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Maximum PC

Maximum PC August 2019

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Maximum PC is the magazine that every computer geek, PC gamer, or content creator should read every month. Get Maximum PC digital magazine subscription today for punishing product reviews, thorough how-to articles, and the illuminating technical news and information that PC power users crave. Maximum PC covers every single topic that requires a lightning-fast PC, from video editing and music creation to PC gaming; we write about it all with unbounded enthusiasm for our collective hobby.

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United States
Future Publishing Limited US
13 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
tight budgets demand creativity to produce something special

WE GET TO PLAY with a lot of high-end gear here. Our cupboard is bursting with premium processors, expensive graphics cards, superfast SSDs, feature-rich mobos, and everything else that goes into producing the best machines we can put our minds to. If we need to build a rig for a specific use, we can generally lay our hands on the core components quickly, and piece together a PC that excels at the task at hand. There’s a bit of a disconnect between having all this gear to play with and building in the real world, though, and this is most obvious when we’re building to a tight budget. It’s rare that we have everything we need for a budget build, for a couple of reasons: Firstly, new tech tends to appear…

6 min.
amd steals the show at computex

IF IT BELONGED to anybody, Computex 2019 was AMD’s. It picked the event to launch its new 7nm Zen 2 Ryzen 3000 series processors and the first Navi graphics cards. Zen 2 is no surprise—we’ve been drip-fed details for months—what we do have now are the hard numbers for the initial release. The five new chips range run from a $199 Ryzen 3 3600 through to a 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X for $499. Clock speeds don’t vary much, with 300MHz between the fastest and slowest base clocks, and 400MHz on the boost clocks. We can’t expect miracles—as the die process shrinks, you have to lower voltages, which makes it harder to run really high frequencies. Chips are struggling to reach 5GHz; it’s as much about efficiency and core count. The…

2 min.
xbox and ps5 next holiday

THE NEXT ROUND of console wars is shaping up. Both sides are circling each other, letting out teasers while we wait for the fight to start. In the red corner we have Microsoft’s Project Scarlet (still no idea of the final name). At E3, Microsoft released a few details, along with a slick promotional video. It’ll arrive for holiday 2020—that’ll be November, something of a tradition for console launches. Hardware includes SSD storage (said to be up to 40 times faster than HDD), coupled to an eight-core Ryzen 3000 Zen 2 processor and Navi GPU. It’ll support ray tracing, and will stretch to running at 120fps and 8K. Whilst technically possible, this is an ambitious target for practical use. We don’t expect it to do both at once, or to…

1 min.
facebook money

FACEBOOK HAS LIFTED THE LID on its forthcoming blockchain currency, Libra. This isn’t a bitcoin rival; it’s pegged to the value of real assets, a basket of stable currencies, so its value won’t jump around alarmingly. Unlike typical blockchain “coins,” it will be tightly controlled, too. It’s not really a cryptocurrency, but international online money. Wallets are integrated into Facebook apps, and you can exchange money from within them. Don’t panic, though: It won’t be controlled by Facebook, but by a separate association, along with 27 other partners, including Visa and Uber. The fees are said to be “minimal,” and interest will be earned on any holdings. A major target is the millions of people around the world without access to banks, but with smartphones, which is a big market. Facebook…

1 min.
itunes finally crashes out

THIS FALL’S UPDATE of the Mac OS, 10.15 Catalina, will see the end of iTunes, sort of. Its functions will be split across Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV. Anything you’ve bought will appear in one of those; your music and playlists are safe. Finder will take over the job of synchronizing mobile devices. It isn’t dead yet, though—the Windows version will live on. It has to, as not every iPhone user has a Mac. Why is this happening? Well, it had become a bloated mess, with too many functions, and endless updates. Legal issues over licenses added annoying DRM, too. Few are going to mourn its passing. iTunes arrived in 2001, and introduced purchases in 2003. It, and services like it, helped kill the CD market. From a…

1 min.
tech triumphs and tragedies

A monthly snapshot of what’s good and bad in tech TRIUMPHS ✓ HARD DRIVES NOT DEAD Seagate has revealed the biggest HDDs yet, the 16TB IronWolf and Exos, which use a laser; prices from $610. 20TB due next year. ✓ PHOTONIC AI CHIPS Researchers have built an artificial neurosynaptic network. Just four neurons, but 1,000 times faster than the real thing. ✓ CLASSIC GAME GETS RTX Nvidia has refreshed the 22-year-old Quake II with the full ray-tracing treatment. TRAGEDIES ✗ BLUEKEEP PATCH Microsoft has patched Win XP in an effort combat the BlueKeep vulnerability, which can enable nasty ransomware attacks. ✗ KEEP IT SIMPLE After spending over $10,000 on MacBook Pro screen repairs, an engineer realized the brightness was just right down. ✗ AI STILL NEEDS US Real people handle about 15 percent of calls that Google’s Duplex can’t manage to parse.…