Not all midrange motherboards are created the same. Sure, these Z77motherboards all have a black-and-blue color scheme, and they all carry similar street prices, but differences emerge when it comes to features, specs, and performance. Which one should you pair with your new 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU? Glad you asked.
After years of rumors and whispers, Google finally released its long-awaited Google Drive cloud storage service in April, combining Dropbox-like synching abilities and a PC client with the company’s Google Docs service. Microsoft could have waved the white flag; instead, it released an excellent update for its own SkyDrive service, adding many of the features found in Google Drive. The chips are on the table and there’s only one question left: Which cloud storage service is better?
If this isn’t a tease of Diablo III’s expansion, we’ll eat our rare Wizard hats.
Like many of the one-sided NPCs that appear within Blizzard’s third summer-vacation‑to‑Hell, it sure feels as if there’s something special lurking beneath Diablo III—once you get behind all the odd trappings and poor design decisions, that is. If you’re new to the series, the game goes something like this: See evil, click on evil, kill evil. Repeat 100,000 times. That’s Diablo.
The performance of the Aperion Audio Zona speakers is good enough for us to grant the company poetic license in labeling these speakers “wireless.” They’d need to be battery-powered in order to be entirely free from wires, an impractical solution because those batteries would need to be humongous to power the 20-watt Class D amplifier in each cabinet.
Each 15-pound cabinet houses a 20-watt Class D amp driving a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and a 4.5-inch woven-fiberglass woofer.
OCZ has typically reserved its Vertex label for the highest-performing SSDs in a given generation—using synchronous NAND, for example, rather than the asynchronous NAND found in its less expensive Agility series. The 256GB Vertex 4 carries on that tradition, with 16 128Gb IMFT 25nm synchronous NAND packages on a board with 512MB of DDR3 DRAM cache and OCZ’s new Indilinx Everest 2 controller.
The Everest 2 controller in the Vertex 4 is a modified Marvell controller with custom Indilinx firmware.
SSD vendors that make one or more components of their drives tend to do better than those who just slap commodity parts on a board and call it a day. Sounds reasonable, right? SanDisk’s Extreme SSD is yet another drive based on the LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller, a 6Gb/s SATA SSD controller with speedy sequential reads and an emphasis on hyper-fast queued random writes.
However, because it is a NAND manufacturer, SanDisk has the means to use its own 24nm toggle-mode NAND—eight 256Gb packages in the 240GB version—instead of commodity NAND. Like other SF-2281-powered drives, the Extreme SSD uses the extra 16GB of NAND for overprovisioning and write caching.
SanDisk’s Extreme is a plain black metal box with a sticker on it and speed inside.
How to build a modern-day PC into a replica of the Commodore 64
Many people wax poetic about the polite ’50s, the radical ’60s, or the wild ’70s, but for nerds, the 1980s was the best decade. A full-on war raged in the new category of “personal computer,” no one operating system ruled the world, and, man, you could walk into a Toys “R” Us and buy the world’s all-time bestselling PC: the Commodore 64.
In case you’re wondering why we’re reviewing an 802.11n router when the first 802.11ac routers have already reached the market, we have several reasons. First and foremost, the latter didn’t make it to the Lab in time for our print deadline. Secondly, the IEEE isn’t expected to formally ratify the 802.11ac standard until early 2013. The 802.11ac routers on the market today are based on Draft 2.0 of the standard, so there’s a remote chance they could be rendered obsolete when the standard is finalized.
Yes, there are 802.11ac routers on the market, but they’re based on Draft 2.0 of the standard, and the Wi-Fi Alliance did not have a certification program in place at press time.