When it comes to tablets, we’d wager that most Maximum PC readers lean toward the x86 variety—in theory, at least. Right? It’s the more capable, more flexible option—the natural fit for computer nerds. In fact, with specs that rival an Ultrabook’s, an x86 tablet promises to serve as the ultimate production/consumption device, leveraging Windows 8’s dual persona to optimum effect. We haven’t had face-time with Microsoft’s x86-based Surface Pro standard-bearer—ironically, the company seems uninterested in getting its product in front of these power users—but we do have the Acer W700, an extreme tablet in its own right and a worthy representative of what this new tablet category has to offer.
Note: This review was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
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.
Update: Leaked Intel Roadmap Reveals New Batch of Haswell Chips
Faster hardware shouldn’t be this somber. Yet we can’t help but furrow our brow in concern over Intel’s fourth-generation Core i7 CPU. Yes, in typical Intel fashion, it’s a tour de force of technical achievement and features that’s the envy of the free world. It’s also, by the way, quite fast.
How fast? *Spoiler alert* Let’s just say that the new Core i7-4770K easily unseats the previous midrange sweetheart, the Core i7-3770K, as the best all-around performer, and even gives the high-end hexa-core part a hard time.
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.
With both Intel’s Haswell and Nvidia’s new 700M-series components shrinking and sipping less power, the super-portable, 14-inch, gaming laptop revolution is about to begin. Leading the charge is Razer with its ultra-sleek new Razer Blade gaming notebook, which is a smaller take on the 17-inch version (since rebranded as Razer Blade Pro) we reviewed in our Holiday issue.
The Fujifilm X20 proves that compact digicams aren’t dead yet
Why buy a compact digital camera these days when every smartphone and tablet has a built-in camera? Amateurs and even some professionals are making impressive pictures with phonecams. Phones are almost always handy, and downloadable apps make them infinitely customizable. Just as digital cameras have all but killed film, now phonecams threaten to kill digital cameras—or at least the compact digicams, leaving DSLRs alive for those occasions when nothing but the best will do.
Several months ago, the supreme high-end SSDs from Corsair and Samsung faced off in the Octagon known as the top of our desk area that holds drives being tested. In that blood-curdling battle (in which neither drive moved nor made a sound), the Samsung 840 Pro was victorious, vanquishing its opponent by a slim margin in a contest where zero trash talk was delivered by either storage device. This month, Round Two commences as the companies’ value-conscious SSDs clash like cars in a demolition derby by sitting quietly on a test bench while we perform benchmarks upon them. Neither of these drives is as fast as their top-tier brethren, but they are priced accordingly, and both are a damned-good value.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Sony markets its Vaio Tap 20 as a mobile desktop, but you could say that about any portable computer. We think “laptablet” is closer to the mark. With its 20-inch display, the Tap 20 is both a big laptop and a gargantuan tablet. And it wouldn’t make any sense at all without Windows 8.
Note: This review was taken from the April issue of the magazine.