Subject: Systems | November 29, 2015 - 09:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, playstation 4, ps4, amd, Jaguar, APU
Of the eight Jaguar cores that Sony added to the PlayStation 4 APU, two were locked down the console's operating system and other tasks. This left the developer with six to push their workloads through. This was the same as the Xbox One until Microsoft released an update last year, which unlocked one to give seven.
NeoGAF users report that, allegedly, PlayStation 4 games can now utilize seven of the eight cores after a recent SDK update from Sony. They source a recent changelist for FMOD, a popular audio management library for PC, mobile, and console platforms, which references targeting “the newly unlocked 7th core.”
Since this is not an official Sony announcement, at least not publicly, we don't know some key details. For instance, is the core completely free, or will the OS still push tasks on it during gameplay? Will any features be disabled if the seventh core is targeted? How frequently will the seventh core be blocked, if ever? What will happen if you block it, if anything? The Xbox One is said to use about 20% of their unlocked seventh core for Microsoft-related tasks, and claiming the remaining 80% is said to disable voice recognition and Kinect features.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are interesting devices to think about. They go low frequency, but wide, in performance, similar to many mobile devices. They also utilize a well-known instruction set, x86, which obviously has a huge catalog of existing libraries and features. I don't plan on every buying another console, but they move with the industry and has a fairly big effect on it (albeit much less than previous generations).
Subject: Systems | November 27, 2015 - 02:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: y-series, razer, Lenovo, gaming pc, gaming desktop
Lenovo has partnered with Razer for co-branded Razer Edition computers, which will be special versions of Lenovo’s Y series gaming systems. Lenovo says the first device will be officially announced at CES, with a prototype on display at DreamHack Winter 2015 in Sweden.
The prototype Razer Edition desktop (featuring Skittles-inspired ground effects)
These upcoming products will clearly add some style (and color) to Lenovo's gaming computers, and while thus far only this desktop concept has been shown the Y-series from Lenovo includes gaming laptops as well, which presumably will receive the Razer treatment going forward. It is notable that the concept incorporates multiple colors with its lighting effects (which should be customizable) considering Razer is known for a black and green color scheme.
"PC gaming today offers a rich and immersive experience – thanks in part to cutting-edge graphics performance, superior processing power, and peripherals designed specifically for gaming. Lenovo will employ its system design and engineering expertise, while Razer will enhance the immersive experience for gamers. All forthcoming Lenovo Razer Edition products will be co-branded and reflect the edgy Lenovo Y series look and feel with iconic Razer elements like customizable Chroma lighting effects."
The details as far as specs and configuration options for the desktop shown are not known, and this seems to be primarily a new branding/style for the Y-series line. More might be known after DreamHack, the event which calls itself "the world's largest digital festival", which runs November 26 - 29 in Jönköping, in the south of Sweden.
Subject: Systems | November 26, 2015 - 04:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, raspberry pi zero
The Raspberry Pi Zero is a new version that lowers the cost of gigahertz-class computing devices to just $5. It is based on a 1.0 GHz ARM11 core from Broadcom that is about 40% faster than the original Raspberry Pi. It also has 512MB of RAM, which is a lot for embedded or hobbyist applications. In fact, it doubles the original Raspberry Pi Model A (and is on part with the Model B). Storage is handled by a microSD card slot, as is the case with every previous Raspberry Pi except the Compute Module.
They also offer an alternative to the $5 price tag. If you pick up the print edition of MagPi magazine #40, which is the Christmas 2015 issue, you will receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that they printed 10,000 copies of this magazine. This is probably much more interesting than a CD-ROM demo of Battlezone II.
Due to high demand, I'm not sure when you can expect to get one though.
Subject: Systems | November 23, 2015 - 09:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: dell, superfish, edellroot
The pun was too tempting, but don't take it too seriously even though it's relatively similar. In short, Dell installs a long-lived, root certificate on their machines with a private key that is now compromised (because they didn't exactly protect it too well). This certificate, and the compromised private key, can be used to sign secure connections without needing to be verified by a Certificate Authority. In other words, it adds a huge level of unwarranted trust to phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Dell has not really made any public comment on this issue yet. I don't really count the tweet from Dell Cares, because customer support is a terrible source for basically any breaking news. It's best to wait until Dell brings out an official statement through typical PR channels before assuming what their position is. Regardless of what they say, of course, your security will be heavily reduced until the certificate and eDell plug-in are removed from your device.
I'm really just wondering if Dell will somehow apologize, or stick to their guns.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 22, 2015 - 01:30 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, PCIe SSD, notebook, N752, N552, laptop, ips, Intel Core i7, GTX 960M, asus, 4k
ASUS has added two new laptops to their N series line up premium, entertainment-focused laptops. The new models offer Intel’s 6th-gen (Skylake) Core i7 processors and high resolution IPS displays, as well as fast PCIe storage and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
The new models are the 15.6-inch N552 and 17.3-inch N752, and both sizes offer wide-gamut IPS display options up to 3840x2160 with 100% sRGB coverage. The displays are powered by graphics up to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors power both models, with a generous 16GB of RAM standard. Storage is provided via PCIe x4 storage with speeds of 1500 MB/s with capacities up to 512 MB, and external connectivity includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.
While boasting powerful specs these N-series laptops are also geared toward entertainment, with ASUS drawing attention to the sound from their “SonicMaster” audio system, which boasts powerful B&O ICEpower class-D amplification for the laptop’s front-facing speakers. Other features include backlit keys which offer 1.8 mm travel, and aluminum covering the keyboard area and lid.
The new models haven’t shown up on the U.S. product pages just yet, so pricing and availability are not yet known.
Subject: Processors, Systems | November 17, 2015 - 11:21 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, NUC6i5SYK, NUC6i5SYH, NUC6i3SYK, NUC6i3SYH, nuc, mini-pc, Intel, i5-6260U, i3-6100U
(Image credit: PCMag)
NUC systems sporting the latest Intel 6th-gen Skylake processors are coming, with the NUC6i5SYH, NUC6i5SYK, NUC6i3SYH, NUC6i3SYK listed with updated Core i5 and i3 CPUs. As this is a processor refresh the appearance and product nomenclature remain unchanged (unfortunately).
The four new Skylake Intel NUC models listed on Intel's product page
Here's Intel's description of the Skylake Core i5-powered NUC6i5SYH:
"Intel NUC Kit NUC6i5SYH is equipped with Intel’s newest architecture, the 6th generation Intel Core i5-6260U processor. Intel Iris graphics 540 with 4K display capabilities provides brilliant resolution for gaming and home theaters. NUC5i5SYH has room for a 2.5” drive for additional storage and an M.2 SSD so you can transfer your data at lightning speed. Designed for Windows 10, NUC6i5SYH has the performance to stream media, manage spreadsheets, or create presentations."
The NUC6i5SYH and NUC6i5SYK feature the i5-6260U is a dual-core, Hyper-Threaded 15W part with a base speed of 1.9 GHz with up to 2.8 GHz Turbo. It has 4 MB cache and supports up to 32GB 2133 MHz DDR4. The processor also provides Intel Iris graphics 540 (Skylake GT3e), which offers 48 Execution Units and 64 MB of dedicated eDRAM. The lower-end NUC6i3SYH and NUC6i3SYK models offer the i3-6100U, which is also a dual-core, Hyper-Threaded part, but this 15W processor's speed is fixed at 2.3 GHz without Turbo Boost, and it offers the lesser Intel HD Graphics 520.
Availability and pricing are not yet known, but expect to see the new models for sale soon.
Subject: Systems | November 13, 2015 - 10:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen AiO Pro, UHD, its display, Intel RealSense, desktop computer, Core i7-6700T, asus, all-in-one, AIO, 4k
ASUS has announced their newest all-in-one desktop PC, the Zen AiO Pro, featuring a 24-inch 4K IPS display and 6th-gen Intel Skylake processors.
"The Zen AiO Pro is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design, with a slim unibody shell and integral stand forged from aluminum. The sophisticated appearance is enhanced by a layer of edge-to-edge glass covering the display, while the rear cover has a brushed-metal finish that complements the spun-metal concentric circles on the front fascia. A vision of elegance, the Zen AiO Pro’s exterior is anodized a stylish yet subtle Icicle Gold color that adds a touch of beauty to any space."
Beyond the (very gold) industrial design this PC features some pretty impressive specs depending on how you choose to configure it. The 23.8" IPS screen is available both 1920x1080 and a multi-touch 4K (UHD) 3840x2160 as well. CPU options include the Intel Core i7-6700T, a 4 core/8 thread part, and the AiO Pro features discrete graphics up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. The inclusion of an Intel RealSense camera allows features like facial recognition, with plenty of rear I/O connectivity that includes USB 3.1 Type-C.
Zen AiO Pro Specifications:
- Display: 23.8in IPS 4K/UHD 3840×2160 with 10-point capacitive multi-touch; 23.8in IPS Full HD 1920x1080
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6400T; Intel Core i7-6700T
- Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 950M, 1GB GDDR5; NVIDIA GTX 960M, 2GB GDDR5
- Memory: 8GB or 16GB dual-channel DDR4 at 2133MHz
- Storage options: 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD; 1TB SSHD; 1TB HDD
- Wireless: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4 (M.2, 2T2R), supports Intel WiDi
- Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mbit/s
- Cameras: Intel RealSense camera, 1MP 720P webcam
- Audio: 8W Stereo Speakers
- I/O ports: 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C); 4x USB 3.0; 1x USB 2.0; 1x microphone; 1x headphone; SD card slot; 2x HDMI; LAN
- Power Supply: 180W
- Operating System: Windows 10
The Zen AiO Pro starts at $999 (which includes a matching wireless keyboard and mouse) and is available now, with additional configurations to follow.
Subject: Systems | November 10, 2015 - 02:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system build, damagebox
The Tech Report have built a few Damageboxes over the years and 2015 is no different as they have just completed the build and are now running a contest to give it away. The concept behind the Damagebox is to build a powerful PC that runs at a reasonable decibel level and is not ridiculously expensive to purchase. The system is built around an ASUS Maximus VIII Hero, an i7-6700K, 16GB of Kingston DDR40 Ddal Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSDs and two Asus Strix GTX 980 4GB cards in SLI. Check out the rest of the components, the beautiful wiring job and most importantly, how to get a chance to win it.
"We built a brand-new gaming PC based on the latest components--and we're giving it away! See what components we chose and how the build turned out. Then find out how you can enter to win the system."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Zotac's Zbox Magnus EN970 @ The Tech Report
- Gigabyte Brix S GB-BXi5H-5200 @ Bjorn3d
- ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC (Braswell) @ techPowerUp
- ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC Review @ Neoseeker
- Cyberpower Zeus Mini EVO I-970 Gaming PC @ eTeknix
Subject: Systems | November 5, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ruggedized, fanless
FanlessTech was “salivating” over the PERFECTRON PC, which might be good for its cooling potential if the water doesn't short out the electronics. Logic Supply, designer of the fanless systems, specializes in ruggedized, industrial builds. Rugged, fanless, and high performance -- what's the downside?
So for businesses (and probably only businesses or governments) that can afford these systems, you're probably going to get the computer equivalent of a tank. They are rated to operate in ambient temperatures between -40C (-40F) and 70C (158F). To put that into perspective, NVIDIA controls their overclocks to maintain 80C on the GPU, which is, generally speaking, in a system with ~30C internal temperature. These systems are rated to operate in 70C ambient. Again, that is about 20C hotter than my CPU peaks at load with my Corsair H100i. Actually, the PERFECTRON SR-700 ($13,793 USD) model can operate at up to 75C ambient.
That is some serious heat for any PC to cope with, especially rugged, fanless models. I guess “you get what you pay for” scales up pretty high. From what I can tell, they are rated to pretty much run these fanless PCs in a beef jerky maker and be cool enough to operate.
Introduction and First Impressions
When I reviewed the first LIVA mini-PC from ECS one year ago I was impressed by the concept of a full Windows computer in an enclosure about the size of a can of cola, which included everything you needed to get started out of the box. The problem with that first LIVA was that it was a little underpowered for the current generation of operating systems, and with the introduction of the LIVA X the performance improved only slightly; though it was a much more polished product overall. So how does the latest LIVA - the X2 - stack up? We'll find that out here.
The first thing you're bound to notice with the X2 is the markedly different style compared to the first two. Where last year’s LIVA X had a sleek, lower-profile appearance, with the LIVA X2 we have something completely different, which I won’t judge one way or the other as this is a matter of personal taste. I do miss the angular black plastic housing from last year’s version, but the fit and finish of the X2 is very nice regardless of what you think of the rounded body and white and chrome plastic finish. (ECS also offers a LIVA “Core” barebone kit that follows the aesthetic of the LIVA X.)
So what’s new beyond the appearance? After only the most minor tweak to the SoC between the first LIVA and its followup, the LIVA X (moving a single SKU up from an Intel Bay Trail-M Celeron N2807 to the N2808), this new X2 has a completely different Intel solution under the hood with its Braswell SoC - the Intel Celeron N3050 processor, a dual-core part with 2 MB of cache and a 2.16 GHz top speed. Considering that even the <$150 Intel Compute Stick offers a quad-core CPU (the Z3735F, a Bay Trail SoC) I was a little skeptical of the dual-core option here, but we’ll just have to see how it performs.
Three generations of LIVA