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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: LG G Flex 2: Hands-on Impressions

    With the announcement of the LG G Flex 2 at the LG Press Conference, we finally saw the launch of a device with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC. While the SoC is one notable improvement from the previous G Flex, we see a great deal of improvement in almost all areas. One of the most immediate improvements is the new OLED display when compared against the previous G Flex. There are a great deal of other improvements, which can be seen in the spec sheet below.
    LG G Flex 2
    SoC MSM8994 2.0/1.5 GHz 4x A57/ 4x A53 Snapdragon 810
    RAM/NAND 2/3 GB LPDDR4, 16/32GB NAND + microSD
    Display 5.5” 1080p LG P-OLED
    Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x45 UE Category 9 LTE)
    Dimensions 149.1 x 75.3 x 7.1-9.4mm, 152 grams
    Camera 13MP rear camera, 1.12 µm pixels, 1/3.06" CMOS size, F/2.4. 2.1MP F/2.0 FFC
    Battery 3000 mAh (11.4 Whr)
    OS Android 5.0 with LG UI
    Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.1, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, Slimport, NFC
    SIM Size MicroSIM
    As one can see, while there are a lot of elements shared with the LG G3, there are a number of areas where we see notable improvements that differentiate the G Flex 2 from the G3. The size of the phone has also decreased, as LG claims that people didn’t like the sheer size of the previous LG G Flex.
    LG has also changed the design of the G Flex 2 to be more similar to the LG G3 with its brushed metal finish, although the self-healing polymer dictated a glossy finish with a brushed design beneath the finish. The self-healing polymer itself has been notably improved, healing over seconds instead of minutes like the original LG G Flex. LG has also introduced Dura-Guard glass, which is said to improve drop resistance when compared to Corning Gorilla Glass.
    In practice, this combines to make the LG G Flex 2 into a rather interesting phone. Unfortunately, it seems that all of the phones available for demonstration were running non-final software. This meant that it wasn’t possible for us to properly benchmark the device, and there seemed to be more lag in the UI than the LG G3 or Nexus 5. In addition, these demo phones were running in poor conditions for benchmarks, as maximum brightness was constantly reduced due to thermal throttling.
    Despite these issues, the G Flex 2 was still an interesting device to try. While I haven’t used the original LG G Flex extensively, I noticed that the 1080p display on the G Flex 2 behaved differently from the 1080p display on the Galaxy S5. Although the G Flex 2 doesn’t have the odd ghosting effects present on the Galaxy S5, the G Flex 2 does have noticeable mura or some sort of texture to the display. Given the demo conditions, it’s difficult to discern whether or not the display is RGB stripe or some form of PenTile.
    Outside of the display, the UI brought our first experiences with LG’s UI when layered on top of Android 5.0. Unfortunately, the UI seems to be quite similar to the G3’s UI on Android 4.4, even though there are noticeable changes in areas like the notification drawer and multitasking menu. It may be that we will be left waiting until the LG G4 to see a redesign of the UI to fit with the new design guidelines. At any rate, the camera remains identical to the LG G3, with the same Sony IMX135 sensor, optics, laser AF, and OIS+. The UI remains largely similar here as well, and it seems that there remains a noticeable amount of shutter lag similar to the LG G3. On the bright side, the G Flex 2’s camera remains quick to focus and the OIS is incredibly stable when compared to most solutions I’ve tried. Overall, despite some issues the LG G Flex 2 seems to be a promising device.


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    Anandtech: A Quick Look at Keyssa: Contactless USB 3.0

    While we often don’t discuss startups, at CES we found a company called Keyssa that claims to have the technology to do away with wired connectors entirely. Normally, these claims are rather misleading, but in the case of Keyssa it seems that this is quite possible as the company was formed as a spin-off from research at UCLA labs. Similar to 802.11ad, Keyssa uses the 60 GHz spectrum to deliver immense amounts of bandwidth (6 Gbps), but at much lower power levels. This lower power level does constrain the range of this technology to a few centimeters or so, similar to NFC.
    In addition to the immense bandwidth, Keyssa’s connectors are relatively small and are around a millimeter thick, with a length and width similar to a microUSB 3.0 connector. It seems that this technology takes advantage of USB-IF’s media-agnostic USB standard, as in a demonstration of a prototype SSD with Keyssa’s connector the SSD appeared to be a USB drive on to a laptop with a pad for the SSD. Company representatives stated that there will be products shipping with this connector this year, and it should be interesting to see how this affects mobile devices if this technology gains traction.


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    Anandtech: OCZ Suite Tour: Vector 180, JetExpress PCIe NVMe Controller & Z-Drive 6000

    While the Barefoot 3 platform is already a couple of years old, it is still going strong. OCZ has been in the process of adopting Toshiba's latest A19nm to its whole product lineup and with all other drives having made the change, the Vector is the last (but definitely not the least) to make the switch to the latest NAND process.
    Aside from the new NAND, OCZ is also adding a new 960GB capacity. We have seen many OEMs upping their capacities to 960GB/1TB in the past six months or so and the Vector 180 marks as OCZ's first client-level SATA SSD with 1TB-class capacity. The Vector 180 also features partial power-loss protection (or Power Failure Management Plus as OCZ calls it), which is not a full implementation like in enterprise drives, but there are capacitors to ensure that data at rest is safe. In other words, all user data in the DRAM buffer will still be lost in the case of sudden power loss, but the capacitors ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss (i.e. the NAND mapping table won't be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through recovery process).
    The rest of the specs remain pretty much unchanged from the Vector 150. The drive is rated at 50GB of writes per day and carries a 5-year ShieldPlus warranty (no purchase receipt required and all defective drives will be replaced with brand new units). Given that the controller and the underlying firmware remain unchaged I would expect the performance to be very similar to the Vector 150.
    Unfortunately, the Barefoot 3 platform still doesn't support low-power states, so the main market for the Vector 180 will be in desktop systems. This is a problem in the silicon itself (it is two years old, after all) and to fix that the silicon would require a redesign, so instead of spending resources on that OCZ has decided to focus on the next generation JetExpress controller.
    Originally OCZ's plan was to release the Vector 180 here at CES, but the company decided to spend a bit more time validating the drive to ensure that everything is okay (which, as some of you may remember, is quite different from what OCZ used to do a few years ago). Availability should be in the coming weeks, though, and I would expect pricing to be close to the Vector 150 or perhaps a bit lower given the new, more cost efficient NAND.
    The big and obviously interesting news is OCZ's JetExpress controller. It's a native PCIe 3.0 x4 controller with NVMe support and SATA/AHCI are also included for legacy support (SATA isn't going anywhere anytime soon anyway). In terms of features the JetExpress has pretty much all the bells and whistles. DevSleep, TCG Opal 2.0, eDrive, LDPC error correction and TLC NAND are all supported. The controller itself is small enough to fit in M.2 as seen above, unlike the FPGA designs that we have seen in drives like the Samsung XS1715.
    Architecturally the JetExpress sports the same Aragon cores as the Barefoot 3, but the core count is much higher (I'm hearing seven cores) with each core having its own specific purpose. The chip consists of several power islands, which can be shut down individually for increased power efficiency. The DRAM controller is massive and supports up to 32GB of DDR3, which enables very high capacities (I was told that even 10TB is achievable, although in most cases the problem is the form factor and its physical limitations, not the controller itself).
    OCZ will start by shipping the JetExpress to enterprise customers in the first half of 2015 and a client release will follow in H2'15 -- most likely right around the time Intel releases its Skylake platform with proper PCIe and NVMe support.
    OCZ's ECC engine is also quite interesting. The controller supports both BCH and LDPC error correction and there are three different modes (high performance, high endurance and hybrid) available. Basically, high performance mode means that only BCH ECC is used, which has less overhead than LDPC but isn't as powerful and thus results in lower endurance. The high endurance mode, on the other hand, has LDPC enabled, which increases the endurance by about 3x from what I've heard. The hybrid mode basically has BCH enabled at first, but as the NAND is cycled and starts to require more ECC, LDPC will kick in to boost the endurance. The reason why OCZ is offering all three modes is that LDPC adds some latency, so once it kicks in there is some performance loss and typically enterprise customers want a device that has predictable performance throughout its life (or at least an option to choose a mode like that). Similarly, some customers value performance more than endurance (online transaction processing is a good example since the more transactions you can do the more money you will make), so OCZ is offering the customer the opportunity to select what mode is the best for their usage.
    In addition to the upcoming JetExpress drive OCZ was showing off their upcoming Z-Drive 6000 for enterprises with NVMe support. The drive comes in 2.5" 15mm form factor with the SFF-8639 connector (basically the enterprise version of SATA Express) and utilizes PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. The Z-Drive features the same PMC controller as Samsung's XS1715 but obviously the firmware is à la OCZ. Performance comes in at up to 3GB/s for sequential reads and 2GB/s for writes and random performance is up to 700K IOPS for reads and 175K for writes. Capacities go all the way up to 3.2TB, although OCZ was very confident that the company can build a 6.4TB version as well. OCZ is currently sampling a handful of key OEMs and volume availability should be in the coming months.
    I spent a good hour talking with OCZ's CEO, Ralph Schmitt, about how OCZ is doing under Toshiba and what is the direction of the company, so watch out for a deeper dive after CES.


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    Anandtech: AMD Enters NAS Market with QNAP's 10G-Ready TVS-x63

    QNAP's CES suite was quite busy when we visited them last week. Considering the number of product and feature announcements that were made, it wasn't a surprise at all. There were three new major product announcements, and we will cover them in the course of two articles.
    The NAS market has been dominated by Intel's x86 platform at the mid- to high-end, and ARM-based SoCs at the lower end of the market. Things are shaking up this year, with the launch of a 2x 10GbE equipped ARM-based model from Synology, the DS2015xs. On the x86 front, I had often wondered why AMD never had a product in the market. Considering the fact that the HP ProLiant microservers based on the AMD Turion platform were quite popular in the DIY market, it was surprising to find the COTS NAS vendors ignoring it completely. With the launch of the TVS-x63 lineup, QNAP has become the first vendor to bring an AMD-based x86 NAS to the market.
    The TVS-x63 lineup has 4-, 6- and 8-bay models. Each of them come with either 4 or 8 GB of RAM. Higher amounts of RAM are necessary for applications where the Virtualization Station package will find use. In addition, the 8-bay model also comes with a '+' SKU. This version has a 10GBASE-T NIC pre-installed in the spare PCIe slot. The '+' version comes with either 8 or 16 GB of RAM. We will summarize the specifications of the various models in the TVS-x63 towards the end of the article. Prior to that, we will take a look at the AMD embedded G-series SoC that powers these NAS units.
    QNAP specifies the CPU in the TVS-x63 models as 'AMD quad-core 2.4 GHz with Radeon Graphics' in their marketing material. At the suite, we pulled up the System Information tab, which revealed the AMD SoC to be GX-424CC.
    The GX-424CC is a 4C/4T Steppe Eagle configuration (based on the Puma / Jaguar+ microarchitecture). It has a TDP of 25 W. The L2 cache is 2 MB in size and the cores run at 2.4 GHz. The integrated Radeon GPU runs at 497 MHz. The unit can support DDR3 memory at 1866 MHz. Puma is the successor to Jaguar. It supports out-of-order execution. Performance-wise, it is expected to be similar to that of the Silvermont cores in the Bay Trail SoCs.
    The block diagram of a typical AMD G-Series embedded SoC based on the Puma cores is produced below. It is a first-generation APU SoC design. The I/O ports mentioned at the bottom of the block diagram are important in determining how the QNAP TVS-x63 NAS units balance the I/O amongst the various necessary ports.
    Considering the 8-bay TVS-863 for further analysis, we find the various I/Os distributed as shown below. It must be noted that the first two bays are directly connected to the SATA ports of the SoC. QNAP strongly suggests that those two ports be used for SSD caching. Typically, SoCs targeting the NAS market have native Ethernet ports, but the AMD SoC needs a PCIe bridge chip. We will have to see what effect this has in the performance department.
    On the multimedia side of things, the TVS-x63 has two HDMI outputs. It supports true 4K output for the UI as well as QvPC side of things. However, video playback will be restricted to 1080p. The VCE engine is supported by the firmware, enabling hardware-accelerated transcoding similar to what we saw with the TS-x51 and TS-x53 Pro units that used Quick Sync.
    The extract below summarizes the specifications of the various models in the TVS-x63 lineup.
    QNAP has sprung a surprise by going the AMD-route for a high performance NAS. We can probably expect the Intel-based NAS units to go down in price over the next few months. I am assuming it also provides some leverage for NAS vendors to negotiate with Intel on the pricing. On the whole, this development is a good one for consumers. In terms of pricing, the TVS-863+-8G is expected to retail for $1400. This is cheap considering the 10G port is pre-installed. The vanilla models come in at $1200 for the TVS-863-4G, $1000 for the TVS-663-4G and $800 for the TVS-463-4G.


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    Anandtech: Quantenna Maintains 802.11ac Technology Lead as Broadcom and Marvell Launc

    Quantenna was the first to bring a 4x4 MU-MIMO 802.11ac chipset to the market (with the Asus RT-AC87U and the Netgear Nighthawk X4 R7500). It has a number of Wave 2 features, but notably lacked support for 160 MHz channels. Qualcomm Atheros was the second vendor to support MU-MIMO, with the launch of the QCA 9980, 9982, 9990 and 9992 in April 2014. In the meanwhile, Broadcom appeared to miss the Wave 2 bandwagon. Instead, citing lack of MU-MIMO client devices as one particular reason, they opted to push the XStream platform with two discrete 5 GHz radios. This made for some interesting products such as the Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000. CES 2015 was the ideal time for the silicon vendors to jostle for the pole position, and we weren't disappointed. All the major vendors (and a few of their customers) had interesting announcements at CES 2015.

    At CES 2015, we had the opportunity to meet up with Quantenna at their suite and look at the demonstration of their 8x8 160 MHz MU-MIMO 10G Wi-Fi platform announced last year. Unfortunately, photography wasn't permitted, but the demo was very similar to the first generation 802.11ac demonstration by Buffalo Technologies. One of the most important advantages of the new 10G platform is the integration of the 2.4 GHz radios (for 802.11n support) in the same package. This ensures that vendors don't need to hunt elsewhere for the 2.4 GHz support. For example, Asus went with a Broadcom SoC / 2.4 GHz radios while Netgear went with a Qualcomm SoC / 2.4 GHz radios for their QSR1000 solutions. On the WLAN PHY rates side, we have upwards of 6.9 Gbps for the 5 GHz band (since this is a true 8x8 solution). The PHY rates of the 2.4 GHz band along with the proprietary extensions (additional QAM-rates support for both bands that is outside the official specifications) take the peak WLAN PHY rates upwards of 9 Gbps. Quantenna is marketing the system as a 10G solution. It is on track for shipping later this year, but Quantenna wouldn't commit on a more specific time-frame.
    The other interesting announcements included a reference design with Lantiq for mid-range 4x4 routers. Using the QSR1000 platform along with a Lantiq GRX300 processor, this enables vendors to have a quick turnaround for their router platforms. The QSR1000 provides 4x4 MU-MIMO 802.11ac (5 GHz) support, while a Lantiq GRX300 SoC provides the 802.11n / 2.4 GHz support. Also on display was the MAUI platform aimed at providing enterprise vendors and service providers a way to optimize the Wi-Fi performance and troubleshoot issues at the customers' end using cloud-based analytics.

    Broadcom launched a number of products in their 802.11ac lineup in order to update their portfolio with Wave 2 features. The BCM4366 is the 4x4 MU-MIMO capable radio for high-end systems. For gateways and routers, this can work in tandem with a BCM47094 network processor SoC (which has two Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.4 GHz). It has support for 160 MHz channels (contiguous 80 MHz + 80 MHz, as well as two discontiguous 80 MHz channels). The BCM4366 also includes a NitroQAM feature (QAM-1024). This is outside the 802.11ac specifications (Broadcom-proprietary), and is expected to provide significant performance benefits for clients with Broadcom chipsets. The network processor SoC also integrates USB 3.0 support.
    Broadcoms PR doesn't talk about peak WLAN PHY rates, but it looks from D-Link's DIR-895L product page that we don't get the expected 3.4 Gbps+ from a 4x4 MU-MIMO solution capable of connecting to other 4x4 MU-MIMO clients. The cap seems to be at 2.165 Gbps.
    Other updates to the lineup include the BCM53573 and the BCM47189 which are 2x2 802.11ac SoCs integrating the CPU, Ethernet switch as well as the radios in a single chip.

    Marvell also announced a Wave 2 802.11ac solution in the Avastar 88W8964. The target market is access points, service provider gateways and STBs. Similar to the other solutions described above, we have 160 MHz channel support. The main advantage is the integration of a dual core Cortex-A9 with offloading for many WLAN functions. This frees up the host CPU for other functions.
    Even though a true 4x4 160 MHz solution can support upwards of 3.6 Gbps, the Avastar 88W8964 has MU-MIMO support for three 1x1 or a mix of 2x2 and 1x1 client devices. The cap on the WLAN PHY rate is at 2.6 Gbps.

    Despite Qualcomm Atheros announcing their MU-MIMO chipsets early last year, solutions such as the TP-LINK AC2600 got announced only at CES 2015. Shipment is also slated for Spring 2015. The solution doesn't have 160 MHz support either. On the other hand, Broadcom has just announced their 160 MHz Wave 2 solution, but customers such as D-Link are expecting to bring routers based on it to the market in the same time-frame as the QCA 9980 solutions. In any case, all the solutions other than Quantenna's seem to missing one key feature or the other. As a end-user, if one wants to upgrade their Wi-Fi router / access point by the end of the year, a Quantenna 10G-based solution is probably the best bet. That said, solutions such as the D-Link DIR-895L that adopt the XStream platform (two sets of 5 GHz radios) along with the latest MU-MIMO solution from Broadcom are also very attractive for use-cases where channel interference is not much of a concern (rules out dense apartment complexes) and the presence of non-MU-MIMO clients prevent the MU-MIMO solutions from providing full benefit.


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    Anandtech: Asustor's 5 Series Packs Intel Bay Trail Celerons

    Since last CES, a couple of Asustor offerings have been put under our review scanner, and we were naturally excited to meet up with them at CES 2015. Towards the middle of December, Asustor had launched the 50T and 51T series NAS models (in 2- and 4-bay varieties) based on the Bay Trail Celerons. While the 50T packs the dual-core Celeron J1800 running at 2.41 GHz, the 51T uses the quad-core J1900 at 2.0 GHz.
    The affordable Haswell-based NAS units (Core i3-packing 70 series) were launched before the 50T series. The 70T series packs two network ports, but does have a PCIe expansion slot for 10G cards. The 70R rackmount series comes in two varieties, the Core i3-packing RD ones and the Xeon E3-packing RDX ones. Both of them are targeted towards enterprise users and come in 9- and 12-bay variants. The RDX variant supports ECC RAM.
    As I have mentioned in our previous coverage of Asustor, the company is doing quite well in terms of hardware offerings. It is in the software department that they need to play catch-up with the QNAPs and Synologys in this market segment. Naturally, most of our focus during the CES visit was on the upcoming / newly released firmware features.
    Asustor claims to be one of the first NAS vendors to support S3 sleep mode for aggressively driving down power consumption in the long run. ADM 2.3 finally brings about Windows ACL support. The mobile apps ecosystem was also shown in detail - the features are pretty standard if one is coming from a QNAP / Synology background. Asustor made specific mention of the hardware-accelerated transcoding feature in their Evansport NAS - both for offline as well as real-time operations via its mobile apps. Ideally, we would like it extended to their 70T series (using the Quick Sync engine).
    The demo which pleased me the most was the QEMU front-end that is currently a package under beta-testing. Taking a cue from QNAP's Virtualization Station feature, Asustor is developing a package to enable ADM to act as a host OS. We saw multiple flavours of Windows running on top of a Asustor 70 series NAS. The UI is a bit basic compared to Virtualization Station, but, given the beta nature, it can definitely be excused.
    Asustor has always been competitive on the hardware side of things. However, by virtue of being a late entry into the market, they have perennially been in catch-up mode with respect to firmware features. That was the story from the last two CES shows, and this year was no different. That said, it is heartening to see Asustor accelerating the development on the software side, while also being quick to react to new firmware features / packages that the competition is bringing to the market. That is definitely good news for consumers in this market.


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    Anandtech: Samsung Announces the Galaxy A7

    The smartphone space is not as it was a few years ago. There's increasing competition from vendors based in countries like China and India who can put out high quality products at a very low price. In a world where vendors are squeezing them on both the high end and the low end, Samsung has been put under significant pressure to improve their mid-range devices moving into the future. We saw the beginning of this with the Galaxt A3 and A5, which had aluminum unibody designs that seemed to defy their low price point. The latest device to continue this strategy is the Galaxy A7, which is the largest and fastest device of the Galaxy A line. I've laid out its specs in the table below.
    Samsung Galaxy A7
    SoC Exynos 5430 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
    Memory and Storage 16GB NAND + MicroSDXC, 2GB LPDDR3
    Display 5.5” HD SAMOLED
    Cellular Connectivity 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Ericsson M7450 or MDM9x25)
    Dimensions 151 x 76.2 x 6.3 mm, 141g
    Camera 13 MP Rear Facing, 5MP Front Facing
    Battery 2600 mAh (9.88 Whr)
    Other Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC
    SIM Size Nano SIM (Dual SIM SKU available)
    Operating System Android 4.4 KitKat
    As you can see, the Galaxy A7 is still a mid-range smartphone like the A3 and A5. However, we get some impressive specifications for a mid-range device. The Galaxy A7 comes with one of two similar processors depending on which SKU you buy. The single-SIM LTE model comes with Samsung's Exynos 5430 which has a 1.8GHz 4 x Cortex-A15 cluster and a 1.3GHz 4 x Cortex-A7 cluster. This model uses Ericsson's M7450 Cat4 LTE modem. The dual-SIM LTE/3G model uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 615 MSM9839 which has a 1.5GHz 4 x Cortex-A53 cluster and a 1.0GHz 4 x Cortex-A53 cluster.
    Beyond the SoC, we see what looks to be standard specs for a 2015 mid-range phone. The Galaxy A7 is actually very similar to the Desire 826. It has a 2600mAh (9.88Wh) battery, a 13MP rear-facing camera, 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 16GB of NAND, and a MicroSD slot. The Galaxy A7 bests the Desire 826 with its size though. It's smaller, lighter, and much thinner. In fact, with a thickness of only 6.3mm, it's thinner than Apple's flagship iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
    The one listed specification that concerns me is the display. It is described as a 5.5" HD SAMOLED panel, and based on Samsung distinguishing between HD and FHD in previous spec sheets, it's like that the Galaxy A7 uses a 1280x720 display. At 5.5", this would put it at 267ppi which will have visible aliasing and PenTile artifacting. However, if it turns out to be a 1920x1080 display then this will be less of an issue, and we will have to wait until further info is released or the device is in the hands of users before we can make a definite conclusion here.
    On the software side, Samsung is advertising many of its camera features such as voice or gesture activated selfie capture, and multi-window app support. Something to note is that the Galaxy A7 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat despite 5.0 Lollipop being available. This means that the Snapdragon 615 model will have to operate in 32bit mode, at least until Samsung provides an update to Lollipop. Like the Galaxy A3 and A5, the A7 will come in white, blue and gold colors at launch. There's currently no word on price or when the device will ship to specific markets.


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    Anandtech: Cooler Master at CES 2015: Reorganization with a Surprise

    When I met with Cooler Master at Computex 2014, the company at the time was discussing the fact that they had lost their focus over the past few years. A portfolio of over 2000 products was difficult to maintain, and Cooler Master had lost their roots in the PC cooling space by entering many different areas with middle of the road products. At that time the main question on the lip of Cooler Master was ‘what do you think when you hear our name?’. As a result of the feedback, there is almost a new, focused company here at CES.
    The main element of the adjustment is to place all the product lines that were kept into three different market segments, with a special fourth model for cases.
    These segments are Essential, Mainstream and Performance, covering low, medium and high end models. Cases also get Ultra, pointing at the extreme consumer. Each of their product ranges is split as follows:
    Keyboards (Small Form) at CoolerMaster
    Users Model MSRP
    PERFORMANCE NovaTouch TKL $150-$200
    QuickFire Rapid-i
    ESSENTIAL QuickFire Rapid $30-$90

    Keyboards (Full Size) at CoolerMaster
    Users Model MSRP
    PERFORMANCE Trigger-Z $150-$200
    MAINSTREAM QuickFire Ultimate $100-$150
    ESSENTIAL QuickFire XT $30-$90

    Mice at CoolerMaster
    Users Model MSRP
    PERFORMANCE Reaper $70-$90
    MAINSTREAM Mizar $50-$70
    ESSENTIAL Xornet v2 $30-$50
    Power Supplies at CoolerMaster
    Users Model Connector Warranty Efficiency MSRP
    PERFORMANCE V-Series Fully Modular 7 Years 1200W @ Plat
    1000W @ Gold
    850W @ Gold
    MAINSTREAM VSM Modular 5 Years 750W @ Gold
    650W @ Gold
    550W @ Gold
    ESSENTIAL GM Modular 5 Years 750W @ Bronze
    650W @ Bronze
    550W @ Bronze

    Headsets at CoolerMaster
    Users Model MSRP
    PERFORMANCE Sirus C $90-$130
    MAINSTREAM Ceres 500 $50-$90
    ESSENTIAL Ceres 300 $30-$50

    Cases at CoolerMaster
    Users Model Size MSRP
    ULTRA Cosmos II Ultra $300+
    PERFORMANCE Stryker Full $160-$200
    MAINSTREAM Silencio 652S Mid $80-$130
    ESSENTIAL HAF 912 Mid $50-$70

    Air Cooling (Top Down) at CoolerMaster
    Users Model Fan Size MSRP
    PERFORMANCE Gemini S524 V2 120 mm, fits 140 mm $45+
    MAINSTREAM Gemini M4 120 mm Slim $30-$40
    ESSENTIAL Vortex Plus 92 mm $20-$30

    Air Cooling (Tower) at CoolerMaster
    Users Model Fan Size MSRP
    PERFORMANCE V8 GTS 140 mm x2 $80-$100
    MAINSTREAM Hyper 612 v2
    Hyper D92
    Hyper 212 EVO
    140 mm
    92 mm x2
    120 mm
    ESSENTIAL Hyper T4
    Hyper TX3
    Hyper T2
    120 mm
    92 mm
    92 mm

    AIO Liquid Cooling at CoolerMaster
    Users Model Size MSRP
    PERFORMANCE Nepton 280/140 mm $100-$130
    MAINSTREAM Nepton 240/120 mm $100-$130
    ESSENTIAL Seidon 120 mm $50-$70
    The new element to the product line is a product in development that sounds like a dream power supply for reviewers. Cooler Master are working on a system with an SoC (some ARM variant) with built in Bluetooth to connect to an app on a phone/tablet to be able to measure and/or diagnose a power supply when the PC is either on or off.
    From the reviewer perspective, the best bit is the application. Here is a nice looking interface that shows the power consumption to two significant figures, with Cooler Master promising a future feature to be able to track power consumption over time, both from the wall and going through the power supply given losses or the power factor.
    The app currently has a segment which, with the right price per kWh, will let you know how much money is being used on electricity.
    Cooler Master has said that this is still a very early prototype right now, but it will be a premium feature for their high end (1000W plus models). Ideally I would like something around the 500W Platinum mark or less for testing, and the opportunity to track multiple power supplies given that I usually have three test beds on the go. Nevertheless, it is something slightly different to the other power supply manufacturers, and has potential uses in office environments in order to diagnose faults if enough functionality is built into the app.
    There is no clear expectations about when this product would hit the shelves (Q4 ?), or the extra pricing on the top. Hopefully we will see an update at Computex in June.
    Gallery: CoolerMaster at CES 2015: Reorganisation with a Surprise


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    Anandtech: Intel Updates the NUC at CES 2015 with Broadwell-U

    The big topic going in to CES was the launch of Broadwell-U, Intel’s 14 nanometer 5th generation Core products for laptops, mini-PCs and all-in-ones, with rated TDPs of 15W and 28W and the new Generation 8 graphics onboard. Into the mini-PC category falls the NUC form factor, invented by Intel a number of years ago. The NUC, or ‘Next Unit of Computing’, provides a chassis, motherboard, processor and fan with the user or system integrator to add in their own storage and DRAM, all with the aim of building something that can be VESA mounted to many compatible monitors on the market or just run as that small device on the desk. At CES 2015, Intel is updating its NUC range from Haswell-U to Broadwell-U.
    15W is not really suitable for fanless without increasing size, so the NUC comes with a fan in the i3, i5 and i7 configurations, supporting up to HD 6000 graphics (48 EUs). Connectivity will come as a gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, a micro-HDMI and a mini-DisplayPort, offering a full 4K implementation.
    The double sided PCB gives space for an M.2 2242, 2260 or 2280 drive, along with a mini-PCIe WiFi card and two modules of memory. Users can add a 2.5-inch to the device through that SATA port as well.
    In this i5 model packaging, the dual band dual stream AC-7265 is bundled onboard as a pre-soldered M.2 1216 package, with the module itself offering lower power consumption than the AC-7260 which is what we have seen in the desktop space for the past year.
    The unit also gives a fast charging USB 3.0 port in yellow. We asked about USB 3.1 support on future NUCs, but in true Intel style they were not giving anything away. For the NUC team to move into USB 3.1, it would make more sense when the standard moves onto the chipset of the SoC, which might be a couple of generations away.
    Also for release is this Bay Trail-T system with Windows on a stick. It directly attaches to a TV or monitor through the HDMI and uses a separate USB cable from the device to the monitor for power. Under the hood is 2GB of DRAM and 32GB of eMMC which equates to a full system in a form factor barely bigger than your thumb.
    Our recent Bay Trail coverage with the HP Stream 11 at $199 and the J1800N motherboard puts an expectation of price level for these new systems, especially in terms of expectation of performance against what is possible. With this new device Intel is aiming for the $149 price point, which compared to the HP Stream 11 with a keyboard, screen and Miracast might seem like an average deal for home use, Intel is aiming to market this at the digital signage and the point-of-sale markets.
    Gallery: Intel Updates the NUC at CES 2015 with Broadwell-U


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    Anandtech: New at CES 2015: CoolChip Technologies and Cooler Master Join Forces

    Even though I follow the air cooling market, I perhaps do not follow it in extreme detail, but a couple of years back we saw a new form of cooling being engineered. It involved, for a lack of a better explanation, a rotating heatsink whereby the air was sucked into the middle and expelled through the fins very quickly in all directions. The base plate connected to the CPU was still present, with the base plate and heatsink separated by a thin (several microns) cushion of air. This air cushion was a concern of mine, as typically conduction through a heatsink as well as the convection of air is usually the limiting cooling factor.
    Fast forward two years and a company called CoolChip Technologies (or CoolChip or short) has licensed the latest version of this technology from Sandia Corporation (a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin) and are bringing it to market with the aid of Cooler Master.
    I spent some time with the CEO of CoolChip Technologies, Dr William Sanchez, who was on hand to answer questions. At this stage they are still talking with Cooler Master about prototyping, size, market share and vectors of attack when it comes to creating and marketing their designs. As shown above it is more than just a simple rotating central element, and large static heatsinks can be built around it. One particular question I had was about angle of use, as almost all demonstrations of the technology were parallel to the desk. He confirmed that the technology works both upright and upside down, which is good to hear.
    The system here, designed to compare a 1U rotating heatsink against a 1U blower, showed that at the same RPM the new design makes less noise and expels air in all directions, helping cool adjacent components. Dr Sanchez remarked that the heatsink was relatively safe to touch, and in true AnandTech style I managed to almost break it when touching it in motion. I postulated that a small frame, similar to a fan guard, might be an easy way to stop prying fingers like mine which might break it.
    There is plenty of potential in this technology. The air cooling market has been stagnant for a number of years for something truly revolutionary, at there is potential here for both Coolchip and CoolerMaster to break the age old barrier. If we can get hold of pre-production samples for testing, we will let you know the results. As of yet, due to the early stage of the design, we do not know when that will be.


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