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Sep 6, 2012

Samsung 13.3" 535U3C Ultra-Thin Notebook Featuring AMD Trinity

Korean giant electronics and semiconductor company Samsung is now preparing the new AMD-powered Series 5 ultra-thin notebooks. The laptops feature AMD’s Trinity ultra-low voltage (ULV) processors.

We knew that Samsung’s Series 5 notebook line would also feature Trinity-based models, but now these mobile computers have reportedly been spotted at online retail stores. The new laptops come with the amazingly low power A6-4455M APU that only consumes a maximum of 17 watts and is clocked at 2.1GHz.

This APU has a 2600 MHz Turbo frequency, 2 MB of level 2 cache and a decent integrated Radeon HD 7500G iGPU that runs its 256 shader cores at 327 MHz, or up to 424 MHz in Turbo mode. Samsung’s 535U3C ultra-thin notebook has a 13.3” matte screen sporting the modest 1366 by 768 pixel resolution, but we can’t expect much more from such a thin and light device, complete with USB 3.0, that’s priced below 600 EUR ($750).

Samsung 13.3" 535U3C Ultra-Thin and Light Notebook powered by AMD Trinity APU (1.52 Kg / 3.35 pounds)
Image credits to Fudzilla

TSMC 10nm Manufacturing Plan

In the quest for more 28nm manufacturing capacity, TSMC is apparently trying its best to expand and refine the 28nm production lines and will put more advanced technologies on the backburner.

World’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, Taiwanese company TSMC is now apparently giving up on its plans to implement and ramp up production using 450mm wafers during the 2013 ~ 2014 timeframe. Right after the company bought a stake in the famous ASML semiconductor technologies developer, along with the likes of Intel and Samsung, TSMC decided not to hurry so much towards implementing a 450mm manufacturing line.

The company has announced that it will begin commercial 450mm wafer manufacturing at the 10nm node in 2018, Fudzilla reports. Now TSMC’s timeframe seems perfectly aligned with Intel’s and we wonder if this is not a decision the semiconductor giants made together.

TSMC Building
Image credits to Wikipedia

Intel Changes CPU Naming Scheme to be More Deceptive

Intel is well known for doing almost anything to get a few more dollars in the company’s pockets and the recent change in the company’s processor naming scheme is yet another testament to that.

After marketing the Core i7, i5 and i3 brands as targeting the high-end, mid-end and low-end respectively, the company has started naming mid-end processors using the same i7 moniker as the Extreme Edition CPUs and thus misleading the less informed buyers. We’ve reported here that the company is now labeling Sandy Bridge CPUs with similar tags that Ivy Bridge versions have and now Intel is changing the complete naming scheme of its CPUs by listing the top Turbo (single-core) frequency on the retail boxes instead of the default clock, Fudzilla reports.

Therefore, the popular Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz processor is now called Intel Core i7-3770K Processor (8M Cache, up to 3.90 GHz). The change doesn’t seem to be in the buyer’s advantage, but it looks like yet another sales trick.

Intel Core i7 Marketing Shot
Image credits to Intel

Sparkle Calibre X680 Captain and Calibre X670 Captain Graphics Cards

Many times in the past, when we wrote about a graphics card from Sparkle, they were rebranded models, or cards with far too much memory for comfort (thus, obvious attempts at exhausting memory chip inventories). Fortunately, this is not one of those occasions.

The company has introduced two modified versions of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 680 and GTX 670 high-end graphics adapters. They are called Calibre X680 Captain and Calibre X670 Captain. The former runs the GK104 graphics processing unit (GPU) at 1,124 MHz, or 1,189 MHz in GPU boost mode. For the sake of comparison, the reference GTX 680 runs at 1,006 MHz and 1,058 MHz, respectively. The second video card, Calibre X670 Captain, drives the GK104 2nm chip to 954 MHz base, 1,033 MHz Boost (NVIDIA's regular adapter operates at 915 MHz and 980 MHz). Interestingly enough, the 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM on each Captain work at the same level (6,200 MHz, 256-bit interface). Both of Sparkle's video controllers feature the special CoolPro Cooling System: three silent PWN fans, a Compact Stack Fin Heatsink and six 6mm heatpipes.

They also benefit from 2oz copper PCBs (printed-circuit boards), 6+2-phase power design (stability even at high loads) and solid components. All in all, the newcomers should be superior to NVIDIA's original cards, both in normal scenarios as well as overclocking setups. The similarities only break off at the connectivity specs: while both adapters get HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI ports, the X680 has two dual-link DVI ports, while the X670 boasts a normal DVI port so that the DisplayPort may be dual-link instead. Unfortunately, we have no pricing information. Sparkle usually ships its products as soon as it posts the corresponding press release(s), but it did not go out of its way to delve into the matter this time. The normal GTX 680 hovers at $499/470-499 Euro, while the GTX 670 orbits the $370-400 rage (350-400 Euro), so Sparkle's modified cards shouldn't exceed those marks by too much.

Sparkle Calibre Captain
Image credits to Sparkle

New Nokia Lumia Devices and Windows Phone 8 Features Coming Up

September 5 represented a big day for Microsoft and for its hardware partner Nokia, as new handsets powered by the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform were unveiled.

The Finnish handset vendor announced two smartphones set to land on shelves with the upcoming OS loaded on them, namely the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, both packing the latest technology advancements inside. Featuring a 4.5” PureMotion HD+ display, the Nokia Lumia 920 is said to be the most innovative smartphone in the world, capable of impressing both through looks and capabilities. You can have a look at it in the video embedded below. With a 4.3” OLED Wide Video Graphics Array (WVGA) display and a 1.5 GHz Dual-Core Snapdragon processor, the Lumia 820 is not too far behind either, though its features list has been shortened a bit when compared to that of Nokia’s upcoming flagship handset. Unfortunately, Nokia’s investors remain rather unimpressed with the vendor’s efforts in the smartphone area. The company’s shares went down around 15 percent yesterday following the unveiling of these new Lumias.

Windows Phone 8 has been long said to be Nokia’s last chance to return to an ascending curve, while the new Lumia devices were expected to throw the company back in the battle for smartphone supremacy. While the general public appears to have been pleasantly impressed with the new handsets, it still remains to be seen how fast Nokia will be able to deliver them to shelves, and how well they will perform once in users’ hands. New Windows Phone 8 features were showcased at the aforementioned event as well, such as the platform’s ability to take screenshots, or a new set of camera APIs that Microsoft calls Lenses. Joe Belfiore, head of Windows Phone program management, was present at the event to remind us of some of the enhancements that Microsoft will deliver to users in Windows Phone 8, including the aforementioned camera improvements or the new WP8 homescreen. Other features will be anounced later this year.

What was not unveiled, however, was a specific date for the new platform and for the devices it has been loaded on to be commercially launched. Rumor has it that October 29 might be the big day, yet an official confirmation is still pending. However, with the Windows Phone 8 SDK set to hit a Preview status next week, the platform could indeed arrive at the end of the next month. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took to the stage at the event as well, so as to remind us that 2012 is the year of Windows: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows tablets, Windows PCs, and the like. Microsoft has been hard at work with unifying the user experience across devices, and the upcoming platform releases are the next big step it takes down this road.

“Whether you’re looking at Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8, you’ll experience our unique look and feel with Live Tiles and will have the same built-in access to Microsoft cloud services like SkyDrive and Xbox Music,” Microsoft’s Terry Myerson notes in a blog post.

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Microsoft

Nokia Lumia 820
Image credits to Microsoft

The World's most Innovative Smartphone. Powered by Windows Phone 8, Nokia Lumia 920 offers the world's best smartphone experience: http://nokia.ly/Q6tDgC
World's best video and pictures with PureView camera, even with shaky hands or at night.
World's brightest, fastest and most responsive touchscreen -- even if you are wearing gloves or have long fingernails
World's first smartphone with built-in wireless charging in your country
World's best smartphone for business with built-in Microsoft Office 
World's most unique and iconic smartphone design
Video credits to Nokia

MSI Radeon HD 7750 OC V2 Video Card

Well-known mainboard and gaming notebooks manufacturer, Taiwanese company MSI has just shown a new version of its factory-overclocked implementation for AMD’s Radeon HD 7750 GPU.

The new version is officially called MSI AMD Radeon HD 7750 OC V2 and compared with the company’s previous pre-overclocked HD 7750 video card, it comes with a single and large cooling fan that makes it inherently quieter. The card is built on AMD’s “Cape Verde” graphics processing unit that comes with a very small 123-square millimeter die size, containing 1.5 billion transistors. The default GPU speed is 800 MHz when working in full load 3D mode, but MSI’s AMD Radeon HD 7750 OC V2 is clocked at 830 MHz, TechPowerUp reports. In 2D mode, the frequency of the GPU will drop to a low 300 MHz. The 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory is clocked at the usual 4500 MHz when in 3D mode, but it drops to 600 MHz when working in 2D.

We’re quite disappointed that overclocking video memory is so unpopular these days as the end-user can seriously overclock the GPU while the memory is usually less responsive if the manufacturer doesn’t take care of this aspect itself. The memory and the GPU work on a tight 128 bit BUS, so playing games with very high resolutions will be a little tricky and this also explains why many budget users might be tempted to overclock their card. The “Cape Verde XT” GPU is part of AMD’s GCN architecture and comes with much improved GPU compute performance.

The GPU has 512 unified shader processors, 32 texturing units and 16 ROPs. Compared with the AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz edition, this is a cut-down “Cape Verde” GPU, with two of its 10 CUs (compute units) disabled and a 20% lower clock speed.

MSI AMD Radeon HD 7750 OC V2 Video Card
Images credits to MSI

iPhone 5 Leaks Out of Foxconn Plant

It was only a matter of time before someone got their mitts on a fully assembled iPhone 5, right out of a Foxconn production plant. The unit featured in the footage below is a working one, pre-installed with iOS 6.

A tipster talking to Chinese tech site Vgooo.com reportedly discovered an iPhone 5 prototype “accidentally” when he paid a visit to a friend at Foxconn’s factory in Jincheng, in China’s northern Shanxi province. According to MIC Gadget, which appears to have the full scoop on this leak, “when he got his hands-on with it, he could feel the phone is thinner, and it is indeed taller. He quickly took some photos, and a video.” 
When booted up next to an iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 doesn’t move on to the iCloud screen as it is locked for testing purposes, the video indicates. A message pops up on-screen stating, “This device is not registered as part of the iPhone Developer Program. If you are a member of the program, please register your device in the @@url@@.”

While many will undoubtedly welcome this leak (as it seems to confirm what the next iPhone will look like), some Apple fans are sure to be disappointed that the surprise element is gone. Some will surely ponder whether or not such a thing could have happened had Steve Jobs been around still. However, let’s not forget the leak of the elusive iPhone 4 in 2010, which occurred on his watch. MIC Gadget offers some information on the Foxconn factory in Jincheng, in the Shanxi province, revealing that it’s actually Foxconn’s upcoming largest plant in the whole world.

Sources reportedly said that Foxconn would invest as much as 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion / €12.4 billion) to make it into “the world’s largest precision manufacturing base in Shanxi.” Terry Gou, Foxconn CEO, is said to have huge plans for Jincheng. He reportedly wants to make it “the global capital of precision manufacturing within the next five years.” The source added that each worker at the Jincheng factory needs to complete up to 3,000 iPhone 5 back panels every night since mass production commenced.

Working iPhone 5 prototype (right)
Image credits to Vgooo.com via MIC Gadget

iPhone 5 Booting Up
Video credits to MIC Gadget

VIA Quad-Core Pico-ITX Motherboard with DirectX 11 and 3D

VIA may not be all that famous nowadays, nor does it have a large share of the motherboard and processor market, but as each day passes, we are more and more convinced that lack of advertising, as well as the decision to focus on a particular segment of the market, is the only reason.

And by that we mean that we have all the proof we need to believe that VIA could very well create platforms for any sort of consumer electronic device, even PCs, if it wanted to. Especially considering that there was a time when it did just that. The VIA EPIA-P910 Pico-ITX board is not a platform suited for PCs, but it doesn't really need to be. Having been developed for healthcare, logistics, fleet management and other such markets, it gains points for how hardcore its features are, even in the pico-ITX form factor. While measuring 10 cm x 7.2 cm (or 3.93 x 2.83 inches), the EPIA-P910 offers not only the standard capabilities of a PC (through a quad-core E-Series 1 GHz CPU), but also support for DirectX 11 graphics, plus stereoscopic 3D video.

“The VIA EPIA-P910 features the most advanced technology from VIA with the latest VIA VX11H MSP and VIA QuadCore E-Series processor,” said Epan Wu Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. “It provides superior computing performance and the richest display capabilities allowing embedded system designers to innovate for immersive embedded environments.” The DirectX 11 and 3D are owed to the VIA VX11H MSP (media system processor). Display support is enabled by HDMI 1.4a, VGA and one single-channel 24-bit LVDS. Other specs of the small board include two USB 3.0 ports, DDR3-1333 memory (8 GB max), two SATA ports, the latest VIA Chromotion 5.0 video processor (included in the VIA VX11H MSP), Gigabit Ethernet, and HD audio.

Go here for the EPIA-P910, and here for the VX11H media system processor. You won't find pricing info, but you will learn all other existing information.

VIA EPIA-P910 Pico-ITX motherboard
Images credits to VIA

Image credits to VIA

Motorola Trio of New RAZR Smartphones

On Wednesday, mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility unveiled to the world three new smartphones included in its RAZR lineup of devices, namely the RAZR M, RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD.

All three smartphones are set to hit shelves in the not too distant future, though they won’t be launched in all markets around the world, it seems. According to Motorola, users in several Asia Pacific countries will soon be able to enjoy the RAZR M, while RAZR HD is set to hit shelves in various markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America. As for DROID RAZR MAXX HD, it was announced only for the US market for the time being, where it will connect to Verizon Wireless’ network. “All three Android-powered smartphones are built with top-of-the-line materials, are small in size, big on battery life and packed to the gills with the best experiences Google has to offer,” Motorola notes.

The RAZR M comes with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display that spans from edge to edge, making the smartphone seem smaller than its predecessor, the Motorola RAZR. “You can type emails and texts easily with a wider keyboard, watch YouTube videos and movies on a wider screen and browse the Web with Chrome for Android without squinting. All on a long-lasting battery that is 40 percent more powerful than the competition,” Motorola continues. The handset also comes with interactive, swipe-by-swipe tutorials, as well as with SMARTACTIONS battery saving rules, so that it would deliver increased usage times. Packing a large 4.7-inch HD display, the Motorola RAZR HD is said to be the most compact smartphone in its class, while capable of providing users with a great viewing experience while on the go, regardless of whether it involves photos, videos, magazines or web pages.

DROID RAZR MAXX HD comes with the same features, but it adds even longer battery life into the mix, with 13 hours of video playback with a single charge. Powered by Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, all three smartphones come with apps such as Chrome for Android, Voice Actions for Android and various Google apps, as well as with access to over 600,000 applications and games via the Google Play Store.

Motorola RAZR M
Image credits to Motorola

Motorola RAZR HD
Image credits to Motorola

Image credits to Motorola

Speed and an edge-to-edge screen, designed to fit in your hand. MOTOROLA RAZR M is
the impossibly compact smartphone with 4G LTE adding speed to your browsing,
Google apps and more. The world really can fit in the palm of your hand. Check it out here - http://moto.ly/RAZRM
Video credits to Motorola

Nokia Lumia 920 Full Specs

The full hardware specifications for Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8 device, the Lumia 920, are now available online for all of us to make an idea of what to expect from it.

The smartphone was made official yesterday, but no specific info on its availability or pricing has been unveiled, although Nokia did say that it should hit the market sometime in the fourth quarter of the year. We already knew that the new handset packs a large 4.5-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a 1280 x 768 pixels resolution, along with a dual-core 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 application processor inside, but little was known of its other capabilities. The hardware specifications for Lumia 920 that Nokia has published on its website unveil the fact that it will also come with 1,000 MB of ROM, complemented by 32GB of internal mass memory and an additional 7GB of storage on SkyDrive. Nokia also unveiled that Lumia 920 comes with a PureMotion HD+ display that can support up to 16.7 million colors, and that it is Corning Gorilla Glass protected.

On the back, the new smartphone sports an 8.7-megapixels photo snapper with PureView technology, dual LED flash, auto focus and full HD video recording capabilities, similar with those “simulated” in a video ad already published for the smartphone. Those who purchase the new Windows Phone 8 device will also enjoy a front camera for making video calls. Connectivity-wise, the smartphone packs HSPA+, FD-LTE, HSUPA, HSDPA, and WCDMA capabilities, as well as Bluetooth 3.1, WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and Near Field Communication, as well as the much praised Qi Wireless charging. The handset can also be used as a Wi-Fi Hotspot for up to 5 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, Nokia unveiled, adding that it can also be connected to DLNA compatible TVs through the use of specific applications.

The smartphone is powered by a BP-4GW 2000 mAh battery that can deliver up to 400 hours of standby time or up to 10 hours of talk time on 3G. The battery is rated at 67 hours of music playback, or at 6 hours of video playback. Just as rumored before, the smartphone also offers Calendar, Contacts, To-Dos syncing via Outlook, as well as the option to transfer photos, music and videos to a PC via a Windows computer companion application. The Windows Phone 8 platform loaded on Lumia 920 also comes with a range of pre-loaded applications, including Office (Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and OneNote), Mail for Exchange, Nokia Email, Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia City Lens, Internet Explorer 10, and more. Measuring 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm and weighing 185 grams, the Lumia 920 comes with a one-piece polycarbonate body and “ceramic zirconium camera detailing and side keys” meant to impress. You can learn more info on the new device straight from Nokia’s website.

Nokia Lumia 920
Images credits to Nokia

Intel Haswell Processors Will Have TDP of As Low As 10 Watts

In order for the Haswell central processors to start off on the right foot, in 2013, Intel has to make as many people aware of them, which is why it will speak of the units at its upcoming IDF (Intel Developer Forum), in San Francisco.

Haswell will succeed the Ivy Bridge micro-architecture and, though it will retain the 22nm manufacturing process and 3D tri-gate transistors, it will bring quite a few new improvements, such as AVX2, Direct3D 11.1 and OpenGL 3.2 graphics and DDR4 memory support. What we haven't been able to get a good read on was the energy use, but our curiosity has finally been sated, in a sense. Though we still don't know the full range of chips, their specs and power draw, we do know that at least one Haswell will make do with 10W. "It's really the first product we're building from the ground up for ultrabook," an Intel representative said, according to The Verge. The implication is that a 10W chip will provide all the abilities of the 17W Ivy Bridge processor of today. For those unfamiliar with the term TDP, it is an abbreviation for thermal design power (or thermal design point), a term describing how much cooling power a system needs to dissipate the heat generated by a chip.

Since 10W is still more than what ARM chips can boast about, this doesn't mean that Wintel tablets can finally match Android on ARM models in thinness. Nevertheless, 10W is still better than the 15W we had come to expect. That said, Intel may not have ARM as primary foil when it finally releases the Haswell. If rumors pan out, AMD will have launched a platform even before then, based on its Trinity APU technology and likely less heavy on the heat generation. And since it will aim for the same market (though without a counter-brand to ultrabooks), that chip could become a more immediate threat.

Intel logo
Image credits to Intel

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