News en Notebooks Makes Ready 2-in-1 Chromebook Models for Release in Q2 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebook_2-in-1.jpg" alt="Asus Chromebook 2-in-1" title="Asus Chromebook 2-in-1" width="228" height="122" style="float: right;" />Chrome OS versus Windows, round 2: FIGHT!</h3> <p>After getting off to a slow start, Chromebooks finally began to grow in popularity as lower cost alternatives to Windows-based machines. And for a long while, Chromebooks represented the top selling laptops on Amazon.&nbsp; Now that Windows laptops can be bought for $250 or less, Chromebooks aren't as enticing, but what about 2-in-1 systems? We're about to find out as <strong>laptop makers ready 2-in-1 Chromebook models for a second quarter release</strong>.</p> <p>Citing sources from within the upstream supply chain, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em> says</a> Intel is planning to partner with Google and notebook players like Asus, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Quanta Computer, and Pegatron Technology to launch convertible Chromebooks next quarter. Initially these will be 11-inch to 13-inch devices.</p> <p>Like traditional Chromebooks, these 2-in-1 devices will compete on price. They'll also target students in the U.S., as that seems to be the niche that's most responsive to Chrome OS. After that, laptop makers will push 2-in-1 Chromebooks into emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.</p> <p>There's no word on specific pricing at this point, though it's expected these devices will undercut Windows 2-in-1 systems by about 10 percent.</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> 2-in-1 chromebook Hardware intel laptop notebook News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:58:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 29647 at Leap Motion's Hand Tracking Technology is Headed to Razer's OSVR Headset <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_osvr.jpg" alt="Razer OSVR" title="Razer OSVR" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Handy dandy VR</h3> <p>We <a href="">spoke with Razer</a> about its Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem at the Consumer Electronics Show a couple of months ago and were excited about the possibilities. Even more intriguing is the announcement that <strong>Leap Motion has partnered up with Razer to integrate its motion-tracking capabilities right into Razer's OSVR headset</strong> when it ships to consumers later this year.</p> <p>The OSVR Hacker Dev Kit will have an optional faceplate with Leap Motion's hardware and software embedded. This will make it the first VR headset with natural motion control technology integrated right into the head mounted display, which will open up a whole new world to developers.</p> <p>"By letting the user connect directly with the VR environment, hand tracking allows virtual reality to be as natural and intuitive as interacting with the real world, giving the user a powerful sense of presence and immersion," <a href="" target="_blank">said Michael Buckwald</a>, CEO and co-founder of Leap Motion. "We're pleased to partner with OSVR to bring our technology to the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, helping developers enable the true potential of VR."</p> <p>What this will do for developers is allow them to write code for a single platform that works across multiple hardware devices, Leap Motion says. And for consumers, that means a consistently smooth experience, as the integrated OSVR motion plugin supports multiple motion device types.</p> <p>Motion tracking is really the next step VR. It's something other companies are working on as well, including MindMaze with its <a href="">neuro-goggle headset</a> and of course Microsoft and its <a href="">HoloLens platform</a>.</p> <p>According to Leap Motion, this collaboration with Razer is "the first in a future lineup of head mounted displays thta will feature Leap Motion's technology built-in," suggesting that other headsets will see the same kind of integration, perhaps even Oculus Rift.</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 headset leap motion osvr razer virtual reality Wearable News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:28:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 29646 at MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition is First AMD Motherboard with USB 3.1 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_970a_sli_krait_edition.jpg" alt="MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition" title="MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Introducing USB 3.1 to AMD</h3> <p><strong>MSI is laying claim to the world's first AMD motherboard with USB 3.1 support</strong>. The board in question is MSI's new <strong>970A SLI Krait Edition</strong>, which sports a black and white tuxedo theme that would probably look pretty nifty inside a white theme enclosure. But behind the looks is a USB 3.1 interface that allows for transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, double that of USB 3.0, and 20 times faster than USB 2.0.</p> <p>Earlier this year MSI rolled out the <a href="" target="_blank">Z97S SLI Krait Edition</a> based on Intel's Z97 chipset. It too brought a black and white color theme but no USB 3.1 support. Now AMD is getting the fancy pants treatment.</p> <p>The 970A SLI Krait Edition is a socket AM3+ board with support for AMD FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron CPUs. It has four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3-2133 (OC) memory, two PCI x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two standard PCI slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, a single GbE LAN port, and an assortment of USB 3.1, 3.0, and 2.0 ports.</p> <p>MSI touts high quality components and build quality such as solid capacitors, "Dark Choke" with a special core design that allows it to run a a lower temp with a higher capacity, isolated audio PCB, and so forth.</p> <p>No word yet on when the <a href="" target="_blank">MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition</a> will be available or for how much. As a point of reference, the aforementioned Intel version runs about $110 street.</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> 970 A SLI Krait Edition amd Build a PC Hardware motherboard msi usb 3.1 News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:46:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29645 at Amazon Takes Storage Wars to the Cloud, Now Offers Unlimited Plans <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amazon_cloud_0.jpg" alt="Amazon Cloud" title="Amazon Cloud" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Never run out of cloud storage again</h3> <p>The future of cloud storage is likely to come down to price and supplementary features rather than allotted storage space. Looking to push the issue, <strong>Amazon today announced a pair of unlimited storage options with Amazon Cloud Drive </strong>that are available to anyone and everyone, not just Amazon Prime members. Amazon isn't the only cloud provider that offers unlimited space, but it might be the first to pitch it to home consumers on a standalone basis.</p> <p>Microsoft also offers unlimited online storage through OneDrive, though you have to subscribe to Office 365. So does Dropbox, though it's aimed at Business users and is significantly more expensive at $15/month than Amazon's. And then there's Google, which offers unlimited storage through its Google Apps Unlimited and Google Apps for Education services.</p> <p>As for Amazon, it's new Unlimited Photos Plan is free for three months and then runs $11.99 per year, so about a buck a month. You can store as many photos as you like in Amazon's Cloud Drive, plus 5GB of additional storage for videos and other documents and files.</p> <p>The second option is Amazon's Unlimited Everything Plan. It too is free for the first three months, and then $59.99 per year ($5 per month). You can store whatever you want with this plan -- photos, videos, files, documents, movies, music, etc.</p> <p>"Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up," said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive. "With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place."</p> <p>If you're interested in trying out either plan, <a href=";*Version*=1&amp;*entries*=0" target="_blank">go here</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> amazon cloud Cloud Drive storage News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:06:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29644 at A Week with Logitech's MX Master <!--paging_filter--><h3>This mouse is as subtly handsome as it is precise</h3> <p>Last week, Logitech stopped by the Maximum PC office to show off its new mouse, the MX Master. The device looked pretty compelling, as did the short promo video, but we looked forward to using the mouse to see how it really fared.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_mouse-and-receiver-620.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master" title="Logitech MX Master" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Logtech MX Master and unifying reciever.</strong></p> <p>First off, this mouse isn’t built for gaming. The lack of glowing LEDs that you could signal an aircraft with—and the fact it’s wireless—separates it from conventional gaming gear. Instead, the mouse sports a smooth black surface that is actually really nice to rest your palm on. The black matte surface is accented by a very subtle brown-ish bronze bit of plastic that runs from left to right around the back and covers the bottom.&nbsp;</p> <p>While this mouse could be used in games that don’t require ultra-fast response times, it’s primarily made for design and engineering professionals. It feels very precise and smooth, and we imagine that working in AutoCAD would be a pleasure. While tooling around on the web and doing some basic cropping in Photoshop, we never felt that we were fighting with the mouse to get the cursor to be exactly where we wanted it to be.</p> <p>What we really love about this thing is the wheel. The MX Master’s wheel is a standard line-by-line click wheel and again, feels very precise. But give the wheel a good flick of the middle finger, and it free-spins until it slows down enough that the “clutch” catches the wheel and returns it to “line-by-line” mode.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_mouse-top.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master (top)" title="Logitech MX Master (top)" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The top of the MX Master is simple and effective. Clicks feel precise and deliberate.</strong></p> <p>To give you a good idea of just how free it spins, we loaded up Twitter and gave the wheel a good spin down the page. Twitter was able to lazy-load tweets at the bottom of the browser fully six times before the wheel stopped. It’s actually really fun to use.</p> <p>Logitech calls this “Smart Shift,” and it does feel pretty intelligent. The threshold at which the wheel free-spins can be set in the Logitech software. You can also switch the mouse between “fixed” mode or “Smart Shift” with a middle button just behind the wheel.</p> <p>The other thing that we think makes this a great working mouse is the ability to pair it to three different computers. The mouse pairs with Logitech’s standard unifying receiver, but also pairs with Bluetooth-enabled computers.</p> <p>There’s a little button on the bottom that allows you to switch channels, each corresponding to a different pairing. We used the first channel to connect to our workstation and the second to connect to our Linux laptop via Bluetooth. For sysadmins or creative professionals who have more than one machine at their desk, this is great. It also means that you can use it at work, and take it home without fearing that you’ll lose the unifying receiver.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_mouse-bottom.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master (bottom)" title="Logitech MX Master (bottom)" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The bottom of the mouse is what you'd expect, except for the channel selector near the rear.</strong></p> <p>The MX Master’s thumb button is also quite subtle: it’s part of the molded matte black surface, directly below the thumb. The thumb click is silent, and brings up the Windows’ window switcher (like Alt+Tab) by default. For Macbook users, the thumb button is supposed to simulate a three-finger swipe gesture on the track pad.</p> <p>There is also a scroll wheel and two side buttons for your thumb to get more of a workout, though the two buttons default to browser forward and back functions.</p> <p>Of course, all of the buttons can be customized in Logitech’s software, but the default assignments feel pretty well thought out.</p> <p>The mouse charges via a microUSB port at its nose, where you’d expect a cable to be if the mouse were wired. You can use the mouse while charging, but it’s still wireless; the USB cable isn’t sending any data. Three inconspicuous green LEDs show charge progress.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_charging.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master charging" title="Logitech MX Master charging" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Three small LEDs let you know the mouse is charging. Nothing flashy here.</strong></p> <p>We haven’t played any games with the MX Master just yet, but so far we're impressed with build quality and attention to details that people who work on computers all day can really appreciate. The laser is supposed to work on glass too, but we are working with a wood laminate desk, so we'll just have to take Logitech’s word on that for now.&nbsp;</p> <p>Again, this mouse is geared for professionals, and is priced at $100. If you can get your company to pay for it or write it off on your taxes, this mouse is worth a look.</p> logitech Logitech MX Master mice News Features Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:05:07 +0000 Alex Campbell 29638 at U.S. Sees 10Mbps Jump in Average Broadband Speed <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/broadband.jpg" alt="Broadband" title="Broadband" width="228" height="164" style="float: right;" />Put the pedal to the metal</h3> <p>Cover your eyes if you live way out in the boondocks or anywhere else where broadband Internet access is about as mythical as a unicorn, this might sting a little. It turns out the U.S. is seeing faster download speeds. According to data pulled from Ookla's Speedtest, the average download speed for broadband (not including mobile) in the U.S. is 33.9Mbps. That's up a full 10Mbps from April of 2014.</p> <p>As <em>Cord Cutters News</em> points out, the recent surge in broadband is doing wonders for where the U.S. ranks in the world. It's no secret the U.S. trails several other territories, but the 10Mbps boost in the past year pushed the U.S. ahead of several others, including the U.K. (30.18Mbps), Germany (29.95Mbps), Spain (28.28Mbps), Russia (27.7Mbps), and Ireland (27.29Mbps).</p> <p>That said, the U.S. ranks 27 out of 199 countries and still trails some others by a wide margin, particularly Japan at 60.49Mbps and South Korea at 84.31Mbps. And that's after factoring in Google's Fiber rollout to several different locations.</p> <p>As for speeds stateside, Washington leads the way with an average broadband connection of 45.6Mbps, followed by Missouri (41.21Mbps), New York (40.86Mbps, California (40.8Mbps), and Utah (40.47Mbps.)</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Sean MacEntree)</a></p> broadband Internet Speedtest News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:05:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 29643 at EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid Gets Wet and Wild with Maxwell <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_geforce_gtx_980_hybrid.jpg" alt="EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid" title="EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid" width="228" height="219" style="float: right;" />When air cooling isn't enough</h3> <p>Have you ever tried liquid cooling a graphics card? It's not the most difficult thing in the world, though between the water cooling loop and delicately removing the card's stock cooling solution, it can be a little intimidating. And then there's <strong>EVGA's new GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid with an all-in-one water cooling already installed</strong>. All you need to do is plug the card into your mobo, feed it power, and mount the single 120mm fan radiator.</p> <p>There's no filling required, no custom tubing to mess with, and no maintenance. Your reward for giving the Maxwell-based GPU a bath is significantly lower temperatures compared to Nvidia's reference air cooler. According to EVGA's benchmark chart, a card running at 70C degrees using a reference cooler would be under 45C with the Hybrid.</p> <p>The card itself comes factory overclocked. Instead of a base clockspeed of 1,126MHz and boost clock of 1,216MHz, the Hybrid runs at 1,291MHz and 1,393MHz, respectively. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory stays at stock speeds -- 7,010MHz on a 256-bit bus, resulting in memory bandwidth of 224.3GB/s.</p> <p>Of course, cooler temps invite overclocking, and EVGA has a couple of software tools to help with that. One is EVGA Precision X, which allows you to adjust the GPU and memory frequencies, moitor temps, and more. You can also use EVGA's OC Scanner X to stress test and benchmark your overclocked card.</p> <p>The GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid is <a href="" target="_blank">available now</a> direct from EVGA for $650. If you already own the card, you can purchase the Hybrid water cooler by itself for $100, which is also <a href="" target="_blank">available now</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></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 evga Gaming GeForceGTX 980 Hybrid graphics card Hardware liquid cooling maxwell Video Card News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:03:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29641 at Microsoft Decides Against Sharing Rendering Engines Between Project Spartan and IE11 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/project_spartan.jpg" alt="Project Spartan" title="Project Spartan" width="228" height="193" style="float: right;" />Lines have been drawn</h3> <p><strong>Some changes are coming to the way Microsoft's Project Spartan and Internet Explorer browsers will handle the web</strong> once Windows 10 ships. As originally conceived, both browsers would use the new rendering engine built for Project Spartan, and both would be capable of switching back to the legacy Trident engine to load certain sites that use dated technologies, and also to ensure compatibility among specific enterprise sites. Not anymore.</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> this week, Microsoft said it decided against its original browser strategy after taking into considering "strong feedback" from its Windows Insiders and customers. So instead of sharing engines on Windows 10, Project Spartan will exclusively use the new engine, while IE11 will stay unchanged from Windows 8.1, using just the legacy Trident engine.</p> <p>"We feel this change simplifies the role of each browser. Project Spartan is our future: it is the default browser for all Windows 10 customers and will provide unique user experiences including the ability to annotate on web pages, a distraction-free reading experience, and integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster," Microsoft said. "Web developers can expect Project Spartan’s new engine to be interoperable with the modern Web and remain 'evergreen' with no document modes or compatibility views introduced going forward."</p> <p>This should make things easier on users in deciding on what kind of experience they want -- Project Spartan will have all the bells and whistles for a modern web (Cortana integration, annotations, reader modes, etc), while IE11 will support legacy sites and technologies. And by clearly separating the two browsers, Microsoft can focus on its vision for Project Spartan as the web evolves without juggling multiple engines.</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> browser ie11 internet explorer 11 microsoft project spartan Software windows 10 News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:36:31 +0000 Paul Lilly 29640 at Logitech Arms MX Master Wireless Mouse with a Darkfield Laser <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/logitech_mx_master_wireless.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master Wireless" title="Logitech MX Master Wireless" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />This rodent isn't fazed by glass or glossy surfaces</h3> <p>The hype is high for <strong>Logitech's new MX Master Wireless mouse</strong>. Featuring a hand-sculpted design and a "Darkfield" laser, Logitech is billing the MX Master as "the new paradigm for precise, fast, comfortable computer navigation." Apparently the peripheral is particularly adept at working across multiple screens, devices, and operating systems, and of course it brings ergonomic traits to the table as well.</p> <p>Let's first talk a little about the Darkfield laser. As Logitech explains it, optical and traditional laser sensors rely on irregularities in the surface to track the direction and speed of mouse movement. So does Darkfield, but it uses the "smallest possible detail to create a micro-road map of the surface," resulting in better precision on a wider number of services, including glass and glossy finishes.</p> <p>It also has a speed-adaptive scroll wheel that lets you auto-shift from click-to-click to hyper-fast scrolling, along with a unique thumbwheel that's oriented horizontally for side-to-side scrolling and page switching.</p> <p>The MX Master Wireless rodent connects to an included Logitech Unifying receiver or via Bluetooth. If you use multiple devices, you can pair the mouse with up to three of them and switch between your systems with the touch of a button on the bottom. Pretty nifty.</p> <p>You can adjust the sensor from 400 dpi to 1,600 dpi in increments of 200. That doesn't sound like much, though the mouse has racked up some positive first impressions and reviews around the web. We'll let you know our own opinion once we get a chance to test one out.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">MX Master Wireless</a> mouse will be available next month for $100 MSRP.</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> Darkfield Hardware logitech mouse MX Master Peripherals News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:09:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 29639 at OCZ Vector 180 Solid State Drive Marches Out on a Barefoot 3 Controller <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ocz_vector_180_ssd.jpg" alt="OCZ Vector 180 SSD" title="OCZ Vector 180 SSD" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />Did somebody say "flagship?"</h3> <p>Don't look know, but <strong>Toshiba's OCZ Storage Solutions division just rolled out a new flagship SATA 6Gbps solid state drive, the Vector 180</strong>. It's an "enthusaist-class" SSD that's supposed to deliver rock-solid stability and performance to high-end consumer systems. Armed with an OCZ Barefoot 3 controller and in-house Toshiba A19nm MLC NAND flash memory, the Vector 180 series is rated to read and write files sequentially at up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively.</p> <p>It also offers up to 100,000 IOPS of 4KB random read and up to 95,000 IOPS of 4K random write performance. These aren't the fastest ratings we've seen in SATA 6Gbps territory, but they're right up there. Just as importantly, OCZ says its SSD Guru storage management software tool helps users to do routine monitoring and maintenance, thereby unlocking the drive's full potential.</p> <p>"With the new Vector 180 Series, OCZ is once again raising the bar for high performance client solid state drives," said Ralph Schmitt, CEO of OCZ Storage Solutions. "Vector 180 leverages our award-winning proprietary controller technology and features normally found in our enterprise-class drives, like Power Failure Management Plus, to deliver high-density SSDs with exceptional performance, endurance, and reliability for gamers, enthusiasts and workstation users."</p> <p>The drive is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. Each is backed by OCZ's 5-year "ShieldPlus" warranty, and should something go wrong, OCZ will replace the drive with little-to-no hassle -- just provide your serial number and you'll receive a brand new (not refurbished) advanced product replacement along with a pre-paid return shipping label for your faulty drive. You don't even need your purchase receipt. Pretty snazzy.</p> <p>As for price:</p> <ul> <li>OCZ Vector 180 120GB: $90</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 240GB: $150</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 480GB: $275</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 960GB: $500</li> </ul> <p>The higher the capacity, the better than the price-per-gigabyte.</p> <p>You can find the product page <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> and the SSD Guru download page <a href="" target="_blank">here</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> barefoot 3 Build a PC Hardware ocz solid state drive ssd SSD Guru storage toshiba Vector 180 News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:30:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29634 at EVGA's Supernova 650 GS and 550 GS PSUs are the Strong Silent Types <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_650_gs.jpg" alt="EVGA Supernova 650 GS" title="EVGA Supernova 650 GS" width="228" height="203" style="float: right;" />Power supplies a librarian can love</h3> <p>Building a quiet PC isn't as easy as it sounds. The process of putting the pieces together is mostly the same, unless you're custom installing noise dampening material and rubber grommets, but finding the right components can be challenging. This is especially true of the power supply -- if you don't want to trust your system to a fanless PSU, EVGA may have a serviceable solution.</p> <p><strong>EVGA today announced its Supernova 650 GS and 550 GS PSUs</strong>, both of which are supposedly "completely silent when under low loads." They're also actively cooled, though the 120mm Teflon nano-steel bearing fan "does not spin until necessary," EVGA says.</p> <p>Noise (or lack thereof) isn't the only thing the new Supernova GS units have going them. These are both 80 Plus Gold certified PSUs. They're also fully modular with flat cables, use Japanese brand capacitors, and boast a single +12V rail design with 54A available on the 650W model and 45A on the 550W model.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Supernova 550 GS</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">650 GS</a> will be available soon for $90 and $100, respectively.</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> 550 GS 650 GS Build a PC evga Hardware power supply PSU supernova News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:02:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 29633 at Cougar Dangles Affordable 300M Mouse in Front of Gamers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/cougar_300m.jpg" alt="Cougar 300M" title="Cougar 300M" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" />Looks can be deceiving</h3> <p><strong>Cougar sent us word today that it's releasing the 300M</strong>, a comparatively inexpensive mouse that targets the "mainstream pro-level gamer." We suppose that means regular Joes and Janes that aren't in the pro circuit but have honed their craft nonetheless. Either way, while the 300M isn't anything special to look at (from the pics we've seen), it does have a decent spec sheet starting with a 4,000 DPI optical sensor.</p> <p>It also boasts seven programmable buttons, a 1,000Hz polling rate, 1ms response, and Omron switches for its main buttons -- they're rated for at least 5 million clicks, so if you're a rapid-fire gamer, go on with your bad self.</p> <p>There are LEDs on the 300M to let you know which DPI you're in, and using Cougar's UIX software, you can customize the lighting with around 16.8 million different color options. You can also use the software to configure three separate profiles for a maximum of 24 functions, and then save those settings to the 300M's onboard memory.</p> <p>Cougar says the 300M will be available in late April for $40. That's not bargain bin pricing, but far more affordable than the gaming rodents that command twice as much or more.</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> 300M cougar Gaming Hardware mouse Peripherals News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:41:44 +0000 Paul Lilly 29632 at Intel's Broadwell-Based Core i7 5775C and Core i5 5675C CPUs Rumored to Launch in Q2 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_sign_8.jpg" alt="Intel Sign" title="Intel Sign" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Broadwell for the desktop is in sight</h3> <p><strong>Intel is reportedly planning to launch a pair of processors based on its 14nm Broadwell architecture sometime in the second quarter of this year</strong>. One is the <strong>Core i7 5775C</strong> and the other is the <strong>Core i5 5675C</strong>, both of which are unlocked parts, though you'll notice the usual "K" designation for an unlocked Intel chip has been replaced with the letter "C" -- no reason for the change is known at this point.</p> <p>Citing a Chinese-language <a href="" target="_blank">report</a> by <em>VR-Zone</em>, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>WCCFTech</em></a> says the Core i7 and Core i5 parts will feature a 65W TDP and the latest Iris Pro Graphics 6200 integrated GPU. That's the one with 64MB of embedded eDRAM cache for faster memory performance versus tapping into system RAM. It also has 48 Execution Units and a 128-bit memory bus.</p> <p>The Core i7 5775C will come clocked at 3.3GHz with a Turbo frequency of 3.7GHz. It's a quad-core chip with Hyper Threading, 6MB of L3 cache, and support for DDR3 memory rated at 1600MHz.</p> <p>Intel's Core i5 5675C is also a quad-core CPU but lacks Hyper Threading, according to the reports. It will be clocked at 3.1GHz with a 3.6GHz Turbo frequency and feature 4MB of L3 cache and DDR3 1600MHz memory support.</p> <p>It's expected that most existing socket LGA 1150 motherboards will support the new chips, though they'll probably need a BIOS update.</p> <p>Launch prices for the Core i7 5775C and Core i5 5675C are expected to be around $350 and $250, respectively.</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> broadwell Build a PC Core i5 5675C Core i7 5775C cpu Hardware intel processor News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:07:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 29630 at BenQ Gives Stylish EW2440L Monitor a Golden Makeover <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/benq_ew2440l_gold.jpg" alt="BenQ EW2440L Gold" title="BenQ EW2440L Gold" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />Gold is best!</h3> <p>The fascination with gold colored electronic devices isn't <a href="" target="_blank">unique to Apple</a>, nor is it limited to mobile devices. Need proof? Check out <strong>BenQ's newly minted gold version of its EW2440L monitor</strong>. BenQ swapped the casing on this 24-inch panel for a gold colored version that's most noticeable on the bottom strip, while the other three sides offer a soft accent due to their slim design.</p> <p>From the pictures we've seen, we'll admit that it offers a nice contrast to the brushed black aluminum base, but looks will only get you so far. As for the specs, it's a Full HD 1080 (1920x1080) monitor with a 3,000:1 native contrast ratio 20,000,000:1 dynamic), 72 percent coverage of the NTSC color gamut, 250 cd/m2 brightness, 178-degree viewing angles (horizontal and vertical), 4ms response time, and inputs consisting of D-Sub and two HDMI, one with MHL support.</p> <p>One unique feature of the EW2440L is a Speaker Only mode. This allows users to plug audio devices into the monitor's built-in speakes to pipe out audio without turning the monitor on. We suppose that could come in handy in a pinch, though why anyone would want to rely on monitor speakers for audio is beyond us.</p> <p>The EW2440L also features BenQ's ZeroFlicker technology that supposedly eliminates traditional LED flicker issues using a direct LED-backlight system. Users an also lower the monitor's blue light output via hotkeys to counteract eye fatigue.</p> <p>BenQ says the EW2440L in gold is available now for $269 MSRP.</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 EW2440L monitor News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:37:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 29629 at Corsair Touts Dominator Platinum DDR4 3400MHz RAM for Gigabyte's X99-SOC Champion Motherboard <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/corsair_ddr4_0.jpg" alt="Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4" title="Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4" width="228" height="179" style="float: right;" />Two speed demons team up</h3> <p>Are you planning to build a system around Gigabyte's X99-XOC Champion motherboard? If so, <strong>Corsair say its new Dominator Platinum DDR4 3400MHz memory kits are performance tuned to run at that frequency and beyond using air cooling when paired with that specific Gigabyte motherboard</strong>. It's a bit of a marketing play, as there shouldn't be anything stopping the same kit from working on other X99-chipset boards that require DDR4 RAM, though you may very well achieve higher overclocks when pairing the two together.</p> <p>"Our Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion is engineered with highly optimized trace paths between the processor and DIMM sockets to enable incredible memory clock speeds," said Colin Brix, Director of Marketing of Gigabyte’s Motherboard Business Unit. "We worked with Corsair to tune an exceptional edition of Dominator Platinum DDR4 that can help overclockers push the X99-SOC Champion to reach unprecedented memory speeds."</p> <p>Corsair COO Thi La says each Dominator Platinum 3400MHz DDR3 module is built with hand-picked ICs that are then tuned to play nice with the X99-SOC Champion board. At the stock frequency, timings run at 16-18-18-36.</p> <p>Orange colored anodized heat spreaders that match the color scheme of the Gigabyte board keep the chips cool, and you can monitor temps using Corsair Link. They also feature user-swappable colored light pipes for customizable downwash lighting, Corsair says.</p> <p>Professional overclocker Hicookie used the Dominator Platinum RAM and Gigabyte mobo combo to set a world record for DDR4 memory frequency at 4,365.6MHz. Of course, that was using liquid nitrogen.</p> <p>Swallow your swig of coffee before checking out the MSRP, your monitor will thank you in a moment. Ready? It's $1,000 for a 16GB kit.</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 corsair ddr4 dominator platinum gigabyte Hardware Memory motherboard ram X99-SOC Champion News Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:49:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 29627 at