iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






iXBT.com Editors' Awards

Striving to bring recognition to manufacturers of high-technology equipment, the iXBT.com editorial team decided to institute three awards:

Reviewed by iXBT.com

The Reviewed by iXBT.com award recognizes the products, which have gone through the iXBT.com lab tests. This award is presented to a manufacturer, whose products were tested in our lab, got reviewed, and their reviews are published on the iXBT.com web site, in the iXBT.com magazine, or on the Digit-Life.com web site.

Original Design

Modern IT market is flooded with clones. Life-cycle of a product became shorter, so most manufacturers do not spend their time and resources on their own designs. Instead, they often follow the so called "reference design", changing only the name of the product and the package appearance. That's why in order to encourage efforts of the manufacturers who create innovative products different from reference designs, the editorial team of iXBT.com institutes the Original Design award.

This award can be honored to a product with an original design, which is essentially different from the reference design. The product must be tested in the iXBT.com lab and then have a review (concerning the test results) published on the iXBT.com web site, in the iXBT.com magazine, or on the Digit-Life.com web site.

The Original Design award can be selected only once a month and must provide links to the reviews of the awarded products.

External Storage Devices Awards

A flash drive, an external hard disk, or any other similar device can be honored with the Original Design award, if it features:

  • High extra functionality not to the damage of the main characteristics
  • Essentially new data storage technologies or the ones noticeably different from the popular options used in standard storage devices
  • Record-breaking speed characteristics, noticeably faster than those in competitors, or the capacity considerably exceeding the average values
  • New promising interfaces to connect to computers
  • Being a model of design (appearance, compact size, or ergonomics) not to the damage of its speed and capacity characteristics
  • Other things that are not listed here

May 2005 Awards

ASUS WL-HDD2.5 with wireless 802.11g interface

Motherboards Awards

A motherboard gets the Original Design award for one or a combination of the following design features:

  • Passive (or active, but only if necessary!) cooling system for overheated motherboard elements
  • Indication system for computer failures at startup
  • Good PCB layout, which does not hamper assemblage and upgrade
  • On-board buttons to power on or restart a computer, to reset CMOS, etc. — any feature that facilitates express-tests or repairs
  • Other things

We award only useful elements of design in our opinion: so, a stylish (or a monstrous) chipset cooler cannot be considered useful, if this chipset does not require mandatory active cooling. And the attractive design will not be awarded, if it offers no other advantages except for its good looks.

Of course, the above list does not contain all possible options (a lot of things cannot be foreseen at all) for a motherboard to get the award. Read the reviews of awarded models to find out the details and perhaps get acquainted with innovations on the market.

May 2005 Awards

MSI P4N Diamond motherboard — for on-board sterling Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit and software SLI switch

TV Tuner and Multimedia Video Card Awards

TV tuner or a multimedia video card can be honored with the Original Design award, if it demonstrates the following distinctive features:

  • Original hardware solutions aimed to improve the sound and image quality
  • Hardware implementation of extra unique features, which are not directly connected with audio and video
  • Original design
  • Other things that are not listed here

May 2005 Awards

AVerTV Cardbus Plus (Compact high-quality HF module and FM tuner functions implemented in a separate high-quality chip)

3D Video Cards Awards

A video card can be awarded with Original Design, if the tests revealed the following features distinguishing it from the reference design:

  • Original cooling system, which is more effective at the least possible level of noise
  • Support for extra features, such as Video-In (if it is not provided by the reference design)
  • Other things that are not listed here

It goes without saying that, for example, a PCB color different from the reference design cannot be considered an innovation.

May 2005 Awards

Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB

Peripheral Devices Awards

A pointing device – keyboard, mouse, joystick, or any other similar device or a set of devices can be honored with the Original Design award, in case it:

  • Possesses unique functionality for these days
  • Comes shipped with an outstanding software package
  • Either contributes something revolutionary new to the market, or is an absolutely new device on the market
  • Possesses outstanding ergonomic characteristics, which do not damage its functionality
  • Other things that are not listed here

May 2005 Awards

Optical mouse Oklick 725L

Excellent Package

It's always pleasant to buy a product and find out that the package includes additional equipment, software, games, souvenirs, etc. It's nice to think that the product you bought is well worth its price, and it's twice as nice to buy a well-bundled product at a moderate price. In practice, some manufacturers tend to save on every item, even if the inclusion of this item into the product package raises the price by less than 10%. Thus, the editorial team of iXBT.com institutes the Excellent Package award to bring recognition to those manufacturers, who offer nice boxes with excellent package content (the product plus useful accessories) instead of featureless boxes with minimal package content (CD with drivers).

This award can be presented to a product with an original box and unique package content. The product must be tested in the iXBT.com lab, and the results of these tests must be published in a review on the iXBT.com web site, the iXBT.com magazine, or the Digit-Life.com web site.

The Excellent Package award can be selected only once a month and must refer to the awarded product reviews.

Projectors Awards

A projector can be awarded with Excellent Package, if its bundle includes extra accessories that...

  • Help you use all (or most) available functions of the projector (for example when the standard package includes cables for all projector connectors, which let you use the projector with most supported audio and video sources and which allow you to use this projector in countries with different power supply standards).
  • Make it much easier to use the projector (for example, a full-featured remote control with a laser pointer, mouse emulation, and presentation flow control; convenient stand/bracket, etc).
  • Are not necessary for projector functions, but help reduce possible consumer expenses (for example, a special cap for connectors to make the projector look better so that you don't have to install a cover up box to hide the projector at home; or a bundled Wi-Fi card, which you would have had to buy for non centrino notebooks).

A special note should be made of bundled bags, cases, etc, which make it easier to store and carry the device and all its accessories necessary for operation (cables, remote control, documentation) as well as protect the device from dust and mechanical effects.

A unique bundle does not have a novelty aspect, that is we can award several well-bundled projectors (manufacturers will not provide good bundles for all projectors anyway - the unique aspect will remain), the more criteria this bundle qualifies for, the more deserved the award will be.

May 2005 Awards

LCD projector Sony VPL-CX75

Motherboards Awards

A motherboard merits the Excellent Package award, if it features some of the following bundle elements:

  • Original attractive box
  • Colorful and detailed user's manuals
  • A full set of necessary cables, preferably gathered in a tight bunch (for multi-cored cables)
  • Various brackets to expand functionality (for additional and/or missing FireWire/USB/COM/LPT ports; for audio features of the motherboard, including optical and coaxial digital inputs and outputs; etc)
  • Original accessories (USB drives, wireless adapters, etc)
  • Variety of third-party software (included into the bundle free-of-charge), proprietary utilities for system monitoring, BIOS management, etc.
  • Other things

May 2005 Awards

MSI P4N Diamond motherboard — for the bundled Dual Net Card

3D Video Cards Awards

A video card can be awarded with Excellent Package, if the tests demonstrated the following features distinguishing it from the other products on the market at that moment:

  • Original package (retail)
  • Rich software set, utilities and other homeware
  • Various bonuses: souvenirs or useful/nice knick-knacks
  • Other things that are not listed here

May 2005 Awards

MSI RX800 XL-VT2D256E PCI-E based on ATI RADEON X800 XL

MP3 Players and Multimedia Centers Awards

A player or a media center can get the Excellent Package award if it has the following differences from competing products:

  • Original box
  • Homeware with unique functionality
  • Additional software included into the bundle
  • The bundle makes it very convenient to use the device without buying additional components
  • Souvenirs or useful/nice knick-knacks in the package
  • Other things that are not listed here

May 2005 Awards

MP3/WMA player RoverMedia Aria DP300FM

Additional information

The same award cannot be given to a product more than once.

A product can get several different awards.

Printed award certificates can be provided by written request via e-mail: pr@ixbt.com

June 27, 2005.

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