Tuesday, April 15th 2014

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Networking
Processors
Speakers
SSD
Storage

OCZ Storage Solutions' PCIe-Based Z-Drive SSD Series Certified As DataCore Ready

OCZ Storage Solutions - a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced that its entire PCIe-based enterprise-class Z-Drive SSD Series are now certified as DataCore Ready. Through this certification program, OCZ's Z-Drive SSD Series has demonstrated product compatibility with DataCore's SANsymphony-V software platform by meeting the verification criteria set by DataCore through the successful execution of planned functional tests.

SANsymphony-V is DataCore's ninth-generation storage virtualization solution and is currently being used in more than 10,000 customer sites worldwide. The software is designed to maximize IT infrastructure performance, availability and utilization by virtualizing storage assets. Once deployed, it seamlessly manages and scales data storage architectures, combines all available storage into a single storage pool and virtualizes it delivering large performance gains through a hardware-agnostic model.
"We are pleased that OCZ's Z-Drive SSD Series is now DataCore Ready certified as this enables our joint customers to confidently utilize one of the fastest PCIe-based SSD products to further optimize application performance on software-defined architectures," said Carlos M. Carreras, Vice President of Alliances and Business Development at DataCore. "In the software-defined data center, virtualization, automation and system efficiencies must be driven through software, requiring a cost-effective approach to managing storage growth while getting the most out of hardware investments."

Intel Reports First-Quarter Revenue of $12.8 Billion

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter revenue of $12.8 billion, operating income of $2.5 billion, net income of $1.9 billion and EPS of 38 cents. The company generated approximately $3.5 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.1 billion, and used $545 million to repurchase 22 million shares of stock.

"In the first quarter we saw solid growth in the data center, signs of improvement in the PC business, and we shipped 5 million tablet processors, making strong progress on our goal of 40 million tablets for 2014," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "Additionally, we demonstrated our further commitment to grow in the enterprise with a strategic technology and business collaboration with Cloudera, we introduced our second-generation LTE platform with CAT6 and other advanced features, and we shipped our first Quark products for the Internet of Things."

Toshiba Also Unveils New Satellite C and L Series Laptops

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced that it is refreshing its popular Satellite C and L Series laptops, right in time for the 2014 Back-to-School season. Offering a number of new features and enhancements, these laptops are ideal for consumers looking for everyday productivity and entertainment without breaking the bank. The new laptops also mark the start of Toshiba's strategic relationship with audio expert Skullcandy, adding more robust sound capabilities for greater overall value.

"Our 2014 Satellite C and L Series laptops deliver stronger price-to-performance in the entry-level and mainstream categories, especially as the market moves toward more aggressive pricing," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "We focused on reinvigorating these product lines by infusing more value than one would typically expect at these prices with slimmer, more modern designs, branded audio, quality keyboards and touchscreen options."

LG Starts Shipping the TONE PRO Mobile Headset

Bringing more choice to smartphone owners considering premium, mobile stereo headsets, LG Electronics - the makers of the acclaimed LG G2 smartphone, LG G Pad 8.3 LTE tablet and innovative curved LG G Flex - is shipping LG TONE PRO to retailers and mobile network providers nationwide.

"The premium headset market is defined by fashion as much as it is by sound quality," said Bruce Tripido, director of accessories, LG MobileComm USA. "That is exactly what consumers find in the LG TONE PRO, a well-designed headset that threads together style, comfort and quality."

JBL Portable Audio Products Debut in Verizon Wireless Stores Nationwide

ARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, the award-winning maker of outstanding audio and entertainment solutions, announced today that products from its award-winning JBL portable audio product lineup will now be available for sale through all Verizon Wireless stores nationwide.

With long-lasting battery life, JBL portable wireless speakers are the best way to enjoy your music away from home. And since each JBL portable wireless speaker features Bluetooth connectivity, they make the perfect audio companion to a variety of Verizon's selection of wireless devices. As an increasing number of people using their mobile phones to listen to streaming music services through their device, portable speakers from JBL make it easier than ever to share your music wherever you go.

ViewSonic Smart Display Virtualization Products First to Earn Citrix Ready–HDX

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solution products, announces that its SD-A225 and SD-A245 Virtualization Smart Displays are the first Android-based displays to earn Citrix Ready-HDX Verified status from Citrix Systems, Inc. These award-winning, next-generation ViewSonic multi-touch smart displays come with the Citrix XenMobile enterprise mobility management solution pre-installed, to allow administrators to remotely configure and manage the Smart Displays.

ViewSonic has one of the most diverse lines of VDI products, and is a pioneer of VDI-enabled smart displays. With Citrix bestowing its Citrix Ready-HDX Verified status to the ViewSonic SD-A225 and SD-A245 Smart Display Clients, it indicates that these products have set the bar for multimedia capabilities from Android-based devices in a VDI environment. The Citrix Ready program makes it easy for customers to identify complementary products and solutions that can enhance Citrix environments.

Broadcom Doubles Wi-Fi Speeds with First Six Stream 802.11ac MIMO Platform

Broadcom Corporation, a global innovation leader in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications, today introduced the industry's first six stream 802.11ac MIMO platform for home networks. Broadcom's 5G WiFi XStream is up to 50 percent faster than MU-MIMO routers and gateways. The new platform has twice the bandwidth of existing 802.11ac routers and gateways, and provides advanced software to double performance of today's best-selling Wi-Fi devices for high-definition (HD) streaming and data consumption. By offering Wi-Fi data rates up to 3.2 Gbps, Broadcom's 5G WiFi XStream delivers an ideal experience for users who are simultaneously consuming more data, connecting Internet of Things devices and streaming HD content to multiple screens.

Broadcom's Intelligent Quality of Service (iQoS) advanced software identifies incoming traffic and allocates bandwidth so that applications like Netflix or YouTube get the highest priority while other applications, like file downloads, run at a lower priority. Broadcom's SmartConnect software automatically ensures that 802.11ac devices in the home are not sharing airtime with slower Wi-Fi devices. This process doubles the performance of all devices in the network.

Toshiba Announces Completely Redesigned Performance Laptops

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced its completely redesigned line of its all-purpose performance laptops - the ultra-slim 15.6-inch Satellite S55, desktop replacement 17.3-inch Satellite S75 and highly mobile 14-inch Satellite E45. The laptops deliver powerful capabilities in a premium design built to increase productivity and provide an excellent entertainment experience.

"These new laptops are designed to give power users and entertainment enthusiasts the power and versatility to do more with their laptop," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Full-featured, completely customizable with an all-new stunning design, these laptops provide the ultimate audio and visual experience for movies, games and more."

Toshiba Unveils New 4K Ultra HD Laptop

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today unveiled its new Satellite P55t, featuring one of the world's first 4K Ultra HD display in a laptop and the world's first to earn Technicolor Color Certification. Ideal for visual creative professionals and multimedia enthusiasts, the Satellite P55t is designed to take on the most intensive computing demands and display unprecedented imagery.

"Creative professionals are embracing 4K Ultra HD as it enables a whole new level of media creation that draws viewers in with amazing detail and clarity," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Until now, media creators have been unable to have this combination of performance and display capabilities in a mobile solution and we applied years of experience and engineering resources to make it a reality."

ASUStor Announces Compatibility for ASUS Xonar Series USB DAC Devices

ASUSTOR Inc., a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, announced today that it has added support for USB digital-to-analog audio converters (DAC) giving ASUSTOR users the ability to use a USB DAC to increase the quality of audio output from their NAS devices. A USB DAC can be conveniently used in concert with ASUSTOR's SoundsGood music player App to provide users with a heightened listening experience featuring fuller and deeper sound. Featured in this integration of USB DAC devices are four models from ASUS. These models include the Xonar Essence III, Xonar Essence One, Xonar Essence STU and Xonar U3.

"Today's NAS applications have evolved from the traditional storage and backup functions as demand for multimedia functionality has taken off," said Steve Huang, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. "ASUSTOR has made great efforts to support the increasing multimedia demands of NAS users by providing compatibility for a wide range of peripherals. With this integration of USB DAC devices, ASUSTOR users will be able to savor a fully enhanced hi-fi listening experience when playing music from their NAS."

Quantenna Developing World's First 10G Wi-Fi Chip

Quantenna Communications, Inc., the leader in ultra-high-performance Wi-Fi, today announced that it is developing the world's first 10G Wi-Fi chipset for a new generation of access points in the home, the enterprise and public spaces. With a novel architecture enabling MIMO configurations up to an unprecedented 8x8, speeds up to 10Gbps and universal support for MU-MIMO clients, Quantenna's 10G Wi-Fi will deliver unparalleled performance, range and stability.

10G Wi-Fi is the latest in a string of breakthroughs for the Silicon Valley Wi-Fi specialist. Quantenna was the first to deliver 4x4 chipsets for the 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards, and the first to support MU-MIMO, an ingenious technology for transmitting data to multiple devices at once. With those innovations and others such as adaptive beamforming and channel monitoring and optimization, Quantenna's Wi-Fi reaches farther and transmits faster and more reliably than any other.

IBM Creates Big Data & Business Analytics Center of Competence in Greece

IBM has announced that it will establish a new Big Data and Business Analytics Center of Competence in Athens, Greece advancing its ability to deliver Big Data and Business Analytics technical and consulting capabilities in the region, drawing on an emerging generation of highly skilled local expertise.
The new center will help companies to better leverage analytics and cognitive computing capabilities, improving business operations and enhancing their competitiveness in the global marketplace.

The new Center will lead Big Data and Business Analytics client engagements in the region, working closely with IBM's global network of Business Analytics Centers in Berlin, Beijing, Dallas, London, New York, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich.

Micron Technology and Wave Systems Collaborate to Secure Connected Devices

Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, and Wave Systems Corp., a leading provider of endpoint security, today announced they are expanding their relationship to develop solutions designed to strengthen user protection against current and emerging threats to compute and embedded platforms.

Given the pervasive connectivity associated with cloud computing and data/asset management models, it is becoming even more critical to architect comprehensive security solutions that leverage close integration of software and hardware components. This collaboration is focused on the detection and remediation of advanced persistent threats (APTs), the most advanced forms of malware capable of infecting a wide array of IP-connected devices.

Genius Announces Ergo 8800 Ergonomic Mouse

Genius is pleased to launch the Ergo 8800, an ergonomic wireless mouse that allows users to fully utilize Windows 8 and 8.1 with the ability to easily switch between Windows 8 and traditional mousing modes.

Seamlessly activate Windows 8 mode by simply holding down the right, left and scroll buttons simultaneously. Once activated, Windows 8 and 8.1 users can easily switch between active apps and open up the Charms bar with a single click. Additionally, users can toggle between Windows' Modern UI and last app used. The Ergo 8800 also has four hot keys to access Previous Page, Next Page, Flying Scroll and dpi adjustment (800, 1200 and 1600 dpi).

ACME Portable Announces First Ever Portable Workstation with 4K Resolution

ACME Portable, the manufacturer of high-performance portable computers, is showcasing at NAB Show 2014, Booth# SL8827 the first ever portable workstation with Ultra HD 4K display. This portable workstation, called the MegaPAC L2, is ideal for many professional works that involve 4K display, including but not limited to 3D rendering, post-production processes, and professional photography.

A powerful portable workstation for the most visually intensive tasks, the MegaPAC L2 features two 24" vertical monitors with one display at Full HD 1080p and the other at ULTRA HD 4K resolution. James Cheng, ACME Portable's CEO, has stated: "With our significant investment in research, development and innovation, ACME Portable is able to offer solutions that empower its customers to produce professional and demanding content at 4K resolution anywhere in the world!"

Lian Li Previews the PC-V2130 Full-Tower Chassis

Lian Li previewed its next flagship ATX full-tower chassis, the PC-V2130. The latest aluminium monstrosity from Lian Li features a ridged and brushed aluminium front door, and anti-acoustic padded panels all around. It's wheeled at the base. Measuring 237 mm x 640 mm x 625 mm (WxHxD), and weighing in at 9.8 kg, the case comes in three trims - all silvery aluminium, black aluminium exteriors with silvery aluminium interiors; and black aluminium exteriors with black aluminium interiors. The motherboard tray can seat XL-ATX, apart from standard ATX form-factors. It offers 10 expansion slot bays.

Storage areas of the PC-V2130 includes five 5.25-inch drive bays, eight 3.5-inch bays spread across individual trays;four 2.5-inch bays along the back side of the cage, and three 3.5-inch bays behind the motherboard tray. Ventilation includes two 140 mm front intakes, two 140 mm top exhausts, a 140 mm bottom intake, and a 120 mm rear exhaust. Front panel connectivity includes four USB 3.0 ports (standard headers), an eSATA port, and HD audio jacks. The case offers room for graphics cards as long as 36 cm (up to 48 cm if you pull out the drive trays), PSUs as long as 20 cm, and CPU coolers as tall as 18 cm. Lian Li didn't reveal pricing or availability details.

Eurocom Equips M4 with Core i7-4940MX, GeForce GTX 880M, 3200x1800 Display

Eurocom has benchmarked the M4, the world's most powerful 13.3" QHD+ notebook. It is equipped with a breathtaking 3200x1800 QHD+ display, an Intel Core i7 Extreme Processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics. Eurocom has benchmarked and stress tested the M4 to exemplify the performance that is squeezed into its ultra portable chassis. The 5,760,000 pixels of the 13.3" 3200x1800 QHD+ display are powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics with 2GB DDR5 VRAM, 640 CUDA Cores, with a GPU core able to run at up to 1029MHz +boost.

Powered by a full line of 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processors utilizing the Intel HM87 Express Chipset including the Intel Core i7-4940MX Processor Extreme with 4 cores and 8 threads running at 3.1 GHz (up to 4 GHz max turbo frequency) with 8 MB L3 cache. The integrated Trusted Platform Module 1.2 from Infineon Technologies ensures that digital certificates, passwords and keys are made more secure from software attacks and physical theft. TPM provides the ability for a computing system to run applications more secure and allows secured remote access to perform electronic transactions and communication more safely. The increased security, brought on by the TPM 1.2 can save organizations in IT management costs.
Monday, April 14th 2014

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

Intel Starts Shipping 'Haswell Refresh' Processors

Without any real fanfare Intel has now kicked off sales and shipments of processors part of 'Haswell Refresh' line. An official launch for the updated Haswell offering, complete with motherboards based on the 9 Series LGA1150 chipsets, is reportedly planned for next month but since the CPUs got the go-ahead you can expect them to reach stores shortly.

A total of 44 chips have been introduced by Intel, 27 of which are for desktops while the rest are for mobile devices. There's nothing really new about the CPUs as they are still based on the Haswell architecture (which debuted last year) but they do have slightly higher (100 MHz in most cases) frequencies than the models they aim to replace (speed bump at no added cost).

Panasonic Announces Pricing, Availability Of New 2014 Headphone Models

Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company today announced pricing and availability of new 2014 headphone models. The new RP-HC800 Noise Cancelling Headphones, RP-BTD10 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones, RP-HS34 Sport Clip Headphones and the much-anticipated RP-BTGS10 Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones are all available now on www.shop.panasonic.com.

The Panasonic RP-HC800 Noise Cancelling Headphones utilize a high performance Active Noise Cancelling System with improved Feed-back Noise Cancelling Technology for a wide-range noise cancellation effect. Expertly crafted with a sophisticated design that fuses durable plastic with metal finishes, the RP-HC800 Headphones feature a wide padded headband and cushioned ear cups for a comfortable fit even after hours of wear. The detachable cord features a microphone and controller for the iPhone/iPad/iPod so users can quickly switch between music and phone calls with the touch of a button.

Kanguru Debuts FlashBlu30 USB 3.0 With Physical Write Protect Switch

The Kanguru FlashBlu series, a popular flash drive line sold by Kanguru with a physical write protect switch, has recently been upgraded with new USB 3.0 technology, putting the "flash" in "flash drive" and making it one of the most cost-effective flash drives on the market. The new Kanguru FlashBlu30 USB 3.0 Flash Drive is first rate when it comes to low cost and convenience. Well-recognized for its durability, physical write protect switch, great price and high storage capacities, the new USB 3.0 interface provides high-speed data transfers.

"People love the physical write protect switch," says Don Brown, President and CEO of Kanguru. "It's a convenient and easy way to protect files from being accidentally overwritten, and now with the USB3.0 FlashBlu30 model, users can transfer their files back and forth faster than ever."

AOC Announces i2473Pwm 24-inch Monitor

AOC rolled out the i2473Pwm, a 24-inch monitor with flicker-free LED backlit illumination. Featuring an IPS LCD panel, the display offers full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) native resolution, with 5 ms refresh rate, 250 cd/m² maximum brightness, 1000:1 contrast-ratio with dynamic mega-contrast. The display is framed by an extremely narrow metallic bezel, most of its electronics is located in its base. Connectivity includes MHL (mobile high-definition link), HDMI, and D-Sub (VGA). Other features include 14W stereo speakers, and Eco Mode, which dials down display settings to minimize power draw. Measuring 547.1 x 408.6 x 182.6 mm, it weighs about 4.12 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.7.8 Released

TechPowerUp released the latest version of GPU-Z, the popular PC graphics diagnostic and monitoring utility, which gives you up to date information of the GPUs installed in your system, and lets you monitor their clock speeds, temperatures, fan-speeds, voltages, dedicated memory usage, among other things. Version 0.7.8 introduces a few handy user-interface features, beginning with the ability to resize the app's window, when the "Sensors" tab is being viewed. With modern graphics cards giving us dozens of sensors to track, throwing in a scroll-bar is making the tab cluttered, and so we decided to give it resizing. The window returns to the normal size when other tabs, such as the main "Graphics Card" tabs are clicked, and remembers your window size preference when you select the "Sensors" tab again. At this time, this feature is available only on our main (non-skinned) version.

Apart from the resizeable window for "Sensors" tab, GPU-Z 0.7.8 adds tested support for AMD Radeon R9 295X2 "Vesuvius," R9 M275, HD 7500G, and FirePro W9000. It also adds support for NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN-Z, GTX 745, GTX 880M, GTX 870M, GTX 860M, GTX 850M, GTX 775M, and Quadro NVS 510. Release dates have been fixed for GTX 780 Ti, and GTX TITAN Black.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.7.8, GPU-Z 0.7.8 ASUS ROG Themed

The change-log follows.

BIOSTAR Released Dual Gigabit LAN Motherboards With The 6+ Experience

BIOSTAR is releasing three boards with dual Gigabit LAN on-board that are going to make networking and gaming even better with the 6+ Experience. To achieve this, the "Hi-Fi B85S2G", "Hi-Fi A88S2G", and "Hi-Fi B85N 3D" have Gigabit LAN connections on the board that allow simultaneous LAN connections.

The primary advantage is the doubling bandwidth which allows the network bandwidth, it also allows for Full-duplex transmission. Two networks can be simultaneously transmitted to upload and download at the same time. In addition, there is zero packet delay with two high-speed gigabit networks, giving super high data transmission efficiency.

XFX Rolls Out R9 295X2 Core Edition Graphics Card

XFX rolled out its Radeon R9 295X2 Core Edition graphics card. A branding reserved by XFX for "reference design," the R9 295X2 Core Edition is every bit AMD's creation, barring just XFX stickers. It ships in a paperboard box. Codenamed "Vesuvius," the R9 295X2 is a dual-GPU graphics card based on a pair of 28 nm "Hawaii" GPUs, with all 2,816 stream processors, 176 TMUs, and 64 ROPs enabled on each chip; and with two 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interfaces, holding a total of 8 GB of memory. XFX is expected to sell this card at AMD's MSRP of US $1,499.
Sunday, April 13th 2014

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Supports AMD Mantle

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, a turn-based strategy game based in the interstellar age, in which you travel to and colonize habitable planets by realpolitik, was announced last weekend, with support for AMD's Mantle API, besides DirectX 11. Mantle should make the game increasingly playable on AMD "Kaveri" APUs with eye-candy cranked up, and at reasonable mainstream resolutions such as 1080p. Mantle reduces the CPU's role in graphics processing, and should benefit APUs. Developer Firaxis announced the game for three PC platforms, Windows, OS X, and Linux (over Steam). Don't add it to your summer bucket-list just yet. It's slated for this fall.
A trailer video follows.

Micron Technology Licenses Avago Technologies' 30G SerDes for Hybrid Memory Cube

Avago Technologies, a leading supplier of analog interface components for wireless, wireline, and industrial applications, today announced that Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) has licensed Avago's 28nm Low Power 30Gbps Serializer/Deserializer (SerDes) IP for use in Micron's next generation Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) devices.

"Avago is an established leader in the development and delivery of high-speed SerDes cores with an offering that is very well suited for integration into our HMC product line," said Tom Eby, vice president of Micron's Compute and Networking Business Unit. "Based on its advanced performance and low power, we are confident that our customers will benefit from the presence of the Avago SerDes on both sides of the memory channel."
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