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Sep 26, 2012

Qualcomm SnapDragon S2 Humiliates Intel Medfield [Video]

In an interesting development, Qualcomm has decided to leave being its noble and non-combative attitude towards Intel or other competitors. The company has just posted a video where they compare a two-year-old SnapDragon S2 to a 2012 Atom Medfield.

While synthetic benchmarks portray Medfield as a valid competitor for last year’s top performing ARM gang, the real-life experience proves that the performance is considerably inferior to a Qualcomm SoC that was launched two years ago. The video compares the Sony Xperia smartphone to the unpopular Lava XOLO that has an Intel Atom Z2460 SoC inside. The Medfield SoC looks pretty much OK in benchmarks. It’s definitely not comparable with this year’s top performing ARM processors, but it’s hanging tight with the 2011 pack.

Moreover, Intel’s Medfield excels in Java where, up until Apple’s iPhone 5, it was able to deliver the best results, surpassing any other mobile processor out on the market at the moment. When moving beyond benchmarks and into real-life performance, Intel’s Atom is far behind a 2010 SnapDragon S2 that’s a 45nm chip that integrates an Adreno 205 iGPU. The Medfield performance is disturbingly slow and quite uncomfortable for the eye as there is a lot of jittering and stuttering while Medfield gaming is deemed irrelevant by the guys making the video.

With so many devices launched every day, what claims to be new may not always be up to speed with current technology. In this video, you'll see how a Qualcomm Snapdragon processors compare to the competition's latest processor.
Video credits to QualcommVlog

Transcend 128 GB JetFlash 760 USB 3.0 Flash Drives

Well-known computer memory and storage manufacturer Transcend has just launched two new flash drive series that feature impressive capacities and high transfer rates. The new thumb drives are using the new USB 3.0 connection technology and thus are able to deliver high speeds.

The official names for the two series are Transcend JetFlash 760 and JetFlash 600. The company also touts high transfer rates even on the standard USB 2.0 ports as the internal layout of the NAND chips is a dual-channel one. The company further offers the free download of the exclusive Transcend Elite data management software, which features intelligent backup scheduling and the often required 256-bit AES file encryption capability.

The USB sticks are backed by a welcomed Lifetime-warranty and the 128 GB JetFlash 760 will be available for $200 (155 EUR).

Transcend New USB 3.0 Flash Drives
Images credits to Transcend

Windows Phone 8 Emulator and SDK Video Walkthrough Emerges

Microsoft is still a few weeks away from officially launching the Windows Phone 8 platform, yet some more info on what it would have to offer to its users is now available, courtesy of the pre-release SDK that was provided to some developers not too long ago.

A video walkthrough with the SDK and the included emulator has emerged over at WPCentral, though the entire platform is now yet visible to the public. Apparently, Microsoft has locked down a few areas of the SDK, so as to make sure that yet unannounced features won’t leak online. However, a few details on what to expect are still available in the video.

Windows Phone 8 has been long rumored to be planned for a late October launch, which means that it won’t be long before users will be able to enjoy it first hand, so stay tuned for more.

We got our hands on the near-finalized SDK for Windows Phone 8 and were able to take a look at the emulator, including a few new OS functions.
Video credits to WMExperts

BlackBerry 10 Native SDK Beta 3 Available for Download

Following the unveiling of new features and capabilities of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, Canadian handset vendor Research In Motion also announced the availability of updated developer tools for those interested in building applications for the OS.

Among them, we can count the third beta flavor of the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK, which provides a nice range of enhancements over the previous releases, and which takes one step closer to the final flavor of the development kit. “Our APIs have evolved to a point where they are stable and functional enough to advertise backwards compatibility,” RIM notes in a blog post. “We also support a full feature set of APIs in the Native SDK – from connectivity APIs such as email and calendar to APIs that support deeper integration such as invocation to social APIs such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).” Called cards, one of the new features in the BlackBerry 10 platform relies on deep integration, enabling developers to connect some functionality with other apps.

There is an invocation framework that developers can register applications with so as to integrate functionality from other apps or to allow other apps to access features from theirs, such as the possibility to preview a photo. “Visually, a card typically appears as a previewer that takes up most of the screen. However, it appears as part of the application on which it is stacked. Essentially, you can use a gesture to slide the card in, partially or fully into your app,” RIM explains. “A Card is considered part of the application that invokes it and does not appear as a separate entity in the running applications grid. In addition, when the card’s function is complete, the user is automatically returned to its parent. In this way, a card ‘feels’ like part of the application.”

Additionally, there are BBM Social Platform APIs that developers can take advantage of when building applications, such as the Message Center APIs that can be used to launch the unified inbox, send emails, or receive notifications. RIM also included its powerful Push framework in the NDK, so that developers can design apps that can receive push data. The new development tools also come with an Advertising Service included, as well as with the APIs developers need to benefit from it. Other new features in the Native SDK include a Bluetooth API, APIs for Holster detection, a WallPaper API in the Cascades layer, APIs for sensors (rotation, orientation, magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer), geocoding API, and more. For a complete list of changes in this release, developers should head over to RIM’s website.

BlackBerry 10
Image credits to CrackBerry

Negative Pressure Liquid Cooling System

Most people don't have a reason to care about data centers, the so-called “server farms” responsible for the continued availability of all the world's websites, but that shouldn't stop them from taking a look at the new cooling technology designed for them.

Cooling is one of the things that consume the most power in a data center or server. Knowing that such clusters waste around 90% of all the power they eat, coming up with better solutions is a priority. The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2) at the University of California San Diego is demonstrating one such solution: the negative-pressure liquid cooling system. A rack-based, direct-to-the-chip, leak-free technology, it can be tailored to any server and is driven by both a pump and natural circulation. One of the key benefits is that the lower than atmospheric pressure minimizes the effects of leaks. Instead of coolant escaping, the outside air will try to get in instead. Maintenance is easy as well. When a server or two need to be removed or changed, there is no need to shut down the whole system.

Flometrics, the developer of the cooling technology, made sure that the Cool-Flo pumps, derived from rocket engine-cooling technology (NASA-approved), had a no-drip hot swap connector. "Not only is there an advantage of power reduction by 25 to 35 percent, but you are lowering existing CPU temperatures by 30 degrees Celsius, resulting in practically unlimited density," explained CEO of Flometrics, Steve Harrington. "Cool-Flo is a good fit for Calit2’s server needs given the institute’s commitment to reducing the energy intensity of campus IT and improving energy efficiency." By reducing the air conditioning requirements, the system power needs are cut down compared to conventional cooling solutions. The lower power needed to run the servers, as a result of the minimized CPU energy loss to heat, helps achieve that.

Flometrics Cool-Flo
Image credits to CALIT2

Videos Credits to Flometrics

Maingear Alpha 24 Super Stock, All-in-One with Ivy Bridge CPU and NVIDIA Graphics

The Alpha 24 Super Stock all-in-one personal computer is described by Maingear's CEO Wallace Santos as the proof that people don't need to sacrifice anything when choosing an all-in-one over a standard desktop PC.

The so-called disadvantages that all-in-one systems have compared to desktops are multiple: lack of upgradeability, lower top performance potential, little overclocking support (if any) and, of course, a higher price. Maingear decided to eliminate these drawbacks, or at least offer enough to completely counterbalance them. The overclocking issue is easy: people who consider buying an AiO aren't thinking of tweaking the clock by default. The lack of upgradeability and performance issues were solved in a single move: Maingear equipped the Alpha 24 Super Stock with high-end components that won't actually need changing for months, years even. That leaves the price, and we dare say that the number achieved by the custom system maker, $1,349 / 1049 – 1,349 Euro, is more than decent when taking into account just what Alpha 24 Super Stock can do.

The Core i3-3240 Ivy Bridge CPU (3.4 GHz) is the base processor option, but a Core i7 can be chosen instead. Up to 16GB of RAM back up the unit. For graphics, Maingear selected an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 GPU, but has the GeForce GTX 680 in reserve, just in case. Moving on, a hard drive supplies the configuration with as much as 3TB of storage space, though an SSD can be employed instead, with a top capacity of 256 GB but faster data rates. Everything else follows the standard blueprint: HDMI, USB ports (2.0 only for some reason), mic/headphone jacks, ODD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an ODD (DVD or Blu-ray).

"In this day and age, there shouldn't be a reason anyone would need to compromise for an all-in-one performance PC," says Wallace Santos, CEO and founder of MAINGEAR. "Other all-in-one PC solutions pale in comparison to the ALPHA 24 and can be summed up with just a few words: 1080p gaming set to Ultra, maxed anti-aliasing and tessellation."

Maingear Alpha 24 Super Stock
Image credits to Maingear

JEDEC: DDR4 Memory Standard Is Now Official

JEDEC is an international organization that encompasses many memory chip manufacturers, module manufacturers and other technology companies.

The organization develops and sets the standard specification in the DRAM memory field, and now it has officially launched the DDR4 standard. This means that now DDR4 mainboards and memory modules will start appearing from various manufacturers as there currently is a standard that will ensure compatibility between the different devices. Many believe that DDR4 will not be too popular during the next 12 months as DDR3 has greatly surpassed its specifications, and this will make initial DDR4 implementation look less impressive than DDR3-based ones. Also, just like any new technology, DDR4 modules will initially be quite expensive when compared with DDR3 DIMMs so there will be yet another factor working against widespread DDR4 use. Even so, many difference companies are hard at work developing DDR4-based technologies and we’ve already reported here about Cadence’s first DDR4 memory controller that’s manufactured in TSMC’s 28nm technology.

Intel is also preparing its own DDR4 memory controller that will likely be integrated in future Haswell processors, but even Intel is not gearing for a 2013 launch. The Haswell DDR4 version will likely land on the market in 2014 with an LGA2011 implementation or something similar. DDR3 memory was officially standardized back in 2007, but work on DDR4 started way back in 2005 while being initially projected for a 2008 launch. The roadmap and development plan has been changed in 2010 and only in 2011 did we start to see the first samples of DDR4 technology.

DDR4 DIMMs will have 284 pins while DDR3 standard modules only have 240 pins. The SO-DIMM version will feature 256 pins while the DDR3 SO-DIMMs have only 204 pins. On the power consumption side, DDR4 DIMMs will need 1.2 volts while standard DDR3 modules use 1.5 volts. High-density modules using 3D chips manufactured using TSV technology will also make an appearance in 2014, but one of the most important aspects is the point to point nature of the standard. This means that a single module will likely be directly connected to a single memory channel.

Samsung 16 GB DDR4 RDIMM Memory Module
Image credits to Samsung

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