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Aug 27, 2014

Nexus X Leaked Specs Confirm Snapdragon 805 CPU, 13MP Camera, and Android 5.0

News about Google’s next flagship smartphone has recently emerged online, thus confirming that the search giant did not can the Nexus project and plans to continue to add new products to the series.

The next Nexus smartphone to be released by Google is likely to be called X due to some issues with the Nexus 6 name that might infringe on Philip K. Dick’s intellectual property rights. For those unaware, Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” which was turned into a movie called “Blade Runner,” starring Harrison Ford, has some androids in it that are called Nexus 6 models. Nexus One, the first Android smartphone launched by Google in the Nexus series, was the device that started the debacle, as Isa Dick Hackett, daughter to Philip K. Dick, threatened to sue Google over the trademark. Fortunately, that did not happen but not because Google asked for permission, but because the owner of Philip K. Dick’s intellectual property did not think that she had a solid case. This is probably one of the main reasons Google decided to change the name of its Nexus smartphone just this time.

With that being said, the so-called Nexus X has already appeared at an online retailer, and it looks like it will be manufactured by Motorola indeed. The smartphone is listed under a different name, Motorola XT1100, but also has the Nexus X tag line as well. Two Nexus X variants have been spotted by Twitter user @Alex_Vainshtein on fnac’s website, which is not surprising for a device in the series. According to the listing, Nexus X 32GB should be available for purchase for only €420 ($555) outright, while the 64GB model has been priced at €450 ($595). Even if the pricing options is different in Google Play Store, the important thing is that fnac has also revealed some of the phone’s specs.

In this regard, Nexus X is expected to sport a 5.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display of unknown resolution, as well as an impressive 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. On the inside, the smartphone will be equipped with a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, which will be clocked at 2.7GHz. No other details on the Nexus X’s hardware have been revealed, but it looks like the handset will ship with Android Lemon Meringue 5.0 operating system out of the box. This seems to be the name Google chose for the final version of Android L, which is now only available as a preview for developers. Nexus X is expected to be announced along with the new version of Android sometime this fall. Are you excited about Google’s new flagship Android smartphone?

Nexus X listing at fnac
Image credits @Alex_Vainshtein

ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional Motherboard Pictured

You can expect a whole bunch of new X99 chipset-based motherboards to show up in the next two weeks, although many of them have already been spotted or detailed. ASRock seems quite active in that regard.

The Fatal1ty X99 Professional is one of its mainboards that hasn't surfaced until now though, so the novelty is appreciated if nothing else. The mainboard has a strong VRM, but don't expect it to be able to push 1300W into the CPU or anything, or the Fatal1ty in the name will take a more unfortunate meaning than the intended one. The newcomer also has Gigabit Ethernet, Killer E2200 gaming network controller, and audio tuned for high-impedance headphones. You're also looking at USB ports with power delivery, so that you can use USB audio headsets without problems. Interestingly enough, among the powered ports are USB 2.0 ones.

Other than that, the new ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional motherboard is pretty much identical to the ASRock X99 OC Formula revealed not long ago. Unfortunately, pricing details remain a mystery. In fact, that particular motherboard has been pictured as well, but we'll check it out separately, so stay tuned until we do. Suffice to say, it's one big and yellow piece of work.

ASRock X99 Fatal1ty
Image credits to ThinkComputer

Gigabyte Flagship X99 LGA 2011-3 Motherboard for Haswell-E CPUs

Since we only have a few days left until Intel's Haswell-E CPUs go up for sale, motherboard makers are finally launching their flagship products, or at least allowing the world to catch a glimpse of them. Gigabyte is one of those companies.

We've already seen it once with the ASUS X99 Deluxe Motherboard, a high-end mainboard itching to get a Core i7-5000 series CPU and start crunching numbers. Gigabyte has now revealed the X99-UD7, which is supposed to play in the same league as that, even though it doesn't look quite as great. We're talking about the distinct lack of “armor” on the edge holding the I/O interfaces. The heatsinks are shaped and colored well enough, but that last touch of style isn't there. The company probably thought (and rightly so) that no one will actually place their desktop case with its rear at the front, and cases usually have cover plating there anyway. But pardon our egress. The X99-UD7 is everything we've come to expect from top-tier X99 chipset-based products, from the eight DDR4 DIMM slots to the four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots. In fact, the PCB is almost exactly the same as the one sported by the Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1.

The main difference is the audio technology, from the ground-layer isolation to the audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and audio chipset lacking a user-replaceable OPAMP (operational amplifier). It might sound odd to see motherboard makers put so much emphasis on audio technologies, until you realize that there isn't much else that can set mainboards apart at this point. I/O technologies like USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are all standard, and unless you're going to get an add-in daughterboard for better networking, there isn't much uniqueness to be found in this area. The same goes for memory. All high-end X99-based motherboards have eight DDR4 slots, no exceptions, and they come with tougher components than normal to cope with overclocks (Ultra Durable in this case). Needless to say, having four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots is pretty much warranted as well.

Because of that, at the end of the day, the audio technology is the only thing that can provide some variety. It's not clear if the Gigabyte X99-UD7 has a 5.1-channel or 7.1 channel implementation, so we'll have to wait and see. Sales should start in a matter of days, but the price is unknown. Definitely lower than the $1,000 / €1,000 needed by the Core i7-5960X CPU though.

Gigabyte X99-UD7
Image credits to Gigabyte

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