Raspberry Pi Computers Pass EMC Compliance Testing

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 8, 2012 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, pcb, emc test, computer, compliance testing, arm

The highly anticipated Raspberry Pi ARM computer has run into several launch hiccups, the most recent being that the distributors -- RS and Farnell -- refused to sell and ship the devices without the Raspberry Pi passing the proper electromagnetic interference testing. While such certification is not required for Arduino or Beagle Boards, the companies stated that because the Raspberry Pi was (more) likely to be used as a final consumer product (and not a development board) it needed to obtain and pass EMC testing to ensure that it would not interfere with (or be interfered by) other electronic devices.

According to a recent blog post by the charity behind the ARM powered Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi has passed the EMC compliance testing with flying colors -- after a few hiccups with a network hub used to test the Raspberry Pi while it was being hit with an EM field were sorted out.

Raspberry-Pi.jpg

The team has been working out of Panasonic’s facility in South Wales to test the Raspberry Pi. Due to having the lab area for a whole week, they managed to knock out consumer product inference testing for several other countries as well. Mainly, the Raspberry Pi is now compliant with the UK CE requirements, the United States’ FCC, Australia’s CTick, and Canada’s Technical Acceptance Certificate (TAC).

Assuming the paper work is properly filed and RS and Farnell accept the certifications, the Raspberry Pi units should begin winging their way to customers shortly. Are you still waiting on your Raspberry Pi, and if so have you decided what you intend to use it for yet?

If you are interested in the Raspberry Pi, be sure to check out some of our other coverage of the little ARM computer!

Just Delivered: MAINGEAR SHIFT with 3x Radeon HD 7970 Cards!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | April 7, 2012 - 06:16 PM |
Tagged: shift, maingear, just delivered, HD 7970, 7970

Just Delivered is a section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

While we get sent complete system builds from time to time, it's pretty rare when they actually impress me.  Because we review and work with the best harware in the business on a daily basis, something unique really has to be there for us to really be wowed.  Today we were playing with a custom built MAINGEAR SHIFT machine that did just that.

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The SHIFT is the company's flagship product line that starts out with an $1800+ price tag, so you know you are getting top of the line components.  Our test system includes a Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E processor as well as a trio of Radeon HD 7970 cards from AMD.  That's right, three.

maingear2.jpg

The internals are lit by a white LED and the black/red color pattern of the graphics cards is continued with the inclusion of matching Corsair DDR3 memory to the tune of 16GB and the MAINGEAR EPIC 180 self-containted water cooler.

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Corsair's AX1200 watt power supply is included in the build and it is necessary!  During our testing so far we found the PC could draw as much as 1050 watts from the wall while running 3DMark11.

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Another exclusive feature for the MAINGEAR systems is the EPIC Audio system that adds studio quality audio headphone output and microphone input.  The licensed Aphex technology is touted by the company as being really impressive and I am looking forward to giving it a try this week.

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With our time with the SHIFT so far, the build quality has been impressive, the lack of crapware on the system is a welcome change and the performance is simply astounding as we expected with a SNB-E CPU and triple HD 7970s in CrossFireX.  

Expect more very soon!

The PCAudioLabs Editing PC Sweepstakes Winner Is...

Subject: Systems | April 5, 2012 - 06:53 PM |
Tagged: rokbox, pcaudiolabs, Intel, contest

PC Perspective in cooperation with PCAudioLabs and Intel recently held a contest to give away a complete editing PC with software to one lucky reader. The PC in question was the company’s RokBox music creation system and features a Sandy Bridge-E processor, Intel 510 series SSD, 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a GTX 560 Ti for a bit of gaming when procrastinating waiting for the encodes to finish.

Well, the contest ended on March 6th, and the lucky winner was user Cameron Berry! He has since sent us a thank you e-mail (no, thank you Cameron for reading our stuff!) with photos of the unboxing and a time lapse video that is sure to make you envious!

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Cameron writes:

“Thank you PC Perspective and PCAudioLabs for this amazing machine!  I look forward to smooth video editing and audio creation with this sweet rig.... and some gaming of course too.”

Below is the time lapse video mentioned above showing the unboxing. Congratulations to Cameron, I hope that he has a lot of fun with the new machine!

PC bill of materials articles creeps lower.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 31, 2012 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: laptops, desktops

ZDNet and others published articles discussing the rising prices of PCs: it needs a grain of salt.

News publications love to publish large stories about how an industry is forcibly altered. For instance, are you sick of stories proclaiming the term “Post PC” yet? It is the season’s fashion to paint darker tones over any portrait of the personal computer.

According to a report from Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital, certain PC components have gotten more expensive due to a series of recent events. It does not look like such a bleak future, however. Granted, ZDNet and Barclays Capital are both focused on their investment-oriented customers, but still.

chartfromhell.jpg

As you can clearly see, the PC is doomed.

Image from Don McMillan presentation.

Foremost on the list of concerns is the elevated price of hard drives. ZDNet claims that Apple will have an advantage due to their switch to solid state devices in Macbook Airs and iPads. Apple does not have an advantage -- anyone can put an SSD in their devices, and many PC manufacturers who sell their product for a base price of a thousand dollars do if it suits the goal of the product.

LCD panels are expected to elevate in the near future as OEMs build up inventory ahead of the launch of Windows 8-based products. I am sorry, but come on. Prices of components tend to rise when you abruptly spike in sales. Moving on…

DRAM prices have also risen about 7 percent compared to just a few months ago. My issue is that RAM prices have absolutely plummeted since even just last year. For a PC which costs four hundred dollars, RAM is expected to make up just $15 of that. 7 percent on $15 is, for all practical purposes, a rounding error for a $400 device.

The sky is not falling.

Source: ZDNet

Raspberry Pi red tape: not scratch and sniff just more delays

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 30, 2012 - 02:29 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has been further delayed while it acquires an additional certification to conform to British Law. The delay affects all regions because the products are shipped to the UK before being distributed internationally. The delay is expected to last just a couple of weeks.

It has almost been a year since the first announcement of the Raspberry Pi ultra-cheap PC and we can almost taste its arrival. Originally inspired by David Braben, developer of games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, the Raspberry Pi was built to cheaply enable students to learn computing.

As it turns out, the cost and performance of the device drew massive attention from the hobbyist and home theatre crowd. All interested parties will need to wait, however, as the product has been briefly delayed again because someone forgot to cross their t’s.

rasppie.jpg

C’mon, almost there, almost there.

All joking aside, the delay is quite small and minor and will still ship within their original target window. The delay was caused by the foundation failing to be granted a Conformité Européenne (CE) mark for their product. The CE certification is the direct analogy to the FCC’s electromagnetic (EM) noise certification which must be obtained for cellphones and other electronic devices in the United States. CE certification is expected to take just a couple of weeks.

Delivering a product is an involved task. I am willing to give the foundation a pass on this specific delay due to their lack of experience in their field. That is unless of course the product is found to interfere with EM broadcasts of some protected frequency. That -- would suck.

Then again, I have also not attempted to order a Raspberry Pi so perhaps my opinion is invalid. What do you think?

Source: TechRepublic

So what's that Red Hat full of? Money. Lots of money.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: Red Hat, linux

Red Hat becomes the first Linux company to be worth over a billion dollars (edit for clarity: I meant take in over a billion dollars in revenue) with $1.13 billion in revenue last year.

Red Hat, Inc. is an open source software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company’s identity is primarily with their current flagship product, Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- and a Cornell University lacrosse hat. The company also sponsors and holds liability over the Fedora Project which counterbalances Enterprise Linux by providing a free and community-supported operating system.

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Just for clarification, that’s a rich penguin, not a rich drake.

Red Hat reported earnings of $1.13 billion dollars in revenue with $146.6 million in earnings. Subscriptions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux were declared responsible for $965.6 million dollars of their total revenue.

ZDNet has also reported that Linux is progressively eating market share from UNIX and Windows for servers shipped with preinstalled operating systems. Red Hat and other Linux vendors are progressively getting more of the same treatment as Microsoft has enjoyed in the past.

The future is bright for Linux, which is unfortunate due to the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Maybe the rest of the $1.13 billion is sales of sunscreen?

Source: ZDNet

Arctic brings the Blu to HTPCs

Subject: Systems | March 29, 2012 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: arctic, MC001-BD, htpc

The Arctic MC001-BD HTPC will run you $600, though a good percentage of that cost is the BluRay drive and Windows Media Centre.  The system its self is a mere 5mm x 275mm x 161mm and contains a dual core Intel Atom D525 @ 1.8GHz, up to 4GB of DDR3 and most importantly either a Radeon HD 5430 or 5450 to ensure HD playback is smooth.  The connectors are quite comprehensive, on top of five USB 2.0 plugs you get a pair of USB 3.0 ports, along with ethernet, HDMI, VGA, optical S/PDIF port and the 3.5mm audio out.  The integral IR detector is a perfect touch to ensure you can control the HTPC with a remote.  Head to Benchmark Reviews to see how this machine does when put to the test.

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"Home entertainment is quickly changing, and computer technology has become integrated with the personal space. Data storage and playback is becoming more diverse and streamlined by the second. More and more entertainment can be found on the Internet; TV shows, movies, music... the list goes on. To keep up with the demand for instant entertainment, manufacturers such as ARCTIC are designing devices that are ever more sleek and quiet, usually with an array of features to keep the consumer content in their own personal empire. If you are looking to update your home theater with personal entertainment devices, or simplify your leisure time, there are many new Windows Media Center devices emerging on the market. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the Arctic MC001-BD Entertainment Center with Blu-ray player to see if this Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium HTPC can combine the benefits of personal computer with multimedia streamer."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

ECS trims the fat off and presents two new mini-ITX boards

Subject: Motherboards, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: ECS, elitegroup, mini ITX, CDC-TI Thin, H61H2-TI Thin, SFF

The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX may not interest many readers as it is designed for an Atom processor which have never been terribly popular here at PC Perspective, even for HTPC builds.  The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX is a totally different story as it can handle LGA1155 chips and has an HDMI out, making it a beautiful choice for an HTPC or even a SFF portable gaming machine although you might be disappointed by the orientation of the full and half length PCIe slots.  Consider it a challenge and see if you can get a decent half height GPU in there!

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the world’s leading motherboard, graphics card, barebone system, notebook and mobile device manufacturer announces a variety of options of Thin Mini-ITX for users to meet their different demands with AIO (All-In-One) and motherboards. To target different segments, ECS Thin Mini-ITX motherboards are not only compatible with AIO but also with small form factor PCs, offering a wide range of solutions including H61H2-TI, H61H2-G11 and CDC-TI. With the growth in popularity of AIO, acceptance of the Thin Mini-ITX platform proves to be leading standard of this new trend, allowing for future-proof upgradeability.

CDC-TI(A)02.jpg

The brand new CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard supports Intel® Atom™ D2700/D2550/D2500 Dual-core processors. The CPU and Memory are supported 100% by Solid Capacitors in order to provide better conductivity and longevity. CDC-TI features 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket supporting up to 4GB, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), VGA, HDMI and LVDS support. It is distinguished by its fan-less design because of the lowest CPU power consumption of <10W TDP. ECS CDC-TI not only works well for Thin Mini-ITX AIOs but also for other form factors that can take advantage of a low-profile board.

H61H2-TI(A)02.jpg

The other H61H2-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard can support socket LGA1155 Intel® 2nd and 3rd Generation Core processors. It features Intel® H61 Express chipset with SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket up to 16GB, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), 1 x mSATA, and HDMI input/output that deliver you an excellent performance and amazing experience. ECS H61H2-TI provides you a multi-functional solution within a limited space. Small but versatile.

MAINGEAR unleashes the Titan-17s on the world.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 04:26 AM |
Tagged: maingear, titan-17, GeForce 675M

MAINGEAR announces an update to their 17” desktop replacement laptop, the Titan 17, with a GeForce GTX 675M and optional NVIDIA 3D Vision 2.

There exists a smaller but very real segment of the market who wishes to have the power of their desktop computer in a smaller and slightly more portable package. Perhaps they desire to have the coolest single-object computing device at their LAN party? Whatever their reasons, they are served by companies like MAINGEAR who regularly provide new and better models for their choosing.

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Mobile GPUs in SLi -- not common, not unheard of, but probably a good idea for 3D. 

On their product page, they have yet to update the technical specifications as of this posting. The updated ones from their press release are as follows:
  • Video Card: up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M SLI with 2GB GDDR5
  • Display: 17.3" Full HD  1920 x 1080 - (1080p) Widescreen (16:9 Aspect Ratio) LED Backlit with Super Clear Glare Type Screen / with optional built in 3D emitter and 120Hz panel.
  • Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition
  • Memory: Up to 32GB Quad Channel DDR3 – 1333/1600Mhz
  • Optical Drive: Up to 2X Blu-ray reader/8x Multi Combo (BD-R, DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
  • Hard Drive: Up to 3x 512GB Solid State Drive or 750GB 5400RPM SATA 2.5
  • Network Adapter: Killer™ Wireless-N 1102 supports 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Audio: Built-in High-Definition Audio, S/PDIF Digital output, 1 Built-in Microphone, 5 Built-in Speakers, 1 Built-in Sub Woofer, THX® TruStudio Pro™
  • Media Card Reader: Built in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC), 1 Express Card 54/34 Slot
  • Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home, Professional or Ultimate 64-Bit
  • Battery: Removable Polymer Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack (8 cell)
  • I/O Ports: 1 HDMI out, 1 DVI-I out,1 Display Port 1.1,  2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 Ports,1 eSATA Port, 1 IEEE-1394b Fire Wire, 1 S/PDIF out, 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1 Headphone Jack, 1 Microphone Jack, 1 Line-in Jack, 1 S/PDIF output Jack
  • Dimensions: (W)16.25" x (H)1.75" x (D)10.75"
  • Price:  Starts at $2,599 with limited time FREE shipping offer
Do you have a use for a desktop replacement? If so, what would you use them for? If not, do you prefer a full desktop or a smaller laptop?
Source: MAINGEAR

Dual graphics on the desktop with a Llano A8-3870K

Subject: Systems | March 27, 2012 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: amd, llano, dual graphics, a8-3870K

Dual Llano graphics has become one of PC Perspective's most recommended ways of getting yourself a laptop capable of decent gaming performance without spending a lot of money.  It is not as well known as a desktop solution, which X-Bit Labs intends to explore in their latest review.  They've taken the high end A8-3870K, overclocked it and paired it with an HD 6670 and then compared it to two similar systems, one using a Intel Pentium G850 and one with a Core i3-2120.  The results of their testing just might surprise you.

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"Today we are going to compare the performance of Socket FM1 and LGA 1155 systems. Will a hybrid Llano processor be able to beat the entry-level Intel CPU paired with an entry-level graphics accelerator? How efficient AMD Dual Graphics technology is? Does overclocking make Socket FM1 systems more attractive?"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

Digital Storm Shows Off Custom Water Cooled Aventum PC

Subject: Systems | March 26, 2012 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, gtx 680, Digital Storm

Digital Storm, a custom PC Manufacturer founded in 2002 today revealed their latest system lineup. The new Aventum computers employ the company’s Cryo-TEC sub-zero cooling solution and the latest in PC hardware in a custom full tower chassis. The custom Aventum systems come in several tiers, including three systems with Intel Sandy Bridge-E processors, NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics cards, solid state drives, and at least 16 GB of RAM. Digital Storm further does not skimp on the power supplies. The Aventum computers are powered by either Corsair or Silverstone PSUs.

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The hardware inside the chassis is impressive from a performance standpoint, and Digital Storm is including high end hardware as part of several tiers. The lowest tier is an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 2700K and a single EVGA NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics card on an Asus P8Z68-V Pro motherboard. On the other hand, the top tier system moves up to a dual socket EVGA SR-X motherboard, two Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors and three EVGA NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs in a triple SLI configuration. The other hardware differences are less pronounced - like the upgrade to faster or more RAM and a bit more SSD capacity and PSU wattage. At launch, there will be four system configuration levels which you can see in the chart below.

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Processor Intel Core i7 2700K Intel Core i7 3930K Intel Core i7 3960X 2x Dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 Six-Core
Memory 16 GB DDR3 1600 MHz 16 GB DDR3 1600 MHz 16 GB DDR3 2133 MHz Corsair GT 32 GB DDR3 ECC REG 1333 MHz
Graphics Card(s) 1x EVGA GTX 680 2x  Dual SLI GTX 680 3x Triple SLI GTX 680 3x Triple SLI GTX 680
Storage 120 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD 120 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD 120 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD 180 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD
Motherboard ASUS P8Z68-V
PRO/GEN3
ASUS Sabertooth
X79
ASUS Rampage
IV Extreme X79
EVGA Classified
SR-X
Power Supply Corsair 1050W Pro Silver Corsair 1200W Pro Gold Silverstone 1500W SST-ST1500 Silverstone 1500W SST-ST1500
Optical Drive Slot Loading DVD Writer Slot Loading DVD Writer Slot Loading DVD Writer Slot Loading DVD Writer
OS Windows 7 HP x64 Windows 7 HP x64 Windows 7 HP x64 Windows 7 Pro x64
Price $3,859 $4,985 $6,687 $7,850

 

The hardware is nice, but it is not the only interesting aspect of the new Aventum PCs. Rather, it is the custom chassis that holds the Digital Storm hardware. The metal full tower ATX case is divided up into sections and supports three 420mm (3x140mm) radiators, and 13 case fans to keep the Cryo-TEC thermo-electric cooler from overheating. The cooler is placed directly on the CPU and then is itself cooled by a water cooling loop. There are two 420mm radiators in the bottom of the chassis along with the computer’s power supply.

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The Digital Storm Cryo-TEC cooler installed in a system.

Digital Storm has designed it such that three 140mm fans draw cool air in from outside of the case, through the radiator, and then channels the heated air out of the back of the case via vent under the power supply. The 13 case fans provide cooling for five cooling “zones” and are monitored and controlled by temperature probes using Aventum software in Windows. System and temperature information is also displayed on a built in LCD on the right side of the case.

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Another interesting aspect of the Aventum chassis is that the hardware is installed “backwards” in the case such that it can be viewed through a window on the right side of the case (instead of the left in the majority of cases). It also features a removable drive cage with four 3.5” drive bays. There is also support for two internal 2.5” drives and a slot loading DVD writer optical drive accessed on the top of the case. Power and reset buttons are located just under the DVD drive while four USB ports and two audio jacks (1 mic, 1 headphone) are located on the right side of the case near the DVD drive.

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The case also features plenty of mesh patterned ventilation holes and cut out Digital Storm logos. Also, there is a Digital Storm logo on the front of the case that is back-lit by a customizable LED color. Digital Storm’s Director of Product Development Rajeev Kuruppu noted that their research department has worked for months with thermal imaging cameras to ensure that the high end components are cooled as efficiently as possible. ”Every integral component and every zone is constantly being monitored so our customers can ensure their dream machine is always delivering optimal performance.”

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The Aventum systems are available now and range in price from $3,859 to $7,856 depending on the particular configuration. More information will be posted on the Digital Storm website later today.

So you want to build an octocore mATX beast?

Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79, SFF, mATX, hd7970, Intel Xeon E5-2690

The mATX ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79 motherboard can hold more power than you might assume from its size, as you can see at VR-Zone.  Even though the board looks tiny compared to the heatsink needed to cool the Xeon E5-2690 and the triple slot HD7970 seems to barely fit beside the OZC Revodrive 3 X2 480GB, the components do work at full speed making this beast a real power house.  As Yoda said, "Size matters not."

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"What if I have about US$5000 to spend - Could I have a true 8-core/16-thread CPU in a small form factor setup without compromising on storage, thermals or online gaming prowess?" Well, we show that we can!"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: VR-Zone

Patriot's new ARM powered HTPC

Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: htpc, patriot, patriot PBO Alpine, arm

The new Patriot PBO Alpine is an ARM powered, Android 2.2 device which promises to deliver 1080p video and Dolby Surround sound from a box measuring 4.5" x 4.5" x 1".  It sports HDMI and S/PDIF audio out, an ethernet port as well as two USB ports which is a good thing as you will want to use a mouse and keyboard as opposed to the bundled remote which was [H]ard|OCP's least favourite thing about this media streamer.  Apart from that one disappointment, the PBO Alpine walked away with a Gold Award thanks to great video quality and some extras that Patriot tossed in to make this HTPC stand out in the crowd.

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"On the heels of its Box Office success, Patriot Memory has a brand new HD media player coming to market that is powered by an ARM926 processor and running Android 2.2. Could the PBO Alpine the next edition to your HD home entertainment experience? With a tremendous feature set inside a tiny footprint, we think it is worthy."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The new MAINGEAR Solo all-in-one PC series

Subject: Systems | March 13, 2012 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: solo, maingear, all-in-one, solo 21

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Kenilworth, New Jersey – March 13th, 2012 – MAINGEAR, an award-winning custom PC builder known for custom built desktops, laptops and workstations is now adding all-in-one PC solutions to their product offerings. The MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-one builds upon MAINGEAR’s pedigree of performance, upgradeability, no bloatware, and excellent service and support that they are known for.

With more consumers looking for a full-size desktop computer without the hassle of wires and other connections, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-One provides the freedom of space while still offering the latest technology. Following their trend of fully customizable products, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 is the first fully upgradeable all-in-one today, including the ability to upgrade the motherboard to accommodate future technology advances. This powerful all-in-one PC features an optional vibrant LED backlit 10-point touchscreen, a built in webcam, and supports a wide range of 32nm and 22nm Intel Core Processor to fit your needs and budget, and comes with a 32GB SSD caching drive for faster system response, standard.

Sleek, Elegant Design:
With clean lines and attractive silhouette, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 can fit in any room in the house. It can be on the living room wall as a media hub or use it in the kitchen for. With a VESA mount, you can hang it in your bedroom and use Windows Media Center to pull in content from your main PC or even plug in a digital cable tuner and use it as a stand-alone entertainment system.

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In world of firsts, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-One will also offer a wide range of hand-painted automotive quality colors so ahead and choose your favorite color.

Advanced Technology:
Since the MAINGEAR Solo 21 is completely upgradable, it features support for a wide range of processor and also supports 22nm next generation processors. In addition, it conforms to Intel Thin Mini-ITX standards, meaning even the motherboard is upgradeable, a first in the PC industry. The MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-One offers up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and supports full size hard drives up to 2TB of storage and eSATA for fast external storage. The MAINGEAR Solo 21 is equipped with two USB 3.0 ports and two additional high current, fast-charging USB 2.0 ports to keep your mobile devices ready to go.

The MAINGEAR Solo 21 also features a gorgeous LED backlit 1080p screen with optional 10-point multi-touch technology, allowing for even greater interactivity with your PC.

The MAINGEAR Solo 21 is the first all-in-one to come equipped with SSD caching to accelerate the performance of your hard drive by up to 5-8X* thanks to the robust Dataplex software by NVELO and a fully upgradeable mSATA slot. This unique feature gives you the performance of an SSD, without the cost or complexity of a dual-drive configuration.

“We are happy to work with Maingear to enable this very unique All-in-One product,” said Kevin Silver, VP of Business Development for NVELO. “ They set out to deliver a flexible computing platform with reduced cost and complexity, but did not want to compromise on performance. By configuring the SOLO to include our Dataplex cache software with an mSATA cache SSD, Maingear can now offer its customers the benefit of SSD level performance, with full HDD capacity, at a minimal incremental cost.”

"The new MAINGEAR Solo 21 is the perfect PC to meet the increased market demand of having an all-in-one PC that is more versatile for business or entertainment use. MAINGEAR continues to be an innovation leader with the release of this unique all-new all-in-one, which offers premium features, stylish design and upgradability that no one else offers," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of MAINGEAR.

solo-rightS.png

MAINGEAR Solo 21: (Default specs)

  • Intel Core i3 2125 3.3GHz, upgradeable to Intel Core i7 2600S
  • Intel DH61AG motherboard supporting USB 3.0, SATA 6G, 32nm and 22nm processors
  • 4GB DDR3-1333, upgradeable to 16GB DDR3-1333 memory
  • 32GB SSD caching drive standard, featuring NVELO Dataplex software
  • 500 GB HDD, up to 2TB 7200 RPM SATA HDD
  • DVD burner
  • Intel 802.11n, Bluetooth wireless adapter
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Starting at $999
Source: MAINGEAR

Raspberry Pi Linux Computers Delayed By Manufacturing Hiccup

Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 10:30 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, computers, arm

It seems that not all is sweets (pie, of course) and celebration for the folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, as the initial batch of their ARM powered Linux computers have experienced what the charity has dubbed a “hiccup” at the manufacturing stage. It seems that while they specified magnetic jacks in the design materials, the wrong RJ45 network jacks for the boards were soldered on accidentally by the Chinese factory. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the dud jacks in question were the result of the manufacturer using non magnetic jacks instead of RJ45 connectors with integrated magnetic connections. They further stated that they had been aware of the problem for four days prior to the announcement, but needed to “do some further tests to make sure nothing else was affected.”

RJ45 Network Jack_Raspberry Pi Hiccup.jpg

They are currently sourcing the proper network jacks, and are receiving help from their manufacturing and distribution partners RS Components and Premier Farnell. It is not all bad news; however, as it seems they caught the issue quickly enough to maintain the release schedule for the initial batch of Raspberry Pi boards. The issue is a relatively minor one that is easily rectified by desoldering the dud jacks and soldering on the new ones with integrated magnetics. The manufacturing factory is nearly finished with the replacement on the initial batch and they expect the boards to get out to consumers on time. The less than ideal news is that, there may be a slight delay for those waiting on pre-orders of boards outside of the initial batch as they are still trying to source enough networking jacks as mentioned above.

'We are very, very sorry.” they stated in the blog post. In the end, they believe it to be a mere small bump in the road and have promised to keep users updated on the manufacturing status of the eagerly awaited Raspberry Pi computers. More information along with X-rays of the dud networking jacks can be found on their blog.

Source: Raspberry Pi

Zotac Launches Three New ZBOX Mini PCs At CeBIT 2012

Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 02:15 AM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox, SFF, PC, hardware

In a recent press release, Zotac unveiled three new ZBox small form factor computers, including one PC that features a blu-ray optical drive. Specifically, the new models include the ZBOX ID82, ZBOX Nano ID61, and the ZBOX Blu-ray AD05. In addition, the company offers "plus" versions of the three ZBOX computers that add 2GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive to the hardware package. Carsten Berger, marketing director for ZOTAC stated that the company is constantly pushing the small form factor envelope and the latest Intel Core i3 Sandy Bridge processors "enables us to give demanding users the performance edge they need."

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The ZBOX Nano ID61

The ZBOX ID61 is the smallest of the three PCs and is the latest in their Nano form factor. It is powered by a dual core Intel Celeron 867 processor, a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, and an integrated multimedia card reader. Connections include HDMI, Displayport, 2 USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, 1 eSATA port, Bluetooth 3.0, and a built in IR receiver. The ID61 plus further features 2 GB of DDR3 1333 MHz laptop RAM and a 320 GB SATA III (6Gbps) hard drive.

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The ZBOX ID82

The ID82 represents the latest ZBOX PC, and while it is a big bulkier than the Nano series, it packs a lot more punch with an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3-2330. The new Intel CPU is a dual core 2.2 GHz processor which further includes Hyper-Threading tech for a total of four virtual cores. Further, the PC has two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, DVI-I, and Bluetooth 3.0. The ZBOX ID82 Plus includes 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 320 GB laptop hard drive.

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The ZBOX Blu-ray AD05

Finally, the ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 is a small form factor PC that moves to AMD for their processor and GPU with the AMD E-450 APU with integrated Radeon 6320 GPU. The extra hardware horsepower provides the "oomph" needed to support smooth blu-ray playback. The mini PC holds a 4x Blu-ray reader that doubles as a 8x DVD +/- writer. It includes support for two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots and an 2.5" SATA II hard drive. Connections include HDMI, DVI, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and one combo USB 2.0/eSATA port. The ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 Plus version further includes 2 GB of memory and a 320 GB hard drive.

All three of the mini ZOTAC ZBOX PCs (wow, that's a lot of caps) also feature Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a bundled Media Center remote and USB IR receiver. No matter the model, the user is still responsible for providing an OS as one does not come bundled. Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing or availability.

Source: Zotac

Raspberry Pi: An Operating System Slice For Everyone

Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 12:52 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, OS, linux

 The Raspberry Pi Foundation has quite the success on their hands with the small ARM powered Linux computer they have dubbed the Raspberry Pi. With pre-orders that sold out within hours, a great deal of press coverage, and overwhelming support from the community to support the Raspberry Pi with software and download mirrors, they have announced not only the promised Fedora 14 Remix Linux distribution, but OpenELEC XBMC support and an Arch Linux distro for power users.

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So far, the charity has released the Fedora 14 Remix, Debian Squeeze, and Arch Linux distributions. All three are now available for download via their downloads page using either Torrent files or HTTP downloads through the community mirrors.

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The Fedora Remix Distro

The Debian Squeeze OS is the Raspberry Pi's reference file system and is aimed at software developers while the Fedora Remix is aimed at those wanting a casual OS that is capable of playing back multimedia content. Finally, the Arch Linux distro is aimed at power users and Linux enthusiasts that want to totally customize their Linux operating system and the software including with it. These distros are meant to be installed on an SD card and then inserted into the Raspberry Pi.

Head on over to their downloads page to get your hands on the distros!

Intel, PCAudioLabs and PC Perspective Rok Box System Sweepstakes!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | March 5, 2012 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: pcaudiolabs, pcal, Intel, giveaway, contest

UPDATE: Contest is closed!  We'll announce a winner in the next couple of days!! Thanks to all who entered and to our sponsors for allowing us the chance to give away this kick-ass system!

UPDATE 2: Congratulations to user Cameron Berry as they are the winner of the PCAudioLabs sweepstakes sponsored by PC Perspective and Intel!!  Thanks to everyone that participated and be sure to stay tuned for more contests right here on pcper.com!

Our fans and readers have supported PC Perspective since its formation in 2004 and even before that back in the days of amdmb.com and athlonmb.com, and because of that support, we have been able to provide you with reviews and information on a continuous basis that we feel are the best in the industry.  And when we get the chance to give back to you, we jump at the chance and that is just what happened a couple weeks ago when our long time friends at Intel introduced us to the folks at PCAudioLabs for a sweepstakes of impressive proportions.

For the next two weeks we are giving our readers the chance to win a complete PCAudioLabs computer based on the Intel X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!!  If you aren't familiar with PCAudioLabs, here is a rundown of their mission from their website:

PCAudioLabs was formed early in 2000 by Thomas Bolton and Fred Rosenbloom. At the time, they were both working at Steinberg North America in the technical department and they noticed a great need for more educational tools for music production. With a video camera and a desire to inform, they started making in depth tutorial guides to some of the biggest software products in music production. The company was a huge success but it quickly became apparent that even if people knew how to use their software, it wouldn’t be of much help if the computer they were trying to use it on didn’t do its job.

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PCAudioLabs built their first custom DAW for world renowned Engineer/Producer Mark Howard and within months they were the hottest system builders in the country. Besides the enormous list of pro users that have chosen PCAudioLabs, AMD, Intel and Microsoft have all turned to PCAudioLabs whenever they have audio needs.

In 2007, PCAudioLabs tripled in size, moving into a new location and increasing staff to meet demand. By NAMM 2008, PCAudioLabs was not only the supplier of PC’s for music software giants Steinberg and Cakewalk, but also hardware manufacturers such as Roland, Yamaha and Euphonix.

Although our task is technical, we know our staff needs to be able to relate to you and your situation. That’s why not only are the people who will build your system experts in computing, they are also musicians. In fact, any person you e-mail or speak to at PCAudioLabs makes music, so you’ll never have to worry about asking a musical question and getting a technical response – we speak your language.

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Inside this brand-new generation of Rok Box you'll find an Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E processor along with a great Intel DX79TO motherboard.  Kingston has supplied 16GB of DDR3 memory to keep your audio creation rolling even with a ton of applications loaded up.  Storage is powered by a 240GB Intel 510 SSD as well as dual 1TB spinning drives for recording and sampling simultaneously.  ASUS has provided the GTX 560 Ti CUII TOP graphics card and the entire system is powered by an 850 watt Antec High Current Pro power supply.  In total, the system from PCAudioLabs will retail for right around $3,000!!

That isn't all though as PCAudioLabs has included full versions of software required for audio production including Cakewalk Sonar X1 Essential, Native Instruments Komplete Element's, IK Multimedia's Amplitube FREE and much more.  The software alone is valued at more than $600 bringing the total value here to over $3,600!  See the PCAudioLabs website for more details.

I am sure you are interested in the system itself so we have created a short video to go over the hardware as well as the software included in this bundle - check it out!

Without a doubt you are wondering what you have to do to win this system.  The steps are simple:

  1. Visit the PCAudioLabs Facebook page at http://facebook.com/pcaudiolabs, "Like" it and leave a comment on the wall if you want as well, thanking them for supporting PC Perspective and the audio creation community.  They are supporting PC Perspective by giving us this system and allowing US to support YOU with the giveaway, so get over here and support THEM!
     
  2. Leave a comment on this PC Perspective post below (registration is not required, though recommended) telling us and the PCAL crew what you plan to do with this system, how you'll utilize its power in your audio creation projects, etc.  What will the Rok Box improve or make easier for you?
     
  3. And if you want to follow us for more PC hardware news and upcoming contests you can do so at several locations.  http://twitter.com/pcper  http://facebook.com/pcper and http://gplus.to/pcper

That's it!  Our sweepstakes will run between today at end at 12:01am EST on March the 6th.  If you don't have your entry in by then, you are out of luck.  We will pick a random winner from the comments and ship the system out that week in March.  You are responsible for any taxes / tariffs but we'll cover the shipping to anywhere in the world. 

A HUGE thanks goes out to our friends at PCAudioLabs and Intel for making this possible and we hope you all appreciate the work that goes into putting something like this on.  Also, thanks goes to Antec, ASUS and Kingston for their support as well.  

Good luck to everyone and happy audio editing!!

GDC 12: The bigger big picture, Steam Box to be announced?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | March 3, 2012 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Box, steam, GDC 12

It is rumored that Valve will announce a Steam hardware platform as early as GDC next week although that could be pushed back as late as E3 in June.

Steam has grown atop the PC platform and consists of over 40 million active user accounts. For perspective, the Xbox 360 has sold 65.8 million units to date and that includes units sold to users whose older Xbox 360s died and they did not go the cardboard coffin route. Of course the study does not account for the level of hardware performance each user can utilize although Valve does keep regular surveys of that.

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A console with admined dedicated servers to kick the teabagging and griefing Steam punks.

Within the last couple of years, Valve has been popping in to news seemingly out of the blue. Allow me to draw your attention to three main events.

At the last GDC, Valve announced “The Big Picture” mode for their Steam software. The Big Picture is an interface for Steam which is friendly to users seated on a couch several feet away from a large screen TV. While “The Big Picture” has yet to be released it does set the stage for a great Home Theatre PC user interface for PC games as well as potentially other media.

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I must admit, that controller does not look the most ergonomic... but it is just a patent filing.

Last year, Valve also filed a patent with the US Patent Office for a video game controller with user swappable control components. Their patent filings show a controller which looks quite similar to an Xbox 360 controller where the thumbsticks can be replaced with touch pads as well as a trackball and potentially other devices. Return of Missile Command anyone?

Also a little over two years ago, Valve announced a partnership with Razer for their Sixense high-precision motion controllers. It is possible that Valve was supporting this technology for this future all along. While motion controllers have not proven to be successful for gaming, they are accepted as a method to control a device. Perhaps The Big Picture will be optimized to support Sixense and compatible devices?

The Verge goes beyond their claims that Valve will announce The Steam Box and has included specifications for a closed-doors prototype of the system. The system was rumored to be used to present to partners at CES contained an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU.

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You know if Microsoft had focused on Media Center for gaming rather than the Xbox...

It is very unclear whether Valve will attempt to take a loss on the platform in hopes to make it back up in Steam commissions. It is possible that Valve will just push the platform to OEM partners, but it is possible that they will release and market their own canon device.

I am interested to see how Valve will push the Home Theatre PC market. The main disadvantage that the PC platform has at the moment is simply marketing and development money. It is also possible that they wish to expand out and support other media through their Steam service as well.

At the very least, we should have a viable Home Theatre PC user interface as well as sharp lines between hardware profiles. A developer on the PC would love to know the exact number of potential users they should expect if they were to support a certain hardware configuration. Valve was always keen on supplying hardware profile statistics, and this is certainly a harsh evolution of that.

Source: The Verge

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Launches, Pre-Orders Sold Out

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 29, 2012 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, mobile, linux, hdmi, computer

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced yesterday that their little Linux computer would be launching in the early hours of the morning today. Instead of the original plan of Raspberry Pi handling the pre-orders and shipping them from the UK, they ended up partnering with RS Components and Premier Farnell to handle all their orders and distribute them to customers. The non profit foundation states that this move will save customers money on shipping as the two companies have distribution centers worldwide and they will be able to get more boards out because they will be able to sell enough boards to meet demand.

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Today, RS and Farnell were offering up the Model B Raspberry Pi boards for pre-order, and the first 5,000 orders from each company will receive their Raspberry Pi boards from the initial 10,000 unit batch. Surprisingly, the two companies' servers were getting hit extremely hard earlier today and it was almost impossible to not see at least a couple error pages requiring a painfully long refresh. According to the article, the Raspberry Pi computer sold out "within hours." Even though the initial batch of boards is spoken for, customers can continue to pre-order boards that will be delivered as soon as the next batch has finished production. Those unlucky enough to miss the first 10,000 aren't completely out of luck; however, as it is rumored that production of more boards should be getting underway and have an estimated delivery date a bit more than a month away. How true that is, remains to be seen however.

Personally, I managed to snag one of the first Raspberry Pi boards from Farnell Export, but it was an order fraught with error pages and being uncertain just how many I ordered as the confirm order page kept error-ing out. Luckily, I received an email from them confirming my order of a single Raspberry Pi and am now eagerly waiting for it to arrive. The last estimated delivery figure I received puts it about a month out, however.

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In another bit of good news, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is still planning to release the cheaper Model A board later this year, and they managed to up the RAM to a full 256 MB of RAM which is twice the original 128 MB of RAM they planned.  This update to the Model A means that the Model B is now only differentiated by the addition of two USB ports and an Ethernet port.

Did you manage to snag a Raspberry Pi this morning?  From how hard the servers were getting hit last night, I'm starting to think that the Raspberry Pi Linux computer may be more popular than actual pie!  If you are still interested in pre-ordering a Raspberry Pi, RS Components and Premier Farnell have you covered.

Source: Maximum PC