Posts Tagged ‘hard choices’

Hard Choices: AMD CPU update

By Jeremy Laird on November 8th, 2012.

Points and very possibly a prize...

Bulldozer and Zambezi begat Piledriver and Vishera. Say that three times before bed for a month and you might just remember AMD’s latest chips. So it goes with silly CPU code names. Completely lost you? AMD has just tweaked its FX-branded PC processors. Out goes the AMD FX 8100 series, in comes the AMD FX 8300 series. But am I bovered? And should you care? Read on to find out.

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Hard Choices SSD Update: Samsung’s Double Whammy

By Jeremy Laird on November 1st, 2012.


Quick (and slightly belated, sorry team – Jim) heads up to the RPS massive regarding a couple of interesting new SSDs from Samsung. I speak of the 840 and 840 Pro Series drives, which respectively promise to insert a bat up the nightdress of SSD pricing and performance. One will be uber cheap. The other crazy fast. Eventually, anyway.

Ideally, of course, we’d have cheap and fast in one drive. And big. Hold that thought. First, let’s consider these new Sammy drives. The plain 840 Series’ party trick is the the introduction of Triple-Level Cell or TLC flash memory.
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Hard Choices: Gaming Laptops, Part Two

By Jeremy Laird on September 14th, 2012.


As promised, we’re back again with part two of our deep dive into gaming portables. {Part one} This time around we’re going to dig into the tricky choice between whitebooks and branded bricks, ponder the dark art of graphics upgrades, have a think about screens, and take a closer look at the budget options. And some other stuff. Like CPUs. So, lots to discuss. Let’s get cracking!
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Hard choices: Gaming laptops, Part One

By Jeremy Laird on September 10th, 2012.

It’s time to talk portable gaming. Not idiotic Angry-Birds-on-your-iPhone action, addictive as that may be, but proper performance laptops. Portable gaming PCs for real RPSers. Why? Some of you have asked for it. More importantly, it’s got to be the trickiest PC-related purchase and one where there’s little going back if you get it wrong. You’re stuck with an ill-specified, largely non-upgradeable brick.

In fact, the whole thing is so very befuddling, we’re going to split it into two parts. So, here’s part one of everything you need to know about buying a gaming laptop.

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Hard choices: Considering CPU Overclocking

By Jeremy Laird on August 31st, 2012.

Some overclocking, yesterday.
When the artist previously known as Fingers McMeer – and my former PC Format paymaster from the good old days – first mooted some contributions to RPS on the matter of hardware, I was struck by a single, sobering thought. For the love of science, please don’t make me talk about overclocking. Here we are, then, talking about overclocking.

And you know what? It’s OK. Because what we’re going to tackle is real-world and worthwhile overclocking. Not the futile, fanboyish sort. In fact, when it comes to CPUs, it’s the sort of overclocking you really ought to be doing if you’re not already. Here’s why.
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Hard Choices: The £200/$300 2560×1440 27″ Monitor

By Alec Meer on August 24th, 2012.

She's much fatter now than she is there

It’s true! Top-end monitors for the same price as any old stinky crap in PC World. Read on for details of what/where/how, but please keep in mind even as you tremble in raw excitement that there is A BIG RISK FACTOR.

In a change from your irregularly-scheduled Guy Who Knows A Ton About Hardware, I’m afraid it’s me. But I bring glad, intriguing tidings from the silicon mines. If you cast your minds, or at least your browsers, back a few months, you may recall our recommendation of 27″, 2560×1440 monitors as your point of eyeball-based connection to your beloved gaming PC. Specifically, a 27″, 2560×1440 Hazro monitor for approximately £400, and which used the same LG LM270WQ1 IPS panel as those in Apple’s top of the range 27″ Cinema Displays/iMacs, amongst other £800+ 27 inchers. That was already half the price of its similarly-specced contemporaries, albeit housed within a less gorgeous casing and with but one input. It still, quite understandably, remains prohibitively expensive for a great many people.
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Hard Choices: Stereoscopic 3D

By Jeremy Laird on August 20th, 2012.

Our resident hardware dreamweaver/bubble-burster Jeremy returns with an examination into whether 3D glasses and 120Hz monitors are what PC gaming needs. For more Hard Choices – including the only answers you need on processors, graphics cards, hard drives, monitors and motherboards – please click here.

I’ve got a hunch about stereoscopic 3D. I reckon it’s on a 30-year cycle. According to the annals of history – otherwise known as Wikipedia – every 30 years or so sees a blip in the graph measuring interest in 3D before things revert to the long-term flatline.

So is the latest round of 3D flicks and games just a temporary craze? Or is 3D here to stay and just about to assimilate your PC?
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Hard Choices Update: SSD Price Crash

By Jeremy Laird on June 13th, 2012.

Quick heads-up for the hardware-hungry RPS massive: SSD prices have fallen off a cliff in recent weeks, so if you’ve been holding off until now it may be time to swoop on one.
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Hard choices: Graphics Card Update

By Jeremy Laird on June 1st, 2012.


Knocking out hardware guides for RPS has been heap good fun, thanks in no small part to the enthusiastic après-post banter. But it’s also created a bit of a monster. Problem is, things move fast in ye olde world of tech and especially in graphics. It’s been getting on for four months since our first perusal of the world’s finest pixel pumpers.

That’s long enough for AMD and NVIDIA to roll out a small army of new graphics chips. The good news is that the four 3D boards I recommended back in Feb still look pretty sharp, partly because the arrival of new chips has pushed prices down. But there are also some new GPUs I reckon you need to know about and some broader trends to think about. So here goes.
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Hard choices: SSDs

By Jeremy Laird on April 30th, 2012.

Do blame Alec for this

With my last instalment deftly punting the dreary but essential matter of motherboards into touch, it’s time to get back to something sexy. That’s right, RPSers, solid state storage gives me trouser tentage. I love SSDs, and I’m here to tell you which three drives are the ones you should be pointing your wallet at.
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Hard Choices Essential Update: Intel’s New CPUs

By Jeremy Laird on April 30th, 2012.

Quick update for all you hardware chappies – Intel’s NDA for the new Ivy Bridge generation CPUs lifted earlier this week and the lawyers are back in their cages. The first reviews are out and it’s just as I predicted. Ivy Bridge is positively stultifying.
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Hard Choices: Motherboards

By Jeremy Laird on April 3rd, 2012.

Motherships?

With CPUs, GPUs and screens (x2) in the bag, it’s time to put the RPS spotlight onto that most mysterious of PC components, the motherboard. By some metrics, mobos are pretty easy to pick these days. For starters, there aren’t many chipset vendors to worry about. Only AMD and Intel are really left in the game. But Intel, in particular, has plenty of marketing tricks up its sleeve. It’s always worth knowing your Z77s from your H67s. So, let’s begin.

Now, I’ve never been a card-carrying motherboard aficionado. It’s a lot easier to get excited about crazy clocks speeds, lots of cores or a shit-load of shaders than it is all-solid super caps and 8+2 power phasing. It’s also true that chipsets and in turn motherboards have become less critical as ever more features have migrated onto the CPU itself.
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Hard Choices: The Only 4 Monitors You Should Buy

By Jeremy Laird on February 22nd, 2012.

What type of lizard is that?

Hi gang. So, if you’ve read part one of our modern gaming monitor opus, you’ll know at least two things. Firstly, there’s no substitute for a good underlying LCD panel. And secondly, things are looking up for penniless gamers on the hunt for a solid screen on a tight budget. In this second and final part on monitors, I’ll boil the current crop down to the only four screens, ranging from cheapo to aaargh-my-bank-account, that you should consider if you’re in the market for a new display.

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