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Sep 9, 2012

Colorful iGame GTX 650 Has a Different GK107 GPU

Chinese video card manufacturer Colorful is getting ready to launch its iGame version of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 650 series and this card will definitely not use a reference design.

The new card is officially called Colorful iGame GeForce GTX 650 and it reportedly uses a different version of Nvidia’s GK107 GPU. All other cards we’ve seen have GK107-450, but Colorful’s GTX 650 has a GK107-455 GPU. We don’t yet know what’s the difference, but the PCB of the card is longer than the reference version and has a 3-phase power design and a single 6-pin power connector. The GK107 GPU doesn’t use that much power, but overclocking the card might require more current than the PCIe slot can provide.

The cooling solution is a double slot one and comes with two DVI connectors on the backside I/O bracket and one miniHDMI port. Unlike Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 650 OC 2GB video card that we presented on previous post, the iGame GTX 650 has a better cooling system with single heatpipe.

Colorful iGame GeForce GTX 650 Video Card
Images credits to VideoCardz

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 OC 2GB Video Card

Well-known mainboard manufacturer, Taiwanese company Gigabyte is preparing its own versions of Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 video cards and the company is heading for the budget overclockers.

The company has decided to mount a huge 100-millimeter cooling fan on the card, but buyers should not get too excited about this as the heatsink is just a big piece of aluminum with no heatpipes or even a copper base. There is an advantage in having such a big fan as it will cool the card properly while spinning at lower speeds thus generating less noise and having better durability. The card features Nvidia’s GK107 GPU and Gigabyte decided to clock it higher than the likely reference base clock of 1058 MHz. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 OC 2GB video card has its GPU clocked at a high 1100 MHz base frequency and, as the name tag is telling, Nvidia has decided to mount 2 GB or GDDR5 memory on it, VideoCardz reports.

We’re sure the double memory size won’t make too much of a performance difference when compared with regular GTX 650 video cards that feature the reference 1 GB, but Gigabyte is charging less than $20 for the extra GDDR5 chips on the card. The manufacturer also has a regular 1GB version of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 OC and reports say that this has already been spotted online for just $150 (117 EUR). The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 OC 2GB will soon be available for $169 (131 EUR), but we’re pretty much disappointed with the simplicity of the heatsink and we believe the maker should have used at least one 8-mm S-shaped heatpipe in the cooling solution.

The backside I/O shield takes up two slots as does the cooling system and comes with two DVI connectors, one standard VGA D-Sub 15 port and a HDMI connector. 

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 OC 2GB Video Card with 100mm Cooling Fan

OIS ON or OFF, Nokia Lumia 920 Imaging Capabilities

Only a few days after its official unveiling, Nokia’s Lumia 920, “the most innovative smartphone in the world,” no longer feels that way.

Nokia themselves managed to stain the phone’s image, by publishing a promo video that only “simulates” its imaging capabilities that are powered by PureView technology. For those out of the loop, we should note that the clip in question, supposedly shot with a Lumia 920 smartphone, has been proven to be fake. Included in the promo are both videos and still images that have been, in fact, shot with a DSLR camera, and not with the 8-megapixel PureView photo snapper on the back of Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8 handset.  One of the great features that Lumia 920 is said to arrive on shelves with is Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which makes both videos and photos recorded with its camera look infinitely better than those shot with a “regular” smartphone. As can be seen in the video embedded below, there’s a clear difference between content recording with OIS turned ON and that shot with the feature OFF.

In fact, Nokia already admitted to have used a DSLR camera in the video, yet suggested that the clip was published for illustrative purposes alone, and that Lumia 920 will behave similarly in real world. Only that Nokia didn’t provide videos and photos that were actually taken with the handset’s camera from the beginning, which, obviously, made everyone wonder whether the handset was indeed capable of such impressive imaging performance. In a post published only hours after the PureView promo video was posted, The Verge alerted users that all might be fraud. Soon after, Youssef Sarhan explained in detail on his blog that the still images included in the second part of the clip were not shot with Lumia 920 either. An image with Nokia’s set-up for the shooting also emerged online, coming from a bystander in Helsinki, Johannes Grönvall, clearly confirming that the smartphone wasn’t used for the recording of the content in that promo clip.

John Pope, a director of communications at Nokia, has already confirmed that the image is real, and that apology is due for the lack of transparency from the mobile phone maker. “For clarification, the photo was shot by a bystander in Helsinki and apparently posted by them to the Internet. It shows the production set-up being used for the video for which we have apologized for not being transparent,” he said. “Indeed, a Lumia 920 was not used to illustrate the benefits of optical image stabilization and we regret the error. The other still images in this post were extracted from that video. Again, we have posted an apology and the video is now clearly marked.” At the moment, the clip is no longer listed on YouTube. However, the link for it still works for those who have it. If you haven’t had the chance to have a look at it before, you’ll find it below.

In an attempt to come clean, Nokia has invited bloggers in New York City to put Lumia 920 to the test in low-light conditions. However, it did not let them try out the video recording feature of the device with the new OIS turned ON, saying that it was not yet ready. Apparently, the handset is indeed capable of shooting very good photos even when in low-light conditions, at least when compared to rival high-end smartphones on shelves today. The thing is that those images are not as good as those included in the promo video we talked about above, even if they are much better when put side by side with photos taken with other smartphones out there. Although the phone performs very well, it still has some way to go before it could be compared with a DSLR camera. The Verge was present at the meeting and came up with a video that offers more info on the matter.

In the end, it appears that Nokia did exaggerate Lumia 920’s imaging capabilities, and that we’ll be able to learn how well it can perform only after the official launch in the fourth quarter of the year. Nokia’s shares went down around 15 percent in the light of Lumia 920’s and Lumia 820’s unveiling, and it seems that the company will continue to go through a rough period moving forth. And with the promo video being as disappointing as it is, we’re wondering whether Nokia didn’t lose some of its possible buyers as well this week. Regardless of how well they try, the descending road they stepped on when announcing the adoption of Windows Phone appears to haven’t reached its end just yet. OIS ON or OFF, Lumia 920 is coming to the market with a stained image, although it might actually be the impressive device that Nokia says, especially since it does sport a nice range of other appealing specs as well.

But, in the end, users are those who decide whether a smartphone is worth buying or not. Let us know in the comments section below whether you’re looking to grab a Lumia 920 when it is launched, or you changed your mind after learning of this entire PureView shenanigans.

Nokia Lumia 920 ad on Youtube
Image credits to Youtube

Nokia set-up for Lumia 920 ad
Image credits to johaee@gmail.com via sefsar

Still image from Nokia Lumia 920 ad
Image credits to sefsar

Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

Image shot with Nokia Lumia 920
Image credits to Nokia

Dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Headed to China

Samsung unveiled the sequel to Galaxy Note last week and promised the smartphone will be made available for purchase within the next couple of weeks.

Powered by Google's latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, the Galaxy Note 2 is equipped with a quad core Exynos 4412 Quad processor clocked at 1.6 GHz, a Mali-400MP graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM. Unlike the latest high-end Android smartphones launched on the market, which come with microSIM support, the Galaxy Note 2 accepts normal SIM cards. However, it appears that the South Korean handset maker has something else in mind for Chinese customers. The folks over at MyDrivers got their hands on a Chinese-bounded Galaxy Note 2 model, which seems to offer dual-SIM capability. Moreover, the Chinese Galaxy Note 2 accepts both normal SIM cards and microSIM cards, so customers will be able to replace their high-end devices without having to change their SIM with a normal one.

We also know the dual-SIM Galaxy Note 2 is headed to China Unicom, though the other two major carriers in the country, China Telecom and China Mobile might be getting this one as well. Although the information has yet to be confirmed we expect Samsung to launch multiple variants of Galaxy Note 2 in China, so stay tuned for more updates on this one. When it comes to specs, the Chinese Galaxy Note 2 does not seem to offer other features than the original model announced last week at IFA 2012 in Berlin, aside from the dual-SIM capability. It will boast the same 5.5-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720 x 1280 pixels) resolution, as well as an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. Obviously, the Galaxy Note 2 comes with the famous S-Pen stylus, which now features enhanced apps and services.

Dual-SIM Galaxy Note 2
Image credits to MyDrivers.com

Gigabyte H77N-WiFi Motherboard

Those familiar with Gigabyte's Z77N-WiFi and H77N-WiFi Mini-ITX motherboards, may make the mistaken assumption that they are available.

Nevertheless, even though photos of them have been up on Gigabyte's Facebook page since August, the two are still not out there. We have good reason to believe that at least one of them (the latter) will be released this month though: HWBOT has posted some real-life photos of the mini-ITX H77N-WiFi. You can clearly see the single PCI Express x16 slots (generation 3.0), the two SATA 6 Gbps ports, two SATA 3 Gbps ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two memory slots (support for up to 16GB DDR3-1600 MHz memory). What may not be all that obvious, but is quite comprehensively explained on the box (of which, fortunately, there is more than one picture) and the manual, are technical details that may not matter to some, but will mean a lot to DIY customers. For one, whatever second- or third-generation Intel Core CPU (Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge) ends up placed in the LGA 1155 socket is powered, along with the memory, by a 4+1-phase VRM. Secondly, the SATA ports can run HDDs and/or SSDs in RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10 modes. Thirdly, the mainboard boasts Lower RDS MOSFETs and Ferrite Core chokes, which enhance stability and endurance.

Other specs include six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 connectors, two HDMI outputs, a DVI connector, 8-channel audio (Realtek), a dual-purpose PS/2 port and, of course, the 802.11 b/g/n WLAN network interface that gave the product its name. That said, the motherboard has support for Intel's Wi-Di technology, which streams high-quality video to wireless-capable HDTVs, or any HDTV if there is a compatible receiver involved (plugs in the HDMI port). No pricing info yet, unfortunately, so it looks like we have to wait some more after all.

Gigabyte H77N-WiFi motherboard
Images credits to WCCFTech

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 with AMD A4-4355M and A8-4555M APUs

Last week, we told you that the prices of the AMD Trinity desktop line had come out early, and we were especially giddy about the highest being the same as that of weak Core i3 CPUs from Intel, but there were a couple of chips not included in that list.

Then again, we weren't going to include the following two APUs even if we did know about them at the time, as said list was about desktop units, not mobile ones. The processors are called A4-4355M and A8-4555M, both of them part of the low-power lineup and set to appear in ultrathin notebooks and normal laptops. As it happens, one of the notebooks that has the two as potential central chips is the 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad S405, which was part of AMD's IFA 2012 exhibition. Unfortunately, besides the name and the graphics component, the specs were left unexplored, so the world had to dig them up in the days following the show. It was CPU World that worked overtime to put everything together, having scoured the Hardware maintenance manual of the laptop for information. Details were also sought in the specs of some Samsung systems.

A4-4355M, the weaker of the chips, is a dual-core unit with 1 MB of cache memory, a base clock speed of 1.9 GHz, a Turbo Core performance of 2.4 GHz and a TDP (thermal design power) of 17W. The integrated graphics is called HD 7400G. The other unit, clocked at 1.6 GHz and 2.4 GHz Turbo, is stronger by virtue of having four cores instead of two. The graphics is better as well, HD 7600G, and so is the cache amount (4 MB), but the TDP is the same. Keep in mind that there is a third processor that Lenovo's IdeaPad S405 can rely on, the AMD A6-4455M, which, coincidentally, was the part featured in the laptop we have pictured up on the left.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405
Image credits to Lenovo

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