AMDs first Fusion APUs to be built at both Globalfoundries and TSMC

Steve Dougherty | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | May 27, 2010 11:16 AM CDT

AMD is looking forward to demonstrating Fusion-ready systems at Computex which will be the first to combine a traditional processor with a graphics processing core on a single die for mainstream processing.

Ryan over at PC Perspective has managed to scoop up a good amount of detail on AMD's plans to roll out Fusion into the market. AMD's first APU (accelerated processing unit) is codenamed Llano and will cater to the notebook market. Its formula is a combination of four x86 processor cores with a Redwood-class DX11 capable performance GPU on the same die.

The core is said to be built on GlobalFoundries 32m SIO process using High-K metal gate transistors. This means ATI GPUs manufactured by AMD rather than TSMC; the first time this has ever happened.

Continue reading: AMDs first Fusion APUs to be built at both Globalfoundries and TSMC (full post)

ViewSonic VEB632 JinYong eBook e-reader hands-on from Taipei

Cameron Wilmot | Mobile Devices | May 27, 2010 6:23 AM CDT

Today we attended a ViewSonic press conference in Taipei where the company used the event to launch a range of new eBook e-readers appropriately held at the eslite bookstore.

Next up Mike Chen, a ViewSonic product manager for its digital media business unit, introduces the special editor VEB632 JinYong Reader e-reader that is at the top-end of ViewSonic's new eBook range. It will go on sale in Taiwan in July with a rather rich street price of 14,800 NTD or around 462 USD at today's rate.

Yin Yong is a very famous Chinese martial arts novelist who has written some 36 books on the ancient Eastern fighting art that are enjoyed by Chinese all around the world. The VEB632 e-reader comes bundled with all of Jin Yong's books included on the 2GB of internal storage. The e-reader sports a six-inch e-ink display that supports an 800 x 600 resolution with up to 16 levels of grey. This model is slightly bigger and heavier than the previous VEB620 model we looked at, but it comes in at a still quite nimble and comfortable 250 grams or around 9 ounces.

Continue reading: ViewSonic VEB632 JinYong eBook e-reader hands-on from Taipei (full post)

ViewSonic VEB620 eBook e-reader hands-on from Taipei

Cameron Wilmot | Mobile Devices | May 27, 2010 5:19 AM CDT

Today we attended a ViewSonic press conference in Taipei where the company used the event to launch a range of new eBook e-readers appropriately held at the eslite bookstore.

First up Mike Chen, a ViewSonic product manager for its digital media business unit, introduces the cheapest of its new e-readers, the VEB620 eBook. But when we say cheap though, don't let they confuse it. It comes packed with features and the only thing it really misses out on is wireless connectivity, so you will either need to use a microSD card or copy books etc over via USB from your computer.

The unit will go on sale in Taiwan in a week or so with a street price of 6,990 NTD - which works out to be around 217 USD at today's exchange rate. The device comes with a six-inch screen with 16 levels of grey that is capable of an 800 x 600 resolution. It weighs in at a rather light and comfortable eight ounces or around 227 grams. It was really nice to hold and is made using soft plastics that feel good.

Continue reading: ViewSonic VEB620 eBook e-reader hands-on from Taipei (full post)

MSI starts bundling Assassin's Creed II with select HD 5800 / HD 5900 series cards

Steve Dougherty | Video Cards & GPUs | May 27, 2010 5:06 AM CDT

We don't see as many video card partners these days including full version games to give the icing on the cake; certainly not as much as we used to. So it's nice to see MSI deciding to do this :-

There's no doubt they've picked a real good'en to bundle with their new R5970 and R5870 series cards, being named Game of the Year by the New York Times and getting a big thumbs up from game reviewers everywhere. Nearly all of MSI's video cards in their lineup are non-reference in one form or another, be it superior coolers, factory overclocks or higher grade components for better stability, and in some models a mixture of all.

So, a good choice of game, good mix-up of cards in their lineup and hopefully good pricing should have MSI seeing their inventories cleared at a more rapid rate hereon. Keep an eye out for the boxes on the shelf that show Ezio (the star of Assassin's Creed) glaring at you.

Continue reading: MSI starts bundling Assassin's Creed II with select HD 5800 / HD 5900 series cards (full post)

GPS system upgrade and overhaul underway

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | May 26, 2010 9:26 PM CDT

Does anyone actually remember breaking out one of those huge foldout maps to figure out which road or highway you needed to take to get where you are going? Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has flooded the market, from standalone GPS devices like TomToms to in-dash navigation in your vehicle to using your phone to figure out where you are and where you are going.

Now it is reported that the U.S. government is pumping 8 billion dollars into GPS system enhancements that will expand the range, improve the accuracy, and improve the reliability of GPS technology. This is no small feat: 24 new satellites are planned to replace the current satellites that make up the current system one at a time. The first satellite in the new system has just been launched this past weekend with the complete upgrade not scheduled to be done until 2021.

"This new system has the potential to deliver capabilities we haven't seen yet," said Marco Caceres, senior space analyst for aerospace research firm Teal Group. "Because GPS touches so many industries, it's hard to imagine what industry wouldn't be affected."

Continue reading: GPS system upgrade and overhaul underway (full post)

iPad "killing netbooks," according to survey

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | May 26, 2010 7:42 PM CDT

Retrevo, a consumer electronics site, recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers and found that the iPad's popularity is taking a toll on netbook sales. When interested parties were asked whether they were planning on buying an iPad or a netbook 78 percent, or a little more than 3 out of 4, said they would choose the iPad while 22 percent favored a netbook.

Laptops are still staying popular with buyers as well, with 65 precent of people surveyed who were planning to make a mobile PC purchase this year said they would favor a regular laptop over a netbook. Those who did prefer the netbook over the iPad said that size was the biggest concern, with 55 precent preferring the smaller footprint. 20 percent of those said price was the major concern, and 19 percent showed battery life as the deciding factor.

While these numbers show a big preference to the iPad over netbooks, analysts are saying that the $200 or more price difference between the iPad and netbooks should not cripple the sale of netbooks this year. Jeff Orr, an analyst with ABI Research, reportedly said earlier this month that just one percent of potential netbook buyers would be impacted by tablets, like the iPad.

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Yahoo! and Nokia join forces in the mobile market

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | May 26, 2010 5:59 PM CDT

Nokia and Yahoo have announced that they will be striking a partnership to create cross platform opportunities for both companies. Yahoo is expected to become the global provider of Nokia's Ovi e-mail and messaging services, while Nokia will power Yahoo's map service online and on all of their mobile devices.

With this deal Nokia, who has already partnered with Microsoft to offer Office products like Word and Excel on certain models of mobile devices, is continuing to target users who need enterprise features. Yahoo is looking to bolster their map and navigation features, and this partnership makes sense as Yahoo currently uses maps from Navteq who is owned by Nokia. Yahoo Maps is looking to rebound since Google and MapQuest have overtaken a large section of the map platform market.

Nokia, who is the world's largest phone maker, is also looking to become more of a major player in the smartphone market in the U.S. where RIM, Apple, and Android are currently dominating and looks to use Yahoo's brand recognition to change this. Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said, "Location, maps and navigation will get more mind-share, will get more attention in the U.S. and many more users in the North American market."

Continue reading: Yahoo! and Nokia join forces in the mobile market (full post)

NVIDIA plans to keep GTX 470 going

Shane McGlaun | Video Cards & GPUs | May 26, 2010 1:06 PM CDT

The rumor mill is always speculating on what products are coming to market along with products that will be killed off. The rumor mill of late has been speculating that NVIDIA might be ready to end the GTX 470's run despite it being new.

The Tech Report reports that NVIDIA has stated it has no plans to kill off the GTX 470. NVIDIA mentioned the good, better, best arrangement for the Fermi line making the GTX 470 the better offering in the mix.

NVIDIA told The Tech Report, "The GTX 470 is really important for us from a product perspective. It's basically our best price-performance product in the enthusiast line, so we have absolutely no plans of discontinuing that. Actually we are enhancing that part of the product line over the next month or so."

Continue reading: NVIDIA plans to keep GTX 470 going (full post)

ECS A890GXM-A(U) V2.0 Black Series motherboard exclusive hands-on

Cameron Wilmot | Motherboards | May 26, 2010 6:10 AM CDT

Yesterday we stopped by the ASRock headquarters in Taipei to check out a couple of their new goodies ahead of Computex next week and today we dropped into ECS who showed us a couple new motherboards that they will be showcasing at the big show next week.

In our second video from the visit we got an exclusive look at the ECS A890GXM-A(U) V2.0 Black Series motherboard that supports 140 watt AMD Socket AM3 processor by way of the AMD 890GX chipset. This is a similar product to the original A890GXM except it sees some changes with the most notable being the ability to unlock cores hidden in AMD Phenom II and Sempron 140 processors. Additionally this is done without the need of adding in additional chips like its competitors, and it is done without advanced clock calibration (or ACC).

This mobo also ushers in a new ECS feature and that is called 15u Gold Contact technology. Basically extra bits of gold are added to the pins on the CPU, memory and PCI Express x16 slots and sockets to increase reliability and performance through improved conductivity. In theory this sounds great, but in practice we are not sure about its full effectiveness. We will have to get one in for a full review.

Continue reading: ECS A890GXM-A(U) V2.0 Black Series motherboard exclusive hands-on (full post)

ECS P55H-AK Black Series motherboard exclusive hands-on

Cameron Wilmot | Motherboards | May 26, 2010 5:35 AM CDT

Yesterday we stopped by the ASRock headquarters in Taipei to check out a couple of their new goodies ahead of Computex next week and today we dropped into ECS who showed us a couple new motherboards that they will be showcasing at the big show next week.

First up we got a look at the ECS P55H-AK Black Series motherboard. It is a brand new board part of its P55 family that supports Intel Socket LGA-1156 processors with thanks to the Intel P55 Express chipset. The P55H-AK will be ECS' top gaming board with lots of bells and whistles to boost performance. It supports full speed SLI and Crossfire by way of the included NVIDIA NF200 chipset that provides additional PCI Express lanes. Adding to the gaming side, ECS also uses the Realtek ALC899 chip for what they call excellent audio and they have also worked with Creative to add in Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 support.

Topping things off, ECS added not only one, but two NEC USB 3.0 controller providing four USB 3.0 ports - two on the back I/O panel and included is a cable that allows two USB 3.0 ports to be added to the front of your case or at the back of the case, depending on your preference. There is also not only one, but two SATA 6G controllers providing two onboard SATA 6G ports and two eSATA capable SATA 6G ports on the back I/O panel. Some of the other features and specs are listed in the image below.

Continue reading: ECS P55H-AK Black Series motherboard exclusive hands-on (full post)