SolidRun Launches CuBox Pro Miniature Desktop Computer

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2013 - 10:36 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, solidrun, linux, desktop, cubox pro, cubox, computer

Israeli-startup SolidRun is launching an updated model of its CuBox mini PC called the CuBox Pro. The small desktop computer measures 2 x 2 x 2-inches and weighs a mere 91 grams. The CuBox Pro is not only small in size, it also sips a mere 3 watts at full load. It comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux, but the CuBox Pro can be loaded with alternative operating systems by way of a microSD card. The hardware is nothing spectacular on the performance front, but it is capable of 1080p HD video playback. Interestingly, Youtube user rabeeh3000 reported that the CuBox Pro draws less than 2.5 Watts while playing a HD movie in XBMC.

SolidRun CuBox Pro.jpg

Speaking of hardware, the CuBox Pro is powered by a Marvell ARMADA 510 SoC clocked at 800 MHz. It is supported by 2GB of DDR3 memory, and internal storage is handled by a microSD card slot.

Rear IO on the CuBox Pro includes two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI video output, one eSATA connector, one Gigabit Ethernet port, DC power jack, and a single S/PDIF audio output on the side of the case. Further, the CuBox Pro has an infrared receiver, which will enable remotes to be used with media center software.

SolidRun CuBox Pro Computer IO.jpg

The CuBox Pro is slated to be available sometime in January for $159. Alternatively, the original CuBox with 1GB of DDR3 is available for $139. Admittedly, it is a bit pricey considering there are cheaper options like the Raspberry Pi but you are getting a complete OEM system (whereas you would have to add an SD card, USB infrared receiver, and case to the price of the Pi).

You can find more information abou the CuBox computer on the SolidRun website

Source: Venture Beat

CES 2013: Razer Edge Back Again. Fiona Always Was Edgy.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, razer

Last year Project Fiona was presented by Razer and we felt as awkward about it as it looked.

This is a new year and it looks like Razer took a bit of feedback from critics of yester-CES. The design itself looks quite similar than it did except that the controller-handles are now detachable. The Edge can operate in four different modes: tablet, keyboard, the controller-handles, and “home console” mode.

The Home Console mode allows you to dock your tablet and access it using 3 USB ports, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio in/out. You can use it as a desktop or as a home theatre PC. Also with Steam’s Big Picture Mode it sees the big picture as a potential Steam Box.

The technical specifications are slightly more solid than last year:

  • Intel Core i7 (2 core, 4 threads) @ 1.9GHz Turbo to 3.0GHz
  • Intel HD 4000/NVIDIA GT 640M LE
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 126/256GB SSD
  • Intel WLAN (B/G/N + Bluetooth 4.0)
  • 10.1” IPS 1366x768 10-point touchscreen
  • Windows 8

So what do you think? While I expect it will be out of my budget and I would probably just barely survive on 256GB due to recent 20-25GB games -- I think it looks pretty good.

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Source: Razer

CES 2013: The Verge Interviews Gave Newell for Steam Box. Valve's Director Hints Post-Kepler GPUs Can Be Virtualized!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 11:11 PM |
Tagged: valve, gaben, Gabe Newell, ces 2013, CES

So the internet has been in a roar about The Steam Box and it probably will eclipse Project Shield as topic of CES 2013. The Verge scored an interview to converse about the hardware future of the company and got more than he asked for.


Now if only he would have discussed potential launch titles.

Wow! That *is* a beautiful knife collection.

The point which stuck with me most throughout the entire interview was directed at Valve’s opinion of gaming on connected screens. Gabe Newell responded,

The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simulateneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors -- now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.

This is pretty much confirmation, assuming no transcription errors on the part of The Verge, that Maxwell will support the virtualization features of GK110 and bring it mainstream. This also makes NVIDIA Grid make much more sense in the long term. Perhaps NVIDIA will provide some flavor of a Grid server for households directly?

The concept gets me particularly excited. One of the biggest wastes of money the tech industry has is purchasing redundant hardware. Consoles are a perfect example: not only is the system redundant to your other computational device which is usually at worst a $200 GPU away from a completely better experience, you pay for software to be reliant on that redundant platform which will eventually disappear along with said software. In fact, many have multiple redundant consoles because the list of software they desire is not localized to just one system so they need redundant redundancies. Oy!

A gaming server should help make the redundancy argument more obvious. If you need extra interfaces then you should only need to purchase the extra interfaces. Share the number crunching and only keep it up to date.

Also check out the rest of the interview over at The Verge. I decided just to cover a small point with potentially big ramifications.

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Source: The Verge

CES 2013: ASUS Systems with No Two Alike

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS has a lot of products to get through so there is no sense in waiting.


The ASUS TAICHI is back in the news with a second model but only one capitalization: upper. As we said in the last article, the device uses two 11.6” 1080p touch displays on both sides of the lid to show mirrored or even unique information to the user and to people behind the laptop. With the lid closed the laptop will then also function as a tablet. The newer addition to the TAICHI family increases the screen size to 13.3”.

  • 11.6” 1080p or 13.3” (unlisted, probably also 1080p) IPS Dual touch-displays.
  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 or i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • USB 3.0
  • 4GB of RAM (11.6”, 13.3” unlisted)


The ASUS Transformer AiO is an all-in-one computer with a dockable 18.4” tablet. The dock contains a full-featured desktop with the tablet containing a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra processor. The device uses both Windows 8 for the base station or Android 4.1 for the tablet. When the tablet is removed from its base it is still able to function in Windows 8 mode by communicating wirelessly with the base station.

  • 18.4” 1080p IPS display with 10-points of touch recognition
  • Intel Ivy Bridge processor


The ASUS Transformer Book TX300CA runs in the same vein as the popular Android-based Transformer Prime: a tablet able to dock into a keyboard to function as a laptop. The TX300CA differs from its Prime counterpart by running full Windows 8 on an Intel processor. If you wanted a Transformer Prime but are too locked in to Windows then you might want to look at this.

  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Both an SSD and a HDD
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB 3.0
  • Dual Cameras: “HD” (720p?) front-facing and 5MP rear-facing
  • 13” 1080p IPS multi-touch display


The ASUS VivoTab Smart Tablet utilizes Clover Trail for a full Windows 8 experience. Unlike the prior models there is not a whole lot to discuss apart from its tech specs below!

  • Intel Clover Trail Atom Z2760 dual-core
  • 10.1” 1366x768 IPS LED 5-point touch display
  • 9.5 hour battery life
  • Dual Cameras: 2MP front-facing and 8MP rear-facing
  • NFC sensor

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Source: ASUS

CES 2013: Valve Talks Piston, Better Listen. Steam Box!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: Xi3, valve, trinity, Steam Box, ces 2013, CES, amd

Going from a failed Kickstarter to Valve’s premier console? Sounds like a good anecdote to tell.

Valve has finally discussed the Steam Box in more concrete details. Get ready for some analysis; there are a bunch of hidden stories to be told. We will tell them.

Update for clarity: As discussed in IRC technically this was an Xi3 announcement that Valve will have at their booth but not an official Valve announcement. That said, Valve will have it at their booth and Valve funded Xi3.

Another Update for new information: Turns out this is not the Valve-official device. Ben Krasnow, Valve hardware engineer, made a statement that the official Steam Box is not planned to be announced in 2013. What we will see this year is 3rd Party implementations, and that should be it. News story to follow.


Image by Engadget

As everyone is reporting, Valve hired out Xi3 Corporation to develop the Steam Box under the codename Piston. Xi3Corporation was founded in 2010 and revealed their first product at CES two years ago. In late September, Xi3 launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter to fund their latest designs: The X7A and the X3A.

The X7A Modular Computer is the most interesting as it seems to be what the Piston is based on. Regardless of the Kickstarter’s failure, Valve still reached out to Xi3 Corporation chequebook in hand. According to the Kickstarter page, the X7A has the following features:

  • 64-Bit Quad-Core x86 processor up to 3.2 GHz with 384 graphics shader cores.
    • My personal best guess is the AMD A10-4600M Trinity APU.
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB of “Superfast” Solid State Memory
  • Four USB 3.0
  • Four USB 2.0
  • Four eSATAp
  • Gigabit E
  • 40Watt under load
  • “Under $1000” although that includes 1TB of SSD storage.
    • Also Valve could take a loss, because Steam has no problem with attach rate.

The key piece of information is the 40Watt declaration. According to Engadget who went hands-on with the Valve Piston, it too is rated for 40Watt under load. This means that it is quite likely for the core specifications of the Kickstarter to be very similar to the specifications of the Piston.

Benchmarks for the 7660G have the device running Far Cry 3 on low settings at around 34 FPS as well as Black Ops 2 running on Medium at 42 FPS. That said, with a specific hardware platform to target developers will be able to better optimize.

During the SpikeTV VGAs, Gabe Newell stated in an interview with Kotaku that third parties would also make “Steam Boxes”. They are expected to be available at some point in 2013.

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Source: Engadget

CES 2013 Video: ASUS Transformer All-in-One Merges Windows 8 and Android

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2013 - 01:29 AM |
Tagged: Transformer, ces 2013, CES, asus, all-in-one, AIO

There is a new category of computer coming out this year that revolves around tablets that are bigger than you might be comfortable with.  We saw the first example of this with the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon launched yesterday in the form of a 27-in AIO with a 2 hour battery life.  ASUS was demonstrating another one they are calling the Transformer AIO that actually goes a step further by combining standard Core processor technology in the base and Tegra 3 technology in the display. 

The AIO is an 18.4-in 1080p system with standard Intel Core i5 and Core i7 platforms running the full version of Windows 8.  However, the user can push a button on the side of the system to switch on the fly between Windows 8 and an Android system powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3.  Even better, you can remove the display from the Transformer AIO (hence the name) and use it as a rather large tablet with 4-5 hours of battery life AND you can stream the Windows 8 system to it via wireless display technology.

It is a really slick system - check out the video below!

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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.

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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


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.


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.

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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.


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.

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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.


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


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


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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.


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.


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.


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!


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

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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.


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


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.


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.


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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  The home page will work too. 


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.

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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.


"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:


Source: AnandTech

Sumitomo Electric Green Lit for Infrared Light in Thunderbolt

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

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


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.


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.


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.


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 |

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.


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.


"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: