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With the turn of the century the graphics industry bore witness to further consolidation. Where 3dfx was once a byword for raw performance, its strengths before its dismissal laid in its full screen antialiasing image quality. By the time 2001 dawned, the PC graphics market consisted of a discrete card duopoly (Nvidia and ATI), with both of them in addition to Intel supplying the vast majority of integrated graphics chipsets.
Prior to the Voodoo 5’s arrival, ATI had announced the Radeon DDR as “the most powerful graphics processor ever designed for desktop PCs.” Previews of the card had already gone public on April 25, and only twenty-four hours later Nvidia countered with the announcement of the GeForce 2 GTS (GigaTexel Shader).
The DS2413+ is Synology's newest twelve-bay DiskStation NAS for small to medium sized businesses who need loads of storage. Along with supporting up to 48TB worth of drives out of the box, the DS2413+ can be paired with the company's DX1211 expansion enclosure that houses an extra 12 drives, doubling the maximum storage capacity of the base unit to a whopping 96TB.
We should also make a quick note before you get to the end and scoff at the price: the DS2413+ isn't for average home users. It's retailing for $1,700 without drives or the 12-bay expansion. With that in mind, let's see what the DS2413+'s upgrades offer.
Launched on November 1996, 3Dfx's Voodoo graphics consisted of a 3D-only card that required a VGA cable pass-through from a separate 2D card to the Voodoo, which then connected to the display. Voodoo Graphics revolutionized personal computer graphics nearly overnight and rendered many other designs obsolete, including a vast swathe of 2D-only graphics producers.
The 3D landscape in 1996 favoured S3 with around 50% of the market. That was to change soon, however. It was estimated that 3Dfx accounted for 80-85% of the 3D accelerator market during the heyday of Voodoo’s reign. Later on Nvidia would revive with the RIVA series and eventually land their greatest success with the first GeForce graphics card.
Like many PC gamers, I've often wished a machine capable of putting the power of a gaming rig in a portable device. Gaming laptops are lovely and have their place, but that place is often on top of a desk. After a week with Razer's new Edge gaming tablet, I realize what I really wanted was to play Bioshock Infinite in the bathroom without burning my thighs. All hail Razer, deliverer of dreams.
Razer's only review guidelines before sending along a Razer Edge loaner was that I not tell them I used it in the bathroom. I am a review guideline freedom fighter, deep in the trenches, pants around my ankles, balancing a $1,499 gaming tablet on the side of the tub before redeploying to less secluded front. And why not? I don't have to stop playing until the batteries run out.
Three years having passed since BioShock 2 and the dawn of a new console generation on the horizon, BioShock Infinite has taken the opportunity to mix things up. Along with DX11 effects, folks playing on PC can look forward to higher resolution textures and a healthy range of customization over settings like anti-aliasing, texture detail and filtering, dynamic shadows, post-processing, and so on.
Our Bioshock Infinite test comprises 24 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia covering a wide range of prices, from the affordable to the ultra-expensive.
The evolution of the modern graphics processor begins with the introduction of the first 3D add-in cards in 1995, followed by the widespread adoption of the 32-bit operating systems and the affordable personal computer.
While 3D graphics turned a fairly dull PC industry into a light and magic show, they owe their existence to generations of innovative endeavour. Over the next few weeks we'll be taking an extensive look at the history of the GPU, going from the early days of 3D consumer graphics, to the 3Dfx Voodoo game-changer, the industry's consolidation at the turn of the century, and today's modern GPGPU.
BioShock Infinite isn't just a worthy sequel to a much-loved predecessor. It also manages to be about America - touching on its past, present and possibilities — in a way that makes it a must.
You haven't been to a place like this before. The fictional floating city where Infinite is set is all clockwork platforms and brass gears, its many sections populated with hucksters, strivers, lovers and schoolchildren. One minute, you're walking past a sheer drop, the next a park swings down into the open space.
The latest member of the Southern Islands family, the new Radeon HD 7790 is designed to fill the gap between the Radeon HD 7770 and 7850. Set to precisely target the $150 price tag, the HD 7790 should be an affordable solution that provides good value to gamers on a budget.
The HD 7790 is set to go head to head against the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which represented the best value in this bracket. To sweeten the deal, AMD is also offering a free game bundle of Bioshock Infinite for a limited time.
Normally when we benchmark a first person shooter, finding a good portion of the game to test with is simply a matter of playing through the game until we find a section that is rather demanding. But with SimCity things were considerably more complex and time consuming.
A city with few sims will see graphics cards such as the GeForce Titan or GTX 680 render massive frame rates because they are not being capped by the CPU (yet). As with most simulation and strategy games, SimCity is CPU dependent and overclocking should result in a healthy boost if needed. More inside.
When you're not building and recruiting, you're following arrows and doing what the game tells you to do. There are optional side-quests, yes, but they're almost always marked on your mini-map, and they're way too easy to find and finish.
But it's still StarCraft. It's still a joy to go through the now-familiar ritual of training and killing, and even the easiest missions are designed with the attention to detail that we've grown to expect from this series. And even the easier moments exercise your mind in the way that only a real-time strategy game can.
Microsoft’s answer to the changing computing landscape is Windows 8, an operating system that attempts to balance the demands of traditional productivity-oriented desktops with the mobility of, well, mobile devices.
Hybrids thus appear to be the optimal home for Windows 8 as both aspects of the OS are in use and get to shine as they were designed to. That brings us to the Acer Iconia W510 hybrid tablet, which can be essentially converted into a full-fledged PC with its keyboard dock – no Windows RT here, folks.
Although this year's Tomb Raider reboot made our latest list of most anticipated PC games, I must admit that it was one of the games I was least looking forward to from a performance perspective because of previous titles' poor showing.
However, we were relieved to learn that Tomb Raider supports DirectX 11, which brings access to advanced rendering technologies such as depth of field, hd ambient occlusion, hardware tessellation, and super-sample anti-aliasing. Additionally, compared to the diluted console versions, the PC build offers better textures as well as AMD's TressFX real-time hair physics system.
To many fans of the original city building simulation series, the idea of an online multiplayer game that required even solo players to be connected to the internet at all times seemed like a recipe for disaster.
Maxis' latest creation is easily the most compelling SimCity I've played since the 1989 original. It's also a disaster.
The new GeForce GTX Titan carries a GK110 GPU with a transistor count that has more than doubled from the GTX 680's to a staggering 7.1 billion The part has 25% to 50% more resources at its disposal, including 2688 stream processors (up 75%), 224 texture units (also up 75%) and 48 raster operations (a healthy 50% boost).
It's worth noting that there's "only" estimated to be a 25% to 50% performance gain because the Titan is clocked lower than the GTX 680. Given those expectations, it would be fair to assume that the Titan would be priced at roughly a 50% premium, but that's simply not the case. Nvidia is marketing the card as a hyper-fast solution for gamers with deep pockets, setting the MSRP at a whopping $1,000.
The tablet market doesn’t look very different than it did a year ago from the perspective of who’s doing well and who’s not. Perhaps the most exciting developments came towards the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 from the usual big guys: Google released the Nexus 10 and updated the Nexus 7, Apple launched a smaller and cheaper iPad mini, while Microsoft went all in with the Surface RT and Pro.
As usual, we've compiled a comparative table with what we consider are the best options either currently available or announced so far, complete with metascores from our Product Finder engine and review links.
Crytek has given us another opportunity to hammer some hardware with the arrival of Crysis 3. Built with CryEngine 3, the engine has been updated with improved dynamic cloth and vegetation, better lighting and shadows, and plenty more.
Plus, PC gamers won't have to wait for graphical extras. Crysis 3 launched with high-resolution textures, DX11 support and plenty of customization options that set it apart from the diluted consoles builds. The result looks incredible and we get the feeling this will prove to be the game that folks who are heavily invested in multi-GPU setups have been waiting for. Here's hoping we aren't woefully disappointed.
The Crysis series of first-person action games mix stealthy sneaking with huge explosions, all draped across lush, exquisitely rendered environments. The games aren't really known for their winning personality, story or characters. They're known, first and foremost, for their sweet tech and using your suit's powers to stalk and kill.
But every time Crysis games get away from that core routine, things become less enjoyable. Crysis 3, unfortunately, spends most of its time lost in the weeds. There's plenty of hunting, but it's sporadic, and changes made to the formula combine with dodgy AI and odd level-design to make the whole thing feel uncomfortable.
The Pebble smartwatch for iPhone and Android is a prime example of the bizarre times in which we live. In an era of people increasingly telling time by looking at the corner of their computer's screen or their smartphone lock screens, Pebble wants to make the wristwatch everyone's preferred timepiece.
A humble Kickstarter project embraced by nearly 70,000 backers, Pebble is the most buzzed-about smartwatch yet. Have those early believers been vindicated by the release of a phenomenal product or are they just another cautionary tale of what happens when reality doesn't meet the hype?
Considering next-gen cards are still months away, we didn't expect to bring any more GPU reviews until the second quarter of 2013. However, we realized there was a gap in our current-gen coverage: triple-monitor gaming. In fact, it's been almost two years since we last stress tested games at resolutions of up to 7680x1600.
We're going to mix things up a little this time. Instead of using each camp's ultra-pricey dual-GPU card (or the new $999 Titan), we're going to see how more affordable Crossfire and SLI setups handle triple-monitor gaming compared to today's single-GPU flagships.
The third installment in the Dead Space series was released this month, and considering the game made our list of 2013's most anticipated PC games we thought we would check it out to see how it looked and performed.
Dead Space 3 might be a direct console port but it’s done right, at least as far as I can tell after a few hours of gameplay. The game might not have DirectX 11 features or a high resolution texture pack, but I personally found it to be quite enjoyable.
The BlackBerry Z10 is a sink or swim device that will likely determine if the company will manage to hold on to its dwindling market share and right the ship that sent it from first to worst in smartphone relevance.
The first smartphone to run the BlackBerry 10 OS debuts at a time when smartphones are as much about play as they are productivity, and this phone can thrive in this era only if it can strike a balance between entertainment and enterprise. Can the BlackBerry Z10 be the savior that BlackBerry so desperately needs?
Following the success of 2008's HAF 932 chassis, Cooler Master didn't waste any time adapting its High Air Flow design to various other form factors and price points -- many of which we've covered in depth. Along with its larger options, the company offers three mid-towers: the $50 HAF 912, $100 HAF 922 and $130 HAF XM.
While the cost of these cases varies significantly, they're all fairly similar in terms of stature in that their tall, rectangular profile resembles most other mid-towers. Mixing things up, Cooler Master's latest mid-size enclosure, the HAF XB, breaks the conventional mold with boxier dimensions -- in fact, the company describes it as a "LAN box".
The real joy of playing a game on PC is that, thanks to mods, your entire experience can be improved by the work of dedicated fans.
Because some mods are so extensive, transforming almost everything about the source title, we felt it was only fair to list 12 of the best of them here, since they may as well count as their own new games.
It's an exciting year for gamers -- not just because the industry has whipped up an appetizing menu of fresh releases, but because we're approaching the next console generation, which will inevitably come with interesting new software projects, and many of them are bound to hit PC.
As usual, we've assembled a list of the hottest PC games expected to hit shelves over the next 12 months. Our selection includes 35 games and 10 bonus mentions we're lukewarm about.
Most people can’t afford to spend a few thousand on a notebook computer, even if it's on a solid gaming machine that doubles as a desktop replacement. To that end, today we'll be checking out a portable from MSI that aims to deliver a solid gaming experience without the excessive cost.
The MSI GX60 comes packed with a quad-core AMD A10-4600M CPU clocked at 2.3GHz alongside AMD Radeon HD 7970M discrete graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, a 15.6-inch non-glare display operating at 1920x1080, 8GB of DDR3 memory in a 4GBx2 configuration, 128GB of flash storage used as the OS drive and a 750GB 7200RPM disk drive for storage.
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