Ed­i­tors’ Picks: Dig­i­tal Dis­cov­er­ies

Tuan Nguyen, ed­i­tor-in-chief, and Alan Dexter, ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor, re­veal their lat­est tech loves

Maximum PC - - IN THE LAB -

In the world of stor­age, more is bet­ter. There was a time when I thought a 1GB hard drive was sub­stan­tial. I also re­mem­ber­ing pay­ing $300 for one when they’d just come out. These days, 1GB is ab­so­lutely puny.

En­ter the Asus­tor AS6208T. I’ve been test­ing this unit for a while, fully loaded with eight West­ern Dig­i­tal Red 6TB NAS drives. The Asus­tor is a busi­ness-class net­work at­tached stor­age de­vice that has ev­ery­thing an en­thu­si­ast or home user would want: mul­ti­ple Eth­er­net ports, USB 3.0, eSATA, and even HDMI and SPDIF out­put. Equipped with an In­tel 1.6GHz quad-core Celeron and 4GB of RAM, the AS6208T can even act as a stand­alone PC. That’s not to say you should use it as one, but if you’re look­ing for a beefy home-the­ater ma­chine, a NAS such as this might just be worth it.

Asus­tor has NASes that sup­port 10-gi­ga­bit speeds, but the AS6208T tops out at 1Gb Eth­er­net. For most users, this is enough, es­pe­cially if the unit is serv­ing up movies to your home the­ater ma­chine di­rectly.

Per­for­mance has been good so far, and I haven’t ever ex­pe­ri­enced slow­downs. The only nit­pick is Asus­tor’s ADM soft­ware. It’s hor­ri­ble, and Asus­tor could learn a thing or two from Synol­ogy or QNAP. $1,100, www.asus­tor.com Not long af­ter in­tro­duc­ing di­rect stream­ing to Beam in Windows 10, Mi­crosoft changed the ser­vice’s name to Mixer. It now sup­ports co-stream­ing, and has bet­ter cell phone sup­port. The ser­vice is trundling along smoothly enough, but it still has the same prob­lem that it did when we first saw it— there just aren’t enough peo­ple us­ing it.

In case you didn’t know, the big two stream­ing ser­vices are YouTube and Twitch, and it’s the lat­ter that rules the roost for dayto-day stream­ing. This is where you’ll find gam­ing celebri­ties ply­ing their trade, and where you can eas­ily watch gamers play­ing games. If you’re strug­gling to un­der­stand why you’d want to watch some­one else play a game, the par­al­lels to sports are ob­vi­ous, and there are plenty of stream­ers who are just downright en­ter­tain­ing, mak­ing the whole thing feel like a whacky ra­dio sta­tion.

Twitch isn’t with­out foibles (the chat that ac­com­pa­nies a stream can be frus­trat­ing, to say the least), and with more view­ers, the chance of in­ter­act­ing with the streamer be­comes harder. So, in the­ory, Mixer could be the place to be, but with fewer watch­ers, you have fewer stream­ers, then it feels you don’t have the choice that you do on Twitch. It’s tough to make it in the tech world. Free, www.mixer.com



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