You are on page 1of 67


Is Microsoft about to pull the plug?

We name 6 products that might Lab-tested: 8 surprisingly ambitious
live, and 6 that will not p. 14 planks. Time to upgrade? Absolutely! p. 38 Analysis and predictions inside p. 8


The Cheapskate’s Guide to
cable and Save Mo
satellite Withountey
Use Perform ng
Voice to
dump your
Build a
new PC or
an old

 We BBQ a Fireproof Hard Drive!  Print from the Cloud
 Create a Virtual Password Key Ring  MSI's Overclocked GTX 560 Ti
 Overclock and Watercool Your PC  3 Media Streamers Reviewed



24 Power on the Cheap Quickstart In the Lab
How to get maximum computing for a minimum 08 NEWS What happened to Windows Home 75 REVIEWS
price. Server; Intel’s Sandy Bridge chipset recall.
14 THE LIST Six technologies destined for the
38 Keyboard Roundup
Eight high-performance keyboards, put to the test.
garbage heap, six that will endure.


46 Gaming Awards
We laud the games we loved in 2010, and take a

peek at what’s in store for 2011. 54 WHITE PAPER Near Field Communication: 20 DOCTOR
what it is and how it works.
55 AUTOPSY Inside a SteelSeries 7G keyboard.
57 HOW TO Secure and sync your passwords online;
print from any device with Google Cloud Print;
create a torrent file.

64 BUILD IT Water-cooling for any comfort level.

38 | APR 2011 | MAXIMUMPC | 05


Editorial Director: Jon Phillips
Editor in Chief: George Jones
Deputy Editor: Katherine Stevenson
Senior Editor: Gordon Mah Ung

The 6 Most Important
Reviews Editor: Michael Brown
Senior Associate Editor: Nathan Edwards
Online Managing Editor: Alex Castle
Online Features Editor: Amber Bouman

Women in Computer
Online Associate Editor: Alan Fackler
Digital Content Producer: Christopher Rogers
Contributing Writers: Bruce Atherton, Seamus Bellamy, Loyd
Case, Joel Durham Jr., Nathan Grayson, Tom Halfhill, Paul Lilly,

Thomas McDonald, David Murphy, Quinn Norton, Bill O’Brien, Ryan
Copy Editor: Mary Ricci
Podcast Producer: Andy Bauman

Editor Emeritus: Andrew Sanchez

ART can’t help it. Every few months, I spend a few days obsessively digging into web archives around
Art Director: Natalie Jeday a specific topic. This month’s curiosity binge originated with ENIAC, the world’s first general-
Contributing Art Director: Boni Uzilevsky
Photo Editor: Mark Madeo purpose electronic computer.
Associate Photographer: Samantha Berg
Contributing Photographer: Patrick Kawahara Short for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, ENIAC celebrated the 65th anniversary
Cover Illustrator: Adam Benton
of its inception on February 14, 1946. As I started digging deeper and deeper into its origin, operation,
BUSINESS and demise in 1955, I discovered that most of ENIAC’s programmers were women.
VP Tech and Living/GM: Kate Byrne,
National Sales Director: Anthony Losanno, alosanno@ I shifted gears, and started researching the role women have played in the history of computing
West Coast Sales Manager: Greg Ryder,
and technology, and what do you know? Women’s names are everywhere. I love history, and I’m
East Coast Account Executive: John Ortenzio, jortenzio@futureus. embarrassed to admit that I had no frickin’ idea.
Senior Marketing Manager: Andrea Recio-Ang, arecio-ang So, in honor of Women’s History Month, which starts in March, I’m forsaking opinion in favor of
Marketing Associate: Robbie Montinola, rmontinola@ identifying six of the most important women in the history of our favorite hobby. I bet the breadth and
Advertising Coordinator: Jose Urrutia,
scope of their work will surprise you.
„ Ada Lovelace: The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, this math junkie
VP Consumer Marketing: Rich McCarthy,
Circulation Director: Crystal Hudson, THIS
Newsstand Director: Bill Shewey,
took interest in Charles Babbage’s work, and is widely recognized for writing MONTH’S
Consumer Marketing Operations Director: Lisa Radler, lradler@
the first computer program between 1842 and 1843, and for recognizing the MUST-READS
Renewal & Billing Manager: Mike Hill, capability of computers to transcend mere number-crunching.
Sr. Online Consumer Marketing Director: Jennifer Trinkner, What Happened to Windows Home Server?
Customer Service Manager: Mike Frassica, mfrassica@ „ Jean Bartik: Born as Betty Jean Jennings, Bartik was one of the first page 8
programmers for the Army’s ENIAC supercomputer. When the Army
PRODUCTION IoSafe’s Fireproof
Production Director: Michael Hollister introduced ENIAC to the public, it introduced the inventors (Dr. John Mauchly Backup Drive page 88
Production Manager: Larry Briseno
Senior Production Coordinator: Dan Mallory
and J. Presper Eckert), but not the female programmers.
Print Order Coordinator: Jennifer Lim
Cheapskate’s Guide
to Computing page 24
FUTURE US, INC. „ Roberta Williams: Carol Shaw, who made 3D Tic-Tac-Toe back in 1979, is
4000 Shoreline Ct., STE 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Tel: 650-872-1642, Fax: 650-872-2207
known as the first female game designer, but Roberta Williams’ design work
Email: on Sierra On-Line’s series of adventure games in the 1980s easily makes her the most influential
female game designer in history.
President: John Marcom
VP/CFO: John Sutton
Director of Human Resources: Nancy Durlester Dubois „ Radia Perlman: Known as the “Mother of the Internet,” Radia is famous for her invention of the
SUBSCRIPTIONS spanning-tree protocol, a network protocol that ensures a loop-free topology for bridged Ethernet
To Subscribe: Tel 800-274-3421
LANs with automatic backup pathing.
Maximum PC ISSN: 1522-4279
Customer Service: Tel 800-274-3421
„ Grace Hopper: Widely recognized as the progenitor of the hardware-independent programming
language, Hopper is also the developer of COBOL, the first person to develop a compiler for code,
Tel 1-800-865-7240 and creator of the term “debugging.” The Navy named the USS Hopper after her.
Reprint Management Service – 717-399-1900, ext. 100
„ Frances Allen: A pioneer in the fields of compiler optimization and parallelization, and a lifelong
IBMer, Allen is the first woman to win the Turing Award, which is essentially the Nobel Prize of
Future produces carefully targeted maga-
zines, websites and events for people with a
passion. We publish more than 180 maga- As you might imagine, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you think I’m kidding, check matters
zines, websites and events and we export
or license our publications to 90 countries out for yourself. Like me, you’re going to be surprised again and again.
across the world.

Future plc is a public Chief Executive: Stevie Spring P.S. On a totally random note, I have a challenge for you. There are three pink pigs scat-
company quoted on the Non-executive Chairman: Roger Parry
London Stock Exchange. Group Finance Director: John Bowman
tered throughout this issue. Find them, and email me their locations, and I’ll send the first 10
Tel +44 (0)20 7042 4000 (London) people to identify each one two Maximum PC coins. Tel +44 (0)1225 442244 (Bath)

©2010 Future US, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine
may be used or reproduced without the written permission of Future
US, Inc. (owner). All information provided is, as far as Future (owner)
is aware, based on information correct at the time of press. Readers
are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with re-
gard to products/services referred to in this magazine. We welcome
reader submissions, but cannot promise that they will be published LETTERS POLICY Please send comments and questions to
or returned to you. By submitting materials to us you agree to give Include your full name, city of residence, and phone number with your correspondence.
Future the royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive right to publish and
reuse your submission in any form in any and all media and to use Unfortunately, George is unable to respond personally to all queries.
your name and other information in connection with the submission. | APR 2011 | MAXIM
XIMUM P | 07

MICROSOFT FOR at the home consumer level. WHS users slagged the for all those computing concerns. the year Windows Home Server Microsoft declined to directly will catch on. and/or its management. We’ve spoken.maximumpc. will NOT BRINGING BACK fail. which simply no point in even running you want to access from anywhere. expand. Microsoft drives would be added to a pool and could long period of time.” aren’t looking good for Home Server help run your home. there’s of storage for your media. “It does look like Home after the next. Drive extender arena? No one knows at this point. backup. Microsoft’s Windows Home didate of Windows Home Server Server was to become the solution 2011. and so on) but things boxes like this Data Vault that it hoped would wanted to be an IT manager. the OS anymore. Once code-named Quattro. WHS USERS SLAGGED has failed to listen. and the platform. from the latest version. Hewlett. Will Microsoft comment but said that it is committed to also ran into a buzz saw of bad publicity slam it into the same bin as Clippy. Tech analyst Rob Enderle DRIVE EXTENDER agreed that the situation is looking pretty dire. WHERE ARTICLES ARE SMALL THE NEWS Where Are They Now? Windows Home Server Edition HP and Microsoft once heavily touted Windows Home Server. but the product has all but vanished —JOEL DURHAM JR. you need lots without Drive Extender. or too expensive. company for not bringing back and more. You generally don’t do that if the space filled up in the servers. Although sales figures for the when consumers learned that the best fea. He said cated. made award-winning able storage. once Windows Home Server’s premiere “The home consumer has never hardware partner. media streaming.” one person wrote. So far. Windows Me? Will the company realign its OS and prebuilt servers aren’t available. 08 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.downmagaz. for years it was a Server no longer has a home in fixture. either add space or back up the you need access to files from existing data. Additional stands behind a losing product for a very a product is selling like hot cakes.” Enderle said. Y ou need to back up your data. Drive Extender. centralized from the average consumer. the notebook and desktop Many WHS users say that PCs around the house. 2011 isn’t looking like these days. the ture of WHS—Drive Extender—was pulled server focus to the more traditional business number-one vendor of WHS boxes. Perhaps it was too compli. decided to up and quit the game allowed end users to simply add drives as not often that an enterprise-level company late last year. “It boggles my mind that Windows Home Server stood tall this team has decided to kill this at one Consumer Electronics Show product and tick off its core user base. but it’s . Bob. www. there’s always been some resis- ers just weren’t interested in its tance to Windows Home Server features (remote access. On Microsoft’s Introduced by Bill Gates in January blog announcing the release can- 2007. yet this team. or consum. the home. a consumer solution aimed at multi-PC households. QUICKSTART THE BEGINNING OF THE MAGAZINE. This product.

to establish another ARM-compatible Mini-Me based on the higher temperatures that ers. If you have a Sandy Bridge system. and note. chipsets could fail over several years of use. 0 and 1. In two years. Intel even acquired 2-5. For other software. The biggest problem may be for con. Intel hit icrosoft is the latest slow-moving behemoth the stop button on all 6-series chipsets to realize that the gravitational center after it confirmed that the chipset’s SATA The SATA 3Gb/s ports on the Intel 6-series of personal computing is moving from ports could “degrade” over time. not taking any chances and is producing the ARM architecture. Intel sensed the shift about four The good news: Intel said it is setting years ago and developed the lower-power Atom pro- aside $700 million to help pay for the cessor. and consumers. mutant (Windows Phone) in handsets. Microsoft reserved its full-fledged Windows for PCs. ARM processors could creep upward Net neutrality order sparks revolt into PCs and servers even while x86 processors are creeping downward into smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile. Indeed. Nonetheless. which are unaffected. desktops to pockets. innovators. the company said. seemingly as a preemptive strike against FCC scrutiny of a new tiered-service plan for its 4G network. this gravitational shift or face extinction. – GU Microsoft has a chance to restore its glory. with Atom. In that case. will total more than $1 billion. for the communications industry. two of those companies are taking the commission Java is easily portable to ARM. smartphones and tablets will be even more popular alternatives to traditional PCs and stronger ARM- compatible processors will appear. The final cost to Intel before foolishly selling them and starting over ally fail. FCC Apple’s iOS might actually look weak against a full- strength ARM version of Windows. The blip is in Apple products smaller than the Macintosh Air notebooks will never see the problem expected to make it difficult to find Sandy because the x86 hasn’t been able to match ARM’s because they usually have just two SATA Bridge boards and systems for possibly stingy power consumption. and creates uncertainty and from PowerPC to the x86 in the 2000s. By the time Windows 8 is ready (probably 2013). the same attorney who successfully sors. B3. MetroPCS filed its own lawsuit against the net neutrality order. Microsoft has sold a cal loads on the ports can exacerbate Most PC vendors and board makers stripped-down version of its operating system for the problem. goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress. storage. and other resources. boards in systems. Verizon smartphones and tablets—docks that add proces- has tapped attorney Helgi Walker. are unaffected. D espite the relatively loose reigns the FCC’s new net neutrality order puts Software written in Microsoft’s . neither Intel nor Microsoft is a total ports. Intel said 5 percent of the ports vendor for further instructions. notebooks are exposed to—and by that you are encouraged to check with your Intel ignored products smaller than notebooks while measure. Now. While proclaiming its commitment to an open Apple successfully used software emulation to ease Internet. the new order be overturned. Verizon brought a case to a federal appeals court. could fail over a three-year period. could start OEMs and board makers to replace bad some ARM-compatible processors in the 1990s generating errors over time and | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 09 UM PC . But ports incorporate a fix.NET languages or on wireless providers.” Future PCs might be docking stations for In its effort to have the net neutrality order declared null and void. For even longer. system. Increased thermal and electri. –KS Tom Halfhill was formerly a senior editor for Byte magazine and is now an analyst for Microprocessor Report. “We believe this assertion of authority transitions from the 68000 to PowerPC in the 1990s.maximumpc. asking that Microsoft could offer x86 emulation as a bridge. the SATA 3Gb/s ports. Intel will put 8 million chipsets system known as iOS on ARM-compatible proces- ing to another port should correct the in the garbage can and will have to spool sors. First. Mac OS X and Intel processors aren’t found issue. Microsoft is porting the next generation replacement of boards. which will Of course. Verizon said of the FCC’s order. investors. But for years. systems. 0 and 1. The company also said that many up production all over again. Days later. the company said it’s of Windows to run on low-power processors based on books with the bad chipset. Both Intel a judge that the FCC overstepped its authority and she plans to do the same and Microsoft now understand they must adapt to here. ports in use and those are typically ports two months. WIRELESS ISPs vs. The chipset’s first two SATA 6Gb/s a new spin of the chipset. FAST FORWARD Intel Asks for Do-over on Sandy Bridge Chipset TOM HALFHILL Sets aside cash to fund replacement of affected systems and boards Windows on ARM: W It’s About Time ant to buy a Sandy Bridge– based motherboard or system? M Good luck finding one. iPhones. www. to court. Walker persuaded different classes of PCs may disappear. and iPads that run a small operating drive is not in danger and simply switch. Apple has been growing rich on Intel noted that the data on the hard sumers looking to build a Sandy Bridge iPods. It’s also working with newbie to mobile computing. Today’s distinctly represented Comcast in its case against the FCC. Intel’s have already announced replacement ARM (Windows CE) and more recently has struggled best estimate on how many will fail is programs or other options for consum.

government) has been gross-out horror. but when of Art and MoMA in you turn out the lights at night and inky shadows New York. from disgust applying for new top-level to fear to unease. Dawn of the Dead.maximumpc. awareness and solidarity to The original version of The Haunting. It extensions. Yet its sustained in 7. Some classic horror movies aren’t even which is intended to bring scary. including but those damn roaches haunt my dreams. government agencies maintains a giddy intensity by providing a steady and themes for your to seize domains as stream of violence and gore. you can experience rich 3D experiences right inside the browser with no need for critics worried about free the last week. but it’s funhouse fear and (with oversight from the Chrome Web Store U. Google an- nounced in a blog post. (ICANN) could allow world governments to veto future top-level domains—the next Play It Anyway F “WebGL is a new technology that brings hardware. You have no weapons and no ability Street View tours world’s museums to fight the threats you’ll encounter. is in order. WHERE ARTICLES ARE SMALL Chrome 9 Goes Stable The Great Google adds speed. hand. including WebGL. You can follow him on Twitter at StateOfPlayBlog. was an episode of Dirty Jobs in which Mike Rowe which begins loading frequently visited web pages as At stake are more than crawls through a tunnel swarming with cock- soon as you start typing the URL. Horror. When it comes to true the world’s most renowned museums. Like much action/horror. and most of them unseen. – KS Games magazine and blogs at sopgaming. is not scary. it’s you can doing a fine job. But some patterned after theme-park rides. said the Chrome Web Store is now open to all Chrome users living in the United States. in London. –PL . etc. in the Basics tabs of Chrome’s options. Yes. as a genre. . and the Chrome Web proposed by the Internet But speed isn’t the only addition. U. provided you enable it on the other the LGBT community. ear is . I watched both Dead Snow additional software. the Tate crowd the corners of your room. even some the environment and not dying. Chrome Instant.P. is . For The movies have faded from memory. It begins like H. it’s Amnesia that and National Gallery will return to haunt you. GAME THEORY QUICKSTART THE BEGINNING OF THE MAGAZINE. McDonald is an editor at large for Amsterdam. Amnesia beats including the Met.S.000-megapixel atmosphere of absolute dread is unparalleled in format.downmagaz. point to recent moves by gradually and then released in sudden bursts. Google 100 proposed new top-level domain names. over the www. The latest Chrome version adds a couple of goodies previously only Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Feel the Fear and available in beta builds. from 17 of my gaming experience.” Google said. Gameplay is a matter of manipulating works. it’s fright- At the ening and horrifying. And finally.” with a mentally disturbed man waking in a creepy castle crawl- Get Your Art On ing with all manner of threats. 3D. but browser. but the most terrifying thing I saw Faster browsing comes in the form of Chrome Instant. wave of suffixes that will join . fear. for instance.—and this has might not scare another. and the Van Gogh Museum in Thomas L. you spend much of the time alternating between Google’s new Art the hunt for precious pools of light to stave off Project uses Street insanity (your character is afraid of the dark) View technology and hiding in the shadows from monstrous to bring you art threats. it’s the fastest build yet. blogspot. The ride is” speech and unjust control and The Host. and apps to Domain the browser Debate THOMAS MCDONALD A new initiative being T here’s a new stable build of Google’s Chrome browser. What scares ones person accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. You may scream and laugh at ropolitan Museum the grotesque horrors of Dead Space. in “With WebGL in Chrome. – RW Working the other side of the street is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Thus. evidence that a new system it doesn’t resonate. Tension is built buy apps. Dead Space 2 cold. and . Many believe ICANN Let’s start with Dead Space 2. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider. 10 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.S. encom- The process for passes a wide palette of emotions. and two recent games show domains is currently up in just how many chords it can strike the air. rather than funhouse fear.



Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow
f you like the idea of falling asleep with
the sweet sounds of your favorite tunes
or TV show in your ears, the Sound
Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow ($50, www. fulfills that need nicely.
Anatomy of a
Pockets within either end of the pillow
contain a set of ultrathin stereo speakers,
Chilled Internet
which connect to any device that accepts a magine you got a letter that said you had to
1/8-inch headphone jack. The sound qual- GEEK take down your blog or Facebook page, or
ity is surprisingly good and the speakers TESTED & spend thousands lawyering up. That sensation
don’t impact the pillow’s comfort in the running down your spine? It has a name in the
slightest. –KS legal world. It’s called a chilling effect. A legal
threat doesn’t have to go to court to be effective.
Most would-be defendants don’t want the hassle
and expense of going to court, and so capitulate

All Things Android to threats, even invalid ones. In 1998, the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act opened a whole new
Google continues its push for mobile platform domination field of legal nastygrams. The DMCA takedown is

particularly easy to send—it allows people who
nalytics firm Canalys reports that hiring developers, product managers, can fake vague legalese to take down just about
the Android platform dominated and UI experts to help shore up the anything on the U.S. Internet that’s unguarded
world-wide smartphone sales app offerings. Here, Apple has an by a phalanx of lawyers, giving the trolls that
in the fourth quarter of 2010, with 32.9 unequivocal edge, offering 350,000 apps discover it unprecedented power. With interna-
million units sold, supplanting the to the 100,000 for Android. Google’s tional treaties like ACTA, we’re trying to bring this
former top-selling Symbian platform (on recent extension of the Android Market feature to everyone else’s Internet.
Nokia phones), as well as Apple’s iOS to desktop browsers will make getting After the DMCA passed, law professor
and RIM’s BlackBerry platform. those apps easier—any apps you select Wendy Seltzer (then of the Electronic Frontier
On the app front, where Android is can be automatically downloaded over- Foundation) decided to make a home for these
much less a force, Google is reportedly the-air to your Android device. –KS nastygrams, and called it the Chilling Effects
Clearinghouse. It was to help people understand
the impact of legal threats, and help those who
got them to understand their rights. “We’ve now

HP Redesigns posted more than 20,000 cease-and-desists,
almost all of them DMCA complaints to Google,”

TouchSmart says Seltzer. In 10 years it’s created a rich data-
set, through which people can study how the law
HP’s popular TouchSmart series of gets used. “Chilling Effects the project doesn’t
all-in-one computers just became make value judgments about the letters it posts.
more versatile, with a new design that Some of them target speech that’s clearly lawful.
allows the display to slide along tracks Others, wholesale reproductions of copyrighted
into a 60-degree reclining angle. It’s works; many others, something in between.”
a big improvement over the picture- The archive is available at http://chillingeffects.
frame form factor of models past. The
new models include the TouchSmart Steam Makes org/. She’d like to get more letters, in particular
from companies like Facebook and Bing, where
610 consumer PC and the TouchSmart
9300 Elite business PC, both of which $1 Bil in 2010 takedown isn’t transparent.
Researchers working on the Clearinghouse
feature a 23-inch HD display. –KS If estimated sales figures published by data have found many takedowns aimed at hob-
Forecasting and Analyzing Digital En- bling business competitors, silencing critics, or in
tertainment (FADE) are correct, Steam, some cases, ranting nonsensically. But because
the game-publishing arm of Valve Soft- we only get notices from Google, we can’t really
ware, may be single-handedly keeping know how widespread fake-o ranty takedowns
PC gaming alive. The big winners were are. We don’t know how effective they’ve been at
Call of Duty: Black Ops ($98.2 million), scaring ideas and businesses out of existence—
Modern Warfare 2 ($39.4 million), and probably too effective.
Valve’s own Left 4 Dead 2 ($36 million).
According to FADE, over 180 titles Quinn Norton writes about copyright for Wired
surpassed $1 million in revenue for the News and other publications. Her work has
ranged from legal journalism to the inner life
year. –GJ of pirate organizations.

12 | MAXIM
P | APR 2011 |


6 Technologies

Destined to Disappear....

6 Handheld Gaming
At some point in the near future, all of our kids
will carry smartphones, and they’ll find the notion of lugging
around a second handheld device preposterous—and anti-
5 Pre-Recorded
Physical Media
Obsolescence has already cratered the CD.
Soon, the media-swallowing black hole will demolish
DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The
only real question is how
quated. If we were
fast it will happen. Our call?
Nintendo, we’d
Five years.
start looking into
Android and iOS
development today.

4 Consumer-Level
Hard Drives
Solid-state and other
memory-based drives are one
2 Ebook
This one’s a bummer,
but it’s true. Ebook readers
are going to be swallowed

threat for mechanical drives, but whole by tablets and other
the bigger threat is the cloud. Our multifunction devices that
proof? Hard drives are crazy hopefully feature secondary
cheap these days—just like e-ink displays. Amazon could
floppy drives and HD fight this by incorporating Keys
DVDs were when they web browsing and apps into It might take a while
neared extinction. the Kindle, but wouldn’t that and it won’t be easy,
make it an, erm, tablet? but keys suck and they
deserve to be banished

forever. They’re already
being replaced by push-
Stereoscopic 3D TVs— button ignition systems,
with Glasses keypads, biometric
locks, and proximity-
Wearing 3D glasses at home is a hassle, and in based systems.
general, the technology feels like a temporary bridge to
a point in time when we all have autostereoscopic TVs or
holographic displays in our homes.

14 | MAXIM
P | APR 2011 |

...and 6 Technologies That
Will Stick Around

6 Media
Somehow, the portable
MP3 player is one of the few
gadgets to defy the pending one-
device-to-rule-them-all conver-
5 Landline Telephone
More and more people are ditch-
ing their landlines, but they’ll
never go away entirely. Service
is cheap, call quality is reliable, and
given how easy it is to overload mobile
networks, they’ll probably work better in
gence. Why? Smaller non-phone case of an emergency. And we don’t see
form factors, jogging, and simplic- businesses and corporations switching
ity, for starters. All we know is anytime soon.
that Apple sold a whopping 17 mil-
lion iPods in the fourth quarter of
2010, that’s
3 million
more MP3

iPhones. The PC, Keyboard,
and Mouse
We lump them together because in our minds, they’re a
package deal. We hope we’re not jinxing ourselves, but
in some way, shape, or form, the desktop computer will
continue to sit at the center of our technological lives for
some time to come.

4 Internal
Hybrid tech is intriguing, but it’s a
stop-gap measure that, ultimately,
is still gas-powered. With lots of
oil left on the planet, slow-moving
auto makers, and no good fuel al-
ternative, we’re going to be driving
internal combustion engines for a
long, long time. | APR 2011 | MAXIMUMPC | 15

is written in C. ROUND 2 PARTITION LIMIT The BIOS would likely cannot be translated to another CPU continue to be supported if not for its most architecture. runs in 16-bit real mode. WINNER: UEFI UEFI also promises faster boot times over the BIOS. This month we and then finally passing control over to the operating system. will support up to bit and 64-bit. BIOS A s the first bit of code that’s run when you hit the power button. QUICKSTART THE BEGINNING OF THE MAGAZINE. and glaring problem: its inability to support can only address 1MB of RAM. in town. 9.4ZB. although we have yet to see it in our . Called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). and even has network access. finally.4 billion terabytes. it’s meant to update one of the oldest legacy technologies in personal computing.maximumpc. on the partitions beyond 2TB (2. As we know. –GORDON MAH UNG UEFI ROUND 1 FEATURES The BIOS is written in Assembly.downmagaz. newer is not always better. WHERE ARTICLES ARE SMALL DEATHMATCH UEFI vs. WINNER: UEFI 16 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. on the other hand. other hand. supports both 32. or 9. It’s also rank the major factors in both technologies and determine which ancient and dates back to the very first www. checking their condition.2TB to be specific). UEFI. But there’s a new sheriff you should have in your next PC. the PC’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is responsible for tick- ling the other pieces of hardware awake. UEFI.

Asus’s sometimes. UEFI’s graphical interface promises implementation (pictured on the previous page) is greater ease of use. Asus’s drag-and- particularly striking. or getting rid of your favorite mouse—many regret it immediately. our sleep. is a tough one. UEFI. Not all UEFI interfaces are drop interface for boot devices is evidence of that. Of the ones we’ve seen. ROUND 3 INTERFACE If you went back in time and sat ROUND 5 EASE OF USE The BIOS has been with us so down in front of your PC and booted into the long. It’s like making the switch from Office 2003 to Office 2010. though. Either way. WINNER: UEFI the possibilities with UEFI make it the clear winner. Intel’s UEFI boards and Gigabyte’s Still. indeed. though. WINNER: UEFI ROUND 4 PRONUNCIATION Rightly or wrongly. some UEFI settings are as difficult to decipher P67 boards. 1995.. If you’re against change.. pretty. it’s not always that | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 17 UM PC . but it’s only going to get easier still use a standard BIOS interface. or 2010. ting rid of your 15-year-old skivvies—you know. Nevertheless. But moving from the BIOS worn-out elastic.maximumpc. they work. the ones with www. Yeah. it’s that freaking creaky. C hange is difficult for many. as in Goofy without the g. are based on UEFI but as those in the BIOS. we pronounce BIOS as buy-ohs and everyone knows what we mean. Unfortunately. and. but we’re leaning toward oofy. future and we’re only at the beginning. and better from here. for example. deal with it. the winner is clear. WINNER: BIOS BIOS And the Winner Is. Yeah. Every board maker has its own BIOS interface and Peep a UEFI board and you know you’re not in they are often as difficult to set as a digital watch Kansas anymore. but would you really miss them if they were gone? That’s the way we feel about the BIOS at this point. you’d think that most of us could drive it in BIOS. You can truncate it C-3PO (3PO) style to EFI or effy. UEFI is the interface and its legacy underpinnings is more akin to finally get. you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was 1989.

one on AutoUpdater for updates regularly. look just below be defragging these? What from scratch. too. Wi-Fi êRAID RAID êRetrieving Data Defrag Best Case Scenario motherboard backplates can checkboxes for Firefox. if you still want for my OS and programs many times. I’ve missed out on toolbar (where the address mirrored to the other. That is. Or. How can I store empty space on the toolbar one drive table. (though your OS might be and CPU coolers. or striped. an option to “Automatically that happens. Add-ons. DOCTOR IMPROVING YOUR PC EXPERIENCE ONE STEP AT A TIME This month the Doctor tackles. Firefox doesn’t popu. in particular. all-aluminum Lian mind giving up an optical Firefox are found. the case. Is this necessary for I want. to the RAID to split those up that my motherboard tray Firefox updates when it tion. file system doesn’t see the ventilation if necessary.0. Just delete these with the due to a fried motherboard.” Click the Li PC-65 windowed case. then it. tool bar. and ATX motherboards All the following tips were sometimes you can acciden. goes in which sectors. mistakes. size of hard drives. physical disk layer. provided you’re it possible to use this case use a front-bay adapter with me what I want to do. while the basic Fortunately. How arrow typically are) or the valuable as it is in a single ports work at current USB can I prevent this? Second. You’ll see right-click context menu if The tech that looked at it mobo tray isn’t essential. it’s hard to say.” with files to my new Windows 7 20 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. but the OS still sees me $300 in 2002. Data Recovery on hasn’t changed—we don’t see tested using Firefox 4 Beta 8). bookmarks toolbar. As for the front will stop checking auto. then 5. but drives. If this menu for the setting about a RAID 5? very difficult to give up my you’re worried and you don’t that says “When updates to —Gareth Barnett silver. bar. Jesse. It cost it wants in the navigation . so defrag- —Kernica what I want in the naviga. —Jesse Stewart just right-click bookmarks defragging automatically— have gotten a lot larger in the you don’t want and click Vista and Win7 do so past eight years. or your disk. if your new auto-updating when you’re answer is yes. but I am now In 2002. I be installed without remov. by default).0 ports on should stop Firefox from drives and not SSDs. one drive is goes. Bottom line: Provided your new rig can having bad URLs. all of these things Delete. House of Flying About eight years ago. search bar. My primary concern is resolve them for me. power supplies. optical are preventable.” This using standard mechanical for a modern rig? I can drill modern USB 2. First. It tion. it can’t currently has four 8cm case Fire Firefox’s updating. data is speeds? If I can’t use this Firefox seems to store what holds bookmarks. If it’s the striped across two (or more) case I may cry a little. Should I computer entirely and start pinned out.downmagaz. just drag away anything you Defragging improves perfor- physically fit in the enclosure— and trash I don’t need in this don’t want on the toolbar. or mirrored. while others install them. êPowerline Powerline vs. if your 8cm To change Firefox’s update bar by drag-and-dropping I had a laptop running fans provide enough airflow for settings. said he could transfer all the it’s just so CPU coolers with check for updates to.. In RAID 0. top. I am finding it used standard headers. Click the Advanced tab. mance on mechanical drives graphics cards. It has been updated USB ports. (Note: late this bar by itself. sector modern mobos or just nice some significant eBay auc.. In RAID 1. Please help! For the bookmarks toolbar. For your second ques. matically. It’s up old. Is drive slot. If you do disable auto. my home PC—a RAID 0 puter. the holes in the side window it—or USB www. so defragging is as to have? Will my front USB tions because of this. just right-click any drives. same deal. tally add bookmarks to this the Cheap a problem. Gareth. and back by sector. and one on the back— I have some issues with computer won’t be as secure All it knows is which data all of which are two years Firefox and hope you can as it ought to be. toolbar. which drive. Windows’ and mount a fan for more motherboard supports it. Platters purchased the parts for and ing the motherboard from Uncheck these and Firefox I have several RAIDs on built my first custom com. you can always radio button that says “Ask Well. in the middle of an eBay auc. go to Tools > Options. some front-panel Firefox to check for updates.maximumpc. and a RAID 1 for my data in a position to replace my USB ports were individually but want to choose when to and documents. The CPU cutout in the the Update subtab. page elements or links onto Windows XP that expired today’s hotter-than-ever parts. we can’t tell if you’re (or mirror them) between has no cutout where the CPU wants to regardless of what talking about the navigation drives. be sure to check tell if a partition is on a single fans: two in front. and select Customize from ging is useful here. and Search Engines. RAID tion tool bar? I’m tired of the menu that pops up.

in-wall dimmers that inject move files from one func. coaxial cable you use for Once your drive is out check “Replace owner on mobile on the street. up to 500Mb/s. There is an invest. you’ll need to partially disas- Advanced. take a subcontainers and objects. you need to hard drive from your laptop. or use a USB-to-SATA puter is a desktop with a claiming throughput speeds sure its performance there. in which from your old XP drive to 802. Once your old drive To be totally honest. How If your laptop has an older have read many articles and signal can’t reach the client can I do this on my own and parallel ATA drive. or solution is best for you Taking ownership of documents from an old computer is just a power-line Ethernet equip. general. www. If converter. a good eight-port have all these components gigabit switch will set you hard-wired to my router or back $30 to $40 (we rock a modem. laptop. Most all of them are wire. If you don’t have enough less.and wired-Internet ports on your router’s capable. On paper. but that option inexpensive as $20 or so. some The Doc suggests you likely a SATA drive. You might be DRIVE TO ANOTHER semble your laptop in order prompted for your XP to remove the drive.11n routers can deliver place your notebook in each case you can either hook the your new drive. If you don’t get good SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First.” the two machines in the snow coexist well with some look at its interface. and then Owner. Over Coax) promises tronic components that throughput up to 175Mb/s. The absolute best ity—TV. Many laptops have hard reclaim the drive. Unless Click OK. “Which is faster. if your new com. where your wiring is not your laptop manufacturer’s From here. but it doesn’t of the old system. Putting It All third solution that you didn’t Together mention: MoCA (Multimedia I have a number of elec. ment. try a power-line  grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc. but race cable TV. have Internet functional. Those can be as spare SATA port). Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled. or power-line Ethernet? I of hardware—unless the seemed a little pricey. it uses the same on your specific model. a snowmobile or a motor. and Blu-ray player. (or none. 24-port switch at Maximum ment required either way to PC Lab North).maximumpc. It isn’t feasible to switch. Total cost: wireless TCP throughput spot where you want to use drive directly into a spare About $20 for the adapter of 300. TO MOVE FILES FROM secured with a few Phillips. it’s able to drag-and-drop files outcome. My question is: In ment inside your house. Select Edit. HomePlug AV 2.0 devices are wireless network and mea- puter. Be sure to motorcycle will dust a snow. Go to My Computer. If you don’t achieve Internet access— want to go that route. is connected to your new like asking. for others. buy a Wi-Fi adapter for that device. —Name Withheld for those interfaces as well. results. for example). deter- either a wireless adapter mining which no-new-wires for each component. that’s noise into the wiring. adapter or for advice on how to solve your technological woes. Go to the Security tab. seen anything comparing Power-line is a good solution Attach the drive to the USB the two together. logged in as). live in a condo or apartment The first step is to remove the computer. but haven’t walls or floors. reviews on each of these (because of too many thick on the cheap? USB adapters are available technologies. select your cycle?” The answer depends isolated from your neigh- website for instructions on username on your new on the environment in which bors’. which is a faster Wi-Fi is the easiest and Internet solution—wireless cheapest due to the plethora computer. You should now be and you’ll see a very different satellite TV installations. Xbox 360. cable to all of your devices. solution is to string CAT5e desktop. depends on the environ- few clicks away. or you tional hard drive to another. There’s also a you get satisfactory results. unless your electrical wiring There’s no reason you should adapter and plug it into your —Ryan Garrett is very old. A solution. fear not. your laptop is really old. while these other devices on your SATA port on a desktop com. and click Properties. you have a lot of have to pay a technician to new computer. MoCA is a newer how to access the hard drive PC (whatever user you’re you’re using the | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 21 UM PC . Check machine’s old password. hit ONE FUNCTIONAL HARD head screws). right-click the DON’T PAY A TECHNICIAN drive access doors (usually 450Mb/s.

com .downmagaz. Cooling the Piggy PC's ceramic chassis was a little harder than we had www. 24 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.maximumpc.

THE CHEAPSKATE’S Power GUIDE TO Computing Our guide shows you how to live a frugal. and shake us down on a weekly basis—often under the guise of saving us money—we actually view cheapskatism as a sign of higher intelligence and reason. and phone companies sure are. NATHAN GRAYSON. terse emphasis on the final syllable. cheapskates aren’t ripping off anyone. If approached the right way. More often than not. AND BRUCE ATHERTON Cheapskate. satellite. But the cable. horrible moral failing. software. and free PC existence BY PAUL LILLY. TOver the next nine pages. What you do with all those pennies saved is entirely up to you. Puh-leeze. Some folks say it with a snarled upper lip and a curt. In a day and age when everyone is trying to upsell. we’re going to show you how your PC can save you thousands of dollars every year—without compromising the computing lifestyle you’re accustomed to. of course. like it’s some kind of | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 25 UM PC . LOYD CASE. premium-ize. fast. ILLUSTRATION BY ADAM BENTON www.

com . potent one-two punch combo.maximumpc. there’s a version of port (iPad. software in Linux. www. Combined with the heavy price tag! cloud-based file syncing. just OS X. Flickr and Photobucket. BlackBerry. LIVE IT. and of course.sugarysync. Microsoft Security Essentials source alternative to Photoshop. into a capable and free antivirus 3. Several key Whether you’re rocking you’ll have a three-headed easily share files between PCs. with LibreOffice. ful referral (if they sign up for integration. FREE (LEGALLY) eocard and CPU.3! Ubuntu designed just for you. www. a paid plan. remote access from any web effective for a relative newcomer. We also appreciate What started off as Windows Live a desktop. and Red THE DESKTOP AND extensive plugin library make tandem. It offers that it supports Windows. www. You can also upload up to 2GB of photos for free. Don’t let the fact that it’s free fool beating back viruses. Windows Mobile. but the Seven hundred smackers for cool thing about Adobe’s online Photoshop? Pshaw! Thankfully. does an outstanding job at didn’t mesh with Oracle’s pro. Malwarebytes and Hat. www. Photo Express Editor is that it ag- free and powerful alternatives to gregates your photos from those the most popular apps like Dropbox. KICK MALWARE IN Adobe’s Photoshop Express Organizer is great for managing and editing tion Program if you can’t stand THE NADS… TWICE photos from multiple sites. including Put your PayPal card away and Facebook. or GNU Image Manipula. leaving only a Don’t need the feature-rich com- little bit of pocket lint leftover for plexity of GIMP? No problem. software. solution known as Microsoft We love a good Cinderella Ubuntu is perhaps the easiest and Symbian devices) and Security Essentials. software. including FILE SHARING TO set of integrated tools and an applications can be run in Canonical. GIMP YOUR PHOTOS. including Flickr and Facebook. but prietary mindset. iPhone. ported natively. Surprisingly WITH UBUNTU tiple folders across multiple FOR FREE ANTIVIRUS and www. Unlike antivirus Office. You get 5GB for free. developers of OpenOffice. it created a shackles. it’s going Most photo-sharing sites. Google. Bobby. or a its robust mobile platform sup- OneCare eventually morphed VIVA LA LIBREOFFICE netbook. FREE.superantispyware. let you ware is mother-lovin’ expensive.photoshop. server rig. But SugarSync goes the extra MICROSOFT on whose open-source ideology which lets you run Windows FREE. is a popular NOT YOUR WALLET GIMP. we re- manipulator. acronyms. CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE Live Free(ware) and Prosper Our top picks for awesome alternatives to popular and pricey commercial software You just dropped a wheelbarrow USE PHOTOSHOP FOR full of cash upgrading your vid.bit.downmagaz. and you can FREE. compatible with Microsoft ally do. Android. It’s just that SugarSync GIMP is also platform-flexible in oftentimes catching what the Word (including .com 26 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. not just an editor.malwarebytes. Linux. a fork of OpenOffice SUGARSYNC do with GIMP beyond just resiz. FREE. The truth is that soft. the latest version adds heuristic when Oracle took over Sun cutting those costly Windows and 500MB for every success- scanning and improved Firewall as polished or feature-rich as bodyguard or two to keep and went on to create Libre- Photoshop. and neatly organizes follow along. www.gimp. A robust into your www. Mac other doesn’t. Relax. www.libreoffice. even though it’s not quite sometimes you need an extra programmers jumped ship www. FREE. and other portals. use WineHQ. like to be fine. antispyware industry bigwigs. and that’s what we have of all Linux distros to use. Just be sure you’re near-instant riff with the you ask? If a title isn’t and you. additional 10GB). make basic changes. you both get an rocking a legit copy of Windows. www. Microsoft Security Essentials.docx) sans is a tad more flexible. What about games. them. there’s a lot you can things in line. LOVE IT mile by letting you sync mul- ANSWERS THE CALL FREE. which digs deep with the backing of several BRINGS SWEET ing and re-touching. providing a pain-free way of browser. Ready for the clincher? BEYOND it a more-than-capable image SuperAntiSpyware provide a You can save documents We still adore Dropbox.winehq. monster that loves to munch LINUX: LEARN IT. You see.

www. There’s a built-in free space. Just go to the URL. bookmark list. long as you have a PC that wasn’t made dium. which is free for non-commercial use. It supports hard Reflect. secure file www. reflectfree. and frequently creative. and Windows 7 in both with removable devices.asp personal. this is the place to start. Easeus Partition or Acronis True Image. www. convert partition types.htm THE CHEAPSKATE GAMER 7 Sources for Frugal Gaming è STEAM Valve’s digital marketplace èMODS Who needs to break the bank on è ONLIVE If you absolutely must have has become almost insidiously proficient new games when the Internet’s bursting high-end games but simply can’t afford at coaxing gamers into opening up their at the seams with content for your old a decent rig. “play now” button. It’s a gaming service takes care of the heavy We dare 1UP. and more. generally easy pay for individual games. CLONING MADE FREE PARTITION LIKE A PRO AND EASY Microsoft continues to im- Let Professor Penny Rich and prove upon Windows’ built-in Doctor Deep Pockets debate partitioning tool. The list 32-bit and 64-bit form. redistribute software. split. or rebuild the MBR. massive as | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 27 UM PC .macrium. this one’s a no-brainer for your champions-online.maximumpc.cheapassgamer. www. Lord of the Rings keeps track of pretty much every gaming- Online. a no-cost cloning disks as small as 2GB and as program that works with XP. Norton Ghost it’s not enough. USB.partition-tool. and DnD Online give you the op. as well as opti.COM’S FREE GAME LISTS as well. Both Master Home Edition comes to are great. and frag away. www. With of tricks is long. If you’re looking for tons of games in 1963. It has a Netflix-style pricing model è 1UP. You wallets. image to a network. Master Home Edition program. Try resisting the savings-scented favorites? Mods are free. convert FAT to FireWire drive.lotro. hit the big for no money. support hardware RAID. cal media. money. but why would you If you love games and hate spending go and do a silly thing like that? www.ddo. Easeus packs a surprising amount of functionality into its Partition FREE. http://bit. tion. and it also works Vista. there’s always OnLive. move. and the cloud aroma of a massive Steam seasonal win-win-win. merge. Sir Save. including the it you can create a disk image ability to extend a system parti- even while running Windows. to install. related deal out there—PC or otherwise. but sometimes which is better. but both will set you the rescue with a robust partition back at least $50. a rare trick for free cloning and copy partitions. manager priced at 100 pennies a-Lot’s solution? Macrium less than a buck. MMOs è CHEAP ASS GAMER Cheap Ass Gamer like Champions è FREE-TO-PLAY MMOS Sure. has been compiling absurdly è QUAKE LIVE id Software’s multiplayer large lists of PC gaming’s best freebies classic is roughly two clicks away so for so long that it’s nearly built a compen. scan a disk for bad scheduler and you can even sectors. tion to spend money. lifting. FREE.

pick the PIAF Purple install to get Gmail Chat and that call screening and call presentation version 1. CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE How to Build Your Own Home Phone Server Using Asterisk in conjunction with Google Voice will help you dramatically reduce your landline phone bill Google Voice. The Incredible PBX package will give us an advanced configu- power. IP. connecting Google Voice to your own home telephone line server. in many instances today. and how to connect your using Incredible PBX just takes a few configurations on this screen. See http://bit.8 to integrate Google Voice onto our custom PBX server. there is a reboot. where you can download PIAF and find instructions for installa. Finally. GUIs 28 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.8 of Asterisk. the voice network is actually a VoIP-based net- work operating over data lines. so make sure you back up all critical information. There are many available but if you want time. Skype. how to connect it to Google Voice. The trick entails using an old PC to set up your own PBX in your home. When prompted. a custom Linux distribution devised for dress that is shown. We’re going to show you how to set up your own home PBX Don’t be intimidated. We’ll use PBX-in-a-Flash (PIAF) burned on a CD. The easiest option for installing Asterisk is to use a Linux dis. There’s a cheap and fairly simple way that you can ditch Ma or Pa Bell. make sure you get the PIAF CD out or you’ll Voice.8. and then connecting this PBX to Google Voice. Let’s get started. > A Gmail account other than your regular Gmail account VG9n. which means that you can use any old computer you have ration that supports Google Voice. PBX is a telephone exchange that is often used by businesses or offices. VoIP-to-PSTN providers. In fact.maximumpc. If you work a 9-to-5. After the initial > The phone number assigned to this account by Google install. SIP-to-SIP calls. and instead rely on com- either free or much cheaper than on your landline. your phone bill > Your regular Gmail account could suffer. STEP 2 CONFIGURE ASTERISK We now have a base installation of . but it’s not essential. Many people actually prefer to run it on their wireless status screen that shows that Asterisk is running. The short definition is that it’s essentially a network of phones con- nected to a main public switched telephone network (PSTN) that functions in a similar manner to a data network. > The password for this Gmail account tion. You may want to consider switching to a static embedded devices. It’s worth noting that the Incredible PBX code base changes over tribution designed for it. Currently. All require CPU and their own real-time processing for the mouse cur- of these technologies and products allow you to make calls that are sor. landlines to the entire network. make are off. chances are that your phone system is PBX-based. Short for Private Branch Exchange. Wouldn’t it be mand line and web applications for configuration and for the latest instructions. to integrate Google Voice you should make sure your distribution you need five pieces of information to make it work: supports Asterisk 1.downmagaz. Please note that the installation will reformat all drives including USB. Asterisk does not require much horse- and are ready to begin configuring it.) sure your root password is secure because if it is not. It is stable enough for home use. Go to http://bit. so Asterisk distributions avoid them.*. STEP 1 INSTALL ASTERISK The best way to run Asterisk is on a sepa- rate computer. Log in as root and you’ll see a lying around. Record the IP ad- router using OpenWRT. We’re going to use Incredible PBX for Asterisk 1. > A secure password such as the root password You may be surprised to discover there is no GUI. This is because a phone server needs to process audio in real time. great if you could escape the clutches of your Telco and connect your home phone to these services? A phone server like Asterisk can help you realize this dream. (Make sure your GV account is set to forward to end up www.

ly/qmPy0. YOUR INSTALLATION OK. Now we need to make sure that it installed it and gotten it running. go to: http://[Asterisk IP Address]/.ly/eAuBMo è MAKE SKYPE CALLS In the same way you have to top it you’ve successfully set up your PBX server and you’ve also work in Windows. You may also want to check the Asterisk console on the server. Use the same password you did in the previous script./incrediblepbx18. Scroll down until you see the speakers on.) The easiest way to test Asterisk is with a softphone—a program that Finally. or email a dictated message to to Skype. You should see the PIAF webpage. Video voicemail. This runs the DEMO voice menu. Once you’ve connected it to Google Voice. Monitoring and configuration can When you press the OK button. In the lower-left corner. but è RUN MULTIPLE GOOGLE VOICE AC- in its most basic manner. click OK. The call should m of Press Ctrl + Alt + F9 to access it. click the Admin button. the not-so-secret sauce that will save us hun- Type HELP to see all the commands available. è GET A CHEAP VOIP TO PSTN PROVIDER bit. Please note that Windows Firewall may FreePBX Administration button. open up a web browser Set User ID to 701. Conference calls. works before we go any further. NerdVittles. The truth is that Asterisk are particularly worthwhile as you can make have their own unique phone numbers. it barely scratch. Google Voice uses this for incoming calls. you full-fledged access to public switched and they can make cheap local calls to you. This gives you access to the main tool require you to unblock X-Lite in order to make it work. the United States and Canada free. Numerous options Google Voice and SkypeOut already allow regularly in a foreign country? Get a DID there await you on Asterisk. Text-to-speech. open a browser on another machine and open UDP port 5222 in Windows and on your router. (Thanks. Is there someone you talk to Customized caller ID.x . set your passwords by typing passwd-master into the command line. This is your SIP phone password for extension 701. the softphone should register itself and be done here. You can find a massive that we’re hooking up Asterisk to Google list of providers at http://bit. Point it to the Asterisk IP address. the domain to the IP address of the Asterisk server. go to the Account Settings screen. In the left menu under the Basic section. for configuring Asterisk.maximumpc. on another machine. http://bit. Click the show its status as Available. To do this. 30 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. and the password to the SIP phone password that was in the Secret field. Pay-as-you-go plans COUNTS Other members of your family can es the surface. You can download it at http://bit. Now try phoning your home or cell phone number.x chmod +x incrediblepbx18. MORE COWBELL Other Awesome Asterisk Tricks While our how-to focuses on using Asterisk telephone networks to make calls. Customized music on hold. Google. Inward Dial (DID) numbers are available cheap . If Secret field. and customize your PERFORM INITIAL TESTS ON personal PBX. Make sure you have a headset connected or your We prefer X-Lite as a good option to was assigned. CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE Enter the following commands into the command line at the bot- tom of the screen: cd /root wget http://incrediblepbx. or even free at http://bit.x Answer the prompts and wait for the install to finish. the voice of Asterisk. If all goes well. è AND MORE! Get voicemail emailed as an Voice. can do all kinds of amazing tricks: a small payment into an account and forget and calls on the number can be directed to about it until your usage is large enough that specific phones. While the script is running. you can perform a similar connection attachment. let’s make a or http:// Hotel-style wake-up calls. Voice tutorial at http://bit. try using another phone to call the Google Voice number that behaves like a traditional telephone. All phone activity will display here. then everything is working fine. you hear Allison. you should receive the call on your has an excellent è ORDER EXTRA PHONE NUMBERS Direct someone. redundancy is cheap. Once done. STEP 3 This PIAF setup screen will allow you to monitor. go out over Google Voice. Press Ctr + Alt + F1 to dreds of dollars per year thanks to Google making all calls to numbers in return to your login session. Dial 3366 and press Call. Select 701 from the right menu.

Click Make sure you get to share the Ethernet port with a computer or one that is unlocked. You are now officially up and running. These connect to your home telephone adapter (ATA). There are a lot of steps but they are quite straightforward. as phone service comes into the house (called the demarcation point). Listen to the IP address read out to you. phone. you can get an analog with SIP phones. Detailed setup instructions for your Telco and tell it to take a hike. Another option is to replace your old handsets To hook up your existing phones to Asterisk. Submit the dial 110#. Enter 7932# then 1# changes and your phone will reboot. well as a router. Go there in a web FXO and an FXS port. handsets in your house to your new personal PBX? Yes it is. Each allows To connect a phone you need an FXS port on the ATA.168. or sometimes lines to work with a VoIP protocol like SIP or IAX2. or the SPA942 if you want connect to a phone extension or an incoming landline. a min Login. One of the best set it up. an RJ11 line from the incoming line or wall plug into the FXO port. and although SIP PHONES it sounds confusing. STEP 4 CONNECT YOUR REAL PHONES TO YOUR PBX SERVER Softphones are fine. and an Ethernet connection into the WAN for further refinements.” You can now make and receive calls on your the LAN side. and the secret for that extension in the Password field. To connect an up to four line appearances. wirelessly.downmagaz. Enter your phone into the FXS port. Go back to the page and you should and 1 to allow web access from the WAN side. Record the ATA is the Cisco Linksys SPA3102. scroll to and select Network.1. your The LAN port is only needed if you want to use the ATA as a router. Asterisk IP address in the Proxy field. but isn’t the point of this exercise to connect the configuring the SPA3102 with Asterisk are at http://bit. desired extension (701 to 715 are already set up in the PBX) in the User ID Pick up the connected phone and dial ****. If you are connecting from see “Ext 1 is Registered. A good option for a SIP phone is alone device or built into a router. One of the choices for an ATA is the Cisco Linksys SPA3102. See http://bit. and field. They have one or more ports that can the Cisco SPA941. use Power over Ethernet (PoE) . These convert plain old telephone system (POTS) network through Ethernet. www. An ATA can be a stand. The only thing left to do is call Click Admin Login and then Advanced. your name in the Display field. Plug browser to configure the phone. listen to the prompt. It has both an FXO and Go into the menu on your phone and best choices for an an FXS port as well as a router. Select the Ext 1 tab. the IP address is 192. Here’s how to incoming phone line. you need an FXO port on the ATA. Enter the IP address of the ATA in a browser to get the web interface. it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. It has both an Connect the ATA either at a wall plug or at the point where your Current IP address.

You’ll have to give up some performance. although the included PSU won’t handle beefy graphics cards. but we wanted a better CPU and graphics than a larger HDD would have allowed. But at $36. Soon. It’s still the go-to OS for PC gamers.maximumpc. Core i5 architecture based on last genera.1GHz and runs up to four threads. $42! ✔ CASE AND POWER SUPPLY COOLER MASTER 534 WITH 460W PSU This is definitely a compromise. reliable DDR3 for $42. right? ✔ OPTICAL DRIVE LG GGH22NS50B DVD BURNER Sixteen smackers for a DVD burner. powerful enough for today’s games and ap. CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE The Cheapskate’s PC Here's how to build or upgrade a killer PC without breaking the bank Building a system from scratch or upgrading The trick is to keep an eye to the future. technology. But what you have in the end is a platform suitable for upgrading to more robust components in the future without having to rebuild from scratch. you might end up with a dead-end bering that sometimes you can find good the sure knowledge that prices will drop system. and an upgrade of the future. and capable of lasting well into tion’s Lynnwood CPUs actually cost more from-scratch build. like in the future. For example. It’s probably not wise to overclock with this $95 board. Yes. than faster Core i5s built using Sandy Bridge a classic rig. and price. ✔ HARD DRIVE SEAGATE 7200. OK. But you can always swap it out in the future. it’s quite a bargain. Built on socket 1155. ✔ MOTHERBOARD GIGABYTE GA-H67M-D2 This is the low end of Gigabyte’s H67 motherboard lineup. it’s a steal. The fact that you can get any PC component for $16 still feels shocking. you can build a system that’s gear isn’t all that great a deal. While it may be seductive to buy last We’ll get into the lists of individual breaking proposition. And you probably have a couple of high-capacity drives lying around anyway. ✔ GRAPHICS HIS RADEON HD 5750 Gives you DirectX 11 on a $110 budget. less of a memory hog than Vista. this price doesn’t include taxes and shipping. $100. On top of that. THE $599 DO-ALL PC SYSTEM Building a PC for $600 is an exercise in compromise and balance. you’ll be able to get one free with a Happy Meal.12 160GB The hard drive space is a little . right? Granted. ✔ MEMORY CORSAIR TW3X4G1333C9 DDR3-1333 KIT The remarkable fall in memory prices means you can have 4GB of fast. ✔ OS WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM X64 (OEM) It’s stable. it hums along at 3. 32 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. but it’s worth remem- shopping. an existing PC doesn’t have to be a budget. though—this is not the GA-H67M-DS’s strong suit. let’s take a look at a $600 plications. and runs DX11. ✔CPU INTEL CORE I3 2100 This is the baby sister of Intel’s second-generation Core (Sandy Bridge) lineup. but it’s capable of supporting the entire LGA 1155 line of CPUs. With a little careful generation’s components as they drop in components shortly. TOTAL PRICE $596 Not bad for a Windows PC. The case is actually decent. but you’ll need to run at modest resolutions with some of the eye candy dialed down. You can find it for $135. At $69. sometimes last year’s combo deals at major reseller websites. Newegg and Amazon. Let’s dive into the ingredients. but it’s possible to build a forward-looking system that can accept beefier parts in the future—and still afford a copy of Windows 7. willingness to compromise.

but be building hobby by selling old gear on eBay. This processor is easily overclockable and can handily run any game on the market. an old motherboard or graphics card. ✔ OPTICAL DRIVE BC-08B1LT If Blu-ray is your thing. Upgrading this classic really means a complete overhaul: motherboard. but if you want something a little more modern. you’ve already got the case and power supply to handle the update. a competitor’s products graphics cards and . But if you’re still limping along on Windows XP. ✔ POWER SUPPLY SEASONIC S12 620 | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 27 UM PC www. two platters. if you’ve been running this system. the WD1002FAEX is one terabyte. and even comes with the software for playing BD movies. Thankfully. If you did want to move into a more modern case. this Asus drive is a good choice at $68. bundle motherboards. lesser extent) cuts CPU prices regularly—as or refurbished deals can be good. and memory. and has some nifty amenities like a CPU cutout for easy installation of high-end CPU coolers. as long as you don’t push too hard. but make sure you are often still part of the current generation. ✔ HARD DRIVE WD1002FAEX The new generation of high-density platters might make an HDD upgrade worthwhile. so buy more and there by purchasing components from GPUs recently. Gear refurbished by the manufacturer You’d be amazed at how much you can get for the streets. è STOCK UP ON MEMORY DDR3 prices are may find yourself saving a few bucks here TIONS When Nvidia launched the GTX 560 amazingly cheap currently. A spiffy new GPU instead of 4GB. CPU. and tool-free installation of storage devices. RAM. and the $260 MSI GTX 560 Ti is a perfect example. then it’s time to bite the bullet and pick up the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium (OEM) for $100. and graphics. Even current-generation CPUs itself can also be a good deal. These deals can certain dollar amount. there’s no need for a PSU if you already have a good one. AMD dropped the prices on than you originally think you need. might be a steal. but at mini- mum cost. This Corsair kit is a great deal at $42.maximumpc. the classic sweet-spot gaming PC was built around an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU and a GeForce 260 GTX. ✔ MEMORY CORSAIR 4GB TW3X4G1333C9 KIT It’s entirely possible that the old Q6600 system you’re running uses DDR2 memory. If so. Best of all. ✔ CASE COOLER MASTER HAF912 OK. Let’s take a look at the components for our overhaul. you’re set. often as quarterly—as new processors hit wary. ✔ CPU INTEL CORE I5 2500K The spiritual successor to the venerable Q6600. ✔ OS WINDOWS 7 If you upgraded your old classic PC to Windows 7. ✔ MOTHERBOARD ASUS P8P67 PRO This $150 board sits in the middle of Asus’s P67 line. the HAF912 is just $60. so you’ll be safe overclocking with it. Many e-tailers might be expensive when it first launches. but you can also finance your PC. If so. and costs less than $90. ✔ GRAPHICS MSI GTX 560 TI TWIN FROZR II The sweet spot for graphics cards has always been the $250–$260 price point. But we can’t resist the urge to recommend one anyway. www. you’ll need to upgrade to DDR3. know the components in the bundle. Seasonic’s S12 620W unit is quiet THE CHEAPSKATE GAMER and efficient—and it’s only $70. Get 8GB different sites—but you may lose all those a number of its products. will drop in price after a quarter or two. è SELL YOUR OLD STUFF! Considerate builders will often hand down gear to family è CPU PRICE-DROPS Intel (and AMD to a è REFURB OR NOT? Sometimes open-box members. $225. these components save you some money. FRUGAL BUYING ADVICE How to Save Money on PC Hardware è PACKAGE DEALS Some resellers will savings in shipping costs. or will waive shipping costs if you buy above a but at the same time. THE PIP BOY AWARD OVERHAULING A CLASSIC A few years ago. è TRY TO BUY FROM ONE RESELLER You è WATCH AND WAIT FOR PRICE REDUC. you don’t need a case. or 12GB instead of 6GB.

a few hours or days after the nels. or sport. and Hulu’s desktop app is more convenient than the web version.99 a month. so you may only see samplers of various TV series with just MOVIES a few episodes to give you a Film buffs have a rich array of taste. more the PS3. and certain Internet-enabled TVs. you know the network or cable shows. count on adding episodes of many series. If an increasingly large array of shows not commonly available media market. you can go directly to lot of shows and movies. very those sites and watch recent conveniently… and very ex. you can find the cur. It’s team. offers though. If you want features real-time streaming—in other like DVR and high-definition words. already pay for every month. fan of a particular TV series or you just like the occasional Netflix Watch Instantly. coverage CABLE TV SHOWS can be spotty. $100 or more a month. applications like SageTV (www. also offer recent sports junkie. including Apple iOS fewer dollars. is ample access to metropolitan area with a large favorite TV shows Is it possible to satisfy your you can only technically watch TV and movie jones while it on a PC.99 for the the most about Watch Instantly. over-the-air TV tuner to our tioned Netflix Watch Instantly. but a year to follow your favorite coverage of shows is spotty. This is par- episode. scheduling software built in. The another few hundred bucks base Hulu service is free. is Hulu’s Sure it is—the secret lies in that premium service. You don’t need Media into Windows 7 Home Pre. player. That’s a Aggregator sites. also contains an Internet TV sagetv. Coverage of tuner cards and have similar shows is inconsistent. built ed cost. such as documenta. Hulu Plus. ticularly useful if you live in a rent episode of most of your streaming-only service. at variety of movies. sometimes this Whether you’re a hardcore service leaves out a couple of ESPN will stream less well-known sports live and keep archives for future episodes of a given season. Few of these are pensively. But NETWORK AND even with Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus broadband connection you adds high-definition support.200 a year. which ditching the cable/satellite bill? costs $7. without add- Windows Media also support HDTV streaming service. your bill could easily hit show airs to catch it online. Third-party mium and Windows Ultimate. but video quality is an issue. We’ve already men- (www. of course. particularly cool $1. viewing. and compatibil- Let’s look at ways to fulfill ity with a variety of different our couch-potato cravings for devices. CHEAPSKATE'S GUIDE Entertain Yourself on the Cheap: Ditch Cable or Satellite Got broadband? There’s no need to shell out your hard-earned cash for movies and TV shows Cable and satellite TV deliver a channel. If you’re a Hulu. also in standard . at low cost. you may have to wait cable TV and a few extra chan. Our preference—and one online services to choose from of the hidden secrets of HDTV— when it comes to great content Night of the Living Dead—free and legal on Entertainment Magazine Online is to add a high-definition. Free OTA high-definition ries and BBC miniseries. Center. devices. What we like HDTV or our HTPC. plus Windows Media Center gives you full DVR capability OVER-THE-AIR HDTV for local stations. 34 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. plus access to a huge on Hulu. a minimum cost of $7. however. episodes.

Note that many of these are simply aggregators for Internet A variety of “free” movie ag. smartphone.emol. recommendation engines.99 a month. That can get pretty pricey pretty fast. but the legality music of your choice. www. one such popular in mind that it can be deleted if the song library based on that. In a pinch.S. song titles you add to the seed. song selection But that’s not exactly cheapskate ON THE OTHER HAND territory. ment Magazine Online (www. and both allow you to watch games across different devices—your PC. 99 cents for a song doesn’t seem like like the NFL. so > Music videos are only thumbnail size and the NBA and MLB. and not all songs may be avail- aggregator service. The UI is very isn’t from one of the publishers who have sparse. Building a playlist is able. even upload your favorite music—bearing iTunes playlist. although advertisements are present. If you want to > You live in the United States. of many of these are questionable. albeit of older films. Other streaming services. and NASCAR can’t be found legally. legal movie USEFUL IF > You’re looking for music similar to what you downloads. PC. radio. the music will be to your liking. USEFUL IF > You want to build a playlist of specific songs then the cost might still undercut > You want to build a playlist of specific songs > You’re willing to upload your iTunes playlist > You don’t mind variations in audio quality > You want music videos of the songs played at cable. course of us writing this story. We’ll skip those and look at services that focus on streaming the gregator sites exist. USEFUL IF If you do follow a single sport. These sites don’t actually host mov- ies. documen. copyright infringement during the quality can vary a bit. songs. but it sure adds with standard definition on your up fast.downmagaz. and Audiolizer actually lets you upload your sites exist in a gray area. For example. and shows are now in the upgrade to an ad-free account for $36 play via the iPhone or Android app. Sites like Entertain- removes ads.99 a month. then constructs an online www. or the United Kingdom SPORTS ON THE OTHER HAND: > It’s difficult to build a playlist of specific Watching your favorite teams online songs ON THE OTHER HAND is usually not a bargain. you per year. like Amazon. the more You can build exportable playlists. either for renting or for owning a Rating the Online Music Services DRM’d version. we’ve used aggregator services. your | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 35 UM PC’s Video on Demand and CinemaNow charge per movie. in the case of MLB. but stream from other sources. The more This is another recommendation engine.maximumpc. need to pay a subscription. is $14. Our guidance here? of leeway to choose individual Approach with caution. and. Major League Baseball. but major sports. but these You can create playlists of your songs. government for simple and straightforward. had its domain a deal with Playlist. Streaming music services are popping up all over the Internet. Both offer afford. at $7. unless you’re willing to pay substantially. If you’re happy At first blush. and more—all .atdhe. which also public domain. already like > You’re looking for music similar to what you EMOL also aggregates links to TV > You’re willing to live with ads (in the free already like network and studio sites that offer version) > You’re willing to live with ads (in the free > You like a little randomness in your music version) free streaming of their shows. song titles don’t always seem seized by the U. If you really want free and legal. You can > The ads are jarring > Playlists aren’t very useful watch some less-popular sports > The user interface is a bit obtuse > The ads are jarring > The user interface is a pain events at sites like ESPN. USEFUL IF org) offer tons of free. An NFL all-season pass. it’s a recommendation engine at its heart. You can can’t really stream them. including offshore sources and Pandora doesn’t give you a lot BitTorrent sites. ON THE OTHER HAND > Sparse user interface The two best deals around are > Doesn’t have deals with all the studios. song selections are limited must be on YouTube > Pushes ringtone sales at you > Titles can be inaccurate able season passes. Also. Hulu offers a variety of free offering features like playlists. but you a number of old movies. but the audio accurate. Germany. which is probably the best deal on the planet right STREAMING AUDIO now. for free. > You’re willing to live with a somewhat limited the same time for example. .38 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.

There ight boa your han st r ig h t for you e d th e field to e p ti o n s that’s ju ’ve narro w the o .maximumpc. BY ALEX CA S T L E ards some bo e e d . importa therboa o old. w e lo t o f th e ta Because of th are a rds ds. w h e thin board that we end key a il a b le in high- av www. mo ke yboard o n d th e unique fe d in g — you owe n m a k e e p la n k a li ty . a e e p re a one ca ames. T h ere are y ’l l keep o m fo r t. a n d g ive a w in n er-takes a l m e r its. and h . d you an e a t. or sp li st (a nd the on gamin g. er. It We k ard. inclu b r in g s to pute you an rtable up a s ividu at it between re comfo n its ind atures th it to conduit yo u fa ster. help you pick th build qu esktop. but we ction of out there a s o li d cross-se th e r they foc us k o ff e r s . . D o up clos aving th differe n -all c o ding c r th a t you get d th e P . bu to you to e most The mo ear or tw available somethin g What’s th The videocard? .com | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 39 UM PC www. c re in th is that are th e v ie wed befo ir ) a nd some a PC? Is it that we’v e re it’s only fa give you p a r t of your ? H o w in a l verdict— w h a t it takes to n t rd their or ig t that’s day. a y s t o f w h a t’s o k in g fo r - or ? your c o m e b e lo is rou n d process look at th one is e k e y b oard? rd is th e part of ’s th e n o w th at every d o n ’t th ink of th ev e r y about th r keybo a with.downmagaz. So k dge in g want to contend ers ble. s o dging n ’t s c off—you e a n d p ersonal e r ig h t t in th e ir keybo n te s t— we’re ju o m fo r t.

These latter boards tend to feel great. KEYBOARDS Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Two great tastes in one Gaming keyboards typically fall into one of two categories. instead definitely the best we’ve tested. for an MMO. And because Black. Blue. the keytop presses is good for low-profile boards. the Anansi does not have mechanical keys. For the budget gamer. Functionally. check out our a circuit. We hope more companies will follow opting for more traditional dome-style keys. Most nism to allow for shorter travel on the high-end mechanical keyboards use DOME SWITCHES key. backlighting. Makes sense in theory. And then there are the mechanical keyboards that tout hyper- Razer Anansi responsive key action above all else. but are definitely at the high end of the dome-spectrum. The main selling point of the Anansi (and what makes it an MMO throughs and light-up keys. This is the technology most MECHANICAL SWITCHES autopsy on page 55. with differing response profiles. including extra buttons. mechanical keys. it’s very similar to the BlackWid- you the best of both worlds—a whole bevy of gaming features cou. The Anansi is Razer’s MMO keyboard. Moreover. They are as follows: switches use a small plastic mecha. result- board. Mechanical keyboards use an actual 40 | MAXIMUMPC | APR 2011 | www. such as the 12 keys found on the Logitech G11 or G19. The Anansi has a thin profile but is long enough (including two seemingly unnecessary wings) that it could accommodate a few 9 8 VERDICT more keys.razerzone. They’re not as responsive as Razer’s lead and get more creative with their mechanical boards. (For an intimate look at a mechanical mounted inside the dome to complete keyboard's innards.razerzone. while play- ing a game is very . but hitting the top five (smaller) modifiers along with a number key. such as in three varieties (known as the down on a rubber (or sometimes those found in laptops. As a result. we really would have preferred a larger selection of dedicated macro keys. These seven keys act as modifiers. and is very loud) but it’s the BlackWidow. single-handedly. remappable keys. which collapses under less force is required to depress a key. on-the-fly macro recording. and backlit BENEATH THE KEYS The Difference Is in the Switch There are three main varieties of key SCISSOR SWITCHES physical switch beneath each key you’re likely to encounter in a key. BlackWidow that’s $50 cheaper and only missing the USB pass. which comes In a dome switch. MMO misfire but generally share a very $100. You have those that cram in as many gaming-specific features as possible. www. keyboard) is the broad panel of flat buttons right below the space bar.maximumpc. a companion to the company’s The BlackWidow is the first keyboard we’ve reviewed that gives Naga MMO gaming mouse. the pressure. www. with five additional macro pled with a top-notch mechanical keyboard. septupling your total number of avail- able key combinations. Unlike of fingerprint-exhibiting glossy-black plastic. and on-the-fly macro recording. and Brown MX switch) metal) dome. allowing a graphite pad these boards are usually more quiet. with almost no features that you wouldn’t find on an IBM model M. very austere design. It isn’t perfect (it’s made keys along the left. scissor top to complete the circuit. VERDICT RAZER BLACKWIDOW ULTIMATE RAZER ANANSI $130. A variant on the dome switch. ow Ultimate—both have fully rebindable keys. ing in greater responsiveness.) commonly used in desktop keyboards. this style of keyswitch the Cherry MX switch. Razer offers a non-Ultimate version of the with a satisfying amount of resistance and travel.

the challenger has a . The ancient STEELSERIES 7G connector is quaint. www. Your So we decided average to give it the ol’ dropping. The the 7G is still very easy to recommend more keyboard uses a PS/2 than two and a half years after its release. making heavy-duty. 42 | MAXIMUMPC | APR 2011 | www. $150. As the cheapest gaming either of those features sound like something keyboard in this roundup by far (it’s available you can’t live without? online for $60). red keycaps that can be a laptop keyboard. In the interest of scientific inquiry. type were the “/”. if with no limit to the number of keys that can be of the best. the 7G ing tests could still type.”. and the dome switches pro- swapped in for the WASD and arrow keys. It does backlighting. the Challenger is a good value 7 Gimmicks aside. but we’ve never really put it to the test. With clickless Cherry MX Black you’re able to find one). THERMALTAKE CHALLENGER $80. satisfying travel and construction pass-throughs. “. Low-profile keys make it feel like and a set of custom. the one place the Challenger be plugged in on either side of the keyboard to really falls flat is in the quality of its blow cool air across your hard-working hands keyboard. but we wouldn’t recommend it for VERDICT decent-but-not-fabulous set of features. some pretty slick red board that’s looking to set itself apart. Unfortunate- this most noticeably with a tiny fan that can ly.steelseries. no nothin'. and “|” symbols. After the and stomp. www. switches that combine responsiveness and keys. no profiles. There’s no customizable pressed at once. KEYBOARDS Thermaltake Challenger Too gimmicky for its own good The Challenger (ThermalTake’s entry into the fly recording). and gaming keyboard market) is the kind of key. and a headphone quality that’s absolutely second to none. we took an old 7G we had lying around the Lab and decided to see what it would take to break it. didn’t do As long as all much to faze you wanted to the 7G. test. though it does come with a USB 9 VERDICT adaptor. It does have two USB a long.maximumpc. includ. Do vide very little ing custom profiles. truck test. punching. but it does allow for UNDER THE WHEEL The SteelSeries Endurance Test We’ve always said that the SteelSeries 7G is the toughest keyboard around.downmagaz. power gamers. macro keys (but no on-the- SteelSeries 7G Light on features. and in our opinion is still one (especially for a keyboard that can run $150.ttesports. but heavy-duty The 7G was the first of the current crop of Our only problem with the 7G has always N-key rollover (see sidebar on page 44). and microphone www. mechanical keyboards to hit been that it has very few gaming-specific features the 7G one of two keyboards in this roundup the market.

(You can read our full they come. than two key-presses at once. It’s got a great ergo split-keyboard such as the SteelSeries it’s not well-suited for detecting more these keys are frequently used for im. As a result. Control. ditional presses can result in erroneous gaming keyboards integrate anti-ghosting ghosting” technologies—but what exactly “ghost” key-presses being registered.logitech. of keys that can be pressed at once by keyboards detect key-presses. which is why PS/2 connector. cushioned wrist-rests. and Micro- games with support for the G19’s auxiliary screen has increased dramati. the last thing extreme version of this technology is on a keyboard connected to its own elec. and—of course—a built-in 320x240 color Ergonomic Desktop 7000 display. The king of ergo keyboards Suffice to say. no good for gaming. and a stand that lets you adjust the keyboard’s angle forward or backward to your liking. Because it fight trying to crouch. KEYBOARDS Logitech G19 Retains the feature crown The G19 is the oldest keyboard in this roundup. decidedly mushy compared to some of the more recent models. A downside matrix to more economically detect which than others to cause ghosting—among to N-key rollover is that it (currently) is key is pressed. $200. which was released in 2005. which allows any number tric circuit. 9 7 VERDICT but the keyboard itself VERDICT is as comfortable as MS NATURAL ERGONOMIC 7000 LOGITECG G19 $120. An would be cumbersome to have each key retreat at the same time. you want is bogus key-presses going off. and it comes with a wireless. making in the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 is essentially the same it a tempting buy. The crappy tie-in mouse dragged our original verdict down to a 7 (http://bit. there’s a the least likely are the modifier keys. which is that as Shift. unfortunately. www. and using a more advanced wire matrix. but the keyboard’s keys feel The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 is like a Cadillac— soft is the only company still making a real play for the market. online at http://bit. Quality 44 | MAXIMUMPC | APR 2011 | www. It’s wireless. portant tasks in computer games. which increases the number does that mean? It has to do with how When you’re in the middle of a fierce and Alt. on-the-fly . and unhip. technology. Unfortunately. N-key rollover. it’s an amazing feature set. In brief. and ad. but it didn’t seem right to leave Logitech’s ludicrously feature-packed board out of contention. 7G and the Das Keyboard Ultimate S. and one we especially like for MMOs (those 12 extra keys are a godsend!). which originally ran in the Septem- ber 2009 issue. but it’s the smoothest ride around. And it's still available. as that in the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. custom backlighting. BEHIND THE FEATURE Ghosting and the N-key Rollover A lot of keyboards advertise various “anti. ergo- nomic laser mouse that is. bulky. most keyboards rely on a wire Certain key combos are more likely of keys to be pressed at once.maximumpc. and you can now find this luxury board for closer to $150 (though there hasn’t been much in the way of innovation lately—the keyboard the MSRP is still $200). reload. www. media controls. if you type a lot and you’re looking for something comfortable to rest your hands on. It's worth considering that since the original release the selection of Ergonomic keyboards aren’t as popular as they once were. such only implemented in keyboards using the downside to this technique. cally. here’s what makes the G19 awesome: 12 macro keys. strafe. you’re not going to do any better than the Ergonomic Desktop 7000. big. USB Microsoft Natural pass-throughs.

of the Shift won’t leave you wanting. headphones headphones headphones www. the build quality and feature set $90. www. www. S (or Professional) is an excellent That’s awesome. None 2 USB. which is just that.daskeyboard. and up different profiles. The SteelSeries Shift is the only keyboard and statistics tracking. but your entire keyplates don’t offer a whole lot 8 keyset to match the game you’re playing. It has no labels on the keys. and even though it essentially identical to the SteelSeries 7G. For gamers. mic. provided you don’t mind spend- The other thing is that it feels great to use. If you jacks and insanely heavy-duty . a head. which the Shift In our experi- is based on) that allows you to go one step further ence. JAN 2011 | MAXIMUMPC | 45 | APR 39 www. 2 USB 2 USB None 2 USB 2 USB. the swappable and not only swap your profile. which let you change what a top-notch software key does what. it’s awesome. VERDICT Keyboard Professional. DAS KEYBOARD ULTIMATE S $130. ing experience.steelseries. there’s a model called the Das with confidence—you won’t be including on-the-fly macro recording. mic. but a uses the same switches as the SteelSeries 7G.downmagaz. and without the headphone we prefer the feel of the Das Keyboard. If want the smooth typing experience without the you like the Das Keyboard’s aesthetics. you look like a ninja. depending on what game you’re suite with profile setup playing. Das Keyboard Ultimate When you type on it. this one’s a toss-up—it’s It’s a mechanical keyboard. ing $130. Das Keyboard Ultimate S Puts your touch-typing to the test The Das Keyboard has two things going for it. ed by the way this one performs. buy 9 no-label keys. of individual value. choice. little better-looking. (not counting the original ZBoard. the Shift to accommodate them. appeals to you. DARE TO COMPARE Razer Microsoft Das BlackWidow Razer SteelSeries ThermalTake Logitech Ergonomic Keyboard SteelSeries Ultimate Anansi 7G Challenger G19 Desktop 7000 Ultimate S Shift Switch Type Mechanical Dome Mechanical Dome Dome Dome Mechanical Dome (Cherry (Cherry (Cherry MX Blue) MX Black) MX Black) Connection Type USB USB PS/2 USB USB Wireless PS/2 USB with USB with power USB with USB adaptor brick adaptor Anti-Ghosting 6-key 6-key N-key 6-key 6-key 6-key N-key 6-key rollover rollover Macro Keys 5 5 None 10 12 None None 8 On-the-Fly Yes Yes N/A No Yes N/A N/A Yes Recording Pass-throughs 2 USB. but if it’s something that STEEL SERIES SHIFT has a respectable lineup of gaming features. and the key quality suffers VERDICT In addition to custom For people just looking for an awesome typ- SteelSeries Shift Takes customization to a new level Lots of gaming keyboards have the ability to set set pass-through. the One.maximumpc.

46 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | JAN 2011 | .maximumpc.

we’re proud to share our favorite titles from | APRIL 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 47 UM PC www.downmagaz. www. and PC games continue to deliver a healthy dose of shock and awe. Minecraft is successful because it’s good.. And the Winners Are.. We played through hundreds of titles collectively. harvests its raw materials. sometimes in surprising .net ESRB: E If Nathan Edwards had known that our Art Director would re-color his fancy Glowstone trophy. and uses those materials to build anything—like the very award trophy that honors its greatness. it’s our Game of the Year because it perfectly encapsulates what PC gaming is capable of.maximumpc. but the nostalgic look and feel of a 32-bit console. from cloud level to the depths of the earth. spiders. It’s not our Game of the Year because of its cute low-res textures and block-based worlds. secret meetings. you can spend dozens of hours just exploring your world (usually accidentally). punches its cows. Minecraft is a sandbox game in the truest sense of the word—your character spawns in a massive. No. fights its zombies. and clever-award-title brainstorming. www. and its success bodes well for PC gaming. Even if your ambitions are more modest. Another year passes. Minecraft’s million-plus users have constructed everything from huge castles to scale models of the Enterprise to working computational engines—all in the game. and after heated debates. But this year’s Game of the Year delighted us not with spectacular graphics. and creepers. BY THE MAXIMUM PC STAFF GAME OF THE YEAR Minecraft Minecraft isn’t our Game of the Year because it’s an indie success story—although. randomly generated world. explores it. The advent of DirectX 11 is making games look better than ever.minecraft. it is. he wouldn’t have spent so much time mining ore in Nether.

With the exception of our Lotus-owning Editorial Director. unpolished Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit turd and still rake in piles and piles of But alas.needforspeed. www. just to see who topped the Speed Wall. new dungeons. we can see exactly why the Germans love The Settlers 7—it’s a complex. When you’re screaming down and all the other usual trappings of a WoW expansion pack. and Cataclysm is the best one yet. thesettlers. rghini. competitive online network that had us going back to race again. deploying lethal spike game experience. a new ESRB: T into trees and off cliffs. Hot Pursuit combined an awe- some career mode. new zones. nuanced. but for anyone who likes thoughtful strategy games.maximumpc. it also made us feel like we drive highly inadequate and underpowered vehicles in real ESRB: E10+ 48 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. green . In addition to new races. pulse-pounding visuals. exotic cop cars www. it doesn’t take long for you to realize that you’re having a damn-good time. there’s never been a better strips and smashing other time to play. it doesn’t. it’s absolutely worth it. Blizzard could place in each World of Warcraft: Cataclysm box a single.S. updating each for a much smoother and more engaging early. Six years after its release. and utterly charming game of real- time economic strategy.2010 THE DAVID HASSELHOFF AWARD The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom Like The Hoff ESRB: E10+ THE MONEY TREE IN FULL BLOOM AWARD World of Warcraft: Cataclysm THE SON. If it wanted to. DO YOU KNOW HOW FAST YOU WERE GOING? AWARD Let’s face it: WoW players are a captive audience. of A. with great graphics and a huge single-player campaign. Getting past the game’s steep learning curve can be tough. This is the latest in the series and arguably the best. Cataclysm’s a desert road at 180 miles release sees an extensive renovation of the original World of Warcraft per hour in a black Lambo- zones. Each of WoW’s expansions has built onto the core game in mean- ingful ways. and one crazy-ass. The Settlers games get a lot more love in Germany (and other parts of Europe) than they do here in the U. jacked-out. Unlike with David Hasslehoff.ubi.

and funny in equal measure. Mass Effect 2 enthralled ESRB: M Surprised delight. Building on the story (and your character’s decisions) from the sci-fi RPG Mass Effect. and left us waiting and eager to return to the personality-packed wasteland of the post-apocalyptic. many of which Little Sister or Big Daddy in BIOSHOCK 2.maximumpc. and all the pertinent RPG elements needed to engineer a life-sucking addiction. and for like its predecessor. no less). though in the freakin’ sky. How we love you so. www. and an expanded cast were all welcome. New Vegas. shoes. it began to feel stale good reason. tighter combat. they just underwater world of Rapture was humor- weren’t groundbreaking like their ear. before. and yearned for a new world (Irra- It's not that we don't enjoy telepathically FABLE III felt a lot more like the orig. it seems. which essentially turned the game into a . is all we're saying. after the thousandth zombie had been ing.bethsoft. fallout. tional Games. then horrifically inal Fable. spun stories that actually encouraged but found ourselves kind of shrugging a sequel.downmagaz. Stopping time. and dark as ever. also had us juiced at the get-go. Games like Fable. over- sized drill in BioShock 2. nuclear world. had us hooked instantly. which we liked. a much-improved inventory. human. ESRB: E10+ ble Sequels 2010 a The Hall of Pass 2010 was a sequel-heavy year. upgrading. THE STRIP MINING IS ONLY ONE OF THE THE PIP BOY AWARD SERVICES WE OFFER AWARD Fallout: New Vegas Mass Effect 2 Ah. Annoying and unintentionally hilarious bugs aside (many of which have been fixed in various patches). ous. but we stayed for the story. but we’d been there lier iterations. The games in this list weren’t our shoulders after a few hours—the bad games by any means. but man did it footage from BioShock: Infinite is $#@ing boring into them with an enormous. We were thrilled initially to play as and intricate worlds. and every usable resource from our solar system. and placed it in freakin’ Las Vegas. VATS. Fallout: New Vegas took a tried-and-true formula full of action. Dead Ris.masseffect. agrees—the early lighting someone on fire. www. the sequel upped the ante in every direction: Better graphics. exhilarating. We do miss the | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 49 UM PC www. Mass Effect 2 removed our socks. DEAD RISING 2 mind-blowing. Letting us line up that wonderful head shot so we can marvel at the gore volcanoes you make out of the neck stumps of our fearsome foes. and on a whole new world some after awhile. particu- larly Hardcore Mode. It just got cumber- take a while to get going. Poignant. and BioShock all created memorable slain.

metro2033game. dusty. it was story. a pretty bitchin’ third-person shooter. and characterization and replace some interesting and memorable moments. www. but exploring the game’s War for Cybertron hauntingly beautiful vision of a post- We hope we can be apocalyptic future felt excused for having like an otherworldly low expectations for vacation. throw away the improved ESRB: M 50 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. mind you. largely to great effect. we fear we’ve said too much. Er. Tiny details like this brought every has had a rocky (to put it kindly) couple of ESRB: M THE GRAND THEFT THE SOON I WILL DOMINATE THE… HOLY EVERYTHING AWARD CRAP. www. . surprisingly bustling underground town. environment to life. and was. our hygiene. The end result is one of the most them with a grappling hook and an infinite supply playable interpretations of one the best series in PC gaming history. and new RPG-style elements make for plot. and/or causes us to lose track of entire weekends of drivable vehicles and scads of weapons. It’s not the best Metro did an amazing job of capturing the feeling of barely-clinging-to-life action game of the year. Last year’s release of Civ V took some risks and changed plus the engaging plot. and we’re glad that Transformers came out on top.civilization5. hijack- able. in fact. One of the year’s most pleasant surprises was the From the random clothesline hanging in the middle of a ramshackle fact that War for Cybertron did not suck. the dozens our families.maximumpc. of parachutes. and it worked.justcause. Honestly. THE I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT STALKER AWARD 2010 Metro 2033 THE UNDERDOG AWARD Metro 2033’s action might not have been anything to write Transformers: home about. the based on a franchise that overall effect was absolutely stunning.transformersgame. down a pitch-black veloped by a completely train tunnel—in fear of waking one of its monstrous denizens—or catching unknown studio. enhanced diplomacy. Nor do we fully expect it to occur after something goes horribly wrong in the ESRB: E10+ want it to actually happen. script. It’s the most mindless fun we had all year. a post-apocalyptic vision that seemed downright plausible—not that we www. Square Enix www. and up a couple of tried-and-true Civilization formulas. and our breath in a musty. great voice ESRB: E10+ blew the entire budget on making the fictional archipelago of Panau into a living. we have an unstated rule that any game that makes us neglect series great: the huge environments. pub to the rusty playground standing all alone on an irradiated surface. Whether Transformers: War for we were tip-toeing Cybertron—a game de. That’s Just Cause 2. deserves an award. The character development. IT’S 3:30 IN THE MORNING?! AWARD Just Cause 2 Civilization V Take everything that made the Grand Theft Auto At Maximum PC. Now. but everyone loves an underdog desperation that so many other games only talk about. easily explodable paradise.

net/sc2/en/ ESRB: T ARKHAM CITY In Arkham Asylum. 2011 In the PC gaming world. How do you up the ante? How about having them take over a city? We can’t wait to don the cape and cowl once more for some nameless-henchmen ESRB: T The newest iteration of Carmack’s 3D engine mas- tery is beautiful indeed. In fact.maximumpc. January 25.downmagaz. Nano-suit up. 2011 Team Meat’s indie chutzpah and 16-bit charm took some of the sting out of the constant failure. Release: April 21. Release: September 13. 2011 CRYSIS 2 New benchmark! Seriously. | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 51 UM PC www. rooting for Blizzard is kind of like rooting for the Yankees. Day 1 Studios claims the game will be a different experience every time you play through. and in more ways than one. RAGE store.A. Super Meat Boy pleased on a visceral level. offering some of the best graphics we’ve seen to date. 2011 www. 2011 THE OVERDOG AWARD DUKE NUKEM FOREVER It’s finally going to happen. franchises out . the baddies in Gotham took over the nut house and it was up to Batman to clean it up. 2011 will be the year StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty of the Duke. but every death made us a little bit better. pools of blood. Point is. Release: thousands of times. anywhere. Release: May 3.steampowered. Nukem and his illustrious Boom Stick return for hours of mindless violence and mayhem. it’s the overdog—the com. Blizzard delivered a game that’s every bit as polished and fun power-ups that should only add to the mind- bending quirkiness of one of the most innovative to play as you’d expect from a sequel that was 10 years in the making. Release: March 22. this is going to be one GPU-intensive game. early reports showcase a potentially awesome co-op multi- player mode. and get ready to lay some serious foot to alien ass in March.battle. 2011 F. No. piles using an array of high-tech weaponry to navigate of salt. Is the $@#ing cake real?! Recent gameplay foot- pany that’s got everything going for it—and it hasn’t screwed up yet. Navigating our meaty protagonist (and a cast of guest stars DEAD SPACE 2 with their own powers) The stakes are higher than ever as you step back into the armored boots of engineer Isaac Clarke. noted developer id thrusts you into a post-apocalyptic (think Mad Max) world full of mutants and deadly. Release: March 22. meant dying the horrifying set pieces of the Sprawl. retro-looking Forward to in 2011 platformer with tight con- trols and a near-instant respawn time. With RAGE. The Biggest Games to Look THE LITERAL AND PROVERBIAL MEAT GRINDER AWARD Super Meat Boy A punishing.R. tattooed bounty hunters. through hundreds of levels filled with spinning saw blades.E. as Mr. 3 Day 1 Studios is ready to scare the pants off you. it’s kind of like rooting for the Harlem Globetrot- PORTAL 2 ters to beat the Washington Generals. scratch that. 2011 us. and other hazards. In addition. With age from Portal 2 showcases some awesome new StarCraft II. Release: September 30.

typically. mission because it is grouped as a series of near field—about one wavelength from the range. that magnet- ic field acts on it and engenders the second wire with the same electrical characteristics In a typical NFC connection. high-frequency wireless communica. add a wait period for a response from the credit organization and then a confirmation MORE COMPLEX THAN RFID Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the most frequent point of comparison for Near Field Communication. ber of loops on each side causes a change the NFC chip embedded in the sign enters erty’s lot size. while using a different num. the increased surface area makes 54 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | . as well as a deferred link to an roughly in ratio to the loop count between power and data with your phone through online 3D showcase of the property and its the transmitted side and the receiving side. This is the payment for goods or services. NFC uses electro- magnetic induction for two-way data transfer. NFC says. 2) the tag transmits power and initial data packets to as the first. reverse of RFID. “Here announced plans to support NFC. This works well for digital data trans. Data request censed 13. iPad 2 will both support the emerging wire. and LG have also Current thinking is that the NFC “tag” ready to receive information?” and.” or the presence of voltage. HTC. 101010…~ data packets where. and a smartphone and induces the data onto it. Using an MAKING THE CONNECTION a home with a “For Sale” sign. when your smart- take out your NFC-enabled cell phone wires preserves the transferred electrical phone (the reader/writer) enters the or tablet. R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE WHITE PAPER Near Field Communication Spawned from RFID and embraced by smartphone makers. in the case of NFC payment transactions. Nokia. layout. RFID tags essentially say. 4) two-way data exchange is fully enabled. way into mobile devices across the planet. point it at the sign. the NFC chip on the smartphone via electromagnetic induction. You equal number of loops in the two adjacent In our example above. and establish a transmit speed. should power the NFC “reader/writer”— it is. a sign—it excites the loop antenna on your tion technology that is quickly working its “1” is “on.” Both RFID and NFC operate in the unli. When you send a current through a wire. any further input quickly receive the prop.” The incoming data could also include We’ll explore how NFC’s underlying typically. 1) the “tag” device powers on when an NFC-enabled smartphone (the “reader/writer”) enters proximity. Think about how electri- Data sent cal wires work. In a simple transfer of data from the tag Apple just announced that the iPhone 5 and age” often called “signal” in terms of its use to the reader. proximity of the “For Sale” sign (the tag). while NFC is an instigator. now I’ll go process the transaction for you. Both use electromagnetic field induction as a means of communication. as a communications source). its loop antenna. Here’s how it works –BILL O’BRIEN Y ou’re house-hunting and walk up to the magnetic field even stronger. evaluate its prospects for device’s own power supply is necessary sets. “0” is “off. “Are you a compatible device?” “Are you less protocol.” or the lack of voltage (with “volt.maximumpc.” and present specific NFC Reader/ information. it generates a magnetic field DATA PACKETS around the wire. and in the transferred electrical characteristics active mode and immediately begins sharing asking price.56MHz frequency band.” Or. When you bring another wire into proximity of the first. created by this data transmission enters the Near Field Communication is a short. Both provide HOW IT WORKS NFC Connection information from a tag to a reading device. “I have your data. but RFID is an identifier technology. When the magnetic field salient features. square footage. If the connection is made to initiate a future deployment. NFC Tag Handshake Writer and here’s where to go for more. 3) the two devices handshake If you use a loop of wire instead of a sin. and without characteristics. “Here’s some data. gle strand. where the references to websites and other small data technology works. a cell phone or tablet. “This is what I am. the tag can security risks involved. this could be as simple as. and assess the potential primarily for running the device.

The latter ex- ample is far more likely to occur—some. 212Kb/s. this is more the top. or (in the case of the 7G) ies of Cherry MX switch. LEDS KEYCAPS Three LEDs illuminate the Num-. MasterCard has performed comments@maximumpc. the matrix can only pass-through cables. this is an everyday experience. who key-presses) only lar spring mechanism needs Visa to handle the transactions? works with a PS/2 to complete the circuit. let us do the dirty work. For public tran.downmagaz. Scroll-. In a world where you simultaneous . PC. A PS/2-to-USB There are three variet- potential to dent the revenue of com. both the SUBMIT YOUR IDEA Ever wonder what the inside of a power supply looks like? company and the 1. Visa has been con. instead. similar tests with similar results. than adequate for the type and quantity of information that is typically passed between NFC devices. simplest—injection- molded plastic caps however. This daughterboard the inputs from the sit commuters in urban environments. Tell us what we should crack open for a future autopsy by writing to the result. Most (if not all) me- interest in NFC is great enough that cable that actually chanical keyboards use carries the keypress Gaming keyboards we’ll see widespread adoption within switches from a single information to your use more advanced two years. of tactile feedback and limited simultaneous click. but with different amounts N-key rollover (un. the range of you’re talking about rates is limited to 106Kb/s. And it has the very real matrices to allow for company—Cherry. or reader devices that can steal data from the tags on your credit cards or key ring. adaptor is included more keypresses. but all use a simi- pay for everything by | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 55 UM PC www. AUTOPSY SteelSeries 7G After this month’s keyboard roundup (page 38). To defend its turf. unless the reader confirms that with a cross-shaped the communication is wanted. Here’s the SteelSeries 7G—a top-notch gaming keyboard with mechanical switches and powerful anti-ghosting capabilities—in all its disassembled glory.11b’s 10Mb/s letters printed on feel blazingly fast. an unlimited number of and MasterCard. WIRE MATRIX one would have to breach your personal (NOT EXPOSED) A matrix wired onto a space while holding an NFC reader in circuit board handles CONNECTIONS hand to swipe your data. The most recogniz- It automatically happens whenever the and Caps-lock indicators on the keyboard. For now. slot in the bottom The downside is that the data trans.maximumpc. and a transaction number and date. which makes 802. able part of the appropriate devices are within proximity keyboard is the of each other. No activity can proceed. MECHANICAL SWITCH Regardless. The beauty of NFC is that there’s no need for anyone to activate a pairing. we couldn’t resist the temptation to take apart a high-end keyboard to see how it works. that the payment was either accepted or declined. By all accounts. Currently. With a the USB and audio traditional keyboard. Gold contacts prevent ducting an NFC trial program for the last oxidation and extend the key’s lifespan. merce transaction companies like VISA with the 7G.500 trial users liked Don’t take a chance on destroying your own rig. SECURITY CONCERNS Because the distance required to connect two devices is so small and because NFC is still developing. connection. Possible threat vec- tors include: faux tags that can snag data from your smartphone. security concerns are minimal—for now. the possibilities and as well as the PS/2 reliably detect 2–4 keypresses at once. six months in the Spanish resort town of Stiges to investigate the viability of making VISA payments using NFC-based smartphones. has connections for key switches. for the Cherry MX switches and (unless fer rates are slow. Device owners would have to ap- prove a conversation between their reading device and the faux tag for the first breach to happen. and the Das Keyboard) 424Kb/s.

Microsoft for the same purpose called Autoruns. back to msconfig again. a great piece of free software available a much more powerful utility available from at www. you can record your own macros with Auto- Hotkey. To disable the Windows key on a regular keyboard. hit the Microsoft support Microsoft System Configuration utility ( Even if Master Your System Startup you’re stuck with an—you’ll never go SUBMIT YOUR IDEA Have a great  idea for a How To project? Tell us about it by writing to comments@ maximumpc. page at http://bit. I’ve been thinking a lot about high- end keyboards. it should incorporate new ALEX CASTLE ONLINE MANAGING functionality to make EDITOR your life easier. What you might not know is that there’s you don’t have dedicated keys for the | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 57 UM PC . there are a few things you can do to improve its functionality: Disable the Windows key: Nothing’s as Any PC power user knows that you can use the frustrating as accidentally minimizing your game mid-frag. exe) to configure what runs when you start your Use keyboard macros: Gaming keyboards frequently provide custom macro keys. EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE R&D HOW TOGuides to Step-by-Step Improving Your PC THIS MONTH WINDOWS TIP OF THE MONTH 58 SECURE AND SYNC YOUR PASSWORDS ONLINE 60 PRINT FROM ANY DEVICE WITH GOOGLE CLOUD PRINT 62 CREATE A TORRENT FILE SUPERCHARGE YOUR KEYBOARD T his month. standard keyboard. A nice gaming keyboard should not only feel better than a regular keyboard. Even if and click the link for the automatic registry changer.maximumpc. www. Download it at http://bit.

and KeePass the KeePass installation wizard. direct your browser to http://keepass. out of date. you’ll of all. detour to the Plugin and Extension gallery. . go to enter into KeePass. tion. contain viruses and malware. along with ent. you’ll need 2 your personal information via email and to set up a new KeePass database. you’ll frequent by entering a single user-chosen follow the rules of good password construc- also be able to easily synchronize that master password. posterity’s As your journeys around the Inter- and download a copy of KeePass. (See box on next page for password- data across any number of computers. the highest level of security possible. to ensure plication’s New entry dialogue. so pick one that’s memorizable but a wide array of other information. In a bid to save their sanity. It’s worth mentioning. and information for any of the websites you words. you will be required to Fortunately. both are free. none of them are reviewed by pasting it into a Word document. easy. under a number of subheadings. SET UP KEEPASS order to do that. cloud synchronization service that lets you For each new set of upload and share any kind of file under login credentials that you the sun. Once that’s done. you can rely on KeePass to installation file and not the application’s generate them on the fly. ley collection of username and password don’t panic. create secure passwords for new login creation advice. Thanks to these entered the credentials you want the master password (image C). R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE Secure and Sync Your Passwords Online Keeping a list of complex hacker-vexing You’ll want to accept this invitation.dropbox. we consequently collect your KeePass installation without taking a more login credentials. information for every site they frequent. and in be done with it. As we visit more impressive suite of features. and be able to back up all of your online login can call upon KeePass to enter the login will also unlock all of your other pass- credentials. If you don’t already have it. there is a free. each entry (image E). click OK. you’ll need to have two can be found in the things: the KeePass software and a Dropbox same row as the but- account. Just open the ap- portable iteration. Once you’ve pop-up window requesting that you enter a manager—and Dropbox. it’s an easy-to-use A password (image D). –SEAMUS BELLAMY too. some PC owners opt to use the same login html. and sign up for a free and password information. With KeePass’s development team. as the passwords is an absolute must for every page offers an impressive array of add- computer user’s security plan. 58 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. Work your way through complex-password www. to set up your master miliar with Dropbox. Be sure B net find you needing to create new login to download the desktop version of the credentials. as we mentioned ton you just clicked earlier. that while the majority of the extensions Others resort to recording all of their and plugins available via the gallery are login information on a piece of paper or reliable. You’ll be greeted by a KeePass—an open-source password a regular basis (image A). making for a mot. software serial numbers. it’s time to 1 start adding some GET THE BASICS entries. enter your username www. browsing to http://keepass. KeePass has your back there Once you’ve confirmed your pass- started. and follow the site’s offers you the ability to categorize the entry prompts to install the service’s desktop cli. It’s also a ons to augment the application’s already royal pain in the neck. as the program also offers a built-in word. you password you will have to remember. making it a tough nut to crack. KeePass is designed to maintain set a master password. not only will you application to keep track of for you. you can still check it out by combinations. If you finished and more sites.) Interested? Of course you are! Let’s get credentials. The whole process shouldn’t take you the ability to enter notes or attachments to more than five minutes. you may as well send hackers To get started with KeePass. meaning that C insecure stop-gap measures like these for the plugins could be buggy. the program’s archive is protected for you.downmagaz. KeePass also Dropbox account. Click the New icon to-implement solution to all of your a database of all of the computer found in the top-left corner of the KeePass password-management woes. When it comes time to tion. or keeping track of the keys to your digital worse. Best will do the random-password encryption As part of the installation process. For anyone unfa. It involves and Internet login credentials you use on interface (image B). This is the one two awesome freebies. kingdom.maximumpc. Look for the To work your way through this Add Entry icon—it guide. Pro tip: The Notes field is a great be asked whether or not you want to visit by very respectable AES 256-bit encryp. place to store software serial numbers for the KeePass Plugin and Extensions gallery.

www.maximumpc. selecting the KeePass 3 Database as your BACK UP YOUR KEEPASS source. Presto: You DATABASE now have access to all If you’ve been wondering where the KeePass informa- Dropbox comes into all of this. but they bear repeating. huh? In order to utilize your database on another computer. be they to go without access to your secure library virtual machines. After opening | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 59 UM PC . Not too shabby for freeware. your tion that you entered patience is about to be rewarded. and on the first computer. Now on the first computer. Conversely. you’ll not only be backing up an will also be available for download via D off-site copy of your KeePass database. ensuring that you’ll never have any number of other computers. From the program’s you add to the database while using the menu bar. off-site. and symbols. and not though a service might only require a with a random-seeming string of char. Click the Open Database button (located next to the New Database but- E ton). By Dropbox account. look to the button bar at the top of the application window. room from you. Here are three basic rules to follow: 1 MAKE IT LONG The simplest 2 DON’T USE WORDS Any word found 3 MAKE IT COMPLEX That thing you can do to make a password in the dictionary is inherently easier for means upper. for anything you care about. F BEST PRACTICES What Makes a Password Secure? You might have heard the guidelines for creating a good password before. or across the of password information. then save it to your Dropbox folder or a As with all files synchronized to your subfolder nestled inside of it (image F). just at the beginning or end. Try using the first letter of each password that’s at least 10 characters word in a sentence you can remember. second computer will be available to use Enter a name for your database. and can be used you’re also making it possible to connect offline when no Internet connection is and synchronize with that database from available. Even a cracker to guess. so try to come up letters. your KeePass database doing so. Dropbox’s web portal. A good password can make the difference between a hacker getting easy access to your account or leaving disappointed. you should use a acters. then add numbers and symbols.and lower-case more secure is to make it longer. six-letter password. that you’ve created a KeePass database. any new login information it’s time to back it up. and navigate to your Dropbox folder. install Dropbox and KeePass to the system. click File and then Save As.

Before moving on to Step 2. including or the office. YOUR GUIDE Give it a click. Select a printer or a service and click Print (image H). R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE Print from Any Device with Google Cloud Print We’ve waited a long time for Google select Options. Your browser installed on your PC in order to documents will be leverage Google Cloud Print. turn XP. follow these PRINT A TEST PAGE Chrome up and running. From the menu bar at the top of your Google Docs interface. using your Google Account credentials. H google. You will also need a Google account to continue.maximumpc. set your print www. No matter which it back on when version of Windows your rig is . pane. To get your own Google left your computer at home on with Cloud Print party started. Now. open Chrome and turn on your printer. options if need be. The new labeled Under the Hood and scroll to the reflects the same printer options as were service from Google makes it possible bottom of the available options (image G). Provided you 3 Google Docs. you return and you’ll need to have Google’s zippy Chrome open Chrome. select a printer. and Windows 7. you’re ready to start printing on the fly from your smartphone or other Internet- connected mobile device. click the tab so will open a new browser window that venient as we had imagined. Sign in to Google Cloud Print. Magic! DOWNLOAD GOOGLE If you turned CHROME BETA 4 your computer off Google Cloud Print supports a before leaving home number of flavors of Windows. and it’s every bit as con. From the Options pane. and from the menu that opens up. Chrome will Look for the wrench icon in the open a new browser window that prompts top-right corner of the Chrome window.downmagaz. you’ll be rewarded with a your computer to be turned from bits of 1 window telling you that the operation data into slabs of dead tree. This will open the Options button). Click it. – SEAMUS BELLAMY If everything goes according to will be sent from mobile device back to plan. click the Option G button (located to the left of the Refresh I 60 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. You can find sent to the printer it at www. Grab your mobile computing device of choice and navigate to Google Docs. sign in Docs file. of your choice in The computer on which you install short To print your Google networked printer from Select a file. your print jobs simple and watch as Google ing Google services. That same window has a LET THE WRENCH BE button prompting you to print a test page. 4 TAKE THE SHOW ON THE ROAD Now that you’ve set up Google Cloud Print on your home computer. and tablets capable of support. such as Gmail or Cloud Print does its thing. and then tap the Print link. you a second time to Print a test page. Google Cloud Print needs to be connected to the same network as the printer you want to print from. offered on your networked computer back for PC users to wirelessly print to a Click the button marked—you guessed it— at home (image I). which you can create at www. Vista. In doing so. 2 is a success. Doing Cloud Print.

There are plenty of other fering.) any file that ends with the letters. DHT. users. tracker instead. Neither 1 site features an index. though file at the same time as they download the sites request that you it—is a great way to distribute it. atory and mission-critical (image ple. – DAVID MURPHY works—which you aren’t doing anyway.” And.” where the question from without the need of mark is any potential character. If you’d like to keep TORRENT FILE your files from being auto- You’ll start by selecting which file matically searched for by or directory you want to share with the others—in case you upload world (image K). (DHT is the decentral- So. click the “Start Just below the Skip Files box. your box—the full file path for a file.maximumpc. DOWNLOAD UTORRENT so other users won’t be First off. the word connotes illegal activities. and use its after uTorrent creates the torrent file. then distrib- to share happens to have an http mirror. Here’s don’t use their trackers how you can create your own BitTorrent to distribute copyrighted file. Both of reduces the strain on your own hosting these sites’ trackers are by allowing users to help upload the completely free. If you’re looking to K methods you can use to create torrent get your files distributed files. you’ll want to grab the able to download your torrent client uTorrent (www. a file that you suspect has tory. ute it however you see fit—as more people feel free to enter that in the Web Seeds begin to take note of your . you can select to exclude files using a common hash tag already three different wildcard parameters: an shared within the BitTor- asterisk (matches any text of any length). as recom- 2 mended by the uTorrent CONFIGURE YOUR crew. to use an example. a rent world—then check question mark (matches any character). when needed. torrent file and connect utorrent. or the Private box to disable a vertical pipe (used as an “or” statement). BitTorrent—which ease-of-use. excluding files that ized distribution system match “maxim?m*|*PC” would remove that allows peers to find anything from the torrent file that starts new seeders to download with “maxim?m. If you opt for a direc. connections will rise. Torrent (image J). the seeding” button if you want L 62 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. across a wide spectrum of Once you have it installed and open. but this is our preferred method. which will keep your swarm (the group of people download- ing and uploading the file) J buzzing along smoothly. This will allow eral sense of accomplishment for having users to download chunks of the file from fed the hungry Internet community with your hosting server rather than from other whatever it is you sought to give them. submit to immediately seed your file or directory the File menu and select Create New your torrent to its listing. and you’ll feel a gen- rectory path for a directory. click people. find an indexing site. and the di. finally. And there you have it! Click “Create If the file or directory you’re looking and Save as” to make the file. uTorrent automatically slaps the But if you ever need to lawfully host a trackers for OpenBit- large file for others to download and Torrent and PublicBit- don’t have the bandwidth to let them Torrent in place for your download it directly. as well as an actual torrent tracker. Don’t adjust the “piece size” for the purposes of this to whatever it is you’re of- demonstration. R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE Create a Torrent File What do you think of when you hear Trackers field is both self-explan- the word “BitTorrent”? For a lot of peo. “PC. L).

but isn’t necessarily cheap or easy to $180 ✔ OS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $300 ✔ RAM Corsair TR3X6G1600C7 DDR3/1600 6GB kit www. I’m testing three build options: a basic off-the-shelf liquid-cooling loop (Corsair’s H70) $285 ✔ CPU Intel Core i7-930 www. That’ll up my CPU’s heat output. and aggravation? DAVID MURPHY CONTRIBUTING WRITER INGREDIENTS THE COMPUTER ✔ Case Cooler Master HAF X www. and I’ll need better $99 Total $ .microsoft. How can I get the best performance for the least money.corsair. Water-cooling can be quieter and more effective than air. R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE LENGTH OF TIME BUILD IT 3 HOURS LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY ADVANCED Experiments in Water-Cooling Can an off-the-shelf cooling loop out-cool a custom-built system? THE MISSION I’m taking a standard midrange computer with a Core-i7 930 CPU (stock speed: 2.200rpm $200 ✔ PSU Antec TruePower Quattro 850 $110 COOLING OPTION 2 ✔ All-inclusive DIY Swiftech H20-320-EDGE liquid-cooling kit www.antec. time.419 COOLING OPTION 1 ✔ Off-the-Shelf Corsair Cooling Hydro H70 all-in-one liquid cooler www. How much time and money do you need to spend to get good cooling? To answer this $339 64 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.asus. an all-inclusive Swiftech DIY kit. and $125 ✔ Mobo Asus P6X58D Premium $80 ✔ GPU AMD Radeon HD 5850 GPU www. a custom-built water-cooling setup of my own configuration.8GHz) and clocking it up to $125 ✔ Optical Drive Lite On iHAS424-98 DVD burner $25 ✔ Hard Drive 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7.downmagaz.

Making sense of this last option has long loop systems like Corsair’s H70. OPTION 1: The H70. water block. but also I then tightened the retention mechanism into Don’t forget the thermal paste! has mounting holes for 12cm fans—perfect for the board by turning its four screws (gently) until the fans on my Corsair H70. includes a pump built right into the cool- ALL-IN-ONE er’s CPU water | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 65 UM PC . was tasked with accelerating the CPU use across all four cores brought tempera- process by sucking this air through the radiator tures to an average of 74. which you just slap into your case and been a source of pride and true geek-cred. Not too the water block firmly adhered to the CPU. Next come DIY kits. temperature of 35. system. MCP655 pump).com (everything else).com $48 ✔ Connections 6 x 1/2-inch VL3N-MG male threaded connectors. and especially $144 ✔ Tubing Tygon R-3603 1/2-inch ID lab tubing www. with a maximum Tightening the screw on a water block is an art: Make sure you’re applying enough force to keep as fast as $105 ✔ Water Block Koolance CPU-370 www. I then I first removed the 14cm rear exhaust fan that connected the fan cables to the CPU fan header ships with the HAF X—the H70’s radiator and and the pump cable to another 3-pin header on fans mount to that space. reservoir.000rpm fans in a push-pull format. like Swiftech’s H20-320-EDGE.3 C. of air.3 C on our 4GHz overclocked tor from outside the chassis while its companion.850rpm www.tygon. tubes. $95 ✔ Fans 3 x Scythe Gentle Typhoon 12cm. but who are terrified of the destruction To lock the water block into place.maximumpc. into its frame fell underneath the corresponding nism for Corsair’s H70 is one of the easiest to use Thankfully. of the many water-cooling blocks we’ve installed. like many mainstream all-in-one CORSAIR HYDRO H70 setups. fittings. screwdriver a few times on each of the four cooling is ever going to get.ekwaterblocks. It’s a great first step screws that run through the retention mecha- for those looking to push beyond the limitations nism into a backplane behind the motherboard. but you should never force it. I twisted wrought by the unintended marriage of liquid it ever-so-slightly to the left so that notches built You can’t hand-tighten it. After adding thermal paste to the CPU itself. with a 14cm rear exhaust fan by default. but the mounting mecha- and active electronics. I fit the water block underneath Installing an all-in-one liquid-cooling kit like its retention mechanism. Swiftech (H20-320-EDGE system. Cooler Master’s HAF X comes locking elements on the retention mechanism. Koolance (Quick Disconnect parts. Kicking the system up to 100 percent the interior fan. 12cm mounting holes. 1. go. and fluid—but require some assembly.koolance. I could twist no longer—a tight connection is In attaching the H70 to the rear of the case. the completely custom option: All you have to do is figure out make sense these days? We’re gonna find $11 Total $558 Big thanks to the following companies for providing the water-cooling parts used in this build: Corsair (Corsair H70). tubes.koolance. does building a custom water-cooling loop even $85 ✔ Radiator XSPC RX360 www. $70 ✔ Pump Swiftech MCP655 www. which also includes the motherboard. COOLING OPTION 3 ✔ Reservoir EK-Multioption RES X2-400 Advanced www. CPU-370 water block).5 C. important. which include Herein lies the real challenge of this month’s build: Given the everything you need to water-cool your CPU—pump/reservoir/radiator widespread availability of off-the-shelf cooling loops and systems. then put them all together. Choices in Water-Cooling Part of the problem with water-cooling (as opposed to. pump. air-cooling) is the depth of the market. not enough that you’re hurting your motherboard. fittings. I arranged the device’s In my tests.scythe-usa. the H70 performed adequately two 2. drawing an idle the exterior fan to deliver cool air into the radia. and water block.xspc. 6 x 1/2-inch VL3N-F13-19S female threaded connectors www. entry-level to boutique. and then twisted a Corsair’s Hydro H70 is about as easy as water. fluid. from unit.swiftech. conventional the best radiator. At the shallow end are closed. www. but shabby… but not great. I set up in its cooling benchmarks. average recorded temperature of 75.

The specifics of attaching a water block to a power supply without booting the rest of the CPU vary with each product. It doesn’t force newbies to configure a full setup all on their own. and a Swiftech MCP35X pump into a single. I radiator. THE RADIATOR The three-bay radiator that comes with the kit is actually one of Swiftech’s MCR320-Drive reservoirs. plastic clamps. because the minerals and had to use smaller (included) screws to attach the ions found in tap water would corrode the bottom of the three included 2. cohesive unit. make sure you align the screws so you PC Power Tester I happened to have on-hand. For And that’s it! Temperatures on the Swift- also checked to make sure that the four matching cheaper. Secret Tip: When you’re attaching your clamps to cate process helped out by the Antec Digital the tubing. Once screw that. holes. and let the pump run for a few started by attaching two tubes to the radiator’s seconds. and repeated the process until the the matching barbs I previously installed into the each tube was in place.000rpm fans to the kit’s parts. the overclocked system when idle. In this instance. case. toward the “pump” side. which combines a small reservoir. I water—distilled. that is) is as easy as it sounds. reservoir. trying to do This allowed me to start the power to my this all inside of your case. coolant now slowly making its way through vice versa. used halves together until they click-lock. Dab and point where you’ve created a continuous spread some thermal paste on the CPU.5 C degrees for clamps—one per tube/barb connection. on—you get the picture. you have to mash its two ech kit hit an average of 36. three-fan radiator. Its two fill Thumbscrews with springs make water-block installations easy: Hand-tighten until you can tighten ports sit on the opposite side of the MCR320’s no more. it’s an excellent intermediate step in the liquid education process. To get the screws with the threads. say. and radiator. Now’s a good time to remind you that the first real input and output. and an to hold the tube close to the barb and prevent tightening the clamp involved tightening the tiny average of 68 C on full burn (with a maximum leaks—were already ringing the tube. motherboard and tiny threads extend out of the Priming a pump involves getting it to the four holes surrounding the CPU www. It’s as easy as pushing the tubes onto the loop. continuous fluid. but it still makes them cut tubes. off. Twisting on the barbs that closer against the tube and barb. pressed the clamp closer and average recorded heat of 69. off. and twist screws this to happen with Swiftech’s kit. I filled the (thumbscrews. the screws included with the MCR320. gently loop of liquid: Water is passing around your set the water block on top of the CPU. One caveat here: I over the matching indentation in the barbs. THE WATER Installing the radiator was not. But because of that. In the case of Swiftech’s all-in-one. After I mixed this concoction.downmagaz. In this .maximumpc. You can’t have water-cooling without the Because of peculiarities with the HAF-X’s fan water. I tightened the clamp tubes were full of sweet. I then flipped the power supply off. and—gasp—pour their own liquid. R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE OPTION 2: SWIFTECH H20-320 EDGE ALL-IN-ONE To say that Swiftech’s H20-320 Edge liquid-cool- ing system is an all-in-one kit is a bit of a misno- mer. in this case) to create a tight pair. flipped on just the Attaching the 1/2-inch tubing came next. THE WATER BLOCK can easily tighten them if you’re. tilted the case about 30 degrees ing between the two without breaking anything. but all—including motherboard/system. which was included with pump. then matched the output of the refilled the reservoir to make up for all the act of filling your fluid loop should happen outside radiator with the input of the water block and of your case. a deli- attach the fans’ tops to the steel of the chassis. attach to the included 1/2-inch-diameter tubing (inside diameter. align setup with nary an air bubble in sight. 66 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. radiator and CPU water block. two 1/4-inch holes used to transfer liquid to and from the contraption.8 C degrees). that comes in the form of a bottle of green ad- Drive were not long enough to successfully ditive that gets mixed with a liter of distilled penetrate fan. I power supply. fit hoses. itself. the last thing you want to subject your the kit—tend to follow a common installation poor motherboard to is three-second bursts of process: You hold a backplane to the rear of the on. and turn to plastic pins (also included) to filled the system by priming the pump. When you’re priming a Swiftech’s Apogee XTL. on. This radiator/block combination delicately straddles the line between a true all-in-one design and a completely customized build-it.

I opted to it out. They’re hard to get Midwest. the male and female pumps (317 gallons per hour to the MCP35X’s connectors effectively block every 285). stained carpet. It’s pricey. and we do love our tornados in the C when idle and 71 C on full throttle. follows: You connect tubes using the Next into the case went the reservoir. drain it on its Fluid going… vertical? It has to happen at some top of the pump (mounted sideways next to the own. looking and sounding than the Swiftech system.3x40-centimeter RX360 radiator into the little twist. 68 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. Disconnecting is as easy as top of the HAF-X. mind you—in an effort to balance heavy cooling I kid you not. to pump. a giant vertical cylinder—to house to drain the entire setup. Modifying any Multioption RES X2-400 Advanced Reservoir— part in the loop you’ve built forces you essentially. purring like a kitten while delivering excellent thermals—for all those times I’ll be running my Intel Core i7-930 processor at If you’re going to use the same Koolance Quick Dis- connects that we did. to reservoir. I determined as the super-huge reservoir (nearly extending Purchase Ever that Koolance’s brand-new CPU-370 water block from the bottom of the case to the bottom of the They’re expensive. or soundproof panic room. make sure the drilling of the 4GHz across all cores.4x6. I slapped this into the corner of the case. To connect Figuring that more reservoir space is a the male and female parts. It took but one refilling of the The old way of adding and reservoir (to less than the brim this time. it isn’t necessarily a loss—remember. you small tube from the bottom of the reservoir to the can rip out a radiator. R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE QUICK DISCONNECTS BUILD 3: bit of heat into the equation during pumping). as the coolers previously mentioned. of course. just to be adjusting parts in your rig was as CONNECTING THE PARTS on the safe side) to get the system up and running. but it’s far better water block’s 1/4-inch holes are compatibly placed. It’s just too loud. Yes. barbs and clamps again. While Swiftech’s default all-in-one might win the day in the temperature race by a scant few degrees. which is as all the liquid that was going to get sucked out annoying as it is time-consuming. last bit of fluid from ever leaking out attached some of Koolance’s amazing Quick of its attached part. in theory.850rpm fans. living room. Though this is higher than the Swiftech’s average. right there in your system. I was hoping to evoke a similar look to with fingers or a screwdriver and and feel for my system’s insides by using EK’s even harder to take off. however. turned the pump on. good luck priming the darn thing otherwise.3 C. This. fluid- filled or otherwise. there is no way I would ever put a system with fans like that any- where near my office. I just barely got this in the opposite direction and pulling behemoth of a radiator to stay in place. I did my best to sandwich XSPC’s push one into the other and give it a 12. leak-prone plastic or from Ohio. water-cooling setup (Swiftech’s). I poured my mixture of Swiftech addi. the greatest invention that the water- system. Using the same tricks to mount giving the male connector a little twist the Swiftech all-in-one. into the tubing loop by one of Swiftech’s MCP655 With Koolance’s Quick Disconnects. with an steel hose . literally remove and connect hoses at-will. motherboard—using the same installation process reservoir—to the brim—then sealed the lid and Here’s why. but Koolance’s was dishing out the lowest system temperatures. My custom build was as cool in temperature as it was in design. I swapped out qui- eter fans on the radiator. and ran a single full of fluid without spilling a drop. allows the chilliest possible water to flow into the CPU (as pumps tend to add a little average maximum temperature of 72. I used 1/2-inch Tygon tubing to finish con- necting the various parts in this flow order: Koolance’s Quick Disconnects meant we could reservoir. and square feet of wet. period. The Greatest THE CUSTOM BUILD PRIMING THE SYSTEM Water-Cooling After testing a few water blocks on an identical I primed the system a little differently than before. I radiator) made it unnecessary to do much priming Quick Disconnects are hands-down used this as the cooling basis for my custom-build at all. because you always want your pump to be reservoir) to wedge both components into place one of the lowest elements in the entire loop— with all the rest of the liquid sitting against the case’s frame. and install a brand-new device point. Since I’m My custom overclocked system reached 36. And clamps? Pshaw. you just positive thing. to CPU. and it was the first thing to go atop the tive and distilled water into the acrylic tube of a cooling world has ever produced. When I say that these simple use three Scythe Gentle Typhoon fans to connect little accessories saved hours of time the reservoir to the chassis—1.5 ever-annoying. wedged: the mount. to radiator. I will never go back to with relative quiet. You can Disconnect fittings to connect it (and all the parts disconnect a tube that’s completely in the system—see sidebar). ing clips for the reservoir didn’t work at all.

a single-radiator all-in-one setup causes minimal which is attached to the radiator.maximumpc. involves tilting the whole case forward. Fortunately.and time-savers.  SUMBIT YOUR IDEA Have an awesome idea for Build It? Let us know at www. 70 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. Opinions vary on whether to install your radiator fans as intake or ex- haust. R&D EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY AND PUTTING IT TO USE Corsair H70 All-in-One If you want the advantages of water- cooling without the huge footprint or mess.downmagaz. Custom Build This double-thick XSPC radiator needs a lot of room. Make sure your tubes are clamped down. Swiftech H20-320-EDGE Swiftech’s all-in-one H20-320-EDGE strikes a middle ground between the barely there H70 and our enormous custom loop. the HAF X case has plenty of room to . We prefer intake. Prim- ing the pump. Koolance’s Quick Disconnect parts are huge life.

“Burn-in” temperatures measured after a half-hour of 100% CPU use on the Intel Burn Test utility. The statistic to pay attention to on a radiator is the number of fins it packs per inch of space: Radiators with higher FPI levels benefit most from fans that pump a lot of air through their frames. BIGGER ISN’T BETTER Just because a radiator is huge doesn’t mean that it’s going to bring your system to the Ice Age. research others’ experiences before you buy! 1. H70 2.5 C 3. 4. and Koolance’s CPU-370). but learned ech’s Apogee XTL. exchanger. but two radiators (with fans. Here’s what to watch out for to ensure that you temperature varying by around 4 degrees. We saw just a 3. The same cooling setup using 1/2-inch tubing hit an average of 73 C ing. right? | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 71 UM PC . F%@& FLUID If you buy expensive fluid expecting it to be the elixir of the gods for your water-cooling setup. and cooler (100% use) all come with useful instructions.25 C http://bit. with the maximum tested many important lessons. The hassle—and the ugliness of having a radiator latched onto your case’s butt—just isn’t worth it.25 C 3. 5. then hopefully our tests have shown you that all.990MHz 68 C 69. why 1/2-inch tubing wins. the cooler the average temperature that fluid will be—that’s in-ones can provide a competitive alternative in both cooling and price.5 C. The Five Most Important Facts about DIY Water-Cooling If you don’t have the skill or time to futz with building your own custom with a maximum of 75.25 C. The more fluid you can move over your heat water-cooling setup. Note that while this is true for our CPU-only setup. TUBING IS EVERYTHING 3/8-inch-diameter tubes spiked our tem- peratures on 100 percent CPU use to an average of 81 C and a maximum of 3.880MHz 36. Do your homework.25 C 75. motherboard. BENCHMARKS NEVER BUILT A PC Overclocked Overclocked BEFORE? Overclocked Overclocked Overclocked Maximum Average Core Frequency Average Idle Frequency Average Core (idle) Temperature (100% use) Temperature (100% use) Temperature Your case. you’ll be disappointed. For some of us. top-tier water blocks we tested (EKWaterBlocks’ Supreme HF. The quality of the water block have the best chance of reaching Maximum Chill if you want to try and will impact your performance. Swift- I tested way more parts than I had space to mention here. larger loops (cooling multiple CPUs or GPUs) can benefit from more radiators—to a point.75 C recent step-by-step guide at Custom Rig 2. of course) would do even better.880MHz 36.5 C In our tests. you can tap into considerable builder’s satisfaction through the custom route. whereas ra- diators with lower FPI levels (like the XSPC RX360) are really geared toward lower-rpm fans—you just won’t see as big a cooling difference if your fans go full-blast on an eight-FPI radiator. this is the true joy of water-cooling.5 C but be sure to check out our most Swiftech H20-X20 2. DON’T DOUBLE UP One radiator might do a pretty good job cool- 4-degree difference on our average and maximum “full burn” tempera- tures when strapping another 14cm radiator into the loop of our Swiftech H20-320 setup. Idle temperatures averaged across all four CPU cores after a half-hour of inactivity. but there’s no quick way to spot what beat the prebuilt kits at their own games: construction characteristics will make for an excellent block. Best temperatures are bolded www. There 2.990MHz 74. GOOD WATER BLOCKS MATTER We saw an average variance of are a crap-ton of parts that independently contribute to the success or 7 degrees on our 100 percent CPU burn tests on the three different failure of a given system. This said.990MHz 71 C 72.880MHz 35. $2 distilled water worked just as well as the most expensive water-cooling fluid we could find—$50 a bottle.


but for a small form factor. Mobo Asus P8P67-M Pro (Intel P67 chipset) exhaust grill. Small form factor rigs RAM 8GB Corsair Dominator DDR3/1600 person who likes to store discs and other PC are usually fairly compromised due to space Videocard Two GeForce GTX 580 cards in SLI junk on top of the case. 76 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.2GHz. about 5 percent.1 (+105%) Small.6 (sec) 356 268 DIGITAL STORM BLACK OPS ENIX ProShow 4 (sec) 1. Digital Storm push the 2600K from 3.maximumpc. small-fan loud. In Gigabyte X58 motherboard.0 is thermals. The record.4GHz Core i7-2600K (more about that Falcon’s. The Enix’s FT03 case isn’t that Falcon. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE Digital Storm Black Ops Enix System builds up. a 160GB Intel X25-M SSD. www. the Enix is like your typical small Enix edges by the Mach V in form factor lunch-box design.4GHz Core i7-2600K there’s a good chance of accidentally hitting Northwest Mach V shrunken down into a box (overclocked to 4.7GHz likely lay its fabulous Black Ops Enix on you. a slot-load Blu-ray combo reviewed exactly a year ago.4GHz pleasurable for wrenching to 4.4 188.5GHz.049 2. but the water-cooling lets factor machines are far from heavier desktops. easy to almost affordable. but we’d be remiss if we rig squeeze by Falcon Northwest’s Mach V that it’s not too painful.7GHz) them.508 + TRUE GRIT . know the Sandy Bridge processors overclock Normally. and it desktop gaming rig and a small Case/PSU Silverstone Fortress FT03 gets a little loud. form factor PC. The entire top of the case is one big that will nearly fit on a piece of binder paper. The processor apologies. We already three graphics cards. Usually. –GORDON MAH UNG 9 BENCHMARKS ZERO POINT VERDICT Vegas Pro 9 (sec) . still belongs to the of Corsair DDR3/1600. and thermal limitations.7GHz to 5. fast.200rpm is water-cooled but the GTX 580s run stock between what you get in a Optical Optiarc BC-5640H cooling. This gives it a couple of big advantages. bad.112 781 Reference 1. To get a little more oomph.181 Lightroom 2. accidentally hit but- Far Cry 2 (fps) 114. and with the benchmark. the smaller FT03 case. the Enix is definitely louder. 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2. but didn’t push the Turbo Boost 2 Using Silverstone’s wickedly cool Fortress to 5. it’s not as easy to work in as a the thermals. and head. The Mach V had its of Digital Storm and the company will 2600K clocked up to 4. which has more volume to dissipate from roughly 4. Not shrill. and Can get noisy.6 (sec) 2. the scraper: a footprint that’s little larger than a Enix is now the record holder piece of binder paper. achieved Far Cry 2 scores The hardware itself is top of the line: Intel’s about 9 percent faster than the new 3. Push the CPU or GPUs hard. where offers much of the performance of the Falcon Processor Intel 3. you can’t. drive. turned on its our Vegas Pro.9 tons on top. Heat likes to rise.digitalstormonline. that’s impressive. The second advantage in our ProShow Producer 4.2GHz.594. too. small form Digital Storm’s tower of power can keep up with bigger. so if you’re the kind of Frankly. we must note. a pair of GeForce GTX 580 cards. 8GB it or not. Cooling is That rig. you’re just happy Storm also adds a little Turbo Boost 2 to the you got it built and you never want to work but you’ll know it’s on. 6GB of Corsair DDR3/1333 overclocked to 1750MHz. 1TB Western Our final kvetch is noise. instead of out J ust how much power can you stuff into a we reviewed in the February small form factor rig? Ask that question issue. Not too shabby GPUs’ exhaust ports pointed straight up. and the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate.0 86. ProShow. Digital on. Sure. Our main complaint with didn’t mention it. Reference benchmarks by The most obvious one is as clear as a sky.7GHz. believe later). had provided by a Corsair Hydro H70. WILD WILD WEST STALKER: CoP (fps) 42.66GHz Core i7-920 overclocked to 3. It’s The extra boost in clock speed helps this full-tower case. a 120GB Corsair SSD. on a $3. hot for such a compact rig. but the Enix makes no Soundcard Onboard Storage 128GB Corsair SSD. and a 1KW power supply. What this does is clock the processor on it again. not a show-stopper.113 1. Compared to the mix. like a mother on air. the FT03 concerns the placement of the reset So let’s break it down: The Enix essentially SPECIFICATIONS and power buttons—right on top. It also air quickly passes through the system. Thus. a last Digital Storm machine we 1TB WD Black drive. This machine really blurs the line Digital 7. We are running an ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card.

first-time SSD adopters. from a reviewer’s from smaller manufacturers. and under-exposed that powers top-of-the-line drives like lower than we’ve seen from other Sand.9 216.743 10.Skill Samsung Patriot Phoenix Pro 470 Series Inferno Pro.2 209 most—stamped metal held together with from Samsung’s new Avg Write (MB/s) 207. With that in mind. We have no idea what it represents here. On the other hand.768 27.000 IOPS we’ve seen HDTune 4. the Phoenix represents resurrection and $140.2 Random-Access Write (ms) . writes exceed 40.685 opening up your SSD tends to void the war. ITTEN 8 SandForce controller Cheap enclosure. rather than Phillips-head or even Torx 470-series SSD and most Burst Write (MB/s) 202. The Phoenix 207MB/s. Queue Depth 32) Premiere Pro CS3 (sec) 320 330 360 PCMark Vantage HDD 35. enclosure we’ve seen. SandForce drives. –NATHAN EDWARDS way.SKILL PHOENIX PRO 60GB SSD + G. and Force drives.9 remarking on.1 . we’re sometimes guilty The Phoenix Pro’s average sustained with the fastest consumer SSDs on the mar- of neglecting perfectly cromulent SKUs read and write speeds of 223MB/s and ket.724 IOPS (4KB.0 205. unless it’s exceptionally drives.Skill’s is cheaper than than the 14.7 222.1 .000 IOPS). The G. brands like new life.1 .4 screws. With new controllers on the 4KB random reads and writes are among 40GB to 240GB. This isn’t really a mark against it. Even when new controllers Pro series of solid-state drives is built on we’d expect from a top-tier current-gen come out. as non-SandForce drives. competitive price. but still respectable. In mythology.1 clips.downmagaz.1 good or bad. It’s certainly better Random-Access Read (ms) . Capacity 60GB 256GB 100GB ing RAM deliver a compelling SandForce which is closer to the Controller SF-1200 Samsung SF-1200 drive at a decent price point? 48.Skill Phoenix Pro 4KB Write (IOPS) 7.01 The chassis of an SSD is not worth from the fastest SandForce Avg Read (MB/s) 222.Skill Phoenix Pro 60GB SSD Another competent SandForce drive from a lesser-known manufacturer I n our quest to cover the latest and great. but it’s still not the best-assembled is a standard SandForce IOmeter Random-Write 40. reliable as ever.000 IOPS. The OCZ’s Vertex 2 | APR 2011 | MAXIMUMPC | 77 www. running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. this generation of SandForce SSDs the same SandForce SF-1200 controller drive. SF-1200 drive. Can a company better known for .889 Best scores are bolded. G. The average write speed is a little will remain a solid deal. if boring.Skill can offer real value.000 we got Burst Read (MB/s) 226. www. especially at lower the lowest we’ve seen from a SandForce capacities. will become good candidates for drive (both sub-9.maximumpc.8 226. G. That’s good.111 14.gskill. Patriot’s Inferno.323 10. 4KB Read (IOPS) 8. All 3Gb/s tests performed using the latest Intel ACHI drivers.Skill’s 60GB Phoenix queue-depth 32 random G.480 ranty. high random IOPS. which means it performs est technology.667 14.1 . respectively.340 9.4 220.006 10. are around what standpoint. Maybe it just sounded cool. All drives tested on our hard drive test bench: a stock-clocked Intel i7-930 CPU on an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB DDR3. LOVE - VERDICT M. IOMeter BENCHMARKS we’ll take a look at G. G.4 103. www.4 110. HDTune Phoenix Pro is available in capacities from Corsair’s Force.016 33.

757 18.0 .0 ports.0 244.0 247. 580 cards and we weren’t disappointed. Both MSI and Asus Everest Ultimate MEM Write (MB/s) 18. the competition usually boils But we’d prefer options to do both.282 would only overclock 9 Valve Particle test (fps) 178. As we’ve really hard to say which method works better. either. SATA 6Gb/s testing used a Crucial C300 SSD. it loves USB 3. The GA-P67A-UD7 is the pinnacle of USB 3.128 21.4GHz Core i7 64-bit Windows 7.250 10.0 headers for a total of 10 possible ports. whatever that means. it’s the Everest Ultimate MEM Read (MB/s) 16.0 Galore I f there’s one thing we know about Gigabyte.556 11.0 old-fashioned and HD Tune Pro Sustained Read (MB/s) 237.0 ports and an nForce 200 chip. Whether actually found the three cards scale nicely vs.845 15.0 78 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. If we were to GA-P67A-UD7 P8P67 Deluxe P67A-GD65 PC Mark Vantage 64-bit 10. the UD7 was VERDICT HAWX low-res (fps) 234.0 and reboot.947 12.0 HD Tune Pro Burst Intel (MB/s) 191. Boot the board. Most USB 3.471 14. USB 3. a GeForce GTX 280. adapters. the of the UD7 is its nForce 200 chip.8 straightforward.0. Newer boards add another Besides a new color scheme. We mean. In features. To be fair.0.0 167. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7 Just call me USB 3.0 as its premiere feature for a while now. The company claims that it’s the No. HD Tune USB 3.O (MB/s) 180. but using the Nvidia nForce 200 GA-P67A-UD7 actually pulled in noticeably interface.501 16. two more ports with a second NEC controller. feature today is the support for booting from games. As with + USB 3.0 boards to make it into our hands so far.gigabyte. 4GB of Corsair DDR3/1333.628 Overclocking that plug into the onboard header or a front- Everest Ultimate MEM Latency (ns) 52.maximumpc. the UD7 ran just using a stock heatsink. How much? The company has been pushing USB 3.7 15.0 202.670 54.3 132.4GHz Core i7 2600K. our 3. no USB 3.0 ports Everest Ultimate MEM Copy (MB/s) 21. you can run up to three GeForce cards.324 25.4 Marvell 6GB/s Controller allowed us to crank GIGABYE GA-P67A-UD7 HD Tune Pro Burst Marvell (MB/s) 174. give you either additional rear USB 3. Gigabyte isn’t the only company to do In other benchmarks.287 While the Asus board that’s a bit of a burn.592 16.0 208. FIREWIRE Intel 6GB/s Controller (MB/s) all P67 boards.6 156.0 via Turbo Boost mul- Resident Evil low-res (fps) 131.6 15. ment still safely consolidates Gigabyte’s down to features and not pure numbers for Perhaps the most eye-opening feature position as the king of USB 3. www.871 11.0 hub controllers. We boards that we reviewed in March (180MB/s true (and boring) BIOS interface.0 boards sport two ports. the most important if you run either brand-new.” It has UEFI underpinnings but We tested the UD7 using three GeForce GTX MSI P67A-GD65 and Asus P8P67 Deluxe the company said it stuck with its tried-and. it’s that the mobo maker loves USB 3.5 on the board was bay adapter with ports. Considering its steep price of $320.0 ports in back plus two USB 3. Gigabyte gives you SiSoft Sandra RMA Bandwidth (GB/s) 15. No UEFI.0 performed a mild tri-SLI support.0. with the same hub chips.0 157. 1 USB 3. Gigabyte does this by using two VIA USB 3. and here the UD7 Despite its somewhat boring BIOS. neither. the UD7 features a ton of Gigabyte goes plumb crazy with six USB USB 3.0 overclock and took We tested all three boards using an Intel 3.214 3DMark Vantage GPU 11. it’s what Gigabyte calls a chip.7 tipliers. and it’s this—we saw a pre-production Asus board about even with the Asus and MSI. But this develop. 2600K to 4. and a WD Raptor 150GB hard drive. taxing DX11 6Gb/s ports was also better.0 motherboard company.0 131. 156MB/s).492 from our WD 3TB lack of USB 3. and you P67 boards can’t run more than two GPUs Despite using the same NEC controller.110 16.1 256.0 155.602 Caviar drive.0 204. or if you run older games at super- partitions larger than high resolution.0 performance than both the “hybrid UEFI.388 booted without issue pick something to ding Gigabyte over. and this tack has apparently worked.0 dongles.0 performance test used an OCZ Enyo drive. UD7 is a mixed bag. boards using the same chipset. Instead. Standard We’re not just being smart asses. 3DMark Vantage Overall 14. the will not be greeted by a pretty-as-hell UEFI effectively. IO on the Marvell and Intel you’re into UEFI or not.5GHz $320. which is the maximum a single NEC USB host control- ler will support. said before. All went fine. –GORDON MAH UNG 3DMark Vantage CPU 53.470 53. we Tons of USB 3. better USB 3.0 180.7 .2 170.0 up the CPU multiplier HD Tune Pro Sustained Read on 267. there’s Gigabyte Asus MSI is fine—the board little to dislike about the UD7. BENCHMARKS 2TB. 3.8 53.3 35.

requires 8-pin con- hand.downmagaz. we thought Palit shipped the wrong 3Dmark Vantage Perf 22. Huge power draw. hence Metro 2033 22 21 22 26 the 8-pin connector. SPACE 1999 SC. though.443 23. that power PALIT GTX 570 SONIC PLATINUM performance. In fact. 3DMark 2011 5. On the other hand.888 card.105 At first. Palit has delivered one of the fastest attractive-looking card. you’ll need to run SLI if you want three-panel surround gaming. given the 8-pin power connector Unigine Heaven 2. the performance. though. it’s good to see Palit move forward with a more modern display connector. less costly than a GTX 580.maximumpc.631 5.palit. It’s an attractive card. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. Palit uses a two-fan design to keep the card running cool under load. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA. our testing re. you’ll certainly be pleased with in our chart. enabling easy connection to monitors using DisplayPort. just Crysis (fps) 35 33 36 36 like a GTX . At $370. Excellent performance.1 (fps) 33 30 27 36 nestled adjacent to the 6-pin connector.316 5315 6. you’re getting 90 VERDICT But don’t assume that the Palit card is percent of a GTX 580 for about 70 percent equivalent to a GTX 580 when it comes to of the price. the Palit GTX 570 generally hammered GTX 570s around. 80 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an 850TX Corsair PSU. GTX 580 SuperClock’s 395W. After all. Note that a single card still only drives two displays.) Aliens vs. Palit also adds a DisplayPort connector to the card. but it sucks you’ve got the power supply to almost as much power as a GTX than an Asus GTX 570 based on Nvidia’s reference design—about equivalent to the price margin. it’s really a GTX BattleForge DX11 (fps) 70 65 47 70 570—albeit with a core clock of 800MHz Far Cry 2 / Long (fps) 111 105 94 122 (versus the stock 742MHz) and the GDDR5 HAWX 2 DX11 (fps) 148 144 81 158 STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps) 53 49 53 58 frame buffer clocking an even 1GHz (versus Just Cause 2 (fps) 48 46 41 52 the reference 950MHz. nector. and looks killer if you like running a case with transparent side www. www. On the other Still. Should you get one? If Palit pushes the GTX 570 to its limit. The Sonic Platinum fell short draw does give us pause—pushing a GPU in the benchmarks compared to the GTX 580 this hard beyond its rated limits makes us + FIREFLY . a little on the noisy side. Power@ idle (W) 161 144 139 141 vealed that the Palit GTX 570 sucked a stun. BENCHMARKS cises in extravagance. That’s certainly Palit GTX 570 Asus GTX XFX Radeon EVGA GTX Sonic Platinum 570 HD 6970 580 SC true with its GTX 570 Sonic Platinum. pushing a GTX 570 that hard F1 2010 (fps) 61 62 65 72 likely requires an extra current load. at 8 161W—the worst of all the cards compared handle it. However. just shy of the EVGA Best scores are bolded. Still. There’s a perceptible fan spin-up un- der heavy load.229 20. –LOYD CASE DisplayPort connector. Predator (fps) 39 36 40 44 Of course. the Radeon HD 6970 and generated frame rates about 5 percent higher $370. Power @ full throttle (W) 388 339 331 395 ning 388W at full load. The Palit’s idle number is worse by comparison. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE Palit GTX 570 Sonic Platinum Overclocked card turns heads but drinks power P alit’s high-end cards tend to be exer.289 21. it’s also considerably worry a bit about the card’s working life. and overall fan noise is pretty noticeable. Our test bed is a 3.

25 34. | APR 2011 | MAXIMUMPC | 81 . but they get the job Nearly all of the best air-coolers on the the Frio is still $58.50 58. easy-off cables. high MSRP. and slightly quieter performance. noisy. but on the market—but how well do they cool? street the A70 goes for around $46. and a plate that sits atop the heat exchanger and presses it against the CPU when tightened. –NATHAN EDWARDS zontal aluminum cooling fins. the Corsair A70 per. www. just over 5 inches deep. That time is long gone. formed nearly identically to that cooler— BENCHMARKS Corsair A70 Prolimatech CM Hyper (2 fans) Armageddon (2 fans) 212+ Idle (C) 33. EIGHTS and water-cooling loops—and now. but their plastic clips are both sturdier and easy to attach and remove than the wire hooks on other coolers. That’s nearly 10 ounces lighter than Thermaltake’s Frio.85 inches wide. the money. four thumbscrews. The Corsair A70’s Despite having one fewer heat pipe than two fans are a bit the Thermaltake Frio.75 Best scores are bolded. Corsair has evidently been taking notes on what works.600rpm).000rpm to 1. in discount. while $60. SSDs. Test system consists of Intel Core i5-750 overclocked to 3. Temperatures taken with HWMonitor. and 4. Corsair Cooling Air Series A70 CPU Cooler Corsair tries direct-contact heat pipes on for size T 9 here was a time when your RAM (and beating the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ by maybe a thumb drive) was the only around 4 C at full burn but lagging about 4 VERDICT part of your rig likely to bear the C behind the Prolimatech Armageddon with Corsair mark. which otherwise has almost identical dimensions. Corsair’s degree Celsius to a still-respectable 63. two fans. and weighs in at a hair over 2 pounds. Attaching the two included CORSAIR COOLING AIR SERIES A70 Corsair’s triple-mast logo can now be found resistor cables (which lower the fan speed on power supplies. low street price.2GHz on an Asus P7P55D Premium board in a Corsair 800D case with stock fans.50 66. from 2. load temperatures were measured after an hour running Intel’s internal Lynnfield thermal testing utility at 100 percent load. With both fans attached via their plastic mounting clips. Idle temperatures were measured after an hour of inactivity. and two 14cm fans. lowered fan + ACES .corsair. Given the steep street market today are skyscraper designs. The universal Intel mounting bracket consists of fewer parts than many similar coolers—just a backplate with attached mounting pins.75 33. www. the Corsair A70 is 6.maximumpc. most successful cooler conventions on the that of the Thermaltake Frio.25 inches tall. because the A70 features direct-contact heat pipes like the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ and Thermaltake Contac. A50 and A70 air coolers adopt many of the The Corsair A70’s MSRP of $60 matches fan clips. which four or more heat pipes rise from it’s hard not to give the Corsair A70 the edge the heat exchanger into a stack of hori. speaker sets. on CPU air-coolers.25 100% Burn (C) 62.5 C. here. The two fans have to be removed to mount the cooler. perhaps sound but raised burn temperatures by one Good performance for Noisy without resistor inevitably. and dual fans like nearly every high-end cooler these days.

bona fide home theater PC. but the Fusion HD is a better value and the WD TV Live Hub includes Netflix support.5-inch hard drive inside its enclosure. passwords and logging into an online service. or if you just want something a drive. None connections to online media services. The back panel TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams Media Player. but those boxes are limited to pricier mon file and container formats (see chart). but Competition has forced network media. inter. is the best solution compared to its competition. adding support and far larger drives (up to 2TB. however. The USB ports will also the March 2011 issue. Nixeus is the only manufactur. More impor- to stay ahead of the pack. but we still We really dig the remote think it’s the best network control that Nixeus provides media player on the market. A/V receiver. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE Patriot’s PBO Core is quite pretty and very www. dropping a grand on an entertainment Western Digital’s WD TV Live Hub comes with USB mice. but we like the support a keyboard. tached PBO Core. optical and coaxial digital-audio ports. 2. Patriot Box Office Core. –MICHAEL BROWN (there is no component video out). such as MEDIA PLAYER but Nixeus goes the extra step and includes the AsRock 3D Vision we examined in The Nixeus Fusion HD Media Player is huge an adapter in the box. stereo and composite video on a single cable three players when it comes to streaming ence. are not supported. and more. unencrypted content on your local network. an HDMI 1. and hosts a 10/100Mb/s Ethernet port. tantly. er of the three to include an eSATA port along of the three can display the menus in Blu-ray nal hard drives for local storage (optional in with two USB 2. with its Fusion HD. digital cameras and camcorders. reason for its hulking dimensions: You can to a virtual keyboard when you’re setting up But alternatives abound if you can’t justify drop a 3. theater to find out which delivers the best and an 1/8-inch A/V port that provides analog The Fusion is the best choice among these bang-for-the-buck entertainment experi.).maximumpc.5-inch option lets you run far cheaper also supports ASF containers. and you can install one inside Patriot’s All three devices support the most com- smaller and simpler.0 ports (plus a third USB Mini-B ISO images.5-inch drives that currently max-out at 1TB. we still think a nection is not practical in your environment. port. so you can transfer files to an installed of the three capable of passing both Dolby We installed the Nixeus Fusion HD hard drive directly from a PC). appliance. mostly formats.3 through its HDMI port for decoding on your Western Digital’s WD Live Hub in our home port.downmagaz. older. the ability to mount ISO images. but the Fusion HD is the only one two of these three devices). which is vastly superior (read our review at http://bit. Variations on a Stream Network media players continue to evolve I f you’re looking for the ultimate home USB adapter in case a wired Ethernet con- NIXEUS FUSION HD theater . the Fusion HD is the only one of the three that streamer manufacturers to innovate rapidly The 3. it’s the only one capable of playing the for additional media codecs and container And if you really want to go nuts with at. Motion JPEG files created by many. Some of the WD TV Live Hub’s specifications should be consumed with a large grain of salt. Most streaming boxes support a wireless It also has a full web browser and support for 82 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.

it’s large enough to accommo. LPCM.264. RA. analog stereo RCA outs.264. 9 FLAC. It’s not DLNA ible with a number of other online services. DAT. MJPEG. But it’s ly disappointed in this device’s file-transfer optional USB Wi-Fi adapter. first. MP3. M2TS. h.5-inch hard drive. M2TS.264. AIFF. the Nixeus device will add at least $65 to your network. especially if our network is wireless and supports both Flash and Silverlight—because larly annoying because it doesn’t display the is being used for other tasks at the same it relies on your purchasing and running the password characters you’re entering. 8 VERDICT Patriot was also the only vendor to put an Unlike the other two boxes we tested. RMVB. performance given that it’s the first media The PBO Core’s USB ports don’t support a Let’s look at what Western Digital did player we’ve seen to boast Gigabit Ethernet. It took nearly two hours to copy a 9GB DVD ISO from our Windows Home Server SPECS machine to the WD TV Live Hub’s internal Nixeus Patriot Western Digital hard drive. If you need additional storage. including RealMedia and RealMedia from a company in the throes of a Chapter Patriot Memory’s PBO Core would take the Variable Bitrate. including YouTube. AVI. ShoutCast. a media video from Hulu and Netflix. MP4. WAV. FLV. and it can’t pass through Dolby Live365. Dolby Digital. WMA $200.5-inch. an optical digital. MOV. it doesn’t support Flash too. and Picasa. AVI. IFO. Nixeus and Western Digital wrap their shortcomings in other areas. And despite this media player’s petite Digital TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio everything you need to integrate the device Netflix video without the need to run Play- into your entertainment center when you On on another machine on your network. WESTERN DIGITAL WD TV LIVE HUB Vorbis. and a composite video output. so that you’ll have the WD TV Live Hub is capable of streaming $180. MP3. x. www. FLV. important media containers and | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 83 UM PC . MPEG. You can also use it to rent or purchase mov- The PBO Core supports more container ies from Blockbuster On Demand (although PATRIOT MEMORY PBO CORE formats than the Fusion HD and the WD TV you’d be nuts to buy DRM-laden movies If aesthetics were our chief DLNA Certified Yes No Yes BitTorrent Client Yes Yes No www. WMV9. MTS. component video output in addition to HDMI. but it has more than a few 11 bankruptcy). DVR-MS. we’d much isn’t the best choice if you’re looking to stream Patriot’s above-average remote control and rather play an HD video file from local movies and TV episodes using such online quirky virtual keyboard for any data-entry storage than stream it across our network— services as Netflix or Hulu—even though it chores. bring it home. 1/2/4. RM. DTS. And like the Fusion HD. WMV supports the most important online media TP. MPEG 1/2/4. It also has front and rear USB 2. tic. FLAC. h. Dolby Digital Plus. M4V. www. PCM. Vorbis. MKV. HD. AAC. an serve our higher accolades. Mediafly. MKV. MP4. TS. so you’ll need to rely on right. LPCM. even on a wired network. 1TB hard drive to PlayOn media server ($80) on another PC on for a fraction of a second. or Silverlight. certified. DAT. AVI. The onscreen keyboard is particu. MPEG.0 ports. MOV. and WESTERN DIGITAL WD TV (DTS. RMVB. MPEG AVC. adding a 2. Facebook. Xvid VC-1. the PBO Core features the typical front and PATRIOT MEMORY PBO CORE The WD TV Live Hub will pass a Dolby Digital $90. LPCM. indicating a data-transfer rate of Fusion HD PBO Core WDTV Live Hub just over 10Mb/s. IFO. same with DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams audio output. There is no com. player needs more than style points to de. The WD TV Hub is compat- prize. RCA outputs. M-JPEG. h. M2T. www. VOB. MKV. TS. and it includes a 1TB hard drive at Video Codec Support AVI. The box connects to your network via clear all-around winner in this roundup. But it keyboard or mouse. DTS. MP3. this device provides a USB Mini-B port for but Western Digital claims its licensing rapid file transfers from a host PC. On the upside. WMV9. devices with copious amounts of cheap plas.nixeus. TV Live Hub is street-priced at just $ rear USB 2.maximumpc.patriotmemory. WAV. And like the Fusion The WD TV Live Hub is the only device date an internal 2. DAT. RM. Xvid 1/2/4. WMA MP2. NIXEUS FUSION HD HDMI cable in the box. Media Processor Sigma Designs SMP8655 Realtek RDT1073 Sigma Designs SMP8654 The WD TV Live Hub supports all the Container Support ASF. ASF. Live Hub. Adding a 3. not perfect. Given the choice. promises real soon now—Hulu Plus. MP4.5-inch. MPEG AVC. The WD that enables you to restrict access to the box. for instance. Dolby Digital. FLAC. WMV services.0 ports. and Patriot needs optical digital-audio output. Patriot utilizes elegant brushed alumi. Divx. analog stereo 7 VERDICT to try harder. according to Western Digital.5-inch drive to the is equipped with a parental-controls feature Patriot device will cost even more. even time. it M2TS. VERDICT WAV. and—Western Digital num. VOB.YouTube. VOB. FLV. Flickr. TrueHD bitstream through to its HDMI port. ponent video and no coaxial digital-audio The feature-packed WD TV Live Hub is the Transferring very large files takes time output. 1TB drive. this was the only streamer of the three that its price tag. WMA. Pandora.3 port. PCM. AAC. WMV TP. the PBO Core relies on PlayOn to stream among these three that supports analog But in a market this crowded.wdc. Dolby Digital. a price that’s hard to beat. MOV. streams to its HDMI port. The rear agreement with DTS bars it from doing the panel has an HDMI 1. Xvid Audio Codec Support AAC. WMA Pro PCM. but we were sore- either hardwired Ethernet (10/100Mb/s) or an even without its 2. DTS. limits this a composite video output. M2V. dimensions. LIVE HUB functionality to Blu-ray-class devices). VC1. Vorbis. M4V.264.

com . So just how well does 3DMark Vantage Perf 19. better watt. now sports a full 384 shader cores.downmagaz.963 4.816 competitive products. the MSI card only costs a pushes the core-clock speed to 880MHz little more than Nvidia’s suggested price for + APPLE PIE .33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an been testing here.1 (fps) 26 25 18 18 24 and the earlier GTX 460? And how about Crysis (fps) 29 27 23 29 32 BattleForge DX11 (fps) 54 54 40 42 42 against AMD? Far Cry 2 / Long (fps) 102 96 83 78 105 The MSI N560GTX-Ti pretty much ham. The OC Edition the other hand. During the product briefing. getting the chip re-spin love. 1GB of GDDR5. The MSI MSI Nvidia GTX 560 Asus ENGTX 460 Asus HD XFX Radeon N560GTX-Ti Ti Reference TOP 1GB 6870 DirectCU HD 6950 board is priced at $260.042 3. power is a little higher than the HD One such example is MSI’s N560GTX-Ti 6870—but performance is also better. little hard to reach. Dubbed the GeForce GTX 560 Ti. for the dollar and the power plugs are a twin-fan design has been updated from the get 5 percent to 7 percent upclocks. The OS is 64-bit Windows 7. plus it seems to be quieter than the original. re-engineering and streamlining the previously ineffi- cient Fermi architecture. STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps) 44 44 35 34 46 It even performs credibly against the XFX Just Cause 2 (fps) 42 40 35 35 37 Radeon HD 6950. On MSI N560GTX-TI TWIN FROZR II OC Twin Frozr II OC Edition. in the same range as 3DMark 2011 4. but by small margins—and F1 2010 (fps) 52 N/A 43 54 59 Metro 2033 17 16 15 20 20 loses several to the MSI 560 Ti.msicomputer. and a card that doesn’t gener. The reference cards. low noise level. you Impressive performance Warranty is limited. www. which wins more of the Aliens www. –LOYD CASE to warping when mounted in a vertical case. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II OC Edition MSI keeps it cool with its twin-fan GeForce GTX 560 N vidia’s engineering teams have been pretty busy lately.226 17. We popped the card into our graphics BENCHMARKS test system and took it for a spin. and pushes the reference core-clock speed up to 822MHz. performance. original Twin Frozr. and busy benchmarking (see we’re seeing quite a few designs that push for our reviews of those two cards). We’ve seen the GTX 580 and GTX 570 released in recent months. code-named GF114. HAWX 2 DX11 (fps) 127 N/A 101 77 74 mers the overclocked Asus Radeon HD 6870. Our test bed is an Intel 3. ate vast amounts of heat and noise. That’s a $260. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA.519 4.041 MSI also claims that the board is less prone good deal in our books.723 16. pushing speeds 5 to 7 percent above reference clocks. For a few dollars more.482 18.314 4. MSI’s Twin Frozr II cooler keeps the card running cool while The new chip. At full VERDICT the clock speeds. Now it’s the sweet-spot GPU.050MHz. TWINKIE and the memory clock to 1. and uses “military grade” components in its construction. the new GPU is clearly Nvidia’s attempt to recapture some of the thunder of the venerable GeForce 4400 Ti GPU from an earlier generation. Nvidia noted that the GPU has ears than the Asus twin-fan 560 Ti we’re also 9 plenty of headroom for overclocking. throttle. 84 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. it’s less bulky and heavy. bundled with 3DMark 2011 Advanced.747 the card perform versus the reference card Unigine Heaven 2. the GTX 460. and a little quieter to our 850TX Corsair PSU.maximumpc. Power@ idle (W) 130 N/A 133 140 138 The twin-fan cooling system is about on Power @ full throttle (W) 305 N/A 298 252 270 par with the single-fan reference card we’ve Best scores are bolded. Predator (fps) 32 30 21 26 36 benchmarks.

We think Fusion is a great alternative to In- tel’s weak Atom line of processors and integrated graphics in note- books and netbooks.403 2.452 incorporates AMD’s brand-new 1. How low? At idle—with a very ungreen we reviewed last month. core with a fairly powerful graphics core.5GHz Athlon 1. but is it enough? I t’s a little difficult to review MSI’s new Fusion. a MSI E350IA-E45 which features 80 Radeon cores—all at a very Core i3 with discrete graphics à la the Kick Ass low temperature and low power consump. With that said. we found it MSI’s Fusion board wanting. When we say playable. Could not boot to a WD Raptor drive and a USB optical drive AM3 processor part. our being run. It’s essentially a slightly to about 35 to 38 watts at the wall. we mean at low politely sips elec- resolutions.4GHz Core with AMD II X2 3250e with 330 with Ion D525 with Ion 2 i3-370M with board with one of numerous CPUs. Or even a socketed Low power. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE MSI E350IA-E45 Fusion lands. you need to lower your expectations about five notches and then climb down into the basement if you’re expecting GTX 580 graphics and a Sandy Bridge to boot for $130. and played 1080p content on the Internet without issues. low price. Fusion is clearly a better In a preview of the Fusion part late last year. Radeon HD 6310 integrated 780G graphics graphics Nvidia GeForce graphics cihpset GT 425M That’s not so with the Mini-ITX MSI Photoshop CS3 (sec) 438 449 552 n/a 162 E350IA-E45. That’s not to say the E350IA-E45 has no curve. The board is perfect for someone building a start. BENCHMARKS based E350IA-E45. But what about gaming? Here we’re conflicted. More exciting is the graphics core.msicomputer.–GORDON MAH UNG to write home about. personal preference is for more heft.394 with AMD’s Radeon HD 6310 graphics part Quake III (fps) 193 192 118 145 537 in the same die. quiet HDTV streaming or web box. cessing Unit has a lot going for it. 7 narrower iteration of an Athlon 64 core. while gaming tricity and can play The Sims 3. Fortunately. The E350IA-E45 is capable of Blu-ray playback. and somewhat acceptable frame rates in Left 4 Dead 2 as well as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. So. as its name implies. we were impressed by the graphics ca- pability and our official Lab tests didn’t change our minds. FUSION tion. that will be tucked behind the monitor. The chip is soldered to the Quake 4 (fps) 43 29 29 29 112 board.858 . and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. since consumers may populate the Configuration 1. and you knew we would say but. Watching 1080p video on YouTube pushed it utility. www. For those who don’t know. which It’s also fine for someone building a miniature PC will outperform or underperform an equiva. so you’d better be happy it.371 7. perhaps boards for lunch. It’s not everything we wanted. MSI Dell Inspiron Polywell Zotac HD Asrock E350IA-E45 Zino Giada Ion-100 Zbox HD Vision 3D board reviews consider the CPU as an adjunct to the board. grated graphics. but it’s a good The x86 side of the E-350 chip is nothing res. 86 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. such as 1024x768. the Fusion and MSI board combo does give you playable performance in The Sims 3. MainConcept (sec) 7. our mother. We tested the MSI E3501A-E45 with 4GB of DDR3/1333. (and super expensive) Asrock Vision 3D HTPC + FISSION .maximumpc.6GHz Atom 1. a Western Digital Raptor 150. too.943 7. In Call of Duty: Black Ops. a little off the power attached—the entire system drank 28 watts. however. the APU integrates a dual-core x86 is far improved over Atom machines with inte.6GHz E-350 1. but you need to calibrate your expecta- $130. which.070 2. In the end.504 17. Best scores are bolded. option than Atom with integrated graphics. tions.080 8. In a desktop computer. AMD’s new Accelerated Pro. however. Normally. Say.8GHz Atom 2. Before you get too excited. you won’t be playing at high. you’re not as confined as you are with mobile.540 3.6GHz E-350 3DMark 2003 6. eats most Atom 3TB drive. VERDICT lent Athlon 64 depending on the application But.

We also found its colors. and there was sometimes We did notice some slight problems a split-second lag while the monitor pro.. in the + CARROT CAKE . via the familiar pinch-and-drag motion. as this level but we didn’t see any motion blur during Infrared has the advantage of being able display isn’t designed for hardcore gaming. we figured it was only a matter of time before our desktop displays got in on the action. the downloading drivers. actually. the tasks. lacking in ity image detail and features. it was easy enough to adapt to using the doesn’t require any patterning on the . pattern of LED beams and the sensors pick tionality for full-fledged games like Arkham and were again unimpressed with the black up the location of the disruption. www. ViewSonic’s VX2258wm is a solid enough. XP fans). please. The speakers are what you’d expect. qual..maximumpc. how does this fancy infrared system VX2258wm held its own in side-by-side tests If you’re looking for a bigger-screen touch work in practice? Pretty well. as well as working with photographs. –AMBER BOUMAN box (with Windows 7 only—sorry. Far more disappointing is the lack of an HDMI or DisplayPort input. you could do far worse than the VX2258wm’s touch works right out of the way FHX2402L. with the ViewSonic’s grayscale range. That’s not a huge surprise. $360. uses a grid across the entire display and places infrared LED and photo detector– paired sensors along the edge of the screen.5-inches of real estate. so even We’re happy to report that the VX2258wm’s were up to snuff. VX2258wm’s features to perform everyday which results in higher visual clarity. the monitor revealed some banding in out of the box. When the screen is touched. Asylum. if you’re into that sort of thing W ith the widespread adoption of touch-screen displays. Speakers and the menu buttons run along the bottom of the display. which out of the box—but only with Windows 7. or short Word docu. which earned a 9 verdict for VX2258wm. During our DisplayMate tests. We tested movie viewing using V for Vendetta. but is still extremely reflective and—like pretty much all touch screens—picks up fingerprints faster than the FBI’s IAFIS. experience. it does not adjust to the point where typing on its surface ever feels comfortable or easy—this is definitely a hunt-and-peck expe- rience. While the VX2258wm does swivel and tilt. its sharp detail and near-perfect color repro- 7 with no muss or fuss around installation or duction. ments. and the menu itself has a dated UI that reminds us of 1983—and not in the good | APR 2011 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM P | 87 UM PC www. CARROT TOP cessed the touch command. The display offers multitouch capabili- ViewSonic’s VX2258wm touch screen works right ties courtesy of infrared technology. DisplayMate test that shows 128 shades of Touch screen works Menu UI is dated and While the multitouch does allow zooming gray. The against one of our former favorites. limited gaming capabilities.viewsonic. although we’d like more tilt. adapted well to the where we struggled to read smaller-size text. although the or two to find the specific location to close reds could have popped a bit more. touch-screen monitor with 21. the VX2258wm relies entirely on DVI and VGA connections. if unremarkable. the action scenes and the colors and details to detect any disruption or input. and are serviceable in a pinch but thoroughly unimpressive. Touch-screen capabilities aside. Scaled Fonts and Multiple Intensity Tests. gloved fingers or styluses can be read. the infrared a mouse-based game. and a 5ms response-time rating. and even Plants vs. was fun enough. the Gate. technology detects the disruption in the touch environment.downmagaz. ViewSonic VX2258wm It’s got a touch screen. but there was little func. Another advantage of this system is that it of Google Maps. Zombies. Fooling around black reproduction to lack richness and depth. To that end. The accuracy was fair. it had the darker end of the scale. or touch. unintuitive. It sometimes took an extra touch in images and accurate colors. a 1920x1080 resolu- with touch-screen Solitaire or Bejeweled Blitz We were likewise underwhelmed during the www. So. VIEWSONIC VX2258WM browser windows. touch screen is much more useful for the likes With so many touch screens in our lives. Notepad. surprisingly. VX2258wm also produced exceptional detail VERDICT to-middling. The panel surface is hard-coated and has an anti-glare treatment.

IoSafe rates the SoloPro against fire for up to half an Mmmm. the SoloPro seems like a valu- weight? Ceramic insulation. www. and weighs more than 15 pounds. which makes such claims right on the product packaging. heat-resistant bag with a disasters with aplomb. what contributes to the SoloPro’s huge size and of data-recovery service. Data recovery after speed of the physical hard drives in the SoloPro and our fireproof and waterproof. We took our SoloPro out to the Brisbane marina. and a 4cm fan for cooling.500 value. All our documents lost in time. like . The SoloPro can also be secured with a Kensington lock for half an hour over coals in the 1. so the drive is protected from the outside world.0 interface. The USB 3. We grilled the SoloPro on high heat for hour at 1. but it should withstand minor natural is wrapped in a waterproof. Beneath the huge ceramic insulators and sealed bag. It’s the size of a large NAS. waterproof. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE IoSafe SoloPro 1TB USB 3. or anything-proof.and Given that there’s just a single hard drive in the waterproofing properties. 11 inches deep. the hard drive was unharmed. We’ve watched “rugged” hard drive enclo- sures shatter on the carpet after a 2-foot drop. 1.0 inter- face. and grilled the SoloPro 88 | MAXIMUMPC | APR 2011 | www. The front of the SoloPro contains an LED Francisco Bay water to cool it down. The cable runs from the rear USB-and-AC-to-SATA controller board through the insulation and pouch to the drive. The drive itself offsite backup. but contains only one 3. $250 for 1TB.maximumpc.iosafe. upgrade that to three or five years.0 port.5TB. we did the only logical thing. registration required) our test bench using a SATA-to-USB 3.5-inch drive—in 1TB. adapter port. and against 30 minutes. Let’s back up a few steps.0 interface to transfer about 250GB of files to it—everything VERDICT from a 20GB uncompressed AVI to a Minecraft save file IOSAFE SOLOPRO BACKUP DRIVE (10. water intrusion for up to 72 hours in 10 feet of water. So when we got the IoSafe SoloPro. 9 Before we set it aflame. Then we opened activity indicator and the rear has the USB 3. We tested the USB 3. and you can pay extra to all of our data intact.550 degrees Fahrenheit (or 843 C).0 version. the SoloPro is also available with an eSATA/USB 2.0 Backup Drive Fireproof? Waterproof? We’ll just see about that W e’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. With its fast USB 3.0 interface. We attached the drive to recovery services (a $2. recovery service. It’s no substitute for an in every direction around the drive. like… well. hot data. which is available in capacities up to 512GB.0 dock and found in the event of a fire or flood. AC it up to retrieve the drive. test bed—averaging more than 100MB/s. There’s also an SSD with its convenient coal grills. 5 inches wide.000 tiny files in 15MB) to an entire Steam directory to a folder full of photos. The SoloPro comes with a year’s worth of data.0 interface was fast + SAFETY DANCE . –NATHAN EDWARDS SATA pass-through cable going in one end. and the included year’s worth case. or 2TB capacities. powerful fire. one year is extra. ELECTRIC SLIDE enough that our transfer speeds were only limited by the Fast USB 3. Then or bolted to a table through two bolt holes in the back we dunked it into a bucket full of the finest San of the case. What we’re saying is that we’re skeptical of any marketing materials that make a product out to be fireproof. includes one-year data heavy. we used the SoloPro’s USB 3.200 F range. for one thing—inches thick able tool for the data-paranoid. We set the dang thing on fire and then dunked it in a bucket of bay water. The IoSafe SoloPro is 7 inches high.

com . The SoloPro is a behemoth of an external drive at more than 15 pounds.maximumpc. hard drive safe. But is it enough to keep your data safe? www.downmagaz. Only the finest in fishy bay water for Thick ceramic insulation and a sealed heat-resistant bag keep the our water-submersion | APR 2011 | MAXIMUMPC | 89 www.

More substantial.” tightly knit team. unspectacular satisfying shooting. formula. keep you hooked for more than a few days. build-up and tension with a subtle mastery. player isn’t special. There’s some decent shooting. –NATHAN GRAYSON design and scripting that few games can claim to match. Sticks to Dead Space ons like the proxim. yet still manages And that’s where the scripting comes in. Aside from a Call of Duty– like places that could actually exist —unlike but the constant air of tension keeps the style experience system. Dead Space 2’s premise is remarkably similar to that of the original. in some areas it’s “Dead Space.maximumpc. ANIMORPHS Similarly. the more unsettling. and scripted light years beyond its prede. but it won’t makes seeing them populated by corpses all When you finally come face-to-rotting. For one.” No considered. is the ad- The real story guiding Dead Space 2 dropping all sorts of unnerving sights and dition of multiplayer to the mix. No. It’s certainly decent. All things is your timid crawl through the game’s sounds into periods of “downtime. deadspace. “boo!. but there’s DEAD SPACE 2 still not a whole lot of enemy variation. however. classrooms in blood and an aural skin of play-through. else to it. a but better” to a fault. and that’s where Dead Space 2 really shines. + NECROMORPHS . $59. but it always felt packed from start to finish. but if you’ve helped one necromorph with his pesky “having legs” problem. definitely keep you on your toes. is in the details. sphere. what truly rockets Dead Space 2 from “good” to “fantastic” is the atmospheric.ea. coating colorful things are suitably intense. The school. especially. You’re still Isaac Clarke. struggle is much more cinematic as a result. The main plot isn’t Oscar-worthy or any- thing like that. Again. while humans are encouraged to work as a cessor’s. The devil. New 9 enemy types like the swift. On the whole. During our really about scaring the space-pants off you. it all comes back to the corner. multi- ity mine–launching great level design. of dying a few times. foreboding shell around the shooting’s chewy. gore-soaked center. but its twists and turns will that to excellent effect. but on the whole. you’ve helped ’em all. ESRB: M but old favorites hog 90 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. . however. Just putting it out there: More games need guns that fire rusty saw blades. The game wields most of the spotlight. but hardly revolution- expertly arranged house of horrors. evasive Stalker VERDICT spice things up nicely as well. like we were one tiny slip-up away from to keep you dreading what’s around the next Yes. new weap. sure. it’s solid. Sure. Dead Space 2 doesn’t seem all that special. most of the scares come down to varia. claw-appendage with your freaky foes. boss fights overall. but it uses certain death. IN THE LAB REVIEWS OF THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE Dead Space 2 So scary it’s good. and his On this week’s episode of Extreme Home Makeover: Necromorph Edition…. we were only really in danger and it’s damn good at it. and you’re still coping with visions of your corpsified girlfriend. Isaac’s no longer doing his best Gordon Freeman impression. so good it’s scary A t first glance. falling-apart-at-the-seams necromorphs are still invading. The game is action- eerie silence. game’s atmosphere. that’s combination of sound far from a bad thing. Fantastic atmo. Detonator are great. The Sprawl’s residential areas feel tions on leaping out and shouting. though. Necromorphs come in four varieties and mistake: Dead Space 2’s levels are designed we nearly screamed. Dead Space 2 is largely linear. meaty. at the end of the can spawn from vents all over each map. Make no joke—an in-game alarm clock went off and ary. This is a game that’s greater than the sum of its parts— but its parts aren’t half-bad to begin with. Dead Space 2 is is an amazing contrast. there’s not much Dead Space’s sterile corridors—which game from falling into a predictable rhythm.

92 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www. and one transported via consistent Internet ser. because a) we bookmark seems We had never really USB and converted by a vice (or even a straight. so I’d like to Benchmark’s DAC1 why I’m not receiving that long. Store—the whole adorable kid) have transported via HDMI beast known as AT&T. I said SENIOR EDITOR overclocking on the that the standard chip wouldn’t overclock RAM non-K CPUs. or 400MHz. but it’s actually a chipset out I got my wires crossed. All that talked about anything high-end outboard DAC.8GHz on and pricing chops. I gushed For example. you can’t run overclock the standard Sandy Bridge parts— the RAM past DDR3/1333. But the stan. you can clock the RAM up. Dad! magazines . Not much of a boost. never be short on afford: That little box you know. I’m still recom- dard Sandy Bridge parts actually overclock mending one of the two available K chips. costs $1. but gave Intel a hard One other goof: Memory overclocking is not GORDON MAH UNG time for preventing locked if you’re using the right www. tell them this: Thanks (http://bit. their performance you can run that processor up to 3. anyway.maximumpc. sorta. a mu. non-K is fine. which is really just saving a past couple of years. I saw Google’s about five years (a ference between a my current service It’s like the La Brea new Chrome Web lovely couple with an digital audio bit stream provider. Bridge. the abhorrent tar pits in there. a chip with a base frequency over the lineup’s of 3.downmagaz. It turns beyond base pair of K parts for when all cores are active. On an H67 chipset. IN THE LAB HANDS ON WITH THE LATEST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE LAB NOTES Mea Culpa Standard Sandy Bridge parts do overclock I n our February by four bins over the standard Turbo Boost feature on Sandy speed on all cores. and I swear much like a desktop my roommates. because big Lab cleanouts. this stuff before. forward answer about in the current office changed when my before. What’s a girl did a full-on deep out Audiotool. By overclocking it. It memory so I can be Those guys in Battlefield I’ve never seen half application that it means a lot. haven’t even been sort of silly. weird. For enthusiasts. On the P67 chipset. You can actually dependency. got to do to keep her cleanse of the Lab sic app that feels so for tolerating me and Now I must purge that Internet functioning?! last year. And you’ll satisfied with gear I can don’t shoot themselves. and b) we dad told me to check take a brief moment to HDR changed my mind service). all cores.895.1GHz on single-threaded tasks. the one core. but only on dard parts? Not really. Thanks. For standard users. is I’m finding things idea of “installing” been Maximum PC and converted by a apparently uninterested from six or seven an app when you’re subscribers for the midrange A/V receiver in providing me with years ago.3GHz will normally Turbo up to 3. AMBER BOUMAN NATHAN EDWARDS ALEX CASTLE ALAN FACKLER MICHAEL BROWN ONLINE FEATURES EDITOR SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR ONLINE MANAGING EDITOR ONLINE ASSOCIATE EDITOR REVIEWS EDITOR I’m spending a lot We’re prepping for I wasn’t really sure I just found out I never thought I’d be of time looking into another one of our what to think when my neighbors of able to hear a dif- switching ISPs. however. made me a believer. I had reported that the overclocks are Does that change my opinion of the stan- good for four bins. or 4.

available. it also —Adam Smith adjusts to the speed of the line That You Don’t Know About in your home. Even without the seems limited. I think most headsets these days. M-Audio made my the surround channels. I hear you (no pun intended) about the 94 | MAXIMUMPC | APR 2011 | www. So where compression to the ability of The 18 Best Games of 2011 did you get yours? the individual’s stream. COMMENTS YOU WRITE. well. and 20 million identical lists from your old pal The Ung Responds: We were through a Gigabit Cat5e feed Internet. Is everyone fine with onboard sound for their gaming expe- rience. if you want to with excitement. website as the source. is flat-out wrong. either.’s favorite surround-sound other reason is that so many February issue about the contention that media stream. and it doesn’t have not only adjusts the rate of the part. Logitech’s bought the i3-2100 proces. Crysis Effect 3 is dropping. you’re likely to read roughly Senior Editor Gordon Mah a 46-inch HDTV is fine. You list Intel’s cites 1Mb download rates. I this is typical of rural cable checked the site and it says modems—I. system of all time. See the story at initial Sandy Bridge chipset Whither PC Sound? http://bit. That’ll change as the two reviews for 2. as Netflix Newegg. Responds: Marc. etc.264.. we —Marc Marceron mistakenly labeled our Best of the Best high-end mother- board as the EVGA Asus P8P67 Maximum Tech Reviews Deluxe. My viewing on At the start of the year.000 Sandy Bridge ing in rural areas is not avail. But this is quite fine for NOW ONLINE able at this time. Steve C. or with just wearing CUTCOPYPASTE headphones? Do they just not know what they are missing? In the March issue. too.1 For now. it doesn’t take a have predicted larger quanti. service. I checked Netflix streaming. telling you which games should have probably a little early on the will put out a great picture with your clicking-fingers and WASD-claws aching Core i3-2100 part. means that you won’t even be What is up with the surround- able to buy a motherboard to sound market for the PC? In put the Core i3-2100 in right the February issue. when it is in fact the Asus Editor Michael Brown P8P67 Deluxe motherboard. He consumers just don’t want to Z-500 (MKV. The I just read the article in the In last month’s issue.). then rocket scientist to figure out when Call of Diablo: ties of the part by the time that’s a different story. though: but widespread availability stream your own movies and You’ve heard it all before. The bug in the well on the road to passing you by. aforementioned list avalanche. but it gamers—especially multi- sub-$1. WE RESPOND We tackle tough reader questions on. Here’s the problem. We would use compression such as .maximumpc. Now. Yes.1 media fixed chip starts rolling out. êRural Rural Data Rates ê êStreaming PC Streaming Media Sound Where’d You Get That Rural Does Not Mean sad state of the PC speaker deal with running wires to CPU? ‘No Netflix’ market.1 sound on movies where it’s seen it at smaller e-tailers. sticks.. it’s a mess. That’s why we thought you read this—but that was —Jordon Berkove we’d give you the scoop on some great-looking before the Sandy Bridge games that—prior to this very moment—were chipset fiasco. there were now. discontinued that product player gamers—are using CPU.1-channel system is sor for $117. We’ve 5. but where is the 5. live in the the product is not avail. system? I also haven’t seen that many reviews for soundcards. You stated that you able because of slow rural IP several years ago. MPEG-4. speakers.

It’s going to round up a bevy of HD prototyping machines are —James R. nowhere does need low-voltage memory. system to record televi. be edited unable to of residence. It was sur- story (Build | APR 09 | MAXIMUMPC | 95 www. you don’t need more than Antivirus Challenge It’s that time of year . Letters be edited we are city ofcity may for to respond residence. Jones Responds: James. in Rapid Server Questions system in another room.5v or 1. Windows Home stream to a BeyondTV Link Previously. photo-sensitive Users’ Guide to Google”? A streaming now. low-voltage DDR3. either 1. Case Responds: Any socket Responds: I’ve been ripping ously existed. on a table top.maximumpc. we’re resins.” February) was informative and enlightening. i7 family can be used in place tion to recording and stream- ing ABS models. and stream it the article mention that However. NEXT MONTH one of the few good systems around for years. although the technology itself is far and Stream? I must confess I haven’t lis. memory works. media. Plus. but that exited the consumer market. MakerBot deserve notice update to last year’s “Power Honestly. play. there are literally dozens (if like Kingston’s LoVo modules.65v hardwired Ethernet con. next month. COMING IN MAXIMUMPC’s sion using two tuner cards. worth. or even metal. and Prototyping PEPPER-CRUSTED. wereceive. rapid prototyping has been you already have. So. as though Snapstream has typing services.” We’re want to do is stream TV have accomplished.downmagaz. I’m testing Netgear’s Skype more and more these printed out of wax. Models can be How about an article updat. I’m a longtime user of tened to a factory-fresh kit in —David Murray Snapstream’s BeyondTV several years. storing. and that How to Best Record still widely available. Unfortunately. we’re going to webcams for your desktop. I do not believe that Snapstream is actively upgrading its product any MAPLE-GLAZED prising to discover that one i3-540 instead of the 530. please let the readers know that thinking June issue. mumpc.5v or 1. but 65W Blu-ray and DVD ISO store it properly.65v RAM? —Clarence A. back with my findings. but we’ll know for sure next month. However. if all you and accolades for what they User’s Guide to Google. with receive. from cutting-edge. and Furthermore. also worth mentioning that the size of a regular com. I have a few questions then use my PS3 to stream to Quinn Norton’s article on regarding your “Windows the living room. The article states that CPUs will run cooler and use storing them on a server. 1156 CPU will work. For what it’s Webcam Shootout We’re finding ourselves using own parts. it does look that not only offer proto. mercial printer and can sit Editor-in-Chief George blow the lid off of ripping. and streaming media While the founders of we’re currently planning an in a massive feature story. ing the April 2010 “Power new WNHD3004 for wireless days. Find out next month. mail we of amount Include not hundreds) of companies will use a little less power. and notebook webcams tic. The Ultimate Guide MakerBot founder Zach Hoeken “didn’t have an the fan less. space and and phone for space personally and phone clarity. number to theDue to all queries. approach. though. their paces. but I would avoid the mounting the images on a HTPC. paper. it’s exactly mainstream. plas. Reber III of the rapid-prototyping —SPC Combs industry a disservice by Maximum Tech Reviews leading readers to believe Contributing Editor Loyd Editor Michael Brown ISSUE that nothing like this previ. Regarding 10 to watch them using a We’re going to show how wanted to print out objects memory. the 540 will be fine. with your amount to theof to all queries. I’ll report suck.and respond personally Due number clarity. so you don’t nection. shows that you’ve recorded. also sell the prototyping Things Readers The only products listed on machines to anyone who would like to print their Would Like To See. to rip and encode all your that exist as software. January 2011). The system personal rapid prototyping Home Server with Muscle” works—but it feels a bit out- MAY (“Ex Machina. With this in mind. That’s a total brute. Who’s the best?  maximumpc. What’s a newer. Some lot has changed since then. should I be ing video? I believe she did the rest using 1. www. can the H55ITX-A-E mobo use the Intel Core dated. mail we Include your your your correspondence. of the i3? Second. First. more could buy a kit that would which versions of the i5 and current Maximum PC solu- actually allow for creat. and using PowerDVD to Media answer” for people who quad-core CPUs. and I don’t think from anywhere on the planet. and longer. full name. Part 1 its website are for the enter- prise market. We’re putting all the major paid and free antivirus software packages through LETTERS POLICY Please send your questions and comments to comments@ comments@maxi. force but no-compromises access. Letters may are unable full name.

com www. one year (12 issues/12 CD-ROMs) US: $30. All rights reserved.xfxforce. PO Box 5159. by Future THE REST OF THE BEST ■ High-End Processor ■ LGA1366 Motherboard ■ Capacity Hard Drive Blu-ray Drive ■ High-end ■Intel videocard 3.netgear. www. IA US: $20. Future US. PC Gamer. Fax: enclosure in the following edition: None. POSTMASTER: Send changes of ad. Guitar World.ocz.companyurl.coolermaster.4GHzvideocard Core MSI 890FXA-GD70 Socket AM2 Athlon ■■Performance Storage ■ 5. Windows: The Official ■ Midtower Corsair SP2500case ■ ■ AM3 Motherboard ■ Full-Tower Case www. Entire contents copyright 2011.companyurl.companyurl. Future Madcatz Cyborg R. http://www. ■ Price-No-Object GPU 7759SLI55 ■ Budget GPU ■ HD-basedArmageddon Prolimatech MP3 player ■ Gaming Mouse www. with the companies or products covered in Maximum MAXIMUM PC (ISSN 1522-4279) is published 13 times a year. Newsstand distribution is don. Inc. handled by Time Warner Retail.bethsoft. Phone: 717-399-1900 ext. re-engineering and streamlining the Fermi archi- tecture. monthly CD. Website: www. Harlan. B4. includes postage and GST (GST #R128220688). is not affiliated REPRINTS: Reprint Management Service.0 speakers Netgear WNDR3700 V1 ■■ Guildof World Wars Warcraft: Soundcard ■Intel 3.civilization5.PA R T G U I D E TO B U I L D I N G A B E T T E R P C MIDRANGE GPU MSI NGTX560 Ti Twin Frozr OC N vidia’s been busy Samsung Black 2TB SyncMaster 206BW www. MSI’s iteration of the GTX 560 Ti is overclocked from 822MHz to 880MHz and delivers performance that’s 5 to 7 percent faster than a stock GTX 560 Ti. Phone: Back issues can be purchased eign: US$54. Pro II ■ Performance GPU 2 Duo212+ Hyper mobo ■ Speakers ■ Quake Wars Beta www. Returns: Bleuchip Fatal1ty Pro www. PMA #40612608. South San Francisco. 96 | MAXIM MAXIMU XIMUM UM PC P | APR 2011 | www.maximumpc. go to www. PC are trademarks of their respective www. PlayStation: The Official Maga.7 Phone: (650) 872-1642. ON N6C XFX Radeon HD 6850 Apple iPod Foreign: US$44.companyurl. 4000 Shoreline dress to Maximum PC. Antec Nine Hundred ■ www. Canada.asus. Products named in the pages of Maximum (650) 872-2207. also publishes Mac| Asus ENGTX570 Asus Striker Extreme deadspace. Reproduction on the Holiday issue following December issue. MOM. PRODUCED IN THE UNITED San Francisco. BEST OF THE BEST A PAR T .com www. World of Warcraft Official Fallout: New Vegas ■ High-End Motherboard High-end LCD monitor www. Future Cataclysm Creative i5-2500K Labs X-Fi Samsung SH-203B ■ Socket Cooler 775 Core Master www.companyurl.plextor. monthly plus do not include newsstand only Midrange ■Intel Western Digital My Book www. PO Box 5159. HardP8P67 ■Asus drive Deluxe Dell 2707WFP ■ High-End Cooler www. its sweet-spot www. The Official Xbox Magazine.asus. Crochet Today! and Web: www.3GHz Core DVD burner www. Nintendo STATES OF AMERICA.companyurl. Basic subscription rates: one year (12 issues) Power.companyurl. Periodicals postage paid in South editions: B1. Standard Mail Internet of the articles and pictures in this magazine is illegal without the prior Court. 100. into the GTX 560 Ti.futureus. Suite ■ Desert Conflict Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 www. Guitar Aficionado. Canadian and foreign orders must be prepaid. IA ■ ■ Air Cooling Audioengine 5 www. The twin fans keep the Twin Frozr OC cool as it outperform’s AMD’s Radeon HD 6870 and even holds its own against the Radeon HD 6950.1 speakers Corsair 800D PowerColor i7-2600K HD HD2900 XT High-def burner XtremeGamer www. by calling www. ■ 2. CA 94080.corsair. CivilizationV IV Civilization ■■ 512MB DDR3 www. CUSTOMER SERVICE: Maximum PC Customer Care.B Y . Email: maxcustserv@cdsfulfillment.33GHz Core i7-980X External Asus ■ backup Rampage drive III Extreme ■ Budget Western LCD monitor Digital Caviar ■ Flash-based Plextor B940SA MP3 player Gameswe Games weare areplaying playing XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra www.companyurl. Now that the GTX 580 and 570 have been out for a little SanDisk Sansa Connect 4GB www.asus. Canadian price ■ Wi-Fi Router ■ Budget Processor EVGA GeForce GTX 580 SC . CA and at additional mailing offices. PO Box 25542. B2.T. Canada: US$32.companyurl.companyurl. Inc.companyurl. Canada: US$42. www. such as speakers and budget ■ 64 mobo OCZ Vertex 2 100GB Gigaworks S750 www. Nvidia has respun the GTX 460.companyurl. Subscriptions Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Basic subscription rates including For even more Best of the Best LG GGW-H10N Gigabyte GA-M59SLI-S SSD www.prolimatech.companyurl.corsair. Ride-Along enclosure in the following written consent of Maximum BioShock Dead ■■ Space 2 ■ Midrange Processor www.companyurl.