All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
Subject: General Tech | February 11, 2016 - 05:27 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: vr edition, video, UMC, ue4, podcast, phanteks, nvidia, logitech, GTX 980 Ti, g810, evga, enthoo evolv itx, asrtock, arm, amd, 28HPCU
PC Perspective Podcast #386 - 02/10/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the Logitech G810, Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX, GTX 980 Ti VR Edition and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store (audio only)
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:30:34
Week in Review:
0:26:20 EVGA 750W GQ Power Supply Review
0:36:45 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 10, 2016 - 10:59 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, vive vr, Oculus, evga, 980 Ti
You might wonder what makes a graphics card “designed for VR,” but this is actually quite interesting. Rather than plugging your headset into the back of your desktop, EVGA includes a 5.25” bay that provides 2x USB 3.0 ports and 1x HDMI 2.0 connection. The use case is that some users will want to easily connect and disconnect their VR devices, which, knowing a few indie VR developers, seems to be a part of their workflow. The same may be true of gamers, but I'm not sure.
While the bay allows for everything, including the HDMI plug via an on-card port, to be connected internally, you will need a spare USB 3.0 header on your motherboard to hook it up. It would have been interesting to see whether EVGA could have attached a USB 3.0 controller on the add-in board, but that might have been impossible (or unpractical) given that the PCIe connector would need to be shared with the GPU (not to mention the complexity of also adding a USB 3.0 controller to the board). Also, I expect motherboards should have at least one. If not, you can find USB 3.0 add-in cards with internal headers.
The card comes in two sub-versions, one with the NVIDIA-style blower cooler, and the other with EVGA's ACX 2.0+ cooler. I tend to prefer exposed fan GPUs because they're easier to blow air into after a few years, but you might have other methods to control dust.
Both are currently available for $699.99 on Newegg.com, while Amazon only lists the ACX2.0+ cooler version, and that's out of stock. It is also $699.99, though, so that should be what to expect.
Subject: General Tech | February 10, 2016 - 08:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has been pushing for updates to just happen. They want users to receive each of them, because then it's harder for malware authors to take advantage of known vulnerabilities and it's also easier for Microsoft to update Windows (because it would have fewer permutations of patch levels). These updates would arrive with the useless name “Cumulative update for Windows 10 (some version)” and no further information, besides a list of changed files without any context.
Now with slightly less blindness...
Microsoft now has a page that lists the general improvements as a bullet-point list. It's not an extensive list of changes, and most of them are related to security and privacy, but that is to be expected now that Windows has moved to a build paradigm. They are broken down by build level, though, which lets you see everything that happened to 10240 since it launched separate from the list of everything that happened to 10586 since it was published.
This is positive. Microsoft should have done this for a while, and I hope they continue indefinitely.
Subject: Systems, Storage | February 10, 2016 - 08:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asustor, AS5002T, NAS, htpc, baytrail
Being in the market for a Plex server and running low on patience and spare hardware I have been sniffing around NAS servers, which is why you are now reading about the ASUSTOR AS5002T. Missing Remote just picked this NAS up for review, powered by a dual core Celeron J1800 clocked at 2.4GHz instead of an ARM processor. The reason that matters is the inclusion of Intel HD Graphics onboard for real time encoding when streaming to remote devices. On the other hand it is not the most modern of processors and the AS5002T also showed some peculiarity with drive sizes. The processor is not going to be able to push 4k over some interfaces but HDMI 1.4a, IR control capability and broad support for the usual selection of HTPC programs does make this NAS a good fit for many. Read the full review to get a better idea of the capabilities of the ASUSTOR AS5002T.
"The ASUSTOR AS5002T is the first Intel based network attached storage (NAS) device tested at Missing Remote. So, I was very curious to see how its dual-core 2.4GHz Celeron J1800 would stack up against the strong showing we’ve seen from ARM Cortex-A15 based systems recently."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- PNY CS1311 @ The SSD Review
- PNY CS2211 SSD @ TechwareLabs
- Micron M600 512GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- OCZ Trion 150 240GB and 480GB SSD @ Kitguru
- SanDisk Extreme 900 480GB Portable USB Type-C SSD @ Kitguru
- WD My Passport Ultra 3TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive Review @ NikKTech
- Kingston HyperX Savage 128GB USB 3.1 Gen 1 Flash Drive @ Modders-Inc
- Kingston HyperX Savage 128GB USB 3.1 Gen 1 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | February 10, 2016 - 08:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
The Windows 10 preview program had two settings: Fast and Slow. A third one has been added, called Release Preview, although it sounds a bit different from the other two. According to the blog post, which is supposed to be about a new build of Windows 10 Mobile, Release Preview will grant early access to updates on the current branch of Windows 10. They also call it “updates” instead of “builds”. Fast and Slow, as they have existed, provide builds for the next branch of Windows 10 at the time.
When the public was on July release, Insider provided builds that ended up in the November update. When Windows 10 1511 was released, Insiders received builds on the “Redstone” branch, to be released at some point in the future. That is, apparently, not how Release Preview ring will work. They will receive 1511 updates early. They might receive the final Redstone-one build before general availability, but that is just speculation.
This might take some pressure off of Slow, which, during the Threshold-two timeframe, only received a single build, 10565, outside of the final 10586 one that was released to the public. Slow ended up being little more than a release candidate ring for the upcoming branch. If they push that to Release Preview, for the build that the public will see, then Slow might receive a few more steps on the upcoming branch, especially now that Fast are receiving more frequent updates. After all, users who are only interested in one or two builds per branch will probably be satisfied with pre-release updates and the final build early (again, if they release the final builds early on Release Preview, which is speculation).
Or Microsoft might just want a few more testers for Windows Update patches. Who knows?
Subject: General Tech | February 10, 2016 - 06:43 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Havok, project anarchy, game engine
We posted yesterday about Amazon launching their Lumberyard engine, which is a fork of CryEngine that monetizes by strongly tying itself to Amazon Web Services. Later that day, I found out that Havok shut down their Project Anarchy engine, which was free for mobile development on iOS, Android, and Tizen. It had interesting technology for its supported platforms, when extend down to OpenGL ES 2.0, that combined Havok's middleware into an editor with component-based objects. While this setup is how Unity and Unreal Engine are structured, it's an artist-friendly method. Want something to interact with gravity and collision? Drag a Havok Rigid Body Physics component on it and save.
That could not be a more blatant parody of Bubs if it tried, which it probably is.
I did not really know too much about the engine, but it was originally released back in 2013. They held a game development challenge in early 2014. The Project Anarchy Mobile Game Development Challenge had a $100,000 top prize, which was won by Cosmonautica from Chasing Carrots. The other two winners were a train simulator and a puzzle matching game.
Subject: General Tech | February 10, 2016 - 05:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: aerogel, nifty
With the depressing news about security holes below the fold it seemed appropriate to post something positive before you get depressed about PDFs, fonts and other such things. This morning Slashdot posted just such a story, researchers have managed to turn recycled paper into an aerogel. Aerogels are a relatively new substance, usually created with silica, metals or polymers and are incredibly light, amazing insulators and often have other arcane usages. Recycled paper might not seem a likely substance to form an insulator, however the polymer resin coated cellulose aerogel still retains that common property. It is also capable of absorbing up to 90 times its dry weight in spilled oil while completely excluding water, and to allow for the recovery of 99% of that oil for use again.
"A team of scientists have successfully turned paper waste into aerogel. Aerogels are used in insulation, and they are usually made out of polymers and silica. But a research team at the National University of Singapore managed to make the highly sought-after product using recycled paper ..."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Linode SSH key blunder left virtual servers open to man-in-the-middle fiddles for months @ The Register
- LibreOffice 5.1 arrives with retooled UI and improved Microsoft Office compatibility @ The Inquirer
- Don't touch that PDF or webpage until your Windows PC is patched @ The Register
- It's 2016 and a font file can own your computer @ The Register
- Google crafts custom networking CPU with parallel computing links @ The Register
- Samsung POWERbot VR9300K & VR9200 Models Revealed @ Tech ARP
Subject: Systems | February 10, 2016 - 04:01 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: VR, rift, preorder, Oculus, gaming pc
Oculus has announced an upcoming pre-order date for 'Oculus Ready PCs' from mainstream manufacturers, and these will be bundled with the Rift VR headset (and everything that comes with it).
(Image credit: Oculus)
“Today we’re excited to introduce the first Oculus Ready PCs from ASUS, Alienware, and Dell! These PCs have been battle tested and certified by Oculus to deliver an incredible Rift experience. We’re also thrilled to announce that starting February 16 at 8am Pacific Time, you can pre-order Oculus Ready PC and Rift bundles from Best Buy, Amazon, and theMicrosoft Store, starting at $1499 USD for a limited time only.
All bundles include an Oculus-certified PC and everything that comes with Rift – the headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack, and Lucky’s Tale!
Pre-orders for Oculus Ready and Rift bundles will ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions from retail partners starting in April.”
So what kind of gaming system are you getting for $1499? Of the ‘Oculus Ready’ PCs, the baseline specs across the board are an Intel Core i5-6400 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 GPU, along with 8 GB of system memory. This is in keeping with Oculus’ published specifications from last summer: “The recommended PC specification is an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290, Intel i5-4590, and 8GB RAM."
Including the Rift VR bundle makes the price tag sound a lot nicer for what is otherwise a pretty basic gaming setup, as Rift costs $599 on its own. Still, is it worth $900 for a Core i5/GTX 970 gaming system? Factoring in a Windows license and all parts it's not a terrible value proposition, though most early adopters of this VR tech will likely not be starting completely from scratch.
A quick check on Amazon for the first system bundle listed shows “Currently Unavailable”, as pre-orders begin February 16 at 8:00am PST. You’ll be waiting even longer to have product in hand as the actual release date is April 23.
Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2016 - 10:11 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amazon, AWS, game engine
Another video game engine has entered the world, this time from Amazon. It is basically a fork of CryEngine that they purchased the rights to sub-license. Amazon states that their engine will diverge over time, as they modify it in-house for licensees and their internal game studio, Amazon Game Studios. It is licensed for free, with full source access, but it has a few restrictions.
The market is currently dominated with a variety of offerings with different business models. Unreal Engine 4 is free to use, but takes a portion of revenue after some grace amount. CryEngine is available on a relatively cheap subscription, but has no royalty requirements. Unigine offers a few lump-sum options, starting at almost a grand-and-a-half. Unity has a few options, from a cut down free version, to a relatively expensive subscription, to lump-sum payments. Finally, at least for this list, Source 2 is completely free, with the only requirement that published games must be available on Steam at launch.
That last one, Source 2, is basically the business model that Amazon chose with their new Lumberyard engine. The difference is that, instead of requiring games to be published at a certain retailer, they require that games use Amazon Web Services for online interactions, like multiplayer and cloud, unless the developer maintains their own servers. I'm not exactly sure what that distinction ("If you own and operate your own private servers") allows, but I'd assume that Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are big no-nos. On the other hand, single-player experiences and games with local multiplayer, assuming neither has “cloud” features, are completely free to make.
While it would be nice to have a purely open source offering that can compete with these proprietary engines, developers should be able to find a suitable option. Each seems to ask for something slightly different, and they are very permissive otherwise.
Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2016 - 08:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: portable speakers, OTONE, Inateck, headphones, Fugoo, audio
The Inquirer put together a list of their favourite audio products so far this year, perhaps the list will not match yours but perhaps there is a product named which you have not heard of yet. From portable speakers to earbuds that wrap around your wrist when you are not using them they cover a variety of products. Check out the list and see if any of these products are worthy of spending your hard earned money on.
"THOUSANDS OF NEW audio products are released every year. Sometimes the big names are the best, but at other times there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Here's our guide to the headphones, speakers and other audio gems that will float our boat during 2016."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kanto Yaro 2 Amplifier & Speakers Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Jabra ROX Wireless In-Ear Stereo Earbuds Review @ NikKTechE
- Edifier H840 Headphones Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2016 - 07:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: razer, input, gaming keyboard, black widow ultimate
Razer has been pushing out updates to their Black Widow lineup of gaming keyboards and this years model just arrived at Kitguru. This year they are introducing a new type of mechanical switch for their keys, the model reviewed used their Green switches which click when depressed, there is a Razer Orange model for those who prefer to see their keyboard and not hear it. This is not an RGB keyboard but you can set effects such as wave, ripple, starlight and reactive through the Razer software. If you are looking for a new mechanical keyboard and want something a little different you should check out the full review.
"The Razer Black Widow has become very popular over the years, often being touted as one of the finest gaming keyboards around. Today, we are looking at the brand new 2016 edition, using Razer’s own high specification mechanical switches – could this be the best option for gamers in 2016?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ASUS Cerberus Gaming Peripherals Review – A Full Gaming Setup for Under £100! @ eTeknix
- Patriot Viper V760 Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- SteelSeries Nimbus MFi Wireless iOS Controller @ eTeknix
- OZONE Argon Ocelote World Laser Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mouse @ Tech ARP
- Roccat Kova 2016 Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 06:33 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, PC-M25, micro tower, mATX, Lian Li, hot-swap, enclosure, case, aluminum case
The PC-M25 is Lian Li’s latest enclosure; a small micro-ATX tower with an emphasis on storage.
“The PC-M25 includes a hot-swap HDD rack where users can conveniently install and remove up to five 3.5” drives with rubber suspension and without needing tools. The bottom HDD tray can mount an additional three 2.5” or two 3.5” drives. This makes a total of as many as seven 3.5” hard drives for advanced RAID storage applications.”
While a small form-factor design (all aluminum, of course), there is still room for a full system including long graphics cards and power supplies; though you’ll want a lower-profile CPU cooler as there is only 80 mm of clearance above the processor. Fans are included, with 140 mm intake and 120 mm exhaust pre-installed, though there is only a screen filter on the bottom intake (below the PSU).
- Model: PC-M25 A/ B
- Case Type: Mini Tower Chassis
- Color: Silver, Black
- Material: Aluminum
- M/B Type: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Expansion Slot: 4
- HDD rack: 3.5" HDD x5 (Hot-swap)
- HDD tray: 2.5" HDD x3 or 3.5" HDD x2
- System Fan (Front) 140mm Fan x1; System Fan (Top) 120mm Fan x1
- I/O Ports: None
- Maximum Compatibility
- VGA Card length: 410mm
- PSU length: 230mm
- CPU cooler height:80mm
- PSU Type: ATX
- Dimensions (W x H x D) 199 x 322 x 441 mm (7.83 x 12.68 x 17.36 in)
- Net Weight: 3.74 kg (8.25 lbs)
Storage options for the PC-M25
The PC-M25 will be available this month with an MSRP of $169.
Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2016 - 06:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: trane, iot, security
It is not a good sign when a security team refers to your smart thermostat as "a little malware store", especially when the flaws have been known for some time. Indeed the original issue of hardcoded SSH passwords has been known since 2014 and the update took a year to be created. Unfortunately most owners of a Trane Thermostat will not have upgraded their firmware, even if they knew about the update as it is not something which was installed remotely. Instead you need to download the new firmware onto an SD card and manually install it on the thermostat. Last month another update was released to address a remote code execution vulnerability in the ComfortLink II, which was not generally known until The Register posted about it today. If you are using this device you should get an SD card handy and download the firmware.
"In April 2015, one year after the first alert, Trane fixed the hardcoded password issue with a new release of the ComfortLink's firmware. Cisco then tipped off US CERT about the remaining issues. Trane eventually addressed the flaws in its code in January 2016, but didn't tell its customers that new firmware is available."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Who wants a quad-core 4.2GHz, 64GB, 5TB SSD RAID 10 … laptop? @ The Register
- Microsoft hits back at critics and defends new Windows Server licensing plans @ The Inquirer
- Cisco recalls switches that could short power to the case. And hurt you @ The Register
- Mike Cumby of OCZ talks to KitGuru TV
- Smanos X300 plug and play alarm system @ Kitguru
Subject: Networking | February 9, 2016 - 04:24 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless repeater, wi-fi, signal repeater, RP-AC68U, router, dual-band, asus, ac1900
ASUS has announced a new high-end wireless repeater, and the RP-AC68U boasts dual-band wireless AC1900 speeds, and features 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports to add wired devices to the network.
"ASUS RP-AC68U works by connecting wirelessly to an existing router and extending the Wi-Fi signal to areas of poor coverage, which are often a problem in large or multi-floor homes. With its blindingly-fast up to 1900Mbps combined speeds (600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band), RP-AC68U is the perfect companion for extending the coverage of the latest 802.11ac routers, but it can also be used with routers supporting any older Wi-Fi standards."
The boxy shape is a big contrast from the giant spider-like designs we've seen from recent high-end routers, and inside the enclosure there are a total of 3 transmit and 4 receive antennas to extend the range of your dual-band 802.11ac network.
The RP-AC68U has five Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back, which ASUS says "allow users to convert any wired network devices to wireless operation", and there's a USB 3.0 port to allow additional devices to be added to the network.
- I/O ports:
- 5 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN RJ45
- 1 x USB 3.0 port
- Antennas: 4 x Internal antennas (3 transmit, 4 receive)
- Memory: 128MB Flash / 256MB RAM
- Operating Frequency: Dual band 2.4GHz & 5GHz
- Wi-Fi Data Rate*:
- 802.11ac: up to 1300Mbps
- 802.11n: Up to 600Mbps
- 802.11a/g: Up to 54Mbps
- 802.11b: Up to 11Mbps
- *Quoted network speeds and bandwidth based on current IEEE specifications. Actual performance may be affected by network and service provider factors, interface type, and other conditions. Connected devices must be compatible for best results.
- 802.11ac Specification:
- MIMO: 3 x 4
- 20/40/80MHz bandwidth
- WPS button
- Power button
- Reset button
- WPS support
- Access Point
- Media Bridge
- Dimensions & weight: 178 x 106 x 106 mm; Weight: 870g
Pricing and availabilty were not announced. Full press release after the break.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2016 - 03:16 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Tobii, notebook, msi, laptop, GT72S G Tobii, gaming laptop, g-sync, eye-tracking
MSI has released their GT72S G Tobii gaming notebook (first announced way back at Computex), which features NVIDIA G-Sync and eye-tracking technology that promises a more immersive gameplay experience.
“The world’s most advanced gaming laptop, the GT72S G Tobii with eye-tracking technology immerses gamers into a hands-free dimension by allowing them to switch targets in a game, select objects on the floor or even automatically pause a game by simply focusing or looking away.
Available immediately, MSI’s GT72S G Tobii will be bundled with Tom Clancy’s The Division and currently supports a variety of gaming titles, including Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, ArmA III, Elite Dangerous and more.”
Ryan took a look at the laptop at CES, and the video is imbedded below:
So how does the eye-tracking work?
“By going through a 15-second set-up process, users can securely log into their computers using a personalized glance; highlight, select or delete items with one look; seamlessly zoom and center maps without scrolling; and even sift through Windows, folders and its applications without lifting a finger.”
The notebook boasts some impressive specs, including:
- Tobii Eye Tracking Technology
- 17.3" Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display
- 6th Generation Intel Core i7 6820HK (2.70 GHz)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 8 GB GDDR5
- 32 GB Memory
- 256 GB SSD (PCIe Gen3 x4)
- 1 TB HDD
- BD Burner
- Killer Networking
- Dimensions: 16.85" x 11.57" x 2.30"; 8.50 lbs
The GT72S G Tobii retails for $2599.99 and is now available with an exclusive launch at Newegg.com, and the laptop includes a free copy of Tom Clancy: The Division.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 02:06 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: RGB, phanteks, mid-tower, enclosure, Eclipse Series, Eclipse P400S, Eclipse P400, case
Phanteks has announced a new enclosure series called ‘Eclipse’, which take the internal layout of the Enthoo lineup and packages it in a pair of affordable new enclosures; the P400 and P400S.
“Without much effort, the P400 allows users to create a clean and beautiful system. Ambient RGB illumination adds character while the solid metal exterior gives the case a simple elegant design. The P400 is suitable for beginners and experienced system builders with all the extra features; the P400S comes with sound damping panels and a 3-speed fan controller to enhance acoustical performance.”
The internal layout of these enclosures will be familiar to you if you’ve seen the Enthoo series, with an open main chamber, a bottom partition for the PSU and hard drives, and all storage accessible from behind the system. There are a couple of notable differences between the Eclipse P400 and P400S, primarily the latter’s noise-reducing insulation and the addition of a 3-speed fan controller.
Exploded view of Eclipse P400S
Side panel windows are available, with added style from the ambient RGB lighting on both models. The P400 and P400S are available in black, white, or grey, and the body panels are metal, which should contribute to a more premium feel.
- Form Factor: Mid-tower
- Materials: Steel chassis, steel exterior, ABS
- Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, E-ATX (up to 272mm wide, cannot use rubber grommets)
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Internal 3.5” bays: 6x (2x trays included)
- Internal 2.5” bays (dedicated): 2x (2x included)
- 120 mm fan: Front, 3x (1 included); Top, 2x; Rear, 1x (1 included)
- 140 mm fan: Front, 2x; Top, 2x
- Front I/O: 2x USB 3.0, Mic, Headphone, Reset, LED control, 3-speed Fan controller (only available for P400S)
- Side Window: Yes (also available with closed panel)
- Soundproofing panels: (only available for P400S) Front/Top/Sides
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 210 x 465 x 470 mm (8.3 x 18.3 x 18.5 inches)
No specific release date was announced, but full suggested pricing information is available:
- Eclipse P400 (PH-EC416P) Black/Grey: $69.99 / White: $79.99
- Eclipse P400S (PH-EC416PS) Black/Grey: $79.99 / White: $89.99
- (P400S pricing identical for Silent Window and Silent Closed Panel versions)
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2016 - 12:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, mechanical keyboard, GK2000, cherry mx red, asus
ASUS has announced a new mechanical keyboard from their Republic of Gamers division, and the Horus GK2000 sports an aluminum upper body, with Cherry MX Red switches under the ABS keycaps.
The keyboard is a standard 104 key layout, with an additional 5 macro keys to the left, and wheels for volume and backlight control on the right side. It features 1000 Hz polling rate and offers a 2x USB 2.0 hub and 3.5 mm audio passthrough. As mentioned above key switching is handled by Cherry's MX Red, a linear switch which provides a lower actuation force than the MX Black.
In addition to the angular styling and large detachable palmrest, the GK2000 also offers adjustable (red) lighting to further enhance its appearance. We've seen quite a bit of the black/red color scheme for products targeting the gaming segment, and in this case it compliments the design of the company's ROG Swift monitors and other gaming products.
- Interface: USB 2.0 (1000Hz) with NKRO (can be disabled)
- Layout: Standard 104 + 5 macro keys (left) + ROG key (right) + volume and backlight wheels (right)
- Keyboard switches: Mechanical Cherry MX Red 45 g, 2 mm actuation, 4 mm travel
- Volume knob: Infinite wheel switch (scroll to increase/decrease backlight)
- USB hub: 2x USB 2.0
- Audio pass-through: 1x audio, 1x mic
- OS support: Windows XP/ Windows Vista /Windows 7/ Windows 8/ Windows 8.1/ Windows 10 32/64 bit
- Approx. dimensions: 52.65 x 17 x 4.9 cm
- Palm rest: 47.2 x 8.3 x 2.4 cm
- Cable: 180 cm braided cable
- Keycaps: ABS with UV grip coating
- Materials: 3 mm brushed aluminum, 3 mm sandblasted aluminum, ABS underside
- Weight: 1700 g
No pricing or availability information accompanied the announcement.
Subject: Systems | February 7, 2016 - 04:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: msi, gs72, gaming laptop, laptop
This laptop was announced at CES, but barely. They have now released full specifications, including options, which are actually quite interesting. The 4K panel, in particular, has a color gamut that fully covers AdobeRGB (100%). This means that, if the hardware and software are properly calibrated, it is compatible with the color spaces that both video and print professionals tend to target. The latter is quite difficult, because magazine publishers actually have a large palette. Even the Wacom Cintiq 22HD only covers around 72% AdobeRGB.
Outside of this, the laptop has one processor choice: a Skylake-based Intel Core i7-6700HQ backed with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. There are three choices in GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 965M, and 970M. This could be disappointing for those hoping for desktop-class performance, although the 970M is pretty close to a GTX 680. It should handle games like Just Cause 3 and Rainbow Six Siege at around 50-60 FPS in 1080p mode. Basically, you are going to be dropping the 4K resolution down to about 1080p in games, but it's also a laptop and 4K in professional applications is quite nice. It also uses M.2 SSDs with PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth that communicates in the NVMe standard. They didn't say which one, or how large, but they claim read speeds of about 2.2GB/s.
They did not state pricing or availability. Its headlining feature is thickness -- just 1.99cm for a 17-inch display. This explains the GPU, but also suggests a premium price.
Subject: Displays | February 7, 2016 - 03:41 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: monoprice, pen display, touch screen, drawing
A couple of CESes ago, Monoprice launched a couple of 22-inch pen displays to compete with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Shortly afterward, the products disappeared from their website and line-up, so I assumed, at the time, that they changed their mind or otherwise refocused.
Turns out, it was only temporary. There are now two models on their product list, one for $499.99 and another for $599.99, although I have a feeling that the cheaper model might be discontinued. The only real, concrete difference that I can see is the $599.99 model uses “battery-free” pens, which I'm assuming is powered by induction from the display surface. The cheaper model is out-of-stock with an estimated availability of “TBD”. That one uses rechargeable pens. The $599.99 model also lists Linux drivers. The $599.99 version also has a slower response time (12ms vs 5ms) and higher viewing angles, although both are listed as IPS.
Whether or not the $499.99 model will become available again, the $599.99 one is still about a third of the price of the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Also, unlike the Wacom, it supports Linux as mentioned above. They used to offer a pen display with a ten-finger capacitive touchscreen, which competes with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch, but that has not been relaunched, at least not yet.
Subject: Processors | February 7, 2016 - 02:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Skylake, overclocking, asrock, Intel, gskill
I recently came across a post at PC Gamer that looked at the extreme overclocking leaderboard of the Skylake-based Intel Core i7-6700K. Obviously, these competitions will probably never end as long as higher numbers are possible on parts that are interesting for one reason or another. Skylake is the new chip on the liquid nitrogen block. It cannot reach frequencies as high as its predecessors, but teams still compete to get as high as possible on that specific SKU.
The current world record for a single-threaded Intel Core i7-6700K is 7.02566 GHz, which is achieved with a voltage of 4.032V. For comparison, the i7-6700K is typically around 1.3V at load. This record was apparently set about a month ago, on January 11th.
This is obviously a huge increase, about three-fold more voltage for the extra 3 GHz. For comparison, the current world record over all known CPUs is the AMD FX-8370 with a clock of 8.72278 GHz. Many Pentium 4-era processors make up the top 15 places too, as those parts were designed for high clock rates with relatively low IPC.
The rest of the system used G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 DDR4 RAM, an ASRock Z170M OC Formula motherboard, and an Antec 1300W power supply. It used an NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 GPU, which offloaded graphics from the integrated chip, but otherwise interfered as little as possible. They also used Windows XP, because why not I guess? I assume that it does the least amount of work to boot, allowing a quicker verification, but that is only a guess.