Every GPU generation has its flagship videocards: the ones with the top-of-the-line GPU with all cores enabled, loaded for bear. In this generation, those cards are Nvidia’s GTX 680 (with a full GK104 GPU inside) and AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 (with a full Tahiti GPU). These cards are monstrously fast, but they’re also expensive and tricky to manufacture. Not all parts come off the line fully functional. So a few months after each flagship GPU launch, the vendors come out with a slightly stripped-down version that uses binned top-end GPUs with a few parts disabled, or lower clock speeds. AMD’s Radeon HD 7950, for example, uses the same GPU as the 7970, but with 28 GCN units instead of 32, and with an 800MHz reference clock instead of 925MHz. The cheaper, lower-powered video cards appeal both to gamers with shallower pockets and also to vendors, who clock those stripped-down, less expensive GPUs right back up to within spitting distance of their full-powered peers. Thus we arrive at the Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP, a factory-overclocked GTX 670 with a custom cooling solution.
The DirectCU II cooler’s three direct-contact heat pipes keep the GPU cool.
Midrange boards typically have to sacrifice features to get under $200 and MSI’s Z77A-GD65 shows evidence of this philosophy. It’s the only board here without a discrete USB 3.0 controller, instead relying on the native Intel chipset for all USB 3.0. It’s also the only board without DisplayPort.
MSI shaved costs by jettisoning extra USB 3.0 ports on the Z77A-GD65.
Apparently budget board means legacy support. That’s what we inferred from Asus’s P8Z77-V board, which has a quaint PS/2 port and not one, but two PCI slots. Don’t think that means Asus cheaped out on more modern amenities, though. Although there’s no eSATA or FireWire, Asus includes some truly compelling features such as onboard Wi-Fi, an Intel LAN controller, incredibly fast USB 3.0, and a revamped Fan Xpert 2.
Of all the boards here, we’re most intimately familiar with Gigabyte’s GA-Z77X-UD5H. It’s the board we used for the bulk of our Core i7-3770K testing, and one thing we can say, it’s stable. We’ve literally run more than 50 hours of benchmarks on this board without any issue.
We hit our highest auto-overclock with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H.
That six-panel gaming setup you’ve been planning just got one step closer to reality with today’s top deal — an HP 20” panel for just $99 (normally $139.99). These LED-backlit beauties boast a decent 1600x900 resolution, have DVI and VGA inputs, and are available directly from HP.
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Corsair and Samsung debut new SSDs and controllers in a battle for SSD-ominance
The pace of development in the SSD world is staggeringly awesome, as each generation of SSD controllers has delivered substantial increases in performance and reliability, while at the same time we’ve seen flash prices drop like a stone. It’s a great time to be storing and accessing data, for sure, but we’ve also seen the market dominated by a trio of SSD controllers from SandForce, Marvell, and Indilinx, with different vendors applying their own tweaks to the drives’ firmware to differentiate them. Though these controllers are all pretty sweet, we were beyond stoked to see two brand-new drives from Samsung and Corsair arrive this month, both with all-new SSD controllers. Will either of them put a dent in the SandForce/Marvell juggernaut? Read on to find out!
If you're looking for a 14" laptop to do some photo editing, today's top deal is right up your alley. Dell's Inspiron 14z slim 14" Core i3 Aluminum Laptop and Adobe's Elements 9 Bundle are on sale for $399.99 (with free shipping). Considering the package is normally $499.99, that's a solid deal. To snatch it up yourself, use $100 coupon code$0XXM1GP5QSND3.
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If you think you're paying too much for your monthly home phone service, today's top deal is going to appeal to you. On sale for $119.99with free shipping is the Ooma Telo VoIP Phone System (normally $150 at BestBuy). The Ooma Telo allows you to make free calls over the internet using your home phone. No computer or headset is required. You'll be able to make any calls across the US and pay additional fees for calls outside the country. The device also comes with caller ID, call waiting, and online access to voicemail. In addition, the Ooma Telo will allow you to create a new phone number or keep your current one for a one-time additional fee. Other than the outlined one-time fees, this device allows you to make your phone calls for free. Now doesn't that have a nice ring to it?
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When playing an FPS like Call of Duty or Counter Strike, having surround sound to know where your opponents are could mean the difference between virtual life and death. To help you vanqish your online foes is today’s top deal: the Cooler Master CM Storm Cooler Sirius gaming headset. With 5.1 adjustable surround sound, you'll be able to detect your enemies' footsteps from all directions. Allowing you to coordinate your attacks to get the jump on these fools is the Storm Cooler's integrated microphone. The headset is on sale for $74.99 (normally $90 at Amazon.com - use coupon code: BIGDEALS) for those seeking an extra tactical advantage at an affordable price.
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If you're still using the old PS2 mouse your dad gave you and are in need of an upgrade, check out today's daily deal: The Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse. At $63.99 with free shipping (normally $79.99 - use 20% coupon code: BIGDEALS), Logitech's gaming mouse offers a whopping 20 buttons (because, you know, 19 buttons simply aren't enough). On your left thumbside alone, there are 12 buttons (which work great for spell casting in an MMO).
In terms of sensitivity, the G600 offers a range between 200 to 8,200 DPI that you can change on the fly. Allowing you to take advantage of your tweaked sensitvity settings is the mouse's low-friction feet. Tying everything together to your computer is a braided USB cable.
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