Much has been made of the incredible speed advantages PCI Express offers over PCI. Beyond GPUs, however, we haven’t found much worthy of occupying those slots. Asus hopes to change that with its Xonar D2X card—the first soundcard we’ve reviewed that makes use of the PCI Express interface. The D2X is basically a PCI-E version of the Xonar D2 (reviewed April 2008). In our review of the Xonar D2 we lamented the card’s lack of advanced EAX support, something Asus has tried to fix here. But do their workarounds, well, work?
For all those readers who have added up the price of the parts in an OEM box and screamed into the night air: “Hell, I can build it cheaper than that!” CyberPower has a retort: Beat this one, sucker! While you might think you’re up to the challenge, we suspect the price-to-performance ratio of the CyberPower Gamer Ultimate SLI Quad is impossible to match—unless you’re using boosted parts. In fact, we’re not sure how CyberPower is making a profit off this stacked and packed rig.
It’s easy to be seduced by Alienware’s m15x notebook. From its handsome silver-gray case to its cool-yet-tasteful LED accents to its comfortable lap weight of less than eight pounds, this 15.4-inch machine had us at hello. Of course, only excellent performance would keep us interested.
Here we go again: Western Digital has launched yet another line of portable USB hard drives. The four drives in the My Passport Elite series don’t vary by size, just color. You’re free to select a capacity of 250GB or 320GB in gunmetal gray, old-shoe brown, a soft blue finish, or a sandy red. And as far as we can tell, that’s one of the few differences between this line of devices and Western Digital’s “normal” My Passport Essential drives—the latter having 11 different colors and four different capacity points to choose from.
Ok, so technically a Dilophosaurus hocked the venom loogie all over Nedry's face. But in marketplace of consumer hard drives, there is no question that Western Digital's Velociraptor is the beast to be feared. The new 300GB, 10,000-RPM device comes as a much-needed bolster to Western Digital's high-performance storage line. After all, it's been two years since the launch of the 150GB Raptor X, and other drive manufacturers have been quick to take note.
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.
This is the second Radeon HD 3870 we’ve reviewed, and we like it just
as much as the first. It doesn’t outrun Nvidia’s G92-based 8800 GTS 512
(reviewed above), but it’s a great value among midrange videocards.
As any supporter of a losing sports franchise knows, it ain’t easy being a superfan. For the last two seasons, AMD loyalists have watched Intel’s Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad embarrass the Athlon 64 and QuadFX off the field. Yet devotees have chanted the refrain of the truly faithful: Come next season, baby, watch out!
We knew something was up when Nvidia officials were light on details concerning its 780i chipset during a recent press briefing. Normally quite happy to toot its hardware horn, Nvidia practically skipped the PowerPoint slide on the chipset. Why? Like Intel’s x48, the 780i isn’t really that new. In fact, those familiar with the 680i are well acquainted with the 780i, which is pretty much a 680i with an extra chip (interestingly named the Nforce 200) thrown in to add PCI-E 2.0 support and a full x16 tri-SLI mode.
We've tested some crazy mice over the years, from ergonomic wonders designed to prevent RSI to dedicated gaming mice shaped like an actual handgun, but the new Zalman FPSGun is one of the oddest-looking designs we've ever tested. We approve of its neutral-grip, sensor-forward design, but the actual implementation has resulted in a mouse that's just too small for the vast majority of gamers to use.