Intel has announced the details of its next generation CPU at CES, the Sandy Bridge Core processor. Basically, it's the next generation Core series of CPUs that will soon power a large amount of desktops and laptops. Some of the features include better energy performance, providing better battery life, and improved 3D graphics. One of the perhaps most impressive change is how much better the integrated graphics will be. Previously, a system that does not have a dedicated graphics card, but instead relies on Intel's integrated graphics, could simply not play any recent 3D game. According to some early reports, that may no longer be the case. Intel also claims "content creation is up to 42 percent faster and gaming up to 50 percent faster." Like previous chips, the new Sandy Bridge will be available as i3, i5 and i7. A big thank you to Sears from bringing out the Blue Blogger Crew to CES.
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Japanese gamers purchasing the limited edition Blue Dragon Xbox 360 bundle in Japan will get some exclusive swag, including a limited edition faceplate and mini-figure set. As previously announced, the Core system bundle will be available on December 7, for 29,800 Yen, around $250 US. Gamers reserving the software package should also get some other exclusive Blue Dragon goodies as well.
In addition, it looks like gamers reserving one of the other core bundles will receive an exclusive Lost Odyssey RPG trial disc according to Famitsu. Also featured on the site is the box art for the Japanese release of Blue Dragon. With the Core system bundles priced at around 4,800 Yen ($40) higher than Nintendo’s Wii console in Japan, it looks like Microsoft is throwing everything they have at trying to crack the Japanese market. If Microsoft does not turn things around this holiday season, it becomes increasingly unlikely that they will make any impact in Japan.
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According to a report on GameDaily, Sony has started to set down the details of their Playstation 3 product launch this November. The ratio of PS3 Premium to Core units was announced, with the $600 Premium consoles taking up roughly 80 percent of the launch quantities. While final assembly of the console isn’t scheduled until the end of September, Sony still believes they will be able to ship another 800,000 units by the end of the year to the United States. Given that Sony plans on having 2.4 million consoles shipped by the end of 2006, this would indicate that Japan will see another 1.1 million Playstation 3 consoles delivered between November 11 and December 31. If Sony can’t scale up Blu-Ray diode production to match demand, though, this number would be in jeopardy.
Sony also announced that they planned to focus on highlighting the PSP’s non-gaming features, and they planned to release a new bundle by the end of the year. No pricing was set on the bundle.
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A Bloomberg report has indicated that Microsoft will be selling a version of the Core Xbox 360 in Japan in an attempt to boost the console’s meager sales. The bundle will reportedly include two games for a limited time and will sell for 29,800 Yen, about $256. The inclusion of free games may help increase sales in the short term, but without compelling software, it is hard to see how this will really reverse Microsoft’s fortunes in Japan. Given that the console’s weekly sales tend to hover around the 1,000 mark, it would seem Microsoft would have to make a much bolder move to get that sales figure into respectability.
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ATI announced today that they are delivering a new chipset including a technologically unmatched integrated graphics processor for Intel mobile processors including the Core Duo. The new Radeon Xpress 1250 is the first Intel chipset utilizing ATI’s revolutionary AVIVO graphics architecture allowing for vibrant images and smooth video playback, for all types of multimedia, including high-definition content. This AVIVO engine includes hardware acceleration for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264 and WMV9. The IGP also includes an integrated TV encoder providing advanced TV-out capabilities. The internal TV encoder is based on ATI’s Xilleon set top box solution and delivers Macrovision 7.1 copy protection with YPbPr component video output. Resolutions of 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p and 1080i are supported via component outputs. DVI and HDMI are also supported with an external TMDS transmitter.
But let’s not forget that this isn’t just a mobile video chip, this is a north bridge solution for Intel’s newest processors. The memory controller allows up to 16GB of 400MHz-800MHz DDR2 memory, 512MB of which can be dedicated to the IGP video buffer. And if the IGP doesn’t have quite enough punch for you, one PCI Express x16 slot is available for an external video adapter. The Radeon Xpress 1250 will likely be paired with the SB600 south bridge for 10 USB 2.0, four SATA II, one ATA133 ports, high definition audio and PCI.
NEC will be the first to use the Radeon Xpress 1250 in its notebooks, but expect others to follow closely behind. Also, expect to see desktop variants of this product for both AMD and Intel desktops in the not too distant future.
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