thin The Daily VR Zone News Summary   24 June 2011

In today's news roundup:

  • TechSpot has shortlisted a total of six sub-US$200 gaming PC cases which it claims are capable of capturing the attention of most gamers who have a slightly tighter budget where their PC's hardware is concerned;
  • Seagate has officially launched its new Momentus Thin line of mechanical hard disks for tablets, which it claims are the world's first ultra-thin hard disks to boast a maximum height of 7mm;
  • BAPCo's woes do not appear to be disappearing anytime soon, considering how it has just suffered yet another setback in the form of NVIDIA and VIA Technologies Inc announcing their resognation from the consortium, citing conerns about SYSmark2012's outdated method for measuring performance as the main cause;
  • Telstra has reportedly confirmed that the Gingerbread update for the old HTC Desire smartphone is a go, but that it will come at the price of losing the popular Sense UI that has been a distinctive feature available on all HTC-branded smartphones;
  • Word has it that the reported Diablo 3 "external beta" will be revealed to the public on the first of August this year, and
  • Yet another trailer of Black Rock Shooter: The Game has been released online, with this one showing off the gameplay aspects of the title.

Hardware news

Arctic Accelero Xtreme Plus II @ Madshrimps
Description: Arctic , previously known as Arctic Cooling has a long reputation in creating silent yet very powerfull cooling components. This all at an afforcable price. Most known are the versatile GPU coolers. Versatile as most models can be used on a wide range of reference PCBs. This being it ATI/AMD or Nvidia based. Today we received their brand new revised version of the Accelero Extreme Plus. Well you guessed it this slightly revamped version is called the Plus II. Victim of the day is our hot GTX480 Fermi card. Easily reaching over 80°C in gaming and close to meltdown when being tortured with Furmark

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
Description: ASUS has a long history of great performing motherboards. Hopefully the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX motherboard will continue that history. The ASUS Sabertooth is the first ASUS AM3+ motherboard to come across the Legit Reviews test bench. Featuring support for the up and coming "Bulldozer" Octo-core processors as well as many other features it looks like it will be a great motherboard! Are the looks going to be deceiving? Read on to find out!

ASUS EAH5550 Review @ ocaholic
Description: With the EAH5550 ASUS has AMD's low end product in its portfolio that comes with PCB layout made by ASUS themselves. This card is based on the RV870 architecture which has been fully reworked for the entry level market. Never the less we're curious how this thing will perform in our benchmark parcours. For a small teaser: this card proves quite decent and overclocking was a lot of fun.

Intel 510 Series 250GB SSD Review on Technic3D (German)
Description: The Intel 510 Series SSD 250GB arrived Technic3D. Available in 120GB and 250GB configurations. Results in extreme performance with up to 500 MB/s sequential read and 315 MB/s sequential write speeds? We will check this and more against the SSDs from Corsair, OCZ, Western Digital and G.Skill.

ASUS MATRIX GeForce GTX 580 1536MB Platinum OC’ed Video Card Review
Description: Over the last few months we've seen MSI do some wonderful things to the GTX 580, releasing the model into its Lightning series and then during Computex re-releasing the GTX 580 in 3GB form also under the Lightning series; but in this case it was the Lightning Xtreme Edition. Someone else has done something with the GTX 580, but I can't really remember who; it's probably got something to do with the fact we haven't seen it. Anyway, the latest company to go all out with the model is ASUS with it getting the ROG MATRIX treatment. Imagine a facial with an electric sander to make everything smooth. It's big, it's fat, it's got lots of extra buttons and it looks powerful. Today we intend to find out if it performs as good as it looks, because oh does it looks good.

Gaming Case Roundup: Six Sub-$200 Choices
Description: With dozens of affordable, well-equipped desktop cases begging for your cash, it can be a nightmare to find the right one for your needs. Hoping to simplify your building experience, we've assembled a shortlist of six unique sub-$200 enthusiast chassis that deserve your attention. Included in our roundup is BitFenix's flagship Colossus Venom Edition, and their new budget Shinobi mid-tower. The Cooler Master Storm Enforcer and the highly acclaimed HAF X making an appearance in Nvidia-green. Rounding up the review is Lian Li's LanCool PC-K63 chassis and Thermaltake's Chaser MK-1.

Seagate Announces Hard Drives For Tablets
Description: Seagate officially launched its new Momentus Thin line of HDDs in conjunction with the introduction of the upcoming ARCHOS 80 G9 8-inch tablet and the ARCHOS 101 G9 10.1-inch tablet, both of which will feature a Momentus Thin drive. The company is promoting the new HDD line as the "world's first" ultra-thin 2.5-inch hard drives for ultra portables including tablets and slim laptops.


Consumer Electronics and Software News

Sandberg StreetBlaster Stereo Headset Review @ Real World Labs
Description: Thanks to its massive 57mm speaker drivers the audio clarity and bass levels of the Sandberg StreetBlaster Stereo Headset easily make it one of the best entry to mid-end music oriented headsets we have ever used.

Nvidia, Via Technologies Confirm Quitting BAPCo.
Description: Nvidia Corp. and Via Technologies confirmed on Thursday that they had quit BAPCo (Business Applications Performance Corp.) due to disagreements over the scoring system of SYSmark2012 which does not take graphics card's role into account while measuring performance in applications that are considered by many as outdated.

Acer Iconia A500 – Honeycomb on a Budget
Description: Next in our series of Honeycomb tablet reviews is the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The A500 was the second Honeycomb tablet to go on sale, and is one of four on the market at present, all of which are very similar. They share basic specs—10.1” 1280×800 displays, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 underhood, 1GB LPDDR2 RAM, 16-64GB onboard NAND, front and rear facing cameras with HD video capture, basic wireless connectivity options, and stock versions of Android 3.0/3.1 Honeycomb (albeit with different preloaded software packages). The hardware similarities makes things like design and price that much more important, and the latter is where Acer seemed to have an edge.

Samsung seems confused about Chromebook
Description: Having seen a bit of guff on Chromebooks before, we had to admit that two blokes wearing suits did not seem to fit the description of what one would look like. Neither did it fit the somewhat vague description in the release. Apparently the Chromebook is powered by an "Intel Dual Core". It is not clear if this was a Yonah, Allendale, Merom-2M, Wolfdale-3M, Penryn-3M or something more modern which was not discontinued in 2010. We know they are supposed to be dumb terminals, but surely Chromebooks are not going to be that dumb.

Nokia's Android flirtations revealed
Description: We don't know if this device is "super confidential" or not, but we've just come across yet another Nokia N9 lookalike with a non-MeeGo operating system on board. Well, it looks that way, anyhow. There's no way to verify that the Android homescreen we see above is a legitimate Gingerbread installation and not a mere screenshot (the resolution looks all wrong, for one thing), but the source of this image is the same Chinese fellow that posted a picture of Nokia's Windows Phone prototype, the Sea Ray, way back in May, so we're inclined to believe he's got an inside line on these things. Additionally, the undersized Android UI elements on the screen actually encourage us to believe that this is indeed a Nokia testing device — if we were going to fake something like this, we'd use a regular screen grab for our tomfoolery — and Stephen Elop has openly admitted that Nokia spent a couple of wild seconds contemplating a switch to Android. Well, folks, here's what that alternate future might have looked like.

Skullcandy Unveils Retro Looking Vandal iPhone Speaker Dock
Description: For those unfamiliar with Skullcandy, they’re a company that produces skate/punk styled headphones, usually with pretty loud graphics and colors, fitting the whole skate/punk look if that’s what you’re aiming for. In their latest offering, the Vandal iPhone speaker dock, it looks like the company may have decided that just this once, to step away from the whole skater/punk image, and if only for just this particular product.

Telstra: HTC Desire will lose Sense to get Android 2.3
Description: The planned upgrade to Android 2.3 for the HTC Desire has been an "on again/off-again" story. Now the Gingerbread update appears to be back on again, as Australian wireless carrier Telstra has scheduled the software update for the Desire in August.


Gaming news

Diablo 3 Beta Details Arriving Soon?
Description: There's talk that details surrounding the reported Diablo 3 "external beta" will be revealed to the public on August 1st. The news arrives after Blizzard quietly distributed an invitation to a special Diablo 3 press event at their campus in Irvine, California just days prior on July 27.

Black Rock Shooter: The Game In-game Trailer
Description: Looks like Black Rock Shooter: The Game is gearing up much hype in Japan, Imageepoch has another trailer which contains some gameplay and vocals. The game is headed for a August 25 release this year.

Team Fortress 2 Is Now FREE To Play
Description: One of the greatest PC games ever has gone free. Team Fortress 2 is now available on Steam at zero price beginning today. The F2P announcement comes as part of the “Über Update” released today, it is the largest content pack delivered to TF2 since it shipped in 2007