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.
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.
We’ve been operating under the assumption that Zalman’s CNPS9700 is the Highlander of CPU coolers—immortal and utterly immune to the benchmarking threats posed by other, lesser devices. That’s until we ran across Thermaltake’s newest V1 cooler. As far as we can tell, the blue-lit device is the guy who brings the chain saw to a swordfight. It looks great, fits great, and outcools our reigning champion ever so slightly.
If Maximum PC’s tests worked like a beauty pageant, SilverStone’s Tundra TD01 might win the swimsuit competition. Talentwise, however, this water-cooling rig would be akin to your average 18-year-old girl trying to belt out “Since You’ve Been Gone.” It isn’t horrific, but it’s no Kelly Clarkson.