Subject: Mobile | March 28, 2017 - 01:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thx, Razer Blade Pro V, razer, gaming laptop, 4k, 1080
THX Certification, likely familiar to any movie-goers, is a standard which details certain display and audio requirements and it would seem that the new Razer Blade is the first gaming laptop to meet their standards. The display is 4K 17.3" IGZO G-SYNC panel, which has an LED backlight and capacitive multi-touch and is capable of 100% of Adobe RGB colour space. The audio is a 7.1 Codec which supports Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition as well as a THX Certified 3.5mm combo audio port which can drive high end headphones.
Inside you will find a Core i7-7820HK, overclocked to reach a peak of 4.3GHz, an 8GB GTX 1080, 32GB of DDR4-2667, two PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 of up to 2TB in size. As well the Razer offers an ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard and Killer DoubleShot Pro, which is a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 NIC as well as a Killer E2500.
You can read the full PR under the fold or head straight to the website.
- Corsair Bulldog 2.0 (includes case, PSU, MB and CPU cooler)
- Intel Core i7-7700K
- 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4
- Corsair Z270 Motherboard mini ITX
- Corsair Hydro GTX 1080
- 480GB Neutron GTX SSD
- 600 watt Corsair PSU
The barebones kit starts at $399 through Corsair.com and includes the case, the motherboard, CPU cooler and 600-watt power supply. Not a bad price for those components!
You won't find any specific benchmarks in the video above, but you will find some impressions playing Resident Evil 7 in HDR mode at 4K resolution with the specs above, all on an LG OLED display. (Hint: it's awesome.)
Subject: Editorial | February 9, 2017 - 10:50 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, Zen, Windows 10 Game Mode, webcam, ryzen, quadro, Optane, nvidia, mini-stx, humble bundle, gddr6, evga, ECS, atom, amd, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #436 - 02/09/17
Join us for ECS Mini-STX, NVIDIA Quadro, AMD Zen Arch, Optane, GDDR6 and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom
Program length: 1:32:21
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:14:00 Zen Price Points Leaked
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Allyn: Low cost OBD II scanner
Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2017 - 04:31 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: logitech, webcam, brio, 4k, hdr
Today’s announcement of the Logitech BRIO rolls in many features that have been lacking in webcams. With it, you can record in 720p30, 720p60, 1080p30, 1080p60, and, the big reveal, 4K30. It is also capable of shooting in HDR using RightLight 3, although they don’t specify color space formats, so it’s unclear what you will be able to capture with video recording software.
On top of these interesting video modes, the camera also supports infrared for Windows Hello “or other facial recognition software”. Unlike Intel’s RealSense, the webcam claims support for the relatively ancient Core 2 and higher, which sounds promising for AMD users. I’m curious what open-source developers will be able to accomplish, especially if it’s general enough to do background rejection (and so forth). Obviously, this is just my speculation -- Logitech hasn’t even hinted at this in their documentation.
As you would expect for a 4K sensor, Logitech is also advertising quite a bit of digital zoom. They claim up to 5X and FOVs user-configurable between 65 degrees and 90 degrees.
Finally, the price is $199 USD / $249 CDN and it ships today.
Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2017 - 12:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, tinker board, Rockchip, rk3288, cortex a17, Raspberry Pi, sbc, 4k, kodi, xbmc
Asus is jumping into the single board computer market with its 90MB0QY1-M0EAY0 Tinker Board. With a physical layout matching the latest Raspberry Pi 3, the Tinker Board offers up faster hardware including support for 4K H.264 video decode.
The single board PC offers up the following I/O options:
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x Micro SD (UHS-1)
- 1 x Micro USB (for power)
- 1 x Audio (192 Hz / 24 bit)
- 40 pin header (28 pin GPIO)
- 1 x CSI (camera)
- 1 x DSI (display)
- PWM and S/PDIF solder points
Asus has opted to use a 32-bit ARM processor to power the device rather than the 64-bit SoC found in the Raspberry Pi 3. Specifally, Asus is using the Rockchip RK3288 which features four ARM Cortex A17 CPU cores clocked at 1.8 GHz and a Mali-T764 GPU. The SoC is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 memory and wireless radios for 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0.
Compared to the Raspberry Pi, the Asus Tinker Board has twice the RAM and allegedly twice the processing power with GeekBench score of 3,925 versus the Pi’s 2,092. The Mali-T764 GPU is capable of 4K H.264 (and 10-bit H.265) video decoding which makes it better than the Pi which can only do 1080p in hardware. The cores are clocked faster on the Tinker Board but obviously do not support 64-bit instructions. The increase of system memory is perhaps the biggest boon for those looking to use it for a cheap desktop or media streamer. And for those using analog audio, Asus has included its own audio solution that is, at least on paper, much better than the Pi's.
The Asus SBC reportedly uses up to 5 watts of power with an average power usage of 2.25 watts when playing back a 1080p video with a HDMI display attached.
The Tinker Board at launch is compatible with Debian OS and Kodi media playback software.
The physical layout matches that of the Pi meaning it should be compatible with cases and is potentially a drop in replacement for products powered by a Pi so long as it can supply enough power.
It is currently available from British retailer Farnell for £45.83 ($56.91) or £55 ($68.30) with VAT. It does not appear to be avaiable on this side of the pond quite yet but you can import it if you want to get your hands on it.
More competition in the single board PC space is a good thing, but I do wonder how successful the Asus Tinker Board will be. It is faster, but it is also nearly twice as expensive as the Pi. A lot is going to depend on how well it is received by the software and modding communities and how well Asus supports that Rockchip processor with various Linux distributions and applications at launch and over time. The Pi’s VideoCore IV GPU is closed source and getting information from Broadcom is a pain, but at least it is a known quantity at this point and the boards using it (like the Pi) have the market share and community support to get things working with it. I am also curious how well the audio solution works and whether or not the Gigabit Ethernet port can actually hit gigabit speeds.
What are your thoughts on the Asus Tinker Board?
Subject: Storage | January 26, 2017 - 12:47 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Ultra HD, UHD, Pioneer, optical, drive, disc, blu-ray, BDR-S 11 J-X, BDR-S 11 J-BK, 5.25, 4k
Pioneer has announced a pair of new 5.25-inch optical drives (via their Japanese site), and both offer support for UHD Blu-ray playback. These (SATA III) drives are the BDR-S 11 J-BK and BDR-S 11 J-X, and their Ultra HD capability represents a "world's first" for a BD burner, according to Pioneer.
Image credit: Anandtech
There has been much discussion about support for UHD Blu-ray on the PC in the past year, and the technical capabilities of existing BDXL-compatible drives seemed to offer support for the current crop of UHD media. Unfortunately, the DRM requirements seem to involve the entire chain, and these new Pioneer optical drives support the required AACS 2.0 decryption. But this is just the tip of the iceberg with system requirements, as Anandtech lists what you will actually need to play back UHD Blu-rays on your computer:
- A PC that supports AACS 2.0 and Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)
- An appropriate optical disk drive
- Software that handles UHD BD playback
- Windows 10
- A GPU that has an HDMI 2.0a output with HDCP 2.2 (and AACS2 supported by its driver, which eliminates current-gen standalone GPUs)
- A 4K TV/display that has an HDMI 2.0a input with HDCP 2.2
The software playback requirements are apparently handled via the included software, which Pioneer lists as PowerDVD 14 - though even the latest commercial version (PowerDVD 16) does not support UHD playback yet. It is possible that a custom version, or one previously unavailable to the public, has been included; as Pioneer specifically states that this included PowerDVD 14 software will allow you to "play Ultra HD Blu-ray such as movies, animation, music, Blu-ray, DVD-Video on your computer".
Image credit: Anandtech
The two models are differentiated by a more premium audio focus for the BDR-S 11 J-X (and correspondingly higher price, based on reported pricing, below), with this model offering the following audiophile-oriented enhancements:
"BDR-S 11 J-X displays the playback quality of the audio CD to be played back in four levels, and in the case of low quality, it carries the "audio CD check function" which displays the coping method such as setting change of this machine It is suitable for applications such as CD ripping and music playback. In addition, by applying the coating adopted also for high-end audio equipment to the disc tray to improve the vibration isolation performance, it also enhances heat dissipation by applying special paint to the interior and exterior of the enclosure, realizing high quietness and reliability..."
Pricing was not included in the official announcement, though Anandtech's report quotes (Japanese-language) PC Watch with pricing roughly equivalent to $200 US (BDR-S 11 J-BK) and $300 US (BDR-S 11 J-X) for the drives. Availability begins in late February in Japan.
Subject: Displays, Systems | January 10, 2017 - 11:50 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: triple-screen, theft, stolen, report, razer, Project Valerie, multi-display, laptop, igzo, gaming, CES 2017, CES, BBC, 4k, 3-screen
While Razer did not name any particular product when first publicly posting about a theft (see FaceBook screencap below) from their booth at CES, the BBC is now reporting that "the stolen prototypes" in question were indeed the Project Valerie triple-screen laptop introduced last week.
"Two prototype models of an unusual gaming laptop with three screens have been stolen at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, according to PC maker Razer. The concept device boasts three 4K screens and is said to be the first portable laptop of its kind. Razer said the laptops had gone missing from its booth at the tech show on Sunday.
The incident was being taken 'very seriously', said chief executive Min-Liang Tan. A Razer spokesman said it was offering $25,000 (£20,600) for any 'original information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction' of those allegedly involved in the crime."
Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan initially posted news of stolen prototypes from his FaceBook page:
One would expect that the security in place at CES, including many security cameras, should produce some more information as the investigation unfolds.
Subject: Displays | January 5, 2017 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Westinghouse, Ultra HD, UHD, tv, television, seiki, FireTV, Element, CES 2017, CES, amazon, Alexa, 4k
In a market packed with UHD TVs, a trio of budget television manufacturers have introduced new Amazon Fire TV-powered 4K televisions at CES, with new models announced from Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element. These TVs are "the world’s first 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs with Amazon Fire TV built in", with remotes supporting Alexa voice commands.
Quoting the press release, the new models from Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will all offer the following features:
- Sizes: 43", 50", 55" and 65"
- 4K Ultra HD 3,840 by 2,160 panel resolution on all models
- The latest Amazon Fire TV user interface, including easy access to over-the-air TV programming (separate HD antenna required), simple TV input setup, and component switching
- Through the included voice remote with Alexa, customers can search for content and programming, control TV inputs and settings, and access Alexa skills to play music, get the news, check weather, sports scores, and more
- Voice remote with Alexa enabled control of smart home devices from multiple brands, including Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, Wink, Insteon, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, TP-Link, Ecobee and more
- Access to more than 7,000 channels, games, apps and Alexa skills, including over 300,000 TV episodes and movies from Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu and more
- Amazon Prime customers get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost to their membership. Plus, with Amazon Channels, Prime members can now get HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, PBS KIDS, and over 100 more services. They only pay for the channels they want—no cable required, no additional apps to download, and easy online cancellation.
- 3 GB memory and 16 GB internal storage
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity
- Streaming resolution at 4K Ultra HD (2160p), 1080p, 720p up to 60 fps
- One-year limited warranty and great customer support
We have seen a similar idea with Roku TVs from Hisense, TCL, and others, as budget TV makers look to differentiate themselves; and the integration of the popular Amazon Fire TV for the OS may help position Seiki and company more favorably. Hopefully improvements in backlighting tech and UHD panel production cost reductions will result in a "trickle-down" effect for better picture quality for TVs selected on cost alone, but for now improved user interface design can go a long way in making these budget TVs pleasant to use.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | December 14, 2016 - 05:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: monitor, LG, ips, high dynamic range, hdr, display, 4k
Ahead of CES 2017 LG has announced their upcoming monitor lineup, which features an HDR (high dynamic range) model. The 32UD99 is a 32-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS display that offers 95% DCI-P3 color and HDR10 support. (Specifics as to peak brightness, rated black levels have not been released.)
From LG's press release (pdf):
“As the availability of HDR (high dynamic range) content continues to expand across a wide range of categories, from movies to games, LG is leading the way in bringing this enhancement to desktop monitors,” said to Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA. “The enhanced picture quality offered by HDR technology is instantly recognizable to even the most casual user, and manufacturers are already pushing this promising technology to its fullest potential. From high-resolution displays compatible with HDR technology, to UltraWide monitors optimized for multitasking and gaming, LG is committed to delivering the most state-of-the-art and premium monitors in the industry today.”
HDR is a somewhat complex standard, incorporating requirements for bit depth and supported color space, brightness level, and black levels for the display - along with compatibility with one of the HDR standards; HDR10 or Dolby Vision. The fact that LG is using IPS for their new montior seems problematic given the high black levels associated with IPS (unless sophisticated local dimming is employed, such as with LG's Infinia televisions of a few years ago), as most HDR sets employ a VA panel of some kind. Of note, rival Panasonic only recently announced their work on very high native contrast IPS panels, but there is no indication that LG has developed a similar technology at this point.
HDR is all the rage in the 4K television world, and for gaming both Sony and Microsoft's latest consoles support the more common HDR10 implementation - with compatible games, UHD Blu-ray, and streaming content, that is. It was inevitable that HDR would make its way into the computer display space, and presumably more and more PC games will be offering support going forward (Shadow Warrior 2 was the first title to support HDR on PC). A quick primer on HDR (with respect to the "Premium" standard from the UHD Alliance) can be found here, and only time will tell if the HDR10 standard will win out over Dolby Vision, though at this point it seems likely.
Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2016 - 02:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: g-sync, Predator XB321HK, acer, 4k, ips
Thanks to DisplayPort 1.2's bandwidth being limited to a maximum of 17.28Gbit/s, shoppers looking for a high end variable refresh rate gaming monitor have a tough choice to make. Leave aside aspect ratio, colour depth and panel type for the immediate question; do you prefer the higher definition of a 4K display but with a limited maximum refresh rate or will you be satisfied by 1440p or 1080p with a refresh rate that can hit upwards of 200Hz? The Predator XB321HK chooses path of greater resolution, offering 3840x2160 but with a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, on an IPS screen with 4ms grey to grey response time. If you prefer an MVA ultra-widescreen with a higher resolution, perhaps investigate the Acer Z35, if the XB321HK is closer to what you are looking for check Hardware Canucks full review here.
"With a sensible 4K form factor, a G-SYNC module and a stunning IPS panel, Acer's Predator XB321HK is the stuff gaming monitor dreams are made of. Unfortunately its refresh rate is limited by today's interface technology."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Philips Brilliance 28-inch 288P6 4K Monitor @ eTeknix
- AOC AGON AG271QX Adaptive-Sync Gaming Monitor @ Kitguru