The Intel Broadwell Desktop Review: Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C Tested (Part 1)

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On almost all PC technology forums, it is hard to escape users talking about what Intel’s next processor lineup will be. Due to problems in Intel’s 14nm node, Broadwell in both mobile and desktop have been delayed, somewhat substantially in the case of the desktop. So while motherboard manufacturers released their Z97 platform over 6 months ago, we have been waiting for Broadwell to arrive. That day is today, and we can lay the smackdown with some benchmark numbers too.

Silicon Motion SM2256 SSD Controller Preview: TLC for Everyone

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The SSD industry has been talking about TLC NAND for over three years now. We published our first post, Understanding TLC NAND, back in early 2012, but in three years we have actually seen very little TLC NAND making it to the SSD market. Samsung was an early adopter back in 2012, but aside from it and SanDisk we’ve yet to see any TLC drives enter the market. Silicon Motion’s SM2256 is set to change that because it’s the first commercially available controller and firmware combo with TLC support, which will enable companies like Kingston, ADATA and the like to use TLC NAND in their SSDs. We got an early reference design sample from Silicon Motion in for testing to see how the SM2256 stacks up with the competition, so read on to see our preliminary thoughts on the new controller.

A First Look At Apple’s OS X El Capitan

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Right on schedule, at last week’s World Wide Developers Conference Apple announced the next iteration of their desktop OS, OS X. Version 10.11, dubbed El Capitan, is the latest in Apple’s string of yearly OS updates. And with this now being the 3rd iteration of the company’s initiative to offer free desktop operating system upgrades, it’s safe to say that the company has settled into what is the new norm.

Meanwhile released alongside the pagentry of WWDC was the very first developer beta of El Capitan. Typically we would see Apple keep the OS under wraps from the public for another month or two until the public beta opens, however this year Apple is seemingly trying something a little different when it comes to engaging consumers and the press during the developer beta period. Rather than clamming up entirely – developers are under non-disclosure agreements – Apple invited us to take a first look at the beta OS, loaning us a 2015 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with OS X El Capitan preloaded. To that end, today we are taking our first look at El Capitan, checking out the major new features of the OS and experiencing first-hand the software Apple is putting together for later this year.

The Acer Aspire R 13 Review: Convertible Notebook With A Twist

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The world of the convertible notebook has come a long way in just a couple of years, but we seem to have settled in on two basic types of convertible devices. There are the tablet style devices where the display can be removed from the keyboard and used separately, and there are the notebook style devices where the keyboard can be rotated around and under the display in order to act like a tablet. Acer has decided to try something different with the Aspire R 13 which features their Ezel Aero hinge.

LIFX White 800 Smart Bulb Review

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The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has sparked an increased interest in home automation. Lighting is one of the major home automation aspects. LIFX is one of the popular crowdfunded companies in this space to have come out with a successful product. The success of their multi-colored LED bulbs brought venture capital funding, allowing them to introduce a new product in their lineup – the White 800. In this review, we take a look at the White 800 platform and our usage experience.

The Microsoft Lumia 640 Review

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The group that was once Nokia’s mobile division has gone through a great number of changes in the past few years. After declining sales of Symbian devices, the company decided to go all in with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. In a very short time, Nokia became the number one vendor of Windows Phone smartphones in the world. Despite this, the move to Windows Phone failed to revitalize the company. In August of last year, Microsoft purchased Nokia’s mobile devices business in a 7.2 billion dollar acquisition. Less than a month later, Microsoft launched the Nokia Lumia 830, and the Nokia Lumia 735. These were the last two Lumia smartphones that would be branded as Nokia devices. With Nokia’s phone division absorbed into Microsoft, future Lumia devices would fall under the Microsoft brand.

Today’s review focuses on the Microsoft Lumia 640. This phone was announced alongside the Lumia 640 XL at MWC in February, and it’s one of the first new Lumia devices released under the Microsoft brand. At $129, the Lumia 640 occupies a fairly low price point as far as smartphones are concerned, and it serves as an entry model to the Lumia smartphone line. To see how it compares to the competition, and to its fellow Lumia devices, read on for the full review.

The Huawei P8 Review

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It’s been a month now since Huawei launched its new smartphone flagship, the P8. Huawei started Ascend P-line of smartphones back in 2012 with the launch of the Ascend P1, and has since iterated every year with the follow up P6, P7, and this year’s P8. Read on as we review Huawei’s new smartphone.

The Intel Broadwell Desktop Review: Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5765C Tested (Part 1)

See the original posting on Anandtech

On almost all PC technology forums, it is hard to escape users talking about what Intel’s next processor lineup will be. Due to problems in Intel’s 14nm node, Broadwell in both mobile and desktop have been delayed, somewhat substantially in the case of the desktop. So while motherboard manufacturers released their Z97 platform over 6 months ago, we have been waiting for Broadwell to arrive. That day is today, and we can lay the smackdown with some benchmark numbers too.

A Look At The Changes In The Android M Preview

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Today during Google I/O 2015’s opening keynote Google announced the latest release of their Android operating system. The new version of Android is using the code name Android M, much like how Lollipop was initially referred to as Android L. While Android Lollipop was a major release with many new features and a comprehensive redesign, Android M goes back to basics, and focuses on polishing what Google introduced with Lollipop. That isn’t to say that there are no new features or design tweaks, but they are not on the same scale as Lollipop’s changes. It may be best to think of Android M being to Lollipop what Jellybean was to Ice Cream Sandwich.

When Google originally announced Android L at Google I/O last year, they released a developer preview so developers could prepare their apps for the new operating system, as well as for both developers and Android enthusiasts to provide feedback about the changes that were being made. Google has done the same thing with Android M, and they have committed to releasing over-the-air updates to the developer preview on a monthly basis.

While I’m hopeful that the final name of this next Android release will be Android Muffin, we won’t know details about the name of the new OS for quite some time. Opening the Android M Easter egg in the About phone section of Settings shows you the new Android M logo which you can see in the cover image of this article. Long pressing on that logo kicks you out of that section and presents you with the increasingly common Tsu (?) emoji. Google clearly enjoys the speculation from users and the press about what the final name will be.

While we don’t know the full name of Android M, we can look at some of the changes that are included in the developer preview build that Google has released. All of these features are obviously subject to change, and some will most certainly change as users and developers give feedback on them in the coming months. I’m just taking a look at what changes have been made so far to see where Google is headed, and to cover some of the changes that were too small to be mentioned during Google’s keynote.

Launcher Changes

Android Lollipop on the left, Android M on the right

The first thing you’re likely to notice after installing the Android M preview is that Google has included a new wallpaper which is set as the default option. They’ve also made some notable tweaks to the lock screen. The most obvious is the change to the clock and date. Not only is the text more bold, but the altered spacing between characters may mean that we’re looking at a font other than Roboto, or at some special version of Roboto. I’ve never been very good with identifying fonts so I couldn’t say for sure, but I personally prefer the thinner look of the original clock.

On top of the new font, Google has also replaced the phone dialer shortcut with a voice search shortcut. I would love to know if this is the result of data showing that people rarely used the phone shortcut. The phone part of a smartphone now seems more like an additional app on what is really a computer in your pocket.

Android Lollipop on the left, Android M on the right

Not much is tweaked with the home screens of the Google Now Launcher in Android M. You still get the same grid of icons, with the leftmost home screen being Google Now. Once you enter the app drawer you’ll see that Google has made some significant changes after all. The big change is a switch from having pages of apps that you scroll horizontally between to having a continuously scrolling vertical list of apps. From a functional standpoint, this layout is similar to how the app drawer was designed in older versions of Android from Gingerbread and prior.

There are also some changes at the top and on the side of the new app drawer. Based on some quick testing, I believe that the row of four icons on the very top are your four most commonly used applications. Above those is a search bar for those users who have so many applications that scrolling to them becomes a chore. Since the drawer is organized alphabetically, Google has made finding apps easier by putting letters on the left side which indicate the first letter of the app names that you’re currently viewing.

App Permissions

Something I’ve desired for a long time is a revamp of the permissions system on Android. Quite frankly, I feel like the system prior to Android M was a complete and utter disaster. The reason is that if there was a single permission that you didn’t want an app to have, then you were barred from installing that application. Permissions were also grouped poorly, and sometimes apps would have to ask for permissions that made them seem malicious but for some obscure reason were required for part of that app to function. In Android M, Google has resolved both of my concerns by changing the system to ask permission at the time a function of the phone needs to be used rather than at the time of install.

Since the permissions system is a key part of Android, it wasn’t possible for Google to bring their new system to older applications. Because of this, the screen above with a list of permissions that you need to accept at the time of install won’t be going away any time soon. However, Google has been able to implement part of their new permissions system, and if you take the time to use it you can control which permissions an application has access to. This can be done by going to the Apps menu in Settings, selecting the app, and then selecting permissions. This brings up the list you see in the right image above, and you can enable to disable permissions at will. I think this is a huge win for users and their privacy, and it will be even better when developers update their applications so that users can just accept or deny permissions as they are needed.

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The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Review: A Premium 4K Set Top Box

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The battle for the living room is heating up with forays from multiple vendors. As the cord-cutting trend gains momentum, the time seems to be right for disruption. Coinciding with Google I/O, NVIDIA is announcing the availability of the SHIELD Android TV, a premium 4K-capable over-the-top set-top box (OTT STB) with excellent gaming credentials. It also happens to be the first shipping product with the Tegra X1 SoC. This review presents results from evaluating the performance of the Tegra X1 in the SHIELD, while also sharing our thoughts on Android TV and what the SHIELD brings to the table.

The AMD A10-7700K and AMD A6-7400K CPU Mini-Review

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In recent months and quarters I have had discussions about why CPU manufacturers offer a number of processors each separated by $7 and 100 MHz. The obvious answer (but not always the logical answer) is to cater for what the customer wants by overloading them with choice. As a result, sometimes direct CPU comparisons can be difficult, as it requires testing every CPU released. Thankfully for AMD’s Kaveri, todays tests of the A10-7700K and A6-7400K plugs a few holes in our AMD benchmark numbers to allow those comparisons.

The ASUS Zenfone 2 Review

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ASUS is not new to the smartphone market. Since the days of Windows Mobile (not the new Windows Mobile) they’ve been selling smartphones. But when it comes to Android devices they’ve been primarily focused on tablets. ASUS worked with Google to design and manufacture both generations of the Nexus 7, which was beloved by Android enthusiasts. Their Padfone devices were an attempt to have a smartphone that attached to a tablet shell to make a sort of 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet. But only recently has the company started making a serious push into the Android smartphone space. Their ZenFone line of phones consists of several devices, with the newest being the ZenFone Zoom and the ZenFone 2, the latter being the device I’m looking at today. Read on for my full review of the ASUS ZenFone 2.

Crucial MX200 (250GB, 500GB & 1TB) SSD Review

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Last year Micron launched M600 SSD for the OEM market, but unlike in the past there was no simultaneous retail product release. We were told that the M600 firmware features would sooner than later find their way into a Crucial branded product, which finally materialized back at CES when Crucial unveiled the MX200. The MX200 adopts Micron’s Dynamic Write Acceleration SLC cache from the M600, which is set to improve both performance and endurance at lower capacities. Otherwise the MX200 adopts the core of MX100 by using the proven Marvell 88SS9189 controller with Crucial-Micron’s in-house firmware and Micron’s 16nm MLC NAND. Is the MX200 a worthy successor to the MX100 and worth the premium over the highly praised BX100? Read on and find out!

AMD Dives Deep On High Bandwidth Memory – What Will HBM Bring AMD?

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Earlier this month at AMD’s 2015 Financial Analyst day, the company announced that they would be releasing their first High Bandwidth Memory-equipped GPU – the world’s first HBM-equipped GPU, in fact – to the retail market this quarter. Since then there have been a number of questions of just what AMD intends to do with HBM and just what it means for their products (is it as big of a deal as it seems?), and while AMD is not yet ready to reveal the details of their forthcoming HBM-equipped GPU, the company is looking to hit the ground running on HBM in order to explain what the technology is and what it can do for their products ahead of the GPU launch later that quarter.

The ASUS ZenFone 2 Preview

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ASUS is not new to the smartphone market. Since the days of Windows Mobile (not the new Windows Mobile) they’ve been selling smartphones. But when it comes to Android devices they’ve been primarily focused on tablets. ASUS worked with Google to design and manufacture both generations of the Nexus 7, which was beloved by Android enthusiasts. Their Padfone devices were an attempt to have a smartphone that attached to a tablet shell to make a sort of 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet. But only recently has the company started making a serious push into the Android smartphone space. Their ZenFone line of phones consists of several devices, with the newest being the ZenFone Zoom and the ZenFone 2, the latter being the device I’m looking at today. While the full review is yet to come, you can continue on to see my initial impressions of the new ASUS ZenFone 2.

The Dell Chromebook 11 Touch Review

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Today I’m looking at a Chromebook from Dell. It’s the Dell Chromebook 11 Touch. More accurately, it may be called the New Dell Chromebook 11 Touch or the Dell Chromebook 11 (2015) as Dell had offered a previous generation of Chromebooks which were also called the Dell Chromebook 11. This new Chromebook from Dell appears to target a different section of the market than its predecessor, as it sports a new rugged design to protect it from accidents and environmental hazards that it may endure. To find out how it holds up when compared to the competition, read on for the full review.

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