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Apr 25, 2012

NZXT Presents the Cryo E40 Adaptable Notebook Cooler

NZXT has just announced the Cryo E40 adaptable notebook cooler with movable fans, on its official website. The cooler is made for use with laptops up to 15" in size and comes with two detachable fans.

Cryo E40 employs a unique approach, similar to what Coolermaster has introduced with their NotePal U Series. It can cool a high performance notebook using two 80 millimeter  moveable fans that adapt to any laptop configuration.

The most important thing in laptop cooling is to have a fresh cool air flow underneath the device. This way, the intake of cooling fans has fresh air to suck inside and run through the fins of the cooling system.

If you can ad a powerful current of air blowing exactly into the air intake, you’ll get a much improved cooling result. The thing with most laptop coolers is that they come with predesigned fans and the position of the notebook cooler fan is not always under the air intake of the laptop’s own cooling system.

Cryo E40 solves this problem by including two 80 mm moveable fans with low-powered magnetic clasps designed to be safe around any piece of technology as magnets are not usually a good thing around electronic devices.

"Not all notebooks have the same configuration of heat-generating components, our Cryo E40 provides the ultimate universal high performance cooling capabilities in that you can specifically customize the direction of airflow based on where your computer emits the most heat. It's an incredibly innovative feature that we feel the mobile enthusiast community will truly embrace," said Johnny Hou, Founder of NZXT.

The pricing sits at a reasonable 27.99 USD. That is around 21 EUR for the European customers.

Original GALAXY Tab Tastes “Value Pack” Upgrade in South Korea

Slowly but surely, Samsung is deploying the promised “Value Pack” update to those devices that do not meet the hardware requirements for an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

Samsung already pushed this update to Galaxy S and Galaxy M Style in South Korean, as well as Galaxy W in Europe. 

Unfortunately, the handset maker did not unveil any timetable for the “Value Pack” release, so we only know about the availability of the update when Samsung comes forward with an official announcement.

Today, the South Korean company released the promised “Value Pack” update for the original Galaxy Tab. Also known as Galaxy Tab P1000, the 7-inch device was the first tablet released by Samsung.

Initially launched with Android 2.2 Froyo on board, the Galaxy Tab received an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread and was promised a Honeycomb update that never came. 

Though most Android enthusiasts were expecting Samsung to skip Honeycomb and push the Ice Cream Sandwich to all Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab units, they were in for an unpleasant surprise when the company said it could not deliver the update to these devices.

However, those who still own the tablet launched about two years ago will be happy to know that Samsung has just rolled out a “Value Pack” update, which promises to bring some of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich new features and functions.

Even though the update is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, it also includes Face Unlock, the ability to capture an image while shooting video, photo editor and other features that are also present in Android 4.0 ICS.

The update is available via Samsung Kies desktop software and it also brings some font and visual enhancements into the mix. 

For the time being, the update can only be downloaded in South Korea, but Samsung will slowly roll out the “Value Pack” for Galaxy Tab in other regions as well. Stay tuned for more info on the subject.

Intel Cutting Costs on Ivy Bridge

Intel is reportedly using ordinary thermal interface material (TIM) in the most unusual place, the underside of the integrated heat spreader, also called the IHS.

Most users probably don’t know but there are “crazy” people called enthusiasts that are in the habit of snapping of the CPU’s IHS just to get a better cooling result in their extreme overclocking experiments.

Intel used flux-less solder to fuze the IHS to the CPU die on previous generation Sandy Bridge Core processors. Flux-less solder is used to improve heat transfer between the die and the IHS.

Intel appears to be using thermal paste to do the job and that results in slightly inferior heat transfer, but removing IHS is safer for the aforementioned crazies.

The use of ordinary TIM under the IHS may be the likely reason behind the higher than expected temperatures that early reviewers were reporting about.

MEIZU Confirms Android 4.0 ICS for MX and M9 Coming in June

Even though MEIZU has previously mentioned that its MX and M9 smartphones would eventually receive in Ice Cream Sandwich update, no detail has been disclosed until recently.

Today, the company’s CEO, Jack Wong officially confirmed that the MEIZU MX and M9 devices would be upgraded to Flyme OS 1.0 (based on Android 4.0 ICS) sometime in June 2012. 

Although the announcement does not indicate an exact release date for the updates, at least we’ve got a timeframe for the upgrades. 

MEIZU's customized Flyme operating system offers a range of interesting features, along with a simple and elegant design. It also provides a slew of advantages over the native Android 4.0 system, such as more streamlined interactions and more pre-installed apps. 

Flyme OS 1.0 also comes with backup and sync features, as well as lost phone locating and a new cloud service (personal file storage). According to Meizu, its own Music Online streaming app will have its entire library upgraded to lossless audio formats in China.

SAMSUNG Intros World’s Thinnest Optical Disc Drive For UltraBooks and Tablets

Korean company Samsung Electronics has reportedly introduced today the new slim external DVD-Writer called SE-218BB. This optical disc drive (ODD) sets the industry standard for thin ultra portable DVD-Writer drives.

Build with Intel’s UltraBooks in mind, the SE-218BB will join a new generation of slim laptop designs. Intel was recently talking about thinner hard disk drives and thinner ODDs and it seems Samsung was sharing the thought.

The SE-218BB features a compact size that is 18% thinner than the standard light DVD writers.

Samsung claims that this is the world's thinnest external optical disc drive with just 14 millimeters in height. That’s 0.55 inches in imperial.

When comparing it with Samsung’s own slim ODDs released previously, the SE-218BB  is 8% lighter that the rest of the pack.

Using Smart Power technology, SE-218BB connects through an USB to PCs and notebook computers. The power is delivered through the same port as the drive doesn’t come with any external AC adapter.

For Tablet PCs, Samsung says the OS must be Android Honeycomb OS 3.1 or above for the SE-218BB play DVD content on the tablets.

Featuring the usual Buffer Under Run technology, the new SE-218BB ODD is an ecological product, made with lead-free soldering technology that eliminates harmful materials such as Pb, cd, cr+6, Hg, PBBs and PBDE.

The official write speed  specifications of the slim little wonder are as following: 24X for CD-ROM and CD-RW discs, 8X for DVD±R discs, 5X for DVD-RAM discs , 6X for DVD+R Dual Layer discs, 6X for DVD-R Dual Layer discs, 8X for DVD+RW discs and 6X for DVD-RW discs.

Surprisingly, the drive only comes with a minuscule 1 MB buffer. The official access time is a high 190ms and the whole thing weighs 255 grams. That’s around half a pound.

The price sits at 59.99 USD. That is around 46 EUR for the European customers.

Waterproof Canon PowerShot D20 Camera Revealed

Having seen the Sony Handycam HDR-GW77V, we now get to take a look at another rugged camera, one that Canon made and gave the name of PowerShot D20. 

Before we get into the perks that make the PowerShot D20 good for less than stellar environments, we may as well show what performance warranted that level of protection. 

To start off, the camera relies on a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and uses a 28mm wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom. 

A 3-inch LCD screen is present as well, along with a shutter button that can capture photos and small video clips at the same time (Movie Digest feature). 

Also, the Smart Audio feature chooses from up to 32 scene modes, like Advanced Subject Detection, which tracks living and non-living moving objects. 

What's more, the Underwater Macro mode can magnify the subject being photographed or caught on video, more than the normal Macro mode allows. 

And so we reach the matter of the waterproof exterior of the Canon PowerShot D20. 

Not only is the product protected from dust and such, but it can also be submerged in water at a depth of up to 10 meters (33 feet). 

In addition, the camera has an anti-fogging feature, for image clarity, and can withstand freezing temperatures of up to minus 10 degrees Celsius. 

As for effectiveness underwater, the camera should be able to capture images and film at a distance of up to 40 meters. 

Finally, a GPS marks your photos and movies with location coordinates, should you so wish, and you can drop the PowerShot D20 from a height of 1.5 meters without breaking it. 

Canon intends to start shipping the PowerShot D20 in the third week of May, for the price of around $349 / 279 Euro, give or take. An accessory set (shoulder strap, carabiner strap, soft case, float and silicon jacket) will sell for $103 / 78 Euro.

Dropbox vs SkyDrive vs Google Drive: Cross-Platform Support

The cloud sync landscape may be quite competitive, but there are three big players at this point, albeit two of them are relatively new. Dropbox is the one to beat of course, it has more than 50 million users.

There are plenty of differences between the three services but, when it comes to it, all three services offer pretty much the same thing.

One big difference and perhaps the reason why you chose one over the other is the platforms they support. 

Dropbox is the only one to offer a Linux client. SkyDrive doesn't have an Android app, but it's the only one with a Windows Phone app. An iOS Google Drive app is coming but is not available yet.

Google Drive: Windows, OS X, Android, iOS (coming soon), web
Dropbox: Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, web
SkyDrive: Windows, OS X, iOS, WIndows Phone, web.

HP Presents Six Ivy Bridge Systems

Now that Intel's Ivy Bridge central processing units are finally live, PC makers are busy launching computers powered by them, and HP is no exception.

The reason we used the word “presents” instead of “launches” in the title is the simple fact that HP did not, in fact, launch any all-new desktops. Yet.

Instead, the world's top PC supplier of has updated its existing line with six machines reliant on the third-generation Intel Core central processing units.

Of course, that isn't a completely accurate thing to say either, since only one of them will become available through retail stores alongside the chips themselves, on April 29, 2012.

The others will enter retail availability only on June 24, although HP will list them on its own website before then.

That said, the HPE H9t Phoenix top-tier desktop will be the so-called flagship. It is described as something that can breeze through image editing applications and games easily.

HP did not go into all the specifics of memory, graphics and storage, but we assume there will be a wide range of choices. The starting price will be $1149 / 871 Euro. 

The HP Pavilion HPE h8t and h8xt are the mainstream machines, with slimmer cases and starting prices of $699 / 530 Euro and $799 / 605 Euro, respectively.

The remaining three are all-in-one computers called HP Omni 220qd, HP Omni 27qd and HP TouchSmart 520xt.

The Omni 220qd has both looks and performance, being described as “a sleek all-in-one PC that offers a streamlined cantilever design and optional features such as Beats Audio.” It will sell for $999.99 / 758 Euro or more.

The HP Omni 27qd is the first 27-inch AiO from the company and has the Magic Canvas software. Its price starts at $1,199 / 909 Euro.

Finally, the HP TouchSmart 520xt doesn't have all the strong components its two peers get, but comes with a touch panel instead. The tag is $999.99 / 758 Euro, like on the Omni 220qd.

Script: canvasXpress

canvasXpress is one of the new breed of development tools that saw greater adoption, as HTML 5 support expanded in more and more browsers. The library allows developers to create interactive graphs and charts that rely on the power of HTML 5's canvas utility.

CanvasXpress supports classic chart types like lines, dot plots, bars, pies, stacks, but can also be used with more complex graph types like heatmaps, Venn diagrams, financial stocks, candlestick charts, box plots, correlation plots, genome browsers, network/pathway graphs and many more.

Besides all this, the library also provides enhanced interactivity functions like zooming, canvas resizing, 3D support, complex chart animations, user selections and printing the chart canvas.

For a more in-depth analysis, check out canvasXpress demos here. The library is also very actively maintained via its SourceForge page.

Download canvasXpress here.

First ASUS Zenbook Prime Pictures Emerge

The latest iteration of ASUS’ Zenbook products have reportedly been pictured in Taiwan.

The small wonders are powered by Intel’s new generation Ivy Bridge processors and will sport an amazing 1920 x 1080 FullHD screen resolution.

The pixel density is not what left us amazed, but the fact that ASUS is implementing such a resolution on a 11.6-inch screen.

In this situation, the user must increase the font size of anything they read on the screen risking blindness or extreme eye fatigue otherwise.

Two models were displayed: the ASUS UX31 and the ASUS UX21. The former has a bigger 13.3-inch screen that is also FullHD.

The display panels use S-IPS high quality technology invented by Hitachi back in 1998.

The S-IPS panels offer the same superior image quality as the other IPS panels, with the improvement of fast pixel refresh time.

LG is the most likely panel manufacturer for the displays inside the new Zenbooks.

The introduction of the Ivy Bridge architecture will also bring a valuable increase in battery life and a probable reduction in thickness. These might still be just upgraded models that only feature the new CPU architecture as the most innovative characteristic.

Future upgrades may come with even a thinner chassis.

ASUS might also want to improve the battery or simply include a bigger one to obtain a longer battery life, while keeping the same thickness of the chassis, but there will be an obvious difference between the battery life of the two models.

The bigger 13” model will have a shorter battery life than the 11” model if the same battery is used. This is because of the display size, as a larger display consumes a higher amount of power.

Pricing has not yet been announced.

AMD FX-8150 Prices Falling Fast

The price of AMD’s FX-8150 has reportedly been reduced significantly lately. Online sites show the CPU at a low 179 EUR for the European buyers. That would be around 235 USD for the US customers.

Ever since the launch of its current flagship, AMD has been aware that the level of performance its first iteration of the Bulldozer architecture was not high enough to pose any threat to Intel’s top offering at that time.

Therefore, AMD targeted the FX-8150 against Intel’s Core i5-2500K and has priced it accordingly.

For those working with many archives or CineBench 11.5 type of rendering, AMD’s 8 core CPU should prove a better solution over Intel’s i5-2500K. The “Bulldozer” based CPU also has a strong advantage when it comes to live encryption and x264 HD encoding.

The FX-8150 will also provide more value for Excel 2007 and 2010 users along with the OpenGL fans.

For the ones that are looking for a cheap alternative to Intel’s Core i5-2500K processor and are planning to migrate towards Windows8, AMD’s FX-8150 would be a decent choice.

Introducing GT70 0NC, One of MSI's New Line of Gaming Notebooks

Well, it's been some time since MSI released new gaming gear, but it looks like the long wait was not in vain: we present you the GT70 0NC, one of the fresh gaming machines in the new generation.

When looking at the GT70 0NC for the very first time, some gamers would probably be slightly disappointed as this notebook does not sport any flashy design, but a rather spartan and yet robust-looking one. 

MSI has kept the 45-degree cut angles and this element adds some sort of a menacing look to the GT70 0NC. The 3.9 kg weight is somewhat expected when thinking about a gaming-oriented notebook.

GT70 0NC buyers will get a 3rd-generation Core i7 CPU loaded into an H77 chipset and backed by up to 32 GB DDR3 1600 MHz memory which can be split across the 4 available slots. Standard memory depends on country or dealer.

While the IvyBridge already sports DirectX 11 support, serious gaming needs a no-nonsense graphics solution, and for this the MSI GT70 0NC is loaded with a 3 GB GDDR5 Nvidia GTX670M card feeding the FullHD anti-glare 17.3 display.

Soundwise, the GT70 0NC is powered by Dynaudio and THX TruStudio Pro technologies and the additional subwoofer will most likely greatly appreciate when no surround speaker system or gaming headset are around.

BigFoot gaming-dedicated LAN chip ensures minimal latency for online sessions while USB 3.0 and eSATA connectors favor lightning fast data transfer. Speaking of which, it brings us to an optional feature of the GT70 0NC: the possibility to load your computer with a Super RAID dual SSD array capable of delivering up to 800 MB/s storage speed.

Thermaltake Frio Extreme Has 10-Year Warranty

Thermaltake's Frio Extreme is not a new product, having been revealed at the start of the year (2012).

That doesn't mean it shouldn't make the news again, especially if it suddenly gains the longest warranty ever.

That's right, in what is a first on the IT industry, Thermaltake's Frio Extreme has been slapped with a warranty of 10 years.

All coolers sold after January 1, 2012, will get the new warranty, not just the ones that will ship from now on.

What's more, the warranty covers everything (the heat sink, fans and controller) and, should the Frio Xtreme fail in any way, it will be replaced with an identical one or an “equivalent” cooler.

The product works with both Intel and AMD CPUs. Go to the product page in case you want to learn everything it can do.

Besides Z68 Motherboards, MSI's H61 (G3) Support Ivy Bridge

Micro-Star International made it a point of proving that it doesn't take an all-new motherboard to provide Intel's new Ivy Bridge CPUs with a home. 

The company has already made its share of product releases involving the third-generation Core central processing units, not the least of which is the allegedly fastest Ivy Bridge laptop in the world

Now, MSI has returned to the root of the problem, so to speak: motherboards. 

In addition to the 7-Series motherboards, there are G3 series boards that support Ivy Bridge now too. 

In fact, pretty much all G3-series platforms can gain support for the newcomers, as well as the technologies meant to go with them, through a BIOS update process. 

As one may find out by going here, the list is pretty extensive, composed of MSI H61 (G3) and MSI Z68 (G3) models. 

Once the BIOS has been upgraded, the maximum achievable speed of random access memory will be 2,400 MHz (DDR3). 

Similarly, the Intel Rapid Start and Intel Smart Connect technologies will be supported as well, even though they are supposed to be exclusive to 7-series chipsets. Owners should be able to use new 22nm Xeon CPUs too, not just Core i5 and Core i7. 

“By downloading the update software package from MSI’s official web site, MSI Z68 (G3) mainboards could receive the latest BIOS and driver upgrade (ME7 to ME8) for guaranteed next-gen support with no additional cost,” the company wrote. 

For the more technically-minded, MSI's new BIOS includes the Preboot eXecution Environment(PXE), which uses a network interface to boot the system, allowing for the creation of a primary partition and installing an OS (the top capacity for the partition is 2.2 TB). 

For those who want to know more about the CPUs, or what alternatives they have when searching for a motherboard, they can go here and pick what interests them most.

Broadcom Unveils World’s Most Powerful Network Processor

Broadcom has recently presented the industry's first 100 Gbps Full Duplex Network Processing Unit (NPU), on its official website.

The well-known California-based network company has designed this new chip with cost reduction in mind. It contains 64 custom processors working at a high 1GHz speed and is fully programmable, like the rest of the BCM88030 family.

Broadcom claims that its new NPU delivers more than twice the output of any other NPU on the market right now but. Despite the chip’s complexity, with the level of integration that has been put into the design, the system cost is reduced by 80 percent per 10 GbE port.

Cisco estimates that this year the number of connected devices is set to exceed the world's population, with an estimated 7 billion devices connected to the network.

Just three years from now, 90 percent of content viewed on mobile devices will be streaming video, and application downloads are expected to surpass 47 billion per year.

To satisfy this overwhelming need for bandwidth, service providers are working to upgrade and modernize their networks to higher bandwidth links.

Although these types of devices will not reach our PC soon, for the networking industry, the annual growth rate of 100G Ethernet capable ports will grow around 170 percent until 2016, as service providers rush to meet the bandwidth demand.

The BCM88030 NPU family was designed with cost reduction in mind. It supports low-cost DDR3 memory and comes with Seamless integration with XLP multi-core processors for best-in-class control plane processing.

As previously mentioned, the BCM88030 family has three brothers:  the 100 Gbps BCM88038 NPU, the 50 Gbps BCM88034 NPU and the BCM88032 24 Gbps NPU. 

All of them are only sampling right now, but volume production is slated for the second half of this year.

ASUS P8Z77-V Motherboard Introduced on Video

There will soon be a new motherboard up for sale, one that will directly compete against all the other platforms compatible with Intel's Ivy Bridge central processing units.

The motherboard we are referring to is one that ASUS invented and which AnandTech somehow got a video presentation of.

This is probably one of the most uninformative videos in the history ever, as it is 40-minute long but doesn't actually go into any detail.

The motherboard is called P8Z77-V Premium and is the one on the right hand corner there.

Fortunately, it isn't impossible to guess what components and capabilities the platform has just by looking at it.

To start off, there are four PCI Express x16 slots, as well as one PCI Express x1 slot.

Considering the distinct lack of any and all legacy PCI slots, it is likely that Quad SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU configurations are supported.

Four memory slots are present as well. One cannot actually miss them, given the big and red memory modules sticking out of them.

The rest of the specs are what one might not outright spot. The motherboard, after all, takes a relatively small part of the screen.

Fortunately, one can manage, with enough diligence. Thus, by glancing at the area where the bunch of SATA 6.0 Gbps and SATA 3.0 Gbps ports are located, it is easy to spot that nice, little mSATA SSD.

SSD Caching is doubtlessly at work there, whether via Intel Smart Response technology or an ASUS equivalent.

Other specs include a miniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt (probably) and, though it can't be said for certain, a full-size DisplayPort and HDMI.

Sales of the P8Z77-V Premium should start soon, for the price of $300, which translates into roughly 227 Euro, give or take. The Maximum V Formula mainboard should make its appearance at the same time.

Samsung GALAXY S III Dummy Unit Gets Pictured, Not the Final Product

With only a week left until Samsung is expected to go live with its ‘next Galaxy’ device, more pictures of the alleged Galaxy S III have been published online.

The source of the leak is Mobile01 forum via Reddit, but the pictures have since been pulled. However, we already know that Samsung won’t reveal the design of the final product, so we can safely assume that the device shown in these pictures is not the true Galaxy S III.

The explanation is rather simple. It appears that Samsung decided to offer Galaxy S III dummy units to various employees for testing reasons, but all the electronic components of the device have been inserted in generic boxes.

This one of the reasons that all leaked pictures seems to show different devices. All in all, we can’t really tell whether these alleged Galaxy S III units have anything in common with the final device.

Sony Launches Waterproof Handycam HDR-GW77V in Japan

There is a new camera up for sale in Japan, one that Sony apparently based on the Handycam GW77VE that European stores have been selling since March. 

The new camera that Sony Japan has released in its home market is the first waterproof handycam to grace that island nation. 

The name is HDR-GW77V, not too different from the GW77VE we mentioned earlier, and which is detailed here

That said, the GW77V has its own product page, but one will have to know the native language in order to make any sense of it. 

We'll make it easy and just list everything that's relevant right here. 

To start off, the HDR-GW77V uses a 1/3.91 type (4.6mm) back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, as well as a Sony G Lens with 10x optical zoom. 

That's 29.8mm to 298mm on a 35mm-equivalent when pictures are shot in a 16:9 format, F/1.8 to F/3.4. 

The digital zoom is quite a bit higher, at 120x, but this isn't really shocking. 

And now we get to the one difference between the GW77VE and the GW77V: while the former shoots/records in 1080/50p quality (PAL), the latter handles 1080/60p (NTSC). 

Prospective buyers should keep in mind that the internal memory is of 16 GB, not all that hard to fill when recording Full HD video. 

We may as well also mention that the handycam GW77V lacks an optical viewfinder. Fortunately, the 3-inch LCD touchscreen can help with adding frames and such. Speaking of which, the panel can be slid open and rotated, thanks to its special hinge. 

All in all, the product will make it easy to snap/shoot 20.4 megapixel photos and 20 megapixel videos, even in Scene Selection, Swing Paranoma and Smile Shutter modes. 

All these features are packed inside a frame that is both waterproof and dustproof (IP5X standard), as well as reasonably resistant to shock (up to 1.5-meter drops). 

The price will be of 70,000 Yen when sales begin (May 25). That's $860 / 652 Euro. Blue, silver and black color options will be available, as well as matching pouches for the latter two (4,410 Yen / $54 / 41.0 Euro).

First MIPS 64 Bit Mobile Processor Revealed

Reportedly, Ingenic has just signed a license agreement with Vivante to pair up the former company’s power MIPS CPUs with the latter’s new efficient GPUs.

You’ll probably remember that late last year, the first Android 4 tablet was actually powered by a MIPS processor and not by an ARM one.

MIPS has been in the market of making powerful and efficient processors for a long time now. The company has much more experience with servers and workstations, while ARM has none whatsoever.

After leaving SGI because it had chosen Intel’s Itanium architecture (a move that led to the former company's bankruptcy), MIPS saw that the server market was mostly oriented towards x86 solutions, so they went back and concentrated on efficient, low-power architectures.

The most recent achievement of MIPS in the mobile business was the aforementioned launch of the first Android 4 tablet using an Ingenic MIPS processor.

Being first was not the only achievement. The price of just 99 USD has not yet been beaten by any other ARM based counterpart running Android 4.

As we’ve revealed in our previous articles, MIPS has long had a 64 Bit architecture and it is very experienced with it. MIPS had 64 Bit server CPUs back in 1991, while ARM is just licensing 64 Bit technology this year.

Ingenic has just announced that, for their next XBurst2 MIPS CPU they will use Vivante’s powerful GPU. The XBurst2 MIPS CPU promises to be a very powerful architecture that will run at 1.5 GHz.

The XBurst2 will be a 64 Bit MIPS CPU with a dual-issuse/dual-threaded design using the 40nm manufacturing process.

The Xburst2 will also be a very cool and low-power part, as Ingenic is building it on the 40 nm process, rather than on the 65 nm process that was used for the initial 1GHz Xburst MIPS CPU that was powering the first Android 4 tablet.

The XBurst2 architecture is due to be launched later this year.

Intel Signs Deal with Cray, Marks AMD’s Departure from Cray’s Supercomputers

Intel Corporation announced today that it has signed a deal with Cray Inc. to acquire assets and expertise related to Cray’s famous high-performance computing (HPC) interconnect program.

Cray is probably the world’s most famous and most original supercomputer designer and manufacturer. They’ve built the world’s fastest supercomputers for more than five decades and are experts in interconnecting servers, blades or racks with highly efficient technologies.

In the supercomputing business this is probably the most important aspect: the efficiency and creativity of the interconnect technology.

Back in 2003, AMD’s Opteron was the best server processor in the world and everybody wanted Opteron processors in their servers, and especially in their supercomputers.

AMD’s Opteron also had two huge advantages over what Intel had then: at least 40% more computing performance and a fast Direct Connect interface to interlink the CPUs.

At that time, Intel was in the business of bribing and strong arming OEMs and distributors into buying its lower performing CPUs and not to buy, nor sell AMD based systems. There was much talk about Intel’s monopolistic practices at the time both in the USA and the European Union.

Later, Intel was even fined €1 billion in Europe for such practices, and had to pay a direct 1.25 billion US dollars to AMD to settle any dispute.

The amount of bribery was so great that DELL, an exclusive Intel OEM, was receiving more money directly from Intel than it was able to obtain as profit from selling its own systems.

As far as supercomputing was concerned, Cray wanted the best the x86 on the market and didn’t care about Intel’s bribes. Cray was competing on government contracts and had to have the best solution.

Opteron processors were superior to Intel’s Xeon offerings for almost 8 years, between 2003 and 2010. Intel was plagued by its slow FSB and AMD had the upper hand with their HyperTransport Links between the CPUs.

Intel is now interested in Cray’s Aries interconnect. Aries is the successor of the award-winning Gemini interconnect that was designed especially for the HyperTransport links in the Opteron CPUs.

As AMD’s performance fell far behind Intel’s, Cray wanted an independent interconnect architecture and not a processor specific one.

Therefore, we have Aries that uses PCI-Express links to pass over data and doesn’t care what processors are used in the server modules.

Cray’s next supercomputer will be Xeon-based and it will be a far departure from Cray’s  Opteron based Jaguar Supercomputer that was probably the most famous supercomputer of the last decade.

Jaguar was famous because it became Number 1 three different times with each simple processor upgrade where the CPUs were replaced with newer versions containing more cores.

The money for the research on the interconnect technologies developed at Cray was, in significant part, coming from DARPA and other USA governmental agencies so it’s interesting how Cray sells for a profit something that they’ve made with the governmental funds.

Nokia PureView Technology Wins “Best Imaging Innovation” Award

Two months ago, no one would have thought that a 41-megapixel camera phone is even possible. After Nokia announced its 808 PureView smartphone, at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, everything went crazy.

The device immediately won the award for the best new mobile handset at the trade fair, and more recently, the technology behind the impressive camera has been recognized as well. 

The company has just announced that its PureView technology has been awarded the “Best Imaging Innovation” prize in the TIPA Awards 2012.

Those unfamiliar with TIPA’s (Technical Image Press Association) activities should know that this is a non-profit association that focuses on finding the best photo and video product every year, and award it for its excellence. 

It appears that during a TIPA event that was recently held in Cape Town, South Africa, the members of the jury come to terms and agreed that Nokia’s PureView technology is the rightful winner of this year’s TIPA Awards for its incredible imaging technology. 

Although this time it’s the technology that get awarded and not the Nokia 808 PureView smartphone, it looks like the Finnish company did a great job with both the device and the technology that comes with it.

“In the 808 PureView incarnation we appreciated the extra-large sensor – by camera phone standards (1/1.2 inch) – with the huge 41MP resolution and the ingenious way this resolution is exploited (by oversampling) to supply lossless zooming. In this way Nokia has overcome one of the main drawbacks of camera phones, i.e. unsatisfactory performance with zoom,” said a spokesperson at TIPA.

Nokia 808 PureView is expected to arrive on the market sometime in May for a suggested retail price of 595 USD (450 EUR). 

The smartphone is powered by Nokia Belle operating system and packs a 1.3 GHz single-core processor, 1GB of ROM, 512MB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD card.

ARM Has Signed Two Licenses for Server Processors

It looks like ARM Holdings has made another step in the right direction while seeking to establish a presence on the server market.

Like so many other companies, ARM has to periodically hold conference calls with financial analysts and discuss earnings, outlooks, etc.

These calls tend to disclose certain business milestones and tactics that weren't known beforehand.

This time, the company ended up revealing some progress on the server market, while answering questions for those who attended the call.

Long story short, ARM has signed two licensing deals through which its intellectual property will be used in servers.

More precisely, the ARMv8-based 64-bit code-named Atlas design and the ARMv7-powered 32-bit ARM Cortex-A15 technology will soon start showing up in such systems (2013 most likely).

“We have 2 licenses that we put in the earnings release, one is driving a new lead partner for Atlas and one is a Cortex-A15. These are high-end processors, they're high-value products from ARM and therefore, more likely to be sold to larger semiconductor companies with more resource to take on those sorts of very large-scale development,” said Warren East, chief executive officer of ARM.

“We're certainly very enthusiastic about them. We're quite pleased with those design wins, and I think it will be very helpful for ARM's activity in service.”

It bears noting that two licenses don’t necessarily mean contracts with just two companies. In fact, several players are developing ARM servers: Applied Micro, Calxeda, Marvell, Nvidia and even Samsung.

That said, we may as well talk a bit about the architectures themselves, starting with the ARMv8 and its two execution states: AArch64 and AArch32.

The former introduces the A64 instruction set, for 64-bit processing (it was about time this came along), while the latter supports the existing ARM instruction set.

Meanwhile, ARMv7 boasts TrustZone, virtualization and NEON advanced SIMD. All of these are featured in ARMv8 too, some even improved.

AMD A10-4600M APU Specs and Benchmark

The A10-4600M is going to be AMD's main player on the notebook chip market, as soon as the Trinity series of accelerated processing units makes its debut. 

We now know what the specifications of the APU are, but that's not all that the folks at Nordic Hardware got their hands on. 

Advanced Micro Devices' infographic (information graphic, visual representation of relevant data) provided some graphics performance comparisons as well. 

We'll get the specs out of the way first, so that people can put things in perspective afterwards. 

The A10-4600M Trinity APU has four x86-64 cores (two Piledriver architecture modules). 

The frequency of each is 2.30 GHz, but the TurboCore dynamic overclockinng technology can raise it to 3.0 GHz. 

Meanwhile, graphics prowess is provided by the Radeon HD 7660G GPU (frequency of 685 MHz) with 384 VLIW4 stream processors. 

In addition, the APU integrates a dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz memory controller and a PCI Express 2.0 root complex. 

The infographic allegedly provided by AMD doesn't really say anything about how the CPU performance compares to other chips, but the graphics capabilities are readily enough explored. 

The 3DMark 11 performance preset benchmark scored 1,135, below NVIDIA's GTX 670M and 635M cards and even lower than AMD's own Radeon HD 6720G2. The score was quite a bit higher than that of the NVIDIA GT540 (991) and Intel's Ivy Bridge graphics, HD 4000 (720). 

What's more, when the Dual GPU feature is running (combines the performance of the A10-4600M with a discrete GPU of the same class), the performance goes up by 75%. The score jumped to 2,083, below GTX 670M (3018), but well above everything else. 

All in all, the 32nm-based accelerated processing unit did quite well. Maybe this time the Sunnyvale, California-based company will score the mobile PC design wins that Llano (the previous-generation APU line) wasn't able to gather up.

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