Hynix is still trying to recover from a fire at one of its fabs
The DRAM market pretty much bottomed out a few years ago and has never fully recovered, though we've seen prices slowly rise from time to time. In most cases we're only talking about a few dollars difference for a memory kit, which isn't so bad except that it adds up over time. That trend is likely to continue throughout 2014 as SK Hynix struggles to fully resume wafer production at a fab that suffered fire damage in China.
The big news in processors today is the official launch of AMD's Kaveri APUs with Radeon R7 graphics, but if you'd rather wait to see what Intel has up its sleeve, you'll have to get cozy for a few months. Word on the web is that Intel is preparing to refresh its Haswell processor line with nearly two dozen new CPUs sometime in the second quarter of 2014, likely starting in May.
Our CES coverage concludes with a look at Silverstone's enclosures
Officially, the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) concluded last Friday, but for us, the festivities don't come to an end until Silverstone pays us a visit with its latest cases in tow. That's our story, anyway -- another explanation why Silverstone had to come to us post CES is because, well, have you ever seen The Hangover? Replace the setting with CES and insert Gordon and Jimmy as two of the characters, and you begin to see why we'd prefer to keep those videos under lock and key.
NZXT's latest computer case, the H440, is a forward looking enclosure that encourages you to retire your optical media. That's because it doesn't come with any 5.25-inch drive bays, so if you want to save data to discs or install games and applications the old school way, you'll need an external optical drive to get the task done. NZXT made the sacrifice in order to facilitate a cleaner design.
The boys and girls at AMD officially launched the company's 2014 A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) with integrated Radeon R7 graphics. You know the parts by their codename "Kaveri," which AMD says is representative of a major architecture improvement. Kaveri sports completely redesigned cores, new Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features, new accelerators, and enhanced power management on a new 28nm manufacturing process.
First cases to feature four-way motherboard mounting options
Boutique builder Origin PC introduced a couple of new cases this week at CES, and in doing so, it flipped traditional case design on its head (quite literally). Origin PC's new Millennium (mid-tower) and Genesis (full-tower) cases are the first ever to allow for the motherboard to be mounted in four different orientations: Standard ATX, Inverted ATX, 90 degrees, or Inverted 90 degrees.
We all love fast hardware -- burly graphics cards, oodles of RAM, multi-core processors -- but one of the unsung heros is cooling. Crucial as it may be to a stable running machine, cooling isn't always glamorous or sexy. That being the case, it was refreshing to see a few vendors showing off new fan designs, including Zalman, which brought to CES a crop of cooling (and case) products.
One way AMD has been able to stay in the game, so to speak, is by focusing on graphics performance. It's been a point of emphasis ever since the chip designer acquired ATI, and especially since the introduction of APUs (Accelerated Processing Units). The emphasis on graphics and gaming in general was on display at CES, where AMD showed off a controller accessory for 10-inch tablets and a Nano PC running FIFA 14.
Fans, fans, and more fans (and a fanless power supply)
Things can get crazy at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but one company that kept its cool is Enermax. We mean that literally, folks. Gordon stopped by Enermax's booth at the show to see what the company brought to show off, and the answer is fans. Lots of fans, some of which lit up and reacted to sound. On the flip side, Enermax also brought with it a fanless power supply that's 80 Plus Platinum certified.
MSI is in a tight race with ASRock to become the third largest motherboard maker behind heavyweights Asus and Gigabyte. ASRock took a slight lead in 2013, but looking ahead, MSI is expected to leapfrog into the No. 3 spot with 8 million motherboard shipments. Either way, system builders will have plenty of MSI motherboards to sift through in 2014, several of which we had a chance to glimpse at CES.