ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY Laptops Powered by AMD Ryzen 3000 Series

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2019 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, RX 560X, radeon, notebook, mobile, laptop, gaming, asus, amd

ASUS had a pair of AMD-powered gaming laptops to announce at CES 2019, with the TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY, both of which feature the latest Ryzen 3000-series mobile CPUs as well as discrete Radeon RX 560X graphics.

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“Experience smoother, more immersive gameplay with the new ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 AMD Edition. Featuring a cutting-edge IPS-level NanoEdge display with AMD® FreeSync™ technology and a refresh rate up to 120Hz, and armed with the latest AMD Ryzen™ processor and discrete Radeon™ graphics, it delivers high-performance gaming at an affordable price. It’s also tested and certified to military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, so you’re guaranteed toughness and durability that’s second to none.”

The CPU powering these systems is the AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, a 4-core/8-thread CPU with clock speeds ranging from 2.1 GHz up to 3.7 GHz and a 35W TDP.

"AMD’s Ryzen processors have taken desktops by storm, and TUF Gaming laptops lead the deployment of the newest version. Otherwise known as Picasso, this 2nd Gen Ryzen Mobile APU is built with industry-leading 12nm technology. The Ryzen 5 3550H chip powering FX505DY and FX705DY boasts four cores and eight threads that deliver capable performance for popular games and everyday work. Multithreaded performance is particularly strong, yet the processor fits into a 35W power envelope that doesn’t compromise battery life.

Vega-based integrated graphics allow the APU to power the laptop all on its own, which helps conserve power and extend battery life to over seven hours of 1080p video playback on FX705DY and nearly six hours on FX505DY. Discrete GPUs are where it’s at for proper gaming so when it’s time to play, AMD Switchable Graphics tech automatically activates the laptop’s discrete Radeon RX 560X. The GPU pumps out smooth frame rates in mainstays like Fortnite and Overwatch, as well as esports classics like League of Legends and Dota 2."

Both models have NanoEdge displays with thin bezels and wide viewing angles and variable refresh rates, and while the larger FX705DY provides a FreeSync range of 40-60Hz, the FX505DY offers 48-120Hz capability.

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Specifications from ASUS for the TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY include:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
  • Display:
    • 15.6" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display up to 120Hz
    • 17.3" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560X
  • Memory: Up to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • Storage: Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Up to 1TB FireCuda SSHD
  • Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Connectivity:
    • 2x USB 3.1 Gen1
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x HDMI 2.0
    • 1x RJ-45 jack
    • 1x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
    • 1x Kensington lock
  • Keyboard and touchpad  : 1.8mm key travel
  • Customizable RGB or red backlighting
  • Audio: DTS Headphone: X
  • Battery: 48Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX505DY), 64Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX705DY)
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs (FX505DY), 5.73 lbs (FX705DY)

Official pricing was not revealed in the press release, but we should be able to expect some fairly agressive sub-$1000 pricing with these at the base configuration level.

Source: ASUS

CES 2019: Lenovo Yoga S940, Lenovo Yoga C730 with AMOLED, Lenovo Yoga A940, Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2019 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: yoga, Lenovo, ces 2019, CES

Lenovo has also unveiled a new Yoga line of four very different products: two laptops, an all-in-one PC, and a mouse that is designed for presentations.

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Up first is the Lenovo Yoga S940. This is an ultra-slim, 14-inch laptop with a 4K, HDR screen and up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage. The processor is an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 backed by an Intel UHD 620 GPU, which seems to narrow down the possibilities to either the Core i7-8650U, the Core i7-8565U, or the Core i7-8550U. Each of these are quad-core, HyperThreaded processors, although the frequency changes quite a bit from model to model, so which one they actually chose could matter a bit.

Users can choose between 8GB and 16GB of RAM, although all three CPUs could have allowed 32GB – CPU support and “being able to actually fit it inside a tiny laptop” are two different things, however. In terms of connectivity, it has two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as a single USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port. That’s a bit light on the USB side of things, but the ability to attach two separate Thunderbolt 3 devices might make up for that. They do not list a 3.5mm audio jack, though.

The Lenovo Yoga S940 will be available in May for $1499 USD.

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Next is the Lenovo Yoga C730 with AMOLED. As the name suggests, it’s a laptop with an AMOLED screen, which supports 4K. They also say that the screen supports “100% color gamut” although they don’t claim what gamut that is. They don’t seem to make any HDR claims, either.

In terms of specs, once again we get an unnamed eighth-generation Core i7 processor and an Intel UHD 620 GPU, which could be one of the three processors that I listed in the S940 section, above. Also, the RAM is still limited to 16GB. Unlike the S940 that offered 1TB of PCIe SSD, this one maxes out at 512GB, although that should be a lot for most use cases. It would be a little low for the stuff I do with my work PC, though, such as multiple side-by-side installations of Visual Studio to handle multiple different projects. The S730 has just one Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, but two USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 ports, as well as an HDMI port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The Lenovo Yoga C730 with AMOLED will be available in April for $1649.99 USD.

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Up next is… not a laptop. The Lenovo Yoga A940 is an all-in-one pen-input device like the Microsoft Surface Studio. It also comes with the Lenovo Precision Dial and the Lenovo Active Pen 1 AES 1.0, which should also be familiar to those who are interested in the Microsoft Surface Studio.

The entire device is powered by an again unnamed Intel eighth-generation Core i7 processor, but this time it comes with an AMD RX 560 GPU to help with content creation tools (and games of course). Users can choose between 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB of RAM. Storage is a choice between 128GB PCIe SSD, 256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, 1TB SATA HDD, and 2TB SATA HDD. They don’t say whether a PCIe SSD can be installed alongside a SATA HDD, but I certainly hope so.

The Lenovo Yoga A940 launches in March for $2199.99 USD.

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Last up is the Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter. It’s an ultra-thin mouse with a laser pointer built into it. The center can buckle to make an arc-shaped mouse, or it can be pushed flat. The whole device is 1.4cm thin, which is a little over half of an inch. Its sensor tops out at 1600 DPI, which can be reduced to 1200 DPI and 800 DPI if you are more comfortable at one of those speeds. It also has a built-in red laser pointer.

The Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter will be available in June for $69.99 USD.

Source: Lenovo

CES 2019: New Lenovo "Legion" Gaming Laptops Announced. 15-inch Y740, 17-inch Y740, 15-inch Y540

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2019 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lenovo, Legion, Intel, geforce, gaming laptop, ces 2019, CES

Three new laptops have been added to Lenovo’s portfolio under their “Legion” gaming brand. All three of them will contain “Unannounced NVIDIA GeForce GPUs”.

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The Lenovo Legion Y740 comes in two sizes: 15-inch and 17-inch. Based on the slide deck, both models have the choice between the Intel Core i5-8300H and the Intel Core i7-8750H. The Core i5-8300H is a quad-core CPU with HyperThreading (eight threads) that can turbo up to 4 GHz. The Core i7-8750H is a six-core CPU with HyperThreading (twelve threads) that can turbo up to 4.1 GHz. This can be paired with 8, 16, or 32GB of RAM at 2666MHz, or “8GB + 8GB 3200MHz Corsair Overclocked Memory”.

As for storage, both models can have up to 512GB of PCIe SSD, 512GB of SATA SSD, or 2TB of spinning metal. The 17-inch model can also have an Intel Optane drive added to it, although they don’t list a specific size. Both models also have 1x USB-C connector with support for Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and USB 3.1. Alongside the USB-C is, also, HDMI, LAN, three standard USB 3.1 Gen 2, and a mini-DisplayPort connector. They also have an RGB keyboard, which, from the picture, appears to be tenkeyless. Both have Dolby sound, but only the 17-inch model also has a subwoofer. They do not list an audio jack, although I see a hole on the left side that could be either audio or a power plug. I think I also see power on the back, so I assume that it is audio on the side. Mobile phones are one thing, but a laptop better have a headphone jack.

The built-in displays are 1080p, which is a good size for a laptop, and support 144 Hz G-Sync @ 300nit. There is also an upsell to a 500nit panel that has been certified for Dolby HDR400. They don’t say whether the upsell also supports 144Hz G-Sync, but I would assume that they do. Check before you buy, though.

Both sizes will be available in February 2019. The 15-inch starts at $1749.99 USD and the 17-inch starts at $1979.99 USD.

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The third model is the Lenovo Legion Y540. This one will be available a little bit later – May 2019. Interestingly, the CPU is listed as “Intel Core processors”. As such, I would assume that this laptop will use a new, unannounced processor alongside the unannounced GeForce GPU. Lenovo does mention that the laptop can be paired with up to 32GB of RAM at 2666MHz.

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The battery is listed as “52.5Wh & 57Wh (Configuration dependent)”. Since an extra 4.5Wh seems like a tough upsell, I am guessing that battery you receive will be tied to the chosen display, but Lenovo doesn’t say so I don’t know. It looks like there will be a choice between three displays: a 60Hz 1080p IPS panel at 250nits with “45%” color, a 60Hz 1080p IPS panel at 300nits with “72%” color, and a 144Hz IPS panel at 300nits with “72%” color. I put each of the color space percentages in quotations because they don’t list which color space. Since one of them is an HDR panel, I’m going to assume that they don’t mean sRGB… because that would be awful. I am hoping that they are referring to the DCI-P3 color space. They could mean NTSC 1976, although that would be a bit low for an HDR panel.

The laptop has a USB-C port but, unlike the Y740, it can only be used for USB 3.1. There are also three standard USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI port, one mini-DisplayPort, an Ethernet jack, and a 3.5mm audio jack, so you can still attach external monitors to it without the USB-C. They keyboard is backlight, but not RGB – just white.

As mentioned, the Lenovo Legion Y540 will be available in May 2019. It will start at $929.99 USD.

Source: Lenovo

Build MEG's new Ripping Threads

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2019 - 05:43 PM |
Tagged: Threadripper, 2950x, MEG X399 Creation

If you haven't seen a Threadripper in person, or are just looking to sit back and enjoy watching someone set up a system then head over to [H]ard|OCP.  They've just posted a video showing the construction of a Threadripper 2950X on a MEG X399 Creation motherboard.  For those who haven't built a system recently or who are just curious how the pros do it this is a hour well spent.

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"Building a new computer for yourself is always fun. We had the chance to do it ourselves recently, and we decided to document the entire process on video. We use the MSI MEG X399 Creation motherboard and the MSI RTX 2080 Sea Hawk as the backbone of our system along with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Intel Plans Ghost Canyon X NUC With Discrete Graphics Support In 2020

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | December 13, 2018 - 01:02 AM |
Tagged: Intel

Slated for an early 2020 release, Intel is planning a new larger (but still) small form factor NUC system dubbed Ghost Canyon X according to a report by FanlessTech. Ghost Canyon X will feature a larger 5 liter form factor that will be able to accomodate a discrete graphics card along with both M.2 and SATA 3 storage.

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The Ghost Canyon X NUC will be powered by 9th Generation Coffee Lake HR processors that will come in i5 and i7 flavors. The chips have a 45W TDP and will come in quad core i5-9XXXH, six core i7, or eight core i7-9XXXH configurations (with HyperThreading) and will be paired with two DDR4 DIMMs (up to 64GB DDR4 2400 MHz or 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz). Ghost Canyon X NUCs will have three HDMI 2.0 video outputs, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a SD card slot for external I/O (likely along with USB 3.1 and audio outputs though those are not pictured). Internal storage includes up to 3 M.2 drives (two M.2 2242 80/110 and one 80mm) using PCI-E 3.0 x4 links and SATA 3 for standard hard drives and SATA SSDs. The biggest change with the NUC platform is the inclusion of a single PCI-E x16 slot which can be used to add a discrete graphics card to the system. While 5 liters is quite a jump up from the 0.7L standard NUCs and the 1.2L of the Kaby Lake-G powered Hades Canyon gaming NUC, it is still a fairly small system so not all graphics cards are going to fit but enthusiasts should be able to use GPUs that have shorter Mini ITX designs easily enough.

FanlessTech notes that the reference Ghost Canyon X NUC will most likely be actively cooled, but third party fanless cases from makers like Akassa, Streacom, Tranquil PC and others should be achievable with a 45W TDP CPU (and even GPU if you go with a lower end model).

Further details are still unknown and the pictured case design is still subject to change as the system gets further along in the design process and closer to launch. Curiously, that expected early 2020 Ghost Canyon X launch would coincide with Intel’s plans for launching its own discrete graphics solution so an Intel NUC with an Intel graphics card would be an interesting system to see!

Stay tuned for updated NUC information as we get closer to Computex 2019 and CES 2020!

Source: FanlessTech

The Model A is new again thanks to Raspberry

Subject: Systems | November 23, 2018 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi 3, Model A+, Cortex A53, arm

The newest Raspberri Pi 3 is under review over at Phoronix, the Model A+ which brings new hardware at the same $25 price point as the last Model A did.  It is powered by the Broadcom BCM2837B0 SoC, with four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.4GHz.  There is only 512MB of RAM compared to the 1GB of the $35 Model B, and there is no LAN port so make sure you know what your project's requirements are when choosing which one to purchase. 

As long as those limitations do not prevent you from using the Model A+, the performance results show this is a great deal.

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"I was able to snag a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ for $25 with availability appearing to be better than some of the past Raspberry Pi releases. Here are some initial benchmarks of the RPi 3 Model A Plus compared to a few other ARM boards."

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Source: Phoronix
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction, Specifications, and Design

The LIVA Z2 is another in the line of fanless mini systems from ECS, and this one offers up to an Intel Gemini Lake Pentium N5000 processor, which is the configuration of our review unit. The N5000 is a 4-core, non-HyperThreaded part with a 6W TDP (4.8W SDP). The system can support up to 8GB of DDR4L SO-DIMM memory across two slots, and eMMC storage comes onboard in capacities of either 32GB or 64GB.

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The first thing you might notice about the Z2 is that it is quite a bit taller than the previous LIVA designs we've seen, with the LIVA Z and Z Plus about half of the height of this new Z2. The added height allows for an optional 2.5-inch hard drive or SSD to be installed, which can be used either in place of or in addition to the onboard eMMC storage (there are no M.2 slots available).


Specifications:

  • Platform: 
    • Intel Pentium N5000
    • Intel Celeron N4100
    • Intel Celeron N4000
  • Memory: 2x SO-DIMM, Up to 8GB DDR4
  • Storage:
    • eMMC 32GB/64GB
    • Support 1x 2.5” SATA HDD
  • Audio: 1x Combo Jack, 1x Digital Mic
  • LAN: 1x Gigabit LAN
  • USB:
    • 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A Ports
    • 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C Port
    • 2x USB 2.0 Ports
  • Video Output:
  • 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4
  • Wireless: Intel WiFi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.2
  • Dimensions: 132 x 118 x 56.4 mm
  • VESA: Supports 75mm / 100mm
  • Power Adapter: Input AC 100-240V, Output DC 19V / 3.42A
  • OS Support: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Accessories:
    • 1x Power adapter
    • 1x VESA Bracket
    • 6x VESA Mount Screws
    • 2x HDD Screws(Optional)
    • Quick Guide & Driver DVD

Pricing and Availability: $200 - $250 MSRP ($250 as reviewed); USA availability TBD

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Continue reading our review of the ECS LIVA Z2 fanless mini-PC!

Windows Media Centre has strut and fret it's hour upon the stage ...

Subject: Systems | October 22, 2018 - 04:20 PM |
Tagged: windows media center, htpc, hdhomerun, Connect Quatro

One of the casualties of Microsoft's new operating systems has been Windows Media Centre, an incredibly easy way to watch and record TV as well as stream your own media.  What does one do with that old HTPC, once you have finally moved on from an old Windows version that supported WMC?  This is the question that this Tech Report writer has answered in this article.   With the help of some old hardware and a new HDHomeRun Connect Quatro can he create a similar solution to his dear departed Media Centre?  How can the old .wtv files be saved?  Find out by clicking that link.

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"I figure I'm on the tail end of converts from ye olde Windows Media Center, but I know there are diehards still out there lamenting their loss or maybe still fighting to get Windows Media Center working on Windows 10 in a post-April Update world. To those of you good people, take a deep breath and listen to my tale. Maybe it will help you find peace."

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CTL Announces i7-Powered Chromebox CBx1

Subject: Systems | October 16, 2018 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: ctl, mini-pc

CTL is a PC manufacturer that focuses on customers in the education and government sectors. Today’s announcement is that they are adding a mini-PC to their line of Google Chrome OS devices, which is powered by a Core i7-8550U.

It will be available in November for $599 USD.

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Interestingly, the device is capable of dual-monitor output if you have one monitor that supports HDMI and another monitor that supports USB type C. They don’t say what else that type C port could be used for, however. It also has two USB 2.0 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Wireless AC (2x2), and Bluetooth 4.2 for I/O. The models start at 8GB of RAM and 32GB of SSD, but that can be expanded to 16GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD.

The device is covered by a one-year warranty, although with two-way shipping covered.

Source: CTL

MSI's Aegis 3 gaming PC, aka Isaac

Subject: Systems | September 24, 2018 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: msi, aegis 3, gtx 1070 ti, i7-8700, Optane

If you like your system to glare aggressively at you, or are a fan of the Dead Space series then you should check out the review of MSI's latest Aegis system over at Kitguru.  It may look huge at first glance but it stands a mere 433x376x169mm (17x14.8x6.7") so you might just be able to fit this on your desk.  Inside is something a little unexpected, a 16GB Optane stick, which somehow doesn't fit with the i7-8700, GTX 1070 Ti and 16GB of DDR4-2400; especially as it MSI will not ship any with a GTX 1070 Ti, only a GTX 1060 or 1070.  There is also the matter of the 40mm fan which cools the PSU.

If you like the look of the case, and are willing to spend a premium to get it; take a look at the review.

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"I am of course talking about the aggressive, angular design of the machine – you will either love it or hate it. It does have some decent internal hardware, though, including an i7-8700, GTX 1070 Ti and support for Intel’s Optane technology. Is it any good?"

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Source: Kitguru