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Apr 26, 2012

HDD Crisis Was Fake: Seagate and Western Digital Post Big Profits




Hard drive manufacturers Seagate Technology and Western Digital have reported great financial results after such a prolonged hard disk drive “crisis”. 

There was always talk about the fact that hard disk drives are so cheap that the profitability of the manufacturers in getting low enough to limit the R & D investments they would otherwise make.

Many industry insiders were talking about overstocking and lowering profits. The situation was bleak. 

One year ago, Samsung wanted to get rid of their HDD division despite the fact that the products developed there were quite good. The F1 and F3 lines of desktop HDD are very good performers to this day and they’ve been since way back in 2008.

Seagate jumped at the opportunity and snatched Samsung’s hard rive division for almost 2 billion dollars back in April 2011.

Hitachi was also doing quite alright. They’ve had good mobile HDDs and the very successful 1000.C hard disk drive line that excelled when dealing with multi-threaded work. Still the marketplace for HDDs was so difficult that they’ve announced they’ll be selling their hard drive division to Western Digital.

The Thailand flood came and went and we were left with the hard drive “crisis”. While the hard drives were almost never “out of stock” the prices went up even 300%. 

Months passed by, but there seemed to be no end to the hard drive crisis despite the fact that both manufacturers were announcing the restoration of the plants affected by the waters.

In a report earlier his year, we found out that Seagate even managed to increase its HDD shipments with around 2% when compared to the previous year. Where exactly was that “crisis”?

Now Seagate proudly announces it has decided to spend 2.5 billion dollars to repurchase a considerable amount of its outstanding ordinary shares. Spending 2.5 billion dollars less than a year after buying Samsung’s HDD division for another 2 billion, doesn’t really seem like a company “suffering” from a “crisis.”

Western Digital has also announced today its fiscal third quarter financial results. Despite recently acquiring HGST (that’s Hitachi’s HDD division) in March last year and also “suffering” from a “difficult crisis,” they’ve made a net income of 146 million dollars, or 62 cents per share.

"Our third quarter performance demonstrates the potential of the new Western Digital, with just three and a half weeks of HGST results combined with the standalone WD business," said John Coyne, CEO of Western Digital.

By their reasoning: bad market plus low margins plus the HDD crisis equals big profits.

Good job if we may say. We finally have a humongous duopoly in the hard drive market too. This is probably the most desirable situation for the end users paying 300% more money for last year technology.

We shall now wait and see when the prices will go back to where they were one year ago, if ever.


Intel Looses Market Share to AMD




Market analysis company Mercury Research has reportedly made public their study of the last quarter and concluded that AMD gained CPU market share from Intel.

AMD's market grew to 19.1 percent from 18.2 percent, according to Mercury Research and Intel's share of the market dropped to 80.2 percent during the first quarter of this year from the 81 percent it owned in last year's first quarter.

The overall x86 processor shipments went down in the first quarter of this year compared to the last year. This is probably because of the struggling economies and because of the floods in Thailand that led to the hard disk drive crisis.

AMD benefited from the recovery in the hard disk drive shipments and managed to reach a very consistent 43% of the desktop processor market.

This ultimately proves that CPU performance can be considered “enough” for the average user and especially for the office productivity domain.

The thing is that the low to mid end systems were always the big piece of the market pie and Intel always had the upper hand there. They were selling cheap CPUs bundled with mediocre motherboards with integrated graphics (IGP) and they were practically flooding the market with such products.

AMD only had the CPU. They’ve never manufactured motherboards so they’ve never had anything to bundle with while, although their latest IGPs were net superior to what Intel had, the overall cost of the system was not that much lower than Intel’s while the performance was not that much higher.

With Llano and Brazos, AMD offers a very affordable platform that performs up to three times faster than what Intel is bringing to the table.

Intel’s current low to mid end solution need to be paired with a discrete graphics card to be able to offer the same experience that AMD’s Fusion chip are able to. This raises the system cost considerably over AMD’s alternative and most of the time surpasses the price range of the customer.

We, the enthusiasts, were quite disappointed with AMD’s lack of x86 improvement, but AMD proved it was right all along: we have CPU power for now.

We’ve had enough CPU power ever since the Core 2 Duo times.

You can comfortably play the latest games with a “Pitcairn” based AMD video card on a Core 2 Quad processor. You’re not yet upgrading your processor and you’re not selling your kidney to buy the latest video card. Yet you can still play the games.

This was never before possible. This is 6 years old technology you have in that processor, but it still satisfies the owner.

Think about the end of the ’90 and how CPUs were back then. Add 6 years and you’re in 2005 trying to play Quake 4 on a Pentium III processor with a Radeon X1600 Pro. How would that look like?

AMD apparently really achieved that “good enough” CPU performance and the move towards more 3D performance seems to have been the right one.

This Core 2 Duo or Quad performance that the fully fledged Llano CPUs are able to achieve is enough for 80% of the users out there.

The question is: if you have enough CPU power and you want to play a little, are you willing to spend another 100 USD for the graphics card? Or you’re going to get the “not so ultra” CPU that will run decently your game for free?

AMD certainly knew the right answer to this question.


Galaxy GeForce GXT 680 GC Custom Card Officially Launched




Chinese company GalaxyTech, reportedly has already started shipping its custom designed GeForce GXT 680 GC video card to online shops in the western world.

The price is a very nice surprise as the card comes to US buyers at around 535 USD.  That would be almost 405 EUR for the European customers, but we’re sure the price in the old continent will be quite a bit higher than in America.

The card comes with the well-known Nvidia GK104 GPU. This is a very efficient and quite cool chip by the usual “huge” GPU standards. This graphics processing unit has 3.5 billion transistors built on a 28nm process at TSMC.

For more information and details along with pictures and more complete specifications, readers should check out our earlier report on Galaxy’s GeForce GXT 680 GC Custom video card.


HIS Intros the Radeon HD 7770 IceQX Video Card




Hong Kong company Hightech Information System Limited has reportedly presented the custom designed, pre-overclocked HiS Radeon HD 7770 IceQX silent video card.

The card is built around AMD’s “Cape Verde XT” graphics processing unit that comes with a minuscule 123 square millimeters die size containing 1.5 billion transistors. The default GPU frequency is 1 GHz when working in 3D mode, but HIS’s implementation comes pre-overclocked to a high 1170 MHz GPU speed.

In 2D mode, the frequency of the GPU will drop to a low 300 MHz. The 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory clocked at a high 5000 MHz when in 3D mode, but drops to 600 MHz when switched in 2D. This is higher than the reference’s default memory frequency of 4500 MHz.

It works on a tight 128 bit BUS so the performance expectations should be adjusted accordingly despite the factory overclock.

The “Cape Verde XT” GPU is part of AMD’s GCN architecture and comes with much improved GPU compute performance.

The GPU has 640 unified shader processors, 40 texturing units and 16 ROPs. On the connectivity side, the HIS Radeon HD 7770 IceQX video card comes with two mini DisplayPort connectors, a HDMI interface along with DVI.

The custom designed HIS IceQX cooling system has two copper heatpipes that are cooled by a 9 centimeters cooling fan. This is enough to satisfy the cooling requirements of the “Cape Verde” GPU as it will draw a maximum of around 80 watts when in full 3D mode. When idling, the “Caper Verde XT” will consume a meager 3 watts.

The card also uses solid capacitors and a special power design. The iTurbo software will assist the amateur overclockers towards getting some more frames per second out of their favorite 3D game.





TSMC to Provide 14 nm finFET Design Kits by the End of 2012




TSMC has recently announced at its 2012 Technology Symposium conference that it would provide finFET design kits for the 14nm node by this year’s end.

The foundry seems to be keen on pursuing the finFET concept and it encourages customers to build and design new architectures with finFETs in mind.

It’s no wonder TSMC’s roadmap is heading this way as the foundry’s old Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Dr. Chenming Calvin Hu PhD. is the main architect behind the idea.

Now, Dr. Hu is TSMC distinguished professor of microelectronics at the University of California, Berkeley, but between 2001 and 2004, he was the CTO of TSMC.

It’s strange how Intel manages to implement other companies’ ideas before the initiators do it. They are the first to implement finFETs, they were the first to build dual core CPUs ahead of AMD, and also, they were the first to deliver “APUs” before AMD’s Fusion.

TSMC plans to use bulk technology for finFETs, but this type of transistors will only come with the company’s 14 nm production starting in 2014.



Script: Wysija Newsletters




Wysija Newsletters is a very powerful and advanced WordPress plugin for sending out newsletters to subscribed users.

Unlike many other similar plugins, Wysija Newsletters works entirely inside the WordPress platform, with no connection to email campaign sites like AWeber or MailChimp.

This means all data is stored inside the WordPress database, and the administrator is not limited in any way by API calls or query/connection delays.

The plugin also features an innovative email template editor, just like the ones found in the aforementioned services.

Of course, the plugin is available in the WordPress plugin repository as well. A premium version provides extra features and access to more themes.

Download Wysija Newsletters here.


Apricorn Aegis Padlock 3.0 Portable Drive Has Buttons




Apricorn has announced a new version of the Aegis Padlock drive, that hard drive unit that has a number pad on its top side.

Armed with either 128-bit or 256-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption, it will keep data safely locked away until the unit is linked to a PC and the password typed.

No special software is needed for everything to work and there is even USB 3.0 support now.

Indeed, USB 3.0 is the asset that led to the new drive being called Aegis Padlock 3.0.

"With the addition of USB 3.0 to our Aegis Padlock drives, we are now able to benefit from improved hard drive and SSD performance. We have also added other enhancements including allowing the drive to be used as a boot device," said Mike McCandless, VP of sales and marketing. 

"This convergence of super fast performance and powerful data security is something that we couldn't wait to provide to our customers."

Go here to read all available information, including the capacities, encryption types and prices.


Flickr Gets an HTML5 Uploader with Drag and Drop




Flickr may not be the hottest thing around, but it's all that Yahoo's got at the moment. And, while the photo-sharing herds have moved on to greener pastures (maybe it's all the colored filters that make them seem so) like Instagram, there are still plenty of people using Flickr.

And if you're seriously interested in photography, it's still the best place around, though Google+ is becoming an interesting alternative.

In any case, Flickr is doing its best to, at least, hang on to the users it has, if not add new ones, and it has been introducing quite a few new features and improvements lately.

It's now debuting a brand new HTML5 uploader that's a significant improvement over the previous one. The photo uploader is one of the most important tools for a photo site, especially one that expects users to upload images in batches.

"We’re utilizing some advanced HTML 5 browser technology to bring you a completely new uploading experience on Flickr. You can now add photos by dragging them into the browser," Yahoo explained.

"We also show preview thumbnails, where supported, so you can use the intuitive drag and drop interface to manage and reorder photos before they hit your photostream. You can also easily zoom, rotate or sort your photos by title," it added.

The new uploader also makes it easier to add metadata to your photos, titles, descriptions and so on and also enables users to organize their uploads into sets.

The tool is also significantly faster, Yahoo says upload speeds should be 20 to 30 percent faster on average and even as high as 50 to 60 percent faster in some cases. International users should feel the improvement the most, indicating that Yahoo is making better use of its worldwide data centers.

Finally, free users can now upload photos as large as 30 MB, Pro users as large as 50 MB, which allows for some huge jpegs. The tool is rolling out to all users over the next couple of weeks, so you may not be able to use it just yet.


Nikon D600 DSLR Camera Rumored




Even though it supposedly doesn't have enough D800 cameras to go around, Nikon is reportedly preparing a sort of successor/sibling to it. 

Nikon Rumors says that a DSLR camera called D600 will appear sooner or later. 

It will be an “entry-level” full frame camera, but that doesn't mean the price will be all that low compared to the D800 (around $3,000 / 2,898 Euro). 

Alas, the specs are only partially known, and the sensor is not among them. 

Still, even learning of the dual SD card slots, the Auto DX crop mode and in-camera RAW editor is better than nothing. 

GPS integration may be present as well, but no HDR will be available, nor an external battery grip. 

The report suggests that shipments will begin at some point during this summer (2012).


Netgear Launches the First 1 Gbps Wireless Router




Netgear may have dug itself a gold mine when it created the R6300 router.

Sure, it'll cost $199.99 when it goes up for sale in the United States, in May, and probably just as many Euro whenever it gets to the old continent.

Nevertheless, the simple fact is that the item really does deliver on its promises: it is the fastest wireless router to date.

Not only does it communicate over two bands, but it can reach 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and a massive 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz frequency.

Sure, obstacles and distance will have an impact, but the R6300 is still expected to be about three times faster than 802.11n routers, thanks to its support for 802.11ac.

Netgear installed the genie app on the router too (users can monitor and test networks via smartphones), plus MyMedia (streams video and photos, DLNA supported). Parental controls are part of the feature set too.


HP Envy 4 Series Sleekbook and Ultrabook Already Selling in China




Reportedly, HP has already listed the new Envy 4 series that currently has six different models on its online shop.

The 1005tx and 1019tx are relatively entry-level models, while the 1004tx and 1021tx are part of the mid-range. The high-end is represented by the 1006tx and 1021tx Ultrabooks.

The slower models are powered by an Intel Core i3-2367M CPU. This is a 1400MHz processor that fits into the BAG1023 socket.

It has 256 KB of Level 2 cache for each of its two cores and a hefty 3 MB Level 3 cache. It features an integrated memory controller able to support a maximum of 16 GB of DDR3 memory running at DDR3-1066 or DDR3-1333.

The CPU also comes with integrated HD 3000 graphics that can run at 350 MHz in default mode, or at 1 GHz in Turbo mode. 

The maximum operating temperature is 100 degrees Celsius, while the TDP is a modest 17 watts.

The faster models are powered by Intel’s Core i5-2467M processor. This one has a slightly higher 1600 MHz default working frequency that can be raised up to 2300 MHz in Turbo mode. It uses the same BGA1023 socket and it also has two cores.

On the other hand, this is a HyperThreading enabled CPU so it can take on four threads at the same time.

The cache configuration is exactly the same, but the integrated memory controller can only handle up to 8 GB of DDR3-1333 memory.

The iGPU is the same HD3000, but the maximum Turbo mode will allow it to clock a little bit higher, to 1150 MHz. The i5-2467M has the same 17 W TDP.

All six models are quite slim and come with 14-inch HD 1366 x 768 screens. Surprisingly, some of the models come with AMD’s Radeon HD 7670M mobile GPU with 2 GB DDR3 dedicated graphics memory.

We can’t say much about Nvidia getting HP on their side.





Thecus Intros N5550 5-Bay NAS




There is a new network-attached storage device up for order, or there will be as soon as Thecus decides the time is ripe for retailers to list the thing or put it up on a shelf.

The product covered in the most recent press release on the company's part is called N5550 and goes one step beyond what most things of this type bother with.

That is to say, where most NAS devices don't have more than 4 bays, this one has a full set of five.

An Intel Atom processor runs the device. Alas, the exact model is unspecified, both in the announcement and on the product page. We are reasonably certain it is a Cedar Trail though.

Either way, the CPU is backed by 2 GB of random access memory (DDR3).

Moving on, the N5550 is equipped with USB 3.0 connectivity, as well as HDMI, VGA, audio ports and a small LCD display which shows drive status and such.

That's right, Thecus's invention can very well act as a full-fledged PC, since speakers can be directly attached, as can a keyboard and mouse, plus a monitor, TV or even a projector.

As if the hardware assets weren't enough, Thecus even installed McAfee Antivirus.

All things considered, it is not so odd that the company describes this thing as an item good for almost every sort of operation involving storage and the network.

The list goes like this: multi-user environments, data encryption, application serving, heavy RAID computations, HD multimedia streaming, web hosting, intense backup, etc.

Finally, the N5550 is CE/FCC/C-Tick/VCCI/BSMI, RoHS, WEEE, Vmware and Citrix-certified, relies on a 200W Power Supply and boasts a tower metal case measuring 230 x 190 x 240 mm (9.05 x 7.48 x 9.44 inches). Go to the aforementioned product page for all the details (price and availability not included).


Samsung Galaxy S3 Manual, Render and Specs Leak




Just when we thought that we got our share of rumors and news about the upcoming Galaxy S3 for this day, we stumbled upon something really interesting that might shed some light on the phone’s features and design.

It looks like the guys over at SamMobile received an early official service manual for the Samsung GT-I9300 (also known as Galaxy S3), which contains the phone’s specs sheet and a render.

Obviously, the information is to be taken with a grain of salt, as some things seem not to be lining up with the latest rumors.

For starters, the manual says the smartphone will pack an 8-megapixel rear photo snapper, while the latest benchmarks leaked online point to a 12-megapixel camera.

Furthermore, the Galaxy S3 is said to be equipped with a 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU, which might be the Exynos 4412 processor that has just been confirmed to be embedded onto the “next Galaxy” smartphone.

Aside from these specs, the manual also mentions the phone’s brilliant 4.8-inch Super AMOLED MIPI (C-Type) capacitive touchscreen display, which might in fact be the previously rumored HD RGB Super AMOLED type of screen.

It goes without saying that Samsung Galaxy S3 will be powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. In addition, there are some apps and services that are mentioned as well, such as Simplanner, Video Hub and ChatON.

HSPA+ (21Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76Mbps) support is includes as well, along with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.

There’s also a small render of the smartphone that confirms Galaxy S3 will feature a physical Home button, or perhaps this will be a multitask key.

No other details are available for the moment, but the source of the leak mentioned that this was an early official manual, so Samsung might have changed some these specs in the meantime.



And Here Is Samsung's Updated Chronos 17 Laptop




The status of the 15.6-inch Chronos laptop equipped with an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU may be undecided, but that doesn't go for the Chronos 17 700Z.

Sure, Samsung didn't provide any availability date, nor a price, but that doesn't change the fact that the product has, in fact, been formally launched.

"Following the success of our award-winning Series 7 Chronos , we are expanding our line-up with the new 17-inch model," said David Song, senior vice president of the IT Solutions Business at Samsung Electronics.

"Powerful features with more immersive viewing packed in Samsung's innovative design and engineering excellence will offer users the ultimate personal computing experience."

The Intel Core i7 Processor 3615QM quad-core CPU lies at the heart of the machine, with its clock speed of 2.3 GHz (3.3 GHz in Turbo Boost) and 6 MB of cache memory.

Meanwhile, the 17.3-inch display is a SuperBright Anti-Reflective Full HD + LED panel with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD).

That said, the CPU is backed by the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics card (Optimus switching between it and the built-in CPU graphics is present).

What's more, 8 GB of DDR3 1,600 MHz RAM is present as well, along with a SATA II HDD whose capacity is 1 TB and which has 8 GB of ExpressCache NAND.

Developed by Diskeeper, ExpressCache builds the 8 GB Flash directly into the motherboard, for storing essential files. It speeds up boot times, web browsing, makes the laptop wake form sleep mode in two seconds, etc.

Other specs include Gigabit Lan, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, VGA, HDMI, audio outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0, a Blu-ray drive, 2 x 2W speakers (+5W subwoofer) and a multi-card slot.

Everything is run by Microsoft Windows 7 Home premium and housed in a frame measuring 405.7 x 261.9 x 25.4 mm (15.9 x 10.3 x 0.99 inches). The weight of the whole thing is 2.98 kg (6.56 lbs).


Samsung's 15-Inch Chronos Laptop Gets Ivy Bridge




Now that Intel's third-generation Core i5 and Core i7 central processing units are almost ready to ship, Samsung is busy updating its eligible product lines. 

Intel ended up launching more Ivy Bridge CPUs than some people expected, both for desktops and mobile personal computers. 

Sure, a questionable design decision led to them, or some desktop parts anyway, being hotter than intended. 

Fortunately, that has no bearing on the matter we are here to discuss, namely the upgrade of the 15-inch Chronos notebook. 

According to a listing on the company's Canadian website, the machine relies on the Intel Core i7 Processor 3615QM. 

A quad-core unit, the chip has a base clock speed of 2.30 GHz and a L3 cache memory of 6 MB. 

When Turbo Boost comes into play, the frequency should be able to jump all the way up to 3.3 GHz. Go here for the rest of the chip's capabilities. 

For our part, we suppose we may as well list the other components of this unlisted, un-priced laptop. 

8 GB DDR3 system memory is present, clocked at 1600 MHz, along with the NVIDIA GT640M discrete GPU (graphics processing unit). 

Also, Samsung tossed in a hard disk drive unit (HDD) with a capacity of 1 TB (the platter speed is 5,400 RPM, rotations per minute), plus a DVD Super Multi Dual Layer, slot-loading optical drive. 

The spec list goes on with HD audio, a microphone with active noise suppression, 4 W Stereo Speaker (2 W x 2, plus subwoofer), a 1.3-megapixel HD webcam and, of course, the 15.6-inch LCD (SuperBright 300nit HD+ LED Display, resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels). 

There is, at this point, no clue when the Samsung 15.6-inch Chronos will be listed. You might want to hold off on buying a new laptop until you learn more about the when and where, but it's just as possible that it will take weeks, if not months, for sales to start, which may not be worth it.


NVIDIA Makes Bizarre GeForce 600 Graphics Cards




NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680 graphics card will forever be the star attraction of the 600 series, but the company has now provided some models that consumers will never be able to buy directly. 

Instead, the newest video boards are made for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), who will utilize them in their upcoming desktop systems. 

There is a GeForce GT 630, three different GT 640 and the GT 645. Three of them are 28nm-based Kepler cards and the other are rebranded, 40nm Fermi. 

That's right, NVIDIA deliberately made its card lineup so complicated that it will be hard to know exactly what you're in for. 

For the sake of some coherence, we'll first look at the boards that aren't weirdness embodied, so we'll start with the GeForce GT 630. 

Based on the GK107 Kepler GPU, it has 32 texture units, 16 ROPs, 384 CUDA cores and a GPU clock speed of 875 MHz. The DDR3 memory will be of 1 or 2 GB (clock of 891 MHz actual / 1,782 MHz effective). 

Physically, the 630 is pretty small, with a low-profile PCB and a small fan cooler. DVI, HDMI and D-Sub connectors exist. The TDP is 50W. 

The GeForce GT 645 is a Fermi-based adapter (rebranded GTX 555 apparently), said to have 128-bit memory interface, but probably equipped with 192-bit. The GTX 555 has that much, meaning that NVIDIA's website probably slipped a typo there. 

288 CUDA cores, 776 MHz GPU clock, 1 GB GDDR5 VRAM are the specs. 

And now we get to the weird part: the supposedly “high-end' GTX 640 is based on the GK107 Kepler, but has the CUDA core count, ROPs and texture units the same as on the GT 630 board. The 950 MHz clock is its only saving grace. 

Unfortunately, this doesn't explain why the base GT 640 model is identical to the GT 630 but with a GPU clock that is actually slower (797 MHz). Add to that the higher TDP (75W on all three) and more questions appear instead of answers. 

Finally, the wall of weird is completed by the “middle” GT 640, powered by the Fermi GF116. This board has 144 CUDA cores, 24 texture units, 16 ROPs, 720 MHz GPU clock and 1.5 GB or 3 GB of DDR3 at 891 MHz (interface is 192 bits). 

Going here may or may not dispel your bafflement. Peruse the new product pages at your discretion.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

NVIDIA GeForce GT 645

NVIDIA GeForce GT 640

GALAXY S3 (GT-I9300) Shows Up in Samsung Kies




After being spotted in Samsung UNPACKED application for Android devices, the Galaxy S III made its appearance in Samsung Kies desktop software as well.

The guys over at SamMobile discovered the upcoming Galaxy S III in Samsung's desktop application. 

Simply open Kies and head to Samsung apps / Choose phone, and you will be able to find the unannounced Galaxy III. In fact, the smartphone is listed as Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300 and GT-I9300T).

This is another proof that indicates Samsung plans to name its next-generation smartphone Galaxy S3, not Galaxy S III, as we previously thought.

However, we can’t be sure of anything until Samsung comes forward with the official announcement, which is expected to go live on May 3. That will surely put an end to all rumors. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.


Samsung Confirms Exynos 4 Quad-Core CPU for “Next Galaxy” Smartphone




Next week we’ll find out everything there is to know about Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy smartphone that will probably put an end to all rumors.

Although we’ve got lots of information on the alleged Galaxy S III specs sheet, nothing has been confirmed yet. However, it appears that Samsung made another step towards revealing the Galaxy S III’s insides.

The South Korean company has just announced that its new Exynos quad-core processor will power the  
next-generation Samsung Galaxy  smartphone that will be officially announced in May.

Dubbed Exynos 4 Quad, Samsung's new application processor is based on 32nm HKMG (High-k Metal Gate) process and exceeds 1.4GHz per core.

According to Samsung, the CPU is already on production and is also sampling to other major smartphone markets, which means we will probably see this one in other devices as well.

Given the fact that the Exynos 4 Quad is based on a 32nm HKMG low-power process and power-saving design, it has two times the processing power over its 45nm process-based Exynos 4 Dual predecessor, while consuming 20% less power at the same time. 

Samsung claims that it has adopted “hot-plug functionality to support on-off switching for each core as well as the per-core dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS),” in order to offer reduced power consumption. 

In addition, the Exynos 4 Quad seems to have been specifically designed to easily handle heavy-load apps, including 3D games, video editing, and calculation-intensive simulation.

“The application processor is a crucial element in providing our customers with a PC-like experience on mobile devices. Samsung's next Galaxy device, which will be officially announced soon, offers uncompromised performance and ground breaking multi-tasking features, thanks to Exynos 4 Quad's powerful performance and efficient energy management technology,” said Hankil Yoon, senior vice president of Product Strategy Team, Samsung's Mobile Communications Business.


Ivy Bridge Is Hotter Than It Should Be Due to Intentional Design Choice




Most people may not know that central processing units have integrated heatspreaders, but the number of prospective buyers who do may rise now that Ivy Bridge is out.

People who got a hold of Ivy Bridge engineering samples, as well as reviewers, mostly agree on at least one fact about the Ivy Bridge: it is too hot.

Not too hot to safely operate mind you, just a bit warmer than it should be.

Whether because of a hunch or a tip of some sort, the folks at Overclockers.com decided to investigate what the problem might be.

It turns out that it isn't a problem per se, but a design decision on Intel's part.

In the Sandy Bridge chips, the previous-generation collection, the Santa Clara, California-based company used flux-less solder in the CPU packages.

For those who don't know all the details, the solder was placed between the CPU die and the integrated heatspreader.

For the Ivy Bridge CPUs, Intel has chosen to use regular thermal paste between the CPU die and the IHS, as well as the sides of the die.

There is an upside to this, in that it is easier to remove the IHS (with flux-less solder, the die could be ripped off the CPU package altogether if one were to attempt to remove the heatspreader).

However, there is little to no chance that anyone besides extreme overclockers will ever consider the idea of taking their beloved and expensive CPU apart. As such, that Intel chose this design element solely for their benefit is rather unlikely.

But that leaves the question of why Intel would do this at all. Some people have begun to speculate, on the web, that the move was part of an agreement between the company and makers of coolers. The latter could, after all, exploit this design decision and make special cooling products advertised to work this or that much better when the IHS is absent. We'll wait and see before we draw our own conclusions.


Intel Lynx Point Chipset Models Detailed




Even though Intel has barely just brought out the Ivy Bridge CPUs line, and not all of them at that, people are already snooping around, trying to find info on the platform that will come next. 

For next year (2013), Intel plans to bring out the series of LGA-1150 central processing units codenamed Haswell. 

They will be just part of the Shark Bay platform, as they will get their own chipsets too. 

As people have, no doubt, guessed by now, said chipsets will have their own codename, Lynx Point (Ivy Bridge is paired with Panther Point). 

VR-Zone has provided what it claims is the relevant, known information on the 8-series chipset models. 

The main difference between them and the current lineup will be that the Z85 chipset will not have RAID support, for some reason. 

Speaking of chipset names, the Santa Clara, California-based company will follow its existing pattern, leading to Z87, H87 and Z85 branding for consumer desktop motherboards and Q87, Q85 and B85 chipsets for corporate / SMB mainboards. 

The C228 chipset is added to these, for Intel LGA-1150 Xeon processors (will replace the C216 chipset). 

One upgrade compared to 7-Series will be a revised Rapid Storage technology (what was initially called SSD Caching). There will be three settings: balanced, power efficiency and maximum performance. 

Some new additions will be made too, like Fast Boot, which lets the system detect the boot drive quicker, provided an SSD is in the system. 

We wrote about the Lynx Point back in February, when some roadmap slides managed to appear on the Internet somehow. 

However, beyond SATA 6.0 Gbps support on all six SATA links and extra USB 3.0 connectors, few specifics were revealed. Then again, Haswell and Lynx Point are still a year away, so we can't say there is much reason to pine for them yet.


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