CES 2013 Tidbits: PaperTab Tablet

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, PaperTab, Intel, Plastic Logic, Queen's University

It is not just the big companies who have a presence at CES. Sometimes there are smaller products that are worth looking into. For that, we have CES 2013 Tidbits.

human media lab, a center at Queen’s University which I should preface is my Alma Mater, brought their thin and flexible tablet to the trade show. Input is performed by touching its screen, manipulating the flexible chassis, touching tablets together, or arranging them on the desk.

Technically speaking, the tablet is based on a 10.7” high resolution flexible touchscreen developed by Plastic Logic. The logic behind the plastic is controlled by an Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor although no other technical specs have been released.

The tablet was developed as a collaborative effort between human media lab and their partners, Intel and Plastic Logic. The crux of their user interface envisions tablets as a multi-monitor experience and then imagines what forms of interactions are possible as a result.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

CES 2013: ZOTAC Has a New ZBOX mini-PC

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: zotac, nuc, ces 2013, CES

Zotac-ZBOXbanner.jpg

If you were interested in the Intel NUC review from mid-December then you might be interested in its competitors.

ZOTAC has been making small form factor PCs for three years at this point. This, 3rd, iteration contains the NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 graphics cart with a 2nd Generation Intel Core processor. With the ZBOX you can stream video and other content using dual Gigabit Ethernet or dual external Wi-Fi antennas. Unlike Intel, ZOTAC is making a big deal about its cooling capabilities of its new chassis.

Zotac-ZBOX2.jpg

They will also be keeping their 2nd generation ZBOX chassis available, presumably for those who would be upset about a 7mm increase in size, with an Intel HD 4000 GPU. No discussion that I could find about price or release date however.

Press release after the break.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: ZOTAC

CES 2013: NVIDIA Grid to Fight Gaikai and OnLive?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, nvidia

The second act of the NVIDIA keynote speech re-announced their Grid cloud-based gaming product first mentioned back in May during GTC. You have probably heard of its competitors, Gaikai and OnLive. The mission of these services is to have all of the gaming computation done in a server somewhere and allow the gamer to log in and just play.

phpzXHEk9IMG_8955.JPG

The NVIDIA Grid is their product top-to-bottom. Even the interface was created by NVIDIA and, as they laud, rendered server-side using the Grid. It was demonstrated to stream to an LG smart TV directly or Android tablets. A rack will contain 20 servers with 240 GPUs with a total of 200 Teraflops of computational power. Each server will initially be able to support 24 players, which is interesting, given the last year of NVIDIA announcements.

Last year, during the GK110 announcement, Kepler was announced to support hundreds of clients to access a single server for professional applications. It seems only natural that Grid would benefit from that advancement: but it apparently does not. With a limit of 24 players per box, equating to a maximum of two players per GPU, it seems odd that a limit would be in place. The benefit of stacking multiple players per GPU is that you can achieve better-than-linear scaling in the long-tail of games.

Then again, all they need to do is solve the scaling problem before they have a problem with scaling their service.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Lenovo Makes a Play for the All-In-One Crowd with the IdeaCentre A730

Subject: Systems | January 6, 2013 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: system, Lenovo, ideacenter, ces 2013, CES, A730

Lenovo has announced their new IdeaCentre A730, "the world's slimming 27-inch multi-touch all-in-one".  Mesuring less than an inch thick, the A730 can support up to 10 touch points and is optimized for Windows 8.

01_A730_01.jpg

Key Features include:

  • 27-inch multi-touch frameless display measuring just 24.5 mm (0.9 inches) thick
  • 10 finger multi-touch technology, optimized for Windows 8
  • Widely adjustable screen angle for comfortable use
  • Large 27” Quad or Full HD display
  • Up to 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor
  • Up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 745M 2GB graphics
  • Up to 1TB HDD storage or 1TB SSHD storage with 8GB SSD cache

02_A730_02.jpg

A widely adjustable, frameless display allows the screen to be set into almost any position and folded back for added comfort.

03_A730_03.jpg

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Lenovo

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27-in Table PC for Computing and Gaming

Subject: Systems | January 6, 2013 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: video, table pc, Lenovo, ideacentre, horizon, ces 2013, CES

Lenovo claims to be ushering in "an entirely new PC category" at CES this year with the IdeaCentre Horizon table PC.  That's right a table; though not a very large one with a 27-in display.  The hardware specifications aren't particularly interesting and include a 1080p display, Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, discrete graphics options topping out at the GeForce GT 620M, optional SSD, Bluetooth, 802.11n, etc.

01.jpg

We stopped by the Lenovo suite earlier in the week and got some hands-on time with the unit as well as a walk through of its features.  Check out the video here:

The 27-in display is actually capable of 10 point multi-touch capability and allows for "interpersonal" computing which simply means it is intended for more than one user at a time.  Lenovo claims that this makes it a family PC and for some unique cases including game nights and various kids-based applications.  Of course, you can tilt up to 90 degrees and use the machine for standard computing circumstances.

02.jpg

The Horizon is pretty thin at just over 1-in when looking at the profile.  It weighs almost 18 pounds and that wouldn't normally matter except that Lenovo has put a battery in this machine capable of keeping it running for up to 2 hours without a power connection.  The idea of a portable 27-in monitor with a 2 hour battery life is humorous to say the least but would still be useful for taking to the couch to use as a dinner table while watching TV and reading on your incredibly close 1080p screen.  Seriously though, the intention is to allow consumers to take the Horizon to the coffee table and play a game with the family without having to run a cable to the wall.

03.jpg

Lenovo is even going to have some gaming accessories included with the IdeaCentre Horizon including a striker, joystick and the coolest thing I've ever seen, an e-dice.  It will come preloaded with games from EA, Ubisoft and more importantly, Monopoly.  SOLD!

04.jpg

Pricing will start at $1699 and availability is schedule for early summer.  Check out the full press release after the break!

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Lenovo Releases New High Performance Desktop for Gamers - Meet the Erazer X700

Subject: Systems | January 6, 2013 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: x700, system, Lenovo, ces 2013, CES

Lenovo has announed a new 'high-performance desktop for extreme gamers with high storage capacity, powerful OneKey™ overclocking performance at the click of a button, and a liquid-cooling system" that looks interesting.

01_X700_01.jpg

Key features include:

  • OneKey™ Overclocking increases processing speed with the click of a button
  • Lenovo Cooling System uses a liquid coolant to keep internal temperatures at optimal levels to protect system health while overclocking
  • AMD Eyefinity technology allows users to simultaneously connect up to six monitors for a truly panoramic display
  • Intel® Core™ i7 Extreme processor
  • Dual graphics support – NVIDIA® SLI1, up to dual NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX660 1.5GB or ATI CrossFireX™1, up to dual AMD Radeon™ HD 8950 3GB graphics

02_X700_02.jpg

Notice something interesting in there?  Look at the last card listed in that last bullet.  "AMD Radeon HD 8950."  Could it be a typo, inaccurate, or a slip of the lip?  Since we've heard the Erazer won't be available till June and haven't heard anything official on the 8950 there's no telling.

03_X700_03.jpg

A good looking case design and some interesting specs, including integrated water cooling, have us interested in getting our hands on the Erazer and running it through it's paces when it hits.

04_X700_04.jpg

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Lenovo

Brace Yourself: The PC Perspective CES 2013 Coverage is Coming!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Networking, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2013 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, pcper

It's that time of year - the staff at PC Perspective is loaded up and either already here in Las Vegas, on their way to Las Vegas or studiously sitting at their desk at home - for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show!  I know you are on our site looking for all the latest computer hardware news from the show and we will have it.  The best place to keep checking is our CES landing page at http://pcper.com/ces.  The home page will work too. 

brace2.jpg

We'll have stories covering companies like, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, Sapphire, Galaxy, EVGA, Lucid, OCZ, Western Digital, Corsair and many many more that I don't feel like listing here.  It all starts Sunday with CES Unveiled and then the NVIDIA Press Conference where they will announce...something.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast as we will be bringing you daily podcasts wrapping up each day.  We are also going to try to LIVE stream them on our PC Perspective Live! page but times and bandwidth will vary.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Intel versus ARM; the hunting cry of a krayt dragon

Subject: Systems | January 4, 2013 - 07:59 PM |
Tagged: arm, Intel, krayt, atom, qualcomm, cortex a15, tegra 3

AnandTech managed to get their hands on an Samsung designed ARM Cortex A15 processor powered tablet, which they compared to several competitors such as Intel's Atom, Qualcomm's Krait and NVIDIA's Tegra 3.  The test names may seem unfamiliar with Sunspider, Kraken and RIABench providing performance comparisons though the power consumption tests will be familiar to all.  Read on to see how the next generation of chips from the main contenders for your mobile device spending compare.

GreaterKrayt-WOSW.jpg

"The previous article focused on an admittedly not too interesting comparison: Intel's Atom Z2760 (Clover Trail) versus NVIDIA's Tegra 3. After much pleading, Intel returned with two more tablets: a Dell XPS 10 using Qualcomm's APQ8060A SoC (dual-core 28nm Krait) and a Nexus 10 using Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual (dual-core 32nm Cortex A15). What was a walk in the park for Atom all of the sudden became much more challenging. Both of these SoCs are built on very modern, low power manufacturing processes and Intel no longer has a performance advantage compared to Exynos 5."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: AnandTech

Sumitomo Electric Green Lit for Infrared Light in Thunderbolt

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | January 1, 2013 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged:

Sumitomo Electric released a press statement to confirm their status as the first company to mass produce optical Thunderbolt cables.

prs105_1.jpg

Current implementations of Thunderbolt operate electronically which pose serious limitations on how far they can effectively transmit. The company currently offers metal-based cables up to a length of approximately 10 feet. With the transition to fibre, Sumitomo will begin manufacturing cables up to 100ft in length.

smug.jpg

Monopriceless expression.

This all comes at the expense of an extra centimeter added in length to each end of the cable. Darn, how will I ever survive? All kidding aside, optical cables do have a serious drawback compared to their electric counterparts. Optical cables are currently unable to provide power to attached devices. This could prove highly annoying if your device requires somewhere below the rated 10W of bus power. This cable will not work in every situation.

There is currently no discussion of expected cost nor is there discussion of how cheap Monoprice will undercut them. Troll lol-lol… lol-lol. Okay, so not all kidding aside.

ZDNet Seems to Say Secure Boot Still Sucks for Open Source

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 1, 2013 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: Secure Boot, uefi

Steven J Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet published an update on the status of Secure Boot. Fans of Linux and other open-source operating systems have been outspoken against potential attempts by Microsoft to hinder the installation of free software. While the fear is not unfounded, the situation does not feel to be a house of cards in terms of severity.

Even without an immediate doomsday, there still is room for improvement.

16-ShatteredWindows2.jpg

The largest complaint is with Windows RT. If a manufacturer makes a device for Windows RT it will pretty much not run any other operating system. Vice versa, if an OEM does not load Windows RT on their device that PC will never have it. Windows on ARM is about as closed of a platform as you can get.

On the actual topic of Secure Boot, distributions of Linux have been able to sign properly as trusted. Unlike the downstream Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.10, and others: the Linux Foundation is still awaiting a signed bootloader.

Other distributions will need to disable the boot encryption which many thought would forever be the only way to precede. While not worse than what we have been used to without Secure Boot, disabling boot encryption leaves Linux at a disadvantage for preventing rootkits. Somewhat ironic, we are stuck between the fear of being locked out of our device by a single entity and the fear of malice intentions not being locked out.

Source: ZDNet

Microsoft Surface Pro Priced and Dated

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 29, 2012 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: surface, Surface Pro, windows 8

When surface was originally announced we were promised the availability of two different models: Surface RT and Surface Pro. The two devices are what Microsoft considers canonical to the modern Windows experience. The original Microsoft Surface, an interactive table designed for commercial applications, was stripped of its trademark and rebranded Microsoft PixelSense.

The Surface RT was positioned as the introductory and lower-end Windows tablet incapable of x86-support. With a base price of $499 the ARM-based device takes up the lower end of the market with an attempt to bring laptop form to an iPad-style platform.

3286.Surface_Pro.jpg-550x0.jpg

The Surface Pro will come in two SKUs: a 64GB version will cost you $899 or fork over $999 to double that to 128GB of flash storage. All SKUs will include an Intel i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel HD 4000 GPU driving a 10.6” 1080p display. You will be able to attach an external monitor via mini display port. Windows 8 will be the driving operating system behind this device and bring support for x86 applications to the Surface platform.

Neither Surface Pro SKU will include a keyboard-cover in the price but both will include a stylus. You still have the option of augmenting your device with their magnetically attached keyboards. I can only assume that Microsoft did not include them solely for pricing.

The Surface family will complete in January 2013.

Analog Movement on a Keyboard? Start Your Soldering Irons!

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | November 26, 2012 - 02:44 AM |
Tagged: gaming keyboard

I was patrolling around Revision3 upon news of their Adam Sessler acquisition and came across the Ben Heck Show. Long-time readers of my content know that I tend to be very picky with input devices which landed me reviewing several keyboards over the last year-and-a-bit. User interface is a complicated problem and testing their limitations often unearths interesting subjects.

The Revision3 show’s most recent episode took apart a keyboard, which if I had to guess was based on Cherry MX Black although membrane-dome is possible, and gave its WSAD keys analog control.

The underlying principle of the build relies upon support for analog sticks in the software. It is not unheard-of for an input device to register in the computer as multiple devices in order to increase functionality. Several keyboards report to Windows as three separate keyboards to get around USB input limitations. In this case, the hacked keyboard will report as a keyboard and as an Xbox360-compliant gamepad.

The build uses hall sensors and magnets to detect how far the keystem is depressed and transmit that data as left-stick movement.

I could see a company such as Razer or Steelseries, in a bid to further differentiate their mechanical keyboards, creating a product with this idea. It should be simple for an established peripheral company to design a pressure sensitive keyboard especially given the existence of other pressure-sensitive buttons on gaming devices. Perhaps the implementation could have a toggle to switch between typing and gaming modes?

That would interest me.

Source: Revision3

Minecraft Brings Cake to Raspberry Pi

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 24, 2012 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged:

You might like pie, you might be a terrible person who likes cake, I will not judge.

One of Minecraft’s many features is the ability to craft a cake to use as food despite being wholly inferior to a couple of pork chops or steaks. You are not able to craft a pie. Soon you will be able to craft the game on a Raspberry Pi, however.

Mojang made an announcement on their blog recently which outlined their plans to port Minecraft Pocket to the cheap Raspberry Pi computer. While this might be exciting for those who use the Raspberry Pi as a cheap home theatre PC, there is something special about this build.

vidgameartlogo2.jpg

If you close a Windows, someone will open a source.

The Raspberry Pi was designed by David Braben to be an educational device. Its intent was to provide students with a cheap device loaded with much of the software development tools they would require to learn and develop their own applications.

Mojang is also interested in this ideal.

This version of the game, called Minecraft: Pi Edition, is said to be available in multiple programming languages. The intent is for users to learn to program by modifying and extending Minecraft. The game certainly is popular enough with students and would be an engaging way to frame the skills they require in the context of an existing game. I hope it will also help perpetuate the oft threatened ideal that third party game modifications should be promoted and preserved.

Minecraft: Pi Edition will be provided completely free.

Source: Mojang

Dear Intel, please get someone other than Curly to name your systems

Subject: Systems | November 21, 2012 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: nuc, Intel

Intel's rather poorly named Next Unit of Computing is much more impressive than it sounds.  In a 4" x 4" x 2" box is a Core i3-3217U on a QS77 Express motherboard, two DDR3 DIMMs, a mini-PCIe Intel 520 Series SSD and a WiFi card which gives you performance far above any Atom powered micro machine.  Connectivity includes Thunderbolt, HDMI and up to 5 USB 3.0 ports and it is powered by a small 65W external brick.  The Tech Report were impressed by the overall performance, especially when trying out PC Perspective's favourite shooter from 2004.  At an MSRP around $300, this is a great choice for someone who needs more power than an Atom based machine but doesn't want to pay the premium for a full laptop.

nyuknyuknyuk.jpg

"Intel has crammed a pretty capable PC into a box that will fit into the palm of your hand and dubbed it the "Next Unit of Computing." With its Ultrabook guts, we think it should've been called the Ultrabox. Whatever you call it, though, the NUC offers a possible glimpse at the future of desktop PCs"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Lenovo Launches IdeaCentre Q190 SFF PC

Subject: Systems | November 17, 2012 - 03:59 AM |
Tagged: SFF, PC, Lenovo, ideacentre q190, htpc

Lenovo recently launched a new small form factor PC with the IdeaCentre Q190. This small desktop measures 192mm x 155mm x 22mm and packs some hardware punch that handily surpasses the specs of traditional net-top computers. Exact hardware specifications have not yet been released, but the company has talked about the top-end model.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190.jpg

The IdeaCentre Q190 PC will have up to a 2nd generation Core i3 Intel Sandy Bridge processor, 8GB DDR3 memory, HD3000 integrated (processor) graphics, a 1TB hard drive, and a 24GB caching SSD. These specifications are, of course, for the top end model.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190_1.jpg

The IdeaCentre Q190 with the optional optical drive attached.

In addition, the Q190 can support a DVD writer or Blu ray optical drive that mounts on top of the PC, which adds a bit of depth but can still be mounted vertically with the supplied stand. Other optional accessories include a handheld wireless keyboard and mouse trackpad.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190_2.jpg

External IO includes an SDXC card reader, S/PDIF optical audio port, VGA video output, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack.

The Q190 will come preloaded with Windows 8, and an option for Windows 8 Pro. Lenovo is pushing the HTPC merits of the computer, and it will certainly do a serviceable job. It would also make for a nice low-power desktop system as well, and it looks nice enough to display on your desk.

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 will be available in January 2013 and will have a starting price of $349, with the top end model described above costing a bit more (the exact amount is as yet unknown).

Source: Lenovo

Breaking News: Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft Immediately

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 12, 2012 - 10:02 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, microsoft

Our regular viewers know that I am not too fond of Microsoft’s recent vision; I will get that out of the way right at the start. I am a major proponent of open platforms for uncensored art with perpetual support and Windows 8 shows all the signs of Microsoft turning its back on that ideology.

And Steven Sinofsky, the one who allegedly came up with that vision, is no longer with Microsoft: effective immediately.

surface-cover.jpg

Not much in the line of reasoning is known about why Steven Sinofsky parted ways with his long-term career as head of Windows division. He had a clear and concise vision for his products and it was evident both in Windows 7 and in Windows RT.

Rumors exist that his fellow executives were not on pleasant terms with him. All Things D claims to have sources which suggest that his colleagues were unhappy with his conduct in terms of collaboration.

But that is all hearsay.

What it means for Microsoft is that the face that set sail is no longer at the helm. Microsoft could revert back to their twitchy attempts to appease everyone and abandon their vision. On the other hand it is entirely possible that the company could continue off on the last bearing set by Sinofsky.

No-one knows, but I stand behind my previous assertions that the PC industry will get messy in the next few years as things boil over at Microsoft.

Source: All Things D

The Content Industry Will Never Get It

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | November 10, 2012 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: piracy, kinect

We do not like straying from our usual topics into the music, movie, and console gaming industries although I will make an exception for this. It has a computer hardware angle, I assure you.

So I came across an article this morning regarding a patent which Microsoft filed about a year and a half ago. This patent describes a process where a device can monitor the number of people viewing a copyrighted work and permit “remedial action” should that number increase beyond some arbitrary level. In other words, the technology would prevent or adjust the price of consuming content based on the number of people in your private residence.

Hey if you want to bring your significant other over -- that’ll cost you!

drmsucks.jpg

Hey did I tell you about this awesome DRM we're working on? Huge success.

It routinely frustrates me when people side with the content industry because they know that one-or-so unapologetic pirating acquaintance who they feel is ripping off the whole system. The problem is that all evidence which I have seen to suggest whether or not a pirate has actual damages actually shows sales increases or is wholly based on junior high school-level statistical errors.

The content industry does not demand for you to pay them for their content: they demand that you pay them for their content under specific conditions. There were no less than two services present at CES 2011 which allowed users to input a movie title to find out where it is legally available. If it was in Vudu, Hulu+, Netflix, in Theatres, which theatre, what show-times, as a DVD or BluRay on Amazon, on TV soon, and so forth.

Everyone I discussed those services with, thus far, were amazed with how useful that would be.

I then ask them: Why is it so hard to give them money that we need services to instruct people how to legally license content?

What if the person watching the content at a friend’s house ends up purchasing it? They are attempting to open up extra streams of revenue by controlling the system more aggressively. When the system gets too convoluted for users to abide by they blame that loss in revenue on piracy.

You could imagine this occurring for video games as well: what if a publisher decides that split-screen gaming is a premium service to be licensed on a per-controller basis? The content industry is attempting to focus their licensing arrangements as granularly as possible. This is bad for you, it is often bad for them, and it is terrible for society.

Do not assume that a copyright holder will act sensibly. It is not about cheap people. It is often not even about revenue despite whether they believe it is or not. Just look at Ubisoft’s DRM “success”. An exodus of 90% of your customers should never be called a success and yet they genuinely believed it was.

Source: Mashable

Zotac Updates ZBOX AD06 With New AMD APU

Subject: Systems | November 7, 2012 - 05:04 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox ad06, zbox, SFF, htpc, barebones, APU, amd

Zotac has updated its small form factor ZBOX AD06 PC with a new AMD Accelerated Processing Unit that features a faster GPU portion and a dual core Zacate CPU that Zotac claims offers up to a 10% boost in performance versus the previous ZBOX.

Zotac ZBOX AD06 With New AMD APU.jpg

On the outside, the ZBOX AD06 is approximately the size of a Mini-ITX motherboard, comes with a bundled VESA75/100 mount (to attach it to the back of your monitor), and features a number of ports. Internally, the ZBOX AD06 features an AMD E2-1800 APU with two CPU cores at 1.7GHz and a Radeon HD 7340 GPU. The “Plus” version bundles in 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 320GB hard drive, otherwise it is very much a bare-bones system that allows you to add your own storage.

External ports and connectivity options include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x SD card reader
  • 2 x analog audio jacks
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0

The Zotac AD06 also features a bundled media center remote that will work with Windows Media Center or XBMC. And thanks to the more powerful APU, it should work well as a low-cost home theater PC. Unfortuantely, there is no word on pricing or when the AD06 or AD06 Plus will be available for purchase.

Zotac ZBOX AD06 Plus vs AD06.png

You can find the full press release below.

The Ceton Echo Windows Media Center Extender is exactly what it says it is

Subject: Systems | November 6, 2012 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: wmc, htpc, echo windows media extender, ceton

The Ceton Echo is not a competitor to Roku or other streaming devices which hook you up to Netfix and other online sources, instead it competes against the XBox as a way to utilize Windows Media Center without having a PC as well as retrieving online sources.  If you do have a PC, especially one with a TV Tuner then the Ceton Echo becomes even more powerful as you can use it to handle DVR duties as well as to stream content from your PC.  Missing Remote just got this device in and will be testing it over the next few days to find out just how useful this device is; it will be available to the general public at the end of November.

MR_echo1.jpg

"The XBOX 360 has ruled the Windows Media Center (WMC) extender market since it killed off third-party completion with the release of Windows Vista, but for many the brutish gaming console’s size, appetite for electricity, and unpleasant noise levels made it unwelcome in the A/V stack. With a lithe chassis, miserly power consumption, and a modern system-on-a-chip (SOC) offering the potential for proper HD file support the Ceton Echo could be just the thing to breathe fresh life into Microsoft’s aging platform. Our sample just arrived so it has not been run through the wringer yet, but since the hardware is set and pre-orders starting it is worth taking a look to getting a basic understanding of what the Echo has to offer. Check back later for our full review when the software is finalized."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

HTPC

The Tech Report reminds you to get shopping with their updated System Build Guide

Subject: Systems | November 6, 2012 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: system build

Even if The Tech Report's Systems Guide is in direct competition with our own Hardware Leaderboard, it is always nice to have a second opinion especially if you need some advice on Mobile Sidekicks.  Their builds include the Econobox at roughly $600, the Sweet Spot at $1,000, the Editors Choice at $1,500, and the Double Stuff Workstation at $3,000 for those who need the ultimate machine.  There are also alternative components offered for each of these builds so take a look through their recommendations and see if it inspires you.

TR_systembuild.jpg

"We've refreshed our famous system guide to account for AMD's new A- and FX-series processors, the latest GPU releases, and of course, the arrival of Windows 8."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems