Attention, would-be cord cutters: If you’re going to tell the cable man to shove it, you’re going to want a full-featured media center app to make browsing your digital movies, music, and pictures as pretty and painless as possible. Two of the top no-cost contenders are the open-source XBMC and Plex, a partly proprietary fork of XBMC that focuses on streaming media to multiple devices. Which is the blockbuster and which is the dud? Let’s find out.
Note: This article first appeared in the December issue of the magazine.
Most power users would be perfectly willing to upgrade to Windows 8 if it weren’t for two things—the tile-based “Metro” interface and the missing Start button. While Metro is like a rash in that you eventually get used to it, we can’t imagine getting used to the lack of a Start button. It’s too bad Microsoft didn’t give us the option of using both features, but fortunately, two third-party utilities do. If you want the speed of Windows 8 and your old buddy the Start menu, one of these utilities belongs on your system. Let’s find out which one.
Note: This head-to-head feature appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Dream Machine 2012 is the PC utopia we all long for
Conventional wisdom says that PC performance doesn’t matter anymore. That’s because the average consumer, the average gamer, and the average PC jockey can’t tell the difference between a slow POS machine and a fast one. Well guess what, baby? That’s a bunch of crap.
Some people believe piracy has no negative effect on sales. I am not one of those people. So I sympathize with EA's desire to combat piracy with SimCity. However, I do not believe that requiring users to always be connected to EA's servers to be the best solution to the problem, especially when those servers come crashing down and prevent honest customers from playing legitimate copies of their game.
An in-depth Q&A with one of the best professional LoL teams
With an astounding 32 million registered players and one billion hours of collective playtime each month, League of Legends (LoL) is the most-played videogame in the world. The free-to-play title pits two teams of five players against each other and has them destroying enemy bases: think team-based tower defense gameplay where players have different designated positions. The deep, complex game is just as competitive as it is popular and features unprecedented lucrative tournaments that have multi-million dollar prize pools. Throughout the process, LoL has created several gaming rockstars in the burgeoning eSports world.
One such rockstar team is top-10-ranked Team Curse. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the American team currently has a record of 9-2 this season and has garnered sponsorships from such companies as Cooler Master. Team Curse is so well-respected in the community that its players charge up to $250 an hour for gameplay lessons. While this fee sounds astronomically high for what is nothing more than a videogame practice session, Team Curse tells us that requests for lessons can be at times overwhelming.
Maximum PC had the opportunity to conduct an in-depth interview with the beloved team where they talk about their insane practice regimen, discuss what it's like to recieve so much attention from fans, share tips on how to become a better player, and much more. Read on for the full interview.
Build your own small Steam Box PC using Valve's Big Picture Mode
As PC gamers, we’re big fans of Valve Software’s Steam service and can’t imagine life without it. We’ve got a huge library of installed games, all of our friends are on it, and almost every AAA title is released on Steam, making it indispensable. The only “problem” with Steam has been that its interface was designed for sitting 24 inches away, at a monitor, making it incompatible with couch-bound gaming. Valve has rectified this dilemma with its recently launched Big Picture Mode, which slaps a 10-foot interface on top of Steam and makes it easy to control with a gamepad. Since distance and connection issues can get in the way of running your desktop PC on your HDTV screen, we’re going to walk you through a more workable solution. First, we will advise you on selecting a small-but-powerful PC that’s suitable for a living room, then we’ll walk you through selecting appropriate peripherals, and finally we’ll show you how to get it all up and running, ready for Big Picture Mode deployment.
Note: This article appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
A chronological gallery of conventions for all levels of geek!
If you've ever wanted to dress up as Batman or Harley Quinn and mingle with fellow cosplayers in full garb (and why wouldn't you want to?), don't worry, you're not alone. There's a convention for that -- several, in fact -- along with conventions for all levels of nerdery, places you can go and get your geek on with fellow science-fiction fanatics, movie buffs, or whatever it is you're into.
Not quite the fastest single-card, but definitely the fastest Single GPU
On Tuesday we posted our preview of the GK110-based Geforce GTX Titan from Nvidia, and like all of yall we were eager to stuff the Titan into a test system to see what it could do in both single-card and dual-card configurations. Now that the dust has settled and our initial testing is complete, we have to say we think we misunderstood what Nvidia was said to us when we asked them how the Titan compares to the GTX 690. The Titan is one hellishly fast single GPU, but it's not the fastest single-card solution for gaming. That title still rests comfortably with the dual-GPU GTX 690.
A massive GPU that’ll be hard to find, and even harder to beat
Today Nvidia is pulling the wraps off the GK110-based GeForce GTX Titan, a single-GPU card that is expected to easily capture the title of Baddest Ass GPU in the world when benchmarks are released this Thursday, February 21st. The Titan is Nvidia’s “Big Kepler” GPU, and has double the transistors and almost double the CUDA cores of the mid-range GK104 chip found in its flagship GeForce GTX 680 GPU. Though it runs at a lower clock speed in stock trim, it should still offer a sizable performance improvement over the already capable GTX 680.