What time is it? Blueprints time! We've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Baseline, Performance, and, because you asked for it, Budget. Baseline gets you a powerful, no-compromises rig, suitable for gaming and content creation at 1080p. Performance gets you more, and Budget is for those who want to be frugal.
These rigs are lab-tested and editor-approved, and we'll update them every month. Feedback is, of course, welcome. Tell us what you think!
How big is the Internet, to you? No, we don’t want to hear about all the billions of pages indexed by Google. We’re talking about your Internet—the set of sites that you’re aware of, that you might actually visit. If you’re like most people, it’s actually pretty small. Even if you spend a lot of time online, you’re still missing out on tons of great content.
That’s why we compile our annual list of websites. Not because we think that we’ve found the 72 best websites in the world, but because we know that the Internet is too huge for one person to explore by him- or herself, and that it is always growing. We do it because we know that everyone could use a yearly dose of fun, useful, and interesting new sites to add to their browsing repertoire. On the following pages we present 72 of our favorite new or unknown destinations on the Internet. Just don’t blame us if you find you’re spending more time than ever in front of your screen!
In the July issue, I tested HP’s Mini-Note—the small, cheap notebook is HP’s answer to the subcompact, sub-$500 Asus Eee PC. HP’s tiny notebook got me thinking about the point of diminishing PC returns—the point at which adding more hardware oomph doesn’t deliver a perceptible performance boost to the user.
I didn’t have any major complaints with its performance in my most common activities: web browsing, checking email, writing documents, and listening to music. Is this Mini-Note’s 1.2GHz VIA C7-M CPU fast enough for me?
As much as we would love for our computers to work perfectly, the fact is that PCs and gadgets are complex devices that often fall short of exactly what we want. When confronted with this fact, we’re reminded of the old saw that says if you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself. And who are we to doubt that kind of wisdom? As power users, we’re not content with hardware the way it comes out of the box; we have an insatiable need to hack our electronics in ways that will improve performance, functionality, and ease of use. And there’s no doubt about it, modifying your hardware will increase your productivity and make your life that much simpler.
Your IT department won’t let you copy MP3s onto your work PC, and your iPod won’t hold your massive music collection, but you need to listen to tunes while you toil away at the day’s labor. What’s an audiophile to do? The answer is simple: Stream the collection you have stored on your rig at home to your PC at work.
It’s easy to be seduced by Alienware’s m15x notebook. From its handsome silver-gray case to its cool-yet-tasteful LED accents to its comfortable lap weight of less than eight pounds, this 15.4-inch machine had us at hello. Of course, only excellent performance would keep us interested.
Yes, it’s that time of year again when we pay tribute to software. For without it, our badass rigs would have nothing to do to but look pretty. Indeed, it’s the programs we run that show us what our machines are truly capable of. The challenge, of course, is in deciding which applications and utilities are most deserving of special honor, not to mention a coveted silver-esque statue.
In the November 2007 issue, we took an in-depth look at RAID—short for Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks—and broke down the pros, cons, and most importantly, speeds of the various RAID permutations you would find on a typical multidrive setup. Here we’ll examine the medium itself: the RAID controller, which tells the drives in a RAID setup how to interact. As you’ll see, there are RAID controllers of differing types, technologies, and price points, and we want to learn whether these variations translate into performance differences. After all, even the fastest RAID configuration ultimately depends on the performance capabilities of its physical host.