As we showed you recently we do not just have a single Z77 board from Asus in the lab, but a pretty good range of them. We have a lineup that covers the entry level, the mainstream and even the ROG line (although not the upper end there yet). We have already shown you what you can expect from the Micro ATX Maximus V Gene in terms of features and design so now we want to continue that thread and take a look at another Micro ATX board at the other end of the food chain; the Asus P8Z77-M Pro. So let’s take a few minutes to check out what Asus has in store for you here.
Asus is a common name in computer components. We have taken a look at more than our share of their products from the mundane to the extreme. One area that Asus has been taking more of an interest is the higher-end side of the HTPC market. Here is where things get interesting. Unlike gamers, or overclockers a person that wants to build a high-end HTPC is looking for the best combination of performance, cooling and power draw. If you can build it fast, cool and power efficient then they will want that. But building an HTPC is not only about what you drop inside the system. You also need some good hardware on the final end of the output side. Not to worry, Asus has you covered there too. They have their own line of HD capable monitors and even speaker sets to keep you happy. We are taking a look at t new one to hit the market. It is a speaker bar that is capable of providing 5.1 surround sound to your viewing area. Called the Cine5, this small and stylish speaker system runs for about $130 on the internet. We are going to take a look and see if it is worth it.
Welcome to 2011 and the re-birth of DecryptedTech.com. It has been a few months since I have written anything for this site; but then again there has been a lot going on. Instead or rehashing the dram and details let’s just dive right back in and kick things off with a review. For our return to the “living” we thought we would take a look at something fairly new. For years now Intel has ruled the low power CPU market (at least in the x86 space). Sure Via has had the Nano and AMD has had their version (the name of which escapes me), but for the most part if you wanted low power and you wanted x86 you were getting an Atom. Well things might be turning around as we find a new system offering from AMD. This is the Fusion CPU that we have all heard some much about (and some of us have been waiting for). The Fusion is an idea that puts a CPU in combination with a GPU much like the new Sandy Bridge CPUs but at the entry level. AMD refers to the whole package as an APU (accelerated processing unit). As we said these combine the power of a CPU and a GPU to get the best of both worlds. One of the first boards to hit the market from this family is the Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3. This features the AMD E-350 APU. The E-250 is a Dual Core CPU running at 1.8GHz. It also features 80 Radeon Cores that run at 492MHz. This APU consumes only 18 Watts of power and still has room to support DX11. In all not a bad place to start for a new HTPC motherboard; so let’s dive in and see what else you get in our first preview of 2011.
With all of the excitement surround a CPU launch from both AMD and then Intel some of the smaller products have been overlooked. These are parts like the A75 chipset and the Llano CPU. We have had one of these up on the test bench for a while now. Mostly to run the performance tests and see where this hardware falls in terms of real performance, but also to try it out and see just what it is like to use. After all this is a platform that AMD was putting a good deal of stock in for future sales and market share. We wanted to see what it would be like to actually use one. We have already taken a look at the design philosophy and features So without any further preamble we bring you the second half of our Gigabyte A75-UD4H motherboard review.
We have recently be criticized for making the statement that Microsoft is attempting to force the use of cloud applications on people with their latest operating system. In Windows 8 we have seen a startling shift from the PC as a stand-alone work unit to making it more like a dumb terminal that just pulls data and software from services at Microsoft. Now, as we have mentioned before, we have built and designed cloud services and know the corporate mentality behind them.
Although the big news in the graphics market is AMD’s 7xxx series GPUs and the lack of Kepler from nVidia there are still things going on with some of AMD’s older Radeon products. One of these arrived in our lab a few days ago and is a very interesting product indeed. This is Asus’ HD 6770 DirectCU Silent. It is pretty much exactly what it says; you get an AMD Radeon 6770 GPU (with 1gb of GDDR5) cooled by a direct contact cooler with no moving parts. This is a great product for people looking to build a silent gaming rig or perhaps a quite HTPC. Of course there are probably going to be tradeoffs with any product like this and it is now our job to find out what they are. So, without too much of a delay let’s take a look at Asus’ EAH6770 DC SL/2D1/1GD5; otherwise known as the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lian Li Launches HTPC PC-V353 and Mini-Tower PC-Q25
All-aluminum, High-end, Beautifully designed
16 August 2011, Keelung, Taiwan – Lian Li Industrial Co. Ltd, maker of high-end, all-aluminum computer chassis for over 13 years, is proud to announce the release of two new PC cases: the HTPC PC-V353 and Mini-Tower PC-Q25. A new edition to Lian Li's HTPC chassis series, the PC-V353 features a handsome front mesh design and is available in eye-catching black or silver. The aluminum-front mini-tower PC-Q25 offers a contemporary design that lends itself to any professional or home environment, and is available in black and silver colors. Both of these models offer impressive engineering, the convenience of tool-free installation, and excellent air-flow.
Boasting the ability to accept Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards, this HTPC chassis also allows energy-saving and quiet, fan-free operation. The entire chassis is geared towards users wanting a noise-free, passively cooling system, but users still have a choice to install their own fans for active airflow, if desired. In addition to four ventilated PCI slots, the front-panel mesh cover forms a clever ventilation system with excellent cool air flow. Hot air also leaves the frame through the top using the chassis's unique “thermal flow” top.
The side panel is screw-less and the sliding motherboard tray is another tool-free convenience, as are the removable HDD racks. Internally, the PC-V353 supports two 3.5” and two 2.5” HDDs, and there is enough room for a 300mm video card.
On the front panel, Lian Li has provided easy access to the power switch along with two USB 3.0 ports, one e-SATA port, as well as HD Audio ports. The PC-V353's dimensions are 288mm x 286 mm x 397mm (W, H, D) and its net weight is 4.13kg.
The PC-Q25 is a compact, mini-tower case that, despite its size, can actually hold up to seven HDDs, allowing users to store a vast amount of data even with a small system. Its future-proof design uses a standard Mini-ITX motherboard, 3.5 or 2.5-inch hard drives, and a standard ATX PS/2 power supply. The PC-Q25's thermal solution is a large 140-mm fan placed at the front panel for intake to push cool air through the HDD cage, and a 120mm exhaust fan at the top of the chassis.
The PC-Q25 has a removable HDD tray at the bottom of the cage that can mount either two 3.5" HDDs or one 3.5" HDD plus two 2.5" HDD, all add up to maximum of 8 hard drives. The chassis supports a video card that is 320mm long. The PC-Q25's dimensions are 199mm x 280mm x 366mm (W, H, D) and it weighs 3.1kg.
The secret of Lian Li's success is the craftsmanship of its engineering. Intrinsic to the workmanship and quality of Lian Li's products is their customization capabilities, which include a whole host of optional extras that can be added to an already feature-rich product.
Product photos and detail specs are available:
About Lian Li
Lian Li Industrial Co. Ltd is an Aluminum Chassis and Chassis peripheral manufacturer and provider of industrial wholesale as well as OEM & ODM services for the PC industry as required. With over 20 years of service excellence, ISO 9001 certification and a team of professional staff willing to do the utmost to deliver durable, superior quality products, all backed by a *2 year guarantee; your satisfaction is guaranteed.(*conditions apply)
Press Releases and Archive: http://globalpr.com.tw/press-room/
|Highlights of PC-V353 and the PC-Q25|
Ah it is always nice when the FedEX, UPS or DHL truck stops in front of the house. They bring the gear that keeps me busy in one of the best jobs for a geek. Today’s Delivery listing will also include the toys that were dropped off yesterday by another FedEx truck and a UPS truck in the afternoon. So let’s kick it off with the first delivery.
After a couple of rumors popped up on the internet that Valve had entered into an exclusive agreement with nVidia for their Seam Boxes we finally have an answer from Valve themselves. It seems that they have no intention of being exclusive to nVidia, but plan on future boxes with AMD and even Intel at the core of their graphics. However their initial run of Steam Boxes will feature nothing but nVidia GPUs and primarily Intel Haswell CPUs. In 2014 this will change although we do not have any details on what GPUs will be featured in the full product line.
Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One today in a live media spectacle that felt like a pale imitation of an Apple event. In the end what they unveiled looked a lot like some of the HTPC systems that I used to build more than a gaming console. In truth the new Xbox One probably has more in common with your traditional HTPC than Microsoft would like to admit. But there are still some cool things in it that make it interesting and probably unique in the industry.