Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Introduction: Griefing the grieving

PC Gaming has been on its death bed for years -- if you believe the countless debates that have occurred most commonly over the last decade. The drum beat roared from the masses: “Why game on the PC anymore when you could just buy a console?” The focus of conversation was set upon the attack and defense of the PC as a viable platform at all, let alone the platform of choice. The question that swarms naggingly through my brain is quite the opposite: “In the long run, why game on a console?” The concept that consoles are better than PCs, given a fraction of the support that consoles receive, is about to die; console supporters are in various levels of grief.

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U mad Mario Bros.?

I am an avid, though this editorial may suggest livid, video game supporter. My first exposure to video gaming was mixed between the Nintendo Entertainment System and the family 80286. I have equally fond memories with the keyboard as with the gamepad. The balance between console and PC was level throughout my life until just a few years ago when I carefully thought the situation over. The PC is now my platform of choice.

Continue reading our editorial: The Five Stages of Griefing: Death of the Consoles!!

Video Perspective: CyberPower Gamer Ultra 2098 System

Subject: Systems | November 23, 2011 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: HD 6670, fx-4100, Cyberpower

Most of the time, when we are sent systems for review, they are some of the highest-end and most expensive gaming rigs available.  Companies tend to want to showcase a "flagship" product, one that will impress anyone that gazes upon it.  And while CyberPower definitely builds systems like that, for this review, we are looking at something much more modest - the pre-built Gamer Ultra 2098.

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The specifications for the system are pretty straight forward:

  • AMD FX-4100 Quad-core Bulldozer processor with a stock cooler
  • Gigabyte M68MT-S2 NVIDIA 7025 chipset motherboard
  • 8GB DDR3-1333 MHz memory
  • AMD Radeon HD 6670 1GB graphics card
  • 500 GB SATA III 6 Gb/s HDD
  • DVD Burner optical drive
  • 500 watt power supply
  • Azza Black Orion Red case
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

These aren't parts that are going to "wow" you by any stretch but the price might: Newegg is selling this complete system for $599 (as of this writing) while purchasing all of these components individually, on the same website, our total was $596.  Considering that someone has already built the machine (in a very clean and neat fashion) and you get basic support and a warranty, the cost of this machine is very compelling.

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Performance of the Gamer Ultra 2098 isn't going to blow our benchmark suite out of the water, but the quad-core AMD FX-4100 processor is able to keep pace with the lowest end Sandy Bridge CPUs and the Radeon HD 6670 1GB graphics card can play the majority of the current PC titles at 1080p with medium-ish image quality settings.

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This system isn't going to be for everyone, but for users that want a low-cost system that has some limited expansion capability, check out this CyberPower PC (and our video review below)!

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Sub-compact HD media streamer from Sitecom

Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: htpc, sitecom media player 2TB MD-272

The second generation of Sitecom's Media Player sports improved software and upgraded hardware, in addition to the 2TB of storage for your multimedia.  In addition it is certified by the Digital Living Network Alliance, which means that not only is it uPnP compatible it is capable of interfacing with other uPnP devices as well as your PC.  Head to Guru3D to see the long list of audio and video formats that the device is compatible with as well as the variety of outputs which are provided.  For around $100 without a drive this device offers a very easy, if a little limited, way to stream all your HD content to your TV.

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"The new Sitecom Media Player comes standard with a new improved GUI, but also hardware wise harbor the latest Realtek 1185 chipset, and that changes a thing or two as pretty much any of the performance issues we had noticed in 1080P content playback (with very high bit-rate) on the previous chipset now are a thing of the past.

That Realtek 1185 chipset has an increased clock frequency, 500 MHz coming from 400 MHz on the original version. And as little as it sounds, it makes a serious difference. The HDD TV Media Player 2TB allows you to play digital films, music and photos directly on your TV with High Definition quality (1080p)."

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Source: Guru3D

VIA Launches ARTiGO A1150 PC Kit

Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: DIY, VIA, ARTiGO

Packs VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video, HDMI connectivity and 64-bit computing in a palm sized chassis
Taipei, Taiwan, 22 November 2011 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the launch of the VIA ARTiGO A1150 a sub-liter dual core DIY PC kit for enthusiasts who want to taste the next generation of ultra-compact desktop computing.

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The new way to measure PC size

The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is one of the smallest full featured DIY PC kits available today, squeezing an impressive range of features that include a 1.0GHz dual core VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video support, HDMI and VGA display connectivity, Gigabit networking, Wi-Fi Support and five USB ports, all into a palm-sized PC chassis. The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is ideal for a variety of applications in the home or office, including home server, media streaming and surveillance applications or great as a regular desktop PC, using only a fraction of the physical real estate.

"VIA redefines dual core low power compact computing, bringing all the features of a regular desktop PC into a form factor that needs to be seen to be believed," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "VIA has a long history in creating leading edge form factor systems, and the VIA ARTiGO A1150 pushes the bounds for ultra-compact desktop computing."

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VIA ARTiGO A1150: Compact Computing Redefined
The mere 5.7" x 3.9" x 2" (14.6 cm x 9.9 cm x 5.2 cm) VIA ARTiGO A1150 is powered by a dual core 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 processor, offering a high performance native 64-bit computing experience while remaining within a low power thermal envelope. The VIA Eden X2 processor is joined by the VIA VX900H media system processor, a fully integrated all-in-one chipset that brings exceptional multimedia experience to small form factor devices including hardware acceleration for the latest HD video codecs including H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2/4 at screen resolutions of up to 1080p.

Front and back panel I/O includes HDMI and VGA ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, five USB ports including one USB device port, three audio jacks with optional wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and SD card reader modules.

To watch a short introductory video about the VIA ARTiGO A1150, please go to: http://youtu.be/qkQtymQdbgg

The mineral oil in this Aquarium will be hard on the fish but not your components

Subject: Systems | November 10, 2011 - 11:47 AM |
Tagged: puget systems, mineral oil, DIY, Aquarium

If you have an urge for switching your PC 's' cooling to full immersion in mineral oil you could do worse than looking to Puget Systems and their DIY Aquarium kit.  For four years they have been perfecting one of the most unique PC designs on the market, mimicking the look of an aquarium right down to the overhead light and gravel at the bottom.  By ordering a complete system, or picking up the parts from their parts store to build your own, you will end up with a well cooled conversation peice that you should proudly display in a prominent place.  Plus it is still a working PC, even if you will be distracted from the screen by your case.

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In House Manufacturing
We have seen so much demand for our aquarium kits that we have purchased our own laser cutting machine! This allows us to manufacture these kits entirely on our own, which carries a number of advantages.

  • Our costs are lower, which helps lower the price to you.
  • We are in full control of quality.
  • We know what is needed much better that an outsourced machine shop.
  • We can make MUCH more frequent design tweaks and improvements.

Embracing Simplicity
Up to this point, our aquarium kits have been getting bigger and more complicated with each release. The V4 kits take a step back. The size and capacity is the same as our V3 kits, but with the advantage of rapid prototyping though on-site manufacturing, we are able to create a much more finely tuned product. Instead of large bulky bracing, we cut it down to only what is necessary. Instead of dual pumps with complicated interconnects, we run a single more powerful pump. This leads to a dramatic decrease in complication, assembly, and number of parts needed. This results in less points of possible failure, and much lower overall unit price.

Project History
For those interested in the full history of this project, Puget Systems has chronicled our timeline over the last 4 years, sharing our thoughts, testing, benchmarks, and results.

Our full V4 aquarium kits, including tank, motherboard tray, pump, radiator, and all necessary wiring and tubing, are available for immediate purchase on our website. Alternately, for those looking for parts for their own DIY projects, each component of our V4 kit can be purchased separately on our parts store.

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Puget Systems

Looking at the Exterior

Introduction

We have had some really good experiences with Puget Systems pre-built PCs in the past and a little while ago, the company sent us a modestly priced HTPC based on the Serenity line of systems.  Based on the Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge platform, the Serenity has a lot of customizations that help keep the computer quiet that are unique. 

With a cost hovering around $1800 though, does the Serenity offer enough to consumers?

The Serenity Home Theater PC

The Puget Systems Serenity line actually spans small form factor chassis, HTPC designs and even standard desktop ATX designs, one of which we have previously reviewed.  Today we are going to be showing you the HTPC form factor that could fit in your home theater furniture (if you have some hefty space available).  Let's look quickly at the specifications before we dive into the design.

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Click to Enlarge

  • Intel Core i5-2500K
  • ASUS H67 Motherboard
  • 4GB DDR3-1333 Memory
  • 120GB Intel 320 SSD
  • 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green HDD
  • ASUS 12x Blu-Ray Burner
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64

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Continue reading our review of the Puget Systems Serenity HTPC!!

A new season, a new system guide

Subject: Systems | November 8, 2011 - 11:08 AM |
Tagged: system build

The PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard is not the only system build guide to recently have been updated; The Tech Report have just finished their Fall Systems guide.  The Econobox now sports a Core i3 2100 now that Phenom X4 840s have gone extinct which requires a new H67 motherboard.  The Utility Player sports 8GB of RAM and graphical muscle in the form of a GTX 560.  The Sweeter Spot sports an improved CPU and motherboard in comparison to the Utility Player and the Doublestuff Workstation is even more impressive.  You can even catch some notebook recommendations, so head on over and take a peek.

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"Join us as we reveal the latest updates and additions we've made to our four classic builds: the $600 Econobox, $900 Utility Player, $1500 Sweeter Spot, and cheaper-than-before-but-still-quite-expensive Double-Stuff Workstation."

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Author:
Manufacturer: Various

The Alienware M17x Giveth

Mobile graphics cards are really a different beast than the desktop variants.  Despite have similar names and model numbers, the specifications vary greatly as the GTX 580M isn't equivalent to the GTX 580 and the HD 6990M isn't even a dual-GPU product.  Also, getting the capability to do a direct head-to-head is almost always a tougher task thanks to the notebook market's penchant for single-vendor SKUs.  

Over the past week or two, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Alienware M17x notebooks, one sporting the new AMD Radeon HD 6990M discrete graphics solution and the other with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M.  

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AMD Radeon HD 6990M on the left; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M on the right

Also unlike the desktop market - the time from announcement of a new mobile GPU product to when you can actually BUY a system including it tends to be pretty long.  Take the two GPUs we are looking at today for example: the HD 6990M launched in July and we are only just now finally seeing machines ship in volume; the GTX 580M in June.

Well, problems be damned, we had the pair in our hands for a few short days and I decided to put them through the ringer in our GPU testing suite and added Battlefield 3 in for good measure as well.  The goal was to determine which GPU was actually the "world's fastest" as both companies claimed to be.

Continue reading our comparison of the GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M mobility GPUs!!

Cryo PC proves there is still a market for pre-built HTPC systems

Subject: Systems | October 31, 2011 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: htpc, cryo pc

Cryo PC offers a nice alternative for those who want a multi-functional HTPC system without having to build it themselves.  The Alto offers some nice features, a Core-i3 2100T on a GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 with 4GB of DDR3-1600 and a GT430 give a fairly typical base for an HTPC; it is the 40GB Corsair F40 SSD which makes things a little more interesting.  You get a full terabyte of storage from the platter drive, so the dual TV tuners will have plenty of space to write to.  In part 1 of their review XSReviews examines the physical system and several benchmarks while in part 2 they see what gaming performance you can expect.

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"Media PCs and media centres are becoming more and more common, especially with people losing a little faith in their stalwart desktop system. Today I’m looking at a rig from Cryo PC that looks to bridge the gap between traditional desktop and media centre, offering decent performance in a lounge setting, with some media features thrown in for good measure. I give you the Alto.

Because testing a system can take quite a while, this review is being split into two parts. This first one will focus on raw performance and synthetic testing, while Part 2 will be more gaming and subjective in nature. Shame about the price though."

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Source: XSReviews

Good things come in small ZBOXes; a tiny present from Zotac

Subject: Systems | October 21, 2011 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: zotac, ZBox Nano AD10, SFF, llano

The mini PC has been growing in popularity as its capabilities grow from barely being able to play back standard definition streamed flash to smoothly displaying HD content from a Blu-Ray drive.  One of the long standing members of this market, Zotac, fired off a ZBOX Nano AD10 Mini PC to Think Computers so that they could test it out.  At only 5"x5"x1.77" it is tiny and inside hides an AMD E350, AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, 7.1 channel audio, and a 320GB HDD, external USB 3.0 and eSATA plus both 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.  At $300 fully loaded Think Computers highly recommends this box for those needing a tiny PC.

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“We have seen quite a few different Mini PC’s lately. They make great Internet surfing and media machines for home theater setups. Not that long ago we took a look at Zotac’s ZBOX HD-AD02 mini PC, which proved to be a great and very function mini PC, but was a little on the large side. Today we have the ZBOX Nano AD10, which has to be one of the best-looking and smallest mini pc’s we have looked at. I know you are going to say it so we will say it now, it looks like a Mac Mini only smaller! Inside this small design you have an AMD E350 CPU, AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, 2GB of DDR 3 and a 320GB hard drive. Let’s check out the ZBOX Nano and see if performs as well as it looks!"

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