Two-headed beast from Team Nvidia is ready to hit the town
We're getting bombarded with press releases from boutique builders and graphics card makers announcing the availability of Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan Z, and with good reason. Today is the day Nvidia is launching the dual-GPU Titan Z, which brings tons of pixel pushing power to the gaming and high-end graphics scene. If you really want to make a statement (and a dent in your bank account), you can grab two and rock a quad-SLI rig.
A 4K monitor with a 1ms refresh rate (gray-to-gray)
The transition from Full HD 1080p to 4K Ultra HD is moving along at a steady pace. Those interested in being an early adopter already have several models to choose from; add one more to the pile. Asus today introduced the PB287Q, a 28-inch monitor with a 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) resolution and fast 1ms refresh rate. According to Asus, the PB287Q is intended for prosumers and gamers.
Boutique builder Maingear is now letting users configure desktops with Nvidia's dual-GPU GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card. The GPU option is available across Maingear's entire line of desktops, including the SHIFT, F131, Vybe, Rush, and Force. Not for the faint of wallet, pricing starts at just under $4,300 for a Vybe H81 equipped with a Titan Z, though if you're going that route, we suggest making a few upgrades.
Up to this point, there haven't been very many 4K computer monitors to get too excited about. Some of the early models use lower quality panels, while others have janky issues pumping out 4K Ultra HD at 60Hz. The technology is maturing, however, as evidenced by Acer's XB280HK, a 28-inch gaming monitor with a 3840x2160 resolution and support for Nvidia's G-Sync technology.
As prices keep coming down, it's becoming increasingly difficult to skip over a solid state drive in favor of a mechanical hard drive. At this point, the performance gain is usually worth the premium. That's certainly the conclusion Corsair hopes you come to in regards to its new Force Series LX SSDs. Corsair's Force Series LX SSDs are designed to offer "blazing performance to the masses" without a heavy price tag.
Top tier motherboard makers turn their attention to gaming laptop market
It hasn't been all that long since gaming laptops came down in price to pedestrian levels. Combine that with the fact that mobile is trendy right now and it's not hard to see why so many companies are interested in competing in the gaming laptop category. MSI has been making a name for itself with affordable (and well specified) models the past few years, but lest the company think about resting on its laurels, Asus and Gigabyte have decided to go gunning for MSI in the gaming laptop space.
Marvell this week announced the launch of its new 88SS1083 PCI Express solid state drive controller, a two-lane PCIe Gen2 SSD controller supporting SATA Express. According to Marvell, the new controller will enable a simple migration from SATA to PCIe with high-performance transfer rates up to 1GB/s. It's supposedly the world's first controller to be fully compliant with SATA Express.
Customize a gaming laptop just like you would a desktop
Boutique builder iBuyPower is introducing OptiBoost, a fancy name for a customization program that will offer many of the same configuration options when shopping for a gaming laptop as you'll find when customizing a desktop PC. iBuyPower isn't really breaking new ground here, but presumably you'll have more options to choose from than when typically shopping a laptop PC. And to kick things off, iBuyPower will offer its OptiBoost program on select Gigabyte gaming notebooks.
Market research firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR) said the decline in add-in graphics boards (disrete graphics cards, in other words, as opposed to integrated GPUs) during the first quarter of 2014 was "disappointing, but seasonally understandable." On a sequential basis, AIB shipments dropped 6.7 percent, though on a year-to-year basis, they're only down 0.8 percent, compared to desktop PCs as a whole, which declined 1.1 percent.
Lian Li teased a prototype computer case that doubles as desk back in January of this year. At the time, the company wasn't sure if the design would move past the prototype phase and become an actual product, but apparently a decision has been made. Lian Li announced today that it will begin shipping two versions of its computer desk -- DK-01X and DK-02X -- in the U.S. this July starting at $989.