CES 2014: Corsair Unveils Cherry MX RGB Keyboard

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: CES 2014, CES

While most of the information has already been discussed, Corsair and Cherry have now officially debut their first MX RGB keyboard. These special switches allow for 16.8 million colors to be selected for any individual key. Corsair provided us with a video of several effects in action from a wavy rainbow to shock waves emanating from specific points - even more practical configurations such as alternate colors for the WSAD and the arrow keys.

Keyboards containing three of the four main switches (Red, Blue, and Brown) will be available in the second half of this year. There is the curious omission of the Black switches, essentially Reds with a tougher spring, but I was honestly not expecting anything but the Reds.

The initiative is called the "MX RGB Project" (which is a suitable name albeit a little bland). The models shown at CES are based upon the Vengeance K70. There is currently no word, yet, about which models will be presented at launch later in the year.

The main point of this announcement, however, is to note that the keyboards will be on display from now until the evening of January 9th.

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Source: Cherry

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 - 08:29 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

CES 2014: ASUS ThunderboltEX II Expansion Card

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: ThunderboltEX II, Thunderbolt 2, CES 2014, CES, asus

It has been a rocky road for the ASUS Thunderbolt EX expansion card(s). Development was not a problem. They were created but could not be released because of Intel certification woes (because those never happen). The specific reason was never identified but they did hold back releases until after Intel designed a reference add-in card (AIC) for select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

No need to stew over my alphabet soup.

ASUS_Z87-PRO_motherboard_with_ThunderboltEX_II.jpg

ASUS has now announced the ThunderboltEX II expansion card which is the first Intel-certified AIC providing a single Thunderbolt 2 port. Despite the multitude of delays, ASUS should still be first to market albeit a market where USB 3.0 became fairly ubiquitous (a lot can happen in a one-year exclusivity). The Thunderbolt EXII is rated at 20 Gbps. The card will be compatible with certain 8-series motherboards from ASUS.

A dual-port AIC, the ThunderboltEX II/DUAL, is also announced.

Still not much on pricing or availability. All we know is that the ThunderboltEX II should be the first to market and the DUAL will come at some point after that.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

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Source: ASUS

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

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 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.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2014: ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q (120+ Hz, G-Sync)

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: g-sync, CES 2014, CES, asus

Another G-Sync panel has been announced at CES. This one is not a standard 1080p panel, which is promising, rather a bump in resolution to WQHD 2560x1440 while still reaching "120+ Hz". It is still based on TN pixels but the resolution is different so at least that is progress. Perhaps we will see some IPS (or similar) displays later? Hopefully? I'm serious, I do not have inside information.

ASUS_ROG_SWIFT_PG278Q_LEFT.png

The SWIFT PG278Q is 27-inch with a narrow (6mm) bezel. The stand allows for tilt, swivel, height, and pivot adjustments which could be useful if you want to present portrait images or handle long documents. That said, I was really looking forward to pivot when I purchased my most recent monitor (last year) and eventually found that it was more convenient to use two documents side-by-side with Aero snap.

One feature that ASUS added to the panel was "GamePlus" which would probably not be the best to use in a LAN party. It enables custom crosshairs and timers on screen. I am sure that someone will interpret that as cheating (especially for games which disable crosshairs such as Battlefield 4 "hardcore"). They claim it is a practice tool, which I will accept, just use it in public at your own risk.

The monitor will be available in Q2 for $799 USD.

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.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2014: Digital Storm Bolt II SFF Steam Machine

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: SteamOS, Digital Storm, CES 2014, CES

Another big expectation coming into CES, this year, was the announcement of Steam Machines. We have already seen a few announcements but most of those were just teasers of what is to come at the event. Unlike our fears with G-Sync, many of the products we have seen differ from one-another and attack specific niches. One attaches to the back of your TV while another is a pretty beefy system with a console price-tag.

Digital-Storm-Bolt-II.jpg

This one is another small form factor (SFF) machine that includes both SteamOS and Windows to access both libraries. The Digital Storm Bolt II goes after the high end with a factory-overclocked CPU and easily accessible (their claim, I cannot form an opinion without using it) graphics card, storage, optical drive, and cooling system. They do stress the cooling capabilities of their SFF design so it would seem that was their development priority.

I am somewhat confused about the default dual-install, however. Everything special about SteamOS will be ported to the Steam Client so the main advantage of leaving Windows would be to access Linux-exclusive games. That does not seem like much of a market at least for the moment. I expect that, unless Microsoft completely blows away their own foot, anything that comes out for SteamOS will also be released on Windows. I would expect this feature to come much further down the line. It is certainly not a bad thing, however, apart from a little recovered harddrive space.

Apparently the device will be available soon, this month, with an $1899 MSRP.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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CES 2014: Increased M.2 SSD presence at Storage Visions

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 02:32 AM |
Tagged: ssd, M.2, CES 2014, CES

During our roam of Storage Visions we noticed a bit of a trend. Of the limited devices on display, an increasing number of them were of the M.2 form factor. Our first sighting of an M.2 device was last CES, at a Micron press briefing. Since then, we have only seen a few announcements of support for this form factor. The key to M.2 is that host will be able to support both SATA and PCIe connectivity through the same physical port. While many of the SSDs available will start off using well-known SATA controllers, M.2 will make the transition to PCIe storage controllers significantly easier.

Here are some of the M.2 devices we spotted. First a couple from SanDisk:

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2014-01-05 17-17-30.JPG

M.2 makes things a bit simpler as far as PCB size goes. Where mSATA had a bunch of random names denoting various sized, M.2 simply puts the dimensions (in mm) right after the name. For example, M.2 2260 is 22mm wide band 60mm in length. Below are some more examples from various vendors:

2014-01-05 17-29-50.JPG

Above we see samples from Toshiba (upper left), Kingston (center left), and Intel (two right). We also spoted an engineering sample of an M.2 Intel 1500 Pro:

2014-01-05 17-33-36.JPG

The part number of this unit is CVDA321500BX180H, and like other 1500 Pro models it is equipped with a newer low-power SandForce 2281.

2014-01-05 17-33-53.JPG

Here's hoping these devices trickle out into the mainstream. Standardization should help with adoption and upgradeability, especially in Ultrabooks and smaller devices incorporating these units.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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CES 2014: Philips 27" 144Hz Monitor with G-Sync

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 11:50 PM |
Tagged: philips, g-sync, CES 2014, CES

One of the big questions we had leading into CES was exactly how many G-Sync panels we would see. If several monitor developers sign on then we would assume that it has a bright future. If we can count the number of models on one hand (and all of them 1080p TN-based panels) then we would have serious doubts.

Philips-Nvidia-G-Sync.jpg

Philips has just contributed a monitor to the mix: the 272G5DYEB; however, it is a 27-inch 1080p panel based on TN technology. It is capable of 144 Hz refresh rate and will be available in Spring. Its only input is DisplayPort as is common with G-Sync. There is not too much different about this panel compared to the ASUS version which has recently been made available. Hopefully this will be one of many announcements.

The Philips 27" Gaming Monitor with G-SYNC (272G5DYEB) will be available in Spring 2014 for $649 USD.

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: Philips

CES 2014: Lenovo Storage - Beacon and... px4-400d?

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 10:23 PM |
Tagged: NAS, Lenovo, CES 2014, CES, Beacon

Lenovo is set to release several PCs including All-in-Ones (AIOs), phones, laptops, and tablets as we have previously reported on. They are also not forgetting their business customers with several interesting products including a cheap 4K monitor. Of course, all of these devices are nothing without content which means storage is a necessity. Lenovo briefed us on two such products however one is curiously absent from the show floor (and subsequent press decks).

lenovo-ces14-beacon1.JPG

The Lenovo Beacon Home Cloud Centre, properly spelled in the Queen's English, is a remote storage device and a home theater (not Queen's English) hub. The device, pre-loaded with XBMC, is based on Linux and can hold up to 6TB of internal hard drives. Up to two disks can be loaded into its bays and it does not care whether they are 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch form factors. The Beacon supports either RAID 1 or RAID 0 if you cannot remember our old meme with Colleen.

lenovo-ces14-beacon2.JPG

For performance, the Beacon can be powered by "up to" an Intel Atom dual core processor and up to 1 GB of RAM. They do not specify the type of Atom processor. That said, it does not have to do very much. As long as it can keep a stutter-free stream out of its HDMI plug while delivering content to other devices over the network, I doubt anyone could load it any harder.

The Lenovo Beacon will be available in April for $199 USD.

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The other product mentioned was the LenovoEMC px4-400d Network Storage. This device is a small form factor computer fit with a dual core Intel Atom D2701 processor from 2011. It can be fit with up to 16 TB of storage (or sold empty). It is, or at least was, expected to launch this month from $649 USD (which we assume is the "bring your own drive" model). We are still unsure what happened with it.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2014: Connected Data shows Transporter and new Transporter Sync at Storage Visions

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: transporter sync, transporter, personal cloud, connected data, cloud, CES 2014, CES

At Storage Visions, we checked out the Connected Data Transporter as well as the recently launched Transporter Sync:

I love the idea of having DropBox-like functionaity without having to pay a bunch for a large amount of storage. Keeping that data under your own control is a good idea as well. The only thing missing from this equation is off-site backup, so be sure you are covered there in case anything happens to the location where the Transporter device is stored.

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!