Corsair Releases Carbide SPEC-ALPHA Mid-Tower ATX Case

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.

Specifications

  • 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.

Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture PC Requirements Released

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is an enthralling adventure game set in the idyllic Shropshire countryside. Developed by The Chinese Room, the game was well received and praised for its gorgeous visual design. Furthermore, the accompanying soundtrack is sublime and greatly enhances the tense experience. Initially, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture launched as an exclusive PlayStation 4 title and is now making it’s way to the PC platform. Here’s a brief synopsis of what the game entails in the developer’s own words:

“Deep within the Shropshire countryside, the village of Yaughton stands empty. Toys lie forgotten in the playground, the wind blows quarantine leaflets around the silent churchyard. Down on Appleton’s farm, crops rustle untended. The birds lie where they have fallen.

Strange voices haunt the radio waves as uncollected washing hangs listlessly on the line. The televisions are tuned to vacant channels. Above it all, the telescopes of the Observatory point out at dead stars and endless darkness. And someone remains behind, to try and unravel the mystery.
Immerse yourself in a rich, deep adventure from award-winning developer The Chinese Room and investigate the last days of Yaughton Valley. Uncover the traces of the vanished community; discover fragments of events and memories to piece together the mystery of the apocalypse.”

As with any new release on Steam, the developer has listed the game’s requirements listed below:

MINIMUM:

    • OS: 64-bit Windows 7, 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1) or 64-bit Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel Core i5-4570T 2.9 GHz / AMD FX-6100 3.3 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti / AMD Radeon HD 6850
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 8 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

RECOMMENDED:

    • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770S 3.1 GHz / AMD FX-8320 3.5 GHz
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 / AMD Radeon HD 7970
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 8 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

The minimum specification is fairly modest and should run on relatively modern systems.

Synology Officially Releases DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0

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.

ASUSTOR Enhances Core Functions With New ADM 2.6 Beta

It has been about three years since ASUSTOR introduced the ADM operating system, now they’re ready with the public beta on the newest version, ADM 2.6. The new ADM version enhances a lot of core functions in the operating system and it is one well worth checking out for ASUSTOR NAS owners. Among the improvements in ADM 2. beta, we find an even better MyArchive function, advanced iSCSI LUn snapshot configuration, and a more flexible cloud storage system as well as an improved Portal experience.

One of ADM’s strongest points and one of the features that I love most on the ASUSTOR NAS is the MyArchive feature. It allows you to use internal drives in a more flexible way that allows drive ejection at basically any time. This allows you to use drives in the same way you would optical drives, only with a lot more storage capacity and the abilities that come from HDDs. That feature is better than even with ADM 2. beta as it now allows for N-1 drive bays to be assigned as MyArchive drives which mean that you can use all but the main drive for it. Further, you can now format the MyArchive drives as NTFS and HFS+ on top of EXT4 to allow for easy connection to Windows and Mac OS systems when not in use in the NAS’. Also, you can self-define tags for each disk for easier management and identification, each MyArchive drive can be configured to automatically mount on up to 20 trusted NAS devices, supports AES 256-bit encryption by password, electronic key, or physical USB device. As an ASUSTOR NAS user myself, I can say that I love every one of these new features.

MyArchive isn’t the only place that got improvements. Account management also got easier with the new ADM beta version and now includes batch-creation of user accounts, including import function from text and CSV files with integrity check. You can also create scheduled iSCSI LUN snapshots now to take regular snapshots based on specific time periods.

Along with the ADM 2.6 beta enhancements, ASUSTOR 31, 50, 51, 61, 62 and 7 series users can also upgrade to the ASUSTOR Portal beta and URL-Pack, allowing them to stream from even more popular media sites. There’s a newly added hardware accelerated Chromium browser next to Crome, you get smooth streaming of YouTube 1080p videos, and can stream from sites such as Iqiyi, Sohu, Tudou, Youku, Vimeo, MetaCafe, US Stream, Crunchyroll, and Vudu directly on your TV.

You can find all the detailed information about the ADM 2.6 Beta program on the official minisite or just go ahead and upgrade your NAS right away. Keep in mind tho, this is a beta version, so there could be possible bugs.

ADM 2.6 beta Update Highlights

  • Upgrades the GNU C library from eglibc 2.13 to glibc 2.22
  • Upgrades the Linux kernel for AS50/51/70 devices to the latest 4.1 long-term support version
  • Increases supported MyArchive bay number to N-1
  • Adds NTFS, HFS+ support for MyArchive disks
  • Supports AES-256-bit encryption for MyArchive disks (in EXT4 format only)
  • Supports batch creation and importation of ADM accounts
  • Supports scheduled iSCSI LUN snapshots
  • Supports intermediate certificate importation
  • Supports hardware accelerated Chromium for optimized YouTube performance
  • Adds URL-pack app to offer more popular streaming video websites

Vulkan 1.0 Specification Released

DirectX 11 has been the dominant API for a significant amount of time and doesn’t really allow for effective scaling across a wide range of hardware configurations. Thankfully, DirectX 12 is a major step in the right direction and could revolutionize the way game engines communicate with hardware. Theoretically, the new API should reduce CPU overheads and result in better optimization, although this is down to the developers. DirectX 12 isn’t the only low-level API on offer and there’s a great open source alternative, codenamed Vulkan which supports Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Android and Linux!

This is going to be an enticing proposition for anyone who dislikes Windows 10, and it could help with optimization on SteamOS. AMD originally submitted the XGL proposal from their work on Mantle and this was accepted by the OpenGL Next working group. As a company, AMD’s open source ethos ties in extremely well with Vulkan and they are going to release a beta driver with Vulkan functionality.

Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD said:

“The release of the Vulkan 1.0 specification is a huge step forward for developers. The Vulkan API, which was derived from Mantle, will bring the benefits of low-overhead high-performance Graphics API to the benefit of cross-platform and cross-vendor targeted applications,“ 

“The promotion of open and scalable technologies continues to be the focus at AMD, as a pioneer in the low-overhead API space. As a member of the Khronos Group, AMD is proud to collaborate with hardware and software industry leaders to develop the Vulkan API to ignite the next evolution in PC game development.”

I cannot wait to see Vulkan’s impact compared to other APIs and it’s quite plausible to see major performance benefits. However, I think it will be challenging to encourage developers to adopt Vulkan because the majority of users seems to be excited for DirectX 12 and prepared to upgrade to Windows 10 despite many concerns regarding privacy.

Six Minutes Walking Dead: Michonne Gameplay Released

The Walking Dead is a highly popular series whether we talk comic books, TV show, or games for various platforms and if I had been a little younger it would have been on of the franchises I’d be hooked on. I’ve moved on from this genre, but millions of fans haven’t and I bet they’re excited about this new video preview which only just was released. The Walking Dead: Michonne is a mini-series that will feature three episodes instead of the usual five which is why it is being classified as a miniseries instead of just a normal season label. The first episode is called In Too Deep and it scheduled for February the 23rd, although two days later when it comes to Android and iOS devices. The next two episodes in this miniseries, episodes 2 and 3, will then launch in March and April respectively.

The newly released video contains six minutes and eight seconds of goodness for fans of the Walking Dead stories and best of all, it doesn’t really contain any spoilers. It is shown in a slow pace that will allow you to follow even if you haven’t had your morning coffee yet and aren’t fully awake. It doesn’t show any of the difficult choices either that the Telltale games are renowned for, but it does offer a glimpse into Michonne’s state of mind.

The new game should fill some of the gaps for comic fans. It is set between the issues number 126 and number 139 where Michonne was absent. Michonne has been a very mysterious figure in the story and readers have long speculated on her past. It is quite possible that the new game will shed some further light on the character, at least if we go by this newly released video.

With the Walking Dead seasons 1 and 2 having sold over 50 million copies worldwide, there will be a lot of people itching to continue the story. And they can do just that in a little over a week, for now, here’s the video.

FBI Employees Details Published by Hacker

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are known for being involved in all kinds of work, from exposing corrupt judges to fighting malware. They have also been known to take part in some hacking, from using ethically questionable equipment to zero-day exploits. Imagine the irony then when hackers threatened to release information about twenty thousand FBI employees, only to then carry out that threat and expose the FBI employees details online.

The hackers, who posted from the twitter account @DotGovs, claimed that by hacking the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) database, they were able to obtain the information. This information was released only a day after posting similar information on 10,000 Department of Homeland Security employees.

Listing their names, phone numbers and emails addresses the information, if revealed to be true, could be dangerous to both the government and the employees listed in the data breaches. Peter Carr, speaking on behalf of the Department, told CNN the following.

“The department is looking into the unauthorized access of a system operated by one of its components containing employee contact information. “This unauthorized access is still under investigation; however, there is no indication at this time that there is any breach of sensitive personally identifiable information. The department takes this very seriously and is continuing to deploy protection and defensive measures to safeguard information. Any activity that is determined to be criminal in nature will be referred to law enforcement for investigation.”

Stating that there was no “sensitive personally identifiable information” is one thing but if it reveals names, numbers and emails, that’s personal enough for me. The hackers tweeted saying “When will the US government realize we won’t stop until they cut relations with Israel”. This following on from their initial boast of “FBI and DHS info is dropped and that’s all we came to do, so now its time to go, bye folks! #FreePalestine.”.

If this information is found to be genuine it represents a clear breach of the DOJ’s systems and the employees of several major governmental organisations.

OCZ Introduces Trion 150 SSD Series

OCZ already showcased their Trion 150 series SSD during CES 2016 in Vegas and now it has been officially introduced. The new Trion 150 series replaces the current Trion 100 series and it is built with Toshiba’s 15nm Triple-Level-Cell NAND technology for even better performance on a budget.

Making the move from traditional mechanical hard disk drives to the faster solid state drives is simply something everyone has to experience. The difference is like day and night, but not everyone has the budget to get the flagship SSDs on the market. That is where these drives come into play as they still offer a great performance but don’t come with the heavy price.

The Trion 150 with its Toshiba controller and 15nm TLC NAND can bring you speeds of up to 550 MB/s reading and 530MB/s writing while the random performance still provides up to 91K IOPS reading and 64K IOPS writing. These specifications will decrease your boot time as well as any data access significantly and an SSD is an upgrade that every system should get. The OCZ Trion 150 will be available in capacities of 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB which should cover most people’s needs.

One of the downsides to TLC NAND is that it doesn’t have the same endurance as MLC and SLC NAND, but that isn’t something that should scare you away as a normal user. Despite the lower endurance, these drives will easily outlive their time of operation in most systems and it shouldn’t be something you need to worry about. The Trion 150 has an endurance rating of up to 240TB total bytes written which should be plenty.

The new 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND is quite a bit better than the previous 19nm thanks to the optimized manufacturing processes and it shows in this drive. Ordinary flagship drives can easily handle write loads of 50GB at once, but that’s a problem for TLC drives. They are just as fast with small area writes as the bigger brothers, but when they have to write more than a few GB in one instance, they suffer some performance loss. To combat this, a part of the NAND is being run in SLC mode as a kind of burst area. You can easily copy large amounts of data to the drive at once, but once the SLC cache has been exceeded, the performance will drop a little bit. The good news here is that the new series offers almost twice the write speed that the Trion 100 was able to offer during these scenarios.

Despite being a budget drive, the OCZ Trion 150 is still backed by a 3-year warranty and it isn’t just a normal warranty either. OCZ gave the Trion 150 the ShieldPlus Warranty for the entire time and it’s pretty much the best drive warranty you can get anywhere, especially for free and included. In the unlikely event that a drive needs to be replaced, you got a worry-free customer service experience which eliminates all the hassle and cost surrounding traditional support and warranty claims consumers often have to deal with. OCZ has you covered.

“Our Trion 100 series solid state drives quickly became a top seller for us and are popular among end users seeking a performance boost over hard drives at a very reasonable price,” said Steve Fingerhut, Sr. Vice President and GM of SSD BU, at Toshiba America Electronics Corporation. “We are continually looking for ways to improve both SSD real world performance and value to end users and are pleased to introduce the new Trion 150 series which leverages the latest Toshiba 15nm Triple-Level Cell NAND flash to deliver an even better storage solution for value-oriented mobile and desktop users.”

The Trion 150 is expected to be on par if not below the Trion 100 pricing, so that is great news for consumers. I also really like the new drive design, a little fresher than the previous. We will naturally have full reviews of this series ready for you shortly.

Synology Releases DiskStation DS216+ 2-Bay NAS

Synology officially released the DiskStation DS216+ which is the direct successor to the DS215+ and a NAS unit that I’m sure a lot of people have been looking forward to. The new DiskStation DS216+ has it all and looks like it is a solid server with great features.

The DiskStation DS216+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3050 dual-core CPU that has built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine among other things. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory and the system can provide excellent encrypted data transfer performance at over 113 MB/s reading and 109 MB/s writing. Another really cool feature is the real-time capabilities to transcode H.264 4K Ultra HD video. The DS216+ can handle one channel 4K transcoding or three channels with Full-HD transcoding at the same time. When coupled with the ability to utilize DVB-T/DVB-S sticks and the record function, you got everything you need in relation to media in one place. The Video, Audio, and Photo Stations offer all the media features you need and it also supports DLNA and AirPlay, and even Bluetooth and wireless transmission with the use of dongles.

The DiskStation DS216+ has most things when it comes to hardware and software. The LEDs on the front have an adjustable brightness as well as schedule abilities. There is a USB 3.0 port with one-touch copy button, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and a feature that I personally love to see, an eSATA port. The drives are hot-swappable and feature Synology’s screw and tool-less installation. The 92mm cooling fan located at the rear should also make sure that the NAS works as flawless under controlled temperatures and does so as silent as possible.

Besides the full setup of backup, restore, cloud, and other features that we love from Synology’s DiskStation Manager operating system, the DS216+ also introduces the Btrfs file system. Btrfs has advantages over EXT4 and comes with built-in data integrity check, more flexible Shared Folder/User Quota systems, advanced snapshot technology with a customizable backup schedule that allows for up to 64 copies of shared folder backups, and file or folder level data restoration. The Cloud Station with file versioning also reduces the storage consumption down to half when compared with the Ext4 file system.

So whether you need a full set of media capabilities, an easy backup solution, or business features such as Windows AD and LDAP, Windows ACL, Mail Server, VPN server, or Radius server, the DiskStation DS216+ has you covered. It is backed by a 2-year warranty and comes with an MSRP of £237.00 including VAT or €275.00 excluding VAT.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with AES-NI hardware encryption engine
  • Encryption performance at over 113 MB/s reading, 109 MB/s writing
  • Advanced Btrfs file system with built-in data integrity check
  • Single H.264 4K or triple Full HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Hot-swappable drive tray design for easy installation & maintenance
  • Brightness-adjustable front LED with schedule control
  • A versatile storage server for small offices

We can also spot a new feature within the product photos of this DS216+ NAS and while it is a feature that isn’t present yet, it should be on future models. At the first glance, the DS216+ looks like the previous  Synology 2-bay models. It does have the new power button and one-touch copy button with built-in LED feature, but there’s another thing hiding in plain sight on the front. There is an unused and covered slot on the front that judging from the size could be an SD Card slot. We’ve already seen Synology add an SD card slot to their RT1900ac router, so it wouldn’t be far-fetched that we could see that added to the NAS lineup too.

GIGABYTE Launches Two AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboards With A Twist

It came as quite a surprise when GIGABYTE first mentioned their new AMD socket AM3+ based motherboards about a month ago and quite a few people were shocked by this news. But there can be a lot of benefits in these two new AM3+ based GIGABYTE motherboards, benefits that some people might not have considered.

The most likely scenario for these new motherboards is probably one where the old motherboard has died or generally just starts to bug around. It is time for a replacement despite that the user might originally have intended to wait for one of the new CPU architectures such as Intel’s upcoming Extreme series or AMD’s own Zen-based series. You could buy an up to six years old motherboard and gain nothing, or you could get one of GIGABYTE’s new ones and get a lot of benefits from modern technology and advancements that have been made since the AM3+ socket was introduced in 2009.

The two new motherboards are the GA-990FX-Gaming and GA-970-Gaming that both got the GIGABYTE G1 Gaming treatment. They come with an M.2 connectors that can transfer with up to 10Gb/s on the 970-based board and 20Gb/s on the 990FX-based.

Both can utilize NVMe and SATA drives, but you naturally you won’t reap the full benefits of an NVMe drive with 10Gb/s speeds. It would still be great and the board is able to use these modern drives with the result being a much faster systems and one that takes less CPU usage than an equivalent SATA version.

GIGABYTE also added USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors to these motherboards, allowing you to use the newest peripherals too. This again allows you to move forward with all other aspects of your system while you wait for one of the new hot platforms to be released.

The bigger of the two boards comes with three PCI-Express x16 slots and the smaller only has two, but both support dual-graphics solutions and you can add up to 32GB DDR3 memory to both. Another nice touch on the PCI-Express slots is the use of the exclusive ultra durable metal shielding that will give the slots more durability.

Being boards in the G1 Gaming series, these boards also come with great network and audio solutions. The Audio is taken care of by an 115dBB SNR HD Audio system with built-in rear audio amplifier and high-quality audio capacitors as well as the Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting to prevent interference. The network connection is provided by a KillerNIC E2200 network controller.

GIGABYTE didn’t reveal any pricing or availability, but considering that they are launched now they should be available soon and the pricing should be close to the predecessors.

SP Launches Secure G50 With AES 256-Bit Full Disk Encryption

Silicon Power’s newest flash drive is designed for those users who need just a little extra security and in this case that little bit isn’t even that little. The newly launched Secure G50 Flash Drive uses the USB 3.0 bus for optimal connectivity and it comes with a great AES 256-bit full-drive encryption feature.

The Secure G50 flash drive comes with three layers of defense to enhance your data safety. The first is the above named AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption technology. That is coupled with the second layer which is the password protection function that enables the drive to auto lock-down and format itself after several failed login attempts by a malicious user. The third layer is software based in the form of Silicon Power’s data management software called SP Widget. The software features file encryption, cloud storage, backups, and restores for that extra bit of safe keeping in case you should lose your Secure G50 or it becomes damaged and simply doesn’t work anymore.

The Secure G50 drive works as it is and it doesn’t require any additional drivers or software except what it can carry and pre-load itself, so there is no need to keep drivers or software at hand to use it in a foreign system. It is officially compatible with both Windows and Mac OS, but Linux and Unix-based operating systems shouldn’t be a problem either.

Silicon Power’s Secure G50 is now available in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities which should suit most basic needs. The drive is also backed by a five-year warranty in case the worst should happen.

SP Secure G50 Features and Specifications

  • AES 256-bit hardware-based full disk encryption
  • Set up password easily, and access your data after entering the password
  • Auto lock-down and reformat after 10 intrusion attempts
  • Pre-loaded program and no need to install a driver
  • Extra features such as data encryption, backups and cloud storage management
  • Capacity: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
  • Dimensions: 53.9 x 20.0 x 10.0 mm
  • Weight: 9.2 g
  • Interface: USB 3.0/ USB 2.0 Compatible
  • Supported operating systems:: Windows 10/8.1/8/7(SP1)/XP, MAC OS 10.7.x and later
  • Warranty: 5 years

AMD Releases Hotfix for Crimson Edition Software and Fan Issues

AMD’s new Crimson Edition software that replaced the old Catalyst Control Center ran into some trouble over the weekend as users reported their fan speeds malfunctioning. For some users it would be stuck on maximum while other people experienced them throttled to 30% speed at all times.

AMD was quick to respond and promised a fix for the issue on Monday, and they delivered. The new AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.11.1 Hotfix is available for download and it should take care of those nasty fan issues. AMD hasn’t had the best track record in the past when it comes to frequent and swift updates which make this double nice to see and something that count point towards a better driver support with Crimson than we had with CCC.

The new driver doesn’t just fix the fan issues, it also brings some improvements along at the same time. There were some language and software display features fixed as well as a row of game issues.

  • [82050] Star Wars: Battlefront – Snow flickers in a few locations in the game
  • [82240] Star Wars: Battlefront – Sky rendering may be broken in some game locations
  • [82645] Fallout 4 – The compass may flicker during gameplay on AMD Radeon R9 390 series products. We continue to investigate the issue with AMD Radeon R9 290 and AMD Radeon R9 295X2 series products
  • [82667] Star Wars: Battlefront – Shadowy textures are visible around hills/structures/caves
  • [81890] Just Cause 3 – Texture corruption may be experienced during gameplay
  • [54874] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Poor AMD Crossfire performance may be experienced
  • [82338] The driver installation may fail while installing the ACP component
  • [82426] The font size in Chinese language installations may be too small
  • [82438] The label range values in some AMD Freesync installations may be incorrect
  • [82536] The Radeon Settings dropbox does not close when it is clicked on a second time
  • [82603] The AMD Overdrive fan settings is always set to ON after first edit on reboot
  • [82586] Language shows up as Chinese Simplified when Chinese Traditional is selected in Windows 7
  • [82656] Radeon Settings crashes on the Display tab when cloning a display via HDMI on some notebooks
  • [82671] Overdrive fan speed is reset to Manual on exiting from a 3D game or application
  • [82766] Radeon Settings does not get upgraded in some install scenarios
  • [82691] AMD Overdrive cannot revert to default settings in some situations

You can download the new driver fix and view the full release notes on AMD’s support pages.

BitFenix Pandora ATX Now Available at Overclockers UK

BitFenix is back with their latest chassis, the BitFenix Pandora ATX, a bigger and better version of the stunning Pandora M-ATX. We actually reviewed the M-ATX model, and you can check that out here. We’re expecting a sample of the new one too, so if you’re dying to see what the fuss is about, stay tuned.

If you can’t wait for the review and you want to get your hands on this new chassis, you’ll be happy to hear that Overclockers UK will have plenty of stock of Pandora ATX. There’s are two models at launch, the ATX and the ATX Core, both of which are only available in black, at least at launch. The Pandora ATX is equipped with the 2.8” ICON LCD display in the front, allowing for an added personalized touch of the front fascia, just like we saw on the original Pandora in our original review. (pictured below).

“Internally, the Pandora ATX stays true to the BitFenix DNA of innovation – this time mainly evident in the one-piece power cover design, effectively creating a separate bottom chamber for the PSU and HDDs at the bottom. This solution gives added space for exposure of hardware for modding projects, improves case rigidity and shields HDD and PSU noise.”

The Pandora ATX comes equipped with a 140mm fan in the front, a 120mm in the back, is water cooling capable, with room for a mighty impressive 360mm radiator in the top or front, and even has all the dedicated brackets you’ll need for pumps and reservoirs, so high-end system builders are going to love it!

In terms of expansion capabilities, the Pandora ATX comes with support for up to 440mm long graphics cards, 4x 2.5” SSDs and 4x 3.5” HDDs. Maximum PSU length is 220 mm, while CPU cooler height is a maximum of 160mm.

You can find the Pandora at Overclockers UK here if that link gives you a 404, please use this alternative product page link.

 

Impossible Creatures Re-Released On Steam

In recent years, both new games and old have been appearing online in re-releases and remastering. With the shutdown of services like GameSpy many have transferred their systems to use newer services, such as those provided by Steam. These games include classics like Age of Empires 2 and Age of Mythology, but more recently another classic has appeared on Steam, Impossible Creatures.

In Impossible creatures, the player use typical real-time strategy (RTS) to build units to conquer land, sea and air, while building up resources, research and defences. One twist, in Impossible Creatures, as the name suggests is that your army will not only consist of people but also an array of creatures that combine the DNA of 50 of Earth’s majestic wildlife. Pictured below is just one of the creatures, the speed of a cheetah and the claws of a scorpion creates a nasty pack of creatures that can quickly sprint and squeeze your enemies defences.

By combining DNA of creatures for their heads, bodies, legs, tails and even wings you can create small armies or giant behemoths.

With modding support and multiplayer re-implemented for a smooth online experience you could soon be playing with your friends to conquer the world with an army of tiger sharks (literally tigers with a sharks head) or even a flying whale (we’ve seen it, it is awesome). With steam friends and cloud support you can bring in your friends for the battle and with the remastered systems enjoy the classic all over again, or for the first time.

If you like the sound of a monster army, check out the game here.

Synology Announces the Official Release of Surveillance Station 7.1

Following a successful beta phase, Synology announced the official release of Surveillance Station 7.1. The new version delivers a more thoughtful and efficient design, features Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), multicast support, and refined alerts and notifications for an even better management experience.

“In this version, we focus on optimising the mechanics and performance of Surveillance Station as well as developing the compatibility of ONVIF protocol, in order to provide the best and easy-to-use surveillance solution to our customers,” said Chad Chiang, Product Manager at Synology Inc. “We express our thanks to the users who spent time testing the beta version and working with Synology to ensure a better and more secure surveillance solution.”

With support for Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), the video streaming performance is increased and provides a more fluent experience when watching feeds and it can also be used to easily integrate video streams into third-party systems. Multicast support now also means that video feeds can be streamed to multiple clients via a single transmission, thereby reducing the load on your Synology NVR or NAS, but tit does require your router to support IGMP.

The Advanced Live View Alerts and Notifications provide a more refined management for large-scale deployments. If you got hundreds of cameras to monitor, you can’t do it one-by-one. Live View Analytics alerts are displayed for cameras that are not included in the Live View layout and events can be directly highlighted on an E-map, allowing users to quickly see the camera and location of suspicious events.

Synology also made several under-the-hood modification that will allow for even better usage of the Surveillance Station. ONVIF Profile G is now supported and it brings more options to cameras that have rotation and focus features. The database structure has also been refined and a dedicated multipart link between host and recording servers was added.

Surveillance Station 7.1 is available now in the Package Center and comes with two camera licenses at no extra cost. It is supported by the following Synology models:

  • 16-series: RS18016xs+, RS2416(RP)+, DS416, DS216play, DS216se
  • 15-series: RC18015xs+, RS815(RP)+, RS815, DS3615xs, DS2415+, DS2015xs, DS1815+, DS1515+, DS1515, DS715, DS415+, DS415play, DS215+, DS215j, DS115, DS115j
  • 14-series: RS3614xs+, RS3614(RP)xs, RS2414(RP)+, RS814(RP)+, RS814, DS414, DS414slim, DS414j, DS214+, RS214, DS214, DS214play, DS214se, DS114
  • 13-series: RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS2413+, DS1813+, DS1513+, DS713+, DS413, DS413j, DS213+, DS213, DS213j, DS213air
  • 12-series: DS3612xs, RS3412(RP)xs, RS2212(RP)+, DS1812+, DS1512+, RS812+, RS812, DS712+, DS412+, RS212, DS212+, DS212, DS212j, DS112+, DS112, DS112j
  • 11-series: DS3611xs, RS3411(RP)xs, DS2411+, RS2211(RP)+, DS1511+, RS411, DS411+II, DS411+, DS411, DS411j, DS411slim, DS211+, DS211, DS211j, DS111
  • 10-series: DS1010+, RS810(RP)+, DS410, DS410j, DS710+, DS210+, DS210j, DS110+, DS110j

Intel Releases Xeon E3-1200 V5 Greenlow Processors

The release of Intel’s Greenlow platform has been anticipated for a while and now it is finally upon us. Intel announced the official release of the first Xeon E3-1200 V5 Greenlow processors that support the new C236 chipset. The new CPUs are designed for the low-end workstation area more than the microserver area where its predecessors were targeted.

Intel released a total of 11 new Xeon E3-1200 processors and all of them have four cores, no more dual-cores. Most of these new processors have Hyper Threading and it is only three of them that come without. The base clock ranges from 2GHz to 3.7GHz while the turbo clock ranges from 3.0GHz to 4.0GHz. The TDP is 80W on eight of them, one comes with a 45W TDP, and two with a low 25W TDP. Four of the new CPUs also have an HD P530 iGPU. You can check the summary in the chart below or head over to Intel’s ARK for the complete specifications of all the new chips.

The new processors support both ECC and non-ECC DIMMs with a capacity up to 16GB per modules. When it comes to the iGPU, we get a 4K 60Hz capable output with 350MHz base frequency and a maximum shared memory up to 1.7GB. It is fully DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4 compatible while supporting up to three displays simultaneously. The SATA connection count also got upped a bit over the predecessor, the new processors now support up to 8 SATA3 drives on Greenlow, from the previous 6 on the predecessor chips.

Manufacturers of motherboards are naturally ready for this release, so we can expect a lot of new C230 based motherboards to hit the market very soon.

Synology Announces DiskStation Manager 6.0 Beta

It has been a little while since Synology released the last major update for their award-winning NAS operating system, but now it is here, t least in its beta form. Synology officially announced the beta release of their DiskStation Manager, or DSM for short, as version 6.0 beta. The new system architecture will be much more efficient thanks to the upgrade to 64-bit architecture on compatible models as well as modularisation of a greater number of applications.

There are several new and pretty awesome features in DSM 6.0 beta, where on of them is the Docker DSM. Businesses can create a multi-tenant environment with flexible resource control and secured isolation. All Docker DSMs run independently from each other and provide additional features such as live migration. Synology’s multi-version backup provides snapshot and replication to one or more remote sites, up to every 5 minutes, and block-level incremental backup and cross-version deduplication is also included. You’re well covered here.

There’s also a new Spreadsheet feature with co-editing, historical versions, tag, and file sharing link as part of Note Station. Offline editing, one-click email clipping, and instant table-chart conversion is also part of the deal. Apple Watch users can now enjoy the Note Station even more as it is now compatible with the Watch. Owners of an Apple Watch can now check notes directly on their wrist, or create new notes via voice input.

MailPlus server comes with active-active architecture, load balancing, and content filters and allows you to have a great mail solution running right from your own location. The clients are browser- and mobile-based and feature physical mailbox, virtual labels, auto-filter, and sticker.

Cloud Station Server and Cloud Sync now provide users with flexible synchronization of files within specified subfolders in addition to shared folders. Small file syncing has now become over 8 times faster than before which is great as those small files often come in big groups. Synology also revamped the Video station for this new version. It now supports offline transcoding, on-screen buttons, and Windows 10. DS Audio got Apple Watch support now too, to allow users to select songs, playlists, and broadcasts directly.

These are just a few of the things that Synology’s DSM 6.0 beta has to offer. You can also check out the new mini-site, release notes, or just go ahead and download it if you can’t wait any longer.

Supported models:

  • 16-series: RS18016xs+, RS2416(RP)+
  • 15-series: RC18015xs+, RS815(RP)+, RS815, DS3615xs, DS2415+, DS2015xs, DS1815+, DS1515+, DS1515, DS715, DS415+, DS415play, DS215+, DS215j, DS115, DS115j
  • 14-series: RS3614xs+, RS3614(RP)xs, RS2414(RP)+, RS814(RP)+, RS814, RS214, DS414, DS414j, DS414slim, DS214+, DS214, DS214play, DS214se, DS114
  • 13-series: RS10613xs+, RS3413xs+, DS2413+, DS1813+, DS1513+, DS713+, DS413, DS413j, DS213+, DS213, DS213air, DS213j
  • 12-series: RS3412(RP)xs, RS2212(RP)+, RS812(RP)+, RS812, RS212, DS3612xs, DS1812+, DS1512+, DS712+, DS412+, DS212+, DS212, DS212j, DS112+, DS112, DS112j
  • 11-series: RS3411(RP)xs, RS2211(RP)+, RS411, DS3611xs, DS2411+, DS1511+, DS411+II, DS411+, DS411, DS411j, DS411slim, DS211+, DS211, DS211j, DS111

Oh, and don’t forget: Synology also rewards beta testers that provide valuable feedback. Three winners will be selected during each beta stage and they each win a Synology DS215j NAS. The winners will be chosen based on the significance of issues discovered and reported, time spent cooperating with Synology’s Support Team in solving the issues, as well as helpfulness of recommendations for making DSM 6.0 even better.

Sharkoon Releases Two New Mid-Tower Series for Users on a Budget

Sharkoon expanded their product series with two new midi tower case series that come at an attractive price point for users that build a system on a budget. The two new case series are the T3 and VG5 and they come with tool-free device installation, adjustable fan configurations, and cable management system despite the low costs.

Both new series have a classic PC case look and come in several versions, with or without windowed side panel and with coloured additions to the basic black base colour. The T3 case series has a simple front panel that suits the use for office PCs or generally computers in a classic style. Colored power LEDs in the front as well a 120 mm LED fan in the Value and Window version completes the optical details for the entire series.

The Standard version comes without any LED fans as it isn’t everyone that wants a flashy system, some just want one that works as intended. The case looks easy to install thanks to the wide open areas and tool-free drive bays.

You can fit tower coolers with a height of up to 160mm, graphics cards up to 385 mm, and power supplies up to 250 mm into this case, making it suitable for almost all hardware. There are three external 5.25-inch drive bays, three 2.5-inch internal drive bays, and three 3.5-inch internal drive bays that should be enough for most people. There is also space for an additional 2.5-inch drive on the bottom of the case. The Value and Window versions feature USB 3.0 front ports while the Standard version only features USB 2.0 ports.

Depending on the version, the T3 comes with either one or two pre-installed front fans, each 120mm. Again depending on version, you can add more fans to the side panel as well as the rear. The Standard version is available in black. The Window and Value versions are available, with matching interior painting, in the color versions blue, green and red.

Where the T3 series is aimed more at office and work systems, the VG5 series is aimed more towards gamers and their general needs with the brawny designed front panel and features. If you want a simplistic design, this isn’t it. But if you want something to stand out, it looks like a safe bet.

 

The Sharkoon VG5 series features two illuminated 120 mm LED fans on the front as well as two USB 3.0 ports and easily accessible audio ports for your headset. The front panel also allows for easy cleaning due to its removal abilities without having to unplug any cables or other parts before taking it off.

The VG5 allows for bigger CPU coolers than the T3 series, here we can go all the way up to 160mm height. The GPU clearance of 385mm and PSU clearance of 250mm is the same.

The case comes with a pre-installed dust filter on the case bottom for the power supply, but other than that you’ll have to clean the system from whatever it takes in. There is one less 5.25-inch drive bay here, but the other drive bays are the same as in the T3. There is however an enclosed 5.25-inch to 3.5-inch drive bay cover and mounting frame that allows you to install smaller external drives too.

Two 120 mm LED fans come pre-installed in the front panel. Additionally, it is possible for another fan to be mounted in the rear panel and, depending on version, also installed on the side panel. The Value version is equipped with blue LED fans. The Window versions are available in the color versions black, blue, green and red with matching interior painting.

End customers can find the Sharkoon T3 ATX case in the Standard, Value and Window versions available immediately for the suggested retail price starting at 27.99 euros from authorized retailers. The Sharkoon VG5 case series is also now available starting at 32.99 euros for the Value and Window versions. Sounds like a good deal for that price.

SilverStone Releases Super Slim Milo ML08 Mini-ITX Chassis

SilverStone released quite a few great looking cases recently, such as the Milo ML06 chassis that we recently reviewed here at eTeknix, and now they are ready with yet another great looking mini-ITX chassis called the Milo ML08.

Milo ML08 is based on the Raven Z RVZ02 chassis, but with a more living-room approved design that reminds of a console rather than a PC case. The tiny chassis has a 12-liter volume, yet you’re able to mount quite a bit hardware inside of it.

Dual-slot graphics cards with a length of up to 13 inches can be used in this system, allowing you to build enough power into the tiny chassis. As mentioned, it takes mITX motherboards and you’ll need an SFX power supply too. Inside it features a 2-chamber design that helps to keep vital parts separated from excessive heat from other components. Both the CPU and the graphics card, which are the two biggest heat sources in a system, each have their own airflow path.

If you’d like to take your compact system with you where ever you go, then you might want to opt for the expanded model called the ML08B-H. This model also features a removable carrying handle.

Both versions of the chassis are available now and the recommended end user price, excl. VAT, is set to 93.48 USD for the ML08B and 106.68 USD for the ML08B-H.

QNAP Launches AMD-Powered TS-x63U Series Rackmount NAS

QNAP announced a new NAS series and this time it is built around an AMD G-Series quad-core processor, the TS-x63U Turbo NAS. These new NAS units come as 4-bay, 8-bay, and 12-bay version and can be had with single or redundant power supplies. I for one love this and am pleased to see more NAS units being built around an AMD chip, something that can be highly beneficial for many people. The new TS-x63U NAS units feature four normal Gigabit Ethernet connections as well as a single-port SFP+ network adapter that provides 10 GbE connectivity for that extra speed.

The CPU used is a 64-bit AMD Embedded G-Series quad-core 2.0GHz SoC processor and the units come with 4GB DDR3L RAM pre-installed, but you can upgrade that to 16GB if it shouldn’t be enough for your needs. The NAS units also feature AES-NI hardware encryption engine that allows unmatched sequential read performance that exceeds 780MB/s with AES 256-bit full NAS volume encryption. Without encryption, the units can perform with up to 1090MB/s sequential throughput.

The TS-X63U Turbo NAS units run the latest QTS 4.2 operating system and they’re also able to run multiple applications on Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android-based virtual machines. You can operate multiple isolated Linux systems on the NAS as well as download apps from the built-in Docker Hub Registry by using the Container Station which integrates LXC and Docker lightweight virtualisation technologies. They also allow you to simplify virtual storage management for VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix virtualization solutions.

You can also expand the units with QNAP’s 12-bay and 8-bay expansion units and add up to 24 extra drive bays on top of the ones already built-in. The new NAS units should be available as of now, so all that’s left is to pick the one that suits your needs the best.

Redundant power supply:

  • TS-463U-RP:4-bay rackmount model
  • TS-863U-RP:8-bay rackmount model
  • TS-1263U-RP:12-bay rackmount model

Single power supply:

  • TS-463U:4-bay rackmount model
  • TS-863U:8-bay rackmount model
  • TS-1263U:12-bay rackmount model

Scythe Announces Third Version of Grand Kama Cross CPU Cooler

Scythe have been hard at work on their somewhat unique looking Grand Kama Cross CPU cooler and the third revision of the cooler is available now. The previous Kama Cross CPU cooler was efficient and delivered a great performance, but it doesn’t compare to the new version.

Scythe’s engineers have redesigned all the vital aspects of the CPU cooler and created a great looking new cooler that promises some great performance thanks to refined processes. We already see the changes on the base plate and heat pipes, which both could be considered the main part of a CPU cooler. The main two heat pipes have been upgraded from 6mm to 8mm and the manufacturing process has been improved to allow a better transfer between the heat pipes and base plate. Both the base plate and heat pipes are full copper and are completely nickel-plated.

The next place where Scythe improved the cooler is on the actual fin design. The engineers have re-designed the two aluminum-fins blocks and fitted the fins with a special sawtooth tread design. The new design lowers both the operating noise at higher fan speed ranges as well as the air resistance.

Scythe added a 140 mm axial-fan from their GlideStream series to the new version. The larger size and added PWM support again helps to provide a better cooling at a lower noise levels. It can push between 29,90 and 97,18 CFM at noise levels from 12.5 to 30.7 dBA. The PWM is step-less in the full range from 400 to 1300 RPM.

Scythe packed everything into the Grand Kama Cross 3 that you’ll need to mount it, including tools. It is compatible with Intel’s LGA 115x sockets as well as LGA 775, 1366, and 2011(v3). Full AMD compatibility is assured too as they haven’t changed the cooler mount system since the AM2 socket.

The Scythe Grand Kama Cross 3 is available now and best of all, it isn’t even expensive. You can get the Grand Kama Cross 3 (Model: SCGKC-3000) for a suggested retail price of just €36.50.

AMD R9 Nano Full Cover Water Cooler Released by Aqua Computer

AMD’s Radeon R9 Nano graphics card was only just released upon the market yesterday, and today Aqua Computer are ready to take on pre-orders on their real full cover water block for just that card. You can get some impressive results by replacing the factory-default air cooler on this already efficient mini card with this new water block.

The kryographics R9 NANO full cover water cooler is a true full cover cooler as it covers the entire PCB area. There is already a single-slot bracket available for the R9 Fury X and that will work on this card too, allowing you to make a true single-slot mITX graphics card with a power that hasn’t been seen before. Internal tests by Aqua Computer showed temperatures of just 35 degrees on the GPU (27 degrees water temperature) when running Furmark. Impressive!

We know that the GPU used on the R9 Nano is the same as the one on the R9 Fury X and as such there is a lot of performance to be had, with a few limitation. The GPU is simply clocked into a more efficient area instead of running it to the maximum. So by adding a full cover water block like this to the card, we should be able to almost the same results. There is the limitation of only one PCIe 8-pin power connector, but otherwise you should be free.

The water block will cool the GPU and onboard memory as effective as possible, and the entire VRM area is properly cooled as well, including the regulators. The base is made from electrolytic copper and there are several top versions available as we’re used to from the kryographics series.

Pre-orders for the Kryographics R9 Nano full cover water block can be placed from today and the actual coolers will start to ship the following week.

Giada Launches Dust-Proof and Fanless F200 Mini PC

Giada is known for their compact systems and they’ve now released their brand new F200 thin client that was first showcased at Computex in June.

The Giada F200 provides a complete thin client solution device that helps reduce operating costs and power consumption as well as coming with a longer life cycle. The Giada F200 is great for applications in thin client systems as well as virtual terminals, digital signage and industry control computers.

The tiny chassis is an all-metal chassis that makes it more durable than its plastic competitors as well as providing a better EMI shielding. At the same time, the all-metal design allows the entire case to help with the heat dissipation. The F200 measures 116.6 x 107.2 x 30 mm, making it 1/30 the volume of a traditional PC. Why have more if this is enough.

The F200 is built around an Intel Celeron N2807 processor, allowing the F200 to consume a grand total of 5W under full load. It comes with 2GB DDR3L memory onboard and one Mini-PCIe slot for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or a 3G mobile module. You can get it with optional 8GB or 16GB eMMC storage and also add more via an SSD on the available mSATA 2 port. There is also an SIM card slot for a 3G card. Onboard is a Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controller, IR interface, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0, and one COM port.

To reach as many users as possible and meet their various OS demands, the F200 is specially designed to support both Windows & Android. For Windows OS, the F200 is compatible with Windows7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Giada also applied the patented JAHC hardware automation functions to take care of remote operations. JAHC provides built-in capabilities for unattended operations such as auto power on when connected to power, RTC wake up or a scheduled power on/off.

The MSRP for the Giada F200 Barebone System is set to $110 USD.

AMD Releases R9 Nano Graphics Card

It has been rumoured, leaked, and talked about for a while now, the AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card, and all those rumours were correct. AMD has just released the Radeon R9 Nano graphics card and it is a beaut.

I could talk a lot about this card right from the start, but let us start with the specifications instead. I’m sure it is those that interest most folks around here, reading this right now. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano comes with a fully configured Fiji GPU based on the 28nm process, with 4096 stream processors, 64 ROPs, 256 Texture Units, and 64 compute units for a compute performance of 8.19TFLOPs. That is also the same chip configuration as the water-cooled Radeon R9 Fury X uses, but I’ll get more into that later. Being a Fiji GPU, it comes with 4GB HBM memory directly on the GPU. The GPU clock can go up to 1000 MHz and the memory is locked at 500MHz/1.0 Gbps on the 4096-bit memory bus for up to 512GB/s bandwidth.

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano isn’t just a very small card, measuring just about 6-inches in length, it’s also very power efficient and that is its key point. As a comparison, a mITX motherboard is 6.7-inch by 6.7-inch and that is already very small. The Nano is even shorter. It only needs a single 8-pin power connector for its typical board power of 175W. With what we know now, it’s easy to say that this is the most powerful mITX card ever created. One of the reasons the card uses so much less power than the R9 290x for example, besides the optimization for performance per watt, is the lower power consumption of the HBM memory. A 4GB GDDR5 equipped card would consume about 50W where the Nano only requires 8w.

The R9 Nano isn’t targeted as a new solo flagship and not intended to perform as good as the Fury X either, as it is. The performance will be around that of the air-cooled R9 Fury, but smaller and more efficient as well as with a lot of headroom for aftermarket cooling solutions. Both the memory and the GPU have been set to the absolute sweet spot where you get maximum performance per watt, and that is this cards strength. While you can overclock the card and get roughly 15% more performance, it will come at a power increase of about 50%. If you want it, you can do it. But whether it’s worth it, is another question.

I’ve previously mentioned that the GPU clock goes up to 1000MHz, but you won’t get that far up under typical situations. It will more likely be around 850-900MHz, again to get the best performance per watt. This can be overwritten in the CCC and set manually, so nothing to worry about if you want to run it to the max.

With such a small card and powerful card, there is worry about the cooling. Both the efficiency, thermal throttling, and noise generation. The GPU is allowed all the way up to 85 degrees before any thermal throttling is happening, and it is designed to run no hotter than 75 degrees in normal setups.

In the first instance, the R9 nano will be released as a reference design only, but it will be opened up to AIB partners later on, allowing them to create their own cooling solutions for the card. Speaking of upgrading it, you can also upgrade the shroud with a custom one like on the Fury X, but it won’t be as easy. AMD promised to release the 3D print files, allowing people to create their own shrouds. But it needs to accommodate for the fan that is mounted on it and isn’t just a square plate like it was on the Fury X.

The Nano comes without any DVI connectors and again, for now it’s reference design only. But this will also be opened up to card partners later on, where a few surely will choose to include the legacy connection. For now you get three DisplayPort connectors and one HDMI. The HDMI port isn’t a 2.0, but you can get that type of connection through a DisplayPort adapter if needed.

Being a mITX design, the AMD R9 Nano is intended to be used mainly in compact and portable gaming rigs, but that doesn’t prevent you from using them in any larger one. The card also features bridgeless CrossfireX support with up to four cards. That ability could create some truly sick mods with all new possibilities in custom case placements.

The three photos below illustrate the cooling solution that is used and that is probably one of the things that many previous AMD customers might be worried about. The Radeon 290x reference card wasn’t exactly what you would call silent.

The first part we see is the dedicated VRM direct touch heat sink, something that probably hasn’t been seen on this type of cards before. A stable and cool VRM goes a long way for a graphics card and having the extra heat sink will allow the fan to spin at a much lower speed.

The second part is the actual cooler that features a dual vapor chamber and heat-pipe thermal solution. This combination again allows the fan to spin at a slower speed as it’s required less. AMD put a lot of work into the cooler, and it shows. Effectively this allows the card to be 16dBA quieter than the R9 290X graphics card and comes in on a noise level of 42 dBA. That is the same noise level you’d find in a library.

The third part of the cooling solution is one that easily could be overlooked and it’s the direction of the fins. Most cards have them turned 90 degrees and that’s simply a bad choice. With this design, most of the hot air will be blown out the rear instead of up onto motherboard and CPU area that is located above the graphics card.

AMD also opted for a matte black PCB on this card next to the full metal shroud and brushed aluminium finish. It sure looks great. It wasn’t entirely sure at the press event what speed the fan will spin on, but it should go up to around 2700 RPM.

So to sum up: The AMD R9 Nano uses the same setup as the R9 Fury X, but it is tuned to a more optimal performance per watt and it’s targeted at compact and mobile gaming rigs. You can overclock it to gain more performance, but it will come at a significant extra power requirement. It is not meant to compete with the Fury X but offer a smaller and more efficient variant of the same. The performance, as it is, will be around that of the air-cooled R9 Fury.

What’s left to say, oh yea the pricing. The card won’t be cheap and it will cost about the same as the Fury X with a $649 USD MSRP. I also got a fun fact, the Amazing AMD micro system displayed at the same time as the Fury X was announced actually used two R9 Nano cards in a dual-board layout. So different PCB, but same GPU configuration.

Are you tempted to get one of the new AMD Radeon R9 Nano cards? I know I am, or perhaps two while I’m at it. Here is also a comparison on what is possible. These two systems have the same CPU, the same amount of memory, same graphics power, and same storage abilities. Which would you pick?

 

 

NZXT Announces the New S340 Special Edition PC Case

If you are planning a black and green PC build or you just are a Razer fan, then NZXT’s newest special edition chassis might be just the right fit for you. NZXT just announced the new S340 Special Edition PC case and it looks as awesome as we’ve come to expect it from NZXT. It is also a durable chassis, made of 90 percent steel.

This isn’t just a normal NZXT S340 chassis in a new colour scheme, it also brings new features along with it. One of them being a cable management bar that avoids separating the front inlet and the remainder of the housing, allowing complete control of cables for a refined appearance and cooling optimised through better air circulation.

The NZXT S340 has a pretty compact form factor and allows you to create a pretty powerful setup with its dimensions of 445 mm height and 432 mm length. No need to put a giant block next to your desk if smaller can do it.

The chassis allows for water cooling setups with 280mm radiator support at the front and it comes with two 120mm FN V2 fans at the top and rear. The integrated PSU shroud will keep those unpleasant cables out of sight and creates an overall cleaner look in the chassis.

Special Edition Features:

  • Front panel featuring back-lit triple-headed snake logo
  • Cable management bar with triple-headed snake logo
  • Green power LED
  • Green under-glow LED with rear on/off switch
  • PCI slot base cover for a flush look and funneled airflow
  • Signature green USB 3.0 ports
  • Tinted window panel
  • Matt black finish

Common S340 Features:

  • 360 degrees of steel casing surrounding the all-steel chassis
  • Grommet-less cable management bar keeps cables tidy with ease
  • Full 280 mm radiator support in the front
  • Compact form factor coming in two inches below competing mid towers
  • Detailed design and engineering with tons of small touches
  • Very easy to build in for new and experienced users alike
  • Integrated PSU shroud for an ultra-clean build
  • Fully filtered intakes
  • Includes 2x 120 mm FN V2 fans, top and rear

The price of this special edition S340 NZXT chassis is set to £69.99 ex VAT / €99.99 ex. VAT. We will, of course, have a review of this chassis ready for you shortly, so stay tuned.

WD Announces 6TB Sized Red Pro and Black HDDs

Western Digital just announced the expansion of the portfolio with not just one, but two 6TB drives. Actually, that’s not entirely true as there’s also new 5TB drives in the announcement, making it four new drives in total.

The first two are from the WD Black line, a drive for performance users who need a lot of capacity that also performs amazingly. Previously the Black series was available up to 4TB, making many opt for another model with more capacity. Now there is no need for compromise anymore and the new drive is said to be up to 29% faster than the previous 4TB model. The drives combine a 7200 RPM spindle speed with 128MB cache, dual stage actuator technology and an integrated dual processor to deliver this great performance. The WD Black 5TB drive comes with an MSRP of $264 USD while the 6TB model will set you back $294, but you also get a 5-year warranty on the drive.

The second new series that gets an update is the WD Red Pro and that series is also getting both a 5TB and 6TB version. Just like in the Black series, the WD Red Pro series had only been available with up to 4TB capacity so far, making a lot of people opt for the 6TB Red variant instead. These drives also feature an enhanced design, WD’s NASware 3.0 technology, 128 MB cache and can deliver a performance of up to 214MB/s. The drives are certified for use in systems with up to 16-bays and come with 2 additional years on the warranty over the normal Red drives, making it 5-years in total. They are of course built with Vibration Protection, which is why they are suited for systems with so many drive bays. The 5TB version comes with an MSRP of $269 while the 6TB model costs slightly more at an $299 MSRP.

WD Black 5TB and 6TB Features:

  • Increased Reliability -StableTrac Technology (2 TB and larger models) secures the motor shaft inside of the hard drive to increase reliability and help reduce impact due to system-induced vibrations from other components. By stabilizing the platters inside, the WD Black drive results in more accurate tracking in a particular sector during read and write operations, optimizing performance and reliability.
  • Increased DRAM cache – The Dynamic Cache Technology improves caching algorithms in real time to allocate and optimize cache between reads and writes. This movement of cache for read data helps to reduce congestion and increase overall performance.
  • Efficient dual processing – A dual-core processor offers twice the processing capability as a single-core processor to maximize drive performance for faster read and write speeds.
  • Industry-leading 5-year limited warranty – Compared to standard hard drives, the WD Black drive endures more strenuous and aggressive internal testing over a longer period of time, resulting in it being backed by an industry leading 5-year limited warranty.

WD Red Pro 5TB and 6TB Features:

  • Up to 16 Bay Shock Protection – Equipped with a multi-axis shock sensor, the drive automatically detects subtle shock events and, along with dynamic fly height technology, adjusts each read-write function to compensate and protect the data, further protecting the drive in large 1- to 16-bay NAS environments.
  • NASware 3.0 – Exclusive advanced firmware enables seamless integration, robust data protection and optimal performance for systems operating in the demanding NAS environment.
  • Vibration Protection – Hardware vibration compensation technology monitors the drive to correct both linear and rotational vibration in real time, further increasing drive reliability and enabling high performance in higher vibration systems caused from drive to drive vibration as well as from the high speed fans used to cool the larger systems.
  • Longer Warranty Coverage – Complimenting WD Red drives at a 3-year limited warranty, WD Red Pro offers longer warranty coverage with a 5-year limited warranty.

Thecus Release N8900PRO 8-Bay 2U Rackmount NAS

Thecus announced the expansion of its rackmount NAS line-up with the new N8900PRO rack-mounted NAS. The N8900PRO is built around an Intel Xeon E3-1275 quad-core processor with 3.4GHz and comes equipped with 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM. The NAS features 8 SAS and SATA compatible storage bays as well as USB 3.0 and eSATA ports and that should provide plenty of storage opportunities. The NAS also offers an AES-NI hardware encryption engine to provide enterprises with everything the need right out of the box.

The N8900PRO features redundant 500W (or more) power supplies, three Intel 82574L powered RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports with seven modes of link aggregation and optionally 10GbE NIC. There are six USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports as well as one eSATA port. The storage is controlled by an LSI 2008 HBA card that supports eight 6Gbit SAS/SATA ports. The LSI RAID controller also brings long the rest of the RAID modes that you wouldn’t find otherwise such as 50 and 60. You don’t get that from the Intel chipset.

Thecus’ N8900PRO is also very scalable through Daisy Chaining technology and iSCSI Thin Provisioning, allowing users to achieve up to 576TB raw storage. The NAS supports all relevant filesystems such as ext3, ext4, Btrfs, and XFS with flexibility over numerous RAID volumes. It’s compatible with VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix virtualization solutions as well as Thecus Heartbeat software that allows two NAS to communicate and ensure that your data is online at all times.

Key Specifications

  • Intel Xeon E3-1275 Quad Core 3.4GHz processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM (Expandable to 32 GB)
  • AES-NI hardware encryption engine
  • Dual DOM
  • Redundant power supply
  • 6 x USB 2.0 ports, USB 2 x 3.0 ports
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • SATA III and SAS 6G compatibility
  • Hot-swappable hard drives
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60 and JBOD