Maximum PC - News en Origin PC Genesis Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>Aggressive in more ways than one</h3> <p>You already know that Nvidia’s Titan X is Kick Ass, but do you know what’s even more bad-ass? Three of them in SLI. With that philosophy in mind, Origin PC sent us its new Genesis rig to review. The box has three of those bad boys, all water-cooled, coupled with a 5960X CPU and 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, wrapped up in the company’s own bold full-tower chassis.&nbsp;</p> <p>Externally, the chassis still looks as striking as ever. Ours came in an all-black finish, but there are different color options available. You also have some fancy lighting options, both on the inside and outside of the case, that you can control via an included wireless remote. While the frame of the chassis is mostly metal, we’re not too fond of the external casing, which is mostly composed of plastic; it feels a little fragile. Both doors also come off completely, but don’t re-attach as easily as they should; we often found ourselves having to push them back on snugly before we could securely lock them into place. And like the Cooler Master stacker chassis before it, this case also has an expandable bay on the bottom. In our case (no pun intended), the bottom bay houses most of the chassis fans.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="/files/u154082/origin_pc_genesis.jpg" width="620" height="543" /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The black and red aesthetic gives it that HAL 9000 vibe.</strong></p> <p>Speaking of cooling, the beautiful-looking water setup comes by way of Koolance, which water cools both the CPU and GPUs. In terms of performance, Origin PC’s box flew. In anticipation of some of the monster rigs to come, we’ve updated our desktop zero point PC to have three GTX 980s and a 5960X CPU, but this Origin rig completely blew it out of the water. Three 980s is a plenty fast setup, but in our newly updated suite of graphics benchmarks, three Titan Xs smokes it by 20–60 percent.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is worth noting, however, that we did not initially see these graphical performance gains. As a matter of fact, in both the Batman and Tomb Raider tests, Origin’s system actually performed worse than our ZP. We tried playing around with and re-downloading drivers, but nothing worked. After scratching our heads for a few days and working with Origin to resolve the issue, we discovered that the system’s Asus X99-Deluxe motherboard had its PCI-e configuration set to auto, and wasn’t scaling up to Gen 3 mode. When we manually switched it over in the BIOS, our performance issues went away. Origin says it is working with Asus to solve this issue moving forward, and luckily it’s not hard to fix, but when you’re paying more than $9K for a PC, this shouldn’t be an issue.</p> <p>The CPU performance also ended up being really impressive, besting our own closed-loop water cooled 5960X by 13–24 percent in our benchmarks. That’s a huge difference when you consider that both systems are running the same CPU. You can attribute that to Origin’s aggressive overclocking. Unfortunately, however, it appears that Origin might have gone overboard with its overclock by bumping its proc to 4.5GHz, as we encountered a CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT blue screen twice while running our multithread-heavy X264 benchmark. When we spoke to Origin about this, the company said that it might have been a result of the overaggressive overclock and said it is willing to help customers downclock their CPUs through multiple means of customer support if necessary. Still, when you’re spending so much cashola on this box, things like this shouldn’t happen.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, another small gripe we had with the system is that one of its front-facing USB ports didn’t work right out of the gate. When we opened its internals, we found the USB connector to be a little loose on the motherboard, so we plugged it back in and that solved the issue. While you could chalk that up to a rush job, it could also have happened during shipping.&nbsp;</p> <p>As you can see, the box is not perfect, and our various issues with it hold us back from giving the Genesis our Kick Ass seal of approval. Fortunately, these issues can be solved with a few simple tweaks. If you can stomach what might be isolated incidents, you’ll be left with one beautiful and bad-ass PC.&nbsp;</p> <p>$9,278, <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/origin_pc_specs.png" width="510" height="271" /></p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/origin_pc_benchmarks.png" width="518" height="509" /></p> <p>Our desktop zero point PC uses a 5960X CPU, three GTX 980s, and 16GBs of RAM. Arkham City tested at 2560x1440 max settings with PhysX off. Tomb Raider at Ultimate settings. Shadow of Mordor at Max settings.</p> 5960x Desktop genesis origin pc Review Titan X News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 22:02:03 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29801 at Lenovo's ThinkCentre Chromebox Targets Education and Small Businesses <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/thinkcentre_chromebox_monitor.jpg" alt="Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox and Tiny-in-One" title="Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox and Tiny-in-One" width="228" height="202" style="float: right;" />First Chromebox to support to Lenovo's Tiny-in-One display</h3> <p>Is there room for Google's Chrome OS in the mini PC market? <strong>Lenovo aims to find out by launching its ThinkCentre Chromebox</strong>, a system purposely designed for education and small business users looking to live high in the cloud. For those users, the ThinkCentre Chrombox offers a compact and relatively affordable system that's ready to rock in Google's ecosystem.</p> <p>One thing that's unique about the ThinkCentre Chromebox is that it's the only Chromebox in the world that can hook up to Lenovo's <a href="" target="_blank">ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One</a>, which is essentially a 23-inch monitor with a Full HD 1080p resolution. It features a 5ms response time, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, 250 cd/m2 brightness, Kensington Lock Slot, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a mini USB 2.0 port, audio output, and a few other bullet points.</p> <p>The pitch from Lenovo is that you can attach the two devices together for an instant 23-inch all-in-one solution. Otherwise, you can use the Chromebox on its own. The device measures 7 inches (H) by 1.4 inches (W) by 7.2 inches (D). It has four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, microphone/headphone combo jack, and Ethernet connectivity.</p> <p>Oddly enough, there's no mention of the hardware and features in the <a href=";article_id=1967" target="_blank">press release</a> or on the <a href="" target="_blank">product page</a>, just that it will be available in June starting at $199; the Tiny-in-One is available now for $279.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> chrome os Hardware lenovo OEM rigs ThinkCentre Chromebox News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:30:17 +0000 Paul Lilly 29799 at Take a Moment of Silence for Google's Discontinued Nexus 7 Tablet <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nexus_7_mpc.jpg" alt="Nexus 7 Maximum PC" title="Nexus 7 Maximum PC" width="228" height="174" style="float: right;" />Popular Android device is officially defunct</h3> <p>It took some time before Android tablets hit their stride. In the beginning, they were expensive, as manufacturers tried to compete with Apple's iPad on price, which negated one of the primary benefits of Android -- it's an open source platform and products should be cheaper than their proprietary counterparts. It took Amazon's Kindle Fire (now just Fire) line to drive the point home, though it was Google's Nexus 7 that finally got things right. Fast forward to today and <strong>Google's Nexus 7 is sadly discontinued</strong>.</p> <p>There's no official announcement, but if you head over to Google's Nexus 7 <a href="" target="_blank">product page</a>, you'll see a message in red that reads, "The Nexus 7 is no longer available for purchase." That's it -- no farewell message or anything of the sort, just a curt notification that you're too late to the party.</p> <p>What made the Nexus 7 so awesome was that it found the balance between features and price, while avoiding the third-party bloat that wireless carriers and hardware partners like to shovel onto devices in an attempt to differentiate themselves. The Nexus 7 was simply a fast tablet with a stock Android experience backed by Google, meaning new Android builds would roll out in a timely manner, the latest being Android Lollipop.</p> <p>The good news is, you can still find Nexus 7 tablets, assuming you're interested in what's now a two-year old device. Amazon has some in stock, and of course there's eBay and Craigslist. Otherwise, you can pick up an updated model from Google, the <a href="" target="_blank">Nexus 9</a>, which is larger, faster, and more expensive.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> android Google mobile nexus 7 slate tablet News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:39:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 29798 at Acer to Attack Gaming Market with Predator Line of PC Products <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_building.jpg" alt="Acer" title="Acer" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />Laptops and desktops and monitors, oh my!</h3> <p>The last Predator product I remember seeing from Acer was the <a href="">Predator AG3 Series desktop</a>, a configurable machine that entered the U.S. market a couple of years ago with a starting price of $1,000. I don't think the line gained much traction, though Acer isn't giving up on the brand. Instead, <strong>Acer's getting ready to release several Predator brand products</strong>, including a laptop, desktop, monitor, and even a tablet.</p> <p>According to <em>Digitimes</em>, Acer put together a task force to develop related products and also support professional gamers. Presumably the idea is to build brand exposure for its Predator line, which apparently will also include motherboards. This will be an ongoing thing for Acer, with product updates every two to three months.</p> <p>Some of these products have already been captured on camera. If you head over to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em></a>, you'll spy several pics of new Predator systems, all of which are clearly aimed at gamers with aggressive angles and loud styling. The desktop especially stands out with a design that you'll either love or hate (I doubt there will be much middle ground there).</p> <p>As for the laptops, which will come in both 15-inch and 17-inch form factors, you can see some gaming features, such as a red border around the WASD and arrow keys. Also visible are USB 3.0 ports, gold plated audio jacks, what could be dedicated macro keys (they're blurry), and sizable vents that comprise what Acer calls a "massive" cooling system.</p> <p>There's also a funky looking Predator tablet that appears to have traded thinness for a mean aesthetic. It has four front-facing speakers, and haptic feedback that will shake in your hands while playing games.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Acer Desktops display Hardware laptops monitors notebooks OEM predator rigs tablets News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:41:05 +0000 Paul Lilly 29797 at Lenovo U31 Notebook Could Hit U.S. Store Shelves After All <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Lenovo U31" title="Lenovo U31" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" />Laptop seen in FCC filing</h3> <p><strong>At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Lenovo introduced the U31 laptop, a 13-incher</strong> the Chinese company said it did not plan to bring to the North American market.&nbsp; A recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), however, seems to suggest otherwise.</p> <p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Liliputing</a>, the 13-inch laptop cropped up in documents Qualcomm Atheros filed with the FCC recently. Therefore, while this could be an indication that the U31 is headed toward U.S. shores, there is no guarantee that this is indeed the case.</p> <p>The U31 starts at $499 and <a href="" target="_blank">can be configured with up to a Core i7 Broadwell processor</a>, Nvidia GPU (optional), up to 8GB of RAM and a maximum of 1TB hybrid storage (or 500GB HDD storage, or 256GB SSD). It boasts a full HD 13.3-inch display. Watch out, though: the Windows 8.1-running laptop may end up getting sold as the Lenovo S31 in some markets.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> broadwell ces2015 fcc laptop lenovo notebook qualcomm atheros rumor u31 windows 8.1 News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:29:52 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29796 at Acer Announces $200 Chromebook 15 Variant <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Chromebook 15" title="Chromebook 15" width="228" height="169" style="float: right;" />The cheapest 15-inch Chromebook</h3> <p>Not that long ago, the distinction of being the <strong>biggest Chromebook</strong> belonged to the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook (14-inch), but that changed earlier this year when <a href="" target="_blank">Acer introduced its 15.6-inch Chromebook 15 at CES</a>. Acer now plans to outdo itself by launching the cheapest 15-inch Chrome OS-running machine on the market.</p> <p>“After launching the Acer Chromebook 15, the industry's first Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display, Acer today expands this line with a new model, the Acer CB3-531, available at a wallet-friendly price of only $199.99,” the company said in a <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a> Thursday.</p> <p>The cheapest <a href="" target="_blank">Chromebook 15 variant</a> right now costs $250, while the most expensive one costs $350. Sure, it’s hardly anything you could call expensive, but let’s not forget the whole concept of a cloud OS-based machine pretty much rests on affordability and so this latest SKU is a welcome addition.</p> <p>According to the company, the CB3-531 packs an&nbsp; Intel Celeron N2830 dual-core processor processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB eMMC storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, and a battery capable of lasting 11.5 hours on a single charge. It will hit the market in July.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> Acer CB3-531 chrome os chromebook 15 Google News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 09:29:54 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29795 at Dropbox's Online Note-Taking Service Enters Beta <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Dropbox Notes" title="Dropbox Notes" width="228" height="120" style="float: right;" />Project Composer becomes Dropbox Notes</h3> <p>A few weeks back, some sites <a href="" target="_blank">chanced upon Project Composer</a>, an Evernote-esque note-taking tool Dropbox was testing silently. Curious as to what the fuss was all about, many flocked to the limited-access service, only to be turned away at the gates. While entry is still restricted, you can at least request an invite now.</p> <p>Now called <a href="" target="_blank">Dropbox Notes</a>, the collaborative note-taking tool has <a href="" target="_blank">entered beta</a>. Details are thin at this point in time, but judging by its official page, Notes appears to be aimed at businesses and not consumer — at least for now. </p> <p>The page requests that those interested in joining the invite-only beta furnish their name, e-mail address and company name, and then wait until "an early version is ready for you." There are no details, save for a screenshot showing some fairly basic collaborative note-taking capabilities.</p> <p>Notes is being seen as the fruit of Dropbox's acquisition of <a href="" target="_blank">HackPad</a> about two years ago. It is quite interesting, however, that HackPad's online collaborative notes service continues to be available to both new and existing users. Perhaps that will change once Notes has exited beta.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> beta dropbox notes evernote google docs office onenote News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 07:11:27 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29794 at Intel's Skylake-S Lineup Reportedly Leaked <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Skylake Engineering Sample" title="Skylake Engineering Sample" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Ten Skylake desktop CPUs supposedly outed</h3> <p>It may only have been a few months since the first Broadwell CPUs (finally) hit the market, but Intel is already looking set to move on from the Haswell's troubled 14nm die shrink. Media reports in February suggested that the <strong>chip maker could showcase its 6th generation Skylake-S desktop chips at its IDF conference in August</strong>, a <a href="" target="_blank">little later than previously expected</a>. A Chinese website believes it knows which SKUs await us.</p> <p>As previously rumored, the various Skylake-S SKUs supposedly outed by Chinese site <a href="" target="_blank">Benchlife</a> fall into three broad categories in terms of power consumption: 35W, 65W and 95W. There are 10 SKUs in all, ranging from the power-efficient T series chips to the powerful, unlocked K series CPUs. </p> <p>As you can see in the table below, these are all Core i5 and Core i7 parts with support for DDR4. And as you may be aware, Intel is moving to the new LGA 1151 socket with Skylake; the socket has an extra pin compared to its predecessor, the LGA 1150.</p> <p>Skylake is a "tock" in Intel's tick-tock processor release cadence. In other words, it is a whole new microarchitecture and thus a more substantial upgrade over Haswell than Broadwell, which is simply the latter's 14nm die shrink, or a "tick" in company parlance. If purportedly leaked benchmarks are to be believed, we <a href="" target="_blank">could see a 15-percent bump in performance</a>.</p> <p><img src="" width="620" height="226" /></p> <p><em>Image Credit: Benchlife</em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> build a rig chip core i5 core i7 Hardware intel k series processor rumor sku skylake t series News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:33:10 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29793 at Thermaltake Rolls Out Line of Radiators for Hardcore Enthusiasts <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/thermaltake_radiators.jpg" alt="Thermaltake Radiators" title="Thermaltake Radiators" width="228" height="142" style="float: right;" />Not your average rads</h3> <p><strong>Thermaltake today debuted a full range of radiators</strong> that it claims are all designed for the most demanding and hardcore enthusiasts around. Not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill radiator, Thermaltake's new Pacific RL (over 50mm thickness) and R Series (under 50mm thickness) radiators are designed from high-quality German aerospace-grade materials and constructed with zinc to prevent corrosion, the company says.</p> <p>Are they all that and a bag of sea salt and vinegar kettle potato chips? We're not sure, though Thermaltake's hype machine is certainly in overdrive.</p> <p>"An exceptional manufacturing process using high temperature brazing at 1022℉/550℃ sets Pacific Radiators in a class of their own," Thermaltake explains. "Integrated G1/4-inch threads make it easy to install, while rigid connections ensure they are leak-resistant. With an ideal mounting, fitting and flow set-up, the Thermaltake Pacific Radiator Series is guaranteed to go above and beyond your current cooling standards."</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/thermaltake_rad_flow.jpg" alt="Thermaltake Rad Flow" title="Thermaltake Rad Flow" width="620" height="300" /></p> <p>Thermaltake's Pacific RL rads use a dual-row 13-set flat tube design. Water flows down one side and then passes through the bottom chamber en route to the other side. They're available in 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm, 420mm, 480mm, and 560mm radiator lengths.</p> <p>The Pacific R is a bit slimmer than the RL and uses a single 13-set flat tube design. It's available in 120mm, 180mm, 240mm, 360mm, and 540mm sizes.</p> <p>Instead of soldering these rads, Thermaltake says it bakes them through a controlled-atmosphere brazing line. This causes the material to melt into each other, leading to optimal thermal transfer from the tubes to the fins.</p> <p>Here's an interesting look at how they're made:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>No word yet on when they'll be available or for how much.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware liquid cooling Pacific RL Peripherals R Series Radiator thermaltake water cooling News Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:47:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29784 at Why Microsoft Won't Abandon the Cloud Anytime Soon <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_3.jpg" alt="Microsoft" title="Microsoft" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Microsoft's cloud revenue more than doubled yet again</h3> <p>If it appears that Microsoft has its head in the cloud these days, it's because it does, and that's where it will likely stay for a long time to come. <strong>There's little incentive for Microsoft to change course at this point, as its commercial cloud revenue just grew 106 percent to $2.76 billion during the company's third quarter of fiscal 2015</strong>. It's the seventh quarter in a row that its commercial cloud revenue has doubled up.</p> <p>Microsoft's cloud growth helped the company collect $21.7 billion in revenue for its third quarter, beating out analysts' estimates. This led to Microsoft returning $7.5 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends, the company announced.</p> <p>"Customers continue to choose Microsoft to transform their business and as a result we saw incredible growth across our cloud services this quarter," <a href="" target="_blank">said Satya Nadella</a>, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Next week at Build we're excited to share more about how we're empowering every individual and organization on the planet to achieve more with the next generation of our platforms."</p> <p>The cloud has been kind to Microsoft, which saw a 35 percent sequential increase in Office 365 Consumer subscribers, bringing to the total number to more than 12.4 million. Combined with a doubling in commercial cloud revenue, it was easy for Microsoft to offset revenue declines in Windows OEM Pro (19 percent) and Windows OEM non-Pro (26 percent).</p> <p>While it's still too early to tell, results like this could serve as more evidence that Microsoft will ultimately end up offering Windows as a service sometime down the line. As it stands, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, which could be a step in that direction.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Robert Scoble)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> cloud microsoft revenue News Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:23:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29783 at