We run benchmarks at Maximum PC because we have to; there’s no other way to determine the minute differences between systems without a repeatable standard of comparison. But you don’t have to be a reviewer to run a benchmark; in fact, regular benchmarking can give you valuable insight into the status of your system. For example, benchmarks are the best way to decipher whether the various performance-enhancing applications you’re running on your PC actually do anything or whether that latest batch of drivers hurt your gaming performance more than it helped.
All right, newblet. You’ve eaten your dog food in Wolfenstein 3D, done your spirit quest in Prey, and even managed to set up a bomb or two in Counter-Strike. If first-person shooters were massively multiplayer role-playing games, that might qualify you to step out of the kindergarten zone. Maybe. The big leagues of head shots, m-m-m-monster kills, and first-person-shooter fragfests have no room for subpar playing performance.
But it’s not your fault. You spend an hour or so arranging your desk, moving your monitor, setting up your speakers—the last thing on your mind is cable management. When it comes time to plug everything in, you just want to fire up your rig and commence fragging, or movie watching, or minesweeping. You don’t want to get arm-deep in the mucky muck you’ve created behind your computer. What you can’t see won’t hurt you, right?
We’ll set the stage. You’re at work, toiling away on yet another spreadsheet for the Man, when you suddenly have a flash of inspiration. You’ve installed Peggle Deluxe at home, and surely a round of puzzle-ball action would make the day pass faster! But how are you ever going to access your computer and fire up your saved game?
If you wish to conceal your identity in real life, you need only to shove a paper bag over your head and alter your voice. Voilà, instant anonymity! But it’s not as easy to lurk in the shadows online—a savvy surfer can dig up all kinds of information about you, from your name and address to your social security number. And it doesn’t take a sophisticated stalker to track you down; chances are, you’ve left behind a trail even a first-year Boy Scout could follow. But fear not, today you’ll earn your anonymity merit badge from the Maximum PC Den, Pack 1337.
If you’re running your CPU at stock speeds, you’re missing out on your PC’s true potential, because processors often harbor power beyond their official specs. Your proc, for example, might be rated to run at 3GHz but is actually capable of operating reliably at 3.3GHz. There are myriad reasons for the hidden headroom, ranging from natural variance among parts (even those made from the same batch), to the manufacturers’ practice of underclocking parts to meet market needs, to the improved capabilities of a part over the lifetime of its production.
Expressing your individuality online can be difficult, especially if you’re a gamer. While running and gunning your way through games like Counter-Strike: Source or Team Fortress 2 it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. But leaving your mark on the world is easier than you might think. Animated sprays are a great way for you to tell your enemy that, not only have they been pwned, but that you're the one responsible.