Maximum PC - News en Survey Says: Desktops En Vogue Again <!--paging_filter--><h3>Satisfaction growing for desktop PCs among mainstream Americans</h3> <p>For enthusiasts, this won’t be news but after feasting on the empty calories of tablets and phones for years, mainstream consumers may finally have had enough and may be looking for something with a little more substance in their tech diets: the old-fashioned desktop PC.</p> <p>At least that’s part of the conclusion of a new survey released today that gauges American “satisfaction” which says consumers may be turning to desktop PCs again.</p> <p>Desktops, in fact, now actually satisfy more Americans more than tablets and laptops, survey data shows. The annual survey was conducted by the <a href="">American Customer Satisfaction Index</a> out of Ann Arbor, Mich. And attempts to quantify overall satisfaction with consumer purchases of goods and services.</p> <p>“Contrary to most predictions, the PC may be on the verge of making a bit of a comeback: sales of desktops are no longer falling after years of significant decline. On the other hand, tablet sales growth appears to have slowed. As the early enthusiasm with tablets wears off, customer satisfaction dips (-1% to 80) and now trails slightly behind desktops (+3% to 81), although both lead laptops (-4% to 76) by a wide margin,” the report says.</p> <p>Consumption of tablets and smartphones have been off the charts for years which had analysts and the media predicting the death of the PC. Apparently that ain’t so.</p> <p><img src="/files/u2674/9-22-2014_4-56-40_pm.jpg" alt="Personal Computers ACSI" title="Personal Computers ACSI" width="620" height="361" /></p> <p>“(Consumers have) got their mobile devices now,” said, David Van Amburg, managing director of the ACSI, “Maybe we need to go back and replace this PC which is three, four or five years old.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Van Amburg told Maximum PC the survey data indicates consumers are likely becoming jaded with the tablet and phone upgrades and have begun to buy desktop PCs again. Van Amburg said the last time they bought their PCs they may have been beige boxes but their new desktop PC purchases reflect the changes the PC has gone through in design, style, and performance. &nbsp;</p> <p>“According to customers, PC makers do a good job of creating reliable products that don’t often crash and have good processor speeds (both 82 percent). Devices are easy to use (81 percent) with attractive features such as preloaded software or apps, memory, and data storage (80 percent),” the survey said.</p> <p>Big PC makers shouldn’t take too much solace in the survey numbers though. The survey shows that from 2013 to 2014, Dell suffered a 4 percent drop in “satisfaction” with its products at 76 percent in the latest survey. HP took a bit hit going from 80 percent satisfaction to 74 percent. Toshiba, &nbsp;which recently <a href="">threw in the towel</a> on consumer PCs, also took a hit going from 78 percent to 75 percent. Even Apple lost ground going from an impressive 87 percent in 2013 to 84 percent. These numbers, however, reflect PCs, laptops and tablets bunched together. That, Van Amburg, says may explain Apple’s drop in satisfaction. Rather than Mac users being less satisfied, he said it’s likely the iPad and iPhone users who are dragging the scores down. That implies that even Apple fans are turning back to servicing the desktop as well. The satisfaction survey data is good news for smaller vendors such as Samsung, Asus and Lenovo. In its “all others” category, the ACSI survey said consumer satisfaction grew by 8 percent. It’s not known if even smaller more customized PC builders helped move the needle or not.</p> <p><img src="/files/u2674/9-22-2014_4-57-07_pm.jpg" alt="PC Satisfaction" title="PC Satisfaction" width="620" height="369" /></p> <p>As an industry, Van Amburg said overall, the personal computers (including tablets and laptops) rank as only medicore in satisfaction as they should be benchmarked against durable goods items. Televisions and video players, for example, get an 86 percent compared to the 78 percent for computers, laptops and tablets. On the bottom of the ACSI’s list are: Internet Service Providers, subscription television, airlines, social media, and cell phone companies and the US Postal service. Credit unions and soft drinks rank far higher.</p> <p>For the personal computer category, the ASCI scientifically selected 3,000 consumers through phone and email during April, May and June.</p> <p><img src="/files/u2674/9-22-2014_4-57-31_pm.jpg" alt="Satisfaction by Industry" title="Satisfaction by Industry" width="620" height="892" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Desktop maximum pc popular survey News Editor Blogs Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:01:34 +0000 Gordon Mah Ung 28587 at Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter Streams Miracast Devices to Your HDTV <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_wireless_display_adapter.jpg" alt="Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter" title="Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter" width="228" height="144" style="float: right;" />Watch video from your PC or Android device on your big screen TV</h3> <p>Have you ever tried to show a friend or family member a video of something funny on the Internet only to find yourself surrounded by several other people, all of which are trying to see what all the fuss is about? The smell of Aunt Linda's perfume combined with Uncle Andy's insistence that you start the video over can drive a person mad. If you happen to own a Miracast-enabled device, the solution is simple -- <strong>meet Microsoft's new Wireless Display Adapter</strong>.</p> <p>Using the Wireless Display Adapter, you can fling content from your Miracast-enabled Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2.1 or later devices to your HDTV. No more huddling around your Surface PC or Nexus 7 tablet -- just sit back and share those vacation photos and other content on your television.</p> <p>One advantage of the Wireless Display Adapter over Google's Chromecast is that you're simply mirroring content on your device wirelessly. That eliminates the need for app support -- if it appears on your Miracast-enabled device, it will appear on your TV. The downside? Cost, which we'll get to in a moment.</p> <p>The dongle consists of an HDMI connector on one end and a USB connector on the other end. Both must be plugged into your television. Once you do that, just select the correct input, pair it with your device, and you're all set.</p> <p>Pretty slick, though the $60 MSRP is sure to turn some folks off. For those interested, you can <a href="" target="_blank">place your pre-order now</a> -- it's slated for release on October 31, 2014.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware microsoft miracast wireless display adapter News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:21:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 28591 at Roccat's Kave XTD Stereo Gaming Headset Wields 50mm Drivers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/roccat_kave_xtd_stereo.jpg" alt="Roccat Kave XTD Stereo" title="Roccat Kave XTD Stereo" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />The XTD 5.1's little brother</h3> <p>German peripherals maker <strong>Roccat just added the Kave XTD Stereo to its growing line of audio peripherals</strong>, along with a combat themed version that it's calling Kave XTD Stereo Military. Other than the color scheme, these two headsets are the same -- both sport 50mm neodymium magnet drivers shoved inside padded earcups. According to Roccat, these are ultra-lightweight but durable headsets.</p> <p>"Our renowned Kave XTD Series has a brand new family member that provides high-class stereo sound with outstanding design and unmatched quality," says René Korte, founder and CEO of Roccat Studios. "When Roccat designs a headset, we make big claims and we back them up."</p> <p>Those "big claims" in this case include "massive dynamic range" with "crystal clear sound" that allows gamers to discern distinct details -- boost rustling through the grass or opponents whispering to each other, and so forth.</p> <p>The headsets feature a clip-on inline remote with volume control and a mute switch. There's also a 360-degree rotatable and detachable noise-cancelling microphone.</p> <p>We're told the <a href="" target="_blank">Kave XTD Stereo</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Kave XTD Stereo Military</a> will both sell for around $80, though the price may vary depending on distributor. No word on when they'll hit retail shelves.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> audio Gaming Hardware headset kave xtd Peripherals roccat News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:37:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 28590 at Microsoft Makes It Easier for Eligible Students to Claim Office 365 for Free <!--paging_filter--><h3>A price point students can afford</h3> <p>Are you enrolled in college? If so, you have enough expenses already -- tuition, books, parking, beer, and so forth. The last thing you want to do is spend even more money on software, hence why your PC is filled with open source software. That's one option, though if you'd prefer to roll with Office, it might not cost you a dime. <strong>Microsoft just introduced a self-serve model for students and teachers that lets them claim Office 356 at no cost</strong>.</p> <p>"It was just about a year ago we announced Student Advantage, a benefit that allows eligible students to get Office 365 from their school for free. One drawback to Student Advantage—the onus has been on the school to initiate the service, create an account and order the Office 365 license on behalf of the student," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft said</a>.</p> <p>Not anymore. If you're a student and at least 13 years old, you can check your eligibility by going to <a href="" target="_blank">Office 365 for Students</a> and entering in a valid school-provided email address. If you qualify, you'll receive the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher, which you can install on up to five systems.</p> <p>You'll also receive 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and access to Office Online.</p> <p>So, what makes you eligible? To qualify, you must attend a school that has purchased Office for the entire organization through Microsoft's Volume Licensing program.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> education microsoft nasdaq:msft office 365 for students productivity Software News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:08:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28589 at Valve Releases Steam Discovery Update, Steam Store Gets Revamped <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/steam-logo.jpg" alt="Steam Logo" title="Steam Logo" width="200" height="200" style="float: right;" />Over 100 million active Steam accounts</h3> <p>While Steam is the largest digital distribution platform for video games, its store homepage presentation and search function has been in need of renovation for a while. And it has finally received one. <strong>Valve has launched the Steam Discovery Update</strong> that has improved the Steam Store’s appearance, made it easier to search for games, and adds a new Curator feature.</p> <p>"We have made great efforts to increase the number of titles we can publish on Steam, which means more choices for customers," said Valve UI designer Alden Kroll. "This update introduces multiple features and functionality to help customers explore Steam's growing catalog and find the games they are most interested in playing."</p> <p>Steam, which has over 100 million active accounts now, has become a bit of a chore to navigate when looking for new PC games to purchase. But with the Steam Discovery Update, it has that is no longer the case There are new filters that makes browsing through Steam’s catalog of 3,700 titles, 1,300 of which have been added over the last nine months according to Valve, easier. For example, users are now able to filter out games they already own, Early Access releases, and non-gaming software from their search results.</p> <p>Consumers will also have access to customization options that will show the products they would be interested in purchasing. In addition, users will receive recommendations based on their recent gameplay, past purchases, suggestions from friends, and recommendations from Curators.</p> <p>Steam Curators are the new “tastemakers,” as Valve puts it, of the Steam Community. Curators is another form of a Steam Community group capable of making recommendations that will show up on a follower’s homepage. To become a Curator, you will need to create your own Steam Community group or be an officer/moderator of one. Then make at least 10 recommendations on Steam in order to shop up on lists to other users that are searching for Curators to follow.</p> <p>So what do you think of the redesign? Do you like it or do you prefer the old layout? Sound off in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> Alden Kroll Steam Steam Curators Steam Discovery Update Steam homepage Valve Gaming News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 01:41:04 +0000 Sean D Knight 28588 at Razer Announces Open Beta for Razer Synapse: Stats & HeatMaps Software <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/razer_synapse.jpg" alt="Razer Synapse Logo" title="Razer Synapse Logo" width="200" height="200" style="float: right;" />Track your mouse clicks and key presses</h3> <p>Razer has been rather busy with adding a new feature to <a title="MPC Razer Chroma" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Chroma</span></a> and, more recently, releasing <a title="MPC Razer Cortex" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Razer Cortex</span></a> to help players find the best video game deals. If that weren’t enough, <strong>Razer has announced an open beta for Razer Synapse: Stats &amp; Heatmaps</strong>.</p> <p><a title="Stats &amp; Heatmaps" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Stats &amp; Heatmaps</span></a> is a new software feature for <a title="MPC Razer Synapse 2.0" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Razer Synapse</span></a>, the company’s cloud-based settings network, which will allow users to collect data that tracks and shares their mouse clicks, keyboard presses, and more. The information collected can then be shown as raw data or as an overlay over a default or custom in-game screenshot that will show your mouse movements and clicks. Those wishing to share their statistics with other gamers will be able to share it on Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p>“This is a fun and unique way that we can add value to our industry-leading products after purchase,” said Razer ceo Min-Liang Tan. “We’re able to visually show gamers, empirically, how they interact with their favorite games. This information can help with anything from improving hotkey and mini-map usage to mouse mat selection and mouse DPI settings, in addition to the multitude of uses it could have for developers when they design game interfaces. Unfortunately it’s next to impossible to ensure compatibility with the thousands of games out there, so we’re counting on our millions of software users to help us test and expand game compatibility.”</p> <p>Razer plans to add the ability for users &nbsp;to record actions-per-minute at a later date through Stats &amp; Heatmaps.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> razer Razer Synapse Razer Synapse: Stats & Heatmaps Stats & Heatmaps News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 23:34:43 +0000 Sean D Knight 28586 at 9 Things We Want in Windows 9 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_scribbled.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Scribbled" title="Windows 8 Scribbled" width="228" height="158" style="float: right;" /></p> <h3>We want better 4K support and more from Windows 9&nbsp;</h3> <p>If we're being totally, completely, 100 percent honest, we settled for Windows 8. That's not easy to admit, especially after applying some well needed Updates (previously known as Service Packs) that zapped some of our original complaints. Don't get us wrong, it never was, nor is it still a terrible operating system -- the comparisons to Windows ME or even Windows Vista's early days are off base -- but certainly Microsoft didn't have our best interests in mind. By "our interests," we're talking about power users, enthusiasts, and generally anyone tech savvy enough to know the difference between RAM and a hard drive. Hell, Windows 8 designer <a href="">Jacob Miller admitted as much</a> several months ago (Microsoft's good at <a href="">coming clean after the fact</a>).</p> <p>Truth be told, Microsoft catered to the lowest common denominator -- the ones who call you up every 3-4 weeks because their PC is riddled with pop-up ads again -- and attempted to hold their hands as Redmond walked them through its vision of what would one day become a beautiful walled garden where new and experienced users frolicked happily among the colorful tiles singing songs of praise. Our apologies if you just threw up in your mouth a little bit.</p> <p>Here's the thing -- we've grown accustomed to Windows 8, and having spent copious time with it, we no longer feel the rage we once did every time the Start screen would load. That's partially because we're now able to boot directly into the Desktop, but the bigger reason is the one we stated above. We settled, plain and simple.</p> <p>With that said, <a title="windows 9" href="" target="_blank">Windows 9 is on the horizon</a>, and this is Microsoft's chance to atone for Windows 8 and earn back some street cred with power users. It's a do-over, and no, it's not too late. If Windows 9 comes out and blows our minds with levels of awesome we've never seen before, all will be forgiven (just as we've done before). But in order for that to happen, Microsoft has to get it right.</p> <p>That's no easy task, so to help our friends at Microsoft, we came up with a list of 9 things we want to see in Windows 9. Are you reading this, Redmond? Good, because these 9 wishlist items conveniently assembled into a photo gallery collectively represent your golden ticket back into our good graces. Let's begin!</p> 4k support features gallery microsoft operating system OS Software threshold Windows windows 9 wishlist News Features Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:06:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 28547 at Humble Bundle is Gifting Tropico 3 for Free Today Only <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tropico_3.jpg" alt="Tropico 3" title="Tropico 3" width="228" height="230" style="float: right;" />Can't beat the price!</h3> <p>Why pay for a game when you get it for free? That's not an invitation to go pirate a PC title via BitTorrent or any other method, we're just wondering if you like free stuff. The answer? Of course you do! The reason we ask is because if you act fast, you can <strong>grab Tropico 3 for free from the Humble Bundle Store</strong>. The deal is good for one day only and is set to expire tomorrow at 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern.</p> <p>There are no major strings attached to the deal, unless you consider Steam's digital distribution platform a string (you also have to fork over your email for the deal). Simply <a href="" target="_blank">click on this link</a>, enter your email address, click on the URL that gets emailed to you, and activate the license on Steam. When you're finished, you can go back to the original link and refresh the page, only this time check the "This is a gift" box when entering your email. You'll be emailed a URL to give to your buddy.</p> <p>While you're moseying about the Humble Store, you can check out a bunch of discounted titles as part of the End of Summer Sale encore. Some notable standouts include Far Cry 3 Deluxe Edition ($7.99, down from $39.99), South Park The Stick of Truth ($19.99, down from $39.99), Batman Arkham City GOTY Edition ($4.99, down from $19.99), Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition ($4.99, down from $19.99), and Hitman Absolution ($4.99, down from $19.99), to name just a few.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games humble bundle Software tropico 3 News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:45:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 28584 at Intel Plans to Spend $6 Billion Upgrading Chip Plant in Israel <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_fab_28.jpg" alt="Intel Fab 28" title="Intel Fab 28" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />The deal calls for an Israeli grant of $300 million over five years</h3> <p><strong>Intel has hammered out a deal with Israel's finance and economy ministries to invest $6 billion towards upgrading its chip manufacturing plant in the region</strong>. That figure qualifies as the largest single investment by a foreign company in Israel, and in return, Intel will receive a government grant of $300 million over five years. The chip maker will also be eligible for a corporate tax rate of just 5 percent for the next 10 years.</p> <p>"Intel's investment is a strategic asset for Israel's industry," Finance Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Reuters</em></a>. "This is the biggest investment by a foreign company ever in Israel and is further proof that Israel is at the forefront of technology and innovation."</p> <p>After upgrades, Intel's chip plant is expected to be the most advanced fab in the world. It will also result in 1,000 more workers being hired at the plant by 2023, in addition to the 2,500 currently employed there.</p> <p>Intel collected $3.8 billion in export revenue from the plant in 2013, and $4.6 billion the year prior.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Intel</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware intel Israel manufacturing News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:37:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 28583 at Asus and Gigabyte May Lower Motherboard Prices to Reach Shipment Goals <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gigabyte_g1_gaming_motherboard.jpg" alt="Gigabyte G1 Gaming Motherboard" title="Gigabyte G1 Gaming Motherboard" width="228" height="202" style="float: right;" />Watch for lower priced motherboards in Q4</h3> <p>We've already mentioned that Asus and Gigabyte may engage each other in a price of war of sorts as each one attempts to ship more motherboards than the other. However, weaker than expected demand in China combined with soft retail channel orders ahead of the country's National Day holidays are likely to cause both companies to fall short of their shipment goals. As a result, <strong>Asus and Gigabyte might be even more aggressive with motherboard price cuts than previously anticipated</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, Asus and Gigabyte are both expected to ship around 5.6 million motherboards in the third quarter. That figure is below what each company was expecting, as the two firms hoped that Intel's new Haswell-E processor launch and 9 Series chipsets would spark a replacement trend among consumers.</p> <p>Even with Haswell-E on the table, motherboard sales are falling a bit short. In order for Asus and Gigabyte to reach their stated 20-22 million motherboard shipment goal by the end of the year, the companies will need a strong fourth quarter. Sources tell<em> Digitimes</em> that price competition among the two is expected to "grow even fiercer."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus Build a PC gigabyte Hardware motherboard News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:09:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 28582 at