Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 22, 2015 - 06:30 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, PCIe SSD, notebook, N752, N552, laptop, ips, Intel Core i7, GTX 960M, asus, 4k
ASUS has added two new laptops to their N series line up premium, entertainment-focused laptops. The new models offer Intel’s 6th-gen (Skylake) Core i7 processors and high resolution IPS displays, as well as fast PCIe storage and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
The new models are the 15.6-inch N552 and 17.3-inch N752, and both sizes offer wide-gamut IPS display options up to 3840x2160 with 100% sRGB coverage. The displays are powered by graphics up to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors power both models, with a generous 16GB of RAM standard. Storage is provided via PCIe x4 storage with speeds of 1500 MB/s with capacities up to 512 MB, and external connectivity includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.
While boasting powerful specs these N-series laptops are also geared toward entertainment, with ASUS drawing attention to the sound from their “SonicMaster” audio system, which boasts powerful B&O ICEpower class-D amplification for the laptop’s front-facing speakers. Other features include backlit keys which offer 1.8 mm travel, and aluminum covering the keyboard area and lid.
The new models haven’t shown up on the U.S. product pages just yet, so pricing and availability are not yet known.
Subject: Processors, Systems | November 17, 2015 - 04:21 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, NUC6i5SYK, NUC6i5SYH, NUC6i3SYK, NUC6i3SYH, nuc, mini-pc, Intel, i5-6260U, i3-6100U
(Image credit: PCMag)
NUC systems sporting the latest Intel 6th-gen Skylake processors are coming, with the NUC6i5SYH, NUC6i5SYK, NUC6i3SYH, NUC6i3SYK listed with updated Core i5 and i3 CPUs. As this is a processor refresh the appearance and product nomenclature remain unchanged (unfortunately).
The four new Skylake Intel NUC models listed on Intel's product page
Here's Intel's description of the Skylake Core i5-powered NUC6i5SYH:
"Intel NUC Kit NUC6i5SYH is equipped with Intel’s newest architecture, the 6th generation Intel Core i5-6260U processor. Intel Iris graphics 540 with 4K display capabilities provides brilliant resolution for gaming and home theaters. NUC5i5SYH has room for a 2.5” drive for additional storage and an M.2 SSD so you can transfer your data at lightning speed. Designed for Windows 10, NUC6i5SYH has the performance to stream media, manage spreadsheets, or create presentations."
The NUC6i5SYH and NUC6i5SYK feature the i5-6260U is a dual-core, Hyper-Threaded 15W part with a base speed of 1.9 GHz with up to 2.8 GHz Turbo. It has 4 MB cache and supports up to 32GB 2133 MHz DDR4. The processor also provides Intel Iris graphics 540 (Skylake GT3e), which offers 48 Execution Units and 64 MB of dedicated eDRAM. The lower-end NUC6i3SYH and NUC6i3SYK models offer the i3-6100U, which is also a dual-core, Hyper-Threaded part, but this 15W processor's speed is fixed at 2.3 GHz without Turbo Boost, and it offers the lesser Intel HD Graphics 520.
Availability and pricing are not yet known, but expect to see the new models for sale soon.
Subject: Systems | November 14, 2015 - 03:25 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen AiO Pro, UHD, its display, Intel RealSense, desktop computer, Core i7-6700T, asus, all-in-one, AIO, 4k
ASUS has announced their newest all-in-one desktop PC, the Zen AiO Pro, featuring a 24-inch 4K IPS display and 6th-gen Intel Skylake processors.
"The Zen AiO Pro is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design, with a slim unibody shell and integral stand forged from aluminum. The sophisticated appearance is enhanced by a layer of edge-to-edge glass covering the display, while the rear cover has a brushed-metal finish that complements the spun-metal concentric circles on the front fascia. A vision of elegance, the Zen AiO Pro’s exterior is anodized a stylish yet subtle Icicle Gold color that adds a touch of beauty to any space."
Beyond the (very gold) industrial design this PC features some pretty impressive specs depending on how you choose to configure it. The 23.8" IPS screen is available both 1920x1080 and a multi-touch 4K (UHD) 3840x2160 as well. CPU options include the Intel Core i7-6700T, a 4 core/8 thread part, and the AiO Pro features discrete graphics up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. The inclusion of an Intel RealSense camera allows features like facial recognition, with plenty of rear I/O connectivity that includes USB 3.1 Type-C.
Zen AiO Pro Specifications:
- Display: 23.8in IPS 4K/UHD 3840×2160 with 10-point capacitive multi-touch; 23.8in IPS Full HD 1920x1080
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6400T; Intel Core i7-6700T
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 950M, 1GB GDDR5; NVIDIA GTX 960M, 2GB GDDR5
- Memory: 8GB or 16GB dual-channel DDR4 at 2133MHz
- Storage options: 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD; 1TB SSHD; 1TB HDD
- Wireless: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4 (M.2, 2T2R), supports Intel WiDi
- Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mbit/s
- Cameras: Intel RealSense camera, 1MP 720P webcam
- Audio: 8W Stereo Speakers
- I/O ports: 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C); 4x USB 3.0; 1x USB 2.0; 1x microphone; 1x headphone; SD card slot; 2x HDMI; LAN
- Power Supply: 180W
- Operating System: Windows 10
The Zen AiO Pro starts at $999 (which includes a matching wireless keyboard and mouse) and is available now, with additional configurations to follow.
Subject: Systems | November 10, 2015 - 07:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system build, damagebox
The Tech Report have built a few Damageboxes over the years and 2015 is no different as they have just completed the build and are now running a contest to give it away. The concept behind the Damagebox is to build a powerful PC that runs at a reasonable decibel level and is not ridiculously expensive to purchase. The system is built around an ASUS Maximus VIII Hero, an i7-6700K, 16GB of Kingston DDR40 Ddal Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSDs and two Asus Strix GTX 980 4GB cards in SLI. Check out the rest of the components, the beautiful wiring job and most importantly, how to get a chance to win it.
"We built a brand-new gaming PC based on the latest components--and we're giving it away! See what components we chose and how the build turned out. Then find out how you can enter to win the system."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Zotac's Zbox Magnus EN970 @ The Tech Report
- Gigabyte Brix S GB-BXi5H-5200 @ Bjorn3d
- ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC (Braswell) @ techPowerUp
- ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC Review @ Neoseeker
- Cyberpower Zeus Mini EVO I-970 Gaming PC @ eTeknix
Subject: Systems | November 5, 2015 - 12:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ruggedized, fanless
FanlessTech was “salivating” over the PERFECTRON PC, which might be good for its cooling potential if the water doesn't short out the electronics. Logic Supply, designer of the fanless systems, specializes in ruggedized, industrial builds. Rugged, fanless, and high performance -- what's the downside?
So for businesses (and probably only businesses or governments) that can afford these systems, you're probably going to get the computer equivalent of a tank. They are rated to operate in ambient temperatures between -40C (-40F) and 70C (158F). To put that into perspective, NVIDIA controls their overclocks to maintain 80C on the GPU, which is, generally speaking, in a system with ~30C internal temperature. These systems are rated to operate in 70C ambient. Again, that is about 20C hotter than my CPU peaks at load with my Corsair H100i. Actually, the PERFECTRON SR-700 ($13,793 USD) model can operate at up to 75C ambient.
That is some serious heat for any PC to cope with, especially rugged, fanless models. I guess “you get what you pay for” scales up pretty high. From what I can tell, they are rated to pretty much run these fanless PCs in a beef jerky maker and be cool enough to operate.
Introduction and First Impressions
When I reviewed the first LIVA mini-PC from ECS one year ago I was impressed by the concept of a full Windows computer in an enclosure about the size of a can of cola, which included everything you needed to get started out of the box. The problem with that first LIVA was that it was a little underpowered for the current generation of operating systems, and with the introduction of the LIVA X the performance improved only slightly; though it was a much more polished product overall. So how does the latest LIVA - the X2 - stack up? We'll find that out here.
The first thing you're bound to notice with the X2 is the markedly different style compared to the first two. Where last year’s LIVA X had a sleek, lower-profile appearance, with the LIVA X2 we have something completely different, which I won’t judge one way or the other as this is a matter of personal taste. I do miss the angular black plastic housing from last year’s version, but the fit and finish of the X2 is very nice regardless of what you think of the rounded body and white and chrome plastic finish. (ECS also offers a LIVA “Core” barebone kit that follows the aesthetic of the LIVA X.)
So what’s new beyond the appearance? After only the most minor tweak to the SoC between the first LIVA and its followup, the LIVA X (moving a single SKU up from an Intel Bay Trail-M Celeron N2807 to the N2808), this new X2 has a completely different Intel solution under the hood with its Braswell SoC - the Intel Celeron N3050 processor, a dual-core part with 2 MB of cache and a 2.16 GHz top speed. Considering that even the <$150 Intel Compute Stick offers a quad-core CPU (the Z3735F, a Bay Trail SoC) I was a little skeptical of the dual-core option here, but we’ll just have to see how it performs.
Three generations of LIVA
Four High Powered Mini ITX Systems
Thanks to Sebastian for helping me out with some of the editorial for this piece and to Ken for doing the installation and testing on the system builds! -Ryan
Update (1/23/16): Now that that AMD Radeon R9 Nano is priced at just $499, it becomes an even better solution for these builds, dropping prices by $150 each.
While some might wonder where the new Radeon R9 Nano fits in a market that offers the AMD Fury X for the same price, the Nano is a product that defines a new category in the PC enthusiast community. It is a full-scale GPU on an impossibly small 6-inch PCB, containing the same core as the larger liquid-cooled Fury X, but requiring 100 watts less power than Fury X and cooled by a single-fan dual-slot air cooler.
The R9 Nano design screams compatibility. It has the ability to fit into virtually any enclosure (including many of the smallest mini-ITX designs), as long as the case supports a dual-slot (full height) GPU. The total board length of 6 inches is shorter than a mini-ITX motherboard, which is 6.7 inches square! Truly, the Nano has the potential to change everything when it comes to selecting a small form-factor (SFF) enclosure.
Typically, a gaming-friendly enclosure would need at minimum a ~270 mm GPU clearance, as a standard 10.5-inch reference GPU translates into 266.7 mm in length. Even very small mini-ITX enclosures have had to position components specifically to allow for these longer cards – if they wanted to be marketed as compatible with a full-size GPU solution, of course. Now with the R9 Nano, smaller and more powerful than any previous ITX-specific graphics card to date, one of the first questions we had was a pretty basic one: what enclosure should we put this R9 Nano into?
With no shortage of enclosures at our disposal to try out a build with this new card, we quickly discovered that many of them shared a design choice: room for a full-length GPU. So, what’s the advantage of the Nano’s incredibly compact size? It must be pointed out that larger (and faster) Fury X has the same MSRP, and at 7.5 inches the Fury X will fit comfortably in cases that have spacing for the necessary radiator.
Finding a Case for Nano
While even some of the tiniest mini-ITX enclosures (EVGA Hadron, NCASE M1, etc.) offer support for a 10.5-in GPU, there are several compact mini-ITX cases that don’t support a full-length graphics card due to their small footprint. While by no means a complete list, here are some of the options out there (note: there are many more mini-ITX cases that don’t support a full-height or dual-slot expansion card at all, such as slim HTPC enclosures):
|Cooler Master||Elite 110||$47.99, Amazon.com|
|Lian Li||PC-O5||$377, Amazon.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q01||$59.99, Newegg.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q03||$74.99, Newegg.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q07||$71.98, Amazon.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q30||$139.99, Newegg.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q33||$134.99, Newegg.com|
|Rosewill||Legacy V3 Plus-B||$59.99, Newegg.com|
The list is dominated by Lian Li, who offers a number of cube-like mini-ITX enclosures that would ordinarily be out of the question for a gaming rig, unless one of the few ITX-specific cards were chosen for the build. Many other fine enclosure makers (Antec, BitFenix, Corsair, Fractal Design, SilverStone, etc.) offer mini-ITX enclosures that support full-length GPUs, as this has pretty much become a requirement for an enthusiast PC case.
Subject: Systems | October 31, 2015 - 05:56 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: x5-Z8500, windows 10, PC, mini-pc, Kangaroo, intel atom, InFocus, computer, Cherry Trail
InFocus has created what they are calling “the world’s smallest personal, powerful, portable PC”, and the Kangaroo is certainly an impressive-looking device that looks even better when you consider the $99 price tag.
The Kangaroo is looks like a 2.5-inch external hard drive, and inside the sleek housing it offers a quad-core Intel Atom (Cherry Trail) x5-z8500 processor with a nominal speed of 1.44 GHz (turbo up to 2.24 GHz), along with the usual 2 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC storage. Add dual-band 802.11ac wireless and a built-in fingerprint reader, and this becomes a quite the full-featured mini-PC. And the best part might just be the battery, as the Kangaroo can operate for up to 4 hours of “casual use” without wall power, according to InFocus.
Here are the full specifications from InFocus:
- OS: Windows 10 - Home edition
- CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8500 Processor (2M Cache, up to 2.24 GHz)
- Graphics: Intel Processor Graphics Gen8
- Video Memory: Sharing System Memory
- Memory: 2GB LPDDR3
- Hard Drive: 32GB eMMC
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 A/C (Dual Band) / Bluetooth 4.0
- Expansion Slot microSD
- Security: Fingerprint reader
- Battery Life: 4 hours (casual use)
- Dimensions: Computing module : 80.5 x 124 x 12.9mm / Base : 80.5 x 46.9 x 12.9mm
- Weight: 200g (without adapter & power cord) / 470g (including adapter & power cord)
- Ports: (Computing module) microSD, Micro USB (charge only); (Base) USB 2.0 x 1, USB 3.0 x 1, HDMI x 1, DC-IN
- Audio: Supported through HDMI
- Cloud: OneDrive
- Power Adapter: Input: 100V-220V ~ 1A, 50-60Hz / Output: 12V/3A
- Accessories included: Software - OS Link (requires USB cable), dock, power supply, cables
There’s even more versatility available for the Kangaroo user when you add the OSLinx iOS app to the mix, essentially allowing you to use the tablet as a monitor:
“Your iPad is all you need to have to enjoy the benefits of your Kangaroo PC on the go. OSLinx Windows Monitor turns your iOS device into a primary display of your Kangaroo PC. It connects to a PC through a Lightning-to-USB cable and works with OSLinx Server installed on the Kangaroo PC. OSLinx Windows Monitor supports mouse as well as multitouch gestures.”
The Kangaroo is available now, and currently being sold on Newegg.com for that $99 MSRP.
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.