MSI release more X79-based motherboard pr0n

Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Nov 7, 2011 10:57 PM CST

Earlier today, MSI shot us an e-mail with some teaser shots of their various boards. Instead of an update to that post, this motherboard deserves its own spot on the news page just because it looks like a boss.

Enter, MSI's Big Bang XPower II, which features eight DIMMs, ten SATA ports (!), a slew of PCIe ports enough to plug in eleventy million cards, X-Fi MB2 on-board, and what stands out on its military black theme, is a row of 6 bullets that make up a magazine as a heatsink. We have never seen this before, except for oh wait, Gigabyte's G1 Sniper boards, but hey, two can play at this game, right?

The board itself is so big that MSI have had to change their underwear from ATX to XL-ATX to accomodate the extra girth.

Continue reading: MSI release more X79-based motherboard pr0n (full post)

Thailand flood update, hard disk supply could take two years to recover

Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Nov 7, 2011 10:56 PM CST

The increasing global shortage on hard drives from the Thailand floods is causing PC vendors who are searching for HDDs to look into gray markets, which is in turn causing hikes in gray market prices from US$45 to over US$100 for a 500GB HDD and from US$35 to US$60-70 for a 320GB model, according to Taiwan-based PC supply chain makers.

Because the HDD industry's future is unknown, vendors are looking anywhere they can to source drives to fill their inventory. DigiTimes source claims that brand vendors are going into a "panic" to fill their HDD inventory. Most have reportedly placed orders to HDD makers with combined volume already double or triple their usual demand, but since HDD makers can only reply that they have no more inventory, or cannot provide supply status, it leaves vendors with one choice: the gray market.

Another issue is Japan-based HDD motor supplier Nidec has had close to 2,000 sets of equipment damaged by the floods which may take more than two years to fully recover. The same sources claim that Nidec are currently seeking equipment from related industry players, but the claims have not been confirmed by Nidec. Sources claim that once this machinery is submerged in water, the machines require a total replacement.

Continue reading: Thailand flood update, hard disk supply could take two years to recover (full post)

New Windows Phone available today, Microsoft do it in style featuring a 6-story "Big Windows Phone" in NYC

Microsoft don't do things small, and today was no exception. Customers can today experience new Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), with a selection of new, sleek and stylish smartphones from HTC and Samsung starting at just $49.99. The Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash are available today at AT&T and are the latest additions to the Windows Phone portfolio, joining the HTC Radar 4G available at T-Mobile USA Inc.

Microsoft designed Windows Phone around one simple concept: People belong at the center of the phone experience. This is where Microsoft go all-out and have put real people inside a gigantic six-story phone in NYC's Herald Square to bring to life the phone's key features and experiences. Included was a life-sized "Plants vs Zombies" battle highlighted the phones rich Xbox LIVE gaming experience.

The Music + Video Hub was bought to life by the Far East Movement performing a concert for hundreds of fans, and while "connecting people" was shown by a NY-based man proposing to his girlfriend from inside the Me Tile of the giant six-story phone.

Continue reading: New Windows Phone available today, Microsoft do it in style featuring a 6-story "Big Windows Phone" in NYC (full post)

OCZ unleash RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS Edition, capable of 1900MB/sec reads

Anthony Garreffa | Storage | Nov 7, 2011 8:17 PM CST

Forget just wanting my two front teeth for Christmas, this puppy has just gone straight to the top. All I want for Christmas is OCZ's newly announced RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS solid state drive. This devil combines a proven cutting-edge PCI Express-based architecture and OCZ proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 flash virtualization layer with premium NAND flash components that deliver exceptional 4KB random write performance of up to 245,000 IOPS, as well as increased transfer rates of 1900MB/sec reads and 1725MB/sec writes.

Daryl Lang, VP of Product Management for OCZ Technology Group says:

The new RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS solid state drives further expand on our original PCIe series, and are designed to deliver even more bandwidth for the most demanding applications. Engineered to leverage the benefits of multi-threaded processors and applications, the Max IOPS provides both the performance and features required by clients to address the most intensive workloads common in high performance computing and workstation environments.

Continue reading: OCZ unleash RevoDrive 3 Max IOPS Edition, capable of 1900MB/sec reads (full post)

MSI tease X79 boards, four different models on show today

Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Nov 7, 2011 6:49 PM CST

My inbox this morning had some glorious news, a tease of the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E boards from MSI. Included, was the super high-end Big Bang XPower II board, all the way down to the smaller micro-ATX X79MA-GD45. If you like pics, there's a bunch below:

First up is the X79A-GD65 8D, which does look quite pretty. It sports various features such as the usual quad-channel DDR3, but includes THX TruStudio PRO sound, CrossFire X and SLI support. It also includes eight SATA ports and eight DIMMs if you're RAM and Storage crazy like most of us.

Next up is the X79A-GD65, only featuring four DIMMs and six SATA ports. This is obviously just a step down from its stronger, bigger brother.

Continue reading: MSI tease X79 boards, four different models on show today (full post)

Buffalo readies up its BDXL supporting portable Blu-ray writer

Steve Dougherty | Storage | Nov 7, 2011 8:50 AM CST

Buffalo is now preparing shipments of its BDXL-format supporting "BRXL-PCW6U2-BK" external/portable Blu-ray writer.

The unit connects via USB 2.0 and includes support for both 3-layer (100GB) and 4-layer (128GB) BDXL discs. The drive runs measurements of 145 x 19 x 153 mm with a weight of 340 grams. It will ship with a couple built-in USB cables whereby one acts as the data path and the other for power.

As for write speeds, the drive can do up to 4x for BDXL media, 6x for BD-R (single- and dual-layer), 2x for BD-RE, 8x for DVD-R/+R/+RW, 6x for DVD-R DL/+R DL/-RW, 5x for DVD-RAM, 24x for CD-R and 16x for CD-RW.

Continue reading: Buffalo readies up its BDXL supporting portable Blu-ray writer (full post)

Panasonic announce DMC-GX1 and 3D capable DMC-3D1 Lumix cameras

Steve Dougherty | Cameras, Printers & Scanners | Nov 7, 2011 8:08 AM CST

Panasonic has made a couple announcements today with two new Lumix series cameras - the DMC-GX1 Micro Four Thirds and DMC-3D1.

Beginning with the former, the GX1 sports a Venus Engine image processor with a 16.01MP Live MOS sensor and a sensitivity of up to ISO 12800. It includes a Contrast AF focus system with 0.09 second (Light Speed AF) autofocus and the use of a dust reduction system, as well as One Push AE and the iA and iA Plus modes for automatic shots.

The LCD on the new GX1 is touch-enabled, being 3-inch (460,000-dot) in size. The camera is capable of recording video at up to 1080/60i and will come in two colour options - black and silver. There will also be two differing kits on offer from Panasonic for this model, the DMC-GX1-K which comes with the 14-42 standard zoom (priced at $800) and the DMC-GX1-X which has the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S (H-PS14042) lens (at $950).

Continue reading: Panasonic announce DMC-GX1 and 3D capable DMC-3D1 Lumix cameras (full post)

AMOLED technology, coming soon to a TV near everyone

Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors | Nov 7, 2011 5:31 AM CST

After using my Samsung GALAXY S II for the past week, I have fallen in love with its Super AMOLED Plus display. Hearing this news today, is great. Currently, the display technology standard that powers most PCs and TVs is LCD. LCD of course, has its issue such as limited viewing angles, poor colors, motion blur and input lag.

Most people don't seem to notice it, but its there. When compared to an IPS panel, or CRT set, it is instantly noticeable to most people. There are various types of LCD technology in mainstream use today which attempt to solve the issues, but none fix all of them. TN panels are cheap to buy, relatively fast (they're the ones that power 120Hz screens) which reduces motion smear and input lag, but the shortcomings are viewing angles and color accuracy. Good for gamers, but not great for video or picture work.

IPS displays have the opposite characteristics, making them perfect for professional photography work, where accurate colors and vibrant pictures are required. AMOLED can step in and swoop up all of these problems and throw them away offering bright, crystal clear displays with wide viewing angles and excellent motion smoothness. This is thanks to LEDs having extremely fast response times. But.

Continue reading: AMOLED technology, coming soon to a TV near everyone (full post)

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, behind-the-scenes, 5k resolution, 48 fps, 3D

Anthony Garreffa | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Nov 7, 2011 1:25 AM CST

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit is currently filming and Jackson is uploading Production Videos onto Facebook, with Production Video #4 from the set of the Hobbit being uploaded today. The video goes into the 3D side of things where its revealed The Hobbit is being shot in 5k resolution, 48fps and 3D. Intense, and I'm loving the high-res shoot.

The movie is being shot on digital cameras, and directly to hard drives (SSDs by the look of them) at 128GB in size. To get an idea of 5k, think of your TV with 1080p, and then imagine a Windows desktop on it. Increase what you can fit on that screen by five times, and you're nearly there. It's hard to show the scope of it, but as the market moves toward it (with the help of movies like this and James Cameron's upcoming Avatar sequels), it is a great thing for the industry.

Jackson actually says, that people who have seen scenes of The Hobbit in 48fps, say that it's "like the back of cinema has had a hole cut out of it, where the screen is, and it's like you're looking into the real world." I would agree, as an avid user of 120Hz for games, it adds a total different dimension of fluidity into the game (and in this case, movie).

Continue reading: Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, behind-the-scenes, 5k resolution, 48 fps, 3D (full post)

AMD's Piledriver, they need to get this right, while dodging constant bullets from Intel

Anthony Garreffa | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Nov 6, 2011 11:17 PM CST

AMD's Bulldozer just wasn't enough to not only topple Intel, but to impress customers enough to grab it while it was hot. AMD knows they need to turn it around, we know they need to turn it around and you know they need to turn it around. AMD has always focused on performance-per-watt, and while Fusion has pulled this off, Bulldozer when overclocked is pushing past an astonishing 400W.

The Bulldozer team needs to put their hard hats on and get dirty, with 2012 rolling into view, it needs to happen very soon. Piledriver is an update to current Bulldozer cores and the expected advantages are increased core capacity by up to 25-percent, making more cores available more of the time. Reduced power requirement, making Piledriver more efficient, real world performance boost by somewhere around 10-percent, making each core do more.

Will this be enough for AMD to at least catch up and possibly take a few swings at Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge? Can they bring it before Ivy Bridge, or at the same time? Can AMD release it at a competitive price point, seductive enough to draw customers into their web of CPU goodness? Bulldozer was roughly the same price as an Intel 2600K motherboard/CPU combo, so they really failed in that way.

Continue reading: AMD's Piledriver, they need to get this right, while dodging constant bullets from Intel (full post)