Graphics/Sound

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...
Normally, the question of whether a game runs better on the PC or a console is a no-brainer -- at least, for PC users.  Watch Dogs, however, with its problematic PC play, challenges that concept. And since the gap between consoles and PCs is typically smallest at the beginning of the console generation, we decided to take the Xbox One out for a head-to-head comparison against the PC with this long-awaited title. What we've found may surprise you. Based on our results, and depending on just how much horsepower your PC has, the Xbox One (and possibly the PS4 option, though we didn't... Read more...
When NVIDIA first announced that it would create a workstation-class remote virtualization system that enabled full GPU acceleration with latency-free streaming I was more than a little skeptical. Not only did it seem like a solution in search of a problem, the bandwidth requirements and technical heavy-lifting to support professional PC users seemed too steep to surmount in a few short years. Then, this week, NVIDIA announced that it would offer a free 24-hour test drive of NVIDIA GRID to anyone who wanted to see what the technology could do. We took the company up on its offer and what we've... Read more...
You might recall that we recently rounded up a collection of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics cards and put them through a gauntlet of benchmarks and tests. Each of the cards represented brought something unique to the table and stood out in some way, but curiously missing from the bunch was an entry from ASUS. Not to worry -- we didn't forget about ASUS, their cards just decided to show up fashionably late to the GPU party. We mean that literally and figuratively. One of the things that separates the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti DirectCU from the competition is the custom cooling solution. Yes,... Read more...
Do you know what gets our juices flowing even more than high-end hardware? It's having the opportunity to wrangle and evaluate multiple versions of a top-tier product. In this case, we've gone out and collected NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics cards from three different enthusiast brands: EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI. Each of the cards in this roundup go above and beyond NVIDIA's reference blueprint -- they're all factory overclocked, custom cooled, and designed to run quiet so you can hear when an enemy tries to sneak up on you. Before we discuss each individual card, let's take a moment... Read more...
For the past few weeks, AMD has been strategically dropping hints about the product we’ll be showing you here today—the ultra, powerful Radeon R9 295X2. If you’ve spent any time on our home page recently, or on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen the “two is better than one” tag-line bandied about on a couple of occasions. AMD was initially coy about whether or not the company was involved in the campaign, but it eventually became clear that not only was AMD involved, but that it was teasing a new flagship, dual-GPU powered graphics card.... Read more...
NVIDIA's 2014 GTC (GPU Technology Conference) kicked off with a bang this morning in San Jose California, with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang offering up a healthy dose of new information on next generation NVIDIA GPU technologies for the professional workstation, big data analytics, cloud computing, gaming and mobile markets.   As members of the press took their seats front and center, we were treated to a spectacle of sight and sound, NVIDIA-style and Jen-Hsun wasted no time diving in on the latest NVIDIA cutting-edge GPU technology advancements.  First, we've pulled together sort of a highlight... Read more...
In case you didn't get the memo, the 4K Ultra HD revolution has begun. What's been remarkable about the ongoing transition from Full HD 1080p to 4K Ultra HD is that hardware makers and content creators didn't get stuck in a 'chicken and egg' scenario. Typically when new technology emerges, hardware makers wait for software developers to come out with content that can take advantage of the new capabilities, while software developers are reluctant to code for new hardware until there's a big enough userbase to justify the investment. In this case, we're talking about monitor manufactuerers and... Read more...
The mid-range graphics card market has seen a lot of action as of late, with an infusion of new products and the discontinuation of popular previous-gen products. Last week it was AMD’s turn to announce a new card—the $150 Radeon R7 265—and with its arrival also came a price cut on the Radeon R7 260X, which can now be had for as low as $129, though the MSRP has been reduced to $119. Today is NVIDIA’s turn to introduce a new mid-range graphics card. But unlike AMD’s re-brand and soft-launch, NVIDIA is at the ready with a brand-new GPU architecture and cards should... Read more...
AMD is shaking up its mid-range graphics line-up today, by slashing the price of the Radeon R7 260X and introducing the more powerful Radeon R7 265. Though their model numbers are quite similar, the Radeon R7 265 is actually built around a beefier GPU than the 260X, and is more like the higher-end Radeon R9 270X. AMD is positioning the Radeon R7 265 against NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. Stock on that GPU, however, has been drying up as of late, perhaps in anticipation of another new release aimed at the sub-$200 “sweet spot” of the graphics card market? We’ll know... Read more...
In about six weeks, Blizzard will launch Reaper of Souls, the first expansion pack for Diablo 3. I've spent the last few weeks playing in the beta for RoS, and while I normally hold an article this extensive for a launch, there's enough locked-in differences to be worth discussing at this stage. This new expansion comes with the usual slew of goodies -- a new Act for the game, new quests, a new enchanting ability, and a new skill for each existing class, as well as a new Crusader class to experiment with. The ancient city of Westmarch: Location of Act V All of this falls into the "expected"... Read more...
Although the market for them is relatively small, we love to check out elaborate, no-holds-barred gaming PCs from time to time--you know, the kind of system that costs about the same amount as a serviceable used car. As fun as it is to check out an ultra high-end gaming rig, we also do it to gauge the user experience and to see just how much better it is (or isn't) versus a mainstream PC. But how great is the experience, really?  The answer needs to be darn near perfection, because – let’s face it – a midrange gaming desktop is going to give you a... Read more...
AMD is closing out the year with yet another new GPU announcement, though this one isn’t quite like the last few we’ve brought you. If you’ve been hanging around here for any length of time recently, you’ve probably read about the semi-new Radeon R9 and R7 series cards that AMD launched back in early October. If that wasn’t enough, the company soon followed up with the truly new, ultra-powerful Radeon R9 290X, based on the GPU formerly codenamed Hawaii. And then a few days after that, the slightly tamer Radeon R9 290 hit the scene, and at a very aggressive price... Read more...
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