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.
If you want to judge nVidia’s vision for the new AM2 nForce 590 SLI chipset, look no further than Foxconn’s C51XEM2AA. This motherboard is the closest you’ll get to nVidia’s concept design. In fact, nVidia even wrote the BIOS for this board.
Koolance’s new Exos-LT is a cross between the too-expensive Exos 2 and the previous-gen Exos system. At just $200 (plus an extra $40 for a Koolance CPU block, which isn’t included), it’s the budget contender of this roundup. Of course, it’s the sole CPU-only kit in the group—if it were spec’d with extra blocks, we’d expect it to be priced like the others.
Asus’ modus operandi of late has been to rush out new board designs so far ahead of its competitors that the other guys just seem to give up. Witness the company’s A8N32-SLI Deluxe board. In the dual-x16 nForce category, it was the only game in town for months on end.
Big companies rarely take chances, and Seagate—the world’s largest drive maker—is no exception. It has always played second fiddle to Hitachi when it comes to the 7,200rpm hard drive capacity war, and even though Seagate drives are reliable and semi-speedy, they’ve never delivered industry-leading or even outstanding performance. Well, those days are over.