FiringSquad Year-in-Review

Well, it's the end of the year and so I thought it'd be nice to do a quick year-in-review. Enjoy the parties tonight. :)

2005, started with the GeForce 6600GT AGP taking the world by storm. Not since the Ti4200 had we seen a midrange GPU with so much potency and value. The fact that the 6600GT remains a popular GPU today is a testament to just how incredible the card was at the time of its launch.

February brought my infamous Gran Turismo 4 review and GT4 For Fans Only Bonus Article. The combination of Sony's best first party development studio and Logitech's world-class gaming device team produced the definitive driving simulator on the market at the time. Never before had the PlayStation 2's unusual architecture been so challenged. Never had force feedback devices and their integration with the game been so sophisticated.

Still, GT4 represented the first look of what would lead us down a path none of us wanted to follow. In GT4, sony began to *actively* exclude support for Force Feedback steering wheels such as the MOMO Force. Many defended Sony's actions, I penalized Sony on the review by 10%. In retrospect, with Sony's resent rootkit problems ... I hope Sony's gaming division will tread more carefully in the future. Even Microsoft is supporting the iPod...

March brought us A System Building Guide and a Round-up of the nForce 4 SLI motherboards on the 'net. DFI lead the round, perhaps developing the most highly awarded motherboard since the Abit BH6.

April showered us with new technology galore. AMD brought dual-core processors to the world and in appropriate fashion, FiringSquad brought dual articles to the table. Chris Angelini had his review with the engineering samples and I brought my article with production CPUs. Of course, the #1 story in April was Our Budget LCD roundup which introduced our own in-house developed color accuracy benchmarks.

May was a time for GPUs. FiringSquad taught you how to unlock the 6800, and looked at the 6800 Ultra 512MB -- a video card that had no purpose in life...

Because June brought the 7800GTX. The top story of the month was our 19" LCD monitor review. June also held host to our first "every-two-years" Eternal Battle in which had one, two, three, four, and five articles related to system building.

July and August were relatively quiet months with us taking a closer look at 7800GTX CPU Scaling and a guide to building a $1000 PC. The GeForce7 series also hit the enthusiast level with the 7800GT. Even September was quiet -- we took a look at ATI's Crossfire, but it was too little, too late.

Things changed in October. The Radeon X1800XT was announced, providing ATI a viable contender against the 7800GTX GPUs and I took some time to compare D-SLRs against prosumer point-and shoots. If anyone thought the rivalries between Intel/AMD fans or NVIDIA/ATI fans or even PS2/Xbox fans was heated, you haven't seen photographers. Never before had I received so much fan mail or so much hate mail about how I was biased or in favor of point-and-shoots or SLRs. Ironically, the article was written not to provide a conclusion -- people read into it the way they wanted. Despite our relative disappointment with Quake4, you guys told us otherwise, making the Quake 4 High-End Graphics Shootout and Quakd 4 CPU Shootouts two of the most popular articles that month.

November, november, november. That's when we brought you our first Xbox 360 article. If you only knew how many more you'd end up seeing... =P GPUs were the theme for this month 7800GTX 512MB, AIW X1800 XL, and the 7800 GS.

Which leads us to December. The Xbox 360 was the name of the game this month, with my unfiltered, raw impressions of the 360 and the list of 11 mistakes Microsoft made with the Xbox 360. Funny, how everyone was calling me a Sony-fan this month, when in February it was the other way around. :) It was a great month for ATI owners with Catalyst 5.13 launching ATI's video performance in the stratosphere, leaving NVIDIA in the dust when it came to unusual video sequences. Underdog XGI also saw a chance to showcase its video technology, showing how their $50 GPU could even competes against the AVIVO Radeons with Catalyst 5.13. My favorite article for the month was the King Kong Review a game that was fun, had great graphics, and yet received poor reviews elsewhere because it was too sophisicated for the typical console gamer and because the best audio/video experience for the game was on the Xbox 360 rather than the PC...

So what's coming up for January? Let's just say cool stuff. We've got another system building article coming up with the coolest chassis you will ever read about. Will there be more xbox 360 content? Well, you'll have to wait and see, right?

There's one thing I can guarantee though. FiringSquad has grown considerably in the 2005, and I have to thank you, the readers for making this possible. 2006 is going to be a year of changes, and I can tell you that the FiringSquad team has some new features in the works. It's not marketing talk -- 2006 is going to be special.



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