CES 2013: Razer Edge Back Again. Fiona Always Was Edgy.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, razer

Last year Project Fiona was presented by Razer and we felt as awkward about it as it looked.

This is a new year and it looks like Razer took a bit of feedback from critics of yester-CES. The design itself looks quite similar than it did except that the controller-handles are now detachable. The Edge can operate in four different modes: tablet, keyboard, the controller-handles, and “home console” mode.

The Home Console mode allows you to dock your tablet and access it using 3 USB ports, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio in/out. You can use it as a desktop or as a home theatre PC. Also with Steam’s Big Picture Mode it sees the big picture as a potential Steam Box.

The technical specifications are slightly more solid than last year:

  • Intel Core i7 (2 core, 4 threads) @ 1.9GHz Turbo to 3.0GHz
  • Intel HD 4000/NVIDIA GT 640M LE
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 126/256GB SSD
  • Intel WLAN (B/G/N + Bluetooth 4.0)
  • 10.1” IPS 1366x768 10-point touchscreen
  • Windows 8

So what do you think? While I expect it will be out of my budget and I would probably just barely survive on 256GB due to recent 20-25GB games -- I think it looks pretty good.

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Source: Razer

CES 2013: The Verge Interviews Gave Newell for Steam Box. Valve's Director Hints Post-Kepler GPUs Can Be Virtualized!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 11:11 PM |
Tagged: valve, gaben, Gabe Newell, ces 2013, CES

So the internet has been in a roar about The Steam Box and it probably will eclipse Project Shield as topic of CES 2013. The Verge scored an interview to converse about the hardware future of the company and got more than he asked for.

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Now if only he would have discussed potential launch titles.

Wow! That *is* a beautiful knife collection.

The point which stuck with me most throughout the entire interview was directed at Valve’s opinion of gaming on connected screens. Gabe Newell responded,

The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simulateneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors -- now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.

This is pretty much confirmation, assuming no transcription errors on the part of The Verge, that Maxwell will support the virtualization features of GK110 and bring it mainstream. This also makes NVIDIA Grid make much more sense in the long term. Perhaps NVIDIA will provide some flavor of a Grid server for households directly?

The concept gets me particularly excited. One of the biggest wastes of money the tech industry has is purchasing redundant hardware. Consoles are a perfect example: not only is the system redundant to your other computational device which is usually at worst a $200 GPU away from a completely better experience, you pay for software to be reliant on that redundant platform which will eventually disappear along with said software. In fact, many have multiple redundant consoles because the list of software they desire is not localized to just one system so they need redundant redundancies. Oy!

A gaming server should help make the redundancy argument more obvious. If you need extra interfaces then you should only need to purchase the extra interfaces. Share the number crunching and only keep it up to date.

Also check out the rest of the interview over at The Verge. I decided just to cover a small point with potentially big ramifications.

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Source: The Verge

CES 2013: OCZ reworks product lines, releases PCIe-based Vector SSD

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: vector PCIe, vector, ocz, ces 2013, CES

Today at CES, OCZ released the Vector PCIe SSD:

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This is essentially a RevoDrive, still using VCA 2.0 as the method of tying a pair of SSDs together, only in this case OCZ has ditched SandForce in favor of their new Indilinx parts lifted from their Vector Series. I witnessed the pre-release part turning in 160,000 4k random read IOPS and upwards of 1GB/sec sequential throughput.

OCZ was also showing a new iteration of their VXL enterprise caching software:

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The new software, dubbed LXL, is currently in beta testing. LXL is linux based and employs a caching driver to tie the SSD into the SAN or other local storage. The benefit is that there is also a user-land application and GUI that can 'tune' the caching driver based on default and custom scripts. This tuneability lets the administrator control what sort of data gets cached based on the expected workloads placed on the storage system. This prevents infrequently accessed data from pushing the speed-critical content out of the cache, and should prove more effective than typical caching drivers which are generally unintelligent on their own.

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CES 2013: NZXT Phantom 630 Case

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: nzxt, ces 2013, CES

Am I the only one who thinks the slanting between the metal and the grating on the front of that case looks like a play on The Phantom of the Opera?

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NZXT wants the Phantom 630 to be the case for the desires of every enthusiast. While you can never satisfy the type to cram an i7 into a toaster, the 630 does seem to have a nice feature checklist and a lot of nooks and crannies to hide your components. To illustrate their design in a single bullet point: you can fit not one, but two SSDs behind the motherboard tray to keep them out of the way. The rest of the drives are installed in bays which can be rearranged in different configurations.

NZXT-630-White.jpg

The case is also designed with water cooling in mind. NZXT claims support for both 3x120 and 2x120 radiators. Unfortunately, liquid cooled machines are a foreign concept to me so I am not sure how difficult those radiators are to fit in conventional cases. I mean, I figure that a 3x120 radiator is over a foot long because I understand the metric system, but I have never experienced the struggle of trying to stick it somewhere. That said, I assume if you are in to sort of thing you could decide for yourself immediately. Also included is a 30Watt single-channel fan controller integrated into the case.

The Phantom 630 will be expecting to retail for $179.99 when it comes to market in Matte-Black, Gunmetal, and White options.

Press release after the break

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Source: NZXT

CES 2013: ASUS Systems with No Two Alike

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS has a lot of products to get through so there is no sense in waiting.

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The ASUS TAICHI is back in the news with a second model but only one capitalization: upper. As we said in the last article, the device uses two 11.6” 1080p touch displays on both sides of the lid to show mirrored or even unique information to the user and to people behind the laptop. With the lid closed the laptop will then also function as a tablet. The newer addition to the TAICHI family increases the screen size to 13.3”.

  • 11.6” 1080p or 13.3” (unlisted, probably also 1080p) IPS Dual touch-displays.
  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 or i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • USB 3.0
  • 4GB of RAM (11.6”, 13.3” unlisted)

ASUS-Systems-2.jpg

The ASUS Transformer AiO is an all-in-one computer with a dockable 18.4” tablet. The dock contains a full-featured desktop with the tablet containing a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra processor. The device uses both Windows 8 for the base station or Android 4.1 for the tablet. When the tablet is removed from its base it is still able to function in Windows 8 mode by communicating wirelessly with the base station.

  • 18.4” 1080p IPS display with 10-points of touch recognition
  • Intel Ivy Bridge processor

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The ASUS Transformer Book TX300CA runs in the same vein as the popular Android-based Transformer Prime: a tablet able to dock into a keyboard to function as a laptop. The TX300CA differs from its Prime counterpart by running full Windows 8 on an Intel processor. If you wanted a Transformer Prime but are too locked in to Windows then you might want to look at this.

  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Both an SSD and a HDD
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB 3.0
  • Dual Cameras: “HD” (720p?) front-facing and 5MP rear-facing
  • 13” 1080p IPS multi-touch display

ASUS-Systems-4.jpg

The ASUS VivoTab Smart Tablet utilizes Clover Trail for a full Windows 8 experience. Unlike the prior models there is not a whole lot to discuss apart from its tech specs below!

  • Intel Clover Trail Atom Z2760 dual-core
  • 10.1” 1366x768 IPS LED 5-point touch display
  • 9.5 hour battery life
  • Dual Cameras: 2MP front-facing and 8MP rear-facing
  • NFC sensor

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Source: ASUS

CES 2013: Valve Talks Piston, Better Listen. Steam Box!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: Xi3, valve, trinity, Steam Box, ces 2013, CES, amd

Going from a failed Kickstarter to Valve’s premier console? Sounds like a good anecdote to tell.

Valve has finally discussed the Steam Box in more concrete details. Get ready for some analysis; there are a bunch of hidden stories to be told. We will tell them.

Update for clarity: As discussed in IRC technically this was an Xi3 announcement that Valve will have at their booth but not an official Valve announcement. That said, Valve will have it at their booth and Valve funded Xi3.

Another Update for new information: Turns out this is not the Valve-official device. Ben Krasnow, Valve hardware engineer, made a statement that the official Steam Box is not planned to be announced in 2013. What we will see this year is 3rd Party implementations, and that should be it. News story to follow.

ValvePiston.jpg

Image by Engadget

As everyone is reporting, Valve hired out Xi3 Corporation to develop the Steam Box under the codename Piston. Xi3Corporation was founded in 2010 and revealed their first product at CES two years ago. In late September, Xi3 launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter to fund their latest designs: The X7A and the X3A.

The X7A Modular Computer is the most interesting as it seems to be what the Piston is based on. Regardless of the Kickstarter’s failure, Valve still reached out to Xi3 Corporation chequebook in hand. According to the Kickstarter page, the X7A has the following features:

  • 64-Bit Quad-Core x86 processor up to 3.2 GHz with 384 graphics shader cores.
    • My personal best guess is the AMD A10-4600M Trinity APU.
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB of “Superfast” Solid State Memory
  • Four USB 3.0
  • Four USB 2.0
  • Four eSATAp
  • Gigabit E
  • 40Watt under load
  • “Under $1000” although that includes 1TB of SSD storage.
    • Also Valve could take a loss, because Steam has no problem with attach rate.

The key piece of information is the 40Watt declaration. According to Engadget who went hands-on with the Valve Piston, it too is rated for 40Watt under load. This means that it is quite likely for the core specifications of the Kickstarter to be very similar to the specifications of the Piston.

Benchmarks for the 7660G have the device running Far Cry 3 on low settings at around 34 FPS as well as Black Ops 2 running on Medium at 42 FPS. That said, with a specific hardware platform to target developers will be able to better optimize.

During the SpikeTV VGAs, Gabe Newell stated in an interview with Kotaku that third parties would also make “Steam Boxes”. They are expected to be available at some point in 2013.

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Source: Engadget

CES 2013: Corsair Raptor Yields Apter Adapters

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: raptor gaming, corsair, ces 2013, CES

Corsair purchased German peripheral company, Raptor Gaming, in the middle of last August. Today Corsair announced the availability of a whole line of Raptor products to complement their well-known Vengeance series. Now Corsair has two whole product lines to populate with goodies.

K3_diag02_black.jpg

The Raptor line currently consists of PC gaming keyboards, mice, and headsets. The line should be available immediately in both the United States as well as Raptor’s home country of Germany.

The main advantage of the Raptor product line is that they contain “more conventional materials”, as per Corsair’s description, to broaden their price spectrum. As an example, while the Vengeance line of keyboards is mechanical, the Raptor should be based on membrane-dome technology found in the common keyboard.

If you are not in the US or Germany, other regions should be added within the next 6 months.

Press release after the break.

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Source: Corsair
Author:
Manufacturer: Intel

Ultrabooks 2.0

Intel is a yearly presence at CES and typically have a few interesting things to talk about.  Last year we got to see Will.I.Am on stage telling us all about how the Ultrabook has changed his artistic life.  Oddly enough, things have not changed dramatically for the company.  Ultrabooks have inherited the latest Ivy Bridge processors which were released last Spring.  Medfield is still the primary cell phone processor for Intel.

intc_01.JPG

The first area they covered  is the cellphone market.  Medfield is still the go-to processor and Intel claims that it has better performance and battery life than even the latest Qualcomm products.  Intel is introducing a new reference phone for emerging markets around the world codenamed Lexington.  Based on the Z2420 and the XMM6265 modem, this budget smartphone will be Android based with certain optimizations instituted by Intel in collaboration with Google.

Intel has achieved more wins throughout the next few months.  Acer, Safaricom, and Lava will all be announcing new smart phones based on Intel silicon.  Details of these products will be released later in the quarter.

intc_02.JPG

Medfield will be replaced by Clover Tail+ and then further on with their next gen 22 nm product.

Click to read about more of Intel's CES 2013 coverage.

Connected Data's Transporter spotted in the wild at CES

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 04:25 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, transporter

At CES we got a look at some real Transporter hardware in action, and got a few of our questions answered. First some pics:

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Now for the new stuff we learned:

  • There is now a Windows as well as a Mac desktop / laptop client.
  • Shared folders can be mounted and sync'd by remote users who do not have a Transporter on their network.
  • Will be available in 1TB, 2TB, and no drive configurations (but you must install your own for the Transporter to function, as it has no internal storage capability).
  • WiFi capability (in addition to GigE) will *possibly* be available in two speed grade options (i.e. 1x1 or 2x2), the faster grade carrying an additional cost.

The rest of the details on the Transporter are in our last post covering it. We look forward to testing one of these shortly and will report back.

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Source:

CES 2013 Video: ASUS VG248QE 144 Hz 24-in and MX299Q 29-in 21:9 2560x1080 Monitors

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: vg248qe, mx299q, monitor, display, ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS continues its push into the monitor market with a pair of new models debuting at CES 2013.  First up is the VG248QE, a 24-in 1080p monitor that runs at a refresh rate of 144 Hz and supports NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 and a 1ms gray-to-gray response time.  These are TN panels so you might be surprised to see they are going to priced quite reasonably in the $399 range.  The display also includes a new ASUS technology called GamePlus that embeds crosshairs for games into the OSD on the monitor to offer additional options in troublesome 3D modes.

IMG_9036.JPG

The second new monitor we saw was the MX299Q, a 2560x1080 monitor in the exciting new 21:9 form factor.  These allow developers, traders or just every day users to have two "full screen" applications open at the same time without the need for multiple displays.  The MX299Q will also include Bang & Olufsen powered speakers.

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Check out our talk with Nick from ASUS about these new displays!

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