Putting Bulldozer to the proper use; how well does it serve?

Subject: Systems | February 1, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: amd, interlagos, bulldozer, supermicro, opteron 6200

Over at The Inquirer you can take a look at the performance of the Opteron 6274 as a server chip, as opposed to the desktop benchmarks that have made up the bulk of Bulldozer reviews on the web.  SuperMicro has assembled a server containing a dual-socket Opteron 6274 for a total of 32 cores and 64GB of ECC DDR3-1333 RAM across eight channels running on 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.  While the machine was quite powerful it still has difficulty keeping up with Intel, for instance its performance on CineBench was about the same as provided by an X5680 Westmere Xeon which is not Intel's best silicon. On the plus side, the scaling for multithreaded applications was quite good.

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"IS BULLDOZER better in a workstation than a desktop? Let's see if it can be.

AMD's Bulldozer chip, while eagerly awaited, didn't really have a stellar debut as a mainstream - or high end, for that matter - desktop processor, still having a way to go before seriously challenging the incumbent Intel. The core, cache and memory performance all need a bit more power, although recent news such as Microsoft Windows' kernel patches do seem to help a little bit towards extracting more oomph from the unusual 'two integer units sharing one floating-point' approach."

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Source: The Inquirer

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 26, 2012 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, htpc, hd, gpu, broadcom

As reported earlier, the Raspberry Pi is a small computer intended to run Linux and is made to be portable and able to be powered by USB. The small board is based on the Broadcom BCM2835 chipset, which includes an ARM 11 CPU and a dual core VideoCore IV graphics card co processor. The Raspberry Pi further includes connections for HDMI, component output, and USB ports. The higher tier $35 model will further feature an Ethernet jack and twice the RAM (512 MB).

Raspberry Pi.jpg

The Raspberry Pi will soon be available for sale and if the company behind the device- The Raspberry Pi Foundation- is to be believed, the GPU in the little Linux computer will pack quite a punch for its size (and cost). In a recent Digital Foundry interview with Raspberry Pi Executive Director Eben Upton reported on by Eurogamer, Upton made several claims about the Raspberry Pi’s graphics capabilities. He explained that the Broadcom BCM2835’s VideoCore IV GPU is a tile mode architecture that has been configured with an emphasis on shader performance. Upton said “it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content."

The comparison to the iPhone 4S relates to his further claims that the Raspberry Pi GPU is the best on the market and can best both the iPhone 4S’s PowerVR (Imagination Technologies) based graphics and even the mighty Tegra 2 in fill rate performance. Rather large claims for sure; however, we do have some independent indication that his claims may not be wholly inflated. The coders behind XBMC, open source media center software that allows users to play a variety of media formats, have demonstrated their XBMC software running on the Raspberry Pi. They showed the Raspberry Pi playing a 1080p blu ray movie at a smooth frame rate thanks to the Broadcom GPU being capable of 1080p 30 FPS H.264 hardware accelerated decoding. You can see the Raspberry Pi in action in the video below.

The little Raspberry Pi is starting to look quite promising for HTPC (and even light gaming) use, especially for the price!  At $25 and $35 respectively, the Raspberry Pi should see quite the following in the modding, enthusiast, and education community.

Source: Eurogamer

SilverStone's tiny HTPC enclosure can hide full sized components

Subject: Systems | January 24, 2012 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: htpc, Silverstone, SST-GD06B

Some HTPC builders envision their machine handling more than just media streaming; why not play WoW or KOTOR on your TV?  This can lead to some frustration if they chose an HTPC case that aesthetically fits their living room but cannot physically fit the components they need to drive the machine.  SilverStone has met their desire with the SST-GD06B, which resembles a stereo component yet at 17.3" (W) x 5.9" (H) x 13.4" (D) it is big enough to give you a lot more choice in the components you can utilize.  For instance it will take an ATX PSU of up to 5.9" in length, five internal drives and a CPU cooler of up to 120mm if you leave out the optical drive.  You can have up to 5 expansion cards in the case, with four of those slots able to accept a card up to 11" in length.  The only real fault that Benchmark Reviews found was the lack of IR support and a bundled remote control.

BMR_SST-GD06B_Angle.JPG

"With these smaller cases, space is always an issue. This is becoming increasingly critical as high definition content becomes ubiquitous. Not only do we want to view our new content in more pixels than our brain can even process, but we want to upscale the old content, or view it in 3D, and do it upside down, right side up and inside out. While you're at it give me dish, cable, recording, streaming, email, gaming and the kitchen sink. Oh...and it needs to fit in a single box on my entertainment system. Well, SilverStone is at least trying to provide the box, the rest is up to you. They've expanded on past models to fit even more powerful toys inside your HTPC. Read on to see how model SST-GD06B crams the performance you demand and puts it on your shelf."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Alienware X51 Desktop -- Console Sized PC, $700 and up.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems | January 18, 2012 - 07:25 PM |
Tagged: GTX 555, GT 545, dell, alienware

Alienware has been long known for two things: having interesting case designs, and being prohibitively expensive. For the last five years or so, Alienware has been a subsidiary of Dell to displace their gaming XPS product line into a non-gaming higher-end line. They have recently announced their X51 product line as Jeremy noted earlier, but what does that mean for someone interested in PC Gaming?

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Like how it looks? Dude, you’re getting a Dell!

Jeremy’s post went through the range of base models and their associated prices. The main product page listed the features of the higher-end base unit along with two other points: the chassis can be vertically or horizontally mounted; and you can upgrade your core components easily. While the latter statement is great to make, it should also be noted that with a maximum 330W power supply, your upgrade options -- while potentially easy -- are quite limited.

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The choice in video cards is split between the GeForce GT 545 and the GeForce GTX 555: these are both OEM-only GPUs and thus benchmarks are at this time difficult to find. The GT 545 contains 144 CUDA cores clocked at 870/1740 MHz with the memory clocked at 1998 MHz. Should you opt for the higher-end GTX 555, your GPU contains exactly twice the CUDA cores (288) clocked slightly slower at 776/1553 MHz and a slightly lower memory clock of 1914 MHz.

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Dude, you regretting a Dell?

In terms of Alienware-specific perks, Alienware has developed the “Alienware Command Center”; this application allows you to customize the lighting on your chassis as well as control programs and tweak your system. While a nice value-addition, it is obviously more gimmicky than practical; but really, isn’t that a large portion of why you are purchasing an Alienware computer? At least they look to be decent gimmicks. The price also does not appear to be too high compared to what you are getting from what I can tell. You would obviously be in a better position to assemble a desktop yourself and probably even commission your local small business computer store to do it for you, but the Alienware’s price does not appear to be in a distant galaxy.

So what do you think?

Source: Alienware

Introducing the Alienware X51 - Let Your Hero Out

Subject: Systems | January 18, 2012 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: X51, dell, alienware

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(edit: the models were corrected)

The base model is $700 and features:

  • 2nd Gen Intel Core i3-2120 3MB 3.3GHz, 4GB DDR 1333Mhz Dual Channel memory
  • 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 video card with 280W PSU
  • Slot-loading Dual Layer DVD Burner
  • Integrated Wireless LAN card (standard)

The high end model is priced at $1149 and features:

  • 2nd Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB 1333Mhz Dual Channel memory
  • 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555 video card with 330W PSU
  • Slot-loading Dual Layer DVD burner
  • Integrated Wireless LAN card (standard)

You can go bigger than that with the X51 so if you are looking to buy a boutique PC check out Alienware's X51.

Also, check out Scott's complimentary article to this one.

Source: Alienware

A passively cooled pre-built HTPC from Arctic

Subject: Systems | January 13, 2012 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: htpc, passive cooling, arctic, MC001-BD

Arctic (not Cooling) is a company which currently offers five different Atom powered HTPCs, one of which Overclockers Online got their hands on. The MC001-BD has a 1.6Ghz Atom D525, an HD5430 GPU, 4GB DDR3, 500GB HDD and a 4x Blu-Ray drive; what it does not have is a TV Tuner which will cost you an extra $30 to include.  It is also not running Windows MCE, instead you get a full installation of Windows 7 Home Premium.  Although this machine will suffer if you attempt to run general productivity software it is powerful enough for perfect HD media playback and the strictly passive cooling will allow you to unobtrusively place this machine with the rest of your A/V equipment.

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"There haven’t been very many products in the market that has truly fired me up and got me as excited as the MC001-BD. Many companies have tried to make HTPC that are compact and quiet but I usually find that I can do better for less. The MC001-BD is probably the first where I wouldn’t be able to do that. With over ten years experience in system cooling they were able to engineer an Entertainment Center that was both compact and passively cooled."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

HTPC

 

AMD Countering Ultrabooks With Ultrathin Notebooks

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 12, 2012 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: CES, ultrathin, trinity, piledriver, PC, notebook, low power, amd, 17 watt

Intel is the driving force behind the Ultrabook platform, a category of thin and light notebooks that are ideally less than $1,000 USD and deliver solid mobile performance and battery life. AMD is still playing catch up in CPU performance; however, they have been moderately successful with their Llano APU parts due to the better integrated GPU versus Intel's graphics processor. With Trinity, the successor to Llano, AMD is claiming up to 25% faster CPU performance and a 50% increase in graphics processor performance, and all while sipping half the power of current Llano chips.

IMG_7517.JPG

The 17 watt TDP Trinity die.

It seems that AMD has seen the Ultrabook boom that Intel is experiencing and wants a piece of the action. Thanks to the Trinity performance improvements and power sipping TDPs, AMD is confident that it can design and market thin and light notebooks of their own. They plan to market their notebooks as "Ultrathins." Exact hardware specifications of the Ultrathins are not known. We do know that they will be powered by dual and quad core 17 watt TDP versions of the AMD Trinity APU, which you can read more about here. The company is planning for its Ultrathins to start at $500 USD, a few hundred less than the lowest cost Ultrabooks from Intel. Beyond that, we can only speculate. Fortunately, we may not have to wait long for more information as AMD plans to reveal more information about their Ultrathin strategy next month at their financial analyst meeting, according to Ars.

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A Trinity powered laptop at CES

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Ars Technica

Fancy a tiny Cortex A9 and Tegra 2 system? CompuLabs Trim-Slice isn't a bad choice.

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2012 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: arm, cortex-a9, Tegra 2, compulab, thin-slice, nettop

If you need only moderate processing power and need a small footprint then CompuLab might just have the system for you.  Their Trim-Slice nettop is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 a 1GHZ dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 and 1GB of DDR2 RAM, with a SATA HDD.  It has four USB 2.0 ports, WiFi and a wired NIC, two HDMI ports and a S/PDIF in port, which ought to handle what you need from this system.  It comes with Ubuntu 11.04 for ARMv7, which Phoronix points out is obsolete and recommends updating to a newer version.   The system is comparable to Atom based machines in performance and in price, a basic 1GB system is $213USD while the model Phoronix reviewed would cost you about $100 more.  Read on to see how it did in the benchmarks.

PHX_thinslice.jpg

"The Trim-Slice from CompuLab is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 nettop based on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform. In this article are our first Ubuntu benchmarks of this low power, fan-less desktop with comparative figures to Intel's older platforms and the OMAP4660-based dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 PandaBoard ES."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Phoronix

ZOTAC announces a Trio of New ZBOX mini-PCs

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: zotac, z-box, zbox id80, zbox id81, zbox ad04

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 ZOTAC is pleased to kick off CES with a trio of new ZBOX mini-PCs powered by Intel Celeron 857, Intel Atom D2700 and AMD E-450 processors and APUs in the ZBOX ID81, ID80 and AD04 series.

ZOTAC ZBOX ID81 series

ZBOX-ID80_8.jpg

  • Intel Celeron Processor 857 (1.2 GHz, dual-core) (SandyBridge)
  • Intel HD Graphics HDMI & DVI outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX ID81 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD

ZOTAC ZBOX ID80 series

ZBOX ID81_5.JPG

  • Intel Atom D2700 (2.13 GHz, dual-core) (CedarTrail)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M HDMI & DVI outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots (up to 4GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 3.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX ID80 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD

ZOTAC ZBOX AD04 series

ZBOX AD04_11.jpg

  • AMD E-450 APU platform (1.65 GHz, dual-core)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6320 GPU w/ TurboCore technology
  • HDMI & DisplayPort outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (up to 8GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX AD04 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD
  • 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports
  • 4 x High-Speed USB 2.0 ports (2 on back panel, 1 on front, 1 on top)
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi & Bluetooth 3.0 technologies
  • Bundled MCE-compatible remote w/ USB IR receiver
  • Bundled VESA75/100 mount

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Zotac

New Lenovo IdeaPad and IdeaCentre Products Hit CES

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2012 - 08:59 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, Ideapad, ideacentre, CES

As reported earlier, Lenovo has announced a number of new ThinkPad products for the upcoming year. But that is only a drop in the bucket compared to the tsunami of IdeaPad and IdeaCenter consumer PCs on the way from the company.

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Let’s start with the most premium, the Lenovo U series. It will be updated by the U310 and U410 models with Intel Core processors and optional SSD storage. The larger U410 will include GeForce 610M discrete graphics, as well. The smaller U310 weighs just 3.74 pounds and measures .7 inches thick, while the U410 is a slightly chunkier 4.18 pounds and .83 inches thick. Price start at a surprisingly low $699.

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On the opposite side of pricing we have the new S200 and S206, two netbooks – er, I mean, “mini-laptops.”  They feature the now popular 11.6” display size, are only .81 inches thick and weight 2.8 pounds. You’ll have your pick of Intel Atom or AMD Fusion processors, as well as your pick of color options like Cotton-Candy Pink, Crimson Red, and Electric Blue. You’ll have to shell out only $349 to grab a basic model.

Also updated is the vastness of Lenovo’s mainstream laptop offerings. The Z580/480/380 has been re-designed to accommodate newer hardware, such as optional GT640M graphics. The Y480/Y580 also have been updated to include support for new optional GTX 660M graphics and luxury features like a backlit keyboard (on the Y580). Last – and most certainly least – Lenovo is expanding the G series to include the G480/580/780. These are “essential” laptops, which means “budget” in Lenovo’s vocabulary.  The Z series starts at $599, the Y series at $899, and the G series at $399.

Y580_Hero_02.jpg

If you’re interested in All-in-One computers, Lenovo has plenty that may be of interest you this CES. The company has unveiled updates to its high-performance AIOs in the form of the B540 and B340, which have 23” and 21.5” touchscreens respectively. Both of these have built-in TV tuners and now, unlike with previous models, it’s possible to watch TV through these systems without turning on the PC itself. Both have Intel processors, full HD displays, and the B540 will feature optional GT 650M graphics. These high-end AIOs start at $699.

Lower on the totem pole we have the traditional desktop PCs. Lenovo is offering two new options in this aging market. One is the performance-oriented K430 (starting at $599), which includes Intel processors and can be upgraded with Nvidia SLI or ATI CrossFireX dual-graphics solutions for hardcore gamers. The other is the Lenovo H520s, a simple slim system designed for the average home user that is remarkable only because of its low price of $499.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Lenovo

Vizio Entering Computer Market with Desktop and Laptop PCs

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2012 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: vizio, CES, computers, laptops, ultra-thin, desktop, all-in-one

Vizio is commonly known for its line of televisions aimed at the value and price/performance markets; however, the company is moving into the computer market with a series of budget all-in-one desktop and laptop computers. Business Insider reports that the aluminum housed PCs include two all-in-one desktops and three laptop computers and will be shown off at CES 2012.

Vizio_Desktop.jpg

The desktops come in a 24" and 27" model, and include a screen, base, aluminum keyboard, trackpad, and subwoofer (left and right speakers likely integrated in monitor part).

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The laptops come in two 15" models and one 14" computer. The 14" and one of the 15" laptops are described at being "ultra-thin." From one of the photos, at least one of the laptops will support USB 3.0.

Unfortunately, there is little word on specifications but they will likely be on hand at CES so stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details. Vizio states that the computers will be able to stream data back and forth between the computer and Vizio Smart TVs, and will be available for purchase around June. More photos of the devices can be found here.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Capture any streamed media with the help of Hauppauge

Subject: Systems | January 5, 2012 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: htpc, Hauppauge, colossus, streaming, capture

Missing Remote have assembled an impressive guide on how to use a Hauppauge Colossus to capture any media you can stream to your HTPC.  Hulu, YouTube, Netflix or anything else, this guide will show you how to capture streaming media so you can watch it again at your leisure.  Apart from the hardware you will need Arcsoft ShowBiz and likely an RDP hack which they provide for you to use.  Read on to see the trick as well as their recommended audio and video capture settings as well as tips on playback.

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"So we've all probably experienced the case where, for some reason, our DVR misses an episode and we have to find it via another mechanism. Sure, you can watch it on Hulu or Amazon VOD, but you want to add it to your collection without the DRM (exactly how the DVR would have done), and it came over the air/cable for free (or you paid your cable bill) - so why should you have to pay for it again?! Maybe you've had one too many nasty-grams from Comcast about your bit-torrent downloads so you don't want to go that route."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

HTPC

 

Via X86 Hardware Will Have Support for Android OS

Subject: Systems | December 15, 2011 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: x86, VIA, Nano, embedded, Android

Today low power X86 platform manufacturer Via Technologies announced Android operating system support with their embedded x86 motherboards and processors. Currently, the company is supporting Android on their EITX-3002 platform, with more options likely to come in the future. Via believes that running Android on X86 embedded systems presents the opportunity for low cost entertainment systems capable of playing back 1080p video in vehicles, planes, and kiosks.

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Including the usually Android SDKs, Via has released a new SMART ETK (Embedded Tool Kit) that allows monitoring and control of peripherals. Applications of this include controlling lights or environmental systems in your home via a touchscreen enabled embedded home control center. In the video below, Via shows off Android running on their EITX-3002 platform and using a touchscreen panel connected to it to control an external light and fan.

The EITX-3002 is a motherboard based on the Em-ITX form factor. The boards is then paired with either a 1.2 GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series or a 1.0 GHz Eden X2 dual core processor. In addition, a VIA VX900 MSP is located on the underside of the motherboard. This co-processor assists with the decoding HD video thanks to hardware acceleration. The VX900 MSP supports decoding MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1, and WMV9 codecs. The embedded platform itself is able to output to two independent displays and resolutions of 1920 x 1080. Fan-less enclosures can be used with this low power setup, and rear I/O includes HDMI, VGA, two Gigabit Ethernet, two COM ports, four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0, and audio jacks. Via will support the Windows 7, XP, Embedded Standard 2009, WES7, Debian Linux, and Android 2.2 operating systems.

There are already projects like AndroidX86 that allow users to use the Android OS on traditional PCs but not officially. This Via platform would be good for embedded systems and pairing it with Android is a good move. Especially now that many people are familiar with or have at least seen how the Android OS works, having a similar setup in vehicle and in-flight entertainment systems will make the UI all the more intuitive. Not to mention that the Android OS uses less resources than a traditional Windows installation which means power savings for end users. Whether Android will catch on or not for entertainment kiosks and car computers remains to be seen but it’s an interesting option for sure.

Source: Via

VIA Announces Android Support for Embedded x86 Boards

Subject: Systems | December 15, 2011 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: VIA, EITX, VIA EITX-3002

Taipei, Taiwan, December 15, 2011 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced Android support for VIA x86 embedded platforms, starting with support for the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board. Running Android on an x86 platform offers increased flexibility, great multimedia support and cost saving advantages for embedded applications such as in-vehicle entertainment and interactive kiosks.

Key advantages for Android on x86 include leverage of Android development resources and existing apps, rich I/O flexibility, greater CPU performance as well as higher display resolutions of up to 1920x1080. In addition VIA has released SMART ETK, an Embedded Tool Kit which allows monitoring and control of peripheral devices through the Android OS, allowing for greater environmental control of kiosk and other installed environments.

VIA_EITX-3002.jpg

"VIA has a long history of offering a wide range of options and customized solutions for our embedded customers," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The addition of Android OS support to our embedded x86 boards adds increased flexibility and further broadens our ability to meet their needs."

The VIA EITX-3002 is based on the unique Em-ITX form factor, and is powered by a choice of a 1.2GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series or 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor in combination withthe VIA VX900 MSP. Placed on the reverse side of the board, the available real estate is optimized, facilitating simple fanless chassis designs.The VIA EITX-3002 takes advantage of the VIA VX900H media system processor, a feature packed all-in-one digital media chipset that brings excellent hardware acceleration for the latest HD video formats including MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1 and WMV9. The VIA EITX-3002 can support dual independent display for superior digital signage displays.

VIA_EITXf.jpg

Designed for stability at extreme temperatures, fanless devices based on the VIA EITX-3002 can enjoy absolute stability at temperatures ranging from -10oC to 65oC. Dual I/O coastlines include an HDMI port, VGA port, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual COM ports, four USB ports, two USB 3.0 ports (optional), audio jacks and power and HDD activity LEDs.The VIA EITX-3002 supports Windows 7, XP, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 and WES7 as well as Debian Linux and Android 2.2 operating systems.

To watch a video demonstration of Android running on a VIA EITX-3002 x86 board please visit: http://youtu.be/lHEsfB-vtbM

For more information about the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board please visit: http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/embedded/ProductDetail.jsp?productLine=1&id=1570&tabs=1

Hard drive shortage or not, the Christmas PC builds are here

Subject: Systems | December 13, 2011 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: htpc, econobox, sweet spot

The Tech Report has risen to the challenge of building systems for Christmas in the wake of the HDD shortages.  This tends to either bring up the price of the system or to shrink the available amount of storage space in the systems.  Regardless a refresh of their system build is timely as many of us dream of a new PC or parts awaiting us under a tree.  Their Double Stuff workstation features the same i7-3930k recommended on the Hardware Leaderboard here, but they also have some different styles of system recommendation like their i3-2100T powered Couch Potato build for use as an HTPC.  You can also see a few recommended laptops and other peripherals, all you have to do is click the link.

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"With our latest system guide, we've attempted to weather the surge in hard-drive prices while taking advantage of some of the latest hardware releases. To spice things up, we've also concocted a home-theater PC build."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

The firmware is a little soft but Patriot's Javelin S4 serves up media quite nicely

Subject: Systems | December 7, 2011 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: squeezebox, Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server, patriot, itunes, htpc, DLNA

Media servers are becoming a hot item on the market, offering nearly all of the flexibility of a full HTPC with nearly none of the required setup.  The Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server is no exception, with the ability to interface with iTunes and Squeezebox as well as being compatible with DNLA and UPnP.  With a possible 12TB of storage possible, the actual product ships empty which does keep the entry price down.  Powered by a PowerPC based AMCC 800MHz 431EXr and with the proprietary OS installed on 128MB of flash memory it can accept up to four HDDs formatted as FAT32, EXT2, EXT3 or NTFS, in a variety of RAID flavours.  Check out X-bit Labs for the full breakdown of this devices capabilities.

xbit_javelin.JPG

"If you have a lot of digital media, such as music, videos and photos, then Patriot claims they have a perfect solution for you. With room to accommodate four 3.5-inch hard drives and additional external expansion via USB 2.0 and eSATA ports, the Javelin S4 can pack up to 12TB of storage capacity into a small form factor chassis. Integrated DLNA-compatible streaming, Apple iTunes server, Squeezebox Server and UPnP capabilities allow seamless connection to PC, Mac and home electronics devices."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

Puget Systems will build you a Sandy Bridge E system

Subject: Systems | December 6, 2011 - 05:37 PM |
Tagged: x79, Sandy Bridge E, puget systems, i7-3960x, GTX580, sli

If you want to get your hands on a pre-built Sandy Bridge E system you could do worse than the Puget Systems Deluge.  You get the Core i7-3960X on an ASUS Sabertooth X79 with 32GB of 1500MHz Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR3, a pair of EVGA GTX580s and both an Intel 510 250GB SSD and a 2TB WD Caviar Black for storage.  The whole system is cooled with a custom watercooler with a 360mm radiator and will only cost $7,254.  The system does give you enough power to game in NVIDIA Surround with decent frame rates, but AnandTech is of the opinion that this system is perhaps a bit too powerful.  So much of the capability of this system is not utilized by even the most demanding of games, and what is needed can be duplicated with parts that have a much smaller price tag.  However if you need the bragging rights then this system is for you.

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"It's been a little while since we've had a Puget Systems desktop in, and so far we haven't yet tested any of their big dog gaming machines. Everything else we've tested, we've liked, but what happens when the fine folks over at Puget Systems pull out all the stops and put together a high end gaming machine? The answer: the Deluge, an X79-based rig in a modified Antec P183, employing a custom liquid-cooling loop. It's big, powerful, and expensive. Did Puget Systems hit another custom out of the park, and is Sandy Bridge-E the enthusiast platform we were waiting for?"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: AnandTech

Video Perspective: CyberPower Gamer Ultra 2098 System

Subject: Systems | November 23, 2011 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: HD 6670, fx-4100, Cyberpower

Most of the time, when we are sent systems for review, they are some of the highest-end and most expensive gaming rigs available.  Companies tend to want to showcase a "flagship" product, one that will impress anyone that gazes upon it.  And while CyberPower definitely builds systems like that, for this review, we are looking at something much more modest - the pre-built Gamer Ultra 2098.

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The specifications for the system are pretty straight forward:

  • AMD FX-4100 Quad-core Bulldozer processor with a stock cooler
  • Gigabyte M68MT-S2 NVIDIA 7025 chipset motherboard
  • 8GB DDR3-1333 MHz memory
  • AMD Radeon HD 6670 1GB graphics card
  • 500 GB SATA III 6 Gb/s HDD
  • DVD Burner optical drive
  • 500 watt power supply
  • Azza Black Orion Red case
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

These aren't parts that are going to "wow" you by any stretch but the price might: Newegg is selling this complete system for $599 (as of this writing) while purchasing all of these components individually, on the same website, our total was $596.  Considering that someone has already built the machine (in a very clean and neat fashion) and you get basic support and a warranty, the cost of this machine is very compelling.

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Performance of the Gamer Ultra 2098 isn't going to blow our benchmark suite out of the water, but the quad-core AMD FX-4100 processor is able to keep pace with the lowest end Sandy Bridge CPUs and the Radeon HD 6670 1GB graphics card can play the majority of the current PC titles at 1080p with medium-ish image quality settings.

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This system isn't going to be for everyone, but for users that want a low-cost system that has some limited expansion capability, check out this CyberPower PC (and our video review below)!

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Sub-compact HD media streamer from Sitecom

Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: htpc, sitecom media player 2TB MD-272

The second generation of Sitecom's Media Player sports improved software and upgraded hardware, in addition to the 2TB of storage for your multimedia.  In addition it is certified by the Digital Living Network Alliance, which means that not only is it uPnP compatible it is capable of interfacing with other uPnP devices as well as your PC.  Head to Guru3D to see the long list of audio and video formats that the device is compatible with as well as the variety of outputs which are provided.  For around $100 without a drive this device offers a very easy, if a little limited, way to stream all your HD content to your TV.

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"The new Sitecom Media Player comes standard with a new improved GUI, but also hardware wise harbor the latest Realtek 1185 chipset, and that changes a thing or two as pretty much any of the performance issues we had noticed in 1080P content playback (with very high bit-rate) on the previous chipset now are a thing of the past.

That Realtek 1185 chipset has an increased clock frequency, 500 MHz coming from 400 MHz on the original version. And as little as it sounds, it makes a serious difference. The HDD TV Media Player 2TB allows you to play digital films, music and photos directly on your TV with High Definition quality (1080p)."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Guru3D

VIA Launches ARTiGO A1150 PC Kit

Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: DIY, VIA, ARTiGO

Packs VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video, HDMI connectivity and 64-bit computing in a palm sized chassis
Taipei, Taiwan, 22 November 2011 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the launch of the VIA ARTiGO A1150 a sub-liter dual core DIY PC kit for enthusiasts who want to taste the next generation of ultra-compact desktop computing.

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The new way to measure PC size

The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is one of the smallest full featured DIY PC kits available today, squeezing an impressive range of features that include a 1.0GHz dual core VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video support, HDMI and VGA display connectivity, Gigabit networking, Wi-Fi Support and five USB ports, all into a palm-sized PC chassis. The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is ideal for a variety of applications in the home or office, including home server, media streaming and surveillance applications or great as a regular desktop PC, using only a fraction of the physical real estate.

"VIA redefines dual core low power compact computing, bringing all the features of a regular desktop PC into a form factor that needs to be seen to be believed," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "VIA has a long history in creating leading edge form factor systems, and the VIA ARTiGO A1150 pushes the bounds for ultra-compact desktop computing."

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VIA ARTiGO A1150: Compact Computing Redefined
The mere 5.7" x 3.9" x 2" (14.6 cm x 9.9 cm x 5.2 cm) VIA ARTiGO A1150 is powered by a dual core 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 processor, offering a high performance native 64-bit computing experience while remaining within a low power thermal envelope. The VIA Eden X2 processor is joined by the VIA VX900H media system processor, a fully integrated all-in-one chipset that brings exceptional multimedia experience to small form factor devices including hardware acceleration for the latest HD video codecs including H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2/4 at screen resolutions of up to 1080p.

Front and back panel I/O includes HDMI and VGA ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, five USB ports including one USB device port, three audio jacks with optional wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and SD card reader modules.

To watch a short introductory video about the VIA ARTiGO A1150, please go to: http://youtu.be/qkQtymQdbgg