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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.
CES 2014 - This morning we got a chance to stop by the Digital Storm suite and check out their new Bolt II hybrid Steam Machine. Robert Wall, senior technician for Digital Storm gave us a full rundown of the new hybrid Windows and Steam OS system in the video below.
The Bolt 2 Steam Machine that was demoed featured an purpose-built custom case that is able to pack everything into a nice and tidy small form factor footprint. Processing power is handled by an Intel i7 4770k CPU along with 16GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RAM. An NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780Ti handles the GPU duties while a Corsair H100i dual fan unit keeps the CPU running nice and cool. Air flow and lighting are controlled via Digital Storm's proprietary lighting and cooling module, and further adds to the uniqueness of this unit.
Power is handled by a normal ATX PSU up to 700W in size, and a pair of 30mm fans are installed to ensure no stagnant pockets of hot air form inside the chassis. Surprisingly the Bolt II is about as silent as a PC can get. While in the suite, I was unable to notice any noise at all coming from the device that was running under the flat-screen TV. Digital Storm says that the Bolt II will be priced from $1500 up to $2500 depending on component choices and features.
CES 2014 - Origin has just changed things up in the pre-configured PC space with its newly unravelled Genesis and Millennium PCs at this year's Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas.
Where Origin has changed things up, is by offering the motherboard mount in 4 possible ways: standard ATX, inverted ATX, rotated 90 degrees or rotated 90 degrees, and inverted. Where this comes into benefit, is that the new Origin PCs can handle pretty much any GPU configuration, and the longest GPUs on the market, without a problem. Origin will also be offering an expansion kit that will see the mid-tower Millennium PC into the full-tower Genesis PC.
This will allow you to add a massive radiator for water cooling, or an additional 24 hard drives - yes, an additional twenty four HDDs! The Millennium PC will start at $1,629, while the Genesis begins at $1,849.
Gaming company Razer unveiled a rather surprising modular desktop computer concept, dubbed Project Christine, making it extremely easy for PC owners to build and customize a gaming machine. The modular design makes it possible to easily swap CPUs, GPUs, memory and storage drives inside the machine - and each individual module is sealed and is supports the PCI-Express architecture. The touchscreen LED display makes it easier to view and control hardware and software configurations in a fast, convenient manner.
"Project Christine is a new concept design that will revolutionize the way users view the traditional PC. This is the first gaming system that is able to keep pace with technology and could allow consumers to never buy another PC, or gaming system, again," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO, in a statement. "We have a history of bringing incredibly innovative concept systems to market and it's fair to say that Project Christine is a very exciting new prospect for future development."
Razer hasn't publicly disclosed a release date or pricing for Project Christine, though should set the bar fairly high for competitors.
Boutique PC maker Digital Storm launched a small form factor hybrid PC that will dual boot Microsoft Windows and Valve's Steam OS, in a liquid cooled SFF cooling system. The GPU, storage drives, optical drive, and cooling system can be easily removed and upgraded, and provides optimal cooling in a small space.
The Digital Storm Bolt will be available later in January with a starting MSRP of $1,899 - not a surprising high price point, as Digital Storm makes high-quality products for a very niche market.
"We are not looking to compete with console pricing," said Rajeev Kuruppu, Digital Storm Director of Product Development, in a press statement. "We're taking aim at the high-end of the market, targeting consumers that demand the best possible gaming experience and who are looking for a PC capable of playing any title on their new 4K display."
Meanwhile, Steam OS is helping bring PC use to an entirely new level, as the price of computer hardware remains friendly for consumers. CES 2014 will feature a slew of different Steam OS-powered devices, with a dozen companies planning to implement the custom platform.