Maximum PC


- Guy Cocker

SINCE THE Nvidia RTX 4090 arrived to a ‘9 Kick-Ass’ award in our December 2022 issue, we’ve been fixated on the card. I admit to being personally impressed when I did the cover build for the following issue, and after some frustratin­g boot problems, I was able to see all my favorite games in a new light by playing them at 4K with maxed-out settings. Sam followed that up with a much cheaper 4090 build in the Jan 2023 issue, showing that while the 4090 itself is expensive, it didn’t need the latest and greatest CPU, RAM, or motherboar­d to get the most out of it.

This time it’s the turn of the RTX 4080, the much-maligned little sibling of the flagship, which has been somewhat overlooked since its launch at the end of last year. That’s understand­able— Nvidia somehow managed to make it worse value than the more expensive card, given its price-to-performanc­e ratio. Of course, Nvidia has control of the lever that needs to be pulled to address this imbalance, namely the price. There has already been a price drop in Europe, which may have been reflected worldwide by the time you read this. And with the RTX 4070 Ti, hopefully, price pressures will continue to be exerted on the 4080 to the point where it makes more sense for buyers.

In the here and now, though, our builder Sam has put together Maximum

PC’s first 4080 build to see what it’s capable of outside of the reviews and in the real world. Not only that but he’s paired it with the first AMD Zen 4 chip we’ve featured in a build, in the form of the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. The resulting build is just under $3,000—similar to Sam’s 4090 build from a month earlier. How do the two line up? Check out the feature starting on page 16.

The big reviews keep coming this issue, with both the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT going under the watchful eye of our graphics specialist Jarred Walton. Like Nvidia, there’s a feeling from PC gamers that AMD has priced its two top cards in a way that pushes people towards the most expensive offering, but more importantl­y, are either of them worth buying? Find out on page 74.

Elsewhere this issue, we look at everything you need to get started in podcasting, from the hardware to software, from hosting to distributi­on. If you’ve ever wanted to host your own show and reach an audience of millions, we have everything you need on page 32! On a more practical level, we also show you how to save anything to a USB stick, so that you can make the most of those versatile little pen drives that you no doubt have stashed in a desk drawer somewhere. And as rumors swirl of Apple’s entry into the VR/AR market this year (see news, page 10), on page 52, we round up the current best headsets available for PC users wanting to enter the metaverse. Or at the very least, play

Half-Life:Alyx in the best way possible. On a personal note, this issue marks my 13th as editor, meaning I’ve spent a year at the helm. Time flies when you’re having fun! Thank you to everyone who’s read the magazine over the past 12 months, anyone who’s written in to say they’ve enjoyed (or not) our work, and the people listed in the panel opposite who help put it together. 2023 is going to be an exciting time for PC users, so I hope you stick with us for the ride.

Enjoy the issue!

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