Maximum PC - All Articles http://www.maximumpc.com/articles/all/feed en Audacity Crash Course http://www.maximumpc.com/audacity_crash_course_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/audacity-logo_0.png" alt="Audacity Logo" title="Audacity Logo" width="200" height="200" style="float: right;" />Turn your PC into a music computer with the best free audio editor</span></h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/audacity" target="_blank">Audacity</a></strong>’s been around for a long time—since mid-2000—and for good reason. It’s a relatively lightweight, open-source, and completely free audio editor that can handle pretty much every task you throw at it. Need to edit together a podcast? No problem. Looking to do some simple noise reduction? Looking to turn your PC into a <strong>music computer</strong>? Audacity’s got you covered.</p> <p>Although it’s available for free, it’s not exactly the most intuitive program. The interface isn’t necessarily dated, but it does look pretty spartan alongside programs like Adobe Photoshop and even Microsoft Office. Getting up and running with Audacity isn’t hard, but it does take a little know-how.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">The Toolbar</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/toolbar.jpg" alt="Audacity Toolbar" title="Audacity Toolbar" width="600" height="109" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The toolbar of Audacity is home to all of the app’s basic tools.</strong></p> <p>The first thing you’ll want to get familiar with is Audacity’s packed toolbar. It’s filled with tools, and fortunately, they’re all labeled. Hover over a button, slider, or drop-down box, and you should see a text label pop-up with the name of the tool. There are a lot of tools, but you really only need a small subset of them for all but the most demanding projects.&nbsp;</p> <p>Make note of the playback controls—play, pause, record, et cetera. They’re essential to all audio editing since you’ll want to constantly be reviewing your work as you go along. Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your output and input devices set correctly. Both should be set to your Windows default devices—if they aren’t, make sure you select the correct ones in the dropdown. Once you get your audio into Audacity—we’ll cover that in a second—you can monitor your levels in the output and input level monitors (usually somewhere near the center of the toolbar).&nbsp;</p> <p>You’ll also want to make sure that you’re always aware of which cursor tool is currently selected. The standard Selection Tool is exactly what you’d expect; it’s a cursor that lets you mark your position on a track and highlight specific sections. The other essential tool is the Time Shift Tool which lets you move clips along the timeline.</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Getting Audio Into Audacity</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/import.jpg" alt="Audacity Import" title="Audacity Import" width="600" height="439" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Importing is a cinch.</strong></p> <p>If you’re working with pre-recorded audio, getting it into Audacity is just a matter of jumping into the File menu and selecting Import &gt; Audio—hit Ctrl+Shift+I if you’re feeling fancy. Find your audio files and they should pop into Audacity as separate tracks.</p> <p>If, on the other hand, you want to record a voiceover or instrumental track directly into Audacity, all you have to do is check to make sure that your input levels are set appropriately (a maxed out slider is usually fine) and click the record button. Clicking stop will end the recording whereas clicking pause will let you continue recording on the same track.&nbsp;</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Editing Your Audio</span></h3> <p>Now you can get down to the fun part: actually editing your audio. The tools and effects you’ll use will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish, but we’ll run through some basic tasks that most projects will require.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/remove_audio_menu.jpg" alt="Audacity Remove Audio" title="Audacity Remove Audio" width="600" height="331" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Remove Audio dropdown in the Edit menu will be your audio-editing brother-in-arms.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Most audio editing projects requires a fair bit of cutting, splitting, and rearranging sections of a track—or multiple separate tracks. Cutting, splitting, silencing, trimming, and deleting is all handled in the Remove Audio section of the Edit menu. The shortcuts are simple and worth learning since these are common tasks in any editing endeavour. Highlight the section of the track you want to manipulate and select the action you want completed. Trimming removes everything but the highlighted area on any continuous piece of audio. Cutting moves the selected clip to your clipboard, and shifts the remaining pieces over. A split cut or delete removes the selected audio, and preserves the empty space between the two remaining clips.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/effects_menu.jpg" alt="Audacity Effects" title="Audacity Effects" width="600" height="390" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Like a kid in a cand...audio effects store?</strong></p> <p>Most of the other things you’d want to do to an audio track is under the Effects menu. Here you can amplify, bass boost, change pitch, fade in and out, and normalize audio. Most of the effects are self explanatory and work as you’d expect. Some of the commands lets you select specific settings when you click on the effect.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/bass_boost.jpg" alt="Audacity Bass Boost" title="Audacity Bass Boost" width="321" height="178" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Pump up the bass!</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Bass boost gives you control over Frequency and the amount of Boost. Other effects like Fade In and Fade Out simply alter the audio without any confirmation. Pay attention the waveform and you’ll see it turn into a gradual fade. The expansive effects menu is one of Audacity’s greatest features. It’s the reason why the program has been a freeware staple since it's release.</p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Exporting the Finished Product</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/export_menu.jpg" alt="Audacity Export" title="Audacity Export" width="600" height="429" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Where and how you want it are your choice.</strong></p> <p>Once you’re done editing, you’ll want to get your audio out of Audacity into a format that works for your project. Audacity supports a pretty large number of formats, although exporting as an MP3 requires an external codec. If all you want to do is get your file out as a WAV, FLAC, or any of the other available formats, you just have to go to File &gt; Export and select where you want it to be saved and the format you want it in.</p> <p>MP3 file exports are available after downloading the LAME MP3 encoder. It’s completely free, but can’t be distributed with Audacity directly because of software patents. Head over to the LAME download page and download the “Lame v.399.3 for Windows.exe” installer. Start up the installer and don’t change the default destination of the program. Once it’s finished, try to export your Audacity project as an MP3 and you should be asked to find “lame_enc.dll”. Go to “C:\Program Files\Lame for Audacity” and select the dll. Your project should export as an MP3 file and you’re ready to enjoy your finished product in an audio player of your choice.</p> <p>You probably aren’t an audio editing expert yet, but hopefully you’re well on your way to editing out unwanted noise, adding fades to clips, and editing homebrew podcasts with Audacity.</p> <p><em>Follow Ben on <a href="http://twitter.com/benjkim" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BenKimJ" target="_blank">Google+</a>.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/audacity_crash_course_2014#comments audacity audio editor beginners crash course freeware music computer Software tutorial Features Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:02:33 +0000 Ben Kim 27534 at http://www.maximumpc.com Seeing Double: HTC One M8's Identical Twin Runs Windows Phone 8.1 http://www.maximumpc.com/seeing_double_htc_one_m8s_identical_twin_runs_windows_phone_81_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/htc_one_m8_for_windows.jpg" alt="HTC One M8 for Windows" title="HTC One M8 for Windows" width="228" height="219" style="float: right;" />Exact same phone, completely different platform</h3> <p>The HTC One M8 is one of the most popular Android devices available, but what would happen if you stripped the phone of Android and installed Windows Phone 8.1 under the hood? Ladies and gentlemen, you're about to find out. <strong>HTC today unveiled the HTC One M8 for Windows</strong>, which in addition to bringing a premium design to the Windows Phone platform, it's also the first time an iconic flagship device has been offered on multiple OSes, HTC says.</p> <p>If you're familiar with the specs of the Android version, then you're familiar with the Windows SKU, as well. It's the exact same device, save for the software and Windows Phone tattoo on its backside. It sports the same all-metal unibody design, curved back, 5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.3GHz processor, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, Duo Camera with UltraPixel, 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera, and so forth.</p> <p>"Consumers love the HTC One (M8) and today’s introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience," <a href="https://www.htc.com/us/about/newsroom/2014/2014-08-19-htc-one-m8-windows/" target="_blank">said Jason Macikenze</a>, president of HTC Americas. "HTC fills a gap in the market for unique devices that put a premium on form and function. Microsoft shares our vision, and that’s why we committed to bringing the Windows Phone platform to the HTC One (M8)."</p> <p>The HTC One M8 for Windows is available now through Verizon Wireless online for a promotional price of $100 with a two-year service agreement or $30 per month via Verizon Edge; it will also be available in stores tomorrow.</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/seeing_double_htc_one_m8s_identical_twin_runs_windows_phone_81_2014#comments Hardware htc mobile one m8 smartphone windows phone 8.1 News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:03:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 28379 at http://www.maximumpc.com Fuhu Unveils Ginormous 20-inch and 24-inch Nabi Big Tab Tablets for Kids http://www.maximumpc.com/fuhu_unveils_ginormous_20-inch_and_24-inch_nabi_big_tab_tablets_kids <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nabi_big_tab_hd.jpg" alt="Fuhu Nabi Big Tab HD" title="Fuhu Nabi Big Tab HD" width="228" height="205" style="float: right;" />A massive tablet for the little ones</h3> <p>At first glance, you might think <strong>Fuhu's 20-inch and 24-inch Nabi Big Tab HD tablets</strong> were built for Shaquille O'Neal. After all, who else but a 7-foot 1-inch massive specimen would such giant slates be for? Turns out Fuhu designed the large size tablets specifically for kids, an interesting target audience for what the company claims are the world's biggest Android tablets made for sharing.</p> <p>"We are so pleased to introduce the nabi Big Tab line of products and are excited about the implications as a new category of family tablets. We were simply amazed at how Big Tab's larger format transformed our interactions with our children, family gatherings and made the tablet experience easier for seniors," <a href="http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/family-time-reinvented-fuhu-introduces-nabi-big-tab-hd-line-worlds-biggest-tablets-made-1939623.htm" target="_blank">said Jim Mitchell</a>, CEO. "We are hopeful, that everyone will fall in love with Big Tab like we have."</p> <p>Fair enough - we won't begrudge Fuhu's attempt to modernize family time, though consumers will be the ultimate judge if there can be a category such as this one. We're skeptical, considering the asking price -- $449 for the 20-inch model and $549 for the 24-inch version, both of which cost more than a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Wii U.</p> <p>The 20-inch version boasts a 1600x900 resolution and the 24-inch features a 1920x1080 display, both with 15-point capacitive touch support. Both also feature an Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor, 16GB of onboard storage, and removable carrying frame.</p> <p>Fuhu's selling point (behind the big size displays) is the software. Lots of kid friendly games, entertainment, and educational apps come bundled with the Nabi devices.</p> <p>Both models will launch this fall.</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/fuhu_unveils_ginormous_20-inch_and_24-inch_nabi_big_tab_tablets_kids#comments android fuhi Hardware mobile nabi big tab slate tablet News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:42:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 28378 at http://www.maximumpc.com Newegg Daily Deals: WD 2TB Elements Portable USB 3.0 HDD, AMD FX-8320 Vishera, and More! http://www.maximumpc.com/newegg_daily_deals_wd_2tb_elements_portable_usb_30_hdd_amd_fx-8320_vishera_and_more <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/wd_elements_1.jpg" alt="WD Elements" title="WD Elements" width="300" height="256" style="float: right;" /><img src="/files/u154082/newegg_logo_small.png" alt="newegg logo" title="newegg logo" width="200" height="80" /></p> <p><strong>Top Deal:</strong></p> <p>Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel learned the hard way that there are certain things you shouldn't upload to the cloud. And then there's Uncle Sam to worry about, not to mention hackers and data center disasters. What's a user to do? If it's a backup for your backups you're after, a portable storage device can do the trick. Looking for options? Check out today's top deal for a <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236519&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-EXT-HDD-N82E16822236519-_-0819&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">WD Elements 2TB Portable USB 3.0 HDD</a> for <strong>$90</strong> with free shipping (normally $100 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPBWA225</strong>]). That's a decent amount of capacity in a relatively small device.</p> <p><strong>Other Deals:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113285&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-CPU-N82E16819113285-_-0819&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">AMD FX-8320 Vishera 8-Core 3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Desktop Processor</a> for <strong>$130</strong> with free shipping (normally $150 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPBWA22</strong>])</p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147359&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-SSD-N82E16820147359-_-0819&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Samsung 850 Pro Series MZ-7KE128BW 2.5-inch 128GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive</a> for <strong>$120</strong> with free shipping (normally $130 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPBWA28</strong>])</p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236522&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-INT-HDD-N82E16822236522-_-0819&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">WD SE 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5-inch Enterprise Hard Drive</a> for <strong>$125</strong> with free shipping (normally $135 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPBWA29</strong>])</p> <p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231486&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-RAM-N82E16820231486-_-0819&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory</a> for <strong>$150</strong> with free shipping (normally $160 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPBWA38</strong>])</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/newegg_daily_deals_wd_2tb_elements_portable_usb_30_hdd_amd_fx-8320_vishera_and_more#comments amd Daily Deals daily deals g.skill Newegg samsung wd Western Digital Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:21:37 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 28377 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer Gives BlackWidow Mechanical Keyboard a Counter Logic Gaming Facelift http://www.maximumpc.com/razer_gives_blackwidow_mechanical_keyboard_counter_logic_gaming_facelift_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_clg_blackwidow_angled.jpg" alt="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard Angled" title="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard Angled" width="228" height="135" style="float: right;" />A BlackWidow like you've never seen one before</h3> <p>Razer has once again teamed up with Counter Logic Gaming (CGL) to release a custom version of an existing Razer peripheral. You may recall that late last year, Razer launched a limited edition CLG version of its DeathAdder mouse in the team's iconic black and white colors. This time, <strong>Razer and CGL took the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth keyboard and gave it a makeover</strong> to match.</p> <p>The new Counter Logic Gaming BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth keyboard sports a similar finish with the team's logo imprinted onto a two-tone black and white body, while the keys are individually illuminated in CLG's white coloring. As before, the keyboard utilizes Razer mechanical switches that were built from the ground up for gaming.</p> <p><a href="http://www.razerzone.com/press/detail/press-releases/all-new-counter-logic-gaming-razer-blackwidow-keyboard-released" target="_blank">According to Razer</a>, its team of engineers identified the optimal actuation distance for a gaming switch to a fraction of a millimeter and reduced the distance between the actuation point and resent point by almost half to allow for faster, more precise gaming commands compared to standard mechanical switches.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/razer_clg_blackwidow.jpg" alt="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard" title="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard" width="620" height="275" /></p> <p>There are five dedicated macro keys that are fully programmable with on-the-fly macro recording, a gaming mode option, 10-key roll-over anti-ghosting, USB pass-through, 1000Hz Ultrapolling, and support for Razer Synapse.</p> <p>The new plank is available now for $150 MSRP.</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/razer_gives_blackwidow_mechanical_keyboard_counter_logic_gaming_facelift_2014#comments blackwidow clg counter logic gaming Hardware keyboard mechanical Peripherals razer News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:37:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 28376 at http://www.maximumpc.com Corsair Commander Mini Gives You Control of Your PC's Cooling and Bling http://www.maximumpc.com/corsair_commander_mini_gives_you_control_your_pcs_cooling_and_bling_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/corsair_commander_mini.jpg" alt="Corsair Commander Mini" title="Corsair Commander Mini" width="228" height="114" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Always keep your cool</h3> <p>Heat is the bane of any PC enthusiast and we all go to great lengths to ensure our systems don't cook themselves. Need a little assistance keeping those temps in check? Corsair thinks it can help with its new <strong>Corsair Commander Mini control unit. It's a compact device that mounts inside your P</strong>C, is powered by a SATA connector, and comes with a cable to connect to a USB 2.0 header.</p> <p>Once installed, you can download the free Corsair Link Dashboard software and start captaining your cooling and case lighting scheme. The Commander Mini sports four Corsair Link Digital ports, six fan control connectors, four temperature probe inputs, and a port for connecting Corsair Link LED lighting strips.</p> <p>An advantage of this type of setup is you don't need to play around in the BIOS, which offers limited options compared to the Commander Mini. Everything is configurable from the desktop using the Corsair Link Dashboard software. In addition, you can glance vitals such as coolant temperature, ambient temperatures (at multiple points), and the speed of case fans and fans built into compatible components.</p> <p>The Commander Mini is available now <a href="http://www.corsair.com/en-us/landing/commander-mini" target="_blank">direct from Corsair</a> for $60 MSRP.</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/corsair_commander_mini_gives_you_control_your_pcs_cooling_and_bling_2014#comments commander mini cooling corsair Hardware led lighting Peripherals News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:00:12 +0000 Paul Lilly 28375 at http://www.maximumpc.com HP Stream 14 Laptop Runs Windows 8.1 and Costs $200 - What Now, Chromebooks? http://www.maximumpc.com/hp_stream_14_laptop_runs_windows_81_and_costs_200_-_what_now_chromebooks <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_stream_14.jpg" alt="HP Stream 14" title="HP Stream 14" width="228" height="182" style="float: right;" />Could a 14-inch Windows notebook be a Chromebook killer?</h3> <p>Microsoft isn't blind to the fact that Chromebooks are flying off of store shelves, both virtual and physical, and so a month ago the Redmond outfit let slip that it was working with various partners to offer low cost alternatives in the $199 to $249 range. Turns out it wasn't just lip service. Meet the <strong>HP Stream 14, a 14-inch notebook running Windows 8.1 and carrying a $200 price tag</strong>.</p> <p>German-language website <a href="http://www.mobilegeeks.de/hp-stream-199-dollar-notebook-kommt-mit-14-inch-display-amd-plattform-100-gb-onedrive-alle-details/" target="_blank"><em>Mobile Geeks</em> </a>got its hands on press photos and official HP documents outlining the Stream 14. Based on the spec sheet, this low cost laptop sports AMD hardware inside -- specifically, an AMD A4 Micro-6400T quad-core processor with integrated Radeon R3 graphics powering the 14-inch display's 1366x768 resolution. It also features 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, memory card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI output, webcam, full-size keyboard, and a 45W battery.</p> <p>Documents also reveal that Microsoft will include 100GB of cloud-based OneDrive storage for two years with the 3.9-pound laptop, just as Google offers 100GB of Google Drive storage with every Chromebook. That certainly levels the playing field and steals significant thunder away from Google's Chromebook push.</p> <p>No word yet on when the HP Stream 14 will launch, though given all the data available, we suspect it will be soon, especially if Microsoft and HP want to take advantage of the back-to-school shopping season.</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/hp_stream_14_laptop_runs_windows_81_and_costs_200_-_what_now_chromebooks#comments Hardware hewlett-packard hp laptop mobile notebook OEM rigs stream 14 windows 8.1 News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:33:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 28374 at http://www.maximumpc.com Build a PC: Recommended Builds (August2014) http://www.maximumpc.com/build_pc_recommended_builds_august2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Budget, baseline, and performance PC builds!</h3> <p>What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget Gamer, Mid-Grade, and Turbo. That's right, we're mixing things up again. No more rotation of four systems into three slots. For the foreseeable future, there will always be a budget system in our Blueprints section. Yay!</p> <p><em>Prices listed here reflect print time</em>&nbsp;and may not match the ones you find elsewhere online. In addition, Newegg has jumped on board to offer packaged deals for each of the builds below in an attempt to offer a better overall value. To see these bundle prices, click the "Buy or get more info at Newegg" button at the bottom of each build. Feedback is welcome. Tell us what you think!</p> <p><em>Note: Some of the prices/links listed below may not show up properly if this page is ad-blocked.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><strong>BUDGET GAMER</strong></h2> <div style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u160416/210_elite_black.jpg" alt="NZXT Source 210 Elite computer case" title="NZXT Source 210 Elite computer case" width="242" height="300" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <div class="module-content" style="text-align: start;"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 620px; height: 265px;" border="0"> <thead></thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: center;" colspan="3"><strong>Ingredients</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Part</strong></td> <td><strong>Component</strong></td> <td><strong>Price</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Case</td> <td class="item-dark">NZXT Source 210 Elite</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146078&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$50</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>PSU</td> <td>Corsair CX500, 500 watts</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$30</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Mobo</td> <td class="item-dark">Biostar TA970&nbsp;</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138372&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$60</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU</td> <td>AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113286&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$120</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU Cooler</td> <td>Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$35</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>GPU</td> <td>Sapphire Dual-X Radeon R7 265</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202096&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$163</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>2x 4GB G.SKILL Ares Series DDR3/1600</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231544&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$72</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>SSD</td> <td>Crucial MX100 128GB</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148819&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$80</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD</td> <td>Seagate Barracuda 1TB&nbsp;</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$65</a></td> </tr> <tr style="text-align: right;"> <td style="text-align: left;"><strong>Total = $675<br /></strong></td> <td style="text-align: right;" colspan="2"><strong>Click here to see the live bundle price:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1806345&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-Combo-1806345-Budget-_-MaximumPC_BluePrint-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/omega_maximumpc/img/newegg.jpg" alt="buy online at newegg" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">For the first time in a while, we have reached equilibrium at the budget level. Each part on this list is pretty much the best bang for your buck. You could put a closed-loop liquid cooler (CLC) in here, but the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is too good a value to pass up at this tier. Might as well put the extra cost of a CLC toward something else. If you’re prepared to spend about $700, we’d bump the SSD up to <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/crucials_mx100_ssd_blazes_trail_550mbs_calls_it_mainstream_performance" target="_blank">a 256GB Crucial MX100</a>, which currently goes for $110. That’ll give gamers a lot more room to install their favorite games on a zippy storage device.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><strong>Note:</strong><span style="line-height: 15px;">&nbsp;We apparently snagged a few of these items on deep discount at the time that we assembled our list, so the Newegg live price might be a little higher.</span></p> <h2>MID-GRADE</h2> <p><img src="/files/u160416/c70_green.png" alt="Corsair Vengeance C70 computer case" title="Corsair Vengeance C70 computer case" width="228" height="300" /></p> <div class="module-content" style="text-align: start;"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 620px; height: 265px;" border="0"> <thead></thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: center;" colspan="3"><strong>Ingredients</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Part</strong></td> <td><strong>Component</strong></td> <td><strong>Price</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Case</td> <td class="item-dark">Corsair Vengeance C70</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139013&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$108</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>PSU</td> <td>Silverstone Strider Gold S Series, 850 watts</td> <td><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256100" target="_blank">$100</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Mobo</td> <td class="item-dark">Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128707&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$175</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU</td> <td>Intel Core i5-4690K</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116899&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$240</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cooler</td> <td>Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$35</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>GPU</td> <td>XFX Double D Radeon R9 280X 3GB&nbsp;</td> <td><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150678" target="_blank">$250</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>2x 4GB G.SKILL Ares Series&nbsp;F3-1600C9D-8GAO</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231544&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$72</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Optical Drive</td> <td>Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD Burner</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151266&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$20</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>SSD</td> <td>Crucial MX100 256GB</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148820&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$115</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD</td> <td>Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$65</a></td> </tr> <tr style="text-align: right;"> <td style="text-align: left;"><strong>Total = $1180<br /></strong></td> <td style="text-align: right;" colspan="2"><strong>Click here to see the live bundle price:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1806344&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-Combo-1806344-Baseline-_-MaximumPC_BluePrint-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/omega_maximumpc/img/newegg.jpg" alt="buy online at newegg" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="line-height: 150%;">The Strider Plus, a fully modular 850-watt power supply from Silverstone, is reasonably priced, so it replaces the 750-watt semi-modular Seasonic unit we slotted last month. The extra juice better prepares this system for multiple video cards down the road. <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/devils_canyon" target="_blank">Intel’s Devil’s Canyon</a> Core i5-4690K arrives, replacing the i5-4670K. The new one’s base clock speed is 4Ghz, which is 600MHz higher than before, and it will turbo to 4.4GHz. Radeon cards continue to fall in price, and the R9 280X is now within reach; it’s now a better value at this tier than a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/gtx_760" target="_blank">GeForce GTX 760</a>. But the 250GB <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/samsung_840_evo_1tb_review" target="_blank">Samsung 840 Evo</a> at $160 is no longer competitively priced, so we’ve replaced it with the 256GB Crucial MX100, which isn’t as fast but is a much better value. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="line-height: 150%;"><strong>Note:</strong> We apparently snagged a few of these items on deep discount at the time that we assembled our list, so the Newegg live price might be a little higher.</span></p> <h2>TURBO</h2> <p><img src="/files/u160416/phantom530-1.jpg" alt="NZXT Phantom 530 computer case" title="NZXT Phantom 530 computer case" width="300" height="300" /></p> <div class="module-content" style="text-align: start;"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 620px; height: 265px;" border="0"> <thead></thead> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: center;" colspan="3"><strong>Ingredients</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Part</strong></td> <td><strong>Component</strong></td> <td><strong>Price</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Case</td> <td class="item-dark">NZXT Phantom 530</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146107&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$130</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>PSU</td> <td>Cooler Master Silent Pro M2, 1000 watts</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171076&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$180</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Mobo</td> <td class="item-dark">Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128707&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner">$175</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU</td> <td>Intel Core i7-4790K</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117369&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner">$340</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cooler</td> <td>Corsair Hydro Series H100i</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181032&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$95</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>GPU</td> <td>EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB 03G-P4-3784-KR</td> <td><a href=" http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130951&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$530</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>4x 4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws F3-12800CL9Q-16GBRL&nbsp;</td> <td><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231315&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$150</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Optical Drive</td> <td>LG WH14NS40 Blu-ray Burner</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136250&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$70</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>SSD</td> <td>Samsung 840 Evo 500GB MZ-7TE500BW</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147249&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$260</a></td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD</td> <td>Seagate Barracuda 3TB ST3000DM001</td> <td><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;222199927;45833272;q?http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-BOTB-_-NA-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank">$110</a></td> </tr> <tr style="text-align: right;"> <td style="text-align: left;"><strong>TOTAL = $2040<br /></strong></td> <td style="text-align: right;" colspan="2"><strong>Click here to see the live bundle price:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1806346&amp;cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-Combo-1806346-Performance-_-MaximumPC_BluePrint-_-NA&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/omega_maximumpc/img/newegg.jpg" alt="buy online at newegg" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">THIS BUILD PREVIOUSLY FEATURED a quad-core Ivy Bridge-E (IVB-E) CPU on the LGA 2011 platform, aka X79. With the zippy Devil’s Canyon CPUs available, we’ve switched to Intel’s Core i7-4790K. It’s a refresh of the company’s newer “Haswell” generation on the less expensive LGA 1150 platform. Since LGA 1150 is limited to 16 PCI Express lanes, whereas X79 has 40, the new mobo and CPU don’t handle three or more video cards nearly as well. But if you stick to “only” two video cards, you’d need a benchmark to see the difference between the two platforms. Like the i5-4690K, this chip starts at 4GHz and boosts to 4.4GHz. (We also don’t want to recommend an X79 system, since it will be retired within the next few months, in favor of the incompatible <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/haswell-e" target="_blank">LGA 2011-3, aka X99</a>.)</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">We’re also sticking with the GA-Z97X-UD5H motherboard at this higher tier, because its mixture of price, performance, and features is hard to beat. We could get a less expensive SSD, but money isn’t as strong of a concern at this tier.</p> </div> http://www.maximumpc.com/build_pc_recommended_builds_august2014#comments affordable august 2014 blueprint budget Build a PC cheap computer performance Recommended Builds Features Mon, 18 Aug 2014 22:02:34 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 28371 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nvidia Shield Tablet Review http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_shield_tablet_review_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Updated: Now with video review!&nbsp;</h3> <p>Despite its problems, we actually liked <a title="Nvidia Shield review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_shield_review_2013" target="_blank">Nvidia’s original Shield Android gaming handheld</a>. Our biggest issue with it was that it was bulky and heavy. With rumors swirling around about a Shield 2, we were hoping to see a slimmer, lighter design. So consider us initially disappointed when we learned that the next iteration of Shield would just be yet another Android tablet. Yawn, right? The fact of the matter is that the Shield Tablet may be playing in an oversaturated market, but it’s still great at what it sets out to be.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dGigsxi9-K4" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We've updated our review to include the video review above.</strong></p> <p>At eight inches, the Shield Tablet features a gorgeous 1900x1200 display, which shares the same resolution as Google’s flagship <a title="nexus 7 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/google_nexus_7_review_2013" target="_blank">Nexus 7</a> tablet. At 13.1 ounces, the Shield Tablet is about three ounces heavier than the Nexus 7 but still a lot lighter than the original’s 1 lb. 4.7 ounces.&nbsp;</p> <p>Part of the weight increase with the Shield Tablet over the Nexus 7 is due to the extra inch that you’re getting from the screen, but also because the Shield Tablet is passively cooled and has an extra thermal shield built inside to dissipate heat. It’s a little heavier than we like, but isn’t likely to cause any wrist problems. On the back of the Shield is an anti-slip surface and a 5MP camera, and on the front of the tablet is a front-facing 5MP camera and two front-facing speakers. While the speakers are not going to blow away dedicated Bluetooth speakers, they sound excellent for a tablet. In addition to the speakers, the Shield Tablet has a 3.5mm headphone jack up at the top. Other ports include Micro USB, Mini HDMI out, and a MicroSD card slot capable of taking up to 128GB cards. Buttons on the Shield include a volume rocker and a power button, which we found to be a little small and shallow for our liking.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/shield_tablet_exploded_view_black_bckgr.jpg" alt="Nvidia Shield Tablet guts" title="Nvidia Shield Tablet guts" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The guts of the Nvidia Shield Tablet.</strong></p> <p>All of this is running on the latest version of Android KitKat (4.4). Nvidia says that it will update the tablet to Android L within a few weeks of Google’s official release. If Nvidia’s original Shield is any indication of how well the company keeps up with OS updates, you should be able to expect to get the latest version of Android after a couple of weeks, if not a months, after release. Regardless, the Shield Tablet is running a pretty stock version of Android to begin with, the main difference being that Nvidia has pre-loaded the tablet with its Shield Hub, which is a 10-foot UI used to purchase, download, and launch games.</p> <p>Arguably, the real star of the tablet is Nvidia’s new Tegra K1 mobile superchip. The 2.2GHz quad-core A15 SOC features Nvidia’s Kepler GPU architecture and 192 CUDA cores along with 2GB of low-power DDR3. K1 supports many of the graphical features commonplace in GeForce graphics cards, including tesselation, HDR lighting, Global illumination, subsurface scattering, and more.</p> <p>In our performance benchmarks, the K1 killed it. Up until now, the original Shield’s actively cooled Tegra 4 is arguably one of the most, if not <em>the</em> most, powerful Android SOC on the market, but the K1 slaughters it across the board. In Antutu and GeekBench benchmark, we saw modest gains of 12 percent to 23 percent in Shield vs. Shield Tablet action. But in Passmark and GFX Bench’s Trex test, we saw nearly a 50 percent spread, and in 3DMark’s mobile Icestorm Unlimited test, we saw an astounding 90 percent advantage for the Shield Tablet. This is incredible when you consider that the tablet has no fans and a two-watt TDP. Compared to the second-gen Nexus 7, the Shield Tablet benchmarks anywhere from 77 percent to 250 percent faster. This SOC is smoking fast.</p> <p>In terms of battery life, Nvidia claims you’ll get 10 hours watching/surfing the web and about five hours from gaming with its 19.75 Wh battery. This is up 3.75 Wh up from Google’s Nexus 7 equivalent, and from our experiential tests, we found those figures to be fairly accurate if not a best-case scenario. It will pretty much last you all day, but you'll still want to let it sip juice every night.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/shield_tablet_shield_controller_war_thunder.jpg" alt="Shield Tablet review" title="Shield Tablet review" width="620" height="343" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The new wireless controller uses Wi-Fi Direct instead of Bluetooth for lower latency.</strong></p> <p>Of course, if you’re going to game with it, you’re going to need Nvidia’s new wireless Shield Controller. Sold separately for $60, the 11.2-ounce Shield Controller maintains the same button layout as the original Shield controller, but feels a lot lighter and is more comfortable to hold. While most Android game controllers operate over Bluetooth, Nvidia opted to go with Wi-Fi Direct, stating that it offers 2x faster response time and more bandwidth. The extra bandwidth allows you to plug a 3.5mm headphone into the controller and also allows you to link up to four controllers to the device, which is an appreciated feature when you hook up the tablet to your HDTV via the Shield Tablet’s <a title="shield console mode" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_sweetens_shield_console_android_442_kitkat_price_drop_199_through_april" target="_blank">Console Mode</a>. Other unique features of the controller include capacitive-touch buttons for Android’s home, back, and play buttons. There’s also a big green Nvidia button that launches Shield Hub. The controller also has a small, triangle-shaped clickable touch pad which allows you to navigate your tablet from afar. One quibble with it is that we wish the trackpad was more square, to at least mimic the dimensions of the tablet; the triangle shape was a little awkward to interface with. Another problem that we initially had with the controller was that the + volume button stopped working after a while. We contacted Nvidia about this and the company sent us a new unit, which remedied the issue. One noticeable feature missing from the controller is rumble support. Nvidia said this was omitted on the original Shield to keep the weight down; its omission is a little more glaring this time around, however, since there's no screen attached to the device.</p> <p>The controller isn’t the only accessory that you’ll need to purchase separately if you want to tap into the full Shield Tablet experience. To effectively game with the tablet, you’ll need the Shield Tablet cover, which also acts as a stand. Like most tablets, a magnet in the cover shuts off the Shield Tablet when closed, but otherwise setting up the cover and getting it to act as a stand is initially pretty confusing. The cover currently only comes in black, and while we’re generally not big on marketing aesthetics, it would be nice to have an Nvidia green option to give the whole look a little more pop. We actually think the cover should just be thrown in gratis, especially considering that the cheapest 16GB model costs $300. On the upside though, you do get Nvidia’s new passive DirectStylus 2 that stows away nicely in the body of the Shield Tablet. Nvidia has pre-installed note-writing software and its own Nvidia Dabbler painting program. The nice thing about Dabbler is that it leverages the K1’s GPU acceleration so that you can virtually paint and blend colors in real time. There’s also a realistic mode where the “paint” slowly drips down the virtual canvas like it would in real life.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/shield_tablet_shield_controller_trine2_0.jpg" alt="Shield tablet review" title="Shield tablet review" width="620" height="404" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Shield Controller is a lot lighter and less blocky than the original Shield Portable.</strong></p> <p>But that’s probably not why you’re interested in the Shield Tablet. This device is first and foremost a gaming tablet and even comes with a free Android copy of Trine 2. Trine 2 was originally a PC game and it’s made a great transition to the Shield Tablet. While the game was never known to be a polygon pusher, it looks just as good as it ever did on its x86 debut.&nbsp;</p> <p>With gaming as the primary driver for Shield Tablet, you may wonder why Nvidia didn’t bundle its new controller. The company likely learned from Microsoft’s mistake with Kinect and the Xbox One: Gamers don’t like to spend money and getting the price as low as possible was likely on Nvidia’s mind. Of course, not everyone may even want a controller, with the general lack of support for them in games. Nvidia says there are now around 400 Android titles that support its controller, but that’s only a small percentage of Android games and the straight truth is that the overwhelming majority of these games are garbage.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nvidia is making a push for Android gaming, however. The company worked with Valve to port over Half Life 2 and Portal to the Shield and they look surprisingly fantastic and are easily the two prettiest games on Android at the moment. Whether Android will ever become a legitimate platform for hardcore gaming is anyone’s guess, but at least the Shield Tablet will net you a great front seat if the time ever arises.</p> <p>Luckily, you won’t have to rely solely on the Google Play store to get your gaming fix. Emulators run just as well here as they did on the original Shield and this iteration of Shield is also compatible with Gamestream, which is Nvidia’s streaming technology that allows you to stream games from your PC to your Shield. Gamestream, in theory, lets you play your controller-enabled PC games on a Shield.</p> <p>At this point, Nvidia says Gamestream supports more than 100 games such as Batman: Arkham Origins and Titanfall from EA’s Origin and Valve’s Steam service. The problem, though, is that there are hundreds more games on Steam and Origin that support controllers—but not the Shield Tablet’s controller. For example, Final Fantasy VII, a game that we couldn’t get to work with the original Shield, still isn't supported even though it works with an Xbox controller on the PC. When Gamestream does work, however, it’s relatively lag-free and kind of wonderful. The one caveat here is that you’ll have to get a 5GHz dual-band router to effectively get it working.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/rh7fWdQT2eE" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Nvidia Shield Video demo.</strong></p> <p>Would we buy the Shield Tablet if we owned the original Shield (now renamed the Shield Portable)? Probably not. If we were looking for a new tablet and top-notch gaming performance was on the checklist, the Shield Tablet is easily the top contender today. We’d take it over the second-gen Nexus 7 in a heartbeat. While we understand why Nvidia decided to separate the cover and controller to keep the prices down and avoid the Kinect factor, we think a bundled package with a small price break as an alternative would have been nice. All things considered though, consider us surprised. The Shield Tablet is pretty dang cool.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>$300</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Update:</strong> The original article incorrectly labled the Shield Portable benchmarks with the Nexus 7 figures. The issue has been resolved and both benchmark charts are listed below.&nbsp;</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_shield_tablet_review_2014#comments android Google Hardware KitKat maximum pc nvidia portable Review shield tablet wireless controller News Reviews Tablets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 21:36:57 +0000 Jimmy Thang 28263 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rebooted King's Quest Adventure Game Won't Be a Point and Click http://www.maximumpc.com/rebooted_kings_quest_adventure_game_wont_be_point_and_click_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kingsquest.jpg" alt="King's Quest" title="King's Quest" width="228" height="144" style="float: right;" />King's Quest is coming back in a different way</h3> <p>News broke last week at Gamescom that Activision is bringing back the Sierra brand, which it will use as a launching ground for different indie developed titles. One of the first will be a reimagined version of <em>King's Quest</em> developed by The Odd Gentlemen, a small game studio known for <em>The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom</em>. There aren't a lot of details to share just yet, but one thing we do know is that the <strong>reimagined King's Quest won't be a point-and-click game</strong>.</p> <p>"There's not much I can say about King's Quest," Activision's MacLean Marshall posted to Twitter. "All I can say is that I've seen it, and it's not a point-and-click game. But it looks awesome."</p> <p>The Odd Gentlemen later took to Twitter to clarify that even though it won't be a point-and-click title like the original, "the game is very much an adventure game. It doesn't only use the mouse."</p> <p>Marshall had a lot more to say to <a href="http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2014/08/16/sierra-s-new-king-s-quest-won-t-be-a-point-and-click-adventure.aspx" target="_blank"><em>GameInformer</em></a> about the sudden Sierra movement,<a href="http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2014/08/16/sierra-s-new-king-s-quest-won-t-be-a-point-and-click-adventure.aspx" target="_blank"><em></em></a> though nothing too specific about King's Quest, other than Activision might allow more than one studio to use the same characters and universe. Color us intrigued.</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/rebooted_kings_quest_adventure_game_wont_be_point_and_click_2014#comments adventure game king's quest point-and-click Sierra Software News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:49:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28370 at http://www.maximumpc.com