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Acer announces Chromebox-powered budget PC running Chrome OS

Acer today announced its Chromebox CXI line of PCs for low-budget consumers, designed for education, small to medium businesses and budget-conscious users.

 

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The system is powered by an Intel Celeron 2957U dual-core 1.4GHz CPU, 16GB solid state drive, 2GB or 4GB RAM, and should boot in just 8 seconds. Chromebox CXI also includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.0, one HDMI port, combination audio jack for microphones and headsets.

 

"The Acer Chromebook CXI is an excellent fit for schools and any other institution or business where conserving costs and space are high priorities," said Simon Hwang, Acer President of Stationary Computing and Display Business Group, in a press statement. "Due to the ease of management, the Chromebox can significantly reduce technical support and consequently lower the total cost of ownership."

Continue reading 'Acer announces Chromebox-powered budget PC running Chrome OS' (full post)

Lenovo unveils its redesigned, new-look ThinkStation P Series

Lenovo has just taken the wraps off of its new ThinkStation P Series, P500, P700 and P900 workstations at SIGGRAPH 2014. Completely redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up to offer more flexibility and ease of use with a new look. Features include enhanced thermal management, tool-less upgrades and Lenovo's new FLEX module technology.

 

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"After a period of intensive research, development and testing, we're excited to introduce our next generation workstations to the market, as we truly believe this is the best designed workstation ever," said Victor Rios, Vice President and General Manager, Workstation, Lenovo. "We built on the advancements delivered in our 30 Series workstations and engineered the P Series with new levels of innovation based on extensive customer feedback. The result for users is optimum performance, outstanding reliability and unparalleled usability that is unlike anything they have experienced."

 

Rios continued: "Performance Boosting productivity starts with incomparable computing and graphics performance. With the Lenovo ThinkStation P Series, users can run their mission-critical applications to their limits - from advanced rendering and simulation to analysis of vast data sets." The following can be found in the new ThinkStation P Series of workstations:

 

  • Cutting-Edge Processing: The latest Intel® Xeon® processors provide critical computing horsepower.
  • Unparalleled Graphical Capabilities: The latest NVIDIA® Quadro® video cards provide unmatched visualization performance.
  • Memory: The P Series supports a high capacity of DDR4 memory to handle any complex computational task with RAM to spare.
  • Pushing the Limits of Expandability: The ThinkStation P900 supports up to three NVIDIA® Quadro® K6000 video cards and up to 14 storage devices.

Continue reading 'Lenovo unveils its redesigned, new-look ThinkStation P Series' (full post)

Apple rumored to be working on 12-inch MacBook and 4K-capable desktop

Apple should be unveiling some hardware refreshes in the near future, something that will include a new 12-inch MacBook and 4K-capable iMac according to 9to5Mac. The 12-inch MacBook would feature a high-res display, but just how many pixels we don't know yet.

 

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The new MacBook will be thinner and lighter, which would see it placed somewhere between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in terms of weight. The new laptop will run off of an Intel CPU, unlike previous rumors that the machine would be powered by the Apple-made A8 processor. Apple has reportedly put a lot of faith behind this new 12-inch MacBook, thinking it will be a big jump forward for the laptop industry.

 

When it comes to the iMac side of things, we should expect a new 4K-capable desktop to be unveiled by the company in the future. This new machine should arrive with the new version of OS X, Yosemite.

Chromebooks outpace OS X and Windows in commercial sales

The Chromebook may not be putting a massive dent in the consumer market when it comes to outselling OS X and Windows machines to the public, but in the business and education market Chromebooks are growing massively. In the three weeks that ended on June 7, Chromebooks were a solid 40% of all computers sold in the commercial realm.

 

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Commercial sales include sales to businesses, schools, governments, and other organizations. Beating out Mac and Windows machines in the education environment is a big deal as that is a very coveted market for all manufacturers. The reason so much weight is placed on educational sales is that when you get users when they are young, they are more likely to stick with a platform forever.

 

"Chrome's unit strength ahead of this year's education buying season shows how it has become a legitimate third platform alongside Windows and Mac OS X and iOS," Stephen Baker, NPD vice president of industry analysis, says. "The next test for Chrome will clearly be the most difficult, as both Apple and Microsoft get more aggressive in pricing and deal making over the next few months", Baker says. "By the end of the third quarter we will have a much clearer picture of the long-term impact Chromebooks will have in the commercial channel".

Vizio thinking of pulling the plug on its struggling PC business

Electronics manufacturer Vizio is best known for its affordable high-definition TVs (HDTVs), and is reportedly ready to drop its struggling PC business. The company first entered the PC market in 2012, and struggled - the company solidified its TV offering by offering low prices - but premium-priced PCs and laptops fell flat.

 

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"Given the continued weak sales in the PC category as a whole, Vizio is revisiting its product assortment strategy," said Jim Noyd, a Vizio spokesperson, in a statement to PC World. "Additional updates will be available at a later date."

 

In addition to pricing miscues, Vizio tried to enter the consumer PC market as the industry began to drop. Unable to keep up with the likes of Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, and other vendors in the PC and laptop markets, it might be an appropriate time for the company to throw in the towel on its PC business.

Cray wins contract for supercomputer to simulate nuke tests

Supercomputers are used in a number of programs within the government in the US. One of the big names in supercomputing is Cray and the company has recently won a contract with the US government for a new supercomputer worth $174 million. This supercomputer will be supplied to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

 

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Cray will provide a Cray XC supercomputer that will be connected to the Cray Sonexion storage system and dubbed Trinity. Trinity will have over eight times the power of the Cray EX6 supercomputer called Cielo currently in use at the facility.

 

Trinity will be installed at Los Alamos and will use Intel Haswell processors along with upcoming Knights Landing Xeon Phi processors. It will start with 82PB of storage and has a throughput of 1.7TB per second. The machine will be used for simulating nuclear weapon performance among other things.

Apple reveals its new low-cost iMac, starting at $1,099

Before today, the cheapest Apple offered its iMac was $1,299 - but now that 21.5-inch iMac costs just $1,099. The new entry-level iMac sports a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor at 1.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports and Intel HD 5000 graphics.

 

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The previous model that was $200 more, featured a slightly better Core i5 processor, and bigger HDD. But, you can always customize it to your liking, where you could replace the 500GB with a 1TB Fusion drive, or a 256GB SSD - something we would recommend doing (especially the SSD upgrade). We should see another iMac refresh in the future, with Intel's next-gen Broadwell processor baked into them. When that'll happen, is something no one knows right now.

Alienware Alpha gaming PC to run Windows, not Steam OS

Alienware has announced at E3 that its Steam machine called the Alienware Alpha will not run the Valve Steam OS as was expected. Alienware has instead fitted the machine with Windows and it will use an Xbox 360 wireless controller.

 

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The machine was unveiled with Windows at E3 this week and it will ship during the 2014 holiday shopping season. The Alpha will sell for $549. Part of the reason why the machine is now to be sold with Windows is that Valve has delayed the Steam Machine OS and its controller until 2015.

Continue reading 'Alienware Alpha gaming PC to run Windows, not Steam OS' (full post)

ASRock updates its M8 system to the new Z97 chipset

Computex 2014 - Last year we got a chance to see ASRock team up with BMW Designworks USA to create a new barebone system. The M8 was born and we found ourselves instantly in love with what was being offered by the company. Jump forward a year and ASRock have taken the cover off an updated version of the great looking M8 system.

 

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While the chassis looks the same; inside we've got a few new key components to bring it into 2014. First we've seen the ITX motherboard get updated to the latest Intel Z97 chipset bringing support for the latest crop of processors. The other big upgrade is the power supply which now sees an SFX 600 Watt unit. This gives us the chance to install a higher-end video card without a problem continuing to show us that you can pack some serious punch into a nice slim system.

 

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As for the rest of the system you can see not too much has changed. We've still got the A-Command OLED button that gives us the ability to see a bunch of different settings. Other features include USB 3.0, 4-in-1 Card Reader and Gigabit LAN alongside Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac support.

The ASUS all-in-one PT2001, a 19.5-inch Windows 8.1-based PC

Computex 2014 - We stopped by the Microsoft booth at Computex today, where the company was showing off a slew of Windows-based devices in all different shapes and sizes. One of which, was the ASUS all-in-one PT2001 PC.

 

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ASUS' AIO PT2001 is a 19.5-inch touch-capable PC with a 1600x900 display, an Intel Haswell-based processor, 500GB of HDD, 2GB of RAM, weighs 7lbs (or 3.2kg) - all of this is capable of being toted around, with around 5 hours of battery life. ASUS has built the AIO PT2001 so that you can move it from room to room, providing a study handle and built-in foldable stand that allows the PC to be adjusted from 0 to 100 degrees.

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