Put your HTPC to work

Subject: Systems | August 9, 2012 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: htpc, amd, nvidia, cyberlink, arcsoft, transcoding, Intel

If you have built yourself an HTPC then you have also built yourself a machine which is relatively good at transcoding video if you get the right software.  Not only can you watch movies, you can edit or manipulate your own movies.  The Tech Report delves into the current state of both hardware and software transcoding tools in their recent article.  They check out the performance of Cyberlink's MediaEspresso, ArcSoft MediaConverter and Handbrake on an Intel based system using the native GPU on the chip as well as tossing in AMD and NVIDIA GPUs to see how it changes the performance.

TR_hero.jpg

"The market is rife with hardware video transcoders and software that can take advantage of them. However, making sense of that jungle of disparate offerings can be tough. We've tried to make sense of it all, comparing the latest transcoding logic from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel in three major video conversion applications."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Gigabyte Unveils GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Displays | August 7, 2012 - 07:07 AM |
Tagged: Z77, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-h77n-wifi

During a European roadshow, Gigabyte showed off a new Mini-ITX form factor motherboard for the first time. Called the GA-H77N-WIFI, the motherboard is well suited for home theater and home server tasks. Based on the H77 chipset, it is compatible with the latest Intel Core i3 (coming soon), i5, and i7 "Ivy Bridge" processors. The board goes for an all-black PCB with minimal heatsinks on the VRMs, and the form factor is the same size as the motherboard that Ryan recently used in his Mini-ITX HTPC build.

ga_h77n_wifi.jpg

The GA-H77N-WIFI features a LGA 1155 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, PCI Express slot, two SATA 3Gbps ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports, and an internal USB 3.0 header. There are also two Realtek Ethernet controller chips and a Realtek audio chip.

Rear IO on the Mini-ITX motherboard includes:
  • 1 PS/2 port
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • 1 DVI port
  • 2 Antenna connectors (WIFI)
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 Optical S/PDIF port
  • 5 Analog audio jacks

The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are interesting. It could easily be loaded with open source routing software and turned into router/firewall/Wi-Fi access point. To really take advantage of the Ivy Bridge support, you could put together a nice media server and HTPC recording/streaming box (using something like SiliconDust's HDHomeRun networked tuners or Ceton's USB tuner since this board is very scarce in the way of PCI-E slots). What would you do with this Mini-ITX Gigabyte board?

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability, but the motherboard is likely coming soon. You can find more information on the motherboard over at tonymacx86, who managed to snag get some photos of the board.

Source: Tony Mac X86

Ivy Bridge-E after Haswell: I think I've gone cross-eyed

Subject: General Tech, Processors | August 5, 2012 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: Ivy Bridge-E, Intel

According to VR-Zone, an Intel roadmap has surfaced which outlines the upper end of the company’s CPU product line through the end of 3rd Quarter 2013. The most interesting albeit also most confusing entry is the launch of Ivy Bridge-E processors in the quarter after the Haswell mainstream parts.

So apparently the lack of high-performance CPU competition unhooked Intel’s tick-tock-clock.

The latest Intel CPU product roadmap outlines the company’s expected product schedule through to the end of Q3 2013. The roadmap from last quarter revealed that Intel’s next architecture, Haswell, would be released in the second quarter of 2013 with only Sandy Bridge-E SKUs to satisfy the enthusiasts who want the fastest processors and the most available RAM slots. It was unclear what would eventually replace SBE as the enthusiast part and what Intel expects for their future release cycles.

2a.png

I can Haswell-E’zburger?

(Photo Credit: VR-Zone)

Latest rumors continue to assert that Sandy Bridge-E X79 chipset-based motherboards will be able to support Ivy Bridge-E with a BIOS update.

The downside: personally, not a big fan of upgrading CPUs frequently.

In the past I have never kept a motherboard and replaced a CPU. While I have gone through the annoyance of applying thermal paste – and guessing where Arctic Cooling stains will appear over the next 2 weeks – I tend to even just use the default thermal tape which comes with the stock coolers. I am not just cheap or lazy either; I simply tend to not feel a jump in performance unless I allow three to five years between CPU product cycles to pass by.

But that obviously does not reflect all enthusiasts.

But how far behind on the enthusiast architectures will Intel allow themselves to get? Certainly someone with my taste in CPU upgrades should not wait 8-10 years to upgrade our processors if this doubling of time-between-releases continues?

What do you think is the future of Intel’s release cycle? Is this a one-time blip trying to make Ivy Bridge scale up or do you expect that Intel will start releasing progressively more infrequently on the upper end?

Source: VR-Zone

Podcast #212 - Live from QuakeCon 2012!

Subject: General Tech | August 4, 2012 - 09:54 AM |
Tagged: VR, ssd, Seagate, quakecon, podcast, ocz, oculus rift, nvidia, Intel, carmack, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #212 - 08/03/2012

In this special live edition of the PC Perspective Podcast, we discuss QuakeCon 2012 and other news of the week!

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, Allyn Malvantano and Steve Grever

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 49:04

Program Schedule:

In this special live edition of the PC Perspective Podcast, we discuss QuakeCon 2012 and other news of the week!

 

 

We can make it cheaper! Intel's new Ultrabook SSD

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2012 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, ssd, msata

Many avenues have been explored in an attempt to reduce the price of Ultrabooks, from lower cost CPUs to changes in the materials used in the construction of the chassis and Intel is now attempting to lower the cost of the SSD required to meet Ultrabook standards.  DigiTimes reports that Intel is partnering with Micron, Samsung and other flash memory manufacturers to create a new mSATA specification that they are calling the Next Generation Form Factor.  Hopefully with a new unified standard, the production costs of these mSATA SSDs will drop in price over time, as standards do tend to lower manufacturing costs.  That is not the only reason that they are looking for a new standard, they are also looking towards the future storage needs of users that want more than 512GB of storage space.  The current standard can have a maximum of 5 flash chips, which makes scaling to larger sized SSDs very difficult.  Keep your eye out for more discussions on this new standard as they finalize the new specifications.

msata.jpg

"Intel is looking to unify specifications for mSATA SSDs targeted at ultrabook applications, and is seeking cooperation with PC vendors and NAND flash companies. Details regarding the new SSD specs for ultrabooks will likely be finalized in September, according to sources at memory makers.

The new SSD specification is expected to be fully adopted into ultrabooks in 2013, but whether it will become a standard specification for traditional notebooks will depend on PC brand vendors' attitudes."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #211 - MSI HD 7870 HAWK, Building a Gaming PC from 1999, a Llano SFF System Build and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2012 - 11:16 AM |
Tagged: SFF, retro, podcast, nvidia, llano, kepler, Intel, amd, 7870 Hawk, 7870, 1999

PC Perspective Podcast #211 - 07/26/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the MSI HD 7870 HAWK,  Building a Gaming PC from 1999, a Llano SFF System Build 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: 0:53:21

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. PCPer moving to pcper.com/live
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  6. Quakecon - Hardware Workshop @ pcper.com/workshop (August 4th, 2012, 2pm CT)
  7. Join me this weekend at Fry's!!
    1. Fry's Electronics, 1077 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:05:10 MSI R7870 HAWK Review
    2. 0:13:00 Gaming like it's 1999
    3. 0:18:10 Enermax Platimax 1000w PSU Review
    4. 0:18:50 AMD Llano System Build Article
  1. 0:21:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  1. News items of interest:
    1. 0:22:15 ECS Pre-announced AMD AMP Memory profiles
    2. 0:25:10 New passive CPU cooler can handle 100w
    3. 0:27:15 ARM, TSMC to Produce 64-bit Processors With 3D Transistors
    4. 0:30:20 Falcon Ridge to double Thunderbolt performance
    5. 0:31:40 Drobo Thunderbolt prices
    6. 0:35:10 Radeon HD 7990 delayed again probably
    7. 0:36:35 New Dawn Demo from NVIDIA
    8. 0:40:00 Check out this cool DX11 demo video
    9. 0:44:15 Intel and AMD financials
  1. Closing:
    1. 0:45:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week

      1. Ryan: Zoom Handy Recorder H4n
      2. Jeremy: Hand knit beer coozy
      3. Josh: GET A DAMN SSD ALREADY
      4. Allyn: Samsung Cloud Gaming Beta (almost)
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Quakecon coverage at pcper.com/workshop. Hope to see you there!
  5. Closing/outro

Video Version:

 

Podcast #210 - Cheap 1440P Monitors, 11" Gaming Notebooks, Windows 8, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2012 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, ssd, shimian, podcast, origin, nvidia, Intel, eon11, catleap, amd, 7970

PC Perspective Podcast #210 - 07/19/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Cheap 1440P Monitors, 11" Gaming Notebooks, Windows 8, 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: 1:02:09

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:30 Introduction
  2. 0:01:30 PC Per moving to pcper.com/live
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  6. 0:03:10 Quakecon - Hardware Workshop @ pcper.com/workshop (August 4th, 2012 time TBD)
  7. 0:04:50 Join me next weekend at Fry's!!
    1. Fry's Electronics, 1077 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:05:40 Achieva Shimian high res Korean monitor review
    2. 0:14:40 Corsair Vengeance 1300 and 1500 headset review
    3. 0:15:30 Origin EON 11-S (m11x successor) review
  1. 0:20:10 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  1. News items of interest:
    1. 0:22:00 New Radeon HD 7000-series pricing
    2. 0:25:30 GPU Stock Update for July 17th
    3. 0:32:15 6GB Sapphire TOXIC Edition 7970 GHz - 1200 MHz boost speed
    4. 0:36:55 PoV launches overclocked GT 640
    5. 0:37:35 Microsoft Office 2013 (aka Office 15) Customer Preview,
    6. 0:41:30 Blue Prolimatech Megahalems HSF prototype
    7. SSD Stuff
      1. 0:42:40 Intel adds 240GB 330-series SSD, lowers prices
      2. 0:44:00 Possible MSI SandForce SSD
        1. Allyn believes this may just mean the company will integrate a mSATA SSD with it's mobos.
      3. 0:44:30: New OCZ/Indilinx Barefoot 3 SSD Controller
    8. 0:47:50 Retina MacBook Pro from a PC Perspective
    9. 0:53:00 Desktop Trinity APUs delayed
    10. 0:57:15 Microsoft Releasing Upgrade/OEM Editions for sale on October 26, 2012
  1. Closing:
    1. 0:58:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Vertex 4 special tease!!
        1. VTX4-25SAT3-64G - $69.99
        2. VTX4-25SAT3-128G - $104.99
        3. VTX4-25SAT3-256G - $199.99
        4. VTX4-25SAT3-512G - $529.99
      2. Jeremy: I really dislike installing heatsinks
      3. Josh: A kickin card for cheap
      4. Tim: Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, in the steam sale today!
  1. 01:02:10 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. 01:02:55 http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. 01:03:00 http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. 01:03:30 Quakecon coverage at pcper.com/workshop. Hope to see you there!
  5. 01:04:15 Closing/outro

 

 

Intel adds 240GB model to Intel SSD 330 Series and lowers prices

Subject: Storage | July 16, 2012 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: ssd, intel 330, Intel

Good news SSD fans Intel has not only extended their SandForce SF2281 based 330 line, they have also dropped prices across the board.  The new 240GB Intel SSD 330 should be on sale for $194, dropping comfortably below the $1/GB mark.  Intel has reduced the costs to their resellers as well, by up to 38 percent on 520 Series, 10% - 18% for the 320 Series and 27% - 34% on the 330 Series.  These price changes may not directly translate into the same savings for those purchasing from major retailers but it will certainly have some impact.  For instance, right now the Intel 330 180GB model will cost you $160 while the 120GB 320 model remains $170.  The 520 series also remains above $1/GB but with this announcement from Intel you should really keep a close eye on PC Perspective and your favourite retailers for price changes.

Intel_SSD_330.png

Source: Intel

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:

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

5742_big.jpg

Courtesy of Gigabyte

PC gaming is alive and well and hardware vendors are working to create unique features in their product lines to entice this niche audience. Gigabyte has always had a soft spot for gamers who want the best components for their LAN rigs so they can own their friends in any game genre they choose to play. Gigabyte has broadened their product line to include performance gaming mice, keyboards, and PC cases. They also have a line of "G1-Killer" motherboards that Gigabyte claims is designed with 3D gaming in mind. One of their latest boards in the G1-Killer series is the G1.Sniper M3, and just happen to have a sample that we are reviewing today.

 

5741_big.jpg

Courtesy of Gigabyte

The G1.Sniper M3 was designed into a micro ATX form factor that sports Intel's latest Z77 Express chipset and supports the third generation of Intel's LGA 1155 "Ivy Bridge" processors. It is challenging to pack enough performance features and overclocking options onto a micro ATX footprint, but Gigabyte's G1.Sniper M3 has broken the code in this department. This $180 board includes a digital power phase design with auto voltage compensation, dual UEFI BIOS, and an onboard Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor for rich, high-definition audio.

Continue reading our review of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 LGA 1155 Micro ATX Motherboard!!