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.

When you think of the "ultimate computer upgrade", visions of powerful graphics cards, a blistering fast CPU, a spacious-high density hard drive or perhaps another Gig or two of memory to feed your ever-hungry OS might come to mind.  On the surface, these are all very reasonable options, and depending on your specific usage model, indeed they all might offer significant value, enhancing your overall computing experience.  Though we would offer a different perspective perhaps. If you haven't recently considered the screen you're looking at all this wonderful new technology through, you're probably doing yourself a disservice.  We'd offer you should think... Read more...
  This year's DigitalLife show in New York City seemed to be just a bit more festive, a bit more "real-deal", or perhaps we should just say a bit more well-attended from both an exhibitor and audience perspective?  In fact, since Ziff Davis picked up the gig, it has turned out to be like a mini-CES here on the east coast. There was also a big focus on gaming and entertainment this year, perhaps picking up where the dilapidated and now defunct E3 left off. As always, there were sights to see and excitement in the air.  Or was that just Carmen Electra?  Mmmm...Carmen -- Fetching as ever.  Sort of like the effect she has on most men, turning them... Read more...
DFI has earned a reputation over the last couple of years for producing feature-rich, enthusiast friendly motherboards.  DFI's decked out LANPARTY family of motherboards in particular has become known to many around the world as a family of products that cater to the unique needs of the enthusiast and overclocking communities. Today we present to you DFI's LANPARTY UT CFX3200-DR. Build around the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset and with a plethora of BIOS options and integrated peripherals, this board has "enthusiast" written all over it.  We'll take a look at whether or not there are other aspects of this product, however, that really make it... Read more...
For almost a year now, NVIDIA has been teasing enthusiasts with their Quad-SLI technology. It was back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show that we got our first glimpse of a Quad-SLI based system, the Dell XP 600 Renegade.  That first Quad-SLI implementation consisted of four GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs, each coupled to 512MB of graphics memory, for a grand total of 2GB of frame buffer memory. Although it looked like four separate graphics cards were used to build up those early Quad-SLI systems, it was actually two. Each GeForce 7800 GX2 card as they became known consisted of a main 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX with a secondary daughter-card mounted to one side. The GPUs each... Read more...
              When we last took a look at some DDR2 memory back in October of 2004, the technology was still a bit new and didn't seem to offer any tangible performance benefits over standard DDR RAM.  Higher speeds could be obtained with DDR2 though, and these modules required less voltage, thus lowering overall power consumption.  The caveat with DDR2, however, was that early sets were much higher priced per MB than older DDR memory, and latencies were generally much higher, which kept performance on par if not slightly off the existing model.  The Intel camp was left without any options, as the 925 series of chipsets... Read more...
The ability to manipulate and access various types of video and audio media has become a big part of the computer life-style. What used to be reserved for those with money to spend on expensive devices and powerful computers, is now available to just about anyone with a PCI slot. Thanks to the interest in these kinds of devices, the market has a nice selection of TV Tuner cards available for the media enthusiast, and your average Joe who just wants to record or watch TV on a PC screen. Most of the hassle that used to be associated with capturing and editing video, have been completely taken out and replaced with user friendly interfaces, and rich feature sets. These types of devices, when combined... Read more...
  It used to be the case that the fastest optical drive was, by default, the best. Reducing CD burn times from 12 minutes to eight and then to six was considered significant evolutionary progress. But then a barrier was encountered, where the imperfect nature of mass-produced compact discs precluded, or at least made it much more difficult, to spin them faster than 52x. Rather than risk spontaneously disintegrating media, drive manufacturers have since focused their attention elsewhere. After all, we'd tend to agree that a polycarbonate saucer spinning in excess of 10,000 rotations per minute next to our knees is plenty, thank you. So, now we have DVD burners flying along at 16x, or roughly... Read more...
Over the past year, DFI has made a name for itself with a crowd that is traditionally very hard to please.  A company that once built parts strictly for the OEM / white box folks, is now catering to the enthusiast and overclocking communities with a bold, feature laden line of motherboards.  DFI's "LANPARTY" products build upon their already solid reputation of producing reliable and stable motherboards, by incorporating a full compliment of overclocking and performance tweaking tools on motherboards that are designed to turn some heads.  With dark PCBs and UV reactive orange and yellow connectors, DFI's LANPARTY motherboards don't look like any others. Sure, just about... Read more...
              With the launch of their 900 series chipsets, and LGA775 based Pentium 4 processors, Intel introduced the use of DDR2 system memory on the desktop.  DDR1 system memory had been the standard for quite a few years, and DDR2 memory had been used on the occasional video card at that point, but DDR2 system memory had yet to be implemented in a consumer level desktop computer.  DDR1 and DDR2 memory are fundamentally very similar.  In essence, DDR2 memory is simply a refinement of the original, however, there are some differences that set them apart.  For example, DDR2 memory requires much less voltage... Read more...
  Back when I was first stepping into the world of PC hardware, Diamond was quite a contender in the PC enthusiast market.  Historically known for their high-end "Viper" graphics product line-up, Diamond's name still strikes home with many a gamer. Unfortunately, back in 2001, Diamond withdrew themselves from the graphics market, leaving only two of their products available to consumer, the Rio Mp3 player and their line of Supra Modems. However, with the aid of Best Data, the Diamond brand has re-emerged and they have recently returned to the video market in hopes of turning face and rebuilding their once prestigious name. A few months ago Diamond presented us with their Stealth... Read more...
DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7 The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's By: Tom Laverriere February 29, 2004       Fast, stable, feature-rich and affordable, these are just some of the words we have chosen historically, when speaking about NVIDIA's nForce2 chipset.  Over the past year we have seen quite a few of these motherboards come through the HotHardware labs and most lived up to our expectations surrounding this Athlon motherboard chipset technology.  When considering a motherboard sporting the nForce2 chipset, there usually isn't a lot to differentiate one manufacturer from another.  The same set of features such as Dual  Channel DDR memory... Read more...
Diamond Multimedia's Stealth S80 A legend returns to the graphics market By Robert Maloney February 15th,  2003 Many seasoned PC enthusiasts fondly recall being the first on the block to have a high-powered Diamond Viper card in their rig, and boasting about it to their friends.  Back then, Diamond and performance were nearly synonymous in the computer world.  It was a big loss when they pulled back in 2001, only offering their Supra line of Modems and Rio MP3 players.  After a three-year absence, however, Diamond has returned, starting off a bit slowly with their new value-minded Stealth line of cards which will soon be followed up by a high-powered Viper line. Upon hearing... Read more...
  DFI Infinity 865PE Motherboard Review DFI's Latest Intel Offering By: Jeff Bouton November 6th, 2003 Historically, DFI has focused more on developing basic motherboards strong on functionality and stability, leaving the flashy presentations and excessive bundles to motherboard manufacturers that cater to the enthusiast set.  But recently the company has undergone a bit of a metamorphosis, moving from bland to grand, with the release of their LAN Party line of motherboards, as well as their brown bag equivalents.  Clearly, DFI felt it was time to get into the mainstream arena and challenge some of the old dogs on the block. Along with the attention received with the LAN Party... Read more...
  DFI LANParty nForce2 Ultra Looks and Performance That Can Kill By, Tom Laverriere September 1, 2003 Routine, to some people, is perfectly acceptable.  Knowing what's going to happen at certain times of the day, every single day, is what puts them at ease.  Others believe change is good.  They're always trying to find a way to do something different, better, or faster.  These are the people that like not knowing what to expect and, rather, just react to what happens and make spur-of-the-moment decisions.  Is either approach better than the other?  Not necessarily, it all depends on who you ask.  If you asked DFI, the motherboard manufacturer, what they... Read more...
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