Jan 14 2015

News - Intel @ CES 2015

Intel is moving hard into small, low power devices and that was evident in what they were showing at CES this year. We started out with tablets, but the really interesting stuff started when the new Broadwell NUC came out.

Jan 10 2013

News - Dune HD - High-end XMBC streamer on Intel SoC Coming Late Summer


Details were sparse with Dune HD not willing to let us take pictures of the hardware, but we saw it running on some sort of media player Atom SoC. Availability should be later summer (CEDIA time frame), with a higher-end inital target market.

We were told the new device was running a "Berryville" CE5315, which looks like a competent foundation for media device but interestingly does not include Intel's new "Picture Quality Engine" found on higher end models in the same family.

Oct 07 2012

News - Intel Aims for the Media Server Market with New Atom-Based Storage Platform

Intel Atom Storage Platform

I know only one other person who has a home server and a fleeting few more who have a NAS device in their homes, but all of these people do so specifically to accomodate the increasingly massive amounts of media that they not only want to store, but pipe around the house. Intel thinks there is a growing market here and has taken the wraps off a new storage platform built around the Atom D2550 and D2500. The goal is not only to bring low-power x86 processing to the SMB NAS market, but to push the NAS as a media player for the consumer market. Intel is specifically playing up the new platform's HDMI output and 1080p video playback, and the first offerings from Thecus, Asustor, and QNAP also include unique features to tap into the platform's multimedia capabilities. I have never been able to decide which is nerdier, running an HTPC or running a NAS, but Intel seems bent on finding the nerd nexus that brings these together in one package.

Figures published by Gartner predict a sevenfold leap in the average household’s storage requirements in the next few years – from 464 GB in 2011 to 3.3 TB in 2016. Responding to the challenge, the chip giant’s latest storage push seeks to take NAS devices out of the closet and into the lounge, courtesy of improved hardware acceleration for multimedia, 1080p video playback and that direct connection to the TV.

We Got Served

--Press Release After the Break--

Jul 03 2012

News - Shuttle and Asus Offering Cedar Trail-Based Nettops

Intel AtomWhen Intel first announced their Atom line of low power processors way back in 2008, I had visions of tiny, quiet HTPCs sipping power in my home theater stack. Unfortunately, the promise never lived up to expectations and it has been awhile since I seriously considered an Atom processor for my own HTPC, but that hasn't stopped me from hoping that Intel would finally strike the right performance/power balance. The Cedar Trail Atoms that Intel released late last year might just fit the bill, and recent offerings from Shuttle and ASUS are certainly intriguing.

ASUS is pushing the EeeBox EB1030, and from the sounds of things, this little nettop should fulfill the power-sipping part of my dreams with a 1.86 GHz D2550. There is also a slightly more powerful EB1031 sporting the 2.13 GHz D2700, but the EB1033 might be the most interesting option for HTPC aficionados with the addition of an NVIDIA GeForce GT 610M GPU.

We've seen a fair share of space-saving nettops pass through our very own crowded halls, so what's one more to add to the list? Especially when it's one being flaunted as the most eco-friendly, energy-efficient PC. That's exactly what ASUS thinks of its EeeBox EB1030, which aside from sporting a relatively minimalist design (as is usually the case with nettops), it's also boasting Intel's latest batch of Cedar Trail CPUs.


Shuttle is also utilizing Cedar Trail to build on its small form factor roots with the XS35V3 and XS35GTA V3 barebones nettops. Both systems opt for the higher-end D2700, but the GTA version adds on a Radeon HD 7410M GPU. While the ASUS systems offer a variety of configurations for storage options, by going the barebones route, Shuttle is offering the ultimate in customizability, not to mention the option of an optical disc drive for those who still like their media on disc.

 The XS35V3 and XS35GTA V3 have moved on to more contemporary Cedar Trail-era, 2.13GHz Atom D2700 processors that keep the power draw to a fanless 27W, even when everything is churning at full bore. That limit might get tested with the GTA variant, which brings in Radeon HD 7410M graphics for a lift to 3D performance, but neither mini desktop will exactly make the power company beg for mercy.


Feb 18 2012

News - J&W Announces New Cedar Trail Motherboards, Barebones

J&W's MINIX line of mini-ITX motherboards have consistently targeted the higher end of the market with unique features and a focus on quality components. My first experience with their boards was the fantastic MINIX 780G-SP128MB, a mini-ITX gem that made its way into several HTPC and home server builds I assisted with. J&W looks set to continue the trend of quality craftsmanship with the release of the MINIX D2700-DC and MINIX D2500-DC. Both Cedar Trail-based boards will be passively cooled, include USB 3.0, and feature all-solid capacitor designs. J&W is also prepping a barebones kit based on the new boards. No word on pricing or specific release dates just yet, but evidently the D2700-DC is expected out first. Atom processors may not be as popular for HTPC builds as they once were, but J&W's new boards may be worth a look for those interested in going low-powered and silent.


Luckily, J&W spared no expense and both boards feature an all-solid capacitor design, with two USB 3.0 ports courtesy of a Renesas controllers and HDMI. They also feature 5.1 audio, VGA, Broadcom dual-gigabit LAN, one PCIe x1 slot and two DDR3 SO-DIMM sockets for up to 8GB of DDR3 1066, although Intel only recommends 4GB.


Feb 06 2012

News - Intel Looking to Atom and Tizen for Smart TVs


The first generation Google TVs were Intel-powered, and if those original Google TV devices had been the runaway successes that Google had hoped, then Intel today would have a pretty big foot in the door of the smart TV market. Instead, the general consensus is that Google TV v1.0 flopped, sending Google back to the drawing board for v2.0, and as we learned just before CES this year, one of the big changes for that fledgling platform was a switch from Intel to ARM.

Intel isn't ready to cede the smart TV market yet though. Intel is instead looking to a special version of Tizen, the Linux-based mobile operating system that has risen from the ashes of the ill-fated MeeGo OS that Intel had been spending so much time working on with Nokia. Tizen TV will be paired with Intel's Atom CE processors, including the Berryville processors due out in the next couple of months. At this point it is anyone's guess what Tizen TV will look like and who might be willing to partner with Intel on Tizen TV-powered settop boxes and smart TVs, but with many of the same capabilities, and even basic underpinnings, as Google TV, there is still time for Intel to get in the game. What would you like to see Intel bring to the smart TV market?

here are some core blocks to Tizen TV which include the open source core services, web run-time and native application runtime. Some of the TV services such as remote input and the unified multi-media services core blocks will also be open source, but key parts like being able to watch broadcast content, video on demand and the various DRM technologies required to do so are of course not open source and will all be third party implementations.

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