CompuLab Launches Haswell-Powered SFF Intense PC 2

Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2014 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, SFF, mintbox, linux, ipc2, haswell, compulab

CompuLab, the company behind the MintBox, launched its small form factor Intense PC 2 last month in four SKUs using Intel's latest Haswell processors. The systems are now available for purchase starting at $388 for the base model. The Intense PC 2 shares a similar form factor to the existing Intense PC and MintBox systems (resembling a consumer router), but features new hardware and IO options.

CompuLab IPC2.png

The Intense PC 2 measures 6.3” x 7.4”x 1.57” and has an aluminum chassis that acts as a passive heatsink for the internal components. The case is dark gray with a finned top surface. The front of the system can be customized with FACE modules that offer different IO options. However, by default the Intense PC 2 has two USB 3.0 ports and three indicator LEDs on the front and the following IO ports on the rear:

  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel NICs)
  • 2 x HDMI video outputs
  • 1 x DisplayPort video output
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x RS232
  • 3 x (2 x analog, 1 x digital S/PDIF)
  • 1 x SIM card slot
  • 2 x antenna connectors

The FACE modules can expand connectivity to include VGA ouptuts, video capture inputs, additional networking, and additional USB ports (among other options).

IPC2 IO.jpg

Internally, the Intense PC 2 has a small motherboard that comes with an Intel Celeron, i3, i5, or i7 Haswell processor, up to 16GB of DDR3L 1600 MHz memory (two slots), a single mSATA port, and a single mPCIE port (the mSATA port is a combo mSATA/mPCIe port). An 802.11ac+Bluetooth 4.0 radio is included as part of the package. The 15W TDP CPU can be passively cooled, and at the high end you can get up to an Intel Core i7 4600U with HD 4400 graphics. The dual core (plus hyperthreading) chip can turbo up to 3.3 GHz. The table below from the CompuLab specification sheet (PDF) details the hardware layouts of the various IPC2 SKUs.

IPC2.jpg

The Intense PC 2 is aimed at desktop users as well as the industrial sector. The passively cooled mini PC can be easily used as a desktop, home server, router+802.11ac access point, HTPC, or Steambox (streaming endpoint mainly), for example. It is also capable of driving signage and large 4K displays for adversiting and other tasks.

IPC2 pricing.jpg

The Intense PC is available in four base SKUs ranging in price from $388 to $902. Adding an SSD and/or pre-installed OS add to that base price. CompuLab offers a 5 year warranty on the SFF system.

Source: CompuLab

Viewsonic Launches Viewpad 10i Bay Trail-Powered Tablet Running Windows 8 and Android 4.2

Subject: Mobile | February 19, 2014 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, viewsonic, viewpad 10i, tablet, celeron n2910, Bay Trail, android 4.2

ViewSonic is launching a new 10-inch tablet called the Viewpad 10i. The tablet is powered by an Intel bay Trail processor and it offers a dual boot configuration of Windows 8 and Android 4.2 operating systems. The slate tablet weighs 650 grams. It is available online for around $500 USD.

The Viewpad 10i has a 10.1” IPS capacitive multi-touch display with a resolution of 1280x800. ViewSonic has also included two 2MP cameras (front and rear), a built-in speaker, and a dedicated Windows button below the display. External connectivity includes micro USB and micro SD ports in addition to 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless radios.

Viewsonic Viewpad 10i Bay Trail Tablet.jpg

Internal specifications on the Viewpad 10i include an Intel Celeron N2910 “Bay Trail” processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD. The Bay Trail processor is a 7.5W TDP (4.5W SDP) part with 1.6 GHz quad core CPU, Intel HD Graphics GPU clocked at 756 MHz, and 2 MB of cache. A 7,000 mAh battery offers up to six hours of battery life.

You can find more photos of Viewsonic's new tablet here.

The ability to dual boot Windows and Android is neat, but it does come at a premium versus competing 10-inch Bay Trail tablets that run a single OS out of the box. Is the approximately $500 price tag worth it?

Read more about Intel's Bay Trail architecture at PC Perspective.

Source: Liliputing

Windows 8.1 Coming October 18th As Downloadable ISO and Retail DVD SKUs

Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 04:53 AM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, microsoft

Microsoft has been developing Windows 8.1 over the summer, and the free update to Windows 8 is almost ready for consumers. Set for official release on October 18, Windows 8.1 will be available as a downloadable ISO and physical DVD in retail packaging. Microsoft will offer up Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and a Windows 8.1 Pro Pack (which upgrades an existing Windows 8.1 install to Pro).

Windows 8_1, 8_1 Pro, and Pro Pack Retail Packaging.jpg

The new operating system will be available as full version software, which means that users will not have to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows. The asking price gets a full retail key which can be used on its own to install Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro in a VM, a new system build with no prior OS, or in a dual boot environment. As far as installation and upgrade options, users will be able to perform upgrade or clean installs using the installation media. Microsoft recommends that Vista and XP users backup all files and perform a clean install of both the OS and applications. On the other hand, the company has encouraged Windows 7 users to go through the update process where users will be able to keep personal files. However, even Windows 7 users will have to re-install any applications that do not come bundled with Windows. Users that are already running Windows 8 can grab the free update and safely do an in-place install/update to Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store.

If users have OEM machines that come pre-installed with Windows 8.1, they will be able to add on the Pro features (including being eligible for Windows Media Center) by purchasing the Pro Pack upgrade rather than needing to purchase a full Windows 8.1 Pro download or DVD.

The various Windows 8.1 flavors will be available on October 18th. The base Windows 8.1 will cost $119.99 while Windows 8.1 Pro will cost $199.99. The Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade pack will be available later this year following sometime after Windows 8.1's launch for $99.99. Note that these are prices for users without prior licenses. Users that are already running Windows 8 can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free.

For comparison, full versions of Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.0 Pro were $99.99 and $139.99 at launch respectively.

Will you be upgrading to Windows 8.1?

Source: Hexus.net

Windows 8 RTC Bug Found, Benchmark Results Still Banned At HWBot

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2013 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, overclocking, hwbot

Earlier this month, competitive overclocking website HWBot banned benchmark results that come from systems that use Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 operating system. Unfortunately, Microsoft made a compromise and choose to use an internal software timer rather than a hardware-based Real Time Clock (RTC) to ensure compatibility with budget and embedded systems that skip such hardware to cut costs. Ocaholic’s Christian Ney has further analyzed the RTC bug and posted an article on the bug and how to fix it.

HWBot’s issue with Windows 8 is that users are able to artificially inflate benchmark scores by down-clocking the CPU BCLK using software in Windows 8 rather than via the BIOS (which does not effect results). Under Windows 8, when down-clocking using software tools, the amount of time the benchmark measures does not match up with the amount of time that has actually passed--and would be correctly reported by a hardware timer. Unfortunately, Windows 8’s Real Time Clock references the QueryPerformanceCounter (QPC) which is able to read a hardware timer but does not by default on Intel-based platforms. On the other side of things, AMD-based systems are less effected by this bug, but users could turn off the default hardware timer to cause similar artificial benchmark score inflation (the system is able to push out more calculations and/or frames per second in a reported amount of time that is less than the actual time it took to complete the benchmark, giving users an artificially higher score).

For Intel users, the bug can reportedly be fixed by opening up an administrator command prompt and typing the following command.

“bcdedit /set {current} useplatformclock Yes”

While it is nice to see the analysis and a fix for the bug, HWBot is still not allowing Windows 8 benchmark scores. An update on HWBot's original blog post states that all new Windows 8 results except those from non-overclockable notebooks are banned. Further, any existing benchmarks from Windows 8 systems that seem out of line or are either world records or top scores will be removed from the site. Windows 8 benchmarks with AMD hardware are also banned.

It appears that, although there is a fix for the RTC bug, until HWBot can somehow verify that users have either implemented the fix on Intel systems or not changed the default settings for AMD systems, benchmark results from Windows 8 can still not be trusted. Here’s hoping some method will become available to allow for that necessary verification.

Source: HWBot
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer:

Introduction and Design

P7192827.jpg

It seems like only yesterday (okay, last month) that we were testing the IdeaPad Yoga 11, which was certainly an interesting device. That’s primarily because of what it represents: namely, the slow merging of the tablet and notebook markets. You’ve probably heard people proclaiming the death of the PC as we know it. Not so fast—while it’s true that tablets have eaten into the sales of what were previously low-powered notebooks and now-extinct netbooks, there is still no way to replace the utility of a physical keyboard and the sensibility of a mouse cursor. Touch-centric devices are hard to beat when entertainment and education are the focus of a purchase, but as long as productivity matters, we aren’t likely to see traditional means of input and a range of connectivity options disappear anytime soon.

The IdeaPad Yoga 11 leaned so heavily in the direction of tablet design that it arguably was more tablet than notebook. That is, it featured a tablet-grade SOC (the nVidia Tegra 3) as opposed to a standard Intel or AMD CPU, an 11” display, and a phenomenal battery life that can only be compared to the likes of other ARM-based tablets. But, of course, with those allegiances come necessary concessions, not least of which is the inability to run x86 applications and the consequential half-baked experiment that is Windows RT.

P7192796.jpg

Fortunately, there’s always room for compromise, and for those of us searching for something closer to a notebook than the original Yoga 11, we’re now afforded the option of the 11S. Apart from being nearly identical in terms of form factor, the $999 (as configured) Yoga 11S adopts a standard x86 chipset with Intel ULV CPUs, which allows it to run full-blown Windows 8. That positions it squarely in-between the larger x86 Yoga 13 and the ARM-based Yoga 11, which makes it an ideal candidate for someone hoping for the best of both worlds. But can it survive the transition, or do its compromises outstrip its gains?

Our Yoga 11S came equipped with a fairly standard configuration:

specs.png

Unless you’re comparing to the Yoga 11’s specs, not much about this stands out. The Core i5-3339Y is the first thing that jumps out at you; in exchange for the nVidia Tegra 3 ARM-based SOC of the original Yoga 11, it’s a much more powerful chip with a 13W TDP and (thanks to its x86 architecture) the ability to run Windows 8 and standard Windows applications. Next on the list is the included 8 GB of DDR3 RAM—versus just 2 GB on the Yoga 11. Finally, there’s USB 3.0 and a much larger SSD (256 GB vs. 64 GB)—all valuable additions. One thing that hasn’t changed, meanwhile, is the battery size. Surely you’re wondering how this will affect the longevity of the notebook under typical usage. Patience; we’ll get to that in a bit! First, let’s talk about the general design of the notebook.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Convertible Notebook!

Acer Launches Veriton Z Series AIO Desktops For Business Users

Subject: Systems | July 20, 2013 - 09:36 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Windows 7, veriton z, touchscreen, AIO, acer

Acer has launched two new Veriton Z Series All In One (AIO) desktops aimed at commercial customers and fitted with 19.5” touchscreens. The two Veriton Z2640G are Energy Star 5.2 rated and have VESA mounting points.

On the outside, the Veriton Z AIO desktops have a large 19.5” touchscreen display with a (disappointing) resolution of 1600 x 900 and a 5ms response time. Other features include two speakers, a built-in microphone, and a 2MP 1080p webcam that can swivel 180-degrees. External IO includes a DVD SuperMulti optical drive, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and one HDMI video output.

Acer Launches 20-inch Veriton Z2640G.jpg

The two Veriton Z SKUs differ on the internal specifications and are the Veriton Z2640G-UC1007X and the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X desktops. The former features a dual core Intel Celeron 1007U processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM (16GB maximum), and a 500GB 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive. On the other hand, the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X has a dual core Intel Pentium 2117U CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM (16GB maximum), and a 500GB 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive.

Both Veriton Z series models also incorporate Acer’s “Dust Defender” technology, screw-less covers and modular components. Using the bundled stand, the display can tilt from 6 to 60-degrees. The systems will come pre-loaded with either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional (depending on user choice). The Veriton Z2640G is aimed at business, education, and government customers.

Both AIO Veriton Z desktops come with a one year warranty and will be available soon from resellers and channel partners. The Veriton Z2640G-UC1007X has an estimated sales price (ESP) of $539 while the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X has an ESP of $599. Except for the display resolution, the Veriton Z2640G AIO looks to be a decent business machine.

Source: Acer

Microsoft Releases Financial Results For Fourth Fiscal Quarter 2013 (Q4'13)

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2013 - 07:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Surface RT, microsoft, financial results

Software giant Microsoft recently released its financial report for its fiscal Q4 2013 (FY13 Q4) ended June 30, 2013. The financial results cover both quarterly and yearly results.

Microsoft saw quarterly revenue of $19.09 billion of fiscal Q4 2013 as well as $77.85 billion of revenue for fiscal year 2013. Quarterly revenue of $19.09 billion fell approximately 7% from fiscal Q3 2013 revenue of $20.49 billion. Further, yearly revenue increased 6% versus fiscal year 2012.

Additionally, Microsoft had quarterly operating income and net income of $6.07 billion and $4.97 billion respectively.

Microsoft FY2013 Q4 Financial Results.png

As far as annual financial results, Microsoft’s operating income and Earnings Per Share both increased to the tune of 23% and 29% respectively versus the previous fiscal year.

The reduced performance in fiscal Q4 2013 is partially attributed to a $900 million charge for Surface RT “inventory adjustments,” and a $733 million European Commission fine which reduced operating income. On the positive side, Microsoft was able to count $782 million worth of defrred revenue from its Office Upgrade Offer.

According to the Microsoft press release:

“Our diverse business continues to deliver solid financial results, even as we navigate the evolving device market,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in long-term growth opportunities to drive our devices and services strategy forward and deliver ongoing value to shareholders.”

Looking forward, Microsoft has announced that CFO Peter Klein will be leaving the company at the end of the current fiscal year after 11 years total at Microsoft and 4 years in the Chief Financial Officer role. Further, Microsoft expects operating expenses to grow by as much as 6% over fiscal year 2014.

More information can be found in the full financial report.

Source: Microsoft

Dell Refreshes XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook With Better Hardware

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 16, 2013 - 04:09 AM |
Tagged: xps 12 ultrabook, windows 8, ultrabook, tablet, dell

Dell has announced that within the next few weeks, it will be unleashing a refreshed version of the XPS 12 convertible ultrabook (tablet/notebook). Although the base price will be increased by $100, the refreshed tablet features Intel’s latest Fourth Generation Core “Haswell” processor, a NFC radio, and a larger battery.

Specifically, Dell will be releasing at least three new XPS 12 SKUs. The lowest-end refreshed model includes an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. This ultrabook/tablet SKU has an MSRP of $1,199 and is an update to the original base model with an MSRP of $1,099.

Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook.jpg

Dell's XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook (Tablet)

Beyond the starter version, users can upgrade the CPU and memory to an Intel Core i5-4500U and 8GB of DDR3 for $200 more ($1,399 MSRP).

Finally, users can take the $1,399 model and upgrade the storage to a 512GB solid state drive (SSD). This version of the XPS 12 has a MSRP of $1,999.

Dell claims that the updated ultrabook has up to 1.6-times the performance and 2.5 hours more battery life (8 hours, 43 minutes) thanks to the move to Haswell CPUs and a larger 50Wh battery respectively.  Of course, the original XPS 12 used Ivy Bridge CPUs and 47Wh batteries. The new models have started shipping and will be available for purchase around the end of July.

Source: Dell

New Ultrathin ThinkPad T440S Appears On Lenovo Website

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 9, 2013 - 03:40 AM |
Tagged: laptop, Lenovo, Thinkpad, haswell, Intel, windows 8

A new ultrathin laptop for business users has appeared on Lenovo’s website. Called the Lenovo ThinkPad T440S, it is an Intel 4th Generation Core "Haswell"-powered machine running Windows 8.

The ThinkPad T440S features a magnesium and carbon fiber chassis that is 21mm thick. It has a full size, spill resistant, keyboard with multimedia function keys, a TrackPoint, and a multi-touch trackpad. The T440S has a 14” display with optional multi-touch and a resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Lenovo ThinkPad T440S.jpg

This laptop will start at 3.5 pounds. It can be configured with two 3-cell batteries with one internal and one removable battery. In this configuration, users can swap out the removable battery for a spare without powering down the system (a technology Lenovo calls Power Bridge). Other features include a 720p webcam with dual noise canceling mics.

IO includes three USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort and one VGA video output, and a SD card reader. The T440S also comes equipped with an NFC radio.

Unfortunately, additional specifications and pricing data is not yet listed on the Lenovo site. If you are a business user in need of a thin and light laptop, keep a lookout on this product page for more information as the laptop gets closer to release.

Source: Lenovo

Windows 8 Market Share Outpaces Vista, but Is Still Far Below Windows 7 and Windows XP

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 6, 2013 - 08:33 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Windows 7, microsoft, desktop market share

A recent report by NetMarketShare indicates that Windows 8 is having a difficult time displacing Microsoft's older operating systems. Of the total market, Windows occupies 91.50% across all existing versions. Windows 7 and Windows XP dominate the Windows market share at 44.37% and 37.17% respectively. Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8, is sitting at 5.1%, which barely scratches past Windows Vista at 4.62%. Having more market share than Windows Vista and Windows 98 is good, but it is hardly proving to be as popular as Microsoft hoped for. 

Desktop Operating System Market Share 2013.jpg

June 2013 Desktop Operating System Market Share, as measured by NetMarketShare.

Granted, Windows 8 is still a new operating system, whereas XP and Windows 7 have had several years to gain users, be included on multiple generations of OEM machines, and be accepted by the enterprise customers. The free Windows 8.1 update should alleviate some users' concerns and may help bolster its market share as well. However, Windows XP simply will not die and Windows 7 (if talk on the Internet is to be believed, hehe) seems to be good enough for the majority of users, so it is difficult to say when (or if) Microsoft's latest OS will outpace the two existing, and entrenched, Windows operating systems.

YoY, Windows 7 lost 0.33% market share while Windows XP lost 6.44% market share. Meanwhile, Windows 8 has been slowly increasing in market share each quarter since its release. Netmarketshare reported 1.72% market share in December of 2012, and in six months the operating system has grown by 3.38%. There is no direct cause and effect here, but it does suggest that few people are choosing a Windows 8 upgrade path, and that despite the growth, the lost market share for Windows 7 and XP is not solely from people switching to Windows 8, but also some small number of people jumping to alternative operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux. The historical data is neat, but it is difficult to predict how things will look moving forward. If adoption continues at this pace, it is going to take a long time for Windows 8 to dethrone Microsoft's older Windows XP and Windows 7 operating systems.

How you made the switch to Windows 8 or gotten it on a new machine? Will the Back-to-School shopping season give Windows 8 the adoption rate boost it needs?