We’ve all seen this pattern before, haven’t we? First the successful comic/graphic novel. Then the compromised, but still runaway movie based on said comic/graphic novel. Finally, you get a buggy, third-rate game that has been rushed out to meet some arbitrary marketing deadline.
You may not have heard about PC builder Stealth Machines, but apparently that’s the way the company likes it. In fact, the company’s web page proclaims that it’s the “underground computer company of the hardcore gamer.” We’d guess that’s the “stealth” part of the name.
We’re not fans of the LED strips on the power cables, but you might like the colorful addition.
PCIe SSDs, which combine a RAID chip with several SSD controllers and plenty of NAND flash onto one convenient and speedy package, are not a new idea. We’ve reviewed several, most recently the OCZ RevoDrive3 X2 in December 2011. They can be handy for people who want the speed of modern SSDs but don’t have free 6Gb/s SATA ports (this means you, X58). OWC’s Mercury Accelsior comes in sizes up to 960GB; we tested the 480GB version.
The Accelsior’s blades can be replaced with higher-capacity ones in the future, but will anyone actually do that?
Oh me-oh, oh my-oh, look at the price of this VAIO!
Sony introduces a number of cool innovations with its latest generation of VAIO L-Series all-in-ones, but the company exacts a hefty premium from those who want the best the company has to offer. This model SVL24116FXB costs $200 more than the Asus, but is outfitted with a slower CPU, a smaller display, a lesser videocard, and a smaller hard drive.
Sony declined to say if its 24-inch touchscreen panel is based on TN or IPS technology, but we can tell you it isn’t nearly as bright and vibrant as either the Asus or the Dell.
We used to get excited when HP would send us its latest all-in-one. Each new model seemed to add some cool innovation or new feature that no other manufacturer had. The Omni 27-1015T has us wondering if the all-in-one pioneer has tired of pushing the envelope.
HP needs to move the power button off the top of its all-in-one PCs; it’s too easy to accidently turn the machine off while adjusting the angle of the display.
Gateway lists no fewer than 13 all-in-one models on its website, and this model with a dual-core CPU, integrated graphics, and twisted nematic LCD is its top offering. If the PCs in this roundup were playing football, the Gateway would be the water boy. But if all you need in a family PC is a machine for web browsing, email, productivity, and watching DVDs, this might be all you need.
Gateway’s ZX6970-UR10P is a very basic touchscreen PC with a price tag that won’t induce sticker shock
OK, our first look at the Dell XPS One’s gorgeous display didn’t leave us quite as flabbergasted as astronaut David Bowmanstaring into the monolith at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the absolutely gorgeous Samsung PLS panel—with its 2560x1440native resolution—did leave us a bit slack-jawed. The XPS One’s$2,000 price tag might have contributed to that reaction, too; then again, a 27-inch Samsung Series 9 display built using the same panel costs $1,200 all by itself.
Dell’s XPS One 27 is a gorgeous computer. You’ll have to decide if it’s $2,000
MSI’s GTX 660 is an all-around great card that includes a healthy dollop of overclocking and a side of Frozr to keep it cool. Its base clock speed is a decent 53MHz over stock at 1,033Mhz, and when running at full load we saw its boost clock speed rise 130MHz over stock to 1,110MHz, which is also higher than the stock boost-clock spec. The Twin Frozr III cooler sports three copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and dual 8cm fans housed in a metal-alloy shroud to direct the airflow. Like the other GTX 660 cards, it uses just a single 6-pin power connector, but unlike the others it sports an extra-long 9-inch PCB (Gigabyte’s board is just 7.5 inches but the cooler is actually 9 inches long).
Gigabyte’s GTX 660 is similar to MSI’s board in that it’s overclocked and has a cooler with a silly name—Windforce. The board is clocked at the same base and boost clock speeds as the MSI card, too, running at 1,033MHz and 1,098MHz, respectively. The cooler features four copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and two large 10cm fans breathing down on the whole shebang. Even though the board sports a smallish 7.5-inch PCB, the cooling apparatus is so large that it’s 2-inches longer than the PCB and extends the length of the card to 9.5 inches. With a cooler this large you expect it to perform quite well, and it does. It kept the card absolutely silent even when the board was being tortured in the Lab, and allowed it to run at a moderately cool 63 C under full load.
Hello, gorgeous. That’s what we said when we first laid eyes on Nvidia’s reference design for the GeForce GTX 690, which combines two full 28nm GK104 GPUs into one PCB and covers them with the best-looking cooling shroud we’ve seen on any videocard. Our in-depth analysis of the reference card can be found in our August 2012 issue, but we can’t verdictize a reference card. If you’re wondering how this Asus GTX 690 differs from the reference card Nvidia sent us, wonder no more: It’s exactly the same, except the edges of the PCB are a slightly different color.