We tackle the five most pressing problems in each major component category!
It’s happened to us all. You get home from a long day at work and you want to blow off some steam with an hour of gaming or maybe browsing the web, but when you tap your mouse button or punch the power switch, the unthinkable happens. You’re SOL.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
How to build a badass, silent Haswell gaming PC into an ATX chassis with a GeForce GTX 780 GPU
This month, Intel's "Haswell" generation of desktop CPUs landed in the Lab, so like most builders, we were itching to see how she runs. For the uninitiated, Haswell is an upgrade from Ivy Bridge in terms of power efficiency and performance, but it also comes with a whole new motherboard socket—Socket 1150. We were curious to see if our building regimen would require any adjustments. As luck would have it, Nvidia also launched its 700-series cards this month to much fanfare, and since both of these components are going to be popular parts for upgraders and system builders, we decided to jump into the deep end of the pool with both of them and see how the combo performs in gaming benchmarks.
Note: This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
We attempt to build the best PC for Crysis 3 without suffering a financial crisis
The Mission When the original Crysis dropped six years ago, it quickly became the gold standard for visual splendor—and enthusiast agony. Gamers the world over fired up the demo, only to find their previously potent GPU coughing and sputtering. Thus began The Great Upgrade Rush of 2007, as we all upgraded just to play Crysis, and the game became the benchmark for PC gaming for years to come. Whenever a new GPU arrived, the first question on everyone’s mind was, "Will it run Crysis?" When Crysis 2 came along it was a console port, and somewhat scaled-back technologically. The environments were small by PC standards, and developer Crytek didn't expose advanced settings for us to mess with. With Crysis 3, though, Crytek has claimed it would make your PC its bitch, and we must say after benchmarking it that we agree; bitches will be made.
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
Learn how to root your Nexus Android, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4
Android offers a wide variety of advanced customization options, but that’s only scratching the surface of everything you can do with Google’s open source operating system. With root access you can get down to the system level and tweak things to your liking, even going so far as completely replacing the OS.
Time-tested tips for PC building that will help you avoid common pitfalls and enjoy a more fulfilling DIY experience
PC builders don’t drop out of their mommies with a Phillips head screwdriver in one hand, a Leatherman in the other, and start winning PC-building contests. No, most experienced PC builders accumulate their knowledge through horrible mistakes, case scars and flesh wounds, and the sorrow of having to completely take apart a machine they just assembled because a single, crucial step was neglected at some point in the process.
Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
You’ve bought the game, you’ve mastered the basics – or failed horribly – and you’re ready to show off your exploits to the rest of the gaming world. That, or you’ve officially thrown in the towel on your Starcraft II career and are ready to become a broadcaster instead of a Baneling rusher. As Bronze Leaguers ourselves, we understand; multiplayer isn’t for everyone. Sometimes it can be more fun to watch than participate, especially if you catch a fellow Starcraft enthusiast throwing down the fabled Protoss Mothership as a last-ditch effort to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
THE MISSION The all-in-one PC is predicted to be one of the hottest PC form factors over the next few years. That’s great for Joe 12-Pack, but for an enthusiast, an AiO is pretty much as monolithic as you can get. Sure, you might be able to add RAM or swap the HDD, but that’s usually the extent of the average AiO’s upgradeability.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February issue of the magazine.
When the flip did it become so damn difficult to download a program from the Internet? If you've recently tried to grab a screensaver or software utility from the web, you know exactly what we're talking about. Somewhere along the way, the simple act of downloading a program has become anything but easy, even for Internet veterans who aren't easily duped. Many download sites are now designed to test the wits of savvy users and prey on the impatient with link landmines that will blow up your browser with toolbars and other unwanted add-ons. Even worse, you could end up with a malware infection. Should you give up?
Best free antivirus programs and virus propection tips
So you got caught with your pants down on the Internet (figuratively, folks) and contracted a virus. That sucks. Or maybe you were wearing protection but still fell victim to some nasty bit of code that managed to slip by your antivirus software undetected. That sucks even more. Either way, it's nothing to feel ashamed about. The web is a dangerous place and even the most tech savvy users sometimes slip up. You can even get a virus through no fault of your own simply by visiting a reputable website that, unbeknownst to you, has been compromised by a hacker with malicious intent. The web is a war zone, and even if you're not a target, you can still end up a casualty.
We build a machine that’s red and black to hopefully beat our benchmarks black and blue
The Mission Variety is the spice of the Lab, so this month we decided to eschew our traditional builds and go with one you don’t see every day—an all-AMD computer, built with (most of) the best parts we could get our hands on. We’re sure some of you will question the purpose of this build, so our pre-emptive answer is we built it because we could, and we were curious to see how a balls-out AMD build would benchmark, as we haven’t seen over-the-top AMD rig since The Matrix: Revolutions let us down. Plus, everyone is always ragging on us for ignoring AMD, so here you go AMD enthusiasts—an entire PC built just for you.
Note: This article was originally featured in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.