It's simply the rest ... that Ars saw at CES

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2019 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: ces 2019, Lenovo, Samsung, LG, dell

Ars Technica takes you through an eclectic mix of devices which caught their eyes at CES, not necessarily award winners nor groundbreaking tech but at least somewhat eye catching.  For instance, Lenovo's smart alarm clock below with a 4" screen at 800x400. Powered by a 1.5GHz MediaTek 8167S SoC and a PowerVR GE8300 GPU with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage it has a significant amount of processing power, and one hopes security to stop someone from disabling your snooze button! 

There are also laptops, TVs in both OLED and MicroLED as well as a new Vive, all of which you can see here.

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"CES 2019 has finally come to an end—and by and large, it was a more interesting show than last year's. To that end, the Ars reviews staff has put together another annual Best in Show list, and this group of products we consider particularly interesting."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

CES 2019: Wacom Launches Cintiq 16 (Not Pro) Pen Display

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 13, 2019 - 07:34 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2019, wacom, wacom 16

Wacom has launched a new, lower-cost Cintiq pen display at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show. This one is the Wacom Cintiq 16, which should not be confused with the previously-released Wacom Cintiq Pro 16. While the Pro had a 4K screen with 94% AdobeRGB, the new model downgrades to 1080p with 72% NTSC. Both are based on IPS panel technology.

(Note the different AdobeRGB vs NTSC color spaces. It’s hard to compare the two, but 72% NTSC roughly corresponds to 100% sRGB, which is smaller than 94% AdobeRGB… so the Pro should have better colors… but it’s just about impossible to exactly quantify the difference without calibrating both panels to both color spaces and comparing.)

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In exchange for the one-quarter resolution (albeit on a 16-inch screen) and lower color space, you get a much smaller price tag. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 is listed at $1499.95 USD on the Wacom website, but the new Wacom Cintiq 16 is listed at just $649.95 USD. This price cut opens it up to users with a much different budget. It’s not quite in the “video game console” territory, but it’s not significantly higher than that $500 threshold either. It’s possible that you could see it barely squeeze into holiday gifts for teenagers and young adults that show a strong interest in art. It also makes it much easier to justify for small business art studios, too.

The Wacom Cintiq 16 is expected to ship this month (January 2019) for $649.95.

Source: Wacom

PC Perspective Podcast #528 - RTX 2060, EVGA Nu Audio, and our CES Roundup

Subject: General Tech | January 12, 2019 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: video, sound card, ryzen 3, RTX 2060, radeon vii, podcast, evga, ces 2019

PC Perspective Podcast #528 - 1/11/2019

We're a little bit delayed this week due to CES, but we're back in action and ready to talk about the GeForce RTX 2060 review, some new Corsair gaming mice, AMD's big Ryzen and Radeon announcements, an awesome new sound card from EVGA, G-SYNC compatibility with FreeSync monitors, and more!

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jim Tanous

Show Topics
00:00:35 - Review: GeForce RTX 2060
00:16:35 - Review: New Corsair Gaming Mice & Slipstream
00:21:20 - News: AMD CES Announcements
00:38:38 - News: AMD 2019 GPU Refresh
00:42:31 - News: GeForce RTX Mobile
00:49:21 - News: ASUS TUF AMD Gaming Laptops
00:52:50 - News: EVGA Nu Audio Sound Card
01:00:43 - News: Killer E3000 2.5Gbps NIC
01:10:26 - News: ASUS ProArt 1,000-Zone Backlight Display
01:16:04 - News: HyperX Cloud Orbit S & QuadCast
01:25:01 - News: Phison PCIe Gen4 NVMe Controller
01:28:52 - News: be quiet! White Cases & Slim CPU Coolers
01:32:33 - News: NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible Displays
01:42:24 - Picks of the Week
01:49:04 - Outro

Picks of the Week
Josh - Acer Predator X34 Ultrawide Monitor
Jim - DockCase Adapter for MacBook Pro
Sebastian - Star Trek: Phase II

CES 2019: HyperX QuadCast Microphone & Cloud Orbit S Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2019 - 10:56 PM |
Tagged: RGB, microphone, hyperx, headset, gaming mouse, gaming headset, ddr4, ces 2019, CES

HyperX is here at CES demoing several new products — including a new product category — as well as some updates to their existing product line. The highlights include the company's first microphone and a new premium gaming headset made with Audeze's planar magnetic drivers.

Check out the complete launch details below as well as our impressions from our visit to the HyperX suite at CES.

HyperX Pulsefire Raid Gaming Mouse

The HyperX Pulsefire Raid RGB mouse is designed for gamers who need additional buttons for key binding or to execute a variety of commands. HyperX Pulsefire Raid features 11 programmable buttons and is designed with a Pixart 3389 sensor for accuracy and speed with settings up to 16,000 DPI. Customizable native DPI settings allow gamers to monitor settings with an LED indicator. In addition, the mouse includes Omron switches with 20M click reliability. Pulsefire Raid is designed for accurate, fluid and responsive tracking, without acceleration. Using HyperX NGenuity software, gamers can assign personalized macro functions to the 11 programmable keys and store them in a macro library.

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Our impressions: The Pulsefire Raid Gaming Mouse doesn't do anything new in terms of basic design, but its 11 programmable buttons are more than found on many competing gaming mice and will be appreciated by competitive gamers looking to map as many in-game functions as possible.

The wired mouse feels good in the hand and includes nice RGB effects that can by configured via software or turned off if desired. The Pulsefire Raid includes the normal range of higher-quality components — Omron switches and a 16,000 DPI Pixart 3389 sensor — at a competitive price point of about $60. Recent purchasers of mid-range and higher gaming mice probably won't be tempted to switch, but if you're looking for a new gaming mouse or craving those additional programmable buttons, the HyperX Pulsefire Raid will be a nice choice at it expected price point when it launches in Q2.

HyperX QuadCast Microphone

The HyperX Quadcast is a standalone microphone designed to meet the exacting demands of PC, PlayStation 4, and Mac professional or aspiring streamers. The QuadCast features an anti-vibration shock mount, an easily-accessible gain control adjustment, four selectable polar patterns, and tap-to-mute functionality with convenient LED lighting to indicate broadcast status. With crystal clear voice capturing, Quadcast connects streamers to their viewers like never before.

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Our impressions: While we couldn't fully test the QuadCast's audio capabilities in a noisy CES demo suite, what we could hear sounded promising. Users have a choice of polar patterns, quick gain control via a dial on the bottom, a 3.5mm headphone output for live monitoring, and a tap-to-mute feature that indicates the mute status by turning off the microphone’s red light.

The QuadCast's stand is sturdy with a functional and attractive built-in shock mount. But it also comes with an adapter for mounting it to another microphone stand or arm. The QuadCast will be priced at $139 when it launches in Q2.

HyperX Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S Headset

The Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S gaming headsets are the first HyperX gaming headsets powered by Audeze’s patented 100mm Planar Magnetic Drivers for accurate sound. Waves Nx® 3D audio technology brings an immersive cinematic audio experience to gaming. The Cloud Orbit S includes Waves Nx® head tracking technology to deliver a stable hyper-realistic 360-degree audio environment where the user’s head movements bring the room to life 1,000 times a second. HyperX gaming headsets paired with Audeze and Waves technology bring audio quality to the next level with audio technology previously found only in audiophile headsets.

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Our impressions: HyperX is no stranger to gaming headsets, but the new Cloud Orbit series is their first project in collaboration with high-end audio company Audeze. The Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S feature Audeze's planar magnetic drivers in a headset that eschews the common more "aggressive" gamer design for a subtle yet attractive black and gray look.

In addition to high quality sound from the planar magnetic drivers, the higher-end Cloud Orbit S features Waves NX 3D audio processing that can optionally position the user's audio sources via head tracking. When enabled, the current audio output is "placed" in a static position. When the user then turns their head, the headset uses head-tracking technology to pan the audio accordingly. In other words, the Waves Nx processing is simulating what it would sound like if you were sitting in a theater with multi-channel surround sound speakers and then turn your head to the side or behind.

We had a chance to demo Waves Nx on the Cloud Orbit S and the effect is quite realistic and impressive. But while it makes a great demo, we're not sure how many users would find a feature like this useful in the long-run since many users would prefer to have their audio "follow them" regardless of head positioning. However, we're hoping to get a chance to try it out more in a quieter environment.

Set to arrive in Q2, the Cloud Orbit S with head tracking will set you back $329 while the non-tracking Cloud Orbit will land at $299.

HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB Memory

The HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB is now available in 16GB modules in speeds of 3000MHz and 3200MHz as individual modules and kits of 2 and 4 up to 64GB. Predator DDR4 RGB features synchronized RGB lighting with HyperX Infrared Sync technology, allowing multiple modules to sync LED lighting and produce an exceptional color and pattern display. Powered directly from the motherboard, this patented technology provides an enhanced visual experience of RGB memory for gaming, overclocking PCs and DIY system builds.

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Our impressions: HyperX launched its Predator DDR4 RGB memory — which uses infrared light to sync RGB effects between modules — last year, but only in single-module capacities of up to 8GB. This of course limited the amount of memory users could install in their system, especially on desktop motherboards/chipsets which only feature two or four DIMM slots.

Now HyperX is adding a 16GB module to the product lineup, doubling the maximum amount of RAM that users of this product can fit into their builds. The new capacity will be available later this month starting at $167.

Source: HyperX

Mushkin's CES extravaganza

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2019 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: Mushkin, ces 2019, carbon x100, Source 2, carbon z100, helix-l, pilot-e, M.2, thunderbolt

Mushkin launched a number of new storage products at CES and they passed on a bit of information on them for you to peruse.

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Pilot-E - M.2 2280 PCIe SSD
Featuring Silicon Motions SM2262EN Controller and Mushkin’s M.E.D.S. the Pilot-E brings high performance with low power consumption to Mushkin’s 2019 product line-up. Offering PCIe x4 NVMe 1.3, twice the capacity*, and 30%* more performance of its previous generation.

  • Built-in LDPC ECC provides the most-powerful data correction level in use today
  • End-to-end data path protection
  • Data shaping means greater endurance
  • StaticDataRefresh ensures data integrity
  • Global wear-leveling evens program/erase counts across data blocks to extend lifespan

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Helix-L - M.2 2280 PCIe SSD
Equipped with the Silicon Motion SM2263XT and cutting-edge 96-layer micron 3D TLC NAND your computer will have the power and responsiveness to help your productivity soar. Experience amazing gaming performance, seamlessly edit and share 360 video, and enjoy fantastic 4K Ultra HD entertainment– all with the lightning fast data transfers.

You will benefit from the same security and longevity as with the Pilot-E series.

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Source 2 – 2.5” SATA III SSD
Designed using Silicon Motion's SM2259 controller and 96-layer 3D TLC NAND, the Source 2 holds nothing back.

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Carbon X100 – External USB 3.1 Gen2 SSD
The Carbon X100 will transform the way you game and streamlines storage intensive workflows. Get stunning sequential read/write speeds of 1,000/1,000 MB/s, up to 500% faster writes than a standard USB 3.0 flash drive.  Compatible with PC and Mac right out-of-the-box, also XBOX and PS4 Compatible, Type-C to Type-A cable included.

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Carbon Z100 – External Thunderbolt SSD
Equipped with Thunderbolt 3 and an all-aluminum enclosure, the Carbon Z100 with Thunderbolt 3 is perfect for the vital high-performance photo and video editing applications your work requires.

New Line of AMD Ryzen compatible OC Memory Modules.
There is also a new series of Mushkin Redline DIMM kits specifically for that new Ryzen chip you are eyeing.

Source:

Rounding up CES

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2019 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, ces 2019, amd

The Tech Report just posted a nice assortment of updates covering their travels at CES, including their take AMD's new GPU and processors.  They also took a look at Intel's offerings, and not just the fresh splash of seemingly bottomless Coffee, this time without the picture drawn on the top.  What was far more interesting were the lineup of 10nm chips announced, Lakefield for low power applications, Ice Lake mainstream chips and Snow Ridge, an SoC designed for network applications.  Of course, it wouldn't be an Intel briefing without Optane, to which the H10 series was announced, which sports both QLC 3D NAND and 3D XPoint on a M.2 2280 gumstick.  It has a controller for both types of memory which means the bulk of the heavy lifting will be done onboard and not pushed onto your CPU. 

 

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"That title probably rests on the shoulders of four upcoming Intel products based on the company's beleaguered 10-nm fabrication process: the Lakefield low-power client processors, the Snow Ridge network SoC, and Ice Lake chips for every market segment."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD's Radeon 7 and Third Gen Ryzen

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 9, 2019 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: radeon 7, ces 2019, amd

AMD is still mid-keynote but that's no reason not to start filling you in on what we know, especially since the CES gang just got a free copy of The Division 2 so we may not see them for a while. 

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The new Radeon 7 looks similar to the Vega series but offers improved performance, especially at 4K resolutions.   According to their internal benchmarks you will see a noticeable improvement from the VEGA series on a number of games.

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The new card is not just for gaming, they also showed a slide covering the increases you can expect on a variety of creative software.

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As far as the specifications go, we know the card will feature 60 CUs, or 3840 Stream Processors and an impressive 16GB of HBM2 memory with a 1.8GHz GPU at the core.  It will require a pair of 8pin PCIe power connectors to drive all of that.

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The card will be available on Feb 7th for an MSRP of $699, with a free copy of The Division 2 for as long as supplies last, you can also enjoy that deal on select Ryzen chips  That places it under the cost of NVIDIA's top GPUs, but significantly more than the new RTX 2060, but we still have to see where it sits in the benchmark charts!

3rd-Gen Ryzen CPUs Coming

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The new third generation Ryzen uses AMD's chiplet design, with a smaller core and a large IO chip. Code-named Matisse, the 7nm Zen 2 desktop parts are not yet ready for release, with final clock speeds not announced. (AnandTech was able to go a little deeper into the the matter before the announcement, and they offer some analysis of the feasability of adding another chiplet to the die and meeting the 16-core number some expected based on the rumors we saw prior to this event. Ed.)

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Dr. Su did not share much information of the new chip with us on stage, though we know it may pull less power than a Core i9, at least in Cinebench.  Owners of AM4 boards can rest assured knowing that upgrading to the new chips will be as easy as a BIOS update as the socket will indeed remain the same.

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Expect more coverage as we catch up!

Source: AMD

be quiet! Dark Rock Slim CPU Cooler, Shadow Wings 2 and Dark Wings 2 Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2019 - 03:27 AM |
Tagged: Shadow Wings 2, Dark Wings 2, Dark Rock Slim, cooling, cooler, ces 2019, CES, be quiet!, air cooler

The Dark Rock 4 from be quiet! is their highest-end air cooler, with a large footprint and distinctive sleek all-black aesthetic that has been a welcome alternative to more ostentatious designs on the market. But be quiet! is aware that this large heatsink, like many of this type on the market, can present clearance issues for taller RAM. Enter the Dark Rock Slim, a more compact single-tower cooler design that offers better RAM compatibility while still maintaining powerful cooling capabilities, handling up to a 180W TDP processor. The same stealthy aesthetic from the other Dark Rock coolers is retained with the new slim model, including a black brushed aluminum top cover and black heatsink fins and heat pipes.

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The Dark Rock Slim poses for the camera (via be quiet! on Twitter)

Features from be quiet! include:

  • 180W TDP
  • Slim heat sink design for maximum RAM compatibility
  • Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM funnel shaped front fan: Airflow-optimized blades, six-pole fan
    motor and fluid dynamic bearing (FDB)
  • Decoupled fan mounting
  • Four advanced high-performance copper heat pipes maximize heat conductance
  • Small dots on the fin surface increase cooling area
  • Special black coating with ceramic particles for perfect heat transfer
  • Brushed aluminum top cover with high-grade diamond cut finish
  • Convenient top mounting
  • Support for an additional 120mm fan – installation clamps for standard fans included

The Dark Rock Slim launches in Q2 2019 with a retail price expected to be around $50.

Also shown at the be quiet! suite was Shadow Wings 2, which are low-RPM case fans that feature a decoupled mounting system, airflow optimized fan blades, and a rubber frame and mounting system with optional push-pin installation. There is also a white version on the way which is made of white plastic, and not simply painted, and provides a unified look inside white enclosures such as the Dark Base 700 White Edition.

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The Shadow Wings 2 fans launch this month beginning with the black version, with the white version slated for Q2 2019. Pricing will range from $15.90 - $18.90.

And finally we have the Pure Wings 2 high-speed fans, which spin at up to 2000 RPM in the 120 mm version, and 1600 RPM in the 140 mm version. The fans offer a rifle bearing with 80,000 hour operating life, and are available in both PWM and 3-pin versions. The fans will be available this month at prices ranging from $12.50 - $13.90.

Source: be quiet!

ASUS ProArt PA32UCX 4K HDR Monitor with 1000 Zone Backlight, 1200 nits

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2019 - 10:17 PM |
Tagged: ProArt, mini led, monitor, local dimming, hdr, FALD, display, ces 2019, CES, asus, 4k, 1200 nits, 1000 zone

ASUS has their most advanced HDR monitor so far on display at CES 2019, and the ProArt PA32UCX combines a 4K resolution panel with a mini-LED backlighting system offering a whopping 1000 individual lighting zones. Another advantage of the powerful backlighting system is overall brightness, and this can reach a maximum of 1200 nits and exceeds VESA DisplayHDR 1000 requirements.

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The very best LED-backlit LCDs employ a technology called full-array local dimming to improve their contrast ratios. The LEDs are arranged in zones, with each zone corresponding to part of the screen, and dimming individual LEDs makes it possible to display an image with bright and dark areas while preserving detail in both.

Our ProArt PA32UCX expounds on this technology with Mini LEDs. These physically smaller LEDs are packed in more densely, which increases the granularity of our brightness control. Less space between the LEDs means small details, like a white cursor on a black background, can be illuminated more precisely. The halo effect that’s common with coarser LED arrays normally manifests as light bleed around bright points, but that’s minimized when there’s a higher number of smaller LEDs.

The ProArt PA32UCX packs 1,000 zones into its 32” form factor, compared to other monitors that use 384 local dimming zones. This is no small achievement, and we had to work closely with the panel and scaler manufacturers on a custom design for controlling all those lighting zones. This technology didn’t exist before, and it took months of testing different proposed solutions before it could be perfected. As a result, the PA32UCX is one-of-a-kind. It offers 1,200 nits of luminance and offers improved whiteness and color uniformity compared to larger OLED panels.

The ProArt PA32UCX, which supports the HDR10 standard, also offers 97% DCI-P3 and 89% Rec. 2020 color space coverage, connecting via USB Type-C as well as the conventional DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0. Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Source: ASUS

VisionTek Unveils Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX External Graphics Enclosure

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 8, 2019 - 05:46 PM |
Tagged: visontek, thunderbolt 3, external gpu, ces 2019

VisionTek announced a new external GPU enclosure today at CES, costing $350 for the enclosure and 240W power (cinder) block.  The dual Thunderbolt 3 controllers provide enough bandwidth for your GPU as well as a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit ethernet and a SATA III port. 

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At 8.5x6x2.75" it is small enough to be easily accomodated on a desk whle still able to hold a variety of cards, up to about the size of an AMD Vega 56 8GB.   It is compatible with Windows 10 and OS X and will let you string together up to six 4K displays @ 60fps.  You can see the full PR below.

The VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure is ideal for creative professionals, IT/enterprise power users, professional users in healthcare, finance, scientific research labs, etc., and gaming enthusiasts seeking the ultimate GPU performance improvement to Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptops. Delivering up to 40Gbps of bandwidth, Thunderbolt 3 is the industry’s fastest interface that is rapidly becoming popular on new generation of laptops and mini PCs. VisionTek’s Mini eGFX combined with a graphics add-in card significantly boosts the GPU performance of a Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptop, via a plug and play connection to the enclosure.

Sleek, Portable, and Future Proof for the Most Demanding Applications

The VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure combines a sleek and portable design that easily fits discretely on a desk, or hidden away, to handle all your graphic intensive applications. VisionTek’s Mini eGFX Enclosure can be plugged into any Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptop or mini-PC to accelerate the most demanding 3D intensive software programs. Best of all, the Mini eGFX enclosure can be upgraded to perfectly match the application’s performance requirements. Consumers have the option of selecting from many mini ITX cards or standard compatible graphic card models for the Mini eGFX to optimize GPU processing requirements for each user’s specific needs.

"With the launch of the Mini eGFX external enclosure, users can turbocharge their Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptops with cutting edge discrete GPU add-in cards on the fly," said Michael Innes, President, VisionTek Products, LLC. “VisionTek embraces technology innovations from Intel that enhance the way we utilize our GPU technology to increase the efficiency, performance, and resolution of 3D visual PC applications.” “The VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX enclosure is one of the most compact, yet flexible eGFX enclosures available in the market today,” said Jason Ziller, General Manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel. “With this solution, VisionTek can broadly address the many professional graphics verticals, enterprise and consumer gaming markets as it can be easily configured to fit the needs of the customer with many inter-changeable graphic cards available.”

Expansive Selection of Laptop Compatibility
Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptops and mini-PCs connected to the new VisionTek Mini eGFX dock enclosure drives the most demanding 3D graphic intensive applications. Visiontek is proud to announce compatibility and availability with many new Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptops and mini-PCs in 2019. The speed, reliability, efficiency and compact size of VisionTek’s Mini eGFX Enclosure eliminates limitations of a laptop or mini-PC environment and opens possibilities for the perfect combination of portability and performance when required.

Select from a wide performance range of add-in graphics cards certified by VisionTek to improve 3D imaging rendering, 4K HD applications, video editing, run multi-monitor displays, improve PC gaming, and more. The VisionTek Mini eGFX is design to fit most mini ITX discrete graphics cards, as well as select reference card designs. Visit VisionTek’s product page for the most current list of graphics cards recommended. Benefits of the VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure for external GPUs include:

  • Compact Design – Form & function collide to create one of the most compact and flexible enclosure designs in the industry to accommodate a variety of graphics cards (enclosure dimensions: 8.5” x 6” x 2.75”)
  • 3D Graphics Performance – Whether you’re rendering complex 3D images or playing intense first-person shooters, the eGFX enclosure supports a wide range of mini ITX size graphics cards.
  • Power – 240W of dedicated power is provided with the VisionTek Mini eGFX Enclosure.
  • Multiple Displays – Supports up to six 4K displays @ 60fps from laptops & mini PC’s. Scalable to the needs of the user with the addition of a graphics card to fit the application’s needs.
  • Maximum 3D Resolution Control –Set limits using the GPU’s proprietary firmware controls to customize resolution settings, enhance 3D performance, and assign multi-monitor layouts.
  • Additional High-Speed USB 3.0, Ethernet Connection, and SATA III Port – The design uses a second Thunderbolt controller with PCIe-to-USB and PCIe-to-LAN controllers to provide Two (2) additional USB 3.0 ports that are conveniently accessible on the front panel of the eGFX enclosure and one (1) RJ45 ethernet Gigabit LAN connection located on the back side of the enclosure.

 

Source: VisionTek