Maximum PC February 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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13 Issues

in this issue

3 min
ever onward

WELCOME to the latest edition of Maximum PC. So first let’s start with the good. This issue is jam-packed with a ton of features, content, and gloriousness to get your teeth stuck into. We’ve gone and compiled our favorite hardware from the last 12 months, handing out our awards in this year’s prestigious Gear of the Year feature. We’ve also got Jarred back in the house to give us the lowdown on ray tracing, DLSS, Cyberpunk 2077, and what the future holds for graphics in general. Our man from Down Under, John Knight, gives us his fine interpretation of the history of computing, from analog all the way up to the modern era, while Ian Evenden has a fantastic piece on stripping out your old operating system and replacing it…

3 min
big tech under fire

LETITIA JAMES, the attorney general for New York, has started two major anti-trust legal actions. One is against Facebook, which she claims has used its financial and marketing power to quash competition by buying smaller competitors before they can become rivals, and using market dominance to restrict competing services—in particular the $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2012. The case has been joined by 47 other states. The second case is against Google, with claims it has “deprived consumers of competition that could lead to greater choice and innovation, as well as better privacy protections.” This case has been joined by 38 states. At the same time the Federal Trade Commission has also launched a case against social media giant Facebook, highlighting its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram in order to…

1 min
rocket lake readies

INTEL’S 11TH-GENERATION ROCKET LAKE CHIPS will be in our hands in March. We’re starting to see unofficial leaks as engineering samples are distributed to the industry for testing. Early benchmarks have surfaced featuring the Core i9-11900K, an eight-core Rocket Lake with a reported base clock of 3.5GHz, and a maximum boost just shy of 5GHz. It apparently fairs well against an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. The important thing is that there is a decent IPC bump of around 18 percent over previous Skylake-derived cores. The Cypress Cove cores used in Rocket Lake chips are essentially 10nm Ice Lake ones shifted to a 14nm process, and combined with Tiger Lake’s Xe graphics. We finally get a version of the Sunny Cove microarchitecture in a desktop chip, the first such new architecture in…

1 min
apple going for 32 cores

APPLE HAS BIG PLANS for its impressive new ARM M1 chip. Its first incarnation was as a hybrid with four high-performance cores, and four low-power cores. The next versions are in development, which will push the high-performance cores to eight, 12, and even 16, the last one destined for the MacBook Pro. These are due next spring. Beyond that is Mac Pro territory. Rumor has it that Apple is developing a full 32-core ARM chip for its workstation, which currently runs 28-core Xeon Wchips. Apple isn’t just ditching Intel either: The AMD GPUs are due to be replaced by Apple’s GPU design, which we first saw integrated into the M1 chip. We can expect everything from 16-core mobile models, up to 28-core bad boys, all due next year (give or…

1 min
tech triumphs and tragedies

TRIUMPHS ✔ EXPENSIVE PLUMBERS A new record for a collectible game has been set: $156,000 for a mint condition early Super Mario Brothers 3 cart for NES. ✔ MICROWAVE DRIVES Toshiba will ship its first microwave-assisted magnetic recording drive (MAMR), a nine-platter 18TB drive, next spring. ✔ CHEAPER MEMORY Production of 3D NAND is ramping up fast; expect prices to fall by 10 to 15 percent soon. TRAGEDIES ✖ PUBLIC FISTICUFFS After Apple decided to let users decide whether to share data, Facebook and Apple have been having a public row about it. ✖ ALMOST SUCCESS SpaceX’s recent SN8 Starship rocket test was nearly perfect, apart from the crash landing. ✖ PR FAIL Intel tried to convince the world that AMD’s mobile chips lose up to 48% performance running on battery power. It’s not true.…

2 min
launched, but not available

RECENTLY there have been a lot of lovely new graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, each with new GPU architectures setting performance records. The trouble is actually getting hold of one. The “unexpectedly” high demand (really?), coupled with production problems have made this a frustrating time to build a gaming rig. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 cards are all over the media but not the shelves, even online. Speculators bought everything they could to resell at a profit. The RTX 3090 is officially $1,499, but the average resale price is $2,250. This isn’t helped by the ending of production of RTX 2000 series cards, the supply of which seems to have dried up. Samsung, which makes the 8nm GPUs for Nvidia, has been having “issues” with yield (the number…