maximum pc


Asus GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC 3GB Review

The GTX 780’s all-new Cool Tech cooler contains two separate fans to move air into and across the heatsink.

The GTX 780 overclocking champ

Last month, we took a look at EVGA’s GTX 780, which sported a new, fancy-britches “ACX” cooler. This month, it’s Asus’s turn with its own redesigned and totally non-reference GTX 780. At first glance, this GPU’s most notable attribute is its redesigned cooler, which despite many changes still bears the DirectCU II moniker we’ve seen on previous models. The new design uses five direct contact (DC) copper heat pipes, one of which is a plump 10mm, along with a primary “hybrid” fan that has two sets of fan blades to blow air in two directions at once. The cooler takes up two PCIe slots, and has an aluminum backplate wrapped around it to help support the cooler and dissipate heat across the top of the card. Our favorite feature of this cooler is that it can be detached from the card with just four screws, making it easy to clean before company comes over.

Note: This review was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.


Best Rugged USB Hard Drive

The Rugged Mini can take some abuse,  but also dishes some out to your wallet.

Hard drives you can actually smack down

When it comes to your data, there are times when a USB key doesn't have the capacity or speed you need, and you can't afford to have a delicate hard drive smashing on the floor. Enter ruggedized USB 3.0 hard drives, which address all of our needs by combining speed and reliability into a supremely portable package. We put three such drives to the test, and found out which one has the speed you crave and the durability you require.

Note: This article was taken from the October 2013 issue of the magazine.


Thermaltake NiC C5 Review

Despite its front fan having a depth of 25mm, the C5 won’t get in the way of RAM slots.

Give a little, take a little

We don’t know how it started, but heat spreaders on today’s RAM sticks have gotten kinda out of control. So, gearheads these days have to get pretty creative (or potentially destructive) to fit most large aftermarket CPU coolers on the motherboard. Thermaltake had the bright idea to just make a more compact cooler, with not one but two 120mm fans on it. NiC stands for “Non-Interference Cooling,” and its C5 model sits at the top of the vendor’s lineup. With five heat pipes and 230 watts of heat dissipation, it’s ready for serious cooling, and it won’t get in the way of your RAM slots.

Note: This review was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine.


Primordial Medusa X79 Review

This big rig features an odd storage subsystem configuration.

Primordial Medusa X79: Can this four-way Titan box dethrone Dream Machine?

With Dream Machine 2013 behind us (September 2013), we now move into the phase where vendors line up to try to kick it off the top of the heap.

Note: This review was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine.


Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Review

The Helix’s ThinkPad pedigree is evident: all-black body, rubberized surfaces, and the familiar black, slightly concave keys surrounding  the signature red TrackPoint nubbin.

Jack of all trades, master of none

What do you call a device that can be either a laptop or a tablet, or even a few additional novel form factors in between? A Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, that’s what—which, as the name implies, is a hybrid with a twist.

Note: This review was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine.