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Holiday 2018 cover
|Executive Editor||Alan Dexter|
|First issue||August 1996 (as boot)|
September 1998 (as Maximum PC)
|Based in||San Francisco|
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.
Prior to September 1998, the magazine was called boot. boot and sister magazine MacAddict (now Mac|Life) launched in September 1996, when Future US shut down CD-ROM Today .
In March 2016, Future US announced that the Maximum PC website would be merged with PCGamer.com, appearing as the hardware section of the website from that point forward. The magazine was not affected by this change. As of July 2nd 2018, browsing to MaximumPC.com no longer forwards to the Hardware section of PCGamer.com
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.
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 issuealthough 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.
Maximum PC also has many freelance contributors, including Jeremy Laird, Alex Cox, Neil Mohr, Phil Iwanuik, Matt Hanson, 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.
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.
An Italian edition of Maximum PC was launched in December 2004 by Future Media Italy, the Italian division of Future Publishing, and ceased publishing after only six issues.