Graphics/Sound

To date, NVIDIA has introduced only a couple of Maxwell-based desktop GPUs. Back in September, the company launched the powerful and potent GeForce GTX 980 (and its little brother, the GeForce GTX 970), featuring the GM204. The GM204 is currently NVIDIA’s fastest single-GPU, though a larger “big” Maxwell-based chip akin to the GK110 powering cards like the GeForce GTX Titan, will likely be introduced at some point as well. Looking even further back, we first got a glimpse of Maxwell on the diminutive GeForce GTX 750 Ti. That card was based on the GM107 GPU, a smaller Maxwell variant, that targets... Read more...
As CES kicks off this year, we're seeing a number of new products from companies that focus on two critical markets: ultramobile computer hardware and high-end enthusiast equipment. Acer is one of the first companies to announce its CES lineup, and it's revealing new hardware in multiple segments.  New 15.6-inch, Core M Laptops Acer is leading with announcements regarding its new, 15-inch Chromebook hardware with an integrated 1920x1080 display. The company already offers several 13.3-inch options with a high-end 1080p panel, but all of these are powered... Read more...
AMD this week delivered its Catalyst Omega drivers that are the culmination of six months of development work. AMD Catalyst Omega brings over 20 new features, a wealth of bug fixes to the table along with performance increases both on AMD Radeon GPUs and integrated AMD APUs. Some of the new functionality brought with the Catalyst Omega driver includes Virtual Super Resolution, or VSR. VSR is essentially AMD's answer to NVIDIA's DSR, or Dynamic Super Resolution. VSR is “game- and engine-agnostic” and renders content at up to 4K resolution, then displays it at a resolution your monitor actually... Read more...
Dell has made a handful of interesting announcements at its Dell World 2014 conference, currently taking place in Austin, Texas. Yesterday, we were able to show you some of the new Venue mainstream and professional tablets and convertible devices the company has coming down the pipeline, and today we’ve got some impression of a couple of other products—Dell’s highly anticipated 5K display and a concept “Smart Desk” product that could change the way creative professionals interact with their PC. First up, here’s a look at Dell’s upcoming UltraSharp 27 5K... Read more...
ARM has announced its next generation of graphics hardware (codenamed Mali). The new GPUs are meant to highlight a significant improvement in energy efficiency, with ARM claiming that its next-generation GPU architecture will be a whopping 45% more power efficient than previous models. The new GPUs are also meant to address a broad array of market needs, with products scaling from entry level devices to midrange and high-end products. Note that in the fine print, ARM states that the T860 is designed to be 45% more efficient than the older T628 at the same process node and with the same configuration.... Read more...
When NVIDIA launched the powerful GTX 980 and 970 last month, it was obvious that these cards would be coming to mobile sooner rather than later. The significant leap forward that Maxwell offers in performance-per-watt means that these GPUs would shine in mobile contexts -- maybe even more than in desktop. The mobile Maxwell die Today, NVIDIA is putting paid to that hypothesis with two new mobile GPUs -- the GeForce GTX 970M and 980M. Both cards are based on Maxwell's 28nm architecture, and both are trimmed slightly from the full desktop implementation. The GeForce GTX 980M is a 1536-core chip... Read more...
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to start this piece off with a bit of a confession: Last year, when I was first exposed to NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology, I turned to one of our contacts at the company and said, “The moment someone comes out with a nice 4K version, I’ll hand over my credit card”. At the time, I had been riding along on a 30” HP display with a resolution of 2560x1600 for a few years, and quite frankly, was itching to upgrade. After all, smartphones and tablets were already available with high-resolution screens that put the... Read more...
A few months back, we took a look at the GeForce GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti, which features a GPU based on NVIDIA’s bleeding-edge Maxwell microarchitecture. Although there have been a few exceptions, when one of the big GPU makers releases a next-gen GPU, they typically start at the high-end and then scale the GPU back to flesh out a top-to-bottom line-up of products, at various price points, leveraging the same core chip architecture. That wasn’t the case with NVIDIA's Maxwell, however. With Maxwell, NVIDIA took a somewhat different approach. The GeForce GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti are low-power... Read more...
Just about a year ago, AMD released the Radeon R9 290X, based on the GPU formerly codenamed Hawaii. At the same time, the company also re-jiggered and re-named the rest of its line-up to create a fresh, top-to-bottom line-up of graphics cards in the Radeon R7 and R9 series. The Radeon R9 290X, and eventually the R9 290 and R9 295X2, however, were the only cards to actually feature new GPUs (i.e. Hawaii). The rest of the Radeon R7 and R9 series products featured previously released silicon, though clock speeds and memory configurations were typically tweaked to help differentiate the products.... Read more...
Before we dive in and show you the brand-new ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q G-Sync enabled monitor, we have a confession to make: We are ecstatic that there is finally some innovation happening in the monitor market. For years, 30” panels with native resolutions of 2560x1600 and paltry 60Hz refresh rates remained the pinnacle of desktop displays, while the rest of the market filled up with cheap, less-than-stellar 1080p panels. As much as we all loved our 30” panels around here, it got a little boring staring at the same screen for years on end, especially when all of the hardware around... Read more...
While you were busy blinking, a new development was fast tracking its way onto the monitor scene. We're talking about the transition to 4K, otherwise known as Ultra High Definition (UHD). No matter what you want to call it, the technology shift treats your eyeballs to four times as many pixels as the current standard, which is Full HD 1080p. That's a huge increase, not just in the number of pixels, but in the resulting picture quality that comes from having so many more dots crammed into the same space. Usually when there's a major shift in technology, it comes with a standoff between hardware... Read more...
When we reviewed the Maingear Epic Rush a few months ago, we found its performance jaw-dropping, and thus we expected the same out of its sibling, the Maingear Rush. However, these are different systems with different configurations on board. For instance, they have different CPUs--the Rush we're testing today has a newer, more powerful GPU configuration, and Maingear approached storage on the two quite differently as well. What both systems definitely do share is high performance and impeccable build quality. The Maingear Rush is a top-shelf system with killer components; there... Read more...
It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a new battle in the workstation GPU wars. Today, we're reviewing the company's FirePro W9100 -- a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290 and R9 290X, but aimed at the workstation market and professional consumers. Does AMD's new card have what it takes to seize the professional performance crown? The W9100 is a full Hawaii GPU with 2,816 stream processors, 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. It carries more RAM than... Read more...
Back in the day (which, for you youngsters, is a scientific measurement of time reserved for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. Depending on how far your PC gaming roots go back, you may recall fierce competition in the discrete audio space between AdLib and Sound Blaster, two heavy hitters that pretty much pioneered the category. While AdLib would eventually end up as a footnote in the history of PC audio, the Sound... Read more...
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