What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget, Baseline, and Performance. Budget gives you an economical workhorse, Baseline gets you a powerful system for gaming and content creation at 1080p, and Performance beefs everything up across the board.
Lately, we've been tossing around the idea of doing a Build It story that uses a custom liquid-cooling loop just because they are fun to play with, and when properly designed, have many tangible performance benefits. But since this is Maximum PC, we asked ourselves, “Why not take it one step further and submerge everything in liquid?” After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Note: This article was originally featured in the January 2014 issue of the magazine
To those of you who might have had this article bookmarked, you'll notice it's a bit longer than before. Why? Well, we originally wrote this piece back in 2009, and quite a bit has changed since then, so we thought we'd add to it. After all, it's been five years, which might as well be an eternity in technology time. For example, the amount of free space Google gave Gmail users to play with in 2009 was less than half of what it is today. That's partially the result of Google merging storage across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ Photos. Whereas you used to have 7GB of storage for Gmail, you now have 15GB per account, and you can spread it out through those three services however you wish.
It took me a while to warm to Telltale Games’s The Walking Dead, an entire game series built around two of my least-favorite mechanics: quick-time events and dialog trees. Yippee. Pass the digital Ambien.
April Fool's Day has become the ultimate Internet holiday. Memes, jokes, gags, and fake products abound as tech companies go crazy with April Fools' jokes. Want an automatic selfie bot that follows you around and takes stellar selfies? Or maybe you're in the mood for a Pokémon-catching challenge.
We all know AMD makes damned-fine budget parts, but can Intel compete? This month, we build a $650 Core i5 Haswell rig to find out how it stacks up
It seems like whenever we build a high-end system it’s powered by an Intel CPU, and budget systems always run AMD parts. This month, we’re flipping the script and building a budget-oriented Intel system to see how it compares to AMD’s offerings, and to give people a glimpse of what a $650 Intel rig can throw down. For comparison’s sake, we recently built budget rigs using AMD’s new Richland APU (October 2013) as well as one with a $120 Vishera FX-6300 CPU (“Battle of the Budget Builds,” June 2013), and found that both chips serve their niche quite well. For this Intel build, we knew we’d go withHaswell, and wanted to run a Core i3 CPU, which typically comes with two cores and Hyper-Threading (HT), but those haven’t been released yet. Note: This article was originally featured in our December 2013 issue of the magazine. So, the next-best CPU we could get was the Core i5-4430— a quad-core CPU without HT for $180. That's a third of our budget on the CPU, which forced us to be frugal elsewhere. We also took this opportunity to try out a new microATX case from Cooler Master that retails for $50, which we felt was perfect for a budget build.
Note: This article was originally featured in the December 2013 issue of the magazine.
Facebook purchasing Oculus was an unprecedented acquisition. No Kickstarter company has ever been bought out by a large corporation prior to their crowdfunded project being released--at least not on the immense scale of $2 billion.
The surprising acquisition has spurred a lot of animosity from virtual-reality enthusiasts, most notably from the original Kickstarter backers.
A dual R9 290X card isn't here yet, but the 7990 is the next best thing
The Mission The ongoing war between Nvidia and AMD for supremacy over the PC gaming landscape has been like the Hatfields and the McCoys of enthusiast computing: long, bitter, and deeply entrenched. AMD's Radeon HD 7990 is the company’s biggest salvo yet, combining two HD 7970 GPUs onto one card. It didn't come out until spring 2013, though, which was long after Nvidia's own dual-GPU behemoth, the GeForce GTX 690, had dug in its heels. And it wasn't until mid-summer that AMD began to address the stuttering issues that marred its multi-GPU setups. With AMD's R9 series arriving in October 2013, this crown jewel didn’t really have much time to shine. Today, we'll try and change that, pitting this Cadillac of a card against nothing less than Battlefield 4, with everything maxed out and running at 1920x1080. With the previous Battlefield regularly favoring Nvidia cards, this might seems like enemy territory. But this time, AMD is working closely with the developer to make sure nothing goes awry. And in December, BF4 will be the first game to feature Mantle, which AMD has positioned to replace Microsoft's DirectX API. In the end, the HD 7990 could set the bar.
Note: This article was originally featured in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine.
We go hands-on with the latest gaming gadgets at the 2014 Game Developers Conference
We had the chance to check out GDC 2014 held in San Francisco, CA and this year was really about virtual reality. We had everything from the Oculus Rift development kit 2 to Sony’s Project Morpheus and a bunch of VR accessories and peripherals thrown in for good measure.