PC Components, Peripherals And Gadget Reviews And News

Dig into our deep-dive product reviews and news of PC components from processors, to motherboards, graphics cards (GPUs), sound cards, and storage, along with other gadgets and peripherals that complete the computing experience. Whether you're a DIY PC enthusiast builder or just looking to read-up on what should be inside or connected to your next pre-built PC, here's where you'll find all the nuts and bolts sorted on what makes modern computer systems tick, as well some of the best user interface devices to go with them.

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 seen all that Corsair was featuring for the show. The answer was no. At that point we were escorted... Read more...
Every year, the largest computer exhibition in Asia is held in Taipei, Taiwan over the course of five days. Computex is huge, and spans several buildings throughout the city. Only CeBIT, held in Germany, can claim to attract more visitors and businesses to their event. But it makes sense that Computex has the pull that it does, since many companies have R&D and production fabs located in Taiwan. So naturally, the event draws thousands of IT analysts and tech journalists in order to report on the latest and greatest of the computer industry. Taipei 101 - Computex Mecca Although we previously covered several hot topics from Computex, there is still a lot to talk about. A few days ago,... Read more...
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gets the year going in the right direction for everyone in the high tech industry. It allows manufacturers to showcase their current products to thousands of media outlets, as well as give a sneak peak at impending launches all the while creating buzz and excitement among consumers.  And yeah, It's not bad for a few thousand press folks like us as well. Although we already showed you several noteworthy products in our various CES Showcase, there's still a bit more to cover. Companies tend to go all-in during CES and show us more exciting hardware than we can analyze in just one or two articles. Here's a wrap up to our CES 2010 coverage that includes... Read more...
  Today we stopped by Storage Vision 2010 and spoke with Crucial / Micron about their upcoming products. They had an impressive SSD on display with jaw dropping performance numbers. Here's the scoop.    Crucial RealSSD C300The Micron  and or Crucial  RealSSD C300 with be sold under both brand names and is based on Micron NAND Flash technology along with a proprietary controller that was co-developed with Marvell.  It's a 6G SATA controller so Marvell provided the interface expertise while Crucial handled the firmware and Flash algorithm side of the equation.  The result is a product that's pretty darn impressive.  We'll let Micron's Kristen Bordner... Read more...
Right now, my production PC is humming along under my desk. It’s built into a massive Antec P193 case, which is built like a tank. It’s relatively quiet, especially since I removed the 200mm side fan. As a hardware reviewer, my lab testing seems to revolve around large cases. I’ve got several test systems built into three Coolermaster Cosmos 1000s and a Cosmos 1000S. Moving these systems around takes some care, since it would be easy to throw out a back; dropping one on your foot would be no joy, either.I also have four other systems that are occasionally used for product testing, but mostly used as game systems. Most Friday nights, four to six people troop into the basement lab and play LAN... Read more...
Whenever I build a system, I always build it with one eye towards the future. I like to think that I’ll upgrade the system over time. Maybe I’ll swap in a new CPU, maybe a new graphics card, upgrade the RAM, etc. But these days, it’s not so easy.I can’t remember a time when the upgrade picture has been so confusing. Just think of the situation as it exists today: Intel has three different CPU sockets for desktop systems: LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366.   AMD has a single socket strategy, but the older sockets are still prevalent. You can use newer CPUs in older AM2+ sockets, but you lose some power management features.   AMD has DirectX 11 graphics cards. Nvidia doesn’t.   Windows... 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 voltage control. The tweaker-friendly video card segment seems to be getting more popular as more OEMs... Read more...
I’ve recently built up two midrange Core i7 based systems, which I discuss on my blog at Improbable Insights. One is based on Bloomfield, more specifically, the popular (among performance enthusiasts, anyway) Core i7 920. The other is the new Lynnfield-based Core i7 860. What’s interesting is the similarity in pricing between the two systems. I’ll talk about the individual system builds, but I also want to explore why you might build one type of system over the other.These systems are similar, but don’t have identical components (motherboards obviously differ.) But they are good case studies into what to think about when building a system that has some legs.Both CPUs are priced identically... 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 under the hood and in the door panels.The audio was phenomenal: neutral, clean and loud when... Read more...
The current crop of web browsers are total crap.  Let me explain...Today's web browsers seem to be still mired in the Internet of five years ago. Back then, the browser wars were in full swing, and different browsers tried to lock you into their view of the Internet universe. Today's web is a multifaceted content multiverse. Yet despite common features like tabbed browsing, today's browsers still try to lock you in. Some sites are only viewable in Internet Explorer. Firefox locks you in with the vast array of cool plugins. Google Chrome grabs you with its integration into the Googleverse, particularly Google Apps. Apple's Safari appeals to Mac and iPhone owners. It's a ridiculous, fragmented... Read more...
Enthusiast level hardware is exciting, especially if you can make use of its full potential. When Intel released the monster 3.33GHz Core i7 975 processor, they laid claim to the highest performing desktop CPU on the market. Interestingly enough, they were competing with themselves as the 3.2GHz 965 held the pole position up to that point. But the new model was welcome as it brought with it the new D0 stepping which lowered operating voltage requirements, tightened up memory timings and brought slightly cooler temperatures. Of course enthusiasts also noticed another tangible benefit in the form of higher overclocking headroom. Intel's Extreme Edition processors are not for everybody. Economically,... Read more...
How cold can you get your PC? It seems like enthusiasts and overclockers constantly find new and creative ways to cool down the heat producing parts of their computer. We've already brought you coverage of liquid helium and liquid nitrogen being used to achieve sub-zero temperatures in order to achieve huge overclocking results. But using these methods doesn't provide a 24/7 solution that people can use without having to fill a pot every few minutes. Phase change, thermoelectric cooling, and watercooling attract a larger audience since they require little maintenance after initial setup, but they carry a hefty price tag. Still, exotic cooling enthusiasts want more variety with new designs and... Read more...
Innovation seems to be sporadic at best in the PC case market. We tend to see many more copycats and trend followers than trendsetters. Several true innovators come to mind, though, when we think about cases, and one of those innovative companies is Cooler Master. Sure, not every case designed by Cooler Master is a massive success or appealing to everyone, but it is one of the companies that the copycats watch and imitate. As a result of its innovation and success, Cooler Master is a proven and trusted brand and has been for quite some time. Cooler Master recently sent us a new full tower chassis to evaluate named the HAF 932. Interesting name, huh? It's not the catchiest one we've... Read more...
On our yearly jaunts to the Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Show, we meet with numerous companies and see a myriad of products--some we can, and some we can't talk about--in what is always an absolute whirlwind of a trip. This year was no exception. Although the show itself wasn't quite as big as it has been in previous years in terms of attendance, it was nevertheless loaded with cool products and technology that filled not only the Las Vegas Convention center, but multiple surrounding venues, hotels, and suites all along the strip.We're certain many of you would love to attend CES for yourself, but can't for various reasons. So, we've decided to bring a part of the show to you,... Read more...
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