ASUS Z77 Intel Ivy Bridge boards get full video hands-on
Intel Z77 coverage keeps on rolling in and this time we give you a look at three upcoming ASUS boards based on the upcoming Ivy Bridge chipset. Once again we were told not to say "Ivy Bridge" by ASUS, but surely by now you all know exactly what we are working with here, so we just decided to say it.
As you can see in the video above, ASUS has many bases covered with a full line-up of Z77 boards that support the third generation Core processors based on a 28nm architecture including ones for those who want it all, those who are into gaming (for small systems) and those who are interesting in impressive cooling performance.
We'll start off with the Sabertooth Z77 which is built for consumer workstation level performance. The big thing with this board is that it includes Thermal Armor which is an original ASUS invention to bring a new way to cool your motherboard. The cooling assembly is split into two cooling zones with one covering the northern part of the board and the other the southern part of the board. Two fans are included in the package with are optional to be installed - meaning, the board doesn't really active fan cooling, but if you add the fans in, ASUS measured up to a 10 degree Celsius drop in temperature on some areas of the board.
Continue reading: ASUS Z77 Intel Ivy Bridge boards get full video hands-on (full post)
RumorTT: NVIDIA introducing new Anti-Aliasing algorithm with Kepler
NVIDIA are mere days away from releasing their Kepler-based GEFORCE GTX 680, but there is still secrets that are leaking through the cracks. It seems that NVIDIA could have baked a new anti-aliasing (AA) algorithm into the Kepler family of GPUs.
There are plenty of different forms of AA, including FXAA, which have enabled higher levels of image quality, all while not being as taxing on the GPU as MSAA. This leaves one area to improve, to offer better image quality (IQ) while lowering the performance penalty when its enabled. According to the above screenshot, which is rumored to be sourced from NVIDIA's GeForce Kepler press-deck, the new algorithm is compared to 8x MSAA, where it gives superior image quality.
We all know that 8x MSAA is not easy for a GPU and definitely takes an arrow to the knee in terms of performance degradation for a GPU. But, this new screenshot shows us an anti-aliasing method that does indeed look taxing, but if NVIDIA has rubbed their genie lamp, we could expect some amazing AA, where it won't be too taxing on the GPU itself. The latest NVIDIA rumor showed that when Battlefield 3 was running its AA, it had some stellar performance.
Continue reading: RumorTT: NVIDIA introducing new Anti-Aliasing algorithm with Kepler (full post)
1080p iTunes flicks, can they compete with full-blown Blu-rays?
AnandTech have tackled something I haven't had the time to test yet: iTunes gear in 1080p. They've tested the iTunes 1080p downloads to the proper Blu-ray Discs (BRD). The only issue is they were forced to take actual photos of the screen, versus screenshots, because of the hardware and DRM-based limitations, boo.
The screen used was identical in both tests, a Dell U2312HM monitor with a 1920x1080 resolution, a MacBook Air connected through the DisplayPort port, and a Panasonic DMP-BD65 Blu-ray player that was connected with a HDMI-to-DVI cable. AnandTech then used the movie 30 Days of Night, which was filed in the common Super 35 film format, and transferred itno the 2k digital intermediate, which means it was edited in the digital domain.
Now, considering that the BRD version of the movie is a dual-layer BD 50 disc that sports both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-HD tracks, the iTunes version is not very big at all. The iTunes version is just 3.62GB, and contains the stereo AAC track as well as the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. AnandTech have a few photos showing the difference between the versions, so you should check the rest of the story out here.
Continue reading: 1080p iTunes flicks, can they compete with full-blown Blu-rays? (full post)
iPad launches in Australia, Japan, other countries
Apple's latest third-generation iPad is now here, folks, I have one on the desk next to me, but I have a tonne of news to deliver to you loving readers, who are more important than that little thing.
We all know it has hit, and Australia was first, because well, you know, we rock. Anyway, we had midnight launches in some states with some telcos like Telstra opening their doors (and arms and tills) at midnight. This is a full eight hours before Apple opened their retail doors, so some people were greeted with iPads very early today.
It has been reported that there were "snaked" queues, but I'm based in South Australia and had no problems. I called Big W, JB Hi-Fi and a few of their local retailers, and all of them had stock. My local JB's had all 6 flavors of the iPad in stock, and I drove down and picked two of the iPads up without any problems.
Continue reading: iPad launches in Australia, Japan, other countries (full post)
18 firms sued for using privacy-invading mobile apps
A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas earlier this week by 13 individuals alleging that "the defendants -- several of the world's largest and most influential technology and social networking companies -- have unfortunately made, distributed and sold mobile software applications that, once installed on a wireless mobile device, surreptitiously harvest, upload and illegally steal the owner's address book data without the owner's knowledge or consent." The defendants in question are Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Yelp and 14 other companies.
This claim, if true, is pretty worrisome for users of the apps, such as myself. Last month, one of the companies named in the suit was pressured into issuing a public apology after a Singapore-based programmer uncovered the fact in a blog post. An article, Mobile Apps Take Data Without Permission by the New York Times, was cited several times in the 152-page complaint. This lawsuit comes at a time privacy concerns over mobile applications appears to be steadily rising.
According to our source:
Continue reading: 18 firms sued for using privacy-invading mobile apps (full post)
Google search is being updated, more like Ask
In the upcoming months, Google's web search will no longer just spit out a list of web links that match your query. It will start to present facts and direct answers at the top of the results page. These changes are among the biggest that the search giant have ever undergone and are a result of trying to keep a dominant market-share.
While Google isn't replacing its current keyword-search system, they are aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating technology called "semantic search". Semantic search is the technology related to attempting to understand the meaning of the words themselves and provide relevant results. Over the past two years, Google has been quietly amassing a database of hundreds of millions of entities-people, places and things-which can provide data matched to queries.
After these updates, a Google query for "Lake Tahoe" would result in a listing of key attributes, such as its location, altitude, average temperature or salt content, above the usual listing of links based upon the old keyword search algorithm. When a more complex question is provided, Google may provide just an answer, rather than links to other sites. An example query would look something like, "What are the 10 largest lakes in California?" This query would likely return the answer, rather than links to other sites.
Continue reading: Google search is being updated, more like Ask (full post)
Diablo III release date will be May 15th
Blizzard has announced that Diablo III will be released on May 15th. This is the 3rd chapter in Blizzard's critically acclaimed game. Starting May 15th, Diablo III will be at retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. It will also be available as a digital download in the above mentioned regions, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil via Blizzard's Battle.net website.
Available for Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Macintosh, Diablo III will come with a suggested price of $59.99 USD for both the retail DVD-ROM version and the digital version. A special alabaster-white Collector's Edition, sold exclusively in retail stores at a suggested retail price of $99.99 USD, will include the full game on DVD-ROM, a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, the Diablo III soundtrack CD, a 208-page Art of Diablo III book, and a 4 GB USB soulstone (including full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and corresponding Diablo skull base, as well as exclusive in-game content for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
So get your mouse, keyboard, souls and chairs ready, dump your girlfriends (or boyfriends), wives, and say goodbye to your children. You'll be gone for quite some time. As Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard states, "After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we're now in the homestretch. We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience to gamers worldwide starting on May 15."
Continue reading: Diablo III release date will be May 15th (full post)
Firefox heads into 2012, where version numbers will play a smaller role, and more
Mozilla used to be the browser, until Chrome came and pushed them to the side and stole their lunch money. Mozilla had a plan for version 11 of Firefox, which they wanted it to be "lighter and faster", where this theme will continue through 2012 with something the team calls "Project Snappy".
Other than sounding like a lobster thats still alive trying to snap at your fingers, Mozilla has discussed its success throughout 2011, and what 2012 will hold for the company. Mozilla have been fighting for the #2 browser spot over Chrome for the past six months, where Chrome pushed past Firefox for the first time in December last year. Mozilla thinks that branding could have a big deal of how they'll keep strong this year, where version numbers might take a back seat for once:
Version numbers will play a lesser and lesser role for users, but they will still matter to web developers, IT administrators and similar. The reason for having major version number bumps (e.g. version 6 to 7, 7 to 8, etc) is that new versions have had cases of non-backward compatible APIs, and the version number have been there to signal that it is not a minor release or maintenance update.
Continue reading: Firefox heads into 2012, where version numbers will play a smaller role, and more (full post)
NVIDIA charts: GEFORCE GTX 680 is up to 40% faster than Radeon HD 7970
Ah, NVIDIA charts. The memories are flooding back now, it feels like so long since I've seen them, but they're back, and in force. NVIDIA's latest charts are for their 28nm-built, Kepler-based NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 680, caps intended.
If the above charts are true, which most of the time they are not because it's really just a closed-world internal test by NVIDIA themselves, then we're looking at an amazing 40-percent increase over the AMD Radeon HD 7970 in some tests. 15 tests were used, from 7 games/benchmarks. All benchmarks were run with AA, then again without AA.
The one test that got my GPU juices flowing was the Battlefield 3 test with 4xAA, look at those improvements. If only I had the time to play Battlefield 3, I'd probably get 1 or 3 of these new GEFORCE GTX 680's. In the end, it looks as though that crown AMD have graced on their head, is about to get a can of whoop ass thrown at it. Green Team, unite!
Continue reading: NVIDIA charts: GEFORCE GTX 680 is up to 40% faster than Radeon HD 7970 (full post)
EA is considering a subscription model for future Battlefield titles
VentureBeat has asked EA's game chief, Patrick Soderlund, whether they would consider switching to a subscription-based delivery system for future titles, with Soderlund replying:
I think it's fair to say that we're looking at that. Like all other companies, we're looking at how we can maximise our investment in this and get the most out of our investment and get more people playing this product. That may take us to different places, but we're not really talking about where that is yet.
Soderlund didn't give an indication as to what form a subscription-based model would take on, but considering Call of Duty introduced their Elite service that offers paid subscribers regular DLC drops months ahead of normal users, its not that far out of the question. Soderlund also added that EA sees Battlefield 3 as a full-time on-going service for its customers. He's quoted:
Continue reading: EA is considering a subscription model for future Battlefield titles (full post)