Maximum PC, formerly known as boot, is an American magazine and web site published by Future US. It focuses on cutting-edge PC hardware, with an emphasis on product reviews, step-by-step tutorials, and in-depth technical briefs. Component coverage areas include CPUs, motherboards, core-logic chipsets, memory, videocards, mechanical hard drives, solid-state drives, optical drives, cases, component cooling, and anything else to do with recent tech news. Additional hardware coverage is directed at smartphones, tablet computers, cameras and other consumer electronic devices that interface with consumer PCs. Software coverage focuses on games, anti-virus suites, content-editing programs, and other consumer-level applications.
Maximum PC's tone is often brash and irreverent, giving the editorial content a distinctly populist feel. In September 1999, Editorial Director Jon Phillips authored a product parody of an imaginary videocard called the Bitchin'fast3D2000, an absurdly long graphics card running five competing 3D chipsets. In February 2002, the magazine's cover image of a nurse administering aid to an ailing PC generated controversy among readers.
In March, 2016, the owner announced that MaximumPC would be merged into PCGamer, becoming the hardware section of that publication.
Product ratings are rendered by editors on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. The only product to receive an "11" rating was Half-Life 2 in January 2005, raising some objections from readers.
Outstanding products are also given a "Kick Ass" award. Exceptional products with a "9" rating and all products with a "10" rating receive this award.
Each review also includes a "Pros and Cons" section, providing a quick summary of the product. Shortly after the "Pros and Cons" first appeared, the editors began attaching humorous notations to their entries, many being puns or word play on the product itself or its function. For example, in a review of two monitors, one section is captioned LCD (pros) vs. LSD (cons). In another it is liquid crystal (pros) vs. crystal meth (cons). Other comparisons have used B-58 vs XB-70, Miley Cyrus vs Billy Ray Cyrus, and Delicious vs Malicious.
- How To - detailed guides for things like creating a RAM disk or sharing a mouse and keyboard between two PCs.
- Ask the Doctor - advice for fixing computer-related problems.
- R&D - a look into the inner workings of commonly used hardware today.
- In the Lab - a behind-the-scenes look at Maximum PC testing. This section often includes humorous features sometimes involving "torturing" interns.
- Softy Awards - a yearly roundup of the staff's favorite new software (mostly utilities)
- Facebook poll - A monthly question about anything to do with tech. It includes comments from readers that are usually funny.
- Quickstart - a selection of brief news items bringing readers up to speed on notable events in PC technology.
- Comments - reader mail and questions
- Dream Machine - an annual attempt to build the best-performing PC on the market, using the best components and techniques available.
- Build It - a monthly walk-through of a new and interesting PC build, such as a computer submerged in mineral oil.
- Geek Quiz - an annual computer/technology quiz that claims it will have even the most hardcore geeks grinding their teeth.
- Gear of the Year - a review of the best PC parts for the current year.
- Tech Preview - an annual sneak-peek of upcoming hardware.
Differences from boot
When boot was published, it was criticized for being elitist in its approach to product reviews, and for the "price is no object" philosophy of its editors. boot was aimed at a hardcore PC enthusiast audience that was highly advanced in its technical understanding, and prepared to pay top dollar for the best PC hardware. When boot relaunched as Maximum PC, it dropped much of the perceived attitude and focused on being accessible to a wider array of PC users and gamers. boot also featured a monthly column by Alex St. John, (nicknamed "The Saint") regarding the emerging DirectX standard, which he was instrumental in developing at Microsoft, often leading to some controversy in the gaming community on the merits of DirectX vs. OpenGL. His arguments with id Software's John Carmack became famous during this time in the gaming community.
The magazine claims a 2010 circulation rate-base of 250,000.
Maximum PC also provides an archive of back-issues in PDF format free of charge on their website. This archive currently reaches back to the December, 2003 issue although nothing new has been published since the October 2014 issue.
All but a few of the Maximum PC issues published from October 1998 to December 2008 are available to view on Google Book Search.
- Editor in Chief: Tuan Nguyen
- Online Managing Editor: Jimmy Thang
- Senior Editor: Jarred Walton
- Copy Editor: Mary Ricci
- Associate Editor: Alex Campbell
Maximum PC also has many freelance contributors, including Loyd Case, Pulkit Chandna, Brad Chacos, Ken Feinstein, Tim Ferrill, Tom Halfhill, Paul Lilly, Thomas McDonald, Quinn Norton, Bill O’Brien, Dan Scharff, Justin Kerr, Nathan Edwards, David Murphy, and Nathan Grayson. Moreover, columnists Tom Halfhill and Thomas McDonald write editorials on a monthly basis under the names Fast Forward and Game Theory, respectively.
In September 2010, the Maximum PC editors started producing a quarterly magazine focusing on consumer tech. The basic idea of Maximum PC "Minimum BS" would be preserved in the magazine. The last issue of Maximum Tech was the Sept/Oct 2011 issue.