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TechSpot

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.

Enthusiast Territory: The most memorable overclocking-friendly CPUs

Enthusiasts have been pushing the limits of silicon for as long as microprocessors have existed. Early overclocking endeavors involved soldering and replacing crystal clock oscillators, but evolving standards brought options for changing system bus speeds, while some of the most daring would gain boosts through hard modding. These are but a few of the landmark processors revered for their overclocking prowess.

Quantified: How high temperatures, cooling affect CPU performance

Older CPUs would simply fail if they started to overheat, but modern CPUs adjust their frequency based on temperature (among other things) to prevent a dramatic failure. Because of this, it stands to reason that once you reach certain temps, you will no longer be getting the maximum performance from your CPU because it will be busy protecting itself. But what is that temperature? And do you really need a high-end liquid-cooled system to get peak performance?

Nokia Lumia 735 Review: The latest mid-range from Microsoft

Selfies are a huge trend and yet most front facing phone cameras still suck. Looking to address this problem, Microsoft's latest mid-range handset dubbed the “selfie phone,” comes with a higher resolution five megapixel front facing camera. Although the Lumia 735’s standout feature is the selfie cam, it comes packing many other features we’ve come to love from Lumias.

The Crew Benchmarked, Performance Review

Ubisoft's new action-driving MMO has 7,000 miles of roads, 15 cities and 15 million individual objects. The Crew has been designed for the latest generation consoles and PCs, though the former are capped at 30fps/1080p while our preferred platform ought to look and feel better with a 60fps cap and a higher res. Here's our full PC benchmark test.

Roundup: 18 Best Tech Discounts for Students

Getting the most out of each dollar is absolutely critical for many students working towards a four-year college degree, but what most don’t realize is that their college education can start paying dividends even before they step on campus. To help the millions of broke college students out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top tech-related discounts from a variety of vendors, for anyone enrolled at an institution of higher education.

Roundup: 12 Favorite PC Games

PC gamers have got a pretty great thing going. Interesting, experimental indie games? Yup. The shiniest, most visually impressive versions of big-budget games? Yeah, they get a lot of those, too. Let's say you've recently joined the ranks of the PC elite. What games should you install? Well, you can start out with the games listed on this roundup.

Lenovo Y70 Touch Laptop Review: A 17.3" touch-enabled all-rounder

Lenovo's Y70 Touch isn't a wild departure from the laptop designs you're used to seeing. In fact, it mostly looks like an average notebook, only sleeker and slightly more aggressive than most. It boasts a 17.3-inch 1920x1080 multi-touch display, Lenovo's largest touchscreen laptop to date, and it's built for gaming, video editing, and to be an all-around work horse for the modern era with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 860M GPU.

Dragon Age: Inquisition GPU & CPU Performance Review

PC gamers can expect a crisper, more detailed world in Dragon Age: Inquisition, though precisely how crisp and detailed will depend on your setup. As usual we've put some hardware to the test, including the latest AMD and Nvidia GPUs, in total 25 DirectX 11 GPU graphics card configurations from both companies covering all prices.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Review: Epic in scope, carefully crafted down to the smallest moment

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a role-playing game from BioWare, the third in the Dragon Age series. Being a fantasy game it has dragons, and elves, and magic. But it is also a fantasy in another, more special way. Inquisition ushers us into a vast world and sets that world revolving around us, patiently waiting on our every action. It has time for us. Finally, the world will be what we want it to be. Finally, we'll have the time to get everything right.

Far Cry 4 Review: A great sequel, if not a true next act for the series

Staying true to tradition, Far Cry 4 takes place in an expansive world that's seductively beautiful. Kyrat is located somewhere in the Himalayas, and this mountainous region adds an incredible amount of density to the game. And depth. So what if it feels a lot like Far Cry 3? That's one of the best shooters I've ever played. But it was also flawed enough to warrant a revision, and more often than not, Far Cry 4 is able to surpass its predecessor.

Be Quiet! Silent Base 800 Review: Cool, quiet and roomy

Although this is Be Quiet!'s first case the company not only applied what it learned about high-quality cooling and fan solutions in the past, it also brought in world renowned case experts. The Silent Base 800 was designed in-house from the ground up emphasizing function over form with a goal of achieving the best cooling performance possible at ultra low noise levels while still offering ample space for high-end components.

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.

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