Category Archives: Hardware

ASUS’ RAIDR Express PCI-e SSD is compatible with both legacy and UEFI BIOS

ASUS’ RAIDR Express PCI-e SSD is compatible with both legacy and UEFI BIOS

These days, it’s fairly easy to find a PCI Express-based SSD to transform one’s desktop — Angelbird, Fusion-io, Micron and ASUS will sell you one, just to name a few. That said, the last of those three has just revealed a new entrant that will certainly catch the eye of many, as the RAIDR Express claims to be the first PCI-e SSD to be compatible with both legacy and UEFI BIOS. The so-called DuoMode feature is joined by 240GB of storage space, sequential 830MB/s read and 810MB/s write speeds and a reported 620,000 hours mean time between failure (MTBF).

You’ll also find the latest LSI SandForce controller, Toshiba-built 19nm MLC flash, and 100,000 4K read/write input/output operations per second (IOPS). The bundled RAMDisk utility allows users to dedicate up to 80 percent of a computer’s available RAM for use as a high-speed virtual drive, and if you needed any further proof that it’s fast, look no further than in the video after the break. Curiously, ASUS isn’t talking pricing just yet, but it should start shipping in the very near future.

Monoprice 27″ IPS-G Pro LED Monitor WQHD 2560×1440

Monoprice 27″ IPS-G Pro LED Monitor WQHD 2560×1440

Monoprice is among the more interesting companies you probably haven’t heard of. Started out of an apartment around a decade ago, the company initially sold everything at a single price, hence the name. That business model may have worked when the product line was mostly cables and connectors, but the company now offers a diverse array that includes monitors (more in a moment), home theatre screens, graphics tablets, headphones, apocket-size pico projector, an action cam, even electric guitars – and, yes, cables, connectors and accessories as well. It’s a lineup with no seeming rhyme or reason, other than quality products at bargain prices.

And that actually is the rhyme and reason behind Monoprice products. According to CEO Ajay Kumar, the company looks for categories where vastly overpriced products predominate. That gives Monoprice room to create and sell products at dramatically lower price points, while still maintaining strong profit margins.
“We are in the right place at the right time with our business model,” says Kumar, who joined the company in July 2011. “We offer the same cable or accessory as national retail brands, but for much less cost. However, we are not cutting corners as we employ high-quality manufacturing partners who work with our specs. Our markup is much lower and we pass those savings to our customers. Monoprice brings them a value proposition they can’t find anywhere else.”
And that leads us to the Monoprice 27″ IPS-G Pro LED Monitor WQHD 2560×1440 Product ID 10489, which is what you came here for. I’ve been rocking this 16:9 (widescreen) monitor for over a month now and it’s stunning. Let’s take a look at the stats and find out why.
Start with the size, 27″. You don’t have to join Grindr to know that size matters. A larger screen means that you can work easily with more windows at once. It makes copying files and editing text and spreadsheets easier and obviously makes working with pictures and video more convenient, if that’s your thing. And if you’re a gamer, a large screen is essential. Ditto if you are, for instance, a daytrader or a designer.
Hand in glove with size is resolution. “WQHD” may sound like a Minneapolis TV station, but it means 2560 x 1440 pixels. Some 27″ screens max out at regular Full HD, which is 1920 x 1080. The higher resolution of the Monoprice unit means that more detail is visible, if your PC’s graphics card supports it. If not, you’ll be limited to 1920 x 1080 (or less, if your PC is really old). A large screen with high resolution allows you to display more information. It makes it easier to do more with your PC.
Since we’re talking graphics cards, another nice feature of the Monoprice 10489 is that it supports four different types of interface: HDMI 1.4, DVI, VGA and DisplayPort 1.2. That means that the monitor is bound to work with your existing graphics card. The package includes VGA and DVI-D cables, but these are standard length (around 6′). Because of the size of the monitor, it’s much easier to use longer cables – you can plug in the cable before maneuvering the monitor into place on your desk. Monoprice has you covered with available 15′ HDMI, DVI-D, VGA and DisplayPort 1.2 cables. Choose the one you need.
The monitor uses LEDs for the backlighting, rather than cold cathode fluorescent tubes. The benefit: more even illumination. And it uses In Plane Switching (IPS) display technology, which means you get a wide viewing angle with no color shift even when the screen is viewed at an extreme angle. Viewing angle is stated as 178 degree in both the horizontal and vertical planes.
Covering that screen is a glossy glass laminate with an antiglare coating. The antiglare coating is not a matte finish; the screen is glossy, but the antiglare coating reduces the intensity of any glare from reflected light. As with any monitor, you’ll want to position it so that ambient light is not reflected directly back at you. I’ve found the screen easy to use.
The monitor comes with a removable stand and has a 100×100 VESA mounting size for use with desk or wall mounts. The stand (which is completely removable) has rotate and tilt adjustments. It doesn’t have height adjustment, a feature found on a small number of other monitors.
The bezel is black plastic and is relatively thick. The OSD controls (brightness, etc.) are easy to reach. The connectors are in the usual awkward place for monitors, along the bottom bezel.
Several other stats are key. One is dead pixels. The monitor has over 10 million subpixels (2560 x 1440 pixels x 3 colors per pixel). If any one of those subpixels is stuck in the on or off position, you get a dead pixel – a spot that is always dark, or always white, red, reddish, green, greenish, etc. Unfortunately, dead pixels are a potential fact of life on all monitors – but Monoprice tells me they offer a zero dead pixel guarantee for a year. It’s an unusually strong guarantee, since other manufacturers often will only guarantee that the dead pixel count won’t exceed 5 or 10. The unit I received had no dead pixels.
Also important are brightness and contrast. Monoprice advertises a brightness rating of 440 cd/m², which it says is more than 15% brighter than most comparable displays, and a maximum dynamic contrast ratio of 80,000:1.
The display is indeed bright, but this is the one area where I noted a difficulty with this product – the screen is a bit too bright, even with the brightness adjustment turned down to the lowest setting. As a result, black areas on screen are rendered slightly grayish. For most people and most applications, this won’t be a problem – and it’s a phenomenon that’s scarcely unique to the Monoprice unit – but graphic designers will want to carefully compare this screen with others to see what meets their needs.
The panel features 109 pixels per inch, which translates to a 0.2331mm pixel size. The unit also includes builtin stereo speakers, which can be fed via a stereo audio cable, as well as audio from the HDMI connection. As with most builtin monitor speakers, the sound was tinny and unimpressive, so I don’t recommend using them. Buy a pair of standalone computer speakers instead.
Another stat is response time, which the company says is 6 milliseconds (gray-to-gray response time). That’s a measurement of how long it takes the monitor to change the image when the PC tells it to, and is an issue for almost no one except gamers.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for a high-quality 27″ WQHD IPS LED monitor at a great price, pick up the Monoprice 10489.

IDF San Francisco 2013: Intel to unveil new product optimizations

IDF San Francisco 2013: Intel to unveil new product optimizations

Intel is set to host Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2013 in San Francisco, the US from September 10-12 to further discuss its 2-in-1 device plans as well as its latest progress in Android smartphone and tablet development, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

With new CEO Brian Krzanich and president Renee James coming on-board to adjust Intel’s business strategy, the sources believe the CPU giant is likely to unveil new optimizations for products as well as several interactive technologies such as voice recognition and gesture control at the forum.

Intel may also unveil product designs for its new quad-core SoC Bay Trail-T, which is set to be launched in December, at the forum and prepare related marketing projects.

Intel is expected to showcase smartphones developed with Lenovo, ZTE, Acer and Asustek Computer and may even display its 22nm Merrifield-based smartphones, which are set to be released in the first half of 2014, the sources said.

Since wearable devices have become a focus of IT players, Intel may also announce plans for related developments.

LG Optimus F3 from Virgin Mobile USA Touts Advanced User Experience and Functionality, with No Contract

LG Optimus F3 from Virgin Mobile USA Touts Advanced User Experience and Functionality, with No Contract

LG Electronics and Virgin Mobile USA announced that the LG Optimus F3 smartphone is available today from Virgin Mobile for $179.99 when purchased with a Beyond Talk™ monthly no-contract plan which offers unlimited data and messaging1starting at $35 per month2. This dynamic device features powerful performance, an advanced user experience and long battery life to provide exceptional connectivity and entertainment.

The LG Optimus F3 comes equipped with everything users need to connect, share, create and manage their lives, including a sleek, user-friendly form factor, 4G LTE3 speed, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), an LED Home Button with color-coded alerts – for notifications like missed events, incoming calls or texts from friends – and a long-lasting 2,460 mAh battery with up to 16 hours of talk time.

Additionally, the LG Optimus F3 received ULE Platinum Certification, the highest level of environmental performance recognized by sustainable requirements established by UL Environment and Sprint, and is packaged in 100 percent recyclable materials.

“In an always-connected world, users need a device that delivers an intuitive, user-friendly experience alongside solid all-day performance thanks to the strong battery,” said Georg Rasinski, director-Mobile Brand Management, LG Electronics USA. “The LG Optimus F3 from Virgin Mobile provides users with tools that enable greater self-expression, functionality and entertainment in conjunction with powerful hardware and 4G LTE speeds to match their daily needs.”

“Virgin Mobile customers appreciate value for their wireless solutions,” said Mark Lederman, director-Virgin Mobile USA. “Adding the LG Optimus F3 further enhances Virgin Mobile’s strong smartphone portfolio and continues to offer choice and flexibility in consumers’ no-contract wireless plans.”

Some of the compelling features of Optimus F3 include:

Enhanced user experience: The LG Optimus F3 blends intelligent tools with collaborative sharing features that enable thoughtful self-expression and greater multitasking functionality. Users can also utilize QuickMemo™ to add their own creative commentary to pictures or screenshots with the swipe of a finger, then share it via social media, email or SMS. Another unique LG feature built into the user experience is Quick Translator, which allows users to translate words and phrases from 44 different languages into 64 native languages.

Designed to inspire: The LG Optimus F3 also comes with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with an LED flash that shoots 1080p Full HD video, as well as a front-facing camera that can be used for shooting self portraits or for video chat. It also comes packed with advanced camera features that let users edit their photos. The Beauty Shot feature gives users the ability to snap photos that enhance the appearance of the subject while Cheese Shot lets users take a voice-activated photo by simply saying “cheese.” Panorama Shot helps users to capture the entire scene in a single photo. The LG Optimus F3’s vivid 4-inch IPS display with durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2 provides accurate, true-to-life color, bringing photos and videos to life.

Full list of features:

  • 4G LTE Network speed
  • Long-lasting 2,460 mAh battery with up to 16 hours talk time
  • Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core processor
  • Vivid 4-inch IPS display with durable Corning Gorilla® Glass 2
  • Share fun and personalized notes with VuTalk
  • Instant color-coded alerts with LED home button
  • 5 MP autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash and advanced features
  • 1080p full HD video capture
  • VGA front-facing camera for self-portraits and video chat
  • QSlide 2.0™ advanced multitasking
  • Expressive QuickMemo™
  • SmartShare – share media wirelessly to DLNA®-enabled devices
  • Wi-Fi Direct™ file sharing
  • Live effects – capture video with fun and creative editing tools and backgrounds
  • Polaris® Viewer 4 – PC-like office suite app for viewing documents, presentations and spreadsheets
  • Android Beam to share content via NFC and Bluetooth technology
  • LG Tag+ – preset, individual phone profiles activated using NFC technology tags
  • Quiet Mode – specify times to disable notifications for calls and messages

About Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA offers millions of customers control, flexibility and connectivity through Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk™ No-Contract plans with unlimited 3G data, and available 4G data speeds for mobile phone service, including Android™-powered smartphones and for prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access on the Nationwide Sprint Network. Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk monthly unlimited data plans, which start at $35, are ideal for those smartphone users hungry for the most connectivity and the least amount of voice minutes. Virgin Mobile-branded devices are available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Target, Walmart, Best Buy and RadioShack. Top-Up cards are available at approximately 150,000 locations nationwide. Experience Virgin Mobile on the Web at Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and purchase Virgin Mobile USA products athttp://www.virginmobileusa.com.

About LG Electronics USA

LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $45 billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG Electronics sells a range of stylish and innovative mobile phones, home entertainment products, home appliances, and air conditioning systems and energy solutions, all under LG’s “Life’s Good” marketing theme. LG Electronics is a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. For more information, please visitwww.lg.com.

1 Includes 2.5GB per month of high-speed data. Adaptive protocol video limited to 3G speeds. When mobile hotspot add-on purchased (only for select plans/devices), data usage is total combined device and hotspot data use.
2 Service on Virgin Mobile USA is subject to acceptance of certain terms and conditions.
3 4G LTE coverage is not available in all markets

HP Intros New Entry-Level Workstation, Pro Monitors

HP Intros New Entry-Level Workstation, Pro Monitors

HP today released an update to its entry-level workstations along with a slew of new IPS Gen 2 professional grade displays.

The new HP Z230 Workstation, unveiled at the Siggraph show in Aneheim, Calif., brings professional quad-core workstations to the $999 price point. The new Z22i, Z23i, and Z24i IPS displays, meanwhile, bring wider viewing angles and power savings to the professional graphics, architecture, and engineering user.

The Z22i, Z23i, and Z24i IPS Gen 2 displays are professional grade, offering 95 to 99 percent coverage of the sRGB color space and increased color accuracy compared to previous LCD TN panels. IPS Gen 2 also offers wider viewing angles, both horizontally and vertically.

Sized at 21.5 inches (Z22i) and 23 inches (Z23i), the two smaller monitors feature a 1,920-by-1,080 (1080p) full HD 16:9 resolution. Both feature a wide range of brightness adjustments, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA inputs, 4-way pivot/tilt, and a built-in USB 2.0 hub for your keyboard and tablet digitizer.

The 24-inch Z24i adds a 1,920-by-1,200 (16:10) resolution for workers who need more desktop real estate for toolbars and the like. The Z24i also has wide brightness adjustment, and extra niceties like a carry handle and cable management.

All these displays are Energy Star and EPEAT Gold compliant. They are available today for $239 (Z22i), $259 (Z23i), and $399 (Z24i)

The entry-level HP Z230 workstation comes in small and compact tower form factors, depending on how much expansion your professional users need. The Z230 is built around the latest Intel Xeon E3 v3 and 4th-generation Intel Core processors. The Xeon-powered models feature integrated Intel HD Graphics P4600 for professional applications, as well as options for 2D multi-display graphics cards from Nvidia and entry to high-end 3D graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia.

Systems with discrete graphics cards will be able to support up to six simultaneous displays. Multiple Hard drive and SSD options can give users speed, capacity, or both. Depending on configuration, Z230 workstations can fulfill various ISV certification needs, including high-end 3D professional graphics, ECC or non-ECC memory, and professional grade CPU requirements. HP has promised a two-year (2013-2015) platform life cycle, so you can be assured of buying new pre-qualified systems for the next two years.

The HP Z230 workstation starts at $999 for a quad core powered system, and will be available worldwide this August.

SuVolta’s transistor technology speed-power benefits are validated in ARM processor

SuVolta’s transistor technology speed-power benefits are validated in ARM processor

The ARM Cortex-M series processor was manufactured with SuVolta’s Deeply Depleted Channel (DDC) technology on a 65 nm bulk planar CMOS DDC process. With SuVolta’s transistor technology, designers are able to reduce power or improve performance, depending upon design requirements.

“ARM’s heritage is based on low power, so technologies that can further improve power consumption, such as DDC technology from SuVolta, will always be welcomed by ARM and our Partners,” said Noel Hurley, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Processor Division, ARM. “SuVolta has shown that the DDC technology, when incorporated into an ARM processor, can provide additional power reductions or a significant performance boost. As the Internet of Things continues to expand, innovative ultra-low power technology for Sensors and other devices will be vital to ensure that ARM remains at the forefront of this opportunity.”

When compared to an identical ARM Cortex-M0 processor manufactured in the conventional 65 nm process, with a 1.2 V supply voltage, the DDC transistor-based ARM implementation operating at 0.9 V demonstrates a 50 percent lower total power consumption at matched 350 MHz operating speed. There is also a 35 percent increased operating speed (performance) at matched power. In addition there is a 55 percent increased operating speed when operated at matched supply voltage.

“We’ve now validated the benefits of the DDC technology in a complex SoC, by combining the ARM Cortex-M0 CPUs with SRAM instances and various analog components,” explained David Kidd, senior director, digital design at SuVolta. “The results speak for themselves – power-performance optimized CPU cores, with results that hold across process corners and temperature, plus, SRAMs with 150 mV lower minimum operating voltage, 50 percent less leakage power at matched SRAM read current, and more than 5x less leakage power in retention mode.”

“Reducing power consumption and enhancing performance are key to providing next-generation capabilities for a variety of advanced digital products,” said Bruce McWilliams, president and CEO at SuVolta. “By validating the speed-power advantages of the DDC technology in a SoC that includes ARM processors, we’ve reached another significant milestone in demonstrating the value of our technology in a system.”

BlackBerry A10 Full Specifications Revealed

BlackBerry A10 Full Specifications Revealed

After physical appearance photographs circulating on the Internet, this time turn the hardware specs leaked BlackBerry A10. Successor Z10 previously known by the code name “Aristo” is called will be positioned as the most advanced smart phone from BlackBerry with the main focus on the aspects of performance and gaming capabilities.

As quoted from TechRadar, BlackBerry A10 specs revealed by an image capture of a document that was first circulated by a member of the CrackBerry forums.

In the document dated May 23, 2013 it was explained that this device will have dual-core processor Qualcomm MSM8960 (S4) 1.7 GHz speed.

The processor paired with 2 GB of RAM and an internal memory capacity of 16 GB which can be expanded with a micro SD slot up to 64 GB.

Called A10 screen size of 5 inches or 0.8 inches larger than the screen on the BlackBerry Z10. 1,280 x 720 resolution with pixel density of 295 PPI.

Other fittings include an 8 megapixel main camera, 2 megapixel front camera, NFC connectivity, DLNA, Wi-Fi A / b / g / n as well as 4G LTE, and a 2800 mAh battery. The operating system used is the latest BlackBerry OS 10.2.

BlackBerry A10 arrival time is not yet known for sure, but the device is expected to be introduced in November.

3 Reasons to Sell Your Intel Stock

3 Reasons to Sell Your Intel Stock

Although Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) stock may look cheap compared to theS&P 500, there’s good reason for the low price tag. Between a faltering PC market, anemic revenue growth, and profitability concerns, Intel investors have a lot of things to worry about. Together, these factors certainly beg the question: Should you sell your Intel stock today?

PC sales still top dog
As exciting as it is for Intel to develop cutting-edge technology that threatens ARM Holdings‘ mobile computing stronghold, the company remains deeply entrenched in the PC market. Intelreported its second-quarter earnings results last week, showing that more than 63% of the company’s revenue came from its PC client group segment. With worldwide PC shipments as bad as they’ve been, it’s not surprising that investor enthusiasm would be muted toward the company’s mobile computing ambitions. Simply put, it’s going to take a considerably large tail to wag this dog.

Anemic revenue growth
Without revenue growth, a company’s earnings growth potential is dampened because there’s only so far cost-cutting can take profitability to new heights. Intel lowered its full-year forecast, now expecting revenue to be flat year over year, which doesn’t bode well for profit growth. Analysts expect Intel to post a 12.2% decline in earnings this year and grow by 5.9% in full-year 2014, driven by a 3.9% increase in revenue. For the long-term investor, profitability growth remains a fundamental driver of shareholder returns. Will a 5.9% growth in earnings from a weak comparable be enough to drive Intel stock higher?

Falling prices
Assuming Intel is successful as it gears up to enter the ultra-mobile space with its upcomingBay Trail processor, it’ll likely have a negative impact on the company’s average processor selling price. In order for Bay Trail to gain market share against the ARM competition, I’m expecting its average selling price to be somewhere in neighborhood of Qualcomm‘s, which is about $22 — roughly one-fifth of Intel’s estimated average selling price of $107. Additionally, the mobile computing revolution continues to put negative pressure on the price of PCs, further compounding Intel’s average selling price pressures.

The hope is that any future decline in processor average selling price can be offset with an increase in unit volume, but that’s not guaranteed, nor does it mean total dollar profits will remain stable. Even if Bay Trail can maintain profit margins in line with the rest of Intel’s processors, a $22 or even $30 processor simply doesn’t have as much available profit as a $107 chip.

Ultimately, Intel’s profitability prospects will be driven by a number of variables, including how the overall PC market fares, if average selling prices decline due to consumers shifting to products like Bay Trail, and if Intel can make up any shortfalls with sufficient unit growth. It’s not exactly clear-cut.

No catalyst in sight
We may get a better sense of Intel’s future prospects during its investor meeting in November, but it likely won’t be until its 2014 earnings results that investors begin to get the scoop how these headwinds are actually influencing results. At that time, Intel’s Haswell and Bay Trail processors will have made their run, investors will know if the PC market has begun to stabilize, and we’ll know if ultra-mobile products are hurting Intel’s total profitability thanks to declining prices.

If you’re an Intel shareholder, the question you should ask yourself is if it’s worth waiting around for the clouds of uncertainty to potentially clear up. Being a longtime Intel stock owner myself, I’m seriously considering taking my own advice and selling my shares in the coming weeks. There are plenty of compelling opportunities where the path to long-term shareholder success is much clearer.

Google Presents New Features in Android 4.3

Google Presents New Features in Android 4.3

After a long awaited Google today announced a new version of the Android operating system 4.3, although still using the code name Jelly Bean. Not only that, I was told the new features embedded in the latest android.
Reported by The Verge, the Android 4.3 is Google adds multi-user settings. It is useful to restrict the use and application of a profile feature.
Meanwhile, Product Management Director of Android, Hugo Barra explained the new features useful to give a sense of security to parents in order to arrange for their children can not open content is not suitable for a child.
Not only that, Google also added Smart Blurtooth that claimed to save battery usage. Android 4.3 also supports Open GL ES 3.0, which is able to increase the quality of the graphics for gaming, including 3D.
Starting today, Android 4.3 can be downloaded over-the-air by the users of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nexus 4, Nexus 7 Asus tablet is also the first generation and Samsung Nexus 10.

Acer ships Z3-605 all-in-one Windows 8 touch PC

Acer ships Z3-605 all-in-one Windows 8 touch PC

Acer America today announced that its Acer Aspire Z3-605 series All-in-one desktops are now available for consumers in the United States. The new 23-inch AIO includes two three-watt front-facing Harman Kardon speakers, in addition to up to a Core i5 processor. The unit can be configured with as much as 8GB DDR3 dual-channel memory, and a 1TB hard drive.

The new line includes a HDMI input port for attaching a gaming console or television. Two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports link the systems to peripherals and digital devices. An integrated SuperMulti optical drive enables DVD movie viewing as well as the burning of music and photos to CDs.

Select models feature a Full HD IPS display with 10 point touch. The IPS technology delivers consistent images, colors and brightness from all viewing angles up to 178 degrees. The unit is also configurable with integrated hand recognition software that reads human gestures for easily controlling the Windows 8 user interface and cursor from a distance.

The Acer Aspire Z3-605 series AIO desktops will be available at leading retailers at a starting price of $700 without touch capabilities, and $800 with touch.