Storage always makes for a curious world. Western Digital's newest entry into the terabyte contest--it's second, if you count the company's Caviar Green drive--is geared for enthusiast performance. One look at the insides of this Caviar Black drive tells the entire tale. This is Western Digital's first three-platter terabyte drive, mimicking a move towards increased access speeds and areal densities that Samsung made some four months ago with its HD103UJ terabyte drive.
As much as we would love for our computers to work perfectly, the fact is that PCs and gadgets are complex devices that often fall short of exactly what we want. When confronted with this fact, we’re reminded of the old saw that says if you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself. And who are we to doubt that kind of wisdom? As power users, we’re not content with hardware the way it comes out of the box; we have an insatiable need to hack our electronics in ways that will improve performance, functionality, and ease of use. And there’s no doubt about it, modifying your hardware will increase your productivity and make your life that much simpler.
Whenever we see an all-in-one water-cooling setup that combines a pump,
radiator, fan, and miniature reservoir in a small enclosure, we get
nervous. They remind us of those wacky commercials from the
black-and-white era of television, when a slick-haired man in a fuzzy
gray suit would try to sell you some mystery tonic that could cure your
coughs, polish your car, and kill your cat. Just as those elixirs are
little more than junk science, we’ve found that budget water “coolers”
attempting to put too many operations under one roof tend to perform
marginally better, and often worse than, your processor’s cheapo stock
Compared to AMD’s gracefully engineered Radeon 3870 X2, Nvidia’s GeForce 9800 GX2 (represented here by Gigabyte’s implementation) is something of a kludge. But when we consider the performance that Nvidia’s design delivers, it’s hard to complain about elegance.
I’ve been skeptical of multi multi-GPU support since the days of
Nvidia’s original Quad SLI. Back then, bad drivers, a lack of game
support, and 30-inch panels that cost a month’s pay made the prospect