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Preview: PC World Latest Technology News

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Published: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:07:02 -0700

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:07:02 -0700

 



Surface Laptop vs. Surface Pro 4: We compare prices, features and more

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 16:50:00 -0700

Updated 07/22/17 with additional data from our review of the Surface Laptop. Check out the Battery and Performance sections for the new comparisons. 

Microsoft's Surface Laptop is aimed at supplanting the MacBook Air as a college-student favorite. The svelte, stylish clamshell also fills a middle ground between its cousins, the Surface Pro 4 tablet and Surface Book powerhouse 2-in-1, providing a third option that could appeal to many regular consumers. 

We got a good first impression of the Surface Laptop after going hands-on in advance of its June launch. Now that we've reviewed it, we can help you decide whether it's a better choice than the Surface Pro 4, with its promise of a tablet that can be a full-fledged computer. Let’s dig in!

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This week in games: Call of Duty WWII's spooky zombies, Doom Guy identity revealed, and more

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:41:00 -0700

Christmas in July? More like Halloween in July, as we are inundated with horror trailers this week—Evil Within II, Observer, and Call of Duty: WWII's spooky new zombies.

That, plus John Romero reveals who served as inspiration for the iconic Doom cover art, American Truck Simulator closes down Pacific Coast Highway, and StarCraft II adds skins, sprays, and other Overwatch-style fodder.

This is gaming news for July 17 to 21.

More Wang

Looking for something to play this weekend? If you never purchased the 2014 Shadow Warrior reboot, you can grab it from the Humble store from now until 10 a.m. Pacific on July 22—less than 24 hours from now. I know, it's not the longest-running promotion, but that 2014 Shadow Warrior is an incredible corridor shooter with some awe-inspiring boss battles and great (albeit crass) humor.

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Best Buy is currently selling the HDHomeRun Connect for $70

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:55:00 -0700

If you've been thinking about going the cord-cutter route, consider this a sign. Best Buy is selling the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Connect for $70 right now. This external TV tuner features two tuners, allowing you to watch over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV on two sets or to record one show while watching the other.

The Connect's specifications say it supports up to 1080p, but broadcast TV is usually 1080i. That's still 1920-by-1080 resolution, however. The one extra thing you will need in addition to the tuner is a digital antenna.

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Doom's free DLC unleashes hell on hard drives as a ludicrously large update

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 06:15:00 -0700

Thank goodness I didn’t have Doom installed. Earlier this week we reported on Bethesda’s sort-of magnanimous gesture to give away all of Doom’s DLC for free—the catch of course being that Doom only had DLC for its lackluster multiplayer mode. Still, it’s free right? So what’s the problem?

It’s a 34GB update, give or take.

Earlier this year I wrote about the bloated size of game downloads and the amount of space they take up on your hard drive. The situation hasn’t improved, with the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7 apparently set to swallow 100GB of drive space, or slightly under in a best case scenario.

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7 AMD Ryzen tips and tricks to maximize your PC's performance

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:22:00 -0700

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2017 but was updated extensively in late July to reflect months of additional Ryzen releases, tweaks, and AM4 platform updates.

The most disruptive computer processors in a decade are finally here, and AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are multithreading monsters.

The initial salvo of high-end Ryzen 7 chips—the $500 Ryzen 7 1800X, $400 Ryzen 7 1700X, and $330 Ryzen 7 1700—absolutely chew through productivity and content creation tasks, bringing the power of 8-core, 16-thread chips to more affordable price points. Meanwhile, Ryzen 5 chips like the 6-core, $230 Ryzen 5 1600X and 4-core, $190 Ryzen 5 1500X beat out Intel’s Core i5 series as the best mainstream CPUs for power users.

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The best PC co-op games to play with your friends

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:21:00 -0700

Battle buddies
(image)

Image by Ubisoft

It’s good to have friends. That goes doubly so when you’re facing down a zombie horde or coordinating an attack on a Klingon warship.

Here we’ve rounded up 12 games that are better in every way to play with friends. Yeah, you could play some of them alone. Sure, you could (if you’re masochistic) play some of them with random Internet strangers who love to use profanity. But if you pair up with a partner or three you’ll have a much more rewarding experience.

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Best password managers of 2017: Reviews of the top products

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:30:00 -0700


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Cord cutting is easier and better than ever, but it’s not the right choice for every TV fan

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Cable and satellite TV can be expensive, but don’t feel guilty if you want to keep it.


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True Key by Intel Security review: This password manager wants to eliminate passwords

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

One common pitfall of all password managers is that you have to remember a master password. If you forget it, you lose access to all the others. True Key offers an alternative to this burden by allowing you to log in to the app using something unique to you. Depending on your device, that could be your fingerprint, your face, or a second device. You can even combine authentication methods for stronger security.

Once you’ve created an account and master password and installed the browser extension, True Key brings you up to speed with a helpful welcome wizard. The tour starts by displaying a couple dozen popular website logos. You pick one and it takes you that site, explaining that all you have to do is log in and True Key will capture your credentials and store them in your vault. When you return to a site, True Key logs you in automatically.

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1Password review: Capable password manager is missing some key features

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

AgileBits 1Password was originally designed for the Mac way back in 2006. But today it also offers apps for Windows, Android, and iOS as well as extensions for all major browsers. It boasts some of the same features as top-tier managers LastPass and Dashlane, but lacks some key ones and overall feels a lot less polished.

1Password has a unique setup process. After entering your name, 1Password generates a 34-character “secret key.” Next you create your master password. Together, these two pieces create the full-encryption key used to encrypt your passwords and other data and you’ll need to enter them both each time you add a new device or browser extension. Given their importance, 1Password next offers to create an Emergency Kit that contains your secret key and a space to write in your master password. It saves it as a PDF, and you’re advised to store it on a USB key or in a safe deposit box.

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Sticky Password review: Strong features behind a bare-bones interface

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Sticky Password may not be as familiar as LastPass or 1Password, but it boasts features that rival both of them, albeit in a much less polished package. It doesn’t quite rise to the top tier of password managers, but it’s more than capable of getting the job done.

When you download Sticky Password—there’s no web version of the app—it will prompt you to create a master password. Unlike some other password managers, Sticky Password doesn’t offer a way to recover or reset this password if you forget it, so commit it to memory. You’ll also be asked if you want Sticky Password to sync your data over its cloud network or your own Wi-Fi network. With this unique option, your devices sync only when they’re all connected to your wireless network, so your data never goes out over the internet. It’s a nice added layer of security.

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Keeper review: A strong focus on security

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Keeper is a no-nonsense password manager that puts the security of your login credentials above all else. However, it’s lack of automated features may limit its appeal for some.

When you sign up for Keeper, you’re prompted to create a master password and select a security question. The latter will be used, along with a verification code and—if enabled—two-factor authentication, to access your data if you forget your master password.

Next, Keeper walks you through a four-step “quick start” checklist: creating your first record, installing the browser extension, uploading your first file, and enabling two-factor authentication. As you complete each step, the checkmark next to the relevant items turns green.

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Dashlane review: This password manager makes you smarter about security

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Of all the password managers we’ve reviewed, Dashlane has come closest to stealing LastPass’s crown. Easy to use and rich with features, it meets all our requirements for a top-tier password manager. But Dashlane goes beyond just managing your login credentials, providing insights for how to think smarter about security.

Dashlane’s strength has long been its elegant interface, which displays your accounts as tiles—indeed, LastPass recently adopted this style—but version 4 adds the option of showing them as a list as well. Each tile has its own fly-out menu from which you can edit your account info, securely share your login credentials, and view your password history.

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LastPass review: This virtual vault makes password protection effortless

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Correction: In our original review, we mistakenly said you needed the paid plan to get two-factor authentication and mobile device support. LastPass is actually free to use on multiple devices, and two-factor authentication is included in the free version. We have corrected the review. PCWorld regrets the error.

LastPass remains something of a gold standard for password managers. One of the first full-featured tools of its kind, this combination vault, form-filler, and password generator ticks off all the boxes in our password manager checklist.

After you sign up and install the LastPass browser plugin, it captures your login credentials when you visit a website for the first time. When you return to a site, a small icon appears in its login fields showing how many accounts you have stored. Clicking it opens a drop-down menu revealing each account so you can select the appropriate one. You can also select an auto-login option for each account to have LastPass sign you in automatically whenever you visit that site.

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Surface Laptop vs. Surface Book: The prices and features of two premium laptops, compared

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:39:00 -0700


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Microsoft's Office sales soar and Windows Phone fades in cloud-happy earnings call

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:50:00 -0700

Remember when Microsoft touted Windows Mobile during earnings calls? Now, Microsoft's Windows Phone business is "immaterial," while Office, Azure, and other cloud and services products continue to propel the company to profitability. 

In a small note during its second-quarter earnings report Thursday, Microsoft said its phone business had declined $361 million in revenue from a year ago, leading to the claim that the phone business was “immaterial,” or not enough to report to investors. It wasn't enough that Microsoft’s More Personal Computing segment reported a revenue decline of 2 percent to $8.8 billion: chief financial officer Amy Hood also noted that phones caused a four-percent decline—in other words, Microsoft blamed phones for the company’s loss.

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Best Buy is selling a 2-in-1 Chromebook for $220

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:40:00 -0700

Chromebooks are great, but I have a very specific opinion about buying them. I want a price around $200, an Intel processor, and a minimum 32GB of onboard storage. Right now, Best Buy has just such a deal: You can get the Acer R11 2-in-1 Chromebook for $220. The only catch is you have to sign-up for a “My Best Buy” account to see the sale price, as this is an “early access” deal.

This is a great price for this machine—and surprising to see so soon, given that we just saw this steep discount during last week’s Amazon’s Prime Day sale. For $220, you get an 11.6-inch touchscreen display with 1366-by-768 resolution, 32GB of eMMC flash storage, 4GB of RAM, and a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Celeron N3160 processor. The N3160 is a pretty standard processor for Chromebooks, and it runs really well with Chrome OS since the operating system is so light.

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SteelSeries Arctis 7 review: This wireless headset provides incredible comfort

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:00:00 -0700

Ski goggles. That’s the inspiration for SteelSeries’s new Arctis line of headsets, including the wireless Arctis 7 I’ve been using for the past few weeks. Take the floating headband that SteelSeries popularized on its old Siberia line, replace it with the elastic you’d use to strap on ski goggles (or maybe a VR headset) and you’ve got the Arctis.

Sounds weird, right? But it’s one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn.

Surprising design

It’s amazing nobody else has done this. I’ve praised floating headbands in the past, especially those from SteelSeries, but there was some caveat. Maybe the headset had a tendency to slip around, or the headband felt like it would wear out too quickly, or it seemed unreasonably bulky (see: G.Skill’s SR910). A great idea maybe, but one that needed refining.

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What to do about the 'Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC' error

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 06:21:00 -0700

Updated July 20 with confirmation from Microsoft about the root cause, and how security updates will be handled on affected PCs.

Owners of some Windows 10 laptops and tablets are crashing into a worrying roadblock when they try to install the Windows 10 Creators Update. Windows Update initially says the notebooks are compatible with the upgrade, but fails to install it after downloading the setup files, instead displaying the following message: “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC. Uninstall this app now because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10.”

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Phiaton BT 460 Bluetooth headphone review: Sleek, smart, and feature rich. But they sound best wired

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Innovative features and strong battery life set these headphones apart from the pack. Unfortunately, their Bluetooth audio performance falls short.


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What happened to Fling, Amazon's Chromecast clone on Fire TV?

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Amazon Fling was supposed to bring Chromecast-like features to Fire TV devices. Two years later, that effort has fizzled.


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Confirmed: Windows 10 may cut off devices with older CPUs

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 03:00:00 -0700

No Windows 10 Creators Update for you, Microsoft says—at least, not if you happen to be the unlucky owner of certain older Atom-based Windows devices, and other aging models in the future. After stories arose of failed attempts to upgrade such hardware to the Creators Update, Microsoft confirmed late Wednesday that any hardware device that falls out of the manufacturer’s support cycle may be ineligible for future Windows 10 updates.

In the case of the four “Clover Trail” processors (part of the Cloverview platform) that have fallen into Intel's End of Interactive Support phase, they will be ineligible for the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft confirmed. Instead, they’ll simply be offered the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, plus security updates through January, 2023, the end of the original Windows 8.1 support period.

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Intel's 12-core Core i9 might lose the megahertz war to AMD's Ryzen Threadripper

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:54:00 -0700

When Intel’s next Core i9 CPU appears in a month or so, it may face some stiff competition in a battle people long thought was over: the Megahertz Wars.

Although Intel hasn’t formally declared the clock speed of its upcoming 12-core Core i9-7920X, the company appears to have inadvertently disclosed it. A price list posted by the company on July 14 shows the $1,200 Core i9-7920X with 16.5MB of cache, 12 cores, 24 threads, and a clock speed of 2.9GHz.

Intel officials declined to comment to PCWorld on the apparent slip.

(image) IDG

Intel may have inadvertently published the clock speed of its upcoming 12-core Core i9-7920X and it doesn’t look inspiring.

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Android O: The Reddit AMA's 8 most interesting reveals

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:51:00 -0700

As the Android O release date nears, Google’s busy engineering team still found time on Wednesday to hop onto Reddit for their annual AMA. Users submitted a barrage of questions, and here are the most interesting things we learned:

Dark mode isn’t coming, so stop asking

Google teased us with dark mode on both the Android N and O developer previews, but it’s not making it into the full release anytime soon. The reason? “Reliable and consistent theming is hard.”

Numerous questions about themes and dark mode stacked up on the Reddit board, and Android engineer Alan Viverette addressed it thusly: “There are technical and logistical issues with theming. The technical side is largely solved in O with Runtime Resource Overlay support (a Sony framework that allows the system to modify the look and feel of an app while it is running); however, we still don’t have stable APIs for describing what can be themed or adequate ways to verify that existing applications properly support theming.”

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Pop! OS Linux from System76 is a rare DIY distro from a hardware vendor

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:54:00 -0700

Pop! OS is more than just another Linux distro. Many Linux OSes borrow from other OSes in one way or another but add their own spin to the OS in question--like a different desktop environment, for example. Pop! OS is not much different in this respect, except that it's developed by System76, a company that sells laptops and desktops preloaded with Ubuntu. Well, for now. System76 recently released an Alpha version of its own Ubuntu-based operating system, dubbed Pop! OS. The company has set the first official release for Pop! OS for October 19.

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The Full Nerd episode 26: AMD Threadripper's wild prices, Ryzen 3, Radeon Vega FE reviews

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:32:00 -0700

In this week’s The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray discuss all things AMD, starting with the bombshell Threadripper pricing. Sixteen cores and 32 threads for $999! Can the far more expensive Core i9 chips compete with such aggressive pricing by AMD, especially with Intel’s debut 12-core clocked at a mere 2.9GHz (as we discovered totally by accident, live, in the middle of the show)?

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Doom's 6.66 update makes all DLC free

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:50:00 -0700

Doom was probably 2016’s greatest surprise. After a disastrous multiplayer “beta”/demo I was primed to hate it, only to come away from the campaign a few weeks later thinking it was one of the year’s best games.

With that in mind, the phrase “We’ve retired the Doom season pass” should be cause for celebration. Bethesda announced today that all of Doom’s post-release downloadable content is now free to everyone, as part of Update 6.66. More Doom? For free? Excellent.

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Newegg is offering a four-port USB hub for free today (after rebate)

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:21:00 -0700

Periodically Newegg decides to heavily discount its Rosewill cables and connectors. Right now, the retailer has a sale on its in-house products that’ll beat even a $0.99 HDMI cable on eBay: Everything’s free. Kind of.

These products are free after rebate, so you still have to pay up front. (And depending on where you live, you’ll also have to pay sales tax, which won’t get reimbursed.) After the rebate, you’ll get a gift card worth the value of the purchase. Of all the products available today, I’m most interested in the four-port USB 3.0 aluminum hub for $12 (before the $12 rebate).

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Telltale reveals Wolf Among Us 2, a final Walking Dead season, and another Batman

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:10:00 -0700

Just yesterday I was lamenting on Twitter that we’d never see another Wolf Among Us, with Telltale apparently content to churn out licensed superhero games, and then...more Wolf Among Us. Surprise! Telltale announced a trio of games this morning at San Diego Comic-Con—Batman: The Enemy Within,The Walking Dead: The Final Season, and (most importantly) Wolf Among Us 2.

Batman is the only one out in 2017, so it is indeed a year of Telltale superheroes—Guardians of the Galaxy and Batman will finish out the rest of the year. Episode one, titled “The Enigma,” will be out on August 8 which is mere weeks from now. And if you hadn’t already guessed from the title, Riddler will play a large role in the new season.

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