Need a mobile workstation? Take a look at HP’s new EliteBooks

Need a mobile workstation? Take a look at HP’s new EliteBooks

For anyone who’s after workstation performance on the go, HP think they may have the answer. Their w-series EliteBooks have just been announced over in the US, where they’ll be available later this month, and according to HP their “highest-performing professional graphics and extreme processing power” make them ideal for VFX artists on the move.

There are three models due to hit our shelves: the high-powered EliteBook 8770w, the EliteBook 8570w and the most portable option, the EliteBook 8470w. Our 3D consultant Ben Kitching is pretty impressed with what he’s seen so far: “The new EliteBooks are powerful enough to run most 3D apps – some at a reduced level compared to a full workstation, but much better than nothing if you’re on the move. The important thing is that they support NVIDIA Quadro cards, allowing them to accelerate the pro apps much better than your standard laptops, which only have gaming class GPUs.”

EliteBook 8770w

“HP’s most powerful mobile workstation, the HP EliteBook 8770w, offers the highest-performing professional graphics and extreme processing power, and is highly configurable with a 17.3-inch diagonal display,” HP’s press release informs us. It’s available with DreamColour technology as an optional extra, so you can ensure colour consistency with an IPS display, and the AMD FirePro graphics engine and optional i7 processor mean you’ll have plenty of power. The basic model comes in at $1699, but expect to pay more if you go for the i7 model.

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EliteBook 8570w

This “versatile and portable” model cuts down your screen real estate to 15.6″, but comes in at a slightly more affordable $1499. Like the larger 8770w, you can opt for DreamColour as an extra if you’re taking on colour critical work, and get your choice of FirePro or Quadro GPUs.

Hp _8570w

EliteBook 8470w

HP claim their $1329, 14″ model comes with “workstation-caliber graphics and powerful processing along with a business-rugged design”, although like the other models we have no exact specs for the graphics card or processor. One key thing to bear in mind is that this size isn’t available with DreamColour, so steer clear if you’re doing mostly colour critical work, and it only supports AMD’s FIrePro GPUs, not NVIDIA’s CUDA-enabled Quadros.

Hp _8470w

For anyone worried about the durability of their EliteBook, HP have this to say: “Designed specifically for the needs of professionals on the go, the HP EliteBook w-series features a magnesium aluminum chassis, a radial-brushed display cover that resists fingerprints, glass touchpads and precision aluminum-alloy hinges and HP Easy Access Doors to make them easy to open and keep them secure when closed. They meet stringent military standards (MIL-STD-810G) for dust, vibration, shock, altitude, drop, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock.” (Sadly, we’ve not been able to persuade one of our 3D team to head off into the desert to test this claim yet, but we’re working on it.)

The w-series EliteBooks also include all HP’s usual business-friendly features: Smart Response Technology for faster startup, SRS Premium Sound PRO and Performance Advisor are all present and correct.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

Jammin’ at Djanogly: Silent music practice in the classroom

Jammin’ at Djanogly: Silent music practice in the classroom

We were recently at Djanogly City Academy, Nottingham, to rig up a JamHub silent music practice mixer. After running through the simple set-up, the students were able to plug in, turn up and rock out without disturbing others working around them.

Visit our shop to find out more about JamHub silent practice mixers. You can also get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

Boris Continuum Complete v8.0.2 now available for CS6

Boris Continuum Complete v8.0.2 now available for CS6

BorisFX logoBefore the new-app smell has even worn off After Effects CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6, Boris have rolled out a CS6-compatibility update for Boris Continuum Complete.

“Boris Continuum Complete 8 AE delivers the most comprehensive VFX plug-in suite ever created for Macintosh and Windows versions of Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro CS6, CS5.5, CS5, and CS4,” says their amazingly confident press release. Admittedly, with over 200 filters, particle effects, restoration tools, flares, lights, mattes, a three-way colour corrector  and stabilisation tools under the hood they may have a point but still, nobody likes a show-off.

Headline features for v8 include flicker reduction, 32-bit float support, tighter integration with After Effects (feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your verdict on this) and support for OpenGL hardware acceleration, a feature that’s also cropped up in OS X 10.7.4. It’s a good day to be a Premiere editor, no?

Boris Continuum Complete v8.0.2 is a free update for existing users, and is available now from Boris’s website.

Not an existing user? You can get BCC on our website, or find out more about it by calling 03332 409 306 or emailing To keep up with the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

Video: Wacom Intuos 5 – Jigsaw24’s hands-on review

Tom and Liana from the Jigsaw24 design team take a first look at the new features of the Wacom Intuos5 tablet, including the new design, multitouch gestures and the possibilities for creative workflows.

Convinced? Get yourself an Intuos 5 here, or call 03332 409 306 or email to find out more. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

AJA Presents the FS2

AJA Presents the FS2

Meet the FS2 3G/HD/SD Up/Down/Cross convertor and synchroniser: AJA’s first product that’s easier to use than say. AJA have put together a promo video to whet everyone’s appetite post-NAB – Here are all the key specs and functions in one zippy 52 second short.

Want to know more about the FS2? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page

NAB 2012: WD and Blackmagic Design speed test My Book Thunderbolt Duos

Western Digital were showcasing their recently-launched Thunderbolt drives at NAB 2012, and daisy chained four of them together for a quick speed test using Blackmagic Design’s Disk Speed Test software.

Our photos may be a bit blurry (there was a bit of a scrum on the WD stand – click on the thumbnails below to get a closer look), but if you squint, you’ll see that they’re clocking up a write speed of 524.7 MBps and a read speed of 893.9 MBps, which ain’t too shabby.

Speed testing four Thunderbolt drives

Speed testing four Thunderbolt drives


Four Western Digital Thunderbolt drives daisy chained

Four Western Digital Thunderbolt drives daisy chained

The drives themselves are My Book Thunderbolt Duos, which are available in 4TB and 6TB versions (priced around £415 and £475 respectively). They each contain two drives, which can be configured to RAID 0 or RAID 1 as needed. Mac fans will also be pleased to hear that they’re Time Machine compatible straight out of the box. You can get the full spec list on our site.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest NAB news, follow @Jigsaw24Video or  ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

NAB 2012 news: CalDigit announce T1 and T2 Thunderbolt drives

CalDigit have brought their two new Thunderbolt drives to NAB 2012 – the T1 and T2, both of which can handle SSD and HDD drives and offer you the chance to edit uncompressed 2K HD or RED 2K and 4K at full res. Win!

The T1

Sadly not in any way connected to the Terminator, the T1 “is the world’s first removable and fastest Thunderbolt single drive solution with two Thunderbolt ports, perfect for audio/visual professionals seeking a sleek, fast and portable storage unit,” according to CalDigit’s press release. It comes with two Thunderbolt ports so you can daisy chain it to your heart’s content, and you can switch between storing on a 2.5″ SSD (which will offer you speeds of up to 430MBps) or a 3.5″ HDD (which we’ve not got figures for but which is presumably faster).

The T2

CalDigit T2The T2 is an equally speedy dual drive (hence the name), which also comes with two Thunderbolt ports. The drives are removable, and can be configured to RAID 0 or 1, or for JBOD capability if that’s how you roll.

“CalDigit T2 offers users the option of even more performance with support for a 2.5″ SSD drive or the standard 3.5″ HHD drive for already unbeatable Thunderbolt speeds.Whether you’re into video editing, motion graphics, photography, sound design or someone who just needs reliable storage, the CalDigit T2 is an ideal compromise between speed and security,” says the press release. It can reach speeds of up to 630 MBps using SSDs, presumably when in RAID 0.

…they even have their own app

CalDigit’s iPhone app and accompanying Mac OX software allow you ti use the Thunderbolt Drive Utility in Mac OS X to check the status of your drives at any time. You can monitor their status, look up RAID information, view event logs and set up email and voice notifications.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest NAB news, follow @Jigsaw24Video‘Like’ our Facebook page or take a look at our roundup.

NAB 2012 news: PROMISE Pegasus, J4 JBOD and VTrak JX30 chassis on show

NAB 2012 news: PROMISE Pegasus, J4 JBOD and VTrak JX30 chassis on show

Pegasus J4 JBODPROMISE are a bit of a Thunderbolt favourite, and have been offering excellent storage options pretty much since the interface was announced. At NAB 2012, they’re showing off their Pegasus J4 and J2 JBODs and VTrak Jx30 Expansion Chassis.

Although they were announced earlier in the year, this has been the first chance most people have had to see them live, and feedback so far has been positive – not surprising when you take a look at the specs.

The VTrak J930s series

“The new PROMISE VTrak Jx30s is an ultra-dense 6Gbps SAS 4U/60-bay expansion chassis that enables data hungry applications to scale to petabytes without having to sacrifice valuable server rack real estate,” PROMISE’s NAB press release reminds us. The new chassis can be connected to SAS enabled servers, or connected into VTrak x30 Series RAID subsystems. Its architecture is flexible enough to connect to 6G and 3G hard drives and SSDs, and you can add a redundant active-active interface module if need be (we don’t have any pricing or info for this module, though).

As PROMISE explain, “The VTrak Jx30 series allows storage applications to access their data at blistering speeds using multi-lane 6G SAS architectures. The 6G SAS connectivity paves the way for large multi-land bandwidth to support the flood of unstructured data now flowing across networks today. Fully backward compatible with 3G SAS/SATA devices, users have the ability to deploy 3G and 6G SAS/SATA hard drives and solid state devices (SSD) in the Jx30 series.”

Anyone looking to lower their carbon footprint (or take a chunk out of their power bill) will be happy to hear that they include hot-swappable power and cooling units that PROMISE say operate at up to 90% power efficiency.

The Pegasus J4 JBOD

Despite its small form factor, the J4 JBOD packs in four bays, and supports SSd and HDD. Like all Thunderbolt devices, it offers two channels with a 10Gbps data rate, but also gives you I/O rates of over 500MBps – great numbers for a portable device.

The Pegasus J2 JBOD

Being sold as the smallest Thunderbolt-enabled external drive out there, the J2 JBOD is powered by 6G mSATA flash and can deliver over 700 MBps throughput – even when supporting volume encryption.

Both JBOD models are supposedly noiseless – to not-hear them in action, drop by booth SL5327 at NAB.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest NAB news, follow @Jigsaw24Video‘Like’ our Facebook page or take a look at our roundup.

NAB 2012 news: A closer look at the AOC Thunderbolt display

NAB 2012 news: A closer look at the AOC Thunderbolt display

It made its first appearance at CES, but NAB 2012 was many people’s first chance to get a closer look at AOC’s Thunderbolt display.

AOC Thunderbolt display

As our intrepid reporter/storage solutions architect’s pictures show, the display comes with dual Thunderbolt ports, so you can daisy chain up to six Thunderbolt devices off the back of it – in this case a ThinkPad and a LaCie Little Big Disk.

This setup is running via Sumimoto’s optical Thunderbolt cables, which will work with your PC and should be available soon – sample stock is already available in Japan. Thunderbolt on PC works natively with the OS, so you won’t need any additional drivers to enable Thunderbolt bus, but you’ll still need the appropriate drivers on your end point devices.

The display is due out later this year, with no word yet on the cables – we’ll keep you posted. Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest NAB news, follow @Jigsaw24Video‘Like’ our Facebook page or take a look at our roundup.

NAB 2012 news: Optical Thunderbolt cables for PC now available

With Apple’s year of exclusivity coming to its end, Thunderbolt is set to make its way to the PC market. By far the strongest evidence of this we’ve seen so far is Sumitomo’s NAB exhibit, which features a Thunderbolt cable connecting an IBM ThinkPad to a LaCie Little Big Disk, with a monitor daisy chained off the back (we didn’t manage to get a snap of that, though).

Thunderbolt ThinkPadAs if the idea of PC Thunderbolt wasn’t exciting enough, these cables are also optical, so they can be far longer and we can look forward to seeing that 10Gbps data rate at work on long distance transmissions. Sumitomo’s initial sample run includes lengths up to 20m, all of which use the same interface as the existing generation of Thunderbolt cables – the connector will be slightly longer, but no thicker.

(Quick update: We’ve just got word that the 10, 20 and 30 metre cables Sumimoto are developing are optical, while shorter lengths will be electrical. There are no power-over-optical cables currently in development.)

Another plus Sumitomo are keen to emphasise is the enhance “flexural strength” of optical cables. Despite their relative slimness (they’re no bigger than the existing cables) the optical Thunderbolt cables can be bent at a 180 degree angle or tangled in knots without breaking, meaning we could soon be seeing them on consumer devices.

There’s no word on UK pricing or ship dates just yet, but the Japanese iteration of Amazon has them at ¥4200 for a metre cable, which is slightly cheaper than Apple are selling the current cables for.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest NAB news, follow @Jigsaw24Video‘Like’ our Facebook page or take a look at our roundup.