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 just recently ran a contest on HotHardware in which we planned to give away a high-end, custom-built gaming system (built by yours truly), to one lucky reader who came up with a creative name for our weekly video podcast. The parts for the system were as follows… CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition   Cooler: Xigmatek Dark Knight   Motherboard: Asus CrossHair IV Formula   Graphics: Asus EAH6870   Sound: Asus Xonar D2X   RAM: 4GB OCZ DDR-1333   SSD: WD Silicon Edge Blue 64GB   HD: WD Caviar Black 2TB   PSU: OCZ 850W Z-Series   Optical: Asus Blu-Ray Drive   Case: CoolerMaster HAF 912   Audio: Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset  ... 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 you're 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... Read more...
How should you go about determining what size monitor to buy? It's simple - go out and purchase the biggest, baddest display you can afford, because really, you only get one shot at this thing called life, so why waste it staring at a 23-inch panel? If you're still not convinced, consider that, more than any other component in your entire build, it's the monitor you'll use to its fullest 100 percent of the time. You can't say that about your dual-videocards, six-core processor, or even your keyboard, but it certainly applies to your display, the one piece of hardware that brings the entire build together. Suffice it to say, when HP asked if we were interested in evaluating their new ZR30w display,... Read more...
Building a Home Theater PC is often times a much better option for enabling your entertainment center for various forms of digital media playback capability.  Rather than stepping up to additional discrete components, like a stand-alone Blu-ray, DVD or CD player, why not infuse your living room entertainment center with real intelligence and multimedia muscle and build an HTPC (Home Theater PC)?  In this video, we'll give you some suggestions on a few component selection options for building an HTPC, as well as a high-level overview of its assembly and a few key design points to look out for.  We'll then of course demo our systems for you to show you what you can do with an HTPC. ... Read more...
2009. It's the end of a decade, but just the beginning of an era. A lot has changed since Y2K frightened the world and then made us all look like fools for being worried, and it's safe to say that 2009 ushered in some of the most advanced technology this world has ever seen. More so than in years past, this year's tech innovations had a more direct impact on the average Joe. It used to be that technology was most appreciated by enthusiasts--nerds and geeks who could appreciate the thinking and planning that went into such things as iPods and cell phones.Today though, moms and grandmothers are just as likely to be taking advantage of technology. Just think of the Peek--an email only... Read more...
As the holiday season rapidly approaches, there’s one question that you’ll hear very 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, like a Core i7 975 processor or perhaps the world-beating ATI Radeon HD 5970 Dual-GPU. 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... Read more...
Windows Home Server is quite possibly one of Microsoft's most unheralded operating systems. Many speak longingly of Windows XP, jokingly of Windows ME, disappointedly of Windows Vista, and hopefully of Windows 7. But seldom discussed is the little-known and little-used operating system designed to be installed on a home server and act as a central depository for serving media and other files, as well as a place to backup your home systems' files. For those who have used it, many praise Windows Home Server's functionality and performance--especially since Microsoft has made some significant updates to the OS recently. (Windows Home Server is actually based on Microsoft's Windows Server 2003.)It... Read more...
As the holiday season rapidly approaches, there’s one question that you’ll hear very 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, like Intel’s new Core i7 965 Extreme processor or perhaps Dell’s UltraSharp 30-inch widescreen LCD. On the other hand, if you’ve been naughty and have cursed your computer (hey, who hasn’t?) or ignored your significant other because Call of Duty 4 of Bioshock beckoned, then you’d better shape up before it's too late. Otherwise, the only thing you’ll have to look forward... Read more...
With the recent run of newer and more affordable graphics cards from ATI, it's almost easy to forget that there's already a sub-$200 frame-rate cruncher called the Radeon HD 4850.  Based on the same RV770 chip as the more powerful, yet more expensive HD 4870, the HD 4850 ships with the same 800 stream processors, 40 texture units, and 16 ROPs that have made these cards such hot items.  The main area where they differ, other than clock speeds, is in regard to memory.  While the HD 4870 ships with high-end GDDR5 memory chips, the HD 4850 finds itself loaded with 512 MB of more mainstream GDDR3.A major caveat with the Radeon HD 4850 that has arisen, however,... Read more...
While high-end workstation graphics cards may be based on roughly the same core architectures as gaming-targeted graphics cards, their purposes in life are very different. While they both accomplish the same task, processing commands and rendering images on-screen, workstation cards endure a more strenuous existence than their gaming brethren. Workstation cards are used to solve huge, mission-critical problems, like helping engineers design and build cars; helping architects to planning and construct buildings, and even help to our friendly oil and gas companies to provide more effective oil and gas production and transportation methods. For many HotHardware readers,... Read more...
As the year draws to an end and the holiday shopping season begins, we here at HotHardware have a time-honored tradition of bringing our faithful readers our annual Holiday Buyer's Guide.  We hope that our Holiday Guide will help you make informed buying decisions, whether you're looking for a couple of parts to put into your own machine, or building a new machine from scratch for friend or family.Each year our Holiday Buyer's Guide is a little different.  For example, this year we've decided to break the things down by component type.  Within each category we've broken down our suggestions into three price ranges: High-end, middle of the road, and shoe-string budget. ... Read more...
Quick!  Name that one piece of PC hardware that will automatically garner the most "oohs" and "aahs" from enthusiasts and casual-users alike.  No, it's probably not the glow-in-the-dark water cooling system or bright LEDs shining from the multiple fans in your windowed case.  The quickest path to glory is buying a brand new, flat, large, widescreen monitor.  Just like the centerpiece of the living room is that 50" plasma that you installed last Christmas, widescreen monitors are the "in" thing for many PC users; whether they be a hardcore gamer, aspiring novel writer, or something in between. With such demand for a product like this, it's only natural that numerous companies have entered... Read more...
If you have ever been in the market for a graphics card, you are undoubtedly familiar with the constantly changing graphics card market. About every 8-10 months, new GPUs are introduced by NVIDIA and ATI, and after their introduction, dozens of graphics cards built by their add in board partners come to market. Because these add in board partners all use the same graphics chips supplied by the two major graphics card companies, they have to use their marketing savvy to create extra value and incentive for consumers to buy their products. Over the years we’ve seen companies bundle the hottest new games, add new video connections, new cooling units, and even build their... Read more...
In early November of last year, NVIDIA unveiled their successor to the nForce 5, the nForce 600 series. The starting line-up included three solutions supporting Intel's Core 2 processor, each aimed at a different segment of the market and each with a different price point. The most expensive chipset in the series, the high-end 680i SLI provided a host of new features including dual X16 SLI support with a third X8 PCI-E slot. Next comes the 650i SLI, which lacks many of the 680i's fancier features like dual x16 SLI support, but makes up for it with a significantly lower price point. Finally at the low end is the 650i Ultra, which lacks SLI support altogether. While the three boards in... Read more...
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