Reviews for Gamers by Gamers…

The PlayStation Powerhouse – PS3 Review

Filed under: Playstation 3 Consoles — Tags: , , , , , , , — Adon Garuda @ 18:41 January 3, 2010



Pros

Integrated Blu-ray Player, Multimedia Power, Rechargeable Joypads, Free Online Gaming, Sleek Design

Cons

High Price Tag, Online lag is a problem; Choice of games does not match Xbox 360’s

Summary

For an ultimate experience in gaming and a complete media centre, you cannot go wrong with this system. Designed to sleek, sophisticated and powerful, it certainly lives up to expectations and then sum…

Sony Playstation 3

Sony Playstation 3

Introduction

The PlayStation 3 is the current next generation console from Sony and certainly looks like one… It boasts the most power from all the currently available machines proving that Sony are keeping one eye on the future.

Features and Design

The PS3 is powered by the “Cell Processor”, a chip which is said to be 35 times more powerful than the previous one. The graphics are powered by Nvidia, the RSX, the Reality Synthesizer Chip, which is clocked at 550MHZ and contains over 300 million transistors. A lot of comparisons will be made with the Xbox 360. From a graphical standpoint, our tests concluded that the PS3 displayed renderings with more sharpness. The console supports full high definition and has an integrated Blu-Ray player. This is what separates it from the Xbox 360.

Looking to the future seems to be Sony’s reason in choosing Blu-ray over other formats. Blu-ray games can have 50G worth of game information, compared to the regular Xbox 360 game discs. Potentially, Sony is better positioned for future releases as games are getting bigger every year. It may be the case that Microsoft will have to release the 720 well before the Sony Playstation 4 comes out.

It also boasts built-in wireless connector or you can use the ethernet cable option allowing you to easily connect to the internet. Up to 7 players can play at any one time and PSP owners can connect their gadget to a Wi-Fi port as either a controller or an additional screen. You can also manipulate media that is on the PS3 through the PSP giving endless options.

The console is available with different options such as colour and hard drive size. An interesting feature that has been removed from the new slim line version is the ability to turn your PS3 into a Linux computer. This allows emulators to work on the system meaning a back catalogue of games up until the PlayStation 1 can be played.

Deciding whether to purchase this console or an Xbox 360, the following two factors need to be considered:

  • Do you need/want Blu-Ray?
  • Which consoles’ exclusive list of games do you prefer?

Technical Specifications

CPU:

Cell Processor

  • PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz
  • 1 VMX vector unit per core
  • 512KB L2 cache
  • 7 x SPE @3.2GHz
  • 7 x 128b 128 SIMD GPRs
  • 7 x 256KB SRAM for SPE
  • * 1 of 8 SPEs reserved for redundancy total floating point performance: 218 GFLOPS

GPU:

RSX @550MHz

  • 1.8 TFLOPS floating point performance
  • Full HD (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
  • Multi-way programmable parallel floating point shader pipelines

Sound:

Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc. (Cell-base processing)

Memory:

  • 256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz
  • 256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz

System Bandwidth:

  • Main RAM: 25.6GB/s
  • VRAM: 22.4GB/s
  • RSX: 20GB/s (write) + 15GB/s (read)
  • SB: 2.5GB/s (write) + 2.5GB/s (read)

System Floating Point Performance:

2 TFLOPS

Storage:

  • HDD
  • Detachable 2.5” HDD slot x 1

I/O:

  • USB: Front x 4, Rear x 2 (USB2.0)
  • Memory Stick: standard/Duo, PRO x 1
  • SD: standard/mini x 1
  • CompactFlash: (Type I, II) x 1

Communication:

Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x3 (input x 1 + output x 2)

Wi-Fi:

IEEE 802.11 b/g

Bluetooth:

Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)

Controller:

  • Bluetooth (up to 7)
  • USB2.0 (wired)
  • Wi-Fi (PSP®)
  • Network (over IP)

AV Output:

  • Screen size: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • HDMI: HDMI out x 2
  • Analog: AV MULTI OUT x 1
  • Digital audio: DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) x 1

CD Disc media (read only):

  • PlayStation CD-ROM
  • PlayStation 2 CD-ROM
  • CD-DA (ROM), CD-R, CD-RW
  • SACD Hybrid (CD layer), SACD HD
  • DualDisc (audio side), DualDisc (DVD side)

DVD Disc media (read only):

  • PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM
  • PLAYSTATION 3 DVD-ROM
  • DVD-Video: DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW

Blu-ray Disc media (read only):

  • PLAYSTATION 3 BD-ROM
  • BD-Video: BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE

Ratings

Graphics 9/10
Audio 10/10
Variety of Games 9/10
Accessories 10/10
Price 8/10

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Buy The Sony PlayStation 3 From Amazon.co.uk

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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)

Nintendo DS Lite – One Step Closer to Perfectness…

Filed under: Nintendo DS Consoles — Tags: , , , , , , — Mike Cieply @ 16:46 December 22, 2009

Pros

Display panels clearly larger than original model; Overall size smaller; Several more screen brightness settings; Design exceptionally dazzling; Extended battery life; Colors brighter, more pronounced, and more noticeable; Weighs less; Buttons easier to press; Start button relocated to prevent accidental shutdown; Massive selection of colors; Affordable

Cons

May be too small for some hands; More likely to break than original model; Game Boy Advance game paks protrude from bottom by about a centimeter

Summary

Two years after mild success with the platform, Nintendo releases a stunning upgrade that improves the console in almost every way.

Nintendo DS LiteIntroduction

The Nintendo DS was once considered a failure. The system had been out on the market for two years, lagging behind Sony’s PlayStation Portable in sales, and there was an obvious lack of quality games developed for it. Coupling these reasons with its unattractive, awkward design and low-quality display panels, it’s no wonder why the DS hadn’t take off like previous consoles. However, in 2006, Nintendo thrilled the world with the DS Lite, a redesigned model of the platform. The gorgeous new system, together with a few AAA games, launched the DS to a new success. The DS Lite continues to sell now more than ever, even three years after its initial release. Nintendo has reclaimed the throne yet again.

Features and Design

Gamers will first see the difference as soon as they open the box. When closed, the DS Lite is considerably smaller than the original. Furthermore, the top half no longer has that strange, curved shape to it; it has been replaced with a smooth, flat shell. In fact, the entire shape is very straight and rectangular, but with its smooth and rounded edges, fits into your hands comfortably.


However, one does not witness the true change until they open up the DS Lite. Both screens are a great deal bigger than last model’s, and the presentation is far better. The colors are all displayed much more smoothly and clearly, and the graphics grab your attention this time around and will appear crisp and striking. With four different brightness settings, the DS Lite can be used in all situations, indoors, and outdoors. The original DS’s poor backlight quality has been totally fixed, and then some.

Nintendo DS Lite ButtonsAdditionally, the buttons and switches on the bottom half have been moved and reorganized which makes everything much more convenient. Rather than the two rectangular Start and Select buttons above the A-B-X-Y group, they have been relocated to the bottom right and now take the shape of smaller circles. Perhaps the most appreciated change was the movement of the Power button. Originally located right above the directional-pad (which was the source of many accidental shutdowns), it is now seen on the right side of the system. Furthermore, one needs to slide the switch up, rather than pressing it, which completely erases this old problem. All buttons are noticeably easier to press down, and are very soft and enjoyable to touch. Revisions such as these are a blessing to gamers, and we should all thank Nintendo for their efforts.

A further evident modification is the extended battery life. The original DS’s 850 mAh battery would only allow the console to last for roughly ten to twelve hours, after a full four-hour charge. However, the DS Lite, on only a three-hour charge, can survive from fifteen to even nineteen hours of gameplay on its 1000 mAh battery. Hours such as these are simply astounding, and this is definitely one of the greatest changes to the DS.

Besides the substantial improvements, there are several minor ones. For instance, the volume switch protrudes from the system, making it easier to adjust the audio level. Another improvement is stylus. The stylus is now longer, and thicker than the original one, making it much easier to hold on to and use. Furthermore, it is held in the right side of the DS, as opposed to the top, which makes it incredibly effortless to remove and put away. Also, the mic has been repositioned to the direct center of the console, for natural usage.

In the midst of all the positives, there are of course a few negatives. While the DS Lite comes close to perfectness, one notices a few bothersome details; the largest of them being the protuberance of the Game Boy Advance game pak. When inserted into the bottom of the console, the top of the cartridge will stick out by about a centimeter, ruining the system’s smooth, sleek, rectangular shape. Though this may look unappealing, it does not affect gameplay whatsoever, and your hands will never touch the protruding portion. Another negative aspect is that for those of you who were used to holding the original DS will have a difficult transition to the DS Lite. Rather than supporting the entire DS with your palm and all your fingers, one only needs to use the very tips of the fingers to balance the device, due to its feathery weight. In the end, the DS Lite will be more comfortable to hold than the original, but the transition may take some time. The only other downside to the product is that it is less secure. The single hinge is much more likely to crack and break that the previous multiple-hinged DS. All of these negatives, however, really are not that significant, and should not sway you from purchasing this remarkable platform.Nintendo DS Lite GameBoy Advance Game

The DS Lite is exactly what an upgrade should be. It took everything wrong with the design of the original system and improved it tenfold. With improved visuals, lengthy battery life, glossy and sleek figure, bigger screens, and improved button interface, the DS Lite becomes one of Nintendo’s greatest consoles created. Everyone who owns an original or even thought about owning one should without a doubt purchase this upgrade. Everyone should understand the power and majesty that is the Nintendo DS Lite, the savior of the Nintendo handheld console.

Technical Specifications

Size (closed):

5.2″ (133 mm) wide / 2.9″ (21.5 mm) long / 0.85″ (73.9 mm) tall

Weight:

218 g / 7.69 oz

Upper Screen:

Backlit, 3-inch, transparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256×192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch

Touch Screen:

Backlit, 3-inch, transparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256×192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch with transparent analog touch screen

Brightness:

Four settings

Color:

Capable of displaying 260,000 colors

Memory:

RAM – 4 MB; VRAM – 656 KB

Wireless Communication:

IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo’s proprietary format; wireless range is 30 to 100 feet; multiple players can play multiplayer games using just one DS game card

Controls:

Touch screen, embedded microphone for voice recognition, A/B/X/Y face buttons, plus control pad, L/R shoulder buttons, Start and Select buttons

Input/Output:

Ports for both Nintendo DS game cards and Game Boy Advance Game Paks, terminals for stereo headphones and microphone

Other Features:

Embedded Pictochat software that allows up to 16 users to chat at once; embedded real-time clock; date, time and alarm; touch-screen calibration

CPUs:

Main CPU – ARM 9, 67 MHz; Secondary CPU – ARM 7, 33 MHz

Sound:

Stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound, depending on the software

Battery:

Lithium ion battery delivering five to nineteen hours of play on a three-hour charge, depending on use; power-saving sleep mode; AC adapter

Languages:

English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Italian

Color:

Dozens of combinations of colors, and many limited edition colors

Ratings

Graphics 9/10
Audio 8/10
Variety of Games 10/10
Accessories 10/10
Price 10/10

Buy the Nintendo DS Lite From Amazon.com

Buy the Nintendo DS Lite From Amazon.co.uk

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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)

7th Generation Rocked: Microsoft Hits It Big With Xbox 360

Filed under: Xbox 360 Consoles — Tags: , , , , , — Kellen Beck @ 19:26 December 18, 2009

Pros

720p/1080i HD, outstanding online, great selection of exclusive titles, decent price.

Cons

Not Blu Ray compatible, cost of Live.

Xbox 360

Xbox 360

Summary

Microsoft hit the 7th gen of consoles hard with the Xbox 360. Its improved Xbox Live and 720p/1080i compatibility makes it the best online system, and with a line of top-list games, it’s hard to beat.

Introduction

Microsoft’s Xbox was a hit among gamers, aiming more on the mature level of gaming rather than the competition’s focus on E – T rated games. The 360 pushed the competition further towards the mature audience, and improved its online capabilities far beyond that of Sony’s (you get what you pay for), a great start to the 5th generation of consoles.

Features and Design

The design of the 360 is a large improvement over the original, which seemed to anchor my house down in case of storms. Its sleeker, white design is nicer than the big black cinder block, and is much more practical for any entertainment center with its ability to go vertical and horizontal. Be careful not to exercise that ability during gameplay, it cost my buddy another copy of Call of Duty 4. Another part of it’s design is its interchangeable faceplate, which I think is pretty pointless, but if you really want a different color to look at, it’s a nice little feature.

Both wireless and wired controllers are usable for the system, which is quite a perk if you don’t feel like charging batteries or buying new ones quite so often. These controllers are great; the elimination of the white and black buttons was a good move, and the introduction of the left and right bumpers brings it right up to perfection. The only problem I experienced is hitting the home button on accident while in the middle of an intense match. Xbox Home is easily navigable and offers lots of great pages, including the Xbox Live Arcade, trailers and previews, Netflix, and the most recent feature that allows you to create your own avatar and view others’. It is certainly a little more user friendly than the Playstation 3’s home menu.

Microsoft’s big hit: Xbox Live. If (roughly) 5 dollars a month is all it takes for a gamer to get fantastic online experience, I think I’d buy two. The only problem with the price though, is the $99.99 Wireless N Networking Adapter. What a bunch of crap, Microsoft, throw us a bone here. Sony gives you a free one! Plus free online service! Well, with the total 5 dollar monthly fee plus the 100 dollar adaptor, you better expect some great service. And that’s exactly what you get. Easily navigable pages, friend lists and features, party chatting with your friends, game invites, messaging, game hopping, and dedicated servers. Xbox nailed it with their Live, and no console’s is comparable.

The Xbox 360’s hardware is great, even if it doesn’t quite compare with the PS3’s. The processing capability is top notch with 3 custom CPUs, each pushing 3.2GHz and a custom 500MHz, 10Mb ATI Graphics Card.

One mistake was the use of the DVD instead of the new Blu Ray, which could hold up to 50 GB of information on one disc! I’d pay to have that rather than all the downloadable content. Plus the Blu Ray is compatible with higher graphic settings.

But say, why get a 360 when I can get a revolutionary Wii, or a gorgeous Playstation 3? Because of two main reasons: Online and exclusive titles. The 360 surpasses both systems with it’s Live (especially Nintendo’s pathetic excuse for “online gameplay”). And the two competitors don’t come close to the 360’s titles, such as Gears of War and Halo. With the Wii’s fixation on (awful) party games, and the PS3 having a higher price, you can see why the 360 is a good pick.

Technical Specifications

CPU
Custom IBM PowerPC-Based CPU
3x 3.2 GHz cores
128x VMX-128 registers per hardware thread
3x VMX-128 vector units
6x hardware threads
1Mb L2 Cache

GPU
Custom ATI Graphics Processor
500 MHz
10 MB embedded DRAM
48-way parallel floating-point dynamically-scheduled shader pipelines Unified Shader Architecture
16 gigasamples per second fillrate using 4X MSAA
500 million triangles per second
48 billion shader operations per second

Sound
Multichannel surround sound output
Support 48 KHz 16-bit audio
32-bit audio processing
over 256 audio channels

Memory
512 MB GDDR3 RAM
700 MHz DDR
Unified memory architecture

System Bandwidth
22.4 GB/s memory interface bus bandwidth
256 GB/s memory bandwidth to EDRAM
21.6 GB/s front-side bus

System Floating Point Performance
1 TFLOP

Storage
20 GB hard drive (detachable and upgradeable)

I/O
Support for up to 4 wireless game controllers
2 memory unit slots
3 USB 2.0 ports

Online
Ethernet Port
Wi-Fi Ready: 802.11 A, B and G
Video Camera Ready

AV Output
All games at 16:9, 720p and 1080i and anti-aliasing
Standard definition and high def video output supported

Disc Media
Support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD
Stream media from portable music devices, digital cameras, Windows XP PCs
Rip music to Xbox 360
Custom playlists in every game
Windows Media Center Extender
Interactive, full 3D visualizers

Ratings

Graphics 9/10
Audio 10/10
Variety of Games 10/10
Accessories 9/10
Price 9/10

Buy the Xbox 360 from Amazon.com

Buy the Xbox 360 from Amazon.co.uk

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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
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