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.
Motherboard naming conventions have never been easy to follow, but Asus threw us for a loop with its P5E3 Premium board. Is it an even better version of the stellar P5E3 Deluxe that we reviewed in January? Nope. The board actually features Intel’s newest enthusiast x48 chipset, which is, umm, 10 more than the x38 used in the P5E Deluxe board.
There’s really no better way to summarize our thoughts about Thermaltake’s newest, well—we’ll call it an enclosure, for comparison’s sake. In actuality, the BlacX is more the spaceport docking bay to your Millennium Falcon of a hard drive. Your storage apparatus of choice sits half-submerged in the BlacX itself, its tail pointed to the heavens. The drive remains “enclosed” by nothing more than the molecules of oxygen hovering around its bare exterior. It’s a little perilous of a situation and definitely a little goofy. But yet, it works!
But it’s not your fault. You spend an hour or so arranging your desk, moving your monitor, setting up your speakers—the last thing on your mind is cable management. When it comes time to plug everything in, you just want to fire up your rig and commence fragging, or movie watching, or minesweeping. You don’t want to get arm-deep in the mucky muck you’ve created behind your computer. What you can’t see won’t hurt you, right?
Nvidia’s introduction of the GeForce 8800 GT left us wondering what would happen to the slightly older 8800 GTS—the model coupled with a 320MB frame buffer more so than the one paired with 640MB of memory. Nvidia cleared it all up by introducing the GeForce 8800 GTS, which has a 512MB frame buffer. Confused? We can’t blame you.
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.
For a device called the Jazz, Enermax’s newest USB and eSATA external 3.5” hard drive enclosure isn’t much of an improvisation in the ho-hum world of storage containers. In fact, we can only think of one major differences that set this device apart from most every other enclosure we’ve tested: you can see through it.
We’ve never liked headphones that use active noise cancellation because they simply mask environmental noise by generating background hiss. But Creative’s Aurvana X-Fi headphones are almost good enough to win us over.