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When Valve first announced that it was working with OEM partners to develop a full range of Linux-based gaming devices called Steam Machines, great emphasis was placed on the fact that the devices were to be PC based and fully upgradeable. Unfortunately today we are seeing the first major OEM break away from this philosophy and built their Steam Machine devices similar to current console construction.
Alienware has long been known for its high-end gaming PCs and while overpriced in some opinions, the company's wares have always been fully upgradeable. Today, Frank Azor, Alienware's general manager said in an interview that "There will be no customization options, you can't really update it." This means that Alienware's Steam Machines are most likely being built with AMD APUs or custom GPU solutions that are hard mounted to the motherboard, much like how Microsoft and Sony are doing with the next-gen consoles. Personally I feel that this will ultimately hurt Alienware in the longrun, as the main appeal to a Steam Machine is its upgradeability.
The new Commander PC is a serious beast with our updated specifications, including a GeForce GTX 780 GPU, and virtually all Corsair parts to ensure quality, reliability, and warranty. A 27-inch monitor is used for displaying all this goodness, while some Logitech speakers will provide the audio side of things.
Intel is in dire need of mobile success in 2014, as its Atom chips are slowly making their way to a wider variety of tablets. The mobile market continues to cannibalize the PC industry, with many consumers and businesses hanging onto computers that are a few years older.
Intel has already made a shift to incorporate Google Android support along with Microsoft Windows, according to CEO Brian Krzanich, with a focus on smartphones and tablets. To entice OEMs to jump onboard, Intel has already offered to pay tablet manufacturers to choose Intel's Bay Trail architecture instead of ARM processors, including an offer to pay a portion of engineering costs.
The company has announced it will cut 5 percent of its workforce in 2014, so around 5,000 employees will be released. The announcement followed Intel's financial results, which indicated the company still is having trouble moving beyond the sluggish PC industry, as the Silicon Valley company struggles to go mobile.
It should be obvious by now, but Valve will not be allowing any of its partners to ship their Steam Machines until it has its SteamOS and Steam Controller ready to go.
The news comes courtesy of an interview with iBuyPower's Marketing Manager, Ricky Lee, on Slashgear. Valve states: "In very simple terms, you need a license to redistribute our proprietary Steam Client, whether on its own or whether as part of SteamOS, and you need a license to use any of our trademarks in a commercial context. That includes, without limitation, using the Steam symbol and terms like Steam, SteamOS and Steam Machine in any of your commercial communication, whether from product design, advertising or PR. And unless you are a licensee, you should not publicly suggest any connection to Valve or Steam."
This means that no matter what company wants to launch a Steam Machine, even if it wanted to launch one tomorrow, it cannot without the complete approval of Valve. This means we have to wait until SteamOS and Steam Controller are ready to go, before we see any Steam Machine action - and that's okay with me.
Alienware has announced that it will launch its Steam Machine in September, but haven't provided any specifications or pricing on its Steam OS-powered PC. We know it will feature an Intel Haswell-powered CPU, with the custom PC maker set to "constantly update" its Steam Machine.
The company announced the news during the Steam Dev Days conference, with the Steam Machines team teasing at Dev Days: "Our goal with Steam Machines has never been to force customers into the living room if they don't want to go."
We only just reported that Intel is looking to release its Broadwell CPUs earlier than expected, but it looks like the chipmaker is working on two new NUC units based on the freshly shrunken CPU technology, codenamed Broadwell.
Intel engineers are currently working on two new NUCs, the "Rock Canyon" and "Maple Canyon". Starting with what we know on the Rock Canyon, which is expected to be pushed toward the consumer market, where it will be marketed toward being in your living room, with technologies making it feel more at home. We should see USB 3.0, HDMI and DisplayPort technologies inside, as well as being ready to take an infrared receiver module. On top of that, it should feature an M.2 PCI Express-based slot for SSDs.
The Rock Canyon NUC will also reportedly feature NFC technology which will allow it to connect to your smartphone or tablet, as well as WiChrg technology. It looks like the most consumer-friendly NUC yet, improving on the already great NUCs on the market.
During the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas, iBUYPOWER showed off some GPU coin mining systems that were powered by AMD's Radeon R9 290X GPUs. These systems are used purely to mine digital coins, such as Bitcoin and Litecoin.
iBUYPOWER's Vice President and co-founder, Darren Su, talks about the new GPU coin mining PCs from his company: "iBUYPOWER prides itself for being on the edge of technology, and as the world changes, we want to be at the forefront. Coin mining and high-compute systems are one of the few new areas that we have interest in. We're thrilled to be part of revolutions, and crypto-currencies are definitely on the hot-list."
The new GPU coin mining systems from iBUYPOWER start from $999, and can be configured in many different ways, depending on what you want to spend. The new coin mining PCs can be configured with up to three AMD Radeon R9 290X for some serious compute power.
Global PC shipments continued to slide during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to research group Gartner, as the industry continues to look for stability. Overall, the market shrank 10 percent, as expected, though still shipped 315.9 million units in the 12-month period.
Lenovo remained the No. 1 global PC manufacturer, shipping 18.1 percent of all PC shipments in the last quarter. Ironically, China remains a tough battleground for Lenovo, though showed strong growth results in all other regions.
"Although PC shipments continued to decline in the worldwide market in the fourth quarter, we increasingly believe markets, such as the U.S., have bottomed out as the adjustment to the installed base slows," said Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner Principal Analyst, in a statement.
PC OEMs continue to dabble with lower-cost products, while also introducing dual-boot systems with Microsoft Windows-Google Android - or Windows-Linux machines - and shows manufacturers trying to diversify.
CES 2014 - Valve announced its partners for the Steam Machines at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas, but now we're seeing AMD and Intel publicly announce built-in driver support for their integrated GPUs.
AMD has confirmed that SteamOS was running Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.9 drivers, and that the company would soon offer a standalone package for people to download. There are issues associated with this drive, which "include tearing and poor overlay performance in-game". Previously, we only saw builds of SteamOS shipping with NVIDIA drivers as a default, with all of the 300 early Steam Machine prototypes sent out featuring NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.
CES 2014 - AMD is using CES 2014 to show off its new Nano PC, which is powered by the company's Mullins APU. AMD's Nano PC is a super small PC that sits on, or under your TV, and is capable of running Windows 8.1.
The Nano PC, even at its tiny size, features a camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and DockPort connectivity, as well as a 256GB SSD for storage. The Mullins APU is capable of driving the Nano PC without a problem, with reports stating that the tiny PC can play FIFA 14 at 1080p without a problem. We have a mini breakout box that provides USB and HDMI so that it can push the Nano PC's output to your TV.
Unfortunately, AMD won't be selling these Nano PCs direct, but instead will be offering them as a prototype to other manufacturers as a new HTPC/thin PC device.