Hardware http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1416/ en Pricing for 240GB Solid State Drives Could Fall to $70 in 2015 http://www.maximumpc.com/pricing_240gb_solid_state_drives_could_fall_70_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/apacer_ssd.jpg" alt="Apacer SSD" title="Apacer SSD" width="228" height="211" style="float: right;" />Apacer exec expects another free fall in SSD pricing</h3> <p>Solid state drives may never reach the tantalizing price-per-gigabyte ratio that mechanical hard disk drives enjoy, though that's okay, we're willing to pay a premium for performance. However, that premium might not be finished shrinking. We already saw NAND flash memory pricing take a nose dive, which in turn led to more affordable SSDs, and now <strong>we hear that the cost of SSDs could drop even lower this year</strong>.</p> <p>According to <em>Digitimes</em>, Apacer Technology general manager CK Chang believes prices for 256GB SSDs will fall below $70 in the second half of 2015, while prices for 128GB SSDs will hit $40. At present, 256GB SSDs street for around $100 -- there's an <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820753056" target="_blank">Apotop model</a> on Newegg that's priced on sale for $90, while the rest of the 256GB models sell for $100 or more -- and 128GB models go for $60 and up.</p> <p>The reason for the predicted drop in price once again relates to NAND flash memory. Upstream chip vendors have transitioned to 14nm, 15nm, and 16nm, and in doing so, production costs have come down. According to Chang, this will lead to lower priced SSDs.</p> <p>As for Apacer, the company shipped about 4 million SSDs in 2014, accounting for 30 percent of its more than $318 million in revenue.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/pricing_240gb_solid_state_drives_could_fall_70_2015#comments Build a PC Hardware Solid State Drives ssd storage News Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:45:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 29303 at http://www.maximumpc.com Smaller Motherboard Players Regroup to Take on Asus and Gigabyte http://www.maximumpc.com/smaller_motherboard_players_regroup_take_asus_and_gigabyte_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ecs_mobo.jpg" alt="ECS Mobo" title="ECS Mobo" width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />Tough times for second tier mobo makers</h3> <p>Asus and Gigabyte dominated the motherboard market in 2014, with Asus coming out slightly ahead of its rival for bragging rights. However, there's more at stake than bragging rights for second tier players. <strong>ASRock, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), and Micro-Star International (MSI) all have new strategies for 2015</strong> to help better compete with the big boys, though not all may survive.</p> <p><a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20150121PD211.html" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, ECS president Sunny Yang recently went on record saying he wouldn't dismiss the notion of quitting the motherboard market altogether if its China brand mobo business continues to mount losses in 2015, though nothing has yet been decided. In the meantime, the company is seeing profits from Intel's Classmate PC orders, and also from its mini PC product offerings.</p> <p>As for ASRock, it's adjusting its product and channel strategies for 2015 after seeing an all-time low in its earnings per share last year. It's not clear what new strategies it's putting in place, though the company expects to ship 6.6 million to 7 million motherboards this year.</p> <p>Finally, MSI turned to new blood to liven up its motherboard business. Specifically, the company brought in an executive from its Europe notebook sales business to be in charge of its China-based motherboard and graphics business in the hopes that new management will give it a boost.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/smaller_motherboard_players_regroup_take_asus_and_gigabyte_2015#comments asrock asus Build a PC ecs gigabyte Hardware motherboards msi News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:45:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29301 at http://www.maximumpc.com Stir Kinetic Desk Gets You Moving Up and Down http://www.maximumpc.com/stir_kinetic_desk_gets_you_moving_and_down_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/stir_kinect_desk_m1.jpg" alt="Stir Kinect Desk" title="Stir Kinect Desk" width="228" height="174" style="float: right;" />Sit or stand, it's your choice</h3> <p>There's a new desk on the market, though it's a bit smarter than your average contraption. Called the <strong>Stir Kinect Desk M1, it sports built-in electronics and a motorized platform that rises up and down</strong> to keep you from sitting on your rump all day long. Unless of course you'd prefer to sit for hours on end, then it will dutifully stay in place. Otherwise, there's some interesting functionality to play with.</p> <p>Much has been made lately about standing desks and the potential health benefits of not sitting down all day long. Some standing desks even incorporate a treadmill underneath so that you can walk and work (or jog and work, if you're particularly talented) the day away, burning more calories than you otherwise would by sitting down for hours and hours.</p> <p>We suppose a treadmill could be integrated with the Kinect Desk as well, though the real goal is to simply get users standing. How much or how little is entirely up to you -- there's a built-in 5-inch touchscreen that allows you to move the desk to different levels. You can also create goals, such as telling it you want to stand for 35 percent of the time or for a set amount of minutes.</p> <p>"Your Stir Kinetic Desk makes moving while working effortless and engaging," Stir says. "The extra energy you create can lead to your most creative work. Make your desk a place of inspiration."</p> <p>The desktop measures 60 inches by 30 inches and is curvy in design. It's CNC-machined and sports a powder coat over engineered wood. You can get it in black or white, though it isn't cheap -- the asking price is $2,990, shipping included.</p> <p>Check it out <a href="http://www.stirworks.com/" target="_blank">here</a> and/or view the video below.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZgG2YdkfCak" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/stir_kinetic_desk_gets_you_moving_and_down_2015#comments desk ergonomics Hardware health kinetic desk m1 stir News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:01:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 29297 at http://www.maximumpc.com Backblaze Takes a Second Look at Hard Drive Reliability, Finds Capacity Matters http://www.maximumpc.com/backblaze_takes_second_look_hard_drive_reliability_finds_capacity_matters_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hitachi_4tb.jpg" alt="HGST 4TB" title="HGST 4TB" width="228" height="189" style="float: right;" />Making the case for 4TB hard drives</h3> <p>It was a year ago that cloud backup firm <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/backblaze_analyzes_hard_drive_failure_rates_dubs_hitachi_most_reliable_brand2014">Backblaze revealed</a> some interesting data it had collected in regards to hard drive failure rates. For a number of reasons, trying to analyze the reliability of hard drive brands and models can be complicated, though when the dust settled, Backblaze determined that Hitachi brand HDDs were the best. With another year of operation under its belt, <strong>Backblaze has more data to share, though Hitachi remains a solid option</strong>.</p> <p>At the end of 2013, Backblaze was running 27,134 hard drives. That number increased to 41,213 at the end of 2014, giving Backblaze a large sample size to evaluate. It's also worth noting that most of the new drives Backblaze purchased were 4TB, along with a few 6TB HDDs. As the firm discovered, size matters when it comes to HDD reliability.</p> <p>So does brand. Backblaze recorded a frightening 43.1 percent failure rate among 3TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 HDDs, though just a 2.6 percent failure rate among 4TB Seagate Desktop HDD.15 drives.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/backblaze_data.jpg" alt="BackBlaze Data" title="BackBlaze Data" width="620" height="638" /><br /><em>Source: Backblaze</em></p> <p>"We like every one of the 4 TB drives we bought this year. For the price, you get a lot of storage, and the drive failure rates have been really low," Backblaze said. "The Seagate Desktop HDD.15 has had the best price, and we have a LOT of them. Over 12 thousand of them. The failure rate is a nice low 2.6 percent per year. Low price and reliability is good for business.</p> <p>"The HGST drives, while priced a little higher, have an even lower failure rate, at 1.4 percent. It’s not enough of a difference to be a big factor in our purchasing, but when there’s a good price, we grab some. We have over 12 thousand of these drives."</p> <p>Brand, model, and capacity all seem to matter to some extent, which makes coming to a definitive conclusion a bit tricky. And of course this is but a single company's results. Generally speaking, however, HGST put on the best showing with the lowest failure rates at each capacity.</p> <p>Check out <a href="https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-hard-drive/" target="_blank">Backblaze's blog post</a> for more details.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/backblaze_takes_second_look_hard_drive_reliability_finds_capacity_matters_2015#comments Backblaze Build a PC data center Hard Drive Hardware reliability storage News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:57:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29295 at http://www.maximumpc.com Mouse-Box Concept is a PC Inside a Mouse http://www.maximumpc.com/mouse-box_concept_pc_inside_mouse_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mouse_box.jpg" alt="Mouse-Box" title="Mouse-Box" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />There's a PC in the belly of this rodent</h3> <p>Forget about building a better mouse trap, what about a better mouse? Or to take it a step further, a mouse that doubles as a full fledged PC? While not yet a shipping product, the idea of integrating an entire PC into a mouse has been achieved -- <strong>Meet the Mouse-Box, a mouse and computer rolled into one</strong>. You can use it as a standard mouse or as a working PC (just add a monitor), or both.</p> <p>Crammed inside and around this rodent is quad-core ARM Cortex processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 128GB of flash storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, two USB 3.0 ports, and micro-HDMI output. It's also equipped with an accelerometer and gyroscope.</p> <p>The <a href="http://mouse-box.com/" target="_blank">Mouse-Box</a> charges wirelessly on an inductive charging pad that also serves double duty as a standard mouse pad. As previously stated, you can hook it up to your laptop or desktop and use it as a typical mouse, or tap into its guts and use it as a PC. You can also take advantage of both functions at the same time -- just switch the input, the Mouse-Box team explains in a video.</p> <p>It's an interesting concept, though it hasn't evolved beyond the prototype stage at this point. At present, the Mouse-Box team is reaching out to firms to help it mass produce the device, which also means that the specs could change if and when it reaches retail.</p> <p><iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/117083603?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/mouse-box_concept_pc_inside_mouse_2015#comments computer concept Hardware mouse mouse-box pc prototype News Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:28:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 29286 at http://www.maximumpc.com Acer's Tough and Tumble Chromebook C910 and C740 Laptops Can Take a Schoolyard Beating http://www.maximumpc.com/acers_tough_and_tumble_chromebook_c910_and_c740_laptops_can_take_schoolyard_beating <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_chromebook_c910.jpg" alt="Acer Chromebook C910" title="Acer Chromebook C910" width="228" height="178" style="float: right;" />Durable design for students</h3> <p><strong>Acer today added to its Chromebook family with the launch of two new models, the 15.6-inch Acer Chromebook C910 and 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook C740</strong>. Though they differ in size, both new Chromebooks feature durable design qualities that make them better suited for school environments. It starts with using reinforced covers that can withstand up to 60kg of force, <a href="http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/press/2015/151915" target="_blank">Acer says</a>.</p> <p>The C910 and C740 also have corners that can tolerate drops from up to 45cm (17.7 inches) without sustaining damage, along with hinges that have been reinforced to endure more twisting and stress.</p> <p>Acer went a bit further on the C740 model under the assumption that it "will be frequently moved thanks to its compact size" and designed it with extended metal hinges that keep it more rigid. The thought process there is that students might be apt to pick up the C740 by its display and cram it into their backpacks.</p> <p>As for specs, the C910 brings a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) IPS display to the Chromebook party, while the C740 rocks an HD (1366x768) panel, an option that's also available on the C910 to "meet the budgets of schools." Both will be available with a 5th Generation Intel Core i3 5005U or Intel Celeron 3205U processor,&nbsp; 4GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB SSD, 802.11nac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, microSD card reader, HDMI output, and of course Chrome OS.</p> <p>The C910 and C740 will be available next month starting at $300 and $260, respectively.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/acers_tough_and_tumble_chromebook_c910_and_c740_laptops_can_take_schoolyard_beating#comments Acer C740 C910 chromebook education Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs News Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:41:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29285 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD Radeon R9 380X Rumored to Arrive in Second Quarter of 2015 http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_380x_rumored_arrive_second_quarter_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_gpu_0.jpg" alt="AMD GPU" title="AMD GPU" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />Rumor has it the Radeon R9 380X will feature 4,096 GCN cores</h3> <p>Keeping in mind that nothing is ever official until it's official (one of the many mottos of Captain Obvious), purported details of AMD's forthcoming Radeon R9 380X have started to emerge. If they turn out to be accurate, you can expect the <strong>Radeon R9 380X to arrive sometime between April and June of this year</strong> with 4,096 GCN cores in tow, along with 4GB of 3D stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HDM).</p> <p>That's according to <a href="http://wccftech.com/r9-380x-coming-q2-2015/" target="_blank"><em>WCCFTech</em></a>, which is getting its information from Swedish website <a href="http://www.sweclockers.com/nyhet/19919-amd-lanserar-radeon-r9-380x-till-varen" target="_blank"><em>SWEClockers</em></a><em>, </em>"which have been proven to be quite accurate in their estimations." In this case, the report points to AMD running with the 380X nomenclature rather than 390X, which would indicate that an even more powerful graphics card is on tap for 2015.</p> <p>As for the 380X, the use of HBM is reported to be 9 times faster than GDDR5. Looking at just the increased number of compute units, however, it's estimated that the 380X could be 45 percent faster than AMD's R9 290X, and that's without taking into considerations architectural improvements or memory bandwidth.</p> <p>The card will be based on a GPU code named Fiji XT. Along with its release, AMD is expected to refresh its current lineup with new GPUs, including a Radeon R9 270 replacement called Trinidad.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_380x_rumored_arrive_second_quarter_2015#comments amd Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon r9 380x Video Card News Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:33:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29284 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Chief Shrugs Off Rumors Suggesting Apple May Turn to ARM http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_chief_shrugs_rumors_suggesting_apple_may_turn_arm_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/macbook_pro_1.jpg" alt="MacBook Pro" title="MacBook Pro" width="228" height="132" style="float: right;" />Intel is confident its relationship with Apple remains strong</h3> <p>There's a rumor going around saying that Apple is looking long and hard at ARM's A-Series chipsets for use in future Mac releases. While it wouldn't be the end of the world for Intel to lose Apple as a client, especially coming fresh off its best year ever, Intel would certainly like to keep that relationship alive. And it probably will -- <strong>Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says the rumors of Apple switching to ARM are just that</strong>.</p> <p>During an <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/102344221" target="_blank">interview with <em>CNBC</em></a> (credit to <a href="http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2390856/intel-ceo-dismisses-rumours-apple-will-look-to-arm-for-future-mac-chips" target="_blank"><em>The Inquirer</em></a> for digging it up), he described Intel's relationship with Apple as being "strong," adding that "Apple is always going to choose the supplier who can provide the most amount of capability in innovation to build on. They're a company based on innovation."</p> <p>The rumors of a switch to ARM began to swirl last week when KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested it was possible. However, it didn't faze Krzanich, who maintains that Intel needs to continue focusing on delivering parts that are better than its competitors.</p> <p>While it's probably true that Apple is sticking with Intel to power its Mac machines, mobile devices are a different story. ARM is a major player in the tablet and smartphone markets, and even though Intel had its best year ever in 2014, it's mobile division posted a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_reports_record_year_despite_massive_drop_mobile_revenue_2015" target="_blank">loss of $4.2 billion</a> for the year.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_chief_shrugs_rumors_suggesting_apple_may_turn_arm_2015#comments apple ARM brian krzanich Hardware intel News Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:39:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29275 at http://www.maximumpc.com Google Kills Glass Explorer Program, Hints at Better Things to Come http://www.maximumpc.com/google_kills_glass_explorer_program_hints_better_things_come_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/google_glass_3.jpg" alt="Google Glass" title="Google Glass" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" />Google Glass project has a new chief</h3> <p>There are a couple of big changes to the Google Glass project that are taking place, the first of which is that it's now being overseen Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive and founder of Nest, which Google purchased for $3.2 billion a year ago. Ivy Ross will still run the daily operations, she'll just now report to Fadell. And the second? You can kiss the Explorer program goodbye -- <strong>Google has decided to shutter its Glass Explorer program as it moves into the next phase.</strong></p> <p>"Explorers, we asked you to be pioneers, and you took what we started and went further than we ever could have dreamed: from the large hadron collider at CERN, to the hospital operating table; the grass of your backyard to the courts of Wimbledon; in fire stations, recording studios, kitchens, mountain tops and more," Google Glass stated on its <a href="https://plus.google.com/+GoogleGlass/posts/9uiwXY42tvc" target="_blank">Google+ page</a>.</p> <p>After a bit of reminiscing, Google got to the point.</p> <p>"As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we’ve outgrown the lab and so we’re officially 'graduating' from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We’re thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality," Google Glass continued. "As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next."</p> <p>The team said that today (January 19, 2015) is the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition, which we suppose can now be considered collector's items. As for what the future holds, Google didn't say specifically, adding that you'll see the future versions of Glass "when they're ready."</p> <p>We wouldn't be surprised if Google decided to show off a new prototype at its Google I/O conference later this year, though it will be interesting to see what the new vision entails.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/google_kills_glass_explorer_program_hints_better_things_come_2015#comments explorer glass Google Hardware wearables News Fri, 16 Jan 2015 17:11:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29266 at http://www.maximumpc.com Pictures of Nvidia's GM200 GPU Leak to the Web http://www.maximumpc.com/pictures_nvidias_gm200_gpu_leak_web_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_gm200.jpg" alt="GM200" title="GM200" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />Maxwell unchained</h3> <p>What better way to end the work week than by spying a glimpse of the real-deal Maxwell part we've all been waiting for? Winning the lottery? Okay, you got us on that one, but this is a cool (not close) second. Assuming the pictures making the rounds in cyberspace are real, <strong>you can take a look at Nvidia's forthcoming GM200-400-A1 GPU</strong> nestled into an engineering board (180-1G600-1102-A04).</p> <p>The GM200-400-A1 part is Nvidia's newest Maxwell GPU that will reportedly appear in future GeForce Series graphics cards. According to <a href="http://videocardz.com/54358/nvidia-maxwell-gm200-pictured" target="_blank"><em>Videocardz.com</em></a>, the part is expected to be used in the next line of Titan graphics cards, which the site says will debut next month.</p> <p>It's a significant part because it represents the full Maxwell experience. Rumor has it the chip will sport 3,072 CUDA cores, which is 50 percent more than the GM204.</p> <p>As for the mysterious reference board, it's using 24 Hynix H5GQ4H24MFR modules (12GB in all) clocked at 7GHz.. There's no DVI port visible on the card, though you can see three DisplayPort connectors and HDMI 2.0 output.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/pictures_nvidias_gm200_gpu_leak_web_2015#comments GM200 gpu graphics card Hardware maxwell nvidia Video Card News Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:48:42 +0000 Paul Lilly 29265 at http://www.maximumpc.com RadioShack May File for Bankruptcy in February http://www.maximumpc.com/radioshack_may_file_bankruptcy_february_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/radioshack.jpg" alt="RadioShack" title="RadioShack" width="228" height="168" style="float: right;" />A series of 'misstpes'</h3> <p>Any nerd over the age of twenty can probably remember a time he or she would frequent the local RadioShack. It was the go-to shop for electronics and geek fare, though we're talking a lifetime ago in tech years. Fast forward to today and there are <strong>reports that RadioShack is headed for a bankruptcy filing</strong>, perhaps as early as the first week of February. Sadly, we can't say we're surprised.</p> <p>Citing "people familiar with the matter," <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/radioshack-prepares-bankruptcy-filing-1421279360" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a> says RadioShack found itself short on cash after spending funds on a failed turnaround effort. As the chain prepares to file for bankruptcy, it's reaching out to potential lenders that could keep the company afloat.</p> <p>The sources also say that RadioShack is in talks with a private equity firm about buying its assets out of bankruptcy. No deal is imminent, however, and the chain may prefer to go the traditional route of reducing its debt and restructuring its business through bankruptcy court.</p> <p>RadioShack has posted losses for the past 11 quarters. In a filing, the company revealed it had $62.6 million as of November 1st, including $43.3 million in cash and $19.3 million in borrowing availability. That's not much for a chain with around 4,300 stores in the U.S.</p> <p>It's sad to see RadioShack reduced to irrelevancy after getting its start with a store in Boston 94 years ago. It did well for many years, though began to fizzle in the Internet era. A <a href="http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article3874140.html" target="_blank"><em>Star-Telegram</em> article</a> written last September offers a great read on what went wrong, or more precisely, the many things that brought RadioShack to this point. In particular is a quote by Ed Fox, who teaches marketing at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business.</p> <p>"Call it a death by a thousand cuts. RadioShack is left with all these stores and not much differentiation" from big box competitors like Best Buy, Fox points out.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fanofretail/14039827593/in/photolist-noDMAZ-fb2SvE-pbtRCX-pFctYy-ahPFo5-iXUwed-iXRQo2-fs4uSW-frPbbX-fs4ts9-fo4DrU-fb2TfL-nsWLiM-9Y7XaN-b28AvZ-iXRLbe-iXUur5-iXQukF-fs4sJA-fiucHZ-hcAnMQ-fb2UB3-faMC2V-hcAotF-hcAmRH-hcAmdh-hcAj5E-faMzGD-fiJphu-o8MsqE-o8SCXV-nRoqTu-o8KeaN-o6Qgy9-nRogFc-o8SCVk-nRoqR5-o8Mskj-o8Msjs-nRoqNE-nRo7tq-o6Qgv3-nRogAn-nRogBK-o8KdYL-fgPQG-ncC5tR-fiJooN-fiJqzQ-sX1cJ" target="_blank">Flickr (Nicholas Eckhart)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/radioshack_may_file_bankruptcy_february_2015#comments bankruptcy electronics Hardware radioshack News Thu, 15 Jan 2015 19:13:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 29261 at http://www.maximumpc.com Score a Reconditioned Das Keyboard 4 Mechanical Keyboard for $120 http://www.maximumpc.com/score_reconditioned_das_keyboard_4_mechanical_keyboard_120_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/das_keyboard_4.jpg" alt="Das Keyboard 4" title="Das Keyboard 4" width="228" height="130" style="float: right;" />This is one plank you won't mind walking</h3> <p>When it comes to keyboards, there are two types: mechanical planks and everything else. I can say that with complete confidence after having gone through and used or otherwise tested a number of keyboards over the years -- for the most part, squishy membrane keyboards just don't compete (though the Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is a valiant effort). In case you're interested, my daily driver these days is a <strong>Das Keyboard 4 Professional, which you can pick up today in factory reconditioned form for $120</strong>.</p> <p>Like anyone else, I'm a sucker for a good deal, so on occasion I'll poke my head at <em>Woot</em> to see what's up for grabs. Today was one of those days, and it just so happens that it's featuring the Das Keyboard 4 in Professional or Ultimate form at a discount, which takes into account that it's factory reconditioned. That means different things at different places, and for what it's worth, this is <em>Woot</em>'s description:</p> <p>"A 'factory reconditioned' item was returned, inspected, and returned to fully working condition by the original manufacturer or a certified partner. And the original manufacturer stands behind it with a warranty. It's as close to new as you can get without technically being 'new,'" <em>Woot </em>says.</p> <p>The Professional model comes with labeled keycaps while the Ultimate version sports blank keys. Both models are available with choice of Cherry MX Blue (tactile response with a clicky sound) or Brown (tactile response without the loud click, though still not completely silent) key switches.</p> <p>Other features include an integrated two-port USB 3.0 hub, dedicated media control with oversized volume knob, sleep button, and a detachable footbar/ruler on the bottom. It's a quirky addition, but view it as a consolation prize for the lack of a backlight.</p> <p>In any event, consider this a heads up on a great deal (sells new for $169+ online) for what I consider a fantastic keyboard, and nothing more (there's no benefit to <em>Maximum PC</em> or myself if you purchase one). If interested, <a href="http://www.woot.com/" target="_blank">head over to <em>Woot</em></a> and walk the plank!</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/score_reconditioned_das_keyboard_4_mechanical_keyboard_120_2015#comments das keyboard 4 Hardware mechanical keyboard Peripherals News Thu, 15 Jan 2015 18:09:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29259 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Scales Consumer Ripjaws 4 DDR4 Memory Kits to 3400MHz http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_scales_consumer_ripjaws_4_ddr4_memory_kits_3400mhz_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ripjaws_4.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 with Fan" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 with Fan" width="228" height="108" style="float: right;" />Comes with their own cooling fans</h3> <p>There have only been a few RAM kits we can recall that came with cooling fans, or that were recommended to pair with an active cooling scheme. Of course, those were back in the early days of DDR memory, when buying a kit of overclocking RAM could you make late with your mortgage payment that month. In any event, much as changed since then, though apparently we haven't seen the last of RAM and fan combinations -- G.Skill's new Ripjaws 4 DDR4 3200MHz and 3400MHz memory kits both with active cooling add-ons.</p> <p>G.Skill bundles its <a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/product/ftb-3500c5-dr" target="_blank">Turbulence III Memory Cooling Fan</a> with each kit. The apparatus consists of dual 50mm fans spinning at 3,500 RPM to cool your RAM while remaining quieter than a whisper from a five-foot distance (22dBA), according to G.Skill. On a standalone basis, the Turbulence III runs about $20.</p> <p>Getting back to the RAM, the 16GB (4GBx4) 3200MHz kit (<a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/product/f4-3200c15q-16grkd" target="_blank">F4-3200C15Q-16GRKD</a>) sports 15-15-15-35 timings and requires 1.35V, while the same capacity kit in 3400MHz (<a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/finder?cat=31&amp;series=2275" target="_blank">F4-3400C16Q-16GRKD</a>) features 16-16-16-36 timings at the same voltage.</p> <p>According to G.Skill, both kits are made from hand-picked ICs and go through the company's "highly selective binning process." They've also been tested for compatibility on the Asus Rampage V Extreme and Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion motherboards, though they should work with other X99 boards as well.</p> <p>No word yet on price or availability.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_scales_consumer_ripjaws_4_ddr4_memory_kits_3400mhz_2015#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:37:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29257 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Pushes for Bigger Size 2-in-1 Hybrid PCs http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_pushes_bigger_size_2--1_hybrid_pcs_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_aspire_switch_11.jpg" alt="Acer Aspire Switch 11" title="Acer Aspire Switch 11" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />Get ready to see 12.5-inch 2-in-1 PCs in the near future</h3> <p>If you own a low-cost 2-in-1 hybrid device (or convertible laptop, if you prefer to call it that), chances are you're rocking a 10-inch display, or thereabouts. Going forward, don't be surprised to see vendors start churning out bigger size models. That's because <strong>Intel has reportedly expanded its 2-in-1 reference blueprint to now include 12.5-inch display products</strong>, paving the way for larger 2-in-1 models.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20150114PD206.html" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em></a> and its sources within the notebook industry, you'll see these 12.5-inch machines sporting both Intel's 14nm Core M processors and its newer 5th Generation Core processor series (newer Broadwell parts). Intel's Core M chips are primarily intended for low-power fanless systems, while the 5th Generation Core parts will add a performance punch to mobile devices.</p> <p>The timing couldn't be better -- apparently vendors like Asus and Acer are starting to see a decline in demand for 10-inch 2-in-1 products after an initial flurry of sales. To compensate for that, vendors are working on larger models with faster processors, with pricing expected to range from $350 to $400 for Atom, Celeron, and Pentium models, and under $700 for Core M variants.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_pushes_bigger_size_2--1_hybrid_pcs_2015#comments 2-in-1 Hardware hybrid pc intel laptop notebook tablet News Wed, 14 Jan 2015 18:17:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 29255 at http://www.maximumpc.com IBM's z13 Mainframe is the Culmination of $1 Billion and 5 Years of Development http://www.maximumpc.com/ibms_z13_mainframe_culmination_1_billion_and_5_years_development_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ibm_z13.jpg" alt="IBM z13 Mainframe" title="IBM z13 Mainframe" width="228" height="156" style="float: right;" />The mainframe is dead, long live the mainframe</h3> <p>For IBM, there is no debating whether or not the mainframe is dead. If IBM felt it was, the company wouldn't have gambled $1 billion, five years of development, over 500 new patents, and collaborative efforts with more than 60 clients in the <strong>z13, IBM's newest mainframe</strong> and, according to Big Blue, one of the most sophisticated computer systems ever built -- high self praise.</p> <p>IBM says the z13 is the first system that's able to process 2.5 billion transactions a day, which would be the equivalent to 100 Cyber Mondays every day of the year. The z13's transactions are persistent, protected, and auditable from end-to-end, and with continued development, IBM estimates it will grow to 40 trillion mobile transactions per day by 2025.</p> <p>Other notable "unprecedented new capabilities" include practical real-time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale, and embedded analytics providing real-time insights on all transactions, which IBM pitches as a capability that can help guarantee running real-time fraud detection on 100 percent of business transactions. In addition, IBM says it delivers on-the-fly analytic insights that are 17 times faster than competitive systems, and at a fraction of the cost.</p> <p>"Every time a consumer makes a purchase or hits refresh on a smart phone, it can create a cascade of events on the back end of the computing environment. The z13 is designed to handle billions of transactions for the mobile economy. Only the IBM mainframe can put the power of the world's most secure datacenters in the palm of your hand," <a href="https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/45808.wss" target="_blank">said Tom Rosamilia</a>, senior vice president, IBM Systems. "Consumers expect fast, easy and secure mobile transactions. The implication for business is the creation of a secure, high performance infrastructure with sophisticated analytics."</p> <p>The z13 includes new support for Hadoop. It's also capable of running up to 8,000 virtual servers, or more than 50 virtual servers per core.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/ibms_z13_mainframe_culmination_1_billion_and_5_years_development_2015#comments Hardware ibm mainframe z13 News Wed, 14 Jan 2015 18:02:17 +0000 Paul Lilly 29254 at http://www.maximumpc.com