Crucial announced worldwide availability of its next-gen SSD late last month. Known simply as the "m4," the company's latest entry is hailed as the successor to its award-winning RealSSD C300, promising to deliver more speed and higher capacities.
Considering its intended price point, we shouldn't expect the m4 to dethrone the OCZ Vertex 3 and perhaps not even Intel's SSD 510. Nonetheless, we could be in for a pleasant surprise if Crucial's newest contender delivers performance in excess of what the RealSSD C300 did in its heyday, so let's find out what the m4's made of.
Little over 6 months since launching Trinity on the desktop, AMD is updating their product lineup with a minor refresh. Codenamed Richland, these new APUs offer no substantial changes to either the CPU or GPU. Other than some clock speed improvements and better power management, everything is mostly the same.
Leading the pack is the A10-6800K, which is stepping in to replace the A10-5800K. Both processors are identical with a few minor exceptions. The A10-6800K is clocked slightly higher and has an updated Radeon HD 8670D GPU. We're also taking a look at the bargain basement A4-4000 at the other end of the spectrum, which we suspect is going to be a slightly slower version of last year’s A4-5300.
Lenovo has expanded their line of computing devices to include tablets. The company introduced two new slates earlier this year – the consumer-oriented IdeaPad K1 and the business-minded ThinkPad Tablet that we are examining today.
We've come to know Lenovo as one of the premiere business notebook manufacturers over the past years. The foundation for its ThinkPad line has been a uniform style that's stood the test of time quite well. It's simple, practical, recognizable and instills the value of quality in the minds of many. It'll be interesting to see how that tradition has carried on to their first ThinkPad tablet running Android.
Cooler Master recently launched yet another enthusiast-friendly CM Storm chassis, the Scout 2. Despite its relatively low $90 price tag, the Scout 2 has plenty to offer, including ergonomic steel-reinforced carrying handles, USB 3.0 support and room for up to two SSDs, nine fans and any graphics card around.
Although we reviewed several Cooler Master enclosures in 2012, it's been a year since we laid hands on a new CM Storm-branded case, so it'll be interesting to see how the company's latest offering holds up in the increasingly competitive sub-$100 territory.
As the year comes to an end it's time to look back at the most interesting and relevant tech stories of 2012. Numerous trends consolidated during 2012: Apple’s dominance in the sector, mobile growth, fast-paced releases on the smartphone world, the Windows 8 launch, only to name a few.
This year we have divided stories in 12 heavily packed categories, with nearly 500 hand-picked headlines total. Feel free to jump around between your favored topics, but try not to miss the tech culture section where we revisit some of the most entertaining stories we covered this year. Here’s our take on 2012…
Since Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7, they have tried in vain to introduce a legitimate competitor to the Apple iPhone. They have also failed to unseat an army of Android devices. Nokia's entry was an all-in gamble that was supposed to platform among the elite of smartphones, but being the most popular of the bunch didn't translate to commercial or critical success.
In the Nokia Lumia 920, Windows Phone 8 has a worthy competitor to iOS and Android. It continues the design philosophy that made the original Lumias the most popular Windows Phone handsets. It also features brand new software that is faster and more robust than its predecessor. Will a winning hardware foundation and vastly improved software secure the Lumia 920 a place among the elite?
It's been a heck of a year for games. We've had our highs and we've had our lows, but more importantly, we've all turned those highs and lows into animated GIFs for the rest of the internet to behold.
With that in mind, let's see what the best ones were.
We'll start with a few of our favorites.
From the perspective of folks who cover tech-related happenings, this is always a polarizing time of year. The final weeks of December are generally void of product announcements, yet only two weeks later, we're bombarded with new gadgets at CES.
Before we move on to the latest and greatest devices of 2013, we figure it's worth revisiting some of 2012's most popular devices as suggested by our Product Finder, which includes reviews by hundreds of seasoned specialists across the Web. We've included 59 products across 14 categories along with their aggregate review score and a brief commentary that explains why they're special.
The IdeaPad Yoga 13 was one of the first hybrid Windows 8 systems that consumers got a look at. Lenovo unveiled a near-finished prototype at CES nearly a year ago – well before Windows 8 was finished and ready for prime time.
With Windows 8 now here Lenovo is looking to capitalize early and often with the do-it-all Yoga 13. Priced from $999, this system was one of the first portable systems to launch alongside Windows 8. I’ve spent the past several weeks learning the ins and outs of this hybrid Ultrabook and without jumping right to the conclusion from the get-go, I will let you know that it’s a very capable all-around system that doesn’t compromise on that it is first and foremost: a notebook.
There was a moment on Sunday when I thought the PC gamers had been hiding something from me. They'd been telling me that PC gaming wasn't the complicated hobby that it used to be, that it was more streamlined and less of a pain. They'd told me that I didn't need to be an auto mechanic if I didn't want to be, that I could just drive without ever flipping up the hood.
And yet there I was trying to be a PC gamer on Sunday and having a tough time of it. I was feeling stymied yet again. I was having what I now hope are my last doubts, because today I've just about run out of excuses to fear PC gaming.
It's been a long year of HDD supply shortages and wacky premiums, but things are finally stabilizing and new designs are trickling out of drive makers. Recently WD expanded its flagship Black series with a 4TB model, meant to deliver a balance between speed, capacity and price.
At ~$350, a Black 4TB drive is slightly cheaper than a pair of WD Black 2TB drives and much more affordable than the previously released enterprise WD RE 4TB drive. Given that we've been spoiled by SSDs over the last few years, we don't expect to be blown away by the new drive's blistering speed, but it should be fun comparing its performance with other terabyte-plus hard drives if ample capacity is what you're after...
A $200 laptop is a difficult thing to assess. The Acer C7 Chromebook has that shockingly low price tag, but there's also weak build quality and a netbook-grade CPU. The trade-offs the buyer must be willing to make are not trivial. And that’s before we acknowledge the Acer C7 runs Chrome OS rather than Windows.
The most interesting question then, is who exactly is the C7 for? Before we can get to who it’s for (hint: there is more than one correct answer,) we have to get to the bottom of what the C7 is and then more importantly, what it can do.
They are, beyond control schemes and visuals, the single best reason to play games on a PC. Mods can, at their laziest, tweak a game so its settings or features behave more to your liking. At their most ambitious, they can transform your entire experience, leaving you with something that feels like an all-new game.
This year was a big one for PC mods, with two - DayZ and Black Mesa - rivalling commercial products for public awareness and, perhaps more importantly, quality. But they weren't the only great mods released this year, here's a shortlist of the best mods released during 2012.