Dream Machine 2012 is the PC utopia we all long for
Conventional wisdom says that PC performance doesn’t matter anymore. That’s because the average consumer, the average gamer, and the average PC jockey can’t tell the difference between a slow POS machine and a fast one. Well guess what, baby? That’s a bunch of crap.
The most popular and talked-about MaxPC articles from the past year.
2012 was a crazy year for tech news. Along the way, we like to think we've been able to provide cutting-edge and relevant articles and features. Join us as we reflect on the top 12 biggest Maximum PC articles of 2012.
Note: The articles were chosen based a number of criteria: traffic, discussion, and editorial discretion. Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments below!
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.
Last year, the editors of MaximumPC magazine tossed a challenge my way. “David, design your own dream machine.” So I wrote a column, specifying what kind of hardware I felt should be inside the box. The result was the Star Trek themed PC, designed by Mike Okuda and built by Bill Owen and the other fine folks at MNPCTECH.
But despite the lustworthy appeal of this machine, there’s another more important point to make. As much fun as it is to build an impressive dream machine and show it off at Comic-Con, the ultimate goal of any computer has to be functionality, because MaximumPC isn’t just about maximum specs or even maximum performance. It’s about maximum usability.
In an age of overly synthesized catchphrases ginned up by some suit to commercialize new soda pop or body spray, the term “pure PC power” was never intended to be marketing hype.
Instead, it was conceived to describe our obsession with performance computers and it has withstood the test of time. Who would have known that 16 Dream Machines later, the pursuit of all-out computing power could still be viable?
But that’s just what this year’s Dream Machine again proves: Despite pundits predicting the PC’s death many times over—speed still matters. For this year’s Dream Machine, we decided to build a rig that balances top-notch performance with the style and elegance of an exotic sports car. The overall package is well-behaved and even fairly modest at power consumption, considering the amount of performance it packs.
As always, it’s not just about the PC proper, though. For our Dream Machine, we tracked down the best hardware available, such as NEC’s freaking-awesome PA301W panels and the wireless Cyborg R.A.T. 9 mouse, to make a lust-worthy setup that any of us would kill to have grace our desktop. So join us as we celebrate another year of the PC’s supremacy.
You know what's always fun? Dream Machine predictions. Not because they ever turn out to be very informative, but because it's always fun to look back and see just how wrong we were about the future.
Why's it fun to be wrong? Because even though sometimes we get a little too optimistic, more often than not our predictions are wrong because the future turns out even more awesome than we expected. We asked everyone around the office to make their predictions for Dream Machine 2015, so that in 4 years we'll have something to have a good laugh about. Check out what we thought, then hit the comments and leave your own predictions for the future.
Every year when we're building the new Dream Machine, it's hard not to feel a little nostalgic. We've built 15 of them in the past, after all, and each one was an experience (read: harrowing ordeal) all its own. We thought we'd tap into a little bit of that nostalgia, and bring you a Dream Machine retrospective. We asked current and former MaximumPC editors to tell us about their thoughts on the Dream Machine, and their experiences putting them together. Read on for their thoughts!
It's that time of year again - the sun is out, the days are warm and we've been up to our elbows in high-performance components for weeks. That's right, it's Dream Machine season and this year's build is one slick rig. In just seven days you'll get to set your eyes on one of the sweetest, sharpest, most powerful rigs to grace our pages and in order to start off our countdown week to Dream Machine 2011 we're going to go back to where it all began: the first Maximum PC Dream Machine.
Last year we reminisced about the very first Dream Machine ever (from a 1996 issue of boot), gave homage to the evolution of the Dream Machine, and checked on our predictions. This year we'll be sharing even more behind the scenes stories by telling you the parts and pieces that didn't make it into this years build, getting the Maximum PC staff to discuss their favorite Dream Machines, and we'll make predictions for Dream Machine 2015. We'll unveil this years rig next Monday, July 11th - and we also have some video footage of the making of the Dream Machine to follow. Stay tuned for all that - but first, take a moment to remember where it began: an Intel 400MHz Pentium II, 128MB SDRAM, a 56K modem, Alps Floppy Drive and a Tyan S1836DLUAN Thunder motherboard.
Every year we plan, argue, debate, build, break, re-build, pull our hair out and get our geek on in order to bring you the best, fastest, meanest PC build possible in our annual Dream Machine. From the very first issue of boot, we've dedicated one issue a year to building the best system we can imagine, pushing the limits of current technology to make a drool-inducing rig - and more often than not, showing you exactly how to do the same. Join us now for a tour back through each and every year of the premium parts, bleeding-edge components and slick designs that made up each Dream Machine build!
My current rig is an HP Pavilion M8530F with a Viola-GL8E motherboard. The CPU is a 2.2GHz Phenom X4 9550. The board is AM2+. I asked HP for a copy of the mainboard’s user manual hoping it could tell me what AM2+ chip I could drop in. However, I find myself even more confused. I think a 2.6GHz Phenom 9950 X4 will work even though it is a 125-watt chip and my current 9550 is a 95-watt chip.
I’d rather not spend the money only to be proven dead wrong and be stuck having to borrow my fiancée’s Vaio laptop. It may be nice, but it’s not my desktop. So far, the only change made to my rig in the two years I’ve had it was the addition of a graphics card cooler, of the intake variety. I’ve done research and the more questions I have answered, the more confused I get. If I could, I’d just buy/build a new rig, but that’s not an option. Some newer games, like BioShock 2, require AMD core speed in excess of 2.2 GHz, and mine barely meets the requirements. Even the budget upgrade article in the July 2010 issue is vague on whether I can upgrade. Doc, please steer me in the right direction, lest I crash on the rocks of inaction.
Read the Doctor's advice for Lucas after the jump.