MSI's GX70 & GX60 Destroyer Notebooks with R9-M290X

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | January 20, 2014 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: msi, gaming laptop

MSI is launching two new laptops, the GX70 Destroyer and the GX60 Destroyer, in their gaming lineup. Both are based on the AMD A10-5750M Richland APU and R9-M290X 2GB discrete graphics. MSI included the fastest AMD mobile graphics processor available which targets just above 30FPS in true 1080p Battlefield 4 on Ultra settings. Of course, this could change to some extent when Mantle appears. They also allow access to the APU's HD8650G graphics portion for power-saving while driving three monitors.

MSI-GX70-2014.jpg

The main difference between the two is that the GX70 houses a 17.3-inch 1080p screen while the GX60 contains a 15.6-inch 1080p display. Both contain the same processor, both can be configured with up to 16 GB of RAM, and both have the same aforementioned GPUs standard. They both even have BluRay writers for optical media (seemingly standard at that). They also have keyboards designed by SteelSeries and Ethernet ports designed by Qualcomm (Killer / BigFoot).

System Specifications
Model GX70 Destroyer GX60 Destroyer
Operating System Windows 8.1
CPU AMD A10-5750M 3.5GHz
Memory Up to 16GB DDR3-1600 (2 DIMMS)
Graphics AMD R9-M290X 2GB + HD8650G
Display 17.3-inch 1080p LED 15.6-inch 1080p LED
Video Out 1x mini Display-Port, 1x HDMI 1.4b, 1x VGA
I/O
  • 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • 802.11 B/G/N, Bluetooth 4.0, Killer LAN
  • SDXC Card Reader
Battery 9-Cell (7800mAH)

Still no word on pricing or availability.

Source: MSI
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Lenovo introduces a unique form factor

Lenovo isn't a company that seems interested in slowing down.  Just when you think the world of notebooks is getting boring, it releases products like the ThinkPad Tablet 2 and the Yoga 2 Pro.  Today we are looking at another innovative product from Lenovo, the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10.  While the tablets share the Yoga branding seen in recent convertible notebooks these are NOT Windows-based PCs - something that I fear some consumers might get confused by.  

Instead this tablet pair is based on Android (4.2.2 at this point) which brings with it several advantages.  First, the battery life is impressive, particularly with the 8-in version that clocked in more than 17 hours in our web browsing test!  Second, the form factor of these units is truly unique and not only allows for larger batteries but also a more comfortable in-the-hand feeling than I have had with any other tablet.  

Check out the video overview below!  

You can pick up the 8-in version of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet for just $199 while the 10.1-in model starts at $274.

IMG_9325.JPG

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet is available in both 8-in and 10.1-in sizes though the hardware is mostly identical between both units include screen resolution (1280x800) and SoC hardware (MediaTek quad-core Cortex-A7).  The larger model does get an 8000 mAh battery (over the 6000 mAh on the 8-in) but isn't enough to counter balance the power draw of the larger screen.

IMG_9329.JPG

The 1280x800 resolution is a bit lower than I would like but is perfectly acceptable on the 8-in version of the Yoga Tablet.  On the 10-in model though the pixels are just too big and image quality suffers.  These are currently running Android 4.2.2 which is fine, but hopefully we'll see some updates from Lenovo to more current Android versions.

Continue reading about the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10 devices!!

Manufacturer: StarTech

Introduction and Design

PB063557.jpg

We’re always on the hunt for good docking stations, and sometimes it can be difficult to locate one when you aren’t afforded the luxury of a dedicated docking port. Fortunately, with the advent of USB 3.0 and the greatly improved bandwidth that comes along with it, the options have become considerably more robust.

Today, we’ll take a look at StarTech’s USB3SDOCKHDV, more specifically labeled the Universal USB 3.0 Laptop Docking Station - Dual Video HDMI DVI VGA with Audio and Ethernet (whew). This docking station carries an MSRP of $155 (currently selling for $123 on Amazon.com) and is well above other StarTech options (such as the $100 USBVGADOCK2, which offers just one video output—VGA—10/100 Ethernet, and four USB 2.0 ports). In terms of street price, it is currently available at resellers such as Amazon for around $125.

The big selling points of the USB3SDOCKHDV are its addition of three USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet—but most enticingly, its purported ability to provide three total screens simultaneously (including the connected laptop’s LCD) by way of dual HD video output. This video output can be achieved by way of either HDMI + DVI-D or HDMI + VGA combinations (but not by VGA + DVI-D). We’ll be interested to see how well this functionality works, as well as what sort of toll it takes on the CPU of the connected machine.

Continue reading our review of the StarTech USB3SDOCKHDV USB 3.0 Docking Station!!!

CES 2014: Gigabyte Aorus Brand Launches with X7 Slim Gaming Notebook

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: x7, gigabyte, gaming notebook, CES 2014, CES, aorus

An interesting development that popped out of CES this year was the announcement of a new brand from Gigabyte, Aorus, focused on gaming peripherals and a gaming notebook.  The gaming notebook was particularly impressive as it was able to pack in a ton of high-end hardware in an ultra-slim design that should rival the likes of MSI and Razer.  

gb01.jpg

The Aorus X7 weighs in at 6.4 pounds and just 0.9 inches think but is powered by an Intel Haswell 4th Generation processor and a pair of GTX 765M GPUs running in SLI.  Storage options include a pair of mSATA ports for RAID-0 and a 2.5in hard drive (up to 1TB).  

gb02.jpg

For connectivity the X7 includes USB 3.0 x3, USB 2.0 x2, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, mini-DisplayPort,  and an SD card reader.  Four SODIMM memory slots allow for upgrades up to 32GB.  For a slim gaming machine and an estimated 3DMark score of P7393, the X7 looks damned enticing. 

gb03.jpg

The Aorus X7 will be available this month at Newegg.com and should be priced starting at around $1500.

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!

CES 2014: ARM and Huawei Show First True 8-Core Smartphone

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2014, arm, Huawei, mediatek, 8 core

While clearly the need for an 8-core smartphone is still a debate, the enablement of hardware partners like Huawei, Mediatek and ARM are creating an ecosystem that enables the software developer to stretch their legs and innovate.  While wandering around CES we ran into the Huawei G750 smartphone, the first to be powered by a true 8-core (octa-core) processor.

mediatek01.jpg

This phone likely isn't going to find its way to the US market but the design was solid and the user interface, as you would expect, was snappy and smooth.  This processor from Mediatek, the MT6592, has the ability to run all 8 Cortex-A7 cores at the same time when the needs arise.  Rather than go with the big.LITTLE design route Mediatek instead include 8 of the "little" cores in this design.

mediatek02.jpg

Each core is capable of clocking in at 2.0 GHz (though this Huawei model seems to cap at 1.7 GHz) and MediaTek claims that this allows support for 4K high bit-rate H.264 video playback as well as H.265 and VP9 playback.  

The concern of a "core race" in the mobile market is definitely real though you have to be impressed by the drive for hardware vendors to improve capabilities.  Now we just need to be sure that the software ecosystem and the power management designs are keeping up.

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!

CES 2014: Corsair Flash Voyager GO is On-The-Go (OTG)

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2014 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: OTG, On-The-Go, Flash Voyager GO, corsair, CES 2014, CES

So this makes sense, finally. USB On-The-Go is a specification which allows for devices to perform as either a USB Host or a USB Slave at will. In other words, your can plug your phone into your PC via its MicroUSB 3.0 (Update: It looks like I'm wrong and it's Micro USB 2.0) connection to synchronize files and charge it and then, later, have that same port accept USB thumb drives. Of course, that requires a USB storage device with a MicroUSB 3.0 2.0 plug.

corsair-voyager_go_3D_64GB.jpg

The Corsair Flash Voyager GO USB OTG is one such thumb drive. It has the ability to plug into MicroUSB 3.0 2.0 ports on Android OTG-compatible phones and tablets. For convenience, it also has the ability to plug into full-sized USB 3.0 making it useful for both phone and laptop or desktop. USB 2.0 is also supported. It registers as a standard USB Mass Storage Device so no special software is required for Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux.

I find this very interesting albeit I am not a mobile user. I do wonder when we will see large capacity harddrives using this standard. It seems like a natural progression as demand for phones with video-out increases. Flash memory is nice but, when compared to microSD cards which are not vulnerable and hanging out of the USB port, I am not sure if there is enough capacity. Again, I am not a mobile user. I know that someone out there already has their credit card out.

The Flash Voyager GO will be available in 16 GB ($19.99 USD), 32 GB ($29.99 USD), and 64 GB ($49.99 USD) variants. It is rated to transfer at up to 135 MB/s over USB 3.0.

Press release after the break.

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: Corsair

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 - 05:29 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 - 01:18 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

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

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 01:00 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.

ASUS_S1 Mobile LED Projector_Top And Side View With Close Cap.jpg

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.

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 Transformer Book Duet TD300

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 12:38 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.

 

td300.png
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

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!