Graphics Cards, PC Monitors And Computer Audio Reviews And News

The sights and sounds of the modern computing experience are driven by key user interface technologies like graphics cards, display monitors and various audio solutions. Here you'll find reviews and news on the latest in cutting-technologies for GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), LED and LCD computer display monitors, sound cards, PC and wireless speaker systems and more.

HP is hoping to offer gamers the best of both world with its Omen X Emperium 65. Although HP is careful not to call the Omen X Emperium 65 a television, per se, there's no escaping that fact that this is a massive display that would be more at home in your living room, den, or bonus room than your average computer desk. The Omen X Emperium measures a massive 65 inches diagonally, which puts it squarely in big-screen 4K HDTV territory. However, it borrows technology from the gaming world that we don't see in typical consumer-grade televisions, like NVIDIA G-SYNC and support for 144Hz refresh rates, for example. This duality of purpose leads to some interesting design choices, some of which... Read more...
A few weeks back, we gave you our initial take on the retail-ready HTC Vive virtual reality kit. While we were able to explain the Vive’s specifications, setup, configuration, and give some opinions on the experience, at that point, we hadn’t had the kit long enough to form any solid, concrete opinions. We had experience with multiple versions of the Vive throughout its development cycle, but we thought playing with the retail version for only a few days wasn’t enough time to truly understand it, so we held off on making any final recommendations. We have, however, worked with the Vive for a number of weeks at this point, experimented with a slew of software and applications, and gave a handful... Read more...
Whether or not this latest push for virtual reality resonates with consumers and brings the technology into the mainstream remains to be seen. But it appears that all of the major players in the space, from the GPU manufacturers, to game developers, and VR leaders like HTC, Oculus, Samsung and Sony (among others) are all in it for the long-haul this time around. Some of us here at HotHardware have witnessed everything from the introduction of the Nintendo Virtual Boy to Virtuality pod-laden movie theaters first hand, and can say with certainty that the latest wave of VR technology is head and shoulders above anything that’s come before it and the companies involved are infinitely more optimistic... Read more...
When Blizzard announced that they were splitting Starcraft II into three titles, Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void, the general reaction from fans was controversial. The fear was that Blizzard would pad out the contents of each game with busywork missions and red-herring plot devices, while charging full price for each. The company later clarified that the second campaigns would be priced like expansion packs. Heart of the Swarm is the first chance we've had to see if Blizzard's expansion strategy would result in the same quality of game play. Wings of Liberty (WoL) launched at $59, while Heart of the Storm (HotS) is $39. That $39 buys you 20 main missions and 7 "Evolutionary"... Read more...
Diablo 3 players don't need any more bad news. The game is already staggering from a debut marred by enormous lag spikes, dropped games, and auction house errors. Now, widespread allegations of hacking are taking further chunks out of Blizzard's hide. This time though, there's an added twist: A significant number of those hacked claimed to be using Blizzard Authenticators. This has led to counterclaims that the victims must be lying, as well as a great deal of confused discussion over whether or not such a thing is even possible. To that end, there's something all of you need to understand up front. The Authenticator that Blizzard sells is not guaranteed proof against having your account hacked.... Read more...
It has been a few months since the AMD Radeon HD 6990 initially launched. Since that time, a number of AMD’s board partners have launched their own Radeon HD 6990 cards, but as is typically the case with the first wave of products based on a new GPU, they all conform to AMD’s reference design, save for a water-cooled card from PowerColor. While most of the Radeon HD 6990 cards on the market today are fundamentally very similar, we thought it would be a good idea to check out a retail-ready 6990 using AMD’s latest drivers to see how well the card performs (and behaves) with updated software. To that end, we got our hands on an HIS Radeon HD 6990 card and have put it up against... Read more...
How should you go about determining what size monitor to buy? It's simple - go out and purchase the biggest, baddest display you can afford, because really, you only get one shot at this thing called life, so why waste it staring at a 23-inch panel? If you're still not convinced, consider that, more than any other component in your entire build, it's the monitor you'll use to its fullest 100 percent of the time. You can't say that about your dual-videocards, six-core processor, or even your keyboard, but it certainly applies to your display, the one piece of hardware that brings the entire build together. Suffice it to say, when HP asked if we were interested in evaluating their new ZR30w display,... Read more...
With the recent run of newer and more affordable graphics cards from ATI, it's almost easy to forget that there's already a sub-$200 frame-rate cruncher called the Radeon HD 4850.  Based on the same RV770 chip as the more powerful, yet more expensive HD 4870, the HD 4850 ships with the same 800 stream processors, 40 texture units, and 16 ROPs that have made these cards such hot items.  The main area where they differ, other than clock speeds, is in regard to memory.  While the HD 4870 ships with high-end GDDR5 memory chips, the HD 4850 finds itself loaded with 512 MB of more mainstream GDDR3.A major caveat with the Radeon HD 4850 that has arisen, however,... Read more...
While high-end workstation graphics cards may be based on roughly the same core architectures as gaming-targeted graphics cards, their purposes in life are very different. While they both accomplish the same task, processing commands and rendering images on-screen, workstation cards endure a more strenuous existence than their gaming brethren. Workstation cards are used to solve huge, mission-critical problems, like helping engineers design and build cars; helping architects to planning and construct buildings, and even help to our friendly oil and gas companies to provide more effective oil and gas production and transportation methods. For many HotHardware readers,... Read more...
Quick!  Name that one piece of PC hardware that will automatically garner the most "oohs" and "aahs" from enthusiasts and casual-users alike.  No, it's probably not the glow-in-the-dark water cooling system or bright LEDs shining from the multiple fans in your windowed case.  The quickest path to glory is buying a brand new, flat, large, widescreen monitor.  Just like the centerpiece of the living room is that 50" plasma that you installed last Christmas, widescreen monitors are the "in" thing for many PC users; whether they be a hardcore gamer, aspiring novel writer, or something in between. With such demand for a product like this, it's only natural that numerous companies have entered... Read more...
If you have ever been in the market for a graphics card, you are undoubtedly familiar with the constantly changing graphics card market. About every 8-10 months, new GPUs are introduced by NVIDIA and ATI, and after their introduction, dozens of graphics cards built by their add in board partners come to market. Because these add in board partners all use the same graphics chips supplied by the two major graphics card companies, they have to use their marketing savvy to create extra value and incentive for consumers to buy their products. Over the years we’ve seen companies bundle the hottest new games, add new video connections, new cooling units, and even build their... Read more...
For the average business-class user, extra RAM, a faster processor or a more powerful video card won't necessarily increase work efficiency or productivity. One of the best ways to boost your productivity is to add more inches, of screen real estate that is. If you simply add another monitor or get a bigger one, you can quickly realize the benefits of extra desktop space, like less Alt-Tabbing and more windows open at once. Although the work efficiency / productivity argument is an important one in the business world, most of us enthusiasts find it somewhat unexciting to think about. We just love having bigger and bigger monitors, especially for PC gaming and watching movies on our computer.... Read more...
  About a month ago, we had the privilege of reviewing HIS' Radeon X1950 Pro, a mainstream oriented graphics card that performed well, but we felt ultimately came up short against the similarly priced GeForce 7950 GT.  The model we received was outfitted with an oversized cooler dubbed the IceQ3 Turbo, came overclocked by default, and supported CrossFire natively using internal ribbon cables, much like SLI with NVIDIA's cards. Although we found much to praise regarding the performance of the X1950 Pro, we found that the lack of availability of HIS products in the reseller market, combined with the possibility of DirectX 10 becoming much more important... Read more...
A few weeks ago, we looked at the HIS Radeon X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo, a mainstream graphics card set to do battle with the GeForce 7900GS in the $200 price segment. Based on the RV570 GPU, the X1950 Pro brought a host of features to the table including native CrossFire. While X1950 Pro is a good performer for a great price, some of us were left wishing for more. For a short while, those of us willing to spend an additional $50-$100 for a bit more power than the X1950 Pro could offer had to turn to NVIDIA. That is, until the Radeon X1950 XT was released. Today, we will be checking out HIS' take on the Radeon X1950 XT, the HIS X1950XT IceQ3 Turbo. As the name implies, the HIS X1950 XT uses the... Read more...
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