Graphics/Sound

EA took the wraps off Battlefield 4 this past week, offering players a chance to experience a taste of what the game offers via an early beta. We've spent time with the game, tested its early performance, and come back to report the findings. AMD, of course, has been talking up the Battlefield 4 combination with a vengeance, highlighting the features of its new Mantle API and close partnership with DICE, Battlefield 4's developer. At the same time, however, this is just a beta -- while we'll be checking performance and commenting on game changes, this isn't a full review of the final product.... Read more...
It takes serious guts to try and remake Half-Life. Valve's 1998 first-person shooter didn't change FPS gaming, it redefined it. Before Half-Life, blockbusters like Quake and Quake II were lone gunman affairs with little to no interaction with non-hostile NPCs (Non-Player Character). Half-Life took that entire model, and blew it apart. The train ride into Black Mesa gave players a glimpse of a vibrant, functional world. Scientists and security guards roamed the halls, interacted with panels and equipment, joked with each other, and expressed nervousness about the upcoming experiment. Inbound, To... Read more...
Batman: Arkham Asylum was one of the top hits of 2009. It told the story of the Joker's surprise escape and takeover of the notorious Gotham facility for the criminally insane and Batman's struggle to subdue the Clown Prince of Crime and stop his plans to create an army of monsters. The game captured the look and feel of Batman and the Gotham universe perfectly and explored Bruce Wayne's backstory and mental fragility without becoming campy or bogging down. Come...and I will show you something different from either The best news about Batman: Arkham City is that it's a sequel that lives up to and... Read more...
Battlefield 3 dropped last week, promising a strong single-player campaign, an impressive new graphics engine, and up to 64-person multiplayer mayhem on huge maps. Despite a rough few days post-launch, the game delivers much of the multiplayer goodness that it promised, with a strong emphasis on team dynamics and an experience system that rewards both focusing on a particular class and learning the capabilities of all four. Before we dig into the game's extensive online goodness, however, we have to deal with its tedious, flawed, and boring single-player missions. Battlefield 3's single-player... Read more...
One of the fun things about being a hardware analyst is that every now and then, research and comparison between products turns up something both interesting and unexpected. In this case, we were testing and comparing image quality between ATI's 5970 and the GeForce GTX 480 as part of a system review when we stumbled across an officially confirmed antialiasing bug in NVIDIA's 197.41 drivers. Unlike some "bugs" that artificially inflate benchmark performance or lower detail levels, this one improves image quality by performing supersampling AA (SSAA) across the entire image. Antialiasing 101... Read more...
In a market where dual-GPU, single-PCB graphics cards are readily available from most major OEMs, product manufacturers are increasingly turning to water cooling as a way to differentiate their products and out-maneuver their competitors. The superior thermal characteristics of liquid cooling allows companies like BFG to hit higher core / memory clocks than they might using air alone.  However, H2O-reliant high-end video cards cater to an even smaller slice of the market—specifically, those enthusiasts with big money to spend and who are comfortable using water in their own PC. BFG's GTX 295... Read more...
When it comes to graphics cards for gaming, most of us desire the creme de la creme, but few of us can justify the expense of purchasing such a product.  That fact, coupled with the additional investment in hardware necessary to adequately back-up a high-end graphics card to ensure maximum enjoyment, can lead to some serious budget concerns.Fortunately, there are a number of mid-range products that often compete very well with higher end cards, while shaving off a fair percentage of the price.  Also common in this market segment are cards tweaked from the factory with higher... Read more...
Just about four and a half years ago, a company started by ex-Visiontek executives entered the already crowded graphics card market with the hope of capturing the enthusiast and hardcore gaming audience. The plan was to factory overclock many of their products, offer a life time warranty, and have a dedicated 24/7 technical support staff ready to answer any questions or troubleshoot any problems end users may encounter throughout the life of their cards. Fast forward to present day, and BFG is well respected in the enthusiast and gamer communities, and in addition to their top to bottom... Read more...
Without question, one of the hottest topics throughout the industry this year has been the advent of the discrete physics processor or "PPU" (Physics Processing Unit). Developed by a new startup company called Ageia, this new physics processor gives game developers the opportunity to create entirely new game-play characteristics that were not considered possible using standard hardware. Since its original inception, both CPU and GPU vendors have come to the spotlight to showcase the ability to process physics on their respective hardware. However, the Ageia PhysX PPU is the only... Read more...
NVIDIA most definitely has been on a roll as of late, with the introduction of a very successful 4th generation motherboard chipset with the nForce 4, and more recently with their GeForce 7 series launch and market introduction of the GeForce 7800GTX.  In these launch articles we often times work with platform "reference" hardware for testing direct from the core technology OEM and soon to follow, we cover retail level products from various board partners as they are released into the channel. With the NVIDIA GeForce 7800GTX launch however, the Silicon Valley based 3D Graphics giant... Read more...
When NVIDIA updates their product line, the GPUs usually arrive in the form of a value, midstream, and high-end variety, thus catering to all budgets or tastes.  Monetarily speaking, it works out for the most part with those in need of a simple upgrade able to get something on the cheap, while Uber-users can get a new card to brag to their friends about, both performance and price-wise.  It's been like this for quite a while, at least since the days of the GeForce 4 Ti4600/4400/4200. In this year's offerings from NVIDIA, there are three cards, the GeForce 6800, 6800 GT, and 6800 Ultra... Read more...
Our first look at the GeForce FX 5900XT was way back in December 2003, and we were mightily impressed by the performance of the original sample sent to us by e-VGA, one of Nvidia's launch partners. We've reviewed a few other 5900XTs since then, and we've recently received two new models, one of which was the card we took a look at last week, Prolink's Pixelview 5900XT Golden Limited.  Its main claim to fame was the one-piece aluminum housing which cools the GPU and RAM, allowing for better cooling and ample overclocked speeds. It also came with the Plasma Display II, a handy little... Read more...
The BFG Asylum GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MBs, AGP 8X, and the Muscle to Get the Job Done! By, Jeff Bouton December 11, 2003 As 2003 comes to a close, we have to wonder if NVIDIA is looking to 2004 with eager anticipation.  The last year has been tough for them, to say the least, with a number of nagging issues plaguing the embattled graphics giant.  The once king of the graphics market is still struggling to set the record straight on the whole "optimization" topic, as ATi has strengthened their position in the market with a number of very successful product releases, solidly... Read more...