MSI Unveils Cubi N Mini-PC

Modern PCs come in many sizes from huge full size ATX towers to tiny cases which can fit into the palm of your hand. In the last few years, ITX motherboards and efficient low power processors have helped to make downsize HTPCs and LAN rigs. As a result, companies are moving towards smaller solutions to try to enter the living room space.

MSI has just announced the Cubi N which is the smallest mini PC of its kind. The system supports Intel’s Braswell family of CPUs and utilizes a fanless design. In terms of dimensions, the chassis measures 112mm x 116mm x 45mm (HxLxD).

The Braswell architecture is built on a 14nm manufacturing process and consumes less than 15W, a 30% reduction compared to the previous generation. On another note, the system is capable of outputting 4K video content and utilizes a modular design to house an optional 2.5″ disk drive; in the default setup, there is an integrated mSATA drive.

Other notable mentions include a 3 in 1 card reader, Intel® 3165 802.11AC, optional BT 4.0, four USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI output, and D-Sub out. The basic setup contains 4GB DDR3L which can be upgraded to a maximum of 8GB, and an Intel® Celeron N3150 Processor.

The MSI Cubi N will be globally available by the of October 2015.

BOXX Introduces the World’s Smallest Overclocked Workstation

When we think small and compact systems, we usually think in the direction of HTPCs or low-powered LAN rigs, but there are a lot more possibilities with today’s hardware and BOXX proves that with their impressive new and very compact workstation dubbed the APEXX 1.

The APEXX 1 is the smallest workstation coming from BOXX and it packs quite an impressive punch for its tiny measurements. It is less than 5 inches wide, 8.5 inches tall, and 9 inches deep, which has been achieved thanks to the in-house developed and built chassis.

There are two new models available in the APEXX series, the first is i7 based and the second is Xeon based. The i7 systems features an 8-core CPU overclocked to 4GHz and up to 32GB DDR4 memory while the Xeon E5 model comes with up to 18 cores and up to 64GB DDR4 memory. Overclocked Skylake models will be available at the end of the month too.

When it comes to the graphics card used, you got the choice between both of the two rivals in the workstation market. Whether you need an NVIDIA Quadro or an AMD FirePro graphics card, you can get both.

The system is using a duality of liquid cooling as well as a blower fan to provide optimal cooling for the entire system. An important aspect in such a tiny system and especially considering the power that these systems pack. The closed-loop AIO cooler is maintenance free as we’re used to and the system doesn’t require any more than a little de-dusting now and then.

Storage wise you can get the best of the best too. You can go with an optional M.2 PCI-Express NVMe drive or use the two dual 2.5-inch bays for more traditional SATA3 drives such as SSDs and HDDs. Although I don’t know who would put a mechanical drive in a beautiful and modern system like this.

There are plenty of USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 ports available so you can attach all the external storage that you want. It also features eSATA, USB 2.0, and a dual PS2 connector. Gigabit Ethernet is also present and so is a 7.1 channel sound card with S/PDIF Out. The PSU is external and is among the reasons why this system can be so tiny despite its power.

If one system shouldn’t be enough for your workplace or you need extra rendering power, then you can easily stack these system thanks to the four bumpers available when placed on its side. The upcoming renderPRO 1 can also be stacked right on top and it fits like a glove.

The system comes with either Windows or Linux and it is backed by a 3-year warranty, one year of 24/7 phone support and next business day onsite service for US and Canadian customers. The price will depend on your configuration and model of the APEXX 1, but I have no doubt that it will be worth it.

InWin Presents NUC and SFF Cases at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – InWin is well known for their unique PC chassis designs, but this time they took their design ideas and shrunk it down to be used with Intel’s NUC systems and mITX form factors.

On display were a lot of small cases, perfect for the space-conscious user, living room, or small office as they still offer plenty of features.

The outside of a case is just one part, the insides have to match. InWin has a list of modules available that include dual and quad LAN adapters with Power over Ethernet PoE support, Serial and Parallel ports.

Some systems come pre-equipped with Intel NUC board such as the K3-3Gen Broadwell system. A common feature for all the small cases on display is that they’re all standing vertically for the smallest footprint possible.

InWin’s Ultratop cases aren’t just available pre-equipped with NUCs, they also come as bare systems, allowing you the choice on what board to put inside.

Just because something is small, doesn’t mean that you can’t connect plenty of devices to them.

Despite the small size, you can still fit 2.5-inch drives into the cases and they come with plenty of USB ports, WiFi, and Bluetooth as well.

Power over Ethernet is an amazing feature. You do not need to have a dedicated power supply as these low power units can get enough electricity to run on just the power that’s provided through your ethernet cable, that is if you have a PoE infrastructure. It is one of those things that has to be experienced in real life before you realise just how great this is.

Stay tuned for more news and product reveals directly from Computex in Taipei.

AMD’s New Flagship GPU Will Fit in Almost Any System

Yesterday we were teased with a blurry shot of the new and upcoming AMD Radeon R9 390x card in its water-cooled version and we could see that it was very short. But just how short it is was revealed with a new photo showing the liquid cooled card pictured next to its 120mm radiator.

A card with this size will fit into pretty much any chassis, no matter how small as long as it allows for full height cards and a 120mm radiator with a fan. If the rumoured performance sticks as well and we get a card that can hold up to the current dual-GPU R9 295×2 and Titan X graphics cards, then AMD has a true winner that will blow users away.

The expected specifications are 4096 stream processors, 256 texture units, 120ROP unit, 4096-bit 1.25GHz 8GB HBM memory (bandwidth of 640GB/s) while we already know that it will have three DisplayPort 1.2a and an HDMI 2.0a port.

There will also be an air-cooled version that will be slightly longer and expected to only feature 4GB HBM memory. While we say longer here, it will still be significant shorter than the current Radeon R9 290x cards.

The new GPU chips will be slightly larger than the current generation due to the integrated memory, but in return it saves a lot more PCB space where the memory modules used to be located. All that’s left is basically the GPU and VRM.

First Detailed Image of the World’s Smallest Known Life Form Revealed

Have you ever wondered just how small a life form can get? Well, you are about to get the answer to that question. Scientists appear to have captured the first detailed microscopy images of an ultra-small bacteria.

The group of scientists who photographed the images are from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley. They believe that this is “about as small as life can get”. However, existence of ultra-small bacteria has been debated for two decades.

The cells are said to have a volume of 0.009 cubic microns, meaning that around 150,000 of these bacteria fit on a tip of hair. The scientists have also found that The bacterial cells have densely packed spirals that are probably DNA, a very small number of ribosomes, hair-like appendages, and a stripped-down metabolism that likely requires them to rely on other bacteria for many of life’s necessities.

“These newly described ultra-small bacteria are an example of a subset of the microbial life on earth that we know almost nothing about,” says Jill Banfield, a Senior Faculty Scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division and a UC Berkeley professor in the departments of Earth and Planetary Science and Environmental Science, Policy and Management. “They’re enigmatic. These bacteria are detected in many environments and they probably play important roles in microbial communities and ecosystems. But we don’t yet fully understand what these ultra-small bacteria do,” he added.

The scientists procured samples of the bacteria by using a new portable cryo plunger, which froze groundwater to absolute zero (which is -457.6°F or -272°C) in order to keep the cells intact during transportation.

Though there are a lot of unanswered questions to these newly discovered minuscule life-form, they would most probably fill a lot of gaps in biology.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

Asus Revealed Their Haswell-powered Chrome OS Desktop mini-PC

Asus has revealed a long-teased machine based on Google’s Chrome OS under the name of Chromebox. The specs for Asus’s ChromeOS-powered box-shaped PC are just enough for a tiny, web-surfing PC, and just about it.

The Asus Chromebox is said to feature a choice of CPUs from the Intel Celeron 2955U, Core i3-4010U, and Core i7-4600U processors. There is apparently room for just 2GB of RAM. DDR3 at a maximum frequency of 1600 MHz. There is also a 64 GB SSD included having the latest M.2, also known as NGFF, spec. Along with the SSD, Asus has strapped in a 100GB Google Drive subscription free for two years ( it being $4.99 per month when it ends, or the price currently available after two years if it changes ).

Moving on to the other features, the Asus Chromebox comes with a 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity card, having v4.0 of Bluetooth if you want to sync your smartphone or use any peripheral gadget with it, such as headset, mouse or keyboard. It also has a Gigabit Ethernet port to support ultra-fast interenet speeds.

When talking about display compatibility, the Chromebox comes with a HDMI port, DisplayPort and four 3.0 ports. Looking on the front of the ‘box’, we see a card reader for quickly accessing your camera’s memory drive and downloading your pictures fast and easy.

Asus has said that the Chromebox will start to ship somewhere around mid-March and will cost around $179 for the basic model, meaning the one that comes with the Intel Celeron 2955U. There will also be an option to add a wireless keyboard and mouse to your purchase, bumping the price up if choosing to do so.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Tech Report

Freescale Semiconductor Creates Insanely Tiny ARM Chip as Implant

 

Chipmaker; Freescale Semiconductor wanted to make a chip that can be implanted into a human body, and by doing so they’ve created the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip model; the Kinetis KL02.

The KL02 is as small as 1.9 x 2mm. Despite the insanely tiny footprint, the fully loaded multi-controller unit has a processor, RAM , ROM, Clock and I/O controller. It uses 32k flash storage, 4K memory, a 32bit processor, a 12-bit analog to digital converter and a low power Universal Asynchronous receiver/transceiver in a single die shrink, which allows devices to be made tiny enough that one can use it as swallow-able computers. Freescale said that they’ve been working with customers and partners to make this happen, but they can’t say anything further as the product is not announced officially.

In all honesty, devices as tiny as this can not only help doctors and even surgeons to understand their patients but users can also use it to keep a track on their health. If this is perfected as swallow-able computers, the possibility of it are endless.

As of now, Freescale is working with health and wellness clients such as Fitbit and the Omipod insulin pump which uses the company’s chips. The KL02 as of now is meant to be used with stuff like Nike+ where it can be used to wirelessly report your steps.

Steve Tateosian, Freescale’s Global manager, said,”We come across hundreds of micro-controllers embedded in the devices we use throughout the day. For example, you may come across them when your alarm wakes you up, you brush your teeth, make your coffee, unlock your car door, open your garage, put down the car window, pay the parking meter, tell the time on your watch, measure your heart rate, distance, and pace. While running you may listen to your music player with several controllers inside, including in the ear buds themselves.”

The multi-controller is available for retail but the KL02 is specifically designed only in response to a customer’s request.

Source: Wired