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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.
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.
Since the days of the original X25-M SSD, Intel solid state storage products have been characterized for being the most stable and reliable around. With the company now willing to use the SandForce SF-2281, it proves that the controller has reached a certain desired level of maturity.
Intel has adopted the SandForce SF-2281 controller however they have co-defined and validated the firmware for an Intel unique implementation. In other words, the SSD 520 Series drives will differ to similar products in terms of performance and reliability in spite of using the same controller. Read on to learn more about Intel's new premium consumer SSD.
Like a rollercoaster, 2011 was full of transient highs and enduring lows -- mostly the latter for PC gamers. The year began with a promising lineup, but title after title fell flat. Determined to redeem themselves, developers have readied yet another tantalizing roster.
In fact, many of last year's most anticipated titles have spilled over into 2012, including Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3 and Max Payne 3. As usual, we've assembled a list of the hottest PC games expected to hit shelves over the next 12 months.
Multi-monitor technology was originally designed for productivity and it's still the driving force behind such technology today. Graphic designers, video editors, stock traders and other professionals greatly benefit from several screens, but they don't necessarily demand the raw GPU power high-end gamers do.
Hoping to address those needs, Galaxy has begun offering Nvidia's cards with enhanced multi-display support. Today we are going to test an affordable MDT X4 card based on the low-end GeForce GT 520.
You go out to buy a new graphics card, set a budget, and it'd seem that for another $30-60 you can always go with the next step up that performs a little better. Or, you could save those extra dollars, go for the budget model and overclock it and basically match the next step up's performance.
With that in mind, we have hand-picked three graphics cards that represent select price ranges to see just how much extra value can be obtained through overclocking. For the $100+ range we have the Radeon HD 6750, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti has been used to represent the $200+ market. Then at the top of the food chain we have the Radeon HD 6970 going for $300 and up.
As a follow-up to last week's CES special feature and coverage, here are more of the products we observed and played with, along with photos taken during our journey to the event. As you've surely noticed, mobile tech consumed the event with seemingly every major company unveiling smartphones, tablets or ultrabooks. Nonetheless, we managed to lay hands on plenty of awesome PC hardware from the likes of Samsung, Silverstone, MSI, Razer, Roccat, Toshiba, Gigabyte and more...
The Lumia 710 represents Nokia's first Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone in the U.S. Thanks to a fast processor and Windows Phone's attractive and snappy interface, the Lumia 710 is no slouch when you use it, and the phone benefits from solid call quality, decent battery life, and a usable camera.
But is the Lumia 710 capable of making a splash in the crowded U.S. smartphone market, or if it just another forgettable, entry-level device?
Those wanting to build the ultimate performance system will naturally turn to Intel’s new LGA2011 platform which recently made its debut with the Sandy Bridge-E processors. Further, the platform is expected to support enthusiast-level Ivy Bridge processors that are slated for release by the end of 2012, adding to the platform's longevity.
More than ever we expect motherboard manufacturers deliver the goods with their X79 offerings as the platform will only be attractive to the most demanding of PC enthusiasts and gamers building heavily packed machines -- you know, those who will be paying ~$300 for a motherboard on top of a very expensive processor.
The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show kicked off this week in Las Vegas and we've been hard at work bringing you the most prominent product launches and announcements through our daily news stream.
We've also been on the showfloor and attending several media events to get a sneak peak at some of the hottest tech gear heading to consumers this year. As it's become tradition, here's our own take on CES, in pictures...
Remote Desktop in server editions of Windows by default supports two concurrent connections to remotely troubleshoot or administer a computer. However, there are a few reasons why concurrent sessions would come in handy for power users not necessarily running a server.
For example, if you have a dedicated Media Center PC running in the living room, you'll be able to remotely access all files on the machine without interrupting the person watching TV. Or if you are sharing a computer with other users, concurrent Remote Desktop sessions will allow more than one person use that system under a different or even the same user account, without kicking each other off.
Twenty-eleven is almost over and as we conclude our end-of-year articles it's time to look back at some of the most relevant stories of 2011. We'll do a brief recount of tech happenings in six categories: Desktop CPUs and Graphics, Hardware Industry, Devices and Components, Software, Gaming, Mobile Computing and The Web.
It's been quite an eventful year that's for sure. We hope you enjoyed our daily dispatch of PC technology news and analysis as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. Without further ado, here’s our take on 2011.
HP's 2011 Envy 14 picks up right where last year's model left off by beefing up the internals, adding modern connectivity options like USB 3.0 and DisplayPort and greatly improving the touchpad. The Envy has a strong resemblance to Apple's MacBook Pro which for the most part could be considered a good thing.
The latest version features the same gunmetal lid with an attractive etched pattern and a reflective HP logo on the back corner of the lid . Our evaluation system used to cost $1,079.99 but now you can get it for $899, making for an interesting proposition for this subtly well-crafted machine.
The Radeon HD 7970 is the first of a series of upcoming graphics cards that are making the jump to the 28nm fabrication process. The new HD 7970 will effectively become AMD's new flagship single GPU graphics card come January, when the board is expected to ship.
In the meantime, it’s definitely nice to get a look now at how it performs. The Radeon HD 7000 is a big leap for AMD, representing its most significant architecture overhaul in the last decade. Let’s take a moment to check out the new card's capabilities and features in greater detail.
As the current Google flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is the first device to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The super large, super high-resolution display on the Galaxy Nexus is a dream to look at. Verizon's U.S. version is 4G ready and the new Android operating system gives users something very new and interesting to work with. It's a good combination.
Although it's not without flaw, the Galaxy Nexus is every bit the hero smartphone that Google needs it to be to move Android to the next stage of its evolution.
As 2011 nears its expiration date you've probably already wrapped up your holiday shopping and are looking forward to the year-end celebrations with your loved ones. Being the tech fanatics that we are we'd also like to take a moment and look back at what 2011 had to offer, from the greatest computer hardware produced to some of the cool gadgets you shouldn't have missed.
We've used our Product Finder engine to selectively pick this year's standout products in over twenty categories as reviewed by hundreds of seasoned specialists across the web.
Launched in 1970, Xerox's PARC has played an instrumental role in the engineering of laser printing and many of the technologies that compose the PC you're reading this on: ethernet, the mouse, graphical user interface, among others.
However despite its vast industry contributions, the group has been criticized for failing to capitalize on its many innovations. While some of our older readers might be familiar with the prolific Palo Alto Research Center, we think its accomplishments have largely escaped the younger tech crowd. We'd like to take a few minutes to give credit where credit's due.
The Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 and 8.2 tablets pick up where the original Xoom tablet left off. They both offer Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE data speeds, large displays, and a stealth black finish that has been updated to feel better in the hand.
It's regrettable that they run Android 3.x Honeycomb, like the original Xoom tablet that they replace when Ice Cream Sandwich is literally already here. Still, as far as Android tablets go, these two devices are quite capable and aren't hard on the eyes.
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