ASRock Releases Upgraded BeeBox NUC Mini-PC

ASRock released an upgraded version of their tiny NUC mini PC, the BeeBox. The BeeBox is now available with a quad-core processor, 32GB eMMC SSD and comes bundled with a free copy of Windows 10. The BeeBox is also available in a new silver coloured version now on top of the black, gold, and white versions.

The new quad-core CPU is an Intel N3150 SoC and the NUC comes with 2GB DDR3 1600MHz, upgradeable to 16G. You can add plenty of storage despite the small 0.6l volume of the NUC. You can add both an mSATA SSD and a 2.5-inch drive, allowing you to reach 3TB storage and beyond in the near future with newer and bigger drives.

Beebox is the world’s first mini PC with a Type-C USB port and it is the only one to support triple monitor, H.265 decoding and 4K video playback through two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. The whole system has low power consumption and is extremely quiet while powered on. It is nearly silent when run in Eco mode where it could be used for light tasks such as torrent downloading. So bedrooms aren’t excluded from the possible locations to place it. Another added bonus is the included IR control so you can control it from the couch or bed.

Have you made the switch to ultra compact systems somewhere in your home or do you still prefer the large systems with endless possibilities everywhere? Let us know in the comments.

Nvidia Announces Quadro M4000 and M5000 Maxwell-Based GPUs

NVIDIA announced the successors to the Quadro K5200 and K4200 graphics cards and the two new cards have been dubbed the Quadro M5000 and the Quadro M4000. These two new cards are based on the Maxwell 2 architecture just as the Quadro M6000 announced back in April was, and these aren’t just some wash up rebrands of previous cards but offer a performance that should be double that of the predecessors.

NVIDIA isn’t always quick to share all the details on these new cards, but we can predict the missing information based on the information we got and the general knowledge of the systems and chips. The first thing we don’t fully know is the actual GPU, but based on the CUDA cores it is safe to assume that it is a fully enabled GM204 with 2048 CUDA cores and the full 256-bit memory bus. The M4000 is using the same GPU, but it only has 1664 active CUDA cores. Both cards are almost equal when it comes to memory as they both feature 8GB GDDR5 memory. The M5000’s memory is clocked slightly higher and it also features a software based ECC support.

A thing that didn’t change much over the predecessor Quadro cards K4200 and K5200 is the power consumption. They all draw power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector and the M5000 comes with a TDP of 150W, same as the K5200. The Quadro M4000 got a slight bump up to a 120W TDP over the previous 105″.

The new generation Maxwell GPU has a lot of benefits over the older Kepler and one of them is being able to native support up to four 4k monitors and both of these cards can do that with four DisplayPort connectors. The Quadro M4000 is a single slot card that doesn’t have room for more connectors, but the Quadro M5000 being a dual-slot card also comes with a DVI connector.

NVIDIA never discloses the prices of these cards, they leave that up to the card partners, but it’s safe to assume that it will be around the same as the predecessor cards, $2000 and $1000 for the Quadro M5000 and Quadro M4000 respectively

MSI Rolls out the MS-98G5 IPC Featuring an Embedded Broadwell Processor

MSI has just launched its MS-98G5 industrial motherboard with an embedded processing and graphics solution. The motherboard is based on the mini-ITX form factor and Intel 4th Gen QM87/HM86 architecture that comes with a BGA-type Haswell/Broadwell Mobile Core i7, i5, i3 or Celeron CPU, various displays, 1 PCIe x16, 8 USB 2.0 and 4 USB 3.0 ports, 5 COM ports, a SATA 3.0 connector, and 2 mini-PCIe slots.

The MS-98G5 is flexible in terms of system integrators, having the auto-switch DC 12/19V power inputs bring more possibilities of display deployment, I/O connection and extra expansion. The motherboard features HDMI, DP, DVI-I, and LVDS in terms of outputs and the HD Graphics as a graphical solution, giving it the high-performance Intel 4th Gen kernel the industrial sector needs for various industrial applications.

Here is a brief spec of the MSI MS-98G5:

  • Haswell/Broadwell Mobile Core i7/i5/i3/Celeron Processor
  • 3 independent displays (HDMI/DP/DVI-I/LVDS)
  • Dual GbE LAN with iAMT (EIA+QM87)
  • 2 x DDR3L 1333/1600 MHz up to 16GB memory
  • 1 x PCIe(x16) w/ riser card to x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4
  • 8 x USB 2.0; 4 x USB 3.0; 5 x COM; SATA 3.0
  • 2 x mini-PCIe slots
  • Auto-switch DC power 12/19V

MSI has yet to give out a release date for the product at hand or a recommended retail price, but customers can go to its web page here for more information on the product.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

New DockPort Display Standard Released From VESA

VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association who are the governing body over the display connectivity standards (the people who write out the rules so-to-speak) have announced that they are expending the DisplayPort standard to allow USB3.1 data and power to be carried over the same cable that video signals are currently run over on the DisplayPort interface. Known as DockPort, the connection is physically the same, much like USB3.0 is with USB2.0, meaning that older DisplayPort only devices will be backwards compatible with DockPort enabled devices. When two DockPort devices are connected together, power and USB3.1 data will run over the cable, reducing the overall number of cables that need to be connected between the source and display.

As DockPort is an extension of an existing standard, it will be offered to current VESA members without any additional licensing fees, meaning that any products that feature the new standard won’t have to incur massive price jumps.

“As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors,” explained Steve Belt, Corporate Vice President – Strategic Alliances & Solutions Enablement AMD, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.”

Unlike HDMI which can only carry audio and video data, DockPort is set to be the first standard to carry non-video data across a display cable as well as the first standard to allow power to run alongside a video signal without interference. As the new standard begins to roll out, a number of vendors are showing off their latest product at Computex 2014 which is running this week, although there is no word if this standard is ready to hit the shelves just yet.

“The new DockPort standard demonstrates the enormous adaptability of the DisplayPort standard,” according to VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi, Fellow & Executive R&D Management for DisplayPort Group at MegaChips Technology America. “On the one hand, DisplayPort is a flexible A/V transport protocol that easily coexists with other protocols, like USB-it plays nicely with others. On the other hand, DisplayPort is also a robust and proven connector design whose electro-mechanical properties can accommodate data and power over a common passive copper cable and interface.”

Source: Press Release

AOC Q2963PM 29″ UWHD AH-IPS Monitor Review

Introduction


Over the last few years, we have been [in general] demanding higher and higher resolutions from our monitors, and before we even think about using a multi-screen setup – the most common resolution of choice has to be 1920×1080. Over the last year or so, we have been seeing a slow transition over to the 2560×1600 bandwagon as some users opt for bigger 27″+ panels. The problem with these through is that the cost is far greater than a 1920×1080 panel so having a pair of 22″ or 24″ panels is not uncommon – it gives a balance between the desktop space and cost that many people look for.

In a bid to give users the best option of desktop space and display aspect ratio, the 2560×1080 resolution has slowly been cropping up within the market place and in effect it is an ideal alternative for anyone that is looking at a dual 1920×1080 screen setup. The super-wide aspect of this 29″ monitor gives a single desktop space to work within, however when we move over to the gaming side of things, the extra pixels allow for a wider peripheral vision without the distraction of a bezel right in the middle of your view.

AOC’s super-wide monitor is just one of the few to now offer the new resolution, but it doesn’t just give more pixels; it also has one of the best panels on the market to show the image as well. The AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In Plane Switching) panel that AOC have chosen produces a mixture of supreme colour accuracy, high pixel density and a high level of brightness, oh and let’s not forget that it has a superb viewing angle as well. All the ingredients are there for certain, but does having a 21:9 aspect monitor really make that much of a difference?

Before we even get a chance to delve inside the box, AOC are keen to show off the screens super-wide aspect ratio and its ability to house multiple windows with ease. The blue box also has a row of the panels highlighted features laid out along the lower edge with a front and back view of the monitor found to the right.

Taking everything out of the box, we find the monitor in two parts and alongside a two-part DC power adaptor we also have a VGA display cable, HDMI cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, a cable tie, rubber feet and a CD containing a set of display drivers and AOC’s accompanying software for this panel.

Philips 242G5 144Hz LCD Gaming Monitor Review

Introduction


Over the last few months, monitors that are built for gaming have been cropping up within the marketplace and at last people can get a panel that compliments their high performance gaming system, delivering better image quality and faster refresh rates with a typical 144Hz refresh rate. The refresh rate is the key part to what sets this new type of panel apart from the rest of the crowd. As I’ve highlighted before, it’s all and well having a GPU that can pump out in the region of 100fps, but if your monitor is only running at 60Hz as the vast majority do, then it can only show a maximum of 60 frames per second itself. As a result there are frames that have been rendered effectively going to waste and it may be one of those frames that could make a crucial difference to the outcome of a tournament for example.

This is where the new 144Hz standard comes into play. With this higher refresh rate, the panel is able to display up to 144 frames per second. This means that not only are those extra frames not going to waste, but the image will appear to be much smoother and fluid in motion as scenes are displayed.

Recently I took a look at one of these new 144Hz panels from AOC, namely the G2460PQU and on the whole I was impressed with the quality of the build and the feature set on offer, but most importantly, the difference that the faster refresh rate made to not only game play but also during day-to-day usage.

Philips as some may or may not know is related to AOC through a parent company known as TPV. Whilst the two rand names run side by side, it is worth noting that some aspects of the monitors from each brand may appear to be the same, but on the whole they are run as two completely separate brands within the market place.

Philips ship the monitor in is probably one of the biggest boxes that I’ve seen for a screen of this size. The box is wrapped in a bold space styled scene with an image of the screen itself and along the lower edge are a set of smaller images highlighting certain aspects of the screen.

With everything taken out of the box, it’s immediately apparent why the box is so thick. Where most screens come with the base plate completely separate from the rest of the stand, the 242G5’s stank is one complete unit and as a result the dimensions of the box are increased. Alongside the stand and the LCD panel, there are a set of manuals and an information and driver CD, IEC power cable, USB3.0 cable, two display cables (VGA and DL-DVI) and finally an OSD remote control pad.

AOC G2460PQU 24″ 144Hz WLED Gaming Monitor Review

Introduction


As we have seen recently, there are a huge number of components that make up any system setup and unfortunately there is one key component that many people fail to put any attention to, thus making that gloriously expensive graphics card not give as good as it can. This of course is the monitor that we spend every minute looking at whilst using the system for whatever the task may be – whether it be office work, watching a film, image editing or even gaming. What these panels do for each task has a major impact on our user experience as a whole. If the image that we see is not crisp and defined with a great balance of colour, brightness and vibrancy, in the long run there is the chance of the poor image having an effect on the eyes or in the mind of a gamer, this can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of a game.

On the market there are so many generic ‘all-round’ performing monitors that are designed to perform for any task with reasonably good results, but nothing special. As we have seen recently though, there are many panels as well that are built for a specific user group in mind and this was a prime case when I looked at the ProArt PA249Q from Asus not too long ago. This panel is optimised for professional users who perform tasks such as image and video editing, where the need for precise colours and a definitively sharp display is fundamentally important.

Across many users, there is one task as such that many people carry out and this is where many people spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds getting the best system they can. This of course is gaming. As highlighted in my ProArt review, its quite a sad sight so see when someone has spent hundreds of pounds on the latest and greatest graphics card, only to have a cheap, generic TFT panel connected up to it that can only give a mediocre / average image that consequently doesn’t do the card much justice. As a result this is where gaming orientated displays come into the playing field.

The most critical gamers on the planet are the professional team players. This select group of dedicated people strive to win and being able to see and respond to what they see with accuracy – and fast, is what can be the make or break of any match. Anyone who has seen a professional team in action will note that each and every one of them can have differing mouse and keyboard setups and this comes down to what they find is the best for them and what they are comfortable with and all the time they are looking at the best screens they can get their hands on.

AOC have been developing some of the most sought after panels for a number of months now, including the super widescreen 29″ Q2963PM with its 2560×1080 UWHD resolution and the i2369Vm IPs panel which AOC market as the IPS panel for everyone. One of the more recent focus points for the AOC development team has been the gamer. Whilst the vast majority of screens sold worldwide for offices and professionals alike will never see a game displayed upon them, we cannot forget that the world of gaming is growing ever more rapidly and the need to have the best screen for the job is too. To develop this new panel, AOC have taken their development to the people who will push them to their limits – the professional gamers. By working with this select group of users who know specifically what they are after, AOC have been able to craft a screen that has been made for gamers – by the gamers.

Like many a large number of other panels on the market, the G2460PQU comes in a brown based box with some simple monochrome styling around it to show what model is inside.

Inside there is the usual selection of cables included with the panel, including VGA and DVI display cables, a UK kettle lead, USB2.0 A-B, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, clip on cable tidy, a CD with the user guide and some software and last of all a copy of Shoot Mania to play.