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Subject: Systems | May 12, 2017 - 03:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system guide
2017 has been a good year for system guides as we finally have new hardware with a compelling reason to upgrade. AMD now has new processors and the refreshed Polaris cards may tempt those who have a GPU several generations out of date. NVIDIA released a graphics card which will tempt those who want the best and the SSD market continues to grow exponentially.
The Tech Report have updated their build recommendations for May and you can check out their new builds right here. The recommendations span budgets from around $500 to $5000 so almost everyone is included.
"AMD's Ryzen 5 CPUs are shaking up the midrange CPU market, and we're here to help builders navigate this unfamiliar terrain with the latest edition of our System Guide. We also account for the introduction of AMD's Radeon RX 500-series graphics cards."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
Subject: Systems | May 3, 2017 - 04:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pro, prebuilt system, ONE, GTX 1080, force LE, Corsair Link, corsair, 7700k
You have already seen Ken's review of the Corsair One Pro, but there was something he didn't have the guts to do; rip it open and expose its innards. The Tech Report were not that squeamish and risked cracking open the machine to see what the layout inside was. The news is good and bad, the components are squeezed into an impressively small space and the layout is very effective at cooling in such a confined space. However it is not easy to swap out components, the watercooling hoses are so short the case cannot be fully opened without disconnecting them and while you could add in an M.2 drive, you need to completely remove the GPU to get at it. Drop by to take a look at the titillating pictures and see what The Tech Report thought of this compact gaming powerhouse.
"Corsair's One Pro promises full-fat desktop performance from a system much smaller than most off-the-rack Mini-ITX PCs. We turned up the heat on the One Pro to see whether Corsair's liquid-cooling know-how can really shrink full-size desktop performance into a 13-liter package."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Dragon Flair Inferno GR4 (i7 7700K/ GTX1080) System @ Kitguru
- ECS LIVA Z @ techPowerUp
- MSI WS63 7RK Mobile Workstation (Nvidia Quadro P3000 6GB) @ Kitguru
Subject: Systems | April 19, 2017 - 08:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tinker board, iot, asus
The ASUS Tinker Board is a full system in a tiny form factor, similar to Raspberry Pi or Arduino's products to name a few competitors in the now busy market. At its heart is the Rockchip RK3288, four ARM Cortex-A17 CPU cores running at 1.8GHz with a Mali-T764 GPU at 600MHz. They are available now for slightly more than the announced $54.99 and will run a Debian based OS called ASUS TinkerOS.
Inside are an array of options for add-ins, including a 40-pin GPIO header, a 15-pin MIPI DSI and a15-pin MIPI CSI as well as a2-pin contact point for PWM or S/PDIF signals. Externally you will have four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack to give you flexibility in how you utilize your Tinker Board. For connectivity there is a wired NIC as well as 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. You can read the full PR below.
Fremont, CA (April 19, 2017) -- ASUS, maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning motherboards, is excited to launch the ASUS Tinker Board in North America today. Imagine the freedom to make your ideas come alive, the ability to invent an IoT device for a connected home or just having fun creating an entertainment hub for the family or powering your DIY robot project at school. With Tinker Board, the possibilities to create personalized devices are endless. Tinker Board is a single-board computer (SBC), which makes it the ideal foundation for makers, hobbyists, educators, and electronic DIY enthusiasts to develop and build low-cost, great-performing computers.
Features & Functionality
ASUS Tinker Board offers class-leading performance, robust multimedia support, IoT connectivity, and enhanced DIY design and compatibility with a wide range of leading SBC chassis and accessories. The result is a near credit card sized computer that offers people the freedom to tinker and apply their ingenuity to create platforms for a wide variety of uses.
Key features of Tinker Board include:
- CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip RK3288 SoC quad-core processor
- GPU: Mali-T764 GPU Video:
- HD/UHD video playback support – including H.264/H.265 decoding Audio: 192kHz/24-bit audio support
- Memory: 2GB of dual-channel LPDDR3
- Storage: Micro SD(TF) slot features SD 3.0 support
- Connectivity: Bluetooth° 4.0 + EDR and on-board 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- Networking: 1Gb Ethernet
- Ports: (4) USB2.0 ports, (1) HDMI 1.4 out port, (1) 3.5mm audio jack
- I/O Ports: (1) 40-pin GPIO interface header, (1) 15-pin MIPI DSI, (1) 15-pin MIPI CSI, (1) 2-pin contact point for PWM and S/PDIF signals
- Power: Suggested 5V/2A AC adaptor via the micro-USB port (power adaptor not included)
- OS: (Debian-based Linux) & Android Support
- Dimensions/Weight: 85.60mm x 56mm x 21mm, 45g without included heatsink
Subject: Systems, Mobile | April 19, 2017 - 08:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: notebook, Lenovo, laptop, Flex 11, convertible, Chromebook, 2-in-1
Lenovo’s Flex 11 is a 2-in-1 convertible notebook design powered by a 2.1 GHz quad-core ARM processor and running Google’s Chrome OS. It features an 11.6-inch IPS multi-touch HD display, up to 10-hour battery life, and a weight under 3 lbs.
"Packing the fun of a tablet with the power punch of a PC, and designed with Android apps in mind, the Flex 11 is a 2-in-1 laptop optimized for entertainment and productivity. Its 360° hinge and 11.6" multi-touch display gives users the flexibility to shift between four dynamic modes (watch, tent, laptop, and tablet) for any combination of work and play activities."
Lenovo says the Flex 11's hardware is designed to be rugged, with drop and liquid spill resistance including a water-resistant keyboard (up to 1 cup) with “channels beneath the keyboard to drain liquid, keeping it away from sensitive electrical components”. In addition to Chrome apps the Flex 11 will support the Google Play store (Lenovo says this is "coming soon").
I/O includes USB 3.0, USB Type-C, HDMI, a mic/audio jack, and an SD card slot. As to pricing/availability, the Flex 11 Chromebook starts at $279 and will be available this month.
Subject: Systems | April 13, 2017 - 02:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system guide
Sebastian posted a systems guide to inspire you this spring and the HWLB is slowly getting a refresh but we are not the only ones who are twitterpated. The Tech Report also published a brand new System Guide, timed to include Ryzen in their picks. As is their habit, they've broken the recommendations int Budget, Sweet Spot and High end systems, with a couple of bonus system builds at the end of the article. Get some great ideas for your next system right here.
"AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card have arrived, and that means it's time for a new edition of The Tech Report's System Guide. Join us as we explore how to build the best PCs with these shiny new components."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
Subject: Systems | March 23, 2017 - 03:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, CORSAIR ONE, CORSAIR ONE PRO, core i7 7700k
Today Corsair announce a family of new pre-built systems, the Corsair One series. Two of the systems will be available for purchase at your favourite retailers and two will be exclusive to Corsair's web store.
All models have aluminium cases and an an integrated liquid-cooling system for both the i7-7700k as well as the GPU, be it a GTX 1070, 1080 or 1080Ti. All systems are built on a custom MSI Z270 Mini-ITX motherboard, a Corsair FORCE LE SSD with a HDD for extra storage, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4-2400 and an 80 PLUS GOLD rated SFX PSU.
They will hit stores later this March and will come with a two year warranty which includes dedicated technical support, 24 Hour Phone support and an included suite of self-diagnostic tools. You can read the full PR below the fold.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | March 17, 2017 - 07:21 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Sky X9E3, nvidia, notebook, MXM, modular, laptop, Intel Core i7, geforce, gaming, eurocom
Fancy a desktop processor in your laptop? How about dual MXM graphics card slots? While such a machine is likely not as 'portable' as the laptop designation would make it seem, it is interesting to see a notebook product built specifically for upgradability, and that is exactly what Eurocom has done with the Sky X9E3.
"The Sky X9E3 is an SLI Ready and VR capable super high-performance supercomputer laptop. With an upgradeable desktop CPU and two upgradeable desktop GPUs cooled with high-quality copper heatsinks and IC Diamond thermal paste, and controlled by an unlocked system BIOS for the ultimate in overclocking capability."
One of the things detractors of gaming laptops will point out is the limited lifespan of a product that is often far more expensive than a high-end gaming desktop. Granted, gaming laptops generally do not follow the soldered memory trend from thin-and-light machines, allowing users to swap SODIMMs for more memory down the road, and storage is generally upgradable as well. But what about the most expensive parts of a laptop, namely CPU and (even more expensive) GPU? The use of desktop CPUs in the X9E3 is novel, and translates to ready availability for future upgrades; but MXM graphics is still a very expensive route, though I have ended up at Eurocom's website when researching MXM GPU upgrades in the past, so they are at least readily available.
What are the specifications? Eurocom sells the machine configured to order, and lists basic specs as follows:
- Chipset: Intel Z270 Express (Kaby Lake)
- Processor: socketed desktop LGA1151 CPU, up to Intel i7 7700K
- Memory: up to 64GB; DDR4-2400/2666/3000/3200; 4 RAM Sockets
- VGA Technology: NVIDIA Pascal GeForce GTX 1080 8GB DDR5X and GeForce GTX 1070 8GB DDR5; single or Dual SLI; two MXM 3.0 slots; up to 190W per slot
- Display Technology: supports total of 4 displays including LCD via 2x DP 1.3, 1x HDMI 2.0 and 1x HDMI 2.0 or DP1.2 (via USB 3.1 type C port); Nvidia Surround View
- Storage: up to 14TB or storage with 5 drives; 2x HDD/SSD (SATA3) + 3x M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4/SATA3; RAID 0/1/5; supports NVMe SSDs
- Communications: two 1GbE Killer E2400 RJ45 ports + M.2 WLAN/Bluetooth; Killer DoubleShot X3
- Operating Systems: Microsoft Windows: 10, 8.1 and 7
- Card Reader: 6-in-1 MMC/RSMMC/SD/miniSD/SDHC/SDXC up to UHS-II
- Keyboard: Illuminated, backlit with customizable 7-colours
- Security: TPM 2.0, Fingerprint and Kensington Lock
- Audio System: Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5; external 7.1CH audio output; headphone out, microphone in, S/PDIF and Line-in port; two built-in FOSTER Speakers (2W)+ Subwoofer (2.5W)
- Ports: 2x USB 3.1 type C (HDMI 2.0/DP 1.3/Thunderbolt 3); 2x miniDP 1.3; 1x HDMI 2.0; 5x USB 3.0 (1x Powered USB AC/DC); S/PDIF; Headphone; Mic; Line-in; 2x RJ45 (LAN)
- Weight and dimensions: 5.5kg / 12.1lbs; WxDxH 428x308x47.2mm / 17.12x12.32x1.88-inch
Pricing begins at $2499, which makes this a hefty proposition at the outset. But for someone looking for desktop experience in a notebook, and wants the ability to purchase faster CPUs and GPUs down the road, it may be worth it.
The updated EVGA SC17 laptop, announced on Thursday, is headlined by a 17.3-inch, 4K, IPS panel with NVIDIA G-SYNC. The panel will have a 60 Hz refresh rate, so, while games will be able to cleanly dip below the 60 FPS threshold via G-SYNC, you will not have the smooth mouse movement in productivity applications like you would on a 100+ FPS monitor. Speaking of productivity, the color gamut (coverage of sRGB and Adobe RGB) is also unlisted.
But, for our many readers that are interested in performance, EVGA has made this beefy.
Again, this is a 17.3-inch laptop, so don’t expect it to be ultra-portable by today’s standards. Weighing in at about 9 lbs, this desktop replacement is based around an unlocked Intel Core i7-6820HK processor with an NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card. While the CPU is a little over a year old, based on Skylake, it has four cores (eight threads) that can boost up to 3.6 GHz. Being that I’m running a Core i7-4790k on my production machine, this level of performance is pretty good. It even contains 32 GB of RAM.
If you're a multi-monitor type of person, it also has three display outputs: 1x HDMI 2.0b and 2x Mini DisplayPort (unclear which version level).
The EVGA SC17 1070 with NVIDIA G-SYNC is available now for $2799.99, although there’s currently a $250-off instant rebate (~$2550 USD).
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2017 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, Trident 3, kaby lake, i7-7700, gtx 1060
MSI's Trident 3 is much smaller than an Ohio class submarine, measuring roughly the same size as a PS4 Pro, albeit with a very different look. Inside you will find a Kaby Lake i7-7700, 16GB of DDR4-2400 and a GTX 1060 with storage consisting of a 256GB Kingston M.2 SATA SSD and a 1TB Hitachi Travelstar. It does lack USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt as the USB Type-C port you see is USB 3.0, it is also worth mentioning the front HDMI port will not function without the included HDMI passthrough connected on the back. The Tech Report tested it against a similar machine, the Zotac Magnus EN1070 which features a much more powerful mobile GTX 1070. On the other hand the $1300 Trident 3 comes ready to play, whereas the Zotac lacks a Windows license, storage and memory so even though it sells at $100 less than the MSI system, it may cost you more in the long run.
"MSI's Trident 3 compact PC houses a desktop Core i7-7700 CPU and a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics card in a case no larger than many of today's consoles. We put that tantalizing combo to the test to see whether MSI has achieved small-form-factor gaming nirvana."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
Subject: Systems | March 9, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, microsoft, hgx-1, GP100, dgx-1
When NVIDIA announced the Pascal architecture at last year’s GTC, they started with the GP100 architecture that was to be initially available in their $129,000 DGX-1 PC. In fact, this device contained eight of those “Big Pascal” GPUs that are connected together by their NVLink interconnection.
Now, almost a full year later, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Ingrasys have announced the HGX-1 system. It, too, will contain eight GP100 GPUs through eight Tesla P100 accelerators. On the CPU side of things, Microsoft is planning on utilizing the next generation of x86 processors, Intel Skylake (which we assume means Skylake-X) and AMD Naples in these "Project Olympus" servers. Future versions could also integrate Intel FPGAs for an extra level of acceleration. ARM64 is another goal of theirs, but in the more distant future.
At the same time, NVIDIA has also announced, through a single-paragraph statement, that they are joining the Open Compute Project. This organization contains several massive players in the data center market, spanning from Facebook to Rackspace to Bank of America.
Whenever it arrives, the HGX-1 will be intended for cloud-based AI computations. Four of these machines are designed to be clustered together at high bandwidth, which I estimate would have north of 160 TeraFLOPs of double-precision (FP64) or 670 TeraFLOPs of half-precision (FP16) performance in the GPUs alone, depending on final clocks.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 8, 2017 - 12:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: qualcomm, OCP, microsoft, falkor, centriq 2400, azure, arm, 10nm
Last December Qualcomm announced plans to launch their Centriq 2400 series of platforms for data centres, demonstrating Apache Spark and Hadoop on Linux as well as a Java demo. They announced a 48 Core design based on ARM v8 and fabbed with on Samsung's 10nm process, which will compete against Intel's current offerings for the server room.
Today marks the official release of the Qualcomm Falkor CPU and Centriq 2400 series of products, as well as the existence of a partnership with Microsoft which may see these products offered to Azure customers. Microsoft has successfully configured a version of Windows Server to run on these new chips, which is rather big news for customers looking for low powered hosting solutions running a familiar OS. The Centriq 2400 family is compliant with Microsoft's Project Olympus architecture, used by the Open Compute Project Foundation to offer standardized building blocks upon which you can design a data centre from scratch or use as an expansion plan.
Enough of the background, we are here for the specifications of the new platform and what can be loaded onto a Centriq 2400. The reference motherboard supports SOCs of up to 48 cores, with both single and dual socket designs announced. Each SOC can support up to six channels of DDR4 in either single or dual channel configurations with a maximum of 768GB installed. Falkor will offer 32 lanes of PCIe 3.0, eight SATA ports and a GbE ethernet port as well as USB and a standard 50Gb/s NIC. NVMe is supported, one design offers 20 NVMe drives with a PCIe 16x slot but you can design the platform to match your requirements. Unfortunately they did not discuss performance during their call, nor any suggested usage scenarios. We expect to hear more about that during the 2017 Open Compute Platform US Summit, which starts today.
The submission of the design to Open Compute Project ensures a focus on compatibility and modularity and allows a wide variety of designs to be requested and networked together. If you have a need for HPC performance you can request a board with an HPC GPU such as a FirePro or Tesla, or even drop in your own optimized FPGA. Instead of opting for an impressive but expensive NVME storage solution, you can modify the design to accommodate 16 SATA HDDs for affordable storage.
Qualcomm have already announced Windows 10 support on their Snapdragon, but the fact that Microsoft are internally running Windows Server on an ARM v8 based processor is much more impressive. Intel and AMD have long held reign in the server room and have rightfully shrugged of the many times in which companies have announced ARM based servers which will offer more power efficient alternatives. Intel have made huge advances at creating low power chips for the server room; AMD's recently announced Naples shows their intentions to hold their market share as well.
If the submission to the OPC succeeds then we may see the first mainstream ARM based servers appear on the market. Even if the Windows Server instances remain internal to Microsoft, the Centriq series will support Red Hat, CentOS, Canonical and Ubuntu as well as both GCC and LLVM compilers.
(click to seriously embiggen)
ARM may finally have reached the server market after all these years and it will be interesting to see how they fare. AMD and Intel have both had to vastly reduce the power consumption of their chips and embrace a diametrically opposite design philosophy; instead of a small number of powerful chips, servers of the future will consist of arrays of less powerful chips working in tandem. ARM has had to do the opposite, they are the uncontested rulers of low powered chips but have had to change their designs to increase the processing capabilities of their chips in order to produce an effective product for the server room.
Could Qualcomm successful enter the server room; or will their ARMs not have the necessary reach?
Subject: Systems, Mobile | March 4, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Tegra X1, teardown, switch, nvidia, Nintendo
Here at PC Perspective, videos of Ryan and Ken dismantling consoles on their launch date were some of our most popular... ever. While we didn’t do one for the Nintendo Switch, GamersNexus did, and I’m guessing that a segment of our audience would be interested in seeing what the device looks like when dismantled.
As he encounters many chips, he mentions what, if anything, is special about them based on their part numbers. For instance, the NVIDIA SoC is listed as A2, which is apparently different from previous Maxwell-based Tegra X1 SoCs, but it’s unclear how. From my perspective, I can think of three possibilities: NVIDIA made some customizations (albeit still on the Maxwell architecture) for Nintendo, NVIDIA had two revisions for their own purposes and Nintendo bought the A2, or the A2 shipped with NVIDIA's Maxwell-based Shield and my Google-fu is terrible.
Regardless, if you’re interested, it should be an interesting twenty-or-so minutes.
Subject: Systems | February 21, 2017 - 01:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: upgrade, sandybridge, kaby lake
The tick-tock of Intel's waltz has stuttered a bit, with many users wondering if it is worth picking up a new Kaby Lake based system. Gone are the good old days when a new generation of processors guaranteed enough of an increase in performance to justify decreasing your bank account immediately. There are several reasons for this, including the difficulties in reducing the size of the process and increasing the amount of transistors, not just the current lack of competition in the marketplace.
At The Tech Report, one of their staff were curious enough to do the upgrade, dumping their i7-2600K for an i7-7700k. Check out the results of the upgrade, with some impressive effect on the wonky but beloved Arma III engine.
"The question of whether it's worth upgrading from Intel's Sandy Bridge chips accompanies every new TR CPU review. For one TR contributor, the arrival of Kaby Lake finally motivated him to make a move. See what the upgrade to a more modern platform did for him."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 6, 2017 - 03:37 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: xeon, Thinkpad, quadro, P71, P51s, P51, nvidia, notebook, mobile workstation, Lenovo, kaby lake, core i7
Lenovo has announced a trio of new ThinkPad mobile workstations, featuring updated Intel 7th-generation Core (Kaby Lake) processors and NVIDIA Quadro graphics, and among these is the thinnest and lightest ThinkPad mobile workstation to date in the P51s.
"Engineered to deliver breakthrough levels of performance, reliability and long battery life, the ThinkPad P51s features a new chassis, designed to meet customer demands for a powerful but portable machine. Developed with engineers and professional designers in mind, this mobile workstation features Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processors and the latest NVIDIA Quadro dedicated workstation graphics, as well as a 4K UHD IPS display with optional IR camera."
Lenovo says that the ThinkPad P51s is more than a half pound lighter than the previous generation (P50s), stating that "the P51s is the lightest and thinnest mobile workstation ever developed by ThinkPad" at 14.4 x 9.95 x 0.79 inches, and weight starting at 4.3 lbs.
Specs for the P51s include:
- Up to a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor
- NVIDIA Quadro M520M Graphics
- Choice of standard or touchscreen FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, or 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS display
- Up to 32 GB DDR4 2133 RAM (2x SODIMM slots)
- Storage options including up to 1 TB (5400 rpm) HDD and 1 TB NVMe PCIe SSDs
- USB-C with Intel Thunderbolt 3
- 802.11ac and LTE-A wireless connectivity
Lenovo also announced the ThinkPad P51, which is slightly larger than the P51s, but brings the option of Intel Xeon E3-v6 processors (in addition to Kaby Lake Core i7 CPUs), Quadro M2200M graphics, faster 2400 MHz memory up to 64 GB (4x SODIMM slots), and up to a 4K IPS display with X-Rite Pantone color calibration.
Finally there is the new VR-ready P71 mobile workstation, which offers up to an NVIDIA Quadro P5000M GPU along with Oculus and HTC VR certification.
"Lenovo is also bringing virtual reality to life with the new ThinkPad P71. One of the most talked about technologies today, VR has the ability to bring a new visual perspective and immersive experience to our customers’ workflow. In our new P71, the NVIDIA Pascal-based Quadro GPUs offer a stunning level of performance never before seen in a mobile workstation, and it comes equipped with full Oculus and HTC certifications, along with NVIDIA’s VR-ready certification."
Pricing and availability is as follows:
- ThinkPad P51s, starting at $1049, March
- ThinkPad P51, starting at $1399, April
- ThinkPad P71, starting at $1849, April
Subject: Systems | January 31, 2017 - 03:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming desktop, SFF, gtx 1060, i7-7700, msi, Trident 3
MSI's Trident 3 PC comes complete with Windows 10 Home, a DS4200 keyboard and a DS B1 gaming mouse. The actual system is a mere 346.25x232.47x71.83mm (13.6x9.2x2.8") and hides a shrunken GTX 1060, a Core i7-7700, two 8GB sticks of DDR4-2400 and in the system that TechPowerUp reviewed, a 256GB Kingston SATA M.2 SSD and a 1TB Toshiba HDD. It is easy to use for VR, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C and Type-A ports as well as HDMI on the front panel. MSI did need to make some sacrifices to squeeze these components in, the system does not support overclocking nor XMP profiles. The performance at 1080p is respectable for a fully configured system and it starts at $899, with upgrades available.
"MSI's Trident 3 is a compact SFF system that can provide a console-like gaming experience. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700, a custom mITX MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB GAMING, 16 GB of RAM, an M.2 SSD and a mechanical HDD for storage duties, it is small yet extremely capable."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Gladiator SuperNova (i5 Kaby Lake) @ Kitguru
- ASRock DeskMini 110 Mini-PC @ Hardware Secrets
- DinoPC Raptor 2 (Kaby Lake 7700K 5GHz) @ Kitguru
Subject: Systems | January 24, 2017 - 10:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox one, xbox, Project Scorpio, microsoft
Digital Foundry received an Xbox Project Scorpio whitepaper from an anonymous source, although they were able to validate its authenticity. Basically, they sent it to their own, off-the-record sources who would have access to the same info, and those individuals confirmed it’s an official document that they’ve seen before. Of course, the trust bottlenecks through Digital Foundry, but they’re about as reputable as you can get in this industry, so that works.
Anywho, disclaimer aside, the whitepaper unveils a few interesting details about how Project Scorpio is expecting to provide higher performance. The most interesting change is what’s missing: the small, on-chip RAM (ESRAM). Microsoft claims that the higher global memory bandwidth removes the need to have it on Project Scorpio.
Digital Foundry is still a bit concerned that, while the 320 GB/s bandwidth might be enough, the latency might be a concern for compatibility. Personally, I’m not too concerned. Modern GPUs do a huge amount of latency-hiding tricks, such as parking whole shaders at global memory accesses and running other tasks while the GPU fetches the memory the original shader needs, swapping it back and finishing when it arrives. Also, the increased GPU performance will mean that the game has more room to be wasteful of GPU resources, since it only needs to perform at least as good as a regular Xbox One. I expect that there wouldn’t be enough round-trips to ESRAM for it to be a major slowdown when running on Project Scorpio (and its not-ESRAM).
Seriously, Wall-E with a Freddie Mercury 'stache.
Microsoft does suggest that developers make use of ESRAM on Xbox One and Xbox One S, though. Yes, don’t deliberately throw away performance on the slower machines just because that accelerator isn’t available on higher-end devices, like Project Scorpio or a gaming PC (heh heh heh).
Another point that Digital Foundry highlighted was that the actual number of rendered fragments (pixels that may or may not make it to screen) didn’t scale up by a factor-of-four (going from 1080p to 4K) in all cases. A first-party developer noticed a case where it was only a 3.5x scaling between the two resolutions. (This metric was actually rendered pixels, not even just GPU load, which would include resolution-independent tasks, like physics simulations.) I’m not exactly sure how the number of fragments decreased, but it could be due to some rendering tricks, like when Halo renders the background at a lower resolution. (Yes, I’m using Khronos verbiage; it’s less ambiguous.)
They also assume that Project Scorpio will use pre-Zen AMD CPU cores. I agree. It seems like Zen wouldn’t be around early enough to make production, especially when you consider the pre-release units that are circulating around Microsoft, and probably third-party developers, too.
Project Scorpio launches this holiday season (2017).
Subject: Displays, Systems | January 10, 2017 - 11:50 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: triple-screen, theft, stolen, report, razer, Project Valerie, multi-display, laptop, igzo, gaming, CES 2017, CES, BBC, 4k, 3-screen
While Razer did not name any particular product when first publicly posting about a theft (see FaceBook screencap below) from their booth at CES, the BBC is now reporting that "the stolen prototypes" in question were indeed the Project Valerie triple-screen laptop introduced last week.
"Two prototype models of an unusual gaming laptop with three screens have been stolen at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, according to PC maker Razer. The concept device boasts three 4K screens and is said to be the first portable laptop of its kind. Razer said the laptops had gone missing from its booth at the tech show on Sunday.
The incident was being taken 'very seriously', said chief executive Min-Liang Tan. A Razer spokesman said it was offering $25,000 (£20,600) for any 'original information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction' of those allegedly involved in the crime."
Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan initially posted news of stolen prototypes from his FaceBook page:
One would expect that the security in place at CES, including many security cameras, should produce some more information as the investigation unfolds.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2017 - 09:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: thin and light, nvidia, notebook, laptop, kaby lake, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte, gaming, CES 2017, CES
Gigabyte had a full line of new laptops to show off at this year’s CES, with models ranging from larger gaming enthusiast designs to slim machines that still offer plenty of gaming power from their discrete graphics.
We’ll start with the P56, a 15.6-inch machine with an optional 4K display, 7th-gen Intel Core i7 (Kaby Lake) processor, and GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.
“The P56 provides enthusiasts with not only ultra smooth performance but also with tools to victory. All packed in a portable quality chassis. Equipped with the next gen Intel 7th Gen Core i7 7700HQ processor and the all-powerful GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. The main core of the P56 is set to drive all the latest games, not at just 1080P but even at higher resolutions with the optional 15.6” UHD 3840x2160 display.”
The P56 is equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port, island-style keyboard with customizable per-key RGB backlighting, and a large 91Wh battery.
Next we have the Sabre 15, which is also powered by a new 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) and GTX 1050 (2GB) graphics options.
“Gamers can now fully enjoy the latest performance from the pascal architecture, with fluid gaming graphics at 1080p for most recent game titles. The keyboard plays a big role in winning or losing a game, that is why the Sabre 15 comes with optimized 2.2mm travel scissor type keys, for that extra feel and precision. To top that off, the Sabre 15 features RGB backlight keyboard with 16.8 million colors (optional).”
Rounding out the updated lineup are a trio of thin-and-light professional models that are still very capable gaming machines, beginning with the AERO 14, a 19.9mm-thick (and 4.17 lb) aluminum design which features a QHD (2560x1440) IPS screen, GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 94.24Wh battery.
Finally we have the P34 and P35 laptops, which claim the title of “world’s lightest 14” GeForce GTX 1050 Ti laptop (P34) and “world’s slimmest 15.6” GeForce GTX 1070 laptop”, respectively.
The P34 is indeed light for a gaming-ready laptop, with a weight of just 3.73 lbs. For its part the 15.6-inch P35 laptop is a very high-end option, regardless of its slim construction.
“The P35 comes in at an unbeatable 20.9mm thin and weighs just 2.3Kg. It is hard to believe that such a thin chassis has a GeForce GTX 1070 inside, outputting the same performance as the desktop GeForce GTX 1070, now on the go. GIGABYTE has swapped out the old 6th gen and opt for the latest 7th gen Core i7 processor, giving professionals multitasking capabilities like never before. The unparalleled graphical power of the GeForce GTX 1070 further drives the stunning 15.6” UHD 3840 x 2160 IPS display, professionals will definitely take advantage of such a high pixel density and high RGB accuracy display, stationed or mobile. The Swappable bay gives professionals the power to swap between Blu-ray drive or up to 2TB HDD of extra storage, providing that extra customization on the go.”
Pricing and availability information for the new laptops is not yet available.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2017 - 04:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: TX-M Series, PSU, HX Series, corsair, CES 2017, CES, bulldog, 80 Plus Platinum, 80 Plus Gold
We will let Corsair speak for themselves about these three products.
Platinum and Gold – HX and TX-M
Equipped with 100% Japanese 105°C capacitors the new HX series offers 80 Plus Platinum efficiency for up to 94% efficient operation. Fully modular cabling makes clutter-free builds easy, while a large 135mm cooling fan and Zero RPM mode allow for virtually silent operation. Rated for operating temperatures up to 50°C, the HX series is designed to deliver superb electrical performance and efficiency in the most demanding situations.
Also furnished with 100% Japanese capacitors and rated to 50°C, the new TX-M series delivers 80 Plus Gold efficiency paired with fantastic electrical performance and reliability. Combined with semi-modular cables for immaculate builds, the TX-M series hits the sweet spot of features and performance that PC enthusiasts demand.
Bulldog 2.0 - Build Your Living Room PC Better
CORSAIR Bulldog 2.0 retains the sleek looks and small form factor layout of its predecessor, effortlessly fitting into home theatre or living room setups. Within the glossy exterior, Bulldog 2.0 is completely upgraded for 2017, to be the ultimate living room barebone kit. Boasting the very latest Intel Z270 Mini-ITX motherboard from MSI, Bulldog 2.0 is ready to overclock and push performance limits with new Intel 7th Generation Core processors. Bulldog 2.0 also includes an all-new low-profile liquid CPU cooler, the H6SF, and the best-in-class CORSAIR SF600 SFX PSU, as well two low-noise 92mm PWM-controlled cooling fans based on the award-winning CORSAIR ML Series. With a high-performance case, PSU, cooler and motherboard all included and pre-installed, CORSAIR Bulldog 2.0 is the ideal starting point to build the ultimate living room PC.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vivomini, SFF, CES 2017, CES, asus
ASUS has just announced three mini PCs at CES. Each of them run Intel’s Kaby Lake processors, but they otherwise differ from one in terms of specifications, such as the number of drives, how they are connected, and so forth. Prices range from $275 up to $799, although that comparison ignores who each specific product targets, so read on for more detail below.
The UN65U make up the cheapest units of the product stack, ranging from $275 to $449 USD and available in Q1 2017. Interestingly, it also allows for up-to 512GB of SSD to be connected through M.2 via PCIe Express, and that can be expanded upon with up to 1TB of 2.5-inch HDD. The design is based on their “spun metal” pattern, common for their laptops and smartphones, which I, personally, like the look of. The device can output 4K UHD via the integrated GPU, and it comes with 802.11ac WiFi built-in. ASUS has suggested using this machine as either a home theatre PC or as a small business terminal.
The VM65 ups the graphics performance a little, including an NVIDIA GeForce 930M with Optimus technology. It apparently doesn’t have support for M.2 hard drives, but it can mount two, 2.5-inch drives, either SSD or HDD. It also has built-in WiFi and three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. It is expected to cost $549 USD and it also ships in Q1 2017.
The VC66 apparently goes back to integrated graphics, but allows both M.2 and two 2.5-inch drives, either SSD or HDD, and they can be joined with built-in RAID. It also has quite a few connectivity options: DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. It seems like they’re aiming this at businesses primarily, though, especially with the ability to remotely update its BIOS. Prices range from $499 to $799, and it ships in February 2017.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!