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Oct 23, 2012

Origin PC The Big: Gaming Systems with AMD FX Vishera CPUs

Origin PC did not so much launch new PC systems as it updates its existing lineup to include the 6-core and 8-core FX processors from Advanced Micro Devices.

We've been through this before of course. Origin PC, like every other vendor of custom-ordered gaming systems, updates its product line whenever some new CPU, memory modules, PSU or video card appears.  The last time this happened was less than two weeks ago, when NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 650 Ti. Origin PC didn’t include the 4-core FX 4300, but did add the 6-core FX 6300 and 8-core FX-8350 and 8320. The last two can be overclocked from the start even.

For example, the FX 8350 normally runs at 4.0 GHz and 4.2 GHz in Turbo mode, but ORIGIN PC Professional Overclocking changes that to 4.2-4.8 GHz. Likewise, FX-8320 can jump from 3.5/4.0 GHz to 3.8/4.4 GHz.

Origin PC The Big
Image credits to Origin PC

7.9-Inch iPad Mini Officially Unveiled by Apple

As expected, Apple has just revealed the small iPad mini tablet powered by its latest iOS 6 platform. Apple's announcement puts an end to a slew of rumors that have been making headlines in the past several weeks.

Apple had a very busy year with lots of new products launched and even more to come by the end of the year. The iPad with Retina display launched earlier this year is said to be the top selling tablet in the world. Today, the company announced a new competitor for the 7-inch tablet market, the iPad mini. With a 7.9-inch that supports 1024 x 768 pixels resolution (163 ppi), the iPad mini is about 50% larger display area in the browser in comparison with Google's Nexus 7 tablet. However, the nexus 7 sports a larger resolution (1280x800) and pixel density (216ppi) When in landscape mode, iPad mini is no less than 67% larger display area in the browser when put against the 7-inch Android slate.

On the inside, the iPad mini packs a dual core Apple A5 processor and optional LTE. There's also a 5-megapixel iSight camera with autofocus and full HD (1080p) video recording on the back. The tablet also sports 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for FaceTime video calling over Wi-Fi or cellular. Design-wise, the iPad mini is only 7.2mm thick and weighs 308g, which makes it 53% lighter than the 4th generation iPad. The iPad mini has the thinnest single cell battery ever designed by Apple, which offers no less than 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music. It comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi, the new Lightning connector, as well as a wide range of accessories.

Apple confirmed pre-orders for iPad mini will kick off on October 26 and the slate will hit shelves on November 2. Keep in mind that only the Wi-Fi version will be available initially with the 3G and LTE versions launching soon. There will be six iPad mini models available for purchase, which are detailed below:

  • Wi-Fi iPad mini 16GB at $329 USD (255 EUR) 
  • Wi-Fi iPad mini 32GB at $429 USD (330 EUR)
  • Wi-Fi iPad mini 64GB at $529 USD (410 EUR)
  • Wi-Fi+Cellular iPad mini 16GB at $459 USD (355 EUR)
  • Wi-Fi+Cellular iPad mini 32GB at $559 USD (430 EUR)
  • Wi-Fi+Cellular iPad mini 64GB at $659 USD (510 EUR)
iPad mini
Image credits to Apple

Digital Storm Bolt: World's Thinnest, Strongest Gaming PC

Digital Storm really went out of its way to release something memorable, and while it might not exactly make history, due to the relative smallness of the market segment targeted here, it should enjoy some short-term recognition.

As the title made it clear, it is a gaming desktop personal computer that we are dealing with here, one that is described as the thinnest and yet strongest ever made. We aren't sure about the “strongest” part, since the top memory capacity (16 GB DDR3 RAM) isn't legendary, and there can only be one graphics card in it at a time (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 is the top option). We don't doubt that this is really the thinnest though. After all, since it didn't find a case compact enough, Digital Storm decided to make a totally new one just for the Bolt, as the computer is called. It is just 3.6 inches thick, which means 91.44 mm. The height is 14 inches (355 mm).

Contrary to what we expected on the day of AMD's Vishera FX CPU launch, Digital Storm doesn't offer an AMD CPU this once, unlike Origin PC. Instead, the Core i3-3770K quad-core Ivy Bridge central processing unit is mentioned as the top dog. It can even be factory-overclocked to 4.6 GHz. Moving on, a 120 GB SSD and a hard disk drive of 1 TB are available, but customers can have three extra storage units if they have the money for them. As for the price, Digital Storm's Bolt ships for $1,949, or 1,498 – 1,949 Euro, but this is only for the so-called “standard” configuration.

Those who are strapped for cash but want a nice and thin gaming desktop at all costs can get away with $999 / 768-999 Euro, if they are happy with a Core i3 CPU, 8 GB RAM, NIDIA's GeForce GTX 650 Ti graphics card and a single storage unit (the 1 TB HDD).

Digital Storm Bolt
Images credits to SlashGear

1080p Smartphones Next Year by Samsung and LG

Samsung and LG, the two leading mobile phone makers based in South Korea, are expected to come up with new, top-of-the-line devices next year, packing them with 1080p screens, the latest reports on the matter suggest.

Both companies are expected to pack their handsets with full HD AMOLED and LCD screens, and other companies should follow suit, an article on news.mk.co.kr reads. In fact, Chinese mobile phone maker Oppo is said to plan the release of such a device as soon as this year, and Huawei and Sony have been also rumored to plan making similar moves. The upcoming smartphones from Samsung and LG are expected to deliver a 440 ppi or higher pixel density (current HD 720p smartphone offer a pixel density of over 300 ppi).   According to the news site, LG will launch its smartphones with 440 ppi panels coming from LG Display (LGD). The company has already unveiled such a screen back in May, featuring a size of five inches diagonally.

LG’s full HD smartphone, along with similar devices coming from Samsung, should become official in the first half of the next year. Samsung, currently the top smartphone maker in the world, is expected to release handsets packing full HD AMOLED displays from Samsung Display. As mentioned above, other handset vendors are also expected to come to the market with higher resolution smartphones next year, including Pantech, which is said to be already working on such a device, as well as HTC and Sony. All these smartphones are said to arrive on shelves not only with higher-resolution displays, but also with larger ones. Most probably, all full HD panels will be above 5-inch.

There are only a few large smartphones available on shelves at the moment, but next year might see the 5-inch screens becoming mainstream. In fact, a recent report suggested that the mobile phone market would move to larger screens in the coming years.

LG Optimus Vu II
Image credits to LG

AMD APU and ASUS FM2 Motherboard Breaking World Record

There aren't many better ways of introducing a product than by announcing that a world record has been broken by it right off the bat, and this is precisely what ASUS did with the F2A85-V PRO motherboard.

This isn't the first time that the mainboard makes the news, but it might just be the most memorable. Not every day does a motherboard succeed in pushing a processor high enough to smash a world record in 3DMark Vantage. While equipped with the quad-core AMD A10-5800K APU (accelerated processing unit) and two memory modules, it scored 10297 marks. For those that want to know the precise parameters used, ASUS clocked the APU at 5.95 GHz (FSB at 170MHz, GPU at 1520MHz) and the two 4 GB memory modules at DDR3-2720MHz CL10. Windows 7 64-bit was the operating system. As some have probably guessed, a lot of liquid nitrogen was used to keep the whole setup from melting.

This is just half the news though. The other half is the score that the hardware achieved while still on air cooling. The ASUS F2A85-V PRO with BIOS 5108, AMD A10-5800K at 4.33GHz (FSB 114MHz, GPU at 1155MHz) and the memory at 2432MHz (CL10) made 8,070 marks under Windows 7 64-bit. ASUS F2A85-V PRO would not have withstood the heat, liquid nitrogen or not, if it hadn't been designed with Dual Intelligent Processors 3 and DIGI+ Power Control. The TPU (TurboV Processing Unit), EPU (energy processing unit) and digital power controllers can increase APU frequency by up to 68%.

More data on the platform can be found on the product page, while the FM2-compatible APU is described in detail, along with its siblings. For those interested in what other overclocking feats Trinity has achieved, 7.3 GHz were reached not long ago. On a related note, the strongest out of the newly launched Vishera Bulldozer FX units went beyond even that (7,442.83 MHz).

Image credits to ASUS

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