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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.

OCZ Vertex 450 Review: Vector-like Performance For Less

OCZ Vertex 450 Review: Vector-like Performance For Less

The battle between the OCZ Vector and the Samsung SSD 840 Pro has been closely contested ever since the Indilinx-based drive arrived late last year, though when push comes to shove OCZ could be on the losing end.

Meet the Vertex 450, OCZ's latest addition to the Vertex SSD series based on a slightly modified version of the Barefoot 3 controller that is designed to be more cost effective. So how does the new Vertex drive fare against the best SSDs in the market including OCZ's own?

Xbox One: Entertainment hub first, gaming console second - but can it disrupt TV?

Xbox One: Entertainment hub first, gaming console second - but can it disrupt TV?

Tech companies have been trying for years to get broadcast behemoths to change their ways and there’s been a good bit of progress. But it’s not enough. Technology is simply outpacing the traditional broadcast model. Something’s gotta give. Could the Xbox One be the catalyst for change that we’ve all been hoping for?

The Xbox One is now poised to become a huge mainstream success if Microsoft plays their cards right and even more so if they can get broadcast executives on board with their vision.

Metro: Last Light Tested, Benchmarked

Metro: Last Light Tested, Benchmarked

When the Metro 2033 was released in 2010 it contributed to raise the PC graphics bar making good use of the latest DirectX 11 rendering technologies. Metro: Last Light follows its predecessor roots by using a heavily customized and improved version of the 4A Engine.

Furthermore, the developer has continued to cater to loyal PC gamers who have considerably more power than console gamers at its disposal by including a richer gaming experience visually as well as a benchmark tool for measuring your system's performance.

Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC: Small and Silent Performance

Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC: Small and Silent Performance

The idea behind the Thin Mini-ITX form factor, besides the obvious which is to create seriously compact computers, is also to allow for DIY all-in-ones (think of little PCs you can attach to the back of your monitor). Having that said, we don't fully intend to go the all-in-one route in this article, but are aiming to build a powerful Thin Mini-ITX system that can be used in the office or at home as a media PC.

This is what our finished system should look like: extremely compact, powerful, and near silent operation, as in no-moving-parts silent. For less than $700 including a 256GB SSD, we believe you'll love what the final product will look like.

Metro: Last Light Review

Metro: Last Light Review

The Metro series is set some years after nuclear war has ruined the surface of the Earth and put an end to civilization as we know it. In Russia, survivors have retreated to the Metro, re-forging a bleak semi-existence in the tunnels beneath the city. This is the sort of game that mentions, in its opening cinematic, the very real possibility that God is dead.

Last Light assumes that players got the "bad ending" in Metro 2033 and took the option to blast the entire population of "Dark Ones" into oblivion. The subsequent discovery of a single surviving Dark One sets the plot of Last Light in motion.

Gigabyte U2442F 14-inch Ultrabook Review

Gigabyte U2442F 14-inch Ultrabook Review

It was 2011 and Intel saw a surging trend in mobile computing. Notebooks were to become thinner, batteries had to last more, optical drives were going away, and performance, performance didn't have to suffer too much. So Intel pushed forward by investing $300 million of its own money to make it happen. That's what we know today as the ultrabook initiative.

Today we are checking out Gigabyte's flagship ultrabook, the U2442F which comes armed with a 3rd-Gen Core i7 processor, plenty of memory, and a quality SSD. The U2442F is as capable as a high-end desktop.

Best Of: 8 Free to Play PC Games That Are Too Good to Be True

Best Of: 8 Free to Play PC Games That Are Too Good to Be True

The gaming world is making a dramatic shift towards free to play games. Of course, full price retail titles still make up for a majority of releases on the PC and most other platforms, but playing a quality game without cracking your wallet open is a completely viable option nowadays.

A free to play game made right should allow players to enjoy everything it has to offer, while keeping monetary transactions completely optional.  We’ve combed through the Internet to bring you the very best PC games pushing forward the free-to-play model -- and making a good name for it, too.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon review: Retro shooter goodness

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon review: Retro shooter goodness

"The game is stupid," Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon creative director Dean Evans proudly proclaimed during a recent press event — not foolish pride, but pride in foolishness. Ubisoft has done great and terrible things with the game engine, transforming it into a nightmare world, where wild boars roam the purple plains, backs covered with neon graffiti.

Blood Dragon's story unfolds through a series of 2D cutscenes that wouldn't be out-of-place in an NES-era adventure. And when those scenes end, it's into a day-glo nightmare from the early days of MTV.

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Review: Still Android's Best?

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Review: Still Android's Best?

It's good to be king, especially when Samsung knows that it reached the top position after some early missteps. Now comes the hard part -- staying on top. If the Galaxy S III was Samsung's crowning achievement, the Galaxy S 4 is the first defense of the throne.

Arriving on the heels of one rival's flagship and a few months before the expected unveiling of another's, the Galaxy S 4 will prove whether Samsung is continuing its trend of advancement or becoming just as predictable as the old guard that it mocked. So naturally we must ask: just how good is the Samsung Galaxy S 4?

AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: Dual GPU Comeback

AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: Dual GPU Comeback

The current generation AMD GPU series collectivelly known as "Southern Islands" were released over a year ago, with the beginning of its rollout in January 2012. Sixteen months later, the Radeon HD 7000 series is still very much relevant, as AMD continues to release new models under the same GPU family.

Although it's been over a year since AMD launched the Radeon HD 7970, we are just getting an official dual-GPU version. The Radeon HD 7990 takes a pair of 7970 GPUs with overclocked cores and memory, packing 8.2 TFLOPS computer power, 6GB GDDR5 and an upgraded PEX bridge to connect the two GPUs.

Sapphire Edge VS8 Review: The $500 Mini PC

Sapphire Edge VS8 Review: The $500 Mini PC

While full-sized desktop computers are still around, tablets and smartphones have proven that technology has come far enough to essentially cram a fully capable computer into a space that is suitable for your pants pocket, a purse, or a small backpack. This idea of shrinking hardware hasn’t been overlooked by manufacturers as several now feature space-saving designs based on mobile hardware.

Such is the case with Sapphire’s new Edge VS8 mini-PC powered by AMD’s A8 APU. The system is hardly any larger than an external optical drive, while still packing 4GB of DDR3 memory, Radeon HD 7600G graphics, a 500GB SATA HDD, built-in support for Bluetooth 3.0 as well as 802.11 b/g/n wireless and a bevy of rear I/O connections.

GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Review, SLI Performance Tested

GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Review, SLI Performance Tested

The GTX 650 Ti was our favorite $100 - $150 graphics card last year, as it thrashed the Radeon HD 7770, its direct competitor. Then last month AMD decided to attack the $150 price point with a new HD 7790 GPU, but the reaction didn't take long to arrive.

Just a week later Nvidia officially countered by releasing the poorly named GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, now the third graphics card to carry the GTX 650 name. At $170, the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost sits between the Radeon HD 7790 and the 7850. In terms of performance, we actually expect the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost to be a lot faster than the GTX 650 Ti, even when it's based on the same GK106 architecture.

LG Lucid 2 Review: Android aimed at the mid-range

LG Lucid 2 Review: Android aimed at the mid-range

The original LG Lucid was behind the curve when it launched on Verizon Wireless last year. It had 4G LTE, but it was running an outdated version of Android at a time when users were clamoring for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Lucid 2 arrives just over a year later and is thankfully closer to what's expected of a modern smartphone.

The Lucid 2 has 4G LTE, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, plenty of software additions courtesy of LG, and a favorable price for someone looking for a new Android smartphone (free with a two-year contract). Is it favorable enough? You may be surprised to learn how tall the new Lucid can stand.

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 4: The Coming of General Purpose GPUs

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 4: The Coming of General Purpose GPUs

With DX10's arrival, vertex and pixel shaders maintained a large level of common function, so moving to a unified shader arch eliminated a lot of unnecessary duplication of processing blocks. The first GPU to utilize this architecture was Nvidia's iconic G80.

Four years in development and $475 million produced a 681 million-transistor, 484mm² behemoth -- first as the 8800 GTX flagship and then with cards aimed at several segments. Aided by the new Coverage Sample anti-aliasing (CSAA) algorithm, Nvidia saw its GTX demolish every single competitor in outright performance.

LG 29EA93 Review: Monitors Go Ultra-Wide

LG 29EA93 Review: Monitors Go Ultra-Wide

The LG 29EA93-P is the company's first entry into the still nascent category of ultra-wide consumer displays. There remain few options to compete against the 29EA93’s expansive 21:9 aspect ratio, however, LG, Dell and a few others ostensibly believe there’s a market for ultra-wides and I’ll admit -- I think they’re right.

While the 29EA93 seems suitably equipped to watch movies, how does it fare against other types of computer use? Could it possibly be a worthy replacement for your trusty dual-monitor setup?

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 3: The Nvidia vs. ATI era begins

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 3: The Nvidia vs. ATI era begins

With the turn of the century the graphics industry bore witness to further consolidation. Where 3dfx was once a byword for raw performance, its strengths before its dismissal laid in its full screen antialiasing image quality. By the time 2001 dawned, the PC graphics market consisted of a discrete card duopoly (Nvidia and ATI), with both of them in addition to Intel supplying the vast majority of integrated graphics chipsets.

Prior to the Voodoo 5’s arrival, ATI had announced the Radeon DDR as “the most powerful graphics processor ever designed for desktop PCs.” Previews of the card had already gone public on April 25, and only twenty-four hours later Nvidia countered with the announcement of the GeForce 2 GTS (GigaTexel Shader).

Synology DS2413+ NAS Review: For when you're serious about storage

Synology DS2413+ NAS Review: For when you're serious about storage

The DS2413+ is Synology's newest twelve-bay DiskStation NAS for small to medium sized businesses who need loads of storage. Along with supporting up to 48TB worth of drives out of the box, the DS2413+ can be paired with the company's DX1211 expansion enclosure that houses an extra 12 drives, doubling the maximum storage capacity of the base unit to a whopping 96TB.

We should also make a quick note before you get to the end and scoff at the price: the DS2413+ isn't for average home users. It's retailing for $1,700 without drives or the 12-bay expansion. With that in mind, let's see what the DS2413+'s upgrades offer.

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 2: 3Dfx Voodoo, the game-changer

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 2: 3Dfx Voodoo, the game-changer

Launched on November 1996, 3Dfx's Voodoo graphics consisted of a 3D-only card that required a VGA cable pass-through from a separate 2D card to the Voodoo, which then connected to the display. Voodoo Graphics revolutionized personal computer graphics nearly overnight and rendered many other designs obsolete, including a vast swathe of 2D-only graphics producers.

The 3D landscape in 1996 favoured S3 with around 50% of the market. That was to change soon, however. It was estimated that 3Dfx accounted for 80-85% of the 3D accelerator market during the heyday of Voodoo’s reign. Later on Nvidia would revive with the RIVA series and eventually land their greatest success with the first GeForce graphics card.

Razer Edge Gaming Tablet Review: A full-blown PC trapped inside a tablet

Razer Edge Gaming Tablet Review: A full-blown PC trapped inside a tablet

Like many PC gamers, I've often wished a machine capable of putting the power of a gaming rig in a portable device. Gaming laptops are lovely and have their place, but that place is often on top of a desk. After a week with Razer's new Edge gaming tablet, I realize what I really wanted was to play Bioshock Infinite in the bathroom without burning my thighs. All hail Razer, deliverer of dreams.

Razer's only review guidelines before sending along a Razer Edge loaner was that I not tell them I used it in the bathroom. I am a review guideline freedom fighter, deep in the trenches, pants around my ankles, balancing a $1,499 gaming tablet on the side of the tub before redeploying to less secluded front. And why not? I don't have to stop playing until the batteries run out.

BioShock Infinite Tested, Benchmarked

BioShock Infinite Tested, Benchmarked

Three years having passed since BioShock 2 and the dawn of a new console generation on the horizon, BioShock Infinite has taken the opportunity to mix things up. Along with DX11 effects, folks playing on PC can look forward to higher resolution textures and a healthy range of customization over settings like anti-aliasing, texture detail and filtering, dynamic shadows, post-processing, and so on.

Our Bioshock Infinite test comprises 24 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia covering a wide range of prices, from the affordable to the ultra-expensive.

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 1

The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 1

The evolution of the modern graphics processor begins with the introduction of the first 3D add-in cards in 1995, followed by the widespread adoption of the 32-bit operating systems and the affordable personal computer.

While 3D graphics turned a fairly dull PC industry into a light and magic show, they owe their existence to generations of innovative endeavour. Over the next few weeks we'll be taking an extensive look at the history of the GPU, going from the early days of 3D consumer graphics, to the 3Dfx Voodoo game-changer, the industry's consolidation at the turn of the century, and today's modern GPGPU.

BioShock Infinite Review: The Perfect Sequel?

BioShock Infinite Review: The Perfect Sequel?

BioShock Infinite isn't just a worthy sequel to a much-loved predecessor. It also manages to be about America - touching on its past, present and possibilities — in a way that makes it a must.

You haven't been to a place like this before. The fictional floating city where Infinite is set is all clockwork platforms and brass gears, its many sections populated with hucksters, strivers, lovers and schoolchildren. One minute, you're walking past a sheer drop, the next a park swings down into the open space.

Radeon HD 7790 Review: Aiming straight for the $150 segment

Radeon HD 7790 Review: Aiming straight for the $150 segment

The latest member of the Southern Islands family, the new Radeon HD 7790 is designed to fill the gap between the Radeon HD 7770 and 7850. Set to precisely target the $150 price tag, the HD 7790 should be an affordable solution that provides good value to gamers on a budget.

The HD 7790 is set to go head to head against the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which represented the best value in this bracket. To sweeten the deal, AMD is also offering a free game bundle of Bioshock Infinite for a limited time.

SimCity Tested, Benchmarked

SimCity Tested, Benchmarked

Normally when we benchmark a first person shooter, finding a good portion of the game to test with is simply a matter of playing through the game until we find a section that is rather demanding. But with SimCity things were considerably more complex and time consuming.

A city with few sims will see graphics cards such as the GeForce Titan or GTX 680 render massive frame rates because they are not being capped by the CPU (yet). As with most simulation and strategy games, SimCity is CPU dependent and overclocking should result in a healthy boost if needed. More inside.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Review

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Review

When you're not building and recruiting, you're following arrows and doing what the game tells you to do. There are optional side-quests, yes, but they're almost always marked on your mini-map, and they're way too easy to find and finish.

But it's still StarCraft. It's still a joy to go through the now-familiar ritual of training and killing, and even the easiest missions are designed with the attention to detail that we've grown to expect from this series. And even the easier moments exercise your mind in the way that only a real-time strategy game can.

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