Maximum PC - Editor Blogs http://www.maximumpc.com/articles/6/feed en PC Gaming Week: Maximum PC Editors' Rigs http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3>We invite you in to check out our personal systems</h3> <p>In celebration of <strong>PC Gaming Week</strong> by our sister publications, we at Maximum PC thought it would be good to contribute to the cause, with an article dedicated to exploring the rigs of our editors. The bunch of us gathered together, and you could tell it was a battle of testies. Truth be told, it wasn’t really about who had what system, but rather, why did things get built that way and for what purpose. We hope you’ll see how diverse we are in terms of builds, and each build will be accompanied by the editor’s comments, on why they put together what they did.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/maxpc_bros.png" alt="MaxPC Staff" title="Maximum PC Staff recording a podcast" width="619" height="473" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In the media world, people like to talk about how we should remain unbiased. But truth be told, there’s some amount of bias in everything. And you know what? That’s great, because if you didn’t want valuable insights and opinions, you would read an article written by a robot. Bias, under appropriate moderation, allows you as a reader to come away with a level of awareness that help lead you toward either a better buying decision, or a better understanding of what helps and what’s just garbage.</p> <p>We hope you enjoy reading about each of our personal rigs and the insights into why we picked the stuff we have.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">If you want to jump to different systems, click one of these links to check them out:</p> <ul> <li>Alex Campbell's system (this page)</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015?page=0,1">Tom McNamara's system</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015?page=0,2">Jimmy Thang's system</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015?page=0,3">Tuan Nguyen's system</a>&nbsp;</strong></li> </ul> <h3>First up: Alex Campbell, Associate Editor</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz<br />CPU cooler: ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro<br />Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3H<br />GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 1GB<br />RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G 120GB<br />HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200RPM x 2, Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 6,200rpm<br />Audio: Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi<br />PSU: Rosewill RX850-S-B Extreme Series 850W<br />Case: CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced<br />Keyboard: Logitech K800<br />Mouse: Logitech M310<br />Display: An unimpressive 1080p display<br />Accessories: None</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> </p><p><img src="/files/u99720/alex_campbell_pc_1.jpg" alt="Alex Campbell home rig" title="Alex Campbell home rig" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Alex Campbell's home rig.</strong></p> <p>My machine at home is a bit of a Frankenstein monster that I built in early 2014, from a combination of new-ish parts and cannibalized bits from my old desktop built in 2010. In early 2014, I was still in school finishing up my bachelor’s, which was focused on photojournalism.</p> <p>In case I turned photography into a business, I needed a new machine to handle some photo editing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I also wanted a machine that could handle some video editing. I knew my budget wouldn’t be able to handle a 4K load, so I didn’t even try to reach that level. Instead, I focused on making sure I had enough storage to keep all the hefty RAW files from my Nikon D90.</p> <p>I play games, too, so I needed a card that could render decent framerates with a some RTS and FPS games I could find on Steam. Primarily, though, my goal was to create a midrange digital workstation to produce media. </p> <p>I’ve been an AMD builder most of my life, so I looked for a decent mid-range FM2 chip to do the number crunching, and settled on an AMD A8-5600K Trinity Quad-Core 3.6GHz. I dropped it into a GIGABYTE GA-F2A88X-D3H that I chose for its price, USB 3.0 ports, and decent reviews on Newegg. The fact that it sports 8 SATA 3 ports was a big plus, as I was planning on packing it full of spinning drives. I transplanted my ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 CPU Cooler onto my new chip, and used the stock AMD fan for my old CPU, which is now the heart of a SAMBA file server.</p> <p>Video is powered by an EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti, which was a solid card, and can still play many games at a decent framerate. While it’s still a great card for what I paid, the 550 Ti doesn’t support many of the latest features of NVIDIA’s drivers and software.</p> <p>I grabbed a couple of 8GB DDR3 1866 GSKILL Ripjaw X Series RAM sticks to run my apps. Sure, 1866 wasn’t the fastest speed available, but again, my starving-student budget didn’t give me much wiggle room.</p> <p>Storage was the name of the game for this build, so I nabbed a 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3 SSD for my system partitions. The SSD houses both Windows 8.1 and Arch Linux. A pair of 500GB Seagate Barracudas house my “active” video and photo files. One drive serves as the “main” working disk and the other is the backup. In case you’re wondering, they’re not linked in RAID 1, because RAID is not a backup scheme, it’s a drive redundancy scheme. Using the second drive as a backup ensures that if something happens to my work, I can get the next most recent version of my working files back.</p> <p>Media and personal live on a 1TB Barracuda, which is split between an NTFS partition for Windows and an Ext4 partition for my Linux /home directory.</p> <p>I threw all of this into a CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced case. The case is nice because the built-in front LEDs have their own toggle switch and the carrying handle on top is quite comfortable to use. When I moved up to the Bay Area, it was much easier to pack into my car than my server was. It also has decent space for cable management on the back panel and plenty of fan-mounting options.</p> <p>I powered the rig with a 850W Rosewill RX850-S-B Xtreme Series I transplanted from the server box. The power supply is 80 Plus Bronze, which helps with my power bill. The thing is also surprisingly silent, which is nice if I sleep with the computer on in my room.</p> <p>My storage solution also includes my server, running on a quad-core Athlon X2 Black Edition with two cores unlocked in BIOS. The server’s Arch Linux image lives on a 60GB SanDisk SSD. A pair of 2TB Barracudas serve as photo-archive drives. One drive serves as the primary and the other as backup, just like the working drives in my main box. Backups are automated with rsync and cron. The server also has a 3TB Barracuda for NAS use and is encrypted with dm-crypt/LUKS. I really should buy a couple more for a RAID array, though. The server is powered by a 650W Cooler Master GX.</p> <p>My peripherals and display are rather lackluster and in dire need of replacement, but I do like my illuminated Logitech K800. It’s not mechanical or great for gaming, but the backlighting is gentle and fades in and out as you move your hands over it, which is great for working at night, or just adjusting the system volume while watching Netflix from across the room.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tom McNamara, Technical Editor</h3> <p>CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K @ 4.2GHz<br />CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken X40<br />Motherboard: Gigabyte GX-Z77-UD5H<br />GPU: MSI Gaming 4G NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980<br />RAM: Corsair LP 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Crucial M500 480GB<br />HDD: Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB <br />Audio: Onboard<br />PSU: Thermaltake TPG-675M Toughpower 675W<br />Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2<br />Keyboard: Logitech G710+<br />Mouse: Logitech M310<br />Display: Dell S2340M 23-inch<br />Accessories: None</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/tom_mcnamara_pc_1.jpg" alt="Tom McNamara's home rig" title="Tom McNamara's home rig" width="620" height="836" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tom McNamara's home rig.</strong></p> <p>My overall strategy with this system was to create something that would be fairly quiet, spacious, and understated. I don't go for case windows because they let more noise through, and I get over looking through them after a few days anyway. So, the Fractal Design Define XL R2 fit the bill. It has sound-absorbing panels and three 140mm fans pre-installed.</p> <p>For the CPU, I wanted something with eight threads, so I went with the Intel Core i7-3770K. It gets me better performance than AMD's FX-8350, and it draws much less power. I cool it with an NZXT Kraken X40, since I'm not going for particularly high clock speeds. I still use the original "Kraken Control" software instead of CAM, because I prefer the simpler interface. The radiator is mounted in the top of the case. The GA-Z77-UD5H motherboard has served me pretty well so far. I might try an Asus board in the future, because I like their fan control software, and I tend to get pretty high overclocks out of them, and with less fiddling in the BIOS. I use low-profile RAM because you never know when you might need the physical clearance, and I don't need fancy heatsinks. DDR3 just doesn't get hot enough to warrant them, in my experience.</p> <p>I went with the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G because I wanted something beefy, but not noisy. This GPU is rated to pull around 165 watts under load, so the card's cooling fans don't have to make much noise. I can also add a second 980 without stressing out my 675-watt power supply, whereas two Radeon R9 290Xs would call for about 850 watts.</p> <p>For storage, I got a good deal on a 480GB Crucial M500, but I ended up running out of room for my Steam games, so I got a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO to give me some breathing room. I was using my 4TB Seagate HDD to copy games over when I needed room; copying them back later is much faster than re-downloading. It's also good to have for system and file backups.</p> <p>For input, I've been using the Corsair M65 for a while now. Its finish doesn't rub or flake off, which I've had happen with other mice. That flaking makes the texture feel weird and like the mouse is dirty even though it looks fine. I'll probably be trying out the Logitech G303 soon, though, for some variety.</p> <p>I got a good deal on the Dell S2340M monitor, and I liked it so much that I bought another. The back of it is a bit awkward, though; bulky DVI connectors simply can't fit. It also doesn't do HDMI. The image quality is great, and the bezels are thin, but 23 inches is just a bit too small for my tastes. I'll probably be getting a 2560x1440 monitor soon, now that we're going to be getting things like 144Hz IPS and FreeSync. Unfortunately, the S2340M doesn't rotate into portrait mode, and I don't currently have enough desk space for two of those and a 1440p display. First-world problems.</p> <p>I've had good luck with Logitech's keyboards, so I bought a G710+ a while back. It has white LED backlighting, Cherry MX brown mechanical switches, and some macro keys that I never use. But it's quiet and hasn't let me down yet. I tried the Corsair RGB keyboard, but I found its keys too springy for my taste. Before this, I was using a Tesoro Durandal G1NL, which is also Cherry MX Brown, but with a reddish-orange backlight similar to the Sidewinder X4 that I had before that. I stopped using the G1NL because it wouldn't initialize until Windows had booted, meaning I couldn't access the BIOS. No amount of tweaking would fix it. I keep hoping that Microsoft will enter the mechanical keyboard fray, but they don't seem to be interested in enthusiast keyboards or mice anymore.</p> <p>I play a variety of games on this rig. Lately, it's been Cities: Skylines, which some people have described to me as the de facto sequel to Sim City 4. I think it's pretty great, especially for $30. I've also been dabbling with Star Citizen; its very transparent and publisher-free development process has been fascinating to watch. Shadow of Mordor has also been great fun, and I'm looking forward to testing my system's limits with The Witcher 3.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Jimmy Thang, Online Managing Editor</h3> <p>CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K<br />CPU cooler: Hyper 212<br />Motherboard: Something useful<br />GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan<br />RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB<br />HDD: Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB <br />Audio: Creative Sound Blaster Z<br />PSU: A car battery<br />Case: Fractal Design Define R4<br />Keyboard: Razer Black Widow<br />Mouse: Logitech Daedalus Prime<br />Display: ASUS VG248QE 24-inch 144Hz</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/jimmy_thang_pc_1_s.jpg" alt="Jimmy Thang's home rig" title="Jimmy Thang's home rig" width="420" height="682" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Jimmy Thang's home rig.</strong></p> <p>At the heart of my current home rig, I’m using a 3770K CPU, GTX Titan GPU, and 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM. In addition to gaming, I dabble in photo and video editing, and my i7 processor and 16GB of RAM are good enough for my amateur needs there. I’ve also got a 4TB Seagate HDD that allows me to store the copious assets. Of course, that isn’t my only storage drive. For the OS, I’m running a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD, which allows my PC to boot up in under 15 seconds. All of this is wrapped in a white Define R4 chassis, which I like because of its clean aesthetics. </p> <p>Currently, my main display is a 24-inch 144Hz 3D panel from Asus. I don’t use the 3D features at all, but I do like having super high framerates (for when 60fps simply won’t do). I also have a separate 24-inch IPS display from Dell, which I use as a secondary monitor to help with productivity work. My GeForce GTX Titan may seem overkill for a 1080p display, but I’m also playing around with an Oculus Rift DK2, which has demos render 1080p scenes twice for each eye, and demands experiences be a consistent 75fps. VR games like space simulator Elite Dangerous really put my Titan to work here.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/jimmy_thang_pc_2_s.jpg" alt="Jimmy Thang's displays" title="Jimmy Thang's displays" width="620" height="362" /></p> <p>When I’m not running around in VR, I find myself playing a lot of different indie games like Darkest Dungeon or Transistor. I was also really into League of Legends for a while. Yes, these games don’t tax my hardware at all, but I’ll occasionally play more demanding games, such as Evolve or Shadow of Mordor, and I like knowing that I have a relatively future-proof rig capable of maxing out any game I throw at it. This, of course, will change when I make the eventual move to a 4K monitor (I’m mostly waiting for the scaling issues to be resolved before I dive in). </p> <p>The accessories I’m using to play these games include Razer’s Black Widow mechanical keyboard (I like the really loud and clicky feel of it) and Logitech’s Daedalus Prime mouse, which was originally designed for MOBAs with its quick click-actuation time. For audio, I’m using Corsair’s Vengeance 2100 wireless headset. It can be a burden to charge every now and then, but the audio quality and sound isolation are great, and I really enjoy the freedom of being able to walk around my room untethered as I listen to music. I’m also using a wireless Xbox 360 controller, which I feel is the best controller for PC gaming at the moment, but that could change with Valve’s Steam Controller that’s coming out this November.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tuan Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief</h3> <p><strong>System 1, The Workhorse:</strong><br />CPU: Intel Core i7 3970X<br />CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken X41<br />Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition<br />GPU: EVGA 04G-P4-2986KR NVIDIA GTX 980<br />RAM: Samsung “Green” Low-profile (8 x 4GB) DDR3 <br />SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB x 2<br />HDD: Western Digital Black WD4003FZEX 4TB x 4<br />Audio: Onboard + Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1, Astro Gaming A40 headset<br />PSU: Seasonic Platinum-1000 1000w<br />Case: NZXT H440 Black/Blue<br />Keyboard: Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate<br />Mouse: Logitech MX Master<br />Display: Dell UltraSharp U3011 30-inch, Dell UtraSharp 2311h 23-inch<br />Accessories: APC Smart-UPS 1500 UPS, Fujitsu U2300 Magneto-Optical drive, Logitech C920 webcam</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/tuan_nguyen_pc_3.jpg" alt="Tuan's workhorse" title="Tuan's workhorse PC" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Gigabyte X79A-UD5 mobo has since been replaced with an ASUS Rampge IV Black Edition.</strong></p> <p><strong>System 2, The Decapitator:</strong> <strong>Digital Storm Bolt 3</strong><br />CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K<br />CPU cooler: Digital Storm HydroLux Liquid<br />Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII Impact<br />GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X<br />RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum (2 x 8GB) DDR3 <br />SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 512GB<br />HDD: Western Digital Black WD4003FZEX 4TB<br />Audio: Onboard + [Below], Astro Gaming A50 headset<br />PSU: Seasonic Platinum-1000 1000w<br />Case: Digital Storm Bolt 3<br />Keyboard: Das Keyboard 3 Ultimate<br />Mouse: Logitech G502<br />Display: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB Projector<br />Accessories: APC Smart-UPS 1000 UPS, Xbox 360 controller (wired)<br />Audio: Pioneer Elite VSX-82TXS receiver, Aperion Audio Verus Grand HD speakers</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/tuan_nguyen_pc_4.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt 3" title="Digital Storm Bolt 3" width="620" height="776" /><br /><strong>Tuan's Decapitator:</strong><span style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</span><strong>Digital Storm Bolt 3</strong></p> <p>I’ve been a gamer for as long as I could remember. I gamed on Atari’s old systems, 286 PCs with yellow monochrome CRT monitors, and a huge array of everything available, up until today. I grew up on all the consoles. I actually don’t own any of the recent consoles, but I do own a first-generation Sony PlayStation running over SCART RGB video into my receiver—I know, it’s pretty nerdy, but I love it. The last console I bought was an Xbox 360. There just aren’t enough great games on the current consoles to warrant getting them. But there are many, many great games on the PC. My setup consists of two different PCs for two different purposes, although one could argue that the two systems could swap duties just fine.</p> <p>The first system is called The Workhorse. It’s used for… you guessed it, work. I’d wager though, that it could play games decently, too. I do play a limited number of games on it, but I save the real entertainment for another system. </p> <p>I went with an NZXT H440 chassis because I enjoy having a minimalistic and clean setup, at least on the outside. On the inside, however, I’ve crammed just about the best components that I could into the system. It’s using a Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition only because I haven’t the chance to move into the new CPUs, but the Core i7 3970X is still a beastly six-core CPU. The motherboard is a loaded ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, and I chose it because I ended up preferring ASUS’s EFI over Gigabyte’s. Previous to the Rampage, I was using a Gigabyte X79A-UD5 board, which wasn’t quite as stable. And honestly, Gigabyte really needs to do a better job with their firmware. One of the photos shows my old Gigabyte motherboard, but the more recent photo of the entire computer shows the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition.</p> <p>I’d like to point out that the RAM you see in the photo doesn’t look like much. In fact, it may even look like old DIMM sticks before heatsinks became all the rage. In the overclocking community, these Samsung DDR3 sticks are considered the “golden” standard. They run so cool and clock so fast, you don’t even need heatsinks. I’ve never been a fan of decorative heatsinks, instead I prefer simple ones with actual fins that are efficient at removing heat. A lot of the stuff that’s out there today is all about grabbing your attention. Give me stability over that any day.</p> <p>Other than that, the components I picked are what I feel are best in class. From the SSD to HDD, to GPU and PSU, the components I have in The Workhorse are essentially the best. The Dell UltraSharp U3011 was the company’s previous flagship 30-incher. Dell now has the U3014, which delivers a 30-inch display backed by LED instead of the CCFL backlighting in the U3011. Still, it’s a beauty, but it’s not a “gaming” display by any means. It doesn’t do any of the faster refresh rates, nor does it have the best response time for some types of games, and it doesn’t come with G-Sync either. I use an Acer XB280HK 4K 28-inch display at work that has G-Sync, and I can honestly say, I want G-Sync or FreeSync in all my future displays. </p> <p>To round out the system, I use a Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate for input nirvana. I actually have 3 of these keyboards. Once for this system, one for the entertainment system, and one for my PC at the office. I’m just a really big fan of Cherry MX blue switches. And yes, all the keys are blank on these keyboards.</p> <p>OK, enough work, let’s play.</p> <p>For my entertainment duties, I was really attracted to Digital Storm’s Bolt series of PCs. No only does Digital Storm build really good PCs, they do so with the best components that you and I can buy. Thus exists the Bolt 3. </p> <p>Digital Storm co-designed a chassis, with Lian Li, that I feel is an excellent fit for the living room—that is, not too big, and looks great laying horizontally. At this point, you might be asking why didn’t I just build another rig. Good question. My answer is, this publication is called Maximum PC, not Maximum DIY. I think as fans of PCs, and fans of technology in general, <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/its_ok_buy_pre-built_column_2015">we should appreciate and embrace all types of technology</a>. There are plenty of reasons why someone would choose to build or not to build. Since I’ve been building all my life, I figured: why not see what’s going on the other side? And you know what? It’s awesome! Funny how life works.</p> <p>The Bolt 3 is loaded to the gills with the best parts: an NVIDIA Titan X, Core i7 4790K, Samsung 850 Pro SSD, and more. The best part of the rig, though, is the design. It’s sleek, black, and has a huge plane of dark tempered glass covering one side of the system. It’s slightly larger than the outgoing Bolt 2, but the slight increase in volume allows better airflow, as well as maintenance. In fact, there’s space for two Titan X cards, but I have yet to figure out how to cram that second card in.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/tuan_nguyen_pc_5.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt 3" title="Digital Storm Bolt 3" width="620" height="574" /></p> <p>For its duties as a home-theater gaming rid, the Bolt 3 is connected via HDMI to my Pioneer receiver, which in turn is connected to a monster of a projector: an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB. This is one of the best prosumer 1080p projectors you can buy. It’s extremely highly rated, and outputs a mind-blowingly good picture, even with ambient lighting. </p> <p>I play (or have played): Battlefield 4, Titanfall, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Supernova (alpha), and a bunch of other titles. Right now though, the game I enjoy playing the most is Ori and the Blind Forest. If you haven’t played it, get it. If you don’t know it, get it. My game library is a mixed bag of different genres, and we know that different games require different hardware to get maximum fidelity. So, going with a Bolt 3 configured as it is allows me to enjoy any title on the market in my living room without fuss. Of course, we’d be just as happy and supportive if you built your own, too.</p> <p>Other than games, I use the Bolt 3 for all other duties, such as movie playback, and the occasional web browsing.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 10px;"><strong>And that's a wrap</strong></span></p> <p>We hope you enjoyed having a deep look into what we use for our own personal systems at home. We try to keep things varied, and all of us have different things that we do with our PCs. No matter what each of us use though, one thing is clear: we love to build stuff. I'd like to point out though that Alex only showed a photo of his PC from the outside because his system is horrendously dusty on the inside. Awful!</p> <p>We're interested in what you guys have in your builds, or if you bought a pre-built, what did you configure it with and why? Why one CPU over another? Why 64GB of RAM instead of 32GB? Is there a brand favorite you have and why? And, if you have questions for our editors about their specific setup, hit us up in the comments!</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015#comments amd build PC Campbell intel McNamara Nguyen nvidia Thang Gaming Editor Blogs Systems Tue, 24 Mar 2015 21:36:26 +0000 Maximum PC Staff 29636 at http://www.maximumpc.com Survey Says: Desktops En Vogue Again http://www.maximumpc.com/survey_says_desktops_en_vogue_again_2014 <!--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="http://www.theacsi.org/">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="http://www.maximumpc.com/toshiba_cutting_back_its_consumer_pc_division_2014">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> http://www.maximumpc.com/survey_says_desktops_en_vogue_again_2014#comments Desktop maximum pc popular survey News Editor Blogs Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:01:34 +0000 Gordon Mah Ung 28587 at http://www.maximumpc.com Can You Survive on a Chromebook Alone? http://www.maximumpc.com/can_you_survive_chromebook_alone_2014 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u154280/c720_0.png" width="300" height="225" style="float: right;" /></p> <h3>We use nothing but Google's lightweight OS for a week</h3> <p>When Google announced <a title="chrome os" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/chrome_os" target="_blank">Chrome OS</a>, many people scoffed at the viability of a browser-based OS. Currently, however, <strong><a title="chromebook" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Chromebook" target="_blank">Chromebooks</a></strong> are among the most popular inexpensive computing devices today. The search giant has done a great job of making an OS that is light enough to function on entry-level Atom-based SOCs and even low-powered ARM silicon. With the launch of many new Chromebooks (click hear to find out which one we think is the&nbsp;<a style="font-weight: bold;" title="Best Chromebook" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/best_chromebook_2013" target="_blank">best chromebook</a>)&nbsp;we wanted to see if a person could survive with a Chromebook playing games, videos, word processing and more for an entire week. Read on to see how the OS fared against Windows in our seven-day challenge.</p> <p><strong>Methodology</strong></p> <p>The premise of our test was simple, use nothing but a Chromebook for seven days straight. We weren’t allowed to touch a PC during that period, so we left our Windows rig sitting around collecting dust. Below you will find different sections about our experiences with our Chromebook. In addition, we fill you in on whether a person can use one as their primary computer.</p> <p>We should mention the only other Internet capable device we were allowed to use during our testing period was a smartphone. We did, after all, have to make the occasional phone call/text every now and then.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/c720.png" alt="Acer C720" title="Acer C720" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Acer C720 Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>The Hardware:</strong></p> <p>We grabbed <strong>Acer’s C720</strong>, as it’s arguably the best Chromebook for the money, providing us with a dual-core Intel Haswell processor, 16GB SSD, and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. We thought about using <a title="google pixel" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/google_chromebook_pixel_review_2013" target="_blank">Google’s Pixel</a>, but it’s super expensive at $1,300. The C720 comes very close to the Pixel in performance, and its way cheaper at $250. Not to mention its 0.7lbs lighter than the Pixel as well.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/chrome_os_desktop.png" alt="Chrome OS" title="Chrome OS" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Chrome OS' desktop interface</strong></p> <p><strong>Performance:</strong></p> <p>Using a Chromebook we found some distinct performance advantages and disadvantages. First off, Chrome OS is insanely fast at booting up, taking about 2 seconds to get to the desktop, and we saw the device get us to the Internet in just seconds. In case you've been living under a rock and don't know how Chrome OS operates, it is an operating system that is tied to the cloud. This means that in order to properly take advantage of its features, you must be connected online.&nbsp;</p> <p>The battery life was excellent on the C720, as we got around eight and a half hours run time while producing documents and surfing the web. The C720 was highly portable since it weighs just 2.7 pounds and has a thin profile of 0.7 inches. We also liked its small sleek form factor, as it easily fit into our bag. With its small size also comes a small keyboard, however, and we found ourselves missing our full-size keyboard with its 10-key number pad. We did like the C720’s multi-touch track pad, as the multi-touch gestures were very responsive, but it’s a bit too small for large fingers. These hardware peripherals will vary from Chromebook to Chromebook, however, so the aforementioned statements are not relevant to all Chromebooks.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/capture1.png" width="600" height="315" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>A familiar face</strong></p> <p><strong>Browsing the Internet:</strong></p> <p>Our Chromebook browsed the web quickly and efficiently. It handled multiple tabs very well and we didn’t see any slowdown in performance when we had 10 or more tabs open. We did, however, run into an issue with Newegg as some of its links didn’t work properly on our Chromebook. We tried looking at customer reviews on the e-tailer’s website and couldn’t get them to load on our Chromebook no matter what we did. We tried shutting down the unit and restarting it, restoring it to factory settings [A.K.A. powerwashing], and disabling our Chrome add-ons and nothing worked. The biggest weakness of Chrome OS is that not everything supports Chrome, so unlike Windows, you can’t just switch browsers if a website isn’t loading properly.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/creating_documents.png" alt="Google Docs" title="Google Docs" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Google's Word Processing Application: Google Drive</strong></p> <p><strong>Producing Documents:</strong></p> <p>Google Drive was how we created documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. We liked using the cloud-based suite, but it’s not as fleshed out as Microsoft Office. There’s simply more functionality in Word and PowerPoint, as they offer more customization than Google Docs. We found there to be more transitions in PowerPoint along with more options to customize our slides than on Google Slides. If you just need basic presentations, documents, and spreadsheets, however, Google Drive can do most of what Microsoft’s Office can do for free.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the biggest advantages Google Drive has over Microsoft Office is its sharing function and we liked how we could easily share our documents with the service. Another strong feature of document sharing in Google Docs is that multiple people can edit the same document at the same time. As noted by one of our readers, Hellabrad, you can also edit and share documents with other Office users with Microsoft's free web client. Finally, Google Docs is constantly and conveniently AutoSaving, which is something the desktop version of Word doesn’t do. By default, the Microsoft Word desktop application AutoSaves every 10 minutes, and this setting can be changed to AutoSave every minute (Hellabrad).&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Click the next page to read about gaming, picture-editing and more with a Chromebook.</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/watching_videos.png" alt="Watching Videos" title="Watching Videos" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Streaming Amazon Instant Prime on a Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>Watching Videos:</strong></p> <p>Chrome OS has Adobe Flash Player baked right into its browser, so we found there to be no problems with watching movies and TV shows on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. The picture quality was a clear 720p on our 11-inch display, which didn’t look that bad because the pixel density was fairly high on our relatively small screen.</p> <p><strong>Anti-Virus:</strong></p> <p>There are no third-party AV programs on Chrome OS you can download at the moment. We see this as a problem because we would love to see Norton, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, and other AV developers making Chrome apps to help protect the OS. AV suites may come along if the OS gains further adoption, but for now you’re only protected by Google.</p> <p>The search giant claims that you’ll never get a virus on its Chrome OS, but Apple said the same thing a few years ago with OSX and that didn’t turn out to be the case. As a matter of fact, the past few years Apple users have seen many viruses invade their laptops and all-in-ones like never before. We suspect that ChromeOS won’t be immune to these problems either.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/photo_editing.png" alt="Pixlr Photo Editor" title="Pixlr Photo Editor" width="600" /></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Editing photos using Pixlr on a Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>Editing Photos/Videos:</strong></p> <p>We initially thought that we could use Adobe’s Creative Cloud on our Chromebook, but we were wrong, as Chrome OS does not support the online suite. If you need Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, you’ll need a Windows PC to use these multimedia-editing apps.&nbsp;</p> <p>The built-in photo editor in Chrome OS is very limited, but luckily there’s a free Chrome app called <a title="pixlr" href="http://pixlr.com/" target="_blank">Pixlr</a> that can satisfy your photo editing needs in a pinch. Pixlr gives you a variety of tools including an eraser, smudge tool, selection tool, stamp tool, along with a paint bucket tool and red eye reduction. Pixlr also lets you adjust your image’s size and create layers for those who like to stack effects when editing their photos. It’s not a Photoshop replacement, but at least you can lightly touch up photos.</p> <p>From what we know there’s no way to edit videos on a Chromebook (other than the simple <a title="youtube video editor" href="http://www.youtube.com/editor" target="_blank">Youtube video editor</a>, that is), so again you’ll need a good old X86 PC to this task. If Adobe did start supporting Chromebooks we could see them as cheap multimedia machines, but until that time comes, Chrome OS users are limited to editing photos.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/gaming_cos.png" alt="Gaming in Chrome OS" title="Gaming in Chrome OS" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Playing Bastion on a Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>Playing Games:</strong></p> <p>As mentioned before Chrome OS supports Adobe Flash, meaning that Flash games can be played on the OS. <a title="armor games" href="http://armorgames.com/" target="_blank">Armor Games</a>, a website that provides tons of free flash games, ran well, but we did see a few hiccups in our frame rate from time to time after a few minutes.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are a few indie titles that are available on Chrome OS, including Bastion and Flow. Bastion was a performance hog and pushed our tiny Chromebook to its limits, as the unit’s fan was blaring right when we started up the game. Flow on the other hand ran well and didn’t bring our Chromebook to its knees like Bastion did.&nbsp;</p> <p>We did miss Steam and Origin too (only because of BF4, naturally) and we found Chrome OS doesn’t have any compelling flash titles to keep PC gamers satisfied. We find flash games fun 5-10 minute coffee break games, but they don’t quench our hardcore-gaming thirst.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/content_management.png" alt="Content Management" title="Content Management" width="600" /></p> <p><strong>Managing Content:</strong></p> <p>We didn’t like Chrome OS because of the lack of content management it provides. There are no folders for Music, Documents, or Pictures like in Windows. All of your files are automatically put in your download folder, and they are all grouped from most current to least current. We thought it was odd we couldn’t put any of files these files onto our desktop. Not to mention, all this glorious content is stored on a “massive” 16GB SSD. It’s not all bad as you can at least natively zip and unzip files in the OS with right-click, which is a two finger tap in Chrome OS.&nbsp;</p> <p>We thought it was strange that we couldn’t upload our music to Google Music using our Chromebook. Chrome OS doesn’t support this, and that’s just weird because you would think Google would support its own ecosystem. Simply put, there’s a huge lack of content management features and it’s something Google definitely needs to change if it seeks to get more market penetration within the laptop scene.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion:</strong></p> <p>While the Chromebook is very fast and functional, it lacks power-user apps like Photoshop, or triple-A gaming titles. We see the device great for college students looking to get a computing device that they can get 8-9 hours out of while taking notes and browsing the web. Chrome OS can also stream the major video services, as we watched Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu, and Netflix with no problems. You’re ultimately getting a document, web browsing, and streaming machine.&nbsp;</p> <p>There have been more hybrid Windows 8.1 devices sporting X86 Intel Atom processors with fast 32GB or 64GB SSDs. These inexpensive Windows machines should challenge Chromebooks in the upcoming months and will make Chrome OS devices harder and harder to sell. We’ve already seen some tablet-laptops that are $350-$400 like the ASUS T100, which gives users Windows 8.1 in a portable form factor with a battery life that is comparable to the C720. We’d personally stick with an X86 Windows PC because it does a lot more than Chrome OS, giving us access to a never-ending abundance of apps and tools that Google’s browser OS just can’t rival at the moment.</p> <p>Follow Chris on&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/117154316323139826718" target="_blank">Google</a>+&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/chriszele" target="_blank">Twitter</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/can_you_survive_chromebook_alone_2014#comments Acer C720 chrome os chromebook cloud Gmail Google google docs google drive Hardware laptop netbook notebook online word processing Editor Blogs Mon, 24 Feb 2014 22:45:11 +0000 Chris Zele 27081 at http://www.maximumpc.com Photo (Video) Awesome #32: Now, With Bonus Gordon Rant! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_video_awesome_32_now_bonus_gordon_rant <!--paging_filter--><p>We'll keep this week's Photo Awesome short for the holidays. Earlier in the week, our Editorial Director Jon Phillips posted a video first look of the <a href="http://www.maximumtech.com/maximum-tech-video-first-look-samsung-galaxy-tab-101-bonus-gordon-rant">Samsung Galaxy tablet </a>10.1. In it, he showed off the video-taking capibilities of the device, by walking up to Gordon, and asking him to rant right there on the spot.</p><p>And, as it often does with Gordon, hilarity ensued. Check out the footage below, and have yourselves an awesome holiday weekend. See you Tuesday!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><div class="VAMS_prototype" data-vams-id="f03nb3mZrVB2d"></div></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_video_awesome_32_now_bonus_gordon_rant#comments Editor Blogs Fri, 27 May 2011 21:15:22 +0000 Alan Fackler 18761 at http://www.maximumpc.com Photo Awesome #29: Gordon Mah Ung Uses an iPad http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_awesome_29_gordon_mah_ung_uses_ipad <!--paging_filter--><p>Wait, wait, we know. Don't freak out yet. In order to show off some cool new mobile features integrated into Photoshop, Gordon&nbsp;<em>had</em>&nbsp;to use an iPad during a video shoot. The app wasn't available for Android yet. He was visibly distraught throughout the experience, which we think you can see in this photo.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/screen_shot_2011-04-29_at_3.39.33_pm.png" width="480" height="269" style="border: 0px initial initial;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Gordon was not happy.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>So, for the sake of brevity, (we&nbsp;<em>are</em>&nbsp;in the fourth week of our publication cycle) we've decided to let you guys caption this picture. We'll read through all the captions on Monday, and the five funniest will get Maximum PC coins or t-shirts (up to the winners).&nbsp;</p> <p>Let the captioning begin in the comments below! Make sure and have yourselves a great weekend while you're at it. See you next week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_awesome_29_gordon_mah_ung_uses_ipad#comments iPad Editor Blogs Fri, 29 Apr 2011 22:58:20 +0000 Alan Fackler 18368 at http://www.maximumpc.com Photo Awesome #28: Panoramic View of the Maximum PC Offices and Lab http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_awesome_28_panoramic_view_maximum_pc_offices_and_lab <!--paging_filter--><p>We've always thought Microsoft's Photosynth--which allows users to create and share pseudo-3d photo collections and panoramas--was some cool technology, but a little too much of a hassle to actually use.</p> <p>That all changed when we discovered the new Photosynth app for iOS, which makes it fast and easy to create impressive 360-degree panoramas. To test it out, we used the app around the office and in the lab. Keep reading for the most immersive look yet at Maximum PC HQ, including panoramas of the office, the lab, and what it looks like to be in front of the lights of our video set-up. Pro-tip: use your mouse or directional keys to move around.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=a59241f7-707b-4dbc-8028-daaa100fb8d2&amp;delayLoad=true&amp;slideShowPlaying=false" width="500" height="300"></iframe></p> <p>View of our offices from above&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=aab39073-2033-4016-ad4a-7a3ff1f774fd&amp;delayLoad=true&amp;slideShowPlaying=false" width="500" height="300"></iframe></p> <p>View of our lab&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=160712c3-679d-4b5c-9334-9ec92029079a&amp;delayLoad=true&amp;slideShowPlaying=false" width="500" height="300"></iframe></p> <p>View of our video setup</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Have a great weekend everyone, we'll see you next week!</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_awesome_28_panoramic_view_maximum_pc_offices_and_lab#comments Editor Blogs Fri, 22 Apr 2011 23:17:00 +0000 Alan Fackler 18275 at http://www.maximumpc.com Photo (Video) Awesome #26: Our Studio is up and Running! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_video_awesome_26_our_studio_and_running <!--paging_filter--><p>We finally got to spend some time in our brand new video studio, where I was given my first opportunity to ever to use a green screen during a shoot, and my 1,156th (don't quote me there) opportunity to make an ass out of &nbsp;myself on camera.&nbsp;</p> <p>All joking aside, dropping an image seamlessly over a green screen was actually a bit harder than we had anticipated, as you'll see in some slight hiccups in the video. But it was a learning experience, and we're excited to find new and fun ways to utilize the studio moving forward. But, for now, here's us acting like idiots in front of a green screen. Enjoy!&nbsp;</p> <p> <div class="VAMS_prototype" data-vams-id="sDnHe982mtuI3"></div> </p> <p>Have yourselves a fantastic weekend everyone, we'll see ya' next week.&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_video_awesome_26_our_studio_and_running#comments Editor Blogs Fri, 08 Apr 2011 21:01:27 +0000 Alan Fackler 18057 at http://www.maximumpc.com Photo Awesome #20: Name That Hardware! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_awesome_20_name_hardware <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: -webkit-auto;"> <div style="color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; margin: 8px;"> <p>As you can no doubt imagine, sifting through products we've received from the past can be a hilarious experience. But every now and again we'll un-earth things that make us go, "wait, what?". So we decided to give you a quick geek quiz to round out your week. Have a look at the following four items, and see if you can tell us what they are, or more importantly, why they're hilarious.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hit up the comments with all your guesses, and stay tuned, 'cause on Tuesday, we'll reveal all the answers for you, as only Gordon Mah Ung could write them. Have a phenomenal weekend guys, we'll see you next week!&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8135.jpg" width="600" height="412" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8137.jpg" width="600" height="346" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8139.jpg" width="600" height="273" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8141.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We had to blur out the manufacturer on this one, otherwise, it'd just be too easy.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: -webkit-auto;"> <div style="color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: #ffffff; margin: 8px;"> <p>Hit up the comments with all your guesses, and stay tuned, 'cause on Tuesday, we'll reveal all the answers for you, as only Gordon Mah Ung could write them. Have a phenomonal weekend guys, we'll see you next week!&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/editor_blogs/photo_awesome_20_name_hardware#comments News Editor Blogs Fri, 18 Feb 2011 22:57:43 +0000 Alan Fackler 17280 at http://www.maximumpc.com Photo Awesome #16: The Max PC Reader Meet Up! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/photo_awesome_16_max_pc_reader_meet <!--paging_filter--><p>This past Tuesday, we decided to have a reader meet up at the Thirsty Bear in downtown SF. Once there, we shared stories, laughs, beer, shrimp, and a whole ton of awesome door prizes with a bunch of our valued readers.&nbsp;</p> <p>Seriously, to those of you who made it out, we sincerely thank you for an awesome time. And those of you that didn't, well, don't fret! This turnout has encouraged all of us here at&nbsp;<em>Maximum PC</em>&nbsp;to do this again, and soon. We'll keep you posted on the next meet, but until then, check out some photos and video from what turned out to be a really memorable evening.</p> <p class="p1">Oh, and sorry about the blurry photos. There was hardly any light in the bar, and our pop flash literally died the moment we powered on the SLR. Just our luck, right?</p> <p class="p1">Enjoy!</p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8006_0.jpg" width="600" height="400" style="border: 0px initial initial;" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8012_0.jpg" width="600" height="400" style="border: 0px initial initial;" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8014_0.jpg" width="600" height="400" style="border: 0px initial initial;" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/img_8020_0.jpg" width="600" height="400" style="border: 0px initial initial;" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u107541/nathanchicks.jpg" width="600" height="457" style="border: 0px initial initial;" /></p> <p class="p1">And a video of all our prize winners.&nbsp;</p> <p> <div class="VAMS_prototype" data-vams-id="2sedE957tKL8T"></div> </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/photo_awesome_16_max_pc_reader_meet#comments MPCTV Photo Awesome Home News Editor Blogs Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:08:18 +0000 Alan Fackler 16768 at http://www.maximumpc.com Tri-band Wireless Products on the Horizon http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/triband_wireless_products_horizon <!--paging_filter--><p>Just bought a brand-spankin’ new dual-band router? Don’t pat yourself on the back too hard, Binky; your new toy just might be outclassed as soon as the end of this year by the first generation of tri-band devices with wireless radios operating on the 2.4-, 5.0-, and 60GHz frequencies. These could be the first networking products capable of moving bits around your house at supremely fast speeds and cooking a pizza at the same time. </p> <p>We’re just kidding about the pizza, but wireless routers operating on the unlicensed 60GHz frequency band do promise to deliver data throughput as high as 7Gb/sec. The IEEE Task Group AD (TGad for short; not to be confused with “teabag”) is busy developing a standard—IEEE 802.11ad—but the companies hoping to sell actual products based on this new technology aren’t taking any chances that the famously methodical international standards body might take the same long winding and road they did with 802.11n. They formed a trade group—the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (<a href="http://www.wigig.org/">WiGig</a>)— in May 2009, and the alliance announced its own first-draft standard today. </p> <p>“WiGig will be submitting proposals to TGad,” said Mark Grodzinsky, Marketing Work Group Chair of WiGig Alliance and VP of Marketing at Wilocity. “But this alliance is a direct path to market if the IEEE turns out to be a dead end.” The WiGig Alliance’s specification envisions a host of tri-band products, including consumer electronics hardware, displays, battery-operated handheld devices, and home networking equipment that will remain compatible with existing Wi-Fi products. </p> <p>WiGig moved to further grease the skids by forging a partnership with the <a href="http://www.wi-fi.org/">Wi-Fi Alliance</a>, the trade group currently responsible for certifying wireless products as being in compliance with IEEE 802.11 standards. “This is a shorter-range technology that has a lot of bandwidth,” added WiGig Alliance board member and Dell executive Bruce Montag. “It’s designed to complement Wi-Fi, not replace it.” </p> <p>This WiGig/Wi-Fi partnership could kill the existing standard, WirelessHD, even though that technology is available at retail today in wireless HDMI streamers from <a href="http://www.gefen.com/kvm/dproduct.jsp?prod_id=8255">Gefen</a> and <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Rocketfish%26%23153%3B+-+WirelessHD+Adapter/9620828.p?id=1218132817676&amp;skuId=9620828&amp;st=rocketfish%20wirelesshd&amp;cp=1&amp;lp=1">Best Buy</a>. “One guy will run ahead of the pack by doing one thing really well” said Grodzinsky, “but his product will only serve this limited market. Our alliance will get the industry together in a very methodical way. As an industry body, we have a spec that works, and we’re working on developing a certification process, so we can get the stamp of interoperability.” </p> <p>WiGig Alliance members include all the heavy hitters in tech—Intel, AMD, Atheros, Microsoft, Broadcom, Nvidia, Marvell, and Realtek—and the alliance announced today that Cisco was joining its board of directors. Its roster also boasts a strong lineup of consumer electronics manufacturers, including Panasonic, Toshiba, Nokia, and Harman. Publication of the WiGig spec means that member companies can begin developing 60GHz wireless products now, without the need to pay royalties or licensing fees. The alliance expects to see the first retail products by Q4 2010 or early in 2011. </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/triband_wireless_products_horizon#comments 802.11n HDMI streaming wi-fi wireless News Editor Blogs Mon, 10 May 2010 17:26:37 +0000 Michael Brown 12349 at http://www.maximumpc.com