Intel 7-Series Z77 Extreme Motherboards
Intel has unleashed quite a few motherboards over the past week, like the Media Series and the Executive 7-Series, all part of the 7-Series, and now we get to look at the high-end models too as softpedia reports:
According to VR-Zone, there are two high-end 7-Series motherboards on the way, powered by the Z77 chipset.
Like them, we aren't exactly sure why it has taken to launching so many motherboards, knowing that the consumer base will more than likely gravitate towards companies that specialize in such products and have proven their brands' worth over and over (ASRock, ASUS, MSI, etc.).
Nevertheless, Intel has released the DZ77GA and DZ77RE for the high-end market.
The former has the Gasper codename and comes with two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, one PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot and a pair of PCI slots.
There is also USB connectivity (four 3.0 and four 2.0 ports at the back, plus some more via headers), FireWire connectivity, eSATA and dual Gigabit Ethernet, plus 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF.
Furthermore, the chip giant implemented an HDMI connector, but this begs the question of why Intel isn't enabling support for multi-display setups.
After all, the bundled LucidLogix Virtu software lets discrete graphics signals pass through the integrated GPU, allowing for more than one monitor to be managed by the mainboard directly, provided there are enough display ports to plug the panels in (which there aren't).
The second motherboard will possess Thunderbolt at least, but more or less the same other specifications as its sibling.
Keep in mind that the PCI Express x4 slot may have to be disabled while Thunderbolt is in use, though.
Intel has been doing its best to extend its reach beyond the CPU market, entering not just the mainboard but also the SSD business. Neither outlet has seen as much success as its primary focus, and with the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs supposedly getting cheaper (by $60-70 / 45-53 Euro) this situation can only persist.
Huawei claims its new quad-core chip outshines Tegra 3
Times reports Huawei has revealed high-end smartphones and tablets based on a quad-core chip designed by the company's HiSilicon division. Huawei officials claim the 1.2-1.5GHz KV32 chip outperforms NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC by 30 to 50 percent across a range of benchmarks.
A 64-bit memory bus--twice the width of the tegra3--is one of the main factors in the performance of the KV32, said Jerry Su, chief architect of the chip. Built in a TSMC 40 nm low power process, the chip fits in a 12x12mm package
The KV32 uses four ARM Cortex A9 cores and a 16 core graphics chip co-developed with an unnamed U.S. chip designer. The two collaborated on the GPU
PlanetSide 2: Time Lapse Weapon Design
Diablo 3 Release Date Announcement in 'Near Future'
Jay Wilson from Blizzard Entertainment posted a development update on the Diablo III forums in which he stated that the release date announcement would be in the 'near future' and that development was going well and that the game was in 'good shape'. This latest update follows the recent patch 13 release last weekend which saw an overhaul of the game's rune system and skill interface which received mixed reactions from the community:
Some of you might have seen some headlines or a certain (obviously sarcastic) blue post that implies that we're unsteady about where Diablo III stands, and that you should temper your expectations when it comes to the next installment in the Diablo series.
Let me be clear: Nothing could be further from the truth.
As those of you in the beta have seen, the game is in good shape. Actually, I should say that the beta version of the game is in good shape. The latest full build we've been testing here in the office is in great shape.
We get a lot of sympathy from the other teams because of the long hours of crunch our design team is putting in, but the secret is that playing through the game as we do final tuning, bug fixes, and optimizations is a real joy. We always know a Blizzard game is almost ready when we have to ask members of the team to stop playing so they can get their work done. That's definitely been the case around here.
We think you're going to love Diablo III when it's released, and speaking of release plans, you can seriously expect a launch-date announcement from us in the near future. See, I didn't say soon, so I'm not taunting you. ;) You�'l know as soon as I know for sure the exact date.
And by the way, we want you to have high expectations for Diablo III and all Blizzard games. That�s what pushes us to try to make the best gaming experiences we possibly can. If Diablo III wasn't a worthy next installment in the Diablo series, we wouldn't release it. That's the way we do it. That's the way we've always done it.
As I've said many times in the recent past, we think Diablo III is coming along great and we can't wait for you to get your hands on it. We're doing all we can to ensure you have one hell of a time once you step foot in Sanctuary
Also, I think Diablo is much more comparable to the Evil Dead series personally, and those just kept getting better. OK, I know a lot of you prefer Evil Dead 2 to Army of Darkness, but come on, Bruce Campbell fights a squad of little Bruce Campbells! Priceless. =)
DDR4 RAM Demonstrated at ISSCC, available in 2013
DDR4, the next DRAM memory standard, is expected to be massively adopted by 2014, which means that the companies behind its existence have to start showing prototypes now instead of later. It so happens that the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) has just taken place (between February 19 and 23) as softpedia reports today:
The conference was the perfect occasion for revealing next-generation dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips.
TechEye reports that two companies were willing to show off their inventions. Hynix is one of the companies with a DDR4 device. The chip works at 2400MHz (2400Mb/s) and needs a voltage of 1.2V. It bears a 64-bit I/O.
The second company to bring out a DDR4 product was Samsung. The clock frequency was of 2,133 MHz and the voltage was the same as above. Hynix used its 38nm manufacturing process technology, while Samsung employed the 30nm node instead.
For the sake of comparison, DDR3 needs 1.3V or 1.5V to run, even if the manufacturing process is the same.
All in all, DDR4 modules are going to be not just faster, but also energy efficient, by about 40% compared to their predecessors. They won't be pin-compatible though. Elpida, Micron and Nanya did not show DDR4 prototypes at the show, for one reason or another. There is no real rush, though, since the chips and modules aren't going to be available for a while still. Volume production will only commence in 2013, which means that mass availability is something that 2014 will bring at the earliest.
Until then, memory companies will have to deal with more pressing matters, like the low market prices of all DRAM chips and how consumers, while not at all disapproving, don't seem to be responding with much enthusiasm either. Granted, contract quotes are going up little by little now, but there is no guarantee that this trend will last.
ADATA new SSDs with Improved Capacity
ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash storage application products, today announced the launch of a complete lineup of expanded capacity solid state drives.
The new SSD range includes the XPG SX900, the Premier Pro SP900, and the Premier SP800, all of which use new optimized firmware to utilize greater storage capacity of the NAND Flash components. The XPG SX900 is a groundbreaking 512 GB capacity solid state drive utilizing the SandForce 2281 controller, making it a milestone in ADATA's history of NAND Flash based products. All of the drives being launched use superior NAND Flash for improved stability and performance.
Max Payne 3 PC Screenshots
Rockstar Games has released very first screenshots of PC version of Max Payne 3. Max Payne 3 is schedule to launch on May 15 in NA and on May 18 worldwide. PC version will launch on May 29 in NA and on June 1 worldwide.
Click on the thumbnails.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Video
ASUS's Dual Socket 2011 Workstation
With the pending launch of the Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon E5 platform, the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS is about to be released. ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS is a dual Socket 2011 motherboard designed for the upcoming 'Sandy Bridge-EP' Xeon E5s, featuring 8 DDR3 dimm slots and 7 PCIe slots in a SSI CEB form factor. Rear view - we see that three out of seven of the PCIe slots have actually 8 lanes worth of solder points only - which makes sense as each CPU has 40 PCIe Gen 3 lanes only.
Nothing notable at the I/O panel except the provision of only two USB 3.0 connectors (probably due to PCB space restrictions). Besides using Intel PHYs and Realtek audio, there is an ASPEED AST2300 2D VGA controller and also provides management over IP.
We also spotted the swappable LOTES 'X-Socket' used on the X79 ROG boards and CHiL PWMs. There was a fully assembled but powered down system next to it - and the use of the performance HyperX rams implied some level of overclocking prowness
Support for 4-Way GPUs - or actually more if you use single-slot cards - via vrzone.
HDD Volumes To Restore 80% in Q1 2012
The global production capacity of hard disk drives (HDDs) will increase to 140-145 million units, about 80% of the level before flooding hit Thailand in late 2011, in the first quarter of 2012, according to industry sources.
HDD makers exhausted their inventories of products and components in December 2011 and January 2012, the sources indicated. However, HDD vendors have not hiked quotes due to the off-season.
Among HDD vendors, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Seagate Technology have suffered less damage from the flooding and therefore have moved faster in restoring production capacities, compared to Toshiba and Western Digital, the sources indicated.
The global HDD production capacity dropped from 175 million units in the third quarter of 2011 to a bottom of 120-125 million units in the fourth quarter due to the flooding and then began to rise along with restoration efforts, the sources said. Global HDD output is expected to increase to 160 million units in the second quarter of 2012 and further to the original level before the flooding in the third quarter, the sources added.
Due to increased costs of components and materials, HDD prices are likely to rise 30-40% from the level before the floods by the end of 2012, the sources indicated.
VIA reveals quad-core mini-ITX motherboard
VIA introduces the EPIA-M900, world's first quad-core mini-ITX motherboard:
VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the world's first quad core Mini-ITX boards featuring the latest VIA QuadCore E-Series processor. The VIA EPIA-M900 and VIA EPIA-M910 are the first two Mini-ITX boards to feature the 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor, offering enhanced multi-tasking and superb multimedia performance on the lowest quad core power budget for next generation embedded products.
The VIA QuadCore E-Series processor features a highly optimized, energy efficient multi-core architecture, which is natively 64-bit compatible and comes with a host of additional performance features including Adaptive Overclocking. To meet the low power demands of the embedded market, the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor offers industry-leading energy efficiency, with the VIA QuadCore E-Series 1.2+ GHz processor delivering a thermal design power (TDP) of only 27.5W. The distributed power of the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor makes it ideal for handling the most demanding HD video formats for immersive multi-display applications and environments.
NVIDIA to brand Tegra 3 cores as 4-PLUS-1
NVIDIA's Tegra 3 is a quad-core chip with a fifth low-power core designed to save battery life. Now the company reveals that 4-PLUS-1 will be the official name of this architecture.
Ghost Recon : Future Soldier - Believe in Ghosts #1
AMD in Playstation 4?
According to reports from Forbes, Sony will make use of AMD technology for next generation console (Playstation 4). The source of this Forbes report is former AMD employees.
Sony is working on an as-yet-unannounced new gaming console, former AMD employees say, and the processor designer may play a key role in the new product.
AMD's graphics technology is already used in Microsofts XBox 360 console. However, Sonys PlayStation 3 introduced in 2006 relies on graphics technology from Nvidia.
AMD declined to comment on the project. Sony Chief Transformation Officer George Bailey also declined to discuss Sony's new console, or even acknowledge its existence.
However, at AMD' analyst day last month, AMD Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seifert identified gaming as one of several trends that will drive revenue growth at AMD in 2012.
MSI's Z68 (G3)/H61 (G3) Series Mobo support Intel 22 nm Processors
MSI announces today that MSI's Z68 (G3)/H61 (G3) series of motherboards offers official support of Intel's next-generation CPU based on the 22 nm manufacturing process. Users can download the corresponding BIOS listed below at no charge to upgrade their existing MSI Intel Z68/H61 motherboard, allowing a full experience of superior performance and powerful features found on the next-generation 22 nm Intel CPU.
MSI G3 motherboards also fully support the latest PCI Express Gen 3 specification, reaching twice the current bandwidth and maximizing performance from next-generation PCI Express Gen 3 video cards. Via MSI's unique intelligent update tool - Live Update - your computer will automatically download and update the latest BIOS for next-generation CPU compatibility, providing an immediate upgrade without spending extra money on a new motherboard purchase.
MSI motherboard features several models that allows usage of Intel's next-generation 22 nm processor. Additionally, MSI's Intel Z68 (G3)/H61 (G3) series of motherboards fully complies with next-generation PCI Express Gen 3 design specifications. All that is required by the user is a simple update to the newest BIOS via MSI's proprietary Live Update tool, and next-generation 22 nm CPU support is instantly available. Additionally, up to 32 GB/s of amazing bandwidth and support for next-generation PCI Express Gen 3 graphics cards is unlocked, enhancing the enthusiast's ultimate performance experience.
EA DICE Rebuilding Battlefield 3 Huge Patch
EA DICE has releaseda huge list of updates, including tweaks for a pending Battlefield 3 Patch The list covers weapon mechanics changes, vehicle mechanics changes, and changes to the way damage is meted out.
There is no ETA on this patch. There are no notable changes to the resources (sound samples, textures, etc.,) so this patch might not be very big in size.
- EA DICE is practically tearing apart Battlefield 3 as we know it, and rebuilding it with a huge list of updates, including tweaks in the gameplay mechanics, and its background aWeapons Changes:
Added Extended Mags to the ASVAL. The Extended Mags can be unlocked at 200 kills with the AS VAL.
- Reduced the recoil of the SKS rifle and increased its maximum damage at close range.
- Fixed aimed firing max accuracy on the Pecheneg to be consistent with other LMGs.
- Semiautomatic and automatic shotguns firing FRAG rounds now do slightly less splash damage.
- The M26 MASS frag and slug rounds are now the more effective pump action versions.
- The M26 MASS and M320 now benefit from the Laser Sight when mounted with an Underslung Rail.
- Fixed the bolt action timer on the L96 that would cause an animation glitch.
- 9x39mm rounds no longer benefit from the Sniper headshot bonus.
- Increased the damage of the 9x39mm rounds at long range.
- Fixed the AKS74u damage at max range, it was incorrectly higher than other carbines.
- Increased the damage of the .357 and .44 magnum rounds at max range.
- All semiautomatic and bolt weapons, including all shotgun slugs, now have their maximum damage out to 15m.
- Semiautomatic weapons will no longer
Blizzard warns gamer should reduce expectations for Diablo III
Usually game developers hype up their games, but now Blizzard's PR team does the opposite over at Blizzard's official forums and tells gamers that they should lower their expectations for Diablo III. Quite a weird move, is it a way to try to reduce unhealthy expectations or could it be a reflection of how Blizzard feels about Diablo III?
It's possible to read this as an attempt to control the game's hype before release, and it's possible to read this as a roundabout statement of overall quality. Either way, it's an odd statement coming from Blizzard's public relations team, since very few developers have historically told their fans to be a little less excited for release. Of course, with that having been said, it's unlikely that the level of excitement will go down at all. (Bashiok's full quote is just past the cut.)
"On a more serious note, I too worry that we won't be able to meet the expectations people have built up for themselves. Part of my job is managing people's expectations, so... eh... stop it. Stop thinking about how awesome this game could be. Just imagine it's a new M. Night Shyamalan movie. Sure Sixth Sense was amazing and Unbreakable had it's moments, but this right here is the sequel to The Village ... or The Happening ... or Signs ... or any of the movies besides the two I first mentioned. So just like, lower those expectations, but still definitely buy the game please, and everything will be just fine. K?"
Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC WindForce review
We test the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC (WindForce) edition. It's a fully fetched R7970 on a customized PCB, it comes factory overclocked for you and next to that they applied their popular WindForce cooler, the one that has a cool number of three active fans. The results are pretty impressive as you'll find out, that factory overclock is boils down to a default clock frequency of 1000 MHz on the GPU core. Next to that the WindForce cooler is able to keep the product under 65 Degrees C, and that's under full load and stress.
Read our review right here.