The main feature in this month’s PC Authority originated with a NetComm announcement: replacing your ADSL microfilter can quintuple your broadband speed. A whole roomful of Australia’s tech journalists collectively gasped, started scribbling and cried, “surely not!” But NetComm was right. Many homes have a major bottleneck caused by using their original microfilters when they’ve since upgraded to ADSL2+. This is only one of the many widespread problems which slow down the nation’s broadband. For more check out our feature in the August issue.
In the Labs this month we’ve got a barrow full of motherboards, lots of (sadly overpriced) Sony goodness and Logitech’s brilliant media streamer. Much as we wanted to make half of the magazine into a massive laser printer group test, we’ve published it online on our new website at www.pcauthority.com.au to avoid boring readers to death. The new A-Listed laser printer comes from there. Processors have also been added to the A-List, beginning in this issue.
We’ve had great feedback for our price versus performance graphs and this month we’ve got an updated one as well as a corresponding A-List category.
As ever we’d love to hear what you think about these and any other changes or features. So please email us with your musings. From now on, all correspondence will be published online if not in the magazine, so it won’t be a wasted effort!
• Cyberlink Power 2Go 5.5 LE
• Race Driver GRID demo
• Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 1.2
• Serif ImpactPlus 4
• Stuffit Standard 11
A simple board that struggles to justify its price
An appealingly upmarket board at a fair price
If it’s a Blu-ray equipped desktop replacement you’re after, the 8920G is a fine choice.
Support for new file types and platforms plus improved 3D rendering, but director is yesterday’s tool – and it shows
With Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King about to hit, Funcom has its work cut out with this new MMORPG.
An old standard, but one that still provides decent performance at a great price.
A smartly engineered processor, but for today’s applications it’s lacking in bang per buck.
A cheap, lightweight choice for single-core applications, but you get the performance you pay for.
There may be two main CPU manufacturers, but picking the right processor is anything but simple. We put 51 CPUs through their paces
Plenty of connectors, but not much pizzazz
A game that drips with atmosphere and promises much, but fails to deliver the killer blow
Graphics card manufacturers’ obsession with multi-GPU boards continues this month. The Asus HD 3850 X2 brings to market the novel formula of two ATi Radeon 3850 GPUs on one card.
A high-end board bristling with great ideas
A feast of features for those willing to pay
Classy looks and light weight make for a fine ultraportable, but it’s got some tough competition.
A new interface and extra web-protection capabilities make AVG our top free antivirus choice
Quick, cheap to run and an abundance of features – a worthy award winner
Lightning quick, top-quality prints and the running costs are as low as the price tag
When it comes to getting real work done, there’s still nothing to compete with a laser printer’s combination of quality, speed and economy. We tell you how to choose a busines laser, plus review 3 examples.
A significant overhaul and a great camera. At this price it’s the best all-round package on the market
Well-equipped and quite quick, but the quality is patchy
Beguilingly affordable with great colour quality, but neither fast nor feature packed
Painfully slow with colour, and the quality disappoints
Very much a case of average performance for an average price
Cheap, but there’s not much here to cheer about
A slightly bare but affordable media-centre board
A fantastic fitness GPS intended for cyclists, but it’s versatile enough for bushwalking as well
A good training tool with a comprehensive feature set
A great combination of features at an excellent price makes this our new A-List board - suitable for just about everyone.
A capable little package at an attractive price
Nvidia’s latest graphics cards and chips throw down the gauntlet to Intel and AMD. Go behind the scenes with this guide to the big technologies including PhysX, CUDA, and games like Far Cry 2 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear Sky.
Beautiful double-sided prints, but it takes its time
It isn’t cheap, but plenty of features and top quality propel this printer to the top of the pile
Slick print quality and faultless speed, but lacking on the features front
If you’re not bothered about 3G and want a fully-featured WM6 device it makes a bargain choice, though you can save even more cash with Palm’s Centro.
A diverse family including some stellar CPUs and numerous also-rans.
A range of cut-down Core 2 Duo processors that are fine for everyday tasks.
An affordable and stylish option that provides decent quality, but at a leisurely pace.
Very cheap to run, but poor print quality badly lets the side down
Top-notch print quality makes this a contender, but it isn’t fast
A versatile, high-quality printer with a wide range of features
LG’s dual-format drive is ideal for those who invested in HD-DVD before Blu-ray romped to victory in the HD wars.
You've got Gigabytes of music on your PC. You have an expensive stereo system in your lounge room. Enter the SqueezeBox Duet.
Easy to use and performs well. Features are basic but it’s cheap
With unusual styling that looks like it came straight from a 1970s sci-fi series, Maxtor’s OneTouch Plus is a distinctive but not unattractive product.
The mouse is much ignored but you’d be amazed how much of a difference a good one can make, and this offering from Microsoft is the Rolls-Royce of mice.
With so many factors to consider, choosing a motherboard can be a bewildering exercise. We put 11 models through their pace to find the ultimate in performance, flexibility and value
An uninspiring board with no strong selling point
All the options you could want, although it’s pricey
Small and cheap, but it’s costly to run and quality isn’t the best
A fast printer let down by high running costs and few features
Fast colour output, great network tools and reasonable print quality
Good print speed, high expansion potential and quality colour output makes the C9650n a great total printing machine.
No high-speed internet or bells and whistles, but an easy-to-use and pocketable email phone nonetheless
A high-end training watch with good flexibility and planning tools
GPS is about far more than in-car navigation. Join us as we get running and cycling with seven of the latest recreational satnav marvels
A complex but powerful tool that’s made simpler by its new Dashboard interface
A good price for an HD camcorder, but poor design makes it awkward to use
Sony’s new laptop sports a Blu-ray writer and one of Intel’s latest Penryn processors, but it’s overpriced.
A stylish all-in-one media centre that effortlessly handles all tasks thrown at it. But it’s disgracefully priced.
Intriguing styling makes this near-silent media-centre PC stand out, but it has its foibles
A training watch with amazingly advanced exercise-analysis tools
Packed with features, but it’s expensive and awkward to use
Easy to use and performed well, but falls short in key areas