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Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems | September 9, 2013 - 09:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, never settle forever, never settle, Saints Row IV
A month after the launch of the choose your own adventures, "Never Settle Forever", we get another entry for the gold tier: Saint's Row IV.
Yet another territory they claim.
Two Radeon cards, the HD 7950 and the HD 7970 (with or without GHz edition), qualify for this tier in AMD's promotion. Desktop PCs built with a Radeon HD 8900 installed also count toward this promotion. When you go for the gold, so to speak, you can choose three of the following (now) eleven games to enjoy your new hardware with:
- Saint's Row IV
- Tomb Raider
- Hitman: Absolution
- Sleeping Dogs
- Far Cry 3
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- DiRT 3
- DiRT: Showdown
- Sniper Elite V2
AMD prepared a statement about their partnership with Saint's Row IV publisher, Deep Silver:
“AMD and Deep Silver have a long and successful history of collaboration across their many excellent games, and Saints Row IV is another example of their outstanding development talent. We are very proud to have their partnership in the AMD Gaming Evolved program and Never Settle Forever bundle,” said Ritche Corpus, director of developer relations and alliances team, Graphics Business Unit, AMD. “As a result, PC gamers with AMD Radeon™ graphics cards can fire up their copy of Saints Row IV knowing that they are receiving the best possible experience. And as the exclusive hardware partner for Saints Row IV, the AMD Gaming Evolved program continues to demonstrate its relentless commitment to ensuring the world’s most exciting games are exclusively optimized for AMD Radeon™ hardware.”
AMD is not finished with Never Settle and claims more will arrive in the coming months. I would expect the switch to choose-your-bundle gives the company slightly more freedom to add extra titles without ballooning costs or removing popular entries. I hope we will see titles available in other tiers, except for the HD 7990 which should keep its 8 game promotion, along with more gold entries.
Either way, we will keep you updated as we hear more.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 9, 2013 - 06:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Xeon Phi, workstation, quadro, micron, LSI, k6000, Ivy Bridge-EP, firepro, dell
Along with the release of new mobile workstations, Dell announced three new desktop workstations. Specifically, Dell is launching the T3610, T5610, and T7610 PC workstations under its Precision series. The new systems reside in redesigned cases with improved cable management, removable power supplies (tool-less, removable by sliding out from rear panel), and in the case of the T7610 removable hard drives. All of the new Precision workstations have been outfitted with Intel's latest Ivy Bridge-EP based Xeon processors, ECC memory, workstation-class graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA, Xeon Phi accelerator card options, LSI hardware RAID controllers, and updated software solutions from Intel and Dell.
The new Precision workstations side-by-side. From left to right: T3610, T5610, and T7610.
Dell's Precision T3610 is a the mid-tower system of the group powered by single socket Xeon E5-2600 v2 hardware that further supports up to 128GB DDR3 ECC memory, two graphics cards, three 3.5” hard drives, and four 2.5” SSDs.
The Precision T3610, a new single socket, mid-range workstation.
The Precision T5610 ups the ante to a dual socket IVB-EP processor system that can be configured with up to 128GB DDR3 ECC memory, two AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro (e.g. Quadro K5000) graphics cards, a Tesla K20C accelerator card, three 3.5” hard drives, and four 2.5” solid state drives.
Finally, the T7610 workstation supports dual Intel Ivy Bridge-EP Xeon E5-2600 v2 series processors (up to 24 cores per system), up to 512GB DDR3 ECC memory, three graphics cards (including two NVIDIA Quadro K6000 cards), four 3.5” hard drives, and eight 2.5” SSDs.
Dell's Precision T5610 dual socket workstation.
The new Precision workstations can also be configured with an Intel Xeon Phi 3120A accelerator card in lieu of a Tesla card. The choice will mainly depend on the applications being used and the development resources and expertise available. Both options are designed to accelerate highly parallel workloads in applications that have been compiled to support them. Further, users can add an LSI hardware RAID card with 1GB of onboard memory to the systems. Dell further offers a Micron P320h PCI-E SSD that, while not bootable, offers up 350GB of high performance storage that excels at high sequential reads and writes.
On the software front, Dell is including the Dell Precision Performance Optimizer and the Intel Cache Acceleration Software. The former automatically configures and optimizes the workstation for specific applications based on profiles that are reportedly regularly updated. The other bit of software works to optimize systems that use both hard drives and SSDs with the SSDs as a cache for the mechanical storage. The Intel Cache Acceleration Software configures the caching algorithms to favor caching very large files on the solid state storage. It is a different approach to consumer caching strategies, but one that works well with businesses that use these workstations to process large data sets.
The Dell Precision T7610 workstation.
The Dell workstations are aimed at businesses doing scientific analysis, professional engineering, and complex 3D modeling. The T7610 in particular is aimed at the oil and gas industry for use in simulations and modeling as companies search for new oil deposits.
All three systems will be available for purchase worldwide beginning September 12th. Some of the options, such as 512GB of ECC and the NVIDIA Quadro K6000 on the T7610 will not be available until next month, however. The T3610 has a starting price of $1,099 while the T5610 and T7610 have starting prices of $2,729 and $3,059 respectively.
What are your thoughts on Dell's new mid-tower workstations?
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 9, 2013 - 06:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: workstation, quadro, precision series, optimus, mobile workstation, m6800, m4800, haswell, firepro, enduro, dell
Today, Dell announced new mobile workstation systems in 15” and 17” notebook form factors. The Dell Precision M4800 and Precision M6800 are 15” and 17” laptops constructed of magnesium alloy and anodized aluminum cases, pack some impressive portable computing power, and will be available later this week.
The Dell Precision M6800 and M4800. Photo courtesy of Dell Inc.
Both the Dell M4800 and M6800 are ISV certified, MIL-STD-810G tested, and support FIPS fingerprint readers, self encrypting hard drives, and TPM security chips. The workstations are updates to the existing M4700 and M6700 systems and can be configured with Intel Haswell i5 or i7 (including i7 Extreme Edition) processors, AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, up to 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz (or 16GB DDR3 at 1866MHz), multiple storage drives, Waves MaxxAudio, and WiGig wireless dock support that allows up to 5 external displays. Users can attach a 9-cell 97Wh slice battery in addition to the 9-cell 97Wh system battery to get extended battery life. Users can add dedicated graphics cards to the systems from AMD (FirePro) or NVIDIA (Quadro), which support Enduro and Optimus technologies respectively. The technology allows the system to turn off the dedicated cards and use the Intel processor graphics when the extra horsepower is not needed to conserve battery life. The M4800 and M6800 workstations each come with 3 year warranties.
The Dell Precision M4800 is a mobile workstation weighing 6.35 pounds. It features a backlit keyboard, trackpad, and high resolution 15.6” QHD+ IGZO display with a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The notebook can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 “Haswell” Extreme Edition processor, an AMD FirePro M5100 Mobility Pro or NVIDIA Quadro K2100M graphics card, 32GB of DDR3 1600 MHz memory, and 2.5 TB of internal storage (two 1TB plus one 500GB drive) in RAID 0, 1, or 5 modes.
The 15” Dell Precision M4800 workstation will be available on September 12th starting at $1,249.
Stepping up to the larger 17” Precision M6800, users can configure the system with a Haswell Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition CPU, NVIDIA Quadro K5100M with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, 32GB of DDR3 1600 MHz system memory, 3.5TB of storage space in RAID 0, 1, or 5, and a 17” 1080p LED-backlit 10-point multi-touch display. This notebook weighs 7.86 pounds.
The M6800 will be available in black or phoenix red with a starting MSRP of $1,599 on September 12th.
Business customers needing portable computing power have some interesting new options with the two new Dell workstations, which pack some powerful hardware into a laptop form factor. Sure, they are not the lightest or thinnest machines, but you won't find i7 processors, 32GBs of memory, Quadro graphics, and 2+TB of storage in an ultrabook.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | September 5, 2013 - 07:25 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: yoga 2 pro, thinkpad yoga, thinkpad tablet, Lenovo, ifa 2013
One of the major themes of Lenovo's IFA product releases is the push into multi-mode computing which amounts to convertible PCs such as its Yoga series with 360-degree hinges. Two of the new multi-mode computers are the consumer focused Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and the ThinkPad Yoga for business users. Both devices will be available later this year.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro is a 13” convertible ultrabook measuring 12.99” x 8.66” x 0.61” and weighing 3.06 pounds. The system is an update to the original Yoga, and maintains the dual hinge design that allows the display to fold all the way back into tablet mode.
The Yoga 2 Pro has a QHD+ touchscreen display with a resolution of 3200 x 1800 and 350 nit brightness. Other external features include a backlit AccuType keyboard, trackpad, stereo speakers, and a 720p webcam. There are several IO ports situated around the sides of the notebook including one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one combo mic/headphone audio jack, one SD card slot, and one micro HDMI video output.
The convertible ultrabook is configured with an Intel Haswell Core i7 ULT processor, 8GB of DDR3L memory, a 512GB SSD, and a battery rated at 6 hours of 1080p video playback with the display at 150 nits brightness. It also comes equipped with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios. The Yoga 2 Pro will come pre-installed with Windows 8.1 Pro. Users can control the Yoga 2 using the touchscreen, keyboard and trackpad, voice, or motion controls. Lenovo further includes software that will automatically list Windows applications on the Start Screen depending on the mode the “multi-mode” computer is in (tablet, laptop, tent, ect).
The Yoga 2 Pro will be available in October for $1099.99 (starting MSRP).
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
Beyond the Yoga 2 Pro, Lenovo is introducing the Yoga form factor to the business market with the new ThinkPad Yoga. The system is smaller than the Yoga 2 Pro but a bit thicker and heavier. It does make several trade-offs versus the consumer Yoga 2 Pro to integrate business-friendly features such as digitizer support. Interestingly, the two systems are priced similarly, and the starting MSRP on the ThinkPad Yoga is lower than the Yoga 2 Pro.
The upcoming ThinkPad Yoga is a 12.5” notebook with a magnesium alloy chassis that is 0.74” thick and weighs 3.48 with everything installed. Users can choose between an HD display covered by Corning Gorilla Glass or a 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen display with support for an optional Wacom digitizer pen. Unfortunately, there is no QHD+ option on this business-class multi-mode PC. Other features include a backlit keyboard, five button glass trackpad, stereo speakers, a 720p webcam, and “all day battery life.” Specifically, the ThinkPad Yoga is rated at 5.3 hours with an Intel Haswell i7 or 8.3 hours with an Intel Haswell i3 processor. IO on the ThinkPad Yoga includes a single audio jack (mic+headphone), SD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, a mini HDMI video output, and a DC-in OneLink dock adapter port.
The other interesting feature that is exclusive to the ThinkPad version of the Yoga is a keyboard that uses what Lenovo calls a “lift and lock” system to secure the keyboard while the system is in tablet mode. When the display is rotated all of the way back into tablet mode, rubber bumpers and the frame around the keyboard lift up. The keyboard frame lifts up to be flush with the top of the keys. Meanwhile, the keys themselves lock into place such that they cannot be pressed down. This is a useful feature as it creates a stable base and removes the worry that keys would accidentally be pressed during a key presentation (even if the existing Yoga already ignores key presses, having a hardware lock in place gives some piece of mind).
Internally, the ThinkPad Yoga can be configured with up to an Intel Haswell Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3L memory, a 1TB hard drive plus 256GB SSD, large battery, and Wi-Fi, and NFC radios. The OneLink dock will allow users further expansion options by adding Gigabit Ethernet, USB ports, and additional display outputs.
The ThinkPad Yoga will be available in November starting at $949. You can find photos of the new PC at the IFA show in Berlin over at Engadget.
Which would you choose, the Yoga 2 Pro with high resolution display or the ThinkPad Yoga with Wacom digitizer and locking keyboard?
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | September 4, 2013 - 09:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zenbook, ifa 2013, asus
How about some Ultrabooks? We got Ultrabooks. Thin, light, and metal brushed with their characteristic circular pattern. They are proud of that design, proud enough to cover it, the top of the lid, with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it from scratches and gouges. It feels a little absurd to say, but covering metal in glass for increased durability seems to make sense and could help your premium laptop look new for longer.
These 13.3-inch laptops come in two resolutions: 1920x1080 Full HD is the lower offering, with 2560x1440 for higher-end tastes. Both monitors are IPS-based with 10-point multi-touch capabilities.
The raw specifications for the UX301 are:
- Intel Core i5-4200U or i7-4500U or i7-4558U
- 4GB or 8GB DDR3L
- Intel HD 5100 Graphics
- SATA 3 SSD (up to 512GB RAID0)
- 13.3-inch 2560 x 1440 WQHD or 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS multitouch
- 802.11ac (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0
- Mini DisplayPort, Micro-HDMI 1.4
- 2x USB3.0, 3.5mm headphone/mic, SD card reader
- Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro
For the UX302:
- Intel Core i5-4200U or i7-4500U
- 4GB DDR3L
- Intel HD 4400 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M (2GB)
- Up to a 750GB HDD with 16 GB SSD cache
- 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS multitouch
- 802.11ac (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0
- Mini Displayport, HDMI 1.4
- 3x USB 3.0, 3.5mm headphone/mic, SD card reader
- Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro
The UX301 seems to be the more-premium device with obviously higher specs, at least for options, despite being almost 2mm thinner (15.5mm vs 17.2 for the UX302) and a quarter of a pound lighter (1.38kg vs 1.5 kg for the UX302). Both models are listed as a 50W battery, which I assume means 50Wh since watts are not a unit of electrical storage, but I am not entirely sure.
No information about pricing and availability has been released.
Subject: General Tech, Displays, Systems | August 31, 2013 - 12:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, AIO, 21:9
HDTVs have an aspect ratio, the proportion between width and height, of 16:9. This, more noticeably rectangular, format was seen as a suitable compromise between 4:3 tradition and the many widths of theatrical releases. Computers, high resolution since the 90s (give-or-take) to fit more stuff on screen, first adopted many HD innovations.
Widescreen, however, was firmly resisted. Internet video was not popular or even known to the general public. Vista, with its sidebar optimizations, was expected to make 16:10 tolerable. 16:9 was too wide to even be considered an effective option for documents and websites.
I must say: I don't know how I'd live without Sidebar making my monitor feel wastefully narrow and...
Now that the public is comfortable with 16:9, because at some point it ceased to be scary for display manufacturers, some are experimenting with even wider niches. 2560x1080 has about a third more width than a "FullHD" panel to add another side-by-side-by-side document to edit or snapped website to refer to. At this point, if people want to buy it, do it.
LG, at IFA 2013, unveiled their V960 all-in-one (AIO) desktop. This computer is housed inside a 29" 21:9 (technically 64:27, but those numbers are big and scary) IPS display. Despite lacking a touchscreen, and despite OSX screenshots for its also announced plain monitors in its promo image, the AIO comes with Windows 8 pre-installed. It houses a mobile GeForce GT 640M GPU and... well that is about all we know of its internals.
The company believes that you might use some screen width for picture-in-picture TV browsing. LG is not too clear on what functionality will be available to the V960. Other monitors in the line contain a TV tuner, but they never specified whether the AIO would have a tuner or just an HDMI input. Also unclear, whether video inputs are accessible to the computer for DVR functionality or whether it is delivered straight to the display.
The LG V960 was on display at IFA 2013. No pricing and availability information has been announced by LG.
Subject: Systems | August 28, 2013 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system build
It's that time again, with students headed back to school and looking for electronic devices to accompany them. The Tech Report just updated their System Build Guides for not only the high end gaming builds but also an mATX system that will fit in a dorm room as well as some tablets and laptops. With an i5-4670K, HD 7950 Boost and a Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD you will indeed be the envy of the dorm for about $1300 so you will still have money left over for beverages and pot noodles.
Don't forget to keep an eye on our PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard as well.
"The back-to-school season is upon us, and we've updated our system guide for the occasion. In addition to refreshing our usual builds, we've added a dorm-worthy microATX config and revamped our mobile recommendations."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- HP Envy 700-030qe Review @ TechReviewSource
- CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme 5200 Desktop @ AnandTech
- Fierce PC Prodigy GT 'Hulk' Overclocked Mini Gaming PC @ Kitguru
- A First Meet With the Table PC: Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27" All-in-One @ TechSpot
- HABEY BIS-6922 Fanless Ivy Bridge Industrial PC Review @ AnandTech
- HCW PC Build Guide - Summer 2013
- Dino PC T-Rex 7990 System @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 22, 2013 - 11:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SweetLabs., Pokki, Lenovo
Hate the "Modern" Windows UI? There's an app... store... for that...?
Several solutions exist to reintroduce the classic Windows interface into Windows 8. Not surprisingly, OEMs consider developing or including some option with their devices as a selling point. Perhaps even less surprising, this solution is considered bloatware by some and tries to suggest apps for you.
As Ars Technica reports, at least the software tries to be helpful, almost spiting its nature as a pre-installed third party app store. Pokki, the software developed by SweetLabs, includes shortcuts to the Windows Control Panel and other functions expected of a Start Menu.
It also, from its promotional image, above, feels like it will confuse novice users. The recommendations are prominent and docked against what should be system functionality. The layout is not particularly dishonest but, in my opinion, is too opaque about its intent to sell you applications.
SweetLabs previously struck a deal with Acer to include Pokki and Zynga titles on their laptops.
Lenovo intends to include this software in a variety of products. IdeaPad laptops, IdeaCentre desktops, and ThinkPad laptops were all announced.
... no relation to the sweet snack, Pocky... I think?
Maybe a little inspiration?
Of course many users might prefer this software to the default Windows experience. Even on Windows 7, I found myself purchasing and installing DisplayFusion to customize taskbar functionality. I also use BlueStacks, for example, which has its own marketplace and recommended applications.
This software could be good for users.
Mostly I hope consumers, from the out-of-box experience with their new devices, have control and understanding over the situation. Typical bundleware gives that a bad name. I am looking at you, antivirus trials.
Subject: Systems | August 9, 2013 - 02:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: q6600, i7-4770k, upgrade
Haswell has not been recieved with screams of joy from enthusiasts as we appreciate the power savings but are honestly more interested in MOAR POWER! As an upgrade from Ivy Bridge there are only a few benefits but what about updating from an old Q6600 on an X38 motherboard? That is what Legit Reviews just did, moving to a Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H and i7-4770K and as an upgrade it is more than impressive; everything from gaming to the productivity of the system skyrocketed as you can see below. If you are still running a Q6600 on your main rig it looks like saving your pennies would be a very good idea.
more impressive benchmarks if you follow the link
"We all love doing computer upgrades, but sometimes we have to ask ourselves if a full system upgrade is worth it or necessary. There are times that you may only gain a small percentage of a performance boost, where there are other times that you gain significant increases. Today I am going to compare my original Intel Kentsfield CPU and X38 motherboard to a shiny new Haswell CPU and Z87 motherboard."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Brix Mini PC Review: Gigabyte's Take On Small Form Factor Computing @ Techspot
- TechSpot PC Buying Guide: Mid-2013 Update
- Shuttle SH87R6 review: potent Haswell mini PC @ Hardware.info
- Building a Small Form Factor Gaming PC @ TechSpot
- HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One Review @ TechReviewSource
- Hi-Tech PC for Gamer Revenge review: clever gaming PC with GTX 780 @ Hardware.info
Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | August 9, 2013 - 10:34 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, asus cube, google, google tv, htpc
With the release of the Google Chromecast streaming USB stick it seems apropos to revisit Google's other foray into the HTPC business, Google TV. Specifically it is the ASUS Cube up for review at Bjorn3D which will be offered as an example. At less than 5" a side it is a tiny device with HDMI input and output, an pair of USB 2.0 connectors, an ethernet port and a connector for an IR sensor for the remote. It does have wireless connectivity to help keep down on the clutter if you install it somewhere noticeable. Inside you will find a 1.2 GHz Marvell Armada 1500 chip, 1GB of RAM and 2GB of user accessible storage. There are a variety of apps to help you find streams to watch and is certainly easier to set up than a full HTPC. At $125 is is more expensive than the Chromecast but it is also more powerful, see how in the review.
"Asus Cube is the device that features latest Google TV OS that want to be part of your living room entertainment setup. With a good design, an unique remote, and $139 price tag, can it push Google TV further where others may have failed? Let’s find out."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Ebode VLHD30 Full HDMI Wireless Audio/Video Sender System Review @ Madshrimps
- Hauppauge HD PVR2 Gaming Edition Plus @ Kitguru
- Streacom ST-FC8B EVO Mini ITX Case @ NikKTech
- Zotac Zbox Nano Plus: A mini with more @ Hardware.info
- Intel NUC DCCP847DYE @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Brix review: compact mini PC @ Hardware.info
Subject: General Tech, Networking, Systems, Mobile | August 6, 2013 - 01:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Surface RT, microsoft
It has been a month, to the day, since I picked on Windows RT for being more locked down than a Nintendo console. Devices, including Microsoft's own Surface RT, did not allow USB to Ethernet dongles for wired internet access. Compared to the Wii, that is quite pathetic.
Certain users have been able to use adapters until apparently, according to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft helped ensure they are broke as intended. They are also demanding hardware manufacturers, who otherwise could support the operating system, to withhold drivers from their customers.
If you were one of those people who managed to get an Ethernet dongle working with your ARM-based Surface RT, you've probably since discovered that it no longer works.
I did not see any confirmation of Microsoft disabling any drivers so, bare in mind, I might have just misunderstood the above quote. Apparently, though, the issue arises from Connected Standby conflicts with those dongles.
But that does not mean Microsoft will continue to prevent Ethernet dongles.
According to the same article from Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft is quietly working on a fix for the issue. They are currently working, along with hardware manufacturers, on creating devices which can support the instant-on, instant-off feature. The cynic in me, of course, wonders if Microsoft will be first to market with the, albeit rumored, corrected peripheral.
Personally, I feel that a consumer who purchases one of your devices should be allowed to install hardware understanding the tradeoff. It would not be too difficult to pop up a warning, "Your USB device is not compatible with Connected Standby; the feature will resume when your accessory is removed".
Just another advantage for truly personal PCs.
Subject: Systems | August 5, 2013 - 06:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, msi, Intel, embedded, atom d2550
MSI recently launched the MS-9A29, which is a fanless small form factor (SFF) embedded PC. The new PC measures 196mm x 136mm x 43mm and weighs 1.2 kg. The MS-9A29 is encased in a small black chassis that is covered in fins to aid in passive cooling with the front and back banels hosting various IO ports.
Front IO includes four USB 2.0 ports and four COM ports. The back panel holds two RJ45 GbE jacks driven by two Intel 82583V NICs, one line out audio jack (Realtek ALC887 HD codec), two USB 2.0 ports, a single HDMI port, and one VGA port. Finally, the case provides two openings for antenna passthroughs.
Internally, the MSI MS-9A29 features an Intel Atom D2550 processor (dual core at 1.8GHz, 10W TDP), Intel GMA 3650 GPU (400MHz), a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slot (4GB maximum), and Intel NM10 Express chipset. The motherboard can be accessed by a removeable bottom panel on the case. The system supports one SATA drive, one mSATA drive, and two Mini-PCI-E cards. One mini-PCI-E slot can be used for a 3G SIM card adapter.
The SFF MSI MS-9A29 can be mounted to the back of monitors or on a wall. It supports Windows 7 and Windows XP and can output video to two simultaneous displays. It is aimed at kiosks, signage, POS, and industrial machines.
More information can be found on the MS-9A29 product page. However, the company has not yet released pricing or availability (expect it to be on the pricier side though as it is aimed at business/industrial users).
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 3, 2013 - 01:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, open source hardware, open source, minnowboard, Intel, embedded system, atom
The Intel Open Source Technology Group along with CircuitCo recently launched a new small form factor bare-bones system based on open source hardware and running open source software. The Minnowboard includes a 4.2” x 4.2” motherboard, passively-cooled processor, rich IO, UEFI BIOS, and the Angstrom Linux operating system.
The Minnowboard is powered by a single core Intel Atom E640 processor clocked at 1GHz. It is a 32-bit CPU with HyperThreading and VT-x virtualization support. Other hardware includes an integrated Intel GMA 600 GPU, 1GB of DDR2 memory, and 4MB of flash memory used for motherboard firmware. Storage can be added by plugging a SSD or HDD into the single SATA II 3Gbps port.
The Minnowboard has following IO options:
- 1 x micro SD
- 1 x SATA II 3Gbps
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x micro USB
- 1 x mini USB (serial connection)
- 1 x RJ45 jack (Gigabit Ethernet)
- 2 x 3.5mm audio jacks (line in and line out)
- 1 x HDMI
The Minnowboard also has a GPIO header with 8 buffered GPIO pins, 2 GPIO LEDs, and 4 GPIO switches. As such, the system can be expanded by adding extra open source modules called “Lures.” The board is aimed at developers and embedded system manufacturers. The Minnowboard can be used as the bare system or can be integrated into a case or larger device.
The Minnowboard costs $199 and is available for purchase now from Digi-Key, Farnell (UK), Mouser, and Newark.
Obviously, the Minnowboard is nowhere near as cheap as the $35 Raspberry Pi, but it is running x86 hardware which may make it worth it to some users.
If you are interested, you can learn more about the hardware and get involved with the Minnowboard project over at Minnowboard.org.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 2, 2013 - 08:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox one, ps4
Toys "R" Us received attention by listing launch dates for both next generation consoles on their retail website. The Xbox One is rumored to launch on November 29th, which is Black Friday for North Americans, and the PlayStation 4 on December 13th. The two console manufacturers refused to confirm these dates.
Then, something odd happened: a Toys "R" Us spokesperson allegedly contacted BT Games to assert their listing was provided by vendors of Microsoft and Sony.
You know, a giraffe has a long and easily accessible neck.
Most of the time, I cringe at placeholder information on store product pages. WiiU titles, prior to launch, were tagged with a list price of $99 at multiple sites; I have seen Unreal Tournament 2007 listed with a January 5th 2007 release date... and kept this incorrect date for, as I remember, about 6 months after it passed.
How many expected release dates have you seen for Duke Nukem Forever?
Even with the source, I cannot wrap my head around two Friday console launches. Tuesdays and Sundays have been more typical, I assume due to existing distribution for movies and games, which boggles me about why both would, independently, choose Friday.
I will remain skeptical until official word, or a leaked promotional image, confirms or denies this. My real point, I guess, is how retailers seem to have a policy of made-up placeholder dates and prices. Frankly, I tend to feel better citing an anonymous source.
Subject: Systems | August 1, 2013 - 02:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: workstation, quadro k4000, quadro, haswell, Cyberpower
Cyberpower recently launched a new series of workstation PCs for video editing and 3D professionals called the Power Mega III. The new systems are powered by Intel’s latest processors and either NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics cards. The new series ranges in price from $1,099 to $4,299.
The Cyberpower Power Mega III series includes the following systems:
Power Mega III 1000
Power Mega III 2000
Power Mega III 3000
Power Mega III 1000 Video
Power Mega III 2000 CAD
Power Mega III 3000 3D
Cyberpower allows users to customize the systems by adding additional storage, graphics cards, memory, and business software. The systems will be built in either the NZXT H630 or the Thermaltake Urban S21 chassis. Cyberpower further uses all-in-one liquid coolers to cool the Intel processors.
On the high end is the Cyberpower Power Mega III 3000 3D. Hardware includes dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors (both fitted with AIO coolers), a NVIDIA K4000 GPU (768 CUDA cores, 3GB GDDR5), 32GB of ECC RAM, a 3TB mechanical hard drive, and dual 120GB SSDs. This system starts at $4,249.
Cyberpower is aiming the new workstation systems at graphics and visual computing professionals that use 3D design, composition, and simulation applications.
More information can be found on the Cyberpower PC website.
Subject: Systems | July 31, 2013 - 11:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: origin pc, laptop, haswell, gaming, eon13-s
Origin PC has announced a new 13-inch gaming laptop called the EON13-S that packs some impressive mobile gaming horsepower in a 4.4 pound system.The new gaming laptop features Intel Haswell CPUs and NVIDIA GTX 765M graphics cards along with ample mechanical and solid state storage drive options.
The EON13-S features a 13.3” 1920x1080 IPS LED-backlit display, backlit keyboard, and a 2MP webcam. External IO includes three USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI out, two audio jacks, and a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port.
Internal specifications include Intel Core i7 “Haswell” processors, GTX 765M graphics cards supporting Optimus technology, up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, up to a 1TB mechanical hard drive and two mSATA drives in RAID 0 or 1. Alternatively, users can swap out the 2.5” HDD for a SSD up to 960GB in capacity. Users can further choose between a 802.11ac compatible Intel or Killer NIC, and a dedicated sound card up to a Sound Blaster X-Fi Recon3D. Also, an external DVD or Blu ray writer is available. A 6-cell battery powers the notebook and is rated at 300 minutes. The EON13-S will come pre-loaded with either Windows 7 or Windows 8.
The EON13-S starts at $1,418 and is available now. More details can be found on the EON13-S product page.
Subject: Systems | July 20, 2013 - 09:36 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, Windows 7, veriton z, touchscreen, AIO, acer
Acer has launched two new Veriton Z Series All In One (AIO) desktops aimed at commercial customers and fitted with 19.5” touchscreens. The two Veriton Z2640G are Energy Star 5.2 rated and have VESA mounting points.
On the outside, the Veriton Z AIO desktops have a large 19.5” touchscreen display with a (disappointing) resolution of 1600 x 900 and a 5ms response time. Other features include two speakers, a built-in microphone, and a 2MP 1080p webcam that can swivel 180-degrees. External IO includes a DVD SuperMulti optical drive, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and one HDMI video output.
The two Veriton Z SKUs differ on the internal specifications and are the Veriton Z2640G-UC1007X and the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X desktops. The former features a dual core Intel Celeron 1007U processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM (16GB maximum), and a 500GB 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive. On the other hand, the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X has a dual core Intel Pentium 2117U CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM (16GB maximum), and a 500GB 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive.
Both Veriton Z series models also incorporate Acer’s “Dust Defender” technology, screw-less covers and modular components. Using the bundled stand, the display can tilt from 6 to 60-degrees. The systems will come pre-loaded with either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional (depending on user choice). The Veriton Z2640G is aimed at business, education, and government customers.
Both AIO Veriton Z desktops come with a one year warranty and will be available soon from resellers and channel partners. The Veriton Z2640G-UC1007X has an estimated sales price (ESP) of $539 while the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X has an ESP of $599. Except for the display resolution, the Veriton Z2640G AIO looks to be a decent business machine.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 19, 2013 - 05:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: msi, gs70, gaming laptop
Laptops have been evolving towards thin, light, efficient, and powerful... enough for web browsing and that is about it. The internet is a popular thing, go figure, and many manufacturers are nervous about marketing a laptop or tablet which does much beyond that. Razer took a bit of a gamble with their Blade and Edge line of laptops and tablets, respectively, but they have since shown promise.
Now MSI has not been a stranger to gaming laptops. While not as popular in North America, although they are gaining traction, they are experienced in this market. Perhaps bringing along Steelseries, a main competitor of Razer, might increase your chances? At the very least, you will probably have an epic keyboard.
The GS70 Stealth "ultra gaming notebook" combines an Intel 4th Generation Core i7 with an NVIDIA GTX 765M, up to 16GB of RAM, and a pair of SSDs into a 17.3" aluminum-magnesium alloy case. Also present, Creative Labs SoundBlaster Cinema audio and a Killer ethernet connection.
The SteelSeries keyboard is backlit in whatever color you desire. Each button has been rearranged in a unique order that I have yet to see; some keys, such as numpad 0 and right shift, to crush the number pad in with the main keyboard which effectively provides many of the benefits of a tenkeyless design.
A final note, albeit an important one, is their addition of multiple video outputs. Through "Matrix Display", three 1080p displays can be connected in addition to the built-in 1080p monitor. Certain users could set up a multi-monitor workstation at their desk for this laptop to dock into.
Check out MSI's press blast for more information -- except for the all important pricing and availability, those are currently unknown.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | July 17, 2013 - 12:58 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, Windows 3.11
Remember the time where Microsoft would only succeed on their third attempt? Did you ever wonder where Microsoft lost their way, instead stuck with some semi-regular sequence of alternating good and terrible? I cannot tell you at what point we lost the magical third version, it left unannounced about a decade ago, but Windows 3 will be its earliest popular example. Windows 3.11 for Workgroups eclipsed the then dominant Apple and helped put a computer in every office.
Image, Linux Foundation via The H Open.
Even Linus Torvalds, the creator and lead maintainer of the Linux Kernel, referred to the notoriety of Windows 3.11 with Linux heading toward 3.11. That version of Linux is now developed under the codename, "Linux for Workgroups". Tux, the penguin mascot of Linux, can be seen waving a retro-fashioned Windows flag. Perhaps in a few decades when they reach version 6, Tux can learn to play the tuba... or some other type of... long... horn.
A little luck is what Linux requires to become adopted by the home PC market. Unlike Windows 3, Linux has been a great operating system for decades. The real problem with Linux is branding, many equate the OS with command-line inputs, or believe that it does not welcome proprietary software into its open gates. Clearly, both statements are untrue: Linux is the foundation for Android and many other popular graphical UIs, and one can easily be against selling a software's right to exist without being against selling the software itself. Otherwise, very few critiques can be justified against Linux.
Readers: What is your favorite "wait for version 3" example, with or without Microsoft?
Subject: Systems | July 16, 2013 - 09:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: vision m35, velocity micro, FX-9590, FX-9370, amd, 5ghz
Boutique system manufacturer Velocity Micro has announced its new Vision M35 gaming desktop powered by AMD’s latest FX-9000 series processors.
The Velocity Micro Vision M35 can be configured with a variety of hardware components on the company’s website. The system can be housed in a number of traditional Velocity Micro cases with internal hardware that includes either an AMD FX-9370 or an AMD FX-9590 processor, up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, both SSDs and HDDs in various capacities, and up to a 1200W power supply. Graphics card options include a number of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA’s latest series (AMD 7000, NVIDIA 600/700). By default, the Vision M35 comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 8 x64, but users can elect to install Windows 7.
The AMD FX-9000 series processors are the real news here, and Velocity Micro is among the first boutique vendors to use them. As a refresher, the FX-9370 and FX-9590 are 8-core processors with 16MB of cache based on the company’s Piledriver micro-architecture. The FX-9370 has a base clockspeed of 4.4 GHz and a turbo clockspeed of 4.7 GHz while the FX-9590 comes clocked at 4.7 GHz base and 5.0 GHz turbo. Despite being aimed at the enthusiast crowd, these chips will only be available to OEMs and system builders and not as retail parts.
The new AMD-powered Velocity Micro Vision M35 is available now online with a base price of $2,799. I was able to configure a M35 with the following specifications for $3,169 (and managed to get a quote of $2,969 after a $200 off coupon selectable on the configuration page).
- Velocity Micro QX-W chassis
- 850W power supply
- AMD FX-9590 CPU
- 8GB DDR3 RAM
- AMD Radeon 7950 GPU
- 120GB Intel 520 SSD
- 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive
- Integrated GbE and audio
- (No keyboard or mouse or other accessories selected)
Granted, its on the pricier side, but its not a bad system as far as pre-built boutique PCs go. And for AMD fans, systems like this (and these) are going to be the only official option for getting a FX-9590 processor.
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