Hardware http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1416/ en Sapphire Adds Triple Fan Cooler to 8GB Radeon R9 290X, Tweaks Clocks and Lowers Cost http://www.maximumpc.com/sapphire_adds_triple_fan_cooler_8gb_radeon_r9_290x_tweaks_clocks_and_lowers_cost_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sapphire_radeon_r9_290x_8gb_0.jpg" alt="Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB" title="Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB" width="228" height="225" style="float: right;" />More than just a big frame buffer</h3> <p>Sapphire was the first company to release an 8GB version of AMD's Radeon R9 290X graphics card, though it's no longer the only one -- a handful of other graphics card players jumped on board after AMD gave them a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_bumps_ram_8gb_radeon_r9_290x_announces_civilization_beyond_earth_bundle" target="_blank">reference design</a> to play with. Be that as it may, <strong>Sapphire is intent on standing out from the crowd, so it went and retooled its 8GB R9 290X with a triple fan cooler</strong> and some other changes.</p> <p>According to Sapphire, its Tri-X triple fan cooler is the first in the industry to use a central 10mm heatpipe in addition to four subsidiary heatpipes for even heat distribution throughout the heatsink. The fans themselves have dust repelling bearings with dual ball races and are equipped with aerofoil section blades. Topping it off is a fan cowling designed to guide the airflow for maximum cooling efficiency, Sapphire says.</p> <p>The company also points out that it builds its own PCB rather than outsourcing production. In this instance, its using a 6-phase VDDC power design.</p> <p>You'll find 8GB of GDDR5 memory on the new card, along with a 512-bit interface. The memory is "now clocked at 1375MHz (5.5GHz effective) delivering higher bandwidth than earlier models."</p> <p>Other features include a dual BIOS design, two 8-pin power connectors, and engine clock of up to 1020MHz.</p> <p>As for pricing? Good question -- Sapphire said the card comes it at a "slightly lower cost" but didn't specifiy an exact price. It's also not showing up in retail yet, though we'll update this article when/if we hear back from them. In the meantime, you can see more of the card on its <a href="http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/?cid=1&amp;gid=3&amp;sgid=1227&amp;pid=2548&amp;psn=&amp;lid=1&amp;leg=0" target="_blank">product page</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/sapphire_adds_triple_fan_cooler_8gb_radeon_r9_290x_tweaks_clocks_and_lowers_cost_2015#comments 8GB Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon R9 290x sapphire Video Card News Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:45:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29334 at http://www.maximumpc.com Leaked Roadmap Details AMD's Unreleased 'Godavari' APU Line http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_roadmap_details_amds_unreleased_godavari_apu_line_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_a_series.jpg" alt="AMD A Series" title="AMD A Series" width="228" height="136" style="float: right;" />A dozen APUs are planned for this summer</h3> <p><strong>A Chinese-language website has posted what it claims is a legitimate roadmap of AMD's forthcoming "Godavari" APUs</strong>. You can think of Godavari as a Kaveri refresh, as the new parts will feature the same Steamroller architecture for both the CPU and GPU portions. If the leaked roadmap proves accurate, AMD is planning to release a dozen Godavari APUs this summer, culminating in the A10-8850K.</p> <p>That unlocked part will feature four cores (and a four thread design) clocked at 3.7GHz base and 4.1GHz boost. It will also have a Radeon R7 graphics core based on AMD's Sea Islands GCN architecture with 512 streaming scores and 856Mhz clockspeed. Other bits include 4MB of L2 cache, DDR3 memory support up to 2,133MHz, and a 95W TDP. According to <em><a href="http://wccftech.com/amd-godavari-apu-lineup-leaked-a108850k-lead-pack-12-apus-planned-summer-2015/" target="_blank">wccftech</a>, </em>pricing will close to the current generation A10-7850K APU at about $149.</p> <p>Most of the 12 new chips will be branded as AMD's A-8000 series and will remain compatible with current boards based on the FM2+ platform via BIOS updates. It's not yet known what internal optimizations AMD might be making with Godavari, though from the roadmap, the new chips will feature faster clockspeeds without bumping up TDPs. Performance should improve anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent.</p> <p>Two of the new chips will be branded as Athlon parts. They include the Athlon X4 870K, a quad-core part clocked at 3.5GHz base and 3.7GHz boost with 4MB of L2 cache and a 95W TDP, and the Athlon X4 850K, also a quad-core chip but clocked at 2.9GHz base and 3.2GHz boost and with a 65W TDP.</p> <p>You can view the <a href="http://chinese.vr-zone.com/141759/codename-is-godavari-include-a10-apu-and-athlon-cpu-will-released-by-amd-in-first-half-01292015/" target="_blank">full roadmap here</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/leaked_roadmap_details_amds_unreleased_godavari_apu_line_2015#comments amd apu Godavari Hardware processor roadmap News Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:44:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29333 at http://www.maximumpc.com Qantas Teams with Samsung to Test Virtual Reality on Airplane Flights http://www.maximumpc.com/qantas_teams_samsung_test_virtual_reality_airplane_flights_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/qantas_samsung_vr.jpg" alt="Qantas and Samsung VR" title="Qantas and Samsung VR" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Join the mile high VR club</h3> <p>Imagine that you're 40,000 feet above the ground, but instead of peering out a small oval window and looking at clouds (or darkness), you turn your head and see a dingo wandering about. Don't worry, it's not on the plane's wing feasting on wires and electronics, he's in your Gear VR headset. This is what Australian airline Qantas is working towards. <strong>Along with Samsung, Qantas has launched a new trial entertainment service that gives fliers a Gear VR headset during their flight</strong>.</p> <p>At the outset, the initiative is being tested in Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges, along with first class cabins on select A380 services. The trial will last for three months, after which Qantas will assess customer feedback, presumably so it can decide whether to expand the program or nix it.</p> <p>Qantas sees multiple possibilities here. From a marketing standpoint, the company can partner with third-parties to provide 3D content that might inspire tourism to a particular attraction or region. In fact, Qantas is already working with Tourism NT, which will provide a special 3D experience from Kakadu National Park. Whether or not they'll include dingoes in that experience isn't known, but there's plenty to experiment with there.</p> <p>For live-action content, Qantas has partnered with Jaunt -- it's not clear exactly what the company has in store, though it will include "destination footage."</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/qantas_samsung_vr_first_class.jpg" alt="Qantas and Samsung VR in First Class Cabin" title="Qantas and Samsung VR in First Class Cabin" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>"From an inflight entertainment perspective, it’s an industry first," <a href="http://www.qantasnewsroom.com.au/media-releases/qantas-samsung-unveil-industry-first-virtual-reality-experience-for-travellers" target="_blank">said Olivia Wirth</a>, Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing &amp; Corporate Affairs. "Qantas is committed to being at the forefront of innovation to give our passengers the very best and latest in-flight experiences, like accessing the virtual worlds of their favorite Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of their seat 40,000 feet above the ground."</p> <p>The initiative will kick off in mid-February in the First Class Lounge in Sydney and Melbourne, and in mid-March on select A380 flights between Australia and Los Angeles for first class fliers.</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/qantas_teams_samsung_test_virtual_reality_airplane_flights_2015#comments Gear VR Hardware Qantas samsung virutal reality vr News Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:50:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 29332 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nvidia Will Help Disgruntled GTX 970 Owners Get a Refund, Says a Driver Update is Coming http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_will_help_disgruntled_gtx_970_owners_get_refund_says_driver_update_coming_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gtx_970.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" width="228" height="156" style="float: right;" />Upcoming driver could improve GTX 970's memory performance</h3> <p>Nvidia really stepped in a pile of PR poo when it was discovered that there was an internal communication gaffe over the way the GeForce GTX 970 handles its 4GB of onboard memory and the resulting specs. In short, the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1,792KB of L2 cache instead of matching the GTX 980's 64 ROPs and 2,048KB of L2 cache as originally advertised. However, <strong>Nvidia wants to make things right and has offered to help GTX 970 owners obtain a refund</strong>, if need be. Should you go that route?</p> <p>In most cases, probably not. Before reading any further, however, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the situation by <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/gamers_petition_geforce_gtx_970_refund_over_error_specs_2015" target="_blank">reading this</a>. Don't worry, we won't go anywhere -- we'll be right here when you get back.</p> <p>Finished? Great, now here's the deal. Nvidia stated on its forum that it's working on a driver update that will do a better job managing the memory scheme on the GTX 970, and expects to improve performance. Granted there's only so much that can be done on the software side to address a physical design, but given that Nvidia built the card the way it did, it stands to reason that it also knows how to properly tune it. We'll see.</p> <p>If you ultimately decide that you don't want the card, however, that's your choice, and Nvidia says it will help you obtain a refund if you're unable to do so on your own. Here's the <a href="https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/803518/geforce-900-series/gtx-970-3-5gb-vram-issue/post/4438090/#4438090" target="_blank">full statement</a>.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"Hey,</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">First, I want you to know that I'm not just a mod, I work for Nvidia in Santa Clara</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I totally get why so many people are upset. We messed up some of the stats on the reviewer kit and we didn't properly explain the memory architecture. I realize a lot of you guys rely on product reviews to make purchase decisions and we let you down.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">It sucks because we're really proud of this thing. The GTX 970 is an amazing card and I genuinely believe it's the best card for the money that you can buy. We're working on a driver update that will tune what's allocated where in memory to further improve performance.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Having said that, I understand that this whole experience might have turned you off to the card. If you don't want the card anymore you should return it and get a refund or exchange. If you have any problems getting that done, let me know and I'll do my best to help.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">--Peter"</p> <p>It's important to note that Peter says he'll do his best to help, which is different than saying Nvidia will take care of things. In other words, if you're having trouble getting a refund, there's a chance you'll be stuck with it anyway. However, given the PR hit Nvidia's already taken on this one, we suspect those scenarios will be few and far between, if at all.</p> <p>For most people, what this boils down to is that your GTX 970 is going to get even faster courtesy of some forthcoming optimizations.&nbsp; And for the few that are truly affected by the way the GTX 970 handles memory above 3.5GB, you now have someone at Nvidia that's willing to help you obtain a refund.</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/nvidia_will_help_disgruntled_gtx_970_owners_get_refund_says_driver_update_coming_2015#comments Build a PC driver geforce gtx 970 gpu graphics card Hardware nvidia Video Card News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:13:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29330 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Sticks a Fork in Surface 2 and Windows RT http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_sticks_fork_surface_2_and_windows_rt_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_2_4.jpg" alt="Surface 2" title="Surface 2" width="228" height="133" style="float: right;" />Windows RT becomes a footnote</h3> <p>Looking back through the years, it's pretty easy to pick out certain forgettable versions of Windows. You know the ones -- Windows ME, Windows Vista (before the first Service Pack), and now Windows RT, the most recent of the bunch. <strong>Microsoft has reportedly stopped producing Surface 2 tablets</strong>, which also means that the future of Windows RT is nonexistent at this point. You'll have to excuse us for not weeping.</p> <p>Microsoft has moved on, with the Surface Pro 3 contributing heavily to $1.1 billion in Surface revenue during Microsoft's most recent quarter, up 24 percent year-over-year. Surface Pro 3 tablets outsold Surface 2 during the quarter by a ratio of three to one, making it an easy decision for Microsoft to focus on its newest hardware and leave the old behind.</p> <p>"We are no longer manufacturing Surface 2; however, those still eager to buy Surface should visit Microsoft Retail Stores, MicrosoftStore.com, third-party retailers, and resellers for the latest availability," <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/27/7918209/microsoft-is-no-longer-manufacturing-the-surface-2" target="_blank">Microsoft told <em>The Verge</em></a>.</p> <p>Windows RT has been a dead OS walking almost from the moment it arrived. Microsoft already had the challenge of convincing users to adopt a brand new interface in Windows 8, but to also pile on a gimped version that couldn't run x86 programs was too much to ask. As a result, Microsoft ended up taking a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/microsofts_failed_surface_rt_strategy_leads_900_million_charge_unsold_inventory">$900 million charge</a> on unsold Surface RT inventory a year and a half ago.</p> <p>Manufactures could still build devices running Windows RT if they really want to, but with even Microsoft giving up on the OS, there wouldn't be much point.</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/microsoft_sticks_fork_surface_2_and_windows_rt_2015#comments Hardware laptop microsoft notebook operating system OS Software surface 2 tablet windows rt News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:27:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 29329 at http://www.maximumpc.com Asus ET2040 All-in-One PC Stays Running if You Trip Over the Power Cord http://www.maximumpc.com/asus_et2040_all--one_pc_stays_running_if_you_trip_over_power_cord_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_et2040.jpg" alt="Asus All-in-One ET2040" title="Asus All-in-One ET2040" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />An all-in-one with a built-in battery backup</h3> <p>As far as we're concerned, every all-in-one PC should have a built-in battery backup, especially now that they're becoming thin and light enough to move from room to room with relative ease. <strong>Battery backup is one of the features found on Asus' ET2040 AIO</strong> (stays running on battery for up to an hour), though that's not the only thing unique about this system. It also ventures off the beaten path by recognizing gestures without having to touch the screen.</p> <p>Using the Hand-Gesture Recognition Software (HGSR) in conjunction with the built-in camera, you can perform gestures in front of the AIO and do things like play songs, adjust player settings, zoom or rotate photos, and more without leaving behind finger smudges on the display (which is non-touch, by the way).</p> <p>Those are some neat amenities on what's otherwise a mostly underwhelming AIO, albeit one that's sufficiently spec'd for a secondary PC or a general purpose machine.</p> <p>The ET2040 comes with a 19-inch HD (1366x768) non-touch display, Intel Pentium J2900 quad-core processor clocked at 2.41GHz to 2.66Ghz, 2GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive (5400 RPM), 802.11n Wi-Fi, 1MP webcam, three USB 3.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, 3-in-1 card reader, Windows 8.1 with Bing, and a few other basics.</p> <p>For the time being, this one's only available in India for 25,000 Rupees (about $407 in U.S. currency). Asus didn't say when or if it plans to make the <a href="http://www.amazon.in/b?ie=UTF8&amp;node=5731179031" target="_blank">ET2040</a> available stateside.</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/asus_et2040_all--one_pc_stays_running_if_you_trip_over_power_cord_2015#comments all-in-one asus ET2040 Hardware OEM rigs News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:37:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29326 at http://www.maximumpc.com Gamers Petition for GeForce GTX 970 Refund Over Error in Specs http://www.maximumpc.com/gamers_petition_geforce_gtx_970_refund_over_error_specs_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_geforce_gtx_970.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" width="228" height="184" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Internal miscommunication at Nvidia led to confusion over the GTX 970's specs</h3> <p>Sometimes the tech world can be like a geek version of a soap opera, and this is one of those times. The main characters in this case are Nvidia and the GeForce GTX 970. If you're looking for a quick summary of events, it's this: Gamers noticed a slowdown in performance when games tried to access more than 3.5GB of memory on the GTX 970. This in turn led to Nvidia explaining a new memory architecture in the GTX 970, along with clarification of specs that were different than originally reported. In light of all this, <strong>there's a petition floating around demanding a refund for anyone who purchased a GTX 970</strong>, but to really understand what's going on, a deeper explanation is necessary.</p> <p>This all began a week ago when users on various forums began investigation a memory issue with the GTX 970. At a glance, it seemed that the card was only using 3.5GB of its 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Upon closer look, it was discovered that a serious performance drop could occur when accessing that final .5GB of VRAM, which isn't an issue on the GTX 980.</p> <p>To clarify what was happening, Nvidia issued the following statement:</p> <p>"The GeForce GTX 970 is equipped with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. However the 970 has a different configuration of SMs than the 980, and fewer crossbar resources to the memory system," Nvidia said. "To optimally manage memory traffic in this configuration, we segment graphics memory into a 3.5GB section and a 0.5GB section. The GPU has higher priority access to the 3.5GB section. When a game needs less than 3.5GB of video memory per draw command then it will only access the first partition, and 3rd party applications that measure memory usage will report 3.5GB of memory in use on GTX 970, but may report more for GTX 980 if there is more memory used by other commands. When a game requires more than 3.5GB of memory then we use both segments.</p> <p>"We understand there have been some questions about how the GTX 970 will perform when it accesses the 0.5GB memory segment. The best way to test that is to look at game performance. Compare a GTX 980 to a 970 on a game that uses less than 3.5GB. Then turn up the settings so the game needs more than 3.5GB and compare 980 and 970 performance again."</p> <p>Nvidia Senior VP of GPU Engineering, Jonah Alben, <a href="http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/NVIDIA-Discloses-Full-Memory-Structure-and-Limitations-GTX-970" target="_blank">spoke with <em>PC Perspective</em></a> and broke things down even further with a quite a few technical details. He also offered a helpful diagram, seen below.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/gtx_970_diagram.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" width="620" height="479" /></p> <p>As you can see in the graph, there are 13 enabled SMMs, each with 128 CUDA cores for a total of 1,664. There are also three that are grayed out -- they've been disabled from the full GM204 found on the GTX 980. But what's really important is the memory system, which is connected to the SMMs through a crossbar interface.</p> <p>"That interface has 8 total ports to connect to collections of L2 cache and memory controllers, all of which are utilized in a GTX 980. With a GTX 970 though, only 7 of those ports are enabled, taking one of the combination L2 cache / ROP units along with it. However, the 32-bit memory controller segment remains," <em>PC Perspective</em> writes.</p> <p>There are a couple of takeaways there. First is the GTX 970 has less ROPs and L2 cache than the GTX 980 even though it was reported otherwise. Why? Nvidia blames the gaffe on an error in the reviewer's guide, which is usually a PDF (or actual paper) containing detailed info on a product prior to its launch that manufacturers send out to reviewers, and a misunderstanding between the engineering team and the technical PR team on how the architecture actually functioned.</p> <p>Bottom line is, the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1,792KB of L2 cache instead of 64 ROPs and 2,048KB of L2 cache like the GTX 980.</p> <p>That's actually not as big of a deal as it sounds, as the SMMs are the true bottleneck, not the ROPs.</p> <p>"A quick note about the GTX 980 here: it uses a 1KB memory access stride to walk across the memory bus from left to right, able to hit all 4GB in this capacity," <em>PC Perspective</em> writes. "But the GTX 970 and its altered design has to do things differently. If you walked across the memory interface in the exact same way, over the same 4GB capacity, the 7th crossbar port would tend to always get twice as many requests as the other port (because it has two memories attached). In the short term that could be ok due to queuing in the memory path. But in the long term if the 7th port is fully busy, and is getting twice as many requests as the other port, then the other six must be only half busy, to match with the 2:1 ratio. So the overall bandwidth would be roughly half of peak. This would cause dramatic underutilization and would prevent optimal performance and efficiency for the GPU."</p> <p>There are a LOT more details to digest, and rather than continue to quote bits and pieces, we suggest you read <em>PC Perspective's</em> <a href="http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/NVIDIA-Discloses-Full-Memory-Structure-and-Limitations-GTX-970" target="_blank">detailed report</a>. If after doing so you come to the conclusion that it's much ado about nothing, great, there's nothing more to see here. However, if you fall on the other side of the fence and feel duped, you can check out and sign the <a href="https://www.change.org/p/nvidia-refund-for-gtx-970" target="_blank">petition at Change.org</a>.</p> <p>Our take? It's an unfortunate situation Nvidia created for itself, and gamers have a right to be angry over the misreported specs. At the same time, it appears that the impact on real-world performance is negligible, at least for now -- this could be a bigger issue as higher resolution game play becomes more common. Even still, it remains a great card for the price.</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/gamers_petition_geforce_gtx_970_refund_over_error_specs_2015#comments Build a PC Gaming geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware petition Video Card News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:07:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29322 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Teases First NUC Desktop with Core i7 Broadwell CPU http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_teases_first_nuc_desktop_core_i7_broadwell_cpu_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nuc_broadwell.jpg" alt="NUC Meets Broadwell" title="NUC Meets Broadwell" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" />New frontier for the NUC</h3> <p>We were intrigued with the potential of the NUC when it first came out -- here was this tiny box with fairly respectable hardware inside powerful enough to serve as a secondary PC or, for the right person, a primary system. There have been several follow-up models since then, but the best is yet to come. <strong>Intel has gone and updated its NUC product page with a new model that will be the first to feature a Core i7 processor inside</strong>.</p> <p>Not a lot of details are available on the Core i7 model (NUC5i7RYH), which is one of several new NUCs based on the chip maker's 5th Generation Core processor (14nm Broadwell) line. According to the listing, it will feature a Core i7 part, 2.5-inch drive support, and mosey into retail sometime in the second quarter of this year.</p> <p>The updated NUC site also lists six other Broadwell-based systems, half of them sporting Core i5 processors (one with a Core i5 5300U vPro chip and two with Core i5 5250U CPUs) while the other half come equipped with Core i3 chips (Core i3-5010U).</p> <p>What they all have in common is support for up to 16GB of RAM, 2.5-inch and M.2 SSD storage support, four USB 3.0 ports, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. If you need HDMI output, only the Core i5 models will oblige (and potentially the forthcoming Core i7 model).</p> <p>You can find out more details on each one <a href="http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/products-overview.html" target="_blank">here</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/intel_teases_first_nuc_desktop_core_i7_broadwell_cpu_2015#comments broadwell core i7 Hardware intel mini pc nuc rigs News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:49:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29320 at http://www.maximumpc.com Crucial Ballistix Elite RAM Now Available in DDR4 Memory Kits http://www.maximumpc.com/crucial_ballistix_elite_ram_now_available_ddr4_memory_kits_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ballistix_ddr4.jpg" alt="Crucial Ballistix DDR4" title="Crucial Ballistix DDR4" width="228" height="124" style="float: right;" />Another memory option for Intel X99 platforms</h3> <p>The number of DDR4 memory kits is growing and will continue to do so as more people build (or buy) systems based on Intel's X99 chipset. One of the newest is <strong>Crucial's Ballistix Elite line, now available in DDR4 form</strong> as a single 4GB module and in 8GB (2x4GB) and 16GB (4x4GB) kits (Crucial says a 32GB kit is also available, though it's not listed on the company's web store yet). As both kits use essentially the same 4GB module, the performance ratings are the same across the board.</p> <p>Crucial's 4GB DDR4 Ballistix Elite module is rated at DDR4-2666 (PC4-2133), which Crucial calls an "introductory" speed -- we take that to mean there should be some overclocking headroom, especially since the Ballistix Elite series is aimed at "extreme enthusiasts, gamers, and overclockers." The sticks also support Intel XMP 2.0 profiles, feature a custom-designed baclk PCB with anodized aluminum heat spreaders, and sport 16-17-17 timings at 1.2V.</p> <p>If you do plan to overclock, you might want to take advantage of Crucial's exclusive Ballistic Memory Overview Display utility, otherwise known as M.O.D. You can use M.O.D. to read information from the modules, including real-time temperatures from the integrated thermal sensor, voltages, and more.</p> <p>Pricing on <a href="http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/memory/ballistix%20elite" target="_blank">Crucial's website</a> breaks down as follows:</p> <ul> <li>4GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $95</li> <li>8GB (2x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $190</li> <li>16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $380</li> </ul> <p>Newegg also carries the kits, though they're in <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&amp;IsNodeId=1&amp;N=100006519%2050001455%2040000147%20600531811&amp;Manufactory=1455" target="_blank">pre-order form</a>. Pricing looks like this:</p> <ul> <li>4GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $100 (out of stock)</li> <li>8GB (single stick) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $220 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> <li>8GB (2x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $200 (releases February 6, 2015)</li> <li>16GB (2x8GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $352 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> <li>16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $380 (releases February 6, 2015)</li> <li>32GB (4x8GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $704 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> </ul> <p>Shipping charges range from $1 to $3, depending on the kit.</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/crucial_ballistix_elite_ram_now_available_ddr4_memory_kits_2015#comments ballistix elite Build a PC Crucial ddr4 Hardware Memory ram News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:01:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29319 at http://www.maximumpc.com EVGA Breeds New Torq X5 and X3 Mice for Gamers http://www.maximumpc.com/evga_breeds_new_torq_x5_and_x3_mice_gamers_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_x5.jpg" alt="EVGA Torq X5" title="EVGA Torq X5" width="228" height="182" style="float: right;" />Built from the ground up for gaming</h3> <p>Quick, what's the first thing you think of when you hear "EVGA?" Most people would probably say graphics cards, followed by power supplies (or vice versa). Motherboards would have also been an acceptable answer, as would have Shield. But gaming mice? That's the type of last place answer that goes unanswered on Family Feud, yet it also represents EVGA's newest products. Specifically, <strong>EVGA just announced two new Torq series rodents, the X5 and X3</strong>, both designed from scratch for "hardcore gamers."</p> <p>There are actually four different models -- Torq X3, X3L, X5, and X5L. The "L" denotes a laser sensor, while the other two both use optical. Here's a better look at how they break down:</p> <ul> <li>Torq X5L: Laser 8200 dpi, RGB LED, Omron 20m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> <li>Torq X5: Optical 6400 dpi, RGB LED, Omron 20m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> <li>Torq X3L: Laser 5000 dpi, RGB LED, Omron 10m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> <li>Torq X3: Optical 4000 dpi, red LED, Omron 10m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> </ul> <p>All four variants have access to five profiles and eight buttons, and are ambidextrous in design, measuring 1.53 (H) by 4.64 (L) by 2.59 (W) inches. They also sport on-the-fly adjustable DPIs and work with EVGA's Unleash software.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.evga.com/products/Product.aspx?pn=901-X1-1051-KR" target="_blank">Torq X5L</a> ($60), <a href="http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.aspx?pn=902-X2-1052-KR" target="_blank">Torq X5</a> ($50), and <a href="http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.aspx?pn=902-X2-1032-KR" target="_blank">Torq X3</a> ($40) are all available now direct from EVGA; the <a href="http://www.evga.com/mice/TORQ-X3-Laser/" target="_blank">Torq X3L</a> ($40) is a Best Buy exclusive, and also available now.</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/evga_breeds_new_torq_x5_and_x3_mice_gamers_2015#comments evga Gaming Hardware mouse Peripherals torq x3 torq x5 News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:17:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 29318 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nifty Infographic Explains Inner Workings of a Hard Drive http://www.maximumpc.com/nifty_infographic_explains_inner_workings_hard_drive_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hdd_infographic.jpg" alt="HDD Infographic" title="HDD Infographic" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />Virtual autopsy of a hard disk drive</h3> <p>You probably already have at least a basic understanding of how a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) works, but have you ever tried to explain it someone less savvy? It's a little more difficult than it seems -- there's a lot going on inside a hard drive. <strong>This is where infographics can come in handy, and eBuyer just sent us a rather neat one that takes a look at the various parts inside your typical HDD</strong>.</p> <p>Compared to more complex parts like CPUs and GPUs, hard drives are relatively easy to understand and there might not be anything new for you in the infographic. However, if you've taken someone under your wing and recently introduced them to the wonderful world of PCs, this is one of those things you'll want to share with them.</p> <p>The infographic covers the various internal bits, such as the printed circuit board (PCB), shock mount, actuator, read/write heads, spindle, and so forth. There's also a history lesson sprinkled in.</p> <p>"They may be getting smaller, thinner, and lighter every year, but that's certainly not how hard disks started out. Back in 1956, IBM's RAMAC 305 system used 50 platters, originally called 'fixed disks' or 'Winchesters', that were 61cm wide and housed in a unit bigger than a pair of fridges!," the infographic explains. "All this just to store a trifling 5MB of data for the inconceivable cost of more than $400,000 in modern dollars."</p> <p>It also offers up some definitions, such as seek time being the time between the CPU's request for a file and the point at which the first byte is delivered.</p> <p>Give it a look, and if you know someone that's new to PCs, pass it along.</p> <p><a href="http://goo.gl/pTrfRh" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u69/small_hdd_infographic_0.jpg" alt="Small HDD Infographic" title="Small HDD Infographic" width="620" height="528" /></a><strong><br />Click for the full infographic<br /></strong></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/nifty_infographic_explains_inner_workings_hard_drive_2015#comments Build a PC Hard Drive Hardware HDD infographic storage teardown News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:47:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29317 at http://www.maximumpc.com Reinvigorated Monitor Makers See Opportunities in Niche Markets http://www.maximumpc.com/reinvigorated_monitor_makers_see_opportunities_niche_markets_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lg_ultrawide_monitor_0.jpg" alt="LG UltraWide Monitor" title="LG UltraWide Monitor" width="228" height="178" style="float: right;" />Monitor market is transforming</h3> <p>For the longest time, it seemed as though the monitor market was frozen in time. While CPUs and graphics cards became increasingly advanced and faster with each new generation, monitor makers were content to stick with Full HD 1080p panels of varying sizes for mainstream users, and 30-inch panels checking in at 2560x1600. Ah, but the landscape is changing, so <strong>don't be shocked if monitor makers test the market with bigger size and higher resolution displays</strong>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20150122PD212.html" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a> and whatever "industry sources" it spoke with, panel makers (including those that make touchscreens) are seeing opportunities in the 34-inch WQHD (2560x1440) UltraWide category to be the new high-end option. At present, high-end solutions still consist of 30-inch panels at 2560x1600 and, more recently, 32-inch 4K displays. There are less pixels in a WQHD display, though it's still visually appealing, easier on the GPU for pixel-intensive tasks (primarily gaming), and offers tons of horizontal screen space for those who like that sort of thing.</p> <p>However, that's not the only segment monitor makers will toy with. They will also experiment in niche categories with high-resolution and curved displays taking center stage. These panels will feature wide color gamuts and, in some cases, 10-point touch features.</p> <p>Finally, monitor makers will also push out 24-inch, 27-inch, and 28-inch models with 4K Ultra HD and even 5K resolutions in 2015.</p> <p>In short, it's going to be a wild year for monitors, versus what's mostly been a stagnant market up until recently.</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/reinvigorated_monitor_makers_see_opportunities_niche_markets_2015#comments 4k display Hardware monitor wqhd News Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:14:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 29315 at http://www.maximumpc.com 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