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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.

Liquid Cooling vs Air Cooling: A TechSpot Comparison

Recently we compared 10 of the best CPU air coolers and while we didn't think twice about stamping the NH-U14S with our Outstanding Award, we've since wondered how it would fare against a basic water cooling setup. On paper, closed loop systems simplify the process of diving into water cooling, being about as safe and easy to work with as air cooling while delivering much of the performance you'd expect from an elaborate custom loop at a fraction of the cost.

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Infamous Tech Industry Predictions and Quotations

Within an industry known as much for its predictive pronouncements and verbal sparring as its actual innovation, low bandwidth morality, and elastic attitude towards intellectual property rights, many have felt compelled to follow Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (of Moore's Law) in bringing their judgements and observations into the public eye… with varying degrees of success.

Is Buying a Sound Card Worth The Money? An Enthusiast's Perspective

Buying a sound card has always felt more like a gamble than an investment to me. At the same time, I know audio snobs with thousands in equipment and all-FLAC libraries, and I'd like to believe they aren't delusional -- surely there's something to be experienced beyond my basic setup. But I mean, just how much better can music, movies and games sound? Enough to prevent buyer's remorse?

Learn to Code: 22 Free Resources

Whether you’re looking for something new to learn, or just want to refresh your memory on something that might be a bit rusty, there are plenty of free sources online that you can take advantage of free code classes. In this article, we’re going to look at a few different resources online you can tap into for coding know-how; some of these are email-based, some are in a game format (always my favorite!), and some are instructor-led via video. Just pick and choose the one that works best for you.

WD Black2 Dual Drive Review

The WD Black2 sports both a 120GB SSD and a 1TB HDD in a single package. Unlike other hybrid configs such as Seagate's Momentus XT which combine ample magnetic storage with a little NAND, the Black2 crams both technologies into one drive too, but it simply does what desktop users have been doing for years by making the flash portion a primary boot drive with the disk serving as bulk storage.

Lenovo Erazer X700 Gaming PC Review

Lenovo is well-known for its diverse portfolio of offerings spanning home and business. Gaming, on the other hand, is one area Lenovo has mostly ignored over the years. With that in mind, we introduce to you the Erazer X700 -- Lenovo’s first stab at a PC tailored for gamers. Features which qualify the X700 as a full-fledged gaming PC are its unique exterior, performance-centered parts, ample tool-free expandability, liquid cooling and OneKey overclocking. Sound good so far?

Time Saver: Download subtitles automatically with a simple script

Finding subtitles for ripped or downloaded videos isn’t terribly complicated, but there are a few handy apps that can save you some time by making the whole process extremely easy, as simple as dragging and dropping a video file. Why not take it to the next level and make subtitle downloads 100% hands off? With the help of a couple handy tools we certainly can!

You Want to Know This: Xbox One vs. PS4

Two new gaming consoles. Both very powerful. Both very ambitious. Both about to meet head to head... and do battle for your time, money and attention, as well as the fate of the universe! Two weeks ago we reviewed the PlayStation 4. Last week we reviewed the Xbox One. Now that we've had a decent chunk of time with both consoles, let's bang them together and pretend they're fighting.

Apple iPad mini with Retina Display: The TechSpot Review

Every year Apple refreshes their tablet line-up with new hardware and new features. The full sized iPad got faster, lighter, slimmer and even received a new name (iPad Air), while the second-generation mini is more impressive than ever, thanks to a major update. This new iPad mini comes with a high-resolution 7.9-inch panel whose resolution is on-par with the Air at 2048 x 1536. Not only that, but Apple’s new A7 SoC is included, alongside a larger battery in a shell that’s nearly identical in size to the original iPad mini.

Read the full review inside -- watch the video review below:

Xbox One Review: Microsoft's Ambitious Play For The Living Room

The Xbox One is a testament to Microsoft's towering ambition. It represents their desire not only to occupy a place in your home entertainment center, but to lumber straight into the center of it. The Xbox One I've been using for the past week and a half is significantly different from that announced back in May. The relatively short period of time Microsoft has had to make so many changes is evident in the console and its software. Xbox One is clearly coming in hot, and many of its features aren't quite complete. It ain't easy evaluating a work in progress. This is going to be a long review.

Google Nexus 5 Review

Despite its low price – $349 for an unlocked 16 GB model – the Nexus 5 packs top-of-the-line specifications. Internally there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with a 2.3 GHz quad-core CPU, 2 GB of RAM, LTE radios worldwide (a first for Nexus devices) and a 2,300 mAh battery, complemented by a 4.95-inch 1080p IPS display. Let’s not forget the camera either, which is an 8-megapixel unit and will hopefully prove much more capable than the Nexus cameras of the past.

Read the full review inside -- watch the video review below:

Xperia Z1 Review: Testing Sony's Latest Android Flagship

Enter the Xperia Z1. New Snapdragon 800 SoC. New 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS camera. New aluminium body. In many respects, this is what Sony was aiming for with the original Xperia Z: a solid set of features to lure any smartphone buyer including waterproofing. It may be out a little later than your Galaxy S4 or HTC One, but there’s no doubting that the Z1 is a high-end handset to take Sony into 2014.

PlayStation 4 Review: Do You Need to Have One Yet?

How good is the PlayStation 4? Ask me in five years. Ask me after I figure out whether God of War is headed in the right direction, after I learn whether it has become unfathomable to play a console game without livestreaming it. These days, many game reviews aren't really done when they first run. They can explain parts of the game accurately at launch, but online communities shape these games. That's true, too, for the surprisingly online-centric PlayStation 4.

Overclock That GeForce! Gigabyte GTX 780 Ti OC & GTX 780 GHz Review

As if it wasn't already fast enough, Gigabyte has armed its GTX 780 Ti with a massive air cooler that allows its variant of Nvidia's newcomer with a 17% overclock. The company has also been working on other overclocked GTX 780s, including a "GHz Edition" allowing a core clock of 1.02GHz or 18% higher than the standard version of the card.

10 PC Games You Should Check Out These Holidays

To help keep track of what's shipping over the year's final weeks, we've prepared a list of this season's hottest PC games ordered by release date. As always, you're welcome to pitch in with comments about PC releases we may have overlooked or otherwise excluded.

Asrock M8 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Barebones Review

Even if the Asrock M8's style is not your thing, there's less room to argue that this is a unique gaming PC barebones kit and that was enough to earn our attention. We've been impressed with the looks of previous Asrock products -- including its mini PCs -- but the M8 is a clear step up having been designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the driving force behind Thermaltake's Level 10 chassis, a case as overpriced as it is iconic.

OCZ Vector 150 SSD Review: Little has changed in a year

The Vector 150 is an evolutionary step forward for OCZ's enthusiast series, improving the original Vector's endurance and security by supposedly being able to withstand 150% more writes along with providing AES-256 encryption. By focusing on those features, OCZ left us with the impression that speed wasn't a priority, but that hasn't prevented the company from boasting about breaking performance barriers.

At no less than $1.00 per gigabyte, we're skeptical about OCZ being able to justify the Vector 150's price, but the company has surprised us with knockout performance in the past so it only seems fair to expect big things from them.

Radeon R9 290 Review: Kick-ass value, same top notch performance

AMD surprised everyone last month by delivering Titan-like performance for nearly half the price with the R9 290X. However before Nvidia can strike back, it'll have to eat another blow in the form of the new Radeon R9 290. At $400, the R9 290 offers fantastic value when you consider it still packs much of what made the R9 290X a GeForce killer.

Battlefield 4 Tested, Benchmarked

With roots that stretch back more than a decade and enough fans to justify new content every year, Battlefield is among the handful of franchises that needs no introduction around here. Even if you hate EA's approach modern military madness, you can typically expect Battlefield's graphics to raise the bar. This year's release is no different, of course, having been built with an updated version of the Frostbite engine.

Battlefield 4 Debuted This Week, Here's the Review

The world is on the brink of war, and it looks like you and the rest of the Tombstone squad are riding that fine, dangerous line that circles all around it. Like almost everything hinges on you carrying out one mission on top of the other. There are these big set-piece moments—the Michael Bay explosions and extravagantly violent and precarious situations you and your squadmates find yourselves in—that set an exciting tone for all of a few seconds.

Building a Hackintosh The Easy Way

Building a Hackintosh has definitely gotten easier over the years but there's still plenty of tinkering involved for the uninitiated. Earlier this year a company known as Quo launched a Kickstarter to fund a motherboard designed to run "any operating system". Though they don’t explicitly market it as a Hackintosh board, it’s clearly one of the board's key selling points. For the past few weeks we've been experimenting with the Quo motherboard (and the office's brand new hackintosh), here's how it all went...

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