Graphics/Sound

NVIDIA hit a lot of high notes with the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1080. When the Founder’s Edition launched earlier this summer, it received accolades for its excellent performance, power efficiency, and host of new features. If you’d like a refresher on what’s new in NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture and see what makes the GeForce GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition tick, we’d strongly suggest checking our launch coverage. We’ve got the full scoop laid out for you there.As HOT as the GeForce GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition is, we were eager to see what NVIDIA’s board partners would do with the GTX 1080. The GP104... 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...
Let's get one thing clear up front. Crysis 3's graphics are absolutely stunning.  Crytek's latest game doesn't raise the bar -- it annihilates it. At the highest settings, Crysis blows Battlefield 3 out of the water, makes mincemeat of Max Payne, and makes the original Crysis -- itself a graphics powerhouse -- look more like the first Call of Duty. Crysis 3 really is that stunning, provided that you've got the video card to handle it. Like the first game, this title is capable of bringing even a high-end card to its knees; the Radeon 7950 w/ Boost Mode that we used for testing struggled... Read more...
A few weeks back, we examined whether a new GPU like the GeForce GTX 660 could breathe new life into an older quad-core gaming system built in mid 2008.  The answer, we concluded, was definitely yes -- but many of you of you asked us to reconsider the question, this time using a dual-core Core 2 Duo. We've done so. And just for fun, we've added overclocked CPU results into the mix as well. The Q6600 we originally tested was one of the best-selling enthusiast processors of its day, but dual-core chips were very much the norm. At the time, there were only a handful of games that could even take... Read more...
New video card launches from AMD and NVIDIA are almost always reviewed on hardware less than 12 months old. That's not an arbitrary decision -- it helps reviewers make certain that GPU performance isn't held back by older CPUs and can be particularly important when evaluating the impact of new interfaces or bus designs. The downside of this policy is that it leaves a gap in product coverage. Gamers with older systems often miss out on whether or not a new graphics card will be a meaningful upgrade for aging systems. That's particularly important as the speed of the desktop replacement cycle has... Read more...
I have a confession to make: I enjoy the Call of Duty series. Some may scoff and hit me with a splash of Haterade, but the fact of the matter is, there's something that remains consistent with each new game in the series: I have fun. Fun is the operative word here, because while the series, like many others, has its obvious faults, what I care about most is whether or not I'm enjoying the game, and am intrigued enough to carry on. So far, no Call of Duty has let me down. One of the obvious faults is that the series, by some respects, has begun to grow a bit stale. Well - depending on... Read more...
Normally we don't cover games that are still in alpha. While beta coverage is typically a good example of how final gameplay is shaping up, alpha is a time when major design elements are still in flux. We're making an exception for Crysis 3's recent multiplayer test, however, to highlight just how gorgeous the game already is. Hi there! Last week, Crytek held a closed alpha test for Crysis 3. Players were limited to DX11 video cards and just one map, Crash Site, though 16-player support was implemented. Crytek sternly advised everyone that all of the maps and scenery were placeholders and not indicative... Read more...
After playing through Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's single-player campaign and spending some solid time with the game in multiplayer, we can attest that MW3 is the latest well-executed title in the long-running Call of Duty franchise. The game's production values are excellent, the single-player campaign is gripping and intense, and all of the gameplay conventions and design principles the CoD series is known for are here. Call of Duty: Death To Landmarks Whether or not this is a good thing depends entirely on how much you like the Call of Duty titles to begin with. If you've played any of the... Read more...
It was back at the Consumer Electronics Show that we first caught a glimpse of the Corsair SP2500 2.1 channel speaker system. Dave and I were traversing the show floor while our compadres Mat and Jennifer were off gallivanting at a few private meetings at some lavish Las Vegas hotels. As we headed straight into the Corsair booth to check out some new cooling gear, new solid state drives, and a slick, white 600T case, we walked right passed the SP2500s, which were positioned on and end-cap at one of the corners of the booth. As our discussion with reps from Corsair winded down, we asked if we had... Read more...
One of the sub-categories cropping up amongst OEMs are videos cards which feature highly customized cooling along with special controller chips or other functionality that help facilitate tweaking the card's performance. These cards all have a few things in common. First, they all mount beefy and often very radical cooling designs which are a distinct departure from the ATI / NVIDIA approved reference cooler designs. They also offer some form of advanced tweaking features either in software, firmware or hardware (or perhaps all 3), that a stock reference design wouldn't possess, such as fan and... Read more...
I once bought a car because of its sound system...Okay, so I didn’t buy the car only because of the sound system, but it was a key component in my decision making. The car was a Subaru Outback H6-3.O VDC, back in 2001. The car was classic Subaru, spare and lean, all-wheel drive and not very exciting to look at.Then there was the tricked out audio system: an 11 speaker sound system, complete with 200W McIntosh (yes, that McIntosh) amplifier. Part of the speaker system was an 8-inch, long throw subwoofer. The H6 was about 200 pounds heavier than a stock Outback due to the extra sound deadening material... Read more...
Chaintech Apogee AA5700U Redefining the meaning of mainstream By Robert Maloney March 15th,  2004 When we last checked in with NVIDIA before the holidays with our look at the 5900XT, we were surprised at its performance / price ratio.  Releasing the 5900XT no less than two months after the similarly priced 5700 Ultra raised some eyebrows however, as it seemed to sound an early death knell for the previous released 5700 Ultra cards. Still, some manufacturers are reluctant to completely give up on the 5700 Ultra, adding additional features in an effort to make the card more... Read more...
The Chaintech A-GT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 Flashy Packaging with Substance! By - Robert Maloney May 2, 2002 There is an old saying that goes something like, "bigger is better".  This definitely seems to apply when talking about video cards. The GeForce 4 is the fourth generation in NVIDIA's GeForce line, and each new installment seems just that much bigger and better, than those that came before it. Today we are going to look at Chaintech's A-GT61.  This is Chaintech's "Special Edition" model using GeForce 4 Titanium 4600 technology, currently the flagship of their line... Read more...