Subject: Systems | October 28, 2015 - 09:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: zotac, Magnus EN970, SFF, GTX970M, zbox
Zotac's ZBOX series has evolved from a small device that let you browse the internet and play some online games with modest requirements to the latest Magnus EN970 which is a full fledged gaming PC that is smaller than your average laptop. The small size of the Magnus limits the power of the CPU you can use, this model comes with a low power Core i5-5200U but the graphics card makes up for it. The EN970 branding implies that this has a mobile GTX 970 installed, which is technically true but if you are expecting equivalent performance to a desktop GTX 970 you are in for a bit of disappointment. The GTX970M performs more on par with a GTX 960 but calling it a 960M would not be completely accurate either; expect good performance at 1080p which is what your TV likely runs at. That is the expected use for this PC and a dead giveaway is the four HDMI out that the Magnus provides which is a connection far more common on TVs than DisplayPort is.
"Mini-PC’s usually come with a lot of compromises due to their small size. They for example rarely are fit for any serious gaming. The Zotac Magnus EN970 though is different. It still is a small mini-PC, although not as small as some of the other Zotac mini-PC’s we have reviewed, but it comes with a discrete graphics chip, a GTX960 (or more exact a variant of the GTX970M), which means it suddenly becomes a viable gaming machine for your TV."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Checklist to Build a Gaming PC @ Hardware Secrets
- TechPowerUp 120 Hz Build Guide @ techPowerUp
- Shuttle XPC Nano Barebone NC01U Review @ Madshrimps
- Beelink GTQ 4K Android Media Center @ Benchmakr Reviews
Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 20, 2015 - 09:55 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Lenovo, yoga 900, convertible, 2-in-1, laptop, notebook, Intel Core i7, QHD+
Lenovo has introduced their latest Yoga convertible notebook, and this one isn’t just thinner and lighter – it’s 14.9 mm thick and weighs just 2.8 lbs – Lenovo claims that it’s the world’s thinnest Intel Core i-series laptop. And the improvements don’t stop with the external design, as Lenovo has upgraded virtually every aspect of the Yoga.
First off, 14.9 mm (0.59 inches) would be slim for a thin-and-light notebook anyway, but the Yoga’s thinness is even more impressive considering its 2-in-1 convertible design. The unique hinge mechanism is part of what allows Lenovo to keep such a slim profile, and this aspect has also been revised with a new version of the “watch band” hinge for the Yoga 900 that Lenovo says offers smoother movement than before.
So what’s new under the hood? The latest Intel 6th generation processors to start with, and here are more of the specs:
- Processor: Up to 6th Generation Intel Core i7
- Display: 13.3" QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IPS, 300 nits
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics
- Memory: Up to 16 GB LP-DDR3L
- Storage: Up to 512 GB Samsung SSD
- WLAN: 2x2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- Ports: 2x USB Type A 3.0, 1x USB Type C 3.0 with video out, 1x DC-in with USB 2.0 function, Audio Combo Jack
- Card Reader: 4-in-1 (SD, MMC, SDXC, SDHC)
- Webcam: 1MP 720p HD CMOS Camera
- Audio: JBL Stereo Speakers with Dolby DS 1.0 Home Theater Certification
- Battery: 4 Cell 66 Wh Li-Polymer, up to 9 hours battery life
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 12.75" x 8.86" x 0.59" (324 x 225 x 14.9 mm)
- Weight: Starting at 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
In keeping with the Yoga name this laptop features a 360-degree hinge design, allowing virtually limitless possibilities for using the machine. This new Yoga also features a battery with much greater density than before – 50% more, according to Lenovo – and a revised cooling system that provides up to 30% better cooling as well as quieter performance.
The Yoga 900 starts at $1199, but the base models will differ in specs depending on where you look. Best Buy seems to have the better deal as they will offer a unit at the introductory price featuring a Core i7-6500u processor, while Lenovo’s base model has an i5-6200u for the same $1199 price. Both versions feature 8 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD.
Subject: Systems | October 13, 2015 - 07:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: server farm, linux, DIY
Phoronix recently built a server farm and bar, a perfect use for a basement. In building the server farm they learned quite a bit about the process of creating your own server farm as well as the costs involved. For instance their power bill has gone up somewhat, including the air conditioning they are seeing usage of 3,000 kWh a month so you might want to do some calculations before setting up your own. Take a look at how the mostly finished design worked out and if you are interested you can find a link to the original article covering the build on the last page.
"It's been just over six months since I completed construction on the large 60+ system server room where a ton of Linux benchmarking takes place just not for Phoronix.com but also the new LinuxBenchmarking.com daily performance tracking initiative and testing and development around our Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org software. Here's a look back, a few recommendations to reiterate for those aspiring to turn their cellar into a server farm, and a few things I'd do differently next time around."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- TechPowerUp 4K Gaming Build Guide @ techPowerUp
- OCUK Titan Electron Intel Core i3 Mini-ITX gaming PC @ Kitguru
- ASRock Beebox Mini PC @ techPowerUp
- Scan 3XS GW-HTX35 Workstation (w/ Quadro M6000) @ Kitguru
Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 13, 2015 - 02:23 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ROG G752, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, Intel Core i7, GTX 980M, gaming laptop, asus
ASUS has announced the Republic of Gamers ROG G752, their newest gaming notebook featuring 6th-gen Intel Core i7 mobile processors and graphics cards ranging from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M to the GTX 980M. The notebook also features NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology for its 17.3-inch matte IPS panel across the three available versions.
ASUS is also advertising the laptop's brand new cooling system, a "3D Vapor Chamber" design:
Temperature uniformity vapor chambers are commonly found alongside high-performance, high-voltage graphics cards to increase cooling efficiency. The ROG-exclusive mobile 3D Vapor Chamber, together with the copper heat pipe, create an effective and efficient cooling system that helps improve GPU performance for smooth and stable gaming. ROG G752 is the world’s first laptop to integrate a vapor chamber into its cooling system.
The ROG G752 offers a new physical design and the new Titanium and Plasma Copper color scheme from ASUS, and in addition to the new cooling system the notebooks are equipped with a new "ergonomically-designed" keyboard that features 2.5mm key-travel distance as well as anti-ghosting with 30-key rollover.
Here are the full specifications:
- Processor: 6th-generation Intel Core i7 (Skylake) processor
- Chipset: Mobile Intel CM236
- Memory: DDR4 2133MHz (upgradable to 64GB)
- Display: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT / ROG G752VY - 17.3in anti-glare FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS LED backlit with NVIDIA G-SYNC
- Graphics card:
- ROG G752VL - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
- ROG G52VT - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB / 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
- ROG G752VY - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB / 8GB GDDR5 VRAM
- ROG G752VL - 2.5in SATA 2TB (5400 rpm); 2.5in SATA 1TB (7200 rpm); M.2 PCIe X4 NVME 256GB/128GB SSD
- ROG G752VT/ ROG G752VY - 2.5in SATA 2TB (5400 rpm); 2.5in SATA 1TB (7200 rpm); M.2 PCIe X4 NVME 512GB/256GB/128GB SSD
- Optical drive: DVD Super-Multi / Blu-ray Combo / Blu-ray writer
- Camera: Built-in HD camera with array mic
- Operating system: Windows 10, Windows 10 Professional
- Size: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT: 428 x 334 x 23 ~ 43mm; ROG G752VY: 428 x 334 x 23 ~ 53mm
- Weight: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT: 4.06kg (with a 6-cell battery); ROG G752VY: 4.36kg (with a 8-cell battery)
Pricing and availability were not announced, but expect to see the new ROG G752 laptops in the retail channel soon.
Subject: Systems | October 9, 2015 - 10:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Skylake, LGA 1151, Intel H170, Intel H110, G11CDm G20CB, ASUS ROG, asus
ASUS has announced two new models of ROG Desktops for gamers based on Intel's new Skylake processors. Both models offer a choice of i5 or i7 processors and a gamut of video cards including and AMD R9 380 and in the case of the G11CD/CB an NVIDIA GTX 745 up to a 980 Ti while the G20CB ranges from a GT740 to a TITAN X.
The G11 is a full sized desktop, 176x440x442mm (6.9x17.3x17.4") and if you choose the CB model you will be able to have an H170 motherboard, a GTX 980Ti and up to a 512GB M.2 SSD. The CD model does not support those features and is built on an H110 motherboard. Both models off a choice between a DVD or Blu-Ray optical drive.
The ROG G20 offers more power in a slightly smaller case, 104x340x358mm (4.1x13.4x14.1") which is achieved by using an external power supply and dropping the optical drive altogether.
ASUS has managed to offer a vertically mounted TITAN X in this form factor, which is no small achievement. The ROG G20 also offers wireless connectivity in addition to a wired LAN Port, along with space for two internal drives.
All models share the familiar black and red ROG colour scheme, a nice mix of USB 3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 ports and 7.1 audio. There is no word on the pricing for either of these desktops, keep an eye out for updates as we learn more.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 9, 2015 - 10:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: water cooling, NVIDIA GTX 980, liquid cooled, i7-6820HK, gx700, gaming laptop, g-sync, ASUS ROG, asus
We already saw an announcement from ASUS (at IFA 2015) for their water-cooled Republic of Gamers GX700 gaming laptop, and now we have more details about this unique product, though some are still pending. The specifications (including the full version of the NVIDIA GTX 980) would make a great gaming desktop system, and that's kind of the idea as the performance increases substantially when the laptop is docked in its liquid-cooling base.
There are certainly questions about this concept that won't be answered until hardware in hand, but it's going to be interesting to see just how well a liquid cooling system will work in a dockable format like this.
Here are the specifications we know so far:
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6820HK
- GPU: GeForce GTX 980, 8GB GDDR5
- Display: 17.3-inch IPS FHD (1920x1080) G-SYNC / Optional 4K/UHD G-SYNC
- RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4
- Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD (2 x 512GB)
- Optical: Blu-ray 6x RW
- Card reader: SDXC
- Networking: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- Keyboard: Anti-ghosting keyboard with 30-key rollover; 2.5mm travel; Illuminated
- 3 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3
- 1 x USB Type-C / USB 3.1
- 1 x mini-DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- Audio: 1x Headphone/mini-Optical S/PDIF, 1x Microphone input
- Webcam: 1.2MP HD camera
A look inside at the GX700 cooling system
Exact numbers on battery capacity, dimensions, and weight are not yet available, and pricing and availability have yet to be announced.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 8, 2015 - 02:05 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: dell, XPS 15, InfinityEdge, laptop, notebook, Skylake, i3-6100H, i5-6300HQ, i7-6700HQ, GTX 960M
The redesigned Dell XPS 15 is here, now a larger clone of the popular XPS 13 including the same minuscule “InfinityEdge” display and featuring optional 4K resolution.
Image credit: Engadget
The XPS 13 is among the highest-rated Windows laptops of the past year, and the preferred notebook of our own Ryan Shrout. Dell certainly had a big design win with a 13-inch screen on a laptop that would normally only house an 11.6-inch display, thanks to the razor-thin bezel surrounding the LCD panel. This InfinityEdge display makes a lot of sense for the larger XPS 15, and the newly redesigned notebook now occupies the space of a mere 14-inch notebook, while offering both FHD and UHD/4K screen resolutions.
What good would a beautiful screen be without the horsepower to drive it? For this Dell has implemented the latest 6th Generation Intel Skylake mobile processors, namely the Core i3-6100H, Core i5-6300HQ, and Core i7-6700HQ. Graphics duties are performed either by the integrated Intel HD 530 or an NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU, and 8GB of DDR4 memory comes standard with options up to 32GB available (and this is SoDIMM memory so users can upgrade later as well).
Image credit: Windows Central
- 6th Gen Intel Core i3-6100H (3M Cache, up to 2.7 GHz)
- 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
- 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
- Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) InfinityEdge display or 15.6" UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display
- RAM: 8GB, 16GB or 32GB DDR4 at 2133 MHz (32GB post-RTS) (2 x SoDIMMs)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB GDDR5
- Storage: 500GB HDD + 32GB Flash or 1TB HDD + 32GB Flash
- 256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, or 1TB PCIe SSD
- Camera: Widescreen HD (720p) webcam
- Ports and Connectors: HDMI, USB 3.0 (x2), Headset Jack, SD card reader, Kensington Lock slot, Thunderbolt 3
- Dimensions: 11-17mm x 357mm x 235mm
- Weight: Non-touch, starting at 3.9 lbs; Touch, starting at 4.4 lbs
The new Dell XPS 15 is available today and prices start at $999.
Subject: Systems | October 5, 2015 - 11:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam os, steam machines, steam, pc gaming
According to SteamDB, Valve has struck deals with GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Canada to create “store within a store” areas in North American and UK locations. The article does not clarify how many of stores will receive this treatment. It does note that Steam Controller, Steam Link, and even Steam Machines will be sold from these outlets, which will give physical presence to Valve's console platform alongside the existing ones.
The thing about Valve is that, when they go silent, you can't tell whether they reconsidered their position, or they just are waiting for the right time to announce. They have been fairly vocal about Steam accessories, but the machines themselves have been pretty much radio silence for the better part of a year. There was basically nothing at CES 2015 after a big push in the prior year. The talk shifted to Steam Link, which was obviously part of their original intention but, due to the simultaneous lack of Steam Machine promotion, feels more like a replacement than an addition.
But, as said, that's tricky logic to use with Valve.
As a final note, I am curious about what the transaction entailed. From what I hear, purchasing retail space is pricey and difficult, but some retailers donate space for certain products and initiatives that they find intrinsic value in. Valve probably has a lot money, but they don't have Microsoft levels of cash. Whether Valve paid for the space, or the retailers donated it, is question that leads to two very different, but both very interesting in their own way, follow-ups. Hopefully we'll learn more, but we probably won't.
Subject: Systems | October 5, 2015 - 09:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, surface, Surface Pro, surface pro 4, hp, Lenovo, dell, asus, acer, toshiba
Tomorrow at 10 am ET, Microsoft will host a live stream to announce “new Windows 10 devices from Microsoft”. It's pretty obvious that we'll get at least one new Surface device announced, which rumors suggest will be the Surface Pro 4 with a low-bezel, 13-inch display. W4pHub, via VR-Zone, goes a bit further to claim that the display can shrink to 12 inches when in tablet mode, giving a frame for the user to hold. If true, I wonder how applications will handle the shift in resolution. Perhaps the only problem is a little flicker, which will be hidden by the rest of Continuum's transition?
Image Credit: VR-Zone
The Microsoft Blog post also lists the announcement dates of their partners. Here's the rundown:
- October 7th -- HP
- October 8th -- Dell
- October 9th -- ASUS
- October 12th -- Acer
- October 13th -- Toshiba
- October 19th -- Lenovo
While the rush of Windows 10 devices have missed the Back to School season, despite Microsoft's attempts to rush development with a July release, it looks like we might get a good amount of them for the holiday season. I was a bit worried, seeing how slowly Threshold 2 seems to be advancing, but they seem to have convinced OEMs to make a big deal out of it.
Then again, it could be holiday fever.
Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2015 - 02:52 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: qotom, fanless, Broadwell, SFF
FanlessTech found quite a few models of small form factor PCs on Amazon and, while it's not listed in the specifications, some of the manufacturer Q&A responses state that they are fanless designs. Each of these devices are built around the Broadwell Core i7-5500U, but that might not even be the best part. Each PC has 4x USB 3.0, 2x HDMI, and 2x Gigabit Lan. Dual LAN and Dual HDMI opens up quite a few possibilities for a cheap, silent PC, especially since it has a relatively high-performance processor.
Prices range from $360 to $444 for 2GB of RAM and 8GB up to 256GB of SSD storage (with several models between). A single 8GB RAM model, with a 256 GB SSD, is also available for $483. They also found one with an i3 processor, but you need to bring your own RAM, SSD, and WiFi. It does have the same port layout, four USB 3.0, two HDMI, and two gigabit LAN, but might make more sense to grab the Core i7 versions unless you already have DDR3L RAM and an SSD hanging around (or 2GB is insufficient and the 8GB model is out of your price range). At $221 USD plus these components, you probably will not be saving much to compensate for the drop in performance. You can also find some Core i5 models, too.
Quite a bit to consider, but I think that many would benefit from the thought.