Subject: Systems | August 28, 2013 - 04:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system build
It's that time again, with students headed back to school and looking for electronic devices to accompany them. The Tech Report just updated their System Build Guides for not only the high end gaming builds but also an mATX system that will fit in a dorm room as well as some tablets and laptops. With an i5-4670K, HD 7950 Boost and a Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD you will indeed be the envy of the dorm for about $1300 so you will still have money left over for beverages and pot noodles.
Don't forget to keep an eye on our PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard as well.
"The back-to-school season is upon us, and we've updated our system guide for the occasion. In addition to refreshing our usual builds, we've added a dorm-worthy microATX config and revamped our mobile recommendations."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- HP Envy 700-030qe Review @ TechReviewSource
- CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme 5200 Desktop @ AnandTech
- Fierce PC Prodigy GT 'Hulk' Overclocked Mini Gaming PC @ Kitguru
- A First Meet With the Table PC: Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27" All-in-One @ TechSpot
- HABEY BIS-6922 Fanless Ivy Bridge Industrial PC Review @ AnandTech
- HCW PC Build Guide - Summer 2013
- Dino PC T-Rex 7990 System @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 23, 2013 - 02:45 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SweetLabs., Pokki, Lenovo
Hate the "Modern" Windows UI? There's an app... store... for that...?
Several solutions exist to reintroduce the classic Windows interface into Windows 8. Not surprisingly, OEMs consider developing or including some option with their devices as a selling point. Perhaps even less surprising, this solution is considered bloatware by some and tries to suggest apps for you.
As Ars Technica reports, at least the software tries to be helpful, almost spiting its nature as a pre-installed third party app store. Pokki, the software developed by SweetLabs, includes shortcuts to the Windows Control Panel and other functions expected of a Start Menu.
It also, from its promotional image, above, feels like it will confuse novice users. The recommendations are prominent and docked against what should be system functionality. The layout is not particularly dishonest but, in my opinion, is too opaque about its intent to sell you applications.
SweetLabs previously struck a deal with Acer to include Pokki and Zynga titles on their laptops.
Lenovo intends to include this software in a variety of products. IdeaPad laptops, IdeaCentre desktops, and ThinkPad laptops were all announced.
... no relation to the sweet snack, Pocky... I think?
Maybe a little inspiration?
Of course many users might prefer this software to the default Windows experience. Even on Windows 7, I found myself purchasing and installing DisplayFusion to customize taskbar functionality. I also use BlueStacks, for example, which has its own marketplace and recommended applications.
This software could be good for users.
Mostly I hope consumers, from the out-of-box experience with their new devices, have control and understanding over the situation. Typical bundleware gives that a bad name. I am looking at you, antivirus trials.
Haswell and Kepler
With the release of Intel's Haswell core processors and the updated graphics card lineup from NVIDIA, Digital Storm has updated many of their custom PC lines to include both. A little while ago the company sent along a pre-built Ode system that includes some impressive hardware like an overclocked Core i7-4770K and a GTX 780 along with a Corsair SSD and more. Even though the design is using fully off-the-shelf parts, the build quality is impressive and will interest many users that want the jump start of a ready made rig.
Our article today (and embedded video) will give you a quick overview of the hardware, the build and the performance that you can expect for this $2500 PC.
- Digital Storm Ode Custom
- Intel Core i7-4770K (OC to 4.4 GHz)
- ASUS Z87-C Motherboard
- Corsair H100 Water Cooler
- 16GB (2 x 8GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Graphics Card
- 120GB Corsair Neutron SSD
- 1TB Western Digital 7200 RPM HDD
- Corsair HX1050 Power Supply
- Corsair Graphite 600T White Case
Current pricing on this build is $2577 from Digital Storm's website and while that is definitely higher than buying the same components out right, the difference shouldn't be enough to scare you off. More on that later.
The Ode from Digital Storm is built around the Corsair 600T chassis, an older design that still stands up well in terms of looks and performance. The only draw back to it is that it does not have an internal USB 3.0 header and thus still uses the external cable to plug into the back of the motherboard. If you want to see video from 2010 we did of this case, check the way back machine to do so!
A white color scheme really makes this system stand out and the window on the side panel will let everyone gawk at the components included inside. With plenty of room for fans, radiators and good intake filter support throughout, the 600T remains one of our favorite chassis at PC Perspective.
Subject: Systems | August 9, 2013 - 05:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: q6600, i7-4770k, upgrade
Haswell has not been recieved with screams of joy from enthusiasts as we appreciate the power savings but are honestly more interested in MOAR POWER! As an upgrade from Ivy Bridge there are only a few benefits but what about updating from an old Q6600 on an X38 motherboard? That is what Legit Reviews just did, moving to a Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H and i7-4770K and as an upgrade it is more than impressive; everything from gaming to the productivity of the system skyrocketed as you can see below. If you are still running a Q6600 on your main rig it looks like saving your pennies would be a very good idea.
more impressive benchmarks if you follow the link
"We all love doing computer upgrades, but sometimes we have to ask ourselves if a full system upgrade is worth it or necessary. There are times that you may only gain a small percentage of a performance boost, where there are other times that you gain significant increases. Today I am going to compare my original Intel Kentsfield CPU and X38 motherboard to a shiny new Haswell CPU and Z87 motherboard."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Brix Mini PC Review: Gigabyte's Take On Small Form Factor Computing @ Techspot
- TechSpot PC Buying Guide: Mid-2013 Update
- Shuttle SH87R6 review: potent Haswell mini PC @ Hardware.info
- Building a Small Form Factor Gaming PC @ TechSpot
- HP Envy 5530 e-All-in-One Review @ TechReviewSource
- Hi-Tech PC for Gamer Revenge review: clever gaming PC with GTX 780 @ Hardware.info
Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | August 9, 2013 - 01:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, asus cube, google, google tv, htpc
With the release of the Google Chromecast streaming USB stick it seems apropos to revisit Google's other foray into the HTPC business, Google TV. Specifically it is the ASUS Cube up for review at Bjorn3D which will be offered as an example. At less than 5" a side it is a tiny device with HDMI input and output, an pair of USB 2.0 connectors, an ethernet port and a connector for an IR sensor for the remote. It does have wireless connectivity to help keep down on the clutter if you install it somewhere noticeable. Inside you will find a 1.2 GHz Marvell Armada 1500 chip, 1GB of RAM and 2GB of user accessible storage. There are a variety of apps to help you find streams to watch and is certainly easier to set up than a full HTPC. At $125 is is more expensive than the Chromecast but it is also more powerful, see how in the review.
"Asus Cube is the device that features latest Google TV OS that want to be part of your living room entertainment setup. With a good design, an unique remote, and $139 price tag, can it push Google TV further where others may have failed? Let’s find out."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Ebode VLHD30 Full HDMI Wireless Audio/Video Sender System Review @ Madshrimps
- Hauppauge HD PVR2 Gaming Edition Plus @ Kitguru
- Streacom ST-FC8B EVO Mini ITX Case @ NikKTech
- Zotac Zbox Nano Plus: A mini with more @ Hardware.info
- Intel NUC DCCP847DYE @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Brix review: compact mini PC @ Hardware.info
Subject: General Tech, Networking, Systems, Mobile | August 6, 2013 - 04:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Surface RT, microsoft
It has been a month, to the day, since I picked on Windows RT for being more locked down than a Nintendo console. Devices, including Microsoft's own Surface RT, did not allow USB to Ethernet dongles for wired internet access. Compared to the Wii, that is quite pathetic.
Certain users have been able to use adapters until apparently, according to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft helped ensure they are broke as intended. They are also demanding hardware manufacturers, who otherwise could support the operating system, to withhold drivers from their customers.
If you were one of those people who managed to get an Ethernet dongle working with your ARM-based Surface RT, you've probably since discovered that it no longer works.
I did not see any confirmation of Microsoft disabling any drivers so, bare in mind, I might have just misunderstood the above quote. Apparently, though, the issue arises from Connected Standby conflicts with those dongles.
But that does not mean Microsoft will continue to prevent Ethernet dongles.
According to the same article from Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft is quietly working on a fix for the issue. They are currently working, along with hardware manufacturers, on creating devices which can support the instant-on, instant-off feature. The cynic in me, of course, wonders if Microsoft will be first to market with the, albeit rumored, corrected peripheral.
Personally, I feel that a consumer who purchases one of your devices should be allowed to install hardware understanding the tradeoff. It would not be too difficult to pop up a warning, "Your USB device is not compatible with Connected Standby; the feature will resume when your accessory is removed".
Just another advantage for truly personal PCs.
Subject: Systems | August 5, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, msi, Intel, embedded, atom d2550
MSI recently launched the MS-9A29, which is a fanless small form factor (SFF) embedded PC. The new PC measures 196mm x 136mm x 43mm and weighs 1.2 kg. The MS-9A29 is encased in a small black chassis that is covered in fins to aid in passive cooling with the front and back banels hosting various IO ports.
Front IO includes four USB 2.0 ports and four COM ports. The back panel holds two RJ45 GbE jacks driven by two Intel 82583V NICs, one line out audio jack (Realtek ALC887 HD codec), two USB 2.0 ports, a single HDMI port, and one VGA port. Finally, the case provides two openings for antenna passthroughs.
Internally, the MSI MS-9A29 features an Intel Atom D2550 processor (dual core at 1.8GHz, 10W TDP), Intel GMA 3650 GPU (400MHz), a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slot (4GB maximum), and Intel NM10 Express chipset. The motherboard can be accessed by a removeable bottom panel on the case. The system supports one SATA drive, one mSATA drive, and two Mini-PCI-E cards. One mini-PCI-E slot can be used for a 3G SIM card adapter.
The SFF MSI MS-9A29 can be mounted to the back of monitors or on a wall. It supports Windows 7 and Windows XP and can output video to two simultaneous displays. It is aimed at kiosks, signage, POS, and industrial machines.
More information can be found on the MS-9A29 product page. However, the company has not yet released pricing or availability (expect it to be on the pricier side though as it is aimed at business/industrial users).
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 3, 2013 - 04:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, open source hardware, open source, minnowboard, Intel, embedded system, atom
The Intel Open Source Technology Group along with CircuitCo recently launched a new small form factor bare-bones system based on open source hardware and running open source software. The Minnowboard includes a 4.2” x 4.2” motherboard, passively-cooled processor, rich IO, UEFI BIOS, and the Angstrom Linux operating system.
The Minnowboard is powered by a single core Intel Atom E640 processor clocked at 1GHz. It is a 32-bit CPU with HyperThreading and VT-x virtualization support. Other hardware includes an integrated Intel GMA 600 GPU, 1GB of DDR2 memory, and 4MB of flash memory used for motherboard firmware. Storage can be added by plugging a SSD or HDD into the single SATA II 3Gbps port.
The Minnowboard has following IO options:
- 1 x micro SD
- 1 x SATA II 3Gbps
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x micro USB
- 1 x mini USB (serial connection)
- 1 x RJ45 jack (Gigabit Ethernet)
- 2 x 3.5mm audio jacks (line in and line out)
- 1 x HDMI
The Minnowboard also has a GPIO header with 8 buffered GPIO pins, 2 GPIO LEDs, and 4 GPIO switches. As such, the system can be expanded by adding extra open source modules called “Lures.” The board is aimed at developers and embedded system manufacturers. The Minnowboard can be used as the bare system or can be integrated into a case or larger device.
The Minnowboard costs $199 and is available for purchase now from Digi-Key, Farnell (UK), Mouser, and Newark.
Obviously, the Minnowboard is nowhere near as cheap as the $35 Raspberry Pi, but it is running x86 hardware which may make it worth it to some users.
If you are interested, you can learn more about the hardware and get involved with the Minnowboard project over at Minnowboard.org.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 2, 2013 - 11:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox one, ps4
Toys "R" Us received attention by listing launch dates for both next generation consoles on their retail website. The Xbox One is rumored to launch on November 29th, which is Black Friday for North Americans, and the PlayStation 4 on December 13th. The two console manufacturers refused to confirm these dates.
Then, something odd happened: a Toys "R" Us spokesperson allegedly contacted BT Games to assert their listing was provided by vendors of Microsoft and Sony.
You know, a giraffe has a long and easily accessible neck.
Most of the time, I cringe at placeholder information on store product pages. WiiU titles, prior to launch, were tagged with a list price of $99 at multiple sites; I have seen Unreal Tournament 2007 listed with a January 5th 2007 release date... and kept this incorrect date for, as I remember, about 6 months after it passed.
How many expected release dates have you seen for Duke Nukem Forever?
Even with the source, I cannot wrap my head around two Friday console launches. Tuesdays and Sundays have been more typical, I assume due to existing distribution for movies and games, which boggles me about why both would, independently, choose Friday.
I will remain skeptical until official word, or a leaked promotional image, confirms or denies this. My real point, I guess, is how retailers seem to have a policy of made-up placeholder dates and prices. Frankly, I tend to feel better citing an anonymous source.
Subject: Systems | August 1, 2013 - 05:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: workstation, quadro k4000, quadro, haswell, Cyberpower
Cyberpower recently launched a new series of workstation PCs for video editing and 3D professionals called the Power Mega III. The new systems are powered by Intel’s latest processors and either NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics cards. The new series ranges in price from $1,099 to $4,299.
The Cyberpower Power Mega III series includes the following systems:
Power Mega III 1000
Power Mega III 2000
Power Mega III 3000
Power Mega III 1000 Video
Power Mega III 2000 CAD
Power Mega III 3000 3D
Cyberpower allows users to customize the systems by adding additional storage, graphics cards, memory, and business software. The systems will be built in either the NZXT H630 or the Thermaltake Urban S21 chassis. Cyberpower further uses all-in-one liquid coolers to cool the Intel processors.
On the high end is the Cyberpower Power Mega III 3000 3D. Hardware includes dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors (both fitted with AIO coolers), a NVIDIA K4000 GPU (768 CUDA cores, 3GB GDDR5), 32GB of ECC RAM, a 3TB mechanical hard drive, and dual 120GB SSDs. This system starts at $4,249.
Cyberpower is aiming the new workstation systems at graphics and visual computing professionals that use 3D design, composition, and simulation applications.
More information can be found on the Cyberpower PC website.