Nvidia’s latest generation GPU is going through the most painful, drawn out gestation period since the company’s first programmable GPU, the GeForce 5800 series. Like the more recent GeForce 280 GTX, the current GF100 (the code name, not the final name) chip represents a major, ground-up architectural redesign.
Recently, we spent the better part of a day being briefed on the GF100, which represents the first actual graphics processor built with Nvidia’s Fermi architecture. The basic Fermi architecture layers graphics functionality atop a powerful parallel compute engine. As GPU compute becomes more important, both in games and in certain classes of mainstream applications, it makes sense to build an architecture that builds more general purpose capability.
But that’s not to say that Fermi will try to take on the functions of a mainstream CPU.
Five minutes here, a lunch break there, the urge to procrastinate. The free browser-based Flash game has evolved with the technology, producing some high-quality time-killers that can interrupt the most productive of days. With volume comes choices. But you don’t want to waste time browsing—you need the definitive go-to guide to the best of what’s out there. We did the leg (hand and mouse) work for you. Many sites collect hundreds of these free games—check out Kongregate.com, Armorgames.com, Gamebrew.com, as examples—but scan our list and you’ll be on the road to fun, free entertainment in no time. Plus, for a hint of nostalgia, or to get your feet wet with casual gaming, spend some quality time with classics of the genre, collected in our list of all-time favorites.
Does your favorite time-wasting game make the list?
Ripping a CD or DVD is one of the most basic tasks for a PC user. But you need the right tools if you want to automate the process. Current ripping programs incorporate video encoding, tagging, and subtitles management. There's no single app that will do everything, so here are our picks for the best Linux apps for ripping audio CDs and video DVDs.
There are also a few things you'll need to do before downloading these apps.
The games are played, the votes are tallied, and our crack team of vote tabulators has tabulated the results. We’ve played literally hundreds of games this year—big games, small games, good games, and games that just plain sucked—solely for the purpose of presenting you, our adoring audience, with the undisputed list of the finest moments, experiences, and surprises in gaming for the year 2009. Without further ado, we now commence Maximum PC’s Gaming Awards!
In the Intel galaxy, the CPU is an inexorable black hole. A gravity well so strong that nothing can escape it as it consumes every function of the PC.
Don’t believe us? Witness add-in MPEG-2 decoders, hardware modems, hardware-accelerated soundcards, and Ethernet controllers, all of which have been swallowed by the all-powerful CPU. With Intel’s last CPU, the Lynnfield LGA1156 processor, the memory controller and even PCI-E functions were eaten by the CPU, too.
Now with Intel’s new Clarkdale (and its mobile equivalent, Arrandale) the company is taking the first step in trying to eat a gas-giant of functionality by moving a GPU core directly inside of the CPU.
But not only is Clarkdale the first Intel chip with graphics, it’s also our first glimpse at a CPU using Intel’s new, smaller-process technology. Current Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs are based on the original 45nm Nehalem design that Intel introduced more than a year ago. Clarkdale uses a newer 32nm process that is part of the Westmere family. For the most part, Westmere is an evolutionary step forward and a simple die-shrink of Nehalem, but Intel did add some interesting performance enhancements.
Read on for details about what makes Clarkdale unique.
In many respects, it’s more difficult to build a great cheap PC than it is to build a more expensive one. In fact, the less money you have to spend, the more vital it is that every dollar delivers measurable value. With that in mind, we sat down with one simple goal: to build the best inexpensive, multipurpose PC that we would want to use ourselves. We didn’t start with any particular budget, but at every turn we shaved as much from the cost as we could—trimming the fancy case, ditching an unnecessary 800W PSU, and scuttling the spendy Core i5 CPU.
The result is an incredibly lean, but still powerful machine featuring a quad-core CPU, a GPU capable of playing anything on a 22-inch panel, and… well, you’ll have to hit the jump to see the rest. Rest assured, though, this is a machine that would be welcome in any of our homes, whether we’re playing games, editing video, touching up photos, ripping movies, or simply surfing the Internet. Oh yeah, we’ll also show you how to assemble the components like a pro, one easy-to-follow step at a time.
And just to keep the whole thing good and honest, we stopped by our local Best Buy and bought the best comparably priced system they had, which we pitted against our ultra-budget machine in a steel-cage match to the death. Want to see who wins? Read on to find out.
A lot has happened in the last 12 months. At the start of the year, iTunes was still peddling DRM, Yahoo and Microsoft were at bitter odds over the latter’s takeover attempts, Nvidia had the fastest consumer videocard, and the ”cloud” was still a burgeoning concept. Oh, how times have changed. Follow along as we relive and reflect upon some of the most memorable moments, products, and people to impact computer users over the last year.
What was your favorite tech product or event or 2009? Let us know in the comments!
Remember when webmail used to be synonymous with AOL? Boy has the Internet grown up since then, and lucky for us, a little company called Google came along and changed not just how we surf the web, but also how we communicate with each other. We're of course referring to Gmail, Google's nearly six-year-old webmail service that only recently shed its beta tag.
For most of you, we're probably preaching to the choir and you already own at least one Gmail account, if not several. And with good reason, too. Google's now-infamous email service offers oodles of storage space (over 7GB and counting), excellent spam detection, built-in chat, awesome search capabilities, a ton of customization options, and a whole lot more. But even with all that it offers out of the box, are you making the most out your Gmail account?
That's where we come in. We show you everything you need to know to wield Gmail like a pro. Need to access Gmail offline? How about automating canned responses for quick-fire emails? Want to set up Gmail on your own domain? We'll walk you through all of these, plus a whole lot more essential tweaks and tips that most people are just too lazy to use.
It's the holiday season, the time for giving and receiving gifts. If one of those gifts turns out to be a netbook--an inexpensive, ultraportable notebook computer--then you've got some work ahead of you. To get the most out of your new netbook, there are a number of tweaks and upgrades you'll want to perform. In this netbook starter guide, we show you 10 essential things you should do after powering up your system for the first time. This checklist will save you from worrisome troubleshooting in the future and ensure that you make the most out of your portable companion computer.
Read on and find out how you can get more out of your littlest computer.
PC gaming isn't dead, and you know it. Just take a look at the new games available on Steam or populating the shelves at Target. The sheer number of excellent PC games released this holiday season is a testament to the strength of the platform. From high-profile blockbusters like Batman: Arkham Asylum to critical darlings like Torchlight, there's no shortage of quality content to keep you gaming through the new year. We pick out 22 of the best PC games you can buy right now (many of them already discounted as a part of holiday deals), and spotlight several indie gems that cost under $10. We also name 8 highly-anticipated games coming out in the first part of 2010.
Read on for proof that PC gaming still has a lot of fight left in it. And be sure to let us know what your favorite PC games of 2009 have been, what you've bought this holiday season, and what you're looking forward to as well!