CES 2015: CoolChip Technologies and Cooler Master Show Kinetic Cooling

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2015 - 11:19 PM |
Tagged: kinetic cooling, cooler master, coolchip, ces 2015, CES

During CES we saw a demonstration of a new genre of processor cooling that truly wowed me. That is tough to do - heatsinks and even self-contained water blocks appear to be a dime a dozen these days. Cooler Master has partnered with CoolChip technologies, a start up that promises to make processor cooling more efficient, 2x smaller and quieter too. The secret is kinetic cooling.

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Kinetic cooling works by removing the typical fan in a heatsink design and replacing it with a piece of rotating metal. This top metal has fins that resemble that of traditional fans that move air UP and away from the heatsink assembly. These fins are mated with a cooling plate, a base piece of metal that comes in contact with the processor and transfers the heat away.

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The key is the connection between the top and bottom metal: using a very thin layer of air that resides between a set of interlocking grooves, the small motor in the center of the cooler spins the groves inside each other without touching, drawing heat from the stationary portion to the rotating one.

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This is a prototype of a hybrid cooler combining heatpipes and CoolChip

The result is a cooler that is just as efficient as today's but can be small and generate less noise. Because the top half of the heatsink is actually rotating to provide air movement, you no longer need a fan, lowering z-height. And because you are halving the number of places air is making contact (just fan blades versus fan blades and heatsink fins), sound levels are significantly lower for similar TDPs.

Oh and they look damn cool too. CoolChip says that pricing and build cost will be in line with current heatsinks, alleviating worries of high prices.

Check out the video we did with CoolChip for a demonstration!

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PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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CES 2015: MediaTek MT2601 Low-Power SoC for Wearables

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2015 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: smartwatch, mt2601, mediatek, ces 2015, CES

When you start getting into the wearables market, even mobile SoCs can be somewhat big and power-hungry. As such, we are seeing more innovation in processors that satisfy these lower classes (which could just be us paying more attention). The MediaTek MT2601 is one such device, which combines a pair of ARM Cortex-A7 cores (1.2 GHz) with an ARM Mali 400MP GPU (intended frequency unknown) on a package PCB that is less than 480mm2. (Edit @ 9:48PM -- they seem to mean the SoC and other chips, like the Bluetooth module)

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MediaTek's release does not list fab nodes, but PDAdb.net claims that it is designed for 28nm.

Of course, these chips are designed to be low cost, low power, and whatever performance can be squeezed out of those two requirements, so it might not be the most interesting SoC that we can talk about. Still, battery life has been a major hindrance to smart watches and other small, niche devices. It will be interesting to see new-generation devices that use these components.

Heck, if I had more time, I might even want to hack around with these directly.

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PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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CES 2015: AMD Talks Technical about FreeSync Monitors

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2015 - 03:11 AM |
Tagged: video, radeon, monitor, g-sync, freesync, ces 2015, CES, amd

It finally happened - later than I had expected - we got to get hands on with nearly-ready FreeSync monitors! That's right, AMD's alternative to G-Sync will bring variable refresh gaming technology to Radeon gamers later this quarter and AMD had the monitors on hand to prove it. On display was an LG 34UM67 running at 2560x1080 on IPS technology, a Samsung UE590 with a 4K resolution and AHVA panel and BenQ XL2730Z 2560x1440 TN screen.

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The three monitors sampled at the AMD booth showcase the wide array of units that will be available this year using FreeSync, possibly even in this quarter. The LG 34UM67 uses the 21:9 aspect ratio that is growing in popularity, along with solid IPS panel technology and 60 Hz top frequency. However, there is a new specification to be concerned with on FreeSync as well: minimum frequency. This is the refresh rate that monitor needs to maintain to avoid artifacting and flickering that would be visible to the end user. For the LG monitor it was 40 Hz.

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What happens below that limit and above it differs from what NVIDIA has decided to do. For FreeSync (and the Adaptive Sync standard as a whole), when a game renders at a frame rate above or below this VRR window, the V-Sync setting is enforced. That means on a 60 Hz panel, if your game runs at 70 FPS, then you will have the option to enable or disable V-Sync; you can either force a 60 FPS top limit or allow 70 FPS with screen tearing. If your game runs under the 40 Hz bottom limit, say at 30 FPS, you get the same option: V-Sync on or V-Sync off. With it off, you would get tearing but optimal input/display latency but with it off you would reintroduce frame judder when you cross between V-Sync steps.

There are potential pitfalls to this solution though; what happens when you cross into that top or bottom region can cause issues depending on the specific implementation. We'll be researching this very soon.

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Notice this screen shows FreeSync Enabled and V-Sync Disabled, and we see a tear.

FreeSync monitors have the benefit of using industry standard scalers and that means they won't be limited to a single DisplayPort input. Expect to see a range of inputs including HDMI and DVI though the VRR technology will only work on DP.

We have much more to learn and much more to experience with FreeSync but we are eager to get one in the office for testing. I know, I know, we say that quite often it seems.

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CES 2015: Intel Compute Stick Runs Windows for $149

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2015 - 12:56 AM |
Tagged: x86, Raspberry Pi, Intel, compute stick, chromecast, ces 2015, CES, atom

The Chromecast (and its open siblings) and the Raspberry Pi are interesting devices because they shrunk our concept of a compute device, which put them into new roles. Whether it is streaming media to your TV or controlling electronics on a high altitude balloon, you can use a full computer to do it. Full computers in new roles sound exactly like something Intel wants to research into lately.

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The Intel Compute Stick, aptly named, seems to fit somewhere between these two devices. It is an HDMI dongle enclosing an x86, quad-core, computer with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Intel eventually plans to have the device powered by the HDMI port, but it currently requires power over micro USB. Besides power, it also has a standard USB (Type A-Female) port and a micro SD card slot. It also has 802.11n wireless networking inside it. Being a full Windows device, you can stream media, browse the web, and use many other applications on it.

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The Intel Compute Stick with Windows will cost $149, which is significantly more than either a Chromecast or a Raspberry Pi. A Linux version, with 1GB of RAM (half of the Windows version) and 8GB of storage (a quarter of the Windows version), but at a significantly lower price of $89.

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Source: Intel

CES 2015: Dell Venue 8 7000 8-in Atom Tablet

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: z3580, video, venue 8 7000, Intel, dell, ces 2015, CES, atom

Dell's Venue 8 7000-series Android tablet has been previewed for some time with my first hands on coming at the Intel Developer Forum this past September. The specifications are pretty straight forward.

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  • Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-Core processor (Burst clock of 2.33 GHz)
  • 2GB of LP-DDR3
  • 16GB of on board storage (expandable to 64GB via SD)
  • 8.4-in 2560x1600 OLED screen
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life
  • Android 4.4.4
  • Intel RealSense 3D Camera

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But the appeal of the tablet is in the beauty of the design. The screen resolution makes images and text crisp and clear and the bezel is incredibly small, giving the appearance of an edge-to-edge screen design. It weighs less than 11 oz (305g) and is 6mm thick.

The Venue 8 7000 will be shipping today (and is already showing up for sale at some retailers) for $399. We are working with Dell to get a sample unit of this engineering showcase.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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CES 2015: Dell XPS 13 Notebook is Slim, Sleek and Nearly Bezel-less

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: XPS 13, dell, ces 2015, CES, broadwell-u, Broadwell

Honestly, it takes something pretty special to get us excited about a laptop in today's market. Sure, the MSI GT80 Titan was able to do it but it required a full-travel Cherry MX Brown keyboard to do it! The new Dell XPS 13 was able to as well, but for a very different reason.

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This laptop takes up the physical space of a standard 11-in laptop but is able to showcase a 13-in screen with incredibly minuscule 5.7mm bezels. That screen will be available in both 3200x1800 (WQHD+) and 1920x1080 (with a matte finish) resolutions, the lower of which will have models starting at the $1299 price tag. The higher resolution screen options will reach as high as $1699 with SSD capacity of 512GB. The system is powered by Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors using the new Broadwell-U architecture so you are absolutely not sacrificing any performance for the sake of the form factor.

I still have to get my hands on several other notebooks that have upgraded chassis designs for Broadwell-U, but for now, the Dell XPS 13 is easily the most impressive candidate at CES.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

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CES 2015: Corsair officially launches Neutron XT

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sata, Neutron XT, corsair, ces 2015, CES

Remember that Corsair Neutron XT we looked at back in November?

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As a recap, it was a quad core Phison controller. The performance was decent, but not groundbreaking. We reviewed the Neutron XT much earlier than the official release, which happens to be right now.

I refer you back to the review linked above if you want the full performance scoop, but for now we can cover pricing, which was also just released:

  • 256GB: $150 ($0.59 / GB)
  • 512GB: $270 ($0.53 / GB)
  • 960GB: $540 ($0.56 / GB)

That pricing seems under whelming considering competing drives are performing better and selling at the same or lower cost/GB. We'll keep an eye on the actual selling price and report back once these hit the street.

Press blast after the break.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

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Source: Corsair

CES 2015: Kingston Launches HyperX Predator PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 08:08 AM |
Tagged: Marvell 88SS9293, ssd, Predator, pcie, M.2, kingston, hyperx, ces 2015, CES

This morning Kingston officially launched their HyperX Predator. This is an M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 SSD using a Marvell 88SS9293 controller. We would normally paste their press photo here, but we were fortunate enough to get our own photo from one of the press events last night:

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I can see just how this design went down. Marketing guy tells design guy "make this look cool". Design guy epically succeeds by leaving the PCIe data lane differential pair traces unmasked. There's no doubt this is a PCIe 2.0 x4 SSD, as you can clearly pick out the four sets of traces. It's a subtle thing that makes the HHHL adapter board look just so much cooler.

The HyperX Predator will also be available in a bare M.2 2280 form factor, seen here in a new Broadwell NUC:

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The Marvell controller at use here is a native PCIe solution and should have no issue reaching 1.4 GB/sec reads and 1 GB/sec writes. Capacities will launch at 240 GB and 480GB, with a 960GB option coming mid 2015. We will publish a full performance review of this attractive new SSD just as soon as we get a sample in for testing.

Full press blast after the break.

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Source: Kingston

CES 2015: ioSafe Launches 1515+ Fireproof Waterproof NAS RAID

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 02:32 AM |
Tagged: synology, raid, NAS, iosafe, ces 2015, CES, 1515+

We've reviewed the awesome fireproof and waterproof ioSafe storage products in the past, first in combination with Synology NAS products. Then we later reviewed an ioSafe N2, which was basically a 2-bay Synology NAS *within* an ioSafe fireproof and waterproof enclosure. They didn't stop there, and have since expanded to 5-bay versions of the same. Today ioSafe launched an upgrade to one of those models - the ioSafe 1515+

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With 5 bays, the 1515+ is considerably taller than prior models.

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Here's what the inside looks like. A sealed waterproof enclosure sits behind a consumable fireproofing material, and inside that enclosure sits five 3.5" HDD's.

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The rear is fairly simple, but if you note the quad Gigabit Ethernet, you realize this is actually a NAS powerhouse. When linked to an appropriate business oriented server (Windows Server 2012, ESX Server, etc) with a quad Gigabit link, 450MB/sec can be achieved. Similar read speeds are possible even with the integrated hardware AES-256 encryption enabled, but write speeds will then be limited to just under 200 MB/sec. Additionally, multiple 1515+'s can be chained together to support up to a single 90TB array. I'll leave you with a cool photo of a NAS on fire, followed by the full press blast after the break.

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Source: ioSafe

CES 2015: Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro with Intel RealSense 3D

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2015 - 08:46 PM |
Tagged: Realsense 3D, realsense, notebook, Intel, ces 2015, CES, acer

Intel's “Perceptual Computing” initiative, later branded Intel RealSense 3D, is beginning to be integrated with consumer electronics. For a while now, developers could pick up a Creative Labs-produced SDK with a camera, depth sensor, and dual microphones (in an array) for $99 USD. We will probably hear more about it tomorrow during Intel's CES 2015 Keynote at 7:30pm EST. Hopefully, they will also have some compelling software to go along with it.

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This is the previous model. For the new version, see the video below.

But this announcement is from Acer, which will launch a new Aspire V 17 Nitro notebook with a built-in Intel RealSense 3D camera. The company believes that the technology will be used for controlling games, or scanning your face and objects for 3D printing. I'm... not so sure about printing my face, but I could see facial recognition being an interesting feature of upcoming software, even if it is not good enough for secure authentication purposes.

The laptop itself will be built on a Haswell-based Core i7-4710HQ that is paired with a GeForce GTX 860M GPU (4GB GDDR5). It can be configured with up to 16GB of system memory, up to 256GB of SSD space, and up to a 1TB secondary hard drive. As the name suggests, the display is a 17-inch IPS panel, which is apparently not a touch-screen.

The Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro will be available this month, but no pricing information is available. The previous model is still on Acer's website for $1400 USD, without RealSense 3D.

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Source: Acer