Subject: Systems | June 25, 2012 - 06:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: active shutter, 3d display, 3d glasses
XPAND’s YOUniversal Electronic 3D Eyewear is intended to be compatible with all IR and RF standards for 3D displays, allowing you to get multiple glasses for a group that wants to experience 3D or so that you can pick up a 3D display without worrying about glasses. Of course, the trick with this is that you need to provide proper performance with all models of TV, which these glasses did until they encountered Missing Remotes' Samsung plasma screen. While they did recognize the signal they fell out of sync far too often for comfort, but that might be fixed in a future update. If you need a spare pair of 3D glasses that will work with your active shutter 3D TV and in movie theatres which use XPAND 3D, then these are not a bad choice thanks to their flexibility.
"We last visited the topic of universal active 3D glasses technology with our XPAND X103 review. With the introduction of the Full HD 3D Glasses standard in 2012 stereoscopic 3D products, the display and eyewear industry have matured away from the mish-mash of proprietary communication mechanisms. Standard-compliant products can utilize radio frequency (RF) and/or infrared (IR) for the communication link between displays and glasses. In theory, any vendor’s glasses complying with the standard will work with any standard-compliant display (so long as each product has the same logo, e.g. “Full HD 3D RF” or “Full HD 3D IR”)."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Silverstone Grandia GD07 HTPC Case @ Kitguru
- ARCTIC MC001-BD Entertainment Center PC with Blu-ray Player @ Tweaktown
- AMD Llano HTPC Builders Guide @ AnandTech
- Australian Blu-ray Importing: June 2012 Buying Guide @ Tweaktown
Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 23, 2012 - 06:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, llano, blindfolded, APU, amd
Well, we did it! Today I successfully built an AMD A-series APU based computer while blindfolded LIVE. At the start of the event I went over the various components used for the build including the AMD A8-3800 APU, MSI A75 motherboard, Corsair 550D case and 650 watt power supply and more. After showing it all, I wrapped a scarf around my head and went to work.
There were quite a few more hurdles than I expected including spreading the thermal paste correctly, screwing the motherboard into the case and finding the pins for the front panel power button. I was surprised at how easily I was able to install the APU, memory and heatsink, but that likely comes with years of practice and experience with the hardware.
In all, it took me 1 hour and 18 minutes to get to a Windows screen using a pre-installed OS on a Western Digital 1TB hard drive. That was MUCH longer than I had originally thought it would take, so I have been humbled by those DIY PC users that build their own on without sight a regular basis!
If you missed the live event we hosted at http://pcper.com/live you can find the replay hosted right here below. Enjoy watching me completely make a fool of myself!
Update: The winner of the blindfolded system was selected, congrats goes to Darren who gets the task of rebuilding this rig! :D
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | June 18, 2012 - 09:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, tablet, microsoft
Steve Ballmer led the enigmatic announcement of “Surface”, a Microsoft branded consumer tablet. The tablet will contain a 10.6” display and run either Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro depending on whether you choose the NVIDIA-powered ARM variant or the higher-end Intel x86-based sibling. The device’s cover will contain a built-in Bluetooth keyboard and multi-touch trackpad.
Microsoft generated a lot of hype around their latest announcement.
In the end what we received the entirety of what was expected -- except the product looks compelling.
The Surface, borrowing the brand from their business-oriented smart table products, is a series of consumer tablets with a 10.6” 16x9 form factor. Would you like a full Windows 8 Pro experience on an Intel device or would you prefer a thinner and lighter Windows RT device powered by an NVIDIA ARM processor? Let us weight the Pro and cons.
So would this be like -- an Ultra…clipboard? Ooo -- Ultraclippy, that has brand power.
Early reports testify that the device feels well built. The announcement made somewhat of a big deal that the tablet has a magnesium chassis and a Gorilla Glass 2 screen. You will cover the screen of the device with a small Bluetooth keyboard which will be available in a few colors. With the tablet resting on its included kickstand and its keyboard cover flowing out from beneath it -- the Surface looks very similar to a laptop.
So -- magnesium chassis. This should be fun to thermite.
The Intel variant will feature a larger battery although extra battery life is not an immediate guarantee. The Pro device will allow for MicroSDXC cards, USB 3.0, and mini DisplayPort output. Both devices feature 2x2 MIMO antennae for their WIFI connectivity which could provide a fair chunk of bandwidth for streaming media.
Pricing and availability are currently unannounced except that they will be comparable to what is available. The ARM device will be available in 32 and 64GB models with the x86 Pro-class device available in 64 and 128GB.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 03:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WWDC 12, apple, macbook pro
Apple has upgraded their MacBook line to Intel Ivy Bridge and includes USB 3.0 support. The MacBook Airs will be supported by Intel HD Graphics 4000 where the new MacBook Pro will be powered by NVIDIA’s Kepler-based GeForce GT 650M. This GPU will be used to power a 2880x1800 (220ppi) resolution screen -- which I will absolutely not feed into the “retina display” marketing term.
Apple has announced new hardware at the start of their World Wide Developers Conference this morning.
As Intel begins to flood the PC marketplace with their latest and greatest Ivy Bridge mobile processors it stands to reason that Apple would not want to be left out. Apple will update their entire laptop lineup to the new CPUs as well as add some Kepler to their MacBook Pro line. The biggest deal is the high resolution 2880x1800 displays which should make text look very smooth and crisp.
Not pictured, 27” IPS display… because 60” HDTV makes it seem more impressive.
The MacBook Air will not have the option of discrete graphics. The 11-inch model will have a screen resolution of 1366x768 where the 13-inch model will contain a 1440x900 screen. Both USB3.0 and Thunderbolt will be supported on each of the MacBook Airs as well as each of the MacBook Pros. SSD technology is also prominently mentioned and was expected.
The new MacBook line ships today. The new lineup of MacBook Airs has starting prices of between $999 and $1499 and the high-resolution MacBook Pro starts at $2199.
Subject: Systems | June 8, 2012 - 06:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: A4-3400, amd, llano, gigabyte, ga-55m-ds2
AMD is still a great choice for someone wanting a general use system that will not cost them much. Hardware Heaven demonstrates this in their latest computer build, based around the $66 Llano A4-3400 and the $50 Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 which is a microATX board and means this system can be quite small in size. To ensure that this PC can handle some light gaming they put in the passively cooled Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate and to house the system they chose Antec's Three Hundred Two enclosure. Altogether you end up with an inexpensive PC which can handle just about any basic task you throw at it.
"Recently AMD set us the challenge of building a low cost APU system to see if it would be possible to build a decent media/productivity/gaming PC on a minimal budget. It's something different to a review which is always a nice change so we set about looking at what could be done when pretty much every component has to cost £60 or less."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- ZOTAC ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus @ XSReviews
- Dell XPS One 2700 Review @ TechReviewSource
- A Cheap 12-Core, 30-Watt Ubuntu Cluster @ Phoronix
- BitFenix Prodigy Review: The Affordable Performable Mini-ITX @ AnandTech
- HP Pavilion p7-1225 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless System Review: Cedar Trail or Cedar Trial? @ AnandTech
Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 5, 2012 - 01:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: alienware, dell, gtx 680m, GTX 690, Ivy Bridge, aurora, m17x, m18x
Alienware has also contributed to the lack of GTX690s and GTX680M chips by filling their latest gaming PCs and laptops with NVIDIA's new Kepler chips. Paired with an Ivy Bridge processor the new M17x and M18x along with the Aurora desktop will offer incredible performance for anyone willing to pay the price. Both laptops will support 3D though only the M18x offers you the choice of dual GTX 680Ms in SLI.
A little over a month ago, we announced the first wave of major hardware upgrades for our Alienware line of laptops based on the newest Intel Ivy Bridge processors and also NVIDIA GeForce 6-series cards. Since then, NVIDIA has certainly kept busy as they continue to introduce more members of the next-generation Kepler family such as the GTX 690, GTX 670, and most recently, the GTX 680M.
By the time you read this, NVIDIA will have finally revealed the details of their GTX 680M from Computex 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan. The GTX 680M is based on the GK104 Kepler architecture and features similar silicon to its beefy desktop version, the GTX 680. NVIDIA calls this card the ‘fastest, most advanced gaming notebook GPU ever built’ and we have little reason to argue otherwise.
On the flip side of that power-packed coin, customers who order a system with the GTX 680M will also see greater improvements to power efficiency utilizing NVIDIA’s Optimus technology which enables long battery life by automatically switching on the dedicated GPU only when necessary. All in all, the GTX 680M paves the way for superior next-gen mobile gaming performance and makes the most of the additional technologies below that can only be found on GeForce GPUs:
- Adaptive V-sync – newly developed technology for a smoother gameplay experience
- Advanced AA modes – for crisper images, including NVIDIA FXAA and new TXAA
- PhysX support – for accelerated in-game physics
- NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 technology – for bigger, brighter, more comfortable 3D gaming
- 3DTV Play software – for connecting notebooks to 3DTVs for the most immersive gaming experience to be had in a living room
- NVIDIA SLI technology – for up to double the gaming performance. Two GeForce GTX 680M GPUs in SLI mode represent the fastest notebook graphics solution available anywhere
- CUDA technology support – for high-performance GPU computing applications
We are particularly proud to be a launch partner with NVIDIA for the GTX 680M. The Alienware M17x will be available with the GeForce GTX 680M 2GB DDR5 GPU along with the option for the NVIDIA 3D Vision technology. The Alienware M18x will also be available with the GeForce GTX 680M GPU in single or dual-card SLI configurations before the end of the month.
The Alienware M17x and M18x aren’t the only two products getting the Kepler kick, and they certainly won’t be the last. Before the end of the month, we will have configuration options to allow users to equip their custom built Aurora with the newly released GeForce GTX 690.
Based on many of the initial reviews of the GTX 690 as can be seen Anandtech and Hot Hardware, most people have drawn one consistent conclusion; the GTX 690 is easily the most powerful single-card GPU they have ever tested. With that level of graphical power and performance, we have been working with NVIDIA to offer the GTX 690 in our Alienware Aurora R4 desktops in order to equip our ultimate gaming machines with even more processing power.
The GeForce GTX690 is certainly a fantastic and ridiculously powerful pairing for the Alienware Aurora. The GTX 690 brings all the performance of a dual GTX 680 SLI setup while drawing less power and outputting less noise – all while staying within the same thermal levels. Considering that the Aurora uses a mini-ITX board, the GTX 690 allows for users to enjoy the pinnacle of dual-card performance without having to deal with PCI-e slot spacing, drastic thermal levels, or slim dual card watercooled GPU blocks.
Again, expect the GTX 680M on the M17x/M18x and GTX 690 to be available for the Alienware Aurora R4 worldwide before the end of the month on Alienware.com or also Dell.com.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | June 3, 2012 - 03:21 AM | Tim Verry
US-based boutique computer vendor MAINGEAR today announced (no public facing press release was available at time of writing) a new ultraportable notebook that comes packed with hardware to play the latest games on the go. The notebook in question is the Pulse 11, and as the name implies it is an 11” laptop with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge and NVIDIA Kepler hardware. Weighing in at 3.97 lbs (~1.8 kg) and packing a 6-cell lithium ion battery, the custom gaming notebook has a mostly plastic chassis, full keyboard minus the numpad, large trackpad under the space bar, and a 11.6” LED-backlit display with 1366x768 resolution (16:9).
Despite the plastic chassis, it manages to look nice on the inside as well as the laptop lid–which features a textured pattern and centered MAINGEAR logo. The photo below shows the keyboard and trackpad while the photo above shows off the top of the notebook.
External IO includes a Gigabit LAN port, VGA output, HDMI output, mic and headphone out ports, two USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the notebook, an SD card reader on the front, and a DC power jack, one USB 2.0 port, and a Kensington lock on the right side. There are no ports on the rear of the laptop as that area is taken up by the large Li-ion battery.
The internals of the gaming notebook are the most notable features, however. The Pulse 11 features an Intel Core i7 or i5 Ivy Bridge processor up to a Core i7 3612QM (35W TDP) as well as a NVIDIA GT 650M graphics card with 2GB of GDDR3 memory. Even better is that this notebook supports NVIDIA Optimus technology, which means that it can shut down the dedicated GPU while not gaming to save battery power. Other internals include up to 16GB of dual channel DDR3 1600MHz memory, and either one 600GB SSD or 750GB SATA hybrid hard drive (a mechanical hard drive with large flash memory cache).
The Pulse 11 comes further equipped with an 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth card (internal) and a 9-in-1 multimedia card reader. For audio, the notebook features two speakers that are rated for THX TruStudio Pro sound. The gaming notebook runs the Windows 7 Home, Pro, or Ultimate x64 operating system, and can be optionally upgraded to Windows 8 Pro for $15 USD.
The gaming notebook starts at $999 USD for the base model and goes up from there. It should further be available for purchase starting today (or very soon afterward).
MAINGEAR has stated that its Pulse 11 gaming laptop is “made for gamers looking for a powerful ultraportable that delivers the best of mobile entertainment in its size as well as “the MAINGEAR Pulse 11 was designed to meet the needs of gamers, students, on-the-go digital warriors, and anyone looking for power in the smallest package possible.”
More photos of the Pulse 11 are available below:
Inside and Out
When you are a little fish in the great big pond of PC builders, you need to do something to stand out from the rest. The people behind DV Nation apparently were well aware of that when entering the system vendor business and offering up SSDs to every single system configuration. Through a new system they are offering, provocatively named the "RAMRod PC", DV Nation provides a pre-built system that has some very unique components and configuration settings.
Built around the Antec Three Hundred Two chassis, the first glance at the RAMRod doesn't really indicate anything special is going on under the hood. But let's take a quick look at the specs:
- Intel Core i7-3820 @ 4.4 GHz
- 64GB DDR3-1600 Memory from G.Skill
- Radeon HD 6990 4GB
- 2x Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid HDD in RAID-0
- OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 480GB PCIE SSD
- RAMCache: SuperSpeed Supercache 8GB on PCIE SSD, 8GB on Momentus
- RAMDisk: 42GB ROMEX Primo rated at 8000 MB/s
- Cost: $5,400
Obviously there is a LOT of storage work going on in the RAMRod and the purpose of the rig is to be the fastest pre-configured storage available anywhere. If you are looking for a cheaper version of this system you can get a base model with 16GB of memory, 10GB RAMDisk, 2GB RAMCache, 240GB PCIe SSD, single standard hard drive and even at GTX 680 for $2999.
Let's take a quick walk around the rest of the system before diving into the benchmarks!
Microsoft prepares Skype to be preinstalled on Windows 7 PCs They also ignore the latest version of Skype
Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 31, 2012 - 03:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: skype, OEM, bloatware, crapware
Just after their $99 Signature service has been announced, Microsoft has provided OEMs with a version of Skype to be pre-installed on Windows 7 PCs. I wonder if they will take it off again if you pay them?
Just… give me a minute…
So Microsoft hates bloatware unless it is theirs. OEM partners have been paid by software vendors to provide demos of products integrated and pre-installed for the end-user. Commonly you will see a few game demos, the Kindle software, an antivirus trial, and Skype. Earlier in the month Microsoft created a service at their retail outlets to scrub computers clean of the bloat for $99.
And now that they own Skype they desire for OEMs to integrate it with Windows 7…
Here’s my dotted line for your Signature.
More humorous is that they will integrate Skype 5.8 rather than the newer Skype 5.9. Granted, it is unsurprising that a company would be slightly behind in versions particularly since the latest dot-release is less than two months old. Skype has been known to be slightly less desirable as you increase in version number and as such makes me crack a smirk either way. The latest release in particular has allegedly been the cause of minor glitches in recent podcasts with TWiT studios recommending rolling back to 5.8.
If anything this makes me slightly curious about Windows 8.
Subject: Systems | May 30, 2012 - 02:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, motorola, Pulse-Eight, Motorola NYXboard Hybrid, wireless keyboard
Pulse-Eight's Motorola NYXboard Hybrid Wireless Keyboard and IR Remote is a double sided device, with a minimalist keyboard on one side and a more traditional TV remote control on the other. It is perfect for those with an HTPC or set top box which allows web browsing and other features that a standard remote just can't fully control. An internal switch ensures that only the buttons on the side of the device which are currently on the top are active to make usage a lot more convenient. At 144 x 48 x 21mm (5.7" x 1.9" x 0.8") it is too small to have a full standard keyboard but thanks to numerous key chords you get a lot of functionality out of this tiny device. Check with Missing Remote to see if this is the remote missing from your life.
"Not long ago it was easy to lean primarily on a traditional remote control – universal, of course -- relegating the keyboard and mouse to the audio & video (A/V) cabinet, closet, or other locale of last resort –dragging it out just for occasional maintenance or troubleshooting. However, as over-the-top (OTT) content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and YouTube have become more pervasive, the traditional remote can no longer provide enough functionality as we transition to a search, browse and consume environment."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Dune HD TV-301A Universal FullHD Network Media Player Review @ NikKTech
- Noontec A9 Smart TV Box @ Kitguru
- Pivos aios HD Media Center Review @ NikKTech
- Roku HD (2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung BD-D6500 3D Blu-Ray Player Review @ Tweaknews
- SilverStone Grandia SST-GD08B HTPC Chassis @ Tweaktown