PC & Peripheral Reviews

5

Intel has just launched the latest series of its 8th generation Core processors. The CPUs, designed for use in desktop PCs, are fast and relatively affordable -- and they're probably going to leave you very confused.

18

Shit home internet. We've all been there: dying ancient copper cables running garbage ADSL, congested HFC cable, flaky fibre-to-the-node NBN. You know what's better in a lot of ways? 4G. I love 4G. I want 4G to power my home.

I actually use 4G to light up the 'net in my home already, but until now I've been stuck with a complicated combo of battery-powered hotspot and Wi-Fi router. Accelerated's new 6350-SR router, though, is an all-in-one 4G and Wi-Fi modem/router that gives your entire home or business a strong and reliable 4G connection, either as your primary 'net or as a failover.

3

With its big rolypoly ball and huge hand rest, the venerable trackball mouse looks like a holdover from 1996. Or maybe 1946 -- that's the first time a trackball was used as an input device in a computer. Its popularity has waned since the introduction of the mouse and then the trackpad. And for good reason. Those devices take up way less space! But here's the thing: The trackball is still good. Not just good -- the trackball is great. So great that Logitech is introducing its first trackball in many years is a cause for celebration -- even if I have some issues with my new favourite input device.

0

Samsung's new T5 portable SSD continues the company's trend of small, lightweight, portable solid-state storage -- and it's faster than ever -- but adds one very foundational extra included in the box. Oh, and it comes in blue. Apart from that, there's not a great deal of difference between this one and the old one. Not that that's a bad thing, of course.

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0

Kingston and their gaming-centric HyperX brand expanded into the mechanical keyboard market with the Alloy FPS last year and the reception was wholly positive. The slimmed-down board was designed in conjunction with professional gamers and it firmly had them in mind when crafting a product that was sturdy, reliable and portable. Now, HyperX have taken things in a slightly different direction with the Alloy Elite.

16

It's the question that every PC nerd has asked themselves as they've been poring over online store listings: should I buy a mechanical keyboard with clicky tactile switches, or one with silent and linear keys? I compared two otherwise identical keyboards over a couple of weeks of gaming and typing to find my own personal favourite -- and try to figure out why that was.

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1

With perhaps the most flexible stand of any gaming monitor on the market and a sleek design, Samsung's 27-inch curved CFG70 screen certainly stands out. For a first attempt at bringing quantum dot technology into the gaming monitor market, it's not a bad attempt. But while there's much to like, there's also some key flaws - some of which might be deal-breakers.

1

There may exist inside of you a desire that burns white hot for the Acer Predator 21 X, but you will never buy this laptop. It is not for you, because if you want this laptop, you probably can't afford it, and if you can afford it, you are probably old enough to not want to spend $US9,000 on a laptop that weighs as much as a small child, and can't even pick up after itself.

21
Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure imagination.

I'm not joking when I say the Microsoft Surface Studio makes this sentence -- pulled from the incredible video that Microsoft wrote to promote its new super-luxury, all-in-one PC, in the words of Willy Wonka's fantasies -- come true. When you get face to face with the Surface Studio, and when you see what it can do, you can't help but think of all the possibilities of what you can do with it. It's incredible.

1

If you're thinking of upgrading your home network, you've got a huge range of choice of which wi-fi router to buy. Within the $300 to $500 price, one strong contender is Synology's RT2600ac -- an upgraded version of the excellent RT1900ac, it has even faster wi-fi and the same suite of excellent add-on features like an integrated media server and VPN client. If you like tinkering with your network, you could do a lot worse than the RT2600ac.

0

Sometimes you don't need a bunch of flashy lights and mechanical keyswitches to make a keyboard good. Sometimes you just want a keyboard to look nice, and to feel nice to use. Maybe your PC lives where a PC usually doesn't -- not on an office desk, but next to a TV in your living room or out in an open-plan study. Maybe you appreciate the finer things more than

2

For nearly a decade, common sense has dictated that most people don't need a standalone graphics card in their computer. Gamers need them to make rich titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider hum, and some professionals, like video editors and 3D designers, need them to take the pain out of rendering huge multimedia files. For everyone else, a video card has been treated more like a luxury item than a necessary computer component. But AMD's $130 Radeon RX 550, a graphics card that costs a little more than the brand new games you'll render on it, is such a good value that it might make you rethink the notion that a graphics card is a splurge you should skip.

9

It isn't the processor that makes a really cheap computer slow. Or the memory or the video card (or lack of video card). The primary reason your cheap laptop loudly chugs along at glacial speeds is because of the hard drive. Cheap laptops use cheap hard disk drives, which are much slower than the solid state drives found in better computers. But Intel's new Optane Memory changes that. This little $70 chip makes a cheap hard disk drive run as fast as a solid state drive.

6

These days, 1080p is so passe. I don't even get out of bed for anything less than 1440p. But 4K, now, that's where it's at. My new TV is 4K, my next monitor will probably be 4K. 4K is the future, for everything from Netflix to gaming. But gaming at 4K requires a gutsy PC, and that means investing in some top of the line hardware. Want to play the latest games at 4K? Nvidia has got you covered with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, a graphics card with a significant jump in power from even last year's already-barnstorming GTX 1080.

3

I've never been to hell, but I imagine it's a lot like going to work and using an abysmally slow computer. That's exactly what I've been doing for the past two weeks, as I've plodded along in my own personal nightmare using a tiny, $US250 PC built for emerging markets.

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1

People are prepared to pay vastly different amounts for quality. For some, $80 for a standard Xbox or PlayStation controller is enough, while the $200 for an Elite is pushing it. Others might be happy to pay $300 or $400 on headphones, but would never spend more than $100 on a gaming mouse.

It's a tricky business, peripherals. And that's the problem facing the SCUF Infinity1 and Infinity4PS, controllers that start at $220 and go up to a staggering $320.

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3

Earlier this year Corsair refreshed its mechanical keyboards with the LUX RGB line, and I liked them so much that I ended up buying one for myself.

And I thought that'd be it for the year. They were the best keyboards I'd used in a good while. They were small, did everything I wanted, and didn't break the bank.

But then iKBC came along.