Can you get great gaming performance for $99? That’s the burning question we wanted to answer when the XFX Radeon HD 5670 arrived. The version we tested, with 512MB of GDDR5, can be found for just under a hundred buckazoids on the web. The other question: How well does it stack up against a similarly priced Nvidia card?
Like other Radeon 5000 series GPUs, the 5670 chip is built on a 40nm manufacturing process. For those still trying to wrap their heads around the huge size of the Radeon HD 5970, the 5670 is a mere 6.5 inches long, occupies just a single PCI-E slot, and has no requirements for a power connector. The two cards, of course, are not in the same class.
The HD 5670 has half the stream processors, texture units, and ROPs of the Radeon HD 5770. The GPU core is also clocked lower, as is the GDDR5 memory. With these specs, we expected something to give when running games. Sure enough, when we tried running modern games at 1680x1050 at high detail, the frame rates were unacceptable. Antialiasing? No way.
Make no mistake, we are living in the future. In a matter of moments, we can publish our thoughts, communicate with people on other continents, or start downloading more information than we can ever consume. We are presented with hundreds of great offers every day—each with a thousand caveats. We hear about hackers stealing identities and kids being sued for copyright infringement, and even a New York socialite slap-fight taking place in an anonymous forum can take the national stage. The future is odd, indeed. To help you get some of it straight, we sat down with various lawyers and asked: How do our rights work in the digital age? Can you get in trouble posting messages about someone online? Are there exceptions to copyright? Is it legal to back up your ebooks? Not all of these questions have clear answers, and some answers don’t make much sense. We might be living in the future, but the legal system was designed to deal with the increasingly obsolete present.
Ah, the humble End User License Agreement. You tear through them, you click “I agree,” but what exactly are you agreeing to? I don’t actually know, because like you, I never read them.
Claiming to read all your software licenses is the reverse of masturbation—90 percent admit they don’t do it, and the other 10 percent are liars. It’s hard to get through a whole day without agreeing to the occasional complex contract, we definitely couldn’t get through the day if we read them.
These days, companies claim to sell us their EULA in lieu of just selling us their software, to give themselves powers over their software the law doesn’t give them. How much power? No one exactly knows. This last-mile legislation by companies has met with mixed response when it goes to court.
On paper, Google’s new Nexus One is the smartphone to beat. It’s got a gorgeous screen, a svelte formfactor, and the hottest phone operating system on the planet, Android 2.1. Unfortunately, just like the Motorola Droid, the Nexus One has some problems that prevent us from recommending it wholeheartedly.
Let’s start with the awesome. The Nexus One’s screen, a 3.7-inch 800x480 active-matrix OLED display, is undeniably gorgeous, rendering pitch-perfect colors at high resolution in a way that makes the iPhone 3GS screen look simply sad by comparison. The Nexus One runs a Qualcomm QSD 8250 at 1GHz, comes with 512MB of RAM and 512MB of onboard flash, and includes a user-upgradeable 4GB MicroSD card. All this is packed into an HTC-designed body that’s slimmer than an iPhone 3GS and waaaay sexier than the Droid.
Thermaltake’s first SpinQ cooler (reviewed February 2009) had style for sure—it looked like a blue-lit stack of bike gears with a fan in the middle, mounted sideways. The SpinQ VT adopts the same basic formfactor—the stack of circular aluminum fins mounted around an 8cm fan—but stands the stack upright, and uses red LEDs instead of blue. Other than that, it’s more of the same—from the variable fan speed to the so-so performance.
The SpinQ VT (we still want to pronounce it “spink”) stands 6.2 inches from base to top, and the fin stack is 4.7 inches in diameter. Six heat pipes lead up from the base into the 50 aluminum fins, and the 8cm fan blows cool air down over the fins. The fan uses a 3-pin connector and includes a variable-speed knob to take it between 1,000 and 1,600rpm, but since adjusting it requires you to reach into the case, we imagine most people will set it once and never adjust it again.
Remember that old maxim that says we use only about 10 percent of our brain’s capacity? It’s been proven as hokum by modern neuroscience, but we think we can safely apply the same basic analogy to Google: The vast, vast, vast majority of computer users—even those practiced in hardcore nerdery—are almost certainly using a pitiful fraction of all the applications and features intrinsic to Google’s ever-expanding matrix of software code.
Sure, a Maximum PC reader may be well-versed in Google’s advanced search operators (Google allintext: “advanced search operators” if you missed that chapter), but we’re willing to wager that even the most curious among you haven’t taken the time to play with more than a few Google applications, let alone explore all their advanced features. Indeed, Google HQ is a fan-friggin’-amazing hotbed of R&D, but its developers are relatively quiet about the tools they’ve released. And that’s a shame, because Google’s constant innovation should get more press.
To address your inevitable Google knowledge deficit, we commissioned Gina Trapani to share her favorite tips. Gina launched Lifehacker.com, writes about Google for a bazillion media outlets, co-hosts the “This Week In Google” netcast, and pretty much makes it her job to know as much as possible about Google’s sundry apps and features.
Meet the world’s fastest CPU. OK, so we just gave away the big reveal to our report before you even flipped one page, and without so much as the common courtesy of a spoiler alert. For that, we do not apologize, because it’s not like you couldn’t have guessed how this one would end up. After all, Intel’s new 3.33GHz Core i7-980X builds on all the goodness of the ass-kicking quad-core 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition, but is smaller, cooler, and has an additional two cores under its heat spreader. With Hyper-Threading enabled, that’s a cool 12 threads at the ready. How could anyone screw that one up?
In fact, Intel’s Core i7-980X seems to be one of the most flawless launches we’ve seen from the company in some time. By flawless, we mean there are no contortionist acts, such as explaining to consumers that a new socket (LGA1156) will have the same CPU branding as an incompatible existing socket. Nor is there the head-scratcher of a very novel, yet very limp, integrated graphics chip in a CPU (Clarkdale), which, by the way, won’t work in boards that lack graphics output ports.
With Core i7-980X, you update your BIOS, drop the chip in, and—voilà—you spend hours rocking a six-core high. Put simply, Core i7-980X is 24-ounces of prime-rib red meat for performance enthusiasts who really haven’t had much to gnaw on since the original 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition came out two years ago.
So we’re done, right? You don’t need to read on? Sorry, there’s still more to learn. If you want to know if your motherboard works with the new chip, what applications can really exploit the six cores, and how this bad boy performs, you’ll have to keep reading.
The Sony Vaio P is a weird device. It’s much smaller than a netbook, but much better-equipped. It has wireless broadband access from Verizon, onboard GPS, a ThinkPad-style pointing stick, and an eye-straining high-resolution screen. It’s also incredibly expensive. So who exactly is the Vaio P for?
At just 9.8 inches across, 0.8 inches thick, and 4.8 inches deep, and weighing just one pound, five ounces, the Vaio P is made for mobility—it makes a 10-inch netbook look like a desktop replacement. Into those tiny dimensions Sony crams parts that—on paper—put your old Atom netbook to shame. The Vaio P uses a 2GHz Atom Z550 paired with the US15W chipset and GMA500 integrated graphics. By comparison, last year’s typical netbook used a 1.6GHz N280 on an Intel GSE945 chipset with GMA950 graphics. The Vaio P also ships with 2GB of DDR2/533 and a whopping 256GB Samsung MLC SSD, which itself is responsible for $700 of the Vaio P’s price tag. The full Windows 7 Professional OS is a welcome change from Windows XP—or worse, Windows 7 Starter.
The Vaio P’s eight-inch screen offers an eye-watering 1600x768 resolution. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a screen that was too sharp; reading text on it for more than a few minutes hurt our eyes.
Quick, what’s the top reason people put off PC upgrades? It’s the hassle of moving all those files, applications, and gigabytes of detritus built up on a PC over the years.
That’s a hassle that Laplink says it can solve with PC Mover. According to the product claims, by hooking up two PCs, you can use the application to move all your documents, as well as applications!
Yeah, if you’re as skeptical as we are, you don’t believe it, either. Something that promises to make machine-to-machine migration that easy must be a joke, right? The results, however, put our doubts to rest.
To run PC Mover, you simply install the client on the two machines involved in the move. PC Mover also supports in-place upgrades using a single hard drive by accessing the files stored during the upgrade in the Windows.old file.