Podcast #223 - AVADirect Mini ITX Gaming Machine, Patriot Gauntlet 320GB Wireless Drive, Windows 8 Pricing and more!
Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2012 - 02:38 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, windows 8, podcast, patriot, nvidia, mini ITX, Intel, gpu, gauntlet, gauntle node, cpu, AVADirect, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #223 - 10/18/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the AVADirect Mini ITX Gaming Machine, Patriot Gauntlet 320GB Wireless Drive, Windows 8 Pricing and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Scott Michaud
Program length: 56:12
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A look outside and in
We handle a fair amount of system reviews here at PC Perspective and use them mainly as a way to feature unique and interesting designs and configurations. We know how the hardware will perform for the most part; doing extensive CPU and GPU testing on nearly a daily basis. Sometimes we'll get systems in that are extremely budget friendly, other times vendors pass us machines that have MSRPs similar to a Kia automobile. Then there are times, like today, we get a unique design that is a great mix of both.
AVADirect has had a Mini Gaming PC design for a while now but recently has gone through a refresh that adds in support for the latest Ivy Bridge processors, NVIDIA Kepler GPUs all using a new case from BitFenix that combines it in a smaller, mini-ITX form factor.
The quick specifications look like this:
- BitFenix Prodigy chassis
- Intel Core i7-3770K CPU, Overclocked at 4.4 GHz
- ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe Z77 Motherboard
- EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB GPU
- OCZ 240GB Vertex 3 SSD
- Seagate 2TB SATA 6G HDD
- 8GB Crucual DDR3-1866 Memory
- Cooler Master 850 watt Silent Pro PSU
You'll also see a large, efficient Prolimatech cooler inside along with a Blu-ray burner and Windows 7 for a surprisingly reasonable $2100 price tag.
The BitFenix Prodigy chassis is a unique design that starts with sets of FiberFlex legs and handles surrounding the mini-ITX case. The minor flexibility of the legs absorbs sound and impact on the table while the handles work great for picking up the system for LAN events and the like. While at first I was worried about using them to support the weight of the rig, I had no problems and was assured by both BitFenix and by AVADirect it would withstand the torture.
Check out our video review before continuing on to the full article with benchmarks and pricing!
Wireless storage for PC, Mac, iOS and Android
Today we are taking a look at the new Patriot Gauntlet 320 external USB 3.0 and wireless hard drive, available starting at $149 at Newegg.com.
The premise is quite simple: take a portable hard drive with USB 3.0 support and add in the ability to share the unit wirelessly with up to 8 different machines and power it by a lithium-ion battery. Not only does the Gauntlet show up in your network as a mountable drive in Windows and Mac OS, the Gauntlet supports using free applications for iOS devices and Android devices to share and stream media.
There are some limitations that you might want to consider including the inability to access network-based devices when using the pass through Internet capability the Gauntlet provides. Also, data transfer performance on the wireless connectivity that the Gauntlet provides seemed pretty low, even with the 802.11n support.
Potential uses cases for the Gauntlet include any time you need a shared data source like working on group projects for school or the office, on-the-go storage for devices like Ultrabooks with smaller hard drives and users that have large media collections they want to use with smart phones and tablets.
Check out our full video review below!
Note that in the video, our early sample of the Gauntlet 320 has the "node" label on it; the Gauntlet Node is a separate device that is only a DIY enclosure WITHOUT an included hard drive. Originally there was a sticker cover the "node" label but incorrectly removed it before filming. Just a heads up!
PhysX Settings Comparison
Borderlands 2 is a hell of a game; we actually ran a 4+ hour live event on launch day to celebrate its release and played it after our podcast that week as well. When big PC releases occur we usually like to take a look at performance of the game on a few graphics cards as well to see how NVIDIA and AMD cards stack up. Interestingly, for this title, PhysX technology was brought up again and NVIDIA was widely pushing it as a great example of implementation of the GPU-accelerated physics engine.
What you may find unique in Borderlands 2 is that the game actually allows you to enabled PhysX features at Low, Medium and High settings, with either NVIDIA or AMD Radeon graphics cards installed in your system. In past titles, like Batman: Arkham City and Mafia II, PhysX was only able to be enabled (or at least at higher settings) if you had an NVIDIA card. Many gamers that used AMD cards saw this as a slight and we tended to agree. But since we could enable it with a Radeon card installed, we were curious to see what the results would be.
Of course, don't expect the PhysX effects to be able to utilize the Radeon GPU for acceleration...
Borderlands 2 PhysX Settings Comparison
The first thing we wanted to learn was just how much difference you would see by moving from Low (the lowest setting, there is no "off") to Medium and then to High. The effects were identical on both AMD and NVIDIA cards and we made a short video here to demonstrate the changes in settings.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 25, 2012 - 02:59 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, amd, video, pitcairn, hd 7870 ghz edition, hd 7870
There have been quite a few new graphics card releases this year and with the now crowded GPU market, we have gotten many requests to revisit some of the earlier launches to see how they stack up in the latest GPU landscape. One such card is AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, which has seen some dramatic improvements since its initial release in March.
AMD’s entire lineup of graphics cards based on the Southern Islands architecture were released between the months of January and March of this year, with only a few updates during the summer to combat new releases from NVIDIA. Though they don’t get as much review time anymore, the Tahiti, Pitcairn and Cape Verde GPUs still have a lot to offer gamers and the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition is a perfect example of that.
Thanks to recent price cuts, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and all other Pitcairn GPUs can be found for much less than when they were launched. With a starting price of $350 in March, some base HD 7870s can be found online for $250 and sometimes less with rebates today making it a great deal for gamers on a budget.
You can check out all of our graphics card reviews right here to see how the market currently stands but there are really very few bad choices anymore.
Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2012 - 06:14 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z77x-up7, z77n-wifi, video, live, h77n-wifi, gigabyte
A PC Perspective Live Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live. If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!
On the way to the Intel Developer Forum, Gigabyte's Colin Brix stopped by the PC Perspective offices to talk with us about the new Z77X-UP7 flagship motherboard with some really impressive overclocking features as well as the latest iteration of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 5 technology.
While he was here, we also got to see a sneak preview of the mini-ITX motherboard, the Z77N-WiFi!
If you missed the live event you can watch the replay below!
Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2012 - 04:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: video, prime instant video, nbc, kindle fire, amazon
Amazon has inked a new deal with NBCUniversal to bring a number of new TV shows to its Prime Instant Video subscription service. The new shows include "Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, The Starter Wife, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and more."
Internet shopping juggernaut Amazon recently announced a new deal with NBCUniversal to expand the catalog of free movies and television shows offered to Amazon Prime members. Specifically, the company is adding additional content to the Prime Instant Video library which customers subscribed to Amazon's $79 (per year) Prime shipping service get free access to.
Thanks to the new deal, Amazon Prime fans will soon see an influx of new content from NBCUniversal which should hold you over until Amazon can work more deals with studios to make it more competitive with market leader Netflix.
According to Amazon, the new content deal will include several TV series. Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, and The Starter Wife will soon all be available to stream to PCs and Kindle Fires (and other Amazon compatible devices, of course). The company claims that the Prime service now offers up to 22,000 videos, and the NBCUniversal deal should add a couple hundred more to the catalog. These relatively new titles will be a nice addition to the Prime lineup, and if all goes according to plan there should be even more new content for customers to look forward to.
NBCUniversal Cable and New Media Distribution President Frances Manfredi stated the following:
“We look forward to further expanding NBCU’s content offering available to Prime subscribers in the near future.”
It is not yet clear what other shows might be included in that "near future," but here's hoping it is additional recent TV shows as Prime could really benefit from more of those. I'll admit to being a bit disappointed in the Prime offerings compared to what is available to buy/rent (the full Amazon Instant catalog is really good, but the Prime subscription catalog is only a very small subset of that content library). However, with a rumored Kindle Fire successor on the way, I would not be surprised to see the company push Prime more–and hopefully use its online retailer muscle to bring more studios in on delivering content for Prime subscribers.
Amazon has made the full press release available on its website.
Do you use the Prime video streaming service? What shows would you most like to see available with your Prime subscriptions? (Personally, i wouldn't say no to some Stargate).
Subject: Motherboards | August 22, 2012 - 08:35 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z77 mpower, Z77, video, msi, mpower, live review, live
Earlier this week MSI's Alex Chang stopped by the PC Perspective office to show off a new motherboard, the Z77 MPower. If you missed the live stream, you can check out the replay right here below! Be sure you keep an eye on our LIVE schedule on the right hand side as future events pop up!
MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.
While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 08:45 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, GK104
A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live. If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!
Today has been a busy day for the PC Perspective crew. Not only have we published like 100 graphics card reviews in the last three days but we also held a live event at the offices to host NVIDIA's Tom Petersen to discuss and debate the release of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti.
If you need to catch up, you should check out our GeForce GTX 660 Ti review posted earlier today to learn all about this $299 GPU that offers very compelling performance that competes with the HD 7950 and leaves the HD 7870 a fairly distant second. Based on the same GK104 chip as the GTX 680 and the GTX 670, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti should find a lot of new homes this week.
For this event we not only gave a short presentation with some demos and review discussion, we also featured questions from the hardware subreddit and gave away an EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti to a lucky viewer!
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more events and contests and the best reviews anywhere on PC hardware!!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 10:35 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, ut2004, unreal, live
After the PC Perspective Podcast on Wednesday night, we played some Unreal Tournament 2004 with many of the PCPer staff and fans. If you missed it - shame on you! Keep an eye on the Upcoming Events schedule on the right hand side here to see when and what we'll play next.
In the meantime, feel free to waste a couple of hours watching us play UT2004 - in the past.