Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 02:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, laptop, Chromebook, asus, EeePC 1225C, sputnik
If you are less than impressed by Windows 8 or are looking to avoid the costs incurred by a Windows installation on the laptop then Linux.com has four systems you should consider. First up are the Chromebook models available at stores like Best Buy, like the Samsung 12.1-inch Series 5 Chromebook. If the ChromeOS isn't to your liking then perhaps the Asus EeePC 1225C which comes with Ubuntu installed on it. It is not yet widely available but should make it to North America in the not too distant future. Dell is also getting into this market with their Project Sputnik which Tim covered a few weeks ago. Finally are what are referred to as Diminutive Desktops which cover devices like the Raspberry Pi, VIA's APC and a number of other models. You might have more choices when it comes to Linux powered retail PCs than you think.
"Windows may still be the default operating system on the vast majority of mainstream PCs thanks to Microsoft's many longstanding OEM partnerships, but that's not to say it hasn't been possible for some time to buy desktop machines with Linux preloaded.
No, indeed! Thanks to vendors such as System76, ZaReason, EmperorLinux and others, Linux fans have long been able to get desktops, laptops, netbooks and more preloaded with a variety of Linux distributions -- and that's not even counting several on-again, off-again efforts by Dell, Wal-Mart and others to sell Linux boxes on their retail shelves."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC touting next-generation 20nm process in the US @ DigiTimes
- Fusion-io server strokers show off 2.6TB RAM extension @ The Register
- Sonic screwdriver controls your TV, doesn’t work on wood @ Hack a Day
- ARM CEO says CMOS transistors and Moore's Law are not the future @ The Inquirer
- Disable Gadgets NOW says Redmond @ The Register
- Everything You Need to Know About the PCI Express @ Hardware Secrets
- OCZ, In-Win & Thermalright Joint Contest @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | July 5, 2012 - 12:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Warranty, asus, gigabyte
Neither ASUS nor Gigabyte have released an official press release on this topic but the news coming out of DigiTimes this morning will make many users smile if it is wholly accurate. This story claims that both companies will offer free repairs on motherboards which are still under warranty for user damage in addition to the current warranty which covers factory defects. Gigabyte will attempt to repair any such user caused damage, which should cover damage caused by overclocking or overvolting and ASUS will replace an unusable motherboard for free, including free shipping and delivery.
This may reassure many who have had bad RMA experiences, as the process is not enjoyable at the best of times. The previous standard RMA process usually offered two alternatives, the first would be for the user to pay to ship the motherboard to the manufacturer who is often located overseas and if the problem with the motherboard was discovered to be a defect then that company would reimburse the shipping as well as ship out a replacement for free. Otherwise you were often stuck paying the return shipping on a component that was in the same state as when you first gave up on it, as well as being without that part for the duration of the RMA process. The second option involved cross-shipping but was only available to those willing to put the cost of the replacement motherboard and shipping on their credit card, to be returned if the motherboard was defective and again, if the board was not defective you ended up footing the bill.
If these changes to the RMA procedure are indeed accurate then the worry of a faulty board being sent back to you if the damage was judged not to be a factory defect need no longer prevent you from sending a buggy or even non-functional board back to the manufacturer. There are likely to be some limits on these new policies, keep your eye out for updates as the arrive.
"Due to the weak global economy, in addition to dropping their motherboard prices, Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology have both expanded their motherboard warranty services hoping to attract consumer demand, according to sources from motherboard players."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC has no plans to purchase Renesas 12-inch fab, says chairman @ DigiTimes
- Buying a Raspberry Pi is going to get easier @ The Inquirer
- Samsung sampling 16GB DDR4 modules for servers @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft OEM head change related to Surface, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Will AMD’s missing vital ingredient prevent cooking on gas? @ Kitguru
- BitTorrent usage increases in Europe, following the blockade of The Pirate Bay @ ExtremeTech
- OCZ, In-Win & Thermalright Joint Contest @ NikKTech
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2012 - 05:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, DirectCU II, gtx 670, factory overclocked
ASUS' family of DirectCU II TOP have made a good name for themselves with enthusiasts, coming from the factory with impressive overclocks and a quiet and efficient custom cooler. There is a new member of this family, the GTX670 which comes with a default clock of 1059MHz and a boost clock of 1137MHz though the memory remains unchanged at 6GHz. These cards have more than just a custom cooler, the capacitors and switches are significantly better than the ones found on other cards which gives the card a longer lifespan as well as giving it serious overclocking headroom which you can see in action in [H]ard|OCP's review. At $430 it does cost a bit more than the stock version, but not prohibitively so.
"ASUS has delivered the fastest GeForce GTX 670 on the market in the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP video card. The monster overclock and the improved cooling system are sure to provide the performance we yearn for. We will be testing it in the recently released Max Payne 3 against a GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7950."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia's GeForce GT 640 @ The Tech Report
- Inno3D iChiLL GTX 670 HerculeZ 3000 Edition 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- ASUS GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI GTX 670 Power Edition Twin Frozr IV 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- PNY XLR8 GeForce GTX 670 Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme III review (w/ Asus GTX680 DirectCU II TOP) @ Kitguru
- Club3D Radeon HD 7850 royalKing 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire HD7870 FleX Edition @ Kitguru
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB DDR5 Flex Edition Video Card Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- MSI GEFORCE GTX 680 Lightning 2GB @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD 7870 FleX Dual-X 2GB Review @ OCC
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire HD 7870 FLeX @ LanOC Reviews
- Sapphire HD 7950 FleX Edition @ TechwareLabs
- XFX Double Dissipation R7750 Review @ OCC
- AMD Radeon HD 7750 / 7770 graphics card round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon HD 7850 / 7870 round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Mobile | June 28, 2012 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, transformer infinity, tablet, keyboard dock
The 10.1" ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity sports a 1920x1200 display which doesn't quite match Apple's Retina display but is more than enough to deliver HD content and provide sharp text. The SuperIPS+ mode which was intended to make the tablet fully readable under direct sunlight did not work perfectly but does live up to the promise when you are dealing with indirect sunlight. The paired dock has been updated as well, with a stronger design and a keyboard The Tech Report preferred over many laptop keyboards, though if you are happy with the dock you used for the Prime it is compatible with the Infinity as well. In the end, they only recommended this tablet when paired with the keyboard dock thanks to the extras that it offers, but even with the dock you still don't seem to get any USB ports.
"Six months after we first laid eyes on Asus' Transformer Pad Infinity, the tablet hybrid is finally read for prime time. Join us for an in-depth look at the new Transformer and its high-density 1920x1200 display."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700T) @ AnandTech
- ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T review: Full HD Android tablet @ Hardware Info
- Asus Transformer Pad TF300 @ Techspot
- Dell XPS 14 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Dell Alienware M17x R4 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GT60 Gaming laptop review @ Rbmods
- Dell Inspiron 14z (Mid-2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba's 14" USB Mobile LCD Monitor @ AnandTech
- Cygnett Lavish Earth Multi-view Folio Case iPad 2 Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad @ Bjorn3D
- Samsung SGH-i717 GALAXY Note 16GB 4G LTE (Carbon Blue) Android Phone Review @ ModSynergy
- Google Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 @ AnandTech
- Galaxy S III Review: Samsung's Worthy New Flagship @ TechSpot
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean vs Windows Phone 8 Apollo @ The Inquirer
An overview of Thunderbolt Technology
The promise of Thunderbolt connectivity has been around for a couple of years now. Today, Thunderbolt is finally finding its way to the PC platform in the form of motherboards from ASUS and MSI. First unveiled as "Light Peak" at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, the technology started out as a way to connect multiple devices to a system over a fiber optic cable (hence the 'light' in the name), though the final products have changed the implementation slightly.
The first prototype implementations actually used a USB-style connection and interface. It further required fiber optic cables. When it was renamed to Thunderbolt and then released in conjunction with a new lineup of Apple MacBook laptops, not only did the physical interface move to a mini-DisplayPort connection but the cable was made to use copper rather than fiber. Without diving too far into the reasons and benefits of either direction, the fact is that the copper cables allow for modest power transfer and are much cheaper than fiber optic variants would be.
Thunderbolt's base technology remains the same, however. It is a transfer standard that allows for 10 Gbps of bandwidth for each channel (bi-directional) and concurrently supports both data and display connections. The actual interface for the data path is based on PCI Express and connected devices actually appear to Windows as if they are internally connected to the system which can offer some interesting benefits – and headaches – for hardware developers. The display connection uses the DisplayPort standard and can be used along with the data connection without affecting bandwidth levels or performance.
For current Intel processor implementations, the Thunderbolt connection is supported by a separate controller chip on the motherboard (or a riser card) – and some routing is required for correct usage. The Thunderbolt controller does not actually include a graphics controller, so it must be fed an output from another graphics processor, obviously in this case directly from the Ivy Bridge / Sandy Bridge processors. In theory, these could be from other controllers, but with the ubiquitous nature of integrated processor graphics on IVB and SNB processors, this is going to be the implementation going forward according to motherboard and system designers.
Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2012 - 10:48 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, google io, google drive, google, developers, conference, chrome, asus, Android
Every June, the tech world lights up with numerous tech conferences that pack dense information into a couple days (and takes weeks to fully decompress). One of the bigger conferences (by a single company, Computex is its own beast) is Google I/O.
The biggest rumor to come out concerning this year’s Google I/O announcements is an ASUS manufactured 7-inch Nexus Tablet. It is allegedly packing some high end hardware with the Tegra 3 Soc, up to 16GB of memory, IPS display, and an extremely attractive price at less than $200. Beyond that, we can expect Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) information, developer talks, software demos, and more talk of Google Wallet, and NFC technology. Heck, Google may even make a second attempt at pushing Android@Home (or maybe not heh).
Being June 27th, it is the first day of Google I/O and that means it is time for keynotes! On the schedule for today, Google has talks on the new aspects of Android, Google Play, cloud computing, Youtube cloud rendering, Google+ (including Hangouts), and new features of Google Maps. They also have talks scheduled with Google Drive information that should demo some of the things developers can do with the Drive SDK.
We are excited to see if the Nexus tablet rumors are true or not, as well as learning more about the latest version of Android. If you are interested in watching the event, check out the Google I/O schedule where you can tune into the most of the events live. The first event starts soon at 9:30am PST!
Check back later today for updates!
Update: (9:00 PST) A leaked screenshot indicates that the Nexus tablet may be called the Nexus 7.
Update: (9:30 PST) Vic Gondotra stepped on stage to kick off the Google I/O conference. He stated that there are more than 30,000 people in attendance.
What are you excited about at Google I/O? Let us know in the comments below!
Subject: Mobile | June 27, 2012 - 03:43 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: tablet, Nexus, memo, jelly bean, ics, eeepad, asus, Android
For months, rumors have been flying about Google introducing a "Nexus" tablet platform, reminiscent of what they have done with previous phone releases. With the Google I/O Day 1 Keynote just hours away, we at PC Perspective are throwing our hat into the ring in predicting what Google is likely to announce.
During meetings with ASUS at CES 2012, representatives from the company introduced us to a series of 3 tablets, including the Eee Pad MeMO 171, and the later to be named Transformer Prime Infinity. While these two tablets have been released or are soon to be released in some retail capacity, there is one product that they were talking about that morning which ASUS has gone completely silent on.
While ASUS was being a little cagey about the product at the time, we did recieve some initial information for this Eee Pad MeMO 370T. We were told that it was a Tegra 3 product, and that it would come in at around $250. This device however was not particularly accessible to us like the rest of the time as it was locked in a protective case. We could use the screen of the device, but that was about it. In fact, the pictures that we snapped of this device were frankly just by chance, as we were expecting to see this product later down the line and didn't put much focus onto it.
Moving on to later in the same day, we attended the NVIDIA press conference, which was very Tegra focused. One of the big announcements was an unnamed ASUS $249 Tegra 3 Tablet. NVIDIA was also being pretty silent about this product, but we once again expected news about their low-cost platform for tablet (Kai) in the coming weeks.
NVIDIA announces $249 ASUS Tegra 3 Tablet at CES
However we never recieved any more information in the following 6 months from either ASUS or NVIDIA, which brings us to this year's Google I/O. With Google expected to be working with ASUS on a 7" tablet, and the fact that NVIDIA was so hyped about a product that was never heard from again, it becomes a safe assumption to look towards the long forgotten Eee Pad MeMO 370T as the likely platform. While the styling may be altered, any potential Google/ASUS 7" tegra tablet will certainly have had roots in the Eee family.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tahiti, gpu, ASUS ROG, asus, amd, 7970
ASUS recently posted a few teaser photos of its upcoming Republic of Gamers branded 7970 graphics card. The Matrix HD 7970 is a three slot design with the company’s DirectCU II heatsink, dual fans, DIGI+ VRM, and (of course) AMD’s 7970 Tahiti GPU core. While likely not based on the higher-binned cores used in the new 7970 GHz Edition graphics cards, with the large cooler and extra power phases that ASUS is packing into this Matrix GPU it should overclock to similar levels of performance.
The card features fans, and a large dual slot cooler with the traditional red and black ROG theme. The ASUS and Matrix logos are etched into the side of the card as well. The PCB is black and further covered by a bracing plate to reinforce the PCB to support the weight of the cooler. On the front of the card, it houses an air vent, two DVI connectors, and four DisplayPort video outputs. On the back of the card are four buttons. Two of the buttons with plus and minus symbols let you adjust the core voltage in preset jumps. The Safe Mode button next to the minus button clears the overclocks from the BIOS and resets the card to default settings. Finally, the red button will spin the fan up to 100% to overclock the card as far as possible. They also have a bank of LEDs below the buttons that offer at-a-glance load monitoring (really only useful for those testing outside a case...). In the rear corner of the card is two eight pin PCI-E power connectors. Then, on the underside (top when installed in the case) of the graphics card’s PCB, ASUS has a VGA Hotwire port which allows the card to interface with the ASUS OC Key and Extreme edition motherboards (such as the Maximus V and Rampage IV Extreme). There are also voltage checking points.
Internals are somewhat similar to ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II, but with some aspects ratcheted up. The power phases, for example, have increased from 12 phases to 20 on the Matrix card. It continues to use the 7970 “Tahiti” GPU with 2048 shaders, 32 ROPs, and AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture. ASUS is packing 3GB of GDDR5 memory with a 384-bit memory interface. ASUS has stated that both the GPU core and memory will be overclocked from the factory. Unfortunately, they have not released any specific numbers. We will have to wait until the card is closer to the launch date for that information.
The ASUS ROG Matrix graphics card will be launching in Q3 of 2012. It will be aimed at extreme overclockers – especially those that are already using Republic of Gamers branded motherboards from ASUS. What do you think of this new card, especially now that AMD has launched its 7970 GHz Edition reference GPU? You can find more photos of the card over at the ASUS website.
Subject: Mobile | June 20, 2012 - 04:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Zenbook UX31, ultrabook
ASUS has been paying attention to the complaints many people have about the resolution of ultrabooks and with the UX31 have provided an 11.6" 1600 x 900 LCD. The aluminium clad Ultrabook uses the Core i5-2557M and HD3000 graphics, 4GB DDR3 and a 256GB SSD in its thin and lightweight frame. Unfortunately Hardware Canucks ended up less than impressed with the chicklet style keyboard nor the track pad and they found issues with the WiFi as well. On the positive side the battery life was impressive as was the audio so do not dismiss this Ultrabook because of a few small issues.
"Mobile computing is quickly evolving with thinner, more versatile designs and no product better defines this focus than ASUS' new Zenbook series of Ultrabooks. The UX31 has been around for a while but it still represents the pinnacle of industrial design with a sleek body and even better looking specifications. But in an environment that's cluttered with lower priced competitors, this Ultrabook will be fighting an uphill battle for recognition. "
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- ASUS G75VW notebook @ Hardwareoverclock
- Samsung Series 9 15″ NP900X4C Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Overview and SSD Performance Analysis @ SSD Review
- Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Portege Z930 @ The Inquirer
- AMD Trinity APU Reference Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Alienware M17x R4 Review (i7 3610QM/ AMD HD7970M) @ Kitguru
- HuntKey X-MAN 90W Universal Notebook Adapter Review @ NikKTech
- Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, Retina Display) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display hands-on preview @ Hardware.Info
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Ultrabooks vs. 13" MacBook Air: Is the Apple Tax Real? @ TechSpot
- Samsung Galaxy S3 Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Huawei Honor U8860 Android SmartPhone Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung Galaxy S III Review - AT&T and T-Mobile USA Variants @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2012 - 09:03 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: trinity, spire, Silverstone, rosewill, nzxt, corsair, computex 2012, computex, asus, amd
The Tech Report found a few more Computex 2012 pictures to show off, including a teaser from NZXT of the previous Phantom model as the new model is still under NDA, no such problem for the case modders showing off at the Thermaltake booth nor for InWin and their new H-Frame case. Sticking with the cooling motif is this new fan from Spire which uses a new type of bearing to provide a longer life and Corsair's two new lineups of 120mm and 140mm fans, the AF series designed to maximize air flow through a case and the SF series for heatsinks and radiators which benefit more from the increased static pressure larger fan blades can provide. From Rosewill they spotted a silent PSU, SilverStone a SFX model perfect for an HTPC and big 1200W digitally controlled PSU from Corsair. Wrap up the tour with some bad news about the expected delay of Trinity on the desktop and some good news for audiophiles from ASUS' Xonar team.
"We've wrapped up our Computex coverage with another round of news. On tap: the PSUs and case mods that stood out at the show, new fans from Corsair and Spire, a chat with Asus' Xonar audio team, details on NZXT's next-generation Phantom enclosure, and word of a delay to AMD's desktop Trinity APU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD and ARM joined by Imagination, TI, and MediaTek @ SemiAccurate
- AMD 2013 APUs To Include ARM Cortex-A5 Processor For TrustZone Capabilities @ AnandTech
- TSMC reiterates supply of 28nm chips to come close to demand in 4Q12 @ DigiTimes
- TSMC joins giant fab race @ The Register
- Open Rail, or, why didn’t we think of this? @ Hack a Day
- nstall Windows 8 from a USB Drive, Dual-boot with XP, Vista and 7 @ TechSpot
- Netgear ReadyNAS Duo v2 @ Legion Hardware
- Computex: Thunderbolt is coming, slowly for now @ Kitguru