Raspberry Pi: An Operating System Slice For Everyone

Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 12:52 AM |
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.

Raspberry-Pi.jpg

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.

Raspberry-Pi-Fedora-14-Remix-Screenshot.jpg

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!

Intel, PCAudioLabs and PC Perspective Rok Box System Sweepstakes!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | March 5, 2012 - 03:32 PM |
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.

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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.

pcal1.jpg

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:

  1. 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!
     
  2. 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?
     
  3. 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!!

GDC 12: The bigger big picture, Steam Box to be announced?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | March 3, 2012 - 05:16 PM |
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.

BigPicture.png

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.

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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.

SteamHW.png

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.

Source: The Verge

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Launches, Pre-Orders Sold Out

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 29, 2012 - 05:18 PM |
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.

Raspberry Pi.jpg

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.

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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.

Source: Maximum PC

Lian Li's PC-Q25 brings nice features to a small HTPC enclosure

Subject: Systems | February 29, 2012 - 01:52 PM |
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.

MR_Lian-Li-PC-Q25.jpg

"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:

HTPC

 

New system recommendations to keep you busy during March Break

Subject: Systems | February 24, 2012 - 01:42 PM |
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.

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"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:

Systems

 

VIA Announces World's First Quad Core Mini-ITX Boards

Subject: Systems | February 23, 2012 - 12:26 PM |
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.

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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.

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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

Intel Inside. Thecus' Next-Gen NAS introduced: N4800, N2800

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | February 20, 2012 - 01:53 PM |
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.

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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.

About Thecus(r)

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.

Source: Thecus

Wi-Fi on Rosepoint SoC die. Intel flexes before ARM wrestle.

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 20, 2012 - 01:50 AM |
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.

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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.

Source: Intel

HP dates NVIDIA on Valentine's Day. We get Z1 workstation.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 17, 2012 - 10:39 PM |
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.

HP-Z1.jpg

… 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-z1-open.jpg

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.

Source: NVIDIA

New CyberpowerPC Zeus Desktop Series Feature Intel Core i7-3820 and AMD FX CPUs

Subject: Systems | February 15, 2012 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: Cyberpower, Zeus Lighting, Zeus Thunder, sandy bridge-e, amd fx

BALDWIN PARK, CA (February 15, 2012) – CyberpowerPC Inc. www.CyberpowerPC.com, a manufacturer of custom gaming machines, today announced its Zeus series -- a powerful new line of desktop computers that offer the power of thunder with Intel’s new i7-3820 CPU; the speed of AMD’s lightning fast FX CPUs; the refined design of NZXT’s Switch 810 chassis, and legendary Advanced Hydro Liquid Cooling.

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The initial Zeus rollout includes six models. The Zeus Thunder 1000, 2000, 3000 and MAX will all feature Intel’s latest CPUs, including the new 2nd Gen. Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E quad-core CPU operating at 3.6GHz, a 10MB L3 cache and HyperThreading support. The Zeus Lightning series consists of the 1000 and 2000 models with the AMD FX series native 8-core desktop processor, which allows you to immerse yourself in the most advanced 3D games and achieve extreme mega-tasking with ease.

High definition gaming will be no myth because the Zeus series is outfitted with leading edge graphics from AMD and NVIDIA. They not only deliver excellent gaming performance but provide great versatility and speed in video transcoding. You can also harness the power of multiple video cards with your choice of CrossfireX or SLI graphics performance.

The CyberpowerPC Zeus series does not forget the memory and uses low-latency high capacity memory modules from top tier brands such as Kingston HyperX or Corsair Vengeance DDR3 memory. Solid state drives (SSDs) are also a standard feature with a choice of Intel, Corsair Kingston and OCZ models to provide super fast system response and quick loading times.

To become the supreme ruler of gaming as the Zeus name implies, you need an elegant and refined chassis to house your weapons. The CyberpowerPC Zeus series employs the NZXT Switch 810 full tower hybrid chassis. PC enthusiasts can easily modify this classy-white case for liquid cooling, silent performance, or extreme airflow. With a quick switch, the hybrid fins on the NZXT can open up to allow maximum air flow or close for enhanced sound reduction. The Switch 810 chassis is also loaded with front panel ports for enhanced connectivity, which includes dual USB 3.0 ports and an Integrated SD card reader convenient for on-the-fly file transfers.

Each Zeus gaming PC has the option of up to 10 120mm case fans for supreme cooling and is also “hydro-ready” for intricate water cooling solutions. CyberpowerPC’s Advanced Hydro Liquid Cooling can be added to any Zeus system to cool both the CPU and GPU(s). With the Advanced Hydro Liquid Cooling kit, you can opt for a 240mm or 360mm radiator for ultra cooling.

ZEUS_1.jpg

Base price of the Zeus Thunder series with Intel CPUs starts under $1329. Base price of AMD-based Zeus Lightning systems is $999.

All CyberpowerPC gaming systems are available worldwide and can be customized with a number of performance hardware and components such as Solid State Drives, Blu-Ray drives, gaming memory, gaming peripherals, business and productivity software, and more.

North American customers can configure their Zeus system at www.CyberpowerPC.com. In Europe CyberpowerPC Zeus systems can be custom configured at www.cyberpowerpc.co.uk.

Every system is meticulously built with precise cable routing to ensure optimal airflow and a clean aesthetic appearance. CyberpowerPC loads every system with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Operating System for an enhanced gaming and multimedia experience. All CyberpowerPC desktop gaming systems include an industry-best 3-year limited warranty.

Source: CyberPower

Asustek? Your Ultrabook orders are ah pulled.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 15, 2012 - 02:02 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Pegatron, asustek, apple

Pegatron Technology, an independent spin-off company of Asustek, will apparently stop manufacturing ultrabooks for Asustek as early as the end of March. According to a Digitimes, Pegatron will give up ultrabook orders from Asustek due to pressure from their new partner, Apple. Apple has not been pleased by the competition that ultrabooks bring to their MacBook Air lineup of higher-end ultrathin laptops.

Asus-Ultrabook.jpg

Asus really needs to find their Zen...

Have you ever seen a teenager who fights with their parents and moves out with their boyfriend or girlfriend? You know how that usually ends up with a lot of grief and a giant cellphone bill? With Pegatron currently assembling iPhones for Apple we already got the latter portion of that prophecy. How much grief all parties will incur is still pending.

On the other hand, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet is also rebutting the entire story with claims that it does not make sense. He asserts that Apple cannot push its weight against manufacturing and design companies and risk burning bridges.

On the other other hand, it very much does fit Apple’s recent modus operandi with their treatment of Samsung, HTC, and Google. Apple is also willing to drop large vendors with little hesitation. Apple threatened to drop Intel last summer over power concerns. From my position it is more believable than what the ZDNet article lets on.

What do you believe? Has Apple gone and bucked the Pegasus?

Source: Digitimes

Raspberry Pi Foundation Clears Up Misunderstanding About Their ARM Linux Computers, Still Coming This Month

Subject: Systems | February 10, 2012 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, htpc, Education, arm

The folks over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the organization behind the upcoming ARM powered Linux computer, are having a field day today as they have been flooded with emails from enthusiasts and press worried about the availability and pricing of the Raspberry Pi computer as it seems someone made inferrences that then got blown out of proportion in a typical "telephone game" spiral out of control fashion.

We here at PC Perspective are among the many people who are waiting eagerly to get our hands on the fairly powerful ARM powered computer, so naturally this post by Liz over at the official Raspberry Pi website helped up to take a deep breath and relax.  The little Raspberry Pi boards are still coming at the end of this month (February 2012), and they will be priced at or below the previously announced prices of $25 for the base model and $35 for the model with more RAM and Ethernet.

Raspberry Pi.jpg

The takeaway from the article is that your plans and/or your desire to get your hands on a Raspberry Pi just because (like me) even if you don't know what to do with it yet are safe.  The point of the ARM computers are to bring a low cost, but capable computing platform to the masses for education.  Yes, the non profit foundation still needs to make a profit; however, they aren't about to jack up the price just because they can.  Liz further stated that the prices of $25 and $35 will not change, unless they can make them cheaper.  "Price is such an important part of what we’re doing in trying to change the way people use computers that we’d be totally, totally mad to move the price point."  The caveat is that the casing (that will accompany a package aimed at education customers and includes educational software and an outer shell) may add a bit to the price; however, they are going to try not to keep the price the same.

While they have not given a specific date, they state in a rather direct way (even going so far as to bold the text to get the point across- heh) that "You will be able to buy a Raspberry Pi from the end of February, from this website."  The misunderstanding, they state, relates to a statement about a different SKU of the Raspberry Pi that is aimed at education and will have a few extra accessories and features including a case to house the board, written support material, and educational software.  This version will come later this year (approximately Q3 2012), and was mixed up with the initial release this month.

Are you ready to get your hands on a Raspberry Pi?

Source: Raspberry Pi

WOA! We wanted Windows 8 on ARM details. We got them.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2012 - 09:36 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows, arm

Microsoft has been ridiculously cagey about the discussion of Windows 8 on ARM. At last month’s CES trade show there was a disturbingly low amount of information. Available information about Windows on ARM was in abrupt demonstrations performed by Microsoft spokespeople or behind glass display cases.

Today Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft released quite a bit of information -- over 8500 words even if you exclude image captions and section titles -- about Windows on ARM (officially named “WOA”). Feel free to read for yourself at MSDN’s blog, or keep on reading for our brief summary.

WinARM.png

Actually most of the blog post is about building Windows 8 on ARM.

We reported that Windows on ARM has been classified as stable for approximately two weeks at this point.  Our questions about WOA availability were answered, and more: WOA is intended to be released simultaneously as Windows 8 for x86-64. WOA will also not be available standalone and you must purchase a device with it pre-installed.

From the chipset through the firmware and drivers, the work is optimized to be great for WOA. Partners are working hard on creative industrial designs and form factors that will include more than tablets. These are all under development today.

[…]

The PC will come with the OS preinstalled, and all drivers and supporting software. WOA will not be available as a software-only distribution, so you never have to worry about which DVD to install and if it will work on a particular PC.

Applications written for Windows on ARM can only be distributed through Windows Update or the Windows Store. Being an advocate of the open PC I find this quite unnerving as it quickly creates situations where art becomes at the mercy of the platform owner similar to what is seen on the consoles. That said, it also seems to suggest that Microsoft is not intending WOA to be fill all the roles of a typical PC.

Win8office.png

Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote will be available for WOA as Office 15. The typical file explorer and desktop will also be available for WOA. Mouse and keyboard support is also available for Windows on ARM. These will all be available within Office so the user can control there their files will be stored.

Windows 8 for x86-64 will be released as an open Beta at the end of the month. Microsoft will also release, by invite only, devices for developers. The intent of course is to give developers time to create applications for WOA. You should not expect those devices to be any more than development tools designed to prevent day-one apps from being developed in a single day.

Source: MSDN Blogs

AVADirect First To Offer X79 Gaming Notebook, The Future of Desktop Replacements

Subject: Systems | February 6, 2012 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: ava

AVADirect, a leading provider of custom notebooks, is the first to offer Clevo's P270WM mobile gaming notebook.

The future is here, and AVADirect is readily expanding its offerings with hardware to prepare for it. For those who need ultimate performance on the go, AVADirect can feed your need for mobile speed with the Clevo P270WM. Based off of the Intel X79 chipset and Sandy Bridge-E processors, end-users can expect performance increases as much as 35-50 percent while keeping current and ahead of the curve for their much needed productivity, efficiency, and entertainment. Promising new features give the Clevo P270WM a name and reputation that is surely to leave a lasting impression for those who have it at their fingertips. The industry rookie, relative to age rather than experience, has no limits to its depth of functionality.

The P270WM's design shapes the ground we stand on by creating new standards for mobile desktop replacements. The revolutionary X79-fueled P270WM, being the successor of the world renowned Clevo X7200, supports all of the functionality provided by its older brother. Three 9.5 inch hard drives, with optional RAID, two USB 3.0 ports, SLI support, HD LED screen, HDMI 1.4a support, and the recently re-designed express card slot for third-party expansion are still key features of the newly offered Clevo P270WM Gaming Notebook.

P270WM-banner.jpg

The Nvidia GTX 580M 2GB comes standard in the Clevo P270WM and offers SLI support for gaming duality. The GPU offers 384 CUDA cores, or 768 when in SLI. Furthermore, the victor of desktop replacements offers the Quadro 5010M 4GB for the elitist AutoCAD or developing engineer. Combined with the support of Quad-channel DDR3 SODIMM RAM and speeds up to 1866Mhz, creating a configuration suitable for your tasks is as simple as a few clicks on AVADirect's website. The board features a total of four SODIMM slots expandable up to 32GB. The P270WM includes full 3D support, which has never been provided in a desktop replacement until now. End-users will more importantly be interested in the first-ever backlit keyboard integrated in the P270WM notebook. Clevo has not received outstanding remarks in the past for their lack of aesthetically pleasing designs, but a backlit keyboard changes everything enthusiasts have grown to know about Clevo's design.

AVADirect will begin to accept pre-orders for the X79 high-end gaming notebook as of today. The base price starts at around $3000.00 and will feature the Intel core i7 3930K, GTX 580M 2B, 4GB of DDR3 RAM at 1333Mhz, 750GB 7200RPM hard disk, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

Customize your own here.

Source: AVADirect

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

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

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

Inq_interlinside-580x358.png

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

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

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: The Inquirer

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price

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

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

Raspberry Pi.jpg

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

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

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

Source: Eurogamer

SilverStone's tiny HTPC enclosure can hide full sized components

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

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

BMR_SST-GD06B_Angle.JPG

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

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

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

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

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

alienware-1.jpg

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

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

x51-3.png

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

alienware-2.jpg

Dude, you regretting a Dell?

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

So what do you think?

Source: Alienware

Introducing the Alienware X51 - Let Your Hero Out

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

alien.png

(edit: the models were corrected)

The base model is $700 and features:

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Alienware