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MSI launches MultiConnect panel and Voice Genie

Le 8 April 2014, 08:38 dans Humeurs 0

A couple of new motherboard peripherals have been launched by MSI, one of which we’d say is far more useful than the other. First up we have the MultiConnect panel which is a 5.25-inch drive bay unit that sports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth among its features, with the second one being MSI’s Voice Genie card which allows you to control your PC by yelling at it.

The MultiConnect panel is an interesting spin on things as although it’s a chunky piece of plastic that slots into a spare 5.25-inch drive bay in your case, it not only adds 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, but also Bluetooth 3.0+HS, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and if you have the right motherboard, an OC Genie II button. For one we’re not quite sure why MSI had to make it so big, as it seems to waste a lot of space.


Secondly MSI missed a major trick here, the USB ports are only 2.0, not 3.0 and considering that many chassis out there shipped pre-USB 3.0 this would’ve been a much more useful addition. The Wi-Fi is also limited to 150Mbps and is a simple USB dongle hidden behind the plastic fascia. Admittedly it’s neater to have two dongles inside a drive bay than having a pair of dongles sticking out the back of your PC, but we’re not sold on MSI’s overall implementation.

As for the Voice Genie, well, this is a small PCB that slots into a PCI Express x1 slot (or any other PCI Express slot at that), but it doesn’t actually interface with the slots electrical connectors. Instead the Voice Genie card connects to a special pin-header available on a selected few MSI motherboards which include most of MSI’s Z68A models, the Big Bang Marshal and all of MSI’s X79 motherboards.


At the rear of the card there’s a microphone connector, a pass-through to the mic connector of the onboard audio or sound card and a small, sliding on/off switch. Once installed the Voice Genie allows you to issue voice commands to your PC in either English or “traditional” Chinese, although we’re not quite sure what the latter is in terms of a spoken language. It supports commands even if the system is powered down, so in other words you can now make your PC start without having to touch it. MSI also claims that you can overclock the system, make it start applications and do a wide range of other things by simply issuing voice commands.


Luckily MSI has added an option to make your own custom voice commands, but this is limited to a mere eight commands in total. In as much as we think this is an amusing piece of kit and potentially something very useful for handicapped people, we can’t see it being a huge seller for MSI. We’d also hope that MSI comes to its senses and bundles a better microphone than the one in the pictures of the card, as it looks like a terrible piece of kit.

Source: MSI

MSI launches its H61I-E35 mini-ITX board

Le 8 April 2014, 08:37 dans Humeurs 0

If youve been waiting for an affordable mini-ITX board for Intels Sandy Bridge processors, then MSI might have what youve been waiting for in the shape of the H61I-E35 which is its latest LGA-1155 motherboard. It might not be the most feature rich board out there, but this should also allow MSI to keep costs down to that of a very reasonable level.

As the model name gives away, the H61I-E35 is based on the Intel H61 chipset which by default makes it a budget solution as far as Sandy Bridge motherboards are concerned. That said, not everyone needs a board with everything but the kitchen sink and MSI has come up with a board that should appeal to those building a home media server for example.


The board is somewhat limited when it comes to expansion options; although as with all H61 boards it has four SATA 3Gbps ports. It also has two full-size DIMMs unlike some models that rely on SO-DIMMs. The single expansion slot in this case is a PCI Express x1 slot, so dont expect to be able to upgrade the graphics on this board. The only other useful feature on the board is a pair of USB 2.0 headers for a total of four ports.


Around the back youll find a pair of PS/2 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a D-sub and HDMI port and finally three audio jacks. We feel like MSI could at least have added another pair of USB 2.0 ports around the back, low cost board or not. Something we noticed in passing is that MSI seems to have replaced its H67 mini-ITX board which was shown back at IDF last year with the H61I-E35 as the two carries the same MSI model number. This is a shame, as the H67 model featured angled SATA ports as well as a mini PCI Express slot at the bottom of the PCB which wouldve made it a more suitable home server solution.


That said, Intels 1k pricing puts the H61 at US$13 less than the H67 chipset which is a huge difference not only for the motherboard maker, but also for the retail price. The H61I-E35 is listed for about €66 (S$120) which makes it the cheapest LGA-1155 mini-ITX board weve seen so far, but only by a small margin of about S$5.50 compared to Intels own DH61DL board which offers USB 3.0 connectivity and a mini PCI Express slot as an added bonus, although it only has three SATA ports and a DVI port instead of HDMI.

Source: MSI

MSI launches GX660 and GX660R gaming notebooks, raises the bar for portable multimedia experience

Le 8 April 2014, 08:37 dans Humeurs 0

The G laptop series strikes back this time with two new additions to the familty: the GX660 and GX660R. MSI seems to overpass the limitation of portable technology and raises the bar for multimedia performance. In addition, MSI Marketing Director San Chern said “MSI’s GX660 not only comes with an advanced discrete graphics card (ATI Mobility Radeon 5870HD) and Dynaudio sound, it also boasts Intel’s most powerful Core i7 processor and MSI’s own TDE technology to throttle up system performance with just one touch”.

Both notebooks also feature a couple of unique technologies which MSI dubs asTDE and CBT.TDE – Turbo Drive Engine revs up processor performance with just one touch of the luminescent Turbo hotkey located above the keyboard, increasing system speed by 83%, while keeping your system from bogging down when you’re using load-intensive applications. This ensures that your system will continue to chug away at top speed while dealing with angry hordes of orcs eager for some of your hero's blood without falling prey to the dreaded 'death lag'. CBT – Cooler Boost Technology, on the other hand, works by ramping up the notebook's cooling system so that your hardware remains cool even in the middle of a mass-murdering mission. Cool features, indeed (pun not intended).

Of course, when you are in the midst of a game, chances are you would want to have a decent audio experience to go along with the virtual carnage. And this is where the GX660/GX660R distinguishes itself. By working in conjunction with Dynaudio (and spending more than 1200 hours in tests), the GX660/GX660R offers great audio quality usually not found in the competition.

However, great audio means nothing if your machine is only capable of subpar graphics. But that would not be a problem on the GX660/GX660R either, thanks to theATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870GPU found in the machine. With1GB of GDDR5 VRAM and support forDirectX11.
Last but not least, if you are wondering about the difference between the GX660 and the GX660R, the GX660R comes with added support for RAID (Raid 0) for increased storage reliability. That being said, we are quite certain that the 'R' in the GX660R is meant to denote this fact.

Awesome presence – cooling performance and cool design

Cool exterior: The blazing white MSI logo on the cover is set in the middle of a raised black diamond trident below a smoldering red slash. The body is sheathed in MSI’s exclusive glossy color film print to protect the GX660 from scratching and wear, while further enhancing its awesome presence.

Light and sound show technology: Not sharp the edges but LED the edges. That is the latest new filter MSI has applied on these notebooks. Definitely an Eye-catching feature.

More information from the full MSI Press Release.

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