We run benchmarks at Maximum PC because we have to; there’s no other way to determine the minute differences between systems without a repeatable standard of comparison. But you don’t have to be a reviewer to run a benchmark; in fact, regular benchmarking can give you valuable insight into the status of your system. For example, benchmarks are the best way to decipher whether the various performance-enhancing applications you’re running on your PC actually do anything or whether that latest batch of drivers hurt your gaming performance more than it helped.
Nothing flexes our imagination like alternate history scenarios, and
World in Conflict delivers one that has us on the edge of our seat.
It’s the late 1980s, and the Cold War is far from over. The commies
have already made a push to invade Western Europe, and in a desperate
move, have decided to mount a sneak attack on American shores. It’s
your mission to contain the Soviet invasion and retake Seattle before
the invaders paint the country red.
When we think of Quake games, we think of fast-paced deathmatches in
their purest no-nonsense form. In Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, the
latest iteration of the shooter franchise, that visceral run-and-gun
experience still makes up the foundation of gameplay, but the
integration of deep teamplay tactics and mission objectives makes this
a whole new multiplayer animal. The meld of cooperative squadplay and
frenzied firefighting makes for compelling matches, but both deathmatch
and tactical purists may find themselves in slightly unfamiliar
Finishing The Orange Box left us in a state of shock. It wasn’t
Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s requisite cliffhanger ending that floored us;
rather, it was the realization that Episode 2 is the low point of the
entire Orange Box package. Portal and Team Fortress 2 completely
eclipse what Valve bills as the “centerpiece” of the bundle.
Just bought a snazzy new camera that records to AVCHD but don’t have the software to edit it? No problem. Ulead’s VideoStudio 11 Plus pitches itself as the only app capable of fully editing video captured using Sony’s and Panasonic’s new H.264-based codec, which works with mini-DVDs, hard drives, and flash memory inside cameras. (Nero was technically first, but its editor is pretty threadbare.)
Our dreams of moonlighting as DJs will likely never come to pass, but we can at least sharpen our remixing skills with Sony’s Acid Music Studio. Acid has been around for years, but this newb-friendly version of the $375 Acid Pro has delights that are sure to please any aspiring club-thumper.
The primary benefit of near-field studio monitors like KRK’s VXT 4s is that they don’t interact with the room. And that’s exactly what you need if you’re mixing down tracks in a sonically challenged environment such as a home recording studio, which probably doubles as your bedroom, living room, or garage.
We’ve never liked headphones that use active noise cancellation because they simply mask environmental noise by generating background hiss. But Creative’s Aurvana X-Fi headphones are almost good enough to win us over.