Two cases enter, one case leaves: That’s the gist of our mini-roundup this month. We’re still amazed sometimes at the disparity in production quality between cases. Sometimes, it’s as if manufacturers really don’t even bother giving the case a quick run-through before sending it off to retailers. Other times, it feels as if manufacturers go over their cases with a fine-toothed comb, checking every detail and nuance to eliminate even the smallest of possible annoyances.
Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
There was a time when home automation was a toy only for the wealthy (for whom it worked because they could afford the incredibly expensive hardware) or the extremely geeky (for whom it sometimes worked because the hardware they could afford was reasonably priced but buggy— we’re talking about you, X10). Belkin hopes to change that with its WeMo line.
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
In a twist on our annual AV roundup, we let you, the readers, pick the 10 contenders for best antivirus software!
Every year, antivirus vendors paint the same gloom-and-doom portrait, their canvases filled with startling statistics outlining the rapid spread of malware. As a consumer, the natural reaction is to look at these reports with a fistful of salt and a sack of skepticism—after all, AV vendors have a vested interest in promoting a need for security software, but are we really as vulnerable as they say? It all depends on your computing habits, but make no mistake, the web is a dangerous place to roam.
Note: This article was taken from the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
Like Dear Esther and Journey before it, Proteus has some pundits revving up their “is it a game?” arguments again. It’s funny, but I don’t recall a similar chariness when we started putting simulations—which arguably include most shooters and RPGs—under the rubric of “game.”
Note: This column was taken from the April 2013 issue.
Budget is as budget does, but Silverstone’s RL04 just feels incomplete—or ill-designed—across a number of key areas. We suppose this case is worth looking into if you’re tired of running all your parts and pieces on an open-air design—as in, propped up on cardboard boxes or Styrofoam. Otherwise, it’s worth your while to explore some of the other cases in the sub-$80 category; the RL04 just isn’t all that compelling.
Note: This review was taken from the May issue of the magazine.
What’s a watt? Depends how you measure it. Electrical engineers agree that watts equals volts times amps, but they start disagreeing when measuring the power dissipation of a microprocessor. Power consumption varies with the software workload, which can be anything from a program’s idle loop to a high-frame-rate videogame.
Note: This article was taken from the April issue of the magazine.
All expecting parents have read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, because when that little bundle of joy drops out of mommy, you’d better be ready with lots of paper towels and a whole lot of specialized knowledge about what to do from that moment forward. Though it’s not quite as messy (or scary), a new PC requires a similar sort of informed approach if you want to raise it properly from the moment it squirts out of the Fed Ex truck and into your life. You’ll be tempted to pick it up and coo, “Who's a widdle PC?,” and then immediately benchmark the shinola out of it. We understand the impulse, and the excitement, but hold your horses, cowboy. You’ve got to take it slow with a new rig, and get it set up correctly the first time, or else all your future efforts will be for naught. That’s where we come in.
Note: This article was originally featured in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Just before the release of the GeForce GTX Titan this month, AMD held a conference call with tech media to reiterate its position in the market today, its plans going forward, and to drive home one particular point: AMD has the fastest hardware available, period. At the time of the call, we thought, “Well, that’s debatable.” But AMD pressed on, and further clarified its position by stating that the Asus Ares II was the fastest GPU available, bar none. Since most of us on the call hadn’t seen that card, and most people never will since only 999 were produced, we didn’t dispute the claim, nor did we have the data to know if the claim was correct. Well, about a week later, the card arrived from Asus and now that we’ve run the benchmarks, it looks like AMD was telling the truth—the Ares II is without a doubt the fastest single-card GPU available. So step aside, Nvidia GeForce GTX 690, there’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s not only faster in benchmarks, it runs cooler and quieter, to boot.
Note: This review was originally featured in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
The half-eviscerated zombie of first-person shooters
Perhaps if poor Isaac Clarke had been able to switch parts with the late Isaac Hayes, Dead Space 3 might have been a bit less boring. At this point, we’d gladly throw in a few Chef-like wisecracks just to liven up the game a tad—might as well rename this one “Dull Space 3.”
Note: This review was taken from the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
Calea is an 18-year-old wiretapping law that’s meant to give law enforcement access to communications. Of course, in 1994, most of us weren’t on the net yet, and Congress had just discovered that their secretaries were talking into the telegraph machines. Tapping was a simple affair. All the calls came into one centralized point: the telephone company. The FBI could present the telephone company with a warrant and listen in.
Note: This column was originally featured in the April issue of the magazine.