All expecting parents have read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, because when that little bundle of joy drops out of mommy, you’d better be ready with lots of paper towels and a whole lot of specialized knowledge about what to do from that moment forward. Though it’s not quite as messy (or scary), a new PC requires a similar sort of informed approach if you want to raise it properly from the moment it squirts out of the Fed Ex truck and into your life. You’ll be tempted to pick it up and coo, “Who's a widdle PC?,” and then immediately benchmark the shinola out of it. We understand the impulse, and the excitement, but hold your horses, cowboy. You’ve got to take it slow with a new rig, and get it set up correctly the first time, or else all your future efforts will be for naught. That’s where we come in.
Note: This article was originally featured in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Razer Surround: Can virtual surround sound software do the job of a real 7.1 headset?
Razer Surround is a program for gamers to get surround sound in any pair of headphones, be itRazer or otherwise. That’s right, install it and Razer claims that you’ll have “the best virtual 7.1 channel surround sound experience [possible] with any stereo headphones.”
We’re giving away a Crucial M500 120GB solid state drive and a three-year license for iolo’s System Mechanic software
We know there are two things that our readers love; Pure PC Power, and free stuff. Since we’ve always got your PC power needs covered, we figured you might need some gear, and we love running contests, so here’s our newest one. In this contest one winner will receive both a Crucial M500 120GB SSD and a three-year license to iolo’s System Mechanic software. You can check out the review of Crucial M500 SSD here on the Maximum PC website. Though we haven’t reviewed System Mechanic software, we’ve heard good things about it.
Click the "Read More" button to see how to enter the contest.
We show you how to build an affordable Linux gaming PC
The free Linux operating system has been around for ages, but its inherent complexity and limited support has always relegated its use to extreme enthusiasts, programmers, and other hardcore types. That might be changing, though, as a lot of loyal PC enthusiasts are less than pleased with Windows 8, and gaming juggernaut Valve has thrown its hat into the ring by launching a Linux version of Steam, its popular online content delivery service. Given the lackluster reception of Windows 8 and the renewed popularity of Linux, we decided to build a Linux gaming box to see for ourselves whether the OS, at this time, could be a reasonable alternative to Windows for gaming.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March issue of the magazine.
Crysis-themed rig comes equipped with Maingear F131 case, i7-3770K, and two Radeon HD 7970s
Everybody loves tent-pole releases like Crysis 3. Not only does it mean more shooty fun in the post-apocalyptic ruins of the greatest city in the world, but in this case it also means you might win a totally sweet Crysis-themed Maingear gaming rig courtesy of AMD. This choice system is stocked with bad ass componentry, and includes the following hardware:
Case: Maingear F131 with VRTX Cooling Technology, black brushed aluminum and a SilenX 15dB Fan Package (2x120mm, 2x80mm) affixed with artwork from the Crysis 3 game
Click the "Read More" button to see the full specs.
Attention, would-be cord cutters: If you’re going to tell the cable man to shove it, you’re going to want a full-featured media center app to make browsing your digital movies, music, and pictures as pretty and painless as possible. Two of the top no-cost contenders are the open-source XBMC and Plex, a partly proprietary fork of XBMC that focuses on streaming media to multiple devices. Which is the blockbuster and which is the dud? Let’s find out.
Note: This article first appeared in the December issue of the magazine.
Most power users would be perfectly willing to upgrade to Windows 8 if it weren’t for two things—the tile-based “Metro” interface and the missing Start button. While Metro is like a rash in that you eventually get used to it, we can’t imagine getting used to the lack of a Start button. It’s too bad Microsoft didn’t give us the option of using both features, but fortunately, two third-party utilities do. If you want the speed of Windows 8 and your old buddy the Start menu, one of these utilities belongs on your system. Let’s find out which one.
Note: This head-to-head feature appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
It (literally) pays to know all the crafty ways you can save money without sacrificing your power user cred
As much as we love ogling top-of-the-line PC hardware and fantasizing about price-be-damned rigs, we also love, love, love to stretch a dollar. Does that make us cheapskates? You betcha, if that’s what you want to call someone who doesn’t pay a premium when he or she doesn’t have to. Sign us up! In fact, where computing is concerned, knowing all the various angles to save a buck—a buck that can then be put toward new and better gear, mind you—is as much a part of being a power user as knowing how to flash a BIOS or overclock RAM. If you’re currently spending top dollar on your PC activities, it’s time you got schooled in the fine art of penny-pinching. From free software alternatives, to the best deals on all forms of digital entertainment, to hardware-buying tips, to our blueprint for a $600 PC, this year’s Cheapskate’s Guide can save you thousands of dollars and make you a more savvy consumer in the process.
Note: This article appeared in the October 2012 issue of the magazine.
If there’s one thing readers of Maximum PC can appreciate, it’s a ludicrously sized GPU like the PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990. This unholy video card combines the power of two Radeon HD 7970 GPUs along with 6GB of RAM into a massive, power-sucking, case-hogging, and benchmark flogging masterpiece. Notable features include one-touch overclocking, a triple-fan cooling solution that takes up three slots inside your PC, and a custom assortment of tools from legendary tool-maker Wiha. It should also be noted that this video card is so muscle-bound that it comes with its own support stand, for Pete’s sake.