Lenovo launches new lineup of laptops and tablets

December 12, 2012 by  
Filed under News

At a media briefing this evening Lenovo Middle East unveiled their latest lineup of Windows 8-powered devices. The Lenovo Yoga (check out our review here), Lynx, Tablet 2, and Twist all took center stage as members of the media were invited to try out this new lineup.

The Lenovo Yoga was on display in both 11″ and 13″ models, and users enjoyed turning the Ultrabook’s screen around to convert it into a tablet. The Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx also turned heads with its thin and lightweight design, and its detachable keyboard dock makes it the perfect laptop / tablet combo. The Lenovo Thinkpad Twist offers the reliability and quality of Thinkpad with the flexibility of a screen that can rotate 180 degrees to fold down into a tablet mode. Lastly the Thinkpad Tablet 2 was showcased as a business tablet, bundled with Windows 8 Professional and several other enterprise-level features that give it a distinct advantage over other ARM-based tablets.

Stay tuned to tbreak.com as we review the hottest devices from Lenovo as they hit our labs.

Noctua NH-L9 Heatsink Review

Noctua is a company known for their exceptional heatsinks, especially when it comes to air-cooling high-end CPUs with extreme overclocks. However, the world trends are changing insofar that the general consumer isn’t necessary looking to cool their gaming machine so much as having a slim HTPC that remains cool and quiet.

In comes Noctua with their latest low profile coolers for both Intel and AMD processors. Traditionally Noctua has packed both Intel and AMD brackets with one heatsink, but with the NH-L9 the heatsink design and cooling capacity is different, so both AMD and Intel sockets come in different packaging.

Packaging

Each of the Intel and AMD heatsinks come with four thumb-screws, and low noise adapter cable, a tube of Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste, an instruction booklet and four long screws in case you want to install a larger sized fan. The AMD set comes with an extra backplate for AMD motherboards.

NH-L9i and NH-L9a

The NH-L9i is the Intel based heatsink, with the built-in bracket capable of directly screwing onto the motherboard. And that’s literally how you install the NH-L9i on an Intel motherboard: apply thermal paste, put the heatsink on CPU, and screw it in from the back.

Meanwhile the NH-L9a is the AMD based heatsink, and installing it is identical to the Intel heatsink. The only addition is to have the backplate on the rear of the motherboard, and then screwing it in. Of course, being low profile heatsinks means the NH-L9 have to be very small, and they’re certainly impressive sitting at just 37mm high. That’s slim enough for most HTPCs including those with some extremely thin cases.

Rated at a maximum of 65W TDP for AMD processors and up to 77W for Intel Ivy Bridge processor (with Turbo disabled) and 95W for Sandy Bridge, the NH-L9 are capable of handling quiet a lot of heat. Of course, for the most optimal experience a 65W TDP or lesser rated processor is recommended. And for most people’s HTPCs AMD’s Trinity based APUs and Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i3 processors will suffice.

Testing

For testing the two NH-L9 heatsinks, the below testbeds were used:

In both cases the testbed were lying in the open, so in a closed case expect a little more fan spin, and presumably a little less noise as the casing muffles it. Unfortunately we didn’t have a Core i5 or i3 processor, but the Intel i7-3770K will show what pushing the NH-L9 to the limits means. Meanwhile the AMD A6-3500 represents the ideal scenario.

For testing the NH-L9 I ran both processors at stock speed, disabling the Turbo Boost on the Intel processor to keep it in line with the TDP guidelines from Noctua. Cinebench R11.5 was use for stress testing the processors as it utiilizes each core with hyper-threading (where applicable)  at 100%.

With the AMD A6-3500 you can see that only are the temperatures better than the stock heatsink, but the general speed is also low, reducing the ambient noise. The i7-3770K on the other hand represents what the worst case scenario could be, with the NH-L9i spinning at near full speed and being a fair bit noisy as a result. Note that the Stock Intel heatsink is the XTS100H which is a high-performance tower cooler from Intel, meant for their i7 and Extreme Edition CPUs. The above example just illustrates the performance difference between these two types of coolers, and the type of CPU the NH-L9 is meant for.

Conclusion

Basically if you stick with a processor which has a TDP rating of 65W or below, you’ll have a perfectly fine experience with the Noctua NH-L9 heatsinks. And besides, for an HTPC you don’t really need a high-end processor in the first place. With a low profile of just 37mm, the Noctua NH-L9 is one of the most impressive looking and performing heatsinks for HTPCs on the market.

 

Convergence of Screens

It was at GITEX Technology Shopper week in Dubai a month back when my wife, like every other bargain hunter, decided to use GITEX as an opportunity to look for the best deals on TVs. The demands from our ideal TV were very simple: a 46 inch LCD at around AED 2,000. Interestingly enough, all of the GITEX salespeople had a different take on “ideal”. They started bombarding her with all these sheets and brochures, trying to upsell her to a LED TV for AED 4,000 or better yet, a SMART TV so we could potentially surf the internet and watch YouTube and with a price tag of AED 6,000.

Looking for an opinion, she found me in the venue and asked – ‘Between the two of us, we have two Smart Phones, two Tablets and three Laptops and yet, why would I want to surf the internet or watch YouTube on the TV??? I just want a TV for the occasional desire to watch a TV show or a movie on a big screen from the comfort of my couch.’

It was this question, which upon reflection formed the basis of this blog. Our activities have become increasingly visual – we surf the internet, read the news, watch videos, look at photos of friends, update our social media status, play games etc. And we find ourselves immersing in all these activities on a variety of screen sizes.
Furthermore, our smart phones have all our contacts with whom we communicate with on a frequent basis. Our tablets have all our apps and games that we enjoy either when in the metro or for an hour before bedtime. Our laptops store all our work related emails and numerous worksheets and presentations. And finally, the TV is to watch our favorite sitcoms and movies.

The cumulative cost of the 4 separate screens is around AED 8,000 (assuming AED 2,000 per device) but I would be happy to pay around AED 4,000 for just one device that combines it all – the screen that rules across sizes. But what would that device be called? The term Phablet, coined from the combination of a Smart Phone and Tablet, is common place and there are a few brands in this space. But will the Phablet replace the phone, laptop, PC and TV?

In my ideal world, this single screen or device would connect to a dumb keyboard and screen at work for me to create content, i.e. make presentations and worksheets and store them in the cloud. At home, this Single Device would connect to a dumb TV terminal and transform into a media hub for when we want to read the news, play casual games or stream TV shows from the internet. It would simultaneously serve as our communication device for when wish to talk to friends or send a SMS.

I imagine a screen size of around 5 inches for the Single Device that I envision – one might say that current smartphones are already there. However my counter argument would be that the existing crop of smartphones is not powerful or standardized enough to be used to create content. The current range of smartphones and tablets are primarily for consuming content while the PC remains the de facto device to create content.

Manish Punjabi, Marketing Manager (META) at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

Panasonic Lumix GH3

December 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Product of the Week

Meet the DMC-GH3, a new and highly evolved model from LUMIX, creator of the world’s first* digital single lens mirrorless (DSLM) camera.

The body has been engineered to incorporate a 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor, a 4-CPU Venus Engine, and a newly designed low-pass filter. The creative expression made possible by these innovations, which render even the finest textures in intricate detail, breaking new ground in photographic realism.

The new model also features Contrast AF with a high level of response. And its magnesium alloy frame is tightly sealed to resist splashes and dust, making the DMC-GH3 rugged enough to withstand the rigors of professional use.

Advances have been made in video performance as well. In addition to supporting a wide range of recording formats, the DMC-GH3 features a special heat-dispersing design for extended high-quality recording. Its specifications match those of many professional cameras, ensuring that it meets the demands of video field work.

The LUMIX GH3 was designed from the ground up to provide seamless multi-media performance for both stills and videos. It may well be the world’s first camera to please professional photographers by offering them the best of both.

Check out our review to see what makes the Panasonic Lumix GH3 such an incredible camera.

Win an MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 Motherboard

December 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Competitions

Equipped with a digital PWM controller, DigitALL Power ensures an efficient, precise and stable power delivery to motherboards. With DigitALL power, MSI A85X mainboard provides an efficient and reliable platform for gaming, multimedia and a wide variety of applications.

MSI mainboards maintains the commitment to product stability and reliability by introducing Military Class III components including Hi-c CAP, SFC and Solid CAP which have passed MIL-STD-810G certification, making MSI’s Military Class III components synonymous with premium quality and ultimate stability.

OC Genie II provides an instant performance boost, optimizing CPU, memory, integrated graphics, and storage device performance with the function enabled.

And thanks to MSI we have this great AMD Trinity FM2 motherboard to giveaway.

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