Intel Windows HDMI Compute Stick Review

Introduction


There is a portable “USB-powered-HDMI-displayed-AIO-device” war going on since the arrival of low-cost Android boxes which in turn brought us Windows boxes of the same form factor. The next generation of these devices came and shrunk the form factor even more, bringing the full-fat Windows experience to the System on a Chip (SoC) device while maintaining the size of a large memory stick.

Amongst the-the many rebranded Chinese Android sticks to make it to Europe has been an official offering by Intel in the form of their “Compute Stick”, which serves as proof that they are aiming to claim a slice of this emerging market in both Linux and Windows flavours. Intel were kind enough to send us a Windows Compute Stick to put through its paces, and no sooner had they confirmed we would be getting one had it arrived.

Anyway enough of the backstory, let’s get the shrink wrap off and get this fired up!

Specifications
  • Name: Intel Compute Stick (Windows Variant)
  • CPU: Intel Atom Z3735F (Quad Core 1.3Ghz with 1.8GHz burst)
  • RAM: 2GB 1333MHz DDR3
  • SSD: eMMC 32GB
  • GPU:Intel Integrated Graphics (64mb)
  • LAN: None
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 1x USB 2.0 , 1x HDMI 1.4
  • OS: Windows 8.1 32bit
  • Dimensions: 103 x 12 x 37 mm (WxHxD)
  • Warranty: 2 Year
  • Price: £119.98

The box is very nicely packed, no bigger than you would get with a phablet sized phone. There is a small black tab which when pulled slides the inner box out from the cover

With the box slid out, the first thing you are presented with is the compute stick itself

Removing the lining reveals multiple accessories underneath

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

GitHub’s Text Editor Finally Receives Its First Stable Release

A great development text editor comes from the guys over at GitHub. Its name is Atom and if you’ve never heard of it, I suggest you download it and give it a try. I’ve been using it for some time now and for what it has to offer, I don’t think I’ll change to another IDE any time soon.

Atom has been getting a lot of beta releases up until now, but even with its stable 1.0 release, the GitHub development team still says it’s not quite ready yet. The software is completely customizable and modular. This means you can tweak its interface and theme as much as you want and even add packages and third-party plugins to make it work with your projects.

In addition to the above, it features a development-friendly API, so you can contribute to the vast pool of packages it offers yourself. However, the best part about it is that the piece of software is free and available under the MIT license.

Should you decide to use it, I would recommend downloading the Script package as a ‘must have’ tool. The package lets you compile script on-the-fly directly in the text editor, which is what makes Atom so powerful. It does have compiling limitations on some coding languages, but it extremely useful and constantly updated. While Script works well with Atom on Mac, I got it to compile on Windows too, but there’s some work to be done on the latter OS before you can get it to compile.

If you are interested in downloading the Atom text editor, head on over to its website where you can also get some extra info on it.

Thank you LifeHacker for providing us with this information

Lenovo’s ThinkPad 10 Is the First Windows 10 Tablet

Lenovo held its own event in Beijing where they announced the new ThinkPad 10 and this is the second generation. It isn’t just a new tablet, it is also the first tablet to be officially presented with Windows 10 as a feature.

The development of Windows 10 comes along great and the launch is just 2 months away. Users are already being prompted to pre-register for the update, that by the way is free for customers that currently use Windows 7 and newer Windows systems.

The ThinkPad 10 is using an Intel quad-core processor and comes with a 10.1-inch screen size with a 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio. There will be two models with slightly different specifications: Intel Atom Z8500 / Atom Z8700 64 bit processor, 2/4 GB RAM, and 64/128 GB Storage.

It has a USB 3.0 port as well as a Micro HDMI port and Micro SD card slot. It can be equipped with a 3G / 4G LTE modem, supports 802.11ac WiFi. Anything needs a camera and this tablet comes with a 5MP rear and 1.2MP front camera.

The 32Wh battery can provide you with up to 10 hours usage on a full charge. It also supports handwriting through the ThinkPad Pen Pro stylus and there’s also an optional keyboard available.

The Tiny Intel Compute Stick Is Now Available

The tiny and pocket-sized Intel Compute Stick, based on an Intel atom quad-core processor, is available now. The tiny computer plugs directly into your HDMI port and the current version is running Windows 8.1 with Bing, although Linux versions are planned as well. The pocket computer can now be bought from authorized dealers in most of the world, and best of all, it doesn’t even cost that much.

The Intel Compute stick can transform any HDMI display into an entire computer capable of working with productivity apps such as office or simple image editing, but it’s also perfectly suited for light gaming and streaming content, driving basic digital signage or enabling thin clients. It supports Wireless technology for its connection and you can hook it up to your existing Wireless 802.11 b/g/n network.

You’ll also get 2GB of memory and 32GB onboard flash storage and the Compute stick’s storage can be extended by the use of microSD cards and also comes with a USB port. Wireless devices can also be connected to the stick through Bluetooth 4.0

The Windows version is available now at e-tailers such as Amazon and NewEgg and Intel is also going to release a Ubuntu version later that only comes with 1 GB memory and 8 GB of onboard storage. The Windows version will cost you $149 while the smaller Linux model is expected to cost just $110.

Microsoft Is Planning to Release $149 Laptops Running Windows 10

Microsoft is said to be working on delivering record low-priced laptops running Windows 10 which are due to launch this summer. The company is aiming for a $149 price tag for the cheap laptops, which are intended to target the educational markets.

The laptops are expected to feature a 11.6-inch display and be powered by Intel’s Atom Bay Trail-T CR SoC. Other specifics are not yet known, but rumours are that it will come with around 4GB of RAM, low-end SSD storage, Wi-Fi support, USB 2.0 (or possibly even 3.0) and other necessary features required for a laptop to function.

Elitegroup Computer Systems is said to take the centre stage in making one of the laptops and selling it through the educational channel which Intel and ECS built for their Classmate PC products. The final price for the laptop is stated to be $179.

Another Chinese-based PC maker is said to be planning on making consumer versions of ultra-low priced personal computers designed by Microsoft and selling it at around $149. The company is said that it will sell their product “via brand vendors”, but it is still unclear if the products will be China-based or would sell in different parts of the world as well.

Microsoft might also make this move as a response to Google and its attempt to dominate a significant share of the low-end PC market with its Chrome OS devices. However, the move might also backfire on Microsoft due to the fact that offering low-end PCs could degrade profit margins for its partners in the long run.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

Microsoft Planning to Build an Intel-Powered Non-Pro Surface Tablet

Microsoft seems to be moving away from the ARM-powered Surface tablets and getting rid of its Windows RT operating system in the process. A report from WinBeta indicates that the company is planning to switch the Surface Pro series to the x86-powered CPU running on Windows 8.1 (and possibly Windows 10 once it gets released).

The report states that the new Surface will be a fanless device, powered by an Atom or Core M processor, and will be marketed as a consumer-oriented product. This might mean that the company would slot it beneath the Surface Pro 3, but it’s hard to say at this point given that details about it are still scarce.

The company’s non-Pro Surface tablet, the Surface 2, comes with a 10.6″ 1080p screen, up to 64GB of storage and with the Windows RT OS. A similar device with the Windows 8.1 (and Windows 10 in the future) could be a great consumer product, given the price is right. The Surface 2 is currently priced at $449 for the 32GB variant.

An official announcement is expected before or at Microsoft’s Build conference, which starts on April 29th.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

Intel Compute Stick Expected in Europe This April

Intel’s impressive dongle PC, the Compute Stick, is coming to Europe this April, according to Fudzilla.

The Compute Stick, first unveiled by Intel at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 back in January, is an HDMI dongle, nearly twice the size of Google’s Chromecast, with a 1.33GHz Atom Z3735F processor, 32GB on-board storage, and 2GB RAM. It is powered through a microUSB port, and has an additional USB 2.0 port for peripherals or extra storage, plus a microSDHC slot and 802.11b/g/n wireless, and Bluetooth 4.0.

Two versions of the Compute Stick will be available: the more expensive model (€180) ships with Windows 8.1, while the other runs Linux (€120+), though the Linux distro it comes with is as yet unknown.

There was quite a buzz about Intel’s Compute Stick after it was revealed at CES 2015, but the price-hike of around €50 since then will no doubt temper some of that excitement.

Microsoft Teams up with Intel to Bring Low-Cost Windows 10 Smartphones

Microsoft has been working with ARM-based processors for their smartphones up until now, having all of its Lumias powered by Qualcomm’s SoCs. Things are about to change later this year, having the corporate giant teaming up with Intel to release Intel-based Lumias along with its latest Windows Phone 10 OS.

Intel as announced at the Mobile World Congress that Windows Phone 10 is set to run on handsets and phablets powered by the company’s upcoming Atom X3 chips codenamed Sofia. Handsets powered by the X3 chips are said to have a price tag ranging from $75 to $249 and will not have a Windows Phone OS exclusivity, having Intel planning to integrate the X3 in Android-powered handsets as well.

While Windows Phone has only a 2.7% market share, as per the 2014 statistics, Aicha Evans, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Communication and Devices Group, is optimistic about the partnership between the two company giants. He hopes that this will also help Intel gain more ground in the hand-held devices market, a place currently dominated by the ARM chips.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

Intel Introduces Brand Levels for Their Atom Series

Intel doesn’t have the easiest naming system and it looks like they know that. They’re now adding branding levels to their Atom line of processors in a similar way as it’s already done with the Core processors. Starting from the next generation of Atom CPUs they will be offered in three distinct brand levels as in good, better, and best construct: Intel Atom x3, x5, and x7 processors.

The Atom x3 provides basic phablet and smartphone performance, the Atom x5 processor has more capabilities and features for people who want an even better experience, and the flagship Intel Atom x7 processor will provide the highest level of performance and capabilities for this family.

This is good news for all the ones that skip right to the next product when they read the word Atom, as I do. Because they ain’t all bad.

Thanks to Intel for providing us with this information

Intel’s Dongle PC with Windows 8.1 Will Cost $149

Want a PC as small as a Raspberry Pi with the plug-and-playability of a Google Chromecast? You’ll find it, and more, in Intel’s new Compute Stick. The Compute stick is powered by a quad-core Atom CPU and 2GB RAM, with 32GB storage, running Windows 8.1. Also on-board is WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and one USB port.

Though Intel hopes that later models will be powered directly via the HDMI connector – a Core M version has been mooted – but for now the Compute Stick requires a mini-USB power supply, much like a smartphone charger.

The Windows version is priced at $149, with a smaller, 1GB RAM/8GB memory Linux-based model costing $89. Both are due for release in March.

Source: Engadget

Synology Unveils New 5-Bay and 8-Bay SMB NAS’

We’ve been expecting the launch for some time and some information about the two new NAS server could already be found on the official website. But now we got the final introduction to the DS1515+ 5-bay and DS1815+ 8-bay NAS designed with small and medium businesses in mind.

Built around the Intel Atom processor C2000 2.4GHz quad-core processor with Intel AES New Instructions encryption, as well as a RAM module expandable to 6 GB, these NAS models are sure to deliver the robust performance required for businesses’ mission-critical tasks, including encrypted file transfers.

The four Gigabit LAN ports supporting Link Aggregation and failover also ensure writing speeds exceeding 410 MB/s for DS1815+ and 390 MB/s for DS1515+ which is almost double that of their predecessors. Reading speeds are said to exceed 450 MB/s making them capable of handling requests from a lot of simultaneous users. The two models support Synology High Availability, taking advantage of their multiple LAN ports to ensure the highest uptime and resiliency.

Both models are of course expandable with the DX513 unit as we’re used to from Synology, which in return would allow for up to 90 and 108TB of storage respectively. Another great feature is the SSD read/write cache that allows a considerable boost in throughput while minimizing the cost per gigabyte. The SSD cache feature however requires two SSD’s and thereby 2 bays.

The two new NAS servers are certified by VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft Hyper-V To allow for a seamless integration into a company’s virtualization environment. Both devices have started shipping globally and should be available shortly.

For more information, please visit the product pages for the DS1515+ and DS1815+ on Synology’s website.

Thanks to Synology for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Synology

Acer’s New Netbook, With Windows 8.1 and Solid-State Drive, Priced at $199

Hot on the heels of the Asus EeeBook X205, Acer thrown its hat into the neo-notebook ring with the Aspire E 11, with similar specifications, dimensions, and price to its competitor.

Acer’s new compact offering features a 11.6″ 1366×768 display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of solid-state storage, and Windows 8.1. However, the Aspire’s dual-core Celeron N2840 processor can’t quite compete with the quad-core Atom Z3735 boasted by the EeeBook. Add to that the heavier weight – 2.84lbs, against Asus’ 2.2lbs – and seven hours less battery life than the EeeBook, the Aspire pales in comparison.

Although Acer’s new hardware doesn’t compare favourably to the Asus equivalent, its release does suggest that the neo-netbook market is set to become a lot more competitive.

Source: Tech Report.

Supermicro SoC Motherboard with 17 SATA Ports Spotted

A small new motherboard from Supermicro has been spotted on the shop-shelves, the Supermicro A1SA7-2750F. This tiny board is feature packed with a total of 17 SATA3 6GB/s ports and is a totally passive cooled System on a Chip (SoC) supporting up to 64GB memory. Sparked your interest? Here are the rest of the details.

The A1SA7-2750F has an Intel Atom C2750 at it’s heart with 8 cores/8 threads. It is a compact and fanless motherboard operating at 2.4GHz, or 2.6GHz with Turbo. With 4 RAM slots and support for 16GB modules, this board supports up to 64GB ECC/non-ECC DDR3 with a speed of up to 1600MHz.

The 16 blue SATA ports are powered by a LSI 2116 SW 6Gbps SATA/SAS controller and it has an additional yellow SATA port at the top that is controlled by the SoC itself. That is an amazing amount of on-board SATA ports for such a small form factor. The motherboard also has a direct on-board USB port and a SATA DOM power connector. At the bottom we see the single PCI-Express 2.0 x4 connector (in x8 slot).

The rear IO panel has two USB 2.0 ports and two normal Gigabit Ethernet RJ 45 ports, but it also features a dedicated port for the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and a VGA D-SUB port.

Not only does this Supermicro motherboard have 16 SATA ports, it also comes bundled with cables for them all. That is a big bunch of cables in the box, but other then that and the manual it doesn’t look like many accessors are supplied.

The Supermicro A1SA7-2750F was priced at 66,980 yen including tax, that’s roughly £390. It isn’t the ordinary form factor motherboard (21.08cm x 17.02cm) and won’t fit in cases with ATX mounting. It’s designed for 1U 19″ rack systems, but one could of course just mod the case to fit. The board gets power from a 12V 8-pin and 5V 4-pin connector.

Thank you Akiba PC Watch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Akiba PC Watch.

Microsoft and Intel Release ‘Sharks Cove’, a Windows-based Microcomputer

Arduino and Raspberry Pi have apparently inspired everyone, including big name companies such as Microsoft. The corporate giant along with Intel and CircuitCo are said to have been working on their own little development board.

The outcome of their work is said to be a $300 / £176 board dubbed “Sharks Cove”, which is now available for pre-order. It is said to boast Intel’s Quad-Core Atom Z3735G clocked at 1.33 GHz and having a turbo speed of 1.83 GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage space and a MicroSD card slot.

The board is said to be dedicated towards development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run on the Windows operating system. Devices such as smartphones, tablets and similar SoC might now have a small microcomputer building their new apps.

“At $299, this is a board that we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike. That price not only covers the cost of the hardware but also includes a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove. When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was.”

With all the excitement, did Microsoft and Intel ever consider the price? Coming in at $300, it is significantly more expensive than Raspberry Pi’s $35 / £20 board or BeagleBone Black’s $55 / £32 board. Even Intel-based MinnowBoard, compatible with both Linux and Android, is available on the market for just $99 / £58.

“The primary target usage of the Sharks Cove board is for development of subsystems for Intel Atom based Tablets and Mobile devices, but this development board can be used for any Windows or Android based system which uses the Atom processor,” cited on the Sharks Cove website.

While Microsoft, Intel and CircuitCo await for that audience, Raspberry Pi and Arduino will still be the primary choice for developers. The microcomputer might be a nice addition for Windows Phone developers, however a $300 price tag does tend to change your mind sometimes.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Wired

Thecus N2520 2-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


In the latter part of last year I took a look at Thecus N2560 2-bay Intelligent NAS – one of only two white systems that Thecus have in their library and as a budget busting system it really stood its ground in a market which is getting more and more competitive as time moves on. Whilst I looked at the N2560, I made a number of references to the N2520 which we have here today, simply because it is slightly more powerful system with double the RAM and a slightly faster SoC processor running at 1.6GHz. It is therefore only fair that at some stage I take a look at the N2520 to see if it is really worth the move to the higher performance model, or if this is still a worthy contender in the market.

At the time of the N2560 review we could see that there was around £40 difference in cost between the two systems and moving forward to today we note that the price gap is still roughly the same – more importantly though, the price of BOTH units has come down considerably. Where the N2560 was retailing previously for around £270, the same unit can now be found for around £210; whilst the N2520 has dropped from £230 to £170.

As a refresh for those who have not had a chance to read my review on the N2560, these two units are the some of the first units that Thecus have to offer which break away from the matte black chassis that is typically associated with a NAS hardware (they have previously built some silver units as well for the consumer market) and further more they pack some of the latest embedded hardware that Intel has to offer in the form of a 1.2GHz SoC – offering good levels of performance with running costs that are much lower than that of a non SoC based unit.

Alongside the chassis, Thecus include a spread of paperwork, a mains adaptor with regional kettle lead, reusable cable ties and network cable and also a pair of plastic rails, giving the N2520 a totally tool-free design – just what the entry-level user wants.

In addition to the typical accessory line-up, the N2520 comes with a flash drive containing the latest version of Thecus OS software, which can be loaded on to the system during its initial setup run. After this you have a free flash drive to use as you wish.

I’M Intelligent Memory Launches 16 GB DDR3 Memory Modules

Hong Kong based DRAM manufacturer, I’M Intelligent Memory, has announced its 8 GB DDR3 components with a single chip, which doubles the amount of memory per chip compared to other DRAM devices on the market. Based on the latter chip, the company is said to have introduced the 16 GB DDR3 UDIMM and SO-DIMM memory modules, having EEC error-correction technology as an optional upgrade.

It is said that the JEDEC specification JESD9-3 has always allowed a 8GB capacity for DDR3 devices. However, it seems that most manufacturers are waiting for the 2x nm process in order to fit smaller chips and bring high memory capacity. I’M Intelligent Memory has apparently made the leap by developing their own way of manufacturing 8 GB DDR3 components with a single chip using existing 30 nm technology.

The company states that their memory modules are compatible with the JEDEC standard pinout, timing and row/column/bank addressing. In addition to the latter, the company has made available devices including x8 (1Gx8) configuration in FBGA 78 ball package, a x16 (512Mx16) type in FBGA 96 ball package, a x32 (256Mx32) configuration in FBGA 136 ball package, as well as providing DDR3L low-voltage 1.35V versions, all of which are currently available on the market.

Given the 8 GB device, the company has released its first 16 GB DDR3 240 Pin unbuffered DIMMs and 204 Pin SO-DIMMs on the market, while also having them available in 72 Bit width for EEC error correction. The latter modules are said to be compatible with processors and micro-controllers from AMD, Cavium, Freescale, Tilera and others.

While not all processors used in desktop PCs are compatible with the high-capacity memory, Intel has offered support for the Atom C2000 series and Atom E3800 series with a new BIOS version available to download now. Also, ASUS has confirmed support for the latter memory on its X79-DELUXE, RAMPAGE IV BLACK EDITION and other ASUS X79 motherboards. Other manufacturers, such as ASRock, Supermicro, AIC and Portwell have already verified and approved the IM 16 GB DDR3 memory modules for a variety of their motherboards based on ADM, Tilera, Intel’s C2000 series and other processors.

I’M Intelligent Memory apparently has noticed the potential embedded markets, networking and telecommunication applications, as well as PCs and laptops, allowing all to reach a memory capacity previously untouched by any manufacturer out there.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Thecus N4800Eco 4-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


In today’s market, performance, connectivity and software features are not the only areas that NAS manufacturers have to focus on when developing a new product. As businesses strive to save overhead costs wherever they can, the focus is now shifting over to saving power. Although performance is still a key area of focus, like desktop components, trying to get as much processing power as possible whilst using as little power as possible is the next step in the NAS evolutionary timeline. The N4800Eco that we are taking a look at today is by no means a newcomer to the market, in fact it saw its debut in the early part of last year, but with so many systems on offer today, Thecus are looking to give this system a second push to the market, proving that you don’t have to get the latest system in order to get the best balance between performance and cost of ownership.

As its name suggests, the N4800Eco is in fact a direct relative to the renowned N4800 4-bay system that came to market in the middle part of 2012. Powered by a 3rd generation Intel Atom D2700 series CPU, the N4800 once again proved that it was a strong contender in the SMB market as it superseded the N4200 that we took a look at ourselves. Where the N4800Eco differs over the N4800 mainly comes down to the price point. Aside from the removal of the battery backup unit, the N4800 and the Eco are almost identical part-for-part, although the Atom CPU has been updated to a D2701 from the D2700 as seen on the N4800 – giving a slightly better power consumption in respect to the older unit. The Eco branding is there to show that it is a more economically cost-effective product to buy, with the 20% power saving that is advertised relating to the power difference between this system and the much older N4200.

Even though the N4800Eco is positioned within the SMB market, we find a number of features that also make it a worthy consideration for the SOHO market, with full multimedia support through a HDMI connection and a built-in media front end for direct playback of content from the system itself. Since the launch of OS6, Thecus now ship this system with the latest Linux-based OS, offering up a more fluid and intuitive user interface, with support for link aggregation, McAffee Antivirus, Cloud access as well as the sharing of devices connected through the systems eSATA and USB3.0 ports.

Showing off it economical traits, the box for this NAS is very green when compared to any other box I’ve seen from Thecus. A few key features and specifications are printed beside a picture of the system and there is a highlight to show if its 20% power saving that can be expected. Inside the box we get a typical Thecus package including an AC power adapter, network cable and screws for installing both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives and a set of keys for locking the drives in place. A set of CDs with various extras and a set of manuals give everything we need to get going.

HP Announces Three New Tablets Dedicated To Business Solutions

HP has just announced three new tablets, two of which consist of the ElitePad 1000 G2 and ProPad 600 G1, and another as a POS solution, the TX1 POS. Given the continuous rise of IT demands for flexibility, mobility and lightweight devices, it would make sense for HP to provide such solutions.

The HP ElitePad 1000 G2 has been presented at MWC where was dubbed as being the “total business solution”, having it set to be released in March for at a price tag of $739 / £444. It is said to be designed for flexibility, having full-sized HDMI ports suited for easily setting up presentations, as well as having it packed with accessories and features suited to replace a normal laptop. The key features of the tablet consist of having just 9.2 mm thickness, weighing in at just 1.5 pounds, all powered by a 64-bit Intel processor. Additional features consist of touch, voice or pen inputs, dual cameras perfect for video conferences and enterprise IT integration tools.

The HP ProPad 600 G1 is a light version of its ElitePad big brother and lacks its aluminium finish. A variety of accessories has been removed compared to the ElitePad, having just expandable storage ports and micro-HDMI support, all being powered by an Intel Atom processor. The lack of features and performance can be felt in its price, where HP will be selling it at a lower price tag. An official pricing has yet to be revealed for this particular tablet, although HP is said to be releasing it somewhere this April.

Moving to the HP TX1 POS, the tablet is designed to be a point-of-sale terminal which can either act as stationary or portable. The tablet is designed for small businesses tgat beed to connect to front and back office applications. To keep it simple, the TX1 POS Solution provided by HP is similar to the ProPad tablet, having it connect to POS accessories and ports. The TX1 POS is said to be available starting this May.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of ZDNet

Iconia W4 Windows 8.1 Tablet Announced By Acer

Acer presents the new 8.1-inch Iconia W4 tablet running Windows 8.1 and the 4th generation Intel Atom processor. Compact enough to hold in one hand yet spacious enough for comfortable viewing, the Iconia W4 brings mobile productivity and media consumption to the next level.

It targets consumers and professional users who want a tablet that’s easy-to-carry and convenient for all the multitasking they do – all in one sleek device. It comes preloaded with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, at no additional expense, for managing documents and an optional ultra-slim and portable keyboard for those who need to type as well.

Equipped with an IPS technology display, the Iconia W4 provides consistent images, color and brightness from a wide range of viewing angles, up to 170 degrees, ideal for sharing. Furthermore, Zero Air Gap technology removes the air between the touch panel and LCD module, reducing reflection and boosting readability even under sunlight. The Iconia W4 features a 16:10 ratio with 1280×800 pixel resolutions, a 2MP 1080P front camera, and a 5MP rear camera with autofocus that supports 720p/1080p at 60 FPS/30FPS respectively for great photos and videos.

Driven by the 4th Generation Intel Atom 1.8 GHz processor, users can enjoy a smoother video playback, gaming and web-browsing experience. For true one-hand tablet usage, the built-in tablet portrait mode provides a pleasant one-page experience whether users are checking apps, browsing the web, reading or even responding to emails and social media posts.

Windows 8.1 includes several new and intuitive features, such as InstantGo which makes the tablet ready to go at any moment by keeping data and apps refreshed and up-to-date even when the screen is off, by maintaining an internet connection.

The Iconia W4 comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 so users can create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs virtually anywhere, while an optional full-sized keyboard enables more productive typing on the go.

In addition, sharing content and data between the Iconia W4 and other devices is convenient through its range of ports. The Micro HDMI port provides easy audio-video connections to an external display for sharing presentations and other content. It also has Micro USB for connecting to devices like phones, for transferring files or for power charging. Plus customers will always have room for content and data on the Iconia W4 – it comes with either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, and supports an additional 32 GB of storage capacity via the microSD.

What’s more, the Iconia W4 also features a sleek design that is slim and lightweight – it weighs only 415 grams and measures 10.75 mm thin, so it’s easy to take anywhere.

Accessories for extra productivity and protection
A variety of optional accessories make the tablet experience more enjoyable and productive.

  • Acer Crunch Keyboard – Acer offers a state-of-the-art, ultra-slim Crunch Keyboard fitted in a soft synthetic leather cover that easily folds outs while also serving as a tablet stand. The stylish 5.3 mm (0.21 inches) thin silver keyboard offers Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity and is rechargeable via Micro USB.
  • Acer Crunch Cover – made with durable microfibers, the Crunch Cover folds out into a tablet stand with multiple angle settings to suit each user’s reading preferences. The slim-fit cover keeps clear of all ports and is available in several fashionable colors.
  • Acer Power Bank – it offers up to 4 hours extra battery life for tablets and up to 30 hours talk time for cell phones. A LED Light indicator displays battery and charging status. Small enough to fit in a small pocket, it weighs only 100 gr.
  • Other options include the protection film, passive stylus, and Traveler adapter kit.

Availability and Pricing
The Acer Iconia W4 will be available from end of January with a starting price of €299.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

ASUSTOR Launch New Ranges Of 2 And 4 Bay NAS Devices

ASUSTOR, a subsidiary of ASUSTek/ASUS, have just revealed their newest selection of entry level NAS solutions. The new AS-20XT and AS-20XTE series feature 2 and 4 bay options with dual core Intel Atom processors. The AS-20XT NAS devices are more basic with only 512MB of RAM but the AS-20XTE NAS devices double up on the RAM with 1GB and offer more connectivity including HDMI out and line-out audio as well as an audio received – making it ideal for multi-media purposes.

ASUSTOR claim read and write speeds of 104MB/s and 74MB/s. ASUSTOR explain that these NAS devices are ideal for use as backup servers, file servers, video surveillance solutions, web servers and for the XTE variant as a multimedia player. The AS-20XTE series can be paired with the open source XBMC media centre application. As expected these new NAS devices from ASUSTOR come with the usual battery of ASUSTOR software powered by the ASUSTOR Data Master 2.0 operating system.

Key Specifications for the AS-20XT Series:

  • Intel Atom 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Maximum supported capacity of hard disks: 8TB (AS-202T) and 16TB (AS-204T)
  • USB 3.0 (5 Gb/s)
  • Support for online RAID level migration and capacity expansion
  • Supported volume types: single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10

Key Specifications for the AS-20XTE Series:

  • Intel Atom 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Maximum supported capacity of hard disks: 8TB (AS-202TE) and 16TB (AS-204TE)
  • USB 3.0 (5 Gb/s)
  • HDMI output
  • Audio jack (line-out)
  • Infrared receiver
  • Support for online RAID level migration and capacity expansion
  • Supported volume types: single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10

Image courtesy of ASUSTOR

Intel Launch Bay Trail Low Power SoCs

Intel has officially unveiled its Bay Trail family of mobile SoCs based on the Silvermont CPU micro-architecture. The Atom Z3000 series of Bay Trail-T processors are Intel’s first 22nm processors designed specifically for tablets and mobile handsets. Intel will also reveal Pentium (Bay Trail-M) and Celeron (Bay Trail-D) processors as part of the Bay Trail family. These will be made available for entry “2 in 1s” (notebook/tablets), notebooks, desktops and All-In-One systems. Intel’s Bay Trail is unique in that it is a single hardware configuration designed to support both Windows 8 and Android giving Intel hardware partners more flexibility to create innovative designs.

Intel haven’t disclosed any performance specifics but they claim double the compute performance and triple the graphics performance of its previous generation all with a lower overall power drain and physical size. Intel claim 10 hours of active battery life for its low-power SoC platform (Bay Trail-T) and three weeks of standby time. Intel’s Atom Z3000 series will have four cores, four threads, 2MB of L2 cache and Intel Burst Technology 2.0. Intel says tablets based on the Atom Z3000 series will be available from $199. Intel claims the Z3000 series offerings support for McAfee DeepSAFE Technology, AES hardware full disk encryption, Intel Platform Trust Technology, Intel Identity Protection Technology and Intel Data Protection Technology. Intel says support for 64 bit tablets will come in early 2014.

In terms of Bay Trail-M Intel is offering four SKUs –  Intel Pentium N3510 and Intel Celeron N2910, N2810 and N2805 processors. Intel claims devices powered by these SoCs can be as thin as 11mm, be passive/fanless and weigh just 2.2 lbs. Additionally they say expect pricing to start at $199 for clamshell variants, $250 for notebooks and $349 for 2 in 1 devices. Bay Trail-D will be available in three SKUs – Intel Pentium J2850, Intel Celeron J1850 and Intel Celeron J1750.Intel again states these are designed for fanless uses in SFF systems. Systems using these should start from $199.

Image courtesy of Intel

Intel Atom Z3770 Mobile SoC Gets Cinebench Tested

Intel’s Silvermont Atom Z3770 has been tested in Cinebench by Intel’s Francois Piednoel and the new Intel SoC looks to have impressive performance. In Cinebench 11.5 the processor managed to score 1.47 points. Pretty impressive for a quad core 1.47GHz processor with a SDP of 2.5W (implying a TDP of around 4W). If you compare this to the AMD A4-5000 Kabini part detailed by ComputerBase then it is actually on par with it. Why is this impressive? Well the AMD A4-5000 Kabini APU has a 15W TDP – which is more than twice as much.

Of course what’s worth noting is that Cinebench is only one benchmark, and a very Intel-friendly one at that. It is also worth noting that the benchmark is run on Windows, and Intel is really targeting Android and the tablet/smartphone market. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Atom Z3770 stands up to its competitors in a more extensive array of benchmarks on a variety of operating systems when it is released. Until then we know how well it performs in Cinebench, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. We also don’t know how it will perform against AMD’s HUMA/HSA enabled APUs scheduled for a release in the near future. One thing’s for sure though and that is that competition is really hotting up between AMD and Intel in the mobile space.

Image courtesy of Francois Piednoel (Twitter)

ASUS FonePad HD 7 Details Leaked, Comes With Intel Atom

Details about ASUS’ upcoming FonePad HD 7 have been leaked and reported by Notebook Italia. The leak reports that ASUS’ upcoming tablet will use Intel’s current generation of low power Atom processors, notably the 1.6GHz dual core Intel Atom Z2560 from the Clover Trail platform. Furthermore, the device is expected to pack a 7 inch 1280 by 800 display, alongside 1GB of RAM, Android 4.2.2, a 5MP rear camera, 1.2MP front camera and 8 or 32GB of internal storage.

We should also expect details on the ASUS PadFone Mini and MeMOFone HD 5 to emerge soon if you believe UnwiredView. It appears ASUS and Intel will be collaborating much more closely in the tablet and smartphone market if this news is anything to go by. Who knows the two big desktop players ASUS and Intel could soon become two big mobile players.

Image courtesy of ASUS

MSI Announce AP1920 All In One Desktops

MSI have just revealed a brand new budget orientated desktop AIO PC. The new WindTop AP1920 AIO uses a 19 inch display running a rather basic laptop-style resolution of 1366 by 768. The unit is piano black with a pearl white bezel. The front comes with a 1.3MP web-camera.

In terms of the main internals the unit uses a pretty basic Intel Atom D510 dual core processor with 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard disk drive, a tray style DVD-RW and a 6 in 1 card reader. Further connectivity is provided by 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Ethernet.

The unit measures in at 450 mm x 420 mm x 35 mm, weighs about 7KG and has a detachable stand allowing for wall mounting. The unit includes a keyboard and mouse and is ready to go right out of the box.

Pricing and availability is TBA but it certainly looks like a good affordable solution for the average home-user who does only basic tasks with their PCs

Image courtesy of MSI

Intel Bay Trail-T Launching On September 11th

Intel’s Bay Trail-T platform will be the successor the current range of Intel Atom processors on the Clover Trail Plus platform. These new Atom processors will use the Silvermont CPU core design compared to the previous Medfield design on Clover Trail. The new line up includes four quad core parts based on the 22nm manufacturing process. All four parts stay within 2.4W of power consumption or sDP.

We can see an alternating pattern between D and non-D models. The D models have lower resolution support of 1920 by 1200, slightly higher power consumption, less memory support and lower memory bandwidth – so these are of course the more value orientated parts. While the non-D models can support up to 2560 by 1600, have 2W sDPs, support up to 4GB of RAM and churn out 17.1 GB/s of memory bandwidth across a dual channel mode. The Z3770 models will be capable of up to 2.4GHz and the Z3740 models are capable of up to 1.8GHz.

Graphics are just labelled as Intel HD Graphics but we can assume the non-D models have better graphics as they are capable of driving a higher resolution with less power consumption. Expect more details to emerge at IDF 2013.

Image courtesy of VR-Zone, Information from VR-Zone 

 

MSI Announce MS-9A29 Fanless PC, Features 3G-Ready SIM Card Slot

MSI always seem to be expanding their portfolio of products, having just dipped their toes into gaming keyboards recently, and today they’ve unveiled a mini fanless industrial PC for the embedded system market. The MS-9A29 is an Intel Atom based mini PC designed for industrial applications. The system features wall mounting options and is ideal for space critical applications. The MS-9A29 is bundled full of connectivity to give it a wide range of uses. It features dual Gigabit LAN, serial connectors, WiFi and 3G. In terms of storage there is mSATA, SATA and Mini-PCIe. Dual displays are provided by HDMI and VGA outs.

The bottom of the MS-9A29 features a removable cover to easily access the mainboard and swap out any RAM, connectivity modules, hard drives and other components that need maintenance. MSI claims they are pioneers in offering both 3G support and an integrated SIM card holder.

Key Features:

  • Slim and compact size that is perfect for space-critical applications
  • Ready-to-attach to LCD monitors with simply one screwdriver and optional bracket
  • Intel Atom processor with ultra low power and fanless design, a perfect cool solution for automation
  • Support DDR3 SO-DIMM memory up to 4GB
  • Dual independent displays with VGA and HDMI outputs
  • Dual Gigabit LAN for high-bandwidth communications
  • Dual Mini-PCIe for expansion (one with SIM holder), offering more application possibilities
  • Versatile options for networking: Gigabit LAN and optional WiFi/3G by Mini-PCIe
  • Removable bottom cover design for internal Mini-PCIe (WiFi/3G?), SATA, memory, and serial connection
  • Designed with 3G SIM-card holder onboard ready for 3G Mini-PCIe application
  • Support mSATA for solid state disk option, offering faster data access and reliable storage
  • Two openings on rear panel reserved for 3G/WiFi antennas
  • Can be mounted on wall or monitor (with bracket)

For more information, visit the product page.

Image courtesy of MSI

Intel To End Use Of “Atom” Branding

Intel is planning to end the use of the Atom branding according to a Digitimes report. The reason is that it is believed to be associated with “cheap” and “low quality” products, thus the Intel Atom branding of Clover Trail is apparently in part responsible for the poor sales of Intel Clover Trail smartphone processors.

“Intel believes that sales of Atom-based smartphones and tablets have been impacted partly by the CPU brand’s negative image, the sources said. Therefore it hopes a name change can revive demand.” said Digitimes.

In most cases Intel will transfer new Atom-based  products to more reputable brand names like the Celeron on Pentium brandings. Atom CPU branding will gradually be phased out on entry level Intel platforms and in Intel mobile platforms, though we are not sure if old products will be rebranded.

Furthermore, we are not sure if old Clover Trail or new Bay Trail mobile SoCs will be renamed, as Intel’s smartphone processors are the main driving force behind ending the Atom branding. There is currently no information yet on whether Intel will develop anything “new” to replace Atom in the mobile space. They might just simply switch mobile SoCs over to the existing branding structures so we could see “Core i7” branded smartphones.

Stay tuned for more information on this story as we get it.

Image courtesy of Intel