Oh, microATX. You’re the awkward middle child of motherboard form factors: neither as fully powered as a regular ATX board nor as compact as Mini-ITX. On the other hand, it’s possible to build a hell of a rig with microATX in a relatively small footprint without compromising power, and I’ve been intending to do so for a while. I took a shine to the X79-powered microATX mobo Gordon Mah Ung reviewed in the April 2012 issue, and when the sky angels slipped a Kepler GPU into my rucksack, I knew what I had to do.
It’s not going to be easy fitting all these high-powered parts into a minuscule chassis, but if you want easy, build a full-size machine. When I’m done, I’ll have a box just 14.5 inches tall, 15.2 inches deep, and 8.25 inches wide—one that kicks a disproportionate amount of ass, no matter how tricky we have to get with the zip ties.
In the June issue, we debuted a new section of the magazine: Blueprints. Here's how it works. We've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Baseline, Deluxe, and Ultra. Baseline gets you a powerful, no-compromises rig, suitable for gaming and content creation at 1080p. Performance gets you more, and Ultra gets you into six-core, dual-GPU territory.
These rigs are lab-tested and editor-approved, and we'll update them every month. Feedback is, of course, welcome, and we're in the middle of a debate as to whether to include a lower price range into the lineup. Tell us what you think!
Last week was Computex, the annual trade show where most Asian electronics companies announce their hardware lineup for the coming year. It's an important event for the industry and for enthusiasts, but the show can be a hard to follow--the laptop-heavy announcements can get a little dry, and the show falls on the same days as the much-flashier E3.
Fortunately, unless memorizing Ultrabook model numbers is your hobby, you don't really need to read every press release from the show. We've distilled Computex 2012 down to its 7 major themes. Read on for a brief primer on the next year of consumer hardware.
It's E3 time again and, as usual, the consoles are getting most of the attention. PC gamers weren't left out in the cold, though, there were plenty of great looking games shown off for our favorite platform--you just had to look a bit harder. Let us save you the trouble of seeking them out; read on for the 10 PC game trailers you've got to watch from E3 2012.
As expected, Microsoft just announced something called SmartGlass at E3. Less expected? Just how awesome SmartGlass turned out to be. What could have been just an Apple AirPlay imitation, is something more ambitious. Something that could change television forever. But what is it, exactly?
It's the lifeline that'll make your dumb TV smart. For more info, read on.
How do you possibly condense twelve years’ worth of anticipation into a single game? Such is the question that plagues Blizzard’s Diablo III – if you can get in to play, that is.
I was one of the (likely) hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people slamming the servers on launch day, 12:01 a.m., with reckless abandon. What did it get me? Not very many “first impressions” to write about.
It’s since been a bit of an up and down with Blizzard, but I’ve somehow managed to find enough windows of time between my personal life and the life of Blizzard’s blazing servers to beat the game (normal difficulty). In addition to some fun screenshots below, here are a few quick impressions from someone who’s been punching Prime Evils in the face since 1997.
If there's one thing that those of us in the tech media love, it's to whip ourselves into a frenzy over a juicy rumor. It doesn't matter that the source of the rumor is someone's second cousin who knows a guy who works in an Apple Store in Tuscon, Arizona; all that matters is that nobody wants to miss out on the next big story.
The predictable downside is that a lot of the time those rumors turn out to be false. Presented here, for your consideration, are 10 tech rumors from the last few years that created a huge commotion--before they turned out to be BS.
We knew this day would come, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. After all, we’ve been waiting since Saturday. Today Nvidia launches the just-announced GeForce GTX 690, which packs two full GK104 Kepler GPUs onto one video card—and what a card it is. (For an in-depth look at the GTX 680, the GK104 GPU, and the Kepler architecture, check out the feature story from our June issue!)
With premium magnesium-alloy casing, polycarbonate windows, and an LED-backlit logo, the $1,000 GeForce GTX 690 reference card looks as expensive as it is.
Two. Two GPUs.
The GTX 690 is 11 inches long—big for an Nvidia card, but still smaller than the 12.2-inch high water mark established by the AMD Radeon 5970 a few generations ago. As you’d expect, the GTX 690 contains two of the same GPU found in the GTX 680, with a slightly lower base clock—915MHz with a boost clock of 985MHz, compared to the 1,006MHz base and 1,058MHz boost clock for a reference GTX 680. Nvidia says they’ve built in substantial room for overclocking, too, saying that you can get over 1,100MHz clocks from the stock cooler.
Aside from the slightly lower clocks, the rest of the board’s specs are exactly what you’d expect from a true dual-680 configuration: 3,072 CUDA cores, 16 SMX units, 256 texture units, and 64 ROPs. Each GK104 GPU has 2GB of GDDR5 with four 64-bit memory channels per GPU, for a total of 4GB GDDR5 frame buffer for the whole card.
Click "Read More" for the full specs, benchmarks, and more!
We won’t blow smoke up your PSU: Spending more money on a PC generally gives you a better computing experience. But that doesn’t mean that anything short of an exotic $7,000 PC can’t be fun and fulfilling, and it doesn’t mean that folks on a very lean budget are doomed to a piss-poor computing experience. So for anyone who isn’t flush with cash, we’ve laid out three nicely configured PCs—one for every budget.
The first is a sub-$500 rig that offers more gaming performance than a top-of-the-line gaming GPU... from 2007. The second PC, for just $1,300, is an everyman’s PC that’s sure to make Joe the Nerd a happy camper. The third PC is an honest-to-goodness enthusiast-class PC at the down-to-earth price of $2,100.
If you’re itching to build a rig, the time to do it is now!
A kick-ass case mod makes for a kick-ass PC. It's that simple. No matter whether you're rocking a Sandy Bridge-E or a Celeron, a water-cooled, LED-lit, hand-tailored and custom milled chassis stops traffic and sets lips a-whistlin' like nobody's business, proverbs about books and their covers be damned.
The past six months have seen a flood of truly outstanding case mods hit the Interwebz. So we decided to take the time to showcase the best of the best in recent memory -- with a little extra help from master modder Bill Owen of MNPCTech, Case Mod Blog, Mod Men and Maximum PC Star Trek PC fame. Because who knows the cream of the crop better than one of the cream of the crop?