Maximum PC - News http://www.maximumpc.com/articles/4/feed en Thermaltake Rolls Out Line of Radiators for Hardcore Enthusiasts http://www.maximumpc.com/thermaltake_rolls_out_line_radiators_hardcore_enthusiasts_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/thermaltake_radiators.jpg" alt="Thermaltake Radiators" title="Thermaltake Radiators" width="228" height="142" style="float: right;" />Not your average rads</h3> <p><strong>Thermaltake today debuted a full range of radiators</strong> that it claims are all designed for the most demanding and hardcore enthusiasts around. Not to be confused with your run-of-the-mill radiator, Thermaltake's new Pacific RL (over 50mm thickness) and R Series (under 50mm thickness) radiators are designed from high-quality German aerospace-grade materials and constructed with zinc to prevent corrosion, the company says.</p> <p>Are they all that and a bag of sea salt and vinegar kettle potato chips? We're not sure, though Thermaltake's hype machine is certainly in overdrive.</p> <p>"An exceptional manufacturing process using high temperature brazing at 1022℉/550℃ sets Pacific Radiators in a class of their own," Thermaltake explains. "Integrated G1/4-inch threads make it easy to install, while rigid connections ensure they are leak-resistant. With an ideal mounting, fitting and flow set-up, the Thermaltake Pacific Radiator Series is guaranteed to go above and beyond your current cooling standards."</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/thermaltake_rad_flow.jpg" alt="Thermaltake Rad Flow" title="Thermaltake Rad Flow" width="620" height="300" /></p> <p>Thermaltake's Pacific RL rads use a dual-row 13-set flat tube design. Water flows down one side and then passes through the bottom chamber en route to the other side. They're available in 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm, 420mm, 480mm, and 560mm radiator lengths.</p> <p>The Pacific R is a bit slimmer than the RL and uses a single 13-set flat tube design. It's available in 120mm, 180mm, 240mm, 360mm, and 540mm sizes.</p> <p>Instead of soldering these rads, Thermaltake says it bakes them through a controlled-atmosphere brazing line. This causes the material to melt into each other, leading to optimal thermal transfer from the tubes to the fins.</p> <p>Here's an interesting look at how they're made:</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X2Ad64jBSWM" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>No word yet on when they'll be available or for how much.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/thermaltake_rolls_out_line_radiators_hardcore_enthusiasts_2015#comments Hardware liquid cooling Pacific RL Peripherals R Series Radiator thermaltake water cooling News Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:47:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29784 at http://www.maximumpc.com Why Microsoft Won't Abandon the Cloud Anytime Soon http://www.maximumpc.com/why_microsoft_wont_abandon_cloud_anytime_soon_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_3.jpg" alt="Microsoft" title="Microsoft" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Microsoft's cloud revenue more than doubled yet again</h3> <p>If it appears that Microsoft has its head in the cloud these days, it's because it does, and that's where it will likely stay for a long time to come. <strong>There's little incentive for Microsoft to change course at this point, as its commercial cloud revenue just grew 106 percent to $2.76 billion during the company's third quarter of fiscal 2015</strong>. It's the seventh quarter in a row that its commercial cloud revenue has doubled up.</p> <p>Microsoft's cloud growth helped the company collect $21.7 billion in revenue for its third quarter, beating out analysts' estimates. This led to Microsoft returning $7.5 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends, the company announced.</p> <p>"Customers continue to choose Microsoft to transform their business and as a result we saw incredible growth across our cloud services this quarter," <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/investor/EarningsAndFinancials/Earnings/PressReleaseAndWebcast/FY15/Q3/default.aspx" target="_blank">said Satya Nadella</a>, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Next week at Build we're excited to share more about how we're empowering every individual and organization on the planet to achieve more with the next generation of our platforms."</p> <p>The cloud has been kind to Microsoft, which saw a 35 percent sequential increase in Office 365 Consumer subscribers, bringing to the total number to more than 12.4 million. Combined with a doubling in commercial cloud revenue, it was easy for Microsoft to offset revenue declines in Windows OEM Pro (19 percent) and Windows OEM non-Pro (26 percent).</p> <p>While it's still too early to tell, results like this could serve as more evidence that Microsoft will ultimately end up offering Windows as a service sometime down the line. As it stands, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, which could be a step in that direction.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/scobleizer/2264763977/in/photolist-4pq2tD-4pAYsN-4Hz57w-jQSMKQ-4s8vEr-4s8vqM-4s9mqe-4seFJs-4q43u8-pa6zn-48tt9-owZ4o4-4pqj1g-4q1Uxk-srUKS-7a9zNB-qjTkkG-spwk6-8qm3fE-6K143P-e5wYVt-7TBMPB-6DdxEh-mLtu-9Xh7kK-srUKR-qjTjQo-7kx4aA-7moFV1-uuG9q-4pxawu-7a57z1-5jMdi-qBntWQ-qjSEJm-qzaaz9-pErGVu-5yrg9E-rtLRnx-kECgxA-kEAo2F-66NCYL-34bNxH-4scws7-qBgzEK-qzaafw-8ooubZ-48dobu-kEASoF-pErGbU" target="_blank">Flickr (Robert Scoble)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/why_microsoft_wont_abandon_cloud_anytime_soon_2015#comments cloud microsoft revenue News Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:23:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29783 at http://www.maximumpc.com Valve Gives Developers Green Light to Sell Game Mods on Steam http://www.maximumpc.com/valve_gives_developers_green_light_sell_game_mods_steam_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/skyrim_0.jpg" alt="Skyrim" title="Skyrim" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Good or bad idea?</h3> <p>In what ranks as a truly game changing announcement (literally), <strong>Valve has cleared the way for developers to sell their mods in the Steam Workshop</strong>. That also includes game content such as items and maps, all of which can be made available for sale directly in the Steam Workshop for titles that enable feature. Kicking off the initiative is Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is free to play until April 26.</p> <p>"We think this is a great opportunity to help support the incredible creative work being done by mod makers in the Steam Workshop," <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/news/?feed=steam_press&amp;headlines=1" target="_blank">says Tom Bui at Valve</a>. "User generated content is an increasingly significant component of many games, and opening new avenues to help financially support those contributors via Steam Workshop will help drive the level of UGC to new heights."</p> <p>Developers aren't forced to charge for their mods and can continue to make their content available for free, though if they want to make at run at monetizing their efforts, they're in control of the price.</p> <p>Looking through the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=72850&amp;browsesort=trend&amp;section=readytouseitems&amp;requiredflags%5B%5D=paiditems" target="_blank">available paid Skyrim mods</a>, some are as low as a quarter, others are several dollars. There are only 18 to choose from right now, though the interface is built to handle many more, allowing gamers to sort by category such as Alchemy, Animals, Factions, and so forth.</p> <p>Buyers have up to 24 hours to request a refund for a mod that they either don't like or is broken.</p> <p>Not everyone is stoked about Valve's initiative. Some take issue with the royalties -- creators only keep 25 percent of their sales, and potentially less if they've added contributors to their mods. The rest is split between Valve and the game's publisher.</p> <p>Others worry that paid mods will become the norm, not the exception, essentially killing off the free mod category. There's even a <a href="https://www.change.org/p/valve-remove-the-paid-content-of-the-steam-workshop" target="_blank">petition on Change.org</a> going around to remove the paid content, which has amassed over 21,000 signatures.</p> <p>What's your opinion on this? Are you behind Valve in this venture, or are you more likely to sign the petition?</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/valve_gives_developers_green_light_sell_game_mods_steam_2015#comments games mods Skyrim Software Steam Valve News Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:52:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 29782 at http://www.maximumpc.com Acer Unveils Curvaceous 34-inch QHD Monitor with Nvidia G-Sync http://www.maximumpc.com/acer_unveils_curvaceous_34-inch_qhd_monitor_nvidia_g-sync_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_xr341cka.jpg" alt="Acer XR341CKA" title="Acer XR341CKA" width="228" height="213" style="float: right;" />Meet the only curved display with G-Sync support</h3> <p>Curved monitors aren't new. Monitor's supporting Nvidia's G-Sync technology aren't new, either. But what is new and so far <strong>exclusive to Acer is a curved monitor with G-Sync baked in, the XR341CKA</strong>. We have to deduct 250 geek points from Acer for not coming up with a better name than that, but otherwise, kudos to the company for venturing into new territory, and in a big way. Literally.</p> <p>By that we mean the XR341CKA is a 34-inch ultra-wide (21:9) curved monitor. It sports an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel and boasts a 3440x1440 (WQHD) resolution with a 178-degree viewing angle. We haven't seen one in person yet, but because it's not a TN panel, you can expect higher quality visuals -- according to Acer, the XR341CKA covers 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is good news for professionals who need a high level of color accuracy.</p> <p>Should you care about a curved display? To each their own, but the pitch is this -- a curved screen puts both sides and all corners of the display at roughly the same distance from the viewer's eyes for a more uniform and immersive viewing experience. It's also supposed to create a wider field of view with an increased perceived area of peripheral vision compared to a flat display.</p> <p>Is it true? Some will say yes, others will say no. The best way you can answer that is to head to your local Best Buy, Sam's Club, or whatever is close by and stand in front of a curved display. Did it change your life and make you soil your shorts with excitement? Gross, but question answered. And if not, well, then for you, it's much ado about nothing.</p> <p>Getting back to the XR341CKA, what we can say is that G-Sync does make a noticeable difference when gaming, in certain situations. So, there's that, plus the benefit of a large, ultra-wide display.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/acer_xr341cka_back.jpg" alt="Acer XR341CKA Back" title="Acer XR341CKA Back" width="620" height="558" /></p> <p>Other features include an ergonomic design with tilt (-5 to 35 degrees) and height controls, DisplayPort and HDMI inputs, and a built-in USB 3.0 hub that supports high-speed charging of mobile devices.</p> <p>The Acer XR341CKA will be available in September for $1,299.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/acer_unveils_curvaceous_34-inch_qhd_monitor_nvidia_g-sync_2015#comments Acer curved display g-sync Hardware monitor nvidia XR341CKA News Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:12:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29774 at http://www.maximumpc.com Benq Begins Shipping XL2730Z FreeSync Gaming Monitor http://www.maximumpc.com/benq_begins_shipping_xl2730z_freesync_gaming_monitor <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/benq_xl2730z_0.jpg" alt="BenQ XL2730Z" title="BenQ XL2730Z" width="228" height="205" style="float: right;" />Supports AMD FreeSync</h3> <p>AMD last month announced a handful of monitors supporting its FreeSync technology, the company's answer to Nvidia's G-Sync solution for ensuring smoother game play. One of those monitors was <strong>Benq's XL2730Z, a 27-inch display</strong> that's big on buzzwords and hype. It's also now shipping and avaiable to order online for $599 MSRP, slightly lower than we've seen it on virtual store shelves before Benq declared its as being officially available.</p> <p>The 27-inch panel features a 2560x1440 WQHD resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, and 1ms GTG response time. And of course it supports FreeSync, along with a number of advertised technologies such as RevolutionEyes (supposed to protect eyes during extended periods of use), ZeroFlicker (eliminates flickering at all brightness levels to reduce eye strain), built-in Low Blue Light modes (supposed to filter the exposure of emitted blue light spectrum light), Benq's own MOtion Blur Reduction 2.0 (render fast moving images fluidly without tearing or ghosting), and a few other fun terms.</p> <p>Other features and rated specs include a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, 12,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 72 percent coverage of the NTSC color gamut, all built-in USB 3.0 hub.</p> <p>All the marketing fluff aside, the real appeal here is a large size monitor with a 2560x1440 resolution supporting FreeSync. We've yet to review the monitor ourselves, but if you put any stock into user reviews, it's worth noting that out of <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824014451&amp;cm_re=XL2730Z-_-24-014-451-_-Product" target="_blank">19 votes on Newegg</a>, it has a 4/5 rating.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/benq_begins_shipping_xl2730z_freesync_gaming_monitor#comments amd BenQ display FreeSync Hardware monitor XL2730Z News Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:29:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29773 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Boasts Fastest 128GB DDR4 Memory Kit at 2,800MHz http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_boasts_fastest_128gb_ddr4_memory_kit_2800mhz <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_128gb.jpg" alt="G.Skill 128GB" title="G.Skill 128GB" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />Living large</h3> <p>Well, it's about time! We know what you're thinking, "I'll jump on the DDR4 memory bandwagon and overhaul my rig as soon as a company comes out with a 128GB kit capable of running at 2,800MHz, and not a moment sooner!" We all pretty much share the same sentiment, right? Probably not, but for the 1 percenters out there who've been waiting for precisely such a kit, G.Skill has your back (and your wallet). <strong>G.Skill has just announced the world's only 128GB DDR4-2800 memory kit</strong>, which consists of eight 16GB modules.</p> <p>Samsung gets a fist bump for creating the new 8Gb ICs built on a 20nm manufacturing process that comprise the 16GB sticks, which are part of G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 series. These are 1.35V modules with timings rated at CL16-16-16-36.</p> <p>"While 16GB capacity have been available for server memory in the past, support and design for such large capacity memory modules are now paving its way to consumer memory modules, suitable for workstation level workloads where high capacity memory is vital," G.Skill says.</p> <p>G.Skill says it validated the new kit to run in quad-channel at the advertised speed and timings on an Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an Intel Haswell-E processor pulling CPU chores. Of course, if your needs don't require a massive amount of RAM, you can get these sticks in smaller kits in frequencies ranging from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-2800.</p> <p>There's no mention of price or availability, and so far we've been unable to find the 128GB selling online. We've reached out to G.Skill for an MSRP and will update when/if we hear back. In the meantime, don't forget to take your heart medication.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_boasts_fastest_128gb_ddr4_memory_kit_2800mhz#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram News Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:05:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 29772 at http://www.maximumpc.com Should AT&T and Verizon Fear Google's Project Fi Wireless Phone Service? http://www.maximumpc.com/should_att_and_verizon_fear_googles_project_fi_wireless_phone_service_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/project_fi.jpg" alt="Project Fi" title="Project Fi" width="228" height="204" style="float: right;" />Turning the wireless world upside down</h3> <p>Google is nothing if not ambitious. Of course, not everything Google touches turns to gold the way search and Gmail did -- we're looking at you Google Plus. So, <strong>we'll have to wait and see what impact Google's newest venture, Project Fi, has on the industry it's competing in (wireless phone service)</strong>. In the meantime, let's have a look at what Project Fi is and what it could be.</p> <p>Project Fi is Google's way of turning itself into an MVNO, or Mobile Virtual Network Operator. Breaking it down even further, Project Fi is a new phone service, one that's currently an invite-only affair, as many of Google's initiatives start out. Should you request an invite and receive one, you'll be eligible for a custom plan that's unlike anything else out there.</p> <p>Let's talk pricing. There's one simple plan at one price with 24/7 support. It costs $20 pre month and includes unlimited talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in over 120 countries. What about data? You'll pay a flat $10 per gigabyte for cellular data in the U.S. and abroad.</p> <p>The cool thing about Project Fi's pricing is you only pay for what you use. If you sign up for 3GB per month and only use 1GB, you'll receive a credit on your next bill for the unused portion. And by that same token, if you sign up for 1GB and end up using 3GB of cellular data, you'll owe for the extra data you used -- there's no arbitrary penalty.</p> <p>Keep in mind that's only for cellular data. That's important because depending on where you are, you may not be connected to a cellular network. Project Fi seamlessly connects your phone to one of the more than 1 million free public Wi-Fi hotspots that Google has approved of, and does it in the background so you don't lose a connection while you're on a call or surfing the net.</p> <p>Google's also teamed with T-Mobile and Sprint to tap into their cellular networks, so if you're within range of Wi-Fi but are in a covered cellular area, your phone will hop on cellular.</p> <p>Speaking of phones, there's one the catches. At this stage, Project Fi is only available on the Nexus 6. If you don't have one and you're selected to participate, you can purchase one outright for $649 (32GB) or $699 (64GB) plus taxes, or break up the payments over 24 months. The other catch is there's no family plan.</p> <p>This could be bad news for Verizon and AT&amp;T, though their networks are generally considered better and more widespread than either T-Mobile or Sprint. The question is, will Wi-Fi hotspots make up the difference? Stay tuned, the wireless wars are about to get interesting.</p> <p>Oh, and if you want to put your name on the list for an invite, <a href="http://fi.google.com/about/network/" target="_blank">go here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/should_att_and_verizon_fear_googles_project_fi_wireless_phone_service_2015#comments at&t Google mobile Project Fi Sprint t-mobile Verizon wireless News Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:34:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29771 at http://www.maximumpc.com Play Ghost Recon Phantoms, Get Maximum PC http://www.maximumpc.com/ubisoft_ghost_recon_phantoms_maximum_pc <!--paging_filter--><h3>Giving back to the community always feels good</h3> <p>At <em>Maximum PC</em>, we do a lot with our computers, work, content consumption, and gaming. We love gaming. Gaming is the one major industry that really pushes the PC ecosystem forward. So what better way to support the community than to give back?</p> <p>Ubisoft is <a href="http://ghost-recon.ubi.com/ghost-recon-phantoms/en-US/community-news/index.aspx?c=tcm%3A19-200478-16&amp;ct=tcm%3A6-231-32">celebrating the one year annivesary of Ghost Recon Phantoms</a>—previously called Ghost Recon Online. There's a new team deathmatch mode that's being introduced to celebrate the anniversary. I've been a fan of the Tom Clancy series of games since the beginning. So, I figured it would be a nice gesture to say hey Ghost Recon, happy birthday, here are some subscriptions we can give to the fans!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="text-decoration: line-through;"><img src="/files/u191083/ubisoft_maximum_pc_giveaway.jpg" alt="Ghost Recon Phantoms" title="Ghost Recon Phantoms" width="495" height="1200" /></span></span></p> <p>To participate, all you have to do—if you play Ghost Recon Phantoms—is to gift a Birthday Box to a friend between today and April 29th, which is when the giveaway ends. Ubisoft will then enter you in a raffle, automatically. We're putting up a bunch of 1 year subscriptions, either in full print form or digital, the choice will be yours.</p> <p>The promotion is available globally, so wherever you may reside, we will get<em> Maximum PC</em> to you!</p> <p>Are you guys fans of the Tom Clancy series of games? If any of the games could be remade, which one would it be? Let us know in the comments.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/ubisoft_ghost_recon_phantoms_maximum_pc#comments ghost recon maximum pc ubisoft News Thu, 23 Apr 2015 00:31:01 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29766 at http://www.maximumpc.com Intel Compute Stick Review http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_compute_stick_review_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Intel delivers an impressive first step in the ultra-small PC movement</h3> <p>When Intel announced the Compute Stick earlier this year at CES, we were excited. There are a handful of devices already on the market that get content onto your TV. Amazon's Fire Stick and Google's Chromecast are both competent devices, and then there are more powerful devices like the Roku. The main difference is that Intel's Compute Stick is a full-fledged x86 Windows 8.1 PC—and it makes a big difference.</p> <p>With any of the other content devices, you usually have to play by the rules negotiated between the device manufacturer and the content producers. If, for example, HBO doesn't license to Roku, you won't get to watch HBO programming on your Roku device. Having a full PC lets you skip through all that red tape. You can do almost anything you want, and that alone is worth the price of admission.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/intel_compute_stick_1.jpg" alt="Intel Compute Stick" title="Intel Compute Stick" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p>The Compute Stick is going to be priced at $149, which isn't cheap. But what you're paying for really is the cost of Windows 8.1. We're sure Intel is getting a nice discount from Microsoft at the OEM level, but typically, Windows adds roughly $100 to a normal desktop computer. However, depending on device usage and price, Microsoft will offer special pricing in the range of $25 to the OEM. You can technically get another OS installed, but if you want the most flexibility, we recommend leaving the pre-installed Windows installation intact.</p> <p>Intel sent us a Compute Stick configured with 32GB of storage space and 2GB of memory. Now, when using the Compute Stick, one must be open-minded. It's not meant to be a powerful PC; it's not meant to run Crysis. It's meant to be a general computing device. Web browsing, chatting, emailing, movie watching, music listening. The Compute stick only has an Bay Trail 4-core Intel Atom Z3735F CPU running at 1.33GHz. This CPU is what usually gets put into tablets, so it competes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon family. For reference, the Snapdragon 600 runs at 1.7GHz and has a dual-channel memory controller versus the Atom's single-channel setup. Granted, the Atom runs x86 and thus supports the massive PC software ecosystem. So with that in mind, let's take a look.</p> <p>On the outside, the Compute Stick is minimalistic in design. It's slender and black and has slits for intake and a small fan that exhausts hot air. The fan isn't loud by any measure, but does emit a high-pitched whine. You won't notice it if you're playing music, but you will in a quiet environment. The sound isn't a show-stopper, but it's there. If you're just reading content and emailing, you won't hear it. Install an application, though, and it will spin up.</p> <p>On one side of the Compute Stick is a micro-USB port for charging, and a regular USB 2.0 port for accessories like a keyboard and mouse. The other side has a Micro-SD slot, if you feel 32GB is too&nbsp;claustrophobic. For light computing duties, we didn't feel the need to upgrade. The only outbound connector on the Compute Stick is the lone HDMI output. Plug the Compute Stick in a TV's HDMI input or a normal display and you're good to go. We opted for a 24-inch Dell LCD panel. Internet connectivity is handled by 802.11bgn. Unfortunately, no 802.11ac support is integrated, and the onboard Wi-Fi is only single channel 2.5GHz with no 5GHz support.</p> <p>On bootup, we went through the normal Windows 8.1 setup phases, and input our information and personal preferences. Once that was over, we landed on the desktop. It felt like a normal PC, which is awesome because the Compute Stick is so small. After all Windows updates were installed, we loaded our usual array of apps: Google Chrome, Skype, TeamViewer, VLC, Spotify, and Steam.</p> <p>Once Steam was installed, the Compute Stick became another beast entirely.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/compute_stick.jpg" alt="Intel Compute Stick" title="Intel Compute Stick" width="620" height="349" /><br /><strong><em>Yep. It's a full-fledged PC.</em></strong></p> <p>Valve enabled Steam Home Streaming a while ago, and we realized that the Compute Stick would be a pretty great solution—and it was. We tested Ori and the Blind Forest, Grand Theft Auto V, and DOTA 2. All games played without fail through Steam Home Streaming and felt like we were playing on an actual desktop. We then attempted to play games natively on the Compute Stick—that was a futile exercise. Even Valve's original Portal was a miserable experience with all settings turned to low or off. Streaming is where the Compute Stick really excels, and we're happy to stick to that.</p> <p>Aside from streaming, performance on the Compute Stick was relatively good. With four or more casual applications open, you start to feel the effect of having only 2GB of RAM and limited CPU power. Chrome tab refreshes start to noticeably lag. General computing performance is on par with a netbook.</p> <p>We ran some basic benchmarks on the Compute Stick, since it can't really handle our usual array of desktop-class benchmarks. For reference, we included numbers from an Intel Core i7 4960X desktop with 8GB of RAM (thus showcasing a David vs. Goliath scenario):</p> <p><strong>GeekBench 3.3.2 32-bit<br /></strong><strong>Compute Stick (default BIOS settings)<br /></strong>Single-core: 781<br />Multi-core: 2195</p> <p><strong>4960X Desktop (optimum default BIOS settings)<br /></strong>Single-core: 3413<br />Multi-core: 20891</p> <p>As you can see, the Compute Stick isn't meant for heavy-duty PC chores or native gaming. It really is meant for casual work or content consumption and entertainment. For all intents and purposes though, that's fine by us.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/compute_stick_portal.jpg" alt="Intel Compute Stick" title="Intel Compute Stick" width="620" height="349" /><br /><strong><em>Portal 1 running on low settings. Unplayable framerates at below 20FPS.</em></strong></p> <p>For those who do light workloads on their computers, the Compute Stick offers an attractive, low cost, and simple solution. Gamers who are looking for a light-weight streaming streaming solution should give the Compute Stick a serious look. Associate Editor Alex Campbell indicated that wiping the Windows installation and replacing it with a Linux install with Steam would make for a streaming solution with low OS overhead.</p> <p>There's a lot of promise in the Compute Stick platform. Consider this iteration a step in the right direction, pointing to a bright future for small computing machines. There will be a day when a device such as this will be able to hold its own as a full-fledged HTPC. For the&nbsp;<em>Maximum PC&nbsp;</em>reader looking for a powerful solution, though, today is not that day.</p> <p><strong><em>[Updated April 22, 2015: Clarified pricing for Windows licensing]</em></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/intel_compute_stick_review_2015#comments atom cpu compute stick intel Review streaming pc News Systems Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:58:42 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29769 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Expands Bug Bounty Program to Include Project Spartan http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_expands_bug_bounty_program_include_project_spartan_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_bugs.jpg" alt="Microsoft Bugs" title="Microsoft Bugs" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Find bugs, get paid</h3> <p>If you're good at finding security flaws in software, you could add more than just a little jingle to your pockets. That's because <strong>Microsoft is significantly expanding its bug bounty program</strong>, part of which includes a new bounty for Project Spartan, the codename for Microsoft's new browser found in Windows 10. You could make up to $15,000 per security vulnerability, depending on what you uncover.</p> <p>"Microsoft’s new browser will be the onramp to the internet for millions of users when Windows 10 launches later this year. Securing this platform is a top priority for the browser team," Microsoft stated in a blog post today.</p> <p>The bounty includes Remote Code Execution and Sandbox Escapes, as well as design-level security bugs discovered between today and June 22, 2015. Microsoft says to be sure and use the latest version released in the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Bugs that pay range in reward from $500 to $15,000. For specifics of the program, <a href="https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/dn972323?f=255&amp;MSPPError=-2147217396" target="_blank">see here</a>.</p> <p>Microsoft will also line your pockets with cash for certain bugs you might discover in Azure, the company's cloud platform and the backbone of its cloud services. This applies to Azure virtual machines, Azure Cloud Services, Azure Storage, Azure Active Directory, and other Azure services. Like Project Spartan, the maximum payout per bug is $15,000.</p> <p>"Bug bounties are an increasingly important part of the vulnerability research and defense ecosystem and will continue to evolve over time. We will be regularly managing the Microsoft Bounty Programs to help us best protect our many users," Microsoft added.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_expands_bug_bounty_program_include_project_spartan_2015#comments azure browser bug bounty microsoft project spartan Software News Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:30:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 29768 at http://www.maximumpc.com