SATA-IO standard in the works
The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of Serial ATA (SATA) technology, today announced it is developing SATA Express, a new specification that combines SATA software infrastructure with the PCI Express (PCIe) interface. SATA Express enables the development of new devices that utilize the PCIe interface and maintain compatibility with existing SATA applications.
The technology will provide a cost-effective means to increase device interface speeds to 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s.
Solid state (SSDs) and hybrid drives are already pushing the limits of existing storage interfaces. SATA Express will provide a low-cost solution to fully utilize the performance of these devices. Storage devices not requiring the speed of SATA Express will continue to be served by existing SATA technology. The specification will define new device and motherboard connectors that will support both new SATA Express and current SATA devices.
SandForce shows SSD Built Using 24nm Toshiba MLC Flash
We just had the transition towards 25nm NANF flash, but 24 NAND flash is already arround the corner.
At the upcoming Flash Memory Summit, which is scheduled to open its gates later today in Santa Clara, California, SandForce is going to demonstrate a prototype SSD which uses 24nm MLC (multi-level cell) toggle NAND Flash chips manufactured by Toshiba.
These complement the control IC introduced by Toshiba in its 24nm toggle NAND Flash memory, which runs a special error checking and correction (ECC) algorithm on the chips without placing any burden on the host controller.
By using this technology, Toshiba claims that 24nm NAND allows for 1.9 times faster read speeds and 1.5 times faster write speeds, when compared with the current 32-nm generation devices.
According to the SandForce press release, Toshiba 24nm toggle Flash memory can operate up to 166 mega-transfers per second.
Gigabyte outs Two New WindForce 3X AMD Video Cards
Accompanied with a customized PBC and the Gigabyte WindForce 3X cooler Gigabyte outs two new Radeon HD 6870 cards. WindForce 3X, that's a heatsink and three PWM fans, plus pure copper heatpipes.
Both boards (GV-R687UD-1GD rev. 1.0 and rev. 2.0) are similar as far as performance goes, with 1,120 Stream processors, an interface of 256 bits for the 1 GB of GDDR5 VRAM (clock of 4,200 MHz) and a GPU frequency of 900 MHz. The factor that does help distinguish between them (even their PCBs are the same blue color) is the fact that the rev. 2.0 boasts ultra Durable VGA+ design (Ferrite Chokes, Low RDS (on MOSFET), NEC Proadlizer film capacitor, Japanese solid capacitors and a 2oz copper PCB).
AMD has lowered Radeon 6850 pricing in the EU
AMD has decided to lower the pricing for Radeon HD 6850 based graphics cards, which now have an MSRP of 129
Windows 8 to ditch Dolby Technologies
Dolby Labs reports that Microsoft has decided not to include Dolby technology in the upcoming release of Windows 8. This is a surprising move on Microsoft's part considering Dolby is included in Windows 7. Dolby shares fell 18% on Friday on the news. The absence of Dolby technologies in current Windows 8 builds does not inherently imply that the OS will not support DVD playback or digital surround sound. It is possible that Microsoft will choose to license these technologies from another provider. Check out what neowin had to say about it:
" So news from Dolby Laboratories
North Korean Government is Gold Farming
These hackers allegedly devised software to automatically play popular MMOs such as Lineage and Dungeon and Fighter (known in the U.S. simply as Dungeon Fighter). The group then sold this software so players can easily obtain gold and other virtual items for their online avatars, reports the Financial Times.
According to South Korean police, the organizers of the operation have accumulated over $6 million, and the NY Times reports that each member of the group was required to send $500 per month to the Pyongyang government.
The NY Times reports that other evidence also links the group to a Communist Party agency known as Office 39, which collects money for the North Korean government via drug trafficking, counterfeiting, arms sales, and other illicit activities.
Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops Survival Trailer
NVIDIA GeForce Forceware 280.26 WHQL
This is the first WHQL release from the Release 280 family of drivers.
This driver package supports GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500-series desktop GPUs as well as ION desktop GPUs. This driver package also includes the 3D Vision Controller driver.
New in Release 280.26NVIDIA SLI
- Enables SLI technology on SLI-certified motherboards with AMD chipsets: 990FX, 990X, and 970.
MultiGPU issues fixed:
- [SLI], GeForce 500: Crysis 2 there is screen flickering when played in 2-way SLI-way SLI. 
There are many more fixes, please read the download description for that. We have a discussion thread open on these drivers right here.
For those interested, there is aso a beta developper driver available supporting OpenGL 4.3 under build 280.28 Beta, more info here.
ECS A55 motherboard Series launched
ASUS Crosshair V Formula review
Once again we pop in a Phenom II processor and have a look at it's performance, which will be the same as it has been for a year now. Yep, AMD completely released the 990FX chipset in the wrong time, it should have been released alongside the Bulldozer FX series processors. But ah well, what can you do... have a peek at that lovely looking Crosshair V Formula and then let's head onwards into the review.
Read the article right here.
Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and XPAND 3D to Develop New 3D Active Glasses
Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and XPAND 3D have recently announced they have joined forces in order to develop a new standard for consumer 3D active glasses, which will be known as the
Corsair 1.3 Firmware for Force 3 & GT SSDs
Corsair has just released a new firmware revision for the SandForce SF-2000 powered Force 3 and GT solid state drives which should resolve all the stability issues the drives faced until now.
Grab the update here.
The new firmware version is 1.3 and Corsair calls it a recommended upgrade for all the users who have had problems with their Force series SSDs built using second generation SandForce controllers.
The update has been validated for use only with Windows 7 (Corsair doesn't deny the possibility of it working with XP or Vista), doesn't allow users to flash back to a previous version, and shouldn't affect the data stored on the drive.
The company however encourages users to backup all of their important information before proceeding with the update, to make sure that no problems arise during this process.
More information regarding this firmware update is available on Corsair's official support forum (available by following this link) together with a complete PDF guide which details every step of the process.
The update is compatible with all Force GT and Force Series 3 SSDs. As usual, failure to comply with all the instructions provided can result in bricking the SSD.
Despite the impressive performance demonstrated by these drives, they were affected by a series of problems, which, at the beginning of June, forced Corsair to recall all the 120GB Force 3 units released until then.
The issues that affected the drives ranged from BSODs and BIOS detection errors to random freezes and RAID failures.
Most of those issues were resolved in mid-June when Corsair released a new version of the drives. These can be identified by using the first four numbers above the product part number on the UPC sticker. If these read 1123 or above than the SSD is a new product.
SteelSeries World of Warcraft Legendary Edition Mouse
SteelSeries, a leading manufacturer of professional gaming peripherals and creator of the MMO Gaming Mice based on Blizzard Entertainment
Cougar Intros Five New Vortex Series Fans
PC cooling and power-supply specialist Cougar released Vortex series of performance PC fans (in the UK for the first wave). Cougar's new fans include the high-end Vortex PWM, followed by Vortex HDB, and Vortex (standard). Vortex PWM and Vortex HDB feature hydro-dynamic bearing, the Vortex HDB lacks PWM-based speed control. The standard Vortex fans feature hyper-spin bearing. Vortex PWM is currently only available in 120 mm size, while the Vortex HDB and standard Vortex are available in 120 mm and 140 mm sizes.
- HIGH-VORTEX-AIRFLOW WITH TURBINE BLADE & FRAME PATENTED DESIGN
- Optimum airflow, air pressure & extremely silent performance
- DIVERSION GROOVE BLADE DESIGN
- Innovative blade design focus air flow & optimum cooling efficiency (Patent)
- ANTI-VIBRATION PAD DESIGN
- Reduce the vibrations efficiently & silent operation
- AERO-DYNAMICAL DESIGN
- Air-inlet with optimal aero-dynamical design reducing noisy air turbulences
- HYDRO-DYNAMIC-BEARING TECHNOLOGY
- HDB runs more smoothly with no friction, make it quietly & durability(MTBF300,000hrs)
- TOOL-LESS FIXED PINS
- Rubber fixed pins also reduces vibrations (fan run more quietly) and Tool-less makes it easy to mount, with no tools required
All five fans feature speeds in the higher-end of the spectrum of typical fan speeds. The Vortex PWM 120 mm features a PWM-controlled speed range of 800~1500 RPM, Vortex HDB models spin at 1200 RPM, and so does Vortex standard 120 mm. It's just the Vortex standard 140 mm that spins a little lower, at 1000 RPM.
All five models look the same, with their rounded-rectangular frames with rubber padding, and orange-colored impellers, keeping up with Cougar's signature colour scheme.
OpenGL 4.2 standard released
The Khronos Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL 4.2 specification, bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.2 integrates developer feedback and continues the rapid evolution of this royalty-free specification while maintaining full backwards compatibility - enabling applications to incrementally use new features, while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing unit (GPU) functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms.
The OpenGL 4.2 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.20 update to the OpenGL Shading Language. The OpenGL 4.2 specification contains new features that extend functionality available to developers and enables increased application performance. The full specification is available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry.
New functionality in the OpenGL 4.2 specification includes:
- enabling shaders with atomic counters and load/store/atomic read-modify-write operations to a single level of a texture. These capabilities can be combined, for example, to maintain a counter at each pixel in a buffer object for single-rendering-pass order-independent transparency;
- capturing GPU-tessellated geometry and drawing multiple instances of the result of a transform feedback to enable complex objects to be efficiently repositioned and replicated;
- modifying an arbitrary subset of a compressed texture, without having to re-download the whole texture to the GPU for significant performance improvements;
- packing multiple 8 and 16 bit values into a single 32-bit value for efficient shader processing with significantly reduced memory storage and bandwidth, especially useful when transferring data between shader stages.
Intel Sandy Bridge-E 2011 and Ivy Bridge launch leaked
Intel will be launching Sandy Bridge-E this year, but the first wave of motherboards will feature Patsburg-A/B chipsets, which have fewer SATA 6 Gb/s ports than Patsburg-D.
Intel put its launch plans on paper with its latest desktop platform roadmap, that shows the first three models of socket LGA2011 Sandy Bridge-E processors, the six-core Core i7-3960X, Core i7-3930K, and the quad-core Core i7-3820, featuring in the Q4 2011 column. A
Aroadmap shows that the three processors will hold their market-positions till Q2-2012, when Intel will release faster models to displace them. The roadmap slide also shows that Ivy Bridge, Intel's next-generation socket LGA1155 processors that are built on the 22 nm fab process, will be released in March or April 2012, and not early 2012 as speculated earlier.
Intel will EOL 20 CPUs in 2H 2011
Intel will phase out 20 chips in the second half of the year. In queue to go End of Life are the socket LGA1366 Core i7-970, socket LGA1156 Core i7-880, Core i7-875K, Core i7-870S, Core i5-760, Core i5-750S, Core i5-655K, Core i3-530; and most socket LGA775 processor currently in the market. LGA775 models include Core 2 Quad Q9650, Q9550/Q9550S, Q9500, Q8400/Q8400S, Q8300; Core 2 Duo models E8600, E8500, and Pentium E5400.
Several other products are marked PDN (product discontinuation notification), a stage that precedes EOL, which formally notifies OEMs and channel-vendors that they should place their last orders (and so they should choose quantities wisely).
LCD monitor makers adopting IPS technology
DigiTimes reports adoption of IPS technology is on the rise thanks to the success of Apple's iPad 2, great news as IPS screeens are color precise:
In-panel switching (IPS) panel has come under spotlight recently, due to the craze of Apple's iPad 2. Apart from tablet PCs, the number of LCD monitors adopting IPS technology has been also on the rise, particularly 27-inch and other large-size monitors. Though promising, with the advantage of wide viewing angle, some have questioned IPS monitor's lofty price and usability, when compared with other panel technologies.
IPS panels' prices are higher than those of twisted nematic (TN) ones because of more complex manufacuring process and low yield rate, according to monitor suppliers in Taiwan.
The suppliers said that increasing demand for tablet PCs and the success of the Apple iPad 2 that employs IPS technology have drawn people's attention to IPS panels. Expecting improved sales and profits, some makers are adding IPS monitors to their product lines. Mitsubishi Electric and Admiral Overseas Corporation (AOC) have released 23-inch IPS monitors. Viewsonic also has IPS products slated to be released soon.
However, doubt about IPS panels remains. Some makers said that flat-panel monitors' high market penetration rate and low-priced laptops and tablets have triggered a price war among display makers and caused product prices to slump. Widescreen 19.x-inch and 22.x-inch monitors are now sold in Taiwan from NT$2,500 (US$86) to NT$4,000, said Taiwan's monitor suppliers. However, IPS panels' higher price would cost consumers an extra NT$1,000 for an end product compared to ones with TN panels. It is doubtful whether consumers will pay the extra cost, they said.
Besides, the wide viewing angle that IPS enjoys will not necessarily translate into a market niche as it competes with panels using other techniques. Some say that TV and movie viewing functions of LCD monitors, in addition to word processing, give competitive edge to IPS panel. Others believe LCD monitors are highly personalized products, and a wider viewing angle does not guarantee appreciation from consumers.
Makers said that although large-sized IPS monitors, such as 27-inch ones, have showed signs of increasing demand, its contribution to the global sales of LCD monitors remains limited. Compared with 2010, the overall sales of LCD monitors in 2011 worldwide is expected to either remain unchanged, or on a mild decline.