Lian Li's DK-02X puts two PCs in your desk, looks gorgeous

Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Jun 9, 2014 4:33 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - Lian Li is a company that has always had my attention, but when a company crafts one of the best PC desks I've ever seen, allowing not one, but two PCs to be installed - you have my full and utter attention. I present to you, the Lian LI DK-02K.

As you can see in the shots above, the DK-02K is a true work of art. Two full PCs can be built into the desk, with the ability to install 8 x 3.5-inch HDDs on one side of the chassis, and another 9 x 3.5-inch HDDs on the other side for a total of 17 HDDs! The body is made from aluminum, while the legs are made from iron (and are extendable). It weighs a huge 45kg (or 100lbs), can take 8 x 120mm fans, all sorts of motherboards, and GPUs up to 400mm in length.

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Noctua Reinvents the Heat pipe - Cooler CPUs Coming

Chris Ramseyer | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Jun 8, 2014 5:51 AM CDT

Noctua is always looking to push the boundaries of CPU coolers. Some may think this is like reinventing the wheel but luckily the company is talented enough to push the established methods to new heights.

Enter Noctua's latest Skunkworks like project, flat plane heat pipes for vertical integration.

When heat pipes are bent the inner diameter shrinks causing a bit of a bottleneck, although small. By placing the heat pipes vertically Noctua can fit several more, and place in closer to the actual heat source.

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Noctua Shows Prototype Hardware at Computex 2014

Chris Ramseyer | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Jun 8, 2014 5:21 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - Each year I make it a point to meet with Noctua at Computex. Since the company doesn't attend many shows each year, it's nce to get to see upcoming hardware coming from the company. We also get to see our old time friend Jakob whom we have a great relationship with. This year the company went all out with several prototype products on display.

One of my favorite products was this small, 2u capable coolers with dual 60mm fans.

Moving down the prototype list, the company designed two offset coolers that leave room for VGA and other large PCI devices in the top slot next to the cooler.

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We sneak a peek at the USB 3.1 enabled MSI motherboard

Shawn Baker | Motherboards | Jun 8, 2014 4:58 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - USB 3.1 isn't something we've heard a ton about yet but with its eye clearly set on destroying Thunderbolt MSI has jumped to the party early showing off a motherboard utilizing the upcoming technology. While we don't have much in the way of the model or anything like that, putting the pieces together we can see this upcoming Z97 motherboard which will fall under the GD series offers us USB 3.1 technology via the ASMedia ASM1142 controller.

Looking above you can see the next generation USB connectivity will offer up to 10Gbps; twice as much as the current generation USB 3.0 connectivity. Along with the massive boost in performance the technology will continue to support USB 3.0 devices with no issue.

As for the actual board you can see we've got all the standard Z97 features with an M.2 slot sitting in the middle along with SATA Express support towards the bottom right of the board alongside two SATA III connectors. We're not quite sure when we'll see this board as USB 3.1 devices aren't something that are being promoted too heavily at the moment.

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Noctua displays new series of fans and coolers at Computex 2014

Paul Alcorn | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Jun 8, 2014 4:41 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - Noctua's booth was bursting at the seams with new cooler technology, as per usual, at Computex 2014. Noctua is a premium cooler supplier that offers coolers not only for consumer applications but for server cooling as well. They also offer a wide range of industrial application fans and other goodies.

Noctua is working on a new larger fan to be used in case cooling, such as the large side fans we see on a lot of computer cases. The new A-Series fans come in sizes off 80, 90, and 200mm. They feature optimized bearings, optimized acoustic optimization and integrated anti-vibration pads. Thee large 200mm fan is very robust, and its solid construction doesn't bend or flex like other large fans on the market.

It's always nice to see the TweakTown logo out and about at shows, and Noctua even had a dedicated card with the opinion of our resident CPU cooler guru Chad Sebring. To paraphrase Chad on the NH-D15; "...how can you deny an air cooler that tops all the others on the charts, and does it with less noise than all the rest."

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OCZ Storage Solutions debuts new Vector 180 SSD

Paul Alcorn | Storage | Jun 8, 2014 2:12 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - OCZ Storage Solutions was showing its latest entrant to the SSD market, the Vector 180, at Computex 2014. The Vector 180 straddles the blurry line between client enthusiast-class and the light-enterprise markets. This is a growing segment that has seen a flurry of recent releases from all major SSD manufacturers, including OCZ Storage Solutions parent company Toshiba. The merging of development roadmaps and segmentation between the two product lines offered by Toshiba and OCZ Storage Solutions will become clearer as the merger progresses.

OCZ continues to develop their proprietary Barefoot 3 M00 controller and enhance functionality to bring it to different market segments.

The Barefoot is paired with Toshiba A19nm flash and also has Micron NAND packages for caching purposes.

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SanDisk Launches Extreme PRO SSD with a 10 Year Warranty

Chris Ramseyer | Storage | Jun 8, 2014 12:21 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - SanDisk released a new flagship consumer / prosumer SSD that fits into what we call the Hyper Class of product at Computex 2014. Hyper Class is a term we coined from the automotive industry, hyper cars, the fastest products on the market that are beyond excessive luxury and performance. The new Extreme Pro SSD carries an industry leading 10-year warranty that shows the companies confidence in the drive, but just as impressive are our early tests here in Taipei on a loaner system from the TweakTown Taipei office.

The SanDisk Extreme PRO is one of the most significant SSD product launches of the year for enthusiasts and demanding users who need high reliability coupled with top tier performance. SanDisk has raised the warranty bar and doubled previous hyper class warranty lengths, showing that the company is very confident in releasing a product of this caliber. At the same time, the Extreme Pro SSD warranty triples the existing standard for mechanical storage warranty length. In our view, this isn't a marketing ploy, SanDisk SSDs are worthy of such a high standard and it the industry should take note.

Offered in three capacity sizes that range from 256GB to a massive 1TB model. Just as impressive as the warranty is the fact that SanDisk was able to achieve high data write transmissions at a constant rate without using additional overprovisioning. On paper and in traditional SanDisk fashion, the Extreme PRO's specification sheet shows conservative performance numbers to account for older and slower computing systems. In our early tests, we confirmed the tested drives deliver higher than advertised speeds in nearly all areas right out of the box without any system tweaking.

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Marvell demonstrates powerful LDPC encoding at Computex 2014

Paul Alcorn | Storage | Jun 8, 2014 12:16 AM CDT

Computex 2014 - Error rates are increasing as NAND manufacturers shrink lithography. This requires SSD controller innovation to provide stronger error correction without negative performance ramifications. Even with a standard HDD, data read directly from the media is rarely decipherable without post-processing, such as BCH error correction. As we move towards smaller NAND with much higher bit-error rates, manufacturers are scrambling to develop error-reduction technologies. Some approaches occur prior to, and during, drive operations. However, there are inevitable errors that require correction after command completion.

The method currently favored is BCH ECC. BCH can handle the error rates of current NAND, but all error correction methods add additional processing overhead to command latency. As the error rates have increased, designers have simply implemented more robust BCH ECC. The problem is the diminishing point of returns, and more robust BCH adds too much overhead on thee low-wattage controllers utilized in SSDs. Eventually there is a point where the controller can no longer correct the errors, and the data is corrupted.

Enter LDPC. Enabling a more efficient algorithm, that is also adaptive, provides intelligent error correction with less overhead. This provides more error correction power with less impact on SSD performance. In the video above Marvell is intentionally injecting errors into the path of the controller, thus simulating errors encountered during SSD use. A simple view of the two video streams side-by-side illustrates the vast difference in ECC performance between the two methods. Other manufacturers are also utilizing LDPC technology, such as SandForce and Adaptec. There are varying levels and complexity to LDPC algorithms, and until products reach the market it will be hard to determine which works best. It is clear that Marvell has a great grasp of the technology, and the increased performance will allow the use of smaller NAND lithographies with no impact to data integrity.

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Industry unsure if Amazon will launch smartphone later this month

Popular etailer Amazon.com is expected to launch its very own smartphone sometime this summer, and it could become official during a Seattle media event on June 18. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is expected to unveil the device, which is a unique effort to jump into the smartphone market controlled by Apple and Samsung.

The rumored Amazon device is expected to have 3D viewing capabilities, but it is still uncertain how it would be integrated into the phone. The Amazon device is expected to run using Google Android, with Foxconn and other well-known hardware OEMs also expected to play a role. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to diversify its product and service offering, with the company already offering an e-reader - and providing music, books, video and other digital content.

"There is a very big hill for Amazon to climb, but if they are successful, the opportunity can be huge," said Jeff Kagan, wireless industry analyst, in a statement. "Remember, Amazon.com does not appear to make a profit on their devices like the Kindle. They look at these devices like the shaver and the razor. They give devices like the Kindle and perhaps this new smartphone away almost at cost, and make their profits on the products they buy with it."

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ASRock Shows X99 Extreme4 and Extreme6 - DDR4 and Ultra M.2 Support

Chris Ramseyer | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Jun 7, 2014 4:13 PM CDT

Computex 2014 - In typical Computex fashion, embargos-be-damned! At the show we saw a handful of X99 boards behind closed doors but a few brave decision makers publicly displayed the upcoming chipset in bold fashion.

ASRock had two boards on display, Extreme4 and Extreme6. Both utilize new technology standards designed to decrease system latency while optimizing power consumption and increasing the user experience.

First up is the Extreme6. As you can see the board doesn't have a heat sink on the PCH but the company has some time left to iron out the details as this chipset shouildn't hit the market till later this year.

Continue reading: ASRock Shows X99 Extreme4 and Extreme6 - DDR4 and Ultra M.2 Support (full post)