Components

Does the name Daniel Guermeur mean anything to you? It should. He's the founder and CEO of Das Keyboard, previously known as Metadot, and he's part of the reason why the peripheral market is now flush with mechanical keyboards. It started in 2005 when, on a mission to become a faster and more accurate typist, he created a completely blank keyboard. His idea worked, and it gave rise to the Das Keyboard, the first mass produced keyboard for the "uber geek." A year later, Metadot came out with its second model, the Das Keyboard II (DK2), with mechanical key switches. It's hard to believe now, but... Read more...
Mechanical keyboards are commonplace now, but that wasn't always the case. For many years, squishy membrane and dome-switch keyboards dominated the landscape in part because they're cheap to produce, and also because typists who've never used anything else didn't really know what they were missing. Imagine trying to describe the taste of ice cream to someone who's only eaten salad. It's no easy task, and before mechanical keyboards rose in prominence, it was similarly difficult to sell typists on a superior plank with a premium price tag.An open-source software company located in Austin, Texas... Read more...
Intel has been slowly releasing information about its Devil’s Canyon processors for a few months now. If you’ve been on top of the processor scene, you probably know that Devil’s Canyon is the codename for a new revision of Intel’s 4th Gen Core processors, based on the Haswell microarchitecture, that features a high performance polymer thermal interface material (TIM) and updated packaging materials, in addition to an array of additional capacitors to smooth power delivery to the core. Devil’s Canyon’s updates are designed to resolve some thermal and overclocking... Read more...
As a species, we've come a long way from the days of carving notes into stone. While our ancestors used chisel and rock, we now use keyboards to hammer out our thoughts and anything that needs to be documented. Some of us spend hours a day sitting in front of a PC, a large portion of which is dedicated to punching keystrokes at a frenzied pace. There's a good chance that your keyboard is actively used more than any other peripheral or accessory, save for your monitor, yet some people give little thought to their plank, as if to suggest that all keyboards are essentially the same. Professional... 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...
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...
We're not going to beat around the bush, here. BioShock Infinite is game-of-the-year material. The floating city of Columbia is one of the most evocative, intense, gorgeous environments I've ever seen -- but how much you like it may depend on what sort of visual wizardry you prefer. BioShock Infinite is built on Unreal Engine 3, and while it pushes that framework's capabilities into the stratosphere, there's a clear difference between BioShock Infinite and, say, Crysis 3. It's a testament to Ken Levine and the artistic team at Irrational Games that the gap feels like a stylistic choice rather than... Read more...
Gaming is something we've done quite a bit of over the years, but sitting down to pick a list of the most addictive games ever proved surprisingly tricky. Addictive games aren't necessarily the top sellers, or record-smashing behemoths. Sometimes, their appeal is measured in near-perfect execution of a narrow concept, while other games keep us up 'til 3 AM because, despite their flaws, they offer a compelling, challenging experience. Orcs Must Die 2 has eaten more of my life than I want to admit in front of my employers. Here is our criteria: No mobile/pocket/Facebook games:  I've... Read more...
There are two types of power users on this planet, and they consist of those who use a 30-inch monitor, and those who don't. The latter far outnumber the former, but thanks to a number of factors, this particular digital divide is growing smaller by the day. For one, 30-inch monitors are somewhat more affordable compared to a few years ago, at least in the sense that the average Joe doesn't have to sell a kidney to come up with the scratch for one (except for teens, who are more interested in trading body organs for iPads, anyway). That in itself is pretty remarkable when you consider that 30-inch... Read more...
Once upon a time, CRT monitors ruled the land. They were big, they were bulky, and you could easily throw your back out if you ignored your chiropractor's advice to bend at the knees and keep your chin up, when picking up heavy objects. Back in the day, a 19-inch CRT weighed around 40 pounds and dominated your computer desk with all that junk in the trunk. But like everything else in the realm of technology, computer displays evolved. First came LCDs, and then LCD displays sporting an LED backlight like the S2330 Ultra Slim monitor that Dell sent us. One of the main advantages to using an LED backlight... Read more...
Eleven years ago, now-defunct developer Ion Storm released Deus Ex and made video game history. The original title cast players in the role of JC Denton, a nanotech-augmented agent with the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO) circa 2052. The game's plot is a fusion of classic conspiracy theories and a referendum on what it means to be human. The problems of humanity in 2052—plague, environmental destruction, rampant terrorism—were far enough away in time to be comfortable, but close enough to be unsettling. Welcome to Detroit, circa 2027. All screenshots taken from in-game... Read more...
The original Drobo direct-attached-storage (DAS) device hit the scene in summer of 2007 and took the tech world by storm. It represented a new paradigm in how you could implement external, redundant back-up storage with much of the same goodness that RAID offers, but without a number of the headaches and the complexity that also comes with traditional RAID solutions. The Drobo still used RAID to redundantly store data across multiple hard drives, but did so using Data Robotics’ own version of it, which it calls BeyondRAID (see the table below). The primary advantages that Data Robotics’... Read more...
Lately, it feels like the good, old, reliable hard disk drive (HDD) doesn't get any respect. When it comes to storage, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are getting all the attention these days--and it's no wonder, considering the speed, durability, low-power, and silent-running attributes of current solid state drives. But SSDs are also very expensive and offer relatively low-capacities when compared to traditional HDDs. The vast majority of systems that use some sort of fixed drive for storage--be they desktops, workstations, or servers--still use HDDs. And when it comes to maximum storage capacity in... Read more...
The night before the first day of CES is typically filled with numerous parties and pre-show expos loaded with hot new products and technologies. We attended one such event last night, Digital Experience, where a number of major players were peddling their wares. While at the event, we got to see a real-live NVIDIA Fermi-based graphics card installed in a Maingear demo system, a handful of slick new notebooks, netbooks, and smartbooks from Lenovo, and even played with a Nexus One--among other things. Take a look...     NVIDIA GF100, aka Fermi Up and Running In A Maingear SHIFT PC... Read more...
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