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Maximum PC

Maximum PC March 2020

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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.
planning is indispensable

PLANS DON’T always play out the way you intend. Like this month’s eight-core cover build. It was originally designed to hit a budget of $1,500, but once we started building, we sailed straight over that price point. This was partly due to when we were building it—we put it together at the start of January, a notoriously tricky time, as pretty much everyone in the industry is in Las Vegas at CES (turn to page 10 to find out what went down in the desert). Once we started piecing together our rig, we found ourselves upping the parts list to use better hardware. When you’re dropping so much money on the CPU and motherboard, it makes sense to spend a comparable amount on the GPU, and here we decided to go…

3 min.
amd’s 64-core beast

AMD HAS ANNOUNCED the arrival of the “world’s highest performance desktop and ultra-thin laptop processors.” Big talk. First to the desktop: The new Threadripper 3990X is a beast, with 64 cores and 128 threads. It has a base clock of 2.9GHz, with a maximum boost rate of 3.4GHz. It shares the same basic design as the Epyc 7702P server chip, but with fewer memory channels and bumped speeds. It will drop into existing sTRX40 motherboards, with a quick BIOS update to optimize performance. Feeding it data means it needs 1GB per core as a minimum for complex tasks; 2GB is better, so you’ll want 128GB of main memory to give it room to breathe. The TDP is still quoted at 280W, the same as all Threadrippers over 24 cores, but…

2 min.
game over for win 7

WINDOWS 7 has now entered the twilight world of “legacy” computing. Support from Microsoft officially ended on January 14. It is still possible to get security updates, if you’re a business and prepared to pay. Initially, ESU, Extended Security Updates, were only to be available for Professional and Enterprise versions, but Microsoft has backtracked, and now promises to support “all business customers,” as long as they have an Office 365 Business subscription. It’s a yearly fee, and is planned to last three years. It costs $25 or $50 for the first year, depending on your business subscription. This doubles per year, so could be as much as $350 per machine for the full deal. After the third year, you really are on your own. One organization that wasn’t ready was…

1 min.
steam coming to chrome

GOOGLE’S CHROME OS may have started life as little more than a browser, but the company has been building it into much more. Now it’s going to add more fun too, with support for Steam. Getting this on to the millions of Chrome devices will bring Valve a healthy number of new customers. Steam already has a Linux client, so the project shouldn’t be too complex. How good Chrome devices are going to be at playing games is another matter. They were initially intended as simple, cloud-based Internet devices. There are no Chromebooks with a discrete GPU, but there have been hints of AMD GPUs. However, the integrated GPUs are getting pretty good, and you won’t be running demanding top-tier games on a Linux system anyway. All good news if…

1 min.
facebook’s libra stalls

FACEBOOK’S PLANS to launch a worldwide blockchain currency are slowly unraveling. The Libra Association is losing its major players at an alarming rate. PayPal dropped out first, then Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe left a week before the formal signup. The political pressure hasn’t helped. A letter from two Senators to prospective members made this clear: “You should be extremely cautious,” it read, and promised a high level of scrutiny. Now Vodaphone has pulled out, leaving just Uber and Lyft as known big names. If nothing else, Libra has caused a stir in financial circles, and prompted much discussion at the World Economic Forum. The idea of a truly global stable digital currency is still sound, but it looks as if Libra may not be the vehicle to do it, or not…

1 min.
tech triumphs and tragedies

TRIUMPHS ✓ 2019: GOOD YEAR FOR PCs Sales were up 2.7 percent, according to analysts IDC, ending seven years of contraction. ✓ UNIVERSAL MEMORY Scientists have theoretically found a way to build non-volatile memory that’s as fast as DRAM. ✓ DISNEY+ TOPS CHART The Disney+ streaming app was the most downloaded app of Q4 last year. It also made $50 million in the first month—more than HBO has made any month. TRAGEDIES ✗ MICROSOFT FORCES BING A new Chrome extension from Microsoft will force Office 365 ProPlus users to have Bing as the default search engine. ✗ TESLA GOES TOO FAST After 127 cases of “unintended acceleration,” the NHTSA is considering an investigation. ✗ MUSK VS. ASTRONOMERS SpaceX’s plans for a global network of satellites means bright streaks appearing across the world’s telescopes.…