Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2018 - 01:25 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: dell, UHD, gaming laptop, coffee lake h, nvidia, max-q, gtx 1060
Dell recently announced updates to its budget laptop lineup to include a new G series that replaces the previous generation Inspiron Gaming branded products. The new brand comes in three tiers and two form factors that include the 15.6" G3, G5, and G7 and the 17" G3 all of which utilize various levels of 8th Generation Core Intel CPUs and mid-range 1000 series NVIDIA mobile GPUs. There is a lot of overlap in hardware, build, and pricing depending on the specific configuration you build.
These budget gaming laptops are fairly thin – ranging from 22.7mm on the G3 15 to 25mm on the G3 17 and G5 15 and G7 15 – but do make compromises in the build quality department with most of the body being plastic-based rather than metallic (the higher-end components and prices remain reserved to the Alienware models). On the bright side, Dell appears to be taking cooling seriously and makes liberal use of vents both front and rear along with dual fans. The G series also all feature dual drive bays, backlit spill-resistant keyboards, dual Waves MaxxAudio Pro speakers, webcams, fingerprint sensors, and matte exterior finishes.
The G3 series features up to an 8th Generation Core i7 processor and either a GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, or GTX 1060 Max Q graphics card along with a full HD (1920x1080) anti-glare display. The G3 15 comes in black, recon blue, or alpine white while the G3 17 comes in either black or recon blue. Three USB 3.1, USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, SD, HDMI, Ethernet, and one audio jack account for the external I/O ports that line the edges of the notebook. Note that the G3 15 has a normal hinge while the higher end models have a smaller centered hinge that leaves gaps on either side presumably for larger vents.
Stepping things up a bit to the G5 tier, the G5 15 comes in Licorice Black or Beijing Red and features a quad or hexacore Coffee Lake H processor and up to a GTX 1060 Max Q 6GB and two drive bays for up to two SSDs much like the G3 but adds Killer Networking 1x1 (up to 2x2 Wi-Fi supported) and the option for a 4K UHD IPS panel.
Moving from the G5 15 to the G7 15 in a "but wait, there's more" infomercial style offers you the ability to configure the Licorice Black or Alpine White laptop with a Core i9 Coffee Lake H processor, 32GB RAM, GTX 1060 Max Q, and dual SSDs in addition to the 4K display and Killer networking options of the G5 15. The G7 15 further has a larger 56 Whr 4-cell battery.
Limited configurations of the G3 15, G3 17, G5 15, and G7 15 are set to be available later this month (with two options for the G7 15 available now on Dell's website) with additional configuration options to follow. The G3 series starts at $749, the G5 starts at $799, and the G7 starts at $849 (though that model is not yet up on Dell's site) though as you see with the G7 on Dell's site adding SSDs and RAM brings the pricing up quite a bit (the $1099 model has an i7 8750H, GTX 1060, 8GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD for example).
It is refreshing to see Dell move away from the Inspiron brand for gaming, but I hope the fresh brand also brings fresh build quality although you can't ask for too much at these prices with this hardware inside at least for the base models (I am mostly concerned about the small hinge on the higher end models). We will have to wait for reviews to know for sure though. Cnet has a gallery of hands-on photos of the laptops as well as The Verge if you are curious what these machines look like.
Subject: Displays | September 28, 2017 - 11:25 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: VP3881, VP3268-4K, VP2785-4K, viewsonic, usb type-c, ultrawide, UHD, ips, DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, 4k
ViewSonic has announced three new monitors in their VP series featuring factory-calibrated professional grade color, with the VP3881, VP2785-4K, and VP3268-4K.
The VP3881 features a 37.5-inch curved 21:9 aspect display with 3840x1600 resolution and HDR10 support.
"Featuring a unique ergonomic design, ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio, and integrated speakers, the VP3881 delivers a panoramic viewing experience ideal for video editing, content development, high-end entertainment, and other color-critical applications."
The 27-inch VP2785-4K offers the most impressive color specs of the group, with 99% Adobe RGB and 96% DCI-P3 from its Ultra HD (3840x2160) panel.
"This 27-inch 4K Ultra HD monitor delivers unmatched color accuracy for photographers, graphic designers, content developers, and other design pros and multimedia creatives. That means you get true images with vivid colors from real life, to camera, to screen. With USB 3.1 Type C, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, and Mini DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity options, the VP2785-4K can be used with a variety of external devices as well."
Finally we have the VP3268-4K, a 32-inch Ultra HD monitor with an IPS panel and minimal bezel design.
"The newest member of the VP68 family, this monitor balances ultra-high definition and a large 32-inch display to deliver the ultimate in detail, clarity, and screen real estate – perfect for limitless creativity. With a SuperClear® IPS panel and 4-sided frameless design, this monitor provides a near-seamless viewing experience ideal for multi-display setups. It also includes HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, Mini-DisplayPort, and USB hubs for flexible connectivity to a variety of computing devices and peripherals."
ViewSonic states that "all three of these VP series monitors are factory calibrated to deliver an amazing Delta E" of <2, making them ready for color-critical work out of the box. The monitors are available now, with list prices (USD) as follows:
- VP3881: $1329.00
- VP3268-4K: $989.00
- VP2785-4K: $989.00
Subject: Displays | April 28, 2017 - 07:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: acer, Predator, Predator X27, monitor, display, hdr, 4k, UHD, 144 Hz, g-sync, nvidia
Acer announced a number of products at their next@acer press event in New York yesterday, but this new monitor might take the cake: a 4K HDR display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. The Predator X27 combined just about every conceivable feature for a gaming monitor and combines it into one product, but don't expect this 27-inch monitor be released at a budget price (pricing has not been announced).
"Acer’s Predator X27 portrays astonishingly vibrant visuals without motion blur thanks to a high 4K (3840x2160) resolution at a 144 Hz refresh rate, a fast 4 ms response time and a 1,000 nit peak brightness. Featuring Acer HDR Ultra technology, it offers the best possible contrast quality of the high dynamic range with advanced LED local dimming in 384 individually-controlled zones that shine light only when and where it is required. It not only delivers a broader, more deeply saturated color gamut, but a luminance range several times greater than that of traditional dynamic range monitors. By dimming the backlight behind parts of the screen displaying black, blacks appear deeper and darker on those parts of the panel, a significant bonus for people who play games with darker scenes."
Acer has posted a video about the Predator X27, imbedded below:
Acer also announced a new curved gaming monitor with the Predator Z271UV, which offers a 1800R curve from its 27-inch display, but for HDR you'll need to stick to the X27. Quantum dot technology is incorporated into both display for wide color, and both feature NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh-rate tech featuring ULMB (ultra-low motion blur) along with with Tobii eye-tracking.
"Acer’s Predator Z271UV provides WQHD (2560x1440) resolution on a curved 1800R panel that puts every corner of the screen at the same distance from the gamer’s eyes – this creates more immersive gameplay with a wider field of view and increased perceived area of peripheral vision. It features a ZeroFrame edge-to-edge design perfect for use in multi-monitor setups, and provides spectacular color breadth covering 125% of the sRGB color space. It’s extremely fast with up to a 1 ms (3 ms native) response time that nearly eliminates motion blur and supports overclocking up to 165 Hz."
We await pricing and availability information for both monitors.
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 | 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: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 11:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
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".
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.
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.
Full press release after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Displays | January 4, 2017 - 02:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Mobile | August 19, 2016 - 03:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, GX800, GTX 1080, gaming, g-sync, asus, 4k
ASUS has announced perhaps the most impressively-equipped gaming laptop to date. Not only does the new ROG GX800 offer dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics in SLI, but these cards are powering an 18-inch 4K display panel with NVIDIA G-SYNC.
Not enough? The system also offers liquid cooling (via the liquid-cooling dock) which allows for overclocking of the CPU, graphics, and memory.
"ROG GX800 is the world’s first 18-inch real 4K UHD gaming laptop to feature the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in 2-Way SLI. It gives gamers desktop-like gaming performance, silky-smooth gameplay and detailed 4K UHD gaming environments. The liquid-cooled ROG GX800 features the ROG-exclusive Hydro Overclocking System that allows for extreme overclocking of the processor, graphics card and DRAM. In 3DMark 11 and Fire Strike Ultra benchmark tests, a ROG GX800 equipped with the Hydro Overclocking System scored 76% higher than other gaming laptops in the market.
ROG GX800 comes with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology and has plug-and-play compatibility with leading VR headsets to allow gamers to enjoy truly immersive VR environments. It has the MechTAG (Mechanical Tactile Advanced Gaming) keyboard with mechanical switches and customizable RGB LED backlighting for each key."
Specifics on availability and pricing were not included in the announcement.
Subject: Systems | August 17, 2016 - 04:37 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: UHD, SFF, IDF 2016, idf, gigabyte, gaming, brix
While wandering around the exhibit area at this year’s Intel Developers Forum, I ran into our friends at Gigabyte a brand new BRIX small form factor PC. The BRIX Gaming UHD takes the now-standard NUC/BRIX block shape and literally raises it up, extending the design vertically to allow for higher performance components and the added cooling capability to integrate them.
The design of the BRIX Gaming UHD combines a brushed aluminum housing with a rubber base and bordering plastic sections to create a particularly stunning design that is both simple and interesting. Up top is a fan that pulls air through the entire chassis, running over the heatsink for the CPU and GPU. This is similar in function to the Mac Pro, though this is a much more compact device with a very different price point and performance target.
Around the back you’ll find all the connections that the BRIX Gaming UHD supplies: three (!!) mini DisplayPort connections, a full size HDMI output, four USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 connection, two wireless antennae ports, Gigabit Ethernet and audio input and output. That is a HUGE amount of connectivity options and is more than many consumer’s current large-scale desktops.
The internals of the system are impressive and required some very custom design for cooling and layout.
The discrete NVIDIA graphics chip (in this case the GTX 950) is on the left chamber while the Core i7-6500HQ Skylake processor is on the left side along with the memory slot and wireless card.
Gigabyte measures the size of the BRIX Gaming UHD at 2.6 liters. Because of that compact space there is no room for hard drives: you get access to two M.2 2280 slots for storage instead. There are two SO-DIMM slots for DDR4 memory up to 2133 MHz, integrated 802.11ac support and support for quad displays.
Availability and pricing are still up in the air, though early reports are that starting cost will be $1300. Gigabyte updated me and tells me that the BRIX Gaming UHD will be available in October and that an accurage MSRP has not been set. It would not surprise me if this model never actually saw the light of day and instead Gigabyte waited for NVIDIA’s next low powered Pascal based GPU, likely dubbed the GTX 1050. We’ll keep an eye on the BRIX Gaming UHD from Gigabyte to see what else transpires, but it seems the trend of small form factor PCs that sacrifice less in terms of true gaming potential continues.
Subject: Storage | August 3, 2016 - 01:19 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, Thecus, storage, NAS, N4810, N2810PRO, htpc, hdmi, DisplayPort, 4k, 4-Bay
Thecus has announced their newest NAS with the N4810, an 4-bay design based on the existing N2810PRO 2-bay model. The N4810 offers up to 40 TB of hard drive storage support, and an Intel Celeron N3160 (quad-core) processor with 4GB of RAM, which can be expanded to 8GB.
Image credit: Thecus
"With the N4810 built on the hardware of its little brother, the N2810PRO, users are equipped with the same immersive multimedia experience. Delivering superb sharpness and colour contrasts in 4K resolution playback, accessed through the HDMI output or DisplayPort output, guaranteeing that the picture quality from movies is just as the director envisioned.
Connection to your digital sound system via a SPDIF output is available, providing crystal clear audio for music and movies. A new USB 3.0 Type-C port has been added to the three already equipped USB 3.0 ports. This Type-C connector is the size of a microUSB and has a reversible plug allowing cables to be conveniently plugged in either direction."
Image credit: Thecus
The NAS is geared toward the living room, with HDMI output along with DisplayPort, and display output up to UHD/4K. We took a look at the 2-bay N2560 NAS a couple of years ago, and on paper this new model offers a substantial upgrade as an entertainment/HTPC solution. Availability is set for this month.