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Our latest original content and features. TechSpot offers comprehensive product reviews of the latest processors, graphics cards, laptops and other computing devices. Practical and in-depth guides as well as buying recommendations round up our daily tech coverage.
The iPhone 5 has finally landed following months of rumors and speculation, with plenty of changes internally and aesthetically. Apple has almost completely redesigned the iPhone's exterior, and even gave it a bump in screen size for the first time, yet it still looks very much like the iconic handset everyone is familiar with.
The update addresses a number of concerns that critics have raised over the past year, but as with any high-profile Apple launch, new complaints have already surfaced. We'll investigate these and more as we put the iPhone 5 under the microscope.
While the Samsung 830 Series and many of its year-old peers may still be attractive, Samsung is ready to move on to bigger and better things. Their new flagship offering, the SSD 840 Pro, is said to refine the 830 Series' firmware with faster random and sustained performance as well as improved reliability.
Since most SSD competitors use the same rehashed components, Samsung has been in a unique position to shake things up over the last few years, and it's done a fine job. We had nearly no expectations for 2010's 470 Series, but we were pleasantly surprised when it dominated our performance charts. Last year's 830 Series gave a repeat performance, so we can only hope the same of the 840 Pro.
Borderlands 2 succeeds at building on the foundation laid three years ago, delivering an improved menu system, revamped skill trees, new characters, more weapons, smarter foes, and the same addictive loot-driven co-op first-person shooter action. As exciting as all of that may be, we're more interested in seeing how the game runs on the finest PC hardware from Intel, AMD and Nvidia.
Built on a highly modified version of Unreal Engine 3, the game only uses DirectX 9, opting to exclude the engine's DirectX 11 support. It's worth mentioning that Borderlands 2 is a "The Way It's Meant to be Played" title, supporting many Nvidia features such as PhysX and 3D Vision Surround. Let's get down to business...
Not only are SSDs faster than HDDs, but they also consume less power and generate less heat. They're quieter, more reliable and more compact than their spinning counterparts. Talking about compact...
We recently took notice when Crucial announced its m4 mSATA SSD in a 256GB capacity at under $1/GB. The mSATA drive is tiny compared to Crucial's standard 2.5" m4, and despite the size difference, both 256GB models feature the same read and write speeds of 500MB/s and 260MB/s -- an exciting prospect, indeed. Assuming there are no catches, Crucial's new mSATA offering could become the go-to solution for ultraportable upgrades...
Torchlight II is much more of a beast than its predecessor; in terms of scale and ambition, it's right up there with the biggest names in loot-collection and click-based combat. And so of course, Blizzard's Diablo III looms large over the entirety of Torchlight II. How could it not?
As I've been playing, it's been very difficult to evaluate Torchlight II on its own terms, rather than constantly thinking "Oh, so X is different from Diablo III in Y way." But let's get this out of the way: If you liked Diablo III, you will almost surely like Torchlight II.
Nvidia shook up the enthusiast GPU market last month when it launched its most affordable Kepler offering yet. At $299, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti was $100 cheaper than the GTX 670, while being just 13% slower. Likewise, the GTX 660 Ti was faster and more power efficient than the competing Radeon HD 7870, despite matching it on price.
Ever eager to keep AMD on its toes, Nvidia continues its push into the mid-range market with a Kepler-based card that is expected to retail for about $230 -- right in-between AMD's Radeon HD 7850 and 7870. The GTX 660 is based on the new 28nm GK106 that nonetheless keeps all the key innovations introduced by the GTX 680.
LG first unveiled the Optimus 4X HD back at Mobile World Congress in February. It's been a long time coming, but the Optimus 4X HD is now available in much of the world - even if it's only available outside of a plan (unlocked) here in the U.S. The Optimus 4X HD is the first quad-core LG smartphone, and it boasts a very high end spec sheet.
The question is, does the phone manage to outshine its Bruce Banner exterior to show off what it's Hulk-scale guts are capable of? In short: yes. It turns out that what the Optimus 4X HD lacks in external appeal is more than made up for by its good nature and brainy innards.
As tablets become more popular and continue to chip away at the mobile computing market, the idea of leaving the notebook behind in favor of a slate certainly seems attractive. On the pros side you have portability, instant-on capabilities, longer battery life, a touchscreen, and in the case of most modern tablets like the iPad 3, an HD video camera.
A recent Caribbean cruise vacation provided the perfect opportunity to test whether or not my iPad would make a suitable travel replacement. I decided to put several products spanning multiple categories to the test to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses based on my hands-on experience.
Currently in beta, Ravaged is the brainchild of Boris Ustaev and his crew at 2Dawn Games, who have spent the last few years toiling away on a fast-paced post-apocalyptic multiplayer shooter with a strong focus on skills, teamwork, vehicular combat and most importantly, fun. In other words, it's everything the folks at 2Dawn have wanted in a modern PC shooter, but have been unable to find.
We recently had a chance to chat with 2Dawn about its upcoming title, its experience with Kickstarter and what it's like developing a PC game as an independent studio.
Online services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify and many others have brought upon an era of instant, on-demand digital media consumption in a world where linear programming, bundled content, and physical formats no longer fit many people's lives.
Unfortunately this is a revolution not everyone can partake in (not yet or not as easily, at least). In this article we’ll offer you three alternatives to get around region locks. Each has their advantages and disadvantages and whichever route you choose will depend on the services you need to access as well as the devices you need to access them from -- not to mention whether you are willing to pay or not.
The Silencio 650 not only resembles a cleaner version of Cooler Master's more aggressive HAF series, but it touts many attractive features, chief among which is sound absorbing foam mats and specially designed air vents to minimize noise while maintaining low operating temps.
The Silencio's ability to muffle high-end hardware is undoubtedly its key selling point, but there's plenty more to see here. Other noteworthy features include a "DualBoot HDD Switch" for toggling between OSes, a fan speed controller, a memory card reader, 1amp USB 3.0 ports for charging smartphones and tablets, as well as X-Dock, Cooler Master's hot-swappable 2.5"/3.5" HDD/SSD drive bay.
By mid 2012, SSD prices fell through the floor, costing approximately half as much as last year. Granted, that's still nowhere near as economical as standard hard drives, so companies have continued to offer affordable solutions in addition to their high-end series to drive sale volumes.
Such is the case with OCZ and the Agility 4, a budget-minded counterpart to the Vertex 4 that employs cheaper NAND flash memory. In similar fashion we recently saw the arrival of the Crucial v4 series. With both the Agility 4 and Crucial's v4 priced at just under $200 for 256GB models, it seems we have the makings of a value-driven shootout...
The early days of Facebook were much different from now. The site layout and profile pages were very basic, and the young and reckless didn't have to worry about family members or employers stumbling across their questionable photos.
But as Facebook closes in on one billion active users, its overwhelming success is mostly why I've decided to end my long-standing relationship with the social network. Seven years is a long time to maintain any online account, much less one that demands almost daily attention.
Many have tried to challenge Google’s dominance of the search market, but perhaps with the exception of Microsoft, which has poured billions into its search efforts, all have failed to gain any significant traction.
A relative newcomer to the search market, DuckDuckGo isn’t shying away from the monumental task. In fact, with a simple, straightforward interface and clean results they’ve come up with one of the most appealing Google alternatives to date. Even if they are still far from changing the status quo, their no nonsense approach to privacy and instant answers are worth taking note of.
Although nothing used to match the GeForce GTX 670's price-to-performance ratio, its $400 entry fee remained a steep one. Gamers who wanted to spend less were left with the $230 HD 7850, the $300 HD 7870 or a card from Nvidia's last-gen lineup. Naturally, it would only be a matter of time before Nvidia tried to fill this gap with tons of hearsay about a GeForce GTX 660 Ti in the pipeline for a mid to late summer launch.
Well, we're here and the rumors proved true: Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 660 Ti has its crosshairs set on the HD 7870. Assuming it's priced competitively, the GTX 660 Ti seems like it could put a real hurting on AMD's offering, as it features the same DNA as existing Kepler products and boasts the same number of CUDA cores and texture units as the GTX 670.
Back when Vista first arrived I remember comparing how it performed to XP and being extremely disappointed with the results. Vista was generally rough around the edges and that included drivers, so gaming and productivity applications were more often than not slower in the new OS. Microsoft's PR machine has been hard at work over the past few months, trying to explain the numerous improvements Windows 8 has received on the backend. The good news is that it shows.
For comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8 we will measure and test the performance of various aspects of the operating system including: boot up and shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks.
More than last year, 2012's ultrabooks have been and will continue to be about tradeoffs: low-res screens vs. high-res, TN panels vs. IPS, snappy SSDs vs. capacious HDDs, dual-core CPUs vs. quad-core, 2GB vs. 8GB, power-sipping IGPs vs. muscle-bound GPUs, mainstream vs. premium pricing, and so on.
Acer's new TimelineU makes its own compromises. Our review unit touts a full-size backlit keyboard, 500GB of storage, a GeForce GT 640M LE GPU, an optical drive, an eight-hour battery life and an attractive $830 price tag. Naturally, the question is: what's the catch? Let's get to the bottom of that.
Massively multiplayer online gamers have different needs than those of first-person shooter or real-time strategy fans. They need social interaction. They need extremely comfortable chairs. But most of all they need buttons. So many buttons.
PC peripheral manufacturers have sensed this need and have responded with specialized MMO mice featuring so many buttons. Today we take a look at three of them — the Logitech G600, the Razer Naga 2012 and the Cyborg M.M.O. 7 from Mad Catz — to determine which is most worthy of your MMOney.
The Iconia Tab A700 is Acer's latest update to its Android tablet line-up. Featuring Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a quad-core processor, the A700's claim to fame is its new 1920 x 1200 pixel, full HD display. Needless to say, it's a considerable step up from the 1280 x 800 pixel displays Acer used on the A500 and A510.
The Acer Iconia Tab A700 should look familiar to anyone who has seen or used a 10-inch Android tablet before. The tablet's dimensions and 16:10 aspect ratio display lend it much more to use in landscape orientation than in portrait -- something that is frequently said about 10-inch Android tablets.
IFTTT (If This Then That) lets you automate tasks between popular web services such as Dropbox, Twitter, Evernote, Facebook, Instapaper, and many others. IFTTT works by telling it what task you want carried out, what will trigger this task, and it will put it into action for you.
A common example would be to have your Instagram pictures automatically backed up on your Dropbox or Box account. Certainly useful, but there's also more specific things you can do with it. For example, say I want to keep up with how a certain country is doing in the London 2012 Olympics.
Apple’s coveted Retina display has finally found its way to a full-size notebook courtesy of the latest MacBook Pro. In addition, there’s an entirely reworked chassis that’s nearly as thin as the MacBook Air and weighs more than a pound less than the standard Pro. Customers can also configure a Retina system with up to 16GB of RAM and 768GB of flash storage, versus a maximum of 8GB of RAM and 512GB of solid state storage on a standard Pro.
But hey, who are we kidding, the only reason that most people are going to dish over the extra cash for Apple’s latest and greatest is the 2880 x 1800 resolution goodness of the Retina display. And I’ll go ahead and let you in a little secret: it’s a thing of beauty.
Celebrating Tahiti's "half birthday" last month, AMD relaunched its Radeon HD 7970 with a "GHz Edition" that increased the reference design's core clock speed from 925MHz to 1GHz with the intention of allowing the company to claim it offered the world's fastest GPU. But the festivities were short-lived for several reasons.
Now Gigabyte has taken matters into its own hands with what seems to be a far more interesting solution. Armed with five fans, nine heatpipes and a huge vapor chamber, one might consider the HD 7970 SOC to be overkill, and to that we say "hell yes!"
The new Motorola Atrix HD has some seriously stiff competition in AT&T's smartphone lineup with the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. The Atrix HD has most of the specs to match the top tier Android smartphones, but does it put them together well enough to be a real competitor?
The answer to that question is a bit of yes and a bit of no. The Atrix HD excels in certain areas, but doesn't quite hit the mark in others. Fortunately, its $99 price tag makes it a great value, and it is one to be considered for those who don't want to shell out upwards of $200 on a new smartphone.
When choosing the right laptop it all comes down to what you are willing to spend and what you plan to use it for. This guide will help you navigate through the countless options out there. As usual, we've narrowed down our favorite notebooks and grouped them into five different categories: ultraportables, business and workstations, desktop replacements, gaming, and budget-oriented machines.
|Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life.||Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.|
|Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower.||Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.|
|Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.|
Although every product deserves healthy criticism, many opinions of Windows 8 seem to be based on misconceptions, especially when it comes to the viability of Metro as a Start menu replacement. For the record, I don't care if you skip the update -- hell, I might pass on it too -- nor do I care if it's the most failtastic operating system in Windows' 26-year history.
However, I believe your opinion should be formed by facts, not irrational rhetoric parroted online by so-called power users and companies that want to sell you third-party programs. The truth is, functionally speaking, Metro is basically identical to the Start menu.
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