Another year passes, and PC games continue to deliver a healthy dose of shock and awe, sometimes in surprising forms. The advent of DirectX 11 is making games look better than ever. But this year’s Game of the Year delighted us not with spectacular graphics, but the nostalgic look and feel of a 32-bit console. We played through hundreds of titles collectively, and after heated debates, secret meetings, and clever-award-title brainstorming, we’re proud to share our favorite titles from 2010.
What do you think of when you hear the word “BitTorrent”? For a lot of people, the word connotes illegal activities. But if you ever need to lawfully host a large file for others to download and don’t have the bandwidth to let them download it directly, BitTorrent—which reduces the strain on your own hosting by allowing users to help upload the file at the same time as they download it—is a great way to distribute it. Here’s how you can create your own BitTorrent file.
We’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. We’ve watched “rugged” hard drive enclosures shatter on the carpet after a 2-foot drop. All our documents lost in time, like… well, like something. What we’re saying is that we’re skeptical of any marketing materials that make a product out to be fireproof, waterproof, or anything-proof. So when we got the IoSafe SoloPro, which makes such claims right on the product packaging, we did the only logical thing. We set the dang thing on fire and then dunked it in a bucket of bay water.
What’s the most important part of your PC? Is it the processor? The videocard? The motherboard? How about the keyboard?
Don’t scoff—your keyboard is the part of your computer that you get up close and personal with. It’s the conduit between you and the PC, and having the right one can make you faster, more comfortable, and give you an edge in games.
Palit’s high-end cards tend to be exercises in extravagance. That’s certainly true with its GTX 570 Sonic Platinum. At first, we thought Palit shipped the wrong card, given the 8-pin power connector nestled adjacent to the 6-pin connector, just like a GTX 580. However, it’s really a GTX 570—albeit with a core clock of 800MHz (versus the stock 742MHz) and the GDDR5 frame buffer clocking an even 1GHz (versus the reference 950MHz.)
The Challenger (ThermalTake’s entry into the gaming keyboard market) is the kind of keyboard that’s looking to set itself apart. It does this most noticeably with a tiny fan that can be plugged in on either side of the keyboard to blow cool air across your hard-working hands and a set of custom, red keycaps that can be swapped in for the WASD and arrow keys. Do either of those features sound like something you can’t live without?
The Anansi is Razer’s MMO keyboard, a companion to the company’s Naga MMO gaming mouse. Functionally, it’s very similar to the BlackWidow Ultimate—both have fully rebindable keys, with five additional macro keys along the left, backlighting, and on-the-fly macro recording. Unlike the BlackWidow, the Anansi does not have mechanical keys, instead opting for more traditional dome-style keys. They’re not as responsive as mechanical keys, but are definitely at the high end of the dome-spectrum, with a satisfying amount of resistance and travel.
The Das Keyboard has two things going for it. One, it’s awesome. It has no labels on the keys. When you type on it, you look like a ninja. That’s awesome.
The other thing is that it feels great to use. It’s a mechanical keyboard, and even though it uses the same switches as the SteelSeries 7G, we prefer the feel of the Das Keyboard. If you want the smooth typing experience without the no-label keys, there’s a model called the Das Keyboard Professional, which is just that.
Keeping a list of complex hacker-vexing passwords is an absolute must for every computer user’s security plan. It’s also a royal pain in the neck. As we visit more and more sites, we consequently collect more login credentials, making for a motley collection of username and password combinations. In a bid to save their sanity, some PC owners opt to use the same login information for every site they frequent. Others resort to recording all of their login information on a piece of paper or pasting it into a Word document. With insecure stop-gap measures like these for keeping track of the keys to your digital kingdom, you may as well send hackers your personal information via email and be done with it.
If there’s one thing we know about Gigabyte, it’s that the mobo maker loves USB 3.0. We mean, it loves USB 3.0. How much? The company has been pushing USB 3.0 as its number one feature for a while now, and this tact has apparently worked. The company claims that it’s the No. 1 USB 3.0 motherboard company, whatever that means.