Hardware http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1416/ en 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://www.ebuyer.com/blog/2015/01/whats-inside-a-hard-drive/" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u69/small_hdd_infographic.jpg" alt="HDD Infographic Thumbnail" title="HDD Infographic Thumbnail" width="620" height="528" class="thickbox" /></a><br /><strong><em>Click for the full infographic<br /></em></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 Backblaze Takes a Second Look at Hard Drive Reliability, Finds Capacity Matters http://www.maximumpc.com/backblaze_takes_second_look_hard_drive_reliability_finds_capacity_matters_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hitachi_4tb.jpg" alt="HGST 4TB" title="HGST 4TB" width="228" height="189" style="float: right;" />Making the case for 4TB hard drives</h3> <p>It was a year ago that cloud backup firm <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/backblaze_analyzes_hard_drive_failure_rates_dubs_hitachi_most_reliable_brand2014">Backblaze revealed</a> some interesting data it had collected in regards to hard drive failure rates. For a number of reasons, trying to analyze the reliability of hard drive brands and models can be complicated, though when the dust settled, Backblaze determined that Hitachi brand HDDs were the best. With another year of operation under its belt, <strong>Backblaze has more data to share, though Hitachi remains a solid option</strong>.</p> <p>At the end of 2013, Backblaze was running 27,134 hard drives. That number increased to 41,213 at the end of 2014, giving Backblaze a large sample size to evaluate. It's also worth noting that most of the new drives Backblaze purchased were 4TB, along with a few 6TB HDDs. As the firm discovered, size matters when it comes to HDD reliability.</p> <p>So does brand. Backblaze recorded a frightening 43.1 percent failure rate among 3TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 HDDs, though just a 2.6 percent failure rate among 4TB Seagate Desktop HDD.15 drives.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/backblaze_data.jpg" alt="BackBlaze Data" title="BackBlaze Data" width="620" height="638" /><br /><em>Source: Backblaze</em></p> <p>"We like every one of the 4 TB drives we bought this year. For the price, you get a lot of storage, and the drive failure rates have been really low," Backblaze said. "The Seagate Desktop HDD.15 has had the best price, and we have a LOT of them. Over 12 thousand of them. The failure rate is a nice low 2.6 percent per year. Low price and reliability is good for business.</p> <p>"The HGST drives, while priced a little higher, have an even lower failure rate, at 1.4 percent. It’s not enough of a difference to be a big factor in our purchasing, but when there’s a good price, we grab some. We have over 12 thousand of these drives."</p> <p>Brand, model, and capacity all seem to matter to some extent, which makes coming to a definitive conclusion a bit tricky. And of course this is but a single company's results. Generally speaking, however, HGST put on the best showing with the lowest failure rates at each capacity.</p> <p>Check out <a href="https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-hard-drive/" target="_blank">Backblaze's blog post</a> for more details.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/backblaze_takes_second_look_hard_drive_reliability_finds_capacity_matters_2015#comments Backblaze Build a PC data center Hard Drive Hardware reliability storage News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:57:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29295 at http://www.maximumpc.com Mouse-Box Concept is a PC Inside a Mouse http://www.maximumpc.com/mouse-box_concept_pc_inside_mouse_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mouse_box.jpg" alt="Mouse-Box" title="Mouse-Box" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />There's a PC in the belly of this rodent</h3> <p>Forget about building a better mouse trap, what about a better mouse? Or to take it a step further, a mouse that doubles as a full fledged PC? While not yet a shipping product, the idea of integrating an entire PC into a mouse has been achieved -- <strong>Meet the Mouse-Box, a mouse and computer rolled into one</strong>. You can use it as a standard mouse or as a working PC (just add a monitor), or both.</p> <p>Crammed inside and around this rodent is quad-core ARM Cortex processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 128GB of flash storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, two USB 3.0 ports, and micro-HDMI output. It's also equipped with an accelerometer and gyroscope.</p> <p>The <a href="http://mouse-box.com/" target="_blank">Mouse-Box</a> charges wirelessly on an inductive charging pad that also serves double duty as a standard mouse pad. As previously stated, you can hook it up to your laptop or desktop and use it as a typical mouse, or tap into its guts and use it as a PC. You can also take advantage of both functions at the same time -- just switch the input, the Mouse-Box team explains in a video.</p> <p>It's an interesting concept, though it hasn't evolved beyond the prototype stage at this point. At present, the Mouse-Box team is reaching out to firms to help it mass produce the device, which also means that the specs could change if and when it reaches retail.</p> <p><iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/117083603?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/mouse-box_concept_pc_inside_mouse_2015#comments computer concept Hardware mouse mouse-box pc prototype News Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:28:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 29286 at http://www.maximumpc.com Acer's Tough and Tumble Chromebook C910 and C740 Laptops Can Take a Schoolyard Beating http://www.maximumpc.com/acers_tough_and_tumble_chromebook_c910_and_c740_laptops_can_take_schoolyard_beating <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_chromebook_c910.jpg" alt="Acer Chromebook C910" title="Acer Chromebook C910" width="228" height="178" style="float: right;" />Durable design for students</h3> <p><strong>Acer today added to its Chromebook family with the launch of two new models, the 15.6-inch Acer Chromebook C910 and 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook C740</strong>. Though they differ in size, both new Chromebooks feature durable design qualities that make them better suited for school environments. It starts with using reinforced covers that can withstand up to 60kg of force, <a href="http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/press/2015/151915" target="_blank">Acer says</a>.</p> <p>The C910 and C740 also have corners that can tolerate drops from up to 45cm (17.7 inches) without sustaining damage, along with hinges that have been reinforced to endure more twisting and stress.</p> <p>Acer went a bit further on the C740 model under the assumption that it "will be frequently moved thanks to its compact size" and designed it with extended metal hinges that keep it more rigid. The thought process there is that students might be apt to pick up the C740 by its display and cram it into their backpacks.</p> <p>As for specs, the C910 brings a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) IPS display to the Chromebook party, while the C740 rocks an HD (1366x768) panel, an option that's also available on the C910 to "meet the budgets of schools." Both will be available with a 5th Generation Intel Core i3 5005U or Intel Celeron 3205U processor,&nbsp; 4GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB SSD, 802.11nac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, microSD card reader, HDMI output, and of course Chrome OS.</p> <p>The C910 and C740 will be available next month starting at $300 and $260, respectively.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/acers_tough_and_tumble_chromebook_c910_and_c740_laptops_can_take_schoolyard_beating#comments Acer C740 C910 chromebook education Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs News Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:41:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29285 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD Radeon R9 380X Rumored to Arrive in Second Quarter of 2015 http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_380x_rumored_arrive_second_quarter_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_gpu_0.jpg" alt="AMD GPU" title="AMD GPU" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />Rumor has it the Radeon R9 380X will feature 4,096 GCN cores</h3> <p>Keeping in mind that nothing is ever official until it's official (one of the many mottos of Captain Obvious), purported details of AMD's forthcoming Radeon R9 380X have started to emerge. If they turn out to be accurate, you can expect the <strong>Radeon R9 380X to arrive sometime between April and June of this year</strong> with 4,096 GCN cores in tow, along with 4GB of 3D stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HDM).</p> <p>That's according to <a href="http://wccftech.com/r9-380x-coming-q2-2015/" target="_blank"><em>WCCFTech</em></a>, which is getting its information from Swedish website <a href="http://www.sweclockers.com/nyhet/19919-amd-lanserar-radeon-r9-380x-till-varen" target="_blank"><em>SWEClockers</em></a><em>, </em>"which have been proven to be quite accurate in their estimations." In this case, the report points to AMD running with the 380X nomenclature rather than 390X, which would indicate that an even more powerful graphics card is on tap for 2015.</p> <p>As for the 380X, the use of HBM is reported to be 9 times faster than GDDR5. Looking at just the increased number of compute units, however, it's estimated that the 380X could be 45 percent faster than AMD's R9 290X, and that's without taking into considerations architectural improvements or memory bandwidth.</p> <p>The card will be based on a GPU code named Fiji XT. Along with its release, AMD is expected to refresh its current lineup with new GPUs, including a Radeon R9 270 replacement called Trinidad.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_380x_rumored_arrive_second_quarter_2015#comments amd Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon r9 380x Video Card News Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:33:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29284 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Chief Shrugs Off Rumors Suggesting Apple May Turn to ARM http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_chief_shrugs_rumors_suggesting_apple_may_turn_arm_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/macbook_pro_1.jpg" alt="MacBook Pro" title="MacBook Pro" width="228" height="132" style="float: right;" />Intel is confident its relationship with Apple remains strong</h3> <p>There's a rumor going around saying that Apple is looking long and hard at ARM's A-Series chipsets for use in future Mac releases. While it wouldn't be the end of the world for Intel to lose Apple as a client, especially coming fresh off its best year ever, Intel would certainly like to keep that relationship alive. And it probably will -- <strong>Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says the rumors of Apple switching to ARM are just that</strong>.</p> <p>During an <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/102344221" target="_blank">interview with <em>CNBC</em></a> (credit to <a href="http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2390856/intel-ceo-dismisses-rumours-apple-will-look-to-arm-for-future-mac-chips" target="_blank"><em>The Inquirer</em></a> for digging it up), he described Intel's relationship with Apple as being "strong," adding that "Apple is always going to choose the supplier who can provide the most amount of capability in innovation to build on. They're a company based on innovation."</p> <p>The rumors of a switch to ARM began to swirl last week when KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested it was possible. However, it didn't faze Krzanich, who maintains that Intel needs to continue focusing on delivering parts that are better than its competitors.</p> <p>While it's probably true that Apple is sticking with Intel to power its Mac machines, mobile devices are a different story. ARM is a major player in the tablet and smartphone markets, and even though Intel had its best year ever in 2014, it's mobile division posted a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_reports_record_year_despite_massive_drop_mobile_revenue_2015" target="_blank">loss of $4.2 billion</a> for the year.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_chief_shrugs_rumors_suggesting_apple_may_turn_arm_2015#comments apple ARM brian krzanich Hardware intel News Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:39:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29275 at http://www.maximumpc.com Google Kills Glass Explorer Program, Hints at Better Things to Come http://www.maximumpc.com/google_kills_glass_explorer_program_hints_better_things_come_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/google_glass_3.jpg" alt="Google Glass" title="Google Glass" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" />Google Glass project has a new chief</h3> <p>There are a couple of big changes to the Google Glass project that are taking place, the first of which is that it's now being overseen Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive and founder of Nest, which Google purchased for $3.2 billion a year ago. Ivy Ross will still run the daily operations, she'll just now report to Fadell. And the second? You can kiss the Explorer program goodbye -- <strong>Google has decided to shutter its Glass Explorer program as it moves into the next phase.</strong></p> <p>"Explorers, we asked you to be pioneers, and you took what we started and went further than we ever could have dreamed: from the large hadron collider at CERN, to the hospital operating table; the grass of your backyard to the courts of Wimbledon; in fire stations, recording studios, kitchens, mountain tops and more," Google Glass stated on its <a href="https://plus.google.com/+GoogleGlass/posts/9uiwXY42tvc" target="_blank">Google+ page</a>.</p> <p>After a bit of reminiscing, Google got to the point.</p> <p>"As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we’ve outgrown the lab and so we’re officially 'graduating' from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We’re thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality," Google Glass continued. "As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next."</p> <p>The team said that today (January 19, 2015) is the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition, which we suppose can now be considered collector's items. As for what the future holds, Google didn't say specifically, adding that you'll see the future versions of Glass "when they're ready."</p> <p>We wouldn't be surprised if Google decided to show off a new prototype at its Google I/O conference later this year, though it will be interesting to see what the new vision entails.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/google_kills_glass_explorer_program_hints_better_things_come_2015#comments explorer glass Google Hardware wearables News Fri, 16 Jan 2015 17:11:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29266 at http://www.maximumpc.com