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.

Normally, the question of whether a game runs better on the PC or a console is a no-brainer -- at least, for PC users.  Watch Dogs, however, with its problematic PC play, challenges that concept. And since the gap between consoles and PCs is typically smallest at the beginning of the console generation, we decided to take the Xbox One out for a head-to-head comparison against the PC with this long-awaited title. What we've found may surprise you. Based on our results, and depending on just how much horsepower your PC has, the Xbox One (and possibly the PS4 option, though we didn't compare against it) might be the better option. Here, we'll step through the game's pre-rendered... Read more...
Western Digital’s original My Cloud personal cloud storage solution brought a unique approach to the NAS segment, for individuals and the SOHO crowd, and the subsequent multi-bay My Cloud EX4 offered a beastly amount of storage--8TB, 12TB, or 16TB--via the same “My Cloud” platform. WD introduced the My Cloud EX2 as something of a ‘tweener' solution, bringing a two-bay option that isn’t as hard on the wallet as the EX4 yet offers a copious amount of storage capacity and more powerful features such as RAID. Even with a few more choice features on board, the My Cloud EX2 is designed to be as simple to set up and manage as the original single-bay My Cloud.... Read more...
Solid state drives continue to be all the rage, due to their durability, silence, and high performance versus traditional hard drives, with spinning magnetic media. And while SSD prices have dropped significantly this past year, they remain relatively expensive in terms of cost per gigabyte, and are still many times the price of a hard disk drive. The price disparity between solid state and hard disk drives often forces mobile and small form factor users into the unenviable position of choosing performance over capacity. Provided they’ve got the budget, desktop users needn’t compromise, because their systems can accommodate multiple drives of different form factors without issue.... Read more...
Cloud  storage has emerged as a hugely attractive option for consumers and businesses alike. Consumer cloud storage darling Dropbox has gotten big enough that it warrants its own developer conference, Box is consistently innovating in the business space, Amazon’s storage cloud is massive and popular, and we could go on and on with numerous other companies offering all types of cloud storage services. Even as cloud storage has exploded, however, there are many skeptics who believe that entrusting your data to a cloud service is foolish. For one thing, you’re giving your precious data (be it family photos or company trade secrets) to a third party, and beyond that... Read more...
When USB flash drives first came to market it was a revolution. They delivered a solution that offered much larger storage capacity compared to floppy disks, packaged in something about the size of a person’s thumb. Suddenly, you could just save your papers, presentations, and even a smattering of photos onto a little flash drive and safely take it with you anywhere. Times have changed, obviously, with the advent of cloud-based storage solutions like Dropbox, but portable storage on a physical device is still as necessary as ever, especially when you need a substantial amount of available capacity for backup purposes. External hard drives are the ticket here, and Western... Read more...
When considering a new storage solution, most users try to find the right balance between speed and capacity. SSDs are super fast, no doubt about it, but an HDD spinning at 7200RPM or 10,000RPM will still offer solid performance, and you have access to dramatically more storage capacity for a far lower cost per GB compared to an SSD. Western Digital’s 4TB WD RE SATA drive certainly satisfies the need for capacity. And at a 7200RPM spindle speed with a SATA 6Gbps interface, 64MB of cache, and up to 171MBps sustained transfer rates, the performance balance is there as well. In the enterprise, though, there’s a third consideration that can trump the other two:... Read more...
While we were testing the WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo, a funny thing happened. At one point, we reflected on our first external hard drive--a 40GB unit salvaged from a laptop--and remarked at how quaint it seems in comparison to WD's powerful, spacious storage beast. Indeed, external storage has come a long way in a relatively short time. Hampered in the past by relatively slow interfaces such as USB and FireWire, Intel’s Thunderbolt interface promises comparatively blazing fast speeds, and available storage capacities are now in the multi-terabyte range. Thunderbolt, originally dubbed “Light Peak”, is a dual-protocol interface that combines PCI-Express and DisplayPort... Read more...
There seems to be a recurring phenomenon in the technology press, where any trojan that affects Linux or Macs becomes front page news. On the other hand, trojans that affect Windows are mostly ignored, perhaps because this is considered to be the normal state of affairs.   There are two common statements made in the discussions of these rare events: No operating system will ever be secure from Trojans. Linux/Mac only have fewer viruses because no one uses them.   The first statement is almost correct, whereas the second one is a flat out myth in my opinion. Let me explain, and I’ll listen if you still disagree after reading the following in its entirety. 1. ... Read more...
Quick! What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Western Digital? If you're like most people, you immediately thought of hard drives and other storage products, which have been WD's bread and butter for several decades now. But the times, they are a changin', and in case you haven't noticed, Western Digital is no longer content to simply take residence in your PC. That became evident when Western Digital dove into the media player market with its WD TV line-up of set-top boxes, but why stop at owning the living room when you can lord over the entire manor? Unable to come up with a viable answer to that question, Western Digital decided to do just that by launching its very... Read more...
Although solid state drives have generated the lion’s share of buzz in the storage space these last few years, traditional hard drives with spinning media continue to be a mainstay of the industry, and have evolved to offer higher capacities and more performance than ever before. Of course, even the fastest of today’s hard drives can’t compete with solid state drives in terms of peak transfer speeds and especially access times, but the release of the new WD VelociRaptor we’ll be showing you here today helps close the gap just a bit. WD’s VelociRaptor hard drives have been popular amongst enthusiasts since their initial introduction in 2009. The drives don’t... Read more...
Last week, we previewed the launch of Wing Commander Saga: Darkest Dawn, the fan-built companion to Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger that's been in the making for the past ten years. We were excited for its launch. But now that the game is available, how'd the team do? Descent 2 had beautiful explosions -- a feature Darkest Dawn preserves How good is Wing Commander Saga: Darkest Dawn? Let me illustrate it thusly. The game dropped on Thursday, I started playing Friday, and as of this writing (Sunday afternoon), my weekend chore list is gathering dust on the fridge. I've been too busy cursing my decision to chuck my Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 to notice. "If I'd kept it just one... Read more...
One day while sitting in an office going over TPS reports, someone over at Western Digital heard a voice. It whispered, "If you stream it, they will come." After hearing this, he marched into the board room and pitched his idea for a streaming media player, and thus the WD TV series was born. Now whether or not it actually played out like this is irrelevant (it didn't); what matters is that Western Digital did build a line of streaming set-top boxes, and the customers have certainly shown up. Western Digital's WD TV Live Hub, which is what we're looking at today, is the company's fourth generation media streamer, and it's the most fully functional to date. Unlike the previous generation WD TV... Read more...
Home Theater PC buffs rejoice, wireless transmission of HDMI® connections has finally come of age.  Though there are currently two camps gaining traction in the market (Intel's WiDi and WHDI), the bottom line is lag-free full HD 1080p wireless video/audio transmission is now a reality.  No longer does that HTPC need to be shoehorned into the confines of your entertainment center.  And that desktop replacement notebook you have perched on the coffee table just got a major display upgrade, seamlessly connected to your HDTV; look Ma, no wires.  Stay with us as we take you through a tour of two WHDI standard-based wireless HDMI® transmitter kits--the Asus WiCast and the... Read more...
While solid state drives get faster, mechanical hard drives get larger. Not long ago, we celebrated the first 1TB hard drive, and since then, welcomed 1.5TB and eventually 2TB drives to the consumer market. Yes, the performance increase that SSD's offer is more than impressive. However, they still can't touch the capacity that traditional hard drives provide tech-savvy, budget conscious consumers and system builders. When it comes to cost per gigabyte analysis, hard drives possess a huge advantage over SSD's. Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB Hard Drive Today, Western Digital announces the world's highest density hard drive, as they reach the 3TB mark with their newest, 5th generation Caviar Green... Read more...
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