CES 2014 Podcast Day 2 - ASUS, Lucid, Valve, Seagate and more!!

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2014 - 05:21 AM |
Tagged: video, valve, SteamOS, Seagate, podcast, lucid, LaCie, iosafe, CES 2014, CES, asus

CES 2014 Podcast Day 2 - 01/06/14

It's time for podcast fun at CES!  Join us as we talk about the second day of the show including new products from ASUS, Lucid, Valve, Seagate 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!

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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Ken Addison

Program length: 57:03

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Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Digital Storm Releases the Bolt II: Steam Machine!

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2014 - 05:08 AM |
Tagged: CES, steam os, Steam Machine, Steam Controller, small form factor, dual boot, Digital Storm, CES 2014, Bolt 2

Today Digital Storm has announced the Bolt 2 small form factor computer.  This little number is marketed as a “Steam machine”, and for very good reasons.  This particular number packs in quite a punch in a very small space.

b201.jpg

The custom designed case has a very effective and logical layout.  It really is quite small, but it is very strong and robust.  It can handle a micro-ITX board, multiple drives, and a dual slot graphics card.  The system I saw was decked out with a GTX 780 Ti along with the Intel i7 4770K.  It includes Digital Storm’s proprietary lighting and cooling module which of course controls the lighting… and cooling fan speed for the system.

Cooling is primarily based on the Corsair H100i dual fan unit.  This portion takes air from one side/top of the case (depending on orientation) and then vents it through the rest of the chassis.  The graphics card takes air from the other side of the case and routes it out the back.  This cooling solution allows a fair amount of overclocking to be attempted by the end user, but it does have limitations as compared to a larger system with more airflow.

b202.jpg

The design utilizes a 700 watt power supply, which is pretty impressive considering the space constraints that Digital Storm has to deal with.  A lot of work with partners has allowed them to include this very small unit with a pair of 30 mm fans at either end.  One would expect such fans to produce a LOT of noise.  This is happily not the case.  The design is good enough, and efficient enough, that at higher loads (including overclocking) it stays very quiet.

The system is very accessible, far more than most would expect.  Anyone that has worked on an older small form factor case will testify as to how annoying and contorted setting up hardware (or swapping it out) can be.  Digital Storm again took their time with the design to make sure that installation and the changing of components is as simple as possible.  A person armed with a screwdriver can get to any major component in a few seconds.  Swapping out the video card would take the amount of time of removing four screws, unplugging the power, and making sure not to rip out the PCI-E 16X ribbon connecting the card to the board.

b203.jpg

Prices for the unit start at $1500 and go above $2500, depending on component choices.  When Valve finalizes the Steam OS and has it ready for prime time, Digital Storm will be including the Steam controller with the build.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

AMD CES 2014 Presentation: Kaveri Goes Official

Subject: Processors | January 7, 2014 - 04:52 AM |
Tagged: amd, CES, 2014, Kaveri, A10 7850K, A10 7700K, APU, firepro, hsa

This year’s AMD CES was actually more interesting than I was expecting.  The details of the event were well known, as most Kaveri details have been revealed over the past few months.  I was unsure what Lisa Su and the gang would go over, but it was actually more interesting than I was expecting.

kav01.jpg

This past year has been a big one for AMD.  They seem to be doing a lot better than others expected them to, especially with all of the delayed product launches on the CPU side for quite a few years.  This year saw the APU take a pretty prominent place in the industry with the launch of the latest generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  AMD made inroads with mobile form factors with a variety of APUs.  The HSA Foundation members have grown and HSA members ship two out of every three connected, smart devices.  Apple also includes Firepro graphics cards with all of their new Mac Pros.

Kaveri is of course the big news here.  AMD feels that this is the best APU yet.  The combination of Steamroller CPU cores, GCN graphics compute cores, HSA, hUMA, HQ, TrueAudio, Mantle support, PCI-E 3.0 support, and a configurable TDP makes for a pretty compelling product.  AMD has shuffled some nomenclature about by saying that Kaveri, at the top end, is comprised of 12 compute cores.  These include 4 Steamroller cores and 8 GCN compute clusters.  Each compute cluster matches the historical definition of a core, but of course it looks quite a bit different than a traditional x86 core.

kav02.jpg

We have gone over Kaveri pretty extensively in the past.  The CPU is clocked at 3.7 GHz with a 4 GHz boost.  The graphics portion clocks in at 720 MHz.  It can support up to DDR-3 2400 MHz memory, which is really needed to extract as much performance out of this new APU.  Benchmarks provided by AMD show this product to be a big jump from the previous Richland, and in these particular benchmarks are quite a bit faster than the competing i5 4670K.

Gaming performance is also improved.  This APU can run most current applications at 1080P resolutions with low to medium quality settings.  Older titles can be run at 1080P with Medium to High/Extreme settings.  While this processor is rated at around 867 GFLOPS, which is around 110 GFLOPS greater than the previous top end Richland, it is more efficient at delivering that theoretical performance.  It looks to be a significant improvement all around.

kav03.jpg

Software support is improving with applications from companies like Adobe, The Document Foundation, and Nuance.  These cover HSA applications and in Nuance’s case, using the TrueAudio portion to clean up and accelerate voice recognition.  TrueAudio is also being supported in five upcoming games.  This is not a huge amount, but it is a decent start for this new technology.

Mantle is gaining a lot more momentum with support from 3 engines, 5 developers, and 20+ games in development.  They showed off Battlefied 4 running Mantle on a Kaveri APU for the first time publicly.  They mentioned that it ran 45% faster than Direct3D at the same quality levels on the same hardware.  The display showed frame rates up in the low 50 fps area.

kav04.jpg

AMD is continuing to move forward on their low power offerings based on Beema and Mullins.  Lisa claims that these parts are outperforming the Intel Baytrail offerings in both CPU performance and graphics.  Unfortunately, she mentioned noting about the power consumption associated with these results.  They showed off the Discovery tablet as well as a fully functional PC that was the size of a large cellphone.

They closed up the even by talking about the Surround House 2.  This demo looks significantly better than the previous iteration we saw last year.  This features something like a 34.2 speaker setup in a projected dome.  It is much more complex than the House from last year, but the hardware running it all is rather common.  A single high end Firepro card running on a single A10 7850K.  The demo is also one of the first shows of a 360 degree gesture recognition setup.

kav05.jpg

AMD has come a long way since hitting rock bottom a few years back.  They continue to claw their way back to relevance, and they hope that Kaveri will help them regain a foothold in the computing market.  They are certainly doing well in the graphics market, but the introduction of Kaveri should help them gain more momentum in the CPU/APU market.  We have yet to test Kaveri on our own, but initial results look promising.  It is a better APU, but we just don’t know how much better so far.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

 

Source: AMD

CES 2014: ioSafe 1513+ spotted

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 04:33 AM |
Tagged: synology, NAS, iosafe, CES 2014, CES

Earlier today, ioSafe launched a new 5-bay disaster-proof NAS device. The ioSafe 1513+ is essentially a Synology DS 1513+ wrapped in ioSafe's durable and fire / water resistant enclosure tech.

2014-01-06 23-26-06.JPG

Here's a quick video interview with ioSafe CEO Rob Moore:

Three of these devices can be chained together, and with 6 TB drives installed, you get a whopping 90 TB of disaster-proof on-site storage!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Full press blast after the break.

Source: ioSafe 1513+

CES 2014: Valve And 13 Launch Partners Unveil Slew of Steam Machines

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 7, 2014 - 02:25 AM |
Tagged: valve, SteamOS, steambox, opinion, Gabe Newell, CES 2014, CES

Valve Co-Founder Gabe Newell took the stage at a press conference in Las Vegas last night to introduce SteamOS powered Steam Machines and the company's hardware partners for the initial 2014 launch. And it has been quite the launch thus far, with as many as 13 companies launching at least one Steambox PC.

The majority of Steam Machines are living room friendly Mini-ITX (or smaller) form factors, but that has not stopped other vendors from going all out with full-tower builds. The 13 hardware partners have all put their own spin on a SteamOS-powered PC, and by the second half of 2014, users will be able to choose from $500 SFF cubes to ~$1000 Mini-ITX builds with dedicated graphics, to powerhouse desktop PCs that have MSRPs up to $6,000 and multiple GPUs. In fact, aside from SteamOS and support for the Steam Controller, the systems do not share much else, offering up unique options–which is a great thing. 

For the curious, the 13 Steam Machine hardware vendors are listed below.

  1. Alienware
  2. Alternate
  3. CyberPowerPC
  4. Digital Storm
  5. Falcon Northwest
  6. Gigabyte
  7. iBuyPower
  8. Materiel.net
  9. Next
  10. Origin PC
  11. Scan Computers
  12. Webhallen
  13. Zotac

As luck would have it for those eager to compare all of the available options, the crew over at Ars Technica have put together a handy table of the currently-known specifications and pricing of each company's Steam Machines! Some interesting takeaways from the chart include the almost even division between AMD and NVIDIA dedicated graphics while Intel has a single hardware win with it's Iris Pro 5200 (Gigabyte BRIX Pro). On the other hand, on the CPU side of things, Intel has the most design wins with AMD having as many as 3 design wins versus Intel's 10 (in the best case scenario). The pricing is also interesting. While there are outliers that offer up very expensive and affordable models, the majority of Steam Machines tend to be closer to the $1000 mark than either the $500 or $2000+ price points. In other words, about the same amount of money for a mid-range DIY PC. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as users are getting decent hardware for their money, a free OS, and OEM warranty/support (and there is nothing stopping the DIYers from making their own Steamboxes).

A SFF Steambox (left) from Zotac and a full-tower SteamOS gaming desktop from Falcon Nothwest (right).

So far, I have to say that I'm more impressed than not with the Steam Machine launch which has gone off better than I had expected. Here's hoping the hardware vendors are able to come through at the announced price points and Valve is able to continue wrangling developer support (and to improve the planned game streaming functionality from a Windows box). If so, I think Valve and it's partners will have a hit on their hands that will help bring PC gaming into the living room and (hopefully) on par (at least) in the mainstream perspective with the ever-popular game consoles (which are now using x86 PC architectures).

What do you think about the upcoming crop of Steam Machines? Does SteamOS have a future? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Ars Technica

CES 2014: CyberPowerPC Steam Machine Series Coming In 2H 2014

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 6, 2014 - 11:53 PM |
Tagged: steambox, steam os, Steam Machine, Cyberpower, CES 2014, CES

Today, CyberPowerPC announced its series of SteamOS-powered Steam Machines. Set to be available in the second half of this year, the Steam Machine series will come in several customizable models ranging in price from $499 to $699.

All models share a custom Steam Machine gaming case, a 500GB 7200RPM mechanical hard drive, 8GB of DDR3 memory clocked at 1600MHz, Valve's Steam OS, and a bundled Steam Controller. From there, the systems differ by processor, graphics, and networking hardware.

CYBERPOWERPC Steam Machine.JPG

On the low end, the $499 CyberPowerPC Steambox is powered by a dual core AMD A6-6400K Richland APU clocked at 3.9GHz, a Radeon R9 270 graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, and a Mini-ITX motherboard with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support.

Stepping up to the $699 mark gets you Intel and NVIDIA hardware in the form of a dual core/quad threaded Intel Core i3-4330 CPU clocked at 3.5GHz and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The networking is also upgraded to 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

CyberPowerPC Steam Machine Specification List.png

The chassis is a white case with black front panel and green LEDs. A Valve logo is on the top of the case. It certainly has a gaming console look that should sit well in your entertainment center. The front of the case has three USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. Personally, I look at the case and am reminded of classic cartridge-loading game consoles due to the cutout/depressed gray accent.

As always, stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information as it becomes available!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: CyberPower

CES 2014: Gigabyte's New SFF BRIX Pro Comes With Iris Pro 5200 Graphics

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 6, 2014 - 10:59 PM |
Tagged: SFF, iris pro, Intel, gigabyte, CES 2014, CES, brix pro, brix

Gigabyte is showing off a new small form factor BRIX-series PC at CES this week. This new BRIX Pro computer offers up desktop-level performance in a tiny form factor (approximately 4.2” width x 4.5” length x 2” height).

The BRIX Pro is available as a DIY kit that comes with a black or red chassis, choice of either Intel i7 4770R or Intel i5 4570R processor, mini PCI-E Wi-Fi card, and power adapter/cable. In addition to the CPU performance offered by the Haswell processor, the big news here is that the BRIX Pro ships with the processor-integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200. This GPU is the high-end model that comes with 64MB of eDRAM. Considering how rare the Iris Pro GPU with embedded DRAM has been in desktop PCs, having it available in the BRIX platform is good news for enthusiasts!

Gigabyte BRIX Pro with Intel Iris 5200 Graphics.png.png

Gigabyte claims that the BRIX Pro is capable of 3D gaming and is compatible with content creation/production applications. Additionally, it can output 4K resolutions over HDMI thanks to the Iris Pro 5200 GPU (at least the desktop and video, most gaming is out at 4K).

From there, users can add their own memory, mSATA SSD, and 2.5” SATA III drive. There is a mPCIe slot as well, but it is used by the 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 4.0 card.

Gigabyte BRIX Pro Internals.png

Photo courtesy Allyn Malventano (PC Perspective).

External IO on the BRIX Pro includes two USB 3.0 ports and a combination analog headphone/digital S/PDIF jack on the front. On the back of the SFF PC, users have two USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet jack, one Mini DisplayPort output, one HDMI video output, a DC power input, and a Kensington lock.

Gigabyte has not revealed pricing or availability information, but it should be coming out sooner rather than later in 2014. When it does become available, there will be two models: the GB-BXi7-4770R and the GB-BXi5-4570R.

Gigabyte BRIX Pro SFF PC.png

Photo courtesy Allyn Malventano (PC Perspective).

The BRIX Pro looks to be a powerhouse for its size, though I am curious about the noise levels produced by the cooling fan needed to keep the high end processor cool. Overall though, the BRIX Pro looks to be a nice addition to the compact BRIX PC lineup, and I am looking forward to reviews of it. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information as it becomes available. 

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Gigabyte

CES 2014: Corsair Unveils Cherry MX RGB Keyboard

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: CES 2014, CES

While most of the information has already been discussed, Corsair and Cherry have now officially debut their first MX RGB keyboard. These special switches allow for 16.8 million colors to be selected for any individual key. Corsair provided us with a video of several effects in action from a wavy rainbow to shock waves emanating from specific points - even more practical configurations such as alternate colors for the WSAD and the arrow keys.

Keyboards containing three of the four main switches (Red, Blue, and Brown) will be available in the second half of this year. There is the curious omission of the Black switches, essentially Reds with a tougher spring, but I was honestly not expecting anything but the Reds.

The initiative is called the "MX RGB Project" (which is a suitable name albeit a little bland). The models shown at CES are based upon the Vengeance K70. There is currently no word, yet, about which models will be presented at launch later in the year.

The main point of this announcement, however, is to note that the keyboards will be on display from now until the evening of January 9th.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Cherry

CES 2014: Maingear Launches Tiny APU-Powered "Spark" Steambox PC

Subject: Systems | January 6, 2014 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, SteamOS, steambox, SFF, maingear, CES 2014, CES

Not content to let Digital Storm have all the fun with SteamOS, MAINGEAR has launched a small form factor SPARK Steambox PC! Clad in the traditional red and black colors of Maingear, the Spark is a stylish gaming system powered by an AMD APU that is about the size of an Intel NUC. Maingear is offering the system with Valve's Linux-based SteamOS as well as Microsoft's Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. 

MG-Spark-hero.png

The Steambox PC measures 4.5" x 4.23" x 2.34" and weighs 0.98 pounds. The system has a vivid red and black design with large mesh vents on the sides and rear panel. IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks on the front as well as one HDMI, one Mini DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO panel. The design is striking and likely to appeal to gamers though it may clash with your other A/V equipment in the entertainment center (which really comes down to personal tastes).

MG-Spark-ports.png

Despite the small size, Maingear has managed to pack a respectable amount of PC hardware into the Spark. The SFF Steambox is powered by an AMD A8-5557M APU (four threads) clocked at 2.1GHz base and 3.1GHz turbo along with an AMD Radeon R9 M275X graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, and up to 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory (two SO-DIMMs). Storage includes a single SATA III 6Gbps port (with room in the case for a single 2.5" drive) and one mSATA slot that supports SSDs up to 256GB. The Spark does support Gigabit Ethernet, but it also comes with a pre-installed Mini-PCIe card that provides 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz bands) and Bluetooth 4.0. Users will be able to customize the RAM and storage options, but the other specifications are not user-configurable.

MG-Spark-specs.png

The Maingear Spark will be available for purchase in late Q1 2014 for an as-yet-undisclosed price. For what it's worth, Maingear has stated that the tiny Spark gaming PC will an "affordable PC solution."

Personally, depending on price, I am interested in this steam machine as I rather like the aesthetics and the internal hardware should be sufficient for basic gameplay on the hardware itself and game streaming from my main desktop when that feature becomes available.

What do you think about Maingear's miniscule APU-powered Steam Machine?

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Maingear

CES 2014: iBUYPOWER Announces SBX Steam Machine

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2014 - 09:00 PM |
Tagged: SteamOS, steambox, Steam Machine, ibuypower, CES 2014, CES

The onslaught of Steam Machine launches at CES in Las Vegas continues with a new living room friendly PC from iBUYPOWER called the SBX. This new Steambox runs Valve's Steam OS and has a stylish horizontal mini-ITX form factor. The case is either matte black or white and features a horizontal LED strip that wraps around the left, front, and right sides of the PC. Further, a stamped/imprinted Valve logo adorns the top panel.

iBUYPOWER SBX Matte Black 01.jpg

The company has not released the exact specifications of the SBX, but it will utilize a multi-core CPU from Intel or AMD (depending on SKU) along with an AMD graphics card. IBUYPOWER claims that its upcoming Steambox was designed as a living room gaming device first, and is capable of at 60FPS sustained gaming at HD resolutions.

The SBX will come bundled with a Steam Controller as well, allowing gamers to jump straight into couch gaming upon hooking up the Steam Machine (and downloading the games of course, heh).

iBUYPOWER SBX White 01.jpg

The iBUYPOWER SBX will be available later in 2014 with a starting price of $499. the starting price gets you the base SBX and a Steam Controller Unfortunately, that is all the information available. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details as they are released!

What are your thoughts on the newly announced Steam Machines from CES so far?

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: iBUYPOWER

CES 2014: Asus Announces the PadFone X (AT&T Exclusive) and PadFone mini for US

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 08:29 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, PadFone Mini, padfone, LTE Advanced, HD Voice, CES 2014, CES, Carrier Aggregation, atom z2580, asus, Android

Asus’ PadFone is a cool idea that’s never yet made it stateside—but that’s all about to change with the advent of the PadFone X, which will be headed exclusively to AT&T at some point in the future (TBA).  The PadFone was a concept first introduced in 2011 that involves a smartphone which docks with a larger tablet for seamless transition between screen sizes.  Everything is also constantly and instantly synced between the two gadgets via independent Wi-Fi and cellular data connections without the need to manually invoke synchronization.  Any applications which are currently running on either device will automatically resize to fit the other screen when the PadFone is docked or undocked.

PadFone_X.png

It’s a really clever design that we’re happy to see is coming to the US.  Pricing and detailed specifications are still up in the air, but here’s what we do know about it:

  • 5-inch 1080p screen
  • Docks with a 9-inch 1080p companion tablet station
  • Brushed metal frame with soft-touch back cover
  • Dual front speakers

A “large” battery in the companion tablet station also allows for charging of the 5-inch PadFone when docked, providing “2 times longer” battery life.

PadFone_mini_1.jpg

The PadFone X supports a couple of new technologies on AT&T’s network as well to help improve voice quality:

  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE): This is a new technology which allows for much better quality voice transmission using a codec referred to as HD Voice (technically called Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband).
  • Carrier Aggregation: A part of LTE Advanced, this allows for the grouping of up to five separate 20 MHz bands to produce up to a maximum aggregated bandwidth of 100 MHz.  Essentially, it translates to better voice quality for the PadFone X.

More details about the PadFone X will be announced soon.

In the meantime, Asus also unveiled the PadFone mini, which is not tethered to any particular carrier.  It’s essentially a more basic version of the PadFone X, and judging by the screen resolution alone (800x480 for the phone and 1280x800 for the tablet), it’s clear that it’s intended more for the mainstream market than tech enthusiasts.

PadFone_mini_3S.jpg

The full specs are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Atom Z2560 processor
  • RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB internal w/ Micro SD slot for expansion
  • Screen:
    • Phone: 800x480 IPS
    • Station: 1280x800 IPS
  • Camera: 8 MP rear camera (f/2.0) and 2 MP front-facing camera
  • Battery:
    • Phone: 4.5Wh, 1170mAh, non-removable polymer battery
    • Station: 8.3Wh, 2100mAh, non-removable polymer battery
  • Weight/Dimensions:
    • Phone: 116g; 124.42 (L) x 61.44 (W) x 6.3-11.2 (H) mm
    • Station: 260g; 199.85 (L) x 119.43 (W) x 13.91 (H) mm
  • Five color choices: Black, White, Red, Blue, and Yellow
  • Dual-SIM support
  • New ZenUI interface layered atop Android OS, which provides new apps, visual tweaks, and some useful extras.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on both devices as it’s announced!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Asus

ASUS Announces VivoTab Note 8 Windows 8.1 Tablet with Professional Wacom Digitizer Stylus

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: CES 2014, asus, wacom, win 8.1, baytrail, VivoTab Note 8

Better late than never, finally a Windows 8.1 tablet has been created which is fully compatible with Wacom's digitizer stylus and is powered by a BayTrail Z3740.  The ASUS VivoTab Note 8 ships with Microsoft Office Home already installed to let you get to work immediately, either with your fingers or  the Wacom stylus; too bad there is no USB port to attach a keyboard to.  Storage is taken care of by an SSD of up to 64GB of capacity and with a free year of unlimited ASUS WebStorage you can store even more. 

VivoTab Note 8.png

Las Vegas, NV (January 6th, 2014) — ASUS today announced the VivoTab Note 8, a Windows 8.1 tablet featuring a professional Wacom digitizer stylus, making it the best pen-based tablet for productivity or creativity. Designed for professionals and students alike the VivoTab Note 8 is bundled with Microsoft Office Home and Student, which includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. VivoTab Note 8’s lightweight and the ability to use it one-handed make it an ideal mobile productivity tool. With slim bezels, a high-definition IPS display and an elegant design it deserves pride of place in any business or educational environment.

Powerful Quad-Core Processor
The VivoTab Note 8 is powered by the latest Intel Atom Z3740 processor for a perfect balance between multitasking performance and outstanding energy efficiency. With up to 8 hours battery life, VivoTab Note 8 can last for a working day. And with 2GB of memory, up to 64GB of solid-state storage plus the ability to use up to 64GB microSD cards, there is all the storage space you need for your apps and files. Accessing your data on the move is simple, too, thanks to a free year of unlimited ASUS WebStorage.

Precise input with Wacom technology
Designed for one-handed user with ultra-slim bezels, the VivoTab Note 8 is ideal for highly mobile consumers. Its professional digitizer pen sits neatly in its holder along the bottom edge of the tablet, so it is always on hand when you need it. Based on premium Wacom technology, the digitizer stylus affords the best possible accuracy, speed, and responsiveness. This, combined with over 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, provides an extremely natural writing or drawing experience, meaning you really can leave your sketchpad or notebook at home: the VivoTab Note 8 is all you need!

Serious About Audio
Developed by the team of experts in the ASUS Golden Ear team, SonicMaster audio technology uses a tailored mix of hardware and software to enhance sound quality to a level far above what you might expect from such a small device. Its rear-facing stereo speakers with large resonance chambers give rich, rounded bass, and sophisticated audio processing tools boost the frequency range to make music, movies and games sound fantastic.

SPECIFICATIONS - VivoTab Note 8 

  • Windows 8.1 
  • 8-inch HD (1280 x 800) IPS display
  • Intel Atom Z3470 processor
  • Integrated Professional Wacom Digitizer Stylus
  • 2GB memory
  • 5MP rear camera and HD front-facing camera
  • Up to 64GB internal storage, up to 64GB microSD card slot and bundled unlimited ASUS WebStorage (1 year) 
  • 15.5Whr battery
  • 220.9 x 133.8 x 10.95mm
  • 380g
  • MSRP – 32GB starts at $299, 64GB starts at $349
  • Availability - Late Q1, Early Q2 

 

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: ASUS

Philips 28-inch 4K Ultra HD Monitor Debuts

Subject: Displays | January 6, 2014 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: phillips, PhilipsUltraClear, CES 2014, 4k

Graphic artists won't feel left out at CES with the new 4K 28" PhilipsUltraClear Display that was just announced.  This is not a gaming monitor but a full 10-bit colour display at a 4K resolution which will be wonderful to create content on.

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LAS VEGAS - Jan. 6, 2014 - The PhilipsUltraClear Display debuts today, combining 4K UHD high resolution with a color depth of 1.07 billion colors to deliver brilliant performance, screen clarity and detail with four times the resolution of Full HD. Whether you require extremely detailed information for CAD-CAM solutions, use 3D graphic applications or are a financial wizard working on huge spreadsheets, this Philips display will provide UltraClear 3840x2160 pixel images to meet the visual demands of the most sophisticated power user. The 28-inch monitor (model 288P6) is also ideal for those seeking superb onscreen clarity and color accuracy for personal applications, and includes built-in stereo speakers for multimedia and MHL technology for easy mobile device connectivity.

Designed with the user in mind, the PhilipsUltraClear Display provides a plethora of connectivity options and comes equipped with HDMI, DisplayPort, Dual-link DVI and VGA SmartConnect ports, enabling the enjoyment of high resolution uncompressed video and audio content. USB 3.0 ensures super speed data transfers and smartphone charging while having global connectivity. Additionally, an integrated MHL port allows users to connect compatible phones and tablets directly to the monitor to mirror content to the widescreen display while charging the mobile device at the same time.

The Philips UltraClear Display also features MultiView functionality. This technology enables active dual connect and view so that users can work with multiple devices like PC and laptop side-by-side simultaneously, making complex multi-tasking work a breeze. With the Ultra HD Philips MultiView display, you can now experience a world of connectivity in a comfortable way whether at office or at home.

Another people-friendly feature is the advanced SmartErgoBase, which allows the monitor to be lowered down almost to desk level for a comfortable viewing angle. Low bezel-to-table height is the perfect solution for those who use bifocals, trifocals or progressive lens glasses for computing work. Additionally, the adjustable base allows for users of greatly different heights to use the monitor in their preferred angle and height settings, helping them reduce fatigue and strain. The SmartErgoBase’s height, swivel, tilt and rotation angle adjustments position the monitor for maximum comfort, while its cable management function reduces cable clutter and keeps the workspace neat and professional.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • LCD panel type TN
  • Backlight type W-LED system
  • Panel size 28-inch
  • Aspect ratio 16:9
  • Optimum resolution 3840 x 2160
  • Brightness 300
  • Color 10-bit
  • Viewing angle 170º (H) / 160º (V) @ C/R > 10
  • Signal input VGA (Analog )x1; DVI-D dual link x1; MHL-HDMI x1; DPx1 USB USB2.0 x2; USB3.0 x2; + fast charger
  • Audio 3W x2
  • Power supply Internal
  • Cabinet color Black

The Philips UltraClear Display will be available in spring 2014 for $1,199.99 MSRP.

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Source: Phillips

CES 2014: ASUS ThunderboltEX II Expansion Card

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: ThunderboltEX II, Thunderbolt 2, CES 2014, CES, asus

It has been a rocky road for the ASUS Thunderbolt EX expansion card(s). Development was not a problem. They were created but could not be released because of Intel certification woes (because those never happen). The specific reason was never identified but they did hold back releases until after Intel designed a reference add-in card (AIC) for select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

No need to stew over my alphabet soup.

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ASUS has now announced the ThunderboltEX II expansion card which is the first Intel-certified AIC providing a single Thunderbolt 2 port. Despite the multitude of delays, ASUS should still be first to market albeit a market where USB 3.0 became fairly ubiquitous (a lot can happen in a one-year exclusivity). The Thunderbolt EXII is rated at 20 Gbps. The card will be compatible with certain 8-series motherboards from ASUS.

A dual-port AIC, the ThunderboltEX II/DUAL, is also announced.

Still not much on pricing or availability. All we know is that the ThunderboltEX II should be the first to market and the DUAL will come at some point after that.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2014: ASUS S1 Mobile LED Projector & SBW-S1

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: projector, DLP, CES 2014, CES, asus

And now, for a much different display.

This one has nothing to do with 4K or G-Sync. This is a relatively tiny DLP projector with a built-in rechargeable battery. It is designed to be portable and even connect to MHL-compliant tablets and smartphones. The enclosed battery is expected to last three hours on a single charge or, if using the phone has more need for power than the projector, it can charge your mobile device from its battery.

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The projector is capable of producing a 41-inch image with only 3 feet of throw distance. It also has an integrated speaker. The SBW-S1 Blu-Ray drive is a companion product to playback high-definition optical disks with the projector (and maybe other devices?). It includes a Xonar sound card and headphone amplifier although I am not sure the use case for a playing Blu-Rays on a 41-inch projector wearing headphones.

The S1 Projector has an MSRP of $319. No availability information yet. Also, no pricing or availability on the Blu-ray drive, either.

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Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG Poseidon Series Liquid Cooled Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, ROG, nvidia, gtx 780, gtx 770, CES 2014, CES, asus

In keeping with their tradition of pushing the innovation and performance boundaries through their ROG product line, ASUS today released NVIDIA-based 7-seried video cards featuring as part of their Poseidon series of liquid cooled products. ASUS released both a GTX 780 and GTX 770-based product with the hybrid Poseidon cooling solution.

ASUS_POSEIDON-GTX780-P-3GD5_a.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

All Poseidon series graphics cards come with a hybrid cooling solution, using a combination of fan-based and water-based cooling to propel these cards to new performance heights. The card's GPU is cooled with the DirectCU H20 cooler with water pathed through the integrated barbs to the copper-based cooler. The water inlets are threaded, accepting G1/4" sized male fittings. The memory and VRM components are cooled by a massive dual-fan heat pipe, exhausting air through the rear panel port. Both cards feature the red and black ROG coloration with the Poseidon series name displayed prominently along the right front edge of the card.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Both Poseidon series graphics cards, the ROG Poseidon GTX 770 and ROG Poseidon GTX 780, include ASUS' DIGI+ VRM and Super Allow Power power circuitry to ensure stability and component life under the most grueling conditions. When paired with the Poseidon cooling, the GPU ran 20% cooler and 3 times quieter than a comparable reference card with card operating temperatures 16 C lower than the same reference solution.

More after the break.

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Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel

Subject: Motherboards, Cases and Cooling | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: ROG, front bay panel, CES 2014, CES, asus

The ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel is a multi-bay command center housing system ports and a 4 inch integrated display for all your gaming and system needs in an easy to access location.

ASUS_ROG_Front_Base_Dual-Bay_Gaming_Panel_3D_with_color_box.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

As part of the ASUS ROG product line, the ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel integrates seamlessly with any of the ASUS Z87-based ROG Maximum VI motherboard offerings in addition to the Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard. The command panel includes support for sound configuration in conjunction with the ROG SupremeFX sound technology, as well as fan and overclocking configuration.

ASUS_ROG_Front_Base_Dual-Bay_Gaming_Panel_3D.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel supports the following features:

  • Quick EQ Switch with five equalization modes
  • Integration with SupremeFX Audio board with included dual-line analog-audio front-panel cable
  • Overclocking and fan control through integrated display and control buttons
  • Temperature monitoring capabilities
  • USB fast charging with system powered off
  • Escape Mode button that automatically returns user to system desktop and mutes sound volume

More after the break.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

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Source: ASUS

ASUS Announces Transformer Book Duet TD300

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 03:38 PM |
Tagged: win 8.1, Transformer Book Duet, Transformer, TD300, CES 2014, asus, Android

ASUS is really taking the transformer meme to new heights with the new TD300 Transformer Book Duet.  Not only can it switch from tablet to notebook with a click of its dock, it can also swap between Android and Win 8.1 with the click of a button and it is fairly probable you have never seen Android run on a Core i7 before.  As well the 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display has been a rare bird in the mobile market; something we can hope will change during this year though the onboard HD4000 series may struggle in some scenarios.  You will also enjoy the onboard storage, a 128GB SSD in the tablet expandable with up to a 64GB Micro SD card with up to a 1TB HDD in the keyboard dock.  Pricing info is a bit sparse but the bottom models are a i3 with HD Display @ $599, the i3 with FHD Display @ $699.

 

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Las Vegas, NV (January 6, 2014) — ASUS today announced Transformer Book Duet (TD300), the world’s first quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet convertible that allows users to switch between Windows and Android in either laptop or tablet modes with just a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet. With a powerful Intel® Core™ i7 processor at its heart, Transformer Book Duet runs up to twice as fast as existing tablets based on ARM® processors. ASUS SonicMaster technology and dual speakers ensure that Transformer Book Duet delivers incredible audio for immersive entertainment.

Quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet with Instant Switch
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) is an extremely capable device that is able to function as an Android or Windows 8.1 tablet or notebook. Users can simply switch operating systems with a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet.

By offering both operating systems, ASUS provides users the ability to run supported Android applications and a vast array of native Windows applications. Transformer Book Duet features a powerful Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD graphics and 4G DDR3L 1600 RAM, giving it performance that’s up to twice as fast as existing tablets powered by ARM® processors.

The patented ASUS technology that powers Instant Switch offers many performance and productivity benefits over other dual-OS solutions, such as fast, smooth and seamless switching and the ability to resume each OS from where the user left off. As it does not use OS virtualization, Instant Switch also allows each OS to harness the full power of Intel’s latest processor technology.

Striking audio-visuals
ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) delivers striking visuals on its 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display. This multi-touch display features sensitivity and responsiveness that exceeds Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 8.1. For audio, it comes with ASUS SonicMaster technology for true-to-life sound through the tablet’s dual speakers. In addition, Transformer Book Duet has a front-facing HD camera with a built-in digital mic for video chats. The tablet display has 128GB of SSD storage that can be supplemented by a 64GB Micro SD card, while the keyboard dock houses up to a 1TB hard disk drive. The dock is also home to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and HDMI 1.4 output with 1080p support. In terms of connectivity, ASUS Transformer Book T300 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR.

ASUS Transformer Book Duet sports the same stylish concentric-circle finish found in other ASUS offerings. The Transformer Book Duet has compact dimensions, with the tablet measuring 342.7 x 216.3 x 12.9mm; and the dock measuring 340.9 x 217.6 x 16mm. Together, they weigh around 1.9kg, making it supremely portable and flexible for those on the go.

SPECIFICATIONS
Transformer Book Duet TD300

  • Dual-OS - Windows 8.1 Standard / Android 4.2.2
  • 13.3-inch Full HD IPS multi-touch display
  • Up to Intel Core i7 processor
  • 4GB DDR3L 1600 RAM
  • Up to 128GB SSD in Tablet
  • Up to 1TB HDD in Dock
  • 38WHr battery, estimated battery life around 5 hours in Windows 8.1 and 6 hours in Android 4.2.2.
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
  • Tablet ports: Micro SD card, Headphone jack, DC jack
  • Keyboard dock ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 10/100Mbit/s LAN, HDMI 1.4, audio combo jack, DC jack

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CES 2014: ASUS Unveils New Line of Android-Powered ZenFone Smartphones

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: zenui, zenfone, smarphone, CES 2014, CES, atom z2580, asus, Android

ASUS has unveiled a new lineup of “ZenFone” smartphones. Available in four, five, and six-inch form factors, the smartphones run Google's Android operating system and are powered by Intel's Clover Trail+ Atom processors. The ZenFone lineup features colorful chassis options, large batteries, IPS touchscreen displays in various screen sizes, front and rear cameras with PixelMaster technology, and Android 4.3 (will receive 4.4) with ASUS' own customized user interface.

Specifically, ASUS is launching the ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5, and ZenFone 6 in four, five, and six-inch physical form factors.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Colors.jpg

The ZenFone 4 has a 4-inch 800x480 TFT touchscreen display, a VGA webcam, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. ASUS is offering the ZenFone 4 in five colors including Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, Sky Blue, and Solar Yellow. Note that the Solar Yellow and Sky Blue colors are exclusive to the smallest ZenFone.

Internally, the 4-inch ZenFone 4 is powered by a dual core (four threads with HyperThreading) Intel Atom Z2520 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, 1GB RAM, up to 64GB of storage via microSD card, and a 1,170 mAh battery.

ASUS ZenFone 5 Android Smartphone.jpg

From there, the ZenFone 5 steps up the hardware specifications to a larger 5-inch IPS HD (1280x720) touchscreen, better front and rear cameras, and faster internal hardware. The ZenFone 5 comes with a 2MP front camera and a 8MP PixelMaster rear camera with image stabilization, a BSI (Backside Illumination) sensor, and a wide aperture F/2.0 lens. The touchscreen has PenTouch and GloveTouch technology, allowing users to use the touchscreen with a stylus or gloved hands. The phone comes in Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, and Campagne Gold.

Internally, the ZenFone 5 has a Intel Atom Z2580 clocked at 2 GHz (2 core, four thread), 1GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage via microSD card, and a 2,050 mAh battery.

ZenFone 6_ Colors.png

Finally, the ZenFone 6 is the flagship device of the lineup. It is also the largest of the bunch, with a 6-inch 720p IPS display. It offers up a 2MP webcam, 13MP PixelMaster rear camera, and SonicMaster audio (which provides virtual surround sound over headphones). The phone is available in the same black, white, red, and gold colors as the ZenFone 5. It shares the same processor, memory, and storage of the ZenFone 5, but adds a beefier 3,230 mAh battery.

The full table of specifications is available below for further information.

  ZenFone 4 ZenFone 5 ZenFone 6
Display 4” WVGA 800 x 480-pixel TFT display
 
5” HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
 
6" HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
 
SoC Intel Atom Z2520 @ 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 @ 2.0 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 @ 2.0 GHz
RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage Up to 64GB micro SD card Up to 64GB micro SD card Up to 64GB micro SD card
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
Battery 1170mAh 2050mAh 3230mAh
Cameras 5-megapixel rear camera
0.3-megapixel front camera
8-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
13-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
OS Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat) Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat) Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Dimensions 124.4 x 61.4 x 11.2-6.3mm 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.3-5.5mm 166.9 x 84.3 x 9.9-5.5mm
Weight 115g 144g 200g

Each of the phones comes with Android 4.3 and a custom ZenUI interface from ASUS. ZenUI provides visual tweaks as well as applications, including the Omlet Chat messaging application and a email app that supports threading messages. On the ZenFone 6, users can employ "Reader Mode" to reduce eye streain when purusing long documents or books.

In all, ASUS has an interesting lineup with its new ZenFone smartphones. In particular, the ASUS ZenFone 6 is neat looking phone (especially in red) with some powerful hardware. The bad news? Pricing and availability are still unknown, and as an Intel-powered smartphone it is highly unlikely to ever be offered in the US (just my luck).

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Source: Asus

CES 2014: ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q (120+ Hz, G-Sync)

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: g-sync, CES 2014, CES, asus

Another G-Sync panel has been announced at CES. This one is not a standard 1080p panel, which is promising, rather a bump in resolution to WQHD 2560x1440 while still reaching "120+ Hz". It is still based on TN pixels but the resolution is different so at least that is progress. Perhaps we will see some IPS (or similar) displays later? Hopefully? I'm serious, I do not have inside information.

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The SWIFT PG278Q is 27-inch with a narrow (6mm) bezel. The stand allows for tilt, swivel, height, and pivot adjustments which could be useful if you want to present portrait images or handle long documents. That said, I was really looking forward to pivot when I purchased my most recent monitor (last year) and eventually found that it was more convenient to use two documents side-by-side with Aero snap.

One feature that ASUS added to the panel was "GamePlus" which would probably not be the best to use in a LAN party. It enables custom crosshairs and timers on screen. I am sure that someone will interpret that as cheating (especially for games which disable crosshairs such as Battlefield 4 "hardcore"). They claim it is a practice tool, which I will accept, just use it in public at your own risk.

The monitor will be available in Q2 for $799 USD.

Press release after the break!

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PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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Source: ASUS