Maximum PC September 2019
Buy a product
Published 20th August
Summer is often a quiet time for PC hardware, but this year things are different. We’ve had a slew of important releases hit our test benches all at once, and it could just be that the PC scene will never be the same again after this summer. Serious words, but reasonable when you’re talking about a new PCIe bus that will usher in the promise of incredible storage performance and improved graphics.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, AMD has released a new processor family as well as its much anticipated Navi GPUs this month, and (spoiler alert!) they’re both impressive. Admittedly, it’s the CPUs that really loosened our collective jaws, but thanks to Nvidia also releasing new GPUs, AMD was forced to drop the prices of its first Navi cards, so they represent much better value than expected.
Of course, Nvidia’s new “super” 2060 and 2070 are interesting in their own right, but they highlight once again that competition is good for us, the end user. Manufacturers dropping prices to make their products more tempting always goes down well. The same is true in the CPU space—Intel is guilty of resting on its laurels, but now it genuinely needs to respond, or it’ll find itself lagging further and further behind. Price drops from Intel in lieu of new thread-happy chips aren’t out of the question.
One area where AMD has come on in leaps and bounds over the original Ryzen is on the memory front. It’s no secret that while the original Ryzen was an impressive shift in gear from Team Red, memory support at launch was patchy. It improved over time, to be sure, but that was one area where Intel definitely had a lead in terms of ease of use. These new Ryzen chips have no such problems; in fact, AMD is pushing memory harder than Intel right now.
Which brings us nicely to the whole subject of RAM, and our main cover feature. What is the optimal amount of memory for any given system? What’s more important: capacity, frequency, latency, or price? We show you how to improve this often overlooked subsystem, while ensuring you don’t waste money where it isn’t needed.
Our other main feature looks at what 5G will mean to you, and where our PCs fit in—it isn’t just about cell phones anymore. With promises of connections in the remotest of places, super-low latencies, and the kind of bandwidth that is normally the preserve of fiber, 5G promises a lot. But can it deliver?
Another interesting new release is the Raspberry Pi 4. The tiny computer has seen many improvements over the years, but the most recent iteration really shifts up a gear, with a speedier CPU, improved memory, better buses, and support for dual displays up to 4K. It is genuinely becoming a viable budget desktop machine. We also show you how to build a NAS, get up and running with Docker, protect your network with an SSH honeypot, and much more.