UPDATE: We've added six more keyboards to our best keyboard roundup
If you’re a gamer, you can probably identify a few points in time when you realized something important about your control setup that made you better at the game. When you discovered that putting your left hand on WASD gives you more options than putting it on the arrow keys, for instance, or when you realized that your crappy optical mouse was actually holding you back in shooters. These kinds of peripheral epiphanies don’t happen every day, but it might be just about time for you to have a new one. It might be time for you to realize that your keyboard is holding you back.
Note: This article originally appeared in our March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Back in the day, to get any real power in a notebook, you needed to have a massive chassis to house all the most beefy mobile components. But today, with Intel’s smaller, more power-efficient Haswell processor and shrinking mobile video cards, this is no longer the case. The advent of these new parts means it's now possible to get serious performance without sacrificing portability, hence the growing number of capable gaming notebooks measuring 15 inches or less. The trouble is, with so many portable gaming options, which one do you choose?
Note: This article was taken from the December 2013 issue of the magazine.
With the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, Nvidia has snatched the single-GPU performance crown back from the clutches of the recently launched Radeon R9 290X, and not just by a small margin either, but by a landslide. By dethroning the R9 290X Nvidia has also taken the GTX Titan to the woodshed as well, as the GTX 780 Ti is far and away the fastest single GPU we have ever tested. Read on to see how it fares against the R9 290X, and the former champ, the GTX Titan.
Two 4TB drives with 7,200rpm spindles go platter-to-platter
Hardcore PC performance fanatics are rarely satisfied. For example, when we were first given 1TB hard drives, we were excited, but wanted 2TB. Then we got 2TB and wanted 3TB, and so on, until we had a 4TB drive in the Lab. When that drive finally arrived, rather than rejoicing, we continued griping because the drive in question was a Hitachi 5K4000, which spins at a lowly 5,400rpm. The capacity was appreciated, but we wanted a drive with 4TB of capacity and a 7,200rpm spindle speed (we actually want a 4TB SSD, but that’s beside the point). Now the griping shall cease (for the most part), as we finally have 4TB 7,200rpm drives from Hitachi and WD. These fine specimens are the fastest and largest drives of their kind, so if you’re a data hoarder with a need for speed, one of these drives belongs in your rig.
Western Digital’s first 4TB SATA hard drive is the one to get if you have a lot of data (and money).
With our skepticism of Thunderbolt officially blown away (see last month’s Head to Head) we’re now ready to embrace the new I/O interface. But unless you’re one of the lucky few to have an older Asus board with support for the company’s Thunderbolt add-in card, you’ll need to buy a new motherboard to enjoy Tbolt goodness. Luckily, Thunderbolt boards have arrived. To gauge the choices, we gathered up both the priciest and cheapest Tbolt boards we could find and set at them.
The Asus P8Z77-V Premium comes fully loaded with features, including Wi-Fi antennas.
It’s hard to review ViewSonic’s new Smart Display VSD220 without thinking back to another of the company’s unusual products that we reviewed almost a decade ago: the Air Panel V110.
The Air Panel used Microsoft’s “Smart Display” technology to essentially let you remotely control your PC over Wi-Fi for browsing and MP3 streaming. Not to rehash ancient history, but Smart Display was just another charred carcass on the long road to a successful consumer tablet computer.
Besides functioning as a desktop-size Android device, the VSD220 can serve as a stand-alone touchscreen monitor for a full-fledged PC.
Asus takes the price/performance crown in this roundup. The company’s ET2701 all-in-one can’t match the audacious display built into Dell’s XPS One 2710, and it doesn’t have a fast SSD to supplement its 2TB hard drive, like the Dell; but many of the other components inside the ET2701 are exactly the same as what you’ll get with the XPS One. And the ET2701 costs $500 less.
The IPS display inside the Asus ET2701 is so beautiful you’ll quickly forget that its maximum resolution is just 1920x1080 pixels.
Everything about the Aegis Secure Key telegraphs that Apricorn is serious about the whole data-security thing. The Secure Key has 256-bit AES full hardware encryption, so it doesn’t require software or drivers—it’s completely platform-independent, and it will even work with USB On-the-Go devices like Android tablets. This is a big deal—many drives ship with software encryption clients, but those rarely include software compatibility beyond Mac and Windows.
Enter the wrong PIN 10 times and the Aegis will shred your data to prevent brute-force attacks.
Call us suckers for military theming, but Corsair’s Vengeance C70 is a beautiful steel case that’s every bit as functional as it is fun to look at. The system sports a hefty arsenal: no fewer than six screwless hard drive trays and three screwless 5.25-inch bays in addition to one 12cm fan in the case’s rear and two directly to the left of the system’s hard drive bays. You can add two additional 12cm fans to the system’s front and two on top— arranged perfectly for a 240mm water-cooling radiator, if that’s your calling.