Graphics/Sound

Custom variants of NVIDIA's mighty GeForce GTX 1080 Ti are finally available -- more so than the initial run of the stock clocked Founders Editions. As always, however, fortune favors the prudent buyer or simply those more recently flush with cash. In this custom 1080 Ti offering, MSI marries old form with new function. The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G has just emerged from our gauntlet of a dozen benches with style and grace, but we have to admit, she looks darn familiar. While other company's are gambling with fancy new fan configurations, RGB lighting and complicated cooling systems,... Read more...
Fans of the original Mirror's Edge will be happy to hear that a follow-up title is in the works, dubbed Mirror's Edge Catalyst. ME Catalyst revisits the dystopian world of the original game with a fresh new story that expands on the origins of protagonist Faith Connors. The beta test just wrapped up last week. It offered a brief window into the look and feel of ME Catalyst, which is the unofficial reboot of the original 2008 parkour adventure from developer EA DICE. Back then, while known primarily for their success with the Battlefield franchise, EA DICE gambled on something completely new with... Read more...
When NVIDIA launched the powerful GTX 980 and 970 last month, it was obvious that these cards would be coming to mobile sooner rather than later. The significant leap forward that Maxwell offers in performance-per-watt means that these GPUs would shine in mobile contexts -- maybe even more than in desktop. The mobile Maxwell die Today, NVIDIA is putting paid to that hypothesis with two new mobile GPUs -- the GeForce GTX 970M and 980M. Both cards are based on Maxwell's 28nm architecture, and both are trimmed slightly from the full desktop implementation. The GeForce GTX 980M is a 1536-core chip... Read more...
When we reviewed the Maingear Epic Rush a few months ago, we found its performance jaw-dropping, and thus we expected the same out of its sibling, the Maingear Rush. However, these are different systems with different configurations on board. For instance, they have different CPUs--the Rush we're testing today has a newer, more powerful GPU configuration, and Maingear approached storage on the two quite differently as well. What both systems definitely do share is high performance and impeccable build quality. The Maingear Rush is a top-shelf system with killer components; there... Read more...
Although the market for them is relatively small, we love to check out elaborate, no-holds-barred gaming PCs from time to time--you know, the kind of system that costs about the same amount as a serviceable used car. As fun as it is to check out an ultra high-end gaming rig, we also do it to gauge the user experience and to see just how much better it is (or isn't) versus a mainstream PC. But how great is the experience, really?  The answer needs to be darn near perfection, because – let’s face it – a midrange gaming desktop is going to give you a... Read more...
Just before the mid-range AMD Radeon HD 7790 hit store shelves in early April, NVIDIA countered with the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST. NVIDIA’s move also involved pricing changes that were good for mid-range card shoppers, but what matters most is that the card NVIDIA managed to launch coincident with the Radeon HD 7790’s launch, offers better performance in most of our benchmarks. With the dust settling, all that’s left now is for the factory-overclocked cards to battle it out. Asus and Sapphire have already taken a crack with their overclocked Radeon HD 7790s. Those cards definitely... Read more...
Let's cut right to the chase. The first and most important thing you need to know about Max Payne 3 is this:  It's not a happy game. In the first Max Payne, you assumed the role of a deep undercover DEA agent tasked with breaking a massive drug ring. On the night of the worst snowstorm in New York's history, Payne finally breaks the case and avenges the murder of his wife and daughter three years earlier. Max Payne 2 was more morally ambiguous, but there was still a sense of being one of the good guys. Bringing the Payne - In Max Payne 3, you play a bitter, middle-aged drunk. Max remains unnaturally... Read more...
Over the last couple of years, MSI has made a concerted effort to bolster their reputation as a premiere brand in the PC enthusiast space. MSI’s motherboards, graphics cards, notebooks, and virtually every other high-profile product family in their repertoire has been revamped and updated in some way to differentiate them from the competition. Whether or not MSI’s efforts have paid off across the board is a matter of debate, but there’s little doubt that the company’s “Twin Frozr” line of graphics cards stand out from plain-vanilla reference cards. The product... Read more...
Last week, Futuremark released the latest version of 3DMark.  We've taken the new benchmark for a spin using CPUs from Intel and AMD as well as GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA. The new version, dubbed 3DMark 11 (in reference to its level of DirectX support, not the upcoming year) includes a fresh set of tests, a game demo sequence, and measures CPU performance rather differently than its predecessor, 3DMark Vantage. 3DMark 11: Now with additional oceanic encrustations. We've run the benchmark through multiple tests, comparing it across AMD and Intel CPUs as well as AMD vs NVIDIA GPUs. According to... Read more...
You have to love competition. With the release of AMD's affordable HD 6870 and 6850 graphics cards, the folks over at NVIDIA decided to respond with a move of their own. In case you missed it, the same day the Radeons launched, NVIDIA dropped the price of their mid-range GeForce products to gain a competitive advantage in the market, and more importantly, to try an rain on AMD's parade. And when it comes to price wars, you won't hear us complaining.   Even before the Radeon launch, the GTX 460 was getting a lot of industry attention for being fast and affordable, with tons of overclocking... Read more...
No matter what you think of AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series of video cards, you'd be crazy not to love what AMD did with the pricing of the first two cards (Radeon HD 4850 and HD 4870) from the series. As a result of AMD's aggressive pricing, NVIDIA felt compelled to lower the price of its latest GeForce video cards, the GeForce GTX 260 and the GTX 280. It's not often that ATI can actually make NVIDIA fans smile as big as its own or vice versa. Ultimately, though, you don't have to favor one brand over the other to appreciate the downward pressure that the new Radeon HD 4850 and... Read more...
NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 200 series of graphics cards, that launched about 60 days prior to the publishing of this article, have undergone a significant price reduction since they first debuted.  At the time, NVIDIA flexed its GPU muscle with a high-end, single GPU graphics design that their primary competition (AMD) could only compete with by throwing two GPUs at the problem.  As such, NVIDIA initially priced their flagship GeForce GTX 280 at a significant premium; $649 upon its introduction on launch day.  Would you believe us, if we told you back then, that these cards... Read more...
Just a few weeks ago, we took a look at the two fastest workstation class graphics cards currently on the market, the FireGL V8650 from ATI/AMD and the QuadroFX 5600 from Nvidia. We found both products to be quite powerful and thought either one would be a solid choice for a high-end workstation.  However, the one comment which was repeated over and over again when looking at those cards was that unless you worked for a major studio or production firm, they were simply not very affordable. At nearly $3,000 a piece, the FireGL V8650 and QuadroFX 5600 require large investments.... Read more...
Speed.  It's the one thing that gets all the attention when most folks consider performance computer hardware.  Whether we're referring to the CPU, Memory, Hard Drive or Graphics card, one of the most important characteristics we consider is its raw performance, wanting to know just how fast a component is compared to others in its category.  Perhaps a better question to ask is how fast does it need to be?  Case in point is the constants battle between NVIDIA and AMD/ATI for who has the fastest graphics card on the market. This time last year the Geforce 8800 GTX was the new... Read more...
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