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.

A little over three months has passed since NVIDIA unleashed its first Kepler-based GPU on PC gamers, known as the GeForce GTX 680. At the time of its arrival, the GeForce GTX 680 was the clear leader in high-end graphics cards. The card offered better overall performance than AMD’s competing Radeon HD 7970 and the GeForce GTX 680 was cooler, quieter, it consumed less power and was cheaper too. Although availability has been tight, in terms of technology, Kepler and the GeForce GTX 680 was Hot Hardware. NVIDIA soon followed up with the more affordable GeForce GTX 670, which like its older brother, is a great performer. The GTX 670 has one of its SMX units disabled, which results in fewer... Read more...
After testing the GeForce GTX 680 last month, it was practically a foregone conclusion that a dual-GPU powered graphics card based on the same GK104 GPU was coming down the pipeline. The GK104 at the heart of the GeForce GTX 680 was able to best AMD’s current flagship GPU more often than not in our testing, and it did so while consuming less power and with a smaller chip die size. If NVIDIA could stick two of their previous-generation, much larger and more power hungry, GF110 chips onto a single card with the GeForce GTX 590, doing the same with the GK104 would come as no surprise. As you’ll see a little later though, NVIDIA did have a few surprises in store with the GTX 690,... Read more...
We’ve looked at our share of Z68-based motherboards here at HotHardware, and the Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 is another stand-out to consider. The G1.Sniper2 is in Gigabyte’s line of Sniper/Guerilla/Assassin gaming motherboards, although it’s currently the only one in the family with the Z68 chipset. Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 Specifications & Features CPU  -Supports 2nd Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors, LGA1155 package -L3 cache varies with CPU  Chipset Intel Z68 Express  Memory -4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory -Dual channel memory architecture -Support for DDR3 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules -Support for... Read more...
It's becoming more difficult to justify the purchase of Intel's X58 Express chipset with all the new technology looming on the horizon. This chipset came out almost three years ago. Time sure flies, especially in the hardware industry. We still like the fact that the X58 offers support for the six core processors in Intel's lineup, along with triple channel memory. However, after the success of Sandy Bridge processors and their associated chipsets, one has to wonder how much longer the major manufacturers will be willing to pick from this tree. One thing is certain. Gigabyte will not be the first to move away from the X58. Their latest G1 Killer series of X58 motherboards... Read more...
For PC gamers, the gear we use to play can provide a tangible edge in our games. Although much noise is made about backlit keyboards boasting gamer oriented layouts and fancy mice with odd shapes, the most important considerations for gaming are still the guts of the gaming machine, a comfortable desk layout, a good monitor and a quality sound reproduction device. While most gamers understand the need for a capable system and a quality monitor, they don't often appreciate that last bit about sound. The engineer didn't hear the spy approaching from behind. Any old speaker will provide the most basic audio cues, but you'll need something better if you want a real competitive edge. In the past,... Read more...
On September 1, GlobalFoundries played host to the first annual Global Technology Conference (GTC for short). While there were a fair number of partner presentations on display, the conference was primarily driven by GlobalFoundries executives and announcements. When we spoke to GlobalFoundries in March we remarked on the company's aggressive roadmap; we were curious to see if the company would still be on track six months later. Based on comments made by company CEO Doug Grose, GlobalFoundries is on track to realize some $4 billion in revenue for the year 2010 and plans to double its size within two years (it's unclear if this refers to revenue, wafer starts, or customer base). The company's... Read more...
SSDs account for just a fraction of the storage market in terms of units shipped, but high consumer interest and significant profit margins have brought manufacturers in droves. GSkill isn't exactly a newcomer to the field, but the sheer number of companies in the dogpile make it more difficult for any single manufacturer to win a definitive lead against the others, at least in terms of technology alone. Today we're reviewing GSkill's 60GB Phoenix Pro. This relatively diminutive drive is meant to offer enthusiasts an attractive balance between price and performance, but the Phoenix Pro is fighting to distinguish itself in a tight field. The G.SKILL Phoenix PRO 60GB SATA II SSD GSkill Phoenix... Read more...
The past few years have been very kind to Gigabyte; the company's shipments have increased to the point that it's now approximately tied with Asus in terms of volume shipments. Part of the reason for the company's good fortune is its decision to aggressively align its higher-end motherboards, both in terms of price and available features. Gigabyte has put a major push behind USB 3.0, and claims to have purchased one million of the three million USB 3.0 controllers NEC has shipped thus far. The X58A-UD3R we're reviewing today is a good example of Gigabyte's competitive product positioning. The board's feature loadout is excellent given its ~$200 price point—the question we'll be looking... Read more...
Just this past week, the Game Developers Conference was held in downtown San Francisco, CA. If you're unfamiliar with GDC, it is the "world's largest professionals-only game industry event." In other words, everyday gaming enthusiast can't just walk in off the street to take a look around. GDC is held every spring and is basically a forum for learning and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, and online games. Hundreds of companies come out to present their latest wares, preview upcoming titles, and also interview thousands of potential game developers. Intel used GDC 2010 to announce their latest processor,... Read more...
If you've followed the early announcements concerning Fermi, NVDIA's next-generation GPU architecture, you should already be aware that the new GPU core is both an evolution of the existing GT200 architecture and a significant new design in its own right. NVIDIA made it clear early on that they weren't going to be talking about GeForce products at the conference this year, but instead have discussed Fermi as a Tesla successor and future high-end engine primed to drive the GPGPU industry.  So that's 16 times 32...carry the four... While it carries many of the same features as the GT200 series, Fermi is distinctly its own animal. NVIDIA's Fermi whitepaper describes the new architecture... Read more...
As details of upcoming Lynnfield processors and P55 chipset-based motherboards hit the scene, there is a growing buzz within the industry about the effects of bringing Nehalem down into the mainstream market segments. While X58 and Core i7 performance dominates, complete system pricing has kept some average consumers looking to upgrade wistfully on the fence. That roadblock will likely be cleared by P55 as the companies involved eagerly expect to see widespread adoption of the high performing and relatively affordable platform.   On August 18, 2009, Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, California was host to Gigabyte's Invitational Press Day. The affair promised to provide an... Read more...
  A few months back NVIDIA "released" the GeForce GTS 250 priced at just around $150.  The reason behind the quotations in the previous statement is that the GTS 250 is not exactly something new.  While a lot of NVIDIA's R&D dollars have gone into their higher-end products such as the GTX 285 and GTX 295, to satisfy their mid-level needs they turned to an old stand-by: rebranding a previously higher-end card.  In the case of the GeForce GTS 250, we're pretty much looking at the same specifications that we saw with the GeForce 9800 GTX+, with a 1GB frame buffer being the only major difference (and even that isn't a meaningful differentiating factor as 9800 GTX+ cards... Read more...
The PC world was treated to one of those rare occurrences a few weeks back--a 1-2 punch into the 3D graphics fray from both ATI and NVIDIA. We're talking about the near simultaneous launches of the ATI Radeon HD 4890 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275. Both of their names lead to obvious suggestions about where they fit into their respective families.With the Radeon HD 4890, one might assume that there was an update made to the venerable HD 4870, and for the most part that assumption would be correct.  Both GPUs share the same number of shader processors, texture units, and ROPs, bit with three million more transistors than the RV770, and hence a larger die, clearly something... Read more...
While most computer enthusiasts overclock their systems to get increased performance from their components, there are a select few that push the limits of hardware to another level for the entertainment factor alone. Instead of just trying to get higher frame rates for gaming or better throughput for other types of workloads, these extreme enthusiasts run a series of benchmarks to see who can achieve the highest score or finish with the fastest time. Professional overclockers throughout North America often participate in ongoing competitions online to see how fast they can run their processors and graphics cards for bragging rights and geek glory. In this world, operating voltages... Read more...
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