We often both report on and test high-end NAS devices here at eTeknix, but that isn’t what everybody needs nor wants. Sometimes you want a budget-oriented and basic solution, and QNAP just released a new series of devices in this category. The two new NAS are called the TS-128 and TS-228 and are respectively 1-bay and 2-bay NAS’.
The new TS-x28 series is built around basically the same base as we saw in the TAS-268 NAS that we recently reviewed, just without the HDMI connector and dual Android system. The TS-x28 series is still a feature-rich NAS series for users that want to easily handle file backup and synchronisation tasks, both locally and through the internet.
Create your own personal cloud system without monthly subscription fees and storage limitations while you increase the security as all files are stored in the safety of your own home and on your own server. With the myQNAPcloud service, you get multiple remote access services to convenient access, manage, and share multimedia files located on your TS-x28 NAS from anywhere with a web browser. The mobile QNAP apps such as Qfile, Qphoto, Qmusic, Qvideo and Qmanager all work flawlessly with the new devices too. The Qsync utility is particularly useful as it supports file synchronisation across multiple devices and users can acquire the latest files from any device connected to the NAS whenever they need it.
Multimedia services are no problem with the TS-x28 series either, even though it doesn’t have the direct connection options. You can still stream through DLNA and other services to get all your media content directly on your TV and other smart devices. The Surveillance station also comes with 2 free IP camera channels for that home security setup that you might have considered for a while.
Overall, a tiny NAS that has all the basics and none of all the extras you possible don’t need nor want. Hardware wise it is powered by an ARM v7 dual-core CPU with 1.1GHz clock speed and has 1GB DDR3 memory. You get one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port besides the Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity. The TS-228 is available now for around £200, but I could only find placeholders for the price of the TS-128 at the time of writing. My guess would be around £160.
SilverStone is back on eTeknix again today, with their new AR07 and AR08 CPU coolers. Both coolers are designed to be affordable, quiet, stylish and pack great value for money performance. We’re going to be putting both of them on our test bench today, and while we’re expecting the bigger AR07 to offer up better performance, we’re still eager to see what the smaller and more affordable AR08 is capable of.
“The Argon series coolers are designed to provide the best cooling solution for your CPU. To improve performance even further, unique and exclusive heatsink fin designs such as interweaving diamond edge and arrow guides are included. For users looking for a no-nonsense top performing cooler without the premium price, the Argon AR07 is the perfect choice.” – SilverStone
Both coolers come equipped with a triple heat pipe design and a high-quality fan tuned for silence. The AR07 has three 8mm thick pipes, a 140mm PWM fan and the AR08 uses 6mm pipes with a 92mm PWM fan.
Argon Series AR07
Great balance of silence and performance
Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
Three Ø8mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
Includes compact 140mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening
Argon Series AR08
Great balance of silence and performance
Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
Three Ø6mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
Includes compact 92mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening
Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011 and AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 compatible
Both coolers come nicely packaged with all the main specifications detailed around the box, as well as lots of images showing the fan, fin stack, block, heat pipes design and more.
In the box, you’ll find fan clips, a universal backplate for Intel and an AMD bracket, mounting arms, 3M pads, as well as all the required screws and some thermal paste. Both coolers come with a very similar mounting kit, the only exception being that the AR07 comes with larger fan retention clips.
Building a system on a budget can be tricky in some areas such as the power supply where you shouldn’t skimp out and the chassis where it can be hard to find one you like for the money you have available. If you like it simple and effective while not costing much at the same time, then the newly introduced Regnum RG1 might be worth a closer look.
The Regnum RG1 features a simple and clean exterior, an internal dual chamber design for cable management and looks, and plenty of space for large hardware parts – and all that for less than £24.00.
The large main chamber in the Regnum RG1 offers plenty of space for full-sized ATX setups. The seven expansion slots provide the ability to mount plenty of add-in cards such as graphics card with a length up to 380mm. The CPU cooler can be up to 160mm high, but that’s only relevant if you go for an air-cooling setup. There is a surprisingly good cooling ability with support for up to six 120mm fans and large radiators too. One 120mm fan is installed by default at the rear, three 120mm fans can be mounted on the front, and another two can be mounted on the PSU shroud.
The large CPU cutout should make cooler installation easy and there are plenty of cable routing options. We don’t see the rubber grommets usually found in higher-end cases, but costs have to be cut somewhere to offer an ATX-sized chassis with these options at such a low price. It will still allow you to build a great looking and clean system.
Other than the seven rear expansion ports, the chassis offers two external 5.25-inch bays, but they share the space with the top fan mounts, so it is an either or there. You can install two 2.5-inch drives as well as two 3.5-inch drives, so you won’t run out of storage anytime soon. Especially not if you couple that with M.2 or PCIe storage options.
You also get two front-faced USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack for easy connectivity. Overall, a nice package for a low cost. Speaking of costs, the Silentium PC Regnum RG1 with an MSRP inc. VAT that’s only set to 31.00 EUR or 23.90 GBP. The US price, excl tax, is set to $27.50.
Would you consider a low budget chassis like the Regnum RG1 with all its features in your next build, or will you rather go for a more premium-styled chassis?
If you haven’t invested in a NAS for your home yet, then it might be time to do so as it can make your digital life so much easier by being a centralized storage and media centre. Synology officially released the newest model of theirs and it might be the perfect unit as your first one. The new DS216j is built around Marvell’s Armada 385 dual-core 1 GHz CPU and it comes with 512MB DDR3 memory onboard.
The DiskStation DS216j is able to deliver a great performance despite the low-sounding specifications and can deliver an outstanding read/write performance of 112.75 MB/s in reading and over 97.6 MB/s in writing when connecting from a Windows environment. The system is equipped with a single RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports for high-speed storage and other USB devices .
The DS216j is focused on home and personal use where it allows you to build your own personal cloud or served as their centralised multimedia server effortlessly. Backup and sync files across NAS’, PCs, and mobile devices as easy as a few clicks to initialize a job after which everything runs on its own. You can also stream files to DLNA media players and devices, Chromecast, or Airplay with ease as well as attach USB speakers for direct playback from the NAS itself.
The DS216j is a budget and entry-level unit which shows in a few places. These aren’t bad things, just things that can cut production costs and provide you with a cheaper product such as fewer connection ports and the not having ejectable drive bays. Users can also adjust the LED indicators brightness based on four different settings as well as schedule it on demand.
Synology’s DiskStation DS216j is now available worldwide and comes with an RRP of just £126.00 including VAT or €145.00 excluding VAT. The DS216j NAS is backed with a 2-year limited warranty.
Tenda might be a company that is mostly known for the entry-level products at lower speeds, but they also got some top of the line devices that easily can compete with anything else on the market. Today I’m taking a look at the new Tenda AC15 which is an AC1900 Smart Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi router.
Tenda designed the AC15 with the smart home in mind and as such the router brings a lot of features that can make your everyday digital life a lot easier. Starting with the dual-band AC1900 technology we know that we have a strong router in our hands that will deliver some of the best possible wireless network speeds. The AC15 also features beamforming technology that helps to boost the range of the high-powered amplifiers and external antennas.
The AC1900 standard defines a total speed capability of the router up to 1900Mbps where it is capable of delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently. The Beamforming+ technology helps to achieve the best connection with each device as it locks onto a device’s location and strengthens the signal in that direction rather than blasting it equally in every direction.
The router is equipped with 3 external dual band antennas with a 3dBi strength. Sadly the antennas aren’t replaceable, at least not without taking the unit apart, but they should offer plenty of performance for small to mid-sized homes.
Tenda built the AC15 router around a Broadcom dual-core processor and equipped it with DDR3 memory, but the specifications page does not reveal which exact processor nor how much memory it has. That might, however, be something we can find out through the user interface or by opening it up.
Next to the obligatory WAN port, Tenda equipped the AC15 router with three more Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired network devices. It also features a USB 3.0 port for easy storage and printer connections which then can be shared to any device that you want via your network. This also allows you to create a personal cloud system and that’s even an easy task to do thanks to Tenda’s personal cloud system. We’ll have a close look at that when we got to the user interface.
There is an ever-increasing concern what effect WiFi signals can have on us humans and it’s better to be on the safe side than sorry. Whether this is a concern to you or not, the Healthy e-life functions in the router allow you to dim the LEDs as well as turn the WiFi signal on and off by a user defined schedule. Why should you be bothered by blinking lights and wireless signals when you aren’t home or asleep. Might as well turn it off, which also saves on the electricity bill.
The initial setup and further configuration of Tenda’s AC15 is a breeze as you can do it from any device, whether it’s wired or wireless. You can either use the easy web setup wizard or use the available Tenda apps. Once setup, you have a powerful wireless router that supports IPTV, VPN, FTP, DDNS and DLNA among others.
Ultimate 11ac speed of up to 1900Mbps, delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently.
Broadcom dual-core processor with DDR3 memory for multi-client with responsive performance and fast speed.
Beamforming+ technology boosts range for the 802.11ac WiFi devices.
High powered amplifiers and three external antennas for whole-home coverage.
USB3.0 for personal secure cloud and printer sharing.
Smart managements of WiFi schedule, LED indicator and power saving all are for your healthy E-life.
Package and Accessories
The retail package for the Tenda AC15 router is a beautiful full-coloured one. The front teases the features and the units design with its eye-catching and bright design.
The rear of the box has some more information on the routers usage scenarios as well as more information about the features.
The full network specifications can be found on the side of the box, so you know what you get before you make the purchase.
The router itself is wrapped with a plastic cover to protect it from scratches. There’s also an extra SSID and password sticker on the plastic which you can remove and place somewhere else for safe keeping.
There’s an install guide, GNU license notice, and a wireless standard certification included, but the last two are more for legal reasons.
Besides the router and the manuals, we also find a power adapter, an RJ45 LAN cable and the foot for the router inside the box.
Tenda just announced the availability on their newest router called the F3 and while it might look a little weird to begin with, it certainly does have its benefits. The Tenda F3 is a slim and low-profile 2.4GHz 300Mbps router which might not sound like much when compared to flagship routers that come with all the bells and whistles attached, but it does have its benefits.
The 2.4 GHz band might not sport the high gigabit speeds you can get off the 5 GHz band, but it does have a much better coverage and allows you to reach the furthest corners of your home without dead zones. Tenda amplified this feature by equipping the router with three external 5dBi antennas that can achieve a full coverage of a 200 square meter home.
The router is advertised as a mainstream router thanks its basic wireless features and low price of just $24.99 USD, but I see it more as the perfect router for the home of tomorrow and powered with all sorts of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Networking your home appliances and connecting them requires a great connectivity that is both just stable and also covers each and every corner of your home. You need to be able to prioritize traffic and assign bandwidth limitations to make sure your vital IoT devices have uninterrupted and lag-free connections, and Tenda’s router OS has all the features for this built right into the easy-to-use interface.
Naturally, the router will be just as great for sharing your internet connection among all your PCs, smartphones, TVs, and what other devices you might have. The only downside is really the 100 Mbps LAN and WAN ports, but that can easily be rectified by adding a simple Gbps switch between your systems and the router.
Antenna: 3x5dBi external undetachable antennas
Power Consumption: 1.9W(no load)~3.3W(full-load)
Power Supply: DC 9V 600mA
LED: SYS, WiFi, LAN(1-3), WAN, T, WPS
Interface: 10/100M auto-negotiation WAN port ; 3*10/100M auto-negotiation LAN ports
BIOSTAR expands its broad portfolio of motherboards with the new H110MD PRO. The BIOSTAR H110MD PRO supports the latest 6th-generation Intel Core processors and uses the H110 chipset. Memory wise you’ll find support for older DDR3 standard on the H1110MD rather than the newer DDR4 standard.
The new series of motherboards is designed for the budget minded system builder that still wants some great features while not blowing the whole budget on just the motherboard. It features BIOSTAR’s Tough Power Enhanced power design for improved stability and AudioArt capacitors guaranteeing a whole different listening experience versus similar motherboards.
The Audio Art Capacitors are high-end Japanese Nichicon audio capacitors that bring audio to life and make a lot of difference in your experience. Behind the Tough Power Enhanced feature is a high-endurance power design that allows the BIOSTAR PRO series motherboards to endure high-current with consistent full energy output without additional energy loss.
The H110MD PRO also features the Iron Heart as BIOSTAR calls it. The Iron Heart is a reinforced CPU backplate found on these PRO-series motherboards and help prevent bending and stress caused by heavy CPU coolers. This protects the motherboard from potential damage as well as the double feature of adding further cooling to the CPU and VRM area. Next to these three features, the H110MD also features BIOSTAR’s 6+ experience that includes Speed+, Audio+, Video+, Durable+, Protection+ and DIY+.
Specifications wise the board is relatively simple and that was to be expected. That doesn’t mean that the board can’t be very useful. As mentioned previously, the H110MD comes with an LGA 1151 socket for the latest Intel 6th generation CPUs while using a 5-phase power design and the H110 chipset. The board is entirely built with solid capacitors which should increase the overall life expectancy. Next to a Skylake CPU, you can add up to 16GB DDR3L-1600 memory in the two DIMM slots. Expansion wise you won’t find a lot, but the basics are covered with one PCI-e 3.0 x16 and two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, a Gigabit Ethernet connection powered by a Realtek chip, and four SATA3 ports.
The new BIOSTAR H110MD Pro motherboard has an MSRP of $54.99 and is expected to be available shortly. A simple board with solid features at a decent price, looks like it’s all a match.
Synology has released quite a few new NAS lately and we’ve also reviewed multiple of them, but they got more waiting for customers that want to enter the world of NAS or upgrade their current solution. The newest member of the Synology family is the DS416j, a powerful yet affordable 4-bay NAS.
Synology’s DS416j is equipped with an Armada 388 Dual Core processor with 1.3GHz and it comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. The Armada 388 should deliver plenty of power for this NAS and it also comes with built-in hardware encryption engine. Thanks to the choice of hardware, the DS416j is capable of serving you files with 112.82 MB/s when reading and 101.2 MB/s when writing. Encryption naturally takes some resources, but the DS416j is still capable of a performance around 50MB/s when reading and 37MB/s when writing. That is an increase of 58% in encrypted file transfers compared to its predecessor model.
The DS416j NAS comes with adjustable LED indicators for status, network, and all four hard disk drives. You can switch between four levels of brightness and also put them on a schedule where you turn them off when they aren’t needed. You get a single Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connection as well as a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port on the rear of the unit. It sadly doesn’t have a front USB port, but we also have to remember that this is a budget device and it most likely won’t be the deal breaker for anyone.
Naturally Synology added their well known and great operating system DSM that will provide you will all the features you want and a lot more on top of that. You get easy cross-platform file sharing and synchronizing, download features, apps for playback and streaming of all sorts of media to DLNA and smart devices, as well as comprehensive backup solutions.
Synology targets home and personal users who seeks to get a massive storage capacity where they can build their own personal cloud or serve as a multimedia server. At the same time it targets those who either don’t have a big budget or just don’t want to spend a lot on their next NAS. Four-bay NAS units tend to be quite expensive, but the DS416j comes with a recommended retail price of just £220, and that already includes the VAT.
The continuously underfunded space agency, NASA, finally got some good news on the financial front today. As part of their budget proposal for 2016, Congress included a considerable budget increase for NASA, in excess of what they had requested.
The total sum that would be budgeted for NASA is the sizable sum of $19.3 billion. A number in excess of the Obama administration’s promise of $18.5 billion, which is an increase of $1.27 billion from the sum provided to them in 2015. The financial windfall couldn’t come at a better time for NASA either. For starters, it provides $1.24 billion for the Commercial Crew Program alone. With NASA having recently ordered launches from both of the companies involved in the program for as soon as 2017, with a report delivered with the spending bill making it clear to NASA that the new funds should be put towards keeping the program on track, with the natural assumption being that Congress wish to reduce their dependency on Russia to access the ISS.
The Commercial Crew Program is not the only thing that NASA needs budgeting, either. NASA are planning for $2 billion to go towards the giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is intended to make manned trips into deep space or to Mars. And with many different configurations of the SLS planned, its budget requirements make sense. The SLS’ crew capsule, Orion, is also receiving a large sum of money, after flagging due to financial troubles and having its first test flight pushed back by two years.
As well as the big projects, other NASA agencies that will benefit from the budget increase are the Science division, receiving $300 million more than 2015, including $175 million to be put towards a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s icy moons. It would require specialist modules (as well as to be launched from the SLS), and the timeline is tight, with a mission to take place no later than 2022.
It seems like Congress has finally taken note of NASA’s recent budget complaints, and this seems to be the first step towards making the next decade a very interesting time for space researchers and enthusiasts alike.
I’ve reviewed quite a few high-end NAS lately and that isn’t the right match for everyone, maybe because you just have a limited budget or you just don’t need more. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Synology DS216se, a budget friendly 2-bay NAS that allows you to set up your own personal cloud for your files and backups as well as serving as traditional NAS for file storage and media streaming.
The Synology DS216se isn’t just a budget-friendly NAS when you purchase it, it keeps being a cost-effective NAS thanks to the low power consumption of just 14 watts while accessing and 5 watts when the hard drives go into sleep mode. You can further lower the running costs with the new scheduled power on and off feature. After all, there is no need to have the NAS running when you don’t need it.
Synology built the DS216se with a 32-bit Marvell Armada 370 (88F6707) ARM v7-based SoC that comes with built-in floating point engine, 256K L2 cache, and running at 800MHz. Along with the CPU, the DS216se features 256MB DDR3 memory soldered onto the PCB.
The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall performance of the CPU, but it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creation when uploading large amounts of photos or videos. The DS216se can deliver an average speed of 102 MB/s while reading and over 59 MB/s while writing in a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The NAS also features two USB 2.0 ports for printers or storage and one Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity.
Synology’s QuickConnect allows a DDNS setup with much less hassle than the traditional DDNS providers offer. You can skip your network configuration and eliminate the manual port forwarding, make it work for all your NAS users, and even use it without a public IP address. That makes it easy to access your data from anywhere, may you be away or at home and whether you use a stationary or a mobile device.
This makes it extremely easy to create your personal cloud setup, freeing you up from costly monthly plans as well as the risk of large level data breaches. Store everything safely at home and access it securely via encrypted connections. The link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet is highly secure.
You can easily connect from Windows, Mac, and Linux systems with the use of FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV with network recycle bin where supported. The Cloud Station is a simple way to back up everything to your NAS and it also supports Apple Time Machine for the Mac OS users. You can create backup jobs to and from the NAS, to other NAS, and to public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and Hicloud. You can also sync your NAS with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud. So no matter what type of backup and in what direction, this NAS can do it.
Backup and syncing are just one thing, but the main feature of a NAS is still to store files and serve these in various scenarios. Next to the normal file sharing for app common operating systems, the DS216se also supports streaming to Samsung TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. The Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station apps allow you to build easy to navigate libraries and watch the content on pretty much any system, essentially turning your NAS into an entertainment hub.
The File Station app is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216se. Just drag-n-drop data from a Mac or a PC to upload your files. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, and videos and it also comes with a built-in FTP and email client. The DS216se also lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application where you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file while HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption, as well as link expiry dates ensure file sharing over the Internet is as secure as it can be.
Synology got a long list of other mobile apps available for both your Android and iOS devices, such as the DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download and DS cam apps. They allow you to access and manage the contents of your DS216se with smartphones and tablets. Thanks to the previously mentioned QuickConnect, it makes this just as easy while you’re on the road as when you’re at home and connected to the same local network.
The Synology DS216se is built-in a classic 2-piece design with a large fan at the rear that needs to be taken apart to install or switch hard disk drives. By default, the DS216se only supports 3.5-inch drives, but optional 2.5-inch adapters can be purchased should you want to use smaller HDD or SSDs.
Floating point unit enabled for multimedia processing
Affordable 2-Bay personal cloud for file sharing & backup
Consumes only 5.12W in hibernation
Scheduled power on/off further reduces energy consumption
DLNA®-Certified media server
Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)
Packaging and Accessories
The Synology DS216se package follows the simple and eco-friendly design and it comes without any fancy and unnecessary colourful print. Both the front and the back showcase a big Synology NAS logo, so there is no doubt what’s inside.
The side has a sticker showing you what is inside with a picture of the device itself, what hardware it has, and what content the box has inside.
Unpacking the box we find a Quick Installation guide to get you going, an RJ45 LAN cable for network connectivity as well as a power supply brick with connector cable for the region you purchased it in and screws for the drives and enclosure.
CHERRY is mostly known for their keyboard and keyboard switches, but they have a full line-up of items that also includes mice. Now they introduced two new wireless mice, the MW 2310 and the MW 2110, as well as an updated version of the wired MC2000. All these three mice are fully compatible with the new Windows 10 and come with a precise infrared sensor and an ergonomic shape.
Gamers need high-end mice that have the best of the best features, buttons, and resolution – but office work doesn’t require that kind of hardware. You need something solid, but you don’t need the absolute precision of gaming equipment. So why should you pay for anything more than you need? The symmetrical design offers optimal control for both left-handed and right-handed users.
These mice still offer some great hardware, although not gaming grade. The MW 2310 and MW 2110 offer a three-stage adjustable sample rate where you can choose between 1000, 1500, and 2000 DPI while the resolution on the MC2000 is fixed at 1600 DPI. The MC 2000 features a 4-way scroll wheel that allows horizontal and vertical scrolling without additional buttons which the two wireless don’t.
The wireless MX 2310 and MX2110 utilize 2.4GHz technology for the connection. This energy-conserving transfer method coupled with built-in energy saving features will allow you to use the MW 2310 for up to three years on one battery pack. The MW 2110 can’t run as long, but still an impressive 12 months on one charge.
Colour wise you can get the MW 2310 and MW 2110 as deep black version while the MC 2000 will be available in a white-grey colour. All three mice are immediately available in the market for a very reasonable price. The MW 2310 will be sold for €20.00 and the MW 2110 for €15.00. The wired MC 2000 forms the entry-level model with a price of just €10.00.
BIOSTAR is a hardware manufacturer which caters to a wide range of price points and often releases products to perfectly suit the budget-conscience consumer. Today, the company announced their latest motherboard based on Intel’s Skylake architecture. The Hi-Fi H170S3H features Hi-Fi Audio, Hi-Fi Power and 3D Hi-Fi to provide a wonderful listening experience. Furthermore, there is native support for PCIe M.2 SSDs and apparently DDR3 memory modules. However, I’m pretty sure that’s a typo and meant to say DDR3L DIMMs. This is because the Z170 and H170 chipsets utilize memory with a lower voltage. The motherboard supports up to 32GB of 1333/1600MHz RAM.
While H170 is designed for budget systems, it allows for a decent quantity of USB 3.0 connectors. The Rear I/O also contains two PS/2 ports, a DVI-D, dual HDMI capable of powering a 4K display, two USB 2.0, Realtek RTL8111H RJ45 port and Realtek ALC887 8-Channel HD Audio.
Other key specifications include two PCIe x16 slots, two SATA 3 ports, one SATA Express, and a dedicated audio path. Furthermore, the advanced power design and voltage regulation increases stability. BIOSTAR have set a recommended retail price of $84.90 and customers can purchase the motherboard directly from their eBay store. However, please note the shipping costs are quite high and import duties will be charged in certain regions.
Hopefully, the motherboard will be stocked in local retailers very soon.
SilverStone announced a new entry to the Precision series, the PS12 Micro-ATX chassis. The PS12 was created with the goal of exceeding user experience and expectation for affordable PC chassis by offering a wide range of features and complete it off with great build quality.
The SilverStone PS12 offers two external 5.25-inch drive bays as well as four internal 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drive bays. The is one 120mm fan included and mounted in the front where you also can mount an 80mm fan. The rear or the chassis can hold an 80mm or 92mm fan while the side panel features oversized vents. Overall, plenty of cooling for a small chassis.
You can mount Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards in this chassis and it takes normal PS2/ATX sized power supplies. It is compatible with expansion cards, IE graphics cards, with a length of up to 14.1-inch, allowing you to use even bigger graphics cards.
The CPU cooler has to stay within the 140mm height specifications, but there are quite a few to pick from in a size up to that. You get two front USB 3.0 ports as well as headset connectors. Overall, everything you want from a chassis without having to pay a premium for something that just needs to work.
SilverStone also added removable fan filter, created the PS12 with all black painted interior, and a CPU backplate cutout. The recommended end user price for the SilverStone PS12 is set to $45 USD excl. VAT and it will be available on November the 25th.
Quick access filters to prevent dust buildup
Motherboard backplate opening for quick CPU cooler assembly
Supports four expansion slots cards up to 14.1 inches long
Mad Catz has been on a role lately and released quite a few new products, but they’re far from done. The newest entry is a budget oriented and a very weird-looking mouse called the R.A.T.1. The R.A.T.1 features an innovative modular design as well as 3D printing and personalization options that enable users to truly make it their own.
The new Mad Catz R.A.T.1 is available for preorders now and it will ship in December. The price isn’t bad at all and this new funky looking mouse can be yours for just $29.99. The mouse features three core components: A tripod chassis, a sensor module, and an adjustable palm rest that users can customize to match their personal style and usage requirements. Due to the simple design, the mouse is ultra-lightweight but still made from the same materials used in Mad Catz’ tournament-grade mice.
The R.A.T. 1 comes with an adjustable 3500DPI optical Pixart PMW3320 gaming-grade sensor module. The module itself can be used without anything else as a very compact laptop mouse, making it even more useful. The R.A.T.1 is also the world’s first gaming mouse that empower users to use a 3D Printer to create their own customized Palm Rest. Owners of the R.A.T.1, can download 3D CAD files of the Palm Rest, create, print and share their own unique designs right from their home 3D Printer! The DPI is adjustable all the way down to 250 DPI and the R.A.T.1 features six programmable buttons.
“With a gaming DNA derived from the award-winning R.A.T. PRO Series, the R.A.T.1 re-envisions what a gaming mice could be with its innovative modular design and unique customization options,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “The R.A.T.1 sets a new standard in design and personalization, appealing to both passionate gamers and casual users alike – allowing us to broaden the appeal of our R.A.T., range and drive our PC business into 2016 and beyond.”
The Mad Catz RAT1 mouse is available as a black and green model or white and red for those who want to mix it up a little bit.
Asus announced a new motherboard in two versions for the value oriented gamer that would like a system with all the modern features at a slightly lower cost, the new B150 Pro Gaming motherboards in plain simple and as an Aura model that also comes with LED-illumination. Other than that, the two new motherboards are the same.
Built with the B150 chipset, the new Asus Pro Gaming motherboards allow you to use the 6th generation Skylake Core processors as well as up to 64GB DDR4 dual-channel memory. The motherboards also bring great audio to the end-user in the form of SupremeX and Sonic Radar II. Networking is taken care of by an Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet controller that features both LANGuard and GameFirst technologies to give you the perfect gaming experience with zero lag and great audio.
Naturally, you also get the newest connection technologies, including USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, and an M.2 slot for NVMe SSDs next to plenty of the older connections storage and connectors. You can connect 6 SATA3 drives to these motherboards and also six USB 2.0 and six USB 3.0.
Durability shouldn’t be an issue for the B150 Pro Gaming motherboards as they are built with durable capacitors that can resist temperatures between -55 and +110 degrees Celcius while the input/output panel is made of corrosion-resistant stainless-steel. ASUS also added their ESD Guards to actively protect against sudden ESD surges on the USB, audio, and LAN ports.
Asus did not reveal any pricing or availability at this time.
Electric cars are all the rage these days. With big companies like Tesla and even public transport like buses and shuttles in airports and between towns. So why do the public not take up electric cars if they are cheaper to run and better for the environment? Two big problems, first being that the batteries drain quickly and secondly the cost of the cars; one man hopes to have solved the second problem.
Mark Frohmayers came up with the idea eight years ago, the idea of creating an electric vehicle that would be great for a little runaround and would come in quite cheaply. With all the companies building large vehicles, Frohmayers saw a gap in the market where people could just afford a simple electric vehicle.
Arcimoto was born, a start-up for affordable electric vehicles, and has since shown off a few three-wheeled prototypes, but sadly over the eight years the company never quite felt happy with the overall goal. That was until now, with a car that meets all the criteria they set out, and it will cost less than $12,000 (£7772 approximately).
Their latest model, the SRK, ditches the steering wheel. The three-wheeled vehicle features two seats and the vehicle is officially classed as a motorcycle and features a range of 70 miles with speeds up to 85miles per hour. Only 105 inches long, the vehicle fits in small spaces and with the option to fully enclose the SRK (instead of the frame style protective shell).
Could you see yourself commuting to work on an SRK? Or would you need a little more distance and power? Could you ever see yourself getting a run around vehicle such as this or will you always want something to carry you and the family on holiday?
Sharkoon expanded their product series with two new midi tower case series that come at an attractive price point for users that build a system on a budget. The two new case series are the T3 and VG5 and they come with tool-free device installation, adjustable fan configurations, and cable management system despite the low costs.
Both new series have a classic PC case look and come in several versions, with or without windowed side panel and with coloured additions to the basic black base colour. The T3 case series has a simple front panel that suits the use for office PCs or generally computers in a classic style. Colored power LEDs in the front as well a 120 mm LED fan in the Value and Window version completes the optical details for the entire series.
The Standard version comes without any LED fans as it isn’t everyone that wants a flashy system, some just want one that works as intended. The case looks easy to install thanks to the wide open areas and tool-free drive bays.
You can fit tower coolers with a height of up to 160mm, graphics cards up to 385 mm, and power supplies up to 250 mm into this case, making it suitable for almost all hardware. There are three external 5.25-inch drive bays, three 2.5-inch internal drive bays, and three 3.5-inch internal drive bays that should be enough for most people. There is also space for an additional 2.5-inch drive on the bottom of the case. The Value and Window versions feature USB 3.0 front ports while the Standard version only features USB 2.0 ports.
Depending on the version, the T3 comes with either one or two pre-installed front fans, each 120mm. Again depending on version, you can add more fans to the side panel as well as the rear. The Standard version is available in black. The Window and Value versions are available, with matching interior painting, in the color versions blue, green and red.
Where the T3 series is aimed more at office and work systems, the VG5 series is aimed more towards gamers and their general needs with the brawny designed front panel and features. If you want a simplistic design, this isn’t it. But if you want something to stand out, it looks like a safe bet.
The Sharkoon VG5 series features two illuminated 120 mm LED fans on the front as well as two USB 3.0 ports and easily accessible audio ports for your headset. The front panel also allows for easy cleaning due to its removal abilities without having to unplug any cables or other parts before taking it off.
The VG5 allows for bigger CPU coolers than the T3 series, here we can go all the way up to 160mm height. The GPU clearance of 385mm and PSU clearance of 250mm is the same.
The case comes with a pre-installed dust filter on the case bottom for the power supply, but other than that you’ll have to clean the system from whatever it takes in. There is one less 5.25-inch drive bay here, but the other drive bays are the same as in the T3. There is however an enclosed 5.25-inch to 3.5-inch drive bay cover and mounting frame that allows you to install smaller external drives too.
Two 120 mm LED fans come pre-installed in the front panel. Additionally, it is possible for another fan to be mounted in the rear panel and, depending on version, also installed on the side panel. The Value version is equipped with blue LED fans. The Window versions are available in the color versions black, blue, green and red with matching interior painting.
End customers can find the Sharkoon T3 ATX case in the Standard, Value and Window versions available immediately for the suggested retail price starting at 27.99 euros from authorized retailers. The Sharkoon VG5 case series is also now available starting at 32.99 euros for the Value and Window versions. Sounds like a good deal for that price.
Amazon is known for a lot of things, ranging from their online store and their music stores to their Prime membership offering access to Movies and next day delivery on a range of their offered products. In recent years, their hardware has also taken the market by storm, with people buying up the Kindle and then their Kindle Fire which offered a tablet with Ebook bonuses. Now they seem to be expanding their market with a whole slew of new products.
Four new tablets are set for release in October, titled the Fire HD8, the Fire HD10, The Fire and the Fire Kids edition. Not surprisingly the Fire HD8 and HD10 will feature 8-inch and 10.1-inch screens respectively with metal backing and Gorilla glass to survive those unfortunate drops. The Fire HD8 packs 8GB while the HD10 will come with 16GB, but both are capable of being expanded with a microSD card of up to 128 GB. Priced at $150 and $230 they are not the most expensive devices on the market.
The Fire, however, has drawn the most attention, with a slower 1.3GHZ processor and 1GB of RAM the device is shown off by a 7-inch screen but comes in at only $50. Following the Fire is the $99 Fire Kids edition. A version of the Fire the Kid edition comes with a case and a 2 year no worry guarantee. This guarantee offers parents the option to send back their device, even if the kids got angry and threw it against the wall, for free.
Supporting the new devices are a slew of new features, such as the Fire OS5 which will come and show off several new features. With a variety of programs to support it, such as a year of “FreeTime Unlimited” service with the new Fire Kids edition. This offers a selection of books, shows and games that have been checked by child advocacy group Common Sense Media to make sure that your kids are only on what’s suitable for them.
An interesting new piece of software is titled “On Deck”, designed to help solve that problem when your about to get on a plane or out and about and have forgotten to download that TV series or movie you wanted to watch. On deck aims to solve this by downloading movies and shows automatically when the tablets are plugged in, deleting the content when you try to download something and run into store troubles. It should be noted that On Deck can be disabled.
With all these new features, who is tempted to buy a brand new Fire Tablet?
Cryorig’s latest two CPU coolers are actually just one that comes in two version to suit either an Intel or an AMD socket design. The M9i is logically for Intel and the M9a is for AMD. Cryorig took all the things they’ve learned from their bigger models and applied them to this new and very compact tower cooler.
The M9’s slim design has the big advantage that there aren’t any compatibility issues with your RAM and PCIe slots. Both are completely free from the cooler and allow you to place and compatible item without risk. The M9 is only 87 mm long, 102mm wide and 124mm high, making it compatible with almost any mid-tower type chassis.
The mounted fan is a 92mm RPM model with a speed of 600 to 2200 RPM. It is able to push an airflow up to 48.4 CFM at a noise level up to 26.4dBa. The Cryorig M9 is still able to provide efficient cooling for CPUs with a TDP up to 120W.
Both the base and heat pipes are pure nickel-plated copper, which is rare in this budget oriented market. A lof of manufacturers are switching to cheaper base plates to keep the price down. Cryorig opted to go for the full deal here and provide a product they can be proud off. The three heat pipes are 6mm thick.
The choice to make separate options available for AMD and Intel users helps to keep the price down and bundle great. The Cryorig M9 is targeted for a global release during September, beginning in Japan, Taiwan, South-East Asia, and the US. The European markets will get the coolers a little later and should be able to get it in October. The MSRP is set to 26.99 USD (-VAT) in the USA and 26.99 Euro (-VAT) in Europe.
Team Group just launched their all new L3 EVO SSD that thanks to its SATA3 interface is compatible with almost any system. While M.2 and U.2 along with PCIe might be what the future looks like right now, SATA is still the most compatible interface out there and the one that most people can take advantage of.
The name, L3 EVO, suggest a budget drive and it is, but the Team Group L3 EVO still provides some good performance figures. The drive is also available in a wide variety of capacities, ranging from 120GB over 240GB and 480GB onto the biggest version with 960GB capacity.
The bigger the capacity, the better the performance rating. The 120GB model is rated up to 530MB/s read and 400MB/s write while the 960GB version can read with the same, but write with up to 500MB/s. The figures look about the same when we look at the random performance where the 120GB model can do 70/20K IOPS in 4K read/write benchmarks and the 960GB model performs with up to 85K/60K IOPS.
The new Team Group L3 EVO series has an MTBF of 1 million hours and comes backed by a 3-year warranty. Team Group didn’t announce what NAND or controller they used at this time and a release date and price wasn’t revealed either.
PC gaming can be quite expensive sometimes, but it doesn’t always have to be. The latest keyboard from the legendary TteSports promises a huge range of features for a not so huge amount of money, something that I’m sure will appeal to a very large audience. TteSports have always been known for their competitive pricing, even on their high-end stuff, but the Challenger Prime was designed from the ground up to be affordable while still maintaining excellent value for money.
“The CHALLENGER Prime membrane gaming keyboard packs a whole lot of features at a budget-friendly price. The backlighting system features red, blue, and purple LEDs for static and pulse lighting; Brightness can further adjusted via the dial in the front center of the keyboard. As with the CHALLENGER series of keyboards, the CHALLENGER Prime also features onboard memory for setting the dedicated macro keys. In addition, there are multimedia keys, shortcut keys, repeat rate and poll rate adjustment keys.” – TteSports
It comes with a fairly standard full-size key layout, as well as additional dedicated macro keys, shortcut buttons across the top, multimedia controls, 3-colour LED lighting, a volume dial, built-in wrist rest and more! That’s already a pretty impressive feature set, wouldn’t you agree?
Here’s TteSports giving us a quick run through many of the features you can expect from the Challenger Prime.
First impressions are pretty good, with a nicely designed box that has a clear image of the keyboard on the front, as well as a quick rundown of the main features.
Around the back of the box, a much more in-depth set of features are detailed, but we’ll be taking an even closer look at those ourselves in just a moment.
Aside from the obvious, you’ll also find a couple of booklets in the box, nothing fancy, but we really only need the big item that was in the box.
Amazon’s ambitious first foray into the smart-device market has been fairly disastrous and struggled to compete with huge brands such as Apple at higher price tiers. As a result, Amazon is reportedly shifting their focus to the budget sector and preparing a 6-inch $50 tablet. In theory, this is a pretty cogent idea as the low retail price should widen the device’s appeal and reduce the barrier to entry. Amazon’s financial strategy revolves around services and inexpensive tablets could bring a whole host of new subscribers to Prime and the Kindle store.
However, there are alternatives from unknown Chinese brands under $50 which could eke away at their market share. Despite this, Amazon could dominate sales in the budget tablet sector due to their reliable customer service and brand identity. Although, this move does seem a little strange considering Amazon recently fired “dozens” of engineers from “lab126” which created the company’s Fire handsets.
Perhaps, Amazon sees some success as a hardware company at the lower-end and expects this move to create a strong foothold. If the $50 tablet manages to impress, consumers might become more inclined to try out a premium Amazon tablet.
While much of the focus for Skylake has been on the CPU side, Intel has also invested heavily in improving the iGPU side of things as well. As part of IDF 2015, Intel shared some details about what makes their iGPUs tick. Intel has long been improving their iGPUs and eroding the budget space for AMD and Nvidia.
With their Gen9/Skylake graphics, Intel largely makes iterative improvements. API support is one noticeable area of improvement with support improved to DX12/11.3, OpenCL and OpenGL 4.4. The architecture largely remains the same with the 3 domains of unslice, slice and subslice. For the unslice which is pretty much the GPU control unit, Intel introduced a number of improvements, most notably improved bandwidth to memory and better performance.
The biggest changes can be found in the slice, where all the Execution Units (EU) can be found. Each Alice is made up of 24 EUs which is the smallest iGPU Intel will ship in most cases. Here, Intel improved on MSAA performance for 2x, 4x and 8x while also adding 16x. While most iGPU gamers probably want higher fps rather than fewer jaggies, for the top end GT4 unit with eDRAM, 16x may be an option for say 720p.
Another major feature is the inclusion of lossless colour compression which is critical for the bandwidth starved iGPU. By compressing at up to a 2:1 ratio, 3-11% gains can be found in games as it increases the practical memory bandwidth for loading textures. Since the iGPUs have relatively low bandwidth and fast cache memory, moving textures from system ram quickly is critical. Both AMD and Nvidia have implemented lossless colour compression for their GPUs and it’s what allows the R9 380 and GTX 960 to have narrow 256 and 128-bit memory bus respectively. The lossless colour compression ties in with the improved ring, L3 and IMC bandwidth and latency. Other changes are an increase to the top GT4 SKU to have 72 EUs (3 slices), increased L3 cache available to the iGPU and improved pixel fill rate. This ties into the subslice which can now output up to 12 texels/CLK.
On the video front, Intel has improved their Codec support for encoding and decoding. HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) 8bit, also known as H.265, encode and decode is supported and both VP8 and MJPEG decode added. HEVC 10bit is supported for decode but will require the use of the GPU and not dedicated hardware units. These additions should make streaming/recording HEVC 8bit on the iGPU much more palatable as you’re going to be losing a lot fewer frames compared to a software solution.
With Intel making such huge strides in the iGPU space, both AMD and Nvidia must be worried as Intel already dominates iGPU marketshare. AMD should probably update their APUs soon as well as they don’t yet support any form of large cache like HBM and Intel has caught up with important features like colour compression, API support and accelerated encoding/decoding. 2016 will be very interesting as AMD may finally catch up on the CPU front with Zen, HBM may be used as a cache and the GPU side continues to grow.
While various reports and rumors have suggested that the GTX 950 is well on its way, additional details have come out about the card and it’s GTX 950 Ti older sibling. First of all, the report suggests that the GTX 950, which we had long known would arrive in late August, is scheduled for a launch on the 20th, a little under a week away.
Bigger news though is the confirmation of the GTX 950 Ti. According to the source, Nvidia is still developing the GeForce GTX 950 Ti. This card will be based on the GM206 and slot in between the GTX 950 and GTX 960 given its name and might receive a 4GB version. Given that the GTX 950 has 768 shaders and the GTX 960 has 1024 shaders, the 950 Ti is pretty much guaranteed to have 896 shaders. This means Nvidia will have 3 cards packed tightly together in terms of performance. TMU count is expected to be the same between are 3 GM206 siblings but ROP counts for the 950 Ti are still unknown.
With 3 cards so tightly packed together, Nvidia risks confusing consumers and can only really differentiate on price. The shader deficiency between the 980 and 970 hasn’t kept the 970 from nearly matching the 980 and the smaller differences between the GM206 cards probably means even smaller performance disparity. The cut down 950 and 950 Ti will allow Nvidia to get rid of imperfect GM206 dies though. While more budget cards are welcome, Nvidia would probably be better served with a card to slot in the large gap between the 960 and 970, served only by AMD.
Motorola’s successor to the extraordinarily popular Moto G handset has been pictured in Itabuna, Brazil and gives an indication of the device’s capabilities. According to the official box, the Moto G 2015 will feature a 5″ Gorilla Glass display, 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5mp front camera. Currently, we do not know the exact pixels-per-inch of the screen, but I expect it to be around 291.78 ppi. The handset will offer 4G connectivity, dual SIM support and IPX7 water resistance. Please note, that IPX7 does not mean waterproof and only provides enough protection against small splashes. On another note, the dual-sim functionality may be limited to specific countries.
The Moto G 2015 sports 16GB of storage which may suggest the RAM has been increased to 2GB. Furthermore, I would like to know if there is a microSD slot to enhance the expansion.
Included in the box is a USB cable, charger, audio cable extender, and colour fascias. It’s difficult to see what the audio cable extender is for but it might work alongside a premium accessory. Strangely enough there are no earphones for hands-free operation. However, this isn’t a major issue as most of the bundled earphones with handsets are awful. The Moto G 2015 is shaping up very nicely and looks set to be the next budget handheld to own. Although, with so many high-specification clones on the market, it’s difficult to dominate this section of the market.
Would you trust a non-branded Chinese clone?
Thank you Pocketnow for providing us with this information.
Just after we’ve received word on Nvidia’s new GTX 950, it looks like Nvidia is prepping things up for the card’s arrival. According to Hardware.fr, Nvidia is set to cut prices on the 750 Ti by about €10 – €15. It looks like Nvidia wants to clear out as much of the 750 Ti stock before the replacement 950 arrives.
Given how close the specifications are between the 750 Ti and 950 are, it’s not surprising Nvidia wants to get rid of the 750 Ti as fast as possible. The 750 Ti comes with a core configuration of 640:40:16 which is only a tad less than the 768 shaders the 950 is armed with. While I don’t know how many TMUs or ROPs the 950 has, it likely falls around between 40:16 and 64:32. With the 960 above at 1024:64:32, there is little room for a 950 Ti though Nvidia has not been shy about filling up every possible niche, even if it means cannibalizing its own cards.
With 768 Maxwell 2.0 shaders, the 950 should do battle at the old 750 Ti price point of about $120-$150 USD. This should put it right against the R7 370 for low/medium 1080p which performs a bit ahead of the 750 Ti. Given the large gap in price between the 950 and the 960, Nvidia may end up launching a 950 Ti with 896 shaders or with 768 shaders and improved TMU and ROPs. With Pascal not likely to come till late 2016 especially for the low end, the 950 may be here to stay for quite a while.
Xigmatek may not be everyone’s first thought when you ask them to name cooling manufacturer, but they’ve been around for many years, creating some incredible chassis products, CPU coolers and more. With that in mind, I’ve got high expectations of the LOKI II. Of course, this is only a budget friendly, and rather small CPU cooler, so it’s not about to break any world records. However, the budget end of the market is fiercely competitive and not everyone needs a super high-end custom loop water cooling system; actually, very few people do. What most people need is something that doesn’t suck as bad as the stock CPU cooler that came with their chip and more often than not, they don’t want to spend a lot of money.
As you can see, the LOKI II is quite a compact size cooler, so it may be suitable for a lot of SFF builds. It comes with three 6mm heat pipes, with a direct touch design and a 92mm PWM fan.
The packaging is simple enough, just a nice picture of the cooler, the specs on the other side and that’s about it really.
In the box, you’ll find the cooler, the fan, a universal backplate, fitting screws and washers, two fan retention clips and the Intel/AMD brackets.
The fan may be small, but it is still very nicely designed; it features orange fan blades, that look pretty funky and some sleeving on the cable.
The fan is a brushless fitting, with a 4-pin PWM connector.
The tower is tiny, but has a solid fin stack and a triple heat-pipe design which are U-shaped to pass through each side of the tower.
The sides are partially closed off, allowing airflow to be better directed through the fins and get heat away from the cooler.
The fan mounts on this side of the cooler and there’s a pair of grooves on the side to allow you to use the fan clips. The slim design of the cooler should also mean zero issues with ram modules.
A small Xigmatek logo on the top, looks pretty cool, but the cooler also shows some signs of being a little cheap here, but that’s not exactly a shock, because it’s priced cheap!
The heat pipes are direct contact and there’s a thick mounting block to help better dissipate the heat through those pipes.