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Jul 12, 2012

Flash Your Own AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition VideoBIOS

There was much fuss about AMD’s new Radeon HD 7970 GHz or “Tahiti 2” video cards. The simple way to put is that the company couldn’t resist not taking advantage of Tahiti’s ability to achieve high clock frequencies.

Therefore AMD, after first gaining the performance crown with Tahiti back in winter, decided to take the lead again, but without making much effort. The thing is that AMD is confident that most of the current Tahiti GPUs are able to safely reach 1050 MHz and that the memory is well within limits if clocked at 6000 MHz. There is no guarantee that the cards sold as the normal AMD Radeon HD 7970 until now will actually work at these frequencies, but most of the overclocking done over the past six months has proved that they do indeed work just fine.

Head on to LegitReviews.com for the vBIOS that will transform your AMD Radeon HD 7970 video card into a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition for free. Here’s the link, but keep in mind that the vBIOS is targeted at reference default models and great care must be taken when attempting to use it on non-reference Tahiti cards.

AMD's Radeon HD 7950 Reference Card
Image credits to benchmark.pl

Mobile Intel Haswell Unveiled

World’s biggest semiconductor and CPU manufacturer, American-Israeli company Intel, is currently hard at work on their future generation of x86 processors codenamed Haswell. The company has made no secret that Haswell would have a huge iGPU and offer the according performance, but they seem to be much more careful about what happens in the mobile space.

During this year’s Computex, AMD managed to spoil Intel’s UltraBook/Ivy Bridge party as the smaller, fabless CPU maker was able to offer much more capable Trinity CPUs with better power consumption than Intel Ivy Bridge was able to offer at the time. To have an APU that capable of delivering twice the 3D graphics performance and consume about 25% less than Intel’s competing Ivy Bridge processor was quite an achievement for AMD. They even have a 17-watt Trinity, while Intel had no “under 20W” Ivy Bridge. Intel quickly rectified the situation and now also offers 17W and 35W Ivy Bridge processors. The only problem is that these CPUs are considerably less capable then their 45W brothers. The CPU giant doesn’t want to repeat this and it is preparing a special flavor of Haswell that will only come in dual-core configurations.

As VR-Zone report, This version is called Lynx Point LP and it is practically a SoC (system on chip), as it integrates the SouthBridge of the platform next to the NorthBridge that’s already in the same die as the CPU. Intel’s PCH (Platform Controller Hub / SouthBridge) is apparently not on-die like the Northbridge and the IMC (integrated memory controiller), and this level of integration will likely increase the price of the platform instead of making it more affordable. Therefore, we can’t call Lynx Point LP generation a true SoC, as that’s more like a single package, but not a single chip. This is a very power-efficient solution that will be part of Intel’s Haswell Ultrabook ULV line, but much more capable and, surprisingly, power-hungry versions are also coming.

Intel’s Haswell UltraBook ULV parts that have a dual-die processor package including the CPU, NorthBridge, IMC and now, the PCH. This level of integration will allow Intel to provide dual-core Haswell processors with a maximum TDP of 15 watts.

ULV is short for ultra-low voltage, but head on and read the first part above about Intel Haswell mobile lineup presentation. This is an impressive achievement and besides offering a more reliable package and lower power consumption, it also leaves more room on the mainboard PCB for other chips, or just simplifies it altogether. There were many times when users were confronted with Southbridge chips that were simply popping off of the PCB and a reflow or complete rework was required to fix the notebook. This kind of problem will likely be avoided by this new type of platform. Starting from this and going for 35 or 45 watts versions, Intel will show us two directions, As VR-Zone reported.

One is just a bit cheaper and the other is more expensive, but it also comes with increased performance. We can read into this the fact that Intel will have lower costs making the fully-integrated version, but it will charge us more for the privilege of buying such a power-efficient solution. In any of these two directions the buyer might want to head on, he will be faced with the return of the PCH (SouthBridge). So, Intel takes off the PCH die and starts adding more x86 cores and more potent iGPUs. The modest 15W parts will still come with a variety of iGPUs; three to be more exact. Once we move past the 15W TDP mark, we’ll be faced with some strange TDP levels of 37W and 47W, respectively.

These represent a dual-core and a quad-core processor each and don’t come with the fastest GT3 version of the Haswell iGPU. The top mobile Haswell is likely also bringing the rumored level 4 cache of the memory on an interposer that we reported about hereThis version will sport a huge 57-watt maximum TDP, but Intel is likely to be targeting this at DTRs and gaming notebooks like MSI GT70 rather than UltraBooks.

Intel Haswell marketing shot
Image credits to Intel

Intel Haswell Platform Mobile PCB
Image credits to VR-Zone

Intel's Level 4 "Cache" Possible Concept
Image credits to VR-Zone

Philips W732 Smartphone with Android 4.0 ICS Coming Soon in China

Philips has just announced the upcoming availability of the W732 Android phone. This is a mid-range handset that will be released in China and Russia in the following weeks.

There are no details on the phone’s price tag or availability, but we know Philips W732 will be launched in five color options: black, pink, white, green and blue. The good news is the smartphone is powered by Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and it offers dual-SIM capability, which is so much praised in emerging markets like China. Another selling point of the Philips W732 is the high-capacity 2,400 mAh Li-Ion battery, which is rated by the manufacturer for up to 13 hours of talk time or up to 10.5 hours of web browsing. Judging by the list of features mentioned earlier, Philips W7232 seems pretty solid. However, the phone’s hardware is far from being impressive. In this regard, the device is equipped with a 1 GHz single-core MediaTek MT6575 processor, which is complemented by 1GB of RAM.

We don’t have any information regarding the phone’s storage amount or whether or not Philips W732 sports microSD card slot for memory expansion. It is also worth mentioning that the smartphone sports a more than decent 4.3-inch LCD IPS capacitive touchscreen display that supports 480 x 800 pixels resolution and 16 million colors. There’s also a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and autofocus, but we’re not sure if the handset also comes with a secondary front-facing photo snapper for video calls. In the connectivity front, Philips W732 is an all-rounder. The phone offers multiple options, including HSDPA (7.2Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76Mbps), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as built-in GPS receiver. So far, sources close to the matter confirm the smartphone will be launched in China and Russia, but Philips might want to roll out the W732 globally. via UnwiredView.

Philips W732
Image credits to UnwiredView

Samsung Gets Ready Mobile Unpacked Event on August 30 for GALAXY Note 2

Rumors on the unannounced Samsung Galaxy Note 2 have come and gone, but the South Korean handset maker has yet to confirm the release of the smartphone.

Given the fact that the latest hearsay points to a possible Q3/Q4 2012 launch for Galaxy Note 2, we expect Samsung to come forward with an official announcement at IFA 2012 trade fair, which is set to take place in Berlin, between August 31 and September 5. Rumor has it that Samsung is now planning a Mobile Unpacked event for August 30. There are no additional details on the event, but we suspect the South Korean company is ready to announce the Galaxy Note 2.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is said to feature a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen display with HD resolution, a 13-megapixel main camera and quad-core processor. We’re not sure yet, but Galaxy Note 2 might be shipped with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean platform at launch. via SammyHub.

SAMSUNG mobile UNPACKED 2012 for Android when launching Galaxy S III
Image credits to Samsung

Patriot Memory "Intel Extreme Masters" Limited Edition DDR3

Most RAM usually works with both Intel and AMD CPUs/APUs, but there are certain modules and kits made specifically for one or the other.

Patriot has launched one such series of products, dubbed Extreme Masters Limited Edition DDR3. The RAM is meant for gaming machines with Intel 6 and 7 platforms. The modules are DIMM Type 240-Pin NON-ECC UDIMM and the dual-channel or quad-channel kits come in 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB capacities.

We don't know the prices, but Patriot did mention that the frequencies are of 1,600 MHz, 1,866 MHz or 2,133 MHz. Finally, the RAM works on 1.5V and is XMP 1.3-certified (Extreme Memory Profile), hence its suitability for hardcore gaming rigs. Keep an eye on your local retailers if you like your RAM fast and chilled by blue heatsinks.

Patriot Memory launches new and strong RAM
Image credits to Patriot Memory

AMD Give Away, Hundreds of Trinity APUs at Comic-Con 2012

AMD is not content with Trinity’s current fame and popularity and it has just announced on one of the company’s blogs that it would be attending this year’s Comic-Con event in San Diego as well. There, the Texas-based fabless CPU and GPU designer will hand out “hundreds of APUs.” as reported by BrightSideofNews.

AMD’s David Doel’s exact words were: “In addition to all of these games there will be lots of swag and grade ‘A’ goods being given out. Also, make sure to take the time and register to be part of AMD’s New Exclusive A-Series APU Product Review Program where we will be handing out hundreds of APUs in exchange for a simple tweet and feedback on the product at a later date.”

The company will most likely hand out Trinity APUs, as these are the most likely to leave a good and lasting impression on the lucky gamers. There is also the possibility that there will be also Llano APUs involved, as AMD might be trying to clear the stock and ensure a good round of publicity.

AMD Fusion Marketing Shot
Image credits to AMD

Taobao Selling Unreleased iPhone 5 for 8599 Yuan / $1,349

Chinese online retailer Taobao is making headlines for selling the unconfirmed iPhone 5 from Apple complete with convincing mockups and a hefty price tag.

Catching the attention of major media outlets, in the likes of Reuters, Taobao’s initiative undoubtedly is frowned upon in Cupertino where Tim Cook & Co. are preparing to unveil the much-hyped handset in the coming months. Taobao is selling the surreal phone for well over a thousand dollars, $1,349 to be precise, which translates into about €1,100. The original price is listed in the country’s official currency – 8599 Yuan. Taobao is not the first to attempt cashing in on the hype surrounding Apple’s unreleased smartphone. Earlier this week, we reported that Chinese retailer Sohu had put up banners featuring iPod touch graphics, as well as a picture of an iPhone “teardrop” concept, with the option to place a pre-order. Not surprisingly, Taobao is using convincing (but faux) imagery created by a 3D design expert using the Internet handle Martin uit Utrecht.

His most recent works include a superbly crafted white version of the iPhone 5 which many pundits agree will have a larger display and a taller body. Martin went all the way to include the iOS Passbook application interface in his graphics, creating the most convincing mockups of an unreleased Apple product to date (or so we believe). If Apple does end up pursuing this particular design, the company’s promotional materials could well look identical to the graphics up on Martin's photostream and, implicitly, Taobao. Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz also took a stab at what Apple's site might look like with iPhone 5 ads. All in all, it’s safe to note that pretty much the entire world is waiting for this thing arms open wide. And China has been quick to capitalize on the frenzy, as always.

iPhone 5 pre-order offer
Image credits to Taobao.com

AVADirect “Supercomputer” with Dual-Xeon and 4-GPU

If you've been keeping up with our articles about supercomputers, you probably know about the newest Top500 list and how both Intel and AMD earned some recognition through it.

What we are bringing you today is a different sort of supercomputer, one that does not need a huge area to exist or hundreds of CPUs and GPU accelerators. Instead, it is called a super computer because it is powerful enough to be considered “super” among its peers. AVADirect, the one who made the PC, chose not to give it a nice name for some reason. It felt satisfied with the DGS-XE5-SLICFX model code instead. Nevertheless, it did, at least, dub it a custom gaming system / workstation in its press release. The first thing to notice is the presence of two Xeon E5 quad-core central processing units from Intel. That makes a total of eight cores at 1.8 GHz base speed. Each CPU has its own Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 cooler and up to 64 GB of RAM linked to the DDR3 controller (for a total of 192 GB). EVGA's Classified SR-X dual-socket motherboard supports all this hardware, along with one, two, three or four graphics adapters (EVGA GeForce GTX 560 is one example).

Other specs include an optical drive (24X DVD writer by default), a 65-in-1 card reader, various HDD/SSD storage options (160 GB Intel 320 SSD) and a strong PSU (Thermaltake TR2 RX 850W power supply). "EVGA Is proud to partner with AVADirect to bring a powerhouse that boasts an extraordinary 192 GB of memory on the most capable 4-Way SLI and dual processor setups" said Joe Darwin, director of Technical Marketing at EVGA. "AVADirect has built a standard based on providing custom solutions for those with custom projects and unique requirements that typically cannot be met by pre-built workstation configurations. Partnerships with EVGA, aid us in our goal to provide unmatched solutions that professionals or enthusiasts need to get the job done right." Whatever hardware people decide upon is housed inside a Cooler Master Cosmos II case and run by Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. The price starts at $2641 / 2162 Euro.

AVADirect gaming/workstation "supercomputer"
Image credits to AVADirect

AMD’s Kabini Processor Will Feature Newer Graphics than Richland APU

Most computer enthusiasts were speculating that AMD’s Richland APU would feature next-generation GCN graphics, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The company seems to be concentrating on developing the main desktop APU that will have to face Intel’s Haswell. The tablet/netbook/nettop APU line will have to wait.

Richland has a very tough fight ahead of it. As we reported here, besides the improved x86 performance, Intel’s Haswell will feature impressive iGPU performance and good power consumption on every TDP level. AMD is doing quite fine in the tablet/netbook/nettop space. That’s Brazos’ realm. Intel’s Atom is miles behind in performance and especially in graphics capabilities, so the Texas-based fabless CPU and GPU designer is concentrating on reducing the costs of the Brazos 2.0 platform, rather than offering improved performance. Intel is not doing anything to improve Atom, AMD won’t either. To be sure that Richland will be ready for prime time at the same time Intel’s Haswell hits the notebook market or even ahead of it, AMD worked hard on the “Steamroller” x86 cores and, as the HD 7000 generation was the only GCN architecture tried and tested, it likely has chosen it for the Richland APU. AMD’s Kabini seems to be scheduled for the next summer, and thus, the company has more time to work on the “Jaguar” x86 core and also, by that time, Radeon HD 8000 generation will have matured enough to be integrated into Kabini’s iGPU.

This makes AMD’s low to mid-end APU solution feature more advanced graphics than its top-end notebook and desktop APU. There is lots of speculation on this in the industry as Kabini and “Jaguar” seem to be pretty far away, but if AMD wants to enjoy and prolong the current “Trinity” success wave, it has to make sure Trinity’s successor will be on time or earlier.

AMD Fusion Marketing Shot
Image credits to AMD

MSI Teases Nvidia GTX680M in Famous GT70 Gaming Notebook

Well-known mainboard manufacturer MSI is also famous as the builder of the world’s fastest Ivy Bridge notebook. The company has just posted a new picture on its facebook page, but leaves it to the fans to deduce what’s in it.

MSI is actually teasing the eager enthusiasts with the comment: “It's coming... My Weapon of Choice.” Questions are being asked and answers are anxiously awaited. We actually do have some answers and we can certainly say that the notebook in the picture is the famous GT70.

As MSI’s GT70 gaming notebook has a unique design and internal features, we easily identified it by the two mSATA SSD’s that can be seen in the upper left corner of the picture sitting side by side. No other notebook has this design along with a discrete video card, and we’re sure that the N13E-GTX-A2 GPU sample displayed in the center is a Kepler-based GTX680M GPU.

Nvidia GTX680M GPU Inside MSI GT70 Gaming Notebook
Image credits to MSI

Sony Xperia LT30p Mint Specs Detailed, Photo Samples Leak

There’s no doubt Japanese handset manufacturer Sony Mobile plans to release a new Android flagship smartphone by the end of the year.

Since the first rumors on Sony’s Android roadmap for 2012 leaked online several months ago, the company managed to release most of the devices listed according to schedule. One of the intriguing devices that are part of Sony’s Xperia 2012 series is called LT30p Mint and is believed to be the company’s next top-tier Android phone. The good news is that more details on the phone’s specs sheet have just surfaced and though device seems to be impressive, it cannot challenge other smartphones that are already available on the market. Sony Xperia LT30p Mint is said to be equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset, but we still don’t have any information on the clock value of the CPU, or whether or not it will feature a quad-core processor. Furthermore, the smartphone is expected to boast a 4.6-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution. On the inside, the device will pack 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 32GB via microSD card.

Another strong point of the Xperia Mint is the impressive 13-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and possibly Sony’s Exmor R sensor. Keep in mind that the phone’s battery will be non-removable and it will only support microSIMs. Obviously, it will be powered by Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, but there’s a high chance that it will get a Jelly Bean update soon. Design-wise, Sony Xperia Mint will be entirely made of plastic with a rubberized coating. It is also worth mentioning that all physical buttons of the phone will be placed on the right side. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter. via PhoneArena.

Sony Xperia logo
Image credits to Sony Mobile

Sony Xperia LT30p Mint photo sample
Image credits to nixanbal.com

Nokia Belle Phones Get Minor Software Update for “Upload to SkyDrive”

It looks like Nokia has just released a minor software update for Belle smartphones. Sadly, this is not the hotly anticipated Feature Pack 1, but a maintenance update, which brings a single new feature “Upload to SkyDrive.”

We’re not sure if the small update is now available for download to all Nokia Belle smartphones, but there’s a high chance that all those who own such a device will be able to grab the update at some point. In order to download and install the 170kb update, simply check out “SW Update” section. If the update does not show yet, we recommend users to check back later as the software might be pushed in stages, so it might take a while until it reaches all regions. As we already mentioned earlier, this update enables automatic photo upload to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service. The official changelog of the update reads:

“Upload and store your photos right when you take them with the all-new Upload to SkyDrive app. SkyDrive is your personal online storage space, accessible from anywhere – all you need is your Windows Live ID. If you don’t have one yet, go to www.live.com. Upload to SkyDrive users Wi-Fi to save on data costs, but you can use your data connection as well.”

In the same piece of news, Nokia is expected to deliver the Feature Pack 1 software update to Belle smartphones in the following months. For the time being, the only smartphone to be shipped with FP1 onboard is the Nokia 808 PureView. It is also worth mentioning that the PureView 808 is rumored to be slated for another major update, Feature Pack 2. According to the latest hearsay, this FP2 is expected to arrive on all Nokia 808 PureView devices by the end of the year. Stay tuned for more info on the matter. via SymbianTweet.

Nokia Belle update screenshots
Image credits to SymbianTweet

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Three Different Layouts

Two weeks ago, Google made official the latest flavor of its Android operating system, namely 4.1 Jelly Bean, which comes with a nice range of enhancements over the previously released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The platform was announced in conjunction with the launch of the first tablet PC in Google’s Nexus series of devices, which should land on shelves under the name of Nexus 7. The first thing that strikes about the Nexus 7 tablet is the fact that its UI resembles a lot the one of Android smartphones, and less the one of larger tablet PCs. On this device, the homescreen exists in a vertical orientation, in portrait-style, ComputerWorld notes, adding that notifications are pulled down from the top of the screen, just as on smartphones. In comparison, users of large tablet PCs running Android receive notifications in the lower-right corner of the screen. The orientation is landscape on these devices. Apparently, Google intentionally designed the platform to behave this way on the 7-inch tablet. In fact, it built the new OS flavor with three different layouts, each customized for a different screen size. While the 10-inch tablets are set to retain the landscape orientation even after the upgrade to Android 4.1, 7-inch devices will behave differently, for increased usability.

What’s even better is that the UI spotted on Nexus 7 is different from the one present on Android smartphones, and not a simple upgrade for it. When users rotate the device in landscape mode, some applications will behave differently. Gmail, for example, will show dual panes in this mode, compared to a single pane when the device is held vertically. Only the homescreen remains vertical at all times, something that was happening on Android 4.0 smartphones as well. Apparently, app developers will be able to take advantage of these improvements without too much of a hassle. Their software will be able to perform these adjustments on the fly, as long as they have been designed properly.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Image credits to Google

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