Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Puget Systems

Configuration and Exterior

Puget Systems has slowly grown to be one of our favorite system builders for those looking to buy rather than build their own PC.  Using off-the-shelf components might seem like a negative but in our mind mixing an upgrade path with small niche features like noise dampening material and a great overall customer buying experience really hit the spot.  For the Sandy Bridge-E launch late in 2011 Puget wanted to send over something just a bit different than normal - a workstation class computer.

The result is the Genesis I based on the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor from Intel, the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard, 32GB of memory and 250GB Intel 510 SSD.

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Puget Systems Build Process

One of my favorite things about the Puget Systems system purchase process is the customer service you get.  The website isn't anything unusual but is completely functional for even novice users. Despite my knowledge of hardware I actually appreciate the fact that Puget does NOT inundate buyers with a selection of 30 motherboards and even the graphics card options are limited to a handful of selected "best choice" by the staff.  

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We have previously taken a look at Serenity and Deluge systems from Puget and have been impressed with the build quality and attention to detail they apply.  Each build is continually updated throughout the process and communicated to the buyer via emails with a site portal for photos of your specific rig and even including thermal images of the PC running under load and idle.  It is nice touches like this that really show the company cares about its customers and wants to them to feel attached to the process.

Continue reading our review of the Puget Systems Genesis I Workstation!!

Alienware X51 Desktop -- Console Sized PC, $700 and up.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems | January 18, 2012 - 07:25 PM |
Tagged: GTX 555, GT 545, dell, alienware

Alienware has been long known for two things: having interesting case designs, and being prohibitively expensive. For the last five years or so, Alienware has been a subsidiary of Dell to displace their gaming XPS product line into a non-gaming higher-end line. They have recently announced their X51 product line as Jeremy noted earlier, but what does that mean for someone interested in PC Gaming?

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Like how it looks? Dude, you’re getting a Dell!

Jeremy’s post went through the range of base models and their associated prices. The main product page listed the features of the higher-end base unit along with two other points: the chassis can be vertically or horizontally mounted; and you can upgrade your core components easily. While the latter statement is great to make, it should also be noted that with a maximum 330W power supply, your upgrade options -- while potentially easy -- are quite limited.

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The choice in video cards is split between the GeForce GT 545 and the GeForce GTX 555: these are both OEM-only GPUs and thus benchmarks are at this time difficult to find. The GT 545 contains 144 CUDA cores clocked at 870/1740 MHz with the memory clocked at 1998 MHz. Should you opt for the higher-end GTX 555, your GPU contains exactly twice the CUDA cores (288) clocked slightly slower at 776/1553 MHz and a slightly lower memory clock of 1914 MHz.

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Dude, you regretting a Dell?

In terms of Alienware-specific perks, Alienware has developed the “Alienware Command Center”; this application allows you to customize the lighting on your chassis as well as control programs and tweak your system. While a nice value-addition, it is obviously more gimmicky than practical; but really, isn’t that a large portion of why you are purchasing an Alienware computer? At least they look to be decent gimmicks. The price also does not appear to be too high compared to what you are getting from what I can tell. You would obviously be in a better position to assemble a desktop yourself and probably even commission your local small business computer store to do it for you, but the Alienware’s price does not appear to be in a distant galaxy.

So what do you think?

Source: Alienware

Introducing the Alienware X51 - Let Your Hero Out

Subject: Systems | January 18, 2012 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: X51, dell, alienware

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(edit: the models were corrected)

The base model is $700 and features:

  • 2nd Gen Intel Core i3-2120 3MB 3.3GHz, 4GB DDR 1333Mhz Dual Channel memory
  • 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 video card with 280W PSU
  • Slot-loading Dual Layer DVD Burner
  • Integrated Wireless LAN card (standard)

The high end model is priced at $1149 and features:

  • 2nd Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB 1333Mhz Dual Channel memory
  • 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555 video card with 330W PSU
  • Slot-loading Dual Layer DVD burner
  • Integrated Wireless LAN card (standard)

You can go bigger than that with the X51 so if you are looking to buy a boutique PC check out Alienware's X51.

Also, check out Scott's complimentary article to this one.

Source: Alienware

A passively cooled pre-built HTPC from Arctic

Subject: Systems | January 13, 2012 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: htpc, passive cooling, arctic, MC001-BD

Arctic (not Cooling) is a company which currently offers five different Atom powered HTPCs, one of which Overclockers Online got their hands on. The MC001-BD has a 1.6Ghz Atom D525, an HD5430 GPU, 4GB DDR3, 500GB HDD and a 4x Blu-Ray drive; what it does not have is a TV Tuner which will cost you an extra $30 to include.  It is also not running Windows MCE, instead you get a full installation of Windows 7 Home Premium.  Although this machine will suffer if you attempt to run general productivity software it is powerful enough for perfect HD media playback and the strictly passive cooling will allow you to unobtrusively place this machine with the rest of your A/V equipment.

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"There haven’t been very many products in the market that has truly fired me up and got me as excited as the MC001-BD. Many companies have tried to make HTPC that are compact and quiet but I usually find that I can do better for less. The MC001-BD is probably the first where I wouldn’t be able to do that. With over ten years experience in system cooling they were able to engineer an Entertainment Center that was both compact and passively cooled."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

HTPC

 

AMD Countering Ultrabooks With Ultrathin Notebooks

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 12, 2012 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: CES, ultrathin, trinity, piledriver, PC, notebook, low power, amd, 17 watt

Intel is the driving force behind the Ultrabook platform, a category of thin and light notebooks that are ideally less than $1,000 USD and deliver solid mobile performance and battery life. AMD is still playing catch up in CPU performance; however, they have been moderately successful with their Llano APU parts due to the better integrated GPU versus Intel's graphics processor. With Trinity, the successor to Llano, AMD is claiming up to 25% faster CPU performance and a 50% increase in graphics processor performance, and all while sipping half the power of current Llano chips.

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The 17 watt TDP Trinity die.

It seems that AMD has seen the Ultrabook boom that Intel is experiencing and wants a piece of the action. Thanks to the Trinity performance improvements and power sipping TDPs, AMD is confident that it can design and market thin and light notebooks of their own. They plan to market their notebooks as "Ultrathins." Exact hardware specifications of the Ultrathins are not known. We do know that they will be powered by dual and quad core 17 watt TDP versions of the AMD Trinity APU, which you can read more about here. The company is planning for its Ultrathins to start at $500 USD, a few hundred less than the lowest cost Ultrabooks from Intel. Beyond that, we can only speculate. Fortunately, we may not have to wait long for more information as AMD plans to reveal more information about their Ultrathin strategy next month at their financial analyst meeting, according to Ars.

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A Trinity powered laptop at CES

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Ars Technica

Fancy a tiny Cortex A9 and Tegra 2 system? CompuLabs Trim-Slice isn't a bad choice.

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2012 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: arm, cortex-a9, Tegra 2, compulab, thin-slice, nettop

If you need only moderate processing power and need a small footprint then CompuLab might just have the system for you.  Their Trim-Slice nettop is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 a 1GHZ dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 and 1GB of DDR2 RAM, with a SATA HDD.  It has four USB 2.0 ports, WiFi and a wired NIC, two HDMI ports and a S/PDIF in port, which ought to handle what you need from this system.  It comes with Ubuntu 11.04 for ARMv7, which Phoronix points out is obsolete and recommends updating to a newer version.   The system is comparable to Atom based machines in performance and in price, a basic 1GB system is $213USD while the model Phoronix reviewed would cost you about $100 more.  Read on to see how it did in the benchmarks.

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"The Trim-Slice from CompuLab is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 nettop based on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform. In this article are our first Ubuntu benchmarks of this low power, fan-less desktop with comparative figures to Intel's older platforms and the OMAP4660-based dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 PandaBoard ES."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Phoronix

ZOTAC announces a Trio of New ZBOX mini-PCs

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: zotac, z-box, zbox id80, zbox id81, zbox ad04

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 ZOTAC is pleased to kick off CES with a trio of new ZBOX mini-PCs powered by Intel Celeron 857, Intel Atom D2700 and AMD E-450 processors and APUs in the ZBOX ID81, ID80 and AD04 series.

ZOTAC ZBOX ID81 series

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  • Intel Celeron Processor 857 (1.2 GHz, dual-core) (SandyBridge)
  • Intel HD Graphics HDMI & DVI outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX ID81 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD

ZOTAC ZBOX ID80 series

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  • Intel Atom D2700 (2.13 GHz, dual-core) (CedarTrail)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M HDMI & DVI outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots (up to 4GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 3.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX ID80 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD

ZOTAC ZBOX AD04 series

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  • AMD E-450 APU platform (1.65 GHz, dual-core)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6320 GPU w/ TurboCore technology
  • HDMI & DisplayPort outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (up to 8GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX AD04 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD
  • 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports
  • 4 x High-Speed USB 2.0 ports (2 on back panel, 1 on front, 1 on top)
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi & Bluetooth 3.0 technologies
  • Bundled MCE-compatible remote w/ USB IR receiver
  • Bundled VESA75/100 mount

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Zotac

New Lenovo IdeaPad and IdeaCentre Products Hit CES

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2012 - 08:59 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, Ideapad, ideacentre, CES

As reported earlier, Lenovo has announced a number of new ThinkPad products for the upcoming year. But that is only a drop in the bucket compared to the tsunami of IdeaPad and IdeaCenter consumer PCs on the way from the company.

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Let’s start with the most premium, the Lenovo U series. It will be updated by the U310 and U410 models with Intel Core processors and optional SSD storage. The larger U410 will include GeForce 610M discrete graphics, as well. The smaller U310 weighs just 3.74 pounds and measures .7 inches thick, while the U410 is a slightly chunkier 4.18 pounds and .83 inches thick. Price start at a surprisingly low $699.

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On the opposite side of pricing we have the new S200 and S206, two netbooks – er, I mean, “mini-laptops.”  They feature the now popular 11.6” display size, are only .81 inches thick and weight 2.8 pounds. You’ll have your pick of Intel Atom or AMD Fusion processors, as well as your pick of color options like Cotton-Candy Pink, Crimson Red, and Electric Blue. You’ll have to shell out only $349 to grab a basic model.

Also updated is the vastness of Lenovo’s mainstream laptop offerings. The Z580/480/380 has been re-designed to accommodate newer hardware, such as optional GT640M graphics. The Y480/Y580 also have been updated to include support for new optional GTX 660M graphics and luxury features like a backlit keyboard (on the Y580). Last – and most certainly least – Lenovo is expanding the G series to include the G480/580/780. These are “essential” laptops, which means “budget” in Lenovo’s vocabulary.  The Z series starts at $599, the Y series at $899, and the G series at $399.

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If you’re interested in All-in-One computers, Lenovo has plenty that may be of interest you this CES. The company has unveiled updates to its high-performance AIOs in the form of the B540 and B340, which have 23” and 21.5” touchscreens respectively. Both of these have built-in TV tuners and now, unlike with previous models, it’s possible to watch TV through these systems without turning on the PC itself. Both have Intel processors, full HD displays, and the B540 will feature optional GT 650M graphics. These high-end AIOs start at $699.

Lower on the totem pole we have the traditional desktop PCs. Lenovo is offering two new options in this aging market. One is the performance-oriented K430 (starting at $599), which includes Intel processors and can be upgraded with Nvidia SLI or ATI CrossFireX dual-graphics solutions for hardcore gamers. The other is the Lenovo H520s, a simple slim system designed for the average home user that is remarkable only because of its low price of $499.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

Vizio Entering Computer Market with Desktop and Laptop PCs

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2012 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: vizio, CES, computers, laptops, ultra-thin, desktop, all-in-one

Vizio is commonly known for its line of televisions aimed at the value and price/performance markets; however, the company is moving into the computer market with a series of budget all-in-one desktop and laptop computers. Business Insider reports that the aluminum housed PCs include two all-in-one desktops and three laptop computers and will be shown off at CES 2012.

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The desktops come in a 24" and 27" model, and include a screen, base, aluminum keyboard, trackpad, and subwoofer (left and right speakers likely integrated in monitor part).

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The laptops come in two 15" models and one 14" computer. The 14" and one of the 15" laptops are described at being "ultra-thin." From one of the photos, at least one of the laptops will support USB 3.0.

Unfortunately, there is little word on specifications but they will likely be on hand at CES so stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details. Vizio states that the computers will be able to stream data back and forth between the computer and Vizio Smart TVs, and will be available for purchase around June. More photos of the devices can be found here.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Capture any streamed media with the help of Hauppauge

Subject: Systems | January 5, 2012 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: htpc, Hauppauge, colossus, streaming, capture

Missing Remote have assembled an impressive guide on how to use a Hauppauge Colossus to capture any media you can stream to your HTPC.  Hulu, YouTube, Netflix or anything else, this guide will show you how to capture streaming media so you can watch it again at your leisure.  Apart from the hardware you will need Arcsoft ShowBiz and likely an RDP hack which they provide for you to use.  Read on to see the trick as well as their recommended audio and video capture settings as well as tips on playback.

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"So we've all probably experienced the case where, for some reason, our DVR misses an episode and we have to find it via another mechanism. Sure, you can watch it on Hulu or Amazon VOD, but you want to add it to your collection without the DRM (exactly how the DVR would have done), and it came over the air/cable for free (or you paid your cable bill) - so why should you have to pay for it again?! Maybe you've had one too many nasty-grams from Comcast about your bit-torrent downloads so you don't want to go that route."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

HTPC