The transition to Wireless-AC networks is happening at a pretty brisk pace. We just recently wrapped up a roundup of several 802.11ac routers (you'll find it in the upcoming March issue of Maximum PC), and as CES kicks into full swing, even more AC routers are being announced. Buffalo just added three to the growing pile of options, including the AirStation Extreme AC 1900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WXR-1900DHP, AirStation 1200 Dual Band Wireless Router WHR-1166D, and the AirStation AC433 Wireless Travel Router WMR-433.
Even though Hewlett-Packard relinquished its spot as the top PC maker (in terms of shipments) in 2013, it isn't giving up on PCs. Instead, HP just announced the Z1 G2, the second generation of the world's first and only all-in-one (AIO) workstation with a 27-inch display, now available with touch support for Windows 8/8.1 and Thunderbolt 2 capabilities. According to HP, it's the most powerful and fully featured AIO in its lineup.
Sennheiser is a name most audio enthusiasts are already familiar with, though it's not all that often that the German maker of audio gear specifically targets gamers. Now with the help of Io-Interactive (part of the Square Enix group and creator of games like Hitman and Kane & Lynch), Sennheiser has gamers directly in its sights with its new G4ME ZERO and G4ME ONE headsets.
Philips just waved a hand in front of professionals looking for a high resolution display and said, "This is the monitor you're looking for." The monitor in question is the Philips UltraClear, a 28-inch panel with a 4K ultra high definition (UHD) resolution (3840x2160) for $1,200. That might not be affordable for the budget buyer shopping a 24-inch 1080p display, but if you're looking to go big, that's a pretty aggressive price tag compared to the crop of 30-inch panels featuring 2560x1600 resolutions.
Let's not sugarcoat things, the McAfee brand isn't one that's well respected among enthusiasts, and it surely didn't help matters that its founder, John McAfee, had quite the adventure the past couple of years, one which started with him being wanted for questioning in a murder investigation in Belize to Mr. McAfee saying he played the "crazy card" in Guatemala to escape capture as part of a conspiracy by the Belize government. Suffice to say, we're not the least bit surprised Intel has decided to phase out the McAfee brand, we just wonder why it took so long.
One thing we simply won't argue is that typing on a mechanical keyboard is a superior experience than pecking away on a membrane-based plank -- there's just no contest. One of the most popular makers of mechanical key switches is Cherry MX, and together with Corsair, the two companies announced the "MX RGB Project" gaming keyboard at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Fanning the flames of Valve's Steam Machine initiative with a Spark
Valve isn't having any trouble lining up hardware partners to build Steam Machine systems of varying power and shapes at different price points. One of those companies is Maingear, a boutique builder out of New Jersey that decided to go with an AMD foundation inside a small form factor (SFF) chassis for its take on a Steam Machine. The aptly named Spark measures only 4.5 inches wide by 4.23 inches deep by 2.34 inches high and weighs less than a pound.
Sylish Steam Machine configurations are slated for the second half of 2014
Let's kick off the week with some good news, shall we? CyberPowerPC just flipped us a note announcing a pair of Steam Machine configurations that come complete with a Steam Controller and Steam OS, and the cost of entry starts at just $499, the same MSRP as Microsoft's Xbox One console. Pretty snazzy, right? Well, the bad news is that you'll have to wait until the second half of the 2014 before you can buy one - drats!
Just when you thought virtual reality might be dead, here came the Oculus Rift, a VR headset that raised nearly $2.5 million on Kickstarter. The Oculus Rift has sparked excitement among gamers and developers alike, prompting other device makers to jump on board the little bandwagon that could (virtual reality). At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, ace reporter and Maximum PC Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang spent a few minutes viewing a demo of the PrioVR suit, a motion control system that doesn't use any cameras.
Belkin has big plans for its Linksys acquisition, and it includes positioning the brand as an enthusiast name. More than just lip service, Linksys announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that it's bringing back one of the best selling routers of all time, the WRT54G, and giving it a makeover for the modern day Internet. Now known as the WRT1900AC, this dual-band wireless router wields a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM-based processor inside its familiar blue and black stackable chassis.