Microsoft outs AMD Bulldozer Performance Update Windows 7
AMD has just posted a blog announcing the availability of a scheduler update for the Windows 7 operating system. The hotfix was developed by Microsoft, based on the Windows 8 scheduler code.
Unfortunately, the performance benefits only amount to 1-2% on average, not to the 10% that AMD claims to have seen during initial testing of Windows 8. Also, not every application got a performance boost in AMD's tests, especially the heavily-threaded ones which use all 8 cores of the AMD FX-8150.
This is explainable by the fact that such programs are
ECS Z77H2-AX LGA 1155 Motherboard Spotted
ECS is showing Intel's upcoming 7 Series chipsets based motherboards as well on CES. One board has a micro ATX form factor and is based on the H77 chipset, the other is an ATX solution boasting the Z77 flagship silicon, the Z77H2-AX.
Both boards are part of ECS' Black Series, the Ivy Bridge-supporting Z77H2-AX features a black PCB, a 12-phase power design, a quad-heatsink cooler, four DDR3-2600 memory slots, six SATA ports (two are surely 6.0 Gbps), and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots.
ASUS 7-inch Eee Pad Memo for $249
Asustek Computer, seeing Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire with priced at US$199 is winning an edge in the tablet PC market, while Google may launch a 7-inch tablet PC at US$199 and China's CPU maker Ingenic Semiconductor is offering a 7-inch model at US$119.9, also plans to launch its 7-inch Wi-Fi-only Eee Pad MeMO 370T tablet PC in the second quarter with price of US$249.
With several players all entering the 7-inch tablet PC market, where Apple currently still has not yet had any significant movement, notebook players believe the market could bring opportunities to the non-Apple players before the third quarter.
7-inch tablet PC lineup from vendors
Amazon Kindle Fire
Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
Asustek MeMO 370T(Wi-Fi)
Google's own brand tablet PC
Since Apple reportedly will launch one iPad model in March and another model in October, while the new Wintel platform, which is targeting tablet PC and ultrabook markets, will appear in the fourth quarter, the outcome of tablet PC competition has already become hard to predict.
The Eee Pad MeMO 370T is equipped with Nvidia's Tegra 3 and Android 4.0, while featuring an 8-megapixel camera. Asustek, in the second quarter, will also launch a 3G-only 7-inch Eee Pad MeMO 171 tablet PC using a Qualcomm solution and priced at US$399-499.
In additional news, Samsung has also recently launched its Galaxy Tab 7.7 with a 7-inch panel priced at NT$21,900 (US$732) for the 3G version and NT$16,500 for the Wi-Fi version.
Intel shows first x86 smartphone
Liu Jun, Lenovo senior vice president and president of mobile Internet and digital home, joined Paul Otellini, chief exec of Intel onstage to debut the Lenovo K800 smartphone based on Intel Z2460 and running the Google Android operating system with Lenovo LeOS user interface for a localized experience in China. Liu Jun said the K800 smartphone will be available in China in the second quarter and will run on China Unicom
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will be continued
The Stalker team is extremely happy! Why? Because we are continuing work on Stalker 2 after the holidays.
Intel Romley 8-Core Sandy Bridge-E at CeBIT 2012
As people may or may not know, the Core i7-3000 chips are the workstation versions of the latest, high-end CPU line. Meanwhile, the Romley X79 will replace the X58 based Tylersberg chipset. There is one truly important detail about all the chips that will draw attention: the core count.
The best Core i7 SB-E chips so far unveiled have but 6 cores active. This is already more than enough for anything a desktop could possibly have to deal with. However, the architecture clearly has two extra cores that haven't, so far, been put to use, due to Intel's chosen TDP limit of 130W.
It is also worth noting that there are barely any consumer applications that can use six cores, much less eight. Professional systems are much more prone towards scenarios where it helps to have as many cores as possible, though. As such, there will definitely be 8-core Sandy Bridge-E processors by the time CeBIT 2012 is over. As a side note, the activation of the extra cores will lead to an extra 5MB of cache being enabled, leading to units with 20MB.
Add to that support for RAID0 and TRIM and there is little chance that anything will be able to challenge the Romley as the next best thing for professional systems. The Romley platform will support Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), something that will spell doom for many SAS controller chips and their makers.
Tt eSPORTS Knucker keyboard at CES
Check the Tt eSPORTS' Knucker, this gaming keyboard uses a rubber-dome key switch design, but ThermalTake claims it strove to make the keys feel more like mechanical key switches. The reporter says the keys felt a bit springier and crisper than many other rubber-dome keyboards, but not as good as mechanical keys. The advantage though is the price tag, the Knucker will retail for $39.99.
Thermaltake has an extensive line of Cherry MX-based keyboards. The Knucker is different, though. It's based on the now-snubbed rubber-dome switch design, which uses rubber plungers to provide tactile resistance and feedback. Thermaltake says it strove to make the plungers feel just like mechanical key switches. While we could easily tell the difference, the Knucker did seem springier and crisper than many other rubber-dome keyboards. This puppy also has anti-ghosting technology, which enables up to 12 simultaneous keypresses "within the particular section of the keyboard," plus glowing key labels. Of course, the rubber-dome design may result in reduced endurance compared to mechanical designs. Thermaltake says the Knucker can handle 15 million keystrokes over its lifetime. Cherry, meanwhile, rates its MX switches for 50 million actuations.
Fujitsu Tegra 3 Smartphone with 13.1 mp camera & ISO 25,600
Kind of crazy ... and without a proper lens ... questionable, but still what a spec.
Fujitsu didn't just have the ultra thin Arrows F-078 and the ES IS12F to display at the CES. In fact they had something really special to show, a quad-core Android smartphone running on Ice Cream Sandwich.
The phone currently is just a prototype and the specifications could change before it is announced officially at the MWC this year but it seems mighty impressive as it is. For starters it will run on the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which will take care of all your gaming needs. Fujitsu demonstrated this power by running Riptide GP on it and the device was able to run the game on its own display as well as an external monitor smoothly. And thanks to the fifth companion core built-in, it will consume less power when you're not running graphics heavy applications.
The Arrow prototype also had a 4.6-inch HD display and a 13.1 megapixel rear camera capable of ISO 25,600 sensitivity, although it remains to be seen how good the images are at that kind of ISO value. Lastly, the phone will launch with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.
We will find out more about it at MWC along with information regarding which markets it plans to release the phone in. Although Fujitsu does plan to bring the phone to the west it eventually will also depend upon the carriers there.
Gigabyte B75, Z77 and G1 Sniper 3 motherboards
So I gotta run to an appointment, so forgive me for the lack of text, but have a peek at the first glimpse of the new B75, Z77 and G1 Sniper 3 motherboards from Gigabyte.
Marvell 88SE92 Series 2-port and 4-port SATA3 Controllers
The lads from Marvell announced two new SATA 6 Gbps controllers, under the 88SE92 Series. The series includes the 2-port 88SE9220, 4-port 88SE9230, and 4-port 88SE9235. All three take advantage of the new PCI-Express 2.0 x2 interface. PCI-Express x2 (2 lanes) has till now only been hypothetically possible, since PCI-SIG has no slot specification for it as TPU reports today:
With increasing need for system bandwidth while keeping pin-counts and package sizes low by onboard controllers (such as SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0), PCIe 2.0 x2 has emerged as a viable solution based on the proven PCIe 2.0 specification, as PCIe 3.0 is yet to attain maturity in the industry. PCIe 2.0 x2 gives the controller system bandwidth of 1000 MB/s per direction, 2000 MB/s total. This ensures that a connected SATA 6 Gb/s device doesn't face a bottleneck at a given time, something which was impossible on older PCIe 2.0 x1 chips.
This system bandwidth bottleneck alleviation also allowed Marvell to add support for up to 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the 88SE9230 and 88SE9235. All three controllers further support port multipliers. Among the three, the 88SE9230 is the top-of-the-line chip, supporting Marvell RAID software, HyperDuo (Marvell's in-house SSD caching technology), RAID 0, 1, 10 modes, AHCI, and 128/256-bit AES native encryption. The 88SE9235 is a cost-effective variant of the 88SE9230, it lacks RAID, and only features AHCI/IDE modes. It also lacks native encryption. The 88SE9220, the 2-port controller, otherwise supports all the features of the 88SE9230, except of course support for RAID 10 (since it's not possible with just 2 member disks).
Marvell managed to keep the pin-count of the 4-port chips as low as 76, with a package size of 9 mm
Intel's Fake Ultrabook Gaming Demo
Ghost Recon Future Soldier PC is Confirmed
Today we are feature complete in our MP, Single player and 4 player coop campaign modes. We have taken the decision to move the date in order to ensure that all these ingredients are pushed to the highest level and provide a truly unique shooter experience. The Ghost Recon franchise is known for setting the standard of high definition gaming and we believe the extra couple of months will allow us to reach that goal. We would like to thank all Ghost Recon fans for their patience and look forward to unveiling some exciting new elements in the coming weeks
Gigabyte G1.Assassin 2 review
We test the Gigabyte G1.Assassin 2. It's the motherboard that is both loved and hated for it's gun themed design. Regardless of what you guys might thing, Gigabyte knows and certainly appreciates the fact that everybody is talking about their products. The G1.Assassin 2 motherboard comes loaded with some very nice features, much like it predecessors it has an embedded Killer E2100 NIC, said to deliver better networking performance to hardcore gamers.
The board itself comes with three PCI Express x16 slots for 3-way CrossFireX and SLI support . Gigabyte also added an integrated Creative X-Fi PCI Express sound card featuring Nichicon MUSE audio capacitors, included is a WIFI and Bluetooth network card.
Read the review right here.
EVGA NEX Series Power Supplies Developed
EVGA, like many others, is working on their own PSU line. Obviously with intent for gaming PCs and overclocking bench setups.
The PSU series will be called NEX. The NEX Series will be diverse and injected at several price ranges. From what we can tell, there will be four models. A 650W and 750W models for gaming PCs and then a 1000W model for overclocked gaming PCs with 2~3 graphics cards, and finally a hefty 1500W model for overclocking bench setups.
The PSU series feature a "Dummy Mode" for multiple/redundant PSU operations, an "OC Mode" that clubs all 12V rails to a single 133A one, and a special kind of cabling. The PSU will qualify for 80 Plus Gold certification. The 650W, 750W, and 1000W models in the NEX Series will have more standard feature-sets, including modular cabling, all three of these will be 80 Plus Gold certified.
Razer 'Project Fiona' PC Gaming Tablet
Razer announced the development of their gaming concept design - the Project Fiona PC Gaming Tablet. Unlike other tablets designed for general use and casual gaming, Project Fiona is a tablet concept designed to play the most popular PC games of today with an intuitive control setup for a phenomenal on-the-go gaming experience.
Razer worked closely with Intel to harness the power of its third generation Intel Core i7 processor in Project Fiona. As a result, Razer's tablet is more akin to a fully functioning PC; and yet in a form factor and platform highly familiar to everybody.
Instead of relying on developers to work on a suite of brand new applications for Project Fiona, many PC games today run natively on the tablet concept without the need to be ported, optimized, or developed from scratch.
Moreover, Project Fiona will feature one of the most powerful processors integrated in a tablet form factor. Instead of the casual and mobile-only games that run on under-powered tablets, Project Fiona will run full-fledged PC games that have never run on a tablet form factor before until today.
Razer's multi-award winning user interface and ergonomics team have developed an all-new hybrid user interface scheme for Project Fiona. Featuring integrated dual game controllers with ultra-precise analog sticks, Project Fiona runs gamepad-enabled PC games right out of the box.
Along with the game controllers, Project Fiona is also designed with ultra-precise accelerometers and a highly sensitive multi-touch screen. This provides game developers with new game experiential opportunities to develop around the hybrid game control experience offered by Project Fiona. It also ensures current-generation PC games run on the tablet concept, as well as any existing games optimized for the touchscreen interface of a tablet.
Future games developed for Fiona are expected to take advantage of not just the integrated gamepad controls but also integrate core game functionality controls for the touchscreen and accelerometer-based controls.
To further intensify the gaming experience with Project Fiona, Razer's integrated dual controllers deliver full force feedback, so every explosion or gun recoil can be felt in the gamer's hands.
THX Ltd., which works with many of the world's most innovative audio and video home entertainment manufacturers, agrees that the tablet adds tremendous flexibility to a gamer
QNAP Intel Atom Powered Turbo NAS Servers
QNAP Systems, Inc. today unveils the next generation of its extremely popular and award-winning TuboNAS server lineup, along with its latest VioStor NVR video surveillance systems. In addition, the company is pleased to debut new NAS Firmware (3.6) and a new storage expansion solution for its business-class Turbo NAS.
The new NAS series, available in 2, 4, 5, 6, or 8-drive versions, are powered by a high performance dual-core Intel Atom processor. This new range provides the perfect blend of performance, business-ready features and value that make QNAP the ideal networked storage choice for small and medium-sized businesses.
At CES QNAP is also showcasing its recently announced TS-x79 ultra-high performance high-end SMB-class Turbo NAS models. At the same time the company is pleased to announce the launch of a complimentary storage expansion solution to the TS-x79 series, the JB-1200U-RP. This provides IT administrators with a flexible and economical way to expand their storage infrastructure as their business needs grow, providing over 200 TB of additional capacity.
QNAP also announces its latest V3.6 NAS management firmware. It provides highly anticipated features including VPN Server, LDAP Server, Proxy Server, cloud music and photo sharing via a web browser, enhanced backup features, a new version of MyCloudNAS 1.2, QPKG center, and an increased range of compatible IP camera and UPnP routers.
New VioStor NVR Video Surveillance Systems
Capture HD video with robust and reliable storage from QNAP Security. The 48-channel VS-8148 Pro+ provides real-time audio-video monitoring, simultaneous playback of multiple network cameras and megapixel recording at up to 10-megapixel resolution. Store up to 24 TB of footage, or 3 TB per hard drive, with hot-swappable RAID for data redundancy. The VS-8148 Pro+ supports H.264, MxPEG, MPEG-4, and M-JPEG recording from up to 48 network cameras.
"QNAP continues to innovate and evolve NAS beyond what many thought was possible," said Ivan Hsu, product marketing director of QNAP Inc. "During these challenging economic times QNAP has continued on a path of strong growth due to our unrelenting commitment to excellence and delivering products that meet and exceed the expectations of our broad range of customers, from the consumer right up to the most demanding enterprise data center.
AMD Trinity APU, with Thunderbolt-Alternative
AMD's next-generation accelerated processing unit (APU), codenamed "Trinity", was demonstrated at CES. Trinity will make up AMD's 2012 A-Series APU lineup, and will be designed for mainstream-thru-performance notebooks, and mainstream desktops (different standards for different form-factors). Pictured below is what its notebook-specific BGA package looks like. The package has an exposed rectangular die, with a stabilizer frame around it (like with GPUs). Notebooks' cooling assembly heat pipes make direct contact with the die. Trinity packs two Piledriver modules (an evolution of Bulldozer), and DirectX 11.1 AMD Radeon HD 7000M graphics (notebook APU) or HD 7000D (desktop APU).
Shown to the CES crowd was a mind-boggling demo. The public were first shown what appeared to be an ATX desktop connected to two monitors, one monitor running a DIRT 3 DirectX 11 game demo at high-quality settings, and another screeen revealing the APU to be running GPU-accelerated video transcoding. No discrete graphics was used, it's just the embedded HD 7000 at play/work. If that alone didn't raise a few eyebrows, the AMD representative removed the lid of the ATX desktop case to which those two monitors were connected, to reveal a 14-inch laptop inside doing all the work. And there's more - the laptop's main screen wasn't idle, it was running a high-definition video playback. Whatever synthetic benchmarks end up telling about Trinity, its real world performance does impress!
At a discrete meeting with select journalists at a backroom, AMD also talked about its competitive technology to Intel's Thunderbolt, which it's referring to as "Lightning Bolt" (+1 for originality). This interface will use the same mini-DP port design as Thunderbolt. It will have the bandwidth to drive up to four HD displays, and multiple USB 3.0 devices, and will have a hub cost of under $40. [via TPU and hothardware].
Razer Synapse 2.0 available
For those interested, Razer announced its Synapse 2.0 software, you can download it over here.
Razer, the world leader in high performance gaming hardware is bringing their cloud-based unified driver and peripherals management software, Razer Synapse 2.0 out of beta.
Razer Synapse 2.0 is now available for download to the public and currently supports the Star Wars: The Old Republic gaming peripherals by Razer, the Razer Blade gaming laptop, Razer Naga HEX action-RPG/MOBA gaming mouse, and the award-winning Razer Naga MMO gaming mouse. Razer Synapse 2.0 is designed as a unified driver, so settings for Razer products are conveniently accessible through one single program instead of through separate and multiple drivers. Razer will continue to add support for more of Razer's legacy and upcoming products.
"I'm proud of what we've done with Razer Synapse 2.0 - its value added for gamers who use Razer products. We've made it easier for them to have the custom settings for their Razer peripherals stored in a cloud so they spend less time setting up and more time doing what they should be doing, gaming," said Robert 'RazerGuy' Krakoff, President, Razer USA.
The new Razer Synapse 2.0 software is built on next-gen, cloud-based technology to give gamers full access to all their peripheral hardware settings, anytime, anywhere at tournaments, LAN centers, at home and at the office. Gamers will be able to take their Razer Naga HEX and any other supported peripherals to a LAN center and instantly sync their personalized custom settings simply by logging into Razer Synapse 2.0. Pro-gamers will be able to access custom settings while using Razer peripherals provided by a tournament host; so they spend less time setting up controls and more time gaming. As a unified driver for all upcoming Razer products, Razer Synapse 2.0 also automatically downloads game add-ons, and firmware updates as they become available, ensuring Razer devices are always updated and in optimum condition for winning.