Intel Broadwell Architecture Preview: A Glimpse into Core M

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Typically we would see Intel unveil the bulk of the technical details of their forthcoming products at their annual Intel Developer Forum, and with the next IDF scheduled for the week of September 9th we’ll see just that. However today Intel will be breaking from their established standards a bit by not waiting until IDF to deliver everything at once. In a presentation coinciding with today’s embargo, dubbed Advancing Moore’s Law in 2014, Intel will be offering a preview of sorts for Broadwell and the 14nm process.

Today’s preview and Intel’s associated presentation are going to be based around the forthcoming Intel Core M microprocessor, Broadwell configuration otherwise known at Broadwell-Y. The reason for this is a culmination of several factors, and in all honesty it’s probably driven as much by investor relations as it is consumer/enthusiast relations, as Intel would like to convince consumer and investor alike that they are on the right path to take control of the mobile/tablet through superior products, superior technology, and superior manufacturing. Hence today’s preview will be focused on the part and the market Intel feels is the most competitive and most at risk for the next cycle: the mobile market that Core M will be competing in.

AMD’s 5 GHz Turbo CPU in Retail: The FX-9590 and ASRock 990FX Extreme9 Review

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While AMD’s FX-9590 CPU has been in systems for over a year, it suddenly comes to market as a retail package for end-users to buy with a bundled liquid cooling system. This 220W CPU that has a turbo speed of 5.0 GHz still sits at the top of AMD’s performance stack, despite subsequent improvements in the architecture since. We have decided to grab ASRock’s 990FX Extreme9 and an FX-9590 for a review to see if it still is the AMD performance CPU champion.

Life with the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

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Earlier this year I upgraded to the new Yoga 2 Pro, an Ultrabook with pretty typical specifications. The screen is one of the key differentiators with a QHD+ 3200×1800 resolution, four times the pixels of the original Yoga. After using the laptop for many months now, it’s a very interesting experience, as the flexible chassis works as both a traditional laptop or a touch input tablet. Read on to find out what it’s like living with the Yoga 2 Pro, and how it measure up in our suite of benchmarks.

The NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Review

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While I talked about this in the launch article, the SHIELD Tablet is very much the culmination of lessons learned from 2013. While the Tegra Note 7 was a decent tablet, it had to eke out a profit through hardware sales against competition that was willing to sell their tablets with no profit on hardware. While the SHIELD portable was a good portable gaming device, it was far too specialized to be anything but a gaming device. Without an established gaming ecosystem, NVIDIA struggled against established competitors.

As a result, NVIDIA is the first to launch a serious gaming tablet running Android. While gaming tablets have been done before, they’ve been few and far between. It’s always been technically possible to take a high end tablet and make it usable for gaming, but for the most part these attempts are marred by either the need for root or an application that requires extensive work on the part of the user to create proper control profiles for each game. In addition, the SoC in the tablet is often underequipped for intensive 3D gaming.

That’s where the SHIELD tablet comes in. With Tegra K1, a dedicated controller, 2×2 WiFi, and a huge amount of custom software, there’s definitely a lot of ground to cover. Once again, while the SHIELD tablet is a gaming device, it must also be a good tablet. To that end, NVIDIA has tried to differentiate this tablet with DirectStylus 2 and dual front facing speakers/bass reflex ports. To find out how this device does, read on for the full review.

QNAP TS-451 Bay Trail NAS Performance Review

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The launch of the QNAP TS-x51 series was covered in detail last month. Its introduction has revitalized the premium NAS market for SOHO and power users by providing a powerful enough alternative to the Atom D270x-based NAS units. The 22nm Celeron J1800 in the TS-x51 is a SoC (obviates the necessity for a platform controller hub) and brings a revamped Atom microarchitecture (Silvermont) to the NAS market. Does this make the TS-x51 perform better and consume lower power compared to its predecessors in the same class? Read on for our review of the 4-bay TS-451 to find out.

LG G Watch Giveaway

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Last month’s Google IO saw the official introduction of Google’s Android Wear as well as the first two devices to run the new wearable OS. Among those was LG’s G Watch, a Snapdragon 400 (4 x ARM Cortex A7) based Android Wear device with a 1.65" IPS display. As a show of continued support for the Wearables section on AnandTech, ARM is providing two G Watches as giveaways to two lucky AnandTech readers. 

To be elligible you need to be a US resident with a US mailing address and leave a comment below. In your comment, ARM would like to know what segments or applications you think wearables would be most successful in. Some examples being communication, enterprise, fashion, healthcare, security, fitness, etc…

Leave your feedback in a comment below and that’ll automatically enter you for the giveaway. Good luck!

Nokia Lumia 630 Review

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With the introduction of the Lumia 630 and 635 models, we have our first look at the next generation of low cost Windows Phone devices, and the Lumia 630 is a phone with many firsts for this segment. It’s the first phone launched with Windows Phone 8.1 from any manufacturer. It’s also the first phone released after the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, though the phone was announced at BUILD prior to the final paperwork was completed on the acquisition. This is the first Windows Phone ever with an optional Dual SIM model. This is also the first Windows Phone which incorporates a SensorCore branded pedometer. It’s the first Windows Phone which replaces the hardware back, home, and search keys with on-screen equivalents, and unfortunately it’s the first Windows Phone which is lacking a hardware camera button, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor. This is definitely a device of firsts for Windows Phone, but not all of the firsts are good news.

6 TB NAS Drives: WD Red, Seagate Enterprise Capacity and HGST Ultrastar He6 Face-Off

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Western Digital launched the first NAS-specific 6 TB drive today. In expanding their Red portfolio, they have brought 6 TB drives suitable for 24×7 operation into the hands of home consumers. Some enterprise-specific 6 TB drives have been around since late last year. Today’s introduction provides us an opportunity to see how the WD Red compares against those offerings. Read on for our evaluation of the currently available 6 TB drives suitable for NAS units.

Overclockable Pentium Anniversary Edition Review: The Intel Pentium G3258

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Many industries, both inside and outside of technology, are versed in the terminology ‘cheap and cheerful’. When enthusiasts were overclocking their CPUs at the turn of the century, this was the case – taking a low cost part, such as the Celeron 300A, and adjusting one or two settings to make it run as fast as a Pentium III 450 MHz. This gave a +50% frequency boost at the lower price point, as long as one could manage the heat output. The Pentium Anniversary Edition is a small nod back to those days, and to celebrate the 20+ years of Pentium branding, Intel is now releasing a $75 overclockable dual core Haswell-derived CPU.

Western Digital My Book Duo DAS Review

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Earlier this week, we took a look at LaCie’s high end 2-bay RAID DAS, the 2big Thunderbolt 2. It integrated both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 as connectivity options. At $800 for a 8 TB version, the pricing carries a premium for the Thunderbolt connectivity. USB 3.0 is, in a way, the poor man’s Thunderbolt. With a focus on the average consumer, Western Digital launched the My Book Duo USB 3.0 DAS with hardware RAID capabilities a few weeks back. The 8 TB variant is priced at a more palatable $450. Read on to see how it performs in our evaluation.

Devil’s Canyon Review: Intel Core i7-4790K and i5-4690K

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In the latter part of the last decade, getting performance on the cheap meant buying a low end processor and learning how to overclock it. This is how I started in building computers, but a few generations ago Intel locked it all down except for a few high-end models in each generation. Since then, due to various changes in packaging, each of the last few generations has anecdotally felt to offer less overclocking headroom or fewer highly overclocking parts, much to the chagrin of enthusiasts. With Devil’s Canyon, Intel aimed to address some of these concerns.

Synology DS414j: An Ideal Backup NAS

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The consumer Network Attached Storage (NAS) market has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. As the amount of digital media generated by the average household increases, the standard 2-bay NAS is no longer sufficient. 4-bay solutions based on ARM platforms are the most attractive for home users, thanks to their low cost and power consumption profile. We have already evaluated solutions from Western Digital (WD EX4) and LenovoEMC (ix4-300d) in this space. Today, we are going to take a look at Synology’s offering in this market segment, the DS414j.

LaCie’s 2big Thunderbolt 2 and Rugged Thunderbolt DAS Review

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Consumers dealing with multimedia workflows need to transfer large amounts of data around. Be it collecting data in the field or editing media at a workstation, the necessity for fast and accessible direct attached storage (DAS) units can’t be stressed enough. LaCie and G-Technology are two vendors targeting this space. Back in April, we had covered the launch of some solutions in this space. Today, we are reviewing one of LaCie’s introductions, the 2big Thunderbolt 2. LaCie’s Rugged Thunderbolt bus-powered DAS forms a complementary offering for in-field use. Both units offer Thunderbolt as well as USB 3.0 connectivity. Read on to see how they perform in our evaluation.

Thecus N2310 Budget 2-bay NAS Review

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The consumer NAS market segment is growing at a very fast rate, with 2 and 4-bay solutions leading the trend. While some vendors choose to compete on feature set (which tends to push up the price), others choose to approach from the cost perspective. Thecus has solutions from both perspectives. While the N2560 (review) was an Evansport NAS which presented a host of media-centric features, the N2310 that we are going to look at today cuts down the features (both hardware and software) to target entry-level users at a low price point. Read on to find out how the N2310 fares in our NAS evaluation.

The LG G3 Review

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While the enthusiast segment is no stranger to LG smartphones, for the most part LG hasn’t received nearly the amount of attention that Samsung has. At first, it doesn’t make much sense. After all, LG is almost as big as Samsung. Both are chaebols, with enormous resources and power that few other companies have. Starting from the Optimus G, it seems that LG has shipped some of the best hardware in the industry, leveraging all the branches of the company from LG Innotek to LG Display to make a product that was easily equal to or better than the competition at the time.

One of the real issues that LG faced was a credibility gap. After the Optimus 2X and 4X HD, LG simply lacked credibility amongst the enthusiast audience. Without this audience and without the marketing push that other OEMs had, LG phones simply didn’t sell. Fortunately, things have gotten better since those days. The G2 brought significant attention to LG phones, and if anything, LG has been the sleeping giant in the industry. LG’s displays have been one of the best in the industry, and as an Android OEM they’ve consistently executed well on hardware. The immense popularity of the Nexus 4 and 5, even amongst mainstream consumers is surprising, especially because they were supposed to be developer devices.

This leads us to the LG G3, which is now available in Korea and ready to be sold internationally. LG now faces the difficult task of succeeding the G2, one of the best phones of 2013. To find out whether they’ve made a worthy successor, read on for the full review.

A Closer Look at Android RunTime (ART) in Android L

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With the latest I/O conference, Google has finally publicly made public its plans for its new runtime on Android. The Android RunTime, ART, is the successor and replacement for Dalvik, the virtual machine on which Android Java code is executed on. We’ve had traces and previews of it available with KitKat devices since last fall, but there wasn’t much information in terms of technical details and the direction Google was heading with it.

Contrary to other mobile platforms such as iOS, Windows or Tizen, which run software compiled natively to their specific hardware architecture, the majority of Android software is based around a generic code language which is transformed from “byte-code” into native instructions for the hardware on the device itself.

Over the years and from the earliest Android versions, Dalvik started as a simple VM with little complexity. With time, however, Google felt the need to address performance concerns and to be able to keep up with hardware advances of the industry. Google eventually added a JIT-compiler to Dalvik with Android’s 2.2 release, added multi-threading capabilities, and generally tried to improve piece by piece.

Lately over the last few years however, the ecosystem had been outpacing Dalvik development, so Google sought out to build something new to serve as a solid foundation for the future, where it could scale with the performance of today’s and the future’s 8-core devices, large storage capabilities, and large working memories.

Thus ART was born.

Samsung SSD 850 Pro (128GB, 256GB & 1TB) Review: Enter the 3D Era

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Over the last three years, Samsung has become one of the most dominant players in the SSD industry. Samsung’s strategy has been tight vertical integration ever since the beginning, which gives Samsung the ability to be in the forefront of new technologies. That is a massive advantage because ultimately all the parts need to be designed and optimized to work properly together. The first fruit of Samsung’s vertical integration was the SSD 840, which was the first mass produced SSD to utilize TLC NAND and gave Samsung a substantial cost advantage. Even today, the SSD 840 and its successor, the 840 EVO, are still the only TLC NAND based SSDs shipping in high volume. Now, two years later, Samsung is doing it again with the introduction of the SSD 850 Pro, the world’s first consumer SSD with 3D NAND.

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