We’ll be the first to admit that system benchmarking has gotten downright boring in the last couple of years. It’s been a solid year and a half of Core i7-980X/990X procs followed by a year of Core i7-2600K rigs. Yawn, seen it.
We certainly can’t say that about Digital Storm’s latest Black Ops HailStorm. It’s the first machine to grace our Lab with Intel’s Core i7-3960X, so we were anxious to see if the new chip could actually walk the walk. We know from our testing of the chip in a controlled environment that it’s a bad mother, but what about when it’s in a high-end system and it’s being run against a slew of other super-fast rigs?
The Chromebook is nice, but is it $500 nice? Is it really better than spending a few bucks to upgrade an old netbook into a comparable browser-based portable PC?
We took a year-old Samsung NF310 netbook with a dual-core Atom CPU, upped the RAM to 2GB, and replaced its hard drive with a 20GB Intel Larson Creek SSD, then installed Joli OS 1.2. We pitted our creation against a Samsung Series 5 Chromebook to see whether a homebrew 'Jolibook' can hang.
With Windows 8, Microsoft is reimagining the most basic premises of personal computers. CEO Steve Ballmer recognizes the drastic changes coming in Windows 8, even calling the platform one of the biggest risks taken by the industry giant.
If you want to take the plunge and give Windows 8 a try, we don’t recommend installing Windows 8 as your primary system, but we do encourage you to take it for a spin and spend some time tinkering under the hood. So read on and we'll tell you how to do just that.
I’m just going to be blunt: Our patent system sucks. It’s terrible to deal with, protects ridiculous things, and encourages frivolous litigation. It’s about as popular as a leper in a nudist colony.
For 10 years, patent reform has had the backing of major corporations who, like everyone else, are sick of patent trolls and costly defensive IP purchases. Nobody—not consumer groups, business, or inventors—believes this system works. Despite all of this, Congress managed to punt on real change.
In the storage world, nothing matches a solid-state drive for speed, and nothing matches a mechanical hard drive for capacity and price per gigabyte. Recognizing these two great tastes would go great together, many vendors have attempted to find the perfect hybrid storage solution, with variable—and often clunky—results. Seagate’s Momentus XT, which we first reviewed in September 2010, offered a 500GB 2.5-inch drive with 4GB of NAND flash with an adaptive algorithm to ensure that the most frequently used files are mirrored in the NAND. This means your boot drive feels faster than a mechanical drive, if only for the stuff you use the most. We liked the first Momentus, but complained that it could use more NAND. Seagate aims to remedy that complaint with this new Momentus.
In an age of sloppy console ports, Battlefield 3 is a huge relief for PC gamers. Not only is the PC a “lead platform” for DICE’s flagship modern shooter, but we’re getting all the good stuff: 64-player maps? You won’t find ‘em on a console. DirectX 11 graphics? Only on a PC, Sparky. Indeed, Battlefield 3’s Frostbite 2 engine brings fully destructible environments, ambient occlusion, MLAA, and full DX11 support—and it reaches its full potential only on the PC. But with great power comes great power requirements: DICE’s minimum recommended GPU is a GeForce GTX 560 or AMD Radeon HD 6950, and performance scales up from there. That means a lot of us are going to have to go get new videocards—or a whole new rig.
Any Neanderthal can slap together a $3,000 box and play Battlefield 3 like a dream, but that’s out of reach for most people. So we decided to build a machine that can play BF3 as nature intended—at 1920x1200 resolution, with all settings at Ultra—and do it for less than $1,600.
To call HP’s 2560p an “ultraportable” is pushing it. It has a slightly smaller footprint than the Toshiba R830, with a screen size of 12.5 inches, but it’s heavier by more than a pound. With its power brick, you’re looking at more than five pounds, including a battery that protrudes a full inch from the back of the notebook’s body. This is no dainty package.
Before Rage was released there were a lot of unanswered questions floating around. Could Id make another genre-defining shooter? Would the six-plus years of development and the much-touted Id Tech 5 engine yield a sufficiently impressive result? While these are certainly appropriate questions for both reviewers and gamers to be curious about, we found ourselves haunted by another, seemingly trivial, question: What does the title Rage mean? Only after playing completely through could we truly understand.
My December column defending Diablo III’s always-on DRM generated as much hostility as anything I wrote since I called Doom III a hollow, clichéd piece of garbage. The responses were a mixture of insults and reasonable commentary (mostly insults), with complaints falling into three categories.
Some Maximum PC staffers couldn’t live without their tablets, but others show no interest in them whatsoever. It all comes down to individual use cases. No one really “needs” a tablet, but many people are discovering that a tablet is a wonderful supplement to their core hardware arsenals. In fact, Maximum‑caliber tech enthusiasts are often the folks best served by tablets.
In the following article, we’ll explain all of that, plus review the eight most-talked-about models currently available. Six of the contenders run Google’s tablet OS, Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb). Another, the iPad 2, runs the latest version of Apple’s iOS. The final entrant is RIM’s oddball PlayBook, which is tied to a software ecosystem so funky, the PlayBook can’t really be included in any serious tablet conversation. The most oddball tablet of all—HP’s WebOS-based TouchPad—was left out entirely because it was discontinued a few weeks before we started working on this article.
Excited? Anxious? Maybe a little scared? Simmer down, amigo. Tablets are a confusing proposition, but they need not be feared.