I’m sitting on the stairs to the San Jose Civic Auditorium’s balcony alongside Tommy Tallarico, self-proclaimed “veritable games industry icon” and co-creator of the popular Video Games Live (VGL) concert series. It’s an hour and change before the first show of the night—the first back-to-back doubleheader in the tour’s three-year history—and the audience is beginning to fill the space of the once-empty lobby with the boasting of gaming conquests and click-click-clack of sweaty fingers against plastic guitar frets.
Tallarico is in the middle of running through the list of countries VGL has appeared in since it hit its start button for 11,000 eager gamers at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl in 2005. The show’s worldwide travels could rival Carmen Sandiego for flyer miles. Tallarico’s describing his geeky Rainbow Tour when an usher walks up.
“Are you guys a part of the show?”
Go Behind the Scenes with Video Games Live after the jump!
This past weekend, legion of sweaty nerds – 60,000 strong – invaded the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle to celebrate video games, table top gaming, and nerdcore at the fifth annual Penny-Arcade Expo. Maximum PC was on site for all three days of the event to witness (and take part in) the spectacle and immerse ourselves in unabashed mass geek-out. And just as we did with Comic-Con, we’ve brought back a massive photo gallery of the 128 standout cosplayers from the convention, comprised mostly of video game and anime characters. And if you were that dude adorned in armor made entirely of Magic: The Gathering cards, you’re our hero.
A Dream Machine graced the inaugural issue of Maximum PC back in 1998, and the tradition of building an annual no-holds-barred PC beast has continued unabated since then. True to form, this year’s rig is the most audacious, most powerful dream rig to date. Equipped with no fewer than eight processing cores, four graphics cores, and five hard drives, DM2008 is probably also our most controversial build. But as Lando said, it’s not our fault.
In the old days, we would just pick the very best hardware available. But those were simpler times, when parts vendors all got along and their sole mission was to provide you with badass gear. Sadly, the stakes are so high today that politics has an undue influence on hardware configurations.
To find out who's on our naughty list, and see an in-depth kick-ass examination of our Dream Machine, hit the jump! And hold onto your hat.
Testing a display is two parts science, one part art. It's difficult to measure the performance of a display the same way Maximum PC evaluates other products. There is no benchmark that we can just fire up and then report a score from. Nor can we even test displays in their out-of-box condition. A fair amount of tweaking and visual analysis is necessary to ensure fair display benchmarking. And at the end of the day, determining which monitor reigns supreme is a mix of qualitative testing and the editor's expertise.
Anyone can talk about "visual computing," the big catchphrase of this year's Nvision conference. But few walk the walk as well as Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer. She took part in Monday's keynote address alongside Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, sharing how virtualization and computer effects have expanded her acting boundaries and methodology.
But there's always more to Six than what you see at face value. So Maximum PC sat down with Tricia to grill her (as nicely as one chats with someone who gave Starbuck the business) about the kind of technology that really makes her tick, and how she's managed her spaceborne success-turned-geek icon. Even after all that, she still wouldn't drop us any details on the Battlestar series finale--our favorite Cylon truly has a heart of steel.
How the world turns. Mention overclocking ten years ago at IDF and a Pinkerton would escort you off the show floor to a room where three Intel engineers would beat you with old Pentium Pro motherboards. Today, Intel is actually actively promoting overclocking, but big blue is calling it Turbo Mode.
Turbo Mode is just one of the several groundbreaking features in Nehalem, but it’s also certainly one of the most head-turning. But how exactly does it work and how do you control it? Walk with us as we decode Intel’s Turbo Mode, show you how you’ll set it up in the BIOS (with first photos), and tell you what you should expect from your next heatsink.
Want to take a look at the Nehalem BIOS? Of course you do.
We don't like taking on the role of enforcer, nor do we like bullying those ill equipped to defend themselves. But sometimes, for the greater good of all involved, as PC users we feel obligated to step in and lay the smack down when our Mac brethren come asking for it. In a way, we feel like Billy Madison did when he told a bunch of first graders "Now you're all in big, big trouble" before proceeding to pummel them in dodgeball.
During a private briefing with Intel at IDF yesterday to talk about Nehalem, we were given a demo of some cool software in development that makes good use of the multi-threaded cores of the new CPU. Francois Piednoel, the Senior Performance Analyst (ie. benchmarking guru) at Intel describes Deep Viewer as a "science project" of sorts. It's an image sorting application that they acquired from an independent software developer that reminds us of Microsoft Live Labs' Seadragon technology (which is used in the recently released Photosynth online app). We're talking about near-infinite scaling of visual data (in this case photos and videos) being processed in real-time on your display.
The big pc gaming hardware news to come out of this year's Leipzig Games Convention is the announcement of Microsoft's extension of the popular Sidewinder peripheral line. The Sidewinder gaming mouse, which was introduced last year to mixed reviews (we thought it was too big and had a mediocre scroll wheel) now has a little brother, the Sidewinder X5. The wired, 9-button device sports a 2000 hardware-adjustable dpi and the same awesome vertical thumb buttons that we liked about the original. In addition to the new mouse, Microsoft also announced the first Sidewinder keyboard, dubbed the X6. We are much more excited about this product, since it touts innovative features such as a detachable numpad and unique "cruise control" option. Microsoft stopped by our offices to let us get our eager hands on these new products.
Click through for the full specs, impresions, and more hands-on photos!
From Deschutes to Penryn, from Voodoo2 to GX2, from floppy drives to SSDs, the definition of pure PC power has changed radically over the last decade, and Maximum PC has been there—hands-on and no holding back—helping computer enthusiasts make sense of it. In honor of those 10 eventful years, we take a look back at some of the key moments in the magazine’s history, hear from some of the editors who have been there along the way, and take a wild guess at how another 10 years might shape the computing landscape. Strap on your sneaks, folks, we’re taking a walk down memory lane.
Celebrate 10 years of pure PC power after the jump!