All expecting parents have read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, because when that little bundle of joy drops out of mommy, you’d better be ready with lots of paper towels and a whole lot of specialized knowledge about what to do from that moment forward. Though it’s not quite as messy (or scary), a new PC requires a similar sort of informed approach if you want to raise it properly from the moment it squirts out of the Fed Ex truck and into your life. You’ll be tempted to pick it up and coo, “Who's a widdle PC?,” and then immediately benchmark the shinola out of it. We understand the impulse, and the excitement, but hold your horses, cowboy. You’ve got to take it slow with a new rig, and get it set up correctly the first time, or else all your future efforts will be for naught. That’s where we come in.
Note: This article was originally featured in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Razer Surround: Can virtual surround sound software do the job of a real 7.1 headset?
Razer Surround is a program for gamers to get surround sound in any pair of headphones, be itRazer or otherwise. That’s right, install it and Razer claims that you’ll have “the best virtual 7.1 channel surround sound experience [possible] with any stereo headphones.”
It's taken some time, but Windows 8 is now officially more popular than Windows Vista, according to the latest market share data. Furthermore, it doesn't even matter if you put more stock into StatCounter's accounting method or prefer NetApplicaton's approach to tallying market share, both firms are in agreement that Windows 8 is ahead of Vista in usage, if ever so slightly.
The original Larry Laffer returns with new jokes and puzzles
It's been nearly two decades since the last Leisure Suit Larry game launched. No need to check our math, we're intentionally ignoring the releases of Magna Cum Laude (2004) and Box Office Bust (2009), both of which inexplicably shunned Al Lowe in the development process even though he made it be known he wanted to participate. But let's not cry over spilled beer, the original Leisure Suit Larry is back on the prowl, and this time, Al Lowe was involved from start to finish.
One of the major benefits of upgrading to Windows 8.1 when it becomes available is the inclusion of Internet Explorer 11. The touch-friendly browser represents a pretty significant update to IE's code base, with support being offered for WebGL and Google's SPDY protocol, as well as improved HTML5 support. While the new browser is shipping with Windows 8.1, Microsoft is planning to port it over to Windows 7.
Serving as yet another sign that mobile platforms are here to stay, Futuremark announced that it plans to port its PCMark benchmark over to Android, iOS, and Windows RT. Like its Windows counterpart, the mobile version will feature benchmark tests based on real-world use scenarios, though they'll be geared toward activities that smartphone and tablet owners perform on a daily basis. It will also examine battery life.
The next generation of game consoles from Sony (PlayStation 4) and Microsoft (Xbox One) isn't just about the hardware, it's equal parts software and whether or not the gaming industry as a whole is ready to transition to a digital distribution model. For the most part, the transition is mostly complete on the PC side thanks to services like Steam, and had Microsoft stuck to its guns, the Xbox One would have leaned much more heavily on digital downloads than physical media. As for Sony, it wasn't even a consideration, because gamers simply don't want to buy games online, the company says.
Nvidia today lifted the wraps off its GeForce GTX 760 graphics card, a mid-range part that fared well in our benchmarking and surprised us with a $250 MSRP, and coinciding with the hardware release is a new set of drivers in beta trim. Available to download now, the GeForce 320.49 beta driver delivers improved stability and performance, and is especially recommended "for players of GRID 2 and other recent releases," Nvidia says.
Hewlett-Packard seems to have a bit of a minor crush on Google as of late. The first evidence came when HP offered up its Pavilion Chromebook to the public, a 14-inch notebook running Google's Chrome OS. For what it's worth, HP is still the only OEM outside of Acer and Samsung to offer a Chromebook model, the other two of which were on the bandwagon since day 1. Perhaps looking to further test the waters outside of Windows, HP this week announced another Google-driven product, the HP Slate 21 All-In-One (AIO).
Bummed that your headset doesn't support 7.1 surround sound? Cut your cans a break, perhaps there's unlocked potential within those drivers just waiting for somebody to tap into. With the help of Razer, you can do just that by adding a new dimension of sound. Specifically, Razer has developed a new audio engine that it claims will add 7.1 virtual surround sound support to any stereo headset, even earphones.