CELEBRATE EARTH WEEK
Save 70% on video training and simulators now through April 27*—use code EARTH. Shop now.
It's the "editor's cut" of PC buyer's guides. Maximum PC 2005 Buyer's Guide takes the guesswork out of PC hardware and software purchases. Based on Maximum PC magazine's popular "In the Lab" section, all product reviews from the past year are included and expanded in this all-inclusive shopping guide to give you details that couldn't be included in the magazine. Organized into categories such as "Motherboards," "CPUs," and "Wi-Fi Networking," products are ranked from "kick ass" to "in the dog house." Maximum PC 2005 Buyer's Guide is your one-stop shop for all of your computer hardware and software needs!
Who Should Read This Book?
1. Maximum PC: The Year in Review.
Enter the BIOS!
Windows: The Next Generation.
In Other News…
3D Card Benchmarking Improprieties?
How to Share Your Broadband Connection.
Silence of the…Fans.
Legal Tussles, Begin!
The Secret Lives of Hard Drives.
In Other News…Your PC Is Sick!
Skip the Hologram—I’ll Have the Hologram Touchscreen!
AMD’s 64-Bit Gamble.
Internet Explorer Gets Defeated by a Brash Upstart.
nVidia Gets Dissed by Makers of Half-Life 2.
CPU Showdown: Intel vs. AMD vs. Apple!
”This Release Is Final”.
Case Mod of the Year!
But Wait, There Was More…
The Watchdog Bites.
Maximum PC Chooses Its Game of the Year.
Pentium 4 Prescott = Pentium 5?
RAM, RAM, Everywhere.
Google Boggles the Mind.
The Fastest Notebooks in the World!
Intel Shines and Gets Shined.
The Future of 3D.
Project: Budget PC.
Perfect 3D Card Timing.
Need for Speed.
*Top 10 Maximum PC Products.
2. Maximum PC Standards & Practices.
Experimentation, Torture Tests, and Lab Hi-jinks.
How Does Maximum PC Decide What to Review?
How We Review Products.
How We Determine a Verdict for the Products We Review.
The Gut-Wrenching Dilemma.
3. Motherboards & Core-Logic Chipsets.
What the North Bridge and South Bridge Do.
Mobo Integration Madness.
What We Look for When Testing Motherboards.
How We Test Motherboards.
Careful Considerations for New Mobos.
Our Top Pentium 4 Chipsets: Intel’s 875P and 865PE.
Also Solid: ATI’s Radeon 9100 IGP.
Pentium 4 Chipset Pretenders.
Our P4 Mobo Recommendations.
The Back Story: Summer of Athlon XP.
Enter the 64-bit Chipset.
Why Hasn’t Intel Integrated the Memory Controller?
Looking to Overclock?
Looking Ahead: Future Chipsets & Mobos.
VIA Makes Its Move.
Prepare for BTX.
New Sockets Forthcoming.
4. Cases & Formfactor Standards.
What to Look For in a Case.
Trend #1: More People Means More Case Personalities.
Trend #2: Prices Are Plummeting.
Smaller Is Better.
Cooling Is King.
Small Is the New Big.
Custom Modding Is Still Influential.
Looking Ahead: Case Design.
Summer 2003: Pentium 4 Domination.
AMD Leaps into the 64-bit Market.
Did Intel Possess Hidden 64-bit Code?
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition Is Released.
Along Came Prescott.
Why So Slow?
Intel Comes Clean Around 64-bit.
AMD Increases Clock Speeds.
Intel’s New Naming Conventions.
Looking Ahead: CPUs.
Our 5 Favorite CPUs of All Time.
AMD Maintains a Full Plate.
6. Hard Drives.
The Raptor Takes a Bite Out of the Competition.
Serial ATA Arrives.
Drives Get Buffer.
Portable Drives Get Potent.
IBM Sprinkles Pixie Dust on Its Drives.
10,000rpm ATA Arrives in Bulk.
Bigger and Faster.
Round 1: ATI Trumps nVidia.
But Where’s Half-Life 2?
Round 2: nVidia Misses the Mark.
nVidia Atones for Its Sins, But…
Half-Life 2 nVidia Brouhaha.
nVidia and ATI Release Fast New Cards.
Looking Ahead: PCI Express.
What’s Alienware Doing?
How Can a Soundcard Make a Game Look Better?
Up Close: Today’s Soundcards.
DirectSound, DirectSound3D, and the API Wars.
Integrated Onboard Audio Is Popular.
Creative: The Three-ton Gorilla.
The Move to 7.1.
The 24-bit Question.
Creative Swallows the Competition.
Looking Ahead: Integrated Sound Leaps Ahead.
And What About the Audigy?
When a Magazine Dreams.
9. Optical Drives.
The Big Trends for the Year Were…
Hello, Dual Layer.
What We Look For in Optical Drives.
Other Considerations Besides Speed.
CD-ROM Media Concerns.
Looking Ahead: Optical Drives.
More Prevalent and Faster Dual-layer Burning.
How to Read Speaker Specs.
What Makes a Perfect 10 Speaker System?
How to Put Your Speakers to the Test.
Looking Ahead: Speakers.
11. Pre-built PCs.
Rapidly Evolving PC Market.
Falcon Northwest Fires Out the Frag Box.
Alienware Goes Big-time.
Voodoo PC Innovates with the F50.
Dell Goes High-end with the XPS.
The New Trend: PCs for Gaming.
The Other New Trend: A PC in Every Living Room?
Looking Ahead: Pre-built PCs.
The Current State of Display.
The Great LCD Shootout.
Sony Discontinues Its “Best of the Best” CRT.
Multi Monitor Displays Take Off.
MaxiVista: An Innovative Display Solution.
Looking Ahead: Displays.
13. Mice & Keyboards.
Trends in Mice.
Trends in Keyboards.
How to Find the Right Mouse and/or Keyboard.
How We Test Mice.
How We Test Keyboards.
Looking Ahead: Mice & Keyboards.
802.11g Opens the Pipe.
Wi-Fi Product Categories.
Security Is a Major Concern.
Hey, What Happened to Bluetooth?
Looking Ahead: Wireless Technology.
15. Digital Devices.
Rise of the Smart Phones.
Portable Audio Devices.
Portable Video Makes Its Debut.
Looking Ahead: Digital Devices.
16. Ask the Doctor.
17. The Watchdog.
Look Before You Leave.
BestBuy.Com Spam Scam.
Rebate? What Rebate?
They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms.
IBM Manager: Failure Rate “Beyond Normal”.
February 2004 continued.
Internal Documents Indicate 30 Percent Failure.
”We Have Been Given False Data, Have Passed the Data on to Compaq”.
You Can’t Do That!
AMD Locks Down CPUs.
Appendix A: The Year in Reviews.
Graphics Cards, Video Devices, and Displays.
Soundcards and Speakers.
Networking Devices (Includes Media Servers).
Peripherals (Keyboards, Mice, Scanners, Printers, etc.).
Pre-Built Systems, Cases and Case Mods.
Software and Online Services.
Handhelds, Cameras, and Misc. Devices.