This month's Rig of the Month is a bit of an oddball. It's no DotaBox or Weighted Companion Cube, but we still think it's pretty awesome. Anthony Febre was inspired when someone asked if he was running a toaster. It's not the most original insult, but it makes for an amazingly original case mod.
What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget Gamer, Mid-Grade, and Turbo. Budget Gamer gets you respectable performance without bruising your wallet, Mid-Grade gets you something beefier and more adaptable, and Turbo is an investment-grade powerhouse.
This month, we find out what it takes to run games at 4K, and do so using a sweet open-air test bench
The computer world loves it when specs double from one generation to the next. We’ve gone from 16-bit to 32-bit, and finally 64-bit computing. We had 2GB RAM sticks, then 4GB, then 8GB. With monitor resolutions, 1920x1080 has been the standard for a while, but we never quite doubled it, as 2560x1600 was a half-step, but now that 4K resolution has arrived, it’s effectively been exactly doubled, with the panels released so far being 3840x2160. We know it’s not actually 4,000 pixels, but everyone is still calling it “4K.” Though resolution is doubled over 1080p, it’s the equivalent number of pixels as four 1080p monitors, so it takes a lot of horsepower to play games smoothly. For example, our 2013 Dream Machine used four Nvidia GeForce GTX Titans and a CPU overclocked to 5GHz to handle it. Those cards cost $4,000 altogether though, so it wasn’t a scenario for mere mortals. This month, we wanted to see what 4K gaming is like with more-affordable parts. We also wanted to try a distinctive-looking open test bench from DimasTech. This type of case is perfect for SLI testing, too, since it makes component installation and swapping much quicker.
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2014 issue of the magazine.
What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget Gamer, Mid-Grade, and Turbo. That's right, we're mixing things up again. No more rotation of four systems into three slots. For the foreseeable future, there will always be a budget system in our Blueprints section. Yay!
How to save lots of money without sacrificing quality, performance, or features
Our Cheapskate’s Guide has become an annual installment in the magazine, because for most of us working stiffs, the ability to stretch a dollar and get more for less is always relevant. For some of us, it means that our love of technology and all its amazing uses won’t get in the way of us paying the rent or putting new Crocs on our kids’ feet. For others, saving money is more a matter of personal pride—the result of knowing the ins and outs of getting a good deal. Only suckers pay the sticker price! Whatever motivates your cheapskate tendencies, we say embrace them, and this year we offer our support in the form of tips for savvy shopping, guidance on making wise hardware purchases, pointers to killer deals in digital entertainment, and a whole lot more. Just don’t spend your savings foolishly!
Note: This review was originally featured in the March 2014 issue of the magazine.
At the end of the day, we realize it doesn't matter if you get your gaming fix on a PC, console, tablet, or whatever -- we'll fist bump any gamer, regardless of platform. That said, we're of course partial to PC gaming ourselves, and as it turns out, our platform of choice is still the dominant one. According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the PC gaming hardware market is more than twice as large as the console gaming hardware market.
What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Baseline, Performance, and Ultra. Baseline gets you a powerful system for gaming and content creation at 1080p, Performance beefs everything up across the board, and Ultra lets the dogs out.
Asus chairman isn't sweating the impact of tablets on traditional PCs
Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones took a toll on traditional desktop and laptop PCs, but they were never going to replace them entirely. Tablet growth has slowed considerably, and with Microsoft recently ending support for Windows XP, many in the industry expect to see a rebound in traditional PC shipments. According to Asus chairman Jonney Shih, traditional PC shipments will rise significantly in the second half of this year.
What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget, Baseline, and Performance. Budget gives you an economical workhorse, Baseline gets you a powerful system for gaming and content creation at 1080p, and Performance beefs everything up across the board.
We know the Radeon R9 290X can go head-to-head with a GTX Titan, but can this extra-long, hot-running GPU hang in a small form factor chassis like a Titan can?
For a while now, we’ve considered doing another Build It with a "shoebox" case like the Silverstone Sugo SG08 we used in the June 2013 issue. If you recall, we wedged Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan into a mini-ITX system, and it provided a surprising amount of firepower to a system that was remarkably small. The Titan is able to hang in a tiny chassis due to Kepler’s efficiency, making it highly effective in close quarters. Fast forward to the present, and AMD has released the Radeon R9 290X, which performs about as well as a Titan but costs around $550—nearly half the price. However, the R9 290X runs a bit hot under the collar, typically at 94 C, and is a half-inch longer than the Titan, as well. Though it’s certainly competitive with Titan in benchmarks, we wondered whether the R9 290X can withstand the rigors of a small form factor build. To find out, we stuffed it into a new shoebox chassis from Cooler Master, and added a new Corsair closed-loop cooler designed specifically for small enclosures. We added a modular power supply from Seasonic that is also designed for SFF builds, so this should be one badass box
Note: This article was originally featured in the February 2014 issue of the magazine.