If you thought that the only innovation in modern chassis design was the (long-awaited) switch from USB 2.0 ports to USB 3.0 ports at all price levels, you haven’t seen anything yet. The cases in our roundup this time around really run the gamut of features: From inexpensive cases that attempt to deliver a lot of functionality without fattening up the price tag, to simple-looking chassis that hide a wealth of must-haves, to some of the most eye-opening cases we’ve seen – that don’t quite stack up once you look beyond their crazy offerings.In other words, it’s a typical case roundup.
This computer case roundup was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Until the Echo hit the street, the Xbox 360 was pretty much the only Windows Media Center Extender still on the market. Companies such as D-Link and Linksys discontinued their extenders years ago—probably because they couldn’t compete with the subsidized price of Microsoft’s gaming console.
Note: This review first appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
What’s not to like about Lenovo’s IdeaPad Y500? Imagine a 2.4GHz Core i7-3630QM CPU notebook armed with two GeForce GT 650Ms, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive with a 16GB caching SSD, all for $1,250!
If the impressive specs weren’t enough, the Y500 is also quite handsome with its sharp angles, rounded corners, and brushed aluminum finish. It eschews the “extreme” gaming laptop design in favor of a simple and clean aesthetic, but a flaming-red, LED-backlit keyboard adds just enough flare to keep things interesting. Its 15.2x10.2x1.4-inch chassis also makes it much smaller and more portable than our 15.6-inch MSI GT60 zer- point laptop, and the Y500 weighs in at just six pounds, 6.8 ounces. Although it may not be Ultrabook-light, it’s lighter than the very-slim Razer Blade gaming laptop (reviewed Holiday 2012), but it’s much heftier power brick does increase its carry weight by more than a pound.
The Adata drive is one of the sexiest USB drives we have ever tested, and is certainly the thinnest USB drive too, at just 8.9mm thick. It might not sound like much in today’s world of super-thin everything, but this puppy is thin. In fact, our research indicates it is the thinnest USB drive currently available.
If this roundup were a beauty contest, the DashDrive would easily win.
In this group, the Toshiba Canvio initially came across as the vanilla stepchild—nothing to get excited about, at least in this company, given its bland exterior and specs. We tested the 1.5TB version of the drive, which is the highest capacity offered by Toshiba. Surprisingly, it’s almost as thick as the 2TB WD drive despite its 500GB capacity deficit, so the lesson here is that if you’re going big on a USB drive, prepare to be toting around a Hot Pocket-size enclosure. The 1.5TB drive is only available in black, a decision we are just fine with since we don’t need nor want fancy colors on our USB storage. If you favor a splash of color attached to your USB port, you’ll have to get by with less capacity, as only the 500GB and 1TB models are available in red, blue, and gray (as well as black, natch).
The Toshiba drive wins the contest of lamest names for devices and software, but is still the best drive here.
At 2TB, WD’s My Passport is the largest-capacity USB hard drive we’ve ever tested, and its four chunky 500GB platters rotate at 5,400rpm. In the palm it feels about as thick as a huge English muffin with a piece of ham in the middle, or a water-logged deck of cards; it’s the thickest drive in this roundup, but only by a tiny margin over the 1.5TB Toshiba. Though this drive is pudgier than the rest at 0.8-inch thick, it’s noticeably shorter than the other two drives at just 4.2 inches long. It comes in a variety of pleasingly subtle, matte color finishes (red, blue, black, gray, white) and is available in sizes ranging from 500GB to 2TB.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
This we know: Windows 8 is more usable with a touchscreen, plain and simple. Whether that’s a practical scenario for tower-and-monitor setups is arguable, but it turns out that using touch on a laptop comes pretty naturally—even more so than we expected.
Note: This feature originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Geekbox’s Ego Maniacal system pays homage to Maximum PC’s Dream Machine—but probably not the one you’re thinking of.
Sure, last year’s Dream Machine featured the same Silverstone TJ11 chassis as the Geekbox Ego Maniacal, but we’re told that the actual inspiration for this custom-built box was 2002’s Dream Machine, which was painted to match a classic BMW 2002 Turbo. Except Geekbox has updated its tribute to the car by nodding its head to the more current special edition BMW M3 in “frozen black.”
Note: This review originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
A winning package of low price and high performance
The Crucial M500 is the company’s third-generation 6Gb/s SSD, and the successor to the often-praised M4 SSD, which we named the best Bang for your Buck SSD in December of 2012 due to its well-rounded package of decent performance at a great price. In our estimation, the new drive fulfills the same well-rounded role, though with much improved write speeds and massively increased capacities at lower prices thanks to its move to smaller process NAND flash. Not only does it come in the standard 120GB, 240GB, and the 480GB version you see before you, but it’s also offered in a pant-tightening 1TB version at just $600, making it the market's first truly affordable 1TB SSD. Since the terabyte drive was not available at press time, we’re taking a look at the 480GB version which sports the exact same specs as its big brother.