There’s a little secret in the high-end PC market—few if any of these premium rigs actually have truly unique case enclosures. Instead, most boutique builders start with existing off-the-shelf chassis and customize from there.
\Note: This review was originally featured in the January 2014 issue of the magazine.
We know the Radeon R9 290X can go head-to-head with a GTX Titan, but can this extra-long, hot-running GPU hang in a small form factor chassis like a Titan can?
For a while now, we’ve considered doing another Build It with a "shoebox" case like the Silverstone Sugo SG08 we used in the June 2013 issue. If you recall, we wedged Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan into a mini-ITX system, and it provided a surprising amount of firepower to a system that was remarkably small. The Titan is able to hang in a tiny chassis due to Kepler’s efficiency, making it highly effective in close quarters. Fast forward to the present, and AMD has released the Radeon R9 290X, which performs about as well as a Titan but costs around $550—nearly half the price. However, the R9 290X runs a bit hot under the collar, typically at 94 C, and is a half-inch longer than the Titan, as well. Though it’s certainly competitive with Titan in benchmarks, we wondered whether the R9 290X can withstand the rigors of a small form factor build. To find out, we stuffed it into a new shoebox chassis from Cooler Master, and added a new Corsair closed-loop cooler designed specifically for small enclosures. We added a modular power supply from Seasonic that is also designed for SFF builds, so this should be one badass box
Note: This article was originally featured in the February 2014 issue of the magazine.
A truly custom computer case is a work of art. It is a one-of-a-kind unique statement that stands out among mass-market boxes, and pushes the aesthetic of the creative ‘case mod’ (adapting an existing case with paint and trim) to the edge.
A variety of websites to put a smile on mom's face
Raising a geek has its challenges. Just ask your mother who could only shake her head when you straightened out your Slinky. She also had the patience to carefully and methodically peel the stickers off your Rubik's Cube to rearrange the color sequence after you messed it up and couldn't figure out how to solve the contraption. Your memory bank is probably filled with such shenanigans, along with loving gestures, like decorating a birthday cake to look like R2-D2 and finding Star Wars themed party favors to match.
Nonstop talk of the future of PC hardware and gaming
The Maximum PC No BS Podcast is back for episode #223! We begin by introducing new Managing Editor Alaina Yee, and learn of her transition from OXM to Maximum PC. We then discuss Wolfenstein's crazy demanding system requirements, from an i7 CPU to eating up 50GB of storage, and what it may indicate for the future of PC gaming. Afterwards, we discuss new hardware features on the 9 series motherboards as manufacturers prepare for the upcoming Haswell refresh. We eventually touch on the future of enterprise storage in the wake of San Disk's new 4TB enterprise drive, and how SSD technology is rapidly advancing compared to traditional HDDs. Finally, we answer your questions, give you our picks, and sign off with tales from tech support in Gordon's rant.
Over the years, we've upgraded every nook and cranny of our rigs, from major parts like GPUs and CPUs, to minor things like trying different thermal pastes and swapping out case fans in an attempt to squeeze a few more degrees out of a rig's ambient air temperature. It's a bit OCD, we admit, but the point is, we've tried everything, and usually we're only able to see a small gain from our investment of time and elbow grease. That is not the case with SSDs, which deliver an eye-popping, profanity-inducing speed increase for relatively little cash outlay. If you've heard the hype about SSDs, we're here to tell you two things: First, the hype is real, and second, you need one in your system.
Note: This article first appeared in the February 2014 issue of the magazine.
Showcasing the sexiest, most photogenic game screenshots this side of the Internet
We've got our Rig of the Month feature for amazing case mods, but what is a graphics afficionado supposed to do with his or her stellar screenshots? We've got you covered with Graphics Porn. Every month, we'll be collecting and publishing the most beautiful, photogenic, and amazing screenshots submitted by Maximum PC readers.
I’m fighting against a skeleton wielding a large greatsword. I roll out of its way to dodge its first attack and immediately parry a second one with my shield. With my enemy off balance, I quickly get in a couple of slashes with my broadsword and get his health down significantly. At this point, I’m feeling confident that the fight is almost over as I roll out of the way of the skeleton’s next attack. But, to my horror, I anticlimactically fall off a cliff and die which forces me to lose all the souls I've collected.
The doctor tackles Apple Ruining PCs, Eyefinity Gaming, CPU Upgrades, and more
Three-Headed Fan Header
I have an Antec Two Hundred case with a Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3 mobo. The case came with two fans (one 120mm and one 140mm) that exhaust out the back and top. This case can handle three more 120mm fans, two in the front and one on the side panel. I would like to fill these with three fans pulling air into the case, creating positive air pressure. This may be a noob question, but how do I connect these three fans to a single fan header on the mobo? How does the Maximum PC crew connect multiple fans in a case? Is my only choice to buy a fan controller or can this be accomplished without one?
Note: This feature was originally featured in the February2014 issue of the magazine.
Episode 222 introduces a new host and brings back video
Episode #222 of the Maximum PC No BS Podcast brings new changes. We've got a new host in Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang as he joins Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung and Associate Editor Tom McNamara. In addition, this episode brings back the return of video (with a multi-camera setup!). Content-wise the crew talks about the Future of VR, Nvidia Shield 2 rumors, AMD's new Never Settle Bundle, and we even show off a next-generation Intel chipset!