The Daily VR-Zone News Summary – 3 May 2011

screen The Daily VR Zone News Summary   3 May 2011

In today's news roundup:

  • NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 gets pitted against AMD's Radeon HD 6990 to determine which company's hardware is capable of offering the better triple-display gaming experience;
  • AMD's Phenom-II X4-980 BE processor gets reviewed;
  • Apple has updated its iMac line of all-in-one PCs to include Intel's Sandy Bridge platform, new graphics cards and the recently announced Thunderbolt port;
  • RIM's latest BlackBerry 7 OS has been confirmed to lack legacy support, which means that older BlackBerry handsets have officially reached a dead end with regards to software updates;
  • Videos of Atelier Meruru's prologue and parts of the title's gameplay has started showing up on major video streaming sites such as Youtube, and
  • Rumour has it that Nintendo is ready to launch a 'Wii Select' line of heavily discounted bestselling titles for its video game console.

Hardware news

SandForce SF-2141 Controller & Intel Z68 Chipset: Destined to be Together?
Description: Today we are going to play a brief game of connect the dots with information that is publically available. We are going to mix two parts of facts and one part speculation. The pinch of speculation has been verified by two sources and in the media world that gives it enough validity to 'go to print' so to speak. The overall picture will be a little cloudy, but I think enough of a silhouette will pass through to give us a close representation of what's to come. The good ole' "Things That Might Be Happening, but What Do I Know?

Triple Monitor Gaming: GeForce GTX 590 vs. Radeon HD 6990
Description: By utilizing three monitors games can become roughly 3x more demanding as the graphics card is required to render an overwhelmingly higher number of pixels. Whereas we commonly test graphics cards at single monitor resolutions of 1680×1050 (22”), 1920×1200 (24”) and 2560×1600 (30”), today we are taking these and adding two more LCD monitors for effective resolutions of 5040×1050, 5760×1200 and 7680×1600.

AMD Phenom-II X4-980 BE Processor @ Benchmark Reviews
Description: As is common with AMD CPUs, the next in the Phenom-II X4 Black Edition series is being released; the Phenom-II X4-980BE HDZ980FBK4DGM. The X4-980BE will take over as AMDs flagship quad-core processor and guess what, it is 100MHz faster than the current quad-core king at 3.7GHz. Without surprise the Phenom-II X4-980BE will be released at the same price the X4-975BE was released in January 2011 with an MSRP of $195. And because we are just that reliable, Benchmark Reviews is here to give you the run down on the Phenom-II X4-980BE to show you how it stacks up against its younger brothers and the similarly priced (though slightly more expensive) Core i5-2500K.

Gigabyte H67A-UD3H ATX Review @ OCIA.net
Description: The majority of users that select an H67-equipped board do so to take advantage of Intel HD graphics built into Sandy Bridge processors and thus, won't be using a high-end graphics card or really any other add-in cards. Builds where a Micro ATX board would be suitable include home theater PCs and small form factor builds where a small footprint is needed. A quick check at Newegg revealed only three full size ATX H67 boards, one of them being the board we are taking a look at today, the Gigabyte GA-H67A-UD3H.

HIS Radeon HD 6790 1GB IceQ X Turbo Video Card Review
Description: Just before the launch of the HD 6790, HIS emailed us and asked if we wanted to get a sample of the normal version, or if we were happy to wait a couple of extra weeks for the IceQ X Turbo one. Since we had a reference clocked card already on the way and the IceQ X and Turbo series being two great ones, it was a no brainer and we chose to wait. Well, the card finally arrived and we got a chance to put it through its paces to see what this new mid-range card was able to offer. Being part of the IceQ X and Turbo series means we've got both an upgraded cooler and an overclock on offer.

Antec KUHLER H2O 920 Liquid Cooling CPU Cooler Review
Description: Since I caught wind of the H2O 620, I assumed the "fat radiator" version was already in the works. Why not keep up with the Jones' if you are already basically mimicking a product already on the shelf is my take, and I was right, well, sort of. Antec did release the thicker radiator design with the 920 moniker, and we are about to take an up close look at not only the cooler, but the software that comes shipped along with this new cooler from Antec.

Thermaltake ToughPower Grand 850W Power Supply Review @ Real World Labs
Description: The latest addition in Thermaltake’s ToughPower series called the Grand comes with an 80 Plus Gold Certification, high quality components, rock solid rail stability, elegant design and a rich bundle.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme P67 Motherboard Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme is the latest Republic of Gamers motherboard for the Intel socket 1155 mainstream platform. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme features an updated sleek heatsink design, Extreme Engine DIGI+, DDR3-2200 (OC) support and 3-way SLI/CFX. The Maximus IV Extreme also boasts a wealth of overclocking options, including onboard debugging tools and switches as well as remote overclocking controls via Bluetooth devices or through a laptop. In order to achieve 3-way SLI/CFX support, the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme is equipped with an NVIDIA NF200 chip located where the Northbridge is typically placed. The new B3 version of the Maximus IV Extreme has 10 USB 3.0 ports including two at mid-board for front panel support as well as four SATA 6Gb/s ports for high speed connectivity options.


Consumer Electronics and Software news

Apple updates the iMac: Thunderbolt I/O, quad-core and more
Description: Apple's desktop lineup has typically pushed users requiring plenty of fast I/O towards the Mac Pro – but the latest iMac refresh has broken the tradition. While quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs and faster ATI Radeon HD GPUs are welcomed, it's the addition of Thunderbolt ports (one in the 21.5-inch and two in the 27-inch) that really ups the ante for a number of professional users.

Adobe CS5.5 Available for Download Now
Description: Adobe has just broken the seal on Creative Suite 5.5, the latest installment of its design and development software. Of course, the new release brings the usual round-up of improvements and tweaks, but the fireworks in CS5.5 lie in the suite’s new HTML5 and mobile app-specific capabilities.

Cooler Master NotePal Infinite Evo Duo Silent Fan Notebook Cooler Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: Cooler Master is ready to release their newest line of NotePal coolers, starting with the NotePal Infinite Evo Duo Silent Fan Notebook Cooler. The Infinite Evo adds a bit of style and high performance and an excellent price. The design uses a unique U-shape airflow method that intakes with two 80mm fans. Fans can be controlled by a speed control wheel on the side by the USB power connection. The top of the Evo is made of a high quality aluminum pad that has a sand-spray finish. It is USB powered and includes a 3 port USB 2.0/1.1 hub. There is also an ergonomic design angle for optimal viewing and typing. There is support for 12" to 17" laptops.

Plantronics Gamecom X40 Xbox headset Review @ XSReviews.co.uk
Description: Recently we visited Gadget Show Live 2011 and while our article on that event did quite well, this one did a lot better. Despite that however, the real highlights of the event are checking out the hardware and one company was kind enough to let us test a lot of it. Not only that, but Plantronics were such fans it seems that they plied us with their entire range of Xbox headsets. Needless to say, we had to find bigger bags. That aside though, today we test the first of this lineup, the Gamecom X40.

Blackberry 7 OS abandons old handsets
Description: RIM has two Blackberry smartphones on the way, under the banner of the Blackberry Bold 9900 and the Blackberry Bold 9930. They'll sport its new OS, Blackberry 7, which will not be available as an upgrade to customers with older devices. The long-rumoured mobiles will sport an "iconic design" with a touch screen, RIM predictably says, shipping with Blackberry's new operating system, Blackberry 7. Blackberry 7 does not have legacy support so users with older handsets will be stuffed if they want to run the improved system.

OS X Lion to bring iOS-style uninstalls for Mac apps
Description: If you thought that the iOS method of uninstalling apps was awesome, you’re going to love OS X Lion. The latest developer version of the operating system revealed that it features the same uninstalling method as iOS for apps purchased from the Mac App Store. Users just click and hold onto an app’s icon, and it will start to wobble just like how it does on iOS. Then users can click on the X icon that appears on the top left corner to delete the app.

Google Nexus One gets Android 2.3.4 early
Description: Android 2.3.4 software for the Nexus One smartphone is now available for download as an early build that will require some bug fixes (ZIP). It will also arrive in a more finished version over the air anytime now, however. Unlike the version of the software for the Nexus S, no support exists for the Google Talk video and voice chat features.


Gaming news

Hector Badge of Carnage Review at PC Game Examiner
Description: Hector: Badge of Carnage marks a turn for the ruder and cruder for Telltale Games. Although good for a few laughs for the boob and fart joke crowd, the game's bleak and soulless story doesn’t quite hold up to Telltale’s other offerings. Put the kids to bed before you play this one folks.

Atelier Meruru Prologue and Gameplay Videos released
Description: Have a look at Gust’s Atelier Meruru through this prologue and gameplay videos. The prologue which is four minute long tells the background story of of the Arland series starting from Rorona and Totori. The gameplay video shows some world exploration though there is no battle.

Rumor: 'Wii Select' budget line launching this month
Description: After only four and a half years, it looks like Nintendo is finally ready to introduce a line of budget titles in North America. Kotaku reports that the "Wii Select" line will launch alongside the newly discounted Wii, which is rumored to drop to $150 two weeks from now. The first titles reported to be part of the $20 lineup include The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Super Sluggers and Wii Sports.

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