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VR is really taking off now that the two major players have finally released their headsets into the wild. There just remains one issue for those content creators that wish to make pretty things in VR for us to consume; the system to use for that creating. HP is helping to make that decision easier with their new Z series of workstations, make especially for creating highly demanding VR content, which might need a bit more horsepower than usual.
These new workstations are built around two of Intel's newest Broadwell-EP Xeon E5-2600 v4 processors so you can have up to 44 actual cores and 88 threads to process those difficult to render high-resolution scenes. On the graphics front they went with up to dual NVIDIA Quadro M6000's with 24GB of VRAM. That means you can basically keep all your assets in memory and not have to worry about slow load times in whatever engine or program you're working with. For system RAM, you can configure it to have up to 256GB of DDR4 or up to 1TB of LRDDR4 if need be. Storage can e equally as monstrous with a massive six STA ports, eight different SAS ports and up to two PCIe 3.0 NVMe capable m.2 ports.
This can be one monster machine if you want it to be to handle just about any rendering or creation task you want it to. Some might ask why one would want to buy anything premade, and the answer is the support that comes with it. That is, the technical and warranty support that might come in handy from running these systems hard for many hours on end. The new Z840 from Hp starts at $4366, a hefty price tag but for a system that packs a mighty punch. Keyboard and monitor are sold separately, as are the VR HMD's of choice.
GDC 2016 - ZOTAC unveiled their MAGNUS EN980 gaming PC leading up to the Game Developers Conference, but the company had it in the flesh in the Valve suite at the show.
We got some hands-on time with the not-yet-finished prototype, so there will be some changes before it is final. Inside, there's a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (the full desktop version, the same one that was shrunken down late last year for gaming notebooks) and much more.
ZOTAC is providing support for up to four displays thanks to the GTX 980, and is pushing it for VR gaming. The MAGNUS EN980 also features dual Gigabit ethernet, USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity and a super-small footprint that would fit perfectly in your living room, or for gamers on-the-go.
MSI's Vortex, the minuscule yet powerful cylindrical PC that may be the illegitimate offspring of the Mac Pro, is finally available for purchase.
The Vortex is a mean, lean fighting machine it looks like. They've been able to stuff in a quite a few high-end components into the small area, and everything is capable of being upgraded, within reason of course. All models share an Intel Core i7-6700K, an Intel Z170 motherboard, a 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD with a 1TB storage drive. They also all share a Killer E2400 wired ethernet/ Killer N1535 wireless card, four USB 3.0, two mini-DisplayPort and two Thunderbolt 3 connectors around back. The less expensive version comes in at $2199 and has dual GTX 960's sitting in SLI with 16GB of 2133MHz DDR4. The more expensive version is $3999 and swaps out those 960's for dual GTX 980's and has a total of 32GB of RAM instead. All powered by a 450W power supply.
The whole 6.5L package is a marvel of engineering no less than the Mac Pro it was likely inspired by. The cooling system is very efficient, and is quite the capable performer. The GPU's are all of the MXM variety, also shared with the Mac Pro design. A necessary design consideration if you want to pack as much power into as small a space as possible.
GDC 2016 - Intel has just taken the covers off of its new Skulltrail NUC, which is more impressive than you imagine. Inside, it's powered by the Core i7-6770HQ processor with Iris Pro 580 graphics, and can be configured with up to 32GB of DDR4-2133.
The NUC6i7KYK also features USB Type-C connectivity, as well as Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity. We also have full-sized HDMI 2.0 and a mini DisplayPort 1.2, rounding out the display connectivity - and it's quite a lot, considering its size - at just 0.7 litres in size, reports PC Perspective.
Inside, we have two M.2 slots, Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, Bluetooth 4.2 and an infrared sensor that lets you hook up your remote control to the Skulltrail NUC, making it a great option for a media server. There are two covers, in case you don't like the one it ships with, too. As for price, we're looking at $650 for the barebones Skulltrail NUC, while the $1000 model will ship with 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD and Windows 10.
ASUS held an event in Sydney, Australia over the weekend - where it collected a bunch of companies including InWin, NVIDIA, Cooler Master, Kingston and Bitspower - where it was teaching Australian IT retailers about water cooling.
The event included letting IT store staff building a water-cooled PC into the InWin 805 or 909 chassis, where they will display their work in their store for 3 months. Not only that, but they get a certificate in water cooling training, too. There was an afternoon session that allowed local residents to come in and check out the modded PCs, learn about water cooling, talk with ASUS staff, modders and retailers - culminating in a Q&A session.
With a plethora of companies announcing additions of complete pre-built and chassis-only small form factor products recently, ZOTAC has joined the charge with its MAGNUS EN980, featuring 6th Generation Intel processors, an NVIDIA GTX 980 video card and more.
The Skylake processor and GTX 980 are met with equally powerful and useful USB 3.1 Type-C ports, dual gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and factory-installed water cooling. Further options include support for four displays thanks to HDMI and DisplayPort options. While ZOTAC did make sure to mention that the included water cooling will feature a 'minimalistic design', there was no word as to who will OEM this product, nor any word on what motherboard, storage or RAM options we can expect in this model.
This Small Form Factor PC will be shown off by ZOTAC at the upcoming Cebit 2016 and GDC 2016 events. Without any pricing currently released, I can't help but think it's going to be costly.
While there is already an extended series of ASUS VivoPCs on the market, ASUS has decided to expand its plethora of company offerings with the VivoMini VM65 series of products. All models in this series are packed into a chassis that measures under 2 liters in capacity and will include 6th Generation Intel Core processors.
The top model is said to feature not only 16GB of DDR4 memory, but it will also have a discrete NVIDIA GeForce 930M inside. This model is named the VM65N and has been designed for 4K in mind, ASUS said in a recent press release, with the 4K support in this model being designed to "allow users to enjoy stunning videos, play casual games at their highest settings, or view incredibly-detailed photos."
The VM65N further comes packed with two SuperSpeed USB 3.1 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader, audio output, an inbuilt Intel Wi-Fi card, plus further Display Port++ and HDMI display options. Wrapping up the feature list is room for a single 4.5-inch HDD or two 2.5-inch storage solutions, with this PC being VESA-mountable.
It seems that SFF computers are all the rage recently, seeing companies like Corsair teasing its Bulldog, other manufacturers releasing Steam machines and ORIGIN PC proudly promoting this beast of a machine.
The Chronos gaming desktop is presented in a Small Form Factor (SFF) chassis, packing within some seriously powerful technology. Measuring in at 11.75" (H) x 4" (W) x 13.75" (D), a recently issued press release reinforced that this product is "ORIGIN PC's smallest form factor chassis ever offered." While it may be small, it certainly doesn't lack performance, with ORIGIN PC mentioning that there is plenty of space to fit an NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Z within.
With further capacity for five hard drives, the top of the range Chronos can come packaged with an Intel Core i7 5690X or XEON and is said to support all Mini-ITX platforms that are based around Z170 and X99.
One of the quickest ways to hardware failure is running your system incredibly hot, sitting up there with rubbing your motherboard on the carpet or putting your video card through the washing machine.
Investing in a good heat sink or cooling fan is something that Reddit user 'ghalfacree' has suggested, sporting a thermal image of his Raspberry Pi 3 running at a scorching 100 degrees celsius, thanks to the help of thermal imagery.
While sitting at triple digit temperature isn't exactly common, this test was conducted on an open board under full load, causing concern for those who are straining theirRaspberry Pi 3 while contained in a small case or custom chassis. Ghalfacree's solution is a cute little fan, ensuring that his miniature pride and joy computer doesn't melt away.
If you've been casually following the various Raspberry Pi releases like myself, it's likely you have little to no idea what other mini ARM boards there are on the market.
Thankfully Phoronix has published a quick wrap-up and some benchmarks of competing boards compared to the well-known Raspberry Pi 3. Coming in hot and topping the list was the ODROID-C2, labeled as costing "just a few dollars more ($40 USD) while having a faster SoC and other advantages."
The claimed advantages of this product include a 64-bit quad-core SBC, backed by the Amlogic S905 which comes in at 2GHz with four Cortex-154 cores, paired with 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM and a Mali 450 GPU. Connection options include Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0 and full support for Android and Ubuntu, all wrapped up in a $40 asking price.