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AMD Radeon HD 6870 & 6850



AMD solely launched its third-generation 40nm GPU, but here is very little extra in stipulations of architecture compared to the 5000 Series. To add to the confusion, the extra cards are in fact closer in performance to the Radeon HD 5830 and 5770 than the Cypress cards with which these cards share a suffix. You read aptly:
The Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 will go one better than the wet-behind-the-ears Radeon HD 6870 and 6850, correspondingly. Read on to discover made known how AMD managed to depression the fee of performance graphics cards Lacking a go to meet your maker lessen or extra architecture.The GPU inside the 6870 and 6850 consists of 1.7 billion transistors, which is close to semi a billion fewer than the 5870GPU. Die size has furthermore slimmed from Cypress’ 334mm2 to 255mm2, which enables AMD to crank made known more 6870 GPUs for every wafer. AMD’s secret to maintaining virtually 5870 performance with 25% fewer ICs is basic timer. The Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 be inflicted with 900MHz and 775MHz cores, correspondingly. Both GPUs be inflicted with a 256-bit reminiscence automobile, but AMD fit the clocks by 1,050MHz pro the 6870 and 1,000MHz pro the 6850. Load/idle board power pro the 6870 and 6850 are 151W/ 19W and 127W/19W, correspondingly.
Architecturally, AMD’s engineers effectively took 25% of the horses dyed-in-the-wool to Cypress’ compute/shader/texture performance and hitched them as a replacement for to a rasterization/ tessellation/ROP wagon, docile better real-world gaming performance. The SIMD engines found in the flagship Radeon HD 5870 return virtually unchanged in the Barts XT and Pro chips, which be inflicted with 14 and 12 SIMD engines Correspondingly, pro 1,120 and 960 spill processors all. The single real alteration, however, is with the intention of all Of the extra SPs is thumbs down longer competent of FP64 calculations, which by no means occur into mess about with 3D workloads, So gamers won’t notice the omission. The more noteworthy changes came to the tessellation element, which is currently competent of roughly twice the performance of the Cypress-based cards. The graphics engine
Furthermore has a following rasterizer, which keeps the GPU’s horses fed and watered. These cards furthermore support AMD’s extra Morphological Anti-Aliasing mode, which performs fullscene anti-aliasing with a reduced amount of frame rate Penalty compared to super-sampling. We tested the Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 hostile to Evga’s GeForce GTX 460 SuperClocked Edition, which got a $20 fee graze on the eve of AMD’s launch. Inside the DirectX 9 Left 4 Dead 2, AMD’s extra cards surpassed the mildly overclocked GTX 460 by more than 20fps (for the 6870) and 9fps (for the 6850). The DX11 performance was significantly closer, with the 460 besting the 6850 in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. The more tessellation-intensive Aliens against. Predator sample seems to act of kindness AMD’s hardware, which speaks frankly to the advancements made in the Barts GPU. AMD has a winner on its hands, but Nvidia’s price-slashed GTX 460 and 470 are more striking than always. The price/ performance battle is close, but AMD gets the okay at this time. But even if AMD’s parade was moistened by Nvidia’s fee graze, gamers in the promote pro a extra graphics license occur made known the ultimate winners.

Xigmatek Utgard



If you look at the Xigmatek Utgard’s features and specifications, they read like those of an expensive chassis from a Tier 1 manufacturer. The Utgard has an abundance of front-panel I/O connectors, a
built-in fan controller, mesh front and top bezels, and a mostly tool-less design. The interior of the case is even painted black to match the exterior. But the Utgard is actually tied for the least expensive offering
in the group at $59.
Obviously, for under 60 bucks, the Utgard doesn’t have quite the build quality of the Pinnacle 24 or Silverstone FT02, but for the money, this case is great. There are numerous drive bays and plenty of pass-throughs to facilitate cable management. The Utgard is relatively quiet, and its performance was
decent. If you ask us, the Utgard looks pretty good, too. Users on a budget should give the Xigmatek
Utgard a serious look—this case is a heck of a value.

Rosewill Armor


Despite being one of the more affordable cases in this roundup, the Rosewill Armor is fully loaded and actually packs an uncommon feature found in one other case in this roundup.
The Armor is a midtower design, with roughly 80% of its panels made from a metal mesh that allows for easy airflow into the case. Its lighted, red cooling fans, including a large 200mm side-panel fan, are relatively quiet, and the Armor is a mostly tool-less design, which makes for quick and easy assembly. The motherboard tray isn’t removable, but it does have an 80mm fan mounted within the tray itself, which circulates air behind the motherboard. The fan’s position is roughly behind the CPU socket area on most standard ATX motherboards. This is a nice feature that should help keep CPU temperatures down.
Aesthetically, the Rosewill Armor has a little bit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde going on (which isn’t a bad thing here). With its lighting turned off, the Armor looks somewhat conservative, with clean lines and an
all-black exterior. Turn on the lighting, though, and the case is certainly an attention grabber.

Silverstone FT02




Silverstone has been making first-class PC enclosures since the company was founded back in 2003, and the FT02 is no exception. Borrowing an interesting design element from Silverstone’s unique Raven
RV01, the Silverstone FT02 is the only case in the roundup to feature a 90-degree motherboard mounting design that literally turns the internals of a system on its side. With the FT02, the motherboard mounts to the chassis in such a way that its I/O panel sits at the top of the case, where cables can be connected and hidden by a panel along the top. Assembling a system inside the FT02 can seem a little weird at first, but there’s really nothing too unusual to consider once the mobo is mounted.
The Silverstone FT02 has very clean lines, with curved corners that are easy on the eyes. Build quality and attention to detail are excellent. The case even has sound-dampening material on its side panels to minimize vibration noise. At $239, the FT02 is one of the more expensive offerings in the group, but this case is worth the investment. It’s relatively quiet, performs well, and looks great.

Panasonic’s Powerful Fixed-Lens Camera



IF you are next to edge using guide controls pro photos and videotape, you’ll love pana sonic’s 10 megapixel Lumix dMC LX5 ($500). Equipped with a greater (1/1.63 inch) CCd sensor and an F2.0 ultra varied slant zoom lens (3.8X optical zoom, 24mm to 95mm), this statement and film camera is a versatile player formerly you dive into its far ahead controls.

Fe LX5 ofiers guide controls pro both stills and videotape, raW shooting, a macro mode to lets you
Just about meet the lens to your area of interest, fast and Tne tunable focus controls, and a button landscape with relaxed access to in camera settings. On the back is a 3 edge LCd screen pro framing your shots, but refusal optical prospect Tnder. A proprietary emotional shoe connection lets you link up an eye level electronic prospect
Tnder that’s compatible with panasonic’s G succession compatible lens cameras.
For unsullied guide act, it’s intensely to Tnd a Txed lens camera to tops the Lumix LX5. Its Tne tunable
Settings, macro mode, focus skin tone, videotape options, low light performance, and classic aesthetics are by all means to get photography geeks freak (in a very pleasant way).
Fis is a elevated step up camera pro a person who feels shackled by automated settings as well as a elevated on the stretch camera pro a person accustomed to a dsLr.

iPod Touch to Sprint’s 3G Network


Do You oWn an iPod Touch? Te pipe dream of having a contract uninhibited, data no more than iPhone is flnally real, recognition To Sprint’s latest Peel device.Tough iPod Touch owners still possibly will not be able to tie to AT&T’s 3G clear Labor, they will be able to plug the device into Sprint’s.

Fashionable standard november, Sprint began promotion a gizmo called the Peel on behalf of $80. Te Peel, manufactured by ZTe, is a rationale on behalf of moment and third generation iPod Touch media players so as to connects to Sprint’s interact and
Serves as a Wi Fi hotspot on behalf of  up to two procedure (telephone services are not existing through the Peel, however). To accompany the Peel, Sprint is ofering a month by month (no contract) 1GB data diagram on behalf of $30 for each month.

Te Peel does not require users to install several sofiware in order to depletion it, and it is compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista,Windows XP, and mac oS X operating systems. Te Peel and ofers innovative WeP security on behalf of its hotspot functionality.
To egg on iPod Touch owners to go the Peel a trial run, Sprint is together with a 30 time nix duty,
Money back pledge: Within 30 days of purchasing the Peel, users can return the hardware and be
Reimbursed on behalf of the procure value as well as on behalf of the initiation fee. Sprint will and surrender the restocking fee and refund the important monthly service charge.
“When combined with Sprint’s 3G interact, ZTe Peel turns an iPod Touch from a portable device partial by the availability of Wi Fi to a mobility tool uninhibited to browse the Web and depletion applications anytime, several Anywhere while on Sprint’s 3G interact,” assumed Sprint’s VP of upshot development Fared Adib, in a statement. Sprint is promotion the Peel in its retail gather locations, as well as unswervingly on its Web put. And in rationale you are feeling wary of Sprint’s service, commentary so as to in PCWorld’s clear labor tests, conducted in beforehand 2010 in 13 major cities across the united States . Sprint’s interact earned admirable characters on behalf of its reliability.

Memory Viper Xtreme 4GB (PX534G2000ELK)


The highest attraction of Patriot Memory’s Recently released line of Viper Xtreme Remembrance kits is its further heatsink design. The further Viper Extreme kits undergo much Heavier and thicker aluminum heatsinks, Multipart with copper reheat plates with the aim of introduce Wavy fins along the top. The put an end to consequence is A better-performing heatsink that’s able to More quickly absorb and dissipate reheat. Patriot’s Viper Xtreme DDR3 kits Are to be had in capacities ranging from 4GB to 12GB, with rated frequencies of 1,600MHz or 2,000MHz. The kit I tested, Mold PX534G2000ELK, boasts a 4GB Facility (2x 2GB, dual channel) with a rated Swiftness of 2,000MHz. It besides ropes XMP profiles used for at ease

Configuration on compatible motherboards And latencies of 9-10-9-27 by the side of 1.65V. Performance of the Patriot kit was Quite worthy. According to SiSoft Sandra, Bandwidth hovered around the 20.5GBps
Mark, which is important used for a dual-channel kit. A low-res Crysis yardstick yielded frame Charge perfectly north of 211fps.
Because the highest introduce of this further Remembrance is its heatsink design, I besides checked
Temperatures under various conditions and Came away impressed. When running by the side of a Chock-full 2,000MHz, with rebuff other cooling,

The hotness of the most modern part of the Remembrance peaked by the side of solitary 48.5 degrees Celsius Under a sustained load, which was perfectly melt To the bit. With an on the go remembrance cooler In place, temps peaked by the side of solitary 33.1 C. The Floor line: This remembrance runs cool.
At a little above $150 used for a 4GB kit, Patriot’s Viper Xtreme Series remembrance isn’t Stingy, but it is worth the further investment If you’re in the marketplace used for a high-quality Remembrance kit.



OCZ has been crafty innovative Offerings with cutting-edge SSD Technologies designed for particular period at present, and as of Behind schedule, the company has really been pushing The envelope. With the IBIS drive, OCZ has In fact pioneered a inexperienced SSD interface.OCZ’s HSDL (High-Speed Data Link) Interface makes exercise of optimized PCI-Ebased Relations with an x8 connection terminated a
Standard SAS connector. The solution uses a Small half-height PCI-E license with the intention of plugs into Every x4 slot. OCZ bundles a PCI-E x4 license And an HSDL cable in with the drive.
The IBIS drive we tested is a 240GB Variant, though sizes up to 960GB are Untaken. The drives happen enclosed in 3.5 Creep metal casings, so they slide fine in to Heritage remorselessly drive racks, as well.The drive itself Sports a complete of Four SandForce SSD Controllers, with Other control logic chips,
In a RAID 0 configuration.
The SandForce controllers not merely Hand out up killer performance but as well Keep the drive responding with the intention of way, With SandForce’s first-rate garbage Collection algorithm.
The IBIS drive without doubt runs By the side of a premium terminated standard SSDs, But if you’re hell-bent designed for particular of The fastest hard disk throughput on the Promote in the present day, the IBIS delivers.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 580


“With this strikingly quiet-running License, Nvidia extremely trounces AMD’s top-end single-GPU graphics license And even comes close to dethroning the Dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970.” We might Own held to facilitate six months previously if Nvidia had Released Fermi as it at this time exists in the Disguise of the GeForce GTX 580. Instead, the GF100 in the flagship of the 400 cycle was Stormy, noisy, and ran on solitary SM shy of a chock-full Deck. The GF110 inside the GTX 580 is a Tweaked GF100 exclusive of the crutches, but Having held to facilitate, this license shows Fermi next to its Chock-full latent.

How New Is This GPU?
The GF110 ships with all after everything else solitary Of its 16 SMs enabled, which gives it 512 CUDA cores, 64 quality units, and the same ROP count as the GTX 480 (48). Nvidia Furthermore took a quantity of of the tweaks to facilitate made the GTX 460 such a winner and useful them To the GF110, as well as improved FP16 Quality filtering, which lets the GPU filter Twice the total of FP16 pixels for every control
As the GF100. The GF110 furthermore skin tone a Modern Z-culling/rejection engine designed to
Further rendering in games. The GF100’s Leaky transistors own been adequately Caulked, follow-on in a 244W TDP (the GTX 480 has a 250W TDP) even despite a 10% Boost in fundamental control (to 772MHz) and an 8% Boost in recall control (to 1,002MHz). The Recall subsystem is the same 384-bit means of transportation With 1.5GB of GDDR5.

Much Quieter & Less Hot

Nvidia seems to own effectively fixed Fermi next to the fail level, but the changes Don’t interrupt at hand. The GTX 580 ships with A significantly improved vapor chamberbased Cooler. It factory by evaporating Liquid from the stormy floor of the blocked Chamber wherever it touches the GPU And allowing the vapor to condense on The ceiling of the Chamber. The transferred Intensity followed by disperses Via the more Traditional heatsink and Fan combo. Thanks to the Highly efficient cooler, the GTX 580 is furthermore Significantly quieter than the GTX 480.
The information
Against an overclocked GTX 480 from Gigabyte, the GTX 580 was amid 1% and 6% quicker in our game tests, But it yielded a 12% return in 3DMark. That’s an adequate amount to collapse the GTX 580 the
Single-GPU crown, but remember, it takes To facilitate trophy from the lackluster GTX 480. The GTX 580 is still a very stormy graphics License; Gigabyte’s overclocked vapor chamberequipped GTX 480 outperforms Nvidia’s Stab next to the knowledge. It remains to be seen Whether Nvidia’s up-to-the-minute license can stave sour a Challenge from AMD’s accommodating 6970. Our advice, linger and distinguish.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC

A handful of overclocked GeForce GTX 480s are now on the sell, But the minority are as extreme as the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 Super Overclocked Edition. What makes the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 SOC so motivating Are its ultra-high clocks and custom cooler (dubbed Windforce 3X). In vogue addition to being closer, the Ge- Force GTX 480 SOC is and quieter Than reference cards, recognition to its custom
Triple-fan cooling setup. And, somewhat Surprisingly, Gigabyte’s offering—despite Its advanced frequencies—actually consumes Not as much of power than slower reference cards. The Power savings are a product Of more efficient voltage Management circuitry on the GTX 480 SOC, as well as
Gigabyte’s aggressive binning Of the GPUs themselves. Everything going on for the Gigabyte GeForce GTX
480 SOC screams “power User.” This certificate is definitely Lone of the as a rule lovely GTX 480-based cards on The sell. At under $470, it is priced Competitively. The no more than gadget so as to can
Present budding consumers pause is The current arrival of the a little Closer GeForce GTX 580, Which can be had used for no more than An extra $30.

Gigabyte Aivia K8100


Gamers demand much from a baby grand: Appropriate fundamental sensitivity, a usable macro competence, and the knack to press multiple keys next to after, in support of illustration. The K8100 delivers all of these and adds an desirable housing plus several further skin tone. All keys are not bent equal, and the K8100’s designers important the information with the purpose of a number of keys persuade more—and harder— employment than others. The K8100’s keys are
Alienated into force regions, with a number of keys (Spacebar, W, A, S, D, and so on.) requiring more pressure (70 grams) than with a reduction of recurrently used keys with the purpose of as an alternative require simply 50 or 60 grams. It’s challenging to tell the
Difference in pressure with no engaging in a number of genuinely long-term gaming, but the fundamental skirmish itself is admirable. The baby grand skin tone a 20-key antighosting star: Up to 20 keys can be hard-pressed all together.  The K8100 is a programmable gold mine, with skin tone to cheer up the hearts
Of serious macro users. With five macro buttons open in apiece of five modes (and with other sets with the purpose of can be loaded via Gigabyte’s Ghost Macro Engine software in support of a add up of 100 macros), in attendance are a sufficient amount options now to allow gamers to agree up development interactions and still dedicate a a small amount of keys as media buttons. The K8100’s onboard recall process with the purpose of you can with no trouble switch technology, haulage your
Macros with you. The K8100 offers a a small amount of more skin tone with the purpose of gamers will escalate: Rubberized

Replacement WASD keys and switchable LED backlit keys, in support of illustration. Even nongamers will like the keyboard’s powerful construction, routable braided cable with gold connectors, and silicone defending
Fundamental spread over the surface. Gigabyte’s statement into the gaming baby grand bazaar is a solid contender, comparing kindly with other keyboards in—and beyond—its outlay range: It provides everything you need in support of both gaming and non-gaming employment, and very little with the purpose of you don’t

Gigabyte GeForce GTS 450 (GV-N450-1GI)


Gigabyte recently sent us its entrylevel take on the GF106-based GeForce GTS 450. Like Nvidia’s reference
Design, this certificate has a $129 consequences tag, but unlike with the purpose of certificate, the underlying and recollection clocks are bumped vaguely, from 783MHz and 900MHz to 810MHz and 902MHz, in that order.
Gigabyte’s GTS 450 is a dual-slot certificate with the purpose of sports an rectangle plastic heatsink shroud, but it no more than covers the top of the radial aluminum heatsink, so it’s more of a cape than a shroud. The heatsink skin a Copper underlying, which adds appreciably to the card’s stress, and according to Gigabyte, lowers temps by 14%. Another bonus you persuade with this certificate is a three-year warranty. A single six-pin PCI-E power connector goods juice to this certificate, and you enclose a two of a kind of DVI ports and a mini HDMI harbor on behalf of demonstrate Connectivity.
Due to the similarity in consequences, we benchmarked the Gigabyte GTS 450 adjacent to a reference Radeon HD 5750, though the latter certificate might be had on behalf of vaguely not as much of if you’re willing to fuss with rebates.
Even despite a extra Catalyst driver (one with the purpose of boasts improved S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:Call of Pripyat performance),The GTS 450 still has an approach on the elder Radeon certificate (even in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). Between the two,DirectX 9 performance appears to be a wash, but DX11 titles seem to support Gigabyte’s certificate.

Verbatim Shrinks Its MediaShare NAS Server




“Would you like to facilitate NAS media wine waiter With or with no cargo space, sir?” That’s the
Question you’ll need to mull over if shopping Used for a NAS media wine waiter next to Verbatim. With The recently released MediaShare Mini ($90), the company is without hesitation given that a
Non-storage alternative to its previously Released MediaShare building block. The MediaShare,
Meanwhile, comes with up to 1TB of Onboard cargo space ($199). If you get the Mini route, you’ll partake of four USB ports next to Your disposal to plug in your own drives. Equally with the MediaShare, you’re getting Remote Internet support; sand ease of access From an iPhone, iPod join, Android, and Other smartphones; Facebook and Flickr Integration; and streaming through the PS3, Xbox 360, and DLNA-compliant adapters.

Two Entirely Different miniature PCs / PeeWee PC

PeeWee PC


For example parents, we cringe all point our kids treatment our laptop. PeeWee PC’s PeeWee Pivot 2.0
Can help tame our nerves. Not merely does the $599 netbook-looking Pivot 2.0 Mark Windows 7, 15 learning titles, and an Intel Atom N450, but it as well sports such skin As a 180-degree rotating touchscreen, water-resistant upright, non-slip grips, relentlessly plastic outside, and two Security suites. Taking the “peewee” theme to the adult level is the fascinating Xi3 Modular Computer whose aluminum sides amount fewer than 4 inches Each one. The Xi3 needs fewer than 20W to run, comes in 10 color options, and provisions six USB 2.0 and two eSATA ports; DVI, VGA, and HDMI; a fine Of three AMD CPUs (including 2.2GHz Athlon 64 4200+); up to 4GB DDR3 RAM; and 1080p playback. Perhaps largely alluring are the rig’s three Swappable boards, counting individual to facilitate contains the CPU, graphics cut, and RAM and an additional with tape, input, and USB acquaintances. “We deny the Hypothesis to facilitate computers must take a functional life of merely two to four years,” says Xi3 boss Jason A. Sullivan. Sans input strategy, the Xi3 starts on $849 with Linux Suse built-in.

LaCie d2 USB 3.0

What we open out our collection of media, which at present includes HD cassette, climax bit-rate MP3’s, and high-resolution images, shift fly must be single of the source concerns as soon as looking designed for outer luggage compartment.
USB 2.0 provides a speculative limit shift fly of 60MBps, with real-world speeds often settling around 30 to 40MBps.The LaCie d2 USB 3.0 is an outer remorselessly drive with the intention of skin texture a USB 3.0 connection,
Which can offer a speculative limit shift fly of 600MBps, and LaCie installs a 7,200rpm remorselessly drive with the intention of allows the d2 to duplicate data by the side of up to 130MBps. We tested the 1TB version of the d2 USB 3.0, but a 2TB version ($249.99) is as well untaken. LaCie designed the d2 USB 3.0 with fanless cooling; the totality aluminum outside of the outer remorselessly drive serves a great heatsink. During our trying,

The outer drive occasionally felt a little hot, but it was in no way spicy. The d2 can sit vertically or horizontally, and we like with the intention of LaCie built-in a tiring tolerate with the intention of screws to the outer drive and provides a solid heart as soon as the part stands upright. We connected the LaCie d2 USB 3.0 to a test arrangement with USB 3.0 ports and ran PCMark Vantage’s HDD Suite and SiSoftware Sandra’s Physical Disk tests. The outer remorselessly drive posted a 108.79MBps read performance and 13ms random access period, which are both comparable to the shift speeds of a 7,200rpm domestic remorselessly drive. The drive’s PCMark Vantage scores
Were as well respectable. With its quick performance, the d2 USB 3.0 is ideal designed for persons with a PC with USB 3.0 ports who often shift great media collections from single arrangement to an additional. Power users who recurrently back up great sets of archive will as well benefit from the USB 3.0 connectivity.

Creative Joins The 1080p Web Cam Party



If you brain wave Microsoft and Logitech were the merely gunslingers in Town firing 1080p bullets away from home of their Web cams, think again. Creative Has entered the dispute with its fresh Live! Cam Socialize HD 1080 ($89.99), Which in addition to responsibility rightful 1080p tape captures on up to 30fps, sports Integrated dual adaptive array mics with noise-cancellation and Live! Scan scanning
Software with touchscreen and multitouch support. Elsewhere, Creative recently as well Announced the Creative ZiiO 7” (starts on $278) and ZiiO 10” (starts on $332) Pure Wireless Tablets in 8GB and 16GB sizes both running Android 2.1 and counting Creative’s X-Fi expertise and ZMS-08 laptop, which so they say has ties to the 1GHz ARM CPU. Creative states to facilitate apps on behalf of the drug are free in its ZiiStore.

Microsoft Arc Touch


The Arc Touch Mouse is a fully functional fashion statement for traveling professionals. There are no side buttons because, more or less, there are no sides. When flat, the mouse measures 5.14 inches long, 2.3 inches wide, and just over half an inch at its thickest depth. This flat bar bows up into an arc designed to conform to the inside of your hand. The BlueTrack sensing technology works flawlessly on practically every surface, even our glossy, black granite countertop. To someone with largish hands, the Arc Touch feels small, although definitely not as small as many other travel mice. We found that we had to concentrate on not letting our hands slip too far back, otherwise it took more pressure than usual to
depress the buttons with our fingertips. Between the two buttons is a little strip that emulates a traditional scroll wheel. Sliding your middle finger along it elicits little haptic feedback vibrations. Flicking the bar

quickly yields very rapid scrolling—handy for long documents or Web pages. Install Microsoft’s free Intellitouch software, and tapping the strip will be able to execute page up, page down, and a custom function. Our overall impression was that a bit of practice made the strip every bit as usable as a conventional wheel. Other admirable points: There is no power button. Once you have two AAA batteries in place, the mouse is on when flexed and off when flat. Although you can download additional software for the Arc Touch from Microsoft, our unit worked without issue under Windows 7 just by plugging in the wireless dongle, which sticks to a magnet in the mouse’s belly when not in use. Also, being symmetrical,
the mouse is great for left-handers. Once we dialed down the mouse’s sensitivity slightly in Windows, we found the Arc Touch accurate, stylish, convenient, and our new favorite travel mouse for general use.

Panasonic AG-AF101


Exotic tech exorbitantly priced—that’s our manna here in dreamland. Ever and anon, however, there’s a populist innovation we can’t help but celebrate. This new HD flash camcorder could make a lot of indie filmmakers very, very smiley. The AGAF101 ( blends pro cam features such as HD-SDI output and timecode stamping with DSLR perks such as a low price (about $6,400)
and micro Four Thirds interchangeable lenses. Auteurs on a budget will be able to capture cinematic-
looking footage, Panasonic says, such as wide-angle, 1080p/24fps shots with a shallow depth of field. Its 16:9, Four Thirds MOS imaging sensor is said to be the key to that elusive (at this price point) 35mm look. The purpose-built cam should be on the market for the holidays.

Thermaltake Armor A60

Thermaltake has expanded its midtower Armor series with the Armor A60, a practical and durable case with USB 3.0 connectivity. What makes the Armor A60 a builder-friendly enclosure is the externally
accessible SideClick EasySwap 3.5 HDD bay and support for up to seven fans. The left side panel includes a 3.5-inch HDD bay with a spring-loaded cover that houses one of six 3.5-inch HDD drawers (these are also compatible with 2.5-inch drives) and acts as a hot-swap bay (that is, if you’re running in AHCI mode). The front of each HDD drawer is protected by two flexible plastic arms that should probably be a bit more pliable because we inconveniently snapped one off when we were experimenting with the SideClick EasySwap drawer.
When considering the number of drive cages and fans, as well as the case’s form factor, it’s possible that a deckedout build could get slightly cramped. We recommend using a modular PSU, especially if you plan to install multiple cards and hard drives. The all-black paint job might cause you to overlook some of the significant practical features Thermaltake has incorporated. Some examples are the detachable PSU filter on the A60’s bottom panel, two holes reserved for liquid-cooling tubes, and an external security lock
(held in place with an interior tool-less screw) for the keyboard and mouse. There is also tool-less mounting on the 5.25-inch drive bays. Even though the Armor A60 will accommodate video cards up to 12 inches long, as well as heatsinks up to 180mm high, from the outside it may not impress you or any curious onlooker. You can buy the Armor A60 for its functionality and call it good.

Patriot Inferno 120GB

Any power user contemplating an SSD upgrade should be familiar with SandForce by now. The company makes the controllers at the heart of many of today’s most sought-after SSDs, such as the Patriot    nferno 120GB. Like other SandForce SF-1222-based SSDs, the Inferno 120GB is rated for 285MBps and 275MBps maximum sequential reads and writes, respectively. The Inferno offers only 119GB of available
storage space when formatted, despite having 128GB of MLC NAND flash memory. The spare flash
memory is used for bad block management, wear leveling, garbage collection, and other proprietary SandForce features. Throughout testing, the Patriot Inferno 120GB proved to be an excellent performer. In the SiSoft Sandra 2010 physical disk benchmark, the drive managed 256.4MBps reads and 192MBps
writes, respectively, which is among the best we’ve seen from a 3Gbps SATA SSD.

The Inferno’s performance in HDTach was similarly very good. In PCMark Vantage’s HDD benchmark, although the Inferno continued to perform well, it was ever so slightly outpaced by OCZ’s and Corsair’s competitive offerings we’ve tested in the past. Ultimately, the Patriot Inferno 120GBis yet another excellent SandForce-based SSD. If you’re in the market for a new SSD, do yourself a favor and give it a serious look .

by Marco Chiappetta

NZXT Hale90 850W

NZXT has been expanding its product offerings beyond cases, with the latest being a lineup of efficient power supplies, dubbed Hale90. The Hale90 series of PSUs consists of models ranging from 550 to 1,000 watts.We had the opportunity to evaluate the Hale90 850W. The NZXT Hale90 850W sports a mostly modular design and a unique aesthetic, at least in the power supply space. Hardwired to the Hale90 850W unit are its 24-pin ATX power connector, 8-pin (4+4) motherboard connector, a few SATA connectors,
and a pair of PCI-E connectors; the rest of the cables are modular. Further,any modular cable can be plugged into anyof the receptacles on the unit, noteworthybecause most PSUs have specific receptacles
for each cable type. Other notables include an 80 Plus Gold efficiency rating and amassive 70A single 12V rail.

Its features and specs put the NXZT Hale90 850W PSU strictly in enthusiast territory, and in terms of performance,the unit did not disappoint. Our 12-core dual-Xeon5680-powered rig was able to put a sustained load of almost 790W on the Hale90 850W unit, and we never experienced a hint of instability.
The NZXT Hale90 doesn’t have all of the features or as long of a warranty as some other competing power supplies, but at $179, it’s competitively priced and a solid performer. If you find the white finish and cable configuration of the Hale90 appealing, this PSU is worthy of consideration.

Crosley Spins A Revolution

Call us old-fashioned, but we still buy new music on LP. Thus, it always does our analog heart good to see new digital-flavored turntables make the scene, including Crosley’s belt-driven Revolution (CR6002A), a $149.95 spinner (45rpm and 33 1/3 rpm) that takes “the record player out of the box.” Beyond being Crosley’s first battery-powered model (six AAs), the company claims the Revolution is its first with a “platter smaller than a teacup saucer” and first with wireless transmitter. Like other digital turntables, the Revolution includes a USB port to turn album-based tracks into digital files (ripping and editing software included). Other integrated goodies include an FM transmitter, headphone jack, line-out port, and dynamic full-range speaker.

LaCie Enters Wireless Space Impressively


September was a busy month for LaCie. In addition to announcing the impish MosKeyto ($17.99 and up), a roughly 20mm USB thumb drive offering up to 16GB storage, the company detailed the new, intriguing, and handsome Wireless Space (starts at $229.99), LaCie’s first Wi-Fi-packing NAS for Mac and PC users.
Wireless Space can function as a media server, Wi- Fi b/g/n access point, and full-fledged router. It’s compatible with UPnP/DLNA, iTunes, and Time Machine (Genie Timeline software included).
Models in 1TB and 2TB sizes with three USB ports are set for an October statesiderelease. LaCie also announced its first RAID (0, 1, JBOD) storage device in the form of the 2big USB 3.0, which touts up to 205MBps performance. Starting at $349.99, the 2big is available in up to 4TB models. A non-RAID, single-disk, 130MBps d2 USB 3.0 version is also available in 1TB ($149.99) and 2TB ($249.99) sizes.

Crazy About Video? Then Take A Looxcie

If you think Bluetooth headsets are obnoxious, stop reading. The Looxcie ($199) isn’t for you. If, however, you don’t mind small devices dangling from your ear and video is your bag, by all means give the Looxcie a long, er, look. In addition to functioning as a hands-free Bluetooth headset, this bullet-shaped video wonder stores up to five hours (or as much as 4GB) of HVGA video. But that’s not all. Download an accompanying app to your Android smartphone (support for other smartphone OSes is said to be coming this fall), press a button on the device, and the Looxcie will send the last 30 seconds of footage
to the app, from which you can post to Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter or email it to others. You can also configure the app to automatically transfer clips or move them to a PC via USB cable.

Shuttle XS35GT-804


It’s easy to bash nettops in a power user magazine. Nettops like this XS35GT still can’t complete a default 3DMark Vantage run. (We had to drop into the Entry profile, yielding a score of E1792.) That said, no one buys a nettop for 3D gaming. These are the low-power, ultraquiet cloud clients meant to be power
users’ second (or third) PC. In our June issue, we looked at View- Sonic’s VOT132 nettop. (See page 34.)
Half a year later, Shuttle’s design easily outperforms the Viewsonic. For example, the VOT132 pulled an overall PCMark Vantage score of 1752, with respective Gaming and Productivity sub-scores of 1532 and 1569. Shuttle’s XS35GT scores 2041, 1663, and 1805, respectively. More importantly, the Viewsonic struggled with HD streaming video. Shuttle shows occasional frame drops with YouTube at 1080p, but it’s quite watchable; 720p streaming is rock solid.

Now, the glossy VOT132 was the size of a paperback but needed an add-on drive if you wanted optical disc support, nearly doubling the unit’s thickness. OurXS35GT integrates a slim DVD-RW but is significantly longer—almost the size of two VOT132s placed edge to edge. We didn’t care for the Swiss cheese mesh aesthetics of the side panels, but it does give ample ventilation to the double-sided, passively cooled motherboard. The system draws 23W at most and is silent beyond about 18 inches. Unlike the VOT132, Shuttle’s 802.11n antennas are internal but still pulled three of five bars from across a 2,600-square-foot house.
Shuttle asks $259.99 for the barebones Ion 2 config, or if you really don’t care about graphics and video, the non-Ion version (still with 2GB DDR2, a 320GBHDD, and DVD burner) is $299.99. Our verdict: strong 2D results, compact design,fair price.


by William Van Winkle

Gigabyte X58-USB3


Jumping into one of Intel’s six-core Core i7s can be an expensive proposition, but with the X58-USB3, Gigabyte scales down the X58 features (no 6Gbps SATA or eSATA ports) to offer an affordable motherboard that can still handle the Core i7-970 or 980X. The X58-USB3’s layout is fairly well thought-out, but we didn’t like the placement of the front-panel audio connector, which was located above the expansion slots. On the plus side, Gigabyte built in three PCI-E x16 slots, and the first two are capable of running at full x16 speed. The bottom PCI-E x16 slot runs at x4 speed. Compared to Gigabyte’s X58A-UD9
and X58A-UD7, the X58-USB3 doesn’t offer as large of heatsinks, or as much power regulation. That being said, we were still able to push the Intel Core i7- 980X in our test system to 4.4GHz.

Our overclock included slight voltage increases to both the CPU and memory. Gigabyte also includes a slew of recovery, hard drive, and overclocking utilities. If you’re looking for a motherboard that’s a good value—and are OK with one that doesn’t have all the high-end features the X58-USB3 is for you. We also like that it offers enough overclocking tools to let you push the high-end Core i7 processors it was designed to work with.


by Nathan Lake

AMD Radeon HD 6870 & 6850


AMD just launched its third-generation 40nm GPU, but there is very little new in terms of architecture compared to the 5000 Series. To add to the confusion, the new cards are actually closer in performance to the Radeon HD 5830 and 5770 than the Cypress cards with which these cards share a suffix. You read right: The Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 will outperform the wet-behind-the-ears Radeon HD 6870 and 6850, respectively. Read on to find out how AMD managed to crater the price of performance graphics cards
without a die shrink or new architecture. The GPU inside the 6870 and 6850 consists of 1.7 billion transistors, which is close to half a billion fewer than the 5870 GPU. Die size has also slimmed from
Cypress’ 334mm2 to 255mm2, which enables AMD to crank out more 6870 GPUs per wafer. AMD’s secret to maintaining near 5870 performance with 25% fewer ICs is core clock. The Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 have 900MHz and 775MHz cores, respectively. Both GPUs have a 256-bit memory bus, but AMD set
the clocks at 1,050MHz for the 6870 and 1,000MHz for the 6850. Load/idle board power for the 6870 and 6850 are 151W/ 19W and 127W/19W, respectively.Architecturally, AMD’s engineers effectively took 25% of the horses dedicated to Cypress’ compute/shader/texture performance and hitched them instead to a rasterization/tessellation/ROP wagon, yieldingbetter real-world gaming performance. The SIMD engines found in the flagship Radeon HD 5870 return practically unchanged in the Barts XT and Pro chips,which have 14 and 12 SIMD engines respectively, for 1,120 and 960 stream processors each. The only real variation,however, is that each of the new SPs is no longer capable of FP64 calculations, which never come into play with 3D workloads, so gamers won’t notice the omission.
The more significant changes came to the tessellation unit, which is now capable of roughly twice the performance of the Cypress-based cards. The graphics engine also has a second rasterizer, which keeps the GPU’s horses fed and watered. These cards also support AMD’s new Morphological Anti-Aliasing mode, which performs fullscene anti-aliasing with less frame rate penalty compared to super-sampling.
We tested the Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 against Evga’s GeForce GTX 460 SuperClocked Edition, which got a $20 price cut on the eve of AMD’s launch. In the DirectX 9 Left 4 Dead 2, AMD’s new cards surpassed the mildly overclocked GTX 460 by more than 20fps (for the 6870) and 9fps (for the 6850).

The DX11 performance was significantly closer, with the 460 besting the 6850 inS.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call
of Pripyat. The more tessellation-intensive Aliens vs. Predator demo seems to favor  AMD’s hardware, which speaks directly to theadvancements made in the Barts GPU.

AMD has a winner on its hands, but Nvidia’s price-slashed GTX 460 and 470 are more attractive than ever. The price/ performance battle is close, but AMD gets the nod here. But even if AMD’s parade
was moistened by Nvidia’s price cut, gamers in the market for a new graphics card come out the ultimate winners.

by Andrew Leibman

Sony Puts The Walkman Out To Pasture



Although early rumors stemming from a Microsoft Netherlands press release surfacing in mid-October
point toward a Windows 8 release in 2012, Microsoft has plenty to celebrateright now with Windows 7.
According to an Oct. 21 release fromMicrosoft commemorating Windows 7’s first birthday, Microsoft has sold 240 million-plus copies of Windows 7 in the OS’ first year. Reportedly, 65 million sales came in the last 90 days. Microsoft claims Windows 7 has secured more than 17% of the global OS market in less than a year and touts that 1.2 billion PCs globally run a Windows OS. Further, Microsoft says 93% of new consumer PCs run Windows 7 and also points to a 94% customer satisfaction rating (provided by Lifehacker). Business-wise, Microsoft says 90% of companies have already moved or are starting to move to Windows 7.

Enermax MODU87 + (600W)

Enermax's new line of desktop PSUs indudes the natively cabled PROB7+ and the modular MODUB7+ series, both of which are available in 500-, 600-, and 700-watt models. In this review, we looked at the 600W MODUB7+. The MODUB7+ has an attractive gold and black casing with a prominent 140mm Twister-bearing fan covering the rop. The integrated SpeedGuard &n control ranges from 330 to 1,000rpm ro ensure the perfect balance between cool­ing and quiet operation, while HearGuard keeps your PSU's

fan running for up to a minute after shur­down to expend excess heat. One of the MODUB7+'s most notable features is its ability to run at B7 to 92% efficiency at almost any load, thanks to Enerrnax's new DHT (Dynamic Hybrid Transformer) technology, which uses dynamic, rather than static, frequencies, voltages, and conversions. For our tests, we built our MODUB7+ PSU into our PSU torture chamber the sysrem listed in the Test System Specs section. To Stress our system, we simul­taneously ran four instances of Prime95, looped 3DMark06, and played an audio CD on repeat, all continuously for about three hours.

Lenovo IdeaPad S 12


A 1O-inch nerbook may be fine for occasional use, but for prolonged typing or a lot less browser scrolling, you wan t at least a 12-inch screen. The 12.1- inch, 1,280 x 800 LCD in Lenovo's IdeaPad SI2 is a vast improvement over the more cramped 1 O-inch competition. The netbook's fuller keyboard is more usable, and it ships with the common specs you'd expeCt for Windows XP Home. At $449, it's a good deal for a functional ultramobile that is neither exceptional nor disappointing. The standout fearure of this S 12, though, is its VIA Nano UL V platform, our nrst serious challenger to the Atom­opoly. We threw PCMark05 and Pass­Mark's PerformanceTest 7 at the SI2 and an OCZ Neutrino based on the ubiquitous Atom N270. Despite the Neutrino having a slightly higher CPU clock (1.6GBz vs. the Nano ULV2250's l.3+GHz) and 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 compared to the Lenovo's 1 GB, the SI2 clearly emerged as the better performer.

  The PCMark CPU Test Suite composite was 4% higher for VIA In PassMark's 3D Graphics Mark, VIA's inte­grated Chrome9 graphics crushed Intel's GlvIA 950, 89.6 to 20.9. Overall, the com­posite PassMark rating finished at 359.4 for the 12 and 183.8 for the Neutrino. The price to pay for VIA's superior per­formance is in battery life. Preferring a real-world test to the usual "abso I ute longest runtime" approach, we started with Lenovo's lowest power profile and kept adding whatever was necessary to

continuously view a stream from I-hilu at 50% screen brightness. The system shut down at 2 hours 57 minutes-not great but still acceptable for heavy hotspot usage. Ultimately, we had to give the S 12 a fair rating for being a fair netbook, but with VIA's platform undercutting the Atom equivalent by $50, the Nano itself is a great value in this space .


by William Van Winkle

SpeakerCom 360



We're all for hardware mat takes an outside-the-box approach. Wim mat in mind, meet ykos SpeakerCom 360 ($19.99), a mic/earbud combo for the Xbox 360 mat also integrates a speakerphone so everyone in proximiry can hear yom online opponent's angst. Technocel's upcoming Ear Vibe ($29.99), meanwhile, is hailed as "the first stereo headset [hat vibrates to the beat of your music." Whemer the ability to "literally vibrate when your tunes hit the low frequency bass" equals "the ultimate music listening

accessory" is up to you. Finally, beyond announcing that it's developing the Onza Professional Gaming Controller ($49.99) with mappable multifunction Hyperesponse buttons for faster, crisper Xbox 360 anion, Razer is working with Sixense Entertainment to develop a "revolutionary true-to­life, next-generation motion sensing and gesture recognition controller for PC gaming." The companies,

along with Valve, demoed the controller in January using Left 4 Dead 2. Razer President Robert Krakoff stated the end result will "fill me gap between consoles and PCs in terms of human interface devices

ViewSonic Seeks Your PMP Biz


We'll reserve judgment on ViewSonic's upcoming MovieBook VPD550T until it's officially released this spring, but if it flJ­fills its promise, we'll certainly throw an "attaboy" ViewSonic's way--especially considering the 8GB, 5-inch touchscreen (800 x 400) MovieBook will COSt JUSt $199.99 and include HDMI output at up to l080p. Throw in an impressive array of NV format sUppOrt (reportedly covering MPEG-4, VOB, AVI, DVD Video, MKV, W1vIV, MP3, W1v[A, AAC, OGG, DTS, and others), voice recording, microSD slot, and calendar/clock, and we're talking potential here. Also look for 8GB 5-inch VPD513T ($189.99; nOp) and 4GB 4.3-inch VPD403 ($149.99; 480p) versions .

ViewSonic VOT 1 32

in the '90s, the term "book PC" was a euphemism for a small form-factor PC that was about the same size as a book ... if the book happened ro be an unabridged Webster's dictionary. The View onic VOT 132 is a "nettop PC" based on the L.6GHz dual-core Atom 330 CPU and vidia MCP7A-ION graphics processor, and it's literally smaller than my kid's paperback copy of "Percy Jackson & The Olympians." The VOT 132 ai ms [0 put media and productivity computing in more places, not replace older, bigger PCS. ViewSonic bundles a mounting kit to snap the sys­tem OntO a monitor's VESA mount, mak­ing it a zero-footprint Pc. Alternatively, a stand comes included for vertical standing on a desk or shelf.

Sitring idle at a desk­top, the VOTI32 con­sumes only about 18W. Under a heavy bench­marking load, it peaked around 32W with the audible, but not obnox­ious, system fan running. Speaking of benchmark­ing, the VOTI32 refused to run 3DMark Vantage, bur it did complete a PCMark Vantage run (PCMark overall score: 1752; Mernories: 1369; TV and Movies: 1455; Gaming: 1532; Music 2090; Communications: 1399; Produc­tivity: 1569; HDD: 2734). We were moderately impressed with the unit's media playback capabilities.



Specs: CPU. 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330, 2GB DDR2, 320GB hard drive, Video outputs: DVI, HOMI, Ports. Gigabit Ethemet, 6 USB 2.0, S/PDIF out, analog mic, and stereo out, 802.11 b/g/n, Windows 7 Home Premium





DVDs looked excellent, as did pretty much all content up through nop. At full­screen, Hulu was hopeless­ly choppy, and YouTuhe 1080p video was unwatch­able on a 15Mbps FiOS conneccion. Interesringly, 1080p content loaded on the hard drive as well as our Seagare BlackArmor 440 NAS played flawlessly. Audio and HDMI Output quality were both impressively crisp and vibrant,

No, this is definitely not for 3D gaming. Bur for productivity and local media, the VOTI32 is a stylish, low­energy, space-saving alternative to con­vencional PCs.

by William Van Winkle

Alienware M 11 x

The AJienware M IIx isn't your typical gaming notebook. Whereas most so­called mobile gaming machines are rela­tively large and heavy and packed with battery-crushing hardware, the Alienware Mllx has an ultraportable form factor, weighs in at only 4.5 pounds, and is Out­fitted with a balanced mix of components that offers not only strong performance but also excellent mobility.

The machine is built around an 11.6- inch LED-backlit LCD, and it's appoint­ed with a slick, backlit

keyboard. A logo underneath the screen, an "Alien head" power switch, and a couple of accents at the front of the machine are backlit, as well-all customizable using Alienware's included AlienFX application.


The M 11x's build quality is top-notch. It features a sturdy metal shell, and the keyboard area has minimal Rex (if any at all). The touchpad/wrist rest area has a tex­tured matte finish that's comfortable and resistant to fingerprints, which keep the machine looking clean. The glossy screen, however, attracts flngerprin ts galore.

Using the Alienware M II x was an ab­solute pleasure.

the screen is very good (although not great), and the machine's form factor is large enough to allow for a near full-sized keyboard. Battery life is excellent for a machine with this much horsepower, and performance was sur­prisingly good. Gaming ar the panel's native resolution is a cinch for the vid­ia mobile GPU, even when using high­quality settings.

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition

If there was any doubt in your mind that the core race hasn't cooled off, then the temporal proximity of AlvID's Thuban-based hexa-core launch and that of Intel's Core i7- 980X Extreme Edition should settle me matter. Based on the price of the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, you might deduce mat AlvID minks a six-core processor is for everyone. It's a noble position, for sure, but you'll have to read on to determine if everyone needs one.

Phenom II Plus 2

The Phenom II X6 1 090T Black Edi­tion is JUSt the latest ch ip to spring from AlvID's KI 0 architecture. Like with Intel's foray into six-core processors, mere's not much architecturally new here. AlvID stuck with irs 45nm SOl (silicon-on­insulator) immersion lithography process, which yielded a 346mm2 die. The socket AlvI3 chip features a 3.2GHz core fre­quency, integrated memory controller that supportS up to dual-channel DDR2- 1066 and DD R3-1600 memory, 512KB of L2 cache per core, 6MB shared L3 cache, and a 125WTDP.

AlvID also launched its 890FX chipset, which, together with the Phenom II X6 1090T, composes the Leo platform. The chipset supports HyperTransporr 3.0, SATA 6GBps, 32 PCI-E 2.0 lanes for graphics (two x 16 slots or four x8 slots), six x l lanes, and one x4 lane for peripher­als on me northbridge, and another two PCI-E lanes on the southbridge. The 890FX doesn't suPPOrt USB 3.0 natively, bur if the MSI 890FXA-GD70 is any indication, chips from Marvell or NEC will likely appear on 890FX boards and put those extra PCI-E lanes on the south­bridge to good use.



Turbo CORE

AfD's six-core dynamo in conjunction with any AlvI3 motherboard is capable of 

increasing the frequency available to three cores when running applications that don't scale well in parallel. Like Intel's Turbo Boost, Turbo CORE automatical­ly tells the underurilized cores to go idle while boosting the remaining cores' fre­quencies (to within the listed TDP) to process the poorly parallelized tasks more quickly. For the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, frequencies on the three running cores can max out at 3.6GHz. Bur, as a Black Edition processor, you can overclock the CPU to achieve me same results (or better). AlvID's OverDrive util­ity also lets you tweak the Turbo CORE,

i ncl using the number of cores to utilize and the clock frequency.

The Bottom Line

The difference between AMD's six-core and Intel's is night and day. But AlvID knows it and has priced the Phenom II X6 I090T Black Edition accordingly. Extreme mulritaskers and content creators who typ­ically run highly parallelized tasks, such as decoding, encoding, rendering, and image editing, will see real benefits here. With nonparallel tasks, Turbo CORE lends a hand on par wirh a healthy overclock. It's good to see mat A1vlD (like Intel before it) recognizes that throwing more cores at the software isn't the only answer, and we're happy to see the answer can be ours for comparatively lirde pocket change.

by Andrew Leibman

Trendnet High-Speed PC-To-PC Share Cable (TU2-PUNK)

Say you have a notebook. You're trav­eling, and somebody hits your screen with a 2x4. (It could happen.) The system still works, kind of, but you need a new unit ASAP before your old one dies. So, you rush to the store, grab a new machine, and now have to deal with transferring all of your data. Doing this over a LAN-if you have one available--is slow and cum­bersome at best. Ditto that for using USB Bash drive or (shudder) optical stOrage. Now imagine taking this 6-foot USB patch cable and conneaing the two systems with it. No software installation, no driv­ers-just plug it in. Matching file browsers pop up on both PCs showing the local and remote file system, looking a lot like rwo instances of Windows Explorer in split­screen. The beauty of this arrangement is that you can simply navigate through



High-Speed PC-To-PC Share Cable

(TU2-PClINK) $24.99



the file tree of one system and drag and drop files and folders to make the other sys­tem march. We tried the Share Cable with two netbooks. Historically, we've Strug­gled with tools such as Windows Easy Transfer, which makes tOO many as­sumptions about what files you want and where they're located. Trendnet's tool gives fast bur granular control to users who actually know where their data is located. Just start at the top of each vol­ume and work your way through the folders. After migrating about 20GB of data, includ­ing an Outlook PST file and loads of media, we estimated that the cable could move about 1 GB per minute-pretty de­cent considering the time savings of not having to deal wi th a network or installing a third­partyapp. ot every great tool has to feature groundbreaking technol­ogy, and, in the righr circumstances, the Share Cable might JUSt be a life­saver. If nothing else, it can save hours of restoration work.


Aerocool Ox - 2000

Compacr cases are sweet. Thanks ro some tasty microATX boards, we know that a small form-factor chassis won't limit us on performance. And if said chassis likewise doesn't limit us to low-pro­file graphics adapters and HTPC-style power supplies, that's like having our cake and eating it, too. Aerocool's debut cube case is the Qx- 2000, part of the company's PGS Q Series. It features four full-heighr expansion slots, about 11.8 inches of room for a longer graphics card, and enough clearance for a standard PSU no longer than 5.5 inches (not included). Aerocool does warn, how­ever, that if you have a modular power supply that approaches this length limit, the hard drive cage might interfere with its cable connectors.


Unlock the Qx-2000's upper Story, and you can lifi: it up on a pair of hinges for unfettered access to the motherboard platform below. The mainboard shares the ground floor wi rh the floppy drive, while the upper level hosts the power supply and drives. TIle Boor underneath the PSU is perforated for borrornfacing funs, but we would CUt a hole here for better air­flow and quieter acoustics.

On the front panel, the chunky pOrt­hole with a domed speaker grille actually houses a 120mm fan. It's the Qx-2000's sole included blower, although you'll get cutouts for three 80mm exhausts and a


GOmm intake should you wish to upgrade. Styled buttons on the fascia let you regulate the fun speed and change its LED color (red, blue, or off). Despite its funny car design and light weight, when dosed, the chassis feels quite sturdy. In contrast, the faceplate plastic is a little thin and has a good deal of Bex to it.

We do wish that Aerocool wOLJd have drilled a few more holes to accommodate 2.5-inch drives including SSDs. Still, for the Qx-2000's fair price, we wOLJd be will­ing to make the necessary drive suPPOrt and cooling modifications ourselves .•••

Nvidia GeForce GTX 480

Nvidia's long anticipated enthusiast graphics card, the GeForce GTX 480, has finally arrived at [he DirecrX II ball. Read on to see whether vidia's darling is fashionably late or wearing last year's dress.

bigger, bur the GTX 480's 40nm die is far denser. GF 100 features 16 streaming multipro­cessors, each of which contains 32 CUDA cores, for a total of 512 CUDA cores. At least that was [he plan. The GTX 480 has 15 SMs active, giving the card 480 CUDA cores. TSMC's yield problerns have undoubtedly contributed to Fermi's de­lay, but the day following Fermi's debut, Nvidia's Director of Technical Marketing Tom Peterson told us that he is pleased with GFIOO yields. The I O.5-inch-long GTX 480 sports a pair ofDVI portS and a mini HDMI POrt, has a max board power of250 watts, and includes 6- and 8-pin PCI-E power connectors to meet those demands.

The GPU Goods

The GTX 480 is builr around Nvidia's most ambitious GPU to date; the 40nm GF 100 is a 529mm2 die comprising more than 3 billion transistors. N vidia's last­generation flagship, the GTX 280, and the GTX 480's direct rival, the ATI Radeon HD 5870, feanire 1.4 billion and 2.15 bil­Lon transistors on 576nun2 and 334mm2 dies, respectively. Sure, the GTX 280's 65nm process-based die was physically

The Numbers

In our thermal tests (probe on the heatsink, Call Of Pripyat), Fermi peaked at 75 degrees Celsius. The Radeon HD 5970 (probe on the hearsink) pushed the dig­ital mercury to 58 C. Nvidia tells us the GTX 480 can handle it, but we'd argue [hat your other components will feel the heat without additional cooling, per­haps from a side-panel fan. I n our so und tests (sound meter at the

GeForce GTX 480 $499



hearsink fan; Call Of Pripyat), the GTX 480 hovered between 72 and 74.5dB. The Radeon HD 5970 was quieter, at 66 to 69dB, and the Radeon HD 5870 peaked at 60 to 63.5dB. These results illustrate the raw difference between the cards but do not represent what you will experience. You will notice when the GTX 480 spins up, but the sounds of squealing tires or gLUlfire should easily drown it out. Barring [he synthetic 3DMark Vantage scores and DX9 Left 4 Dead, the GTX 480 bested the 5870. Games such as Dirt 2 and Call Of Pripyat utilize tessellation's triangle-multiplying technology, whim is a major component ofDXll, but the GTX 480 failed to pull significantly ahead even here. I t performs well enough to become the fastest single-GPU graphics card but falls significantly short of top­pling the 5970.

Final Word


By now, you know what Nvidia brings to the cable in PhysX, 3D Vision Surround (requires two cards in SU), and CUDA, whim are compelling for gaHlers and en­th usiasts alike. If the GTX 480's price doesn't faze you, you have a sufficiencly cooled case, and you can find one in Stock, then the GTX 480 may be for you. But even without a price CUt, the Radeon HD 5870 is still, seven months later, a com­pelling

alternative for the more cash­strapped among us .

Sans titre

Toshiba Brings Mini HD Camcorder Stateside




As of mid-April, U.S. ED camcorder buyers can now purchase what most of the world already could with Toshiba's Camileo line of mini camcorders. Initially, Toshiba is releasing the 5MP S20 ($179.99), 10MP H30 ($249.99), and I OMP XI 00 ($399.99). All models include HDMI and USB 2.0 connections, but the S20 with its full 1080p resolution, 3-inch swiveling display, 4X digital zoom, maxi­mum 32GB storage (via SDfSDHC card), and YouTube upload button most resemble me size and scope of Cisco's mega-popular

Flip Video cameras. Speaking of which, Cisco recently added the Flip SlideHD ($279.99) to its stable complete with upright-sliding 3-inch touchscreen and headphone jack, borh firsts for the Flip series. The SlideHD stores four hours ofHD video but is a $50 increase over the Flip MinoHD and a $100 bump over the Ultra HD, both of which store two hours of ED video .

Stowaway Resurfaces In Time For Tablets

Back when PDAs ruled the mobile space, iGo's full-sized, foldable Stowaway Keyboard was the accessory for typists with a strong aversion to tiny keypads. 



Despite iGo discontinuing the Stowaway and selling its intellectual property years ago, it appears the portable keyboard is making a comeback in the form of the Foldable Mini USB Keyboard (about $53) via new owner Thanko. This time around, however, the board touts a USB connection, making it a natural fit for the bevy of tablets now following in the Apple i Pad's footsteps. Reportedly, the board weighs roughly 8 ounces, has a 19mm key pitch, supports Windows and Mac O'Ses, and folds down to 3.6 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches for traveling.

Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7,1


whether you're building the ultimate gaming machine or configuring the best movie-viewing setup, graphics capa­bility is likely at the forefront of your mind. But getting the most out of your media requires a sound card with the best in audio fidelity, and Auzentech's X- Fi Forte 7.1 is just that. The Forte 7.1 builds on Auzentech's previous sound card, the Prelude 7.1. The major difference between the two cards lies in the Forte's PCI-E interface, which offers a higher throughput than the Prelude's PCI interface. Like the Prelude, the new Forte sports Creative's X-Fi chipset, but receives a boost with updated circuitry and components, including EAX 5.0 support.


The Forte has a 120dB D/A converter, headphone amplifier, and microphone pre-amp. It also features 64MB of X-RAM. Other worthwhile specs to mention in­clude the IS-pin analog I/O rnulticablc

and replace­able OPAMPs (operational ampli- fiers) for the front left and right audio. Installation was a cinch. The card is shipped with a low-profile bracket-perfect for fitting into HTPCs. But we tested the Forte in a desktop computer, so we attached the standard bracket that is included in the package. To switch brackets, we had to

remove a single Philips head screw and two jack screws. It's worth men­tioning that you'll need a 3/16 nut driver for the jack screws, a tool that not everyone will have lying around .

We tested the Forte 7.1 using M- Audio's StudiophileAV 40 reference speaker system. We were quite impressed with the clarity and intensity of the sound. There was a significant difference from our system's onboard audio, and by tweaking the options in the included audio software, we were able to customize the audio. The software was easy to use, with Entertainment, Game, and Audio Creation modes. The Entertainment and Game modes were pretry intuitive, with a basic volume wheel and equalizers. The Audio Creation mode was much more involved and should be reserved for advanced (or meticulous) users, as there are far more options to configure, including dB levels for all speakers and auxiliary effects .

Sapphire Vapor-X Radeon HO 4870

t's evident from the box that the Sap­phire Radeon HD 4870's Vapor-X feature is a big deal. Vapor-Xis a newer feature from Sapphire that gives the Radeon HD 4870 superior cooling and quieter operation. Without delving into specifics, Vapor-X technology is similar to a heatpipe, using a hot, flat surface over which a liquid coolant is vaporized and then condensed, all within a small cham­ber mounted on the card. The Radeon HD 4870 is built on a custom PCB that adds Black Diamond chokes and

high-polymer capacitors, which make this card cooler, more power-efficient, and more reliable. The Vapor-X also has an HDMI output with 7.1 surround-sound support. Benchmark scores for the Radeon HD were relatively predictable for a card of its caliber. 3DMark Vantage ranked at P9936, while Crysis Warhead scored almost 10fps at 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. Far Cry 2 posted slightly lower than expected, with about 31fps at 1,920 x 1,080 and almost 23fps at the highest resolution. Overall, Sapphire's take on the Radeon 4870 is a winner, especially considering its re­duced price tag compared to other manufacturers who are charging as much or more for inferior specs .

Solid-State Showdown

Two RAM Leaders' SSDs Square Off


The solid-state storage market has really been heating up as oflate, with a con­stant influx of faster-and sometimes more affordable-drives, in addition to firmware updates that enhance the performance of existing products. For example, fierce memory rivals Corsair and ocz recently began offering new products designed to compete in a few performance categories with Intel's much-heralded X25-M, the Corsair P256 (model tested: CMFSSD­256GBG2D), and the ocz Vertex Series SATA II SSD (model tested: OCZSSD2- 1 VTX120G), respectively. The Corsair P256 and OCZ Vertex Series drives share some similarities, namely their 2.5-inch form factors, SATA 3Gbps interfaces, and Samsung MLC NAND flash memory chips that reside at the hearts of the drives. Setting up the drives was simple and straightforward. And neither exhibited any compatibility problems with Intel-, Nvidia-, or AMD-based southbridges on various Gigabyte- or Asus-built motherboards.

But each uses a different controller tech­nology to manage the data being sent to and retrieved from the drive, which results in drastically different performance, as you'll see in our benchmark results. As its name suggests, the Corsair P256 is a 256GB SSD. It features a sturdy, brushed aluminum shell, which encases a new Sam­sung S3C29RBB01-YK40 drive controller and double-stacked flash memory, as well as 64MB of onboard cache. The OCZ Vertex Series drives, which are available in capacities ranging from 30 to 250GB, also sport 64MB of cache and hard metal cas­ings, but the OCZ drives use Indilinx IDX110MOO-LC drive controllers.

access time. And although both drives blow past Intel's X2 5- M in terms of average se­quential write speeds, neither could come dose to the excellent X25-M in random writes, as is evident by the Intel drive's dominant performance in the IOMeter tests. Both Corsair and OCZ S drives' per­formance is a significant step up from tradi­tional hard drives.

One area where the Corsair P256 and OCZ Vertex Series 120GB drives (sort of) blow away Intel is price. The 256GB P256's $699 and the 120GB OCZ Vertex Series' $345 price tags are higher than Intel's $319 80GB X25-M. Those prices, however, equate to a $2.73 and a $2.87 cost per giga­byte for the Corsair and OCZ drives, re­spectively. The Intel X25-M commands a hefty $3.98 per gigabyte.


by Marco Chiappetta


Logisys Two Color (Blue/Red) Character-Illuminated Keyboard

The combination of the illuminat­ed keyboard and the hotkeys on the Logisys Two Color (Blue/Red) Character- Illuminated Keyboard (Model KB208BK) makes this an appealing keyboard for those looking to control music on a PC and pull all­nighters in a poorly lit office or dorm room. The slim, black design gives it a sophisticated look, and it has a palm rest with tall legs, which makes the key­board comfortable to use. The keys are arranged well, so my fin­gers didn't feel crowded as I typed, but the ENTER key is large, which affects the position of the keys around it. If you are used to the standard-sized ENTER key, this could take some adjusting. The soft-touch keys, however, were slightly sluggish and unresponsive, which meant it skipped a few letters keeping up with this speedy typist.

The hotkeys, which are lined up vertical­lyon both sides of the keyboard, add to the elegant look of the keyboard rather than detract from it. There are 15 hotkeys (which are a combination of multimedia and In­ternet hotkeys) and a dial that adjusts the brightness of the illumination. Don't be fooled by what you read on the Logisys Web site and keyboard packaging, though. The dial doesn't control the volume, as the Web site claims; the volume hotkeys control the volume. Also, the packaging indicates there are application hotkeys for sleep mode, your My Computer folder, and the Windows calculator, but those keys didn't exist on my keyboard. The red and blue illumination, howev­er, is just as bright as the pricier Logitech Illuminated keyboard (which has white backlighting). The PS2 and USB inter­face options, along with the other fea­tures, make the Two Color (Blue/Red) Character-Illuminated Keyboard a decent illuminated keyboard for its price .

Asus N 1 OJC-A 1

we don't care if you call it a net­book or a notebook. The Asus NIO, with a IO.2-inch screen (800 x 480), 1.46-inch maximum thickness, and 3.I-pound weight, is a slick ultra-portable with a sweet surprise. Yes, like other net­books, this one uses the I.6GHz Intel Atom Processor N270 paired with the Intel 945GSE chipset. This means that the Intel GMA 950 graphics engine is built in. However, flip a little switch on the left edge before booting, and you can boot using discrete Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics. You pick Intel for battery life and Nvidia for performance. How big is the performance difference? Potentially huge. With CUDA-enabled apps, some tasks that would normally bring this nctbook's Atom N270 to its knees (say you want to transcode your media files with Nero Move or watch something encoded in H.264) will be considerably better, thanks to the 9300M GS. At the end of the day, though, this is a platform for basic 2D and 3D entertain­ment; the Atom N270 remains a perfor­mance bottleneck.

Our unit shipped an 8-in-I card read­er, I.3MP Web cam, HDMI port, Ex­press Card slot, and fingerprint reader built into the touchpad. You'll have to load apps from an external USB or LAN source, be­cause there's no built-in optical drive.

Honestly, the NI 0 was a little heavier and thicker than we would've liked. The screen bezel feels excessively thick, but we're guessing this is a concession made by opting for a 1 0.2-inch screen along with a comfortably broad keyboard. Still, we reviews I hardware found the screen very decent for prolonged viewing, including for video playback. We love the button above the keyboard for tog­gling between different power/performance profiles. In High Performance mode with Wi-Fi enabled and all power-saving fea­tures disabled, we achieved a battery run­time of 4 hours and 54 minutes-nice. The NIO is convenient, affordable, and effective for nongaming tasks. We hope this sparks a trend in pushing the enve­lope for nctbook expectations .


SanQ E2400HD

This 16:9 aspect ratio, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution features HDMI, DVI (with HDCP), and VGA inputs. BenQ also integrates its Senseye+ Photo Image


artifacts. The E2400HD also displayed some dark shading at the bottom and top of the screen when displaying bright col­ors. Despite these issues, the E2400 dis­played one of the truest black-and-white gradations of our test group. The stand for the 24-inch monitor is sturdy, but it only allows you to tilt the E2400HD up or down. BenQ integrates five preset modes, including Standard, Movie, Dynamic, Photo, and sRGB (ide-al for people who use sRGB devices to match color), and the controls are built onto the right side of the monitor. We had complete control of the bright­ness, contrast, and sharpness, as well as the red, green, and blue levels on the monitor. We thought the built-in speak­ers produced the best audio clarity and overall volume of the group. The moni­tor's subtle dark patches may deter graphics professionals, but the people looking for a monitor for watching movies and TV will appreciate the deep

contrast ratio of the E2400HD's 24­inch screen.

Archos 560GB Internet Media Tablet

The Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet (PMP, MID, etc., etc.) is getting a lot of attention lately, and rightly so. It combines the performance, function, and content most of us are looking for in a portable media device: full Web connec­tivity, PC compatibility, music, video, photos, and games. There's even more than that, though. If you're not sold on netbooks and don't want to give in to a smartphone, the Archos 5 is probably a good fit for you, especially if you really only care about the multimedia capabilities.

Starting with menu features, the Play category is where you store files from your PC-you can also access Web Radio (with an incredible 10,000 stations), built-in games, and added Flash applica­tions. PC connectivity requires the included USB cable, 

and syncing the media from your hard drive is extremely easy. Windows Media Player assists you in the syncing process, so you can quickly transfer MP3s, videos, and your photo collection. Videos on the Archos 5 are crisp, and the audio is consistent on both the uploaded content and Web Radio­clear highs and lows provide a well­rounded sound. The touchscreen is highly responsive, but you do have to tap twice to select options in each media category. If brows­ing via Opera is new to you, be assured that there is practically no learning curve. You can also set up a Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail account that's accessible with a few taps. The cons are moderately annoying at worst. A stylus would have been a practi­cal accessory; some Web pages are diffi­cult to navigate on the touchscreen. 

(Still,you can zoom in and out by double­tapping.) The glossy metal finish is in no way a fingerprint deterrent, but Archos does include a cleaning cloth to remove smudges. By no means have we covered every significant feature; however, we can confi­dently say that the Archos 5 is beyond adequate for its purposes .