Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2013 - 04:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Star Wars, obsidian, gaming, ea
Disney may have passed exclusive rights to EA for the Star Wars franchise but that might not mean the end of the world if Obsidian Entertainment's CEO has anything to say about it. Just as BioWare worked with Obsidian the idea of an EA and Obsidian partnership is not completely off the table. This might not full reassure those who still miss the old days of Black Isle and BioWare games but it seems that there is hope for the future of Star Wars games. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has a quick interview with Feargus Urquhart discussing his efforts to partner up with EA.
"We now live in a world where The Sims: Star Wars or Need for Speed: Tosche Station could become things. I’m not saying it’s likely (though the former would not shock me in the slightest), but Star Wars is under new management, so who knows? For now, all we can say for sure is that BioWare, DICE, and Visceral are actively adding their own chapters to the space opera, but we won’t see results from those initial efforts until at least mid-2014 – and much later, in all likelihood."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Time to Ante Up Again: Poker Night 2 Review @ Techgage
- Bone Hordes: Hellraid Teaser Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Old, Faithful: OpenXcom Is Near-Complete @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Xciting Stuff: X: Rebirth Pathfinding Dev Diary @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wolfenstein Videogame Announcement Bingo @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 8, 2013 - 03:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: cooler master, n200, n400, n600, atx case
PC case and cooling manufacturer Cooler Master has launched a slew of new cases, including the N200, N400, and N600 cases. The new N series spans from Micro ATX to full tower cases. All three cases are black with mesh fan grills with front IO that supports two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio ports.
The N200 is the smallest of the three cases. It is constructed of steel (with a plastic front bezel) and measures 202 x 378 x 445mm. The N200 case can host mini-ITX or micro-ATX motherboards, up to two optical drives, four SSDs, and three hard drives. The case comes with two Cooler Master XtraFlow fans, but it can also fit a thin 240mm radiator in the front of the case if you remove the SSD drive bays. A 120mm rear fan rounds out the cooling options. It supports CPU HSFs up to 160mm tall.
The N400 is a bit larger at 190 x 426 x 501.4mm. The mid-tower case can support full ATX motherboards, 320mm long GPUs, and up to eight 120mm fans. A maximum of eight hard drives and seven expansion cards are also supported. Cooler Master provides two XtraFlow fans with the case.
Cooler Master’s N600 rounds out the new case series. The case measures 207 x 455 x 520mm and is constructed of a plastic polymer. In addition to the included XtraFlow fans, the case can accommodate up to 8 more 120mm fans. It has a removable hard drive cage that allows gamers to use graphics cards up to 430mm GPUs. A 240mm water cooling radiator can be installed in the top of the case as well. The N600 has a large mesh front panel that allows for front intake fans.
According to TechPowerUp, the Cooler Master N200 will be available in Europe later this month for 33 Euros while the larger N400 and N600 cases will be available in June for 42 Euros and 67.5 Euros respectively. Those prices work out to about $43 for the N200, $55 for the N400, and $89 for the N600, though that could change a bit as there is no word on official US pricing yet. Personally, I'm not a fan of the aesthetics, but at least the prices aren't terrible.
Subject: Systems | May 8, 2013 - 03:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, zotac, zbox id88, zbox id89
HONG KONG – May 8, 2013 – ZOTAC International, a global innovator and leading manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today supercharges the ZBOX mini-PC with desktop Intel Core i5 and i3 processors for outstanding performance that can match and outpace larger full-size desktop PCs. The new 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX with Intel Core Processors ushers in a new era of performance to the mini-PC form factor.
“Users demanded the same performance as larger desktop PCs from our ZBOX but the small size made it virtually impossible to deliver the same performance as desktop PCs. After many months of engineering and fine tuning, we came up with a solution that enables us to install desktop LGA1155 socket Intel Core i5 and i3 processors without sacrificing size, noise or power consumption that will make our end users very happy,” says Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International.
Users have two choices of processor with the 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX with Intel Core Processors. Casual users seeking great performance for everyday computing can opt for the dual-core Intel Core i3 3220T-equipped ZBOX ID88 series while more demanding users can step up to the Intel Core i5 3470T-equipped ZBOX ID89 series.
The Intel Core i5 3470T processor adds Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology to intelligently increase clock speeds of individual processor cores up to 3.6 GHz depending on computing demands of the operating system and applications. Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) enhances virtualization capabilities on the Intel Core i5 3470T for superior performance for virtualization uses.
Intel HD Graphics 2500 graphics processing transforms the 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX with Intel Core Processors into powerhouse HTPCs with Intel Quick Sync Video technology for lightning fast video conversions, Intel InTru 3D technology for stunning and smooth Blu-ray 3D playback with advanced audio technologies, and Intel Clear Video HD technology for hardware-accelerated high-definition video playback.
It’s time to play with the 3rd Generation ZOTAC ZBOX with Intel Core Processors.
ZBOX ID88 series
Intel Core i3 3220T (dual-core, 2.8 GHz)
ZBOX ID89 series
Intel Core i5 3470T (dual-core, 2.9 GHz, up to 3.6 GHz Turbo)
Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology
PLUS models available with preinstalled memory and hard drive
HDMI & DVI-I outputs
802.11n Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 w dual external WiFi antennas
Dual Gigabit Ethernet
High-amperage USB charging capable (yellow ports)
Bundled MCE-compatible remote w USB IR receiver
Bundled VESA75100 mount
Introduction and Features
Enermax has a well-earned reputation for delivering reliable power supplies, enclosures, and other accessories to the PC enthusiast market. Their new TriAthlor Series includes three power supplies including 550W, 650W and 700W models. We will be taking a detailed look at the TriAthlor 550W power supply in this review. All TriAthlor power supplies are certified to deliver 80 Plus Bronze efficiencies and feature modular cables and quiet operation. Ecomaster is the authorized US agent for Enermax branded products.
Enermax TriAthlor Series PSU Key Features:
(Courtesy of Enermax)
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 8, 2013 - 01:46 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultra tower, nzxt, h630, grid hub, case
NZXT has unleashed a monstrous new PC case onto the tech world with the H630 Ultra Tower. The new chassis is constructed of powder coated steel and ABS plastic. It can accommodate XL-ATX motherboards, two 360mm radiators, 8 hard drives, and a bunch of fans within its sound dampened interior. The H630 case weighs approximately 31 pounds and measures 547 x 245 x 567mm (HxWxD).
On the outside, the NZXT features a glossy white or black powder coated finish. You will not find any case windows or bling, but the design is clean and simple. It offers filtered fan intakes and an IO panel located on the right side with two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, and two audio ports as well as a SDXC card slot. Two 5.25” drive bays adorn the top-front of the case.
The inside of the case is rather spacious with an optical drive bay, three removable hard drive bays, an opening for a bottom mounted PSU, and a large motherboard tray that can hold boards up to XL-ATX in size. Water cooling enthusiasts will be pleased to know that they can mount a 360mm radiator in the top and front of the case, which is a pretty impressive feat without needing to use an externally-mounted rad (like I had to with my case). If you opt for additional air cooling, you can further fit two 140mm fans in the bottom of the case, one 140mm case in the HDD cage, and one 140mm case in the rear of the case. Needless to say, that’s a lot of cooling options!
NZXT has also outfitted the H630 with sound dampening material, which should help to soften the noise of all the hardware enthusiasts are likely to pack into the case--though I would wait for reviews to see how well the material works. Additionally, the H630 has 9 expansion slots, cable routing holes, the company's 10-port Grid fan hub, and two 2.5” SSD mounts hidden behind the motherboard tray.
The new H630 Ultra Tower should be available in the US for around $150 by the end of May and in the UK for £129.05 sometime in June. For the price, it seems like an impressive deal. I’m tempted, though I’m not sure if it will fit under my desk. You can find more photos and specifications on this NZXT product page.
Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2013 - 01:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
The Dell PowerEdge T110 is the first server deal we have seen from LogicBUY, currently selling for about half its regular price. Inside you will find a quad-core Xeon E3-1220v2 @ 3.1GHz Quad-core Server with 4GB DDR3 and a 500GB HDD. This will not be a gaming machine, but it could certainly host games or a file share or many other tasks more suited to a Xeon processor than a desktop processor. At this price it is a steal..
1. Start here at Dell Works direct store
2. Customize as per needs (optional), click Continue button in the right
3. Add to cart
4. Apply coupon code: HF9X1212V3TKTK in shopping cart and proceed to final checkout/payment
Subject: Memory | May 8, 2013 - 12:01 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: radeon ramdisk, radeon, memory, amd, 4GB, 2133, 1.65v
AMD makes memory! Ok, they likely contract out memory. Then they brand it! Then they throw in some software to make RAMDisks out of all that memory that you are not using. Let us face it; AMD is not particularly doing anything new here with memory. It is very much a commodity market that is completely saturated with quality parts from multiple manufacturers.
So why is AMD doing it? Well, I guess part of it is simply brand recognition and potentially another source of income to help pad the bottom line. They will not sell these parts for a loss, and they will have buyers with the diehard AMD fans. Tim covered the previous release of AMD memory pretty well, and he looked at the performance results of the free RAMDisk software that AMD bundled with the DIMMs. It does exactly what it is supposed to, but of course it takes portions of memory away. When dealing with upwards of 16 GB of memory for a desktop computer, sacrificing half of that is really not that big a deal unless heavy duty image and video editing are required.
*Tombraider not included with Radeon Memory. Radeon RAMDisk instead!
Today AMD is announcing a new memory product and a new bundled version of the RAMDisk software. The top end SKU is now the AMD Radeon RG2133 DDR-3 modules. It comes in a package of up to 4 x 4GB DIMMS and carries a CAS latency of 10 with the voltage at a reasonable 1.65v. These modules are programmed with both the Intel based XMP and the AMD based AMP (MP stands for Memory Profiles… if that wasn’t entirely obvious). The modules themselves are reasonable in terms of size (they will fit in any board, even with larger heatsinks on the CPU). AMD claims that they are all high quality parts, which again is not entirely surprising since I do not know of anyone who advertises that their DIMMS feature only the most mediocre memory modules available.
Faster memory is faster, water is wet, and Ken still needs a girlfriend.
AMD goes on to claim that faster memory does improve overall system performance. Furthermore AMD has revealed that UV light is in fact a cancer causing agent, Cocoa Puffs will turn any milk brown, and passing gas in church will rarely be commented upon (unless it is truly rank or you start calling yourself “Legion”). Many graphs were presented that essentially showed an overclocked APU with this memory will outperform a non-overclocked APU with DDR-3 1600 units. Truly eye opening, to say the least.
How much RAMDisk can any one man take? AMD wants to know!
The one big piece of the pie that we have yet to talk about is the enhanced version of Radeon RAMDisk (is Farva naming these things?). This particular version can carve out up to 64 GB of memory for a RAMDisk! I can tell you this now, me and my 8 GB of installed memory will get a LOT of mileage out of this one! I can only imagine the product meeting. “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! We can give them up to 64 GB of RAMDisk!” While another person replies, “How do you propose getting people above 64 GB, much less 32 GB of memory on a consumer level product…?” After much hand wringing and mumbling someone comes up with, “I know! They can span it across two motherboards! That way they have to buy an extra motherboard AND a CPU! Think of our attach rate!” And there was much rejoicing.
So yes, more memory that goes faster is better. Radeon RAMDisk is not just a comic superhero, it can improve overall system performance. Combine the two and we have AMD Radeon Memory RG2133 with 64 GB of RAMDisk. Considering that the top SKU will feature 4 x 4GB DIMMS, a user only needs to buy four kits and four motherboards and processors to get a 64GB RAMDisk. Better throw in another CPU and motherboard so a user can at least have 16GB of memory available as, you know, memory.
Update and Clarification
Perhaps my tone was a bit too sarcastic, but I just am not seeing the value here. Apparently (and I was not given this info before hand) the 4 x 4 GB kits with the 64 GB RAMDisk will retail at $155. Taking a quick look at Newegg I see that a user can buy quite a few different 2 x 8 GB 2133 kits anywhere from $139 to $145 with similar or better latencies/voltages. Around $155 users will get better latencies and voltages down to 1.5v. For 4 x 4GB kits we again see prices start at the $139 mark, but there are a significant number of other kits with again better voltages and latencies from $144 through $155.
Users can also get the free version of the Radeon RAMDisk that will utilize up to 4GB of space. There are multiple other software kits for not a whole lot of money (less than $10) that will provide you up to 16 GB of RAMDisk. I just find the whole kit to be comparable to what is currently out there. Offering a 64 GB RAMDisk for use with 16 GB of total system memory just seems to be really silly. The only way that could possibly be interesting would be if you could allocate 8 GB of that onto RAM and the other 56 GB onto a fast SSD. I do not believe that to be the case with this software, but I would love to be proved wrong.
Subject: Storage | May 7, 2013 - 06:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x8 accelerator, virident, ssd, seagate 1200, Seagate, pci-e
In addition to its recently-announced 600 and 600 Pro consumer line of solid state drives, Seagate has unveiled two new drives aimed at the enterprise SSD market. The Seagate 1200 series is a 2.5" SAS SSD and the Seagate X8 is a PCI-E based accelerator card.
Unfortunately, details are extremely scarce on both upcoming enterprise drives. Performance, specifications, pricing, and availability are still unknown. Seagate has officially confirmed there existence and shared a few tidbits of information, however.
The Seagate 1200 SSDs are 2.5" form factor drives with a 12Gbps SAS interface, which suggests that they will be at least somewhat faster than the consumer versions due to Seagate implementing the faster drive interface. The most important detail however, is that Seagate will be using its own custom SSD controller in the 1200 series. The new controller is still a mystery, but it is developed by Seagate and not Link A Media with customized firmware like the 600 and 600 Pro drives. I am especially interested to find out more about this aspect of the drive. Hopefully the new controller is successful and will trickle down to the company's next-generation consumer SSDs.
Meanwhile, Seagate's X8 Accelerator card is a half-height, half-length expansion card with up to 2.2TB of flash memory. The new PCI-E based drive is based on technology from Virident and can be used to accelerate applicators or database operations in servers. It will be available in capacities ranging from 550GB to 2.2TB. The SSD controller/management duties are handled by the host system's CPU and maintenance operations like garbage collection can be scheduled for periods of downtime when the server is not being hit hard by things like database requests for a popular web application. According to Seagate, each X8 Accelerator will be capable of up to 1.5 million IOPS.
Both of the new enterprise solid state drives will be released later this year.
Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2013 - 03:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, Seagate, LM87800, 600 Pro, 600, LAMD
Seagate has used Link_A_Media's Amber LM87800 controller and Toshiba Type C 19nm MLC NAND along with their own custom firmware to create the Seagate 600 series of SSDs. The components are very similar to Corsair's Neutron series of drives, it seems that the biggest difference is going to be in the functionality of the firmware. The first difference [H]ard|OCP spotted was in the efficiency of the drives, they pulled less power than their rivals and the Pro version sported enhanced endurance and power capacitors which will be very important to enterprise users. Check out the full review to see where they sit in the pack after the benchmarks were all completed.
"Seagate refreshes its line of consumer and enterprise SSDs with a new family of third-generation SSD products. We take a look at the consumer mainstream Seagate 600 and the enthusiast model, the Seagate 600 Pro. Will its LAMD Amber LM87800 controller, custom firmware, and Toshiba Type C 19nm MLC NAND make it a standout?"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Seagate 600 SSD Review (480GB) @ SDD Review
- Seagate Pro 600 Enterprise SSD @ Tweeaktown
- Seagate 600 SSD ST480HM000 480GB SSD @ Tweaktown
- Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report @ Tweaktown
- Seagate 600 SSD ST240HM000 240GB @ Tweaktown
- Samsung 840 SSD 250 GB @ techPowerUp
- Seagate Constellation ES.3 4TB Review @ OCC
- Toshiba DT01ACA300 3TB Hard Disk Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- iStarUSA BPN-DE340SS Storage Bay Adapter Review @ NikKTech
- Teratrend TS231U Dual Bay USB 3.0 / eSATA Enclosure @ Tweaktown
- QNAP TS-669L 6-Bay NAS @ Tweaktown
- Silicon Power Armor A80 1TB USB 3.0 Portable @ Bjorn3D
Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2013 - 03:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: stonesoft, security, purchase, mcafee, Intel
A small security firm called Stonesoft was acquired by Intel, or rather McAfee, for just under $400m. They provide not only software and services but actual network appliances which utilize their proprietary Stonesoft Security Engine to provide secure connectivity. This makes a lot of sense when you think back on Intel's statements when purchasing McAfee, they are not interested in only providing security at the software level but are interested in moving to the hardware level. You can find out a bit more at The Inquirer.
"SECURITY VENDOR McAfee has bought software security firm Stonesoft to add to its range of network security products.
McAfee, which is owned by Intel, is one of the biggest security vendors but has so far been focused on end-point products such as anti-virus and firewall software that runs on consumer PCs. Now the firm has made a move to go deeper into the network, buying security software vendor Stonesoft for $389m in cash."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung switches on Knox for the Galaxy S4, availability depends on mobile operators @ The Inquirer
- YouTube channels at $1.99 per month could launch this week @ The Register
- Adobe kills Creative Suite – all future features online only @ The Register
- Wolf 15 Piece Watch Box Review @ NikKTech
Seagate has officially moved into the solid state drive (SSD) market with two new consumer drives: the 600 and 600 Pro series. The new drives come in capacities ranging from 100GB to 480GB. Both series utilize the Link A Media (LAMD) LM87800 SSD controller and 19nm 2-bit per cell MLC NAND flash from Toshiba. Seagate has not provided pricing or availability dates, but pricing should be in-line with existing drives, and reviews are already available around the Internet.
The Seagate 600 series is the lowest-tier solid state drive. It will be available in 120, 240, and 480GB capacities. Seagate is using 128GB, 256, and 512GB of NAND flash on 2, 4, and 8 channels respectively. In addition to the LM87800 SSD controller (which features custom Seagate firmware) and NAND flash, Seagate is including 1MB of DDR2-800 DRAM per 1GB of NAND flash for a total of 128, 256, and 512MB of DRAM on the 120, 240, and 480GB capacity drives.
The 600 Series is rated at up to 500MB/s peak 128KB reads and 400MB/s writes (limited to 300MB/s on the lowest-capacity 120GB drive). Further, Seagate states that the 120GB drive is capable of 80,000 random read and 60,000 random write (4K) IOPS, while the 240GB and 480GB drives can reach up to 80,000 random read and 70,000 random write (4K) IOPS.
Also note that the 600 series comes in both 7mm and 5mm form factors, which makes it compatible with most laptops. Seagate provides a 3 year warranty on the 600 series.
The Seagate 600 Pro series steps things up a notch by adding overprovisioning, capacitors for power-loss protection, and a longer 5 year warranty. The 600 Pro series will come in 100, 120, 200, 240, 400, and 480GB capacities. The 100, 200, and 400GB versions of the SSD offer additional overprovisioning which gives the SSD controller more space to work with. The capacitores are intended to provide enough power in the event of a PC power loss to write all data to the NAND flash and prevent data loss.
The 600 Pro drives offer the same 6Gbps SATA interface, LM87800 controller, and 1MB-to-1GB DRAM to NAND ratio. The Pro drives do not come in the 5mm high form factor, so laptop compatibility is limited.
Further, the 600 Pro Seagate SSDs are faster drives. According to Seagate, the Pro series offers up to 85,000 and 30,000 random read and write (4K) IOPS on the overprovisioned drives and p to 85,000/11,000 random IOPS on the 240 and 480GB drives. The 100 and 120GB drives are slower than the other drives though due to less NAND flash and channels between the flash and controller. The chart below details the rated specifications for all of the announced drives.
|Series||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600||600||600|
|Random 4K r/w KIOPS||80/20||80/8||85/30||85/11||85/30||85/11||80/60||80/70||80/70|
|128KB r/w sustained sequential||>500/>300||>500/>400||>500/>400|
|128KB peak sequential r/w||520/300||520/300||520/450||520/450||520/450||520/450|
Blank areas indicate that rated specifications were not available.
Fortunately, the reviews available online (such as AnandTech's) do seem to support the new drives as far as performance is concerned. The drives are stacking up nicely versus the competition, which is interesting given the controller choice. For example, the sequential read speed looks promising.
The 600 and 600 Pro drives are looking like solid drives so long as the pricing is competitive. I'm excited to see where Seagate goes from here.
Subject: Editorial, Mobile | May 7, 2013 - 12:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: unreal engine, firefox, asm.js
If, on the other hand, you wish to see an example of a large application compiled for the browser: would Unreal Engine 3 suffice?
Clearly a computer hardware website would take the effort required to run a few benchmarks, and we do not disappoint. Epic Citadel was run in its benchmark mode in Firefox 20.0.1, Firefox 22.0a2, and Google Chrome; true, it was not run for long on Chrome before the tab crashed, but you cannot blame me for trying.
Each benchmark was run at full-screen 1080p "High Performance" settings on a PC with a Core i7 3770, a GeForce GTX 670, and more available RAM than the browser could possibly even allocate. The usual Firefox framerate limit was removed; they were the only tab open on the same fresh profile; the setting layout.frame_rate.precise was tested in both positions because I cannot keep up what the state of requestAnimationFrame callback delay is; and each scenario was performed twice and averaged.
- layout.frame_rate.precise true: 54.7 FPS
- layout.frame_rate.precise false: 53.2 FPS
Firefox 22.0a2 (asm.js)
- layout.frame_rate.precise true: 147.05 FPS
- layout.frame_rate.precise false: 144.8 FPS
Google Chrome 26.0.1410.64
It is also very enticing for Epic as well. A little over a month ago, Mark Rein and Tim Sweeney of Epic were interviewed by Gamasutra about HTML5 support for Unreal Engine. Due in part to the removal of UnrealScript in favor of game code being scripted in C++, Unreal Engine 4 will support HTML5. They are working with Mozilla to make the browser a reasonable competitor to consoles; write once, run on Mac, Windows, Linux, or anywhere compatible browsers can be found. Those familiar with my past editorials know this excites me greatly.
So what do our readers think? Comment away!
Subject: Motherboards | May 7, 2013 - 12:04 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z87 OC Formula, z87, lga 1150, fatal1ty, asrock
The launch of Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors and Z87 chipset is getting closer, and the various motherboard vendors have started teasing their upcoming product lines. Taiwan-based motherboard manufacturer ASRock is the latest company to detail its initial Z87 lineup, and it is fairly extensive.
ASRock will be launching LGA 1150 boards under its Extreme, OC, and Fatal1ty series. The Z87 Extreme series is intended for enthusiasts that need the the most connectivity options possible, including having the highest number of PCI-E slots. The Z87 OC Formula motherboards have beefy VRM hardware and are built to be pushed to the limit by overclockers. Finally, the Fatal1ty-branded motherboards are aimed at PC gamers and support 3 way multi-GPU setups and Creative Sound Core 3D audio chips. Many of the ASRock boards and an alternative SKU with an included 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. These boards are identified by the “/ac” text in their product names.
The initial ASRock Z87 Extreme series launch will include the following boards:
- Z87 Extreme 11
Z87 Extreme 9
- Z87 Extreme 9 with 802.11ac WLAN
Z87 Extreme 6
- Z87 Extreme 6 with 802.11ac WLAN
- Z87 Extreme 4
- Z87M Extreme 4 (Micro-ATX)
All of these boards will provide plenty of PCI-E slots and rear IO options that include eSATA, USB 3.0, at least one Gigabit LAN port (and dual on some boards), HDMI video outputs, and both digital and analog audio outputs. Note that the top three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots are rather close together on the Extreme 9 board. This lends credence to the Extreme series use as more of an enthusiast’s work rig with PCI-E SSD accelerator or hardware RAID cards rather than strictly a multi-GPU setup.
The OC series will include the following boards geared for Intel’s Haswell processors:
- Z87 OC Formula
Z87M OC Formula
- Z87M OC Formula with 802.11ac WLAN
The Z87 OC Formula series will launch with two boards, one that is full ATX and one that is Micro-ATX. These boards are similar in features and design to the Extreme 6 motherboard, but have additional hardware to facilitate overclocking.
Finally, the gamer-centric Fatal1ty series is aimed at high-end gaming PCs. The series will launch with the following boards:
- Z87 Fatal1ty Professional
- H87 Fatal1ty Performance
The Fatal1ty Professional uses Intel’s Z87 chipset and is aimed at high-end gaming PCs while the H78 Fatal1ty Performance uses the lower-cost H87 chipset and is aimed at midrange gaming systems. Multi-GPU and higher-end onboard sound are the main features of this ASRock series.
Pricing and availability are still unknown, but the company has quite the lineup planned, and the boards should cover a wide breadth of price points. It is nice to see the Micro ATX options as well as the standard ATX models. Now, we just need some Mini-ITX Z87 boards! Additional photos of the Z87 motherboards are available over at Tech Power Up.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 6, 2013 - 06:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: evercool, Venti HPQ-12025
If you need an inexpensive and relatively small heatsink then FrostyTech has a review you should check out. At a mere 125x68x160mm and 588g the Evercool Venti HPQ-12025 is tiny compared to many on the market and at $30 it is significantly less expensive than larger competitors. With that small footprint you could be forgiven for thinking that performance would suffer but FrostyTech's testing shows it to be a solid midrange performer and still reasonably efficient when running the fan at its lowest speed.
"Airflow is driven by a single 120mm PWM fan whose snow white 7-bladed impeller rotates at your basic 2200RPM to 800RPM. Noise output is moderate. Because computer enthusiasts tend to be picky bunch, Evercool have tossed in one extra set of wire fan clips."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Silverstone Heligon Series HE01 CPU Cooler Review @ Pro-Clockers
- Scythe Ashura / Katana 4 CPU cooler @ Hardware.info
- SilverStone Argon Series AR01 CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Cooler Master TPC-612 review: cheaper TPC-800 CPU cooler @ Hardware.info
- Noctua NH-U12S & NH-U14S CPU Coolers Review @ NikKTech
- Evercool Silent Shark CPU Cooler @ X-bit Labs
- Noctua NH-U14S CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Alpenfohn Fohn 120 and 140 WingBoost Fan @ eTeknix
- Noctua NF-S12A 120mm Fans Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Cougar 120mm Dual-X Fan Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Noctua NF-A14 FLX and ULN 140mm Case Fan Review @ Ninjalane
- Spire X2 120mm PWM Fan Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- NZXT Kraken X40 Compact Liquid Cooling System Review: New Level of Cool @ X-bit Labs
- Enermax Hoplite ST Gaming Tower Review @ Pro-Clockers
- Silverstone Redline RL04 Mid-Tower Computer Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- InWin G7 Mid-Tower Chassis @ Tweaktown
- Thermaltake Chaser A41 Mid-Tower @ FunkyKit
- Lian Li PC-V750WX Compact E-ATX Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Fractal Design ARC Midi R2 Mid-Tower @ Tweaktown
- NZXT Phantom 630 Full Tower Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Aerocool Xpredator case @ Rbmods
- Corsair Obsidian 350D Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Corsair 350D M-ATX Chassis @ eTeknix
- LanCool First Knight PC-K65B Mid Tower Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- A quick look at BitFenix's Prodigy enclosure @ The Tech Report
- Lian Li PC-V650B @ techPowerUp
- Antec GX700 Military Case @ Rbmods
- Antec GX700 Mid Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
Over the weekend, Gigabyte posted a new photo to its Facebook page that teased the interface of the company’s upcoming UEFI BIOS. The new UEFI DualBIOS interface features an orange and black theme with a black background, orange accents, and white text. From the preview photos of Gigabyte’s Z87 motherboards, the BIOS colors will match up nicely with the actual black and orange colored hardware.
The middle pane occupies the most space and brings all of your standard BIOS setup and overclocking settings front and center. Gigabyte has laid out the various settings into tabbed categories. Users can further customize a shortcut menu on the right-most tab. This settings pane is surrounded on all sides by various bars and columns with status information.
The top bar includes graphs on the system’s voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures. The bottom bar displays system information such as the total amount of RAM installed, CPU and BIOS identification, and other information. On the left of the main settings panel is a column with readouts on the installed processor. The information it provides at a glance includes CPU voltage, frequency, temperature, and core ratio. It also lists the CPU fan speeds. Meanwhile, the column on the right-hand side of the display hosts temperature and fan speed information for the PCH, system/case sensor, and up to five case fans.
While some enthusiasts might balk at the orange, black, and white color scheme, in all it looks like a nice improvement. Most of the information is available at a glance, and the customizable shortcut menu is a useful feature.
You can find the original photo as well as several other preview photos on Gigabyte’s Facebook page.
What do you think about the new UEFI BIOS UI?
Subject: Systems | May 6, 2013 - 04:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, IdeaCentre B540, win8, all in one
Lenovo's IdeaCentre B540 is an all in one PC, built into a 23" 1080p touchscreen that should make using Win8 a little more user friendly. The specs are not up to gaming, the Core i3-3220 @ 3.3GHz only has Intel HD2500 graphics but with 6GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD it should serve well as a light workstation or home PC. TechReviewSource does mention a higher end model containing a Core i5 CPU and a discrete Nvidia GPU but with the heat constraints of this type of form factor you are still going to have troubles playing the newest FPSes. Check out their preview here.
"The stylish design of the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is one that catches our eye in tandem with its budget price tag. The 23-inch 1080p touch screen works well with Windows 8 and looks great for multimedia viewing. Performance is good, especially for the price, but it does make a slight compromise with a Core i3 CPU."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- The Tech Report's April 2013 System Guide
- Dell XPS 18 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS One 27 Review: affordable large screen all-in-one @ Hardware.info
- Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Gateway DX4870-UB17 Review @ TechReviewSource
- BUYPOWER Revolt SFF Desktop Gaming PC @ Tweaktown
- Raspberry Pi Review @ Tech-Reviews.co.uk
- PC Specialist Vanquish X200 Gaming Rig @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 6, 2013 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: silvermont, merrifield, Intel, Bay Trail, atom
The news today is all about shrinking the Atom, both in process size and power consumption. Indeed The Tech Report heard talk of milliwatts and SoC's which shows the change of strategy Intel is having with Atom from small footprint HTPCs to POS and other ultra-low power applications. Hyperthreading has been dropped and Out of Order processing has been brought in which makes far more sense for the new niche Atom is destined for.
"Since their debut five years ago, Intel's Atom microprocessors have relied on the same basic CPU core. Next-gen Atoms will be based on the all-new Silvermont core, and we've taken a closer look at its underlying architecture."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD says HSA will cut latency bottleneck in GPU processing @ The Inquirer
- Redmond probes new IE 8 vulnerability @ The Register
- Not Like a Fine Wine: Windows Activation Still a Piece of Junk After All These Years @ Techgage
- Acer unveils new ultrabooks, notebooks and tablet @ DigiTimes
- Angering hippies and financing evil @ The Tech Report
- BlackBerry 10 passes US defence department tests @ The Register
- The TR Podcast 133: Iris graphics and the Radeon HD 7990
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2013 - 01:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
If you are a fan of lightweight notebooks the 3.8" HP ENVY 14t-3200 Spectre is a good choice as not only is it lightweight it also sports a 1600 x 900 Radiance display that provides a much larger colour gamut than your average mobile screen. The base model features a Core i5-3317U with HD 4000 graphics but you can upgrade to an i7-3667U for an extra $325 if you need the processing power. Both models come with a 128GB SSD of indeterminate origin.
To get the base HP ENVY 14t-3200 Spectre deal, follow these steps:
- Start here at HP Home direct store
- Click Customize button
- Click View Summary button at the top, Add to cart
- Proceed to final checkout/payment
To get the Core i7 HP ENVY 14 Spectre deal, follow these steps:
- Start here at HP Home direct store
- Click Customize button
- Upgrade to 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3667U Processor + Intel HD Graphics 4000 +$100
- Click View Summary button at the top, Add to cart
- Apply coupon code: NB84633 in shopping cart and proceed to final checkout/payment This Core i7 ENVY 14 Spectre deal: $1,499.99 - $75 coupon code = $1,424.99 with $9.99 shipping.
A much needed architecture shift
It has been almost exactly five years since the release of the first Atom branded processors from Intel, starting with the Atom 230 and 330 based on the Diamondville design. Built for netbooks and nettops at the time, the Atom chips were a reaction to a unique market that the company had not planned for. While the early Atoms were great sellers, they were universally criticized by the media for slow performance and sub-par user experiences.
Atom has seen numerous refreshes since 2008, but they were all modifications of the simplistic, in-order architecture that was launched initially. With today's official release of the Silvermont architecture, the Atom processors see their first complete redesign from the ground up. With the focus on tablets and phones rather than netbooks, can Intel finally find a foothold in the growing markets dominated by ARM partners?
I should note that even though we are seeing the architectural reveal today, Intel doesn't plan on having shipping parts until late in 2013 for embedded, server and tablets and not until 2014 for smartphones. Why the early reveal on the design then? I think that pressure from ARM's designs (Krait, Exynos) as well as the upcoming release of AMD's own Kabini is forcing Intel's hand a bit. Certainly they don't want to be perceived as having fallen behind and getting news about the potential benefits of their own x86 option out in the public will help.
Silvermont will be the first Atom processor built on the 22nm process, leaving the 32nm designs of Saltwell behind it. This also marks the beginning of a new change in the Atom design process, to adopt the tick/tock model we have seen on Intel's consumer desktop and notebook parts. At the next node drop of 14nm, we'll see see an annual cadence that first focuses on the node change, then an architecture change at the same node.
By keeping Atom on the same process technology as Core (Ivy Bridge, Haswell, etc), Intel can put more of a focus on the power capabilities of their manufacturing.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 4, 2013 - 06:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Web browsers are getting really good at being general-purpose application platforms.
I can see the web developers drooling already.
But even though performance lags behind reasonable native environments, the divide is rapidly shrinking. Many applications have reached or exceeded the saturation of useful performance at the same time as browser developers narrow the gap between native performance and themselves.
According to David Herman of Mozilla, one of the lead authors of the ASM.js draft, the specification also allows for multithreading through web workers. Applications can take advantage of multiple hardware threads in this way, and potentially other methods as they continue development. I would expect this is especially relevant for mobile devices which tend to have relatively many cores considering their single threaded performance.
Check it out, imagine what you could be doing in your web browser in the near future.