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.

We have been eagerly anticipating the release of processors based on Intel’s Haswell-E microarchitecture for quite some time. After about three years of incremental performance improvements at the ultra-high end, as Sandy Bridge-E was eventually replaced by similarly clocked Ivy Bridge-E based processors, the rumored specs of Haswell-E were enticing. Unlike Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E, which maxed out at 6 cores (12 threads) with desktops variants, Haswell-E would be an 8-core machine (16 threads), featuring execution units based on Intel’s latest microarchitecture. Assuming similar clocks, the speculation was that the additional cores and newer microarchitecture would translate... Read more...
It's that time again. The time of year when students and parents frantically hit e-tailers that offer fast shipping in order to get that all-important back-to-school technology into a dorm room or backpack before classes begins. It's back-to-school season, and whether you've started classes recently or are awaiting (dreading?) that first 8AM lecture, there may be a few bits of techno-shopping that need to be taken care of before you can be on your way to that straight-A report card. Whether you're about to begin the Fall semester of college or your senior year in high school (or something else entirely), you'll probably need the right hardware to get you through. In the pages ahead, we'll be... Read more...
When Microsoft launched Windows 8, the company gambled on consumers welcoming touch on the desktop, just as they had on mobile handheld devices, namely tablets and smartphones. It remains to be seen if that gamble will pay off, but in the meantime, peripheral makers and other hardware partners have stepped up with products built to take advantage of Windows 8's touch friendly interface. That includes Dell, which sent us its 27-inch P2714T Touch Monitor to test drive. The P2714T brings support for 10 points of multi-touch input, so if you want to get up close and friendly with two hands, it won't wig out on you. Multi-touch support also means you and a friend can play touch-oriented... Read more...
A year ago at PAX Prime 2012, the Oculus Rift was a fusion of electronics, barely more than an idea and literally held together with duct tape. Even then it delivered an impressive demo running a VR-optimized, playable version Id Software’s Doom 3. What a difference a year makes. The Oculus Rift, circa 2012 at PAX Prime This year PAX Prime 2013 Oculus VR had an entire booth and a dozen stations for press and fans to check out the latest generation of the Oculus Rift technology. And clearly enthusiasm and excitement for the Oculus Rift is exploding. The line to try them was densely packed for the entirety of the show. The tape is gone and the Oculus Rift looks much closer to a final,... Read more...
It's that time again. The time of year when students and parents frantically hit e-tailers that offer fast shipping in order to get that all-important back-to-school technology into a dorm room or backpack before classes begins. It's back-to-school season, and whether you've started classes recently or are awaiting (dreading?) that first 8AM lecture, there may be a few bits of techno-shopping that need to be taken care of before you can be on your way to that straight-A report card. Credit: Google Whether you're about to begin the Fall semester of college or your senior year in high school (or something else entirely), you'll probably need the right hardware... Read more...
If you love building computers, you probably appreciate a good case or chassis. While there are plenty of excellent products available for a song, there’s also an upper echelon of models that cost quite a bit and offer all the premiere features you could hope for. While it seems as though there’s a lot of similarity between low-end and midrange cases, once you get to a certain price point, various companies take things in very different directions. The three premium chassis we’re looking at in this roundup certainly bear that out. In Win, Lian Li, and SilverStone all make some beautiful cases. And when we asked them to send us one of their... Read more...
When Blizzard announced that they were splitting Starcraft II into three titles, Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void, the general reaction from fans was controversial. The fear was that Blizzard would pad out the contents of each game with busywork missions and red-herring plot devices, while charging full price for each. The company later clarified that the second campaigns would be priced like expansion packs. Heart of the Swarm is the first chance we've had to see if Blizzard's expansion strategy would result in the same quality of game play. Wings of Liberty (WoL) launched at $59, while Heart of the Storm (HotS) is $39. That $39 buys you 20 main missions and 7 "Evolutionary"... Read more...
Smartphones, tablets and computers are constantly consuming and creating more and more content. And with that comes massive amounts of data consumption. The amount of sharing that takes place on today's smartphones and tablets is astounding, and every instance of that requires data -- and storage. Lately, it seems as if companies are dealing with these new realities by leaning heavily on the cloud. But trusting your precious data solely to the cloud can be a risky bet. Looking specifically at the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S III, the new iPad and pretty much every flagship mobile device that has shipped in the last six months, one thing that we expected was more local storage. After... Read more...
It's that time again. The time of year when students and parents frantically hit e-tailers with fast shipping in order to get that all-important back-to-school technology into a dorm room or backpack before classes begins. It's back-to-school season, and whether you've started classes recently or are awaiting (dreading?) that first 8AM lecture, there may be a few bits of techno-shopping that need to be taken care of before you can be on your way to that straight-A report card.          Credit: Seton Hall University Whether you're about to begin the Fall semester of college or your senior year in high school (or something... Read more...
Diablo 3 players don't need any more bad news. The game is already staggering from a debut marred by enormous lag spikes, dropped games, and auction house errors. Now, widespread allegations of hacking are taking further chunks out of Blizzard's hide. This time though, there's an added twist: A significant number of those hacked claimed to be using Blizzard Authenticators. This has led to counterclaims that the victims must be lying, as well as a great deal of confused discussion over whether or not such a thing is even possible. To that end, there's something all of you need to understand up front. The Authenticator that Blizzard sells is not guaranteed proof against having your account hacked.... Read more...
Solid State Drives are a fabulous way to boost a system's performance, but for all their strong points, they aren't an easy upgrade for a lot of people. Performance can vary significantly between manufacturers, only the most expensive drives can replace the need for an HDD in an enthusiast / data-heavy system, and reinstalling a full suite of software from scratch is a major headache. Corsair's Accelerator Series family of SSDs is designed to reduce the barriers to the SSD option by offering a solution that's accessible without the need to wipe your existing HDD or create a storage plan that ensures you make the best possible use of a small SSD, while leaving the bulk of your data on a rotating... Read more...
It's that time again. The time of year where students and parents frantically hit e-tailers with overnight shipping deals in order to get that all-important back-to-school technology into a dorm room or backpack before classes begins. It's back-to-school season, and whether you've started classes recently or are awaiting (dreading?) that first 8AM lecture, there may be a few bits of techno-shopping that need to be taken care of before you can be on your way to that straight-A report card. Whether you're about to begin the Fall semester of college or your senior year in high school (or something else entirely), you'll probably need the right hardware to get you... Read more...
It has been a few months since the AMD Radeon HD 6990 initially launched. Since that time, a number of AMD’s board partners have launched their own Radeon HD 6990 cards, but as is typically the case with the first wave of products based on a new GPU, they all conform to AMD’s reference design, save for a water-cooled card from PowerColor. While most of the Radeon HD 6990 cards on the market today are fundamentally very similar, we thought it would be a good idea to check out a retail-ready 6990 using AMD’s latest drivers to see how well the card performs (and behaves) with updated software. To that end, we got our hands on an HIS Radeon HD 6990 card and have put it up against... Read more...
As the holiday season rapidly approaches, there’s one question that gets asked rather frequently: Have you been naughty or nice? Of course, we all know that a lot hinges on this seemingly simple question. If you’ve been nice, then perhaps Santa will bring you an awesome gift; that one piece of hardware you've been jonesing for. On the other hand, if you’ve been naughty and have cursed your computer (hey, who hasn’t?) or ignored your significant other because Left 4 Dead 2 or Modern Warfare 2 beckoned, then you’d better shape up before it's too late. Otherwise, the only thing you’ll have to look forward to is a lump of coal, or worse.  Believe us--we've... Read more...
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