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.

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