With the ripe combination of portability and power, today’s notebooks are becoming increasingly popular and replacing desktops as primary computers. And one notebook accessory that many consumers seem to be keeping their eye on is notebook stands. These angled risers that sit on your desk provide ergonomic and organizational solutions to transform a notebook into a makeshift desktop station. But which stand is right for you? Looking for a stand with passive or fan cooling? Or is a stand with comfortable ergonomics and stylish aesthetics more important? What if you want one with a little bit of everything? With these various factors in mind, we tested 11 different notebook stands to see if they’re any better than just putting a notebook on top of a few stacked phonebooks (which in many cases, they weren’t).
Earlier this month, we ran a feature showing you which parts to buy if you wanted to build an affordable-yet-kick-ass $1300 lean machine. This week, we’re moving up from budget PC recommendations to our power user picks. But with great power, comes great cost. Monetary costs, that is. Our Power User’s PC costs $2500 without a monitor of peripherals – the high end of what we’d expect a PC enthusiast to spend when pieceing together a new rig. We also want to clarify what we mean by Power User’s PC. We see the Power User as someone who maximizes his PC’s processing potential. This person encodes media files, burns high-definition discs, and manipulates image, audio and video files. Gaming is important to the Power User, but this isn’t someone who demands 120 frames per second in multiplayer shooters – he’d rather shave precious seconds off of his video encoding times while multitasking in Photoshop.
Click through to see if our $2500 Power User's PC is right for you!
One of the big announcements at this year’s Gamefest – Microsoft’s XNA developers conference taking place in Seattle right now – is the next step for the Games for Windows initiative. We spoke with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who gave us a breakdown of the updated service and how it’ll affect current GFW account owners. Kevin also clued us into the details from the official DirectX 11 unveiling, including what three new features have been added to the API.
Click through the jump for more details, and how this affects gamers who've already paid for GFW LIVE accounts.
The shiny, new hatchback you nudge in a street race dents slightly on the driver’s side door. Although you’re playing a PC game, created with beaucoup equations, the bend looks almost real. The 3D renderer sculpts all those numbers into images, with help from the video API (application program interface). However, several completely different rendering techniques can be the source of those images. Currently, the hardware and software industries are debating how to best utilize two graphics-rendering techniques: ray tracing and rasterization.
Hit the jump to see how 3D game rendering is changing with hardware advancements.
We've given you the gear. Now take a trip into the Maximum PC Lab with an exclusive Web-only look at how we constructed this year's Dream Machine 2008--the fastest PC you can buy, hands-down. Be there for all the heart-wrenching fluid leaks! The painstaking storage decisions! The bits and pieces we had to break just to achieve our Dream Machine...dreams!
If you have yet to check out what we packed into this rig, be sure to catch up on our first, second, and third looks at the parts of this over-customized rig. But if you're ready, then pop open the Lab door by clicking that little "Read More" link and take a look at how Maximum PC master-builders brought forth this year's PC powerhouse!
Face it, pirates and ninjas are out and zombies are in. And we have no doubt that one of our most high-anticipated games of this year is Left4Dead, Valve’s post-apocalyptic survival horror shooter. Our initial playtest sent chills down our spine when we first saw it at last year’s Showdown LAN, and the game looked much more refined and polished when we played it at this year’s E3. A revamped visual style and new character designs suit the cinematic direction -- the levels looked grittier and the zombies were definitely more terrifying (if that’s even possible). We spoke with Michael Booth, the designer of Left4Dead, to find out what other changes have been made to the game since Valve bought up his development team.
Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but anybody who uses it extensively knows the pain of having friends spread out over different services. Ever install a bulky and bloated IM client for just one friend? Or wished you could instant message all your groupies without running 5 different chat clients in the system tray? Well IM providers and a handful of crafty open source programmers have listened to our cries. Free browser-based alternatives exist for all the major platforms, and all in one desktop clients are finally able to bring the competing services together.
As you probably know, one of the new features in the iPhone 3G is the built-in GPS radio, which lets you pinpoint your location for hipster-loving social networking apps like twitter and loopt. In Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote, he showed off the GPS functionality with a video of the Maps application tracking a car as it drove down Lombard Street in San Francisco. The blinking blue dot followed the car as to passed each block, updating at a short enough intervals to move fluidly. While that’s cool and practical, we wanted to push the iPhone’s GPS to its limits. And the best way we could think of to stress test vehicle tracking was to try it on a moving airplane.
Read on to see how the iPhone performed at 200 miles per hour – in the air.
Just call us licky. We mean, lucky. You've seen the official super-hot photos of the Voodoo PC's Envy laptop, but we got our hands on one and were able to take tons of close-up photos of the as well as try out the highly touted instant-on feature. Our initial impressions: the laptop is really light. HP claims the laptop (it was the SSD version) weighs three and a half pounds, and even though we didn’t have a scale in our messenger bags, it sure felt about the same weight as the Macbook air, power supply notwithstanding. Stacking the Envy against a Macbook Pro and Thinkpad X300, Voodoo’s pricey portable was both smaller and slimmer, though it sports a 13” screen.
Click the jump for more impressions and all the photos, including the instant-on Linux interface, laptop size comparisons, and gross licking details.
We had an opportunity to speak with id co-founder John Carmack after the big EA press conference yesterday (where id surprisingly announced a partnership with EA to publish Rage). We grilled the legendary game developer (and part-time rocket scientist) about id's post-apocalyptic shooter, the state of gaming graphics, and what his plans are after id Tech 5. Rage looks be a drastic departure from the traditional id FPS, not only in gameplay style (open worlds with vehicles vs. claustrophobic indoor environments) but also in the way Carmack has designed the code-base. id has already announced that Doom 4 is in development (no publisher has yet been annonced), and Carmack confirmed that it'll run at 30Hz and run with several times the graphics power as Rage, a 60Hz game.
Click through to read our extensive interview and find out what John Carmack thinks about DirectX 10!