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News of the day

  • A 5770 EyeFinity 5 from Powercolor
  • ACC on AMD 8xx chipsets from ASUS/Biostar
  • Guide 3D TV: What you need to know / DVersus
  • Nec increases production of USB 3 chips
  • Gigabyte unveils X6 clocks
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     A 5770 EyeFinity 5 from Powercolor
      Posted on 18/03/2010 at 12:09 by Benoit - source: Powercolor
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    While we’re still waiting for the Radeon 5870 EyeFinity edition (in spite of AMD’s promises) Powercolor has announced a rather original card. The 5770 EyeFinity 5!

    In terms of its technical specifications, the card is rigorously identical to AMD’s own spec suggestions, with a GPU with 800 SPs, 16 ROPs and 1024 MB of GDDR5. The same goes for the clocks with the GPU clocked at 850 MHz and the memory at 1200 MHz. The cooling system has been changed for an in-house solution however. The main difference comes in terms of displays as, as suggested by its name, this atypical 5770 supports EyeFinity on 5 screens! Remember that a traditional 5770 is limited to 3 screens and that the 5800s support up to 6 screens. Support for the said screens is very complete and it will be possible to set up screens at four different configurations. Note however that the card’s five outs are in mini-display port format, which will require the purchase of adaptors, as monitors of this format are very rare.

    No information as yet concerning availability or pricing of this card which may interest those who wish to set up a wall of screens, without for all that buying a 5800.

     ACC on AMD 8xx chipsets from ASUS/Biostar
      Posted on 18/03/2010 at 10:48 by Benoit
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    Thanks to the ACC feature now present on the majority of AM3 and SB750 southbridge motherboards, it is now possible to unlock one and even two cores of some Athlon IIs and Phenom IIs. If the success of the operation and stability of the final result are not guaranteed, a certain number of users have benefited from significant performance gains.

    This little sideline was supposed to come to an end with the advent of the SB850 southbridge, which no longer offered the ACC feature. Biostar and Asus have each announced a proprietary technology that allows the same result. Biostar’s “BIO-unlocKING” will be put into the manufacturer’s cards based on the 890GX, 890FX, 880G and 870 chipsets.

    On its side, Asus has announced the Core Unlocker, which will be introduced into the M4A89 series and onto cards used with an AMD 8xx chipset. In both cases, all that will be needed will be to press a button on startup so as to reactivate any possible inactive cores. With release of the Phenom II X6s approaching, it will be interesting to see if the Phenom II X4s can be unlocked to become Phenom II X6s.

    Remember nevertheless that the success of the operation is not guaranteed. It is possible that the disactivated cores (if they are there) may not be functional, or not function at the nominal clock of the processor.

     Guide 3D TV: What you need to know / DVersus
      Posted on 18/03/2010 at 10:36 by Vincent
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    2010 will be 3D's year. Or at least the year when the first lucky few can actually buy 3D equipment.

    There's no denying that the arrival of Avatar that really brought 3D to the public's attention. To accompany the film's release, a worldwide publicity machine ground into action, and suddenly everybody was talking about 3D. TVs, PCs, Blu-ray--there have been so many announcements about different technologies and formats that it's no surprise that lots of you have ended up confused.

    That's why we've decided to shed a little light on the matter with this article: it's a basic introduction to what you need to know about 3D, and should help you resist some of the marketing messages that will be coming your way very soon. We'll be looking at how 3D works, what it offers, how ouch it costs, when it will be available and what limits might hold it back.

    > Guide: 3D TV: What you need to know

    The Canon Pixma MP270 is the definition of an entry-level multifunction printer. Apart from a few details, it provides the same printing speeds and quality as the manufacturer's professional models, which, if the Pixma MP640 is anything to go by, can cost up to four times as much.

    Canon is offering a basic set of services (printing, scanning and copying), without any extra options that would probably go unused on a product like this.

    Unlike more advanced printers, the MP270 uses a single cartridge for colour printing, with cyan, magenta and yellow all in the same cartridge, rather than available separately.

    > Printer Test: Canon Pixma MP270

    We’ve got digital music players from an old hand and a surprising newcomer to add to our product survey today.

    Sony’s S-series Walkman range needs no introduction, but it’s worth taking a closer look at this new model for two reasons. First of all, Sony has positioned this player lower down the market, and second, because the controls look just like Mickey Mouse's face!

    The second new product comes from Transcend, a brand that’s new to the world of digital music players. So is this memory-card manufacturer set to trump its rival Sandisk?

    > MP3 Player Test: Sony S-Series Walkman and Transcend T.Sonic 860

    We’re adding a couple of entry-level NVIDIA cards to our product survey today. How do they do opposite the ATI offer?

    On the market since October 2009, the NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 512 MB is an entry level model with no great pretension. The card sits opposite the ATI Radeon HD 5450 in terms of pricing.

    NVIDIA are also giving us a slightly faster model than the GT220 for an extra 20 pounds: the GeForce GT 240 1 GB. Is it better adapted for gaming and how does it do opposite the Radeon HD 5570?

    Don’t forget you can check out all the results of our tests in the graphics card face-off. In addition, the performance tables allow you to judge the performance of each model in a second.

    > Graphics card test: NVIDIA cards for under 65 pounds

    We’ve just tested our very first compact super-zoom camera of 2010, the Ricoh CX3. It’s a slightly updated version of the CX2, released in 2009, with the same camera body and 10.7x zoom (28-300 mm equivalent), but now featuring a backlit version of the 10-Megapixel high-speed CMOS sensor.

    The market for compact super-zoom cameras is really taking off. In fact, no less than 13 different models with a zoom of 10x or higher have been announced for launch since January, with new releases due from heavyweight brands such as Nikon and Sony. Ricoh has updated its star super-zoom model, but the CX3 is very similar to the CX2, with the only real changes aimed at addressing the brand’s chronic digital noise issues.

    > Camera Test: Ricoh CX3

    Two new monitors are up for review today with an eagerly-awaited 23-inch Nec monitor, complete with IPS panel, and a hybrid monitor from Philips.

    With so many of our readers asking for a review of the Nec EA231wmi, we couldn’t refuse testing this sleek, professional-looking monitor. The IPS panel makes for wide viewing angles and it’s well equipped with VGA, DVI and DisplayPort connections, a four-port USB hub, and a pair of 2 x 1-watt speakers.

    Following on from the 220TW9, Philips is back with the 221T1 - a new hybrid monitor that’s compatible with Full HD. On paper, it has everything it takes to give the Samsung P2370HD a good run for its money, including a huge range of connections, a digital TV tuner and an upscaling chip similar to those found in TVs.

    The competition was tough, but only one monitor managed to get our five-star rating!

    > Monitor Test: an Nec IPS monitor up against a Philips monitor/TV

    The 17'' MacBook Pro is at the top of Apple's range of laptops. It offers powerful performance, a great design and record-breaking battery life--something we never thought we'd say about a computer with a screen as big as this.

    We've already seen its younger brothers, but now it's time to look at the biggest Mac laptop there is. The Apple MacBook Pro 17'' doesn't miss a trick and includes all the features of Apple laptops we've grown to love--but here, the one thing we hated, the glossy screen, has been replaced by a matte panel.

    > Laptop Test: Apple MacBook Pro 17''

    Two quite different Garmins have been through our hands over the last few days. On the one hand the nüvi 1245 City Chic, compact and light, designed for women. On the other, the nüvi 1490T, wide with more comfortable usage. To each his (or her) own.

    The Garmin nüvi 1245 City Chic is decidedly more feminine. Small, light, nicely designed, this is a product that's easy to carry around and means you won't get lost in the urban jungle.

    With a radically different philosophy, the Garmin nüvi 1490T sets store by its wide 5-inch screen. Comfortable to use and navigate with.

    > GPS test: Garmin nüvi 1245 City Chic and nüvi 1490T

    And for today, something for the girls! The Diva S7070, one of two phones currently in Samsung's Diva range along with the S5150. A dumb blonde?

    The Diva range has been designed with style in mind, if you like that sort of thing. Pearly white padding, fake pearls anyone? It has a 2.8-inch touch screen and 3.2 Mpixel camera with connectivity limited to GSM. You won't be doing a great deal of browsing on it then, but if you're out ticking off the items on your wish list widget (in-house Samsung TouchWiz interface), perhaps it has what it needs to appeal.

    > Phone test: the Samsung Diva S7070, touch for the girls

     Nec increases production of USB 3 chips
      Posted on 18/03/2010 at 10:22 by Benoit
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    The main motherboard manufacturers have all been offering USB 3 ports for some time. As chipsets don’t support this standard natively, an external controller is used. More often than not the NEC uPD720200. NEC say they have sold 3 million units of their controller, while they needed a year and a half to reach this figure for their USB 2 controller.

    The company has increased production capacities in order to be able to satisfy demand and reach a figure of two million chips produced monthly as of April 2010.

    As a fleet of properly equipped motherboards is a prerequisite for the increase in the compatible hardware offer, and vice versa, we can only salute this announcement.

     Gigabyte unveils X6 clocks
      Posted on 18/03/2010 at 08:14 by Benoit
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    After the release of the 890GX chipset, AMD is now preparing its Phenom II X6s, aka Thuban. While we have known the TDP and names of these processors for some time, there was still a question mark over their clocks.

    Gigabyte has today lifted the veil on this information by including the Thubans in its motherboard compatability list. Thus we learn on the Gigabyte site that the Phenom II X6 1055T will run at the respectable clock of 2.8 GHz, against 2.6 GHz for the X6 1035T. It therefore seems probable that the 1075T will see its clock increased to 3 GHz.

    If pricing is not excessive and performances do not disappoint, these processors could be worth a look for users of multi-threaded programmes. We can but wait for the official release then to get a better idea of performance.

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    March 17, 2010
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    March 19, 2010

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