Maximum PC Specials

Maximum PC Specials Volume 1 2017

This information-packed special issue delivers the hardcore details on all the latest PC hardware and software. It’s loaded with hot hardware, product roundups, lots of lab testing, and hands-on projects to get you started on your own PC experiments.

United States
Future Publishing Limited US
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2 Min.

a thing or two about a thing or two I THINK MANY PEOPLE have lost sight. Whether it’s the insidious effect of iPads and phones, or something different altogether, we’re all starting to forget what our PCs are for. They’re not just boxes to connect to the internet, or expensive ways to play the odd game. They are so much more: a vessel for your artistic vision, a communication device, the best way to consume the world’s media.... Basically, we all need to think a bit harder about the things we use our kit for. Thankfully, every issue, my beloved colleagues at Maximum PC and PC Gamer manage to come up with tremendous ideas, and explain precisely how to get this stuff done. You hold in your hands the essential mix…

2 Min.
today's best upgrades

THE CONCEPT OF THE UPGRADE PATH is at the very core of the hardware enthusiast's philosophy. The notion that you can take a five-year-old system, throw out a few parts, install a few new ones, and have a rig up and running—which almost competes with a brand new build —in less time than it takes for Obama to drop the mic is certainly appealing. But how far does it go in practice? What makes the biggest difference? And what should you upgrade first? So here, we decided to find out. We took two case studies, two rigs gathering dust in the corners of our office: one a gaming system, the other a workstation. And then we chose two very different upgrade paths for them both, just to see what makes the…

6 Min.
practical advice for upgrading

THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS why we upgrade. They can range from the essential to the vain, from the aspirational to the vital. An upgrade may allow you to hit better frame rates in your favorite games, or give your system enough raw grunt to tackle a title that it couldn’t before. If you use your machine for more serious work, an upgrade may allow you to get more done in a shorter space of time, or even do things that you wouldn’t have been able to do with your current system. A reasonable rule of thumb is: If you find yourself waiting for your machine to finish a task, then it could probably do with an upgrade. Whether that’s rendering a video, applying an effect to an image, booting, loading…

5 Min.
case study: gaming

SO HERE SHE IS, our upgraded gaming machine. From the get go, she came packed with a quad-core processor, 8GB of DDR3, a slightly ageing OCZ 256GB SSD, a 1TB hard drive, and the powerhouse that was the GTX 670. Boy, those were the days, huh? Not too old, we know. This machine was pieced together back in 2013, making it, relatively speaking, still fairly new. And it shows—the motherboard at the rig’s heart is still sound. There’s an M.2 slot offering up to 10Gb/s transfers, plenty of PCIe slots for additional cards, support for up to 64GB of DDR3, and even onboard power buttons. Aim of the Upgrade So, the story behind this system was fairly simple: We assumed that the gamer in question was on a tight budget, they didn’t…

5 Min.
case study: workstation

THIS IS BY FAR the more interesting build. In fact, its ancient and decaying spec sheet was still far more intriguing than the updates that followed. With one of the world’s first six-core consumer processors, 6GB of DDR3, and a prestigious Intel motherboard (yep, it still made them), this system managed to crank out some serious numbers even today, six years on. The hard drive situation was far less desirable— with two SATA II HDDs, it was mostly used a web server, before finally being retired two years ago. Last week, it was a shelving unit. So, what did we manage to salvage? Aim of the Upgrade This was the biggy. We knew we wanted to upgrade to a more modern chipset. But a more modern chipset requires a brand new motherboard,…

5 Min.
other tweaks and tricks

CASES You could say a case is nothing more than six panels of metal holding the components of a system together. In reality, it’s much more than that. Cases are an essential part of PC building. Whether you build your own, pinch one from an age gone by, or go all-out and purchase a $400 affair, it’s something that every PC user has. But how much of an impact does it make in the world of upgrades? Is it worth upgrading at all? That depends on what you have. There are a few examples where swappingout to a newer chassis provides you with more performance. Graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia come with a new form of technology known as GPU Boost. This is an autooverclocking feature that increases or decreases the…