Lenovo first unveiled their Yoga P40 mobile workstation on December first and around two weeks later they revealed the specifications, at least some of them. When a new product like this is being introduced, we usually only get the top end specifications and not all options available. Top of the line is awesome, but it might simply be too much for some users, both performance and price wise.
I’ve long been on the search for a new mobile workstation to suit my needs, plenty of power, mobility, and universal usage, but there wasn’t such a product on the market. The Microsoft Surface Book came close, but I was seriously disappointed in the specifications and low-end hardware they used. Especially considering the premium asking price of the Surface Book. When Lenovo unveiled the P40, I saw my rescue and have since been waiting for it while scouting for more details.
Initially we got a starting price of $1399 USD at the same time as they revealed the specification. It was clear right away that this wasn’t the price for the model with the revealed specifications. Today, or rather yesterday, I finally discovered the first shop listing of the new Yoga P40 that both provide us with an estimate on a European price, some more specification details, as well as a possible release date.
The initial specifications were a QuadroM500M graphics card, 6th-generation Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD, and 16GB RAM as well as an optional LTE version. Thanks to the first product listings we can elaborate a little more on that.
The 14-inch Lenovo P40 2-in-1 mobile workstation will come with either an i7-6500U or i7-6600U processor and either 8 or 16GB RAM. The SSD isn’t 512 GB in all models either and there will be options with a 256GB SSD instead. So far only models with FullHD resolution have been listed, but there should also come a version with a 1440p display instead.
The first listings come from two different shops which both are located in Poland and both revealed the same information. The prices start at about €1817.00 for an i7-6500U with 8GB RAM and 256GB HDD and goes up to about €2380.00 for an i7-6600U with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. The product listings aren’t complete, but they do give us some more insight into these pretty cool mobile workstations.
While the release date on the Yoga P40 wasn’t listed for either of the shops, there are hints towards when we can expect to see it. Lenovo only revealed that it would be released in Q1 2016, but not when. The official ThinkPad Pen Pro for the Yoga P40 does however have an estimated delivery time set for 3 weeks. While that doesn’t mean that the Yoga P40 will ship at the same time, it makes little sense to sell a stylus for a product that isn’t on the market yet. So fingers crossed if you’re looking to buy one of these sweet machines. The waiting time should be over soon.
Overclockers UK is an established player in the hardware retail sector and provides a stellar customer service through approachable team members and impeccable communication on the site’s official forum. The company’s highly adept team of engineers produces a wide array of custom PC builds to suit varying budgets and contrasting tastes. OCUK decided to send the Evolution Envy Mini Gaming PC for review purposes which features a substantial upgrade compared to the basic model.
This particular configuration includes an Intel Core i7-4970K, 8GB DDR3 2400 MHz RAM, NVIDIA GTX 970, MSI Z97I AC ITX motherboard, 120GB Samsung SSD boot drive, 1TB Samsung SSD data drive and ultra-reliable SuperFlower HX 550W 80+ gold power supply. The CPU has been manually overclocked to a frequency of 4.5 GHz and remains relatively cool due to an Asetek-designed-240mm closed-looped-liquid cooler. OCUK combined this wonderful array of components in a portable form-factor which makes it the perfect LAN event PC. Although, it will be fascinating to determine if the restricted space causes any issues during stressful benchmarks.
Name: Overclockers UK Evolution Envy Mini Gaming PC
Case: Phanteks Evolv ITX Windowed Gaming Case – Black
Motherboard: MSI Z97I AC (Socket 1150) ITX Motherboard
Power Supply: SuperFlower HX 550W 80+ Gold Rated PSU
Optical Drive: None
Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 7260
OS: Windows 10 64-Bit
Warranty: 3 Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
Packing and Accessories
The Evolution Envy Mini comes in a surprisingly large box given the chassis size which contains two thick cardboard layers held together by banded wires. This ensures the package remains protected during transit as it’s virtually impossible for the box or its contents to become dislodged.
Once the cardboard layers have been removed, we can see the main chassis alongside strong, protective foam. OCUK also employed durable side supports to enhance the box’s net weight and increase the packaging’s stability. Please note, the retail version is complete with component boxes but this isn’t included on press samples as the packaging is easily lost among other samples.
On another note, the system is bundled with a comprehensive setup guide and tasty selection of Haribo sweets. The setup manual is excellent and explains in clear, concise English how to attach your peripherals. It also gives an indication about fault checking and advises when to contact customer support.
Here we can see the main chassis box which provides a good amount of padding to reduce impact during shipping. Thankfully, OCUK’s attentive approach with the outer packaging kept the chassis cosmetically and mechanically sound. In theory, they could have got away with just sending the item in a chassis box, but avoided this due to damage concerns.
The chassis box contains a precautionary message informing you to retain the packaging for RMA purposes. This is very clear, and in bold writing so it’s impossible to throw away the original packaging without prior notice of OCUK’s return procedure.
After the top seal has been broken, we can see the tightly packed case which features two supporting foam blocks and a large cover. I didn’t encounter any rips on the cover whatsoever which signifies the chassis was well protected and didn’t fall victim to any cosmetic marks.
The foam supports are surprisingly thick for an ITX-size case and constructed from remarkably strong material. As a result, I found it difficult to bend or snap the supports despite applying a significant amount of force. This means, the chassis withstands a lot of punishment and offers enough protection against even the most heavy-handed couriers.
The Gigabyte P34W v3 is touted as “the world’s lightest GTX 970M gaming laptop” and exemplifies how portable modern gaming laptops can be whilst offering an impressive level of graphical prowess. After growing up with a number of 17″ behemoths that almost weighed the same as my Desktop; it is staggering how far technology has come. From the outset, the P34W v3 looks more like a fashionable ultrabook designed for basic tasks instead of an enthusiast-grade laptop. However, don’t be deceived by its slim design; the P34W v3 packs an enormous punch with an Intel Core i7-4720HQ, 8GB of RAM and GTX 970M. This combination provides a stellar 1080p gaming experience without requiring a bulky setup. The question is, have Gigabyte made too many concessions in a bid to reach a compact form factor?
Name: Gigabyte P34W v3
Case: Gigabyte ABS and PC Chassis with Aluminium Lid
Processor: 4th Gen. Intel Core i7-4720HQ (2.6GHz, 3.6GHz Turbo)
Gaming laptops incur a rather hefty price tag which means the packaging and presentation should be impeccable. In this case, the P34W v3 was sent without any bubble wrap, additional boxes or reinforced padding. I wouldn’t be too concerned though as this particular unit is a second-hand press sample and shouldn’t reflect the retail version.
Once the top flap has been removed, you can access the interior packaging which contains a cardboard section for the power cable and adapter. This is constructed from fairly thick-grade cardboard and protects the cables pretty well. Additionally, the laptop is hidden underneath a rectangular foam cutout which adds a luxury feel. Gigabyte decided to position the accessories on top of the cushioning foam to allow for easy removal.
The laptop is bundled with a soft and luscious protective bag which adopts an understated but classy appearance.In terms of accessories, the P34W v3 includes a user’s manual, warranty card, felt cleaning cloth, power adapter, power brick, and selection of software. The user’s manual is 12-pages long and contains clear diagrams to help you setup the device. It does seem rather silly though to provide a drivers disk considering the laptop doesn’t have an optical drive. This shows a lack of thought because many laptops require a disk to enable network functionality before downloading additional drivers. I hope Gigabyte take this feedback on-board and put the data on a USB flash drive in the future.
Most NAS systems are built around the same basic design, but not all of them. Once in a while a device comes along that is something just a little bit special and today I’m taking a closer look at just one of them.
I got the new and innovative QNAP TS-453 mini on the testbench, an NAS that features the easy-to-use QTS operating system, powerful hardware, and a unique top-loading mechanism for the drives. It also comes with one of the easiest and most convenient ways to replace or upgrade the memory. Thanks to the innovative design, the TS-453 mini has a very small footprint for a 4-bay NAS unit. It takes up 29% less space than a normal QNAP 4-bay unit such as the TS-453 Pro that we recently took a look at.
The glossy black design looks great, but it isn’t so great for photos. You can clearly see my camera in most shots and in some you’ll even be able to see the reflection of my monitor that is a good 5 meters away. This is mainly based on the photo lighting and won’t be as extreme in your own setup. You’ll have to take my word for it, it is gorgeous.
The TS-453 mini also comes with QNAP’s relative new myQNAPcloud key that allows for incredible easy setup as I’ll be showing you later.
You can even use the TS-453 mini as full-fledged PC thanks to the virtualization support in QvPC. It allows you to install basically any operating system from Windows to Android in a virtual environment and run it directly from the NAS. That is simply an epic feature.
The NAS has dual Gigabit LAN, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and an HDMI out. This setup and QNAP’s QvPC technology allows you can use it directly with a VM setup or as HTPC. Connect the NAS to your TV or monitor, attach a mouse and keyboard, and you got a media station without the need for another PC.
You can adjust the LED indicators’ brightness in 5 steps from the dashboard so you don’t need to worry about them shining up your entire living room. The skyline LED indication will also remind you when the system is in sleep mode and you can schedule the times where it needs to be on and off.
The top of the NAS lifts off for easy drive access and it secures just as easy again. The powerful magnets in the top will pull the lid right into place and make sure it stays there.
The best feature is hidden on the bottom of the NAS, a single screw to remove a lid is all it takes to upgrade the memory in this system. It couldn’t be easier to upgrade the RAM in your NAS than this, although it isn’t really needed in this case as it is the model with 8GB RAM. Models with less RAM are also available.
As this is the TS-453 mini model with 8GB of RAM, we see that two modules are pre-mounted. You could still replace them, but there really isn’t any need here. The basic model comes with 2GB RAM.
The drive trays are very convenient to use and don’t require any tools or screws for 3.5-inch drives. You’ll need screws if you want to mount 2.5-inch drives in the caddies. Just pull the sides off the caddy, insert the drive and put the sides back on – all done. In fact, you can set up the entire NAS with a single tool and the only place you’ll need a screwdriver at all is if you wish to upgrade the RAM.
I’ve talked a lot about this NAS and I have barely touched the hardware yet. At the heart of the TS-453 mini you’ll find a quad-core Intel Celeron 2.0GHz processor with boost up to 2.41GHz.
This CPU will bring a lot more power to the table than seen from most ARM based NAS devices and it should be something that really shows a difference when dealing with the AES 256-bit volume encryption and comparing the benchmarks to non-encrypted drives. As previously mentioned, you can get this NAS with either 2GB or 8Gb DDR3 memory.
Within the package you find everything you need to get started. The NAS itself is protected with an adhesive film all the way around and you get two LAN cables, a PSU brick, easy setup guide, and an infrared remote control.
The QTS system is a great operating system that provides all the basics features natively. Anything that isn’t found among the basic features can be installed via add-on packages directly from within the management system.
The TS-453 mini is a little marvelous wonder with everything it can do. I’ve already mentioned some of the features, but there is so much more. Next to the QvPC technology for virtualization and HTPC usage it also features RTRR for easy data management and backup, NAS and iSCSI-SAN unified storage solution for server virtualization. It also supports VMware, Citrix, and Hyper-V and you can easy expand the raw storage capacity up to 96TB with the optional UX-800P QNAP expansion enclosure.
Security is an important feature and next to the AES 256-bit hardware encryption engine it also offers anti-virus and a multitude of backup solutions as well as cloud integration – both personal and public clouds. On the front you’ll find a USB 3.0 port with quick copy button that can be configured to work the way you’ll like it best and the system supports everything from third-party backup software such as Acronis True Image and Symantec Backup Exec as well as Real-Time Remote Replication, Rsync, and Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, ElephantDrive, Dropbox and Google Cloud Storage.
On-the-fly and offline transcoding help to create the best possible media experiences no matter what device you connect from and the SSD cache acceleration can be used to speed up the IOPS in environments where that is needed, which mostly will be enterprise scenarios.
Qsirch is a new google-like search feature that recently was added to QNAPs products. It requires some resources, but nothing this system can’t handle. In return, you get the probably fastest and best search solution found in any NAS system. A few keywords from meta-data, file content, or name and Qsirch will find your files.
Mobile devices are covered just as well as PC systems. There are a lot of apps available providing a direct connection to you NAS as well as synchronization options for your mobile devices.
The comprehensive Surveillance Station is of course also present and allows you to connect over 2700 different certified IP cameras to the NAS and monitor it in real time, record, and anything else you’ll want in a security station. Two camera channel are included and it can be expanded up to 24 channels.
Acer America announced that the Acer Revo One RL85 now is available in the United States. The Windows 8.1 PC offers a lot of power in a small and stylish form factor for enjoying movies, TV programs, slide shows and music as well as syncing devices to share data with the entire family.
“We’re excited to bring our newest and coolest media hub to home entertainment enthusiasts in the United States,” said Frank Chang, Acer America senior director of stationary product management. “Tiny in size, but big in capabilities, the Revo One RL85 offers powerful RAID storage capabilities, superb audio and dual monitor support in a compact, easy to use device.”
The almost cylinder formed PC will fit into any living environment including tight spaces with its small 4.19 x 4.19 x 6.1-inches size. It still packs plenty of features with dynamic 7.1 channel surround sound output and both HDMI and mini DisplayPort for up to 4K resolutions. The system comes in a variety of configurations outfitted with 5th generation Intel Core i3 or Core i5 processors and support for up to two additional hot swappable HDDs that can be configured to RAID 0, 1 and 5 for speed, excellent data protection or backup. That’s up to 6TB of storage in this tiny system.
Wireless connection is covered by 802.11ac networking and Bluetooth, but you’ll also find a wired RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet connector. It features both USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, a card reader and can take up to 8GB DDR3 RAM.
The Revo One RL85 also supports Acer Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) that can give you full access to all your files from everywhere. As with all Acer devices currently shipping, the RL85 comes pre-loaded with everything customers need to use BYOC, and the data is secure and private in your own home.
The MSRP starts at $249.99 for the RL85-UR41 with a Celeron 2957U dual core CPU, 2GB RAM and 60GB SSD and go up to 579.99 for the Core i5-5200U dual-core featured RL85-UR45 model that comes with 8GB RAM and a 1TB HDD.
Mike Schropp, the man behind the Total Geekdom website, has been building LEGO computers for years. However, this is the first time Schropp has designed something saleable and he really outdid himself. After going through multiple design iterations, he finally settled on a compact 19.05 x 19.05 x 13.97cm system design.
The size of the system is said to be just as big as to fit a motherboard in, with Schropp explaining that his goal was to build something portable, endlessly customisable and packed with the power of a full desktop computer.
The base system is said to start at $999, coming with an Intel i3-4360 Dual-Core CPU, 8GB memory, a 120GB SSD and Intel HD4600 Graphics. It seems that there are only three case designs available, each of which come with a user-controlled LED light bar that encircles the top of the case and displays up to 20 different colours.
More details on how to get your hands on your own LEGO systems can be found over at Schropp’s website.