CES 2017: Western Digital Launches WD Black NVMe PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage | January 5, 2017 - 10:32 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, ssd, pcie, NVMe, CES 2017, CES, Black

Following up on their Blue and Green SSDs launched back in October, Western Digital has now launched a Black series SSD:

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Unlike the Green and Blue which are SATA products available in 2.5" and M.2 (SATA) form factors, the Black is a pure M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 product. These were rumored to have a Marvell controller, but the samples I saw floating around CES appeared to have SanDisk branding. Flash will very likely be SanDisk 15nm TLC (with SLC cache). Specs are as follows:

  • 256GB / 512GB
  • $109 / $199 ($0.42 / $0.39 / GB)
  • Random read: 170k
  • Random write: 130k/134k
  • Sequential read: 2.05 GB/s
  • Sequential write: 700 / 800 MB/s
  • Endurance 80 / 160 TBW
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Power: 5.5 mW idle / 8.25 W peak

Pricing looks very competitive for an NVMe SSD, but we will have to see how the performance shakes out when compared against other budget SSDs. The WD Blue 1TB performed very well in our new test suite, so here's hoping the Black is equally surprising.

WD's press blast appears after the break.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2017: NVIDIA Announces New SHIELD TV Media Streamer

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 04:25 AM |
Tagged: UHD, streaming box, SHIELD TV, nvidia, media server, hdr, gaming, controller, CES 2017, CES

NVIDIA has announced the newly redesigned SHIELD TV with the promise of higher performance and enhanced functionality from the Android-powered media streamer. In addition to the updated industrial design the new SHIELD TV ships with a game controller in addition to a remote, adding value to what NVIDIA is calling "the world's most advanced streamer".

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NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage to introduce the new SHIELD TV

NVIDIA is citing "major improvements" to the new version of the SHIELD TV in the following areas:

Highest Performance, 4K HDR Media Streamer – SHIELD delivers the richest visual experience with support for 4K HDR and 3x the performance of any other streamer on the market. With Amazon Video in 4K HDR, SHIELD offers the largest, most open catalog of media in stunning 4K – also supporting Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movie and VUDU. YouTube’s flagship TV app will also be available for SHIELD in the coming months, delivering immersive, 360-degree viewing experiences.

Amazing Games – SHIELD stands alone among media streamers, with the widest range of gaming capabilities and richest assortment of game content. GeForce NOW has been upgraded with Pascal performance and will soon add Ubisoft’s catalog of hits, including Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, For Honor and countless others. Upcoming native game releases include The Witness, Tomb Raider and Shadowgun Legends.

AI in the Home – SHIELD is the first streamer to announce support of Google Assistant, optimized for TV and 100% hands-free. Coming soon, SmartThings Hub technology integration will instantly turn SHIELD into a smart home hub that can connect to hundreds of smart home devices. NVIDIA SPOT, an AI mic accessory makes SHIELD the central backbone of the AI home, extending intelligent control throughout the house.

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NVIDIA has stated that the features announced for the new SHIELD TV will come to existing SHIELD devices via an over-the-air update this month; though the new hands-free commands will require the updated SHIELD controller (now bundled with the new SHIELD TV), which will be sold separately.

Pre-orders for the new SHIELD TV are now available with units shipping later in January. There will be two configurations, with the SHIELD TV media streamer, which includes a game controller and remote, priced at $199; and the SHIELD Pro home media server, which comes with a controller, remote with headset jack, and 500GB of on-board storage, priced at $299.

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Full press release after the break.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: NVIDIA

Meet AMD's new chipset, the X300 and X370

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2017 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: x370, x300, ryzen, CES 2017, CES, amd, AM4

Tonight at CES AMD announced 16 new AM4 motherboards from five manufacturers and new PCs from over a dozen system builders.  The motherboards will all bring support for dual channel DDR4 memory, NVMe, M.2 SATA devices and USB 3.1 support for AMD users. You can also expect at least 24 lanes of PCIe 3.0, perhaps more if we can spot some with bridge chips.

The MSI A320 Pro-VD and B350 Tomahawk (not to scale)

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MSI will be showing off their A320M Pro-VD, X370 XPower Gaming Titanium, B350 Tomahawk and B350M Mortar. 

Gigabyte's GA-X370 Gaming K5, GA-AX370-Gaming 5 and GA-AB350-Gaming 3.

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The gang should have updates on the full lineup soon including the Gigabyte A320M-HD3 not pictured above.

Biostar's X370 GT7 TOP and B350 GT3 TOP

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ASRock's ASRock Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming and X370 Taichi.

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There are more models on display and ASUS did announce the Asus B350M-C though we did not yet get a picture of it.  All motherboards will offer compatibility with at least some existing coolers, we know for a fact that Corsair's Hydro H60, H100i and H110i as well as Noctua's NH-U12S, NHL9x65 and D15 will all be supported.

 

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Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: AMD

CES 2017: ASUS Announces ZenFone 3 Zoom

Subject: Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: zenfone 3 zoom, zenfone 3, zenfone, CES 2017, CES, asus

ASUS has just announced the ZenFone 3 Zoom, which resides in the camera and battery life areas of their product stack. While we will discuss its performance below, this phone prides itself on a 5,000 mAh battery and two rear-facing cameras, which are paired for an interesting feature: optical zoom.

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Instead of trying to fit a lens assembly into a smartphone that expands and contracts to zoom in and out, this phone switches between two cameras, one with a wide-angle lens, and the other with a telephoto one. Typically, cameras attempt to solve the “zoom” problem by including higher and higher megapixel sensors, which provides finer images but reduces low-light performance -- you have to acquire a signal from a smaller and smaller fraction of the photons that hit your sensor.

Going one step further, because their users will need to crop less of their photo, ASUS used a fairly large, but 12 megapixel sensor for each camera. This means that the pixels are fairly big, 1.4 microns, allowing them to gather more light. This should translate to good and relatively consistent low-light performance at either zoom level, which are 2.3x apart.

As for the battery? That’s a lot of power. The original ZenFone 3 had 2,600 mAh with the same SoC. The ZenFone 3 Zoom almost doubles that. ASUS claims 40 days of 4G standby, but I’m more curious how long it can play games and watch videos untethered. Update: It was quick, but I believe they said over eight hours of live video streaming on a single charge.

Being based on last year’s mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, it will perform like the base ZenFone 3, rather than the flagship ZenFone 3 Deluxe and its Snapdragon 820. Despite the chip’s GPU being listed at about a third of the performance of its bigger sibling, depending on clock rate, it is still capable of Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.1 should ASUS ship a driver.

The ZenFone 3 Zoom is expected to be available in February, but prices and SKUs are TBD.

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PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: ASUS ProArt HDR and Designo Curve Monitors

Subject: Displays | January 4, 2017 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: UHD, ProArt, PA32U, PA27AQ, MX38VQ, monitors, hdr, displays, Designo Curve, DCI-P3, CES 2017, CES, asus

ASUS has announced a pair of large monitors at CES, beginning with the impressive 32-inch ProArt PA32U, a UHD HDR Thunderbolt 3 display which offers 384 (direct) backlighting zones, 95% DCI-P3 coverage, and peak brightness of 1,000 nits.

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The ASUS ProArt PA32U

“The 32-inch ASUS ProArt PA32U is the world’s first professional direct-lit LED 4K UHD HDR monitor, delivering breathtaking levels of detail. It has a full-array LED backlight with the all-new ASUS LED-driving technology, featuring 384 LED zones and capable of a peak brightness of 1,000cd/m2, which offers a wide range of dynamic luminance for a much richer, nuanced image. The use of quantum dot technology provides a wide color gamut, enabling ProArt PA32U to deliver 99.5% Adobe RGB, 85% Rec. 2020, 100% sRGB and 95% DCI-P3 color-space performance for high-end video-editing and production.”

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HDR in full effect on the ProArt PA32U

The use of direct backlighting with individual zones - with what sounds like local dimming (“a wide range of dynamic luminance”) - should put the ProArt PA32U high on an HDR enthusiast’s list.

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Back view of the ProArt PA32U

Next we have the Designo Curve MX38VQ, a massive 37.5-inch monitor a 2300R curved IPS panel that boasts ultra-wide QHD (3840x1600) resolution. The MX38VQ also features a Harman Kardon branded 8-watt stereo speaker system and Qi wireless charging base built into the stand.

The ProArt PA32U will be available in Q3 2017, with pricing to fall in the $1799-$1999 range. The Designo Curve MX38VQ will also be available Q3 2017, with pricing set at $1099.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

ASUS Announces the Chromebook Flip C302

Subject: Shows and Expos | January 4, 2017 - 06:59 PM |
Tagged: asus, CES, CES 2017, Chromebook, Flip C302

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 weighs a mere 2.65lbs and is just 13.7mm at it's thickest point. The 12.5" touchscreen display is 1080p and can be rotated 360° for use as a tablet in the same way their Yoga series can. 

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The chiclet style keyboard is backlit, thankfully not in a billion different colours, and travel a distance of 1.4mm for ease of use on such a small device.  The trackpad is a little larger than we have seen on other models and thankfully includes enhanced palm rejection as you are going to brush it while you are typing. 

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Connectivity is provided by a pair of USB 3.1 Type C ports, microSD, 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.  The frequency of the Core m3 processor inside will depend on the model you chose, as well as the amount of RAM, the maximum being 8GB.  The base model is available now, you can order it for $499.

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Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: ASUS ASUSPRO B9440 Business Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: notebook, laptop, kaby lake, CES 2017, CES, business, B9440, ASUSPRO, asus, 7th generation core

ASUS has announced the ASUSPRO B9440, which the company claims to be "the world’s lightest 14-inch business notebook" at just 2.31 lbs.

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"The sleek B9440 is designed to be both stylish and practical, using an all-metal chassis crafted from magnesium alloy — a premium material that is lighter but more rigid than standard aluminum alloy. The ergonomic keyboard has an innovative tilting design that positions it perfectly for comfortable typing.

Like all ASUSPRO business notebooks, B9440 is designed to exceed military-grade durability standards. It also passes our extra-strict ASUSPRO reliability standards, undergoing a series of tough torture tests to ensure dependable operation in any environment.

The B9440 is equipped with the new 7th-gen Intel Core (Kaby Lake) i5 and i7 U-series processors optional Intel vPro support, along with up to 16 GB onboard LPDDR3 memory and up to 512 GB SSD storage, with security features including TPM 2.0 and a fingerprint sensor.

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Specifications for the ASUSPRO B9440 from ASUS:


  • Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core i5/i7, with optional Intel vPro support
  • Display: 14-inch Full HD wide-viewing-angle display with anti-glare coating
  • Memory: 8GB/16GB LPDDR3 onboard
  • Storage: Up to 512GB M.2 PCIe or M.2 SATA SSD
  • Connectivity
    • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (one port supports docking, power delivery)
    • 1 x combo stereo headphone/mic port
  • Wireless: 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Security
    • Fingerprint sensor
    • TPM 2.0 (downgradeable)
  • Audio
    • Integrated dual-microphone array
    • Harman Kardon stereo audio system
  • Battery: 4-cell 48W Li-polymer
  • Operating system: Windows 10 / Windows 10 Pro
  • Dimensions: 12.65 x 8.51 x 0.35~0.58 inches
  • Weight: 2.31 lbs

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The ASUSPRO B9440 will be available in May with a retail price starting at $999.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: ASUS Updates Notebook and AiO Lineup to Intel Kaby Lake

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, notebook, laptop, kaby lake, intel core, detachable, convertible, CES 2017, CES, asus, all in one, AIO, 7th generation

ASUS has refreshed their notebook and all-in-one (AiO) desktop lineup with the new 7th-generation Intel Core (Kaby Lake) processors, with models ranging from the ultra-thin UX330 to the 27-inch ZN270IE AiO.

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The ZenBook UX330

The refreshed notebook lineup includes the 13.3-inch ZenBook models UX310 and UX330, and 15.6-inch ZenBook UX510. The convertible ZenBook Flip UX360UA and detachable Transformer Pro T304 have also been updated to Kaby Lake.

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ZenBook Flip UX360

On the all-in-one side the refreshed models include Zen AiO Pro Z240IE and Zen AiO ZN241IC desktops, with a new model announced in the Zen AiO ZN270IE, a 27-inch (FHD) model which pairs a 7th-gen Core i7 processor with discrete NVIDIA graphics.

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Zen AiO ZN270

Pricing and availability of the updated machines is as follows:

Available immediately are the ZenBook UX310UA ($699), ZenBook UX330UA ($749), and ZenBook UX510UW ($999). The ZenBook UX360UAK ($899) and Transformer Pro T304 ($999) will be available in May. Updated AiO desktops will be available in March, with the ZN241IC and ZN270IE priced at $999, and the Zen AIO Pro Z240IE at $1799.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: Logitech Announces G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 05:01 AM |
Tagged: wireless, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, DTS Headphone:X, CES 2017, CES, 7.1 channel, 40mm

Logitech's newest gaming headset is the G533, a wireless model that boasts superior sound quality, reliable wireless performance, and long battery life.

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"The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset features professional grade wireless technology, patent pending Pro-G audio drivers and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, for advanced audio performance and wireless convenience. The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset also features a long battery life and high performance design, for comfort over long gameplay sessions."

The Pro-G drivers were previously found in the flagship Artemis Spectrum gaming headsets, which I was highly impressed by when I reviewed them a year ago. The new G533 model incorporates much of the same functionality as the wireless G933 headset, with advanced driver technology and DTS Headphone:X 7.1-channel surround effects.

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As to the wireless performance, Logitech states that their system is low-latency, completely lossless, and resistant to interference:

"Featuring advanced lossless digital audio transmission, the Logitech G533 delivers wireless convenience and incredible high fidelity sound at a range of up to 15 meters’. The headset maintains a strong connection, even in noisy Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) settings and when there are dozens of wireless signals in proximity."

Specifications for the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset from Logitech:


  • Headphones
    • Driver: Pro-G 40 mm
    • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
    • Impedance: 32 Ohms
    • Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
    • Charging Cable Length: 2m
    • Battery Life: 15 hours
    • Wireless Range: 15m
    • Size: 197 mm x 189 mm x 85 mm
    • Weight: 350 grams (12.5 oz)
  • Microphone
    • Pickup Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
    • Type: Pressure Gradient Electret
    • Condenser
      • Size: 4 mm
      • Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz  
  • Warranty: 2-year limited hardware warranty

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset_Image 3.jpg

The G533 Wireless Gaming Headset will retail for $149.99, with availability slated for this month.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Logitech

CES 2017: ASUS Announces VivoPC X Compact VR-ready PC

Subject: Systems | January 4, 2017 - 03:48 AM |
Tagged: VR, small form factor, SFF, PC, gaming, desktop, CES 2017, CES, asus

ASUS has announced a compact, VR-ready desktop called the VivoPC X, and this small form-factor PC contains a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and discrete NVIDIA graphics.

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“VivoPC X is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series graphics, and is fully compatible with the latest VR headsets. Its compact 5-liter chassis can be placed anywhere in the home, and has extensive connectivity features including four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 ports for VR peripherals and controllers. VivoPC X is designed for general consumers who are looking for a VR-ready PC that meets the hardware demands of VR tasks and entertainment.”

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A look at the cooling system within the VivoPC X

Here are the specifications from ASUS:


  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7300HQ
  • Chipset: Intel HM175
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Memory: 8GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • Storage     
    • Up to 2TB SATA hard drive (7200RPM)
    • 512GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • Connectivity    
    • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x 3-in-1 audio jack
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN (Gigabit)
    • 2 x HDMI
    • 1 x DisplayPort
  • Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Operating system: Windows 10
  • Power supply: 230W adapter
  • Size: 2.99 x 10.23 x 11.02 inches

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The console-sized VivoPC X will be available in March with an MSRP of $799.

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Source: ASUS