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.
It’s easy to be seduced by the sheer size of a 24-inch LCD screen—any display that big just looks like it means business. And there was a time when large LCD panels were almost exclusively high-performance parts. That’s no longer the case. As the 24-inch LCDs reviewed here demonstrate, large screens are just as varied and prone to flaws as their smaller counterparts.
In yet another example of a design that likely looked way better on
paper than in practice, we find ourselves struggling to come to terms
with the Cooler Master 690’s more unique features. We can’t fault the
company for trying; in some ways, we applaud Cooler Master’s attempts
at distinguishing the 690 from the rest of its cadre in the crowded
So your DVD burner is getting a little long in the tooth and you’re
ready for an upgrade, but you’re not all that keen on adopting next-gen
tech. And who can blame you? Even the falling price of hardware doesn’t
make up for the relatively slow burn times, costly media, and
compatibility issues that plague Blu-ray burners (and the same would be
true of HD DVD burners if you could even find them!). Trouble is,
you’ve got a brand-new 27-inch LCD that’s just begging to display
high-def movies. What’s a consumer to do? Well, you could buy a combo
drive—one that lets you read next-gen discs and write data to fast,
friendly CD and DVD, like the two models we review this month.
We’ll be the first to admit that we were unimpressed by DDR3 when we first tested it last year, but there’s finally a glimmer of hope.
What changed our minds? Asus’s spanking-fast P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP@n mobo, which uses the enthusiast-oriented X38 chipset. The X38’s main highlights are apparently useful DDR3 support and PCI Express 2.0 support. We say “apparently” in reference to DDR3 because we didn’t have a DDR2 version of the board for a direct comparison, but from our tests, the X38 with DDR3 is a winning combination. Also good to have but not a proven performance boost yet is PCI-E 2.0, which doubles the bandwidth of PCI-E 1.0 from 8GB/s to 16GB/s. But does PCI-E 2.0 matter?
If we were dating the Western Digital My Book Home Edition, the sordid, brief affair would quickly end with one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” conversations. This 1TB enclosure is like the girl (or guy) who keeps calling and texting and e-mailing and IMing and calling and texting again—every time you connect the device to your PC, you get the same annoying application installation window over and over and over.
As devoted PC gamers, we’re usually not very prone to console envy, but there are a few reasons to be jealous of our closed-platform counterparts. Chief among them are the exclusives games that Microsoft and Sony hook up with their fanboys. Gears of War made its debut a year ago to widespread acclaim, and we finally have the PC version of Epic’s gritty masterpiece. Five exclusive new single-player levels, new multiplayer maps, and high resolution visuals help the game stand the test of time and make the PC port the definitive version.