Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple, ASUS

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Tablets are growing in popularity, but the market is still immature. There are only a handful of serious contenders sold in North America (discounting the cheap knock-offs you can find on eBay and other sites). 

Apple’s iPad is the clear leader in terms of sales. It is trailed by similar Android-powered options like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Acer Iconia and (of coures) the ASUS Transformer Prime. We reviewed the Prime when it hit store shelves earlier this year and concluded that it was the best Android tablet money can buy. That makes a comparison with the new iPad obvious.

The constant stream of rants for or against Android and iOS devices in the media may lead you to think that the comparison between the two is highly subjective. I don’t believe that’s the case. There are a number of objective measurements that can be used to judge these products.

Yes, there is always going to be some degree of preference between operating systems, but we’re not really going to get into the iOS vs. Android argument here. That’s a topic that would require its own article, and most likely one several times longer than this comparison. Subjective points will be limited to design and ergonomics. 

Enough talk. It’s time for the competition to begin.

Continue reading our comparison of the new iPad (2012) and the ASUS Transformer Prime!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

More MHz for the Masses

AMD has had a rough time of it lately when it comes to CPUs. Early last year when we saw the performance of the low power Bobcat architecture, we thought 2011 would be a breakout year for AMD. Bulldozer was on the horizon and it promised performance a step above what Intel could offer. This harkened back to the heady days of the original Athlon and Athlon 64 where AMD held a performance advantage over all of Intel’s parts. On the graphics side AMD had just released the 6000 series of chips, all of which came close in performance to NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture, but had a decided advantage in terms of die size and power consumption. Then the doubts started to roll in around the April timeframe. Whispers hinted that Bulldozer was delayed, and not only was it delayed it was not meeting performance expectations.

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The introduction of the first Llano products did not help things. The “improved” CPU performance was less than expected, even though the GPU portion was class leading. The manufacturing issues we saw with Llano did not bode well for AMD or the upcoming Bulldozer products. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was simply not able to achieve good yields on these new 32 nm products. Then of course the hammer struck. Bulldozer was released, well behind schedule, and with performance that barely rose above that of the previous Phenom II series of chips. The top end FX-8150 was competitive with the previous Phenom II X6 1100T, but it paled in comparison to the Intel i7 2600 which was right around the same price range.

Read the entire review here.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

OCZ has been in the SSD game for quite some time now. Their first contender was the OCZ Vertex, which we reviewed back in Febuary of 2009. While the original Vertex was powered by an Indilinx BareFoot controller, the Vertex line switched over to SandForce for the second and third generations. The fourth generation brings Indilinx back to the Vertex, this time with the Everest 2. You may recall Everest made its first appearance in the OCZ Octane, which has already proven itself to be a solid contender in the market.

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Before we get into the meat and portatoes, we'll kick this off by saying this will not be a typical Vertex 4 review. We had benches run on 512GB and 256GB Vertex 4 samples, but the numbers we were seeing seemed 'off', so OCZ provided me with an alpha/engineering level firmware late last night. I suspect most other reviews you read today will include results from the 1.30 initial shipping firmware, or perhaps from the 1.31 bugfix firmware (which corrected an issue with secure erasure), but this piece will cover both 1.30 and a newer 1.52 interim build. Sometimes it's necessary to burn the midnight oil in the interest of presenting the full picture (or one as complete as possible) to our readers, and this was one of those pieces. We will revisit the Vertex 4 again very soon in the form of a more final product review, but for now we'll go with what we've got.

Read on for the full review!

Introduction and Features

SilverStone's new Strider Gold Evolution series power supplies include four models: 750W, 850W, 1000W and 1200W, which are based on the original Strider Gold series. SilverStone engineers have tweaked the design to improve both efficiency and performance and they replaced the original fan with a SilverStone Air Penetrator fan with fluid dynamic bearings to make it even quieter. The Strider Gold ST1000-G Evolution that we have up for review today is rated for 1000W DC output and is 80 Plus Gold certified. It comes with a full compliment of all modular cables, including dual EPS connectors and six PCI-E connectors for multiple high-end graphics adapter support. SilverStone also includes one of their new 140mm magnetic fan filters to help reduce dust buildup inside your PC.

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Here is what SilverStone has to say about their new Strider Gold Evolution 1000W power supply:

“To make great power supplies even better, SilverStone engineers delved into the details with the Strider Gold series. In order to reduce the already low noise generated by the Strider Gold, they replaced the fan with SilverStone’s own Air Penetrator, which has superb cooling ability and is equipped with fluid dynamic bearings. This allowed for reprogramming of the fan controller to enable lower fan speed at any given loading condition compared to the predecessor. Various components were also re-tested and replaced with newer versions for minor boost in efficiency and performance. An excellent FF141 fan filter with magnets is even included in the package for use to reduce dust buildup.

With the fan and component upgrades, the Strider Gold Evolution series will again encompass wattage range from 750W to 1200W with 80 PLUS Gold level efficiency, ±3% voltage regulation, low ripple & noise, and high amperage single +12V rail as its main features. For discerning users looking to get a top-notch power supply with all features covered and more, this is the perfect solution.”

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SilverStone ST1000-G Evolution PSU Key Features:

• 1,000W 24-Hour continuous power output (1,100W Peak)
• 80 Plus Gold certification: 87%~90% at 20%~100% loading
• Ultra silent 139mm Air Penetrator fan with fluid dynamic bearings
• SilverStone FF141 magnetic fan filter included
• 100% Modular cables
• Class-leading single +12V rail with 83A
• Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low ripple and noise
• Japanese made main capacitors
• Dual EPS 8-pin connectors
• Multiple PCI-E connectors (8-pin and 6-pin)
• Capacitors attached to PCI-E cables to reduce electrical noise
• Supports ATX12V 2.3 and EPS12V
• Active Power Factor Correction

Continue reading our review of the Silverstone Strider Gold Evolution 1000 watt power supply!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple
Tagged: tablet, ipad 3, ios, apple

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

Editor's note: You will find us calling this unit the "iPad 3" even though Apple doesn't really call it that. The confusion involved in calling it "the new iPad" over and over would just get slightly tedious.  Enjoy the review!!

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Apple’s iPad has been a roaring success. More than a few people had doubts that tablets could find a market, but the sneers shot in its direction at the launch of the original are now only memories. iPad has become a household name.

But it’s not easy being popular. Everyone is watching your next move. The iPhone 4S is a perfect example. Though it improved on the iPhone 4 it was still considered by some to be a disappointment. The bar had been set too high. 

That’s certainly a possibility with the iPad 3. Rumor-mongering went out of control prior to the release. Many were expecting a quad-core processor, while others suggested that the display would offer haptic feedback. Let’s have a look at what was actually shipped.

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Only some of the hardware has been changed. The new iPad is still running a dual-core A5 at 1 GHz, but the graphics have been upgraded to the “quad-core” PowerVR SFX 543MP4, which is essentially a doubling of the iPad 2’s PowerVR SFX 543MP2. RAM has increased to 1GB, a necessary upgrade that Apple doesn’t speak of in press releases.

Continue reading our review of the new iPad (2012)!!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung
Tagged: ssd, sata, Samsung, 830, 6gbps

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

Samsung has been in the SSD business for a good long while now. My first "serious" SSD setup consisted of a pair of 32GB G.Skill 'FlashSSD's in a RAID. A few months later I upgraded to an Intel X25-M, starting working for PCPer, and have since seen a slew of different controller types come and go. Of those, Samsung and Intel both come to mind as the most reliable controllers out there. Of those two, Samsung has always been the primary choice of PC OEMs. It may have been because the Samsung controllers have always leaned towards the slow-but-steady approach. Other fire breathing controllers would be quick out of the gate but slow over time as fragmentation effects set in, while Samsung controllers would take the hit on random IOPS, but they maintained that lower level even after repeated and sustained abuse. They were not the fastest, but as a testament to their consistency, I continue to use one of the two aforementioned G.Skill drives in the PCPer Storage Testbed to this day.

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Read on for the full review!

Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

Will it Strike Again?

 It can now be claimed that we are arguably in our 4th generation of Lightning products from MSI. It can also be claimed that the 3rd generation of products really put that brand on the mainstream map. The R6970 and N580GTX (and XE version) set new standards for enthusiast grade graphics cards. Outstanding construction, unique pcb design, high quality (and quantity) of components, and a good eye for overall price have all been hallmarks of these cards. These were honestly some of my favorite video cards of all time. Call me biased, but I think when looking through other reviews those writers felt much the same. MSI certainly hit a couple of homeruns with their three Lightning offerings of 2011.

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Time does not stand still.  Resting on laurels is always the surest way to lose out to more aggressive competitors.  It is now 2012 and AMD has already launched the latest generation of HD 7000 chips, with the top end being the HD 7970.  This particular product was launched in late December, but cards were not available until January 9th of 2012.  We are now at the end of March where we see a decent volume of products on the shelves, as well as some of the first of the non-reference designs hitting the streets.  Currently Asus has its DirectCU II based 7970, but now we finally get to see the Lightning treatment.

 MSI has not sat upon their laurels it seems.  They are taking an aggressive approach to the new Lightning series of cards, and they implement quite a few unique features that have not been seen on any other product before.  Now the question is did they pull it off?  Throwing more features at something does not necessarily equal success.  The increase in complexity of a design combined with other unknowns with the new features could make it a failure.  Just look at the R5870 Lightning for proof.  That particular card tread new ground, but did so in a way that did not adequately differentiate itself from reference HD 5870 designs.  So what is new and how does it run?  Let us dig in!

Continue reading our review of the MSI Radeon HD 7970 3GB Lightning Graphics Card!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

We are still making our way through an avalanche of X79 motherboards on our test bench that leverages the power of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, but we didn't want to wait any longer on powering up Gigabyte's GA-X79-UD5 extended ATX motherboard. Gigabyte has really stepped up their game by offering optimized LGA 2011 for no-nonsense PC builders, hardware enthusiasts, serious overclockers, and even FPS/RPG PC gamers. Our review of the X79-UD5 is going to evaluate every aspect of the board's ability to handle automatic and manual overclocking, DX10/DX11 gaming, and other synthetic and real-world benchmarks.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

The Gigabyte X79-UD5 motherboard takes full advantage of the new features available with the LGA 2011 platform and X79 Express chipset like the abiliy to use up to 64GBs of quad-channel memory via eight DIMMs and support for dual and triple AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI graphics card configurations for multi-monitor, high-definition gaming. These features should make ultra enthusiasts grin from ear to ear because they will probably be the ones who tandem this board with an Intel Core i7-3960X processor and dual NVIDIA GTX 680s graphics cards that were just released earlier this week. The $299 price tag on this board also places it right in the middle of the pack of LGA 2011 motherboards available on Newegg and other vendors.

Continue reading our review of the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 motherboard!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

The Kepler Architecture

Join us today at 12pm EST / 9am CST as PC Perspective hosts a Live Review on the new GeForce GTX 680 graphics card.  We will discuss the new GPU technology, important features like GPU Boost, talk about performance compared to AMD's lineup and we will also have NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen on hand to run some demos and answer questions from viewers.  You can find it all at http://pcper.com/live!!

NVIDIA fans have been eagerly waiting for the new Kepler architecture ever since CEO Jen-Hsun Huang first mentioned it in September 2010. In the interim, we have seen the birth of a complete lineup of AMD graphics cards based on its Southern Islands architecture including the Radeon HD 7970, HD 7950, HD 7800s and HD 7700s.  To the gamer looking for an upgrade it would appear that NVIDIA had fallen behind; but the company is hoping that today's release of the GeForce GTX 680 will put them back in the driver's seat.

This new $499 graphics card will directly compete against the Radeon HD 7970, and it brings quite a few "firsts" to NVIDIA's lineup.  This NVIDIA card is the first desktop 28nm GPU, the first to offer a clock speed over 1 GHz, the first to support triple-panel gaming on a single card, and the first to offer "boost" clocks that vary from game to game.  Interested yet?  Let's get to the good stuff.

The Kepler Architecture

In many ways, the new 28nm Kepler architecture is just an update to the Fermi design that was first introduced in the GF100 chip.  NVIDIA's Jonah Alben summed things up pretty nicely for us in a discussion stating that "there are lots of tiny things changing (in Kepler) rather than a few large things which makes it difficult to tell a story." 

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GTX 680 Block Diagram

Continue reading our review of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer

Introduction, The Kepler Scoop, Design, User Interface

Join us today at 12pm EST / 9am CST as PC Perspective hosts a Live Review on the new GeForce GTX 680 graphics card.  We will discuss the new GPU technology, important features like GPU Boost, talk about performance compared to AMD's lineup and we will also have NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen on hand to run some demos and answer questions from viewers.  You can find it all at http://pcper.com/live!!

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The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 is a unique laptop. It was the first product on the market to contain a GPU based of Nvidia’s new Kepler architecture, beating out not only other laptops but also the desktop video cards. It’s also a rare 15.6” ultrabook. Though a lot of companies have talked about them, not many have actually offered them.

You might expect, considering this two facts, that the Acer Aspire M3 would be outrageously expensive. But this is Acer we’re talking about, and if there’s anything the company stands for, it’s value. This laptop, should you find it on store shelves (it is a globe product with limited production, and they don’t seem to have hit North America quite yet), will retail for around $800. Or so we’ve been told - given the so far limited supply, we would not be surprised if prices were a bit higher until more units are made available to quell demand. 

So, what’s inside this ultra-sized ultrabook? Besides the GT 640M, nothing surprising.

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Though large enough to accommodate a decent discrete GPU, this laptop still has a low-voltage Core i5 processor. That’s going to put some limits on the overall performance of the laptop, but it also should help extend battery life.

This is likely to be the only Kepler based laptop on the market for a month or two. The reason for this is Ivy Bridge - most of the manufacturers are waiting for Intel’s processor update before they go to the trouble of designing new products. 

Continue reading our review of the new Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 and how discrete GPUs and Ultrabooks can work together!!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cerwin-Vega

Introduction and Features

It's not very often that I get to use and enjoy a review item while working on the actual review, but that's exactly what I'm doing as I sit here listening to my favorite music. The new Cerwin-Vega! XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers have been designed to optimize sound quality while keeping the enclosures small and providing easy integration with your PC and other desktop accessories at an affordable price. The XD3 desktop speakers incorporate ¾" silk dome tweeters, 3" woofers, high-quality cross-overs, and a 15W per channel internal amplifier in solid wood (MDF) enclosures.

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XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers Key Features:

• The perfect companion for your computer and/or media player
• Compact size without "compact" sound
• Rich and natural sound of a real wood enclosure
• Two-Way speaker: ¾" Tweeter and 3" Woofer
• 15 Watts per channel amplifier with built-in crossovers
• Front panel Aux. in and Headphone out
• Ported enclosure and Vega-Bass help increase bass response
• Magnetically shielded to prevent interference
• Appearance matches laptops and LCD monitors
• Perfect for music, gaming and media production

Continue reading our review of the Cerwin-Vega XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers!!

Author:
Manufacturer: SXSW

Introduction, Hardware Vendors

Introduction

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This year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Trade Show brought together many small and global companies with computer hardware and information technology backgrounds as well as creative industries that produce art, music, and movies. SXSW interactive badge holders and showcased artists got an inside look at the newest innovations in mobile social media platforms and applications, open source web content management systems, professional audio/video technologies, and other multimedia products.

 

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Since I write for PC Perspective, I narrowed the focus of my trade show coverage to companies creating innovative computer hardware, PC and Mac peripherals, and other gadgets that may interest our readers. I also scoured the rest of the trade show for the best booth babes handing out swag and watching other fun, promotional events to get expo visitors to engage with companies to find out more about their products. 

To see more of our coverage of the SXSW Trade Show, continue reading!


See our video coverage of the SXSW Trade Show!
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Nvidia

Introduction, GT 640M Basics

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About two months ago I wrote an less than enthusiastic editorial about ultrabooks that pointed out several weaknesses in the format. One particular weakness in all of the products we’ve seen to date is graphics performance. Ultrabooks so far have lacked the headroom for a discrete graphics component and have instead been saddled with a low-performance version of the already so-so Intel HD 3000 IGP.

This is a problem. Ultrabooks are expensive, yet they so far are less capable of displaying rich 3D graphics than your typical smartphone or tablet. Casual gamers will notice this and take their gaming time and dollars in that direction. Early leaked information about Ivy Bridge indicates that there has been a substantial increase in graphics capability, but the information available so far is centered on the desktop. The version that will be found in ultrabooks is unlikely to be as quick.

Today we’re looking at a potential solution - the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 equipped with Nvidia’s new GT 640M GPU. This is the first laptop to launch with a Kepler based GPU. It is also an ultrabook, albeit it one with a 15.6” display. Otherwise, it isn’t much different from other products on the market, as you can see below.

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This is likely to be the only Kepler based laptop on the market for a month or two. The reason for this is Ivy Bridge - most of the manufacturers are waiting for Intel’s processor update before they go to the trouble of designing new products.

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA Kepler GT 640M GPU in an Ultrabook!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: HP

Introduction, Design, User Interface

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When you think about a company like HP, you probably don’t think about innovation. They’re an old company, one that now has a massive market and lots of customers to worry about losing. Common sense says they are more likely to be slow and cautious.

If you examine HP’s laptop division closely, however, that story starts to fall apart. Over the past several years the company has implemented several innovative strategies to keep it ahead of the competition, and one of them is a bit unusual – a focus on audio quality, via the Beats Audio brand.

HP seems to have confidence in this strategy. The company has tucked Beats Audio into its chest and ran with it, slapping the branding onto a number of different laptops. That brings us to the HP dm4t Beats Edition. Let’s have a look at what is inside.

 

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This laptop starts life as a regular dm4t, HP’s entry-level ultraportable. Then it is given a number of upgrades including a standard Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. These improvements, along with the Beats Audio branding, bump up the base price of $579 to $899. Our review unit came with an optional 1600x900 display, a slightly quicker Core i5 processor and an 32GB solid state drive which works with a 500GB mechanical drive to enable Intel Smart Response. These options bump the price to an intimidating $1169.

UpdateHP has informed us that the laptop that they've shipped is available as a pre-configured model for $899. Wal-Mart is shipping a version without the solid state drive for $798 after a $100 instant rebate. This pricing has impacted our verdict, which is now reflected in the conclusion.

Continue reading our review of the HP dm4t Beats Edition Notebook!!

Author:

Introduction, LAN Fest, Game Demos, Future of Gaming panel

Introduction


Check out our video coverage of the SXSW Screenburn Arcade!

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The 19th Annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival kicked off on Mar. 9 and wraps up Mar. 12 in Austin, Texas. While most of the event featured interactive workshops and panels of experts from within the web development and social media communities, I focused most of my efforts covering the SXSW Screenburn Arcade at the Palmer Event Center. This is where most of the PC and console gaming enthusiasts attending SXSW converged to watch pro gamers from the IGN Pro League battle in League of Legends, Starcraft II, and check out several game demos like Lollipop Chainsaw for the XBox 360 and Quantum Conundrum and FireFall for the PC.

 

Intel LAN Fest

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I also had the opportunity to visit the Intel-sponsored, non-profit LANFest where event visitors could jump on one of their Alienware systems and play a variety of PC games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Team Fortress 2, MineCraft, Half Life 2 Death Match, WArsaw, Alien Swarm, Portal, World of Tanks, and Left 4 Dead 2 . LAN participants paid a $5 donation to play, which helped raise funds that will be sent to the city of Bastrop, Texas that lost more than 400 homes because of wildfires last September. They also raffled off a new ASUS Ultrabook to raise money for the United Way non-profit organization.

To see more of our coverage of the SXSW and the ScreenBurn Arcade 2012, continue reading!!

Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

Seasonic has an excellent reputation for producing quiet ATX style PC power supplies with high efficiencies and stable outputs. However, Seasonic also has a full line of server style power supplies in both 1U and 2U form factors. In this review we will be taking a detailed look at their new SS-350M1U server style power supply, which features 80Plus Gold efficiency certification, active PFC, and modular cables. It will be interesting to see how this industrial grade unit compares to the more familiar ATX style power supplies built by Seasonic.

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Seasonic SS-350M1U Main Features:
• EPS 1U Form Factor, 350W
• ATX12V v2.31 & EPS12V compliant
• Supports the latest Intel & AMD sockets/CPUs
• 80Plus Gold efficiency certification
• DC to DC converter design
• Low ripple & noise
• Super low noise fan control
• Short circuit protection on all outputs
• Over voltage and Over power protection
• 100% hi-pot test & 100% burn in, high temperature cycled on/off

Continue reading our review of the Seasonic SS-350M1U Modular 80Plus Gold Power Supply!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Epic Games

The Truth

There are few people in the gaming industry that you simply must pay attention to when they speak.  One of them is John Carmack, founder of id Software and a friend of the site, creator of Doom.  Another is Epic Games' Tim Sweeney, another pioneer in the field of computer graphics that brought us the magic of Unreal before bringing the rest of the gaming industry the Unreal Engine. 

At DICE 2012, a trade show for game developers to demo their wares and learn from each other, Sweeney gave a talk on the future of computing hardware and its future.  (You can see the source of my information and slides here at Gamespot.) Many pundits, media and even developers have brought up the idea that the next console generation that we know is coming will be the last - we will have reached the point in our computing capacity that gamers and designers will be comfortable with the quality and realism provided.  Forever. 

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Think about that a moment; has anything ever appeared so obviously crazy?  Yet, in a world where gaming has seemed to regress into the handheld spaces of iPhone and iPad, many would have you believe that it is indeed the case.  Companies like NVIDIA and AMD that spend billions of dollars developing new high-powered graphics technologies would simply NOT do so anymore and instead focus only on low power.  Actually...that is kind of happening with NVIDIA Tegra and AMD's move to APUs, but both claim that the development of leading graphics technology is what allows them to feed the low end - the sub-$100 graphics cards, SoC for phones and tablets and more.

Sweeney started the discussion by teaching everyone a little about human anatomy. 

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The human eye has been studied quite extensively and the amount of information we know about it would likely surprise.  With 120 million monochrome receptors and 5M color, the eye and brain are able to do what even our most advanced cameras are unable to.

Continue reading our story on the computing needs for visual computing!!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

My first Sandy Bridge-E motherboard review of 2012 showcases the talents of Intel's latest i7-3820 3.6GHz quad-core processor and MSI's X79A-GD65 (8D) ATX motherboard. The enhancements included in the LGA 2011 platform combined with MSI's unique optimizations to the board's overclocking, gaming, and power management capabilities should make for an exciting testing experience.

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI currently has six motherboards that support the LGA 2011 socket and the X79A-GD65 (8D) is considered one of their higher-end offerings at $289.99. This board targets users who want to take advantage of three PCI-E x16 slots for AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI configurations. It also gives users the ability to use up to two SATA 6GB/s and four SATA 3GB/s devices courtesy of the X79 chipset. MSI also used a second ASMedia controller to add two more SATA 6GB/s ports to the board. All of these SATA3 ports support Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, but the SATA3 devices managed by the X79 chipset can only handle RAID 0 and 1 versus the ASMedia chip that handles RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

7-series based motherboards from ASUS

This is going to be an interesting couple of months as the industry balances the move from Sandy Bridge to the 3rd Generation of Intel Core processor and the 7-series chipsets.  We have documented the rumored delays of the Ivy Bridge CPUs but it looks like Intel is moving ahead with the Z77/H77 chipset launch as planned.  This means that from now until whenever those new CPUs actually launch we will see quite a few new motherboards announced from the typical vendors claiming "future platform compatibility." 

Recently we spent some time with our friends at ASUS to learn about its plans for the Z77 launch and I must say I came away quite impressed with the technology and features being integrated.  Today I am allowed to share with you some photos and basic information about the features being offered on the ASUS Z77 lineup, though without much hands-on time we are limited in what we can say.  

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There are going to be options ranging from the high-end Maximus V Formula to the budget priced P8Z77-V to the ultra-niche with the mini-ITX P8Z77-I Deluxe.  Enjoy!

Continue reading our preview of the upcoming ASUS Z77 motherboards!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Completing the Family

When we went to Austin, Texas to sit with AMD and learn about the Radeon HD 7900 series of cards for the first time, an interesting thing happened.  While the official meeting was about the performance of the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950, when things started to settle several AMD employees couldn't help but discuss Cape Verde (7700-series) and Pitcairn (7800-series) GPUs.  In particular, the HD 7800 cards were generating a lot of excitement internally as a spiritual follow up to the wildly successful HD 5800 and HD 5700 series of cards in terms of price and performance characteristics. 

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So while the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 are being labeled as the world's fastest GPUs, and the Radeon HD 7700 is the fastest GPU for everyone, the HD 7800s are where many of our readers will look when upgrading their machines while staying within a budget.  

Be sure to check out our video review posted here and then continue on to our full, written review for all the benchmarks and analysis!!!

Continue reading our review of the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 Graphics Cards!!