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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #951

    Anandtech: Diablo III Delayed Until 'Early 2012'

    Holding true to their design ethos of Ship It When It’s Ready, Blizzard just changed the launch window for Diablo III from the end of 2011 to early 2012.
    “While this news might not be a complete surprise, I know that many of you were hopeful that Diablo III would ship this year,” stated Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaine. “We were too. However, this week we pulled together people from all of the teams involved with the game to decide whether we felt it would be ready before the end of December, and we grudgingly came to the conclusion that it would not.”
    The delay’s silver lining is the extension of Diablo III’s beta period. Blizzard began sending out invites to the closed beta earlier this week, and this could give them time to add even more players. You can still opt-in to the beta over at Battle.net.
    Blizzard’s 2012 calendar is now looking packed with Diablo III, the next chapter in Starcraft II, and another World of Warcraft expansion all tentatively scheduled for release. A busy year for a company that only ships when ready.
    Source: Blizzard


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    #952

    Anandtech: The Samsung SSD 830 Review

    Samsung is a dangerous competitor in the SSD space. Not only does it make its own controller, DRAM and NAND, but it also has an incredible track record in terms of reliability. Samsung SSDs were among the first I reviewed and while they weren't anywhere near the fastest back then, every last one of those drives is still working without issue in my lab today. It's also worth pointing out that Samsung SSDs are also one of the two options Apple rebrands and delivers in its Mac lineup. To continue to hold on to Apple's business for this long is an impressive feat on Samsung's part.
    In the early days Samsung actually sold reference designs to companies like Corsair and OCZ. Its partners could then rebrand and resell the drives, which they did. Samsung was still learning the market and after being overshadowed by Indilinx in the performance segment, Samsung retreated. Returning last year to the consumer market Samsung had a new strategy in mind: go directly after the channel. Seeing no point in reselling its designs to third parties, Samsung made its SSD 470 available to both OEMs and consumers alike. OEMs were free to obscure the Samsung name but consumers were told upfront what they were getting. Samsung even spent a good amount on packaging for their drive just to develop its brand.
    Although the 470 was a downright decent 3Gbps drive, it was competing in a world dominated by 6Gbps alternatives. Crucial's m4, Intel's SSD 510 and OCZ's Vertex 3 all offered better performance, at a similar price point. The only leg Samsung had to stand on was reliability, which believe it or not can sometimes take second place to performance depending on the target market. What Samsung needed was a faster drive that didn't sacrifice reliability and didn't move price points up. That's exactly what the Samsung SSD 830 is designed to do.
    Read on for our full review!


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    #953

    Anandtech: Star Wars: The Old Republic Dated and Priced

    Concrete details on the release of BioWare’s Star Wars MMO have finally surfaced. Star Wars: The Old Republic will release in North America on December 20 and Europe on December 22.
    The announcement also illuminated the game’s pricing structure. Simply purchasing the game ($59.99) will net you a 30-day subscription. After that, you have several subscription options, similar to those in World of Warcraft. A one-month subscription will cost $14.99, with three-month ($42) and six-month ($78) subscriptions offering slight discounts.
    BioWare’s pedigree and its successful history with the Star Wars license (Knights of the Old Republic) could drive sales this December. But with so many big, licensed MMOs going free-to-play (DC Universe Online, Star Trek Online), it will be interesting to see how long The Old Republic’s subscription model lasts.
    Source: BioWare


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    #954

    Anandtech: Broadcom Announces its first NFC Solution - BCM2079x

    Near Field Communication (NFC) is quickly shaping up to be a must-have feature in this next generation of smartphones. We talked about it briefly in the context of the Nexus S, where it promised to enable contactless payments, tag reading, easier pairing, and simple peer-to-peer transfer. Though there is only one practicable NFC contactless payment implementation to date in the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, more are coming as carriers and payment processors work out the details. To date, the implementations we've seen in the Nexus S have used NXP's PN544, and there are other NFC controllers on the market from Inside Secure and STMicroelectronics.
    Today, Broadcom is joining that fray with their own discrete NFC controller, the BCM2079x family, which it claims will offer lower power consumption and package size than the competition thanks to its 40nm design. This is a part specifically targeted at smartphones and other mobile NFC applications. Broadcom claims its design is 40 percent smaller and uses 40 percent fewer components compared to others.
    Of course the real long term question is how long it will be until Broadcom can integrate its NFC controller into its mobile combo chip lineup. These are parts like BCM4329 and BCM4330 which combine WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM radio into one package, and are hugely popular in the smartphone space. Broadcom isn't ready to talk about that roadmap, but no doubt adding NFC to that list and keeping it all under one roof in the same die is on everyone's minds. For now, the BCM2079x family pairs with BCM4330 and others to enable NFC-enabled Bluetooth pairing and other scenarios.
    Source: Broadcom


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    #955

    Anandtech: NVIDIA Releases Beta Drivers Specified for Battlefield 3

    NVIDIA has released beta drivers which have been coded Battlefield 3 in mind. The drivers are named as GeForce R285.38 and are available immediately from NVIDIA's site. Supported products range from as old as GeForce 6 series to the latest GeForce 500 series.
    The release comes at a good time since open beta of Battlefield 3 will be available on Thursday 29th (27th if you pre-ordered through Origin). NVIDIA claims up to 38% performance increase in Battlefield 3, as well as overall stability improvements. The beta drivers add better support for SLI configurations in a few other games too, such as Diablo III and Saints Row: The Third.
    Source: NVIDIA


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    #956

    Anandtech: ASUS to Launch UX21, UX31 Ultrabooks on October 11

    ASUS' new 11" and 13" Ultrabooks, the UX21 and UX31, were shown off earlier this year at Computex, and now they're ready to come to market: an ASUS teaser site cites October 11 as the big day.
    Both laptops sport 6Gbps SATA drives from Sandisk, as we reported earlier this year, a USB 3.0 port, and Sandy Bridge processors - pictures from the Computex model also show one USB 2.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a Mini HDMI connector. The UX21's 11" display has a resolution of 1366x768, while the 13" display on the UX31 ups that to 1600x900.
    As for price, the new laptops have apparently been priced in France: the UX21's starting price is said to be €799 (about $1100), with the UX31 starting at €999 (about $1350). This is roughly in line with what Apple and others are charging for machines in this form factor, though we'll have to wait to see what the official prices are in all territories.
    Source: ASUS, Maximum PC


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    #957

    Anandtech: Early Benchmarks and Teardown of LaCie Little Big Disk

    LaCie released its first Thunderbolt-equipped storage solution called Little Big Disk (LBD) last week, and some people have already received their units. A user ender21 over at MacRumors Forums has posted some early benchmarks and a small teardown of the 1TB version of LBD.
    Benchmarks
    For this test, a 6.22GB QuickTime video file was used. The file was moved from OWC Extreme 6G 120GB to the LBD, and back, to test average transfer speeds. The SSD configuration was also tested with a RAM disk to eliminate possible bottlenecks caused by the internal SSD.


    What is surprising is that the SSDs in RAID 0 deliver so poor performance. We are looking at only 20-30MB/s increase (40-50MB/s with RAM disk) in performance over two 7200rpm HDs in RAID 0, while even a single Crucial M4 should deliver speeds of over 500MB/s with incompressible data, such as a video file like in this test. It's possible that the SATA controller in LBD is SATA 3Gb/s, since at least the hard drives are 3Gb/s variety (not that they could take advantage of SATA 6Gb/s anyway). Even that wouldn't explain the poor performance though, because Crucial m4 gets speeds of around 270MB/s when connected to SATA 3Gb/s, so we should be looking at figures around 500MB/s when running RAID 0 with two drives. Thunderbolt can't be the limiting factor due to its maximum transfer rate of 1.25GB/s.
    Hopefully we will find out what is causing the low transfer speeds when we get our review unit, or if there is simply an error in these figures.
    Teardown
    {gallery 1411}
    The teardown doesn't reveal anything special. There are two 2.5" 7200rpm drives inside the chassis. This is a 1TB model with two 500GB hard drives, which turned out to be made by Hitachi, but it's possible that other brands are used as well. Upgrading the hard drives doesn't look too hard and there aren't many screws on the way either.
    The circuit board is shown in one of the pictures but there isn't anything surprising. The actual Thunderbolt chips seems to be covered by something, so we don't see its model number either.
    Thanks to Rick for providing us the benchmarks and pictures!
    Source: MacRumors Forums


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    #958

    Anandtech: Minecraft Pocket Edition Coming to Android on September 29

    The portable edition of Minecraft, the popular world building/sandbox/survival horror game by indie developer Mojang, is shedding its Xperia Play exclusivity and coming to other Android devices on September 29.
    The reveal video, linked below, shows a Mojang employee playing the game via touchscreen - look direction is controlled by swiping and player movement is controlled using an onscreen directional pad. Whether this control scheme works as well as a keyboard and mouse or even the Xperia Play's buttons remains to be seen.
    Minecraft Pocket Edition, which is at this point a product completely separate from the standard PC version of Minecraft, currently sells for about $6.50 on the Android Market. Like the PC version, it is being updated continuously and should see new improvments and features added over time.
    Source: Mojang


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    #959

    Anandtech: T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S 2 Available October 12

    This morning, Samsung officially announced the last set of details surrounding the relatively enigmatic T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S 2, which we have been following pretty closely. First up, Samsung has for a second time officially confirmed that the T-Mobile variant includes a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm SoC by making note of it in its press release, with the line:
    Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 Processor with 1.5 GHz dual CPUs
    In addition, DC-HSPA+ 42 Mbps support is still also officially on the spec list. We can also round out our table with the last of the details of all three USA-destined SGS2 variants. Interestingly enough, the T-Mobile variant also has quad-band WCDMA support, including the 850/1900 bands that would make it work on AT&T in the states. The reason for these bands being included is apparently to add support for Telus, which supposedly uses the same hardware.
    USA Samsung Galaxy S II Variants
    Carrier T-Mobile Sprint AT&T
    Name Samsung Galaxy S II on T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch Samsung Galaxy S II
    SoC Dual-Core Snapdragon 1.5 GHz Exynos 4210 1.2 GHz Exynos 4210 1.2 GHz
    Network Support DC-HSPA+ (MDM8220)
    GSM(850/900/1800/1900)
    WCDMA(2100/1900/1700/850)
    WiMAX + CDMA2000 1x/EVDO HSPA+ GSM(850/900/1800/1900)
    WCDMA(850/1900/2100)
    Display Size 4.52" SAMOLED+ WVGA 4.52" SAMOLED+ WVGA 4.3" SAMOLED+ WVGA
    Size 5.1" x 2.7" x .37" 2.7" x 5.1" x 0.38" ? x ? x 8.89 mm
    Storage 16 GB Internal, up to 32 GB microSD
    Cameras 8 MP Rear Facing w/LED,AF, 2 MP Front Facing. 1080p Video Recording
    WiFi/BT/NFC 802.11 a/b/g/n, BT 3.0, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 3.0 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 3.0, NFC(?)
    Battery 1850 mAh 1800 mAh 1650 mAh
    One of the most surprising things is that the T-Mobile variant now officially includes NFC support, and will launch running Android 2.3.5. The device will go on pre-order October 10, then for sale at select stores and dealers October 12. The Galaxy S II is expected to cost $229.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate card with a two-year service agreement.
    Source: T-Mobile/Samsung (PDF)


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    #960

    Anandtech: Samsung Reveals Omnia W and Korea-only Galasy S II HD LTE

    Samsung likes to fill a news cycle (expect more from them tonight), and so it's no surprise that on the same day that they reveal the details of the T-mobile SGSII variant, they also reveal a few other devices. First up, we have the Omnia W, which appears to be the international variant of AT&T's Focus Flash. The device sports a 3.7" Super AMOLED WVGA display, and rocks a Qualcomm single-core 1.4 GHz SoC while being the low-cost Windows Phone 7.5 option for non-US customers. The device will spread throughout Latin America, Asia and Europe after a late October launch in Italy.
    Second, we have something truly drool worthy, the Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE, a Korea-only product whose internals match the previously announced Galaxy S II LTE, marrying a 1.5 GHz SoC (likely Exynos) and LTE, but ups the ante with a 4.65" 1280x720 Super AMOLED screen. This variant yields a delightful 316 ppi pixel density, and joins the ranks of phones that are expected to sport HD resolutions in the coming months.
    Though the SGSIIHDLTE (Ed. note: Mouthful!) was only announced for Korean markets today, we can expect something similar to grace our shores before too long. High resolution screens will be the new dual-core in the smartphone market, and after enduring WVGA across all variety of screens, we will be glad to see it happen. PR below, and stay tuned for more Samsung news as it happens.
    Source: Samsung (1), (2)


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