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Leo Waldock

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LG GGW-H20L Blu-ray HD DVD combo drive

Review While it's clear that Blu-ray Disc is going to rule the HD roost, unfortunately for Sony, the rival HD DVD format will take some time to wither away. Which leaves the buying public in a tricky position. The smart money is on combo drives such as the LG GGC-H20L, which can read both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats for a price just …
Leo Waldock, 30 Apr 2008

Lenovo ThinkCentre A61e green PC

Review Lenovo claims that its ThinkCentre A61e laptop-as-desktop PC is the greenest ThinkCentre ever, thanks to the low power requirements of the AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350 processor it uses. Does that claim have any merit? The A61e is a tiny machine that measures 275 x 242 x 81mm and weighs in at 3.72kg, although the figures are helped …
Leo Waldock, 28 Apr 2008

Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 mobile 'Penryn' processor

Review We started the year with a review of a Rock X770 gaming laptop. We used the machine to look at the Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX graphics chip, but it's time to look at the processor, now upgraded to Intel's 45nm mobile Core 2 Duo T9500. Rock Xtreme X770 notebook Rock's Xtreme X770: now with Penryn The X770 we looked at before …
Leo Waldock, 14 Apr 2008

Alienware Area 51 ALX CrossFireX gaming PC

Review How much would you spend on a gaming PC? Alienware hopes the answer is ‘about four grand’. It has delivered a colossal gaming PC with two AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphic cards, but does the machine's performance match its price? We’ll get on to the CrossFireX graphics in just a moment, but let’s start with the cosmetic …
Leo Waldock, 08 Apr 2008

Nvidia nForce 790i Ultra SLI chipset

Review The basic version of Nvidia’s new nForce 790i chipset is the 790i SLI, with the 790i Ultra SLI coming in at the top of the line. Both chipsets have nearly identical features lists and they both support the latest 45nm Intel Core 2 'Penryn' processors. Graphics support is a major part of the deal with any Nvidia chipset, and the …
Leo Waldock, 07 Apr 2008

Four 1TB hard drives on test

Round-up Hitachi was the first hard drive company to offer a 1TB model. We got our hands on the 7K1000 and were thoroughly impressed. Since then the other drive companies have piled into the Terabyte market, so it's time to see how they compare. In the last 12 months or so, the price of the Hitachi has fallen to £159 which pitches it …
Leo Waldock, 26 Mar 2008

AMD 780G integrated DirectX10.1 chipset

Review AMD’s 700-series chipsets covers all the motherboard options that a gamer could require for the quad-core Phenom processor. There’s the 790FX with support for CrossFireX to handle three or four graphics cards, the 790X that does CrossFire with two cards, and the 770 that combines Phenom with a single PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 slot …
Leo Waldock, 18 Mar 2008

Mesh Ultimate Q8 Tri-SLI gaming PC

Review Everything about the Mesh Ultimate Q8 is imposing. The black CoolerMaster 832 aluminium case is 62cm long and 53 cm tall, and, according to our bathroom scales, weighs in at 22kg. We love the industrial looks of the case and a visiting (bloke) neighbour thought it looked dead impressive, though the missis thinks it's one of the …
Leo Waldock, 07 Mar 2008

Acer Aspire 2920 budget laptop

Review It’s the size of the Aspire 2920 that first catches your eye. Measuring in at 304 x 223 x 32mm, it’s not exactly a sub-notebook or MacBook Air, but the Acer is certainly on the smaller end of the scale. The 2.04kg weight suggests that the 2920 might find a home in your hand luggage when you go travelling. The shiny black lid …
Leo Waldock, 27 Feb 2008

Shuttle XPC Glamour SN68PTG6

Review If you’ve previously seen a Shuttle XPC barebones PC, the SN68PTG6 will be instantly familiar. It follows the firm's standard small form-factor system design that resembles two cubes attached one to the other, but this time with some design highlights and the firm's Glamour label. The main cover is retained by three thumbscrews …
Leo Waldock, 21 Feb 2008

Lenovo ThinkPad T61

Review When the world ends in a nuclear glow or a flood of melted icecaps, the final remaining life will be bacteria in the vents of undersea volcanoes and the last piece of technology to give up the ghost will surely be a ThinkPad. When Lenovo took over IBM’s PC and laptop division it raised a question about the future of the ThinkPad …
Leo Waldock, 14 Feb 2008

Intel Skulltrail high-end gaming system

Review Intel’s old V8 gaming system used a chipset to support a pair of quad-core processors and a single PCI Express graphics card. Now the chip giant has added support for multiple graphics cards. The result: a new gaming board, Skulltrail. Both V8 and Skulltrail use workstation motherboards that can take two quad-core Xeon …
Leo Waldock, 05 Feb 2008

AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 dual-GPU graphics card

Review Everything about the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics card is big, including the model name, so we’re going to stick to calling it the X2 here. The principle behind the X2 is simple enough. AMD's ATI Radeon HD 3870 is a decent graphics card but it's having a job competing with Nvidia's GeForce 8800 family, which is the …
Leo Waldock, 04 Feb 2008

Asus EN8800GT/HTDP/1G 1GB graphics card

Review The headline feature of the Asus EN8800GT 1GB is - as the name suggests - the fact that it packs in 1GB of GDDR 3 memory instead of the 512MB that you’ll find on standard GeForce 8800 GT-based graphics cards. When we unpacked the graphics card from the usual enormous Asus box, the memory did indeed grab our attention but not in …
Leo Waldock, 28 Jan 2008

AMD Phenom 9500 processor

Review Throughout last year, we ran a steady stream of news about the AMD’s Phenom quad-core processor, mainly because the chip was delayed. When the launch finally took place, AMD took us to Warsaw where we were told again and again about the virtues of its Spider platform: a combination of a Phenom processor, a motherboard with an …
Leo Waldock, 21 Jan 2008

Nvidia nForce 780i SLI chipset

Review Nvidia’s new nForce 780i SLI chipset is heavily – that’s HEAVILY – based on the nForce 680i SLI, adding just two key new features. The first is support for 45nm Intel 'Penryn' processors and the second is the addition of PCI Express 2.0 for top graphics performance. It’s safe to say that the 780i SLI is Nvidia’s answer to Intel’ …
Leo Waldock, 04 Jan 2008

Rock Xtreme X770 laptop with Nvidia GeForce 8800M graphics

Review The basic version of the 17in laptop Xtreme X770 packed GeForce 8700M graphics. Rock recently offered GeForce 7950 Go GTX graphics with 512MB of dedicated GDDR 3 memory to give your games more oomph, but that’s history now, ‘cause the GeForce 8800M GTX is here. Rock Xtreme X770 Rock's Xtreme X770: worth more than two grand? …
Leo Waldock, 02 Jan 2008

AMD ATI Radeon HD 3850 graphics chip

Review The AMD ATI Radeon HD 3850 uses the same chip as the HD 3870 with the core and memory clock speeds reduced from 775MHz and 2250MHz to 668MHz and 1650MHz. But the really big difference is the 600MHz gap in the memory speed because AMD has chosen to run the 3850 on 256MB of GDDR 3 while the 3870 gets 512MB of the Full Monty GDDR 4 …
Leo Waldock, 13 Dec 2007

Nvidia G92-based GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB

Review The GeForce 8800 GT slipped into Nvidia’s line-up towards the top of the range by offering similar performance to the existing 8800 GTS with 320MB of memory. This was achieved with an updated version of the 'G80' chip called 'G92', which moved the fabrication process to 65nm, changed the memory controller, raised the core speed …
Leo Waldock, 10 Dec 2007

Via Michelin X970T satnav

Review Navigate with your Michelin sat nav as you wear out your Michelin tyres visiting destinations that you've read about in the Michelin restaurant guides. Will the new budget X970T put this brand on the sat nav map? Most sat navs provide a list of points of interest (POIs) that will find you a petrol station easily enough, but …
Leo Waldock, 06 Dec 2007

Asus P5E-VM HDMI motherboard

Review At first glance, Asus' P5E-VM HDMI looks like a regular Micro-ATX design with the usual crop of integrated features. But when you take a good close look you’ll see just how much Asus has managed to cram in. Asus' P5E-VM HDMI Asus' P5E-VM HDMI: packs in features a-plenty The board's Intel G35 chipset supports LGA775 Core 2 …
Leo Waldock, 05 Dec 2007

Intel 'Penryn' Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and X48 chipset

2007's Top Products Intel has been busy sending out a batch of 'Penryn' Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processors to every tech site in the known universe, and if you take a look at some of the reviews that have popped up you’ll spot a common theme. The QX9770 is the first desktop processor to run on a 1600MHz frontside bus (FSB) but right now there are no …
Leo Waldock, 03 Dec 2007

AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics chip

Review AMD's ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT wasn’t a bad graphics chip but it spent too long in development and failed to take the fight to Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 series. But after a quick die-shrink from 80nm to 55nm, the Radeon HD 2900 XT has been reborn as the Radeon HD 3870. The new fabrication process is a good start but it doesn’t …
Leo Waldock, 28 Nov 2007

Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT graphics chip

Review Nvidia’s new 'G92' graphics chip is based on the 'G80' used in the GTS, GTX and Ultra versions of the GeForce 8800, and is a die-shrink that moves from the part from its predecessors' 90nm fabrication process to 65nm. There are other changes inside the chip, which gains the VP2 video engine and bitstream processor used in the …
Leo Waldock, 12 Nov 2007

Intel 'Penryn' Core 2 Extreme QX9650

Review Intel’s 45nm 'Penryn' update for its Core 2 microprocessor family has been an open secret for many months. It's first desktop incarnation, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650, is due to be formally introduced on 12 November, but today we can tell you how it will perform. Core 2 Extreme Intel's 'Penryn' Core 2 Extreme Penryn uses the …
Leo Waldock, 29 Oct 2007

Asus Maximus Formula Intel X38-based mobo

Review Intel’s new X38 chipset sweeps aside the elderly 975X and storms to the front of the queue as the natural choice for anyone building or upgrading a Core 2 Duo, Quad or Extreme PC. In essence, the X38 is a souped-up P35 with added support for the next-gen 1600MHz frontside bus (FSB) as well as Intel’s 45nm 'Penryn'. As things …
Leo Waldock, 18 Oct 2007

Apple TV 160GB media player

Review Over the past couple of years we've tried at least four different media extenders from Buffalo, D-Link and Pinnacle in an attempt to send AVI movie files from a PC to a TV. The PC is in a home office box, and the TV is in the living room, and all we want to do is watch recorded American TV shows on the big screen. All four …
Leo Waldock, 04 Oct 2007

Nvidia GeForce 7150/nForce 630i integrated chipset

Review The vast majority of PCs use integrated graphics instead of an add-in graphics card and therein lies a problem. If you want the wow factor of the Aero interface in Windows Vista then you need a reasonable level of graphics performance, even if you have no desire to play games on your PC. Nvidia claims that the stickers that you …
Leo Waldock, 25 Sep 2007

How to watch TV on your PC

Feature Watching TV used to be a passive affair: you sat back and watched whatever happened to be on. These days, passivity is passé. Digital Video Recorder (DVR) set-top boxes can pick up programmes beamed out from a terrestrial transmitter, sent via satellite or pumped down a cable and save them on a hard drive so you begin watching …
Leo Waldock, 14 Aug 2007

Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet

Review Lenovo supplies its X series ThinkPad as a regular laptop and also as a reversible Tablet in both X60 and X61 variants, so that's four basic models, but there are so many options and variants that it's almost impossible to list them in a tidy way - but we'll give it our best shot. Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet ThinkPad X61: …
Leo Waldock, 09 Aug 2007

Sony VGN-TZ11XN/B laptop

Review Sony has certainly pushed the limits with the TZ11 and the result is generally extreme in every department. Extremely thin, extremely light, extremely long battery life...and an extremely high price tag. Sony VGN-TZ11XN/B laptop Nice lines: the Sony VGN-TZ11XN/B The photos of the Vaio VGN-TZ11XN/B show a classic, smart Sony …
Leo Waldock, 08 Aug 2007

Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.67GHz desktop processor

Review Earlier this week, we reviewed the impressive yet ridiculously expensive Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850. Now it's the turn of another processor Intel announced this week, one that you can actually afford, the Core 2 Duo E6750. Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Intel's new 1333MHz frontside bus hasn't made a dramatic …
Leo Waldock, 20 Jul 2007

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 & MSI P35 Diamond mobo

Review Intel is getting ready to move to a new generation of processors on a 45nm fabrication process, but that hasn't stopped it from squeezing some more performance out of its existing, 65nm chips. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 3GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6850 with the chip giant's brand new 1333MHz frontside bus. MSI P35 …
Leo Waldock, 17 Jul 2007

HP TouchSmart IQ770 PC

Review According to the famous maxim, a camel is a horse designed by committee, and it's not hard to spot the hand of a committee in the design of the HP TouchSmart IQ770 PC. HP TouchSmart IQ770 PC The guts of the IQ770 are laptop components that have been shoehorned into a compact desktop unit that doesn't look much like a desktop …
Leo Waldock, 13 Jul 2007
Gigabyte Odin GT 800W

Gigabyte Odin GT 800W power supply unit

UK Exclusive Review Manufacturers love to cram extra features into every part of a PC, but it comes as a surprise that Gigabyte - making its debut in the PSU biz - has managed the same trick with its new Odin GT 800W power supply. Gigabyte Odin GT 800W Gigabyte has borrowed some aspects of the Odin from other high-end PSUs, so the casing is …
Leo Waldock, 03 Jul 2007

PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card

Review We've waited a long time for AMD's ATI Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 graphics chips. Although they were launched in May alongside the HD 2900 XT - reviewed here - it's only now that these budget and mid-range parts have gone on sale. PowerColor HD 2600 XT PowerColor's HD 2600 XT Before we dive into our review of the PowerColor's HD …
Leo Waldock, 28 Jun 2007

Evesham Zieo N500-HD 17in laptop

Review Evesham has moved fast to pack its Zieo N500-HD laptop with a long list of 'Santa Rosa' Centrino Duo features. The 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor runs on the new 800MHz frontside bus and the chipset is a combination of 965 northbridge and ICH8M. Ordinarily, a new southbridge adds a handful of new features such as extra …
Leo Waldock, 27 Jun 2007

Intel power PC platforms: Core 2 Extreme QX6800 and V8

Review Intel has been dancing all over AMD's financials with its Core 2 processors for the past year and it's keeping up the pressure, most recently with the Core 2 Extreme QX6800 and, more intriguingly, it's product-that-isn't-a-product, the V8 platform. Intel V8 'performance PC' platform Intel's V8: firing on all cylinders? Let's …
Leo Waldock, 05 Jun 2007

Asus EN8800 Nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultra-based graphics card

Review Nvidia has never been shy about slicing and dicing its product line-up to meet the needs of specific groups of the graphics-card buying public with the result that you can buy its flagship DirectX 10 GeForce 8800 chip in a number of versions. Nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultra GPU Nvidia's GeForce 8800 Ultra: GPU view The bread-and …
Leo Waldock, 28 May 2007
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive

Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive

Review Hitachi's 'world's first' 3.5in terabyte desktop hard drive looks much like any other hard drive currently available, but it packs in five platters and ten read/write heads for an exceptional data storage capacity. Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive In the event you don't want or need an enormous amount of storage, you can still buy …
Leo Waldock, 25 May 2007
Sony Vaio SZ4 series notebook

Sony Vaio SZ4 slimline laptop

Review Sony's slender Vaio SZ4 is geared to folk who don't like their laptops to weigh them down. It's not the most compact of models, but at very portable 1.7kg, the SZ4 is eminently suited not only to the portability-over-performance crowd but also to those who want their laptop to be a looker. Sony Vaio SZ4 series notebook Case …
Leo Waldock, 16 May 2007

PowerColor Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics card

Review AMD/ATI has been working on its DirectX 10 graphics chip, codenamed 'R600', for an awfully long time, which is somewhat surprising when you consider that this is its second-generation DirectX 10 part. The first was the Xenos chip that powers Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console. AMD ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT Although AMD is …
Leo Waldock, 14 May 2007
EVGA Nforce 680i LT SLI

EVGA 680i LT SLI nForce-based motherboard

Review For some time, Nvidia's 600 family of chipsets has had a gaping chasm between the nForce 650i SLI, which typically sells for £90, and the nForce 680i SLI, which starts at £165. Enter the 680i LT SLI chipset, a budget version of the 680i SLI. EVGA Nforce 680i LT SLI EVGA's nForce 680i LT SLI board from the front As the name …
Leo Waldock, 30 Apr 2007
MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC graphics card

MSI NX8600GTS graphics card

Review Nvidia stole a march on ATi when it launched the DirectX 10 GeForce 8800 GTS and GTX chips back in October 2006. Even though the G80/8800 was a powerhouse of a chip we wondered who exactly would spend the thick end of £400 on a single graphics card or £800 on a pair of the things in SLI. MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC graphics …
Leo Waldock, 17 Apr 2007

Sapphire Radeon X1950 GT-based graphics card

Review AMD launched the ATI Radeon X1950 Pro at the end of 2006, pitching it as a cut-down version of the X1950 XTX. It's now come up with a cheaper version, the X1950 GT, taking the technology below - well, just - the £100 mark. Sapphire Radeon X1950 GT The Pro uses 12 of the 16 pixel processing pipelines - all in groups of four ' …
Leo Waldock, 02 Apr 2007

Ten Reasons why you should upgrade to Windows Vista

Love it or hate it, you can't ignore Windows Vista. Fans of Apple's Mac OS X will tell you that all of the good bits of Vista have been blagged from the Tribe of Jobs but the fact remains that the vast majority of us use Windows XP so the question is simple, why the hell should we make the switch from Windows XP to Windows Vista …
Leo Waldock, 02 Apr 2007

AMD 690G integrated chipset

Review AMD's new 690 chipset comes in two varieties. There's the vanilla 690V with an integrated ATI Radeon X1200 graphics core that only supports a VGA connection, but the one that interests us is the 690G with Radeon X1250 graphics. This core supports both analogue and digital connections, and that gives the motherboard manufacturers …
Leo Waldock, 27 Mar 2007
Sapphire Radeon X1550

Sapphire Radeon X1550 graphics card

Review Since it bought ATI last year, AMD has been busy rebranding any number of chipsets and graphics chips in its range. Some of the instances make perfect sense while others are a cynical rebranding of an old chip. Sapphire Radeon X1550 In the case of the Radeon X1050, it’s an X550 under the heatsink, so it’s clear that AMD …
Leo Waldock, 01 Mar 2007
Asus W5Fe Windows Vista laptop

Asus W5Fe Windows Vista laptop

Review We already teased you not too long ago about the Asus W5Fe and now we’ve got our hands on an engineering sample of this innovative, compact Windows Vista laptop and an opportunity to put it through its paces. Asus has produced the first laptop in the world that makes use of Windows Vista SideShow to support a secondary screen …
Leo Waldock, 26 Feb 2007
shuttle X200

Shuttle XPC X200M mini PC

Review We gave a brief rundown of the Shuttle X200 at the beginning of January and now it's time for a proper look at the new media centre PC. Externally, the X200 is near-identical to the X100HA that we previously reviewed as it uses the same sleek case. So it's still absolutely tiny, with dimensions of 21 x 30 x 6cm. Shuttle X200 …
Leo Waldock, 07 Feb 2007