Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raptr, pc gaming
Raptr is an application that helps PC gamers by optimizing in-game settings, recording and streaming gameplay, and providing a chat service. Each month, they use their community data to compile a list of most played PC games over the previous month. This release concerns the month of March, 2015.
The top five games rarely move, but the last two months are minor exceptions. In February, Diablo III kicked Smite out of fifth place, leaving League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive untouched above it. In March, DOTA 2 by Valve Software had its third place ranking usurped by their arch nemesis: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive by Valve Software. That is the only change in the top five segment.
Looking at the bottom three-quarters, Dragon Age: Inquisition continued its descent right off the list, allowing PAYDAY 2 and Spider Solitaire to both re-enter the top twenty. (Apparently Spider Solitaire dropping by the list made Raptr “sad”. It has been absent since November 2014.) Battlefield 4 is down and War Thunder is up. Battlefield Hardline was only tracked for the first two weeks after its release, because we ran out of March, but it didn't even come close to the top twenty, placing 49th. It is attributed to Battlefield 4's decline, though.
StarCraft II being the only exception, four of Blizzard's five current titles are in the top ten most played games on the PC. With the Legacy of the Void beta going on, I wonder if they will achieve a five-for-five (or six-for-six if Overwatch is available by then) when the game fully releases, whenever that is.
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2015 - 03:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, GTAV, 1440p, 4k, crossfire, sli
Last week [H]ard|OCP investigated the performance of GTAV on single GPU systems and this week comes the promised follow up featuring Crossfire and SLI, including the expensive Titan X. With these high end setups, they tested 1440p and 4k performance as running these GPUs at 1080p is a crime against silicon. At 1440p, the GTX 980 in SLI could handle more than a single Titan X though nowhere near what that card managed in SLI while on the AMD the 295X2 could keep up frame wise, but at the cost of some graphical extras. At 4k resolutions, not even the mighty Titans could manage to run with all graphics options turned up, though it certainly did provide the best performance. AMD's GPUs lagged behind in performance however in scaling they were significantly better than NVIDIA's offerings, though there is still some room for improvement. The real battle is at the $650 mark, you can choose between a pair of GTX 970's or a single R9 295X2 as they offer relatively similar performance but if you want the most out of GTAV you are going to have to pay much more than that.
You should also make sure to free up your calendar at the end of the month for the Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN Party #10 is coming up on the 30th!
"This is Part 2 of our full evaluation of Grand Theft Auto V's video card gaming performance. In this part we dive into NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire highest playable gameplay settings and apples-to-apples at 1440p and 4K resolutions. We find out just what it takes to get the most out of GTA V at its highest settings."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- GoatZ - Coming May 7th! - Launch Video
- Black Mesa Inbound: HL Remake On Steam Early Access? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- I Hate These Guys – Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Released @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Watch Dogs 2 in development, according to senior Ubisoft dev @ HEXUS
- The GOG Galaxy beta is here!
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2015 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: oculus rift, Oculus, crescent bay
Finally we have a release date for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, some time in Q1 of 2016. The 2012 Kickstarter lead to the first and second Developers kits which have been out for a while now but not generally available. The most recent news was back in September when John Carmack and others showed off the prototype Crescent Bay model. The Dev Kit 2 model was provided for a cost of $350 to those who qualified which gives a rough benchmark of the cost of the consumer model when it goes on sale. At this point Oculus has not provided much in the way of technical specifications but those will be coming in the very near future. You can see quite a bit of information on the Oculus page about the current version, if you want to tease yourself before news about the consumer package is officially released.
"The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as updated ergonomics for a more natural fit, and a highly refined industrial design. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift. Next week, we’ll share more of the technical specifications here on the Oculus blog"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dell gets Windows apps running on Google Chromebooks @ The Inquirer
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux enters 6.7 beta with a safe pair of hands @ The Inquirer
- Intel raises memory deflector shields in Xeon E7 processor refresh @ The Register
- Nvidia ices Icera modem division, says it's leaving mobile chips biz @ The Register
- Bitten By PCB Defects @ Hack a Day
- NZXT DOKO Streaming Device Review @ HiTech Legion
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 6, 2015 - 02:21 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, hbm, radeon, gpu
During today's 2015 AMD Financial Analyst Day, CEO Dr. Lisa Su discussed some of the details of the upcoming enthusiast Radeon graphics product. Though it wasn't given a name, she repeatedly said that the product would be announced "in the coming weeks...at upcoming industry events."
You won't find specifications here but understanding the goals and targets that AMD has for this new flagship product will help tell the story of this new Radeon product. Dr. Su sees AMD investing at very specific inflection points, the most recent of which are DirectX 12, 4K displays and VR technology. With adoption of HBM (high bandwidth memory) that sits on-die with the GPU, rather than across a physical PCB, we will see both a reduction in power consumption as well as a significant increase in GPU memory bandwidth.
HBM will accelerate the performance improvements at those key inflection points Dr. Su mentioned. Additional memory bandwidth will aid the ability for discrete GPUs to push out 4K resolutions and beyond, no longer limited by texture sizes. AMD's LiquidVR software, in conjunction with HBM, will be able to improve latency and reduce performance concerns on current and future generations of virtual reality hardware.
One interesting comment made during the conference was that HBM would enable new form factors for the GPUs now that you now longer need to have memory spread out on a PCB. While there isn't much room in the add-in card market for differentiation, in the mobile space that could mean some very interesting things for higher performance gaming notebooks.
Mark Papermaster, AMD CTO, said earlier in the conference call that HBM would aid in performance but maybe more importantly will lower power and improve total GPU efficiency. HBM will offer more than 3x improved performance/watt compared to GDDR5 while also running more than 50% lower power than GDDR5. Lower power and higher performance upgrades don't happen often so I am really excited to see what AMD does with it.
There weren't any more details on the next flagship Radeon GPU but it doesn't look like we'll have to wait much longer.
Subject: Editorial | May 6, 2015 - 11:38 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: SSD 750, PCI Express, NVMe, Intel, giveaway, contest, 750 series
PC Perspective and Intel are partnering together to offer up a giveaway with some pretty impressive swag. Surely by now you have read all about the new Intel SSD 750 Series of products, a new class of solid state drive that combines four lanes of PCI Express 3.0 and a new protocol called NVM Express (NVMe) for impressive bandwidth throughput. In Allyn's review of the SSD in April he called it "the obvious choice for consumers who demand the most from their storage" and gave it a PC Perspective Editor's Choice Award!
Thanks to our friends at Intel we are going to be handing out a pair of the 400GB add-in card models to loyal PC Perspective readers and viewers. How can you enter? The rules are dead simple:
- Fill out the contest entry form below to find multiple entry methods including reading our review, answering a question about Intel SSD 750 Series specs or following us on Twitter. You can fill out one or all of the methods - the more you do the better your chances!
- Leave a comment on the news post below thanking Intel for sponsoring PC Perspective and for supplying this hardware for us to give to you!
- This is a global contest - so feel free to enter from anywhere in the world!
- Contest will close on June 2nd, 2015.
Our most sincere thanks to Intel for bringing this contest to PC Perspective's readers and fans. Good luck to everyone (except Josh)!
Sponsored by Intel
|Capacity||Seqential 128KB Read (up to MB/s)||Sequential 128KB Write (up to MB/s)||Random 4KB Read (up to IOPS)||Random 4KB Write (up to IOPS)||Form Factor||Interface|
|400 GB||2,200||900||430,000||230,000||2.5-inch x 15mm||PCI Express Gen3 x4|
|1.2 TB||2,400||1,200||440,000||290,000||2.5-inch x 15mm||PCI Express Gen3 x4|
|400 GB||2,200||900||430,000||230,000||Half-height half-length (HHHL) Add-in Card||PCI Express Gen3 x4|
|1.2 TB||2,400||1,200||440,000||290,000||Half-heigh half-length (HHHL) Add-in Card||PCI Express Gen3 x4|
Experience the future of storage performance for desktop client and workstation users with the Intel® SSD 750 Series. The Intel SSD 750 Series delivers uncompromised performance by utilizing NVM Express* over four lanes of PCIe* 3.0.
With both Add-in Card and 2.5-inch form factors, the Intel SSD 750 Series eases migration from SATA to PCIe 3.0 without power or thermal limitations on performance. The SSD can now deliver the ultimate in performance in a variety of system form factors and configurations.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Back in November of last year, we tested the Corsair Neutron XT, which was the first product to feature the Phison PS3110-S10 controller. First spotted at Flash Memory Summit, the S10 sports the following features:
- Quad-core controller - Quad-core CPU dedicates three cores just to managing flash and maintaining performance
- Maximum throughput and I/O - Offers speeds of up to 560 MB/s read and 540 MB/s write and 100K IOPs on read and 90 IOPs on write, saturating the SATA 6Gbps bus
- End-to-end Data Path Protection - Enterprise level CRC/ECC corrects internal soft errors as well as detecting and correcting any errors that may arise between the DRAM, controller, and flash
- SmartECC™ - Reconstructs defective/faulty pages when regular ECC fails
- SmartRefresh™ - Monitors block ECC health status and refreshes blocks periodically to improve data retention
- SmartFlush™ - Minimizes time data spends in cache to ensure data retention in the event of power loss
- Advanced wear-leveling and garbage collection
Corsair was Phison's launch partner, but as that was a while ago, we now have two additional SSD models launching with the S10 at their core:
To the left is the Kingston HyperX Savage. To the right is the Patriot Ignite. They differ in flash memory types used, available capacities, and the stated performance specs vary slightly among them. Today we'll compare them against the Neutron XT as well as a selecton of other SATA SSDs.
Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2015 - 10:21 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: usb 3.1, sli, piledriver, msi, gaming, crossfire, amd, am3+, 990FXA-Gaming, 990fx
Some months ago MSI announced that they are releasing a slew of USB 3.1 compliant parts. What was surprising was the mention of a brand new AM3+ board based on the now nearly geriatric AMD 990FX chipset. The 990FX has had quite a lifespan with PCI-E 2.0 support and the accompanying SB950 southbridge with USB 2.0 and SATA6G features.
It looks as if MSI is doing a clean sheet design for the 990FXA-Gaming. This looks to be a class leading product with plenty of features. Not only does it have the USB 3.1 support, but it also implements the enhanced audio design that we have seen on other top end boards from MSI. It also embraces the Killer ethernet software suite (utilizing Qualcomm's Atheros Gig-E chip).
The power delivery system looks to be a full 8+2 unit, so it can officially handle the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series of CPUs. It supports both SLI and CrossFire. The cooling on the board looks to be top notch as well, with a heatpipe stretching from the Southbridge, through the Northbridge, and finally to the VRMs.
We expect these boards to be available sometime around the middle of this month. We should also be receiving a sample for testing around then. It is nice to see new support for AMD's FX CPUs, and this should be a cost effective member of the club. Though AM3+ is a dead end in terms of socket infrastructure, there is still a lot of value in AMD's FX CPU line.
There is no word on pricing at this time, but I would not be surprised to see it hit the $149 mark. It does not seem as decked out as the 990FXA-GD80 which is priced around $179. With the robust featureset that they do implement, it does look to be a value if it can hit that aggressive price point.
Subject: Systems | May 6, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Okay, so some people are drawing parallels between this and Lenovo's Superfish scandal that happened late last year and carried on for the first few months of 2015. I am not a fan of that comparison. In the case of Superfish, Lenovo added third-party software that tampered with security for the purpose of advertising on the user's machine. In this case, a first-party application has a remote code execution vulnerability that was dealt with responsibly.
This happens to pretty much everyone, regularly.
But, so our readers know, they should update their Lenovo System Update. The current version, which seems to be 220.127.116.11 as far as I can tell, has been available since April and is not affected. This bug only concerns 18.104.22.168 and earlier. The issues were discovered in February by IOActive and disclosed to the PC manufacturer, who updated them before the security company published the issue. Unless I'm missing something, this is how it is supposed to be done.
Subject: Motherboards | May 5, 2015 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Z97-P
If you are looking for a low priced Z97 system you could do worse than base it off of the ASUS Z97-P. It is a trimmed down ATX board, only 21.3cm wide which unfortunately leads to a relatively crowded CPU socket and you would be wise to double check the size of the cooler you intend to use. You will also be limited to a single GPU as only one of the PCIe slots is 16x Gen3, the other 16x slot is in fact a 2x though that does leave enough lanes for the board to sport an M.2 slot. There are sacrifices made on the board but the general high quality of ASUS firmware ensures you get stable performance and, in The Tech Reports' opinion, justifies the slightly higher cost when compared to some of the other budget Z97 boards on the market.
"Asus' entry-level Z97 board is the Z97-P. Does the P in the model name signify that all it can hope for is a passing grade compared to its straight-As brother, the Z97-A? Read on to find out."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- GIGABYTE GA-Z97N-WIFI @ [H]ard|OCP
- Gigabyte X99M Gaming 5 @ Modders-Inc
- Asrock X99E-ITX-ac @ Legion Hardware
- GIGABYTE X99-UD4 Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion: 8Pack world record interview @ Kitguru
- ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2015 - 02:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: patch tuesday, microsoft, windows 10
Microsoft is showing off some of the new security features of Windows 10 and one of the announcements heralded the end of Patch Tuesday for everyone but Enterprise customers. For consumers any device running Windows 10 could receive a patch at any time Microsoft approves it and pushes it out, apparently a shot across the bows at Google and their less than regular update schedule for mobile devices. This could lead to some interesting and unexpected behaviour for devices if the patches cause problems on some systems as has happened in the past. The patches can be distributed via peer-to-peer which will help those with limited bandwidth and time constraints, which you can read about at The Register along with information on the new Advanced Threat Analytics.
The Inquirer touches briefly on Windows Update for Business which will replace current patch distribution for the Enterprise and allow far more control on what gets updated, with which patches and when the installations will occur.
"Ignite 2015 - Microsoft has shown off some of the new security mechanisms embedded in Windows 10, and revealed a change to its software updates."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nanotube TFETs in new tunnelling current record @ Nanotechweb
- Word to your mother: Office 2016 preview flung at world + dog @ The Register
- USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device @ Slashdot
- TP-LINK AV1200 Review (Powerline) @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 5, 2015 - 12:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: The Witcher 3, nvidia, GTX 980, GTX 970, gtx, geforce, batman arkham knight
NVIDIA has announced a new game bundle for GeForce graphics cards starting now, and it’s a doozy: Purchase a qualifying GTX card and receive download codes for both Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight!
Needless to say, both of these titles have been highly anticipated, and neither have been released just yet with Witcher 3: Wild Hunt due to be released on May 19, and Batman: Arkham Knight arriving on June 23. So which cards qualify? Amazon has a page specifically created for this new offer here, and depending on which card you select you’ll be eligible for either both upcoming games, or just Witcher 3. NVIDIA has this chart on their promotion page for reference:
So GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 cards will qualify for both games, and GTX 960 cards and the mobile GPUs qualify for Witcher 3 alone. Regardless of which game or card you may choose these PC versions of the new games will feature graphics that can’t be matched by consoles, and NVIDIA points out the advantages in their post:
"Both Batman and The Witcher raise the bar for graphical fidelity, rendering two very different open worlds with a level of detail we could only dream of last decade. And on PC, each is bolstered by NVIDIA GameWorks effects that increase fidelity, realism, and immersion. But to use those effects in conjunction with the many other available options, whilst retaining a high frame rate, it’s entirely possible that you’ll need an upgrade."
NVIDIA also posted this Witcher 3: Wild Hunt behind-the-scenes video:
In addition to the GameWorks effects present in Witcher 3, NVIDIA worked with developer Rocksteady on Batman: Arkham Knight “to create new visual effects exclusively for the game’s PC release.” The post elaborates:
"This is in addition to integrating the latest and greatest versions of our GPU-accelerated PhysX Destruction, PhysX Clothing and PhysX Turbulence technologies, which work in tandem to create immersive effects that react realistically to external forces. In previous Batman: Arkham games, these technologies created immersive fog and ice effects, realistic destructible scenery, and game-enhancing cloth effects that added to the atmosphere and spectacle. Expect to see similar effects in Arkham Knight, along with new features and effects that we'll be talking about in depth as we approach Arkham Knight’s June 23rd release."
Of note, mobile GPUs included in the promotion will only receive download codes if the seller of the notebook is participating in the "Two Times The Adventure" offer, so be sure to check that out when looking for a gaming laptop that qualifies!
The promotion is going on now and is available “for a limited time or while supplies last”.
DirectX 12 Has No More Secrets
The DirectX 12 API is finalized and the last of its features are known. Before the BUILD conference, the list consisted of Conservative Rasterization, Rasterizer Ordered Viewed, Typed UAV Load, Volume Tiled Resources, and a new Tiled Resources revision for non-volumetric content. When the GeForce GTX 980 launched, NVIDIA claimed it would be compatible with DirectX 12 features. Enthusiasts were skeptical, because Microsoft did not officially finalize the spec at the time.
Last week, Microsoft announced the last feature of the graphics API: Multiadapter.
We already knew that Multiadapter existed, at least to some extent. It is the part of the specification that allows developers to address multiple graphics adapters to split tasks between them. In DirectX 11 and earlier, secondary GPUs would remain idle unless the graphics driver sprinkled some magic fair dust on it with SLI, CrossFire, or Hybrid CrossFire. The only other way to access this dormant hardware was by spinning up an OpenCL (or similar compute API) context on the side.
Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2015 - 06:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: R9 380, R7 A360, R7 A330, leak, gpu, amd
HP announced their upcoming line up of desktops, including new Pavilions, ENVYs and a Spectre studio display with 4K resolution. An astute reader noticed something else that they announced unintentionally, the models of three unreleased AMD GPUs. The machines will be available starting on June 10th which even gives us a rough release time line. The pricing does not reveal all that much as they reference the base models and so it is hard to know what, if any discrete GPU is in the base model.
The HP Pavilion All-in-One PCs will sport USB 3.0 and your choice of an AMD Radeon R7 A330 or an R7 A360. As these are all in one PCs such as the one below you can expect these cards to represent the mid-range of AMD's upcoming lineup, though they could still put out a decent amount of power as the cooling in these systems is effective enough that HP offers models with Intel i7 and AMD A10 chips.
What most people will likely get excited about is in the HP ENVY and HP ENVY Phoenix Towers, the R9 380 which is offered as an alternative to the GTX 980. These machines also offer USB 3.0 as well as an option for a 512GB SSD as opposed to a 3TB HDD. The R9 380 will be powerful enough to handle the new 32" HP Spectre Studio Display, a 4K display with built in speakers and a viewing angle of 178° which implies an IPS display, albeit with an unknown refresh rate.
That is about all we know for now, but you can keep an eye out for more news about the R7 A330, R7 A360 and R9 380 right here.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 4, 2015 - 04:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Silverstone, SFF, Argon Series, AR06
If the Silverstone Argon Series AR05 was a little too small for you and your SFF system needs something with a little more cooling power you can check out the AR06. At 105x92x58mm it is a little taller than the AR05 and at 263g naked it is a little heavier. [H]ard|OCP tested it on a 4770K overclocked to 4.4GHz and it could keep it at a temperature of 88.5C, a little warm but very impressive for such a little cooler. Even more impressive is that the MSRP for the AR06 is the same as the AR05. Check out their full review right here.
"Many enthusiasts are opting for smaller footprint cases now days, and SilverStone comes to us with its higher performance low profile cooler that measures in at just 52mm tall. It has double the heatpipes of the last SilverStone cooler we reviewed and services a host of CPU sockets for both AMD and Intel."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 BW Rev.A CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Noctua NH-D9L Review @ OCC
- Thermaltake Core V21 @ Kitgru
- Fractal Design Define S Full-Tower @ eTeknix
- Raidmax Viper GX II Mid Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
- Bitfenix AEGIS midi tower in red @ HardwareOverclock
Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2015 - 02:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, windows server, nano server
Microsoft has really trimmed the fat off of Windows Server to make Nano Server, in fact they may have cut off some of the meat as well. A Microsoft engineer described it as "a model of 'just enough OS'.", which is why the new Server OS base install is a mere 400MB. The GUI is gone, you will use Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) or the new Core PowerShell which will resemble the old Powershell, but again in a cut down manner. Drivers and APIs are minimal which will take programmers some time to adjust to as the DLL that they current use may not exist on Core and the installer you all know and hate, Windows MSI is one of the ones which has been cut. In order to install drivers and applications which currently rely on MSI, you will need to add them to your image. Read more about this major change in the way you will manage your Windows servers over at The Register.
"Engineers from Microsoft's Windows Server team took the stage at the Build developer conference in San Francisco this week to share more details on Nano Server, the upcoming micro-sized version of the OS aimed at cloud deployments."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Inside ARM's Cortex-A72 microarchitecture @ The Tech Report
- Quantum CPU upstart D-Wave drills into physics simulations to boost vital magnetic shielding @ The Register
- What Happens When You Pour Molten Aluminum into a Watermelon? @ MAKE:Blog
- Tech ARP 2015 Mega Giveaway : Mi In-Ear Headphones
Subject: Motherboards | May 4, 2015 - 02:49 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: processor, msi, motherboard, Godavari, FM2+, cpu, APU, amd
MSI has revealed a new FM2+ motherboard lineup with support for upcoming AMD Godavari processors, further indicating the launch of these new CPUs will be very soon though no official announcement has yet been made by AMD.
As reported back in January when the lineup allegedly leaked the new Godavari SKUs feature higher clocks on both processor and, more significantly, in GPU cores in upcoming APUs like the rumored 8850K. MSI states that "these new models are available in ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ATX form factors and are backwards compatible with FM2 processors (Kaveri, Richland, Trinity, 6000 and 5000 series)", so it makes sense to consider these new models for future compatibility if shopping for an FM2 motherboard today. It remains to be seen if vendors will offer support for Godavari through BIOS updates, though it does at least seem likely.
For those interested here is the list of new MSI AMD FM2+/FM2 motherboard models:
- A68HM-E33 V2
- A88XM-E45 V2
- A78M-E35 V2
- A88XM-P33 V2
- A78M-E45 V2
- A88X-G41 PC Mate V2
- A88XM-E35 V2
- A88XI AC V2
The familiar Military Class 4 and OC Genie 4 branding is visible across the lineup, and the new models also feature "a rich blend of features and technologies, such as onboard LAN, PCI Express 3.0 x16, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and multiple display support".
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 3, 2015 - 09:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xigmatek, SFF case, SFF, nebula c, mini ITX
Looking for a cute and cuddly case? Xigmatek may have you covered with its latest Mini ITX-friendly Nebula C chassis which will soon be available in pink, purple, yellow, lime, and emerald colors.
Measuring 305 mm (H) x 260 mm (W) x 260mm (D) or roughly 12" x 10" x 10", the Nebula C has a SECC Steel frame paired with an ABS plastic exterior. There is a power button nestled in the top right corner, front I/O (two USB 3.0 and two audio ports) on the right side, and a triangular orange cutout in the bottom left corner for aesthetic reasons. Apart from that, the Nebula C is smooth plastic with little in the way of vents, logos, or other garnishments. Cooling is handled by a large passive mesh vent on the bottom of the case and a single 120mm fan on the rear panel. There is space for regular ATX power supplies, two expansion slots, and external water cooling radiators by way of two rubber grommets.
Internally, the Nebula C can hold a standard Mini ITX motherboard, a CPU heatsink up to 80mm tall, a full height graphics card up to 230mm in length, one 3.5" drive bay and one 2.5" bay. Using an adapter, you can fit a maximum of three 2.5" drives in this system. The support for ATX power supplies is nice to see as there are many more options in this space as well as better quality parts with lower noise at similar price points ( you would have to spend more money to get these features in a small form factor PSU where available).
Judging from Bit-Tech's review of the glossy white Nebula C, the case looks very easy to work with and the ability to remove all three side panels should make it easy to get at just about every bit of hardware without needing to take anything out of the case. They do note that cable management is a pain, and that a modular power supply is recommended. Since the motherboard is mounted on the bottom with the drive bays and PSU mounted above that, I can see how it could easy start to look like a rats nest in there if you don't plan ahead on this part of the build process. In all, it may be a worthy small form factor case if you have less than $100 and want something with a bit of color.
The refreshed Nebula C cases in pink, purple, lime, emerald, an yellow will be available soon. There is no official word on pricing or availability, but expect them to go for around $80 USD (if the glossy white version is any indication).
Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 3, 2015 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z97, xeon e5-2699v3, X99, tiki-z, tiki, SFF, liquid cooling, Haswell-E, falcon northwest, core i7-5960x
Falcon Northwest recently upped the hardware ante on its small form factor Tiki PC. Previously limited to Z97-based hardware, the company is now offering Tiki PCs with X99 motherboards. Even better, the Tiki can be configured with Intel’s Haswell-E Core i7-5000 or Haswell-EP Xeon chips such as the Core i7-5960X or Xeon E5-2699V3.
The updated Tiki maintains the same steel and aluminum case measuring 13” x 4” x 13” (HxWxD) with customizable paint work and a removable solid aluminum or granite base as its predecessors (e.g. Tiki-Z). External I/O options include the latest USB 3.1, eSATA, and Dual Intel Gigabit LAN ports. Internally, the Tiki has space for an Intel Z97 or X99 motherboard with a liquid cooled processor, up to 32GB of DDR4 (or 16GB DDR3 with Z97) memory, a dedicated graphics card up to an NVIDIA GTX TITAN X or Quadro and ample storage space in the form of four 2.5” drives or one 3.5” and two 2.5” drives.
All this hardware amounts to an impressive amount performance in general – much less a small form factor system. At the upper echelon, the Xeon E5-2699V3 offers 18 cores (36 threads with HT) clocked at up to 3.6 GHz paired with 45MB of L3 cache. Paired with a Quadro card like the M6000, that is one powerful workstation!
The updated Tiki is aimed at gamers and workstation builds doing intensive workloads like CAD, 3D animation, and video production.
The downside to this stylish powerhouse is, of course, pricing – the Tiki is far from cheap and the boutique premium is quite evident here. Available now, the updated Tiki starts at $1,860 for a base level Z97 system with quad core CPU or $2,492 for an eight core X99-based system. Fully loaded, the Tiki tops $10,000.
It is definitely an extremely niche product, but the engineering and styling is impressive all the same!
Early in April ASUS and AMD announced that the MG279Q display, first shown at CES in January, would be brought into the world of FreeSync and officially adopt AMD's branding. The original post from the AMD Twitter account clearly mentions the display would support 144 Hz refresh rates, an increase from the 120 Hz that ASUS claimed during CES.
Now however, we have some complications to deal with. According to a FAQ posted on the ASUS.com website, FreeSync variable refresh rates will only be supported in a range of 35 - 90 Hz.
Enable FreeSync™ in the MG279’s OSD setting, choose PC’s refresh rate timing between 35-90Hz (DP/miniDP only)
On the positive, that 35 Hz lower limit would be the best we have seen on any FreeSync monitor to date. And while the 90 Hz upper limit isn't awful (considering we have seen both 75 Hz and 144 Hz limits on current monitors), it does the beg the question as to why it would be LOWER than the 144 Hz quoted maximum overall refresh rate of the display.
The ASUS MG279Q is an IPS-style display so the quality of the screen should be top notch, but that doesn't alone answer why the upper FreeSync limit and upper refresh rate would not match. We already have the Acer Predator XB270HU G-Sync display in-house that operates at a variable refresh rate as high as 144 Hz with a similar quality IPS display. I've inquired to both AMD and ASUS about the reasoning for this 90 Hz limit, and we'll see if either side cares to comment prior to the display's release.
Subject: Mobile | May 1, 2015 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dell, Venue 11 Pro 7140, convertible tablet, Windows 8.1
The new Dell Venue 11 Pro is a tablet with a 10.8" touchscreen with 10 point capacitive touch displaying at a 1080p resolution powered by the Intel HD5300 present on the CoreM 5Y71 processor. That processor has a base frequency of 1.2GHz and a much more impressive maximum boost of 2.9GHz, offering both power savings and powerful performance depending on the needs of the application you are using. 8GB of DDR3-1600MHz will help you use many applications and the 256GB SSD is a nice touch for those who prefer to have most of their software and data stored locally.
"If you are looking for a professional looking convertible with the latest available low power consumption Intel Core M processor which is paired with 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and comes with a fully-fledged Windows 8.1 Pro operating system, then look no further, your answer is here!"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- MSI GE62 2QD @ Kitguru
- TSST TB100PA Portable Charger @ Kitguru
- Motorola Moto E 2nd Gen. Smartphone Review @ Hardware Secrets
- HTC Desire 820 @ Kitguru
- BlackBerry Leap: Touching biz users with a budget(ish) device @ The Register
- Meizu MX4 32GB Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- LG G4 hands-on @ The Inquirer