Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 06:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k
Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.
Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.
Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2
While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.
External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.
Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2
Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.
The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.
Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).
The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.
The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)
|ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad||AsRock Extreme 11/ac||Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH|
|PCI-E 3.0 x16||3||4||5|
|PCI-E 3.0 x1||4||3||2|
|Audio||6 x analog, 1 x optical||5 x analog, 1 x optical||5 x analog, 1 x optical|
|Video out||1 x HDMI||1 x HDMI, 1 x DP||1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI|
|USB 3.0||6 (+4 USB 2.0)||6 (+2 USB 2.0)||6|
It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!
Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2013 - 02:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, nuc, Intel, hd 5000, haswell, 4k
Intel has announced a new Haswell-powered NUC called the D54250WYK. The new barebones kit includes an Intel D54250WYB NUC motherboard with soldered processor in a small form factor case that measures 4.6″ x 4.4″ x 1.4″. The new NUC is faster, has new IO options, and reportedly fixes the overheating issues of previous NUC systems. The Haswell-powered NUC has a bit of competition with the recently launched Gigabyte BRIX system which also got an upgrade to Intel's latest consumer architecture.
The new NUC D54250WYK barebones kit.
The Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK uses a new 4.33" x 4.33" motherboard with a pre-soldered Intel Haswell Core i5-4250U processor. The system further supports two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB of 1600MHz memory), a single SATA port, two mini PCI-E slots (one for mSATA SSDs and one half-height for Wi-Fi NICs), and a USB 2.0 header supporting to USB 2.0 ports. The Core i5-4250U CPU is a 22nm chip with a 15W TDP. It is a dual core part clocked at 1.3GHz base and 2.6GHz Turbo with HyperThreading, 3MB of cache, and HD 5000 processor graphics (200Mhz base and 1GHz Turbo).
The new NUC motherboard and Haswell processor.
While Intel has removed Thunderbolt support, external IO is still decent, with the following ports:
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 2 x Analog audio jacks
- 1 x Infrared receiver
2 x Video outputs:
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
- 1 x Mini HDMI 1.4
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 2 x USB 3.0
Notably, the Intel NUC Kit with i5-4250U CPU requires active cooling, but aftermarket cases offering passive cooling are likely in the works. Of course, users will be able to purchase the barebones D54250WYK kit or just the D54250WYB NUC motherboard and CPU that can be paired with a third party or custom built case. Like Gigabyte, Intel has not released specific pricing or availability, but expect the new Haswell-powered NUC to be coming soon as the system appears to be ready to go. Hopefully full reviews will be hitting the Internet soon!
Subject: Storage | September 13, 2013 - 04:23 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Thunderbolt 2, SANlink 2, raid, promise, 4k
Promise Technology has announced that it is launching new storage solutions with Intel's new Thunderbolt 2 interface. Shown off at IDF 2013, the storage products include the Pegasus 2 series and SANLink 2 Thunderbolt 2 to 8G Fiber Channel bridge. The Pegasus 2 series is a RAID 5 external storage array that connects to Windows or Mac machines using Thunderbolt 2. The SANLink 2 bridge product allows users to connect a PC using Thunderbolt 2 to Promise Technology's VTrak or VTrak A-Class shared SAN storage.
The storage products are aimed mainly at professional video editors that are working with 4K content. According to Promise Technology, the 20Gbps bi-directional Thunderbolt 2 connection enables video editors to simultaneously transfer and display 4K video content.
Promise Technology CEO James Lee was quoted as saying:
"With the industry now poised for the widespread adoption of 4K video, the Pegasus2 Series with Thunderbolt 2 technology will revolutionize how video creators are managing 4K workflows in addition to delivering unprecedented performance to artists and enthusiasts who love to create captivating content."
Both the Pegasus2 and SANLink2 products with Thunderbolt 2 will be available in Fall 2013 for so-far undisclosed prices. The full press blast is below, for more information.
Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2013 - 01:49 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, Panasonic, ifa 2013, 4k
At the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, Germany, Panasonic is showing off a prototype 20” tablet with 4K high resolution display called the ToughPad 4K UT-MB5. The tablet is aimed at professional users in sales and marketing as well as artists, architects, and engineers. The UT-MB5 will come in two models: standard and performance. The performance SKU features a faster Intel Core i5 vPro processor and NVIDIA discrete graphics versus the standard version.
The Panasonic ToughPad 4K UT-MB5 is a 20” tablet with a carbon fiber case that measures 12.5mm thick and weighs 2.35 kg (5.18 lbs) for the standard version. The performance version weighs slightly more at 2.7 kg (5.95 lbs). The front of the tablet is dominated by a 20” 4K IPS display with a resolution of 3840 x 2560 (230 PPI), aspect ratio of 15:10, and 176-degree viewing angles. Above the display is a 720p webcam. The UT-MB5 has USB 3.0, SD card, optical smart card, and headphone ports. Panasonic further offers a desktop cradle that allows users to use the tablet as a desktop system by connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse. The desktop dock also expands the IO options to include HDMI output and an Ethernet port. The tablet is ruggedized and rated to be able to withstand drops up to 76cm while turned on.
Internal hardware on the 20” ToughPad includes an unspecified Intel Core i5 vPro processor, discrete NVIDIA Geforce graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, a 128GB (standard) or 256GB (performance) SSD, and Windows 8.1 Pro. There are also wireless radios for 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Panasonic also provides an optional digitizer called the Electronic Touch Pen. The custom pen connects to the tablet using Bluetooth and uses an infrared camera that can reportedly identify every pixel on the high resolution display. The pen has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and can also report angle of tilt.
Panasonic rates the UT-MB5 tablet at around 2 hours of battery life off of a full charge. The company sees the device as a portable touchscreen rather than a mobile tablet, and at 20” and 5+ pounds it is more of a desktop replacement than a mobile device.
The Standard SKU will be available in November for GBP 3,335 (~$5,217) in Germany and Europe. There is no word on US availability yet, however. Panasonic has stated that the higher-end Performance UT-MB5's pricing and availability will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, users can check out the standard version at the IFA show in Berlin in Hall 5.2/101.
It looks like a neat device that should be a hit for professional artists, architects, engineers, and business users alike. It comes with a premium price tag but the display and accurate digitizer is likely worth it!
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2013 - 05:19 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: HDMI 2.0, hdmi, 4k
3840 and 2160 are common numbers around this site or at least they have been over the last half year. You might be surprised to find we have been on the 4K bandwagon since 2011 when Ryan was given some time with the EIZO DuraVision FDH3601 at a vendor presentation. Sure, that $30,000 behemoth was designed for medical imaging and air traffic control stations, but it can run DiRT 3 like a champ. But, even now, 60Hz at those resolutions require at least two cables working in unison.
HDMI 2.0, recently announced, has been designed to achieve single-cable 4K at 60 progressive frames per second.
The specification maintains the same cable configuration as HDMI 1.4. Devices which support HDMI 2.0 can be connected, at full functionality, with standard "category 2" (marketing term "high speed") cables. Currently available "high speed" cables will not need to be replaced. The devices, on the other hand, must support the higher standard but that only makes sense because... well... why would you need the cable, otherwise?
HDMI 2.0 drives a higher frequency, 600MHz up from 340 MHz, to deliver substantially more bandwidth, 18Gbps up from 10.2Gbps, than HDMI 1.4. The extra bits can be used for 32 channel audio at 1536kHz sample rates as well as the aforementioned 2160p/60 video link.
A helpful feature for many home theater enthusiasts is "dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams". To my understand, this means that end-users will not need to fiddle with latency settings on their speaker systems as the devices will properly negotiate the delay themselves.
I have not been too much of a fan of HDMI licensing requirements and restrictions, but this release is definitely major version-worthy. The compliance test is expected in late 2013. The devices, however, are what most of us care about and, well, that depends on those manufacturers.
Subject: Storage | August 12, 2013 - 05:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, partition, MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition, 4k
SSDs and modern OSes no longer use the old 512 byte LBA alignment, or at least they don't need to and in the case of SSDs offer larger disk size and faster performance. However many people are not aware of 4k alignment nor how to check if their SSD is aligned nor what to do even if they do know it is not aligned. Hardware.Info put together a short article on the steps to verify if your SSD is aligned as well as covering a free partitioning tool called MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition which will help you align your SSD as well as other tasks common to partitioning software. As with any major changes being made at this low a level, do realize that this could cause data loss, but aligning those sectors is a great IDEMA.
"When you copy the contents of a hard disk from a PC or laptop to an SSD you have to make sure that the placement of the partitions corresponds to the underlying hardware structure. The same is true for the latest generation of hard disks. Today we'll discuss what this so-called '4k alignment' really means and what you can do in order to prevent a decrease in performance."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ULLtraDIMM: combining SSD and DRAM for the enterprise @ Hardware.info
- Seagate 600 SSD 240GB (ST240HM000) @ NikKTech
- Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB SSD @ techPowerUp
- SanDisk Extreme 2 240GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- SanDisk Extreme II Solid State Drive SDSSDXP @ Legion Hardware
- Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500GB @ NikKTech
- ASUS RAIDR Express 240GB PCI-Express SSD @ Hardware.info
- Silicon Power Blaze B20 USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Voyager Air 500GB @ Legion Hardware
- WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable Hard Drive Review @ Techgage
- Patriot Tab 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Kingston DT Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive 2 Funky Kit
- Seagate Business Storage 2-bay 6TB @ Hardware.info
- Synology DS713+ @ techPowerUp
- Seagate NAS HDD 4TB Review @ Techgage
- QNAP TS-421 and TS-420 @ Legion Hardware
- Teratrend (SilverStone) TS231U 2 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | July 25, 2013 - 07:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: eyefinity, crossfire, 4k
Sharp recently sampled a few of their 32" 4K monitors to Microsoft's Extreme Windows. The blog, known for editorializing what enthusiasts can do with Microsoft products, combined three 3840 x 2160 monitors into a 3x1 Eyefinity configuration at 60 Hz; the screen, itself, measures about 7 feet diagonally. This configuration, unlike the already-supported three-display 30 Hz and single-display 60Hz 4K modes, required AMD to develop a customized driver before Sharp's repo-team reclaimed their $15,000 worth of monitors.
They had a day until their door was to be knocked.
The system, three Radeon HD 7970s in Crossfire, successfully drove... they were playing Dirt 3, by the way... the three monitors at 60 Hz with between 62 and 70, of software recorded, FPS. 11,520 x 2160, at 60 Hz, requires 1.5 billion colors to be calculated within a second of animation; that is 1.5 gigapixels. Ignore, for a moment, stutter caused by including Crossfire with an Eyefinity setup. Every calculation, whether properly drawn to the monitor or not is, and must be, performed; 1.5 gigapixels is impressive and an accomplishment for Radeon hardware.
Lastly, I need to call out drama as I see it: power supplies. It is not hard to find a PSU which can support a three-GPU system and no reason for it to be hanging outside the case. It might give off the bleeding-edge appearance, but this is not arc welding. If they really were concerned, they could have picked up a higher capacity device from the shelf of a local component reseller.
Podcast #261 - ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, and more!
Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2013 - 02:36 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, tegra 5, Samsung, pq321q, podcast, logan, kepler, asus, 840 evo, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #261 - 07/25/2013
Join us this week as we discuss our ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:12:20
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:25:30 More Samsung 840 EVO news
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Displays | July 24, 2013 - 03:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultrasharp 32, ultrasharp, ultra hdtv, UHD, igzo, dell, 4k
Dell showed off a new Ultra HD (UHD) monitor called the UltraSharp 32 at SIGGRAPH 2013 this week. The new monitor has a 32" IGZO, or Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide, panel, which is a technology developed by Sharp that allows for smaller pixels or faster reaction times. (A similar panel is used in the ASUS PQ321Q that Ryan recently reviewed.). The panel has a 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 and comes with a matte finish. Dell claims that its new 4K monitor supports up to 1.07 billion colors.
The monitor is fitted to an aluminum stand that allows for height ajustment. The monitor itself is rather thin, but still manages to fit an SD card reader on the left-hand side. The rest of the ports are located on the rear of the monitor, however. IO on the Dell UltraSharp 32 includes:
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort
- 3 x USB
- 1 x SD
Unfortunately, other specifications such as refresh rate are unknown. Dell has not yet released pricing information, but has stated that the UltraSharp 32 will be available in Q4 of this year. I think this is good for consumers as it should help bring 4k monitor prices down as competition heats up between the various manufacturers using these IGZO panels.
Engadget was on hand at SIGGRAPH and managed to snap several photos of the new monitor which are worth checking out.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | July 20, 2013 - 11:36 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, seiki, SE39UY04, hdtv, displays, 4k, 3840x2160
After the interest in our overview of the SEIKI 50-in 4K HDTV last April, we got word that SEIKI was making a smaller version of the same television. The SE39UY04 is now available and sells for just under $700 at various online retailers and is surely piquing the interest of many PC users and enthusiasts with the combination of a 3840x2160 resolution and 39-in screen size.
In nearly every way, this 39-in model is identical to the 50-in version with the exception of size and pixel density. Having just recently published a review of the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor on PC Perspective I can now report that the move from 60 Hz screens to 30 Hz screens, even at this kind of resolution and screen size, is very apparent.
Below is our initial video unboxing and overview of the new SEIKI SE39UY04. Check it out and leave us any questions or ideas below!