All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
Cooler Master is a household name in the PC case world, and an established player in the cooling industry. Not content with those two areas, Cooler Master has expanded into power supplies, keyboards, mousepads, and a plethora of other accessories where they apparently make a tidy bundle. Coolermaster is now moving into a new area; gaming audio. Under the “CM Storm” brand, Coolermaster is releasing its own set of cans.
We were sent a production quality sample, but it did not come in the retail box that is availble now.
Cooler Master is hoping to deliver a profound audio experience to users with their CM Storm Sirus (not Sirius mind) True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headphones. The design and packaging certainly look impressive, but what counts in the end is the sound emanating from these products.
Last week we were in Dallas, Texas covering Quakecon 2011 as well as hosting our very own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop. While we had over 1100 attendees at the event and had a blast judging the case mod contest, one of the highlights of the event is always getting to sit down with John Carmack and pick his brain about topics of interest. We got about 30 minutes of John's time over the weekend and pestered him with questions about the GPU hardware race, how Intel's intergrated graphics (and AMD Fusion) fit in the future of PCs, the continuing debate about ray tracing, rasterization, voxels and infinite detail engines, key technologies for PC gamers like multi-display engines and a lot more!
One of our most read articles of all time was our previous interview with Carmack that focused a lot more on the ray tracing and rasterization debate. If you never read that, much of it is still very relevant today and is worth reading over.
This year though John has come full circle on several things including ray tracing, GPGPU workloads and even the advantages that console hardware has over PC gaming hardware.
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
The Nexus S 4G is a Google phone through and through. Following Google’s first hardware venture into the handset market, the Nexus One, this phone is how Google envisions the Gingerbread (Android 2.3) platform. Manufactured by Samsung, the Nexus S originally debuted as a GSM unlocked phone and on T-Mobile in the US earlier this year. Now, for the debut on CDMA networks, Samsung and Sprint have teamed together to add a 4G, WiMAX modem.
Because it is a Google tuned experience, the Nexus S 4G software is extremely polished, and provides a great user experience. Being the first phone to ship with Gingerbread, and still being one of the few phones shipping with it at this point in the game, it provides the absolute best small form-factor experience that Android is capable of.
Hit this link to keep reading our review of the Samsung Nexus S...
A Headset for All Seasons
After being impressed by the Corsair SP2500 2.1 speaker system, I geared up to give their headphone audio a try. The technology that Corsair has implemented into their headphones certainly looks impressive, but only when we hear the sound will we know how well they accomplished this feat. Read on to see if Corsair can be the next Grado Labs in portable audio.A few weeks back I was able to listen to, and review, the SP2500 speakers from Corsair. These impressed me a great deal with their clarity, depth of sound, and overall representation in all three major aspects of computer audio (music, movies, and gaming). These were the first Corsair audio products that I had a chance to listen to, but they were not the first that Corsair had released at that time. Some months before the release of those speakers, Corsair had introduced the Gaming Audio HS1 USB headphones.
Pardon the quality of the picture, my camera is dying. The boys is well constructed and protects the headphones nicely.
The Relative Lack of SLI on AMD
Several years back we were introduced to the Lucid Hydra technology, and it seemed like an impressive multi-GPU implementation which could leverage the power of different video card combinations to improve performance over that of one card. Quite a few years have passed, and we have a handful of motherboards now supporting this technology. We take a look at the technology now implemented on the AMD side, and how it performs when using both AMD and NVIDIA based video cards.The first we heard of Lucid was a few years back when they showcased working silicon running multiple video cards together. Whether these were NVIDIA or ATI/AMD cards, Lucid had a way of allowing them to render a scene in a unique way, then composite the results to create a near seamless experience. It took some time before the first products hit the streets, and there is also quite a bit of controversy behind the actual implementation.
The primary rendering mode for both SLI and CrossFire is alternate frame rendering. Basically this allows each video card to process alternating frames, which theoretically can double performance. We have never seen true linear scaling in such situations, but it is not unheard of to reach 85% scaling or slightly more with the latest video cards on fast systems. Lucid does things a bit differently.
Block diagram of the Lucid Hydra chip and how it connects to the system.
Out is Light, in is Copper
Yup, you read that right: Intel Light Peak is no more and it has been replaced by the official branding of Intel Thunderbolt Technology. Love it or hate it, that is what we are going to be using for the future and now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty about what it does and what it can do.
A well-known peripheral company, Logitech makes everything from keyboards to webcams to racing wheels, and is generally well regarded. The G series of gaming peripherals has many successful products in its portfolio, and among them is the G13, which Logitech calls an “Advanced Gameboard.” That’s a fancy way of saying “keyboard replacement.”
Corsair 2.1 Audio: Hold the DRAM!
Corsair is a name well known in the industry for making high quality memory aimed at enthusiasts and high end applications. For the past few years they have expanded into other areas including cases, power supplies, and CPU coolers. The latest push is for computer audio, and the SP2500 is a hefty shot across the bow for the current competition.
Introduction and Specifications
Gigabyte has a reputation of being one of the industry's top motherboard and graphics card manufacturers and now they are focusing their efforts on expanding their product line to include more PC components aimed at the PC gaming crowd. One of their newest additions to accommodate PC gamers is the Aivia K8100 gaming keyboard. This $69 keyboard comes in red, yellow, and black and includes LED backlight keys and Gigabyte's Ghost Macro Engine.
Introduction and Specifications
Corsair has reinvigorated its product line in 2010 by adding several new components including new solid state drives, power supplies, PC enclosures, and now their first 7.1 USB gaming headset dubbed the HS1. The HS1 is a combination of style, comfort, and immersive Dolby 7.1 surround sound technology that should give other popular gaming headsets on the market this holiday season a run for their money.
Introduction, Features, Technical Specifications
Lamptron has quietly created many quality PC gaming and modding products that expand how users monitor and track a variety of system functions. Their latest fan controller is dubbed the FC6 and combines a colorful temperature monitor and fan controller system into one 5.25" bay device. Users can monitor the CPU, hard drive, graphics card, overall case temperatures, and case fan speeds easily through a configurable LCD display that can be changed to match seven different color schemes.
The love of mechanical keyboards is a secret bond that most “normal” people can’t understand. Indeed, those who find the clickity-clack of mechanical keys to be as relaxing as a gentle spring rain seem to be a special breed of geek who is sometimes misunderstood even by fellow enthusiasts. As a result, some geeks have had to choose between the happiness of their fingertips and the happiness of their family or co-workers. In most cases, the later wins.
Introduction and Features
Modern home networking technology solutions integrate all types of home appliances and security devices that can be monitored from any smartphone or PC connected to the internet around the world. WowWee wanted a piece of the action and introduced the Rovio mobile webcam at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2008. Their goal with the Rovio was simple -- create a wireless and portable webcam that could be manipulated and viewed from any PC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Introduction and Specifications
Hardcore gamers know the importance of quality sound when they are playing online or during gaming tournaments. Plantronics has always had their back and their new GameCom 777 headset gives them Dolby 7.1 virtual surround to add depth and clarity to their gaming experience. The GameCom 777 features a lightweight frame, noise cancelling technology, and 7.1 sound to make any movie, Skype conversation, or gaming match sound like your in a virtual surround sound theater.
Introduction and Specifications
Psyko AudioLabs is bridging the gap between the benefits of a stand-alone 5.1 surround sound setup and standard gaming headphones with their Psyko 5.1 headphones. These $300 headphones were previewed at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and were even recognized with a 2009 CES Innovation Award. We will see if these high-end cans give us an edge in our favorite FPS games.
The new Xbox 360 "Slim" Gets Unwrapped
We picked up one of the new Xbox 360 S / Slim consoles and decided to rip it apart to see what was inside. How does the technological shift in the new system change the properties of the console and how does it affect power consumption, noise and heat? Step in to read, and watch, our results!
Tired of Benchmarks? Here's the Dirt!
Industry Dirt will be exploring some of the more suspect rumors and happenings around our beloved technology firms. Today I take a look at some of the latest from AMD and Intel, and while Intel certainly is still controlling the industry, AMD looks like it could be in for a surprise quarter. Plus I explore the ramifications of Intel's latest "K" series of unlocked CPUs.
Falling and Rising...
AMD today has shifted "Vision" into high gear by announcing 130+ laptop design wins using two new platforms based on 45 nm processors and the 880G graphics chipset. AMD has also made huge strides as a company to get into a position to be profitable and have meaningful and competitive products in the face of a strong Intel.
Introduction and Hardware Overview
The world of mobile phones is constantly evolving. With the average contract commitment being 2 years, most smart phones are considered to be obsolete by the end of their initial contract. Today we look at another phone to further the continual upgrade cycle, the HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless.
It Slices, It Dices...
PC Audio has certainly taken a major downturn in importance for the majority of users, but Asus is still fighting the good fight by offering an extensive selection of quality sound cards. Today we look at the Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe, and see what it can offer users willing to pay the steep price of entry into audiophile class PC audio.