Our 2008 Dream Machine rises from the, well, not quite ashes
The Mission Our 2008 Dream Machine was a thing of beauty. We took the case from one of HP’s ambitious-but-doomed Blackbird 002s, slathered it in chrome (because we could), and built a water-cooled monster, with two Core 2 Quad QX9775 CPUs, two ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 GPUs, and a whopping 8GB of DDR2. To power it all we had PC Power & Cooling whip us up a custom 1,200W PSU. It was quite a machine in its day.
Every year around late December or early January the internet is bombarded with the top “whatever and such and such” of 2008. Here at Maximum PC we stopped to reflect on our favorite gaming moments, and even cracked the lid on the best of open source; but we never took the time to focus on the hilarious technological flops of the year now past. Luckily however, Tom’s Hardware has put together a fairly comprehensive list. Some of which we can agree with, others perhaps worthy of debate. The list includes:
1.) HD DVD 2.) Nvidia’s Mobile GeForce 8400M and 8600M 3.) iPhone Killers 4.) Windows Vista 5.) Mobile Television 6.) OLED Displays 7.) Phenom X3 8.) The Microsoft Yahoo Proposed Merger 9.) GPGPU 10.) Sony Ericsson XPeria X1 11.) HybridPower: Pseudo-Green 12.) Sony Batteries 13.) Fiber Optics 14.) Non-HD DTT 15.) GTA IV For PC
I’m sure we have more then a few readers that will jump to the defense of some of these items such as Windows Vista and perhaps OLED or Fiber, but it’s hard to argue with the bulk of it.
What do you think should be added or subtracted from the list?
Years from now, when future geeks muse over the history of PC tech, what will they remember about 2008? That’s the question we sought to answer when we compiled this comprehensive technology retrospective of the last year. Make no mistake, identifying and sorting the year’s most significant tech events was no easy task. We locked ourselves in a room where we mentally relived the last 12 months, pondering hundreds of items of note and debating the importance of each to find its appropriate rank on our list. Behold the result: our countdown of the 250 items representing the most noteworthy events and product releases that shaped the PC computing landscape in 2008.
We've given you the gear. Now take a trip into the Maximum PC Lab with an exclusive Web-only look at how we constructed this year's Dream Machine 2008--the fastest PC you can buy, hands-down. Be there for all the heart-wrenching fluid leaks! The painstaking storage decisions! The bits and pieces we had to break just to achieve our Dream Machine...dreams!
If you have yet to check out what we packed into this rig, be sure to catch up on our first, second, and third looks at the parts of this over-customized rig. But if you're ready, then pop open the Lab door by clicking that little "Read More" link and take a look at how Maximum PC master-builders brought forth this year's PC powerhouse!
Yes, it’s that time of year again when we pay tribute to software. For without it, our badass rigs would have nothing to do to but look pretty. Indeed, it’s the programs we run that show us what our machines are truly capable of. The challenge, of course, is in deciding which applications and utilities are most deserving of special honor, not to mention a coveted silver-esque statue.
In the November 2007 issue, we took an in-depth look at RAID—short for Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks—and broke down the pros, cons, and most importantly, speeds of the various RAID permutations you would find on a typical multidrive setup. Here we’ll examine the medium itself: the RAID controller, which tells the drives in a RAID setup how to interact. As you’ll see, there are RAID controllers of differing types, technologies, and price points, and we want to learn whether these variations translate into performance differences. After all, even the fastest RAID configuration ultimately depends on the performance capabilities of its physical host.
If you’re running your CPU at stock speeds, you’re missing out on your PC’s true potential, because processors often harbor power beyond their official specs. Your proc, for example, might be rated to run at 3GHz but is actually capable of operating reliably at 3.3GHz. There are myriad reasons for the hidden headroom, ranging from natural variance among parts (even those made from the same batch), to the manufacturers’ practice of underclocking parts to meet market needs, to the improved capabilities of a part over the lifetime of its production.