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We are just 11 days from the release of Microsoft's Windows 8.1, and boutique system builders are beginning to announce availability of the operating system on new PCs. Today Origin PC announced that it has now began offering Windows 8.1 on all new desktops and laptops and will begin shipping those systems on October 17th.
"One of my favorite things about Windows 8.1 is now having the ability to choose where you want to boot directly to, your desktop or directly to the start screen menu." said Kevin Wasielewski ORIGIN PC CEO and co-founder. "With Windows 8.1, it's an evolutionary step in the right direction and we're extremely excited to immediately begin offering it to all ORIGIN PC customers to have it ready to ship by launch day."
Origin PC says that all existing customers who run Windows 8 can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free on launch day through the Windows App store. For those who wish to stick with the tried and true Windows 7, Origin PC says that it will still continue to offer Windows 7 for the time being. With the inclusion of a "start button" Windows 8.1 is slowly working its way back to its roots, but personally, I am sticking to Windows 7.
Boutique system builders usually stock both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs to appease both sides of the "which GPU is better argument," as you will always have customers who want both. It appears that the folks over at Origin PC have decided that stocking AMD GPUs is just not worth it anymore.
Citing "customer experiences" and "poor customer support" Origin PC has decided to stop offering AMD GPUs in their system builds as it has just became too much of a headache. With AMD just launching its new Radeon R series of GPUs, this new development has to be a crushing blow and shows that companies need more than new hardware to keep customers coming back.
This decision was based on a combination of many factors including customer experiences, GPU performance/drivers/stability, and requests from our support staff. Based on our 15+ years of experience building and selling award winning high-performance PCs, we strongly feel the best PC gaming experience is on NVIDIA GPUs.
If you've got $1,000 to spend this holiday season and didn't want to pick up the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, then you might want to consider Xi3's super-small modular gaming PC, PISTON.
The Xi3 PISTON features a 128GB SSD by default, 12 USB ports, patented modular motherboard design, an AMD Trinity quad-core processor clocked at 3.2GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and an AMD Radeon HD 7000-Series GPU. A second HDD can be installed, and thanks to Xi3 providing support for Windows, Linux and Unix, this means you can install SteamOS onto the PISTON, making it a quasi-Steam Box.
On top of the 12 USB ports, we have three display outputs: miniDisplayPort, HDMI and DisplayPort which supports up to 4K resolutions. If you pre-order the PISTON now, you will receive it before, or on November 15 compared to the street date of November 29.
The new Apple iMacs were released just days ago, but iFixit has already ripped it apart for its usual teardown treatment. Both the 21.5- and 27-inch models feature the new 802.11ac wireless standard.
The 27-inch model features PCIe-based flash storage, which was first introduced into the MBA in June. The 21.5-inch model has a couple of changes from its bigger brother, where we have a new empty PCIe SSD, so that consumers can upgrade the based model iMac to the awesome Fusion Drive combination HDD/SSD drive that Apple released last year.
The CPU on the 21.5-inch model is soldered onto the logic board, which means there will be no upgrades on the smaller model. iFixit didn't seem too impressed with the 21.5-inch model, giving it a 2 out of 10 score for repairability for the soldered processor. The 27-inch model received a 5 out of 10 score.
This week, MSI launched two new mobile workstations, the GT70 20K and the GT60 20J. Both workstations feature NVIDIA Quadro graphics processors and Intel Core i7 processors for adequate power even when on the go. MSI says that the GT70 and GT60 have both been certified by Adobe, Autodesk, and Solidworks.
The GT70 features an NVIDIA Quadro K3100M graphics processor and the GT60 sports a K2100M GPU, which have both been designed to tackle the most intensive software out there, including AutoCad Design Suite, Avid Media Composer, Pinnacle Studio 16, AutoDesk Smoke, Siemens NX, PTC Creo Parametric 2.0, and more. Both units possess NVIDIA Optimus technology, which enables designers and engineers to perform simultaneous rendering or structural/fluid analysis on the same system.
"MSI has long been praised for the performance of our gaming laptops, and the new workstations leverage that expertise to deliver the same quality and effectiveness for professionals," said Andy Tung, Vice President of Sales for MSI Pan America Region. "We've successfully combined the power and design of our acclaimed GT70 and GT60 laptops with the performance needed to tackle professional applications.
The GT70 2OK and GT60 2OJ are currently available for $2,599.99 and $2,009.99, respectively, at Newegg, Amazon, Tiger Direct, BestBuy.com, B&H Photo, and Adorama. MSI plans to expand their line of mobile workstations in the following months with a 17-inch K4100M model and a 15.6-inch K3100M model.
Earlier today, Apple unveiled its new range of iMacs that are said to be as much as 50 percent faster than previous models. The company is able to achieve this performance boost because it has switched over to PCIe-based SSD storage in the form of 1TB or 3TB Fusion Drives.
The first model will feature a 21.5-inch screen and will feature a quad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 Haswell processor and Intel's new Iris Pro graphics. A 27-inch model will also be available, and both machines can be upgraded to a Core i5 processor clocked in at 3.4GHz alongside an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series discrete GPU.
Both machines come standard with 8GB of DDR3 RAM, which can be upgraded to as much as 32GB if you have the money to spend. A 1TB Fusion Drive come standard on both models and can also be upgraded to a 3TB model. Pricing begins at $1299 for the base 21.5-inch model, while the 27-inch machine starts out at $1999.
If you haven't been able to tell, I am a certified home theater junkie. I have built my share of HTPCs, Raspberry Pi-based media servers, and even hacked a few phones to serve as streaming devices. Nothing I have done can come close to the awesomeness that Steiger Dynamics has just released.
Today, Steiger Dynamics announced what I consider to be one of the sexiest home theater PCs ever constructed. The new LEET Monochrome Limited Edition Gaming HTPC is a special edition of the company's Core and Reference lines of elegant, high-end HTPCs.
"The LEET Monochrome Limited Edition Gaming Home Theater PC endows gamers and creative professionals with peak performance capabilities and visually immersive computing," said Martin Hehensteiger, CEO and co-founder of STEIGER DYNAMICS. "The Monochrome Limited Edition Gaming HTPC gives enthusiasts an insane amount of power in a system that is both aesthetically beautiful, and incredibly dynamic."
As the name implies, the new LEET Monochrome Limited Edition features black and white hardware, including an all white and black accented water cooling system alongside custom sleeved white cables. All of this is highlighted by built-in interior LED lighting, which can be adjusted based on customer specifications.
ASRock is said to be close to launching its highly anticipated M8 barebones PC. The mini-ITX-based PC was designed in collaboration with BMW's Design Works team and is one hot looking mini PC. Although it may be small, the M8 barebones packs one heck of a punch even before the processor, RAM, and GPU have been added.
The M8 features an ASRock Intel Z87 mini-ITX motherboard, which supports 4th-Generation Intel Core Processors code named Haswell. Also included is built-in Creative SoundCore 3D 7.1 HD audio, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. ASRock has also integrated its A-Command with G-Sensor technology and the device supports ASRock Key Master. 3 Months of XSplit Premium is also included in the package.
TweakTown got to take a sneek peek at the new ASRock M8 during the Computex 2013 show that was held in Taipei, Taiwan, earlier this year. Our own Shawn Baker was quite pleased with the new M8 and said that it is an innovative little PC. You can find his full preview here along with many photos of the new micro-PC.
ASUS unveiled its M70 PC over the weekend, which has become the world's first desktop PC with NFC. ASUS also included Qi wireless technology in the M70 PC, which will charge your Qi compatible smartphone or tablet by just resting it on top of the M70 itself.
The company is offering a choice of Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, all Haswell of course. Up for grabs in the GPU department is a maximum of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650. ASUS' SonicMaster audio technology and its Universal Storage Module (USM) hot-swap drive bay are also on offer. Both pricing and availability are not yet available for the ASUS M70.
Earlier this week at the 2013 Intel Developer Forum, Intel announced the addition of two new products to its small form-factor NUC lineup, both of which feature the company's new Haswell processors. The D54250WYK sports a Core i5-4250U and the D34010WYK houses the i3-4010U.
While both of these Haswell processors feature hyper-threading, only the Core i5 model supports TurboBoost, which can boost the processor's clock speeds up to 2.6 GHz when temperatures are favorable. The Core i3 model is stuck at its 1.7GHz clock and features a slower integrated GPU than the HD Graphics 5000 IGP inside the i5.
Other than the processors, the two models are basically the same machine. Both feature 4K monitor support thanks to DisplayPort technology, and a mini HDMI connector also provides additional video out connectivity. Gigabit Ethernet is also supported via a port on the back of the box.
You will need to bring your own memory, storage, and Wi-Fi to the party, but with a pair of SO-DIMMS and full and half-height mini PCI-Express slots, there is plenty of room for an mSATA SSD and wireless card. The NUC chassis measures in at just 4.59 inches by 4.41 inches and enclosure is only 1.36-inches thick.