NVDIMM: Nonvolatile... Not NVIDIA

Subject: General Tech, Memory, Systems | February 10, 2013 - 03:44 AM |
Tagged: NVDIMM, micron, IMFT NAND, imft

So a RAM chip, a NAND module, and an “ultracapacitor” walk into stick...

This week Micron released a press blast for technology called, “NVDIMM”. The goal is to create memory modules which perform as quickly as DRAM but can persist without power. At this point you could probably guess the acronym: Nonvolatile Dual In-line Memory Module. It has been around for a few years now, but it is in the news now so let's chat about it.

I often like to play the game, “Was this named by an engineer or a marketer?” You can typically tell who was responsible for naming something by gauging how literally it breaks down into a simple meaning versus not having any apparent meaning at all. A good example of an engineer name is UHF, which breaks down into ultra-high frequency because it's higher than VHF, very-high frequency. A good example of a marketing name would be something like “Centrino”, which sounds like the biggest little penny-slot machine in the world. I would quite comfortable guessing that NVDIMM was named by an engineer.

NVDIMM.jpg

This is AgigA Tech's module, who provides the capacitors for Micron and their NVDIMMs.

The actual makeup of NVDIMMs is quite sensible: DIMMs are fast but die when the power goes out. You could prevent the power from going out but it takes quite a lot of battery life to keep a computer online for extended periods of time. NAND Flash is quite slow, relative to DIMMs, in normal operation but can persist without power for very long periods of time. Also, modern-day capacitors are efficient and durable enough to keep DIMMs powered for long enough to be copied to flash memory.

As such, if the power goes out: memory is dumped to flash on the same chip. When power is restored, DIMMs get reloaded and continue on their merry way.

According to the Micron press release, the first NVDIMM was demonstrated last November at SC12. That module contained twice as much NAND as it did DIMM memory: 8GB of Flash for 4GB of RAM. Micron did not specify why they required having that much extra Flash memory although my gut instinct is to compensate for write wearing problems. A two-fold increase to offset NAND that had just one too many write operations seems like quite a lot compared to consumer drives. That said, SSDs do not have to weather half of their whole capacity being written to each time the computer shuts down.

Who knows, double-provisioning might even be too little in practice.

Source: Micron

Arctic Releases MC001-XBMC HTPC Running XBMC 12

Subject: Systems | February 6, 2013 - 10:55 AM |
Tagged: xbmc 12, SFF, openelec 3.0, htpc, arctic

Arctic has released a small form factor PC that comes pre-installed with the recently-released XBMC 12 media center software. The Arctic MC001-XBMC is available in the United States and Europe. It measures 161 x 40 x 266mm with the PC attached to the stand. The MC001-XBMC comes in black or white and should fit easily into your AV rack.

The HTPC can be used to playback a variety of music and video file formats and can also be used as a network attached storage (NAS) device. On the software side of things, it comes pre-loaded with XBMC 12 “Frodo” and Openelec 3.0. It can act as a media center and television PVR.

MC001-XBMC(US) SFF HTPC (2).png

The HTPC is powered by a dual core Intel Atom D525 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5430 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, 2GB DDR3 1333MHz system memory, and a 1TB laptop hard drive (5400 RPM). Networking is handled by a Gigabit Ethernet controller and a 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio.

MC001-XBMC(US) SFF HTPC (3).png

The front of the system includes an IR receiver, two USB 3.0 ports, two audio jacks (headphone/mic), and a card reader. The back of the MC001-XBMC features the following IO options.

  • 6 x analog audio jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • 5 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DVB-T connector for the ATSC tuner
  • 1 x DC power jack (19V, 60W)

The XBMC 12 UI is a Windows Media Center alternative, and while setting up TV recording features requires additional software and is more difficult to setup it is otherwise a decent media center experience. Users can control the HTPC using the included infrared remote or via apps on Android or iOS smartphones.

MC001-XBMC(US) SFF HTPC (1).png

The MC001-XBMC comes with a two year warranty and has an MSRP of $229 US or EUR 199. It is no speed demon by any means, but the SFF system is plenty of hardware to playback up to 1080p video files.

Source: Arctic

Dell Goes Private, Microsoft Loans Some Help

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 5, 2013 - 05:10 PM |
Tagged: dell

Dell, dude, you're getting a Dell!

So it is official that Dell is going private. Michael Dell, CEO, as well as: Silver Lake, MSD Capital, several banks, and Dell itself will buy back stocks from investors 25% above the January 11th trading price. The whole deal would be worth $24.4 billion USD.

dell.jpg

Going private allows the company to make big shifts in their business without answering to investors on a quarterly basis. We can see how being a publicly traded company seems to hinder businesses after they grow beyond what a cash infusion can assist. Even Apple finds it necessary to keep an absolutely gigantic pile of cash to play with, only recently paying dividends to investors.

Also contributing to the buyback, as heavily reported, is a $2 billion USD loan from Microsoft. While it sounds like a lot in isolation, it is only just over 8% of the whole deal. All you really can pull is that it seems like Microsoft supports Dell in their decision and is putting their money where their intentions are.

Source: The Verge

Fanless MintBox PC Receives Price Cut, Makes It More-Competitive Intel NUC Alternative

Subject: Systems | February 3, 2013 - 09:32 AM |
Tagged: mintbox, mint, linux, fitpc3, compulab

The MintBox is a small form factor, fanless computer released in summer 2012. It was developed in collaboration between CompuLab and the Linux Mint project. At launch, the base model retailed for $476, but CompuLab has cut the price by almost $100 to kick off 2013.

 

mintbox_front.png

The MintBox basic is powered by a dual core AMD G-T40N APU clocked at 1.0 GHz, 4GB of RAM, an APU-integrated Radeon G290 GPU, and 250GB hard drive. The system has a aluminum chassis that acts as a heatsink. It is essentially CompuLab’s fitPC3 case with a few custom tweaks to add the Linux Mint logo. Further, it comes pre-loaded with the Linux Mint 13 operating system. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 radios are included as well as two mini-PCIe cards and one mSATA connector (for an SSD).

mintbox.png

The front of the MintBox has four USB 2.0 ports surrounding the Mint logo. The rear of the MintBox includes the following connectivity options:

  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x eSATA
  • 1 x RS232 serial port
  • 2 x external Wi-Fi antennas .

 

In many respects, the MintBox resembles a typical home wireless router, but it is actually a full PC. Before shipping and any applicatable taxes, the MintBox Basic is $379. Reportedly, 10% of the proceeds will go towards the Linux Mint project to assist with development of the open source operating system. While the hardware itself is not new, Mint and CompuLab are offering up a healthy discount which may bring it more in line with Intel’s NUC systems. It may not be as fast, but it will cost less and is pre-configured unlike the DIY NUC.

Have you been looking to get a small form factor system? What do you think about a fanless box running Linux Mint for your next PC?

Intel really needs help with the name of their new NUC, DC3217IYE just doesn't roll off the tongue

Subject: Systems | January 28, 2013 - 07:20 PM |
Tagged: nuc, Intel, DC3217IYE

The new Intel NUC DC3217IYE is a tiny little system with a Core i3-3217U on a QS77 Express chipset with a pair of HDMI ports, three USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, ethernet and a mini PCIe slot that can handle mSATA, which is good as there is no internal storage apart from that.  Once you have purchased the NUC, all you need to do is install an mSATA drive and RAM and you have a fully functional system.  The inclusion of a Core i3 processor helps make the performance of the NUC significantly better than what it would be with an Atom and while the HD4000 is good for some applications it is not a strong gamer.  X-bit Labs likes the idea of the NUC but questions the $300 price it will command.

xbit_inside.jpg

"Intel decided to give it a shot in the ultra-compact desktop systems market. And they immediately came up with a unique product: a miniature system case only 12x11x4 cm in size based on Core i3 processor. It boasts a truly impressive combination of features, but does it make practical sense to give us a large desktop box in favor of a tiny guy like that?"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: X-bit Labs

Ceton's My Media Center goes Metro

Subject: Systems | January 23, 2013 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: htpc, ceton, my media center, win8, Metro

Ceton's My Media Center is a replacement interface for Windows Media Center's UI, allowing you to control functions on a device separate from the display which is connected to your WMC.  That means that any device running the Metro interface of Win8, which is any flavour of Win8, can be set up to connect to your HTPC and allow you to control WMC even if you are out of the house and it won't interfere with anyone who happens to be using it at the time.  The Companion software is loaded onto both the HTPC and the secondary device and with a little configuration, which Missing Remote details here, you will be in full control of WMC from anywhere.

MR_cetonmetro.jpg

"Earlier today a new Windows 8 "Metro" version of Ceton's suite of applications for managing Windows Media Center joined the existing lineup of Andriod, Windows Phone and iOS companion apps priced at $4.99. As part of this effort they were rebranded from "Ceton Companion Apps" to "My Media Center". All the great functionality for browsing recordings, managing series and scheduling, and browsing the guide is still there, but this time Windows 8 tablet and desktop "Metro" users can also join the party. We had a chance to take an early spin through the updated UI, let's dig in."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

VIA Launches ARMOS-800 Embedded PC

Subject: Systems | January 16, 2013 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: VIA, pico-itx, embedded system, cortex a8, arm

VIA has launched a new small form factor PC for embedded applications and powered by ARM hardware. The ARMOS-800 is ruggedized and low power. It features a fanless design with an aluminum chassis that can operate between -40 and 80 degrees Celsius.

Internal hardware includes a pico-ITX motherboard, and Freescale ARM Cortex A8 processor clocked at 800MHz. It also has two integrated GPUs capable of dual display outputs. Other specifications include 1GB DDR3 SDRAM, 4GB eMMC internal storage, and a microSD card slot.

 

168a.jpg

IO options on the ARMOS-800 include a COM port, DIO port, CAN port, and three audio jacks (line in, line out, and mic in). Rear IO includes one VGA, one HDMI, one Ethernet jack (10/100), three USB 2.0 ports, and an optional VNT9271 Wi-Fi card attached via an internal USB header.

The ARMOS-800 PC uses an average of 3.14W during normal operation. It can officially support Android 2.3 or Embedded Linux 2.6. The PC measures 15 x 4.6 x 10.8 centimeters. The ARMOS-800 is available now. You can find more information on the VIA product page.

Source: Via

Xi3 Launches Low-Power, Compact Z3RO Pro Computer

Subject: Systems | January 15, 2013 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: z3ro pro, Xi3, SFF

Xi3 Corporation recently announced a new small form factor computer with the Xi3 Z3RO Pro. The new PC features a blue and silver chassis in typical Xi3 styling. It measures 1.9 x 4.9 x 3.6 inches, which is about the size of a small paperback book.

Inside the chassis, the Xi3 Z3RO Pro features a dual core processor clocked at 1.65GHz with 2MB L2 cache, a GPU with 80 shader cores, and 4GB of DDR3 memory. Further, Xi3 will include between 16GB and 1TB of internal storage. The system will reportedly operate on a mere 15W.

Xi3 X3RO Pro Computer.jpg

Rear IO on the Xi3 Z3RO Pro includes four combination eSATA/USB 3.0 ports, a single Gigabit Ethernet jack, and two video outputs. It has one combination HDMI and DisplayPort output and one mini DisplayPort port.

The low-power system is available for pre-order now. It will officially launch in the second quarter of 2013 for around $399. The Xi3 Z3RO Pro ships with OpenSUSE 11.2 Linux, but the X86-64 compatible hardware will support other desktop operating systems like Linux Mint and Windows 8. Unfortunately, Xi3 was vague on the processor being used, but an AMD APU of some sort is a good bet. 

Source: Xi3

CES 2013: Ice Computer shows off xPad and modular xPC

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: xpc, xpad, xdock, modular computer, ice computer, ces 2013, CES

Engadget caught up with Ice Computer on the CES show floor to check out the progress on its modular xPC system. At Computex last year, the company had a prototype of the xPC, and now at CES Ice Computer has both the xPC and the dockable tablet display to demonstrate.

The xPC is a small plastic chassis containing a full computer sans display or traditional outputs. It weights approximately 50 grams and is similar in form factor to a thick cell phone. It will slide into the xPad tablet dock like a gaming cartridge on a classic (wow, I feel old) console. The xPC can also be docked into a xTop dock which connects to a television or desktop monitor along with a keyboard and mouse.

The xPC in question can use either an Intel Atom, AMD APU, or NVIDIA Tegra processor. It also hosts 2GB of RAM, up to a 64GB SSD, 1.3 or 2 megapixel webcam, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio. It will cost around $200.

Ice Computer xPad.jpg

The xPad is essentially a tablet chassis, touchscreen display, and IO ports that has a slot where the xPC docks. The xPad gets it’s processing and storage guts from the xPC meaning it cannot be used on its own. The current xPad design has a capacitive touch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768, front facing webcam, and an estimated six to eight hours of battery life. The right side of the tablet is a USB port, SD card slot, and a headphone jack. Along the left edge is the power button and volume rocker, and slot for the xPC to dock. Ice Computer expects the xPad tablet dock to be available around the same time as the xPC for $200.

The xTop will come out sometime after the xPC and xPad with an as-yet-unknown price.

The xPC is somewhat interesting in its goal, but I worry that its execution will be its undoing. Ice Computer wants the xPC to be your only computer, such that you take it everywhere and simply dock it into various devices to get more IO, a larger display, or a physical keyboard. Unfortunately, people are already carrying around a computer everywhere and it has a display and longer battery life all its own: the modern smartphone. Android, and in the future Ubuntu, smartphones can be connected to displays along with physical keyboards and mice to access a full desktop. They can be placed into docks, and in the Asus version can even be docked into a larger slate tablet (the PadPhone). I can’t shake the feeling that the xPC has a noble goal but while it is sitting in development uncertainty (there is scant information online about Ice Computer and while progress is being made, release dates are far in the future, for the tech world anyway) the xPC is being surpassed by the increasingly-popular smartphones. (Even Josh has a smartphone now!)

Further, with systems like the Raspberry Pi, enthusiasts can alreay hack together their own dockable, portable computer (expect maybe the tablet aspect) for less than even the base xPC much less the additional docks needed to make ti work.

With that said, Ice Computer’s xPC has one saving grace and that is to cater to Windows users. It could very well be a decent dockable computer that runs Windows and its plethora of applications and legacy software. The various smartphones and mini ARM-powered PCs cannot run Windows, so the xPC could carve out a niche for itself in that area. Not quite the revolutionary dockable dream, but an area where i could see it being viable.

Here’s hoping it sees the light of day sometime this year and reviewers can see it in action.

What do you think about the xPC and it’s goals? 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

CES 2013: Prototype Intel TV System Spotted at Imagination Suite

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, Intel, tv, intel media, imagination, PowerVR

While visiting with the folks at Imagination, responsible for the graphics system known as PowerVR found in many Apple and Samsung SoCs, we were shown a new, innovative way to watch TV.  This new system used an impressively quick graphic overlay, the ability to preview other channels before changing to them and even the ability to browse content on your phone and "toss" it to your TV. 

inteltv2.jpg

The software infrastructure is part of the iFeelSmart package but the PowerVR team was demonstrating the performance and use experiences that its low power graphics system could provide for future applications.  And guess what we saw was connected to the TV?

inteltv1.jpg

With all of the information filtering out on Intel's upcoming dive into the TV ecosystem, it shouldn't be a surprise that find hardware like this floating around.  We aren't sure what kind of hardware Intel would actually end up using for the set top box expected later this year, but it is possible we are looking at an early development configuration right here. 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2013: iBUYPOWER Launches SFF Revolt Gaming PC

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 05:52 AM |
Tagged: CES, SFF, revolt, ibuypower, gaming pc, ces 2013

The boutique PC vendor iBUYPOWER announced a new small form factor gaming computer at CES 2013. The new Revolt gaming PC features a custom white and black chassis with tweaked ventilation and a customizable lighting system. The Revolt comes in one of three base flavors, upon which you can customize to add a better GPU, more memory, additional storage or a caching SSD, a faster processor, and a closed loop liquid cooling system (the top-end option is the NZXT Kraken with 140mm radiator) for the CPU. iBUYPOWER will even overclock the system for you up to 20% for a fee ($49).

revolt_1.png

The systems come with a plethora of USB ports, two USB 3.0 ports, dual DVI outputs, analog audio jacks, S/PDIF, SD card slot, and PS/2 port. In that respect, it is definitely more PC than the console that the small form factor case would leave admirers of your AV setup to believe. You can add up to 1TB of mechanical storage, an Intel Core i7-3770K processor, and a single GTX 680 4GB graphics card on the top end with all customizations.

revolt_8.png

While the system uses mini-ITX motherboards, users are able to otherwise use full size components which does leave room for upgrades. The one big compromise is the power supply in that the upper limit from iBUYPOWER is a 500W “server class” unit that is smaller than traditional ATX power supplies that enthusiasts are used to. And that generally means smaller fans that can be noisy.

revolt_2.png

 

The table below details the base specifications of the three Revolt gaming PC SKUs. Each build can be customized from there.

  Revolt R320 Revolt R550 Revolt R570
Processor Core i3-3220 Core i5-3550P Core i5-3570K
RAM 4GB DDR3 @ 1600 MHz 4GB DDR3 @ 1600 MHz 4GB DDR3 @ 1600 MHz
Graphics Intel HD 2500 NVIDIA GTX 650 1GB NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB
Motherboard ASRock B75M-ITX IBP-Z77E/S ASRock B75M-ITX
Hard Drive 500GB 500GB 500GB
Optical Sony slot loading DVD Sony slot loading DVD Sony slot loading DVD
Pricing (base) $499 $649 $899

The Revolt is up for pre-order now and is expected to ship sometime in February 2013. The Revolt R320, R550, and R570 gaming computers start at $499, $649, and $899 respectively.

revolt_7.gif

You can find more photos and specifications on the Revolt product page.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: iBUYPOWER

CES 2013: Intel Announces Three Future NUC Systems, Coming Later This Year

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 02:06 AM |
Tagged: CES, nuc, next unit of computing, Intel, htpc, haswell, core i5, celeron 847, ces 2013

Intel released its first Next Unit of Computing system last year, and it seems that the 4 x 4-inch computer was enough of a success that Intel is ready to introduce new models. The Tech Report managed to talk to Intel on the CES show floor, and the x86 chip-maker is planning as many as three new models for release later this year.

Intel is reportedly planning a cheaper model as well as two higher-performance models. The former is a NUC system that switches out the current-generation’s Core i3-3217U processor for a cheaper Celeron 847 chip. While the Core i3-3217U is a dual core part with HyperThreading clocked at 1.8GHz. It is a 22nm, 17W part with 3MB of cache. On the other hand, the Intel Celeron 847 CPU that will allegedly be at the heart of the next NUC is an older 32nm chip with two physical cores, no HyperThreading, 2MB of cache, and a clockspeed of 1.1GHz. It does retain the same 17W TDP, but it is an older and slower part (and cheaper as a result).

This new NUC is said to be available for around $220 with a Thunderbolt port or $190 without Thunderbolt. That makes it as much as $100 cheaper than the current-generation NUC that we reviewed in December 2012.

In addition to the Celeron-powered model, Intel is also ramping up the performance with a Core-i5 powered NUC due in April 2013. There is no word on pricing but it should be available for purchase sometime in April 2013. It will have USB 3.0, triple monitor, and vPro support. The article in question was not clear on whether the Core i5 NUC will keep the Thunderbolt port in addition to USB 3.0 or if it will simply be swapped out. One concern I have is heat as the Core i5 chip will be faster and run hotter than the Core i3-3217U. With the current generation NUC, there were issues of heat that caused the system to hard lock during large file transfers over the network. Granted that particular issue is thought to be caused from heat generated by the NIC and SSD heat causing a component to overheat, but any new/additional heat (like that of a faster CPU) in the same NUC form factor may be problematic. Here’s hoping that Intel has found a way to resolve the overheating issue with the new 2013 models.

Finally, Intel is reportedly also planning to release a Haswell-powered processor in Q4 of this year. IT seems that Intel is preparing a trifecta of NUCs aimed at lower cost, higher performance, and higher efficiency (Haswell) respectively.

Are you excited about the Next Unit of Computing form factor? 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Tech Report

CES 2013 Video: Gigabyte Shows 4K Display Support and Thin Mini-ITX Boards

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Displays, Systems | January 9, 2013 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: video, thunderbolt, thin itx, mini ITX, ces 2013, CES, 4k

One of our final stops at CES this year was to visit with our friends at Gigabyte to see what they had to show off.  Right off the bat we found an impressive 4K display configuration with four 1080p monitors.  Running off of Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UP5TH dual-Thunderbolt motherboard, each of the ports was split using a Lenovo adapter, each connecting to a pair of the monitors on the quad-display stand.  The result is a stunning 3840x2160 display configuration running completely off of the Intel HD 4000 graphics and the Core i7 processor.

Colin also showed us Gigabyte's push into the world of DIY and OEM All-in-One designs with a couple of motherboards based on the thin mini-ITX standard.  These boards are the same X/Y dimensions with a lower Z-height and very specific layout rules so that enclosures, cooling and components can be standardized. 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2013: Valve Announces Steam Box Not Announced in '13

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, valve, Steam Box

CES opened with excitement from Xi3 Corporation and their announcement of the Piston. When Gabe Newell spoke with Kotaku at the VGAs he said that we would see Big Picture PCs this year. With word that Xi3 received funding from Valve some of us, including myself, wondered if this Piston was Valve’s “Nexus” Steam Box.

Ben Krasnow, hardware engineer at Valve, comments in the video below about whether we have seen Valve’s canonical Steam Box or if there are any planned announcements for 2013.

Thank you Ben.

There seems to be some discrepancies between statements from Krasnow and Valve Managing Director, Gabe Newell. The major deviation concerns whether the official Steam Box will be based on Linux or another operating system. When interviewed by The Verge, Gabe Newell claimed the official box will be based on Linux with no unclear terms:

We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination.

Krasnow in an email discussion with Engadget was somewhat more timid in future plans. The Engadget article was published on the same day as the The Verge interview which makes neither position particularly out of date. His statement:

"The box might be linux-based, but it might not," he continued. "It's true that we are beta-testing Left for Dead 2 on Linux, and have also been public about Steam Big Picture Mode. We are also working on virtual and augmented reality hardware, and also have other hardware projects that have not been disclosed yet, but probably will be in 2013."

At the same point this might all become irrelevant very quickly. As reported yesterday, Gabe Newell in the very same interview seemed to strongly suggest that post-Kepler GPUs will bring virtualization to the consumer market. If that is the case, then the only barrier between Linux and Windows would be for a company to provide a user-friendly virtual machine. Having your host operating system as one or the other would not particularly matter if the user could run gaming applications from the other platform.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

SolidRun Launches CuBox Pro Miniature Desktop Computer

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2013 - 10:36 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, solidrun, linux, desktop, cubox pro, cubox, computer

Israeli-startup SolidRun is launching an updated model of its CuBox mini PC called the CuBox Pro. The small desktop computer measures 2 x 2 x 2-inches and weighs a mere 91 grams. The CuBox Pro is not only small in size, it also sips a mere 3 watts at full load. It comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux, but the CuBox Pro can be loaded with alternative operating systems by way of a microSD card. The hardware is nothing spectacular on the performance front, but it is capable of 1080p HD video playback. Interestingly, Youtube user rabeeh3000 reported that the CuBox Pro draws less than 2.5 Watts while playing a HD movie in XBMC.

SolidRun CuBox Pro.jpg

Speaking of hardware, the CuBox Pro is powered by a Marvell ARMADA 510 SoC clocked at 800 MHz. It is supported by 2GB of DDR3 memory, and internal storage is handled by a microSD card slot.

Rear IO on the CuBox Pro includes two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI video output, one eSATA connector, one Gigabit Ethernet port, DC power jack, and a single S/PDIF audio output on the side of the case. Further, the CuBox Pro has an infrared receiver, which will enable remotes to be used with media center software.

SolidRun CuBox Pro Computer IO.jpg

The CuBox Pro is slated to be available sometime in January for $159. Alternatively, the original CuBox with 1GB of DDR3 is available for $139. Admittedly, it is a bit pricey considering there are cheaper options like the Raspberry Pi but you are getting a complete OEM system (whereas you would have to add an SD card, USB infrared receiver, and case to the price of the Pi).

You can find more information abou the CuBox computer on the SolidRun website

Source: Venture Beat

CES 2013: Razer Edge Back Again. Fiona Always Was Edgy.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, razer

Last year Project Fiona was presented by Razer and we felt as awkward about it as it looked.

This is a new year and it looks like Razer took a bit of feedback from critics of yester-CES. The design itself looks quite similar than it did except that the controller-handles are now detachable. The Edge can operate in four different modes: tablet, keyboard, the controller-handles, and “home console” mode.

The Home Console mode allows you to dock your tablet and access it using 3 USB ports, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio in/out. You can use it as a desktop or as a home theatre PC. Also with Steam’s Big Picture Mode it sees the big picture as a potential Steam Box.

The technical specifications are slightly more solid than last year:

  • Intel Core i7 (2 core, 4 threads) @ 1.9GHz Turbo to 3.0GHz
  • Intel HD 4000/NVIDIA GT 640M LE
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 126/256GB SSD
  • Intel WLAN (B/G/N + Bluetooth 4.0)
  • 10.1” IPS 1366x768 10-point touchscreen
  • Windows 8

So what do you think? While I expect it will be out of my budget and I would probably just barely survive on 256GB due to recent 20-25GB games -- I think it looks pretty good.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Razer

CES 2013: The Verge Interviews Gave Newell for Steam Box. Valve's Director Hints Post-Kepler GPUs Can Be Virtualized!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 11:11 PM |
Tagged: valve, gaben, Gabe Newell, ces 2013, CES

So the internet has been in a roar about The Steam Box and it probably will eclipse Project Shield as topic of CES 2013. The Verge scored an interview to converse about the hardware future of the company and got more than he asked for.

Gaben.jpg

Now if only he would have discussed potential launch titles.

Wow! That *is* a beautiful knife collection.

The point which stuck with me most throughout the entire interview was directed at Valve’s opinion of gaming on connected screens. Gabe Newell responded,

The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simulateneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors -- now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.

This is pretty much confirmation, assuming no transcription errors on the part of The Verge, that Maxwell will support the virtualization features of GK110 and bring it mainstream. This also makes NVIDIA Grid make much more sense in the long term. Perhaps NVIDIA will provide some flavor of a Grid server for households directly?

The concept gets me particularly excited. One of the biggest wastes of money the tech industry has is purchasing redundant hardware. Consoles are a perfect example: not only is the system redundant to your other computational device which is usually at worst a $200 GPU away from a completely better experience, you pay for software to be reliant on that redundant platform which will eventually disappear along with said software. In fact, many have multiple redundant consoles because the list of software they desire is not localized to just one system so they need redundant redundancies. Oy!

A gaming server should help make the redundancy argument more obvious. If you need extra interfaces then you should only need to purchase the extra interfaces. Share the number crunching and only keep it up to date.

Also check out the rest of the interview over at The Verge. I decided just to cover a small point with potentially big ramifications.

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PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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Source: The Verge

CES 2013: ASUS Systems with No Two Alike

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS has a lot of products to get through so there is no sense in waiting.

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The ASUS TAICHI is back in the news with a second model but only one capitalization: upper. As we said in the last article, the device uses two 11.6” 1080p touch displays on both sides of the lid to show mirrored or even unique information to the user and to people behind the laptop. With the lid closed the laptop will then also function as a tablet. The newer addition to the TAICHI family increases the screen size to 13.3”.

  • 11.6” 1080p or 13.3” (unlisted, probably also 1080p) IPS Dual touch-displays.
  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 or i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • USB 3.0
  • 4GB of RAM (11.6”, 13.3” unlisted)

ASUS-Systems-2.jpg

The ASUS Transformer AiO is an all-in-one computer with a dockable 18.4” tablet. The dock contains a full-featured desktop with the tablet containing a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra processor. The device uses both Windows 8 for the base station or Android 4.1 for the tablet. When the tablet is removed from its base it is still able to function in Windows 8 mode by communicating wirelessly with the base station.

  • 18.4” 1080p IPS display with 10-points of touch recognition
  • Intel Ivy Bridge processor

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The ASUS Transformer Book TX300CA runs in the same vein as the popular Android-based Transformer Prime: a tablet able to dock into a keyboard to function as a laptop. The TX300CA differs from its Prime counterpart by running full Windows 8 on an Intel processor. If you wanted a Transformer Prime but are too locked in to Windows then you might want to look at this.

  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Both an SSD and a HDD
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB 3.0
  • Dual Cameras: “HD” (720p?) front-facing and 5MP rear-facing
  • 13” 1080p IPS multi-touch display

ASUS-Systems-4.jpg

The ASUS VivoTab Smart Tablet utilizes Clover Trail for a full Windows 8 experience. Unlike the prior models there is not a whole lot to discuss apart from its tech specs below!

  • Intel Clover Trail Atom Z2760 dual-core
  • 10.1” 1366x768 IPS LED 5-point touch display
  • 9.5 hour battery life
  • Dual Cameras: 2MP front-facing and 8MP rear-facing
  • NFC sensor

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2013: Valve Talks Piston, Better Listen. Steam Box!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: Xi3, valve, trinity, Steam Box, ces 2013, CES, amd

Going from a failed Kickstarter to Valve’s premier console? Sounds like a good anecdote to tell.

Valve has finally discussed the Steam Box in more concrete details. Get ready for some analysis; there are a bunch of hidden stories to be told. We will tell them.

Update for clarity: As discussed in IRC technically this was an Xi3 announcement that Valve will have at their booth but not an official Valve announcement. That said, Valve will have it at their booth and Valve funded Xi3.

Another Update for new information: Turns out this is not the Valve-official device. Ben Krasnow, Valve hardware engineer, made a statement that the official Steam Box is not planned to be announced in 2013. What we will see this year is 3rd Party implementations, and that should be it. News story to follow.

ValvePiston.jpg

Image by Engadget

As everyone is reporting, Valve hired out Xi3 Corporation to develop the Steam Box under the codename Piston. Xi3Corporation was founded in 2010 and revealed their first product at CES two years ago. In late September, Xi3 launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter to fund their latest designs: The X7A and the X3A.

The X7A Modular Computer is the most interesting as it seems to be what the Piston is based on. Regardless of the Kickstarter’s failure, Valve still reached out to Xi3 Corporation chequebook in hand. According to the Kickstarter page, the X7A has the following features:

  • 64-Bit Quad-Core x86 processor up to 3.2 GHz with 384 graphics shader cores.
    • My personal best guess is the AMD A10-4600M Trinity APU.
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB of “Superfast” Solid State Memory
  • Four USB 3.0
  • Four USB 2.0
  • Four eSATAp
  • Gigabit E
  • 40Watt under load
  • “Under $1000” although that includes 1TB of SSD storage.
    • Also Valve could take a loss, because Steam has no problem with attach rate.

The key piece of information is the 40Watt declaration. According to Engadget who went hands-on with the Valve Piston, it too is rated for 40Watt under load. This means that it is quite likely for the core specifications of the Kickstarter to be very similar to the specifications of the Piston.

Benchmarks for the 7660G have the device running Far Cry 3 on low settings at around 34 FPS as well as Black Ops 2 running on Medium at 42 FPS. That said, with a specific hardware platform to target developers will be able to better optimize.

During the SpikeTV VGAs, Gabe Newell stated in an interview with Kotaku that third parties would also make “Steam Boxes”. They are expected to be available at some point in 2013.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

CES 2013 Video: ASUS Transformer All-in-One Merges Windows 8 and Android

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2013 - 01:29 AM |
Tagged: Transformer, ces 2013, CES, asus, all-in-one, AIO

There is a new category of computer coming out this year that revolves around tablets that are bigger than you might be comfortable with.  We saw the first example of this with the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon launched yesterday in the form of a 27-in AIO with a 2 hour battery life.  ASUS was demonstrating another one they are calling the Transformer AIO that actually goes a step further by combining standard Core processor technology in the base and Tegra 3 technology in the display. 

The AIO is an 18.4-in 1080p system with standard Intel Core i5 and Core i7 platforms running the full version of Windows 8.  However, the user can push a button on the side of the system to switch on the fly between Windows 8 and an Android system powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3.  Even better, you can remove the display from the Transformer AIO (hence the name) and use it as a rather large tablet with 4-5 hours of battery life AND you can stream the Windows 8 system to it via wireless display technology.

It is a really slick system - check out the video below!

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PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!