Update: Now with more pics of iBuyPower's Steam machine!
Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 both raced to 1 million unit sales in the first 24 hours of availability, but come 2014, gamers may be talking about a console of a different kind. Boutique system builder iBuyPower is jumping aboard Valve's Steam Machine bandwagon with a prototype system it plans to launch sometime in 2014. In the meantime, iBuyPower has offered up a sneak peak of its prototype Steam Machine, which it also plans to show off at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
Finally, an affordable Chromebook with touch support
Google owes Acer a pat on the back for making its Chromebook platform a more attractive option. How so? Acer just introduced the C720P Chromebook, the newest addition to its C720 line and the first to feature an 11.6-inch touchscreen panel. What's equally impressive is that Acer managed to bolt on a touchscreen panel without tacking on an obscene premium -- this sucker retails for $300 MSRP.
Motorola has a holiday surprise for the mobile crowd. The company announced that its unlocked and affordable Moto G smartphone is now available to purchase in GSM form from Motorola's website with no contract, no SIM lock, and an unlocked bootloader for $179 with 8GB of storage or $199 with 16GB of storage. Those are full retail prices - you own the device outright for less than the subsidized cost of most high-end smartphones.
Tablets will make up half of the overall PC market next year
Desktops aren't going anywhere, but neither are tablets, the latter of which are forecast to out-ship all other PC form factors combined to account for nearly half of the client PC market, according to Canalys. Tablet PC shipments grew 40 percent in the third quarter of 2013, which helped the overall PC market grow 18 percent even though traditional desktop and notebook shipments declined. Amid all this growth is a window of opportunity to monetize the frenzy, just like Intel did when netbooks were all the craze.
Powercolor today announced that it's given its first R9 Series graphics card the PCS+ treatment, which consists of using in-house materials and a custom cooling design for added performance and stability. The lucky candidate is the Powercolor PCS+ R9 270X. It has 2GB of GDDR5 memory just like the reference design, though Powercolor goosed the GPU to 1060MHz base and up to 1100MHz boost.
There's not much fanfare surrounding the launch of Lenovo's new Flex 10 laptop with Intel's Bay Trail architecture inside. Perhaps that's because the Flex line itself isn't new, though the 10-inch model hasn't been released before. The Flex 10 features a 10.1-inch touchscreen display with a 1366x768 (HD) resolution. What's unique about the Flex 10 is that the screen flips 300 degrees into stand mode so that you can tap away at the display.
Moving to 64-bit could introduce big performance gains in some apps
Intel has a lot of catching up to do in the mobile space. The big dog on campus in mobile is ARM, which powers many of the smartphones and tablets currently available. One thing Intel is looking at to change the tide is 64-bit computing in mobile, which it demonstrated during an investor meeting. The demonstration consisted of an Android tablet with a 64-bit Atom processor inside based on Silvermont.
Not everyone can afford a $16,500 Dream Machine. In fact, not many people could afford even half of what we spent to build this year’s Dream rig. Well, actually, most people probably wouldn’t even spend a third of that on a new rig.
Note: This review was originally featured in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
A recurring theme in the tech industry is that sometimes you have to look backwards in order to move forward. Apple did it when Steve Jobs came back to lead the Cupertino company into a new era of unprecedented riches, Dell's doing it with Michael Dell returning in an attempt to return the No. 3 PC maker back to glory, and now Acer's following the blueprint by bringing in company co-founder Stan Shih after a quarter of record losses.
So, you're AMD guy or gal, is that it? If you've been losing sleep at night wondering why Maingear's Nomad 17 gaming laptop doesn't have an AMD option, get ready to snooze like a baby tonight. The custom notebook line is now truly customizable, in that you can choose to build around an Intel or AMD foundation. One advantage of going with an AMD configuration is that it's cheaper than the Intel alternatives.