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May 30, 2012

VIA Launches the ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC featuring Eden X2 Dual Core CPU

Famous CPU and chip designer, Taiwanese company VIA is launching today its ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC small form factor (SFF) computer system, on its official website.

VIA’s Eden X2 dual core processor was quite some time ago. It’s an out-of-order 64 Bit architecture so it should be able to surpass any Intel Atom CPU running at the same frequency. The out-of-order architecture is also advantageous in many in-optimized scenarios where in-order architectures such as Atom usually can’t display satisfactory performance. These processors are built in TSMC’s 40nm manufacturing technology and are fully pin-to-pin compatible with VIA Eden, VIA C7, and VIA Nano E-Series processors. The company is marketing a 7 year longevity guarantee. We’re not sure what’s VIA’s interpretation of this, but we think it should mean that the CPU should be able to function 7 whole years continuously flawless.

Eden X2 is a high-performance superscalar processing architecture featuring “most efficient speculative floating point algorithm.” VIA’s Eden X2 also comes with hardware AES support and native support for 64-bit operating systems along with advanced power and thermal management. The CPU inside VIA’s ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC small form factor (SFF) computer system is running at 1GHz and comes with 2 MB of level 2 cache. The system supports 4 GB of DDR3-1066 memory, but only comes equipped with 1 GB. It is built around VIA’s VIA VX900 Media System Processor chipset that integrates VIA’s Chrome 9 HD DX9 3D/2D video processor with MPEG-2, WMV9/VC1, H.264 video decoding acceleration. The ARTiGO A1200 SlimPC come with dual VIA VT6130G RJ-45 connectors for Gigabit Ethernet connection and has 4 USB 2.0 ports.

A single USB 3.0 port and WLAN are optional, but there are two expected HD audio jacks, one VGA port, a HDMI connector and a built-in CFast socket. Only one SATA interface for a single 2.5” storage device is present and the whole thing weighs 1.2 Kg or around 2.64 pounds. The price has not been made available yet, but the dual Gigabit LAN and the low power fanless operation makes it an interesting solution.

Buffalo TeraStation 5200 NAS Debuts

Buffalo is somewhat periodic in its release of network-attached storage devices, just like it is in most other fields it dabbles in (drive enclosures, optical drives, SSDs, even wireless routers).

The product coming out this time is the TeraStation 5200 NAS, which has four drive bays and the Intel Atom D2550 dual-core CPU. Buffalo didn't exactly try to put all its NAS rivals to shame with this, unlike its recent achievement on the wireless router front. Although it did include a variety of features, it also kept in mind that small and medium businesses can't afford to pay a fortune for storage. As such, only two of the four HDD bays are pre-populated, for up to 6 TB (combined). RAID 0/1/JBOD modes are all supported.

iSCSI, replication and failover support, as well as SoleraTec Phoenix RSM ( a video surveillance asset management solution) are part of the spec sheet as well. That said, the aforementioned Atom CPU has a frequency of 1.86 GHz and is backed by 2 GB of DDR3 memory. This, Buffalo says, permits multiple services to be run at the same time. "By reducing the complexity and cost of traditional IP video surveillance storage and asset management, the TeraStation 5000 series eliminates many of the barriers businesses face when implementing and running IP-based surveillance," said Matt Dargis, senior director of sales at Buffalo Technology.

"This launch proves once again our dedication to delivering high performance solutions that serve the needs of our customers and our commitment to the SMB market." In addition to the things already mentioned, TeraStation 5200, like the others in the 5000 series, gets USB 3.0 support, Gigabit Ethernet (two ports) and, of course, hot-swap HDD support. Finally, a video surveillance asset management platform is included in the product, for high-quality video storage, access and playback.

TeraStation 5400 will replace the current TeraStation Pro Quad TS-QVL/R6, will have a base capacity of 4TB and should be available in June at an estimated street price of $879.99 / 705 Euro, or more, if higher capacities are selected.

Supermicro Launches NVIDIA Maximus SuperWorkstation

Supermicro has proudly introduced the X9 SuperWorkstation 7047GR-TRF, a high-performance server equipped with four NVIDIA Tesla C2075 GPU compute accelerators and a Quadro GPU.

What is even more important is that the system supports NVIDIA Maximus, a technology whereby a single system can, at the same time, carry out both interactive graphics tasks and heavy computations. To elaborate, the X9 SuperWorkstation uses the Quadro for displaying visuals and the Tesla for simulations. The other important components involved in the making of this machine are an Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor, a massive capacity of random access memory (512GB DDR3 1600MHz ECC), an 80 PLUS, Platinum Level (94%) PSU and the Super X9DRG-QF motherboard.

"Supermicro's NVIDIA Maximus certified 7047GR-TRF SuperWorkstation opens the door to personal supercomputing for scientific, engineering and entertainment fields, and closes the gap between design and realization," said Wally Liaw, vice president of sales, international, at Supermicro. We'll pass on listing all the other technical details, since they are ever so clearly listed here.

HP Fully Fledged Brazos 2.0 Notebooks for Just €380 ($475)

World’s biggest PC manufacturer, HP, is currently offering two new Brazos 2.0 fully fledged notebooks for just €380. That’s about $475 for the American buyers.

HP’s new devices are part of the HP 655 line and the first model is powered by AMD’s E1-1200 APU, while the second is using an E2-1800 dual-core processor. We already described AMD’s E2-1800 APU here and the E1-1200 has recently been shown by Acer in its Aspire E1-421 notebook. MD’s new Brazos 2.0 platform is supposed to bring enhanced functionality to the low-budget user – like USB 3.0 support – but the report doesn’t mention the new connection interface. Both new mobile devices feature a 15.6” screen animated by AMD’s iGPUs Radeon HD 7310 and Radeon HD 7340.

These iGPUs come with 80 shaders each and are clocked a little bit differently. The former works at 500 MHz default frequency, while the latter is clocked a bit higher at 523 MHz. Both iGPUs benefit from AMD Turbo technology that will clock them at a high 680 MHz when required. The E1-1200 model comes with a 320 GB HDD and 2 GB or DDR3 RAM. The more powerful implementation benefits from a 500 GB HDD and double the amount of RAM. Weighing 2.45 Kg (5.04 pounds), they are fueled by a six-cell battery that’s likely rated at more than six hours.

The operating system can be Linux or Microsoft’s Win 7 Home Edition if the user wants to spend more money on the device. Pricing is ranged between €380 and €390. That’s a maximum of $499 for the most powerful configuration.

NZXT Reveals Aperture M Advanced Media Reader

Computer case and cooling manufacturer NZXT has just introduced the new Aperture M Advanced Media Reader, on its official website.

The Aperture M Advanced Media Reader is a 5.25” device mountable in a usual optical 5.25” bay from any computer case. It has a very cool mesh design and comes with USB 3.0 connectivity. Considering the high-speed flash media that have been launched lately, like ADATA’s high-performance microSDHC Cards or Kingmax’ ED-07 USB memory sticks, a USB 3.0 card reader has become a necessity for any computer user.

NZXT comes to fill the demand for high-performance media readers and presents the Aperture M advanced media reader that’s able to work with CF, MD, SM, XD, SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MS, M2, and MSD storage media. Priced at just $34.99 (€28), the Aperture M advanced media reader is a really useful I/O device than can be connected to any USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 header on the mainboard.

Nikon D4 and D800 Lock-Ups Fixed by Firmware Update

Nikon's D800 camera has been selling so well that supply turned into a shortage fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, it wasn't spared its woes, and neither was the D4 for that matter. The two cameras appeared to have a tendency to suddenly stop accepting commands or carrying out whatever they happened to be doing. These lock-ups could only be overcome through a removal of the battery. Now, Nikon has released new firmware for the D4 and D800, fixing not only this issue but also a problem with the transfer of RAW files (network transfer won't happen in JPEG-only mode anymore).

Finally, it should no longer be possible for custom settings to cause unexpected changes to aperture and exposure compensation. The D800 firmware is found here and the D4 download can be started here.

High-Performance microSDHC Cards Introduced by ADATA

Well-known affordable memory manufacturer ADATA is announcing today the new Premier Pro microSDHC UHS-I U1 memory cards, on its official website.

These are high-performance portable data storage solutions for your high-quality photos and videos. The main performance point of the new Premier Pro microSDHC UHS-I U1 memory cards is the write speed. As most of you know, a flash media card must be able to write data at a minimum of 6 MB/s speed to allow video or digital photo camera to record 720p high-quality video. When recording a FullHD film, the write speed must be even higher. ADATA’s new Premier Pro microSDHC UHS-I U1 memory cards offer an impressive 40 MB/s write speed and a very high 45 MB/s, respectively.

While delivering a very good read speed of 45 MB/s, the most important aspect is the write speed. We must also remind users that in order to enjoy these high-performance specifications along with the 1400/150 IOPs random Read/Write speeds, they must have a USB 3.0 card reader and UHS-I capable recording devices. The prices have not been made available yet.

New Mainstream Notebook Intel CPU Coming Soon

Soon enough there will be a new mainstream mobile CPU up for selection when buying certain laptops.

And by certain laptops we mean the Clevo W258ELQ, HP's ProBook 4540s and Lenovo's G480. The chip in question is called Pentium B980 and has two Sandy Bridge Cores. That's right, this isn't a 22nm Ivy Bridge unit. Anyway, the dual-core has 2 MB of L3 cache, a clock speed of 2.4 GHz and a memory controller for DDR3-1333 MHz.

Furthermore, it will support basic technologies and SIMD extensions up to SSE4, but there will be no Hyper-Threading or Virtualization. Finally, Intel's chip will run on 35W of power and will be possible to replace by Celeron and Core series processors if notebook prospective buyers so choose.

iPhone 5 Is Made of Aluminum (Photos)

Alleged iPhone 5 parts obtained by a gadget repair shop yesterday show that Apple’s next-generation of smartphones will not only adopt a different look, but also different materials.

Sadly, for those who were keeping their fingers crossed to see the Liquidmetal iPhone finally unveiled this year, Apple’s next major iteration of the elusive iPhone is made from aluminum. Anodized aluminum, going by the pictures leaked by uBreakiFix.com.

Not a single media outlet is even trying to debunk these images, and for good reason too – they confirm every major rumor regarding the next-generation of iPhones. Including the metal back. Some are surely disappointed that Apple hasn’t adopted a tapered design. Maybe next year.

PNY Launches One of the Smallest Flash Drives Yet

On the IT market, the smaller a product is the grander an entrance it makes and, even though the fanfare didn't turn out to be too overwhelming, the PNY's Mini M1 USB Flash Drive is no exception.

Weighing just 2.8 grams, the product measures 4.6 mm (H) x 12.3 mm (W) x 24.2 mm (L), or 0.18 x 0.48 x 0.95 inches. Capacity-wise, buyers will be able to select between 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB, while performance will be dictated by the USB 2.0 standard. More precisely, reads will happen at 32MB/s and writing will go at 10MB/s.

As for the design, it comes without a cap, but does include a small handle with a hole in it, on the opposite end of the USB plug (for a lanyard or key chain). Unfortunately, the price of the flash drive was not specified.

ENERMAX to Debut Its First Liquid Cooling Kit at Computex 2012

Famous power supply manufacturer Enermax has just announced the company’s first water cooling solution, on its official website. This is a closed loop system that looks very similar to other products from Asetek and Antec.

Water cooling is quite a risky initiative when it comes to water-sensitive environments like computers and electronics. A decade ago, powerful water cooling solutions provided a clear cooling performance lead over air cooling solutions at the time. Now, with the advent of high-quality thermal interface materials (TIM), copper heatpipes and large cooling fans, water cooling rarely demonstrates any kind of superiority when it comes to end user solutions.

The main problem besides the obvious risk is the pricing, as water cooling solutions are usually two to five times more expensive than even the best air cooling solutions. We welcome Enermax’ initiative and we hope for more competition on the water cooling front resulting in better performance, reliability and lower prices.

High-Power Apogee Drive II CPU Water Cooling Kit Launched

Water cooling expert company Swiftech has just announced the new Apogee Drive II CPU water cooling kit, on its official website. We’ve already made it clear where we stand on water cooling here, but Swiftech’s new product uses a powerful integrated pump.

When seeing the chance of a real improvement in cooling performance over good air cooling solutions, we tend to be a little more lenient and assume the risk of using water to cool electrical components. Swiftech uses its most powerful water pump and the Apogee Drive II CPU water cooling kit has integrated it into the water block so only a radiator, a cooling fan and a water tank are needed.

If the results are at least 10 percent superior to what the best cooling solutions can currently offer, we’d accept the company’s asking price of $144,95 for the 1155/1366 version, $135.95 for the 2011 version and $138.95 for the AMD version. On the other hand, if the results are less impressive than today’s best air cooling solutions, asking €115 for the 1155/1366 version, €107 for the 2011 version and €111 for the AMD version will definitely be overpricing.

Galaxy S III Confirmed with Gorilla Glass 2

Galaxy S III, Samsung’s latest Android-based flagship device, has its screen protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, the company has just confirmed.

Corning is renowned for its Gorilla Glass technology, which toughens the touchscreen displays of modern handsets, so as to protect them from scratches. The company’s technology has been previously packed on most high-end smartphones out there, and it is expected to continue being used in many of them. Samsung Galaxy S III is one of these, providing its owners with increased protection against rough usage of the screen. The best part of the deal is that the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile phone features the second-generation Gorilla Glass.

Corning unveiled Gorilla Glass 2 in January this year during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announcing that it can provide users with the same endurance as the previous generation technology, although it is 20 percent thinner. Galaxy S III comes with a large 4.8-inch touchscreen display, but it also sports a thin body, and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 appears to have been the best option for offering protection to it. “We are pleased to offer our customers the thin elegance and refined style of the GALAXY S III using Corning Gorilla Glass 2,” Corning reportedly stated.

“New Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is an ideal solution for Samsung’s high-quality smartphones, enabling a superior touch experience and a lightweight and slim design, with the damage and scratch resistance consumers have come to expect.” Galaxy S III started to arrive in users’ hands yesterday, when Samsung made it available in no less than 28 markets around the world. In the coming weeks, the handset is expected to reach over a hundred more countries, and it should also become available for purchase in markets where LTE capabilities are required, such as the United States, South Korea, Canada and more.

Google’s Asus Nexus 7 Tablet Emerges on Benchmarks

Internet giant Google has been long rumored to plan the release of a tablet in the popular Nexus series, while having it manufactured by Asus.

The company hasn’t made an official announcement on the matter for the time being, but the device appears to have just emerged on Rightware's Power Board benchmark result site. The tablet can be seen there with the codename “grouper” attached to it, which is consistent with Google’s manner of naming Nexus devices. Moreover, the model name is Nexus 7, which apparently confirms the 7-inch form factor that this device is supposed to sport, Android Police notes. It also features a tablet-like resolution, namely 768 x 1280 pixels. Additionally, we should mention that the device supposedly features build number JRN51B, where J might stand for Jelly Bean.

The build and SDK are mentioned as version 4.1, which leads to the belief that Google’s next version of mobile platform might arrive on devices as Android 4.1. Android Police also notes that their server logs are already showing instances of Android 4.1, and that there is also reference to Galaxy Nexus phones powered by builds such as JRN54 and JRN54F, supposedly confirming Google’s plans for the next platform release. On the aforementioned benchmarking site, the upcoming Google Asus Nexus 7 tablet is placed 11th, with a score of 18. Of course, it is still work in progress, and the final version might perform better than that. After all, the tablet is expected to pack a quad-core 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 application processor.

Some of the latest reports on the matter suggested that Google was looking for initial orders of around 600,000 units from Asus, and that the overall sales projection for the entire year was of 2 or 2.5 million devices. The tablet is expected to feature a low price tag, being capable of competing directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other affordable devices.

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