We loved MSI’s last nForce4 board so much that we gave it a Kick Ass award and even bumped the Asus A8N32-SLI board from our Best Of The Best list. Unfortunately, MSI was so late to the nForce4 SLI x16 party that the board debuted right on the cusp of the AM2 launch; thus its lifespan was brief, and product was impossible to find.
Swiftech’s dual-radiator Apex Ultra water-cooling kit is the current cooling record-holder (in our Lab, at least), so when the company told us it had a Micro kit that was designed to fit in tight, cramped cases, we were intrigued. Like most hardcore PC users, we assumed a small radiator couldn’t get the job done—at least without making a ton of noise. Boy, were we ever wrong.
In a world of “me-too” motherboards, Gigabyte is known for its “not-me” risky moves. The company was the first to integrate two GeForce 6800 GPUs onto a single card, and it was the first to make dual BIOSes standard.
This month, memory-maker OCZ wades into the hotly contested CPU cooling arena with its blingy Tempest cooler. Though the Tempest has the signature OCZ flair, we were let down by its midrange performance and loud operation.
Zalman’s Reserator is a silent, fanless cooler that needs no introduction. Though we’ve praised the previous versions of this water cooler, Zalman has seen fit to completely redesign the newest Reserator model. And in doing so, it addresses the few issues people had with earlier versions, while unceremoniously introducing a few new issues.
Oh, how the world turns. Last month you marched past the Intel 975X chipset motherboards holding your nose, but with the release of the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme CPUs you’ve made a U-turn to give this chipset a second look.
Scythe is a newcomer to the U.S. cooling market, and is trying to establish itself as the go-to company for monstrous heatsinks that—like Zalman’s—offer quiet cooling. We reviewed the company’s Ninja Plus cooler in July, and were impressed by its silent operation. The Mine runs just as quiet, but suffers several major flaws.
Even though Seagate’s behemoth 750GB Barracuda is getting all the love from the media these days, most people can’t afford a drive that spacious. The sweet spot is still at 300-400GB drives, but even those prices fluctuate. Enter the SpinPoint HD400LJ—a drive that offers both ample room and extreme affordability.
Blu-ray has finally arrived, and like a lot of first-gen products, it’s big on price, but not so big on performance. Sure, we used it in the Dream Machine last month, and we stand by that decision. The Dream Machine is all about the bleeding-edge—it boasted a beta BIOS, a beta chipset, and a Blu-ray drive too, damn it, despite despite the fact that Blu-ray movies and blank media are incredibly scarce.