News en Microsoft’s Age Guessing Algorithm is a Jerk <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/how_old.jpg" alt="How Old" title="How Old" width="228" height="207" style="float: right;" />Let the mid-life crisis begin</h3> <p>Screw this, I'm going on a shopping spree for a convertible sports car and whatever else people buy when they have a midlife crisis. Not that I'm going through one, I'm just a little ticked at <strong>Microsoft's new website that guesses your age and gender when you upload a photo of your mug</strong>. When I tried it out with a recent photo of myself, it got the gender right (hooray!), but overshot my age by 9 years (you dirty little algorithm!).</p> <p>If you upload a group photo, it will tag all the faces it recognizes with age and gender guesses. Over time, the facial recognition technology at work is supposed to improve and make more accurate assumptions, which is good because I'm far from the only one that it basically said, "You look old for your age!" To the tool's credit, it did a much better job with a different set of pics and even correctly guessed my age at the time one of my photos was taken (see thumbnail pic above).</p> <p>You don't need to use your own photo -- you can choose an image from an integrated Bing Image Search and have it guess the age and gender of your favorite celebrity. Scroll through pictures of Adam Levine, for example, and you'll see a variety of ages -- from 29 to 40, based on the ones we tried (he's 36). And with Scarlett Johansson, we saw results ranging from 17 to 34 years old (she's 30). Unfortunately, it doesn't recognize characters like Chewbacca or E.T.</p> <p>This all began as a fun little experiment that a couple of Microsoft engineers toyed with. They were playing with Microsoft's newly released Face detection API and expected around 50 people to respond to the test. The Internet being what it is, over 35,000 users flocked to the site within just a few hours.</p> <p>If you want to give it a whirl yourself and don't mind a potentially bruised ego, head over to <a href="" target="_blank"></a> and let us know how accurate (or inaccurate) it was.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> age face recognition microsoft News Fri, 01 May 2015 16:24:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 29818 at PC Gamer Creates the E3 for PCs <!--paging_filter--><h3>No gaming system beats the PC</h3> <p>E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is a show held in downtown Los Angeles that focuses on pretty much all things games. But, if you've ever been to E3 or followed E3 coverage, you'll quickly realize that E3 is all about consoles. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, all push games for their latest big consoles, and well, the PC is really where things shine. So why is it that the gigantic and technologically superior PC platform doesn't get more of a showing at E3? <a href="">PC Gamer decided to solve that</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/pcgamer_show_big.jpg" width="650" height="459" /></p> <p>Launching at E3 is <a href="">The PC Gaming Show Powered by PC Gamer</a>, which is going to be so crazy and big, you'll ask yourself how come this was never E3 itself. The PC Gaming Show brings together all the best parts of the PC gaming ecosystem, and gives it stage presence at E3. Supported by a whole host of PC gaming related companies, and lead sponsored by AMD, PC Gamer's show is poised to show the entertainment world that nothing beats the PC.</p> <p>"We're living in a golden age of PC gaming, but unlike other platforms the PC has no format holder, no marketing department, and--until now--no event during E3 week purely devoted to it," said Tim Clark, global Editor-in-Chief at PC Gamer. "We think a show like this, which brings together people from every corner of PC gaming to celebrate the exciting things happening, is long overdue. We hope you'll join us, in person or on stream to be part of it."</p> <p>The show will be hosted by Sean "Day[9]" Plott, and the show will feature appearances by Dean Hall of DayZ fame, Cliff Bleszinki of Boss Key Productions, and developers from studios including Blizzard, Bohemia Interactive, Cloud Imperium Games, Tripwire Interactive</p> <p>We at <em>Maximum PC</em> are thrilled to support this event. There's truly no better gaming platform, and that's coming from someone who owns all the latest consoles. The performance and utility of a PC is unmatched, and at any given time, you can change or upgrade as your needs and wants changes. We love the PC and we're super happy to support the show.</p> E3 PC Gamer pc gaming show News Thu, 30 Apr 2015 23:12:15 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29816 at Unreal Engine 4 Adds Support for SteamVR <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/htc_vive.jpg" alt="HTC Vive" title="HTC Vive" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />Let's get virtual</h3> <p>The value proposition of using Epic Games' Unreal Engine keeps getting better. Just under two months ago, Epic ditched the $19 per month subscription free, opting instead to give budding developers <a href="">free and unfettered access</a> to its complete C++ source code hosted in GitHub while continuing to collect a 5 percent royalty on gross revenue after the $3,000 per project. Now <strong>Epic is adding support for SteamVR in Unreal Engine 4</strong>, the company announced today.</p> <p>Support for SteamVR will roll out in next week's first preview release of Unreal Engine 4.8, thereby giving developers the tools they need to create expansive virtual reality environments and experiences. SteamVR is being completely integrated into UE4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code, which allows projects to be built without dependency on programmer support.</p> <p>This is entirely new ground for UE4 -- it already has the tools to support platforms like Oculus Rift, Samsung's Gear VR, and Sony's Project Morpheus. But SteamVR is a different beast. It allows for a greater range of motion that extends to about the size of a small room. By comparison, Rift and Morpheus are limited to just a few steps, at best.</p> <p>"This technology is incredibly freeing," said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic. "There is a magical sense of immersion in walking around a VR space and directly interacting with it."</p> <p>The HTC Vive Developer Edition kit (headset, two single-handed controllers, and tracking system) that's built to take advantage of SteamVR will be out in spring of this year.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Epic Games Software steamvr unreal engine 4 Valve virtual reality vr News Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:14:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 29815 at Razer Seiren Digital Microphone Goes Pro, Now Available to Pre-Order <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_seiren_pro.jpg" alt="Razer Seiren Pro" title="Razer Seiren Pro" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />Now with XLR recording and a high-pass filter</h3> <p>Razer's best known for its line of PC gaming peripherals, especially mice, though it's been branching out into several different directions through the years, including audio recording. The company tossed its hat into the audio recording ring last December with its <a href="">Seiren digital microphone</a>. Now here we are a little more than four months later and <strong>Razer is announcing its Seiren Pro model</strong>, an upgraded version of the original.</p> <p>The Seiren Pro adds XLR connectivity for plugging directly into mixing boards and cameras, along with being able to chain multiple microphones and instruments while making on-the-fly adjustments during live sessions. Like the original model, the Pro version also supports USB.</p> <p>"With the success of YouTube, Twitch and the likes, there is a greater demand for high-fidelity recording equipment than ever before," says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. "Our second condenser microphone, the Razer Seirēn Pro, delivers what video game streamers are looking for and provides great value to YouTubers, musicians and anyone looking to capture sound clearly."</p> <p>Razer also added a high-pass filter that's supposed to remove low-end ambient noises. If you're in a recording environment that's susceptible to hums, rumbles, traffic, wind, and things of that nature, this could be the model you've been waiting for.</p> <p>Pricing for the Seiren Pro is $250. There's also a Shock Mount accessory accessory available for $50 and a Pop Filter that also runs $50, or a bundle that includes everything for $300.</p> <p>It's likely the Seiren/Seiren Pro is a redesigned and rebranded Blue Yeti, the latter of which are a little cheaper. However, there are some subtle differences, mostly aesthetic. Here's a decent YouTube video that compares the original to a Yeti:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Seiren Pro is available to pre-order</a> now and will ship on May 8.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> audio microphone Peripherals razer Seiren Pro News Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:31:57 +0000 Paul Lilly 29814 at Falcon Northwest's Tiny Tiki PC Feasts on 18-Core Xeon E5-2699 V3 CPU <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tiki_pc.jpg" alt="Falcon Northwest Tiki PC" title="Falcon Northwest Tiki PC" width="228" height="194" style="float: right;" />Small form factor PC gets new 6-core and 8-core CPU options</h3> <p>There was a day when the size of your desktop was a pretty good indicator of the performance inside, or at least potential performance. That's all gone out the window lately with the emergence of high performance small form factor (SFF) PCs, some of which are specifically intended for living room gaming. Enter <strong>Falcon Northwest and its 4-inch wide Tiki PC, an SFF that can now be configured with Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition and Xeon E5-2699 V3 processor options</strong> for up to 18 cores of computing muscle.</p> <p>Support for Intel's Core i7 5000 Series and mighty Xeon processor come courtesy of an option to configure a Tiki PC around the Santa Clara chip maker's X99 chipset, though a top-end CPU is only the beginning. If your pockets are overflowing with cash and weighing you down (a problem we'd all like to have), you can configure a Tiki PC with up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and a fast graphics card like Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan X.</p> <p>"Tiki is proving once more that the micro-tower is the size and shape of PCs of the future," said Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest. "While Tiki has remained unchanged at 4 inches wide and 13 inches tall, its power-per-cubic inch has skyrocketed. This latest leap has doubled its maximum memory capacity, and more than quadrupled its CPU core count. With 8 Terabytes of internal drive storage capacity and 4K-capable graphics, there are now very few scenarios when a system larger than a Tiki is actually necessary for most users."</p> <p>Configuring a Tiki PC based on Intel's X97 chipset starts at $1,858 while an X99 foundation begins at $2,490. We went a little crazy and spec'd out a loaded system consisting of the aforementioned Xeon chip and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, plus a painted case, Titan X graphics card, 1TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD (RAID), 6TB Western Digital Red HDD, Blu-ray burner, SilverStone 600W modular PSU, and Windows 8.1 Professional. The finally tally? Almost ten grand ($9,830). Dream big, right?</p> <p>There are also Quadro graphics card options if you're looking to be a small but potent workstation (the Tiki PC has dual LAN ports, eSATA, USB 3.1 connectivity, and Ultra M.2 PCI Express x4 storage support). And come this fall, Falcon Northwest will offer the Tiki in official Steam Machine variants.</p> <p>In the meantime, upgraded Tiki PC options based on Intel's X99 chipset are <a href="" target="_blank">available now</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Core i7-5960X Extreme falcon northwest Hardware micro tower rigs sff Small Form Factor tiki Xeon E5-2699 V3 News Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:59:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29813 at Microsoft Lays Groundwork for Android and iOS Apps to Run on Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_android.jpg" alt="Windows Android" title="Windows Android" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />One big 'appy family</h3> <p>Even though Microsoft's been giving us a glimpse of Windows 10 by way of Technical Previews and a spattering of blog posts, the Redmond outfit kept more than a few tricks up its sleeve. One of those tricks is getting Android and iOS apps to run on Windows 10 without tasking developers with rebuilding their code. How? <strong>Microsoft is offering a couple of SDKs that will make it relatively easy for iOS and Android developers to port their apps to Windows 10</strong>.</p> <p>For iOS apps, the solution is called Project Islandwood. This is a set of tools that will allow iOS developers to use their existing Objective C code with minimal changes. The magic happens via middleware that offers APIs their code is already looking for. Developers who've tested Project Islandwood say they've only had to make minor changes, including Candy Crush Saga's developers, who said they only changed a "few percent" of code for their Windows 10 port, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>ArsTechnica</em></a>.</p> <p>Android's toolkit is called Project Astoria. The idea is to get Android apps to run on Windows Mobile, now the official name for Windows 10 on phones and sub-8 inch tablets. Project Astoria will include an Android runtime layer capable of running existing Android apps written in both Java and C++. What's unique about Project Astoria compared to Project Islandwood is that no recompiling is required on the part of the developer.</p> <p>"We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications," Microsoft's Terry Myerson <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The Verge</em></a>.</p> <p>These toolkits should go a long way towards that goal.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> android apps ios microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Wed, 29 Apr 2015 20:26:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29811 at MSI Dangles Prestige Series Laptops in Front of Creative Professionals <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_prestige.jpg" alt="MSI Prestige" title="MSI Prestige" width="228" height="158" style="float: right;" />Look at the colors!</h3> <p>If your livelihood depends on a display with accurate color reproduction, then not just any old monitor will do. The same applies to laptops, and <strong>according to MSI, it's new Prestige Series with True Color Technology offers more lifelike and balanced images than you'll see on other laptop panels</strong>. That's because it goes through a calibration processor that adjusts the screen's color temperature, visible color range, and gray level stage.</p> <p>We're weary of such claims, especially when taking into account the $1,200 starting price. That's for the 15.6-inch model with a Full HD 1080p resolution, Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor, 12GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, 1TB hard drive (7200 RPM), Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Killer Gaming Network, DVD burner, memory card reader, three USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, HDMI output, 720p HD webcam, four 2W speakers, and Windows 8.1.</p> <p>There's also a 17.3-inch model that's spec'd nearly the same, save for more RAM (16GB), that costs $1,300. Both are decent configurations for the money, which makes us question if the panel is truly professional grade.</p> <p>"MSI’s Prestige Series laptops showcases 6 different color profiles to maximize performance; sRGB default mode for optimum graphics, Gamer to increase brightness, Designer with increased clarity for ultra-clear lines, Anti-Blue to reduce harmful blue light, Movie to optimize contrast for even more vivid graphics, and Office to minimizes eye strain after long term use," MSI says.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/msi_prestige_angle.jpg" alt="MSI Prestige Angled" title="MSI Prestige Angled" width="620" height="381" /></p> <p>Alternatively, you can connect up to three external monitors simultaneously at 4K resolution via mini DisplayPort and HDMI.</p> <p>Both the PE70 2QD-062US (17.3-inch) and PE60 2QD-060US (15.6-inch) Prestige laptops are supposed to be available now. The ones we found online were out of stock, though that should change soon.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware laptop msi notebook OEM Prestige rigs News Wed, 29 Apr 2015 19:33:45 +0000 Paul Lilly 29810 at We're Hiring <!--paging_filter--><h3>Think you have the chops? Hit us up then!</h3> <p>We're hiring! Actually, we're hiring for more than one spot. If you got a passion for the PC and tech, there's no better place than <em>Maximum PC</em> to hone in on that passsion. Without further rambling, here is what we're looking for:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/variant_590.jpg" width="480" height="624" /></p> <p><strong>TECH EDITOR</strong></p> <p>Ideal candidates should:</p> <p>Previous experience working for a media company. Be well-versed in the PC hardware/software scene. Breadth and depth of knowledge is paramount.&nbsp;Have excellent writing/reporting and presentation abilities including livestream and podcast interview skills. He or she should be agile and able to manage impromptu requests, while meeting deadlines.&nbsp;Strong industry contacts is a plus and key to your success.&nbsp;Strong sense of humor, objectivity, and keen eye for details. Candidate must have a positive, problem solving, attitude. The ability to&nbsp;work out of our office in South San Francisco is a huge plus and those who can are given priority consideration.</p> <p>Job Responsibilities:</p> <ul> <li>Write/contribute content (news, features, and reviews) for the magazine and website</li> <li>Edit articles for the magazine and website</li> <li>Build PCs/assist with running PC benchmarks</li> <li>Upload articles to the CMS/website</li> <li>Participate in Maximum PC’s No BS Podcast</li> <li>Cover events/tradeshows as needed</li> <li>Daily tasks as assigned</li> </ul> <p>Candidates should have in-depth knowledge in the following areas:</p> <ul> <li>CPU</li> <li>GPU</li> <li>Motherboards</li> <li>Storage (SSDs, HDDs, etc.)</li> <li>Software (Windows/Linux/Multimedia Production/Editing)</li> <li>Cases</li> <li>Cooling</li> <li>Overclocking</li> <li>Peripherals (headset, keyboards, mice)</li> </ul> <p><strong>PAID INTERN</strong></p> <p>Candidates should have:</p> <ul> <li>A strong interest and knowledge of PC hardware</li> <li>Writing/reporting abilities</li> <li>A good sense of humor and positive team-player personality</li> <li>Must be able to work at our South San Francisco office</li> </ul> <p>Among the tasks you’ll do:</p> <ul> <li>Edit Maximum PC’s podcast/videocast</li> <li>Shoot and edit unboxing videos, demos, interviews, discussions, product previews, video reviews, etc.</li> <li>Write editorial copy that supplements video content for the website as needed</li> <li>Assist with mailing duties</li> <li>Upload articles to the CMS/website</li> <li>Daily tasks as assigned</li> </ul> <p><strong>What we offer:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Excellent employer paid medical, dental and vision plans (HMO or PPO)</li> <li>Pet insurance</li> <li>401K Matching</li> <li>Costco Membership</li> <li>Corporate Donation Matching Program</li> <li>Work From Home / Flex Scheduling Programs</li> <li>Equipped gym</li> <li>Free shuttle service from BART and CalTrain to the office</li> <li>Entertainment</li> <li>An arcade</li> <li>And other goodies&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>All positions are <strong>paid</strong>. Please submit your resume and writing samples to us. You can email them to me directly if you wish at <strong>tuan at maximumpc dot com</strong>. Keep in mind, there's a certain style and attitude to <em>Maximum PC</em>. We like excitement, and we gag at writing that's dry. So if you're mucking about with PC hardware all day long, and you love getting dirty with the latest hardware, you might as well do it with us. The best part is, you get to shape the PC industry as you do it! Submit away!</p> maximum pc tech editor News Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:42:55 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29809 at NZXT Noctis 450 Adds a Glow to Mid-Tower Case Market <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nzxt_noctis_450.jpg" alt="NZXT Noctis 450" title="NZXT Noctis 450" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />Bringing the bling</h3> <p>When NZXT partnered with Razer to build a special version of the H440, one of the standout characteristics was that it had a green underglow. Turns out you're going to see more of that, at least from <strong>NZXT, which added an underglow to its newly announced Noctis 450 mid-tower case</strong>. This is in addition to NZXT's "signature" I/O LEDs, and to accommodate the additional lighting, NZXT updated the lighting switch to allow for multi-step adjustments.</p> <p>Beyond the LED bling, NZXT focused its efforts on cooling. So-called floating panels on the top of the case purportedly offer 10 times more ventilation surface area compared to the H440. It also has a built-in PWM fan hub that supports up to 8 case fans. Users can connect the PWM fan hub to their motherboard or to a Kraken product and adjust fan profiles.</p> <p>NZXT starts you off with three 120mm fans in the front and a 140mm in the rear. You can add more from there, or slap up to a 360mm radiator for liquid cooling.</p> <p>Other features found in the Noctis 450 include a fully modular hard drive system, SSD mounts, and a power supply shroud that's supposed to make hiding unsightly cables as easy as it was shoving toys under your bed as a kid.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">NZXT Noctis 450</a> is available now for $140 MSRP in black and red or white and black color options.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC case chassis enclosure Hardware mid-tower Noctis 450 nzxt News Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:08:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 29808 at The New Maximum PC is Coming <!--paging_filter--><h3>Maximum PC is moving forward</h3> <p>I love cutting-edge technology. It would be natural to think that all of us who read <em>Maximum PC</em> have an affinity for the latest and greatest. But instead of talking about the newest graphics card, or the next motherboard, I'd like to talk about what's happening with <em>Maximum PC</em> itself from a technology point of view.</p> <p>The website that you're reading right now is going to change. These changes will be both visible and invisible. Let's talk about the invisible changes first.</p> <h3>The back end</h3> <p>From a content production point of view, we are overhauling the entire CMS back-end for <em>Maximum PC</em>. That means that there has been a tremendous amount of development from our tech team in an effort to help our team of editors and writers produce better content. Every part of the writing process has been streamlined and trimmed. Anything that wasn't needed is no longer there. Processes that used to take multiple steps will now take just one. It's a much more efficient platform, overall.</p> <p>Right now, the new site is on a staging server where we're squashing out the remaining bugs. We're also importing all the current content into the new database to ensure that when the switch is flipped, everything will go smoothly. We have a target launch time frame of mid-May. The exact date is going to be somewhere around the 19th of May, but I will provide a second notice once the date is set in stone.</p> <p>Now, let's talk about the visible changes.</p> <h3>Website front end</h3> <p>The site you see before you now will cease to exist. <em>Maximum PC</em> will relaunch with a brand-new front end that embraces a far more modern and visually appealing design. The actual content, as in the stuff you read, will be easier to consume, too. Clearer font choices, color palettes that are easier on the eyes, and a very clean layout that's both browser-width friendly as well as mobile friendly. There are, however, some critical changes that may impact some readers. We believe these changes are for the better.</p> <h3>Scoring</h3> <p><em>Maximum PC </em>will adopt a new 20-point scoring system. This means that after the new site is live, all reviews thereafter will have a score that's between 5 and 100, in multiples of 5, for example 65, 70, 75, 80, etc. This will allow us to be more granular in our rating. It will also provide us room to indicate if one product that's similar to another has a feature that's worth noticing. The difference between a score of 80 and 85 may not be much at first glance, but it may be useful in say, a roundup of motherboards.</p> <p>Comparing the new system to the old 10-point system is not entirely 1 to 1, as in, an 8 in the old system isn't necessarily 80 in the new system. A product that we would have given an 85 to may have ended up with just an 8, simply because we rounded down. Since the scale of the old system was small though, the point gaps were relatively smaller, too. For example, getting a 9 out of 10 score feels better than receiving a score of 90 out of 100. Also, any products that score 95 or 100 will automatically get our Kick Ass seal of approval.</p> <p>As we continue to use the new point system, comparing products will be easier. For now, we will point out where old products would be on the new system if they're referenced in new content.</p> <h3>Editorial content</h3> <p><em>Maximum PC</em> will be introducing several new features in the coming months, and we actually already started on some. For example, we are producing more content with Linux users in mind. Our recent RAID guides for examples, provides information not only to Windows users, but Linux enthusiasts, too. Many readers have asked for this. We are committed to doing more.</p> <p>You'll also see in increase in how-to guides with a split focus on both hardware and software. The two obviously go hand-in-hand, and you're building your PC—or buying a pre-built—for a purpose, so we want to touch base on the "purpose" of things.</p> <p>We are also working on more in-depth buyer's guides too. More price points, more options. But we're not going to hold back from telling you what we think is good. In the new Best of the Best section, we're rewriting everything. There are some things that we're baking right now that I can't talk about yet, but they're really exciting.</p> <p>A lot of the new content that's coming through is a result of your feedback. Thank you.</p> <h3>Comments</h3> <p>In an effort to improve the user experience across the site, reduce the large number of spam comments, and bring a cohesive user experience, we will be transitioning to using the Disqus community platform. There are a number of beneficial reasons behind our choice to go with Disqus.</p> <p>1. Disqus is fast. Site load times can be slowed if articles containt lots of comments. This is true on the current comment system. With Disqus, load times will be improved significantly for articles with a large number of comments.</p> <p>2. Spam reduction and filtering. Disqus maintains its own spam-filtering system that's both comprehensive and redundant. I'm personally tired of someone trying to offer me some work-from-home scheme that can add an additional $6,000 to my monthly income.</p> <p>3. User experience. With Disqus, you're able to track your comments, and see everything on your dashboard. And since thousands of popular websites use Disqus, you'll only need one login to comment on any of them. You'll see all your comments across all the websites you read, and be able to follow conversations more effectively.</p> <p>The current comment system will be turned off later this week, and Disqus will take its place. This means your current comment login will no longer work, and you will need to sign up for Disqus.</p> <h3>'Foreword'</h3> <p>Nine years ago, I lost something very precious to me: a binder containing all my pencil sketches that spanned years. In fact, it was more than a loss, it was <em>taken</em> away from me and never returned. I was devastated, and was haunted for a long time. One day though, a friend of mine told me that if I didn't let go of those old drawings, I would never draw anything better. This totally changed my perspective for the better. I decided then, that I would stop looking at where I had been, and look toward where I was headed.</p> <p>Although some may not agree with the changes, we truly believe that we're heading in the right direction. I personally invite you to join us in the changes we're making, and continue to provide feedback. I'm really excited, and can't wait for the all the new goods to arrive!</p> maximum pc News Wed, 29 Apr 2015 03:45:47 +0000 Tuan Nguyen 29807 at HyperX Releases Mean Looking Savage SSD Line Into the Wild <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hyperx_savage_ssd.jpg" alt="HyperX Savage SSD" title="HyperX Savage SSD" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />A Savage solution to storage</h3> <p><strong>Kingston's HyperX division has begun selling its Savage line of solid state drives</strong> that we first spied at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. These drives combine a SATA 6Gbps interface with the Phison S10 quad-core, eight-channel controller for high read and write speeds, though clearly HyperX is also hoping to win consumers over with aesthetics.</p> <p>The drives sport a red steel and aluminum case that looks somewhat aggressive, though unless you have a case that's capable of showing off SSDs, it becomes a see-it-once-and-forget-it kind of deal. Nevertheless, maybe blinged out SSDs are the future -- remember <a href="" target="_blank">Intel's 730 Series</a> with a skull graphic?</p> <p>Getting to what matters most, here's a look at capacity and performance options:</p> <ul> <li>120GB: 520MB/s read, 350MB/s write (100,000 random 4K read IOPS, 84,000 random 4K write IOPS)</li> <li>240GB: 520MB/s read, 510MB/s write (100,000 random 4K read IOPS, 89,000 random 4K write IOPS)</li> <li>480GB: 520MB/s read, 500MB/s write (100,000 random 4K read IOPS, 88,000 random 4K write IOPS)</li> <li>960GB: 520MB/s read, 490MB/s write (99,000 random 4K read IOPS, 89,000 random 4K write IOPS)</li> </ul> <p>Not the fastest we've ever seen in SATA 6Gbps territory, though still peppy.</p> <p>The 7mm-high drives are available now, both as standalone offerings and in upgrade bundle kits. Pricing on Kingston's website is set at $130 (120GB), $219 (240GB), $444 (480GB), and $929 (960GB). Word to the wise -- prices are significantly cheaper on the street</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware hyperX Kingston savage solid state drive ssd storage News Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:13:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 29805 at LG Makes Fashion Statement with Leather Clad G4 Smartphone <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lg_g4.jpg" alt="LG G4" title="LG G4" width="228" height="149" style="float: right;" />LG's new flagship phone</h3> <p>It's been an interesting past few months in mobile as handset makers come out with new flagship devices, each with unique features. There was Apple with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the largest iPhone models to date; Samsung with its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, the latter with a curved edge display; and now the <strong>LG G4 is official, complete with a curved display and leather backside</strong>.</p> <p>After months of leaked photos and speculation, LG finally unveiled its much anticipated G4 smartphone today at events in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Istanbul, and Seoul. As such, we can finally confirm the specs, which include a 5.5-inch Quad HD IPS display (2560x1440, 538ppi), Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of LPDDDR3 RAM, 32GB of internal storage + microSD card slot, 8-megapixel front camera, 16-megapixel rear camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Blueooth 4.1LE, NFC support, USB 2.0, 3,000mAh removable battery, and Android 5.1 Lollipop.</p> <p>The handset measures 148.9 x 76.1 x 6.3-9.8mm and features a Slim Arc design that runs along its entire body, adding a subtle curve to the display. Over on the backside what LG says is handcrafted, genuine full grain leather available in half a dozen color options.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/lg_g4_phones.jpg" alt="LG G4 Phones" title="LG G4 Phones" width="620" height="163" /></p> <p>As with many smartphone makers these days, LG is really emphasizing the rear camera. It features a wide f1.3 aperture lens that allows 80 percent more light to reach the sensor. It also benefits from second generation Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology that expands the range of image stabilization from one degree to two degrees on the X and Y axis, while also adding a third axis. And if you really know what you're doing, there's a new manual mode that allows owners to adjust the focus, shutter speed, ISO, exposure, and white balance, and save photos in RAW format.</p> <p>LG plans to launch the G4 on all major carriers in the U.S. at the end of May or early June. No word yet on pricing.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> android G4 Hardware LG mobile smartphone News Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:45:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 29804 at Asus Starts Shipping Fancy Zenbook Pro UX501 Ultrabook with 4K Display <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_zenbook_pro_ux501.jpg" alt="Asus Zenbook Pro UX501" title="Asus Zenbook Pro UX501" width="228" height="147" style="float: right;" />May cause MacBook Pro owners to have buyer's remorse</h3> <p>Asus last month announced its Zenbook Pro UX501, a sexy looking laptop that many are comparing to the MacBook Pro. Of course, the Zenbook Pro UX501 runs Windows 8.1, but that's not the only difference. Arguably the highlight of the laptop is its 4K Ultra HD (3,840x2,160) In-Plane Switching (IPS) display that boasts 100 percent sRGB color coverage. There's a bit more to drool over, and most important of all, <strong>Asus has begun shipping the <a href="" target="_blank">Zenbook Pro UX501</a> in the U.S. today</strong>.</p> <p>This is a 15.6-inch Ultrabook measuring just 0.81 inches thick. The model that should appear on store shelves soon boasts an Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor, 16GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, 512GB PCIe solid state drive, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 720p webcam, three USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt port, HDMI output, 2-in-1 memory card reader, and backlit keyboard.</p> <p>From the pictures we've seen, it's a nice looking notebook with a spun-metal finish that's supposed to echo the spirit of Zen. It also has diamond-cut highlights and brushed-metal surfaces with a ripple-effect pattern that's laser engraved on the lid.</p> <p>Hopefully we can get this one in for evaluation soon, as the collection of hardware seems solid. Speaking of which, that PCIe SSD? It's rated to deliver read and write speeds of up to 1,400MB/s -- snazzy!</p> <p>As the price, world on the web is it will go for $1,799</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs ultrabook Zenbook Pro UX501 News Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:14:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29803 at Valve Closes Door on Steam Workshop's Paid Mod Program <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/free_the_mods.jpg" alt="Free the Mods" title="Free the Mods" width="228" height="183" style="float: right;" />Easy come, easy go</h3> <p><strong>Mere days after opening up the Steam Workshop to <a href="">paid mods</a>, Valve has decided to reverse course and go back to the way things were</strong>. In other words, modders can no longer sell their Skyrim mods, which was the first (and only) game to kick off the short-lived initiative. In a statement explaining the reversal, Valve said that jumping into a years old modding community was a pretty poor decision.</p> <p>Valve went into this newest venture with good intentions, and of course to make money -- modders would only receive 25 percent of the revenue they generated, which was one of the knocks against the program. Nevertheless, Valve says that in the past, allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards has been received well, but it's now obvious that this is a different animal.</p> <p>"We underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop. We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating," Valve said. "We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there's a useful feature somewhere here."</p> <p>The hotly debated program received criticism from a number of different angles. In addition to taking issues with royalties, gamers feared that paid mods would divide the community, many of which want to keep these things free. There was also concern over policing the mods for stolen content, along with crappy mods being put out by people looking to make a quick buck.</p> <p>All these concerns led to a <a href="" target="_blank">petition on</a> that received over 133,000 signatures. This no doubt played a role in Valve's decision to end the program, along with the "dump truck of feedback" that flooded its inboxes.</p> <p>On the flip side, some big names supported the program, including Garry Newman (Garry's Mod) and FMPONE (Counter Strike modder). You can throw Gabe Newell into the mix as well, who recently <a href="" target="_blank">took to <em>Reddit</em></a> to answer questions about the now defunct program.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games modding mods Skyrim Software Steam Valve News Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:55:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 29802 at Origin PC Genesis Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>Aggressive in more ways than one</h3> <p>You already know that Nvidia’s Titan X is Kick Ass, but do you know what’s even more bad-ass? Three of them in SLI. With that philosophy in mind, Origin PC sent us its new Genesis rig to review. The box has three of those bad boys, all water-cooled, coupled with a 5960X CPU and 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, wrapped up in the company’s own bold full-tower chassis.&nbsp;</p> <p>Externally, the chassis still looks as striking as ever. Ours came in an all-black finish, but there are different color options available. You also have some fancy lighting options, both on the inside and outside of the case, that you can control via an included wireless remote. While the frame of the chassis is mostly metal, we’re not too fond of the external casing, which is mostly composed of plastic; it feels a little fragile. Both doors also come off completely, but don’t re-attach as easily as they should; we often found ourselves having to push them back on snugly before we could securely lock them into place. And like the Cooler Master stacker chassis before it, this case also has an expandable bay on the bottom. In our case (no pun intended), the bottom bay houses most of the chassis fans.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="/files/u154082/origin_pc_genesis.jpg" width="620" height="543" /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The black-and-red aesthetic gives it that HAL 9000 vibe.</strong></p> <p>Speaking of cooling, the beautiful-looking water setup comes by way of EK, which water cools both the CPU and GPUs. In terms of performance, Origin PC’s box flew. In anticipation of some of the monster rigs to come, we’ve updated our desktop zero point PC to have three GTX 980s and a 5960X CPU, but this Origin rig completely blew it out of the water. Three 980s is a plenty fast setup, but in our newly updated suite of graphics benchmarks, three Titan Xs smokes it by 20–60 percent.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is worth noting, however, that we did not initially see these graphical performance gains. As a matter of fact, in both the Batman and Tomb Raider tests, Origin’s system actually performed worse than our ZP. We tried playing around with and re-downloading drivers, but nothing worked. After scratching our heads for a few days and working with Origin to resolve the issue, we discovered that the system’s Asus X99-Deluxe motherboard had its PCI-e configuration set to auto, and wasn’t scaling up to Gen 3 mode. When we manually switched it over in the BIOS, our performance issues went away. Origin says it is working with Asus to solve this issue moving forward, and luckily it’s not hard to fix, but when you’re paying more than $9K for a PC, this shouldn’t be an issue.</p> <p>The CPU performance also ended up being really impressive, besting our own closed-loop water cooled 5960X by 13–24 percent in our benchmarks. That’s a huge difference when you consider that both systems are running the same CPU. You can attribute that to Origin’s aggressive overclocking. Unfortunately, however, it appears that Origin might have gone overboard with its overclock by bumping its proc to 4.5GHz, as we encountered a CLOCK_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT blue screen twice while running our multithread-heavy X264 benchmark. When we spoke to Origin about this, the company said that it might have been a result of the overaggressive overclock and said it is willing to help customers downclock their CPUs through multiple means of customer support if necessary. Still, when you’re spending so much cashola on this box, things like this shouldn’t happen.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, another small gripe we had with the system is that one of its front-facing USB ports didn’t work right out of the gate. When we opened its internals, we found the USB connector to be a little loose on the motherboard, so we plugged it back in and that solved the issue. While you could chalk that up to a rush job, it could also have happened during shipping.&nbsp;</p> <p>As you can see, the box is not perfect, and our various issues with it hold us back from giving the Genesis our Kick Ass seal of approval. Fortunately, these issues can be solved with a few simple tweaks. If you can stomach what might be isolated incidents, you’ll be left with one beautiful and bad-ass PC.&nbsp;</p> <p>$9,278, <a href=""></a></p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/origin_pc_specs.png" width="510" height="271" /></p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/origin_pc_benchmarks.png" width="518" height="509" /></p> <p>Our desktop zero point PC uses a 5960X CPU, three GTX 980s, and 16GBs of RAM. Arkham City tested at 2560x1440 max settings with PhysX off. Tomb Raider at Ultimate settings. Shadow of Mordor at Max settings.</p> 5960x Desktop genesis origin pc Review Titan X News Mon, 27 Apr 2015 22:02:03 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29801 at