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Feb 22, 2012

Intel Ivy Bridge CPU Die Estimated




Intel's Ivy Bridge series of central processing units has been the topic of many rumors and leaks recently, but its die layout has not been disclosed yet. 

That did not stop Hiroshige Goto, contributor for PC Watch, from estimating it and the configurations it would allow for. 

According to him, the layout is the same as the one exhibited by the Sandy Bridge collection. 

The central portion has four x86-64 cores, each with 256 KB of dedicated L2 cache memory. All are connected by 8 MB of shared L3 cache. 

On the sides of the central portion lie the system agent and the graphics core, the HD 4000 which behaves up to 122.1% better in benchmarks compared to SB's HD 3000. 

The system agent includes a PCI Express controller, the DMI chipset bus and the interface for dual-channel DDR3 memory. 

What binds all these separate entities together is a ring-bus, which transports data between the CPU cores, L3 cache and system agent. 

All in all, the die area should be of roughly 166 square millimeters (160 mm²) and the total transistor count should be of 1.48 million. 

That is physically smaller than the 216 mm² Sandy Bridge area, but the transistor count is superior (SB has only 1.16 billion). 

The graphics core has up to 16 programmable EUs (for parallel processing) and can carry out GPGPU tasks as well. 

Meanwhile, the ring bus uses “ring-stops” to pick up and drop off data, maintains DMI and FDI links to PCH, includes a display controller and can even direct the PCI Express interface to drive one x16 slot or two x8 slots. 

All in all, Intel can set up the silicon in four ways: a quad-core with 8 MB L3 cache and all 16 shader cores operational, a quad-core with 6 MB L3 cache and fewer shaders, a dual-core with 4 MB L3 cache and all shaders cores and, finally, a dual-core with 3 MB L3 and fewer IGP shaders enabled.


Altec Lansing Launches inAir 5000 Wireless AirPlay Speaker




If you own an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and have some money to spare, you might want to look at the Altec Lansing inAir 5000 Wireless AirPlay Speaker.

With the product name of MA5000. It uses Wi-Fi to stream music from any room in the house.

It supports any device running iTunes, which includes the above mentioned mobile devices and, naturally, computers.

"Altec Lansing is thrilled to add the first AirPlay speaker to our long line of products that support Apple devices and their customers," said Brendon Stead, co-president, Altec Lansing. 

"Apple customers have come to expect the best in design and usability, and the inAir 5000 addresses those needs while promising the amazing audio performance for which Altec Lansing is known."

Just know that the price is pretty high: $499.95 / 377.86 Euro. Sales will start by the end of the month from the official website. The inAir Guide App is up for free download form the App Store.


Noctua NH-L12 CPU Cooler Formally Revealed




There is a new CPU cooler in town, one that has a somewhat peculiar heatsink and fan layout. 

Not only are there two fans in total, but they are of different sizes: one measures 120mm in diameter and the other 92mm. 

They are set up in dual PWM mode, one above and one below the horizontal fin stack. Heat is taken out of the CPU by four nickel-plated copper heatpipes. 

Due to its shape and compact size, the Noctua NH-L12 CPU Cooler will be most appealing to people who want to make an HTPC or other small systems. 

Small motherboard like the upcoming H77-based Media series from Intel may end up bearing an Ivy Bridge chip and this cooler on top of it. 

The product's price is $59.90 / 45.27 Euro and the product page is located here.






iPad 3 Retina Display Leaked in Photos by Chinese Site




A generally accurate source of hardware leaks, Apple.pro greets us with a shiny new iPad 3 display believed to be Retina-grade. The size of the panel is identical to that of the one found in the iPad 2.

There is some debate as to how dense the pixels really need to be in order for Apple to lawfully market a Retina-grade display for the iPad 3.

This Mac-centric blog saves everyone the trouble of doing the math by confirming that a 9.7-inch display with a 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264ppi (pixels per inch) held 15-to 18-inches away from your face is, indeed, Retina-quality.

Apple never said there was a requirement on the number of pixels per inch. Instead, the company mentioned the viewing distance at which the human eye is no longer able to discern individual pixels.

With that out of the way, the manufacturer of this alleged iPad 3 Retina panel is said to be Samsung - not LG Display, and certainly not Sharp, who has to pull its act together and improve yield rates for IGZO displays if it wants to get on the iPad 3 bandwagon.

Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, is quoted as saying that “LG and Samsung have both claimed to have 2048×1536 LCD panels ready for the iPad 3.”

“Lots of rumors have Sharp as the principal supplier for the iPad 3. I think it’s pretty clear that will not be the case, at least initially. LG is the principal supplier for the iPad 1 and iPad 2. Samsung and CMI are also suppliers for the iPad 2. They will again be the suppliers for the iPad 3 – until (or if) Sharp begins producing iGZO panels in sufficient quantity for the iPad 3,” added Soneira.

Apple is expected to unveil its next iPad at an event scheduled in early March.


Intel's Media Motherboard Line Includes Z75 and Z77 Models Too




We've covered the H77 Media motherboards that Intel will release for the Ivy Bridge CPUs and, now, it’s time for the DZ75SL and DZ77BH to be detailed. 

The DZ77BH, Blue Hills, will have two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots working in dual x8 mode, plus three PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots. 

Additionally, there are two legacy PCI slots and either two or four RAM slots (probably the latter). 

Furthermore, Intel implemented seven SATA ports, four of which are SATA III (SATA 6.0 Gbps) and the rest are SATA II (SATA 3.0 Gbps). 

Meanwhile, the back panel includes an eSATA connector, FireWire, a PS/2 port, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF and one HDMI output. 

Four USB 2.0 ports are present as well, as are four USB 3.0 connectors (two via a third party controller) and one FireWire. Buyers will be able to increase this number via pin headers (six USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 and one FireWire). 

As a side note, this product will ship in a bundle with the LucidLogix Virtu software, which lets applications switch between the integrated and discrete graphics. 

The final Media-series board that Intel has in the pipeline is called DZ75SL and bears the codename Spur Lake. 

Though a standard ATX model, it bears a single PCI Express 3.0 x 16 slot, although there are two PCI Express 2.0 slots as well. 

One of them works in x4 mode while the other operates in x1. The expansion capabilities are completed by three legacy PCI slots. 

Moving on, two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports are available, as are three SATA 3.0 Gbps and a back panel with USB 2.0 (four ports) and USB 3.0 (two ports). 

Speaking of the rear I/O, one will also find Gigabit Ethernet, the same 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF as above and an HDMI video output, plus eSATA. 

Finally, pin headers are not absent from this platform either, leading to the possibility of four extra USB 2.0 and three USB 3.0 links. As before, there are no pricing or availability details, nor photos.


Silicon Power Launches New Flash Drive with COB Technology




With the multitude of USB 3.0 devices launched nowadays, flash drives that don't support it are a rare breed, but this is precisely the sort of product Silicon Power has created.

Silicon Power's newest Universal Serial Bus storage device is a flash drive called Year of the Dragon Souvenir Edition Touch 836.

As one can tell from the name, this is not just any USB stick, certainly not generic enough to be lost in the wide and deep river of such things.

Though not as fast as USB 3.0 units, it boasts the COB (Chip On Board) packaging technology, making it smaller and lighter than rivals.

Specifically, it measures 35.5 mm x 12.3 mm x 4.5 mm (1.39 x 0.48 x 0.17 inches) and weighs 4.5 grams.

The size is not its only asset: SP also chose a sandblasted Chinese dragon as the pattern on the enclosure.

In the company's own words, the Chinese dragon “has a legendary mystery and symbolizes good fortune and luck.”

Whether or not buyers will indeed experience an uninterruptible wave of good fortune upon acquiring it was not specified, though we would hazard a guess that even Silicon Power can't deal in good luck.

Moving on, the case is scratch-resistant in addition to aesthetically pleasing. Even extreme temperatures can be withstood: the operating temperature range is 0°C – 70°C and the storage temperature is -40°C – 85°C.

Furthermore, the item is lidless and compatible with the Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems (OS), as well as Mac OS 10.3.x and Linux 2.6.x.

Finally, the bronze-colored drive should last for 10,000 insertions, at the very least, and is bundled with an SP Widget free download software, providing 7 back-up and security functions. Storage capacities are of 4 GB, 8 GB and 16 GB, but there has been no mention of prices so far.


LG Optimus 4X HD (the Quad-Core X3) En-Route to MWC 2012




Following the unveiling of a new 3D smartphone, as well as of its L-Style handsets, South Korean mobile phone maker LG Electronics is also gearing up for the release of its first quad-core smartphone. 

Previously spotted online as the LG X3, the device is now said to be en-route to shelves as Optimus 4X HD. 

In fact, this is the name under which LG will announce the smartphone officially at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. 

The phone will run under the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and should boast a 4.7-inch 720p display, along with an 8-megapixel photo snapper, and support for HSPA 21Mbps. It will also feature Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core application processor. 

The handset is expected to be officially unveiled at the said conference in Spain, but no info on when it could land on shelves has emerged so far.


Nokia Carla (ex-Symbian) Update Coming to Belle Smartphones in Q4 2012




Nokia has just released the Belle update for most of its Symbian Anna smartphones and the company is readying for a new challenge, Nokia Carla for all compatible devices.

The folks at NokiaPoweruser have been tipped by a source close to the matter on Nokia’s update roadmap for 2012. It looks like the Finnish company will start shipping the first Nokia Carla smartphones in Q3 2012.

For the time being, the following models have been confirmed to ship with Nokia Carla, beginning Q3 2012: Nokia 603, Nokia 700 and Nokia 701.

The rest of Nokia smartphones that have just received the Belle update will be upgraded in Q4 2012. The following first-generation Belle smartphones will get the update in the fourth quarter of the year: Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia E7, Nokia X7, Nokia E6 and Nokia C6-01.

Second-generation Belle smartphones that were not shipped with Nokia Carla on board will receive the update in early Q4 2012. Rumor has it that Nokia plans a global roll-out for Carla, so all users could receive the update at the same time.

However, there’s a slight, but important, difference between the first-gen and second-gen Belle smartphones. The former category lacks NFC support (except Nokia C7) and comes with less than 1 GHz CPUs. 

This is why Nokia decided to push a “lighter version of Carla” to all these first-gen Belle smartphones. Browser and resizable widgets, however, have been confirmed to be included in this lighter version of Carla, along with “enhanced smoothness and bug fixes.”

Furthermore, Nokia N8’s successor (Nokia Pure View) won’t be the last smartphone to be launched with Carla on board, the folks at NokiaPoweruser claim. According to them, Nokia plans to launch at least two more models in 2012.

Rumor has it that the Finnish handset maker also plans to launch several smartphone with Nokia Donna OS next year.



The iPhone 5 LTE Chip Possibly Unveiled




Semiconductor mammoth Qualcomm has just rolled out its fifth-generation Gobi chip that supports a wide array of wireless standards, including LTE. Apple has been a faithful customer of Qualcomm’s, using their chips in several iPhone and iPad iterations.

With the iPhone 5 expected to launch later this year boasting 4G / LTE wireless, there’s no reason not to predict the inclusion of Qualcomm’s new chip in the device.

If anything, Apple will still push forward with plans to make the iPhone 5 LTE capable, and use another chip (from another firm) to achieve its goals.

Most pundits agree that the new Gobi chip, which offers support for TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, LTE on FDD and TDD networks worldwide (as well as embedded GPS capabilities), will also make it into the next generation of iPads. Apple is believed to have prepared the launch of the iPad 3 for early March.


Samsung Galaxy Nexus+ Concept Phone Runs Android 5.0




After launching Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich last year, Google is reportedly gearing up for the release of the next version of its mobile operating system, namely Android 5.0 Jelly Bean

Nothing has been officially confirmed on this for the time being, but that does not prevent enthusiasts from imagining what the OS would look like. 

All of the latest major Android flavors were launched on new, unique devices, and we could expect Jelly Bean to suffer a similar fate. 

The handset that would carry it might be similar to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus+ smartphone that can be seen in the photo to the left. 

In all fairness, this is merely a concept device, created by Hasan Kaymak, but that does not mean that it couldn’t become reality at some point in the future. 

The outer design of this phone resembles a lot the Galaxy Nexus that landed on shelves in November last year, but should differ in hardware. 

According to a recent article on Concept Phones, the designer notes that Samsung Galaxy Nexus+ would pack a 4.5-inch HD touchscreen display and that it would be powered by a quad core application processor. On the back, the phone should sport an 8-megapixel photo snapper.

The software on this Google phone was imagined as being different as well. In addition to the Android 5 OS, the phone is said to include Google Voice+. It should be capable of providing users with capabilities similar to those available for iPhone users via Siri.

Other possible features inside this device would be editable Status Bar, and Dock (color, style, icons), along with a customizable Menu style.

Google hasn’t yet hinted at any graphical changes in Android 5.0. Thus, the UI on this Galaxy Nexus+ smartphone appears similar with the one included in Android 4.0. Have a look at the second image attached to this article to get an idea of what the upcoming OS might look like.



Fujifilm Launches X-Pro1 Camera with X-Trans CMOS Sensor





Fujifilm has been working on the X-Pro1 X-Trans CMOS camera for three years, but the time has finally come for its official introduction.

The X-Trans CMOS sensor is supposedly capable of shooting photos and recording videos in resolutions that only full frame sensors usually achieve.

It is this sensor that the X-Pro1 has been designed with, as evident from the specifications section on the official product page. The effective number of pixels is 16.3 million.

“The huge response we received from users of X-100 leads us to develop X-Pro 1 with some added features,” said Mr. Kenichi Tanka, managing director, FUJIFILM India.

“With X-Pro 1 we are entering into the digital mirror-less camera market which has shown a rapid growth due to their portability in term of size and weight.”

The X-Pro is meant to be used with the XF Lenses that were specifically designed for better resolution and light volume, especially around image edges.

XF FUJINON fast aperture prime lenses are considered the best for the product, even if they are not going to show up before March. The “X-Mount” will maximize the mirrorless design.

“Similarly XF Lenses designed especially for the X-Pro1, promises enhanced resolution and light volume in image edge areas as well as reduced chromatic aberration for exceptional image quality. It will definitely be a hit in the digital camera market like its predecessor X-100 and repeat the success,” Mr. Tanka said.

Sales of the camera will begin at the same time when the lenses become available. The price will hover around $1,900 / 1 440 Euro and the lenses will demand an extra $715 / 540 Euro.

"The company has put in a lot of effort in digital cameras, ever since the introduction of the world's first digital camera, DS-1P, in 1988. Fujifilm has been a strong player in the industry, especially in Japan, United States and Europe,” said Hiroyuki Sakai, corporate vice president of Fujifilm Corporation, managing director of Fujifilm Asia Pacific and Fujifilm Singapore.

“We have a wide range of products and cameras from entry level to high-end models for SOHO and prosumer segment. Today, we are introducing our first interchangeable mirrorless camera, X-Pro1, which I believed should stand out among competition with its features and performance.”



Raspberry Pi Gets Fedora Remix ARM Linux




Remember the Raspberry Pi? The small, credit-card sized PC that is supposed to start shipping this month? It seems to have actually gotten a steam of developers to make a special version of Linux just for it. 

People from the Seneca College have created a special version of the Linux-based operating system Fedora Remix ARM. 

Loaded on a 2GB SD card, it only needs to be inserted into the Raspberry Pi in order for everything to kick off. 

Without needing any special installation or hardware configuration, it boots straight into the user information screen and recognizes a mouse and keyboard easily via the two USB ports. 

Likewise, the display only needs to be plugged into the HDMI port for everything, including 1080; streaming, to work properly. 

The first batch of the small PCs will be ready to ship around February 23 (2012), so keep an eye out for this. And don't forget your $25 / 19.07 Euro / 15.82 pounds.

LG Optimus 3D Max Officially Introduced Ahead of MWC 2012




Shortly after LG officially introduced the Optimus 3D Cube in South Korea, the handset maker revealed another version of its Optimus 3D sequel, the LG Optimus 3D Max. The latter will be showcased at this year’s Mobile World Congress trade fair.

For unknown reasons, LG decided to go underground at the MWC 2012. There aren’t any big launch events or conferences announced for the exhibition. 

Official word is that the company decided to keep its meetings small, which is one of the reasons some of the European media wasn’t invited.

LG Optimus 3D Max is a very small step forward compared to the previous Optimus 3D model, which still stands out when it comes to hardware configuration.

Unfortunately, the lack of software support, such as new Android updates made LG fans turn to other brands that offer better support and probably better devices.

Unlike the original Optimus 3D that embeds a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz, the new Optimus 3D Max is equipped with a slightly better 1.2 GHz dual core TI OMAP4430 CPU.

Although the smartphone comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread on board, LG promises an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade will be deployed shortly after launch. 

Obviously, there’s no telling what “shortly” means for LG, so expect this one to have Android 4.0 at some point this year.

Aside from 3D capabilities (glasses-free), the Optimus 3D Max packs a 4.3-inch 3D WVGA capacitive touchscreen display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating. 

Nothing has changed on the inside, as the Optimus 3D Max will be delivered with 8GB of internal memory, 1GB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). 

In the connectivity front, the smartphone offers HSPA+ support, LG Tag+ capabilities, HDMI connection via MHL, as well as DNLA for wireless connection with TV/PC (3D video also supported).

According to LG, the Optimus 3D Max will be introduced in South Korea in March and will gradually be rolled out in other markets starting in Europe.



Intel Ivy Bridge CPU Graphics Work Up to 122.1% Better in Benchmarks




We've seen the latest news on the Cedar Trail processing platform and, now, we get to see some early benchmarking results for the much more hyped up Ivy Bridge CPU line. 

As has been said repeatedly before, the Ivy Bridge series will have better graphics than the Sandy Bridge CPUs. 

Just how much better was hard to say, regardless of what clock speeds and other numbers managed to leak to the net. 

Now, however, we have some actual benchmarks to feast our eyes upon, courtesy of Expreview

Having managed to get a hold of an engineering sample of the unlocked Core i5-3570K, they pitted it against the Core i5-2500K. 

The former has the HD 4000 graphics, while the latter uses the existing HD 3000. Needless to say, the results were far apart. 

In 3DMarck Vantage synthetic benchmarks, the boost in performance was of up to 88.9% in the Entry preset and 122.1% in the Performance preset. 

As if that alone wasn't enough, the team ran some games to see how the chips compared, coming out with an improvement of 30% to 84%, depending on title. 

Starcarft II was the one exhibiting the least difference, but even then, the 30.2% is a considerable jump. Meanwhile, Farcry 2 displayed the largest increase, followed by Left 4 Dead 2, with a 71.6% boost. After that came DiRT 3, with 51.8%, and Street Fighter IV (43%). 

The games ran at a screen resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. Given that the average benefit was 56.2%, the HD 4000 is at least 50% better than HD 3000. 

Now we just have to wait until April for the Ivy Bridge processors to officially debut. There were some rumors that the line would be delayed until June, but we were later told this was not the case. Further exploration of the matter mentioned that only some dual-core versions had been pushed back.


Ubuntu for Android Video Presentation




Canonical announced last evening, February 21st, the Ubuntu for Android product, allowing users to connect a multi-core Android phone to an Ubuntu desktop. 

Once docked, the Android phone's data, apps and connectivity can be easily accessed within the Ubuntu desktop PC.

For example, you can go to Unity Dash, go to the Video Lens and you'll see all the videos stored and captured with the phone.

In the same way, the photos stored in the Android phone can be easily viewed and accessed. The apps available on the mobile device can also be viewed in the Application Lens, and they can also be launched on your Ubuntu desktop.

Another amazing feature is the People Lens, allowing you to view all of your phone's contacts, favorites, recent calls.

The Android's network settings and connectivity can be accessed directly from the Unity Panel network indicator, which is integrated with the phone's Wi-Fi.

Moreover, incoming phone calls and SMS (text messages) will be automatically displayed on your desktop, via built-in notifications. Wait, that's not all, as you can read the text messages and reply to them!

Watch the video above for more details.

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