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HardwareZone's Picks - Top 100 Products of 2012

PC Components

PC Components


AMD A10-5700 APU

AMD's A10-5700 APU is ideal for those who aren't thinking of overclocking (which doesn't provide much actual gains) and yet would like to obtain performance levels similar to the high-end unlocked A10-5800K processor - especially with regards to integrated graphics performance. At such a price point, this means a bundle price of an appropriate board and the A10-5700 can be as low as just PhP 8,000. This makes it far more attractive than the Intel counterparts if raw processing throughput isn't really going to be missed. As we've seen, AMD is all out to improve the immediate experiential aspects of using a system for mainstream users and we think the AMD Trinity APU might be just the trick.


ASUS ROG Maximus V Gene (Intel Z77 Motherboard)

This sprightly looking motherboard is small in stature, but jammed pack with features to satisfy the needs of gamers and power users looking for something special when building their next gaming rig. This board uses the Intel Z77 Express chipset along with the LGA1155 CPU socket which supports third generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs. The processors themselves still support only a single PCIe x16 link that can be split into dual x8 links. For that reason, this class of boards can easily get by with the mATX board size by featuring dual PEG slots. The board also manages to cram quad DIMM slots to support overclocked memory modules (DDR3 modules that are rated up to 2666MHz) up to a maximum capacity of 32GB.

More information: HWZ Review


ASUS ROG TYTAN CG8890 Gaming Desktop PC

The ridiculously powerful ASUS Tytan desktop PC boasts best-in-class components across the board, and spares no expense, utilizing a liquid-cooled six core, Intel Core i7-3960X (3.3GHz) processor, ASUS Rampage IV Formula (Intel X79) motherboard, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 dual-GPU graphics card, ASUS Xonar Phoebus sound card, 128GB SSD with a 3TB HDD for storage and 16GB RAM.

If that wasn't impressive enough, this PhP 190,000+ behemoth features ASUS' one-touch Turbo Gear overclocking system, which allows you to dynamically overclock the processor up to 3.8GHz without requiring a reboot. For massive cool-factor points, hitting the Turbo Gear overclock button also transforms the chassis, with the lights changing from blue to red, and the system vents opening outwards to allow for improved airflow and better heat dissipation, ensuring system stability.


Corsair Obsidian 550D Mid-Tower Case

The Corsair 550D mid-tower case is one of the most complete casings we’ve reviewed in some time. Quality, however, comes at a price, because at PhP 7,000, the Corsair 550D is also one of the more costly casings in its class.  Whether or not the Corsair 550D is worth the premium depends very much on the individual user's preferences and needs, but while the Corsair 550D commands a premium, it backs it up with class-leading aesthetics, performance and build quality. It is a casing worthy of your attention if you don't mind splurging a bit more money.


Crucial Ballistix Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Kit

This pair of memory modules is rated at a clock frequency of 2133MHz, making them suitable for current Intel and AMD platforms, especially if you have invested in the latter, which officially supports a memory bus frequency of 1,866MHz. The additional headroom offered by its higher clock frequency will help in overclocking while its low latency timings help boost its performance. In terms of aesthetic appeal, it doesn’t hurt that the memory modules sport a sleek appearance, with their black heatspreaders that extend beyond the PCB of the same color.


Dell UltraSharp U2713HM Monitor

Dell's U2713HM monitor packs tons of features: a WQHD resolution (that's 2,560 x 1,440 pixels), a factory-calibrated IPS panel (LED backlit) that covers more than 99% of the sRGB color space, and great ergonomics where you can swivel, tilt, pivot, and adjust the height of the display. In addition to DisplayPort 1.2, VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI inputs, the U2713HM sports four USB 3.0 ports. If you're looking for a great 27-inch monitor, the U2713HM is it.


Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB Wi-Fi (Intel Z77 Motherboard)

The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB Wi-Fi motherboard earns its spot on our list for its perfect balance of expansion options and built-in features. Sporting the standard triplet of PCIe x16 PEG slots, three PCIe x1 slots and a single legacy PCI slot. It also has a total of nine SATA connectors as well as a wide range of display connectivity options. The board also bundles a unique PCIe expansion card that will add wireless connectivity via Bluetooth 4.0 and IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. The board also features Ultra Durable 4 components and its PCB is constructed out of a new glass fabric technology to add to its durability. Coupled with its stellar performance shown on our benchmark tests and its outstanding features, this board is a bargain with its PhP 10,000+ price tag.


Intel Core i7-3770K CPU

With its improved new CPU architecture, the general performance of the Intel i7-3770K CPU prompts us to label it as one that is skewed for multi-threaded applications. It will appeal to power users and enthusiasts who demand workstation-like performance and power optimization balance. It's a fine line to walk, but we do strongly feel that the Intel Core i7-3770K does so with finesse. Its improved integrated GPU, which features the updated Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU that appeal to users who leverage on the LucidLogix Virtu MVP software to take advantage of the on-die GPU or the discrete GPU accordingly. The new integrated GPU has two additional 3D features: Virtual Vsync to reduce screen tearing and HyperFormance to increase frame rates. The choice of using either graphical processing option makes this Ivy Bridge processor even more appealing.


MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower

MSI's Big Bang Z77 MPower offers a decent feature set and we were pleasantly surprised by its six rear USB 3.0 ports and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity options. The board is currently available at PhP 11,950, which makes it one of the most expensive Intel Z77 Express chipset boards on the market, however its premium price is justified in terms of the peace-of-mind enjoyed as overclocking is officially endorsed by MSI, with the board labelled as "4.6GHz OC" ready when paired with an Intel Core i7-3770K CPU.

More information: HWZ Review


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660

Utilizing a NVIDIA GK106 core designed especially for it, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 was the first true mid-range Kepler graphics card. Despite its mid-range positioning, it still boasted many of the features of its powerhouse bigger brothers including NVIDIA's GPU Boost technology, which dynamically adjusts the GPU's clock speed according to the operating environment of the graphics card. Offering great price to performance ratio, the GTX 660 scored very well in our benchmarks, even managing to outscore AMD's much higher positioned Radeon HD 7950 on many games.


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680

NVIDIA's new flagship graphics card may have arrived a bit later than rival AMD's offering, but it was definitely worth the wait. Utilizing NVIIDA's new 28nm Kepler architecture, the GTX 680 offered an excellent combination of performance, power efficiency and quiet operation. It also showcased NVIDIA's innovation with new features such as its GPU Boost technology, which dynamically adjusts the GPU's clock speed according to the operating environment of the graphics card. The GTX 680 was also the first NVIDIA card to support up to four monitors on a single card.


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690

Featuring two Kepler GTX 680 GPU cores running at a base clock speed of 915MHz, with 6008MHz DDR memory, 3072 CUDA cores, and backed up by a massive 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 easily laid claim to the title of most powerful graphics card of the year. While most dual-GPU cards fall short of an equivalent SLI or CrossFireX configuration, the difference between the GTX 690 and a GTX 680 2-way SLI configuration was actually fairly small (between 1-4%) and we found that the difference could be easily overcome by some light overclocking.


PowerColor Devil 13 Radeon HD 7990

With AMD choosing not to release a high-end dual-GPU graphics card for this current generation, it fell to add-in partner PowerColor to take up the challenge. The result was the massive PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990, an absolute monster card utilizing two Tahiti XT Radeon HD 7970 GPUs and weighing 1.77kg. While the Devil 13 utilizes a modest default core clock of 925MHz, it also features a turbo OC button that will ramp up core clock speeds to 1000MHz. In our testing, performance was actually superior in most cases to an HD 7970 CrossFireX setup.

More information: HWZ Review