Zotac's cute Zacate powered ZBox Nano-XS

Subject: Systems | May 9, 2012 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox nano-xs, SFF, htpc

Zotac's new ZBox Nano-XS is smaller than your average case fan, measuring only 4.17" x 4.17" x 1.46" (106mm x 106mm x 37mm) but is powerful enough you can stream video and even get some light game playing in on it.  The name is a bit misleading as it is powered by a dual core AMD E-450 with a HD 6320 giving it impressive graphics for its size and the 64GB Kingston mSATA SSD making the general performance of the system quite snappy.  Funky Kit does want you to be aware that this tiny PC ships without an OS so make sure that you are familiar with making a bootable USB drive with which to install your OS but apart from that they highly recommend the Nano-XS to anyone who needs a tiny PC.

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"The performance of the ZBox impressed me. It can't touch my high end desktop of course, but given the size and the price it is quite impressive. You can do some low end gaming, watch any videos you might want to regardless of their resolution and it snaps windows around and loads programs quite quickly, thanks to the SSD."

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Source: Funky Kit

ASUS Launches Three New Ivy Bridge Desktops

Subject: Systems | May 8, 2012 - 06:56 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, Ivy Bridge, cases, asus

ASUS, a company popular for its line of enthusiast motherboards and gaming notebooks, recently unveiled three new Ivy Bridge powered desktop systems. Although specific pricing is still up in the air, the three systems span the range from low powered desktop systems to the high end enthusiast computer.

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The ASUS CM6870 desktop is a low end desktop that is powered by Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors (Core i3/i5/i7 Pentiums), up to 16GB of dual channel DDR3 1600MHz RAM, and a choice from a variety of low end (mainly HTPC class) discrete graphics cards including the NVIDIA GT640 on the top end and the AMD HD5450 on the low end. The system also has Gigabit LAN, up to 4TB of hard drive space, a 300W or 350W PSU, four USB 3.0 ports, 6 USB 2.0 ports, headphone/microphone jacks, and a 16-in-one card reader. The system runs Windows 7 Home Premium x64 or Windows 7 Home Basic x64.

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The ASUS CG8270 features higher end CPU and GPU choices, making it suitable for entry level gaming. It uses either a Core i5 or Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, up to 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory, up to 4TB of hard drive space, and up to a NVIDIA GTX560 Ti 1GB graphics card. The system comes with a 400W or 500W power supply, depending on what GPU the user chooses. It also features Gigabit LAN, headphone and microphone jacks, a 16-in-1 card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and 8 channel analog audio output. This desktop has an angled brushed aluminum front panel and dark chassis. It also runs Windows 7 Home Premium x64.

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Occupying the high end is the ASUS CG8580 desktop. At first glance, the desktop has a large black case with an angled design that sports the ROG (Republic of Gamers) branding. It has a front panel that opens up to reveal the drive bays and an LED light that illuminates the ASUS logo. The case further has five open vents to improve airflow. On the inside is a liquid cooled Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, a NVIDIA GTX 680 (or GTX560 Ti SLI) graphics card, up to 16GB DDR3 1600MHz memory, up to 10TB of hard drive storage, dual 128GB SATA III SSDs in Raid 0, and a Xonar DX sound card (optional). IO includes headphone and microphone jacks, four USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 port, Gigabit LAN, 8 channel audio, S/PDIF out, and a 16-in-1 card reader. The desktop also comes with a 700W power supply. It comes equipped with Windows 7 Home Premium x64.

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The back of the CG8580 Gaming Rig

The three Ivy Bridge powered desktops are coming soon, but there is no word yet on pricing. In the meantime, please check out our Intel Ivy Bridge and NVIDIA GTX 680 GPU reviews to brush up on the new architectures.

Source: PC Launches

Corsair Custom Gaming PC - Multiple Sclerosis Benefit

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 29, 2012 - 07:25 PM |
Tagged: Multiple Sclerosis, corsair, charity

Corsair and TigerDirect have joined forces to help fund research for a cure for Multiple Sclerosis by putting a powerful gaming rig up for bid on eBay.  You have until May 5th to place a bid on the brand new Corsair C13-150 MS Custom Gaming PC and not only get a great PC but also help fight this baffling disease which attacks the myelin in the brain and nervous system of suffers; the fatty substance that insulates and protects the nerve fibres and causes short circuits which in a human mean pain and the inability to control movements.  Whether you know someone with this disease or not, it is a worthy cause to support.

  • Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz
  • EVGA GTX 680 SC
  • ASUS P8Z68-V Pro
  • 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3
  • Corsair Force GT SSD
  • Corsair Hydro H80 Liquid Cooler
  • Corsair AX 750W Modular PSU
  • Corsair Graphite Series 600T Mid-Tower Case
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

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It is extremely rewarding when we can put our resources to work for a good cause. That is exactly what our team has done here at TigerDirect.com, working in partnership with the National MS Society and our good friends at Corsair Memory, with support from EVGA to build this Killer Gaming PC. 100 % of the proceeds from this auction will be donated to the MS Society to continue driving the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

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This new Corsair C13-150 MS Custom Gaming PC is built using a plethora of Corsair components and some other exceptionally cool parts. It features the latest EVGA 02G-P4-2682-KR GeForce GTX 680 SC Video Card to allow you to run the latest games at the highest resolutions! The ASUS P8Z68-V Pro motherboard and Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Processor combo will provide an outstanding gaming experience. Keeping the CPU cool is the Corsair Hydro H80 Liquid Cooler. The Corsair C13-150 MS Custom Gaming PC is complemented with 16GB of Corsair Vengeance memory, A Corsair AX 750W Modular PSU for rock solid power and a Corsair Force GT Solid State Drive for blazing fast game loads. We gave all of this awesome equipment a home inside a white Corsair Graphite Series 600T Mid-Tower Case and threw in Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit operating system. So If you are searching for a high-performance gaming system, look no further and place your bid now!

A few guys from the Tiger family and Corsair just finished riding a 150 mile bike ride to benefit the MS Society's South Florida Chapter this past weekend April 21st. And now someone will have the chance to walk away with a great gaming PC. But best of all, when you bid on this auction you are also contributing to help find a cure for MS.

 

Source: Corsair

Custom Gaming PC Being Auctioned Off For Charity Doing Multiple Sclerosis Research

Subject: Systems | April 27, 2012 - 07:54 PM |
Tagged: corsair, tiger direct, evga, charity, asus

What is better than a custom gaming PC? A gaming PC where all proceeds from the sale will go towards a charity of course! Tiger Direct, Corsiar, and EVGA have all teamed up to assemble a custom gaming PC that is currently being auctioned off on ebay to help raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The charity raises money to support research towards a cure for MS which is a debilitating disorder that affects the central nervous system. In other words, it is for a really good cause.

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The gaming PC in question is pretty impressive. A white Corsair Graphite 600T makes the computer shine. On the inside, the gaming PC features an ASUS P8Z68-V Pro motherboard, Intel Core i5-2500K, and 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM. In addition, EVGA has thrown in a GTX 680 SC graphics card (EVGA 02G-P4-2682-KR for that that get a chuckle out of their product names). Other hardware includes a Corsair Force GT SSD and Corsair AX 750W modular power supply (PSU). Tiger Direct also included a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium x64.

Currently the ebay auction has received 32 bids and is sitting at $2,850 USD. Please share the auction information and help spread awareness about MS if you find it relevant and useful. It’s always nice to see charity and shiny computer hardware come together, and I hope that it helps MS research! 

Fruit flavoured TV or DIY HTPC?

Subject: Systems | April 27, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: htpc, apple tv

Missing Remote, masters of all things HTPC, had a chance to try a product similar to many they have reviewed in the past, only this one bears a silver fruit symbol on it.  Right from the start there were obvious deficiencies as well as good features, the power wiring was designed not to block more than one power outlet but there was no HDMI cabling.  On the software side there were exhaustive controls for colour space, but no support for the wireless WPS standard and apparently the box forgot their WPA key on occasion.  They ended by recommending this $100 device for anyone looking for a better NetFlix experience but caution that iTunes is no replacement for BluRay.

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"In our first look at the new 2012 Apple TV it was clear that the form factor and basic function was consistent with many of the other over the top (OTT) media streamers on the market, but it was the visual appealing user interface (UI) that really shines compared to similar devices which became apparent in the video walkthrough. What was not clear, given the brief time with the Apple TV, was how it performs after the first-impression sheen has worn off or how the recently upgraded 1080p iTunes content stacks up against established OTT services like Netflix and VUDU, or the current top-end option, Blu-ray. Having spent the focused energy to really get to know the device it is time to come back with answers to those questions, as well as provide a fuller picture of what is provided by Apple’s OTT streamer refresh."

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Looking for a low power SFF system you don't have to build yourself? Try Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p

Subject: Systems | April 24, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: silent, SFF, Lenovo, ThinkCentre M91p

Most people who want a small form factor PC at home are those who will build it themselves, but not everyone has the time or inclination to do so.  That is where systems like the Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p come in handy.   Powered by a 2.7GHz Core 5-2500S, a single 4GB DIMM of DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD it is not overwhelming in its abilities but certainly qualifies as a low heat and low noise machine.  Silent PC Review thought that this machine would be better for an office PC than an HTPC as the Intel HD3000 struggles with playback in some cases but are very glad to see the rare 2500S in a system as it is hard to purchase as a seperate item but is quite nice with a turbo speed of 3.7GHz.

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"The USFF version of Lenovo's ThinkCentre M91p packs a significant punch in a small package. Utilizing an Intel "S" low power processor and a 150W external AC power adapter, it's also incredibly energy efficient."

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Just Delivered: Corsair K60 & K90 Vengeance Mech Keyboards Type Hard, Type Harder, Type Hard: With a Vengeance

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | April 21, 2012 - 01:24 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair

Just Delivered is a class of articles at PC Perspective where we share what crosses into our offices, labs, houses, or pseudo-classified locations with crummy internet. Today we look at the Corsair Vengeance line of mechanical keyboards. We have received both the K60 FPS keyboard as well as the K90 MMO keyboard.

Some people say that when you try a mechanical keyboard, something just clicks.

That is not really the case for the Corsair Vengeance line of keyboards which use the linear Cherry MX Red switches. The key gives a light constant resistence until it hits bottom. Check out our explanation of the various type of switches from a few months ago to see the differences between Cherry MX switches.

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Seems quite odd, grammatically, to enter a market of new competitors with a Vengeance...

Just saying...

First impressions are that Corsair really put some thought and effort into these keyboards. Wrist rests snap into place and, in the K90's case, get screwed in for total stability. The brushed metal top is a great touch and gives the feeling of quality.

Each keyboard has a few non-mechanical keys which slightly take away from that feeling -- but that will be discussed in a more formal review setting.

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Just for irony... I might play Wing Commander: Privateer as part of the Corsair review.

While Corsair to some extent markets these keyboards at different audiences -- it really does seem at first glance like the K90 is a direct upgrade to the K60, rather than a sidegrade. Apart from the custom shaped WSAD keys and the wrist rest, I cannot see much reason to go for the K60 over the K90 except for price.

That said, we shall find out for sure in the full review to be started shortly.

Source: PCPer

NAB 12: ACME Portable Machines Seahawk 100 on show floor

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | April 17, 2012 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: NAB 12, ACME

ACME Portable Machines showed off their Seahawk 100 computer on the show floor of the National Association of Broadcasters 2012 show. Multiple monitors, ruggedized, semi-portable, but slightly out of date on the hardware side.

When you think about portable computing: do you think about a laptop or a tablet? Either way you probably do not think about this product. But, should you?

Well if you did you would probably know it.

ACME Portable Machines is showing off the Seahawk 100 at NAB this week. The purpose for the device is to bring a fully functional multi-monitor computer where you need it, to plug it in, and to be assured that it will work.

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Just don't give in to the temptation to make people call you the operator...

Functionally the device is slightly out of date with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83 GHz processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 video card, and 2-8 GB of RAM. If your desire is to play Starcraft 2 on the three monitors than you should have no problems, but that is not why you are purchasing this PC. If you are the type of person to visit the NAB show you probably will wish to include much more RAM than the default 2GB -- or even if you are not, 2GB is quite low nowadays.

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It's not a tumah!

Price is only available by quote, but check out their website for more information. The design definitely looks interesting for users of its niche -- professionals in the field who just cannot live without the flexibility of multiple screens.

Thanks to our friend Colleen for the heads up and photos!

Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 14, 2012 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: valve, wearable computers

Valve has been under the public eye since rumors of The Steam Box broke. To put out the rumors, Michael Abrash -- now at Valve -- announced their mystery project investigates computing devices that you can wear.

Great, that is just what we need, more Steam punks and their costumes.

Valve has traditionally been somewhat of a quiet company accustomed to public speculation. In a change of pace from the typical cries to release Half Life 2: Episode 3, Valve has recently been subject to rumors about breaking into the hardware business. In another change of pace, Valve has announced their hardware project is wearable computers and publicly solicited for job applicants to join in the research.

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Want me to show you my knife collection?

(Photo Credit, Giant Bomb)

Michael Abrash wrote in his blog on Valve’s website what his work is based on and it is quite similar to what Google is looking at with their augmented reality glasses.

By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).

While this is very interesting, it still remains to be seen where Valve intends to be involved with this project. Steam is pushing out from the desktop PC to the home theatre with their Big Picture UI and what that could potentially spread out into.

It is entirely possible that Google and Valve both see some link between Steam/Google TV and Wearable Computers/Augmented Reality glasses that we are just unable to perceive yet and are lunging for the same target. While the blog posting is very interesting, it still reveals little about the technology itself.

Also, this announcement does not mean that Valve is not working on a hardware platform to accompany The Big Picture, it just says more about what Valve is currently working on in secret. The previous rumors could still have some shred of truth in them.

As for when we will see wearable computing? It’s still a long ways out in Valve time.

To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development.

So, which will we see first? Valve augmented reality devices, or the stunning conclusion to Gordon Freeman’s story-arc? That is a bet that will require one heck of a patient bookie to make.
Source: Valve

Logic Supply has an interesting way of sizing their smaller HTPCs

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2012 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, Logic Supply, LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC, htpc, Atom N2800

Defining the size of the Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC as being 1.2 litres is a unique way of describing just how small this machine is.  You can see from the picture below that a pair of serial ports takes up a significant portion of the front panel.  Part of the reason for this is the completely fanless design, the heatsink obscuring the Atom N2800 has TIM on it to allow the entire top of the case to distribute the heat.  The SSD drive also helps slim the machine down and also adds snappy performance as well.  The Intel DN2800MT mini-ITX board powers the SSD and can fit up to 4GB of RAM in its two slots and the Intel GMA 3650 powers the HDMI and VGA ports with enough processing power for you to watch HD video.  As it is a totally silent HTPC, it should come as no surprise that it was Silent PC Review who received this box for testing.

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"This new PC from specialist Logic Systems is based around the recently released Intel DN2800MT "Marshalltown" mini-ITX Atom board, a long-awaited follow-up to the original "Thin ITX" board, the Intel D945GSEJT. Super low energy consumption, 1080P video capability and a tiny 1.2 liter form factor should be compelling for Mini PC enthusiasts."

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