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Maximum PC December 2020

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.

United States
Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

3 min
the good & the bad

WELL, IT’S BEEN ONE heck of a month for us here at Future, that’s for sure. I have some good news, and a bit of bad news to share with you all. Happily, however, the good news far outweighs the bad—well sort of. So let’s start with the worst bit first. Future’s transition over to its new subscription platform (www.magazinesdirect.com) has been a bit problem-fraught, which is perhaps a nice way of putting it. We’ve had a lot of issues with you guys not receiving your latest copies. Rest assured I’m forwarding on these complaints internally as best I can, but the best thing you can do is email the boys and girls at help@magazinesdirect.com. They have quite the backlog of tickets right now, due to the move over to the…

4 min
big navi lands

AMD’S NEW RDNA 2 graphics cards—unofficially known as “Big Navi”—are finally ready. At the heart is a whole new 7nm GPU architecture. AMD has been playing second fiddle to Nvidia for a while now, but the company is confident that this is the chip to change that. Initially we will get three new cards using the new GPU: The Radeon RX 6900 XT and 6800 XT using Navi 21 chip, and the 6700 XT using Navi 22. As we write this, the official release is a few days away, but, as usual, there have been numerous leaks. The new cards will carry 5,120, 3,840, and 2,560 Stream processors respectively (80, 60 and 40 Compute Units), backed by 16GB, 12GB, and 6GB of GDDR6 memory. Power consumption is 300W, 200W, and 150W.…

1 min
xbox for $299

WE NOW HAVE THE PRICES for the next generation of consoles. The good news is that they start from $299 for the Xbox Series S. This diminutive, budget version of the Xbox lacks a drive and is less powerful than its big brother, aimed at 1440p gaming and only running 4K using upscaling. It also has more limited backwards compatability. For full 4K gaming and a disk drive, the Xbox Series X will set you back $499, exactly as expected. Sony has also confirmed its pricing: The PlayStation 5 will also cost $499. The PlayStation 5 Digital Edition will be $399, however. You get exactly the same 4K game machine inside—all you lose is that Blu-ray drive. Microsoft’s cheaper digital version is a shrewd move. The console market is a notoriously…

1 min
nvidia kills sli

NVIDIA IS PULLING THE PLUG on SLI—Scalable Link Interface. SLI is implemented in two modes: Implicit via the DirectX driver, and explicit, which is coded into the game. From January next year there will be no new implicit SLI profiles in the GeForce driver for any RTX cards, and all support in future will be limited to explicit only. This is not the end of SLI exactly, but any game that wants to use multiple cards will have to code for it directly. Currently, the only Ampere-powered card with SLI connectors is the RTX 3090, and developing for the tiny number of people with two of these monsters looks unlikely. SLI has been useful but never particularly popular, and has had its fair share of bugs. It was a good…

1 min
tech triumphs and tragedies

TRIUMPHS ✓ LAPTOPS GO FOLDING The forthcoming Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is the world’s first folding PC. The 13.3-inch tablet costs a hefty $2,499. ✓ WINDOWS WARNINGS The latest preview build of Win10 will warn you if your NVMe SSD drive is about to fail. ✓ XP CODE LEAK The source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 is online: Not quite complete but it will compile and run. TRAGEDIES ✖ NIKOLA FAKES DEMO The electric truck company has admitted to faking a demonstration. The vehicle was actually coasting down a slope. ✖ APPLE SUES RECYCLER Apple’s former partner GEEP Canada apparently sold devices it was supposed to recycle. ✖ INFLATED FIGURES TikTok rival Triller boasted of 13 million active users, only to recant when the real figure was alleged to be about 2 million.…

1 min
rocket lake vs. zen 3

IN THE BLUE CORNER we have Rocket Lake. Intel at last moves away from the venerable Skylake-derived microarchitecture and “backports” its newer Willow Cove design (or Cypress Cove if rumors prove true). This will give a useful bump in instructions per cycle of up to 25 percent, although losses in the backporting process may eat into that. This wasn’t the original plan, but setbacks in the manufacturing of 10nm chips have left Intel no choice but to stick with 14nm. Speeds should reach 5.3GHz, and there’ll be PCIe 4.0 support. It’ll also carry the new Xe graphics engine, finally giving Intel something that can make a decent stab at running games. One disappointment is the core count: Rocket Lake looks likely to top out at eight cores, as excessive heat gets…