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Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | September 6, 2014 - 03:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, tablet, cheap tablet, cheap computer, x86, Windows 8.1
While you should only get a cheap PC if you have a need for one, Toshiba is selling a $120 tablet with Windows 8.1 and a quadcore, Intel Atom processor. It also includes a single year of Office 365 Personal, which contains Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, an 1TB of OneDrive storage (normally $69 or twelve installments of $7/mo).
While RAM has not been announced, it contains 16GB of storage, expandable with a microSDXC card of up to 128 GB. It is based on a 7-inch, 1024x600 multi-touch display. Of course, 16GB of internal storage is about as low as you can have Windows 8.1 be installed within. In fact, it is the minimum requirements for 32-bit (64-bit requires 20 GB). You will not be fitting too many applications on your main drive.
The tablet also has a front-facing webcam and a back-facing 2 megapixel camera for photos and video.
The Toshiba Encore Mini is available now for an MSRP of $119.99.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | September 6, 2014 - 02:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: iris pro, iris, intel hd graphics, Intel
I was originally intending to test this with benchmarks but, after a little while, I realized that Ivy Bridge was not supported. This graphics driver starts and ends with Haswell. While I cannot verify their claims, Intel advertises up to 30% more performance in some OpenCL tasks and a 10% increase in games like Batman: Arkham City and Sleeping Dogs. They even claim double performance out of League of Legends at 1366x768.
Intel is giving gamers a "free lunch".
The driver also tunes Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing (CMAA). They claim it looks better than MLAA and FXAA, "without performance impact" (their whitepaper from March showed a ~1-to-1.5 millisecond cost on Intel HD 5000). Intel recommends disabling it after exiting games to prevent it from blurring other applications, and they automatically disable it in Windows, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Windows 8.1 Photo.
Adaptive Rendering Control was also added in this driver. This limits redrawing identical frames by comparing the ones it does draw with previously drawn ones, and adjusts the frame rate accordingly. This is most useful for games like Angry Birds, Minesweeper, and Bejeweled LIVE. It is disabled when not on battery power, or when the driver is set to "Maximum Performance".
Subject: Mobile | September 6, 2014 - 09:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: snapdragon, smartphone, qualcomm, Lenovo, ifa 2014
In addition to new traditional PCs, Lenovo unveiled two new smartphones under its Vibe series. The Vibe Z2 and Vibe X2 are 64-bit mobiles ready for Android L. Both models will be available in China and select regions later this month.
First up is the Lenovo Vibe X2 which is the successor to the Vibe X. Lenovo's new flagship smartphone is 7.27mm thick and uses a layered design that uses a three color gradient evident when looking at the outside edges of the phone. The Vibe X2 features a large 5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS display, 5MP webcam, and 13MP rear camera with flash.
The Vibe X2 is powered by a MediaTek MT6595M SoC, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (no MicroSD expansion), and a 2,300mAh battery. The phone will come in dual and single SIM variants depending on the country. The MediaTek MT6595M "True8Core" processor features eight ARM cores in a big.LITTLE configuration with a maximum clockspeed of 2GHz on the four Cortex A17 cores and 1.5GHz on the four low power Cortex A7 cores. The SoC also features a 16MP image signal processor, video encoding hardware (for recording up to 1080p60), and a PowerVR G6200 GPU clocked at 450MHz.
In all, the Vibe X2 should perform noticeably better than last year's Vibe X thanks to the updated SoC with faster GPU. Moving to the big.LITTLE setup should also net users better battery life, which is always a good thing. For even more battery life though, Lenovo is offering up clip-on attachments – called Lenovo Xtensions – that include an extra battery and a version with a larger speaker.
While the hardware is ready to run Android L, the phone will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat along with Lenovo's Vibe UI 2.0.
The flagship Vibe X2 will be available later this month in China starting at $399 USD.
Lenovo is also releasing the Vibe Z2 which is a stylish metal unibody design with a brushed metal finish. The phone is 7.8mm thick and weighs 155 grams. The front of the Vibe Z2 is dominated by a 5.5-inch 1920x1080 display. An 8MP front camera sits above the display and uses an optional guesture-based shutter that can be triggered by smiling, blinking, or making a "V" sign with your hands. According to Lenovo, the Vibe Z has "mastered the art of the selfie." On the backside of the smartphone sits a 13MP camera with a Sony Exmor BSI (backside illumination) sensor and optical image stabilization which is nice to see on a smartphone.
Inside the Vibe Z2, Lenovo is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 401 SoC, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, and a 3,000mAh battery. The phone supports Dual SIM cards as well as LTE, HSPA+, WiFi, and Bluetooth networks. The Snapdragon 401 is a recent Qualcomm chip that can be clocked up to 1.2GHz with a Adreno 305 GPU clocked at up to 450MHz (Lenovo did not give specific clockspeeds, but those are the speeds that the 401 is rated at).
The Vibe Z2 will be available in China and other regions where Lenovo has a smartphone presence later this month starting at $429 USD.
Subject: Storage | September 5, 2014 - 12:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: roundup, ssd
The SSD Review has put a quick overview of what they feel are the best SSDs released this summer in several classes, though picking the Intel P3700 PCIe SSD which is not slated for release until the end of September might be considered cheating a bit. It is no surprise that the Samsung 850 Pro is the Enthusiast recommendation or the Crucial MX100 being recommended for those with a tight budget. They also list M.2, mSATA and even USB recommendations so head on over to see the full round up.
"Summer has come and gone, and over the past few months, there have been quite a few SSDs released into the market, and the question of, "Which SSD should I buy?" seems to still come up a lot around forums. Usually, there are some predetermined recommended favorite in each."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial MX100 256 GB @ techPowerUp
- Plextor M6S 256GB @ eTeknix
- Plextor M6M 128GB mSATA @ eTeknix
- Transcend SSD370 SSD @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- MyDigitalSSD Super Cache 2 128GB SATA III M.2 Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- ioSafe 214 Fire and WaterProof NAS Video Review @ Madshrimps
- Synology DS115j @ HardwareHeaven
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-470 Pro NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- WD My Passport Wireless 1TB Storage Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Western Digital My Passport Ultra Review @ TechwareLab
- WD My Passport Wireless Review – Your Own Hand-Held Personal Cloud @ Techgage
- Corsair Voyager Air 2 1TB Wireless Hard Drive @ eTeknix
- Western DIgital My Cloud EX2 Review @ TechwareLabs
- Silicon Power Armor A60 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive Review @ NikKTech
- Corsair Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 5, 2014 - 11:14 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mini-itx, mini ITX, graphite, corsair, 380t
You have seen Ryan's video review by now but you can also check out a different review of Corsair's Graphite Series 380T. The so called drink cooler case was tested with an A10-7850K and an MSI A88XI AC motherboard which unfortunately blocked some of the bolt holes that would have attached the Cooler Master Seidon 120V so be sure to install any coolers which require a custom back plate before mounting the motherboard. The radiator did fit in the side mounting points as it could not be placed in the front or back, something else to keep in mind if building a system in this tiny little cube of 8.2" x 10.3" x 11.1" (356 x 292 x 393 mm). To complete The Tech Report's Casewarmer a GTX 660 Ti, SSD and Cooler Master V550 PSU were installed, all of which remained at decent temperatures under load and thanks to the integral fan controller did so without producing ridiculous amounts of noise. If you are wondering about the handle, it did not feel at all strained when being carried even with all components installed.
"Corsair's Graphite Series 380T is a supercar-themed Mini-ITX case designed for the PC enthusiast. Does it live up to its billing? We loaded it up with our Casewarmer build to find out."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Graphite 380T @ techPowerUp
- Corsair Graphite 380T Mini-ITX @ eTeknix
- Corsair Graphite 380T @ Kitguru
- CORSAIR Graphite 380T Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Obsidian 450D Chassis Review – Hitting the Sweet Spot @ Techgage
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 Chassis Review @ Techgage
- Aerocool DS Cube @ techPowerUp
- Akasa Euler Mini-ITX Thin Fanless Chassis @ eTeknix
- Silverstone Raven RV05-BW @ eTeknix
- NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Zalman Reserator 3 Max Dual @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Tundra TD02 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ Techgage
- DeepCool MAELSTROM 240 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- SilentiumPC Gradis XE1236 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- bequiet! Shadow Rock Slim Heatsink Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Thermaltake Frio14 Silent CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Storage | September 5, 2014 - 10:21 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: X99-Deluxe, SSD 730, Intel, Haswell-E, ddr4, asus, 5960X
Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't know what I was getting into. When a couple of packages showed up at our office from Intel with claims that they wanted to showcase the new Haswell-E platform...I was confused. The setup was simple: turn on cameras and watch what happens.
So out of the box comes...a containment chamber. A carefully crafted, wood+paint concoction that includes lights, beeps, motors and platforms.
Want to see how Intel promotes the Core i7-5960X and X99 platform? Check out this video below.
Our reviews of products included in this video:
Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2014 - 09:35 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, wine, htpc, Netflix, ubuntu 14.04
As with all things Linux, nothing is impossible but that doesn't mean it will be easy but compared to many projects the steps at Linux.com to set up Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Deepin to run Netflix are not overly onerous. By following the steps in the article you can get Wine, Mono, msttcorefonts and Gecko installed and then continue on to install Netflix and in very little time you will be streaming videos. There is another way for the more experimental and seasoned Linux user, with the latest beta or dev build of Chrome an updated libnss3 and a little tweaking of your browsers user agent string you can also launch the latest version of Netflix. Enjoy your streaming.
"This is Linux, though, so as always the adage ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ very much applies. With just a few quick steps, you can have a Netflix client on your desktop. This client does require the installation of the following extras:"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel reveals Core M specs, performance @ The Tech Report
- IFA: Intel launches 14nm fanless Core M processor for 2-in-1 devices @ The Inquirer
- Hey hipsters: Tabs are so last year, fat phones are where it's at @ The Register
- Galaxy Note 4 release date, specs and price @ The Inquirer
- Twitpic Shutting Down Over Trademark Dispute @ Slashdot
- 4th Century GOBLET could REVIVE CORPSE of holographic storage @ The Register
Subject: Processors | September 5, 2014 - 09:11 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Intel, core m, broadwell-y, Broadwell, 14nm
In a somewhat surprising fashion, Intel has decided to announce (again) the Core M processor family that will be shipping this fall and winter using the Broadwell-Y SoC. I was able to visit Portland and talk with the process technology and architecture teams back in early August so much of the news coming out today about the improvements of 14nm tri-gate transistors, the smaller package size of Broadwell-Y and the goals for thinner, fanless designs is going to be a repeat for frequent PC Perspective readers. (You can see that original story, Intel Core M Processor: Broadwell Architecture and 14nm Process Reveal.)
What is new information today are specifics on the clock speeds and SKU offerings.
|Base Freq||1.10 GHz||800 MHz||800 MHz|
|Max Single Core Turbo||2.6 GHz||2.0 GHz||2.0 GHz|
|Max Dual Core Turbo||2.6 GHz||2.0 GHz||2.0 GHz|
|Max Quad Core Turbo||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 5300||Intel HD Graphics 5300||Intel HD Graphics 5300|
|Graphics Base/Max Freq||100/850 MHz||100/800 MHz||100/800 MHz|
|LPDDR3L Memory Speed||1600 MHz||1600 MHz||1600 MHz|
|TDP||4.5 watts||4.5 watts||4.5 watts|
Intel has planned three options, all with the same $281 pricing, though obviously based on volume and other deals with OEMs, these are likely to shift. The Core M 5Y70 is the highest performance part with a base clock speed of 1.10 GHz that can scale up to 2.6 GHz with one or both cores active. The other two parts launching today both feature 800 MHz base clocks and 2.0 GHz maximum Turbo speeds.
With that scaling information, and the wide range that the Intel HD Graphics 5300 can hit (100-800 MHz) Intel is doubling down on the benefits of fast and reliable Turbo Boost technology to give you high frequencies only when you need it most. This conserves power consumption the vast majority of time and allows Intel's partners to build fanless designs that are incredibly thin.
The 5Y10 and 5Y10a differ only in that the non-A variant has a configurable TDP down the 4.0 watts should the vendor opt for that.
Intel is also giving us a more detailed look at the Broadwell-Y PCH that includes a lot of I/O for such a small platform. Two channels of USB 3.0 can support four total ports and as many as four SATA 6G storage units can be integrated as well. These Y-SKUs look like they have 12 lanes of PCIe 2.0 available to them should a notebook vendor decide to use PCIe storage solutions (like M.2) rather than relying purely on SATA.
At least one partner has already announced a Core M product: the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix. It appears to be an amazing 11.6-in convertible tablet design. Without a doubt we'll encouter numerous other designs at the Intel Developer Forum that starts next Tuesday.
Subject: Displays | September 4, 2014 - 04:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dell, 5120 x 2880, 5k, UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K
That's right, Dell is releasing the Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor with a resolution of 5120 x 2880 for a mere $2500 just in time for Christmas. That is just under 6.5 million more pixels than 4k which is an impressive jump and should look very interesting on a 27" display!
While we may not have TV content to justify this resolution gamers with extreme GPUs should be able to take advantage of it as soon as it is released. You will probably be able to turn your anti-aliasing settings down with pixels that small. It will also have 16W integrated Harmon Kardon speakers and quite likely a few USB ports. Surround setups are going to need every PCIe lane you can toss at it though, good thing those 295X2's are on sale right now! They've also added some information about their 4K displays here.
Subject: Motherboards | September 4, 2014 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X99 Deluxe, X99, Haswell-E, asus
You can immediately spot the ASUS X99 Deluxe thanks to the unique white heatsink and shielding around the audio and peripheral ports but there is more to this board than just its looks. The board is well laid out but due to the amount of features included there is a bit of crowding but you can still fit two triple-wide graphics cards or three double-wide on the board if you have a 40 lane PCIe CPU. They have also come up with a different orientation for M.2 SSDs, which will sit vertically in a bracket freeing up space and getting them away from major sources of heat which could provide performance benefits. To get the full list of features you will need to read through The Tech Reports full review right here. Of course, that assumes you are already completely familiar with Morry's review.
"Haswell-E is finally here, and so is a new wave of motherboards based on its X99 companion chip. We've spent some quality time with Asus' X99 Deluxe, which combines all the goodness baked into the platform with a luxurious array of additional features."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS X99 Deluxe LGA 2011-v3 @ [H]ard|OCP
- ASUS X99-DELUXE @ Benchmark Reviews
- MSI X99S Gaming 9 @Bjorn3d.com
- ASUS X99 Motherboard Launch Coverage @ eTeknix
- ASUS X99 Deluxe - A new look and features for ASUS X99! @ Bjorn3D
- ASUS X99-Deluxe LGA2011-v3 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- MSI X99S GAMING 7 (Intel LGA 2011-3) @ techPowerUp
- ASUS H97-PRO GAMER Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Review @ OCC
Subject: Processors | September 4, 2014 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, haswell, ddr4, core i7, 5960X
[H]ard|OCP reviewed Intel's brand new Extreme processor, the Haswell-E i7-5960X as weill as posting a large amount of Intel's launch slides detailing the new features present in this series of CPU. As you can see from the picture they used the same funky white ASUS motherboard which Ryan used in his review but chose a Koolance EX2-755 watercooler as opposed to the Corsair H100i which allowed them to hit 4.5GHz with 1.301v CPU core voltage, slightly lower than Ryan managed. In the end, while extremely impressed by the CPU they saw little benefits to gaming and recommend this CPU to those who spend most of their time encoding video, manipulating huge images and of course those who just want the best CPU on the planet.
"There are many members of the "1366 X58 Enthusiast Overclockers Club" that have been waiting with bated breath for Intel's launch of the new X99 Express Chipset and new family of Core i7 Haswell-E processors. All this new hardware comes bundled with brand new DDR4 RAM technology packing huge bandwidth as well."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme @ Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Core i7 5960X “Haswell-E” @ eTeknix
- Intel Core i7-5960X 8-Core Haswell-E Processor Review @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Core i7 5960X Haswell-E @ Kitguru
- Intel Core i7 5960X @ Neoseeker
- Intel Octacore i7-5960X Haswell-E Review Part I @ Madshrimps
- Intel Core i7 4790K Devils Canyon CPU Review @ TechwareLabs
- AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD FX-8370E @ Benchmark Reviews
- AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Review @ OCC
- AMD FX-8370 and FX-8370E Processors Review @ Modders-Inc
- Running AMD's FX-8370 / FX-8370E On Linux @ Phoronix
- AMD's FX-8370E @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2014 - 11:17 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X99, Haswell-E, asus
KitGuru got in touch with Intel to confirm that the ASUS OC Socket present on their X99 boards will not in any way void the warranty on the processor. What ASUS has done is activate several pins which were only intended to be used by Intel when verifying that a chip is functioning properly. The pins will allow overclockers to bump the default voltage of Haswell-E processors from their default of 1.2V all the way to 2.1V – 2.2V. Running a processor at those voltages without proper cooling will not only likely void your warranty but also fry the chip so as always, overclock at your own risk ... and pleasure.
"Asustek Computer on Wednesday clarified the situation with its custom LGA2011-3 O.C. sockets as well as warranty that covers Intel Corp.’s processors. The mainboard maker denied that Intel’s warranty does not cover chips used with O.C. sockets and stated that the sockets are absolutely safe to use. A new statement by Intel confirms Asus’ claims"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD claims record with latest overclock-happy FX Series chips, again @ The Register
- Huawei unveils octa-core Ascend Mate 7 and an iPhone 5S clone @ The Inquirer
- IFA: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact trumps the Galaxy Tab S at 6.4mm thick @ The Inquirer
- eBay, Kickstarter and Mozilla join internet slowdown day @ The Inquirer
- Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit @ The Register
- Everybody Can NAS, a Beginners Guide to OpenMediaVault @ eTeknix
- Intel says NO MORE BLOOD PENTIUMS by 2016 @ The Register
- Is that a 64-bit ARM Warrior in your pocket? No, it's MIPS64 @ The Register
- How to Disable DirectWrite in Google Chrome @ NGOHQ
- Tricking Tinder With A 3D Printed Finger @ Hack a Day
- NikKTech & CRYORIG Worldwide End-Of Summer Giveaway
- Win a Sapphire R9 285 “Tonga” ITX Compact Edition Graphics Card @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2014 - 10:58 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Haswell-E, 5960X, 5820K, amd, fx 8370, 8370e, 9590, r9 285, X99, western digital, my passport wireless, netgear, Matrox, r9 295x2
PC Perspective Podcast #316 - 09/04/2014
Join us this week as we discuss our Haswell-E Review, New AMD FX Processors, Radeon R9 285 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
- 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
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:06:30 X99 Motherboards!!
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Ryan: Pretty good Internet.
Allyn: Clean your email!
Subject: Systems | September 4, 2014 - 12:42 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: y70 touch, Lenovo, haswell, gaming notebook, gaming, Erazer
Yesterday, Lenovo unveiled two new gaming systems at IFA in Berlin. The new Y70 Touch is a 17-inch gaming notebook while the Erazer X310 and Erazer X315 are mid-tower desktops. All three systems will be available later this month.
The Y70 Touch is Lenovo's first desktop replacement notebook with a touchscreen. The 25.9mm thick notebook features a 17.3" 1080p display, backlit keyboard, and JBL-powered stereo speakers (with subwoofer). It can be configured with up to an Intel Haswell i7 processor, NVIDIA GTX 860M GPU with 4GB RAM, 16GB of DDR3 system memory, and 1TB solid state drive (SSD). (Storage options include 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB SSD options.) Lenovo is including an external disc drive with the gaming PC which was left out of the chassis itself to maintain its slim form factor and to reduce weight.
The Y70 Touch gaming notebook starts at $1,299 and will be available in the US later this month.
If desktops are more your style, Lenovo is now offering up the Erazer X310 and X315 mid-tower PCs. The X310 and X315 will share the same black mid-tower chassis but will use different internal hardware. the X310 with Intel Haswell CPUs will be available worldwide while the AMD APU-powered X315 will be exclusive to North America.
The ERAZER X310/X315 case is all black with a stealthy angular front panel design that hosts two 5.25" bays and a blue LED-backlit power button. The X310 can be configured with up to an Intel Haswell i7 CPU while the X315 supports AMD "Kaveri" APUs up to the A10 series (e.g. A10 7850K). Users can choose up to a NVIDIA GTX 760 (2GB) or AMD Radeon R9 255 (2GB) graphics card. The mid-tower has four PCI slots and in theory could support further DIY upgrades but GPU length would be limited and the power supply may need to be upgraded as well. Further, both systems feature up to 32GB system memory and a maximum of 4TB mechanical hard drive, 2TB hybrid hard drive or 256GB solid state storage.
The new ERAZER X310 and X315 desktops will be available shortly starting at $599.
For those interested in the APU-powered desktop, the following articles might be of interest.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 3, 2014 - 06:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, R9, r9 295x2, price cut
While not fully in effect yet, AMD is cutting $500 off of the R9 295X2 price tag to $999 USD. Currently, there are two models available on Newegg USA at the reduced price, and one at Amazon for $1200. We expect to see other SKUs reduce soon, as well. This puts the water-cooled R9 295X2 just below the cost of two air-cooled R9 290X graphics cards.
If you were interested in this card, now might be the time (if one of the reduced units are available).
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 3, 2014 - 04:23 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: fanless, htpc, windows, Android
Because fanless and cheap PCs are awesome, MINIX is launching the Neo Z64. Priced at $129 USD, it will contain an Intel Atom Z3635F SoC with 2GB of DDR3L and 32GB of eMMC internal storage. The device will ship loaded with Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) but is compatible with Windows 8.1, if you have a license for it.
Externally, the device features a microSD card slot (maximum size not specified), one 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, an IR receiver (with remote), and HDMI 1.4. Note that HDMI is the only audio outputs on this device, which could be tricky if you want to run it as something other than a home theater PC (if you do not have a USB sound card that is compatible with your chosen OS). Lastly, it also has 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless support.
This is still a significant price premium over some other devices, like a Roku, but could be useful for some. The lack of any SteamOS mention is a bit disconcerting, given that the free OS could be applied to turn the device into an In-Home Streaming target (or host of simple, Linux-compatible games, like Super Meat Boy). Hopefully, future products will consider Valve's home theater platform.
The MINIX Neo Z64 will be available in October for $129.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 3, 2014 - 03:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Matrox, firepro, cape verde xt gl, cape verde xt, cape verde, amd
Matrox, along with S3, develop GPU ASICs for use with desktop add-in boards, alongside AMD and NVIDIA. Last year, they sold less than 7000 units in their quarter according to my math (rounding to 0.0% market share implies < 0.05% of total market, which was 7000 units that quarter). Today, Matrox Graphics Inc. announce that they will use an AMD GPU on their upcoming product line.
While they do not mention a specific processor, they note that "the selected AMD GPU" will be manufactured at a 28nm process with 1.5 billion transistors. It will support DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.4, and OpenCL 1.2. It will have a 128-bit memory bus.
Basically, it kind-of has to be Cape Verde XT (or XT GL) unless it is a new, unannounced GPU.
If it is Cape Verde XT, it would have about 1.0 to 1.2 TFLOPs of single precision performance (depending on the chosen clock rate). Whatever clock rate is chosen, the chip contains 640 shader processors. It was first released in February 2012 with the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition. Again, this is assuming that AMD will not release a GPU refresh for that category.
Matrox will provide their PowerDesk software to configure multiple monitors. It will work alongside AMD's professional graphics drivers. It is a sad that to see a GPU ASIC manufacturer throw in the towel, at least temporarily, but hopefully they can use AMD's technology to remain in the business with competitive products. Who knows: maybe they will make a return when future graphics APIs reduce the burden of driver and product development?
Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2014 - 12:31 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: blizzard, battle.net
There has been a new Battle.net launcher in the works for quite some time now, about thirteen months. Blizzard is finally rolling it out to users of StarCraft II. Loading up the game a couple of days ago, I was transitioned to the new system. I must say: it looks and feels pretty slick.
First, the main pages have a glass-like blur atop a background image for its window chrome. It has a borderless window style with a simple, one-pixel frame. When focused, it lights up a little central region at the top, rather than an entire strip of it. Personally, I find that this looks a little bit better than even Steam's most recent update -- but that is just being picky. Blizzard definitely thought about how it would look, and it shows.
The games are currently limited to World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone. This leaves the shop quite limited, except for a few in-game mounts, pets, and services attached to WoW. Beyond the store, the layout is definitely intuitive and clean, despite only playing StarCraft II. And who knows, it might encourage me to branch out a little bit (but probably not).
The app is also designed to function as a messenger client. When playing StarCraft II, I found it quite weird to have a chat and instant messenger client built into each of their games, which needed to be running for it to be useful. Obviously, it is much easier to have Battle.net run in the background 24/7 than, say, Diablo III or StarCraft II, so this should make their messenger application more useful. This is a fairly obvious statement. The part that feels weird is how it doesn't seem to integrate with any of the game's chatrooms. I would have expected that I could interact with the chat groups of Blizzard's various games, but that is not that case. It seems like I still need to launch into StarCraft II, or whatever, to go about doing that. This, as stated, feels weird... almost like they have not got around to it yet.
Blizzard's new Battle.net launcher is available for download basically the next time you launch StarCraft II.
Subject: Mobile | September 3, 2014 - 12:02 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, tab s8, Lenovo, ifa 2014, ifa, Bay Trail, Atom Z3775, Android
Lenovo launched the TAB S8 at IFA in Berlin today, making it the company's first Intel-powered 8-inch tablet running Google's Android operating system. The TAB S8 packs a decent amount of hardware into a 7.9mm thick and 299 gram package that will be available later this month starting at $199.
The TAB S8 features an 8-inch "Infinity Glass" 1920 x 1200 IPS display, two front facing Dolby Audio speakers, a 1.6 megapixel webcam, and an 8MP rear camera. Lenovo will offer the TAB S8 in white, black, yellow, and blue.
Internally, the TAB S8 uses an Intel Atom Z3775 "Bay Trail" SoC clocked at up to 1.83 GHz, 16GB of eMMC storage, and 2GB DDR3 memory. The tablet runs Android 4.4 and will support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and (optionally) LTE cellular radios.
Exact SKUs and specifications have not yet been announced, but the base 16GB model will be available in September for $199. For the price, the TAB S8 looks to be a good deal, with hardware that is very competitive to other budget Android tablets!
Subject: Systems | September 2, 2014 - 11:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: X99, puget systems, Puget, pre-built, Intel, Haswell-E, gaming
Puget Systems has joined the X99 fray with its Deluge XL gaming PC. The new system joins the existing Deluge which is based around Haswell and the Z97 chipset. This high end, liquid cooled, PC starts at $3,920.67 and is available now.
The Deluge XL features a Fractal Design Define XL R2 chassis, ASUS X99 Deluxe motherboard, up to an Intel Core i7 5960X processor, 16GB DDR4-2133 memory, single and multi-GPU options from NVIDIA and AMD, multiple storage options that include SSDs and mechanical drives, and a bottom mounted EVGA SuperNOVA P2 1,000W power supply to drive it all. Both the CPU and graphics card(s) are liquid cooled in a custom water loop comprised of a Koolance PMP-400 pump, 3/8" clear tubing (with an in-line flow meter), Koolance CPU-380 processor waterblock, and Koolance GPU waterblock(s). Users can further elect to upgrade the thermal paste to Arctic Cooling MX-2 and upgrade and/or add additional case fans. A blue LED lighting kit is available as an optional add-on along with other accessories. The Deluge XL can be configured with the Ubuntu Linux 14.04, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 operating system.
The base model comes with a GTX 780 graphics card and 500GB mechanical hard drive which does leave something to be desired. The motherboard is one of the highest end Haswell-E models out there and the PSU is up to the task of running almost any hardware, however. Switching out the above mentioned GPU and HDD for an AMD Radeon R9 290 and a 250GB Samsung 840 EVO respectively brings the price up to $4,087.10.
It's not cheap, but it is powerful and for some enthusiasts the simplified support along with not needing to spend time researching and building (and doing good cable management!) makes a pre-built system worth it. Puget is not the only game in town though, and other boutique system builders are rolling out their own X99-based PCs as well. Keep an eye on PC Perspective for more news!
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