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Column: Small is the Next Big Thing

SOME SAY the next big thing is the “Internet of Things”—zillions of networked devices like smart watches, smart sensors, even smart clothing. A better name might be the Internet of Small Things, because we’ve always had an Internet of Big Things. Indeed, some of the new small things are just smaller versions of big things.

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Asus Radeon R9 280X DC2 TOP Review

The R9 280X is a heck of a lot more quiet and affordable than the original HD 7970 GE.

The new 1080p king

At any given time, we have one GPU in our inventory that holds the title of “loudest card in the office.” The current title-holder is the PowerColor Radeon HD 7970 Vortex, which sounds like a jet engine. That’s just how the Radeon 7970 GHz cards are; their boosted clock speeds drum up a lot of heat, making them much louder than their Nvidia counterparts. Given this pedigree, imagine our surprise when we fired up the Asus Radeon R9 280X, which rocks the exact same Tahiti XT chip used in the 7970 GE boards. As we leaned in close to our test bed expecting to hear that oh-so-familiar fan noise, we were greeted instead with a barely audible whirring sound. It’s truly miraculous what AMD and Asus have done with this formerly unruly chip, making it whisper-quiet and also surprisingly affordable at $310, which is roughly half what it used to cost.

Note: This review was originally featured in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine