ASUS today announced Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1, two new Hi-Fi-grade sound cards designed to delight audiophiles with 124dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and a 600ohm-headphone amplifier.

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Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 build on the success and huge popularity of ASUS Essence STX – the world’s first consumer sound card to deliver 124db SNR audio clarity plus 600ohm headphone amp, and the long-term holder of the number-one position in Head-Fi’s Sound Cards charts, as voted by highly-satisfied users globally.

Keeping the audiophile spirit and philosophy alive, the new Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 cards both feature a remarkable 124dB SNR for line-out connections and 120dB SNR for headphone listening. Precision clock is controlled by a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO) clock source, optimized power delivery is assured with low-dropout (LDO) regulators and WIMA® capacitors deliver balanced sound.

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addonics_raid_tower_iii.pngAddonics Technologies today announced the 6G RAID Tower family of external storage solutions, which connect multiple drives to any system at 6Gbps speed. Prices start at $189.

The new Addonics solution is ideal for video storage or large data applications. It is a simple way to expand the storage capacity of servers or any computing equipment with terabytes of storage space without sacrificing the full speed capability of the high performance hard drive or SSD.

Depending on the model, as much as 60 terabytes can be installed into one 6G RAID Tower. With the exception of the RAID Tower Mini, which uses a simple screw mount, drives are added or removed like tape cartridges from each drive bay without any special tools.

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superspeed_usb_10gbps.pngASMedia Technologies, a fabless semiconductor company that develops and markets high-speed IO solutions, demonstrated SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps (USB 3.1) data transfer on its hardware development platform at the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) annual members meeting in Honolulu. This demonstration marks the first public showing of a working SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps PHY. ASMedia also constructed a hardware prototyping platform consisting of a PCI Express® add-in card with ASMedia’s own PHY and implementing ASMedia’s SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps Host and Device Controllers with SSD under RAID.

“ASMedia aimed to demonstrate the real user scenario. As SSD adaption rate is growing, we believe that SSD with RAID will be the ideal product that can leverage USB 3.1 (10Gbps) bandwidth. With ASMedia’s solution, user can enjoy the performance enhancement through USB 3.1. Just as with USB 3.0, we look forward to working closely with the USB ecosystem to enable the successful deployment of the USB 3.1 products into the market,” said Chewei Lin CEO of ASMedia Technologies. “This demonstration represents our commitment to being a key player of USB technology and to helping our customers deliver first-to-market solutions with leading edge product performance.”

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MPEG LA, LLC announced today that a group of 25 companies have agreed on HEVC license terms expected to issue as part of an HEVC Patent Portfolio License in early 2014. A summary is attached. Final agreements are yet to be concluded.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2) is a standard designed to improve video coding efficiency for the benefit of Internet and mobile service providers and consumers with increased speed and capacity. HEVC is also expected to deliver next generation higher resolution HDTV video displays for 4K and 8K Ultra High Definition TV (“UHDTV”).

“As contemplated, the HEVC license will utilize a modern streamlined pool licensing approach with simple easy-to-understand terms making the technology readily accessible to the largest possible market in the shortest possible time,” said MPEG LA President and CEO Larry Horn. “MPEG LA salutes the cooperation of patent owners who have worked hard to reach common ground in making a joint patent license available for the convenience of HEVC adopters. As a result of their efforts, consumers benefiting from a marketplace of competitive technology choices will be the clear winners.”

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Other World Computing (OWC), a leading zero emissions Mac upgrade and storage technology company debuted the addition of the OWC Mercury Helios 2 PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis to its Helios line at CES 2014. The Helios 2 is a solution for using two single-width, or one single-width and one double-width, PCIe 2.0 adapter cards with Mac Pro® (2013), Mac mini, iMac®, MacBook Air®, MacBook Pro®, and other Thunderbolt-equipped computers that do not have PCIe slots due to size and/or design limitations.

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Desktop workstations used to be the only way computer users could access high-performance PCIe cards made for video capture/editing, media transcoding, audio processing, and data storage. Now, with Mercury Helios or Helios 2, users of portable, all-in-one computers, and the new Thunderbolt 2 equipped Mac Pro 2013 can enjoy the functionality and productivity gains of these PCIe cards wherever their work takes them.

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Addonics Technologies today announced two new members of its Port Multiplier family, both designed to support SATA 3.0 6Gbps and greatly enhance the storage capabilities for a wide range of computer systems.

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The new products are the Internal 5-port 6G Port Multiplier, which is an excellent solution for adding more drives to a computer that has limited SATA ports, and the 5-Port 6G Rack Mount Port Multiplier, which has more flexibility for large volume storage needs. As many as five hard drives, SSD or optical drives can be connected to these PMs. The hard drives or SSD drives appear as five individual drives when connecting to a Port Multiplier compatible controller. The drives can also be set up as a RAID group using the RAID software of the OS or the host controller.

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Avago Technologies Limited and LSI Corporation today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Avago will acquire LSI for $11.15 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $6.6 billion. The acquisition creates a highly diversified semiconductor market leader with approximately $5 billion in annual revenues by adding enterprise storage to Avago’s existing wired infrastructure, wireless and industrial businesses. The combined company will be strongly positioned to capitalize on the growing opportunities created by the rapid increases in data center IP and mobile data traffic.

“This highly complementary and compelling acquisition positions Avago as a leader in the enterprise storage market and expands our offerings and capabilities in wired infrastructure, particularly system-level expertise,” stated Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Avago. “This combination will increase the Company’s scale and diversify our revenue and customer base. In addition to these powerful strategic benefits, as we integrate LSI onto the Avago platform, we expect to drive LSI’s operating margins toward Avago’s current levels, creating significant additional value for stockholders.”

“This transaction provides immediate value to our stockholders, and offers new growth opportunities for our employees to develop a wider range of leading-edge solutions for customers,” said Abhi Talwalkar, President and Chief Executive Officer of LSI. “Our leadership positions in enterprise storage and networking, in combination with Avago, create greater scale to further drive innovations into the datacenter.”

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PCI-SIG, the organization responsible for the widely adopted PCI Express® (PCIe®) industry-standard input/output (I/O) technology, today announced the release of the PCIe M.2 Specification Revision 1.0 to its members. A next-generation form factor for ultra-light and thin platforms, the latest M.2 architecture increases design flexibility to support high-end performance and enhanced data rates for power-constrained platforms. In addition, it enables the higher integration of functions onto a single form factor module solution.

As a natural progression from PCIe® Mini Card and PCIe® Half Mini Card, the smaller M.2 form factor is designed to meet future market requirements for applications in thin mobile platforms, such as tablets, portable gaming devices, smartphones and devices requiring SSDs. Its extensible design provides scalability for multiple technologies and host interfaces, including Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, SSD and WWAN.

“As users switch from legacy PCs to compact mobile devices, their demand for robust and power-efficient computing platforms endures,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG chairman and president. “The M.2 form factor offers tunable I/O technology, allowing developers to create the optimal balance of power and performance in their platform implementations.”

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Organizations can now achieve a higher level of storage performance with Intel RAID RS3 controllers, powered by LSI Technology. They are specifically designed to meet the demands of I/O-intensive applications, cloud datacenters and virtualized server environments.

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Businesses that use Intel RAID RS3 controllers as the basis for their storage infrastructure can achieve more than 1 million IOPs in JBOD mode. With 12Gb/s SAS-3 technology, it can accelerate business-critical applications in enterprise, Web and cloud datacenters.

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The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today announced that the development of the next generation of USB connector has begun. The new USB Type-C connector, built initially on existing USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, is being developed to help enable thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB. This supplement to the USB 3.1 specification is anticipated to be completed by the middle of next year.

Key characteristics of the USB Type-C connector and cable solution include:

  • An entirely new design tailored to work well with emerging product designs
  • New smaller size – similar in size to the existing USB 2.0 Micro-B
  • Usability enhancements – users will no longer need to be concerned with plug orientation/cable direction, making it easier to plug in
  • The Type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging
  • Scalability – the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance

As the new USB Type-C plug and receptacle will not directly mate with existing USB plugs and receptacles (Type-A, Type-B, Micro-B, etc.), the Type-C specification will define passive new-to-existing cables and adapters to allow users to use their existing products.

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