Saturday, December 15, 2012

GIGABYTE GTX 680 Overclocked Edition


Why You'll Dig it:

GIGABYTE were fairly quick in getting the GTX 680 overclock sample to market, this is largely due to the fact it is built following the NVIDIA reference design. This means full-cover water blocks will fit easily on to the cards, and also means "GPU Boost" is fully enabled, for better or worse.

The Windforce cooler looks to be the same as always, comprising of three thin fans and a fairly slim aluminium heat sink that spans the entire length of the card. The cooler is thin enough to "stack" four cards together in 4-way SLI, unlike many other models on the market today, yet efficient enough to keep the GPU core and all on-board componentry nice and cool.

In our testing we never exceeded 80°C, even while running the fans at an inaudible 1 ,800 RPM. If you would like to keep temperatures closer to the 70°C mark under 30 load, increasing the fan speed to a whisper-quiet 2,500 RPM will provide a good balance of temperature and audibility.

For air overclockers this card is more than adequate, and even water-cooling Atomicans will find joy in working on this card. We managed a core clock of around 1230MHz, which should be more than enough grunt for any game, even when spanned across three screens. For those wanting to take the card further, we would suggest waiting for the Super Overclock Edition, which will have a new VRM design, allowing users to bypass the "GPU Boost" technology.

GPU output includes two DVI, single HDMI and a single Display Port, giving users the freedom to connect any monitor without the use of dongles or adapters.

All in all the GTX 680 Overclock Edition from Gigabyte is a good all-round card, offering high connectivity, a compact - yet powerful - cooler, a three year warranty, fair price tag and decent overclocking headroom, one can't really complain. All that is left to do is find a store than has 680s in stock.

Video Review (Newegg TV)



Where To Get it?

Product Details and Features


Product MPN
MPN: GVN680OC2GD
Key Features
Card Interface: PCI Express
Memory
Memory Tech: GDDR5 SDRAM
Memory Data Width: 256-bit
Input / Output
Output Interface: HDMI

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive 64GB


Why You'll Dig it:

We’ve always known how quick solidstate memory can be, but it wasn’t until USB 3.0 that ultra-speed storage became available in a highly portable package. The latest product we have on the market is the 64GB SanDisk Extreme USB Flash Drive. This turbocharged drive is also available in 32GB ($94.99) and 16GB ($64.99) capacities.

The SanDisk Extreme is a stylish flash drive, with a glossy and matte black exterior that tapers to a fine edge on the back. The business end of the device slides into and out of the housing with the flip of a switch, so you can keep the USB 3.0 port clean when it’s not in use.

With its 64GB capacity, this drive can handle a ton of data, thousands of uncompressed WAV files and significantly more FLAC or MP3 files, hundreds of high-resolution RAW image files and thousands of JPEGs, dozens of hours of standard-def video and even a handful of uncompressed HD movies. But the possibilities don’t stop there. If you upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise, due out in October, the Windows To Go feature lets you boot and run the OS from a flash drive. SanDisk’s speedy memory stick and Windows To Go is the next best thing to adding an SSD to every PC you use.

Video Review (Geekanoids)



Where To Get it?

SanDisk also made security a priority for the Extreme. SanDisk SecureAccess creates a password-protected folder that uses 128-bit AES encryption to keep your most sensitive documents away from prying eyes. Just drag and drop your important data to the folder to lock it down. SanDisk also gives Extreme users an extra 2GB of cloud storage, courtesy of YuuWaa (www.yuuwaa.com), which lets you access a handful of important files from any web browser.

With its USB 3.0 interface, you’d expect this flash drive to be quick on the draw, so we ran CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 to see just how quick. Using a 100MB test file size, the SanDisk Extreme scored 197.8MBps on the sequential read test and 181.2MBps on the sequential write test. We fished out a generic USB 2.0 drive we’ve been using for a couple years, and it scored 25.18MBps and 8.8MBps in the sequential read and write tests, respectively. Needless to say, the SanDisk Extreme USB Flash Drive is a more than suitable replacement.

Product Details and Features


Key Features
Type: USB Flash Drive
USB Interface Type: USB 2.0
Capacity: 64 GB

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Logitech G930


Why You'll Dig it:

Logitech makes some great gaming gear, so it’s no surprise that the G930 has a number of bells and whistles. This headset uses a 2.4GHz connection to stream uncompressed 48kHz audio between the charging base and the headset, and you’ll have to hear to believe the resulting crystal clear audio. The wireless range is also impressive, up to 40 feet according to Logitech, which we verified in an office with numerous Wi-Fi networks to interfere.

This headset uses a pair of 40mm neodymium magnet drivers (20Hz to 20kHz frequency response). Thanks to second-generation Dolby Headphone technology, you can game and watch movies in virtual 7.1 surround sound. The flexible mic boom angles up and out of the way when not needed, and an unobtrusive red LED indicates when the mic is muted.

The headset is impressively light, and it helps that there aren’t any wires hanging from one side. Comfort was on par with the best in this roundup. The unit has an internal rechargeable battery that offers up to 10 hours of play time, but you can still use it while charging from the USB charging base. We also like the on-ear volume control, programmable G-keys, and software that lets you morph your voice. Although it’s one of the more expensive headsets you can buy, the extras make this one of the more comfortable, portable, and best-sounding headsets.

Video Review (Logitech)



Where To Get it?

Product Details and Features


Key Features
Compatibility: Computers • Gaming (PC)
Design: Over the Head
Usage: Consumer
Connectivity: Wireless
Headphones Features
Earpiece: Double
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Microphone Features
Frequency Response: 100 - 75000 Hz
Other Features
Volume Control: With Volume Control
Brand: Logitech
Warranty
Warranty: 2 Years

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GIGABYTE GA-Z77N-WiFi


Why You'll Dig it:

THE GA-Z77N-WIFI is a Mini-ITX motherboard with a packed specification. It’s a socket LGA1155 board, so it works with both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, but if you’re buying an up-to-date Z77 Express chipset you should really get one of Intel’s latest chips.

At the rear are four USB and two USB3 ports, and there’s a USB3 header on the board, so you can either connect the front panel USB3 ports in a compatible case or use a bracket to add USB3 ports to the rear.

You also get two HDMI and a DVI output to take advantage of Ivy Bridge processors’ integrated graphics, but you can only run two monitors at once. If you want a three-monitor setup, or you want to play games at higher resolutions, you’ll need to plug a graphics card into the spare PCI Express x16 slot.

There’s not much room on the 170x170mm board’s surface for expansion slots; the PCI-E x16 slot is all you get. However, the board has pretty much everything you need built in. There’s 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Intel’s WiDi wireless display technology, and the sound chipset gives you an optical S/PDIF output and 7.1 surround sound. The two memory slots hold a maximum of 16GB of RAM, and you’re well served for storage, with two SATA3 and two SATA2 ports, plus support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10.

Video Review (Newegg TV)


It’s expensive, but the GA-Z77N-WiFi has the performance and specification to match its price. If you want a tiny PC but don’t want to scrimp on features, it’s a great buy.


Where To Get it?

Product Details and Features


PROCESSOR SOCKET LGA1155
CHIPSET Intel Z77 Express/Intel Z77 Express
MEMORY SLOTS 2x DDR3 800, 1066, 1333, 1600
EXPANSION 1x PCI Express x16 slots, 2x SATA2 ports, 2x SATA3 ports
WARRANTY Three-year RTB warranty
PART CODE GA-Z77N-WiFi

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FUJITSU ScanSnap S1300i


Why You'll Dig it:

THE SCANSNAP S1300i is a minor update to Fujitsu’s impressive S1300 document scanner. The chief differences are a refreshed software bundle and quicker scan speeds, up from eight pages per minute (ppm) to 12ppm.

The S1300i seems rugged. Its lid clips shut, and opening it switches on the scanner and forms a robust 10-page automatic document feeder (ADF) with adjustable paper guides. Unlike bigger scanners, there’s no output tray so preserving the order and tidiness of longer documents can be a challenge.

Fujitsu’s comprehensive software bundle includes bespoke management software and optical character recognition (OCR). It also has plug-ins for Microsoft SharePoint and the cloud storage services Evernote, DropBox and SugarSync. There’s no TWAIN or ISIS driver, though, so you can’t capture images from within an image-editing program as you can with most other scanners.

The scanner has a single button on the right of the paper feed. When a job has finished, ScanSnap Manager asks what you want to do with the scanned image, with options ranging from emailing and printing to simply saving to disk.

Video Review (Unboxing)



Where To Get it?

Documents are scanned on both sides by default, with the pages automatically rotated to match the orientation of any text, and any blank sides discarded. You can change the settings by opening the ScanSnap icon in Windows’ Notification Area, but the options are spread over several tabs and could be easier to follow.

The S1300i is quite fast, capturing one side of A4 in six seconds at 150 dots per inch (dpi), and taking only one minute and five seconds to capture and process 16 sides from 10 A4 pages. The image quality was ample for office applications, and OCR was accurate. It even did a good job of capturing photos at 600dpi, although 10 prints took over six minutes.

This is a great choice for mobile workers or anyone else who needs to capture documents quickly and lacks the space for a bigger desktop device. While it’s easy to use, however, we prefer the software that Canon provides with its ImageFormula P-215. The latter also comes with TWAIN drivers, so it remains our choice in this class.

Product Details and Features


SCANNER TYPE CIS
OPTICAL RESOLUTION 600dpi
COLOR OUTPUT 24-bit
INTERFACES USB
DIMENSIONS 77x284x99mm
POWER CONSUMPTION 1W standby, 5W active
WARRANTY One-year RTB
PART CODE PA03643-B001

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CORSAIR Vengeance M60


Why You'll Dig it:

Corsair’s first gaming mouse comes in two varieties: the MMO-friendly Vengeance M90 and the shooter-specific M60 reviewed here. It’s a tough mouse built around an aluminum chassis, unlike the mostly plastic competition, so it feels incredibly robust in the hand.

As well as the usual buttons, including two side buttons and two dedicated to changing cursor sensitivity, it has a sniper button that temporarily lowers the mouse’s DPI for those crucial zoomed-in headshots.

The keyboard may be small, but we were pleased to find that it’s comfortable to use and allowed us to touch-type quickly and accurately. The keys are flat, but the wide space between them makes it easy to strike the right letter. There’s no numeric keypad, but there are cursor keys at the bottom-right of the keyboard and a full set of function keys. The keyboard is backlit for ease of use in dark environments.

It’s not as adjustable as the Mad Catz R.A.T. series – the only other mouse we know that’s built around a metal frame – but its build quality is outstanding and we like the blue LED lighting. At US$60, it’s reasonably priced for a top-end gaming mouse, and is built to last.

Video Review (Unboxing)



Where To Get it?

Product Details and Features

Key Features
Ergonomic Fit: Right and Left Handed (Mouse)
Input Interface Type: Mouse
Motion Device Type: Laser
Connectivity: Cable
Interface: USB (Mouse)
Platform: PC
Other Features
Brand: Corsair
Keyboard Special Features: Ergonomic Design
Form Factor: Integrated
Buttons: 8 Buttons + Scroll Wheel

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SONY Vaio Duo 11


Why You'll Dig it:

WINDOWS 8 is designed to work equally well on tablets as on laptop or desktop PCs, so it’s perfect for Sony’s new Vaio Duo 11 ultraportable tablet hybrid. In its closed form, the Duo is a 21mm-thick tablet. Its sensitive, glossy 11in IPS touchscreen picks up fingerprints a little too easily, but its color reproduction is brilliant and the 1,920x1,080 display can play video in glorious HD. Move a tab on one side of the tablet and the screen hinges open on a plastic support to reveal a narrow keyboard with small, widely spaced keys.

Whether it’s in tablet or laptop configuration, the screen rotates its contents freely, using a combination of accelerometer and gyro sensors to work out the correct orientation for the screen at any point. This sometimes meant the screen switched to portrait mode when we were using it with the keyboard open. Fortunately, Sony has anticipated the problem and includes a small button on the back of the Duo that enables and disables autorotation. You can also disable rotation manually in the Screen Resolution settings.

The keyboard may be small, but we were pleased to find that it’s comfortable to use and allowed us to touch-type quickly and accurately. The keys are flat, but the wide space between them makes it easy to strike the right letter. There’s no numeric keypad, but there are cursor keys at the bottom-right of the keyboard and a full set of function keys. The keyboard is backlit for ease of use in dark environments.

Video Review (MobilTechReview)



Finer Details

There’s no trackpad, but there are plenty of other options for controlling your pointer. The capacitive touchscreen responds readily to multitouch gestures with your fingers, but Sony has also provided a double-ended conductive stylus complete with buttons. This is better for fine control on the small, high-resolution display, making it easier to complete delicate tasks such as selecting and dragging folders within a directory tree.

Where To Get it?

If you’re uncomfortable with touch controls or you’d rather not lift your hands from the keyboard while typing, you can use the touchstick controller, which is nestled amid the B, G and H keys, along with three rudimentary mouse buttons beneath the space bar. You can use these to right-, left- and middle-click just as you would with a more traditional input device. On the back of the Duo, behind the keyboard, is a pair of volume control buttons, which rest next to one of the integrated stereo speakers. These sound far richer than you’d have any right to expect from their size, although they’re still a little tinny.

If you demand more from your audio than these speakers can provide, you can use the stereo line output to connect headphones or a pair of speakers. The Duo isn’t exactly overburdened with ports, but those it has are useful. There’s a memory card slot that can handle high-capacity SDXC and Memory Stick HG Duo cards, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port. HDMI and VGA video outputs make it easy to connect a projector, TV or a second screen, and there are two USB3 ports for high-speed external storage devices.

This is particularly handy as the Duo’s SSD provides a little less storage space than you’d expect from a hard disk in a comparatively priced laptop, although it’s significantly faster and more robust. Once you’ve accounted for the space occupied by the operating system restore partition, there’s 208GB of disk space. That’s enough for a fair number of programs and a decent amount of data, and because it’s an SSD it boots exceptionally quickly.

The rest of the specification is also pretty impressive, as you’d expect at this price. The processor is a dual-core mobile Core i7-3517U that runs at 1.9GHz. It has integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics processing capabilities, which means it can play most 3D games if you reduce the quality settings enough. It managed around 30fps in Dirt 3 at 720p and High Quality with anti-aliasing disabled, but we could only squeeze 20fps out of Crysis 2 at high quality.

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Crunching Gear


When it comes to raw processing power, our application benchmarks gave us plenty to be pleased about. An overall score of 59 makes this one of the most powerful Ultrabooks you’re likely to find. Despite its massive power (we’re used to more modest Core i5 processors in our ultraportable laptops), the Duo ran for around seven hours in our battery tests, and it’s remarkably quiet, with a fan that you can only hear if you press your ear to the bottom of the chassis. It didn’t get very warm, either, even after hours of constant use.

As a tablet, the Duo isn’t as light, stylish or comfortable to hold as Apple’s iPad, for example, but it’s a lot more powerful, has a bigger screen and runs a proper desktop operating system. It’s still reasonably comfortable to hold as you read the paper, watch a film or pass it around at a meeting, but its tablet features feel secondary to its capabilities as a laptop. Transforming it from tablet to laptop is awkward and the stand that hinges out to support the screen in its upright position feels a little fragile. The Duo benefits from the new touchscreen applications and features in Windows 8, making it feel far less awkward than previous Windows tablets. Dual-band Wi-Fi, an integrated GPS receiver and Bluetooth support round out the portable-friendly side of the specification.

Taken purely on its merits as a powerful ultra-portable laptop, the Vaio Duo 11 matches Asus’s award-winning 13in ZenBook Prime UX31A. However, its 11in screen, awkward unfolding mechanism and slightly bulky feel in tablet mode mean that, although it’s a good piece of kit for power users on the move, it’s not quite slick enough to win an award.

SPECIFICATIONS


PROCESSOR 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U
RAM 8GB
STORAGE 256GB SSD
GRAPHICS Intel HD Graphics 4000
OPTICAL DRIVE None
DISPLAY 11.6in widescreen LCD touchscreen (1,920x1,080)
OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 8
DIMENSIONS 21x322x200mm, 1.3kg
POWER CONSUMPTION 1W standby, 12W idle, 42W active
WARRANTY One-year collect and return
PART CODE SVD11215CX B

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Friday, November 23, 2012

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690


Why You'll Dig it:

The GeForce GTX 680 beat every other graphics card into submission when it was first released, but even that wasn't enough for Nvidia. It has now released an even more powerful card, the GTX 690, which teams two 680 GPUs on one 280mm-long board for a truly ridiculous amount of gaming grunt.

As is usual with dual-GPU cards, the cores have been clocked down a little, from the 1006MHz stock to 915MHz. Aside from this, little has changed. Nvidia's Turbo Boast technology remains, so that core clock adjusts every millisecond, hitting a peak of 967MHz at full load. Each GPU still has 2GB of 6008MHz GDDR5 RAM. There have been no architectural changes either, with the card packing a total of 3072 stream processors and just over seven billion transistors.

That power translated to ridiculous benchmark results. At Full HD, it clearly isn't pushed; its 73 fps the 1920x1080 Very High quality Crysis test isn't as far ahead as you might expect over the GTX 680's 57fps.

Crank up the resolution and detail, however, and the two cores get to work. At 2560x1600 its core barely dropped to 70fpsl the GTX680 and HD7970 ran through the same test at a significantly lower 42 fps.

Where To Get it?

  

Crysis 2 at 1920x1080 and Ultra settings saw the GTX 690 average 57fps, the same score as a single GTX 680. Again, though, at 2560x1600 the GTX 690 averaged 55fps, to its single-core stablemate's 33fps.

Given the luxury and speed, it's no surprise that the GTX 690 costs around US$1599. That's a ridiculous sum, and we can't recommend you pay it unless you're planning to game on three screens at the highest quality levels - that's the only real-world scenario where this card makes sense. Still, as an exercise designed to cement Nvidia's status as top dog in the graphics world, it does the trick. Your move, AMD.

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Product Details:


915 MHz GPU with 1019 MHz Boost Clock
4096 MB, 512 bit GDDR5 memory, 6008 MHz (effective)
3072 CUDA Cores
PCI-E 3.0 16x, DVI-I, DVI-I, DVI-D, Mini Display-Port interfaces
Requires minimum of a 650 Watt power supply, plus 2 available 8-pin PCI-E power dongles
Product Dimensions: 11 x 2 x 4.4 inches ; 4 pounds
Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
Graphics Coprocessor: GeForce GTX 600 Series


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BITFENIX PRODIGY


Why You'll Dig it:

Mini-ITX is a curious form factor. Both motherboards and cases have traditionally been designed around low power consumption, establishing a niche that has hardly set the world on fire. However with the evolution of the modern PC, mini-ITX is becoming a viable platform for building full power systems, and it is this market that Bitfenix is tackling with the Prodigy.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that this case only costs around US$80 - US$99, and is designed to work with off the shelf parts. You'll need a Mini-ITX motherboard but the Prodigy will then take a normal Power Supply, CPU, RAM, Graphics card and hard drives. It has been built with enough room to take up to a large tower cooler, or even on integrated water cooling system if you are so inclined.

Where To Get it?

Bitfenix has managed to allow the use of normal parts through a few tricks. Firstly, the motherboard sits horizontally, on top of the power supply cage. This makes the case a bit wider than normal ATX designs, but not significantly so. Secondly, a lot of the case internals are removable, which does limit the combinations of hardware that you can place inside, but not majorly. For example, if you want to use a full length graphics card (a front-mount radiator), then you'll need to remove one of the hard drive cages. This cuts the number of bays from five to two, but two bays are still enough to build a powerful PC with. If you wan to get even fancier the Prodigy can even fit a dual radiator integrated cooler if you remove the 5.25in optical drive bay.

While there are going to be limitations imposed by just what features you can find on a Mini-ITX motherboard, there is no reason why you can't build a top of the range system inside the Prodigy. Despite the fact that you'll be limited in the number of hard drives you can use, you can still put many terabytes worth of storage into the case.

Not only does the Prodigy offer great system flexibility in a small package, but it does so with an excellent build quality and attention to detail. Bitfenixhas even combined its soft-touch plastic finish with a new material dubbed "Plastic Steel" to make the handles on the case, which double as mild shock resistors if you are moving it around. By combining good engineering with a truly excellent pricetag, Bitfenix has created a case that has us re-evaluating Mini-ITX computing.

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Product Details:


Motherboard Form Factor: Mini ITX
Brand: bitfenix
Exterior Color: White


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MOTOROLA XOOM 2


Why You'll Dig it:

Motorola built the very first Android tablet back at the beginning of 2011, but despite being in the in the game longer than anyone else, it's yet to move either of its new tablets to Android 4.

As with Android 3.2 tablets, this means certain aspects of its performance - general responsiveness, panning and scrolling - don't feel 100% smooth. iOS on the new iPad, OS 2 on the BlackBerry PlayBook, and Android 4 tablets are generally much smoother.

Yet despite this shortcoming, the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition noses in front of tough competition to win the accolade of best compact tablet. There are many reasons for this, not least its physical design.

This tablet has an 8.2in screen - the largest of all the models in the compact section of this guide - but it doesn't look or feel that big. The rubberised edges of the tablet make it easy to grip and comfortable to hold, and it's slim and sleek, measuring 9.5mm from front to rear, with a weight of 388g.

Where To Get it?

  

It impressed us in other core areas too. Despite having a larger screen than the MediaPad and the PlayBook, the Motorola Xoom 2 pixel density is still high. The resolution of 800x1280 stretched across 8.2 in gives a density of 184ppi - higher than most 10in tablets. The display's IPS technology, meanwhile, ensures a colorful picture and exceptional viewing angles. Contrast and punch aren't up to the standards of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7's gorgeous Super AMOLED Plus display, but it's excellent nonetheless.

Other pluses include a decent camera, capable of producing sharp 5-megapixel images in good light, and a good performance. If that all sounds great, it's the Xoom 2's extras that push it over the line in the race for top honours. As with its larger sibling, this tablet has been treated with a special water-resistant "nano" coating - on both the outside and inside - so a sprinkling of water or a dousing in hot coffee shouldn't mean a trip to the repair factory. There's also the small matter of an infrared emitter, embedded in the top short edge, which allows the tablet to function in tandem with the bundled Dijit app as a universal remote control for your TV, hi-fi and set-top box.

If there's one disappointment it's battery life. In a looping video test, it lasted only 4hrs 19mins, which puts it at the bottom of the tablet this month. There's no microSD slot for storage expansion either.

Even with these factors taken into account, however, the Motorola Xoom 2 is worth to buy. Its combination of innovative extras, a quality screen and sumptuous design makes it one of the best tablet on the market.

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Product Details:


Screen Size: 10.1 inches
Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800
Max Screen Resolution: 1280x800 pixels
Processor: 1 GHz
RAM: 1 GB DRAM
Hard Drive: 32 GB
Graphics Coprocessor: Integrated NVIDIA
Chipset Brand: NVIDIA
Wireless Type: 802.11bgn
Number of USB 2.0 Ports: 1
Average Battery Life (in hours): 4 to 6 hours

Other Technical Details
Brand Name: Motorola
Series: Xoom
Item model number: XOOM Wi-Fi
Hardware Platform: Android
Operating System: Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Item Weight: 1.6 pounds
Item Dimensions: L x W x H 9.80 x 0.50 x 6.60 inches
Color: Black
Rear Webcam Resolution: 5 MP
Processor Brand: ARM
Processor Count: 2
Computer Memory Type: DDR DRAM
Flash Memory Size: 32
Hard Drive Interface: PC Card
Hard Drive Rotational Speed: 1000 RPM
Audio-out Ports (#): 1
Battery Type: lithium_ion


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Monday, October 15, 2012

MSI ATI RADEON HD7850 PCI Express Video Card

Radeon R7850

Why You'll Dig it:

MSI recently announced that it had three new additions to its Radeon HD video card line: the R7850 Power Edition 2GD5/OC, the R7770 Power Edition 1GD5/OC, and the R7750 Power Edition 1GD5/OC. As you probably noticed, the phrase "Power Edition" is a recurring theme here; these cards are all equipped to handle considerable overclocking via MSI’s Afterburner performance app. Using Afterburner’s Triple Overvoltage setting, the new MSI Radeons will provide up to 45% boosts to performance. The cards also come with advanced cooling features such as MSI’s Dust Removal Technology, which runs fans backward for 30 seconds on boot up to clear dust from the fan blades. The R7850 Power Edition incorporates a custom Twin Frozr IV cooler, while the R7770 and R7750 are the first cards to feature MSI’s TransThermal design, which lets you add a second fan to the card’s standard single Propeller Blade fan for increased airflow and lower temperatures. All three cards boast MSI’s Military Class III components, which meet MIL-STD-810G military specs. No pricing info was available at press time.

The MSI Video Radeon HD 7850 2GB DDR3 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card features a special blade design that generates 20 percent more airflow than traditional design. This results in 10 degrees Celsius cooler temperatures and 13.7 dB quieter operation than the reference design. This card also features the ultimate graphics card utility "Afterburner", which utility enables all MSI graphics cards users to boost performance and to monitor all kinds of critical information in real-time. MSI Graphics Card products utilize a high quality solid capacitor. For the gamers and high-end users, this feature not only means better quality components within, but also provides much stronger support while users want to engage in hard-core tuning. MSI Live Update 5 is a single utility software that automatically checks BIOS, driver and utility updates and installs for you, which can save your time for searching and lower the risk while updating.

Who Should Grab this:

Enthusiasts seeking not to spend too much money, but want performance and latest AMD/ATI Tech!!

Product Details:

Chipset: AMD Radeon HD 7850
Core Clock: 900 MHz
Video Memory: 2GB GDDR5
Memory Clock: 1200 MHz
Memory Interface: 256-bit

Where can I buy it?

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zalman Z11 Plus




Why You'll Dig it:

Sharp angles and cool blue LED light give the Z11 Plus a one-of-a-kind look. That blue glow comes from two 120mm LED fans (one front, one top), which join forces with a 120mm rear fan and two 80mm side fans to keep air moving through this midtower. (The Z11 Plus also has a mounts and one 120mm/140mm bottom fan.) With seven expansion slots and room for graphics cards up to 11.4 inches long, the Z11 Plus gives you a nice amount of room to install some powerful hardware. Zalman built its empire on quiet computing solutions, and you that here, with an antivibration PSU bay and antivibration dampers for the tool-less internal drive bays.

Who Should Grab this:

Enthusiasts seeking a midtower that looks cool and means business.

Product Details:

Dimensions: 20.5x11x22.5 inches;
Motherboard Support:
- ATX,
- microATX
Drive Bays:
- 4 5.25-inch external,
- 1 3.5-inch external (or 1 2.5/3.5-inch internal),
- 5 3.5-inch internal,
- 1 2.5-inch internal

Where can I buy it?

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Cooler Master Cosmos II

Cooler Master COSMOS II

Why You'll Dig it:

Like its COSMOS ancestors, the COSMOS II is a case that gives you virtually everything you want and then throws in a bunch of extras. The quick-release panels are back for an encore, and they’re better than ever. Another excellent improvement is the COSMOS II’s use of a dual-chamber design, which separates the PSU bay and six of the case’s 11 internal 2.5/3.5-inch drives from the rest of the system. (The drive bays have dedicated cooling, too, courtesy of two included 120mm fans.) The COSMOS II’s support for graphics up to 15.1 inches long effectively means that even the gargantuan AMD Radeon HD 6990 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 will have plenty of breathing room in this case.

The Cosmos II comes in as one of the first Ultra Tower chassis. Inspired by luxurious supercars, the exterior of the Cosmos II melds aluminum, steel, and mesh into an elegant artistic piece. It maintains its trademark Cosmos profile and outlook with its reinforced aluminum rails while being further refined for today's advancements in air/water cooling, peripheral support, and styling. Large swinging aluminum side panels and sliding doors lend to its stylish and smooth movements to access ports, drives, and system hardware. With the Cosmos II, build as you wish as the options are endless.

Who Should Grab this:

Power users who want a mind-blowing case for their mind-blowing hardware.

Product Details:

Dimensions: 27.7x13.5x26.1 inches;
Motherboard Support:
- ATX,
- microATX,
- E-ATX,
- XL-ATX,
- SSI CEB,
- SSI EEB
Drive Bays:
- 3 5.25-inch external,
- 2 3.5-inch external hot-swap,
- 11 2.5/3.5-inch internal

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Enermax DreamBass Genie AP001

Enermax DreamBass Genie AP001

Why You'll Dig it:

With a name like "DreamBass," you might expect a lot from something not much bigger than a thimble stuck on an L-shaped USB adapter. (This is so the DreamBass will stand upright when plugged into a notebook.) The DreamBass Genie lives up to expectations, however, because it works some impressive magic without the use of drivers. Just plug it in and enjoy.

Using VIA’s VT1620A audio chips, the device runs your audio stream through a handful of post-processing algorithms and backs it with a +6dB boost at 80Hz. Bass goes from sounding like something passing through a long cardboard tube to being right there in your head, significantly richer and deeper. Mids suddenly rematerialize, eliminating that "hollow" feel so prevalent with integrated audio. The DreamBass Genie doesn’t do that much with the highs, but the improved channel separation makes highs cleaner and more prominent.

Enermax’s old-school vacuum tube look is appealing, as is the device’s compatibility support for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Conclusion:

You get big sound from a tiny package. This little gem is now a permanent fixture in our notebook bag.

Product Details:

Special Tube Design USB Audio;
Latest VIA VT1620A chips;
Built-in Hardware Linear Headphone Amplifier;
Rocking standalone Bass Booster @ 80Hz, +6dB;
Compliant with USB Audio Class 1.0;
Support Stereo Input for line-in or Mic-in with 3.5mm connector;
Support Stereo Output with 3.5mm phone jack;
Flash LED playback indicator;
Support 24/16 Bit, 16/32/48/96 KHz Playback, THD-N -80dB, SNR 95dB;
Support 24/16 Bit, 16/32/48/96 KHz Recording, THD-N -80dB, SNR 95dB;
Support OS: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac, Linux;
Plug & Play, No driver required ;

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: AP001;
Case material:
- Shell: PC
- Chassis: ABS
- Cover: ABS + Cr plated
Main Chip: VIA VT1620A;
Operating Voltage: 5V;
Operating temperature: 0° C to +50° C;
Storage temperature: -10° C to +70° C;
Humidity: 0% to 90%;
Interface: Mini USB Port;
Earphone Out: Stereo 3.5 mm jack;
Microphone In: Stereo 3.5 mm jack;
Support Output: 24/16 Bit, 16/32/48/96 KHz Playback, THD-N -80dB, SNR 95dB;
Support Input: 24/16 Bit, 16/32/48/96 KHz Recording, THD-N -80dB, SNR 95dB;
OS: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac, Linux;

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Intel Core i7-3770K

Intel Core i7-3770K

Why You'll Dig it:

Increase the performance and efficiency of your PC with the Intel Core i7-3770K BX80667i73770K Processor. This 3rd generation Quad-Core Intel Core i7 Unlocked Processor delivers ultra-fast processing speed at 3.50GHz, further improved to a blazing fast 3.90GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. With Intel Virtualization Technology, the processor can increase its productive output with better utilization of its resources. Integrated with Intel Fast Memory Access, Flex Memory Access, as well as Intel Smart Cache, the processor can even communicate well with the linked system memory, optimizing use of available memory bandwidth and reducing data accessing latency. When installed, your PC can run programs, applications, and tasks seamlessly.

As we saw with the 2nd Generation processors, Intel continues to add more technologies into the processor. For example, the new Intel HD Graphics 4000 supports DirectX 11 (HD Graphics 3000 only supports DX10.1) and a maximum resolution of 2,560 x 1,600. HD Graphics 4000 processors can also span the Windows Desktop across up to three independent displays. There’s also embedded support for DisplayPort and HDMI v1.4a. Intel indicates that it has improved its Quick Sync Video performance by up to 60%.

At stock, the Core i7-3770K runs at 3.5GHz with a Turbo Boost speed of 3.9GHz. Of course, the “K” suffix on means you’ll have an unlocked multiplier at your disposal. Similar to the Core i7-2600K and 2700K, the i7-3770K provides you with four cores with Hyper-Threading, as well as an 8MB of Intel Smart Cache. Intel also added support for DDR3L.

As it runs on the Z77 chipset, the Core i7-3770K is built for the LGA1155 socket. Intel indicates the Core i7-3770K will work on motherboards with Intel 7-Series chipsets and the following Intel 6-Series chipsets: Z68, P67, H67, and H61. The Core i7-3770K also offers two built-in security technologies, Intel Secure Key and Intel OS Guard. Secure Key is a hardware-assisted tool that helps you to create highly secure and long strings of random numbers for computing tasks that require security. OS Guard helps to prevent malware from gaining kernel-level access to your operating system.

Comparing Intel Core i7-3770K against Intel’s Core i7-2600K. The Core i7- 3770K offers slight performance upgrades across the board, with the biggest gains to be found in the gaming benchmarks.

Conclusion:

Builders planning a new system will want to pair the Core i7-3770K with a Z77 motherboard, because you’ll have access to all of the processor and chipset’s new features. On the other hand, those who’ve recently built a system based on one of Intel’s 6-Series motherboards will find that, after a motherboard BIOS update, the Core i7-3770K’s Socket LGA1155 compatibility makes the processor a simple drop-in replacement.

Product Details:

Product Type : Processor;
Processor Type : Core i7 ;
Clock Speed : 3.5GHz;
DMI : 5 GT/s;
Socket Type : Socket LGA1155;
Architecture : 22 nanometers ;
Processor Features : Enhanced Intel Speedstep technology • Hyper-Threading Technology • Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T) • Execute Disable Bit • Virtualization Technology • Intel Turbo Boost Technology • AES New Instructions • Idle States ;

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ROKU 2 XS

ROKU 2 XS

Why You'll Dig it:

The Roku 2 XS lets you stream media from the internet direct to your TV, turning your last-generation LCD or CRT TV into a next-generation Smart TV. Connect it to your TV using HDMI or composite outputs, with HDMI essential if you want to view media in 720p or 1080p. The Roku 2 XS has built-in 802.1 In Wi-Fi as well as 100MBit Ethernet port, so you don't have to trail more wires around the TV stand. However, the Roku's light frame meant the weight of the HDMI cable sometimes made it rise off the TV stand.

Media streamers require an excellent user interface if they're to be a pleasure to use, and the Roku 2 XS's is fantastic. Its animations are smooth and fluid, and its control system is self-explanatory and easy to use. It consist of a series of options that scroll across the screen. If you select an option, you're presented with another horizontally scrolling list. This keeps the interface simple and consistent throughout.

When you first connect the Roku 2 XS, you're guided through a delightfully simple setup process that takes minutes to complete, but you'll need an internet connected computer to activate the unit. You also have to provide payment details before you can use the streamer, so you can make purchases from the unit's Channel Store.

Once set up, you can easily change settings and download new channels from the Channel Store, such as Netflix, iPlayer and Crackle. You can also download games, and you get the highly addictive Angry Birds for free, although sadly not the HD version. The quality of the picture depends to a large extent on that of the channel being streamed, but certain channels such as iPlayer HD looked fantastic. There's decent number of channels from which to choose. Some channels must be bought, some require a subscription and some, such as the excellent Crackle film channel, are free.

You can also play media from a locally connected USB flash drive or hard disk, but your choice of file type is limited to MP3, AAC, MP4, MKV, JPG and PNG. Annoyingly, the Roku 2 XS doesn't stream media to or from a network-based PC out of the box; you have to use an app such as Plex or Roku. These are both free, but you need to install a server on your PC to stream the media, so they won't work with a NAS device.

Conclusion:

Roku's 2 XS is a lovely compact media streamer with a great interface, but its LAN streaming and file support is limited.

Product Details:

Internet Streaming SDevice: 1x HDMI output, 1x composite output, supports AAC, MP3 audio, H-264, MP4, MKV video, one year warranty;
Part Code: Roku 2 XS;

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

BELKIN N600 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router

BELKIN N600 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router

Why You'll Dig it:

The N600 DB is an ADSL wireless router designed for high-throughput tasks such as, according to Belkin, streaming video. The router has what Belkin calls Multibeam technology; this is similar to D-Link's SmartBeam technology, found in its DIR-645 router, where the router can focus energy to connected devices to improve throughput. It's also dual-band, so compatible devices can connect to the router over the less-congested 5GHz band to avoid interference.

The setup is beautifully simple, and can be done over a wireless connection so you don't have to move your PC near the router. Once you've plugged the router into your ADSL line, the setup CD takes you through finding and connecting to the router from your PC with an encrypted wireless connection, before it tests your ADSL line and asks for your broadband username and password. The only strange part was when it asked for VPI and VCI numbers, which we've never been asked for when setting up an ADSL router, although the usual 0 and 38 worked fine.

The setup CD also installs the Belkin Router Monitor application, which sits in your System Tray. Right­ clicking on its icon gives you shortcuts to the router's web-based setup page, its manual and the media sharing and backup functions. The last option comes into play when you connect a disk to the router's USB port. We plugged in an NTFS-formatted external 500GB hard disk, and the router recognised it straight away. When a disk is connected, you can browse its contents on any PC with the Router Monitor software installed, and you can also play video and audio and view image files on DLNA or UpNP devices on the network. We had no problerns playing music, watching films or looking at photos over the network on a PC and on a Motorola Defy Android smartphone running its built-in DLNA app. You can also use the Router Monitor to back up selected folders on your PC to the networked hard disk, and it will back up new files once an hour automatically.

To get at the router's advanced settings, you need to use the web interface. The layout is nothing groundbreaking. but it's easy to see where all the options are and the help text is clear. All the usual options are there, such as port forwarding and QoS, and we particularly liked the guest network functions. Here you can set up a wireless network where guests can access the internet but not anything on your network, and you have the option of making the guest network encryption-free, WPA-protected or 'cafe-style', where you can connect to the network freely but are then presented with a web page requiring a logon password.

Conclusion:

Easy setup, useful extras and great performance make this a Best Buy ADSl router.

Product Details:

ADSL WIRELESS ROUTER: 802.1 1 n dual band (300Mbitls), 4x 1011 00Mbit/s LAN ports, 1xWAN port (ADSL2+ modem), UPnP, Q05, 264x229x76mm, one-year RTB warranty;
POWER CONSUMPTION: 11W on;
PARTCODE : F9J1102uk;

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ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Why You'll Dig it:

The Transformer Prime is the first tablet to have the new Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset. As part of the Transformer line, the Prime can use a keyboard dock to become a makeshift laptop, and in fact it's currently unavailable without the dock.

The Prime shipped with Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) ratherthan the new and improved Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, but Asus is in the process of updating the tablet and it may well have the latest version of Android now. Still, even running Honeycomb, this is the most impressive Android tablet to date, thanks to the new chipset, an excellent screen and all the flexibility that the keyboard dock brings.

The new NvidiaTegra 3 chipset is promoted as a quad-core, but the cleverest element is the fifth 'companion core'. This additional low-power core runs most of the time and keeps power usage as low as possible when a task is running or the tablet is in standby, with the four cores kicking in when more power is required.

For example, when the Prime is on standby only the companion core is used to sync your email and other background tasks. As soon as you pick it up and start navigating the menus, the four other cores kick in to provide the smoothest possible experience, which is very smooth indeed. If you start playing a video or a photo slideshow, or launch the email app and you are just typing, the companion core will take over again. This happens instantly and seamlessly with no apparent lag.

The tablet completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 1,865ms, which is among the quickest scores. In games, you'll see silky-smooth frame rates. Nvidia provides some updated versions of current games, such as shooter Shadowgun, which now has impressive transparency effects - again, with smooth frame rates. We also played a 1080p version of the Hobbit trailer from YouTube without a hitch, which is a huge step up from any other tablet we've seen.

The companion core helped to provide some impressive battery life scores in a video playback test. The Prime tablet alone lasted for 10 hours and 47 minutes, which is over two hours more than the original Transformer, and the best score we've seen from an Android tablet to date. Add the dock, which has its own built-in battery, and you get 16 hours and 45 minutes, again bettering the Transformer by about two hours; this is definitely enough for a working day, even when using various apps and Wi-Fi. As with the original, the tablet's battery is sensibly charged before the dock's battery.

Conclusion:

The tablet itself is excellent, and if it was sold alone for $400.00(64 GB) it would be a top choice for an Android model. The dock still has some issues,and is only worth the extra $50.00 or so that you'll be paying if you type a lot of emails or really need the additional battery life. For its excellent screen and impressive Tegra 3 chipset, the Transformer Prime has already an Ultimate award. However, those with no interest in the dock should hold off. Asus has refused to confirm that there will be a tablet-only offering, but we bet it will happen and, when it does, the Prime really will be the Android tablet to buy.

Product Details:

Networking Type:Bluetooth•Integrated Wireless LAN ;
HDD Size: 64GB;
Operating System : Android;
Processor : Tegra 3 1.3 GHz;
Weight : 1.29 lb.;
Display : 10.1 in. WXGA LED;
Touch Screen Technology : Multi-Touch;
Display Max. Resolution : 1280 x 800;
Input Method : Camera;
Expansion Ports : 1 x USB 2.0;
Processor Speed : 1.3 GHz;
Processor Type : Tegra 3;
Hard Drive Capacity : 64GB;
Installed RAM : 1GB;
RAM Technology : DDR2 SDRAM;
Audio Output Type : Headphones • Sound card • Speaker(s);
Battery Run Time : 2 Hours;
Battery Technology : Lithium Polymer;

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