No more plugging in your USB devices the wrong way!
Plugging in a USB gadget typically entails a four-step process. The first step is to attempt to jam it in the wrong way. Step two involves reversing the orientation only to discover that you had it right the first time. Step three is to mutter a string of curse words, followed by step four, which is to reverse the orientation back to its original position so that it plugs in as intended. It's a crappy process, and it's going to be alleviated by the new USB Type-C specification that's now been finalized by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group.
When Toshiba acquired OCZ's storage division and rebranded it as OCZ Storage Solutions, it freed the bankrupt company to concentrate solely on building solid state drives rather than balancing the business side of securing affordable NAND flash memory and trying to contend with shortages. We're starting to see the fruits of this relationship, as OCZ today announced its new ARC 100 SSD Series intended to deliver "exceptional performance an an enticing price point."
A tiny system with the gaming performance of a Titan Z
Of all the systems featuring an Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card, the Tiki-Z Special Edition from Falcon Northwest might be the most impressive. That's because the Tiki-Z Special Edition is a micro-tower measuring just 4 inches wide and 13 inches tall --the same size as the standard Tiki and roughly equivalent to the original Xbox console -- yet has enough space to accommodate Nvidia's Titan Z, which is powered by a pair of Kepler GPUs.
EVGA this week added the GeForce GT 720 with passive cooling to its graphics card lineup. Compared to integrated graphics, Nvidia says you can expect up to 2x faster web browsing, 5x faster video editing, and 8x faster photo editing. And when it comes time to game, the jump in performance can be up to 70 percent faster, all while taking up just a single slot in your PC, Nvidia says.
Six entry-level graphics cards battle for budget-board bragging rights
The video-card game is a lot like Hollywood. Movies like My Left Foot and The Artist take home the Oscars every year, but movies like Grown Ups 2 and Transformers 3 pull in all the cash. It's the same with GPUs, in that everyone loves to talk about $1,000 cards, but the actual bread-and-butter of the market is made up of models that cost between $100 and $150. These are not GPUs for 4K gaming, obviously, but they can provide a surprisingly pleasant 1080p gaming experience, and run cool and quiet, too.
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2014 issue of the magazine.
Say hello to "Denver," the codename for Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 System-on-Chip (SoC), which also happens to be the first 64-bit ARM processor for Android. The new version of Nvidia's Tegra K1 SoC pairs the company's Kepler architecture-based GPU with its own custom-designed, 64-bit, dual-core "Project Denver" CPU, which Nvidia says is fully ARMv8 architecture compatible.
We've pointed out before how Chromebooks are some of the best selling laptops on Amazon, and though these cloud-based systems aren't as capable as their Windows-based counterparts, they've having no trouble finding an audience, particularly in education circles. In fact, market research firm Gartner forecasts 5.2 million Chromebook sales by the end of the year, which would translate into a 79 percent jump compared to 2013.
Nvidia has partnered with various system builders to equip their current rigs with at least one GeForce Titan Z graphics card and rebrand them as Battleboxes, Maingear being one of them. Unlike ones we've already seen, however, Maingear's Battlebox Titan Z PCs are a little more cost friendly, with the least expensive model (Vybe) starting at $2,999. Battlebox configurations are also available on Maingear's F131 and Shift starting at $3,199 and $3,499, respectively.
In an alternate reality, Dell is launching its Alienware Alpha PC game console as its official Steam Machine. In this world, however, Valve threw a wrench into every OEM's plans by delaying the launch of its Steam Machine platform until next year, as it wanted more time to tweak its Steam Controller. Fair enough, though not all system builders are willing to put their PC console plans on hold. Enter Alienware, which today announced it's taking pre-orders for its Alpha console.
Lenovo is using its time at SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia to launch its new ThinkStation P Series of desktop workstations. The new Lenovo P900, P700, and P500 workstations join the entry-level ThinkStation P300 announced in May of this year and have been completely retooled compared to Lenovo's previous generation of workstations. According to Victor Rios, Vice President and General Manager of Lenovo's Workstation division, these are the "best designed" workstations the company has ever built.