Subject: Systems | September 26, 2012 - 09:00 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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?
Z68 is what we wanted all along
In reality, this is what we wanted all along. When the Intel P67 chipset launched in conjunction with the Intel Sandy Bridge desktop processors, the combination of the new architecture of the x86 processing cores and the newly revamped overclocking capability (courtesy of the enhanced Intel Turbo Boost technology) made for a lethal configuration. Without a doubt it was the highest performing platform for enthusiasts and gamers and put even more pressure on the AMD CPU division to step up its game. Intel asserted itself again as the dominant CPU vendor.
The other key feature addition to Sandy Bridge was the inclusion of some fairly high performing integrated processor graphics on the CPU die itself, NOT on the chipset. The Intel HD Graphics 3000 / 2000 far exceeds the horsepower of the integrated graphics on the Clarkdale processors but that really wasn't hard to achieve. Along with that added graphical performance was the inclusion of a very interesting feature called Intel Quick Sync that allowed specific applications to take advantage of fixed function hardware on the CPU for incredibly fast video transcoding times.
The problem was that even mainstream users that decided to use a discrete graphics card in their computer rather than depend SOLELY on the integrated graphics of the Sandy Bridge architecture, lost out on the Quick Sync feature all together. Why? The P67 chipset that supported overclocking and other "high-end" features didn't include video output support. The H67 chipset that DOES support video output does not offer overclocking functionality. And since the Quick Sync technology was only available when the integrated graphics were initialized, most of our readers that really wanted to game and use a discrete GPU from NVIDIA or AMD were out of luck.
Today's reveal of the Intel Z68 chipset finally presents a solution that combines the features of the H67 chipset with those of the P67 chipset to create the best option for Sandy Bridge system builders.
Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2011 - 12:22 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: synergy, sony vaio, podcast, nvidia, gtx 460, asus, asrock, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #152 - 4/28/2011
This week we talk about the ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Motherboard, EVGA GTX460 2Win, NVIDIA Synergy, AMD quarterly earnings, Viewer questions and more!
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
This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
Program length: 1:09:40
- 0:00:45 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:01:50 We have a new site!
- Call for writers!
- 0:04:14 Sony Vaio Y Series Review: Proving Fusion's Potential
- 0:06:46 ASUS Eee PC 1215N Review: Atom and Ion, Back Together Again
- 0:08:11 AMD Fusion Speculation for Ontario/Zacate
- 0:11:52 ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Professional LGA 1155 Motherboard Review
- 0:16:29 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:17:20 EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2WIN 2GB dual-GPU Graphics Card Review
- 0:24:01 Just Delivered: Thermaltake Headphones
- 0:25:54 Next gen SSD controllers pushing for TLC flash
- 0:31:45 The year is looking bright for AMD
- AMD's been having a very busy start to the year
- 1Q Results generally positive, showed some good growth, and no loss
- 0:40:03 OCZ Technology Announces Vertex 3 Max IOPS Solid State Drives
- 0:43:07 NVIDIA Synergy will offer discrete and integrated GPU support on Sandy Bridge
- 0:48:40 Email from Bavarian Barbarian
- 0:53:30 Email from Josh
- 0:56:33 Email from Arkanic
- 0:59:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: 16 cores and 24GB of memory OR Quiet computers (next to me this whole time!)
- Jeremy: Better Privacy Firefox has been killing LSOs (SupaCookies!) for over a year ... HackerTyper is amusing too but overloaded
- Josh: 2TB for $109
- Allyn: 2TB 5400 RPM (or cool 7200 RPM) / iPhone GPS tracking cache thing...
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 1:08:20 Closing
Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | April 26, 2011 - 02:19 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: virtu, synergy, optimus, nvidia, lucid, gpu
Remember when we previewed a piece of software from Lucid called Virtu that promised the capability to combine processor graphics features of the Intel Sandy Bridge lineup with the performance and DX11 support of discrete graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD? The ideas was pretty simple but it addressed one of our major complaints about the initial Sandy Bridge processor launch: the IGP features like fast video transcode acceleration and ultra-low-power video acceleration were unavailable to users that chose to also use a discrete graphics solution.
Lucid's Virtu software running in our previous testing
Lucid's solution was to "virtualize" the GPUs and use a software layer that would decide which applications to run on the discrete GPU and which to run on the integrated processor graphics on the Intel CPU. There were some limitations including the need to have the displays connected to the IGP outputs rather than the discrete card and that the software worked on a rather clunky white-list implementation. Also, discrete graphics control panels were a bit of a headache and only worked with NVIDIA cards and not in all cases even then.
Virtu was to be distributed through motherboard vendors starting with the release of the Z68 chipset (as it was the first mainstream chipset to support overclocking AND display outputs) but now it appears that NVIDIA itself is diving into the same realm with a new piece of software called "Synergy".
Check out more after the break!