Valve wrapped up its trio of announcements a couple of weeks ago by unveiling its Stream Controller, a unique gamepad designed to play with upcoming Steam Machines running Steam OS, the company's other two big reveals. The Steam Controller represents a move away from the traditional keyboard and mouse combo that have been so dominant on the PC platform, but according to Valve, this isn't like other controllers on the market. To prove it, Valve posted a video demonstrating the Steam Controller.
Both Lenovo and HP shipped more PCs in the third quarter of 2013 than in the same quarter a year ago, though overall, the market declined 8.6 percent to 80.3 million overall PC shipments from all players, according to preliminary data released by Gartner. This would mark the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments, and the worst sales quarter during the back-to-school season in terms of PC volume since 2008.
Toshiba on Thursday announced its new Q Series Pro line of high-performance solid state drives. These 2.5-inch drives adhere to the 7mm form factor, which means they're slim enough to fit into an Ultrabook, a point of emphasis for Toshiba. Judging by the graphs on Toshiba's website, the Q Series Pro drives feature sequential read performance of around 550MB/s and sequential write performance in the neighborhood of 500MB/s.
Acer's been on the Chromebook bandwagon since the first day and shows no sign of hopping off. Just the opposite, Acer today announced the debut of its C720 Chromebook line featuring processors based on Haswell's micro-architecture. Suffice to say, the C720 is Acer's fastest Chromebook yet, and also the slimmest, boasting a design that's 30 percent thinner and weighs just 2.76 pounds.
Archos on Monday unveiled its GamePad 2, the company's second generation handheld tablet made for gamers. The Archos 2 features a 7-inch HD (1280x800) In-Plane Switching (IPS) display powered by an A9 generation quad-core processor built on a 28nm manufacturing process and clocked at 1.6GHz. The CPU is coupled with a quad-core Mali 400 graphics processor and 2GB of system RAM.
Not all computer cases can accommodate a water cooled setup. That isn't a problem for Lian Li's new PC-D600 case, however, as it sports a double wide brushed aluminum design with "tremendous water cooling support," the company says. To elaborate, there's oodles of elbow room inside the dual-compartment chassis, and if you're so inclined, you can install a 240mm radiator on the left side of the case, and on the right side 360mm/420mm radiators in push/pull are supported.
What do fast cars and fast storage have in common? We're not sure, but let's not bemoan the pairing of LaCie and Porsche Design, a German design studio founded by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of the Porsche founder and designer of the Porsche 911. These two firms decided to collaborate on a USB thumb drive and what they came up with is a slim, sleek, and secure stick that's made of steel.
Smartphones are prevalent no matter where you go, and the reason for that is because there are so many of them in the wild. According to CCS Insight, global smartphone sales will surpass 1 billion units by the end of the year even though overall growth in the mobile phone sector has been slowing down as of late. By the end of 2013, smartphones will account for 55 percent of total mobile phone shipments, leaving plenty of room for growth as feature phone holdouts upgrade their handsets.
It may have taken some time for consumers to warm up to the idea of Chromebooks, basic laptops that serve as physical gateways to the cloud, but now that they have, demand doesn't appear to be waning. To wit, the best selling laptop on Amazon is still a Samsung Chromebook with a 4/5 star rating from 3,259 user reviews. In addition, new models keep coming out, such as the one announced today.
AMD has some big plans for its Radeon graphics cards, details of which have been trickling out over the past couple of weeks. As a primer, we highly recommend checking out our Live Blog coverage of AMD's GPU14 Tech Day 2013 along with Maximum PC Online Editor Jimmy Thang's photo gallery from his visit to Hawaii where the event was held (work can be so grueling sometimes!). Unfortunately those pesky NDAs prevent us from sharing details of AMD's R9 290X and 290 video cards, but in the meantime, we have full specs on no less than five other Radeon R9 and R7 Series parts. Let's get to it!