Last month, we spent a ton of time talking about the efficiency and overall pixel-pushing prowess of ATI’s new GPU, so we won’t waste much ink on the subject here. Suffice it to say, the 4850 delivers enough power to drive your sweet, new 22-inch monitor at its native resolution.
The card’s silicon is equivalent to that of previous-gen high-end cards. It’s equipped with 512MB of GDDR3 memory running at 993MHz. Unlike the Radeon HD 4870 boards (which cost $100 more), the 4850 doesn’t sport GDDR5 (GDDR5 transfers twice as much data per clock cycle as GDDR3). The upshot? The HD 4850 has the slowest memory interface of any card in the current generation, and benchmarks show that—especially at high AA/anisotropic filtering levels.
Flash memory could become the dominant form of mass storage, replacing magnetic and optical media for many purposes. Although flash retains data without requiring power, the memory cells don’t retain their charges forever. Eventually, the charges dissipate and the bits fade away. Will our data be a flash in the pan?
Consider the trends. USB thumb drives are commonplace, and solid-state drives (SSDs) are appearing in subnotebook computers like the Asus Eee PC and Macintosh Air. SSDs are still too expensive to replace conventional drives in desktop PCs, but some hard drives use small amounts of flash to store startup data, which shortens boot times.
Gateway struck a nerve with its original low-cost FX P-series notebook, which gave gamers an affordable way to get good frame rates from a portable PC. The company applied the same formula to its new P-7811 FX and again comes up with a winning combination of hardware that’s sure to please budget-minded gamers.
We’ve seen this day coming for a long time. There was no way that Western Digital was going to sit back and let other manufacturers usurp the Raptor’s place at the top of the storage speed charts. Consider the rule of the speedy terabyte drives a hiccup on the timeline. The Raptor is back: upgraded, renamed, and… physically smaller.
To read our full review of the Velociraptor (not the preview we gave you before), hit the jump.
Our help was needed—again. Such is the fate of a hero. In the world of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures all manner of fishermen, pirates, merchants, guards, beer wenches, and assorted ne’er-do wells require assistance. This motley cast of characters imbues the game with a vibrant sense of life; we just wish that they showed even a bit of initiative and took care of some of their own problems. We were tasked with passing along loads of messages in order to drive the story forward, but in truth, we quickly lost interest in the game’s narrative, as it simply took away from the game’s finest achievement: its fighting system.
When we reviewed LG’s GGW-H20L Blu-ray burner in December 2007 we applauded its superior BD-R write speeds and ability to also read HD DVD media. Now that the latter feature is irrelevant, we welcome LG’s new GBW-H20L. It boasts all the same DVD and BD read and write specs as its predecessor, sans the HD DVD reader—and comes with a healthy price cut.
Buffalo’s 500GB DriveStation Combo 4 external drive is the fastest USB drive we’ve ever tested, and it even holds its own on an eSATA connection. That’s thanks to a propriety technology called TurboUSB that squeaks additional speeds out of the device.
We admit it, sexy chipsets such as Nvidia’s nForce 790i SLI Ultra and Intel’s X48 get all the ink, but in reality, most of the world runs on plain-vanilla chipsets such as Intel’s new P45. And the truth is, you don’t necessarily give up performance or features when you choose a middle-of-the-road board; in fact, the affordable MSI Platinum has just about everything you’d want in a motherboard.
Given its small size, we didn’t expect maximum cooling performance from Arctic Cooling’s Alpine 7 Pro. And while the Alpine 7 Pro doesn’t set any performance records, in some situations it does match the capabilities of our cooler of choice, Thermaltake’s DuOrb. Given the sheer size difference between this 9x9x3cm cooler and the, well, monstrous DuOrb, the Alpine 7’s performance was a pleasant surprise.
Some days, we almost miss Toshiba’s signature battleship gray notebook PCs—the latest look for the company’s long-running Satellite series is just a bit too much. After a few hours of use, our Satellite P305-S8825 was covered with fingerprints. And that was with clean paws! If you like snacking on Pringles while surfing the web, this rig will look as hygienic as the sneeze guard at a Baskin-Robbins after a class of third-graders has visited.