The fastest tech products, with their exorbitant prices, usually
do not rule the markets. However, they often demonstrate innovation
and are able to show a product's full potential.
And while it's become rare for someone to assemble his or her
computer piece by piece, it's still good to know which computer
parts are the speediest.
Here's a brief round-up featuring some of the fastest components
out there on the market or hitting the market soon.
The Fastest Mobile Processor
preliminary graphics tests
) Snapdragon 800 beats other processors -- including its closest
) Tegra 4 -- hands down. However,
show that, in terms of raw processing power, Tegra 4
takes the lead
. The preliminary tests have not included Qualcomm S800 commercial
devices, either; they are due to arrive in the fall.
NVIDIA Shield mobile gaming platform, released on July, 31 and
powered by Tegra 4. Photo courtesy of NVIDIA
We'll need to wait until the actual products to arrive to make the
final decision and name the official "winner." Still, it might be
hard to objectively compare the handsets with benchmarks,
especially in the light of the
) was caught doing
to boost benchmark results.
On the other hand, leaders change quickly in this fast-paced
Some upcoming products to watch for include Samsung's updated
, which will power the next generation of iPhones and apparently
some Samsung components;
and mobile chipsets from
The Fastest Desktop Processor
With chip makers pushing for more power efficiency rather than pure
performance, and because there are a number of different approaches
to measure performance, it's hard to declare which single chip is
the ultimate leader.
Intel's desktop chips, led by the Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme
Edition chip, generally dominates their
) counterparts, according to performance benchmarks lists at
However, the newest AMD chip -- FX-9590 -- might threaten Intel's
reign, despite its limited availability (it's only bundled in PCs)
and special cooling requirements. AMD gains way more points when it
comes to value and the performance of its embedded graphics core.
The Fastest Graphics Processor
Within the desktop consumer graphics processors field, we have two
distinctive leaders: NVIDIA GTX 690 and AMD Radeon 7990.
However, it's hard to tell which processor has an edge.
Real-life game performance tests show a draw
, though the outcomes depend heavily on which benchmarks and games
you use for testing. A number of tests
portray GTX690 in the lead instead
And if you're looking for serious graphics application usage rather
than gaming, perhaps you should take a look at different models
instead -- something like
the recently announced NVIDIA Quadro K6000
, which is expected to hit the market in the fall. NVIDIA has
dubbed it "the fastest and most capable GPU (Graphics Processing
Unit) ever built."
The Fastest Hard Drive
The consumer hard drive segment, once indisputably dominated by
"conventional" hard drives based on magnetic technologies, is now
rapidly losing ground to solid-state drive (SSD) counterparts that
have no moving parts and offer a drastic performance boost. While
still somewhat expensive in price-per-megabyte terms, SSD should be
the first choice for consumers seeking high speeds.
Samsung 840 PRO SSD in a retail box. Photo courtesy of Samsung
And we do have
a clear leader in this category
: the Samsung SSD 840 Pro series. That said, the Samsung 840 EVO is
a very close second, and
(OCZ) Vertex 450 is slightly faster in terms of writing speed.
The Fastest Connection
What's the fastest interface to connect peripherals? At the
consumer level, Intel's Thunderbolt takes that title, offering a
blazing 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) throughput in both
directions. That kind of speed allows users to transfer an entire
HD movie in less than 30 seconds. The throughput is two times
faster than the 5 Gbps that USB 3.0 delivers, and that gap is set
to increase again when the Thunderbolt 2 -- which will be double
the current speed at 20 Gbps -- arrives next year.
The latest USB 3.1 specs released indicate that the next iteration
of the transfer technology will run at speeds of 10 Gbps. By the
time it is available on the markets, it will be outpaced by
One of the biggest
Thunderbolt advocates is Apple
; the company uses the interface in most of its new products,
including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro. However, most
of the other big device makers are cautious, offering Thunderbolt
only in top-tier models.
(TPE:2353) even dropped it recently, saying that it will focus on
USB, which is far more commoditized and pervasive already.
But while the current USB 3.0 performance is certainly more than
enough for most common user needs, Thunderbolt might soon become
the more popular choice as prices go down and as the market is
increasingly filled with more bandwidth-hungry devices.