When it comes to tablets, we’d wager that most Maximum PC readers lean toward the x86 variety—in theory, at least. Right? It’s the more capable, more flexible option—the natural fit for computer nerds. In fact, with specs that rival an Ultrabook’s, an x86 tablet promises to serve as the ultimate production/consumption device, leveraging Windows 8’s dual persona to optimum effect. We haven’t had face-time with Microsoft’s x86-based Surface Pro standard-bearer—ironically, the company seems uninterested in getting its product in front of these power users—but we do have the Acer W700, an extreme tablet in its own right and a worthy representative of what this new tablet category has to offer.
Note: This review was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
The Samsung 840 Pro landed on our Best of the Best list when it was launched in December 2012, and it has remained at the top of the SSD pile ever since, thanks to its blistering speed, impeccable pedigree, and superb software. Shortly after the Pro launched, Samsung debuted a non-Pro drive, named simply “840,” that was designed for those who wanted a less expensive drive with a smaller three-year warranty. This month Samsung is replacing the regular 840 with the 840 Evo, an all-new drive that slots in below the 840 Pro, thanks to its three-year warranty (the Pro’s is five years) and more reasonable pricing.
Two cases enter, one case leaves: That’s the gist of our mini-roundup this month. We’re still amazed sometimes at the disparity in production quality between cases. Sometimes, it’s as if manufacturers really don’t even bother giving the case a quick run-through before sending it off to retailers. Other times, it feels as if manufacturers go over their cases with a fine-toothed comb, checking every detail and nuance to eliminate even the smallest of possible annoyances.
Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
There are a few ways to acquire AMD's new FX chips
A lot of DIY enthusiasts were surprised to hear AMD would be offering the first off-the-shelf 5GHz CPU recently, so naturally their thoughts turned to whether or not it would be possible to procure one of these rare CPUs in the near future.
We had the same though, so we did some investigating. Originally, we had heard the only way to get your grubby hands on the FX-9590 and FX-9370 would be to buy a pre-built system from vendors such as iBuypower, Stealth Machines, Maingear, and Falcon Northwest. However, several sites reported that the chips appeared briefly on Tiger Direct a few days ago, but by the time the story broke both chips were already out of stock. This also seemed to defy the reports that it would not be available as a retail part.
There was a time when home automation was a toy only for the wealthy (for whom it worked because they could afford the incredibly expensive hardware) or the extremely geeky (for whom it sometimes worked because the hardware they could afford was reasonably priced but buggy— we’re talking about you, X10). Belkin hopes to change that with its WeMo line.
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
Budget is as budget does, but Silverstone’s RL04 just feels incomplete—or ill-designed—across a number of key areas. We suppose this case is worth looking into if you’re tired of running all your parts and pieces on an open-air design—as in, propped up on cardboard boxes or Styrofoam. Otherwise, it’s worth your while to explore some of the other cases in the sub-$80 category; the RL04 just isn’t all that compelling.
Note: This review was taken from the May issue of the magazine.
Update: Leaked Intel Roadmap Reveals New Batch of Haswell Chips
Faster hardware shouldn’t be this somber. Yet we can’t help but furrow our brow in concern over Intel’s fourth-generation Core i7 CPU. Yes, in typical Intel fashion, it’s a tour de force of technical achievement and features that’s the envy of the free world. It’s also, by the way, quite fast.
How fast? *Spoiler alert* Let’s just say that the new Core i7-4770K easily unseats the previous midrange sweetheart, the Core i7-3770K, as the best all-around performer, and even gives the high-end hexa-core part a hard time.
Just before the release of the GeForce GTX Titan this month, AMD held a conference call with tech media to reiterate its position in the market today, its plans going forward, and to drive home one particular point: AMD has the fastest hardware available, period. At the time of the call, we thought, “Well, that’s debatable.” But AMD pressed on, and further clarified its position by stating that the Asus Ares II was the fastest GPU available, bar none. Since most of us on the call hadn’t seen that card, and most people never will since only 999 were produced, we didn’t dispute the claim, nor did we have the data to know if the claim was correct. Well, about a week later, the card arrived from Asus and now that we’ve run the benchmarks, it looks like AMD was telling the truth—the Ares II is without a doubt the fastest single-card GPU available. So step aside, Nvidia GeForce GTX 690, there’s a new sheriff in town, and it’s not only faster in benchmarks, it runs cooler and quieter, to boot.
Note: This review was originally featured in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
Video card vendors have an overclocking frenzy with Nvidia’s newest GPU
Nvidia dropped its new GTX 760 this week and gave gamers a cheaper 700-Series card in the process. MSI, Gigabyte, Asus, and EVGA have all recently announced overclocked $260 versions of the card as a result.
With both Intel’s Haswell and Nvidia’s new 700M-series components shrinking and sipping less power, the super-portable, 14-inch, gaming laptop revolution is about to begin. Leading the charge is Razer with its ultra-sleek new Razer Blade gaming notebook, which is a smaller take on the 17-inch version (since rebranded as Razer Blade Pro) we reviewed in our Holiday issue.