Four full systems announced by MSI, Vortex Gaming Tower Impresses

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: Vortex Gaming Tower, Nightblade X2, Nightblade MI2, msi, Gaming 27XT, Cubi 2 Plus, CES

Along with the laptops comes three full sized prebuilt systems and a mini-PC at MSI's display booth.  Most are customizable, the price you pay depends on the components you choose and the case you prefer, two of which have picked up awards.

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First we have the Vortex Gaming Tower which as you can see from the picture is not configured like a normal PC at all.  The cylindrical shape is 6.5 litres, about 1.7 gallons which is an odd measurement but does mean the case is rather small.  Don't let that fool you about the interior components, it comes with two GTX 980's in SLI and their proprietary 360° Silent Storm Cooling.

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The Gaming 27XT comes with an impressive and almost unique feature, support for an external GPU.  It is an All-in-One PC, with a 144Hz display and is likely powered by Intel's HD graphics if you do not choose to mount a GPU on the back of the display.  The placement should also help keep that GPU cool by separating its airflow from the rest of the components.  Nahimic Audio Enhancer and a Killer Lan NIC come standard.

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The familiar Nightblade Series gains two new members, the Nightblade X2 and MI2.  The systems both use a Skylake motherboard with the X2 being compatible with cards up to the GTX 980ti and the MI2 stopping at the 970.  As you should expect both systems use  Military Class 4 components and come with a variety of tools from MSI.

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Last comes the tiny Cubi 2 Plus system, competition for the NUC and ZBOX.  It will be powered by a 6th Gen Skylake-S processor so it will be more than capable of handling duties as a media server.  More importantly it has support for both an M.2 SSD and  a 2.5" SSD ensuring you are not forced into using a drive you would rather not have.  You can also see four USB ports on the front which means plenty of room for expansion even with a mouse and keyboard connected.

Keep your eyes peeled for more detailed information as the team on the ground visits the MSI booth in person.

 

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Source: MSI

MSI has number of neat new laptops for you

Subject: Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: WS72 Workstation, msi, GT72S Tobii, GS72 Stealth Pro, GS40 Phantom, CES

MSI is revealing a long list of laptops, systems, motherboards, GPUs, and even new software to use.  Up first are the laptops, of which there are three.  The GS40 Phantom is a 14" gaming laptop with a Skylake processor and NVIDIA GTX 970M graphics but yet weighs only 3.75 lbs and is less than 0.87 inches thick. 

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Next up is the larger GT72S Tobii which offers a unique feature, Tobii Eye-Tracking technology built into the laptop.  That allows facial recognition and eye tracking in applications and games, currently this would apply to Windows Hello, which enables Windows 10 biometric authentication and eye-tracking functionality.  In the near future the release of Tom Clancy’s The Division will add a game to the list of supported applications.  You can read more about them here.

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MSI are also updating their Stealth lineup with the GS72 Stealth Pro, which currently features a 4k screen, with another model coming out very soon with a non-4K display for those who don't see the point of such a high resolution on a 17" laptop.  It is also rather thin, at 0.78".

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To finish up the laptops is the workhorse, the WS72 Workstation.  This comparatively thick laptop is powered by an Intel Xeon and is certified to work with a long list of professional applications such as Autodesk, Adobe, PTC Creo, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Maya, and Revit.\

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Las Vegas – January 6th, 2016 – MSI Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, showcases the future of PC gaming technology with an award-winning selection of ultra-portable and desktop-replacement laptops, gaming AIOs, compact desktops, and more; including CES Innovation Honorees GS40 Phantom, Gaming 27XT, and Vortex Gaming Tower.

“Gamers demand reliable, versatile and powerful products that address their gaming needs, and our newest selection of gaming warriors address those demands,” says Andy Tung, president of MSI Pan America. “PC gaming is constantly evolving and our award-winning selection rises to any challenge.”

 

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Source: MSI

MSI teases their new motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: Z170A, X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON, msi, GAMING PRO CARBON, CES, B150M GAMING 3X

We will let MSI tell you about the two new Carbon editions of their popular Gaming Pro and Godlike Gaming motherboards as well as the B150M GAMING 3X in their own words for now.  Expect more once we lay Mk.1 eyeballs on the products.

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Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON Edition - Sporting the latest Intel® Z170 chipset and the latest version of Mystic Light, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON Edition motherboard is sure to offer outstanding performance and customization of your system. Enjoy crystal-clear immersive in game sounds from the premium quality components of Audio Boost 3. Steel Armor ensures the most heavyweight graphics card setups are solid and stable. Engineered to provide both a stunning gaming and visual experience, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON Edition gives you plenty of reasons to show off.

X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition - The world’s most powerful gaming motherboard solution just got better. The X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition motherboard features the improved Mystic Light RGB LED feature, supporting up to 16.8Million colors and 16 LED effects to style your rig in any way possible. Featuring the patented Turbo Socket, the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition removes all limits by providing extra pins (2036 in total) for better overlocking of the Intel® extreme processors. Dominate the world of gaming and overclocking while looking awesome with the new X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition motherboard.

B150M GAMING 3X - MSI celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the B150M GAMING 3X, with a golden PCB and red color scheme – which represents fortune and bliss in traditional Chinese culture. The B150M GAMING 3X inherits MSI’s GAMING DNA, with a powerful GAMING LAN to experience ultrafast online gaming, and Audio Boost 3 for a crystal clear immersive gaming experience. This special 30th Anniversary model will include a MSI GAMING mouse as a bundle deal!

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Source: MSI

CES 2016: Silicon Motion Updates SM2246EN for 3D NAND, Teases TLC and PCIe

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: tlc, SM2260, SM2258, SM2256, SM2246EN, slc, SK Hynix, silicon motion, mlc, micron, Intel, imft, CES 2016, CES, 3d nand

Silicon Motion has updated their popular SM2246EN controller to support MLC 3D NAND from IMFT and SK Hynix:

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The SM2246EN acts as a gateway for third parties to make their own SSDs. Adding support for 3D NAND is good news, as it means we will be able to see third party SSDs launch with 3D flash sourced from Intel, Micron, or SK Hynix. Another cool tidbit is the fact that those demo units in the above photo were equipped and operating with actual 3D NAND from Intel, Micron, and SK Hynix. Yes, this is the first time seeing packaged MLC 3D NAND from a company other than Samsung. Here are some close-ups for those who want to read part numbers:

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Another question on non-Samsung 3D NAND is how does its performance stack up against planar (2D) NAND? Silicon Motion had a bit of an answer to that question for us:

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Keep in mind those are results from pre-production firmware, but I was happy to see that my prediction of IMFT 3D NAND speeds being effectively equal to their previous 2D flash was correct.

To knock out some other info overheard at our briefing, Silicon Motion will also be making an SM2258, which will be a TLC 3D NAND variant of the SM2256. In addition, we saw the unreleased SM2260:

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...which is Silicon Motion's PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD controller. This one is expected to surface towards the middle of 2016, and it is currently in the OEM testing stage.

Lots more storage goodies coming later today, so stay tuned! Full press blast for the updates SM2246EN after the break.

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CES 2016 Podcast Day 2 - MSI, Gigabyte, Corsair, and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2016 - 09:31 AM |
Tagged: video, spec alpha, podcast, msi, GT72S Tobii, GS40 Phantom, gigabyte, corsair, CES 2016, CES, carbide, brix, arm, 400Q, 400C

CES 2016 Podcast Day 2 - 01/06/16

Join us for announcements from MSI, Gigabyte, Corsair, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison and Sebastian Peak

Program length: 1:02:45

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

CES 2016: Razer Blade Stealth Has External GPU Dock

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 05:59 AM |
Tagged: razer, CES 2016, CES, blade stealth, blade

I've been seeing a handful of Razer laptops in my day-to-day life. They are known to pay attention to details, including the precise shade of green that their USB ports are colored. This seems to translate well to designing ultrabooks. Once again, they announced a new line of Razer Blade PCs. The headlining feature is the Razer Core external graphics enclosure, but I'm more interested in the display.

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First, the graphics. Instead of integrating a discrete, mobile GPU, Razer is using the Intel HD 520 graphics on their chosen Core i7-6500U Skylake processor. This is not a powerhouse. It can barely play Rainbow Six: Siege and Star Wars Battlefront on low settings. It is power efficient though, and it will handle just about any professional, media, or light gaming task you throw at it. If you want to use it for high-performance graphics, then you will need to connect their optional Razer Core GPU dock by Thunderbolt 3. Pricing and availability are not yet available for that, which can be a deal-breaker quite easily. The other problem is that the Skylake processor is dual-core (four threads). Even with a good GPU, some games might be riding the line on the CPU side. It allows you to dock whatever graphics card you like, though. It's worth considering once we get the rest of the details.

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But back to the laptop. As I mentioned before, the screen is possibly more interesting than the graphics situation. The panel is based on IGZO technology, which fights with IPS in terms of picture quality. You have two choices in resolution: 2560x1440 with 70% Adobe RGB, or 4K with 100% Adobe RGB. That doesn't seem like much, but Adobe RGB is actually a very wide color space, designed to cover both video and print color spaces. Even the professional grade Dell monitors do not claim 100% Adobe RGB, although they've come within 3% for years now. Having full coverage of Adobe RGB could be very appealing to professionals, especially magazine publishers and similar jobs.

The Razer Blade Stealth is available now, starting at $999.

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Source: Razer

CES 2016: Samsung Announces 850 EVO-based Portable SSD T3 - Updated

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 05:15 AM |
Tagged: T3, ssd, Samsung, portable, msata, CES 2016, CES, 850 EVO

We got our first look at the Samsung T1 SSD at CES 2015. The concept was simple - Make a very compact external portable encrypted drive, and make it fast. Based on a 3D VNAND equipped mSATA 850 EVO and using an ASMedia USB to SATA bridge, the T1 had no issue saturating the SATA side of the link and was capable of well over 400 MB/s over a USB 3.0 link.

This year Samsung is teasing the next iteration on this product:

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Dubbed the T3 (T2 doesn't translate well in some other languages), the T3 has some notable changes / updates / upgrades over the T1 of last year:

  • Type-C connector on the device end of the cable (we assume the included cable will link to Standard A for compatibility). The T1 used micro-B.
  • Metal case / housing. T1 was all plastic.
  • Capacities up to 2TB. T1 was limited to 1TB.

Full press blast / additional details / specs appear after the break. Look out for a review of this one just as soon as we can get our hands on one!

*Update* I got my hands on one at a Samsung press dinner. Here it is next to the older T1. The T3 is a tiny bit larger and thicker, but the difference is hardly noticeable as the T1 was very thin and light as it was. Here's a pic:

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Source: Samsung

CES 2016: NVIDIA talks SHIELD Updates and VR-Ready Systems

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 02:39 AM |
Tagged: vr ready, VR, virtual reality, video, Oculus, nvidia, htc, geforce, CES 2016, CES

Other than the in-depth discussion from NVIDIA on the Drive PX 2 and its push into autonomous driving, NVIDIA didn't have much other news to report. We stopped by the suite and got a few updates on SHIELD and the company's VR Ready program to certify systems that meet minimum recommended specifications for a solid VR experience.

For the SHIELD,  NVIDIA is bringing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the device, with new features like shared storage and the ability to customize the home screen of the Android TV interface. Nothing earth shattering and all of it is part of the 6.0 rollout. 

The VR Ready program from NVIDIA will validate notebooks, systems and graphics cards that have the amount of horsepower to meet the minimum performance levels for a good VR experience. At this point, the specs essentially match up with what Oculus has put forth: a GTX 970 or better on the desktop and a GTX 980 (full, not 980M) on mobile. 

Other than that, Ken and I took in some of the more recent VR demos including Epic's Bullet Train on the final Oculus Rift and Google's Tilt Brush on the latest iteration of the HTC Vive. Those were both incredibly impressive though the Everest demo that simulates a portion of the mountain climb was the one that really made me feel like I was somewhere else.

Check out the video above for more impressions!

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Source: NVIDIA

CES 2016: ASUS Announces MB169C+ USB Type-C Monitor

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 01:53 AM |
Tagged: usb monitor, usb 3.0, mb169c+, CES 2016, CES, asus

I somehow missed the ASUS MB168B+ USB 3.0 monitor. It is a 15.6-inch, 1080p, TN display that connects to the PC by a single USB 3.0 cord. This provides both power and video, so you can have multiple monitors on the go without struggling to find a wall outlet. At the very least, you can reduce it to just the one charging your laptop.

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This was upgraded at CES to the MB169C+. It has a few differences. First, it uses an IPS display instead of the MB168B+'s TN panel. This should provide better color and viewing angles. It also switches from a USB 3.0 Type-A connector to a USB 3.0 Type-C one, which is starting to arrive in smaller laptops and tablets (which have to be running Windows for this device). The display is 8.5mm thick and weighs 1.76 lbs.

Pricing and availability vary by region.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2016: ASUS Announces MG Line of 4K Monitors

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 01:20 AM |
Tagged: asus, CES, CES 2016, mg28uq, mg24uq, vrr, freesync, adaptive sync

Two 4K monitors were announced by ASUS at the show. Both use VESA Adaptive-Sync for variable refresh rate (VRR) gaming, which means they are compatible with AMD FreeSync, but not NVIDIA G-Sync. If you want to use the latter VRR standard, then you would be more interested in the ROG Swift PG348Q monitor that was announced in September. There was talk that Intel would be implementing a VRR format VESA Adaptive-Sync in a future GPU.

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ASUS MG24UQ

If you're still here, then you either don't care about variable refresh, or you are looking for an AMD-compatible one. The first one is the 24-inch MG24UQ. It is based on an IPS panel, which are used for vibrant, precise colors and wide viewing angles. They tend to be a little slower than traditional “gaming” panels, but that is so low for the last couple of years that IPS is considered a pure upgrade. The second monitor, the 28-inch MG28UQ, is not IPS, though.

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ASUS MG28UQ

Again, no pricing or availability yet as it varies by region.

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Source: ASUS