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Thursday, 03 February 2011 22:46

Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Preview complete with Fusion APU Featured

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GA-E350-USB3

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.

Monday, 13 September 2010 17:50

Asus HS-1000W wireless headset impresses us in the lab Featured

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09-stuffHave you noticed that the selection for good quality audio components for the PC is dwindling? I mean the number of companies that make add-in sound cards, good quality analog (and digital) speaker sets and yes even head phones (for those of us that have to maintain a low volume presence). There was a time when the choices in audio gear was large enough that you had to do quite a bit of research to get something that fit right. Now, well the pickings are slim. However, just because they are limited does not mean there are not any good ones out there. As we recently found with the Cine5 from Asus some companies are getting back into the audio game. We had the chance to talk to Asus about their recent improvements in quality audio products (both on their boards and their own line of audio gear). Asus said they recognize that gamers, enthusiasts and HTPC owners are looking for better audio from their components; as such Asus is moving to provide these parts at all levels to meet this need. One of the products they have released is a set of plug and play wireless headphones; the Travelite HS-1000W. These headphones operate from a single USB audio dongle that acts as both audio processing device and charging connection. They are lightweight and while not exactly “stylish” still look pretty good. Now it is time for us to see if they work well or not.

Thursday, 09 September 2010 16:50

Gigabyte's H55N-USB3 Mini-ITX board Drops by the Lab Featured

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01Gigabyte (as we have told you) is working on remaking their image. They want to be known as a company that builds components for the enthusiast. They are, and have been, working very hard to reach this goal. Their Ultra Durable series of boards have received numerous awards and accolades from review sites and from people who have bought these boards.  We have been fortunate enough to review a couple of these and have given you our thoughts on the GA-890FXA-UD7 and are working on a revised impression of the GA-P55A-UD7 as well. For now we are going to move from the big to the small. This is the H55N-UBS3 a Mini-ITX board that features the Intel H55 Express chipset, USB 3.0 and a few Gigabyte special features. Follow along as we dive into this $104.99 board and see if size does not matter.

Wednesday, 01 September 2010 09:50

What's in a name? Featured

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News_RUBY5_lrgWilliam Shakespeare once wrote, “A Rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”.  Now this is a very true statement but it does not apply to marketing and the human perception of brand recognition. The global PR machine has done such an excellent job of making the brand the thing we buy that shifts in name or logos can have massive impacts on the way we purchase things. Let me give you a funny example; Back when it was first released the Chevy Nova was considered a market success in the US. People were buying it at an acceptable rate and of course Chevy was making money. Then they tried to market it to South America. It failed and I mean epic failed. The reason for this fail? The name; you see in Spanish (and its derivatives) Nova sounds like the phrase “No Va” which is apparently short for “No Go” as you can imagine that name killed the sales rather nicely.  Now car manufacturers make sure their product names are acceptable in the countries they plan to sell them in far in advance.



N3L-Front-IntroAs progress continues to move forward we find ourselves being impacted by technology more and more. Even in our daily activities we are seeing a great incorporation of technology. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it is not.  Recently I was able to work with a company that is incorporating technology into their customer experience.  The company in question is N3L Optics. N3L Optics sells eyewear primarily for sports but can also fit you for just about any activity. They have a very different view on the customer and how to interact with them and also to give them the best possible service. To do this N3L has brought in three key pieces of technology to guide the customer experience through act of finding and purchasing the right eyewear.

Thursday, 19 August 2010 11:56

Asus Cine5 speaker bar makes some noise in the lab Featured

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01-Cine5Asus 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.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 11:18

Apple Manager Arrested; A sign of things to come? Featured

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73Have you ever wondered how Apple does it? I mean how they really get the best information. Those low prices and just seem to be on top of things so well. Many have said that Steve Jobs just has his finger on the pulse of today’s computer consumers.  Now, I will grant that Steve is a marketing genius but there has to be something else. One of these things was the former inclusion of Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Apple’s board (until an obvious conflict of interest came up) this gave Apple some amazing information into consumer wants and trends (after all Google is in the business of selling ads and collects a ton of data for this purpose).  But we have always had a feeling that there was something else going on behind the scenes.

Sunday, 15 August 2010 20:41

Gigabyte's 890FXA-UD7 gets run through the wringer Featured

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01As you saw with our recent coverage of the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Competition (GOOC) North American Finals Gigabyte is pushing their way back into the fore front of the enthusiast scene.  It was not that long ago when their mindset seemed to be one of just maintaining the status quo and building boards for the average consumer. But something changed their minds and they decided to refocus on the enthusiast and the upper end of the consumer market (the upper-mid-range?)  We began to see Gigabyte (or GB for short) drop things in like 2 ounces of copper into each board. They shifted away from standard capacitors and move to all solid caps. They beefed up their power phases and even added in a hardware/software phase switching capability for better energy efficiency. GB seems to be willing and able to push the envelope of the enthusiast’s needs and even some of their crazed wants with their newest additions to the Ultra Durable line up. They have shown us great promise with their Intel based boards, so how about something from AMD? Not that long ago we took a look at the 890FXA-UD7 with AMD’s flagship CPU the Phenom II X6 1090T just to see if Gigabyte can maintain the same performance levels with AMD as they have shown with Intel’s CPUs.


Friday, 13 August 2010 09:34

Android over iOS? Can you really say which is better? Featured

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evo4gWhen you think of “smart phones” you tend to think of two things. Android and iPhone (at least in the US that is the school of thought) this is despite the fact that there are many other operating systems available. There is Windows Mobile, WebOS, Symbian, and even others that are less common. Still the big battle seems to be between Apple and Google. Of course Google no longer makes a smart phone, so we are really talking about iOS Vs Android.  Both sides have fans that would make the most ardent religious zealot look like an indecisive teenager. Because of this you cannot always trust what is written out there about the two.

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01The Gigabyte Open Overclocking Competition North American Finals for 2010 has come to a close. All the LN2 is gone, the press and contestants have all gotten home by now and the rooms at the Pacific Palms resort are all cleaned up. The top three overclockers for the event were sno.lcn, mikeguava and Ross. All three were awarded prizes but only sno.lcn and mikeguava will be flying out to Taipei for the world championship.

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