card The Daily VR Zone News Summary   5 April 2011

In today's news roundup:

  • Reviews of AMD's Radeon HD6790 graphics card have started making their presence known on the Internet;
  • Thermaltake's Level 10 GT chassis gets reviewed;
  • A group of Windows Phone 7 hackers have released an update that allows existing WP7 users to get the latest Microsoft NoDo patches for their smartphones without having to wait for carriers to officially roll out the update;
  • More information about Dell's elusive Alienware M14x notebook gets revealed;
  • Japan is attempting to proceed on with life as usual by announcing that the Tokyo Game Show 2011 event will take place as planned, and
  • EA has launched their new online-only, free-to-play version of Battlefield.

Hardware news

Thermaltake Level 10 GT Case Review
Description: Taking some cues from the original Level 10, Thermaltake hopes to be able to capitalize on it by offering a more down to earth 'GT' version. Not only is the Level 10 GT more affordable, it's also smaller and lighter, but has it lost all that made the original such a work of art?

Mach Xtreme Technology MX-GX 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
Description: The Mach Xtreme MX-GX USB 3.0 Flash Drives offer incredible read speeds and come in 4 different flavours: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB or 64GB; they are also priced competitively, the 16GB model being found at CaseKing.de for about 29.90 Euros.

Synology DS-211J Diskstation Two-Bay NAS Review @ Tweaknews
Description: Synology's DS211j is a great addition to an expanding home network. Not only does it provide storage and backup solutions, it also offers print and media server capabilities, website hosting, PC-free downloading, and much more at a price that is easy on the wallet.

OCZ Vertex 3 Solid State Drive Tests @ Benchmark Reviews
Description: The OCZ Vertex 3 SSD is based on the second-generation SandForce's SF-2281 SATA 6Gb/s controller and maintains all of the original core technology introduced in the original SF-1200 series, but now improves SSD performance with 20% faster IOPS and 40% faster sequential read/write throughput. OCZ promises 60,000 IOPS at up to 550 MB/s transfer speeds with the Vertex 3 SSD, and Benchmark Reviews confirms that they're keeping this promise with tests of the new storage device on a B3-stepping Sandy Bridge platform against the Crucial RealSSD C400.

Sapphire Radeon HD 6790 1GB Video Card Review
Description: If all those NDAs last month weren't already enough for everyone, we start the NDA run for April nice and early. With AMD having taken care of the high end segment with cards like the HD 6970 and HD 6990, while also taking care of that mid-range – high end segment with cards from the HD 6800 series, it was only a matter of time 'till we saw some more mid-range, cheaper cards hit the market. Considering NVIDIA released the GTX 550 Ti last month and more mid-range models are rumored, it comes as no surprise that AMD are starting to release their line-up. The first comes in the form of the HD 6790. It's clear that the xx30 naming scheme didn't work for them in the past, so it seems they've decided to look at a 50, 70 and 90 line-up now.

Thermaltake Armor A30 SFF Chassis Review
Description: Now, when most people think SFF, they immediately gravitate to Lian Li or Silverstone, but dreams of building a portable gamer on a budget usually get dashed by the cost of a full aluminum chassis, or maybe the configuration and airflow aren't up to par to handle the powerhouse you plan to put in the smallest package possible to impress your friends and foes at the next LAN event. Thermaltake jumped in with both feet and threw the A60 in the dryer for a while until it was just the right size. Not in reality, just conceptually.

AMD Radeon HD 6790 1GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
Description: AMD wanted a video card to fill in the price and performance gap between the Radeon HD 6850 and the Radeon HD 5770. The release of the Radeon HD 6790 graphics card at the $149.99 price point should fill that gap and give the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti a run for its money. Read on to see how the AMD Radeon HD 6790 compares to dozens of other cards and yes, we also overclock it and show you the thermals and power numbers!

Radeon HD 6790: Ace Up The Sleeve @ InsideHW
Description: Last month, NVIDIA nicely summed up this year’s first quarter with GTX 550, which seemed like a great competitor against Radeon HD 5770. Everything would have been perfect for the Americans if AMD hadn’t already planned the counterattack for the very beginning of the second quarter, or to be precise, 5th April. The new Radeon is named HD 6790 and is somewhat of a modification, or a weakened version of, Radeons HD 6850/6870, based on the Barts GPU. As such, this model is based on the VLIW5 architecture, which is somewhat old and doesn’t belong to the truly high-class Radeons; all chips from the Cayman family are based on VLIW4 (Very Long Instruction Word). Besides, the Barts chip located in HD 6970 has been weakened in order to replace the already obsolete HD 5770…


Consumer Electronics and Software news

See your location history dashboard and more with Google Maps 5.3 for Android
Description: Today, we’re happy to announce Google Maps 5.3 for Android, which lets you see your Google Location History dashboard, check in at “home,” and add your own aspects for places when rating them.

Bing Becomes a Default Search Option for Firefox
Description: Companies like Microsoft and Google have a major advantage due to their sheer size; they can optimize their extra products (such as IE9 and Chrome) for their existing services (such as Bing and Google search). As such, the fact that Microsoft is losing ground with Internet Explorer is significant for all their additional products. Internet Explorer 9, with its more minimalist structure, better hardware acceleration, improved security, and faster overall load times, is an attempt to re-capture that ground – and it’s little surprise that IE9 is also fully integrated with Bing. What may be somewhat surprising, though, is that Microsoft has been working to integrate Bing with Firefox – their top browsing competitor.

Apple followers have difficulty coping with Android's fame
Description: Fanzine Apple Insider appears to be having a little difficulty when it comes to the fact that Apple is slowly losing the mobile operating system wars to Android. Faced with web analytics statistics that say that Android is kicking the Apple OS's bottom, Apple Insider elected to say the complete opposite to keep the reality distortion field going.

Raptor Gaming M3X gaming mouse: 4800DPI of fail
Description: The newly released M3X gaming mouse is the latest gaming mouse from German gaming peripheral maker Raptor Gaming (being distributed by CompuExpert here in the United States). The M3X has a good feature set and it's certainly comfortable, but a critical, physical design flaw quickly makes it irritating and annoying to use.

Get Windows Phone 7 NoDo on your phone now
Description: For those of you who can’t bear to wait around for your carrier or Microsoft to push out the NoDo update to your Windows Phone 7 device, great news. Chris Walshie of Team ChevronWP7 (the folks behind the WP7 “jailbreak”) released a tool on his blog that allows all WP7 device owners to update their phone to the latest version of Windows Phone 7. The update works on any WP7 phone (that use the supported languages: English US, English UK, French, Italian, Spanish and German) and has the pre-NoDo update, NoDo update 1 & 2 all in one process. As usual, this is an unofficial method to update your phone, so make sure you know what you’re doing before attempting anything, but from reports so far; the update seems to work great. Head here for more details and let us know if you decide to use the update.

More shots, specs of Alienware M14x surface
Description: Thanks to Chinese tech site Zol, the previously leaked M14x gaming notebook from Alienware has been more fully uncovered. The specs also have been made more concrete, with a quad-core, 2.3GHz Core i7 CPU and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M both being present to give it relatively fast gaming. The notebook will also get Klipsch speakers and a stainless steel nameplate that can be engraved.

Next-gen iPod Nano to Also be a Tiny Camera?
Description: The previous generation of iPod nano had more features than the current one. The older model packed a bigger display as well as a video camera to capture 720p video. While the quality wasn't great, it gave a very popular music player a camera that worked for casual capture uses.


Gaming news

Tokyo Game Show 2011 To Proceed As Planned
Description: Following Japan’s recent 9.0 earthquake last month, many events and services were delayed or shafted, people were concerned if it affects the Tokyo Game Show this year. Fortunately, the organiser CESA has confirmed that the event will proceed as planned from September 15 to September 18 at the Makuhari Messe just outside of Tokyo.

EA Launches Battlefield Play4Free
Description: EA's free online battlefield has gone live. Battlefield Play4Free opened to the public this morning, combining the most popular maps from Battlefield 2 with the classes and weapons of Bad Company 2 for 32-player shootouts.

NGP could be delayed by Japanese earthquake
Description: Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton says supply-chain disruptions caused by disaster may delay the forthcoming portable in some regions.