With both Intel’s Haswell and Nvidia’s new 700M-series components shrinking and sipping less power, the super-portable, 14-inch, gaming laptop revolution is about to begin. Leading the charge is Razer with its ultra-sleek new Razer Blade gaming notebook, which is a smaller take on the 17-inch version (since rebranded as Razer Blade Pro) we reviewed in our Holiday issue.
Several months ago, the supreme high-end SSDs from Corsair and Samsung faced off in the Octagon known as the top of our desk area that holds drives being tested. In that blood-curdling battle (in which neither drive moved nor made a sound), the Samsung 840 Pro was victorious, vanquishing its opponent by a slim margin in a contest where zero trash talk was delivered by either storage device. This month, Round Two commences as the companies’ value-conscious SSDs clash like cars in a demolition derby by sitting quietly on a test bench while we perform benchmarks upon them. Neither of these drives is as fast as their top-tier brethren, but they are priced accordingly, and both are a damned-good value.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Sony markets its Vaio Tap 20 as a mobile desktop, but you could say that about any portable computer. We think “laptablet” is closer to the mark. With its 20-inch display, the Tap 20 is both a big laptop and a gargantuan tablet. And it wouldn’t make any sense at all without Windows 8.
Note: This review was taken from the April issue of the magazine.
Two overclocked flagship video cards go head to head one last time
Over the past year, the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7970 have served as the respective flagship GPUs for each of their camps, and even though both cards seem a bit like well-aged cheese by now, they are still fast. There have also been quite a few driver updates since these cards were released, so we've decided to pit two of the overclocked versions against one another in a battle royale to settle this feud once and for all. Fighters, touch circuit boards and come out of your PCI Express corners. It's time to get it on!
Note: This article originally appeared in the March issue of the magazine.
Even the most diehard fan boy can admit AMD’s not in the hunt against Intel’s top-end processors—well the reasonable one’s anyway.
That doesn’t mean AMD still can’t give Intel a hard time. While AMD can’t compete with the Core i7-3970X or even the Core i7—4770K, the company’s rush to merge CPU and GPU to make the APU has put more pressure on Intel than Intel would probably want to admit.
The Kraken X40 breaks the current trend of closed-loop water coolers rocking 12cm fans by upping its fan size to 14cm fan, which NZXT promises delivers more heat dissipation and better cooling without subjecting users to deafening fan noise. It’s a lofty promise, but having tested it, we can tell you that this Kraken's bite lives up to its bark.
PC users have been in a bit of a quandary about the new Thunderbolt interface from Intel. On the one hand, we’re all about maximum performance, so given its sizable speed advantage over USB 3.0, at least on paper, we’re eager to adopt it. On the other hand, there are three issues that have prevented us from jumping on the Thunderbolt bandwagon with both feet. The first is the fact that it debuted on the Apple platform. Granted, we’re a bit sensitive, but this just rubbed us the wrong way. Second, Thunderbolt doesn’t exist on LGA2011 due to a requirement for integrated graphics. And finally, we already have USB 3.0, so do we really need Thunderbolt? Sure, it’s twice as fast on paper (10Gb/s versus 5Gb/s), but will we see that benefit in the real world, and is it worth the cost? To help us answer all these nagging questions we snagged a very special hard drive, the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt, which has both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports, allowing us to test both interfaces back-to-back and make an apples-to-apples comparison.
Nvidia delivers a juiced GK104 in the GeForce GTX 770
Today the embargo lifts on the second GeForce GTX 700 series GPU to be announced in a week's time; the Titan-cooled but GK104-powered GeForce GTX 770. Unlike the GTX 780 announced last week, this card does not use the monstrous GK110 GPU, but instead opts for a highly-clocked version of the GK104 chip found previously in the GTX 680, GTX 670, and GTX 660 Ti. It's the highest clocked-part of all of those cards though, and also has 7Gb/s memory instead of the 6Gb/s variety found in all the previous Kepler cards, giving it a signficant bump in memory bandwidth.
Today Nvidia pulls the wraps off its $650 GK110-based 700 series flagship card, the GeForce GTX 780. This board slides directly into the yawning chasm that exists between the $500 GK104-based GTX 680 and the $1,000 GK110-based GTX Titan, though despite its price it's actually much closer in specs and performance to the Titan than it is to the GTX 680.