Microsoft’s idea of letting people share their favorite songs using a wireless connection was as botched in execution as it was brilliant in conception. SanDisk’s Sansa Connect makes much more sense, although it requires users who want to share to cough up the $12- to $15-per-month subscription fee for Yahoo’s Music Unlimited to Go service.
If you’ve seen one Nvidia 680i reference board, you’ve seen them all. Not so with Abit’s IN9 32X-MAX board, which thumbs its nose at the me-too crowd. The IN9 32X-MAX features Nvidia’s top 680i chipset, which gets you two x16 PCI-E slots for SLI, a third full-length x8 PCI-E slot for graphics, and support for unannounced, unofficial 1,333MHz FSB processors.
We thought DirectX 10 was going to be a crucial factor by now, but Vista is so screwed up from a gaming perspective we can’t recommend installing it. And then there’s the issue of high-def video playback to consider. Oy vey!
Holy hell, man. We have been waiting for this day for a long time, and Hitachi is the first hard-drive manufacturer out of the gate to meet our terabyte-size storage needs. Yes, that’s right. A terabyte. One thousand gigabytes stuffed into a hard drive, or in this case, a Deskstar.
Like the Plextor PX-B900A and the IO Data BRD-UM2/U that we reviewed in December 2006, the d2 is actually a Panasonic-manufactured Blu-ray burner. The drive is encased in a LaCie-branded brushed-metal shell that offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire connectors. Roxio’s Easy Media Creator 8.2 comes bundled with the package.
As far as Blu-ray burners go, Lite-On’s Triple Writer comes across as the most forward-looking, with the simple inclusion of a serial ATA interface—a feature that’s been sorely lacking in all the other Blu-ray drives we’ve tested. Really, it should be standard issue with any so-called next-gen device, as parallel support will only get more scarce over time.
Finding an aftermarket stereo that blends seamlessly with your car’s interior can be an impossible dream; it’s certainly not a task you’d want to endure just so you could plug in your iPod. For that, you should consider buying a third-party integration kit that allows you to retrofit your factory unit.
Rumors were swirling at press time that Nvidia was poised to introduce an even lower-cost version of its powerful 8800 GPU, but the least-expensive 8800s we can review today are like this PNY model, which couples the 96 pixel-shader 8800 GTS with a puny 320MB frame buffer.