If all the world’s computer cases were playing a game of Battlefield, then the Antec P190 would surely be one of the tanks. This thing is a monstrosity of a midtower, though functionally, it differs very little from everything else in Antec’s P-series of cases. However, this case does add improvements we’ve been dreaming of since we first laid our hands on the P180. The P190 comes with that extra bit of horizontal space that makes all the difference in the world if you rock extra-long videocards. Previous models were just too cramped—even if you weren’t using a water-cooling system.
Before you get too excited about LG’s combo optical drive, bear in mind that while the GGW-H10NI Super Multi Blue can read both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, it can write to only the former format. Still, this drive offers a degree of flexibility that no other next-gen drive we’ve tested has. You won’t be shut out of watching movies from studios that have allied themselves with just one of the high-def formats. Not surprisingly, this luxury doesn’t come cheap. At $1,200, the Super Multi Blue costs more than your average Blu-ray burner—by as much as $600.
NEC’s LCD2470WNX doesn’t offer quite as many input options as Gateway’s LCD, but it splits the difference between that monitor and the DoubleSight, with VGA, DVI, and four USB 2.0 ports. Like the other LCDs reviewed here, it provides the full range of ergo options—height, tilt, swivel, and rotate. The OSD, for its part, is fairly simple to navigate and includes the same variety of options whether you’re using the digital or analog interface. What’s more, it doesn’t squawk at you.
Gateway’s 24-inch LCD stands out in this crowd by offering far and away the most input options: VGA and DVI ins are joined by S-video, composite, and two component connectors, as well as four USB 2.0 ports. This LCD, however, also sports the most annoying OSD. Menu selections are accompanied by sound effects that are reminiscent of a Casio keyboard’s. And while there’s a healthy array of menu options to choose from, none appears to disable the menu’s audio. Twitchy touch-sensitive OSD buttons certainly don’t help matters.
DoubleSight is best known for its two-in-one monitor solutions, such as the dual 19-inch display we reviewed in March 2007, but we’ll take a single seamless 24-inch screen over that option any day. The DS-240WB looks all business with a simple but sturdy black frame. Its telescoping neck lets you adjust the screen’s height, plus you can tilt, pivot, and rotate the screen’s orientation. Input options consist of one VGA, one DVI, and one audio input. To access the whole gamut of onscreen display (OSD) options, you’ll need to use VGA. For instance, you can adjust the screen’s individual color channels and even its overall color tone only with the analog interface; DVI limits you to contrast and brightness changes.
Gigabyte cranks up the specsmanship for its GA-N680SLI-DQ6, which offers no fewer than 10 SATA ports and four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Yep. Four. What you’d ever need four Ethernet ports for, we don’t know.
MSI’s new motherboard doesn’t have a mere heat pipe to wick heat from the chipset and voltage-regulator modules. It has a full-on loop de loop heat ride through the amusement park known as the P35 Platinum. Why include the crazy Circu-Pipe? We don’t really know, but it sure does look cool.
Microsoft created a ton of fuss with the launch of a version of Windows tuned for palmtops and other keyboardless PCs. But the devices that utilized it—code-named Origami—couldn’t live up to the prelaunch hype. The initial Windows XP–powered Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs) suffered from a tacked-on user interface, goofy or unusable input mechanisms, poor performance, and an absurdly high price. Although Samsung’s second-gen Q1 Ultra fixes some of these problems, many others remain.
If you’re considering automating your home, lighting is the best place to start. But if you’re afraid that handling bare electrical wires will leave you with an Einsteinian hairdo, pick up Intermatic’s Home Settings Starter Kit.