just caught the Samsung R920 on camera, which wears MetroPCS’ branding logo. This seems to be the successor of the carrier’s R910 (Indulge) smartphone, which will probably be discontinued soon after the R920 hits shelves.

According to the latest hearsay, the Samsung R920 is a Gingerbread-powered smartphone that comes with a WVGA capacitive touchscreen of unknown size, a 1 GHz single core processor and 512 MB of RAM.

There’s also a rear camera with LED flash, as well as a secondary front-facing camera for video calls. The back cover of the device has a 4G logo stamped on it, which indicates that the phone features LTE support.

CES 2012: Nvidia Wanted to Showcase Kepler at the Fair, But Decided Not to

With AMD’s release of the 28nm Radeon HD 7970 at the end of last year, everyone’s attention has now turned towards the green camp, but Nvidia’s Kepler still seems to have a long way to go before it arrives, Jen Hsun Huang, the company’s CEO, advising us to be patient about it.

Reportedly, at some point in time Nvidia wanted to present a Kepler GPU at this year’s CES fair during Huang’s keynote speech, but in the end it decided not to.

This was a business decision according to Fudzilla who says that Kepler is actually in production and that the chip is scheduled for a H1 2012 launch, probably at the end of this quarter.

Jen Hsun Huang told the same publication that we need to be patient when it comes to its next-gen GPU, which does indeed seem to imply that we have quite a long wait ahead of us.

Kepler is the code name used by Nvidia to refer to its next-generation graphics processing unit architecture, which, just like AMD's Radeon HD 7900 GPUs, is manufactured using TSMC's high-K metal gate (HKMG) 28nm fabrication process.

The new graphics core is expected to be more flexible in terms of programmability than the current Fermi architecture.

In the second half of 2010, Nvidia promised that Kepler, and its successor Maxwell, will include virtual memory space (allowing both the CPU and the GPU to use a unified virtual memory) and pre-emption support, as well as a series of other technologies meant to improve the GPU's ability to process data without the help of the system's processor.

According to previous Nvidia estimates, these changes, combined with the new manufacturing process, should deliver 3 to 4 times the performance per Watt of the Fermi architecture in double-precision 64-bit floating point operations.

How to Download and Install iOS 5.1 OTA (Over-the-Air)

With the introduction of iOS 5 last year, Apple kicked off over-the-air updates, a method of installing new software on your iPhone or iPad without downloading the whole IPSW file, but just the bits you need to apply the latest changes.

Apple is currently testing iOS 5.1 internally. The update, expected to drop relatively soon, will deliver a number of important fixes addressing user-reported issues, as well as new features and security plugs.

Developers with access to the latest iOS 5.1 betas are presented with the same two options to continue their testing: install OTA; or download the IPSW and do a manual install via iTunes.

OTA delivers an incremental software update, which means that your download is considerably smaller, hence it can be done wirelessly - without having to tether your iDevice to a computer.

So, how do you do this when Apple decides to release the next iOS version? Easy, just follow these four steps:

  1. Unlock your home screen and locate the Settings icon
  2. Launch Settings and tap on General
  3. From there, select “Software Update” and see if there’s anything new to install
  4. Review the information about the available iOS update and tap “Download and Install”

All you need to do now is wait for your device to automatically download and install the new software.

If everything goes as Apple intended it to go, your iPhone / iPad / iPod touch will reboot automatically and your new software will have been installed without ever touching a computer or the iTunes application.

 A few important notes before you attempt to install any new iOS over-the-air:

  1. First of all, you need to have iOS 5 installed to download any point-releases that came after it.
  2. Second, you need at least 50% battery charge for your device to start downloading the new firmware and proceed with the installation.
  3. And finally, you need a strong wireless internet connection, since that’s what over-the-air is all about.

Happy over-the-air updating!

Shuttle Outs XH61 7cm-Tall Desktop PC

In case you all missed it, Shuttle is ready to start selling the latest Barebone PC to ever come out of its labs.

Since it is a barebone PC, it ships without a processor, memory and storage units.

That means that owners have to get their own Intel Core-series chip, HDD / SSD and ODD.

What the XH61 does have, though, is a motherboard with two RAM slots, four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports and room for a 2.5-inch drive and a slim DVD/Blu-ray drive.

In other words, up to a Core i7 can be used (max TDP is 65W), along with 16 GB of DDR3 memory.

Other specifications include 7.1-channel audio, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 ports (two), HDMI and D-sub (graphics prowess comes from the CPU's own GPU).

Finally, the total height is of 7 centimeters (2.75 inches), the price is €146 ($186) and it is even possible to fasten the item to a VESA mount (at the back of a display).

ECS Unveils Mainstream H77 Black Series Motherboard

Since it dropped by the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, ECS didn't bring just one product, but several, one of which is the mainstream H77 Black Series motherboard.

We have already talked about the Z77H2-AX Black Deluxe motherboard that Elitegroup Computer Systems brought over to CES 2012.

It so happens that, in addition to that admittedly powerful platform, ECS also built a mainboard based on the H77 chipset.

H77, otherwise dubbed Panther Point, is almost identical to the Z77, but lacks overclocking capabilities and also does not offer the Rapid Storage technology.

For those unaware, Rapid Storage is a feature through which a solid state drive and an HDD are viewed by the OS as a single entity, so that the speed of flash memory and the capacity of magnetic platters may be combined.

Back to the ECS product, The H77 Black Series motherboard has the micro-ATX form factor and a 6-phase VRM for the LGA 1155 CPU socket.

Four DDR3 memory slots are present (dual-channel), along with a PCI Express Gen 3.0 x16 slot.

Moving on, ECS tossed in a PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot and two legacy PCI slots as well.

Furthermore, buyers will find a pair of SATA 6.0 Gbps connectors, four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, a DVI output, D-Sub and HDMI as well.

Other specifications include an ITE-made chip (handles the aforementioned legacy PCI slots), four USB 3.0 ports and electrolytic capacitors for circuits that don't deal with large currents.

That means that only power conditioning circuits have solid-state capacitors, leading to a lower price.

Finally, there should be no problem when trying to outfit the ECS H77 Black Series micro-ATX motherboard with an Ivy Bridge CPU.

Unfortunately, there was no mention of pricing or availability, so prospective customers will just have to wait for more news or keep an eye on their local retailers.

CES 2012: Zotac Debuts D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme Mini-ITX HTPC Board

Adding to a never-ending portfolio of mini-ITX motherboards, Zotac has now released the Intel Atom Cedar Trail powered D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme board that was designed to meet the needs of HTPC enthusiasts.

Just as its name implies, this compact motherboard is built around an Atom D2700 Cedarview processor, and pairs together the dual-core 2.13GHz x86 CPU with an Nvidia GT 520 graphics card packing 512MB of DDR3 VRAM.

Both of these are cooled by an active heatsink that covers most of the PCB space available on the board, forcing the company to drop support for DIMM memory and go instead with the smaller SO-DIMM modules that are usually found inside notebooks.

Two such slots are provided offering users the capability to install up to 4GB of system memory, while the rest of the expansion options include two SATA 3Gbps ports and a PCI Express x16 slot (PCIe x1 electrically).

An additional mini-PCIe slot is also available, but this is occupied by an 802.11 b/g/n WiFi card.

To the rear of the D2700-ITX WiFI, Zotac has installed all the I/O ports that are required for an HTPC system, including all the important DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs.

But these are only the tip of the iceberg, as the motherboard also comes equipped with dual USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and with 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out.

“Zotac platforms have been quite popular among home theater PC users,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International.

“The Zotac D2700-ITX WiFi Supreme succeeds our award-winning IONITX series with upgrades to smoothly playback stereoscopic 3D content, output lossless audio formats and embrace Microsoft DirectX 11 technology while maintaining the compact mini-ITX form factor,” concluded the company’s rep. 

Sadly, no information regarding pricing and availability was disclosed by Zotac at this time, but the solution is on display at CES 2012.

CES 2012: Toshiba FlashAir Is the First SD Card to Feature Wireless LAN

A few days ago, the SD association announced a certain new standard for memory cards and, now, Toshiba has unveiled the first memory card to comply with it.

Toshiba's exhibition at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2012) includes the FlashAir SD card.

Basically, this is a memory card that complies with the Wireless LAN standard.

In other words, that small storage unit has its own wireless network support.

In fact, rather than hold the ability to join a wireless network, the FlashAir creates its own, or so reports say.

More precisely, the card features an 802.11b/g/n hotspot, down to its very own web server.

The implication is that any device connected to the card's hotspot can open a browser and see the pictures snapped with the camera that uses the card at the time.

Accessing http://flashair/ is all it takes to browse the individual folders.

For those who want more numbers, Toshiba gave the Class 6-rated SD card a capacity of 8GB and a piece of $70 (about 55 Euro).

“As cloud servers and wireless technologies continue to penetrate the consumer experience, wireless accessibility will become increasingly more important,” says Michael Yang, senior principal analyst, memory and storage, IHS iSuppli. 

“The addition of wireless capability to the existing SD memory card standard, will enable SD memory cards to remain relevant to shifting market demand, and add value to consumers and manufacturers of new cameras, tablets, and mobile phones.” 

According to the hands-on experience of the folks at Engadget, the wireless connection is actually quite fast, and so it the read and write speed.

By snapping some photos with a point-and-shoot camera, the pictures were already up for viewing after an instant refresh of http://flashair/.

All that’s left to do now is to wait for February, when sales are going to start. More capacious models are scheduled for the following months.

Shuttle XH61 3-Litre Barebone Supports Intel LGA 1155 CPUs

Shuttle has just announced that the company has updated its X-series barebone lineup with a new model, dubbed the XH61, which was designed to be compatible with Intel processors using the LGA 1155 socket.

The smallish 3-liter case of the XH61 features an all-black design, but despite its compact size it does have enough room for quite a bit of hardware.

This includes support for an optical Slimline drive and a 2.5-inch hard disk or SSD as well as a pair of DDR3 DIMM sockets, for installing as much as 16GB of system memory. Four SATA 3Gbps ports also make their appearance on the XH61’s specs list.

Outside of the Gigabit Ethernet interface, the back of the unit houses four USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 ports, D-Sub and HDMI video outputs as well as 5.1-channel audio (7.1 channel internally).

Another two USB 2.0 ports and a series of 3.5mm audio jacks are found in the front of the case behind a drop-down panel.

A heatpipe cooling system paired together with two lateral fans is used for chilling Intel‘s LGA 1155 processors with TDPs up to 65W while power is provided by a fanless 90 W power brick.

"With the XH61, we can now fit second-generation Intel Core processors in our smallest and fastest PCs", states Tom Seiffert, Head of Marketing & PR at Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH. 

"The practical format of the XH61 and its predecessor, the XG41, has proven its worth and will continue to be developed in future. 

“3-litre PCs represent a good compromise between space requirements and computing performance," concluded the company’s rep.

Shuttle has set the recommended price of the XH61 LGA 1155 barebone at EUR 146 (ex VAT), which translates into about $185 US.

Allwinner A10 Is Almost Illegally Cheap at $15

There used to be a time when $200 (157 Euro) tablets and $50 (39 Euro) gadgets were considered low-cost, but perception has begun to change with the rise of absurdly cheap personal computers. 

Rhombus Tech has just announced a product that will give the credit card-sized PC Raspberry Pi a run for its money. 

It isn't exactly clear when the so-called Allwinner A10 will be ready, but it should not take overly long, not with the price already known. 

In fact, the price is ridiculously low, at only $15 (under 12 Euro). 

Things get even more interesting when one realizes that the Raspberry Pi has a price of $25, or about 18.5 Euro, while actually being slower. 

Indeed, according to Rhombus, the Pi's 700mhz ARM11 is three times weaker than the 1.5ghz Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex A8

“Thanks to the low cost of the Allwinner Cortex A8, mass-volume pricing (just for the CPU card, and therefore excluding tax, shipping, profit, a case and a power supply) looks to be on target for around $15: 40% lower than the raspberrypi which is only a 700mhz ARM11 and is therefore at least three times slower in processor speed than the Allwinner A10,” the company says

One especially noteworthy aspect is that all the hardware is GPL-compatible (General Public License). 

The software will be made by the company itself, based on Allwinner GPL Source Code, while Chinese hardware makers will manufacture the physical components. 

All in all, this is shaping up to be a very small computer, probably smaller than most smartphones out there. 

No word exactly on what video interfaces will be implemented, but mini HDMI, at the very least, should make the cut, perhaps DVI too. 

After all, it would not do to have a PC that cannot connect to the most common monitors and HDTVs. 

Rhombus Tech is preparing an Android-based tablet as well, with resistive touch support. Its price will probably be on the low side as well.

Samsung Galaxy 5 Gets CyanogenMod 9 Port Based on Android 4.0.3

The old Samsung Galaxy 5 will never receive an official Android 2.3 Gingerbread upgrade, so we can’t even think of the possibility of getting the Ice Cream Sandwich.

Fortunately, the folks over at XDA Developers are making wonders. Those who still own one of these old Android smartphones, which was initially delivered with Android 2.1 Éclair on board, will be happy to know that there’s a new unofficial Ice Cream Sandwich ROM available for their devices.

XDA forum user Myshu managed to cook a special CyanogenMod 9 ROM for the Samsung Galaxy 5. This ROM is based on Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich and is only available for the European variant.

However, the alpha build is pretty unstable for the moment, so it’s not suitable for daily use. The following things have been listed as working: Hardware acceleration, touchscreen and Wi-Fi.

Telephony, audio, GPS, 3G, Bluetooth, sensor, tethering, USB mounting, Market, keyboard and others are not working. Head over to the original thread for more details on this ROM.

CES 2012: Kingston Shows Off HyperX Memory Modules

Since it wasn't about to miss out on the opportunity that CES gave it, Kingston came along and put several products on display.

Predictably, since the HyperX line of memory modules has brought it a lot of fame over the years, its exhibition includes new additions to the series.

VR-Zone reports three different types of HyperX memory.

One of the offerings, bearing the customary blue heatsink, is called HyperX T1 and caters to the needs of high-end customers.

Whenever Kingston decides they are ready to ship, they will feature high XMP 1.3 profiles, meaning that their overclocking headroom will be considerable.

The maximum capacity of each module is reported to be of 8GB.

Also, all of them are cooled by fairly thick and solid aluminum heatsinks, with vertically-extended fins.

The second RAM offering is a HyperX module whose heat spreader is red instead of blue.

It is called “HyperX Red Limited Edition” and, as mentioned above, has a top capacity of 8GB, plus the mainstream clock speed of 1,600 MHz.

“The enthusiast community knows the HyperX brand is synonymous with high speed, high quality and stylish design,” said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston, in the press release issued at the start of CES 2012 (two days prior to the writing of this article). 

“The new HyperX Red and the updated look of LoVo are great additions to our HyperX family. We have high-performance memory solutions to meet the specific needs of everyone from the entry-level gamer to the seasoned professional.”

Finally, Kingston held a demo of the HyperX Genesis quad-channel high-end memory kit for Sandy Bridge-E platforms.

It offers a total capacity of 64GB, meaning that it is made up of eight modules of 8 GB each.

The operational frequency is DDR3-2400 MHz, a truly high performance rating for such a capacity, especially given the thin heat spreaders.

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