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Maximum PC

Maximum PC June 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.
back to the basics

LIFE’S A TOUGH OLD GIG right now, that’s for sure. The economy’s in the dumps, borders are closed, travel’s restricted, and Maximum PC hasn’t escaped from any of it. Sadly we’ve taken another hit on the chin this month, and management has scaled back our budgets to help keep us all employed and insured. That does mean that, for the time being at least, we’ve lost some of the columns from our regular writers. As I said last issue, this is only temporary, and I do want to stress to you that we’re doing all we can to ensure that our freelancers and their families are well supported during this time. I’ve also been assured that we should be back to full strength—budgets, page-counts, writers, and all—very soon. On top of…

4 min.
rocket lake

SINCE AMD launched Ryzen, Intel has been floundering a little. We’ve waited and waited to see what the blue team would do. We’ve had improved chips, but nothing to match the splash the Zen core made. Intel has a new core design, Sunny Cove (that’s developed into Willow Cove), but you’ll struggle to find one outside a laptop. We’ve also now had four iterations of Skylake—it was a good design, but this can’t last. Things are currently fairly quiet, for obvious reasons—we still haven’t even had the official launch of the 10th-generation Comet Lake desktop chips. This leaves us with rumor and speculation, fueled by some intriguing leaks. Be warned though: Intel is an old hand at managing such things, so we must proceed with some caution. Rocket Lake is due for…

1 min.
popular, but flawed

VIDEO CONFERENCING is in high demand at the moment. Zoom is free with its basic plan, which helps explain its surge in popularity; traffic jumped over 500 percent in a month. Unfortunately, it’s had more than a few problems too. It’s supposed to have end-to-end encryption, but it didn’t, it can’t. It was also caught sharing data with Facebook. The iOS version passed a myriad of details over to Facebook (whether you have an account or not) when you logged on, despite having nothing about this in its privacy statement. It also had a tool that enabled your LinkedIn profiles to be collected. If you had LinkedIn Sales Navigator enabled when you ran a meeting all the participants’ profiles appeared. Zoom’s lax security has also lead to half a million stolen…

1 min.
china has its own x86 chip

CHINA HAS PRODUCED its own modern x86 processor. The Zhaoxin KX-6000 series is a mainstream PC chip. It has PCIe 3.0, DDR4 support, integrated graphics, and suchlike. The top model, the KaiXian KX-U6780A, has eight cores, uses a 16nm process, and a base clock of 2.7GHz. There’s no boost clock, multi-threading, or L3 cache. However, it’s twice as fast as the previous KX-5000 series. It isn’t quick, about on par with a Pentium G5600 in Cinebench R20. The graphics are particularly slow, dropping into AMD A10 territory. Essentially it’s about eight years behind the curve. China has an aggressive target to be self-sufficient in silicon (its 3-5-2 initiative plans to remove all foreign hardware and software in government offices by 2022). A truly competitive x86 chip is a way away, but…

1 min.
warning: contains loot boxes

THE ESRB, Entertainment Software Ratings Board, is not a fan of the Loot Box, which it likens to a form of gambling. It has now decided to tell you right next to the other warnings on violence, and language. It already flags in-game purchases, which it added after the fuss over Star Wars: Battlefront 2. This warning is to be expanded to include the line “includes random items.” A game only earns the sticker if you have to part with money for an unknown reward. The ESRB has highlighted it as a particular concern for children, who can rack-up alarming bills. Micro-transactions in games have earned game publishers billions. Top-tier games are expensive to produce, but it is increasingly difficult to charge a decent amount in a world of free-to-play titles…

1 min.
tech triumphs and tragedies

TRIUMPHS ✓ ZEN 3 THIS YEAR Rumor has it that AMD is getting ready to launch its Zen 3 desktop CPUs later this year, probably this fall, with an enhanced 7nm node. ✓ MICROSOFT EDGES AHEAD Basing the new version around Chromium appears to have done the trick, partially—it now has a larger user base than Firefox. ✓ CULT CARDS The GeForce RTX 2080Ti Cyberpunk 2077 edition is rare, and valuable—it can fetch $5,000. TRAGEDIES ✗ A CHEAT TOO FAR Vanguard introduced an anti-cheat kernel driver for Valorant, which has security experts spinning—your system is free for it to inspect. ✗ BRICKED MACS A Catalina update (10.15.4) has caused a rash of completely dead MacBooks. Halfway through they can just die completely—ouch. ✗ WHERE IS FOXCONN? After taking $4.5 billion in tax credits to build a factory, it’s still largely an empty shell.…