A general purpose Llano powered HTPC

Subject: Systems | October 4, 2011 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: A8-3800, gigabyte, A75M-UD2H, mATX

When you take an A8-3800 and pair it with a Gigabyte A75M-UD2H you end up with more than just an HTPC.  The flexibility built into the Llano series will give you far more than an Intel Atom or an AMD Neo could ever dream of.  The connectors range from new USB 3.0, DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D along with older style D-SUB, serial and parallel ports as well as audio, ensuring this system build will meet the needs of a variety of users.  Visit Missing Remote if you are looking to build an inexpensive AMD based PC.

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"New platforms are particularly interesting to us as home theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts because it gives us a chance to clearly see how a generation of progress can be transformed into tangible benefits. Not long ago, integrated graphics processors (IGP) were strictly the choice of budget-minded consumers, but the recent relocation of the graphics processing unit (GPU) from the chipset to the processor made it a “first-class” citizen and brought new life to the solution while birthing a new concept – integrated processor graphics (IPG). AMD was not the first to release an IPG, or APU (accelerated processing unit) as they refer to it, but with the introduction of the Brazos/Zacate line earlier this year, a glimpse of Lynx/Llano’s promise became available."

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Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

The Basics

Introduction

If you have been visiting PC Perspective at all over the last week there is no doubt you have seen a lot of discussion about the currently running Battlefield 3 beta.  We posted an article looking at performance of several different GPUs in the game and then followed it up with a look at older cards like the GeForce 9800 GT.  We did a live stream of some PC Perspective staff playing BF3 with readers and fans, showed off and tested the locked Caspian Border map and even looked at multi-GPU scaling performance.  It was a lot of testing and a lot of time, but now that we have completed it, we are ready to summarize our findings in a piece that many have been clamoring for - a Battlefield 3 system build guide.

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The purpose of this article is simple: gather our many hours or testing and research and present the results in a way that simply says "here is the hardware we recommend."  It is a the exact same philosophy that makes our PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard so successful as it gives the reader all the information they need, all in one place.

Continue reading our guide for building a system for Battlefield 3!!

The ASUS WAVI means you can wave goodbye to wires

Subject: Systems | September 27, 2011 - 09:17 PM |
Tagged: htpc, wireless hdmi, wireless video

The ASUS WAVI is wireless HDMI extender kit that will allow you to stream audio and video from the transmitter to receiver as though there was an HDMI cord between the two devices.   Legit Reviews had fun testing it out, the latency when you are within range is low enough that you can game over this device.  However they could not get their USB mouse and keyboard to work though the device which does limit the usefulness in some cases.  If you get too far away you will lose some fidelity, but as long as you are in range this is a great way to avoid wires running all over your living room.

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"ASUS has launched and released what they are calling the world’s first wireless HDMI extender kit. What this is designed to do is take an existing audio video signal from your PC computer, and play on your HDMI-powered big-screen TV… Wirelessly. The Wireless Audio Video Interaction system – or WAVI – is designed not only to play your audio video content remotely, but via a two-way wireless USB, the WAVI will allow you to sit in your living room and control your PC as you pick the best video to show the family..."

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ASUS Unveils a New Series of Innovative and Powerful All-in-One PCs

Subject: Systems | September 26, 2011 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: asus, all-in-one, AIO, ET2410 Series

Fremont, California (September 26, 2011) — Designed to offer versatile performance for a wide variety of users, ASUS is excited to unveil three new All-in-One (AIO) models featuring the 21.5” ET2210, 23.6” ET2410, and 27” ET2700. All three models feature vibrant 1080P LED backlit touchscreens, 2nd generation Intel Core processors, USB 3.0 and e-SATA connectivity, 802.11 N wireless LAN, Digital camera, SonicMaster Audio and VESA-mount points. Options including hard drive storage capabilities up to 1TB, Blu-ray combo optical drive, 8GB of DDR3 memory and more — are all housed inside an elegant yet modern designed enclosure.

All-in-One Form Factor is the latest trend in PC technology
The popularity of the All-in-One form factor continues to grow in both the consumer and business markets as they deliver a smaller, more efficient footprint with a similar level of performance as traditional desktops yet with expanded multimedia and collaborative work features. “The new ASUS All-in-One PC series is the perfect technology tool to meet this increased market demand. ASUS continues to be an innovation leader with the release of these all-new AIOs, which offer premium features, stylish design, immersive multi-touch technology, and affordability in an energy efficient platform,” said Margaret Chen, President of Open Platform Business (OPBG) Group for ASUS Computer International.

Convenient and rich in usability
The first to market ET2410 Series comes with a multitude of convenient features including the touch-optimized ASUS Cinema software, making it easier and more comfortable to surf the web, browse through movies and music, or edit photos. The power of Intel’s 2nd generation Core Processor technology ensures that creating media content or handling demanding workloads is smoother and quicker than ever. The touchscreen models feature multi-touch controls for an intuitive and immersive touch experience in addition to the standard wireless keyboard/mouse inputs.

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Connectivity is not a problem with two USB 3.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, e-SATA port and 802.11 N wireless capabilities. A HDMI input port turns the ET2410 into a brilliant 23.6” display for gaming consoles or for use as a second monitor with a desktop or notebook computer. Engineered by audio experts, SonicMaster technology delivers crystal-clear, immersive audio that is perfect for music, movies or presentations. DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC further enhances audio enjoyment by offering incredible surround sound options. Its VESA mount allows the slim (2.36”) all-in-one PC to be placed almost anywhere, making it ideal for small living areas or professional offices where space is at a premium.

The ASUS ET2410 is available now through leading resellers with prices starting at $899 (MSRP). The 21.5” ET2210 will be available in October and the 27” ET2700 in November. To learn more about the ET2410 or other ASUS products, visit http://usa.asus.com/ for further details. Pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change.

Source: ASUS

IDF 2011: Live Blog of Keynotes, Technical Discussions

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf

PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week.  Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more!  We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.  

You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!

Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses. 

Source: PCPer

Have you met the CableCARD yet?

Subject: Systems | September 9, 2011 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: htpc, cablecard

One of the HTPC builders best friends is the CableCARD, something that was supposed to be available a long time ago and is finally hitting the market.  It is a replacement or addition to the set top box or cable box that subscribers to cable TV are familiar with and once you install it and register a CableCARD with your cable provider it will receive the proper signal from them and allow you to view your cable channels.  Some CARDSs now support multiple streams, allowing you to record a program while watching a different one or recording multiple streams simultaneously.  Missing Remote breaks down the current market, describing the features and limitations of the various models available today as well as offering guidance on setting up your CableCARD.

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"At a higher level, the technology was developed to protect consumers from being forced into having to rent set top boxes (STB) at increasing fees from cable companies (or MSOs) without an alternative. From a home theater PC (HTPC) perspective, it meant the ability to natively tune high definition programming from a cable provider (previously the options were only analog cable, or digital over the air broadcasts)."

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Zotac really does offer you a hand held PC with their ZBox Nano AD10

Subject: Systems | September 8, 2011 - 06:15 PM |
Tagged: ZBox Nano AD10, zotac, SFF

Zotac really takes small form factor PCs seriously.  The new ZBox Nano AD10 that you can see below costs $320 fully loaded and hides an AMD E-350 with Radeon HD 6310 on a Hudson M1 motherboard with 2GB DDR3-1066 and a 5,400 RPM 320GB HDD.  As Josh mentioned on the podcast it also has a proper antenna to make sure you get a solid WiFi signal, thought there is a gigabit ethernet port if you need it.  It might not produce incredible benchmarks but its video playback is perfect.  The Tech Report loves this Nano, it is an OS away from being a complete machine and is available for a very reasonable price.

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"Zotac's Zbox Nano AD10 puts AMD's Brazos platform quite literally in the palm of your hand. Join us for a closer look at the new standard in enthusiast-friendly ultra-mini PC."

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Hauppauge's new inexpensive external dual TV tuner

Subject: Systems | August 25, 2011 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: htpc, cable card, tv tuner, external tv tuner, dual tv tuner, Hauppauge, WinTV-DCR-2650

The Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 is an external box which has two seperate TV tuners which connects to your PC over USB.  With a CableCARD you will be able to connect directly to your cable hook up, and ClearQAM can be received without one as Missing Remote proved in their preview.  At only $149 it even sounds a better deal than many of the PVR devices cable companies hawk to their subscribers.  Keep an eye out for them to finish the review once their CableCARD arrives.

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"Getting our hands on a new product is always exciting so we thought we would share it with you! We've been anxiously awaiting the Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 ever since we first saw the prototype of the CableCARD product at CES. If you haven't heard by now, the WinTV-DCR-2650 is a dual-cable tuner that connects to a PC via USB--a great option for small form factors or a situation where there's no free PCIe slot available. It also happens to be the most inexpensive way to gain access to the entire subscription package from a cable provider on a PC with a retail price of $149. Enough about what it is, let's take a look at it after the break!"

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Back to school with a new system

Subject: Systems | August 22, 2011 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: system build, back to school

The Tech Report thought it would be nice to remind everyone that the beginning of the school year is imminent, by updating their system guide and including a new Dorm PC.  The Dorm PC is focused on saving space as opposed to saving every possible dollar, so that you end up with a usable PC that easily fits into even the most cramped dorm room.  At an estimated $647 the build won't destroy your bank account and the Core i3-2100 will ensure you have more power than a netbook at your fingers.  They also updated their other builds, the Double Stuff workstation, the Econobox, the Utility Player and the Sweet Spot.

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"The back-to-school season is upon us, and we've cooked up a new system guide for the occasion. Read on for the details on the Dorm PC, a small-form-factor rig perfect for students, in addition to updates to our usual system configurations."

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HP conference call this afternoon, could a major division drop?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | August 18, 2011 - 07:55 PM |
Tagged: webOS, hp, Compaq

HP’s third fiscal quarter has entered on the last day of July and today HP will hold their conference call to announce the state of their company in the present as well as some of their plans for the future. We typically do not report on HP’s earnings as they tend to be uninteresting. This quarter is slightly different; HP has announced that they are considering spinning or selling off their PC hardware division. Along with the potential of seeing HP and Compaq computers no longer be HP one thing we do know for sure is that webOS, including Touchpads, will not be their saving grace as they are definitely dead.

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At least we know they’re not betting their future in Palm.

It certainly seems a little brash for HP to all-of-a-sudden pull out of PCs altogether and I do not expect such a harsh event to occur. While it is possible that at some point HP might stretch and ultimately break ties with their PC division I do not see them just changing the locks on the doors and sending in the repo men. As for webOS it was pretty easy to see that there was not enough room in the market for them as an actual contender in the mobile space. We shall see if HP is capable of reusing their technology in another application or simply selling off webOS, potentially in pieces, to other players.

Update, Aug 18/2011 @ 6:28PM: The conference call has now ended and we have a little bit more information about the process. HP made it clear that for now PSG, the division responsible for HP and Compaq computers, tablets, and other consumer but non-printer devices, is still an operating division and will be for the forseeable future. However, over the next 12-18 months they have been authorized by the board to explore their options with spinning off or selling the division. The conference call also seemed to heavily emphasize their desire to shut down or spin off low margin divisions. To me, that sounds akin to a parent telling their misbehaving kid that someone's going to get a slap when they get home -- it is pretty clearly not the neighbors. One or two years down the road, we still may very well see HP do what IBM did with Lenovo.

In other news: WebOS' hardware division is dead and buried but they are still looking to utilize the software either internally, by licensing it to third parties, or selling it.

Source: HP