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GTC 2016 - With NVIDIA unveiling its new Quadro M5500 video card, MSI is the world's first with an NVIDIA VR ready professional mobile workstation, with its new WT72.
The new MSI WT72 packs the Quadro M5500 with 8GB of GDDR5, as well as Intel's new sixth-generation Core processors (available in both the Core and Xeon CPUs) with up to 64GB of DDR4. Andy Tung, President of MSI Pan America explains: "The WT72 with NVIDIA's M5500 Quadro GPU is the world's first VR Ready mobile workstation and can blaze through the most demanding tasks. NVIDIA powers our workstations, from the ultra-powerful WT72 to the super lightweight WS72 and WS62, and we are delighted to partner with them to drive the VR revolution into a new dimension".
MSI's new WT72 is Autodesk VRED certified and is compatible with both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It comes with audiophile-grade Dynaudio speakers with Nahimic Audio enhancer, True Color Technology screens with Adobe RGB certification for wide viewing angles and the most accurate visuals.
HP has released some impressive products in the few years, but it looks like their next one could be their biggest yet. During a chat with The Wall Street Journal, HP's PC boss Ron Coughlin said that "for years, Apple has been seen as the innovator and the driver of innovation", but that now "HP is really taking over that mantle".
The company is poised to unveil its new premium laptop tomorrow, where earlier this year during the Consumer Electronics Show, the company unveiled its business-focused Elitebook Folio. The Elitebook Folio is less than half an inch thick, but HP is expected to lose even more thickness with its forthcoming laptop - and beat Apple at its own game against the super-thin MacBook.
HP will launch the new ultra-thin laptop during the International Luxury Conference in Versailles tomorrow, but it won't be a mass-market product. NPD analyst Stephen Baker told WSJ: "the challenge for doing really, really thin and light products is it's a very, very thin and light segment to go after". All eyes are on you, HP.
GDC 2016 - Razer's external GPU enclosure now has a price, with the Razer Core costing $499 on its own, or $399 if it's purchased with compatible Razer gaming notebooks.
The Razer Core is a unique GPU enclosure, which takes dual-slot, full-length video cards. GPUs that are installed can include the Radeon R9 Fury and GeForce GTX Titan X, as the Razer Core has an internal 500W PSU. The Razer Core also feature 4 x USB 3.0 ports, GbE connectivity, and two-zone lighting.
Core connects to your laptop through Thunderbolt USB-C, which offers up to 40Gbps of bandwidth. Installing a video card inside of the Razer Core is super simple, as it's a tool-less design. Better yet, AMD's impressive XConnect technology is something that's compatible with Core, meaning your laptop can seamlessly switch between onboard graphics, and the GPU inside of the Core.
GDC 2016 - Razer has just announced its new Blade gaming notebook, with an injection of specifications and a better price point. The new Blade sports the new sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, alongside the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 6GB of VRAM.
Storage wise the new Blade has a PCIe-based SSD which will ensure you can be pushing the speed limit when it comes to transferring data on the Blade. The new Blade has 16GB of DDR4 RAM in quad-channel, and a beautiful 14-inch IGZO-based 3200x1800 QHD+ display. The screen and its internals are found in a CNC-milled aircraft grade aluminum chassis which looks quite stunning.
The new Razer Blade has individually backlit RGB keys, making it the second laptop in the world after the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook. Razer is also keeping the price on the Blade nice and tight, with the previous Blade with the QHD+ display starting at $2399 while the new Blade starting at $1999.
AMD has already teased that it will "spice things up" at the Game Developers Conference next week, but what has me excited is the promise of next-gen, ultra-thin gaming notebooks.
During an AMA on Reddit, AMD's Robert Hallock said: "Ultra-thin notebooks are awesome to carry, but nobody in their right mind would confuse one for a gaming notebook. But there's still a HUGE appetite for thin notebooks that can game. I also bet there's a bunch of gamers out there who, as they get into their 30s and 40s, wouldn't mind condensing their entire computing life down into one device that does it all... External GPUs are the answer. External GPUs with standardised connectors, cables, drivers, plug'n'play, OS support, etc".
The ultra-thin gaming notebooks should be powered by Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, which boasts up to 40Gbps of bandwidth. We've recently seen Razer tease its Core GPU enclosure, which offers its Blade Stealth gaming notebook an external GPU enclosure, super-powering your portable gaming experience. We should see AMD unveil something awesome at GDC 2016 next week in San Francisco.
GIGABYTE has some new 17.3-inch gaming focused laptops coming to market soon with the latest round of Skylake mobile processors.
The new laptops are in the P57 family, which has at its core, an Intel Core i7-6700HQ under the hood that runs at 2.6GHz and can boost to 3.5GHz. It's on Intel's HM170 chipset and can have up to 32GB of DDR4-2133 memory installed along side it. There are currently two different variants of the laptop, the P57K and the P57W.
They both share a 1080P IPS matte screen but the P57K powers that screen with an NVIDIA GTX 965M whereas the P57W has a more powerful GTX 970M with 3GB of VRAM. For storage they're using a 512GB M.2 SSD that uses a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface for some blistering fast speeds. In the front of the massive laptop is a Blu-Ray RW drive that's situated just under the trackpad, a strange and new location for the drive, which can also be swapped out for more storage if you so choose.
"VR is now a reality and both the F131 and NOMAD VR are ready to fully immerse you into any virtual adventure you seek" says MAINGEAR CEO Wallace Santos in a recently issued press release. This PC company has jumped on the VR-ready hype train by releasing its F131 desktop and NOMAD VR notebook for virtual reality operations.
The NOMAD VR packs a serious punch as you may expect, bragging some similar specifications to the Eurocom Sky X9E that I wrote about earlier today. Within this model, you can expect to find an Intel i7-7600K, a desktop NVIDIA GTX 980 and a 1080p G-Sync ready display.
Further packed with HD Foster Audio speakers that are tuned by Soundblaster Cinema, USB 3.1 Type-C, an integrated webcam and more, this model is shaping up to be another killer portable gaming rig. While I say 'portable', it's important to remember that you're not expected to sit this in your knees while waiting for long-haul flight connections, but it's certainly much easier than carrying a desktop PC around.
Eurocom is known for making some incredibly bulky and powerful gaming and emergency server laptops, with its latest edition being along the same lines. Meet the Sky X93, a portable gaming device that has been marketed as VR-ready by the manufacturer.
With a plethora of different internal options depending on your needs and budget, the top tier model shown off in a recent press release contains no less than an Intel Core i7-6700K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 64 GB DDR4 memory and an impressive 4K 17.3" display. Explained as a "desktop laptop," there are no mobile processors or video cards being used here, with Eurocom being well known for releasing desktop components within its laptop models.
Running on an Intel Z170 Chipset, Eurocom says that this device is ready for any Oculus Rift or HTC Vive task you with to throw at it, further packing support for M.2 PCIe SSDs and the previously mentioned 4k UHD IPS display.
MWC 2016 - I've been a big fan of Lenovo's Yoga range for a few years now, rocking the awesome Yoga 2 Pro as my travel companion for years - until I replaced it recently with the HP Spectre X2. Lenovo took some time at Mobile World Congress to unveil their new Yoga 510 and Yoga 710 models, as well as a Windows 10-based tablet: the MIIX 310.
The new Yoga 710 is a mid-range offering, arriving in both 11- and 14-inch models. The 14-inch Yoga 710 is a full Ultrabook, sporting Intel's new sixth-gen Core processor (up to a Core i7 model), while the 11-inch model kicks off with a quad-core Pentium processor, but can be configured with up to a Core m5 processor. The bigger 14-inch model has Lenovo offering an optional NVIDIA GeForce GPU, if you need some GPU grunt. Lenovo says that there's 20% better Wi-Fi reception thanks to the use of a new hinge antenna on the 14-inch Yoga 710, and up to 256GB SSD for fast storage. Both models will feature up to 8 hours of battery, while the 11- and 14-inch displays rock a native resolution of 1920x1080.
As for pricing, the Lenovo Yoga 710 will start at $499 for the 11-inch model, while the 14-inch model will start at $799. Both models will be available in May.
The newest Surface line of devices has been marred by a few unsettling problems. They just didn't seem to enter into the deepest of sleep states, which means the battery would run down far faster than you'd expect. Sometimes even being dead when you really wanted to use them. Some new firmware updates have been pushed out by Microsoft that finally solve those long-standing power drain issues.
The CEO of Microsoft, Panos Panay himself, actually posted in a blog post to communicate how thankful they are of patience from those affected. "Today's updates include a set of Microsoft and Intel driver and firmware updates for Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 that will help you get the most of the power management options that Surface is designed to offer and continue to make your Surface more productive," Panay wrote in the post. "We love our Surface customers. You are our early adopters and our fans and you keep inspiring us with what you are able to do with Surface. You keep pushing us to make Surface even better."
Power management was one of the first issues noted by some of the early adopters, and this update is long in the making. It was one of the most requested updates despite it largely being ignored until now. Battery life could potentially be reduced to around 3-5 working hours, sometimes even being completely drained once arriving at some far off destination. It didn't quite work as advertised, and was incredibly frustrating. And this is just in time for our long-term gaming focused review of the Surface Book. How delightful.