Thecus had a lot of success with their Windows-based NAS devices and now they’ve expanded that series with the new W2810PRO NAS. The new NAS comes equipped with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor, the same that we recently saw the N2810PRO launch with, it comes with 4GB DDR3 memory, and uses an SSD as boot drive.
Linux-based NAS run more out of the memory than Windows does and as such the use of a real SSD over a flash module is something that will make a huge difference for such a system. The quad-core processor is powerful enough to drive 4K experiences and thanks to it being a Windows version, it comes with a familiar interface. Integrating Microsoft services such as Office 365 and Azure Cloud Service is as easy as it could be on these devices as they’re running Windows 2012R2 Essentials as the operating system.
“Adding to the success of the original Windows Storage server 2012 solutions from Thecus, the W2810PRO provides increased power and speed performance to users”, said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology Corp. “This new Thecus Windows Storage Server is an ideal solution for individuals and businesses that are comfortable and proficient with the Windows platform to safely protect and effortlessly manage their valuable data.”
The 60GB boot SSD is more than enough for Windows itself and plenty of apps while the two drive bays give you up to 16TB raw storage capacity when using 8TB drives. That is a lot of power and storage in a small form factor. Windows Storage Server Essentials offers a host of features and functionality for organizations of all sizes including Data Deduplication and Storage Spaces for efficiency and protection, native support for Active Directory, and remote access through the P2P application, Orbweb.me. Users can further customize the W2810PRO to specific business needs as it supports third-party Windows Server add-ins.
Connection-wise, you get both an HDMI port and DisplayPort for direct usage, an S/PDIF for an audio connection, three USB 3.0 ports, and dual Gigabit Ethernet network connectivity.
Top Storage for 1-50 Employee Business
Office 365 & Microsoft Azure: Cloud Service Integration
Active Directory Domain Services: Scalable, Secure User Management
Data Deduplication: Performance Optimization
Enhanced Boot Drive: Embedded SSD
Windows License Included
Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core Processor
4GB DDR3 RAM
The new Thecus W2810PRO NAS is available starting today and it is an update well worth it. It packs more than double the power of the previous model, the W2000+, which was based on an Intel Atom dual-core processor.
Shuttle released a new system that once again proves that a powerful system doesn’t need to be large in physical dimensions. The new SH110R4 is the newest family member in the XPC Cube series of 13-liter barebone PCs and it comes with everything available you’ll need, from a Skylake LGA 1151 socket over two M.2 expansion slots to an integrated heat pipe system for CPU cooling.
The Shuttle SH110R4 is built around the Intel H110 chipset and supports dual-channel DDR4 memory with a speed of up to 2133 MHz. You can equip it with a total of 32GB through its two memory slots, but the specifications don’t reveal whether it’s full-sized DIMMs or SO-DIMMs. My bet would be on the last, SO-DIMMs. With the use of a Skylake-based Core, Celeron, or Pentium processor, you also gain 4K video capabilities through the processor-integrated GPU and the onboard HDMI and DisplayPort. A D-Sub VGA port was also added for backwards compatibility.
Besides the graphics connections, you also find all other relevant external connectors. There are four USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet network powered by an Intel i219LM controller, and a 5.1-channel HD audio system powered by a Realtek ALC662 chip.
The Shuttle XPC Cube series are basically mITX systems with a clever cooling solution and users can upgrade the motherboard to pretty much any mITX board they wish at any point. But the included one is pretty good as it is and comes with two M.2 slots, one M.2 2280/2260/2242 Type M slot for high-speed SSDs and one M.2 2230 Type A/E slot for devices like WiFi cards. There’s also a PCIe x16 and a PCIe x1 slot for additional expansion cards such as graphics cards, raid controller, monitor cards, sound cards, etc.
The really cool feature is the Shuttle’s I.C.E 2 cooling engine that utilizes heat-pipe tech to keep the SH110R4 cool. It uses convection cooling to dissipate heat away from and around the CPU. The I.C.E.2 copper tubes, coated in nickel for enhanced tube hardness and rust-proof protection, are filled with distilled water to effectively channel heat and provide highly efficient processor and chassis cooling.
It also comes with a built-in PSU which can deliver 300W and is 80Plus Bronze certified. Overall, you get a small and stable system with great features and a suggested retail price of £172.00.
AMD’s upcoming CPU architecture, codenamed Zen, is going to offer a 40 percent IPC improvement compared to Excavator and could dawn in a new era of competitiveness. Hopefully, if AMD can produce something which rivals Intel, it could instigate a pricing war and make enthusiast processors more affordable. Clearly, many consumers are eagerly anticipating Zen’s release which makes the current range seems rather outdated. Despite this, there are some users who own AM3+ motherboards and don’t want to upgrade to an entirely new platform. On another note, consumers on a tight budget might feel they’re a great option to create an affordable HTPC.
Traditionally, bundled CPU coolers are fairly poor at thermal dissipation due to the low fin array and compact heatsink size. Also, they can be alarmingly loud under full load which makes for a shoddy desktop experience. As a result, I always encourage people to invest in a third-party cooler, such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. Interestingly, Intel decided to ditch the stock cooler altogether on Skylake K series chips because they knew people would be opting for a better option. Although, this didn’t reduce the retail price at all! During CES this year, AMD displayed their new Wraith stock cooler capable of lower thermals compared to the previous model and significantly reduced noise. The design evokes a premium feel and it looks rather nice.
Today, AMD announced that they will now bundle this new cooler with the FX 8350 and FX 6350. Previously, this was limited to the FX 8370 and A10-7890K. The FX 6350 will retail for $129.99 while the FX 8350’s price is set at $179.99. This is fantastic news for consumers wanting to order a new AMD processor right now. Of course, if you can wait, it would be advisable given the upcoming Zen release.
Ransomware is some of the nastiest pieces of software in existence and in theory, it could hit anyone. Some people naturally have a greater risk, through the kind of work and tasks they do with their systems. But in theory, anyone can be unlucky enough to be hit with this kind of evil doing through security holes in the software being used.
This warning and reminder isn’t based on a specific new kind of ransomware, it is more to raise awareness of this kind of threats. Encryption-based ransomware such as CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, or TorrentLocker are on the rise, and they don’t just target Windows-based systems as many belief, they have also begun targeting network-based storage devices. Because of its stealthy nature and disastrous effects, ransomware is commonly perceived as a sophisticated, highly destructive, and unstoppable malware threat.
An advanced user isn’t really afraid of ransomware as they usually make backups of everything onto their network connected devices – or work directly from there via permanent shares and iSCSI setups. In the case of an infection, they simply wipe their system and install it again, and that would be the end of that story. Creators of this kind of nasty software know that and they want a piece of that pie too, which is why they have started to attack other systems besides workstations.
Where there is a threat, there is a way to defend yourself against it, at least in 99.9 percent of situations.
Update your operating system. Most people are up-to-date on their Windows and OS X updates simply because you’re being told when they’re available. But when was the last time you updated your NAS OS? Most NAS systems have automatic update features available and you should at the very least enable this for critical updates.
Install security software. A good anti-virus software is a good place to start and you’ll find solutions such as Avast or Intel security in your NAS’ app features. It will take up some resources to have it running, but those are resources that you should be happy to give up. Especially if you use the automatic download features found in all NAS units.
Disable Remote Desktop Protocol. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a very common target for malware, which is why you should disable it if you don’t absolutely need it.
Install Mobile Apps and use Push Notifications. Applications for your smartphone and tablet are another great way to stay on top of your headless systems. Together with the push notifications feature you get up-to-date statuses from your system right into your pocket.
Beware of your actions. The golden rule is as it always has been, beware of what you do. Take the one second extra to hover a link and check the destination in the status bar before you click it, turn off features such as Hide file extensions for known file types, and don’t trust anything until you have verified the authenticity.
This time, the warning came from Synology, but in theory, it could have come from any of the big manufacturers. The bigger a company and brand gets, the more likely it is that their systems will be actively searched for vulnerabilities. Luckily Synology and other NAS’ have even more features that will help you in case that you get hit by this kind of malware.
A multi-version backup of all your files is naturally the best defense. If everything is backed up, then the evil ones can take their ransom demand and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Backup all your vital files from your system and onto your NAS is the first step and from there on you should have at least one more backup step – this could be a cloud solution, another NAS, or external drives, for example. Synology’s new Cloud Station Backup app can do all this for you through a single app, so it is as easy as it’s ever been. Hyper Backup is another awesome tool that lets you enjoy a full range of multi-version backup destinations from local shared folders, expansion units, and external hard drives, to network shared folders, Rsync server, and public cloud services. It can also isolate data for further protection from internet threats.
If your system supports Snapshot Replication through Btrfs file system, then you got another level of protection right there. Snapshot Replication allows you to replicate data from a primary site to an offsite location up to every 5 minutes and 15 minutes for LUNs, ensuring all your critical data in shared folders or virtual machines in iSCSI LUNs can be recovered quickly in the event of a disaster.
Synology also put up a mini-site that summarizes all these information along with the step to follow if you should have been effected. The fact that this site even was made, speaks for the severity of these attacks and how far they’re spreading. So be aware, practice safe surfing, and show an evolved behavior.
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.
Thecus already released a mighty NAS with the N2810, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon. The new version is called the N2810PLUS and it comes with a better CPU and double the RAM. Both are things that are hard to argue with and a welcome addition to Thecus’ lineup.
The N2810PLUS comes equipped with 4GB DDR3 memory over the 2GB in the N2810 and the slightly faster Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor. The previous model used the N3050 processor, so it is only a small bump. Still, every little helps and can make the difference for a smooth experience.
The N2810 and N2810PLUS NAS’ support 4K video output via the built-in HDMI port and this is one of the areas where this upgrade should make a difference. The added memory, which most likely also makes it dual-channel over a single-channel setup now, will provide a much smoother display of high-resolution content. The addition of two more CPU cores will no doubt also help with this and any other task.
The NAS is designed for easy hard drive installation and with a focus on reliability. It can act as a full multimedia centre that supports AirPlay, DLNA, and much more – on top of the direct 4K playback. Two LAN ports provide the user with 7 modes of link aggregation and the three USB 3.0 ports deliver high data speeds for portable storage.
It also comes with the latest version of Thecus operating system, ThecusOS 7.0, that provides an optimized and feature-rich platform with an intuitive user interface and easy navigation. Key new features include Photo Station, Thecus App Center, and File Center. ThecusOS 7.0 delivers significant advancements in productivity, flexibility, and performance.
The new N2810PLUS edition NAS will begin shipping globally today, so it should be at your local Thecus dealer very shortly.
ASUSTOR launched two new high-capacity enterprise-class NAS units, the AS6208T and the AS6210T. The only difference between the two units is that one has 8 drive bays and the other one has 10 drive bays. They are powered by an Intel Celeron (Braswell) 1.6GHz quad-core CPU with Boost speeds up to 2.24GHz. This is backed by 4GB dual-channel DDR3L memory which is expandable.
This is a great base for a powerful system that comes with hardware encryption support and 4K capabilities. All that power can be connected through the four built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports for a read and write performance up to 398 MB/s and 355 MB/s respectively in a RAID 5 setup.
There are plenty of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as two eSATA ports. With that amount of extra ports, you can expand the systems even further than with the 8 and 10 internal bays that each support up to 8TB drives.
It’s probably unlikely that a system like this will be used for as a multimedia hub, although it would be perfectly suitable for it. Instead, it is much more likely to be used for surveillance tasks. It is well equipped for both scenarios with its direct usage ability. It features both an HDMI 1.4b connector and an S/PDIF audio link.
As with all other ASUSTOR NAS units, these two new ones come with a 3-year warranty and a suggested retail price of $999 for the AS6210T and $899 for the AS6208T. That’s actually not bad at all.
Key Hardware Specifications
Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (Automatic Overclocking to 2.24GHz)
Read Speed of up to 398+ MB/s and Write Speed of up to 355+ MB/s Under Link Aggregation and RAID 5 Configurations
4GB Built-in Dual-Channel DDR3L High Speed Memory (Expandable up to 8GB, 4GB x2)
4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Front of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
Back of Device: 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Ports, 2 x USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x eSATA Ports
Supports Largest Capacity Hard Disks on the Market (8TB)
Smart Fan Temperature Control
The AS6208T and AS6210T both come built-in with the latest ADM 2.5.4 firmware providing RAID data protection, high-grade AES-NI hardware encryption technology, a 256-bit data encryption mechanism, firewall, network defender, antivirus software for installation and other safety mechanisms to keep data safe and secure. But you will be able to upgrade to the newest firmware very soon as ADM 2.6 is scheduled to be released in April.
When good isn’t good enough, then you’ll want great, and when looking for great, you can’t get past QNAP. They have just launched two new NAS series for the enterprise sector with plenty of storage capacity options, great connectivity, and strong CPUs. Perfect for enterprise users that don’t want to compromise. The two new series are the TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 and the TS-ECx80U R2.
Both of these new NAS series feature two built-in SFP+ based 10Gbps Ethernet ports without increasing the price over the previous models without the R2 name addendum. Besides the two SFP+ connectors, the system also features four 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Overall, everything you need for an IOPS-demanding application setup such as virtualisation setups and database systems.
The TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 series comes equipped with a powerful Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor and 16GB DDR3 non-ECC or 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM. A great hardware base for almost any setup. The TS-ECx80U R2 series provides models powered by an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor too and these come with 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM. Further, the series offers options with an Intel Core i3 3.5 GHz processor and 8GB DDR3 non-ECC or 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM too.
There are quite a few models to choose from, in various sizes and with varying drive bays. They all have four DIMM slots, extra internal ports for caching, redundant power supplies, and much more.
We had our first look at Corsair’s newest Carbide chassis during our CES visit in January and now it has been fully released and can be yours, if you want to pay the price and like the looks, of course. The SPEC-ALPHA is no ordinary looking chassis and stands out with its bold angular styling and also comes with a large side panel window for you to display the nice hardware inside the chassis.
Corsair removed any sort of 5.25-inch drive bays at the top of the chassis which in return gives a direct airflow path for improved cooling abilities. The case comes with three 120mm fans included: two in the front and one in the back. The front can also fit a 240mm radiator for those who wish to use liquid cooling instead of air cooling. A three-speed fan control is also included.
The large CPU cut-out should make for easy cooler mounting, whether you choose air or water, and you can use from mITX to ATX motherboards in this system. You get the usual 7 expansion slots on the rear and you can mount expansion cards with a length of up to 380mm. The CPU cooler can be up to 156mm which does limit a bit, but not much.
You can mount plenty of traditional storage in the SPEC-ALPHA that allows for three 3.5-inch and four 2.5-inch drives. Externally you get two USB 3.0 and two audio jacks.
The SPEC-ALPHA is available now in three color options: black and red, black and gray and white and red. The suggested retail price is set to $79.99 which actually is a more than fair price for a chassis like this. Corsair backs the chassis with a 2-year warranty.
Bold Exterior Design with LED fans: You’ll never mistake it for anything else – the asymmetrical, hard-edged design of the SPEC-ALPHA and its numerous color combinations give it a bold, unique look, and the front LED fans can be viewed through the front air intakes for a glimpse of the performance within.
Direct airflow path to keep your CPU and GPU running cooler: Modern systems don’t need tons of drive cages in the airflow path. By removing the 5.25” drive cage, the SPEC-ALPHA has a direct path from the front intake to the two hottest components – your CPU and GPU, which can result in better, more efficient cooling.
Large side panel window to show off your hardware: Why hide it? All that performance hardware you built your rig with is looks great, so why not take a look at it through the huge side panel window?
Three included 120mm fans and built-in three-speed fan controller: Two front LED fans and a rear fan provide excellent airflow, and the built-in fan controller lets you decide exactly how much cooling you need with the flick of a switch.
Cable routing cutouts and tie downs: Nobody wants to see a rat’s nest of cables, so the SPEC-ALPHA has cutouts and tie-downs behind the motherboard tray to keep your cable routing neat and tidy – and out of the airflow path for better cooling.
Easy to Build: Tool-free drive installation and side panel removal mean you can spend less time building your PC and more time gaming with it.
Front 240mm radiator compatibility: Upgrade to the power of liquid cooling for your CPU or GPU with up to a 240mm hydro series cooler in front of the case.
Native USB 3.0 and SSD support for modern builds: Whether it be a new external drive for storage or a new SSD for your OS or games, rest assured the SPEC-ALPHA is ready for anything you throw at it.
It has been a little over half a year since Thecus introduced the support for Orbweb.me on their WSS-based NAS’. That was so successful that the support now has been extended to all of Thecus’ Linux-based NAS’ too. Whether you run the older Thecus OS 5.0 or the recently released Thecus OS 7.0, you can now have easy access to your NAS and everything that’s connected to it from anywhere.
Some might say, I already have access to it all from everywhere, that’s the point of a NAS. But the ease of which you have access to it, how easy it is to use, and the security behind it isn’t always the same. The Orbweb.me application brings a new remote access experience to Thecus Linux NAS from any web browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox as well as mobile devices powered by iOS and Android.
Orbweb.me is a P2P (Peer To Peer) module that allows users to easily view, stream and manage files in their NAS anytime and anywhere. Best of all, you don’t need to know your IP address and it works well over shared connections too.
Orbweb4.0 offers several features including webcam monitoring with timeline view and snapshot. All these features further increase Thecus NAS functionality. The Orbweb.me application is also available to download for any windows PC in its basic version, but because of the partnership between Thecus and Orbweb, Thecus NAS include a subscription for the Orbweb.me Ultimate Version that otherwise require an annual $69.99 subscription fee.
Thecus NAS uses an arsenal of security protocols and features to maintain user´s data safety. To prevent data from coming under attack when data is being transferred, Orbweb.me uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure all data traffic.
Moving on to camera equipment that doesn’t use the more-or-less default SD or micro SD cards creates an issue with most portable systems, you can’t just slide the memory card into your notebook and transfer the files over for backup or editing. Most portable systems such as notebook and ultrabooks feature SD card slots, but what if your equipment uses QXD cards instead? That’s when you need an external card reader and Lexar just introduced the Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader which is designed to aid professionals in quickly transferring files from XQD 2.0 cards to computers and not take up a lot of space.
Lexar already has the impressive Workflow XR2 reader, but this one is a more compact version that’s better suited for people with limited space on the go. It can easily slip into a pocket or bag, and offers a simple plug-and-play design with a USB 3.0 connector so content can be securely transferred on the go. Whether you capture photos in the RAW image format or record 4K video, this card reader will have your files transferred in no time.
“Given the rapid growth and widespread appeal of 4K video, we realised it was essential to create a reader for XQD 2.0 cards that provided professionals with a way to transfer great video and photo content without the wait time,” said Steffi Ho, product marketing manager, Lexar. “The Lexar Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader supercharges post-production content transfer, no matter what you’re shooting.”
Lexar backs the Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader with an impressive 5-year warranty and it comes with an MSRP of £29.99. Availability is expected in late April.
Provides professional-level high-speed transfer of RAW images and 4K video files
Accelerates workflow, leveraging SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology
Designed for use with XQD 2.0 cards
Compact, portable design for photographers and videographers on the go
Steam’s holiday promotion was the perfect time to buy a present for my brother. He is a 45 year old father, passionate for first person shooters. Borderlands has been his favorite for years – not the Pre-Sequel which, although fun to play, somehow failed to deliver. I gave him a gift of Borderlands (the one with all the DLCs included) and Borderlands 2 with a handful (not all) of the expansion packs included. But there are still a series of DLCs that I can give him. This makes it easier for me to decide what to give him for his upcoming birthday, but pisses me off at the same time. Why do game developers expect me to constantly pump more and more cash into their franchise?
I see downloadable content packs the desktop equivalent of in-app purchases. No matter if you play online slots, crush candy or blow up a flower garden, you’ll always be presented with special offers on infinite lives for a time, gold coins or other in-game benefits. They cost you a tiny amount, and will make your gameplay easier. And offer you a money-bought advantage over players who don’t spend on such games due to a variety of reasons.
Back in the day, during the “golden era” of gaming (and by this I refer to the time when today’s most successful franchises were at their humble beginnings), an expansion to a game meant not just a handful of new character models and items, but a complete new story. I refer to StarCraft’s Brood War, with a complete set of three new single player campaigns. I refer to Quake’s mission packs, the Scourge of Armagon and Dissolutions of Eternity. I refer to Doom 3’s Resurrection of Evil. These were all complete packages of content and story that stood their ground as individual games.
Compare these to the Borderlands DLCs I recently purchased – Headhunter 1, 2, 3 and 4. I don’t say they cost a lot (I bought them for a “holiday special” price, with a 60% discount), but they cost too much for the extra content they delivered. I played through each of them in one day. One. Day. OK, my Mechromancer is now at level 40, which is pretty advanced, but still… one day? I expected much more from four (!) downloadable content packs.
OK, I know, my expectations are high. I can’t help it – I was raised in different times. Back in my time expansions added whole new worlds to the original game, not just a few extra weapons, skins (which are useless, since I never even see my character) and other useless things. Expansions were about added value, while today’s DLCs feel much more like just ways to ensure a continuous revenue stream for developers. Which might be indirectly good for me, as a gamer, but still annoys the hell out of me.
USB 3.1 is the newest generation and it brings quite a few improvements over the previous generation, such as the double bandwidth capabilities. The trouble with new generations of connectors is that you’ll also need to upgrade your system to use them, at least if you got an older one. Luckily you don’t need to upgrade your entire system, you can just use an expansion card. SilverStone just released the ECU03 which is such a card and it will give your system both a USB 3.1 Type A and a USB 3.1 Type C connector.
The SilverStone ECU03 offers 10 Gbps bandwidth for excellent throughput and transfer rates, especially when multiple external drives are attached simultaneously and otherwise would create bottlenecks. The ECU03 fully supports the eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) that makes it driverless for an easy installation. The expansion card also supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) that increases the overall throughput by handling multiple requests at the same time.
USB is by definition highly compatible and the card is naturally backward compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.1 devices. Motherboard support is secured through the use of a PCI-Express Gen2 x2 interface that most stationary PCs will have available for use. Even small form factor (SFF) systems are supported as the card is designed to be low-profile. SilverStone also includes a low-profile expansion slot bracket with the card right out of the box.
Includes SuperSpeed USB 3.1 external USB Type-C connector
SuperSpeed USB 3.1 with Type A and Type C ports
PCI-E Gen2.0 x2, throughput up to 10Gbps
Compliant with eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) specification Revision 1.1
Compliant with USB Attached SCSI Protocol Revision 1.0 (UASP)
Includes optional low-profile slot cover for supporting low profile cases
The visually stunning Korean MMO that is Black Desert Online just keeps on getting better and better. Aside from the fact that it already has one of the most in-depth and visual impressive character creation systems we’ve ever seen, as well as a rich world and booming in-game economy, the developers have now released the first of many expansions for the BDO universe.
The free “Mediah” update clocks in at a modest 2GB, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, it adds more than a thousand new quests to the world! And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll find massive boss fights, such as the one against Kzarka, with hundreds of players capable of joining that single fight alone. There’s a new 40v40 PvP instance on Crimson Battlefield, and if that wasn’t enough, which it is, you’ll also find new weapons, armour, enchanted equipment and more for higher level players.
+ World size increased by 30%
+ Over 1,000 new quests
+ Kzarka – An enormous boss that can take on hundreds of players at a time
+ New guild missions, including special bosses that drop formidable weapons
+ Crimson Battlefield – Instanced 40v40 skirmishes that players can queue for in groups of five or solo
+ New weapons and more powerful armor set
+ Craftable Alchemy Stones allow players to apply Attack, Defense, or Life bonuses to their equipment
The games developers, Pearl Abyss, aren’t stopping here either, teasing that new expansions will be coming thick and fast. Keep an eye on the horizon for ocean-based adventuring, allowing exploration above and below the waves, trading ships and even naval warfare. In short, Black Desert Online is already one of the most interesting MMOs out there and it just keeps on getting better in more ways than one.
“Daum Games today announced that Black Desert Online will be expanded with the huge Mediah region, tons of new quests, fierce bosses, and more as early as tomorrow, March 30. With the Mediah Expansion, players can rise to new levels of power and achieve greatness like never before.” – BDO
Buying the Oculus Rift is something that’s been stuck with its own issues recently, but I guess that is to be expected of any major hardware launch. However, it seems there’s a bit of a legal grey area buying content for the Rift, especially for those of us who live within the EU. Oculus Home, the digital store for supplying VR-ready titles, has declared that “all sales are final” when it comes to their refund policy.
So what does this mean? Well, if you buy a game, good luck getting your money back if you’re unhappy with the purchase and while for many, this won’t be an issue, it does fly in the face of laws in the EU that give consumers a right to a refund. The terms state that “All software purchases from the Oculus Store are final, and unless required by local law, no refunds will be provided.” and it’s that last part that causes problems, as the Oculus ToS section 4.11 states that “if you are located in the EU, you consent that the supply of the digital content may begin immediately following the completion of your purchase and you acknowledge that you therefore will lose any statutory rights you may have to withdraw and receive a refund.”
European Consumer Rights directives state that you have a 14-day cooling off period for any digital goods purchased, but you won’t get that right if you accept the terms of Oculus Home. Of course, Oculus aren’t the only ones doing this and even Valve walk a fine line here. However, Stream does offer a system for refunds that’s relatively in-line with the law, albeit it’s a fairly new feature to their service.
Oculus Home is already shutting out consumers from using other stores, such as Steam, to purchase their VR games, and they’re offering stricter ToS on top, not what I would call consumer-friendly at all and something we hope they improve on soon.
Been looking for an excuse the replay the original Zelda? Well, we’ve got a great one for you! A team of Zelda fans has taken the classic RPG and rebuilt it in 2.5D to celebrate 30-years of the franchise. No doubt this is one of those “play it before Nintendo shoot it down” scenarios, so it’s best to get playing while it’s still alive.
Zelda30Tribute is playable directly in your browser, meaning you don’t have to hang around to get in on the action. What’s really cool, however, is that the game is created using Voxels, giving it a really unique visual appearance. Unfortunately, it is still a work in progress, so only three dungeons are ready right now, and if Nintendo kill it, it’s likely you’ll have to dig a little deeper on the web to find future builds, but they’ll certainly be out there.
You can hit up Zelda30Tribute at the official website here, and be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments section below.
What was your favourite Zelda game? Would you like to see it getting a modern remake or are you happy with it the way it is?
By now there can’t be much doubt in anyone’s mind that 2016 will be the year that will be remembered as the year VR went mainstream. We have got 3 major players each bringing out their own VR headsets, partly they already have to early adopters, and they surely won’t be the last ones. Overclockers UK is one of the biggest gaming system builders and hardware components shops in the UK and they are also on board for this new wave of virtual reality. We’ve already seen them create dedicated HTC Vive area in their shops where customers and fans can experience the full room VR experience, so there is no doubt that they believe in this too.
Overclockers UK will also be among the 600 buyers, sellers, and developers who will attend the VR World Congress next week on April the 12th in Bristol that is being headlined by AMD and their LiquidVR. At the VRWC, you’ll find a dedicated expo hall filled to the brim with exciting and innovative companies showing the latest developments in VR.
OC UK themselves will bring their high-performance PCs, starting from the recommended VR specifications and all the way up to the 8Pack designed and built monster PC called the Asteroid. There will also be the chance to test out OCUK’s Room Scale VR Experience at their booth.
You can also be part of this yourself, if you have time and are in the area, and you can even get in for free with a little luck. Overclockers UK is giving away 2 tickets for this event and the entry is as simple as it could be. All you have to do is to visit the OCUK forums and post a reply to a thread there. You should also take the time to browse the forums a little bit while you’re there, they got some great and knowledgeable people hanging around that post a lot of interesting stuff.
DDR4 memory has come a long way since its introduction, but notebook and compact-system users haven’t been able to find as many choices when it comes to SO-DIMMs as the more traditional DIMM form factor. G.Skill is changing that and they’ve released yet another impressive module in this series. The new Ripjaws DDR4 modules can achieve 3000MHz at CL16 timings and they do so at a lower power consumption than other modules.
While DDR4 modules consume less power than DDR3 did, running them at such high speeds as 3000MHz usually requires modules to require 1.35V to perform at these speeds. But not these new Ripjaws modules, these modules will perform these speeds at just 1.2V and support the latest XMP 2.0 standard designed for 6th Gen Intel Core processors.
The new modules will be available in four different kits with either 8GB or 16GB modules and in packs with either one or two modules. Having SO-DIMMs that run with CL 16-18-18-43 timings at 3000MHz is already nice, but having them do so at just 1.2V is even more impressive. Adding that extra power and up to 32GB memory to compact systems is suddenly looking a lot easier.
Should your interest have been woken now, then there is some good news. You don’t have to wait very long to get the new G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-3000MHz SO-DIMM modules as they will be available this month, April 20166, at authorized distributing partners. G.Skill did not reveal any pricing at this point, but we can assume that we’ll need to pay a fair price for such impressive and tiny memory modules.
Do you have any systems that would benefit from SO-DIMMs in this capacity, and if, would you upgrade to get that extra memory performance or are you happy with the more default 2133 to 2400MHz DDR4 memory speeds? Let us know in the comments.
Giada is no stranger to the compact systems, but the new i80 takes it to a whole new level with power in a compact chassis. The tiny i80 mini-PC is built on Intel’s NUC concept that packs plenty of power in a compact form factor and coupled with a fashionable appearance, as they call it. The i80 is using the latest Skylake-U processors and support dual 4K UHD resolution that makes it perfect for office work.
The Giada i80 features both HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort connectors for your monitors and they are powered by an Intel Graphics 520 GPU unit. There are two different models with different CPU, but other than that the two models are the same. One uses an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz boost while the other uses the smaller i3-6100U processor with 2..3GHz and no Turbo Boost 2.0.
You are able to install up to 16GB DDR3L-1600 MHz in these units via the two SO-DIMM slots which should be plenty for most work situations. The two slots also allow for dual-channel memory usage that gives a clear benefit over units that only feature one slot.
There are plenty of connection and control options. Starting on the front, there are two USB 3.0 ports next to a 3.5mm audio jack and an IR receiver.
The connections continue on the rear where we find the previously mentioned Mini-DisplayPort that supports 4K 60Hz resolutions and the HDMI port that allows 4K resolutions with 24Hz. There are two more USB 3.0 ports on the rear where you also find an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet connector and a TF card reader.
On the inside, you will find an integrated Realtek ALC662 audio codec that powers the two-in-on jack on the front. The Ethernet is powered by Intel’s i219LM controller.
You can expand the function with a full-length Mini-PCIe card that supports mSATA2, a half-length Mini-PCIe Wi-Fi or BT module, and install one mSATA3 drive as well as one 2.5-inch SATA3 drive with a maximum height of 7.5mm. That is quite a bit of expansion options for such a tiny system. speaking of tiny, the system only measures 116.6 x 111 x 47.1 mm
The larger i80-B5000 model comes with a suggested retail price of $380, but the price for the smaller i80-B3000 model wasn’t revealed at this time. Further details can also be found on the official product page.
ASUSTOR announced the launch of two new economical entry-level multimedia NAS devices called the AS3202T and AS3204T. The difference between the two is the number of drives you can mount, either 2 or 4. The new AS32 Series is built around Intel’s latest Celeron 1.6GHz quad-core CPU that provides plenty of processing power for such units and they come with 2GB DDR3 dual-channel memory.
Besides being a great quad-core CPU for NAS usage, the systems also feature Intel’s AES-NI encryption instructions that allow the devices to support hardware encryption. This is something that gives a far better performance when dealing with encrypted drives than a software solution would.
The AS32 series also features a great graphics processing unit that allows you to use the NAS as a multimedia hub. You can connect the systems directly to a TV or monitor for direct playback without the use of other devices. Attach a keyboard and mouse or use an IR remote to stay in control of the system.
The ASUSTOR Portal App makes it easy and allows you to use the NAS to browse the web, change the configuration, use KODI and similar apps while the official ASUSTOR remote control completes the couch experience. Users can centrally store all of their digital multimedia on the NAS (photos, music, movies) and play it all back on demand, enjoying a comprehensive home multimedia experience.
The AS32 series doesn’t feature external drive bays, but still work with a toolless mounting system that allows you to easily install everything just by the use of thumbscrews. The exterior design uses the diamond pattern that we’ve seen before, for example on the AS1002T that we reviewed a little while ago.
“In order to provide better multimedia playback experience to consumers, we are launching the AS3202T and AS3204T tower model NAS devices which feature powerful performance,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “When compared to the 31 series devices of the previous generation, the 32 series devices provide even more powerful graphics processing capabilities which allow for sharper imaging and smoother playback for all high definition multimedia.”
External storage can be connected to the three USB 3.0 ports on the AS32 series. One is located on the front for easier access and the other two are on the back next to the Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port and the HDMI 1.4a port.
The NAS naturally come with ASUSTOR’s ADM operating system that’s both easy to use and setup. There is no need for complex installation and the devices can be setup with just a three steps. This makes it a great NAS for beginners as it’s budget friendly, easy to install, and still powerful.
Besides the default function, the functionality can be expanded with a large variety of add-on applications that can be installed directly from the built-in app central. There are mobile companion apps too for users that want to access their storage on the go and through the comfort of their smart devices.
Currently, ADM version 2.5.4 is the latest official version of the operating system, but the ADM 2.6 beta is available too and thereby we can expect the full version of this to be released soon too. The latest ADM 2.6 beta includes upgrades to ASUSTOR Portal web applications by increasing YouTube 1080p playback performance and support for a rich variety of streaming video sites such as Netflix, MetaCafe, US Stream, Vimeo, Youkou, Tudou and more.
Gaming has been the spawn of many unique illnesses, such as trigger finger pain, bent thumbs from excessive controller use, and so much more. Now we’re moving forward and onto more modern gaming related illnesses with Oculus Face. Wearing a VR headset for extended periods of time isn’t as uncomfortable as it used to be, the headsets are lighter, more ergonomic and more comfortable in general. However, that doesn’t mean to say they’re not going to make a lasting impression; literally.
The Oculus headset started shipping into the hands of customers earlier this week and that means there are many people out there getting lost in the world of VR right now. The only downside, at least so far, is that the headset leaves temporary red marks on the face, being comically named “Oculus Face” or the even more silly “Rift Rash”, neither sound like something you would want, but they’re obviously pretty harmless anyway.
VR is cool, but it’s quite clear it doesn’t make you look too cool afterward. Hair screwed up, face all marked with red lines and sweat marks. Perhaps Google were onto something with their ergonomic and lightweight Glass designs after all. The foam padding is pretty comfortable from my own experiences, so it’s likely extended exposure that leads to these minor issues and I doubt it’ll be enough to put many of you off of a purchase any time soon.
Remember that crazy TayTweets AI that Microsoft unleashed on the (mostly) innocent users of Twitter recently? The one that quickly pick up the bad habits of many online pranksters, turning it into a genocide-denying Nazi lover? Yes, that one. Twitter users be warned, it’s back!
Microsoft pulled the AI after it descended into madness last week, taking the time to re-tool their learning experiment and trying again. Unfortunately, it’s not really worked this time either, as in true-to-form style it wasn’t long before it because a drug smoking police hater.
While Microsoft were previously tweaking the timeline to remove the most offensive posts, while also vowing to only bring the AI back if they could “better anticipate malicious intent that conflicts with our principles and values.” It’s clear that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Of course, that’s the whole point of these experiments, and I’m sure they’re not out of ideas yet.
Drug smoking references aside, @TayTweets seemed to then descend into a total meltdown, spamming everyone with the same message over and over. The end result being Microsoft setting the profile to private, effectively taking her offline again.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what happens next, more entertaining madness, or a successful AI test, either would be worth watching unfold.
Synology released a new NAS that is a little different that what we’re used to seeing. First off it is very tiny and it is also a bit in reverse, but with good reason. The new Synology Diskstation DS416slim is a NAS for 2.5-inch hard disk drives and drives are plugged through the rear. With its measurements, 18.4 cm x 16.8 cm x 23.0 cm, and its low weight, 700 grams, the DS416slim is a ultra-small NAS that still packs quite a punch.
The Synology DiskStation DS416slim is built around an Armada 385 Dual Core 1.0GHz CPU and comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. That is enough to allow this tiny unit to perform with up to 170MB/s read and 77MB/s write performance through a link aggregated windows connection. The CPU also features a dedicated hardware encryption engine.
As mentioned above, the DS416slim is capable of link aggregation and that is because it comes with two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the rear panel. Whether you want to configure them for load balancing or failover protection is naturally your choice. The NAS also comes with two USB 3.0 ports for external storage and other devices, one on the front for easy access and one on the rear for more permanent connected devices.
The rear is also where you find the four drive bays that each can hold a 2.5-inch hard disk drive or solid state drive with a height up to 12.5mm. Without any real height limitation, the choice of drives to use is yours. The power consumption is rated at about 17 watts during access and just 11 watts during HDD hibernation, which also makes it a very power efficient NAS. The noise output is rated to 20.3 dBA.
As this is a Synology NAS, it naturally comes with their own impressive DSM operation system. The DSM system also just got a major overhaul and version 6.0 was just released as well. You get tons of streaming and backup options as well as mobile apps and security when you pick a DSM 6.0 powered NAS.
The new Synology DS416slim comes with a recommended retail price of £222.00 including VAT or €248.64 excluding VAT, and it is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Synology released the final version of DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 after six months of beta programs and it was well worth the wait. DSM 6.0 is a major leap in the development of DSM and introduces major enhancements in every aspect including Virtualisation, Cloud Solution, Collaboration, Security, Multimedia, Accessibility and much more. Loyal readers will also have seen our review on DSM 6.0 just a few weeks ago where we had a go with it ahead of time.
There are so many improvements in DSM 6.0 that it is hard to get them all mentioned in a post like this, but I’ll try to bring you the highlights. Should you want to check out more details on the individual new function before you upgrade, then you can visit the official minisite for DSM 6.0 and check up on all the details. One of the awesome new functions that you’ll barely notice except for its usability is the new powerful content indexing service. This effective feature allows you to quickly reach all your data with a full content search for more than 700 file formats including office documents and metadata from your media files. With this, you’ll quickly find the files you’re looking for, no matter where on your NAS they’re located.
The Cloud Station Suite also made file syncing a lot easier, no matter what device you’re using. It is now all in one place and easy to setup and configure. Whether you just want to use it for backups to your personal cloud or sync it with a host of cloud storage services too, the Cloud Station Suite makes it easy.
A lot of the really new features in DSM 6.0 focus on the enterprise users, but the home users were in no way forgotten. DSM 6.0 focused highly on optimizing the multimedia experience. The redesigned Video Station with offline transcoding allows you to watch movies anytime, anywhere. Multimedia mobile apps support multiple devices including the new Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Windows 10. Media storage and access are some of the main reasons for home users to get a NAS and with these improvements you can be sure to have a smooth experience, anytime, anywhere.
The advanced collaboration tools are equally useful for home and enterprise users alike. Whether you are calculating prices for customers or keep track of your household expenses, you can do it all on your own NAS without the need for any local software. Create Spreadsheets or use the advanced Note Station yourself or share, edit, and collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers.
The concept of electronic mail is as old as the internet itself. DiskStation Manager now also comes with the all-new MailPlus and MailPlus Server packages that allow you to set up a secure and reliable private mail server as well as use a modern email client for receiving and sending messages. Again, everything will run on your own server and you remain in full control and don’t need to rely on third-party services. While this mostly is relevant to enterprise users, there are quite a few enthusiasts such as myself that could benefit greatly from this system at home too.
DSM 6.0 also offers a much greater support for SSD cache that ensures a significant boost in performance for those that need more than the average. This is mainly for enterprise users and so is the newly added support for shared folders with over one petabyte of storage space. The Btrfs file system is now also supported on more NAS models than before, which in itself adds a row of great features such as data compression and data scrubbing.
DSM 6.0 also introduces Snapshot Replication to Synology’s NAS’ that offers near-continuous data protection as well as multi-site replication for an even better protection of your files. In addition, Synology’s Hyper Backup package can now perform multi-version backups of all types of destinations.
Consolidating physical servers with virtualization technology can increase server utilization and reduce business operating costs – and it’s also really cool. DSM 6.0 introduces two new features here with Docker DSM and Virtual DSM that enables users to build a reliable and multi-tenant environment on their Synology NAS.
Virtual DSM allows you to deploy multiple virtual instances of DiskStation Manager on the same unit. You can easily live migrate virtual machines to another Synology NAS and test out DSM upgrades in isolated virtual machines before you effectively install it. There is no need to worry about downtimes when upgrading with such a feature. It also adds another layer of security as it protects the physical machine from being affected if the virtual machine gets attached.
Docker DSM is a lightweight virtualization system with data protection where you don’t have to give up system performance. It can be containerized and run on a Btrfs shared folder with little performance impact, yet provide you with a lot of benefits. It only requires 256MB memory for each Docker DSM where Virtual DSM requires 1GB or more each and the only real difference is the whether you need the ability to use iSCSI LUN and targets.
So, it might be time to upgrade your Synology NAS. You can find a full list of applied models for each function and check out the full software specification too if you want to know more. As a user that already had the pleasure to play with DSM 6.0, I can highly recommend it.
The latest graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia are on their way, and that means one thing, someone has them! The new cards are no doubt undergoing a lot of development, testing and manufacturing in various parts of the world, so leaked information is always inevitable. The latest batch of images show us what appears to be a new shroud design for the 1000 series of cards from Nvidia, namely their GTX 1070 and 1080 designs.
The revised NVTTM cooling solution design features a similar design to the current crop of cards, but with a much more aggressive and angular design. Of course, we’ve seen many leaks in the past and for the most part these days, they’re often right on the money. However, after the whole Nintendo NX controller fiasco, we have to advice you all to take these images with one more pinch of salt than usual.
That being said, we’re about two months away from Computex, and only a week away from Nvidia GTC, so it makes sense that some cards would be getting produced, at least in terms of visual design, to be featured at these shows. Nvidia are going to want to show off something at their own event and Computex, it just makes sense.
You can see the metal housing in the images, as well as CNC machines and cutting fluid. Could this be an Nvidia production line, or just part of an elaborate hoax? My gut instinct is saying these are real, but with any luck, we won’t have much longer to find out the truth.
Are you looking forwards to the 1000 series of cards from Nvidia? Let us know in the comments section below.
You might already have your graphics card and processor coupled into your liquid cooling setup, but what about your memory? While memory isn’t a thing that’s obvious to add to your custom loop right away, there can be good reasons to do so. To name one: Parts of your system that otherwise wouldn’t run hot might start to do so because of the lack of airflow generated by the fans from traditionally cooled equipment such as CPU and GPU coolers.
Liquid cooling for memory isn’t anything new as such, but EKWB just released a new version of the EK-RAM Monarch cooling modules where the existing black variant is now also available as a Nickel plated version. The EK-RAM Monarch Module is a heatsink adapter which allows virtually any DDR-SDRAM memory module of any generation to be liquid cooled – but it also requires the EK-RAM Monarch series water blocks to go on top.
Each heatsink consists of two separate plates with the memory module sandwiched in between. The heat transfer between the memory module and aluminium heatsink adapter is ensured by the use of an enclosed thermal pad. Each set of EK-RAM Monarch Modules contains two adapter heatsinks that are made of CNC machined high-quality aluminium and feature either a nickel finish or a black anodized finish.
The EK-RAM Monarch modules are available now through EK’s own webshop and their partner reseller network. A nickel plated set of two modules will set you back €34.95 while the black version is a little cheaper and only will cost you €29.95. Both prices include VAT.
Besides the above-mentioned reason of missing airflow in the memory area, adding liquid cooling to your memory will also allow you to overclock them higher while still retaining a stable system. While memory overclocking won’t result in as big a real-world difference as other parts such as CPU and GPU, it might be just what you’re missing to grab those last couple of benchmarks points and beat your friends results. Maybe you’ll also just do it for aesthetic reasons – the modules do look awesome.
The DIY echo can be made using a cheap USB microphone, speaker and several other easy to obtain parts. The code is shared on the Github platform and was posted by Amit Jotwani, Amazon’s senior evangelist for Alexa. It’s his job to help developers and tinkerers. This in turn generates interest from a technical perspective and all of a sudden – millions of people are tweaking code, modding parts and making some really nice inventions with the Pi and Amazon’s software.
It would take some basic technical knowledge to assemble and make the echo work via the Raspberry Pi. However the guides are very good and it should be fairly easy for the average joe to make. The Echo is now on sale for $180 – it hasn’t been released in the UK as of yet. There is one downside to running it off the Rasberry Pi, though, you can’t wake it up by saying “Alexa” and to run a voice command you have to press a button.