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+ - Intel Integrated Iris Pro Graphics Closes The Performance Gap Vs. AMD->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Over the years, Intel's integrated graphics engine in their Core series processor haven't exactly been known to be very robust. Before Intel's Haswell series processors arrived, it could be argued that Intel integrated graphics weren't good for much more than some video rendering and maybe some low resolution, entry-level gaming at best. However, with Intel's recent Haswell release with Iris Pro 5200 Graphics on board, the company appears to have dramatically closed the gaming and graphics performance gap between their solutions and competitive integrated solutions from AMD and even entry level discrete graphics performance. In the benchmarks with the new Gigabyte BRIX Pro small form factor system, Intel's Core i7-4770R with Iris Pro 5200 Graphics on board, is actually able to maintain very playable frame rates in recent DX11 titles, right up to 1080p resolution, even with a bit of AA turned on. It will be interesting to see what Intel's follow-on Broadwell chip can do at 14nm. If Intel can maintain consistent driver updates the future looks bright for Intel integrated graphics."
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+ - AMD Launches Monster, Liquid-Cooled Dual Hawaii Radeon R9 295X2 Graphics Card->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "For the past few weeks, AMD has been strategically dropping hints about the product they just launched today, the ultra high-end Radeon R9 295X2. The Radeon R9 295X2's specifications note that the card is essentially two Radeon R9 290X GPUs crammed onto a single PCB, though the Radeon 295X2's peak GPU clock is actually a bit higher (1018MHz vs. 1000MHz). Technically, the Radeon R9 295X2 is MORE powerful than a pair of Radeon R9 290X cards running in CrossFire. The AMD Radeon R9 295X2 is a complete departure from previous-gen Radeons. Gone are the plastic fan shrouds, in favor of all metal construction. And cooling each GPU is a closed-loop, liquid cooling system with dual heat plates and a 120mm radiator assembly. There is still a fan on the card itself, but it is used to cool the VRM and other surface mounted components. The two GPUs combined equate to roughly 12.4B transistors and offer compute performance of up to 11.5 TFLOPs. There are a total of 5632 stream processors (2816 per GPU), with 8GB of GDDR5 memory (4GB per GPU) running at 5Gbps, linked to the GPU on dual 512-bit memory interfaces. In the benchmarks, the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 is the fastest single graphics card tested to date. With that said, a dual-card GeForce GTX 780 Ti SLI configuration put up higher scores, more often than not for roughly the same $1500 price point or a little less."
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+ - Qualcomm Announces Next-Gen Snapdragon 808 And 810 SoCs->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Qualcomm has announced two fundamentally new chips today with updated CPU cores as well as Qualcomm's new Adreno 400-class GPU. The Snapdragon 808 and the Snapdragon 810 have been unveiled with a host of new architectural enhancements. The Snapdragon 810 will be the highest-end solution, with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 paired alongside four Cortex-53 CPUs. The Snapdragon 808 will also use a big.Little design, but the core layouts will be asymmetric — two Cortex-A57's paired with four Cortex-A53's. The Cortex-A57 is, by all accounts, an extremely capable processor — which means a pair of them in a dual-core configuration should be more than capable of driving a high-end smartphone. Both SoC's will use a 20nm radio and a 28nm RF transceiver. That's a major step forward for Qualcomm (most RF today is built on 40nm). RF circuits typically lag behind digital logic by at least one process node. Given that RF currently accounts for some 15% of the total area and 30-40% of the PCB, the benefits of moving to a smaller manufacturing process for the RF circuit are significant."
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+ - Google Project Ara Design To Employ Electro-Permanant Magnets To Lock In Modules->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Google's Project Ara, an effort to develop a modular smartphone platform, sounded at first as much like vaporware as anything but Google is actually making it happen. In a whimsical upbeat video, Dave Hakkens (the guy who created the Phonebloks design that appears to be the conceptual basis for Project Ara) visited the Google campus to see what progress is being made on the project. The teams working on Project Ara have figured out a key solution to one of the first problems they encountered, which was how to keep all the modules stuck together. They decided to use electro-permanent magnets. In terms of design, they've decided not to cover up the modules, instead making their very modularity part of the aesthetic appeal. 3D Systems is involved on campus, as they're delivering the 3D printing technology to make covers for the modules."
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+ - Qualcomm's New MU-MIMO Standard Could Allow For Gigabit WiFi Throughput->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Today, Qualcomm is announcing full support for a new wireless transmission method that could significantly boost performance on crowded networks. The new standard, MU-MIMO (Multiple User — Multiple Input and Multiple Output) has a clunky name — but could make a significant difference to home network speeds and make gigabit WiFi a practical reality. MU-MIMO is part of the 802.11ac Release 2 standard, so this isn't just a custom, Qualcomm-only feature. In SU-MIMO mode, a wireless router creates time slices for every device it detects on the network. Every active device on the network slows down the total system bandwidth — the router has to pay attention to every device, and it can only pay attention to one phone, tablet, or laptop at a time. The difference between single-user and multi-user configurations is that where SU can only serve one client at a time and can therefore only allocate a fraction of total bandwidth to any given device, MU can create groups of devices and communicate with all three simultaneously."
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+ - The end of iFixit? Thank Apple->

Submitted by assaf07
assaf07 (1055798) writes "I got an email this morning from iFixit letting me know that they had been purchased by Apple. As happy as I am that the owners of iFixit are making some money for themselves, I can't help but fear the end is near for impartial teardowns of my favorite mobile devices. From the press release "Why “fix it yourself” when you can upgrade? No need to waste time repairing your Apple device. Upgrade it instead. With iFixit’s help, there will always be a newer, better device for sale."

See below for the body of the email.

We’re pleased to announce that iFixit has been acquired by Apple.

iFixit is the industry leader in the global repair movement. With more than 10,000 repair guides and millions of community members worldwide, iFixit has become the most trusted source for “before-you-buy” reviews of consumer electronics and “after-it-breaks” repair documentation.

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and generally does not discuss their purpose or plans. And financial details have not yet been disclosed. But, we at iFixit feel we ought to explain ourselves to our loyal community.

“Everyone has a number”, admitted Kyle Wiens, iFixit’s CEO. “I didn’t think there was a reasonable number that would make me say, ‘You know I was going to change the world with repair documentation but here’s a number.’” In the end, Apple gave us a number that we couldn’t refuse.

But it isn’t just a number for iFixit. As part of the deal, Apple made a commitment to produce the most replaceable electronic devices and personal computers on the market. This is a clear win for the whole iFixit community.

Apple is working hard to make devices last long enough to be upgraded or irrelevant, making repairability an antiquated notion. iFixit will become a key player in the future of Apple device development, starting with the new iFixit Replaceability Index.

It has been an exciting adventure for all of us at iFixit, and we can’t thank our dedicated community enough.

Let's start our next chapter together!"

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+ - 500GB To 1TB On An mSATA Stick - Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA Tested->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Shortly after 2.5-inch versions of Samsung's SSD 840 EVO drives hit the market, the company prepared an array of mSATA drives featuring the same controller and NAND flash. The Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA series of drives are essentially identical to their 2.5" counterparts, save for the mSATA drives' much smaller form factor. Like their 2.5" counterparts, Samsung's mSATA 840 EVO series of drives feature an updated, triple-core Samsung MEX controller, which operates at 400MHz. The 840 EVO's MEX controller has also been updated to support the SATA 3.1 spec, which incorporates a few new features, like support for queued TRIM commands. Along with the MEX controller, all of the Samsung 840 EVO mSATA series drives feature LPDDR2-1066 DRAM cache memory. The 120GB drive sports 256MB of cache, the 250GB and 500GB drive have 512MB of cache, and the 750GB and 1TB drives have 1GB of cache. Performance-wise, SSD 840 EVO series of mSATA solid state drives performs extremely well, whether using synthetic benchmarks, trace-based tests like PCMark, or highly-compressible or incompressible data."
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+ - Intel Outs Haswell-E and Devil's Canyon CPUs, Ready Mode Technology->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel used the backdrop of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to make a handful of interesting announcements that run the gamut from low-power technologies to ultra-high-end desktop chips. In addition to outing a number of upcoming processors—from an Anniversary Edition Pentium to a monster 8-core Haswell-E—Intel also announced a new technology dubbed Ready Mode. Intel's Ready Mode essentially allows a 4th Gen Core processor to enter a low C7 power state, while the OS and other system components remain connected and ready for action. Intel demoed the technology, and along with compatible third party applications and utilities, showed how Ready Mode can allow a mobile device to automatically sync to a PC to download and store photos. The PC could also remain in a low power state and stream media, server up files remotely, or receive VOIP calls. Also, in a move that's sure to get enthusiasts excited, Intel revealed details regarding Haswell-E. Similar to Ivy Bridge-E and Sandy Bridge-E, Haswell-E is the "extreme" variant of the company's Haswell microarchitecture. Haswell-E Core i7-based processors will be outfitted with up to eight processor cores, which will remain largely unchanged from current Haswell-based chips. However, the new CPU will connect to high-speed DDR4 memory and will be paired to the upcoming Intel X99 chipset. Other details were scarce, but you can bet that Haswell-E will be Intel's fastest desktop processor to date when it arrives sometime in the second half of 2014. Intel also gave a quick nod to their upcoming 14nm Broadwell CPU architecture, a follow-on to Haswell. Broadwell will be the first Intel desktop processor to feature integrated Iris Pro Graphics and will also be compatible with Intel Series 9 chipsets."
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+ - Crucial Launches New M550 Series Solid State Drives->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Long-time memory maker Crucial, a division of Micron, is launching a new line of solid state drives today, dubbed the M550 series. The Crucial M550 is targeted at performance-minded, but budget-conscious enthusiasts and will be offered in array of form factors, including mSATA and M.2 flavors, with capacities at 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. The drive is built around Marvell's 88SS9189 SATA 6Gbs controller and is outfitted with 20nm IMFT MLC NAND. The drives are rated at 550MB/s max read and 500MB/s max write performance and in the benchmarks they perform right up there with the latest offerings from Intel and Toshiba's OCZ Technology Group high-end products. Better still, at .67 - .77 per GiB, the M550s are some of the most affordable SSDs on the market currently."
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+ - Asus Chromebox Based On Haswell Core i3 Tested->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The Asus Chromebox is a tiny palm-sized machine similar in form and footprint to Intel's line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs. One of the higher-end Asus Chromebox variants coming to market employs Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core series processor architecture with Integrated HD 4400 graphics. The machine is packed with fair number of connectivity options including four USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, HDMI and DisplayPort output, a microSD Flash card slot, 802.11n dual-band WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. It also sports a 1.7GHz dual-core Core i3-4010U processor with Hyper-Threading for four logical processing threads and 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory. Finally, the onboard 16GB SSD storage might be appear a bit meager, but it's backed up by 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for 2 years. In testing, the device proved to be capable in some quick and dirty browser-based benchmarks. For the class of device and use case that the Chromebox caters to, Google has covered most of what folks look for with the Chrome OS. There's basic office productivity apps, video and media streaming apps, and even a few games that you might care to fire up. The Asus Chromebox handles all of these usage types with ease and it's also barely audible while consuming only about 18 Watts under load."
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+ - NVIDIA Unveils Lineup of GeForce 800M Series Mobile GPUs, Many With Maxwell->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The power efficiency of NVIDA's Maxwell architecture make it ideal for mobile applications, so today's announcement by NVIDIA of a new top-to-bottom line-up of mobile GPUs—most of them featuring the Maxwell architecture—should come as no surprise. Though a couple of Kepler and even Fermi-based GPUs still exist in NVIDIA's new line-up, the heart of the product stack leverages Maxwell. The entry-level parts in the GeForce 800M series consist of the GeForce GT 820M, 830M, and 840M. The 820M is a Fermi-based GPU, but the 830M and 840M are new chips that leverage Maxwell. The meat of the GeForce GTX 800M series consist of Kepler-based GPUs, though Maxwell is employed in the more mainstream parts. NVIDIA is claiming the GeForce GTX 880M will be fastest mobile GPU available, but the entire GTX line-up will offer significantly higher performance then any integrated graphics solution. The GeForce GTX 860M and 850M are essentially identical to the desktop GeForce GTX 750 Ti, save for different frequencies and memory configurations. There are a number of notebooks featuring NVIDIA's GeForce 800M series GPUs coming down the pipeline from companies like Alienware, Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo, MSI and Razer, though others are sure the follow suit. Some of the machines will be available immediately."
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+ - Intel Launches Overclocked SSD 730 Series Enthusiast Class Solid State Drive->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The new Intel SSD 730 will be the company's latest flagship consumer-targeted SSD. The drive, however, features technology gleaned from Intel's experience in data centers, and is actually quite similar to the DC S3500 series. Intel is doing a few things to set this drive apart, though. The SSD 730's controller and NAND components are have gone through additional qualification at the factory and the drive's firmware is tuned for high performance. The Intel SSD 730 series will initially be offered in 240GB and 480GB flavors and in the common 2.5" form factor. Intel is binning the parts used in the SSD 730 series to ensure maximum reliability, high-performance and low latency. To that end, the controller's clock speed has been boosted by 50% and the NAND is clocked 20% higher as well. You'd think that boosting the clocks might affect the long-term reliability of the drive, but Intel is offering a full 5-year warranty and rating the drive for 70GB writes/day. Performance of the new Intel SSD 730 series is top-notch, with the drive scoring at the top of the pack versus leading SSDs on the market currently with the best overall performance."
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+ - Intel Debuts Merrifield and Moorefield Designs at MWC->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel is announcing its new tablet and smartphone designs this week at Mobile World Congress, alongside a major push to drive adoption of its 28nm XMM 7160 and XMM 7260 modem technology. It's been two years since Intel launched its first serious Atom-based smartphone platform, codenamed Medfield. The chips that will power these efforts are the Z34 and Z35 families, known as Merrifield and Moorefield, respectively. The new Merrifield core will use a 4G-capable XMM 7160 modem, a 1080p camera capable of 60 FPS capture, and the same Bay Trail CPU that was previously released. While it lacks Hyper-Threading, the addition of out-of-order processing means that the dual-core Bay Trail will be significantly faster than the older, in-order Atom parts. Merrifield also uses a PowerVR GPU core based on Series 6 (codenamed "Rogue"). This new GPU core is substantially more powerful than the older cores Intel used in the past and contains four separate compute clusters. Historically, Intel's tablets and smartphones have targeted "acceptable" graphics rather than fielding anything genuinely first rate, but that may change in 2014."
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