Graphics/Sound

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...
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...
We like a good combo here at HotHardware, and we have a new one to add to the list. Right up there with peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, milk and cookies, we'd like to add dual GPUs and factory overclocks. If you are a regular reader, you probably already know we are fans of dual GPU video cards, and we have a strong affinity for factory overclocked video cards as well. And when a company combines the two, that's just fine in our book. So, it goes without saying that we were excited to check out Diamond's overclocked Radeon HD 4870 X2 XOC graphics card (model number: 4870X2PE52GXOC).... Read more...
Throughout most of the 1990s, Diamond Multimedia was one of the major players in the graphics card world.  Their well made cards with solid performance resulted in some of the most well known brand names of the time including the Speedstar, Stealth, and Viper.  After merging with S3 Incorporated in 1999, the resounding failure of their joint contribution: the Diamond Viper II Z200 based on S3's Savage 2000, eventually led to the combined Diamond/S3 company backing away from third-party graphics cards.  In 2003, however, Best Data stepped in... Read more...
We’re willing to bet that many of you have wildly varied opinions of Dell. Some no doubt consider them a huge, monolithic corporation who pushes out generic computers without a soul; while others consider them to be pioneers of the low-cost PC movement, who (almost) single-handedly made computers available to nearly every price point. No matter what your opinion of Dell as a company is, it is difficult to find many people in IT circles who dislike their monitor division. Dell’s lineup of flat panel displays have proven themselves to be reliable, stylish, and typically right on par price-wise... Read more...
While the average PC enthusiast may gawk endlessly over pages of reviews of high-end power-hungry graphics cards, jaw-slackened by the frame rates and 3DMark score that he or she might find there, at the end of the month it is the low to mid-range card that is purchased most often than not.  Price typically comes into consideration, but it's not the only concern.  Availability, compatibility, and other issues factor in to a buyers decision as well.  Sometimes it simply boils down to the fact that the average Joe clearing stages in Peggle or watching the latest videos on... Read more...
With recent price cuts to current generation Radeon HD 3800 series cards, due to increased competition from new mainstream graphics cards from NVIDIA, there is a large gap in ATI's product stack between the sub-$200 Radeon HD 3870 and the now roughly $400 Radeon HD 3870 X2.  Until AMD readies a new batch of GPUs to fill this hole in their product stack, board partners are left to tweak current designs to entice potential consumers.Diamond is one of a group of manufacturers that continue to release updated revisions of both Radeons, either by adding additional memory, raising clock speeds, or... Read more...
Like high-end graphics cards setup in multi-GPU configurations, terabyte desktop drives, and 3GHz quad-core processors, 30-inch wide screen LCDs cater to what we like to call the "enthusiast" niche.  And though this niche obviously drives lower volume demand versus the mainstream, you have to remember that the enthusiast end-user is a very influential segment of the market, often times assisting in the definition of what will become mainstream technology tomorrow.  Not to mention 30 inches of screen real-estate is a professional workstation designer's nirvana, so perhaps... Read more...
Just prior to the Radeon HD 2000 series' introduction, numerous rumors circulated regarding an ultra-high clocked ATI R600-based video card, that featured a large 1GB frame buffer.  Some went so far as to say the GPU would be clocked at or near 1GHz.  Spy shots even cropped up on the web showing the card in all its glory.  But sometime between then and the official launch, news of the card fizzled and when the R600 arrived in the form of the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, it was outfitted with “only” 512MB of frame buffer memory and its GPU core and memory clock speeds, while somewhat high, didn’t come... Read more...
  Last year, we had the pleasure of taking a look at Dell's flagship Inspiron XPS M1710 notebook. Taking into account the top-notch components, excellent build quality, and best-of-class performance, we awarded the system our coveted Editor's Choice award.  Dell has since returned to market with a minor refresh of the award-winning XPS M1710 and they're aiming to build upon their successes in the DTR (desktop replacement notebook) market.  In terms of aesthetics, the revised XPS M1710 is identical to the system we previously reviewed. Given the quality... Read more...
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