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Sep 29, 2014

MSI Releases Fanless System with Support for Up to Core i7 CPUs




It's one thing to say a computer is really efficient and silent compared to the competition, and another to put together a PC that makes absolutely no noise at all (which, by extension, means low TDPs across the board).

As it happens, Micro-Star International has created a system that makes do without any sort of active cooling, while still supporting Celeron, Pentium and Core i7/i5/i3 central processing units from Intel. Admittedly, you need to limit yourself to a TDP of no more than 35W in order for everything to work properly, and to not suffer a burnout or crash due to heat. If you do want a stronger performance though, you can pay extra for a system fan module. But that would defeat the purpose of the KingBOX MS-9A66 being made the way it was made.

MSI KingBOX MS-9A66

The system is a lot closer to qualifying as a cube than many “cubic” desktops we had the pleasure (or displeasure) to see in the past. It backs the fourth-generation Intel CPU with DDR3 RAM (random access memory) and a single add-in graphics card. Assuming you choose to install one, that is. The system has a PCI Express x16 slot ready, but you'll have to buy a video card yourself, if the one in the GPU isn't good enough. If you do feel the integrated graphics processor (iGP) of Intel chips is sufficient for your needs (browsing, doc editing, media playback), you can use one of the two DisplayPorts on the back panel to link to a monitor or TV. That, or the DVI port. On that note, the PCI Express x16 slot isn't the only PCI technology available, three legacy PCI slots are included as well.

Add to that 100 G anti-shock protection and 1 gram anti-vibration and you have a pretty sturdy piece of work in your hands. Finally, storage can be provided via an HDD or CFast card. All of which can be easily maintained and cleaned, according to the company. Same for the RAM. All thanks to the thumbscrews that can be removed, to let the top cover slide open.

Availability and pricing

Both are details that MSI neglected to include in its official press release. What it did specify was that the KingBOX MS-9A66 has scalable performance (comes naturally with the broad CPU support), support for both consumer and industrial applications (9 to 36 VDC input), and easy configuration (through an MSI API).

Press Release:
MSI, the leading brand of embedded computers recently released a new industrial system, KingBOX MS-9A66. KingBOX MS-9A66 is a powerful yet fanless system featuring with its scalability, ruggedness, and versatile expansion capability. Outperforming other fanless systems with the powerful, scalable Intel 4th Gen scheme, KingBOX MS-9A66 meets demanding performance requirement while keeps the system cool with its superior heat radiation design that allows it work fanlessly and reliably. The high-performance and calm design along with its rich I/O and the versatility of expansion slots make it a perfect computing system for most of industrial scenes, such as intelligent transportation, facility management, environment monitoring, security automation, utility automation, and many more.
Reliability has always been the first concern for industrial system. With the increasing adoption of complicated automation system and application software, keeping the system reliable without sacrificing the performance has become a more important target for mission-critical applications. MS-9A66 surpasses all the system of its kind not only in performance but also in many intelligent ways it's designed:
  • Scalable High Performance: scalable CPU options to support the highest level of performance that fulfills any demanding application requirements.
  • Hassle-free Fanless and Rugged Design: fanless design to minimize downtime and maximize MTBF, ensuring the long-term hassle-free operation with silence. Also rated to withstand a wide temperature range and against heavy shock and vibrations.
  • Wide-range DC Power Input: wide-range DC power design that allows 9 to 36 VDC input, catering to any industrial application scenes.
  • Superior Expansion Versatility: rich expansion options that come with DIO, 1 PCIex 16, and 3 PCI slots, offering versatile capability in system integration.
  • Easy Configuration via Friendly API: easy setup and configuration via MSI's self-developed friendly API, facilitating your installation and maintenance.
  • Smart Mechanical Design: easy maintenance case design that allows quick access to internal by 2 simple steps-unwind the thumbscrews and slide the top cover to open.

Product Features:
  • Fanless design to support Intel 4th Gen CPU (up to 35W)
  • Scalable 4th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3, Pentium, and Celeron processor
  • Easy maintenance (HDD, memory, CFast, expansion slots) with smart mechanical design
  • Easy configuration via friendly API
  • 3 independent display with DVI-I and 2 DP
  • 4 expansion slots: 1*PCIe x16; 3*PCI
  • GPIO supports 5~24V for automation
  • 100 G anti-shock and 1 Grms anti-vibration
  • Wide range 9~36V DC power input
  • Support AT power mode
  • Optional system fan module available


MSI KingBOX MS-9A66
Image credits to MSI

Microsoft Officially Teases New Name for Windows 9




Windows 9 preview will officially see daylight next week, and more sources claim that a completely new name for the operating system is very likely, as Microsoft is reportedly trying to create a new brand and capitalize on the popularity of its desktop platform.

Until now, there have been several signs that Microsoft could launch Windows 9 as just “Windows,” while a page that Redmond “accidentally” published this morning hinted that Windows TH was also possible, although it’s not clear if this could be used for the preview or the final product. Terry Myerson, head of the OS group at the software giant, teased the new Windows 9 name in a photo he emailed to Microsoft watchers Tom Warren and Mary Jo Foley, confirming that the company was indeed preparing a new name for the operating system. Of course, no specifics were provided, but Myerson said in his email that no name had been selected yet and more information would be provided on Tuesday.

Windows or Windows TH?

The leaked Windows 9 screenshots that have recently reached the web indicate that Microsoft could call the testing version of the operating system “Windows Technical Preview,” a name which might also suggest Redmond’s intention to drop the numbering naming scheme and go for a simpler approach. People close to the matter have also hinted that Microsoft wants to use the Windows designation for all platforms and not just for the desktop version in an attempt to sell more devices, be they smartphones or tablets. Windows TH rumors, on the other hand, do not align with speculation towards a Windows brand, but confirm that Threshold might not be just an internal codename for the next operating system.

No matter the name, the preview build of Windows 9 due in early October will be mostly aimed at enterprises, but will still bring quite a lot of features that consumers want, including a Start menu, multiple desktops, and a notification center. Microsoft will hold a press event on September 30 to share more information on Windows 9, but surprisingly, the company won’t stream it online. Instead, blog posts and other information will be published on its websites when the event comes to an end. The preview build, on the other hand, will be released to the masses in early October, so everyone should be able to give the new OS a try in approximately seven days. The first preview will come in the form of stand-alone ISOs, while future updates will be delivered via a new integrated update system, without the need for a clean installation.

Terry Myerson teasing the new Windows name
Image credits to The Verge

Windows 9 Will Launch as Windows TH




While Microsoft continues to remain tightlipped on the next Windows version, a new page presumably prepared for the debut of the preview version and most likely scheduled to be published on Tuesday went live today revealing a few unknown details.

Windows 9 might in the end launch as Windows TH, which probably stands for Threshold, the codename that Microsoft has been using since it started work on the new operating system. The page is called “Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise” and holds information about the preview build that Microsoft is expected to launch in early October, as well as links to find more information on the new features implemented in the operating system. Of course, it’s hard to believe that Microsoft accidentally revealed the name of the new OS as the company most likely tried to stir up interest for a product that’s already causing quite a lot of buzz online.

Windows TH just for the preview

At this point, it’s not yet clear whether Microsoft plans to use the Windows TH designation only for the preview build that it plans to unveil in early October or it actually wants to keep it for the stable product as well, but chances are that it would come up with a different name before April 2015. Surprisingly, the leaked Windows 9 screenshots that reached the web this month indicated that Microsoft might actually call the operating system “Windows Technical Preview,” so this could be an indication that Windows TH could also be used for the final product. As you can see, there are lots of vague details right now, but Microsoft will finally break the news on Windows 9 next week during an event in San Francisco.

Few new details revealed

The page that Microsoft “accidentally” published today claims that “the next version of the Windows client will enable IT professionals to provide users with a familiar experience across multiple devices while enhancing security and manageability. It will also offer new and improved features that enable businesses to: defend against modern security threats, elevate employee productivity, embrace the mobile and cloud era, and enable upgrade without upheaval.” As you can see, no mention of new features such as the Start menu, Cortana, or multiple desktops, and the page once again confirms that the preview build is mostly about enterprises.

And still, we do know that the preview version of Windows 9/Windows TH will come with these features and many others, but the full list of tools will be unveiled next week by Microsoft itself.

Windows TH name confirmed on Microsoft's website
Image credits to TNW

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