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TechSpot

Our latest original content and features. TechSpot offers comprehensive product reviews, practical and in-depth how-to guides, PC enthusiast must-reads, as well as buying recommendations round up our daily tech coverage.

Far Cry 4 Benchmarked, Performance Review

Graphics have always been a selling point of the Far Cry series as few games offer the same open world environments that can be experienced in Far Cry. The latest iteration is no exception. Being an Nvidia "The Way It's Meant to be Played" title, FC4 has loads of optimizations for GeForce cards, including HBAO+, PCSS, TXAA, Godrays, and HairWorks. If nothing else, this should make it all the more interesting to compare results.

Gigabyte's Aorus Thunder Gaming Gear Reviewed: K7 mechanical keyboard, M7 MMO mouse & P3X mouse pad

Gigabyte may be best known for its award winning motherboards and graphics cards, but the brand is home to a host of products, from entire systems to high-end gaming gear. Today we're taking a look at thee of the latter, sold under its Aorus subsidiary: the Aorus Thunder K7 backlit mechanical gaming keyboard with a detachable macro/numpad, the 16-button Thunder M7 MMO gaming mouse, and the meter-longP3X gaming mouse pad.

Sony Xperia Z3 Review: Finding the sweet spot between design, performance and battery life

Compared to the Z2, Sony has made some minute changes in the Xperia Z3. We’re looking at a slightly upgraded Snapdragon 801 SoC, a marginally smaller 3,100 mAh battery, a thinner design, and a few software tweaks. The camera and display are essentially the same. It’s clear Sony has been tinkering with the perfect smartphone formula, and while those on the six-months-old Z2 can probably skip this, it might make users of competing phones consider a switch.

The Best Graphics Cards for the Money: Nvidia & AMD GPUs tested and compared

It's been an eventful year for GPU releases with updated models and prices across all budgets from both AMD and Nvidia. With no more releases from either camp for the remainder of the year the competition will likely center on price. That's exciting news for those of you who have a shiny new GPU at the top of your Christmas list. Let's break down each price bracket to determine which company offers the best value product.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review: Going for the 'premium' look and feel

The Galaxy Alpha accompanies the Galaxy S5 at the top of Samsung’s line-up. The 4.7-inch device is a smaller alternative to their popular flagship, designed for people who place form at the top of their priority list. Samsung seems to be realizing that cheap plastic just doesn’t cut it anymore for its flagship smartphones, but the choice to focus on design has also left the Alpha with slightly downgraded specs compared to the S5.

I Played 3 Hours of Dragon Age: Inquisition and It's Awesome

Dragon Age: Inquisition is third main title in BioWare's action RPG series, and it's a much more expansive and ambitious game than those that came before it. The graphical detail on Ultra settings is jaw-dropping: from the particle effects, to lighting and textures... it is easily the most visually astounding RPG game I have ever played.

ECS Liva 64GB Mini PC Review: A tiny, efficient HTPC kit

Setting a new bar for small form factor PCs, ECS launched the Liva earlier this year, making comparable machines look oversized and overpriced. Since its debut, ECS has updated the Liva with a 64GB option and though that's double the storage, we have only seen a mild price increase to $185. Paired with a super efficient fanless design that promises smooth 1080p playback it certainly grabbed our attention.

Liquid-Cooled Graphics: HIS R9 290X Hybrid IceQ Review

Although the AMD Radeon R9 290X is blisteringly fast it also has a problem with heat.  Board partners solved this issue for the most part with massive heatsinks riddled with copper heatpipes cooled by a battery of fans. But what if you want a 290X that is even faster and at the same time much quieter? Seems like a dream, but HIS has been working hard to make it a reality with the HIS Radeon R9 290X Hybrid IceQ 4GB.

Sony PlayStation TV Review: Part micro-console, part media streamer, plenty of compromises

The PlayStation TV is a small black box that connects to a television set via HDMI cable. Inside of that box are the guts of a PlayStation Vita handheld gaming system, and as such it can play PlayStation Vita games. It can also play PSP games, PS One classics, stream PS4 and PlayStation Now games, and stream TV shows and movies.

In Win D-Frame Mini Review: A unique case for loose budgets

Of all the weird and wonderful cases we saw in 2013, In Win's D-Frame remains the most memorable. The D-Frame Mini takes the original design and shrinks it down to accommodate the now popular Mini-ITX form factor. Despite the reduction in size the case can now support cooling radiators and models as large as 240mm, the graphics card length has been extended from 330mm to 340mm, and the chassis can rest on one of six sides rather than just two.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review: The original phablet is back and better than ever

Samsung was on to something when they launched the original Galaxy Note back in 2011. The fourth-generation Galaxy Note is the same 5.7" size as its predecessor but packs a Quad HD display, a more premium and much requested part-metal construction, and an improved 16MP camera with optical image stabilization.

Think Gmail, Dropbox in cahoots with the NSA? Here are some secure email and cloud storage alternatives

Users are increasingly turning to services that claim to be secure from the prying eyes of the NSA and law enforcement. In this article, we take a look at some of the privacy-focused email and cloud storage services that have either sprung up or gained popularity in the wake of what's popularly been referred to as the Summer of Snowden.

Maingear Pulse 15 Review: Slim, 3K Display Gaming Laptop

Slim gaming notebooks have been getting a lot of attention lately as more efficient technology allows manufacturers to cram high-end parts in a thinner chassis. The Maingear Pulse 15 falls right into this burgeoning segment packing a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, dual SSDs and a GeForce GTX 870M GPU in its a 0.7" thick body. Its standout feature: a 3K (2880 x 1620) display.

History of the Personal Computer, Part 5: Computing goes mainstream, mobile, ubiquitous

The new millennium brought a closer relationship between people and computers. More portable devices became the conduit that enabled humans' basic need to connect. It's no surprise that computers transitioned from productivity tool to indispensable companion as connectivity proliferated. This is the fifth and final installment in a series exploring the history of the microprocessor and personal computing.

history personal computer part computing apple microsoft windows amd intel arm

Alien: Isolation Benchmarked, Performance Review

Classified as a survival horror/stealth game instead of an action shooter, Alien: Isolation differs from last year's Alien: Colonial Marines in that there is just one Alien who can't be killed, requiring you to employ stealth tactics. The game has plenty of pants-wetting moments and sounds like a blast if you're comfortable with soiling yourself, but we're more interested in Alien: Isolation's performance when running at max quality and varying resolutions.

Alien: Isolation Review: An intense horror game and heartfelt tribute

While many a video game has been designed for people who enjoy killing aliens, Alien: Isolation can only have been created for people who derive some perverse pleasure out of being killed by an alien. Regardless of how it happens, rest assured that the alien will kill you. The game is rarely less than terrifying, the Sevastopol is splendidly awful, and the straightforward story pays homage to the film without going overboard.

Kogan Agora 4G Budget Smartphone Review: Solid Camera, Near Stock Android

Although the Kogan brand is known in Australia, especially their low-cost TVs, the Agora 4G represents their first real push into smartphones on a global scale. The phone is actually manufactured by BenQ’s ODM division, as indicated by a small BenQ logo on the back of the handset. The phone’s standout feature is its 5.0-inch 720p display, paired with a Snapdragon 400 SoC. On the back you’ll find an 8-megapixel camera, and inside is a sizable 2,500 mAh battery.

History of the Personal Computer, Part 4: The mighty Wintel empire

Intel's existence traced back to the breakup of Shockley Electronics and Fairchild Semiconductor. Determined to avoid the same fate, lawsuits became object lessons to employees, a means of protecting its IP, and a method of tying up a competitor's financial resources. This is the fourth installment in a five part series, where we look at the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the invention of the transistor to modern day chips.

Wish List: What TechSpot writers want in Windows 10

In a shortlist of new features we would all like to see in Windows 10, there are a few at the top that we now know Microsoft is working on: the return of the Start menu, less Modern UI, and other desktop productivity enhancements like virtual desktops. We asked TechSpot’s staff what they thought of the Windows 10 announcement and what changes they would like to see on Microsoft’s next major update to the OS.

Silverstone Fortress FT05 Case Review: Stack Effect Cooling, Less Wasted Space

Silverstone's "stacked" design might offer unbeatable cooling performance, but as we found out in our review of the Raven RV05, it also resulted in a lot of wasted space and a cramped area to work with. The company knows this and has come up with a calmer, classier version of its extreme gaming case with the new Fortress FT05.

Motorola Moto G (2014) Review: Still the Budget Phone to Beat

The first-generation Moto G was a fantastic Android smartphone that cost just $179 unlocked and outright. It was Motorola’s first major push into the entry-level market under the guidance of Google, and it was quite a successful one. The new 2014 model keeps the same low price point, packs a larger 5-inch display and addresses some of its predecessors shortcomings with a much improved camera and a microSD slot for expandable storage.

History of the Personal Computer, Part 3: IBM PC Model 5150 and the attack of the clones

IBM's stature guaranteed the PC to initiate a level of standardization required for a technology to attain widespread usage. That same stature also ensured competitors would have unfettered access to the technical specifications of the Model 5150. This is the third installment in a five part series, where we look at the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the invention of the transistor to modern day chips powering our connected devices.

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