Unlike desktop PCs, you can't just open up your laptop and insert an audio card for discrete audio processing. However, there are USB-based solutions, including Asus' new Xonar U3 Plus, a pocket-sized USB sound solution with a built-in 150-Ohm headphone amp, DSP (digital signal processor), and other features. According to Asus, the Xonar U3 Plus is essentially a smaller version of its existing Xonar U5 and gaming-oriented U7 Echelon Edition with Sonic Radar.
If you rock a dual-display setup at home, it can be difficult to adjust the single panel setup of your laptop when out and about on business trips. The solution? One way to restore that dual-display goodness is with AOC's 17-inch USB Monitor (E1759FWU) powered by built-in DisplayLink technology. This newest model from AOC is thinner, lighter, and larger than the company's previous USB offerings.
No more plugging in your USB devices the wrong way!
Plugging in a USB gadget typically entails a four-step process. The first step is to attempt to jam it in the wrong way. Step two involves reversing the orientation only to discover that you had it right the first time. Step three is to mutter a string of curse words, followed by step four, which is to reverse the orientation back to its original position so that it plugs in as intended. It's a crappy process, and it's going to be alleviated by the new USB Type-C specification that's now been finalized by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group.
How many times have you wanted to curse a USB connector after it's taken you three attempts to plug it in correctly? You know what we're talking about -- there's the first attempt, which seemingly doesn't fit, so you switch it around and try again. Do'h, that's the wrong way! You then turn the connector back to the original orientation you tried, only this time -- the third time -- it works. Go figure. Thankfully, there's a solution in sight, and we have pics of what the USB Type-C connector will look like.
A family of unlocked processors, a slew of faster interfaces, new GPUs, and an Atom that doesn’t suck!
Part of being a Pure PC Power freak—a badge we wear proudly—is living in a constant state of anticipation and excitement over the next advance in performance. Because advances always happen. As surely as we can predict that Grumpy Cat will one day end up an even grumpier has-been with matted fur and a bad cat-nip habit, we can count on PC components to get ever smarter, ever faster, ever more refined, even if those advances aren't being live-blogged. That's just the way of technology, and yay for that!
Note: This article was taken from the December 2013 issue of the magazine.
Statistics are crap when it comes to plugging in a USB peripheral. What we mean by that is, statistically speaking, you have a 50 percent chance of choosing the correct orientation as you fumble around the back of your desktop or try to plug in a USB flash drive into your notebook in the dark. Why then, does it always seem like it takes two tries to get it right? Such an annoyance will be a thing of the past when USB 3.1 arrives with USB Type-C connectors.
We tackle the five most pressing problems in each major component category!
It’s happened to us all. You get home from a long day at work and you want to blow off some steam with an hour of gaming or maybe browsing the web, but when you tap your mouse button or punch the power switch, the unthinkable happens. You’re SOL.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
The Adata drive is one of the sexiest USB drives we have ever tested, and is certainly the thinnest USB drive too, at just 8.9mm thick. It might not sound like much in today’s world of super-thin everything, but this puppy is thin. In fact, our research indicates it is the thinnest USB drive currently available.
If this roundup were a beauty contest, the DashDrive would easily win.
In this group, the Toshiba Canvio initially came across as the vanilla stepchild—nothing to get excited about, at least in this company, given its bland exterior and specs. We tested the 1.5TB version of the drive, which is the highest capacity offered by Toshiba. Surprisingly, it’s almost as thick as the 2TB WD drive despite its 500GB capacity deficit, so the lesson here is that if you’re going big on a USB drive, prepare to be toting around a Hot Pocket-size enclosure. The 1.5TB drive is only available in black, a decision we are just fine with since we don’t need nor want fancy colors on our USB storage. If you favor a splash of color attached to your USB port, you’ll have to get by with less capacity, as only the 500GB and 1TB models are available in red, blue, and gray (as well as black, natch).
The Toshiba drive wins the contest of lamest names for devices and software, but is still the best drive here.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.