Dell’s newest 22-inch display—one remarkable enough to win attention and awards at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show—retails for $1,200 dollars. Go figure, then, that it’s called the Dell Crystal, although the Dell Diamond works too. Because when you buy this display, you’re buying more marketing hype than functionality. You’re also paying nearly four-times the price of Dell’s $350 SP2208WFP, a carbon-copy of the Crystal’s functionality minus a hunk of Plexiglas slapped over the front.
Dell’s jumbo entry in its Ultrasharp line of monitors, the 3008WFP, performs exactly as the company’s marketing materials promise. This monitor truly “produces darker blacks.” In fact, we think Dell’s underselling the device, because the 3008WFP takes the dark spectrum and covers it with the digital equivalent of a dark sheet. We cranked the device to its maximum brightness and still found ourselves unable to see distinctions at the low end of Display Mate’s grayscales.
ViewSonic’s VLED221wm 22-inch LCD is the first LED-backlit display to grace our Lab, and we were anxious to put the technology to the test. LCD monitors typically sport cold cathode fluorescent backlighting, which can be less than uniform, and because it’s always on in the background, it can impair a screen’s ability to produce a true black. With LEDs, the screen is backlit with a grid of lights that can be turned on and off as needed. Sure enough, the 1680x1050 VLED221wm was capable of a black that exceeded that of any other LCD we’ve tested—but the result was actually overkill.
Performance scores are one thing, but we’re equally impressed by Samsung’s technical accomplishment in achieving the highest areal density to date on its new series of Spinpoint F1 drives. And at the top of the heap sits the HD103UJ, the company’s long-awaited drive that reaches an areal density of an astonishing 334GB per platter.
Any fool can spec out the ultimate Dream Machine. Just open up your wallet, pull out the Visa card, and tell the web store to overnight its most expensive parts to you. Voila! You’ve got the makings of a badass rig.
Like Bill’s Hanzo sword, Luke’s lightsaber, and Gordon Freeman’s crowbar, Thermaltake’s newest chassis appears unconvincingly plain—until you take it out for a spin. The SwordM dices through our typical chassis frustrations like a chain saw through a burrito. This is truly a next-generation case.
There comes a time in every young PC builder’s life when he seriously considers outlandish ideas for modifying and cooling his smokin’ new gaming rig. But you don’t need to mod your PC into a refrigerator to reach subzero temperatures, not if you have CoolIT’s latest 12 TEC cooler, the Boreas.
Let nobody say that Gigabyte didn’t break the mold with its 3D Rocket II heatsink/fan combination. As the name alludes, the device resembles a rocket ship sitting atop a launch pad. It’s about as well strapped in, too; we applaud the 3D Rocket II for its efforts to sail amongst the heavenly stars of CPU coolers, but its installation process keeps the device strapped firmly to the ground.
Who’d have thunk it? Long considered a dead zone, soundcards are making a resurgence. Driven by an outcry for audio that doesn’t sound like a box of snap, crackle, pop every time you access your USB ports, manufacturers are releasing new soundcards that surpass the free audio that comes with your motherboard. This month, we test an Auzentech card that uses a Creative Labs chip and Asus’s new entry into PC audio.