When we think of Quake games, we think of fast-paced deathmatches in
their purest no-nonsense form. In Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, the
latest iteration of the shooter franchise, that visceral run-and-gun
experience still makes up the foundation of gameplay, but the
integration of deep teamplay tactics and mission objectives makes this
a whole new multiplayer animal. The meld of cooperative squadplay and
frenzied firefighting makes for compelling matches, but both deathmatch
and tactical purists may find themselves in slightly unfamiliar
Finishing The Orange Box left us in a state of shock. It wasn’t
Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s requisite cliffhanger ending that floored us;
rather, it was the realization that Episode 2 is the low point of the
entire Orange Box package. Portal and Team Fortress 2 completely
eclipse what Valve bills as the “centerpiece” of the bundle.
Just bought a snazzy new camera that records to AVCHD but don’t have the software to edit it? No problem. Ulead’s VideoStudio 11 Plus pitches itself as the only app capable of fully editing video captured using Sony’s and Panasonic’s new H.264-based codec, which works with mini-DVDs, hard drives, and flash memory inside cameras. (Nero was technically first, but its editor is pretty threadbare.)
Our dreams of moonlighting as DJs will likely never come to pass, but we can at least sharpen our remixing skills with Sony’s Acid Music Studio. Acid has been around for years, but this newb-friendly version of the $375 Acid Pro has delights that are sure to please any aspiring club-thumper.
The primary benefit of near-field studio monitors like KRK’s VXT 4s is that they don’t interact with the room. And that’s exactly what you need if you’re mixing down tracks in a sonically challenged environment such as a home recording studio, which probably doubles as your bedroom, living room, or garage.
We’ve never liked headphones that use active noise cancellation because they simply mask environmental noise by generating background hiss. But Creative’s Aurvana X-Fi headphones are almost good enough to win us over.
For many, the initials B&W will conjure images of Ansel Adams photographs and Hollywood classics; the thoughts of audiophiles, however, will turn fondly to the legendary speakers of Bowers & Wilkins. The idea of B&W turning its thoughts to the iPod will blanch the cheeks of many a blue blood, but we’re damn happy the Zeppelin has landed.
The Archos 604 has been one of our favorite digital media players since its introduction late last year. Our opinion of the new Archos 605 WiFi—which adds a high-resolution touch screen and wireless networking capabilities—isn’t as lofty.
Zalman is no stranger to gigantic external liquid-cooling devices. We’ve become so accustomed to seeing its huge, tower-like Reserator coolers that we nearly choked when the 15-pound Reserator XT arrived in our Lab. For starters, it’s not a large, awkward-to-carry cylindrical column. The rectangular apparatus is comparably compact and sleek, more akin to a subwoofer than a home-theater speaker.
It’s hard to find much innovation in the exciting world of air cooling. At some point, cooling potential is defined by a simple equation of heat pipes, fan speeds, and block materials—increase the efficiency of any of the above, and you’ll see lower temperatures.