Main Meetings Archive

The April2018 Main Meeting

Tonight Renato Catalan,

Renato Catalan

Principal of The Gap Agency, The Gap Logorepresenting AMD, Seagate, Brother and Blue Microphones returned to give us a review of the great variety of products the Agency represents


Renato started the evening with AMD.

AMD or Advanced Micro Devices is Intel’s main rival in the computer chip business. They are the only other company that makes computer processors, the chip that runs all your devices from the desktops, laptops and servers.

AMD have been the underdog in the processor wars but in 2017 they introduced the Ryzen which has gained a great market share and this month AMD introduced the 2nd generation of Ryzen processors. Tonight, Renato gave us a rundown on the range of Ryzen processors.

AMD Slide 1 New Ryzen chip range

Renato started with the Threadripper which is built for all your high-end processing applications, like Photoshop, Video editing, music composition, or gaming. The Ryzen Pro is exclusively sold to manufacturers like HP, Dell and Acer, with a Ryzen mobile range for laptops. Then we have the Ryzen CPUs, the 3, the 5 and the 7, equivalent to the Intel i5 to i7.

Renato showed us some stats on the new processors

AMD Slide 2

The Ryzen has the Zen architecture and is the first 12 nanometre processor. It shows some great performance rates compared to the Intel.

AMD Slide 3

The 2nd Generation Ryzen’s was released this April, and the Ryzen 7 Renato showed us had just arrived at the Agency that day.

Ryzen 7 box

He also showed us the range of new motherboards to complement the new chips.

ARDUS Gaming Mother Board

Renato showed how the chip fitted into the motherboard.

Renato inserting an AMD chip in a motherboard

Renato also discussed the speed of the chips. The Ryzen 7 on show was a 2700X. Each of the Ryzen’s comes in a variety of speeds from the 2700X at 4.3Ghz.

Rysen 7 2700 Specs

down to the 1700 3.7 Ghz

Chart showing the types of Ryzen 7 chips

Then there is the Ryzen 5

Ryzen 5 box

with speeds from 3.6GHz to 3.2Ghz

Chart showing the types of Ryzen 5 chips

Then the Ryzen 3

Ryzen 3 box

with a range of 3.5Ghz to 3.1Ghz

Chart showing the types of Ryzen 5 chips


After the break Renato moved on to showed us the Seagate range of Hard Drives.

Seagate Hard Drive Range

Seagate is one of only two hard drive manufacturers in the world, the other being Western Digital

Renato introduced us to the Guardian series of Seagate hard drives running the conventional type of platter drives. They have three main types of drive, Barracuda, Ironwolf, and Skyhawk.

Seagate Guardian Series

Each series is designed for a particular purpose.

Starting with Barracuda

Baracuda logo

which is designed for general computer storage. The drives come in both 2.5 and 3.5 formats and have a range of 500 gigabits to 12 Terabits. Renato asked, “but what if the disk fails?” Seagate have a pro version of Barracuda which offers a recovery service, to quote Seagate “Purchase a BarraCuda Pro drive and you are covered for 2 years — that’s 2 years you don’t ever have to worry about the data on your hard drive.”

To expand on the idea of backup and recovery Renato moved on the

Ironwolf series.

Ironwolf logo

These drives are designed to run 24/7 and are made for NAS storage.  NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. It is a way to connect a series of hard drives, usually in a single box to the network, for use as data backup. NAS drives are not just for commercial use. Anyone can have their own NAS drive and Renato emphasized that the Ironwolf’s could be used for general backup of all your data such as photos and documents or full drive backups.

TThe other drive in the series is Skyhawk.

Skyhawk logo

Have you seen those little round eyes staring at you in the shop?

Security camera

They sit there recording away, but where are the images stored? The Skyhawk has been built specifically for recording video. The drives are designed to take the input from up to 64 cameras and according to the site can record up to 2000 hours on a 10 Tb drive.

“Smart, safe and secure, SkyHawk is engineered for 24×7 video recording. (It) Record(s) more with support for up to 64 HD cameras backed by a 180 TB/year workload rating, 3× the workload rating of desktop drives, and store over 2,000 hours of HD video on capacities up to 10 TB.”


Firecuda logo

Also of interest is the Firecuda, It is what Renato called a hybrid drive which has a combination of solid state storage and platter drive.

Internal hybrid Hard Drive

The Firecuda is designed mainly for gaming. It comes in both 2.5 and 3.5 sizes with between 500Gb to 2Tb of space.

To quota from the site

“FireCuda™ drives meld the latest NAND flash technology with a traditional hard drive for a compact blend of capacity and speeds up to 5× faster than typical hard drives.”

One problem that Renato mentioned was that the solid state drive has a more limited storage capacity and are more expensive.


Brother logo

Renato then moved on to his collection of Brother equipment. Now most of the group would know Brother for its printers and scanners but as Renato showed us they make lots of other goodies.

Here’s the product list from the web site

Brother product list

Brother’s other products include Sewing machines, garment printers and template cutters.

Tonight. Renato brought

Brother products on display

 the NS55 sewing machine and the CM350 Scan N Cut.

Renato admitted that he was no sewer so he showed us a great video on the NS series of computerised machines.

It was made at the Hobby Sew by Melanie from Brother International.

Brother NS series video

The video had a comprehensive explanation for range of features included in the NS series. They all come with automatic button hole making, auto threading and a large range of stitching options. The number only appears to be limited by the model you choose. Selecting a style is simple, just match the number on the machine with one you like on the card under the hood of the machine.

Sewing pattens displayed in the video

The other equipment Renato had brought along was the CM350 Scan N Cut.

This is a scanning and cutting tool to create and transfer designs and images from one media to another.

Brother CM350

We had a brief look at a video on the CM350

Brother cm350 scan and cut video

In the video they scanned a pattern for a moustache,

Brother cm350 video moustache cut

Then you select cut from the menu

Brother cm350 video detail

and then CM350 cut the pattern out.

Brother cm350 video pattern cut

You can then add it to your scrap book or into your personalised photo album.

It appears the CM350 mobile is exclusive to Spotlight.


Blue Logo

Last up Renato showed us the Yeti Pro Microphone from Blue

Renato with the Yeti mic

The Yeti comes in a number of versions and the Yeti Pro is the semi professional version. Its made for the video creator, the blogger or the podcaster. The Pro also has two connections, a USB and an XLR.

XLR Connectors

The XLR is the standard audio connection one finds in most amplifying equipment.

It’s a multi-directional mic that means you can set the mic up and conduct an interview with no loss of sound. You can also use the mic for a variety of different settings as described in the manual

Types of mic settings in the manual

The Yeti USB is available at JB Hi-Fi


The Raffle

Renato offered a 1TB 2.5 inch drive for our raffle and the club added a external case and two gift cards.

Seagate hard drive prize

Here are our winners

Our winners

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