Small Form Factor Articles
The ECS LIVA is a feature-packed lilliputian PC that brings the full Windows 8.1 experience to your big screen TV at an incredible value.
The A51 has a lot to offer for a Mini PC and is priced reasonably at $279.
Standing just 9 inches tall, Sapphire really brings the "mini" to the Edge-HD Mini PC.
With such a diverse market, will Thermaltake's mechanical keyboard stand out above the rest?
Our review of one of AMD's Socket 754 offerings, the 64 bit capable Sempron 3400+ unveils how the Socket 754 Sempron family performs against its more espensive Socket 939 brethren.
Small Form Factor News
Only samurai can defeat demons, so the bigger the demon the bigger the sword
You've got to give Japan one thing, they know how to make action titles where the player battles giant of all kinds. That's not even a genre to North American developers yet! Luckily these games are getting localized so everyone can experience Japan's talent in this regard. Case in point, Toukiden: Age of Demons. This one's about fighting giant Oni demons as a samurai. Just announced, Toukiden's release date will be February 11.
Just in case you are wondering how Japanese Toukiden is, please read this:
"Set against a backdrop inspired by various historical periods of Japan, Toukiden: The Age of Demons tells the tale of humanity’s last stand for survival. When monstrous demons (Oni) of varying strength and size invaded the world through cracks in space and time and started attacking humans, the only opposition came from the Slayers, a caste that has always secretly protected mankind from their murderous intent.
Eight years after the time warp and Oni appeared, a brave young Slayer embarks on a journey to thin the numbers of the enemy and help humanity survive. Players take the role of this young warrior and can fully customize their characters, weapons and armor and form a group of hunters to take down the destructive Oni."
Oh yeah, it doesn't get more Japan than that. Despite the jokes, Toukiden is actually supposed to be extremely popular in Japan where the Vita is actually doing quite well. In fact, you might even call it one of the Vita's top sellers. Usually that means it's pretty good or based off of some anime or something. Hopefully this one's just really great!
Pick up Toukiden on Vita in North America starting February 11 or in Europe February 14.
NZXT, a company that doesn't shy away from coming up with new case designs, has just sent word of the Vulcan.
The Vulcan is a Micro ATX is small enough to be carried around easier with the rubber handle, but big enough to offer the good cooling potential for overclockers, and enough space for the big video cards of modern PC gaming. As Micro ATX cases go, the Vulcan is fairly large -- but nonetheless is 40% smaller than an ATX full tower.
For fans we have one a front 120mm intake fan and a back 120mm exhaust fan, with room for an additional (not-included) 120mm, 200mm, and 80mm fan. For a Micro ATX case, having up to five possible cooling fans is well beyond average, and as a cherry on top, there is a dual 8W channel fan controller as well.
Additionally, there is enough clearance inside to mount a decent size CPU cooler, or video cards as large as the Radeon HD 5970.
Additional features include a CPU heatsink backplate cutout, lots of wire mesh for better air flow, a removable hard drive cage, wire routing holes, and a LED switch.
Perhaps the looks of the Vulcan might not appeal to everyone, but the feature set probably will.
Look for the Vulcan appearing at the end of the month, for about $70 USD.
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Little complete computers, running from $200 - $300
Zotac must have had some measure of success selling its Zbox nettop mini-systems last year, as they as launching a total of five more models to update the offerings.
If you have not seen a Zbox before, they are useful little things. They are bare-bones nettop systems, about seven and a half inches by seven and a half inches. Using low wattage processors, they typically have about 2 GHz of processing power (dual core), a 320GB HD, a wireless network adapter, all in a slim little package. Having personally used a Zotac MAG HD-N01 last year, I can tell you that sometimes a pre-built nettop is capable of handling everything you need, for a good price.
The new Zbox line greatly expands Zotac's offerings, with a multitude of different configurations. Their are five new systems coming up -- each a different color. We listed the essential specs below. Besides the specs listed, these machines have 6 USB ports, wireless and gigabit ethernet, an eSATA port, and more. They do not come with an operating system pre-installed.
|HD-ND21||Pentium SU4100 1.3GHz||Nvidia ION||160GB (5200rpm)||2GB DDR3-1066||$300|
|HD-ID11||Atom 510 1.66GHz||NM10 Express||160GB (5200rpm)||1GB DDR2-800||$255|
|HD-ND02||Atom 330 1.6GHz||Nvidia ION||160GB (5200rpm)||2GB DDR3-1066||$217|
|HD-ND01||Atom 330 1.6GHz||Nvidia ION||160GB (5200rpm)||2GB DDR2-800||$215|
|HD-AD01||Athlon Neo X2 L325 1.5GHz||AMD RS780E SB710||160GB (5200rpm)||2GB DDR2-800||$242|
A while ago we saw the HP Pavilion DV2 pop up on the market, featuring AMD's ultra-thin platform called "Congo". There are two versions of it; the first one sports the Athlon Neo 1.6GHz processor and an integrated ATI X1250 graphics processor at the heart of the RS690M chipset, whereas in the second one it is paired with a discrete HD 3410.
My everyday laptop is one of those DV2. While the Congo platform is already great in itself, in some cases it left me wanting more. I chose the integrated graphics version to get the better battery life, but in turn I got the decreased video performance which sometimes struggles to play HD content on the Internet. Additionally, the Athlon Neo clearly has some limitations. With its single core, it has some difficulties to keep up in multi-tasking. When I am doing some C++ programmation in my Ubuntu virtual machine, let's just say I must be patient compared to my colleagues who run fully-sized notebooks, despite it already being much more powerful than the Intel netbook platform.
So that's where AMD's second generation ultra-thin notebook platform comes into play. While its Athlon X2 Neo L335 processor can be had for quite some time now at the heart of the Pavilion DV2, it is still paired with either the X1250 or HD 3410. The new Vision platform puts it along the RS780M, sporting an integrated HD 3200 graphics processor; this will bring all the exciting features of the dedicated graphics to the integrated with amazing battery life.
Obviously, the video performance will be up quite a big notch. Since the HD 4200 has the same physical specifications than the HD 3200 but just it being DX10.1, UVD2 and HDMI 1.3 ready (roughly), the gaming performance is approximately the same. Therefore, HD 3200 should be able to provide a performance close to what we have seen in my article about the 785G chipset, except that it will not have a sideport memory.
Apart from that, the HD 3200 will also feature an HDMI out, which the X1250 in the DV2 did not. Another thing that was not pointed out in Pat Moorhead's blog entry is that the it will also be able to benefit from the latest AMD drivers, which unfortunately do not apply to the X1250 anymore since Catalyst version 9.3. And we're now at 9.9.
Also, the added processor core will double the power so that it will be able to churn through any task without any difficulty. It will also help in gaming where the single-core can quickly become a limitation.
However, there is no word on battery life yet. Whereas my Athlon Neo MV-40 and RS690M did almost five hours at the heart of the DV2 while being on power saving mode, 40% screen brightness and WiFi ON, I expect the new Vision platform to be at least the same. It is also great to see a third manufacturer jumping in the ultra-thin AMD-based low-cost laptop market; MSI will join Hewlett-Packard and Gateway with its X-series laptop based on Vision. This is great because it makes for many different available flavors of similar laptops. This one would be named the MSI X430, pictured here.
So who knows, maybe we will soon see an article on Neoseeker in which Vision is thoroughly tested!
Upgraded with AMD Athlon X2 dual core processor and 20-inch widescreen
MSI upgraded its all-in-one desktop lineup with today's launch of the Wind Top AE2010, an upgraded version of the AE1900 based on the Intel Atom 330 processor. The new AE2010 features an AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core 3250e processor clocked at 1.5GHz and a 20-inch touch screen monitor. Based on the AMD RS780G and SB710 chipset, the system also boasts improved graphics performance through the onboard ATI Radeon HD 3200 core with 128MB DDR3 Side Port memory. Along with the larger screen and more powerful graphics, MSI has boosted the memory to 4GB, up from 1GB in the previous model.
The MSI Wind Top AE2010 features touch-enabled applications, wireless connectivity, built-in webcam and microphone, 320 GB hard drive, 6 USB ports, and a 4-1 card reader. That all adds up to a pretty potent combination for an all-in-one system and should enable users to do more than just browse the Internet.
The AE2010 is going to be offered at a starting price of $649.99 with availability yet to be announced.
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Psystar, the Miami-based maker of Mac computer clones, is locked in a legal battle with Apple over its line of computers running Apple's OS X operating system. The David versus Goliath story would seem to be forgone conclusion. Instead of rolling over, Psystar has released yet another model it claims is smaller and faster than its predecessors.
The new Open (3) computer comes in a standard configuration that includes an Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 CPU and 2GB DDR2-800 memory. Also included is a 20X DVD optical drive and a 500GB hard drive. The system also comes with a discrete GeForce 8400GS videocard with 256MB frame buffer. The processor can also be upgraded to a quad-core Q8200.
Psystar is moving to a smaller form factor case they say is 47 percent smaller and better meets customer needs. They're also throwing in a copy of Mac OS X Leopard v10.5 and offering the base model starting at $600.
Built on the Ion platform, the Hornet is a remote-controled VESA mounted PC.
The product from Acer could hit the shelves at the beginning of April, with a retail price varying from $199 to $399 for different SKUs. This would probably be the first Ion based product to be launched.
The Hornet sports a remote that really looks like the Wii one. It will supposedly work for gaming as well as any other PC functions. Furthermore, the Hornet is 1080p capable and it can be looked to a HDTV via an HDMI port. Although it already has made its proofs at CES 2009 by playing Call of Duty 4 flawlessly, one should not hope high resolution gaming; the Nvidia 9400M chipset sports only 16 stream processors. This is a heck of a big difference with the 240sp of the GTX280. A dual-core Atom would also be a nice addtion.
Depending on how the device is built, maybe one will be able to transfer the remote to another PC. What if it requires a PCI-E x1 receiver? What if it connects via bluetooth? These are all possibilities we'll discover when the exact specs will be released.
The D130 NetTop features:
- Atom 330 dual core processor
- passive cooling for quiet operation
- 2GB DDR2 memory
- DVD writer
- 7.1 audio output
- 35W power consumption "at full speed"
I am curious to see which chipset it uses, and what kind of video outputs it has - if it can do full HD decode, it might make a great front end for PVR's.
Digitimes reports that the Asus Eee Box small form factor low power computer is being launched today in Hong Kong.
The Eee Box B202 includes
- 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU
- 1GB DDR2 memory
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- 80GB HD
- 16mm thick
- smaller than an A4 piece of paper
- some models will also have Bluetooth
- Colors: white, black, cherry red & green
- $320 US / HK $2500
If the Atom was not so low powered (processor speed wise) this would make an awesome HD set top box.
Acer announces a decently priced SFF PC with lots of HTPC potential
Acer has announced the Aspire X1200 series of small form factor desktop PC's.
All three models feature:
- dual core AMD processors
- Nvidia GeForce 8200 on-board graphics
- HDMI output
- VGA output
- a PCIe 2.0 x16 expansion slot
- a PCIe 2.0 x1 expansion slot
- five USB 2.0 ports on the front
- four USB 2.0 ports on the back
- PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports
- multi-card reader
- audio jacks on the front and back
- 16x DVD+R/RW DL drive
- 4GB RAM
- 10.6" x 4.0" x 14.4"
- Windows Vista Premium SP1
The three specific models announced today are:
- AMD Athlon X2 4850e
- 320GB SATAII hard drive
- AMD Athlon X2 5000+
- 320GB SATAII hard drive
- AMD Athlon X2 4850e
- 500GB SATAII hard drive
- 22" wide screen LCD display
- Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive two free DLC packs on May 5, allowing Inquisitor makeovers 
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate's May DLC adds ultimate hunter skin, Samus, and Street Fighter palicoes 
- Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter funded instantly, Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor from ex-Rare veterans 
- League of Legends chroma packs headed to PBE, letting players customize their favorite champs 
- Valve removing paid mods from Skyrim's Steam Workshop and issues refunds, but it's not over yet 
- Steam bans can now be issued by game developers, will be displayed on player profiles 
- Konami officially cancels Silent Hills after a weekend of rumor 
- Mighty No. 9 launches September 15 in the Americas through Deep Silver