We like you. We spend all year being nice to you—giving you the scoop on hardware, software, games, and news from the industry. We may not always be nice to companies or products, but we're always nice to our readers.
Well, nearly always. You see, every year the editors at Maximum PC get together in a big room with no windows or doors or air and hash out a series of questions for our annual Geek Quiz. Some are easy. Some are not. Some might have you pulling out your hair in frustration (those are our favorites).
But we're not doing this just to be cruel. See, if you do well, you get the satisfaction of showing us up, plus a standardized score that you can show people to prove how awesome you are. And if you don't do so well, hey, you get to learn stuff! Looking up answers on your favorite search engine, by the way, is strictly verboten.
So, whip out those #2 pencils and that slide rule, step away from the Google, and get ready to prove your mettle.
Ninety percent of the time, when I attempt to turn on my PC it powers up for a second then immediately shuts down. The other 10 percent of the time, it boots but I get no video signal. I’ve had it looked at by a local shop, which tested each component individually (except the mobo) and found them working properly. I’ve done some troubleshooting myself and I’ve gone through the wire diagrams and everything seems to be plugged in right. However, it doesn’t sound like my hard drive is turning on. I was hoping you had some ideas before I try a new hard drive. I’ve already put in a new power supply but that didn’t change anything. Any ideas?
I have a Gateway P-7811FX gaming laptop. I was looking at getting a 37-inch 1080p LCD TV to hook up through the HDMI port to extend the monitor/play games/watch movies on. I found an external Blu-ray disc drive that hooks up through the USB port on the laptop. Will this setup give me good quality video to watch on the large TV? If not, any other suggestions?
Read the answer to Peter's question after the jump.
I have an Acer L310 that runs Vista Home. Recently, I have only been able to start in Safe Mode. When I try to start in normal mode my monitor won’t work, but when I go with Safe Mode with Networking the monitor works. How can I get around this?
Read the answer to Terrence's question after the jump.
Pardon us if we’re so oversaturated with so-called “extreme” potato chips and soda that we’re skeptical about anything bearing that moniker.
It doesn’t help that Nexto’s eXtreme ND2700 hardly looks the part. When we actually fired up the ND2700 and started copying files to it, however, we almost had to let out a whoop. Using a 16GB SanDisk, umm, Extreme III CF card, the ugly little ND2700 copied roughly 8.3GB of image files in 11:27 (min:sec). That’s about how fast it would take you to dump the files to your desktop via USB and that’s good news for people who think the microwave is too slow.
The ND2700 comes with a standard USB cable, as well as an eSATA cable and a short USB pig tail that lets you hook up a USB flash drive or hard drive so you can also back up all your files with the push of a button.
What would be the best way (time efficient) to capture video from my DirecTV DVR to my PC? I don’t want to capture Hollywood movies—I can buy those. My interest is in capturing the near 100 hours of Brazilian Carnival on my DVR, then editing it down to a “best of” DVD or two. My PC has plenty of USB ports and free PCI-E and PCI expansion slots available.
Read the answer to Jeff's question after the jump.
Web applications are quickly gaining popularity over desktop programs for day-to-day tasks like email and calendar management, but you have to run a web browser and be tethered to an Internet connection to take advantage of these services. Luckily for you, both Google Chrome and Firefox actually offer the ability to turn these web apps into desktop applications.
Not many games let you turn your arm into a long steel blade and cut people in half—top half going this-a-way, bottom half going that-a-way. Even fewer let you turn your hands into giant claws to cut off your victims’ legs, too. And as far as we know, not one has ever let you run diagonally up the side of building, skitter over a collapsing fire escape, and take a leaping vault off the roof as your hand—now a 50-yard whip—tags a hovering ’copter and reels you toward the cockpit to the horror of the doomed pilots. Such is the awesome power you’ll wield in Prototype, Activision’s apocalyptic and wildly entertaining third-person action-adventure.
Events begin grimly, as Alex Mercer wakes up in a morgue. He quickly discovers that he’s become a nearly indestructible shape-shifter capable of creating weapons out of his flesh and disguising himself as anyone he consumes, among other interesting abilities—such as making giant spikes pop out of the ground to skewer his enemies. So, when the amnesiac Mercer wanders topside into a plague-ridden Manhattan and finds himself pursued by crazed pedestrians, the military, and genetic mutants, he doesn’t hesitate to break out the cutlery.
Streaming boxes are a mixed bag these days. With super-polished commercial offerings like the AppleTV, as well as streaming functionality integrated in every other consumer electronics device—from the Xbox 360 to the TiVo—we thought the age of the dedicated streaming box had passed. However, the SageTV HD Theater offers something a little different than the typical UPNP or DLNA streaming box—but it’ll cost you.
Starting with the additional $80 for SageTV’s Media Center app, which should be a requirement for using the HD Theater. If you install the SageTV software on a PC equipped with an HDTV card, it turns that PC into a fully functional PVR, complete with an onscreen guide and basic scheduling functionality. SageTV’s Media Center is an acceptable PVR, offering more customizability than Windows Media Center and none of its annoying DRM, albeit in a less-polished product. The software’s 10-foot interface is incredibly customizable, but can be a little unwieldy and slow to browse, even when run on a fast PC.
How do I, at a reasonable cost, back up all of my data? Long ago, when hard drives were 40GB, 4.7GB DVDs were a reasonable means of backup. But now with multi-terabyte hard drives there doesn’t seem to be any reasonable backup method. Right now I’m using RAID 5 rather than backing up my data. I have a RAID with five 1TB drives in it and I’m relying on the redundancy as the backup. I looked into tape backup drives and found that the cheapest 800GB LTO-4 drive was $1,800 and the tapes run $50 each. As it turns out, I could build another system, put together a duplicate array and back up one to the other for less than the cost of the tape drive. Is there any such thing as affordable backup anymore? I can’t find anything. Blu-ray isn’t even affordable yet, and it’s already too small for backups.