We test the latest Beta drivers to see who is the single-GPU champ
Earlier this year both AMD and Nvidia released all-new 28nm GPUs, resulting in AMD taking the single-GPU performance crown momentarily with its HD 7970 before Nvidia swiped it away a few months later with its GeForce GTX 680. It’s been awhile since we’ve even thought about either of these cards as we’ve been busy testing their binned counterparts for most of the year, but this past week AMD released a new Beta driver that it claims provides "significant" performance improvements for its already-potent HD 7000 series cards. Just one day later Nvidia pounced, releasing its own Beta driver which also claimed to boost performance in a wide variety of popular titles. This happens all the time; as soon as one manufacturer holds an advantage the other strikes back in order to help drag the performance crown back to its own camp, typically via an overclocked card, improved drivers, or both.
Tweaks We Expect (And Hope) To See From Windows 8 Service Pack 1
Alright, haters. Judging by many of the comments left on this week’s “Week of Windows 8” posts, a number of you aren’t huge fans of Windows 8. In fact, some of you hate it so much, the very mention of the words “Windows” and “eight” in the same sentence – unless it’s a story about “Eight ways to not install Windows 8” or something like that — sets you into a frenzy.
Alright, Windows 8 fans. You’ve taken our advice and speed-ran your way through a clean installation (or upgrade!) of Microsoft’s latest OS. You’ve created or attached an existing Windows Live account to your installation, you’ve taken care of the few prompts Microsoft’s asked you to fill out or click through, and you’ve even given a cursory glance to the company’s brief “How to use Windows 8” video.
Saying that Windows 8 is a major shift in strategy for Microsoft is pretty obvious at this point. Between the Metro interface, complete dismissal of the start menu, focus on touch screen devices, and myriad other changes; this is not the Windows of the Bill Gates era. One change which hasn’t received much discussion is the idea of Windows 8 being Microsoft’s next iteration for not only Windows 7, but for Windows Home Server.
Forget the CD and install Windows 8 with your flash drive
A guide? To install Windows? Slapping a new operating system on your desktop or laptop PC should be old hat by now, right? This is Windows 8, after all: Odds are pretty good that you, an astute and well-travelled Maximum PC reader, have been around the ol’ Windows installation block a few times before.
So, er, what does that leave us to talk about?
Plenty. Ditch your discs; we’re going all-USB for your first big Windows 8 installation.
Experience the Windows 8 release with our launch event video.
We had the opportunity to check out the Windows 8 release event at Microsoft’s San Jose Windows store, located in the heart of Silicon Valley.
In the video below, we go up close and personal with Microsoft’s newly released Surface RT tablet, get impressions from customers on the controversial new OS, and interview the store’s manager to see if the long-awaited launch lived up to the hype.
Click the "Read More" button to check out our image gallery from the launch.
This small gaming PC isn't as wee as our Wee Ass-Kicking Machine, but it kicks more ass
Way back in December 2010, we built an awesome Mini-ITX gaming rig dubbed the Wee Ass-Kicking Machine. It featured a Core i7-870 CPU, a GeForce GTX 460 GPU, 4GB of DDR3, a 1TB hard drive, and a 120GB SSD—all crammed into a Silverstone SG07 chassis not much larger than a shoebox. The total cost? Around $1,600 (at the time).
It’s, uh, been a while since then, though, and I thought it was high time we built another Mini-ITX gaming rig. This one’s not quite as small, but it’s got a lot more oomph. We’re using the BitFenix Prodigy, which has room for a full-size ATX PSU, scads of hard drives, and even a 240mm radiator (if you swing that way), while still being small enough to be lugged around by its convenient carrying handles.
Can AMD make magic? Check out our in-depth Vishera benchmarks.
On paper, AMD’s Bulldozer microarchitecture always sounded like a mean, green machine. When it landed last year, though, in the form of the Zambezi processor (aka FX-8150), it actually went about as fast as a bulldozer.
AMD didn’t just give up and curl into a ball. The company went back to work polishing the FX chip into the new AMD FX-8350 “Vishera.” The chip might look like a Zambezi, but it features an improved branch predictor, improved scheduler, larger L1 translate lookaside buffer, new FMA3 and F16C instructions, L2 improvements, among many other changes.
Vishera looks the same externally and the good news: it’ll use the same AM3+ socket too.
We all know the Apple iPad sits atop the 10-inch tablet market like an MMA fighter straddling the octagon fence after a first-round TKO. That fight is over, for now, but the battle for 7-inch supremacy is still going strong and our new favorite contender is the Google Nexus 7, made by Asus. Since we now have two favorite tablets, and room for only one in our man purse, we must settle this the old-fashioned way—with a tab blood-letting.
Just last month, we put together a gallery of the 20 craziest costumes on display at the PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Prime 2012 convention in Seattle, Washington, where everything from an unemployed Storm Trooper to a gender-bending Princess Peach could be found wandering the grounds. Now we're switching gears to the opposite side of the continent to bring you another collection of photos, this time from New York Comic-Con 2012, the largest pop culture event on the East Coast.
Like PAX Prime, the Comic-Con show in New York is place where it's perfectly acceptable (and even preferable) to dress up in full garb as your favorite character from a variety of entertainment forms, be it a graphic novel, comic book, video game, television series, or whatever. If you've never been to a cosplay (costume play) convention, put it on your bucket list and thank us later. In the meantime, check out the photos from New York Comic-Con 2012 and thank us now.