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Western Digital launches the worlds first SSD+HDD Dual Drive

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Storage | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 6:21 pm

Today Western Digital announced the launch of its all new WD Black2 Dual Drive, a unique smashup of a SSD and HDD combo. The new Black2 Dual Drive is the first of its kind and manages to pack in a 1TB HHD and 120GB SSD into a single 2.5-inch form factor case. This allows for easy integration into notebooks, small form factor PCs, and much more where the speed of an SSD is desired, but massive storage is needed.

 

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"Our customers told us they like our Solid State Hybrid Drive technology, but our tech savvy users asked for more control of where they store their data," said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of WD's Storage Technology business unit. "The WD Black2 dual drives empower our customers to enjoy SSD performance and access high capacity storage in a no-compromise package. The WD Black2 dual drive is a direct result of our interaction with our customer base through WD Labs initiatives. WD devised its beta labs program to provide an exclusive testing arena for key customers and technology influencers of existing and emerging WD storage products."

 

Western Digital says that the Black2 is free of caching algorithms and greatly benefits from the SATA 6GB/s interfaces speed. The new Western Digital WD Black2 Dual Drive is covered by a five-year warranty, and retails now for $299. Our own Tyler Bernath has just finished up his review of the drive and you can find out how it performs by heading over to the review right here at TweakTown.

BlackBerry looking to turn around, begins purging executives

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 5:21 pm

2013 has been one heck of a year for BlackBerry. In the span of just eleven months, the company has launched its next-gen OS and devices, almost went out of business, and seen its CEO resign after no one wanted to buy the company. Today it appears that BlackBerry is attempting to make the changes necessary to turn the company around.

 

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This morning, BlackBerry announced that its Chief Operating Officer, Kristian Tear, and Cheif Marketing Officer, Frank Boulben will no longer be part of the company. Additionally, the company's Chief Financial Officer, Brian Bidulka, will be exiting the company and will be replaced by James Yersh, a long time BlackBerry Exec. Finally, the announcement says that Roger Marti, a member of BlackBerry's board of directors, will be resigning from the Canadian smartphone manufacturer as well.

 

This major shakeup in management is widely seen as something that should have happen many months ago when BlackBerry first began to circle the drain. Following the ousting of CEO Thorsten Heins, today's announcement should do well to restore some investors faith in the company. With a fresh injection of $1 billion from FairFax Financial, BlackBerry just might manage to turn things around in 2014.

Apple confirms Black Friday event with both online and in-store deals

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 4:20 pm

This morning Apple announced that it will be participating in the madness that we like to call Black Friday. The announcement came unofficially via a page spotted by 9To5Mac on the company's Australian website, which has also gone live on the New Zealand Apple website.

 

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Unfortunately, the pages do not offer any insight into what products may be discounted, or what accessories may be on sale. The image does say that Apple will offer free shipping for online purchases, and does allude to in-store deals. The add also specifically mentions the iPhone and features an image of an iPad Air, so it is a safe bet that at least the iPhone 5C and iPad Air will be discounted. Then again, this is Apple, so there could be no discounts at all.

AMD releases its new Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.4 drivers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 10:33 am

If you like to live on the bleeding edge of hardware and software, and you're running a new AMD Radeon R9 video card, these new Catalyst drivers are built for you.

 

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AMD has released its new Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.4 drivers, which fix some of the black screen or display loss issues experienced on the new Radeon R9 290X and R9 290 GPUs. Also, there are some CrossFire scaling performance increases for the multiplayer side of Call of Duty: Ghosts, too. Here's a full list of what to expect on the new Beta 9.4 drivers:

 

  • Includes all Feature Highlights of The AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 Driver
  • May resolve intermittent black screens or display loss observed on some AMD Radeon™ R9 290X and AMD Radeon R9 290 video cards
  • Improves AMD CrossFire™ scaling in the multi-player portion of Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • AMD Enduro Technology Profile updates:
  • "XCOM:" Enemy Unknown
  • Need for Speed Rivals

 

You can read more, and grab these new drivers, here.

DRAM to be replaced by MRAM, but not for a while yet

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: RAM | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 9:39 am

We aren't quite at the DDR4 stages yet, but as we do start slotting in DDR4 onto our consumer boards, we could begin to see over the horizon, and spot a new memory standard: MRAM.

 

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This is because the US-Japan alliance is looking for a replacement of the old DRAM technology, with over 20 companies in Japan and US joining forces to develop mass-production techniques for a next-generation chip technology. This new tech is called magnetoresistive random access memory, or MRAM. Those involved include Tokyo Electron, Shin-Etsu Chemical, Renesas Electronics, Hitachi, and US memory giant Micron Technology.

 

MRAM will see data stored in magnetic storage elements instead of electric charges, or current flows. MRAM will also reportedly have just one-third the power consumption of DRAM, with 10 times the capacity, and wait for it - 10 times the writing speed. This will make the technology perfect for the next, next-generation of smartphones and tablets, too.

TCL to unleash the Idol X+ smartphone with an 8-core processor

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 8:30 am

The 8-core processor smartphone market is relatively small right now, but TCL is set to become a player in that market. The Chinese company has revealed its Idol X+ smartphone, which will be a collaboration between TCL and Chinese online retailer JD.com.

 

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The Idol X+ will feature an 8-core processor which will be produced by MediaTek, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 5-inch 1080p display. As for software, the Idol X+ will be powered by Android 4.2.1, and should hopefully arrive with an update once its released. As for the price, we should expect it to be priced at $350, which is not too bad at all.

Samsung loses market share ground to Apple in Japan

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 7:33 am

Samsung seems to be struggling in Japan against its biggest rival, Apple. The Korea Herald reports that Samsung's share in the Japanese smartphone space dropped again last quarter, which makes four quarters in a row of decline.

 

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In the last quarter, Samsung sold just one million u nits, while Apple sold close to four times that. Rewinding back twelve months, Samsung was pushing around 1.9 million units a quarter, but each quarter it has dropped significantly. The South Korean electronics giant is now placed fourth in the Japanese market, with Sony coming in second. Apple is currently holding the number one spot in the market.

Apple confirms it has acquired PrimeSense

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 6:33 am

We thought it had happened last week, but now Apple has confirmed it has acquired PrimeSense. The company works on motion control devices, so this should be an interesting next few years for the iPhone maker.

 

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Apple confirmed the acquisition with AllThingsD, where it said that it does buy smaller companies "from time to time". The company reportedly handed over around $360 million for the deal, which should cement Apple's future in the motion control space. I did think that Apple would use the tech for its Mac range of devices, which I think we'll begin to see teased in the first half of 2014.

Star Citizen breaks through $30 million of funding, will it stop? No

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 4:39 am

Star Citizen is simply unstoppable right now - with its original $500,000 goal on Kickstarter now ballooning out to an amazing $30 million+. At the time of writing, it had received $30,374,530 of funding from 311,504 Star Citizens.

 

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The next stretch goal is $31 million, and at this rate, it should hit that goal within the next day or two. People are excited about this game, as the premise does sound truly amazing, but when will this funding explosion stop? At the rate it's going, it will hit $40 million by the end of year. I've backed it, and I'm enjoying my hangar right now, and boy does it look glorious at 7860x1440.

 

I'm going to be the first to say it: but if things don't stop with this funding, it will be the first non-AAA (as in, developed/funded by a huge company like EA, Activision, Microsoft or Sony) to reach $100 million - you heard it here at TweakTown first, folks!

Halo 4 engine programmer leaves Microsoft for Naughty Dog

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Nov 25, 2013 3:30 am

According to Corrinne Yu's LinkedIn page, the Halo 4 Principal Engine Programmer has left Microsoft's Halo team, and joined the developer of The Last of Us and Uncharted, Naughty Dog.

 

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What makes this more interesting, is that she is really leaving Microsoft, for its key rival in the console space, Sony. Yu worked as the Principal Engine Programmer with 343 Industries for five years, and before that she worked at Gearbox Software as its Director of Technology. Yu has some experience under her belt, including Halo 4, Borderlands and I don't want to mention it, but I have to: Aliens: Colonial Marines.

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