st The Daily VR Zone News Summary   26 April 2011

In today's news roundup:

  • ARM is reportedly next in line to support OpenCL, which means that the standard is now being officially backed by all major CPU and GPU manufacturers;
  • AMD hints at what might eventually be a partnership with the likes of ARM in its upcoming software developers conference;
  • Sony has announced two "Sony Tablet' that will reportedly be optimized for multimedia and productivity and will run off  Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system;
  • The Samsung Galaxy S II tablet gets reviewed;
  • Nintendo has finally announced its Wii successor that will be unveiled in 2012, and
  • A new demo of Star Ocean showing off the game's "out of this world" graphics engine has been released.

Hardware news

ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe Motherboard Review @ Vortez
Description: That drive to produce excellence no matter what the product has helped them to secure an enviable reputation as one of the PC world's top manufacturers. Even the HTPC market is in their sights with ASUS aiming squarely at the compact home cinema market with their brand new E35M1-I Deluxe. Using the ultra compact ITX form factor the board packs a truck load of current features like USB 3.0, SATA 6.0Gbps (courtesy of AMD's Hudson M1 chipset) and AMD's low power Zacate E350 dual core processor.

HIS Radeon HD 6850 & 6870 IceQ X Turbo Crossfire Review
Description: The factory-overclocked 6870 IceQ X Turbo X and HIS Radeon HD 6850 IceQ X Turbo have upgraded coolers and are meant to be the fastest 6850 and 6870 graphics cards available out of the box — albeit at a premium price. The 6870 IceQ X Turbo X is currently retailing for $250, while the 6850 IceQ X Turbo costs $190. Being the inquisitive type, we're determined to see if the extra fee is worthwhile.

Sentey Arvina GS-6400B Full Tower Case Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: The Sentey Arvina is a feature packed full-tower gaming case. The Arvina full-tower case is part of Sentey’s Extreme Division line and comes in red, blue or black. The Sentey Arvina supports the latest dual-GPU video cards and the largest aftermarket heatsinks. To keep system components in optimal thermal condition, the Sentey Arvina comes out of the box with six fans pre-installed, which can be turned off through a fan controller at the top. Users can also connect an eSATA enclosure or a SATA HDD through an external extension on the top I/O module of the Sentey Arvina.

Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB DDR5 DX 11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: The Radeon HD 6670 looks to take over its predecessor's, the 5670, position in the market. With the 6670, we get an increase in architecture that boosts computing performance. The core clock is set to 800 MHz and the memory 1GHz, 4GHz effective. Onboard memory for the HD 6670 equals 1GB of 128-bit GDDR5. There is an increased SIMD core, giving a total of 480 stream processors and 24 texture units. Similar to the previous generation, there are 32 Z/Stencil ROP units and 8 color ROP units. The 6670 has support for DX11, Eyefinity, and AMD App Acceleration.

Kingston sees stable DRAM prices, slight NAND supply constraints
Description: Contract prices for DRAM chips are set to be flat in the current second quarter of 2011, and will likely trend upward in the third and fourth quarters, according to Kingston Technology. Kingston said it has so far seen little impact on the worldwide DRAM industry supply chain from the recent disasters in Japan. There are rumors of shortages of manufacturing-use raw materials, such as silicon wafers, circulating in the market.

ARM jumps in to OpenCL with both CPU and GPUs
Description: It looks like ARM is jumping aboard the OpenCL train, meaning all the major players are now behind the standard. It may not sound like all that big a deal, but it is, OpenCL is now officially supported top to bottom.

AMD Hints at Possible ARM Partnership
Description: AMD will be holding its first software developers conference, the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, from June 13 to 16. The purpose of the event is, we were told, to educate developers how to take advantage of AMD's hardware, which would be primarily its APUs. However, AMD also said that it would be releasing some information about its next-gen GPUs and how they can interact with software. The really interesting part of this conference is the fact that AMD sends out announcements highlight one of the big keynote speakers, ARM's Jem Davies.

Corsair Obsidian 650D review
Description: We review the Corsair Obsidian 650D. And yeah, they stripped away the removable front drive bays, made the chassis smaller and boom, the Obsidian 650D was born. A chassis that is just as impressive as its bigger brother the 800D really.


Consumer Electronics and Software news

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Headset Review
Description: Today we are looking at the Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma, which most notably uses the company's famous Sound Blaster name in order to swing attention away from competition and towards this product. Nothing really exiting with regards to the specifications list except that Creative has chosen to use a large 50mm driver like much of the competition. This large driver allows for greater mid range extension and clarity while providing an overall bigger sound from the headset.

Google Gmail Speeds Up with Background Sending
Description: The concept is fairly straightforward: rather than clicking send and waiting for a message to shoot off to the intended recipient, you can click send and move on right away while Google worries about getting your message through the wires. If any issues arise with sending the message, a notification will appear at the top of the screen, prompting the Gmail user to pop back and resolve the problem (e.g., wrong email address, internet connection timed out, etc.). Otherwise, the user will get a notification once the message has officially been sent.

Sony Announces Optimally Designed “Sony Tablet” with Android 3.0 that Complements Network Services for an Immersive Entertainment Experience
Description: Sony Corporation (“Sony”), announces “Sony Tablet” that delivers the perfect combination of hardware, content and network with seamless usability for a high-quality, engaging entertainment experience. Based on decades of engineering heritage, Sony is developing two tablets with unprecedented design, including S1 (codename) which is optimized for rich media entertainment and S2 (codename) which is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. “Sony Tablet” will become available in the global market starting in fall 2011.

Samsung Galaxy S II – Thin @ Computing on Demand
Description: Samsung is doing a good job at hyping us up for their Galaxy S II Android powered smart phone. The Galaxy S II is impossibly thin at just 8.49 mm and still manages to pack a 4.3" Super AMOLED screen. Meanwhile, the thin design doesn't look like it will inhibit processing power as the phone comes with a Dual Core processor accompanied by 16/32GB of memory. With all the excitement surrounding the second iteration of the Galaxy phone, I can only hope that the cell phone carriers will not cripple this as they did with the first series…

Open Office and Libre Office duel over versioning
Description: During all of the fuss over Oracle’s (NASDAQ: ORCL) announcement that it intends to move OpenOffice to a community based project, the release of OpenOffice 3.4 Beta 1 flew under most people’s radar. This is the first beta release since The Document Foundation split from the OpenOffice project, and released the competing Libre Office suite by forking the OpenOffice code base. Conflicts in the version numbering is causing confusion.

Dell's New Mobile Workstations: These Are The Laptops You're Looking For
Description: Having had the chance to check out Toshiba's and HP's impending enterprise-class notebooks, more and more I'm convinced spending up is the way to go when it comes to buying a notebook that both looks and feels like quality. While Dell's Precision notebooks are still a little boxy and aren't quite the ladykillers the new HP EliteBooks are, there's still something very austere and functional about them that puts consumer-grade laptops from any manufacturer to shame. If you're one of the people that didn't much care for Dell's new XPS line, these may be for you.

Android 2.3.4 rumored adding GTalk video chat support
Description: The next update for Google’s Android 2.3.4 for smartphones is rumored to be adding Google Talk with video chat support. An alleged Samsung employee with the Twitter profile @MAFiA303 has tweeted that they have used the feature on the Nexus S, equipped with the yet to be released Gingerbread 2.3.4. The features is expected to be officially unveiled at Google’s I/O developer conference scheduled in the next two weeks.


Gaming news

Nintendo Sees Profit Falling 66%, Announces Wii Successor For 2012
Description: Nintendo posted a new financial report today, and in a nutshell, things aren’t looking too good. The company’s net profit dropped a whopping 66% to $944 million in the fiscal year that ended March 31, compared with $2.78 billion in the same period a year earlier. Revenue in the same time frame fell 29.3% to $12.2 billion.

Five Things That Will Surprise You About Prey 2
Description: Bethesda Softworks recently invited members of the gaming press to Park City, Utah, where the publisher revealed some of the games it plans to release in the coming year. Among those games was Prey 2 — a follow-up to the long-delayed 2006 shooter Prey, from developer Human Head. But Prey 2 isn't quite the game any of us expected. Here are the five biggest surprises that Prey 2 has in store for fans.

Star Ocean developer's real-time graphics demo is out of this world
Description: This video shows off the new graphics engine created by Star Ocean dev tri-Ace to great effect. While not based on any existing game (or future title), it does feature clever cameos by a couple recognizable characters — and looks absolutely stunning…