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.

For a time, Intel’s X25 series of solid state drives stood head and shoulders above the rest of the SSD pack. But with the influx of new players along with the rapid pace of innovation in the SSD space, Intel’s aging offerings—while still very good—are no longer a cut above. In fact, in enthusiast circles, it’s drives based on upstart SandForce’s controllers that currently garner the lion’s share of interest. And you don’t have to take our word for it. Just take a look at SandForce’s current list of partners; it reads like a list of” who’s who” in the memory market with names like OCZ, Corsair, Mushkin, G.SKILL, and Patriot,... Read more...
When NVIDIA launched the first wave of GF100-based graphics cards in late march, the initial GeForce GTX 400 series line-up consisted of only two cards, the flagship GeForce GTX 480 (reviewed here) and its somewhat less powerful counterpart, the GeForce GTX 470. Since then, NVIDIA has augmented the GeForce GTX 400 series line-up with the more affordable GeForce GTX 465 as well, which we took a look at here. Unfortunately, at launch, we did not have access to a GeForce GTX 470 and couldn't provide our normal performance analysis. But good things come to those to who wait though. And since the initial launch we have gotten our hands on a full retail-ready GeForce GTX 470 by way of long time player... Read more...
When it comes to the business of building PCs, true innovation is hard to find. There are exceptions—HP had the Blackbird 002, Alienware designs its own enclosures, and there's always the Thermaltake Level 10—but most companies aren't willing to take the financial risk that's part and parcel of designing new and different products. Fortunately, MainGear is. While they've not been around as long as Alienware or Falcon-Northwest, the company has six solid years of experience in building custom PCs. MainGear recently sent us a high-end system built around its unique SHIFT chassis. When it designed the SHIFT, with their chassis partner Silverstone, Maingear took a standard ATX configuration... Read more...
When the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series was first introduced a few months back, all of AMD's add in board partners offered essentially the same products, at least at the hardware level. The various boards available during the 'first wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series availability shipped with different accessory bundles and usually had custom decals affixed to their fans and fan shrouds to help differentiate them from one another. But plug them into a slot, install the drivers and they all performed at exactly the same level. That's what happens when ever card is clocked the same and have the same sized frame buffers, etc.Recently, however, the 'second wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series cards begun shipping.... Read more...
Some might say that there has never been a better time to be a PC enthusiast. Compelling new products fighting for our attention abound, as the computer hardware scene is bursting at the seams with upgrade options. For example, it wasn't long ago that AMD launched the world's first DX11 videocard and now the company features a full lineup of products at a wide variety of price points. NVIDIA's answer to the Radeon HD 5000 series has just arrived as well, and the battle for dominance in the graphics market is as fierce as ever. SSDs are also becoming increasingly more affordable, while the release of SATA 6Gbps opens the door to a new generation of faster drives. Equally important,... Read more...
With the growing popularity of inexpensive netbooks and nettop PCs, the Linux operating system (often installed on the lowest-priced budget units) is reaching a wider audience--although nowhere close to giving Windows or the Mac OS a run for their money (albeit Mac OS X is based on a Unix kernel). Some pundits even argue that the Linux OS has finally matured enough to the point where everyday computer users can use it with little trouble. This might be arguable, but the often free or inexpensive nature of the different Linux distributions, as well as the plethora of free open-source Linux applications, makes the OS an appealing option to users on a budget. But what if you could "dumb down" the... Read more...
For many, just the thought of setting up and using a network attached storage (NAS) device makes their eyes cross and their pulses increase. While even the technophobic recognize the benefits of having a network-based repository of files for sharing and backup, the concept can still seem daunting to some. The reality is that NAS devices have become surprisingly easy to set up and use, but most still require at least a modicum of networking knowhow. In a bid to allay the fears of even the greenest of computer users, however, CloudEngine's Pogoplug makes setting up and using a NAS device as easy as it can possibly be.The Pogoplug is the size of large AC adapter. It has Ethernet and USB... Read more...
The PC scene is constantly evolving as businesses and individuals make use of next generation products that increase productivity or provide higher levels of entertainment. Bigger, better, faster - these are the insatiable desires of consumers. It doesn't matter if we're speaking of gigahertz or gigabytes, the demand endures and companies do their best to crank out sought after new technology.  As we're currently witnessing, competition for consumer dollars is fierce within respective markets and few can argue that there has never been a better time for those looking to buy. The Radeon HD 4890 is ATI's latest contender and we covered it extensively at launch. Now, overclocked variants... Read more...
  There is no way to categorize AMD's recent launch of the RV770 graphics processor powering the Radeon HD 4800 series of cards as anything other than a resounding success.  Cards based on the GPU hit the scene offering very strong performance in their respective price brackets, and forced rival NVIDIA to react with a quick round of price cuts that will surely eat into NVIDIA's margins on the gigantic 65nm GT200 chip.  Although actual sales figures aren't available just yet, we suspect AMD is going to show strong sales of every member of the Radeon HD 4800 series.One common concern among analysts and users of AMD's latest flagship GPU has been heat, however.  Virtually... Read more...
Late last year, NVIDIA released a pair of new 8800-series graphics cards based on their G92 GPU.  The new cards were designed to keep NVIDIA's products at the top of the food chain at their respective price points, while also being a bit more affordable.  The first of the two was the GeForce 8800 GT.  It brought high-end performance to the mainstream crowd mostly due to its 112 stream processor configuration and 65m G92 GPU.  The G92's shrink to 65nm from TSMC's 90nm process used with the G80, brings with it lower power usage, but also lower prices due to a reduced die size, enabling NVIDIA to set the MSRP for the 8800... Read more...
When we first took a look at the GeForce 8800 Ultra, back in May, we were left with some mixed feelings. On one hand it was, and still is, the undisputed graphics champ. On the other hand, it didn't introduce any new features and it wasn't a whole lot faster than its significantly cheaper sibling, and former graphics champ, the 8800 GTX. The nearly $250 price delta between the Ultra and the GTX was hard to justify since the Ultra is essentially just an overclocked GTX with a larger cooling apparatus.   Anyone looking for screaming top-end performance that isn't hell-bent on owning the absolute fastest graphics card on the market has a bevy of 8800 GTX cards to choose from. Although... Read more...
Power -- It's one of the most important factors for peak system performance and stability. Yet, the PSU is still an often overlooked PC component. While not as sexy as a high-end motherboard, video card or RAM, the power supplying these components is just as important as the components themselves.  With the heightened demands of the latest computing hardware, ample power is an increasingly important consideration for performance and stability. Dual GPU configurations are now commonplace and CPUs are sporting multiple cores, all of which place greater demand on the PSU.  Throw some overclocking into the mix and a common 550w PSU will crack under the stress, which can end up... Read more...
PLEXTOR ANNOUNCES BLU-RAY DISC DRIVE FOR NORTH AMERICAN MARKET Burner Records 25GB to 50GB Discs for Removable Data Storage, Computer Backup, and High-Definition Video      FREMONT, Calif. - August 28, 2006 - Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced the October 2006 release of the PX-B900A Blu-ray Disc drive, the first Plextor burner to support the next generation of optical data storage technology. The new multi-function drive, which carries an MSRP of $999.99 USD, comes bundled with a rewritable 25GB BD-RE media disc and a complete software package, including Ulead VideoStudio 10 and Intervideo WinDVD... Read more...
When most home and workstation users think of NAS (Network Attached Storage), they think of big, bulky rackmount servers packed to the brim with terabytes of hard drive space (and terabyte-style price tags to match). NAS became a buzzword in the late 90's, during the dot-com explosion, where the product was targeted at companies who were just integrating web functionality into their businesses, and needed data storage where multiple people could access single file sets. Typical NAS servers ranged in the multi-thousand dollar price range when they were first introduced, and most companies found that building cheap PC's with commodity components and inexpensive hard drives was a much more viable... Read more...
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