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Oct 22, 2014

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX, Short and Stout Graphics Card

The GeForce GTX 970 graphics card from NVIDIA may be the weaker out of the new pair that the company released, based on the Maxwell micro-architecture. But it's still a high-end board, so NVIDIA didn't bother making it smaller than the normal form factor.

That didn't stop Gigabyte from doing it instead though, and you can be sure that at least one more OEM will develop a small form factor GTX 970 at some point in the future. That's neither here nor there though. What we're going to focus on right now is the new GeForce GTX 970 ITX card, bearing the part number N970UTX-OC. And yes, the OC in the technical name indicates an elevated GPU frequency compared to the norm, or rather frequencies, since there are two of them.

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX

Normally, the GeForce GTX 970 has a base GPU frequency of 1,051 MHz and a GPU Boost clock of 1,178 MHz. Since the chip is fairly competent (to say the least) thanks to its 1,664 CUDA cores, 104 TMUs and 64 ROPs, that alone is more than fine. Still, Gigabyte wanted more performance from its new model, even though the smaller size of the PBC and related hardware would have allowed it to get away with something slower than the standard. Not that it happens much, this nerfing, but it's still a thought. Anyway, the new Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX normally runs the GPU at 1,076 MHz but can jump to 1,216 MHz in a pinch. Pretty close to the GTX 980 1,126 MHz base / 1,216 MHz GPU Boost settings if you think about it. The 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM are left at 7 GHz.

Design-wise, the GeForce GTX 970 ITX possesses a full-height, half-length PCB with a length of 170 mm / 6.29 inches and a thick, dense WindForce cooler equipped with a single fan (100 mm diameter). A pair of 8 mm copper heatpipes lead the heat from the GPU to the heatsink, aided by a third, smaller heatpipe of 5 mm thickness.

Availability and pricing

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX graphics card should be up for order at $329.99 / €329.99, which is the price of the reference, standard performance / size one. A pleasant surprise, we'll admit, since the compactness and extra speed could both easily justify a premium price, even warrant it under normal circumstances.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX installed on mini-ITX motherboard

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 ITX cooler
Image credits to Tom's Hardware

Google Tries to Lure iOS Users to Android with In-Depth Migration Guide

Now that Google officially introduced the Nexus 6 along with the new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, the search giant is trying to make it as easier as possible for customers to switch to its ecosystem.

A certain website has been recently created aimed at iOS users, which offered an in-depth guide on how an iPhone/iPad user can transfer all the data stored on an Apple device to an Android smartphone or tablet. This isn’t the first time Google targets Apple customers with an incentive, as some of the early Android 5.0 Lollipop and Nexus 6 commercial were a reference to the fact that all Apple fans are the same due to the fact that they use the same device (iPhone). The fact that Google is now providing iOS users with a step-by-step guide that will help them migrate to Android much easier shouldn’t be surprising. In fact, everything explained in the guide is very helpful and should apply to other operating systems as well with some minor changes.

One of the many things that iOS users would like to take with them when moving from Apple’s OS to Android is music. In order to transfer all the music from an iPhone or iPad to an Android device, you will have to install the Google Play Music Manager on your computer and make sure that your iOS device is fully synced to iTunes on the same computer. The procedure is pretty simple, but requires Internet connection so the Music Manager can upload all iTunes music to the cloud.

You will have to learn to work with Google's services instead of Apple's

Photos can be transferred with ease from an iOS device to Android. Simply install the Google+ application on your iPhone and sign in using your Google account. Select “Auto Backup” for all photos by selecting the menu icon and then the gear icon at the top right. All photos will be saved in the cloud. But music and photos are not the only stuff an iOS user will want to transfer to his/her new Android device. Contacts may be the most important thing smartphone users want to keep on their new handset. We have already explained in a detailed guide how you can transfer contacts from iOS to Android, so that shouldn’t be a problem for iOS users as long as they agree to create a Gmail account.

Speaking of which, Google’s thorough guide also includes info on how iOS users can set up their email and messaging, as well as the method of searching for games and apps in the Play Store. If you are an iOS user who considers switching to Android, then you might want to check out Google’s in-depth migration guide.

Switch to Android
Image credits to Google

Spec Shootout Helps Nexus 5 Owners Decide If the Upgrade to Nexus 6 Is Worth It

There are many Android fans who still own the Nexus 4 or the newer Nexus 5 who are still wondering whether or not they should upgrade to the upcoming Motorola Nexus 6.

Well, considering the Nexus 6 is not the same cheap high-end smartphone that Google usually launched in Q4 each year, those who consider upgrading from a previous Nexus smartphone may want to think hard before making a decision. We’re here to help those in need make up their minds quicker and not regret afterwards if they find that their decision wasn’t the right one. Although we didn’t have the chance to take the Nexus 6 for a spin yet, at a first glance Motorola’s smartphone is a worthy upgrade for the Nexus 5. We believe that those still owning the Nexus 5 and who can afford Nexus 6’ high price tag should upgrade when the latter goes on sale. There are too many improvements over the previous Nexus models not to step up to Nexus 6.

However, there might be an issue for those resenting phablets, as Google’s new flagship smartphone boasts a huge 6-inch QHD (1440 x 2560 pixels) capacitive touchscreen display. If you’re not into phablets, then you might want to wait a while until Motorola comes forward with a smaller version of the Nexus 6, like the DROID Turbo for example, which will be launched in the US exclusively through Verizon on October 28.

Nexus 6 ships with Lollipop out of the box, but Nexus 5 will get it as well

Moving on to spec shootout, it’s worth mentioning that while Nexus 6 will be the first device to ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system out of the box, other Nexus smartphones (including Nexus 5) will receive it as an update next month. Now if we are to put both Nexus smartphones against each other, it’s obvious that the Nexus 6 is the clear winner. It comes with a larger QHD AMOLED display and it’s water resistant. It also features dual stereo speakers in the front, just like the Motorola Moto X and HTC One M8. As for the rest of the hardware, the Nexus 6 has been stuffed with only the latest technologies that Google and Motorola could put together.

For example, Motorola Nexus 6 is armed with a powerful 2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset inside, which accommodates an Adreno 420 graphics processing unit and 3GB of RAM. The previous model, Nexus 5 packs a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with an Adreno 330 GPU and just 2GB of RAM.

Sadly, Motorola Nexus 6 lacks microSD card slot as well

There’s another important aspect that Nexus family fans will probably be pleased with if they decide to pick the latest model made by Motorola. As many of you probably know by now, Nexus smartphones lack microSD card slot, which is a major downside for consumers. Previous models came in different variants, so depending on storage size (8GB, 16GB or 32GB) you could get it more or less expensive. Sadly, Nexus 6 still doesn’t pack a microSD card slot, but the good news is the cheapest model comes with no less than 32GB of storage. The more expensive version will pack 64GB, which should be more than enough for heavy users, and the price difference is just $50 (€35).

Nexus 6 packs much better camera and battery than the previous model

It’s also worth mentioning that the Nexus 6 comes with an improved 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, which features dual LED ring flash, autofocus, OIS (optical image stabilization) and 4K video recording. There’s also a secondary 2-megapixel camera in the front, which is only a slight upgrade over the Nexus 5’s 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Speaking of which, Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel main camera on the back with OIS, autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. Another big improvement is the battery. Nexus 5 is powered by a 2300 mAh non-removable battery, while Nexus 6 drains energy from a much better 3220 mAh battery, which should provide up to 24 hours of continuous usage.

Connectivity-wise, the Nexus 6 is superior in all aspects. It comes with LTE Cat.6 (300Mbps download), as opposed to Nexus 5’s LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps), and Bluetooth 4.1 with A2DP and LE (Low Energy) support instead of Bluetooth 4.0. Overall, Motorola Nexus 6 is clearly a better product than Nexus 5, hence the higher price. Based on the spec shootout, we would recommend those who can afford and don’t resent phablets to upgrade to the Nexus 6 from the previous model. Nexus 6 has been confirmed to arrive in Google Play Store on October 29, so customers will be able to pre-order the smartphone for $649 (€505) outright.

Motorola Nexus 6 vs. LG Nexus 5
Image credits to Google

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