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Aug 12, 2012

AMD Desktop Trinity on 1st October

The complete line of AMD’s successful Trinity family of APUs will be available on the free market this autumn. Currently the processors can only be bought inside systems sold by big manufacturer such as HP, DELL, Lenovo and others.

The Texas based fabless CPU and GPU designer AMD is currently sending all the Trinity APUs it can make to the big hardware companies to sell them in markets with higher margins like the mobile sector. The company is also letting the market get rid of all the Llano CPUs in stock right now and thus allowing its partners to sell these with a decent profit margin instead of forcing them to give deep discounts to sell Llanos in a market invaded by Trinity.

The new generation of APUs from AMD is coming on the first day of October 2012 and the guys at Hermitage Akihabara have pictured the complete line of CPUs enthusiasts all over the world are expecting, overclockers.ua reports.

AMD Desktop Trinity APUs
Images credits to Hermitage Akihabara

20 GeForce GTX 660 Ti Video Cards Technical Details

Nvidia is preparing a full blown attack against AMD at the $300 price point. The weapon used by the Californian company is the GK104-300-KD-A2 28 nm GPU manufactured at TSMC.

The strategy seems to be allowing and even encouraging the partners to use all their creativity on custom designed PCBs and cooling systems and using factory overclocked settings. The cards unveiled by the hardware experts from videocardz.com are almost all clocked higher than Nvidia’s own reference design and the ASUS GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP seems to be the champion.

The top performing ASUS card is clocked at a default GPU frequency in 3D mode of 1059 MHz and it has an amazing Boost option of 1137 MHz, Videocardz reports. The 2048 MB of memory is disappointingly clocked at the same 6008 MHz, but it’s hard to criticize ASUS for that as no manufacturer has tampered with the memory frequencies.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti Video Card
Image credits to Videocardz

Roundup of Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti Video Cards
Images credits to overclockers.ua

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Gets Quad ThunderBolt Ports

AsRock has been getting more and more serious in the highend motherboard business lately and the addition of high speed ThunderBolt connectivity to some of its premium mainboards will make these even more highend and seriously expensive.

We just reported here that Gigabyte has decided to introduce a microATX mainboard with dual TunderBolt ports, but we’ve also unveiled the fact that those two ports raise the price of the device by more than $50. Sure ThunderBolt is a little faster than USB 3.0 and also has various useful features, but when two ports raise the price of a motherboard by more than 50%, most customers should really think if its all worth it.

AsRock’s new version of Z77 Extreme6 will be officially called Z77 Extreme6/TB4 and the rest of the features will remain pretty much the same, Chiploco reports. The mainboard supports Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge socket 1155 processors and comes with three ful-sized PCIe x16 slots with support for 3-way AMD CrossFire and 2-way Nvidia SLI. There’s no information on the pricing, but we expect this Intel mainboard to be considerably expensive.

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Quad ThunderBolt Motherboard
Images credits to Chiploco

Gigabyte Q1700 is a 17.3” Notebook Powered by AMD Zacate

Gigabyte is one of the world’s largest motherboard manufacturers and we were quite surprised to see the company venture in the UltraBook market some time ago. Sure Gigabyte made notebooks, netbooks and even mobile phones besides motherboards, but getting so serious to build one of the world’s lightest and thinnest UltraBooks was really surprising.

The impression the Taiwanese company has left us was that it was getting more serious about the mobile products just like its main competitor, ASUS. We find out today that this is definitely not the case. Gigabyte seems to be dead set on releasing mediocre products that have nothing to differentiate themselves, but absurd specifications, uninteresting features and an absurd price to go with it all. We’re talking of course about the new Q1700 17” notebook from the company. Everyone is glad Gigabyte has decided to build a decent office notebook powered by AMD’s Zacate Processors, but it seems the company has done everything possible to make it completely unattractive for the buyer.

Having an AMD Zacate processor is very suited for an office mobile computer and fitting it with a decent 17” that sports a higher than average resolution of 1600 by 900 pixels are both very good choices. Sure, building a notebook and slapping a decent display on it is not going to make a successful product so we went and search for those special features that will differentiate the Q1700 from the other products on the market and convince us to buy it. Sticking a modest AMD Brazos platform inside a rather roomy 17” office mobile computer will allow the manufacturer to add interesting features, options and specifications. Brazos is build for netbooks and even tablets, sticking it in a 17” mobile enclosure leaves room for a larger than average battery that, coupled with Brazos’ characteristic low power usage, would leag to am impressive 8 or 9-hour battery life.

Such a long battery like would be really useful and impressive for a 17” office notebook and quite hard to implement in a small netbook or tablet. Another useful feature would have been an extra or even two extra HDD bays to allow the user to have RAID performance and various backup options. It really doesn’t cost too much to put in one or two empty extra HDD bays, but it’s doable when you integrate such a small platform inside such a big notebook. The base version with a single HDD would still maintain a Brazos-like price and versions with multiple storage units would present Gigabyte with various profit opportunities. There are many things you can do with very little money to make the Q1700 more appealing for the potential buyer, but Gigabyte did absolutely the opposite.

The Q1700 has a mediocre 4400 mAh battery and a single HDD bay although it’s clear from the pictures that half of the enclosure volume is wasted. The price is baffling as the notebook is reported to cost $627 (510 EUR) and that’s amazingly expensive for a Brazos notebook that even doesn’t have USB 3.0. What’s even more unexpected is the weight as we’ve seen so many rather large 17.3” Acer notebooks that came with AMD triple-core Phenom II processors and discrete AMD Radeon HD 5650 1GB video cards that weigh 2.85 Kg that we’re amazed that Q1700 is 2.9 Kg heavy. There are multiple configurations integrating an E-350, E-450 or E2-1800 Zacate processors and various capacities HDDs just like any product comes with somewhat diverse components depending on what the buyer need or can afford.

We’re glad Gigabyte went for the interesting combination of AMD’s Brazos and a 17” mobile office computer, but we simply can’t explain the heavy weight, the high price, the small battery and the complete and absurd lack of any useful and interesting features.

Gigabyte Q1700 17" Brazos NoteBook
Images credits to ixbt

Windows 9 to Be Codenamed Windows Blue

Following the release of Windows 8 to manufacturing, Microsoft is expected to shift its entire focus on the release of the next flavor of the operating system, supposedly set to hit shelves as Windows 9.

No official confirmation on the platform’s availability has been provided as of yet, but rumor has it that Microsoft is already underway with the development process. Some of the company’s employees have already updated their social networking profiles to reflect that, yet no specific info on the OS has been provided yet. However, leaked info that emerged over at ithome suggests that the platform will sport the codename of Windows Blue. We already learned that it might be called internally Windows 9 or Windows Next (or vNext), which did not come too much as a surprise.

After all, Microsoft did use to refer to Windows 8 as Windows vNext at one point, and has been calling it Windows 8 ever since the Developer Release landed last September. The Windows Blue codename, on the other hand, sounds intriguing. With no official confirmation on it, we’ll have to take the info with a grain of salt for the time being. Of course, there is a lot to learn about Windows 9, starting with the enhancements that Microsoft might pack it with, and going all the way to what logo it will choose for the OS. Windows 8 came with an emblem that moved far away from the traditional Windows logo we were used with, and Windows 9 might follow the trend.

At the same time, it should be interesting to learn what build number Windows 9 will sport when launched, especially with Windows 8 RTM brought up to build 9200, although it was initially expected to land as 8888. If Microsoft already started the work on the new platform release, it certainly began at build 9000, though we might see the final release somewhere in the 9400 – 9600 – 9800 range, win8china suggests. For many, Windows 8 might not look like their next platform of choice, especially for those fond of traditional mouse and keyboard input methods. Hopefully, if they won’t change their mind soon, Windows 9 will offer them viable option to fall in love with Microsoft’s platform once again.

Windows 9 to be codenamed Windows Blue
Image credits to ithome

Eurocom Scorpius Ultra High Performance Notebook

For those who don't know that high-end gaming doesn't really take an absurd amount of resources, Eurocom has created the Scorpius ultra high performance notebook.

The company essentially did its best to make the best laptop powerful, regardless of how much buyers will have to pay for it. We may as well get this out of the way: the lowest possible price is $1,793 (1,458 Euro), but dual-GPU graphics and other top-tier parts will cause the tag to soar to $2,857 / 2,324 Euro, possibly more. “The Eurocom Scorpius is an out of this world High Performance Notebook Computer. Like the mythical creature that stung and killed Orion, the EUROCOM Scorpius will take down any competition standing in its way, while allowing gamers to do the same,” states Mark Bialic, Eurocom president. “We have been getting out of this world benchmark results with the EUROCOM Scorpius. Simply put, this is the most powerful system of its kind on the planet.” Eurocom Scorpius measures 17.3 inches in diagonal (1,920 x 1,080 Full HD resolution) and relies on the quad-core, 2.9/3.8 GHz Intel Core i7-3920XM Extreme CPU (HM77 chipset).

Up to 32 GB of DDR3 1333/1600/1866 random access memory back up the chip, along with one or two mobile graphics adapters. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M, Quadro K3000M/4000M and AMD Radeon HD 7970M can all be selected, in one or dual-GPU configurations. Furthermore, with as many as four different storage devices (2 x HDD, Optical Drive, mSATA drive), there should never come a time when there is insufficient space to copy or install applications. Other specs include a backlit keyboard (WASD gaming keys, separate numeric keypad), four USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, a 9-in-1 card reader, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 audio, two 2W ONKYO speakers + Subwoofer, headphone and mic jacks, LAN. DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4a and an 8-cell battery.

 Finally, Eurocom's notebook weighs around 3.5 kilograms (7.71 pounds) and measures 419 x 286 x 24-49.7 mm (16.49 x 11.25 x 0.94-1.95 inches).

Eurocom Scorpius ultra-high performance notebook
Image credits to Eurocom

Transcend aXeRam DDR3 Memory Kits

Well-known DRAM and storage manufacturer Transcend has just launched two new DDR3 memory kits. The new sets come with big aluminum heatsinks and can handle more voltage than the reference DDR3 JEDEC specification.

Transcend dual-channel memory kits are officially called aXeRam DDR3-2133 2x 4 GB and aXeRam DDR3-2400 2x 8 GB. The former uses a 1.6V DIMM voltage and has 10-11-10-27 latencies while the latter needs 1.65V and has 11-12-11-29 latencies, overclockers.ua reports. Overclockers will surely prefer the DDR3-2400 kit, but even the average user can enjoy some automatic overclocking as both memory kits come with Intel XMP 1.3 support.

Both kits use high-quality 8-layer PCBs that are claimed to help with stability and overall reliability. The new aXeRam DDR3 memory kits from Transcend are backed by a full lifetime warranty.  The pricing information has not been made available yet.

Transcend aXeRam DDR3 Memory Kits
Image credits to overclockers.ua

Club3D GeForce GT 610 PCI Express x1 Video Card

Traditional AMD video card manufacturing partner has also been manufacturing Nvidia-based cards for a while and today the company is launching a very useful and very cool graphics adapter.

The official name of Club3D’s new product is GeForce GT 610 PCI Express X1 and the model number is CGNX-G612LX1. There are numerous computer systems that lack a proper PCI Express x16 expansion slot and Club3D’s new product is the perfect solution to escape from the dreaded performance manifested by the likely low quality Intel IGP. Many users would sometimes want to add more monitors to a system, but although the motherboard has an x16 slot, it doesn’t have a second one. Since almost all PCI Express motherboards have at least one PCI Express x1 slot, Club3D’s GeForce GT 610 PCI Express X1 is the perfect solution.

There are many reasons that make the GeForce GT 610 PCI Express X1 a very useful device and it seems that Club3D has brought a new life to Nvidia’s 2010 chip. The GeForce GT 610 PCI Express X1 from Club3D is powered by a 40nm GF119 GPU that comes with 48 CUDA cores running at 810 Mhz. The shader units work at a high 1620 MHz frequency, but the card only requires a maximum of 29 watts when working at full speed. It has 1GB of DDR3 memory on board, but the memory interface is a narrow 64-bit BUS.

On the connectivity side, the GeForce GT 610 PCI Express X1 comes with a DVI slot and a HDMI connector, but also has a port and a D-SUB 15 VGA bracket. Although these three outputs are preset, the card can only output to two displays at one time. It’s quite a pity that Club3D didn’t make this a fanless card, but we’re happy the solution exists just as it is.

Club3D GeForce GT 610 PCI Express X1 Video Card
Images credits to Club3D

Nvidia Quadro and Tesla Strategy

Fabless GPU and ARM processor designer, American company Nvidia is changing its strategy regarding its professional computing solutions. We’ve reported here about Nvidia’s plans with the Quadro K5000, but now we’ve stumbled upon some new info that describes a likely scenario at the company.

There are certainly considerable more servers and workstations that could put a GPU compute card like the TESLA K10 to good use than there are graphics workstations in need of a Quadro K5000 video card. Nvidia practically knows that Tesla has considerably more potential than Quadro and is apparently shifting its focus and concentrating on making this the company’s main professional brand. Of course Quadro has more than a decade of history behind it and the market recognition is respectable, but Nvidia want to use this as a boost for Tesla sales and brand image. The company seems to believe that Quadro card needs to be a little more affordable, if you can call $2250 (1850 EUR) “affordable,” but Quadro customers should also buy Tesla accelerators.

The company is thus advertising its Maximus package that includes a Quadro card and a Tesla adapter. What’s interesting is that, while Quadro K5000 may seem “cheap” at $2250, the Maximus package will cost over $5500 (4500 EUR). Therefore Nvidia will actually be making much more profit. If the company manages to convince even only 25% of the traditional Quadro customers to buy the bundle, the profits will be huge while Tesla sales will increase tremendously. This way, Nvidia will manage to get Tesla card into non-server workstations while the general Tesla image is still being associated with servers and super computers. Nvidia hopes to really increase the Tesla sales towards professional graphics users and increase the brand recognition in the professional market.

The strategy only has upsides, in our opinion, as the profits and revenues are only going to increase. The sales of Tesla cards are going to multiply. The Tesla brand image will be improved and the addressable markets will be more diverse. The users can only enjoy the lower price of the Quadro K5000, but we have a feeling that the K5000 card will actually end up giving comparable performance results with the current Quadro 6000 generation of cards that cost $3500 (2850 EUR) a piece. The way things look right now, Tesla will have the top GPU and card configuration in Nvidia’s professional lineup while Quadro will be less complex and more “affordable.”

Nvidia K5000 Quadro Professional Adapter
Image credits to anandtech

Intel Haswell x86 Processor Core Only Bring a 10% Performance Improvement

The world’s largest CPU designer and manufacturer is working on its next-generation Haswell processor architecture. The company is apparently concentrating on the iGPU part of the new design and somewhat less on the x86 cores.

Intel has enjoyed a serious performance advantage over its main x 86 competitors, the fabless Texas-based Advanced Micro Devices, thus the company sees no reason in making a serious x86 performance jump. Therefore, Intel will keep most of its x86 aces up its sleeve and will only trickle out some performance to tempt users to spend money on yet another Intel processor or even the whole platform, Fudzilla reports.

On the other hand, on the graphics side, the company is literally quadrupling the number of 3D units inside the iGPU because of humiliating successful competition from AMD. If AMD had been able to properly compete in the x 86 fields, we would have probably seen a 25% x86 performance improvement instead of the reported 10%.

Intel Haswell CPU
Image credits to Intel

Windows 9 is Already in Process at Microsoft

Windows 8 has RTM’d and is currently getting ready for the grand launch on October 26th this year, but it seems that Microsoft is already looking further away.

In fact, it appears that the company has already started to work on the next flavor of Windows, and that it might feature the codename of Windows 9. This info comes from a series of Microsoft employees who have been quick to update their online profiles recently, as Stephen Chapman from MSFTKitchen found out. Some of them are listing Windows 9 as the current project they are involved in, while others are mentioning other names for what appears to be the future Windows release. “Documenting all steps necessary to hand off ownership of the SDK to the Windows 9 release and future sustainment,” one LinkedIn profile reads.

“Windows.next (current). My focus is on all aspects of identity, for enterprise and consumer markets, both online and on the PC,” another states (it lists Windows 8 separately). The list of Microsoft employees mentioning Windows 9 on their profiles includes a software development engineer (SDE), a release manager, one senior product manager, a senior product planner, and more. What the platform refresh will be all about it remains to be seen, and might not come to surface for a few years more. One thing that is certain, however, is that Microsoft is not resting. Three years from now (given the product release cycle for Windows 7 and Windows 8) we might be talking about the RTM flavor of Windows 9, while testing pre-release versions of the platform on our computers.

However, nothing is yet official. Of course, it does not come as a surprise that Microsoft is working on Windows 9 – it might have started the process a while back, in fact – although it is still caught up in the launch of Windows 8. And if Windows 8 is Windows reimagined, with enhanced support for mobility and touch screens, we can’t help but wonder what the next Windows release would have in store for us.

Windows 8 logo
Image credits to Microsoft

Intel Wireless Charging to Arrive on Smartphones Next Year

Intel is reportedly looking into means to pack future smartphones with wireless charging technology, new reports suggest.

Through this move, Intel is reportedly looking for means to allow smartphone users to wirelessly charge their devices from ultrabooks without the need to have them placed in a specific position. The company would include ultrabooks with the necessary software and with a transmitter, while offering lower power consumption.

The feature, however, is expected to become available only sometime in the second half of the next year, a recent article on DigiTimes reads. The company might not make the wireless charging platform available for broad use, but only inside a small number of handsets. Intel is not the only company tapping into the capabilities of wireless charging. Samsung has already presented such a solution, but might not launch it before the end of 2012.

Intel-based Lenovo LePhone K800
Image credits to Intel

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