Graphics/Sound

If some recent rumors are to be believed, high-end gaming notebooks are poised to get a serious dose of graphics horsepower later this year when Nvidia's powerful GTX 990M hits the streets by September.  The origin of the rumor is Chinese manufacturer Hasee -- specifically their CEO Wu Haijun -- who revealed the mobile graphics card during a company livestream. Not only did he out the GPU, he also hinted that the GTX 990M would be capable of delivering graphics eye candy equivalent to GTX 980 SLI. Yep, as much as a pair of Nvidia's current flagship mobile cards.  How does a 980M SLI configuration... Read more...
AMD officially took the wraps off of its Radeon R7 and R9 300 series of graphics cards, and disclosed some details regarding the R9 Fury—a.k.a Fiji—during a livestream held near the E3 convention earlier this week. We have much of the information revealed during the event posted for you right here if you’d like to take a look.Today though, we’ve actually got one of the “new” Radeon R9 300 series cards in-hand for some review and benchmark action. We put “new” in quotes, because the entire R7 and R9 300 series lineup is built around the same GPUs used in the R7 an R9 200 series. The Powercolor PCS+... Read more...
The PAX East show has really started to gain traction with a number of major brand manufacturers and this year's event had, dare we say, stellar support and turn-out from the community.  We've grown pretty fond of its smaller, more manageable venue, with its casual, laid-back atmosphere sans the stuffed shirt marketing pitch that gets a bit old, at the larger shows like CES, after you've heard it day in and day out.  This year's show was held at the new Boston Convention Center with over 500,000 square feet of floor space to get your geek on, virtually any way you want it.  From... Read more...
When NVIDIA launched the first wave of GF100-based graphics cards in late march, the initial GeForce GTX 400 series line-up consisted of only two cards, the flagship GeForce GTX 480 (reviewed here) and its somewhat less powerful counterpart, the GeForce GTX 470. Since then, NVIDIA has augmented the GeForce GTX 400 series line-up with the more affordable GeForce GTX 465 as well, which we took a look at here. Unfortunately, at launch, we did not have access to a GeForce GTX 470 and couldn't provide our normal performance analysis. But good things come to those to who wait though. And since the initial... Read more...
When it comes to the business of building PCs, true innovation is hard to find. There are exceptions—HP had the Blackbird 002, Alienware designs its own enclosures, and there's always the Thermaltake Level 10—but most companies aren't willing to take the financial risk that's part and parcel of designing new and different products. Fortunately, MainGear is. While they've not been around as long as Alienware or Falcon-Northwest, the company has six solid years of experience in building custom PCs. MainGear recently sent us a high-end system built around its unique SHIFT chassis. When... Read more...
When the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series was first introduced a few months back, all of AMD's add in board partners offered essentially the same products, at least at the hardware level. The various boards available during the 'first wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series availability shipped with different accessory bundles and usually had custom decals affixed to their fans and fan shrouds to help differentiate them from one another. But plug them into a slot, install the drivers and they all performed at exactly the same level. That's what happens when ever card is clocked the same and have the same sized... Read more...
The PC scene is constantly evolving as businesses and individuals make use of next generation products that increase productivity or provide higher levels of entertainment. Bigger, better, faster - these are the insatiable desires of consumers. It doesn't matter if we're speaking of gigahertz or gigabytes, the demand endures and companies do their best to crank out sought after new technology.  As we're currently witnessing, competition for consumer dollars is fierce within respective markets and few can argue that there has never been a better time for those looking to buy. The... Read more...
  There is no way to categorize AMD's recent launch of the RV770 graphics processor powering the Radeon HD 4800 series of cards as anything other than a resounding success.  Cards based on the GPU hit the scene offering very strong performance in their respective price brackets, and forced rival NVIDIA to react with a quick round of price cuts that will surely eat into NVIDIA's margins on the gigantic 65nm GT200 chip.  Although actual sales figures aren't available just yet, we suspect AMD is going to show strong sales of every member of the Radeon HD 4800 series.One common... Read more...
Late last year, NVIDIA released a pair of new 8800-series graphics cards based on their G92 GPU.  The new cards were designed to keep NVIDIA's products at the top of the food chain at their respective price points, while also being a bit more affordable.  The first of the two was the GeForce 8800 GT.  It brought high-end performance to the mainstream crowd mostly due to its 112 stream processor configuration and 65m G92 GPU.  The G92's shrink to 65nm from TSMC's 90nm process used with the G80, brings with it lower power... Read more...
When we first took a look at the GeForce 8800 Ultra, back in May, we were left with some mixed feelings. On one hand it was, and still is, the undisputed graphics champ. On the other hand, it didn't introduce any new features and it wasn't a whole lot faster than its significantly cheaper sibling, and former graphics champ, the 8800 GTX. The nearly $250 price delta between the Ultra and the GTX was hard to justify since the Ultra is essentially just an overclocked GTX with a larger cooling apparatus.   Anyone looking for screaming top-end performance that isn't hell-bent on owning the... Read more...
The old crowd of PCI TV Tuners may need to step aside soon, as their PCIe cousins head into the market. Sure, there are still plenty of people without motherboards equipped with PCI Express expansion slots, but the old PCI bus is eventually on it's way out. Today we're going to take a look at PowerColor's PCI Express based Theatre 550 Pro TV Tuner. Other than the way the card interfaces with a system, there's little difference between the newer PCIe based tuners over PCI, so we'll be focusing on the PowerColor card's performance, ease of installation, setup, and bundled software. Speaking of software,... Read more...
  The recent trend of PC integration into the user's living space finds the once small and dingy computer room becoming a thing of the past.  With manufactures now offering PC solutions which showcase features that rival many mainstream audio components, families are now finding their "digital living room" to be the new media back-bone of their lives. This is where Philips new soundcard, the PSC724 Ultimate Edge, steps in.  Offering discreet 24-bit, 6-Channel High Definition Audio playback/recording, users can turn their PC into a high-end audio center with a simple upgrade. ... Read more...
For video card manufacturers, the drums of technology beat forever. Today's hot new release is tomorrow's eBay listing, because the hardcore enthusiasts are always looking for the next "big thing". It's a hard to stay on top of the list for very long, so we were interested in the recent arrival of two new GeForce FX 5900XT's in our labs. Originally, our plans were to pit these two together XTs, mano a mano, to see which of the two cards would come out on top. After our initial peek into the boxes and specs for each card, however, we decided to give each card its own... Read more...
The PNY Quadro 4 900XGL Professional MCAD Testing Of Nvidia's Flagship Workstation Card By -John Fiegener September 16, 2002   Its been a while since we have gotten our hands on a new Nvidia professional level video card. Last time we here at (tool.) tested the Elsa Gloria II "Quadro", we were quit impressed with the performance of that entry into the professional MCAD graphics card arena.  Elsa had always been a producer of high quality gaming cards in the day.  It's too bad they left that market space.   Let me first give you a quick introduction to who we are... Read more...