BenQ's 24" XL2420G; affordable G-SYNC?

Subject: Displays | February 6, 2015 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: XL2420G, NVIDA, g-sync, benq, 24

On Amazon the BenQ XL2420G is $540, or $529 from B&H Photo, not inexpensive but within the grasp of more people than some of the larger and more expensive G-SYNC monitors.  It has a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz as you expect from this style of monitor and it does indeed support Nvidia's 3D Vision, although some may be deterred by the 1080p resolution and the fact that it is a TN panel.  Some features do need to be sacrificed to bring the price down and the simple fact is that there are no IPS G-SYNC monitors currently for sale and TN is the faster type of monitor and this display is all about speed.  The Tech Report tried it out and were very impressed, check the full review to see why.

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"Today, we're turning our attention to BenQ's XL2420G, a 24" G-Sync monitor that's currently selling for about $580 at Newegg. This display is a little smaller and more affordable than some of the other G-Sync offerings we've looked at, but it's not lacking in functionality or connectivity. Quite the opposite."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Preparing a Broadwell powered NUC for Linux

Subject: Systems | February 6, 2015 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: linux, nuc, Broadwell

After the great experience Phoronix had setting up the X1 Carbon with both Fedora and Ubuntu, they purchased a new Broadwell based NUC to experiment with. This model uses the Core i3 5010U with an onboard 900MHz HD Graphics 5500, support for 2 DIMMs of up to 64GB of DDR3-1866, an M.2 SSD card and a 2.5" HDD or SSD.  Intel has stated that Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, and openSUSE will all be compatible so Phoronix has a bit of testing ahead of them.  There are no benchmarks as of yet but you can see their teardown of this new NUC here.

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"With wrapping up my Core i7 5600U Broadwell Linux tests using the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon in the next few days, fortunately the Intel BOXNUC5I3RYH just arrived as the first available NUC Kit shipping with a Broadwell processor. The NUC5i3RYH features a Broadwell Core i3 processor, HD Graphics 5500, and support for a M.2 SSD card and 2.5-inch HDD/SSD."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: Phoronix

Are you the Type that wants to C USB 3.1 in action?

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2015 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, usb type-c

The speed difference between USB 3.1 and 3.0 is not quite as significant as the difference between 2.0 and 3.0, it only doubles the speed to 10Gbps but it offers other advantages as well.  For instance no longer will you need to flip your device three times to plug it in, the backwards compatible Type C connector will fit in either orientation which is seemingly a small thing until you spend a lot of time reaching under desks trying to plug peripherals in.  Kitguru tested the speed of two Intel 730 SSDs in RAID 0 on the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK which has USB 3.1 provided by the ASMedia ASM1142 chipset. The test results came close to the theoretical maximum, easily beating USB 3.0.   Check out the full review here.

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"And that's where USB 3.1 comes in. A 10Gbps link speed, up to 100W of power delivery, and upcoming widespread application of a new Type-C connector are some of the key features that the new version will usher in."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru

Don't worry if it is too big to fit; Team Group's M131 USB drive can do Micro too

Subject: Storage | February 5, 2015 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: usb, team group, M131, Micro USB

Team Group M131 Smart Dual Drive is so named because it can plug into both full sized USB and with the additional connector it can connect to Micro USB ports as well.  It's tiny size at 44 x 16.6 mm and 6.6g makes it easy to carry around, the largest size of 32GB may feel cramped for a PC but seems appropriate for use with a smartphone.  It is not the fastest USB drive out there but eTeknix saw it for sale at £7.19 so you are not paying extra for the convenience of the drive.  Check out their review here.

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"The limited storage in mobile devices can be a real problem just as the fact that a touchscreen rarely is the optimal input device. Both these things might be a thing of the past if you invest in a Team Group M131 Smart Dual Drive with OTG support that. I’m taking a closer look at 16GB model of just this drive today."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: eTeknix

Podcast #335 - Mobile G-Sync, GTX 970 SLI, a Broadwell Brix and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2015 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, g-sync, GTX 970, gigabyte, brix s, broadwell-u, Intel, nuc, arm, Cortex-A72, mediatek, amd, Godavari, Raspberry Pi, windows 10

PC Perspective Podcast #335 - 02/05/2015

Join us this week as we discuss Mobile G-Sync, GTX 970 SLI, a Broadwell Brix and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

To the great dismay of dozens Windows RT finally passes on (not WinRT)

Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2015 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: winRT, microsoft

Microsoft has quietly smothered the last WinRT device on the market, spelling the end of the ARM powered version of Windows.  The non-Pro versions of the Surface attracted sellers with a very low price but then repulsed them with the performance and lack of support for basic applications.  The Lumia 2520 was perhaps a better implementation of WinRT but again was not very successful against the competition.  The Surface Pro 2 will continue to be produced and sold but its red haired stepchild has been show the door.   Microsoft did confirm with The Register that this does not mean the end of Windows on ARM by any means, Win10 will be found on many devices in the coming year including ARM powered ones.

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"The software giant confirmed on Wednesday to The Register that it has stopped manufacturing the Nokia Lumia 2520, a 10.1-inch Windows RT tablet with a quad-core ARM processor, an HD display, and 4G LTE wireless connectivity."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

When is Civilizations not Civilizations? When you are on starships!

Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2015 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: gaming, sid meier, starships, civilization

The video posted at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN does not show gameplay until the 30 minute mark but may still interest you before that so try not to immediately skip until the launch screen.  Once you do, you will see that Starships does borrow from Beyond Earth, with the idea of Affinities granting specific bonuses based on the leader you chose but then it immediately changes.  Starships of varying sizes and components become your troops, maps become dynamic with the addition of asteroids on the field which move, interfering with your weaponry as well as your movement and solar systems replace cities.  The way you end your turn has also changed, instead of a limited amount of moves and attacks your ships have a crew which tires as you use the ship and let you choose to keep going with penalties due to the fatigue of your crew or send them on shore leave to end their usefulness for that turn.  Check out the video to see what you think of this new face to Sid Meier.

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"Meier also tackles the thorny question “how do you put maps in space?” and clarifies that people who call themselves ‘marauders’ don’t tend to be terribly friendly.

The Starships footage kicks off at around the 30 minute mark, but the more patient view can enjoy a whole 50 minutes of Sidchat."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, unless you are a patent troll ...

Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2015 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: patents, legal, IEEE

Ah the sweet irony in the statement from IP Watchdog which states that the decision which "reduces the possibility that a patent holder that has made an IEEE RAND Commitment could hold up implementers of a standard and obtain higher prices" somehow represents a "threat to American-led innovation".   The IEEE requested this update to prevent cases such as this one which demanded $2000 per location for any business with a wireless router from ever reaching the courts.  Unless you feel that the companies whose business model is to sue people based on exploiting loopholes in existing patent agreements in which case you probably do not agree this is for the best.  You can read more over at The Register if the legal document from the DOJ is not up your alley.

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"The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has okayed new IEEE standards licensing rules designed to end some of the seemingly-endless lawsuits over standards-essential patents - and the trolls aren't happy."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

glNext Initiative Unveiled at GDC 2015

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | February 4, 2015 - 03:33 AM |
Tagged: OpenGL Next, opengl, glnext, gdc 2015, GDC

The first next-gen, released graphics API was Mantle, which launched a little while after Battlefield 4, but the SDK is still invite-only. The DirectX 12 API quietly launched with the recent Windows 10 Technical Preview, but no drivers, SDK, or software (that we know about) are available to the public yet. The Khronos Group has announced their project, and that's about it currently.

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According to Develop Magazine, the GDC event listing, and participants, the next OpenGL (currently called “glNext initiative”) will be unveiled at GDC 2015. The talk will be presented by Valve, but it will also include Epic Games, who was closely involved in DirectX 12 with Unreal Engine, Oxide Games and EA/DICE, who were early partners with AMD on Mantle, and Unity, who recently announced support for DirectX 12 when it launches with Windows 10. Basically, this GDC talk includes almost every software developer that came out in early support of either DirectX 12 or Mantle, plus Valve. Off the top of my head, I can only think of FutureMark as unlisted. On the other hand, while they will obviously have driver support from at least one graphics vendor, none are listed. Will we see NVIDIA? Intel? AMD? All of the above? We don't know.

When I last discussed the next OpenGL initiative, it was attempting to parse the naming survey to figure out bits of the technology itself. As it turns out, the talk claims to go deep into the API, with demos, examples, and “real-world applications running on glNext drivers and hardware”. If this information makes it out (and some talks remain private unfortunately although this one looks public) then we should know more about it than what we know about any competing API today. Personally, I am hoping that they spent a lot of effort on the GPGPU side of things, sort-of building graphics atop it rather than having them be two separate entities. This would be especially good if it could be sandboxed for web applications.

This could get interesting.

Source: GDC

Razer Blade Gaming Laptop Refreshed for 2015

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 3, 2015 - 05:35 PM |
Tagged: razer blade, razer, nvidia, Intel, GTX 970M

When the Razer Blade launched, it took a classy design and filled it with high-end gaming components. Its competitors in the gaming space were often desktop replacements, which were powerful but not comfortable, every-day laptops. The Blade also came with a $2800 (at the time) price-tag, and that stunted a lot of reviews. It has been refreshed a few times since then, including today.

Razer-Blade-2015-front.jpg

The New Razer Blade QHD+ has a 14-inch 3200x1800 display, with multi-touch and an LED backlight. The panel is IGZO, which is a competitor to IPS for screens with a high number of pixels per inch (such as the 4K PQ321Q from ASUS). This is housed in a milled aluminum chassis that is about 7/10th of an inch thick.

Its power brick is rated at 150W, which is surprisingly high for a laptop. I am wondering how much of that electricity is headroom for fast-charging (versus higher performance when not on battery). Most power adapters for common laptops that I've seen are between 60W and 95W. In a small, yet meticulously designed chassis, I would have to assume that thermal headroom of either the heatsinks or the components themselves would be the limiting factor.

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On the topic of specifications, they are expectedly high-end.

The GPU was upgraded to the GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB of VRAM (up from a 3GB 870M) and the CPU is now a Core i7-4720HQ (up from a Core i7-4702HQ). The system memory also got doubled, to 16GB (up from 8GB). It also has 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4a out, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and (of course) a high-end, backlit keyboard. Razer offers a choice in M.2 SSD capacity: 128GB for $2199.99, 256GB for $2399.99, or 512GB for $2699.99. This is kind-of expensive for solid state memory, $1.56/GB for the jump to 256GB and $1.17/GB to go from there to 512GB.

The New Razer Blade Gaming Laptop is available now at Razerzone.com in the US, Canada, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It will arrive at Microsoft Stores in the USA on February 16th. China, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, UAE, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia can purchase it on Razerzone.com in March. Prices start (as stated above) at $2199.99.

Source: Razer

Fractal Design and Seasonic team up with Edison M series of PSUs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 3, 2015 - 04:30 PM |
Tagged: fractal design, edison m series, PSU, 650W, 80 Plus Gold

Fractal Design's 650W EDISON M Series semi-modular PSU has a bit of an interesting mix of features for a 650W PSU which drive the price up somewhat.  TechPowerUp puts it's MSRP at $105 which is a bit pricey for a 650W PSU which is not totally modular but with an 80 PLUS Gold rating and a 5 year warranty the price is somewhat justified.  The single 12V rail is capable of providing up to 54A to the six 6+2 PCIe power connectors, giving you some ability to power dual GPUs.  In the end, it proved to be a solid performer but the decision to sacrifice a second EPS connector for the additional PCIe plugs and the pricing prevented it from winning an award.  It is still work checking out if you do not need a second EPS plug.

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"Fractal Design has for the first time worked with Seasonic, and the outcome is the Edison Modular series. Today, we will take a detailed look at the Edison M with 650 W capacity, the second-strongest unit of the series. It features Gold-certified efficiency, a semi-modular cabling design, and an FDB fan."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: techPowerUp

Is the Swiftech H240-X AIO watercooler worth the premium price tag?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 3, 2015 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: swiftech, H240-X, AIO, water cooling

The Swiftech H240-X will be released with an MSRP of $150, $10 more than the smaller H220-X which [H]ard|OCP had a chance to review previously.  This model shares the same same pump and water block as the H220-X but uses a pair of 140mm fans to move heat away from the radiator.  [H]ard|OCP tested the watercooler twice, once with the included fans which are designed for quiet operation as well as a second set designed for more powerful cooling which did give them slightly better performance.  If you prefer peace and quiet the included fans are definitely the way to go, at maximum speed they hit about 41dBA and can operate at lower speeds and noise levels at the cost of increased CPU temperature.  [H]ard|OCP does find the price to be a bit high compared to the competition but as they point out, these two Swiftech kits are the only ones on the market with enough cooling power that you could easily add a GPU into the cooling loop without needing to upgrade your pump or radiator.

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"Swiftech's H240-X is not your typical All-in-One, aka "AIO," CPU cooler. It is also a bit more expensive than your usual AIO. It does however deliver to you a tremendously upgradable equipment set that allows its buyers a economical ramp into a fully custom liquid cooling system for your entire computer."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

No shiny new Microsoft server OS this year

Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2015 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, server, operating system, sccm

There will be no Server 2015 release but sometime later in the year a preview version will be released for those wishing to have a peek at the new OS.  We will see an update to SCCM arrive at roughly the same time as Windows 10 is released which will add support for managing Win10 machines and images and will allow a lot of sysadmins to sleep easier at night.  The expected new features for the new server OS include the Docker image file format and containerization allowing you to run multiple programs on the same machine which are completely separated from each other and will be new to the Windows environment.  Check out a short list of other features and a link to a more indepth look at the new containerization features expected from the new server OS at The Register.

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"While it's looking like the final version of Windows 10 for client PCs could ship before the end of the year, it seems data center admins needn't hold their breaths. Microsoft confirmed on Friday that the next version of Windows Server won't arrive until 2016."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Windows 10 Will Run on the Raspberry Pi 2 - and the OS Is Free for IoT Developers

Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2015 - 10:40 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, Raspberry Pi, microsoft, iot, developers

Microsoft has announced that a version of Windows 10 will not only run on the Raspberry Pi 2, but that the OS will be available free of charge to members of its IoT (Internet of Things) developer program.

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Microsoft made this announcement on their Dev Center website:

We’re excited to announce that we are expanding our Windows Developer Program for IoT by delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2. This release of Windows 10 will be free for the Maker community through the Windows Developer Program for IoT.

Windows 10 is the first step to an era of more personal computing. This vision framed our work on Windows 10, where we are moving Windows to a world that is more mobile, natural and grounded in trust. With the Windows for IoT developer program we're bringing our leading development tools, services and ecosystem to the Raspberry Pi community!

We see the Maker community as an amazing source of innovation for smart, connected devices that represent the very foundation for the next wave of computing, and we’re excited to be a part of this community.

We are excited about our partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2, and we will be sharing more details about our Windows 10 plans for IoT in the coming months.

The Raspberry Pi 2 is currently selling for $35, and runs a 900MHz quad-core ARMv7 processor with 1GB of RAM. They offer their own statement on the linked page as well:

For the last six months we've been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers.

Though Microsoft has effectively killed WinRT after revealing that it would not be upgraded to Windows 10, the support for the ARM-powered Pi demonstrates that the upcoming version of Windows still has more than just potential to run on ARM devices. This only makes sense considering the strategy of unifying Windows with a single version, and it is possible that the fork available for the Pi is more akin to mobile than to the desktop variant. Either way it sounds like it's worth the $35 to find out!

Source: Microsoft

Because Reinstalling the OS Is Quicker than Decrapifying

Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2015 - 03:19 AM |
Tagged: windows, OEM, microsoft, crapware

Advertising is a powerful business model, and is there any better medium than demos that are directly embedded inside your users' systems? Yes. Yes there are. That is actually a terrible idea. Why would you do that? Oh. Right. Money. You know what? Fine. If it lowers the cost of commodity devices, then it is not entirely horrendous. Advanced users should have some method of opting-out, though.

Sure enough, Microsoft might have made that possible.

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Paul Thurrott has compiled a little article that describes what you need to do to get clean installation media for your device. The procedure is fairly simple for Windows 8.1, although the Digital River download links for Windows 7 are good to know. The post is really more of a checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row before attempting. Probably the most important advice (besides BACK UP!) is, especially if this is your only internet-capable device, make sure you have functioning network drivers. Also, if you have Windows 8.1 with Bing... sorry, you're stuck. Also, sorry in general.

Otherwise? Congratulations! You're now an enthusiast. Actually enjoy Windows.

Source: Thurrott.com

Here There Be Dragons (and "Four Horsemen")

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2015 - 11:56 PM |
Tagged: x-plane, programming, development

“The Hacks of Life” is a blog from some developers at Laminar Research, which created the X-Plane franchise. Ben Supnik, the company's graphics lead, wrote an interesting and fairly lengthy blog post about optimizing for software performance, and it applies to more than just games.

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In software development, the typical concept is: “write it, then profile it and fix what needs it”. This comes from the fear that developers will spend the majority of their time fixing the wrong problems. A profiler can tell you the chunks of code that hogs resources when you experience stutter, hitches, or hangs. They can also tell you how much of your overall performance is being used by specific parts of your application. These places have the most room for optimization, which allows you to budget more time for them. If you squeeze even a 100x performance increase out of code that runs for a tiny fraction of a millisecond per frame, then you spent all that time recovering at most a tiny fraction of a millisecond. All of that time could have been spent even doubling the performance of an 8ms effect, saving you 4 whole milliseconds per frame, which is the difference between 50 FPS and 60 FPS.

What I get from Ben's post is that, while not all of your code needs to run well, you cannot skip the design phase. The profiler can end up being an excuse to charge blindly into development. In a construction analogy, there is a difference between creating blueprints for your entire life, and building a house without any plans -- but that's okay, we can cut holes in the drywall if we need more windows and doors.

It's an interesting post, and is the eventual result of mantras being taken too literally.

MediaTek MT6753 64-bit Eight-Core SoC Announced

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 1, 2015 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: mt6753, mediatek

We do not talk about MediaTek's higher-end products too often. Part of that is because they use stock architectures, ARM's Cortex CPU, ARM's Mali GPU, and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR GPU, rather than designing their own CPU and/or GPU portion. Likewise, their design wins are also not covered too much on this site, such as the new Amazon Fire HD tablets, for their own reasons. They still make some interesting chips, though.

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Image Credit: A Weibo user via GSM-Arena

The MediaTek MT6753 is a true eight-core, 64-bit ARM SoC. Its press release makes the rest of its details... confusing. The release claims that it is clocked at 1.5 GHz and contains an ARM Mali-T720 GPU that is capable of OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.2. The ARM Mali-T720 is actually capable of OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.1. This leads some sites to report that the MT6753 actually contains a Mali-T760, which is newer and can utilize OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.2 (it is also used in the MT6752 that was released several months ago). Other sites report what MediaTek claims.

GSM-Arena, one site that claims the (more-sensible) Mali-T760, also claims that the Cortex CPU cores can be clocked up to 1.7 GHz. This might not be inaccurate either, because it could be intended to run at ~1.3 to 1.5 GHz with a 1.7 GHz peak for vendors that want to take it to eleven. Alternatively, they could be wrong and it could peak at 1.5 GHz. We don't know, and MediaTek should be more clear about these important details.

Everyone seems to agree on the chip's networking capability, though. It will directly support LTE protocols for both China and western markets. This is expected to make them more competitive against Qualcomm, which might lead to more interesting designs.

Devices containing the MT6753 are expected to ship next quarter.

Source: MediaTek

The GTX 960 at 2560x1440

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 30, 2015 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, msi gaming 2g, msi, maxwell, gtx 960

Sitting right now at $220 ($210 after MIR) the MSI GTX 960 GAMING 2G is more or less the same price as a standard R9 280 or a 280x/290 on discount.  We have seen that the price to performance is quite competitive at 1080p gaming but this year the push seems to be for performance at higher resolutions.  [H]ard|OCP explored the performance of this card by testing at 2560 x 1440 against the GTX 770 and 760 as well as the R9 285 and 280x with some interesting results.  In some cases the 280x turned out on top while in others the 960 won, especially when Gameworks features like God Rays were enabled.  Read through this carefully but from their results the deciding factor between picking up one or the other of these cards could be the price as they are very close in performance.

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"We take the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU based MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G and push it to its limits at 1440p. We also include a GeForce GTX 770 and AMD Radeon R9 280X into this evaluation for some unexpected results. How does the GeForce GTX 960 really compare to a wide range of cards?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Aorus enters the keyboard battle armed with the Thunder K7

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2015 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: input, aoris, thunder k7, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx red

Aorus is expanding the mechanical keyboard market with their Thunder K7 which uses Cherry MX Red switches and has a removable numpad which you can attach to the left or right of the board, or completely separated from the main board if you so desire.  The 20 keys on the numpad can all be programmed with macros, to help you copy and paste the UbiSoft game keys given away during our podcasts.  The brightness of the keyboards backlighting can be adjusted with the wheel located at the top of the keyboard and the numpad as well.  Modders-Inc found themselves liking this board, you can read about it right here.

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"What do you look for in a keyboard? Do you look for items such as mechanical switches, dedicated macro keys, and LED backlighting? Do you want silent keys or loud keys? There are plenty of keyboards on the market with more features than you can shake a stick at. Some are useful, while others are gimmicky."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Modders Inc

ASRock Adds VisionX 471D To Small Form Factor PC Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 30, 2015 - 03:03 AM |
Tagged: visionx, SFF, radeon, m270x, haswell, asrock, amd

ASRock has unleashed an update to its small form factor VisionX series. The new VisionX 471D adds a faster Haswell processor and dedicated Radeon mobile graphics to the mini PC.

ASRock VisionX 471D SFF Mini PC.jpg

The 7.9” x 7.9” x 2.8” PC chassis comes in black or silver with rounded corners. External I/O is quite expansive with a DVD optical drive, two audio jacks, one USB 3.0 port, one MHSL* port (MHL compatible port that carries both data and video), and a SD card reader on the front. Further, the back of the PC holds the following ports:

  • Audio:
    • 5 x Analog audio jacks
    • 1 x Optical audio out
  • Video:
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x HDMI
  • Networking:
    • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack
    • 802.11ac (2 antennas)
  • Storage/Peripherals:
    • 5 x USB 3.0
    • 1 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x eSATA

ASRock has gone with the Intel Core i7-4712MQ processor. This is a 37W Haswell quad core (with eight threads) clocked at up to 3.3GHz. Graphics are handled by the AMD Radeon R9 M270X which is a mobile “Venus” GCN-based GPU with 1GB of memory. The 28nm GPU with 640 cores, 40 TMUs, and 16 ROPs is clocked at 725 MHz base and up to 775 MHz boost. The PC further supports two SO-DIMMS, two 2.5” drives, one mSATA connector, and the above-mentioned DVD drive (DL-8A4SH-01 comes pre-installed).

ASRock VisionX 471D Rear IO.jpg

The VisionX 471D is a “barebones” system where you will have to provide your own OS but does come with bundled storage and memory. Specifically, for $999, the SFF computer comes with 8GB of DDR3 memory, a 2TB mechanical hard drive, and a 256GB mSATA SSD (the ASint SSDMSK256G-M1 using a JMF667 controller and 64GB 20nm IMFT NAND). This leaves room for one additional 2.5” drive for expansion. Although it comes without an operating system, it does ship with a Windows Media Center compatible remote.

This latest addition to the VisionX series succeeds the 420D and features a faster processor. At the time of this writing, the PC is not available for purchase, but it is in the hands of reviewers (such as this review from AnandTech) and will be coming soon to retailers for $999 USD.

The price is on the steep side especially compared to some other recent tiny PCs, but you are getting a top end mobile Haswell chip and good I/O for a small system with enough hardware to possibly be "enough" PC for many people (or at least a second PC or a HTPC in the living room).

Source: ASRock