Windows Media Centre has strut and fret it's hour upon the stage ...

Subject: Systems | October 22, 2018 - 04:20 PM |
Tagged: windows media center, htpc, hdhomerun, Connect Quatro

One of the casualties of Microsoft's new operating systems has been Windows Media Centre, an incredibly easy way to watch and record TV as well as stream your own media.  What does one do with that old HTPC, once you have finally moved on from an old Windows version that supported WMC?  This is the question that this Tech Report writer has answered in this article.   With the help of some old hardware and a new HDHomeRun Connect Quatro can he create a similar solution to his dear departed Media Centre?  How can the old .wtv files be saved?  Find out by clicking that link.

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"I figure I'm on the tail end of converts from ye olde Windows Media Center, but I know there are diehards still out there lamenting their loss or maybe still fighting to get Windows Media Center working on Windows 10 in a post-April Update world. To those of you good people, take a deep breath and listen to my tale. Maybe it will help you find peace."

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CTL Announces i7-Powered Chromebox CBx1

Subject: Systems | October 16, 2018 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: ctl, mini-pc

CTL is a PC manufacturer that focuses on customers in the education and government sectors. Today’s announcement is that they are adding a mini-PC to their line of Google Chrome OS devices, which is powered by a Core i7-8550U.

It will be available in November for $599 USD.

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Interestingly, the device is capable of dual-monitor output if you have one monitor that supports HDMI and another monitor that supports USB type C. They don’t say what else that type C port could be used for, however. It also has two USB 2.0 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Wireless AC (2x2), and Bluetooth 4.2 for I/O. The models start at 8GB of RAM and 32GB of SSD, but that can be expanded to 16GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD.

The device is covered by a one-year warranty, although with two-way shipping covered.

Source: CTL

MSI's Aegis 3 gaming PC, aka Isaac

Subject: Systems | September 24, 2018 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: msi, aegis 3, gtx 1070 ti, i7-8700, Optane

If you like your system to glare aggressively at you, or are a fan of the Dead Space series then you should check out the review of MSI's latest Aegis system over at Kitguru.  It may look huge at first glance but it stands a mere 433x376x169mm (17x14.8x6.7") so you might just be able to fit this on your desk.  Inside is something a little unexpected, a 16GB Optane stick, which somehow doesn't fit with the i7-8700, GTX 1070 Ti and 16GB of DDR4-2400; especially as it MSI will not ship any with a GTX 1070 Ti, only a GTX 1060 or 1070.  There is also the matter of the 40mm fan which cools the PSU.

If you like the look of the case, and are willing to spend a premium to get it; take a look at the review.

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"I am of course talking about the aggressive, angular design of the machine – you will either love it or hate it. It does have some decent internal hardware, though, including an i7-8700, GTX 1070 Ti and support for Intel’s Optane technology. Is it any good?"

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Source: Kitguru

NVIDIA and Arrow Electronics New Jetson Xavier AI Computer

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 10, 2018 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: jetson xavier, nvidia, arrow electronics

Looking to do a little bit of black box programming but need new hardware to do it?  NVIDIA have partnered with Arrow Electronics to produce the newest Jetson system, the Xavier.

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The Xavier supports JetPack and DeepStream SDKs, as well as CUDA, cuDNN, and TensorRT software libraries.  The 512-core Volta GPU with Tensor Cores offer 10 TFLOPS at FP16 and 20 TOPS at INT8, with the two NVDLA engines adding another 5 TOPS each.  It is not just the processing power which has been upgraded, running full out the Xavier is rated at 30W with the option to reduce that maximum to 10W or 15W if efficiency is more important than raw speed.

If you are currently using the Jetson TX2 you have some thinking to do as this units pin-out will not be compatible, however many of the signals are.  The units are in pre-order right now, with the Dev Kit selling for $2500 (USD), $1300 if you are a NVIDIA Developer Program member.

Check out the specs and PR below.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NVIDIA and Arrow Electronics, Inc. today announced they are bringing NVIDIA Jetson Xavier, a first-of-its-kind computer designed for AI, robotics and edge computing, to companies worldwide to create next-generation autonomous machines.

The collaboration combines NVIDIA’s world-leading AI capabilities with Arrow’s global roster of industrial customers and its broad support network of engineers and designers. This opens the door to the development and deployment of AI solutions for manufacturing, logistics, smart cities, healthcare and more.

“We are entering a new era of intelligent machines that will supercharge industries from manufacturing to healthcare,” said Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Machines at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA and Arrow are working together to ensure that the unmatched AI capabilities of the Jetson Xavier platform reach deep into the global marketplace with first-class technical support and design.”

“At Arrow, we focus on connecting our global customers and developers to the right technology to enable transformative digital business,” said Aiden Mitchell, vice president and general manager, IoT Global Solutions at Arrow. “NVIDIA’s AI platform and Jetson Xavier is at that point, and our industrial customers can secure the Xavier developer kit from Arrow.com today.”

Jetson Xavier — available as a developer kit that customers can use to prototype designs — is supported by comprehensive software for building AI applications.

This includes the NVIDIA JetPack and DeepStream SDKs, as well as CUDA, cuDNN and TensorRT™ software libraries. At its heart is the new NVIDIA Xavier processor, which provides more computing capability than a powerful workstation and comes in three energy-efficient operating modes.

“Edge intelligence in modern robotics is a critical component in driving new use cases and increasing adoption. This relationship is primed to showcase the value of robotics in new areas and help drive continued innovation in the space,” said John Santagate, research director of Worldwide Robotics at IDC.

The NVIDIA Jetson Xavier developer kit is now available for purchase through Arrow’s website at https://www.arrow.com/nvidia.

 

Source: NVIDIA
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Azulle

Introduction, Specifications, and Design

Azulle's Inspire Barebone Mini PC offers a range of processor options and is, in all but the Intel Core i7 variant, a fanless system. The Inspire supports up to 32GB of DDR4 across two SoDIMMs, and supports both 2.5-inch SATA and M.2 storage. We had a chance to test out a Core i5-powered variant, and we'll explore both the design and performance in this review.

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As this is a barebone system, the Inspire - like Intel NUC computers - requires users to supply memory and storage, leaving only the processor to be selected when you order. Four Intel platform options are available, with Apollo Lake ($169.99), Core i3 ($269.99), Core i5 ($334.99), and Core i7 ($449.99) CPUs. Our review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U, which is the $334.99 configuration, and Azulle sent over NVMe storage and DDR4 memory to make this a complete system.


Specifications from Azulle:

  • Processor:
    • Intel Apollo Lake J4205
    • Intel Kaby Lake i3-7100U
    • Intel Kaby Lake i5-7200U
    • Intel Kaby Lake i7-7500U
  • RAM: Up to 32 GB DDR4
  • Storage: MMC Optonal, SSD supported
    • M.2. Slot: x1
    • SATA: x1
  • GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 620
  • Wi-Fi: 2.4g/5.0g Dual-Band
  • Ethernet: 1x Gigabit
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
  • DisplayPort: x1 Port, 4K @ 60 FPS
  • HDMI: x1 Port, 4K @ 60 FPS
  • USB: x3 3.0 Port, x1 Type-C
  • SD Card Slot: x1
  • IR: IR Control
  • Audio Output: 3.5 mm Jack
  • BIOS: Wake On LAN/ PXE/Auto Power
  • Power Supply: 12V/3A
  • Dimensions: 4.9 in x 4.9 in x 1.9 inches

Pricing and Availability:

  • Inspire Mini PC Barebone - Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7200U: $334.99, Amazon

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Continue reading our review of the Azulle Inspire Intel Kaby Lake fanless mini-PC!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Falcon Northwest

Overview

Editor's Note: The initial version of this review incorrectly listed the Tiki as having 16GB of RAM, it actually has 32GB of memory.

Looking back through the PC Perspective archives as I prepared for this review, I was shocked to find we've never actually tested a Falcon Northwest Tiki system. Since its introduction in 2012, the Tiki has been a mainstay at conventions like CES, providing a compact solution for manufacturers to provide demos of their hardware and software.

With a base milled out of solid aluminum and GPU cut out window, the Tiki provides modest design flair while still remaining relatively tame and "adult-like" compared to many premium gaming PC options.

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The Tiki is available with three different CPU platforms. Users have their pick from Intel X370 and X299, and even X470 platforms based around AMD’s Ryzen CPUs. It’s great to see system builders like Falcon Northwest embracing Ryzen CPUs in some of their flagship models like the Tiki.

Falcon Northwest Tiki  (configuration as reviewed)
Processor Intel Core i7-8086K (Coffee Lake)
Motherboard ROG STRIX Z370-I GAMING
Cooler Asetek 550LC 120mm AIO Water Cooler
Graphics NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB
Memory 32GB (2x16B) G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-3000
Storage

Intel SSD Optane 905P 1.5TB U.2

Power Supply Silverstone SFX-650W 
Dimensions 4" Wide x 13.5" Deep x 13.25" Tall. (715 cubic inches)
OS Windows 10 Pro
Price $6,242 (as configured) - Falcon NW

By looking at the specs, it’s clear that the configuration of Tiki we were sent for review packs a lot of punch into its relatively small form-factor. Not only is the Core i7-8086K the highest-end offering for the Z370 platform, Falcon Northwest has further overclocked the CPU to 5.3 GHz (single thread maximum).

The CPU isn’t the only high-end component found in the Tiki either. Both the graphics card and storage solutions are nearing “overkill level” with the inclusion of an NVIDIA Titan Xp as well as 1.5TB of 3D XPoint storage in the form of an Intel Optane 905P U.2 drive.

Click here to continue reading our review of the Falcon Northwest Tiki!

In the summertime, when the computer is hot ...

Subject: Systems | June 7, 2018 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: DIY, system build

Why not cool down with some new components or build an entire system; thus avoiding the fiery ball of death which inhabits the sky this time of year?  They are as excited as we on the Hardware Leaderboard that you do not have to mortgage your life in order to afford the RAM and GPU for a new build.  The benefits of competition show in their builds, with their system builds showing a mix of AMD and Intel processors; NVIDIA still holds the GPU choices for now however.  Drop by for a look at what might be your next build.

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"Welcome to TR's Summer 2018 System Guide. This is where the TR staff picks out the créme de la créme of hardware components fit for the most price-effective builds around. We've tried to create builds across a wide range of price points with parts that provide the best performance possible for the money."

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Psst! Hey buddy, wanna buy an AMD powered gaming machine?

Subject: Systems | May 31, 2018 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: ryzen 7, Predator Orion 5000, Predator Helios 500, Predator, nitro 50, gaming machine, amd, acer

The wait is almost over for those looking for a boutique built AMD gaming machine, of either the mobile or sedentary variety according to the announcement today from Acer.  They've announced the pending arrival of three new systems, the Predator Orion 5000 and Acer Nitro 50 desktops as well as the Predator Helios 500 gaming laptop all of which will be shown off at Computex 2018 in Taipei.

Acer Predator Helios 500 AMD_preview.png

Starting small, well relatively so, is the $2100, 17.3" Helios 500 laptop which comes with your choice of Freesync display, either a 1080p with a 144Hz top refresh rate or a 4k display if you so prefer.  Inside is a Ryzen 2 processor and a Vega 56 GPU, cooled by Acer's AeroBlade 3D metal fans, with exhaust worthy of a CEC YT-1300.  It also has some interesting audio features, using  Waves Nx head-tracking technology to control the built in speakers to give you a more immersive audio experience.

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Next in power would be the Acer Nitro 50 desktop, also featuring a second generation Ryzen processor and a choice of either RX 580 or GTX 1060 GPUs to power your chosen monitor.  As with the CPU and GPU, the storage depends on the model you chose, with a 516GB SSD and 3TB HDD at the top tier.  The Nitro 50 also comes with a Qi compatible wireless charging deck for wireless lovers.  It will start at $900 and head up from there.

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Last comes the big hitter, the Predator Orion 5000 pairing a Ryzen 2 with a GTX 1080 in it's most powerful configuration.  As you would expect from a $1500+ system, it has been designed to look good as well as perform.  Tempered glass on the side, with easy access to the interior for upgrades along with comprehensive cable management and Acer's IceTunnel 2.0 airflow management system which segregates your components into different sections to improve heat transfer. 

You can't buy them quite yet but expect to hear more about these and other Ryzen powered gaming machines in the near future.

Source: Acer

Velocity Micro Unleashes Epyc ProMagix HD150 Workstation

Subject: Systems | May 3, 2018 - 07:39 AM |
Tagged: velocity micro, EPYC, EPYC 7601, amd, workstation

AMD scored another design win with Velocity Micro announcing a new workstation built around the Zen-based EPYC processor. The new ProMagix HD150 is a single socket Epyc-based system that slots in between the company's existing ThreadRipper-based HD80A and the dual socket Epyc HD360A workstations. The Velocity Micro system takes the company's GX4 aluminum E-ATX chassis and crams a ton of processing power into it.

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The new workstation is based around the Supermicro H11SSL motherboard and it can be confiugred with up to an AMD Epyc 7601 processor with 32 cores and 64 threads clocked at 2.2 GHz base and 3.2 GHz boost with 64MB L3 cache and 128 lanes of PCI-E. The processor which is cooled by a closed loop liquid cooler with 240mm radiator can be paired with up to 512GB DDR4-2666 ECC RDIMMs or 256GB ECC LRDIMMs for main memory and up to a 2TB Samsung 960 Pro SSD (or two Crucial MX550s) and two 8TB mechanical hard drives for storage. The Supermicro board has sixteen SATA ports as well as multiple PCI-E x16 and x8 slots so users can add plenty of additional storage and I/O expansion. Further, users can configure the system with a NVIDIA Quadro GP100 graphics accelerator as well as up to two Radeon Pro SSG Vega 10 cards (there are also NVIDIA GTX, Titan, and Quadro or AMD Vega, WX Pro, and SSG options) for GPGPU tasks. The two Radeon Pro SSG cards have 4096 stream processors, 16GB of HBM2, and 2TB of solid state storage each and are rated at 12.3 TFLOPS of single precision and 769 GFLOPS of double precision performance.

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Needless to say, you can configure an extremely capable workstation thanks to AMD's Epyc that can handle both CPU and GPU efficient tasks with plenty of I/O lanes for storage and expansion. Velocity Micro claims that the HD150 workstation is aimed at simulation, rendering, 8K video editing, and machine learning workloads. The systems can be configured on their website or customized by ordering over the phone and start at $3,299 with a default one year warranty and lifetime US-based support. The workstations are built and tested in Richmond, Virginia. As far as pricing, this, ahem, Epyc system is squarely an enterprise affair with fully loaded configurations passing $33,000 easily.

It is promising to see AMD's server processor getting design wins in this market space.

Rumor: Intel to Launch Cannon Lake-U NUCs with AMD RX 500-series Graphics

Subject: Systems | April 20, 2018 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: RX 550, radeon, NUC8i3CYSM3, NUC8i3CYSM2, nuc, Intel, i3-8121u, Dawson Canyon, crimson canyon, cnl-u, cannon lake u, baby canyon, amd

 

Rumors surfacing from the WinFuture site seem to indicate that the Hades Canyon NUC and Kaby Lake-G processors aren't the end of Intel and AMD's relationship for compact PCs.

WinFuture was able to get their hands on some photos of both the hardware and software of the yet to be announced Crimson Canyon NUC. While there have been rumors, and even retail listings floating around recently about this Cannon Lake U-based NUC, WinFuture has uncovered a secret within this device—a discrete AMD Radeon GPU.

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Source: WinFuture.de

On the CPU side, the Crimson Canyon NUC seems to be based on the i3-8121U. Based on previous leaks, this processor will be part of the Cannon Lake-U family and one of the first parts produced on Intel's 10nm manufacturing process.

crimson canyon-2.png

Source: WinFuture.de

WinFuture has also sourced an image from what appears to be the AMD's Radeon Software package showing this NUC features "Radeon 500-series" graphics. While this could mean a few things, we take it along with reference to "2GB of GDDR5" on the leaked NUC box to mean that Intel is integrating a Polaris-based GPU and GDDR5 memory into a NUC system.

Unlike the Hades Canyon NUC, we do not expect this to be a CPU and GPU on the same package. Rather, it appears that Intel will be integrating the Polaris GPU, GDDR5, and associated power circuitry on the NUC motherboard.

Based on the 90W power adapter for the entire system, 2GB of GDDR5, and the leaked core clock frequency from the Radeon Software, it seems likely this GPU will be most closely related to AMD's current RX 550 GPU. 

Update: It appears our speculation of the mystery GPU being an RX 550 is correct according to a 3DMark score listing we've been pointed to. For reference, this would place 3DMark 11 performance levels around the MX150 found in a lot of ultrabooks, as we measured here.

Interestingly enough, we found the RX550 to be in the same class of graphics performance as AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G APU when we reviewed that processor a few months ago.

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A leaked Geekbench score from earlier in the year outs the i3-8121U as a dual-core, hyperthreaded part. Performance of this i3 part seems to be roughly in line with the Baby Canyon-based NUC7i5BNH containing an i5-7260U processor. 

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Interestingly enough, from the retail listings it appears this NUC will be sold as pre-configured systems, with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 2.5" HDD, and Windows 10 as opposed to the traditional barebones NUC options.

Overall, it seems odd for Intel to be launching their first traditional form factor NUC with discrete graphics on top of an i3-based CPU. We'd love to see the potential for discrete AMD graphics with a quad-core based U-series part like i7-8650U found in the Dawson Canyon NUC we took a look at recently.

We're eager to hear more about this Crimson Canyon NUC, it's Radeon graphics, and the 10nm Cannon Lake-U processor hiding inside. Stay tuned for more news about this platform as they become available!

Source: WinFuture