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Preview: PC World


Published: Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:52:43 -0700

Last Build Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:52:43 -0700


Atari's Ataribox console will run Linux and cost $250-$300, if it ever materializes

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:15:00 -0700

Atari announced in June that it was getting back into the hardware business, with plans for an upcoming “Ataribox” console. Of course, it didn’t release any actual details at the time—only a slick-looking render of a retro-styled box, complete with real wood paneling. Oh, plus a promise to crowdfund the upcoming console.

If alarm bells just started ringing in your head, visions of another Ouya-style disaster, well I can’t say those fears are unfounded. This week Atari further detailed the Ataribox to GamesBeat, and the plan seems even weirder than before.

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Mozilla's Firefox Quantum next-generation browser is ready for you to try out

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:19:00 -0700

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Newegg is selling a 28-inch 4K FreeSync monitor for $260

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 10:15:00 -0700

If you’ve been hunting for a budget 4K monitor with FreeSync, today’s your lucky day—so long as you don’t mind a TN panel. This week, Newegg is offering AOC’s U2879VF 28-inch 3840x2160 monitor for $260 with coupon code EMCRKCG32. The deal ends on Monday, October 2.

This is a great option for AMD fans since it uses AMD’s FreeSync technology. If you have a compatible AMD Radeon graphics card, FreeSync will reduce tearing and stuttering, giving you a better gaming experience.

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Microsoft announces Office 2019 for customers who don't want to pay forever for Office 365

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 08:50:00 -0700

Microsoft would really like you to sign up for one of its productivity subscriptions: Office 365, or better yet, the new Microsoft 365. But for those old fogies who prefer standalone software, Microsoft announced Office 2019 on Tuesday.

Office 2019 will ship in the second half of 2018, Microsoft said, with a preview version scheduled for mid-2018. The Office 2019 suite will include the standard complement of Office apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, plus server apps like Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business. Presumably, Microsoft will offer different versions of Office 2019 (including a version for the Apple Mac), but executives didn’t say.

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Anker SoundCore A3102 Bluetooth speaker review: Inexpensive, but surprisingly not cheap

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 04:30:00 -0700

An off-the-hook price-to-performance ratio renders this small speaker a good value.

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WD My Cloud Home Duo review: Super easy to use, but also super slow and short on features

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 03:00:00 -0700

We like that WD is trying to make network attached storage easier, more connected, and cross-device compatible. But this box is incredibly slow writing data, and it's missing a key feature.

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Best Buy has discounted the 10.5-inch iPad Pro (64GB) by $100

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 14:35:00 -0700

Right now, you can get the 64GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro at a decent price.

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Microsoft 365 recasts Windows 10 S laptops as inexpensive corporate machines

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:18:00 -0700

Windows 10 S is no longer just for education. On Monday at its Ignite conference for corporate partners, Microsoft unveiled four new Windows 10 S laptops from Acer, HP, and Lenovo, together with a new shorthand for the services they'll provide: Microsoft 365.

The new Windows 10 S machines will be sold to such customers later this year, and all cost less than $350. They're part of the cadre of low-cost Windows 10 S devices that Microsoft showed off at the introduction of Windows 10 S last year. Contrary to that event's educational bent, however, these machines are being positioned as business PCs for what Microsoft terms "firstline workers" but might better be known as "front-line" workers—the staff you meet on support lines or at service counters, who interface with the public. 

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Watch us build a SNES Classic RetroPie emulator console

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:30:00 -0700

Did you miss the window for preordering Nintendo’s hot new SNES Classic? Or are you just more partial to emulation? Either way you should join us on our adventure to build our own RetroPie emulation console, using a Raspberry Pi 3! Tune into PCWorld’s YouTube channel on Friday, September 29th at 10 am PT and join us as we go through the entire process.

Parts list

Building your own RetroPie console with a Raspberry Pi 3 is quite easy, especially if you follow our handy-dandy guide by Benj Edwards. Here are the materials we’ll use:

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Loihi is Intel's brainy chip designed to outthink your PC's Core CPU

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:38:00 -0700

Intel is reportedly preparing to fabricate “Loihi,” a self-learning “brain chip” that mimics how the human intellect functions, as a foundation for further developments in artificial intelligence.

Named after an active undersea volcano south of the island of Hawaii, Intel said in a statement Monday that Loihi includes a total of 130,000 silicon “neurons” connected with 130 million “synapses,” the junctions that in humans connect the neurons within the brain. The Loihi chip, which Wired reported will be manufactured next month on Intel’s 14-nm process technology, will be shared with leading universities and research institutions next year in a bid to advance AI development, Intel said.

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Microsoft plans to own quantum computing like it owns Windows PCs

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:35:00 -0700

Microsoft executives said Monday that the company is developing a quantum computer—from chips all the way through to the operating system—in a bid to control what could be a disruptive computer technology.

Though Microsoft is following companies like IBM and D-Wave Systems—whose 2000Q quantum computer is already built and selling to customers like Los Alamos National Laboratory and Google, among others—Microsoft hopes to be able to develop chips around what it calls topological qubits, a more stable form of the quantum bit. Topological qubits would make them more resilient under everyday use, the company says.

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Fitbit Ionic review: A great fitness tracker, a mediocre smartwatch

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 08:30:00 -0700

Fitbit's new Ionic smartwatch outpaces Apple and Android Wear watches when it comes to fitness tracking, but it falls short as a smartwatch.

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Super Mario Run speeds toward massive update, price cut

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 07:04:00 -0700

Nintendo has announced that a new version of Super Mario Run coming this week will bring modes, levels, characters, and a price cut.

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Total War: Warhammer II review: Dinosaurs battle rat-men for the fate of the world

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 07:00:00 -0700

“Kill the warmbloods!” The cry resounds over the battlefield, no doubt instilling fear in the hordes of rats who face me. Still they march on, pouring out of desolate ruins towards my scaly soldiers. To the left, a division of spear-wielding chameleons. To the right, a massive tyrannosaurus rex waits with opening jaws. And behind? Well, that’s where my cavalry await—dinosaurs riding other dinosaurs.

Total War: Warhammer II is truly bizarre.

Skaven is a place on Earth

It’s been approximately a year and a half since the release of Total War: Warhammerthe first Total War game to abandon history for more fantastical fields of glory. Do I wish we’d gotten another history-centric Total War by now? Sure. But we didn’t, and instead Creative Assembly has released the second part of a planned trilogy, which for convenience sake I’m going to call Total Warhammer II from here on out.

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Focal Listen Wireless review

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:30:00 -0700

Focal's Listen Wireless offers outstanding Bluetooth wireless range and hands-free performance, but be sure to plug them in for the best sound.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (2017) review: Competition pushes this competent tablet down

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Tablet (2017) does little to differentiate itself from the company’s first-generation X1 Tablet, and we’re generally okay with that. Lenovo kept what we liked most—the comfy kickstand, fingerprint reader, and modular accessories—but upgraded the new 12-inch ThinkPad X1 Tablet with an Intel Kaby Lake chip to bring it in line with the competition. 

The ThinkPad brand is equated with no-nonsense business machines, and the X1 Tablet offers a host of useful checkbox items like front and rear cameras, an SD card slot, and the traditional TrackPoint nubbin, which should appeal to ThinkPad fans. But those features might not be enough to silence the call of emerging, stylish rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Book, which offers better battery life, and at a lower price. Let’s be clear: The new X1 Tablet is a competent two-in-one. But the competition has improved, and for that reason we’re knocking the second-generation X1 Tablet’s score down a half-star from its predecessor. 

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Intel Core i9 review: We test the massive 18-core Core i9-7980X and 16-core Core i8-7960X

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:01:00 -0700

Intel. Strikes. Back. The massive 18-core Core i9-7980X and 16-core Core i8-7960X are the chipmaker’s response to AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper, which has been eating Intel’s lunch for many months.

But can Goliath Intel rise from its stunning defeat to challenge David AMD to a re-match? Can it shake off rumors of clock speeds and high temperatures? To find out you’ll have to read on.

Because there’s so much to say about Core i9, we put the prices, features and FAQs into a separate story you’ll want to read for background. For this review, we’ll walk through some of the under-the-hood issues directly related to performance, and then we’ll dive into the benchmarks. 

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Intel launches 8th-gen Core desktop chips, claims the Core i7-8700K is its best gaming chip ever

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 20:05:00 -0700

Intel pushed further ahead into its 8th-generation Core series with the launch of its mainstream desktop chips Sunday night, including the 6-core/12-thread Core i7-8700K, which Intel claims is its best gaming chip ever. Intel also beefed up its Core i5 family with 6-core parts, as well as its first quad-core Core i3.

Orders for Intel’s new Core desktop chips will begin on October 5, Anand Srivatsa, general manager of the desktop platform group at Intel, said. They will begin shipping later in the fourth quarter.

Prices and specs for the new 8th-gen Core chips

Though executives didn’t use the term, the new chips have been referred to as part of the “Coffee Lake” family. In all, Intel launched six new chips:

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Confirmed: Radeon RX Vega won't get 4-way multi-GPU support in games

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 03:13:00 -0700

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Easy fixes for six common laptop problems

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:21:00 -0700

We live and work in a cold, cruel world where our laptops can take a lot of abuse. Regardless of how gentle we try to be, our notebooks will probably be dropped, spilled upon or worse—sooner, if not later.

But if you think that all notebook damage can be repaired only by the manufacturer or a computer shop, think again. Many problems can be inexpensively and easily fixed with common tools, spare parts, and a little effort. Some repairs are no harder than high school art projects. That said, there are modern laptops that are very difficult to open and repair. If you can't see any screws, you're in for a tough time.

Using a couple of old, beat-up mainstream notebooks, we’ll show you how to fix everything from a broken case and frayed charger cord to a bad fan and scratched screen. Each restoration project has time and cost estimates, as well as what materials you’ll need to do the trick. Just follow the basic directions we’ve outlined for each repair.

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Intel kills its standalone Project Alloy VR headset, as PC-powered VR wins out

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:12:00 -0700

Intel has decided to halt development on its Project Alloy standalone VR headset, executives said, as a standalone headset proved to be no match for PC-powered VR.

In August 2016, Intel launched Project Alloy in conjunction with Microsoft, as one of the first instances of making the technology behind virtual reality into an open-source platform, sort of like the PC. But Intel decided not to go forward with the project for two reasons, according to Kim Pallister, the director of the Virtual Reality Center of Excellence at Intel: lack of customer interest, and a discovery that a self-contained headset just didn’t offer the performance of a PC that could be plugged into a wall.

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AMD Radeon phases out the CrossFire brand as multi-GPU gets more complicated

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:09:00 -0700

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Best Buy is selling the Ring Solar Panel for $20

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:35:00 -0700

If you have a Ring Stick Up Cam but balked at the extra $50 for the solar charging panel, we've got a weekend project for you. Right now Best Buy has the Ring Solar Panel on sale for $20.

The solar panel is an alternative way to power the Ring Stick Up Cam. Without the panel, you have to bring it in every few months to charge it via USB. When we reviewed the Stick Up Cam earlier in September, we liked it as a way to expand the security perimeter of anyone who's already using the Ring Video Doorbell. (Though we did find that as a standalone security camera, there were better options.)

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This week in games: Grab Outlast for free, Battleborn ends active development

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 09:00:00 -0700

I’ve spent fully 50 percent of my week playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 and it’s one of the best CRPGs I’ve ever played. Probably. So let’s wrap this up, because I want to get back to it.

This week, both Call of Duty and Wolfenstein get rowdy on Nazis, plus Humble gives away spooky cameraman simulator Outlast, Shadow of War goes Peter-Jackson-live-action (but sans Peter Jackson), Vampyr slips into 2018, and Battleborn breathes its last.

This is gaming news for September 18 to 22.

More. Free. Games.

Humble’s End of Summer Sale is officially over—but not really. And that means another free game for your library, as the sale enters its “encore” phase. This time it’s Outlastone of the best PC horror games ever—plus the fantastic Whistleblower DLC. You can snag a copy until 10 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, so jump on it if you’re a horror fan.

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Radeon RX Vega graphics cards get 2-way multi-GPU support in Radeon Software 17.9.2

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:44:00 -0700

AMD fixed a glaring flaw in Radeon RX Vega’s potential prowess late Thursday. Radeon Software 17.9.2 adds the ability to use multiple RX Vega graphics cards in your system, after AMD’s high-end hardware launched with the ability notably lacking. Huzzah!

It’s not quite as full-featured as long-time Radeon buyers may to used to, though. Taking a page out of Nvidia’s GTX 10-series playbook, Radeon RX Vega’s multi-GPU capabilities are limited to two graphics cards alone, rather than the 4-way CrossFire support that premium Radeon cards traditionally offered. And curiously, CrossFire isn’t mentioned by name in AMD’s announcement post; it’s referred to solely as “multi-GPU (mGPU).” We’ve asked AMD about those oddities and will update this post if we hear back.

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Ikea Tradfri Gateway Kit and Motion Sensor Kit reviews: Does the megastore deliver on smart lighting?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Ikea's Tradfri Gateway Kit and Motion Sensor Kit blend the Swedish retailer's confounding instruction style with average smart-lighting abilities.

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Creative Sound BlasterX Siege M04 review: This debut mouse impresses

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:30:00 -0700

You know that old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? The same can be said of product branding. Maybe, if you think there’s even an infinitesimally small chance you might branch out of your core product focus in the future, don’t pick a name like “Sound Blaster” that really only applies to...well, audio components.

Which is to say: Creative makes a mouse now, and for some reason decided to call it the Sound BlasterX Siege M04. Yes, a Sound Blaster mouse.

The other surprise? Aside from the name, it’s pretty damn good.

Design: X marks the spot

In fact, considering that the Siege M04 (available for $80 on Amazon)  is the first Sound Blaster mouse, it’s shockingly bold. By comparison, the Pulsefire is HyperX’s first mouse and it’s more or less a clone of the evergreen Razer DeathAdder. 

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HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift vs. Windows Mixed Reality: What's the difference?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:57:00 -0700

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