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Category Archives: Computer

Razer’s New Blade Laptops

Last year, Razer unveiled the Razer Blade and Blade Pro gaming laptops, which combined high-end NVIDIA graphics in an unbelievably sexy and slim frame. The stunning laptops not only redefined how gaming laptops should look like, they were above all else marvellous engineering feats. Now, Razer has again defied conventional wisdom with the refreshed 2014 edition of the Razer Blade, with a stunning high-resolution touch display and NVIDIA’s latest GeForce 800M GPUs. Razer’s 2014 Blade gaming laptops will again be available in two sizes: 14 inches and 17 inches (called the Razer Blade Pro). Here’s the interesting detail: the Razer Blade is more powerful than the Blade Pro. Equipped with the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX870M and an Intel Core i7-4702HQ 2.2GHz quad-core processor, the Blade 14 trumps the new Blade Pro in the two most important components; the Blade Pro is “only” powered by an Intel Core i7-4700HQ 2.4GHz quad-core processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX860M GPU. On top of that, the new Razer Blade 14 will also pack a stunning 3200 x 1800 IZGO IPS touch display, which Razer claims to be “the most visually stunning notebook display in the world”. The Razer Blade Pro will ship with the same 17.3-inch matte non-touch 1080p display. According to Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, the decision not to upgrade the Blade Pro’s display was to maintain the laptop’s battery life, and is “the ideal balance for work and play for creative professionals”. As for the Blade’s other specs, there’s 8GB of 1600MHz RAM, SSD storage options between 128GB and 512GB, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4, stereo speakers, 2MP HD webcam, and of course, an anti-ghosting backlit keyboard. The Windows 8.1-running laptop weighs 2.03kg, and is slightly thicker than last year’s model at 17.9mm, but a 1.1mm tradeoff for the amazing hardware underneath is more than acceptable. The Razer Blade Pro, on the other hand, sports 16GB of 16o0MHz RAM, SSD storage options between 128GB and 512GB, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4, stereo speakers, 2MP HD webcam, an anti-ghosting backlit keyboard, and the unique Razer Switchblade UI. It’ll be pre-installed with Windows 8.1 and weighs 2.97kg and measure 22.4mm thick. Razer’s Blade Pro is now available in the US with a starting price of $2299.99 for the 128GB model, while the Blade 14 is now available for pre-order and will ship in two weeks. The Blade 14′s retail price starts from $2199.99 for the 128GB model. Unfortunately, they’re both only available in North America for now. For more information and drool-worthy pics of the new Razer Blade laptops, head on to http://www.razerzone.com.

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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Computer

 

GeForce GTX 750 Ti and 750

Hardware enthusiasts out there might have heard about these two graphics cards through leaks or rumours but nevertheless, the time has finally come for NVIDIA to unveil the company’s latest cards : the new GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750. They are not just any cards though as both of them are the first batch of cards that are designed based on a new architecture that the company called as Maxwell. On NVIDIA’s previous architecture called Kepler which was used by the company for its consumer-level graphics cards since GeForce GTX 680, each streaming multiprocessor (dubbed as SMX) contains 192 CUDA cores that are handled by a single control logic. On Maxwell, each streaming multiprocessor (referred as SMM by NVIDIA) contains four control logic with each of them are responsible for 32 CUDA cores. Through this setup, the graphics core within the GPU will apparently spend less time idling and waiting for instructions which will then increase the utilization of the GPU and lead to better performance per core. Hence, that is why NVIDIA claimed that Maxwell is the most efficient GPU architecture that the company has built so far and it is used as the basis for GM107 – the very GPU that is equipped into the brand new GeForce GTX 750 TI as well as GTX 750. Since the GeForce GTX 750 Ti is positioned higher than GTX 750, the GTX 750 Ti comes with 5 SMM which gives the card 640 CUDA cores in total while the GTX 750 has a total of 512 cores from 4 SMM. Below is how the specifications of both cards fares against each other. Since the power consumption for both GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 is rather low, both cards technically doesn’t require the usual 6-pin power connectors although certain add-in-card partners might add it to provide additional threshold for overclocking or stability. As usual, both cards do support a number of NVIDIA graphics technologies such as G-Sync, GPU Boost 2.0, Shadowplay, PhysX and GameStream. If you curious about the capabilities of GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750, we are not able to provide our own numbers since we don’t have the cards on our hands just yet. So, here are the figures provided by NVIDIA through the company’s own internal testing. Once released into the market, both GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 will be replacing the previous generation GTX 650 Ti. Quite a number of NVIDIA’s add-in-card partners have already committed to come out with their own take on the new GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 including ASUS, Colorful, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, MSI, Palit, PNY and Zotac. We have seen one such example by EVGA which was used by the NVIDIA team during the recent regional media conference: While the actual pricing for both cards might be different from one region to another, the starting price for the GeForce GTX 750 Ti in United States is USD 149 (RM 493) for the 2GB variant and USD 139 (RM 460) for the 1GB model while the GeForce 750 will be priced from USD 119 (RM 394) onwards. Do keep a look for them at your favourite retailers as we have heard from our sources in the distribution channels that both graphic cards might have arrived in our shores.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Computer, Gadjet

 

NZXT H440 Chassis

The name should be known to PC hardware enthusiasts out there but if you are somehow not familiar with it, NZXT is a Los Angeles-based hardware company that has been producing computer case, fans, power supplies, and chassis accessories since 2004. As NZXT’s products have been available in our market for quite some time, it is not exactly a surprise that the company decided to release one of its latest PC case – the NZXT H440  – in Malaysia soon. Made of steel, one of the design feature that made the NZXT H440 mid-tower case rather different from many other PC case out there is that it has doorless front panel and is also completely void of space for optical disc drive. Instead, the company has equipped three of its own FN V2 120mm fans behind the front panel in addition to a FN V2 140mm fan at the back of the PC chassis’ interior. The NZXT H440 case also features an integrated power supply shroud that is designed to offer more room for users to manage their power cables as well as to conceal them from view. In terms of disk drives, the NZXT H440 case is equipped with five main drive bays for 3.5-inch or 2.5 inch disk drives together with additional two solid state drive’s tray on the case’s power supply shroud. There are also several I/O port on its top cover such as microphone input, audio output, two USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. NZXT H440 also comes with a large transparent window on one its side panel to allow users to display their PC’s interior especially for those that love to install LED lights inside their case. Last but not least, there is also enough room on the case’s top cover and front panel to fit NZXT Kraken water cooling radiator with sizes of up to 360mm. Listed at RM 398 in United States, NZXT Malaysia has yet to announce the actual pricing and release date for NZXT H440 though. Keep a constant look at http://www.facebook.com/NZXTMsia to keep track of its release status.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Computer

 

Perfecting the Keyboard

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which first made its debut in late 2012, is for me the most sexy laptop ever made. The perfect balance between power and portability, it further engages the geek within me with choice words such as “carbon fibre chassis”, “meets or exceeds Mil-Spec durability standards”…and of course, ThinkPad. If money was not an option, this would be the laptop I’d recommend to everyone looking for a laptop. Last year, Lenovo further added the appeal of the X1 Carbon by adding a touch display to the Ultrabook, while barely affecting its slim silhouette with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch. Lenovo went a step further with the introduction of the refreshed, 2014 edition of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon – and it is treading some dangerous waters in its efforts of revolutionizing the keyboard. One of the aspects many do not consider when purchasing a laptop is with the keyboard and touchpad, preferring instead to focus on the hardware and design. The keyboard is the one area of the laptop users interact with the most, so ideally it should be in any consumer’s top requirements when buying a laptop. The amount of travel the keys provide, the amount of space between each individual key, even the shape of the keys all help in determining what makes a good keyboard.

Lenovo, and in particular its ThinkPad range of business-oriented laptops, have always been regarded as the makers of the best keyboards for Windows laptops. Lately, however, it seems they are starting to lose the plot. A couple of years back the Chinese company introduced the AccuType keyboard for its consumer-based IdeaPad laptops. It was the company’s shift to chiclet or island-style keyboard layouts and it was apparent that some of the ThinkPad knowledge went into the AccuType keyboard: it was fantastic. The keyboard was comfortable, keystroke travel was great, it was almost the perfect laptop keyboard. Almost. The one single gripe I had (and never got used to) was the placement of the four navigation buttons – Home, End, Page Up and Page Down – on the right side of the keyboard (as above), which meant that the Backspace, Enter and Right Shift keys were all truncated to make way. As a touch typist, it was a nightmare for me. I used an IdeaPad Yoga 13 for review sometime last year, and I constantly hit Home instead of Backspace as I was used to “normal” modern keyboard layouts. It was one of the very rare moments that I experienced rage quitting. With the 2014 ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Lenovo further makes its keyboard layout more complex.

Gone is the Caps Lock key; in its place are the Home and End keys. The ”Delete” key now sits to the right of Backspace. Even more controversially, Lenovo removed the F1-F12 keys in favour of an “Adaptive Keyboard”. The new keyboard layout is certainly radical, and in its quest to find the perfect keyboard layout, Lenovo risks alienating the core community of people who swear by the ThinkPad and its much-lauded keyboard. With the new keyboard layout on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, I believe Lenovo is thinking critically. The other aspects of a laptop have slowly evolved for the better: processors get exponentially faster and more efficient each year, displays get sharper and now allows for touch interaction. So why hasn’t the keyboard evolved alongside these components ? Lenovo took its time, too: the first ThinkPad to feature an island-style keyboard, the ThinkPad X1, debuted in 2011. 2012 saw the introduction of a chiclet-style keyboard on all ThinkPads, called the ThinkPad Precision keyboard, which only had six rows instead of the traditional seven (and brought about quite a backlash). Two odd years later, the company is attempting to evolve the keyboard again, with the removal of another row in the keyboard of the X1 Carbon.

The new “Adaptive Keyboard” is an interesting take on maximising space on the standard keyboard. Removing a Caps Lock key and substituting the function with a double tap of the Left Shift key allows Lenovo to include Home and End as individual keys on the X1 Carbon, now that the F1-F12 row is gone. The Delete key, too has been pushed down next to Backspace to accommodate the dynamic keyboard. Personally, I feel it’s on the “wrong” position just like the Home key was on the AccuType keyboard, but perhaps with the hundreds of hours of internal R&D, the company obviously feels it is something users will eventually adapt to. What will be a concern, though, is with the Dynamic Keyboard itself. On the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the F1-F12 keys give way to a capacitative touch strip that dynamically changes based on which apps are open on the Ultrabook. It isn’t an entirely new idea; back in the Intel Core 2 Duo days both Sony and Compaq had laptops which feature touch strips for volume and brightness controls and both had reliability issues over time. If Lenovo can figure how to overcome potential durability issues with the Dynamic Keyboard, then I believe this new Adaptive Keyboard might just work. And judging by its past record, if anyone could make a good keyboard great, it’d be Lenovo.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Computer, Gadjet

 

ATIV Book 9 Ultrabook

Samsung may have announced the stunning 13.3-inch ATIV Book 9 Plus back in June last year, and it appears its bigger brother has finally arrived in the shape of the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition. The 15.6-inch Ultrabook looks every bit as sexy as its smaller-screened variant, and Samsung even promises a 14-hour battery life on this laptop. Of course, the extra-long battery life does come with some caveats – though many will consider it a minor one. The 13.3-inch ATIV Book 9 Plus came with a stunning 3200 x 1800 touch display, but the new ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition will “only” ship with a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 touch display – and that’s not really a bad thing. On the other hand, the ATIV Book 9 features an aluminium chassis instead of the more premium magnesium used in the ATIV Book 9 Plus. The ATIV Book 9 will be available in two variants: one with an Intel Core i5 Haswell processor with a 128GB SSD, or one with an Intel Core i7 Haswell chip with a 256GB SSD fitted inside. Both variants will come with 8GB of RAM. Naturally, with a device this thin, some questions will be raised about the keyboard. For the ATIV Book 9, Samsung has added a rubberized coating to the keyboard which the company states will help reduce key tapping and better suit users’ fingers. In addition, the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition will also come with anti-reflective coating on its display to reduce glare and increase brightness by 20%. Also, the Ultrabook will be one of the first laptops to feature support for lossless audio for headphones or compatible speakers. Unfortunately, Samsung has not revealed pricing nor details on availability for the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition as well as for its new AiO, the ATIV One 7.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Computer

 

Lenovo Refreshes It’s Laptop Lineup

In addition to the ultra-premium ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook and the mid-range Yoga 2, Lenovo also revealed several other mainstream laptops, such as the Flex 14D and 15D, Z40 and Z50, as well as the Y40 and Y50 multimedia/gaming laptops. The Flex 14D and Flex 15D are updates to the Flex 14 and Flex 15 that the company announced last year at IFA 2013. They were recently made available in Malaysia, but it looks like a refresh is already due. The main selling point of the Flex 14D and Flex 15D are in the unique hinges, allowing them to retract further than conventional laptop hinges – but not a full 360 degrees like the company’s Yoga range. These mid-range laptops pack the new budget-friendly AMD A6 quad-core processors with a Radeon 8570 GPU with 1GB memory. They’ll also sport either a 1TB hard disk of 500GB hybrid hard disk with 16GB NAND flash drive. One major upside to the Flex 14D and 15D is in its retail price: they start from RM1670, and are available in the US immediately. lenovo-flex-14d-15d The company also updated the mainstream Z series laptops with the Z40 and Z50. Featuring up to Intel Core i7 processors, Full HD displays (1366 x 768 are default for both models), up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, Lenovo even offers an optional NVIDIA GeForce 840M GPU. The Z40 and Z50 will be available in the US from March, with prices starting from RM2000. Finally, there’s the new additions to Lenovo’s much-loved Y-series laptops. The new Y40 and Y50 replaces the Y410p and Y510p respectively, but retain the impressive hardware and understated design of the last generation. Both laptops pack non-touch Full HD displays as standard, with the option of a Quad HD (3840 x 2160) touch display for the Y50. Both laptops can be configured to pack up to Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM and either a 512GB SSD or 1TB hard disk. GPU-wise, the Y40 will pack up to an AMD Radeon R9 270M GPU, while the Y50 will sport an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M – an as-yet unannounced card, but given that the Y40 and Y50 will only be available from May 2014 from RM3350, the inclusion is a logical one.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Computer

 

Raspberry Pi – Televisyen Ke Center XBMC

Komputer bersaiz mini ini boleh digunakan untuk pelbagai tujuan, dan salah satunya adalah untuk menggunakan ia sebagai pusat media yang diuruskan melalui penggunaan XBMC. Ia membolehkan pengguna menguruskan pelbagai fail media digital mereka, termasuk daripada lagu, filem, gambar dan sebagainya. Terdapat beberapa perisian yang membawakan sokongan XBMC kepada Raspberry Pi, dan salah satu yang popular adalah Raspbmc. Ia bersaiz mini – sekitar 70MB, dan membawakan pelbagai sokongan menarik, termasuk cara pemasangan yang amat mudah, sokongan memainkan video 1080p, kebolehan berkongsi kandungan daripada PC, serta membolehkan anda memainkan kandungan daripada peranti iOS menggunakan AirPlay. Untuk menggunakan Raspbmc, pengguna diberikan dua pilihan, sama ada memuat-turun fail pemasangan terus ataupun fail pemasangan berbentuk IMG yang boleh dipasang menggunakan Win32DiskImager. Untuk memudahkan pengguna, pilih dengan memuat-turun fail pemasangan berbentuk IMG, dan kemudiannya memasang ia secara manual pada kad-SD. Namun, bagi pengguna yang mempunyai sambungan internet laju, mereka boleh memuat-turun fail pemasangan terus – sekitar 200kb – dan kemudiannya ia akan memuat-turun fail yang diperlukan secara automatik. Muat-Turun Raspbmc. Sebaik sahaja selesai memasangnya pada kad-SD anda, anda boleh menghubungkan ia kepada Raspberry Pi kemudian memasang ia kepada televisyen atau skrin monitor anda. Untuk permulaan, ia akan memerlukan anda memuat-turun kemaskini sistem fail, yang mengambil sedikit masa sebelum selesai sepenuhnya. Setelah selesai sepenuhnya, pengguna akan melalui beberapa skrin tetapan, dan seterusnya boleh menggunakan ia dengan menghubungkan USB, atau memainkan fail media menggunakan AirPlay dan sebagainya. Untuk menambah pengalaman penggunaan, pengguna turut boleh memasang add-on pada pemasangan Raspbmc untuk menjadikan penggunaan Media Center lebih menarik lagi.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Computer