The best kinds of system applications are the ones that make your life easier without you having to lift a finger. While the freeware applications we're profiling in this weekly roundup still require you to input a few settings, they're great tools to help automate some of the critical parts of your daily computer life. From hotkey creation utilities to applications that help you conserve power by turning off your PC at specified intervals, these freeware tools are must-have additions to your computing repertoire!
Click the jump to check out this week's batch of free, awesome apps!
Tick tock? More like ding-dong, mutha—shut your mouth. What baby? We’re talkin’ about Core i7.
Our apologies to Isaac Hayes, but if he were alive, we’re almost certain he would have been tapped to hammer out a theme song for Intel’s most significant CPU launch in, well, ever.
Why is this CPU more significant than the 8088, Pentium, or Pentium M? As the second new chip produced after a series of embarrassing losses to archrival AMD, the Core i7 will answer for the world whether Intel is prepared to ride the momentum of its Core 2 launch with another winning chip or if it’s content to rest on its laurels, as it did with the Pentium 4.
Core i7 also represents a major new direction for Intel, which has stubbornly clung to the ancient front-side-bus architecture and discrete memory controller for years. Indeed, with its triple-channel integrated DDR3 memory controller and chip-to-chip interconnect, the block map of a Core i7 looks more like an Athlon 64 than a Core 2 chip.
Intel actually has three quad-core Core i7 CPUs ready: the top-end 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, the performance-oriented 2.93GHz Core i7-940, and the midrange 2.66GHz Core i7-920. For the most part, all three are exactly the same except for clock speeds, multiplier locking (only the Extreme is unlocked), and QuickPath Interconnect speed. See the chart on page 42 for details.
The bigger issue is how Core i7 performs. To find out, we ran the Extreme 965 against AMD’s fastest proc as well as Intel’s previous top gun in a gauntlet of benchmarks. Read on for the results.
Continue reading for our comprehensive review and benchmarks!
Are you sick of using iTunes? We don't blame you. The program eats up resources and makes us scratch our heads with its "Genius" recommendations, and we're ready to throw out display through the wall every time the Apple Software Updater tells us that there's a new version of Safari out. Arrgh!
Before our inner Hulk gets both mad and strong, we've taken a look at alternatives to the popular music library software. As luck would have it, we stumbled across an open-source solution that's every bit as good (and functional!) as iTunes. Better still, it comes without all of the clutter! You might have heard of the application before--it's called Songbird, an open-source music library application straight from Mozilla itself. But what you might not be aware of is the sheer depth of functionality (and dare we say it, iTunes replication) inherent in the program itself. And we're going to show you the top nine ways to tweak this application to bits and make it do exactly what you want, including features you'll never find in iTunes!
Throw on your headphones and check our out big list behind the jump!
As some of you may recall, we featured a Budget Badass Buyer’s Guide at the beginning of the month to provide some guidance to those looking for solid performance at what we, Maximum PC, would consider to be a reasonable price. We read your responses to the build and many felt that $1500 was a bit over what the typical user would consider “budget.” So, we took it a step further and created a Budget PC below the $1500 mark. In fact, we even dropped it under $1000. At $800, we couldn’t quite figure out if it would even be possible to construct a PC that could play the latest games or even do some basic photo-manipulation in Photoshop. We stepped up to the challenge and built this Budget PC and put it to the test against our hardcore, $5000 machines to see how they match up.
Since we are still in the process of assembling the rig, benchmarks have yet to be run. For now, we give you our parts list. Check back soon for the results from our tests!
There's a lot of stuff that goes on underneath the hood of your operating system. For the majority of you that are running a Windows OS, trying to figure out how all the bits and pieces work together is like popping the hood and wondering how you can make your car run faster. But you don't have to be a guru just to make the most out of your everyday computing experience. A number of developers have created programs to ease, and even automate, the innermost workings of Windows.
Click the jump to check out the four (free) programs we've found that will let you take ultimate control over your operating system!
Ubuntu 8.10, named Intrepid Ibex, is scheduled for release next week, so we figured it's time to run down the checklist of improvements, fixes, and enhancements since Hardy Heron came out earlier this year. The last six months of development have brought tons of new functionality that make running Linux easier for all users--power users and neophytes alike.Oh, and there's a new wallpaper.
Hit the jump to learn everything you need to know about the next version of Linux, and a screenshot gallery.
From the Maximum PC Archive - Odds are, you already have everything you need to turn that big TV in your living room into an movie and music jukebox that will put all your media at your fingertips and amaze your friends. Whether you ripped your entire CD and DVD collection, purchase DRM-free content online, or you acquire your media from less legitimate sources, we'll show you everything you need to know to stream your audio, video, and pictures to your Xbox 360, PS3, or any other UPNP-compatible streaming device!
Everyone's heard of Linux, right? We wouldn't be wrong in suggesting that Linux is the most well-known representation of the open-source platform. Or, at least, we're willing to bet that it's going to be on the tip of your friend's tongue the next time you sit down at bar, order up a drink, and ask, "What's an example of Open Source?"
But we think you'd spit out your drink if your friend answered "Chumby," or "RepRap." You might even try calling out your buddy because you think he's just feeding you jibber-jabber to sound smart. Well, you'd be wrong to do so. These are indeed open-source creations, but you aren't going to find these projects no matter how much you scour SourceForge. That's because they're examples of open-source hardware, not software. That's right. The concept of throwing back the curtain and revealing all the working pieces of a particular item for you to modify at your leisure isn't an act that's constrained to bits and bytes.
Click the jump, and we'll show you the Open Source hardware projects you can make right now!
For the past few weeks we have presented you with our $1500 Budget Badass and $2500 Power User PC. This week we’re bringing to the table our picks for a $2500 Pro Gaming PC. With significant price cuts since our last Pro Gaming PC build-it guide, we were able to give our gaming PC some extra juice so system lag can no longer be blamed for missing a crucial headshot. Many parts have not changed since the last update, but with new hardware technology coming soon to the computer industry, be prepared for some significant tweaks next month. But for now, here’s what we got.
Would you build it differently? If so, we would love to hear how you would do it in the comments!
With most modern graphics cards offering two monitor connections, and LCD displays getting cheaper and cheaper, dual-monitor setups are moving out of the realm of the computer elite and into the mainstream.
However, Windows’ built-in multi-monitor support is a little lacking. You get some extra screen space, sure, but that’s about it. If you want any more out of your two screens, you need dual-monitor software. For years, UltraMon has been the app-of-choice for enhancing your multi-monitor experience, but is it all the software that’s out there? It’s not, and in this article, we’ll explore the free alternatives to UltraMon, and see how they measure up.