TBI Audio Systems bowled us over last year with its passive Majestic Diamond peakers; the company recently sent us the follow-up to those speakers (the Majestic Diamond IR) along with the new hybrid-powered Millennia MG3 Class D amplifier. (Buying the components as a package shaves $100 off the cost of acquiring them separately.)
Hybrid power means the amp can operate on either A/C power (using the included power supply) or eight AA batteries (not included). Plugging in the power adapter shuts off the batteries (but it won’t refresh any rechargeable batteries you might be using). Add a set of strong passive speakers and a digital media player capable of playing tracks encoded using a lossless codec (we used Cowon’s FLAC-friendly A3) and you have a fabulous audio system you can listen to just about anywhere.
A Dream Machine graced the inaugural issue of Maximum PC back in 1998, and the tradition of building an annual no-holds-barred PC beast has continued unabated since then. True to form, this year’s rig is the most audacious, most powerful dream rig to date. Equipped with no fewer than eight processing cores, four graphics cores, and five hard drives, DM2008 is probably also our most controversial build. But as Lando said, it’s not our fault.
In the old days, we would just pick the very best hardware available. But those were simpler times, when parts vendors all got along and their sole mission was to provide you with badass gear. Sadly, the stakes are so high today that politics has an undue influence on hardware configurations.
To find out who's on our naughty list, and see an in-depth kick-ass examination of our Dream Machine, hit the jump! And hold onto your hat.
Dell’s 2408WFP is the latest in the company’s line of 24-inch panels, following on the heels of the much-beloved Dell 2407WFP (reviewed September 2006). Unfortunately for Dell, improving upon its predecessor isn’t enough to push the 2408WFP above other tested displays.
That said, there's much to like about the 2408WFP after the jump.
It’s no secret that the expensive Samsung 245T hosts an S-PVA panel beneath its slim black exterior. But this display’s performance is certainly worth the price. The 245T offers a stunning picture for its class, trumping our longtime favorite 24-inch panel, Dell’s 2407WFP, and even its latest rev, the 2408WFP.
This 1920x1200 display boasts a 97-percent color gamut and the effect is clear. The 245T dishes out notably vibrant blues, reds, and greens, and its color saturation remains strong at even very light levels. To us, the display’s colors feel just right: crisp and bold without any hint of oversaturation. But even if you disagree, the monitor comes with a number of preset options for tweaking the coloration to your exact preferences. We found success using the Mild preset, as Normal made images appear drab and Brilliant made our images look like a supernova.
A few minor flaws aside, the SteelSeries 7G is a truly spectacular piece of hardware.
Almost completely devoid of amenities, this keyboard was designed from the ground up to prevent keyboard lockup—the effect that suspends all input if you inadvertently press too many buttons at once. Lockup is essentially a death sentence for competitive gamers.
Hit 'Read More' to read more. We're clever like that.
But as the tussle gets more cacophonic, netbook manufacturers will have to cut prices just to be heard by customers over the din. Richard Doherty, research director for a market research firm, Envisioneering, expects majority of netbooks to sell at $299 in the foreseeable future with the possibility of prices plummeting down to $249 by the holiday season.
This means that the Asus Eee PC 2G, 4G, 900, 900A, 904HD and 1000HD models are going to feature Celeron M processors. However, it needs to be mentioned that some of the above models already employ Celeron processors. By using the cheaper Celeron M processors Asus also intends to keep costs low. According to PC World, Intel expects to catch up with demand by Q3 2008.
Acer’s native-1080p display wins points for hitting the widescreen 16:9 formfactor, but the P244w treats its colors with the same unpleasantness it treats its grayscales. The monitor’s color saturation suffers from a reduced range on both the top and bottom ends of the spectrum: Colors lose their vibrancy as they get darker and become washed out as they get lighter.
Hit the jump for the full scoop on this mediocre monitor.
Intel is going to need to start dressing up in a tricked out leisure suit with lots of bling and a plumed hat if it keeps pimping SSD technology. On the last day of IDF 2008 Intel wanted to hammer home the reason why hardcore gamers should be interested in its mainstream and Extreme SSDs and it worked to dispel the myths that have sprung up with SSDs.
Chris Saleski from the Storage Technologies Group showed off some pretty spectacular benchmarks with 500 GB, 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives in a RAID array, that were getting just under 550 IOPS versus a single 80GB X25M Mainstream SSD that was posting 44,000+ IOPS. Holy frack! I have to wonder just how accurate that figure is and I’ll keep an eye out for independent verification.
Falcon Northwest’s general manager Bradd Berdelman did another demo. He put a pair of identical FragBoxes together with one containing two of the vaunted 10,000 RPM WD Velociraptors in RAID, and the other FragBox ran an SSD setup. The SSD system turned in 32.65 FPS versus 16.76 FPS for the Velociraptor system.
Intel is preaching to the choir here. System enthusiasts like SSDs and we want to buy them, but when a single modern game can hog 6GB of drive space, we aren’t going to buy them in 80GB sizes for a king’s ransom. Put the products in our hands and if they start turning in those sort performance scores and we see a size increase/price decrease you’ll get us to buy them in droves. No pimping required.
The Gateway FHD2401 hits a ball or two out of the park, but we’re not terribly impressed by this 24-inch panel’s overall performance.
The display’s grayscale performance favors the darker side of the spectrum. The FHD2401 is able to distinguish among shades of gray against a black background, but a below-average showing in lighter grayscales hurts overall performance.