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Oct 30, 2014

MSI X99S Mpower Custom Overclocking Motherboard Debuts

Intel may not officially name its Core i7-5000 Series central processing units “Super CPUs,” but it does refer to them as the Extreme Edition. The Haswell-E line as it were.

These chips only go well with the absolute best motherboards on the market. Those powered by the X99 chipset that includes the LGA 2011-3 socket. MSI has just released a mainboard of this type, called X99S MPOWER and featuring four PCI Express 3.0 slots (not counting the mini ones), eight DDR4 DIMM memory slots, and Military Class 4 components for endurance. According to the company, the X99S MPOWER has broken 26 records during the MOA 2014 overclocking contest. That's a pretty strong case for people to buy it over other high-end mainboards. Of course, the quad-GPU support, Turbo M.2 32 Gbps SSD support, SATA Express (12 Gbps for HDDs/SSDs), and Gigabit LAN will have a say in that as well, as will Audio Boost technology.

All in all, the MSI X99S MPOWER motherboard is about as strong a motherboard as you can expect from even the highest level of the consumer market. It will be priced accordingly, but it's not like hardcore enthusiasts and overclockers can ever make it far in their careers without cash to spare.

Press Release:MSI, world leading in motherboard technology, is pleased to announce its release of the MSI X99S MPOWER motherboard. After MSI launched its X99S XPOWER AC motherboard on August the 29th it's now time for its brother, the X99S MPOWER motherboard, to assist in dominating the benchmarks. The MSI X99S MPOWER is a custom designed overclocking motherboard, specifically for enthusiasts demanding the highest performance and the best stability while still getting a ton of OC features.
The MSI X99S MPOWER motherboard is ready to take the new 8 or 6 core CPU's and DDR4 performance to the limit, proven recently by already breaking 26 records during the finals of MSI's overclocking contest, MOA 2014. OC Certified and Military Class 4 components make sure it can handle anything while retaining absolute stability. The next generation OC Engine helps to push the system to its limits with more flexible bClk overclocking, needed for breaking records. The MSI X99S MPOWER also comes with Quad Multi-GPU support, OC Essentials, Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s, SATA Express, Audio Boost and Intel Gigabit LAN.
26 records broken with X99S MPOWER
After generations of proven world class overclocking performance, MSI is proud to add the X99S MPOWER motherboard to this record-breaking MPOWER family.
It's a motherboard truly built for overclockers, by overclockers. Built with Lightning DNA and Military Class 4 components, MSI's OC Certified models ensure stability and top overclocking performance with the latest Intel HEDT CPUs. This has already been proven during the latest MOA 2014 event in the Classic and NO LIMIT Grand Finals, where the X99S MPOWER motherboard was used to break 26 record on HWBOT.
Clever solutions are once again handed to enthusiast overclockers to help break world records. Featuring a large number of convenient overclocking tools such as V-Check Points 2, CeaseFire Lite, Go2BIOS and DirectOC buttons for realtime overclocking, the X99S MPOWER motherboard is ready to push your hardware to its limit.
OC Certified
OC Certified is a military class burn-in test for motherboards. Running Prime95 for over 24 hours with a highly overclocked CPU is already a stressing endeavor, but removing all airflow from the motherboard ensures that only the best motherboards survive. If a motherboard can survive this, it can survive any overclocking situation. MSI Overclocking motherboards are equipped with all the necessary features to make sure you get the most out of your system. From the Enhanced PWM with a large amount of power phases and Thermal Design that give you the best stability, to all the easy features that ensure that you don't have to perform a lot of tricks to get great stability in your quest for performance.
OC Engine
The MSI X99S MPOWER motherboard features a next generation Clock Generator for more flexible BCLK adjustments, from 100 / 125 / 167 MHz straps. Using these straps prevents system crashing while overclocking on the edge and opens doors to achieve the absolute maximum. The next generation chip offers even lower jitter and power consumption resulting in even higher stability under the most extreme conditions.
Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s
Delivering speeds up to 32Gb/s, Turbo M.2 is more than 5 times faster than a regular SATA III connection. Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s is the successor to M.2 10 Gb/s, offering performance up to 3 times as fast using PCI Express Gen3 x4. M.2 is packed in a small form factor and is compatible with 3 different sizes to fit most storage solutions. Gamers can enjoy a blazing fast system boot up and loading of applications and games.

MSI X99S MPOWER, unpacked


MSI X99S MPOWER, top view

MSI X99S MPOWER with quad-GPU graphics configuration
Images credits to MSI

Oppo N3 Officially Unveiled with 16MP Rotating Camera and 5.5-Inch FHD Display

Oppo’s new flagship smartphone has been teased many times in the last couple of months, but only a few details on its specs sheet leaked online.

Along with the previously rumored N3, Oppo also launched the R5, supposedly the world’s thinnest smartphone at only 4.85mm. We have already reported on the Oppo R5, so let’s see what the company’s new flagship handset brings on the market. Well, first of all, although it may look like a flagship smartphone, on paper the N3 doesn’t stand a chance against Samsung, LG or HTC top-tier devices. One would think that Oppo N3 will be popular among Android users because of the lower price tag in comparison with more established brands like those mentioned earlier. Alas, Oppo announced that the N3 would sell for no less than $650 (€515) outright, which is not the cheapest the company could go. Anyway, the Chinese OEM confirmed that the N3 would be launched in about 20 countries by the end of the year.

We believe the price may be slightly different depending on country, but there won’t be major differences between the suggested retail price and the actual amount you will have to pay in these countries. For those who are unfamiliar with Oppo N3, here is a quick rundown of what the smartphone has to offer in terms of hardware and software.

When it comes to hardware, the N3 fails to impress

Let’s start with the latter and mention that the N3 will ship with ColorOS 2.0, which is based on Android 4.4 KitKat operating system, out of the box. For the time being, it’s unclear whether or not the smartphone will be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop. When it comes to hardware, Oppo N3 is far from being impressive, especially when put against the Galaxy Note 4 or LG G3. The smartphone is equipped with a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and Adreno 330 graphics processing unit and 2GB of RAM. The N3 has been confirmed to pack 32GB of internal memory, but it does not feature microSD card slot for memory expansion, so keep that in mind before making your purchase.

Oppo’s high-end smartphone sports a large 5.5-inch full HD (1080p) capacitive touchscreen display and a high-capacity 3,000 mAh battery, which should recharge from 0 to 75% in just 30 minutes. Another selling point of the Oppo N3 could be the 16-megapixel swivel camera, which features a Schneider Kreuznach lens, autofocus, LED flash and video recording. Have you decided on whether or not to pick this one up? Let us know in the comments.

Oppo N3

Oppo N3 (front)

Oppo N3 swivel camera

Oppo N3 swivel camera

Oppo N3 touch-sensitive controls

Oppo N3 swivel camera

Oppo N3 swivel camera
Images credits to Oppo

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Weighs as Much as a Hamster and Other Cool Facts

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact just started shipping in some markets around the world and the producing company is celebrating this event by unveiling a cool infographic related to the tablet.

Considering the majority of attention is going towards the Nexus 9 and iPad Air 2 these days, Sony seems to have chosen the right time to remind customers that it too, is offering a worthy slate to be taken into consideration. However, the tablet takes advantage of a smaller form factor than the Nexus 9 and iPad Air 2. Unlike its older siblings, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is an 8-incher working with the same HD Triluminous display technology with full HD resolution.

Sony highlights the tablet's sleek frame

One of the first things Sony mentions in the info graphic is how thin the tablet is. The company touts the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact as the skinniest in its lineup, coming in at 6.4 mm / 0.25 inches. It also weighs a meager 270 g / 0.5 lbs which is comparable to a hamster or one latte. However, since the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact came out, two tablets with even thinner frames got announced. We’re talking about the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series with 6 mm / 0.24 inches profile and iPad Air 2 with 6.1 mm / 0.24 inches. Going back to the Sony slate, the model comes equipped with two cameras (8.1MP on the back and 2.2MP up in front) and runs Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. The good news is that Sony has already announced it will bring the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to the tablet as soon as possible.

But what makes this little tablet stand out from the crowd is the fact that it comes complete with integrated PlayStation support. This means that if you can’t use your TV to play a game, because grandma is watching her favorite soap opera, you can take your tablet and pair it with your console instead and play games via the DualShock 4 controller (thanks to the new Remote Play feat).

Sony puts an emphasis on the tablet's waterproof feature

This feature is not advertised in the infographic, which places an emphasis on the IP 65/68 specifications instead. Sony says 1 in 5 mobile phones are damaged due to the devices being dropped in the toilet (really that’s what it says), so the new tablet follows the company’s tradition and is also waterproof to prevent accidental damage.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is super skinny

Complete infographic detailing Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Images credits to Sony Mobile

Xiaomi Working on 9.2-Inch Budget Tablet with Snapdragon 410 SoC

Low-cost device manufacturer Xiaomi took the world of tablets by storm when it unleashed its first product from the category, the MiPad.

The tablet was the first ever to take advantage of NIVIDA’s new Tegra K1 architecture and was of 32-bit variety. The MiPad brings a 7.9-inch screen with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution and comes equipped with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128GB via microSD). The tablet sells for $240 / €176 which can be considered super affordable given the specifications packed on the inside. But compared to other Xiaomi products, the MiPad is a little above the norm.

Xiaomi budget tablet on the way

But not to worry, Xiaomi will soon offer a new tablet that will probably sell for a more accessible price. Gizmobic reports having stumbled upon a new Xiaomi slate in the GFXBench database. This time the low-cost maker seems to be aiming for a bigger form factor. According to the listing, the new device will come equipped with a 9.2-inch display boasting 1280 x 720 pixel resolution and just 160ppi. For this next slate, Xiaomi will be doing business with Qualcomm, so the device will receive power from a Snapdragon 410 chip fitted with Qualcomm Adreno 306 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. We should also mention that the benchmark listing reveals Xiaomi will continue to produce Android tablets, as this latest one will take advantage of Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

As you can see, the tablet’s specs don’t seem to be all that disruptive, so that’s why we believe Xiaomi will be marketing it with a super affordable rate, maybe even below $100 / €78. Given the rising popularity of tablets with voice calling capabilities in the Asian region (India included), Xiaomi might also want to bestow this feature on its upcoming budget slate, but this is just speculation at this point.

Xiaomi is choosing to go bigger, tablet-wise

It’s interesting how the low-cost device maker chose to go bigger rather than smaller. So instead of working towards a 7-inch device, Xiaomi is seemingly prepping a device similar in size to the newest Nexus 9. But spec-wise, the two models couldn't be more different. Like with the MiPad, Xiaomi will probably market the tablet only in Asia. At some point, the company admitted the US market was a little bit too competitive for them. Still, the company might make a debut in the country, smartphone-wise, starting with 2015.

Picture showing the current Xiaomi MiPad tablet
Image credits to Xiaomi

GFXBench listing revealing new Xiaomi tablet
Image credits to Gizmobic

Samsung Launching Galaxy A Series in Early November

Samsung Galaxy A Series is no secret as the South Korean company has already launched the Galaxy Alpha, the first device in this family of premium smartphones.

However, there have been lots of rumors running around which claim Samsung plans to launch at least three more Galaxy A smartphones by the end of the year: A3, A5 and A7. They may be released on the market under different names, but they will be priced differently considering they look pretty much different when it comes to specs. The cheapest of the three, Samsung Galaxy A3 was initially rumored to arrive first, soon followed by the A5 and A7. However, Korea IT Times reports Samsung plans to launch the entire series of handsets in early November. Surprisingly, the cited source refers to the Galaxy A series as being low-price, though previous rumors did not point to such a thing. The reason for this may be explained by the following phrase:

“The introduction of the Galaxy A Series, consisting of Galaxy A3, A5 and A7, is part of Samsung’s efforts to regain its share in the world’s largest smartphone market where it is competing fiercely with local smartphone brands including Xiaomi.”

Samsung Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 will be initially launched in China

However, we doubt that Samsung will want to compete with Xiaomi on the Chinese market with some premium smartphones, which are usually more expensive than regular ones that use cheaper materials for manufacture. It’s unclear whether or not Samsung will only launch the Galaxy A Series in China in early November. We do know for sure these smartphones will eventually make it to other regions, but there are no details on when exactly that will happen. We expect more info on the matter to be unveiled during the Galaxy A Series launch in China in the next several days, so stay tuned for more details if you want to know when these handsets will arrive in your country.

Some may say that the Galaxy A Series is Samsung’s alternative to iPhone, given the stylish design and premium materials. The build quality of these smartphones is also superior to other regular mid-range handsets launched by Samsung, hence the slightly higher pricing. It will be interesting to see if Samsung will indeed price the handsets in the Galaxy A Series lower than rumors suggest. For those out of the loop, the Galaxy A Series smartphones should be priced between $350 (€280) and $500 (€400) outright.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (left) and Galaxy A3 (right)
Image credits to Android Mexico

LG 31MU97, Monitor with 4096 x 2160 4K Resolution

LG Electronics has rather fortuitously announced a monitor that could make the day of anyone in a position where a graphics card with 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM is warranted. The display is called LG 31MU97.

Not that LG was thinking of gamers when it invented the product. Indeed, it was aiming for a different part of the potential customer base, that of graphics, video and game designers. Still, with both NVIDIA and Advanced Micro Devices preparing to launch some new graphics cards with 8 GB of VRAM, the new monitor could be a great fit for them. Sure, the adapters are intended more for multi-card installations and multi-monitor configurations, but why bother when you can stuff the 4K quality inside a single screen? Nevertheless, while the newcomer does have the size to satisfy customers (32 inches in diagonal), it doesn't possess the “standard” 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, but 4096 x 2160.

The specs of the LG 31MU97 monitor

As a professional piece of equipment, it has all the best trappings that LG could give it. No corners were cut in its creation. For example, the IPS screen technology (which naturally enables wide viewing angles of 178 degrees) supports over 99.5 percent of the Adobe RGB color space. It also lets users choose from several coloring options and modes, with dual color space permitting the displaying of two different color modes at the same time. That way, you can compare your work with what it could look like on other screens if you wish. The True Color Pro software is another LG creation that deserves a bit of attention. It provides color calibration capabilities independent of a PC. Considering the 10-bit color support, that's quite important to have.

Moving on, you can use the new monitor to edit standard Digital Cinema 4K without scaling the image, or edit footage with full color expression thanks to DCI color standard support (covers 97% of the DCI-P3 color space to reproduce realistic colors). In layman’s terms, everything boils down to the new LG Digital Cinema 4K Monitor possessing all the features (and more) that professionals could need in their video/game editing efforts.

Availability and pricing
The LG 31MU97 hasn't been given a price yet, but we do know that sales will begin this week in the United States of America, as well as South Korea, Germany, and Australia. The UK, Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Japan will get their turn later in November.

Press Release:LG Electronics (LG) today unveiled its new 4K Monitor (model 31MU97) for global rollout starting this week. The cutting-edge LG 31MU97 mates Digital Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution with a 31-inch IPS monitor to create an ultra-sharp high-end monitor that meets the standards of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI). The LG 31MU97 is especially well suited for professionals who demand the sharpest possible images for either work or leisure.
The monitor's ultra-high quality 4K resolution and life-like colors are ideal for photographers, video editors and graphic artists and its incredible picture quality allows for detailed and accurate retouching of any image. With the monitor's rich and vibrant colors and impressive 10-bit color, visual arts professionals will greatly appreciate the model's high color accuracy.
The monitor's IPS display supports over 99.5 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and provides users with several coloring options and modes in order to meet the wide spectrum of needs that graphic professionals require. Its Dual Color Space allows the monitor to display two different color modes at once so that users can compare different perspectives of their work simultaneously. Additionally, the Digital Cinema 4K Monitor comes hardware calibration-ready with LG's exclusive True Color Pro software.
The LG 31MU97 is equipped with several unique high-end functions that will satisfy most discerning professionals. Video pros can edit 4K content in the ideal resolution with standard Digital Cinema 4K without image scaling. Editing footage with full color expression is made possible by the DCI color standard support which reproduces color realistically, covering 97 percent of DCI-P3 color space, the standard for digital cinema projectors and digital camera. And the LG 31MU97 comes with an ergonomic pivot design that offers maximum convenience for displaying as much of the image on the screen as possible to minimize scrolling and dragging.
"LG's Digital Cinema 4K Monitor presents the company with an excellent opportunity to solidify our leadership in the global professional monitor market," said Hyoung-sei Park, head of the IT business division at LG Electronics. "This monitor's high-end features and functions make it the perfect solution for professionals who require a top-of-the-line monitor with all the technology currently available."
The LG 31MU97 will be available starting this week in markets including the United States, South Korea, Germany, Australia and the UK followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Japan in November

LG 31MU97
Image credits to LG

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