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.

NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 285 about three months ago, and in our launch article, we found it to be a very strong product. As you are no doubt aware, the GTX 285 is a replacement for the GTX 280. The GT200B GPU at the heart of the GTX 285 is nearly identical to the GTX 280's GT200 GPU. The most significant difference between the two GPUs is that the GT200B is manufactured using a 55nm fabrication process while the GT200 is built on a 65nm process. Our testing showed that the GTX 285 performs only slightly better than the GTX 280 in some scenarios. At first, it seemed a little disappointing, but hey, the GTX 280 is good company to be in. Furthermore, the GTX 285 was the fastest single-GPU... Read more...
Home PCs have reached a new plateau recently with the much heralded release of the Core i7 processor from Intel, which goes hand-in-hand with the X58 Express chipset and the motherboards built upon it.  Although the Core i7 does borrow technology from earlier CPUs, there are some major changes including placing all four cores on a single die, adding the memory controller directly to the die thereby foregoing the Northbridge, and having said memory controller able to support triple-channel DDR3.   Early adopters will be pleased with their performance, as we pointed out in our release piece just a few short weeks ago, but as all major updates go, this requires... Read more...
Synopsis:  When the new Core i7 processors arrive sometime later this month, pricing for the flagship Core i7 Extreme 965 will be set at $999, the Core i7 940 at $562, and the Core i7 920 at $284.  Expect enthusiast-class X58 based motherboards to sell for around $300 give or take a few dollars depending on the number of features.  Ultimately, we can't help but be impressed by the new Core i7 processors. The performance, power profile, and overclockability are all very good even at this early stage.  Intel clearly has another exceptionally strong product in their line-up that will undoubtedly appeal to PC enthusiasts and multimedia professionals... Read more...
NVIDIA's current list of graphics products reads like a mathematician's crib sheet; there are no fewer than 10 active SKUs in their GTX 200- and 9000-series of graphics cards.  It's generally understood that higher model numbers typically mean better peformance, but the subtleties behind the GSO / GT / GTX / GX2 monikers are enough to confuse even the most stalwart tech gurus.  NVIDIA admits to creating some buyer confusion, and plans on making things easier from here on out with the model type coming first (GTX meaning high-end) and the part number corresponding to the performance level second, with higher numbers obviously equalling better performance (ie, a GTX 280... Read more...
Enthusiasts love high-end hardware, and when it comes to Intel chipsets, that means the X48 and X38 Express platforms. The 910GL Express sits at the polar opposite of the company’s lineup, shoring up sales of entry-level systems where price is the principal consideration. In between, you have a massive list of discrete and integrated chipsets with mainstream appeal. These are Intel’s best sellers—the platforms you can find in everything from sub-$100 value boards to $200+ prosumer offerings. The P35, in particular, is a solid win for Intel. From Gigabyte’s $75 P35-S3G to DFI’s $230 LanParty P35 T2R, the mid-range chipset is incredibly flexible because it supports the most popular enthusiast... Read more...
Gigabyte is no stranger to innovation. Year after year, we see the company build unique features into its products to increase performance, improve power utilization, decrease noise, and enhance the user experience. As enthusiasts, we love to see innovations that improve products and differentiate them from the rest of the pack. Gigabyte has done just that with one of its GeForce 8800 GT video cards, the GV-NX88T512HP. Most companies selling 8800s just use the NVIDIA reference design with a different sticker on the cooler, and sometimes the cards will get overclocked as well. Gigabyte wasn't happy with that idea, though, when it designed its latest 8800 GT TurboForce Edition card, which it called... Read more...
At the end of October '07, NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GT 512MB hit the scene and garnered near universal praise due to its strong performance and value proposition.  With its revamped 65nm GPU and single-slot board design, the GeForce 8800 GT was poised to storm the $200 - $249 graphics card space.  However, due to availability issues, street prices remained on the high side at launch.  This was especially the case for factory-overclocked models from well respected manufacturers that are currently selling for upwards of $300. Availability is still tight for the GeForce 8800 GT, but we thought it was time to round a few cards up for a HotHardware-style benchmark fest. ... Read more...
When you think of GIGABYTE, you may envision only a manufacturer of motherboards and video cards, but there is a lot more to this Taiwan based company than initially meets the eye.  GIGABYTE also markets Network Servers, Notebook PCs, a broad array of peripherals and their Thermal Solutions line which covers PSUs, air and water cooling kits, and Chassis. When perusing GIGABYTE's line of chassis in preparation for this article, we were taken aback by just how extensive their collection was.  Their high-end 3DMercury line integrates liquid cooling with a slick aesthetic, which makes for an impressive looking premium case for the serious enthusiast.  At the other end of the spectrum is... Read more...
Gigabyte has almost always been a well respected brand amongst PC enthusiasts, but it seems the company has come on very strong in the last year or so.  Gigabyte has released a number of highly praised motherboards is recent months, like the GA-P35T-DQ6 and GA-965P-DQ6 2.0 that were all lauded for their feature sets, performance, and overclockability. In this article, we're going to showcase yet another Gigabyte-built mobo - the GA-N680SLI-DQ6 - that seemingly out does every other current desktop motherboard in a number of key areas.  How do four Gigabit LAN controllers, 10 SATA ports, 100% solid capacitors, and a unique wrap-around, passive, cooling apparatus strike you?  And did we... Read more...
It's probably safe to assert that, by and large, DIY Small Form Factor PCs are still niche products.  Although they have been offered by the likes of Shuttle, AOpen, MSI and many others for nearly half a decade now, there's still an audible gasp that's heard from non PC-centric folks when then first encounter one.  Questions range from, "What is it?" to "What does it do?"  And even when it has been explained that the mini machine is simply a PC, albeit much smaller than usual, heads still shake, believing that a PC must be big and bulky in order to work properly.  It's a common belief, if only because whether at work, at the store, or even in their own home, most PC users have a standard mid-sized... Read more...
NVIDIA has enjoyed quite a bit of success the last couple of years thanks in part to its GeForce 6 and 7 Series graphics cards. Like every other company in the world, NVIDIA likes to ride its success as long as possible. In NVIDIA's case, this can be done with product refreshes. The most recent refresh brought us the GeForce 7950 GT, interestingly positioned between the 7900 GT and 7900 GTX. What's attractive about the GeForce 7950 GT is that it doesn't cost much more than a 7900 GT yet it offers nearly the same performance of a much pricier 7900 GTX. Additionally, the 7950 GT sports 512MB DDR3 clocked at 1.4GHz (effective). The GPU core runs at a speedy 550MHz. Just like the 7900... Read more...
A few short weeks ago, NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce 8800 series of graphics cards and the nForce 600 family of core logic chipsets on the very same day. The flagship parts in each of these product categories, the GeForce 8800 GTX and the nForce 680i SLI, made the basis of what NVIDIA has dubbed their "Ultimate Gaming Platform". The feature set and initial testing of the GeForce 8800 series of cards and the nForce 680i SLI chipset definitely gave credence to this title, but at the time of the launch NVIDIA hadn't quite worked all of the kinks out of the G80's early drivers.  As such, we only included a handful of preliminary SLI benchmarks in our coverage of the launch.... Read more...
    The recent release of the GeForce 8800 series means two good things for those in NVIDIA's camp: for benchmark junkies there's a new set of cards to put through their paces. And for those with less lofty goals, it means that that the prices for the existing crop of card should soon start dropping.  Thus, it's a win-win situation for everyone involved - the buyers, the shops, and, of course, NVIDIA itself. Shopping for a GeForce 7 card is akin to stopping at Baskin Robbins these days, with so many flavors to choose from.  We decided to grab one of those little plastic spoons and do a little of the sampling for you.  Up for today's taste test... Read more...
Now that the dual-GPU GeForce 7950 GX2 has hit the streets, the GeForce 7900 GTX is no longer NVIDIA's flagship desktop graphics adapter. But that doesn't mean it should all of a sudden be disregarded and brushed aside as an afterthought for a high-end gaming rig. In fact, the 7900 GTX may even become a more attractive option for some as its price inevitably drops over the coming the weeks and months. It's not like the 7900 GTX has suddenly become a bad performer, just because a more powerful and more expensive option has come along. We've got a new GeForce 7900 GTX on the test-bench today, courtesy of Gigabyte. The GV-NX79X512DB-RH we'll be looking at here doesn't stray... Read more...
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