CES 2012: GIGABYTE unveils Z77 -- big, small, gigabytesized

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:45 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, CES 2012, CES

The first day of CES is nearly to a close and while I escape the blisters on my feet due to my location a few time zones and one border away from the organized chaos, the callusing of my fingertips has just begun. Allow us to each stretch our hands out, loosen our wrists, and prepare to indulge on distilled product announcements and testimony of how awesome various TVs look. Since we are a computer hardware website, how about indulging in a jackpot of information about Gigabyte’s next generation of Z77 Ivy Bridge motherboards?

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So… uh… did I win?

The Z77 chipset will be Intel’s higher-end platform for the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs as well as support for the previous generation of Sandy Bridge processors. While there are some 60-series chipsets that support Ivy Bridge with a BIOS update I am sure Gigabyte, for one, hopes you upgrade to a motherboard more suited for the CPU.

Perhaps you would like a 3D BIOS with that?

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Gigabyte decided to attack the user-interface within the BIOS and chose its weapon to be 3D graphics with their X79 motherboards for Sandy Bridge-E. Tim wrote a little piece on it last November and it looks like the product had enough potential to continue pressing the issue with their Z77 line. The 3D BIOS can also be dropped down into Advanced Mode for those who are not afraid of the more traditional BIOS layout; the advanced mode will apparently still be prettied up, just not at the sacrifice of functionality.

Big sniper, little sniper, green sniper, Killer sniper.

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Two motherboards announced during CES stem from the G1.Sniper product line: one ATX (3), and one Micro-ATX (M3). BigFoot Systems has their Killer (brand name, not adjective) technology present in these products with the larger board also containing a second Intel Gigabit network adapter.

Motherboards for small businesses.

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Gigabyte ended their press release with a few notes about their small business products. As expected, they focused their motherboard on the core needs of what a small business would desire: remote monitoring, backup, and durability.

Setting its sights on the small business market, GIGABYTE will demonstrate the B75M-D3H motherboard that represents a new product range featuring the ability to remotely monitor and manage PC health, installed software, data backup, energy saving and connectivity. This allows system integrators to add value to their products by offering these services to small businesses with between 1 and 6 PCs. Key features and selling points for these models will be manageability, affordability and GIGABYTE’s Ultra Durable design quality.

What do you think about Gigabyte’s product line? Do you desire a Micro ATX gaming machine for your desk or perhaps your home theatre cabinet? Do you own a small business? 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: PCPer

OCZ shows Kilimanjaro platform in the form of mini PCIe through Z-Drive R5

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:32 AM |
Tagged: CES, ssd, r5, r4, ocz, cloudserv

Earlier today we got our first hands-on of OCZ's new Kilimanjaro platform. This is the result of a joint venture between OCZ and Micron. The premise is simple: Most SSD and even PCIe storage devices use SATA as the primary or intermediate interface. This adds latency to the connection, and eventually limits the ultimate IOPS a given device can achieve. Kilimanjaro employs a new type of controller that takes commands directly from the host system via a single lane of PCIe 2.0, and in turn directly drives 4 channels of flash. This is all done without any SATA or SAS communications whatsoever. Here is what the simplest form of this platform looks like:

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This may be a bit confusing to some. The above pic is *not* of an mSATA device. Recall that mSATA borrowed the physical specification of mini PCIe (like the Wi-Fi adapter in most laptops). This device could plug into one of those slots (or even a hybrid mini-PCIe/mSATA port), and would link to the system via a PCIe 2.0 x1 link. This makes it capable of 50,000 IOPS and 500MB/sec - speeds similar to that of a good SATA 6Gb/sec SSD. The advantage of this platform is twofold. First is the lower latency achieved by getting rid of the middle man (SATA). Second is the way PCIe bridged storage can scale. The current far extreme of this comes in the form of the Z-Drive R5:
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This is essentially the same as the mini-PCIe device we just looked at, except there are 16 of them. The 16 PCIe 2.0 1x devices are interleaved evenly through a special PHY to a PCIe 3.0 x8 link to the host system. This makes for some insane bandwidth and IOPS possibilities. I'm fairly certain that the placard in the above pic was meant for the half-height (8 channel) R5, since the platform is capable of up to 7GB/sec and 2.5 million IOPS in the full height form factor. Marvell and OCZ still have a little ways to go on driver and firmware development for this new platform, so it may be a few months before we see it in the wild. Once that happens, we might see mid-point models with 2-4 controllers replacing the RevoDrive series shortly thereafter.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Video Perspective: ASUS MeMO 701 and ASUS Transformer Prime TF700T Hands on!

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:15 AM |
Tagged: CES, transformer prime, tf700t, memo, asus

Matt already posted up a pictorial look at the new ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 701 but I wanted to share a video demonstration we made while visiting the ASUS suite.  Enjoy!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Sony Shows Off Bloggie Live Video Recorder At CES

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 04:03 AM |
Tagged: CES, sony, bloggie, bloggie live, camera, camcorder, streaming, qik

Among the Crystal LED televisions Sony had a small pocket camera on display, the Sony Bloggie Live. The successor to the original Bloggie, the stylish camera fits in your pocket and somewhat resembles a smartphone in design.

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The Bloggie Live features 8 GB of internal storage space, a 3" touch screen LCD, and a water resistant exterior. The ExmorCMOS sensor is capable of recording 1080p or 720p video, and the Wi-Fi radio is able to upload photos and videos to the various sharing services including Facebook, YouTube, Dailymotion, Flickr, and Picassa. The Bloggie Live has an LED flash and a stereo microphone. In addition to video, the camera is able to take 12.8 megapixel still photos. In addition, the camera is able to stream video to the internet over Wi-Fi using the Qik streaming service. Using the PlayMemories application, users are also able to wirelessly transfer files from the Bloggie Live to a smartphone.

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Alternatively, Sony also showed off the Bloggie Sport, with is a bit smaller than the Bloggie Live and is waterproof up to 16 feet of water. This camera features 4 GB of internal memory, and is capable of shooting HD MP4 video and 5 megapixel still shots. An "Underwater Mode" further adjusts the white balance automatically.

The Bloggie Live is available for purchase immediately for $250 USD while the Bloggie Sport will cost $180 and will be available in February. The price tag is a bit steep considering the storage is not expandable and there is no external mic jack. Still, aesthetics wise, the new pocket camcorder looks slick.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSNBC

HP Envy 14 Spectre Offers Glass Design, We Go Hands-on

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, hp, envy, CES

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It’s raining ultrabooks at CES. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for any individual manufacturer to stand out from the crowd. There was one that caught our eye, however – the HP Envy 14 Spectre.

We’ll go in to the specifications in a moment because they’re not what separate the Spectre from the crowd. It’s the design that commands attention. Instead of using an aluminum lid like most competitors HP decided to use lightweight black glass. This instantly distinguishes the laptop from anything else on the market. While most ultrabooks look like MacBook Air clones, the Spectre is unique at first glance.

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UPDATE: We have a video walkthrough of the new HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook for you!

You’d think scratches would be a concern, but the scratch-resistant glass used on the lid appears reasonably tough. In fact, it will likely prove more durable than plastic (which tends to scratch) or aluminum (which tends to dent). The only unavoidable issue will be smudging. The floor model had more than a few fingerprints on it. 

Once opened, the Envy 14 reveals a more conventional silver metallic (the palmrest is glass-covered, but remains a metallic silver color) interior similar to the rest of the Envy line. A Beats Audio analog volume knob (along with Beats Audio speakers) ties it in with the new Envy 15 and 17. 

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Although just 20mm (.78) thin, the Envy 14 Spectre seems to offer keyboard feel on par with its larger and thicker cousins without sacrificing the backlight. There’s also a ton of palmrest space and a large touchpad. Multi-touch gestures are among the smoothest available on a Windows laptop. Perhaps the only downside is weight. At 3.79 pounds, it is noticeably heavier than most competitors. While this contributes to the laptop’s luxurious feel it could reduce the convenience of on-the-go use.

HP plans to ship the Envy 14 with Core i5 and i7 low-voltage processors, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB solid state hard drives. A 1600x900 display will be standard. Also included is an NFC chip that will allow for short-range wireless sharing. It’s not a stretch to speculate it could also eventually work with the wireless payment features Intel showed during this morning’s ultrabook conference.

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Battery life is projected to be 9 hours, and while this will no doubt end up being generous, it’s far better than the 6 hour estimates given by most competitors. Battery size may be the reason for the extra weight.

The Envy 14 Spectre will be on sale in February or March at an introductory price of $1399. That’s a lot of money, but initial impressions suggest that laptop is worth the price of admission. Quality is quite possibly better than the MacBook Air. If the display and performance proves to be as good as promised this pricey laptop could be a hit.  

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: HP

Fujitsu Launches New Arrows Line Of Tablets and Smartphones

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: tablet, smarphone, Japan, fujitsu, CES

Fujitsu showed off a new line of tablet and smartphones at this year's CES 2012. Known as the ARROWS series, the devices are thin, lightweight, run Android 2.3, and more interestingly are waterproof. Currently, the ARROWS series consists of the ES IS12F smartphone and Arrows tablet.

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The Arrows ES IS12F smartphone is an Android 2.3 device measuring 64 x 127 x 6.7mm, and weights 105 grams. The phone features a 4 inch AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon processor. Further, the smartphone includes a 5.11 megapixel camera with CMOS sensor, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. The software includes the ability to transfer data between the phone and computer using a Wi-Fi network. Corning Gorilla Glass and being water resistance are also features. The water resistance falls under the IPX5/8 designation, which means that the phone is able to function up to a depth of 1.5 meters in tap water for 30 minutes and/or sprayed with water from a nozzle "with a diameter of 6.3mm at a rate of 12.5 liters per minute from a distance of 3 meters for 3 minutes." The smartphone is currently available in Japan in glossy black or red colors. More specifically, the phones will be available in Japan starting January 7th from KDDI Corporation and Okinawa Cellular Telephone Company.

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Meanwhile, the Arrows tablet is a 10" Android machine that the company is currently selling in Japan and is "definitely working" with US suppliers to bring it to the United States. This tablet is waterproof just like their Arrows smartphone, and both Tom's Hardware and Tekzilla noted that it was fully functional after being submerged in a fish tank. Further, the Arrows tablet is powered by a 1 GHz (likely Qualcomm Snapdragon) dual core processor, 16 GB of memory, the Android 3.2 operating system, and a 10" screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. Tom's notes that, while it is not going to overthrow the iPad it is lightweight and a solid performer. Depending on price, it could sell quite well in the states. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or when it will be available in the US. Tekzilla managed to catch a video of the tablet being submerged, which you can see below.

Waterproofing is a useful feature for sure if you are prone to bad luck like me, but more importantly will be pricing. If these devices are priced right they could certainly sell well but they will need to be priced very competitively to catch on.
 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Fujitsu

NVIDIA Shows Tegra DirectTouch and $249 ASUS Tegra 3 Tablet

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, mobile, CES

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Much of today’s NVIDIA CES conference focused on small milestones, including the implementation of apps and new app features. The company showed multiplayer LAN gaming, easy access to your PC’s desktop via an app called Splashtop, and highlighted the NVIDIA Tegra Zone curated gaming app store. All of this is interesting – but not new 

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There were a couple tricks up the green team’s sleeves, however. One is a new feature for use with Tegra 3 processors called DirectTouch. This allows the fifth low-power hardware core on Tegra 3 to act as a touchscreen controller. Usually an independent piece of hardware performs this task, and it’s much slower than the low-power Tegra 3 core. As a result, touchscreen sampling speed can be increased by up to three times – allegedly resulting in a smoother touch experience. We’ve yet to see how it pans out in execution, but the idea is promising.

Another interesting piece of tech that will be made available by Tegra 3 is called PRISM. It attempts to compensate for the image fidelity reduction that occurs when a mobile device is used with its display at a low brightness setting.

Availability for both of these features is not yet clear. 

The remaining big announcements came via ASUS. First was the decision to release Ice Cream Sandwich on the Prime today, January 9th.  As of the time of this writing it should be available for download via the built-in OS update functionality of Honeycomb. 

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Second was an ASUS 7” tablet featuring ICS, Tegra 3 and a low $249 price point. Oddly, the tablet was not named at the conference, but it appears to be the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 370T. To clarify earlier information, the MeMO 171 is the version with a Qualcomm processor, stylus and cellular networking support, while the MeMO 370T offers Tegra 3.

The reasons for being excited about a $249 Tegra 3 tablet are obvious. That’s the same as a Nook Color and not much more than a Kindle Fire – both of which run far older versions of Android (Gingerbread) and use older dual-core OMAP processors.

Last, and unfortunately least, was a demonstration of Windows 8 on a Tegra 3 reference platform. While Microsoft’s new OS looks very sleek on the device, nothing new was announced, nor were new features introduced. It seems we’ll have to wait awhile longer to see products pairing Tegra 3 and Windows 8.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Goal Zero Shows Off Sherpa 50 Portable Power Pack At CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 12:20 AM |
Tagged: CES, solar, goal zero, sherpa, portable power

Goal Zero has a product on display at CES 2012 that every CES news and reviews editor can appreciate, a small and light 50 Watt Hour battery pack that can provide USB, 12 V, 16 V, and AC power (via a separate attachment). The portable recharger acts as a big battery that can recharge cell phones, laptops, cameras, and other devices thanks to a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery.

Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla fame shows off the Sherpa 50.

The Sherpa 50 weighs 2.2 pounds and is encased in a aluminum shell with rubberized edges and provides 50 Watt Hours of extra battery power, enough to recharge an iPad twice or "power a cell phone for 50 hours," according to the company's product video. It further features a small LCD screen that displays the remaining battery power in 20% increments, AC and 12V inputs, USB and 12 V outputs. The power pack is designed to be used with the company's 13.5 watt fold-able solar cell array for long camping, hiking, or climbing trips. An event like CES would also be the perfect place to have a bit of extra power on tap.

The device is going to run $250 without the optional AC inverter and will be available in June 2012. More information on the technical specifications can be found here.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Goal Zero

Nokia Lumia 900 With LTE Modem Becomes Official At CES

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2012 - 10:23 PM |
Tagged: WP7, windows phone 7, nokia ace, nokia, lumia n900, CES

We reported earlier on the rumored Nokia Lumia 900 (aka Nokia Ace) Windows Phone 7 smart phone. We said that it would basically be the Nokia Lumia 800 only a bit bigger and featuring a LTE modem. The Nokia Lumia 900 is now official and the speculation seems to be correct.

The new smart phone made it debut today at a Nokia CES 2012 press conference. An AT&T exclusive, the phone features a cyan blue polycarbonate shell, 4.3" AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 resolution, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 512 MB of RAM, 8 Megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics (stated 28mm, f/2.2) and dual LED flash, front facing camera, LTE 4G modem, and a rather spacious 1840mAH battery. Sporting the Windows Phone 7 operating system, the phone has a rated seven hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby time.

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It will be available in either cyan or black colors in the US within the next few months and bound to the AT&T network with "aggressive" pricing. Nokia stated in their conference that it has been working closely with Qualcomm to ensure solid performance on AT&T's LTE network. SIM-free and carrier unlocked phones will also be available; however, it is not clear whether users in the US will be able to purchase them (or if they would need to be imported). Ballmer stated plainly that the "Lumia 900 is a very exciting launch," and that AT&T is critical to the WP7 future.  More information on the Nokia Lumia 900 can be found here.

A sexy device it is, but personally I've been burned once by Nokia's other (N)900, so I think I'll stick with Android for the time being.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

Sony Shelves OLED Tech, Brings Crystal LED TV To Bear Against OLED Competition

Subject: General Tech, Displays | January 9, 2012 - 09:50 PM |
Tagged: CES, sony, led, crystal led, oled, tv

While I read a few weeks ago that Sony would not be showing off any OLED TVs at CES, I was a bit saddened. The company was the first to bring a real OLED television one step above vaporware, even if it was only 11" and prohibitively expensive it was advancing the technology. Well, CES is here and Sony did not bring any OLED television to demo, much less bring to market this year. Fortunately, LG and Samsung have the OLED TVs covered. The question of how Sony plans to compete with the OLED competition seems to be in improved LED TV technology.

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Speaking of LED TV technology, while Sony did not bring an OLED TV to CES, they did bring a new LED TV that they claim is much improved over current LED back-lit televisions. They are calling this technology "Crystal LED," and it is powering a 55" prototype television at this years CES. The 55" television uses very small RGB (red, green, and blue) LEDs to create the picture. This is an important distinction as current "LED TVs" are really just LCD televisions with LEDs as the back-light; where the LEDs shine light through the LCD pixels to create the picture. This Sony prototype is an actual LED TV, not just a branding misnomer as the LED lights are what creates the picture and not just a light source.

According to Engadget, Sony claims their true LED TV is greatly improved over LED-back-lit LCDs and offers 3.5 times the contrast, a 1.5 times wider color gamut, and is 10 times faster than LCDs. Although these are Sony's numbers and should be taken with a grain of salt (until independent reviewers can verify), they at least seem reasonable and plausible. The contrast improvement and true blacks should be readily possible thanks to the panel tech being self emitting. If done right, it should come close to the contrast offered by OLEDs which share the self-emitting property. The ability to be 10 times faster than LCDs may be the most questionable number, but still not an outrageous claim.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it! Do you think Sony's Crystal LED prototype has a chance against OLED?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget