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Jan 22, 2015

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960: DX12, 9.3 GHz Memory and 21W Power Consumption




We have been following the approach of the new Maxwell-based graphics card from NVIDIA closely, and now we can finally say that the video board is ready to sell, for only $199 / €199.

Early rumors said that we may as well expect something like four hundred dollars / euro or more, but considering what card the GTX 960 will replace, that turned out to be too high. The GTX 960 was made as a replacement for the GeForce GTX 660. And GTX 760, but mostly the GTX 660 because people who bought a GTX 760 last year aren't as likely to want an upgrade so soon after spending that money. More importantly, the performance gain would not be worth it. Even NVIDIA's reps said as much during the conference call of a few days ago. Indeed, while the GTX 960 enables a better performance than 760 by around 10% or so (more if you overclock), the advantage over GTX 660 is of 45% or more.

The specifications of the GTX 960
We may as well get them out of the way. First off, we have the GM206 GPU with 1,023 CUDA cores, 1,127 MHz base clock, 1,178 MHz GPU Boost clock, and 128-bit interface. NVIDIA said that the interface was so small because Maxwell used it very efficiently. There are 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and while NVIDIA isn't commenting on the possibility of 4 GB versions, an OEM or other will likely launch one just on principle. In any case, the clock of the VRAM is of 7 GHz physical, 9.3 GHz effective. As for video connectors, we have a pair of dual-link DVI, one DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI 2.0.

Everything runs on a 6-pin power connector, as the TDP (thermal design power) is of 120W. It won't come even close to that limit during normal operation though, which incidentally means you can also overclock it quite a bit despite the power limit.

The special assets of the GeForce GTX 960
DirectX 12 was one of the things that NVIDIA's representatives specified during the presentation. Another technology was the Rasterized Order View, which allows the GPU to work out in advance how to draw polygons and shades. This smooths out 3D video. PhysX, Destruction and Cloth technologies are fully integrated (they're self-explanatory), as are secondary add-on technologies like WaveWorks, Turf Effects, turbulence, ShadowWorks, PhysX Flex, HairWorks and VXGI. VXGI is a global illumination algorithm known as Voxel Cone Tracing. It computes all lighting in a scene, making it realistic enough to seem like it was filmed in real life.

Then there is the Auto-enabled multi-frame sampled anti-aliasing in games, which improves graphics to the point where it looks like you're running 4K on a 1080p monitor. Finally, the efficiency deserves a place of honor. The TDP may be of 120W, but the card won't consume more than 21W in normal operation, and will stay at 31W when in a MOBA game like DOTA or Heroes of Newerth. This allows the fan to stay completely shut off, thus ensuring total silence (unless your CPU cooler is particularly noisy in any case). You can check yourself with EVGA Precision or MSI afterburner.

NVIDIA launches GeForce GTX 960

Maxwell architecture powers it

MFAA supported on more games

GTX 960, an overclocker's dream

MFAA auto-enabled in GameWorks

Play 4K on 1080p display

The specs of the GTX 960

The main selling points

Performance comparison with GTX 660

Efficiency comparison with GTX 660
Images credits to NVIDIA

Despite Constant Denial, Samsung Wants to Buy BlackBerry, Leaked Document Shows




Last week the entire world turned its eyes on Samsung and BlackBerry, as a rumor popped up online saying that the Korean tech giant is looking to purchase the Canadian company.

Since then both BlackBerry and Samsung have stepped forward and denied the allegations. Samsung was more specific and explained it was not looking to acquire BlackBerry, but it was still interested in continuing and strengthening their ongoing partnership. But could it be that the two companies prefer to keep quiet until some papers are signed and the deal is sealed off?

It turns out the Samsung-BlackBerry acquisition is still on the table
It’s a big possibility, especially since the Financial Post dug up a document dated to Q4 2014, written by investment bank Ecercore Partners for Samsung, in which the main reasons for the BlackBerry acquisition are outlined. A source close to Samsung has revealed that the company is still evaluating its options and that the acquisition is “being pursued right now, it’s still very much an open deal.” According to the leaked document, Samsung is apparently considering involving BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, Prem Watsa, in the whole affair.

Watsa is the CEO of Fairfax Financial, and if you remember, back in 2013 he was involved in a $4.7 / €4.06 billion deal to purchase BlackBerry. But the deal didn’t go through after all, and as a result, CEO Thorsten Heins was given the boot and John Chen took over. The document goes on to reveal that Samsung is planning to offer a price between $13.35 / €11.52 and $15.49 / €13.37 per share for BlackBerry. It’s also apparent that Samsung believes BlackBerry’s faith will be stabilizing soon. Hardware sales will finally find a balance, but what’s more interesting is Samsung’s prediction of software revenue, which is seen as tripling from $235 / €203 million in 2014 to $636 in 2017. What will happen? Your guess is as good as ours.

Samsung and BlackBerry are actively denying any rumors of an aqusition

Oppo Find 9 Leaks with Snapdragon 810 and 4GB of RAM




Just yesterday Oppo introduced a kooky new phone called the U3, which arrives in the wild with a pretty big 5.9-inch display, octa-core processor and a slightly disturbing bunny-tale case.

Well, it seems like Oppo is not planning to take a break from unveiling phones anytime soon. Newly uncovered information coming to us via Giz China reveals that Oppo is working towards bringing out a new model from the Find series. You might remember that, when it launched, the Find 7 was one of the first smartphones to arrive with a Quad HD display, so we’re expecting good things from the Oppo Find 9.

Oppo Find 9 is going to be a big phone
A few screenshots showcasing the device already popped out in China, and as you can very well see, we’re looking at a pretty big device, although we can’t tell for sure whether its display is larger than 5.5 inches or not. According to the rumor mill, the Oppo Find 9 will be quite a beast spec-wise. Word on the street has it that the handset will take advantage of a Snapdragon 810 processor fitted with a hefty 4GB of RAM. If the information turns out to be the real deal, the Find 9 will be on par with Xiaomi’s Mi Note Pro and possibly the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.

Another handset that arrives with 4GB of RAM is the ASUS ZenFone 2, although this particular model relies on an Intel chip. As we advanced into 2015, more and mode handset manufacturers are showing interest in developing monster devices that take advantage of high-end chips such as the Snapdragon 810 and also bundle 4GB of RAM. Unlike the newly uncovered Oppo U3 which will probably be offered only in Asia, the Find 9 has a bigger chance of being offered internationally. We’ll keep you posted as more information about the subject surfaces online.

Current Oppo Find 7 was among the first to have a QHD display
Image credits to Oppo

Leaked image of the upcoming Oppo Find 9
Image credits to GizChina

Current Oppo Find 7 handset
Image credits to Oppo

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