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Jul 13, 2012

AMD Vishera Piledriver FX 8320 and FX 8300 8-Core Processors




AMD customers that are still enjoying the AM3+ platform are not forgotten by the company and the Texas based CPU and GPU designer is getting ready to launch some very powerful eight-core processors.

The new models use the long-awaited Piledriver enhanced x86 core and the same 8 MB level 3 cache. The maximum supported memory is still 1866 MHz DDR3, but the processors themselves will likely offer an overall 20% performance increase over today’s FX 8150 CPU like we’ve reported hereThe new additions are called FX 8300 and FX 8320, as Fudzilla report.

These are unlocked CPUs and the former runs at a base frequency of 3.3 GHz while the latter rated at 3.5 GHz with a 4.0 GHz Turbo option. AMD’s FX 8300 has every chance of becoming an overclocker’s favorite as it only sport a 95 watts maximum TDP while the FX 8320 is rated at 125 watts TDP just like the FX 8350 that we’ve reported hereThe launch is estimated to be happening this autumn, but the pricing is closely held under wraps.


AMD FX / Bulldozer CPU Die
Image credits to AMD


Microsoft Launch Office Next Blog




While getting ready for the release of the next major flavor of Office, Microsoft is also making sure that it keeps the hype around the product at a high level.

Thus, the company has announced the launch of Office Next blog, through which info on the upcoming suite will be delivered to users. For the time being, no specific info on the product has been provided, but the first post on the blog, coming from PJ Hough, Corporate Vice President of Program Management, Microsoft Office Division, promises such details for the not too distant future. “I'm really excited to kick off this conversation and connect you with the engineers who are building future releases of Office—here, they'll discuss the improvements we make, the designs we choose and the data and feedback that inform our decisions,” PJ Hough notes. According to the latest reports on the web, the next flavor of Microsoft’s productivity suite is expected to be officially unveiled this Monday. The Redmond-based software giant should back the announcement with the availability of a public beta of the application.

At the moment, the next Office, set to land on shelves as Office 2013, is available for a limited number of people as a technical preview. However, Microsoft did promise the public availability of a beta release for the summer, although it did not offer specific info on when it would be made available. “As we work to bring these new products to you, we do extensive testing within Microsoft and with customers. This testing helps us find and fix problems, and feedback from customers helps us fine tune our products to their work styles,” the aforementioned blog post reads. “When they use early versions of our products and services on their turf, we learn a ton about how to evolve them to best support the ways people work. This input helps us continue to deliver the best Office experience.”

Office 2013 is expected to become commercially available sometime early next year. The suite was also announced to arrive loaded on Windows 8 devices, including those running Windows RT (ARM architecture).

Microsoft Office 2013 logo
Image credits to LiveSide

Nexus 5 Concept Phone Design




Last month, Google unveiled to the world the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, which came to the market in conjunction with the first tablet PC included in the popular Nexus series, the Google Nexus 7.

Before the end of the year, however, Google is expected to add more devices to the Nexus family, some suggesting around five. The reason appears to be a simple one: Google will celebrate five years of Android this fall, and a host of new Nexus devices would certainly come as a great gift for enthusiasts. What we don’t know at the moment is who will manufacture those handsets, or what hardware specifications they would feature when released. One designer, however, decided to up the ante, and published his own ideas on how the next Nexus smartphone might look like. Influenced by the curved screen present on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S before it, he imagined the upcoming Nexus 5 smartphone as packing a great deal of curved lines. As can be seen in the image to the left, Nexus 5 might, in fact, look like no other handset before it. Still powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, it could feature a curved profile, complemented by curved edges and a shape similar with an hourglass.

The device would also include three capacitive buttons, along with a back photo snapper with flash. As expected from such a device, HD video recording would also be included into the mix. Moreover, the phone could offer support for LTE networks out there, along with HFC capabilities and support for WiFi networks. A quad-core Snapdragon application processor could very well power this smartphone. Chances are that we might never see such a phone model brought to shelves, either with Android or another mobile OS loaded on it, but the idea still intrigues, that’s for sure. You can have a look at a high-resolution version of the attached image on Deviantart.

Nexus 5 concept phone
Image credits to sph1re / deviantart

ASUS Radeon HD 7970 Matrix Sets New World Record in 3D Mark 2003




We all know that AMD’s “Tahiti” GPU is capable of reaching very high frequencies. The GPU designer itself decided to launch a new series of Radeon HD 7970 video cards that feature increased GPU and video memory frequencies without bothering to change anything in the hardware design.

The new line of cards is, of course, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and you can flash your own “ordinary” HD7970 into an AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition using the method we described hereWhile breaking numerous of other single-GPU records, AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 has recently managed to get the record for highest 3D Mark 2003 score.

As reported by Overclockers.ua The card of choice was ASUS’ Radeon HD 7970 Matrix and the score was 214,700 3DMarks. Intel’s i7-3770K was the CPU powering the setup and two Corsair AX1200 PSUs. Check out the official hwbot.org result page here.





ASUS Radeon HD 7970 Matrix working for the 3D Mark 2003 Record
Images credits to hwbot.org

Here are Concept If Windows Phone 8 Powered the New Blackberry Smartphones




RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins hopes the company’s next generation BlackBerry 10 operating system will win back the hearts of BlackBerry fans. Unfortunately, the first devices powered by OS 10 are set to arrive on the market in January 2013.

Heins also confirmed a few days ago that the company would launch at least two new BlackBerry 10 devices, a full-touch smartphone and another one that will come with RIM’s traditional QWERTY keyboard. Still, what could happen if the Canadian company’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS won’t be able to turn tides in its favor? Well, it appears that Michal Bonikiwski anticipated the answer to that and created some concept images of a BlackBerry smartphone powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform.

If Microsoft decides to acquire Research In Motion next year, we could see the first BlackBerry devices with Windows Phone as early as 2014. Check out the gallery below. via N4BB.





Windows Phone 8 BlackBerry smartphone
Images credits to Michal Bonikowski

Now You Can Pause ASUS Maximus V Extreme Benchmark




Benchmarking tests during overclocking runs can take a long time to finish, and many of them need constant supervision.

ASUS is the first company to make it possible to pause a benchmark, through the OCKey tool. Once installed (as described here), it permits a benchmark test to be paused by pressing CTRL+F1. Later, all it takes to resume is pressing CTRL+F1 again. The feature will prove useful for overclockers that have a benchmark running but would really want to go eat something, or do something else for a while.

Of course, you'll need an ASUS Maximus V Extreme mainboard for this to work, but it's a sure thing that OCKey will be included on other models in the future. We wonder how long it will be before other companies come up with something similar (assuming the idea hasn't been patented).



MP5E Pause Button
Video credits to MrShammy1978

MSI GT60 and GT70 Laptops Upgraded with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M




It seems fitting that we would end up writing about the GT70 and GT60 gaming notebooks just half a day after we documented an unexpected move on MSI's part.

And by “unexpected move” we meant, of course, the newly-discovered plans of Micro-Star International to enter the solid state drive segment. There, we gave GT60 and GT70 as the first examples of MSI products with the company's own SSD technology. Not MSI SSDs, but a MSI-developed RAID setup. The reason we are mentioning the gaming notebooks again has nothing to do with the alleged intention to enter the SSD segment though. Rather, Micro-Star International has issued a press release to announce the inclusion of a new GPU in the specifications list. The discrete graphics adapter is none other than NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680M, with its 1,344 CUDA cores, 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, a memory interface of 256 bits and clock speed of 720 MHz. We suppose we should mention here that we actually saw the 680M-enabled GT70 back in June, during Computex 2012. However, the official launch took place only now.

The rest of the specifications aren't really different from before, but we'll make a summary of them, just in case interested users forgot them. The screen size is really the only distinctive feature available at a glance: 17.3 inch on the GT70 and 15.6 inch on the GT60. Everything else is the same. The memory, for one, goes as high as 32 GB (DDR3-1600), which is more than enough for any heavyweight title. Right on its heels is the storage capacity: two 2.5-inc bays let HDDs or SSDs be configured in Super RAID mode. Depending on the type of drives, read speeds can reach 1000 MB/s and writing can be done at 800 MB/s. As for the rest, the press release mentions USB 3.0 (three ports), USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit LAN, Wi-Fi, Blu-ray writer, HD webcam, THX TruStudio Pro surround sound and a 9-cell battery (up to four hours of web surfing, twice as much as other gaming machines).

MSI GT60 and GT70 laptops get GTX 680M
Image credits to MSI

Intel Core i7-3630QM and i7-3632QM are set for Q4




Details on unannounced products show up in the most unlikely of places sometimes, but this isn't quite such an occasion, although the sources of info on two future Intel CPUs aren't totally common either.

Yesterday, data on AMD's A4-3450 APU surfaced on Biostar's CPU support information update. It was actually something that made us hope new desktop Trinity APUs would be launched in August. We were disappointed, of course. AMD had, in fact, delayed the chips to October, but we won't dwell on that here. Instead, we will draw attention to the specifications of the Dell XPS 15 laptop, a certain eBay auction and yet another eBay auctionClicking on the Tech Specs tab on Dell's product page will show the list of CPUs, a list which includes the Intel i7-3632QM. It is a quad-core chip with a base frequency of 2.2 GHz and both AVX and AES extension support. The Turbo Boost speed is 3.2 GHz and the cache memory is 6 MB.

Meanwhile, the Core i7-3630QM is exposed in one of the eBay auctions, through a CPU-Z screenshot. It is a 2.4 GHz part with 6 MB L3 cache and the same SIMD extensions as the other unit. The Intel Core i7-3630QM and i7-3632QM will replace the Core i7-3610QM (45W) and i7-3612QM (35W). We have no confirmations on the newcomers' TDPs, but we suspect they are either identical or lower. Core i7-3612QM was the only Ivy Bridge-based mobile processor with 4 CPU cores and 35 Watt TDP, so we wouldn't mind if a couple new ones appeared.

This is about as much as could be scrounged up so far; although we should specify that the CPU-Z screenshots on eBay aren't altogether correct (Hyper Threading is disabled even though both chips have it). We'll know everything in Q4, 2012, probably right after Microsoft launches Windows 8/RT.

Intel Core i7-3632QM CPU-Z screenshot
Image credits to Intel

Intel Core i7-3630QM CPU-Z screenshot
Image credits to Intel

Microsoft to Announce Office 15 on Monday




Redmond-based software giant Microsoft is reportedly gearing up for the unveiling of the next major flavor of its Office suite as soon as Monday, July 16th.

On that day, the company should make official the beta version of the productivity suite, as the final product is expected to arrive only next year. Microsoft has previously announced plans to make the beta version of Office 15 – which will be called Office 2013 – available for the public sometime this summer, but it did not offer a specific release date for it. However, a recent article on USA Today cites industry sources stating that the new software will make an official appearance on Monday. The new product promises a host of new features, many of which are meant for use on touch-enabled devices. Thus, the new app flavor will go hand in hand with the upcoming Windows 8 platform, which will also pack a great deal of enhancements for touchscreens. Microsoft has yet to provide specific info on the upcoming suite, which is known to be included by default in Windows RT (the Windows 8 flavor running on ARM-based computers), and which should be bundled with Windows 8 as well on other devices.

Early reports on the application suggested that most of the changes it will bring along are affecting its appearance, and that there is only a smaller amount of modifications related to features and performance. On top of that, the aforementioned article on USA Today suggests that the new version of the suite might be released only with support for Windows 7 and Windows 8, and that older OS variants will be pushed aside from it. One thing that Microsoft needs to make sure, though, is that the app is successful, and that it is capable of helping it significantly increase the number of Office users (which surpassed one billion recently, the company announced). Additionally, it also needs to prove that its product is better than the competition, especially in the enterprise level, where Google is trying to push its Google Docs web application suite.

Microsoft Office 2013 logo
Image credits to LiveSide

Kontron Nvidia Tegra 3 Mini-ITX Mainboard




Not many computer enthusiasts were expecting to see standard ARM mainboards entering the market so soon. German company Kontron has just launched a new mainboard based on just that, an ARM processor.

The new addition comes in standard miniITX format and features a dual-core A9 processor. We were talking about a future ARM vs x86 war for a long time now, but we were not expecting to see end-user ARM powered mainboards pop up so soon. Just like most other miniITX mainboard powered by Intel’s Atom or AMD’s Brazos processor, Kontron’s new addition is powered by a dual-core Cortex A9 ARM processor called Tegra 3. Tegra 3 or Tegra “4+1” comes clocked at just 7 watts, but this practically beats any Atom or Brazos processor out now. The board comes with DDR3L 2 GB memory and a CPU clocked at just 900 MHz. As reported by FanlessTech, On the connectivity side, the new mainboard comes with Mini PCI Express × 3 (one used as mSATA and the other for the 3G adapter), a SIM socket, a HDMI output, SD card × 2, two USB 2.0 ports, one single Mini USB, two serial ports, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA and voice input / output.

The new model is called output KTT30/mITX and the manufacturer assures buyers that it will provide 7 years of support for this specific mainboard. Unfortunately, there is no information yet about the pricing of the KTT30/mITX mainboard, but it shouldn’t be more expensive than any other Atom mainboard out on the market today. We don’t exactly know why the processor has been downclocked so much, but considering that it also reduces the power consumption, we can accept it.

Kontron KTT30/mITX ARM mainboard
Image credits to Kontron

AMD Trinity Desktop Processors Truly Delayed to October





We've been pretty excited about the prospects of AMD launching its next desktop accelerated processing units a month from now, but reports say this won't actually happen.

Advanced Micro Devices was supposed to release a new batch of Trinity desktop accelerated processing units in August 2012. Unfortunately, assuming Digitimes knows what it is talking about, the likelihood is higher for the launch to be delayed by another two months. We admit, this isn't the first time someone says the units have been pushed back to the fourth quarter. Hints towards this have existed since June, and even earlier. We still hoped the rumors would be invalidated though, especially since manufacturing issues have long since lost their credibility as causes for Trinity delays. Nevertheless, the Digitimes report mentioned both production and design issues as well as the level of Llano APU inventories (they are supposedly too high, even now). Whichever the cause, the move is very disruptive, not just to consumers eager to see more Fusion but also to motherboard makers. Sure, AMD may continue with the AM3 and AM3+ sockets, but whatever changes it makes to the platform will require product revisions on the part of mainboard makers as well. After all, the new wave of motherboards is scheduled for the second half of the year, and though some may hang back until November or December, most still hope to go forward with the October launch roadmap.

The AMD products that are still on track for a third quarter release are the FX-8350, FX-6300 and FX-4320 CPUs. All of them fit the AM3+ pin layout and hover around the 125W TDP (thermal design power). Advanced Micro Devices did not comment on the Llano inventory theory, or any other really, but this fits with regular company policies to not speak about unannounced products. By our guess, the corporation seeks to build up a strong supply before assaulting the consumer base right as Microsoft brings out Windows 8. It could make up for the weak showing in the second quarter.

AMD Trinity APU
Image credits to AMD

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E435 and E535 with AMD Trinity APU




Well-known notebook and computer systems manufacturer, Chinese company Lenovo has just announced today the availability of its new ThinkPad Edge mobile systems powered by AMD’s Trinity APU. These come configurable with the top-performing mobile Trinity APU, the A10-4600M.

The two new models in Lenovo’s ThinkPad Edge product line are the E435 and the E535. The former sports a 14” display featuring a standard 1366 by 768 pixel resolution, while the latter boasts a larger 15.6” display with the same mediocre resolution. The notebooks can be configured with up to a 1 TB HDD and 8 GB of system memory. Lenovo targets these two laptops at entry-level market and has endowed them with 1 HDMI connector, a Powered USB 2.0 port, three USB 3.0 connectors, a media card reader and D-SUB 15. Both models come with a DVD SuperMulti optical disc drive, a built-in webcam, Dolby  Advanced Audio  v2 speakers and a fingerprint sensor. The A10-4600M 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. A10-4600M is 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.







Lenovo ThinkPad Edge Notebooks, Powered by AMD Trinty 
Images credits to Lenovo

Full Touch and QWERTY BlackBerry 10 Smartphones Will Land Together




Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion is determined to bring the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones to the market only in the first quarter of the next year, yet it will launch two of those at once, not a single device.

The company has already confirmed the push back to the first three months of the next year, explaining that the move would help the platform more than a hasty launch this year would. In fact, RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins told CrackBerry that, for a successful launch in Q4 this year, they would need to have devices ready for unveiling in the September-October timeframe. A late November launch would not offer enough time for carriers to push devices to the front, and holiday sales won’t bring the expected boost in revenue. Another benefit of launching the platform at a later date is that RIM would be able to polish it as they please, and make sure that things are indeed working as they should. Moreover, the company would also have enough time to build its strategy for marketing the platform and devices powered by it. Of these, we should expect both full-touch and QWERTY-enabled devices to be launched side by side, RIM’s CMO Frank Boulben reportedly said.

The handset vendor will build the full-touch device first, saying that it is a bit more difficult to design for the OS, and that it would open the doors for BlackBerry 10, but it plans on announcing and marketing it along with the QWERTY smartphone, it seems. RIM will not abandon the QWERTY form factor, since it has proved extremely successful for the company, but it will push touch devices to shelves as well, since this is the trend today. BlackBerry 10 devices will see support from wireless carriers as well, RIM’s CEO confirmed. “The carriers want this platform out there. They see the Samsung / Apple duopoly and they don't like it. They want another third force. They believe we can do this. They've seen BlackBerry 10. They've had their hands around it. They can see it. And I think they like what they see,” he said.

BlackBerry logo
Image credits to RIM

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