Asus TUF Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 Motherboard Launches

Asus TUF Sabertooth Z170

Asus has this week added a new addition to their range of TUF motherboards, in the form of the newly launched Asus TUF Sabertooth Z170 mark 1, motherboard.

The new board is equipped with four DIMM slots, with a maximum of 64GB DDR4 RAM clocked at 2400/2133MHz. Together with an expansion slots that allows the installation of a quad Nvidia cards in SLI or four AMD-based Radeon cards in CrossFireX.

Asus TUF Sabertooth Z170

The rugged motherboard is finished with a gunmetal finish for Thermal Armor and as with other in the TUF range comes with a reinforced backplate called TUF Fortifier that’s designed to hold weights up to 10kgs. Asus explains more :

The TUF Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 comes with a complete arsenal of tools that allow it to offer a complete cooling solution for systems that you depend on to run on a 24/7 basis.  Features include: TUF ICe, Thermal Radar 2 and TUF Detective 2.  TUF ICe is a built-in onboard processor that’s dedicated to help monitor the temperature and fan speeds through its sensors which enable precise cooling capabilities.

TUF Thermal Radar 2 allows support for up to 12 fan connectors, its onboard sensors and thermistor cables allow you to monitor your graphics card temperatures and other key components.  TUF Thermal Radar 2 allows for accurate and optimized cooling on all your key components and all of this is available automatically through a simple click.

Last but not least, the coolest tool just may be TUF Detective, now in its second iteration, it enables you to monitor your case fans and view other system information on your mobile device through an extremely intuitive app.

VGADuino, Arduino VGA Graphic Shield

Arduino VGA

Makers, developers and hobbyists that have created Arduino projects that require any kind of TV or monitors with RGB or AV ports, may be interested in a new Arduino VGA graphics shield that has been created by Masih Vahida called the VGADuino.

Once added to an Arduino board using pins VCC , GND , RX and TX, the VGADuino offers Arduino VGA (DB15) and AV Composite ports for TV and Monitor connections.

Have you ever thought about having a big color display to connect to your Arduino Board and show values , texts and … on screen ? With this Arduino Shield that we call it “VGADuino” , you can connect your Arduino board to any type of TV or monitors that has RGB or AV Composite Port. This shield has ready to use libraries and samples that you can easily import to your Arduino IDE and start programming.

The screen resolution is 640 x 480 VGA. It has 17 text lines and 1 text scrolling line and each line can show up to 27 characters and the scroller line can show up to 60 characters.


Watch the video below to learn more about the VGADuino Arduino board which is now available to back via Kickstarter with pledges starting from just $29.

Orange Pi PC Single Board Mini Computer Launches For $15

Orange Pi PC

Following on from the launch of the Orange Pi 2 that is available to purchase price at around $25. Its creators Shenzhen Xunlong Software have now launched a more cost-effective version in the form of the Orange Pi PC.

The Orange Pi PC has now launched priced at just $15 and provides a similar system based on the Allwinner H3 SoC powered by a Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.6 GHz processor supported by an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz.

Features of the new Orange pI PC include a 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with 28 GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, CAN, I2S, SPDIF, LRADC, ADC, LINE-IN, FM-IN, and HP-IN

Other features include :

• System Memory – 1GB DDR3
• Storage – micro SD card slot (up to 64GB)
• Video Output – HDMI with CEC and HDCP support, AV port
• Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone
• Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
• USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
• Camera – CSI Interface
• Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
• Misc – IR receiver; Power button; Power and status LEDs
• Power Supply – 5V/2A via barrel jack (micro USB OTG cannot be used to power the board).
• Dimensions – 85 x 55 mm (vs 93 x 60 mm for Orange Pi 2)
• Weight – 38 grams

Orange Pi 2


Word macros: Three examples to automate your documents

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Word macros are one-click wonders that let you program complex procedures to launch at your bidding. Here are a few examples to get you started. One creates your company letterhead; the second one inserts pre-formatted tables; and the third one defines and designs custom book formats.

NOTE: You’ll see some instructions with strings of keystrokes that are macro instructions for repositioning your cursor. Be sure to copy them exactly as written.

Set up, define, and record macros

Step 1: Set up the macro

A. Select the View tab, then click Macros > Record Macro.

B. In the Record Macro dialog box, enter a macro name and description. Follow these rules for the name:

  • Macro names must begin with a letter and use either letters or numerals. You cannot use spaces, non-alphanumeric characters, or periods.
  • Macro names can be 80 characters maximum
  • Macro names cannot conflict with the program’s reserved commands or keywords such as Print, Save, Copy, Paste.
  • Descriptions are just notes that summarize the macro’s function.

C. For the Store Macro In field, choose All Documents to run this macro in all of your Word documents, or select the current document (displayed by filename) to use this macro in the current document only. Click OK.

D. Next, in the Assign Macro To panel, click Button or Keyboard (shortcut) for the method used to access and run the macro.

Note: Most of the shortcut keys are already used by the system. Even though you can overwrite many of these shortcuts, it’s much easier to attach your macro to a button.

word macros screen1

Step 2: Add a macro button to the Quick Access Toolbar

A. Click Button and the Word Options/Customize Quick Access Toolbar screen opens. On that screen, locate your macro, select/highlight it, then click Add. Word copies the macro from the left Macros panel to the right Quick Access Toolbar panel.

B. Click Modify, choose an icon to represent your macro button, then click OK.

C. When finished, click OK again to exit.

word macros screen2
Add a macro button to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Step 3: Record the macro

Enter the keystrokes you want the macro to record. (See ‘A’ below.)

Step 4: Stop recording

When finished, select the View tab again, then click Stop Recording. (See ‘B’ below.)

Note: Notice that your customized macro button appears on the Quick Access Toolbar. To run the macro again, just click this button.

word macros screen3
How to record a macro, and then stop a macro.

Three quick and easy macros

Macro 1: Company Letterhead

Most companies have traded printed letterhead for digital. Take a little time once to record this macro, and you’ll be able to drop your letterhead onto a document in one easy second.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 above. Name the macro (for this example) BranchesLetterhead. Then, for Step 3 (macro is now running), follow these macro instructions:

A. From the Insert tab, select Pictures. Navigate to the folder that contains your company’s logo, select that image, and click Insert.

B. In the Layout Options dialog, select one of the text wrapping options, then close the dialog. Press the Esc key to deselect the graphic, then press the End key once, and the Tab key once.

word macros screen4
Record a macro that creates company letterhead.

C. Enter the company name: Branches, Inc. Highlight the name. Click the drop-down list in the Font group; choose a typeface and font size. Press the End key once, then press the Enter key three times. Next, press the Up arrow twice, then press Shift + Down, Down (press and hold the Shift key while simultaneously pressing the down-arrow key twice).

D. Select a typeface (for this example, I’m choosing something sans-serif such as Arial or Helvetica), select a size (11-point in this example), then press the Home key once and the Tab key twice.

E. Enter the address information, then press the Enter key three times.

F. From the main menu, click Insert > Text, then click the Insert Date and Time button. Choose a date format from the Date and Time dialog, check the Update Automaticallybox, then click OK.

G. Highlight and change the Date and Time font to your company’s standard document typeface.

H. Last, highlight the letter ‘B’ in Branches and increase the font size to 60.

I. From step 4 above, select the View tab again, and click Stop Recording.

Now, anytime you need letterhead, just click that BranchesLetterhead macro button on the Quick Access Toolbar.

word macros screen5
Record a macro that creates company letterhead, continued.

Macro 2: Insert pre-designed tables

My friend Carrie created a weekly report that included a table with specific measurements, columns, rows, and headers. She used to copy and paste a table template she created into each new document, but it was always inconsistent and distorted. A table macro was a better solution.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 above. Name the macro (for this example, CorpRptTable). Then, for Step 3 (macro is now running), follow these macro instructions:

A. From the Insert tab, click Table.

B. In the Insert Table dialog, slide your cursor horizontally across the grid to select the number of columns needed, then slide down to select the rows. When the grid is the correct size, click the mouse.

C. Enter the following headers across the top row: Contributor, Occupation, Location, Project, and Donation.

D. With the cursor still positioned at the end of the word Donation in column 5, row 1: press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys, then press the Left arrow key five times.

E. With the first row highlighted, go to the Home tab and click Paragraph group. Click the icon for center-justified text, then, in the Fonts group, click Bold. Click the Left arrow cursor key once to reposition the cursor in cell A1.

Note: When your cursor is anywhere inside the table, the Ribbon displays a new tab-set called Table Tools Design and Table Tools Layout.

F. With the cursor still in A1, select Table Tools > Layout. In the Cell Size group, click theTable Column Width button and click the arrows to adjust the column width up or down. Set the first column to 1.2 inches. Press the Tab key once, then Left arrow to reposition the cursor in the next column.

Note: If the column header is highlighted, the new column width affects that single row only.

G. With the cursor in the second column before the O in Occupation, go to the Table Tools and click Layout > Cell Size group, and set Table Column Width > 1.2 inches.

H. Adjust the remaining columns to these settings: Location 1.7 inches, Project 1.5 inches, and Donations 1.0 inches.

I Press Ctrl+End to reposition your cursor just outside and below the table, then type:Figure 1.

J. From step 4 above, select the View tab again, and click Stop Recording.

word macros screen6
Record a macro that inserts pre-designed tables.

Macro 3: Create custom book formats

If you create in-house publications, create a macro that sets up a custom format for each. In fact, you could just create one format, then edit that one and resave it to accommodate the individual formats.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 above. Name the macro (for this example) Book8x5Format. Then, for Step 3 (macro is now running), follow these macro instructions:

A. From the Page Layout tab, click Page Setup > Size.

B. Select More Paper Sizes from the drop-down menu.

C. In the Page Setup dialog, select the Paper tab, click Paper Size, then choose Customfrom the drop-down list.

D. Enter a width size of 5.5 inches and a height size of 8.5 inches and click OK.

E. Again, from the Page Layout tab’s Page Setup group, click the Margin button.

F. Select Custom Margins from the drop-down list.

G. In the Page Setup dialog, choose the Margins tab.

Note: You must adjust the Pages settings first, selecting Multiple Pages, because this setting alters the margin fields.

H. From Pages > Multiple Pages, select Normal from the drop-down list. For Sheets per Booklet, select All.

I. Enter margins: Top = 1, Bottom = 1, Left = .5, Right = .5, Gutter = .3, and Gutter Position = Left.

J. For Orientation, choose Portrait, then click OK.

Note: The image in the Preview pane shows this layout with margins and gutters.

word macros screen7
Record a macro that creates custom book formats.

K. Next, select Paragraph under the Page Layout tab. Click the Indents and Spacing tab.

L. In the General panel, select Alignment = Justified; Outline Level = Body Text.

M. In the Indentation panel, select Left = 0; Right = 0; Special = First Line; By = .25.

N. In the Spacing panel, select Before = 0; After = 0; Line Spacing = Multiple; At = 1.25. And click OK.

O. Enter a paragraph or so of generic text. Right-click and choose Styles from the popup context menu. In the Styles dialog, select your company’s stylesheet (CorpStyle) from the list.

NOTE: If your company doesn’t have a stylesheet, select Normal. Feel free to read our how-to on creating stylesheets after you finish this macro.

word macros screen8
Indents, spacing, and styles for custom book formats.

P. Next, select the Insert tab, and go to the Header & Footer group. Click the Headerbutton and choose a style from the list, then enter the header text.

Note: Notice the Header & Footer Design menu appears.

Q. In the Options group, check the boxes for Different Odd & Even Pages. Right-click for the context menu, select paragraph, and choose Alignment: Right (for the odd page header). Next, scroll down to the Footer section: Right-click, select Page Number >Bottom of Page > Plain Number 3 (the right-justified placement).

R. Insert a page break, then repeat steps P and Q above to add headers and footers to the even numbered pages.

S. From step 4 above,select the View tab again, and click Stop Recording.

word macros screen9
Headers, footers, and pages for custom book formats.

From AMD Nano to Skylake, 11 reasons why August was awesome for hardware

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An August to remember

It’s been a great summer to be a PC enthusiast.

The July 29 release of Windows 10 has resulted in an orgy of computing excess, as hardware manufacturers rush to release a glut of new graphics cards, computer processors, SSDs, routers, and more to coincide with the operating system’s launch. The riches started raining down in June, continued throughout July, and didn’t slow down one bit in August.

From Intel’s cutting-edge new chips to fresh GPUs and Google’s entry into home networking, here’s a rundown of all the awesome PC goodies that made their debut in August.


Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition tablet – review

Amazon's Fire HD Kids Edition includes a subscription for apps, ebooks and videos.

When Apple launched its first iPad in 2010, the thought of handing a £429 device over to a child seemed like crazy talk. Yet that’s exactly what happened with that and subsequent tablets.

Fast forward to May 2015, when the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom reported that 71% of British 5-15 year-olds had access to a tablet at home, including 34% who had their own one.

In many cases, the latter have been passed down by parents after upgrading to a newer model, but several manufacturers have launched dedicated tablets for children too.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 Kids, LeapFrog’s LeapPad range and the Kurio were three examples, while Tesco’s Hudl tablets were in theory aimed at families, but in practice were often bought by parents for their children.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets fell into that pattern too, but now Amazon is launching a specifically-for-children device: the Fire HD Kids Edition. As the name makes clear, it’s a rebranded version of the company’s existing Fire HD device.

It comes with a rubberised case for extra protection against being dropped or flung across the room by an angry child, with a two-year guarantee to replace the device if it does break.

Amazon’s existing parental controls help you set limits on your children’s screen time on the tablet, while a built-in subscription plan gives them unlimited access to a catalogue of child-friendly apps, games, ebooks and videos.

The pitch: here is a tablet you can set up for your child, then leave in their hands safe in the knowledge that they won’t be spending money on in-app purchases, seeing inappropriate ads or accessing social networks.

Good performance for the price

The Fire HD Kids Edition has a six-inch display, and comes in one of two models: one with 8GB of storage for £119 and another with 16GB for £139.

The case comes in a choice of blue or pink – yes, a bit stereotypical – with Amazon selling additional accessories including a screen protector, set of children’s headphones and a Fire for Kids rucksack.

At 360g with the case, the tablet feels reassuringly solid, and bounces without damage when dropped from a table or bunk-bed. Its 1280×800-resolution display and quad-core processor represent good value for its price too.

The device charges via a micro-USB port, with a 3.5mm headphones port also built in, and two cameras: VGA-quality on the front and two-megapixel resolution on the back. Fine for the kind of casual snaps most children will want to take and show off.

The parental controls enable you to set how much time your child spends using different content.

The setup process is quick and simple, especially if you bought the tablet for yourself rather than received it as a gift – in the former case, Amazon will preload your account details on the device. You then create individual profiles for your children.

For children, the user interface is simple and clear: a central carousel of their recently-accessed content, and buttons to browse the wider catalogue of books, videos and apps, along with a search button to quickly find specific things. At any point, swiping down from the top of the screen brings up controls to return to the homescreen.

As the parent account, you have more options, including email, web browsing and shopping from Amazon. There’s also a dedicated app to set limits on your children’s usage, including a “bedtime” period that locks the device between (for example) 8pm and 8am.

You can also set daily screen time, but with nuanced controls based on Amazon’s classification of apps, videos and ebooks as either educational or entertainment.

If you want, you can specify how much time each child has to spend on educational content a day before the entertainment is unlocked. Plus, you can fine-tune screen-time: for example letting a child read ebooks as much as they like, but setting a one-hour limit on apps.

From Disney to Toca Boca

There is certainly plenty of content for kids to explore using the Fire for Kids Unlimited subscription plan, which is available for all Amazon’s tablets, although the Fire HD Kids Edition comes with a year’s subscription bundled into its price.

Usually, it costs £3.99 a month per child or £7.99 for up to four, although Amazon Prime members get discounted rates of £1.99 and £3.99 a month respectively.

For that, you get a good selection of apps from children’s developers like Toca Boca, StoryToys, Dr Panda and Sago Sago, as well as well-known brands like Disney, Sesame Street, Dr Seuss and Thomas & Friends.

The Fire HD Kids Edition comes with a catalogue of content for children.

Your children may gravitate towards the famous names at first, but there’s an impressive long-tail of independent apps to try as time goes on. The advantage of not having to pay for apps individually may encourage kids to explore the catalogue.

The books section is a similar mix of brands (SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, plenty of movie tie-ins) with quirkier fare. The videos catalogue likewise mixes shows like Adventure Time, Peppa Pig and Shaun the Sheep through to videos from brands like Lego Friends.

What if your children want an app that isn’t part of the subscription? The first two apps my sons asked me to install were Minecraft and Crossy Road, which aren’t part of Fire for Kids Unlimited. This is where you switch to your profile, get them from Amazon’s Appstore, and then use the Fire for Kids app to “add” them to your children’s libraries.

This means you can let your children play “freemium” games (like Crossy Road) although the tablet will block them from buying in-app purchases. I also added the BBC’s iPlayer app, which meant I could download some TV shows for offline viewing – an option missing from Amazon’s own video catalogue.


As a robust, affordable tablet, the Fire HD Kids Edition makes an ideal first tablet for children, with a good balance between kids taking control over their download choices, and parents being able to set limits on how they use it.

The built-in subscription has plenty of good, educational and/or entertaining content to explore, but the flexibility to install other apps and games is welcome – especially if your children are reaching peak Minecraft age.

It would be nice to be able to store some of Amazon’s video catalogue for offline viewing ahead of a long trip or holiday, and I wonder if there is scope to add music streaming or downloads in to the subscription in the future. Still, as things stand this is one of the best children’s tablets yet.

Alienware Launches 4 New Gaming Laptops and X51 Desktop

If you’re looking for a high-end, small form-factor gaming laptop, you will want to check out Alienware’s latest offering. The Dell-owned brand has launched three new gaming laptops in its 13, 15, and 17 lineups. Parent company Dell has also refreshed the X51 desktop. The company also brought back its discontinued Alienware 18 line of laptops.

The new laptops come with the latest processors from Nvidia and Intel, and two-dozen changes including support for USB Type-C 3.1 port, PCI-Express SSDs, and company’s own external graphics card – the Graphics Amplifier. All the laptops run Windows 10, and offers support for Windows 8.1.

Starting with the Alienware 13, the laptop comes with a 13.3-inch TN (twisted nematic) display of screen resolution 1366×768. Users also have an option to choose from 1920×1080 pixel IPS, and 3200×1800 pixel IGZO IPS displays. On the processor front, there is an option to pick between Intel Core i5-5200U dual-core clocked up to 2.7GHz and Intel Core i7-5500U dual-core clocked up to 3.0GHz, coupled with NVIDIA GTX 960M 2GB GPU. For memory, there is an option between 8GB DDR3L to 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz). Other features include 500GB 5400RPM Hybrid drive (with an option to upgrade up to 512GB PCIe SSD plus 128GB mSATA). The base model starts at $999 (roughly Rs. 63,000).

The Alienware 15 is the company’s 15-inch laptop. With the base model starting $1,199.99 (roughly Rs. 79,000), it sports a 15.6-inch FHD display (1920×1080 pixel), with processor range between Intel Core i5-4210 dual-core clocking up to 3.5GHz, to Intel Core i7 Intel Core i7-4870HQ quad-core clocking up to 3.7GHz. Other features include memory option between 8GB and 16GB DDR3L(1600MHz) RAM models. It comes coupled with graphics card offering from Nvidia between its top of the line GTX 965M (2GB) and 980M (4GB), and AMD Radeon R9 M395X (4GB), and storage options ranging between 1TB 7200RPM HDD and 1 TB PCIe SSD boot drive plus 1TB HDD.

The Alienware 17 comes with a 17.3-inch display with resolution option between 1920×1080 IPS matte and 3840×2160 IGZO IPS matte. As for the processor, users get a choice between Intel Core i7-4720HQ quad-core clocking up to 3.6 GHz and Intel Core i7-4870HQ quad-core clocking up to 3.7 GHz, and GPU choices between Nvidia’s GTX 970M (3GB), and GTX 980M 4GB. Memory and storage options remains the same as the Alienware 15. The base Alienware 17 model starts at $1499 (roughly Rs. 99,000).

More excitingly, the Alienware 18, the company’s most powerful laptop to-date, is making a return. The company has launched a “special edition” of the laptop riddled with some of the most heavy hardware gears possible. The 18.4-inch FHD display, in the laptop comes coupled with the 4th-generation Intel Core i7 SoC clocking up to 4.4GHz. Also comes in a choice of either of 16GB or 32GB DDR3L (1600MHz) RAM, and dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (6GB) or GTX 980M (8GB ) GPUs in SLI configuration. It starts at $2,499, and goes up to $4,649.

Alongside the three new laptops, Dell has also launched a refreshed version of its top-of-the-line Alienware desktop. The Alienware X51 comes in a choice of a Intel Core i5-6600K quad-core clocking up to 3.9GHz, or Intel Core i7-6700K quad-core clocking up to 4.4GHz. Other features include memory option between 8GB and 16GB DDR4 RAM models, and Nvidia’s GTX 745 (4GB) and GTX 960 (2GB), and storage option between 1TB 7200RPM HDD, 2TB 7200RPM HDD, and 256GB SATA SSD plus 1TB 5400RPM HDD Hybrid. The X51 offers an optional liquid cooling, which comes attached to a unit with a fan and heat-dissipating liquid in tubes to the motherboard and processors.

India to Install 73 ‘Green’ Supercomputers in Next 3 Years

India plans to install 73 ‘green supercomputers’ in the next three years to enable high-performance computing with reduced power consumption, a scientist at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) said on Friday.

“Around five to 10 supercomputers will be installed this year and the rest in the next three years in phases. Through optimisation, power consumption of the machines will be reduced as less as possible,” Sanjay Wandhekar, associate director and head, High Performance Computing, C-DAC, Pune, told IANS.

Currently 11 Indian machines are on the list of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers, including two in the top 100.

C-DAC, which gave India its first supercomputer, said with the 73 ‘green’ machines, the country would be on the Top 500 Green computing list as well.

The machines are being developed under the Rs. 4,500-crores National Supercomputing Mission which is jointly handled by the departments of science and technology and electronics and information technology.

Wandhekar said 50 machines will be entry-level supercomputers, 20 of medium level and three will be of large capacity.

The Bhaskara supercomputer was announced in May to help meteorologists in conducting research and development related to prediction of weather including effective forecast of tropical cyclone, heavy rainfall and cloud burst events. The present augmentation enables Earth System Science Organisation – National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ESSO-NCMRWF) to provide high-resolution 10 days global weather forecast and prediction of extreme weather events using very high-resolution regional models with a horizontal resolution of 1.5km and probabilistic forecasts using an ensemble prediction system.

New Alienware laptops pack Thunderbolt 3 and prettier screens, but oddly lack Skylake

Alienware’s refreshed laptops announced today at Pax Prime will feature better screens, Thunderbolt 3 and even a new AMD GPU but oddly won’t feature Intel’s latest CPU.

The company announced three refreshed laptops: Alienware 13, Alienware 15, and Alienware 17, with the numeral referring to the size of the screen.

Just last week the company announced the return of its monstrous Alienware 18 gaming laptop with two GeForce GTX 980m GPUs inside.

The Alienware 13 gets the option of an IGZO-based IPS panel with a resolution of up to 3200×1800 and a searing 400 nits of brightness. Its top GPU is a GeForce GTX 960m, and for compute power, it’ll offer the option of dual-core “5th” gen Intel Broadwell CPUs. Units with the Core i7 will have the option of a higher density battery as well.

Alienware officials didn’t disclose all of the details about it, but said it’s a perk of being part of the Dell mothership which has made big investments in battery technology. The standard battery is 52 watt hours, with the higher density battery using the same amount of space but offering 62 watt hours.

Alienware 13 rides on top, with the Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 below it. None, however, features Skylake CPUs–yet.

The Alienware 15 will offer graphical options ranging from a GeForce GTX 965m to a GeForce GTX 980m, as well as a new one: An AMD Radeon R9 M395m GPU. The Alienware 15 packs a dual-core Haswell CPU in the base configuration. Two other quad-core chips will be available—both Haswell.

The 17.3-inch, aptly named Alienware 17 will get a UHD 4K panel to go with its GeForce GTX 970m or GTX 980m graphics.

All three units will feature two things in common: Killer NIC’s latest wireless and LAN, plus Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectors across all units. That means Alienware’s laptops will have an edge over other USB-C laptops that have already come before it by supporting USB-C transfer rates plus support for Intel’s Thunderbolt 3, which can hit 40Mbps.

Eat your heart out Apple MacBook 12. This Alienware has a USB-C connector that also supports DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3.

The most noticeable omission is the lack of Intel’s latest 6th-gen Skylake mobile CPU. Instead, Alienware’s relying on a mix of 4th-gen and 5th-gen Intel CPUs. All three machines will offer something Alienware calls “Dynamic overclocking,” however, which keeps the chips running at higher clock speeds than they otherwise would operate at.

Is the omission a sign of lack of confidence in Intel’s Skylake? Absolutely not, Alienware officials said. The company just wanted to have its refreshed laptops in front of customers sooner rather than later.

Alienware officials also said they fully intend to have essentially the same laptops using Skylake available to consumers once Intel’s new chips are available and ready.

That’s simply odd as all things point to an imminent launch of Skylake-based laptops. Just this week, a European retailer apparently accidentally outed Dell’s XPS13 and an Asus UX303 using the new Skylake chip. If that happens, those who buy Alienware’s refreshed laptops could have the blues—though to be fair, Intel often rolls outs its new mobile chips slowly, with cutting-edge CPUs appearing first in a few select notebooks while Intel cranks up to capacity.

When pressed, Alienware officials said just you should almost think of the refreshed laptops as Skylake prototypes.