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Mar 20, 2012

AMD Trinity A10-5800K Performance Tested, Provides 50% Faster Graphics

Even though AMD isn’t expected to announce its next-gen APUs based on the Trinity architecture until the second quarter of this year, a Chinese website has recently posted online a series of benchmarks comparing the performance of the upcoming A10-5800K with that of the current A8-3850 processor.

When it will see the light of day, the A10-5800K will become AMD’s most powerful Trinity APU for desktop computers thanks to the inclusion of four computing cores clocked at 3.8GHz.

With Turbo Core enabled, these will be able to reach speeds as high as 4.2GHz, while the chip will also feature 4MB of L2 cache memory and a built-in Radeon HD 7660D graphics core with 384 shader cores.

The enthusiast who tested this CPU on the Chip Hell forums, compared it with AMD’s A8-3850 accelerated processing unit. 

When put head to haed, the results obtained show that the upcoming A10-5800K can deliver 50% better performance in graphics applications (in this case 3DMark 06) than its Llano-based predecessor.

Sadly for AMD, when the computing performance of its APU is taken into consideration things don’t appear to present themselves just as good as the A10-5800K beats the A8-3850 by just 12.8 percent in 3Dmark 06, despite its much higher operating frequencies.

AMD's next-generation APUs combine processing cores based on the Bulldozer architecture with a VLIW4 GPU derived from the Cayman graphics used inside the Radeon HD 6900 series.

These cores will go by the name of Piledriver and will support a series of new instruction sets introduced with the Bulldozer architecture, such as AVX and AES-NI, as well as DDR3-2133 memory. 

On the graphics side, AMD has added a series of new HD media accelerator technologies to its chips, such as a Video Compression Engine, and support for its multi-monitor EyeFinity configurations. 

The first APUs based on the Trinity architecture are rumored to launch in June or July of this year.

Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM Notebook CPU Benchmarked

Despite the fact that more than a month separates us from the official launch of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, benchmarks of an upcoming Core i7-3610QM notebook processor have recently made their appearance online.

The tests, which were published by Donanim Haber, show Intel’s CPU running Super Pi, as well as Cinebench R11.5, two benchmarks that are well known to hardware enthusiasts.

While the former is of little use when it comes to testing the performance of modern multi-core chips, Cinebench is one of the most representative benchmarks around, since it tests the rendering power of the CPU.

The good news for Intel is that, in Cinebench R11.5, the Core i7-3610QM proves to be faster than quite a few other processors, including AMD’s FX-8150, which according to Donanim Haber scores between 5.90 and 5.95 points in the same benchmark.

The Core i7-3610QM sports quad processing cores with Hyper-Threading support that have a base clock speed of 2.3GHz and a maximum 3.3GHz Turbo Boost frequency.

The chip also includes 6MB of Level 3 cache memory, as well as an Intel HD 4000 on-die GPU, all packed inside a 45 Watt thermal envelope.

Ivy Bridge is the code name used for the 22nm die shrink of the current Sandy Bridge chips, and features basically the same architecture, but with a few minor tweaks and improvements.

This includes a new on-die GPU that will come with full DirectX 11 support, as well as with 30% more EUs than Sandy Bridge, in order to offer up to 60% faster performance than current Core CPUs, according to Intel.

In addition, the processor cores have also received some minor tweaks, as their AVX performance was slightly increased and Intel has updated the integrated PCI Express controller to the 3.0 standard. The chips are expected to debut on April 29.

Sony Launches Xperia Neo L MT25i with Android 4.0 ICS in China

Japanese company Sony has just announced the upcoming availability of its first smartphone to be launched with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform out of the box, the Xperia neo L MT25i.

Unfortunately, the smartphone is aimed at the Chinese market, and there’s little to no hope to see this one available outside the country. No word on exact release date or price tag for the moment.

Sony Xperia neo L MT25i is just a software-updated variant of the Xperia neo and Xperia neo V, which were launched on the market last year. 

However, while the older handsets will receive an Android 4.0 update later this year, the Xperia neo L will be shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich platform at launch.

The rest of the spec sheet seems to be similar to the Xperia neo and neo V smartphones, so expect the Chinese version to be equipped with a single core Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor clocked at 1 GHz and an old Adreno 205 graphics processing unit.

Aside from Ice Cream Sandwich platform, the only other improvement that we could find is the slightly larger 4.0-inch FWVGA capacitive touchscreen display that supports 480 x 854 pixels resolution.

On the inside, Xperia neo L MT25i packs 1 GB of internal memory, 512 MB of RAM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). The handset seems to have been gifted with the same camera module as well.

The 5-megapixel rear photo snapper features LED flash, autofocus and HD (720p) video recording. There’s also a secondary VGA front facing camera for self-portraits and video calls.

In the connectivity front, Sony Xperia neo L MT25i offer users Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, along with HSPA and microUSB. The phone is about the same size as its predecessors at 120.0 x 61.0 x 12.8 mm.

LTE-Enabled ZTE N910 with Android 4.0 and 1.2 GHz Dual-Core CPU Spotted at FCC

It looks like ZTE is about to launch another smartphone in the United States. However, this time it’s not just an ordinary budget-friendly handset, but a top-notch ZTE device that is meant to strengthen its presence on the North American smartphone market.

The folks over at Engadget have just learned that the ZTE N910, which was showcased last month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, has just been approved by FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

ZTE N910 features full LTE support for AWS and PCS bands, and it could be priced lower than other 4G-enabled smartphones already available on the market, to give ZTE an edge over better equipped handsets.

Still, the N910 is not totally “helpless” as the phone is said to feature a powerful 1.2 GHz dual-core processor inside, along with 1GB of RAM.

The official press shots show that the ZTE N910 comes with four touch-sensitive keys, which is a bit unusual for a smartphone powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Aside from that, the handset seems surprisingly stylish when it comes to design, but from our experience, ZTE devices showcased at the MWC 2012 last month were pretty badly built with cheap materials.

Furthermore, the ZTE N910 sports a more than decent 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen display, but the handset maker has yet to confirm its resolution.

Given the phone’s support for AWS (Band IV) and PCS (Band II) support, Engadget claims that the N910 will probably be launched in the United States through a regional carrier, such as MetroPCS and Cricket, but this has yet to be confirmed closer to release.

There’s no word on the ZTE N910’s exact release date or price tag, but this should be announced in the following weeks. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Office 15 with Changes to Office Web Apps

Starting with the upcoming availability of the Office 15 productivity suite, Microsoft plans on delivering a series of changes to the Office Web Apps that it currently provided to its users. 

Basically, Microsoft is expected to move its Office Web Apps to a new and separate server product, which should enable faster performance and a better experience. 

These tweaks are meant to alter the web versions of Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley notes in a recent article

Office 15 / SharePoint 15 will bring along a product called Office Web Apps Server, which should be able to deliver multiple SharePoint farms for viewing and editing documents. 

A server or a farm running Office Web Apps is also said to provide the ability to view files that have been stored in data stores. Files on SharePoint Server, Exchange Server and Lync will also be accessible this way. 

Moreover, there will be support for URL-accessible file servers, as well as for a series of third-party stores that offer integration at the moment, such as EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet, OpenText and Oracle, Mary Jo Foley notes in the aforementioned article. 

This will mark a move away from the manner in which users are currently accessing these Office Web Apps through SkyDrive, Hotmail and Docs.com, using browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and/or Safari. 

At the moment, Microsoft also provides businesses with the option to host Office Web Apps on SharePoint on-premises and to make them accessible through Office 365 cloud plans.

Apparently, Microsoft’s plan is to separate Office Web Apps from SharePoint so that updates could be delivered to them independently, and that multiple SharePoint farms could be served simultaneously. 

Starting with the SharePoint 15 Technical Preview, the mobile version of Office Web Apps is powered by the new Office Web Apps Server, and not through the SharePoint Server.

For the time being, Microsoft hasn’t offered confirmation on the matter, but should deliver specific details on this, as the public beta of Office 15 / SharePoint 15 approaches in the summer.

iFixit Tears Down Apple TV 3rd Generation

After tearing down the new iPad, the technically savvy bunch at iFixit got their hands on a third-generation Apple TV to do more surgery.

They popped open the small black box to find that “Apple added [a] new antenna to address complaints about range and signal strength,” and that the new hardware doesn’t rely on a thermal cooling pad, which means the custom-designed A5 chip isn’t working overtime, even though it’s now required to output video at 1080p.

Speaking of chips, the teardown revealed that the A5 is a single-core processor, as well as the following details about the rest of them:

  • Hynix H9TKNNN4K 512MB RAM stacked within the A5
  • Toshiba THGVX1G6D2HLA01 8GB NAND Flash
  • Broadcomm BCM4330 (the same as the iPad 3rd Generation)
  • SMSC LAN9730 standalone USB to ethernet controller.

Script: CodeMirror

CodeMirror is not solely a simple client-side syntax highlighting script, it can also allow users the ability to write and edit their code, in an IDE-like manner, all inside their browser tab.

Currently supports over 40+ programming language modes and 10 editing themes.

It also includes common code editing features like searching (and replacing), keyboard shortcuts, nested collapsible structures, programming language auto-detection, code indentation, fullscreen editing, autocompletion and many more.

CodeMirror has been successfully deployed to famous projects around the web, like JSBin, Google Code, MyWebSQL, JSHint, BlueGriffon, sourceLair, Mergely, and WeScheme, just to name a few.

Of course, the library is open-source under a zlib-type license, but commercial support is also available.

Here's a demo of various CodeMirror themes. Other demos are available on CodeMirror's website. All development, bugfixes and issue requests are handled via CodeMirror's GitHub account.

Download CodeMirror via links below.
CodeMirror (stable)
CodeMirror (1.x)
CodeMirror (2.x)
CodeMirror (dev snapshot)

Synology 4-Bay DiskStation DS412+ NAS Server Makes Its Debut

Synology has just introduced an updated version of the high-performance 4-bay DiskStation DS412 NAS (Network Attached Storage) server, the DS412+, which adds a couple of new features to its predecessor.

In order to build the DS412+, Synology started by redesigning the case of its previous model so that it could add hot-swap support, as well as a new cooling system.

This uses a series of passive CPU heatsinks and dual exhaust fans that control their rotation speed according to the temperatures recorded inside the NAS case.

Another modification brought to the DS412+ when compared to its predecessor, is the inclusion of a front panel USB 3.0 port, which makes this Synology's first 4-bay server to add support for this interface.

Two more USB 2.0 ports are available in the back of the DS412+, where users will also find two Gigabit Ethernet ports with failover and link aggregation support.

According to Synology, when used in the latter mode with a RAID 5 HDD setup, the DS2411+ can deliver read and write transfer speeds of up to 205MB/s and 182MB/s, respectively.

Thanks to its comprehensive iSCSI support, the DS2411+ can be seamlessly integrated with a wide series of virtualization solutions, including VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Synology’s NAS is said to consume 44W of power when in full load, while in hibernation this figure drops down to 15W, through CPU underclocking and HDD suspension.

"With the attractive new case design and DSM 4.0, the DS412+ should make a welcome addition to nearly any office," said Doug Self, product marketing manager at Synology America Corp. 

"Priced under $650, it makes for an excellent value," concluded the company’s rep.

The Synology DS412+ NAS server should be available as we speak from various online, but also brick and mortar, retailers.

So This Is What’s Draining the iPhone’s Battery

A computer whiz at Purdue University, Indiana, formed a team to carry out a study and determine the major cause of battery drainage on smartphones.

Abhinav Pathak and his tech-savvy buds found (PDF) that between “65%-75% of energy in free apps is spent in third-party advertising modules.” The tests were conducted on non-iOS devices, but they should apply the same on Apple’s platforms.

They made an example out of the immensely popular Angry Birds, which comes in free and paid variants – and we can safely assume it’s the free game that most people downloaded.

They found that the core part of Angry Birds Free sucks about 20 percent of the energy it uses for the game. The remainder goes on location-tracking and serving ads.

In other words, the $0.99 you’d otherwise have paid for the full game now goes to your electric company, and later on, the smartphone vendor whose device you’ll choose next because your existing phone has crap battery life.

Super Flower Readies GX550 Module Power Supply for Gamers

With new CPUs, motherboards and video cards almost available, gamers only need a nice case, storage and memory to make everything work. 

Still, what they might want to spend more time looking for is a suitable power supply, like the 80Plus Gold-rated Super Flower GX550. 

Spotted by Expreview, it boasts an output of 550W and a modular design, which means that owners will get to choose what cables to connect to the PSU and which to let lie in their plastic bag. 

Its unspecified price is supposed to be convenient, which means that even gamers with fewer funds might afford it. 

Only the key cables, like the 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors are impossible to completely remove from the unit. 

Moving on, a single 12V rail exists, but it can deliver a current of 45.5A. Other specs include active PFC, a patented LLC resonant converter design and an illuminated 130mm fan.

MSI Slips Out Pictures About GeForce GTX 680 Kepler

NVIDIA will release the Kepler-based Geforce GTX 680 video card in a few days, but MSI, like others, jumped the gun a bit, though it hasn't outright revealed its version of the card yet. 

A few pictures, borderline screen shots really, have made their way to the net, showing some of the features of the upcoming MSI GTX 680. 

The PCI Express 3.0 video card will have 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, a memory interface of 256 bits and four display outputs. 

It will also be fully supported by the MSI Afterburner overclocking utility, which will allow for “'GPU/Memory Clock Offset and Power Limit Control.” 

For those interested in other options, Gigabyte, Zotac and ASUS have also leaked info about their GTX 680 models. 

The official launch of the first NVIDIA Kepler board will happen on March 22 or 23, depending on your time zone. All OEMs will unleash their versions at around the same time.

Linux Kernel 3.2.12 Is Available for Download

Greg Kroah-Hartman announced last night, on March 19th, the immediate available for download of the twelfth maintenance release of the stable Linux kernel 3.2 series. 

Linux kernel 3.2.12 includes some IPv6 and IPv4 networking fixes and improvements, a couple of sound patches, as well as the usual driver updates.

"I'm announcing the release of the 3.2.12 kernel. All users of the 3.2 kernel series must upgrade."

"The updated 3.2.y git tree can be found at: git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-3.2.y and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser: http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git;a=summary" - said Greg KH in the email announcement.

As usual, the Linux kernel 3.2.12 is a must-grab upgrade for all users of the Linux 3.2 kernel stable series. Upgrade as soon as possible.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Gets FCC Approval

Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is about to make its debut in the UK sometime this month.

Shortly after the slate is launched in the UK, Samsung plans to introduced the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 in the United States, though the company has not unveiled any release dates until now.

However, we know that it shouldn’t take Samsung too long to debut the tablet in the US, especially given the fact that the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has just been spotted at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

Even though only the Wi-Fi model of the tablet got approved by FCC, we can safely assume that the 3G version will get its approval soon.

The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is one of Samsung’s tablets with support for GSM voice communication, which is a rare thing these days. Still, this is not the only selling point of the slate. 

The tablet is powered by Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which is one of the few improvements in comparison with its Galaxy Tab 10.1 predecessor.

Plus, the sequel of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes with microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). Two models will be available on the market, a 16GB variant and a 32GB version.

The tablet is equipped with a dual-core processor clocked at 1 GHz. In addition, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 comes with dual cameras, a 3 megapixel rear photo snapper with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording, as well as a secondary VGA front-facing camera for video calls.

Last but not least, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 sports a large 10.1-inch PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen display that supports 800 x 1280 pixels resolution and features Corning Gorilla Glass coating.

Windows 8 to Be Ready for an October Release

Windows 8, the next version of Microsoft’s client, is expected to become available sometime in October, when the first tablet PCs to run under it hit shelves. 

Microsoft hasn’t provided specific info on when the platform will arrive on the market as of yet, but we’ve already seen a great deal of rumors emerging on the matter. 

Microsoft is expected to have the final flavor of Windows 8 commercially available in October for both Intel and ARM architectures. 

Apparently, sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans on the matter have confirmed the same, Bloomberg reports

Basically, it means that we’ll be able to purchase both Intel and ARM tablet PCs running under Windows 8 before the end of this year. 

These devices are expected to prove powerful competitors for Apple’s iPad, and Microsoft is keen on making sure that they will start selling this year. 

Moreover, the first ARM tablets running under Windows 8 are expected to feature the same application processor as Apple’s iPad does. 

These devices will provide users with an experience entirely based on the new Metro UI, and will deliver support only for applications built for it. 

On Intel tablets, however, users will also be able to take advantage of legacy applications, since these devices will arrive on shelves with support for the desktop mode available on current Windows platforms now. 

At the moment, people interested in taking Windows 8 for a spin can download and install the Consumer Preview flavor of the platform, which is the equivalent of a beta release. 

Sometime in summer, Microsoft should have Windows 8 released to manufacturers, so that devices would be ready for the October launch window. The Redmond-based company has already promised new Windows 8 milestones for the next several months, but hasn’t offered specific info on the matter until now. 

AMD Radeon HD 7990 Specs Unveiled: Dual Tahiti XT GPUs Clocked at 850MHz

AMD’s plans to release the Radeon HD 7990 have been common knowledge for quite some time now, but recently a Chinese website managed to uncover the specs of this upcoming flagship dual-GPU video card.

Expected to arrive in April, the Radeon HD 7990 is rumored to be built using a pair of Tahiti XT graphics cores, which is the same GPU as the one installed in the HD 7970.

These will be linked together in CrossFireX thanks to the inclusion of an on-board bridge chip, so the card will feature 62 Compute Units for a total of 4096 stream processors, 256 texture units and 64 ROP units.

Each one of the two GPUs will also feature a 384-bit wide memory bus that will be connected to 3GB of GDDR5 video buffer, delivering a whopping 6GB of VRAM on a single graphics card.

According to INPAI, in order to pack two high-performance Tahiti XT GPUs on the same PCB, AMD had to decrease their operating frequencies so these will run at 850MHz, compared to 950MHz in the HD 7970.

Furthermore, the GDDR5 memory frequency was also lowered to 1,250MHz (5.00GHz data rate) from 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective).

The lower operating clock speeds of the HD 7990 should also decrease its power consumption and its heat output.

For those of you still worried about the energy efficiency of the Radeon HD 7990, AMD will include support for the ZeroCore technology that can completely shut down the secondary GPU when not in use.

So far, no details regarding pricing have been uncovered, but given the $549 (420 EUR) MSRP of the HD 7970, this dual-GPU Radeon is expected to cost a pretty penny.

Nvidia is also said to prepare a dual-GPU graphics card of its own based on the company’s upcoming “Kepler” GK104 core, which will apparently be made available in May this year.

Transcend Intros 16 GB and 8 GB Server Memory Modules

Intel may have made it possible to build newer, better and more secure servers, but its Xeon E5 processors can't do anything on their own, so Transcend decided to offer some backup, so to speak.

While leaving it to others to create motherboards and racks or server blades, Transcend looked at the field where it excels: memory.

Long story short, it has launched a pair of Registered DIMM (RDIMM) memory modules.

Their capacities are of 16 GB and 8 GB, while the rest of their specifications make them suitable for different types of applications.

To start off, the 8 GB RDIMM is a low voltage module with a clock speed of 1,333 MHz. It is constructed with DDR3L 512Mbx8 DRAM chips.

It can operate on 1.35V instead of needing 1.5V and, by using it instead of two 4 GB modules, can cut power by up to half (50%). The lower electrical load on the memory controller helps.

Meanwhile, the 16 GB DDR3-1600 RDIMM is the so-called “highest density” module Transcend has at the moment.

Built out of 4 Gb DDR3 1 Gbx4 35nm DRAM chips, it is stable and durable while cutting power costs by up to 75% compared to four 4 GB modules.

The operational frequency is of, as one can guess from the name, 1,600 MHz, while the latency is of 11-11-11-28.

“Fully compatible with the latest generation of Intel Xeon and Core i7 processors, the cost-effective DDR3 memory modules provide increased memory density and higher performance, while significantly reducing power consumption,” the company says in its announcement.

Unfortunately, the formal press release did not hand out the prices of the memory, not that it matters much. Since these aren't consumer products, companies will probably negotiate with Transcend depending on their relationship, as well as volume order, speed of delivery, etc.

Samsung’s Exynos 5 Mobile CPU Gets Detailed

One thing that Samsung’s upcoming flagship Galaxy S III won’t include is 32nm Cortex-A15 core. 

The smartphone will arrive on the market with a Cortex-A9 chip inside, although Samsung is also working on the release of a Cortex-A15 processor, namely the Exynos 5. 

Following various leaked details on the specifications list of the upcoming Galaxy S III, info on what the Exynos 5 processor will have to offer has also emerged. 

For example, we know that the device will be manufactured using the 32nm process, and that it will feature an ARM Mali T-604 MP4 GPU. 

A recently leaked slide shows that the processor will feature two CPU cores and four GPU cores, along with 64-bit memory up to 1600MHz, and that it will run at up to 2GHz.

On next-generation smartphones, however, the CPU will most probably be underclocked, so it will drain less battery power.

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