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Published: Sun, 22 Apr 2018 09:42:11 -0700

Last Build Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2018 09:42:11 -0700


The Elder Scrolls Online's Summerset expansion doesn't shy from the dark sides of elves

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:00:00 -0700

The first chap I meet in the Summerset Isles is an elf with a Sean Penn face who gripes about how he’s missing out on a wine tasting because some local Wood Elves “offed” the vintner, because of course. This, after all, is the closed beta for The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset expansion ($40 on Amazon), which whisks us off to the ancestral homes of the High Elves, a magical land crammed with haughty wizards, Neuschwanstein-like villas, and flora that likely would have been at home in Eden. Whatever. This dude just wants his wine, and I can appreciate that.

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Ryzen 7 2700X review: AMD's 2nd-gen CPUs nail the sequel

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:12:00 -0700

Just over a year ago, AMD flipped the PC industry on its proverbial head with revolutionary Ryzen 7 processors that democratized CPU core counts in a way never seen before. 

While the 2nd-gen Ryzen 7 2700X officially unveiled today (don’t call it Ryzen 2—that’s coming later) doesn’t quite shake things up the way the original Ryzen chips did last year, it’s a solidly good sequel that, in many ways, is far better than what it replaces. And it puts the squeeze back on Intel’s 8th-gen “Coffee Lake” processors, which upped their own core count to counter Ryzen’s threat.

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Best Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ cases: Top picks in every style

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:35:00 -0700

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ might look a lot like the models they replace, but they're not exactly the same. Put them side by side and you'll see just enough of a difference in size and shape that old S8 cases won't fit. So that means you need a new one. Here are our favorites so far:

Update: Added the Tauri Fashion Glitter, i-Blason Luna, and Patchworks Mono Grip to best slip cases, and the Supcase Unicorn Beetle and OtterBox Pursuit to best rugged cases.

Best Shell Cases for Galaxy S9 and S9+

Even if you're just looking for a simple case that adds a little protection and grippability to your Galaxy S9, you'll still want something with style. These case offer simple, sturdy protection for your S9 but still bring some flair.

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I don't care if Google's 'chat' for Android is an inferior version of Apple iMessage, I want it now

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:30:00 -0700

Update 5:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with more details about 'chat.'

Ever since I became a phone reviewer, my messages have been a mess. When I switch from an iPhone to an Android one, I need to remember to turn off iMessage on all of my devices lest I miss a blue bubble that sneaks through. And any conversations I was having on my iPhone are effectively over when I switch, since nothing carries over between operating systems.

It’s not much better when switching between Android phones. Android Messages doesn’t sync or restore your texts between phones, no one uses Allo, and third-party apps can be wonky. I’ve taken to using Pulse to keep my conversations synced across numerous phones and devices, but I still need to be careful when I switch SIMs since it’s not technically designed for multiple handsets. On more than one occasion, I’ve blown up my conversation history and needed to start over.

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Microsoft nudges Xbox One towards PC monitors with 120Hz display support

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:12:00 -0700

Microsoft continued its gradual push toward making the Xbox One more like PCs by announcing it will soon support compatible 120Hz displays for its game console platform.

The new additions will be added within the coming weeks, Microsoft said in a blog post on Friday. Microsoft also added a number of UI improvements, including the ability to group games. They’ll all be rolled out first to members of the Xbox Insiders program, then to the general public at a later date.

Friday’s announcement complements its March update, when Microsoft announced a number of improvements designed to enhance the Xbox One experience when playing on PC-caliber displays and TVs.

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This week in games: Call of Duty and Battlefield bound for battle royale, Shenmue comes to PC

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:12:00 -0700

We are well and truly in the grips of the battle royale era at this point, with rumors this week pegging a PUBG-style mode coming to both Call of Duty and Battlefield in the fall. At this point the question’s not whether we see a new battle royale game at E3, it’s how many we see.

That news, plus a trailer for an IKEA-builder game, a first glimpse of the next Cities: Skylines expansion, Shenmue’s long-awaited arrival on PC, a Serious Sam 4 tease, and Amazon’s robot-lady acting as your “personal Call of Duty coach.”

This is gaming news for April 16 to 20.

Cyberpunk 2015

Humble’s habitually giving away games nearly every weekend it seems, and the trend continues this week with Satellite Reign. A blend of real-time tactics game and open-world adventure, it was intended as a successor to Syndicatethe original isometric one from the ‘90s, not the 2012 reboot.

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Try out Alexa's new custom skills with this great deal on an Echo Dot

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:44:00 -0700

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Water-cooling specialist EKWB starts selling complete custom gaming PCs

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:21:00 -0700

People often turn to boutique PC builders like Maingear, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, and Origin PC when they want a badass, over-the-top, liquid-cooled beast of a system, but don’t want to worry about cutting tubes and tightening fittings themselves. The newest entrant in the custom desktop landscape practically wrote the book on extreme cooling. EK Water Blocks, the creator of custom liquid-cooling hardware beloved by enthusiasts around the globe, announced on Friday that it’s now selling full PCs dubbed EK Fluid Gaming Systems.

The timing’s no coincidence. Every EK Fluid Gaming System relies on the potent AMD 2nd-gen Ryzen CPUs released yesterday—either the Ryzen 5 2600 or Ryzen 7 2700X, more specifically. No Intel chips are on offer.

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Get 65 Hours of Salesforce Training For $29.99

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:46:00 -0700

Whether you're an administrator, sales professional, developer, or marketer, you too can become a mover and shaker—especially if you learn your skills from Salesforce. And right now there's a terrific collection of courses on sale—and then some—in the Salesforce Trailblazer Bundle. Until now, if you bought each course separately, you'd pay about $910, but for a limited time, when you purchase all eight courses in the bundle, the price is a mere $29.99. That's 96% off retail.

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Acer and Dell gaming laptops drop to ludicrously low prices to clear way for Intel 8th-gen CPUs

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 06:58:00 -0700

Intel’s new 8th-gen mobile gaming processors are here, and you know what that means: A fresh generation of gaming laptops! But that’s not all. As we’ve been preaching on PCWorld’s Full Nerd podcast, new hardware means deep discounts on existing stock, and it’s a stellar time to buy a 7th-gen laptop at prices previously considered ludicrous.

Case in point: Newegg is selling the Acer Nitro 5 for just $699.99. And Dell's still offering a GTX 1060-equipped laptop at a borderline unheard-of price.

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AMD Ryzen motherboards explained: The crucial differences in every AM4 chipset

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 05:31:00 -0700

For AMD’s disruptive Ryzen processors, selecting the correct motherboard is both easier and more crucial than ever.

First, the good news: AMD’s doing away with the frightful hodgepodge of motherboard platforms to unite around the AM4 socket with Ryzen CPUs, Radeon-bolstered APUs, and all other chips released in the foreseeable future—including the 2nd-gen Ryzen processors. Huzzah! But there are a wide variety of chipsets available for AM4 motherboards, and each unlocks different capabilities in your PC, from USB support to overclocking to how many graphics cards you can install.

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SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit Plus review: Built by techies, for techies

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 04:00:00 -0700

It’s short on handholding, but SkylinkNet’s SK-250 kit is a good-enough security offering (though not recommended for beginners).

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PlayStation Now for PC is the surprise OnLive replacement I didn't know I wanted

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 03:30:00 -0700

The new God of War releases this week, and by all accounts it’s fantastic. So fantastic in fact that last week I bought the God of War Saga Collection for PlayStation 3, wanting to play through the original Gods of War again (and III for the first time) before delving into the new one. And all that would’ve been just a fun little detour for me, given the fact they’re PlayStation exclusives and thus not fodder for PCWorld.

Faced with the prospect of hooking up a PS3 though, I suddenly thought “Wait...aren’t those games available on PCs via PlayStation Now?”

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Astell&Kern Kann review: This high-resolution digital audio player delivers sweet sound, but with a steep price tag

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 03:00:00 -0700

An intoxicating sonic experience from a hi-res audio player that's as heavy as it is expensive.

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How to create private Alexa skills without code

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:26:00 -0700

Amazon's Alexa Skills Blueprints let anyone with an Alexa device make household skills.

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Amazon's custom Alexa Blueprints skills show how far ahead of Siri and Google Assistant it is

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:24:00 -0700

Amazon has released a super-easy tool for anyone to make their own Alexa skill, and you won't find anything like for Siri or Google Assistant.

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Turn a single USB-C port into three USB ports and Ethernet with this $20 adapter

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:38:00 -0700

Modern laptops never seem to have quite enough USB ports for all your plug-ins. Hook up a mouse, plug in a flash drive, and suddenly you’ve got no room for anything else. And as more laptops adopt USB-C ports, some items won’t plug in at all. A port hub can fix both problems, and right now you can get an AmazonBasics USB-C to three-port USB hub for $20, the lowest we’ve seen it and nearly 20 percent off its average price.

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The Full Nerd ep. 47: 2nd-gen Ryzen Q&A with Jim Anderson, AMD's VP of computing

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 06:00:00 -0700

In this special episode of the Full Nerd,  Gordon Mah UngBrad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray are joined by Jim Anderson, the senior VP of AMD’s computing and graphics business, to dig deep into the 2nd-gen Ryzen CPUs that launched today.

This is no mere spec overview though. Anderson explains how upgraded Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 technologies help 2nd-gen Ryzen chips maintain higher clocks for longer, regardless of how many cores are being stressed—a key improvement over the initial iterations. We also dig into AMD’s decision to include coolers with X-branded Ryzen CPUs after skipping them the first time around, and the design of the swanky new RGB-enabled Wraith Prism cooler that ships with the flagship Ryzen 7 2700X ($329 on Amazon).

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The Sbode M400, one of our favorite Bluetooth speakers, is 20% off today

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 05:55:00 -0700

These days, it seems there are more Bluetooth speakers on the market than songs to play on them, and finding a good one for a good price can be tricky. The Sbode M400 Bluetooth speaker, one of our favorites, fits the bill: It's normally only $50, looks good, and is packed with high-end features. And today on Amazon, it's even cheaper. With this coupon, you can get 20 percent off the Sbode M400 Bluetooth speaker today while supplies last, bringing it down to just $40, the lowest price we've ever seen.

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Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious software

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 04:01:00 -0700

We name the top free and paid Mac antivirus products to root out malicious software and prevent infections.

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Best Raspberry Pi kits: 10 options for beginners and experienced makers

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:00:00 -0700

The Raspberry Pi is an incredibly flexible little computer. You can use it for a wide range of projects ranging from the pragmatic to the innovative to the nostalgic—the same hardware can power a retro gaming setup as readily as an ad-blocking server. But if you’ve never handled a circuit board in your life, getting started with a Raspberry Pi may seem intimidating.

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The best gaming headsets: Reviews and buying advice

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:57:00 -0700

The next great peripherals war is being waged over your ears. After every company on the planet put out a gaming mouse and then a mechanical keyboard, they turned their attention to headsets. So many headsets. Gaming headset cheat sheet Our quick-hit recommendations: Best all-around gaming headset: HyperX Cloud Alpha Best budget gaming headset: Astro A10 Best low-end wireless gaming headset: Corsair Void Pro Wireless Best mid-range wireless gaming headset: Logitech G533 Best extravagant wireless gaming headset: Astro Gaming A50 (2016); SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless We know you don’t want to scroll through every single headset review when all you want is a simple answer: “What’s the best gaming headset I can buy with my hard-earned dollars?” This page holds the answers you seek, no matter what your budget is.To read this article in full, please click here[...]

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How to automatically mute a website within Google Chrome, forever

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:00 -0700

If you’re the type of person who detests autoplaying video ads with sound, Google’s Chrome browser provides some help. Google Chrome 66 will mute autoplaying video by default, permanently, so even if a video pops up—and Chrome can block some of those, too!—it won’t blow you out of your seat. The Chrome 66 release is now live in the stable channel.

As Google explains here, muted videos will always be autoplayed. But autoplayed videos won’t always be muted. Google uses what it calls the Media Engagement Threshold to determine if a video should be muted. (Google’s page goes into the details, though it’s a typically complex Google algorithm.) Put simply, if you’ve played a video on the site before, with sound, Google may think that you want to hear the audio for another video on that site, too.

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Microsoft will stop developing OneNote 2016 in favor of the Windows 10 OneNote app

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 11:03:00 -0700

Microsoft has quietly worked to improve the basic OneNote app within Windows 10, and on Wednesday it received an unexpected show of support: The OneNote 2016 app for Office 365 will be put on hold, and the OneNote app already within Windows 10 will replace it within Office 2019.

It’s a ringing endorsement for OneNote for Windows 10, whose UI overhaul in 2017 (above) migrated the pages and sections to the left-hand rail. Since then, OneNote for Windows 10 has added some of the top features of the Windows 10 app, including perhaps the best feature of the note-taking tool: audio that’s synced to your notes. Microsoft said it plans to keep migrating features from one app to the other, including the ability to insert and search for tags, create page templates, as well as preview other Office files, right within OneNote.

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Best smart home systems for a connected domicile

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:41:00 -0700

Your home is only as smart as the hub that orchestrates everything behind the scenes. These DIY tools are the best of the bunch.

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Heat and cool your home for less with a $60 discount on the Nest Thermostat E

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:38:00 -0700

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Best Buy gets smart, teams up with Amazon to sell Alexa-powered Fire TVs

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:12:00 -0700

Amazon has announced a partnership with Best Buy to sell the next-generation of Fire TVs due to launch this summer.

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Heaven's Vault preview: Translating long-lost alien languages is all about context

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 07:35:00 -0700

I’m agonizing over a translation. What I’d thought was a simple piece of driftwood washed up on the riverbank is now a test, of sorts. The wood is old, worn down, but still there are remnants of symbols, letters in a language I’ve only seen twice before—and it’s my job to discern the intent. Where did this wood come from? Why did someone painstakingly carve letters into it?

A few clues guide me. My character thinks the wood probably came from a ship’s mast, for one. And two, a series of symbols resembles some other symbols I took to mean “strength” a few minutes back. That’s it.

Grasping at straws, I mutter something about “Wind” and plug that in as the translation. It doesn’t seem like a perfect fit, but...well, sometimes in Heaven’s Vault you just have to go with your gut.

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Dell's selling our favorite budget gaming laptop with a GTX 1060 for an unheard-of price

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 06:33:00 -0700

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 currently holds the crown as PCWorld's best budget gaming laptop. Most gaming laptops start around $1,000, but Dell's laptop earned its four stars by offering a Core i5 CPU with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti for only $900. That's a great price on its own, but Dell's currently running a deal on a model that's faster and cheaper.

Dell is selling the Inspiron 15 7000 for $850, but instead of the GTX 1050 Ti our review model included, you get a faster 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. You almost never find GTX 1060-equipped laptops selling for less than $1,000. Plus, the company's added a 128GB SSD boot drive in addition to the usual 1TB hard drive. That's a heck of an upgrade for $850. The bad news? Stocks are limited. Dell warns that your purchase isn't guaranteed at this price until your order is completed.

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