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PC Perspective's Best Hardware of 2012

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Various

Storage Device, Case, Price Drop, Technology

Best Storage Device of 2012

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Winner: Western Digital RED Series Hard Drives

Runners up: Samsung 830 SSD, OCZ Vector SSD

Talk about a surprise winner!  Despite the entire staff's love of SSD technology, the winner of our Best Storage Device for 2012 was a spindle hard drive - and not even a 4TB model!  With a lot of debate (see the podcast) we decided that the WD Red hard drives were a great balance of performance and stability, something that was really missing from the hard drives of today. 

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You might also find it interesting that was included the Samsung 830 rather than the newer Samsung 840 SSD.  I was too, but the rest of the team had a convincing argument for a drive that came out LAST year: it was the most important SSD of THIS year.  Not only did the Samsung 830 come around at a time when SSD reliability was being questioned but it also offered a more rare today than ever vertical integration of a storage device - Samsung all the way

Finally, for the OCZ Vector SSD we were excited to see OCZ also enter this full integration option (or nearly) and with the financial issues the company is fighting it could be the most important launch for OCZ in the next 12 months.  It's also a great SSD with the best performance we have seen to date.

 

Best Case of 2012

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Winner: Cooler Master Cosmos II

Runner Up: Corsair 550D (and a lot of Corsair cases)

In another heated debate, picking the best case of the year is much like picking the best sandwich of the year - it's a very personal choice.  Luckily I run this joint...

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Seriously though, with a release WAAAYY back in January of 2012, the Cosmos II almost was forgotten but a quick look through our hardware closet brought it into contention.  While a $350 case certainly isn't for everyone, in terms of design, build quality and sheer usable size, there is currently nothing else we like as much as the Cooler Master Cosmos II.

Corsair had several up for contention including the 550D, 400R, 300R and even the 200R.  While all of them were great cases for their markets, and I actually debated just giving the whole category to Corsair for its push into the market, no one case stood out.

 

Best Price Drop of 2012

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Winner: Solid State Drives

Runner up: System Memory

SSDs for as little as $0.50/GB.  32GB of DDR3-1600 memory for $130.  Radeon HD 7970s for $379.  2560x1440 monitors for $330.  1080p IPS displays for $199.  How is an enthusiast to choose??  Other than suggesting that you buy all of them (which we kind of do...) you could listen to our podcast and hear the debate where we finally decide that the significant price drops in 2012 on solid state drives was the important.

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Being able to pick up a 256GB SSD for $140 (sometimes after a filthy mail-in rebate though) is an enthusiast changing event.  Our runner up was system memory; not only because of your ability to get HUGE amounts of it for a pittance, but because you can get 8GB of DDR3 for under $35 very easily, moving the standard for PC users forward quite a bit. 

 

Best Rising Technology of 2012

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Winner: 27-in 2560x1440 Korean Monitors

Runners up: Mini-ITX Motherboards / Platforms

In a category that include Thunderbolt and cherry keyboards, the low cost 27-in 2560x1440 displays reign supreme.  Currently selling for $315 on eBay (still the best place to find them) you can get a 27 inch panel with a super high resolution shipped directly from Korea.  Yes, you are likely on your own in terms of warranty and support but if you want to truly revolutionize your gaming and general PC usage: an upgrade from a 22-in monitor is in order!

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And while I argued for it quite heavily, the world of mini-ITX platforms and the rise in popularity of mini-ITX motherboards follows as runner up.  The ability to build a no-compromise PC with full gaming and overclocking capability in a small form factor is really changing how people think about computers and form factors. 

 

 

Wrap Up

Well, that's it, our PC Perspective Best Hardware of 2012 Awards!  Please, we encourage everyone to leave us their thoughts in the comments below - did we make the right choices or blow it completely in your mind? 

Here's to a 2013 with just as many impressive hardware releases.

December 28, 2012 | 09:54 AM - Posted by Kill Switch

As always, a blast to watch. Hopefully it's the first of many "Editor's Choice" award shows.

December 28, 2012 | 03:14 PM - Posted by Nilbog

I was really looking forward to that discussion about makeup... damn : /

Future suggestion for next year.

Most powerful processor (raw performance)

Most power efficient x86 CPU (self explanatory)

Best performance per watt

Best processor of the year (taking all this into account)

Same categories for GPUs

Mobile parts should be a separate category, because mobile cant compete with raw performance, and desktops cant compete with low power consumption.
Just a thought

EDIT: More suggestions.

Most over engineered GPU OEM and Reference(eg: 690[reference] MARS, Lightning, DirectCU, etc, etc, etc [OEM]) Not sure if i got the terms correct but i think you get what i mean.

December 28, 2012 | 07:22 PM - Posted by Hood

I have to disagree with your picking the 7970 as card of the year. As far as I can tell by extensive reading of reviews, the Radeon card uses more power, runs hotter (and louder), and
you're forced to use their buggy drivers and CatalystControlCenter, the crashingest program I ever had the misfortune to install on any system ever (several different versions - all were worthless).
Maybe by now their software has improved, but they still run too hot and noisy.

December 30, 2012 | 12:47 AM - Posted by ToiT (not verified)

Having used both cards, I wouldn't exactly put Nvidia on the pedestal. They've had a lot of buggy driver issues, especially with the 680 line. I'd agree with the noise/heat, but that's only when pushing the cards imo. Also there's the whole service attack vulnerability issue w/Nividia... when's the last time you've ever heard of something that bad for the Red team?
That being said, my main box still runs a 680 :)

December 31, 2012 | 09:51 AM - Posted by Computer Ed (not verified)

I have to agree with Hood. Using a short term game bundle as a point for the best GPU of the year makes no sense. The award is supposed to be about the GPU and what it brought not about the game bundle. As for better game support, have you looked at AMDs page for game support, I am curious how often they offer advice for making games work better on their cards, now compare nVidia's site. Also Geforce Experience has finally started in beta and looks like a great way to help all levels of gamers enjoy their video cards more.

However this was supposed to be about the best hardware and reading you own post it sounds like the GTX 600 series was the best "hardware".

January 1, 2013 | 05:20 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It was a tough call, but it wasn't "best silicon" it was best graphics card, which is more than just horsepower.  

January 7, 2013 | 04:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If your implying that nvidia drivers are that much better then AMD drivers.... I dunno.. My GTX 670 has a habit of white screening my computer while playing battlefield 3, forcing me to turn it off. I've updated my drivers and it still shows up. I find it incredibly annoying

December 28, 2012 | 07:31 PM - Posted by D1RTYD1Z619

This would have been my motherboard pick: http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4279#ov

December 28, 2012 | 10:54 PM - Posted by krillin (not verified)

I think there should have been a cooling category. Just one choice for any product line from frozors to case to cpu cooler. It would be nice to see how keeping it cool versus noise would weigh in.

January 1, 2013 | 04:02 PM - Posted by Hood

Good point, krillin - cooling and temp monitoring are more important than ever these days now that overclocking is "obligatory". I spend a lot of time doing research to figure out how to keep hardware cool while wringing maximum performance from it -it's a constant battle that you can't afford to ignore.

January 1, 2013 | 05:21 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I tried to keep the categories sane and in fields where I felt we had a good grasp of all the major competitors.  There were a TON of coolers that I haven't used yet...

January 1, 2013 | 09:58 PM - Posted by Mark Harry (not verified)

That i7-920 reference was hilarious, that's what I'm running and like my Windows 7, I see no reason to upgrade any time soon. Besides neither of my kids deserve my computer as a hand me down.

January 4, 2013 | 12:45 AM - Posted by D1RTYD1Z619

Ooooooohhhh burn

January 4, 2013 | 02:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The 7970 is easily the winner in almost every aspect, nvidia totally dropped the ball with the 6 series this round, nvidia seem to be having massive driver problems

https://forums.geforce.com/default/board/34/geforce-600-series/

VS

http://forums.amd.com/game/categorie...454&entercat=y

Last year nvidia cards were burning with drivers and The shear problems nvidia are having this year kept me and many of my friends away from going anywhere near nvidia.

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