Contract prices for DRAM keep going up while NAND flash is going down

The data compiled by DRAMeXchange shows the late March contract prices for DRAM memory have risen 2-3% while the prices for NAND flash continue to go down.

Both of these are affected by various factors. One of them is the demand for memory cards and drives in the channel market hasn’t been very high. On the other end of the line, the system OEMs are being careful about replenishing their inventory due to the new products not reaching the shelves until the second quarter. This factor has caused the price for NAND flash contract prices to decrease for the second half of March.

Some chip suppliers are used to cut the prices in order to stimulate demand, however they have now become more reluctant to lower the prices as these wouldn’t create any profit, so the late March contract prices have only decreased by a small amount.

As for the second half of 2012, things are looking better as the demand of NAND flash will be boosted by the launch of Ivy Bridge ultrabooks, USB 3.0 peripherals, smartphones and tablet PCs which should help lift the prices.

As mentioned above, the contract prices for DRAM memory saw slight increase in the second half of March, with 2GB and 4GB DDR3 modules reaching $10 and $19, respectively.

Source & Image: DigiTimes

Intel gets patent for fan speed control to cool CPUs

Originally filed in September 2008, Intel’s has been granted the patent by the USPTO on March 27, 2012. The patent describes a process to calculate the fan speed that will decrease platform power the most.

More specifically, the patent refers to CPUs that operate in a low temperature state with a fan running at low speed. Intel says that the power saved from the processor can be used to power the fan itself. The process to determine the perfect fan speed would include:

  • measuring the processor power and the fan power when it is initially determined that the processor is operating in a low temperature state prior to any fan speed adjustments
  • calculating the system power prior to any fan speed adjustments
  • increasing the fan speed
  • measuring the processor power and the fan power for the increased fan speed
  • calculating the system power for the increased fan speed
  • dynamically adjusting the fan speed based on changes to the system power
  • measuring the processor power and the fan power for the dynamically adjusted fan speed
  • calculating the system power for the dynamically adjusted fan speed
  • selecting the preferred speed when the system power is determined to be substantially at lowest value

Interestingly, the patent itself doesn’t describe a way to keep the CPU from going over a certain temperature limit, but more of a constantly running fan to reduce the power consumption of the CPU, also referring to the power leakage problem caused by the high CPU temperatures.

Source: Tom’s Hardware UK

HP’s plan to save money is to cut contractors salaries

HP, a leading manufacturer in the computer industry, has found a way to make more savings by cutting the salaries of those who cannot go on strike to protest.

In order words, HP has cut the  salaries of some of its IT contractors with rate cuts of 5% and more. As it turns out, HP isn’t the only one doing so, many IT contractors’ banking clients have also done the same. HP is even more specific on who will be affected: only the IT contractors at HP Enterprise Security Services will be affected starting April 1st, when the cuts come into action.

Even though a company spokesman stated that “Service to clients will not be affected”, it’s unlikely that freelancers will work for less money without complaining. Advanced Resource Managers’s agents are said to have confirmed the “contract variation” for HP’s ESS freelancers and even though the contractors have a choice on the matter, the current market isn’t exactly full of opportunities.

Source: Fudzilla

Hard drives prices set to drop next month

If you’ve been waiting for an upgrade in your storage yet have been hesitant to buy a hard drive with the current prices, you may be doing a good thing by waiting it out for another month.

DigiTimes has reported that the Taiwan market is getting ready to drop the price of hard drives by around 10% by the end of April. Such a move will partly promote sales once more, since the Thailand flooding, buyers have been hesitant on stocking the hard drives due to the price increase.

During the third quarter last year, the HDD makers supplied the market with between 170 million and 180 million units, however after the floods, the number went down considerably and has since then been recovering slowly. The HDD makers are expected to reach about 150 million units shipped by the end of the second quarter this year, ultimately reaching the previous 170 million to 180 million units in the third quarter.

Even though the shipping may come back to normal, or it least according to the HDD makers, the price of the hard drives won’t return to the pre-flood levels as, according to Digitimes, the increase in production costs will keep the prices higher compared to last year’s.

Source: HotHardware

Startech announces a new universal USB 3.0 Docking Station

StarTech.com has announced the release of the USB 3.0 SATA/IDE HDD Docking Station (UNIDOCK3U).

The UNIDOCK3U offers two top-slot drive bays, allows IDE and SATA hard drives to be inserted vertically into the dock, features a space saving design, and most important of all, offers a simple solution for transferring data from one hard drive to another.

The dock supports both 2.5” and 3.5” hard drive form factors, making its a versatile utility for both desktop and laptop drives, it remains backwards compatible with older USB host connections to ensure broad compatibility with older computers.

“This new dock was directly engineered in response to users’ requests”, said Carey Cline, Senior Product Manager for StarTech.com’s Hard Drive Accessories product line. “Customers have stressed the importance of being able to position their external hard drives, especially IDE hard drives, in such a way as to minimize the desktop footprint requirements, so this will be a welcome addition to our lineup of hard drive docking stations.”

The new USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE HDD Docking Station includes the following features:

  • Support for both 3.5” and 2.5” hard drive form factors
  • Includes all IDE data and power cables required for connection
  • Patented drive eject button for SATA hard drives
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 compliant host interface, which supports transfer rates up to 5 Gbps
  • Individual power switches/status LEDs for each drive

The USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE HDD Docking Station (UNIDOCK3U) is now available for purchase from leading technology resellers with a RRP of £76.99 (excl. VAT).

Source: Press Release

Trailer for PlanetSide 2 released

Announced back in July 2011, Sony Online Entertainment are releasing a new video showing off their upcoming PlanetSide 2.

Back in December, we reported that the Beta applications were open for submission, this video however features the Alpha version of the game, yet it’s still an opportunity to see some pre-release footage.

In this video, SOE’s Creative Director Matt Higby presents some PlanetSide 2’s highlights from the most recent gameplay demo. This includes examples of air combat, vehicle combat, infantry combat as well as an overview of maps and environments on the alien planet of Auraxis.

[youtube]SIE42ZfdKbI[/youtube]

PlanetSide 2 is an epic MMOFPS game that offers a truly competitive and visceral FPS experience with massive warfare, massive customization and massive community. In this video Sony Online Entertainment Creative Director Matt Higby walks through some of PlanetSide 2’s Alpha highlights from the most recent gameplay demo including examples of air combat, vehicle combat, infantry combat and an overview of maps and environments on the alien planet of Auraxis.

So far so good, little is known, we know a Beta is on the way, as for the release date, that’s a good question.

Source: HardwareHeaven

Intel “DZ77GA-70K” Z77 Ivy Bridge motherboard pictured

As we know from the last couple of generations of Intel chipsets, Intel likes to make its own motherboards. Z77 will bring no exceptions, The Intel DZ77FA-70K is an LGA 1155 Z77 based motherboard. The DZ77FA-70K is an exact replica of the DZ77RE-75K except that the former lacks Thunderbolt support whilst the latter is equipped with the latest Cactus Ridge Thunderbolt controller. Intel has provided two PCI Express Gen 3 slots along with a couple of legacy PCI slots, some PCI Express Gen 2 1X and 4X slots to finish things off. SATA wise it looks like there will be eight SATA ports, 4 SATA III and 4 SATA II. 2 of those SATA III ports are provided by a Marvell controller. There is also a PLX PCI Express bridge chip as the Z77 doesn’t provide enough lanes to support all the PCI Express connectivity Intel has added to this board.

On the motherboard Intel has included a power and reset button, ideal for those using this on a test bench. There are also some diagnostic LEDs for users to play with in addition to four 4 pin PWM fan headers. The VRM is reportedly 10 phase for the CPU with another 2 phases for the integrate graphics. The VRM and Z77 chipsets are both covered by Intel blue heat sinks. Intel will also supply a front USB 3.0 bracket with the board and a RazerZone discount voucher. More detailed specs at the Intel website here.

Source: VR-Zone

SK Hynix Bids to Acquire Elpida Memory.

We recently reported that Micron and Toshiba Corp were ready to try acquire Elipida, but there is a yet another bidder for Elpida Memory: SK Hynix Semiconductor. The newly formed chipmaker reportedly made a disclosure at the Korean stock a exchange about its bid for Elpida.

“We have submitted our interest today, which is the initial bid deadline, and plan to decide whether to make a formal bid after thorough due diligence,” SK hynix said in a statement to the Korean stock exchange, reports Reuters news-agency.

Being a company that offers a full specter of memory solutions, including all types of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), NAND flash and others, Hynix does not necessarily need Elpida to boost its portfolio in a bid to improve its competitive positions. Nonetheless, the company is clearly not interested in strengthening Micron or Toshiba, which is why it has to fight for Elpida.

Elpida, which is bankruptcy process right now, will stop accepting bids from potential strategic investors at the end of April and will select the investor in early May.

Souce: Xbitlabs

Microsoft May Be Working on Optimus-Like Keyboard

While some may believe that keyboards are no longer important in the world of touch-screens, it does not seem to be the truth. Microsoft Corp. has apparently submitted a patent on “interactive keyboard with multiple different key arrangements”. In fact, Microsoft seems to be working on a keyboard with integrated screens inside each key, similar to Art Lebedev’s Optimus devices.

In abstract, Microsoft describes its interactive keyboard as “selectively configurable by an end user to provide differing key arrangements”. The keyboard “includes a plurality of differently-configured keyboard modules” and an underlying display device. Each of the of differently-configured keyboard modules may be “at least partially see-through and include mechanically-depressible keys, the underlying display device and plurality of differently-configured keyboard modules”.

The world’s largest software designer, which is also a leading maker of peripherals, essentially wants to create a keyboard akin to Art Lebedev’s Optimus keyboards (and other similar concepts) with screens built-in inside each key. The keyboard will be clearly different from Optimus Maximus (each key supports has integrated OLED screen) and will rather resemble Optimus Popularis concept with one screen below physical keys. However, one of the problems of this approach may be a limited viewing angle toward the keys as the display is located below physical keys and it may be challenging to achieve a high usability factor in such a device, notes Tom’s Hardware web-site.

At present it is unclear whether Microsoft is even working on the interactive keyboard, therefore, it is hard to predict when such device can become available and at what price. Nonetheless, it is pretty interesting that inventors from Microsoft even look in the direction of keyboard improvements as the company itself seems to be heavily concentrated on making its multi-touch Metro UI comfortable and usable.

Source: Xbitlabs

Razer to make left handed Naga Mouse

Razer has recieved an overwhelming response from its community, and has decided to move forward with plans to release a left-handed version of its award-winning Naga MMO gaming mouse.Razer CEO and Chief Gamer Min-Liang Tan promised left-handed users that the company would make a left-handed Naga if his post on Facebook reached 10,000 “Likes” before April 21. The community responded by hitting that lofty total on March 29, more than three weeks before the deadline.

“That Facebook post generated more buzz than we could’ve ever imagined, which proves that there have been a number of gamers that have had their needs ignored for some time,” said Tan. “We pride ourselves on being gamers ourselves, and we all know that there is no substitute for gaming with your dominant hand.”

Razer became the first company to offer a left-handed gaming mouse two years ago, when the company announced its DeathAdder Left-Hand Edition. Proving that it’s still serious about serving the need of its legions of left-handed users, Razer’s latest Naga is only the second professional-grade gaming mouse designed specifically for left-handed users – and Razer makes both of them.

The community is a huge part of Razer, and that’s why we have a dedicated team of community specialists that monitor and interact with fans all over the world. Razer encourages any and all of its fans to connect with the company via Facebook and Twitter, and share their ideas on what could be the next big announcement.

17 MMO-optimized buttons – Program up to thousands of different in-game commands.

Maximum Comfort for Long Gaming Sessions – Game for days with the Razer Naga’s ergonomic design, optimized for easy access to every button.

Custom Interface AddOns for MMO Games – Organize your skills and eliminate visual clutter with the Razer Naga’s in-game custom interface AddOns (available for World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and more).

Product Features:

– 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor
– 1000 Hz Ultrapolling / 1 ms response time
– 200 inches per second max tracking speed
– Zero-acoustic Ultraslick mouse feet
– 17 MMO-optimized buttons (including 12 button thumb grid)
– Optional MMO-specific software AddOns
– Unlimited character profiles with AddOns
– Approximate Size : 116 mm / 4.57” (Length) x 70 mm / 2.76” (Width) x 46 mm / 1.81” (Height)
– Approximate Weight: 134 g / 0.30 lbs

Source: PR

Deal of the Day – Intel Core i5 2500K Unlocked Combo

Todays deal is this brilliant build-your-own kit, that comes with the over-clock friendly i5 2500k, a Crossfire capable Gigabyte motherboard and 8GB of Corsair Vengeance ram, this system would be great as a mid range gaming system if you  kitted it out with a pair of ATI graphics cards such as the XFX HD 6870 @ £130.42 but even without a crossfire setup this is a great system for those looking for an upgrade without breaking the bank.
  • BitFenix Survivor, Black, Mid Tower Case with USB 3.0 with Handle w/o PSU
  • 550W PSU, Coolermaster GX RS550-ACAAE3-UK, 85% Eff’, 80 PLUS Bronze, SLI/CrossFire, EPS 12V, Quiet Fan, ATX v2.31
  • Intel Core i5 2500K Unlocked, S1155, Sandy Bridge, Quad, 3.3GHz, HD3000 IGP 850Mhz, 6MB Cache 95W Retail
  • Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3, Intel Z68, S 1155, DDR3, SATA III – 6Gb/s, RAID SATA, PCIe 2.0 (x16), VGA On Board, ATX
  • 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance Jet Black LP, PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.5V
  • Colors IT ACT KB-8108 Multimedia Office Pro Keyboard, Silver/Black with MIC/Speakers SKYPE Ready
  • Samsung WriteMaster SH-S222BB/BEBE 22x DVD±R, 12x DVD±R, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, SATA, Black, OEM

You can buy this system here for £324.99 ex VAT £389.99 inc VAT

EVGA announces GTX 680 Hydro Copper

EVGA announces immediate availability of the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Hydro Copper. This card offers a preinstalled Hydro Copper Waterblock, and reduces the GPU operating temperature by as much as 50%. Additionally, the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 is optimized for overclocking with a 5 Phase PWM Design and 8pin + 6pin power connectors. The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Hydro Copper ships with increased clockspeeds of 1215MHz (boost clock) and 1150MHz (base clock). The memory has further been tuned with a stock frequency of 6300MHz.

The EVGA Hydro Copper waterblock is also available separately.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Hydro Copper is priced at US $699.99, the Hydro Copper Waterblock for GTX 680 can be separately purchased for US $159.99.

Source: PR

Nextivity Cel-Fi RS2 3G Coverage Booster Review

In this day and age, everyone is on the go, ranging from kids to adults, we all have somewhere to be and something to do. With that in mind, we’re all aware as to how important mobile devices can be, whether it be a mobile phone, or a tablet or in some locations; a 2-way.

We all rely heavily on mobile devices, and not just for the calling or text aspect, but with a big push on social media, so many people are utilising their mobile units for connecting to friends and family via Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, but what happens if you can’t get a signal?

Most households and business premises will have Wi-Fi of some variety, but as soon as you walk out of the property, or depending on the size of the property; walk into another end of the building, you may find that your Wi-Fi drops and you have to rely on 3G coverage. On the same hand, what if you need to make a call to someone that requires some coverage of sorts and you just can’t find the spot?

Introducing the Nextivity Cel-Fi RS2 3G Coverage Booster, a simple device that latches on to your 3G signal and boosts it across your building, but while you can buy cheap knock-off versions on eBay, this little beauty actually works.

As always, we’ll take a look at what’s on offer with the package and then get straight into seeing how effective this device can actually be in real-world usage as we put it to the test.

You can find more information by checking out the below video and the full specifications and features also listed below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYKn_cbp5lE[/youtube]

Specifications

  • Performance – The Cel-fi boosters will increase the 3G signal in an indoor area up to 1235 m2 (13,000 ft2). Nextivity’s IntelliBoost Baseband Processor II gives the units unrivalled power and performance.
  • Power – Each of the two Cel-fi units run off 12 VDC power supply via the 2 plugs provided, and the power consumption is less than 12w per unit.
  • Operating – The optimum operating temperature of the units are between 0° to 40°C, and the optimum operating altitude is between -60m and 3,050m.

Features

  • The Nextivity boxes will look to boost our mobile phone signal as much as possible so you can spend more time on the phone and less time searching for a signal.
  • The Cel-fi RS2 boosters will work hard to improve your mobile signal so your device doesn’t have to. This means less work for your phone and resulting in longer battery life, less charging and less expense.
  • With increased 3G connectivity you can ensure faster data transfer rates when downloading video, photos, email and data to your mobile phone.
  • It is very simple to install the cel-fi signal boosters. Each of the two units require only a small space. One unit sits on your window sill to pick up the signal, and the other somewhere inside to boost it throughout the building.
  • Some other mobile phone signal boosters require a broadband connection to work, but not the Cel-fi RS2 units from Nextivity. All you need is a small space to store the two boxes and a standard mains plug for each. It’s that easy…
  • The fully wireless, ‘plug and play’ system works simply by placing your Window Unit in the area of the building with the strongest signal. It will take this signal, as little as 1 bar, and amplify it to up to 5 bars.
  • By placing the Coverage Unit at the opposite side of the building this new, amplified signal will be distributed throughout.

S206 APU-Powered Ideapad gets shown off by Lenovo

The Lenovo S206 IdeaPad was unveiled back at CES 2012 in January. The small notebook features an 11.6″ screen inside 20.7mm thick metallic casing. Lenovo have garnished the S206 Ideapad with an AccuType keyboard, a 0.3MP webcam and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity. The whole system is powered by an AMD APU which will be a dual core and contain integrated radeon class graphics although the exact APU that is to be used is not known just yet, it could possibly be Trinity. Lenovo have given the S206 Ideapad “instant-on” technology as well as a battery which will give you a reasonable 4 hours of battery life.

Lenovo’s laptop is set to become available in June in five color versions – Cotton-candy Pink, Crimson Red, Electric Blue, Graphite Grey and Pearl White. Joining it will be the Atom-powered IdeaPad S200.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90N4LBJD3Bk[/youtube]

Source: TPU

ASMedia to target Thunderbolt production

ASMedia are a firm ever growing in their reputation thanks to their large involvement in producing SATA III 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 5Gb/s controllers. Now with Thunderbolt arriving on the PC platform ASMedia is generating production for Thunderbolt 10Gb/s controllers in order to stay at the forefront of connectivity. The company’s president Lin Che-Wei stated that ASMedia would move towards producing Thunderbolt compatible products. Although we are not sure what these products will actually be since Intel still owns the sole rights to the Thunderbolt controllers so other companies may only use Intel provided Thunderbolt chipsets and controllers.

However, irrespective of what happens with the Thunderbolt market ASMedia is a rapidly growing firm. It expects to shift a whopping 40 million USB 3.0 controllers in 2012 while the firm will remain focussed on the handset market. ASMedia is now taking orders from Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba for USB 3.0 bridge controllers which should provide further lucrative business for them. ASMedia are a subsidiary of ASUStek computers (or ASUS).

Source: Digitimes

Enermax Staray Silence PC Case goes on Sale

Enermax has today announced the European availability of the Staray Silence case which was announced back in mid January 2012. The Staray “ECA3175-S” case has the following features:

“The ECA3175-S is equipped with the extremely popular T.B.Silence fans. Enermax delivers the midi tower with two 12cm T.B.Silence fans – one in the front and one at the back of the case. Furthermore, the manufacturer has modified the case interior: It is coated completely in black and comes with a cut-out behind the mainboard tray to simplify the CPU cooler installation. USB 3.0 belongs to the standard equipment of the new Staray version. ECA3175-S provides two high-speed USB 3.0 interfaces with internal 19-pin connector.”

“This case measures 450 (D) x 185 (W) x 411 (H) mm and features a steel structure, micro ATX and ATX motherboard support, and a front I/O panel with two USB 3.0 ports and HD/AC’97Audio connectors. The Staray Silence also has four 5.25-inch and six 3.5-inch bays (all with tool-free mounting systems), seven PCI expansion slots and two pre-drilled holes at the back (for watercooling tubing).”

The case is selling for 51.06 Euro which matches the expected asking price of £44.90.

Source: TPU

LG begins production of plastic “E-Paper” displays

LG Display announced today that it has started mass production of the world’s first plastic electronic paper display (EPD) for use in E-Books. The 6″ XGA (1024 x 768), e-ink, plastic EPD is expected to revolutionize the E-Book market with its advancements in functionality and design.

“With the world’s first plastic EPD, LG Display has once again proven its reputation for leadership and innovation with a product we believe will help greatly popularize the E-Book market,” said Mr. Sang Duck Yeo, Head of Operations for LG Display’s Mobile/OLED division. “Based on our success in mass-producing plastic EPD, we are excited as we look toward applying concepts from this experience to future developments like plastic OLED and flexible displays.”

Innovations in Functionality and Design – The world’s first plastic EPD from LG Display offers users a paper-like reading experience with a plastic substrate that is as slim as cell phone protection film, and a flexible design that allows bending at a range of 40 degrees from the center of the screen. Compared to glass EPD of the same size and resolution, LG Display’s plastic EPD realizes a super slim thickness of 0.7 mm which is 1/3 slimmer than existing glass EPD; as well as a weight of 14g which is more than 1/2 lighter.E-Book users have long expressed a desire for more durable EPD, since around 10% of them have damaged their product screens from accidentally dropping or hitting them.

When LG Display’s plastic EPD was put through repeated drop tests, from 1.5m above the ground or the average height of reading when standing, no damage resulted. When put through a break/scratch test involving hitting the display with a small urethane hammer, no scratches or breakage resulted.As EPD gets thinner, lighter, and more durable with the introduction of plastic EPD, E-Books will be able to offer certain unique benefits compared to smart devices and tablets, including reduced eye fatigue and more efficient electricity consumption in addition to lower prices.

A Manufacturing Breakthrough – LG Display developed a unique technique to utilize the high TFT process, typically employed in general LCD manufacturing and with temperatures exceeding 350 degrees, in the production of its plastic EPD. By overcoming the obstacles associated with applying the existing production process to heat susceptible plastic, LG Display achieved a breakthrough with the successful mass production of plastic EPD able to maintain strong durability in high temperatures.

Availability – The world’s first mass-produced plastic EPD from LG Display will first be supplied to ODM companies in China, followed by completed products to be released in Europe at the beginning of next month.

Source: PR

Transcend introduce PSD320 PATA SSD

Transcend today announced the latest addition to its complete line-up of solid state drives (SSDs), the PSD320 2.5” parallel ATA (PATA/IDE) SSD. Designed to replace traditional 2.5” 44-pin PATA hard disk drives, the PSD320 is a value-priced solution that gives older systems the ability to upgrade to the enhanced performance and reliability benefits of solid-state technology.

Featuring ultra-fast sequential read and write transfer speeds of 104 MB/s and 93 MB/s respectively, the PSD320 dramatically improves performance of older equipment without the high cost of replacing the entire machine. The PSD320 SSD fully supports PATA, Ultra DMA modes 0-6, PIO modes 0-4, and multi-word DMA modes 0-2, to offer installation flexibility for all types of legacy equipment built around the 2.5″ PATA storage device standard. Although the 2.5″ form factor is commonly associated with notebook storage, the PSD320 is suitable for use in POS machines, factory automation computers, medical equipment, and engineering machines.

Transcend’s 2.5” PATA SSD comes equipped with top quality MLC Flash chips in a tough yet lightweight outer case and vast capacities up to 128 GB. Containing no moving parts, the PSD320 not only offers incredible resistance to shock and vibration, but also much lower power consumption compared with standard rotating hard drives. These features combine to provide cool, energy efficient operation to industrial and portable devices that require long battery life and optimal performance even in harsh environmental conditions.

To ensure the utmost level of quality, all Transcend solid state drives undergo extensive reliability testing in all stages of production. Used to detect possible hard drive failures before they occur, S.M.A.R.T. monitors the health status of the SSD, helping to indicate if action is required. The PSD320 also features integrated ECC (Error Correction Code) to ensure accurate data transfer, as well as built-in wear leveling technology that guarantees ultra-long storage lifespan and long-term stability. For extra reassurance, Advanced Power Shield technology prevents data loss in the event of a sudden power outage.

Transcend’s PSD320 2.5” PATA SSD is currently available in three capacities: 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB, and all are backed by a three-year warranty.

Source: PR

Silverstone introduces the Grandia GD07B and GD08B HTPC cases

Silverstone has introduced two new HTPC cases in the Grandia series, the GD07B and GD08B.

These cases offer quite a large amount of space, supporting large motherboards in the SSI CEB and E-ATX form-factors in addition to the smaller form factors such as ATX, Micro-ATX, and mini-ITX. Not only does it hold large motherboards, it can also house large graphics cards up to 13.6-inch long.

Made out of SECC, aluminium and ABS, the GD07B weights 7 kg and measures 440 x 435 x 175 mm (WxDxH). Drive bays are composed of four exposed 5.25″, five 3.5″ and two 2.5″ internal. Cooling features includes one 120 mm fan (900 RPM @ 18 dBA) with space for one 120 mm on the side, two 80 mm on the rear and two 120 mm fans (900 RPM @ 18 dBA) at the bottom.

On the other hand, the GD08B is primarily made of SECC/steel and front-panel bezels made of aluminium, this one measures 440 x 175 x 435 mm (WxHxD). Drive bays include two 5.25″, eight 3.5″ and two 2.5″ internal. Cooling is similar to the GD07B except that you find three 120 mm fans (900 RPM @ 18 dBA) at the bottom.

The front-panel for both cases is the same with USB 3.0 ports. The GD07B and GD08B will be released on the market in mid-April with the price of ¥15,980 ($194) in Japan.

Source: Press Release

Swiftech announces the KOMODO-HD7970 full cover VGA water block

Swiftech, the American manufacturer of liquid cooling solution, and Bacata, the European distributor, have announced the immediate availability of the KOMODO-HD7970 full cover VGA water block, as well as CrossFireX series bridges.

Covering the entire PCB, Swiftech’s water block cools all the critical components on the card including GPU, memory and power mosfets. Thanks to the cooling provided, overclocking now operates with higher stability and reliability. The housing material is of black POM acetal, the base plate and VR is made of chrome plated C110 copper while the back-plate is made of black anodized aluminium.

Offering better cosmetic appeal, there is moderate flow restriction in order to allow for multiple GPU setups to fully reach cooling potential. GPU standoffs have been placed and are fully compliant with AMD’s reference design, pre-applied high thermal conductivity thermal pads have been placed for the memory and VR areas, thermal grease is also included with the water block.

Additionally to the water block, Swiftech have also released their CrossFireX bridges providing a convenient and elegant solution to associate with the HD7970 Komodo water block (and soon the HD 7950 series). Divided in different configurations, it is suitable for CrossFire 2, 3 or 4 cards 1.6’’ spaced as well as cards for CrossFire 2, 2.3’’ spaced.

Now available, the KOMODO-HD7970 water block is priced at $154.95, while the CrossFireX bridges are priced between $21.95 and $27.95.

For more information, please refer to the official product page: KOMODO-HD7970; CrossFireX bridge.

Source: Press Release

Leaks for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 reveal details and release date

Treyarch’s upcoming sequel to Call of Duty Black Ops has seen some leakage, revealing a possible release date along with a few details of the game.

As for the launch date, Black Ops 2 should see the light of day on November 6th, which will be preceded by one of the biggest advertising campaigns Activision will have to go through, even though the last Modern Warfare 3 was a financial success, quite a few fans were disappointed in the ‘copy-paste’ element that was noticed.

As for the game, a new mode is set to surface, called “Escort”, while “Drop Zone” and “Kill Confirmed” will come be back in action. On the other hand, two modes are rumoured to be taken out, “Team Defender” and “Infected”. In the game you will find 15 prestiges in 50 ranks, every two prestiges giving a 5 rank increase and a max prestige level of 90.

Black Ops 2 will also come with support for Call of Duty Elite 2.0 with Clan Tournament access. The maps are set to be structured like the original Black Ops, both in size and design. The “hardcore” mode will be brought forward even more, bringing to the players what many have asked for.

The studios have most certainly more in stock for Black Ops 2, including a far improved single player campaign. Activision claims Black Ops 2 will be the most successful in sales numbers over all of the COD titles to date. This will likely be helped by the many people saying Black Ops was a better game than Modern Warfare 3.

Source: VR-Zone

Some of Intel’s low end processors facing retirement

Already having seen quite a list of Intel processors that were due for retirement, mostly from the Core i7 and Core i5 series, the cheaper CPU section is also receiving a a re-make with three Core i3, one Pentium and four desktop Atoms facing retirement.

Due to retire next quarter are the Core i3 560, Core i3 550 while the Core i3 530 will be retired by the end this week. These processors were released in Q2 2010 and were 32nm Westmere pre-Sandy Bridge CPUs.

Another series of CPU being terminated are the Atom 510 and 525 dual-cores and Atom 410 and 425 single-core, all dating back from Q1 2010, the presence of better products is mainly the cause of retirement. The Pentium G6960 is one of the most recent ones to go, set for retirement in Q2 2012, it was release a year ago in 32nm clocked at 2.93GHz. Unfortunately, it is now being beaten by better products that will take its place as well.

Now all this retirement comes with a refresh, Intel is set to start selling three generations of Core processors at the same time in the near future, it does come with its fair share or confusing numbers, so in summary with the first and second generation and with Ivy Bridge you will have the Core i7 600, 700, 800 or 900 series, then you will have Core i 2000 series based on Sandy Bridge, and Core i 3000 series with Ivy Bridge. Obviously, the number will reflect the chip’s position on the performance scale.

Source: Fudzilla

Sony’s next gaming platform codenamed “Orbis” and running on AMD CPU/GPU

According to various reports around the web, Sony’s next console, the Playstation 4, is currently codenamed Orbis.

Starting from the name, according to Kotaku, this name comes from Latin, meaning circle or orbit, and when joining Orbis with Vita you get “the circle of life”. Whatever this all means is unknown, could the Vita have connections to the Playstation 4?

Getting onto the specifications of things, reports indicate that the current basic specs of the Playstation 4 will be of an AMD CPU (x86-x64) and GPU (Southern Islands). Now even though things are narrowed down, it still leaves quite a lot of possibilities on what will come out. We certainly know the the GPU will be of the latest 28nm technology, although the information on the CPU are very little, therefore it’s hard to guess what it will be.

As for the other features, while we’ve heard about the possibility of the Xbox not reading used games, well it turns out that the Playstation may be on the same way, yet going even higher. Not only will the next Playstation not read used games, it will also ask for new games to be authenticated via the PSN. As for the Playstation 3 games, if you’re going to sell your console, you might as well sell the games with it as the Playstation 4 won’t even bother offering backwards compatibility.

Obviously this has to be taken with a grain of salt, the launch of the console itself is still far away (or is it?), so even though these come from a reliable source, or a rather unclear source, there is no certainty. Either way, things seem to be going well on one side, while the other looks rather disappointing. We shall see what the future holds.

Source: Kotaku

Lepa announces new entry level PSU’s

Lepa unveiled the N300 and N350 entry-level PSUs.

The N3x0 PSUs feature a top-fan design, cooled by a 120 mm fan. While these PSUs are equipped with protection mechanisms that are standard with modern PSUs, such as over-voltage protection, over-current protection, overload protection, short-circuit protection, etc, they lack 80 Plus certification.

Both N300 and N350 feature just the one 6-pin PCIe power connector, apart from four SATA, three Molex, one Berg, and 4+4 pin EPS, next to 24-pin ATX.

Pricing and availability information is not available.

Source: expreview

Max Payne 3 to come with a multiplayer mode

Rockstar’s Max Payne is seeing a third settlement this year, however this time around the studios have included what many have asked for but never got until now: multiplayer.

In a recent video, Rockstar presented the multiplayer gameplay in Max Payne 3, surprisingly including bullet time, creating a slow motion, movie like shooting scene. While you may wonder how that would work, and whether an entire server is slowed down, well if you think about it, that would be problematic, so instead, whenever a player uses bullet time, only the players in the player’s field of vision will be affected, allowing the rest of the players to keep on playing.

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In addition to bullet time, new modes will be included, such as Gang Wars, opposing various gang factions from the game in a dynamic scenario where the gangs’ objective will vary in function of the outcome of the round. Another mode is Payne Killer, a sort of challenge mode where two players impersonate Max Payne and his sidekick in a two-against-all scenario. In this mode, whoever kills either Max or his sidekick take his place, thus allowing for the shout to keep on going.

Max Payne 3 is available for pre-order but will only be released on May 15 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 while PC gamers will have to wait for May 29 to enjoy the game.

Phanteks launch PH-TC14CS Cooler

Phanteks expands its product portfolio with the PH-TC14CS C-Type CPU Cooler.

The PH-TC14CS measures 160 x 151 x 140.5 mm ( with dual fans), it weighs 900 grams, has five nickel-plated 8mm copper heat-pipes, and supports the latest LGA 2011/ 1155/ 1156/ 1366/ 775 and AMD FM1/ AM3+/ AM3/ AM2/ 2+/ AM3 micro-processors.

Featuring Phanteks patented Physical Antioxidant Thermal Shield ( P.A.T.S) and Cold Plasma Spraying Coating Technology (C.P.S.C), PH-TC14CS provides a perfect cooling solution for low profile setups. Enthusiasts with HTPC’s or multimedia cases can achieve maximum cooling while maintaining quiet performance.

The PH-TC14CS will be released with the following four colors; standard color and /Blue/Red/BLACK Edition. Phanteks includes a PWM external adaptor for an even more quiet cooling performance.

Half of phones are now smartphones

Almost half of US mobile subscribers now have a smartphone in their pocket.

Smartphone penetration is growing at a fast pace and as of February 2012, 49.7 percent own smartphones, so there is a good chance we are over 50 percent now.

A year ago only 36 percent owned smartphones and more than two-thirds of new phones sold in the land of the free are smartphones.

In terms of new sales over the course of the last three months, Android leads the way with a 48 percent share, while 42 percent prefer Apple’s offerings. Blackberry’s share dipped to just five percent, while all other platforms accounted for just 4 percent.

Source: Fudilla