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CES 2022: Acer announces new Windows 11 PCs for work, gaming and fans of National Geographic

At CES 2022, Acer revealed many new Windows 11 devices, including new laptops and All-in-Ones based on the latest Intel 12th Gen Intel Core processors, a special edition gaming notebook and the latest manifestation of the company’s commitment to a more sustainable future. The Swift X lineup adds two new additions, arriving in 14-inch and…

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At CES 2022, Acer revealed many new Windows 11 devices, including new laptops and All-in-Ones based on the latest Intel 12th Gen Intel Core processors, a special edition gaming notebook and the latest manifestation of the company’s commitment to a more sustainable future.


The Swift X lineup adds two new additions, arriving in 14-inch and 16-inch models, arriving in 14-inch and 16-inch models, both running on Windows 11 and featuring a 16:10 aspect-ratio IPS screen with a 92.22% screen-to-body ratio. From there, 100% coverage of the sRGB color gamut delivers an immersive viewing experience. To further enhance these images, it also features Acer BluelightShield for more comfortable viewing, plus Acer ExaColor and Acer Color Intelligence for more vibrant colors. A fan (two on the 16-inch model), air inlet keyboard and dual heat pipes help keep the laptop running cool.

Swift X 16

Working from home? Consider the new Aspire C27 and C24 All-in-One (AIO) PCs, which have been refreshed with Windows 11 and up to the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, the latest NVIDIA GeForce MX550 GPU and 64 GB of DDR4 RAM, plus a 1 TB SSD and 2 TB HDD. Connectivity options back up this powerful hardware, such as Wi-Fi 6E for fast and stable connectivity, Bluetooth 5.2 for simplified data-sharing between devices and Thunderbolt 4 for 40Gbps of bidirectional bandwidth.

Video conferencing has never been more important, and the Aspire C27 responds to this need with a 5.0 MP webcam and two stereo microphones. It can also be tilted so users can find the perfect angle for those calls. To help maintain a tidy workspace, this ultra-slim AIO includes space-saving and cable management.

Aspire Vero National Geographic Edition notebook

For those searching for sustainability-minded devices, Acer has created the Aspire Vero National Geographic Edition notebook. Every purchase of this special edition laptop helps support the global nonprofit National Geographic Society in its work to protect the world through exploration, research and education.

The original Aspire Vero’s look is defined by the material blend used in its chassis, which consists of 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. Yellow pigment dots contrast with this textured grey surface, adding style without the need for any paint. The Aspire Vero National Geographic Edition builds on this design with several diagonal lines running across approximately half of the top cover. A small extract from a topographic map, these lines divide the laptop’s surface into land and sea and allude to the impact of global warming on rising sea levels. Opening the laptop reveals the National Geographic portal, which has been printed directly onto the bottom right corner of the keyboard. In yellow print on the spacebar lies the message, “For Planet Earth.” Even the laptop’s packaging shows a thoughtful approach, as it’s been designed to be a multipurpose box.

And just because it’s got a lighter ecological footprint doesn’t mean it skimps on performance. An 11th Gen Intel Core processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics powers it to comfortably handle productivity and collaboration tasks, while Wi-Fi 6 offers ultra-reliable connectivity. A generous selection of ports includes a USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, which can be used to charge mobile devices even when the computer is turned off.

Predator Triton 500 SE

Acer has also refreshed its gaming laptops, namely its Predator and Nitro lines, starting off the year with new models of the Predator Triton 500 SE, Predator Helios 300 and Acer Nitro 5. All of the laptops feature the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs, while the Acer Nitro 5 also includes an AMD Ryzen 6000 Series processor option.

The Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) is a “special edition” laptop for work and gaming. It comes with an up to 12th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU and 32 GB of 5200 MHz LPDDR5 memory to provide the extreme performance necessary for the latest games. Its all-metal Spartan-styled chassis blends into the workplace or lecture hall. Just 0.78 inches at its thinnest point, the laptop is one you can take easily take anywhere, while up to 2 TB of high-speed NVMe RAID0 SSD storage offers plenty of space for games and files.

The laptop utilizes a triple-fan system, including two 5th Gen AeroBlade 3D fans with 89 metal blades each. Acer’s Vortex Flow technology redirects the airflow those fans generate to critical components, while strategically placed thermal foam, liquid-metal thermal grease on the CPU and four heat pipes further improve cooling.

Predator Helios 300

The Predator Helios 300 (PH315-55) has everything you’re looking for in a powerful gaming laptop, plus a 15.6-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS display with a 165 Hz refresh rate, a cleaner chassis and a light bar.

More casual gamers will find a lot more in the Acer Nitro 5, with its 12th Gen Intel Core i7 (AN515-58) and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. A pair of M.2 SSD slots (PCIe Gen 4) offer massive storage, while up to 32 GB of DDR4 3200 RAM gives players plenty of breathing room to handle multiple applications at once. And with Killer Ethernet E2600 and Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650i, players can make their network prioritize game traffic for even faster connectivity when every second counts. There’s also an AMD version.

Nitro 5

Another bit of customization comes with the NitroSense utility app, a built-in software solution that also enables users to overclock their CPU/GPU and customize the four-zone RGB keyboard’s lighting as well as control fan speeds for more or less cooling power.

For those who prefer to play in a stationary/fixed setup, Acer has boosted its gaming portfolio with new Windows 11 Predator desktops and monitors. Gamers can expect to check out refreshed and upgradeable Predator Orion 5000 series gaming desktops, new mid-range Predator Orion 3000 series gaming desktops, an OLED Predator monitor and an additional pair of IPS monitors that combine VESA DisplayHDR 1000-level visuals with high refresh rates.

The Predator Orion 5000 combines up to the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor (with the Intel H670 chipset) with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU in order to deliver high frame rates and satisfying experiences, even in the most graphically demanding games. Alongside 64 GB of 4,000 MHz DDR5 RAM and up to 2 TB of M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSDs, ARGB-infused Predator FrostBlade 2.0 fans support these powerful internals by keeping the system cool. This generation of fans utilizes a static pressure design to optimize airflow, while sealed rifle bearings and a new arc-shaped design along the ends of the fans’ fins reduce vibration and noise.

Gamers seeking a mid-tower rig that still delivers a great experience can add the Predator Orion 3000 series to their list of options. With up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor (on an Intel B660 chipset) and up to a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, gamers can max settings in their favorite titles and dive into streaming or video editing with little to no impact on performance.

Gamers and creators looking for performance and visual brilliance can look at the new Predator X32 – which earned a CES Innovation Award – and Predator X32 FP gaming monitors. Featuring 160 Hz and 165 Hz (overclocked) refresh rates, respectively, both of these UHD (3,840 x 2,160) 32-inch monitors also boast VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certifications, IPS panels that support 576-zone miniLED local dimming, Delta E<2 color accuracy and 99% coverage of the AdobeRGB color gamut. As a result, they deliver clear and fluid visuals that are essential for tracking objects as they zip across the screen.

Looking for an alternative to your next TV? The Predator CG48 gaming monitor provides 48 inches of pure 4K enjoyment, even at refresh rates of 138 Hz. The OLED display leverages a 135K:1 contrast ratio, HDR10 and 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut. One of the distinctive aspects of OLED technology is that pixels are individually powered and can be turned individually on or off, allowing for true blacks to be replicated. (OLED panels create the color black by turning pixels off, meaning that light is not being emitted.)

To find out more about these devices and the others in the Acer CES lineup, head over to the Acer pressroom.

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Babylon.js 5.0: News Tools – Part 2

We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools. Animation Curve Editor Creating and…

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We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools.

Animation Curve Editor

Creating and modifying animation data in a rendering engine can be complicated and verbose, but not anymore! Babylon.js 5.0 adds a built-in Animation Curve Editor (ACE), making it incredibly easy to create and modify animation data directly in your Babylon scene. As with all Babylon.js Platform tools, you can also save your animation data to the Babylon.js Snippet Server and load it back into your Babylon.js scene with one single line of code!

See it in action here: Play with the Animation Curve Editor

Learn more: Animation Curve Editor Documentation

Performance Profiler

Performance is one of the most important things to keep in mind as you create advanced interactive 3D experiences. After all, you don’t want to create an awesome experience that only runs on the most high-end graphics cards, right? You want to create something that EVERYONE can enjoy, and this means keeping track of and optimizing the performance of your scene. Babylon.js 5.0 makes performance debugging and management a breeze with the introduction of the new Performance Profiler. This handy tool allows you to see a real time graph of key performance indicators of your scene, all hooked up live! Make a change, see the impact on perf. It’s really that simple!

See it in action here: Performance Profiler Demo

Learn more: Performance Profiler Documentation

GUI Editor Beta

Babylon.js has a powerful GUI system that offers countless widgets, controls, and properties to help you create rich GUIs. With Babylon.js 5.0 that powerful system becomes far simpler to use with the introduction of the GUI Editor Beta. While still in active development, the GUI Editor Beta is a rich and modern tool, allowing you to create the perfect GUI with a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Say goodbye to thousands of lines of GUI code and hello to a world of design with the GUI Editor Beta and loading your creations with a single line of code!

See it in action here: GUI Editor Beta Demo

Try it out for yourself: GUI Editor

Learn more: GUI Editor Beta Documentation

New Node Material Nodes

The Node Material Editor is one of the most advanced tools available in the Babylon Platform. One simple UI that helps you generate stunning GLSL shaders with ease. With Babylon.js 5.0 the Node Material gets even better with the introduction of several powerful new nodes!

Check out the new nodes:

Learn More: Node Material Documentation

Asset Librarian

The Babylon.js Platform offers a large library of free Creative Commons 0 assets available for you to use in your Babylon.js scenes, completely for free. With Babylon.js 5.0, accessing these assets is easier and faster than ever! The new Asset Librarian brings a new Assets namespace that you can use in your projects to easily access the 200+ free assets to make your Babylon.js scenes soar.

Try it out: Asset Librarian Demo

Learn More: Asset Librarian Documentation

Dev Stories Documentation

Babylon.js 5.0 adds a whole new category of documentation called “Dev Stories.” These new tutorials are designed to walk you, step-by-step, through some common scenarios that many Babylon.js developers ask about. From setting up a Babylon.js project quickly, adding interactive 3D elements to your e-commerce site, to deploying your Babylon.js project to a Native Application, “Dev Stories” are rich, deep, detailed tutorials aimed at helping you take your project from idea to reality!

Check It Out: Dev Stories!

“Going The Distance With Babylon.js” A New Book               

We are also incredibly excited to share that alongside Babylon.js 5.0, community member and talented author Josh Elster has written an entirely new book about Babylon.js 5.0. Published by Packt Publishing, “Going The Distance With Babylon.js” is written from the mindset of taking you through the entire development process of building a game with Babylon.js from the ground up. We are thrilled to partner with Josh and Packt on this book and think it’ll be a great addition to your library and accelerate your Babylon.js learning journey.

Pick Up Your Copy Here: Babylon.js 5.0: The Book

Beside the tooling, there are also a ton of new features in the engine itself. Check out part three to learn more about the exciting new improvements with Babylon.js 5.0.

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How Windows speech-to-text and other tools can help address educational inequity

Graham, a 12-year-old boy who lives in Kansas, has a neurological condition that renders him unable to read or write. But, thanks to Windows speech-to-text, Immersive Reader and other tools, he’s been able to look forward to the future. He now aces book reports and makes business cards for his lawn-mowing service thanks to those…

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Graham, a 12-year-old boy who lives in Kansas, has a neurological condition that renders him unable to read or write. But, thanks to Windows speech-to-text, Immersive Reader and other tools, he’s been able to look forward to the future. He now aces book reports and makes business cards for his lawn-mowing service thanks to those tools. He dreams of being a doctor.

Features like these can help address inequity in schools, empowering students like Graham to find their voices and be game changers.

See the video below. To learn more about Graham and some of the ways teachers are using technology to help address inequity in the classroom, visit Microsoft Stories.




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Using Azure and Windows 11, IRZ consulting company helps farmers save water and power

Water is one of the most precious resources on Earth. And as someone whose family has been farming for generations, Fred Ziari has made it his life’s work to help growers be more efficient with this vital element for their crops, as well as the energy it takes to distribute it. Ziari is the CEO…

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Water is one of the most precious resources on Earth. And as someone whose family has been farming for generations, Fred Ziari has made it his life’s work to help growers be more efficient with this vital element for their crops, as well as the energy it takes to distribute it.

Ziari is the CEO of IRZ Engineering & Consulting, which provides services to agriculture communities around the world. The company is based in eastern Oregon, which he says is 95% efficient in its water use, vs. about 40% globally.

Water management is directly tied to crop productivity. IRZ offers water management services for large scale farms (100 acres or more), using water sensors and Microsoft Azure cloud services. This Internet of Things (IoT) solution links the internet connected sensors to the cloud. Azure SQL Server manages the incoming data and then IRZ uses custom apps to deliver that information to farmers, leading to decisions that help them save them 15-20% in water and power usage annually, which translates to millions of dollars. Windows 11 PCs and Microsoft 365 are must-haves for IRZ to smoothly conduct its daily business.

By reducing both water and energy in irrigated farming, IRZ customers conserve over 10 billion gallons of water every year.


Born in Northern Iran on a farm along the Caspian Sea, Ziari says generations of his family grew about 30 different types of crops, so agriculture has always been a big part of his life.

“Growing up in a family farm, I always believed that the technology of agriculture was more important to me and more interesting than the farming itself,” Ziari says. “I felt that by using water more efficiently, you can increase productivity by many, many fold.”

Fifty years ago, he came to the U.S. when he was 18.

He went to Texas A&M University for his undergrad and graduate studies before joining the faculty at Washington State University as a researcher in water management, specializing in irrigated agriculture.

Fred Ziari of IRZ

Irrigation and rainfall are the two sources most farms use to water their crops. Irrigated agriculture has become more important since it’s not so dependent on the environment and changing climate conditions to assure production and yield. But that means farmers need to use water more efficiently.

“If you put too much water to the crop, you are drowning it because the roots need oxygen. If you put too much water, you’re suffocating them,” Ziari says. “If you can put just the right amount of water, your productivity increases substantially.”

Soil moisture sensor up-close, in a potato field

In 1982, he moved to Oregon. Two years after that, he started IRZ engineering consulting, when he was 30.

Ziari got some of his best business advice from his grandfather. When he was a teen, his grandfather told him to be brave, take risks and create something, and good things would happen. As an entrepreneur, Ziari says that courage is a must. He also believes in a purposeful life – helping others, serving communities.

“You can only manage what you measure, so we rely tremendously on field sensors and climate input technologies – as well as modeling – using software to achieve our water management goals,” Ziari says. “Our company has been using Azure cloud services to provide near real time information and data to the farmers in multiple states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho and around the globe. So that has been a game changer for us on how we provide information and data to farmers – and how quickly they’re able to make irrigation decisions based on that data.”

Tim Berk of IRZ

Before Azure, they had to send a soil scientist and agricultural engineer to the farms and they would measure soil moisture, write it down on paper and bring it to the office. And then another person input the data. IRZ’s technical team installs real-time moisture sensors that go up to a meter deep and report what is happening with soil moisture and how much of the crop is taking water out of the soil every 15 minutes. They’re also tapping into weather stations and using proprietary software to forecast crop water use. It’s a massive amount of data – that’s now connected to Azure. Then apps forward that information to farmers on their desktops, laptops and mobile devices so they can decide when and how much to irrigate.

At the IRZ offices, engineers rely on Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 daily, such as using the centered task bar, widgets and a simplified start menu; as well as PowerPoint or Excel for calculations needed for sophisticated modeling or presenting ideas to clients.

Telemetry unit with the rain/irrigation gauge (black object) on the left in a potato field, where the crop is at a later stage of growth

Tim Berk, who’s been with IRZ for about 20 years, is the company’s IT manager. He says it’s been a long road to where they are with technology.

Within their customer base, the acceptance of technology has increased. In earlier years, Berk says it was difficult to encourage a grower or one of their customers to go online to get information – whether that was a weather report or a report IRZ published. In more recent years, as the internet has become standard, those growers have embraced web-based technologies.

IRZ chose Affirma as its technology partner about seven years ago to help them in other areas.

“Affirma allows us to do things that we can’t do ourselves,” Berk says. “They’ve got a lot of talent to draw from, whether it’s a data architect, a web developer or UI/graphics arts designer. Our customers also benefit from our relationship with Affirma. They help us bring our ideas to life and in their best form possible. Our expertise is in irrigation, consulting and engineering. With Affirma, we have a deep bench with talent and data architecture, software engineering, user interface design.”

Berk started at IRZ doing field work, then moved over to his current role in technology, where he’s been the majority of his time there.

Soil moisture sensor installed in a field

“Water management is important for a couple of reasons,” he says. “It allows growers to better manage costs associated with irrigating their crops and fields. Secondly, it’s important for the environment to use water wisely. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the planet.”

In the past, IRZ hosted its own website and infrastructure, which was very expensive and difficult to implement. With Azure, they have all those things available to them without having to manage it themselves. Being cloud-based helps IRZ with redundancy and geo-located backups of services – something Berk says puts a small business on the same level as big business.

As a result, they’re giving farmers and growers the biggest benefit of all: time.

Traditionally, a farmer would have to visit his field multiple times a week, even every day. With IRZ’s sensors in the field, farmers can have the confidence to take time off and still be able to monitor their fields in near real-time.

Berk frames the company’s services to growers as a decision support system, starting with sensors in the field – moisture in the soil or applied irrigation – that transmit that data via satellite or by cell modems.

From there, IRZ imports that data into its system where it’s stored in Azure SQL databases, and then a number of processes run within a web application. And then it’s available to IRZ customers in near real-time in the form of reports on either a tablet, smartphone, a PC or a web browser.

During the summer growing season, fields can get dry – sometimes all at the same time. But farmers can’t add irrigation to the entire field at the same time due to the nature of the way the irrigation machines work. They have to plan ahead.

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