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Jul 2, 2012

AMD’s Radeon 8000 Series “Sea Islands” Family Detailed, 40% Faster than “Tahiti 2”

As Nvidia is readying the new GK110 Kepler-based monster GPU targeted for GPU computing and later for top gaming performance, AMD is preparing its new Radeon 8000 “Sea Islands” GPU family.

The top performing member of the “Sea Islands” family is codenamed “Venus” The other members of the Sea Island family are rumored to be called Sun, Oland and Mars and their internal configuration will likely be:

Die size: 230 square millimeters;
Transistor count:  3.2 billion;
Stream processing units: 1536 units.;
TMUs: 96 units.;
ROPs: 32 units.;
Memory BUS width : 256 bits.

Die size:  135 square millimeters or 160 square millimeters;
Transistor count:  1.7 billion or 2.0 billion;
Stream processing units: 768 units or 896 units;
TMUs: 40 units  or 48 units;
ROPs: 16 units for both possible variants;
Memory BUS width : 128 bits or 192 bits;

Die size:  85 square millimeters;
Transistor count:  0.9 billion;
Stream processing units: 320-384 units.;
TMUs: 20 or 24 units.;
ROPs: 8 or 16 units.;
Memory BUS width : 64-128 bits.

The new “Sea Islands” GPU will likely work at even higher frequencies compared with the current GCN chips as the 28 nm manufacturing process at TSMC has matured and the chip designer will likely do its best at achieving lower current leakage and an overall more efficient design.

Fabless GPU and CPU designer, American company AMD is getting ready to launch its newest and most powerful GPU architecture this winter. The new GPU series will bear the codename “Sea Islands” while the products will be branded Radeon 8000 Series.

Not much is known about the new architecture, but rumors say that the new GPU will have 5.1 billion transistors and will be built in TSMC’s well-known and popular 28 nm manufacturing technology. Considering the fact that the current GCN top performing GPU has 4.3 billion transistors, a relatively small 18% increase in transistor count would be rather impressive if it yields a 40% performance improvement. The transistor count can’t grow too much especially since the GPU is still made using 28nm bulk wafers and at roughly 410 millimeter die size, the Venus GPU is already big enough. The internal configuration of the architecture is supposed to be comprised of 2560 stream processors, 160 texture units (TMUs), 32 or 48 ROP units (ROPs) and the same 384-bit memory bus.

AMD’s new flagship is likely to maintain the GHz-like frequencies that are usually achieve by the current GCN processors. Not moving to a smaller manufacturing process does not mean that AMD will end up with a hot chip. In fact, six months from now, TSMC’s 28 nm manufacturing process will basically be more than 1 year old and will yield even better results. On the other hand AMD will do its best to achieve a lower current leakage and overall a more efficient architecture.

AMD Dual GPU Radeon 6990 Video Card
Image credits to AMD

AMD Client and Graphics Roadmap
Image credits to AMD

Samsung GT-B5330 with QWERTY Keyboard and Ice Cream Sandwich Spotted in China

Samsung plans to release new affordable Android smartphones aimed at customers who don’t want to spend a fortune on an ICS-based device.

Such a device has been recently spotted in China at the TENAA, the country’s regulatory commission, and has been filed by Samsung as GT-B5330. According to the folks over at SammyHub, the GT-B5330 is powered by Google’s Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which seems to be the only reason the South Korean company may want to put it in the mid-range category. The photo of the phone shows that Samsung GT-B5330 comes with a full QWERTY keyboard, which is a bit unusual for a smartphone that runs Ice Cream Sandwich platform. Unfortunately, the device falls short when it comes to hardware configuration, but that should be understandable given the fact that it will be launched as an affordable smartphone in emerging markets.

Samsung GT-B5330 is equipped with a low-performance 850 MHz processor, which is more likely to be single core than dual-core. There’s no word on the amount of memory, but we can safely assume that the device won’t pack more than 512MB of RAM. It’s also possible that the storage space will be expandable up to 32GB via microSD card as well. It is also worth mentioning that the GT-B5330 sports a QVGA capacitive touchscreen display that supports 320 x 240 pixels resolution. For the time being, these are the only specs that surfaced online, but we expect more info to emerge in the following days. Samsung GT-B5330 is expected to be released in China in the next few months, but there’s a high chance that we will see this one being rolled out outside Mainland as well. Even though there is no information on the ICS-based phone, the GT-B5330 should be priced around $250- $300 USD outright. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Samsung GT-B5330
Image credits to SammyHub

First BlackBerry 10 Devices Postponed (again) for Q1 2013

Research In Motion has recently released its Q1 earnings report, which looks shockingly bad for the Canadian company.

Aside from the 5,000 job cuts, RIM has a $518 million USD net loss. The company also claims it has shipped 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones and only 260,000 PlayBook tablets, which is clearly disappointing for the handset maker. Although RIM announced earlier this year that the first devices powered by its next-generation BlackBerry 10 OS will arrive on the market in the last quarter of the year, the Canadian company had to delay the launch of these smartphones. Even though there are no details on the reasons behind RIM’s decision to postpone the release of the first BlackBerry 10 devices for Q1 2012, the company stated that “the integration of these features and the associated large volume of code into the platform have proven to be more time consuming than anticipated.”

“RIM’s development teams are relentlessly focussed on ensuring the quality and reliability of the platform and I will not compromise the product by delivering it before it is ready. I am confident that the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones will provide a ground-breaking next generation smartphone user experience,” said Thorsten Heins, president and CEO. Numerous rumors point to a possible acquisition of the company by Microsoft, yet there is no confirmation whatsoever. Furthermore, word is that RIM may also sell its entire network infrastructure to a certain private equity company, but we expect more info that could shed some light on RIM’s future in the following months.

RIM expects BlackBerry 10 OS to turn the tides in its favor, but the first BlackBerry 10 devices would have to sell like crazy in order for the Canadian company to save itself from the inevitable. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Blackberry 10 OS UI
Image credits to ArsTechnica

Windows Explorer Name to Become File Explorer in Windows 8 RTM

Microsoft is reportedly making some more changes to its Windows 8 platform in preparation for the upcoming RTM and final flavors.

One of these will affect the name of one of the most popular tools the platform has at the moment, namely its Windows Explorer. Since it is being used mostly for exploring the files and folders on the computer, Microsoft has decided to rename the tool to File Explorer, rumor has it. The change is not a big one, since the Explorer will continue to sport the same features as it did before, yet it does mark another change when compared to the Windows we knew so far. Windows Explorer has been with the platform since Windows 95, being called File Manager before that, and providing users with the ability to explore files and create directories. The screenshots that Win8china has published show the new change, which should become official as soon as the RTM flavor of the platform is released later this summer.

Along with this change, others will also mark a departure from the legacy Windows, including the removal of the popular Start screen. Moreover, Windows 8 will also land on devices without the Aero interface that many praised on Windows Vista and Windows 7. This change will be accompanied by a set of other modifications to interaction fields, and by the inclusion of sharp corners and flattened windows in the final flavor of the platform. Some other design modifications are also expected to make their way in Windows 8 when it is released to manufacturers, in line with the Metro UI that refreshes the entire platform. Although no official release date for the RTM of Windows 8 has been made official until now, reports have emerged on a possible late July availability of this flavor. The final Windows 8 release is expected to make its way to the market sometime in mid-October, three years following the launch of Windows 7.

File Explorer on Windows 8
Image credits to Win8China

Leaked Video Shows Nokia Belle FP2 Features

The first smartphone to come with Nokia Belle FP1, PureView 808 has been recently launched on the market.

However, the Finnish company plans to release a major software update this year, which will improve the overall user experience. Dubbed Feature Pack 2, the new update is likely to become available for Nokia 808 PureView initially, but other Symbian smartphones will get it as well. Although Nokia did not confirm any timeframe for the release of the FP2, it appears that a video demoing the new features of the update has just been leaked online.

The following new options have been added in this update: New swipe-unlock, New transition effects, New camera UI, New navbar, New widgets, New QWERTY keyboard, New image editor, New web browser, New Gallery and New music player (pause / resume button on notification bar). via GSMArena.

Video of nokia belle Fp2 leaked pre-release on RDA (Remote Device Acces).
This is the reason of the lag in the video, is an OS emulator by nokia for developers. Some of the new things to come on Fp2 are on the video. Is a quick review of it.

+On Fp2 We'll see:
-New swipe-unlock.
-New transition effects.
-New camera UI.
-New navbar.
-New widgets.
-New qwerty keyboard (predictive).
-New image editor.
-New web browser.
-New galery.
-New music player (pause/resume button on notification bar).
Video credits to Jorgepiunch

AMD Radeon HD 7870 Custom Video Card with 120mm Cooling Fan

For our readers who don’t really know who Colorfire is, we can say that it is a subsidiary brand belonging to the well-known Chinese video card manufacturer Colorful. Colorfire is preparing to launch a new custom design of AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 graphics adapter.

The new card is called Colorfire Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm and is powered by a Pitcairn GPU that has a frequency of 1 GHz. It comes with 1,280 shaders and 80 texture units all using GDDR 5 memory running at 4800 MHZ effective speed. Colorfire’s Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm comes complete with AMD’s UVD3 video decoder, Eyefinity and ZeroCore technologies. The cooling system consists of five nickel-plated heatpipes cooled by a very large single cooling fan.

Mydrivers reported that The fan has 12 centimeters in diameter, although it doesn’t seem so large by looking at the pictures. Colorfire’s  Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm has a 12-phase current supply, and no details on pricing are available yet.

Colorfire Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm Custom Video Card with 120mm Cooling Fan
Image credits to Mydrivers

Colorfire Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm Custom Video Card with 120mm Cooling Fan
Image credits to Mydrivers

Colorfire Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm Custom Video Card with 120mm Cooling Fan
Image credits to Mydrivers

Colorfire Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm Custom Video Card with 120mm Cooling Fan
Image credits to Mydrivers

Colorfire Radeon HD 7870 Xstorm Custom Video Card with 120mm Cooling Fan
Image credits to Mydrivers

AMD Brazos 2.0 E2 2000 Processor in Q4 2012

AMD’s new Brazos 2.0 platform can be characterized as bringing higher working frequencies and Turbo Core technology to the same Zacate low-power CPU architecture. The new APUs fit in the same FT1 sockets, and they also bring USB 3.0 support by using the new A68M chipset codenamed Hudson-M3L.

Another important addition to the Brazos 2.0 support is the chipset-based RAID 0.1 support and the Gb Ethernet MAC 10/100/1000, along with two USB 3.0 ports next to 8 USB 2.0 ports with no specific USB 1.1 support. The new chipset also has the same 4.7W TDP that the first generation Brazos chipset had. We’re talking, of course, about the well-known A50M chipset. The new E2 2000 processor reportedly comes with the same Bobcat dual-core configuration and the same 80 shader cores for the iGPU.

The difference is that the CPU frequency is increased from 1700 MHz to 1750 MHz, while the GPU base frequency is now 538 MHz instead of the 523 MHz for the E2 1800, and the Turbo iGPU speed is 700 MHz compared with just 680 MHz for the E21800. The TDP remains the same, which shows that AMD has optimized its design and TSMC’s 40nm manufacturing process has matured.

AMD's Zacate Low Power Processor
Image credits to Anandtech

Intel Atom 22nm Coming in Q4 2013

Intel’s low-performance Atom D7500, D2550 and D2500 is all that the company is planning to offer for nettop and low-power desktop systems for the next year and a half. Many of our readers were hoping to see a more capable desktop version of Clover Trail, but Intel doesn’t have such plans.

The world’s biggest CPU designer is planning to skip releasing desktop versions of its Clover Trail and Medfield architecture. We’re not saying that such versions were ever in its plans, but considering how low the performance abilities of the current Atom processors are and the fierce competition from AMD’s Brazos 2.0, many were already thinking about upgraded desktop Atom CPUs. Intel’s Medfield is a quite capable low-power chip, and clocked at over 2 GHz it might have been able to give Qualcomm’s SnapDragon S4 and AMD’s Brazos 2.0 a run for their money in the netbook and low-power desktop market. Current Atom versions are clearly inferior in performance and 3D abilities compared to AMD’s Brazos 2.0, and they are also far behind ARM implementations such as Qualcomm’s SnapDragon S4.

Fudzilla reporting Intel has no plans to upgrade its desktop low-power Atom lineup and will only release improved versions in Q4 2013. These improved Atom processors are currently codenamed Bay Trail and will be built in 22nm technology. Bay Trail will have to fight a plethora of dual- and quad-core ARM Cortex A15 processors by then, and they will also have to face AMD’s new Jaguar low-power cores paired with new GCN iGPUs. We don’t believe Bay Trail stands a chance in front of such fierce competition, but considering that Intel might decide to license a more powerful 3D core from PowerVR, we’re not betting on any side for now.

Intel Atom Logo
Image credits to Intel

Windows Phone 8 Get Curved Keyboard for Single-Hand Use

Windows Phone 8, the next-generation mobile operating system from Microsoft, is set to arrive on shelves in the fourth quarter of this year, with a nice range of new features and updates from the previous platform releases.

One of the elements that might become available for Windows Phone 8 users at some point, but that has not been announced yet, is a keyboard specifically crafted for use single-handedly. The keyboard, which was spotted in a leaked presentation from Microsoft Research, sports a curved design, which would make it great for use with the thumb. Windows Phone 8 was rumored before to be set to receive a keyboard optimized for use with a single hand, yet Microsoft did not make official any plans on the matter. However, chances are that this curved keyboard will make an appearance on devices powered by its mobile operating system, either in the next major OS flavor or in a future one. As can be seen in the screenshot to the left, available courtesy of WMPoweruser, some of the keys have been put together, yet users should be able to type without having to actually look at the keyboard.

Moreover, the news site notes that the new design of the on-screen keys should leverage the disambiguation regarding the words that are being typed. When announcing Windows Phone 8, Microsoft did say that there would be some enhancements brought to its input methods, but all that it unveiled was extended support for national Soft Keyboards, such as a new design for Korean. Provided that Microsoft is indeed planning the inclusion of this new single-hand use keyboard on its Windows Phone 8 devices, chances are that Windows Phone 7.8 users will also receive it. What remains to be seen is whether it will become available right from the start, or it will be pushed to users later, through a new software update.

Windows phone 8 to get curved on-screen keyboard
Image credits to WMPoweruser

Office 2013 Icons Leak, Show More "Metro"fication

Microsoft’s Office 2013 productivity suite is expected to become available in a beta flavor later this summer, with a nice range of goodies packed inside, including a new, Metro-fied user interface.

We already had the chance to have a look at some of the visual changes that Microsoft plans on packing inside the new application version, and now we can have a look at the manner in which its icons have been changed. Each of the previous Office releases brought along redesigned icons for the applications included in the suite, and the upcoming Office 2013 is no exception. The guys over at LiveSide.net have managed to get hold of some of the icons destined to accompany the suite, such as those for OneNote 2013 and Excel 2013. Just as mentioned above, both of them show increased influence from the new Metro user interface that dominates the Windows 8 platform. The OneNote icon comes with the “Keep tabs on your life” tag on it and with a perspective that is in line with the new Windows 8 logo, as well as with the Office 2013 logo. The letter N present on the icon denotes OneNote, and it should make it easier for users to identify the app.

Apparently, all Office 2013 applications will receive the same treatment, including the Excel 2013 icon that can be seen to the left. In line with the icons for OneNote and Excel attached to this article, we can assume that the leaked icon that was spotted a while ago in a Microsoft presentation was denoting Outlook 2013 (image available courtesy of Picturepan2 at LiveSino.net). Although nothing is official on all these, specific info on Microsoft’s plans for Office 2013 should become available later this month, when the beta of the application will be made official (it might be launched as Office 2013 Preview, LiveSide suggests).

OneNote 2013 icon
Image credits to Liveside.net

Excel 2013 icon
Image credits to Liveside.net

Outlook 2013 icon
Image credits to Picturepan2 at LiveSino.net

ASUS AMD Dragon HD 7850 DirectCU II

Nvidia is getting ready to announce the GeForce GT 600 series for the high volume mid-range market, so AMD and its partners are getting ready to counteract the launch. ASUS is showing a great deal of care and work, especially for the China region.

Therefore, ASUS is now preparing a special version of its DirectCU II HD 7850 graphics cards that’s specifically made to achieve better performance and cooling results than the reference AMD Radeon HD 7850 design. As reported by VR-Zone, The new version will come with two extra 8-millimeter cooling pipes next to the usual three heatpipes inside the DirectCU II cooling system. We can only see three heatpipes in the pictures, so we'll have to wait until the final product is pictured to see the exact number. Also, the PCB is slightly modified when compared with ASUS’ HD 7850 DirectCU II and the HD 7850 DirectCU II TOP. The PCB of the ASUS' Dragon HD 7850 DirectCU II features a high-quality 6+2+1 phase VRM that uses ASUS' SuperAlloy chokes, high-grade LFPAK MOSFETs, Japan-made solid capacitors, tantalum capacitors, along with the Digi+ VRM controller.

The card is fueled by two 6-pin PCIe power connectors and also has a black metal back-plate that helps with the heat dissipation and gives additional structural integrity to the device. ASUS’ Dragon HD 7850 DirectCU II doesn’t have the highest speeds on the HD 7850 DirectCU II line from the manufacturer, but it is, nevertheless, clocked higher than AMD’s reference design. The GPU’s frequency is 910 MHz, while the memory is clocked at 1250 MHz. That’s clearly faster than AMD's reference clock speeds of 860/1200 MHz for the GPU/memory. The price is estimated to be ranging anywhere between $200 and $240, which is about €157 to €181 EUR for the European buyers.

ASUS Dragon HD 7850 DirectCU II video card
Image credits to VR-Zone

ASUS Dragon HD 7850 DirectCU II video card
Image credits to VR-Zone

ASUS Dragon HD 7850 DirectCU II video card
Image credits to VR-Zone

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