Archive | November, 2013

PowerColor R9 290X GPU – 4GB Overclocked Edition

Posted on 27 November 2013

The new R290X graphics card from PowerColor is built on AMD’s latest Hawaii GPUs. This is the first truly new high-end graphics chip from the company in almost two years. This particular GPU from PowerColor is an over clocked edition, which means that it will be faster than the reference design and that too at no additional cost.

Specifications

This GPU is built on a 28nm process at TSMC Taiwan and uses 6.8 billion transistors. Its 4 gigabytes of memory has a 512-bit wide memory bus that is connected with 2816 shaders and 64 Render OutPut units. While the reference design card is clocked at a 1000 MHz, this one has been upped to 1030 MHz. The GPU comes with an HDMI sound device and HDMI 1.4a compatibility. It includes HD audio and Blu-ray 3D support.

Design
The design is the same as the AMDs reference cooler, but it has been upgraded with some red highlights and a PowerColor sticker. In addition, it comes with one HDMI port, two DVI ports and one display port. These can be useful if you are planning to use three monitors at the same time.
The heat generated by the core is cooled by the large Vapo-chamber base plate. This cooler also reduces the heat around the memory chips and voltage regulation circuitry.

Performance

PowerColor retail cards come with a dual BIOS feature: uber and quiet. These can be switched for performance changes. For example, quiet mode reduces performance and limits the fan to 40% for noiseless function. On the other hand, in uber mode, you can push the GPU to its limits.
In performance, this is a beast of a card, beating Nvidia’s TITAN GPU! This is no small feat as the TITAN is going strong and adequately demanding $1,000! With its high clock speeds, its performance is better than the reference AMD card and its price competitor Nvidia’s GTX780.

Price
This is the most affordable high-end card in the market. PowerColor does not charge extra for its higher clock speeds which makes buying this GPU for $550 a great choice!

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The Best Pedestal Style Soundbar – SpeakerCraft CS3

Posted on 26 November 2013

If you want a sound system that is big on sound but small in size, go for something in the soundbar category. Most soundbars are either mounted on the wall or placed in front of the TV. In the case of the SpeakerCraft CS3, it is placed under the TV. Convenience aside, it provides excellent audio with simplicity and beautiful aesthetics.

Design
The SpeakerCraft CS3 has been designed to blend in with your TV. Its black vinyl exterior with black cloth grill disappears in a dim lit room. It does not have a display at its front; just a small LED that glows blue when turned on and red when off. The LED is covered by a grill which keeps the light dim. This helps to keep the glow from distracting you when the CS3 is placed under the screen.

The speaker grills can come off easily as they are only held in place with magnets. Once off, you can look at a set of serious drivers installed: two one-inch tweeters and four 3-inch midrange drivers. Looking at the bottom, you will find two 5.25-inch subwoofers.

Performance
The CS3 is by far the best soundbar yet. It sounds loud and low frequency effects are very clear, a feat not many soundbars can achieve. It also handles the high impact sound of movies very well. The dialogue was intelligible even when there’s a lot going on in the soundtrack. However, the strongest feature of the CS3 is its amazing sound clarity. It is matched by its outstanding bass and low frequency extension.

The SpeakerCraft CS3 also provides a surround sound mode which again surpasses its competition. Watching movies in this mode can make you feel in the thick of it all. When playing music CDs, most soundbars sound harsh and hollow. However, the SpeakerCraft CS3 is the opposite, making it an accomplished performer in this aspect as well.

Price
For $499, this is a midrange setup when it comes to soundbars. However, if you are in for a simple setup, ease of use and less spacious full-range sound system, you can have no better choice than the SpeakerCraft CS3!

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The New Stylish Nikon DF (50mm Lens)

Posted on 25 November 2013

p>When it comes to photography, Nikon needs no introduction. The company is one of the pioneers of digital camera development. This time, Nikon has come with a camera which gives you a blast from the past due to its design. With its two tone silver and black body and dials prominently standing out, Nikon DF boasts a classic look you don’t find in cameras anymore.

Specifications
The Nikon Df is a full 16MP camera with full-frame DSLR. The ‘D’ stands for Digital and ‘f’ is fusion. It’s a fusion of the old and the new, coming from its retro design. The sensor is the Expeed 3 processor, which is the same as the Nikon D4. Even though it will be two years old, it is one of the best ones made. This sensor gives you the advantage of two usable stops of low light performance. That aside, it comes with a staple 50mm f1.8 lens as part of the kit and is made with aluminum.

Design
Nikon has gone with an old school design for this camera. It complements the classic 1970s cameras, giving Nikon high points for style. It comes in two colors, silver and black, but the former is more dominant. This model resembles the old Nikon models, like the FM2 and F3. There’s the same leather clad, rigid dials on the top plate. That aside, Nikon’s F-mounts, which were first introduced in the late 1950s, are being used for this model. These are unique to Nikon DSLRs and can be used with any Nikkor lens.

Pricing
The Nikon Df can be yours for $2750. However, prices may vary depending on which store you purchase it from.
If you are into traditional photography, then this is the right choice for a camera. It gives a retro look which is accentuated by the sleek silver/black body, making it an amazing purchase for photography enthusiasts.

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Logitech G602 – Wireless Gaming Mouse

Posted on 22 November 2013

Wireless peripherals have not been reliable in the past, but Logitech, with its ‘G’ series, has changed that perspective. A wireless gaming mouse like the G602 is another of those game changers for wireless technology. It does not suffer from lag, random disconnects or dead batteries. With almost 250 hours of wireless capacity, the Logitech G602 won’t run out of batteries in between a heated battle.

Design
This is an aggressive looking gaming mouse. With its beautifully carved sides and asymmetrical profile (sorry lefties, it is a right-handed mouse) and eleven programmable buttons, this mouse screams “game on!” Its fierce design is further complemented with its metallic grey and black color scheme.

It has six buttons located at the thumb position and two near the left click button. In addition, its back falls away on its right side, which raises the inside of the user’s right hand. This angle provides optimum ergonomics and comfort. The thumb rest side is sculpted and well-designed to enhance the user’s grip. Its build quality makes it seem virtually indestructible, unless you run over it with an SUV.

Performance
This mouse has been designed for long hours of arduous gaming. It has been made for comfort, durability and peak performance. This is further enhanced by the Delta Zero sensor emitter at the bottom. By visiting the Logitech website, you can download the latest driver software for your G602. This will give you customization functions such as the Number of DPI levels, DPI Sensitivity and Polling Report Rate.

True to its gamer friendly nature, all the buttons feel good to use and respond with satisfying click sounds. Its battery life is a huge upgrade from previous iterations of the ‘G’ series gaming mice. Having used it for more than a week, the reviewer is pleased to see that it is still showing full battery. The Logitech design team did superb work with the G602’s power consumption.

Price
Priced at $80, the Logitech G602 is a beast to compete with and a must buy for PC gaming enthusiasts.

 

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Evercool AIOLUS Notebook Cooler Review

Posted on 21 November 2013

A notebook’s arch nemesis is heat! It is solely responsible for reducing its life and causing trouble for the owner. Therefore, you should equip yourself with a notebook cooler. Evercool has been at the frontier of cooling technology. With its latest product, the ‘Evercool AIOLUS Notebook Cooler’, the company plans to stay ahead of the competition.

Specifications
What makes this Evercool product unique is its combination of standard notebook cooling and side blower modules. Even though these can be found in other cheap products, Evercool’s implementation of this side blower means something special.

It is made with aluminum, making it feel very sturdy and lightweight. That aside, the top blue color design gives it a beautiful sky look. Aesthetics aside, it’s equipped with two 70mm fans rated at 1800 RPMs. It also has two USB ports and a fan on/off switch on the right side. The back of the unit gives a slight angle for a better typing experience.

The Evercool AIOLUS Notebook Cooler’ has a rectangular shape with dimensions of 4″ x 3.25″ x 1″. Its external side has as exhaust vent, fan speed control with three options, and a green power LED button.

Performance

The Evercool is on a whole new level of cooling prowess. When compared to standard coolers, it delivers excellent performance. With the CPU on full load, the AVIOLUS was able to shed 59 Fahrenheit! By delivering such amazing results, it leaves other big cooling names behind. The air is actively sucked out of the internal system, which creates negative pressure and leads to faster fresher air supply.

This is a product made to dominate the 15-inch and below notebook market. It has a great modular concept which enables it to deliver amazing cooling performance. Its two fans operate in silence, something which every notebook or laptop user is looking for.

Price
Priced at $34, it offers performance better than any other notebook cooler in this price range.

 

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Entering the World of 4k – Panasonic TC L65WT600

Posted on 20 November 2013

Panasonic has entered the world of 4k. Wondering what 4k is? 4k is the next step in high HD resolution and pixel technology. Nowadays, 1920×1080 is the native resolution of most TVs, LCDs and LEDs. However, with 4k, you are going as high as 3840×2160. This is a big technological leap and will greatly improve image and video quality.

Design
Panasonic has gone with the same WT60 series design format here. It is a good looking TV with barely-there metallic bezels that give it a glass and metal look. It has a thin silver frame with sharp corners. It also has a lower transparent plastic bezel that makes the indicator lights appear as if it’s hovering in the air.

Features
There are a lot of features included to give you a wide array of picture controls. You can switch between modes like Cinema and Bright Rooms, both being THX certified. There are also advanced options which allow you even more tweaking. With the latest in Ultra HD technology, this TV delivers incredible images. Currently there is not a lot of 4k content to go by, but the difference between HD and UHD is amazing. Even if you play HD content, this TV will upscale it to UHD and deliver exceptional sharper quality.

Future Proofing
As mentioned earlier, there is not much 4k content out there. Technology progresses with time. The television and movie industries are moving towards 4k to offer better quality. With new cameras able to shoot in 4k, UHD will soon become the norm of home television or home theatre systems. By purchasing the Panasonic TC-L65WT600, you are essentially purchasing a product based on its true future potential.

Pricing
Like with all new technology, UHD TVs are on the expensive side at the moment. Costing almost $5,500 this is the best and cheapest 4k TV you can purchase.

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Amazon Kindle Fire (HD) 2013 – the New Ultra Affordable Tablet

Posted on 18 November 2013

The Kindle Fire (HD) 2013 is the latest in the line of Kindle Fire tablet family. This new ultra budget tablet is great for streaming videos, music, reading eBooks and web surfing. This is an entry level model for the Kindle Fire 2013 tablet line up and is an upgrade to the 2012 Fire HD. Regardless, it certainly meets all your basic tablet needs.

Design
The 2012 versions of the Kindle Fire tablets were a bit bulky and offered durability over comfort. This year’s tablet is well designed, comfortable and easy to hold in one hand. Its thoughtful design with rounded corners gives it an elegant, sleek look. In addition, the power and volume buttons have been moved to the back whereas the headphone jack is located on the right and the micro-USB port is on the right.

A New Operating System
The new Kindle Fire OS is called Mojito and is an upgrade from last year. Installed with a new browser, The Silk, pages load faster and can be swept smoothly. It seems that Amazon engineers have put in a lot of work in improving the interface. There are significant changes, which makes using the apps and swiping through web pages very smooth.

Performance
This uses the same CPU as the 2012 version, but the GPU and OS upgrade has upped its performance considerably. The lag is non-existent and everything loads much faster. As for the screen, it boasts a 1280×720 resolution, making it sharper and brighter with almost zero clouding. The speakers have also been improved; they are louder and offer much better sound quality. Currently, if you were to buy the Amazon Kindle Fire (HD) 2013, you have a choice from two versions: 8GB and 16GB.

Pricing
Being an ultra-budget tablet, Kindle Fire HD 2013 costs $140 only for the 8GB version while the 16GB version costs $170. If you want to watch HD movies or HD TV shows, then the 16GB version would be the better choice.

Conclusion
Due to its ability to stream videos, and music, surf the web and support games, the Kindle Fire HD has a lot to offer for its price. If you are in the market for something simple and don’t want to break the bank, this tablet is the perfect choice for you.

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