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Sep 4, 2012

DELL XPS 10 WindowsRT ARM Tablet

Once Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is launched this October, ARM will have secured a serious foothold in the Windows software market. Sure the x86 Windows applications will not work on WindowsRT, but we’re certain that these will be much easier to port than going from ARM Android to x86 Windows 8.

American company DELL is the second well-known brand to show a WindowsRT-based tablet at this year’s IFA event in Berlin, Germany, but this one is a lot different from ASUS’s own Vivo Tab RT tablet. The new tablet is called DELL XPS 10 and it is not powered by Nvidia’s popular Tegra 3 mobile processor, but it is using a Qualcomm processor. The most likely suspect inside DELL’s 10” XPS 10 tablet is the powerful APQ8064 quad-core processor from Qualcomm that’s based on the new ARM Cortex A15 architecture. This makes Qualcomm’s mobile processor much more powerful than Nvidia’s solution, as each Cortex A15 core is roughly twice as fast as a Cortex A9 core, like the ones found inside the Tegra 3 SoC.

APQ8064 also brings greatly improved power efficiency along with a much better single-threaded behavior, as not all applications know how to best utilize multiple processing cores. The XPS 10 certainly looks more like a tablet with a keyboard dock than a detachable screen. To put it differently, DELL’s XPS 10 is apparently built to work mainly as a tablet and the keyboard dock will supposedly be optional when buying it. The impressive efficiency of the APQ8064 should translate in a huge 20-hour long battery life when working in docked mode and DELL itself promises “a couple of working days battery life.” 

DELL XPS 10 WindowsRT ARM Tablet powered by Qualcomm
Image credits to gottabemobile

DELL XPS 10 WindowsRT ARM Tablet powered by Qualcomm
Image credits to SlashGear

AMD Steamroller Prepared to Be Faster Than Intel Haswell

Nobody can radically change a computing architecture and manage to get the first iteration to act exactly as what was initially envisioned. Just like AMD's Barcelona some time ago, many expected it to trample all over Intel’s Core 2 Duo, but in fact it didn’t.

There was nothing catastrophically wrong with the design itself, but not all the bugs were ironed out and the design was not completely optimized. At the time, Barcelona seemed rushed out, as the company was in a hurry to offer something different than the popular Athlon 64 X2 available in those days. All that was needed was some grooming in the bug forest and a considerably larger level 3 cache. Then we had Phenom II that was and still is successfully competing against its respective Core 2 Duo counterparts. The Bulldozer story was similar.

While the design differences between Phenom II and Bulldozer are quite significant and the number of floating point units (FPU) has been halved, many expected the design to literally bulldoze the competition out of the way. We weren’t so sure about the FlexFP. Our opinion was that it would lead to some serious efficiency and throughput increases in the server sector, but on the desktop side we would have considered AMD lucky if it managed to get 4 FPUs to perform like the previous 6 FPUs. To its credit, AMD has successfully managed exactly that, but that’s certainly not enough to fight Ivy Bridge. The incoming Vishera silicon with Piledriver enhancements is what Bulldozer should have been in the first place.

We’re sure AMD’s Dirk Meyer was envisioning something like Steamroller. He should have made the initial Bulldozer more like today’s Piledriver, but at least we know that Bulldozer had some issues that have now been ironed out. Many say that Steamroller will not be able to face Haswell, but the reality is that Steamroller is apparently a proper implementation of the FlexFP concept. The doubling of the cache, dispatch and fetching units will greatly increase the performance. Many are estimating conservative values ranging between a 20% and a 30% performance improvement over the current Bulldozer processors, but sources inside the engineering department at AMD are expecting 45% performance improvements, VR-Zone reports.

This puts AMD’s Steamroller beyond Ivy Bridge’s performance and right against Intel’s Haswell. Some are wondering about the company’s statements that they won’t be fighting for the desktop market anymore. We believe that’s just PR talk to divert attention from the fact than AMD’s current top desktop CPUs barely make it against Intel’s quad-cores with no fighting chance against any hexa-core from the CPU giant. The most pressing question right now is whether AMD’s next desktop platform will keep the current socket or whether they will go for something with DDR4.

It would really be early for the company to go for DDR4, as even Intel is not planning DDR4 platforms until 2014, but it will also seem strange to see AMD change two sockets in two years. A new Steamroller socket with support for DDR3 will allow AMD to get away from any drawbacks that the current AM3+ platform might have, but then, in 2014 they will be forced to put another socket out with DDR4 support. One strategy would be to keep the current AM3+ design and use some level 4 cache to improve on the lack of a triple or quad channel memory controller, but that remains to be seen.

AMD Logo / Steamroller
Image credits to theoverclocker

PowerColor AMD Radeon PCS+ HD 7950 Boost State Edition

AMD is preparing for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 video card launch and in the war for the $300 price point, the new Radeon HD 7950 Boost State Edition is the weapon of choice. Those that expect heaps of more GDDR5 memory or more shader cores active are in for a disappointment.

AMD’s Radeon HD 7950 Boost State Edition is nothing more than the same video card with the same GPU and memory working at slightly higher frequencies by the means of a new BIOS using the newer Power Tune feature. PowerColor’s PCS+ version of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 Boost State Edition is using the same efficient cooling system with three 8-millimeter heatpipes and two 92-millimeter cooling fans.

The card is very overclockable, very fast and a lot quieter than any other Radeon HD 7950 product on the market. Currently, the non-Boost State Edition is priced at 330 EUR ($415) and it’s likely that it will get a lower price while the new version will reach the shelves at about 350 EUR ($440), VideoCardz reports.

PowerColor PCS+ AMD Radeon HD 7950 Boost State Edition
Images credits to VideoCardz

The iPhone 5’s nano-SIM Starts Shipping

Deutche Telekom is sending out nano-SIM cards to its partners one week ahead of the rumored iPhone 5 launch. The spec is said to be a perfect fit for the next-generation iPhone, which might be the first to adopt the nano-SIM standard.

The operator is sending out these nano-SIMs with instructions that they’re to be used with “the latest generation of smartphones” launching in the near future. No reference to the iPhone has been made, but Apple’s next smartphone is said to be the first to adopt the new specification.

Apple is widely expected to send out its own invitations to an event scheduled for next week, during which it will ceremoniously unveil the next-generation iPhone. The handset is said to have a four-inch display, upgraded internals and cameras, a slightly altered design, and a thinner body.

Nano-SIM and Standard-SIM (With Micro-SIM cut) size comparison
Image credits to iFun.de

Windows Server 2012 Becomes Available Today

Today, Redmond-based software giant Microsoft is set to make the Windows Server 2012 platform available for purchase and download.

The company announced plans to make the move in early August, when it also announced that the OS was released to manufacturing, and has reportedly confirmed it yesterday at Tech Ed in New Zealand. To celebrate the event, Microsoft plans on holding a launch party. Those interested in learning more on the availability of Windows Server 2012 are invited to tune in starting with 8:00 am US Pacific Time (11 am ET). Microsoft’s hardware and software partners have already had access to the RTM flavor of the platform since early August. Volume licensing customers also received access to the bits last month.

Starting today, however, the operating system will become available for all of the company’s customers around the world. At the event set to be hold today, the software giant will provide executives, engineers, customers, and partners with the possibility to offer some more info on what the new OS is all about. Moreover, it plans on offering insight on how companies will be able to take advantage of Cloud OS, as announced last month. According to Microsoft, Windows Server 2012 has been tailored to meet the needs of modern datacenters, enabling companies to get the most out of both private and hybrid cloud computing.

“You will be able to learn more about the features and capabilities and connect with experts and peers. You’ll also be able to collect points along the way for the chance to win some amazing prizes. You don’t want to miss it,” Jeffrey Snover, Microsoft Windows Server, noted last month about today’s event. All those interested in attending the Windows Server 2012 online launch event should head over to this page on Microsoft’s website. They will be able to learn, connect and have some fun during the event, Microsoft says.

Windows Server 2012 to lands today
Image credits to Microsoft

AMD Jaguar Based APU Runs at 2 GHz and Beats AMD Brazos by 260%

AMD’s up and coming Jaguar architecture has been revealed at this year’s Hot Chips conference and we reported on that here and here. The new x86 core design is supposed to bring more instruction set support, better performance and much improved power efficiency.

One thing we’ve noticed about all the Jaguar reports that are floating on the Internet, and that is that nobody seems to think about how much performance it will bring in the low-end sector and how that will correlate with Intel’s missing Atom upgrade. As most of you know, Intel hasn’t upgraded the Atom processor line in a while now and the company apparently wants to leave things the way they are now until next autumn or even later. Seeing that Intel is not doing anything spectacular, AMD did not upgrade Bobcat either and only brought minor improvements in the Brazos 2.0 platform. The Texas-based CPU designer actually knows that its most important market is the low- to mid-end and the desktop side has always been its strongest area as the company now rules over 43% of that market just by using Llano and Brazos processors.

Therefore, even if Intel is not doing anything in the low-power sector, AMD is working hard on Jaguar that will apparently be ready early next year. In the Hot Chips 2012 slides, AMD claims that the new Jaguar CPUs will work at a higher frequency than the current Brazos processors and estimates a frequency increase of more than 10%. Considering that the top Brazos 2.0 CPU works roughly at 1700 MHz, we can definitely say that Jaguar will indeed have a top working frequency of around 2 GHz. AMD is also expecting an IPC increase of over 15% and that means that even when working at the same frequency, the Jaguar CPUs will be more than 15% faster than the fastest Brazos 2.0 implementation.

Practically, a 2 GHz Jaguar processor is likely to be roughly 25% to 30% faster than the top Brazos dual cores. On the other hand, Jaguar CPUs will also come in quad core flavor and this means that the performance difference will reach a high 260% when comparing a 4-core Jaguar to a dual-core Bobcat. Intel’s new 22nm Atom called Silvermont will have a serious competitor from AMD, but we have the feeling that Jaguar’s success will be even greater than what the company has managed with Brazos and Brazos 2.0.

The famous JAGUAR Cray Server Powered by AMD Opteron Processors
Image credits to AMD

AMD Hot Chips 2012 Jaguar Presentation
Image credits to AMD

A6 CPU on Purported iPhone 5 Logic Board

A photo of the next-generation iPhone logic board has recently surfaced in photos, spurring speculation that Apple is, indeed, putting an all-new chip inside the chassis of its iPhone 5.

Originating from Sonny Dickson (9to5mac researcher and tech enthusiast), the image is said to be “enhanced with Photoshop.” This, of course, doesn’t help its credibility one bit, but we wouldn’t deny our readers any tidbit that could potentially hold valuable information.

For our part, we’ve enhanced the photo as well to show the clear A6 designation on the black silicon chip. We cannot confirm whether or not someone simply used a photo editor to put the “A6” on that black background. Given how fuzzy the picture is, there’s a good chance the image is, indeed, doctored. Apple could very well go with an A5X implementation, leaving the A6 for the iPhone 6. At least it makes sense from a numeric standpoint.

Purported iPhone 5 logic board
Image credits to Sonny Dickson

Complete List of Windows 8 Devices

We've been reporting on devices running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system for months, and the latest weeks have had more than a few official releases, but, for those who want a complete view of the “ecosystem”, such as it is, we have a nice chart to share.

Following this link will take you to a file that lists all Windows 8 devices known so far, as well as the specifications, insofar as they are known. We aren't the ones who made it though. That credit goes to blogger Aidan Finn, whose original post can be found here. The file is a very thorough piece of work, and what we can claim is that we've written about many of the entries. There are 32 in total. Some run the Windows 8 standard version, while others feature the ARM-ready Windows RT iteration. At any rate, Acer is in the lead with seven products. Iconia W510 and Iconia W700 are tablets, ones we have managed to shoot hands-on photos of at the ongoing IFA 2012 trade show.

Speaking of which, we have posted hands-on galleries of the Aspire V5 Touch notebook and the Aspire S7 ultrabook as well. Samsung has second spot (6 items), with its Series 7 all-in-one PCs, the Ativ Smart PC / Smart PC Pro and Ativ Tab, among other things. ASUS is on third place, with five products. The Taichi dual-display notebook and the two Vivo Tab are the ones we have examined closely. Dell is up next, with three devices, of which the Dell XPS 12 Duo is best known to us (a convertible ultrabook, of sorts). HP has three products as well, as does Lenovo (the IdeaPad and ThinkPad series).

Finally, Sony and Microsoft (Surface Pro and Surface RT) have two products each, and Toshiba has one (Satellite U920t convertible ultrabook). The list, understandably enough, doesn't include the Windows 7 devices that can be upgraded to Windows 8.

Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook
Image credits to Acer

Eight AMD Vishera CPUs Take Over the AM3+ Platform

The refined Piledriver x86 architecture from AMD will take over the AM3+ platform very fast. The company is preparing a fast removal of the Zambezi CPUs from its product offering with an aggressive EOL plan.

All the eleven Zambezi processors that are currently available in the channel will reach EOL in Q4 2012. This means that the availability will only last until sometime next spring, while shipments could still come in after the middle of the next year.

This was supposed to have happened even quicker, but for certain unknown reasons, Vishera was delayed by about two months and thus the EOL is also moved back by a comparable amount of time. The top Vishera CPU will be designated FX 8350 and will go head to head with Intel’s Core i7-3770K processor, but it will probably not be able to fight the superior models from Intel.

AMD FX Processor logo
Image credits to AMD

AMD FX Next Slide
Image credits to AMD

Intel Haswell Comes with Integrated Voltage Regulator

Intel is working on the new Haswell architecture and new pieces of information surface on the Internet on a daily basis. The news today is that the company’s new CPU will also integrate the voltage regulation part, but we don’t think this is good news overall.

The first guys to have a problem with this are the overclockers and other enthusiasts that find it rather easy to modify the voltage regulator on the mainboard when trying to achieve better frequencies. Now that the voltage regulator will be fully integrated onto the chip itself, this will be much harder to do, if not outright impossible. The company is also claiming this will reduce the cost of the platform. However, we don’t think this will be the case, as Intel’s CPUs and platforms are always very expensive and we don’t expect mainboard manufacturers and customers to really feel any reduction in costs, Fudzilla reports. When the fully integrated voltage regulator (FIVR) is burnt out, if your chip is still covered by warranty, you will be able to swap it out with a replacement from Intel, but if this happens after the warranty period has expired, you can throw it in the garbage can.

On a mainboard, the voltage regulator can still be repaired by professionals, but the FIVR on the CPU itself will not be readily fixed. The other side of the paradigm shows us that the FIVR will offer finer granularity in power delivery on the different units located on the processor’s die, and this is likely to improve thermals and power consumption. Intel seems rather uninterested in its CPU thermals, as the company started using lower quality thermal interface materials (TIM) in its new Ivy Bridge processors that lead to much higher working temperatures.

Intel CPU Marketing Shot
Image credits to Intel

AMD Dual-Core 28nm Richland

AMD is working hard on the successor to the successful Trinity and, apparently, it is already planning the launch schedule for next spring. In early 2013, the Richland processor is supposed to become online. This one will be built in 28nm.

There were many reports saying that Richland would come with a radically different architecture that would use Steamroller cores for x86 processing power and GCN graphics for 3D performance. Now AMD is planning on releasing two 28nm processors which are supposed to be using the Richland silicon, Fudzilla reports. Both parts will fit inside the 65 watts TDP, but the graphics side will only benefit from 192 cores and the chip will have the A6 xxxxK moniker. Apparently yes, these 28nm processors will have more overclocking-enabled models that will wear the “K” tag.

The second 28nm processor will be an A4 that will lack the overclocking ability and will only feature 128 shaders. AMD's Turbo Core will be supported by both CPUs, but the A6 will have dual graphics ability, while the A4 will lack this option along with Blu-ray 3D support that will come with the superior models. The A6 and the A4 will both have 1 MB of level 2 cache while the quad-core parts will likely benefit from double that amount. These parts should come in Q2 2013, but we have a strange feeling that they might not have the GCN graphics we were hoping for. AMD's low-power Jaguar APUs will likely be the first to come with the enhanced integrated graphics processing units (iGPU), as these will launch months after the initial Richland 28nm processors.

Richland is likely to be a die shrink of the current Trinity with somewhat higher clocks and maybe a faster x86 computing core, although we’re not sure on that either. Many things are changing rapidly at AMD as the new architects start planning the company’s new roadmap. The company is already experimenting with new GPU tools to imbue its processor design and manufacturing, as we reported here.

AMD Fusion Marketing Shot
Image credits to AMD

Microsoft Surface Phone Emerges in Benchmark App

As soon as Microsoft went official with its Windows 8-based Surface tablet, rumors on the possible release of a Microsoft Surface Phone also started to emerge, yet nothing has been officially confirmed on the matter for the time being.

Today, however, we learn that the rumors might have got one step closer to becoming reality, as the handset has emerged in a benchmarking app, WParea.de reports. The application is none other than the popular WP Bench, which displays the Microsoft Surface Phone as being the latest addition to its database, with OS 8.0.9754.0 loaded on it. While the platform version comes in line with the previously spotted versions of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform, the emergence of the phone’s name in said app doesn’t prove that the device actually exists. In fact, it is quite possible that the results were spoofed, something that has happened before. For the time being, we’ll get the info with a grain of salt, while waiting for more solid proof on the matter. However, this does not exclude the possibility that Microsoft might indeed be considering a possible release of an own-branded Windows Phone 8 device.

After all, the company did decide to go for a tablet of its own, despite being only a software making company for such a long time. Of course, the computer giant recently denied having plans to release such a smartphone, yet we’ve already seen the company launching products that it had previously denied having plans for. Provided that a Microsoft-branded Windows Phone 8 smartphone is indeed in the works, it still remains to be seen what exactly it would have to offer to its users, as well as what name it would sport when launched. After all, it’s rather hard to believe that Microsoft will actually choose to name it Surface too, the same as it did with the tablet. With Windows Phone 8 expected to hit shelves before the end of October, it should not be too long before more info on the matter emerges, so stay tuned.

Microsoft Surface Phone emerges in WP Bench
Image credits to WParea.de

Galaxy Note 2 Features S Cloud and Dropbox Integration

Galaxy Note 2, Samsung’s second phablet out there, is expected to arrive on shelves with S Cloud packed inside, a video shot at the IFA 2012 show in Berlin unveils.

Coming from BestBoyZ, the clip above shows not only that the feature will be loaded on Galaxy Note 2 at launch, but that it would also feature Dropbox integration, enabling users to easily sync files with the cloud service. At the moment, the feature does not appear to be working very well, most probably because it is not yet ready for launch.

However, it might be ready in time for the smartphone’s release on shelves, and could easily provide users with 50GB of free Dropbox storage when signing in for the service from the phone. Apparently, Samsung might be set to make the S Cloud integration available for other devices as well, following the upgrade to Jelly Bean, which should occur sooner rather than later.

Mehr zu Samsung S Cloud findest Du unter http://bestboyz.de/go16973
Video credits to BestBoyZde

Wireless Charging Pad for Nokia Lumia 920 Leaks

One of the great features that Nokia is set to include inside its upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices has been recently rumored to be wireless charging.

Present at least inside the high-end Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone, the feature will allow users to charge their phones by simply placing them on the wireless charging pad. According to The Verge, Lumia 820, the first mid-range Windows Phone 8 handset from Nokia, should pack the feature as well, based on a recently leaked photo coming from Twitter user @evleaks.

The photo shows both devices on their charging pads and enables us to have a look at this device as well. The pad appears to be almost the same size as the phones, while featuring a single cord that plugs into a power source.  Provided that rumors pan out, users will be able to charge their phones using other Qi wireless charging devices as well.

Wireless charging Pad for Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices
Image credits to @evleaks on Twitter

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Card Benchmark Result Faster Than GTX 580 and AMD Radeon HD 7870

New generations of graphics adapters wouldn't be worth releasing if they didn't clearly outclass their predecessors in some fashion, and NVIDIA is determined to prove that its GeForce 600 definitely is a good deal better than 500.

The GeForce GTX 680 and 670 have been around for some time, but the GTX 660 and 650 have yet to debut. Last we heard, the formal launch will happen on September 12. GeForce GTX 660 may actually impress the world more than the 680 did. While the latter was expected to be powerful, and it is, the 660, a mid-range board, wasn't expected to actually match the flagship member of the previous generation. Nevertheless, that is the case, according to some benchmark results published by TweakTown on Facebook. The video adapter scored on par (actually a bit higher) with the GeForce GTX 580, and better than the Radeon HD 7870, in 3DMark 11. Not bad for a board meant to sell for around $200, or 200 Euro in Europe. Technically, $200 converts into 158 Euro, but we've long since passed the stage where we thought there was any chance of EU prices reflecting exchange rates.

For those who don't want to go looking for the specs of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660, the relevant details are these: 960 CUDA cores, 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, a GPU clock frequency of 980 MHz (1,033 MHz in Boost state), a memory speed of 6,008 MHz and a TDP (thermal design power) of 140W. A single 6-pin connector provides the needed energy. To hold its ground on the video board market, at least until the Southern Islands GPUs arrive, AMD has both cut the prices on its 7800 line and boosted the clock speeds of Radeon HD 7950, through a BIOS update. The AMD Catalyst Display Driver 12.8 also optimized performance somewhat. Nevertheless, there won't be any change in the current power balance (or lack thereof) until the Radeon HD 8000 make their entrance.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 benchmarks
Image credits to TweakTown Facebook page

BlackBerry 10 L-Series (Full Touch)

For all those enthusiasts who are eagerly waiting for Research In Motion to go official with its first handsets running under the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, some new goodies have emerged online.

Among them, we can count a new photo of the platform’s UI, which is reportedly showing it running on a BlackBerry 10 L-Series smartphone. For those out of the loop, we should note that the L-Series is expected to include the first batch of BlackBerry 10 devices when RIM makes the OS available in the first quarter of the next year. These are full touch handsets, and they should be followed shortly by N-Series smartphones, which will include both a touchscreen display and a physical QWERTY keyboard. Furthermore, previous reports on the L-Series suggested that devices included in the lineup would boast 55mm wide displays capable of delivering a 768 x 1280-pixel screen resolution, and 356 PPI.

The photo to the left, available via CrackBerry, unveils some of the applications that RIM will load on new devices right from day one, such as BBM, DocsToGo, Facebook, and StoryMaker. According to N4BB, the first two BlackBerry 10 devices are said to have been already completed, and RIM is currently applying the latest touches to them, in preparation for the big launch. In addition to said photo, we can also have a look at a video demo with the BlackBerry 10 platform, available courtesy of BlackBerry Italia. Embedded below, the video provides only a few details on the all-touch BlackBerry 10 devices, but it does offer us the chance to have a better look at the battery that RIM will pack inside them.

The handset in the demo features an LS1 1800 mAh battery, which could very well prove to be the actual product to make it inside the final version of the forthcoming smartphones. Enthusiasts will notice that, beside the 1800 mAh (6.7Wh) capacity of the battery, the video also unveils its maximum voltage – 4.35V, and its rated voltage – 3.8V. RIM still has a few months to go before launching a BlackBerry 10 smartphone, which means that both the photo and the video show unfinished devices, so take the info they provide with a grain of salt for the time being.

BlackBerry 10 L-Series homescreen
Image credits to CrackBerry


Video credits to MobiGalaxy

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