Maingear Launches New Alpha 24 Super Stock All In One PC

Subject: Systems | September 26, 2012 - 06:00 AM |
Tagged: synergy, maingear, Ivy Bridge, gtx 680, cablecard, AIO

Custom PC manufacturer Maingear took the wraps off of its latest all in one computer today, and it features some impressive specifications for an AiO system. As the release of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system approaches, Maingear is gearing up support by introducing a system with desktop specifications and a large 24” touchscreen display with the new Alpha 24 Super Stock.

MG-solo24-PR.png

On the outside, the matte black Alpha 24 all in one has a prominent 24” glossy touchscreen display running at 1920x1080 resolution. Above the screen is a webcam. There are ports along the left side of the bezel and ventilation slits for the HSF on the back.

What makes the Alpha 24 interesting is all the hardware that the company has managed to pack inside the monitor-sized form factor. Internally, you will find a mini-ITX motherboard with Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge processor, and up to 16GB of DDR3 laptop RAM, 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD, 3TB mechanical hard drive, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics card (GTX 650 and GTX 670 GPUs are also options). The Alpha 24 also features 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, with an optional Bigfoot Killer Wireless add-on card. Not bad at all for an all in one system!

Maingear is further pushing the multimedia and home theater PC aspects of the Alpha 24. An internal DVD or Blu-ray optical drive can be added, for example. Also interesting is the inclusion of an optional CableCARD tuner that will allow the Alpha 24 to tune into encrypted cable TV stations and act as a DVR using software like Windows Media Center. Unforunately, details on the specific tuner they are offering were not given in the press release. The Alpha 24 can also act as a monitor for external video sources connected over HDMI, such as a game console or another computer. 

MG-solo24-side2.png

Maingear did not skimp on the I/O either for the claimed “no compromises” Alpha 24. Internal expansion slots include two mini PCI-E and one PCI-E x16 slot (for the GPU). External connectivity options include three USB 2.0 ports, a SD card reader, mic in/audio out jacks, and space for a single slim optical disc drive along the right edge of the display. Ports along the left edge of the display include the graphics card's video outputs – 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort – two S-Video connectors, power jack, Gigabit LAN, HDMI output, two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, optical audio output, and analog audio jack. The back of the Alpha 24 hosts a VGA and HDMI input along with antenna connectors.

Also, the internals are user serviceable and things like the GPU can easily be upgraded, according to the company – allowing for future upgrading to keep the system relevant. Maingear CEO Wallace Santos stated the following in the company's press release.

“In this day and age, there shouldn’t be a reason anyone would need to compromise for an all-in-one performance PC. Other all-in-one PC solutions pale in comparison to the ALPHA 24 and can be summed up with just a few words: 1080p gaming set to Ultra, maxed anti-aliasing and tessellation.”

Currently, the Alpha 24 has an MSRP starting at $1,349 for the base model. It will ship with Windows 7 x64, however it should be available pre-loaded with Windows 8 later next month following the Windows 8 release.

All in all, the Maingear Alpha 24 looks like a decent computer for the price, though you are paying a bit of a premium for the all in one form factor versus going with a traditional desktop – and building a PC yourself by following the PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard. So long as the reviews come back stating that build quality is good, it is definitely an interesting machine if you are limited to OEM options and don’t want a tower sitting under your desk – the CableCARD tuner option is also a nice touch.

You can find more photos of the Alpha 24 over at the Maingear website.

What do you think about this system, enough future upgrade-ability to sway you away from a traditional tower PC?

Source: Maingear

ASUS Mars III Dual GTX 680 Graphics Card Pictured, Set to Launch Soon

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 28, 2012 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: triple fan, nvidia, mars 3, gtx 680, dual gpu, custom cooler, asus

If rumors hold true, NVIDIA’s GTX 690 will soon be joined by a custom dual GTX 680 card from ASUS. First shown off at Computex, the Mars III combines two GTX 680 graphics chips, 8GB RAM, and a massive triple fan cooler. Expect it to cost quite a bit but offer up some impressive performance numbers. 

Update: According to ASUS speaking with TechPowerUp, this card is not going to be released to the public after all. I suppose the  Powercolor 7990 Devil 13 will have to suffice!

ASUS has a long history of taking high-end graphics chips to the extreme, even going so far as to put more than one graphics processor on the same PCB. The third iteration of its custom dual GPU "MARS" series graphics cards, the MARS III was first shown off at Computex. At the time, the company indicated that the dual NVIDIA GPU card was not quite ready for final release as the GPU cooling solution and PCB in particular required further tweaking.

marsiii02b.jpg

Going by the recently leaked photos, ASUS has been hard at work refining the custom design, and it certainly looks ready for prime time. The MARS III takes two Kepler architecture-based GTX 680 GPUs, beefed up power phases, and a total of 32 RAM chips (8 per GPU) for 8GB of total RAM, and places it on a single black PCB. Further, the two GTX 680 GPUs are configured in SLI using a PLX PEX8747 bridge chip. While it does not have more CUDA cores than the NVIDIA reference GTX 690 (which we recently reviewed), it should have a bit more overclocking headroom in addition to the extra 4GB of GDDR5 memory. I would expect that it will cost more than the GTX 690 as a result of its custom design and extra memory, but so far there is no word on what that price might be.

marsiii03b.jpg

Needless to say, all that hardware is going to require a lot of power. Internally, each GPU will be fed electricity using an 8+2 power phase. Further, the board continues to feature the three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors which allows the dual-GPU graphics card to draw up to 525 Watts of power. While the color of the cooler has been changed from the model seen at Computex to a red and black color scheme, the red overclocking button is still there on the side of the card. It will spin the fans up to 100% to allow you to push the NVIDIA GPUs as far as possible.

Video outputs include three DVI and a single mini-DisplayPort connector for NVIDIA Surround gaming and a fourth accessory monitor.

The dual GTX 680 graphics card at Computex.

Sources speaking with Videocardz have confirmed that the card is nearly ready for retail availability, and is only waiting NVIDIA’s go ahead.

Now that the rumored 7990 is on the way (or at least a custom version of the 7990), I would bet that we will be seeing this custom ASUS card sooner rather than later – and that NVIDIA’s “okay” to unleash this beastly graphics card should not be difficult to get.

Have you been following the ASUS Mars III? You can find more Mars III coverage and photos by following the Mars III tag. Further, you can see more leaked photos over at Videocardz.

[Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to clean the drool off of my desk.]

Source: EXPreview

How fast can Lightning go? Testing out the LN2 BIOS on the MSI GTX680

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 3, 2012 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: MSI GTX680 Lightning, LN2 BIOS, factory overclocked, gtx 680, MSI Afterburner, overvolting

[H]ard|OCP recently tested the highly overclocked MSI GTX 680 Lightning, but because of the new release of the MSI Afterburner 2.2.3 tool they decided to retest to see if the new Afterburner will raise the ceiling on their maximum overclock.  This new version allows voltage control of the GPU, the memory, and the PLL which ought to help push the card to higher frequencies.  That did certainly turn out to be the case as they saw noticeable increases to all of the clocks on the card and more importantly translated into improvements in game play.  When they used the LN2 BIOS the improvements were even more impressive.  Remember that volt modding will shorten the lifespan of the card, but what a life it will have while it survives.

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"Today we are revisiting the MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning video card. with its long-promised GPU and RAM voltage tweaking Afterburner software. We test both the stock BIOS and "LN2 BIOS" to find the best possible gaming experience the Lightning has to offer, and determine if the performance justifies the price."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - July 17th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

7970ge.jpg

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $499

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $429

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $349

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $299

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $124

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

In a stunning change of fate, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 has been steadily in stock for the last few weeks but the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that we reviewed on June 24th has yet to show its face.  Yes, you can find HD 7970 cards running at 1000 MHz core clock speeds (and higher) though they don't have the 6.0 Gbps memory speeds nor the "PowerTune with Boost" technology that really set the new version of the GPU apart. 

When asked, AMD told us to expect Sapphire and XFX models in stock early next week - so we'll definitely keep an eye on the online retailers for that. 

The only other changes are some more price drops on the AMD side.  You can now get a standard HD 7970 for $80 less than the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7950 for $50 less than the GTX 670.  AMD knows that with NVIDIA's great branding and marketing they needed to make a case for their GPUs over the competition and these types of price cuts really give gamers two great options for their gaming dollar.

We are still waiting on NVIDIA's answer for sub-$399 GPUs based on Kepler - hopefully we won't be waiting long.

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Podcast #209 - Thunderbolt on Windows, Western Digital Red Drives, a passively cooled GTX 680 and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 10:35 AM |
Tagged: WD, ThunderFX, thunderbolt, ssd, red, podcast, Intel, gtx 680, gpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #209 - 07/12/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Thunderbolt Performance on Windows, the new Western Digital Red Hard Drives, a passively cooled GTX 680 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:15:06

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Quakecon - we need Tshirt ideas!!
  6. 00:05:45 Thunderbolt Performance on Windows with ASUS P8Z77-V Premium
  7. 00:17 Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Motherboard Review
  8. 00:18:30 AMD, Vishera and Beyond!
  9. 00:26:45 HP Envy 14 Spectre Review
  10. 00:28:30 Western Digital Red 3TB NAS HDD Review
  11. 00:41:51 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  12. 00:42:45 Passively cooled GTX 680 anyone?
  13. 00:45:45 Windows 8 Pro will run you $39
  14. 00:50:00 Overclocking makes your system less stable...duhhh
  15. 00:57:00 ASUS and Gigabyte raise warranty times
  16. 00:58:30 Mid-range Kepler rumors
  17. 01:03:03 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: ThunderboltEX from ASUS
    2. Jeremy: I like this Lenovo X220 work stuck me with
    3. Josh: Like I need another time sink
    4. Allyn: WD Red
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

​For those of you that prefer the video version, see below:

Colorful Shows Off Massive Passively Cooled NVIDIA GTX 680

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 2, 2012 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: passive cooling, nvidia, kepler, gtx 680, gpu

Chinese graphics card manufacturer Colorful recently showed off a massive NVIDIA GTX 680 GPU. Massive may even be an understatement, as this card uses not one, but two heatsinks – and more heatpipes that Josh can shake a GPU at – to passively cool the fastest single GPU graphics card that NVIDIA has.

Colorful-680-1.jpg

While there is no word on pricing, availability, or clock speeds, the iGAME NVIDIA GTX 680 is a silent GPU that is going to need a seriously large case. One heatsink attaches as you would expect, right over the GPU, GDDR5 memory, and VRMs. It uses 140 aluminum fins and seven heatpipes traveling the length of the PCB to distribute heat.

Colorful-680-6.jpg

From there, six copper heatpipes transfer heat to a second heatsink with another 140 fins and seven heatpipes(!). This second heatsink appears to float over the top of the card, supported by the six heatpipes. The heatsink and PCB are black, with a blue piece covering the two heatsinks that features the iGame and NVIDIA GTX 680 logos. The back of the card features a single DVI port, a DisplayPort, and a full-size HDMI port.

Colorful-680-4.jpg

For the PC gamer that values silent performance with the least compromises possible, this card is looking like the perfect solution – assuming it comes to market, of course. If you are interested in seeing more photos of this passively cooled GTX 680 graphics card, check out the EXPReview story.

Source: EXPReview

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - June 20th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2012 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

stockcheck20120620.png

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 3GB

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $449

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $369

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $319

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - In Stock
Starting at $1049

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

I think it is official, the GeForce GTX 680 has been in stock for more than two weeks in a row and we believe that this is a trend we see continuing through the summer.  Hell, we even found a single GTX 690 in stock from ASUS!

AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $449 / $369 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution and yet another $10 price drop.  The fact that the Radeon HD 7970 is now down to $449 and is $50 less than the GTX 680 makes it a compelling solution for gamers yet again.

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - June 8th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2012 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

04.jpg

NVIDIA's GTX 690

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $459

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $379

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

We may have a trend ladies and gentlemen - two weeks in a row we have seen GTX 680 cards in stock at Newegg!!  The first is from Zotac with a $499 price tag and stock, reference clock speeds.  The second is a Galaxy model that is overclocked by almost 100 MHz!

stockcheck20120608.png

AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $459 / $379 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution and a $10 price drop. 

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Computex: ASUS Mars III Dual GTX 680 Card Comes With 8GB RAM

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 5, 2012 - 09:59 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, mars 3, gtx 680, computex, asus

ASUS has created a graphics card that places two NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and 8GB of RAM on a single PCB cooled by three fans and a heatpipe-aided fin array. With three PCI-E power connectors and a dual slot design, you can bet that it will be expensive, large, and in charge (of your electric bill). (Even so, I still want one even if I have to get a new case :P).

ASUS is showing off a graphics card at Computex that is sure to be of interest to enthusiasts everywhere. The successor to their elusive Mars II (which we reviewed here), the new ASUS Mars III is a dual GPU graphics card utilizing two NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and a total of 8GB of GDDR5 memory on a single PCB. The dual slot card is cooled by three fans on an aluminum and heatpipe aided fin array. Around the back of the card are three eight pin PCI-E power connectors for up to 525watts of power! There is also a red button to the left of the connectors that spins the fans up to 100% for maximum overclocking. Towards the front is a single SLI connector (for up to 4-way SLI) along with three DVI ports and a mini-DisplayPort for video output.

mars_1.jpg

In short, this graphics card is a total beast. Although we do not yet know clockspeeds or other specific details, you can expect the cards to be expensive and very fast. According to VR-Zone, the card being shown off at Computex 2012 is an engineering sample and the company is still working to refine the final design – particularly the cooler and PCB. You can find more photos of this massive card here.

Source: VR-Zone

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - May 30th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2012 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

gtx680_galaxy.jpg

NVIDIA's highest end offering, the GTX 690

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $469

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $389

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $539

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

This week we have some good news!  For two full days (in a row!) NVIDIA has had GTX 680 SKUs in stock at Newegg.com.  The only downside is that two available at the time of this writing (EVGA Superclocked+ and Zotac AMP!) are priced a bit higher thanks to their overclock settings.  The EVGA part has a base clock of 1058 MHz while the Zotac has an impressive 1098 MHz base clock compared to the reference speed of 1006 MHz.  As of this post you can find the EVGA model for $539 and the Zotac option for $549.  We are almost at the point to offering up these cards in our leaderboard...  Gasp!

gtx680_20120530.png

AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $469 / $389 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution.   

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go: