You know that stereotype of the total loser from high school – busted glasses, craggy acne canyon of a face, every spoken word followed by a refreshing mist of saliva – who goes on to become rich and successful beyond your wildest dreams? Well, that's the gaming industry's past ten years in a nutshell. No longer is gaming that shameful hobby you mumble in between “hanging out” and “...uh, other stuff.” Now, it's just something everyone does. With the exception of a few stragglers and the occasional re-emergence of Jack Thompson, gaming has finally arrived.
In that spirit, we thought it'd be fitting to spotlight some of the games that helped put our favorite past-time on top of the world. So, without further ado, we present the 30 best PC games of the past decade!
When AMD launched the Radeon 6800 series back in October, we suggested that some people might be confused by the naming scheme. The Radeon HD 6870 & 6850, code-named Barts, were actually midrange GPUs, and not replacements for AMD’s high end Radeon HD 5870.
Now AMD is releasing its high end GPU, code-named Cayman, in two versions. The high end, which AMD calling its “enthusiast” GPU is the Radeon HD 6970, while the Radeon HD 6950 slots into a space between the 6870 and the 6970. What’s more, the HD 6870 doesn’t replace the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970. If all that seems once again confusing, it probably is. It’s probably best just to consider AMD’s current naming scheme as unrelated to its old one, despite similarities.
Read on for more info, and all the benchmarks you can handle!
Here at Maximum PC, we've always done our fair share of website recommendation articles--including a couple ofdoozies from the past few years. And of course we're not the only ones who do this sort of article either; it's a proven popular format. But this year, we thought we'd mix things up a little bit. Rather than just focusing on what's services are popular, or which web apps will make you the most productive, we wanted to take a look at what's fun on the Internet.
In that spirit, our February cover feature is going to be 100 Websites You Need to Visit Before You Die. These are sites that will either entertain you, educate you, or just plain blow your mind. They're not the kind of website you put in your bookmarks bar and come back to again and again--they're the kind that you email to your friends along with a note that says "holy s*** check this out."
So today we've got the first 50 of our 100 Websites You Need to See Before You Die. Where are the other 50? That's where you come in. Once you've read our picks, let us know your own. We'll be picking 50 of the best user submissions to round out our list for the magazine. Anyone who's submission we pick will be in the running to win a whole bunch of awesome prizes (stay tuned tomorrow for full contest rules, prizes and limitations).
Thrills, drama, a long grind, and a twist ending—these are the sorts of things you normally expect from a videogame. They are not what you expect from the story behind a game. But then, Duke Nukem isn’t any ordinary game, and the saga of its development has been anything but normal. For more than 13 years, the gaming world’s been waiting for Duke, and now the end is in sight. But first, let's review what's happened until now.
It all started back in 1996, with Duke Nukem riding high. The game for which he was known, Duke Nukem 3D, was a megaton hit, and gamers clung to the cocksure hero’s every machismo-laden word. He was, quite literally, the king. He was on top of the world. Then in 1997, the follow-up, Duke Nukem Forever, was announced and, shockingly enough, it was all downhill from there. Duke disappeared. Year after year passed, and short of a few quick glimpses of the game, Duke was a disappointing no-show. His once-loyal fan base declared him dead. Anticipation rotted and festered, boiling over into angry cynicism.
The nail in Duke’s supposed coffin, however, came in the form of developer 3D Realms closing up shop in 2009 and a subsequent lawsuit from publisher Take-Two Interactive. And then everything went silent. Game Over. Continue? 5... 4… 3… 2… 1…
But wait! At the last second, Borderlands developer Gearbox Software stepped in and saved the day. Now, Duke Nukem Forever’s back on track and—get this—it’s actually going to come out this time. So, how’s the game? Who’s in charge now? After more than a decade of waiting, will it all be worth it?
We traveled deep into the heart of Texas—to Gearbox’s only-slightly evil lair—for three interviews with the men responsible for the past, present, and future of Duke Nukem. We’ll tell you what they have to say about the legendary franchise and we’ll share the details of our hands-on experience with the upcoming game. Yes, Duke fans, it’s safe to dream again.
On the 25th anniversary of Windows, we examine the future of Microsoft's flagship operating system
For what it’s worth, the first 25 years of our lives weren’t that smooth, either. So forgive us for favoring words like “commemorate” or “contemplate” instead of “celebrate,” which feels like too rosy a word for an operating system that has given us so much frustration, confusion, and heartache. Hey, maybe now that it’s 25, Windows will behave like a grown-up.
For better or for worse, the fact remains that on November 20, 1985, Microsoft released the very first version of Windows. If we asked you to use just a single word to define the 25-year history of Microsoft’s OS, we’re betting that “erratic” would pop up 70 times out of 100. There are a lot less-accurate descriptions.
Instead of recounting the very well-known past of the venerable OS—we’re sure that we’ll all see countless retrospectives, timelines, and detailed histories online—we decided it would be more interesting to peer into the future. These are wild and woolly times for Microsoft, Apple, and even Google as each company tries to give users the digital equivalent of the moon in exchange for a lifetime of loyalty. Based on the leak published earlier this summer, it’s clear that Microsoft has already given ample consideration and thought to Windows 8, or whatever the next version will be named.
To shed some light on the matter, we decided to ask a handful of the world’s leading independent PC manufacturers what they’ve heard and what features and functionality they’d like to see in the next big Windows release. A few people were OK going on the record, but most preferred to keep their comments anonymous or on a “background only “basis.
We also checked in with our Lab (of course), and with you, our readers, via our Facebook Fan page. To cap off our story, Reviews Editor Michael Brown reports on his hands-on experience with the beta of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Home Server V2, which we expect will release later this year.
Imparted wisdom, thoughts, facts, and some outright guesses are inside.
You’ve been getting by with the cheapie router you bought two years ago, so why should you upgrade now? In a word: Performance. And features. Oh, sorry. That’s two words. We looked at a host of budget offerings in our last router roundup (February 2010) and didn’t find much to get excited about. This time, we asked seven manufacturers to send us the best consumer routers in their stables regardless of price tags.
In most cases, that meant a simultaneous dual-band router capable of running 802.11n wireless networks using the typical 2.4GHz frequency band and the less-crowded 5GHz band, plus a guest network that isolates its clients from your primary LAN. In all cases, it meant a router with an integrated four-port gigabit switch and at least one USB port for sharing a printer or a storage device over the network (some have two USB ports to support both functions). In an interesting twist, however, no one submitted a product using a three-stream wireless chipset promising raw throughput of 450Mb/s.
If you think old motherboards go off to die long, slow deaths in an e-waste dump or silver reclamation plant, think again. Motherboards that have made a significant contribution are elevated to star status where they live forever.
Not all boards are worthy of the Motherboard Hall, of course. In fact, our list notably starts with ATX and moves forward. Why no AT or Baby AT boards? When was the last time someone thought wistfully of a 1992 VL-Bus motherboard? Those boards of old, while certainly heroic, hark back to a day when the component received little attention or enthusiasm—a time before it had realized its true potential.
You’ll also notice that our list doesn’t include any boards made in the last three years. We’ve intentionally excluded modern boards because it remains to be seen how much of an impact they’ll make over time. Even today’s most stellar boards, such as EVGA’s Classified SR-2—the board we used in this year’s Dream Machine, and an obvious contender for the Hall—are still too young to get inducted.
The reverence owed to the 10 boards you’ll see here, however, is unquestionable, as you’ll learn when we recount their respective roles in modern motherboard history. But if there are others you feel we’ve overlooked, please let us know at email@example.com.
Uncle Ben famously told Peter Parker that "with great power comes great responsibility," but even Spider-Man never had to deal with constant phone calls, text messages, emails, and instant messages asking for a "quick second" of his time to solve a PC related issue. As power users, our family and friends tend to view us as their own personal 24/7 tech support super heroes, minus the obligatory tights.
Don't get us wrong, we're more than willing to lend a helping hand, it's the handful of acquaintances who expect us to drop everything and devote hours of our time fixing a problem that could have been avoided with a little common sense that gets our goat. You know the type -- "Hey broseph, I clicked on this link and now my computer is flipping out again. Can you come over for a second and fix it? Thanks bud, I'll owe you a beer!"
A $1.50 bottle of suds doesn't cut it, and besides, we'd forget what it's like to be sober if we accepted brew as currency every time someone we knew needed our PC expertise. So how do we handle these situations? It's a delicate balancing act maintaining our sanity and personal relationships, but we're here to tell you it can be done.
Hit the jump to find out how you too can avoid devoting your all your free time to pro bono tech support.
Remember in the Old Republic when people gave a damn about PC audio? You know, back before you could get free onboard audio that also happens to let you listen to the sound of your USB ports going at high speed. Back when you had to make a qualified decision about what soundcard to buy? Yes, those days are long gone for the vast majority of PC users today, but on occasion, we'll break out a boot from 1997 and pretend that PC audio still matters.
We expend bunches of keystrokes detailing how to recover from disaster, everything from sweeping spyware from your system to how to get your data back from the digital graveyard, but equally important is how to avoid potentially catastrophic scenarios in the first place. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or in in the world of PCs, hours of frustration.
On the flip side, maybe you have a masochistic desire to destroy your system. What better way to force your hand at upgrading then to render your current rig all but unusable? We don't condone killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars of hardware, but hey, it's your stuff at stake, and how you choose to use (or abuse) it is up to you.
Either way, follow along as we show you the 10 worst things you can do to your PC and how to avoid them.