ASUS today announced Essence III, a USB digital-to-analog (DAC) converter with a fully balanced design and the latest Direct Stream Digital (DSD) playback designed for those who demand the purest audio quality and listening flexibility.

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High-precision clocks and asynchronous USB virtually eliminate jitter, while separate printed-circuit boards for digital, analog and power ensure that the Essence III’s audio delivery is crystal-clear and free of crosstalk. Remote-controlled volume driven by stepped attenuators allow output levels to be set with great precision – even from the far side of the listening room.

“Essence III is more than the flagship product of our audio range,” said Ives Chiu, product manager of ASUS Multimedia Business Department, “it is a representation of how dedicated and how serious we are in the pursuit of high-quality audio. We have crafted Essence III to be just as satisfying to use as it is to hear”

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Sonnet today introduced the Tango 3.0 PCIe, a combination USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 PCIe adapter card. The Tango card provides users with a simple way to add USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 connectivity to Mac Pro and Windows computers with PCIe slots, and to Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express expansion chassis. This Sonnet adapter can run bus-powered devices such as hard drives through each of its ports, and it is also backward-compatible with USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 devices.

USB 3.0, which offers a tenfold increase in data transfer speeds over USB 2.0, has become a standard interface on Mac systems and most Windows PCs, as well as external storage devices. The iconic, but now discontinued, Mac Pro tower never included native USB 3.0 ports, and many perfectly functional PCs were built with only USB 2.0 ports. Therefore, users wanting to take advantage of the new fast interface have to rely on third-party expansion cards. The Sonnet adapter provides four USB 3.0 ports: two external USB 3.0 ports and a 20-pin header for two internal USB 3.0 ports. The internal ports support panel-mount connector kits (sold separately).

FireWire 800 established its success as an interface for storage devices and professional audio equipment. Although included for years as a standard feature on most Mac computers, it has rarely been included in Windows PCs. The Tango 3.0 PCIe provides Windows PC and Mac Pro users alike a simple way to add three FireWire 800 ports to any compatible computer with an open PCIe slot.

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Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced a new Universal Serial Bus 3.0 (USB 3.0) hub controller (part number μPD720211) with dual downstream ports, extending more flexibility to implement USB 3.0 connections of digital devices such as PCs, tablets, and digital TVs to other USB 3.0-compatible peripheral devices.

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Adding a new two-port hub controller to the lineup alongside Renesas’ world’s-first certified USB 3.0 four-port hub controller (part number μPD720210) increases system designers’ options for USB 3.0 hub expansion with products such as PCs, tablets, display monitors, docking stations (function expansion units that connect to notebook PCs), and digital TVs. The addition of the two-port hub controller (uPD720211) supports designs with tighter space and cost budgets, while expanding the USB 3.0 connectivity to utilize the increasing number and performance of USB 3.0 peripherals devices available in the market.

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Creative Technology Ltd today announced an all new high performance external sound card – the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1.

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On top of enhancing audio playback via Creative's SBX Pro Studio™ suite of processing technologies, the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 goes a step further to provide a more complete playback experience. The sound card comes with a 600 ohm headphone amplifier that allows discerning listeners to hear every enhanced audio detail through powerful studio-grade monitoring headphones.

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Diamond Multimedia has introduced the newest addition to their sound card collection, the Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1 PCI-e Low Profile 24 Bit Record and Playback Internal Sound Card, model name: XS71HD. The high performance HD sound card improve Your Sound Experience for Gaming, Movies, Music and more in true 7.1 channel surround sound.

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The Xtreme Sound 7.1 HD sound card provides theater quality sound, all in true 7.1 channel surround sound and support for 24bit 192KHz/96KHz/48KHz/44.1KHz playback and 24bit 192KHz/96KHz/48KHz/44.1KHz recording, anti-Pop protection circuitry, special effects including concert hall and more. The Xtreme Sound 7.1 HD sound card also includes a digital optical output, which provides a multichannel, pure digital, distortion-free signal that can be connected via a single optical digital cable, therefore eliminating multiple cable connections and guaranteeing high fidelity audio for your home theater experience.

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Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of Serial ATA (SATA) technology, today announced the ratification of its revision 3.2 specification. The latest specification includes SATA Express, a new specification that enables the coexistence of SATA and PCIe storage devices, as well as enhancements in power management, new SATA form-factors, and optimizations for solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs).

"SATA technology continues to evolve to accommodate ever-changing storage industry requirements," said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO President. "The updates featured in the revision 3.2 specification, such as SATA Express and enhancements for emerging solid state hybrid drives, are driven by current market trends. These new features demonstrate SATA-IO's ongoing commitment to providing low-cost, high-performance storage solutions."

Initially introduced in January 2013, the SATA Express specification enables a client storage ecosystem that allows SATA and PCIe solutions to coexist. A host implemented to this specification will connect to and function with either a SATA or PCIe storage device. PCIe technology enables increased interface speeds of up to 2GB/s (2 lanes of PCIe 3.0), compared with today's SATA technology at 0.6GB/s (6Gb/s). The increased speed of PCIe provides a cost-effective solution for optimizing performance of Solid State Drives (SSDs) and emerging SSHDs. Storage devices not requiring the increased speed of PCIe, such as traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and optical drives, will continue to be supported by SATA.

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The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today announced the completion of the USB 3.1 Specification which adds enhancements to enable SuperSpeed USB to operate at up to 10 Gbps. This latest release of the specification will be available today for download from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) website.

SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables. Compatibility is assured with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols as well as with existing 5 Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.

Developers interested in implementing the new USB 3.1 Specification have the opportunity to learn technical details during three developer conferences currently being planned. The international conferences planned in Europe and Asia will offer more advanced system design training as breakout sessions on the second day. For more details and conference registration instructions, please visit the USB-IF website.

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Diamond Multimedia has introduced the newest addition to their USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter line, the Diamond USB303HE 3-port SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Hub with 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet Port and mini docking station. The high performance plug-and-play Gigabit Ethernet port offers energy efficient settings while still providing the most proficient Ethernet adapter services for most operating systems by using a standard USB port. It is equipped with ASIX AX88179 chipset and USB to RJ45 connection. The pocket-sized USB303HE does not require an external power supply, making it ideal for not just the home and office but also traveling -- when WiFi is not easily available.

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The USB303HE is fully functional, easy to use and outfitted for desktops, notebook PCs, Ultrabooks, Macbooks®, docking stations, game consoles and digital-home appliances. It ensures true 10/100/1000Mbps network speed through an existing USB port with a small form factor and simple, fast plug-n-play connectivity. The USB303HE can provide high-speed wired connectivity for Ultrabooks that don't have a standard RJ45 port. The USB303HE is able to outfit many operating systems such as: WIN 8. WIN 7 64, WIN VISTA 64, WIN XP, MCE, MAC OS X. Additionally it is compliant with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 specifications.

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Western Digital Corporation has acquired privately held VeloBit, a provider of high-performance storage I/O optimization software. VeloBit will be fully integrated into HGST, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital. Headquartered in Lincoln, MA, VeloBit enhances storage system performance with its software technology by adding a transparent acceleration layer utilizing solid state drives (SSDs). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition builds on HGST's strategy to enhance the overall value of datacenter storage by integrating HGST SSDs with software. VeloBit's SSD caching software dramatically accelerates applications and increases server density by enabling higher I/O performance, lower latency, and more efficient usage of processor and storage resources.

Both the VeloBit acquisition and the proposed sTec acquisition by Western Digital reflect acceleration by its HGST subsidiary in the fast growing and strategic enterprise SSD space, augmenting its technology position and IP portfolio with additional engineering and design resources.

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Verbatim, a global pioneer of data storage technology, introduces MediaShare Wireless – a portable device which connects with up to five Wi-Fi enabled tablets and smartphones allowing you to view, play, stream and back up photos, video clips and music simultaneously, anywhere.

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For times when it is impractical to access a computer or on-board storage is limited, the portable device effectively creates its own Wi-Fi network enabling users to wirelessly stream or archive media files securely and quickly between an iPad, iPhones, iPod Touch and Android based device. For example, Verbatim’s MediaShare Wireless could help keep children entertained on long journeys by streaming media content chosen by parents through to the child’s tablet, smartphone or portable media player.

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