Maximum PC April 2021

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
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3 min
budget builds

I DO LOVE a good challenge, and nothing is more difficult in this industry than building the ultimate budget PC. Bizarrely, the value of the dollar actually shifts depending on how much you have to spend. The less budget you have, the more important it is to allocate it correctly into the components that will give you the most performance. Things like flashy motherboards, cases, and memory just aren’t important. On top of that there’s an industry side-challenge to this as well. Namely, most manufacturers just don’t want to showcase their more budget-oriented parts. That’s what makes it so interesting from a journalistic perspective, because these are components that we don’t see a lot of, and it’s fascinating to analyze just how that performance from the flagship halo products filters…

3 min
stadia shuts game developers studio

IN AN UNEXPECTED move Google has closed its Stadia games developers studio, the internal team for exclusive Stadia games. From now on games will all be third-party titles. The move was particularly unexpected by the studio staff. Just five days before the closure an email from Stadia’s vice president, Phil Harrison, had praised the developers on the “great progress” they had made. Google’s announcement claims that Stadia’s technology works at scale, but that creating top games from scratch is a “significant investment.” Google promises to continue “building on the proven technology of Stadia”, but that it “will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games.” The huge multiplayer game worlds Google talked about at Stadia’s launch won’t be appearing any…

1 min
pushback over arm deal

NVIDIA’S PLANS to spend $40 billion buying ARM has caused waves in the x86 industry. If you want an x86 processor you go to Intel or AMD, or you use a company that employs an ARM design. These include Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, and other big players. Many more have ARM architectural licenses, or intellectual property licenses, including AMD and Intel, while others have huge racks of ARM servers, notably Amazon. ARM-based designs have been used in more devices than any other company—over 160 billion so far. Owning ARM would give Nvidia some serious leverage across the tech world. The obvious concern is that Nvidia will start saving the best ARM technology for itself, and start squeezing other users, many of which have no ready alternative. Previously ARM has been…

1 min
mysterious malware hits macs

SECURITY RESEARCHERS at Red Canary have uncovered a piece of malware, dubbed “Silver Sparrow,” that has managed to sneak itself onto over 30,000 M1-powered Macs, and even some older Intel-powered ones. What the malware is designed to do remains a mystery, as the payload remains unidentified. It is not following the pattern of the usual adware infection. Silver Sparrow runs natively on M1 Macs, and uses JavaScript for execution. Once an hour it calls a server, presumably for further instructions. It hasn’t, as yet, done anything malicious apart from bury itself into the macOS. However, it has managed to spread itself across 150 countries, and it’s not clear yet how it managed this. Armed with a more directly destructive intent, this could have turned nasty. Apple has revoked the developer…

1 min
tech triumphs and tragedies

TRIUMPHS ✔ PS5 TO GET PSVR2 Next year Sony will release an improved VR system, tuned for the PS5. ✔ SAMSUNG LONGEVITY Keeping Android phones current can be tough. Samsung has promised four years of security update support on 100 devices. ✔ A CLASSIC RETURNS Iconic RPG Diablo II is to be remastered for consoles and the PC, now in 3D, and able to run 21:9 and in 4K. TRAGEDIES ✗ PORTLAND’S SMART-CITY PROJECT CANNED Disputes over privacy and data-sharing have scotched plans to turn Portland “smart.” ✗ AMD’S USB PROBLEM Some people are having problems with 500-series AMD motherboards triggered by high USB 4.0 usage, particularly VR. ✗ RANSOMWARE ATTACK More troubles for CDPR as Cyberpunk 2077’s source code was swiped in a cyber attack.…

1 min
mining nixed on the rtx 3060

ANY HELP with the continuing graphics card drought has to be good news. Mining cryptocurrencies using GPUs hasn’t helped. It can be highly profitable, and well-funded mining operations tend to hog the supplies of the best chips. Nvidia has decided to help by building a limiter into the driver of its new GeForce RTX 3060 card, which halves the hash rate for Etherium mining. Apparently this is the currency most suited to mining with its GPUs. It’s a start, although why not limit mining across all cards, and all currencies? Nvidia has said that it currently has no plans to extend the idea. How secure the driver block proves remains to be seen. Nvidia has a more practical reason for the move; it has just launched a range of cryptocurrency mining…