What makes a product iconic? Design, functionality, styling, and innovation will get you part of the way there, but the true tests are how these products distinguished themselves from their competitors, how widely those traits were imitated by those competitors, and how history remembers their status. Here are some products that left their mark on the PC industry, whether in the form of full systems, CPUs, graphics cards, motherboards, cases or peripherals.
Despite being built with the aging Unreal Engine 3, Thief touts some cutting edge rendering techniques that have put the game on our radar. Thief's built-in benchmark appears to do a good job of demonstrating a worst-case performance scenario, so if your system can average 60fps in the benchmark you should enjoy perfectly smooth gameplay from start to finish.
There was a time when the size of a gaming notebook didn't matter so much. Three or four years ago a portable gaming rig that was nearly two inches thick and weighed close to ten pounds was an impressive thing. Pull one of those beasts out at a crowded coffee house and the other customers knew you weren't about to pull up a spreadsheet.
In 2014, the PC gaming giant will be launching their first official piece of hardware: The decidedly odd, innovative Steam Controller. What will happen when a company steeped in software releases their first piece of hardware? No one -- including the people making the controller -- is quite sure.
Gigabyte Radeon R9 290X OC & R9 290 OC Review: Immense potential lost to GPU shortages and inflated prices
AMD's Radeon R9 290 and 290X made a strong case against Nvidia's GTX 780 and Titan late last year, but that position soon weakened with unexpectedly high prices and limited options from board partners. This time we'll revisit the cards with actual production units from Gigabyte so we can weigh in on third-party performance at actual market prices.
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?