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Chromebooks outpace OS X and Windows in commercial sales

The Chromebook may not be putting a massive dent in the consumer market when it comes to outselling OS X and Windows machines to the public, but in the business and education market Chromebooks are growing massively. In the three weeks that ended on June 7, Chromebooks were a solid 40% of all computers sold in the commercial realm.

 

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Commercial sales include sales to businesses, schools, governments, and other organizations. Beating out Mac and Windows machines in the education environment is a big deal as that is a very coveted market for all manufacturers. The reason so much weight is placed on educational sales is that when you get users when they are young, they are more likely to stick with a platform forever.

 

"Chrome's unit strength ahead of this year's education buying season shows how it has become a legitimate third platform alongside Windows and Mac OS X and iOS," Stephen Baker, NPD vice president of industry analysis, says. "The next test for Chrome will clearly be the most difficult, as both Apple and Microsoft get more aggressive in pricing and deal making over the next few months", Baker says. "By the end of the third quarter we will have a much clearer picture of the long-term impact Chromebooks will have in the commercial channel".

Vizio thinking of pulling the plug on its struggling PC business

Electronics manufacturer Vizio is best known for its affordable high-definition TVs (HDTVs), and is reportedly ready to drop its struggling PC business. The company first entered the PC market in 2012, and struggled - the company solidified its TV offering by offering low prices - but premium-priced PCs and laptops fell flat.

 

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"Given the continued weak sales in the PC category as a whole, Vizio is revisiting its product assortment strategy," said Jim Noyd, a Vizio spokesperson, in a statement to PC World. "Additional updates will be available at a later date."

 

In addition to pricing miscues, Vizio tried to enter the consumer PC market as the industry began to drop. Unable to keep up with the likes of Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, and other vendors in the PC and laptop markets, it might be an appropriate time for the company to throw in the towel on its PC business.

Cray wins contract for supercomputer to simulate nuke tests

Supercomputers are used in a number of programs within the government in the US. One of the big names in supercomputing is Cray and the company has recently won a contract with the US government for a new supercomputer worth $174 million. This supercomputer will be supplied to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

 

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Cray will provide a Cray XC supercomputer that will be connected to the Cray Sonexion storage system and dubbed Trinity. Trinity will have over eight times the power of the Cray EX6 supercomputer called Cielo currently in use at the facility.

 

Trinity will be installed at Los Alamos and will use Intel Haswell processors along with upcoming Knights Landing Xeon Phi processors. It will start with 82PB of storage and has a throughput of 1.7TB per second. The machine will be used for simulating nuclear weapon performance among other things.

Apple reveals its new low-cost iMac, starting at $1,099

Before today, the cheapest Apple offered its iMac was $1,299 - but now that 21.5-inch iMac costs just $1,099. The new entry-level iMac sports a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor at 1.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports and Intel HD 5000 graphics.

 

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The previous model that was $200 more, featured a slightly better Core i5 processor, and bigger HDD. But, you can always customize it to your liking, where you could replace the 500GB with a 1TB Fusion drive, or a 256GB SSD - something we would recommend doing (especially the SSD upgrade). We should see another iMac refresh in the future, with Intel's next-gen Broadwell processor baked into them. When that'll happen, is something no one knows right now.

Alienware Alpha gaming PC to run Windows, not Steam OS

Alienware has announced at E3 that its Steam machine called the Alienware Alpha will not run the Valve Steam OS as was expected. Alienware has instead fitted the machine with Windows and it will use an Xbox 360 wireless controller.

 

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The machine was unveiled with Windows at E3 this week and it will ship during the 2014 holiday shopping season. The Alpha will sell for $549. Part of the reason why the machine is now to be sold with Windows is that Valve has delayed the Steam Machine OS and its controller until 2015.

Continue reading 'Alienware Alpha gaming PC to run Windows, not Steam OS' (full post)

ASRock updates its M8 system to the new Z97 chipset

Computex 2014 - Last year we got a chance to see ASRock team up with BMW Designworks USA to create a new barebone system. The M8 was born and we found ourselves instantly in love with what was being offered by the company. Jump forward a year and ASRock have taken the cover off an updated version of the great looking M8 system.

 

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While the chassis looks the same; inside we've got a few new key components to bring it into 2014. First we've seen the ITX motherboard get updated to the latest Intel Z97 chipset bringing support for the latest crop of processors. The other big upgrade is the power supply which now sees an SFX 600 Watt unit. This gives us the chance to install a higher-end video card without a problem continuing to show us that you can pack some serious punch into a nice slim system.

 

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As for the rest of the system you can see not too much has changed. We've still got the A-Command OLED button that gives us the ability to see a bunch of different settings. Other features include USB 3.0, 4-in-1 Card Reader and Gigabit LAN alongside Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac support.

The ASUS all-in-one PT2001, a 19.5-inch Windows 8.1-based PC

Computex 2014 - We stopped by the Microsoft booth at Computex today, where the company was showing off a slew of Windows-based devices in all different shapes and sizes. One of which, was the ASUS all-in-one PT2001 PC.

 

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ASUS' AIO PT2001 is a 19.5-inch touch-capable PC with a 1600x900 display, an Intel Haswell-based processor, 500GB of HDD, 2GB of RAM, weighs 7lbs (or 3.2kg) - all of this is capable of being toted around, with around 5 hours of battery life. ASUS has built the AIO PT2001 so that you can move it from room to room, providing a study handle and built-in foldable stand that allows the PC to be adjusted from 0 to 100 degrees.

Worldwide PC shipments estimated to drop, according to IDC

The PC industry should see a global shipment decline of 6 percent in 2014, as western markets largely saw a modest interest, according to research firm IDC. Over the past few years, the PC industry has struggled, with the market shifting towards mobile products, such as smartphones and tablets.

 

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Looking ahead in the future, recovering global economies and slowing interest in tablets will give PC OEMs their chance to win back some customers. Both end-users and business users will find OEMs dropping prices and releasing dependable systems for a relatively low price.

 

Here is what Loren Loverde, IDC worldwide PC trackers VP, said in a press statement: "However, the transition toward mobile and cloud-based computing is unstoppable. PCs continue a slow transition toward touch and slim designs, even as tablet volume is expected to pass total PC volume in the fourth quarter of 2014 and on an annual basis in 2016. To return to growth, the PC industry is going to need to accelerate the shift to lower-cost, thin, and touch-based designs, despite the challenges it has faced with these designs in the past."

Zotac's new ZBOX features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M

Computex 2014 - Hanging out with Zotac this afternoon we got a chance to check out what the company was doing with the latest batch of ZBOX systems. While gaming might not be the first thing that comes to mind when looking at these small systems; that's indeed set to change with the launch of the new EN760.

 

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Sporting the speedy NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M the ZBOX EN760 which can be bought as a bare bone or pre built will no doubt grab the attention of gamers who are looking for something both competitively priced and small. Carrying the Dual Core i5 4200U Intel Processor alongside 8GB of DDR3 and a 1TB Hard Drive you'll find yourself having a great time with this tiny system.

 

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Buying the barebone version, though, you'll be able to jam 16GB of DDR3 in to the system via the two SO-DIMM slots along with a nice fast SATA III SSD or SATA III mSATA drive. Along with support for that, we find Dual Gigabit LAN, DVI-I and HDMI video outputs along with Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac networking.

Continue reading 'Zotac's new ZBOX features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M' (full post)

ASUS ROG show off some awesome case mods at Computex 2014

Computex 2014 - Over at the ASUS ROG stand we saw a pair of case mods that instantly caught our eye. Showing off the talent of some awesome individuals we see what a whole lot of hard work can do when paired with some fantastic hardware.

 

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Looking above you can see the Duplex by Ace finland. Using a custom hand-crafted case the designer has shown us a Maximus VII Formula system with a ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II Video Card hidden on the other side of the custom design. Looking truly beautiful this case mode has a bite just as big as its bark with 32GB of Corsair Dominator Memory, Dual 240 GB OCZ Vector SSDs along with a full EK water cooling setup.

 

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Sitting next to the beautiful Duplex, though, was the ROG MAXIMINI by reapervon. Based around the MAXIMUS VII IMPACT this Z97 based board carries with it a next generation Intel i7 4790K processor along with a ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU Mini. With 16GB of Kingston DDR3 and a 730 Series Intel SSD this little system packs some serious performance. It's great to see ASUS showing off some fantastic case mods.

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