Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Displays, Systems | May 15, 2015 - 03:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, oculus vr, nvidia, amd, geforce, radeon, Intel, core i5
Today, Oculus has published a list of what they believe should drive their VR headset. The Oculus Rift will obviously run on lower hardware. Their minimum specifications, published last month and focused on the Development Kit 2, did not even list a specific CPU or GPU -- just a DVI-D or HDMI output. They then went on to say that you really should use a graphics card that can handle your game at 1080p with at least 75 fps.
The current list is a little different:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 (or higher)
- Intel Core i5-4590 (or higher)
- 8GB RAM (or higher)
- A compatible HDMI 1.3 output
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 (or newer).
I am guessing that, unlike the previous list, Oculus has a more clear vision for a development target. They were a little unclear about whether this refers to the consumer version or the current needs of developers. In either case, it would likely serve as a guide for what they believe developers should target when the consumer version launches.
This post also coincides with the release of the Oculus PC SDK 0.6.0. This version pushes distortion rendering to the Oculus Server process, rather than the application. It also allows multiple canvases to be sent to the SDK, which means developers can render text and other noticeable content at full resolution, but scale back in places that the user is less likely to notice. They can also be updated at different frequencies, such as sleeping the HUD redraw unless a value changes.
The Oculus PC SDK (0.6.0) is now available at the Oculus Developer Center.
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2015 - 01:34 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: core i5, Chromebook, chrome os, broadwell-u, acer
Acer is adding an updated Chromebook to its education-focused C910 lineup. The new Acer C910-54M1 ups the hardware ante by incorporating a Broadwell-U based Intel Core i5 processor which will make this the fastest Chromebook on the market (for what that's worth).
This new C910 remains aimed at schools and businesses with a sturdy frame, large (for a Chromebook) 15.6" (up to) 1080p display, and eight hours of battery life. Below the display sits an island style keyboard and a large trackpad. Except for the arrow keys, Acer was able to use "regular" sized keys and did not shrink the shift or backspace keys which can be annoying. A webcam and two large upward facing speakers are also present on the C910.
External I/O includes:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB 2.0
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x SD card reader
The port selection is about what one would expect from a Chromebook, but the inclusion of USB 3.0 is welcome for accessing external storage.
Internally, the C910 Chromebook is powered by a dual core (four threads with Hyper-Threading) Broadwell-U Core i5 5200U processor clocked at 2.2GHz base and up to 2.7GHz Turbo Boost with a 15W TDP and 3MB cache. This particular processor includes Intel HD Graphics 5500 clocked at up to 900 MHz. Other hardware includes 4GB DDR3 memory and a 32GB SSD. Wireless hardware includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Acer's new Chromebook is big and powerful, but will the increased hardware provide a noticeably better Chrome OS experience? Intel (naturally) seems to think so with its push to get Core i3 processors into Chromebooks last year. The Broadwell-U Core i5 should be just as fast (maybe even a bit faster with smoother UX and graphics) while sipping power. The alleged eight hours of battery life is impressive as well considering. The downside, because of course there always is one, is pricing. The C910-54M1 will be available in April with a 1080p display for $500.
At that price point, it is squarely in budget Windows notebook territory as well as high end convertible (e.g. Bay Trail) tablet territory. It will be interesting to see how it ends up doing compared to the other options which each have their own trade offs.
Are you interested in a Chromebook with a Core i5 processor?
The perfect laptop; it is every manufacturer’s goal. Obviously no one has gotten there yet (or we would have all stopped writing reviews of them). At CES this past January, we got our first glimpse of a new flagship Ultrabook from Dell: the XPS 13. It got immediate attention for some of the physical characteristics it included, like an ultra-thin bezel and a 13-in screen in the body of a typical 11-in laptop, all while being built in a sleek thin and light design. It’s not a gaming machine, despite what you might remember from the XPS line, but the Intel Core-series Broadwell-U processor keeps performance speedy in standard computing tasks.
As a frequent traveler that tends to err on the side of thin and light designs, as opposed to high performance notebooks with discrete graphics, the Dell XPS 13 is immediately compelling on a personal level as well. I have long been known as a fan of what Lenovo builds for this space, trusting my work machine requirements to the ThinkPad line for years and year. Dell’s new XPS 13 is a strong contender to take away that top spot for me and perhaps force me down the path of an upgrade of my own. So, you might consider this review as my personal thesis on the viability of said change.
The Dell XPS 13 Specifications
First, make sure as you hunt around the web for information on the XPS 13 that you are focusing on the new 2015 model. Much like we see from Apple, Dell reuses model names and that can cause confusion unless you know what specifications to look for or exactly what sub-model you need. Trust me, the new XPS 13 is much better than anything that existed before.
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2013 - 04:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, SDP, 7 watt, core i5, 3339Y, Ivy Bridge
One of the biggest controversies coming out of CES 2013 was Intel's redefining of TDP as SDP so that they could rate their new Ivy Bridge processor at 7W. Scenario Design Power is a measurement of the power consumed in certain specific usage situations, which Intel refuses to disclose the specifics of. From what The Inquirer found out, there will actually be a spectrum of SDPs which consumers can choose from, though again Intel is not saying much about the specifics of the workloads or of the chips themselves. You can check out what little we know here, though until we have more details it is hard to decide if this will obfuscate the actual power draws of chips or become a new useful metric in the future.
"CHIPMAKER Intel remains coy about the precise definition of the workload used to calculate its scenario design power (SDP) metric that it has applied to its Y series Core processors.
Intel quietly introduced the new SDP metric at CES where it revealed a 7W Ivy Bridge chip and received some criticism for relying on a new metric to hit its headline figure. When The INQUIRER asked Intel to define the scenario in which the Core i5 3339Y chip hits the 7W figure, the firm said it was "not prepared to talk about the workload at this time"."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fedora 18 Released @ Slashdot
- Microsoft flings out emergency patch for Iatest gaping IE hole @ The Register
- YOUR Cisco VoIP phone is easily TAPPED, warns CompSci prof @ The Register
- 'Red October' has been spying on WORLD LEADERS for 5 years - researchers @ The Register
- Rumors say Dell again thinking of going private @ The Register
- Linux for the Masses at CES 2013 @ Linux.com
- CES 2013: Seagate, Antec, Intel, A-Data, Digital Storm, Sapphire & More @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 02:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: CES, nuc, next unit of computing, Intel, htpc, haswell, core i5, celeron 847, ces 2013
Intel released its first Next Unit of Computing system last year, and it seems that the 4 x 4-inch computer was enough of a success that Intel is ready to introduce new models. The Tech Report managed to talk to Intel on the CES show floor, and the x86 chip-maker is planning as many as three new models for release later this year.
Intel is reportedly planning a cheaper model as well as two higher-performance models. The former is a NUC system that switches out the current-generation’s Core i3-3217U processor for a cheaper Celeron 847 chip. While the Core i3-3217U is a dual core part with HyperThreading clocked at 1.8GHz. It is a 22nm, 17W part with 3MB of cache. On the other hand, the Intel Celeron 847 CPU that will allegedly be at the heart of the next NUC is an older 32nm chip with two physical cores, no HyperThreading, 2MB of cache, and a clockspeed of 1.1GHz. It does retain the same 17W TDP, but it is an older and slower part (and cheaper as a result).
This new NUC is said to be available for around $220 with a Thunderbolt port or $190 without Thunderbolt. That makes it as much as $100 cheaper than the current-generation NUC that we reviewed in December 2012.
In addition to the Celeron-powered model, Intel is also ramping up the performance with a Core-i5 powered NUC due in April 2013. There is no word on pricing but it should be available for purchase sometime in April 2013. It will have USB 3.0, triple monitor, and vPro support. The article in question was not clear on whether the Core i5 NUC will keep the Thunderbolt port in addition to USB 3.0 or if it will simply be swapped out. One concern I have is heat as the Core i5 chip will be faster and run hotter than the Core i3-3217U. With the current generation NUC, there were issues of heat that caused the system to hard lock during large file transfers over the network. Granted that particular issue is thought to be caused from heat generated by the NIC and SSD heat causing a component to overheat, but any new/additional heat (like that of a faster CPU) in the same NUC form factor may be problematic. Here’s hoping that Intel has found a way to resolve the overheating issue with the new 2013 models.
Finally, Intel is reportedly also planning to release a Haswell-powered processor in Q4 of this year. IT seems that Intel is preparing a trifecta of NUCs aimed at lower cost, higher performance, and higher efficiency (Haswell) respectively.
Are you excited about the Next Unit of Computing form factor?
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Mobile | September 3, 2012 - 03:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultrabook, s405, s400, s300, Lenovo, laptop, Ivy Bridge, core i5, budget, amd, a8
Tablets and ultrabooks have stolen the IFA 2012 show, but the hardware – while nice to look at – is not for everyone, especially for the price. It seems that Lenovo has the budget showings covered by announcing three budget laptops that offer up some decent specifications.
Lenovo has added three new laptops to its Ideapad S series, and the specifications of the new models are vastly improved versus the current netbook-class S-series models. The new additions are the S300, S400, and S405, and all three are packing the latest generation processors from Intel and AMD respectively.
All three of the laptops feature a display resolution of 1366x768, full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad with gesture support, 720p webcam, and a "tactile metal finish" for the laptop lid that comes in silver, pink, or red colors. External ports include an SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and power jack on the right side and a USB 3.0 port, HDMI output, Ethernet jack, and recovery button on the left. They are all expected to provide around four hours of battery life, and the laptops weigh in at 3.97 pounds and are 0.86" thick. All three models will come with Windows 7, but will eligible for the $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.
According to the press release, all three models will have cotton candy pink, red, and silver-gray lid color options in a "tactile" metal finish, though only the S300 has been spotted in the wild with the pink lid.
The S300 has a 13.3" screen while the S400 and S405 have 14" screens, but they share the same chassis, which means that the S300 will have a slightly bigger bezel but otherwise will be the same as the higher-end models on the outside.
On the inside, the S300 is powered by an Intel ultra low voltage (ULV) Core i3 or Core i5 "Ivy Bridge" processor, a 500GB mechanical hard drive, up to 4GB of RAM, and optional AMD Radeon 7450M graphics. Other features include Intel's WiDi (wireless display) technology, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and stereo speakers powered by Dolby Advanced Audio v2.
The S400 follows that exact same pattern: Intel ULV Core i3/i5 Ivy Bridge CPU, up to 500GB spinning platter hard drive, 4GB of RAM, optional AMD Radeon 7450M GPU, WiDi, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, stereo speakers and WiDi support. The differences include a larger 14" LED backlit display (at that same 1366x768 resolution, unfortunately) and an optional 32GB SSD.
The S400 comes in two different lid color options: a black interior and red lid, or a black interior with silver lid.
The S405 breaks the mold by replacing the Intel Ivy Bridge processor for an AMD A8 Trinity APU. It can also have up to 1TB of mechanical hard drive storage, 4GB of RAM, and optional AMD Radeon 7450M. Alternatively, it can be upgraded to a 32GB SSD. It features the same LED backlit 14" display and red/black or silver/black color scheme as the S400. The WiDi option does not appear to be included with the Ideapad S405 (which would make sense), but otherwise it is essentially the S400 without the Intel CPU/iGPU.
All three notebooks will be available later this month in the US, and the starting price is $499. The new Lenovo Ideapads make up a nice middle ground between expensive thin-and-light ultrabooks and low cost tablet+keyboard combinations. The quality of the keyboard and trackpad are really going to make or break the new S-series notebooks, because if they manage to pull off a good typing experience these could be some decent travel companions for people that need a productivity machine with a bit of "oomph" thanks to the Intel i5 or AMD Trinity APU. On the other hand, if the keyboard is crappy, the middle ground budget notebooks will really miss the entire point and road warriors will need to look elsewhere. Be on the lookout for reviews on these S-series Lenovo notebooks, as they look interesting for the money (if you are in the position of looking for a budget workhorse machine/one that would not be as terrible to lose on a trip, et al).
What do you think about the new budget Lenovo laptops?
Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2012 - 03:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: core i5, core i3, celeron, sandy bridge, Intel
With absolutely no fanfare, Intel has released seven new Sandy Bridge processors of which two lack a graphics core. Three quad-core Core i5 arrived, the Core i5-2550K is a normal chip running at 3.4GHz, while the i5-2380P and i5-2450P lack GPU cores; all are rated at a 95W TDP however so don't expect power savings from those two chips. On the low powered end the dual core Celeron B720 and single core B815 will both sport TDPs of 35W and for mobile users the Celeron 797 and 867 will both have a TDP of 17W. The Inquirer picked up this information from Intel's newly release price list; one which does not feature a single drop in the price of a CPU.
"CHIPMAKER Intel has quietly released seven Sandy Bridge processors, with two of the chips not having built-in graphics cores.
Intel's Sandy Bridge range is already packed but that didn't stop Chipzilla from releasing seven chips, three of which are branded as Core i5 and two featuring a new 'P' suffix. According to our man at Intel the suffix denotes chips that do not come with Intel's integrated graphics core."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A Look At Mozilla's Enterprise Plans for Firefox and Thunderbird @ Linux.com
- Intel brings bigger guns to AMD server chip war @ The Register
- AMD touts LRDIMM memory for x86 servers @ The Register
- Having SNAppy Intel 2D Acceleration In 2012 @ Phoronix
- CyberLink PowerDVD 12 Review @MissingREmote
- Come on, feel the video noize @ The Tech Report
- Olympus PEN E-PL3 Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2012 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, cpu, core i3, core i5, core i7
As reported yesterday, there are quite a few new server chips arriving in 2012 but today the news is not so happy for bargain shoppers who were not planning on picking up an Ivy Bridge based system. Intel will no longer be shipping out Core i5-661 & 660, Core i3-530, Pentium E5700 or Celeron E3500s and will stop producing them by the summer. On the Sandybridge side six Core i7 models are being cut as are six Core i5 models. As well the Pentium G960, Pentium E6600/E550 and Celeron E3300 will see their line end in the summer of 2012. While this does make space for the new desktop processors Intel is releasing soon it means anyone planning on building a lower cost system with these parts should consider doing so soon. DigiTimes lists all the models slated for retirement here.
"To pave the way for the upcoming launch of 22nm Ivy Bridge processors in April 2012, Intel has notified its hardware partners of its schedule for stopping the supply or production of over 25 existing desktop CPU models, according to industry sources in Taiwan."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6 @ The Register
- Intel thinks Cedar Trail is a dog: reading between bullet points @ SemiAccurate
- FreeDOS 1.1 Released @ Slashdot
- Canon Pixma MG6220 Review @ TechReviewSource
Looking at the Exterior
We have had some really good experiences with Puget Systems pre-built PCs in the past and a little while ago, the company sent us a modestly priced HTPC based on the Serenity line of systems. Based on the Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge platform, the Serenity has a lot of customizations that help keep the computer quiet that are unique.
With a cost hovering around $1800 though, does the Serenity offer enough to consumers?
The Serenity Home Theater PC
The Puget Systems Serenity line actually spans small form factor chassis, HTPC designs and even standard desktop ATX designs, one of which we have previously reviewed. Today we are going to be showing you the HTPC form factor that could fit in your home theater furniture (if you have some hefty space available). Let's look quickly at the specifications before we dive into the design.
Click to Enlarge
- Intel Core i5-2500K
- ASUS H67 Motherboard
- 4GB DDR3-1333 Memory
- 120GB Intel 320 SSD
- 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green HDD
- ASUS 12x Blu-Ray Burner
- Windows 7 Home Premium x64