review articles

SanDisk Aims High With Extreme II SSD, Reviewed

SanDisk Aims High With Extreme II SSD, Reviewed

The new SanDisk Extreme II features an in-house developed firmware which helps to set it apart from other SSDs using the same controller. Also of note, the second generation Extreme series has dumped the SandForce controller in favor of the new Marvell 88SS9187, the same controller used by the Crucial M500.

SanDisk is pricing the 240GB Extreme II competitively fetching around $230, right on target with the Vertex 450 and also in the neighborhood of the Samsung 840 Pro, which will remain a secondary focus throughout this review.

Company of Heroes 2 Review: More of the Same, Only Better

Company of Heroes 2 Review: More of the Same, Only Better

Company of Heroes was a game for true armchair generals. There was no resource collecting, no tank rushes, none of the hallmarks of other games that look like they're about a clash of armies but are really little but mouse-driven sprint races.

Seven years is a long time between wars, though, and now that we have a sequel, people are expecting a lot from this game, the first time Company of Heroes has ditched Western Europe for the Eastern Front. So what's new?

GeForce GTX 760 Review: Mainstream Performance

GeForce GTX 760 Review: Mainstream Performance

Nvidia continues to roll out the GeForce 700 series this week with the GTX 760 -- the generation's first truly mainstream product at $250. In other words, the GTX 760 has the potential to be today's most relevant option for someone who needs a new graphics card.

Assuming Nvidia doesn't throw us a curve ball, we expect the GTX 760 to deliver performance comparable to that of the HD 7950 with a price tag that's closer to HD 7870s -- a situation that would invariably benefit anyone shopping for a mid-range GPU.

In Win D-Frame Case Review

In Win D-Frame Case Review

Before last year, no In Win cases really caught our attention. That changed when we spotted the open-air X-Frame midway through 2012. Following the X-Frame's success, In Win introduced the H-Frame -- a similarly unique chassis with a feature list that includes eleven diamond-cut aluminum plates.

In Win's latest open-air chassis has to be their finest creation yet. The D-Frame is a limited edition aluminum pipe and tempered glass case that is unique and equally pricey. DIY'ers will be pleased nonetheless.

Haswell Debuts: Intel Core i7-4770K Review

Haswell Debuts: Intel Core i7-4770K Review

Regular TechSpot readers will have no doubt spotted several mentions of Haswell on our front page this year. In the past few months we have covered everything from model names to performance and battery life claims. A key focus has been Haswell's graphics, with rumors suggesting its performance is set to be 2 to 3 times that of current HD 4000 integrated graphics.

So what is Haswell exactly? It is Intel’s 4th generation Core architecture which will see a major refresh of the entire Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 product lineup in 2013. Whereas last year’s Ivy Bridge was a "tick" release, Haswell is a tock and traditionally that's meant a more significant advance forward.

GeForce GTX 770 Review: Adding Value to High-End GFX?

GeForce GTX 770 Review: Adding Value to High-End GFX?

Having taken the covers off the GeForce GTX 780 a week ago, Nvidia is ready to release their next part in the GeForce 700 series. Earlier rumors indicated that the GeForce GTX 770's specifications would be much like a GTX 680 on steroids, and as it turns out that's exactly what it is.

The GTX 770 features the fastest GDDR5 memory we have ever seen at 7GHz. Memory at that clock rate is good for a peak bandwidth of 224GB/s, 16% more than the GTX 680. Therefore, technically if you could overclock a GTX 680 well enough you could create a GTX 770.

AMD A4-5000 Review: The affordable ultraportable APU

AMD A4-5000 Review: The affordable ultraportable APU

In 2006 AMD announced 'Fusion', a project aimed to develop a system on a chip that combined a CPU and GPU on a single die. Fast forward to this day, AMD has taken things a step further with Kabini, the first ever quad-core x86-based SoC.

AMD are releasing their first Kabini based processors today with the launch of the A6-5200 and the A4-5000. The A4-5000 that we are reviewing features four Jaguar cores clocked at 1.5GHz, a total L2 cache of 2MB, and the Radeon HD 8330 GPU on-die.

GeForce GTX 780 Review: The Titan Descendant

GeForce GTX 780 Review: The Titan Descendant

With the GTX Titan Nvidia showed just how much more complex and powerful their current generation 28nm GPU could be without putting the TDP rating through the roof. It also meant that Nvidia could move to the next generation mainstream GPUs without having to completely redesign their architecture for the GeForce 700 series and that is exactly what they have done.

The new GeForce GTX 780 is based on a similar, albeit slightly cut down version of the Titan GPU, managing to keep many of the features that make the $1,000 graphics card great, such as the 384-bit memory bus.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Acer Iconia W510 Tablet: Making Windows 8's Dichotomy Shine

Acer Iconia W510 Tablet: Making Windows 8's Dichotomy Shine

Microsoft’s answer to the changing computing landscape is Windows 8, an operating system that attempts to balance the demands of traditional productivity-oriented desktops with the mobility of, well, mobile devices.

Hybrids thus appear to be the optimal home for Windows 8 as both aspects of the OS are in use and get to shine as they were designed to. That brings us to the Acer Iconia W510 hybrid tablet, which can be essentially converted into a full-fledged PC with its keyboard dock – no Windows RT here, folks.

SimCity Review: Real or Simulated Disaster?

SimCity Review: Real or Simulated Disaster?

To many fans of the original city building simulation series, the idea of an online multiplayer game that required even solo players to be connected to the internet at all times seemed like a recipe for disaster.

Maxis' latest creation is easily the most compelling SimCity I've played since the 1989 original. It's also a disaster.

Crysis 3 Review: Nanosuit-up!

Crysis 3 Review: Nanosuit-up!

The Crysis series of first-person action games mix stealthy sneaking with huge explosions, all draped across lush, exquisitely rendered environments. The games aren't really known for their winning personality, story or characters. They're known, first and foremost, for their sweet tech and using your suit's powers to stalk and kill.

But every time Crysis games get away from that core routine, things become less enjoyable. Crysis 3, unfortunately, spends most of its time lost in the weeds. There's plenty of hunting, but it's sporadic, and changes made to the formula combine with dodgy AI and odd level-design to make the whole thing feel uncomfortable.

Pebble Review: Kickstarter's E-Paper Smartwatch

Pebble Review: Kickstarter's E-Paper Smartwatch

The Pebble smartwatch for iPhone and Android is a prime example of the bizarre times in which we live. In an era of people increasingly telling time by looking at the corner of their computer's screen or their smartphone lock screens, Pebble wants to make the wristwatch everyone's preferred timepiece.

A humble Kickstarter project embraced by nearly 70,000 backers, Pebble is the most buzzed-about smartwatch yet. Have those early believers been vindicated by the release of a phenomenal product or are they just another cautionary tale of what happens when reality doesn't meet the hype?

BlackBerry Z10 Review: The Last Hope

BlackBerry Z10 Review: The Last Hope

The BlackBerry Z10 is a sink or swim device that will likely determine if the company will manage to hold on to its dwindling market share and right the ship that sent it from first to worst in smartphone relevance.

The first smartphone to run the BlackBerry 10 OS debuts at a time when smartphones are as much about play as they are productivity, and this phone can thrive in this era only if it can strike a balance between entertainment and enterprise. Can the BlackBerry Z10 be the savior that BlackBerry so desperately needs?

Neowin: Sony Vaio Tap 20 review

Neowin: Sony Vaio Tap 20 review

Windows 8 has brought with it an influx of new computer form factors, including dockable tablets, flipping convertible hybrids and even dual-screen laptops. But perhaps one of the most bizarre ideas came out of the labs at Sony. We all…