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Sep 12, 2014

Apple Sets New Record of Sales for iPhone 6 Models

Samsung's worst nightmare is happening. It appears Apple was right when they bet on a bigger iPhone and most Android users are now switching to the best phone around.

When the Apple Store was supposed to open last night, many users around the world saw delays, errors and downtimes. Some people saw that as an Apple weakness and another fail after the Keynote live stream downtimes. However, this time the problem was not with the servers, but with huge demand.

iPhone 6 Plus, the most wanted device

And the situation was no different on carriers websites or third party vendors. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were a hit. So much so, that Apple admitted the larger model is actually sold out. Mark Siegel, the AT&T spokesman told Re/Code that the demand is higher than iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Also, Verizon was delaying the shipping for the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus to October because there were no phones left to sell. Apple themselves was showing shipping times of up to four weeks on the same model. The confirmation came from Apple at 9:25am PT. After over nine hours of pre-orders, an Apple representative said "the overnights sales of the new iPhones set a record." They did not say how many were sold and that is usually because Apple only confirms numbers after the first weekend when all the figures come out from various stores and carriers around the world.

To put things into perspective

Last year Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in the first weekend (3 days). As a comparison, the latest Samsung Galaxy phone sold about 3 million in the first 3 days after launch. Another Android phone, the HTC One M8 sold about half a million in the first two months. Apple's number will most probably be published in a few days. The company posts number of actual sold iPhones, not "shipped to stores" device like Samsung does. Analysts expected that Apple will sell about 70 million iPhones next year. It remains to be seen f that number will be confirmed by the market.

On another note, Apple's stock is on the rise. They were up 0.23 percent yesterday and the price went up from 99 to 101.66 dollars in the past few days after the iPhone and Apple watch announcement. Apple said they will bring the iPhone to over 115 countries till the end of the year. The second wave may come as soon as beginning of October, 2014.

iPhone 6 models
Image credits to Apple

Windows 9 Builds 9835 and 9836 Spotted Online

Microsoft continues work on Windows 9, and it appears that some new testing builds have recently been compiled and sent to partners for testing purposes.

While the screenshots that leaked yesterday show that build number 9834 has recently been released to a number of Microsoft partner, now log information also reveals that new ISOs are ready to be shipped. Windows 9 builds 9835 and 9836 have both been spotted online, and although it’s unclear whether they bring anything new as compared to the version we saw in the leaked screenshots, it’s another sign that Microsoft is working at a really fast pace to bring the new operating system to the market as quickly as possible.

At the same time, it could also be an indication that before the preview flavor of Windows 9 hits the market later this month, more testing builds might be released, so some of the features that are part of the leaked builds might be updated before we get our hands on them. Windows 9 is projected to get its very first preview version later this month, while the stable build should see daylight in early 2015, most likely in April. The company is expected to share more information on this new project during a press conference on September 30, before eventually starting shipping the testing bits to users.

The Start menu is expected to be part of Windows 9 preview
Image credits to WinFuture

New Windows 9 Video Leaks, Shows a Windows 7-like Start Menu with No Live Tiles

There’s no doubt that the Start menu is going to be a really important addition to the Windows 9 feature lineup, so interest in this particular change remains quite high these days.

After the first video showing the Start menu in action got leaked this morning, a second clip which was published online only a few minutes ago reveals a different UI of this feature, that brings it in line with the design used by Microsoft in Windows 7. At the beginning of the video, you can see the Start menu featuring the same design first presented by the software giant itself at the BUILD 2014 conference in San Francisco, but after the user removes all live tiles, the appearance is very similar to what you can find right now in Windows 7.

The classic Start menu would obviously come in very handy to those hoping to retain the familiar desktop interface on Windows 9, although Microsoft hopes that most people will actually stick to the default look, which also includes live tiles. The Start menu will first see daylight in a preview version of Windows 9 that will go live later this month, but more features could be added before the debut of the final version in April 2015.

Classic Start menu UI in Windows 9
Image credits to Youtube

Microsoft hat in der Windows 9 Technical Preview (http://winfuture.de/special/windows9/)  bereits das neue Startmenü integriert, mit dem man dafür sorgt, dass sich das neue Betriebssystem wieder mehr wie seine Vorgänger anfühlt. Jetzt steht fest: mit wenig Aufwand lässt sich Windows "Threshold" fast wie Windows 7 nutzen, denn die Live-Tiles im neuen Startmenü sind nicht Pflicht. 

Mehr auf: http://winfuture.de/videos/Software/Windows-9-Startmenue-geht-auch-ganz-ohne-Live-Tiles-12912.html
Video credits to WinFuture

Intel: This Is How You Build a Thin, Fanless Tablet/Laptop with Core M Chips

Intel talked about the Core M processor platform which will soon power thin, light computers like tablets, laptops and 2-in-1s back at Computex 2014. During the same event, the chip maker also showed a reference design which was dubbed “Llama Mountain.”

As we already showed you in an earlier piece, there are about eight devices using the chip architecture in the pipeline, getting ready to launch this year like the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2 or ASUS Zenbook UX305. And according to the preliminary benchmarks, it appears the new processors won’t be extremely power hungry, but will be able to deliver pretty strong performance.

Intel wants to help device makers build thin, fanless systems

As we mentioned above, there are already a few designs taking advantage of the new chips, but Intel wants more device manufacturers to take up the production of fanless, thin and light tablets and laptops. And the company is promoting this end at the Intel Developer Forum, by providing the guidelines on how to build such a system. You might remember that a few days ago Intel launched the “Reference Design for Android Tablets” program, in an effort to help device manufacturer better build Android tablets. Now Intel provides a few tips on how to build a really slim and light-weight system (as seen on Liliputing).

To achieve this, manufacturers will need a small motherboard, a thin display panel and other components which have to be really compact. But Intel warns of the likelihood that such materials will heat up and get really warm when placed on a surface that doesn’t facilitate the moving of air, like a table or on your lap. Intel says that in order to avoid that device makers try and place the hottest components (CPU, motherboard and such) in an area that will not be subjected to touch. An example given is that one can place the motherboard at the center of the tab, while the battery goes on the side.

Intel wants to see really thin 2-in-1s

The company’s goal is to someday see 2-in-1 fanless designs with Core M chips, measuring less than 0.35 inches / 9mm and weighing about 1.4 lbs / 0.6 kg. Anyway, as we have already told you, the first super portables arriving under the Core M will be upon us this Christmas. The wider availability of such devices is expected for 2015, and in the meantime Intel is hoping to attract more partners onboard. Some of the most prominent names in the industry have already jumped onboard with Intel and this includes ASUS, Lenovo, Dell and HP, but more are expected to take the plunge.

Build a Thin, Fanless Tablet/Laptop with Core M Chips
Images credits to Liliputing

ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS, Dual-Socket Intel Xeon CPU Motherboard Released

We thought that the ASUS X99-E WS LGA 2017-A motherboard would be the only one with seven PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, but it turns out that is not the case. There are others, or at least there is one other now.

ASUS still holds monopoly though. This may change once other mainboard suppliers start to release their respective platforms based on the X88 chipset, but for now no dice. Anyway, ASUS has formally released the Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard, which has two CPU sockets instead of just one. The company intends for it to be used in high-end, powerful workstations. Curiously, though, the newcomer still has “only” eight memory slots, meaning that you won't be able to go above 64 GB of DDR4 RAM, despite the presence of two CPUs.

The expansion capabilities

Having seven PCI Express expansion slots is no small matter, especially since they're supposed to work at full x16 power even when they are all populated. And since two CPUs alone aren't likely to possess sufficient PCI Express lanes even together (2 x 40 lanes), we can only assume that a third-party controller is used here as well. Either way, you can create systems with quad-channel SLI (NVIDIA) or CrossFireX (AMD) graphics setups, assuming you don't get PCI Express GPU compute accelerators instead. Whatever your decision is, you will have three slots left over, where you can install RAID cards, PCI Express-based SSDs, video capture cards, and other things.

One person we've been in contact with reveals how they use GPU expanders. Basically, large add-on modules where several more PCI Express graphics cards can be installed, with a single PCI Express connector sustaining the link to the PC. So you can have five-seven extra GPU cards in the same system, while using a single PCI Express slot on the motherboard. 

Likely uses of the ASUS motherboard 

The ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS will enable some really mean workstations, especially if you populate those nice PCI Express 3.0 x4 M.2 SSD slots with fast solid state drives (1.8 GB/s or so). 12K solid capacitors and other special components ensure a long life, of course, and so does the flexible fan speed control and Q-Code Logger, an easy-maintenance button that copies four-digit port 80 code logs to a flash drive, for when administrators want to diagnose problems. Of course, unless you're swimming in cash, you won't afford the two Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 CPUs, or the DDR4 memory for that matter. ASUS intends to sell the newcomer for $599 / €599 and $1,000 / €1,000, give or take.

Images credits to ASUS

ASUS Formally Launches X99-E WS LGA 2017-A Motherboard with Skylake Support

ASUS has finally released the X99-E WS motherboard, a product we have been keeping a close eye on since well before it even got officially previewed. Primarily because of the unusual socket it boasts.

This is actually the strange part about the press release. ASUS has formally launched the X99-E WS motherboard, sure, but it hasn’t mentioned the really important parts. Or at least the long term implications. Fortunately, we caught wind of them a while ago, so we can reiterate them. First off, the socket is not a normal LGA 2011-3, although it does support Haswell-E Intel CPUs just fine. Instead, it has six extra pins, which allow it to accept Haswell-EP Xeon CPUs as well. More importantly, it will supposedly let the mainboard accept Intel Skylake CPUs. The ones set for July 2015 release.

According to a source that will remain anonymous, the socket is called LGA 2017-A, unofficially at least. In essence, this all means that the motherboard won't become obsolete in 9 months (when Broadwell gets replaced by Skylake). Instead, it should be good for 18 months to 2 years. This is important, because the X99-E WS is a commercial/server mainboard. Sort of. You see, it is the only ASUS motherboard listed on both the consumer and commercial/business parts of ASUS' website.

The traits of the X99-E WS

There is a single CPU socket available, but seven PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, which is more than double what Core i7-5xxx CPUs can cope with (40 PCI Express lanes). Yet they can all work in full x16 mode at once, more or less, thanks to the PEX 8747 PCIe controller that adds 48 more lanes. It should let you set up quad-channel NVIDIA/AMD SLI/CrossFireX graphics card multi-setups and have room for a PCI Express SSD or some other add-on card left over. The board also has the honor of being the first server board with 12K solid capacitors, which withstand up to 12,000 hours of temperatures as high as 105°C / 221°F. For normal use at 65°C / 149°F, they should last for over a century (1.2 million hours). A lot more than the rest of the platform is likely to last.

ProCool is another asset, eliminating the hollow areas of normal power connectors, making the connection to the motherboard both stronger and more efficient (lower impedance and better heat dissipation). An integrated Dr. MOS (saves space and reduces operating temperatures) and ASUS-exclusive Beat Thermal Chokes II further enhance efficiency and stability. Furthermore, administrators may be glad to learn of the ASUS Q-Code Logger, a button that sends four-digit port 80 code logs to a flash drive, for easier diagnosis of problems that the Dr. Power LED doesn't make obvious in its messages.

The specifications

There's little point in copying the thorough description that ASUS already has of the X99-E WS. Instead, we'll just say that the M.2 SSD implementation (the only new technology of the year) is really good, with support for 2260 (60mm) and 2280 (80mm) devices of up to 1.8 GB/s or more. Two SATA Express ports round up the high-end storage feature set. Since this is a rare platform that has the honor of selling both as server and consumer mainboard, you might find it in retail for (we assume) $499 / €499.

Images credits to ASUS

Intel Skylake CPUs Will Debut in July 2015, LGA 2017-A Socket Already Out

Intel's Skylake central processing unit series will succeed Broadwell in 2015. This much we already knew. However, we've just been told that the next generation of CPUs and associated chipsets will ship as early as July, 2015.

Admittedly, this doesn't really go against previous reports about Intel Skylake coming out in the second half of next year. However, it's still quite early, considering that it implies that Broadwell will have a market life of just around 9 months. We already knew that this generation of chips would not be as long-lived as others, but it is still going to be a fairly jarring transition. After all, we can't even call the Broadwell architecture “current-generation” yet, unless we count the Core m mobile CPU from Intel. The desktop and laptop chips just haven't been released yet, and won't be for a while still. Anyway, Skylake processors will be launched alongside their own chipsets and sockets, but according to our source they will also be compatible with unusual mainboards such as ASUS X99-E WS, due to its unusual socket.

The LGA 2017-A socket

The name has not been confirmed yet, but it probably will be in the near future. It stems from it being an LGA 2011-3 socket with six extra pins. We actually looked into this matter a few days ago, when it came to our attention that ASUS' workstation board boasts this unusual pin count. Since then, we have learned that ASUS added them so that Xeon Haswell-EP CPUs (and, in 2015, Skylake) would also be compatible with it, in addition to Haswell-E Core i7 Extreme Edition. The “official” reason for the socket pin count is that it adds stability, but the real one is that the mainboard would have had too short a lifespan (9 months) if the socket wasn't modified for extra support. Future-proofed as it were. Hence the so-called LGA 2017-A socket.

An interesting note is that the ASUS X99-E WS is the only ASUS mainboard that appears on both the company's consumer and commercial websites right now. And a commercial board cannot afford to become obsolete in just 9 months.

Four versions of Skylake

Apparently, there will be four types of the Intel Skylake CPU  Skylake-S (SKL-S), Skylake H (SKL-H), Skylake U (SKL-U), and Skylake Y (SKL-Y). We suspect that means desktop, laptop, workstations and mobile, though not necessarily in that order. Meaning that even the Core m will be replaced by a successor of the same name. More importantly, Skylake will have up to 14 cores, perhaps more, and it will work on the ASUS X99-E WS mainboard which already exists. Not bad incentive at all for those who want to make sure they don't need motherboard upgrade for the next two years. It also means that the new Intel Haswell-EP Xeon E5-2600/1600 v3 CPUs with up to 18 cores will have a very short market lifespan as well. We've attached the Skylake spec chart (such as it is) and the mainboard socket comparison for your convenience.

X99 LGA 2011-3 socket vs. supposed LGA 2017-A
Image credits to Titan Apollo

Intel Skylake CPU technologies
Image credits to VR-Zone

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