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Jun 4, 2012

AMD Trinity Meets Lucid Virtu on Gigabyte’s New “UP Series”




Well-known mainboard manufacturer, Taiwanese company Gigabyte, lately known as the “Thinnest UltraBook” record holder, has just presented its first FM2 maindboard during Computex 2012. The new toy is called Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 and comes with very interesting features.

The motherboard will support AMD’s new Trinity desktop CPUs that feature new and improved Piledriver x86 cores along with a newer iGPU using VLIW4 architecture. This mainboard is part of Gigabyte’s new “UP Series” and features a new VRM system that promises much lower component temperatures especially in weak ventilated environments. The new VRM build on IP licensed from International Rectifer and brings a current intensity of 60 Amps per phase.

Gigabyte’s GA-F2A85X-UP4 “Trinity” motherboard has a 6 + 2 phase VRM and the technology from International Rectifier promises a 33% lower surface temperature for the VRM components in badly ventilated environments. That’s a promised average surface temperature of only 60 degrees Celsius versus the 90 degrees temperature we’re seeing on current mainboards. All mainboards using this type of VRM will dave the “UP” moniker in their naming scheme.

The Gigabyte’s GA-F2A85X-UP4 “Trinity” motherboard comes with three PCI-Express x16 slots, but the last one at the bottom is only x4 electrically and that usually means that it is connected to the chipset. Gigabyte’s DualBIOS is of course present along with six USB 3.0 ports and eight SATA III connectors with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support. The official memory support is up to DDR3 2400 MHZ + . That means that higher frequencies are attainable through the use of overclocking. Of course Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS (UEFI) is present along with Ultra Durable 5 technology and Gigabyte’s on/Off Charge with 3x USB power. On an interesting note, it seems that Gigabyte has signed a deal with Lucid and now the Lucid Virtu software is bundled with Gigabyte’s new mainboards. We can’t wait to see what Lucid is able to do for Trinity setups.







Core i7 Transformer Book Presented by ASUS




ASUS is a well-known mother board manufacturer. It’s likely the biggest motherboard manufacturer in the world, but the company now appears to be taking the mobile world by storm. During this year’s Computex show, the company is showing its own TransformerBook concept.

Although the tradition is to write it in a single word, just like UltraBook, netbook, nettop and notebook, maybe we should take a break from that an just write it Transformer Book. As we’ve already said, ASUS is taking the mobile world by storm and this is not a single blow like the first and second Transformers were. This seems to be a full blown attack. ASUS’ ZenBooks seem to be gunning for Apple’s MacBook Air. The Dual Screen wonder is a tough blow targeting Lenovo’s Yoga tablet. Therefore the Transformer Book seems to be an overall bomb to settle the score with any other mobile computer maker as it’s (yet again) something unique to ASUS.

ASUS’ Transformer Book is an ultra-portable mobile PC that incorporates a powerful Intel i7 processor, a high quality FullHD screen and SDD plus HDD storage options. The Core i7 CPUs are certainly members of Intel ULV family of low power consuming processors. What’s even more impressive is the fact that the Taiwanese manufacturer is offering discrete graphics processing units instead of the HD4000 iGPUs. The systems will come with USB 3.0 connectivity and a default 4 GB or RAM and two HD cameras. The one on the back will have a 5 MP resolution while the one on the front usually used for video calls will be just “HD.”

The battery life has not been made public yet, but we certainly hope that ASUS will provide batteries in both, the tablet and the keyboard docking pad. We’d be happy with 7 hours of movie playing on any of the 11.6”, 13” or 14” versions although we’d prefer the 14” one.



Gigabyte Presents Two AMD Trinity Mainboards




World’s Thinnest UltraBook record holder, mainboard manufacturer Gigabyte has just introduced a high-end “UP Series” FM2 mainboard today, but now the company is showing the rest of its FM2 lineup.

These mainboards are slim-ATX and microATX models that sport UltraDurable 4 quality certification and are powered by AMD’s A55 FCH chipset. The first one is the Gigabyte GA- F2A55-DS3 in the slim-ATX format using a simpler 4 + 2 phase VRM to fuel the processor. The board only comes with two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting DDR3-2400 memory through overclocking an a single PCI-Express x16 slot belonging to the 2.0 PCIe generation. There are four more PCI-Express x1 slots and two legacy PCI 32-bit expansion slots on the GA-F2A55-DS3. On the connectivity side, the GA- F2A55-DS3 comes with VGA and HDMI ports on the back I/O. USB 3.0 and SATA 3 should be present, but it is not mentioned on the presentation cart. Gigabyte’s 3D Bios (UEFI) and On/Off Charge is also present.

Next is the GA-F2A55M-DS2 in microATX format with a single slot of each flavor: a PCI-Express x16 one, a PCI-Express x1 one and a legacy PCI-32 Bit slot. There are four SATA ports that are probably SATA 3 and a DVI link next to the VGA port on the back panel I/O. The GA-F2A55M-DS2 is using an even simpler 3 + 2 phase VRM and comes with a full complement of two PS/2 ports. The audio back panel has only three connectors and On/Off Charge USB ports must be connected to the back of the computer by the means of an USB bracket.

These mainboard seem to be using only solid capacitors which is a very good thing although Dual BIOS is not mentioned.




MSI's GeForce GTX 670 Power Edition Debut




Micro-Star International has officially introduced a couple of GeForce GTX 670 graphics cards, both equipped with a custom printed circuit board (PCB) and air coolers.

Even though one of the GTX 670 Power Edition boards has regular clock speeds (915 MHz GPU, 980 MHz GPU Boost), it deserves the name because of its higher than normal overclocking capability. The custom PCB has a stronger VRM, as well as SFC chokes, International Rectifier DirectFETs and Hi-C capacitors. All in all, the enhanced PWM design should allow for a 25% higher current support compared to NVIDIA's PCB. Add to that Triple Overvoltage and there is a lot of overclocking headroom for enthusiasts to play with (fine-tuning of GPU, memory and PLL power domains via Afterburner). And now we get to the other major difference between the Power Edition and the stock GTX 670: cooling.

MSI chose Twin Frozr IV, the same one used on the AMD Radeon HD 7870 HAWK. It combines five 8mm nickel-plated copper heatpipes with a single aluminum heatsink and two 80mm fans, for 20°C lower and 11.7 dBA quieter operation. What's more, the shroud is detachable, so that buyers may have an easy time when cleaning the fin array. The shroud itself is dust-repellent, but nothing is perfect. And now we may as well give a recap of the specifications: the MSI GeForce GTX 670 Power Edition has two dual-link DVI ports, HDMI, DisplayPort, 1,344 CUDA cores, 112 TMUs, 2 GB of GDDr5 VRAM and a memory interface of 256 bits.

Finally, the GK104 GPU runs at 1,019 MHz / 1,079 MHz GPU Boost on the factory-overclocked version, although the VRAM frequency is untouched (6 GHz). All relevant information is available here, except for pricing. We think MSI will make haste in kicking off sales, but we can't say for sure what the ETA is or how much more than $400 / 400 Euro prospective buyers will have to pay.


Galaxy S III Gets Torn to Pieces, Unveils Impressive Internals




Samsung’s Galaxy S III is already available for purchase in various markets around the world, and it is nearing its official availability in some more countries before the end of this month.

Enthusiasts rushed to grab the new Android flagship device from Samsung, yet there still are some who haven’t yet had the change to take a good look at it. For all current and future Galaxy S III owners, as well as for those who are only interested in learning more on it, the guys over at iFixit have a treat. They took the time to disassemble one Galaxy S III unit and to bring all of its inner parts to light. Thus, users can have a better look at the phone’s 4.8" Super AMOLED 720 x 1280 resolution display, as well as at its 1.4 GHz quad-core application processor, or the powerful 2100 mAh battery packed inside it. For those out of the loop, we should also note that the Galaxy S III arrives on shelves in some markets with a dual-core application processor clocked in at 1.5GHz.

Samsung chose to do so as the quad-core CPU could not offer support for the 4G LTE networks available in these countries. Moreover, the company decided to supplement the phone’s RAM in these cases, bumping it up from 1GB in the International version to up to 2GB in LTE markets. The internal memory of the new Samsung mobile phone ranges from 16GB to 32GB or 64GB, yet users will also be able to add microSD memory cards of up to 64GB into the mix, to ensure that they have all the storage space they need.

Galaxy S III also comes with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for full HD video recording, as well as with a 1.9MP camera on the front for making video calls. All these, along with the rest of Galaxy S III’s internal circuitry, can be seen in the teardown photos that iFixit made available. You should head to their website for more info on the matter.




Kingston Launches 2,666 MHz-Certified Memory




Kingston is determined to hang onto its status as one of the best-known memory brands, so it has created some Hyper-X-branded, high-speed dual-channel DDR3 kits.

Since Intel saw fit to release a bunch of new dual-core and quad-core mobile and desktop CPUs, Kingston chose to ship kits “engineered especially for the new Intel third-generation Core i7 and i5 processors.” “The new 22nm architecture of this processor allows significant performance gains for benchmarkers, enthusiasts and overclockers,” said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston. “Enthusiasts who want to push the performance boundaries of the new processors will want to pair it with Kingston HyperX memory. Our 2,666 MHz kit combined with the top CPU in the Ivy Bridge family will allow unparalleled performance.” There are five kits in total, with capacities of either 8 GB or 16 GB (gigabytes). More precisely, there are three 8 GB kits and two 16 GB kits.

The former have speeds of 2,133 MHz, 2,400 MHz and 2.666 MHz, respectively, while the latter operate at 1,600 MHz and 2,133 MHz. All products are non-ECC and need a voltage of 1.65 V to work, except for the 1,600 MHz 16 GB kit, which makes do with 1.5V. Furthermore, Kingston managed to get Intel XMP (Extreme Memory profile) certification, as seen right here. Overclockers will probably have a field day once they buy one of these new memory offerings ($74.99 to $129.99 / 60 to 105 Euro).  And here is the catch: only overclockers will have a reason to consider buying these things. Regular consumers don't really need anything faster than 1,333 MHz if there are at least 4 GB / 8 GB present. Even professional designers and graphics editors don't actually require super-fast random access memory (RAM). It is probably one of the reasons Intel isn't rushing DDR4 support out the door, despite Samsung's grumbling.


New CyanogenMod 9 Boot Animation Emerges on Video




CyanogenMod 9, the popular Android 4.0-based custom software, has just got a new boot animation for all its users to enjoy.

The CyanogenMod team has recently adopted a new mascot for their software – Cid –, and the boot sequence has been revised to reflect that. The old mascot – Andy – is gone now, and soon all users will be greeted by Cid when powering up their devices. In the video embedded above, you can have a look at the official boot animation that CyanogenMod will soon feature, with the new mascot inside.

“This is the official boot animation for CyanogenMod 9 (CM9),” its designer notes. “I had to recreate the animation with the new mascot ‘Cid’ in place of old skateboard Andy.” Users will get the chance to download it soon, so stay tuned for more on the matter.

PNY Introduces Verto GeForce GT 640 Graphics Card




A couple of days ago we wrote about the bizarre GeForce GT 640 graphics card lineup that NVIDIA had released.

Now we are bringing you information on a custom-made GT 640, from PNY. It is called Verto GeForce GT 640 and runs the Kepler GK107 graphics processor (384 CUDA cores) at 900 MHz. Meanwhile, the 1 GB of DDR3memory has a frequency of 1,782 MHz (effective) and an interface of 128 bits. "Consumers can now experience Kepler architecture at an affordable price point," said Nicholas Mauro, senior marketing manager, PC components for PNY.

"Whether you're using your PC for multimedia or gaming, the GT 640's ability to visually consume three monitors with HD photos, videos, or games is truly dynamic. The GT 640 positions itself at the top of PNY's line of Verto mainstream graphics cards and is a true best in class game changer." PNY's graphics card boasts DVI, VGA and HDMI outputs. Its price is $130 / 105 Euro.


TRENDnet Reveals Wireless Networking Devices




People looking for a nice way to set up a wireless network at home may want to drop by TRENDnet's Computex 2012 booth one of these days.

What the company did was build the AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Router and the AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Media Bridge. The former (model TEW-812DRU) operates at 1,300 Mbps over 5 GHz 802.11ac and 450 Mbps over the 2.4 GHz band. Gigabit LAN receives the connection from a cable, while Beam Forming technology ensures optimum wireless transmissions. An USB port is thrown into the mix for networking HDDs or flash drives too.

The other device, AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Media Bridge (TEW-800MB) links together up to four media center devices (via Gigabit LAN ports) and a 1300 Mbps 802.11ac network. That includes Internet TVs, video recorders, media players, etc. The TEW-812DRU router has a price of $179.99 / 145 Euro, while the TEW-800MB media bridge will sell for $129.99 / 104 Euro. Shipments will begin in November.


Acer’s AIO 7600U and 5600U Gets Detailed




Acer has been known lately as one of the world’s biggest mobile PC manufactures. More to the point, Acer is currently enjoying the world’s second largest notebook manufacturer status.

Now that the All-In-One / Touchscreen craze is in effect, Acer seems dead set to capture a considerable part of the market. The company has shown much more innovative products than it did one or two years ago, and it’s also improving the quality of the devices developed. One such innovative and superior quality range of products is the company’s new AIO line. AIO is short for All-In-One. The 7600U and 5600U look very interesting on paper and nice in the marketing shots, but our colleagues from Slashgear have managed to get their hands on the devices and here are some pics. The devices, unfortunately, don’t seem to be too stable on those good-looking – but rather small and unstable – supports.

Also both systems feature a simple notebook-like slim optical device drive. That is quite unfortunate, as we would have preferred a slot in loading mechanism. Slot-in loading keeps the laser lens protected inside the unit at all times. On the slim ODDs used on Acer’s new AIO systems, the lens is always exposed when ejecting or loading an optical disc. Exposing a lens to outside factors such as humidity, dust, grease from human hands and other impurities is not something to be desired. Next to the fact that the lens can be smudged in various scenarios, the worse is also possible as a lens scratch can happen at any time, as well as a loading tray malfunction because of a user that pressed it too hard. All these issues can be avoided by using a slot-in loading mechanism.

Be sure to check out the complete gallery over at Slashgear.















ASUS Reveals Most Powerful Enthusiast Router




ASUS is a well-known motherboard manufacturer that has recently been registering success after success with its notebook and tablet mobile series. Today, the company is officially introducing the new AC wireless router called RT-AC66U.

Ever since the launch of the 500GP series, ASUS has been pretty successful among the home wireless enthusiasts. The 500GP was the first model to have two integrated USB 2.0 ports that were able to share a printer, an external HDD and a webcam to the rest of the network. One other feature that ASUS has always underlined regarding its top-of-the-line wireless routers was the Download Master application that allows the user to directly download files and torrents onto the external HDD connected to the router. ASUS even had wireless routers that featured integrated HDDs with this function and others. The routers were often modded with 3rd party firmware and, because the platform was powerful and stable, enthusiasts even added more RAM or extra USB ports.

Although ASUS is not as an established player in the wireless networking market as NETGEAR or Linksys, the company is working hard and every year it’s releasing very powerful products. The new ASUS RT-AC66U wireless router is a 5th generation WiFi device with dual-band capabilities. The ASUS RT-AC66U wireless router can sustain two networks: one in 2.4 GHz with a maximum throughput of 450 Mbs and one in 5GHz that offers a maximum of 1.3 Mb/s of data transfer. The device can handle up to eight SSIDs and the ASUS AiRadar signal amplification and shaping technology will try and amplify the signal differently towards each wireless client.

Like most of its top-of-the-line predecessors, the ASUS RT-AC66U wireless router comes with two USB 2.0 ports that will handle 3G modem sharing, FTP and printer server functions. QoS and the Download Master function are also present along with VPN and IPv6. The price has not been made known yet, but we expect it to be around $150 and we honestly hope it won’t cost more.

Note:

  • I’m the happy owner of an old ASUS 500GP router that has been handling an old HP 845C printer excellently. 
  • The problem I usually had with my unit was the fact that the Download Master never worked.
  • I’ve eventually moved away and left my 500GP behind, but the device is still handling a 3 computer network to this day and everything works smooth with the printer. 
  • Nobody else tried to get the Download Master to work as the theory was that “If he couldn’t, who could?!”
  • Now I’m the less happy owner of an RT-N16 wireless router.
  • While I see that this one is much more powerful and that the new firmware is really great, I usually get lots of interruptions and I have to reboot the router although the traffic is very light on it and there are only 2 clients.
  • Sometimes the device won’t print on the connected printer, in this case it’s a HP 1220C and without any logic, sometimes it will.
  • The most annoying problem is that the QoS function is not working at all with the latest firmware installed. I’d enforce and register a bunch of rules and when I visit the status page or any other page, QoS moves back to automatic.
  • Overall, if the firmware issues are ironed out, the ASUS devices are truly powerful and capable wireless routers.




Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 Flagship Motherboard Makes an Appearance




Since Computex 2012 is ready to kick off, hands-on reports about products are already coming in, such as the one where VR-Zone speaks about Gigabyte's Z77X-UP7.

The Z77X-UP7 happens to be the new so-called “flagship” motherboard with support for Intel's latest central processing units. Flagship means the latest and greatest product in a certain category, making the way the product title is chosen a bit strange really. Even though “flagship” would imply that a device leads in terms of marketing success, high-end devices end up selling in much lower numbers than mid-range models. Thus, “flagship” denotes the best-in-class invention on the part of a company and is more a means to show what said IT player can brag about. Of course, that doesn't take away from the worth of the product, and people that have enough money to afford top-tier hardware shouldn't have a reason to be disappointed by the Gigabyte Z77X-UP7.

In fact, overclockers might find a reason to be particularly inclined towards buying it. After all, it's not every day one finds International Rectifier IR3550 VRMs (Ultra Durable 5 technology). Speaking of which, the motherboard has a 32-phase VRM design, 3D BIOS and Gigabyte 3D Power technology, enabling wide overclocking capabilities and significant energy efficiency. Other specifications include five PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (the number is achieved thanks to a PLX PCI Express switch), a pair of PCI Express x1 slots, dual-Gigabit LAN, 4-way SLI / CrossFireX multi-GPU support, the Lucid Virtu technology (switches between integrated and add-in graphics) and Realtek ALC898 audio.

Finally, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and an mSATA SSD slot are built into the platform as well. Unfortunately, the price and availability of the Gigabyte's Z77X-UP7 were not specified. “GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 motherboards are especially optimized for water cooled systems and overclocked Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 'K' SKU CPUs due to their exceptionally low operating temperatures, and make the perfect match for anyone looking to push their system to limits,” said Henry Kao, vice president of Gigabyte motherboard business unit.


Windows 8-Loaded ASUS Tablets 600 and 810 Now at Computex 2012




Since Computex participants have finished preparing their booths, most products are already on show, and that goes for a certain pair of tablets from ASUS as well.

As opposed to the previous edition of the Computex trade show, or MWC 2012/11, this year there won't be an emphasis on Android slates. Instead, companies are going to reveal their Windows 8 projects. ASUS' tablet 600 and Tablet 810 are exhibits A and B, measuring 10.1 inches and 11.6 inches, respectively. "At ASUS we have been incubating for the arrival of this exciting era for several years. We believe that an open and balanced architecture can provide the best, ultimate solution for the new ubiquitous cloud computing era," said ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih.

The 600 and 810 were launched alongside the TaiChi dual-screen ultrabook/tablet. The 600 relies on NVIDIA's Tegra 3 system-on-chip and gets 2 GB of RAM (random access memory), an USB 2.0 port and an IPS display with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels (HD). The obligatory NAND Flash storage device is there as well (32 GB), along with an 8 megapixel camera at the back (with LED flash). As for the software, the Windows 8 version compatible with ARM is called Windows RT.

Tablet 810 is based on an Intel Atom Medfield CPU instead of the Tegra 3 platform. It also integrates a Wacom dual-digitizer, for painting on the screen glass with both the pen and the fingers. Everything else, except the screen size of course, is pretty much the same as on the 600. The 8 megapixel camera on the back is still there, as is the 2 GB RAM capacity and the 1,366 x 768 pixels display resolution (11.6-inch Super IPS+). Finally, ASUS sells, or will sell, matching keyboard docks alongside the two newcomers, in case owners want some way of easily typing their instant messages, e-mails or documents. Unfortunately, pricing information is still concealed, unsurprising given that Windows 8 won't launch until late in the year.



Windows 8 All-In-One Systems with TouchScreens Showed by Acer




It seems that notebook company Acer has become much more innovative this year and not only did it follow ASUS’ good tablet example, but the company now shows new All-In-One systems with impressive features.

The new touch-enabled All-In-One systems from Acer come with very thin bodies and feature an impressive multi-touch screen. The thickness is officially rated at just 35 millimeters. That's less than one inch and a half, and the multi-touch interface has support for an impressive 64 touch points. There were only two models presented until now and these are the 27” Acer Aspire 7600U and the 23” Acer Aspire 5600U.

The 7600U can be rotated in almost any position and can even be laid flat on a table for something like a table-top multi-touch operation. Price-wise, the two systems are not exactly affordable. The 27” 7600U is slated at 1,600 USD and the 23” model is “just” 1,000 USD. That’s about €1,300 for the 7600U and €800 for the 5600U.




Symbian Donna (PR3.0) Update Tipped for September




We already know that Nokia 808 PureView is the first Symbian smartphone to come with FP1 update out of the box, but the Finnish company plans another software update for September.

According to Symbian-Developers, Nokia plans to release PR3.0, also known as FP2 or Symbian Donna, in the 36th week of the year. Even the document leaked mentions the upcoming availability of Donna sometime in September, there are no details on the changes that the update is expected to bring.

On the other hand, the document contains most of the new features and bug fixes of the PR1 and PR2 updates. There’s a high chance that the update will be launched as Belle FP2, just like Symbian Carla was deployed as Belle FP1. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.


AMD E1-1200 and E2-1800 Brazos 2.0 APU Specs Exposed




Having already made a “gigantic” shipment in the first quarter of 2012, AMD is getting ready to launch a couple of newer and better Accelerated Processing Units.

Two of the APUs that will start shipping this month (June, 2012) are called E1-1200 and E2-1800. They are built on the bobcat architecture. Their specifications hadn't been known until today, not officially anyway. Fortunately, the Sunnyvale, California-based company has added them to its website at last. The E1-1200 is a dual-core with a clock speed of 1.4 GHz and the Radeon HD 7310 integrated graphics processor, with 80 shader cores and a frequency of 500 MHz. The E2-1800 also has two cores but runs at 1.7 GHz and drives its Radeon HD 7340 GPU at 523 MHz / 680 MHz in Turbo Core. Oddly enough, the company website does not give any Turbo speed rating for the x86 cores, so either the technology doesn't apply to them (for some obscure reason) or it was just an oversight.

We suspect the former, since the E-450 also has Turbo GPU rating but no change listed for the CPU core speed. Speaking of which, the E1-1200 will replace the E200, while the E2-1800 will take the spot covered by this very E-450. Both chips run on a TDP (thermal design power) of 18W and possess 1 MB of L2 cache. For those still skeptical about AMD's chances, and the odds of things like Sleekbooks giving Intel Ultrabooks a hard time, keep in mind that AMD's APUs have earned the Best Choice of Computex Award.

Sure, the prize went to the A-Series, not the E-line, but the latter get to enjoy some fame by association, even if they don't land inside sleekbooks or comparable devices. Besides, the E1-1200 and E2-1800 are Brazos 2.0 models, so they should score plenty of design wins on their own.


Acer Aspire S7 Windows 8 Ultrabooks Showcased




Computex hasn't officially begun yet, but the products are already on display, which means that PC makers have started to bring out the press releases for their various items.

The company now getting our attention is Acer, and it isn't for those Windows 8 Full HD tablets that we wrote about just a couple of hours ago. What we are looking at here is a pair of, surprise surprise, ultrabooks called Aspire S7 series. One of them has a display of 11.6 inches in diagonal while the other is larger, at 13.3 inches. Barring the cases, the rest of their specs are nearly the same, down to the native resolution of their respective liquid crystal panels: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). We say nearly because the former lasts less on a single batter charge than the latter. It is still a long time, but not as long. To be more precise, the 11.6-inch Aspire S7 will take 9 hours to deplete the battery, while the 13.3-inch one will survive for a maximum of 12 hours.

One of the CPUs detailed here will most probably lie inside Acer's newest creations, along with a few gigabytes of RAM (random access memory), an HDD / SSD /HHD and all the connectivity and I/O one would expect. As for the casings, the smaller ultrabook is housed in aluminum (a metallic unibody design) while the latter has a glossy, sculpted glass cover. That said, prospective buyers shouldn't expect theses things to be overly cheap, seeing as how they lack the low-cost plastic enclosures.

Then again, these machines do have Windows 8 loaded onto them, so they aren't going to be available until October, or whenever Microsoft decides to release the operating system. As such, if Acer plans for the S7 to be the “flagship” offering, it probably doesn't have affordability in mind anyway.


Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Gets PC Version, Pre-Order Bonuses




High Moon Studios has confirmed that, after all, a PC version of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is coming alongside the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions and has also revealed two different pre-order bonus offers.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the successor to the pretty impressive War for Cybertron and, from what we've seen up until now, it's going to respect the heritage of the franchise instead of trying to tie into one of the recent Hollywood movies. Up until now, developer High Moon Studios said that Fall of Cybertron would land only on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, due to the its team’s lack of expertise on the PC. Now, an official announcement has been posted on the game's Facebook page, confirming that Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is coming to the PC platform.

What's more, this version of the game will arrive right alongside the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions, on August 28, in North America, and August 31, in Europe. Besides this great piece of news for PC owners, High Moon Studios has also presented two pre-order bonus offers that are currently available for those interested in Fall of Cybertron. Those who pre-order from GameStop will get the G1 Retro Pack, which includes a classic skin for Optimus Prime that can be worn both in single-player and multiplayer, as well as two classic weapons.

Transformers G1 Retro Pack:
G1 Retro Optimus Prime: Play as the leader of the Autobots in his classic original robot and vehicle forms. Available in both Single and Multiplayer Modes.
G1 Retro Megatron Gun: Single Player Mode
G1 Retro Shockwave Cannon: Single Player Mode

Those who want to get the game from Amazon will receive the G2 Bruticus skin, which instantly shocks due to its vibrant color scheme. Expect to hear more about Transformers: Fall of Cybertron this week, when E3 2012 kicks off.


HP Intros New and Updated HP Z220 Desktops and EliteBook Workstations




Hewlett-Packard has formally launched some desktops powered by Intel Xeon CPUs, in addition to upgrading the EliteBook W-Series of mobile workstations.

The workstations bear the name of Z220 series and rely on quad-core Xeon E3 processors or, should budgets not be too great, Core i7 or Pentium units. It all depends on what buyers choose. NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics adapters, as well as up to 32 GB of RAM, are paired with whatever chip is selected. Meanwhile, the mobile series includes 14-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops powered by Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs. NVIDIA's Quadro K-series graphics are available, plus 24 GB SSD caching, various HDD/SSD storage options, up to 16 GB of RAM and 3G. The model names are 8470W, 8570W and 8770W.

"The addition of the new HP Z220 and EliteBook Mobile Workstations strengthens our already-robust lineup and reinforces our position as the market leader in the workstations industry," said Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager, Commercial Solutions Business Unit, HP. "For design, animation and engineering customers, creativity can strike while out in the field or back at the office-we've designed HP Workstations to complement the needs of professionals who demand quality and reliability where ever they are." HP's mobile and desktop workstations possess USB 3.0 support and, for the laptops, a decent level of protection against dust, shock and temperatures.

The prices are of at least $699 for the Z220 (562 Euro, give or take) and $1,329, $1,449 and $1,699 for the 14-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch mobile machines (1,070 Euro, 1,166 Euro and 1,368 Euro, respectively). Sales haven't started yet, but they should begin before the end of the ongoing month (June, 2012). Maybe sales will be good enough that HP won't end up in another situation where it has to fire 27,000 people.


New Windows Phone 8 Concept Emerges




This fall, Microsoft should bring to the market a new flavor of its mobile operating system. Dubbed Windows Phone 8, the platform is expected to bring various enhancements over the current platform version, yet specific info on its features lack at the moment.

However, that does not prevent enthusiasts from imagining what the next version of the OS would have to offer to them, and a new concept based on Windows Phone 8 has emerged recently. Running on a Nokia phone, which might be easily called Nokia Lumia 908, the concept focuses heavily on the platform’s interface and various features that would easily make users fall in love with it. In light of this platform concept, Windows Phone 8 will supposedly feature the same Metro UI as Windows 8, but it will bring capabilities specific to a mobile OS as well. Thus, we could see a Jump List included into the mix, for fast access to features, along with pinch-to-zoom, flexible Live Tiles, called Organic Live Tiles, and support for Mini Hubs.

Additionally, the concept Windows Phone 8 platform would provide users with more customization capabilities than what the 7.5 version of the OS was able to. There will also be better multitasking, with a force close feature added to the equation. When enabled, it would make the live tiles showing screen previews interactive, and it would also offer users the possibility to close all apps at once. In addition to the usual set of Hubs, there would also be a Wireless Hub to provide fast access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, phone radios and FM radio settings. When compared to Windows Phone 7.5, the upcoming platform would also offer improved Bing search and other capabilities related to Microsoft’s service, such as the possibility to easily save or share searches.

A My Windows Phone Hub would be included as the main center for device and app settings, while also offering details on the OS, carrier, content and promotions, and the like. Notifications would be larger, and they should enable users to either directly complete a task, or open a specific application or screen to perform actions related to it. Windows Phone 8 will also sport a social center, the Me Hub, offering info on social networking activity and pulling details from various destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google+, LinkedIn, so.cl, and more.

Other enhancements in Windows Phone 8 would include the availability of Xbox Music and Xbox Video, different sections for Music, Video, Podcasts and Radio, access to third-party services such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and BBC iPlayer, and the like. Of course, users will also be able to download and install applications and games from Microsoft’s official app portal, and they would benefit from access to other services from the Redmond-based software giant as well. More details on what this Windows Phone 8 platform concept has to offer can be found in this article on Neowin. More slides accompanying the explanations are available there as well.







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