Sharkoon Releases a Trio of 3.5-inch USB 3.0 Front Panels

Sharkoon Technologies has now introduced not one but three 3.5-inch front panels which offer easier access to a few precious USB 3.0 (aka SuperSpeed USB) ports. Two of the panels, the A and B models, include two USB 3.0 connectors, while the C version provides four ports.

The USB 3.0 Frontpanel A connects to two external SuperSpeed USB ports and costs 12.54 Euro, while the Frontpanel B and C, which can be hooked up to internal USB 3.0 headers, are selling for 11.51 Euro and 15.79 Euro, respectively.

ECS Announces Wi-Bridge Wireless Display Adapter

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the world’s leading motherboard, graphics card, barebone system, notebook and mobile device manufacturer has launched its first wireless display solution for HDMI display devices—ECS Wi-Bridge designed to delight your entertainment experience with wide and big screens.

ECS Wi-Bridge not only is small in size, but also smart in function. ECS Wi-Bridge is a lightweight, wireless display adapter which is portable and compact to save more space in your living room or on your office desk. ECS Wi-Bridge successfully breaks wired limitations and bridges your PC or NB to a big screen display supporting 1080P HD high quality resolution output via HDMI. ECS Wi-Bridge supports varying display modes meeting users different browsing performance needs. In addition to easy life, ECS Wi-Bridge is ideal for office use. Save time unplugging and easily switch between various presenters. You will find conferences smoother and more enjoyable.

Compliant With Different Systems
ECS Wi-Bridge supports every kind of common video/audio/photo formats. Transmitting via Wi-Fi connection, ECS Wi-Bridge can cover a range of up to 30 meters; and the utility can be compliant with iOS and Android systems. Moreover, easily control the content on your devices wirelessly with a remote control bundled in the package. ECS Wi-Bridge provides the best wireless solution to break the boundary between your PC and the couch

Introducing World's Smallest USB Stick

Today Dutch company Deonet known for their strange USB storage designs has yet again introduced something different. Deonet claims to have made the worlds smallest production USB stick. Coming in at a meager 31.5 x 14.8 x 7.3 mm, Deonets touts seem to be true.

The stick is set to hit the market in 4, 8 or 16 GB flavors at the PSI Düsseldorf this coming January. According to Gizmag, "It's based around something called the Micro UDP chip (where UDP stands for the USB Disk In Package assembly process, which sees the controller, flash IC, substrate and passive components molded into a very small, single package), which is less than half the physical size of other USB memory solutions."

Since this USB stick is so small its said to fit flush and is almost invisible on a dark surface. No pricing has been set by Deonet yet.

day, December 22 2011 Intel Xeon E5-2690 Sandy Bridge-EP Performance Leaked

We sourced a presentation, allegedly by Intel, detailing its Sandy Bridge-EP platform, and giving out early performance figures. After successful and trouble-free launches of its Sandy Bridge architecture across all PC form-factors, including the recently-launched Core i7 "Sandy Bridge-E" HEDT (high-end desktop), Intel is taking the architecture to its ultimate market, enterprise, where processors derived from it will make up new lines of Intel Xeon processor families. Intel has two branches of enterprise variations the architecture, Sandy Bridge-EN, designed for high-density, low-power servers, and Sandy Bridge-EP, designed for high-performance servers and workstations. Sandy Bridge-EP is multi-socket capable.

Sandy Bridge-EP uses essentially the same piece of silicon as Sandy Bridge-E, but enabled with several of its features otherwise off limits to the Core processor family. These include twoQuickPath Interconnect (QPI) links, which facilitate high-bandwidth inter-socket communication in multi-socket systems, up to eight cores, sixteen threads enabled by HyperThreading, and up to 20 MB of L3 cache memory. Like its Core family cousins, Xeon Sandy Bridge-EP packs a quad-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller, and PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600 MHz) is its optimal memory standard, but unlike it, supporting up to 768 GB of memory (by two sockets, eight DDR3 channels in all, LRDIMMs). Other key features are listed in the first slide below.

 Performance figures follow.

In its presentation, Intel claims up to 80 percent performance increments over the previous-generation Westmere-EP platform. A single Xeon X5690 six-core processor was set as a base line, and compared to a single Xeon E5-2690 eight-core processor. The chips were put through several enterprise performance and throughput tests, including OLTP Database (TPC-C Oracle), Middle-Tier Java (SPECjbb 2005), Integer Throughput (SPECint_base2006), Floating Point Throughput (SPECfp_rate_base2006), Memory Bandwidth (STREAM_MP Triad), and Matrix Multiplication (Linpack). Its results are graphed below.

Performance figures follow.

In its presentation, Intel claims up to 80 percent performance increments over the previous-generation Westmere-EP platform. A single Xeon X5690 six-core processor was set as a base line, and compared to a single Xeon E5-2690 eight-core processor. The chips were put through several enterprise performance and throughput tests, including OLTP Database (TPC-C Oracle), Middle-Tier Java (SPECjbb 2005), Integer Throughput (SPECint_base2006), Floating Point Throughput (SPECfp_rate_base2006), Memory Bandwidth (STREAM_MP Triad), and Matrix Multiplication (Linpack). Its results are graphed below.

Intel Cuts Prices of Sandy Bridge Mobile CPUs to OEMs

Intel notified its partners among OEMs and ODMs, price cuts of processors based on the "Sandy Bridge" architecture, by 10 to 15 percent, according to sources in the notebook industry. The company hopes that reduced prices will stimulate market demand, and help quicker digestion of inventories as it gears up to launch its new generation of Core processors based on the 22 nanometer "Ivy Bridge" silicon, in April 2012.

Major notebook vendors such as Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS, have already brought prices of their models based on the popular Core i5-2430 below US $659 (NTD 20,000), and those based on cheaper Core i3 models under NTD 13,000 (US $430). Intel's upcoming Core i5-3450 and Core i7-3370, which will be found in Intel's mid-thru-performance lineup of new-generation Core processors, are expected to be just about $10-$15 costlier than the chips they're about to displace. The two are expected to be priced in the range of US $184-332. It is expected that notebook vendors will convey these fresh price cuts to the end-user, resulting in slightly more affordable notebooks.

Buffalo Unveils New, 1 TB External Hard Drive

Buffalo Japan has this week announced a new addition to its MiniStation family, an all-white external drive codenamed HD-PCT1TU2-BWJ which offers 1 TB worth of storage space, and features a USB 2.0 interface, a glossy finish, and a power saving mode that can cut consumption by up to 20%.

Buffalo's drive measures 77 x 17 x 114 mm, it weights 210 grams, it comes with a one-year warranty, and is set to become available early next month (Japan gets it first, other markets will probably have to wait a bit longer). Its recommended price tag is 16,800 yen which is about US $215.

Razer Blade Delayed to 2012, Pre-Orders Get Free Razer Orochi Black Edition Mouse

Razer delayed the market release of its much touted Blade 17-inch gaming notebook. Originally slated for Q4 2011, it will now only ship sometime in Q1 2012. This delay is caused due to a last-minute specifications change, of using a 256 GB solid-state drive instead of a 320 GB hard disk drive (original specs). To those looking forward to buying it, Razer apologized for the delay, but to those who already placed orders (pre-orders) for the Blade, Razer announced that it's giving away coupons for a free Razer Orochi Black Edition gaming mouse that will ship with their Blades. Earlier this week, Razer announced a delay in shipments of its Tiamat 7.1 channel gaming headset.

PCI Express 3.0 Has Zero Performance Incentive for Radeon HD 7970: Tests

Over the last few months, motherboard manufacturers have been raising a big hoopla over how it's important to pick their products that feature PCI Express 3.0 (Gen 3.0) slots. There was even some drama between competing motherboard manufacturers over who was first to the market with this technology, even when consumers couldn't really make use of the technology. To begin with, you needed a next-generation Ivy Bridge CPU, then you needed a compliant graphics card. Sandy Bridge-E, fortunately, formally introduced the technology, complete with motherboards and processors that support it.

GPU maker AMD wanted to be the first to be out there with a GPU that's compliant with this interface, and so one thing led to another, and VR-Zone got to set up a test-bed using Core i7 "Sandy Bridge-E", ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (which allows users to change PCI-Express standard mode in the BIOS setup program, by forcing Gen 2 or Gen 1 mode), and an HD 7970, to see if running the GPU on PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 modes made any worthwhile difference. The results are in: zero, nada, zilch, sunna (zero in my language).

In its comparison, VR-Zone put the GPU through 3DMark 11 (a DirectX 11 graphics benchmark) and ComputeMark (a GPU compute shader benchmark that heavily loads system bus). The performance figures between the two were agonizingly insignificant. 3DMark 11 and ComputeMark are tell-tale tests of whether the GPU (and with it, its system interface) is at least getting loaded enough. You would much rather spend the money you saved to upgrade your current, perfectly-functional LGA1155 motherboard to an "ooh-Gen3" one, on a memory upgrade, before DRAM prices rebound.

One area, however, where Gen 3.0 could have a performance incentive, could be with future Ivy Bridge LGA1155 platforms, where to run 2-way CrossFire, the single x16 link from the CPU is split into two PCI Express 3.0 x8 links. Those numbers could be interesting.

Hasbro Sues Asus over Transformer Prime Tablet, Shouts Trademark Infringement

Shipment delays aside, Asus now has another problem involving its Tegra 3-powered Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet, a trademark lawsuit. Last week US-based toy maker Hasbro has filed a complaint with the Los Angeles federal court through which it accuses Asus of violating its uber-popular 'Transformers' trademark.

Hasbro is obviously annoyed with the name of Asus' tablet which combines two important brands - Transformers and Optimus Prime. To 'make things right', Hasbro is asking for monetary damages and a temporary injunction that would prevent the sale of the Transformer Prime in the US.

Asus didn't respond to the lawsuit but it's probably taking action to ensure nothing disrupts Transformer Prime sales. Announces Low-Profile Dual Port PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Card, a leading manufacturer of hard-to-find connectivity parts has announced the release of the (SKU: ST1000SPEXD2) Low Profile Dual Port PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Network Card – a PCI Express Network Adapter Card that supports high performance, dual-channel networking and maximum data transfer speeds of 1000 Mbps in each direction (2000 Mbps total) - up to 10 times faster than 10/100 Ethernet.

The network card is ideal for adding two separate Gigabit network ports to any PCI Express-enabled client, server or workstation, which enables the host system to connect to two networks simultaneously. The network card features a low profile design that makes it suitable for small form factor computers (servers, desktops), and includes an optional full profile bracket for installation in full-sized computer systems and larger servers.

The Dual Port PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Card (SKU: ST1000SPEXD2) offers the following features:
  • Supports features such as Jumbo Frames, VLAN tagging and Wake on LAN (WOL)
  • Fully compatible with IEEE 802.3/u/ab standards
  • Includes full and low profile installation brackets
  • Crossover Detection & Auto-Correction (Auto MDIX)
The Dual Port PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Card is available for purchase from leading technology resellers including Insight, and Dabs and will also be distributed by Enta, Ingram Micro and Micro-P. MSRP for this product is £133.99 in the United Kingdom.

LG Previews 27-inch 3D Monitor with an IPS Panel

LG Electronics has today unveiled in South Korea a sexy new (passive) 3D monitor, the 27-inch Cinema 3D DM92 series. While most details about this display will be supplied at CES 2012 in January, LG couldn't refrain from teasing and mentioned that the DM92 has a slim (1 mm) bezel and makes use of an e-IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel with 178/178 degree viewing angles.

The DM92 also boasts an LED backlight and hopefully it comes with a native resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels. Hopefully.

AMD Introduces the Radeon HD 7970 Graphics Card, The 28 nm Era Begins

Bring ye a fresh set of bragging rights because today AMD has (paper) launched the first graphics card powered by a 28 nm GPU, the Radeon HD 7970. Equipped with one Tahiti chip, this new, high-end offering is the first to make use of the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture which is claimed to deliver an improvement 'of over 150% in performance/sq mm over the prior generation.'

The Radeon HD 7970 also adopts the PCI Express 3.0 standard (which ensures a large, healthy bandwidth), and implements the PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore Power technologies that allow for 'higher performance levels while maximizing power efficiencies'.

"True to the maxim, 'never settle,' AMD is once again aggressively advancing the state of the graphics industry - this time with the arrival of the world's fastest single-GPU graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 7970," said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, GPU Division, AMD. "This graphics card represents a revolution in the graphics industry. To put it bluntly, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 changes everything!"

Spec wise, the HD 7970 offers 2048 Stream Processors, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, a core clock of 925 MHz, a 384-bit memory interface, and 3 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5500 MHz. AMD's card also packs a dual-slot cooler which uses vapor chamber technology, has CrossFireX support, and includes four display outputs (Eyefinity is obviously present) - one dual-link DVI, one HDMI 1.4a and two mini DisplayPort 1.2.

The Radeon HD 7970 has a recommended price tag of $549 and is expected to become available as of January 9, 2012. For the full scoop on the very first 28nm card be sure to check out the review found here.

Self-Repairing Circuits On The Horizon, Skynet, Here We Come

Engineers at the University of Illinois have developed what they claim to be "self-repairing electronic circuits", which have the ability to restore broken circuits, and restore the functionality of whatever uses them. The technology works at the level of the PCB design, countless microscopic capsules filled with liquid metal are placed along with everything else, as the circuit board is being made. When the circuit is broken at a point, those micro-capsules break, and the secreted liquid metal gets channeled into the path of the broken portion of circuit, closing it back up (restoring it). This happens at a very small and localized scale, and dramatically increases MTBF (mean time before failure), if done right.

The researchers behind this technology call it an excellent solution for electronics that are supposed to be fail-safe, such as avionics, electronics running commercial aircraft, so broken circuits could fix themselves mid-air, and become operational within microseconds. Terms like "self healing electronics" and "liquid metal" instantly bring back pop-culture references to Hollywood epics such as the Terminator, and its dystopian future brought about when one of those self-healing circuits is also made "self-aware". And no, those are just surface-mounted capacitors in the picture.

Asus ET2700 27-inch All-in-One PC Makes its US Debut

Previously showcased at CeBIT (in March) and Computex (in June), Asus' 27-inch ET2700 all-in-one PC has now been launched in the US where it's set to go head-to-head with the Apple iMac.

The ET2700 is equipped with an LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) MVA panel offering 178/178 degree viewing angles (and, depending on model, 10-point multi-touch) and features a Sandy Bridge processor (Core i3-2120, i5-2400S, i5-2405S or i7-2600S), up to 8 GB of RAM, Intel HD integrated graphics or an NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 1/2 GB card, up to a 2 TB hard drive, and either a DVD writer, a Blu-ray combo drive, or a Blu-ray burner.

Asus' all-in-one desktop also has a 2-megapixel webcam, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, an SD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, Sonic Master audio (a subwoofer is bundled with certain SKUs), and both D-Sub and HDMI outputs. The ET2700 runs Windows 7 (Home Premium or Professional) and has a starting price tag of $1,499.

MSI Announces GT780DX Gaming Notebook

What makes the GT780DX as the gamers' ultimate weapon? In terms of power, it features the Intel Core i7 quad core CPU and latest NVIDIA's top-end GeForce GTX 570M discrete graphics card with 3 GB of GDDR5 display memory, giving it superior performance, so you can enjoy smooth graphics even when playing the latest games in high resolution. The impressive performance also serves to greatly enhance game realism and make these machines the ultimate weapons for the extreme gamer.

Eric Kuo, associate vice president for global sales, MSI Notebook, explains that the latest GT780DX not only packs performance to keep the extreme gamer engaged, it also comes with a SteelSeries keyboard specifically designed for serious gaming. The new keyboard is much more rugged and the new design better meets the needs of extreme gamers to give you the edge in the heat of battle. MSI has also incorporated Dynaudio and THX TruStudio Pro envelope-pushing sound technologies for a riveting audio experience. Designed both inside and out for gaming, the GT780DX has got your back when you’re hip-pocket deep in goblin blood.

Powerful computing for ultimate gaming
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570M high-end discrete graphics card with 3GB GDDR5 display memory: The latest powerful GT780DX gaming NB sports the nVidia GeForce GTX 570M discrete graphics card with 3 GB of GDDR5 display memory. They also feature large-capacity GDDR5 high-speed display memory coupled with nVidia's powerful display core, greatly enhancing performance and it supports Microsoft DirectX 11 and nVidia PhysX. PhysX delivers more impressive destruction and explosions, while DirectX 11 enhances the details of gaming graphics and offers unparalleled visuals.

Intel 2nd generation Core i7 quad core processor: MSI's GT780DX features the Intel second generation Core i7 quad core processor. To kick up performance a few notches, the new generation Intel Core i7 processor supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0, a technology which automatically allocates processor resources in accordance with processor load, thereby enhancing the core speed of each core to maximize computer performance.

32GB of memory: MSI's new top-of-the-line GT780DX gaming notebook sports four DDR3 memory slots giving it an unprecedented 32GB of memory. It also comes with RAID 0 accelerated dual hard disk architecture which doubles hard disk storage capacity, while increasing read-write speed by some 70%.

TDE technology: The GT780DX uses MSI's own Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) technology, so just one touch of the luminescent Turbo hotkey located above the keyboard instantly revs up performance. The GT780DX also has MSI's own powerful Cooler Boost technology; so again, just one touch of the luminescent hotkey above the keyboard kicks in the powerful cooling function to rapidly reduce system temp to enhance system stability.

Fusion of craftsmanship and SteelSeries keyboard
Just plain cool looking: The exteriors of the MSI GT780DX gaming notebooks make you feel like you are at the controls of a starship and the matte black aluminum-magnesium alloy chassis adds an extra touch of class. What’s more, they come with metal brush finish with layered luster and SteelSeries gaming keyboards with five LED backlighting modes. When the battle fleet sounds the call to battle, you can switch on the LED lighting to enhance that futuristic feel.

Windows function key relocated: Responding to cries from gamers, MSI got together with gaming equipment manufacturer Steelseries to create a keyboard for the GT780DX. Not only is the keyboard more rugged, the Windows function key has been repositioned to the right side to reduce the possibility of accidently striking it when you’re surrounded by bad guys. Larger Ctrl and Alt keys: Most keyboards employ relatively small Ctrl and Alt keys, making it easy to punch a nearby key by accident when you’re playing FPS games. The GT780DX’ Ctrl and Alt keys were enlarged to reduce that possibility.

Backlighting for the task at hand: The GT780DX lets you choose from among five keyboard backlighting scenarios—Normal, Gaming, Wave, Breathing, and Dual Color. Gamers will also appreciate the fact that the frequently used W, A, S, D, and Ctrl keys located on the left side of the keyboard are all backlit. Simply depress the Gaming Mode hotkey at the top of the keyboard to light up the LED backlighting at the bottom left side of the keyboard. The rest of the keyboard remains dark, so you can find the keys you need quickly even in the middle of a white-hot battle.

The ultimate digital multimedia center
High-end cinema sound: World-class leaders in sound technology from the Danish firm Dynaudio carried out countless precision calculations and studies to measure the best location and distance between user and laptop speakers to determine the ideal location for speakers on the GT780DX. The result: ideal line of transmission for sound waves for pure, crisp, faithful stereo reproduction to give you the perfect, obstruction-free multimedia experience. THX TruStudio Pro smart wrap around sound offers performance heretofore available only in cinemas and works in tandem with the cutting-edge speakers, so that the GT780DX reproduces each and every sound faithfully, regardless of music or sound type. Full HD display: The MSI GT780DX sports a 17.3-inch full HD screen and comes with Cinema Pro technology for a crisper picture and richer colors. It also has an HD720p webcam, so you can engage in clear, hiccup-free video conferences with friends and family anywhere in the world.

Latest USB3.0 ports: The GT780DX comes with USB3.0 which boasts transfer speeds of 4.8Gbps—10 times faster than USB2.0, so a 25Gb HD film transfers in just 70 seconds. It also provides 80% more power for vastly faster charging speeds for external hard drives, flash drives, and other handheld electronic devices.

ASRock Readies the Fatal1ty X79 Professional (LGA 2011) Motherboard

Since apparently six X79 motherboards aren't enough, ASRock is now putting the finishing touches on yet another LGA 2011 model, the Fatal1ty X79 Professional. This new, gamer-oriented board supports Intel's Sandy Bridge-E processors, and features a 2oz copper PCB, Premium Gold Caps, four DDR3-2400 memory slots, ten SATA ports (six are likely 6.0 Gbps while the rest are 3.0 Gbps), and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots enabling CrossFireX or 4-way SLI setups.

ASRock's latest Fatal1ty offering also comes with one PCIe x1 and two PCI slots, six USB 3.0 ports (four on the back plate, two more via a header), a debug LED, 7.1 channel audio, two eSATA connectors, one Fatal1ty mouse port (USB 2.0, allows users to set the mouse polling rate to 500 Hz), Gigabit Ethernet, a FireWire port, and a Clear CMOS button. Moreover, the board has UEFI BIOS, extras like the XFast USB and XFast LAN technologies, and is bundled with a 3.5-inch I/O panel providing two USB 3.0 ports.

The Fatal1ty X79 Professional has yet to be priced or dated but we'll keep an eye out for it.

Cost-Effective Radeon HD 7900 PCB Already In The Works

A little earlier today, we showed you pictures of AMD's first Radeon HD 7900 series single-GPU PCB that makes use of digital-PWM power delivery. Some of the first batches of Radeon HD 7900 graphics cards will stick to that PCB and board design, as it's backed by AMD's engineering. Even as the SKU's launch is less than 24 hours away, there are pictures of AMD's cost-effective Radeon HD 7900 PCB surfacing on Asian media sites. Once ready, AMD add-in board partners can opt for this cost-effective PCB if they want to fine-tune their prices. It looks like AMD is ready well ahead to face competition from NVIDIA, with its GeForce Kepler 104 (GK104) GPU.

The cost-effective PCB, without any components laid, is pictured below. The first picture shows its obverse side, the second, its reverse side. The PCB is completely up to speed with everything Tahiti GPU will need. It has provision for two 8-pin PCIe power inputs, an 8+2 phase cost-effective analog VRM, probably driven by a cost-effective CHIL controller, and a different display output connector loadout. It has provision for two DVI, and one each of HDMI and full-size DisplayPort. Partners can still use a single DVI connector, and keep their cards single-slot capable. Provisions for 12 GDDR5 chips are right where they should be. There is nothing eventful in the reverse side, just traces for all the supportive components.