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Feb 29, 2012

AMD Radeon HD 7970/7950 Get XSPC Razor Waterblock

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 and 7950 graphics cards may have their default coolers, but for those who want their hardware chilled with water, XSPC has created the Razor 7970.

The block is made in such a way that, while allowing the card to take up a single expansion slot, it cools all components that generate heat.

That means that not just the GPU, but also the 12 GDDR5 memory chips and the VRM come in contact with the metal.

The VRM cover is made of aluminum, while the rest of the components get copper assistance.

XSPC sells the Razor 7970 waterblock in a bundle with four G1/4″ ports and two G1/4″ plugs. As such, CrossFire multi-card setups can easily be prepared.

Unfortunately, the price might not agree with everyone: £82.67, the equivalent of $131 / 97.73 Euro.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: New Start Screen, Cloud Integration

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview, made available for download today, arrives with a series of graphical changes when compared to the Developer Preview that was released in September last year. 

With the new platform version, Microsoft is offering some more info on the manner in which it has reimagined the Windows experience. 

Windows 8 was meant to work on a wider range of devices, including tablet PCs, laptops, desktops and all-in-one PCs. The platform was also intended to deliver fast access to applications, files, information and the like.

Additionally, users will find it easier to move between their Windows 8 PCs to access files and settings from wherever they are. 

Not to mention that the operating system arrives with optimizations for both touch and non-touch devices, so that users will be able to enjoy speed when navigating with a mouse and keyboard as well. 

In Windows 8 Consumer Preview, users will spot a new Start menu, though it will offer the same features and capabilities as it did before, including the possibility to launch apps, to share content, switch between tasks, and the like. 

“If you’ve seen what we’ve done with Windows Phone, this might look familiar,” Kent Walter, Windows Team, notes in a recent blog post. 

“The tiles show real-time updates—news, sports, and what your friends are up to. You can check your schedule or get the latest weather forecast without searching for information—no need to open an app to see your next appointment or find out if you have any new email.

“This design style is great on a phone for getting you to the content you want easily and quickly, and extended to the whole screen of a PC, it’s even better.”

It allows customizations so that information of interest can be easily accessible from a single place. Users can put favorite applications in front, while also being able to group and keep things organized on the Start screen. 

On top of that, people will also find it easier to move between PCs, courtesy of the cloud enhancements that Windows 8 Consumer preview arrives on devices with. 

“Your music, photos, files, contacts, and settings aren’t stored on one device, they’re in one place: the cloud. I like to write, and I’m not always in the same place when I do it. With a Microsoft account, I can start a project on one Windows 8 PC and finish it on another,” Kent Walter continues. 

All that users will need to do to access people, files, and settings, including themes, language preferences, and browser favorites will be to sign in to a Windows 8 PC using their Microsoft account. 

Whether it comes to favorite cloud services, such as Hotmail, SkyDrive, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, they can all be linked to the same Microsoft account. 

Not to mention that people will benefit from immediate access to their photos, docs and other types of files that have been saved on SkyDrive, Flickr, or elsewhere.

“When you sign in, even a brand new Windows 8 PC will have access to your files and settings. And if you share your Windows 8 PC, anyone else can have their own personalized, cloud-connected experience by signing in with their Microsoft account,” Walter also notes. 

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Build 8250 is available for download via this link.

MWC 2012: Motorola Gleam+ Hands-On

After a whole bunch of quad-core and dual-core smartphones powered by Android, or the new and appealing Windows Phone devices from Nokia, it’s high time we had a look at some more traditional phones present on the floor at MWC 2012, such as the Motorola Gleam+. 

Packing a flip form factor, the same as its predecessor, the new device arrives on shelves with a 2.8-inch (240 x 400 pixels) TFT screen, and with an alphanumeric keyboard. 

It packs 50 MB of internal memory, along with a microSD memory card slot (with support for up to 16 GB of external memory). 

The specs list of this handset also includes Stereo FM radio with RDS, Bluetooth, GPRS, microUSB v2.0, and a 2 MP photo snapper that can also record videos. 

It is powered by a Li-Ion 750 mAh (capable of up to 4 h 50 min of talk time or up to 417 h of standby time).

OCZ and Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel Make Top-Tier 1000W Power Supply

OCZ has officially announced the sort of product that only a handful of people in the world will ever want or afford to buy, but that was the whole point.

The company worked together with Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel in the making of the Fatal1ty 1000 Watt power supply unit (PSU).

The beast may not have the absolute highest known power output, but it features 100% Japanese low ESR 105°C capacitors and up to 90% efficiency, earning it 80-Plus Gold certification.

“When looking for the ideal gaming power supply, I look for plenty of power to support multi-GPU configurations, superior reliability, and features like quiet and efficient cooling that allow me to stay focused on the game,” said Wendel. 

“I also want modular cabling which makes it easy to configure my rig and make it look clean. With the new Fatal1ty 1000W modular PSU, gamers are armed with the perfect solution to power all of their high-end components, enabling them to design the perfect gaming rig. I want gamers to play to their full potential, and with this PSU your gaming rig will have every bit of power it needs to fulfill your hardcore gaming sessions.”

The newcomer offers one 20+4-pin ATX connector (for the motherboard), two 4+4-pin ESP/12V CPU plugs, six 6+2-pin PCIe connectors, four 4-pin Peripheral ports and no less than twelve 5-pin SATA connectors.

Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) is present as well, along with heavy-duty protection circuitry and temperature-controlled 140mm double ball-bearing fan with Red LED. The MTBF is 100,000 hours.

Alas, even with the Fatal1ty 1000 Watt PSU product page up, no price has been mentioned.

“We are thrilled to partner up once again with Fatal1ty to build the ultimate PSU designed specifically for hard-core gamers,” commented Steve Lee, senior vice president of power management at OCZ Technology. 

“The new 1000W Fatal1ty PSU delivers exceptional performance for dual GPU platforms, enhanced reliability with premium components, excellent efficiency and robust features, including a large yet ultra quiet fan and high-end individually sleeved cables. All of these add up to a premium PSU that gamers can be confident in to power through the most intense gaming and enthusiast environments.”

Windows 8 Consumer Preview System Requirements

Today, Microsoft has made available for download the latest milestone of Windows 8, namely the Consumer Preview version, which offers a better look at what the final flavor of the platform will be about. 

The Redmond-based company has made available for download the ISO images of both x86 and x64 versions of Windows 8, so that users can download and install them on their computers. 

For that, they will need to burn the image on a DVD or emulator, or they can use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup tool that Microsoft made available for download. 

The utility will check their PCs to see whether they are compatible with the new platform release, and will also check on application compatibility. 

If all goes according to plan, the tool will start downloading the new Windows 8 release, so that you can have a taste of it. As long as users will try to install the new OS on the same hardware on which they run Windows 7, all should be good. 

Windows 8 Consumer Preview can be installed on computers featuring 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processors, and requires at least 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit). 

It will also need 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) of storage space on the hard disk, as well as Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher. 

Users will be able to install the new platform release on devices that do not feature touch capabilities, but will also get the chance to install it on devices that support the feature, including tablets or PCs with touch monitors. 

“To access Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels,” Microsoft notes. “To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768.”

Apparently, the Build tablets that were handed to application builders with Win 8 Developer Preview on them will not receive an automatic update to the new Consumer Preview. People will need to download and install new bits. 

Nokia Launches Nokia Transport on Windows Phone

Today, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia announced the availability of a new service and application for devices running under Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, namely Nokia Transport. 

Through it, users will be able to learn more on the public transportation routes, which they could take advantage of in order to reach their destinations. 

“With this unique service on your phone, you will always be prepared for what lies ahead. Just enter your destination for a complete door-to-door route,” Nokia explains. 

“You’ll see integrated data for travel on foot, or by bus, train, tram, or underground. Let’s say you are starting a new job across town. Nokia Transport will help you learn the best route for your daily commute, showing your journey on a map or as a list of turn-by-turn directions.”

Nokia Transport was designed to put together information from a wide range (700) of leading public transit agencies, including BVG and VBB in Berlin, Rejseplanen in Denmark and DeLijn in Flanders.

Thus, Nokia guarantees that users will benefit from the best-in-industry information on routes, schedules and the like, straight on the smartphone in their hands. 

“Check the timetables to see your scheduled departure and arrival times, as well as how long you’ll be en route to your destination. You can even keep an eye on transit disruptions and delays (right now in Berlin and Potsdam, with more coverage on the way),” Nokia notes. 

Nokia Transport provides info on transportation in no less than, 512 cities in 46 countries. It is available in 24 languages. 

It can be accessed through the web via maps.nokia.com, as well as through the mobile web at m.maps.nokia.com. Owners of Nokia Belle devices can enjoy it via the new Nokia Maps Suite. Today, Nokia Lumia users are also able to give it a try, via the new application released for them. 

This is available for download in beta today, and can be found on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The list of cities & regions the app covers includes:

Atlanta, Auckland, Austin, Baltimore, Barcelona, Berkshire, Berlin & Brandenburg, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Dallas, Denmark, Denver, Edmonton, Flanders, Halifax, Helsinki, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, London, Miami-Dade county, Minneapolis & Saint Paul, New York City, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, Toronto, Turin, Wellington and Winnipeg.

Microsoft Releases Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Today, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview. 

The release marks a new step in the evolution of Windows 8, but is still only a preview version of the platform, destined mainly for testing purposes. 

The new platform flavor brings along a variety of changes when compared to the Windows 8 Developer Preview that became available for download in September last year. 

“With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.

He also mentions that the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview arrives with a no-compromises approach to using the PC. 

Microsoft is making the Windows 8 Consumer Preview available for download all around the world in English, French, German, Japanese and simplified Chinese languages.

Those users who have downloaded and installed the Developer Preview of the platform on their computers will benefit from a long range of changes in the new release.

In addition to various improvements throughout the platform, there will also be access to the Windows Store, as well as seamless integration with content that users access through their devices, including smartphones powered by the Windows Phone platform. 

Moreover, Microsoft packed the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 with Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5, which has been redesigned to deliver a new experience, specifically crafted for the Windows 8 platform. 

At the MWC show in Barcelona, Microsoft will demo the new platform on various devices that are based on x86 and ARM chipsets. Developers will have access to hardware for trial and testing purposes. 

Key updates in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview include:

  • Broad range of product changes and improvements. Since the Developer Preview in September, designed to preview the programming platform, Windows 8 has progressed across every dimension. From completing the user experience for touch, keyboard and mouse to refining the development platform, the Consumer Preview improves performance, quality and reliability across all subsystems. With the added features, it represents a more complete view of the capabilities of Windows 8.
  • Windows Store with new apps. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview marks the beta opening of the Windows Store, which is filled with a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft. During the Consumer Preview, these apps are available to try and experience at no cost to users. The Windows Store will offer personalized recommendations, and Windows 8 gives users the ability to take their apps and settings with them across multiple PCs, making it easy to discover and try new apps while offering developers the greatest opportunity of any platform.
  • Connecting to the cloud across Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers seamless integration with the content people care about across their devices. An optional additional sign-on with a Microsoft account provides access to a host of features, including the ability to roam all settings, use cloud storage, communicate with email, calendar and contacts, and connect to a broad range of services. Your connection to the cloud works across your Windows-based PCs and your Windows Phones.
  • Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5. The best way to experience the Web on Windows is with Internet Explorer 10. The browser has been re-imagined to create a new experience designed specifically for Windows 8 devices. It provides an edge-to-edge user interface that is all about less browser and more Web. Fast and fluid, Internet Explorer is hardware-accelerated to enable Web performance.

ADATA Intros Rugged, Waterproof USB 3.0 HDDs

ADATA has officially launched the DashDrive Durable HD710 family of portable and rugged hard disk drives. 

Thanks to their unique housing, they are both shockproof and waterproof, even compliant with the IPX7 specification, which means they can survive for 30 minute when submerged underwater at depths of 1 meter or less. 

The HDD case is made of a variation of silicon, hence the military-grade toughness. 

Additionally, the wraparound exterior slot easily holds onto the USB 3.0 cable when the unit is not in use. 

ADATA has three DashDrive Durable HD710 members ready and waiting, with capacities of 500 GB, 750 GB and 1 TB, respectively. 

The color options are blue, yellow and black, but we don't have any prices to share, so keep an eye on your local retailer just in case one of these things shows up in your area.

Raspberry Pi Crashed Sales Servers As Soon As It Went Up for Sale

We talked about the Raspberry Pi just about every time there was anything new to say about it and, now, we have something particularly interesting to share. 

It isn't just that the credit card-sized PC has started selling, it's that the number of orders people placed within the first few hours (or possibly less) was enough to crash the servers of both retail partners involved in the commercialization. 

This happened even though sales are being limited to one per customer. 

Premier Farnell or RS Components have been enlisted, but people will have to wait a bit before getting their turn at this point. 

“Both websites are currently experiencing heavy load, and international customers may find that Raspberry Pi is not available yet in their territory. Please be patient, and consider checking back in a few hours' time,” the foundation says

“We've temporarily changed to a static site, while we're experiencing a very high level of traffic for the launch of the Raspberry Pi. The full site will return once traffic levels have subsided, hopefully later on today.” 

Currently, only the $35 / 26 Euro and the $25 / 18.5 Euro models are available, or they will be, as soon as sales resume. 

The latter was even reworked to include double the initially intended RAM capacity. It has 256 MB now. 

The oddest thing about this small item is that it wasn't even aimed at consumers originally. It started off as a low-cost computer for the educational market. Students were supposed to use it for learning the basics of programming and computer “modding.” 

Once the media, us included, got wind of it, though, it couldn't stop from keeping an eye on it. After all, it is not every day that someone finds something so small and unassuming that, nonetheless, trounces NVIDIA Tegra 2 and iPhone 4S in terms of graphics. And since it even has HDMI, it can turn any TV into a SmartTV. It is no wonder that demand proved so overwhelming.

$25 Raspberry Pi Mini PC Registers Amazing Sales

Raspberry Pi, a miniature computer with an estimate cost of just $25 (€18.5) and that is capable to run a Linux distro or RISC OS, has been officially put on sale. 

Raspberry Pi is being developed in UK and built in China. The mini PC has managed to produce quite a stir at launch, bringing down (temporarily) the websites that were selling it, and the official website.

Raspberry Pi Foundation, the developers of this amazing mini-computer, have funded their work by selling mini-motherboards (ten models). They went on Ebay for ridiculously high prices, some people even paying $5000 (€ 3900) for one item.

Raspberry Pi relies on an ARM processor with a clock speed of 700 MHz, plus 128 MB or 256 MB of RAM, an SD card slot and a 5V Micro USB connector that supplies the power. It also features RCA and HDMI ports.

The Raspberry Pi is available at either Premier Farnell or RS Components. Some people might find that the device is now available in their region, but things might change in the next hours, at least according to the developers.

MWC 2012: Motorola RAZR Hands-On

Motorola did not launch new smartphones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the company did bring along some of its latest handsets, such as the Motorola RAZR that can be seen in the hands-on photos attached at the bottom of this article. 

We took the time to have a closer look at the device, to see whether it is indeed as impressive as Motorola would have us think. And it is. It is both thin and powerful, and it feels great in the hand. 

For those out of the loop, we should note that Motorola launched this smartphone with Google’s Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread operating system on board, and with a dual-core application processor clocked in at 1.2GHz. 

The handset packs a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced touchscreen display that can deliver a 540 x 960 pixels resolution. 

Motorola RAZR measures 130.70mm x 68.90mm x 7.1mm and weighs 127 grams. It is powered by a 1780 mAh battery that can deliver up to 12.5 hours of talk time and up to 8.5 days of standby time. 

On the back, the new mobile phone features an 8-megapixel photo snapper with LED flash, auto focus and support for HD video recording. It also comes with a 1.3MP photo snapper on the front, great for making video calls. 

Motorola packed the handset with 1GB of RAM and with 16GB of ROM. Users can access 11.5GB of internal memory, but will also be able to expand it via a microSD memory card slot by up to 32GB (a 16GB card is included from the start). 

The specs list of this mobile phone also shows WLAN 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and Bluetooth connectivity, along with DLNA, HDMI, USB 2.0HS, aGPS (assisted), eCompass, sGPS (simultaneous), GLONASS. 

Motorola’s smartphone also arrives on shelves with a series of pre-loaded applications, including MotoCast, Google Mobile Services, and Google Talk, while providing users with fast access to the Android Market to download and install more software.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Up for Download

Microsoft has just made the Consumer Preview flavor of Windows 8 available for download on its servers. 

The new platform release is available in both x86 and x64 flavors in the form of ISO images. 

The OS flavor is only a pre-release software, which means that there might appear a variety of changes in it before the final flavor of the platform is made available. 

With these ISO files, users can install Windows 8 on their desktop PCs at home, after burning them to a DVD or loading them on image emulators. 

“Note before you download: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released,” Microsoft explains on its website.

The Redmond-based company is expected to release the final flavor of Windows 8 in fall, while making available the RC version sometime this summer.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available for download via links below
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Build 8250 - 64-bit (ISO)
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Build 8250 - Setup Executable (EXE)
Windows 8 Developer Preview 32-bit (ISO)
Windows 8 Developer Preview 64-bit (ISO)
Windows 8 Developer Preview With Developer Tools 64-bit (ISO)

MWC 2012: Panasonic ELUGA Hands-On

One of the newly launched mobile phones that we had the chance to play with at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was the Panasonic ELUGA. 

The smartphone was unveiled to the world earlier this month and is expected to arrive on shelves in the not too distant future. 

The handset packs a dual-core 1 GHz TI OMAP 4430 CPU, along with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory, and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a 540 x 960 pixels resolution. 

The mobile phone arrives on shelves with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with auto focus, LED flash, and HD video recording. 

It will also hit the market with HSDPA, 21 Mbps and HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps connectivity options, as well as with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, and a microUSB port. 

The smartphone was launched with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, but is expected to get a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich soon.

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