Fruit flavoured TV or DIY HTPC?

Subject: Systems | April 27, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: htpc, apple tv

Missing Remote, masters of all things HTPC, had a chance to try a product similar to many they have reviewed in the past, only this one bears a silver fruit symbol on it.  Right from the start there were obvious deficiencies as well as good features, the power wiring was designed not to block more than one power outlet but there was no HDMI cabling.  On the software side there were exhaustive controls for colour space, but no support for the wireless WPS standard and apparently the box forgot their WPA key on occasion.  They ended by recommending this $100 device for anyone looking for a better NetFlix experience but caution that iTunes is no replacement for BluRay.

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"In our first look at the new 2012 Apple TV it was clear that the form factor and basic function was consistent with many of the other over the top (OTT) media streamers on the market, but it was the visual appealing user interface (UI) that really shines compared to similar devices which became apparent in the video walkthrough. What was not clear, given the brief time with the Apple TV, was how it performs after the first-impression sheen has worn off or how the recently upgraded 1080p iTunes content stacks up against established OTT services like Netflix and VUDU, or the current top-end option, Blu-ray. Having spent the focused energy to really get to know the device it is time to come back with answers to those questions, as well as provide a fuller picture of what is provided by Apple’s OTT streamer refresh."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

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Looking for a low power SFF system you don't have to build yourself? Try Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p

Subject: Systems | April 24, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: silent, SFF, Lenovo, ThinkCentre M91p

Most people who want a small form factor PC at home are those who will build it themselves, but not everyone has the time or inclination to do so.  That is where systems like the Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p come in handy.   Powered by a 2.7GHz Core 5-2500S, a single 4GB DIMM of DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD it is not overwhelming in its abilities but certainly qualifies as a low heat and low noise machine.  Silent PC Review thought that this machine would be better for an office PC than an HTPC as the Intel HD3000 struggles with playback in some cases but are very glad to see the rare 2500S in a system as it is hard to purchase as a seperate item but is quite nice with a turbo speed of 3.7GHz.

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"The USFF version of Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p packs a significant punch in a small package. Utilizing an Intel "S" low power processor and a 150W external AC power adapter, it's also incredibly energy efficient."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Just Delivered: Corsair K60 & K90 Vengeance Mech Keyboards Type Hard, Type Harder, Type Hard: With a Vengeance

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | April 21, 2012 - 01:24 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair

Just Delivered is a class of articles at PC Perspective where we share what crosses into our offices, labs, houses, or pseudo-classified locations with crummy internet. Today we look at the Corsair Vengeance line of mechanical keyboards. We have received both the K60 FPS keyboard as well as the K90 MMO keyboard.

Some people say that when you try a mechanical keyboard, something just clicks.

That is not really the case for the Corsair Vengeance line of keyboards which use the linear Cherry MX Red switches. The key gives a light constant resistence until it hits bottom. Check out our explanation of the various type of switches from a few months ago to see the differences between Cherry MX switches.

corsairkeyboard.jpg

Seems quite odd, grammatically, to enter a market of new competitors with a Vengeance...

Just saying...

First impressions are that Corsair really put some thought and effort into these keyboards. Wrist rests snap into place and, in the K90's case, get screwed in for total stability. The brushed metal top is a great touch and gives the feeling of quality.

Each keyboard has a few non-mechanical keys which slightly take away from that feeling -- but that will be discussed in a more formal review setting.

corsairkeyboard2.jpg

Just for irony... I might play Wing Commander: Privateer as part of the Corsair review.

While Corsair to some extent markets these keyboards at different audiences -- it really does seem at first glance like the K90 is a direct upgrade to the K60, rather than a sidegrade. Apart from the custom shaped WSAD keys and the wrist rest, I cannot see much reason to go for the K60 over the K90 except for price.

That said, we shall find out for sure in the full review to be started shortly.

Source: PCPer

NAB 12: ACME Portable Machines Seahawk 100 on show floor

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | April 17, 2012 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: NAB 12, ACME

ACME Portable Machines showed off their Seahawk 100 computer on the show floor of the National Association of Broadcasters 2012 show. Multiple monitors, ruggedized, semi-portable, but slightly out of date on the hardware side.

When you think about portable computing: do you think about a laptop or a tablet? Either way you probably do not think about this product. But, should you?

Well if you did you would probably know it.

ACME Portable Machines is showing off the Seahawk 100 at NAB this week. The purpose for the device is to bring a fully functional multi-monitor computer where you need it, to plug it in, and to be assured that it will work.

ACME-1.jpg

Just don't give in to the temptation to make people call you the operator...

Functionally the device is slightly out of date with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83 GHz processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 video card, and 2-8 GB of RAM. If your desire is to play Starcraft 2 on the three monitors than you should have no problems, but that is not why you are purchasing this PC. If you are the type of person to visit the NAB show you probably will wish to include much more RAM than the default 2GB -- or even if you are not, 2GB is quite low nowadays.

ACME-2.jpg

It's not a tumah!

Price is only available by quote, but check out their website for more information. The design definitely looks interesting for users of its niche -- professionals in the field who just cannot live without the flexibility of multiple screens.

Thanks to our friend Colleen for the heads up and photos!

Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 14, 2012 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: valve, wearable computers

Valve has been under the public eye since rumors of The Steam Box broke. To put out the rumors, Michael Abrash -- now at Valve -- announced their mystery project investigates computing devices that you can wear.

Great, that is just what we need, more Steam punks and their costumes.

Valve has traditionally been somewhat of a quiet company accustomed to public speculation. In a change of pace from the typical cries to release Half Life 2: Episode 3, Valve has recently been subject to rumors about breaking into the hardware business. In another change of pace, Valve has announced their hardware project is wearable computers and publicly solicited for job applicants to join in the research.

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Want me to show you my knife collection?

(Photo Credit, Giant Bomb)

Michael Abrash wrote in his blog on Valve’s website what his work is based on and it is quite similar to what Google is looking at with their augmented reality glasses.

By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).

While this is very interesting, it still remains to be seen where Valve intends to be involved with this project. Steam is pushing out from the desktop PC to the home theatre with their Big Picture UI and what that could potentially spread out into.

It is entirely possible that Google and Valve both see some link between Steam/Google TV and Wearable Computers/Augmented Reality glasses that we are just unable to perceive yet and are lunging for the same target. While the blog posting is very interesting, it still reveals little about the technology itself.

Also, this announcement does not mean that Valve is not working on a hardware platform to accompany The Big Picture, it just says more about what Valve is currently working on in secret. The previous rumors could still have some shred of truth in them.

As for when we will see wearable computing? It’s still a long ways out in Valve time.

To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development.

So, which will we see first? Valve augmented reality devices, or the stunning conclusion to Gordon Freeman’s story-arc? That is a bet that will require one heck of a patient bookie to make.
Source: Valve

Logic Supply has an interesting way of sizing their smaller HTPCs

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2012 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, Logic Supply, LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC, htpc, Atom N2800

Defining the size of the Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC as being 1.2 litres is a unique way of describing just how small this machine is.  You can see from the picture below that a pair of serial ports takes up a significant portion of the front panel.  Part of the reason for this is the completely fanless design, the heatsink obscuring the Atom N2800 has TIM on it to allow the entire top of the case to distribute the heat.  The SSD drive also helps slim the machine down and also adds snappy performance as well.  The Intel DN2800MT mini-ITX board powers the SSD and can fit up to 4GB of RAM in its two slots and the Intel GMA 3650 powers the HDMI and VGA ports with enough processing power for you to watch HD video.  As it is a totally silent HTPC, it should come as no surprise that it was Silent PC Review who received this box for testing.

SPCRlg150i.jpg

"This new PC from specialist Logic Systems is based around the recently released Intel DN2800MT "Marshalltown" mini-ITX Atom board, a long-awaited follow-up to the original "Thin ITX" board, the Intel D945GSEJT. Super low energy consumption, 1080P video capability and a tiny 1.2 liter form factor should be compelling for Mini PC enthusiasts."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Valve denies Steam Box, posts job for Hardware Engineer

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 13, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Box

Doug Lombardi of Valve denied rumors of the Steam Box console last month, but fell short of denying future possibilities and so forth. Recently, Valve has posted a job opening on their website for an electronics engineer.

When Valve’s Doug Lombardi responded to rumors of a “Steam Box” console, he used the following words which were posted all over the internet as Valve denies Steam Box console rumors:

We're prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we're building boxes to test that on. We're also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we've talked about a fair amount, […] All of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware.

GabeNewellTrollFalse.png

That is not a denial!
(Image created with Memegenerator.net)
(And yes, I know that's Gabe Newell, not Doug Lombardi)

 

As it turns out Valve has just recently posted a job position for a Hardware Engineer with the following duties:

Work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output, and platform hardware

Join our highly motivated team that’s doing hardware design, prototyping, testing, and production across a wide range of platforms. We’re not talking about me-too mice and gamepads here – help us invent whole new gaming experiences.

While that hardware engineer position could be any number of things including peripheral development, it is clear that Valve wants to get into hardware more than they let on. This looks to be more than just development hardware.

Source: Valve

For your enjoyment; a little dual Xeon action

Subject: Systems | April 10, 2012 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: asus, Z9 PE-D8 WS, E5-2660, E5-2687W, xeon

The ASUS Z9 PE-D8 WorkStation motherboard is a great platform for those looking to run two LGA2011 Xeon processors, as well as support for up to four GPUs from either NVIDIA or AMD.  As it is a PCIe 3.0 board, you can run two cards at a full 16x, with four cards they would all run at 8x speeds.  Overclock3D tried two different pairs of octocore Xeons, the 3.1GHz E5-2687W and the 2.2GHz E5-2660 to compare the effect of the base clock speeds on performance.  The faster machine is a F@H monster, running over 100,000 PPD, though in other tests it did not out pace the competition by such a wide margin.  That is especially true for gaming tests, where you seem to be better off with a highly overclocked i7-3960X.

OC3D_xeons.JPG

"What would happen if you combined the power of the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS and two of the latest Xeon processors? We find out."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Overclock3D

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.

maingear1.jpg

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.

maingear3.jpg

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.

maingear4.jpg

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.

maingear5.jpg

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.

goldtux.png

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.

BR_Arctic-MC001-BD-HTPC.jpg

"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.

XBt-dualgraphics.png

"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!"

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Source: VR-Zone