The Daily VR-Zone News Summary – 22 Mar 2011

ateliermeruru The Daily VR Zone News Summary   22 Mar 2011

In today's news roundup:

  • Japan has suspended the production of almost a quarter of the world's supply of silicon wafers as a result of the recent earthquake;
  • Intel's new batch of Celeron processors based off the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture appear to have had most of their video processing capabilities deliberately crippled in order to fit the 'entry-level' moniker;
  • Buffalo unveils its new sleek piano-black MiniStation and DriveStation portable hard disks;
  • Adobe releases a patch for its Flash platform which was recently found to have suffered from a zero-day vulnerability;
  • The upcoming Atelier game, also known as Atelier Meruru, has been reported to be the final installment of the the Arland series, and the limited edition of the game will reportedly come bundled with its own Nendoroid, and
  • Legend of Heroes and Ys maker Falcom have revealed that they're working on an original RPG for Sony's upcoming NGP console , and there are plans to make the new game into a launch title

Hardware news

XFX HD 6950 XXX Graphics Card Review @ Tweaknews
Description: Overall, the XFX HD 6950 XXX 1Gb is an excellent graphics card for the consumer wanting a HD 6950 with a little better performance and an extensive amount of additional overclocking headroom. When overclocking, it seemed like I couldn't hit the limit and is by far one of the best overclocking cards I have tested in recent memory.

PowerColor AX6990 4GBD5-M4D Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
Description: The PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 takes a slightly different tack, as the full complement of shaders (1536) is always available from each GPU. There is a BIOS switch that unlocks the core clock and the GPU voltage for the more adventurous among us. Normally that kind of enhancement-on-a-switch might seem a bit ho-hum, but with the power of 5.3 billion transistors on board, there are physical limits that must be respected. Heat and power go hand in hand, and some say it's folly to try and pack this much power into a single package. It's better to! have two cooling systems, and two slots, and two sets of PCI-E power connectors to spread the load, they claim. They may be right; we'll just have to test it and see…

Antec Six Hundred V2 Mid-Tower Gaming Case Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: One entry in the budget gaming category is the Antec Six Hundred V2 Mid-Tower Gaming Case. The Six Hundred V2 comes with all of the same features as the original Six Hundred, but with one minor change, there is a 2.5" HDD hot swap bay instead of a 3.5" hot swap bay. The Six Hundred has 3 external 5.25" drive bays and 6 internal 3.5" drive bays. The rear has 7 expansion slots. The Six Hundred has excellent cooling with a large 200mm TriCool blue LED fan on the top and one 120mm TriCool blue LED fan on the rear. HDDs can be front loaded with a removable panel that can also house 2 more 120mm fans, if needed.

ASUS Ultimate GeForce GTX 550 Ti Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
Description: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti graphics card is going to be a popular gaming graphics card in 2011 due to it's lucrative $150 price point. When the GeForce GTX 550 Ti was launched last week we noticed that ASUS came out of the gate with not one, but three cards for this series. We take a look at their fastest card, the ASUS UL ENGTX550 Ti DC/DI/1GD5, which is clocked at 1015MHz!

Thermaltake Jing CPU Cooler Review @ OCIA.net
Description: Thermaltake is known for a variety of products — everything from cases to CPU coolers. Today we are going to take a look at one of their new CPU coolers – the Thermaltake Jing. The “Silent by Design” tag line indicates this will likely be a quiet cooler. CPU coolers have a tendency to be either very quiet or very efficient, but hitting both can be a challenge. The Jing was noticeably absent from Thermaltake's CES lineup earlier this year so this will be our first look at this new cooler.

ASUS GTX 570 DirectCU II Review @ ocaholic
Description: With its GTX 570 Direcet CU II, ASUS shows a factory overclocked version of the NVIDIAs GTX 570 GPU. Additionally this card got an overworked power design as well as ASUS huge triple slot cooler. This should therefore be both more powerful and more silent.

Japan Earthquake Suspends Production of 25% of World's Silicon Wafers
Description: The Japanese earthquake has resulted in the suspension of one-quarter of the global production of silicon wafers used to make semiconductors. Manufacturing operations have stopped at Shin-Etsu Chemical’s Shirakawa facility. MEMC Electronic Materials also stopped manufacturing at its Utsunomiya plant. Together, these two facilities account for 25% of the global supply of silicon wafer used to make semiconductors, according to IHS iSuppli.

Intel’s Sandy Bridge Celerons video features fused off
Description: In as much as we appreciate that Intel (INTC) is selling a range of CPUs and some of them have had certain functions fused off in the manufacturing process to create a range of models, something that has been done for years, we’re none too impressed by Intel’s latest move. The Intel Celeron B810 might only be an $86 mobile CPU, but Intel seems to have gone one step too far with the scalpel and cut out pretty much all of the graphics related features that makes Sandy Bridge’s graphics worthwhile.


Consumer Electronics and Software news

Buffalo unveils sleek piano-black MiniStation and DriveStation
Description: Buffalo Technology, a global leader in the design, development and manufacturing of storage and wireless networking solutions, has announced a stylish design for its external storage range. Available now, the glossy, piano-black MiniStation portable device and the DriveStation desktop hard drive, will allow users to add additional external storage to any computer or laptop simply using a USB port.

Nikon Coolpix Digital Camera Battery and Travel Charger from Battery Heads @ TestFreaks
Description: I’m sure you own a digital camera, pretty much everyone does these days right? Depending on the type of camera you have it might not use standard batteries, and that can be a hassle as you don’t readily have access to a spare. I take a lot of pictures and go through batteries quickly but I haven’t got the chance yet to get a spare battery from my Nikon Coolpix. Recently I was contacted by a company called BatteryHeads.com and they asked me to review one of their brand of batteries under the brand name TechFuel, and I said sure. They were also kind enough to send me along a travel charger with it. So read on for a quick review of what I received.

BlackBerry PlayBook Available for Pre-Order Today for $499
Description: BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM’s foray into tablet territory, is now available for pre-order in three different versions, starting from $499.99.

Adobe follows Google, patches major Flash exploit
Description: Adobe has issued a patch for all platforms affected by the critical vulnerability in Flash Player 10.2.152.33 and earlier versions. The Adobe patch follows the updated version of Chrome issued by Google on Monday which included a fix for the issue. Adobe has issued a new bulletin explaining the flaw and the steps that users need to take in order to install the patch.

T-Mobile offers LG G-Slate for $529
Description: Are you in the market for a tablet and somehow haven’t gotten bitten by the amazing iPad 2 bug just yet? Well, there are some good looking alternatives around, and LG also has something from their stables that entices itself to jump into the palm of your hands after you decide to part with $529 for this, courtesy of T-Mobile. Of course, this price point comes about after a rebate and when you decide to sell your soul to the mobile carrier for a 2-year contract. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, the LG G-Slate will come with an 8.9-inch display, powered by the tablet-specialized Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, coupled with two 5-megapixel cameras that are located on the back of the device which can do 3D video and HD video, as well as a front facing camera for video call purposes.

Amazon’s Android App Store: Your New Android Market
Description: The alternative app store for Android is now live—however much Apple doesn't like others using the term "app store,"—where US Android owners can download the new Angry Birds Rio game for free, along with 3,799 other apps. It's been years wandering the desert, but Android users finally have an app oasis of their own.

'Hummer' handsets now account for 24 percent of US smartphone sales, prove Steve Jobs wrong
Description: Remember when Steve Jobs had a dig at Apple's mobile competition and proclaimed that "no one" would buy their Hummer-like 4-inch-plus smartphones? Well, going by the latest NPD data, that group of "no ones" among US smartphone consumers is now a meaty 24 percent. Separating handsets into screen categories of 3.4 inches and below, 3.5 to 3.9 inches, and those above 4 inches, the stat mavens discovered that the midrange is holding steady, but smaller-screened devices are starting to lose out to their jumbo-sized brethren. No prizes for guessing that Android-powered devices were behind that big sales increase, with the HTC EVO 4G and Motorola Droid X leading the way, followed by Samsung's multivariate Galaxy S range. Now, care to tell us more about our mobile future, Steve?


Gaming news:

Atelier Meruru Announced, Limited Edition Includes Nendoroid
Description: The next Atelier game in the Arland series will be titled Atelier Meruru, a direct sequel after the events of Totori and Rorona. Meruru is a fifteen year old alchemist who stays in Earls, a country outside Arland. Atelier Meruru is the last of the Arland series and will feature a conclusion to the entire game.

PSA: XBL Deal of the Week now launches on Tuesdays
Description: Microsoft's Major Nelson has dropped a note on his Twitter account that the Deal of the Week promotion will now roll out each Tuesday instead of Monday. The Major noted further that the weekly promotion will now run each week from Tuesday until the following Tuesday.

Legend of Heroes Developer Readying NGP Launch RPG
Description: Sony's next generation portable system, NGP or whatever it ends up being called, is going to have some major RPG support right out the gate. Legend of Heroes and Ys maker Falcom have revealed that they're working on an original RPG for the platform, with a goal of making the new game into a launch title.

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