ASRock powers up the HTPC with their Vision 3D

Subject: Systems | April 11, 2011 - 02:45 PM |
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If you have a desire for an HTPC and no desire to build one, for just over $1000 you can pick up the Asrock Vision 3D HTPC.  With a Core i3 processor and NVIDIA's GT 425M you will end up with a PC much more powerful than an Atom based system, meaning you can use the HTPC for more than just showing HD video.  Drop by TechPowerUp to see the machine in action.

"The Asrock Vision 3D HTPC was designed to deliver cutting edge home theater technology in a compact form factor. The Asrock Vision 3D HTPC uses an Intel “Arrandale” mobile processor, paired with an NVIDIA GT 425M GPU, instead of the typical Intel Atom processor found in most pre-built HTPCs. The components of the Asrock Vision 3D HTPC are compactly housed inside a thick, heavy, anodized aluminum enclosure. A slot-loading Blu-ray or DVD drive can also be found inside, with a 2.5” 7200rpm HDD for storage and 4GB of DDR3 SO-DIMM memory, upgradeable to 8GB. The Asrock Vision 3D HTPC is not only capable of 3D media playback with 7.1 HD audio support over HDMI 1.4a, but users can also enjoy media encoding and even 3D Vision video gameplay."

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System Building for the Weekend Cyberwarrior

Subject: Systems | April 4, 2011 - 06:01 PM |
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Techware Labs recently set out on a rather difficult quest, posting a multi-part article that seeks to give enough information for someone who doesn't spend their spare time reading hardware reviews to be able to build a system from parts.  Part of what they had to cover was what can be ignored, with good advice such as the tip that if you don't know what the K means at the end of a CPU name, then you probably don't need it. 

By the end of Part 2

they have covered the choosing and purchasing of parts, with the next article in the series offering tips on the assembly.

 

"The face of personal computing is constantly changing and evolving. There are more terms out there than ever before, which makes it harder and harder to keep everything straight. Is the i7 really better than the i5? Why are some computer packages so much cheaper than others? Is that barebones computer for $300 really worth it? What should I really look for when I look at the details of a “PC Bargain”? What does all of that stuff DO anyway?? I’ll try to answer some of those questions, and in such a way that even the Weekend Geek (if there is such a thing) won’t walk away scratching their heads."

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Mighty mite redux: iBUYPOWER's mATX GTX 590 system

Subject: Systems | March 30, 2011 - 06:02 PM |
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At a mere 7" x 16" x 16.6", you would not expect the iBUYPOWER LAN Warrior II to contain a Intel Core i7-2600K overclocked to 4GHz, let alone a full GTX 590. AnandTech is quick to point out that the NVIDIA GPU does make more sense than the more powerful HD6990 as it is quieter, which is going to matter in such a small package.  Check out the full review if you've a need for serious computing power in a small case.

"The last time we checked in with iBUYPOWER we reviewed the behemoth that is the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC, a massive hunk of machine that was generally a solid value but suffered from the same kind of shaky overclocking that afflicted so many boutique builds during the era. This time iBUYPOWER is packing a K-series Sandy Bridge processor (complete with easy overclocking) and one of the most powerful graphics cards on the planet: the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. The 590 may ultimately not have had the performance to beat AMD's Radeon HD 6990, but it's also a much quieter card. What's more, iBUYPOWER managed to fit it into a MicroATX case (along with a 92mm water-cooling rig for the processor). Does the beefy LAN Warrior II work, and does it work well?"

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Source: AnandTech

MSI Ships its First Notebook and All-in-One PC Powered by the AMD Accelerated Processor in North Ame

Subject: Systems | March 25, 2011 - 02:02 PM |
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CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – March 15, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced that it is now shipping its first wave of PCs powered by AMD’s Accelerated Processing Unit: the 15.6-inch CR650 notebook computer and the 20-inch 16:9 widescreen Wind Top AE2050 All-in-One PC.

Multimedia Entertainment in a Portable 15.6 Inch Design
The MSI CR650 notebook delivers a superior multimedia experience in a small form factor with the newest generation AMD Dual Core Processor E-350 with AMD Radeon™ HD 6310 Discrete-Class graphics chip which supports Microsoft® DirectX® 11 for enhanced performance. The CR650 extends the life of each battery charge with MSI’s Turbo Battery+ power-saving technology and offers shortcuts for shutting off the screen to extend standby time, giving you up to 6 hours of power on the go. The CR650 also comes with high quality, theater-class wrap around stereo courtesy of SRS PC Sound™.

Additional highlights of the CR650 include:

  • HDMI out: To watch HD films on a screen larger than a computer, the CR650’s HDMI slot lets you connect to LCD TVs of any size.
  • Genuine 720p high-definition (HD) video: Enjoy a truly clear and smooth video and picture quality without jerkiness. In addition, the Built in 720P HD Webcam can be used with all kinds of social networking media, allowing optimum high-quality video communication.
  • Cinema Pro: The MSI CR650 laptop comes equipped with MSI’s own Cinema Pro technology to maximize its graphics performance. Depress the Cinema Pro hot key to switch to video mode for higher resolution and richer colors for a viewing experience so enjoyable that you'll find it hard to tear yourself away.

“AMD’s newest generation platform is helping revolutionize MSI’s product portfolio,” noted Andy Tung, vice president of sales for MSI US. “Our customers want entertainment on the go, as well as products that are sensitive to power consumption, and the new VISION Technology from AMD gives us the ability to deliver cutting edge products at an appealing price point.”

All-in-One PC that’s Easy on the Wallet and the Planet
The AE2050 All-in-One PC is also equipped with the AMD Dual Core Processor E-350 with AMD Radeon HD 6310 Discrete-Class Graphics, to provide high quality HD images and audio effects, whether watching online streaming video, playing online games or sharing photos.

Additional highlights of the Wind Top AE2050 include:

  • High power efficiency: MSI’s application of the latest AMD Fusion platform delivers incredibly low level power consumption – only 65 watts per hour – without compromising performance. Compared with traditional desktop PCs, the Wind Top AE2050 is able to save nearly 74% in energy, thus significantly reducing power consumption and CO2 emissions. The Wind Top AE2050 is certified with the most stringent environmental standards, including Energy Star 5.0 and the European Union EuP specifications for energy consumption.
  • Faster gadget charging and file transfers via USB 3.0: MSI’s Super Charger technology allows you to charge a device even when the computer is turned off, and it reduces charging time by 40 percent. Two high speed USB 3.0 ports provide a transfer rate that is up to 5Gbps and ten times faster than USB 2.0, which means a 4.8G HD movie can be transferred in approximately 14 seconds.
  • Advanced HD imaging: Whether watching video, playing games, or sharing photos, the sharp HD images and audio effects on the Wind Top AE2050’s 16:9 cinematic wide-screen display deliver a brilliant experience. Furthermore, with the AMD Accelerated Processing Unit supporting Microsoft DirectX 11, now you can enjoy your games with more life-like details and enhanced graphics performance.
Source: MSI

Control your AV system from anywhere

Subject: Systems | March 25, 2011 - 01:44 PM |
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With the convergence of service providers, most now offer multiple products and it is not uncommon for your cellphone provider and ISP to actually be the same company.  That lets those businesses offer an app to allow you to control your PVR with your phone from anywhere you can get a signal.  There are however those who do not have the proper phone or plan or even matched providers which leaves them on their own ... until now.  Hack a Day has posted a project on how to build an ethernet connected IR transmitter so you can remote control your home theatre or anything else with an IR receiver no matter what service or products you happen to use.

"Using IR repeaters for larger home theater setups is not uncommon, but they usually are quite simple. A series of IR receivers are placed throughout a home, all wired to repeat the signals in a central closet where all of the AV equipment is located. [Bill] constructed a solution that works much like a standard IR repeater setup, however his requires no receivers, and it can be used anywhere in the world, provided you have Internet access."

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Source: Hack a Day

Atom versus Fusion; integrated system faceoff

Subject: Systems | March 14, 2011 - 12:44 PM |
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InsideHW took a new ASUS E35 M1-M PRO and pitted it against an Atom D525 based Gigabyte GA-D525TUD system.  The ASUS board can handle DDR3 of a faster speed and uses SATA 6/Gbs solely, the Atom board is stuck at DDR3-800 and SATA3 though it does tend to cost less than Brazos platforms.  Read on to see how they compare.

"It’s the factual state of affairs that integration is our imminent future, reinforced every day through announcements and presentation of various new technologies. The lack of upgrade options is something that we seem to be willing to renounce in order to get complete and efficient solutions. Intel’s latest CPU series has reduced overclocking to a lower level, thus announcing the direction that new products and technologies are about to take. Consequently, the hotly anticipated AMD Fusion, the first in the line of entirely integrated solutions, has finally reached us, in the form of ASUS E35 M1-M PRO model, carrying the currently strongest Zacate APU..."

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Source: InsideHW

Gigabyte's quiet new barebones system

Subject: Systems | March 8, 2011 - 02:46 PM |
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Fitting the Fusion powered Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 into a list of reviews can be a little odd, the Zacate CPU is the star as there isn't really a huge variation on motherboards and as it isn't restricted to being an HTPC it shall sit in with the other pre-built systems, even if is not truly complete without some memory and storage medium.  USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet controllers are just some of the features on this E-350 powered board which you can read more about at The Tech Report.

"We take a closer look at a Fusion-equipped Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Mini-ITX motherboard to see if it delivers on Zacate's potential for small-form-factor desktops and home-theater PCs. While we're at it, we also test the peripheral performance of Fusion's Hudson M1 platform hub."

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ZOTAC announces the new ZBOX AD02 Series Mini-PCs

Subject: Systems | March 1, 2011 - 06:51 PM |
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HONG KONG – Mar. 1, 2011 – ZOTAC International, a leading innovator and the world’s largest channel manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and mini-PCs, today unleashes the ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 series mini-PCs powered by the AMD E-350 APU platform. The ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 series delivers a premium computing experience with rich high-definition video playback capabilities and outstanding 3D visuals in a compact form factor.

The powerful AMD E-350 APU equips the ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 series with dual processor cores for lightning-fast system responsiveness and snappy multi-tasking abilities. Integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics enable compatibility with the latest Microsoft DirectX 11 titles for stunning 3D visuals on the ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 series.

“ZOTAC continues to expand our award-winning ZBOX mini-PC series. Our latest ZBOX AD02 series takes the powerful AMD E-350 APU Platform with Discrete-Class AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics and packs it into our compact and customizable ZBOX chassis,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International. “The result is the perfect synergy of CPU and GPU performance that makes for an outstanding high-definition computing experience that uses very little energy while generating very little heat or noise.”

The ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 ships as an easily customizable barebones with a tool-less chassis design – two thumb screws unlock access to the internal components. Support for 2.5-inch hard drives and two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots enable users to equip the ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 to their liking.

A ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 Plus is available and ships equipped with a preinstalled 250GB hard drive and 2GB of DDR3 SO-DIMM memory – both ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 and AD02 Plus models let users select their operating system of choice and is ready for Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems. The ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 series feature class-leading expansion with USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and eSATA connectivity for simple plug and play connectivity to external devices.

It’s time to play with the ZOTAC ZBOX AD02 series.

 

General details

  • ZOTAC Unleashes ZBOX AD02 Series mini-PCs
  • AMD E-350 APU platform (dual-core, 1.6 GHz)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics processor
  • ZBOX AD02 o 2 x DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots
    • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gb/s HDD/SSD
  • ZBOX AD02 Plus
    • 2GB DDR3
    • 250GB 5400RPM HDD
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology
  • HDMI, DVI-I and VGA (with included adapter) outputs
  • AMD UVD technology(hardware accelerated H.264, VC-1, decode)
  • Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD: Master Audio bitstream ready
  • Gigabit Ethernet & 802.11n WiFi
Source: ZOTAC

Puget Systems Among First to Ship Corrected Sandy Bridge PCs

Subject: Systems | March 1, 2011 - 03:35 PM |
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Puget Systems Among First to Ship Corrected Sandy Bridge PCs

Puget Systems leverages its manufacturer and distribution relationships to become one of the first PC providers to ship corrected Sandy Bridge Computers.

SEATTLE, WA - Puget Systems (www.pugetsystems.com), a boutique integrator of custom PC systems for enthusiasts, gamers, consumers and SMB markets, today announced a shipping schedule for corrected Sandy Bridge PCs.

The first revision of Sandy Bridge chipsets suffered from a design flaw that caused performance degrada

With the HDPLEX H10 Fanless microATX case you can roll your own HTPC

Subject: Systems | February 28, 2011 - 02:56 PM |
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On the market right now are a large number of ION + ATOM prebuilt HTPCs, which look nice and are powerful enough for HTPC and light browsing but feel underpowered to many enthusiasts.  That is why products like the HDPLEX H10 are so nice, they let you choose your components and look good at the same time.  The rackmount style works well in this case as it would not look out of place in a home theatre cabinet and the fanless design means you don't have to worry about it being in a stack of components.  See what Si

Dell maxes out their new Zino HD 410 HTPC

Subject: Systems | February 22, 2011 - 04:49 PM |
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While the base model of the Zino HD 410 HTPC comes in at about $300 the model that AnandTech received for review was worth just over $700 after all of the options were loaded on.  That fully loaded model sports a Phenom II X4 P940 on a AMD M880G + SB820
which supports up to 8GB of DDR3-1333 and for graphics uses an ATI Mobility 5450 1GB DDR3. 


Source: AnandTech

Sapphire joins the Atom + ION system crowd

Subject: Systems | February 15, 2011 - 03:55 PM |
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There is a different choice now for those looking for a PC that can handle email, internet browsing and home theatre duties, a small self contained system that resembles a thinclient with style and a fair number of video outputs.  The Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC offers a
Dual Core Intel Atom D510 1.66ghz, nVidia's ION2 and 2GB of DDR2 for system memory with a 250GB drive for storage.  Neoseeker found that 720p is about the limit of this systems capabilities,
as 1080p playback

Source: Neoseeker

The recalled and soon to be released Sandy Bridge based Puget Systems Serenity PC

Subject: Systems | February 10, 2011 - 11:42 AM |
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Puget Systems specializes in making custom PCs that are incredibly quiet without sacrificing any performance to do so.  As you saw in Ryan's review of their Serenity SPCR Edition Ultra Quiet Gaming PC, they do a very good job at it.  Since then they have been hard at work extending their line up and keeping up with the newest parts.  One of their more recent Serenity SPCR Edition models went up for review at Anand

Source: AnandTech

HP Comes Out Swinging with New TouchSmart All-in-One PCs

Subject: Systems | February 7, 2011 - 04:45 AM |
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If you’ve ever used a touchscreen desktop computer you probably know that while they’re cool, they lack the functionality to replace a keyboard and mouse. Lifting up your arms constantly to touch a screen is the antonym of ergonomic.

The HTPC beginners guide grows

Subject: Systems | February 2, 2011 - 02:22 PM |
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Over at MissingRemote a dedicated crew have been assembling a guide that covers all the basics you need to know to put together a powerful and functional HTPC.  Perhaps one of the most important parts they cover is the idea that "Your HTPC Is Not An Investment".  Don't wait for the newest cutting edge tech and pick up parts that are as fast as you need but don't go for overkill.  The way media storage and broadcasting changes, the next HTPC upgrade you make may well need to be an entirel

A refreshing look at frame rates and displays

Subject: Systems | January 26, 2011 - 05:39 PM |
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The difference between 1080i and 720p is a difference of spatial resolution and temporal resolution; one has more pixels in total while the other pushed pixels faster.  On the other hand you have refresh rates, which have changed from the previous standard of 60Hz to a wide variety of what are, in many case, purely marketing speak and have more to do with how the display manipulates frames to meet the higher frequency.  Missing Remote tries to help you make sense of it a

A new year brings a new ION to your HTPC

Subject: Systems | January 17, 2011 - 05:05 PM |
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New on the market is the ASRock ION 3D 152B, sporting the next generation NVIDIA GT218 NG-ION processor. It is going to need that updated silicon as this unit ships with a BluRay drive and is expected to play back HD content at a reasonable frame rate.  Join AnandTech as they take this unit through its paces.

Source: AnandTech

CyberPower has a pre-built SandyBridge system on the market

Subject: Systems | January 13, 2011 - 03:22 PM |
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The new CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 5000 is a P67 Sandy Bridge based system, sporting and unlocked Intel i7-2600K on the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe motherboard.  It has 4GB of DDR3-1600 as well as a GTX 570 Superclock, a 1TB HDD and even a Blu-Ray drive all hidden in a watercooled
Thermaltake Armor A60 case.  The system is overclocked for you, adding a full 1GHz to the CPU bringing it to a very respectable 4.4GHz and the GPU also sports a little bit of an overclock as well. 

CES 2011: ASUS unveils Eee Slate EP121

Subject: Systems | January 5, 2011 - 12:49 PM |
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Courtesy of ASUS
Source: ASUS

Western Digital's Live TV Hub takes on all comers

Subject: Systems | December 14, 2010 - 01:21 PM |
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Western Digital's TV Live Hub is small on the outside but not on the inside.  A little bigger than the size of a paperback book (if you remember what those are), this new model houses a terabyte of storage so you can set this thing to record and then forget about it for a season or two.  It might not be as flexible as using a nettop or dedicated HTPC but it will get you watching any type of video format or streaming media.  Check out the review at The Tech Report.