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.

As the resident open source zealot, I thought it might be nice to have a quick rundown of some of the best apps that are free, open source, and cross-platform available to our readers.  Experienced users may find fault with me for leaving out their favorite app, but hopefully they will agree that the ones I’ve picked here are deserving of recognition.  I especially hope this is useful to those that are unaware of the existence of these applications due to the long shadows cast by the proprietary icons of their respective categories. If you feel I did miss an important app, please let us know in the comments and share your favorites with everyone. Since all of these applications... Read more...
OCZ Technology’s Vertex series of solid state drives have been consistently popular with enthusiasts since their initial arrival in 2009. OCZ has made significant changes with each successive generation of Vertex solid state drives, but generally speaking, each one has offered strong performance and was considered among the best overall values in the consumer SSD space. OCZ has also been good about providing regular firmware updates and proprietary tools to make it easy to flash a drive, perform a secure erase, or just monitor health data. The original Vertex SSD was built around the Indilinx Barefoot controller, which was competitive when first released, but didn’t quite perform... Read more...
OCZ had been a strong partner of Indilinx, dating all the way back dating back to the original Vertex series of SSDs, which featured the Indilinx Barefoot controller. Due to stiff competition from Intel and SandForce, on both the price and performance fronts back then, Indilinx-based SSDs ultimately fell out of favor with enthusiasts. And when the company failed to launch a next-gen SATA 6.0Gbps capable controller on time it all but fell off the map. There were rumblings of an upcoming controller that would compete favorably with newer offerings, but nothing ever materialized. Then, in March of this year, OCZ announced that they had plans to acquire Indilinx. A few months have passed since... Read more...
Over the last few months, we have taken a look at a couple of OCZ-built products that leverage the company’s SuperScale Storage Accelerator with VCA (Virtualized Controller Architecture) 2.0. The first product to arrive was the RevoDrive 3 X2, which is a high-end, PCI Express SSD targeted at ultra-enthusiasts and workstation customers. Then came the extreme OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCIe SSD, which caters to the enterprise. If you’d like to learn more about the technology behind VCA 2.0 and OCZ’s Superscale Storage Accelerator, we strongly suggest perusing those two articles. While they’re designed for completely different target markets, the OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 and Z-Drive... Read more...
A few months back, OCZ took the wraps of their RevoDrive 3 product line. The RevoDrive 3 was the first product to make use of what OCZ calls their SuperScale Storage Accelerator processor with VCA 2.0, or Virtualized Controller Architecture. In short, coupled with a quartet of SandForce SF-2200 series SSD controllers, OCZ's VCA technology really turns up the juice on their new PCI Express-based SSD solutions; so much so that this "prosumer" or performance workstation class product actually leaves far more expensive enterprise class PCIe SSDs in the dust. Today, OCZ is letting fly with the second coming of a VCA 2.0 product, this time squarely targeting the enterprise, datacenter and... Read more...
If you've been reading the pages of HotHardware for any length of time, you've probably noticed that we have an affinity for just about anything SSD related.  As performance enthusiasts at heart, it's no wonder why we're keenly focused on the market segment, but even so, there are standout products that tend to pique our interest more than others.  And in the burgeoning SSD market, there's nothing more interesting than PCI Express based SSDs. In recent months we've covered PCI Express-based SSDs from virtually all the major players, from Fusion-io to, OCZ and LSI. The last time we took a look at OCZ's offering, the RevoDrive X2 took to the test bench and with its MLC-based... Read more...
When the GeForce GTX 580 arrived, it extended NVIDIA's lead in the single-GPU graphics card market. Although the green team's own GTX 480 previously held the title of fastest single-GPU, its reign was temporary as the first generation Fermi card required some tweaks in order to unleash all 512 shader cores, reduce heat output and power consumption, and minimize noise levels. With these issues addressed in the GTX 580, NVIDIA continues to be a leader in single-GPU graphics performance. AMD's Radeon HD 6970 was initially targeted to take on the GTX 580 in the high end market, but it's obvious now that those expectations were unrealistic. Rather, it's more competitive with the GTX... Read more...
Just last week, we gave you a glimpse of what OCZ has in store for the enterprise SSD market with our preview of the Vertex 3 Pro. Without giving away all of the juicy details, the Vertex 3 Pro essentially buried the competition and offered performance that was significantly better than any current-gen solid state drive. As we mentioned though, the Vertex 3 Pro is an enterprise-class drive, and as such, it sports a price tag outside of the realm of your typical PC enthusiast. OCZ did hint that the “non-Pro” version of the Vertex 3 was coming soon, however, and stated that it would be priced “significantly lower”. Well, here we are, just one week later and we’ve already... Read more...
OCZ Technologies’ Vertex 2 series of products are undeniably some of the more popular Solid State Drives currently on the market. Since their introduction, the drives have offered excellent performance, competitive prices (which have dropped considerably in recent weeks), and excellent support in terms of constant firmware updates and guidance / tweaks via the OCZ forum community, from both customers and OCZ staff. While the Vertex 2 is still amongst the elite SSDs available, OCZ is reading a family of follow-up products that are going to raise the bar considerably. Like the Vertex 2, the upcoming Vertex 3 series of products leverages SandForce’s excellent SSD controller technology,... Read more...
A funny thing happened during the course of this article—life got in the way. And in the few weeks that things were delayed, the PC graphics landscape changed dramatically. A couple of weeks before NVIDIA unleashed the GeForce GTX 580 onto the world, MSI and Gigabyte readied a pair of the most innovative GeForce GTX 480 cards to hit the market. Not only were the cards factory overclocked, but they featured custom coolers, re-worked PCBs, and hardcore, enthusiast-class features not found on any other GTX 480. MSI and Gigabyte sent us these custom GTX 480s, and just before putting the finishing touches on the piece, my wife went into labor, the GeForce GTX 580 hit, a few other launches needed... Read more...
What's this, yet another SSD product tap-dancing its way through the HotHardware lab?  It's hard to believe that a product category has so much R&D being poured into it, spurring new releases at such a fevered pitch. The investment in the relatively fledgling storage technology makes perfect sense to us, but the average mainstream consumer probably raises their head to notice only the bigger, more prominent buzz-worthy products hitting the market as of late. There is almost too much in the product category to absorb actually. That being the case, we'd offer folks should tune their storage radar sharply on the product we have on the test bench today. The... Read more...
We never seem to tire of new SSD technologies. The storage subsystem has long been the primary bottleneck with respect to general computer system responsiveness. And as a result, the explosion of Solid State Drives in the market is indicative of the ground-breaking performance gains the average SSD offers over traditional hard drive technology. As dyed-in-the-wool speed freaks, we're always on the lookout for products that offer the type advances the SSD has offered and we're sure the average HotHardware reader shares the same passion, along with many others in the burgeoning new market segment that has been created. That said, as with most emerging technologies, there is... Read more...
It's hard to remember that before the advent of SSDs, storage performance was a rather tepid topic. Save for the introduction of occasional new features like NCQ, hard drives continued along a mostly predictable path of rising capacities and (slightly) higher performance. If you wanted top-end performance, you bought a WD VelociRaptor or constructed a RAID config or arcane assembly of repurposed workstation and / or server-class hardware. Now the market has flipped upside down. SSD manufacturers have been energetically rolling out new high-end, high-capacity products based around updated Indilinx, SandForce, or Marvell controllers, while simultaneously introducing smaller SSDs with... Read more...
When we sat down to review Corsair's acclaimed 700D and 800D chassis, we couldn't help reflecting on how much the PC case market has evolved over the last decade. Ten years ago, when we were cutting our teeth on CPUs with code names like Coppermine and Thunderbird, enthusiast enclosures were few and far between. With the exception of Lian-Li, which was building $200+ all-aluminum nerd artwork even back then, the majority of the companies providing cases to the DIY market were busy churning out beige boxes with features that included: Complimentary Band-Aids 1x 80mm 6000 RPM rear fan with an acoustic profile carefully modeled after a Boeing 727 The option to install a front-mounted case fan... Read more...
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