Podcast #232 - Our picks for Best Products of 2012!

Subject: General Tech | December 27, 2012 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: video, ssd, podcast, picks of the year, memory, gpu, editors choice, cpu, case, best of the year

PC Perspective Podcast #232 - 12/27/2012

Join us this week as we discuss our picks for Best Products of 2012!

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 Malventano and Scott Michaud

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:40:13

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Welcome to our Best Of 2012 Episode!
  2. Rules explanation: there are no rules!!
  3. 0:07:30 Best CPU
    1. AMD Trinity A10 APU
    2. Intel Core i7-3770K
    3. Intel Ultrabook mobile CPU
    4. Qualcomm Krait Mobile CPU
  4. 0:20:00 Best Motherboard
    1. MSI Z77 MPower
    2. ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
    3. ASUS Z77 Mini ITX
    4. EVGA dual Xeon board
    5. Asus Crosshair Formula Z
  5. 0:31:20 Best GPU
    1. GeForce GTX 680 2GB
    2. GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
    3. Radeon HD 7970 3GB
    4. Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  6. 0:44:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  7.  0:45:00 Best Storage
    1. Samsung 840 Pro SSD
    2. OCZ Vector SSD
    3. WD Red HDD
    4. WD 4TB Enterprise
  8. 1:05:00 Best Case
    1. Corsair Carbide 300R
    2. Corsair Obsidian 550D
    3. Cooler Master Cosmos II
    4. Mineral Oil Case
  9. 1:12:00 Best Price Drop
    1. SSDs
    2. AMD Radeon 7000 GPUs
    3. Good IPS displays ($199 - $400)
    4. 2560x1440 27-in panels
    5. System Memory
  10. 1:22:00 Best Newly Popular Technology
    1. Thunderbolt
    2. High-res monitors (Korean or otherwise)
    3. Cherry style keyboards
    4. Mini ITX Motherboards
    5. Touch screen?
  11. 1:35:00 Best Lenovo Laptop on my Desk
    1. Thinkpad Twist
    2. Thinkpad X1 Carbon
    3. Thinkpad X230
    4. Yoga 13
  12. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  13. http://pcper.com/podcast
  14. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  15. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

 

Podcast #231 - Intel NUC, AMD 8000M GPUs, Building a Hackintosh and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: video, virtu, VIA, tegra 4, Samsung, radeon, podcast, nvidia, nvelo, nuc, lucid, Intel, hackintosh, gigabyte, Dataplex, arm, amd, 8000m

PC Perspective Podcast #231 - 12/20/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Intel NUC, AMD 8000M GPUs, Building a Hackintosh 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, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Chris Barbere

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:13:41

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. 0:01:50 We are going to try Planetside 2 after the podcast!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:50 Intel Next Unit of Computing NUC
    2. 0:17:55 Corsair AX860i Digital ATX Power Supply
    3. 0:19:00 HP Z1 Workstation All in One
    4. 0:25:00 Building a Hackintosh Computer - A Guide
  3. 0:32:35 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:33:30 Cutting the Cord Complete!
    2. 0:36:10 VIA ARM-based SoCs in upcoming ASUS tablet
    3. 0:42:00 Lucid MVP 2.0 will be sold direct
    4. 0:44:50 Samsung acquires NVELO SSD Caching Software
    5. 0:49:00 AMD announces mobility 8000M series of GPUs
    6. 0:54:15 Some NVIDIA Tegra 4 Details
    7. 0:58:55 NEC Unveils Super Thin Ultrabook
    8. 1:00:30 Win a Sapphire HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX!!
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:02:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Panasonic GH2 Micro 4/3 Camera
      2. Josh: Preparation is key!
      3. Allyn: Cheap RAM
      4. Chris: Had solar panels installed this week
  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. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

PCPer Live! Planetside 2 Game Stream

Subject: Editorial | December 19, 2012 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: live, video, planetside 2

Just a quick note to anyone that might want to join us, we are going to attempt to play some Planetside 2 after the podcast recording tonight.  Planetside 2 is a free to play first person MMO.  It is kind of complicated though so you might want to learn up some on the details if you haven't played before.

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We are going to use Teamspeak for our in-game chat and you can get the details for the Fragging Frogs Main TS Server right here.

If you aren't interested in playing but would like to watch, you should head to our PC Perspective Live! Page for our live stream!

Win a Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB GHz Edition FleX Graphics Card!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | December 19, 2012 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: video, sweepstakes, sapphire, never settle, giveaway, contest, amd

Remember those really cool game streams we hosted with AMD on Medal of Honor Warfighter, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3?  Well can you believe that one of the winners from our Far Cry 3 event hasn't replied to our request for a shipping address which means only one thing:

We have an extra Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX graphics card to hand out!

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Lucky you!  Since it is the holiday season, we wanted to make this EASY for you.  Here is how you enter:

We'll randomly pick a winner from anywhere in the world to get this kick ass prize on December 26th, so you'll have something to look forward to on the day after Christmas.

Good luck to all of you and our most heartfelt thanks to AMD, Sapphire and of course the fans of PC Perspective for a great 2012!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Introduction

Since the Apple transition to Intel processors and mostly off-the-shelf PC hardware in 2006, people have been attempting to run OS X on home built computers originally destined for Windows. While running a different operating system on similar hardware may seem like a trivial thing, my historical experience with building a so called “Hackintosh” has been arduous at times. However, since it has been a few years since my last attempt, I decided to give installing OS X on modern PC hardware another try.

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Otellini will never live that one down...

One of the big stepping stones for OS X on PC based motherboards was the widespread adoption of EFI instead of the standard BIOS environment. Official Intel Macs have always used EFI, which meant until a few years ago, emulating the EFI environment on third party motherboards to build a Hackintosh. That has changed recently and with the release of Sandy Bridge, we have seen full EFI support across all motherboard vendors.

The premiere source for information about Hackintosh builds is the tonymacx86 site and forums. The forums on tonymac is an extremely useful resource for learning about the current state of the Hackintosh scene and the experiences of people with similar hardware to what we will be using.

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Tony publishes a yearly Buyer’s Guide article with components of all price ranges that will work with OS X with minimal hassle. He provides many different options in different price ranges in the 2012 guide, including H77, Z77, and even X79 based parts.

While it is technically possible to use AMD processors and graphics cards in a Hackintosh build, Apple officially supports Intel CPUs and NVIDIA Kepler GPUs, so they require much less work to ensure the operating system can fully utilize these components.

Continue reading our article on building your own Hackintosh PC!!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: HP

A Workstation All-in-One

While consumers know HP for its substantial market share in the world of desktops and notebooks, perhaps more important to HP's bottom line is the company's server and workstation business.  While we all know what servers do there might be some confusion about what a workstation is and what it does.

Workstations are usually defined as computers used by content creators and despite that fact that you burned that DVD of your family vacation, that's not quite the same.  Brands like Xeon, Quadro, FirePro and Opteron are what you will find different in a workstation class computer versus a standard computer or laptop.  And while technology enthusiasts will debate the actual differences between these components, the fact is that the market demands them.

Today we are taking a quick look at the HP Z1 Workstation, a unique workstation in that it resides in the shell of an all-in-one computer.  But not just your normal AIO - this is a 27-in 2560x1400 display with a chassis that opens up for easy access to components inside. 

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Once we show you how the processor, SSD, Quadro graphics and everything else works inside I think you will see the appeal of this kind of system even for professionals that require the stability and software support of a workstation class device. Check out our Video Perspective below and then continue on for some more photos and benchmark results from the HP Z1 Workstation!

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The side profile shows the HP Z1 is slim enough but still holds a lot of hardware.

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You'll find two USB 3.0 ports, Firewire, audio connections and a card reader near the bottom.

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The power button, activity lights and eject button live up top.

Continue reading our article on the HP Z1 Workstaion All-in-One PC!!

Podcast #230 - EVGA Stinger Z77 Mini ITX board, Our Holiday Gift Guide, Steam Box and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2012 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: Z77, valve, stinger, Steam Box, steam, podcast, pcper, itx, i7-4770k, haswell, gift guide, evga, Crysis 3, 4770k, video

PC Perspective Podcast #230 - 12/13/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the EVGA Stinger Z77 Mini ITX board, Our Holiday Gift Guide, Steam Box 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, Allyn Malventano and Chris Barbere

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:29:11

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. We are going to try Planetside 2 after the podcast!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:03:30 EVGA Stinger Z77 Mini-ITX Motherboard
    2. 0:06:45 Cutting the Cord Series
      1. Part 3 - Windows 7 Install and Setup
      2. Part 4 - Media Center Configuration
    3. 0:09:00 Seasonic G Series 360 watt PSU
    4. 0:11:30 PC Perspective Holiday Gift Guide!
  3. 0:40:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:41:30 Transporter Private Storage
    2. 0:47:00 Intel will support sockets into foreseeable future as well
    3. 0:51:00 Crysis 3 will have advanced PC options
    4. 0:53:30 Valve Confirms the Steam Box is coming
    5. 1:06:15 Low power Atom chips for servers
    6. 1:10:20 ASRock Board with pass through for Thunderbolt
    7. 1:13:00 Haswell 4000 series CPUs will be 84 watt
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:16:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Lenovo X230 + Slice Battery
      2. Jeremy: ASUS VS229H-P Same in the US and Canada, though we get free shipping
      3. Josh: Intel 335 SSD for Cheap
      4. Allyn: iStarUSA BPU-126-SA
  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. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

PCPer Live! Far Cry 3 Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, far cry 3, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can watch the replay embedded right here!  Tune in to see some Far Cry 3 action as well learn about some of the technology that Ubisoft has included in the title!

On December 4th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Far Cry 3.  Far Cry has long been a franchise that includes great gameplay and never before seen graphics technology and the third installment looks to follow that trend!  Early previews of the game have been very exciting!

fc3-1.jpeg

Far Cry 3 Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - December 4th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

neversettlematrix.jpg

AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Far Cry 3 Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

sapphire.jpg

Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on December 4th for some PC gaming fun!!

fc3-2.jpg

fc3-3.jpg

PCPer Live! Hitman: Absolution Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 20, 2012 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, hitman: absolution, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the event last night we have the full replay here for you!  Enjoy!

On November 20th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Hitman: Absolution.  If you have never played a Hitman game before I think PC gamers will love the combination of action and stealth as well as some of the humor you'll find in the assassination attempts. 

hitman2.jpg

Image from Videogamer.com

Hitman: Absolution Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - November 20th

PC Perspective Live! Page

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

bundle.jpg

AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as making fun of attempts at effectively offing some fools.

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Hitman: Absolution Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

sapphire.jpg

Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on the 20th for some PC gaming fun!!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Digital Storm

A small, custom chassis

UPDATE 11/22/2012

Right before the holiday weekend we got an email from Digital Storm detailing some changes to the Bolt system based on ours, and other reviewers, feedback.  Design changes include:

  • "Quieter operation" after moving from a Bronze level 500 watt 1U power supply to a Gold level unit.  I have put that part in quotes because I am hesitant to believe that much has changes on the sound levels of the system; we are still talking about a 1U unit here with two tiny fans.  Until DS publishes some sound level metrics, we'll consider this a modest change.
  • Digital Storm has also given the Bolt "a less glossy and improved external finish" to help prevent fingerprints and dust from reflecting in light.

In addition, there have been some hardware changes in the Level 3 unit that we were sent that are fairly significant:

  • Upgrade from a 60GB cache SSD to a 120GB SSD dedicated to the OS installation.
  • Storage drive lowered from a 1TB to a 500GB
  • Upgrade from a Core i5-3570K to a Core i7-3770K CPU

That is a pretty hefty change in hardware specs, in particular the move from the Core i5-3570K to the i7-3770K.  That increases the CPU performance of the Bolt pretty handily and they were able to do that without raising the price.  

This definitely gives us a better opinion overall for the entire Digital Storm Bolt configuration as tested and makes it a much better option when compared to the other recent systems we have reviewed.

END UPDATE 11/22/2012

A couple of months ago Digital Storm contacted us about a new design they were working on that they claimed would easily become the highest performance, smallest custom PC on the market.  The result of that talk was the new Digital Storm Bolt, a system designed in-house by DS to target PC gamers that want a powerful PC without the bulk of traditional desktop designs.

Digital Storm claims that the Bolt is the "thinnest, most powerful gaming PC ever designed" and we tend to agree.  This is not chassis that you can buy off the shelf but instead was custom designed for this system and actually requires some very specific hardware for it to function completely.  Items like a 1U power supply, 90 degree PCI Express riser extensions and slim-line optical drives aren't found in your standard gaming PCs.

Available in several starting "levels" of configuration, the Digital Storm Bolt can include processors from the Core i3-2100 all the way up to the Core i7-3770K and graphics cards starting at the GTX 650 Ti 2GB and increasing to the GTX 680 2GB.  Our system came with the following hardware:

  • Intel Core i5-3570K @ 4.2 GHz
  • Low Profile CPU Heatsink
  • 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz memory
  • GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
  • 60GB cache SSD + 1TB 7200 RPM HDD
  • Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WiFi motherboard
  • 1U 500 watt power supply
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64
  • Custom DS Bolt Chassis

Starting cost for this configuration is $1,599.

Check out our quick video review!

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The box the Bolt ships in is pretty timid compared to some of the crates that have hit our office recently but that's just fine by me.  Due to the small size of the case though I have actually had some laptop boxes (the Alienware M18x comes to mind) that were bigger!

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There she is, the Digital Storm Bolt, a combination of custom steel case design and fingerprint-loving piano black paint.  Measuring just 14-in tall and 3.6-in wide the case is going to be able to fit and blend in places other desktops simply could not.

Continue reading our review of the Digital Storm Bolt system!!