Zotac To Release Another Haswell ZBOX mini-PC, Cheaper This Time

Some changes have been made recently in Zotac’s ZBOX nettop line-up, having added three new SKUs based on Intel’s new Haswell silicon. However, all three models feature high-priced Intel processors spanning from the Core i3-4130T to the quad-core Core i7-4770T.

Zotac has apparently worked on a cheaper SKU version called the ZBOX Nano ID67. It is said to be powered by a cheaper and cooler Haswell chip, the Core i3-4010U, being a 15W dual-core clocked at 1700MHz and somewhat faster than the higher clocked Ivy-based Core i3-3217U which was used in plenty of cheap ultrathin notebooks and some netbooks. The Core i3-4010U features the HD Graphics 4400, making the GPU a little faster as well.

So far the Core i3-4010U was only available in Intel NUC and Gigabyte Brix barebones, which are rather compact, but also quite expensive and also they can’t handle 2.5-inch drives, as the small form factor needs to use the mSATA storage type. Zotac is offering the ID as a full system, with the Plus moniker, or are barebones model. The Plus features 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, but if you want a hybrid drive or an SSD, the barebone is clearly a better choice.

An official price has yet to be released, but according to sources, it was listed on an US site for $324 / €236 / £199. Prices of Zotac’s other Haswell ZBOX models range from $521 / €380 / £320 to over $783 / €570 / £480, therefore the estimated price of the latest SKU is expected to be a bit cheaper.

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

Samsung Create 1.8″ mSATA 1TB EVO SSD

With most SSD hard drives fitting into a standard 2.5″ drive bay, and are many times smaller than their 3.5″ mechanical counterparts. So most people already assume that the drive is small and compact. However, most ultra books now use the much smaller 1.8″ mSATA, a tiny add-in card type of hard drive that has more in common (in terms of design) with a RAM module.

There is always a battle going on to increase storage space on hard drives, but at the same time there is also a drive to make the drives smaller and smaller. The two problems together make building tiny hard drives with gargantuan storage a really difficult task, but it looks like Samsung have solved it, creating the industries first 1TB mini-Series ATA SSD.

The 840 EVO SSD may only be 1.8″ in size, but with 1TB storage it still manages 540 MB/s reads, 520 MB/s writes, so it is clearly no slouch in terms of performance. Samsung say the drive will be available later this month and while we don’t have prices you can expect to pay a price fit for a king given it’s “industry first” status.

Those not needing the full 1TB experience can also enjoy the restof the 840 EVO mSATA range, which will feature a 120, 250 and 500GB model.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Dell Launches Ubuntu-Powered XPS 13 Developer Edition

Dell has released the XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop running Ubuntu. The laptop, codenamed “Sputnik 3”, runs on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and features a 13.3-inch LED-backlit touch display having a 1920 x1080 pixels resolution.

In terms of performance, the XPS 13 Developer Edition runs on a Core i5-4200U or i7-4500U Intel Haswell processor, 8 GB of RAM, Intel HD 4400 graphics, a 128/256 GB mSATA solid state drive, a spill-resistant backlit chiclet keyboard, an HD webcam, Bluetooth, 802.11ac WiFi, and a 55WHr battery.

Dell set the starting price at $1,249 and made it available only in the United States at the moment. However it will expand its reach quickly, whereas next week it will go on sale in Canada, and by the end of the month it will also be available in 9 EU countries.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Dell

Gigabyte Reveal P27K 17.3-Inch Gaming Notebook

Gigabyte have unveiled their latest high performance gaming notebook the P27K. The P27K is a 17.3 inch 1920 x 1080 notebook powered by Nvidia’s 2GB GTX 765M mobile graphics card. The processor is provided by Intel’s fourth generation Core series (Haswell mobile) and is the Core i7 4700MQ on the HM87 chipset. Storage options are plentiful with up to two 1TB hard drives and a 256GB mSATA SSD for the boot drive. Gigabyte are offering the P27K in orange or black.Gigabyte have given the display an anti-glare matte coating and equipped the P27K with Sound Blaster Cinema sound optimisations. A built in Blu-Ray DVD combo drive completes the multi-media experience. The keyboard Gigabyte use provides full back-lighting to give that “gaming effect”.

Connectivity includes a HDMI output and a VGA output to support up to three displays. Two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one eSATA USB 3.0 combo, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, SPDIF out, mic-in  and a 9 in 1 card reader top off the rest of the connectivity.

Gigabyte provide a 8 cell 5200mAh 76.96 Wh battery and support for Nvidia Optimus technology. See more details at the product page here.

Images courtesy of Gigabyte

ADATA XPG SX300 256GB mSATA SSD Review

Introduction


Over recent years, mSATA drives have typically been a component that has not been on the forefront of the consumer market, seen only really by OEM manufacturers or by those who opened up their systems. With the market shifting towards smaller and smaller systems, and advances in technology allowing for denser storage and computing power as a whole, we are now seeing mSATA drive appear on the consumer market in greater numbers and more importantly, bigger capacities.

This is not the first time I’ve looked at an mSATA drive, a few months back I had a look at one of ADATA’s smaller capacity drives, the SP300 24GB –  aimed more for SSD caching and small OS footprints that require little read and write speeds such as POS systems.

With speeds and capacities now at a level that most users would deem acceptable for day to day use, and the number of systems and motherboards that support them such as laptops and ASUS’ ROG motherboards growing and more importantly the introductions of Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC), seeing what is out there in the mSATA market is something very worth while.

As a manufacturer, ADATA need little to no introduction as they are known to be one of today’s leading manufacturers with products ranging from flash drives to system memory for both the desktop and server markets, as well as SSDs in many different forms plus much more. Having spent such a long time in this field of engineering, ADATA knows what it takes to build a quality product, both on the performance side, as well as the pricing side of things as well.

Moving over to today’s product in hand, the SX300 256GB mSATA SSD, those who took a out NUC review a couple of moths back with recognise this as one of our third party components that we used to test these next generation systems out. and from the outside, the performance that we experienced from the drive didn’t seem all that bad. What’s important though is getting a more in-depth feel of how well these drives perform – mainly against their full blown 2.5″ counterparts that now dominate the consumer storage market.

Like memory, there is nothing included with the drive as it is an as-is product that requires no additional parts or accessories to be included so sliding the drive out of its case, its a quick installation process with only a couple of screws needed in some cases to hold it in place.

 

KingSpec 2.5GB/s PCI Express Solid State Drive Revealed

The guys over at The SSD Review have managed to get their hands on a pretty nifty 1TB SSD worth around $2000-3000. The SSD is made by KingSpec and uses the very unexciting product name “MC2J677M1T”. The device is basically comprised of eight mSATA 120GB SSDs sandwiched onto a single PCB with a beefy controller to coordinate them all to run simultaneously in RAID.

As you can see their are four mSATA SSDs on either side of the PCB. The controller used is produced by LSI and requires an active fan for cooling, it can deliver around 84K IOPS. The storage NAND uses NANYA cache with JMicron controllers, capacities of 1TB and 2TB are available.

The SSD Review gave the drive a quick bench in ATTO and as you can see above it managed a staggering 2.56GB/s over the PCI Express 8X bus.

Images courtesy of The SSD Review

Intel 530 Series SSDs To Arrive Next Week

A leaked product roadmap from VR-Zone suggests that Intel is very close to launching its next-generation of performance-orientated consumer SSD. The 530 series of SSDs from Intel will succeed both the 520 and 525 series of SSDs. The 530 Series SSDs from Intel will feature the latest 20nm MLC NAND flash but unfortunately are still stuck using the same LSI-Sandforce SF-2281 controller we have seen on SSDs for the past 2 years or so. Of course this controller will have all the latest revisions and firmware updates allowing it to maximise performance, compatibility and reliability.

The roadmap suggests we should of seen the 530 series last month but apparently the launch was delayed by a month and we will see the new 530 series between the 8th and 12th of July. There will be three form factors for the new SSDs. 2.5″ SATA (7mm), NGFF M2 and mSATA. Capacities will be 80GB, 180GB, 240GB and 360GB for the NGFF M2 and mSATA form factors. The 2.5 inch SATA form factor gets 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB form factors. Performance and pricing details will come in the next 10 days or so as we get closer to the launch.

Image courtesy of VR-Zone

Gigabyte BRIX GB-XM11-3337 System Review

Intel’s NUC has spawned a new generation of mini PCs. We recently took a look at the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) from Intel and we found it to be a very impressive unit but was marginally let down by components lacking performance, a high price tag and a missing wireless module. Gigabyte’s BRIX looks set to take on two of those major flaws in Intel’s new reference NUC platform as they have opted for a Core i5 and have included a wireless module.

Today we are reviewing the Gigabyte GB-XM11-3337 BRIX which is like Intel’s NUC except Gigabyte have redesigned the chassis, changed the I/O, changed the BIOS and opted for some higher spec hardware. While Intel’s NUC measures in at 1.55 inches thick Gigabyte’s BRIX is much smaller at 1.18 inches thick. In fact the Gigabyte BRIX is just a generally more compact unit than Intel’s NUC. Furthermore the wireless module is included as standard and USB 3.0 has been added too. Finally there is a DisplayPort and HDMI instead of two HDMI meaning you have slightly more flexibility when it comes to display outputs.

Additionally the main change comes in the form of the CPU. The Intel NUC we reviewed had a dual core 1.1GHz 32nm Sandy Bridge based CPU whereas this Gigabyte BRIX uses an Ivy Bridge 22nm i5 3337U processor that has 2 cores and four threads at 1.8GHz stock and 2.7GHz turbo. It also supports more memory bandwidth at up to 1600MHz compared to the 1333MHz on the Intel NUC we looked at that had a Celeron 847. Finally it also boasts Intel HD 4000 graphics which aren’t going to play any games that well but are still a huge leap forward over the graphics part of the Sandy Bridge ULV processors like the Celeron 847. However, this comes at a cost as the Core i5 3337U has a tray price of $225 which is more than the entire Intel Celeron 847 based NUC system costs – straight away we know this isn’t going to be cheap but let’s see how much performance this device offers.

Below you can see the full specifications of Gigabyte’s BRIX GB-XM11-3337 system and without any further ado we will now proceed through the rest of this review.

Intel NUC DCCP847DYE System Review

Intel’s NUC, or next unit of computing, platform is a refreshingly new idea. Essentially what Intel have created is an ultra compact PC standard that they want to be the future of computing. Measuring in at just 12 by 11 by 4cm the Intel NUC is an impressive small standardised computer that is capable of more than you might expect. Since low power and small Intel CPUs have come quite a long way since the days of quite mediocre “nettop” Atom systems, such as a couple we reviewed a while ago based on the Atom D525, we have great expectations for the Intel NUC. The Intel NUC joins a rather crowded market place for small form factor systems and faces competition from Zotac’s ZBox and Sapphire Edge PCs.

However, the NUC’s similarities with its competitors end there because what the NUC platform does is try and carry over that high level of performance we’d expect to see from a desktop PC – or at least it should do better than its Atom based counter parts that other hardware companies are selling. Intel’s NUC is going to be available with Celeron, Pentium, Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Also since the NUC is a reference platform, we will see Intel partners able to create their own versions such as the Gigabyte BRIX we saw at Computex.

In any case the Intel NUC is the starting point of a drive towards smaller form factor everyday PCs. Today we have with us Intel’s “DCCP847DYE” NUC and that means it is running a rather modest ULV Celeron 847 Dual Core 32nm Sandy Bridge based processor running at 1.1GHz with no hyperthreading and 2MB of L3 Cache. You can see more detailed specifications of this particular NUC model directly below:

Without any further ado let us progress and take a look at Intel’s brand new NUC platform.

Computex: MSI Display Core i7 Powered S20 “Slider” Ultrabook

Alongside MSI’s two Primo tablets it displayed its Core i7 S20 Slider Ultrabook. This device features a multi-angled slide screen with an attached keyboard. This allows you to choose between either a tablet or an ultrabook. The MSI Slidebook S20 has reasonably impressive specifications with an Intel Core i7 mobile, an 128GB mSATA SSD and a full HD display. It also boasts battery life of around 5 hours when being continuously used.

MSI’s choice of operating system is Windows 8 Pro but this will probably be upgraded to Windows 8.1 when that hits the market. Given the flexibility of the integrated Intel GPU this S20 Slidebook can also output at 4K or 2K resolutions. The screen features 10 point multi-touch and the whole product weighs in at just 1.16kg. MSI have provided a decent I/O set with USB, HDMI and a card reader. The MSRP for this unit is around $1200 and it has already been released.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: Gigabyte Showcase S1185 Padbook Notebook/Tablet Hybrid

Gigabyte have already displayed two new notebooks at Computex powered by Haswell, the U35F and U24F and now they are showing us a new tablet/notebook hybrid device. The tablet is based on 3rd generation (Ivy Bridge) Pentium 2117U or Core i5 processors. The S1185 features an 11.6″ capacitive multi touch screen that is IPS and boasts a resolution of 1920 by 1080. It supports up to 8GB of RAM but has only one SODIMM slot. The GPU is the Intel HD 4000 and the tablet is available with either a 64, 128 or 256GB mSATA SSD. Connectivity is quite extensive with a USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 port, VGA out, HDMI out, microSD, a sim card slot and the keyboard dock connector.

Gigabyte are continuing their trend of integrating 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 which they have done on virtually all of their new motherboards so far. There is also an integrated 3.5G antenna built into the Gigabyte Padbook S1185. The device uses two cameras a front facing 1.3MP camera and a rear facing 5MP camera. The battery provides 39 watt-hours at 7.9 volts and the device weighs 1KG as a tablet and 1.4KG with the keyboard attachment.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: Gigabyte Show Off Light Weight U24F Haswell Powered Notebook

Intel’s drive towards reviving notebooks is all about making them more accessible, portable and user friendly. Haswell mobile is a big part of this and we can already see Gigabyte taking this onboard with the U24F slim notebook. Gigabyte showed off this notebook in a demonstration at Computex and the U24F has some decent specifications. There is a choice of Haswell Mobile Core i5s or Core i7s and it uses a 14 inch 1600 by 900 LCD. 4GB or 8GB or SODIMM DDR3 come pre-installed and there is space for up to 16GB. The graphics are powered by a combination of Intel HD 4400 graphics and Nvidia’s GT 750M 2GB GPU. Nvidia Optimus technology means the U24F can switch between the two to balance performance and battery life.

Gigabyte are offering a 128 or 256GB mSATA SSD pre-installed and a 500/750/1000GB hard drive. A DVD-RW is provided as well as two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, an SD card reader, Gigabit LAN, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 to top off the extensive connectivity options. The provided battery is a 47.73 watt-hour battery and should provide extensive battery life with the new power efficient Haswell mobile architecture.

The Gigabyte U24F weighs 1.59kg with an mSATA SSD and 1.69kg with an mSATA SSD and mechanical hard drive.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

 

Computex: Gigabyte Display Premium U35F Haswell Powered Notebook

With the launch of Haswell comes the launch of new mobile processors, and Haswell was really designed from the ground up to be a processor for the mobile market. Gigabyte are taking advantage of this brand new architecture from Intel with a whole cluster of new notebooks. We will bring the details of all of these to you and first up is the Gigabyte U35F notebook. This notebook is powered by Haswell with an option for Core i5 or Core i7 models of your choice. Gigabyte are choosing to provide either a full HD 1920 by 1080 display or a 1366 by 768 display for the more budget conscious consumer.  The U35F notebook comes pre-fitted with either 4 or 8GB of DDR3 SODIMM RAM and supports a maximum of 16GB of RAM.

Nvidia Optimus technology allows the graphics to switch between Intel HD 4400 Graphics and Nvidia’s GT 750M. There is an option of a 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSD as well as a 500/750/1000GB hard drive. A DVD-RW is provided as well as two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, an SD card reader, Gigabit LAN, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 to top off the extensive connectivity options.

A six cell 68.82 watt-hour battery is provided and should have impressive battery life given Haswell’s new power saving technologies for the mobile market. The total weight of this notebook is 2.3KG. No pricing or availability has been announced yet.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: Gigabyte Show Off BRIX Ultra Compact PC

Gigabyte have already recently unveiled their BRIX ultra compact PC which we brought you a news story about if you are interested in it. The Gigabyte Brix is essentially a bare bones Ultra compact PC kit that features an Intel CPU, GPU and motherboard based off the reference NUC platform design from Intel. It measures in at just 29.9mm by 107.6mm by 114.4mm and has a piano black finish. It packs a lot more performance than the Intel NUC because Gigabyte have opted for mainly Core i3, i5 and i7 models as opposed to Intel who offer a lot of Pentium based models. In fact you may want to stay tuned in the coming weeks as we have a review of an Intel Core i5 based Gigabyte BRIX mini PC.

You can add your own mSATA SSD and SODIMM RAM to the system and it supports up to 16GB of RAM. Connectivity includes Intel LAN, two USB 3.0, Display Port, HDMI and integrated Wi-Fi unlike the Intel NUC which requires you to purchase an additional Wi-Fi module.

This design is really about giving you an ultra compact yet powerful PC and the inclusion of VESA mounting means you can really put this anywhere and even use it as a potent media player, file server or HTPC. Gigabyte haven’t announced pricing or availability yet but you can expect that to come soon.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Images courtesy of eTeknix at Computex 2013.

Gigabyte Launches BRIX Mini PC

Gigabyte are the latest entry to the tiny pc race, and with a chassis size that measures in at just 29.9mm x 107.6mm x 114.4mm, it’s clear that Gigabyte are trying to take on the world that was created with the launch of the Intel NUC, fortunately they’ve decided to back up it’s tiny size with some not so tiny performance.

The BRIX PC from Gigabyte will still be sold like the NUC, as a barebone DIY kit that can be picked up in a range of configurations, these include Core i3, i5 and even an i7 processors, an mSATA slot is used for storage to keep size down to a minimum and it uses to SO-DIMM memory slots that can handle up to 16GB of RAM.

Small and compact, i7 CPU, SSD and 16GB ram doesn’t sound like it’s going to lack much performance then! It’s also well equipped with connectivity options and you can expect HDMI, mini DisplayPort, WiFi, 2 x USB 3.0.

It’s already sounding more powerful than the NUC, of course I would expect the price tag to match the high specifications, but unfortunately Gigabyte haven’t revealed that information just yet. Of course if you need something super compact and as powerful as possible then it’s not really about the price, it’s about getting the job done and it looks like Gigabytes BRIX is going to deliver on the latter.

Image courtesy of FudZilla