NVIDIA

Nvidia Shield Android set top box announced, arrives May for $200

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Nvidia are coming to your TV. The Nvidia Shield Set top box is Nvidia’s effort to bring their version of a complete entertainment device to your living room. The box will be running Android TV as is being launched as the world’s first 4K Android TV. Specs include Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip – which is touted to be double the performance of the Xbox 360. The hardware includes HDMI 2.0, Gigabi ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, and a MIcroSD slot for internal expansion.

The Nvidia Shield takes advantage of Android’s voice search function with the remote including a Microphone for that very reason. The remote also enjoy’s Bluetooth connectivity and allows users to connect 3.5mm headphones directly to it for semi wireless audio.

The device isn’t just about 4K video content. It’s still a gaming device at heart. Being Android, it will have a massive availability of titles already, but Nvidia are going a step further and porting a massive list of high end titles to the device.

Another feature being bundled with the launch is Nvidia GRID. The game streaming service will give users two options. Free with the choice to rent and buy games, or paid with an all you can eat type subcription. The service basically streams high end games directly from Nvidia’s own supercomputer fields to the device itself. Not something we haven’t seen before, but being offered with 1080p 60fps should be nice bonus.

The Nvidia Shield launches this May and will cost just $200.

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Review: HTC Nexus 9

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The Nexus 9 is the latest tablet from Google with the help of HTC for manufacturing and some developing. This is also HTC’s first foray into the tablet world. Off the bat the Nexus 9 features an 8.9-inch display with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and the latest Nvidia Tegra K1 64-bit chipset. Let’s take a look at the main specs before we move on and look at the tablet itself.

  • OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Display: 8.9″ IPS LCD touchscreen, 2,048 x 1,536 resolution; Gorilla Glass 3
  • Chipset: Nvidia Tegra K1: dual-core Denver @ 2.3GHz; Kepler DX1 GPU; 2GB RAM
  • Camera: 8MP main camera with 1080p@30fps video capture
  • Front camera: 1.6MP front-facing camera with 720p video capture
  • Storage: 16GB / 32GB built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX, A-GPS + GLONASS; microUSB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 7.9mm; 425g (Wi-Fi) / 436g (LTE)
  • Battery: 6,700mAh Li Po
  • Misc: BoomSound stereo speakers

The specs are impressive and we’re interested to see what the Nvidia chipset has to offer along with Android 5.0. We can also see all of the usual latest connectivity with WiFi AC and Bluetooth 4.1

 The Nexus 9

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The design of the Nexus 9 has the same limitation to design as most tablets on the market. The rules are simple, keep in as thin and light as possible. There are some serious similarites between the Nexus 9 and the iPad Air. This easily comes down to the same 4:3 ratio they both share on the display. Overall HTC/Google did a great job with the metal frame and plastic back and while the Nexus 9 isn’t exceptional looking, it’s still a beautiful looking tablet.

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We have the typical volume rocker, power button and headphone slot on the tablet. HTC/Google have kept most of the design as subtle and sleek as possible.

Nexus 9 (2) Nexus 9 (9)

Android 5.0/UI

The Nexus 9 comes with the latest OS from Android. Android 5.0 Lollipop offers a lot of new features and design changes. Below is a quick run through of the OS on the tablet. Being Nexus device, we’re looking at vanilla Android, and performance is at the top of its game.

Nexus 9 UI (3) Nexus 9 UI (4)

Nexus 9 UI (1)

The settings menu has a similar breakdown to what we’re use too, but the overall color scheme has been changed. The vanilla nature of the OS provides the smoothest experience you could expect.

Nexus 9 UI (6) Nexus 9 UI (7)

The multi-tasking plane is a card based swipe system. Again, responsiveness is excellent. It be be nice to have a close-all button, but sadly users will have to swipe each card away separately.

Nexus 9 UI (5)

Nexus 9 UI (9) Nexus 9 UI (8)

A great feature included with Android 5.0 is the support for multiple user accounts. Allowing a completely separate environment for different users. This is a massive plus for a Tablets, where sharing the device is more likely.

Camera

The Nexus 9 includes an 8MP camera with 1080p video support. We’re weren’t expecting much from the camera as it’s a tablet and sadly our expectations weren’t off the mark as the included sensor on the Nexus 9 isn’t the best. Below are some images taken with the camera.

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (2) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (1)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (3) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (4)

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HTC Nexus 9 Photo (9) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (10)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (11) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (12)

Right away we can see the camera isn’t worst out there, but performance isn’t something we would call great. Some images come across as okay, but we got a lot of light balance issues with some images looking very dark as the camera over compensates.. Focusing wasn’t too bad, but we have gotten use to the near instant focusing on most flagship smartphones, so it will come across as slow. The camera is mostly lackluster, but should satisfy most users in good light situations.

Video

As we mentioned above, the Nexus 9 sports just 1080p recording. We’re not seeing any special features like HDR video or stabilization – nor did we expect anything fancy with a tablet camera. None the less, below are some videos taken with the Nexus 9.

Again, not the worst we have seen, but nothing to to praise about. It’s a tablet, so we’re not disappointed that much with the lack of features or 4k support.

Benchmarks

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Nexus 9 Benchmark (1)

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Benchmark performance is really just for the numbers. It won’t really give you an insight on how well your device will perform daily, but rather complete compute performance it offers. The Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset is the king. It offers a massive leap in performance pretty much across the board. It’s safe to say that the Nexus 9 won’t have any issues supporting intensive tasks.

Gameplay

Gameplay is huge aspect of the tablet/mobile world. It’s also great to show how well the device will handle those tasks that require intensive computing power. The HTC Nexus 9 includes the Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset, which we had no doubt would be a pleasure to use, and the video below shows exactly that. The games we took a look at are Dead trigger 2, GTA: San Andreas, and Modern Combat 5.

Battery Performance

The Nexus 9 includes a nice large battery at 6,700mAh. The Nvidia chipset being exceptionally powerful will no doubt use up the juice when doing intensive tasks, but being a tablet a lot of usage will come from more general use. Below is the medium to heavy usage we do during a 12 hour period. This is aimed to simulate a typical day of usage on a tablet.

Skype call (Video) 20-30 Minutes
Chat/Emails Throughout the day (checking) and 20-30 sent
Photos 10-20
Internet browsing Throughout the day(around 60-80 minutes total)
Gaming 30 Minutes
YouTube/Netflix 60-80 Minutes
Connectivity WiFi Only Model
Screen Brightness 50-percent

Thankfully we had no problems getting through the day with our typical usage habits and the tablet itself had just over 40 percent left. Charging the device when at complete zero took us just over 4 and a half hours. So while the battery life is pretty good, it might be wise to keep the tablet charging whenever you can. Stand by is another fantastic aspect, as we left the device in stand by overnight (WiFi off) and only lost 1-percent.

Conclusion

Design

Google pretty much have the lead when it comes to the development and design of a Nexus device and in this case HTC are a partner that handle some development and design. It’s basically a collaboration with Google in charge. HTC, however, take care of all of the manufacturing. So none the less, This is without a doubt a HTC tablet. Starting off with a sleek metal frame and smooth plastic back, the tablet is housed pretty nicely. HTC have thankfully included the dual front facing speakers with BoomSound, which go a far way to making the tablet a more enjoyable experience.

The 4:3 ratio is something of a twist. This will add black bars to most videos with content typically done with 16:9 or 21:9 ratios. We still think Google/HTC made the right choice, as having the tablet less wide as made it just that much more comfortable to hold. The smaller ratio makes the tablet less of a chore if using if for longer periods. We also have a large display without getting a large width. Ultimately it’s up to the end user if they would prefer a more standard 16:9 tablet, or go for something potentially more comfortable.

Display

The 8.9-inch IPS LCD display provides great sharpness and color. Viewing angles are spot on and the display has a pretty decent level of brightness to it. The 4:3 ratio does shine some light on a fairly annoying issue with regards to light bleed. The added black bars with 16:9 content allow us to see some pretty bad light bleed on the corners of the display. This isn’t that much of a serious issue as is only noticeable wtih complete black areas, but none the less screams low quality.

Bar the light bleed issues, the screen is actually pretty solid in terms of overall quality. The detail is great and brightness goes well high enough for sunlight use.

Performance

The Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset is insane. it’s one of the fastest performing chipsets we have seen. This along with Vanilla Android 5 gave us the smoothest and most complete lag free experience we have seen. While we don’t put to much emphasis on benchmarks, it’s hard not to be impressed with the lead the Nexus 9 has over other devices.

The camera is one of the most lacking aspects of the device. Quality is only decent enough with extremely well lit areas, but even then we’re seeing pretty poor balance issues with too much compensation. The camera app only offers panorama as an extra feature, but sadly the camera quality leaves a lot to be desired. Since this is a tablet, camera quality is last on the list of features we’re interested in. In fact, we’re more disappointed about the lack of 1080p video support on the front camera. So that should tell you something.

Overall

The Nexus 9 is not as much a successor to the Nexus 7, but rather a different offering. The Nexus 7 was aimed at being a a solid tablet with an enjoyable experience at a decent price. The Nexus 9 is more about offering the best possible performance on a beautiful tablet. Android 5.0 is on board and feels fresh and clean. The OS takes advantage of the insanely high performing Nvidia chipset and provides the most enjoyable Android experience we have seen.

The Nexus 9 is not without its drawbacks and the lack of expandable storage is probably the biggest. Not a complete deal breaker, but easily one of those things that will leave a bad taste after while and something we wish wasn’t the case with such an easy solution avaialble to OEM’s. This is even worse by the fact we finally have the ability to add multiple users and that alone will mean more space is being used. Camera quality is pretty bad with even the best photos looking like they came from a flagship from a good few years ago.

The Nexus 9 has a gotten a few things wrong, but has done so many things right. We have a beautiful looking tablet with the best version of Android yet, and to top it off we have the best performance available. It may not be the right choice for everyone, and at €389, it’s certainly not the cheapest tablet available. None the less, we definitely liked the Nexus 9 and think it’s a great tablet that will make a lot of people happy. The lack of expandable storage is enough to warrant real concern and should have some folks seek a tablet elsewhere. If there is going to be a 2015 Nexus 9, we hope this won’t be an issue. None the less, the Nexus 9 is a Gold level tablet and provides a top of the line experience.

Geektech.ie Gold Award

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Alienware launching external Graphics Amplifier for Alienware 13

Alienware Graphics Amplifier

Alienware are bringing something new to the Alienware gaming laptop series. This is something that will make anyone pondering anything but the new Alienware 13 think twice. The new gadget will allow gamers to use a full blown desktop graphics card with their laptop. To explain further, the new Alienware 13 uses a proprietary external PCI Express connection that allows the Graphics Amplifier unit to provide the user with access to the graphics card it houses inside. The best part is that you can pretty much throw in any dual slot card you wish, as long as it uses less than 375 watts of power. Pricing for the unit is set at €275, with the graphics card itself obviously costing more. The unit itself also contains four USB 3.0 ports, meaning you can have a nice keyboard, mouse, headset, and of course high resolution monitor already connected and you just connect up your laptop for desktop gaming performance.

The Graphics Amplifier is now available to order and ships in November.

Product Page: Alienware Graphics Amplifier

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New Alienware 13 gaming laptop and Area 51 gaming desktop now available to order

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The new Alienware 13 Gaming Laptop and Area 51 Desktop PC are now available to order directly from Dell. The new laptop and  desktop are set to ship in November. The Alienware 13 gaming laptop will start at €1,049 and that will get you a dual-core i5-4210U processor with 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, and a 2GB Nvidia Geforce 860M GPU. The display starts pretty low with a 1,366 x 768 resolution, but can be bumped up to a 1080p or 2,560 x 1440 with touchscreen. The RAM and storage can be changed for up to 16GB and a up to 512GB SSD.

The Area51 Gaming Desktop starts at €1,599 and that pricetag includes the new Core i7 5820k six-core CPU, 8GB of RAM. a 2TB hard drive, and finally a 2GB AMD Radeon R9 270 GPU. Being a desktop PC, there are more upgrade options available which include the 5930k, and 5960x, up to 32GB of RAM and 512GB SSD and 4TB hard drive storage. The GPU options are fairly extensive with Dell offering single, dual and triple graphics cards setups.

Single card options include a Nvidia GTX 770 2GB, a GTX 780 3GB, a GTX 980 4GB or the GTX Titan Z 12GB. Moving up the chain with dual card setups, the options are pretty much doubling up the single cards with 2 x GTX 770’s, 2 x GTX 780, 2 x GTX 980 or 2 x Titan Z. Lastly we have the triple card setups and that includes 3 x GTX 770,  3 x GTX 780, 3 x GTX 980 and finally 3 x AMD Radeon R9 290x.

Product Page: Alienware 13, Arear51

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Nvidia launches GTX 970 and 980 graphics cards, featuring latest Maxwell architecture

Nvidia Maxwell

 

Nvidia has just launched their latest graphics cards. The new GTX 900 series cards feature Nvidia’s latest Maxwell architecture. The cards being released are the GTX 970 and GTX 980. Let’s take a quick look at the spces of these cards and see what each has to offer.

 

 

nvidia gtx 980 and 970 details

Here we can see the GTX 980 features 2048 CUDA cores with a base clock at 1,1126MHz and a boost clock speed at 1,216MHz. The card will include 4GB of GDDR5 memory a 256-bit config and run at 7Gbps. Basically all the specs will add up too 5 teraflops of computing power. This is around the same that the GTX 780ti offers, but Nvidia are stating that the GTX 980 uses less power than the GTX 780ti. It will also cost less as well, with pricing for the GTX 980 set at around £420-430.

The GTX 970 features 1664 CUDA cores with a base clock at 1,050MHz and a boost rising to 1,178MHz. It features the same 4GB/256bit memory config running at 7Gbps and will offer 4 teraflops of computing power.

Both cards include 1 x DL-DVI, 1 x HDMI 2.0 port and 3 x Displayport 1.2. All of these can be used at any time. The design of the cards hasn’t differed from the GTX 780 reference cards, but they do now include a back plate, with a removable area as to not interfere when running multiplier cards closer together.

Nvidia GTX 980

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Nvidia Shield Tablet announced: 8-inch 1080p display and Tegra K1 processor

Nvidia Shield tablet

The countdown timer has just reached zero and as expected Nvidia have just announced the Nvidia Shield Tablet. The new tablet is the successor to the somewhat popular portable gaming device with the same name that featured the Tegra 4 processor. The new Shield tablet however, will sport Nvidia’s latest Tegra K1 processor that uses Nvidia’s Kepler architecture.

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The specs for the tablet continue on the high end with an 8-inch 1080p display. The Tablet will be running a version of Android and support all previous Shield games including Portal and Half Life 2. The tablet is available for pre-order right now with a pricing set at £239.99. There is also a new wireless controller being shipped with a price tag of £49.99. Check out more details with the source link below.

Source: Nvidia Shield Tablet

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Nvidia announce the GeFore GTX Titan Z Dual Kepler graphics card for an eye gouging

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Nvidia aren’t slowing down when it comes to the the graphics card game and today they have announced their fastest graphics card yet. The GTX Titan Z combines two Keplar GPU’s inside a triple card housing and offers the best numbers we have seen from a single card. The card has 5,760 CUDA cores with 12GB of memory and 8 TereFLOPS of computing power with little more details than those currently available.The insane specs come at a serious cost with a truly over the top price tag of $2,999, which means you could nab yourself a few GTX Titan Black or GTX 780 TI’s for cheaper and possibly better performance. None the less, having all that power in a single card can of course be a benefit.

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Microsoft release details on DirectX 12 for PC, Xbox One and Mobile

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Microsoft announced that they would be sharing details on DirectX 12 at GDC and they have done just that. DirectX 12 will be pushed across all of Microsoft’s platforms which include the PC, Window Phone, and the Xbox One. The aim of DirectX 12 is to give developers better control and further access to the hardware. Microsoft details that the new Direct3D 12 enables richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware, however it’s not just aimed at high end hardware and also aims to increase performance of low-end hardware as well.

 

Both AMD and Nvidia were present at the announcement with both companies expressing their commitment to the new API with Nvidia pushing that DirectX 12 will be supported on Fermi, Kepler, Maxwell, and future Nvidia architectures with AMD stating DirectX 12 will offer improvements in performance and hopefully that extends to the Xbox One as well, which will also be getting DirectX 12.

Microsoft also stressed that DirectX 12 will be featured on Windows phone with Qualcomm also at the event and vice president Eric Demers stating ‘DirectX 12 could be the missing link between console and mobile’.

While AMD are pushing their own Mantle API, it could be considering a sign that AMD wanted more from Microsoft and in the least, Microsoft seem to be responding. Microsoft have’t released any firm details on release other than a preview of Direct X 12 is set for release later this year.

Source: MSDN.com

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Nvidia unleash new GeForce GTX Titan Black graphics card with 5.1 Tereflops of compute power

NVIDIA_GeForce_Titan_Black
Nvidia have announced their latest and great graphics card dubbed the GTX Titan Black. Like the previous released GTX Titan the new graphics card not only shares the high price tag, but also brings even better and now unbeatable performance to consumers. The GTX Titan Black features the same GK110B chip configuration as the GTX 780 Ti which was Nvidia’s previously released card that offered nearly identical performance compared to the original GTX Titan, so now the Titan Black effectively takes the best from both cards to give 5.1 Tereflops of computing performance. Thanks to anandtech we have included their full spec breakdown of the GTX Titan/Titan Black and GTX 780/780 Ti

GTX Titan Black GTX 780 Ti GTX Titan GTX 780
Stream Processors 2880 2880 2688 2304
Texture Units 240 240 224 192
ROPs 48 48 48 48
Core Clock 889MHz 875MHz 837MHz 863MHz
Boost Clock 980MHz 928MHz 876MHz 900MHz
Memory Clock 7GHz GDDR5 7GHz GDDR5 6GHz GDDR5 6GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit
VRAM 6GB 3GB 6GB 3GB
FP64 1/3 FP32 1/24 FP32 1/3 FP32 1/24 FP32
TDP 250W 250W 250W 250W
Transistor Count 7.1B 7.1B 7.1B 7.1B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Date 2/18/14 11/07/13 02/21/13 05/23/13
Launch Price $999 $699 $999 $649

Source: Nvidia, anandtech

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