Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | April 7, 2012 - 06:16 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: shift, maingear, just delivered, HD 7970, 7970
Just Delivered is a section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
While we get sent complete system builds from time to time, it's pretty rare when they actually impress me. Because we review and work with the best harware in the business on a daily basis, something unique really has to be there for us to really be wowed. Today we were playing with a custom built MAINGEAR SHIFT machine that did just that.
The SHIFT is the company's flagship product line that starts out with an $1800+ price tag, so you know you are getting top of the line components. Our test system includes a Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E processor as well as a trio of Radeon HD 7970 cards from AMD. That's right, three.
The internals are lit by a white LED and the black/red color pattern of the graphics cards is continued with the inclusion of matching Corsair DDR3 memory to the tune of 16GB and the MAINGEAR EPIC 180 self-containted water cooler.
Corsair's AX1200 watt power supply is included in the build and it is necessary! During our testing so far we found the PC could draw as much as 1050 watts from the wall while running 3DMark11.
Another exclusive feature for the MAINGEAR systems is the EPIC Audio system that adds studio quality audio headphone output and microphone input. The licensed Aphex technology is touted by the company as being really impressive and I am looking forward to giving it a try this week.
With our time with the SHIFT so far, the build quality has been impressive, the lack of crapware on the system is a welcome change and the performance is simply astounding as we expected with a SNB-E CPU and triple HD 7970s in CrossFireX.
Expect more very soon!
PC Perspective in cooperation with PCAudioLabs and Intel recently held a contest to give away a complete editing PC with software to one lucky reader. The PC in question was the company’s RokBox music creation system and features a Sandy Bridge-E processor, Intel 510 series SSD, 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a GTX 560 Ti for a bit of gaming when procrastinating waiting for the encodes to finish.
Well, the contest ended on March 6th, and the lucky winner was user Cameron Berry! He has since sent us a thank you e-mail (no, thank you Cameron for reading our stuff!) with photos of the unboxing and a time lapse video that is sure to make you envious!
“Thank you PC Perspective and PCAudioLabs for this amazing machine! I look forward to smooth video editing and audio creation with this sweet rig.... and some gaming of course too.”
Below is the time lapse video mentioned above showing the unboxing. Congratulations to Cameron, I hope that he has a lot of fun with the new machine!
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 31, 2012 - 07:01 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: laptops, desktops
ZDNet and others published articles discussing the rising prices of PCs: it needs a grain of salt.
News publications love to publish large stories about how an industry is forcibly altered. For instance, are you sick of stories proclaiming the term “Post PC” yet? It is the season’s fashion to paint darker tones over any portrait of the personal computer.
According to a report from Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital, certain PC components have gotten more expensive due to a series of recent events. It does not look like such a bleak future, however. Granted, ZDNet and Barclays Capital are both focused on their investment-oriented customers, but still.
As you can clearly see, the PC is doomed.
Image from Don McMillan presentation.
Foremost on the list of concerns is the elevated price of hard drives. ZDNet claims that Apple will have an advantage due to their switch to solid state devices in Macbook Airs and iPads. Apple does not have an advantage -- anyone can put an SSD in their devices, and many PC manufacturers who sell their product for a base price of a thousand dollars do if it suits the goal of the product.
LCD panels are expected to elevate in the near future as OEMs build up inventory ahead of the launch of Windows 8-based products. I am sorry, but come on. Prices of components tend to rise when you abruptly spike in sales. Moving on…
DRAM prices have also risen about 7 percent compared to just a few months ago. My issue is that RAM prices have absolutely plummeted since even just last year. For a PC which costs four hundred dollars, RAM is expected to make up just $15 of that. 7 percent on $15 is, for all practical purposes, a rounding error for a $400 device.
The sky is not falling.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 30, 2012 - 02:29 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi has been further delayed while it acquires an additional certification to conform to British Law. The delay affects all regions because the products are shipped to the UK before being distributed internationally. The delay is expected to last just a couple of weeks.
It has almost been a year since the first announcement of the Raspberry Pi ultra-cheap PC and we can almost taste its arrival. Originally inspired by David Braben, developer of games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, the Raspberry Pi was built to cheaply enable students to learn computing.
As it turns out, the cost and performance of the device drew massive attention from the hobbyist and home theatre crowd. All interested parties will need to wait, however, as the product has been briefly delayed again because someone forgot to cross their t’s.
C’mon, almost there, almost there.
All joking aside, the delay is quite small and minor and will still ship within their original target window. The delay was caused by the foundation failing to be granted a Conformité Européenne (CE) mark for their product. The CE certification is the direct analogy to the FCC’s electromagnetic (EM) noise certification which must be obtained for cellphones and other electronic devices in the United States. CE certification is expected to take just a couple of weeks.
Delivering a product is an involved task. I am willing to give the foundation a pass on this specific delay due to their lack of experience in their field. That is unless of course the product is found to interfere with EM broadcasts of some protected frequency. That -- would suck.
Then again, I have also not attempted to order a Raspberry Pi so perhaps my opinion is invalid. What do you think?
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 04:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Red Hat, linux
Red Hat becomes the first Linux company to be worth over a billion dollars (edit for clarity: I meant take in over a billion dollars in revenue) with $1.13 billion in revenue last year.
Red Hat, Inc. is an open source software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company’s identity is primarily with their current flagship product, Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- and a Cornell University lacrosse hat. The company also sponsors and holds liability over the Fedora Project which counterbalances Enterprise Linux by providing a free and community-supported operating system.
Just for clarification, that’s a rich penguin, not a rich drake.
Red Hat reported earnings of $1.13 billion dollars in revenue with $146.6 million in earnings. Subscriptions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux were declared responsible for $965.6 million dollars of their total revenue.
ZDNet has also reported that Linux is progressively eating market share from UNIX and Windows for servers shipped with preinstalled operating systems. Red Hat and other Linux vendors are progressively getting more of the same treatment as Microsoft has enjoyed in the past.
The future is bright for Linux, which is unfortunate due to the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Maybe the rest of the $1.13 billion is sales of sunscreen?
Subject: Systems | March 29, 2012 - 03:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arctic, MC001-BD, htpc
The Arctic MC001-BD HTPC will run you $600, though a good percentage of that cost is the BluRay drive and Windows Media Centre. The system its self is a mere 5mm x 275mm x 161mm and contains a dual core Intel Atom D525 @ 1.8GHz, up to 4GB of DDR3 and most importantly either a Radeon HD 5430 or 5450 to ensure HD playback is smooth. The connectors are quite comprehensive, on top of five USB 2.0 plugs you get a pair of USB 3.0 ports, along with ethernet, HDMI, VGA, optical S/PDIF port and the 3.5mm audio out. The integral IR detector is a perfect touch to ensure you can control the HTPC with a remote. Head to Benchmark Reviews to see how this machine does when put to the test.
"Home entertainment is quickly changing, and computer technology has become integrated with the personal space. Data storage and playback is becoming more diverse and streamlined by the second. More and more entertainment can be found on the Internet; TV shows, movies, music... the list goes on. To keep up with the demand for instant entertainment, manufacturers such as ARCTIC are designing devices that are ever more sleek and quiet, usually with an array of features to keep the consumer content in their own personal empire. If you are looking to update your home theater with personal entertainment devices, or simplify your leisure time, there are many new Windows Media Center devices emerging on the market. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the Arctic MC001-BD Entertainment Center with Blu-ray player to see if this Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium HTPC can combine the benefits of personal computer with multimedia streamer."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Video Connectors Tutorial @ Hardware Secrets
- Noontec MediaHome V8 Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Warpia Easy Dock Pro SWP220 @ TechwareLabs
- Apple TV (2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
- New AppleTV Review @ MissingRemote
Subject: Motherboards, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 11:59 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ECS, elitegroup, mini ITX, CDC-TI Thin, H61H2-TI Thin, SFF
The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX may not interest many readers as it is designed for an Atom processor which have never been terribly popular here at PC Perspective, even for HTPC builds. The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX is a totally different story as it can handle LGA1155 chips and has an HDMI out, making it a beautiful choice for an HTPC or even a SFF portable gaming machine although you might be disappointed by the orientation of the full and half length PCIe slots. Consider it a challenge and see if you can get a decent half height GPU in there!
Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the world’s leading motherboard, graphics card, barebone system, notebook and mobile device manufacturer announces a variety of options of Thin Mini-ITX for users to meet their different demands with AIO (All-In-One) and motherboards. To target different segments, ECS Thin Mini-ITX motherboards are not only compatible with AIO but also with small form factor PCs, offering a wide range of solutions including H61H2-TI, H61H2-G11 and CDC-TI. With the growth in popularity of AIO, acceptance of the Thin Mini-ITX platform proves to be leading standard of this new trend, allowing for future-proof upgradeability.
The brand new CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard supports Intel® Atom™ D2700/D2550/D2500 Dual-core processors. The CPU and Memory are supported 100% by Solid Capacitors in order to provide better conductivity and longevity. CDC-TI features 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket supporting up to 4GB, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), VGA, HDMI and LVDS support. It is distinguished by its fan-less design because of the lowest CPU power consumption of <10W TDP. ECS CDC-TI not only works well for Thin Mini-ITX AIOs but also for other form factors that can take advantage of a low-profile board.
The other H61H2-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard can support socket LGA1155 Intel® 2nd and 3rd Generation Core processors. It features Intel® H61 Express chipset with SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket up to 16GB, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), 1 x mSATA, and HDMI input/output that deliver you an excellent performance and amazing experience. ECS H61H2-TI provides you a multi-functional solution within a limited space. Small but versatile.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 04:26 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: maingear, titan-17, GeForce 675M
MAINGEAR announces an update to their 17” desktop replacement laptop, the Titan 17, with a GeForce GTX 675M and optional NVIDIA 3D Vision 2.
There exists a smaller but very real segment of the market who wishes to have the power of their desktop computer in a smaller and slightly more portable package. Perhaps they desire to have the coolest single-object computing device at their LAN party? Whatever their reasons, they are served by companies like MAINGEAR who regularly provide new and better models for their choosing.
Mobile GPUs in SLi -- not common, not unheard of, but probably a good idea for 3D.
- Video Card: up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M SLI with 2GB GDDR5
- Display: 17.3" Full HD 1920 x 1080 - (1080p) Widescreen (16:9 Aspect Ratio) LED Backlit with Super Clear Glare Type Screen / with optional built in 3D emitter and 120Hz panel.
- Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition
- Memory: Up to 32GB Quad Channel DDR3 – 1333/1600Mhz
- Optical Drive: Up to 2X Blu-ray reader/8x Multi Combo (BD-R, DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
- Hard Drive: Up to 3x 512GB Solid State Drive or 750GB 5400RPM SATA 2.5
- Network Adapter: Killer™ Wireless-N 1102 supports 802.11a/b/g/n
- Audio: Built-in High-Definition Audio, S/PDIF Digital output, 1 Built-in Microphone, 5 Built-in Speakers, 1 Built-in Sub Woofer, THX® TruStudio Pro™
- Media Card Reader: Built in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC), 1 Express Card 54/34 Slot
- Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home, Professional or Ultimate 64-Bit
- Battery: Removable Polymer Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack (8 cell)
- I/O Ports: 1 HDMI out, 1 DVI-I out,1 Display Port 1.1, 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 Ports,1 eSATA Port, 1 IEEE-1394b Fire Wire, 1 S/PDIF out, 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1 Headphone Jack, 1 Microphone Jack, 1 Line-in Jack, 1 S/PDIF output Jack
- Dimensions: (W)16.25" x (H)1.75" x (D)10.75"
- Price: Starts at $2,599 with limited time FREE shipping offer
Subject: Systems | March 27, 2012 - 02:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, llano, dual graphics, a8-3870K
Dual Llano graphics has become one of PC Perspective's most recommended ways of getting yourself a laptop capable of decent gaming performance without spending a lot of money. It is not as well known as a desktop solution, which X-Bit Labs intends to explore in their latest review. They've taken the high end A8-3870K, overclocked it and paired it with an HD 6670 and then compared it to two similar systems, one using a Intel Pentium G850 and one with a Core i3-2120. The results of their testing just might surprise you.
"Today we are going to compare the performance of Socket FM1 and LGA 1155 systems. Will a hybrid Llano processor be able to beat the entry-level Intel CPU paired with an entry-level graphics accelerator? How efficient AMD Dual Graphics technology is? Does overclocking make Socket FM1 systems more attractive?"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Scan 3XS Vengeance GTX680 Z68 OC System @ OC3D
- HP TouchSmart Elite 7320 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Building the Right Box @ Techgage
- Acer AX1930-UR10P Review @ TechReviewSource
- Puget Systems Echo: Intel and AMD Showdown at 65 Watts @ AnandTech
- Intel Xeon E5-2687W in Asus Z9PE-D8 WS dual CPU workstation @ The Inquirer
- HP TouchSmart 520 All-In-One @ TechSpot
Subject: Systems | March 26, 2012 - 04:06 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, gtx 680, Digital Storm
Digital Storm, a custom PC Manufacturer founded in 2002 today revealed their latest system lineup. The new Aventum computers employ the company’s Cryo-TEC sub-zero cooling solution and the latest in PC hardware in a custom full tower chassis. The custom Aventum systems come in several tiers, including three systems with Intel Sandy Bridge-E processors, NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics cards, solid state drives, and at least 16 GB of RAM. Digital Storm further does not skimp on the power supplies. The Aventum computers are powered by either Corsair or Silverstone PSUs.
The hardware inside the chassis is impressive from a performance standpoint, and Digital Storm is including high end hardware as part of several tiers. The lowest tier is an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 2700K and a single EVGA NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics card on an Asus P8Z68-V Pro motherboard. On the other hand, the top tier system moves up to a dual socket EVGA SR-X motherboard, two Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors and three EVGA NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs in a triple SLI configuration. The other hardware differences are less pronounced - like the upgrade to faster or more RAM and a bit more SSD capacity and PSU wattage. At launch, there will be four system configuration levels which you can see in the chart below.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 2700K||Intel Core i7 3930K||Intel Core i7 3960X||2x Dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 Six-Core|
|Memory||16 GB DDR3 1600 MHz||16 GB DDR3 1600 MHz||16 GB DDR3 2133 MHz Corsair GT||32 GB DDR3 ECC REG 1333 MHz|
|Graphics Card(s)||1x EVGA GTX 680||2x Dual SLI GTX 680||3x Triple SLI GTX 680||3x Triple SLI GTX 680|
|Storage||120 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD||120 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD||120 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD||180 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD|
IV Extreme X79
|Power Supply||Corsair 1050W Pro Silver||Corsair 1200W Pro Gold||Silverstone 1500W SST-ST1500||Silverstone 1500W SST-ST1500|
|Optical Drive||Slot Loading DVD Writer||Slot Loading DVD Writer||Slot Loading DVD Writer||Slot Loading DVD Writer|
|OS||Windows 7 HP x64||Windows 7 HP x64||Windows 7 HP x64||Windows 7 Pro x64|
The hardware is nice, but it is not the only interesting aspect of the new Aventum PCs. Rather, it is the custom chassis that holds the Digital Storm hardware. The metal full tower ATX case is divided up into sections and supports three 420mm (3x140mm) radiators, and 13 case fans to keep the Cryo-TEC thermo-electric cooler from overheating. The cooler is placed directly on the CPU and then is itself cooled by a water cooling loop. There are two 420mm radiators in the bottom of the chassis along with the computer’s power supply.
The Digital Storm Cryo-TEC cooler installed in a system.
Digital Storm has designed it such that three 140mm fans draw cool air in from outside of the case, through the radiator, and then channels the heated air out of the back of the case via vent under the power supply. The 13 case fans provide cooling for five cooling “zones” and are monitored and controlled by temperature probes using Aventum software in Windows. System and temperature information is also displayed on a built in LCD on the right side of the case.
Another interesting aspect of the Aventum chassis is that the hardware is installed “backwards” in the case such that it can be viewed through a window on the right side of the case (instead of the left in the majority of cases). It also features a removable drive cage with four 3.5” drive bays. There is also support for two internal 2.5” drives and a slot loading DVD writer optical drive accessed on the top of the case. Power and reset buttons are located just under the DVD drive while four USB ports and two audio jacks (1 mic, 1 headphone) are located on the right side of the case near the DVD drive.
The case also features plenty of mesh patterned ventilation holes and cut out Digital Storm logos. Also, there is a Digital Storm logo on the front of the case that is back-lit by a customizable LED color. Digital Storm’s Director of Product Development Rajeev Kuruppu noted that their research department has worked for months with thermal imaging cameras to ensure that the high end components are cooled as efficiently as possible. ”Every integral component and every zone is constantly being monitored so our customers can ensure their dream machine is always delivering optimal performance.”
The Aventum systems are available now and range in price from $3,859 to $7,856 depending on the particular configuration. More information will be posted on the Digital Storm website later today.