News en Zotac Shows Us Its Custom Steam Machine <!--paging_filter--><h3>The new wave of Steam Machines</h3> <p>We had the chance to get a first look at Zotac's new Steam Machine today at GDC 2015. The company first announced that it was part of Valve's Steam Machine initiative, along with 14 other partners, back in 2013 during CES. Despite the announcement though, Valve wasn't ready with the Steam controller or Steam OS at the time.</p> <h3><img src="/files/u191083/zotac_sn970_1.jpg" alt="Zotac SN970 Steam Machine" title="Zotac SN970 Steam Machine" width="650" height="433" /></h3> <p>The new box from Zotac, dubbed SN970, is a compact PC akin to Alienware's Alpha, except a little bigger. The following are its specs:</p> <ul> <li>"6th" gen Intel CPU: Zotac writes this on its spec sheet, but we reckon it'll be an Intel "Skylake" CPU, manufactured at 14nm</li> <li>NVIDIA GeFoce GTX 970M MXM with 3GB GDDR5</li> <li>8GB DDR3</li> <li>64GB M.2 SSD</li> <li>1TB 2.5" HDD</li> <li>2 x Gig-E Ethernet</li> <li>4 x HDMI 2.0 ports, supporting 4K @ 60Hz</li> <li>1 x HDMI In</li> <li>4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0</li> <li>802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0</li> </ul> <p>According to Zotac, the SN970 will ship with Steam OS and a Steam controller from the get-go, although users are free to install Windows if they so choose. Zotac also mentioned that Valve "wanted" the new round of Steam Machines to all have HDMI input, because Steam Machine will offer the ability to control and manage your television feed as well as offer the ability to record shows.</p> <p>Zotac tells us that they will offer different Steam Machines that step down from the SN970, letting users integrate their own hardware options, but the SN970 will ship fully equipped for $999, although Zotac says the price may be lower.</p> <p><img src="/files/u191083/zotac_sn970_3.jpg" alt="Zotac SN970 Steam Machine" title="Zotac SN970 Steam Machine" width="650" height="183" /></p> <p>The chassis is unlike anything Zotac currently has on the market, and the motherboard is custom too, supporting two 2.5" SATA drives, and an M.2 slot that's fully customizable by removing the bottom cover. This tells us that the cost of the SN970 is largely due to the custom hardware design.</p> <p><img src="/files/u191083/zotac_sn970_5.jpg" alt="Zotac SN970 Steam Machines" title="Zotac SN970 Steam Machines" width="650" height="433" /></p> <p>Steam Machines have gone through several major bumps since their announcement back in 2013. With delays, pre-mature launches, as well as the continual dedication by Valve to make a perfect controller, they're turning out to be better than when initially launched. However, NVIDIA just announced its living room Shield console, which streams games from NVIDIA's Grid cloud delivery service. NVIDIA's CEO, Jen-Hsun, announced today, that "NVIDIA would do what Netflix did for movies, and Spotify did for music." Valve itself announced the Steam Link, which streams from any PC running Steam on the same network.</p> <p>It remains to be seen how the Steam Machine platform will pan out, but for now, it looks like Steam Machines have direct, and serious competition, from both NVIDIA and Valve themselves.</p> steam box steam machine Valve zotac News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:00:24 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29532 at Syber Announces Line of Steam Machines at GDC <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/syber_steam_machine_switch.jpg" alt="Syber Steam Machine Switch" title="Syber Steam Machine Switch" width="200" height="148" style="float: right;" />Company will offer six models</h3> <p>Ever since Valve announced last year that it was <a title="Valve delays Steam Machine launch" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">delaying the launch</span></a> of its Steam Machines, in order to perfect the Steam Controller, we have been wondering when that would be. Last week, the company then announced that it would showcase new living room devices, a SteamVR hardware system, and a finalized version of the Steam Controller. Now we are starting to see the new hardware as <strong>Syber has announced its line of Steam Machines at GDC</strong>.</p> <p>Syber, which is a division of CyberPowerPC, revealed that it will be offering six Steam Machines, powered by SteamOS, with In-Home Streaming capability that will be available for purchase later this fall. Some of the Steam Machines will be shown at GDC and the company has provided some hardware specifications in addition to the price.</p> <p>“We created the Syber Steam Machines to give gamers more power and more customization than the standard video game consoles like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox,” said CyberPowerPC VP of Product Eddie Vong.</p> <p>At the cheaper end of the line, the company is offering the Syber Steam Machine-E which will be powered by a quad-core AMD processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics with a retail price of $449. For $549, there is the Syber Steam Machine-P that comes with an Intel G3258 3.2GHz processor and AMD Radeon R9 270X card. Those looking to spend more money can shell out $999, which will get them the Syber Steam Machine-K that has an Intel Core i5-4690K and Nvidia GeForce GTX 970.&nbsp;</p> <p>Aside from the six models, the company went on to say that its Steam Machines are capable of being fully customized with the latest hardware from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel in addition to a new color being available called Syber fire-orange. However, such Steam Machines will have a starting price point of $1,399.</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> cyberpowerpc steam machines syber Syber Steam Machines Valve Gaming News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:32:00 +0000 Sean D Knight 29531 at AMD Announces LiquidVR SDK (GDC 2015) <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/dsc03051.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />We interview AMD Graphics CTO&nbsp;Raja Koudari about the company's VR initiative</h3> <p>Providing presence inside a virtual reality headset, or trying to make you feel like you are somewhere you aren’t, is a difficult challenge to solve. AMD is trying to help VR headset maker like Oculus VR and other head-mounted display (HMD) manufacturers better solve that issue with its newly announced LiquidVR SDK.&nbsp;</p> <p>A big VR obstacle in the way of achieving presence pertains to latency. Minimizing motion-to-photon latency, i.e., having the image properly update as you move your head around, is critical to achieving presence. It also helps you not to throw up. Another challenge is that VR can be extremely taxing on hardware. Because VR has to render two separate images for both eyes, this essentially cuts your framerate in half as your system has to render the scene twice. In addition, VR experiences demand a high resolution to avoid screen door effects and a high framerate/refresh rate for user comfort. All of this amounts to a ton of challenges. And with LiquidVR, AMD is aiming to help developers solve latency, comfort, and compatibility issues.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Check out our interview with AMD CTO of Graphics&nbsp;Raja Koudari above.</strong></p> <p>AMD is pushing four pillars to topple these challenges. The first of which is what the company refers to as “latest data latch.” Essentially what this does is it uses the GPU to provide the HMD the latest possible image data when rendering to the display. When old data is sent to the headset, users get the feeling of judder when the image is outdated.</p> <p>AMD is calling its next pillar “Async shaders for VR.” This allows for asynchronous time warp and essentially predicts the next pixels to be rendered based on head movement/trajectory. AMD says this will also help minimize latency, stuttering, and judder.</p> <p>The third pillar pertains to CrossFire. With dual GPU setups (this includes Nvidia cards at the time of this writing), users should expect optimizations for throughput (that is raw power), but dual GPU setups are not currently optimized for latency, which is vital for good VR experiences. As a matter of fact, according to Oculus VR, dual GPU setups currently hurt VR experiences in this regard at the moment. With LiquidVR, not only will AMD cards be optimized for VR, but in a dual-card setup, each GPU can be used to render the feed for each eye.&nbsp;</p> <p>AMD is calling its fourth pillar, “Direct to Display” rendering. This is a rendering technique that enables direct front buffer rendering to the headset, without having to go through Windows first. It will also be platform agnostic and will be able to work with a variety of HMDs, not just the Oculus Rift.</p> <p>AMD acknowledges VR has a tough road ahead, but thinks VR is the next frontier of computing and wants to accelerate the process. The company outlined several uses for VR headsets which include: education, medical, big data visualization, training/simulation, entertainment, gaming, virtual-social world, and remote presence.</p> <p>The company is currently in talks with several HMD manufacturers at the moment, and time will tell if AMD’s tools will help and be adopted or will just be another cog in this ever fragmenting world of VR.</p> <p>What do you think of AMD’s VR initiative? Let us know in the comments below.</p> amd GDC 2015 liquidvr nvidia oculus rift virtual reality News Features Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:25:59 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29530 at Valve Announces Steam Link, Source 2, and More at GDC <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/steam_link.jpg" alt="Steam Link" title="Steam Link" width="200" height="112" style="float: right;" />Source 2 will be free for content developers</h3> <p>The Game Developers Conference is in full swing and we are starting to get a glimpse of what is being shown there. One of the more interesting parts of GDC revolves around Valve and what it is showing. <a title="Valve to show new living room devices" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Last week</span></a>, the company said that it would be presenting some new living room devices in addition to its Steam Machines and finalized Steam Controller. Now, the wait is over as <strong>Valve has announced the Steam Link, Source 2, and two new technologies for its VR headset</strong>.</p> <p>The Steam Link&nbsp;is a new product from Valve that has been designed to extend a user’s Steam experience to any room in the house by streaming Steam content from any PC on the same home network. Steam Machines, Linux PCs, Windows PCs, and Macs will be able to take advantage of Steam Link which will support 1080p at 60Hz with low latency. According to the company, the Steam Link will retail for $49.99 in the US and is also available with the Steam Controller for an additional $49.99.</p> <p>Valve also revealed two new technologies designed for its recently announced VR headset. There is Lighthouse, a room scale tracking system and then there is a VR input system. "In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high resolution, high speed tracking," said Valve's Alan Yates. "Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices."&nbsp;</p> <p>Lighthouse will be free for any hardware manufacturers that might interested in the tech while developer versions of the VR headset will be available this spring and a consumer version available by the end of the year.</p> <p>But Valve wasn’t done. It also announced the Source 2 engine, the successor to its Source engine which has been used for games such as Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source (check out our list of <a title="10 best Source Games" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">The 10 Best Source Engine Games</span></a>). The company says that its latest graphics engine has been designed for both professional developers and gamers who might be interested in creating and developing their own games. This means that Valve will make Source 2 available for free to content developers.</p> <p>VR demos are currently being shown at GDC along with Steam Machines from partners such as Alienware and Falcon Northwest that are scheduled to be released sometime in November. One such Steam Machine demo will involve a demonstration from Epic showing the recently announced Unreal Tournament running on a 4K monitor via a Falcon Northwest Steam Machine.</p> <p>Which one of these announcements has grabbed your curiosity? Or do you think Valve has bitten off more than it can chew? Let us know in the comments section below!&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> lighthouse Source 2 source engine Steam Link steamvr Valve vr headset Gaming News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:47:17 +0000 Sean D Knight 29529 at EVGA Announces GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC with 4GB of Onboard Memory <!--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="" target="_blank">product page</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 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 AMD to Developers: Focus Your Efforts on DirectX 12, Not Mantle <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mantle_rip.jpg" alt="Mantle R.I.P." title="Mantle R.I.P." width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />Goodbye Mantle, we hardly knew ye</h3> <p>In a blog post on Monday, AMD's Raja Koduri waxed nostalgic on Mantle and how it "revolutionized the industry's thinking on low-overhead/high-throughput graphics," among other things. But at the end of what reads like a reluctant death sentence, <strong>AMD told developers that if they're interested in Mantle 1.0's functionality, they should focus their attention on DirectX 12 or GLnext</strong>.</p> <p>AMD never outright declares that Mantle is dead, and it even vowed to support its partners that have committed to Mantle in future projects, such as Battlefield Hardline. Likewise, <a href="" target="_blank">AMD talked</a> about a need for Mantle to take on new capabilities, to "evolve beyond mastery of the draw call," and that it will continue to serve the company as a graphics innovation platform available to select partners with custom needs.</p> <p>So technically, Mantle isn't dead, it's just largely been rendered expendable with DirectX 12 in the wings. Rather than fight it, AMD is encouraging developers to move one, save for those with very specific needs. Or at least that's how we're reading the blog post.</p> <p>Koduri also said that AMD no longer plans to release Mantle as a public SDK. Instead, the company is making available Mantle's 450-page programming guide and API reference, which developers will be able to download sometime later this month.</p> <p>It's a very odd announcement, as Koduri tells developers interested in Mantle to focus on DX12 instead, and then ends things by saying, "Join AMD this week at Game Developer Conference 2015 to see not just the future of Mantle, but the future of PC graphics as well."</p> <p>We'll have more details later this week as they emerge.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd api directx 12 GLnext mantle Software News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:45:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29526 at Mushkin Striker Solid State Drives are Now Available <!--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="">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="" target="_blank">$105 + $1 shipping</a></li> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 480GB: <a href="" target="_blank">$190 + $1 shipping</a></li> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 960GB: <a href="" 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="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware mushkin solid state drive ssd storage Striker News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:11:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29525 at Epic Ditches Subscription Fee for Unreal Engine <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ue4.jpg" alt="Unreal Engine 4" title="Unreal Engine 4" width="228" height="146" style="float: right;" />Five percent royalty rate still applies to commercial projects</h3> <p>At last year's Game Developers Conference (GDC), Epic Games <a href="">made the decision</a> to license its next generation Unreal Engine 4 to anyone and everyone for $19 per month, giving subscribers unfettered access to its complete C++ source code hosted in GitHub. If you sold and/or made money from your creation, you'd end up paying Epic a 5 percent royalty on top of the subscription fee. Nearly a year later, the 5 percent royalty remains in play, but <strong>Epic has now removed the $19 per month subscription for Unreal Engine 4</strong>.</p> <p>Future updates will be free as well, though we want to be careful not to haphazardly throw around the F-word. As it stands now, the 5 percent royalty applies to gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. So if you code an awesome game, sell it online, and gross $1 million next quarter, you'd owe Epic $49,850 by our fuzzy math (5 percent of $997,000), leaving you with $950,150.</p> <p>This is same Unreal Engine 4 the big boys and girls use when developing blockbuster titles; it's not gimped for casual or curious programmers or hobbyists. And beyond the tools, you have access to an entire ecosystem.</p> <p>"Chat in the forums, add to the wiki, participate in the AnswerHub Q&amp;A, and join collaborative development projects via GitHub. Buy content in the Marketplace, or build your own and sell it there," Epic stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>For current subscribers to the defunct paid plan, Epic will be issuing a pro-rated refund for their most recent month's payment. On top of that, anyone who has ever paid for a UE4 subscription will receive a $30 credit line that can be spent in the UE Marketplace.</p> <p>We'll have to wait and see if this has any effect on Crytek, which <a href="" target="_blank">licenses its CryEngine</a> for $9.90 per month with no royalty commitments. The difference there is Crytek doesn't include the full source code -- there's a separate license model for that.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Epic games Software tim sweeney Unreal Engine unreal engine 4 News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:55:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 29516 at Lenovo Announces 8-Inch IdeaPad Miix 300 Windows Tablet <!--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="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware IdeaPad Miix 300 lenovo slate tablet windows 8.1 News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:36:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 29515 at Benq Starts Shipping 27-Inch RL2755HM Monitor for $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="" 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="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> BenQ display Hardware monitor RL2755HM News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:09:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29514 at Intel Details Newly Branded Atom x3, x5, and x7 CPUs at Mobile World Congress <!--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="">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="" 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="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Atom x3 Atom x5 Atom x7 cpu Hardware intel processor soc News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:43:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29513 at SanDisk Crams 200GB of Storage into Latest microSD Card <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sandisk_200gb_microsdxc_0.jpg" alt="SanDisk 200GB microSDXC" title="SanDisk 200GB microSDXC" width="228" height="165" style="float: right;" />Big storage in a little card</h3> <p>There are several new phones and tablets being introduced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but on the storage side of things, <strong>SanDisk on Sunday introduced its 200GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card, Premium Edition</strong>. That's not just a massive amount of storage for a device that's about the size of your fingernail, it's the highest capacity microSD card in the world, according to SanDisk.</p> <p>The 200GB card offers 56 percent more storage space than the record-breaking 128GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card the company <a href="">introduced a year ago</a>. Both were made possible by leveraging a proprietary technology the company designed last year that allows for a new design and production process with more bits per die.</p> <p>"We continue to push technology boundaries to deliver record-breaking solutions that transform the way consumers use their mobile devices," <a href="" target="_blank">said Dinesh Bahal</a>, vice president, product marketing, SanDisk. "By focusing on achieving new capacity and speed milestones, we are able to deliver trusted mobile memory solutions that give consumers the freedom to never stop capturing, saving, or sharing – with the benefit of fast speeds to transfer it all quickly."</p> <p>SanDisk says the card supports data transfers at up to 90MB per second, enough to push 1,200 photos every second. That combination of speed and capacity is certainly enticing. And expensive -- it will carry an MSRP of $400 when it becomes available in the second quarter.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 200GB microsd Sandisk storage News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:33:33 +0000 Paul Lilly 29512 at Early Cherry Trail Benchmarks Disappoint <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Intel Cherry Trail Atom Chips will Power Windows and Android Tablets" title="Cherry Trail Atom" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Cherry Trail shows only marginal improvement over predecessor in leaked benchmarks</h3> <p>Intel began shipping its new Cherry Trail Atom chips to its partners in the first week of January and now we have got our first benchmark scores. If you were expecting the <strong>5th generation Atom chips</strong> to be a huge improvement over current-generation tablet SoCs (systems on chip), you are in for a bit of a shock.</p> <p>The leaked Geekbench scores are of an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail processor. The 1.60GHz quad-core chip managed <a href="" target="_blank">single-core and multi-core scores of 990 and 3451, respectively</a>. To put things into perspective, the multi-core score amounts to a <a href="" target="_blank">marginal improvement over the current-gen Atom Z3795’s score of 3193</a>. Believe it or not, the single-core performance is actually worse, with the Bay Trail part coming out on top with a score of 995.</p> <p>With Cherry Trail being the “tick” to Bay Trail’s “tock” — or, for those of you don't speak Intel, the 14nm die shrink of Bay Trail — a huge leap in CPU performance was never on the cards to begin with, but an improvement of around eight percent is unimpressive no matter how you look at it.</p> <p>Hopefully, the other chips will fare a lot better. And let’s hope there are substantial improvements when it comes to power consumption and graphics.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> bay trail benchmarks cherry trail geekbench intel soc tablets News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:06:57 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29510 at Samsung Ultra-Thin and Light ATIV Book 9 Laptop Wafts Onto Store Shelves <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Samsung's 2015 ATIV Book 9" title="2015 ATIV Book 9" width="228" height="194" style="float: right;" />The lightest Book 9 ever</h3> <p>The new Samsung ATIV Book 9 laptop we told you about late last year is now available. The aluminum-clad device, which <strong>measures all of 11.19" x 8.37" x 0.46" and weighs 2.09 pounds</strong>, is the thinnest and lightest device yet in the company’s four-year-old Book 9 range.</p> <p>Let’s talk specs and pricing, shall we? Powered by a dual-core Intel Core M 5Y31 processor (900MHz-2.00GHz) and sporting a 12.2-inch WQXGA (2560x1600) display, the 2015 ATIV Book 9 is available in two flavors: one with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and another with twice as much memory and storage. The former sports a <a href="" target="_blank">$1,199.99</a> price tag, whereas the 256GB is dearer at <a href="" target="_blank">$1,399.99</a>.</p> <p>As of press time, only two online retailers appear to have the two models in stock. You can find an updated list <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> ativ book 9 broadwell core m samsung ultrabook News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:33:39 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29509 at HTC Enters VR Fray with SteamVR-powered Vive Headset <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="HTC's SteamVR-powered Vive VR Headset " title="HTC's Vive VR Headset" width="228" height="119" style="float: right;" />Finished product to debut by year-end</h3> <p>Valve just made good on its promise of unveiling a SteamVR hardware system at the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Meet Vive, a virtual reality headset powered by Valve’s SteamVR platform and manufactured by Taiwanese company HTC.</p> <p>Born out of what HTC says is a “strategic partnership with Valve”, the Vive in its current form has two 1200-by-1080-pixel displays—one for each eye—and a 90Hz refresh rate. In a <a href="" target="_blank">press release</a> it sent out Sunday, the company promised “a full room scale 360 degree solution” when the Vive is combined with a pair of ergonomic wireless controllers — one for each hand — designed specially for it. Each Vive will come standard with a pair of these. The official product page also mentions something called the Steam VR base station, which can track your position in a 15 feet by 15 feet area.</p> <p>“A gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor combine to precisely track the rotation of your head on both axes to an accuracy of 1/10th of a degree, allowing you to look around the virtual environment naturally,” reads <a href="" target="_blank">Vive's official product page</a>.</p> <p>The Developer Edition will be available this spring,&nbsp; while consumers will have to wait until the end of 2015 for the final product. According to the company, the beta versions of the Developer edition have already led to some stellar content from top game developers and as a result gamers can look forward to seeing a large number of Vive-compatible games on Steam.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> GDC 2015 hmd htc mwc 2015 Steam steamvr Valve virtual reality vive vr headset News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:20:01 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29507 at