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Subject: Systems | March 29, 2012 - 03:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Video Connectors Tutorial @ Hardware Secrets
- Noontec MediaHome V8 Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Warpia Easy Dock Pro SWP220 @ TechwareLabs
- Apple TV (2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
- New AppleTV Review @ MissingRemote
Subject: Motherboards, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 11:59 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 04:26 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
Mobile GPUs in SLi -- not common, not unheard of, but probably a good idea for 3D.
- 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
Subject: Systems | March 27, 2012 - 02:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Scan 3XS Vengeance GTX680 Z68 OC System @ OC3D
- HP TouchSmart Elite 7320 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Building the Right Box @ Techgage
- Acer AX1930-UR10P Review @ TechReviewSource
- Puget Systems Echo: Intel and AMD Showdown at 65 Watts @ AnandTech
- Intel Xeon E5-2687W in Asus Z9PE-D8 WS dual CPU workstation @ The Inquirer
- HP TouchSmart 520 All-In-One @ TechSpot
Subject: Systems | March 26, 2012 - 04:06 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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|
IV Extreme X79
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 06:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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."
"What if I have about US$5000 to spend - Could I have a true 8-core/16-thread CPU in a small form factor setup without compromising on storage, thermals or online gaming prowess?" Well, we show that we can!"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- PC Specialist Vortex XT-270FB @ Kitguru
- iBUYPOWER Erebus GT: Custom Cooling for Less @ AnandTech
- HP Omni 27 Quad Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP Phoenix h9se: The Pavilion Goes Beyond Thunderdome @ AnandTech
Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, patriot, patriot PBO Alpine, arm
The new Patriot PBO Alpine is an ARM powered, Android 2.2 device which promises to deliver 1080p video and Dolby Surround sound from a box measuring 4.5" x 4.5" x 1". It sports HDMI and S/PDIF audio out, an ethernet port as well as two USB ports which is a good thing as you will want to use a mouse and keyboard as opposed to the bundled remote which was [H]ard|OCP's least favourite thing about this media streamer. Apart from that one disappointment, the PBO Alpine walked away with a Gold Award thanks to great video quality and some extras that Patriot tossed in to make this HTPC stand out in the crowd.
"On the heels of its Box Office success, Patriot Memory has a brand new HD media player coming to market that is powered by an ARM926 processor and running Android 2.2. Could the PBO Alpine the next edition to your HD home entertainment experience? With a tremendous feature set inside a tiny footprint, we think it is worthy."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Zotac ZBOX ID80 Plus Mini-PC Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Actiontec MyWirelessTV Multi-Room HD Video Kit Review @ OCIA
- nMedia HTPC 7000B SFF Chassis Review @MissingRemote
- Hands on with the StreamHD from Warpia @ Techwarelabs
Subject: Systems | March 13, 2012 - 12:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: solo, maingear, all-in-one, solo 21
Kenilworth, New Jersey – March 13th, 2012 – MAINGEAR, an award-winning custom PC builder known for custom built desktops, laptops and workstations is now adding all-in-one PC solutions to their product offerings. The MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-one builds upon MAINGEAR’s pedigree of performance, upgradeability, no bloatware, and excellent service and support that they are known for.
With more consumers looking for a full-size desktop computer without the hassle of wires and other connections, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-One provides the freedom of space while still offering the latest technology. Following their trend of fully customizable products, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 is the first fully upgradeable all-in-one today, including the ability to upgrade the motherboard to accommodate future technology advances. This powerful all-in-one PC features an optional vibrant LED backlit 10-point touchscreen, a built in webcam, and supports a wide range of 32nm and 22nm Intel Core Processor to fit your needs and budget, and comes with a 32GB SSD caching drive for faster system response, standard.
Sleek, Elegant Design:
With clean lines and attractive silhouette, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 can fit in any room in the house. It can be on the living room wall as a media hub or use it in the kitchen for. With a VESA mount, you can hang it in your bedroom and use Windows Media Center to pull in content from your main PC or even plug in a digital cable tuner and use it as a stand-alone entertainment system.
In world of firsts, the MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-One will also offer a wide range of hand-painted automotive quality colors so ahead and choose your favorite color.
Since the MAINGEAR Solo 21 is completely upgradable, it features support for a wide range of processor and also supports 22nm next generation processors. In addition, it conforms to Intel Thin Mini-ITX standards, meaning even the motherboard is upgradeable, a first in the PC industry. The MAINGEAR Solo 21 All-in-One offers up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and supports full size hard drives up to 2TB of storage and eSATA for fast external storage. The MAINGEAR Solo 21 is equipped with two USB 3.0 ports and two additional high current, fast-charging USB 2.0 ports to keep your mobile devices ready to go.
The MAINGEAR Solo 21 also features a gorgeous LED backlit 1080p screen with optional 10-point multi-touch technology, allowing for even greater interactivity with your PC.
The MAINGEAR Solo 21 is the first all-in-one to come equipped with SSD caching to accelerate the performance of your hard drive by up to 5-8X* thanks to the robust Dataplex software by NVELO and a fully upgradeable mSATA slot. This unique feature gives you the performance of an SSD, without the cost or complexity of a dual-drive configuration.
“We are happy to work with Maingear to enable this very unique All-in-One product,” said Kevin Silver, VP of Business Development for NVELO. “ They set out to deliver a flexible computing platform with reduced cost and complexity, but did not want to compromise on performance. By configuring the SOLO to include our Dataplex cache software with an mSATA cache SSD, Maingear can now offer its customers the benefit of SSD level performance, with full HDD capacity, at a minimal incremental cost.”
"The new MAINGEAR Solo 21 is the perfect PC to meet the increased market demand of having an all-in-one PC that is more versatile for business or entertainment use. MAINGEAR continues to be an innovation leader with the release of this unique all-new all-in-one, which offers premium features, stylish design and upgradability that no one else offers," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of MAINGEAR.
MAINGEAR Solo 21: (Default specs)
- Intel Core i3 2125 3.3GHz, upgradeable to Intel Core i7 2600S
- Intel DH61AG motherboard supporting USB 3.0, SATA 6G, 32nm and 22nm processors
- 4GB DDR3-1333, upgradeable to 16GB DDR3-1333 memory
- 32GB SSD caching drive standard, featuring NVELO Dataplex software
- 500 GB HDD, up to 2TB 7200 RPM SATA HDD
- DVD burner
- Intel 802.11n, Bluetooth wireless adapter
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Starting at $999
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 10:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, computers, arm
It seems that not all is sweets (pie, of course) and celebration for the folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, as the initial batch of their ARM powered Linux computers have experienced what the charity has dubbed a “hiccup” at the manufacturing stage. It seems that while they specified magnetic jacks in the design materials, the wrong RJ45 network jacks for the boards were soldered on accidentally by the Chinese factory. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the dud jacks in question were the result of the manufacturer using non magnetic jacks instead of RJ45 connectors with integrated magnetic connections. They further stated that they had been aware of the problem for four days prior to the announcement, but needed to “do some further tests to make sure nothing else was affected.”
They are currently sourcing the proper network jacks, and are receiving help from their manufacturing and distribution partners RS Components and Premier Farnell. It is not all bad news; however, as it seems they caught the issue quickly enough to maintain the release schedule for the initial batch of Raspberry Pi boards. The issue is a relatively minor one that is easily rectified by desoldering the dud jacks and soldering on the new ones with integrated magnetics. The manufacturing factory is nearly finished with the replacement on the initial batch and they expect the boards to get out to consumers on time. The less than ideal news is that, there may be a slight delay for those waiting on pre-orders of boards outside of the initial batch as they are still trying to source enough networking jacks as mentioned above.
'We are very, very sorry.” they stated in the blog post. In the end, they believe it to be a mere small bump in the road and have promised to keep users updated on the manufacturing status of the eagerly awaited Raspberry Pi computers. More information along with X-rays of the dud networking jacks can be found on their blog.
In a recent press release, Zotac unveiled three new ZBox small form factor computers, including one PC that features a blu-ray optical drive. Specifically, the new models include the ZBOX ID82, ZBOX Nano ID61, and the ZBOX Blu-ray AD05. In addition, the company offers "plus" versions of the three ZBOX computers that add 2GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive to the hardware package. Carsten Berger, marketing director for ZOTAC stated that the company is constantly pushing the small form factor envelope and the latest Intel Core i3 Sandy Bridge processors "enables us to give demanding users the performance edge they need."
The ZBOX Nano ID61
The ZBOX ID61 is the smallest of the three PCs and is the latest in their Nano form factor. It is powered by a dual core Intel Celeron 867 processor, a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, and an integrated multimedia card reader. Connections include HDMI, Displayport, 2 USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, 1 eSATA port, Bluetooth 3.0, and a built in IR receiver. The ID61 plus further features 2 GB of DDR3 1333 MHz laptop RAM and a 320 GB SATA III (6Gbps) hard drive.
The ZBOX ID82
The ID82 represents the latest ZBOX PC, and while it is a big bulkier than the Nano series, it packs a lot more punch with an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3-2330. The new Intel CPU is a dual core 2.2 GHz processor which further includes Hyper-Threading tech for a total of four virtual cores. Further, the PC has two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, DVI-I, and Bluetooth 3.0. The ZBOX ID82 Plus includes 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 320 GB laptop hard drive.
The ZBOX Blu-ray AD05
Finally, the ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 is a small form factor PC that moves to AMD for their processor and GPU with the AMD E-450 APU with integrated Radeon 6320 GPU. The extra hardware horsepower provides the "oomph" needed to support smooth blu-ray playback. The mini PC holds a 4x Blu-ray reader that doubles as a 8x DVD +/- writer. It includes support for two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots and an 2.5" SATA II hard drive. Connections include HDMI, DVI, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and one combo USB 2.0/eSATA port. The ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 Plus version further includes 2 GB of memory and a 320 GB hard drive.
All three of the mini ZOTAC ZBOX PCs (wow, that's a lot of caps) also feature Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a bundled Media Center remote and USB IR receiver. No matter the model, the user is still responsible for providing an OS as one does not come bundled. Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing or availability.
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 12:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, OS, linux
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has quite the success on their hands with the small ARM powered Linux computer they have dubbed the Raspberry Pi. With pre-orders that sold out within hours, a great deal of press coverage, and overwhelming support from the community to support the Raspberry Pi with software and download mirrors, they have announced not only the promised Fedora 14 Remix Linux distribution, but OpenELEC XBMC support and an Arch Linux distro for power users.
So far, the charity has released the Fedora 14 Remix, Debian Squeeze, and Arch Linux distributions. All three are now available for download via their downloads page using either Torrent files or HTTP downloads through the community mirrors.
The Fedora Remix Distro
The Debian Squeeze OS is the Raspberry Pi's reference file system and is aimed at software developers while the Fedora Remix is aimed at those wanting a casual OS that is capable of playing back multimedia content. Finally, the Arch Linux distro is aimed at power users and Linux enthusiasts that want to totally customize their Linux operating system and the software including with it. These distros are meant to be installed on an SD card and then inserted into the Raspberry Pi.
Head on over to their downloads page to get your hands on the distros!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | March 5, 2012 - 03:32 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcaudiolabs, pcal, Intel, giveaway, contest
UPDATE: Contest is closed! We'll announce a winner in the next couple of days!! Thanks to all who entered and to our sponsors for allowing us the chance to give away this kick-ass system!
UPDATE 2: Congratulations to user Cameron Berry as they are the winner of the PCAudioLabs sweepstakes sponsored by PC Perspective and Intel!! Thanks to everyone that participated and be sure to stay tuned for more contests right here on pcper.com!
Our fans and readers have supported PC Perspective since its formation in 2004 and even before that back in the days of amdmb.com and athlonmb.com, and because of that support, we have been able to provide you with reviews and information on a continuous basis that we feel are the best in the industry. And when we get the chance to give back to you, we jump at the chance and that is just what happened a couple weeks ago when our long time friends at Intel introduced us to the folks at PCAudioLabs for a sweepstakes of impressive proportions.
For the next two weeks we are giving our readers the chance to win a complete PCAudioLabs computer based on the Intel X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!! If you aren't familiar with PCAudioLabs, here is a rundown of their mission from their website:
PCAudioLabs was formed early in 2000 by Thomas Bolton and Fred Rosenbloom. At the time, they were both working at Steinberg North America in the technical department and they noticed a great need for more educational tools for music production. With a video camera and a desire to inform, they started making in depth tutorial guides to some of the biggest software products in music production. The company was a huge success but it quickly became apparent that even if people knew how to use their software, it wouldn’t be of much help if the computer they were trying to use it on didn’t do its job.
PCAudioLabs built their first custom DAW for world renowned Engineer/Producer Mark Howard and within months they were the hottest system builders in the country. Besides the enormous list of pro users that have chosen PCAudioLabs, AMD, Intel and Microsoft have all turned to PCAudioLabs whenever they have audio needs.
In 2007, PCAudioLabs tripled in size, moving into a new location and increasing staff to meet demand. By NAMM 2008, PCAudioLabs was not only the supplier of PC’s for music software giants Steinberg and Cakewalk, but also hardware manufacturers such as Roland, Yamaha and Euphonix.
Although our task is technical, we know our staff needs to be able to relate to you and your situation. That’s why not only are the people who will build your system experts in computing, they are also musicians. In fact, any person you e-mail or speak to at PCAudioLabs makes music, so you’ll never have to worry about asking a musical question and getting a technical response – we speak your language.
Inside this brand-new generation of Rok Box you'll find an Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E processor along with a great Intel DX79TO motherboard. Kingston has supplied 16GB of DDR3 memory to keep your audio creation rolling even with a ton of applications loaded up. Storage is powered by a 240GB Intel 510 SSD as well as dual 1TB spinning drives for recording and sampling simultaneously. ASUS has provided the GTX 560 Ti CUII TOP graphics card and the entire system is powered by an 850 watt Antec High Current Pro power supply. In total, the system from PCAudioLabs will retail for right around $3,000!!
That isn't all though as PCAudioLabs has included full versions of software required for audio production including Cakewalk Sonar X1 Essential, Native Instruments Komplete Element's, IK Multimedia's Amplitube FREE and much more. The software alone is valued at more than $600 bringing the total value here to over $3,600! See the PCAudioLabs website for more details.
I am sure you are interested in the system itself so we have created a short video to go over the hardware as well as the software included in this bundle - check it out!
Without a doubt you are wondering what you have to do to win this system. The steps are simple:
- Visit the PCAudioLabs Facebook page at http://facebook.com/pcaudiolabs, "Like" it and leave a comment on the wall if you want as well, thanking them for supporting PC Perspective and the audio creation community. They are supporting PC Perspective by giving us this system and allowing US to support YOU with the giveaway, so get over here and support THEM!
- Leave a comment on this PC Perspective post below (registration is not required, though recommended) telling us and the PCAL crew what you plan to do with this system, how you'll utilize its power in your audio creation projects, etc. What will the Rok Box improve or make easier for you?
- And if you want to follow us for more PC hardware news and upcoming contests you can do so at several locations. http://twitter.com/pcper http://facebook.com/pcper and http://gplus.to/pcper
That's it! Our sweepstakes will run between today at end at 12:01am EST on March the 6th. If you don't have your entry in by then, you are out of luck. We will pick a random winner from the comments and ship the system out that week in March. You are responsible for any taxes / tariffs but we'll cover the shipping to anywhere in the world.
A HUGE thanks goes out to our friends at PCAudioLabs and Intel for making this possible and we hope you all appreciate the work that goes into putting something like this on. Also, thanks goes to Antec, ASUS and Kingston for their support as well.
Good luck to everyone and happy audio editing!!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | March 3, 2012 - 05:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, Steam Box, steam, GDC 12
It is rumored that Valve will announce a Steam hardware platform as early as GDC next week although that could be pushed back as late as E3 in June.
Steam has grown atop the PC platform and consists of over 40 million active user accounts. For perspective, the Xbox 360 has sold 65.8 million units to date and that includes units sold to users whose older Xbox 360s died and they did not go the cardboard coffin route. Of course the study does not account for the level of hardware performance each user can utilize although Valve does keep regular surveys of that.
A console with admined dedicated servers to kick the teabagging and griefing Steam punks.
Within the last couple of years, Valve has been popping in to news seemingly out of the blue. Allow me to draw your attention to three main events.
At the last GDC, Valve announced “The Big Picture” mode for their Steam software. The Big Picture is an interface for Steam which is friendly to users seated on a couch several feet away from a large screen TV. While “The Big Picture” has yet to be released it does set the stage for a great Home Theatre PC user interface for PC games as well as potentially other media.
I must admit, that controller does not look the most ergonomic... but it is just a patent filing.
Last year, Valve also filed a patent with the US Patent Office for a video game controller with user swappable control components. Their patent filings show a controller which looks quite similar to an Xbox 360 controller where the thumbsticks can be replaced with touch pads as well as a trackball and potentially other devices. Return of Missile Command anyone?
Also a little over two years ago, Valve announced a partnership with Razer for their Sixense high-precision motion controllers. It is possible that Valve was supporting this technology for this future all along. While motion controllers have not proven to be successful for gaming, they are accepted as a method to control a device. Perhaps The Big Picture will be optimized to support Sixense and compatible devices?
The Verge goes beyond their claims that Valve will announce The Steam Box and has included specifications for a closed-doors prototype of the system. The system was rumored to be used to present to partners at CES contained an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU.
You know if Microsoft had focused on Media Center for gaming rather than the Xbox...
It is very unclear whether Valve will attempt to take a loss on the platform in hopes to make it back up in Steam commissions. It is possible that Valve will just push the platform to OEM partners, but it is possible that they will release and market their own canon device.
I am interested to see how Valve will push the Home Theatre PC market. The main disadvantage that the PC platform has at the moment is simply marketing and development money. It is also possible that they wish to expand out and support other media through their Steam service as well.
At the very least, we should have a viable Home Theatre PC user interface as well as sharp lines between hardware profiles. A developer on the PC would love to know the exact number of potential users they should expect if they were to support a certain hardware configuration. Valve was always keen on supplying hardware profile statistics, and this is certainly a harsh evolution of that.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 29, 2012 - 05:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, mobile, linux, hdmi, computer
The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced yesterday that their little Linux computer would be launching in the early hours of the morning today. Instead of the original plan of Raspberry Pi handling the pre-orders and shipping them from the UK, they ended up partnering with RS Components and Premier Farnell to handle all their orders and distribute them to customers. The non profit foundation states that this move will save customers money on shipping as the two companies have distribution centers worldwide and they will be able to get more boards out because they will be able to sell enough boards to meet demand.
Today, RS and Farnell were offering up the Model B Raspberry Pi boards for pre-order, and the first 5,000 orders from each company will receive their Raspberry Pi boards from the initial 10,000 unit batch. Surprisingly, the two companies' servers were getting hit extremely hard earlier today and it was almost impossible to not see at least a couple error pages requiring a painfully long refresh. According to the article, the Raspberry Pi computer sold out "within hours." Even though the initial batch of boards is spoken for, customers can continue to pre-order boards that will be delivered as soon as the next batch has finished production. Those unlucky enough to miss the first 10,000 aren't completely out of luck; however, as it is rumored that production of more boards should be getting underway and have an estimated delivery date a bit more than a month away. How true that is, remains to be seen however.
Personally, I managed to snag one of the first Raspberry Pi boards from Farnell Export, but it was an order fraught with error pages and being uncertain just how many I ordered as the confirm order page kept error-ing out. Luckily, I received an email from them confirming my order of a single Raspberry Pi and am now eagerly waiting for it to arrive. The last estimated delivery figure I received puts it about a month out, however.
In another bit of good news, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is still planning to release the cheaper Model A board later this year, and they managed to up the RAM to a full 256 MB of RAM which is twice the original 128 MB of RAM they planned. This update to the Model A means that the Model B is now only differentiated by the addition of two USB ports and an Ethernet port.
Did you manage to snag a Raspberry Pi this morning? From how hard the servers were getting hit last night, I'm starting to think that the Raspberry Pi Linux computer may be more popular than actual pie! If you are still interested in pre-ordering a Raspberry Pi, RS Components and Premier Farnell have you covered.
Subject: Systems | February 29, 2012 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, Lian Li, Lian Li PC-Q25
Lian Li's PC-Q25 has a look to it that mimics other HTPCs but adds a few interesting tweaks to the basic block design other cases sport. At 199mm x 280mm x 366mm it will only fit mATX or mDTX motherboards but it is long enough to handle graphics cards up to 12.5" in length. The brushed aluminium exterior is meant to be shown off, not hidden with other components and could be a nice addition to any room devoted to entertainment. Missing Remote was a little disappointed that even though the case can accomodate two decent sized graphics cards it cannot handle a long PSU. Apart from that they like what Lian Li is doing.
"The Fractal Design Array R2 chassis instantly recalled for us the decidedly niche, but incredibly functional, cube-style cases popular a few years ago. which were incredibly niche but very functional. The R2 was flexible, silent and sleek in a very limited amount of space. The Lian Li PC-Q25 chassis shares many of the same appealing traits, but goes for a taller design in a similar footprint. This allows it some interesting arrangements inside and allows for even more internal storage options. As a small form factor case there are always trade-offs to be made, and the omission of an optical drive space is just one of them. With some very attractive features in a small form factor cube-like chassis, the Lian Li PC-Q25 has a lot to offer a variety of consumers, which we will examine closer."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Patriot Memory PBO Alpine Media Player @ [H]ard|OCP
- AC Ryan Playon!HD Mini 2 Full HD Network Media Streamer Review @ Madshrimps
- Noontec A9 Smart TV Box Review @ eTeknix
- Noontec A9 Android Smart TV Box Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX HTPC Case @MissingRemote
- VooMote Zapper Universal Remote for the iPod/iPhone/iPad Review @ MissingRemote
- Lian Li PC-90 HPTX Chassis Review @ MissingRemote
- Pulse-Eight USB CEC Adapter @ AnandTech
Subject: Systems | February 24, 2012 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sweet spot, schooner, econobox, double stuff, corsair
The PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard is not the only source for system build recommendations, The Tech Report has also just updated their system recommendations as well. As there has not been much movement in the industry apart from graphics card updates many of the components remain the same, with a few exceptions. There is a brand new page on the system guide which offers a unique philosophy on system building which leverages the broad spread of markets component companies offer now. Corsair offers far more than just RAM now, which is how the Schooner system came to exist. The majority of the components in this system are Corsair, which will give your system a very consistent look usually found only in boutique built machines. Check out the whole article here.
"Not much new hardware has come out since we published our last guide in December, but this edition is still choc-full of small, incremental changes and tweaks. We've also included a one-of-a-kind build specced out by our Editor-in-Chief."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Alienware Aurora R4 Performance Desktop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Cincinnati Bengal System @ OC3D
- Chillblast Fusion Photo Workstation PC Review @ ITShootOut
- eTeknix Builds New Rendering Machine - System X
- Sapphire EDGE HD3 Mini PC @ Kitguru
- Intel Core i7 3930K & Asus P9X79 WS LGA2011 WorkStation @ Kitguru
- ASRock CoreHT Server Edition @ AnandTech
- Alienware X51 Desktop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One PC Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus ET2410ITUS-B018C Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: Systems | February 23, 2012 - 12:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VIA, EPIA-M900, EPIA-M910, quadcore
Taipei, Taiwan--February 23, 2012 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announcedthe world's first quad core Mini-ITX boards featuring the latest VIA QuadCore E-Series processor. The VIA EPIA-M900 and VIA EPIA-M910 are the first two Mini-ITX boards to feature the 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor, offering enhanced multi-tasking and superb multimedia performance on the lowest quad core power budget for next generation embedded products.
The VIA QuadCore E-Series processor features a highly optimized, energy efficient multi-core architecture, which is natively 64-bit compatible and comes with a host of additional performance features including Adaptive Overclocking. To meet the low power demands of the embedded market, the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor offers industry-leading energy efficiency, with the VIA QuadCore E-Series 1.2+ GHz processor delivering a thermal design power (TDP) of only 27.5W. The distributed power of the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor makes it ideal for handling the most demanding HD video formats for immersive multi-display applications and environments.
"The VIA QuadCore E-Series processor delivers world class performance in the industry's leading power efficient package,"said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The high performance of the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor makes it the perfect platform for the creation of next generation digital signage displays and embedded projects."
VIA EPIA-M900VIA EPIA-M900
Measuring 17cm x 17cm the VIA EPIA-M900 Mini-ITX board features the choice of a 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor or a 1.6GHz dual core VIA Nano X2 E-Series processor.Paired with the VIA VX900 MSP, supporting up to 8GB of DDR3 system memory and featuring the VIA ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor, the VIA EPIA-M900 enables the creation of a wealth of innovative next generation digital signage, POS, Kiosk, ATM, home automation, healthcare and media client system design applications.
Just click to grow!
Rear panel I/O includes a Gigabit LAN port, HDMI port, VGA port, four USB 2.0 ports, one COM port and three audio jacks. An onboard PCIe x16 slot (with effective speed up to PCIe x8) and one PCI slot is accompanied with pin headers providing one dual channel 24-bit LVDS support (including backlight control), an additional three COM ports, a further four USB 2.0 ports and one USB device port, LPC support, 2 Digital I/O, SPDIF out and an SMBus header.
For more information about the VIA EPIA-M900 Mini-ITX board, please visit: http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/boards/productDetail.jsp?productLine=1&id=1550&tabs=1
VIA EPIA-M910VIA EPIA-M910
Paired with the VIA VX900 MSP, the VIA EPIA-M910 is available with a wide choice of VIA x86 processors, including the latest 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor, a 1.6GHz VIA Nano X2 dual core processor or a fanless 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor. Featuring one of the richest I/O sets available, the VIA EPIA-M910 is ideal for a wide range of embedded applications including ATM, kiosks, POS, digital signage, healthcare and digital media applications.
Embiggen with a click
Rear panel I/O includes dual Gigabit LAN ports, PS/2 support, one HDMI port, a VGA port, two RS-232 5v/12v selectable COM ports, four USB 2.0 ports and audio jacks. On board pin headers provide 2 x 24-bit LVDS support (including backlight control), two SATA ports, an additional six COM ports, a further four USB ports, Digital I/O, and a PCIe x4 slot. The VIA EPIA-M910 is available with support for either ATX or DC-in power supplies.
For more information about the VIA EPIA-M910 Mini-ITX board, please visit: http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/boards/productDetail.jsp?productLine=1&id=1810&tabs=1
For more information about VIA QuadCore E-Series processors, please visit: http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/processors/productDetail.jsp?productLine=5&id=1830&tabs=1
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | February 20, 2012 - 01:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Thecus, NAS
Home users are starting to look at Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices to serve their home media needs. Also popular are products which allow you to browse the internet and play media on your TV. Just announced by Thecus are two NAS devices which fit both roles and many others. The N2800 contains a built-in media card reader while the N4800 has a built in mini Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), OLED status screen, and a second USB3.0 port.
I hear they're a NASty bunch...
The obvious selling features of the two devices are the inclusion of HDMI output to enable the above roles as well as an updated 3rd Generation Intel Atom CPU D2700. The D2700 is a 2.13GHz Dual Core and hyper threaded Intel Atom processor manufactured at 32nm.
Check out the highlights of their press release below.
02/20/2012- As part of the Intel Embedded Alliance, Thecus has precedence and access to a multitude of Intel prototypes and the latest technologies. Working on those products for months now, Thecus is delighted to finally release its Vision Series.
The new N2800 and N4800 are going to be some of the first Intel(r) Atom(tm) D2700 based NAS! They will set the standard for what's best in the market to help you build a true multimedia center: USB 3.0, Dual Gigabit Ports, SD Card reader (N2800), Mini-UPS (N4800), etc.
And the most important feature is the HDMI output. With Thecus Local Display module, it's now possible to connect the NAS directly to a monitor and control it through USB mouse/keyboard. Playing HD movies, browsing the web, controlling the NAS... everything is now possible directly from your TV! Thanks to this feature, Thecus is now creating a new standard among the NAS industry.
Thecus(r) Technology Corp. specializes in IP Storage Server and Network Video Recorder solutions. The company was established in 2004 with the mission to make technology that is as transparent as it is easy-to-use and products that are not only the best on the market, but are accessible to experts and novices alike. Combining a world-class R&D team highly experienced in storage hardware and software development with a keen customer focus, Thecus(r) stays close to the market to develop high-quality products to fulfill the storage and surveillance needs of today's world.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 20, 2012 - 01:50 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Rosepoint, ISSCC 2012, ISSCC, Intel
If there is one thing that Intel is good at, it is writing a really big check to go in a new direction right when absolutely needed. Intel has released press information on what should be expected from their presence at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference which is currently in progress until the 23rd. The headliner for Intel at this event is their Rosepoint System on a Chip (SoC) which looks to lower power consumption by rethinking the RF transceiver and including it on the die itself. While the research has been underway for over a decade at this point, pressure from ARM has pushed Intel to, once again, throw money at R&D until their problems go away.
Intel could have easily trolled us all and have named this SoC "Centrino".
Almost ten years ago, AMD had Intel in a very difficult position. Intel fought to keep clock-rates high until AMD changed their numbering scheme to give proper credit to their higher performance-per-clock components. Intel dominated, legally or otherwise, the lower end market with their Celeron line of processors.
AMD responded with series of well-timed attacks against Intel. AMD jabbed Intel in the face and punched them in the gut with the release of the Sempron processor line nearby filing for anti-trust against Intel to allow them to more easily sell their processors in mainstream PCs.
At around this time, Intel decided to entirely pivot their product direction and made plans to take their Netburst architecture behind the shed. AMD has yet to recover from the tidal wave which the Core architectures crashed upon them.
Intel wishes to stop assaulting your battery indicator.
With the surge of ARM processors that have been fundamentally designed for lower power consumption than Intel’s x86-based competition, things look bleak for the expanding mobile market. Leave it to Intel to, once again, simply cut a gigantic check.
Intel is in the process of cutting power wherever possible in their mobile offerings. To remain competitive with ARM, Intel is not above outside-the-box solutions including the integration of more power-hungry components directly into the main processor. Similar to NVIDIA’s recent integration of touchscreen hardware into their Tegra 3 SoC, Intel will push the traditionally very power-hungry Wi-Fi transceivers into the SoC and supposedly eliminate all analog portions of the component in the process.
I am not too knowledgeable about Wi-Fi transceivers so I am not entirely sure how big of a jump Intel has made in their development, but it appears to be very significant. Intel is said to discuss this technology more closely during their talk on Tuesday morning titled, “A 20dBm 2.4GHz Digital Outphasing Transmitter for WLAN Application in 32nm CMOS.”
This paper is about a WiFi-compliant (802.11g/n) transmitter using Intel’s 32nm process and techniques leveraging Intel transistors to achieve record performance (power consumption per transmitted data better than state-of-the art). These techniques are expected to yield even better results when moved to Intel’s 22nm process and beyond.
What we do know is that the Rosepoint SoC will be manufactured at 32nm and is allegedly quite easy to scale down to smaller processes when necessary. Intel has also stated that while only Wi-Fi is currently supported, other frequencies including cellular bands could be developed in the future.
We will need to wait until later to see how this will affect the real world products, but either way -- this certainly is a testament to how much change a dollar can be broken into.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 17, 2012 - 10:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: workstation, nvidia, hp
Here is a story for the professional computer users out there.
Professionals have standards: be polite, be efficient, and have a multi-year plan to cram as much hardware into a small case as you can seat. NVIDIA and HP have obviously played too much Team Fortress -- or I did -- let us just all three of us have. The engineers have dispensed with the desktop tower and crammed everything in the monitor with their Z1 product series. While not original, it does hold a number of nice features.
… But honestly, what the user really wants is for it to dispense Bonk!
As soon as I read the announcement I immediately jumped over to HP’s product page and confirmed the existence of external display connections. Sure enough, HP did not entirely botch this product and allows the connection of one extra monitor by display port. While being limited to just two monitors is a bit disappointing -- I currently have a three monitor setup -- if they were to introduce a workstation computer with just a single monitor it would have been product suicide. Thankfully they had enough sense.
The real flaunted feature of the Z1 workstation is its ease of upgrade. The included power supply is rated at 400W which to my knowledge is decent for a single-card workstation class computer. HP claims support for up to 2 internal 2.5-inch drives or a single 3.5-inch drive; unfortunately they do not clarify whether you can install all three drives, or if you must choose between the one larger versus the two smaller drives.
HP and NVIDIA go on a date -- they dress workstation classual.
The workstation is expected to start at $1899 when it ships sometime around April. Unfortunately HP’s technical specifications list an Intel Core i3 and Integrated HD 2000 GPU -- most likely to hide the price of the products with the components that you actually want. I guess you will need to wait a couple of months to find out what you will actually be paying.