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All posts tagged "computer"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

HP's All in One HP Z1 Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:52 PM

"The HP Z1 is a beauty of a 27in all-in-one PC. Not only is it meticulously built and the only one of its size and class to offer height adjustment, but it's packed with connectivity and features like an adjustable 1080p webcam. It's also the only AIO that's fully upgradeable - in fact it's easier to upgrade the Z1 than any other PC we've ever reviewed. All this is complemented by a gorgeous 27in, 10-bit, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS display and stunningly good speakers. Throw in its workstation certification, and it justifies its premium pricing."

All in one computers tend to have a lot of compromises, but the Z1 from HP aims to minimize as many of those as possible. Yes, if your computer or your display die, you'll lose both of them. On the other hand, HP has done a really impressive job of making the machine user-upgradeable. Check out the review for all the details!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Can You Tell if Your Computer is Too Hot?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:00 PM

"It's true, computers-laptops in particular-tend to run very hot (though cooling technology has advanced a lot in recent years). It's hard to tell simply by touch if your laptop is in the overheating danger zone or just feels that way. Here's how to tell for sure."

A lot of people freak out about CPU temps because they don't actually look at the thermal limits of what the CPU can handle, and they end up cramming six fans in their system when they can get by with two. I take the opposite approach: my goal is to discover what the fewest number of fans is I can have in a desktop system, thus making it the quietest, yet still maintaining acceptable thermals under load. Read more...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Commodore 64 Re-Born as Nettop Computer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"Commodore is showing photos of its new C64 computer. Some of you are too young to remember this 8-bit classic computer, but it will spark great memories for others. And that's exactly what Commodore is counting on as it recreates the C64 using modern hardware. The new C64 is powered by a Dual-core Intel Atom 525 and an NVIDIA Ion 2 chipset. It has 2GB of memory, expandable to a maximum of 4GB."

What do you think? Is this clever or goofy? Under this retro-looking shell, this is a nettop computer: an Atom-based, NVIDIA ION-toting, Windows 7-running machine. You can buy a barebones version for $250 that gives you the case, chassis, and keyboard - along with the memory card reader - or drop up to $895 to get a version with a 1 TB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM, etc. The retro styling is fun, but it breaks down quickly when you look at the sides and see the black plastic. You'd think they would have opted to paint the sides beige to match the chassis at least...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

HP Omni Pro 110 PC: The All-in-One Business PC

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:30 PM

"HP has just announced a new all-in-one, space saving, clutter-free PC designed for small businesses. Called the HP Omni Pro 110 PC, this computer places all the internals of the computer into a 20″ widescreen."

This looks like HP's answer to the likes of Lenovo's M90z; an all-in-one computer design tuned for office use. I used to be fairly negative on the all-in-one concept, but since testing the M90z my stance has changed: unless you specifically have plans to upgrade your computer over time, there's literally almost no reason to go with a desktop computer. They're bigger, usually noisier, and don't offer many advantages beyond being able to upgrade them. That said, in my office I have three desktop PCs that are in near-constant use, and I wouldn't replace any of them with all-in-one designs. I deeply value the ability to upgrade and modify my desktop computers - and also the ability to use whatever monitor(s) I wish.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Puget Systems Serenity SPCR Edition Reviewed: Shh...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 PM

"This is our second review unit from the Washington-based Puget Systems (our first was several years ago when they were first starting out), and it's a doozy. While the P67/H67 chipset recall has proven to be a boot to the collective breadbasket of the industry, we were fortunate enough to get the Serenity SPCR Edition in before the recall hit, and Puget was kind enough to let us review it anyhow. That seems reasonable, since the SATA bug in the chipset isn't liable to affect any of our test results outside of PCMark, leaving us with an opportunity to show you a remarkable system that you'll be able to get your hands on in the near future."

I love quiet computers. I love fast computers. Those two things don't often go together, but if you work at it long enough, sometimes they do. If you're not willing/able to do that kind of work yourself, buying a system that's quiet right out of the box is the next best thing. This system was built in conjunction with the awesome Web site Silent PC Review; I used that site as a resource when I was on my quest for silencing my Core i7 system.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Convert USB 3.0 Ports to Accept eSATA Devices

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 PM

"Newer Technology, Inc. announced today the NewerTech eSATA to USB 3.0 Adapter for using an eSATA interfaced equipped external hard drive with computers offering the 'SuperSpeed' USB 3.0 interface. The $29.95 MSRP adapter offers benchmark proven performance of up to 247MB/s reads and 206.4MB/s writes for the fastest data transfer rates available with external data storage/backup. NewerTech's exclusive distributor, Other World Computing (OWC)..."

Ports, ports, port. Sometimes it seems like we never have enough of them, or if we do, they're of the wrong type - this $30 accessory solves the problem of having an eSATA device and a USB 3.0 port on your computer. The read/write speeds are impressive, so if you need this kind of solution, it should be a no-brainer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Us Computer Nerds are a Superstitious Lot

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"For as long as I can remember, whenever I've needed to reboot my computer, I've always shut it down, counted off 15 seconds, and then started it back up. Why? Because at some point in the distant past, someone somewhere told me that to avoid damaging them, computers need a minimum of 15 seconds of downtime whenever they're rebooted."

Computers have long been such sophisticated, magical boxes that it is wonder that various different myths surround them. CNet reviews some of the more common ones that we come across, though I am certain we all have some unique ones of our own. Some are loosely based on fact, while others, well, are a complete mystery as to how they got started. One that I would like to add is that if a hard drive is failing, putting it into the freezer for a few minutes can help give you a few minutes of life left. I have seen this one debunked numerous times, however, from purely personal anecdotal evidence, I can say that it did help me one time. I cannot explain why, but one data drive I had was on its last legs, and would only run while cold. After it reached room temperature, it was about as active as I am on a Sunday morning. Do any of you have superstitions (computer related) of your own? What are some of your favourites?

Tags: computer, myths

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z Giveaway Contest Ends Soon!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 02:06 PM

Just a quick reminder that the giveaway contest for a Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z is ending in roughly three hours - this all-in-one desktop computer worth $1308 USD is a fast, capable computer that would be perfect for a variety of scenarios and locations - check out my full review here. Enter the contest now!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z: A Powerful, Capable Office Computer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:35 PM

This is my review video of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z all-in-one desktop computer. The M90z features a 23 inch, 16:9, 1920 x 1080 touch screen display, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, a DVD burner, uses the Intel GMA HD GPU, and is powered by an Intel Core i5 650 running at 3.2 Ghz (with turbo boost up to 3.46 Ghz). The i5 CPU has two cores, and supports hyperthreading, so up to four threads of processing can occur. The M90z I'm reviewing now has 64-bit Windows 7 Professional on it, unlike when it was first unboxed. Being able to access the full 4 GB of RAM instead of only 2.8 GB helped me gain a bit over a 10% improvement in the PC Mark Vantage score; details are in the video.

Other features on the M90z include gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, a 2 megapixel Webcam with a physical privacy screen and dual microphones, six USB ports, DisplayPort out for running a second monitor, VGA input for using the M90z as a display (laptop, gaming console, etc.), an SDHC memory card reader, and audio in/out. It has a three year warranty. Read more...

The $46,000 Lenovo M90z Giveaway Dual-Contest

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 12:12 AM

Everybody likes winning prizes, and in partnership with Lenovo, a bunch of tech sites are giving away one Lenovo M90z each. You can check out my first impressions video of it here, and my full review video is coming soon. The unit Lenovo is giving away via each site contest is the maxed-out model: 23 inch touch screen, Intel Core i5 3.2 Ghz CPU, 500 GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM, 802.11n WiFi, DVD burner, and a current retail cost of $1308 USD (I just priced it out today). I've been using the review unit I was sent in my kitchen for the past two months, and Windows 7 plus a touch screen makes for a really compelling combination. Without further ado, here are all of the sites that are taking part in this contest:

I'll be making a separate announcement about our own contest here tomorrow - I'm a day late, but this contest will be simple and fun.

What's the "dual contest" angle you might be asking? Check this out:

"In addition, Lenovo wants to gain more exposure for medical and educational deployments of the M90z and their other all-in-one (AIO) products, and is asking for your help. They've assembled 3 packages of five (5) M90z units each and want your help in giving them away. The target winner would be a worthy medical or educational institution such as a clinic, hospital, school, community center, adult education facility, etc located in US/CA. And to be clear, Lenovo is seeking to further associate their brand and the M90z in particular with business-focused deployments of touch- and non-touch-enabled AIO desktops in the US and Canada; it's just that they don't know exactly which entities should receive these packages. But we've told them that you and your readers do know, and what's more, can help in selecting who should get them!"

You, the Digital Home Thoughts community, will be able to submit names of worthy organizations that could use five Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z computers and put them to good use. The guidelines:

  • Organization must be located in US or Canada
  • Medical, education or similar community focus
  • Preference will be given to non-profits or organizations dedicated to social good
  • Must have a concrete application for five touch-enabled M90z's

I'll be doing up a separate post on the 9th to get the names of organizations from you, so you have until then to reach out to groups that you work with and figure out how they'd use three of these awesome touch-screen computers. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dell's XPS Studio XPS 7100: Big Bang for the Buck

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Above is my review video of the Dell Studio XPS 7100, a desktop PC from Dell - be sure to check out the unboxing and first impressions video if you haven't already watched it. This particular model I ordered runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and is powered by an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T. This is AMD's six-core CPU, running at 2.8 Ghz with a turbo boost up to 3.3 Ghz. This particular configuration of the XPS 7100 also includes an ATI Radeon HD 5450 with 1 GB of RAM. It has a 750 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, a Blu-ray reader/CD/DVD burner, 6 GB of DDR3 RAM, memory card slots, and gigabit Ethernet. Read more...

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Dell Studio XPS 7100 Unboxing & First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Above is part one of an unboxing and first impressions video of the Dell Studio XPS 7100, a desktop PC from Dell. This particular model I ordered runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and is powered by an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T. This is AMD's six-core CPU, running at 2.8 Ghz with a turbo boost up to 3.3 Ghz. This particular configuration of the XPS 7100 also includes an ATI Radeon HD 5450 with 1 GB of RAM. It has a 750 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, a Blu-ray reader/CD/DVD burner, 6 GB of DDR3 RAM, memory card slots, and gigabit Ethernet. Part two after the break. Read more...

Monday, June 28, 2010

The $15,000 Lenovo Think Centre Giveaway Starts Today

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 03:10 PM

Just a reminder that today the Lenovo Think Centre A70z giveaway has started, and it runs until July 24th. Today, the site kicking off the contest is The Gadgeteer. Their content is quite simple to enter, so jump over and check it out!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Win a Lenovo A70z All-in-One Desktop PC in the Big $15,000 Giveaway

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 06:00 AM

You've probably already watched my unboxing and first impressions videos of the Lenovo A70z, an all-in-one desktop computer aimed at the small office/home office market. What's that? You haven't watched them yet? Go ahead and watch them, I'll wait.

OK, now that you've checked out my initial videos on what the A70z has to offer, you might be thinking "Hey, that's a pretty cool computer, I can think of a few interesting uses for it!". Well, lucky you, Digital Home Thoughts is one of 21 different Web sites that are each giving away a brand new A70z! That's 21 different opportunities to win, and over $15,000 worth of sweet Lenovo hardware up for grabs! Each site will have their own type of contest, so you'll want to check out each one on the opening day of the contest and see what you have to do to enter. Below is a list of all of the sites, and the start/end dates of their contest:

Digital Home Thoughts will be kicking off our contest bright and early on Thursday the 8th of July, and wrapping it up at the end of the day on Monday the 12th of July. This contest is open to anyone in the USA or Canada, largely because this PC is only being sold in the USA and Canada. Sorry rest-of-world, I didn't make that rule. Anyone that wins one of the contests is disqualified from winning in any of the others.

So what will the Digital Home Thoughts contest be? I'm not sure - I'm thinking this contest might be a bit different than some of the others I've run in the past...I might ask you to actually do something more than just post a message. ;-) We'll see though!

*The Lenovo above has a wireless mouse and keyboard, but the ones in this contest do not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dell Studio XPS 7100 Features AMD Vision Technology

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:49 PM

"Announced today, the Dell Studio XPS 7100 is one of the first desktops available to support the powerful AMD Phenom II X6 six-core processor with AMD Turbo Core technology, as well as available quad-core Athlon II processors, for incredibly fast HD media creation, advanced multimedia capabilities, multi-tasking and immersive 3D gaming experiences. With six-core processor power starting at US$699, the Studio XPS 7100 offers exceptional multitasking performance and features a cutting edge, tilt-back design in premium Carbide Silver color."

Dell has traditionally been a mostly Intel-focused OEM, with only a few minor products using AMD chips on the consumer side. I've always felt that was a shame, because while I tend to prefer Intel CPUs for performance reasons, there are plenty of products that aren't so performance-focused and using AMD CPUs would allow Dell to sell the products at a slightly lower price. Oh, and because Dell is so Intel-focused, they've tended to offer craptastic Intel integrated graphics when a similarly-priced system from another OEM using AMD chips would typically offer a decent integrated ATI GPU.

This XPS 7100 is a prime example of that lower price model in action; a six-core CPU system starting at $699 US? Wowzers - that's some great pricing! They've added a power supply with some extra headroom (460 watts) so customers can upgrade their graphics down the road, and with up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to 4 TB of storage, this system has some decent headroom. I wonder though, will it sound like a tornado under heavy load? I purchased an XPS system last year and ended up returning it to Dell because whenever I did anything even slightly CPU intensive, it became quite loud. Oh, and I couldn't overclock it at all. How does the Dell Studio XPS 7100 look to you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

HP Slate Specs Leaked?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM

"Well, well -- what's this? We just got our hands on what looks like an internal HP Slate presentation given to cool down some of the iPad hype amongst HP employees, and it just happens to have specs and pricing details on the elusive Windows 7 tablet."

This looks official enough, but anyone with moderate skills can mock up nearly anything, so I'll hold off on believing this 100%...but there's nothing on here that's difficult to believe. An Atom Z530 CPU makes sense, as does 1 GB of RAM (I wish it were 2 GB though) and everything else makes sense. It's nice to see they didn't cripple it with Windows 7 Starter edition - what with its non-background changing and all - and the two cameras are a nice addition. The hardware addresses many of the things that the iPad lacks - but the Slate clearly falls short in the battery life department when stacked up against the iPad. So what do you think? If the HP Slate comes out at $549, will you buy one?

Look What Showed Up Today...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 PM

What's in the box? A Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z - it's an all-in-one PC focused on the SOHO/small business market. While it lacks the slick design of the IdeaCentre A-series all-in-one, it packs a lot of features in a slim chassis. I'll be reviewing it in the upcoming weeks - it's the first all-in-one system I've looked at, since I tend to prefer the flexibility of a stand-alone tower and monitor. It's easier to get best-of-breed components that way, but there's no denying the space and cost-saving factors that are present in a design like this. Watch for more on this product after I open that box.

New HP Slate Video Looks Amazing

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 10:22 AM

"Up to now, we've given you only tiny glimpses of the HP slate device coming out later this year. You saw it first in a video we released during CES and most recently in videos demoing its Web experience and Adobe Flash and Air support. We've also blogged about the evolution of the slate category and our history in the space. So far, almost everything we've shared showcases how you'll consume media with the device. And by media we mean all types of digital content, whether it's a story from a major news outlet or videos and photos you've shot. But we also believe that media consumption is only half of the ideal mobile experience."

One word: WOW. I've been cautiously optimistic about the HP Slate, and what was holding me back was the fact that Windows 7 isn't a touch-focused operating system, or is it an operating system that tends to work really well on low-end hardware. While I can't speak to the performance yet (and frankly I'm a bit worried about that), if the work that HP has done on this custom UI goes fairly deep, I could see spending most of my time inside this software suite. It's hard to judge the final product based on a slick marketing video, but I see a lot of things here that I like.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maximum PC's Trifeca of Dream Machines

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:58 PM

"Sometimes, you just have to keep things real. Last year, our Dream Machine was a paean to excess, a chrome-plated $17,000 wünder-rig. While we're still quite fond of that machine, this year we decided to take a different tack and see if we could build a more reasonably priced, but still lust-worthy Dream Machine. Well, actually, we built three of them. While the combined cost of these three machines is about half the price of last year's rig, we packed a lot of awesome into our relatively tight budgets. The lesson is simple: Dream Machine isn't about spending a ludicrous amount of cash on a PC, it's about getting the best rig you can for the money you spend. I think you'll agree that these three machines pack a ton of power and are all great values."

Instead of the usual over-the-top geeky madness that ends up with a computer well north of $20,000 USD, the crew over at Maximum PC has created three different machines, each aimed at a different budget. It's impressive how much performance you can get for not too much money. Their entry-level $690 machine boasts an overclocked three-core CPU running at 3.6 Ghz and an ATI 4870 graphics card. Not bad at all!

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