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Archive for June, 2012

If you’re building a silent PC, nothing beats a passively cooled GPU. Ditching all those spinning fans works wonders for noise levels! Unfortunately, most passively cooled video cards tend to be less-powerful models; with great power comes greater thermals, after all. Colorful, a Chinese graphics card maker, is bucking that trend and working hard to bring a fanless GTX 680 to the market.

The iGame GTX 680 trades in the traditional fan for two massive aluminum heatsinks, each of which sports seven 6mm copper heatpipes and 140 cooling fins. Six 8mm copper heatpipes handle the heat exchange between the two heatsinks, bringing the grand total up to two heatsinks, 20 heatpipes and 280 cooling fins with over 200 square meters of combined cooling area.

Yep, it’s big.

We don’t know quite how big, though: Colorful hasn’t come clean with any final specs or measurements for the passively cooled iGame GTX 680, nor pricing or release information. The prospect of a dead-silent GTX 680 is mighty intriguing, though, and we hope to hear more in the near future.

Check out all a bunch more pics in the gallery below, all of which come courtesy of EXPreview.

Via Geek.com and EXPreview


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Have you ever looked down at your mouse and said to yourself, “You know, I wish this doubled as a touchpad”? If so, your days of peculiar self-musing are over, as Gigabyte recently launched an intriguing new device called the Aivia Xenon dual-mode touchpad mouse. (Try saying that three times fast!) It’s like the input equivalent of a mullet, except this bad boy’s all business in the front and the back.

A handy-dandy switch on the side lets you switch between the two modes. It looks a bit oddly shaped (and probably uncomfortable) for a mouse — in fact, the pictures make it look more like an itty bitty router than anything else — but the Aivia Xenon sports a 1000dpi resolution and supports several multi-touch gestures when it’s in touchpad mode. If you’re the presenting type of person, the mouse/touchpad/whatever can operate up to 30 feet away from its base computer and packs in “Aivia Painter software” that allows you to mark up any document you have open.

Check out more info over on the Aivia Xenon page at the Gigabyte website.


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Microsoft’s Surface tablet sure looks nifty, but will it cost the company the support of its OEM partners? Several sources have said that OEMs are mighty, mighty displeased that Microsoft took a heavily hands-on role in the design approval of other companies’ Windows tablets, only to soon thereafter introduce a kick ass-looking Windows tablet of its own. LG bowed out of the tablet game the very night that the Surface was announced, and a new report says the shenanigans may cause HP to yank its Windows RT plans, too.

TechCrunch pointed us towards SemiAccurate — not the most confidence-inspiring name, there, though it refers to the semiconductor industry — whose multiple sources say that HP is scrapping its Qualcomm-based Windows RT tablet in response to Microsoft’s questionable antics and the rumored sky-high $85 price tag for licensing Windows RT.

“With Microsoft mandated awful designs and a $90 OS tax that Microsoft doesn’t have to pay, that would be about 15% of the rumored $600 MSRP, OEMs can’t hope to be competitive,” SemiAccurate’s Charlie Demerjian writes.

The site’s sources claim that other OEMs are considering jumping off the Windows RT ship before it even makes its maiden voyage. No technology partners have come public with complaints about the way Microsoft handled Surface, but when AllThingsD asked Steve Ballmer what OEMs thought of the surprise announcement, all he would say is “No Comment.”

“If Microsoft had access to its OEM designs and knew what they were going to ship and how they were to be priced and marketed, can PC OEMs ever trust Microsoft?” industry analyst Patrick Moorhead — a longtime AMD exec and OEM partner — asked on Forbes.

What do you think: can they?

UPDATE: HP has confirmed they’ll be skipping Windows RT to focus on x86-based tablets, though an HP spokesman told Bloomberg that the company reached that decision prior to Surface’s unveiling. He didn’t say why the company waited until today to make the decision public.


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Nexus 7

It’s been a week dominated by Google. The Nexus 7 tablet looks to finally be the product that we’ve all been waiting for – a decent Android tablet for under £200.

We’ve had a play with it and can report that we like it very much….

Hands on: Google Nexus 7 review

Ever since Android starting making its way onto tablets the market has been crying out for an aggressively priced product. So it’s not before time that Google finally launches its own device, a 7-inch, 8GB tablet for just £159. The Nexus 7, which weighs in at just 340g, packs a 7-inch screen with 1280×800 resolution and is powered by a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU, is also available in 16GB flavour for £199. For the money you’re getting so, so much: a quad core Tegra 3-powered device with a 12-core GPU and a HD screen. Then there’s the most advanced version of Google’s Android, and the fact you can get a wealth of new content in the shape of magazines and an ever-growing library of content in the video department.

Nexus Q

Hands on: Google Nexus Q review

Along with the Nexus 7, Google also just announced an Android-powered media streamer named the Nexus Q. Think Apple TV with open standards but an even higher price. The idea is that you marry the Nexus Q with your Android smartphone or your Nexus 7 tablet, and stream music or movies through it to your TV. Google is obviously taking shots at Apple and its iOS and Apple TV setup. That said, the Nexus Q is a whopping $299 (through the Google Play store). That’s a lot to pay for a device that essentially does less than competing solutions, and offers a confusing counter to the Nexus 7’s reasonable pricing. We look forward to giving the Nexus Q a proper test, but for the time being that price looks a little bit too high.

11-inch MacBook Air 2012 review

MacBook Air 2012 review

While Apple doesn’t own the exclusive rights to the super-skinny notebook guest list any longer, it is still the market leader. But while the latest MacBook Air impressed us greatly, the wow-factor has worn off slightly, due to this being the third iteration of the current design. In a market becoming densely populated with slim-line laptops from a massive range of manufacturers, Apple still holds the trump card with the MacBook Air – but only just. And as such, we fully expect a design overhaul from the Cupertino-based tech giant in 2013.

LG Optimus L7 review

LG Optimus L7 review

The LG Optimus L7 may have style, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark compared to the competition, with too much thought put into the design making the user experience feel forgotten and rushed. It does have a decent 4.3-inch display which provides strong, vivid colours and smooth video playback. The inclusion of NFC is a nice feature, along with the programmable Tag+ sticker included in the box, which makes the technology more useful than just having NFC alone on the handset. We were also impressed with the battery in the Optimus L7, which can easily last a couple of days with moderate use. But all these useful features are sadly put on the back burner thanks to the incredibly slow processor and user experience.

This week’s other reviews…

Camera lenses

Hands on: Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens review

Cases

Corsair Vengeance C70 review

Enermax Fulmo GT review

Compact Cameras

Nikon Coolpix S4300 review

Hands on: Olympus TG-1 review

Desktops

Chillblast Fusion Cosmos review

DSLR/Hybrids

Nikon D3200 review

Flash memory cards

Lexar Professional 133x SDXC 64GB review

Graphics cards

AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition review

Laptops

Toshiba Satellite P875-102 review

Samsung Series 5 550P review

MSI GT70 review

Acer Aspire V3 review

Advent Monza N2 review

Hands on: Dell XPS 14 review

Hands on: Dell XPS 15 review

Media streaming

Hands on: Google Nexus Q review

Mobile phones

Samsung Galaxy SIII (AT&T) review

Operating systems

Hands on: Windows Phone 8 review

Hands on: Android 4.1 review

Printers

Epson Stylus Photo 1500W review

Software

Serif PhotoPlus X5 review

Tablets

Storage Options Scroll Extreme 9.7-inch tablet review


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A new Catalyst software suite, version 12.6, is available from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for Radeon and FireStream graphics card owners. The new driver packages, which play nice with Windows XP on up to Windows 7, offer up additional Dual Graphics Technology profiles for a handful of DirectX 9 games, and also stomp out a series of bugs that are mostly applicable to Windows 7.

Otherwise, there isn’t a ton going on with the new drivers, which is somewhat disappointing now that AMD has moved away from a monthly Catalyst release schedule. At the same time, those seeking performance boosts are free to give AMD’s Catalyst 12.7 beta drive suite a spin.

The 12.7 beta release improves performance by up to 25 percent in Skyrim, up to 20 percent in Total War: Shogun 2, and up to 12 percent in Wolfenstein MP, as well as improvrd performance by single-digit percentages in more than half a dozen other titles.

AMD Catalyst 12.6 Release Notes
AMD Catalyst 12.7 Beta Release Notes

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