A new type of switch on the Matias Tactile Pro

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2015 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: input, matias, tactile pro 4

The Matias Tactile Pro is made by a mysterious entity called The Keyboard Company but is branded as Matias.  It uses their own type of switches which they mention are ALPS inspired and MadShrimps found them to be almost as loud as a typewriter but without the ringing noise present in their previous switches.  This is a working keyboard as opposed to a gaming keyboard, worth looking at if you spend a lot of time typing or if you have a close office neighbour you want to drive insane.

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"The Keyboard Company has just started to bring in the Matias Tactile Pro and has lots of stock for potential enthusiast buyers. The newer v4 version is featuring re-engineered Matias Click switches compared to v3 and are meant to eliminate the ringing sound of the previous Fukka."

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Source: Mad Shrimps

ASUS Introduces STRIX GTX 980 Ti with DirectCU III Cooler and a Hefty Overclock

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 30, 2015 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: overclock, oc, GTX 980 Ti, DirectCU III, asus

ASUS has annouced a new STRIX edition of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, and this is one massive card in not only size (measuring 12" x 6" x 1.57") but in potential performance as well.

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First off, there is the new DirectCU III cooler, which offers 3 fans and a much larger overall design than that of the existing GTX 980 STRIX card. And there's good reason for the added cooling capacity: this card has one hefty overclock for a GTX 980 Ti, with a 1216 MHz Base and a whopping 1317 MHz Boost clock in "OC mode". The card's default mode is still quite a bit over reference with 1190 MHz Base and 1291 MHz Boost clocks (a reference 980 Ti has a Base of 1000 MHz and Boost clock of 1075 MHz). Memory with the STRIX 980 Ti is also overclocked, with 7200 MHz GDDR5 in both modes.

Features for this new card from ASUS:

  • 1317MHz GPU boost clock in OC mode with 7200MHz factory-overclocked memory speed for outstanding gaming experience
  • DirectCU III with Patented Triple Wing-Blade 0dB Fan Design delivers maximum air flow with 30% cooler and 3X quieter performance
  • AUTO-EXTREME Technology with 12+2 phase Super Alloy Power II delivers premium aerospace-grade quality and reliability
  • Pulsating STRIX LED makes a statement while adding style to your system
  • STRIX GPU-Fortifier relieves physical stress around the GPU in order to protect it
  • GPU Tweak II with Xsplit Gamecaster provides intuitive performance tweaking and lets you stream your gameplay instantly

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The new DirectCU III cooler

The 0dB fans (zero-RPM mode under less demanding workloads) are back with a new "wing-blade" design that promises greater static pressure. Power delivery is also improved with the 14-phase "Super Alloy Power II" components, which ASUS claims will provide 50% cooler thermals while reducing "component buzzing" by up to 2x under load.

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The previous DirectCU II cooler from the STRIX GTX 980

The new ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti Gaming card hasn't shown up on amazon yet, but it should be available soon for what I would expect to be around $699.

Source: ASUS

A fun day in the world of fibre connectivity

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2015 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: fibre optics

Two records were recently made with fibre optic connections, one for speed and one for length.  Researchers at Huawei and Proximus, who operate out of Belgium, recently transmitted data over a 1,040km fiber link at 1.4Tbps using Proximus' optical backbone.  Even more impressive for the network geeks out there was the spectral efficiency of the transmission, at 5.7 bits per second per Hertz, a new record for these researchers to be proud of.

Not to be out done, and putting Ryan's Ethernet run to shame, is a link that spanned 12,000 km (7,456 miles) without a repeater.  Certainly not at the speeds in the aforementioned link but a huge step in extending the reach of fibre based networks without the problems associated with simply increasing the strength of the signal.

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"Proximus and Huawei have successfully trialled a super-channel optical signal, flinging out information at up to one terabit per second (Tbps)."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Samsung Publishes Battery Enhancement Tech with Silicon

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 26, 2015 - 04:53 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, battery

When I was in my Physics program, there was a running joke that the word “Nano” should be a red flag when reading research papers. This one has graphene and nanoparticles, but it lacks quantum dots and it looks privately funded by a company, so we might be good. Kidding aside, while I have little experience with battery technology, they claim to have surrounded silicon anodes for lithium batteries with a layer of graphene.

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Image Credit: Samsung via Nature

This addition of graphene is said to counteract an issue where silicon expands as it is used and recharged. The paper, which again is the first source that I have seen discuss this issue, says that other attempts at using silicon adds vacant space around the anode for future growth. If you can keep the material at the same volume over its lifespan, you will be able to store more electricity in smaller devices. I wonder why Samsung would want something like that...

Source: Nature

The LEPA AquaChanger 240 AIO CPU Cooler, marketing or magnificence?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 26, 2015 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: water cooler, lepa, AquaChanger 240, AIO

This particular watercooler comes with long list of features which sound interesting on paper but need to be tested to see how effective they really are.  The fans are very effective at pushing air through the radiator but [H]ard|OCP found them a bit loud, on the other hand the pump could not be heard at all so if you were to modify the fan speed you could have a very quiet cooler, at the cost of some performance.  The cooling performance was almost exactly the same as the SilverStone Tundra TD02-E but the LEPA is available for under $100 which makes it a better value while still retaining decent performance. 

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"LEPA comes to us today with its new AquaChanger 240 AIO CPU Cooler for review. LEPA lists a lot of cool sounding features like, Central Diffusing Passage Cold Plate, Protrusive Copper Base, Dual Convex Blade Fans, Ceramic Bearing Pump, and maybe the best is Anti-Leakage Tubing...because nobody likes leaky tubing."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Windows Hololens is headed to space

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2015 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, hololens

The new Windows Hololens will be headed to the ISS to let the NASA ground crew see through the eyes of astronauts onboard and even to annotate the view in real time.  Instead of using cameras and audio instructions, an astronaut could look at a peice of equipment and the engineer on the ground could overlay a visual of what repairs or changes would need to be completed, or text annotations giving details of the equipment.  One can only hope that the public might one day get a chance to see the ISS through the eyes of someone onboard.  The Inquirer also mentions several other projects the Hololens will be used in, from virtual tours of Mars to use in an underwater training facility to make the illusion of being in orbit even more convincing and valuable as training for future astronauts.  These devices will be wonderful for gaming but there are many other applications that they will be used for.

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"Early demonstrations of Hololens included scenarios involving NASA researchers walking virtually on the surface of Mars through a sister project called OnSight, but now the idea has been extended to real-life interaction with ISS astronauts."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Report: No Stock Cooler Bundled with Intel Skylake-K Unlocked CPUs

Subject: Processors | June 26, 2015 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: skylake-s, Skylake-K, Intel Skylake, cpu cooler

A report from Chinese-language site XFastest contains a slide reportedly showing Intel's cooling strategy for upcoming retail HEDT (High-end Desktop) Skylake "K" processors.

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Typically Intel CPUs (outside of the current high-end enthusiast segment on LGA2011) have been packaged with one of Intel's ubiquitous standard performance air coolers, and this move to eliminate them from future unlocked SKUs makes sense for unlocked "K" series processors. The slide indicates that a 135W solution will be recommended, even if the TDP of the processor is still in the 91-95W range. The additional headroom is certainly advisable, and arguably the stock cooler never should have been used with products like the 4770K and 4790K, which more than push the limits of the stock cooler (and often allow 90 °C at load without overclocking in my experience with these high-end chips).

Aftermarket cooling (with AIO liquid CPU coolers in particular) has been essential for maximizing the performance of an unlocked CPU all along, so this news shouldn't effect the appeal of these upcoming CPUs for those interested in the latest Intel offerings (though it won't help enhance your collection of unused stock heatsinks).

Samsung's M.2 SM951 PCIe SSD appears for sale and is worth every penny

Subject: Storage | June 25, 2015 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: SM951, Samsung, PCIe SSD, M.2

Samsung's M.2 SM951 PCIe SSD was never originally intended to be sold on its own but thankfully the 128, 256 and 512GB models are showing up on Newegg and other sites and the speeds it can reach are very impressive.  The Tech Report tested the 512GB model and saw it beat the Intel 750 Series in IOMeter at a queue depth of one, though the Intel SSD still shows off its prowess at higher queue depths.  Their testing showed that the speed of the flash produces enough heat that the drive throttles itself so you should consider rigging an active cooling solution if you do pick up this drive.  Check out their full review to see some very impressive numbers and boot times.

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"Samsung's SM951 SSD squeezes a quad-lane PCIe Gen3 interface onto a diminutive M.2 form factor. It offers incredible performance under the right conditions, but it also struggles in some scenarios. Our in-depth review explains the drive's strengths, weaknesses, and unique enthusiast appeal."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Podcast #355 - AMD R9 Fury X, Sapphire Nitro R9 390, Batman: Arkham Knight and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2015 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, fury x, Fury, Fiji, nvidia, gtx 980ti, maxwell, gm200, batman, arkham knight, gameworks, r9 390, sapphire, nitro, Intel, Braswell, Cherry Trail, Lenovo, thinkcentre

PC Perspective Podcast #355 - 06/25/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the AMD R9 Fury X, Sapphire Nitro R9 390, Batman: Arkham Knight 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, Sebastian Peak, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Rounding out the Fiji reviews, Fury X on tour

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 25, 2015 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: 4GB, amd, Fiji, Fury, fury x, hbm, R9, radeon

[H]ard|OCP used a slightly different configuration to test the new R9 Fury X, an i7-3770K on an ASUS PB287Q as opposed to an i7-3960X and an ASUS P9X79, the SSD is slightly different but the RAM remains the same at 16GB of DDR3-1600.   [H] also used the same driver as we did and found similar difficulties using it with R9-2xx cards which is why that card was tested with the Catalyst 15.5 Beta.   When testing The Witcher 3 the GTX 980 Ti came out on top overall but it is worth noting the Fury's 70% performance increase over the 290X when HairWorks was enabled.  Their overall conclusions matched what Ryan saw, read them for yourself right here.

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"We review AMD's new Fiji GPU comprising the new AMD Radeon R9 Fury X video card with stacked chip technology High Bandwidth Memory. We take this video card through its paces, make comparisons and find out what it can do for us in real world gameplay. Is this $649 video card competitive? Is it truly geared for 4K gaming as AMD says?"

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The rumours of ECS's withdrawl were greatly exaggerated

Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2015 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: msi, rumour

In response to the news yesterday that ECS would be withdrawing from the DIY motherboard market, Sunny Yang, President of ECS released a statement denying any accuracy to that rumour.  He cites their participation in Computex where they showed off some of their new LEET gaming motherboard in addition to the LIVA mini-PC which received far more attention from the press.  They will still have a lot of struggling to do to take market from ASRock, Gigabyte and ASUS, not to mention MSI.  Here is to hoping their new products stand out and that their Dragon gaming Ethernet solution really does help with latency.

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Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: ECS

Warner Bros. Suspends Arkham Knight PC Sales

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 24, 2015 - 10:10 PM |
Tagged: batman, wb games, consolitis, gameworks, pc gaming, nvidia, amd

Over the last few days, the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight has been receiving a lot of flak. Sites like PC Gamer were unable to review the game because they allege that Warner Brothers would not provide pre-release copies to journalists except for the PS4 version. This is often met with cynicism that can be akin to throwing darts in an unlit room with the assumption that a dartboard is in there somewhere. Other times, it is validated.

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Whether or not the lack of PC review copies was related, the consensus is that Arkham Knight is a broken game. After posting a troubleshooting guide on the forums to help users choose the appropriate settings, WB Games has pulled the plug and suspended the game's sales on Steam until the issues are patched.

TotalBiscuit weighs in on the issues with his latest "Port Report".

No-one seems to be talking about what the issue is. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't have the game myself so I cannot look and speculate based on debug information (which they probably disabled from the released game anyway). I could wildly speculate about DX11 limits from the number of elements on screen, but that is not based on any actual numbers. They could be really good at instancing and other tricks to keep the chunks of work being sent to the GPU as large as possible. I don't know. Whatever the issue is, it sounds pretty bad.

Source: WB Games

Samsung Laptops Disable Windows Update Automatically

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: windows update, Samsung, notebook, Malware

A report from Paul Thurrott draws an uncomfortable comparison between the behavior of Samsung's notebook software and the recent Superfish controversy, and should be cause for concern for anyone using Samsung laptops with factory software.

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Image credit: Samsung

The behavior is rather malware-like, as Thurrott point out: "In disabling Windows Update, the Samsung utility is behaving like malware—is, in fact, malware—which of course opens this event up to a comparison with Lenovo’s Superfish fiasco."

This behavior is apparently designed to prevent Microsoft drivers from installing over Samsung's proprietary versions, but this obviously has significant security implications. The fact that this happens automatically in the background is a signifant breach of trust for consumers. This discovery was initially made by a Microsoft MVP, Paul Barker, who posted this response from Samsung on his blog:

“When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware no laptop which may or may not work,” he was told. “For example if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent the Windows updates.”

There are instructions for disabling this software, but it might just be time for all of us to go to the trouble of creating our own official restore media and starting fresh with a clean install of Windows.

Source: Petri

ECS getting out of the retail motherboard business?

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2015 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: ECS, motherboards, rumours

According to rumours DigiTimes has heard, ECS motherboards may no longer be sold by themselves and will only be found in OEM builds.  With the slowdown in the DIY PC market, arguably caused in part by a lack of reasons to completely upgrade gaming systems, ECS may be withdrawing from the market.  This bears to reason as their motherboard families have been much smaller than the competitions for a while now and you do not see much marketing for them on sites recently. It is always sad to see the marketplace shrink, hopefully this will give them the ability to focus more on their tablets and laptops and make those products more competitive; though that market is even tougher to succeed at than the motherboard business.

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"Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has announced that it will no longer actively market own-brand DIY motherboards but will undertake ODM/OEM production if clients have demand, and this is the equivalent of a gradual withdrawal from the global own-brand DIY motherboard market, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Razer Seiren Elite is a microphone of many talents

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2015 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: razer, Seiren Elite, microphone, audio

The Razer Seiren Elite is a microphone which can be used in almost any situation, for meetings it can be set to omnidirectional, for conversations it can be bidirectional, the stereo mode is good for aspiring musicians and the cardioid is great for solo podcasts.  All are accessible via a switch that sits on the same side as the gain adjustment and the zero delay headset connection is perfect for those recording as opposed to broadcasting live.  Thankfully the multiple modes do not mean that it can do many things poorly, the testing MadShrimps did showed it performed well in all four modes.  At $150 it is a very good value for those who need a microphone that can fulfill a variety of roles.

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"Thanks to the three 14mm condenser capsules, Seiren can function in four different modes: cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional or bidirectional, in order to accommodate different recording environments. Even if you do not use it in a professional environment, it should bring a lot of benefit to people which record streams daily/weekly thanks to the added clarity but also to the ones which talk a lot on Skype or any other audio/video conference programs."

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Source: Mad Shrimps

Lenovo Introduces ThinkCentre Stick: Intel Bay Trail Micro-PC for $129

Subject: Systems | June 23, 2015 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: Z3735F, Lenovo, Intel, ideacentre stick, compute stick, Bay Trail

Lenovo has announced their own version of an Intel Compute Stick, the ThinkCentre Stick, and this tiny Intel Bay Trail computer will be slightly cheaper than Intel's reference platform with an MSRP of $129.

ideacentre-stick-0.png

Full specs won't surprise anyone who's read our review of the Intel Compute Stick:

  • Processor: Intel Bay Trail Z3735F (quad-core, up to 1.83 GHz)
  • Memory: Up to 2 GB
  • Storage: Up to 32 GB
  • Wireless: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports: 1 x HDMI, 1 x Micro
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing or Windows 10
  • Dimensions (W x D x H) 100 x 38 x 15 mm (3.94" x 1.50" x 0.59")

We aren't breaking any new ground here, but seeing more vendors offering products based on Intel's micro-PC platform will only help drive down the price. Lenovo explains the product this way:

"For the wallet friendly starting price of US $129, this plug and play technology can transform almost any HDMI compatible TV or monitor into a fully functioning Windows-based PC. The ideacentreTM Stick 300 does not look like a traditional computer, but it performs like one once a 2.4GHz wireless keyboard and mouse are added."

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The ThinkCentre Stick will be available in July for $129 US.

Source: Lenovo

Who gets Windows 10 love and who doesn't

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2015 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, fud

The Inquirer was nice enough to compile a list of requirements to get a free upgrade to Windows 10, based on the rather confusing information which is being provided by Microsoft.  Windows XP and Vista users as well as any and all Enterprise customers will have to pay; prices are expected to be similar to previous releases.  If you run Win7 then you have until 27 July 2016 to click that little upgrade icon to reserve your copy for installation once the new OS is released.  If you are running Win8 then you must upgrade to Win8.1, from there you are qualified.  If you ran the beta, as in you were a member of the Windows Insiders Programme, it depends on your current Windows license, the fact that you tested will not grant you a free copy of Windows 10.  If you pirated or have lost your key then you are SOL, as are those running Linux as The Inquirer amusingly points out.

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"MICROSOFT has been a little less than helpful in clarifying the terms of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, and The INQUIRER is here to help."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Rumor: 2015 Moto G to Feature Snapdragon 410 with LTE

Subject: Mobile | June 22, 2015 - 11:43 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 410, smartphone, rumor, Moto G, LTE, lollipop, Android

9to5google is reporting specs of the upcoming Moto G refresh, and it looks like the phone will carry over the internals of the current Moto E with a Snapdragon 410 SoC, and add an improved 13MP camera.

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The current Moto G has been a favorite for many as a low-cost unlocked option (and one that runs mostly stock Android), and the adoption of the faster SoC with integrated (Cat 4) LTE baseband is a necessary move to update a device that in its current iteration is limited to 3G data speeds. It is interesting that the SoC would only match that of the $149 2015 Moto E (reviewed here), but it makes sense from a financial standpoint if the rumored Moto G is to be sold at or below its current $179 price point.

There is certainly stiff competition in the midrange smartphone market, bolstered considerably by the recently released ASUS Zenfone 2 (reviewed here as well) which starts at $199 unlocked; and with devices like the new Zenfone offering full 1080p screens the rumored choice of the Moto G’s existing 5-inch 720p screen returning in 2015 might be another indication that this new phone will feature a very aggressive price.

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The alleged 2015 Moto G photo (image credit: 9to5google)

The phone is also rumored to ship with Android 5.1.1, which would carry on the recent tradition of Motorola phones running the latest versions of Android. All of this is unconfirmed information based on leaks or course, but regardless of its final form more options are always welcome in the $200-and-under unlocked phone space - and this year is shaping up to be a good one for consumers.

Source: 9to5google

Linux will be able to play Crysis

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2015 - 07:05 PM |
Tagged: linux, CRYENGINE, Oculus

That's right, with the new CRYENGINE 3.8.1 release you will be able to make games using that engine which will run on Linux machines.  In theory any game which is moved to the new version should also offer Linux support although neither the Slashdot post nor the links within make it clear how much work would need to be done by the developers but the support now exists.  As well, support for Oculus Rift and games on Android TV have also been added, products which may help make Linux far more attractive for gamers and HTPC enthusiasts especially considering the coming demise of Microsoft's Media Centre in Windows 10.

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"CRYENGINE, the video game engine from Crytek, will run natively on Linux starting from version 3.8.1. Other improvements include the ability to run on the Oculus Rift, support for OpenGL, 8-weight GPU vertex skinning, and improved POM self-shadowing. Here are the full release notes. They've also added Game Zero, a full blown example game that demonstrates how various features of the engine can work."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Low Cost Braswell NUC Incoming - Intel NUC NUC5CPYH for $129

Subject: Systems | June 21, 2015 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: NUC5CPYH, nuc, N3050, Intel, Braswell

A reader sent in a link to a new listing on Amazon.com this morning that points to an as-yet-unreleased Intel NUC product, the Intel NUC5CPYH. This model will include a Celeron N3050 processor, which as listed by Intel's Ark site, is a dual-core, non-HyperThreaded processor with a base clock rate of 1.6 GHz and a maximum Burst frequency of 2.16 GHz. It has a rated TDP of 6 watts with a Scenario Design Power rating (typical usage)  of 4 watts.

braswellnuc-2.jpg

Image from Fanlesstech.com

The Intel Braswell platform (also known as Cherry Trail) is a refresh of the Atom lineup and a follow up to the Bay Trail set of parts using Airmont CPU cores (a minor upgrade over  the  Silvermont architecture). Even though Intel already has ~4-6 watt TDP part in the form of the Core M series using the Broadwell architecture, the cost difference is the big change here. The tray price for the Celeron N3050 is $107 while the Core M 5Y10 sells for $281.

Implications for performance should be substantial and you won't find the Braswell platform lighting up benchmark scores or besting the Core M series. But it might provide enough performance for small form factor PC users, point of sale systems and more. All of this results in a bare bones price point of just $129 for the Intel NUC5CPYH.

I'm sure we'll get details in the coming days, but this model supports 4K display output via HDMI (though I'm not sure if its 60 Hz or 30 Hz refresh rate capable) and is the first NUC to add an SD card reader; something that just makes sense for this form factor and class of system.