deal http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1937/ en Judge Rejects Settlement in Shareholder Case Over HP’s Autonomy Acquisition http://www.maximumpc.com/judge_rejects_settlement_shareholder_case_over_hp%E2%80%99s_autonomy_acquisition223 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u69/Gavel2.png" alt="HP-Autonomy Shareholder Lawsuit" title="HP-Autonomy Shareholder Lawsuit" width="228" height="166" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Chides company and shareholders’ lawyers for ‘abdication of their responsibility’</h3> <p>We are sure Hewlett-Packard would like nothing more than to efface the memory of its disastrous 2011 acquisition of British software company Autonomy, but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon as right now <strong>it is struggling to get a federal judge to accept its settlement proposals in a shareholder lawsuit over the multi-billion dollar debacle</strong> — a $11.1 billion acquisition that resulted in a $8.8 billion write-down a year later, of which $5 billion was said to be on account of “serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures” at Autonomy.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/20/us-hp-autonomy-ruling-idUSKBN0JX2J820141220">Reuters</a>, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer on Friday shot down HP’s settlement proposal in a shareholder lawsuit over the ill-advised acquisition, saying the proposed settlement would have been unfair to shareholders. Back in August, the same judge had rejected the original settlement proposal as it would’ve resulted in the shareholders’ lawyers making up to $48 million in fees.</p> <p>“The shareholders appear to be relinquishing a whole universe of potential claims regarding HP governance and practices," the judge wrote.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/judge_rejects_settlement_shareholder_case_over_hp%E2%80%99s_autonomy_acquisition223#comments acquisition autonomy court deal hewlett-packard hp law lawsuit write-down News Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:29:28 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29130 at http://www.maximumpc.com Lenovo-IBM Server Deal Gets Regulatory Approval in U.S. http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo-ibm_server_deal_gets_regulatory_approval_us654 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/ibm-lenovo-server-deal.jpg" alt="Lenovo-IBM Server Deal" title="Lenovo-IBM Server Deal" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Lenovo’s server division set for sevenfold increase in global market share</h3> <p><strong>Lenovo’s $2.3 billion acquisition of IBM’s x86-based server business has been given the green light by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)</strong>, IBM announced in a <a href="http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/44588.wss" target="_blank">press release</a> Friday. All eyes had been on CFIUS, a U.S. government inter-agency body responsible for assessing security implications of such foreign investments, after the deal received the necessary regulatory approval in China last month.&nbsp;</p> <p>“IBM today is pleased to announce it has received notice from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) of the successful conclusion of the committee’s review of the divestiture of its x86-based server business to Lenovo,” the company said in its press release. “The clearance by CFIUS of this transaction is good news for both IBM and Lenovo, and for our customers and employees. The parties now look forward to closing the transaction.”</p> <p>Both companies have every reason to be pleased as it must’ve been quite tough for them to allay security-related fears of U.S. government officials — IBM supplies servers to a number of high-profile customers, including some government agencies and telcos — at a time when the two countries are busy trading accusations of cyber espionage.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo-ibm_server_deal_gets_regulatory_approval_us654#comments acqusition cfius deal ibm lenovo m&a sale x86 servers News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 00:29:29 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28359 at http://www.maximumpc.com Lenovo-IBM Server Deal Gets Regulatory Approval in China http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo-ibm_server_deal_gets_regulatory_approval_china230 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/ibm-lenovo-server-deal.jpg" alt="IBM BladeCenter" title="IBM BladeCenter" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Now all eyes on the U.S. government</h3> <p>Chinese PC vendor <strong>Lenovo’s $2.3 billion acquisition of IBM’s low-end server business has won the approval of Chinese Ministry of Commerce's anti-monopoly bureau</strong>, according to news agency <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/04/us-lenovo-ibm-idUSKBN0F90DX20140704?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=technologyNews" target="_blank">Reuters</a>. However, this is only half the battle. Announced in January this year, the deal now requires the approval of regulators in the States — something that could prove a bit tricky against the backdrop of the ongoing U.S.-China cyber standoff.</p> <p>For the deal to go through, Lenovo will have to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-04/lenovo-ibm-deal-probed-by-u-s-over-servers-at-pentagon.html" target="_blank">convince the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS)</a>&nbsp; that it won’t allow the acquisition (it’s second largest till date) to be used by the Chinese to compromise the security of IBM’s many high-profile clients, which include the likes of the Pentagon and the FBI.</p> <p>The company, meanwhile, is confident of both this $2.3 billion deal with IBM and the $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility going through before the end of 2015.</p> <p>"I don't think (the cyber-theft case) will impact Lenovo's business," Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing recently told Reuters. "For a long time we've operated not just in China but also in the U.S. and other global markets. We have always been a transparent company, a trusted company, we've never had any issue with the government.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo-ibm_server_deal_gets_regulatory_approval_china230#comments deal ibm lenovo server News Mon, 07 Jul 2014 07:15:00 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28121 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Trying to Boost Surface Sales Through iPad Trade-in Program http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_trying_boost_surface_sales_through_ipad_trade-_program200 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/microsoft-surface-ipad.jpg" alt="Microsoft iPad Trade-in Program" title="Microsoft iPad Trade-in Program" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Redmond is offering a minimum of $200 for “gently used” iPads</h3> <p>Microsoft is currently running a <strong><a href="http://content.microsoftstore.com/en-us/offers?WT.mc_id=PromoEmail_iPadTradein_9-5-13_GetDetails#offer-tablet-trade" target="_blank">limited-time iPad trade-in offer</a></strong>, allowing people to bring in their “gently used” iPad 2,3,or 4 into select Microsoft retail outlets across the U.S. and Canada and walk out with a Microsoft store gift card worth a minimum of $200. While the offer has been live for well over a week now, the good news is that there’s still plenty of time left.</p> <p>Of course, Microsoft is not doing this to gain an entry into the electronics trade-in market. It is simply trying to prop up sales of its own Surface tablets at the expense of its most high-profile competitor. Redmond, in fact, wants to get that iOS-running tab out of your hands first and foremost, and if you choose to use the gift card toward the purchase of a brand new Surface RT or Pro slate, all the better.</p> <p>Valid until October 27, 2013, the offer is only available offline and that too in select Microsoft retail locations in Canada and the U.S. (including Puerto Rico). As for eligibility, all 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-generation devices are eligible as long as the device is in good shape and you still have the power cord. Also, the device can’t be password protected.</p> <p>In case you are actually considering trading in your old iPad for a Surface RT or Pro, please bear in mind that Microsoft is <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/here_we_go_again_microsoft_set_debut_surface_2_september_23">slated to unveil its next-gen Surface tablets on September 23, 2013 at a special event in New York</a> — so it’d be wise to wait until then.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: TechnoBuffalo</em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none;" href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author">Google+</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_trying_boost_surface_sales_through_ipad_trade-_program200#comments deal iPad maximum tech microsoft offer promotion Surface surface 2 tablet trade in windows 8 windows rt News Fri, 13 Sep 2013 22:36:27 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 26303 at http://www.maximumpc.com Build the Best Bang for the Buck PC http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/best_bang_buck_PC_2012 <!--paging_filter--><h3>We highlight the hardware that gets you the most performance per dollar spent&nbsp;</h3> <p>We all know that, generally speaking, buying the newest top-end part gets you the most performance. But in most cases, the premium you pay for that part covers a whole lot of other stuff as well that has no bearing on frame rates or video encoding times. We’re talking about the added cost of covering research and development, product marketing, lower production yields, etc. That high price also includes a vanity tax, if you will—the extra charge incurred by folks who simply want to have the latest hardware, hot off the fab, for bragging rights.</p> <p>Splashing out on the very latest gear is all well and good, if you’re rolling in cabbage. But for most of us, the job of choosing what part to buy is much more nuanced. The object is to find the hardware that offers the greatest value—the best price-to-performance ratio.</p> <p>That’s our objective here—to examine each of the major PC component categories, run the relevant benchmarks where warranted, and zero in on the coveted sweet spot. What we’ve come up with is a list of parts that are capable of meeting a typical enthusiast user’s needs for the best price possible.</p> <h3>CPU</h3> <h4><a title="Intel Core i5-3570K" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/amd_3ghz_phenom_ii_x4_940_black_edition" target="_blank">Intel Core i5-3570K</a></h4> <p><strong>Pay for the threads you need, not the threads you want</strong></p> <p>Make no mistake, we love cores and threads. But when you start talking about <strong>bang for the buck</strong> and sweet spots, eight-core and six-core CPUs don’t fit into the equation (well, unless you consider <a title="AMD bulldozer" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/bulldozer_benchmarked_and_analyzed_amd_back_game" target="_blank">AMD’s Bulldozer</a>, but that’s another matter). As power users who like to regularly drop in new CPUs, we have a personal fondness for the <a title="LGA2011" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/lga2011" target="_blank">LGA2011</a> platform, but frankly, LGA2011 carries a price premium that the vast majority of users don’t need to pay.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ivy-bridge_processor-front_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ivy-bridge_processor-front_small.jpg" title="Intel Ivy Bridge" width="620" height="622" /></a></p> <p>Really, when you talk about bang for the buck, it very much gets into the complicated question of just what kind of bang you’re after. Are you a 100 percent gamer (a rare duck, in our book) or someone who spends most of his or her time pushing pixels professionally?</p> <p>Since you pay for every thread in your system, you want to make sure they’re actually working for you. Take a gander at our benchmark chart, which compares a six-core Core i7-3930K to the quad-core Core i7-3820. To see what impact threads have on the benchmarks, we turned Hyper-Threading on and off for both processors. The value of the threads are there—but only if you have multithreaded apps that can use them. For the most part, today’s apps are optimized for quad-core or lower.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ivy-bridge_rear-shrs_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ivy-bridge_rear-shrs_small.jpg" width="620" height="620" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>This quad part offers Ivy Bridge performance and is unlocked for overclocking.</strong></p> <p>Based on our thread experiment, we believe we can make a case for Intel’s $230 quad-core 3.4GHz Core i5-3570K chip sans Hyper-Threading. Ivy Bridge offers at least a 10 percent performance advantage over Sandy Bridge and the 3570K is unlocked. Keep in mind, if you run thread-heavy apps such as encoding or 3D rendering, you should pay for Hyper-Threading or move up to a six-core part, but the sweet spot today remains four cores.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td> <p><strong>3.4GHz Core i7-3930K with Hyper-Threading </strong></p> <p><strong>Enabled</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>3.4GHz Core i7-3930K with Hyper-Threading</strong></p> <p><strong>Disabled</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>3.6GHz Core i7-3820 with Hyper-Threading </strong></p> <p><strong>Enabled</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>3.6GHz Core i7-3820 with Hyper-Threading </strong></p> <p><strong>Disabled</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Thread Count</td> <td class="item-dark">12</td> <td>6</td> <td>8</td> <td>4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Price</td> <td>$583</td> <td>$583</td> <td>$294</td> <td>$294</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">3DMark 11</td> <td class="item-dark">X5,794</td> <td>X5,703</td> <td>X5,730</td> <td>X5,669</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3DMark 11 Physics</td> <td>11,299</td> <td>8,974</td> <td>8,901</td> <td>7,090</td> </tr> <tr> <td>x264 HD 5.0 Pass 1 (fps)</td> <td>85.8</td> <td>51.9</td> <td>62.8</td> <td>51.6</td> </tr> <tr> <td>x264 HD 5.0 Pass 2 (fps)</td> <td>19</td> <td>15.6</td> <td>13.4</td> <td>11.2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)</td> <td>1,553</td> <td>1,500</td> <td>1,565</td> <td>1,546</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stalker Day (fps)</td> <td>181</td> <td>182</td> <td>184.2</td> <td>184.9</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stalker Night (fps)</td> <td>206.5</td> <td>211</td> <td>206.5</td> <td>206.5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stalker Rain (fps)</td> <td>240.7</td> <td>238</td> <td>240.7</td> <td>236.4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stalker SunShafts (fps)</td> <td>159.2</td> <td>158</td> <td>161.2</td> <td>160.4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stitch.EFx (sec)</td> <td>906</td> <td>969</td> <td>962</td> <td>1,057</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cinebench 11.5 (score)</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>8.35</td> <td>7.72</td> <td>5.85</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Valve Particle Benchmark (fps)</td> <td>249</td> <td>186</td> <td>181</td> <td>146</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7Zip (MIPS)</td> <td>29,748</td> <td>21,655</td> <td>21,122</td> <td>15,767</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>We used an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard, 8GB of DDR3/1333, a GeForce GTX 690, and OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional for testing both CPU configurations.<br /></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <h3>Videocard</h3> <h4><a title="GeForce GTX 660 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/[primary-term]/gigabyte_gtx_660_oc_version_review" target="_blank">GeForce GTX 660</a></h4> <p><strong>It’s a tight race but this relative newcomer takes the crown<br /></strong></p> <p>When you begin to compare price/performance ratios of GPUs at the high end of the scale, you typically see diminishing returns once you go beyond about $300. That’s rarefied air up there, where 5–10 additional frames per second will cost you an extra $100 or so. The real battle for frames, frags, minds, and dollars exists below that price point, as the GPUs loitering in the mid-$200 region offer very good performance for literally half the price of the flagship videocards. This is the sweet spot—typically around $250 or so—where you can find 1080p gaming at 60fps for the least amount of money possible.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/gigabyte2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/gigabyte2_small.jpg" title="GeForce GTX 660" width="620" height="414" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Don’t let its size and single 6-pin power connector fool you—the GTX 660 is a serious gaming weapon. </strong></p> <p>After examining the cards in this pricing segment, as well the cards in the pricing segment above it, we’re granting the brand-new <strong>Nvidia GTX 660</strong> best-bang-for-the-buck status. At just $230, this GPU is faster than the slightly more expensive (or same-priced, depending on where you shop) AMD HD 7850 by a respectable margin, and even beats the pricier $280 Radeon HD 7870 in some of our tests, making it the fastest GPU under $250 by a wide margin.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>So, why not spend $70 more and get a GTX 660 Ti? Looking at the benchmark chart, you can see that extra money nets you some performance gains, but in our judgment you don’t get enough of a return on that investment. The GTX 660 Ti costs roughly 25 percent more than a GTX 660, and yet offers an average of 15 percent performance improvement in most tests. When you tabulate price-per-fps, the GTX 660 also has the advantage over the GTX 660 Ti in the majority of tests we run, making it the value leader. As icing on the cake, you only need one 6-pin connector instead of the two that bigger cards require, so you’re saving money in the PSU department, as well.<strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Gigabyte GTX 660 OC Version</strong></td> <td><strong>XFX Radeon HD 7850</strong></td> <td><strong>EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448</strong></td> <td><strong>XFX Radeon HD 7870 GHz</strong></td> <td><strong>MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Price</td> <td class="item-dark">$230</td> <td>$245 (street)</td> <td>$250</td> <td>$280 (street)</td> <td>$310</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3DMark 2011 Perf</td> <td>6,935</td> <td>6,075</td> <td>6,295</td> <td>7,001</td> <td><strong>9,118</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">3DMark Vantage Perf</td> <td class="item-dark">27,858</td> <td>24,584</td> <td>25,523</td> <td>27,953</td> <td><strong>31,575</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Unigine Heaven 2.5 (fps)</td> <td>36</td> <td>31</td> <td>31.8</td> <td>33.2</td> <td><strong>39.8</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Shogun 2 (1080p, fps)</td> <td>53.7</td> <td>47</td> <td>43.1</td> <td>62.2</td> <td><strong>71.1</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Far Cry 2 / Long (fps)</td> <td>119</td> <td>103</td> <td>112.4</td> <td>112.7</td> <td><strong>133.3</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dirt 3 (fps)</td> <td>75.7</td> <td>50</td> <td>68.8</td> <td>82.4</td> <td><strong>95.1</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps)</td> <td>42.8</td> <td>34.7</td> <td>38.4</td> <td>42.6</td> <td><strong>49.9</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Just Cause 2</td> <td>60.3</td> <td>51</td> <td>55.8</td> <td>59.6</td> <td><strong>68</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Batman: Arkham City (fps)</td> <td>76</td> <td>60</td> <td>64</td> <td>72</td> <td><strong>80</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Metro 2033 (fps)</td> <td>22</td> <td>23</td> <td>22.6</td> <td><strong>24.2</strong></td> <td>22.3</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.3GHz Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus P797X Deluxe motherboard with 16GB Corsair DDR3/1600 RAM and a Corsair AX1200 PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate. All games were run at 1900x1200 with 4x AA unless otherwise noted.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Click the next page to see the bang for your buck motherboard and SSD.</strong></em></p> <hr /> <h3><span style="font-size: 1.17em;">Motherboard</span></h3> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <h4>Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH</h4> <p><strong>It doesn’t cost much to go from strippo mobo to feature-rich</strong></p> <p>When it comes to motherboards, you can seemingly spend as much as you want or as little. So, do you need a bells-and-whistles board like Asus’s ultimate Z77 <a title="Asus P8Z77-V Premium Review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/asus_p8z77-v_premium_review" target="_blank">P8Z77-V Premium</a> with its Thunderbolt and PLX chips for four-way GPUs, or is a $90 Z77 strippo board good enough? We find the sweet spot for a cost-conscious power user to be right about $190. Sure, you can get a microATX Z77 board for under $100, but it’s usually stripped down to the barest of essentials, with thermals on the VRMs as an afterthought. It’s like getting a new car with roll-up windows and manual locks. We think that by stepping up to about $190, you get such worthwhile amenities as <a title="Virtu hybrid graphics" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/node/24581">Virtu hybrid-graphics support</a>, multi-GPU support (both CrossFireX and SLI), and ports galore. Some good examples of bang-for-the-buck boards are <a title="Asus P8Z77-V" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/asus_p8z77-v_premium_review" target="_blank">Asus’s P8Z77-V</a> and <a title="Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/gigabyte_zx77x-up4th_review" target="_blank">Gigabyte’s Z77X-UP4 TH</a>. Both are feature-rich yet don’t break the $200 mark.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/gigabyte_small_6.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/gigabyte_small_5.jpg" title="Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH" width="620" height="429" /></a></p> <h3>Solid-State Drive</h3> <h4><a title="Crucial M4 256GB review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/crucial_m4_256gb_review" target="_blank">Crucial M4 256GB</a></h4> <p><strong>400MB/s reads, 250MB/s writes, less than $200</strong></p> <p>Right now the sweet spot for solid-state drives is a 6Gb/s SATA SSD in a capacity near 256GB (240GB for a SandForce-based drive). Why 256? 256 is big enough to store your OS, programs, and several games, and many modern controllers are optimized for that capacity—SandForce SF-2281 controllers, for example, have 16 lanes, and a 240GB drive has 16 NAND modules. Best of all, thanks to this year’s massive price drops, SSD prices are under a dollar per gigabyte: You can get a 256GB Samsung 830 Series, one of our favorite SSDs, for under $230.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mm7284_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/mm7284_small.jpg" title="Crucial M4 256GB" width="620" height="758" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Not the newest nor the fastest, but good speeds for a good price.</strong></p> <p>So, which SSD offers the best value? Crucial’s M4 SSD is a favorite of system builders for its relatively good performance and low price. It’s not the fastest 6Gb/s SATA SSD, but it’s plenty fast by any standard, and it’s attractively priced. For $180 at the time of this writing, you can get a drive with sustained reads over 400MB/s, sustained writes over 250MB/s, and good random-read and -write performance, as well. For $20 more you get the <a title="OCZ Vertex 4" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/ocz_vertex_4_256gb_review" target="_blank">OCZ Vertex 4</a>, with reads and writes in the 440MB/s range and higher random IOPS, and for $50 more than the M4 you can get a Samsung 830 Series drive, with 500MB/s-plus sequential reads, 400MB/s writes, but lower random IOPS—which is fine, unless you’re running a really active database server.</p> <p>The specific drive you get will depend on current pricing, and (as is the case with most components) you can get a great drive for a little more than the cost of a very good drive, but right now we think the Crucial M4 is the sweet spot to beat.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Crucial M4</strong></td> <td><strong>OCZ Vertex 4</strong></td> <td><strong>Samsung 830 Series<br /></strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Capacity</td> <td class="item-dark">256GB</td> <td>240GB</td> <td>256GB</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Price</td> <td>$180</td> <td>$200</td> <td>$230</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Price Per Gigabyte</td> <td class="item-dark">$.70</td> <td>$.83</td> <td>$.89</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Controller</td> <td>Marvell 9174</td> <td>Indilinx Everest 2</td> <td>Samsung</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CrystalDiskMark </td> <td></td> <td></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sustained Reads (MB/s)</td> <td>404.5</td> <td>440.9</td> <td>506.4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sustained Writes (MB/s)</td> <td>257.3</td> <td>446.9</td> <td>398.5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>AS SSD</td> <td></td> <td></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>4K Reads (IOPS)</td> <td>5,091</td> <td>6,632</td> <td>5,513</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4K Writes (IOPS)</td> <td>13,837</td> <td>17,159</td> <td>14,412</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Iometer</td> <td></td> <td></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>4KB Random Writes, QD32</td> <td>56,087</td> <td>65,111</td> <td>35,329</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>We used an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard, 8GB of DDR3/1333, a GeForce GTX 690, and OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional for testing both CPU configurations.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <h3>Hard Drive</h3> <h4><a title="Seagate Barracuda 3TB review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/3tb_seagate_barracuda_review" target="_blank">Seagate Barracuda 3TB</a></h4> <p><strong>The best drive is also the best value</strong></p> <p>It’s weird to say this, but the sweet-spot hard drive is the same as the <a title="Best of the Best hard drive" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/best-of-the-best?page=1" target="_blank">Best of the Best hard drive</a>. The <strong>3TB Seagate Barracuda</strong> is the best combination of price, performance, and capacity, whether you’re using it as your only drive or as the backup for a boot SSD. Its sequential read and write speeds of over 150MB/s make it the fastest 7,200rpm drive we’ve ever tested, and its price of $140 means its per-gigabyte cost is only 4.6 cents, making it the best value on the market right now. By contrast, 2TB “Green” drives, which spin at around 5,900rpm, are around $120 from WD and Seagate right now. Why pay more per gigabyte for slower storage? Cost-per-gigabyte goes way up as size goes down, too, especially for any drive under 1TB.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/seagatebarracuda3tb-big_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/seagatebarracuda3tb-big_small.jpg" title="Seagate Barracuda 3TB" width="620" height="657" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>At 4.6 cents per gigabyte, you can’t afford to pass up the Barracuda 3TB. </strong></p> <p>If your budget can’t stretch to $140 and you don’t have an SSD, you’ll want to prioritize performance over capacity. Get a 2TB Barracuda (make sure it’s one of the two-platter 7,200rpm ones with 64MB of cache). At $100, that’s 5 cents per gigabyte. 2TB WD Caviar Black drives, on the other hand, are over $200 at press time.</p> <p>If you do have an SSD and you only have, say, $85 or $90, get the 1.5TB Barracuda Green from NCIX US. It’s one of the few drives over 1TB that are under $100 right now, though we hope that changes as the industry recovers.</p> <p>Whether Seagate is engaged in a price war or it just fared better in the Thailand floods of last year, its drive prices are <br />unbeatable at press time, and the 3TB Barracuda is by far the most screaming deal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Price</strong></td> <td><strong>Price Per Gigabyte</strong></td> <td><strong>Spin Speed (rpm)</strong></td> <td><strong>Cache (MB)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">3TB Seagate Barracuda</td> <td class="item-dark">$140</td> <td>0.047</td> <td>7,200</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1.5TB Seagate Barracuda Green</td> <td>$70</td> <td>0.047</td> <td>5,900</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">3TB WD Caviar Green</td> <td class="item-dark">$148</td> <td>0.049</td> <td>5,400</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2TB Seagate Barracuda</td> <td>$100</td> <td>0.050</td> <td>7,200</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2TB Seagate Barracuda Green</td> <td>$100</td> <td>0.050</td> <td>5,900</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1.5TB Seagate Barracuda</td> <td>$82</td> <td>0.055</td> <td>7,200</td> <td>32</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2TB WD Caviar Green</td> <td>$110</td> <td>0.055</td> <td>5,400</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3TB HGST Deskstar</td> <td>$200</td> <td>0.068</td> <td>7,200</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1TB WD Caviar Blue</td> <td>$83</td> <td>0.083</td> <td>7,200</td> <td>32</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1TB Seagate Barracuda</td> <td>$86</td> <td>0.086</td> <td>7,200</td> <td>64</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1TB WD Caviar Green</td> <td>$89</td> <td>0.089</td> <td>5,400</td> <td>32</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em><strong>Click the next page to see the bang for your buck case, RAM, and cooler.</strong></em></p> <h3> <hr /></h3> <h3>Case</h3> <h4><a title="NZXT Phantom 410 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/nzxt_phantom_410_gunmetal_edition_review" target="_blank">NZXT Phantom 410</a></h4> <p><strong>There’s no need to pay more for a solid enclosure</strong></p> <p>There are people who say that the case doesn’t matter, that the sweet spot for cases is “as cheap as you can possibly get.” These people are bad and they should feel bad. The sweet spot for cases is right around $100. At $100, you can get a great mid-tower or full-tower case with solid build quality, plenty of fans or fan mounting options, front-panel USB 3.0, toolless drive bays, and a nice paint job. Below that you’ll sacrifice build quality or looks, and above that you start getting fancy, with water-cooling mounts, support for giant motherboards or a half-dozen fans, or premium materials, but $100 will get you a case with good air cooling that you can be proud of.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Our favorite cases at $100 are the <a title="Fractal Design Define R4" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/fractal_design_define_r4_review" target="_blank">Fractal Design Define R4</a> and the <strong>NZXT Phantom 410</strong>. The Define R4 is the more flexible of the two. It’s more of a silent PC by design, with its acoustic foam on the inside of the side panels and its unused fan holes covered with sound-damping material until removed to add fans. The Phantom 410 looks stunning, especially in red or gray, and comes with much more fan support and more fans, flat out.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/nzxt_phantom_beauty_small_3.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/nzxt_phantom_beauty_small_2.jpg" title="NZXT Phantom 410" width="620" height="768" /></a></p> <p>These aren’t the only cases at $100 and below that are worthy of consideration, but they’re two of our favorite mid-towers and they both happen to be around the $100 sweet spot. <strong><br /></strong></p> <h3>RAM</h3> <h4>8GB DDR3/1600 or DDR3/1866</h4> <p><strong>The sweet place to be is in dual-channel mode</strong></p> <p>How much RAM do you need, how many channels, and what speed? From our experience, and based on today’s RAM prices and capacities, we recommend 8GB of DDR3/1600. Everyone knows that 2GB is not enough RAM today. And while 4GB is OK, why stop there when 8GB isn’t much more? At press time, 8GB of DDR3/1600 fetched roughly $40 while 4GB is about $30.</p> <p>Should you buy more RAM than that? Only you can answer that question. If your applications are RAM hogs or you tend to multitask, additional RAM can’t hurt.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ddr3_viperextremex2_left_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ddr3_viperextremex2_left_small.jpg" title="8GB DDR3/1600 or DDR3/1866" width="620" height="503" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>8GB is truly the new 4GB when it comes to RAM.</strong></p> <p>There’s one more pesky problem, though: How many memory channels do you really need? Is it worth paying the extra surcharge for a quad-channel setup or is dual-channel enough? To find out, we took our trusty LGA2011-based zero-point, set it to bone-stock clock speed and tested it with 8GB of DDR3/1333 in quad-channel, dual-channel, and, well, single-channel, using various benchmarks. Some of the benchmarks are GPU-limited and others are CPU-limited to make a point that memory bandwidth won’t make a difference in many of your applications. Stepping from quad to dual doesn’t hurt much, but going to single will definitely take a bite out of performance, although not as much as you would suspect. In fact, upping the memory speed from DDR3/1333 to DDR3/1866 actually erased the difference in the apps that seem to like bandwidth the most: encoding.</p> <p>Why does memory bandwidth make nary a difference in the vast majority of apps? Thank the huge caches in today’s CPUs. The only time you really want to go all-out on memory bandwidth is when you’re intending to game with integrated graphics.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Quad-Channel</strong></td> <td><strong>Dual-Channel</strong></td> <td><strong>Single-Channel</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">3DMark 11 overall</td> <td class="item-dark">X5,794</td> <td>X5,764</td> <td>X5,634</td> </tr> <tr> <td>x264 5.0 HD Pass 1 (fps)</td> <td>85.8</td> <td>83.4</td> <td>74.4</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">x264 5.0 HD Pass 2 (fps)</td> <td class="item-dark">19</td> <td>18.9</td> <td>18.8</td> </tr> <tr> <td>SiSoft Sandra (GB/s)</td> <td>34.2</td> <td>17.6</td> <td>9.0</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stitch.Efx (sec)</td> <td>906</td> <td>898</td> <td>919</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)</td> <td>1,553</td> <td>1,586</td> <td>1,732</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cinebench 11.5</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>10.2</td> <td>10.02</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>We used an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard, 8GB of DDR3/1333, GeForce GTX 690, OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional for testing both CPU configurations.We used an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard, 8GB of DDR3/1333, GeForce GTX 690, OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional for testing both CPU configurations.</em></p> <h3>Air Cooler</h3> <h4><a title="Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/cooler_master_hyper_212_evo_review" target="_blank">Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo</a></h4> <p><strong>The best cooler-for-the-coin we’ve ever tested</strong></p> <p>There are many unsolved mysteries in life, such as who built the pyramids, where socks go during laundry, and how is it possible that the Cooler Master <strong>Hyper 212 Evo</strong> costs only $35. It just doesn’t make any sense. This simple cooling device has bested the majority of our skyscraper coolers since it was reviewed in January 2012, and yet it has cost less than almost every single one of its competitors, making it a rare gem in the world of PC components.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/hyper_212_evo-01_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/hyper_212_evo-01_small.jpg" title="Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo" width="620" height="656" /></a></p> <p>What about water cooling? We’re not going to go there, simply because even though the all-in-one designs have radically simplified the installation and maintenance of cooling loops, their price-to-performance ratio is still not as good as what’s available from a solid air cooler. In fact, in some cases the bigger air coolers perform better than their liquid brethren while costing less, so the sweet spot for now is definitely on dry land.</p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></div> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong><a title="Hyper 212 Evo review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/cooler_master_hyper_212_evo_review" target="_blank">CM Hyper 212 Evo</a></strong></td> <td><strong><a title="Xigmatek Aegir review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/xigmatek_aegir_review" target="_blank">Xigmatek Aegir</a></strong></td> <td><strong><a title="Noctua DH-14 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/noctua_nh-d14_se2011_review" target="_blank">Noctua DH-14</a></strong></td> <td><strong><a title="Corsair H100 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/corsair_h100_review" target="_blank">Corsair H100 LCS</a></strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Price</td> <td class="item-dark">$35</td> <td>$60</td> <td>$85</td> <td>$115</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ambient Air</td> <td>23.8</td> <td>24.8</td> <td>25.2</td> <td>25</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Idle Temperature</td> <td class="item-dark">36.2</td> <td>33.8</td> <td>34.1</td> <td>33.2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Burn Temperature</td> <td>74</td> <td>71</td> <td>72.3</td> <td>69.2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Temp Delta (Burn minus idle)</td> <td>37.8</td> <td>37.2</td> <td>41.1</td> <td>36</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>All temperatures in degrees Celsius. Best scores bolded. All tests performed using an Intel Core i7-3960 at 4.2GHz, on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with 16GB DDR3/1600, in a Thermaltake Level 10 GT with stock fans set to High.</em></p> <h3>PSU</h3> <h4><a title="Corsair CX600" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/corsair_updates_builder_series_power_supplies_three_new_models" target="_blank">Corsair CX600</a></h4> <p><strong>Buy just enough PSU for your needs</strong> </p><p>Our normal advice for an enthusiast constructing a system is to think long term, overbuild because you don’t know what parts your machine will end up with, and consider how hard your PSU is working on those sweltering days of summer. And if we were making a recommendation for someone using our guidelines, we’d say buy a Corsair TX 750 V2 or Thermaltake Smart 730. Both are about $100, give you a nice long five-year warranty, and offer four 6+2 connectors for future beefy-GPU support.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/cx600_sideview_a_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/cx600_sideview_a_small.jpg" title="Corsair CX600" width="620" height="490" /></a></p> <div class="spec-table orange">But this story is about bang for the buck, and with today’s sweet-spot GPUs offering pretty fantastic power envelopes, we surprised even ourselves by stepping down in PSUs. Corsair’s $70 CX600 V2 provides 600 watts and two 6+2 GPU power connectors. The PSU has plenty of power to run a single-GPU machine, no problem, and even SLI if you keep the system properly cooled. Be aware, if you plan to vary from our sweet-spot GPU, the TX 750 V2 is recommended instead.</div> <p><span style="font-style: italic;">Click the next page to see what all these components look together in one box.&nbsp;</span></p> <div class="spec-table orange"> <hr /></div> <h3>Best Box for the Buck</h3> <p><strong>When you put all these great-value parts together, you end up with one sweet PC</strong> </p><p>1. The NZXT Phantom 410 easily accommodates all our parts, with room to spare for expansion. The Gunmetal paint job looks hella tough, too.</p> <p>2. With an Intel Core i5-3570K onboard and the cooling prowess of the Cooler Master 212 Evo, you'd be a fool not to overclock.</p> <p>3. The GTX 660 lets us connect to a 1080p panel and get 60fps with all settings maxed out.</p> <p>4. Gigabyte's Z77X-UP4 is SLI-friendly, so commence saving your shekels for that second card.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/untitled_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/untitled_small.jpg" title="NZXT Phantom 410" width="620" height="517" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Proof positive you can get a lot of bang for 1,200 bucks.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Note: Cost reflects NewEgg and Amazon prices at press time.</em></p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">SWEET SPOT HALL OF FAME</h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>They captured our hearts with a combo of kick-ass performance and killer price</strong></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Celeron 300A</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">At the Bang-for-the-Buckers reunion, there will always be a seat reserved for Intel’s Celeron 300A. The “Celery” 300A’s claim to fame was an almost guaranteed overclock from 300MHz to 450MHz. You scoff today, but that difference let you get performance similar to a $670 450MHz Pentium II, but for only $150.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/intel_celeron_300a_mhz_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/intel_celeron_300a_mhz_small.jpg" title="Celeron 300A" width="620" height="336" /></a></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;"><a title="GeForce 8800 GT" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/nvidia_announces_geforce_8800_gt" target="_blank">Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT</a></h4> <p style="text-align: left;">How great was the $250 GeForce 8800 GT? It was faster than the next card up the ladder and damn near as fast as the one a rung above that. It was so popular that Nvidia will still refer to a new card in its lineup as the “GeForce 8800 GT” of the litter.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/reference_geforce_8800_gt_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/reference_geforce_8800_gt_small.jpg" title="Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT" width="620" height="407" /></a></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">AMD CPUs</h4> <p>We’re going to break form here by declaring <a title="Maximum PC AMD" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/amd" target="_blank">AMD</a> CPUs bang-for-the-buckers. Which one? Just pick any, because nearly all of them qualify. Yes, AMD is out of the hunt right now, but in general its chips have always been incredibly price competitive and have kept Intel’s prices far more reasonable.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/barton2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/barton2_small.jpg" title="AMD CPUs" width="600" height="600" /></a></p> <h4><a title="Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/cooler_master_hyper_212_plus" target="_blank">Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus</a></h4> <p>Cooler Master’s famous Hyper 212 Plus proved that an excellent cooler didn’t have to cost a claw and a tendril. The amazing thing is that the $25 Hyper 212 Plus was as good as 90 percent of the pack that cost twice as much, and it came pretty darn close to the best performers, too.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/hyper212plus_img1_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/hyper212plus_img1_small.jpg" title="Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus" width="620" height="691" /></a></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Antec 900</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">You’re probably spoiled by today’s $100 enclosures, but years ago, all a hundy would get you was a razor-blade-shaped box made from recycled roller skates. The P900 gave you incredible bang for the buck and nearly a full set of fans instead of the typical 10-exhaust-ports-but-just-one-fan routine.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/antec_900_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/antec_900_small.jpg" title="Antec 900" width="524" height="709" /></a></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Abit BP6</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Dual-proc men (and women) have always gotten gouged on price—you literally had to pay for the privilege of running two processors. Abit’s BP6 shattered that price lock by giving you a dual-proc board that let you run and overclock two Socket 370 Celerons—a config the Celery was never supposed to support!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/abit_bp6_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/abit_bp6_small.jpg" title="Abit BP6" width="620" height="506" /></a></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4200</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Before the GeForce 8800 GT, there was the GeForce 4 Ti 4200. The 4200’s hallmark was that despite Nvidia intentionally Nerfing the card to keep it from competing with higher-end cards, card vendors ignored the clock-speed directive and sold boat loads of them, all but killing its sibling, the Ti 4400.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/geforce4_ti4200_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/geforce4_ti4200_small.jpg" title="Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4200" width="415" height="280" /></a></p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">The sweet spot in CPUs always seems to be near the $250 mark. At $266, the 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600 was exactly the same as the $1,000 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6800 in cache and front-side-bus speed. Oh, and it overclocked just fine, thank you.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/core2quad-gry_bkgd_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/core2quad-gry_bkgd_small.jpg" title="Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600" width="620" height="628" /></a></p> <p><em><strong>Note: This article was taken from the December 2012 issue of the magazine.</strong></em></p> </div> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/best_bang_buck_PC_2012#comments 2012 Best Bang for the Buck cheap cpu deal geforce Hardware intel maximum pc nvidia performance seagate barracuda sweet spot value Video Card December Features Tue, 12 Feb 2013 00:45:45 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 24883 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rumor: Windows 8 Pro to Cost $199 http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/rumor_windows_8_pro_cost_199 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/windows-windows_8-box_art.jpg" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />In a bid to lure existing Windows users to Windows 8, Microsoft has announced a special introductory upgrade offer for those who choose to upgrade from Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 between October 26, 2012 and January 31, 2013. As part of this offer, they will have to <a href="http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/07/02/upgrade-to-windows-8-pro-for-39-99.aspx">pay just $39.99 for a downloadable version of Windows 8 Pro and $69.99 for its boxed counterpart</a>. But Microsoft has reserved the best deal for those who purchase a Windows 7 PC between July 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 by making them eligible for a $14.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade. Such deals are all fine and dandy, but surely not everyone is going to upgrade in the first three months. So what about those who choose to upgrade after the promo period? And, more importantly, what about full (non-upgrade) pricing?</p> <p>Our friends over at The Verge think they know the answer to at least one of these questions. According to the site, a source familiar with the matter has revealed to them that the <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/21/3257406/windows-8-pro-price-upgrade-price">full boxed version of Windows 8 Pro will debut at $69.99 as part of an introductory deal before becoming nearly thrice as dear at $199</a> on January 31st. The unnamed source further claims that Microsoft will also be offering a Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro upgrade option at retail stores, which will cost $69.99 until January 31st and $99.99 beyond that.</p> <p>All said, since this is still an unconfirmed rumor, we can do little more than hope that Microsoft will shed more light on Windows 8 pricing very soon.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/rumor_windows_8_pro_cost_199#comments deal offer price upgrade windows 8 windows 8 pro News Wed, 22 Aug 2012 23:30:14 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 24033 at http://www.maximumpc.com Verizon Gobbles Up Cable Companies' Wireless Spectrum For $3.6 Billion http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/verizon_gobbles_cable_companies_wireless_spectrum_36_billion <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u138055/verizon.jpg" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Wireless spectrum: it’s what powers mobile communications and wireless carriers have an insatiable taste for more, more, MORE of it. The need for more spectrum is the reason <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/sprint_rescues_clearwire_16_billion_cash_infusion">Sprint keeps bailing Clearwire out of financial hot water</a> and why AT&amp;T is pushing so hard for a merger with T-Mobile. Verizon has pretty much been the only major carrier that hasn’t engaged in major spectrum-related deals this year – until now, that is. Today, Verizon announced it has reached a $3.6 billion deal to gobble up 122 spectrum licenses from three major cable companies.</p> <p>Time Warner, Comcast and Bright House networks each own a portion of SpectrumCo, the company selling Verizon the spectrum licenses. The deal isn’t straight up cash-for-spectrum, either; Verizon Wireless and the cable companies will be able to sell each other’s products, too. In addition, <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57335601-94/comcast-time-warner-preparing-to-bid-farewell-to-clearwire/">CNET reports</a> that both Comcast and Time Warner, who currently offer wireless broadband services that tap into Clearwire’s network, will be cutting ties with that company over the next six months and switching whole-hog over to Verizon’s network.</p> <p>Verizon isn't being coy what it wants the spectrum for, either. "Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built, and buying the AWS spectrum now solidifies our network leadership into the future, and will enable us to bring even better 4G LTE products and services to our customers," CEO Dan Mead said in the press release.</p> <p>Of course, the sale still has to be approved by the FCC, and if <a>the FCC’s recent slap-down of the AT&amp;T – T-Mobile merger</a> is any indication, that approval may fall under heavy scrutiny by regulators.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/verizon_gobbles_cable_companies_wireless_spectrum_36_billion#comments cable Comcast deal news Time Warner Verizon verizon wireless wireless spectrum News Fri, 02 Dec 2011 18:52:19 +0000 Brad Chacos 21609 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nab An Eee Pad Transformer For The Price Of A Bookstore Tablet At Best Buy On Black Friday http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/nab_eee_pad_transformer_price_bookstore_tablet_best_buy_black_friday <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u138055/asus_eeee_pad_both.jpg" width="228" height="194" style="float: right;" />So the Kindle Fire’s out, and the Barnes &amp; Noble Nook Tablet is due any day now, too. But if you’re in the mood for a cheap, yet awesome tablet this holiday season, it might just be worth it to brave the crowds and – GASP – venture out to Best Buy on Black Friday. A <a href="http://www.2011blackfridayads.com/bestbuy/#pagelinks">leaked ad</a> shows that the older, but still viable Asus Eee Pad Transformer will be available for just $250 on that crappiest of days. That’s the same price as the Nook Tablet and just $50 more than the Fire.</p> <p>Sure, the new, quad-core Eee Pad Transformer Prime is slated to arrive before Christmas, too, but that’ll set you back at least $500. And going by specs, the normal Eee Pad Transformer that we know and love(<a href="http://www.maximumtech.com/asus-eee-pad-transformer-tf101-a1-review">d in our review</a>) stands up strong against the bookstore tablets, with a bigger display and better resolution and twice the storage and RAM of the Fire, at 16GB and 1GB, respectively. The Transformer also has a lot of nifty features that the bookstore tablets just can’t match, including a plethora of ports, Bluetooth support, an HD camera and more. The price doesn't include the cool, super-functional optional keyboard dock, though, and it's for a Best Buy Exclusive "X1" model -- which may not be quite as well equipped as the already-existing base Transformer.</p> <p>But at $250 (down from the normal $400 MSRP), you could do a lot worse for, well, a lot more. But you’ll have to venture down to the old brick-and-mortar on Black Friday if you want to take advantage of the offer. Does it entice any of you?</p> <p><em>(P.S. Don't worry -- Maximum PC is not turning into w00t.com. I just thought this was a cool deal to pass on.)</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/nab_eee_pad_transformer_price_bookstore_tablet_best_buy_black_friday#comments asus eeepad transformer best buy black friday deal Hardware tablet News Mon, 14 Nov 2011 19:30:39 +0000 Brad Chacos 21319 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Signs Another Android Patent Deal http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/microsoft_signs_another_android_patent_deal <!--paging_filter--><p>The just released official Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson sheds light on the recently deceased Apple founder’s intense aversion for Android, which he detested for being a “stolen product.” He hated Android so much that he was even willing to “spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion” to bring about its destruction. However, that didn’t quite pan out during Jobs’ lifetime. But now Microsoft must be hoping that it never does - at least not until Windows Phone 7 is a major force in the mobile market.</p> <p>This is for the simple fact that Microsoft is making a killing from its Android licensing program which, according to the Redmond-based company, has reached a new milestone with its latest patent license agreement. The software giant on Sunday announced a patent license agreement with leading Taiwan-based ODM Compal, making it its ninth such agreement in four months and its tenth overall.</p> <p>“More important, today’s announcement means that companies accounting for more than half of all Android devices have now entered into patent license agreements with Microsoft,” the company proudly boasted in a <a href="http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2011/10/23/microsoft-s-new-patent-agreement-with-compal-a-new-milestone-for-our-android-licensing-program.aspx">blog post</a> Sunday.</p> <p>“Amidst continuing clamor about uncertainty and litigation relating to smartphone patents, we're putting in place a series of agreements that are reasonable and fair to both sides. Our agreements ensure respect and reasonable compensation for Microsoft's inventions and patent portfolio.”</p> <p><img src="/files/u46168/7624.androidpatent.jpg" width="620" height="464" /></p> <p>The company also published this chart comparing Apple’s litigiousness with its own patent policy of lucrative restraint: “ You can see this licensing progress in the chart above, showing recent lawsuits and licenses. While lawsuits may dominate many of the headlines, these are being overtaken by the number of license agreements being signed. At this point, the fast pace of licensing is reshaping the legal landscape for smartphone patents.”</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/microsoft_signs_another_android_patent_deal#comments agreement android licensing program deal Google microsoft patent patent claim News Tue, 25 Oct 2011 11:57:26 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 20991 at http://www.maximumpc.com Diez Ex: Deus Ex Turns Ten, Is No Longer Ten Dollars on Steam http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/diez_ex_deus_ex_turns_ten_no_longer_ten_dollars_steam <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u46190/DeusEx.jpg" width="415" height="250" /></div> <p> Has it really been ten years since Deus Ex first launched? We were expecting everyone in the real world to be part man, part machine, and part black leather trenchcoat by now. Oh well. At least <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/6910/">Steam</a>'s still offering a nice consolation prize: Deus Ex in its entirety for so little that you can probably go take a quick dig through your couch cushions and announce, “I can now afford one of the greatest games of all time.”</p> <p> Previously $9.99, Deus Ex is now available for the paltry sum of $2.50. Or, throw a couple extra dollars in the pot and you can nab both Deus Ex and its decent-but-not-amazing sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War for a grand total of $4.98. So basically, it's Deus Ex's birthday, but we're the ones getting the presents.</p> <p> It's an excellent deal, and with Deus Ex: Human Revolution right around the corner, there's no better time to find out what all the hubbub's about. What else are you going to use $2.50 for? Some gum? Enough gas to get you to the pump right in front of you so you can refuel for real this time? This one sounds like a no-brainer to us.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/diez_ex_deus_ex_turns_ten_no_longer_ten_dollars_steam#comments deal Deus Ex: Human Revolution Gaming Gaming Software news Software Software News Steam Gaming News Wed, 23 Jun 2010 09:41:10 +0000 Nathan Grayson 13082 at http://www.maximumpc.com Firefox Add-on of the Week: The Camelizer http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/firefox_addon_week_camelizer <!--paging_filter--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><p>Alright, smart shoppers. Start your engines, grab your plastic cards, and let's get shopping. But not just yet. You'll want to grab this week's Firefox Extension of the Week, The Camelizer, if you want any shot at making informed purchasing decisions. And by that, I mean waiting until the time is <em>just</em> right to pick up whatever it is you're hunting after from one of the major retailers of your choice.</p> <p>Here's how <a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/14392/">The Camelizer</a> works. When you hit up a site like Amazon, NewEgg, or Overstock.com--amongst others--The Camelizer calls back to a few third-party, camel-themed Web sites to generate a list of prices over the previous few months for the particular object you're looking at. It then spits this information out in an easy-to-digest graph right on the landing page for said product. Not only can you view the price fluctuations of the product itself as sold by said retailer, but you can also check out the average selling price of used versions of the item as well (for places that support such a marketplace, like Amazon).</p> <p>If you want, you can use an included &quot;Track Product&quot; button to fire up one of the aforementioned camel Web sites and mark the product for investigation over there. Should you do that, said sites will automatically shoot you a message via email, Twitter, or RSS if the product you're after happens to drop below a set point.</p> <p>For a relatively low cost of entry (none) and an equally small level of obstruction (also none), The Camelizer provides a ton of useful information for the aspiring smart shopper. If saving money is your thing, check it out!</p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/firefox_camelizer.jpg" width="415" height="349" /></div> <p><em><strong>Maximum PC picks one new Firefox add-on as its favorite of the week each... week. Have a nifty extension that you can't live without? Twitter</strong></em><strong><em> </em></strong><em><strong><a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy @acererak</a></strong></em><strong><em> </em></strong><em><strong>with your latest suggestions.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/firefox_addon_week_camelizer#comments deal ecommerce firefox addon of the week graph price retail shopping track Web Exclusive Thu, 20 May 2010 15:28:28 +0000 David Murphy 12508 at http://www.maximumpc.com Firefox Add-on of the Week: RetailMeNot http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/firefox_addon_week_retailmenot <!--paging_filter--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><p>If you like to shop online, you really have no reason to <em>not</em> save additional money when purchasing, well, anything.  That's a pretty generic statement, so let me break things down for you: A number of online retailers (or brick-and-mortar stores with online presences) have tons of deals, coupons, and promotional codes floating around the Web at any given time.  These might be geared toward specific audiences; they might be sent out to locations you don't frequent or email addresses that aren't yours.</p> <p>Well, the beauty of the Web is that it has allowed a number of people to join together in the shared pursuit of savings.  One such community, the website RetailMeNot.com, just happens to be one of the best and most well-known of these kinds of meeting places.  How said site works is rather simple: People submit coupon or promotional codes they've heard about for all kinds of merchants, and the various visitors to the site vote on whether said code actually works or not.  Easy enough?</p> <p>While you're more than free to surf on over to RetailMeNot to check any retail site that you happen to be browsing, that's a bit tedious if you're a power-shopper--or forgetful.  And that's where the <a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4980">RetailMeNot</a> Firefox add-on comes into the picture.  This extremely simple add-on is a great, unobtrusive addition to your browser, because it only drops down a single notification bar whenever you happen to be surfing a site that has coupons or promotions in the RetailMeNot database.  And this database itself updates once per week from the RetailMeNot site itself, so you're guaranteed to have a pretty good handle on the latest deals for all your online shopping.</p> <p>It's pretty hard to deny the coolness of a Firefox add-on that saves you money, right?  My only hesitation with this add-on is that the drop-down notification screen doesn't <em>always</em> work... but when it does, that's easy cash in the bank. </p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/firefox_retailmenot.png" width="415" height="235" /></div> <p><em><strong>Maximum PC picks one new Firefox add-on as its favorite of the week each... week. Have a nifty extension that you can't live without? Twitter</strong></em><strong><em> </em></strong><em><strong><a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy @acererak</a></strong></em><strong><em> </em></strong><em><strong>with your latest suggestions.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/firefox_addon_week_retailmenot#comments cash code deal firefox addon of the week Money online promo retail savings shop Web Exclusive Tue, 04 May 2010 15:06:00 +0000 David Murphy 12239 at http://www.maximumpc.com Deal Alert: Left 4 Dead 2’s Price Chopped Clean in Half http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/deal_alert_left_4_dead_2%E2%80%99s_price_chopped_clean_half <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u46190/MidweekMadness.jpg" width="415" height="250" /></div> <p> In case you need a reminder, we at MPC are pretty big Left 4 Dead 2 fans. In fact, if you were able to make it even half-way through <a href="/article/reviews/left_4_dead_2">our review</a> of Valve’s fine-tuned take on cooperative zombie-slaughter without giving Valve a heaping handful of your money, well, we’re pretty sure you just hate being happy. Or, perhaps you made the mistake of wasting your precious funds on pointless causes like food and your family, and simply couldn’t afford Left 4 Dead 2. In which case, everything’s fine and dandy now, because Valve’s <a href="http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=3634">put the game on sale</a> at the extremely attractive price of $24.99.</p> <p> The sale runs from now until Thursday, and applies not just to vanilla Left 4 Dead 2, but also to any bundles that include the game. So basically, we recommend that you pounce on this deal like a starving, family-less guy who spent his last few bucks on Left 4 Dead 2 pouncing on free samples at the grocery store. Or something. </p> <p> Valve also points out that Left 4 Dead 2’s eagerly anticipated “The Passing” DLC is coming sometime this spring, and will include – among other things – multiple brand new game modes. As in, more than one. Since Valve wrote that announcement in all caps, we’re gonna assume it’s a big deal. More details soon, we hope. </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/deal_alert_left_4_dead_2%E2%80%99s_price_chopped_clean_half#comments deal Gaming Gaming Software left 4 dead 2 news sale Software Software News Valve Gaming News Wed, 24 Mar 2010 06:57:07 +0000 Nathan Grayson 11598 at http://www.maximumpc.com Web App of the Week: Groupon http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/web_app_week_groupon <!--paging_filter--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><p>If war movies, zombies hordes, or stormtroopers have taught us anything, it's that there's power to be had in numbers-well, maybe not the stormstroopers. Regardless, a number of Web apps take advantage of this philosophy to offer increased functionality, awesome services, or cheap deals for those who are part of a herd. <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/">Kickstarter</a>, for example, allows groups of people to team up and pledge funding for a number of independent projects. If a project meets its funding goal, then everyone who pledge an amount has to pay. If not, nobody pays a dime. </p> <p>But you don't want to pay money. No, you want to save money. For that, turn to a Web site called <a href="http://www.groupon.com">Groupon</a>. This community-driven site is like a combination of Costco (or your favorite local warehouse for purchasing oversized amounts of products), Kickstarter, and Woot. Instead of offering to pledge money, you're offering to purchase a product at lesser, group-discount rate. If enough people agree to buy, then everyone's commitments go through to their credit cards. If not, your hard-earned money stays right where it is.</p> <p>Cool as it sounds, the service's biggest drawback is that it's designed with a city-based focus in mind. Thus, if you don't actually live in one of the major cities where, say, the restaurant or spa discount would apply... you're out of luck. On the plus side, there are more than 30 major cities to choose from, so odds are good that you'll have a good shot at hitting it big on one of the site's daily deals. Integrated social networking functionality allows you to easily share deals with your friends-who knows, maybe you'll be able to convince them to pony up and bring you one step closer to your huge discount.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/waotw_groupon1.jpg" width="415" height="253" /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Every Thursday, Maximum PC picks a new Web App as its favorite of the week. Have a Web App that you can't live without? </em><strong><em>Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy @acererak</a> with your latest suggestions.</em></strong></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/web_app_week_groupon#comments community deal group online savings web app of the week web apps Web Exclusive Thu, 12 Nov 2009 21:15:00 +0000 David Murphy 9069 at http://www.maximumpc.com Deal Alert: Save $10 on Full Season of Tales of Monkey Island http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/deal_alert_save_10_full_season_tales_monkey_island <!--paging_filter--><p>To celebrate &quot;Talk Like a Pirate Day,&quot; Telltale Games <a href="/article/news/tales_monkey_island_ep_1_going_free_%E2%80%9Ctalk_pirate%E2%80%9D_day">gave away</a> free copies of Tales of Monkey Island: Episode One to gamers and scurvy landlubbers alike. But don't worry if you missed out on your chance to reap all the rewards of piracy without crossing moral (and legal) lines, because Telltale is giving you another chance to become a swashbuckler without spending all of your grog money.</p> <p>The freebie offer has come and gone, but from now until midnight (Pacific Time) on Sunday, October 25, Telltale Games is slashing the price on the full first season of Tales of Monkey Island by $10. For 25 bucks, you'll have access to all five episodes, which breaks down to $5 a pop. As a bonus, Telltale says season purchases are eligible to receive a collector's CD, made available at the end of the season, for the cost of shipping </p> <p>Chapters One through Three are available to play now, with the remaining episodes &quot;coming soon.&quot; </p> <p><a href="http://www.telltalegames.com/store/talesofmonkeyisland-upgrade/seasonoffer">Offer Link</a></p> <p align="center"><img src="/files/u46190/tales_of_monkey_island1.jpg" width="405" height="227" /> </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/deal_alert_save_10_full_season_tales_monkey_island#comments deal games Gaming Gaming Software Software Software News Tales of Monkey Island Telltale Games Videogames News Fri, 16 Oct 2009 14:45:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 8452 at http://www.maximumpc.com