While I generally find your magazine informative and well written, I feel compelled to point out that the comparison of Linux security to Windows security in your recent beginner’s guide to Linux is largely inaccurate. I understand that Nick Peers’s opinion is that Linux is more secure.
The reality is that Linux, BSD in the form of OS X, and Windows are statistically about equal in the number of annual vulnerabilities by severity, according to multiple security reports released over the last decade. Microsoft Windows is usually rated as the most secure of the OSes, because Microsoft generally patches its vulnerabilities faster than the others. Also, if users actually leave UAC turned on, or set it back to “Always notify,” as it was by default in Vista, they functionally have the same protection as sudo; UAC enforces least privilege. Stating, “Windows does this to some degree with its NTFS filesystem, but it’s no substitute for Linux,” is misguided at best. Windows has all the file permission granularity of Linux and more; including explicit denials. Open a command prompt and type “icacls /?” without the quotes, then attempt to make a case that Windows is missing permissions functionality. Finally, Windows is the only non- research OS I am aware of that has implemented Integrity Levels, which is a feature that has been present since Vista.
Linux is a great OS. So is Windows. So is OS X, for that matter. Take your pick. Just do not represent misguided opinion as fact. People rely on your magazine for accurate information.
–Mark Van Noy
ARTICLE AUTHOR NICK PEERS RESPONDS: There’s one key thing missing from your argument, and that’s behavior. Which is surprising, given that these days most forms of malware target people by their behavior, rather than by targeting known (and unknown) vulnerabilities. People who run Linux tend to be more clued up about vulnerabilities than their Windows- using brethren.
And Windows falls far short of Linux (and OS X) by not demanding you enter your password each time a process asks for administrator access. It's all too easy to wave through processes without reviewing them properly— at least the pain and extra few seconds of tapping in your password could be the difference between spotting a suspicious process and missing it.
We can’t ignore the fact that the proliferation of Windows makes it a much tastier target than either. Or the fact that the open source nature of Linux means that there are potentially more eyes looking at possible vulnerabilities than Redmond can manage. Ultimately, though, it comes back to the user far more than the operating system. To quote the FBI’s Dennis Hughes: “The only secure computer is one that’s unplugged, locked in a safe, and buried 20 feet under the ground in a secret location… and I’m not even too sure about that one.”
Your technical details are apparently above my pay grade. Help me out. The July Budget Blueprint went from the G4600 to the G4560 which “only loses out a touch.” For the same Budget Blueprint in the August issue, it’s the G4560 to a G4600 for “a substantial increase.” – Dallas EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: Hands up, you got us there. In the first instance, we were trying to make the enforced drop in processing power an easier pill to swallow, while in the second we were just happy to go back to the slightly faster offering. Ultimately, there isn’t a lot between the two: The G4560 runs at 3.5GHz, while the G4600 runs at 3.6GHz. The only other difference is the graphics subsystem, which goes from an Intel HD Graphics 610 with a max dynamic frequency of 1.05GHz up to an Intel HD Graphics 630 maxing out at 1.10GHz. Given that we used a discrete card, this last point isn’t even that relevant.
The August edition of MaximumPC has an article on PCI Express. It was very informative but it contained a statement that requires
me to make an assumption of which I’m not sure.
On page 56 of the article, there is a paragraph (far- right, second from the bottom) that summarized PCIe lanes for Z170 and Z270 motherboards. The statement “the Z170 adds 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes and the Z270 sports 24” is confusing. My assumption is that the Z170 has a total of 20 lanes and the Z270 has a total of 24; of which 16 are dedicated to the CPU and the others to the motherboard chipset.
This may be a nit, but for those of us who are rather literal minded and not intimately familiar with technical details ( which makes an article like this most useful), it does pose a question. – Peter Luptovic EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: PCI Express lanes come from one of two places: the processor or the motherboard chipset. In the case of a Core i7 in the Z170, you’re looking at a total of 36 lanes—16 from the processor, and a further 20 from the motherboard chipset. The Z270 has a total of 40 lanes (16 from the CPU, 24 from the chipset). Take another look at the image on page 57, entitled “Lane Splitting Explained,” which shows you how the lanes are split up.
As of right now, I have an overclocked Core i7- 5820K on an mATX EVGA X99 Micro2 motherboard that's paired with an EVGA GTX 980 Superclocked ACX 2.0 graphics card inside a Fractal Design Node 804.
I'm looking to improve my graphics hardware as I want to step up to a 120–140Hz monitor or 1440p, because my current monitor is experiencing screen tearing in a lot of games, and I don’t want to lock myself to 60fps if my card is capable of going higher. My issue is that the 5820K only has 28 PCIe lanes, and I’m worried that it might bottleneck my system if I put in another 980 for SLI.
The second PCIe slot sits very close to the first, and I think it will starve my first card of air. However, if I place it in the fourth PCIe slot, that would make it run at x4 I believe, which doesn’t sound ideal. My other option is to ditch the GTX 980 I own and get a GTX 1080, but is that too much of an overkill for what I’m trying to achieve? I only play a handful of AAA games, along with video editing, live streaming, and heavy multitasking.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: Of the two options you set out, we personally favor an upgrade to a GTX 1080, but that’s mainly down to our own frustrated experiences waiting for good SLI profiles— as you’re not a big gamer, this may not be an issue. Having said that, adding another 980 is a good solution. As you suggest, though, those cards are going to be tight up against each other, so you’re going to need to ensure there is plenty of airflow in your system to stop your hardware getting too hot.
You should be able to pick up a second- hand GTX 980 for around $260, which isn’t bad. Of course, by extension, you could sell your current card for around $200, and then pick up a GTX 1080 for only a little more than you would pay for the GTX 980. You should see comparable performance from either option (roughly a 70 percent improvement over your single card), with the advantages of the 1080 being that it won’t run as hot as two 980s, will consume less power, and will be running at full speed, without having to wait for those SLI profiles. It also gives you the option of upgrading to SLI later on if you want.
Last September, you ran an excellent article on VR. Are you planning to do an updated article with hardware soon?
– John Van Pelt
EXECUTIVE EDITOR ALAN DEXTER RESPONDS: The take- up of VR hasn’t been the runaway success that many anticipated it to be, and there have been scant few apps worth getting excited about. However, with the likes of LoneEcho (pg. 91), it would appear that developers are beginning to get a good grasp of what VR can do, and a second round of wireless hardware is on the way as well, which could shake things up. So, we’ll continue to watch things carefully.
The second round of VR hardware should be hitting us soon.