Earlier this month, we ran a feature showing you which parts to buy if you wanted to build an affordable-yet-kick-ass $1300 lean machine. This week, we’re moving up from budget PC recommendations to our power user picks. But with great power, comes great cost. Monetary costs, that is. Our Power User’s PC costs $2500 without a monitor of peripherals – the high end of what we’d expect a PC enthusiast to spend when pieceing together a new rig. We also want to clarify what we mean by Power User’s PC. We see the Power User as someone who maximizes his PC’s processing potential. This person encodes media files, burns high-definition discs, and manipulates image, audio and video files. Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while multitasking in Photoshop.
Click through to see if our $2500 Power User's PC is right for you!
Search Engine Roundtablereports that Google Maps now provides optional walking directions. Just click Get Directions, enter the starting and ending addresses, click the Get Directions button, and select the Walking option. You get a map with walker-friendly directions (no freeways for you!) and timings as part of the package.
In my tests, Google Maps provided useful walking directions for locations within about 6 miles of the starting location. However, if you're wanting to plan a longer hike, you're on your own.
Hit the jump for a chance to give us your feedback.
ArsTechnicareports that a July 15 visit by Intel representatives to the FCC wasn't a social call. Instead, Intel is encouraging the FCC to mandate the addition of Ethernet ports to the set-top boxes used by cable TV companies. Their rationale? IP based networking is just about everywhere, except in cable TV, and it's about time to enable cable TV to join the home networking revolution.
It is about time to get cable TV on the home network, but should Intel ask the government to force the industry to do it? To find out why Intel thinks it's the government's role, and for a different take on the argument, see us after the jump.
One of the big announcements at this year’s Gamefest – Microsoft’s XNA developers conference taking place in Seattle right now – is the next step for the Games for Windows initiative. We spoke with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who gave us a breakdown of the updated service and how it’ll affect current GFW account owners. Kevin also clued us into the details from the official DirectX 11 unveiling, including what three new features have been added to the API.
Click through the jump for more details, and how this affects gamers who've already paid for GFW LIVE accounts.
AMD's struggles have been well documented ever since forfeiting the performance crown to Intel, but perhaps all the company needed was a swift kick in the rump. That appears to be what the company's getting with newly inaugurated Dirk Meyer at the helm serving as AMD's CEO, who had no qualms announcing that his company has initiated a pilot production of microprocessors using a 45nm fabrication processor. That puts the Santa Clara chip maker on track to deliver shipping products in volume in early fourth quarter.
"We are well on track with the 45nm plan as we have been telling this group about in the past. We have actually started production late last quarter and are on track to start buying shipments early in Q4," said Dirk Meyer during the conference call.
That has to be good news to nervous investors, who earlier this month saw their stock fall by as much as 7 percent following news that AMD would take a near billion dollar charge in the second quarter. And while Hector Ruiz's subsequent departure just days later might have signaled to some that the end was near, Meyer's confidence in AMD's ability to stay on schedule with its 45nm plans has to be appreciated by anyone pulling for the Intel competitor (which should be everyone). Before the announcement, analysts were expecting 45nm shipments to start in late Q4, and nobody seems to know what exactly AMD has planned as part of its refocusing strategy. A compelling alternative to Nehalem, perhaps? Let's hope so.
Ever get that eerie feeling you're being watched? Forget what your therapist told you, you have every right to be paranoid. NEC Corp. has just developed a new 50-inch plasma display that not only likes being watched, but watches back. On top of the display sits a tiny camera capable of identifying a person's age and sex, and it can perform the same trick with a group of viewers. Armed with that information, the display can then target advertisements based on the predominate demographic. For example, if most of the viewers are determined to be senior citizens, it might show an ad for the Jitterbug instead of Apple's iPhone.
"Changing advertising products in accordance with the viewer would bring advertising closer to the purchaser," said Hiroshi Takahashi at NEC's solution business promotion division.
And he's right, but is that a good thing? Imagine stopping near a billboard with your longtime girlfriend and as you bend down on one knee to propose, the display starts belting out a "Viva Viagra!" jingle. Or Herpex. Interested parties need only hold their cell phone over a special device and the display will feed them a URL, coupons, and any other pertinent information, but depending on what's being advertised, you may want to wait until your girlfriend's not looking.
The 50-inch display will make an appearance later this summer at an annual festival in Tokyo run by Fuji Television network and be presented as an entertainment device. Visitors will know they're being watched, but will they like it?
The guys at CruchGear want to design a web tablet that would cost $200 and they want your help to do it. I’ve always liked the idea of a tablet for doing little things like surfing from the sofa. With netbooks catching on, can a net-tablet be far behind?
They pitch this basic idea; make it as thin as possible, run low end hardware, headphone jack, a built in camera for video, low end speakers, microphone, wifi, USB port, a built in battery, 512 RAM, and a 4Gb solid state hard drive. No keyboard, input is via a touch screen. It will run on some flavor of Linux or BSD.
The extra twist is they want to build a few and then open source the specs so anyone can create and improve on them. I like the idea! You can read about the mock up here, and the article that started it here.
I see it as handy item for browsing the web and reading email, but with it's only interface is a touch screen, don't expect to write a book the size of War and Peace on it.
We still have a ways to go before being able to print out an entire PC's worth of components ordered through Newegg, but imagine taking that killer motherboard layout you've been brewing in your head and printing out a 3D mockup. Then the only question is do you send your design to your favorite motherboard maker, or start up your own company and show the competition what a real enthusiast's layout is supposed to look like? Forget about Fatal1ty, and slap your own forum nick on your custom mobo!
Sound farfetched? It is, but only because of the high costs associated with 3D printing. Looking to break that barrier is Netherlands-based Shapeways, an ambitious startup who hopes to help you transform your 3D modeling designs from software creations into hard printouts, all without breaking the bank. After submitting your object, Shapeways decides whether or not it can be produced and provides a real-time cost estimate, which the company claims usually runs between $50-$150.
It's all part of Shapeways' private beta for a new online consumer co-creation community and do-it-yourself 3D printing service. The site beta has just gone live, but the only way you'll get to try it out is with an invite. That's no problem for Maximum PC readers, as we've secured 250 exclusive invitations!
Hit the jump to learn more about Shapeways' 3D printing service and to snatch your invite. But hurry, they're first come, first served!
Remember that old economics lesson about supply and demand? If demand for a product rises, the company producing it can raise the price to the point where the supply and demand curves intersect. But when the demand for a product is almost non-existent, the invisible hand of economics demands that price falls. In the case of Microsoft’s Games for Windows LIVE initiative, the price has now fallen to zero. Microsoft just announced today that Games for Windows LIVE will be free for all users (both Silver and Gold accounts), which is the price it should’ve been at all along. Gamertags, buddy lists, and achievements will be enabled on all accounts without an annual fee, though gamers who play on Xbox LIVE will still have to pay for that service.
Check back later today for our interview with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who will reveal what other plans Microsoft has next for the GFW program. Click through the jumpf for Microsoft's official press release.
Don't worry, you needn't fear seeing your neighborhood turned into a tricked out light display with gimmicky LEDs (the same can't be said about your neighbors' PCs), but inside those homes, incandescent and compact fluorescent lightbulbs might be on their way to becoming extinct. Helping put them on the endangered tech list are researchers at Purdue University who claim to have found a way to create low-cost LEDs.
Light-emitting diodes are said to be about four times more efficient than your standard lightbulb, they're easier on the environment, and with a lifespan perhaps as long as 15 years, LEDs seem destined to light up your living room. One thing preventing them from doing that are the high manufacturing costs, driven in large part by a costly sapphire substrate used to make LEDs. Compared to conventional incandescent and fluorescent lightbulbs, LED replacements would be at least 20 times more expensive.
Find out how researchers from Purdue University say they can get around the cost barrier associated with LEDs after the jump.