All expecting parents have read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, because when that little bundle of joy drops out of mommy, you’d better be ready with lots of paper towels and a whole lot of specialized knowledge about what to do from that moment forward. Though it’s not quite as messy (or scary), a new PC requires a similar sort of informed approach if you want to raise it properly from the moment it squirts out of the Fed Ex truck and into your life. You’ll be tempted to pick it up and coo, “Who's a widdle PC?,” and then immediately benchmark the shinola out of it. We understand the impulse, and the excitement, but hold your horses, cowboy. You’ve got to take it slow with a new rig, and get it set up correctly the first time, or else all your future efforts will be for naught. That’s where we come in.
Note: This article was originally featured in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Razer Surround: Can virtual surround sound software do the job of a real 7.1 headset?
Razer Surround is a program for gamers to get surround sound in any pair of headphones, be itRazer or otherwise. That’s right, install it and Razer claims that you’ll have “the best virtual 7.1 channel surround sound experience [possible] with any stereo headphones.”
Microsoft has made many successful products over the years, but unfortunately they’ve also made a lot of mistakes as well. With Windows 8.1 coming out on the horizon, we’ve decided to compile a list of the company's five biggest successes and blunders.
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: Baseline, Performance, and Ultra. Baseline gets you a powerful, no-compromises rig, suitable for gaming and content creation at 1080p. Performance gets you more, and the Ultra is for those who want a killer PC.
These rigs are lab-tested and editor-approved. Feedback is, of course, welcome. Tell us what you think!
The doctor tackles Recovering a Laptop RAID, PSU Questions, Wireless Uploads, and more
Recovering Data from a Laptop RAID
Question: I have an MSI GT683 laptop with two 500GB hard drives in RAID 0. My motherboard failed under warranty. The laptop is not worth repairing, so they are sending me a new laptop. The new one is an MSI GT783R with two 750GB hard drives in RAID 0.
Note: This article was taken from the May issue of the magazine.
With Google Reader shutting down, we walk you through the best RSS feed reader alternatives
Google Reader was a real game changer when it first launched back in 2005. Although it arrived later than many of its rivals, it quickly proved itself to be the RSS reader of choice for many. Available on a wide variety of devices, from PCs, smartphones and even game consoles, the highly configurable Google Reader was the RSS service to use for all the latest news and information.
A visual walkthrough of 20 new Windows 8.1 features and changes
Microsoft has recieved a lot of negative flack for the radical changes it’s made in Windows 8 with the complete disconnect from traditional UI elements like the Start button. With the release of the Windows 8.1 preview, which you can try out now if you are willing to use beta software, Microsoft is making strides to appease the user base it left out in the cold.
Rugged USB keys are nothing new, but lately they’ve reached a level of badassery previously only reserved for Maximum PC editors and lumberjacks. We’re talking supreme toughness, with hints of leather, peppered beef jerky, and English Gentleman aftershave thrown in. To see which key is the most badass we’ve assembled the top two candidates—LaCie’s XtremKey and Corsair’s Flash Survivor—and set out to discover which is the top dog. They are both USB 3.0- and 2.0-compatible, come wrapped in some form of metal, and can tolerate environments ranging from super-heated to ice-cold. We put them through their paces to let you know which key you need in your pocket the next time you’re immersed in glacial waters and then set on fire. No editors were harmed in testing, of course, but these two keys certainly were.
Note: This article was originally featured in the March issue of the magazine.
Several months ago, the supreme high-end SSDs from Corsair and Samsung faced off in the Octagon known as the top of our desk area that holds drives being tested. In that blood-curdling battle (in which neither drive moved nor made a sound), the Samsung 840 Pro was victorious, vanquishing its opponent by a slim margin in a contest where zero trash talk was delivered by either storage device. This month, Round Two commences as the companies’ value-conscious SSDs clash like cars in a demolition derby by sitting quietly on a test bench while we perform benchmarks upon them. Neither of these drives is as fast as their top-tier brethren, but they are priced accordingly, and both are a damned-good value.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
We show you how to build an affordable Linux gaming PC
The free Linux operating system has been around for ages, but its inherent complexity and limited support has always relegated its use to extreme enthusiasts, programmers, and other hardcore types. That might be changing, though, as a lot of loyal PC enthusiasts are less than pleased with Windows 8, and gaming juggernaut Valve has thrown its hat into the ring by launching a Linux version of Steam, its popular online content delivery service. Given the lackluster reception of Windows 8 and the renewed popularity of Linux, we decided to build a Linux gaming box to see for ourselves whether the OS, at this time, could be a reasonable alternative to Windows for gaming.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March issue of the magazine.