Small form factor enclosures were huge at this year's CES. Last year we saw a few behemoths -- like the 900D -- but with the advent of "Steam machines" and boxes like the Brix Pro, mini-ITX is gaining traction in the marketplace. Some companies have always been in the space, others are riding the trendy wave; SilverStone is a good example of a manufacturer that's been present since the get-go, especially with their high-quality SG08.

lian-li-slider

Lian-Li is another that's been in the mATX/mITX game for a while. As with nearly all Lian-Li enclosures, the PC-TU100 is a fully-aluminum case with a brushed-like finish. All-aluminum materials lend to a 4 pound overall weight, aided by the small 6.3" x 10.8" x 9.5" dimensions. The case is targeted at those who move their systems around a lot -- LAN gaming is the easy example -- and is equipped with a handle, a single cooling fan, and enough space for a low-profile video card.

In this quick Lian-Li PC-TU100 case overview and unboxing, we'll look at the specs and primary uses for what is one of the lightest mini-ITX cases.

After offering reddit's computer hardware & buildapc sub-reddits the opportunity to ask us about our nVidia GTC keynote coverage, an astute reader ("asome132") noticed that the new Pascal roadmap had a key change: Maxwell's "unified virtual memory" line-item had been replaced with a very simple, vague "DirectX 12" item. We investigated the change while at GTC, speaking to a couple of CUDA programmers and Maxwell architecture experts; I sent GN's own CUDA programmer and 30+ year programming veteran, Jim Vincent, to ask nVidia engineers about the change in the slide deck. Below includes the official stance along with our between-the-lines interpretation and analysis.

nvidia-unified-memory

In this article, we'll look at the disappearance of "Unified Virtual Memory" from nVidia's roadmap, discuss an ARM/nVidia future that challenges existing platforms, and look at NVLink's intentions and compatible platforms.

(This article has significant contributions from GN Staff Writer & CUDA programmer Jim Vincent).

This is just a short bit of advice for those of you working on new PC builds. As the industry's manufacturing processes advance, we eventually begin to see a disproportionate cost-to-performance or cost-per-GB ratio forming at the lower-end of a particular product type. In many ways, it's more expensive for a manufacturer to continue producing lower-end products; the fab or assembly processes change to accommodate new advancements, like higher density or more desirable high-frequency yield, so continued production of devices under the new bar is undesirable and often halted.

hdd-platterSource.

While at GTC 2014, nVidia passed out a free SHIELD to every attendee willing to pick up the 4-pound box. After figuring out how to get the thing home, I've finally had some hands-on time with the SHIELD in the comfort of a home (read: not pressured by PR from all sides on a convention floor). I'm not ready to write a full review just yet; actually, I haven't tested the remote rendering functionality yet -- the biggest feature -- but I've had some fun with Android games.

project-shield-mold-thThe injection mold for the SHIELD. Learn more about how it's made here.

We've seen a lot of discussion spurred about Kingston's silent decision to switch their mainstream consumer-targeted SSDNow V300 drive from synchronous to asynchronous NAND. In fact, on one of our PC builds that recommended the drive, a reader encouraged us to run updated performance benchmarks to validate the impact of the NAND switch. A recent article published down the road by Anandtech went at the V300 fiercely, referencing user AS-SSD benchmark data from forums to highlight the theoretical performance hit.

kingston-v300-slider

Upon publication of Kristian's post on Anandtech, I called our Kingston contact to press on a few points and also give a chance to defend their position. Unsurprisingly, Kingston supported the product readily; switching the NAND supply was in favor of price, and is the reason we've seen the V300 as low as $60-$70 on some retailers, they said. The 19nm Toshiba Toggle-Mode 2.0 NAND in the original V300 either became more scarce or was too expensive, and so the company switched to Micron's 20nm asynchronous NAND for cost reasons. 

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