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Microsoft to receive $444 million per year from Android patent licensees, making cash like a boss

By Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Oct 2, 2011 02:30 pm CDT

A few days ago, Microsoft signed a major licensing agreement with Samsung over the use of some its patents on Android-based smartphones and tablets. The deal is similar to what other manufacturers have agreed to, which avoid a court battle. But, there's a requirement of a fixed fee to be paid to Microsoft for every Android device sold. Goldman Sach's tech analyst team think that this number is around $444 million per year.

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Goldman estimates that Microsoft receives roughly $3 - $6 per Android device, and calculated the multi-million dollar figure based on the number of Android devices expected to be sold by Microsoft's licensees between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. The companies that Microsoft receive the (virtually free) dollars from are HTC, Acer, U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, ViewSonic and Wistron, and Samsung, which yesterday became the latest licensee.

Microsoft claims that certain Android features contain technologies over which it owns patents. Considering that two of the largest Android device makers have agreed to pay royalties which puts some concrete into this claim. The only one in the US without a license from Microsoft is Motorola Mobility, in which the two are in court battling it out.

ASUS announce Ivy Bridge, PCI-Express 3.0 enabled motherboards

By Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Oct 2, 2011 01:46 pm CDT

If you'd like to get your early adopter shoes on now, and head out the door, you could camp out at your local IT retailer and wait for one of the newly announced ASUS motherboards that are equipped with PCI-Express 3.0 The motherboards are capable of supporting Intel's Ivy Bridge chips which are set to debut next year.

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The three Z68-powered boards will be called P8Z68-Deluxe/GEN3, P8Z68-V Pro/GEN3 and finally, P8Z68-V/GEN3. All three boards will sport two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, LucidLogix's Vertu graphics-switching technology and of course, USB 3.0. The boards will hit shelves and e-tailers alike in October with the Deluxe model priced at US$310, V-Pro sets you back $250 or so and finally, the V with a price of just $220.

Continue reading 'ASUS announce Ivy Bridge, PCI-Express 3.0 enabled motherboards' (full post)

QNAP intros "budget-friendly" Turbo NAS solutions

By Anthony Garreffa | Storage | Oct 2, 2011 12:30 pm CDT

QNAP have announced three new Turbo NAS models, with a four-bay, dual-bay and single-bay solution available. The models are TS-419P II, TS219P II and TS-119P II which are all aimed at corporate workgroups, SOHO and home users who are after a budget-friendly solution for backup and file sharing. No pricing has been announced from QNAP, so we don't know how "budget-friendly" they really are. But, the models closest to them (which sport 1.2GHz chips instead of the included 2GHz chips) are very decently priced.

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The new models look virtually identical to the predecessors, but they sport upgraded chips tech. QNAP have used a 2.0GHz Marvell CPU and also included 512MB of DDR3 memory which is a bit quicker than the 1.2 and 1.6GHz Marvell CPUs used in previous models. QNAP also say the added speed will enable Windows-based file transfers of up to 109MB/sec. QNAP claim idle power consumption is as low as four watts.

Continue reading 'QNAP intros "budget-friendly" Turbo NAS solutions' (full post)

HIS release Eyefinity-ready HD 6970 IceQ Eyefinity RTS card

By Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Oct 2, 2011 11:30 am CDT

Sapphire is now not the only cool kid at school where they have GPUs that can power three screens without DisplayPort. HIS have now walked in with a new HD 6970 graphics card that sports their IceQ cooler design, which features what HIS dub "Eyefinity RTS (ready to see)". This card allows the user to setup a 3-display Eyefinity setup without needing to connect any of the displays to the mini-DisplayPort connectors. The third connection can be plugged into the HDMI 1.4 port instead.

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This new feature really helps, as you no longer need to hunt Planet Earth for mini-DP active dongles, and with more monitors including native HDMI, this is a great step forward. The card sticks to AMD reference clocks, 880MHz core, 5.5GHz memory and features 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Pricing and availability is unknown at the moment.

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Samsung talks about the 32nm 1.5GHz Exynos SoC

By Anthony Garreffa | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Oct 2, 2011 11:00 am CDT

Samsung's latest Exynos 4210 SoC is a great piece of tech, it powers their super smartphone, the Galaxy S II and is a very, very fast phone. The 4210 sports two ARM Cortex A9 cores running at 1.2GHz along with an ARM Mali-400 MP4 GPU. The A9 chip is equal to that of TI's outing, and a bit better than NVIDIA's Tegra 2. In various tests, the Mali-400 MP4 beats out all other smartphone GPUs that have been tested.

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Samsung have today announced a 32nm addition to the family, the Exynos 4212. CPU clock speeds get a nice bump up to 1.5GHz, but GPU clocks are unknown. Samsung is however claiming that GPU performance improves by up to 50% "over the previous processor generation". The move to 32nm could have allowed a 50% increase in clock speed. Samsung's 32nm process uses high-K + metal gate transistors, similar to Intel's transition to 45nm.

Continue reading 'Samsung talks about the 32nm 1.5GHz Exynos SoC' (full post)

Intel and IBM invest $4.4 billion in chip manufacturing plants in New York

By Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Oct 2, 2011 10:30 am CDT

Intel and IBM have announced a $4.4 billion investment which is being put into a manufacturing plant to create the next-generation of cutting-edge computer chip technology. It's all being done in New York, with a five-year investment expected to generated and retain 6,900 jobs paying an average of $100,000. Gov. Cuomo who was previously suing Intel, where he filed an anti-trust lawsuit against them, has done a 180-degree turn and has now called this new move "a really, really big deal" and part of his effort to "create a more confident environment for doing business in New York".

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The aforementioned lawsuit included Cuomo - as attorney general - trying to sue Intel for trying to monopolize the computer chip industry. He charged Intel with violated state and federal anti-trust laws by trying to keep a monopoly over the market for microprocessors, which as most people know are the heart of computers and servers alike. The suit charged Intel with paying computer makers billions of dollars in exchange for using the company's microprocessors instead of competing products from AMD.

The suit is currently pending with Intel back in May filing three motions seeking to have the suit dismissed.

EVERCOOL unveil the Transformer S CPU cooler

By Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Oct 2, 2011 10:00 am CDT

The best bit of this news isn't the cooler, but the wickedly cheesy video that goes along with it. Before you check it out, here's some details on EVERCOOL's latest cooler, the Transformer S. The Transformer S is only 13.5cm high which means it'll fit into most ATX cases. It sports dual 6mm heat pipes and one 9cm fan with special fan blade design which makes the Transformer S quieter and provides greater cooling efficiency.

Additionally, shock absorption rubber nail design can reduce the shake and goes further to reduce noise levels. EVERCOOL's Transformer S also includes compatibility for both AMD and Intel, including Intel's upcoming LGA 2011 socket. The nine fan blade design on the Transformer S can spin up to 2200 RPM and even at that speed, its noise is less than 20 dBA. All of this tech rolls into one great CPU cooling package, inclusive of a cheesy video which I'll now show you below:

Continue reading 'EVERCOOL unveil the Transformer S CPU cooler' (full post)

NVIDIA currently sampling Kepler, GK1xx series will be a bottom-to-top release

By Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Oct 2, 2011 07:00 am CDT

NVIDIA stumbled quite a bit with the Fermi, GF100 architecture and it looks as though they don't want to repeat the same mistakes by going top-to-bottom with GPU releases. NVIDIA are currently playing with engineering samples of their first chip built on the next-gen Kepler architecture, the GK107. This is not the flagship GK100 everyone expected, with NVIDIA changing gears and going for a bottom-to-top release by working on the GK107 first which will be a notebook-based chip.

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GK107 is set to be powering four mobile GeForce SKUs - N13P-LP, N13P-GS, N13P-GT and the N13E-GE. These codenames may sound familiar to you, that's because they appeared in the leaked 28nm mobile GPU line-up. The GK107 sports a 128-bit memory interface and has support for both DDR3 and GDDR5 memory. The first three GK107-based SKUs with the "P" suffix will most likely succeed the GeForce GT 500M series, and will probably be branded as the GeForce GT 600M series.

Continue reading 'NVIDIA currently sampling Kepler, GK1xx series will be a bottom-to-top release' (full post)

AMD lowers its third quarter revenue forecast

By Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Sep 30, 2011 12:00 am CDT

AMD, the second largest PC chip manufacturer, has lowered their third quarter revenue projections citing issues with the 32nm chip production at its German Foundry. AMD now expects its revenue to increase by 4 - 6% on top of their second quarter earnings, down from the 10% that they originally forecasted earlier in the year. In response to this news, AMD shares fell by 7.8% to $5.88 during extended trading yesterday.

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AMD have not only been having issues with their 32nm chips, but they have also commented that its 45nm chip supply was also experiencing issues as the two processes share some common toold in manufacturing. The Dresden-based manufacturing firm, GlobalFoundries, which AMD have an 11% stake in, is uses for their manufacturing operations. Poor yields of chips due to production problems seem to be AMD's biggest issue right now.

Continue reading 'AMD lowers its third quarter revenue forecast' (full post)

New Xbox dashboard to debut November 15, says leaked PayPal e-mail

By Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Sep 29, 2011 10:46 pm CDT

A leaked e-mail from PayPal employees of all places reveals that Microsoft is planning to launch the new Xbox dashboard come November 15. November 15 marks the 10-year anniversary since the original Xbox launched back in 2001. The memo asks PayPal employees to test the new dashboard ahead of the Nov 15 launch. I bet you're wondering why PayPal employees are being selected for testing. Remember Microsoft added PayPal payment options in Xbox Live back in May, allowing users to buy Gold memberships, games and Microsoft Points using PayPal.

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Previous dashboard updates went live in November in previous years (2008 and 2010), which would make this rumor quite the possibility. Also coinciding with the 10-year anniversary really makes this diamond in the rough another strong possibility. The planned update is set to allow users to browser content faster and use the Kinect motion-sensing device to navigate and interfact with the dashboard. The growing library of content is pushing the update which indicates that Microsoft is committed to the user experience on the Xbox 360.

New features are set to include game invites that don't expire as well as Bing integration. Visually, the new layout mimics the look of the Windows Phone 7 UI, the same interface that Windows 8 will sport. Microsoft has also confirmed Xbox Live integration in Windows 8, but has been scarce with more details.