In today's news roundup:

  • The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) has circulated a report claiming that SMC should be able to match Intel when it comes to shipping semiconductors with 3-D interconnects, and that both companies are now in a race to see who can produce the first chips which utilize 3D transistors;
  • AnandTech has published a guide which road warriors can make use of to help in the deciphering of the performance levels of today's mobile graphics hardware when browsing through the countless choices which are available in the notebooks that are currently being sold on the market;
  • Word has it that HP has entered a partnership with the Japanese girl idol group known as AKB48, and that the American multinational information technology corporation is launching a campaign where eight AKB48 girls will be promoting the company's PCs as HP Support Angels;
  • AMD has confirmed that it has hired two new developers, Michel Dänzer and Christian König, to work on the open-source driver stack fo r its graphics cards, and that it will be fully backing the open-source radeon and radeonhd driver projects for the Linux operating system;
  • John Carmack, the technical director of id Software, has reportedly claimed  in an interview that Nintendo's next-generation Wii U game console boasts much greater appeal for hardcore gamers as opposed to its predecessor, and
  • Atlus has announced a demo for Catherine which will hit the PS3 and XBL Marketplace on 12th of July.

Hardware news

Sentey GS-6000 Optimus Mid Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
Description: The GS-6000 Optimus ATX mid tower PC case by Sentey stands out from the crowded case market by offering bold looks and as sub $50 price tag. The Sentey Optimus comes with four case fans and is aimed at gamers that are looking to build a PC on a budget. Read on to see if the Sentey Optimus is a decent inexpensive case or if they made it too cheap and is something that you should avoid.

TSMC challenges Intel to 3-D semis
Description: TSMC should be able to match Intel when it comes to shipping semiconductors with 3-D interconnects. Despite Intel announcing the technology, it did not think that it could get the 3-D transistors in the shops before 2012. But according to a report circulated by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), TSMC's projected delivery of 3-D chips matches that of Intel. The report hints that there is a race on between TSMC and Chipzilla to produce the first 3-D chips.

Corsair Force 3 120GB Solid State Drive Review
Description: Just recently we had our first taste of the new SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with IMF T 25nm asynchronous NAND flash. On the surface the OCZ Technology Agility 3 looks pretty good; the 240GB model that we looked at is rated for 525MB/s read and 500MB/s write. The quoted maximum 4K random write IOPS are 85,000, an amazing achievement, but after a run of our new Fill Test Benchmark we weren't all that impressed any more.

Toshiba report STT-MRAM advances, expects gigabit chips within 3-4 years, to be cost competitive to DRAM
Description: Toshiba says that their newly developed perpendicular magnetization-type magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) device has excellent properties – and it can be a basic element towards a gigabit STT-MRAM device. The company says that these 'research results' are encouraging and they will now shift to the development of products. Commercialization of gigabit STT-MRAM is expected within 3 to 4 years.

AnandTech Mobile Graphics Guide, Summer 2011
Description: If desktop graphics hardware can be more than a little confusing, deciphering performance of mobile graphics parts can be (and has historically been) an absolute nightmare. Way back in the day it was at least fairly easy to figure out which desktop chip was hiding in which mobile kit, but both AMD and NVIDIA largely severed ties between mobile and desktop branding. They may not want to readily admit that, and in the case of certain models they still pretty heavily rely on the cachet associated with their desktop hardware, but it's by and large true. So to help you make sense of mobile graphics, we present to you the first in what will hopefully be a regular series of guides.

Power Consumption Solved: Magnetic Processors
Description: All right, let's be optimistic here: it's not going to entirely wipe power-hungry processors and memory off the charts anytime soon. But there is at least an idea how to reduce the power consumption of semiconductor devices by a factor of 1 million. The basic idea is to simply eliminate the flow of electrons, the ultimate source of power consumption. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley said that magnetic processors could work without the need of electrons and function near the minimum power limit allowed by the second law of thermodynamics (Landauer limit).


Consumer Electronics and Software News

Amazon’s Android Appstore, not so amazing
Description: An Android developer is pulling its game app from the Amazon Appstore for Android, calling it a “disaster” because of a number of shortcomings. It’s the complaint of one developer, but it highlights some of the challenges in building a mature market for apps.

Google plans to open Hangouts for interoperability
Description: Hangouts may be the killer feature of Google Plus, but the ability to join a Hangout could eventually come to third-party apps and services as well. Google has said that it wants to bring interoperability to the service, which could spell further trouble for Skype.

Le Pan Mode de Vie TC970 9.7" Android Tablet Review @ Review the Tech
Description: I recently got a request to review on Android tablet from a company I’ve never heard of, so I was immediately suspect of its quality and ability. Today for review I have that tablet, it’s called the Mode de Vie or TC970 from a little company called Le Pan. This tablet sells for only $350 and I can honestly tell you that it’s worth every penny, I could easily see it selling for much more. The build quality is just excellent and it performs much better that I ever expected it to. I’ve had the chance to play with the Xoom and Galaxy Tab in the past and I can say the TC970 is on par with them in terms of quality and performance. The TC970 has a TI OMAP 1GHz CPU in it with a capacitive touchscreen that displays at 1024×768, and it’s gorgeous really it is.

HP Japan gets AKB48 to promote PCs as “HP Support Angels”
Description: Forget about other brands if you a AKB48 fan. HP Japan, together with AKB48 is launching a campaign to promote their PCs as HP Support Angels. Join Oshima Yuko and eight other AKB48 girls as they share with you interesting aspects of having a HP PC or notebook, powered by Intel’s 2nd generation Core processors.

Holga's TIM camera lets film fans experiment in 3D
Description: Lo-fi photography focuses on creative experiments with the use of inexpensive film cameras – like the Holga Twin Image Maker (TIM). This US$60 camera features double lenses to shoot either 3D images or half frames, allows for multiple exposure of a single frame and comes with a detachable flash with color filters.

AMD's New Open-Source Employees
Description: Joining John Bridgman and Alex Deucher in working on the open-source driver stack at AMD are two new, but familiar, names: Michel Dänzer and Christian König. These two Linux graphics driver developers are now officially AMD employees.

Google To Retire Blogger & Picasa Brands in Google+ Push
Description: Say goodbye to the Picasa and Blogger names: Google intends to retire several non-Google name brands and rename them as Google products, Mashable has learned. The move is part of a larger effort to unify its brand for the public launch of Google+, the search giant’s social initiative.


Gaming news

John Carmack: Nintendo Wii U Is a Valid Game Console for Hardcore Gamers.
Description: John Carmack, the technical director of id Software, said in an interview that Nintendo's next-generation Wii U game console was much more viable for hardcore gamers than the current-gen Wii. The legendary game designer even said that the console seemed to suit well for the firm's next-generation id Tech 5 engine and therefore games designed by id.

Catherine Demo this July 12!
Description: Don’t understand Japanese? Not a problem. Atlus is here to save you. Atlus announced a demo for Catherine which will hit the PS3 and XBL Marketplace on 12th of July. From what I hear, this game has garnered great reception from gamers.

Final Fantasy 3DS rhythm game, Theatrhythm, revealed
Description: We've interacted with the world of Final Fantasy in so many ways. We've stabbed guys, changed outfits, even made Chocobos have sex with each other, but we're still waiting on the Final Fantasy game where battles are conducted by rhythmically tapping on the screen along with prompts. (Actually, that might have been in a Final Fantasy game at some point. We've not been so diligent about finishing them lately.)