In my recent post, Best Configs Return, Powered By Tom's Hardware Forums, I made the point that I want our editorial team to interact with the forums community more closely. After all, we literally have hundreds of thousands of registered members learning about the latest and greatest technologies. For the most part, questions get answered by a cabal of dedicated and very helpful enthusiasts—to those of you who participate, everyone here at Tom’s Hardware says “thanks!”
Sometimes we get questions directed at the staff, though. Or maybe you have a concern about a specific story. That’s great! Perhaps your fellow enthusiasts are wondering the same things. That’s why I’m going to start posting semi-regular threads (we might do this once or twice a month, depending how response there is) featuring the questions you’re asking us.
Don’t worry—we’re not going to tackle “Should I upgrade my GeForce 4 MX to a Radeon HD 5870?” We’ll let the folks in the forums have fun with humdingers like that. ;-)
If you want to submit a question, you can use the forum thread our illustrious community manager Joe Pishgar set up, you can use my Twitter account, or you can hit me up through email (cangelini at bestofmedia dot com).
Tom’s Cheap Hardware?
Scanlia asks “Can you guys do an article with some high end stuff, not just budget items?”
Thanks for the note, Scanlia. When you say high-end, what exactly are you referring to? Killer graphics cards? Dual-socket six-core workstations? Compressor-cooled Core i7-980X processors? If those aren’t enough, we have Nvidia’s Quadro 5000 and our quarterly System Builder Marathon coming in the next two weeks, which should make for interesting high-end reading!
Going Old School
Ehanger asks “There are a lot of people who own early DX10 cards like the 8800gt or 3870 and are looking for an upgrade. Could Tom’s do an article comparing those kinds of cards to newer GTX 400/HD5000 series cards to see what kind of a difference a newer card could make?”
The challenge we run into with comparisons between last-gen and current-gen hardware, Ehanger, is that the games with which we test hit newer cards harder than old cards, which run those games at reduced-quality settings. DiRT 2 is a perfect example—unless you force DirectX 9 mode, a Radeon HD 5000-series card takes an extra performance hit due to DirectX 11-class visuals. Comparisons are consequently not as meaningful as they’d be with variables like that taken into consideration.
Now, I can point you in the direction of our charts section, which was recently updated. Here you’ll find a ton of comparison data, including single-card-, CrossFire-, and SLI-based results from this generation dating back to cards like the Radeon HD 3870 and GeForce 9800 GT. Check those out in our 2010 Gaming Charts. You’ll notice that the GTX 465, 470, and 480 are missing—I’ve put in a request that the charts team adds that data as soon as possible, too. Hopefully we'll see them added in the next couple of weeks.
Internationally Known, Baby
Abhijitkalyane asks “The Cooler Master 310 is a particularly popular gaming case here in India, can we expect a review for that?”
I wish I could pronounce that handle—or even spell it without a difficult-to-detect typo. In my defense, Word 2010 seems confounded by it as well.
Nevertheless, Thomas recently published Part 1 of his Gaming Enclosures Under $50 story—the 310 would have made a great contender in that one. Cooler Master wanted to submit its Elite 430, though—that chassis costs about $10 more.
Part 2 of Thomas’ piece is on the way, but it doesn’t include the case you were hoping to see, unfortunately. I’ll make sure that, should we tackle another budget gaming chassis roundup, we’ll include the 310 you were asking about (and if it helps, the case seems to be garnering great feedback on Newegg).
Uh, Good Timing!
Sublifer asks “Can we see an update to the hardware charts?”
Dude, can you see my email somehow? How did you kno…ah, I guess it has been a while since we’ve put up a news post about our Charts updates.
Needless to say, I have a Word document open right now summarizing all of the changes that have gone into the charts lately. The bad news (and nobody is as disappointed about this as me) is that the development effort on improving the charts section's usability has been slow. With that said, Patrick’s team in Germany has culled a lot of the older, less-useful data while folding in the updates that recently went into place.
I’ll try not to spoil too much of the Charts update, but some of what to look out for:
2010 Gaming Graphics Charts (High Quality)
2010 Enterprise Hard Drive Charts
USB 3.0 Storage Charts
2010 Desktop CPU Charts
2010 CPU Cooler Charts
There are some others in there, but I’ll save them for the update coming soon!
Foscooter suggests “How about compiling a Tom’s Hardware Recommended Buy chart?”
Greetings Foscooter. There actually is a place like that already. On the front page of the site, in the right-hand column, there’s a box called Tom’s Hardware Awards. Any piece of hardware that we’ve awarded a Best Of Tom’s Hardware or Recommended Buy award to will land in that column. There’s a landing page for the full list of awards in the past year or so, available by clicking here.
Until next time, keep that feedback coming; we're listening!