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System manufacturer MAINGEAR is embracing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 video card, rolling out the new GPU in its VYBE, SHIFT, and FORCE desktop models. All three models can be customized based on consumer needs, with MAINGEAR pointing out that the new GTX 960 "delivers up to 60 percent faster performance and improves energy efficiency."
The VYBE gaming desktop is powered by an Intel Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM - with a current promotional price of $999.
"The integration of NVIDIA's GTX 960 GPU further cements MAINGEAR as the dominant leader in high performance gaming hardware," said Wallace Santos, founder and CEO of MAINGEAR, in a press statement. "NVIDIA's newest GPU delivers the performance of high-end video cards without the premium price. We are impressed by its features and the extra horsepower."
The PC market has taken a beating over the last decade, but the recent stabilization is fueled in part by lower price points. While PC shipments haven't entirely leveled off, they are much better than the 10% decline experienced in 2013. Intel has owned a near-monopoly on desktop processors for several years, and many suspect artificially high CPU prices helped contribute to the decline of the PC. Affordability is a huge consideration for potential buyers, especially when they typically have smartphones that can easily handle most simple online tasks.
Laptops are now available for roughly $200 that can provide enough performance for many more tasks than any tablet or smartphone. Intel actually predicted during their recent investor call that prices will decline slightly over the coming year. Intel reported an 11% increase in laptop CPU sales, but an 3% decline in profits from those sales. The number of desktop CPU's declined by 1%, but the average prices have stabilized. Perhaps some more competition in this space would result in lower PC CPU pricing, which would certainly help fuel a resurgence much like the one seen with laptops.
Intel's fourth-quarter earnings pointed towards a rise in PC shipments, with it being noted that fully capable, lightweight laptops are available on the market for less than $200 - Intel claim that this trend of pricing is set to stay and may even fall lower than expected.
Intel's CEO, Brian Krzanich, pointed out that PC shipments are expected by Intel to stabilize in 2015, further stating that the prices for consumer desktops and laptops may fall slightly. Adding to the market is the thin-and-light laptops as mentioned above, with numerous systems being available and running on Chrome OS or Windows for a tiny price of $199, we're seeing products available like never before.
Reporting a fourth-quarter revenue of $14.7 billion, up six percent from 2014, Intel's Krzanich stated that "the innovation and options in the PC market have never been stronger," with Intel obviously setup to reap the benefits. 2014 wasn't a great year for the PC, but thanks to the recently released earnings we can see that the PC Client group revenue has been raised three percent when compared to the fourth-quarter in 2014, alongside the number of chips sold in laptops increasing by an impressive 11 percent.
A few years ago, it was unlikely you could find a top of the range PC build in your local computer store, likely having to purchase and install your AGP video cards and Athlon processors yourself - either the store wouldn't support the option or you didn't trust them to complete the task.
Looking at brick-and-mortar and online retail shops as of late, you'll begin to notice a massive trend toward 'gamer' PC's and overclocked systems. There are large retailers now who fully specialize in these kinds of builds, seeing companies like CyberPowerPC and iBuyPower reach massive popularity in the wider gaming market.
But what about the 'general' PC store retailer, or those looking to do a little more than just build and ship gaming products. Australian retailer MWave claims to the be biggest in the business and after a quick search around their website, I stumbled across their beast system simply titled as the "Mwave Intel OverClocked 10.1 Gaming PC."
CES 2015 - Steiger Dynamics has just taken off the wraps of its impressive new LEET Studio and LEET Pro PCs, both of which are workstation versions of their award-winning LEET Living Room PC.
The two new PCs can be configured with the full range of Intel's Core processors, right up to the Xeon processor with up to 18 cores. There can be triple workstation-class AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro GPUs installed, super-fast SSDs, and ECC memory. This brings Steiger Dynamics machines up to the quality, specifications and style of Apple's popular Mac Pro range.
Steiger Dynamics are pricing their LEET Studio and LEET Pro Pcs from $1999 and $2999 respectively, and are available starting January 6.
CES 2015 - Steiger Dynamics has announced its latest Era home theater PC lineup, with the latest addition joining its growing line of custom-made HTPCs. Inside of the new Era SFF PC we have some serious power, something that includes a Blu-ray player in its small footprint.
The new Era PC features Intel's latest processors, an SSD, DDR3 RAM, and more. We have up to 6TB of storage inside of the Era PC, 4K support, Blu-ray playback in Dolby TrueHD, and more. We also have support for the use of wired controls through the use of your smartphone, tablet, touchpad, mouse and keyboard, or even an Xbox controllers.
Steiger Dynamics' new Era PC starts from $899 and is available right now.
CES 2015 - We had a chance to take a sneak peak at Intel's widely anticipated computing stick here at CES 2015. The tiny dongle-like computer will feature a quad-core Atom-based CPU, and come in two versions; one supporting Windows and the other supporting Linux. The Windows-based stick will feature 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage while the Linux version will have only 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Storage can be expanded through the microSD slot.
The stick features HDMI as its video output and features both micro USB and full-size USB connectors, however one will have to be used for powering the device as it will not be powered through HDMI like some other dongles. Intel said as more and more TVs start supporting the new power-over-HDMI standard, future versions of the NUC will feature this technology. While the stick is very small, it is a full-blown PC with its own mini fan. The stick will cost $149 and $89 for the Windows and Linux versions respectively.
Intel is also launching a new series of Broadwell-U based NUCs. These NUCs will feature M.2 for storage as well as a special USB connector able to provide 1.8A of current for fast charging. They will also have replaceable lids, which can be used for customization. You could have a lid featuring a picture of your significant other and give the NUC as a gift. The replaceable lid also hints at the possibility of customized versions featuring add-ons like a TV tuner, which I saw in its infant stages.
CES 2015 - Fully optioned with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, a Quad-Core Krait 450 CPU, a fast Adreno 420 GPU and 2GB of RAM coupled with 16GB of storage, Razer's new Forge TV platform doesn't mess around.
This Android-powered gaming console is set for release at a bargain price of $100 and measures up at only 4x4 inches in size. Designed for PC gaming, Android gaming and Android-based entertainment services via Google Play, this product is set for release some time in Q1, 2015.
The Forge TV can be played by up to 4 simultaneous players and has various connection options including wireless and Bluetooth 4.1. It's going to connect to your television through a HDMI 1.4 output and features speedy gigabit Ethernet capabilities.
CES 2015 - CyberPowerPC's new brand-offshoot is named Syber and they've just announced their new range of Windows-Based PC gaming consoles, set function in Steam's Big Picture mode and through a Windows 8.1 OS.
Soon-to-be-released Steam machines will run SteamOS, based on the Ubuntu Linux platform produced by Valve themselves - enabling gamers to play games only with Linux support and downloaded directly through SteamOS. Syber have set out to jump the gun, releasing their Steambox system before their competition by adding Windows 8.1 into the mix and launching games in Steam's Big Picture Mode.
What is the point of these products? Eric Cheung, CyberPowerPC's CEO commented in their latest press release, "for gamers who want to break out of the bedroom and into the comfort of the living room, the Syber Vapor PC gaming console series offers the best performance at an affordable price," followed by a statement from their VP of Product, Eddie Vong, who commented "we created the Syber Vapor PC gaming console to give gamers more power and more customization than the standard video game consoles like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox."
CES 2015 - Other World Computing (OWC) has just announced the release of their Aura SSD upgrade for any 2013 Mac Pro and a self-made OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock system.
As one of the very few companies offering upgrades, advanced technology and support for Apple products, OWC's Aura SSD upgrade has been custom-engineered to deliver consumers a much higher capacity and performance than seen with the production release models. Available in 1TB and 2TB packages, expect the 1TB to set you back $899 and its big brother will cost you a whopping $1479.
It's certainly not cheap, but that's what you get when you go down the Apple Mac route - so you should expect it by now. These kits come with all tools needed for a DIY upgrade, with a step-by-step installation video provided alongside U.S-based 24/7 technical support. If you are to compare this price to a general PC offering, you can expect a 1TB SSD to set you back around $470 when purchased through Amazon.