Google Earth gets Improved
Google has published Google Earth 6.2. This new release offers a seamless globe, as the search giant devised a way to harmonize aerial photography taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. The new rendering method delivers a harmonious landscape rather than a stitchery patchwork of different images.
Additionally, Google Earth 6.2 also offers new Google+ features and search improvements. Full details at the Google Blog.
The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy.
ASUS Transformer Prime Review
Ever since the first Android tablets arrived a year or two ago things have been developing fast. ODMs and chip designers jumped onto the bandwagon fast as PC sales are declining, and much like the initial netbook market, the tablet market is on the rise.
We test the The quad-core Tegra 3 based Eee Pad Transformer Prime, an unbelievable product. Fast, thin and huge in specs, but sure... very expensive.
Read the article right here.
Intel SB with disabled GPU confirmed by Gigabyte
Earlier last year we reported that Intel had plans to release a trio of Sandy Bridge processors that would come with their built-in GPUs disabled. Now, almost a month after this initial report, Gigabyte has confirmed the existence of these chips.
The three chips are the Core i5-2380P, Core i5-2450P and a somewhat older acquaintance of ours, the Core i5-2550K.
With a base clock of 3.1GHz and a maximum Turbo Speed of 3.4GHz, the Core i5-2380P greatly resembles the Core i5-2400, sans the integrated GPU of course. The Core i5-2450P on the other hand is a bit odd as both of its 3.2GHz base and 3.5GHz Turbo frequencies are 100MHz lower than those of the Core i5-2500.
Last but certainly not least, is the Core i5-2550K which, as we speculated at the beginning of December, has 100MHz higher base and Turbo frequencies than the current i5-2500K, which means that this will run at 3.4/3.8GHz.
All three models have 6MB cache, but none of them has VT-d or TXT support, a feature all previous non-K SKUs in the Core i5 family supported. Hyper-Threading won
Ultrasone Signature PRO Headphones
Ultrasone introduced Signature PRO, the first model in a select range of "made in Germany" headphones for discerning music lovers and professional users. The handcrafted headphones are based on the company's more than 20 years development expertise and, with patented technologies such as S-Logic Plus, offer an impressively detailed sound experience. Designed as a closed system, the first model in the Signature range will appeal to musicians, sound engineers and hi-fi lovers in equal measure. With its classical design and high-quality materials, the Signature PRO boasts and excellent sound experience combined with a stylish look, inspired from their Edition 9 headphones.
The Signature PRO uses a 40-millimetre titanium-plated sound transducer developed in-house. With a frequency range of 8 Hz to 42 kHz, it reproduces more than the entire range of human hearing. Clear audio sound, a detailed midrange and precise low-range frequency reproduction ensure rarely heard audio excellence. The decentralized arrangement of the sound transducers within the ear cup creates a pleasant spatial sound. Thanks to a 'broader' stereo platform, all signals in the panorama can be particularly well located. The S-Logic Plus technology that has been patented all over the world also ensures an outstanding depth of sound: this gives musicians and sound engineers a perfect feeling for their mix, and music lovers experience their favourite tracks exactly as intended by the respective artists. The closed design principle supports S-Logic Plus with a precise and present low frequency range.
The Signature glass nameplates on both ear cups are a visual highlight that blends harmoniously into the form of the headphones. The high-quality black leather and the special soft-touch coating ensure a pleasant, firm grip and are what give the Signature PRO its visual appeal.
"With the new Signature range, we are closing the gap between our high-quality PRO headphones and the exclusive models in the Edition range", explains Michael Zirkel, COO of Ultrasone AG. "The Signature range is aimed at a quality-conscious consumer group comprising of both professional users and music lovers. As with our Edition models, it is extremely important to us that Signature is "made in Germany" and the headphones are manufactured here in Tutzing."
Ultrasone has developed a new headband system that ensures comfortable listening even after long periods of use. In addition to special upholstery that follows the shape of the head, the ear-cup pads and head pad are covered with Ethiopian sheep's leather. The advantage of this extremely high-quality material is its tremendous robustness, as well as the fact that it does not perish, even after years of heavy use. Weighing in at 300 grams, despite its more complex construction, the Signature PRO is no heavier than conventional headphones.
Ultrasone has paid particular attention to the headphone cabling: thanks to a bayonet fastening on the left ear cup, the cable can be exchanged in a flash. The headphones come with two high-quality Neutrik connectors: a 1.5m cable with a 3.5 mm gold-plated jack and a 3.0m cable with a gold-plated 6.3 mm stereo jack. By including a cable with a 3.5 mm connector, Ultrasone is taking account of the fact that more and more professional users are working directly with a notebook without an external sound solution.
- S-Logic Plus technology
- Dynamic principle, closed
- Frequency range 8 - 42,000 Hz
- Impedance 32 Ohm
- Sound pressure level 98 dB
- ULE technology, MU Metal bufferboard, field emission in accordance with ULE standard
- 40 mm titanium-plated driver
- Magnet: NdFeB
- Weight: 300 g
- Includes transportation case
- 2 detachable cords with B-lock connection:
3.0 m straight cable with gold-plated 6.3 mm Neutrik plug
1.5 m straight cable with gold-plated 3.5 mm Neutrik plug/angled
The Ultrasone Signature PRO headphones are available now for $1,299 with a specially built case for transport and storage. Further Signature models are planned for 2012.
Matrox Mura MPX
Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced that the Matrox Mura MPX video wall controller boards are HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) compliant, simplifying the work for AV Integrators seeking to enable copy protected content across Mura-driven video walls. Mura input/output boards facilitate HDCP interoperability by capturing high definition video signals from up to four HDCP sources and displaying the content on up to four HDCP-enabled displays. A video wall controller with up to six boards can support up to twenty-four inputs that are scaled, positioned and manipulated across twenty-four outputs. Designed for high-performance video walls, Mura MPX Series is suitable for a wide range of applications including corporate boardrooms, auditoriums, large venue events, digital signage, and mission-critical environments.
HDCP is an encrypted protocol used between video sources and video receivers to prevent unauthorized access to protected content. The world's first HDCP-compliant input/output video wall controller board, Mura MPX Series captures protected video content coming from digital cable or satellite set-top boxes, video streamers and Blu-ray Disc
Xbox 720 to ban second hand game sales?
Kotaku heard several rumors about Microsoft's next-gen console. The first one is that the new console will adopt Blu-ray, and the second one is that Microsoft is devising a plan to incorporate some sort of anti-used game system. Additionally, Kotaku also reports that the next Xbox will offer a new version of Kinect with an onboard processor.
It's not clear if that means that the system wouldn't play used games or how such a set-up would work. Obvious approaches
Xilence Black Hornet mid-tower
Xilence is now shipping the Black Hornet, a new mid-tower case that will retail for 89.90EUR. It has an all-black design with some red accents and offers most of the features you'd expect from a modern mid-tower for gamers.
Described as the 'little brother' of the Interceptor model, the Black Hornet measures 200 x 493 x 490 mm, is painted black both inside and out, and features a steel structure, a front I/O panel with USB 3.0 (x 2), eSATA (x 1) and HD Audio ports, a built-in SATA drive dock (it supports both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives), and seven PCI slots.
Xilence's case has four exposed 5.25-inch bays, two 2.5-inch and four 3.5-inch internal drive bays, two hot-swap drive trays accessible through the front, and two built-in fans - one 120 mm spinner at the back and one 140 mm model with red LEDs in front.
Ghost Recon Online - Gameplay Teaser
Click here to sign up for the Ghost Recon Online UK closed beta.
Nvidia GK104 Kepler GPU Priced at $299 (230) ?
More and more rumors surface regarding NVIDIA's pending GeForce graphics processor release under codename kepler.
The GK104 GPU will be priced at $299 (about 230 EUR) as sources now claim, the sources being various Nvidia AIB partners.
From what we can tell this is only a preliminary price so Nvidia could change it a slightly until the final GK104 parts are shipped depending on chip volume and yields.
GK104 indicates the mid-range product (expected to perorm at current high-end level). Last week a Chinese publication claimed that the upcoming GK104 core would feature a 256-bit wide memory bus, which would be connected to 2GB of video buffer. While the shader count and operating clocks were not provided, the Thermal Design Power (TDP) of GK1104 cards seems to be set at 225W, which is quite close to the GTX 570 (219W).
AMD Moving to Tick-Tock model
Intel Corp.'s so-called "tick-tock" model of transitioning to new manufacturing processes and micro-architectures has proved to be very efficient in making Intel the maker of the highest-performance microprocessors. Apparently, its smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices is also plotting something similar, but a bit differently as Xbit is reporting today:
As it appears from AMD's documents observed by an X-bit labs reader (in the comments for this news-story), starting from Piledriver micro-architecture and going forward, AMD's Fusion accelerated processing units (chips that integrate both x86 and stream processing cores) will feature "reduced", or "early" micro-architectural feature-set, whereas central processing units (CPUs) based on new designs will feature "full" or "late" feature-set. As a result, x86 performance of the former will be lower than x86 performance of the latter.
AMD wants APUs to be released earlier than fully-fledged CPUs since they are aimed at broader segment of the market. Therefore, x86 cores of Fusion chips will sport "reduced" next-generation micro-architecture (and will fully support previous-gen features and capabilities) in order to cut their development time and reduce their die size. CPUs will come to market several months after APUs and will feature more advanced x86 cores that will support more new instructions and therefore will offer better x86 performance.
For example, only fully-fledged "late" Piledriver inside Viperfish (code-name of next-gen server/desktop die design, the successor of Orochi that powers FX and Opteron chips) will be able to execute numerous new instructions as well as will receive instructions per clock (IPC) increase. Even though reduced "early" Piledriver inside code-named Trinity APUs will be more advanced than the original Bulldozer, the x86 cores are projected to be slightly less efficient than those of the full Piledriver.
The "tick-tock"-like approach is expected to allow AMD to reduce time-to-market of its new products and ensure that innovations do not negatively affect yields. On the other hand, it will create difficulties for software makers who will have to take into account that x86 cores within one generation of APUs and CPUs are slightly different.
AMD did not comment on the news-story, but the company is projected to reveal more about its future plans at the forthcoming financial analyst day on the 2nd of February, 2012.
Alienware 2012 Notebook Shows up
I-O Data Intros HDL-Z2WSLP 2-bay 2 TB NAS
I-O Data released a new home and small business NAS server, the LANDisk HDL-Z2WSLP.
Measuring 102 x D216 x 150 mm (WxDxH) the device is powered by Intel Atom D510 (1.66 GHz), and is driven by Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system pre-configured to run headless. The OS can also be loaded with anti-virus software so you could free up system resources on other machines that pool user data on this device.
It also doubles up as a small network and print server, as it's equipped with five USB 2.0 ports, and a further two eSATA 3 Gb/s ports to expand its storage using external enclosures. Out of the box, it comes with 2 TB of capacity brought about by two 2.5-inch 1 TB hard drives. The disk trays, support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives. It has two gigabit Ethernet network connections. Common protocols such as CIFS (SMB), HTTP, FTP, WebDAV, are supported. Slated for February, the I-O Data HDL-Z2WSLP will be priced at 120,540 JPY (US $1,542).
AMD Catalyst 12.2 Preview driver available
Download AMD Catalyst 12.2 Preview Driver Windows 7 and Vista 32/64-bit.
Next to the Catalyst 12.1 suite, AMD has today issued another graphics driver, a preview version of the Catalyst 12.2 which is set to come in WHQL-tagged form next month. Recommended for 'gamers', this preview release includes all the updates of Catalyst 12.1 as well as the following:
- AMD Eyefinity 2.1 technology enhancements
- Additional resolution support: Users can now choose from a larger set of resolutions when running AMD Eyefinity
- Dynamic Configuration Changes: Switching between different display configurations will occur automatically when physically plugging/un-plugging displays
- HydraVision enhancements: The Windows Task bar can now be moved and resized based on users preference
- Profile Manager improvements: Increased support for Display Groups (including 5x1) and Extended configurations within the Profile Manager
Please note that AMD Radeon HD 7900 users should keep using the 8.921.2 RC11 driver found here (the 12.2 preview does not supported the AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series).
We have a discussion thread open over here.
Download - Click here
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Unofficial video
The Darkness II Launch Trailer
AMD Releases Catalyst 12.1 WHQL Driver Download
AMD has made available the first WHQL-certified graphics drivers of 2012, the Catalyst 12.1. This release includes support for Radeon HD 2000, HD 3000, HD 4000, HD 5000 and HD 6000 series desktops (and mobile) cards (but not the HD 7970), for Radeon 3000 and HD 4000 chipsets, and features the following:
AMD HD3D technology support enhancement
- Enables support for AMD HD3D technology in conjunction with AMD CrossFireX configurations
- Delivers a new Stereo 3D mode over HDMI 1.4a connections - 1080p at 30Hz is now enabled on supported display
AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center enhancements - Application Profiles
- AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver enables users to create per application profiles to individually control 3D and CrossFireX settings for Direct3D applications
- Please be sure to select the "Restore Factory Defaults" option under the Catalyst Control Center Preferences menu before using the new application profiles feature - this ensures there are no compatibility issues between previous drivers and the new AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver with regards to application profiles
AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center enhancements - Video UI improvements
- AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver includes user interface enhancements to simply adjustment of video color and video quality controls.
We have a discussion thread open over here.
Wii U 'Twice as Powerful as Xbox 360
Develop is reporting that the Wii U will be roughly twice as powerful as the Xbox 360. Nintendo's next generation hardware will be roughly twice as powerful as Microsoft's current system, the Xbox 360, according to a studio source speaking to Develop.
The person, communicating anonymously from a studio currently building a Wii U title, said the new Nintendo console could achieve roughly twice the processing and graphical potential of Microsofts current generation machine.
While twice the power of an Xbox 360 is broadly above market expectations, Develop's source claimed this is in fact less than some studios had expected. "I've heard [a project designer] complain it's underpowered compared to what Nintendo announced, resulting in people having to de-scale their plans," the source added.
Nintendos persistence with non-disclosure agreements means that it has been difficult for Develop to cross-examine the sources claim, which was made late last year.
However, yesterday a separate insider source told IGN that the next generation Xbox will be "six times as powerful" as its predecessor the key addition being that this will mean it yields a "200 per cent greater performance than Wii U".
That unverified calculation, if true, echoes claims from the Develop source who claims the Wii U is far more powerful than current expectations.
Xbox 720 Will get GPU based on Radeon 6670
The next-gen Xbox will ship to retailers in late October or early November of next year with six times the processing power of the Xbox 360, sources close to the project have told the lads from IGN:
Following initial reports sources have confirmed that mass production of the system's GPU will indeed begin by the end of 2012 but will not, however, be based on AMD's 7000 series Southern Islands GPU. Instead, the processor will be derived from the 6000 series, which was introduced last year. More specifically, it will be akin to the Radeon HD 6670, which offers support for DirectX11, multidisplay output, 3D and 1080p HD output. The chip currently has a market price of upwards of $79.99.
In real terms, the Xbox 720's raw graphics processing power is expected to be six times that of the Xbox 360 and will yield 20-percent greater performance than Nintendo's forthcoming console, the Wii U.
Developers are likely to receive development kits based on the system's final configuration in August. Projected pricing for the console was not provided.