Podcast #272 - Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, Steam Machine Specs, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2013 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: video, SteamOS, Steam Machine, Steam Box, R9 290X, r9 270x, r7 260x, quark, podcast, Intel, ASYS G750JX-DB71, arduino

PC Perspective Podcast #272 - 10/10/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, Steam Machine Specs, 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 Malventano

 
Program length: 1:16:43
  1. 0:01:35 Batman: Arkham Winner and new contest!
  2. Week in Review:
  3. 0:36:00 This episode is brought to you by Carbonite.com! Use offer code PC for two free months!
      1. iBuyPower and CyberPower too
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: O'Reilly Media
    2. Allyn: Nest Protect
  5. podcast@pcper.com
  6. Closing/outro

 

No Longer Too New for GNU... Intel Cilk Allowed in GCC

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2013 - 12:04 AM |
Tagged: Cilk Plus, Intel

There is a punny word for a smooth experience and, when it comes to Intel "Cilk Plus" integration into GCC, ironically unfit. Version 4.8 was finalized by its committee without Intel's library... and a response to their emails. Once the deadline passed, the next earliest inclusion was at some point in 2014.

intel-cmon.png

Fast forward to now: the library has been approved for inclusion to the project.

According to Phoronix, Cilk Plus extends C and C++ with features for programming in multiple threads (and multiple cores). There are two main advantages: solving for-loops in multiple threads and calling functions as a separate thread. Intel claims the for-loop unrolling feature is not a naive implementation; it will schedule your loop's inner tasks using a divide-and-conquer method to reduce overhead in assigning what does what.

We must still wait until 2014 for its inclusion, however. GCC 4.9, the release which is expected to include Cilk Plus, should arrive at some point within the first half of that year.

Source: Phoronix

Arduino and Intel bring you the Galileo, straight from Ireland

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2013 - 09:44 AM |
Tagged: arduino, Intel, texas instruments, galileo, TRE

A telling quote to describe the Arduino community can be found in MAKE:Blog's talk with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich who relates a conversation with a developer who preferred to use Arduino boards for prototyping even when offered Intel boards for free.  Today Intel has officially joined the Arduino team with the release of the Galileo which features a new 400MHz Intel Quark SoC with 256 MB of DRAM and Mini-PCIe slot, 100Mb Ethernet port, Micro SD slot, RS-232, and USB host and client ports for interfacing with the device.  That puts it on even footing with the popular Raspberry Pi but with the ability to use Arduino shields and a mini-PCIe slot to open up some new possibilities which you will likely be reading about on Hack a Day after it is released.

That was not the only interesting bit of Arduino news out of the Maker Faire, Texas Instruments is also releasing the TRE which is essentially two Arduinos in one.  The 1GHz Sitara AM335x processor is described as performing 100 times better than either the Arduino Leonardo or Uno and there is also a full AVR based Arduino present on the board to help process some tasks and to offer a more familiar environment to start playing with the Sitara from.   According to The Inquirer you will be able to pick up a TRE sometime in the spring of next year.

galileo.jpg

"Krzanich’s own interest in Arduino was piqued when an outside developer told him about his product development project, and Krzanich asked him why he was using Arduino instead of an Intel board. Even when Kryzanich offered to make Intel products available to him at low cost or no cost, the developer said he valued the Maker community and the Arduino platform and he wasn’t willing to switch. Members of Krzanich’s team reached out to Massimo Banzi and they forged a partnership to develop the Galileo board and work together on future projects. Banzi said that he’s glad to have more resources and the scale of Intel to help the Arduino platform continue to develop new capabilities and reach new audiences."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: MAKE:Blog

The little Atom that could

Subject: Processors | October 1, 2013 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: Intel, atom, Bay Trail, Z3000, silvermont

Silvermont has a lot of work cut out for it to get out from the shadow of its poorly performing predecessors.  The new Z3000 is much more than just a low powered chip, it is Intel's first SoC aimed at taking market share from ARM.  It has been out for almost a month now and so it is worth rounding up a few of the reviews to remind you of Intel's plans in the low powered mobile market as well as the new modular server market.  The Tech Report benchmarked this chip running both Win8.1 and Android OSes against a variety of products powered by ARM, Snapdragon and Tegra as well as against a Core-i3 and an A4-5000 from AMD.  Check out the results in their full review.

If you missed it the first time around you can catch Ryan's coverage here.

TR_die-shot.jpg

"Intel has just pulled back the curtain on the Atom Z3000 series, based on the "Bay Trail" SoC. Equipped with the potent new "Silvermont" CPU architecture, this chip is intended to challenge ARM for supremacy in tablets and convertibles. We have a first look at its architecture and performance."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

The only thing that beats a NUC is an overclocked NUC

Subject: Systems | September 30, 2013 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, nuc, Intel, d54250wyk

Perhaps your first thought upon seeing the new Haswell based NUC was something other than how to overclock it but when Legit Reviews got their hands on the D54250WYK they went straight to the BIOS to see what they could get out of this tiny system.  Intel's Visual BIOS made it a snap with their Performance Dashboard page that allows you access to all the usual frequencies you need.  Along the way they investigated RAM compatibility, both speed and size, but in the end they succeeded in getting 1866MHz RAM running full speed.

Don't forget our review of the NUC!

LR_hyperx-nuc-645x586.jpg

"We’ve spent pretty much all our free time this week using the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK and if you couldn’t tell from our review, we love the new design and the Intel 4th Generation Core i5-4250U Haswell processor that powers it. In our review we showed you the general performance of the system running at stock speeds. The one question that we didn’t answer at that time is how it performs when overclocked. There aren’t too many things that you can overclock on the NUC since the CPU multiplier and bus speeds are locked down, but we can overclock the DDR3 memory. In the past overclocking the memory clock frequency has yielded some pretty good results for memory bandwidth limited applications and gaming benchmarks. Read on to see how the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK performs with 1866MHz memory!"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Author:
Manufacturer: Intel

Another Next Unit of Computing

Just about a year ago Intel released a new product called the Next Unit of Computing, or NUC for short.  The idea was to allow Intel's board and design teams to bring the efficient performance of the ultra low voltage processors to a desktop, and creative, form factor.  By taking what is essentially Ultrabook hardware and putting it in a 4-in by 4-in design Intel is attempting to rethink what the "desktop" computer is and how the industry develops for it.

We reviewed the first NUC last year, based on the Intel Ivy Bridge processor and took away a surprising amount of interest in the platform.  It was (and is) a bit more expensive than many consumers are going to be willing to spend on such a "small" physical device but the performance and feature set is compelling. 

This time around Intel has updated the 4x4 enclosure a bit and upgrade the hardware from Ivy Bridge to Haswell.  That alone should result in a modest increase in CPU performance with quite a bit of increase in the integrated GPU performance courtesy of the Intel HD Graphics 5000.  Other changes are on the table to; let's take a look.

IMG_1445.JPG

The Intel D54250WYK NUC is a bare bones system that will run you about $360.  You'll need to buy system memory and an mSATA SSD for storage (wireless is optional) to complete the build.

Continue reading our review of the Intel NUC D54250WYK SFF System Review - Haswell Update!!

Podcast #269 - Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 11:26 AM |
Tagged: video, surround, podcast, nvidia, Intel, idf, haswell, frame rating, eyefinity, baytrail, amd, 4250U

PC Perspective Podcast #269 - 09/19/2013

Join us this week as we discuss Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs

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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

 
Program length: 1:35:35
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: Um, sure why not - ADATA DashDrive Durable
    2. Allyn: Connected Data Transporter 2.0 (yes it exists)
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

IDF 2013: Products With 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 Appear At IDF 2013

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k

Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.

Thunderbolt 2.jpg

Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.

Intel Thunderbolt 2 Connectivity.jpg

Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2

While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.

Sonnet Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R PCI-E Card External Chassis.jpg

External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.

Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.

New Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2 From Asus, Asrock, and Gigabyte.jpg

The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.

Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).

AsRock Z87 Extreme 11ac Motherboard with Thunderbolt 2.jpg

The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.

The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)

  ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad AsRock Extreme 11/ac Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH
SATA 6Gbps 10 10 10
PCI-E 3.0 x16 3 4 5
PCI-E 3.0 x1 4 3 2
mPCI-E n/a 3 1
Rear IO: --------------------- -------------------- ----------------------
PS/2 n/a 1 1
Audio 6 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical
Thunderbolt 2 2 2 2
GbE 2 2 1
Video out 1 x HDMI 1 x HDMI, 1 x DP 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI
USB 3.0 6 (+4 USB 2.0) 6 (+2 USB 2.0) 6
eSATA n/a 1 n/a

It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!

Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!

Source: Intel

Intel Unveils New Haswell Powered NUC D54250WYK

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2013 - 11:54 PM |
Tagged: SFF, nuc, Intel, hd 5000, haswell, 4k

Intel has announced a new Haswell-powered NUC called the D54250WYK. The new barebones kit includes an Intel D54250WYB NUC motherboard with soldered processor in a small form factor case that measures 4.6″ x 4.4″ x 1.4″. The new NUC is faster, has new IO options, and reportedly fixes the overheating issues of previous NUC systems. The Haswell-powered NUC has a bit of competition with the recently launched Gigabyte BRIX system which also got an upgrade to Intel's latest consumer architecture.

Haswell Powered Intel NUC D54250WYK.jpg

The new NUC D54250WYK barebones kit.

The Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK uses a new 4.33" x 4.33" motherboard with a pre-soldered Intel Haswell Core i5-4250U processor. The system further supports two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB of 1600MHz memory), a single SATA port, two mini PCI-E slots (one for mSATA SSDs and one half-height for Wi-Fi NICs), and a USB 2.0 header supporting to USB 2.0 ports. The Core i5-4250U CPU is a 22nm chip with a 15W TDP. It is a dual core part clocked at 1.3GHz base and 2.6GHz Turbo with HyperThreading, 3MB of cache, and HD 5000 processor graphics (200Mhz base and 1GHz Turbo).

Intel NUC Motherboard With Haswell i5 4250U Processor.jpg

The new NUC motherboard and Haswell processor.

While Intel has removed Thunderbolt support, external IO is still decent, with the following ports:

Front IO:

  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x Infrared receiver

Rear IO:

  • 2 x Video outputs:
    • 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
    • 1 x Mini HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 x USB 3.0

Notably, the Intel NUC Kit with i5-4250U CPU requires active cooling, but aftermarket cases offering passive cooling are likely in the works. Of course, users will be able to purchase the barebones D54250WYK kit or just the D54250WYB NUC motherboard and CPU that can be paired with a third party or custom built case. Like Gigabyte, Intel has not released specific pricing or availability, but expect the new Haswell-powered NUC to be coming soon as the system appears to be ready to go. Hopefully full reviews will be hitting the Internet soon!

Source: Intel

IDF 2013: Intel and Google Announce New Haswell-Powered Chromebooks

Subject: Mobile | September 13, 2013 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: Intel, haswell, google, Chromebook

At IDF this week Intel and Google announced new Chromebooks running Google's cloud friendly operating system. The new machines will be built by a number of PC laptop manufacturers and will be available later this year.

Notably, the new Chromebooks will feature Intel Haswell processors, which Google claims will result in increased performance along with up to 2-times the battery life of previous generation Chromebooks. In fact, several manufacturers are rating the battery life between 8 and 9.5 hours, which would be quite the feat if the number hold up to actual usage!

New Haswell-Powered Google Chromebooks.png

Acer, HP, and Toshiba will be releasing updated Chromebooks with Haswell CPUs and new laptop designs "over the coming months" for as-yet-unannounced prices. ASUS is also joining the Chromebook fray with a mini desktop PC running Chrome OS and requiring a monitor or TV for video output. Specifically, Acer will be putting out an 11.6" laptop that is 0.75" thick and weighs 2.76 pounds. HP is offering a larger display and more battery lfie with its 14" Chromebook measuing 0.81" thick and 4.08 pounds. You trade a bit of portability, but you get a larger display, keyboard, and battery. Toshiba will be unveiling a laptop form factor Chromebook as well, but specs on that particular system have not been revealed yet. As mentioned above, pricing has not been released, but expect the systems to be under $300.

Interestingly, Google claims that six of the leading PC laptop manufacturers are now offering their own spin on Google's Chromebook. Further, the Chromebooks account for around 20-percent of the sub-$300 PC market, according to Google. It seems that Chromebooks are slowly gaining traction though it remains to be seen if they will continue to be successful as Windows and Android budget ultraportable competition heats up and consumers become wary of "the cloud" and Internet applications in light of the various leaks concerning the NSA spying programs. (As Darren Kitchen of Hak5 would say, "encrypt all the things!")

Will you be picking up a Haswell-powered Chromebook?

Source: Google