Hardkernel Launching Quad Core ODROID-X Android Computer

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2012 - 08:53 AM |
Tagged: SFF, Samsung, linux, hardkernel, Exynos 4, computer, arm

If you are an Android developer and have been itching to get your hands on some high end, quad core hardware, than Korean company HardKernel may have just what you’re looking for. The new ODROID-X is an Android developer board (meaning it comes as just a single board computer sans case or accessories. For $129 plus shipping and customs fees, you can have a 90 x 94mm PCB with a Samsung Exynos 4412 ARM Cortex-A9 quad core at 1.4 GHz (1MB cache), Mali 400 GPU, 1GB RAM, and runs on a 5V, 2A power adapter.

Hardkernel ODROID-X.jpg

IO for the ODROID-X includes headphone and microphone jacks, six USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 Ethernet, SDHC card slot, 50-pin GPIO connector, UART serial connector, MIPI-CAM camera connector, HDMI, and a power jack. In other words, it is extremely expandable. It is capable of outputting 1080p video over HDMI when using the H.264 video codec thanks to dedicated hardware acceleration. Hardkernel will happily sell you accessories but you would likely be better off buying it from a local retailer or online shop that is in-country to avoid the extra shipping and customs fees. The power jack and other ports are standard, so there aren’t any worries there. Android 4.0 ICS is reportedly available for download, though no word yet on when the newly announced Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" OS build will be up on the site.

Thanks to the Samsung Exynos 4, you definitely have more oomph than the 700 MHz ARMv7 in the Raspberry Pi, though this board isn’t nearly as small (and costs about four times as much). If you need the extra horsepower, this may be worth considering at this price but be sure figure out the import taxes and shipping for your location to figure out what it will really cost you to get your hands on. Read more about the ODROID-X's specifications over at the Hardkernel website.

Source: Ars Technica

A small case with big features from Silverstone

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 5, 2012 - 07:23 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Temjin TJ08-E Evolution, SFF, MicroATX

Silverstone's Temjin TJ08-E Evolution is a strange beast, with a 180mm fan and the ability to house full sized graphics cards but it is built for microATX boards.  That does make it perfect for some SandyBridge/SBE boards with multiple 16x PCIe slots that are of microATX design.  There is a fan controller, a removable motherboard tray and quite a few other handy features all of which netted a Recommendation from The Tech Report.  If you need a LAN box or just want a PC in a smaller case then you really should check this one out.

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"With an 180-mm intake fan and room for high-end video cards, Silverstone's Temjin TJ08-E Evolution looks well-equipped to take on mid-tower cases. Except it's a Micro ATX mini-tower. We take a closer look to see if size really matters."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Dream big with this tiny Ivy Bridge and Kepler powered mini-ITX system

Subject: Systems | May 14, 2012 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: SFF, CoolIT Eco II 140, EVGA GTX 670 SuperClocked, i7-3770k

Legit Reviews didn't let a fear of overheating prevent them from building a very powerful Ivy Bridge based SFF PC that is a lot more than just an HTPC.  While a system with an EVGA GTX 670 SuperClocked card in it can handle HTPC duties it will only really shine when you game on it.  Thanks to a CoolIT Eco II 140 Liquid Cooler for the CPU and a conveniently placed intake fan to cool the GPU they fit the entire system inside a Cubitek Mini ICE ITX case.  It might have ended up costing just over $2500 but this is one compact gaming beast that can hit P8649 on 3DMark11!

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"Building a Small Form Factor Mini-ITX computer can be challenging, but it is worth the extra work as the end result can be amazing. We managed to stuff a ton of enthusiast grade hardware into a PC case that measures just 9.06" x 12.33" x 14.29" (WxHxD)! We still ran into a few minor issues here and there, but at the end of the day it all worked out and the system came out just how we wanted it to. Our dream mini-ITX system is ready for any task you want to throw at it!"

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Zotac's cute Zacate powered ZBox Nano-XS

Subject: Systems | May 9, 2012 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox nano-xs, SFF, htpc

Zotac's new ZBox Nano-XS is smaller than your average case fan, measuring only 4.17" x 4.17" x 1.46" (106mm x 106mm x 37mm) but is powerful enough you can stream video and even get some light game playing in on it.  The name is a bit misleading as it is powered by a dual core AMD E-450 with a HD 6320 giving it impressive graphics for its size and the 64GB Kingston mSATA SSD making the general performance of the system quite snappy.  Funky Kit does want you to be aware that this tiny PC ships without an OS so make sure that you are familiar with making a bootable USB drive with which to install your OS but apart from that they highly recommend the Nano-XS to anyone who needs a tiny PC.

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"The performance of the ZBox impressed me. It can't touch my high end desktop of course, but given the size and the price it is quite impressive. You can do some low end gaming, watch any videos you might want to regardless of their resolution and it snaps windows around and loads programs quite quickly, thanks to the SSD."

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Source: Funky Kit

Looking for a low power SFF system you don't have to build yourself? Try Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p

Subject: Systems | April 24, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: silent, SFF, Lenovo, ThinkCentre M91p

Most people who want a small form factor PC at home are those who will build it themselves, but not everyone has the time or inclination to do so.  That is where systems like the Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p come in handy.   Powered by a 2.7GHz Core 5-2500S, a single 4GB DIMM of DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD it is not overwhelming in its abilities but certainly qualifies as a low heat and low noise machine.  Silent PC Review thought that this machine would be better for an office PC than an HTPC as the Intel HD3000 struggles with playback in some cases but are very glad to see the rare 2500S in a system as it is hard to purchase as a seperate item but is quite nice with a turbo speed of 3.7GHz.

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"The USFF version of Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p packs a significant punch in a small package. Utilizing an Intel "S" low power processor and a 150W external AC power adapter, it's also incredibly energy efficient."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Little machines need little PSUs; Seasonic's new TFX PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 16, 2012 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: seasonic, SS-350TGM, PSU, TFX, SFF

The PSU that you have come to know in your desktop is an ATX PSU but that is not the only choice, as server techs and SFF builders are well aware.  One of the alternative standards is the TFX which retains the ATX electrical and connection specs but fits it into a 5.75" × 3.25" × 2.5" (146 x 83 x 64mm) casing.  The 350W Seasonic SS-350TGM is not designed for SLI/CrossFire systems, indeed it does not have a single PCIe connector of any type which is not a problem for the type of machine this is intended for.  If you are planning on building an ITX box with an internal PSU, or even a small custom built case, you really should drop by [H]ard|OCP to check this little PSU out.

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"Today we tackle something a bit off the beaten path for us; a low power non-ATX specification power supply from Seasonic. We do know that many of our readers build systems that are not like all the others especially when it comes to crafting smaller purpose driven boxes. The 300TGM may be just what you are looking for."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Logic Supply has an interesting way of sizing their smaller HTPCs

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2012 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, Logic Supply, LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC, htpc, Atom N2800

Defining the size of the Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC as being 1.2 litres is a unique way of describing just how small this machine is.  You can see from the picture below that a pair of serial ports takes up a significant portion of the front panel.  Part of the reason for this is the completely fanless design, the heatsink obscuring the Atom N2800 has TIM on it to allow the entire top of the case to distribute the heat.  The SSD drive also helps slim the machine down and also adds snappy performance as well.  The Intel DN2800MT mini-ITX board powers the SSD and can fit up to 4GB of RAM in its two slots and the Intel GMA 3650 powers the HDMI and VGA ports with enough processing power for you to watch HD video.  As it is a totally silent HTPC, it should come as no surprise that it was Silent PC Review who received this box for testing.

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"This new PC from specialist Logic Systems is based around the recently released Intel DN2800MT "Marshalltown" mini-ITX Atom board, a long-awaited follow-up to the original "Thin ITX" board, the Intel D945GSEJT. Super low energy consumption, 1080P video capability and a tiny 1.2 liter form factor should be compelling for Mini PC enthusiasts."

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Systems

 

ECS trims the fat off and presents two new mini-ITX boards

Subject: Motherboards, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: ECS, elitegroup, mini ITX, CDC-TI Thin, H61H2-TI Thin, SFF

The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX may not interest many readers as it is designed for an Atom processor which have never been terribly popular here at PC Perspective, even for HTPC builds.  The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX is a totally different story as it can handle LGA1155 chips and has an HDMI out, making it a beautiful choice for an HTPC or even a SFF portable gaming machine although you might be disappointed by the orientation of the full and half length PCIe slots.  Consider it a challenge and see if you can get a decent half height GPU in there!

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the world’s leading motherboard, graphics card, barebone system, notebook and mobile device manufacturer announces a variety of options of Thin Mini-ITX for users to meet their different demands with AIO (All-In-One) and motherboards. To target different segments, ECS Thin Mini-ITX motherboards are not only compatible with AIO but also with small form factor PCs, offering a wide range of solutions including H61H2-TI, H61H2-G11 and CDC-TI. With the growth in popularity of AIO, acceptance of the Thin Mini-ITX platform proves to be leading standard of this new trend, allowing for future-proof upgradeability.

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The brand new CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard supports Intel® Atom™ D2700/D2550/D2500 Dual-core processors. The CPU and Memory are supported 100% by Solid Capacitors in order to provide better conductivity and longevity. CDC-TI features 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket supporting up to 4GB, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), VGA, HDMI and LVDS support. It is distinguished by its fan-less design because of the lowest CPU power consumption of <10W TDP. ECS CDC-TI not only works well for Thin Mini-ITX AIOs but also for other form factors that can take advantage of a low-profile board.

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The other H61H2-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard can support socket LGA1155 Intel® 2nd and 3rd Generation Core processors. It features Intel® H61 Express chipset with SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket up to 16GB, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), 1 x mSATA, and HDMI input/output that deliver you an excellent performance and amazing experience. ECS H61H2-TI provides you a multi-functional solution within a limited space. Small but versatile.

Asetek Demonstrates Liquid Cooling For Laptop And All-In-One PCs

Subject: Mobile | March 20, 2012 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: SFF, liquid cooling, gaming laptop, asetek, alienware

The rise of mATX boards designed for high powered gaming machines, laptops with serious mobile GPU power and All-In-One Systems have increased the problem of heat generation in small systems.  A SFF system used to be a moderately powerful system good for use as a workstation or HTPC but now it could well be a multi-GPU gaming beast and the same goes for laptops.  

In an effort to stop baking laps and shortening the life of components in SFF systems Asetek has been working on liquid cooling systems for these types of systems.  You can see an example of a watercooling Alienware laptop on the YouTube video they produced and be sure to check out the links on this page if you are looking for more information.

 

Asetek Inc., the world leading supplier of liquid cooling for the computer industry announced today a new and groundbreaking slim form factor liquid cooling technology for extreme performance and workstation grade laptops and All-In-One PCs. Slim form factor liquid cooling enables laptop and AIO PC manufacturers to deliver mobility and sleek industrial designs without sacrificing performance.

“We see a growing need for higher performance personal computers, driven by ever more powerful modeling software for engineering, scientific and financial work, and for content creation and gaming,” said André S. Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. ”We also see high performance hardware expanding to more portable, sleeker devices like the highly successful M-series of notebooks from Alienware.”

“For laptops and AIOs to deliver workstation and gaming PC performance, these machines must be able to take full advantage of desktop grade performance hardware. We have identified this need and designed our cooling solution to target these thinner machines,” continued Eriksen.

The fundamental challenge in cooling desktop replacement laptops and All-In-One PCs is the lack of space for a proper thermal solution. Consequently, previous attempts at liquid cooling laptops have offered no performance improvement over traditional heat-pipe based heat sinks.

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“Asetek successfully cracked the code of improving acoustic and thermal performance in a notebook without increasing the form factor,” said Ole Madsen, VP of Engineering. “Our patent protected technology allows better utilization of the thermal modules used to cool the CPU and GPUs. That, along with our optimized coldplate technology enables the use of much more powerful hardware than air cooling could ever allow”.

Asetek is showcasing its new technology in an Alienware M18x notebook with the CPU overclocked from 3.5GHz to 4.4Ghz and the GPUs overclocked from 680Mhz to 800Mhz. In addition, the M18x achieved a 23% improvement in Futuremark’s 3D Mark Vantage benchmark while reducing the noise output of the stock air-cooled laptop. A video demonstration can be found at Asetek.com.

Source: Asetek

So you want to build an octocore mATX beast?

Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79, SFF, mATX, hd7970, Intel Xeon E5-2690

The mATX ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79 motherboard can hold more power than you might assume from its size, as you can see at VR-Zone.  Even though the board looks tiny compared to the heatsink needed to cool the Xeon E5-2690 and the triple slot HD7970 seems to barely fit beside the OZC Revodrive 3 X2 480GB, the components do work at full speed making this beast a real power house.  As Yoda said, "Size matters not."

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"What if I have about US$5000 to spend - Could I have a true 8-core/16-thread CPU in a small form factor setup without compromising on storage, thermals or online gaming prowess?" Well, we show that we can!"

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Source: VR-Zone