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Oct 24, 2013

Bermuda's Stunning Underwater Views Now in Street View

Google is boasting about some stunning new Street View imagery now available though, truth be told, these photos are as far removed from a street as you can get.

These aren't the first images taken underwater for Street View, but the new imagery from Bermuda is guaranteed to leave you wishing for an exotic holiday. "Dive underwater from the island of Bermuda with #StreetView. Explore the Mary Celeste Wreck and more at maps.google.com/ocean," Google wrote.

"Taken in partnership with Catlin Seaview Survey, this imagery highlights efforts to protect the waters around Bermuda," it added. Google has been working with the Catlin Seaview Survey to map and photograph underwater areas in several stunning locations. Imagery from the Galapagos islands is already available. The images are shot with specially designed underwater scooters capable of snapping 360-degree imagery.

Bermuda shipwrek in Street View
Image credits to Google

PowerColor's Pair of Overclocked AMD Radeon R9 290X Graphics Cards

TUL Corporation has released two PowerColor-branded AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards, which are among the few that actually don't totally stick to AMD's reference specs.

The Hawaii GPU (2816 stream processors) normally runs at 1 GHz, but PowerColor's R9 290X go with 1030 MHz instead. Both of them. And by both, I mean that there is a PowerColor card with a bundled copy of Battlefield 4 and one without it. Don't think that's a freebie though. The new video board costs $550 / €550, but the game will add around $25 / €25 to the price tag.

There are 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM installed on the black-painted newcomers, communicating with the GPU over an interface of 512 bits. The clock is of 5 GHz. 4K gaming (UHD resolution, 3840 x 2160 pixels) should be smooth and great, even on multi-monitor configurations.

PowerColor Radeon R9 290X
Images credits to PowerColor

Qualcomm Executive Reassigned After Calling Apple’s A7 Chip a “Gimmick”

A short-sighted Qualcomm executive is seeing his status downgraded by his employers after making a rather bold remark regarding Apple’s marketing of the A7 chip, which is built on a 64-bit architecture.

In an interview with IDG, Anand Chandrasekher said, “I know there's a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7. I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that.” I covered the story on October 9 refraining from saying “there will be consequences.” Apple buys millions of wireless chips from Qualcomm. Case in point, the same IDG now reports that Qualcomm has removed Chandrasekher from the company’s leadership page. A statement from Qualcomm reads:

“Anand Chandrasekher, is moving to a new role leading our exploration of certain enterprise related initiatives...Anand will continue to report to Steve Mollenkopf, COO and President of Qualcomm. This will be effective immediately.”

As I said before, gimmick or no gimmick, you can’t afford to say whatever passes your mind when you’re in bed with Apple. Or any other tech juggernaut for that matter.

Anand Chandrasekher
Image credits to ctimes.com.tw

AMD Radeon R9 290X Hawaii Graphics Card Finally Launched

After weeks of skirting around the issue, Advanced Micro Devices has finally made the official introduction of its latest and greatest single-GPU graphics adapter: Radeon R9 290X.

This is one of those cards based on a new GPU (graphics processing unit) and barred from any sort of physical design modification by OEMs. That means that AMD's many partners (Sapphire, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Club 3D, etc.) won't be launching custom-made cards any time soon. That doesn't mean factory overclocking is completely forbidden though. As we understand it, several of AMD's OEMs have implemented minor tweaks to the GPU frequency, despite not being able to change the cooler. Spec-wise, AMD's Radeon R9 290X has a 28nm Hawaii GPU at 1 GHz, 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM at 5 GHz, 176 texture units, 2,816 shaders (stream processors), 64 ROPs, a memory interface of 512 bits, memory bandwidth of 320 GB/s, and 6.2 billion transistors. The adapter has a TDP (thermal design power) of 250W and an FP32 performance of 5.6 TFLOPs.

AMD Eyefinity multi-monitor technology is included as well, along with TrueAudio technology and, of course, support for both DirectX 11.2 and AMD's new Mantle application programming interface (API). The Sunnyvale company has even bundled the Battlefield 4 game from EA Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (DICE). BF4 is, after all, the first (and only, for now) game that supports Mantle. According to reviews, the new product has a price of $549.99 / €549.99, which is “high” for AMD, but quite a bit lower than the $620 / €620 of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 and definitely leagues apart from the $999 / €999 of the GeForce GTX Titan. The consensus among testers is that the good outweighs the bad. The good is thus: great price, good performance, software voltage control, better multi-monitor support, Dual BIOS, TrueAudio and native full-size HDMI and DisplayPort support.

The less than good traits are the noise level, high temperatures, high power consumption and lack of VGA output. For those wondering, the Dual BIOS feature isn't normal itself. Usually, there's a base/backup BIOS and one for tweaking, but here there's a Quiet BIOS (18% performance improvement over the R9 280X / HD 7970 GHz Edition) and an Uber BIOS (24% boost). As for card comparisons, we'll give you the conclusion of tests against NVIDIA's GeForce Titan. The AMD card lost when in “Quiet” BIOS mode, but slightly overcame it in Uber settings. And for something at almost half the price, that's actually impressive. Sure, different games and benchmarks returned different results, but this is the so-called summary. AMD's new card is definitely going to be a success. Images below are R9 290X gallery, click for larger images.

AMD Radeon R9 290X
Images credits to AMD

AMD Radeon R9 290X benchmark result
Image credits to TechPowerUp

BBM for iOS 1.0.2 Now Available for Download

Good news for BlackBerry Messenger users disappointed by the application’s severe issues on iOS smartphones, as the Canadian company has just released an update meant to address all these problems.

We reported yesterday that iOS users experienced random BBM crashes when trying to use the application. The issue only affected those who upgraded their iPhones to iOS 7.0.3 and was caused by the fact that Apple removed a “HelveticaNeue-Italic” font used by BBM. Luckily, BlackBerry provided a bug fix in less than 24 hours and even delivered more features and improvements to the iOS version of BBM.

The latest version of BBM for iOS comes with contact categories, List Sorting and filtering in BBM Groups, lots of performance improvements and other bug fixes. You can now download BBM for iOS for free via App Store. Keep in mind that the application is only compatible with iPhones powered by iOS 6.0 or later.

BBM for iOS
Image credits to BlackBerry

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