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Back in September the internet was set abuzz with rumors of a new NUC from Intel that features the company's Bay Trail technology, and today the new Bay Trail NUC is finally available for retail sales in the US. At the moment, AVA Direct appears to be the only retailer selling the device though.
The new DN2820FYKH barebones kit is based on Intel's micro NUC chassis design and features a Celeron N2820 processor with dual Silvermont cores clocked in at 2.4GHz. The devices GPU clock is set at 756MHz as well making it much faster than the Atom-based NUCs currently on the market. Users will need to add their own RAM (up to 8GB is supported) via a single SO-DIMM slot, as well as wireless card via a single PCIE slot. Users will also have to bring their own storage to the party with drives up to 9.5-mm thick being supported.
Today ZOTAC announced the launch of its ZBOX Nano series of mini-PCs featuring Intel "Haswell" 4th Generation Core processors. The new ZBOX ID68 and ZBOX ID69 series mini-PCs feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Intel Turbo Boost Technology and take palm-sized computing to new levels.
"Users that want a taste of Intel Turbo Boost technology can opt for the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID68 series with a high-performance Intel Core i5 4200U that can turbo boost up to 2.6 GHz," Zotac said in a release. "Demanding users that require the best performance available from the compact form factor can step up to the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID69 series with an Intel Core i7 4500U processor that turbo boosts up to 3.0 GHz."
Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo will purchase IBM's lower-end x86 server unit for $2.3 billion after months of continued negotiations on both sides. The deal, once approved by U.S. government regulators, will give IBM the ability to focus on software and IT services.
IBM will continue to manufacture higher-end servers, and remains the No. 2 server manufacturer, trailing only behind Hewlett-Packard.
"This acquisition demonstrates our willingness to invest in businesses that can help fuel profitable growth and extend our PC Plus strategy," said Yang Yuanging, Lenovo CEO, in a statement. "With the right strategy, great execution, continued innovation and a clear commitment to the x86 industry, we are confident that we can grow this business successfully for the long-term, just as we have done with our worldwide PC business.
Lenovo, the No. 1 global PC manufacturer, has struggled to compete against HP, Dell, and other manufacturers in the server market. The Chinese manufacturer wants to shift focus to the server market, where profit margins are higher than the regular PC and notebook business.
Alienware has confirmed that it will be releasing new Steam Machines each year, because of the lack of upgrade options on its SteamOS-powered console. Frank Azor, Alienware's General Manager, talked with TrustedReviews, where he said: "Lifecycle wise, consoles update every five, six, seven years, we will be updating our Steam Machines every year."
The Dell-owned company won't let you upgrade its Steam Machines, with Azor stating: "There will be no customisation options, you can't really update it." He did add: "The platform will continue to evolve as the games become more resource intensive."
There will be some configuration options for customers upon purchase, but there will be no upgrades after. Azor states: "There will be some configuration options when you purchase it, maybe you can get a faster CPU, maybe some more memory something like that. If you actually want to customise your Alienware Steam Machine, maybe change your video card out or put in a new CPU, you would be better off with the standard Alienware X51. This particular product is restricted in its upgrade options."
During a recent Reddit AMA, Valve god Gabe Newell had something interesting to say about Steam Machines, and EA's Origin service. "We're trying to make it as open as possible," said Newell, continuing: "If EA wants to put Origin on it, that would be fine, etc... (trying to pick an example of something that people think we would prohibit)."
One of the big hurdles of Steam Machines in the market, would be to cut themselves off from the world, and not accept competitors' digital distribution or gaming services on its devices. But as we can see here, Newell is all for it - a totally open platform.
I think we're seeing the beginning of something very special here, a true living room PC. All we need are some awesome games like Half-Life 3, Team Fortress 3, Left 4 Dead 3 and more, and we'll be in gaming heaven.
When Valve first announced that it was working with OEM partners to develop a full range of Linux-based gaming devices called Steam Machines, great emphasis was placed on the fact that the devices were to be PC based and fully upgradeable. Unfortunately today we are seeing the first major OEM break away from this philosophy and built their Steam Machine devices similar to current console construction.
Alienware has long been known for its high-end gaming PCs and while overpriced in some opinions, the company's wares have always been fully upgradeable. Today, Frank Azor, Alienware's general manager said in an interview that "There will be no customization options, you can't really update it." This means that Alienware's Steam Machines are most likely being built with AMD APUs or custom GPU solutions that are hard mounted to the motherboard, much like how Microsoft and Sony are doing with the next-gen consoles. Personally I feel that this will ultimately hurt Alienware in the longrun, as the main appeal to a Steam Machine is its upgradeability.
The new Commander PC is a serious beast with our updated specifications, including a GeForce GTX 780 GPU, and virtually all Corsair parts to ensure quality, reliability, and warranty. A 27-inch monitor is used for displaying all this goodness, while some Logitech speakers will provide the audio side of things.
Intel is in dire need of mobile success in 2014, as its Atom chips are slowly making their way to a wider variety of tablets. The mobile market continues to cannibalize the PC industry, with many consumers and businesses hanging onto computers that are a few years older.
Intel has already made a shift to incorporate Google Android support along with Microsoft Windows, according to CEO Brian Krzanich, with a focus on smartphones and tablets. To entice OEMs to jump onboard, Intel has already offered to pay tablet manufacturers to choose Intel's Bay Trail architecture instead of ARM processors, including an offer to pay a portion of engineering costs.
The company has announced it will cut 5 percent of its workforce in 2014, so around 5,000 employees will be released. The announcement followed Intel's financial results, which indicated the company still is having trouble moving beyond the sluggish PC industry, as the Silicon Valley company struggles to go mobile.
It should be obvious by now, but Valve will not be allowing any of its partners to ship their Steam Machines until it has its SteamOS and Steam Controller ready to go.
The news comes courtesy of an interview with iBuyPower's Marketing Manager, Ricky Lee, on Slashgear. Valve states: "In very simple terms, you need a license to redistribute our proprietary Steam Client, whether on its own or whether as part of SteamOS, and you need a license to use any of our trademarks in a commercial context. That includes, without limitation, using the Steam symbol and terms like Steam, SteamOS and Steam Machine in any of your commercial communication, whether from product design, advertising or PR. And unless you are a licensee, you should not publicly suggest any connection to Valve or Steam."
This means that no matter what company wants to launch a Steam Machine, even if it wanted to launch one tomorrow, it cannot without the complete approval of Valve. This means we have to wait until SteamOS and Steam Controller are ready to go, before we see any Steam Machine action - and that's okay with me.
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."