The classic battle of the titans comes to PC Authority this month. No longer is Apple hiding in the shadow of the PC -- the new Macs can happily run Windows XP, the prices are reasonable, and they have increasing peripheral and software support. It's a level playing field, so there's no better time to put Apple and Vista head-to-head.
If that's not enough to entice you, then our mammoth upgrade guide will. Our Labs team tested over 50 graphics cards, which includes every single chipset available on the market today. And we didn't stop at graphics cards. The latest hard drives were also dragged through our benchmarks and tested for noise, speed, and ultimately, value for money.
And finally, our cover disc continues to deliver the latest full working versions we can get our hands on. This month's stand out software is NetObjects Fusion 8, which lets you build your own slick websites. You'll also find a full working demo of Titan Quest, Paragon's Drive Copy 8 Personal, PC Booster 3, and the latest essential freeware tools, drivers and patches.
Plus, subscribe this month and every new or renewing subscription will receive a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking Standard 8 - worth $199 each*
I hope you enjoy the issue
Editor PC Authority
*while stocks last/500 copies available
ASHAMPOO BURNING STUDIO 2005*
Try burning a CD or DVD with some programs and you’ll be immediately drowned in options. UDF or UDF/ISO? Which UDF partition type? DVD-Video compatibility? File caching? If this seems unnecessarily complicated, you might like to give Ashampoo Burning Studio 2005 a go. It simplifies CD and DVD burning bystripping out the rarely-used extras. To register, follow the instructions during installation, or click Internet > Register.AV MP3 PLAYER-MORPHER 2.0*
There’s more to AV MP3 Player-Morpher than just about any other MP3 player we’ve seen. It will play all the common audio file types (.mp3, .wav, .wma, .ogg, .cda) and plenty of uncommon ones too (.aif, .au, .irc, .nist, more). Try AV MP3 Player-Morpher and experience a wide range of functionality and features like morphing special effects. To register, visit www.audio4fun.com/mp3player_pcwgift.php, enter the code audio4fun.NETOBJECTS FUSION 8.0*
Develop stylish, feature-packed websites in minutes with this WYSIWYG tool. If you want to build a professional website, then you could learn HTML, CSS, scripting and databases, buy an expensive development environment and go on a course to help you use it. It’s probably easier to install NetObjects 8.0, a top quality WYSIWYG editor that delivers excellent results and requires no previous design experience at all. Register at www.netobjects.com/vnu.TITAN QUEST
Tipped to be the new Diablo-killer. Lush 3D graphics, and fast, RPG action will take you back into one of the most addictive gaming genres ever to hit the PC.FEATURED ARTIST - DANE TUCQUET
Welcome to the world as seen through the eyes of Dane Tucquet, the Melbourne based musician and author of a collection of remarkably unique songs.PARAGON DRIVE COPY 8.0 PERSONAL*
Paragon Drive Copy provides you with a means to hassle-free cloning of complete hard drives or individual partitions. Get fast, automatic backups in three simple steps. To register, follow the link during installation, or visit registration. www.paragonsoftware.com/dcse.STYLE MASTER 4.03
Style Master provides all the tools you need to design, code and troubleshoot CSS files. Cascading style sheets (CSS) are the key to any modern website, but working with them isn’t always easy. In fact many development tools and CSS editors leave you coding them by hand, with no clear view of how changes will affect your finished site. Western Civilisation’s Style Master changes all that.PC BOOSTER 3.0*
Get your system running at peak performance with this versatile tweaking tool. Fortunately there is an alternative to browsing the Registry, trawling through the Windows interface or poking around obscure Control Panel applets – PC Booster, with its single, straightforward interface. Register at www.bluesquad.co.uk/vnu/booster/register.All Promotions valid for a minimum of three months after on sale date unless otherwise specified.DISC INDEX
Ashampoo Burning Studio 2005
AV MP3 Player-Morpher 2.0
NetObjects Fusion 8.0
Paragon Drive Copy 8.0Personal
PC Booster 3.0
Style Master 4.03
AlfaClock Free 1.83
APO USB Autorun 18.104.22.168
Aurora Password Manager 1.4
Cerberus FTP Server 2.4 BETA 2
Chat Controller 1.2.2
Fact200 1.0 beta 5
Fresh UI 7.58
Hott Notes 4 Beta 1
Image Eye 7.2
Laplink ShareDirect Basic Edition
PhoneTray Free 1.22
PiXPO 3.0 beta
Vallen Jpegger 4.81
Vallen POP3 Mail Checker 2.00
Visualizer Photo Resize (Free) 5.2
Yahoo! Widgets Engine 3.0
Ad-aware SE Personal 1.06
Adobe Reader 7.0.8
AVG 7.1.394 Free Edition
EditPad Pro 6.0.1
Google Desktop Search Beta
NOD32 Antivirus System 2 (9x)
NOD32 Antivirus System 2 (XP)
Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4
True Launch Bar 3.2
WinRAR 3.60 beta 4
AOL Instant Messenger 5.1
Crazy Browser 3.0 Beta2
Google Toolbar 4.0.513.2948 Beta
Mozilla Firefox 22.214.171.124
Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5
MSN Messenger 7.0(98/ME)
MSN Messenger 7.5 (XP)
Portable Firefox 126.96.36.199
ServerQuery 1.94.02 Beta
Trillian Basic 3.1
Ad-aware reference file
ATI Catalyst 6.4 Control
Center Package (XP)
ATI Catalyst 6.2 driver suite (98/ME)
AVG Free Edition Updates
Norton AntiVirus definitions update
NVIDIA Forceware drivers 84.21 (2000/XP)
NVIDIA Forceware drivers 81.98 (95/98/ME)
Spybot Search & Destroy Update
VIA HyperionPro drivers 5.08A
Titan Quest DemoOzMusic
Featured Artist – Dane Tucquet
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, has a vision for newer, smarter web. Tim Dean looks at how the future of the web might work.
Upgrade to an AM2 Athlon 64 system now
We never thought we’d see it happen, but now you can run Windows XP natively on a Mac.
Another card for media centres offering Avivo at a low price.
It’s affordable, quiet, and has plenty of features.
A well featured card, but it can’t match the 7600 GS for value.
Fair price, but better-equipped cards cost a similar amount.
Video capture and two full games of your choice make this a Decent alternative to the 7600 GT.
If you have almost $700 to spend, the X1800 XL isn’t the way to go.
Still a half-decent choice if you opt for a 256mb version.
A wiser purchase than the XTX, this is the best of the top-end cards.
The fastest card available, but the XT is better value for money.
We put six sub-$500 pocketable cameras to the test
Built-in tracing and improved drawing, formatting and colour correction make X3 the best CorelDRAW upgrade in years.
With its limited editing features, it would be hard to see anyone choosing PowerDirector 5 over the Adobe, Pinnacle or Ulead competition.
Not perfect, but the best all-rounder.
World's Fastest Notebook.
The first expansion to Half Life 2 doesn't provide much excitement.
Stuck for storage space? Upgrade to one of the latest disks and you’ll benefit from better performance too
Huge capacity, but not very quiet or good value
Wikipedia - truth through aggregation?
A decent performer, but it struggles with small files
Ultra-mobile PCs are the future of mobile computing according to Microsoft.
Ross Burridge looks at the devices and the technology
We test the big three OSes on level ground - Boot Camp.
More bang-per-buck than the 7300s, but the 6600 shows its age.
Good value — until you compare it to the superior 7600 GS.
Lack of power and features make it one to avoid, despite the price.
An old card that’s resoundingly beaten by the new 7600 GT.
Yet another older GPU that’s eclipsed by the 7600 GT.
Too expensive for the performance on offer.
A cheap mid-range card but with budget performance.
Poor 3D performance but a good choice for HD video playback.
Poor performer but worth a look if building a media centre.
Silent, powerful and cheap: the ideal card for media centres.
A real bargain. If you don’t need to capture video, its gaming performance makes it a great choice.
The 7800 GT is hard to find and is being usurped by the 7900 GT.
Not bad value for an older card, but it’s too noisy.
Playable frame rates at 1600 x 1200 and the latest features for under $460. A great-value choice.
It’s NVIDIA’s flagship, but still trails behind the top ATI cards.
An interesting concept But performance is determined by drivers and ultimately it smacks of gimmick.
Four powerful and long-serving Photoshop plug-ins at a cut-down price.
Everything you've ever needed in a downloads center.
It's the prettiest looking RTS we've seen in a while, but how does it play?
A promising debut for UMPCs, but the controls are tricky to master
Fast, quiet and unbeatable value, the SpinPoint P120 is the clear leader here
Good value and high capacity, but performance is average
With its improved interface, colour handling, image adjustments and brush-based artistic creativity, DrawPlus moves onto a new level.
A fast, fun, cheap game to keep you going over the weekend.
The book is entertaining. The game is not.
Microsoft vs. Google in the online office battleground.
HD DVD support is the big new feature, but the automated ad-removal tool and enhanced menu customisation make this a great app for the money.
Bluetooth on steroids, the solution for short-range wireless video, or the replacement for USB in computers?
A beautifully tiny computer-on-a-board that you should only consider if you have a specific use in mind
We put every current model from ATI and NVIDIA through its paces to find out which offers the best performance and value.
We provide the commentary on a bruising eight-round battle between Vista and Tiger.
Easier to use than the q1 and cheaper, but battery life is a concern
The ability to build a fully updatable, portable and offline personal web makes this a useful tool For home and Business users
High capacity, good performance and affordable. The Caviar is a great alternative to the Samsung
Blisteringly fast but expensive for the capacity
We can see little reason to use any alternative blogging software. Rarely do you get something as powerful and flexible as WordPress 2 for free.