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Lian Li Launches Special Edition PC-U6 Cowry Mid-Tower Chassis

NVIDIA to Acquire Baseband and RF Technology Developer Icera

Microsoft to Acquire Skype

ZiiLABS Announces ZMS-20, ZMS-40 Processors For Android 3.0 Tablets

Lian Li Launches Special Edition PC-U6 Cowry Mid-Tower Chassis

Lian Li Industrial today launched the all-new and stylish special edition PC-U6 Cowry, an all-black PC case designed after a seashell. As you can guess, Cowry is not meant to be hidden under a desk but demonstrated to all instead.

PC-U6 Cowry can hold three 3.5" and two 2.5" internal HDDs. All HDD mounts are tool-less and come with anti-vibration thumb screws with rubber suspension. Externally, one 5.25" ODD tool-less mount is located at the top of the front panel. Four ventilated PCI slots are located on the back panel with enough space to mount graphics cards as long as 310 mm.

The enclosure supports Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards and standard ATX PS/2 power supply units mounted at the base of the case right above ventilating holes protected by a washable air filter.

The novelty is thermally-optimized as well. It comes with two side panel 120-mm fans protected by washable air filters. A fan speed control-switch has been included as well. To further aid airflow, designers have incorporated ventilation holes on the front and rear panels of PC-U6 Cowry and both are protected by washable air filters. Two rubber-ringed holes are also included for users to be able to easily mount a liquid cooling system.

This special edition PC case comes with two USB 3.0 ports, one e-SATA port, and HD audio ports. All are located at the base of the front panel. Also included is one USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 converter.

Lian Li has also included cable clamps and openings throughout the case to aid in the internal organization of user computers. Moreover, for users who wish to add some color to highlight the uniqueness of this case, a 530-mm red LED kit is included.

The special edition, all-aluminum, PC-U6 weighs 4.5 kg and is sized 219 x 500 x 410 mm.

Style does not come cheap these days (or ever): the MSRP of PC-U6 is $349. The new enclosure will become available later this May.

Source: Lian Li Industrial

NVIDIA to Acquire Baseband and RF Technology Developer Icera

NVIDIA announced yesterday that it has agreed to acquire Icera, a developer of baseband processors for 3G and 4G cellular phones and tablets.

Icera has more than 550 patents granted or pending worldwide, and its high speed wireless-modem products have been approved by more than 50 carriers across the globe. By combining the companies' products and technologies, including NVIDIA's Tegra processor, NVIDIA will enhance its position in the growing mobile market.

The acquisition, for $367 million in cash, has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and is expected to be completed, subject to customary closing conditions, in approximately 30 days.

By offering the two main processors used in smartphones (the application processor and baseband processor), the combined company will help OEM customers both improve their time to market and deliver the requirements of next-generation mobile computing. NVIDIA will also have approximately doubled its revenue opportunity within each device.

The market for baseband processors is one of the fastest growing segments of the technology industry, worth an estimated $15 billion a year. Icera will be able to leverage NVIDIA's momentum in the smartphone and tablet markets to capitalize on this growth.

Source: NVIDIA

Microsoft to Acquire Skype

Microsoft and Skype Global today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion. The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype.

Microsoft has a long-standing focus and investment in real-time communications across its various platforms, including Lync (which saw 30 percent revenue growth in Q3), Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox LIVE.

Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Ballmer.

Founded in 2003, Skype was acquired by eBay in September 2005, and then acquired by an investment group led by Silver Lake in November 2009. Skype has made impressive progress over the past 18 months under Silver Lake's leadership, increasing monthly calling minutes by 150 percent, developing new revenue streams and strategic partnerships, acquiring the intellectual property powering its peer-to-peer network, and recruiting an outstanding senior management team.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties hope to obtain all required regulatory clearances during the course of this calendar year.

Source: Microsoft

ZiiLABS Announces ZMS-20, ZMS-40 Processors For Android 3.0 Tablets

ZiiLABS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology, today introduced its most powerful Zii family of energy-efficient media processors, ZMS-20 and ZMS-40.

Targeting the up and coming tablet computing markets, the ZMS-20 (with Dual-Core 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Processors) and ZMS-40 (with Quad-Core 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Processors) feature an array of up to 96 Stemcell media processing cores.

ZMS-20 Key Features:

  • Dual 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores with Neon
  • ZiiLABS Stemcell media processing capabilities
    • Low-energy SIMD architecture for high-performance media acceleration
    • 48 x 32-bit floating point media processing cores for 26GFlops of computing power
    • High Profile H.264 video playback at 1080p@30fps
    • Wide range of accelerated video codecs including H.264, VC1 and VP8
    • High-definition, low-latency video conferencing
    • Optimised OpenGL ES 2.0 for robust 3D graphics acceleration and application compatibility
    • Accelerated OpenCL 1.1 (desktop profile) integrated into Android NDK
    • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Image Processing
    • High-quality Text-to-Speech and Voice Recognition
    • 150 MPixel/sec image processing
    • Adobe Flash 10 acceleration
  • Integrated HDMI 1.4 with 3D stereo support
  • 1GB addressable memory
    • DDR2/3 at 533 MHz for low cost
    • LPDDR2 for maximum memory bandwidth and low-power
    • 64-bit wide memory bus
  • Quad independent video controllers supporting 24-bit displays and cameras
  • 3V3 and 1V8 I/O's reduce peripheral power consumption
  • Dual USB 2.0 HS OTG (Host/Peripheral) controllers with PHY for low system cost
  • Three independent SDIO/MMC controllers
  • Extended battery life with robust Dynamic Power Management and Instantaneous On
  • Xtreme Fidelity X-Fi audio effects
  • Enhanced Security: 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and TrustZone

The ZMS-20 is sampling now to select customers and is scheduled for volume shipment to customers in the 3rd quarter of 2011. Detailed specifications of the ZMS-40 will be announced later. Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablets and associated design-kits based on the ZMS-20 will be showcased at Computex 2011.

Source: Creative Technology

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