An LCD’s spec sheet isn’t likely to mention the use of 6-bit color with frame-rate control; it’s up to you to deduce it. In some cases, you’ll find that the color spec isn’t even mentioned. This in itself can be a clue, but it’s not proof––dig further. If a spec is mentioned, bear in mind this distinction: An 8-bit panel is capable of producing 16.7 million colors; a 6-bit panel produces just 262,144 colors but uses FRC to create approximations of more, up to 16.2 million shades.
For the price of one set of Shure’s SE530PTH earphones, you could buy two 30GB iPods, 17 sets of Apple earbuds, or 500 encrypted songs from iTunes. A worthy investment or Marie Antoinette–style consumption? With that question in mind, we couldn’t resist auditioning these pricey phones to the sound of Cake’s Fashion Nugget, ripped and FLAC-encoded, on Cowon’s D2 digital media player. We don’t know if Shure’s BOM (bill of materials) justifies a $500 price tag, but we did have awfully big smiles on our faces after using these earphones.
Maximum PC’s mandate has always been that performance rules all else.
But recently we’ve been harping about nothing but stability. It’s not
that we previously ignored this area, but lately we’ve been inundated
with rigs that have been overclocked so aggressively they make our
standard benchmarks blow up within minutes. Because of this, our new
message has been stability, stability, stability.
Your current video projector has a 4:3 aspect ratio, but you’re planning to move up to a high-def model with a 16:9 aspect ratio next year. In the meantime, you need to replace your projection screen, which your two-year-old recently mistook for an artist’s canvas. Quite the pickle, eh?
The Genius HS-04U plugs into your PC’s USB port, instead of your soundcard’s analog speaker output and mic input, so it bypasses any EAX or OpenAL audio effects that game developers might have painstakingly programmed into the software. What you get instead—after installing a driver—is what Genius calls “Virtual Dolby.”
Tritton’s headset delivers true surround sound, just like the Turtle Beach Ear Force HPA2 we recommended in June. It also offers a feature that the HPA2 doesn’t: a powered Dolby Digital decoder module with optical and coaxial digital inputs, plus a port for plugging in a second set of Tritton headphones. Cool!
SSD’s have been hyped up lately, but it’s not exactly a new concept. My first experience with flash-based storage was the then revolutionary Hewlett-Packard Ominbook 300. The Omnibook used a combination of ROM cards and an optional 10MB PCMCIA flash card for storage almost 14 years ago. That 10MB optional flash drive set you back $1,200 and performance wasn’t exactly stunning.
We generally don’t like headphones that use active-noise cancellation because these devices mask external noise by producing noise of their own. But we decided to make an exception for theBoom Quiet because of the lofty promises the company makes for its noise-canceling mic.