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Sep 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Battery Life Tests Show Controversial Results

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been available on the market for about three days and the first reviews or preliminary reviews have already been published online.

However, some test results look very different depending on the online publication reviewing the iPhone 6. Although when it comes to synthetic benchmarks, each reviewer uses his/her preferred software, there’s got to be a common ground at some point. Unfortunately, the battery life tests that have just emerged online don’t appear to have anything in common when it comes to results. They are pretty much different in all aspects. When Apple announced that iPhone 6 would carry a non-removable 1810 mAh battery with 3.82V nominal voltage, everyone feared, and some even laughed, that it would not be enough to make up for the smartphone’s bigger screen. Well, it appears that Apple’s 1810 mAh battery inside the iPhone 6 is a huge step forward, according to Anandtech’s preliminary review.

One of the most prestigious websites when it comes to technical reviews, Anandtech ran a battery life test on the iPhone 6, which was “standardized on 200 nits and ensure that our workload in the web browsing test has a reasonable amount of time in all power states of a SoC.” The benchmark results show impressive performance when it comes to battery, as iPhone 6 manages to surpass HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3, as well as the Nexus 5, LG G2 and pretty much every other Android smartphone available on the market with few exceptions (Motorola Moto G, HTC One E8). On the other hand, Phonearena’s iPhone 6 battery test puts the smartphone under Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z2, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and LG G3.

According to Phonearena, the reviewer “measures battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.” As you can see, different testing methods offer different results, so in the end it’s up to each and every one of us to agree with one or more tests that have been recently published online.

iPhone 6 Plus has the second best battery included in a smartphone

On a side note, the iPhone 6 Plus’ 2915 mAh battery seems to be one of the best ever included in a smartphone. In fact, it’s only second to Huawei’s Ascend Mate 2, and this phablet comes with a huge 4050 mAh battery. Obviously, iPhone 6 users might get completely different results in day-to-day use, so take these synthetic benchmarks with a tint of salt until you can test it for yourself.

Anandtech iPhone 6 and 6 Plus battery life tests
Image credits to AnandTech

Phonearena iPhone 6 battery life test
Image credits to PhoneArena

MediaTek Labs, the Place Where the Next Best Thing in Wearables Might Come From

MediaTek is a low-cost chip manufacturer producing processors that usually power cheaper devices. However, the company is looking to expand and this week they have announced the advent of MediaTek Labs.

The Labs constitute a platform where developers can find support, documentation and guidance for all skill levels that will help those interested build wearable gadgets. The platform is using the MT2502 Aster chipset and is based on the LinkIt Development platform. MediaTek Labs hopes to open up a world of new possibilities for everyone, not only developers per se, but also hobbyists and students. On the other hand, the chip maker has also revealed a similar solution for the Internet of Things. But of course there's a caveat, for the time being you can expect only MediaTek processor to be available in the labs.

However, most Android fans aren’t probably going to be particularly impressed by what MediaTek has to offer here, because the company’s silicone isn’t exactly open source like Qualcomm’s or NVIDIA’s. The Aster chip was launched earlier this year and made its first real-life appearance in the Omate X smartwatch this August. The wearable runs the Linkit operating system, which is also under the patronage of MediaTek.

MediaTek Labs for wearables launches
Image credits to MediaTek

Windows 9 to Replace “This PC” with New “Home” Root Location

Leaked Windows 9 screenshots that have recently reached the web have revealed quite a lot of changes that Microsoft plans to introduce in the next version of its operating system, among which new icons for some of the built-in apps, including Windows Explorer.

It appears, however, that the new icon won’t be the only one that Windows’ integrated file manager will get, as new information coming from sources close to the matter indicates that Microsoft is also renaming the root location in File Explorer. “This PC” will be renamed to “Home” in Windows 9, and there are some voices that claim that Microsoft could go even further and rename File Explorer entirely, although it’s not yet clear whether “Home” could also serve as the program name or not. A number of leaked screenshots indeed show that “Home” is now the root location, and the change is also expected to show up in the preview build which could be released to users in early October.

Similar changes in Windows 8 and 8.1 too

This isn’t the first time Microsoft is making changes to the root location in Windows, as the latest OS versions released by the company each came with different names. For example, Windows Explorer, as it was initially called until Windows 8, came with “My Computer” in Windows XP and was renamed to just “Computer” in Windows 7. When Microsoft rolled out Windows 8, the company stayed with the previous “Computer” designation, but changed it to “This PC” once the Windows 8.1 OS update came out. “Home,” however, indicates that Microsoft is indeed making Windows 9 an operating system that would target many more devices than a simple PC, and using this name on tablets and smartphones makes much more sense than “This PC.”

Windows 9 beta expected in early October

Microsoft will hold a private press event on September 30 to discuss plans for Windows 9, but it appears that the company won’t unveil the beta version of the operating system during the same day. Instead, Microsoft might push the public debut of Windows 9 preview to early October, which would better align with its yearly release cycle started with Windows 8 in 2012. The stable version of Windows 9 is expected to launch in April 2015, with people close to the matter indicating that the RTM build could be ready in late 2014, most likely in December. Nothing is confirmed so far and more details will be provided later this month, at the private press event in New York.

Windows 9 will come with a new “Home” location
Image credits to WinSuperSite

Sony A7s Shoots Using Only Moonlight and the Results Are Amazing

The Sony A7s is one of those cameras that can easily inspire creativity. After the A7 and A7R, Sony added the A7s to its family of compact full frame cameras.

For those of you who are not familiar with the device, the “s” is there to highlight a very important aspect  – the fact that the Sony camera will perform exceptionally well in low-lighting conditions. The Sony A7s has already been put through a bunch of tests to determine whether the product is afraid of the dark or not. One of them, dubbed “Into the darkness,” tested the A7s using ISO values between 8,000 and 40,000. The results can be viewed in one of our earlier articles, and as you can see, they are quite capable.

A video shot entirely in moonlight

Anyway, the folks over at Carbon Studio wanted to devise a low-light conditions test of their own. So they though that they could shoot a video using moonlight only. That means that the team didn’t utilize any lightning enhancements whatsoever and only relied on what was provided by nature at night. The video was shot during the late hours of the night, between 12:30 am to 2:00 am, during a full-moon night on the coast of California. And the result is quite stunning – it actually looks like the film was shot as the sun was rising. The first two scenes were shot at an alternative location, a few days before the moon was full. The first scene utilized the parameters: 1/25 th, f/1.4, 25,600 ISO, while the second made use of 1/25 th, 32,000 ISO. For the rest of the video, the team used 1/ 30 th, f/1.4, and ISO 12,800.

No extra effects were added to the overall result

The team claims that it has not added any color grading, noise reduction or sharpness, and that all the clips came right out of the camera shot in PP2 setting. Some of you who have a more sensitive eye might notice a purple fringing around the left side, but this was caused by the Metabones EF to NEX Smart Adapter II used in the process, which had a light leak issue. The conclusion is that Sony has done a magnificent job with the camera. Also important to consider is the fact that the team only used the camera’s ISO to go as far as 32,000, but the A7s can go as far as 409,600. Definitely a lot of creative potential left to tap into.

The imagery in the video is beautifully complemented by Adam’s Taylor wonderful melody “Clouds over hills.” Go check it out.

Sony A7s in moonlight

Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 Motherboard Color-Coded for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980/970 Video Boards

You would think that a graphics card colored in such a way as to go well, aesthetically, with specific high-end graphics cards would have support for everything those cards could throw at it. Alas, that is not, in fact, the case for the Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 motherboard.

Despite being part of the G1.Gaming series and, thus, presumably loaded with high-end graphics features, the newcomer doesn't support SLI technology. Which is to say, it won't allow you to install two video cards of the same sort and have them combine their resources into one whole. The reason for this is the fact that the two long PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots aren't handled the same way. One of them is connected to the CPU socket and the other to the PCH (chipset).

What the Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 does possess

First off, the LGA 1150 socket means that no Intel CPUs newer and better than the Core i7-4000 line can be installed. So no Haswell-E for you. Consequently, there is no DDR4 support to be had here. You'll have to make do with good, old-fashioned DDR3 random access memory (RAM for short). Also, in addition to the disconnected PCI Express 3.0 slots, the motherboard features a pair of PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots. We can only assume from this that the G1.Sniper B6 is intended for gamers with more low-key tastes and budgets. Indeed, the use of the Intel B85 Express chipset means that no CPU overclocking can be done either.

Well, unless Gigabyte included one of its BIOSes with unlocked clock tweaking, but last we heard Intel had forbidden overclocking on it. Moving on, the new platform boasts four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, for solid state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), and hybrid hard drives (HHDs), or solid state hybrid drives as they are otherwise called (SSHDs). Other specs include a pair of SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, AMP UP onboard audio (featuring an EMI-shielded 115 dBA SNR CODEC), audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, user-replaceable headphones amp, Gigabit Ethernet, EMI-shielded 115 dBA SNR CODEC, and an M.2 slot. The M.2 slot is wired for 10 Gbps, meaning that you should be able to squeeze over 1 GB/s out of SSDs connected to it.

Availability and pricing

The Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 motherboard has a price of under $120 / €94 and should be put up for order soon, if it hasn't been already.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 motherboard

Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 motherboard close-up

Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 motherboard, front overview

Gigabyte G1.Sniper B6 motherboard rear I/O
Images credits to Gigabyte

iBuyPower Gaming PCs Brings The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980

NVIDIA may have basically killed a fair bit of the hype that the Maxwell micro-architecture could have accrued this year, up to the actual product release, but that didn't stop it from launching two truly good video cards. One of which has now been adopted by iBuyPower.

This happened all of last week really. That a maker of boutique pre-configure gaming PCs would take one or both of NVIDIA's new video boards and install them inside one or more of their systems. We saw it with Syber, CyberPowerPC, Maingear, Velocity Micro, and Origin PC. Now, iBuyPower is adding its name to the list. The company has installed the GeForce GTX 980 inside its 2014 Paladin E, the Gamer Paladin D980, and the Weekly Gamer Special. These computers have starting prices of $1,129 / €1,129, $1,499 / €1,499, and $1,639 / €1,639, respectively.

The GeForce GTX 980

As NVIDIA explained on Friday, the video board is powered by the GM204-400 graphics processing unit, with 2,048 CUDA cores, 64 ROPs, 128 TMUs, and a memory interface of 256 bits. The VRAM amount is of 4 GB GDDR5, while the clock speeds are of 1,126 MHz base GPU, 1,216 MHz GPU Boost, and 7 GHz for the memory. Hardware-wise, the card has some disadvantages compared to the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, powered by Kepler.

However, the newcomer makes up for it with a much smaller TDP (165W instead of 250W) and by basically beating GTX 780 Ti in most games and benchmarks anyway (according to reviews, or at least some of them). The Maxwell GPU also has a much smaller die size than GK110 (398 square mm instead of 561). Finally, the new Maxwell GPUs have some cool new technologies, like Voxel Global Illumination, which enhances and accelerates dynamic lighting effects. iBuyPower specifically emphasized this in its announcement.

The iBuyPower gaming systems

They have everything you'd expect from this kind of computer: spacious insides, support for multiple GPU configurations, both solid state and magnetic storage (including SSD+HDD combos), advanced cooling (even water-based), and various ways of making the system look as good as it runs (LED-lit fans, side windows, front panel embellishments, etc.). All three computers are available for configuration and order immediately. The Weekly gamer Special is the one with the highest potential performance, unsurprisingly enough. In no small part because it uses Intel's new Haswell-E CPUs and DDR4 memory (8GB DDR4-2400).

Press Release:
The most amazing advancement in gaming graphics has arrived. iBUYPOWER is proud to announce that it now carries a full range of gaming systems powered by NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 980.
Ever thirsty for more performance and better graphics, our team of engineers is thrilled to feature NVIDIA's new GPU in our systems, and we think end users will be even more excited. The GeForce GTX 980 represents a major jump above the previous generation of GPUs, and there's no shortage of hit PC game titles coming out this holiday season to take advantage of the new "Maxwell" architecture.
NVIDIA's new GPUs feature technologies such as New Voxel Global Illumination which accelerations and enhances dynamic lighting effects and NVIDIA's G-Sync technology for frame smoothing.
There's no shortage of performance waiting on tap to supercharge your entire computing experience - but we know that gaming performance is paramount. Those looking to get the best performance bar none need look no further.
"iBUYPOWER always guarantees its customers that we carry and support the latest technology and NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 are no exception," said Darren Su, senior vice president of iBUYPOWER.
iBUYPOWER systems featuring the NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics are available immediately. To configure your own system with the very best and sought after technology, visit www.ibuypower.com.
For more information on how the new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 improves game play and overall experience, visit www.ibuypower.com/Site/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-980.

iBuyPower 2014 Paladin E

iBuyPower Weekly Gamer Special

iBuyPower Gamer Paladin D980
Images credits to iBuyPower

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