Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Displays | August 7, 2012 - 10:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z77, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-h77n-wifi
During a European roadshow, Gigabyte showed off a new Mini-ITX form factor motherboard for the first time. Called the GA-H77N-WIFI, the motherboard is well suited for home theater and home server tasks. Based on the H77 chipset, it is compatible with the latest Intel Core i3 (coming soon), i5, and i7 "Ivy Bridge" processors. The board goes for an all-black PCB with minimal heatsinks on the VRMs, and the form factor is the same size as the motherboard that Ryan recently used in his Mini-ITX HTPC build.
The GA-H77N-WIFI features a LGA 1155 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, PCI Express slot, two SATA 3Gbps ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports, and an internal USB 3.0 header. There are also two Realtek Ethernet controller chips and a Realtek audio chip.
- 1 PS/2 port
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- 2 HDMI ports
- 1 DVI port
- 2 Antenna connectors (WIFI)
- 4 USB 2.0 ports
- 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 1 Optical S/PDIF port
- 5 Analog audio jacks
The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are interesting. It could easily be loaded with open source routing software and turned into router/firewall/Wi-Fi access point. To really take advantage of the Ivy Bridge support, you could put together a nice media server and HTPC recording/streaming box (using something like SiliconDust's HDHomeRun networked tuners or Ceton's USB tuner since this board is very scarce in the way of PCI-E slots). What would you do with this Mini-ITX Gigabyte board?
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability, but the motherboard is likely coming soon. You can find more information on the motherboard over at tonymacx86, who managed to snag get some photos of the board.
Subject: Displays | July 26, 2012 - 11:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tn monitor, nvidia, monitor, asus, 3d vision 2, 144hz, 1080p
ASUS has a new 27” desktop monitor that should be hitting shelves soon. The VG278HE is an LED-backlit TN display with 1920x1080p resolution. So far, the specs are fairly lackluster, especially considering it is a 27” monitor. What is impressive about the display is the refresh rate. At 144 Hz, it offers up some promising 3D benefits, and as such it is compatible with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision 2 technology (the necessary glasses and transmitter are sold separately).
For 3D, the 144 Hz refresh rate means that you can get 72 Hz per eye, which should make it a much smoother experience that cuts down on flicker. It also suggests benefits for 2D gamers as well, because you can enable V-Sync to reducing tearing and still get respectable frame rates. Sure, 240 hertz would be really nice, but at least this is a step in the right direction for desktop monitors that seem to be perpetually stuck at 1080p resolutions (unless you go Korean, of course – as Josh would put it). The TN panel and resolution are drawbacks, but depending on price this may still be a good buy. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability according to Flat Panels HD.
Other features of the monitor include a swivel, tilt, and height-adjustable stand, and HDMI, DVI, and VGA video inputs. Further, the monitor offers up two three watt speakers – and better yet – a headphone jack to connect powered speakers or headphones to. (At least that’s the reported spec, I hope that it’s not simply an input like my ASUS monitor has).
Personally, I think that I would rather have a higher resolution monitor than one with a faster refresh rate, but it seems to be a highly debated topic. I’m interesting in what you think. Which do you prefer, resolution or refresh rate (3D aside)?
Granted, as Ken reported earlier this month, if you are lucky you may be able to get the best of both worlds and snag an overclockable IPS monitor – but you’ll pay for the privilege.
Subject: Displays | July 17, 2012 - 07:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: philips, blade 2, ips display
Continuing the theme Ken started, of examining unfamiliar yet high quality displays, is a new monitor from Philips called the Blade 2. Currently available across the pond in the UK, it retails for the equivalent of $260USD which puts it close to the price of the Achieva Shimian but nowhere near the pixel count as it is a 1080p monitor. Hardware.Info was impressed by the smooth looks of the monitor but when it got down to testing there was little about the monitor that stood out. That is partially a good thing as there was nothing wrong with the monitors performance but it does cost more than the competition so it is up to you to decide if the aesthetics are worth the extra investment.
"The market for PC monitors is dominated by very similar-looking designs, but once in a while a new display will come out that stands out against the crowd. Philips, for example, has its Blade series which are thin screens with an elegant design. We are witnessing more and more IPS- and VA-based panels being used in computer monitors, but the majority still feature the traditional TN panel. Philips is now part of the growing trend of non-TN panels, with the launch of the Blade 2."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Viewsonic VA2231wm-LED Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus PA248Q ProArt Monitor @ Kitguru
- ASUS PA246Q 24" ProArt Monitor: No Adjustments Needed? @ AnandTech
- Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 WHDI Caster Review @ eTeknix
- Sony Bravia KDL-5HX850 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba 40L5200U Review @ TechReviewSource
From Viewers Like You...
About two months ago, a viewer of the podcast that Ryan co-hosts on the This Week in Tech network, This Week in Computer Hardware, wrote in with some information that immediately excited the staff here at PC Perspective. Ryan for a long time has been of the opinion that the proliferation of 1080p displays, and prohibitive cost of high resolution monitors has been holding the industry back as a whole. With talk of 4K displays being introduced for consumers this year, a major topic on the podcast in the weeks prior to this viewer email had centered around why we haven't seen affordable 2560x1440 (or 2560x1600) displays.
This brings us back to the knowledge which the listener Jeremy bestowed upon us. Jeremy brought to our attention that various eBay sellers were reselling and exporting generic 27", IPS, LED backlight, 2560x1440 monitors from South Korea. What is remarkable about these displays however is that various models can be found for just around, or even under $350. Everyone listening, including Ryan and his co-host Patrick Norton became immediately interested in these monitors, and I went into research mode.
Subject: Displays | June 27, 2012 - 06:15 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: yamakasi, shimian, korean, just delivered, catleap, achieva, 27, 1440p
If you've been paying attention to either the PC Perspective Podcast or This Week in Computer Hardware for the past few weeks, our talk of a new crop of low cost, 2560x1600, 27" monitors rising out of South Korea has been unavoidable.
Well, late last week I decided that it was time I get out of the 1080p era, and into the world of higher resolution displays.
After an impressive shipment time of only 3 days, I recieved a package directly from Seoul this afternoon, and rushed straight to the office to open it and inform PC Perspective readers.
For those of you not in the know, we recieved a tip a few weeks back from a reader about inexpensive 2560x1440 displays popping up on eBay for around $350. Of course this excited the staff at PC Perspective, and we immediately went into research mode, looking for all of the information we could find about these displays. While the initial impressions we saw all over forums were generally positive, we decided to give these displays the real PC Perpsective review treatment.
While the Yamakasi Catleap is the most well known of these monitors, I decided to go with the $315 (Shipped!) Achieva Shiminan, for reasons to be expanded upon later in the full review.
However, before we began our strenuous testing process, I wanted to give the dedicated PC Per readers a sneak peak of such an interesting product. Out of the box, we hooked it up an AMD Radeon 7950 on our GPU testbed, which had no issues at all.
Also, just because the poorly translated eBay listings said it would not work, despite our best inclinations, I plugged this display into my Late 2011 MacBook Air with Intel HD 3000 graphics. Even using the not so reliable Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI adapter, my MacBook detected the display with no issue. While I certainly won't be gaming on this machine, the display has been working flawlessly so far.
I know readers must have a million questions about these displays, so feel free to leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to address them all in the full review coming soon!
Subject: Displays | June 19, 2012 - 04:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 3d vision, AOC, d2357Ph, passive 3d, 1080p, led backlight
The AOC d2357Ph has a nice array of inputs, D-Sub, DVI-D/HDMI, Composite, Component S-Video and Display Port are all present which will allow you to use this on almost any system. On the other hand as it is a passive 3D monitor and not a 120Hz display, which R&B Mods refers to as 'poor man's 3D' and while it does offer 3D it is not as impressive as active solutions. 2D picture quality was quite good, with a minimum of backbleed and the screen is physically quite thin which could be an advantage for some users. Check out the full review for more information.
"3D is the latest trend and today we are looking at a 3D screen from AOC; who is also one of our new sponsors. AOC’s d2357Ph is an incredibly thin monitor with LED backlighting, a Full HD resolution and the ability to display passive 3D images. What kind of 3D quality can we expect from it? Stay tuned and we will figure it out."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Philips 248X3LFH LightFrame Monitor @ Kitguru
- Sharp Aquos LC-60LE847U Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus VG278H 3D Vision 2 Monitor Kit Review @ eTeknix
- Samsung PN51E6500 Review @ TechReviewSource
- DoubleSight DS-277W Monitor: Jack of all trades, master of none? @ AnandTech
- Asus VE228 21.5" LED 1080p Monitor Review @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Displays | June 10, 2012 - 06:45 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: widi, Intel, awd, amd wireless display, amd, AFDS
While perusing through the listings and descriptions of sessions and presentations for the upcoming AMD Fusion Developer Summit, I came across an interesting one that surprised me. Tomorrow, June 11th, at 5:15pm PST, you can stop by the Grand Hyatt in Bellevue to learn about the upcoming AMD Wireless Display technology.
AWD (AMD Wireless Display) is a multiple-platform application family to enable wireless display technologies much in the same way that Intel has been pushing with WiDi. While Intel's take on it requires very specific Intel wireless controllers and is only recently, with the release of Ivy Bridge, getting the full-steam push from Intel, AMD's take on it is quite different.
Intel introduced WiDi in 2010
According to the brief on this AFDS session, AMD wants to create an API and SDKs for application developers to integrate AWD into software and to leverage the WiFi Alliance for an open-standards compliant front-end. Using AMD APUs, the goal is provide lower latency for encoded video and audio while still using the required MPEG2TS wrapper. We are also likely to learn that AMD hopes to make AWD open to a wider array of wireless devices.
AMD often takes this "open" approach to new technologies with mixed results - CUDA has been in place for many years while the adoption of OpenCL is only starting to take hold and 3D Vision still is the standard for 3D gaming on the PC.
After having quite a few chances to use Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology myself I can definitely say that the wireless approach is the one I am most excited with and that has the most potential to revolutionize the way we work with displays and computing devices. I am eager to see what partners AMD has been working with and what demonstrations they will have for AWD next week.
Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 4, 2012 - 09:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, thunderboltex, thunderbolt, h77, computex, asus
Ever since we posted our series of videos with ASUS on the new Z77 chipset and the features ASUS was introducing on their P8Z77 lineup, we have had countless questions about the Thunderbolt header, the implementation and finally the required add-on card to enable it. Well thankfully at Computex this week ASUS is revealing the product that users of the P8Z77 motherboards will need to enable the Thunderbolt connection, the ASUS ThunderboltEX.
Even though we have already had some hands-on time with the new ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard that integrates a Thunderbolt header on the board directly, the rest of the P8Z77-V line has a 9-pin header labeled "TB_header" that will allow users to purchase the ThunderboltEX card and enable the technology in their system. ASUS was the only company to really plan ahead for Thunderbolt technology across the entire series of Z77 motherboards and as such should enjoy the feature benefits of TB for some time.
The ThunderboltEX will plug into the bottom PCIe slot using up the x4 connection and will be required to use a header cable to connect to the TB_header shown above. This header serves a dual purpose - it allows the integrated graphics of the Ivy Bridge (and even discrete graphics) to pass through to the ThunderboltEX card and then out to either a Thunderbolt enabled display or a DisplayPort monitor in a daisy chain of devices. It also allows ASUS to make sure this card is ONLY used on their own lineup of motherboards - sorry, you won't be able to buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX and use it on your Gigabyte or MSI or even your non "TB_header" ASUS motherboard.
You will also have to install an included full-size DisplayPort cable from the output on the Z77 motherboard back panel to the full-size DP input on the ThunderboltEX itself. This allows the pass through of all the video data.
Once everything is configured, users will have a full speed 10 Gbps ready Thunderbolt connection to use with external storage, break out boxes and other accessories coming down the pipeline rapidly. ASUS claims this implementation will still support 6 daisy-chained devices with a seventh device as either a Thunderbolt or mini-DisplayPort monitor. Even better, hot plug support will still be enabled!
ASUS stands committed to the belief that motherboard design is not just about pure spec but ensuring a quality design and overall implementation. This is achieved through many means such as sensible layout, flexible I/O connectivity and robust control over parameters of operation. In addition foresight in design can play an important role. ASUS recently launched the world’s first certified native Thunderbolt motherboard with the P8Z77-V Premium. While the Premium leads the industry in respect to connectivity and overall functionality it carries a flagship price for its premium feature set. ASUS had kept this in mind along with thinking about how to best support the advanced new interconnect that is Thunderbolt. With this in mind ASUS is proud to unveil its exclusive Thunderbolt upgrade solution for its line of Z77 and H77 motherboards. The ThunderboltEX card is the first add-on card on the market enabling an easy way to upgrade ASUS motherboards with the latest I/O. This is proof in having foresight in design as compatible boards had to have a special TB header in place to support this upgrade.
Currently, the ThunderboltEX is awaiting Thunderbolt device certification and ASUS will obviously announce when that occurs.
Obviously this implementation of Thunderbolt is not as elegant as the one you will find on the ASUS Premium Z77 motherboard or the MSI Z77A-GD80, but it does enable other ASUS Z77 motherboard users to add the feature to their systems without REQUIRING to the cost up front to everyone. It does remind me a little bit of the first days of ATI CrossFire but I think most of you would agree that this solution is better than forcing users to buy a $450 motherboard.
I don't have any information on pricing or availability but you can be sure as soon as our questions are answered by ASUS we will update this post!
If you are looking for more information on Thunderbolt devices and performance, check out our stream of posts on the subject and take a look at the Thunderbolt / ASUS video below!
Subject: Displays | May 30, 2012 - 03:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: led backlight, ips display, HP 2311xi, 1080p
HP's 2311xi e-IPS monitor is LED-backlit and has a native resolution of 1920x1080, giving you much better viewing angles than more commonly found TN displays, though it does sacrifice refresh rate making this display less attractive to gamers. Overall it seems somehow behind the times, while it has HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs HP left out DisplayPort which is becoming more commonly used on both graphics cards and prebuilt machines. TechReviewSource also describes it as having limited adjustment capabilities which is likely to frustrate professional users. Overall it seems that HP could have done a better job on this $200+ monitor, though HP is currently selling it with an $80 rebate making it a bit more attractive.
"The HP 2311xi isn't your typical 23-inch LED monitor. It has an extremely wide viewing angle, a beautiful IPS display and lots of connections that include HDMI. It is a full 1080p HD display that provides a very good looking image but it lacks ergonomic adjustments."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Samsung UN46D6000 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Panasonic TC-L55DT50 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Vizio M3D550KD Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung ES8000 review @ Hardware.Info
- Samsung UN46ES6500F Review @ TechReviewSource
Windows 8 gives a little more attention to multiple monitors. Oh look -- a feature for traditional PCs.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 24, 2012 - 08:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, multi monitor
PC Mag highlights enhanced support for multiple monitor systems in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview. It is like Microsoft has finally thrown a bone to the desktop and to a lesser extent, the laptop. Some features that were mentioned in the article have been around for a while, however.
If you have given the gift of a multiple monitor setup -- do not expect a take-backsies without a fight.
Chloe Albanesius of PC Mag wrote an article which outlines what enhanced support multiple monitor users will experience if they move to Windows 8. A refreshing suspend of the ctrl-alt-deleterious news. Or maybe Microsoft was just afraid of being attacked with vestigial display cables?
Just think of the possibilities of per-monitor backgrounds… a shrine just for Josh...
The article opens with a description of the author’s triple monitor setup. Oddly enough my layout is very often an exact mirror image of her layout, horizontally. I would not be surprised if that choice was due to my left-handedness -- very amused, but not surprised.
Windows 8 will make it easy to load different backgrounds for each monitor but earlier versions were capable of that for as long as I could remember. The trick is to create a single very large background image in a program like Photoshop or The GIMP. This very large image must have the same dimensions as the sum of your monitor resolutions horizontally by the sum of your monitor resolutions vertically. The top left of that image is the top left of your “primary” monitor. Fill in the backgrounds wherever the desired monitor falls on that grid -- making sure to put whatever is above and to the left of the top left corner of the primary monitor at the extreme right and bottom. Set that background to “tiled” and you are set.
Notice how I never said that making it easier would be unwelcomed rather just that it was already possible.
The more important features include the ability to enable the taskbar on each monitor and customize how icons will appear for each display. That, combined with enabling corner context support for each monitor should help alleviate some of the juggling over real estate on the primary monitor.
You should be able to see all the changes for multiple monitor users in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview.
That is, of course, unless Microsoft ends up starting from scratch before they launch -- again.