XBOX 720 Rumors

The Xbox 720 is the industry nickname for Microsoft’s next big addition to the console gaming and multimedia entertainment market. Given the popularity of the Xbox 360, it was inevitable that Microsoft would want to build on that success with a new and superior product and the company confirms that it began considering the next generation almost as soon as the current Xbox began to ship.

Rivals Sony have let slip that their own PlayStation 4 will also be shipping sometime in the next couple of years, estimating that it will hit the stores not much later than the Xbox 720 (codenamed “Durango”). Sony have a longer and more impressive track record as a purveyor of addictive games console technology than Microsoft and there’s considerable loyalty among PS gaming fans. Future purchasers will be looking both at the new consoles’ speed and graphical excellence from a gameplay perspective; but the winner in battle of the consoles will also need to compete on multimedia capabilities.

One hot rumour is that the new Xbox will incorporate a Blu-Ray drive. When the Xbox 360 first shipped, the format wars were still ongoing and Microsoft was a stanch member of Team HD DVD. Now that Blu-Ray has soundly trounced its rivals to become the reigning multimedia format, it seems an absolute certainty that both consoles will include Blu-Ray.

Another solid bet is that the new Xbox will have HDMI and Wi-Fi as standard. The Xbox 360 Elite offers HDMI; as of 2012, Wi-Fi also comes as standard. More to the point, the The PS3 already comes with Wi-Fi Ethernet and Bluetooth so we can reasonably assume that the PS4 will, too. To remain competitive, the Xbox 720 needs to match these capabilities.

The Xbox 720’s processor is another major focus for speculation. Rumours that the PS4 would be sticking with the PS3’s Cell processor have been quashed and industry insiders now believe it will employ an AMD x64 CPU. The Xbox 720 will need to compete with that to attract serious gaming enthusiasts. It’s probable that Microsoft will turn to its partner IBM for the latest in processor technology. IBM’s Power6 chip, a dual core 4.7GHz server CPU, would give the Xbox a serious edge over its rival. Rumour has it that the Xbox 720 will contain two GPUs for faster graphics.

Fans who have amassed a large collection of games and a virtual trophy cabinet of achievements needn’t fret. The Xbox 720 will almost certainly be backwards compatible, allowing you to play all your existing games, and achievements you’ve unlocked on the Xbox 360 will probably be carried over too. The Xbox 360 still has a lot to give and Microsoft will certainly continue supporting it after the Xbox 720’s release.

The new console could theoretically stand the gaming industry on its head, capitalising on the ground that Microsoft has already gained in the gaming and entertainment market. A firm launch date has yet to be announced but 2014 seems a likely estimate.

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AMD Interlagos – the biggest change in x86 servers in a decade – available in Q4

AMD will release the first Opteron server processors to feature its new “Bulldozer”  32-nanometer cores. This is world’s first 16-core x86 processor, codenamed “Interlagos”.

Compatible with existing AMD Opteron 6100 Series platforms and infrastructure, “Interlagos” is expected to launch and be available in partner systems in the fourth quarter of this year. Many of the initial shipments have been earmarked for large custom supercomputer installations that are now underway.

This is a monumental moment for the industry as this first ‘Bulldozer’ core represents the beginning of unprecedented performance scaling for x86 CPUs,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Products Group. “The flexible new ‘Bulldozer’ architecture will give Web and datacenter customers the scalability they need to handle emerging cloud and virtualization workloads.

To find out more about the new Cores, take a look at the interactive video below…

Acording to AMD, the new processor cores offer up to 50% more throughput as AMD’s current 12-core Opterons while sitting in the same power envelope.

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AMD launches ATI Catalyst 10.8 drivers

AMD just rolled out this month’s major Catalyst software suite release, Catalyst 11.8 WHQL. The software provides the latest WHQL-signed drivers for AMD Radeon GPUs, AMD accelerated processing units (APUs), and AMD chipsets with integrated graphics. This release sees the fusion of AMD Overdrive System (CPU) with GPU overdrive. Both AMD processors and Radeon GPUs can be tweaked using a single application in the Vision Control Center. CPU Overclocking in Vision Center, however, is only supported on Black Edition processor models.

In the GPU driver front, Catalyst 11.8 brings a few major performance improvements, including a 10% performance improvement for Crysis 2 DirectX 11, for both non-Anti-Aliasing, and application enabled Anti-Aliasing modes; 8% performance boosts in FEAR 3 DirectX 11 with application enabled Anti-Aliasing; and a significant 20% boost in Call of Duty Black Ops for single and multi-GPU setups. AMD has redesigned Morphological Anti Aliasing (MLAA) code to boost performance of all applications with MLAA enabled, by up to 30%.

The ATI Catalyst 10.8 drivers can be downloaded here.

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AMD Catalyst 11.7 WHQL Released

AMD just released this month’s major update to its Catalyst software suite, Catalyst 11.7 WHQL. The new driver introduces a few major bug fixes, and provides WHQL-signed support for the recently released AMD A-Series APUs, apart from Radeon GPUs and AMD 8-series and 7-series chipset-integrated graphics.

AMD claims to have fixed all outstanding issues related to cursor-lag; a variety of system hangs noted when using HDMI or DisplayPort outputs have been fixed; a number of video playback issues, some generic and some application-specific, were resolved; the “checkerboard” pattern display corruption issue related to Eyefinity on CrossFire setups in DirectX 10 games was fixed; and flickering issues related to Portal 2 were fixed.

The driver doesn’t introduce any new features or performance improvements, but with greater stability, improved performance should naturally follow.

Download AMD Catalyst 11.7 WHQL

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The new iMac goes all out

The new iMac from Apple has arrived in a new form and hardware configuration. Based on a new quad-core processor, a new AMD HD graphics card, Thunderbolt technology, FaceTime HD webcam, the new iMac is a desktop workhorse disguised as an all-in-one wonder.

Powered by quad-core processors, the new iMac is the fastest yet with up to 70 percent faster than the previous generation. Every model in the lineup comes standard with the latest Intel Core i5 quad-core processor. You even have the option to configure the 21.5- or 27-inch iMac with the Intel Core i7, the fastest quad-core processor available.

Besides the powerful processor, you can add up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and an ultrafast 256GB solid-state drive, and you’ve got a modern rig that can handle just about anything.

With the AMD Radeon HD 6750M or the AMD Radeon HD 6970M for the top of the line, iMac performs even better than before. So you see more frames per second in 3D games, and you can edit HD home videos with more speed and responsiveness than you ever thought possible.

Ultrafast and ultraflexible, the Thunderbolt port features two 10-Gbps data channels for data transfer that’s up to 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. And it offers unprecedented expansion capabilities for a new generation of high-performance peripherals. The new 27-inch iMac gives you not just one but two Thunderbolt ports.

Get more of your friends in the picture with crisp, widescreen HD video. The new FaceTime HD camera lets you make FaceTime video calls in 720p resolution. Make HD calls from one new iMac to another or to a new MacBook Pro. You can also make video calls to other Intel-based Mac computers, iPad 2, iPhone 4, or the latest iPod touch.

An interesting fact is that when you buy your new iMac from the Apple Online Store, you have the option to swap Magic Mouse for Magic Trackpad at no extra cost. With Magic Mouse, you can perform simple gestures across its smooth, seamless top shell. Scroll in any direction with one finger, swipe through web pages and photos with two, and click and double-click anywhere. For full gesture support, opt for Magic Trackpad. Made with a touch-friendly all-glass surface, Magic Trackpad is the largest Multi-Touch trackpad made by Apple. So there’s plenty of room for scrolling, swiping, pinching, or rotating.

The price for the 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1199 while the price for the 27-inch iMac can come up to $1999 (with full specs). Not cheap I might say.

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HIS launches 6790 IceQ X 1GB GDDR5

HIS veils HIS 6790 IceQ X 1GB GDDR5, loading with HIS performance-leading cooling technology and silent configuration, the new model designs for our most demanding gamers to experience a truly outstanding performance and spectacular image quality.

HIS 6790 IceQ X accelerates advanced PC gaming by running at 840MHz core clock and 4,200MHz memory clock. What’s more? The new model equips with stunning array of advanced technologies, such as AMD Eyefinity technology, AMD’s second-generation of DirectX 11-ready graphics, and AMD EyeSpeed technology. The combined configuration delivers dramatic visual and gaming experience, making it the ultimate solution for performance gamers.

Main Specs:

Cooler GPU Core Clock Memory Clock Memory Size Memory Type Memory Interface Interface
IceQ X 6790 840 MHz 4200 MHz 1024 MB GDDR5 256 bit PCI Express x16 (PCI Express 2.1)

For more info, please visit the product page.

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Sapphire Radeon HD 6790 Graphics Card

SAPPHIRE Technology, the largest manufacturer and supplier worldwide of graphics solutions based on AMD technology has just announced a new graphics card delivering all the key features demanded by the latest games and applications – but at an exciting new price point.

The new SAPPHIRE HD 6790 shares many all the capabilities of the successful SAPPHIRE HD 6800 series, including multi-screen gaming with AMD Eyefinity, support for all the advanced graphical features of Microsoft DirectX 11 and delivering spectacular video clarity, speed and visual effects, including 3D stereoscopic displays.

The SAPPHIRE HD 6790 uses the latest AMD GPU architecture, with a total of 800 stream processors and 40 texture units delivering massively parallel computing power for graphics and other accelerated applications. Its core clock speed of 840MHz, together with a dedicated 256-bit high speed interface to 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1050MHz (effective 4.2Gb/s) delivers class leading performance.

Advanced hardware features include an enhanced Tesselation unit, dedicated HDR Texture compression, multi-threaded communication with system CPU cores, embedded support for DirectCompute 11 instructions, 3D stereoscopic support and HDMI 1.4a. It boasts a very modest active power consumption and, using Dynamic Power Management, the card has a super low-power idle mode.

Video, audio and 3D
Like previous generations, the SAPPHIRE HD 6790 has an on board hardware UVD (Unified Video decoder). This technology is now in its third generation, considerably reducing CPU load and delivering smooth decoding of Blu-ray and HD content for both VC-1 and H.264 codecs, as well as Mpeg files, including support for Multiple Video Coding for Blu-Ray 3D.

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio is supported, and HDMI 1.4a compatibility provides deep colour, enhanced high resolution output for Digital Theatre applications and 3D stereoscopic support as well as 7.1 high bit-rate audio.

Eyefinity
In addition to spectacular image clarity, speed and visual effects, the SAPPHIRE HD 6790 supports the AMD multi-monitor mode known as Eyefinity. This allows a single GPU to display images as a single layer surface over an array of several monitors, opening up exciting possibilities not just for multi-screen gaming but also for productivity in business applications as well as information systems, multimedia systems and promotional displays.

The HD 6790 has two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort output, allowing a wide choice of monitor configurations to be used, including AMD Eyefinity support for three screens, of which one must be DisplayPort or connected with an active adapter.

Accelerated applications
The multiple stream processors of the HD 6790 can be used to accelerate other applications such as video transcoding. The latest generation of web browsers can be GPU accelerated, and this is also supported for enhanced productivity in Microsoft Office 2010.

The SAPPHIRE HD 6790 is supported by AMD’s DirectX 11 WHQL certified graphics driver which delivers support for all of the key DirectX 11 level features required for enhanced gaming experiences as well as GPU acceleration of supported applications.

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