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Jun 10, 2012

World’s Fastest AMD “Trinity” Notebook Preview

Famous Taiwanese mainboard manufacturer MSI, has been quite famous lately for building the world’s fastest “Ivy Bridge” notebook and the company has apparently done it again. MSI has shown at this year’s Computex the company’s new implementation of AMD’s “Trinity“APU inside its gaming notebook line.

MSI’s Computex 2012 booth had displayed a new GX60 gaming notebook. The interesting thing about this model is that it was powered by AMD’s A10-4600M APU instead of Intel’s Ivy Bridge that powers just about every other notebook in the company’s new product line. This is AMD’s top-performing Fusion mobile part and it works at a base frequency of 2300 MHz. The processor can Turbo up to 3200 MHz and is packaged in a 722-pin micro-PGA socket called FS1 (FS1r2). The processing cores are kept fed with data by 4 MB of level 2 cache. That’s 512 KB of level 2 cache for each core.

Unlike AMD’s FX processor line, there is no level 3 cache, but being a Fusion processor, AMD’s A10-4600M comes with an integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU) that runs at a default 497 MHz, with the option to Turbo up to 686 MHz when all the 384 Shaders are subjected to a heavy 3D task. All of this is done with a maximum heat dissipation of 35 watts and, using a graphics switching technology, it will help save energy when less demanding graphics tasks are sent up for processing. MSI’s GX60 has a very powerful APU inside. It’s powerful enough to surpass discrete graphics solutions such as Nvidia’s GT 620M and GT 630M and can keep up with GT 640 in a number of scenarios.

Still, the Taiwanese company is used to build very powerful mobile gaming systems and doesn’t seem to be wiling to leave any room for the competition. Therefore MSI has selected AMD’s Radeon HD 7970M mobile GPU to improve GX60’s gaming capabilities. AMD’s Radeon HD 7970M is currently the fastest shipping mobile GPU in the world. Nvidia has just announced the GT 680M and that’s surely faster than AMD’s top mobile GPU, but notebooks with GT 680M are just being announced with shipments to begin at a later date.

Users should be well documented when it comes to mobile 3D prowess as there’s a great deal of marketing and rebranding coming from both manufacturer. On that note, you should know that the Radeon HD 7970M has a little bit less 3D power than AMD’s desktop Radeon HD 7870 GPU. Basically the HD 7970M is a Pitcairn GPU  that has a frequency of only 850 MHz versus the 1 GHz frequency of its desktop brother. It comes with 1,280 shaders and 80 texture units all using GDDR 5 memory running at 4800 MHZ effective speed. Compared with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 675M, the AMD Radeon 7970M is clearly superior while being a bit behind the recently announced GTX 680M.

It comes complete with AMD’s UVD3 video decoder, Eyefinity and the power-saving Enduro and ZeroCore technologies. Other unofficial data suggests that the Radeon HD 7970M is considerably more powerful than a GeForce GTX 580M SLI configuration, while being cheaper and more power-efficient. MSI’s GX60 gaming laptop is coming with a 15.6” screen that’s likely using a FullHD resolution. We’re eager to see the 17” version and we’re certainly hoping MSI will build one.

The laptop comes with many if the features found in the GT70 top gaming solution from MSI. The Steelseries keyboard and Dynaudio speakers are there as are the performance enhancing features such as the Qualcomm Atheros Killer NIC chip for reduced networking latency during gaming sessions and the special storage system. We would like you to pay close attention to MSI’s storage solution for the company’s gaming notebook series as this is a unique solution in the mobile gaming world and it’s currently the fastest.

This SSD-based RAID 0 hybrid storage system consists of two mSATA SSD drives that are part of a RAID 0 matrix and a separate 7200 RPM mobile hard disk drive, with up to 500GB storage capacity. The RAID 0 system reaches speeds well over 800 MB/s, while the HDD offers enough capacity for your games and files. MSI’s mobile storage solution is absolutely unique and provides performance never before seen in a gaming laptop. The GX60 uses AMD’s A70M FCH and it will be able to drive three external screens. There is no world on the pricing yet. There are some rumors that the SteelSeries keyboard and the Dynaudio speakers will be left out to make the price hit the 1200 USD mark, but we’re certainly hoping that the eSATA port will still be there along with the 17” screen model.

We consider that it would be quite unfair that AMD fans won’t be able to enjoy the same features that the Intel-based GT70 owners will be able to. We’re looking forward to review MSI’s GT70 alongside with its AMD based brother the GX60.

Sapphire’s AMD FirePro Cards Power 6480x3840 Resolutions

Lately there wasn’t much talk about AMD’s professional line of graphics card. The company seems to lack the will to make its professional solutions more popular unlike Nvidia is doing with their Quadro line.

AMD seems to be leaving such marketing and announcements to its partners and Sapphire is happy to oblige. The long time AMD AIB partner has just presented during this year’s Computex show an array of FullHD monitors that were connected to an AMD FirePro professional video card. The impressive aspect of Sapphire’s display was the fact that all the displays were controlled by a single video card using some Vid-2X display expanders.

The whole setup was comprised of 12 FullHD monitors displaying a resolution of 6480 by 3840 pixels. TechReport has managed to get a picture of the setup and it is truly impressive.

7Gb/s Wireless Devices Coming in 2013

While not being displayed at this year’s Computex, WirelessAD chips already taped out and are being tested. The WirelessAD standard promises transfer speeds of 7 GB/s, but the technology will not replace WirelessN and WirelessAC.

The 802.11ad wireless communication standard operates in the 60 GHz band and is mostly designed to sustain networks inside the same room. The 60 Ghz signal is much more sensible to obstacles and is likely to be bounced off the walls. WirelessAD technology will coexist with current WirelessN networks working in 2.4 GHz band and new WirelessAC setups working in the 5 GHz band.

There will be tri-band routers, but most of the wireless home environment in the AD standard will evolve towards point to point connections in router-less setups. Mobile computers such as AMD Trinity powered UltraThin laptops and Hondo tablets or Intel UltraBooks will connect to remote docks with multiple connectivity options such as Gigabit LAN and USB 3.0 using WirelessAD technology.

BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981 Coming to Indonesia for $2,000 USD (1600 EUR)

Shortly after Research In Motion (RIM) announced the immediate availability of the BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981 in Singapore, the Canadian company introduced the smartphone in Indonesia.

Porsche Design and Research In Motion recently confirmed that the premium Porsche Design P’9981 smartphone will be available in Indonesia at all BlackBerry Lifestyle stores from authorized partners across the country, including PT. Teletama Artha Mandiri, PT. Selular Media Infotama and PT. Comtech Cellular. Customers who wish to purchase the Porsche Design P’9981 will have to come up with no less than Rp. 18,888,888 ($2,000 USD or 1600 EUR) upfront. Powered by RIM's BlackBerry 7 operating system, Porsche Design P’9981 is built from exclusive materials, such as forged stainless steel and hand-wrapped leather. In addition, the sculpted QWERTY keyboard and the crystal clear touch display gives the phone a stylish look. The smartphone comes with an exclusive Porsche Design UI and the Wikitude World Browser augmented reality app.

Moreover, it includes a premium, exclusive PIN that identifies the customer as a holder of a Blackberry Porsche Design P’9981 smartphone. Hardware-wise, the Porsche Design P’9981 is equipped with a 1.2 GHz single core processor, 768MB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). Furthermore, the smartphone sports a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen display (640 x 480 pixels ) and a 5-megapixel rear photo snapper, which features autofocus, LED flash and HD (720p) video recording.

“Porsche Design has been a symbol for Iconic Style since 1972. And the brand new P’9981 smartphone is a milestone product for Porsche Design. It is a representation of the iconic Porsche Design styling philosophy and RIM’s technology-driven focus, which combine to deliver engineered luxury and powered performance in a smartphone for the discerning consumer,” said Dr. Juergen Gessler, CEO of the Porsche Design Group.

Apple Confirms iOS 6

Apple continues to install various banners inside San Francisco’s Moscone West, the latest of which confirms one key announcement about to be made at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference this next Monday.

“We have a great WWDC planned this year and can’t wait to share the latest news about iOS and OS X Mountain Lion with developers,” said Philip Schiller (Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing), in April, when Apple announced the WWDC schedule. Apple’s sales guy added, “The iOS platform has created an entirely new industry with fantastic opportunities for developers across the country and around the world.” By giving workers the green light to hang banners that read “iOS 6. The world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” Apple has now indirectly (and prematurely) announced the next major version of the underlying software powering iPhones and iPads everywhere.

It is not often that this happens, and it most likely wouldn’t have happened under Steve Jobs’ lead. But, what’s been done cannot be undone. There’s a very good chance Apple will at least hand developers a beta of iOS 6 at Monday’s ceremonious unveiling of the latest technologies crammed behind a small blue icon filled with ripples and a giant six right smack in the middle. At the other end of the spectrum, there is little to no chance of a public release - Apple will most likely hold that off until the next iPhone is unveiled. That’s not to say there isn’t a slight possibility Apple has plans to introduce its next iPhone next week. They’ve done it a few times before at WWDC, which set a trend for the Cupertino giant - a trend we shouldn’t necessarily regard as obsolete.

The company’s iPhone 4S announcement in October last year could simply be an exception. Of course, with all the rumors swirling around about a new line of Macs, an Apple TV SDK, and the confirmed Mountain Lion showcase, topping it all with the iPhone 5 would be an overkill for Apple’s annual, developer-centric event.

Windows 8 - a Rich, Extensible Media Platform

Windows 8 will arrive with improved connectivity capabilities, better social networking, and support for new, appealing applications, as well as with various media features, Microsoft says.

For a platform designed to power a new range of mobile computers, it was only natural for it to deliver great entertainment capabilities too, regardless of the PC architecture it was loaded on (both x86 and ARM devices should deliver the same features). Whether it comes to watching a movie, listening to music, video chatting or more, engaging with rich media should provide a great experience to all users, Microsoft says. Thus, Windows 8 was designed to enable users to engage in a rich variety of multimedia activities, while also offering developers the possibility to engage with these capabilities through an extensible media platform. Of course, Microsoft did choose to remove some of its proprietary entertainment software from various flavors of Windows 8, but that does not mean that users won’t enjoy a media capable OS.

In fact, the company worked on designing the Windows 8 media platform by focusing on specific aspects of the process:
Maximize performance. We wanted media playback to be fast and responsive, enabling the full power of the hardware while maximizing battery life on each PC.
Simplify development and extensibility. We wanted to provide a platform that could be easily extended and tailored for a given application, setting the stage for innovative custom media apps on Windows.
Enable a breadth of scenarios. A high performance, high efficiency, extensible platform can then enable a wide range of music, video, communications, and other multimedia apps.

The result should impress all users. The platform can deliver real time video decoding and playback, instantaneous voice communication, long battery life, and the like. In a recent post on the Building Windows 8 Blog, Scott Manchester, group program manager for Microsoft’s Media Platform and Technologies team, explains in detail what makes Windows 8 a rich media platform. He offers info on resource usage, codecs support, video orientation, streaming capabilities, audio transitions, stereo 3D video, support for displaying content on multiple screens, platform’s capabilities to adapt, and the like.

“The Windows 8 media platform is designed to deliver a fluid and responsive media experience with great battery life,” Scott Manchester notes in the end. “We’ve engineered Windows to give you a great user experience across a broad set of scenarios, including voice communication, audio and video playback, and streaming content. As media applications continue to evolve, the media platform in Windows will enable these experiences to shine across all Windows 8 PCs.”

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