April showers bring May flowers; cash spent means new growth in your PC

Subject: Systems | May 2, 2016 - 09:32 PM |
Tagged: build guide

Though this post did not quite make it in time for the title, the components are not going to be any different in The Tech Reports April System's Guide.  Similar to our own HWLB, The Tech Report breaks out their recommendations into several price points to accommodate those who are on a budget as well as those for whom the sky is not the limit.  In most cases there are two recommendations for each level of spending, GPUs are certainly an exception as the market is incredibly crowded at the moment and discounts often impact a buyers final decision.  Pop on over to take a look at the components they chose for those of you doing some spring cleaning inside your PCs.

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"In this edition of The Tech Report's System Guide, we examine the CPUs, graphics cards, memory, cases, power supplies, and other parts that system builders will need to power Oculus' Rift and HTC's Vive VR headsets."

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Nintendo Announces NX Launch Window

Subject: Systems | April 27, 2016 - 07:51 AM |
Tagged: Nintendo, amd

Not a whole lot to go off for this announcement. I mean, hints have been dropped, partners have made announcements, and leaks have surfaced for over a year at this point. The only thing that today brings is a release window: March 2017. The final name, exact specifications, and even whatever the thing is that makes this console different, are all currently unknown. Given that E3 2016 will be the last E3 before release, though, I expect that we will find out all about it in June.

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Speaking of announcement dates, though, today is an odd one. Midnight (PST) on a seemingly random Wednesday in April doesn't hold any significance to me. Sure, it aligns with their earnings report for investors. Maybe a release date would help raise their stock price (or buffer its potential fall) but it doesn't mean a whole lot for its fans. Does that matter, though? Maybe not.

While this site is PC-oriented, we do touch on console coverage. When the WiiU launched, Ryan disassembled the console over the course of a five-hour livestream, which was archived YouTube. (He dismantled the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well.) We are also interested in how AMD benefits from this whole arrangement. That company is one of the few sources for x86 processors, which gaming consoles have been flocking to, as well as high-end graphics. Combine the two, and you can get a relatively cheap system that is quite competent (for not having a discrete, add-in graphics card) at gaming workloads. According to AMD's previous earnings call, they secured multiple design wins, but we'll need to wait and see whether this is one, and whether it includes the CPU this time. As an aside, Nintendo also recently joined the Khronos Group, so that could eventually be interesting for our readers, too... or not.

The FiercePC Imperial Stormer; shoots close to the mark but misses

Subject: Systems | April 18, 2016 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: watercooling, FiercePC, Core i7 6700K, GTX 970, carbide 400c

The components chosen for this prebuilt system are an odd mix, the 6700K is paired with a  GTX 970, though the rest of the components make sense, with 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD and a 2TB HDD.  These are all installed in a Corsair 400C and the CPU is cooled with an Alphacool NexXos XP3 Light water block, NexXos ST3 radiator; it is the only component which is watercooled.  Kitguru found the enclosure to be impressively quiet and the performance matched their expectations but they also felt that both the GPU and SSD should have been upgraded.

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"The FiercePC Imperial Stormer is a gaming PC that squeezes a custom-built water-cooling loop and some very nifty lighting effects into a rather svelte Corsair Chassis. This enables a mighty 4.7GHz overclock for the Intel Core i7-6700K, which coupled with a GeForce GTX 970 – delivers some very good performance results."

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Source: KitGuru

HP Announces World's Thinnest Laptop - The Spectre 13.3

Subject: Systems, Mobile | April 6, 2016 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, thinnest laptop, Spectre 13.3, notebook, laptop, Intel Core i7, Intel Core i5, hp

HP announced their thinnest notebook ever - and "the world's thinnest laptop" period, according to HP - yesterday with the new Spectre 13.3.

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The 10.4 mm thick HP Spectre 13.3 (Image credit: Engadget)

It's an astonishingly thin design, with a "CNC machined aluminum chassis as thin as an AAA-battery at just 10.4 mm", and yet it manages to avoid using Core M (or even mobile SoC) parts, opting instead for full Intel Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors.

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(Image credit: Anandtech)

Here's a list of the Spectre 13.3's features from HP:

  • A carbon fiber bottom creates a thin profile that is both durable and lightweight, keeping the total weight of the notebook at just 2.45 pounds
  • High gloss copper accents reflect a hand-polished, jewelry-like finish and an innovative hidden piston hinge creates the illusion of a hinge-less design to offer an unmatched premium look-and-feel
  • An innovative hybrid battery split into two thinner pieces delivers the same wattage as a single battery for up to 9 and half hours of battery life while enabling the world's thinnest laptop
  • Full HD IPS edge-to-edge display featuring Corning Gorilla delivers a superb viewing experience for editing photos, perfecting a presentation, or watching a movie.
  • 6th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and a lightning fast PCIe SSD with storage up to 512 GB with up to 8 GB of memory for maximum performance. Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system keeps the machine running cool even with powerful processors in a small package
  • Stereo speakers by Bang & Olufsen with HP Audio Boost technology, a combination of hardware and software to give customers the depth they want.
  • Three full function USB Type-C connectors, including two of which support Thunderbolt, to provide a fast, versatile I/O connection.

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The hyperbaric cooling system (Image credit: Anandtech)

Note the mention of "Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system..." in the above list. We first saw hyperbaric cooling back in 2010 with products like the Dell Vostro V130, and the system is based on pulling cool air from outside of the enclosure, rather than simply pushing it out.

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A look inside the Spectre 13.3 (Image credit: PC World)

With the use of regular laptop processors inside an enclosure as thin as this new Spectre 13.3 cooling will be crucial, though (as speculated by Anandtech in their post) actual clock speeds for the processors may have been lowered significantly due on thermal restrictions.

What exactly are the specifications for the Spectre 13.3? Here's what we know (via Anandtech):

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6200U or Intel Core i7-6500U
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB or 512 GB PCIe SSD
  • I/O: 3x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x Thunderbolt, audio jack
  • Thickness: 10.4 mm (0.41 inches)
  • Weight: 1.10 kg (2.45 lbs)
  • Pricing (256 GB SSD): Core i5, $1170; Core i7, $1250

Exact specs on memory standard/speed, Wi-Fi, etc. were not available, and availability has not been announced.

Source: HP

A tiny fanless PC from CompuLab, check out the Broadwell powered Airtop

Subject: Systems | April 5, 2016 - 05:25 PM |
Tagged: compulab, airtop, passive cooling, linux, SFF

Phoronix has spent a bit of time with the CompuLab Airtop PC, a SFF machine with passive cooling and no moving parts.  It sports decent components, an i7-5775C Broadwell processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB ADATA SSD, and a GeForce GTX 950, with Linux Mint installed and support for just about any other flavour of that OS you might prefer.  It also has a very impressive array of outputs on the back including dual LAN ports and antennae for wireless connectivity, two power connectors for redundancy and a plethora of USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort and other ports.  Check out this overview of the construction and a quick peek at the performance of this passively cooled machine.

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"At the end of February I posted my initial hands-on with the passively-cooled Airtop PC that's been exciting many readers over its unique design and being Linux-friendly. As I hadn't written anymore about it in the past few weeks, some Phoronix readers had emailed me and tweeted, curious what the deal was and if it wasn't living up to expectations. That's not the case at all and the Airtop PC continues to exhibit great potential and is yet another solid offering from CompuLab."

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Source: Phoronix

MSI Ships Vortex: Cylindrical Gaming PC with High-End Specs

Subject: Systems | March 16, 2016 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: Vortex Gaming Tower, vortex, sli, msi, Killer E2400, GTX 980, gtx 960, Core i7-6700K

MSI is now shipping Vortex; the tiny, cylindrical gaming tower showcased at CES 2016.

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"Standing at a mere 10.5” high, weighing as little as 8.8lbs, and measuring in at 6.5L, the Vortex pushes more power per inch than most mid to full size tower gaming PC’s without the having to deal with the same bulkiness or weight."

Followers of PC Perspective might recall our coverage of the powerful mini-system during January's CES, and our video is available below:

Specs and pricing hadn't been finalized when we first reported on the Vortex, and as of today we have the full story. Pricing will start at $2199, and you get a Core i7-6700K with SLI GTX 960 graphics cards at that price. Upgrade options include SLI GTX 980 GPUs, 32GB of RAM, and "Super RAID", which is 4x 256GB PCIe (Gen 3 x4) SSDs.

Here's a look at the specs for the two shipping versions of this new system:

  Vortex G65 SLI-002 Vortex G65 SLI-011
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K
Chipset Intel Z170
Memory 32 GB (8 GB x4)
2133 MHz DDR4
16 GB (8 GB x2)
2133 MHz DDR4
Graphics Dual GeForce GTX 980 SLI Dual GeForce GTX 960 SLI
Storage Super RAID: 4x 256 GB PCIe Gen 3 SSD
2x 128 GB SSD + 1TB SATA 7200 RPM HDD
Networking Dual Killer E2400 NIC
Connectivity Thunderbolt x2
USB 3.0 x4
Dimensions 7.61 x 7.01 x 10.55 inches
Weight 8.8 lbs
OS Windows 10
Price $3999 $2199

Obviously these are very powerful system configurations, anchored by a Z170 motherboard and Intel Core i7-6700K processor with plenty of RAM, and SLI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or 980 GPUs. It will be interesting to see what (if any) overclocking headroom is available for CPU/GPU, though a 6.5L chassis is probably going to be at least somewhat thermally constrained.

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Exploded view of the Vortex

Listings are up on Amazon, with the G65 SLI-011 at $2199, and G65 SLI-002 at $3999, though shipping times are listed at "2 - 5 weeks".

Source: MSI

ZOTAC Introduces ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 VR Ready Mini-PC

Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | March 10, 2016 - 04:38 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox, VR, SFF, nvidia, mini-pc, MAGNUS EN980, liquid cooling, GTX980, GTX 980, graphics, gpu, geforce

ZOTAC is teasing a new mini PC "ready for virtual reality" leading up to Cebit 2016, happening later this month. The ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 supplants the EN970 as the most powerful version of ZOTAC's gaming mini systems, and will come equipped with no less than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980.

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(Image via Guru3D)

Some questions remain ahead of a more formal announcemnent, and foremost among them is the version of the system's GTX 980. Is this the full desktop variant, or the GTX 980m? It seems to be the former, if we can read into the "factory-installed water-cooling solution", especially if that pertains to the GPU. In any case this will easily be the most powerful mini-PC ZOTAC has released, as even the current MAGNUS EN970 doesn't actually ship with a GTX 970 as the name would imply; rather, a GTX 960 handles discrete graphics duties according to the specs.

The MAGNUS EN980's GTX 980 GPU - mobile or not - will make this a formidable gaming system, paired as it is with a 6th-gen Intel Skylake CPU (the specific model was not mentioned in the press release; the current high-end EN970 with dicrete graphics uses the Intel Core i5-5200U). Other details include support for up to four displays via HDMI and DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-C inputs, and built-in 802.11ac wireless.

We'll have to wait until Cebit (which runs from March 14 - 18) for more details. Full press release after the break.

Source: ZOTAC

Video Perspective: Huawei MateBook 2-in-1 Hands-on from MWC 2016

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 25, 2016 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: MWC, MWC 2016, Huawei, matebook, Intel, core m, Skylake, 2-in-1

Huawei is getting into the PC business with the MateBook 2-in-1, built in the same vein as the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Can they make a splash with impressive hardware and Intel Core m processors?

MWC 2016: Lenovo Announces YOGA 710 and 510 Laptops

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 21, 2016 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: YOGA 710, YOGA 510, yoga, windows 10, notebook, MWC 2016, MWC, Lenovo, laptop, ips, convertible tablet, 2-in-1

Lenovo has announced a pair of new convertible laptop options with the YOGA 710 and YOGA 510, and each of these new models are available in two sizes.

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First we have the YOGA 710, which is available in both an 11-inch and a 14-inch version. The smaller 11-inch model is limited to an Intel Core m5 processor, while the 14-inch version offers a 6th-gen (Skylake) Intel Core i7 CPU. Here's a look at the available specs:

YOGA 710, 11-inch:

  • Screen: 11.6” FHD 1920x1080 IPS Touch; 300
  • CPU: Up to Intel 6th Gen Core M5 CPU
  • Memory: Up to 8GB LP-DDR3 
  • Storage: Up to 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel
  • Audio: Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio certification
  • Battery: 40Whr; up to 8 hours
  • Webcam: 1MP Fixed Focus CMOS camera (720p)
  • Connectivity: 1x1 or 2x2 A/C WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1
  • Ports: 1x always-on USB 3.0, Micro-HDMI, audio combo jack
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

YOGA 710, 14-inch:

  • Screen: 14” FHD 1920x1080 IPS Touch; 300 nits
  • CPU: Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 CPU
  • Memory: Up to 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: Optional NVIDIA GFX GeForce 940MX
  • Audio: JBL Speakers with Dolby Audio certification
  • Battery: Up to 52.5Whr; up to 8.5 hours local HD video playback @200nits 
  • Webcam: 1MP Fixed Focus CMOS camera (720p)
  • Connectivity: 2x2 A/C WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1
  • Ports: 1x always-on USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0, Micro-HDMI, SDXC Reader, Display Port (combo with HDMI), audio combo jack
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

Next we have the YOGA 510, which is available in both 14-inch and 15-inch versions, and promises up to 8.5 hours of battery life.

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Specs on these models include:

  • Screen: 14” & 15” FHD 1920x1080 IPS Touch; 250 nits
  • CPU: Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 CPU or Pentium
  • Memory: Up to 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 1TB HDD or up to 256GB SSD
  • Graphics: 14: Up to AMD Radeon R5 M430; 15: Up to AMD Radeon R7 M460 2GB
  • Audio: Stereo Speakers with Audio by Harmon Kardon
  • Keyboard: Optional Backlit keyboard
  • Battery: Up to 52.5 Whr; up to 8.5 hours local HD video playback @200nits
  • Webcam: 1MP Fixed Focus CMOS camera (720p)
  • Connectivity: 1x1 A/C WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1, GIGA LAN
  • Ports: 1x always-on USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, SDXC Card Reader, audio combo jack
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

These new YOGA models will be available in July, and pricing was announced as follows:

  • Yoga 710 11-inch $499; 14-inch $799
  • Yoga 510 14-inch $599; 15-inch $699
Source: Lenovo

MWC 2016: Lenovo MIIX 310 2-in-1 Convertible Tablet

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 21, 2016 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: x5 Z8300, windows 10, tablet, MWC 2016, MWC, MIIX 310, Lenovo, ips, intel atom, convertible tablet, 2-in-1

The Lenovo ideapad MIIX 310 is a 2-in-1 that combines a 10.1-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard, and when you consider the specs Lenovo is pricing this very aggressively at $229 - including the keyboard.

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“This 10-inch tablet is one of the most affordable devices that not only combines both tablet and PC in one, but unlike many of its rivals, comes with a detachable keyboard as standard. The ideapad MIIX 310 boasts an optional FHD display, making movie marathons that much more immersive.”

The $229 retail is a starting price, and the 1920x1080 IPS screen option will cost you more (just how much is not yet known). Beyond the display the MIIX 310 is powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8300, a quad-core processor that operates at up to 1.84 GHz. Memory is limited to 2 GB, with up to 128 GB of eMMC storage available.

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Here’s a look at the specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Atom x5 Z8300 CPU
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel
  • Screen: 10.1” up to FHD (1920x1080) IPS, 300 nits
  • Cameras: 2MP front & 5MP rear camera
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours local video playback
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: Up to 128GB eMMC
  • Audio: Stereo Speakers
  • Connectivity: 802.11 B/G/N + BT 4.0 4G
  • LTE Support: Optional
  • OS: Windows 10 Home

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As mentioned above, the ideapad MIIX 310 will start at $229, with availability set for June.

Source: Lenovo

No bigger than a breadbox; a little love for a tiny system

Subject: Systems | February 16, 2016 - 08:36 PM |
Tagged: SFF, system build, gigabyte, ocz, G.Skill, evga, logitech

The Tech Report have put together a video tour of their Breadbox system, a SFF gaming system built around the Z170 chipset.  The machine uses a i5-6600K on the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 motherboard with 16GB of DDR4-3000 and Gigabyte's tiny version of a GTX 970.  The components are all housed in a EVGA Hadron Hydro, a tight fit but sufficient to hold the parts.  Check out the video for more information on the components and how the system performs when gaming.

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"We recently built a small-form-factor PC we like to call the Breadbox with some help from our sponsors at Gigabyte, OCZ, G.Skill, EVGA, and Logitech. We documented this Breadbox on video, and now it's ready to make its Hollywood debut. Grab some popcorn and enjoy our tour of this pint-sized gaming PC."

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The BayTrail powered lASUSTOR AS5002T 2-Bay NAS

Subject: Systems, Storage | February 10, 2016 - 08:34 PM |
Tagged: asustor, AS5002T, NAS, htpc, baytrail

Being in the market for a Plex server and running low on patience and spare hardware I have been sniffing around NAS servers, which is why you are now reading about the ASUSTOR AS5002T.  Missing Remote just picked this NAS up for review, powered by a dual core Celeron J1800 clocked at 2.4GHz instead of an ARM processor.  The reason that matters is the inclusion of Intel HD Graphics onboard for real time encoding when streaming to remote devices.  On the other hand it is not the most modern of processors and the AS5002T also showed some peculiarity with drive sizes.  The processor is not going to be able to push 4k over some interfaces but HDMI 1.4a, IR control capability and broad support for the usual selection of HTPC programs does make this NAS a good fit for many.  Read the full review to get a better idea of the capabilities of the ASUSTOR AS5002T.

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"The ASUSTOR AS5002T is the first Intel based network attached storage (NAS) device tested at Missing Remote. So, I was very curious to see how its dual-core 2.4GHz Celeron J1800 would stack up against the strong showing we’ve seen from ARM Cortex-A15 based systems recently."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Oculus Ready PC Pre-orders Announced, Include Rift Bundle

Subject: Systems | February 10, 2016 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: VR, rift, preorder, Oculus, gaming pc

Oculus has announced an upcoming pre-order date for 'Oculus Ready PCs' from mainstream manufacturers, and these will be bundled with the Rift VR headset (and everything that comes with it).

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(Image credit: Oculus)

“Today we’re excited to introduce the first Oculus Ready PCs from ASUS, Alienware, and Dell! These PCs have been battle tested and certified by Oculus to deliver an incredible Rift experience. We’re also thrilled to announce that starting February 16 at 8am Pacific Time, you can pre-order Oculus Ready PC and Rift bundles from Best Buy, Amazon, and theMicrosoft Store, starting at $1499 USD for a limited time only.

All bundles include an Oculus-certified PC and everything that comes with Rift – the headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack, and Lucky’s Tale!

Pre-orders for Oculus Ready and Rift bundles will ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions from retail partners starting in April.”

So what kind of gaming system are you getting for $1499? Of the ‘Oculus Ready’ PCs, the baseline specs across the board are an Intel Core i5-6400 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 GPU, along with 8 GB of system memory. This is in keeping with Oculus’ published specifications from last summer: “The recommended PC specification is an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290, Intel i5-4590, and 8GB RAM."

Including the Rift VR bundle makes the price tag sound a lot nicer for what is otherwise a pretty basic gaming setup, as Rift costs $599 on its own. Still, is it worth $900 for a Core i5/GTX 970 gaming system? Factoring in a Windows license and all parts it's not a terrible value proposition, though most early adopters of this VR tech will likely not be starting completely from scratch.

A quick check on Amazon for the first system bundle listed shows “Currently Unavailable”, as pre-orders begin February 16 at 8:00am PST. You’ll be waiting even longer to have product in hand as the actual release date is April 23.

Source: Oculus

MSI Releases GT72S G Tobii G-Sync Laptop with Eye-Tracking Technology

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2016 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: Tobii, notebook, msi, laptop, GT72S G Tobii, gaming laptop, g-sync, eye-tracking

MSI has released their GT72S G Tobii gaming notebook (first announced way back at Computex), which features NVIDIA G-Sync and eye-tracking technology that promises a more immersive gameplay experience.

01.jpg

“The world’s most advanced gaming laptop, the GT72S G Tobii with eye-tracking technology immerses gamers into a hands-free dimension by allowing them to switch targets in a game, select objects on the floor or even automatically pause a game by simply focusing or looking away.  

Available immediately, MSI’s GT72S G Tobii will be bundled with Tom Clancy’s The Division and currently supports a variety of gaming titles, including Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, ArmA III, Elite Dangerous and more.”

Ryan took a look at the laptop at CES, and the video is imbedded below:

So how does the eye-tracking work?

“By going through a 15-second set-up process, users can securely log into their computers using a personalized glance; highlight, select or delete items with one look; seamlessly zoom and center maps without scrolling; and even sift through Windows, folders and its applications without lifting a finger.”

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The notebook boasts some impressive specs, including:

  • Tobii Eye Tracking Technology
  • 17.3" Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i7 6820HK (2.70 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 8 GB GDDR5
  • 32 GB Memory
  • 256 GB SSD (PCIe Gen3 x4)
  • 1 TB HDD
  • BD Burner
  • Killer Networking
  • Dimensions: 16.85" x 11.57" x 2.30"; 8.50 lbs

The GT72S G Tobii retails for $2599.99 and is now available with an exclusive launch at Newegg.com, and the laptop includes a free copy of Tom Clancy: The Division.

Source: MSI

MSI GS72 Stealth Pro Details Released

Subject: Systems | February 7, 2016 - 04:30 AM |
Tagged: msi, gs72, gaming laptop, laptop

This laptop was announced at CES, but barely. They have now released full specifications, including options, which are actually quite interesting. The 4K panel, in particular, has a color gamut that fully covers AdobeRGB (100%). This means that, if the hardware and software are properly calibrated, it is compatible with the color spaces that both video and print professionals tend to target. The latter is quite difficult, because magazine publishers actually have a large palette. Even the Wacom Cintiq 22HD only covers around 72% AdobeRGB.

msi-2016-gs72.jpg

Outside of this, the laptop has one processor choice: a Skylake-based Intel Core i7-6700HQ backed with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. There are three choices in GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 965M, and 970M. This could be disappointing for those hoping for desktop-class performance, although the 970M is pretty close to a GTX 680. It should handle games like Just Cause 3 and Rainbow Six Siege at around 50-60 FPS in 1080p mode. Basically, you are going to be dropping the 4K resolution down to about 1080p in games, but it's also a laptop and 4K in professional applications is quite nice. It also uses M.2 SSDs with PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth that communicates in the NVMe standard. They didn't say which one, or how large, but they claim read speeds of about 2.2GB/s.

They did not state pricing or availability. Its headlining feature is thickness -- just 1.99cm for a 17-inch display. This explains the GPU, but also suggests a premium price.

Source: MSI

High-End Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Are Available

Subject: Systems | January 23, 2016 - 07:26 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, surface pro 4, surface book

The Microsoft Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 launched back in October, and Ryan published a review of them in December. He didn't really make reference to it, but the highest-end model of each were unavailable until a later date. As it turns out, that time is roughly now. I say “roughly” because, while Microsoft has launched the devices, Amazon's landing page doesn't list them, and searching for the product directly shows a price tag of just under $10,000. I assume Amazon hasn't pushed the appropriate buttons yet.

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The only real improvement that you will see, versus the second-highest SKU, is a jump in SSD capacity from 512GB to 1TB. This extra storage will cost roughly 1$/GB, but this is also a very fast NVMe SSD. If 512GB was too small, and you were holding out for availability of the 1TB model, then your wait should (basically) be over.

Although, since you waited this long, you might want to hold off a little longer. Microsoft is supposed to be correcting (some say) severe issues with upcoming firmware. You may want to see whether the problems are solved before dropping two-and-a-half to three grand.

Source: Microsoft

ECS LIVA Adopts Its Own M.2 Port

Subject: Systems, Storage | January 20, 2016 - 02:44 AM |
Tagged: M.2 SATA, M.2, LIVA, ECS

Back in November, Sebastian reviewed the ECS LIVA X2. While the device always had an M.2 slot, its storage options were soldered eMMC chips with capacities of their 32GB or 64GB. They were also pretty slow, with 150MB/s reads and 40MB/s writes in his testing. To exceed that, you need to install your own M.2-based SSD, which was a bit of a difficult process.

ecs-liva-filetransfer.png

According to Links International, via FanlessTech, we are now seeing options that include M.2 SSDs without eMMC. In this case, they are using an Intel-based, 120GB drive. Its signal is M.2 SATA though, which is slower than M.2 PCIe, but a device with this performance characteristic will probably not care about that extra bump in performance. You probably couldn't do much high-bandwidth data crunching with the Braswell processor, and just about every other way on or off of the device is limited to less than or equal to a gigabit of bandwidth. You might be able to find a use case, but it's unlikely to affect anyone interested in this PC.

The jump from eMMC, on the other hand, might.

Need a hand picking a low power ARM system?

Subject: Systems | January 13, 2016 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: arm, raspberry pi zero, jetson tk1, JetsonTX1

If you are curious how the various ARM powered boards currently on the market compare to each other then the gang over at Phoronix has a real treat for you.  They have assembled a plethora of systems including the ODROID C1+, Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 2, Orange Pi Plus, Orange Pi PC, Banana Pi M2 as well as the Jetson TK1, and Jetson TX1 for comparison purposes.  Most of the systems use a Cortex A7 though you will also see an A5 as well as an A57.  The tests are varied as it can be difficult to determine what performance should be benchmarked on these systems although some like the OpenSSL test are obvious.  Since part of the reason you would choose a low power ARM system is the price, they wrap up with a performance-per-dollar rating to help you choose the best valued system for what you need it to do.

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"For those interested in small, low-power ARM single-board computers, up for your viewing pleasure today are benchmarks of several different boards from the Raspberry Pi Zero to the Banana Pi M2."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: Phoronix

CES 2016: LG Rolls Out Flexible OLED Display Prototype

Subject: Systems | January 11, 2016 - 08:16 AM |
Tagged: oled, LG, curved lcd, CES 2016

A true digital equivalent to paper is moving closer to reality with LG’s new flexible OLED display. Still in an early prototype stage, the company had a working flexible display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Los Vegas last week. Measuring 18” diagonally, the OLED display is able to be rolled up and bent with ease while the display remains on.

LG is hoping its bendable display will be used in future televisions that can be rolled out to a massive size and then easily rolled up and stored in a closet or cabinet out of sight when not being used. Of course, this flexible display will also have uses in smaller products like portable computer monitors and tablets in new form factors.

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Image credit: BBC.com

Currently, this flexible OLED is not without its limitations. It can be rolled up or bent, but not folded flat. Further, the model on display at CES was only able to be rolled up in a one specific direction (from the bottom left corner to the top right). LG claimed that while it is possible to roll it up in other directions, it is more complicated due to the way the circuitry is positioned and the display is at greater risk of being damaged.

Speaking of damage, BBC reporter Dave Lee notes that the prototype had several noticeable dead pixels likely resulting from repeated bending and excessive handling of the display. This display, it seems, is rather fragile for a display much less one meant to be regularly manipulated.

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Image credit: BBC.com

With that said, this prototype is a promising step towards a viable bendable display. OLED technology is really what is making this possible since the pixels themselves are emitting light and LG does not have to worry about integrating a separate backlight. Final products are still a ways out, and there are definitely more roadblocks and kinks to iron out, but I'm interested in seeing where LG and other manufacturers take this technology!

If you're interested in this display, you can find more photos and a hands-on video on this BBC news article.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: BBC

CES 2016: ECS Introduces LIVA One Mini PC

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 08:40 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-pc, LIVA One, LIVA, ECS, Core i3-6100T, CES 2016, CES

The newest member of the LIVA family is here, and this time we have a larger footprint but a thinner device with significantly upgraded internals. Teased back in December by ECS, we now have all the details about this new LIVA One.

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Powered by an Intel Core i3-6100T, a 35W 2 core/4 thread part that operates at 3.20 GHz, the LIVA One is a big step up from previous versions including the LIVA Core, which used the 4.5W Intel Core M-5Y10c. The new LIVA One also uses M.2 storage and comes with an 80GB Intel SSD in its default configuration, along with 4 GB of DDR3 SoDIMM memory.

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Full specifications from ECS (default configuration):

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100T
  • Chipset: H110
  • Memory: 4GB SO-DIMM DDR3
  • Expansion Slot: 1x SATA; supports 2.5” HDD
  • Storage: Intel 80GB M.2 SSD
  • Audio: 1x Combo Jack
  • Networking:
    • 1x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x Wireless Combo Card
  • USB:
    • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Port
    • 4x USB 3.0 Ports
  • Video Output:
    • 1x HDMI Port
    • 1x D-Sub Port
    • 1x DP Port
  • Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimension: 173 x 176 x 33 mm
  • Card Reader: MicroSDXC
  • Adapter Input: AC 100-240V, Output: DC 19V / 4.74A
  • OS Support:    
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 10
    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

The LIVA One can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB of memory, and storage up to 4 TB from the SATA 2.5-inch expansion bay (though no 4 TB drives are yet available at 2.5"). The M.2 storage used for the One's OS drive offers up to 1 GB/s of transfer speeds according to ECS.

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ECS says LIVA Core is "one-liter of book size" computer

The LIVA One also offers Intel WiDi, USB 3.1 Type-C, is VESA mountable, and has a native microSDXC reader built in. Pricing and availability was not announced, and the One has yet to appear on Amazon/Newegg.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ECS