Hardware Roundup: 6-14-2013

Apple MacBook Pro

Apple Introduces New Mac Pro

At the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple gave a preview of the next Mac Pro. The case’s design is innovative to say the least: it’s 9.9 inches tall, 6.6 inches wide, and thus more than small enough to sit on your desk. The entire system is cooled by a single impeller and each of the major components makes contact with a large, triangular heatsink which Apple calls the “thermal core”. Inside the case are next-generation Xeon processors (up to 12 cores), dual AMD FirePro GPUs, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, PCie-based flash storage, and ECC memory.

The new reliance on Thunderbolt, however, may be a problem for anyone who was not planning on upgrading all of their peripherals. Users who wanted to upgrade to a Mac Pro but keep existing hardware may be disappointed. In addition, current Mac Pro users who depend on dedicated expansion cards, internal drive bays, USB ports or have multiple monitors hooked up via DVI, DP, or HDMI may find themselves locked out of an upgrade until they can afford to buy all new peripherals, or at the very least converters.

Apple did not announce pricing information, and no specific date was announced for availability. You can find out more about the Mac Pro at Apple’s website.

Antec Introduces Kühler H2O 1250 and Kühler H2O 650

Antec demoed a pair of all-in-one CPU coolers in the Kühler H20 series at Computex: the Kühler H20 1250 and Kühler H20 650. The two are an improvement on their Series 4 predecessors with more powerful pumps and new high-airflow fans that focus airflow through the radiator. The fan’s motor doubles up as the pump’s motor so the air and coolant flow are in perfect proportion. With fewer moving parts, one assumes the device will be more quiet, but the unit’s fans will not be replaceable.

The units will be compatible with all of the most recent CPU sockets, including LGA1150. No pricing information has been released yet.

Intel to Rebrand Select Atom CPUs as Celerons and Pentiums

Certain Silvermont-based Atom processors will be rebranded as Celeron and Pentium processors. Celeron is the value end of Intel’s Core-based mainstream chips. Intel’s reasoning is that some variants of Silvermont now offer performance comparable to current mainstream Celeron and Pentium processors. This is quite a contrast from the Atom of old, which had a reputation for being slow. Higher-performance varieties of Silvermont will also ship with PC-like attributes such as PCI and SATA.

The rebranded processors will be featured in notebooks, convertibles, all-in-ones and desktops running both Android and Windows whilst chips destined for tablets and mobile devices will not be taking on the new branding.

Enermax Introduces New ETS-T40 CPU Coolers

Enermax has launched two new coolers in the ETS-T40 series: the ETS T40-Black Twister and the ETS-T40 White Cluster. The Black Twister comes in a sleek black color, while the White Cluster is arctic white. Both, however, feature four 6 mm heat pipes with a Heat Pipe Direct Touch structure, and a 120 mm PWM cooling fan which runs from 800 RPM to 2200 RPM. Both models also use a unique Thermal Conductive Coating (TCC) to create better velocity of thermal transference and prevent oxidation on the contact surface. They also have a Vortex Generator Flow (VGF) structure, which helps increase air convection in between the radiator fins.

The ETS-T40 series feature a universal bracket that works with most Intel and AMD sockets. The Black Twister and White Cluster will be available in the United States with an MSRP of $49.99.

Antec Unveils Venom IV CPU Heatsink

At Computex, Akasa showed off its Venom IV CPU cooler, which keeps up with the basic design elements of the Venom series. The cooler features an aluminum fin-stack design, which uses asymmetric shape and planes to dissipate heat better, and four 6mm-thick copper heat pipes than fan out through the entire length of the fin-stack to dissipate heat more uniformly. The bottom bend of each heat pipe makes direct contact with the CPU.

The Venom IV comes with a 120mm S-flow fan, which should provide up to 30 percent more airflow. The fan is PWM-controlled and can spin at speeds ranging from 600 RPM to 1900 RPM. The unit supports all modern CPU socket types, including LGA115x, LGA1366, LGA2011, AM3+/AM3, and FM2/FM1. Akasa has not made pricing information available as of yet.

Xigmatek Introduces Boreas and Orthrus CPU Coolers

Xigmatek revealed two new C-type CPU coolers at Computex: the Boreas and the Orthrus. The Boreas cooler follows in the footsteps of Xigmatek’s Janus CPU cooler, though instead of a small fan below the aluminum fin stack it has a bigger fan. It has five 6mm copper heat pipes and two 140 mm PWM-controlled fans. The fans can spin at speeds from 800 to 1500 RPM, and push up to 38.42 CFM. The unit measures 140mm X 140mm X 125mm.

The Orthrus is a departure from the Janus, and does not follow the conventional C-type CPU cooler design. It starts with a conventional copper base with HDT, and seven 6mm-thick heat pipes, with the central ones going to a large aluminum fin stack, while the peripheral ones go to a smaller fin stack located below the larger one, and arranged in an incline. The larger one is ventilated by a 25mm-thick 140mm PWM fan which spins from 800 to 1600 RPM, and the smaller one uses an 80mm fan spinning at 2000 RPM. The entire top of the cooler is covered by a black ABS shroud. The entire unit measures 146mm X 200 mm X 165 mm.

Colorful Debuts GeForce GTX 780 Kudan and GeForce GTX Titan Ultra Edition

At Computex, Colorful unveiled two new graphics cards. The iGame GeForce GTX 780 is their top-of-the-line card featuring a non-reference PCB design and a mammoth Kudan cooler that occupies three expansion slots. The card makes use of a GK110 core that is equipped to a non-reference PCB making use of higher-quality components compared to the reference design. That, in combination with being powered by two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, should allow the card to have a lot more overclocking headroom than reference models.

The GTX Titan Ultra Edition, on the other hand, is a reference model of the GTX Titan with a water block on it and a factory overclock. Colorful has not yet made pricing information available.

AMD Announces Radeon HD 8000 Graphics Cards Will Have Better Coolers

AMD is preparing a new type of cooler for the Radeon HD 8000 series. AMD revealed this information at Computex, but did not show the cooler there. The new coolers will be better than the reference coolers on the Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards, although some add-on-boards (AIBs) will likely make cards with better coolers than the Radeon HD 8000.

Lian-Li Puts a 240 mm Radiator on Top of Motherboard

Lian-Li has introduced a case with a liquid cooling radiator placed at the most obvious place: along the plane of the motherboard, right over its top half. A 240mm X 120mm radiator can be screwed onto a hinged frame, which can easily be moved to access parts of the motherboard right under it. This case was unveiled at Computex 2013.

Other than the hinge for the water cooler, the Lian-Li PC-V360 is a typical PC case, and can house Micro ATX motherboards and smaller ATX boards. It has five 3.5″ drive bays, three 2.5″ drive bays, and a single 5.25″ optical drive bay. Cooling is taken care of by up to three 120mm fans and one 80mm fan, on top of which sits the radio.

Pricing and availability information was not yet released.

Hardware Roundup: 6-7-2013

This week was the week of the Computex trade show (June 3-7) in Taipei, Taiwan, and as a result, a lot of new products were unveiled. In fact, it may be too much for this installment of the Hardware Roundup, so I may post a second installment later this weekend. But here are the main highlights of the past week.

Cooler Master Compile List of Haswell-Compatible PSUs

Hardware Roundup: 6-5-2013 Or, more accurately, they have announced that all of their PSUs are Haswell-compatible. In face, most power supplies support Haswell. Among the improvements introduced with Intel’s Haswell processors, power consumption in idle mode has been reduced from 6W to less that 1W. This might cause some older PSUs to shut the system off when the CPU enters idle mode, or prevent the system from waking up out of sleep mode. If motherboard vendors disable this power saving mode by default, then an upgrade to Haswell will not result in any issues.

Still, you can go to Cooler Master’s website to see the full list of Haswell-compatible PSUs.

Kingston Announces SSDNow KC300

Kingston Digital, Inc. announced the latest addition to its SSDNow family, the KC300 solid-state drive. The SSDs are targeted at business users and replace the Kingston V+200 and KC100 drives. The 2.5-inch SSDs are based on the familiar LSI-SandForce SF-2281 and feature various SMART functions, as well as the option to check data integrity through DuraWrite. KC300 enables users to be more productive as the drive maximizes power efficiencies in notebook PCs. KC300 provides advanced power management via an LSI SandForce second-generation SF-2281 processor, allowing users to do more from a single charge.

The storage devices have a SATA 6 Gbit/s interface and come in capacities ranging from 60 GB up to 480 GB. The SSDNow KC300 SSDs are available in a regular version, which includes just the drive, and an upgrade bundle, which comes with several accessories and software to migrate data to the solid-state drive. The KC300 is available as a stand-alone drive or as an upgrade kit containing cloning software and other accessories for a desktop and/or notebook system. It is backed by a three-year warranty and free technical support.

Asus Unveils Maximus VI

Hardware Roundup: 6-5-2013

The Asus Maximus VI.

Asus announced its first Republic of Gamers motherboard for the mini-ITX form-factor: the Maximus VI Impact. The Maximus VI Impact is a mini-ITX LGA1150 motherboard with the Intel Z87 Express chipset and supports 4th generation Core “Haswell” processors. The CPU is powered through an 8+2 phase VRM design that protrudes the main motherboard in its own PCB. The PCB gets its power through an 8-pin EPS connector. The rest of the board is powered through a 24-pin ATX connector. There are three other daughterboards on the Maximus VI: the SupremeFX Impact, a sound-card with an audiophile-grade 115 dBA DAC, OPAMPs, and audio-grade capacitors; and an mPCIe combo card that lends it 802.11 ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0; and an ImpactControl card that gives overclockers POST diagnostic readouts and CMOS reset/restore at the push of a button, right from the rear panel.

The Maximus VI Impact also gives you four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, an eSATA 6 Gb/s port, six USB 3.0 ports (four rear, two by header), six USB 2.0/1.1 ports, HDMI, DisplayPort, gigabit Ethernet (Intel controller), 6-channel SupremeFX Impact audio with 8-channel digital output, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory. No price has been announced yet.

The product was introduced at Computex, where Asus chairman Jonny Shih challenged the notion that the DIY side of PC gaming is disappearing with the popularity of consoles and the growing influence of mobile gaming. “The core essence of building,” he said, “is the core feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.” To this end, Asus continues to offer components suited to DIY enthusiasts, and has added several features for performance enhancement.

You can find out more about the Maximus VI at Asus’s product page for the Maximus VI.

Triplex Announces Slot-Powered Radeon HD 7850

Graphics card maker Triplex unveiled a new single slot Radeon HD 7850 2 GB (GDDR5 memory) air-cooled graphics card that relies entirely on the PCI-Express slot for power. It has a base clock speed of 860 MHz and the memory runs at an effective speed of 4.8 GHz. The card can only consume up to 75 watts from the PCIe x16 slot. This card will only be sold through OEM channels and will not be sold directly to consumers.

NZXT Announces HALE82 V2 PSUs

NZXT has announced a new lineup of power supplies at Computex: the HALE82 V2 series. The power supplies are fully modular, 80+ Bronze certified (ensuring efficiency levels up to 85%), and are available in black and white designs. They are built using a single powerful 12V rail to ensure your components get the power they need. For now, the HALE82 V2 will be available in two versions: a 700W unit and a 550W one. They come with a 135mm silent fan. Pricing is $106 U.S.D. for the 550 watt version and $132 U.S.D. for the 700 watt version.

You can find more information about the HALE82 V2, including more detailed specifications, at NZXT’s product page for the 550 watt HALE82 V2 and the product page for the 700 watt version.

Asus Launches ET2702 All-In-One PC

Asus has announced the ET2702, an all-in-one PC, at Computex. The ET2702 is the first all-in-one desktop with QHD resolution; it comes standard with a 27-inch, 2560 x 1440 IPS screen and offers three HDMI in/out ports that allow it to serve as a display for other devices and connect up to three external displays simultaneously.

For now, the ET2702 will include a choice of Intel 4th generation Core processors, a Radeon HD 8990A graphics card, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi that offers transfer speeds of up to 867 Mb/sec and Asus SonicMaster audio technology. In the U.S., the initial configuration will feature a Core-i7-4770 processor, a 2 GB AMD Radeon HD 8890A GPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 2 TB hard drive, 802.11ac and a Blu-ray drive. No pricing information is available yet, but it will reportedly have a price around $2000, and will be available in late July or early August.

You can read more about the ET2702 at the Asus website which has the original press release.

Gigabyte Debuts Z87-OC and Z87-OC Force Motherboards

Hardware Roundup: 6-5-2013

The Gigabye Z87-OC.

At Computex, Gigabyte has debuted a new Z87-based motherboard for Intel’s new Haswell line of processors, a board designed especially for overclockers. They debut a number of interesting features designed to “help enthusiasts and overclockers get the most performance from their hardware, as well as the most enjoyable OC experience possible.”

The board carries an orange and black theme, and has four RAM DIMM slots. It also has the OC Touch, onboard buttons which allow the user to fine-tune the CPU frequency. It also features four PCIe-x16 expansion slots and supports up to four-way Crossfire and SLI. The PCIe slots are spaced every other expansion slot, leaving room for dual-slot coolers. The Z87X-OC also features six USB 3.0/2.0 ports and two exclusively USB 2.0 ports. Gigabit Ethernet is provided through an Intel networking chip. THe board also features 8-channel audio via an ALC892 audio controller. Gigabyte has not yet made pricing and availability information public.

For more information, see Gigabyte’s product page for the OC or Gigabyte’s product page for the OC Force.

Hardware Roundup: 5-31-2013

Hardware roundupSandisk Sampling Second Generation Flash Memory

Sandisk announced it has begun customer sampling flash memory based on 1Y nm process technology, the second-generation of its 19 nm process technology. With this iteration, SanDisk takes its memory cell size from 19nm-by-26nm to 19nm-by-19nm, delivering a 25 percent reduction in the memory cell area. This should bode well for customers, with the new technology allowing for higher capacity products and lower cost manufacturing techniques when when creating SanDisk flash memory solutions. This should result in more storage and smaller-sized flash memory chips for mobile phones, tablets, and solid state drives (SSDs).

SanDisk achieves this by using the most sophisticated flash memory technology to date, including advanced process innovations and cell-design solutions. SanDisk’s All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture with proprietary programming algorithms and multi-level data storage management schemes help yield multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory chips that do not sacrifice performance or reliability. In addition, SanDisk’s three bits per cell X3 technology, implemented in the second-generation 19nm node will deliver the lowest-cost flash solutions to address multiple growing end-markets for flash memory.

AMD CPU Used in Xbox One

Last week, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One, the long-awaited successor to the Xbox One. They also released the hardware specs for the system. The Xbox One is powered by an 8-core x86 AMD CPU and a GPU that is similar to the Radeon 7790. There is 8 GB of DDR3 RAM (shared between the CPU and GPU), 32 MB of fast SRAM on the graphics die, and a total of 200 MB memory bandwidth. There is also a Blu-ray drive, 500 GB hard drive, 802.11n WiFi, HDMI in and out, gigabit Ethernet, and USB 3.0. There will be 3 802.11n radios.

The multi-year deal with AMD will reportedly net the company more than $3 billion. In addition, AMD provided a “custom silicon solution” for Microsoft for the Xbox One.

OCZ Releases Vertex 450 SSDs

OCZ has announced the Vertex 450 series, a new line of SSDs. This drive is meant to be an upgrade to the Vertex 4, but not a replacement for the company’s top-of-the-line Vector drive. Unlike the Vertex 4, which uses the Indilinx Everest 2 controller, the Vertex 450 uses the new Indilinx Barefoot 3 series controller, model BF3-M10, which happens to be the controller that was first used in the Vector. The OCZ Vertex 450 SSDs will also feature 20 nm NAND flash storage, and this controller adds AES 256-bit encryption functionality as well as a power-optimized clock. This will allow the drive to pump out 540 MB/s and absorb up to 530 MB/s of data, with random write performance of up to 90,000 IOPS. The Vertex 450 will be built on a 7 mm thick form factor.

The new OCZ Vertex 450 SSD is available now in three capacities: 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB, at suggested retail prices of $130, $235 and $500, repspectively, and street prices will likely be even lower.

Kitguru has posted . You can also find more information on the Vertex 450 at OCZ’s product page for the Vertex 450. Here are some additional reviews of the Vertex 450:

Fractal Design Introduces White Node 304 Chassis

The Node 304, a mini-ITX case manufactured by the Swedish company Fractal design and a case which has been available in black for some time, is now available in white. The Node 304 is an unusual case that can accommodate up to 6 3.5″ (or 2.5″) hard drives. The case also has room for a mini-ITX or DTX motherboard. It also has the following technical specs:

Mini ITX, DTX motherboard compatibility
Two expansion slots
Six 3.5″ or 2.5″ HDD / SSD
ATX PSUs, up to 160mm in length (To fit in combination with a long graphics card, PSUs with modular connectors on the back typically need to be shorter than 160 mm)
Graphics cards, up to 310mm in length, when 2 HDD brackets are removed (Graphics cards longer than 170 mm will conflict with PSUs longer than 160mm)
Tower CPU coolers, up to 165 mm tall
Includes three Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans and a three-speed fan controller
Fan filter for graphics card
Two USB 3.0 ports on the front ( includes internal USB 3.0 to 2.0 adapter)
Case dimensions (W x H x D): 250 x 210 x 374 mm
Case volume: 19,5 Liters
Net weight: 10.8lb

Both the black and white Node 304 cases have a retail price of $89.99.

Enermax Releases 5 Adjustable Fans

Enermax is announcing five new fan models that will carry the company’s APS (Adjustable Peak Speed) control, meaning that users will be
able to set the highest speed of the fan, and some of the units will be PWM controlled. The five models are the Cluster Advance, Everest Advance, Magma Advance, T.B. Vegas Quad and the T.B. Vegas. These fans can be regulated automatically by PWM, or by an integrated thermal sensor after selecting the RPM range. They all feature Enermax’s patented Twister bearing, a magnetic bearing technology designed to reduce wear and tear and helps give the fans a life span of 100,000 hours. The T.B. Vegas and the T.B. Vegas Quad also offer a number of different LED lighting options (with the T.B. Vegas, the LED lighting cannot be switched off, though).

Innodisk Introduces Embedded SATA nanoSSD

Innodisk has just unveiled an embedded version of its nanoSSD that performs almost as well as its bigger counterparts. The µSSD-based SATA chip has a tiny footprint (0.63 X 0.79 X 0.079 inches, or 16 x 20 x 2 mm) and draws just 1 watt of peak power, but can still read at up to 480 MB/s and write at 175 MB/s. It will come in capacities ranging from 4 GB to 64 GB and will have a SATA3 interface through the Ball Grid Array (BGA) interface.

Innodisk further adds value through firmware optimization designed by in-house R&D, extending the life of its flash products through wear-leveling technology. Also, significantly reducing the risk of industrial applications is Innodisk’s own disk monitoring tool – iSMART, which allows users to visualize SSD wear-leveling status at a glance with a clear graphical display, giving users time to replace damaged disks before they fail.

Weekly Hardware Roundup: 5-24-2013


Project Ophelia - Hardware Roundup

Dell’s Ophelia is expected to be available to consumers in August.

Here is the hardware roundup for May 24, 2013, covering this week in hardware news.

Dell Announces Thumb-Sized “Ophelia” PC to Ship in July 2013

During CES 2013, Dell introduced Project Ophelia, an Android-powered flash drive about the size of a standard USB thumb drive. It plugs into the HDMI port of an HDTV or monitor, turning it into an Android-based PC that can run applications or access files stored remotely.

Ophelia can turn any screen or display into a PC, gaming machine or a TV set top box, according to Jeff McNaught, executive director of cloud computing at Dell. Users will be able to download apps, movies and TV shows from the Google Play store, and will also be able to run Android games or stream movies from Hulu or Netflix.

The first units will ship in July to developers, and could ship out to customers as soon as August. The first version of Ophelia will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities and is targeted at users who do most of their computing on the Web. But Dell also wants to give Ophelia the ability to run Windows, OS X, Chrome and other operating systems that users can switch between. Dell would deliver these operating systems virtually through its cloud services.

Whether or not Ophelia will carve out a niche for itself remains to be seen; it seems that inexpensive tablets can do much of what Ophelia will do. Nonetheless, its low price (Tarken Maner, VP and general manager of Cloud Client Computing at Dell, expects the device to cost under $100 at launch) will undoubtedly give it an advantage over products like Google’s Chromebook, which also delivers applications and data through the cloud.

You can see Dell’s press release about Ophelia here.

D-Link Shipping New Wireless AC Routers

D-Link announced on May 14 the launch of four Wireless AC routers, with prices starting at $79.99 USD. All four silo-shaped routers will be available at local retailers soon, and the speeds range from 433 Mbps to 1300 Mbps. The group’s top-of-the-line router, the Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router, costs $169.99 USD. All 4 routers offer 4 “Fast” Ethernet ports on the back as well.

All 4 routers are dual band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), and the reported maximum speeds are likely only on the 5 GHz channel. The routers also offer easy remote network management, thanks to the free mydlink Lite app for iOS and Android.

You can find out more about these routers at D-Link’s product pages for them:

D-Link AC1750

D-Link AC1200

D-Link AC1000

D-Link AC750

ASRock Releases Teaser Showing off 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 For its A-Style Motherboards

The ASRock A-Style motherboards, which also features Purity Sound (a form of improved onboard audio), HDMI-in (a means of showing video from external devices such as tablets via an HDMI port that works even when the computer is powered down), Waterproof by Comformal Coating, and Home Cloud, has released a video showing two additional features of the motherboard: built-in 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

802.11ac WiFi is a new wireless computer networking standard that provides high-throughput wireless local area networks on the 5GHz band with data transferring speeds up to 867Mbps, a vast improvement over the throughput provided by 802.11n (purportedly 289%). Besides the new WiFi, some models will also come with a new ASRock Wi-SD front tray which includes 4 USB 3.0 ports and an SD 3.0 card slot.

Information from the ASRock website about the WiFi features of the A-Style motherboard.

NVIDIA Launches the GTX 780

NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 780, the successor to the GTX 680, on May 23. The GTX 780 packs 34% more performance, 50% more Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) cores, and 50% more memory than the 680. At $649, the GTX offers performance comparable to the GTX Titan, NVIDIA’s flagship graphics card, at a price $350 cheaper. It uses the same cooler as the Titan, and the length and weight of the card is almost identical as well.

The GTX 780 features 2 DVI ports (DVI-D and DVI-I) along with a full-sized DisplayPort and HDMI ports. It also supports Scalable Link Interface (SLI), so you can put 2 of these cards in your system for a multiple monitor setup. The GTX 780 requires a 6-pin and an 8-pin power connector to work, and NVIDIA recommends using at least a 600W PSU (the card draws 250W).

Also announced was NVIDIA’s “GeForce Experience” utlity, which will be a free option with the GTX 780 driver package, and purports to optimize settings to match your hardware with a “single click”.

Here are the specifications of the card:

GeForce-GTX-780-Specs - Hardware Roundup

Specifications for the GTX-780.

Here is NVIDIA’s press release announcing the GTX 780.

Gigabyte Unveils Three Z87 Motherboards

Gigabyte has released information about 3 Z87 motherboards it is slated to produce: the Mini-ITX Z87Z-WiFi, the Z87X-UD4H, and the Z87-UDSH.

The Z87Z-WiFi is a Mini-ITX form factor board that looks very similar to the Gigabyte GAZ77N-Wifi. It has 2 DDR3 memory slots, 4 SATA 6 Gbps slots, a single PCI Express x16 slot and one PCIe Mini socket (which contains a WiFi card that runs the 802.11ac standard). It is an LGA Socket 1150 motherboard.

Gigabyte’s Z87X-UD4H has a 16-phase VRM for the processor. It has DDR3 memory slots, and 3 PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x8/x4). 1 PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and a traditional PCI slot are also present. The new board has 6 SATA 6 Gbit/s ports, as well as two eSATA 6 Gb/s connectors. No less than 10 USB 3.0 connectors are featured, four of which come through an internal header. The I/O panel contains 7.1 HD audio, Gigabit LAN, DVI, D-Sub, HDMI and DisplayPort.

The Z87X-UD5H is similar the smaller UD4H and is equipped with the same 16-phase power design, memory slots and expansion slots. The UD5H offers 4 more SATA 6 Gbit/s ports, for a total of ten. Through a header, FireWire functionality can also be added. Another difference is that the UD5H has a second Gigabit connector and the D-Sub port is substituted by an additional DVI connector.

Trendnet Introduces TEW-811DRU Dual-Band 802.11ac Router

Yet another dual-band router has been released, and this time, Trendnet is the manufacturer. The new device is called the TEW-811DRU. The router supports wireless connections on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz band with speeds of up to 867 Mbps over 802.11ac and 300 Mbps using the older 802.11n protocol.

A Gigabit WAN connector is present, in addition to four Gigabit LAN ports. The USB 2.0 connector can be used for storage through FTP via network-attached storage devices or external hard disk drives/solid-state drives, but also to share devices such as a printer with the network. A power switch, WPS button and LED indicators can be found on the router. The TEW-811DRU is compatible with IPv6 and uses the WPA2 security protocol for wireless networks.

Trendnet’s TEW-8100DRU AC1200 dual-band router will be available shortly at a recommended price of $179.99.

For more information, see the official product page for the Trendnet TEW-811DRU.

Weekly Hardware Roundup: 5-17-2013


This article is the first in what I intend to be a regular Friday feature on this blog: a weekly hardware roundup, focusing on hardware for desktop and laptop computers.

Raspberry Pi Camera Module Available

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi in all its glory.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the launch of its first official accessory for the single-board computer: a five megapixel camera board.

The Raspberry Pi, a fully-functional computer on a circuit board which has a price tag of about $50, has sold over a million units. While third-party add-on boards have been available, the Foundation concentrated on making Raspberry Pis, until now.

This week, the Foundation announced the release of the official Raspberry Pi Camera Board. Designed to plug into the Pi’s Camera Serial Interface (CSI) port, the module is just 25mm by 25mm and 9mm tall and packs a 5-megapixel sensor and a surprisingly powerful imaging engine (previously found on Nokia’s N8 smartphone).

The camera module’s release will likely be followed with at least one other official accessory: the Foundation will likely develop a small form factor display which will use the Display Serial Interface (DSI) capabilities of the computer.

More information on the Raspberry Pi camera board

AMD Unveils 8970M

AMD has unveiled the latest addition to its laptop graphics series. The new range currently consists of only one card: the top of the line HD 8970M, which has an impressive 1280 stream processors, double that of the 8800M. It uses AMD’s GCN architecture and features full DirectX 11.1 support.

Due to its power output, the 8970M will probably only be found on very bulky laptops, such as the MSI GX70, a 17-inch model with a full 17-inch HD screen and a quad-core AMD A10 APU.

Here are the full specs for the 8970 GPU:

Stream Processors: 1280
Engine Clock: 850 Mhz
Memory Clock: 1200 Mhz
Single Precision Compute Power: 2304 GFLOPS
Double Precision compute Power: 144 GFLOPS
Direct X Version: 11.1
Architecture: GCN

PDF with a feature summary of the Radeon HD 8970

Asus Announces Z87 Line of Motherboards

Asus has announced its Z87 motherboards for Intel’s new Haswell CPUs. This motherboard will be of interest to most readers of this blog, as the CPU fan header on all Z87 motherboards adds a MOSFET between the power supply unit (PSU) and CPU fan. As a result, Asus’ software fan control suites are now able to vary the speed of 3-pin fans and 4-pin pulse-width modulated (PWM) fans. A simple latch built-in to the header detects when a 3-pin or 4-pin fan is connected. This has the potential to render expensive automatic fan controllers useless. The UEFI BIOS also receives some upgrades: the user will be able to add notes relating to settings and there is also a history of BIOS changes. In addition, the board implements Thermal Armor, which Asus, touts as “Total Airflow-Boosting Heat Dissipation”, the world’s first-ever thermal design for the entire motherboard, which is purported to safeguard the system against hot air and help keep temperatures down, conducting hot air away and out of the case through special airflow channels.

The mini-ITX market it also attended to with this board line-up, with a new overclocking-oriented model called the Z87 I-Deluxe.

More information on the Z87

Arctic Announces Alpine 20 Plus

Arctic has announced the arrival of a new CPU cooler, the Alpine 20 Plus. The cooler is only compatible with the the LGA 2011 socket, but works for both desktop version of the Intel Core i7; and the Xeon processors that fit in LGA 2011 sockets.

The cooler is made from an aluminum block and has a number of aluminum fins through which air is pushed by a 92mm fan. The fan’s speed can vary from 600 RPM to 2200 RPM and is a PWM fan. The cooler has an MSRP of $14.50 and has a 6-year warranty.


HP Announces Two New X2s

HP announced this week that it is expanding it’s x2 detachable PC portfolio with two new models: the Android-powered HP SlateBook x2 packed with a Tegra 4 system on a chip (SoC), and the Windows 8-powered HP Split x2. They will be released in the U.S. in August with starting prices of $479.99 and $799.99 respectively.

The SlateBook x2 has Android 4.2.2 “Jelly Bean” installed and has services like Google Now, Google Maps and more. The hardware contained within is not entirely known, but it will have a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen, 64 GB of internal storage and DTS+ sound. The HP Split x2 is based on Intel’s third-generation processors and Windows 8 Pro. It will have a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen, HP Connected Music, Beats Audio, a 2MP HP Truevision Full HD webcam, and an HP ClickPad.

More information on the x2 lineup