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.