Atom versus Zacate, a nettop showdown

Subject: Systems | May 4, 2011 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: htpc, atom, ion, ion 2, nettop

Pairing an Intel Atom processor with an NVIDIA Ion2 GPU has become a popular way to power an inexpensive and low powered PC, often an HTPC.  That changed when AMD finally managed to get the Zacate APU into the market and manufacturers like Zotac were suddenly given a choice as to which company they used to build their nettops and HTPCs.  Zotac's ZBOX AD02-Plus U is based around the E350 APU and Bjorn3D pits it against the Sapphire Edge HD Intel D510.  Check out the performance comparison here.


With computer components being integrated, systems are getting smaller, yet the performance is getting better. Both Intel and AMD integrated memory controllers onto the CPU die, and the latest Intel Sandy Bridge comes with native on-die integrated graphics. The need for a large system with various chips is no longer needed--small and integrated is definitely the trend.

Intel spearheaded the Atom platform where a very small processor is powerful enough compare to a desktop processor from 3-4 years ago, yet consumes only a fraction of the power. AMD’s latest Zacate APU is their answer to the Intel Atom platform. Like the Atom processor, the Zacate APU is designed for low power consumption with decent performance. The Zotac ZBOX retails for $339.99 on Newegg."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


Source: Bjorn3D

Xeon powered 2U server room beauty

Subject: Systems | April 25, 2011 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: xeon, octocore, nehalem, 8 core

 When The Tech Report were asked to review the new Dell R810 2U server they jumped at the chance.  Inside lies dual octocore Xeon X7560s, 128GB of DDR3  (of a maximum 500GB), four SAS 6Gbps drives (which they swapped for Vertex EX SSDs) and a pair of 1100W PSUs.  It is impressive to see all that shoved into a 2U rack but Dell went further with internal SD card readers for easy HyperVisor use, external LCDs to display realtime hardware and software data and a casing much more attractive that you usually see in a server room.  The performance compared to a dual X5670 system varied so you should probably read the review before you go spending $23,000 on the server.


"Intel's eight-core Nehalem-EX processor and Dell's R810 chassis combine to form a new class of 2P server, with huge memory capacity at a lower price point."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:



Just Delivered: Rii Mini wireless USB HTPC Remote

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 21, 2011 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: remote, htpc

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

Every once in a while I get a wild desire to buy some junk from Amazon.  Actually, it's more like every day.  This time though, the item that I got in actually seems to be somewhat reasonable in terms of price, function and quality.  

One of the biggest headaches for HTPC (home theater PC) users is that controlling the PC remotely with any kind of precision is hard to do.  There are TONS of remotes and wireless keyboard/mouse combinations on the market but I happened to come across one called the "Rii Mini" on Amazon that only cost $35 and seemed to be a perfect, yet simple solution.


Yes, it is a cheap Chinese knock-off on the Logitech coloring and branding, but that isn't our problem.  The unit combines a keyboard, touchpad and laser pointer (what??) in a small form factor with some impressive features that have made it useful in my limited testing time thus far.

More photos and details after the break!

Hauppauge's new high powered capture card

Subject: Systems | April 20, 2011 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: pvr, htpc, hdmi

At AnandTech you can take a look at Hauppauge's new HD PVR cable card dubbed the Colossus. Input-wise you get HDMI, two breakout connectors for component connections and a pair of TOSLINK connectors so you really are not going to have any problem getting a signal into the card though it does not meet HDCP.  Check out the full review.


"When Hauppauge introduced the original HD PVR in 2008 its component plus TOSLINK (optical S/PDIF) capture of 5.1 Dolby Digital and up to 1080i analog video was a revolutionary, and long overdue, shift for the home theater PC (HTPC) based digital video recorder (DVR). Finally there was a viable option for recording DRM-free high definition (HD) content. The device was far from perfect however, suffering from stability (I RMA’d four personally); furthermore, as a large external USB device, it didn’t provide the most appealing form factor for many installations. Today we’re looking at Hauppauge’s second iteration of the HD PVR concept, this time as a standard height PCIe x1 device dubbed Colossus. It offers all of the previous capture options while adding HDMI input to the feature list."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


Source: AnandTech

Spring cleaning your PC components, out with the old and in with the new

Subject: Systems | April 14, 2011 - 01:01 PM |

The Tech Report finished off their Spring update to their systems guide, partly to take advantage of the change in season and partly to allow the channel to fill with a certain chipset's B3 revision.  There are four different levels of systems, a $600 Econobox, a $900 Utility Box, the $1,500 Sweeter Spot, and the Double Stuff workstation that is around $3,000.  They finish up with a look at the peripherals you are likely to want and some recommendations on which to get

"For months, we've held back on a full update to our system guide while waiting for B3- revision Sandy Bridge motherboards. They've arrived, and so has the spring edition of our guide."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:



What Gaming Components Do You Really Need?

Subject: Systems | April 12, 2011 - 01:20 PM |

Gaming computers have been pushing the limits of processing power for years, but just because you’re a serious gamer does not necessarily mean you need the ultimate, top-of-the-line computer to enjoy your favorite games. At the same time, you don’t want the frame rate to lag, the system to freeze, or the competition to get the drop on you.
Building or customizing your own gaming PC requires certain components, but the level of power and speed will depend on your budget, gaming style, and how competitive you want to be. When you put together your own computer, you need to consider a range of individual components for the audio, video, processor, memory, motherboard and cooling systems.

ASRock powers up the HTPC with their Vision 3D

Subject: Systems | April 11, 2011 - 02:45 PM |

If you have a desire for an HTPC and no desire to build one, for just over $1000 you can pick up the Asrock Vision 3D HTPC.  With a Core i3 processor and NVIDIA's GT 425M you will end up with a PC much more powerful than an Atom based system, meaning you can use the HTPC for more than just showing HD video.  Drop by TechPowerUp to see the machine in action.

"The Asrock Vision 3D HTPC was designed to deliver cutting edge home theater technology in a compact form factor. The Asrock Vision 3D HTPC uses an Intel “Arrandale” mobile processor, paired with an NVIDIA GT 425M GPU, instead of the typical Intel Atom processor found in most pre-built HTPCs. The components of the Asrock Vision 3D HTPC are compactly housed inside a thick, heavy, anodized aluminum enclosure. A slot-loading Blu-ray or DVD drive can also be found inside, with a 2.5” 7200rpm HDD for storage and 4GB of DDR3 SO-DIMM memory, upgradeable to 8GB. The Asrock Vision 3D HTPC is not only capable of 3D media playback with 7.1 HD audio support over HDMI 1.4a, but users can also enjoy media encoding and even 3D Vision video gameplay."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


System Building for the Weekend Cyberwarrior

Subject: Systems | April 4, 2011 - 06:01 PM |

Techware Labs recently set out on a rather difficult quest, posting a multi-part article that seeks to give enough information for someone who doesn't spend their spare time reading hardware reviews to be able to build a system from parts.  Part of what they had to cover was what can be ignored, with good advice such as the tip that if you don't know what the K means at the end of a CPU name, then you probably don't need it. 

By the end of Part 2

they have covered the choosing and purchasing of parts, with the next article in the series offering tips on the assembly.


"The face of personal computing is constantly changing and evolving. There are more terms out there than ever before, which makes it harder and harder to keep everything straight. Is the i7 really better than the i5? Why are some computer packages so much cheaper than others? Is that barebones computer for $300 really worth it? What should I really look for when I look at the details of a “PC Bargain”? What does all of that stuff DO anyway?? I’ll try to answer some of those questions, and in such a way that even the Weekend Geek (if there is such a thing) won’t walk away scratching their heads."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


Mighty mite redux: iBUYPOWER's mATX GTX 590 system

Subject: Systems | March 30, 2011 - 06:02 PM |

At a mere 7" x 16" x 16.6", you would not expect the iBUYPOWER LAN Warrior II to contain a Intel Core i7-2600K overclocked to 4GHz, let alone a full GTX 590. AnandTech is quick to point out that the NVIDIA GPU does make more sense than the more powerful HD6990 as it is quieter, which is going to matter in such a small package.  Check out the full review if you've a need for serious computing power in a small case.

"The last time we checked in with iBUYPOWER we reviewed the behemoth that is the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC, a massive hunk of machine that was generally a solid value but suffered from the same kind of shaky overclocking that afflicted so many boutique builds during the era. This time iBUYPOWER is packing a K-series Sandy Bridge processor (complete with easy overclocking) and one of the most powerful graphics cards on the planet: the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. The 590 may ultimately not have had the performance to beat AMD's Radeon HD 6990, but it's also a much quieter card. What's more, iBUYPOWER managed to fit it into a MicroATX case (along with a 92mm water-cooling rig for the processor). Does the beefy LAN Warrior II work, and does it work well?"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


Source: AnandTech

MSI Ships its First Notebook and All-in-One PC Powered by the AMD Accelerated Processor in North Ame

Subject: Systems | March 25, 2011 - 02:02 PM |

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – March 15, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced that it is now shipping its first wave of PCs powered by AMD’s Accelerated Processing Unit: the 15.6-inch CR650 notebook computer and the 20-inch 16:9 widescreen Wind Top AE2050 All-in-One PC.

Multimedia Entertainment in a Portable 15.6 Inch Design
The MSI CR650 notebook delivers a superior multimedia experience in a small form factor with the newest generation AMD Dual Core Processor E-350 with AMD Radeon™ HD 6310 Discrete-Class graphics chip which supports Microsoft® DirectX® 11 for enhanced performance. The CR650 extends the life of each battery charge with MSI’s Turbo Battery+ power-saving technology and offers shortcuts for shutting off the screen to extend standby time, giving you up to 6 hours of power on the go. The CR650 also comes with high quality, theater-class wrap around stereo courtesy of SRS PC Sound™.

Additional highlights of the CR650 include:

  • HDMI out: To watch HD films on a screen larger than a computer, the CR650’s HDMI slot lets you connect to LCD TVs of any size.
  • Genuine 720p high-definition (HD) video: Enjoy a truly clear and smooth video and picture quality without jerkiness. In addition, the Built in 720P HD Webcam can be used with all kinds of social networking media, allowing optimum high-quality video communication.
  • Cinema Pro: The MSI CR650 laptop comes equipped with MSI’s own Cinema Pro technology to maximize its graphics performance. Depress the Cinema Pro hot key to switch to video mode for higher resolution and richer colors for a viewing experience so enjoyable that you'll find it hard to tear yourself away.

“AMD’s newest generation platform is helping revolutionize MSI’s product portfolio,” noted Andy Tung, vice president of sales for MSI US. “Our customers want entertainment on the go, as well as products that are sensitive to power consumption, and the new VISION Technology from AMD gives us the ability to deliver cutting edge products at an appealing price point.”

All-in-One PC that’s Easy on the Wallet and the Planet
The AE2050 All-in-One PC is also equipped with the AMD Dual Core Processor E-350 with AMD Radeon HD 6310 Discrete-Class Graphics, to provide high quality HD images and audio effects, whether watching online streaming video, playing online games or sharing photos.

Additional highlights of the Wind Top AE2050 include:

  • High power efficiency: MSI’s application of the latest AMD Fusion platform delivers incredibly low level power consumption – only 65 watts per hour – without compromising performance. Compared with traditional desktop PCs, the Wind Top AE2050 is able to save nearly 74% in energy, thus significantly reducing power consumption and CO2 emissions. The Wind Top AE2050 is certified with the most stringent environmental standards, including Energy Star 5.0 and the European Union EuP specifications for energy consumption.
  • Faster gadget charging and file transfers via USB 3.0: MSI’s Super Charger technology allows you to charge a device even when the computer is turned off, and it reduces charging time by 40 percent. Two high speed USB 3.0 ports provide a transfer rate that is up to 5Gbps and ten times faster than USB 2.0, which means a 4.8G HD movie can be transferred in approximately 14 seconds.
  • Advanced HD imaging: Whether watching video, playing games, or sharing photos, the sharp HD images and audio effects on the Wind Top AE2050’s 16:9 cinematic wide-screen display deliver a brilliant experience. Furthermore, with the AMD Accelerated Processing Unit supporting Microsoft DirectX 11, now you can enjoy your games with more life-like details and enhanced graphics performance.
Source: MSI