Hardware http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1416/ en Maingear Unveils Drift Steam Machine, Starts Taking Pre-Orders http://www.maximumpc.com/maingear_unveils_drift_steam_machine_starts_taking_pre-orders_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/maingear_drift.jpg" alt="Maingear Drift" title="Maingear Drift" width="228" height="172" style="float: right;" />Drift PC console moves full Steam ahead</h3> <p>It's taken a lot longer than anticipated, but official Steam Machines are scheduled to release in November of this year, <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/valve_announces_steam_link_source_2_and_more_gdc_2015">Valve announced</a> at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC). That means you can expect plenty of Steam Machine announcements, some of which have already <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/zotac_shows_us_its_custom_steam_machine">started rolling in</a>. One in particular is <strong>Maingear's Drift, an ultra-compact Steam Machine and gaming PC that you can pre-order today</strong> and have in your hands next month.</p> <p>How is it possible to own a Steam Machine before November? Well, Steam OS won't arrive until November, but as we've seen, OEMs and boutique builders aren't waiting around -- they're shipping systems now that run Windows and have the option of booting directly into Steam's Big Picture mode. So it goes with Maingear's Drift.</p> <p>It offers full-size desktop performance in a console uni-body constructed from aluminum. There are several color options and, for a fee ($199 to $299), Maingear will happily paint the chassis using Glasurit paint, the same that goes onto the likes of Porcshe and BMW.</p> <p>There are two main (and customizable) configurations to choose from. The first is the Drift with an Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition G3258 processor slipped into an MSI H81-I motherboard, 8GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card, 500GB Seagate Barracuda HDD (7200 RPM), 8X DVD burner, 450W Silverstone PSU, and Windows 8.1 64-bit. This configuration starts at $949.</p> <p>The second starting point is the Drift SS beginning at $1,949. For that, you get bumped up to an Intel Core i5 4590 CPU, Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI motherboard, Maingear Epic 120 Supercooler, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card, and a 250GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD to go along with the 500GB HDD.</p> <p>If you're interested, you can head over to the <a href="http://www.maingear.com/custom/sff/drift/" target="_blank">Drift's product page</a> and customizable your build right 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/maingear_unveils_drift_steam_machine_starts_taking_pre-orders_2015#comments Drift Gaming GDC 2015 Hardware maingear OEM rigs steam machine News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:53:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 29538 at http://www.maximumpc.com MSI Announces First USB 3.1 Type-C Motherboard, All-in-One PCs, and More http://www.maximumpc.com/msi_announces_first_usb_31_type-c_motherboard_all--one_pcs_and_more_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_z97a_gaming_6.jpg" alt="MSI Z97A Gaming 6 Motherboard" title="MSI Z97A Gaming 6 Motherboard" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Ready, set, blitz!</h3> <p>Once the Game Developers Conference (GDC) comes to an end, attention will turn to PAX East, which takes place in Boston from March 6-8. That means even more product announcements, though some companies are too excited to wait. One of them is <strong>MSI, which is bringing an "arsenal of new gaming products" to PAX East</strong>, including its Z97A Gaming 6 motherboard and a pair of all-in-one PCs.</p> <p>MSI is pitching the Z97A Gaming 6 as the world's first mobo to feature onboard USB 3.1 and Type-C connectivity, the latter of which is a reversible connector -- no more plugging in USB devices the wrong way! It has two USB 3.1 ports, and yes, they're fully backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.</p> <p>Not much else was said about the motherboard, though from the picture, we can see side-mounted SATA ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, and MSI's Audio Boost technology.</p> <p>MSI is also unveiling a premium SLI bridge. It supports a two-way spaced SLI setup with single slot spacing between a pair of MSI TwinFrozr V cards. There's also an LED-backlit gaming sheild that can be controlled by the MSI Gaming App.</p> <p>Finally, MSI will introduce a pair of all-in-one PCs. One is the AG270 2QC with a 27-inch WQHD IPS panel with a 2560x1440 (3K) resolution. It will have an unspecified Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics, and speakers developed by Yamaha.</p> <p>The AIO is MSI's Gaming 24GE. This one has a 4K display powered by an Intel Core i7 4720HQ CPU and GTX 900 Series mobile graphics.</p> <p>More details will be made available later this week.</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/msi_announces_first_usb_31_type-c_motherboard_all--one_pcs_and_more_2015#comments 1 AG270 2QC aio all-in-one Build a PC Gaming 24GE Hardware motherboard msi pax east type-c USB 3 Z97A Gaming 6 News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:06:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 29537 at http://www.maximumpc.com GDC 2015 Day 0: MindMaze Demos Brain-Powered VR Headset [Video] http://www.maximumpc.com/gdc_2015_day_0_mindmaze_demos_brain-powered_vr_headset_video <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mindmaze_headset_view_0.jpg" alt="MindMaze" title="MindMaze" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Bringing medical-grade technology to the consumer space</h3> <p>One of the running themes at the 2015 Game Developer Conference (GDC) is virtual reality, a space that's attracting an increasing number of players as the technology inches closer to becoming mainstream. One company to keep an eye on is <strong>MindMaze, makers of a prototype "neuro-goggle" headset that combines a potpourri of technologies</strong>, including augmented reality, virtual reality, motion capture, and even neurosensing.</p> <p>It's part of a platform called MindLeap, and among other things, this multifaceted headset can read your brain waves, according to MindMaze CEO and founder Tej Tadi. It's a fantastic claim that is anything but new at GDC and other similar events, but Tadi isn't a Johnny-come-lately that's trying to hop on a bandwagon here. He's a neuroscientist who's been using virtuall reality technology in the medical field for about a decade, helping patients overcome neurological deficits.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/minemaze_headset.jpg" alt="MindMaze Headset" title="MindMaze Headset" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p>To those who are skeptical of a brain-powered headset, Tadi points out that the technology already exists in the medical field, where neuroscience has helped patients control robotic arms. There's also clinical data available. MindPlay is partially an attempt to take the same technology and port it over to the consumer space.</p> <p>Before we go on, have a look at the headset in action:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YRagGxpPJTE" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>What you see in the video above is a short demo of the different technologies. By looking left, the headset presents a virtual reality landscape, and when you turn to the right, it switches into augmented reality. As we saw with Microsoft's HoloLens, the AR mode allows you to interact with the real world, depending on the available content. In the demo, you see the user's hands on fire, and he's able to touch another person in the room, setting them ablaze in the process.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/mindmaze_headset_view.jpg" alt="MindMaze Headset View" title="MindMaze Headset View" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p>This is a complex headset that combines VR technologies like the ones Oculus and Valve are using, with AR technology like HoloLens, and then adding other elements into the mix, the biggest being neurosensing. The demo of the user's hands on fire helps visualize all three main traits -- you see the hands on fire (AR) and you can either enter a virtual world to get rid of the fire (VR), or turn the fire into snow by calming down and relaxing (neurosensing).</p> <p>Here's a more in-depth explanation by Tadi himself:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/inPxWhaw1Hw" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>MindMaze is currently in talks with hardware and content makers about licensing the technology in MindPlay. The company may also offer its own hardware. If all goes to plan, a developers kit should be available by the end of the year or early 2016.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gdc_2015_day_0_mindmaze_demos_brain-powered_vr_headset_video#comments augmented reality GDC 2015 Hardware MindMaze Tej Tadi virtual reality vr News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:02:07 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29535 at http://www.maximumpc.com EVGA Announces GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC with 4GB of Onboard Memory http://www.maximumpc.com/evga_announces_geforce_gtx_960_supersc_4gb_onboard_memory_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_geforce_gtx_960_supersc.jpg" alt="EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC" title="EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" />Now with twice the GDDR5 memory</h3> <p>There were rumors earlier this year that 4GB versions of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960 graphics card would show up in March, and it turns out they were right. <strong>EVGA has emerged as the first to cross into 4GB territory with its GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC graphics card announced today</strong>. Though it's a mid-range card, EVGA is promoting the benefit of higher texture qualities and better 4K resolution gaming performance with the added memory.</p> <p>To keep the things cool and quiet, EVGA has also outfitted its newest graphics card with its ACX 2.0+ custom cooler.</p> <p>"The new EVGA ACX 2.0+ cooler brings new features to the award winning EVGA ACX 2.0 cooling technology. A Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate (MMCP) reduces MOSFET temperatures up to 11C, and optimized Straight Heat Pipes (SHP) reduce GPU temperature by 5C," EVGA says. "ACX 2.0+ coolers also feature optimized Swept fan blades, double ball bearings and an extreme low power motor, delivering more air flow with less power, unlocking additional power for the GPU."</p> <p>EVGA's GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC sports 1,279MHz base and 1,342MHz boost clockspeeds, which are overclocked from the reference design's 1,127MHz base and 1,178MHz boost specifications. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory stays at stock (7,010MHz) on a 128-bit bus.</p> <p>The card is also notable for its dual-BIOS design. Should something go wrong while tinkering, you can switch to a secondary BIOS with a quick flip of a switch.</p> <p>No word yet on when the 4GB card will be available or for how much. There is, however, a "Notify Me" button on the card's <a href="http://www.evga.com/articles/00914/EVGA-GeForce-GTX-960-4GB/" 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/evga_announces_geforce_gtx_960_supersc_4gb_onboard_memory_2015#comments 4GB Build a PC evga geforce gtx 960 graphics card Hardware nvidia Video Card News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:06:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29527 at http://www.maximumpc.com Mushkin Striker Solid State Drives are Now Available http://www.maximumpc.com/mushkin_striker_solid_state_drives_are_now_available_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mushkin_striker_0.jpg" alt="Mushkin Striker" title="Mushkin Striker" width="228" height="223" style="float: right;" />Fast and capacious storage</h3> <p>It's been a couple of months since Mushkin first trotted out its Striker line of solid state drives. <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/ces_2015_mushkin_announces_high_performance_striker_ssd_line">First announced</a> at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, the Striker line drew interest for its rated speeds, which can reach up to 565MB/s for read and up to 550MB/s for write transfers. Not quite recording breaking, but certainly one of the faster spec'd SATA 6Gbps SSD lines. If you've been waiting for them to be available, your wait is over -- <strong>Mushkin's Striker line is now available to purchase online</strong>.</p> <p>Pricing looks pretty fair for the level of performance promised. On Newegg, the drives are currently selling for:</p> <ul> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 240GB: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226674" target="_blank">$105 + $1 shipping</a></li> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 480GB: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226675" target="_blank">$190 + $1 shipping</a></li> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 960GB: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226676" target="_blank">$400 + $1 shipping</a></li> </ul> <p>"Striker is aptly named for its purpose: to mark its place as the premier high-performance solid-state drive series," said Brian Flood, Director of Product Development at Mushkin. " The Striker will allow its users to experience highly-accelerated application load times, boot performance, multimedia editing, and general usage."</p> <p>As a refresher, Mushkin outfits its Striker SSDs with a Phison PS3110-S10 quad-core controller. In addition to the aforementioned performance metrics, the drives also deliver 4K random read and write transactions of up to 90,000 IOPS.</p> <p>Other features include end-to-end data path protection to thwart errors, SmartECC for an added layer of error correction, SmartRefresh (scans flash during idle and runtime to look for and replace weak blocks), and SmartFlush (proprietary algorithm to minimize DRAM utilization for user data and help reduce write amplification).</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/mushkin_striker_solid_state_drives_are_now_available_2015#comments Build a PC Hardware mushkin solid state drive ssd storage Striker News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:11:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29525 at http://www.maximumpc.com Lenovo Announces 8-Inch IdeaPad Miix 300 Windows Tablet http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_announces_8-inch_ideapad_miix_300_windows_tablet_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_ideapad_miix_300.jpg" alt="Lenovo Ideapad Miix 300" title="Lenovo Ideapad Miix 300" width="228" height="195" style="float: right;" />Big things come in small packages</h3> <p><strong>If you can jam an 8-inch tablet in your pocket, then you'll be down with Lenovo's pitch of "pocket-sized productivity" for its newly announced Ideapad Miix 300 Windows tablet</strong>. Lenovo made the announcement at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, while also unveiling several other mobile devices, including four Android tablets and smartphones (two each), and a pocket sized projector.</p> <p>So far it appears the Miix 300 is the only new Windows-based mobile product from Lenovo. It's not a game-changing device, though appears to be a decent value for money.</p> <p>It has an 8-inch WUXGA (1280x800) In-Plane Switching (IPS) display that's powered by an Intel Atom quad-core processor based on Bay Trail T, though Lenovo didn't provide an exact model. The tablet also sports up to 2GB of DDR3L RAM, up to 64GB of internal storage expandable via microSD, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, a single watt speaker, micro USB 2.0, audio-comb jack, and up to 7 hours of battery life. As for software, it will ship with Windows 8.1 with Bing plus a one-year subscription to Office 365.</p> <p>Getting back to portability, the Ideapad Miix 300 measures 130mm x 215mm x 9.3mm and weighs 360 grams. Equally light is its price tag -- it will start at $149 and when it becomes available in July.</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/lenovo_announces_8-inch_ideapad_miix_300_windows_tablet_2015#comments Hardware IdeaPad Miix 300 lenovo slate tablet windows 8.1 News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:36:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 29515 at http://www.maximumpc.com Benq Starts Shipping 27-Inch RL2755HM Monitor for $279 http://www.maximumpc.com/benq_starts_shipping_27-inch_rl2755hm_monitor_279 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/benq_rl2755hm.jpg" alt="BenQ RL2755HM Monitor" title="BenQ RL2755HM Monitor" width="228" height="177" style="float: right;" />Hype is high</h3> <p><strong>Benq today announced that its 27-inch RL2755HM "blazing fast professional gaming monitor" is now shipping</strong>, meaning you should be able to find it online, if not now then soon. Selected as the official console gaming monitor of both Major League Gaming (MLG) and UMG, they hype machine is in overdrive on this one. We haven't played with this particular model ourselves just yet, though we have glanced the spec sheet.</p> <p>According to Benq, this monitor rocks an ultra-fast 1ms response time with a 12,000,000:1 high dynamic contrast ratio. It also supposedly features ultra-low input lag to FPS and fighting games like the new Halo and Mortal Kombat.</p> <p>"By rendering action without ghosting or latency from mouse motion, gamers are able to see more details and spot opponents faster for a more seamless console gaming experience. Using the monitor’s new fighting mode, gamers can also access specific color calibration settings to help highlight characters during combat — leading to increased precision and more furtive strikes," Benq said.</p> <p>It's a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) monitor, which is really the only display spec that matters. What we mean by that is the lack of industry standards on other specs makes their listed ratings of little value.</p> <p>In any event, it also comes with dual HDMI ports, visibility enhancing "Black eQualilzer," and "<a href="http://info.benq.us/revolutioneyes" target="_blank">ReveolutionEyes</a>" technology to reduce eye fatigue.</p> <p>The Benq RL2755HM carries and MSRP of $279.</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/benq_starts_shipping_27-inch_rl2755hm_monitor_279#comments BenQ display Hardware monitor RL2755HM News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:09:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29514 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Details Newly Branded Atom x3, x5, and x7 CPUs at Mobile World Congress http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_details_newly_branded_atom_x3_x5_and_x7_cpus_mobile_world_congress_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/atom_x8.jpg" alt="Intel Atom x3" title="Intel Atom x3" width="228" height="218" style="float: right;" />Making a move for mobile</h3> <p>Intel last week had already given the heads up that it was <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_rebrands_atom_cpus_hints_new_silicon_2015">rebranding its Atom processors</a> into three performance tiers -- Atom x3, Atom x5, and Atom x7. The Santa Clara chip maker didn't provide any details at the time, leading us to speculate that the first new Atom parts would be based on the company's upcoming 14nm Cherry Trail architecture. Turns out we were two-thirds correct, as <strong>Intel has now formally introduced its next generation Atom parts</strong>.</p> <p>As expected, Intel's Atom x5 and x7 are Cherry Trail parts, but the Atom x3 is a new processor series formerly codenamed SoFIA. It's Intel's first integrated communications System-on-Chip (SoC) and will take aim at the growing value and entry-level smartphone, tablet, and phablet markets.</p> <p>"Combining 64-bit multi-core Intel Atom processors together with 3G or 4G LTE connectivity, the integrated communications SoC combines the applications processor, image sensor processor, graphics, audio, connectivity and power management components in a single system chipset. This integration allows device manufacturers to deliver full-featured tablets, phablets and smartphones at affordable price points for the rapidly growing entry and value market segments," <a href="http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2015/03/02/intel-launches-new-mobile-socs-lte-solution" target="_blank">Intel said</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Atom x5 and X7 are more traditional Atom parts and represents Intel's first 14nm Atom SoC (Cherry Trail, as previously mentioned). They'll power next-generation tablets and small-screen 2-in-1 devices while bringing 64-bit support for both Windows and Android. Several hardware partners have already committed to using the new Atom parts, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba. Each of them are expected to release devices in the first half of the year.</p> <p>Atom x3 based devices will start at around $75; Atom x5 and x7 devices will enter the market place at $250 to $349 for mid-range options, and $350 on up for performance products.</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_details_newly_branded_atom_x3_x5_and_x7_cpus_mobile_world_congress_2015#comments Atom x3 Atom x5 Atom x7 cpu Hardware intel processor soc News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:43:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29513 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel's Next NUC Could Feature Respectable Graphics Performance http://www.maximumpc.com/intels_next_nuc_could_feature_respectable_graphics_performance_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nuc_0.jpg" alt="NUC" title="NUC" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" />Get ready to game on a NUC?</h3> <p>Pint sized PCs are a thing now. Not that they weren't before, but with increasingly faster and energy efficient hardware coming out of Santa Clara, little boxes like the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) are fast becoming viable candidates for primary PC duties. That's especially true of <strong>Intel's fastest NUC yet, the forthcoming NUC5i7RYH</strong> equipped with a 5th Generation Intel Core i7 5557U processor.</p> <p>The chip is a Broadwell part that will power Intel's NUC 2.0 models, otherwise known as Rock Canyon, based on the literature <a href="http://www.fanlesstech.com/2015/02/exclusive-i7-broadwell-nuc-to-feature.html" target="_blank"><em>FanlessTech</em> got its hands on</a>. It's a dual-core part clocked at 3.1GHz to 3.4GHz with 4MB of cache and a 28W TDP. The real treat, however, is the integrated Intel Iris Graphics 6100, which Intel says will make its upcoming NUC "perfect for immersive gaming and applications that leverage the GPU."</p> <p>That's a bit of marketing fluff, though the Iris 6100 should prove capable of respectable gaming performance, depending on the title, resolution, and settings. The 6100 is the fastest GPU Broadwell currently has to offer, with 48 execution units and a 300MHz to 1,100MHz frequency. We've seen claims that it should be slightly faster than a GeForce GTX 820M.</p> <p>The NUC5i7RYH will also support up to 16GB of DDR3-1866 RAM and feature four USB 3.0 ports, internal support for an M.2 SSD card, internal SATA 6Gbps for a 2.5-inch drive, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mini HDMI 1.4a and mini DisplayPort 1.2 outputs, and a few other bullet points.</p> <p>No word yet on when exactly the new NUC will come out or how much it will cost.</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/intels_next_nuc_could_feature_respectable_graphics_performance_2015#comments broadwell core i7 Hardware intel Iris 6100 mini pc nuc NUC5i7RYH News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:22:25 +0000 Paul Lilly 29489 at http://www.maximumpc.com Lenovo Promises No More Bloatware Starting with Windows 10 http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_promises_no_more_bloatware_starting_windows_10_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_yoga.jpg" alt="Lenovo Yoga" title="Lenovo Yoga" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />Moving on from Superfish</h3> <p>What a month it's been for Lenovo, the world's top supplier of PCs and generally a well liked company. The OEM put both of those traits <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_dogfight_hp_retain_top_spot_pc_shipments_2015">at risk</a> by <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_takes_heat_installing_superfish_adware_consumer_laptops_2015">pre-loading adware</a> onto its consumer laptops and desktops, adware that was later discovered to be a serious security threat. We might never know for sure how savvy Lenovo was to the software's nefarious methods of serving up ads, but in the wake of it all, there have been <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_apologies_superfish_scandal_offers_uninstall_instructions_2015">apologies</a>, explanations, a software tool to remove Superfish, a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_faces_class_action_lawsuit_over_superfish_2015">class action lawsuit</a>, and now a promise -- <strong>Lenovo wants to be the leader of clean PCs</strong>.</p> <p>In yet another statement, Lenovo again waxed remorse for the Superfish situation. This time, however, the OEM also said it was offering its customers affected by the issue a free 6-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe service, or a 6-month extension to existing subscribers. More details will be made available within the next week, but McAfee? Yeah, that's not going to smooth things over.</p> <p>What might, however, is Lenovo's promise to stop installing bloatware and only including software that's necessary for included hardware, like a webcam application.</p> <p>"The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities," Lenovo said in a <a href="http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1934" target="_blank">statement</a>. "With this in mind, we will significantly reduce preloaded applications. Our goal is clear: To become the leader in providing <strong>cleaner, safer PCs.</strong></p> <p>"We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications. This should eliminate what our industry calls 'adware' and 'bloatware.' For some countries, certain applications customarily expected by users will also be included."</p> <p>The bolded text for emphasis was done by Lenovo to drive the point home. In addition to eliminating crapware, Lenovo said it will begin posting information about any and all software that comes preloaded on its machines and clearly explain what each one does.</p> <p>"We view these actions as a starting point. We believe that these steps will make our technology better, safer, and more secure," Lenovo said.</p> <p>This is all well and good by Lenovo, and now it needs to follow through. It will be critical for the company to avoid another situation like this, not just because of the "fool me once" saying, but also because it's flat out saying this won't happen again.</p> <p>The good news for Lenovo is that it has an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. What started off as a sour situation could take a sweet turn of events, if in fact Lenovo follows through and becomes a leader in clean PCs. It will have competition, of course, mainly from boutique vendors like Maingear that tout zero bloatware. Where Lenovo has the advantage is in price, assuming it can continue to keep costs down without the aid of third-party software.</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/lenovo_promises_no_more_bloatware_starting_windows_10_2015#comments adware bloatware Hardware lenovo LifeSafe Mcafee OEM rigs Software Superfish News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:49:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29488 at http://www.maximumpc.com Tesoro Launches Low Cost Gungnir Gaming Mouse with RGB Illumination http://www.maximumpc.com/tesoro_launches_low_cost_gungnir_gaming_mouse_rgb_illumination_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tesoro_gungnir.jpg" alt="Tesoro Gungnir" title="Tesoro Gungnir" width="228" height="202" style="float: right;" />This rodent won't break the bank</h3> <p><strong>Tesoro today expanded its line of gaming mice with the Gungnir Black</strong>, an affordable rodent with customizable RGB illumination. It's named after the magical spear Odin used in Norse mythology, which is supposed to always be able to hit its mark no matter who wields it. See where Tesoro is going with this? The company likens its namesake mouse to the spear, saying that its 3,500 DPI optical sensor "ensures smooth and controlled movements."</p> <p>Aside from the mythology lesson, the Gungnir also boasts seven programmable buttons and 64KB of onboard memory to allow for the configuration of up to 35 macro keys and 1,600 recordable actions. This is done through Tesoro's new software, which has been redesigned to be more user friendly. You can also adjust the DPI and polling rate (up to 1,000Hz) in the software, and then save your custom setup to a profile.</p> <p>Other features include a lift distance of 2mm, 20G acceleration, 1.8m cable, four DPI levels, and an ergonomic design with a rubberized thumb grip.</p> <p>Tesoro says the <a href="http://www.tesorotec.com/gungnir-black/" target="_blank">Gungnir</a> is available now in North America for $29 MSRP.</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/tesoro_launches_low_cost_gungnir_gaming_mouse_rgb_illumination_2015#comments Gungnir Hardware mouse Peripherals tesoro News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:55:22 +0000 Paul Lilly 29482 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Rebrands Atom CPUs, Hints at New Silicon http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_rebrands_atom_cpus_hints_new_silicon_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_atom_rebranded.jpg" alt="Rebranded Atom" title="Rebranded Atom" width="228" height="172" style="float: right;" />Rebranded Atom chips follow Intel's Core naming convention</h3> <p>Intel is rebranding its Atom processor line so that customers will have an easier time determining the level of CPU performance at a glance. To do that, <strong>Intel is splitting Atom into three distinct levels -- Atom x3, Atom x5, and Atom x7</strong>. It's a similar approach to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 naming conventions, which follows the good, better, best construct, and it will start with the next generation of Atom CPUs.</p> <p>"Intel Atom x3 processor provides basic, but genuine Intel-level tablet, phablet and smartphone performance. Intel Atom x5 processor has more capabilities and features for people who want an even better experience, and the flagship Intel Atom x7 processor provides the highest level of performance and capabilities for the Intel Atom family," <a href="http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2015/02/25/introducing-brand-levels-for-the-intel-atom-processor" target="_blank">Intel explains</a>.</p> <p>The new branding is part of a larger breakdown that also includes three tiers -- Atom x3/x5/x7 for when mobility is a priority, Core M for a blend of performance and portability, and Core i3/i5/i7 for when performance matters most.</p> <p>While Intel didn't provide any details about the next generation of Atom that will kick off the new naming convention, we suspect it will be the company's 14nm Cherry Trail CPUs that are supposed to debut this year. Cherry Trail is the successor to Bay Trail and promises to deliver better graphics performance and battery life optimizations.</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_rebrands_atom_cpus_hints_new_silicon_2015#comments atom cpu Hardware intel processor x3 x5 x7 News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:50:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29479 at http://www.maximumpc.com Display a Custom Logo on Bitfenix's New Aegis Case http://www.maximumpc.com/display_custom_logo_bitfenixs_new_aegis_case_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bitfenix_aegis.jpg" alt="Bitfenix Aegis" title="Bitfenix Aegis" width="228" height="237" style="float: right;" />Add your own flair</h3> <p>Are you all-in with Nvidia? What about AMD? Or Intel? Hey, we're not judging -- <strong>you can be a fan of any brand you want, and if you'd like to show off your allegiance to team whatever, Bitfenix's new Aegis case will let you</strong>. Hidden behind the closed front panel of the Bitfenix Aegis is the Bitfenix ICON, a 2.8-inch logo display that connects directly to your motherboard via an internal USB header.</p> <p>This allows you to add any custom logo you want to the Aegis, which you can do simply by dragging and dropping a color image. Furthermore, Bitfenix has published the source code, so if developers want to get creative or fancy, perhaps animated or interactive icons will make its way to the Aegis.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/aegis_logos.jpg" alt="Aegis Logos" title="Aegis Logos" width="620" height="309" /></p> <p>The Aegis is a micro ATX chassis (supports both micro ATX and mini ITX motherboards), though it supports quite a bit of hardware, including four 3.5-inch drives (two removable cages with two tool free slots each) and four 2.5-inch drives (one removable cage with two tool free slots each).</p> <p>For cooling chores, the Aegis supports up to eight 120mm fans or five 140 fans, dual 238mm radiators, or a dual 360mm rad if it's of the slim variety.</p> <p>Other features include a built-in fan controller, rubber padded pump bracket, a reservoir bracket, PSU cover, dust filters on top, and five color options (white, blue, yellow, red, and black).</p> <p>No word yet on when the Aegis will be available to purchase or for how much. In the meantime, you can check out its <a href="http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/aegis/" target="_blank">product page 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/display_custom_logo_bitfenixs_new_aegis_case_2015#comments Aegis BitFenix Build a PC case chassis enclosure Hardware matx News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:47:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29478 at http://www.maximumpc.com Corsair's K70 RGB Keyboard Only Delivers 512 of Advertised 16.8 Million Colors, Fix Coming http://www.maximumpc.com/corsairs_k70_rgb_keyboard_only_delivers_512_advertised_168_million_colors_fix_coming <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/corsair_k70_rgb.jpg" alt="Corsair Vengeange K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard" title="Corsair Vengeange K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />Where did all the colors go?</h3> <p>Corsair's Vengeance K70 RGB mechanical keyboard is supposed to deliver a color palette that's precisely 16,777,216 wide, which the industry rounds up to 16.8 million. However, a curious user who often works with Arduino LED projects noticed that something seemed off with his plank, so he did a bit experimenting. What he discovered was that <strong>Corsair's K70 RGB was only displaying 512 colors instead of the nearly 16.8 million advertised</strong>.</p> <p>"As someone who works with Arduino LED projects I'm very familiar with the software and the hardware going on under the hood. I figured I'd test this systematically just to make sure I had some hard data," Corsair forum user "Digital.Zilla" <a href="http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=133172" target="_blank">stated in a post</a>. "For those reading this thread that aren't aware, you can generate any color of the spectrum with the three primary light colors - red, green and blue. 'True color', what we use in computers, is 24 bit color; that is to say each light has to produce a value between 0 and 255 (8 bits) giving us a total of 24 bits for all three channels. Thus, 256 * 256 * 256 = 16,777,216 or the 16.8 million colors advertised on the box.</p> <p>"Testing each color was a matter of clearing every key (turning their background color to off) then making a simple fade from 255 of that color (0 on the other channels) to 0, running it over 10 seconds and counting the unique steps of brightness it produced. If a light could produce a full 256 levels of brightness I shouldn't be able to count them in real time. I could.</p> <p>"Testing each channel produced the same results: 8 steps of brightness each. 8 * 8 * 8 = 512 colors. That leaves us a whole 16,776,704 colors short of the advertised color range."</p> <p>Others in the thread noticed the same thing, but what made the situation more mysterious is a video from CES 2014 that appears to show the K70 RGB using all 16.8 million colors. Check it out below and skip ahead to the 1min12sec mark to see the smooth transition between colors:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y-GjMH8kQlc" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>So, what's going on? The short version is Corsair ran into some USB stack size and performance issues that left the company with two choices -- delay the keyboard's launch or gimp the color palette while it works on a fix. The company chose the latter, though here's the full statement from Corsair:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>During development of the keyboard and prior to the release of the RGB keyboard, we came across an issue regarding the possible color combinations. In an effort to get the product out to our customers as committed, we made the tough decision to resolve the issue in a future software release as we believe our customers would enjoy the product as-is. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Here are the specifics that detail the issue: </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Due to USB stack size and performance issues, we had to reduce MCU processing overhead in the best and quickest manner. The LED controller gives us greater than 8 bits of color depth but we use the 8 bits that give us what we believe to be the best color granularity. Our controller architecture provides for over 100 million color combinations out of which we select 16.8 million to display. We devised a color palette scheme to encode and compress the RGB color data and the data to select and control the 'current sources' that drive the LED array. An unfortunate side effect is that it prevented us from utilizing the full color depth available from the LED controller. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>We are in the process of making the necessary improvements so that we can send the uncompressed RGB data to the keyboard. Additionally, we are optimizing the data protocol and LED driver/display algorithms through the display control firmware to handle the uncompressed data, and to more efficiently program the 'current sources' that drive the LED array. This should give our most “resourceful” customers an easy way to identify the data and be able to easily send standard RGB 8 bit values. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>This enhancement had already been planned and will be implemented in a few weeks by the release of a software update, which will be announced and be made available to download here and at Corsair.com. </em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em> - Corsair Team</em></p> <p>The bad news here is that if you own the K70 RGB, you're not getting anywhere near the advertised colors. But the good news is a fix is coming, hopefully soon. In the meantime, 512 colors is still a lot to play with, albeit some of the transitions and effects might not be as smooth until a fix is issued.</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/corsairs_k70_rgb_keyboard_only_delivers_512_advertised_168_million_colors_fix_coming#comments corsair Hardware k70 rgb keyboard mechanical keyboard Peripherals News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:16:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29470 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nvidia CEO is Mocked for Explanation of GeForce GTX 970 Memory Issue http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_ceo_mocked_explanation_geforce_gtx_970_memory_issue_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_meme.jpg" alt="Nvidia Meme" title="Nvidia Meme" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Here come the memes</h3> <p>Nividia ticked off a lot of people when it came to light that its GeForce GTX 970 graphics card was suffering from performance issues when games tried to access onboard memory above 3.5GB. Turns out it's the result of an architectural design, one that doesn't exist on the GTX 980, and one that wasn't communicated to Nvidia's internal marketing team or externally to reviewers. There's been a lot of negativity surrounding the issue ever since, and in an attempt to diffuse the situation, <strong>Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has offered up an explanation of the GTX 970 memory issue</strong>.</p> <p>Before we get into that, we suggest reading <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/gamers_petition_geforce_gtx_970_refund_over_error_specs_2015">this</a>, <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_will_help_disgruntled_gtx_970_owners_get_refund_says_driver_update_coming_2015">this</a>, and <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_slapped_lawsuit_over_misleading_gtx_970_performance_claims243">this</a> as primers to what's going on. If you're crunched for time, the Cliff Notes version is that the above scenario, along with the discovery that the GTX has less ROPs and L2 cache than advertised, has led to a class action lawsuit.</p> <p>Seeing that the contempt is growing bigger, not smaller, Huang tried explaining away the issue as a "feature" that should have been bragged about.</p> <p>"We invented a new memory architecture in Maxwell. This new capability was created so that reduced-configurations of Maxwell can have a larger framebuffer – i.e., so that GTX 970 is not limited to 3GB, and can have an additional 1GB," Huang stated in a blog post.</p> <p>"GTX 970 is a 4GB card. However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth. This is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment," the CEO continued.</p> <p>According to Huang, the expectation was that users would be "excited" about this, but were ultimately "disappointed that we didn't better describe the segmented nature of the architecture." He also admitted that the "new feature of Maxwell should have been clearly detailed from the beginning."</p> <p>Perhaps so, though looking at the comments to his blog post makes me think this was a ticking time bomb no matter how you slice it. For those holding Nvidia's feet to the fire over this, the bottom line here is that the GTX 970 is gimped compared to the GTX 980, which doesn't have an issue accessing all 4GB of VRAM, and that they were misled, both by the impact this would have and by the advertised specs.</p> <p>"Yes, a 'new feature,' a 'good design' not included on GTX 980 because [it] decreases performance," a reader commented. Another stated, "I will most likely never buy from Nvidia again, they care nothing about their customer. And blatantly lie to our faces."</p> <p>Others took to posting memes and doctored videos, like this one:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/spZJrsssPA0" width="620" height="465" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>It's hard to watch the above clip without busting a gut, though for Nvidia, this is no laughing matter. To Nvidia's credit, the performance issue seems to only crop up when gaming at high resolutions and shouldn't bother folks gaming at 1080p. And based on the benchmarks when the performance issue doesn't creep up, the bang-for-buck here is pretty high.</p> <p>But in the end, Nvidia is finding out that none of that matters, as their fan base feels it's been lied to. It's going to take more than a blog post to win back their trust and/or make this go away.</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_ceo_mocked_explanation_geforce_gtx_970_memory_issue_2015#comments Build a PC geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware jen-hsun huang nvidia Video Card News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:01:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29469 at http://www.maximumpc.com