Category: News

The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon.
Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time.
The Home Office says the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil liberties groups have criticised it.
Tory MP David Davis called it “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people”.
Attempts by the last Labour government to take similar steps failed after huge opposition, including from the Tories.

‘Unprecedented step’

A new law – which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech in May – would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant.
But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long. They would also be able to see which websites someone had visited.
In a statement, the Home Office said action was needed to “maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes”.
David DavisConservative MP and former shadow home secretary

“It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” a spokesman said.
“As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review we will legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to ensure that the use of communications data is compatible with the government’s approach to civil liberties.”
But Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary David Davis said it would make it easier for the government “to eavesdrop on vast numbers of people”.
“What this is talking about doing is not focusing on terrorists or criminals, it’s absolutely everybody’s emails, phone calls, web access…” he told the BBC.
“All that’s got to be recorded for two years and the government will be able to get at it with no by or leave from anybody.”
He said that until now anyone wishing to monitor communications had been required to gain permission from a magistrate.
“You shouldn’t go beyond that in a decent civilised society, but that’s what’s being proposed.”

‘Attack on privacy’

Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, called the move “an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran”.
Shami ChakrabartiLiberty
“This is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet businesses,” he said.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, added: “This is more ambitious than anything that has been done before. It is a pretty drastic step in a democracy.”
The Internet Service Providers Association said any change in the law much be “proportionate, respect freedom of expression and the privacy of users”.
The Sunday Times quoted an industry official who warned it would be “expensive, intrusive [and] a nightmare to run legally”.
Even if the move is announced in the Queen’s Speech, any new law would still have to make it through Parliament, potentially in the face of opposition in both the Commons and the Lords.
The previous Labour government attempted to introduce a central, government-run database of everyone’s phone calls and emails, but eventually dropped the bid after widespread anger.
The then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith did pursue efforts similar to those being revisited now, but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats continued to voice their concerns.
The shadow home secretary at the time, Chris Grayling, said the government had “built a culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime”.
Chris Huhne, then the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said any legislation requiring communications providers to keep records of contact would need “strong safeguards on access”, and “a careful balance” would have to be struck “between investigative powers and the right to privacy”.

Intel’s upcoming Haswell architecture, designed to follow on from Ivy Bridge, is rumoured to include L4 cache which can be shared between central processing and graphics processing units for vastly improved 3D performance.

While as-yet unannounced by Intel itself, the claim comes from VR-Zone which claims to have spotted evidence that the Haswell launch line-up will include desktop chips featuring integrated graphics some two or three times faster than the best Ivy Bridge has to offer.

The biggest change, however, comes in the form of a new layer of cache memory. In addition to the usual L1, L2 and L3 cache layers, VR-Zone claims Haswell is to ship with a chunk of L4 cache. Traditionally, such a feature is limited to expensive chips aimed at the high-performance computing (HPC) market.

While Intel certainly has intentions in this area, Haswell’s L4 cache is there for a different reason: graphics. Like AMD, its biggest competitor, Intel believes that increased coherency between the graphics and central processing infrastructure on chips is the way forward. While not quite as clear a roadmap as AMD’s heterogeneous systems architecture (HSA), Intel’s apparent move to add an L4 cache layer to Haswell indicates a similar goal: improved cache coherency between GPU and CPU tasks.

For consumer applications, that means vastly improved graphical capabilities which could mean the death of low- and potentially even mid-range dedicated graphics acceleration hardware. For the server room it means the ability to execute instructions on either the CPU or the GPU independent of where the data is stored, eliminating one of the biggest bottlenecks in general purpose GPU (GPGPU) programming – moving data.

Details of the Haswell chip design are sketchy, and Intel isn’t talking. As per usual, the company merely stated that it ‘refuses to comment on rumour or speculation regarding unannounced products.‘ Should VR-Zone’s guess prove accurate, however, Intel’s integrated graphics could be getting a serious speed boost come Haswell’s launch in 2013.

The copper-selenium compound analysed by the team acts as both a liquid and a solid, making it an incredibly efficient material for thermoelectric systems.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science’s Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Michigan and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have released details of a liquid-like compound they claim could lead to more efficient thermoelectric devices.

Thermoelectric materials turn heat into electricity, and are seeing increasing use in waste energy reclamation projects. Using a thermoelectric material, it’s possible to turn wasted heat from industrial facilities or vehicle engines into useful electricity.

The technology works by exploiting the temperature differential between its two ends. Electrons in the hot end diffuse to the cold end, producing a small but useful electric current. While current thermoelectric systems are typically bulky, the technology shows real promise for extending battery life in laptops and even smartphones by harnessing wasted heat – or even the heat of the user’s hand – to generate a top-up current for the battery.

A key milestone in achieving this is increasing the efficiency of the thermoelectric material, which will result in the creation of smaller thermoelectric devices. It’s this goal that the team at Caltech had in mind while experimenting with new compounds – including their most promising candidate yet, a mixture of copper and selenium which exhibits liquid-like behaviours despite being a solid.

It’s like a wet sponge,‘ explained Jeff Snyder, a faculty associate in applied physics and materials science at Caltech and a research team member, at the announcement. ‘If you have a sponge with very fine pores in it, it looks and acts like a solid. But inside, the water molecules are diffusing just as fast as they would if they were a regular liquid. That’s how I imagine this material works. It has a solid framework of selenium atoms, but the copper atoms are diffusing around as fast as they would in a liquid.

The new compound features a mixture of crystalline and amorphous properties, allowing electrons to flow easily while inhibiting the transmission of the vibrations which carry heat. Using the crystal structure of selenium with free-flowing copper atoms which act like a liquid, the team created a compound with a thermoelectric figure of merit of 1.5 at 1000 degrees Kelvin – one of the highest values of any mass-producible material, the team claims.

A compound of copper and selenium isn’t new: back in 1970 NASA was using a similar material in the construction of spacecraft power systems. Its liquid-like nature, however, was poorly understood and made it difficult to work with. The team’s new research sheds light on the reasons for its high figure of merit, while paving the way for exploitation of other liquid-like thermoelectric materials in the future.

Storage giant Seagate has become the first harddrive manufacturer to reach the dizzy heights of one terabit per square inch areal density, using a technology known as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR.)

Designed as a next-generation replacement for perpendicular magnetic recording as used in today’s hard drives, HAMR holds the potential for 3.5in hard drives holding as much as 60TB. That, Seagate is quick to point out, would mean more bits in a square inch of hard drive platter than stars in the Milky Way.

As the name suggests, HAMR supplements traditional magnetic storage technologies by first heating the area to be magnetically flipped with a small laser. The result is a bypassing of the superparamagnetic effect, a phenomenon in which sufficiently small magnetic particles decide to randomly change state – turning your carefully stored data into so much gibberish.

The technology has been in the pipeline for quite some time: the first patent describing the use of heat to improve the stability of magnetically recorded data dates back to 1954, while the 1980s saw the launch of the HAMR-based magneto-optical drive before it was superseded by writable CDs. More recently, Fujtisu announced a HAMR-based head element in 2006 which it claimed could potentially lead to terabit-per-square-inch areal densities.

Seagate is now claiming to deliver on Fujitsu’s six-year promise. A prototype HAMR implementation created by the company as a proof-of-concept platform for the technology shows serious promise: at a linear density of two million bits per inch for an overall density of 1Tb per square inch, the drive boasts an areal density around 55 per cent higher than PMR’s theoretical 620Gb per square inch limit.

As a result, the first-generation commercial HAMR products can be expected to double hard drive capacities. That means desktop drives holding up to 6TB, and laptop drives holding up to 2TB. Seagate promises that HAMR will scale rapidly, however, with its upper limit sitting somewhere around five to 10Tb per square inch. As a result, by the time HAMR reaches end-of-life, we should be enjoying 3.5in hard drives with between 30TB and 60TB of storage space.

The growth of social media, search engines, cloud computing, rich media and other data-hungry applications continues to stoke demand for ever greater storage capacity,‘ claimed Mark Re, senior vice president of heads and media R&D at Seagate. ‘Hard disk drive innovations like HAMR will be a key enabler of the development of even more data-intense applications in the future, extending the ways businesses and consumers worldwide use, manage and store digital content.

Sadly, Seagate is somewhat quiet on a launch schedule for its HAMR-based drives, saying only that it is planning the first commercial HAMR drives for launch ‘later this decade.’

There’s plenty of hackers out there all over the world trying to crack big software companies like Google and Microsoft’s programs. Many of them fail, after all these software companies are amongst the wealthiest in the world and have invested incredible amounts of money into securing their programs. However from time to time, a new exploit rears its head before the companies can discover it. This isn’t great for the companies image, let alone for the consumer who is using their software.

So to try and avoid embarrassing situations like this from ever occurring in the first place, Google have being holding their very own compeition for hackers. The Pwnium contest invites security researchers to try and hack into the Chrome web browser. This week, Sergey Glazunov became the first researcher to be awarded the top prize of $60,000 for demonstrating a “full Chrome exploit” in a Chrome browser running on an up to date Windows 7 system.

The Pwnium contest has a prize pool of $1 million and is a much cheaper alternative for Google to find exploits in its programs instead of paying its employees to spend hours trying to find exploits. It also means that Google will know about the exploits before they go public so they’ll have a chance to fix them and preserve their public image.

Of course since this exploit has been discovered, Google have been hard at work to get a fix out as soon as possible. They’ve already pushed out a patch via their auto-update feature for Chrome. Version 17.0.963.78 for Windows,Mac OS X and Linux fixes this flaw as well as fixing a few issues with Adobe Flash.

So although Glazunov is lucky enough to be receiving the top price of $60,000, there is still an incredible $940,000 up for grabs in Google’s Pwnium competition.

Know Your Malware

If your antivirus truly did nothing but fight viruses, you’d be in big trouble. Fortunately, “antivirus” is a catch-all term for software that protects against all kinds of malicious software.

An antivirus program that only protects against viruses would be barely functional. In a review, I’d have to find some way to assign it a below-zero star rating. Computer viruses are one type of malicious software, but there are many, many other types. Understanding how the different types work and what they can do will give you a new appreciation for your hard-working security software and a better understanding of security in the news. Just refer to this glossary as needed.

Adware. As the name suggests, the purpose ofadware is to display ads. That doesn’t sound too awful, but some adware threats bombard you with so many ads you can hardly use the computer.

APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). The term APT refers to an elaborate attack likeDuqu or Stuxnet that’s backed by a government or other powerful group. You probably won’t get hit by an APT, but your bank or your business might.

Backdoor. Just as it sounds, a backdoor opens up your computer to hack attack. It allows full access to everything on the computer, bypassing the requirement to log in with a Windows password.

Bot. On its own, a bot isn’t harmful. The creator, or “bot herder,” works hard to get as many silent bot infestations as possible installed, then rents out the bot network to others. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are often managed by sending commands to a bot network that cause all the infested PCs to run an attack script.

Dialer. You’re not likely to suffer a dialer attack. This type of malware uses the computer’s modem to make calls to premium numbers, running up charges on the victim’s phone bill. But these days, with virtually everyone on broadband, dialers aren’t every effective.

Dropper. A dropper doesn’t harm your system itself. Instead, it installs other threats, or opens a channel through which the bad guys can push malware.

Exploit. Sometimes the bad guys discover a way to exploit a bug in the operating system or in a common program; typically the exploit lets them execute code opens the door to other malware. Legitimate vendors do their best to patch these holes, naturally.

Keylogger. Basically a form of spyware, a keylogger captures everything you type, including passwords and other sensitive information. Some keyloggers also capture screenshots, log your Web browsing history, record anything copied to the clipboard, and more.

Malware. The comprehensive term malware applies to any software whose purpose is malicious, including (but not limited to) all of the other types described here.

Ransomware. A ransomware threat encrypts your important documents, disables Windows logon, or otherwise makes your computer unusable until you pay the ransom demanded by its perpetrators. It’s a bit dodgy for the perps, since they might be tracked through the ransom payment.

RAT (Remote Access Trojan). Like all Trojans, a RAT masquerades as an innocent and useful program. Behind the scenes, though, it opens up a backdoor that gives its owner complete access to the affected computer.

Rootkit. Antivirus software can only remove threats that it can detect. Rootkit technology hides a threat’s file and Registry traces so that most programs can’t “see” them. Only specialized anti-malware technology can bring the hidden traces into view.

Scareware. A fake antivirus that pretends to find problems on your system and displays a big, frightening warning—that’s scareware. Naturally you must pay the registration before it will “fix” the made-up problems. In most cases there’s no actual malicious code, just a huge scam to con you into paying money for nothing.

Spyware. Spyware simply means malicious software that steals credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive personal information.

Trojan. Named for the Trojan Horse of legend, a Trojan is a seemingly benign program that does something nasty in secret. Trojans are the most common type of malware on the Android platform. While you play a Trojanized Android game, it may be sending your contacts to a server in Russia, or making $10/minute phone calls.

Virus. A computer virus spreads by injecting its code into other programs or, less commonly, into the boot sector of a disk. When you execute the infected program, the virus code runs too. It may simply infect more files, or it may perform a “payload” action like wiping out your hard drive.

Worm. Like a virus, a worm replicates itself within the computer or across the network. Unlike a virus, it doesn’t wait for you to launch an infected program. Network worms can spread around the world with alarming rapidity.

Mix and Match
These categories aren’t mutually exclusive. A Trojan could use keylogger technology to spy on you and steal passwords. A virus could hide from antivirus programs using rootkit technology. The most important point to remember is that your antivirus program should protect you against every type of malware, not just viruses.

There is something almost tangible about hearing of another upgrade to Nikon’s prosumer line. The D hundred line is designed to cater to the needs of consumers who want a serious “FX” Full frame sensor but do not want to take out a second mortgage to afford it.
As with any new prosumer camera from Nikon, there are many great features that make the new D800 DSLR a Nikon camera. Chief amongst these is of course the full frame sensor which in this new D800 is rated for a whopping 36.3 mega-pixels (15.4 in DX mode). Granted, more is not always better as it adds in more “noise” in low conditions. When dealing with a sensor 23.9 x 36mm in size (compared to usual 7.18 x 2.32mm found in a P&S camera), this is not an overly large concern. To counteract this issue the Nikon D800 is “limited” to a mere ISO 6400. This more than enough for most consumers.

The same can be said of the frames per second this camera boasts. 36.3 mega-pixels is a lot of data to store on a card so not only will you need an uber-fast card such as the 600X UDMA CF, you will be hit with a slight fps penalty compared to previous models’ 8fps. With its optional battery grip, the D800 can do 5fps before the internal RAM is full and things start to slow down. This too is a bit disappointing but is more than fast enough for most non-paparazzi consumers.

While internally it can transport 5 frames per second of massive 36.3 mexa-pixel images to the CompactFlash card, things would be downright grim if you were to transfer these files from the camera to your computer via USB 2.0. This has always been the weakness of many of Nikon’s cameras. Luckily, this camera is USB 3.0 equipped and will be able to transfer files at the speed of the CF card to your hard drive. All these feature of course do come at a price. With an asking price of $3000, this is not a cheap camera, but for the serious shutterbug, its great features more than make this a bargain.

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Lowell laugh in the face of Intel’s weedy handful of cores in its new CPU lineup: They’ve just squeezed over a thousand processor cores onto a single chip.
We’ve heard a lot about the potential for future desktop-sized supercomputers, but more than anything else this research proves that in the not-too-distant future it’s likely to be a reality. Interestingly enough, there’s also a green angle to this idea: FPGA chips can be more power efficient than their competitors, and if less computer time is needed to process complex tasks, then the overall power consumption of computers using the tech could be impressively low.
The advance was made by Dr. Wim Vanderbauwhede’s team, who programmed an advanced chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). FPGA systems have been around for a while, and their strength is that they can be programmed “in the field” to best suit whatever task they’re needed for, unlike the hard-coded silicon ship designs you’re probably imagining. The UM team’s innovation was in working out how to program the FPGA to act as mini processor cores, since the tech is typically difficult to work with. This has traditionally been a barrier to their use in desktop PCs, although small FPGAs are often found inside devices like LCD TVs.
Once the 1,000 individual CPU cores had been programmed onto the chip, the scientists took the necessary next step to prove how useful their innovation is: They ran an intensive algorithm through it to test how powerful it was, and they chose a tricky one too–at the core of motion MPEG video processing, used in many online video systems. The results speak for themselves. Using the kilo-core FPGA computer, the team was able to process 5 gigabytes per sec of movie files, which is about 20 times the rate that existing high-end computers can manage.


Looking forward to splurging for some tech decked out with Ivy Bridge? Well, you may have to wait a bit longer. Financial Times is reporting that Intel’s new 22nm processor has been pushed from April to June. The site caught up with executive VP and chairman of Intel China Sean Maloney who said that the manufacturing methods used to make the heir to Sandy Bridge was to blame for the change in schedule. Furthermore, a spokesperson for the component manufacturer communicated that the Q2 shipping plans for Ivy Bridge remain the same. You can rest assured we’ll be keeping a close watch on this one and what the delay could mean for upcoming laptop releases.

Created by German artist Tobias Leingruber and available via the hypothetical government agency theFB Bureau. Why wait until these become mandatory? Get yours now:

With more than 800 million users Facebook is the dominant identity system on the web. When signing-up for new services around the open web it’s quite common to use Facebook Connect instead of creating a new user account. People stop ranting on blog comments because they only allow comments connected to your “real name” aka “Facebook Identity” (till the end of time).

For the good or bad we are losing anonymity and Facebook Inc. is establishing order in this “world wild web” (for profit, not necessarily for the good of society). A future where a Facebook Identity becomes more important than any governments’ doesn’t seem unrealistic.

If you are using more than one Microsoft product you may also have multiple accounts. Say, a Windows Phone account, one for Windows Live, one Xbox 360 account and maybe even a Zune account. And even if you are using the same log in information for these accounts, you until now had no option to manage those accounts in a central location.

That’s exactly what Microsoft wants to change with the launch of Microsoft Your Account, a newversion of the Billing Account Management portal. The service supports several popular Microsoft services, including Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows Live and Microsoft Office.

The service allows Microsoft account owners to view their purchases and subscriptions from Microsoft online Services, edit their payment options, and update their account information online.

Once you sign in to Microsoft Your Account you are presented with a list of your recent transactions. This includes for instance games purchased on Xbox Live. From there you can switch to the transactions menu to filter transactions by month, currency or payment option.

The subscriptions menu lists all active subscriptions under the account, with options to manage them or to view their history.

The profile menu displays profile information like the user’s name, email address or address. These can be edited right here.

Payment options finally can be used to add new payment options to the system. This can be helpful for users who would like to switch a payment option for a service they use, for instance to a new credit card.

Microsoft notes that not everything is yet supported by Microsoft Your Account.

You can find below all the items not covered yet:

Directed update: primary/secondary users.
Renew few MSN subscriptions with HIP validation.
Bundle purchases transaction history.
Payout billable account management.
Market support other than: USA, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Japan.

Probably the biggest restriction right now is the concentration on some markets only. Users who are not living in the US, UK, France, Spain, Germany or Japan cannot use the service right now.

Microsoft Your Account lacks management features that would make it a true centralized account management service. It is for instance not displaying information about free Microsoft products, or offering to manage them as well on the site.

On Tuesday SanDisk revealed two separate lines of solid state drives: the high-performance Extreme series for the retail channeland the X100 series for desktop and notebook manufacturers. The former series is available in 120 GB and 240 GB capacities, with a meatier 480 GB version hitting the market at a later date.

SanDisk claims that its Extreme line delivers up to 83,000 maximum random write IOPS and up to 44,000 maximum random read IOPS. It also provides sequential read speeds up to 550 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 520 MB/s. SanDisk didn’t specify a SATA interface, but it’s presumably SATA 6 Gb/s. The SSD also reportedly consumes 30-percent less power, generates less noise, and generates less heat than an HDD, making it ideal for laptops.

The 120 GB and 240 GB versions are available now, costing $189.99 and $399.99 respectively. The 480 GB ($749.99) will launch at a later date.

As for the X100 series, SanDisk is now sampling the drive to PC manufacturers. It will connect via a SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and provide sequential read speeds up to 500 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 420 MB/s. Available capacities will be 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB.

“In addition to the standard 2.5 inch form factor (7-mm or 9.5-mm), the X100 SSD also comes in mSATA and customized thin form factors to address the emerging ultra-thin laptop market,” the company said on Tuesday. “SanDisk offers a wide variety of configuration options, including standalone and dual drive caching solutions.”

Tech specs reveal that the X110 series will have a typical active power consumption of 150mW (@ 3.3V) and a typical standby mode of 75mW (@ 3.3V). The drive’s MTBF is up to 2 million hours, and the target platforms are ultrabooks, notebooks and desktops.

There’s crazy talk going on over at DigiTimes, as Max Liu, product marketing director of ViewSonic Asia Pacific, claims the company plans to launch a Windows 8-based tablet in the Taiwan market during the second quarter of 2012. That means a 10-inch tablet sporting Windows 8 will be launched sometime between April and June, and before Microsoft actually launches the new OS worldwide.

What’s likely to happen — and this is just speculation — is that ViewSonic will release a tablet with Windows 8 Consumer Preview pre-installed, making the device substantially cheaper because there’s no added cost for the OS. That, unfortunately, will come later when the Preview ends and customers must shell out money for the real deal. At this point there’s no telling what’s powering the device, but presumably an x86/64-based SoC.

In addition to the Windows 8 tablet in 2Q12, the company also plans to release two to three new tablets in the same timeframe, some of which will sport Google’s Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” OS. But before all of that, ViewSonic plans to roll out a 3G version of its ViewPad 10e tablet in March. The new models will join ViewSonic’s current tablet helping in Taiwan including the ViewPad 10 and the ViewPad 10e.

Liu said that ViewSonic shipped around 6,000 tablets per month in the Taiwan market during 2011, bolstering it to the #3 position. With the launch of new models in the first half of 2012, Liu sees ViewSonic’s tablet market share expanding even more in 2012.

EVGA has released a teaser image of its upcoming SR-X dual-socket LGA2011 motherboard, and while it’s keeping launch details a secret the picture tells a story of its own.Promising ‘more details soon,’ the company posted a teaser image of a production-status SR-X board complete with its final heatsink design to microblogging service Twitter to keep its fans assured that development continues apace.

The image shows that EVGA has, unsurprisingly, chosen to cover all voltage regulator modules (VRMs) in aggressive-looking heatsinks, while the chipset itself gets a surprisingly compact yet wide-area heatsink of its own to keep things cool during overclocking.

The picture reveals 12 memory slots, eight situated in two banks of four by the first processor socket and an additional two banks of two by the second, which suggests support for a total of 96GB of DDR3 memory for those that can afford it.

Seven PCI-Express 3.0 slots are included, all of which appear to be full 16x slots and which are known to include support for both Nvidia’s SLI and AMD’s CrossfireX multi-GPU capabilities. As is becoming increasingly common on high-end enthusiast boards, switches for disabling individual PCIe slots are provided for improved stability when overclocking. EVGA has also added voltage read points.

Designed for use with Intel’s Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon processors, the board requires plenty of power. Both CPU sockets have an eight pin and a six pin power connector each, although two of these can be left disconnected if only a single CPU is used.

Additional features rounding out the board include six SATA and four SAS ports, two eSATA ports, six USB 3.0 ports, and dual gigabit Ethernet ports. EVGA has also previously confirmed that its EVBot tweaking tool will be fully supported by the board.

What EVGA isn’t sharing, however, is potentially the most crucial point of all: the price. With buyers having to invest in the high-end server-oriented Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon series of chips in order to make use of the dual socket design, a system with the SR-X at its heart is unlikely to come cheap.

According to a leak on a Russian website,, the next Windows Phone update, codenamed “Tango” will include some updates, features and changes for devices with lower specs. Just to catch up, the Tango update is said to help Microsoft bring Windows Phone to more countries and bring the platform to devices with lower specs, specifically devices with only 256MB of RAM (currently, devices have a min. of 512MB of RAM).

To summarize, the new update will be bringing a few new features with many directed toward low-end devices for users coming from a feature phone:

SIM contacts – Users will be able to manage (import and export) contacts from the SIM card.
Pre-installed Apps – Will be increased from a minimum of 16 to 40.
Roaming – Users will be able to deselect or switch to domestic or international.
Multimedia MMS – Users will be able to attach multiple media files (audio, picture and video) to a single MMS message.
The post also addresses features and changes which are coming specifically to the low-end (256MB) devices:

Users will be unable to uninstall certain apps from the device.
Certain app restrictions may apply (e.g. third-party live tiles not automatically updating).
Podcasts will not be manageable from the device.
Video streams lower than 4MB/s and H.264 v2 video encoding will only be supported.
Handsets with a minimum 3MP camera.
Feature to upload photos to SkyDrive automatically will be disabled.
These features and limitations have been leaked from a Russian Windows Phone website along with screenshots and have not been confirmed by Microsoft, so take everything as a plausible rumor until we hear more about Tango.

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