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.

The old crowd of PCI TV Tuners may need to step aside soon, as their PCIe cousins head into the market. Sure, there are still plenty of people without motherboards equipped with PCI Express expansion slots, but the old PCI bus is eventually on it's way out. Today we're going to take a look at PowerColor's PCI Express based Theatre 550 Pro TV Tuner. Other than the way the card interfaces with a system, there's little difference between the newer PCIe based tuners over PCI, so we'll be focusing on the PowerColor card's performance, ease of installation, setup, and bundled software. Speaking of software, some of you may recall our relative displeasure with CyberLink's PowerCinema 3 software in our... Read more...
  In recent months, the race between the two major industry playersto bring dual-core processing to the masses has heated up. On April 4th, Intel delivered its first dual-core Pentium offering in the form of the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840.  AMD was soon to follow, on May 9th, releasing its dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+.   While Intel may have been first to deliver a dual-core processor for the masses, AMD's updated X2 processor architecture brought with it the path of least resistance by supporting existing socket 939-based hardware.  In fact, AMD's dual-core Athlon 64 X2 requires only a simple BIOS update to support the new processors.  Conversely, Intel's... Read more...
  Though clock speed is no longer a true measure of processor performance, it's hard to argue with a few hundred more MHz no matter which CPU architecture you'd consider.  Regardless, it's clear the industry as a whole, as well as the world's largest chip manufacturer, Intel, has now embarked on an effort to provide more computing power per clock cycle, focusing on IPC (Instructions Per Clock Cycles) metrics as better manifestations of overall performance.  As the PC and workstation marketplaces now look toward a future of dual-core processors, Intel continues a parallel effort of fleshing out its 6XX Sequence series of processors today with the introduction of the Pentium 4 670.... Read more...
When DDR2 first saw the light of day, the memory marked the next level in DDR technology.  However, with improved frequencies, lower voltage requirements and improve packaging also came higher latencies.  With intial offerings coming in at CAS 4-4-4-12 and even higher, the performance improvements over DDR1 were minimal at best.  There was also a significant price increase over DDR1 that became a stumbling block for DDR2 as it really didn't make sense to pay more for the same relative performance.  Today, the DDR2 sector has evolved into the next phase of lower latency offerings.  As expected, we are seeing latency improve, making the case for upgrading to DDR2 a bit... Read more...
Competition can be a blessing for consumers, a headache for manufacturers and a driving force for an entire industry.  Where a market once may have been dominated by one or two big companies with a handful of smaller competitors striving for their piece of the pie, nowadays the scales are somewhat more balanced.  A good example of this is with the CD/DVD-ROM market, where a few big names like Plextor and Pioneer set the standard for years.  Today, there are many equally good offerings from lesser-known names at lower prices.  No longer is it necessary to pay a little extra for name recognition when there are quality alternatives for an economical price. We've seen a similar... Read more...
  The folks out in Sunnyvale have been releasing new additions to their Athlon 64 processor lineup with the kind of fevered pace we've come to expect from major-league semiconductor manufacturers.  So too has the ever-dominant Intel.  With 78,000 employees worldwide and almost 10 times the revenue of its nearest competitor at $30 billion annually, its this kind of critical mass that allows a company to pour endless resources into a program and drive higher reaching product line goals. Earlier this month, we brought you a view of AMD's new Athlon FX-55 and Athlon 64 4000+ processors and their relative performance versus Intel's flagship CPUs.  Today we've got Intel's latest... Read more...
  The recent trend of PC integration into the user's living space finds the once small and dingy computer room becoming a thing of the past.  With manufactures now offering PC solutions which showcase features that rival many mainstream audio components, families are now finding their "digital living room" to be the new media back-bone of their lives. This is where Philips new soundcard, the PSC724 Ultimate Edge, steps in.  Offering discreet 24-bit, 6-Channel High Definition Audio playback/recording, users can turn their PC into a high-end audio center with a simple upgrade.  In addition to promising high end specs, Philips has integrated their newly redesigned Sound... Read more...
Recently, several big name memory companies have offered new "low-latency" DDR memory modules capable of running with brisk 2-2-2-5 timings at 400MHz.  Based on Samsung's latest low-latency ICs, these chips have demonstrated remarkable stability, compatibility and speed as well as the potential to overclock in excess of 500MHz DDR when relaxed latencies are used. One of the lesser known players in this field is PQI Designs.  Not long ago, PQI acquired PMI Memory, incorporating their Turbo Series brand into the PQI product line.  This has given PQI a much broader product line that includes performance memory as well as industrial strength flash storage solutions and other... Read more...
Back in mid-June we took a look at the latest offering from Plextor, the PX-712A.  This drive boasted 12X DVD+R write speeds and maintained the same level of quality we've come to expect from Plextor.  For years, Plextor has been in the optical drive business and for most of that time they've been the one company all others can be gauged against.  This is because Plextor makes drives for the professional and the serious enthusiast looking for advanced features and the ability to control drive performance.  Sometimes, they are not the first to reach the market with the fastest speed or the newest features, but when they do, you can be certain Plextor has done their homework... Read more...
For video card manufacturers, the drums of technology beat forever. Today's hot new release is tomorrow's eBay listing, because the hardcore enthusiasts are always looking for the next "big thing". It's a hard to stay on top of the list for very long, so we were interested in the recent arrival of two new GeForce FX 5900XT's in our labs. Originally, our plans were to pit these two together XTs, mano a mano, to see which of the two cards would come out on top. After our initial peek into the boxes and specs for each card, however, we decided to give each card its own day in the sun. Our first article in this series will cover the Prolink Pixelview GeForce FX 5900XT... Read more...
For years Plextor has set the standard for optical drives in both quality and features, being the first to bring major innovations to market on a number of occasions. These days, the competition fierce, with cheaper offerings available that can compete on the same performance level as slightly more expensive Plextor products. However, what these cheaper models usually lack are unique features that bring new functionality to the forefront, something Plextor has been doing for quite some time. Today on HotHardware, we're going to take a look at the latest Plextor drive to land our test bench, the Plextor PX-712A.  This model boasts 12X DVD recording on DVD+R media and 8X recording with DVD-R... Read more...
  The Plextor PX-708A 8x DVD±R/RW Drive Plextor fulfills the need for speed! By Robert Maloney December 28th, 2003 When it comes to optical drives, one brand that folks have turned to time and time again, for reliability and performance, would be Plextor.  We have had our looks at many a CD-RW drive and even a few 4X DVD burners this past year.  However, we were beginning to reach a point in time, where we were looking for the next "big thing".  It looks as if we're on the verge of this with optical drive technology in 2004.  Plextor is stepping out ahead in their core competancy, against the competition, with a drive that's not only dual-format, allowing for... Read more...
  The Plextor PX-708UF DVD±R/RW Drive Plextor Thinks Outside the Box By, Jeff Bouton November 20, 2003 When it comes to CD/DVD recorders, Plextor has been one of the top choices for a number of years.  While they have been paving the way in this fiercely competitive environment, the industry has evolved and technology improved, so the competition is not too far behind.  While it is commonly stated that "it is lonely at the top", this doesn't quite seem as true as it once was.  Today, there are a number of manufacturers producing CD/DVD burners that can compete on the same level as Plextor in performance and quality, and sometimes price.  So to stay... Read more...
  The Plextor Premium 52/32/52 Hi-Performance Internal CD-RW Drive Exceptionally Fast Performance For Professionals Jason R. Gibson July 14, 2003 With the recent introduction of recordable DVD drives, it seems like recordable CD drives may soon become a thing of the past.  In hopes of maximizing their impact on this slowly declining market, Plextor has recently released their latest edition to the very successful PlexWriter line of products, the PlexWriter Premium 52/32/52. Historically known for producing well-constructed drives that deliver the goods, Plextor has garnered a very reputable name in the Optical Drive market. Sporting new technology and some very notable specifications,... Read more...
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