If you're not already familiar with Mnpctech, take a moment out of your day to familiarize yourself with the company. Founded 12 years ago by Bill Owen, a name you probably recognize if you've been reading Maximum PC for some time (check out our interview with him from earlier this year) or are into the modding scene, Mnpctech kicks out some of the most badass case mods you'll ever see. Interestingly enough, in a recent conversation with Owen, he told us he's been receiving requests for the past several years to make a video series covering the basics of water cooling with a DIY loop, so he finally went and put one together. Here's part 1.
Specially designed to service game consoles, PCs, laptops, and other electronics gear
The tech surgeons at iFixIt haven't met a gadget yet that they couldn't open up and dissect. Patience and a steady hand are needed to gut an electronic device without leaving a wake of broken parts, but like anything else, having the right tools makes a world of difference. We're not talking about hammers and duct tape -- essentials for DIY repair of another kind -- but plastic and metal spudgers. You'll find both plus a whole lot more in iFixIt's Refurbisher's Toolkit.
Kingston emerges as one of Puget Systems' most reliable brands of 2013
Boutique system builder Puget Systems recently wrote an interesting piece that both gives readers a glimpse of what the company found to be the most reliable hardware of the past year, and makes a case for buying a prebuilt system over going the do-it-yourself (DIY) route. Based on Puget's own data, a prebuilt system is roughly five times less likely to have a hardware failure than one you built yourself.
THE MISSION The all-in-one PC is predicted to be one of the hottest PC form factors over the next few years. That’s great for Joe 12-Pack, but for an enthusiast, an AiO is pretty much as monolithic as you can get. Sure, you might be able to add RAM or swap the HDD, but that’s usually the extent of the average AiO’s upgradeability.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February issue of the magazine.
Pictures from one of the largest DIY conventions in the country
This past weekend Maximum PC had the chance to check out Maker Faire 2013 in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. The event, billing itself as "the greatest show and tell on Earth," is one of the largest DIY conventions in the country and has inventors from all around the globe showing off their latest and greatest doodads. While it is technically an arts and crafts show, technology played a big part of Maker Faire 2013 with inventors showing off everything from interesting PC case mods to robots.
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Office workers are taking PC problems into their own hands.
A nationwide survey conducted online in March 2013 by Harris Interactive on behalf of Crucial found that the majority of office workers who use a computer are reluctant to call the IT department for tech support. Instead, 53 percent of the 2,144 U.S. adults said they attempt to fix their computer problems on their own or solicit help from a co-worker/someone else. What makes this finding even more interesting is that computer problems ranked as the top reason for decreased productivity.
Build your own small Steam Box PC using Valve's Big Picture Mode
As PC gamers, we’re big fans of Valve Software’s Steam service and can’t imagine life without it. We’ve got a huge library of installed games, all of our friends are on it, and almost every AAA title is released on Steam, making it indispensable. The only “problem” with Steam has been that its interface was designed for sitting 24 inches away, at a monitor, making it incompatible with couch-bound gaming. Valve has rectified this dilemma with its recently launched Big Picture Mode, which slaps a 10-foot interface on top of Steam and makes it easy to control with a gamepad. Since distance and connection issues can get in the way of running your desktop PC on your HDTV screen, we’re going to walk you through a more workable solution. First, we will advise you on selecting a small-but-powerful PC that’s suitable for a living room, then we’ll walk you through selecting appropriate peripherals, and finally we’ll show you how to get it all up and running, ready for Big Picture Mode deployment.
Note: This article appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Intel and ARM go head-to-head in the small-PC arena
We got a review unit of Intel's tiny Next Unit of Computing(NUC) HTPC in the office and decided to compare it to the ever popular Raspberry Pi. While the unit is significantly larger and more expensive than the popular credit-card sized computer, the Next Unit of Computing is also much more powerful. It features a 17W Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz processor on a QS77 motherboard, four USB 2.0 ports, a thunderbolt port, and a HDMI port. The device supports up to 16GB of DDR3 laptop RAM and has PCI-e slots for a wireless card and m-SATA SSD.
Zotac has been making amazing small form factor DIY kits for years now, but performance has always been hit or miss. Back at IDF Intel was showing off a possible Zbox competitor to anyone who strolled through the booth, and AnandTech has managed to get their hands on a sample. Intel is calling its new 4” x 4” x 2” small form factor kit the “Next Unit of Computing”, or NUC for short. This unfortunately named new product will come in two variations, and both look like excellent options for the HTPC crowd, or for people with basic computing needs.
There's a new viral video making the rounds, and it's about a 9-year-old kid who built his own arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad's used auto parts store in East L.A. The whole idea is full of win in so many ways that it's difficult to know where to begin, which is okay because the video pretty much speaks for itself, but there are some things definitely worth pointing out. Let's start with his age. It bears repeating that little Caine is just 9 years old. Instead of spending his summer vacation hanging out with other kids his age or holed up in his room playing video games, he was slicing and dicing cardboard in his dad's shop en route to one of the coolest DIY modding projects in recent memory.