A small form factor skeleton with one-touch overclocking
MSI seems to have its hands in quite a few different cookie jars, which now includes bare bone PCs for gamers. The new MSI Nightblade is a small form factor (SFF) setup with an MSI Gaming Z87I motherboard, 600W power supply, and Dragon case fan. Your job is to drop in a CPU, graphics card, storage, optical drive, and you're ready to game -- and you can overclock using MSI's OC Genie Button on the front of the chassis.
If your daily work space is on a mountain top or some other tough terrain, an Ultrabook may not be what you need. Instead, GammaTech offers a line of rugged systems, including its new Durabook R8300, a 13.3-inch notebook that's certified to stringent MIL-STD-810G and IP64 specifications. It can withstand drops, getting wet, dust, temperature fluctuations, and other variables that are likely to occur in hostile environments.
Underneath Origin PC's custom heat spreaders are HyperX modules
Boutique system builder Origin PC has teamed up with Kingston Technology to deliver a line of its own brand memory modules offered in the company's Genesis, Millennium, and Chronos desktops. Though the DDR3 memory kits bear Origin PC's name on the low profile black heat spreaders, they're essentially rebadged Kingston HyperX modules, only they've been factory tested and approved by both Kingston and Origin PC engineers.
Low priced convertible from HP takes on Lenovo's Yoga
If the HP Pavilion x360 looks familiar, it's because we've seen the 360-degree hinge trick before when Lenovo introduced its Yoga. HP's Pavilion x360 is also capable of swinging all the way around and transforming itself from a laptop into a tablet, but it carries a much lower starting price. The cost of entry is $400, significantly lower than the Lenovo Yoga 11s, which starts out at $1,100 on Lenovo's website.
The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) scored a big win by adding its first major PC OEM to its ranks. That OEM is Dell, which joins an A4WP alliance that's over 80 members strong. Quite a few heavy hitters are part of the group, including Broadcomm, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Fujitsu, HTC, LG, Panasonic, SanDisk, and more. The group's goal is to standardize a wireless power transfer protocol using near-field magnetic resonance technology.
The worst may be over in terms of slumping PC sales that have made headlines throughout the past year. HP, the second largest PC supplier in the world, reported a 4 percent jump in PC sales compared to last year en route to posting a $28.2 billion quarter for its fiscal period ended January 31, 2014. That's actually a 1 percent decline in net revenue compared to the same quarter a year ago, but still higher than Wall Street was expecting.
Gaming PC builders get behind Nvidia's new GPU launches
If you were worried that Nvidia's newly announced graphics cards would amount to a paper launch, don't be. Boutique system builders have already armed themselves with the new GPUs -- GeForce GTX 750, GeForce GTX 750 Ti, and GeForce GTX Titan Black -- and are chomping (or "champing," if you prefer) at the bit to build your next gaming PC using Nvidia's newest hardware.
If you trot into your local Best Buy store, you're likely to see way more tablets, laptops, and hybrid PCs than actual desktops even though the opposite was true not all that long ago. However, if you make a living writing obituaries, don't include desktop PCs in any upcoming columns, they're still very much relevant. One need only ask Asus, which is reportedly planning to ship twice as many desktops this year as it did in 2013.
Get free stuff when you order an EON17-S or EON15-S notebook
Consider it a belated Valentine's Day gift, if you will, but starting today, boutique builder Origin PC is offering some free swag when you order an EON17-S or EON15-S gaming laptop. When you configure either laptop, be sure to check the "Jump into the Fast Lane" bullet point at the top of the page (under "Current Special Offers") and you'll receive at no extra charge a 240GB solid state drive, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
It's been a few quarters since Lenovo shoved Hewlett-Packard aside to become the leading PC maker in the world (in terms of shipments), and whatever the Chinese OEM is doing, it seems to be working. Lenovo on Thursday announced record results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2013, noting that it generated $10.8 billion in revenue. That's a 15 percent year-over-year increase and also marks the first time Lenovo's topped the $10 billion mark.