Why “Maximum PC” Doesn’t Suck

Perhaps I should be more clear: the June 2008 issue of Maximum PC doesn’t suck.

I’ve stayed away from Maximum PC and Computer Power User (CPU) for awhile now because they have historically been such advert rags. Look, I’m not naive – I know these guys exist to make ad money and to do what they can to stay in the OEMs good graces so they get more hardware to review. But I don’t *care*. I guess I want more of a hacker’s mag, and if they want my $5 USD, they should *pretend* to appeal to folks like me. Well, they don’t. So, I stopped giving ’em my money and gave it to Linux Journal instead.

After I failed the Geek Quiz, however, in a recent Maximum PC issue (I bought it for a long plane trip, and grumbled the whole time), I thought it was time for me to get a little more information about current and upcoming hardware, and the latest issue of MaxPC has a cover article on upgrading old hardware. Win-win. I expected to open the mag to find that I’d been baited and switched, but to my surprise, there was some really good information:

  • New columnist Quinn Norton covers intellectual property issues. Nice!
  • Home automation on a variety of budgets
  • How to upgrade your old Dell P4
  • How to create a custom internet radio station, which is *not* limited to Windows platforms

I’d hoped that this new age where hardware mags were actually helpful would include CPU magazine, so I bought the June 2008 issue for comparison. Mistake. My first clue should have been the cover, which includes a review of Vista SP1 (are you *kidding* me?!) and a sensational promo for the Q&A with Sony Electronics president Stan Glasgow saying Steve Jobs “destroyed an industry”. Um, could we be more blatantly in Microsoft’s back pocket? I did read the issue, just to be fair, but didn’t find as much actually applicable information as I did in Maximum PC. (Also, what’s with the “find a CPU logo on the front” deal? What is this, Playboy?)

Perhaps Maximum PC will keep up the good work in future issues. I’ll be sure to check them out, but I’m saying goodbye to CPU, again.