CES 2017: Cherry Launches MX Board Silent Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2017 - 08:36 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, Cherry MX Silent, Cherry MX, cherry, CES 2017, CES

Cherry, the company behind the ever popular Cherry MX line of mechanical keyboard switches, has announced an update to its popular G80-3000 keyboard called the Cherry MX Board Silent. The refreshed keyboard comes in black and gray and uses the International / EU layout.

Cherry MX Board Silent.png

The major feature of the Cherry MX Board Silent is the inclusion of new MX Silent switches that purportedly keep noise to a minimum by using a shaped rubber pad and "2-component stem" that reduces noise at the bottom out and top out points of a key press. The switches come in two flavors: the MX Red Silent and the MX Black Silent which feature release force of 45 centinewtons and 60 centinewtons respectively.

The keyboard further features 14 key N-key rollover which allows the user to hold down up to 14 keys simultaneously without phantom key presses becoming an issue.

We will have to wait for reviews to see how the new keyboard holds up build quality wise and, more importantly, just how silent the MX Board Silent is. The keyboard will be available soon with an MSRP of $149.

Also read: Mechanical Keyboard Switches Explained and Compared

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

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

Source: Cherry

CES 2017: Mohu Shows Off Wireless Antenna To Stream OTA Television

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2017 - 06:37 AM |
Tagged: streaming, mohu, cord cutting, CES 2017, CES, broadcast tv, antenna

Mohu (the company behind untangle.tv) was on hand at CES 2017 to show off a new product called the Airwave that the company hopes will help people to cut the cord and ditch their cable TV subscription. The Mohu AirWave is a wireless television antenna that picks up over the air broadcast TV signals and then streams that video to any device that can run its Mohu TV app.

airwave-website-hero2.jpg

The Airwave can be placed anywhere in your home (wherever it gets the best signal) and can connect to your home network over Wi-Fi or Ethernet (I'd recommend the wired connection it if at all possible). Users can then use the Mohu TV app on their smartphones (Android and iOS) and tablets as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Firestick streaming boxes connected to a TV. The Mohu TV app offers an electronic program guide that pulls metadata from the digital TV stream and displays it along with showing current and upcoming programs. The guide also lets users set up a list of favorite channels.

Of course, the exact channels users will be able to watch will depend on their location and what is broadcast in their market. The Mohu representative at CES indicated that the initial AirWave is an un-amplified antenna with an average range of about 30 miles though they were able to tune into channels up to 40 miles away in their testing. An amplified antenna is coming in the future for users that live further away from the city and broadcast towers. While it is unamplified, you can move it around to get the best possible number of channels and the ClearPix technology is, at least supposed to, reduce pixelation. In addition to picking up broadcast TV, the AirWave also integrates with some streaming television providers such as Newsy and Twit.tv. You can see an example of that in this video by The Streaming Advisor where he takes a look at their demo setup at CES.

Carl from Abt.com interviewed Mohu at their CES booth which you can see in the embedded video below.

The Mohu AirWave will be available this spring for around $150. In all, it looks to be an easy to use and set up product for turning into your local live TV and if that is all that is holding you back from cutting the cord this might be a solution that ends up being cheaper than something like DirectTV Now (which also doesn't have DVR functionality (yet)) or Sling TV. On the other hand, the lack of DVR might leave heavy TV watchers frustrated (who has time to watch TV live these days? heh) and they might be better served with a custom setup using OTA tuners and Plex or a box with DVR like the Tablo.

As a companion streamer or something to set and forget for the less tech savvy though this could be a good option that would save them money and hassle by not having to deal with their local cable monopoly (heh) and I'm all for that!

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Source: Mohu

CES 2017: Phanteks Unleashes Massive Elegant Enthoo Elite Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 8, 2017 - 01:45 AM |
Tagged: phanteks, Enthoo, enthoo elite, CES, CES 2017, E-ATX Case, water cooling

Phanteks unveiled the massive yet stylish Enthoo Elite this week at a squarely premium price point of $899. Available in black and grey, the Enthoo Elite has a net weight of 72 pounds and measures 29.5” x 10.5” x 24.2” (HxWxD). The case features a steel frame with 4mm sand blasted aluminum panels and a large 4mm thick tempered glass side window along with rounded edges and a curved bottom that shows off the RGB ambient lighting along the right side of the front panel and bottom of the case. 

Phanteks Enthoo Elite.jpg

Front IO is hidden behind a panel on the front of the case and includes:

  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x Headphone
  • 2 x Microphone
  • Power/Reset
  • RGB LED control wheel.
    • The lights can be controlled by RGB LED motherboards or Phantek’s own controller.

The case has support for E-ATX motherboards, six 2.5” drive mounts (4 brackets included), 13 3.5” mounts (6 included brackets), an optional 5.25” bay, a hidden PSU compartment, and behind the motherboard tray space (35mm wide) for cable management along with a 94mm wide compartment for storing cable slack and unused cables.

Phanteks includes metal panels that can be placed to hide cabling around the motherboard tray as well as cover up the GPU area. Graphics cards and other expansion cards can even be installed vertically (four slots, one included riser cable) with the included bracket.

Cooling support amounts to whatever your imagination wants really, with support for up to five 480mm radiators along with a 140mm rear radiator. Further, there is a reservoir mount to the right of the motherboard area and two pump mounts in the bottom compartment in front of the power supply area.

For air cooling, Phanteks includes five of its “premium” 140mm fans (they don’t list exact models) and users can add a ton more if they so desire. Phanteks does include two of its PWM hubs which allow users to control multiple fans from a single PWM fan motherboard header though if you max out the number of fans you should probably look into a dedicated fan controller so that you can control the fan speeds individually or in smaller groups (the hubs run all the fans at the same speed though that speed is variable depending on the PWM signal it gets from the motherboard).

Phanteks Enthoo Elite Breakaway Photo.jpg

There are reportedly several modular parts that users can change up to meet their build needs such as removable panels to reduce noise, a replaceable side panel, a side radiator mount, removable 5.25” bay, allegedly dust proof intakes, and other odds and ends. 

If you choose to go with the vertical expansion card mount, you are limited to 4 slots, but if you go with the traditional horizontal mounting, the case supports 10 PCI slots. CPU coolers can be up to 210mm tall and graphics cards are effectively not limited (Phanteks only says “full size GPU support” but with the case being 24.2” deep, you can pretty much use any GPU released today.)

The Phanteks Enthoo Elite will be up for pre-order soon and will start shipping within the next month or two for a very much premium $899 price tag. The the price is steep, but the case certainly looks the part and enthusiasts will definitely be able to create some crazy water cooled builds in this monster! 

If you are interested in the case, PC World managed to snag several pictures of it at CES with systems built inside of it.

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Source: Phanteks
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: AMD

AM4 Edging Closer to Retail

Many of us were thinking that one of the bigger stories around CES would be the unveiling of a goodly chunk of AM4 motherboards.  AM4 has been around for about half a year now, but only in system integrator builds (such as HP).  These have all been based around Bristol Ridge APU (essentially an updated Carrizo APU).  These SOCs are not exactly barn burners, but they provide a solid foundation for a low-cost build.  The APUs features 2 modules/4 cores, a GCN based GPU, and limited southbridge I/O functionality.

am4_01.jpg

During all this time the motherboards available from these OEMs are very basic units not fit for retail.  Users simply could not go out and buy a Bristol Ridge APU and motherboard for themselves off of Newegg, Amazon, and elsewhere.  Now after much speculation we finally got to see the first AM4 retail style boards unveiled at this year’s CES.  AMD showed off around 16 boards based on previously unseen B350 and X370 chipsets.

AMD has had a pretty limited number of chipsets that they have introduced over the years.  Their FM2+ offerings spanned the A series of chipsets, but they added very little in terms of functionality as compared to the 900 series that populate the AM3+ world.  The latest offering from AMD was the A88x which was released in September 2013.  At one time there was supposed to be a 1000 series of chipsets for AM3+, but those were cancelled and we have had the 900 series (which are identical to the previous 800 series) since 2011.  This has been a pretty stagnant area for AMD and their partners.  3rd party chips have helped shore up the feature divide between AMD and Intel’s regular release of new chipsets and technologies attached to them.

am4_02.jpg

There are three primary chipsets being released as well as two physical layer chips that allow the use of the onboard southbridge on Ryzen and Bristol Ridge.  The X370 for the enthusiast market, the B350 for the mainstream, and then the budget A320.  The two chipset options for utilizing the SOC’s southbridge functionality are the X300 and A/B300.

Before we jump into the chipsets we should take a look at what kind of functionality Ryzen and Bristol Ridge have that can be leveraged by motherboard manufacturers.  Bristol Ridge is a true SOC in that it contains the GPU, CPU, and southbridge functionality to stand alone.  Ryzen is different in that it does not have the GPU portion so it still requires a standalone graphics card to work.  Bristol Ridge is based off of the older Carrizo design and does not feature the flexibility in its I/O connections that Ryzen does.

am4_03.png

Bristol Ridge features up to 8 lanes of PCI-E 3.0.  The I/O on it includes 2 native SATA6G ports as well as the ability to either utilize two more PCI-e lanes or have them as x2 NVME.  That is about as flexible as it gets.  It also natively supports four USB 3.1 gen 1 ports.  For a chip that was designed to be a mobile focused SoC it makes sense that it will not max out PCI-E lanes or SATA ports.  It still is enough to satisfy most mobile and SFF builds.

Click here to read more about AMD's AM4 platform!

CES 2017: Brad Sams (Thurrott.com) Tests the Dell Canvas

Subject: Displays | January 7, 2017 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: pen display, dell canvas, dell, CES 2017, CES

I have to say that this one is more than a little disappointing. Brad Sams over at Thurrott.com got some time with the Dell Canvas, which is supposed to fill the same niche as Microsoft’s Surface Studio, just as a peripheral instead of a whole PC. In short, he came out of his experience luke-warm on the product, complaining about the screen quality and input latency.

While he spent quite a bit of time complaining about Dell choosing a lower-resolution panel for the Canvas, I’m not really sure that matters too much from a practical standpoint. I see game artists and other designers considering this device, over the Surface Studio, if they require the performance of a full desktop with one or more discrete, add-in board graphics cards. I could see complaint about color accuracy, and if the Dell Canvas is weak in that regard, then I could see that being a problem, especially for those who print their illustrations. If it’s just resolution, then I would guess that there would be some who would happily choose 1440p over a laptop GPU. It’s a display for input, not content consumption or even full-resolution preview.

dell-2017-ces-canvashero.jpg

This brings us to the other complaint: Input Latency. From what I see in the video, he could have a point there. Some actions, like turning the dial, seem to keep up with him, but a few pen strokes look like they lag behind. I would like to see a handful of artists use it and see if it’s noticeable, but, if it is, that could be a massive deal-breaker. At the same time, my Cintiq 22HD looks like it lags too, but is comfortable to use, so it might be fine.

The Dell Canvas is launching on March 30th for $1,799 USD.

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Source: Dell

CES 2017: EVGA Announces a Trio of Intel Z270 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | January 6, 2017 - 10:24 PM |
Tagged: stinger, motherboard, mini-itx, kaby lake, intel z270, Intel Optane, Intel, FTW K, eatx, Classified K, CES 2017, CES, atx

EVGA has introduced three new motherboards based on the new Intel Z270 chipset, with new versions of their Classified K, FTW K, and Stinger designs.

EVGA_Z270.jpg

We'll start with the Z270 Classified K, an EATX form-factor board with all of the storage support bases covered (M.2, U.2, and Intel Optane Memory ready), Killer E2500 and Intel i219 NICs, Creative Sound Core3D audio, along with "a newly-designed VRM and hardware design built for cutting-edge performance and overclockability".

EVGA Z270 Classified K features:

  • Highly-Efficient 13 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Triple BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Intel Thunderbolt Support
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor
  • 300% Increase in CPU Gold Content

EVGA_mobos.jpg

Next there is Z270 FTW K, a standard ATX form-factor option that offers the same storage flexibility as the larger Classified K including Intel Optane Memory support, Killer E2400 and Intel i219 NICs, and 11-Phase Digital VRM power delivery (among other things).

EVGA Z270 FTW K features:

  • Highly-Efficient 11 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor
  • 150% Increase in CPU Gold Content

EVGA_stinger.jpg

Finally, there is the mini-ITX Z270 Stinger, which packs a surprising number of features into a 6.7-inch square, including 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi, an Intel i219 NIC, M.2, U.2, and Intel Optane support:

  • Highly-Efficient 6 Phase VRM
  • Onboard Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • 150% Increase in CPU Gold Content

Pricing and availablity information is not yet available.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

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Source: EVGA

CES 2017: Hands-on with the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ HDR Monitor

Subject: Displays | January 6, 2017 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: swift, ROG, PG27UQ, monitor, high dynamic range, hdr, display, CES 2017, CES, asus

While the announcement of a new 27-inch HDR display from ASUS leaked a bit early, the ROG Swift PG27UQ is now official, and Ryan spent some quality time with this impressive display at CES:

There is no shortage of lust-worthy specifications from the PG27UQ, with a 144 Hz refresh rate from its 4K panel, NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR with 384-zone local dimming from its direct LED backlighting system, 1000 nit peak brightness, and quantum dot technology for a wide color gamut.

Here are the specifications for the ROG Swift PG27UQ from ASUS:

  • Display Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Panel type: 27in (16:9) IPS panel
  • Backlight Type: Direct LED; dynamically controlled across 384 zones
  • High Dynamic Range: Yes, HDR 10
  • Refresh rate: Up to 144Hz
  • Brightness: 1,000cd/m² (peak)
  • Quantum Dot Technology: Yes
  • Input: DisplayPort 1.4 x2, HDMI x1

ROG_SWIFT.jpg

No specifics on pricing or availably have been announced yet.

(Update -- Scott Michaud @ January 6th, 11pm EST: ASUS has published a blog post claiming that the monitor will be available in Q3. OC3D claims that the price will be $1199, although that doesn't seem right and our anonymous sources have it closer to $1500.)

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CES 2017: Symantec Announces Norton Core Router

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2017 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: symantec, router, iot, internet of things, CES 2017, CES, 802.11ac

Symantec has recently announced the Norton Core router and the Norton Core Security Plus subscription service. The Norton branding hints that these are targeted at their home and family customers, which is accurate. The combination is designed to connect your internet-of-things devices, keeping them (and the other things on the network) from being maliciously manipulated, even if those things weren’t really created with security at the forefront.

Symantec claims that the Norton Core router is both security- and performance-minded. The router is built around a dual-core, 1.7 GHz SoC, backed with 1GB of RAM. The AC2600-listed router is capable of 4x4 MU-MIMO, utilizing both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands simultaneously, for a maximum total bandwidth of 2.5 gigabit.

This brings us to the service. One of the main goals of Norton Core Security Plus is to scan packets as they are transmitted between devices for malware, and isolate affected ones into a quarantined area. They also have a few services to make it easy for users to set up guest access and otherwise manage their network.

The Norton Core is expected to ship in the summer for $279.99 USD MSRP. Early users can get it for $199.99 on pre-order, though, with a year of Norton Core Security Plus bundled in. After the year, this service will cost about $9.99 per month.

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Source: Symantec

CES 2017: D-Link Launches New Wi-Fi Routers and Extenders

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2017 - 04:10 AM |
Tagged: wifi, D-Link, CES 2017, CES, 802.11ac

D-Link recently announced two new Covr branded wireless products that promise to blanket homes in Wi-Fi and eliminate dead spots. The Covr Wi-Fi System is a D-Link DIR-883 router and DAP-1655 extender kit while the Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System is a kit with two Wi-Fi equipped DHP-W730AV Powerline Ethernet adapters. The two kits are sold separately as are additional access points and powerline adapters to extend the network further.

The Covr Wi-Fi System will use a traditional hub and spoke setup with the extenders connecting directly to the central router. However, a promised future update will allegedly add mesh networking capabilities where the extenders can speak to other extenders allowing users to, well, extend the network further (at reduced bandwidth though) and/or improve spotty coverage.

ces17-dlink-covr-wifi.jpg

The DIR-883 and DAP-1655 support 802.11ac with MU-MIMO. Reportedly, the kit supports Qualcomm Technologies' Wi-Fi SON (Self Organizing Network) technology along with Smart Steering which boils down to technology that allows automatic load balancing between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, traffic prioritization, and a single SSID that allows end devices to connect to whichever router or extender offers the best signal. The router supports 4x4 802.11ac and speeds up to 1733 MHz on the 5GHz and 800 MHz on the 2.4 GHz band while the extender supports 2x2 802.11ac with speeds up to 867 MHz (5 GHz) and 400 MHz (2.4 GHz). If it follows the same modes as the existing DAP-1665, it should support access point, bridge, and repeater modes though the specifications page does not detail this yet.

The benefit to this type of setup/kit is ease of use. In fact, the router and extender come pre-paired out of the box and while you can use existing wired connections as the backhaul to extend the wireless network for best performance, if you can't do that you can use repeater mode to extend the network without needing to lay new Ethernet or use MoCA/Powerline (at reduced performance). It is also a complete kit in that it comes with the router and access point(s) in the box.

Alternatively (or in addition to if you really want to get crazy with multiple extenders and adapters say in a multi-story or long ranch style home) the Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System is a kit that you can use to extend your existing wired home network to provide Wi-Fi (and wired Ethernet) to any location in your home with an electrical outlet. The specific adapters that D-Link uses (DHP-W730AV) each have two wireless antennas and three Gigabit Ethernet ports. Using Powerline AV2 MIMO technology (it can use any two of the three electrical connections, positive, negative, groud; whichever gets the best connection), the adapters are rated at speeds up to 1300 Mbps. (Note that you will see much less than this in real world speeds, and that this is the internal Powerline throughput number, and even if it was perfect (clean wiring, no interference, ect), it would be limited by the 1000 Mbps Ethernet ports and wireless connections. That overhead is needed though, because as you add additional powerline adapters, throughput is going to drop because the internet network is hub-like rather than switched.) D-Link claims the adapters offer roaming for devices, load balancing between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, and a simplified single-button security setup (though if possible you should manually create a network key rather than use the defaults).

D-Link Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System.png

The benefit to this kit is that you can bolt it onto your existing home network and/or simply pick your own router and switch if you want to unlike the other Covr kit. Using a wired backbone is also, at least in theory, more stable and performant than a wireless connection back to the router or worse an intermediary device (e.g. a true mesh setup).

As far as pricing and availability, the Covr Wi-Fi System and Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System will be available by Q2 2017 for $299.99 and $199 respectively.

Pricing seems to be okay for MSRPs and is certainly better than the $470 that D-Link wanted for the kit it announced at last year's CES! The powerline kit does seem to be on the expensive side to me but is not totally out of the ballpark of what I've seen. It is always good to have more options for home networking, and hopefully reviews will start trickling in as they get closer to launch.

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CES 2017: Audio-Technica Expands Wireless Headphone Lineup with aptX Bluetooth

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2017 - 03:02 AM |
Tagged: wireless, headphones, CES 2017, CES, bluetooth, aptX

On the high-end audio side of things Audio-Technica has added to its wireless headphone lineup with both on-ear and in-ear models featuring aptX technology for high quality Bluetooth audio.

AT Headphones.jpg

ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT headphones

The high-end ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT are Audio-Technica's first wireless headphones with their new Pure Digital Drive system:

This new technology keeps the audio signal completely digital from the audio source to the headphones’ drivers, without the need for D/A conversion stages that typically degrade the sound quality. Traditionally, the digital signal goes through a series of steps that process and transform the wireless signal. This presents several opportunities for distortion in audio quality. Our Pure Digital Drive technology eliminates the opportunities for disruption and distortion that occur in the conversion stages, providing users with a high-quality listening experience.

ATH-AR3BT.jpg

SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT headphones

Other new models include a "high-performance/high-value" offering in the SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT on-ear headphones, a compact folding design with a new dynamic driver "to deliver richly detailed sound" that the company says "sets a new value standard for high-performance on-ear wireless headphones" at its $119 MSRP.

ATH-CKS990BT-and-ATH-CKS550BT.jpg

ATH-CKS990BT and ATH-CKS550BT in-ear monitors

In-ear options ATH-CKS990BT ($199) and ATH-CKS550BT ($119) in the Solid Bass series feature "Dual Magnetic Field drivers with Multiple-Transition diaphragms for improved sound", and will provide better wireless functionality and better controls than previous models.

All of these new wireless headphones and in-ear monitors will be available this spring.

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