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Jan 13, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Tab 7.0 Plus Get White Edition

Samsung's popular Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Tab 7.0 tablets will soon get an all-white edition, making them even more classy than before.

These new models have popped up in Vietnam of all places and were spotted by a local website, called VN Express.

As you can clearly notice from the pictures in the gallery bellow this post, not much has changed outside of the new white bezel and from what we know the specs of the Tab 10.1 and Tab 7.0 Plus have also remained unchanged.

Right now, there's no telling when these two Samsung Galaxy tablets will arrive in retail, or if they will be more expensive than their black and white siblings.

Fujitsu Launches ‘Girls’ Series of Phones in Japan

Japanese handset maker Fujitsu recently confirmed plans to enter on the North American smartphone market. If the company manages to launch the first product in the United States sometime this year, it will surely set itself apart from the competition. 

However, Fujitsu might want to adjust its idea of smartphone for the demands of the North American users who have different needs in comparison with Japanese customers.

Until then Fujitsu continues to flood' the Japanese market with handset that are aimed at different targets. The company's latest series of phone will make any girl proud.

Fujitsu Japan has recently announced the upcoming availability of two new phones, which were especially designed for girls.

Starting January 20, Fujitsu F-03D Girls and F-06D Girls will be available for purchase via major carrier NTT Docomo. No word on the pricing options yet, but these will never be available outside the country.

With these two handsets, Fujitsu debuts the Girls' series of phones, which will probably include more devices in the following months.

Specs-wise, the F-03D Girls and F-06D Girls are pretty much different devices. While the former is an Android-based bar smartphones, the latter is a standard feature-phone with that comes with a clamshell form factor.

The F-03D Girls is powered by Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and features a decent 3.7-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display with 480 x 800 pixels resolution.

On the inside, the smartphone packs a 1.4 GHz single core processor, 1GB of ROM, 512MB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). There's also an enhanced 8-megapixel rear camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, as well as TV tuner and e-wallet function.

Fujitsu F-06D Girls is a feature-phone designed in collaboration with teenage fashion magazine nicola. The sales package of the phone includes an original tote bag and a stylus pen. The phone has a 3.3-inch touchscreen, an 8-megapixel photo snapper.

The waterproof phone also comes with several nicola wallpapers and a total over 3000 pre-installed emoji for cuter emails.

CES 2012: EVGA SR-X Dual-Socket LGA 2011 Motherboard Showcased

Outside of its upcoming “overclockable” PSU, EVGA’s CES 2012 booth also included the long awaited SR-X dual-socket LGA 2011 motherboard, the successor of the company’s previous SR-2 LGA 1366 solution.

The motherboard showcased is most probably a pre-production sample as there are still a few more months to go until the SR-X is ready to be released, but by the look of it its design seems to be nearly finalized.

On the outside, the SR-X resembles a great deal its predecessor as it uses the same black/red color scheme and HPTX form factor, but the SR-X is now based on an Intel Patsburg chipset providing support for Sandy Bridge-E CPUs. 

The two processor sockets are placed right next to each other and the board includes a total of 12 DDR3 memory slots, eight for what seems to be the primary CPU and four surrounding the secondary processor.

These are all powered via two 6-pin and two 8-pin connectors, while an additional 6-pin PCI Express plug is installed for delivering some extra juice to the PCIe slots when running SLI or CrossFireX setups.

Speaking of the PCI Express slots, EVGA has included no less than seven of these (all Gen 3.0 compliant) and each one can be enabled or disabled via a series of DIP switches (CPUs and SAS connectors can also be disabled via these switches). 

These are placed right next to the two SATA 6.0Gbps and four SATA 3.0Gbps ports included by EVGA in its dual-socket LGA 2011 creation, which are seconded by two additional SAS connectors.

Other features include on-board Power, Reset and Clear CMOS buttons, a debug LED, as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity. Sadly, we still don't have a final release date or an MSRP for the EVGA SR-X.

AMD 28nm Mobile Radeon GPUs to Arrive in Q2 2012

AMD's release of the Radeon HD 7970 is only the first one in a long series of 28nm GPUs to arrive from the Sunnyvale-based chip maker, who is apparently planning to release a new series of high-end mobile graphics cores using this process technology in the second quarter of this year.

The upcoming mobile GPUs will be apparently based on the company's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and will include support for DirectX 11.1 as well as for a series of other new features.

According to a slide leaked by ComputerBase.de, these include new power management capabilities, improved display features and some image enhancement technologies.

The new 28nm GPUs will most probably be introduced by AMD in the Radeon HD 7000M product family which also includes a series of rebranded HD 6000M-series parts built using the 40nm fabrication process.

These rebranded solutions top with the Radeon 7600M series, so expect the GCN 28nm parts to be branded as the Radeon HD 7700M and higher.

In the first days of CES, AMD showcased a high-end Radeon HD 7000M-series GPU based on the Pitcairn core, which is expected to be branded as a Radeon HD 7900M part.

On the desktop side, Pitcairn will be available in two versions, dubbed Pitcairn XT and Pitcairn Pro, the former coming with 1408 stream processors and 88 texture units while the latter will be limited at 1280 shaders and 80 texture units.

The ROP count will be set at 34 units for both of these solutions while the available 256-bit wide memory bus can connect to either 1GB of 2GB of GDDR5 memory.

If we were to guess, we would say that the upcoming Radeon HD 7800M solutions will use the Cape Verde GPU which on the desktop side will power the company's HD 7700-series graphics cards. However, only time can tell if we are right.

New Need for Speed and Medal of Honor Games Leaked By Retailer

UK retailer GAME has made a pretty big mistake yesterday, when one of its social media representatives posted on Twitter details about two unannounced games from Electronic Arts, in the form of a new Need for Speed racing game and a new Medal of Honor shooter.

EA is always working on new games, most of them sequels to franchises it has owned for quite some time, but also on all-new titles in order to keep things fresh.

Its plans were foiled yesterday, however, as a representative of store chain GAME posted on Twitter that he'd just seen a presentation from EA, in which footage from new games in the Need for Speed or Medal of Honor franchises was shown.

While the confirmation isn't that big of a surprise, as EA hinted on multiple occasions at such sequels, it's good to hear it from an official source.

The Medal of Honor franchise saw a reboot back in 2010, in the form of a grittier shooter called simply Medal of Honor. A sequel was all but confirmed at the end of last year, when inserts found in Battlefield 3's retail package urged gamers to visit the Medal of Honor website soon.

The new Need for Speed game didn't receive such strong hints up until now, but it's good to hear that last year's NFS: The Run, a lackluster installment compared to other recent ones, hasn't tarnished the franchise's reputation.

The only major mystery about the new racing game is what studio is handling its development. Considering that over a year has passed since the stellar NFS: Hot Pursuit, Criterion Games might return with a new game, unless it’s working on its own Burnout series.

Fans of both franchises should expect more details in the following months and a release of both of these games towards the end of 2012, right before the winter holiday season.

Changes in Windows Server 8 Beta Detailed in Leaked Screenshots

Next month, Microsoft should give us a taste of the beta release of its latest Windows platform, codenamed Windows 8. 

The platform will have a server side too, and Microsoft is making the final changes to differentiate the two. The first Beta builds have been delivered to testers a few weeks ago.

Compared to the Developer Preview that was made available for download back in September, the beta release of Windows Server 8 will not include functions that are meant for the client version. 

Thus, Microsoft removed from it features such as Immersive PC Settings, aero cursors, wallpaper pack, Windows To Go and some other functionalities, WinUnleaked notes in a recent article. 

Screenshots, that leaked from the latest internal build of Windows Server 8, are meant to provide a glimpse at some of the changes that were made from the Developer Preview.

In the upcoming Beta release, Windows Server 8 will have a new login screen to offer, as the first screenshot to the left shows.

Furthermore, Microsoft decided to make some changes to the dashboard too. Below, you will find screenshots of both the Developer Preview and of the Beta of Windows Server 8, so that you can get a better idea of what these changes are all about. 

One other addition to Windows Server 8 beta is the Storage Space feature, which is compatible with the new Windows File System (ReFS) as well, it seems. 

Previous rumors on the matter suggested that Microsoft was set to make a series of visual changes to Windows Server 8 Beta, and that clearer code and a series of new features would also be included into the mix. 

Clearly, the platform will see improvements before the beta is made public, and will taste even more enhancements as future milestones approach. 

Microsoft is mum on when the beta of Windows Server 8 will be released, though there is a strong possibility that this will happen in late February or early March, soon after the Windows 8 client lands in Beta.

IBM Delivers the First Racks of 20-Petaflop Sequoia Supercomputer

The first four racks of NNSA’s Sequoia supercomputer have arrived at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where they will stand at the heart of what is to become the 20 petaflops Sequoia based on IBM Blue Gene technology.

In addition to its impressive number crunching capabilities, IBM also expects its system to become one of the most power-efficient supercomputers in the world, churning out no less than 2 gigaflops per watt.

These advancements in energy efficiency and computing power were made possible by IBM's new PowerPC A2 processing architecture which adds 16 computing cores to each processor installed, compared to the four cores used in its previous machine, the Blue Gene/P.

Together with these 16 cores dedicated to providing the computing power of the CPU, IBM's chip also sports a special core allocated to operating system administrative functions and a redundant spare core.

Sequoia's performance is also improved thanks to a series of hardware-based speculative execution capabilities, meant to facilitate writing multi-threaded code for the machine, as well as to the introduction of hardware-based transactional memory.

Deliveries of the system will continue through April 2012 as the supercomputer will use a total of 96 racks.

Integration will take place in phases with final acceptance of the machine being scheduled for September 2012, when is expected to the most powerful supercomputer in the world.

Right now, the fastest supercomputer on Earth is the Japanese K-Computer installed at the Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan which is capable of delivering 10.51 petaflops.

The system is comprised of 864 racks including a total of 88,128 interconnected Fujitsu Sparc64 VIIIfx CPUs featuring eight cores and running at 2GHz.

Sequoia will be used by the LLNL to ensure the safety and reliability of US’s aging nuclear arsenal.

CES 2012: Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs Get a Mini-ITX Motherboard from Zotac

At this year's CES fair, Zotac showcased its first motherboard built around the Intel Z7 chipset, a mini-ITX contraption that is designed to bring Intel’s next-gen 22nm Ivy Bridge processors to small form factor computers.

This mini-ITX board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors and then delivers it to the CPU via a 6+1+1 phase power design that uses Dr. MOS capacitors to provide stable voltages no matter the power requirements placed on the PWM.

Right under the CPU socket, Zotac has installed two full-length DIMM slots that can house up to 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory in a dual-channel configuration.

The rest of the expansion options include a PCI Express x16 slot, a mini PCIe x1 slot that is populated by a WiFi 802.11 b/g/n WLAN card, and four SATA ports, two of these support speeds of 6Gbps, while the other two are limited at 3Gbps. 

A second PCI Express x1 slot sits on the right edge of Zotac’s creation which was presumably added to support an mSATA SSD for caching purposes.

Taking a look at the rear I/O header, we find that Zotac has installed a wide series of connectors, including four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 5.1-channel audio (thanks to a Realtek codec) with an optical S/PDIF out. 

Video connectors include an HDMI port and one DVI interface, according to TechPowerUp.

The entire board is passively cooled, and Zotac also fitted it with on-board Power and Reset buttons, a BIOS debug LCD as well as with a rear Clear CMOS button. 

The recommended retail price of the Zotac Z68-ITX WiFi motherboard isn't known at this time. Availability is also unknown, but this is happen around the time of Intel's Ivy Bridge launch which seems scheduled for early Q2 2012.

For the First Time in Decades, a New CPU Architecture Appears, UPU

There hasn't been a completely new major instruction set architecture since 1991, but this has finally changed now that ICube has released the UPU.

Put simply, the UPU is a chip that has both the computing and graphics instruction handled by a single processor core.

Said core bears the name of MVP (Multi-thread Virtual Pipeline) and even shares the register file.

Intel, AMD and ARM have all moved towards CPUs with both computing and graphics capabilities, but the units are, in the end, still silicon dies with distinct processing and video components.

MVP offers the first truly fused CPU/GPU processor core and, since it was wholly developed in China, it has no licensing obligations or dependencies on US technology.

A UPU (Unified Processor Unit) features a 'Harmony' architecture, which has CPU and GPU threads sharing the same execution units, register file and instructions.

For comparison, an AMD APUs has different registers, execution units and instruction sets for the CPU and GPU parts.

A 32-bit RISC core, similar to the original MIPS, performs both functions, backed by a 32-unit 32-bit register file.

Parallelism is not an issue thanks to 4-way multithreading support per core (optimized logic removes the need for 4 separate register files).

The only things absent from the initial UPU version are SIMD vector (like Intel AVX) and double-precision FP (floating point).

Fortunately, due to the small core footprint (2.7 square mm on 65nm, 1 square mm on 32nm) it is easy to boost performance by just adding more cores.

For perspective, up to 100 MVP cores would be crammed on an average 200 square mm CPU based on the 32nm process, along with interconnect logic and shared cache of multiple megabytes (ICube will skip one or two processing nodes, to catch up with current processors).

ICube, the company that is promoting UPU, was established by Fred Chow and Simon Moy.

Chow was chief SGI scientist, and later led development of the Pathscale compiler suite, which gave 64-bit support to AMD Opteron CPUs.

Meanwhile, Simon Moy was behind SGI's first 64-bits MIPS processors and led NVIDIA's initial GPU, Shader and GPU computing efforts (worked there for 7 years).

The first UPU, a dual-core on 65nm with single-channel DDR2-533 support, is called IC1 and works at 600 MHz.

It is aimed at affordable smartphones and tablets where Full HD media playback and 64-bit support isn't required, plus cloud servers.

64-bit with SIMD support and multi-channel DDR3 should come later.

The challenge now is that ICube has to persuade software makers to port their operating systems and make completely new BIOS, compilers, libraries, drivers and basic applications.

After that, the arduous task of persuading game and program makers to support UPU can commence.

Microsoft Hotfix for AMD Bulldozer CPUs Tested, Brings Almost No Improvement

Hoping to get an extra performance boost from Microsoft’s Bulldozer hotfix? Don’t get your hopes up yet, as it seems like even if this does actually bring some improvements these are too small to even mention.

Shortly after Microsoft made public the KB2645594 and KB2646060 Windows 7 updates, TweakPC.de has tested the hotfix using an AMD FX-8150 CPU to see what is to be gained by applying this patch.

The processor was put through a series of tests including AIDA64, Twofish AES, 3DMark, Resident Evil 5 and others and found that at most the hotfix brings a 4% performance increase for this Bulldozer CPU.

Some of these results can be viewed in the gallery bellow this post, and if you want to read the full review you can do so by following this link (comes via Google Translate since the article is in German)

CES 2012: Nokia Sells More than 400 Patents to Sisvel

Sisvel, an Italian patent licensing company, has just announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show that it has acquired 47 patent families from Finnish company Nokia.

In fact, the Italian company bought more than 450 patents from Nokia from which more than 350 are critical to wireless standards.

These patents were considered essential by the Finnish company for different communication standards such as, GSM, UMTS/WCDMA, as well as LTE.

Furthermore, Sisvel claims that a large chunk of these patents are covering technologies that are in close relation with a range of mobile communications devices and services. However, the portfolio of patents acquired from Nokia also includes video encoding optimization technologies.

In addition, Sisvel confirmed plans to offer some of these essential patents on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms in the near future.

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