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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.
Continuing its tick-tock release cycle, Intel plans to unveil a new CPU microarchitecture at the end of April. Codenamed Ivy Bridge (tick), the update will bring a 22nm die shrink of current 32nm Sandy Bridge technology (tock), bringing greater efficiency and allowing Intel to cram more into the same size die.
Although backwards compatibility with 6-series motherboards will be available, Intel couldn't resist the opportunity to accompany its latest architecture with a fresh round of chipsets. Codenamed "Panther Point," the new 7-series chipsets include half a dozen parts, with the Z77 being Intel's new flagship.
There are only so many people willing to spend $1,300+ on a finger-thick machine, and many of them are already loyal Apple customers. The reality is, the average consumer wants to believe they're buying a premium product, but they don't necessarily want to pay premium prices.
It's a tough nut to crack and most PC makers have failed when it comes to ultrathin notebooks, whether by charging too much or cutting too many corners. Striking a balance between both extremes, HP's Folio 13 kicks off at an attractive $900 while packing the same core componentry you'll find in even the priciest of ultrabooks.
The Nokia Lumia 900 represents a number of firsts: it is the first high-end Windows Phone from Nokia to arrive in the U.S., it is the first 4G LTE smartphone from Nokia, and it is one of the first 4G LTE Windows Phones on the market.
Like the Lumia 800 that preceded it, the Lumia 900 features stunning industrial design, great build quality, and a fantastic ClearBlack AMOLED display. Add in great network performance, solid battery life, and a fast and fluid user interface thanks to Windows Phone 7.5, and you start to see that Nokia really might have a winner on their hands.
The smartphone market is heating up once again as Microsoft and Nokia finally have a hero device out to push the Windows Phone platform, and it's priced quite competitively to boot. Also a handful of Android devices announced back in CES and MWC are finally seeing the light of day.
Check out our selection of the hottest devices currently out there (or soon to be released). Each phone is listed alongside its feature highlights, specs and prices, from newest to oldest. To further aid you in making well-informed decisions on your next purchase, we've also included metascores from our Product Finder.
The One X is HTC's new flagship Android smartphone, the kind of phone that just leaves you breathless. Its single-piece polycarbonate body is unique in the Android world, and it is as comfortable to hold as it is drop dead gorgeous. The X's 720p resolution touchscreen display is just as attractive and functional as it is expansive, measuring 4.7 inches across the diagonal.
The One X's two marquee features, however, are likely its Android 4 OS with the new Sense 4 user interface and the phone's powerful Tegra 3 processor. The real world impact of a quad-core processor might be negligible for most tasks, but there's no denying that the marketing appeal it offers is great.
The Synology DS1512+ boasts faster read and write speeds compared to its predecessor and packs an updated dual core 2.13GHz Intel Atom D2700 (32nm Cedar Trail) CPU, which should provide a little more oomph than the dated Atom D525.
These extras come at a reasonable $100 premium over last year's DS1511+, which should position this 5-bay device as a respectable contender in the current NAS market. Let's take a closer look at the hardware and DiskStation Manger 4.0 software before we greet Synology's latest offering with our usual array of benchmarks.
Last January, Crucial announced the Adrenaline SSD series. Not meant to replace their existing and well regarded m4 drives, the Adrenaline is a cache solution meant to work along your existing disk drive, using a 50GB SSD to act as solid state flash-based cache for your larger primary hard drive.
The Adrenaline doesn't require any special drivers as it uses the SATA interface, it can be installed at any point and can therefore be fitted to any computer without the need to reinstall Windows.
With the original iPad, many questioned whether there was a place in the market for such a device. Netbooks were surging, notebooks were getting faster and thinner, and smartphones finally reached a point where they were effective mobile Internet tools. With the iPad 2 and countless other clones, it started becoming clear that consumers were indeed attracted to the new tablet format. With the iPad 3 and current generation slates, there's no doubt that tablets are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
As was widely anticipated, Apple unveiled the third-generation iPad last March 7 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Analysts speculated that we would see the iPad 3 or perhaps the iPad HD but Cupertino defied all in attendance by simply calling it "the new iPad."
HP supplied us with their TouchSmart model 520-1070 which they described as the star of their current all-in-one lineup that features a lighter, thinner design and an upgraded version of HP’s Magic Canvas software.
The 23-inch multi-touch AIO is powered by a 2nd generation Intel Core i7-2600S processor clocked at 2.8GHz, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive, Radeon HD 6450A graphics and Beats Audio. Additional perks include a built-in TV tuner and HDMI-in, essentially transforming the 520 into a venerable entertainment / gaming station.
The Radeon HD 7700 series cards we reviewed recently didn't really pushed the envelope in terms of value. Part of that stems from the fact that Nvidia hasn't launched its GTX 600 series yet, allowing AMD to have its way with the market. But we're hoping that changes when Nvidia's Kepler products finally arrive.
The old HD 5750 and 5770 were popular Crossfire candidates and the same could be true of the HD 7700 series if it's priced right. Anticipating that day, we're testing the HD 7750 and HD 7770 in Crossfire across more than a dozen games to see how well they scale and compare against cards such as the HD 6870 and GTX 560 Ti.
It's no secret that tablet makers are having a hard time competing with Apple in this still nascent market. In fact, the iPad is selling so well that it surpassed the number of PCs shipped by any individual PC manufacturer over the last quarter of 2011.
We've compiled a comparative table with what we consider are the best tablets either currently available or announced so far. We've also included metascores from our Product Finder engine and review links to help you dig deeper and narrow down your next purchase.
As you've undoubtedly heard, the third installment of BioWare's Mass Effect trilogy hit shelves last Tuesday. Being one of the year's most anticipated launches, it's no surprise to see it with an aggregate review score of over 90.
We've benchmarked Mass Effect 3 across three different resolutions with two dozen GPU configurations -- including AMD's new Radeon HD 7000 series. We'll also see how the performance scales when overclocking an eight-core FX-8150, along with benching a handful of other Intel and AMD processors.
Here are the real questions everyone has: did my favorite feature from Mass Effect come back? Does my favorite skill from Mass Effect 2 carry over? And what about the romantic relationship I chose, or my favorite companion, or that great gun? Is it my Normandy, my Citadel, my galaxy? Do my choices matter?
Is this, in short, truly the Mass Effect title for which we have all been waiting for so very many interminable months? Yes. Yes it is.
Intel is set to roll out its latest generation of processors sometime this spring. By normal standards, the launch should mark a new "tick" in the company's product roadmap, but Intel is going beyond just shrinking the current 32nm Sandy Bridge die by introducing some fundamental advancements with its new 22nm process.
There's been quite a bit of information on Ivy Bridge going around ever since Intel detailed the architecture late last year. We'll recap some of the major changes and practical implications, while also bringing you up to speed on the latest developments, including expected launch lineup and pricing.
Windows 8 CP cracked 1 million downloads shortly after launching last Wednesday and I'm sure many of you have tried it already. Whether you went with a dual-boot, upgrade, clean install or virtual machine, if you're coming from Windows 7 you'll notice significant changes immediately, while others may not be as obvious.
With change comes good and bad -- at least until you learn some tricks that get you back up to speed. Without further ado, here's a shortlist of Windows 8 shortcuts and useful quick tricks I've gathered thus far.
AMD’s latest generation GPU series is really starting to take shape now. Having been blown away by the performance of the Radeon HD 7900 series and then let down by the steep pricing of the HD 7700 series, we are keen to see what AMD has to offer with the new HD 7800 series.
Today marks the release of the 'Pitcairn' GPUs which make up the the Radeon HD 7800 series. As you would expect the series consists of two GPUs: the Radeon HD 7870 and Radeon HD 7850, designed to occupy the ample $200 to $400 range.
With the launch of Windows 8's Consumer Preview, you're probably itching to spend some quality time with Microsoft's latest operating system. Although you may have already downloaded the ISO, we bet some of you haven't decided how you're going to install it.
Running Windows 8 in a virtual machine won't remove your current OS, you can access it anytime you want without rebooting and it doesn't require any extra hardware. What's more, the test OS can be deleted in only a few mouse clicks.
AMD offers a valid alternative to its flagship GPU with the Radeon HD 7950, which is essentially a lower-specced and lower-priced version of the HD 7970. The HD 7950 is set at $419 for the 1536MB version, while the full 3072MB variant is $449. Although it's currently possible to find a 3GB model for $449, you can expect to pay closer to $500.
Gigabyte has redesigned the PCB and included an upgraded cooler on the WindForce 3 that is meant to lower temperatures and improve overclocking. Considering the HD 7970's respectable performance, we expect a solid showing from the HD 7950.
If you're in a hurry, you simply need to know that the PlayStation Vita is a very good portable video game machine that excels in ways that Sony hasn't bothered to hype.
The PlayStation Vita is Sony's second portable gaming system and easily its better one. It arrives in North America as well as Europe and Australia on something of a timer, as the rise of gaming on iOS and Android devices threatens the relevance of dedicated handhelds much the way Sony itself threatened the dominance of Nintendo's near-monopoly on dedicated handhelds more than half a decade ago.
Samsung's new Galaxy Note is a unique device in the smartphone market. Straddling the line between a smartphone and a tablet, it features a massive 5.3-inch display, which is considerably larger than any other smartphone available today.
Samsung has attempted to add functionality to the Note with its S Pen input device, but once again the Note's dominant feature is its 5.3-inch, Super AMOLED display that packs a dense 1280 x 800 resolution. The form factor alone will place many potential buyers at odds, while others might appreciate the hybrid nature of the device.
A lot has changed since the days when web developers relied almost exclusively on Flash for media-rich interactive content. Although the technology is still very much alive and may not see a replacement anytime soon for certain uses, more and more websites are implementing HTML5 for streaming audio and video.
On the gaming side, there are some really impressive examples that could easily rival some of the stuff that has been done on Flash over the past decade. We've compiled a small selection of old classics and modern titles built with HTML5 and other open web standards that will give you a taste of things to come.
AMD is bringing its latest generation GPU to mainstream brackets today. The new Radeon HD 7770 and 7750 use the same 28nm design process and Graphics Core Next architecture as the 7000 series flagship, albeit in more affordable configurations.
The move to 28nm lets AMD squeeze 1500 million transistors into a 123mm2 die. In addition, the HD 7700 series die is 26% smaller than the HD 6770. As impressive as those figures are, gamers will be more excited to see AMD's prices: the HD 7770 is $159 -- in line with the GeForce GTX 560 -- and the HD 7750 is even cheaper at $109, combating the GTX 550 Ti.
The i7-3820 is particularly intriguing because of its sub-$300 retail price -- far less than other chips in the Sandy Bridge-E family. For instance, the Core i7-3960X has an MSRP of $999 and sells for more like $1,049, while the i7-3930K has an MSRP of $583 and is fetching $599 at e-tail. Both are six-core CPUs operating over 3GHz with massive 15MB and 12MB L3 caches.
At roughly half the price of the 3930K, we expected Intel to butcher the i7-3820, and while that's partially true, the 3820 remains an impressive specimen with four cores operating at 3.6GHz, a 10MB L3 cache and HyperThreading support.
The hard disk drive supply chain was hit hard late last year when a series of floods struck Thailand. The Asian country accounts for about a quarter of the world's hard drive production. All this resulted in hard drive prices shooting through the roof around the end of October as production became more expensive and limited.
With the help of price tracking site Camelegg we've checked on a number of mobile and desktop HDDs to get a better overview of how the situation has developed in the last three months.
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