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ECS announces their first ever Modmen PC modding competition, $33,333 holiday up for grabs!

If you have any sort of modding ability, this might be the time to stand up and pit yourself against the competition across the world. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) have just announced that they're teaming up with Thermaltake, G.Skill and a bunch of media partners to bring you the first ever worldwide Modmen PC modding competition.

 

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The competition started on October 11, 2012, where ECS are on the hunt for the Modmen of the year. The best bit? The Grand Prize will become a Taiwan millionaire with the prize pool of NT$1,000,000 - roughly USD$33,333.

 

There are two stages of the competition, with the first beginning online. The top 10 case modders will be determined from a combination of online votes and ECS' own modding judges. Whoever gets donned with the most votes, wins $1,000. From there, the top 5 PC modders qualifying for the second stage of the competition will be flown to Taiwan, put up in accommodation, and will compete at Computex 2013 for a chance of the Grand Prize - the NT$1 million, or USD$33,333. This is on top of the cash and prizes in between.

Continue reading 'ECS announces their first ever Modmen PC modding competition, $33,333 holiday up for grabs!' (full post)

LSI AIS 2012 - LSI SandForce's Ultra Design Wins, Opening the Book of Performance

LSI AIS 2012 - LSI has a number Ultrabook design wins and a few of them tipped up at AIS 2012 for their moment under the spot light. Ultrabooks require thin packaging, generally mSATA or 2.5" 7mm form factors. Since the SandForce architecture is void of a DRAM buffer its possible for OEMs to purchase low cost mSATA SSDs for their ultrabook products.

 

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By now everyone reading TweakTown knows SSDs are several times faster than HDDs but that isn't the case with the general public. LSI SandForce likes to show their dominance over spinners every chance they get.

Continue reading 'LSI AIS 2012 - LSI SandForce's Ultra Design Wins, Opening the Book of Performance' (full post)

LSI AIS 2012 - Next Gen Flash Obstacles and The Future of SSDs

LSI AIS 2012 - We all have enough doom and gloom with the whole Twinkie situation but this story has a theoretical happy ending. If you follow the SSD market you already understand that as flash scales to smaller die sizes the number of electrons held decreases. The following slides were taken from two tracks at AIS 2012. We're working on getting the full slide decks or at least getting a link so you can read through both of these well put together presentations.

 

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TLC is already shipping in a number of thumb drives and a couple of SSDs (one consumer, one enterprise that we know of) and increases the number of bits per cell. At the same time die shrinks decease the available space to electrons stored to charge a cell.

Continue reading 'LSI AIS 2012 - Next Gen Flash Obstacles and The Future of SSDs' (full post)

LSI AIS 2012 - LSI SandForce Drives Windows To Go

LSI AIS 2012 - Most of us haven't spent a lot of time with Windows To Go yet but those articles are in the pipeline. W2G is a feature in Windows 8 Enterprise that allows Win 8 Enterprise to boot and run from mass storage devices, like flash drives. The general concept has been around for years with other devices and software tools but Windows To Go puts a big name, Microsoft, at the head of the table.

 

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At AIS 2012 LSI displayed three Windows To Go solutions. Kingston had their solution running on an off-the-shelf notebook. The DataTraveler Workspace is currently shipping in 32GB and 64GB capacity sizes. A 128GB model is available by special order according to Kinston's website. You know what model I want.

 

Windows 8 Enterprise on the SSD, err I mean thumb drive takes a little less than 14GB. That means you have plenty of free capacity for work documents on a 32GB Windows To Go SandForce based solution.

 

Just like with your notebook or desktop, you want a fast solution with low latency for your boot drive. LSI SandForce offers excellent performance in both of these categories and when paired with USB 3.0 delivers excellent throughput.

Continue reading 'LSI AIS 2012 - LSI SandForce Drives Windows To Go' (full post)

LSI AIS 2012 - LSI Nytro Expands - Faster, More Cost Effective Enterprise Solutions

LSI AIS 2012 - LSI's acquisition of SandForce is really paying off for enterprise customers. LSI's Nytro product line started off with the original Warp Drive has expanded from there. Last week we told you all about the LSI Nytro WarpDrive 800GB BLP4-800 in our breakout enterprise review but today we peer into the future.

 

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The Nytro WarpDrive we reviewed last week used four SSD cards but the model we see here doubles the card capacity to eight total! If that's a PCIe 3.0 ROC under the black heat sink then the next generation WarpDrive products will not only increase in capacity but also receive a massive performance improvement as well.

 

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LSI integrated Nytro products to their existing MegaRAID line up to offer an additional tier of performance to datacenters. Innovative products like the Nytro WarpDrive XD add advanced software to the solution and increase overall efficiency with minimal investment.

Continue reading 'LSI AIS 2012 - LSI Nytro Expands - Faster, More Cost Effective Enterprise Solutions' (full post)

LSI AIS 2012 - PNY Debuts HP SSD Upgrades and New USA Manufacturing Facility

LSI AIS 2012 - We've known about PNY's growing relationship with USA based system builders for some time but the HP connection just became a little more public. Before we dive into the new products though let's have a brief look at PNY's new Made in the USA manufacturing facility located in New Jersey.

 

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Image Courtesy of PNY

 

PNY has a new manufacturing facility in New Jersey. The new green factory gets up to 40% of its power from solar cells, quite an achievement considering the amount of power needed to run SMT lines. While looking for information about the factory we found several positions available so if you're looking for a job in the high technology manufacturing sector PNY is a good place to send your resume.

Continue reading 'LSI AIS 2012 - PNY Debuts HP SSD Upgrades and New USA Manufacturing Facility' (full post)

LSI AIS 2012 - Avant Shows Engineering Muscle with New SSD Designs

LSI AIS 2012 - Avant Technology made a rare public appearance at AIS 2012. Before you ask we'll fill you in. Avant Technology is responsible for the design and manufacture of several SSDs sold around the world. As a private company we don't have access to specific numbers but we know it's a significant market share. CTO Paul Goodwin joined Avant in 2007 and personally designs most, if not all of the innovative Avant SSDs.

 

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The first product is a massive 2TB 2.5" SSD in an enterprise standard 15mm z-height. Combining four SF-2281 controllers, a LSI RAID controller and SAS 6GB/s, this unannounced product surpasses HDD density in the 2.5" form factor. I'm sure the performance is a bit better as well.

 

Avant's focus isn't just on the enterprise market. Here we have a new mSATA SSD with 480GB capacity. In order to achieve form factor leading density Avant added a daughter board to hold additional flash. At the same time this product increases the performance over standard mSATA SSDs because it utilizes all 8 channels of the SF-2281 controller. Most mSATA SSDs only use 4 channels so the performance of this mSATA product should line up with 2.5" SF-2281 SSDs.

Continue reading 'LSI AIS 2012 - Avant Shows Engineering Muscle with New SSD Designs' (full post)

GDC Next gets announced, will debut in Los Angeles in November 2013

The organizers of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) have announced a new event to be held in Los Angeles in November next year, called GDC Next. GDC Next will feature two market-leading conferences, as well as a shared expo floor.

 

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GDC Next is the reimagined successor to GDC Online, which will enjoy its final iteration in Austin, between October 9-11. App Developers Conference (ADC) is a brand new event, that will showcase key takeaways in app technology, creation, business and marketing outside of gaming. GDC Next and the ADC will debut as a co-lated event November 5-7 2013, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

 

GDC Next will focus more on the smartphone, tablet, social, independent, cloud and other form of gaming side of things. The new show will be important for designers, programmers, architects, producers, artists, marketers, or business people to attend, to get advice, or see how great games, and making money from the newest areas of the gaming industry. ADC will focus on the development, UI, marketing and business-side of apps.

Continue reading 'GDC Next gets announced, will debut in Los Angeles in November 2013' (full post)

PAX will be a 4-day event next year, PAX is also coming to Australia

Penny Arcade proprietors, Mike "Gabe" Krahulik and Jerry "Tycho" Holkins during a Q&A session that the PAX show is coming to Australia. They didn't stop with the good news there, also announcing that PAX Prime would last an extra day next year, increased up to a 4-day event.

 

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Another thing that has been teased, is that PAX might drop by the UK in the near future, and it's something that Penny Arcade are definitely thinking about. Someone from the UK asked Krahulik, to which he responded "we want to go there".

 

There's no news on the UK event, but I'm guessing that if the Australian event goes well, we should see a PAX UK event, too. You can be sure that we will probably cover the PAX AU event, so keep checking back!

FMS 2012 - 30% of flash output reduction to have little impact on consumer SSDs

Yesterday we spoke with Toshiba on several topics but for consumers looking to buy a new high performance, premium solid-state drive this nugget of information made it to the top of our list.

 

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According to Jason Baker, Director of Marketing, Storage Product Business Unit, "The 30% reduction in Toshiba flash output will have little effect on the consumer SSD Market." Jason went on to say, "The only market we should see affected is the low cost personal carry products like USB thumb drives and other extremely low cost, commodity items."

 

This is important news for enthusiasts, power users and for that matter anyone looking to purchase some of the highest performing and lowest power consuming SSDs on the market today like the Plextor M5 Pro that uses Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode flash, Corsair Neutron GTX and Corsair Force GS, both of which use Toshiba 24nm Toggle Mode flash.

 

Since Toshiba announced their reduction of flash output we've kept an eye on SSD prices using Toshiba and SanDisk Toggle Mode flash and so far the prices have actually decreased rather than increased as we assumed they would. Now with confirmation from Toshiba, we have one less thing to worry about in the SSD market.

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