Lenovo Announces ThinkPad W540 Mobile Workstations

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 11, 2013 - 03:43 AM |
Tagged: w540, Thinkpad, quadro, optimus, mobile workstation, Lenovo, haswell

Lenovo announced several business-oriented ThinkPad notebooks today, including a new 15" mobile workstation called the ThinkPad W540. This new ISV-certified workstation employs Lenovo's claimed "user inspired design," high resolution screen, Intel Haswell processor, and longer battery life.

W540_Hero_01.jpg

The ThinkPad W540 measures 27mm and weighs 5.45 pounds. It features a 15.5" IPS display with a  resolution of 2880 x 1620 and Precision back-lit keyboard with number pad. The screen can be automatically calibrated using the integrated X-Rite color calibrator, according to the press release. IO ports include Thunderbolt, VGA, and USB among others.

W540_Hero_02.jpg

Lenovo has packed the W540 with a quad core Intel i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, an NVIDIA Quadro GPU (with Optimus support), and up to 2TB of hard drive storage in optional RAID configurations. The notebook comes with a Wi-Fi radio and can also be configured with a 4G LTE cellular radio.

W540_Hero_03.jpg

Lenovo has not yet announced pricing, but the mobile workstation will be available in November.

Source: Lenovo

IDF 2013: Intel Shows Off Haswell-Y and 14nm Broadwell Chips In New Devices

Subject: General Tech | September 10, 2013 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf 2013, idf, haswell, fanless, convertible tablet, Broadwell, 14nm

New Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took the stage at IDF 2013 to talk about Intel's future and the PC market. The CEO believes that there is more innovation in the PC than ever before as the company introduces new Haswell and Broadwell chips, new form factors are being experimented with, and Intel moves from traditional CPU to SoC type of architectures.

Two such chips that Intel showed off that are aimed at consumer PCs include a new Haswell-Y chip and the launch of a 14nm Broadwell SoC.

Haswell Y is an ultra low power variant of the Haswell processors that have been avaialble in desktops since June. This new chip is a 4.5W TDP chip that will enable fanless mobile devices such as laptops and slate tablets. The x86-64 chip will allow fanless mobiles that run Windows and should be a good bit more powerful than current Atom-powered Windows mobiles!

IDF 2013 PC Innovation.jpg

A fanless Haswell Y system.

In addition to Haswell Y, Intel is introducing a 14nm Broadwell SoC. The Broadwell chips will be used in both servers and consumer products in 2014.

Intel IDF 2013 Haswell Y.jpg

The 14nm Broadwell SoC.

Interestingly, it looks like Intel is well on its way to shipping chips as Intel showed off a working laptop with the Broadwell chip at IDF today. Further, Intel announced that the Broadwell chips will be shipping by the end of the year!

Intel 14nm SoC.jpg

A 14nm Broadwell-powered laptop.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information!

Intel IDF 14nm Broadwell working sample.jpg

Dell Introduces Powerful New M4800 and M6800 Mobile Workstations

Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 9, 2013 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: workstation, quadro, precision series, optimus, mobile workstation, m6800, m4800, haswell, firepro, enduro, dell

Today, Dell announced new mobile workstation systems in 15” and 17” notebook form factors. The Dell Precision M4800 and Precision M6800 are 15” and 17” laptops constructed of magnesium alloy and anodized aluminum cases, pack some impressive portable computing power, and will be available later this week.

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The Dell Precision M6800 and M4800. Photo courtesy of Dell Inc.

Both the Dell M4800 and M6800 are ISV certified, MIL-STD-810G tested, and support FIPS fingerprint readers, self encrypting hard drives, and TPM security chips. The workstations are updates to the existing M4700 and M6700 systems and can be configured with Intel Haswell i5 or i7  (including i7 Extreme Edition) processors, AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, up to 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz (or 16GB DDR3 at 1866MHz), multiple storage drives, Waves MaxxAudio, and WiGig wireless dock support that allows up to 5 external displays. Users can attach a 9-cell 97Wh slice battery in addition to the 9-cell 97Wh system battery to get extended battery life. Users can add dedicated graphics cards to the systems from AMD (FirePro) or NVIDIA (Quadro), which support Enduro and Optimus technologies respectively. The technology allows the system to turn off the dedicated cards and use the Intel processor graphics when the extra horsepower is not needed to conserve battery life. The M4800 and M6800 workstations each come with 3 year warranties.

The Dell Precision M4800 is a mobile workstation weighing 6.35 pounds. It features a backlit keyboard, trackpad, and high resolution 15.6” QHD+ IGZO display with a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The notebook can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 “Haswell” Extreme Edition processor, an AMD FirePro M5100 Mobility Pro or NVIDIA Quadro K2100M graphics card, 32GB of DDR3 1600 MHz memory, and 2.5 TB of internal storage (two 1TB plus one 500GB drive) in RAID 0, 1, or 5 modes.

The 15” Dell Precision M4800 workstation will be available on September 12th starting at $1,249.

Stepping up to the larger 17” Precision M6800, users can configure the system with a Haswell Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition CPU, NVIDIA Quadro K5100M with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, 32GB of DDR3 1600 MHz system memory, 3.5TB of storage space in RAID 0, 1, or 5, and a 17” 1080p LED-backlit 10-point multi-touch display. This notebook weighs 7.86 pounds.

The M6800 will be available in black or phoenix red with a starting MSRP of $1,599 on September 12th.

Business customers needing portable computing power have some interesting new options with the two new Dell workstations, which pack some powerful hardware into a laptop form factor. Sure, they are not the lightest or thinnest machines, but you won't find i7 processors, 32GBs of memory, Quadro graphics, and 2+TB of storage in an ultrabook.

Source: Dell

Gigabyte Announces New Haswell-Powered BRIX PCs

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2013 - 10:01 PM |
Tagged: SFF, Intel, htpc, haswell, gigabyte brix, gigabyte

Gigabyte recently updated its BRIX line of small form factor PCs to include Intel Haswell processors, 4K display support, and additional IO port options. The new BRIX systems measure 29.9mm x 107.6mm x 114.4mm and feature a chassis constructed of anthracite aluminum with a glass top panel. The new BRIX PCs come in four SKUs, each of which comes with an Intel Haswell processor of i7, i5, i3, or Celeron varieties.

Gigabyte GB-BXi5-4200 with Retail Packaging.jpg

The BRIX PCs come with the case, a small Gigabyte motherboard, an Intel CPU, and a wireless module with 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 radios. Users can choose their own mSATA SSD, DDR3 SO-DIMMs (two per system, up to 16GB), and operating system. The front panel of the Haswell-powered BRIX PCs includes two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack that doubles as an optical S/PDIF output.

Gigabyte GB-BXi5-4200 Rear IO.jpg

The back panel of the BRIX system includes:

  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RT8111G NIC)
  • 2 x Video outputs:
    • 1 x Mini-DipslayPort
    • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DC-in
  • 1 x Kensington Lock

Internally, the BRIX PCs have one Mini-PCI-E slot, one mSATA slot, and two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots. The Mini-PCI-E slot is used by the pre-installed Wi-Fi module, however. Processor options include the Intel Celeron 2955U, Core i3-4010U, Core i5-4200U, and Core i7-4500U. At the high end, the i7-4500U is a dual core CPU with HyperThreading, 4MB cache, and clockspeeds of 1.8GHz base and 3.0GHz turbo. The i5 also has turbo boost, but only up to 2.6GHz. The Core i3-4010U has HyperThreading but no Turbo Boost while the Celeron is stripped of both Turbo Boost and HyperThreading. The chart below lists all the processor specifications.

BRIX Model GB-BXi7-4500 GB-BXi5-4200 GB-BXi3-4010 GB-BXCE-2955
Processor Core i7-4500U Core i5-4200U Core i3-4010U Celeron 2955U
Cores / Threads 2 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 2
Clockspeeds 1.8 GHz to 3.0 GHz 1.6 GHz to 2.6 GHz 1.7 GHz 1.4 GHz
CPU Cache 4MB 3MB 3MB 2MB
Maximum RAM 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB

The new Haswell-powered Gigabyte BRIX PCs include the GB-BXCE-2955, GB-BXi3-4010, GB-BXi5-4200, and GB-BXi7-4500. Unfortunately, the company has not yet released pricing or availability for the SFF devices. More informtation on the Haswell models can be found on this Gigabyte microsite.

Read more about the Gigabyte BRIX platform and how it compares to the competition here.

Source: Gigabyte

IFA 2013: ASUS Announces Transformer Book Trio with Haswell + Atom

Subject: Mobile | September 4, 2013 - 11:30 AM |
Tagged: z2760, transformer book trio, Transformer, ifa 2013, haswell, atom, asus

You want to hear about maybe the craziest device announcement you'll see all year?  ASUS just unveiled the Transformer Book Trio, a device they are dubbing a "three-in-one" that combines hardware from the Haswell architecture and an Atom Z2760 SoC to offer up a tablet, notebook and even a DESKTOP experience.

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The Transformer Book Trio is a detachable ultraportable notebook at a glance with a top portion that can be removed and becomes an 11.6-in, 1920x1080 IPS multi-touch screen based Android tablet powered by the Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core Clover Trail platform.  It includes 64GB of on-board flash storage.

When the display is docked to the keyboard the Trio can switch instantly between a Windows 8 and Android environment by pressing a single key.  Data is even shared between the two units via the tablet's 64GB of flash storage. 

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Here is where things get even more interesting: when detached, the base station of the Transformer Book Trio is not simply dead weight.  As quoted from the ASUS press release below: "With an external display connected via Mini DisplayPort or Micro-HDMI, the PC Station can be used as a self-contained desktop PC featuring Windows 8, which means two people, in two different places, can use the Transformer Book Trio at the same time."

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Crazy right??  There are more details and specifications below, after the break!  I have already inquired about pricing and availability and I'll post more information as soon as I have it!

Read the full press release on the new ASUS Transformer Book Trio!!

Source: ASUS

MSI Launches Budget Haswell-Ready H81-P33 Motherboard

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2013 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: msi, haswell, h81-p33, H81, atx

MSI recently launched its own Haswell-ready motherboard equipped with Intel’s H81 chipset. Aimed at budget builds, the new MSI H81-P33 is a sub-$100 ATX board.

The H81-P33 features an LGA 1150 CPU socket and two DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB DDR3 1600 MHz maximum) fed by a 6-phase VRM. Below the CPU socket is a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and three legacy PCI connectors. To the left of the PCI slots sit two SATA III 6Gbps ports and two SATA II 3Gbps ports. A USB 3.0 header sits at the bottom of the board.

MSI H81-P33 ATX Motherboard.jpg

Rear IO on the MSI H81-P33 includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

MSI has not announced specific pricing or availability, but expect it to be under $100. It should be a good starting point for a budget Haswell build.

ASUS Launches Six New H81 Motherboards For Budget Haswell Systems

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2013 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: H81, haswell, mini ITX, mATX, atx, motherboard, asus

ASUS recently announced six new Haswell-compatible motherboards using Intel's budget H81 chipset. The new motherboards come in full ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX form factors. The new boards include the ATX H81-Plus, the Mini-ITX H81I-Plus, and four Micro ATX boards: the H81M-Plus, H81M-A, H81M-C, and H81M-E. 

All of the boards have two DDR3 DIMM slots, a LGA 1150 CPU socket, and four SATA ports (two SATA III 6Gpbs and two SATA II 3Gbps). Aside from the physical dimensions, the boards vary in the number and type of PCI-E 2.0 connectors and rear IO port selection. Further, the motherboards feature ASUS' DIGI+ VRM and 5X protection (eg. overcurrent) technologies.

ASUS H81-Plus.jpg

The H81-Plus features four PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and two PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x analog audio ports

The Micro ATX H81M-Plus has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI-E x1 slots. It does not inlclude the parallel or COM ports on the rear IO, and instead provides digital video outputs. Specifically, the H81M-Plus provides the following rear IO.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • Video:
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DVI-D
    • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio ports

The other micro ATX boards are variations of this design with slightly different IO and PCI-E .1 configurations. The ASUS H81M-A has the same rear IO as the H81M-Plus but has only two PCI-E x1 slots. The H81M-E is nearly identical to the H81M-Plus above except that there is no HDMI video output on the back panel. Finally, the H81M-C features two PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and switches out the HDMI port for a LPT parallel port stacked on top of the DVI and VGA ports on the rear IO panel.

ASUS H81I-Plus.jpg

In addition to the ATX and Micro ATX motherboards, ASUS is launching the H81I-Plus, which is a Mini ITX motherboard for Intel Haswell processors and using the budget H81 chipset. The board has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 connector and four SATA ports (two SATA 6Gbps). Rear IO on the Mini ITX H81I-Plus includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Video
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

ASUS has not released official pricing or availability information, but expect the boards to be available soon for under $100.

Read more about H81 motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Overview and Technical Specifications

What is the Second Look Review

The Second Look Review is used to take a more in-depth look at boards here at PC Perspective. In the initial review, we try to give you an overview of the board, forming an impression of how the board will perform in your system. The initial review details out the board features and layout, BIOS features, and stock performance. The Second Look review attempts to pull back the covers, exposing a more complete picture of the board's performance limits.

In this review, we cover subsystem testing including drive, networking, and audio functionality, as well as overclocking. Additionally, the board components and heat sinks are stripped down to uncover lower level board functionality and design. By the end of the Second Look review, a complete picture of board performance coalesces into an adequate picture for award determination. This award determination takes into account the board performance tested over the course of both the initial and second look reviews.

Be sure to take a look at our first review of this product for a better overall view of the layout and features as well.

Overview and Feature Recap

Features

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

  • Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 Plus Technology
  • All IR Digital Power design
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
  • Exclusive GIGABYTE OC Features
  • Unique OC Touch Feature
  • Unique OC Ignition Feature
  • Unique OC Brace Feature
  • Gold plated DDR/PCIe Slots and power connectors
  • 4-way Graphics Support
  • Durable black solid capacitors
  • GIGABYTE On/Off Charge™ 2 for USB devices
  • Dual Intel® LAN with high ESD Protection
  • Extreme Heat sink design with 9 system fan connectors
  • Realtek ALC898 with High Quality 110dB SNR HD audio
  • GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Card

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is the flagship board in GIGABYTE's LGA1150 line of boards. GIGABYTE used the previous generation flagship board, the Z77X-UP7, as a template and improved the design to take this next generation board to even greater performance heights. GIGABYTE designed the Z87X-OC Force with an impressive 16-phase digital power delivery system, powered by International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers. GIGABYTE integrated a plethora of features into the Z87X-OC Force including: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; dual Intel GigE NICs; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, pre-power (OC Ignition), base clock up/down, CPU ratio up/down, OC Tag, OC Gear, and OC Turbo buttons; dual BIOS, BIOS select, PCIe port, and LN2 switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Digital Storm

Haswell and Kepler

With the release of Intel's Haswell core processors and the updated graphics card lineup from NVIDIA, Digital Storm has updated many of their custom PC lines to include both.  A little while ago the company sent along a pre-built Ode system that includes some impressive hardware like an overclocked Core i7-4770K and a GTX 780 along with a Corsair SSD and more.  Even though the design is using fully off-the-shelf parts, the build quality is impressive and will interest many users that want the jump start of a ready made rig.

Our article today (and embedded video) will give you a quick overview of the hardware, the build and the performance that you can expect for this $2500 PC.

  • Digital Storm Ode Custom
  • Intel Core i7-4770K (OC to 4.4 GHz)
  • ASUS Z87-C Motherboard
  • Corsair H100 Water Cooler
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Graphics Card
  • 120GB Corsair Neutron SSD
  • 1TB Western Digital 7200 RPM HDD
  • Corsair HX1050 Power Supply
  • Corsair Graphite 600T White Case

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Current pricing on this build is $2577 from Digital Storm's website and while that is definitely higher than buying the same components out right, the difference shouldn't be enough to scare you off.  More on that later.

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The Ode from Digital Storm is built around the Corsair 600T chassis, an older design that still stands up well in terms of looks and performance.  The only draw back to it is that it does not have an internal USB 3.0 header and thus still uses the external cable to plug into the back of the motherboard.  If you want to see video from 2010 we did of this case, check the way back machine to do so!

A white color scheme really makes this system stand out and the window on the side panel will let everyone gawk at the components included inside.  With plenty of room for fans, radiators and good intake filter support throughout, the 600T remains one of our favorite chassis at PC Perspective.

Continue reading our review of the Digital Storm Ode Custom Gaming PC!!

ASUS Launches ROG Tytan G70 Pre-Built Gaming Desktop

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2013 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: aus, ASUS ROG, tytan g70, pre-built, gtx 780, haswell

ASUS has announced the Replublic of Gamers Tytan G70 gaming desktop. The updated desktop uses the latest chips from Intel and NVIDIA along with a large transforming case. The system is cooled by an integrated water loop and 10 case fans.

The ROG Tytan G70 is bult using a large dark gray case that has sharp angles and extending side and top panels that automatically extend outwards to expose the six front intake fans and two rear exhaust fans. The chassis measures 530mm x 300 x 630mm and the system with hardware installed weighs about 53 pounds (24kg). The front of the case has sliding panels that allow users to access three 5.25" drive bays. The top panel has a red ROG logo and there are also LEDs below that change from blue to read when the Turbo Gear overclocking is enabled. Finally, the top panel houses a Qi wireless charger which can recharge Qi-supporting smartphones when placed on top of the case.

ASUS Tytan G70 Gaming Desktop PC.jpg

Internal hardware options are extensive, and users can configure the system with some beefy specifications. At the top end, users can get a watercooled Intel Core i7-4770K processor, 32GB of DDR3 RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 780 graphics card, five 3TB 3.5" mechanical hard drives, a 256GB SSD, an ASUS Xonar Phobeus sound card, and 700W power supply. The system supportsSonicMaster and MaxxAudio (from Waves) audio technologies.

The Tytan G70 supports software that automatically overclocks the Core i7-4770K to either 3.9GHz or 4.1GHz for all four cores without needing to reboot the system. When this "Turbo Gear" overclocking is activated, the case panels extend to reveal the various case fans to improve cooling performance.

Oddly enough there is no NVIDIA GTX Titan option for the ROG Tytan though one could add one in after the fact. Pricing has not yet been announced, but the pre-built ROG system should be available soon. Additional information can be found on the ASUS ROG blog.

Source: ASUS