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PCs - PC Components

Intel Shows "Miraculous" Photonics Chips

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Intel Shows

An analyst report on the Barron's tech trading blog claims Intel might have chipmaking "game changer"-- miniaturised on-die silicon photonics technology allowing for the faster transmission of data between chip components.

As the Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Rolland puts it, such technology can "mitigate Moore's Law," the semiconductor design rule the likes of Intel have been grinding against in recent years. He also describes the "chips with frickin' lasers" as "nothing short of miraculous" and "a potential game changer for Intel and the semiconductor industry."

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Zotac Presents VR GO Backpack PC

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Zotac Presents VR GO Backpack PC

Zotac offers a variety of miniature gaming PCs, but only one comes ready with straps-- the VR GO, a PC users can strap on their backs straight out of the box for more mobile VR experiences.

The straps are removable, meaning customers can use the PC as a regular desktop machine. It carries fairly decent hardware, with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, M.2 SSD and a hot-swappable battery in a form factor the company says still includes proprietary cooling system and properly positioned I/O ports.

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Researchers Break Multi-Core CPU Bottleneck

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Researchers Break Multi-Core CPU Bottleneck

Intel and North Carolina State University researchers claim to have a solution to one of the more persistent problems hitting modern CPUs-- the communications between multiple processor cores.

How is this a problem, when all, dual- and quad-core chips have shown great improvements over single-core options? Scaling beyond 8, 10, 16 or more cores actually shows diminishing returns, and the issue gets even worse with poorly optimised software.

A possible solution lies in what the researchers call the Queue Management Device (QMD), a dedicated set of logic circuits handling the software queue. This turns three multistep software-queue operations into three simple instructions-- add data to the queue, take data from the queue and put data close to where it is needed next.

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Dell Teases Own Studio-Style PC

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Dell Teases Own Studio-Style PC

Dell refuses to be left out of the fancy AIO PC game-- following Microsoft announcement of the Surface Studio, the Adobe Max conference has the company announces it will be revealing a similar machine at CES 2017.

Little is known about the mystery machine, but Dell says it has been "envisioned in 2014." A spot of detective work brings a concept design seen back at Dell World 2014, a PC replacing the regular keyboard and mouse combo with a large horizontal touchscreen named the "Smart Desk." This machine fits the teaser perfectly, since it also involves a touchscreen-equipped offering.

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Microsoft Takes on AIO PCs With Surface Studio

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Microsoft Takes on AIO PCs With Surface Studio

The Microsoft 2016 Surface Event 2016 was, predictably, all about the Surface line-- with the headliner being the Surface Studio, an AIO PC with a four-point hinge turning the display into a tabletop touchscreen.

The Studio is an impressive machine, with a 28-inch 4500 x 3000 resolution display within a minimalist design. Inside are an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 quad-core CPU, Nvidia GeForce dGPU, up to 32GB RAM and 2.1 surround sound system. A single cable provides power, while cabled connectivity comes through x4 USB 3.0 sockets, ethernet and a headphone jack. The included peripherals, namely the keyboard and mouse, are wireless.

One can also pair the Studio with the same stylus used by other Surface devices, the Surface Pen-- which is where tilting the display back makes most sense, since it turns the machine into a virtual arts canvas. Microsoft also offers the "Surface Dial," a curious hardware jog wheel able to handle a variety of context-based tasks.

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DigiTimes: PC Market to Face Component Shortages!

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DigiTimes: PC Market to Face Component Shortages!

Smartphones are to hit Q4 2016 PC shipments in more ways than one, DigiTimes remarks-- "aggressive" short-term  orders by smartphones vendors are leading to PC component shortages, hitting PC shipments for the quarter.

One chief factor leading to the increase in smartphone orders is the Galaxy Note 7 recall. Samsung is trying to minimise the recall's effect on sales by increasing increasing Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge orders, while Apple is trying to take advantage by doing likewise with the iPhone. As a result, memory component suppliers are shifting capacity from PC to smartphone memory, delaying delivery schedules from 10 weeks to over 20 weeks.

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PowerColor Intros Devil Box External GPU

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PowerColor Intros Devil Box External GPU

PowerColor announces the Devil Box-- an AMD Xconnect-based external GPU enclosure allowing customers to add more graphical grunt to underpowered notebooks or mini PCs.

The Devil Box includes a 500W PSU and fits graphics cards up to 310 x 140 x 50mm in size. A PCI Express x16 slot handles a variety of GPUs from both AMD and Nvidia, including the Radeon R9 Fury, the Radeon R9 300 series, the Radeon R9 290X, the GeForce GTX Titan X, the GTX 980 and the GTX 970, among others.

Connection to PC comes via Thunderbolt 3, while further connectivity comes through x4 USB 3.0 and ethernet. In addition, the box also fits a SATA III 2.5-inch HDD for the storage of either backups or games.

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Terahertz Radiation for Faster Memory?

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Terahertz Radiation for Faster Memory?

According to research by European and Russian scientists teraherz radiation, aka "T-rays," might be the key for faster computer memory by making the switching on and off of individual memory cells even faster.

T-rays consists of short electromagnetic pulses with a wavelength of around 0.1mm (or teraherz frequencies), which allows for the inspection of organic and mechanical materials. Such properties mean T-rays find use in airport body scanners, as well as in the inspection of microchips, fragile texts and airport luggage.

Now scientists say teraherz radiation can replace the external magnetic fields currently used by memory cells in order to boost the cell-resetting process by a factor of 1000.The concept was successfully demonstrated on a weak ferromagnet, thulium ortoferrite (TmFeO3), and showed the effect of the teraherz radiation was ten times greater than that of a traditional external magnet.

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Gigabyte Updates BRIX Mini-PCs

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Gigabyte Updates BRIX Mini-PCs

Gigabyte announces an update of the BRIX barebone mini-PC systems-- one adding a selection of 7th generation Intel Core processors in a choice of two chassis sizes.

The chassis sizes available are either 0.46L (34.4 x 112.6 x 119.4mm) or 0.6L (46.8 x 112.6 x 119.4mm).The larger option fits both a 2.5-inch drive and an M.2 SSD, while the smaller fits only an M.2 SSD. As for the processors, Gigabyte offers the Intel Core i3-7100U, Core i5-7200U or Core i7-7500U. All are 2C/4T CPUs equipped with Intel HD Graphics 620 with 300MHz base frequency (boostable to 1GHz) and support up to 32GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM via two SO-DIMM slots.

BRIX systems are VESA-mountable and come with a variety of connectivity optoins, including x1 USB-C, x1 USB 3.1, x2 USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort and gigabit ethernet ports. Wireless comes through dual-band wifi and Bluetooth 4.2.

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