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Aug 1, 2012

GeForce GTX 650 Ti Specifications with Good Performance New GPU




We were quite a bit disappointed to find out here that Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 650 video card is nothing more than a GT 640 with GDDR5 memory. The company is apparently going to use a different chip for its Ti version.

Therefore the new GeForce GTX 650 Ti is powered by Nvidia’s Kepler-based GK106 silicon, Donanim Haber reported. This chip is made in the same 28 nm manufacturing process at TSMC just like the GK104 and AMD’s Tahiti. GK106 has 960 CUDA cores inside and that almost three times the raw power when compared with the plain GTX 650.

The card features a rather short PCB that comes fitted with 1GB or 2GB of GDDR5 memory working on a tight 128-bit bus. This means that playing games at very high resolutions and high AA settings is likely out of the question, but it should be decent in FullHD at medium quality settings.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti
Image credits to Donanim Haber

CoolerMaster Horizontal Vapor Chamber Coolers




Well-known computer cooling systems manufacturer Cooler Master has decided to switch from using a solid copper base for its high-end coolers to using a horizontal vapor chamber. The solution seems to be considerably more efficient in theory.

It is very important to mention that all this must be proved in real life tests using retail products as the Company’s own TPC812 cooler failed to impress the enthusiasts. In the TPC812, Cooler Master decided to use a large U-shaped vapor chamber that added additional heat transfer capacity next to the 6 heatpipes already present on the cooler. The cooler provides very good cooling results, but fails to surpass many of today’s cooling stars.

This is why we’ll take Cooler Master’s 8x improved heat dissipation claim with a grain of salt and wait for the initial tests. Using a vapor chamber instead of a solid copper base should, in theory improve the heat transfer from the CPU’s ISH to the heatpipes and this is a problem especially in most tower cases.

Cooler Master New Horizontal Vapor Chamber Cooling Concept
Image credits to Cooler Master

Cooler Master New Horizontal Vapor Chamber Cooling Concept
Image credits to Cooler Master

TPC812 Cooler Using a vertical vapor chamber
Image credits to Cooler Master

Apple CPU Expert Leaves A6/A7 Chips Production Might Be Affected




AMD announced that Jim Keller has left Apple to become the corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores. He will be reporting directly to Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Technology and Engineering, Mark Papermaster, who also worked at Apple.

The co-author of the HyperTransport specification, as well as the innovative x86-64 processor instruction set, Keller is said to have been poached by Papermaster who left Apple in 2010, on grounds of a PR nightmare caused by the Antennagate fiasco after the iPhone 4 launch. It is believed that Papermaster didn’t do everything in his power to prevent the debacle. Keller, for his part, “will lead AMD’s microprocessor core design efforts aligned with AMD’s ambidextrous strategy with a focus on developing both high-performance and low-power processor cores that will be the foundation of AMD’s future products,” according to a press release issued by the chip makers today.

“Jim is one of the most widely respected and sought-after innovators in the industry and a very strong addition to our engineering team,” commented Papermaster. “He has contributed to processing innovations that have delivered tremendous compute advances for millions of people all over the world, and we expect that his innovative spirit, low-power design expertise, creativity and drive for success will help us shape our future and fuel our growth,” Papermaster added. Keller’s job at Apple was to head the platform architecture group focusing on mobile products – the A-series chips.

A former staffer of PA Semi, which Apple purchased a few years ago to make the A4, the A5, and later the A5X SoCs (system on a chip), Keller “architected several generations of mobile processors, including the chip families found in millions of Apple iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs,” says AMD. Apple might now have to look for a replacement chip expert to continue work on the next A-series processors, the A6, the A7 etc. Keller also worked at SiByte(R) and Broadcom as chief architect for a line of scalable, MIPS-based network processors and, before that, he spent several years at AMD on the design team responsible for the AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron 64 processors.

Apple iPad third-generation teardown of A5X chip
Image credits to iFixit

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B Device, RIM Confirmed




Research In Motion released a few months ago a BlackBerry 10 device aimed at developers. The company is known for launching multiple builds of upcoming devices in order integrated the best user experience in the final products.

The latest device launched by RIM, the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha was handed out to developers at the last BlackBerry 10 Jam event. Today, the folks over at CrackBerry have learned that there's a new BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B in the works, which will be given for free to developers in the following weeks.

RIM already confirmed the existence of the device and stated that “there will eventually be a minor hardware bump to Dev Alphas coming off the line – normal part of any pre-release program.” In addition, the company said the new smartphone's “layout of some of the components like micro SIM placement has been changed.” Stay tuned for more info on the subject.

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B
Image credits to BerryReview

Sony Xperia SL Press Photos Leak Again with Additional Colors




The first Sony Xperia SL press photo leaked about two weeks ago, along with some of the smartphone's specs sheet.

Although the Xperia SL only appeared in pink, it looks like Sony plans to launch the device in more color options. The folks over at UnwiredView report the handset will also be available in black, silver and white color-schemes. No other details on the phone's hardware and software configuration emerged, but we already know the Xperia SL will be equipped with a dual core processor clocked at 1.7 GHz. We can also speculate the device will be powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform.

It is also worth mentioning Sony Xperia SL is expected to be announced on August 29, two days ahead of IFA 2012 trade fair opening. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Sony Xperia SL
Image credits to ePrice.com

Windows 8 Status Now RTM




Only two months after the latest preview flavor of Windows 8 was made available for download, Microsoft announced that the platform was released to manufacturing today.

The availability of the RTM flavor of the operating system means that Microsoft finally applied the latest touches to it, and that OEM partners are currently receiving the final code. Thus, Windows 8 PCs can start entering production, so that they would be ready for the commercial release of the platform, set for October 26th. On that day, Windows 8 will be available for users with a price tag of $39.99 attached to it for upgraders, or on new devices powered by the platform. Moreover, Microsoft notes that all those who will purchase an eligible Windows 7 PC today will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro when it becomes available for only $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

While most of us will be able to grab the new platform only when it becomes available for purchase in October, Windows 8 RTM is being delivered to various people starting with this month:

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via their MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through their TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing them to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within their organization. 
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8. 
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

For the rest of the world, Windows 8 is still available as a Release Preview, and will remain up for download this way for the following months, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc notes in a blog post. Starting with August 15th, developers will find in the Windows Dev Center not only the RTM flavor of Windows 8, but also the final version of Visual Studio 2012, which will enable them to design, build, and sell apps in the Windows Store. Along with the Windows 8 RTM flavor, Microsoft also announced that paid applications can now be submitted to the Windows Store, and that businesses can also start pushing their software to the portal.

Windows 8 RTM
Image credits to Microsoft

Intel Haswell-EP Processors Come in 2014




World’s greatest semiconductor company has been historically working against the interests of early adopters and enthusiasts, so we’re happy to find out that users that invested hundreds of dollars in their LGA2011 motherboards will stand a chance to get an Ivy Bridge upgrade.


We only need to remember how they changed from LGA1156 to LGA1155 just to get people to spend money for new motherboards alongside new CPUs and how they left LGA1366 adopters with no upgrade option, despite the fact that Intel actually manufactures Xeon processors using the LGA1356 format. It’s quite upsetting to see that exactly the ones that spent almost $1000 for their motherboard and CPU are the ones left without an upgrade option. We reported here that, despite the fact that Intel’s Haswell will also come in a LGA2011 variant, it will not be compatible with current LGA2011 motherboards. Part of the good news today is that this version of high-end processor from Intel will not be available until 2014.

Many of our readers might ask how this is good news. Well, the thing is that despite the Haswell architecture coming to the market in early 2013, the high-end will still be powered by Sandy Bridge E processors. On the other hand, Intel will eventually have to upgrade its top line and if LGA2011 Haswell is only coming in 2014, the top Intel desktop processor for the summer and autumn of next year will be an Ivy Bridge-E. This is the good news revealed in a recently unveiled Intel roadmap, VR-Zone reported. The roadmap shows that the high-end desktop platform will be powered by an Ivy Bridge-E processor, and there is a strong possibility that these new processors will actually be compatible with today’s LGA2011 motherboards.

Therefore, after the bad news that there’s still no Ivy Bridge upgrade option for the LGA2011 adopters and that Haswell will actually not be compatible with the current boards, LGA2011 owners might find some little relief that an upgrade might actually be coming. It’s better late than never and at least it’s something and it’s definitely better than nothing. Not exactly the way an enthusiast expects to be treated after spending many hundreds of dollars for a company’s processors and chipsets.

Intel Current LGA2011 Processor Socket
Image credits to AnandTech

Texas Instruments Charging Technology Breakthrough




We suppose the words “universal USB” are a bit redundant, considering what USB stands for (Universal Serial Bus), but we figure a breakthrough like this deserves it.

Long story short, Texas Instruments has introduced an intelligent USB charge controller that automatically detects and adjusts charge algorithms. It is composed of a current-limit USB power switch and a USB dedicated charging port identification circuit. Long story short, it can detect USB 3.0 and USB 3.0 data line voltages and provide the correct electrical signature needed to safely charge them.

In other words, this is a chip that can allow consumer electronics companies to build USB chargers that work on anything that can recover energy from a USB source. Here is where more information exists, along with the possibility to order free samples and evaluation modules.

Texas Instruments USB charger chip
Image credits to Hot Hardware

Raspberry Pi Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich




While people may have made their own ports, the Raspberry Pi credit card-sized PC doesn't actually come loaded with the Android 4.0 operating system out of the box.

This has now changed. After months of work, the Raspberry Pi foundation has finally finished the first Raspberry Pi loaded with Ice Cream Sandwich. It was a chore to get the OS to recognize the VideoCore IV GPU, but both GPU-accelerated graphics and video should be working now. Only AudioFlinger is still non-operational, but it is only a matter of time before that loose end is tied.

That said, we don't know for sure when Raspberry Pi will add Android 4.0 ICS to the OS list, but we hope it won't be more than a few weeks from now. After all, 12 to 17 weeks (because of orders number and shipping distances) is already a long enough waiting time. Of course, if you can't wait, Raspbian will turn your TV into a smart one just fine.



Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich  running on Raspberry Pi
Video credits to narensankar

Intel Xeon Phi with B0 Stepping Now Shipping, Specifications Revealed




Intel has apparently removed Nvidia from some supercomputer deals originally planned to use Nvidia's Tesla GPU compute cards. The largest CPU company in the world apparently used its influence and some bold claims to sway the supercomputer architects to go Xeon Phi instead of Tesla.

As VR-Zone reports, Now, Intel is ready with a newer revision of its Knights Corner chip and, this time, different board configurations have been sent out to various technology partners. The B0 stepping has been configured in three main configurations containing 57 cores, 60 core and 61 cores. We know the numbering seems strange, but Intel’s previous versions weren’t any easier to remember. Let’s call these versions 57C, 60C and 61C. We need to make this denomination, as the boards will complicate things even more, as there are configurations with 3 GB, 6 GB or 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. Depending on the number of active cores, each chip will have a level 1 cache size ranging from 1.8 MB to 1.9 MB and a level 2 cache size between 28 MB and 30.5 MB.

The 57C chip will be paired with 3 GB or 6 GB of GDDR5 memory and the minimal clock speed will be 600 Mhz for the Intel chip and between 4.5 GHz and 6 GHz for the QDR memory. The 60C and 61C chips will be paired with 8 GB of GDDR5 memory and will have a minimal clock speed of 630 MHz. The 57C boards will have the highest clock rate for main processor and that will be 1.1 Ghz. The 60C and 61C board will be able to achieve only 1.05 Ghz or 1.09 Ghz, depending on the configuration. Most of the cards will come with no active cooling and will rely on custom liquid cooling solutions, or will have huge heatsinks that will be cooled by the air flow present in most rackable servers.

The main processor on the Xeon Phi cards surely comes with some form of throttling feature, as cooling off 300 watts of dissipated heat might prove difficult even for the high-speed server fans. There will be two cards that will fit in a TDP of “just” 245 watts, but the rest of the configurations are built with a 300W TDP in mind. For more information on Intel’s Larabee architecture and Xeon Phi cards, check out Theo Valich’s detailed report.

Intel Xeon Phi logo
Image credits to Intel

Intel Xeon Phi Accelerator Card
Image credits to Intel

Intel Confirmed 40 UltraBook Designs with Touchscreen in 2013




Intel is working hard at making its UltraBook concept a little more popular. The company confirmed that many new UltraBooks that are coming in 2013 would feature touchscreens.

Intel’s UltraBook concept is a surprising initiative from the company. The world’s largest semiconductor company is proposing various innovative enhancements to its mobile concept. Intel is the main supporter of using slim 5mm HDDs, hybrid hard drives or SSDs and ultra-high resolution screens. All these coming from Intel have surprised everybody, as the company often proved it was very conservative, never desired huge performance improvements, never cared about user experience and always charged end-users an “arm and a leg” for every meager improvement. Now, Intel is even arguing for lower prices to make the devices more popular.

Once Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system becomes available in October this year, Intel and its UltraBook partners are preparing over 40 new product designs that will hit the market in late 2012 and early 2013, Fudzilla reported. The touch interface is the new craze this year. Many manufacturers have already launched desktop all-in-one systems that feature multi-touch input. The cost of developing and manufacturing a touch-enabled device has been going down for a long time.

The more they make, the cheaper it gets and there are so many touch-enabled display devices on the market today that the hardware cost is considerably less of a hassle than it was 5 year ago. Having the fitting software is another problem entirely. The maker of a touch-enabled device was supposed to also provide the necessary software, but now that Windows 8 handles all of that, many devices using this operating system will come with the touch feature.

Aspire S7 Touch UltraBook
Image credits to The Verge

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