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Published: Tue, 30 May 2017 02:24:49 -0700

Last Build Date: Tue, 30 May 2017 02:24:49 -0700


Dell’s Inspiron 27 7000 is the first Ryzen All-in-One PC, and it's upgradable too

Tue, 30 May 2017 00:30:00 -0700

Dell’s Inspiron 27 7000 may be just the thing to convince some PC enthusiasts to give up their traditional desktop systems. Announced Tuesday at Computex in Taipei, this All-in-One PC sheds the form factor’s watered-down, locked-down reputation with powerful all-AMD hardware—including Ryzen CPUs, a first for AiOs. Surprisingly, it’s ready to be upgraded in the future, too.

It’s been years since we’ve seen an-all AMD system from OEM vendors. Ryzen’s buzz in the DIY space and Polaris’s rock-steady performance have made it a reality once again. 

Inspiron 27 7000 prices start at $1,000 for a 4-core Ryzen 5 1400 processor and a 4GB Radeon RX 560 GPU. The graphics are basic, but you could expect to play most AAA games at 30 fps on High or at 60 fps on Medium with this set of hardware. 

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Intel's massive 18-core Core i9 chip starts a bloody battle for enthusiast PCs

Tue, 30 May 2017 00:01:00 -0700

With Core i9, the Intel vs. AMD battle rages anew. Announced Tuesday at Computex in Taipei, Intel’s answer to AMD’s 16-core, 32-thread Threadripper is an 18-core, 36-thread monster microprocessor of its own, tailor-made for elite PC enthusiasts.

The Core i9 Extreme Edition i9-7980XE, what Intel calls the first teraflop desktop PC processor ever, will be priced at (gulp!) $1,999 when it ships later this year. In a slightly lower tier will be the meat of the Core i9 family: Core i9 X-series chips in 16-core, 14-core, 12-core, and 10-core versions, with prices climbing from $999 to $1,699. All of these new Skylake-based parts will offer improvements over their older Broadwell-E counterparts: 15 percent faster in single-threaded apps and 10 percent faster in multithreaded tasks, Intel says. 

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In Win's Winbot is a robotic interactive PC case

Mon, 29 May 2017 22:35:00 -0700

In Win’s Winbot, the company's latest PC case mod, is a futuristic orb that’s robotically controlled by its owner’s movements. In Win says Winbot is inspired by a spaceship, but it looks more like an oversized prize that you'd fish out of an arcade game with a mechanical crane.

And what a prize it would be! Shown at Computex in Taipei on Tuesday, the clear-plastic Winbot encloses an In Win liquid-cooled PC case. Inside, an Asus ROG Strix Z270E gaming motherboard rocks an Intel Core i7 7700K CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX Strix 1070 graphics card, a 240GB SSD, and an In Win 1,250-watt power supply.

Fitted to the front of the Winbot case is a stereo camera that scans the area in front of it and recognizes individual users. As it moves from left to right, blue lights in the case switch to green once it’s recognized someone.

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Nvidia's Max-Q finally gives you GeForce GTX 1080 graphics in a thin-and-light laptop

Mon, 29 May 2017 21:14:00 -0700

Nvidia’s Max-Q is arguably the most groundbreaking mobile graphics initiative in a generation, enabling gaming laptops to be built three times thinner with three times the performance (according to Nvidia) over previous designs.

Named after NASA’s initiative to put man into space, Nvidia said the technology is based on its current Pascal architecture which, when combined with ground-up designs from OEMs, puts unheard-of performance in super-thin laptops. “The results: a high-performance gaming platform, that is as small as 18mm thick—as thin as a MacBook Air —with up to 70 percent more gaming performance than what is currently available,” the company said in a release. 

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Power surge at British Airways data center causes flight chaos

Mon, 29 May 2017 08:01:58 -0700

A major British Airways crash has highlighted the importance for businesses of testing backup systems and disaster recovery procedures to ensure that they work as planned.

The airline experienced what CEO Alex Cruz described as "a major IT systems failure" that, he said, affected all check-in and operational systems.

The failure on Saturday, May 27, resulted in the delay or cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at London's Heathrow Airport on a holiday weekend. Things were still not back to normal two days later.

Cruz described the cause of the failure as "a power supply issue," without going into detail.

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Optane Memory will boost the Asus VivoBook Pro 15

Mon, 29 May 2017 06:26:00 -0700

Budget laptops and plastic parts go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Asus’ new VivoBook lineup looks to add some premium finish to its new machines.

The first of two new VivoBooks unleashed Monday is the VivoBook S15. Featuring a 15.6-inch screen, GeForce 940MX graphics and dual-core Kaby Lake CPUs ranging from from Core i3 to Core i7, the VivoBook S15 gives you something the vast majority of budget laptops don’t: aluminum.

(image) Asus

The budget VivoBook S15 gives you a 15.6-inch screen, GeForce 940MX graphics, Kaby Lake dual-core and an aluminum lid and top deck for $500.

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The Asus ZenBook Flip S is the world's thinnest laptop

Mon, 29 May 2017 04:55:00 -0700

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is the thinnest convertible laptop in the world--at least for now. Announced Monday at Computex in Taipei, the ZenBook Flip S is the latest to snatch the trophy as vendors wage an eternal battle to shave down their portable PCs. The 10.9-millimeter profile of the ZenBook Flip S currently takes the record. The laptop will be available later this year at prices starting at $1,099. Read more about it below, and also two other slender notebooks Asus announced at its Monday event at Computex in Taipei.

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Nerd alert! Inside Taipei's PC and gadget shopping paradise

Mon, 29 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Welcome to Guanghua 3C Shopping Mall

Image by Martyn Williams/IDG

Guanghua 3C mall is worth a visit for any techie on a trip to Taipei. It’s located in the center of the city, and can be accessed on the MRT (from Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station — 捷運忠孝新生站) or by taxi. It’s a good idea to have the mall’s Chinese name (光華商場) written down in case you need help finding it. And if you’re feeling adventuresome, hit the mall’s Chinese-language website to do a product search before you visit.

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Huawei Watch 2 Classic Review: Good watch but a missed opportunity for Wear 2.0

Sat, 27 May 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Barely three months into its official release, Android Wear 2.0 should still be enjoying its honeymoon period. But the truth is, it never really had one. Despite a high-profile launch and pent-up anticipation among Android enthusiasts, the roll-out has been less-than-stellar, with few manufacturers supporting it with new models, and most older watches unable to take advantage of the best features.

And the Huawei Watch 2 doesn’t do too much to change that narrative. The model I tested, the Classic, is the classier of the two models, with stainless steel accents, a buttery-smooth leather band, and a posh gray face. But even in an extremely small pool of Android Wear 2.0 watches—the LG Sport and Style are the only new 2.0 models—the latest Huawei Watch just doesn’t do enough to stand out.

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Far Cry 5's first trailer reveals religious cults and explosions in picturesque Montana

Fri, 26 May 2017 11:31:00 -0700

Dim the lights, blast the dubstep, and throw on some Aisha Tyler interviews in the background—Ubisoft just kicked off its E3 press conference three weeks before the event with the first-ever trailer for Far Cry 5.

Like every year, this early look has left me wondering “Why not just wait until the show itself?”, but I guess spoiling all the surprises in May is the new normal. In any case, here’s the trailer in question:

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As revealed in teasers earlier this week, the game takes place in Hope County, Montana—yes, within the United States, which is a surprisingly rare move. And in shades of Outlast 2, the region’s been overrun by the religious cult Eden’s Gate, which will be your primary enemy in the game. “Religious cult” is the general wording Ubisoft uses, though all the imagery and the church architecture shown is not-so-ambiguously Christian in influence.

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Amazon is offering two free months of Music Unlimited to new subscribers

Fri, 26 May 2017 10:13:00 -0700

All the various music streaming services desperately try to differentiate themselves with personalization features and the occasional exclusive. If you ask me, however, they're all pretty much the same with similar catalogs. For those who disagree, right now is a great time to see how the other half lives. Amazon is currently offering two free months of Amazon Music Unlimited for new users.

To get this deal, you have to sign-up using Amazon's promotional web page. Once you arrive on the page, click Enter Your Code. In the pop-up window that appears, enter the code MOREMUSIC, then click Apply.

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This week in games: Red Dead Redemption 2 is delayed, Destiny 2 PC servers explained

Fri, 26 May 2017 09:00:00 -0700

Hands up if you're surprised Red Dead Redemption 2 was delayed into 2018. Nobody? Nobody at all?

That news, plus free copies of Rising Storm, a mercifully not-delayed-yet Divinity: Original Sin II release date, a technical dissection of Destiny 2's multiplayer back-end, Neill Blomkamp's experiments with Steam as a film platform, and more. This is gaming news for May 22 to 26.

Weekend freebies

Rising Storm is a few years old now, and the Vietnam-bound sequel releases next week, but if you’re looking for some free entertainment, Humble’s giving away copies of the original for the next 24 hours or so (from the time this is posted). It’s one of the best shooters of the last few years, and I bet the servers will be pretty busy for the next few days thanks to this giveaway. Not a bad deal.

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How to save Windows Spotlight images to your PC in a few clicks

Fri, 26 May 2017 08:03:00 -0700

A favorite pastime among Windows 10 users is to figure out ways to save Windows Spotlight images to their PC. Usually this is done through a little bit of trickery that involves finding where the images are stored on your hard drive.

Since early 2016, however, the Windows Store (rather unbelievably) has an app for that. In fact, there are many apps for that, but the one we’re going to talk about today is called SpotBright. What’s great about this app is that it downloads all available Spotlight images for you in a few clicks. In my test, I downloaded more than 600 images costing me less than 500MB of storage space.

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Any website can crash your Windows 7 or 8 PC with these four characters

Fri, 26 May 2017 07:05:00 -0700

Just because Windows 7 is close to eight years old doesn’t mean you still can’t find ridiculous bugs that can crash your PC.

Russian-language site recently published one such bug that apparently causes problems if you simply visit a website, as first noticed by Ars Technica. The problem also affects Windows 8 and Vista PCs, but Windows 10 PCs are unaffected.

Here’s how the bug works. All a naughty website has to do is use the character string ‘$MFT’ in the directory name where a website keeps its images. Windows expects to see the four characters $MFT only in a special metadate file on your PC. When it sees those characters as a directory name, however, it causes enough problems that an affected PC will begin to slow down and eventually hang. At that point your only recourse is to reboot the machine. In some cases, the problem may even trigger the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD).

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23% off iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner - Deal Alert

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:53:00 -0700

If you want a thorough, everyday clean, maybe you should consider using robots. The Roomba 650 Vacuuming Robot provides a thorough clean at the push of a button. The patented, 3-Stage Cleaning System easily picks up dust, pet hair and large debris like cereal and works on all floor types, adjusting itself and re-charging itself as needed to make sure the job is done correctly every time you need it -- preset Roomba to clean when it’s convenient for you. Roomba is just 3.6 inch tall, and is specifically designed to fit under most furniture, beds and kickboards. The 650 model is a #1 best seller on Amazon, where its typical list price of $374 is reduced right now to $286.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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AMD's new AM4 motherboard software cures Ryzen's memory headaches

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:03:00 -0700

Memory’s been a thorn in the side of AMD’s Ryzen processors ever since they launched. Memory speed and latency can play a major part in Ryzen’s performance, but early AM4 motherboards haven’t been able to offer robust memory overclocking capabilities. Ryzen PCs topped out at DDR4-3200 speeds, and the supported range of frequencies below that occurred in 266MT/s chunks, meaning some kits couldn’t hit their rated maximum speeds and instead fell back to a slower frequency.

A new AMD update puts an end to the madness.

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These 20 deep, absorbing PC games will eat days of your life

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:40:00 -0700

Built to last

Image by EA

Far too many games these days are built to be played in small bursts: brief encounters, designed for a world with too few hours in the day and too many digital distractions. And that’s fine! Blasting through a few rounds of Call of Duty multiplayer, or playing a few run-throughs in Spelunky, is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes.

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Get real, Microsoft: If the Surface Pro is a laptop, bundle it with a Type Cover

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:08:00 -0700

If Microsoft sold cars like it’s trying to sell its Surface Pro (2017), it would charge extra for wheels—and would be laughed out of the market. But Microsoft’s using this tactic to sell its new Windows tablet as a “laptop,” and we’re still trying to figure out why.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is clearly a Windows tablet, just like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4. Nevertheless, devices chief Panos Panay calls it a “laptop” no fewer than three times in his blog post, including the very first sentence. No “laptop” or notebook PC forgoes a keyboard, however, as the Surface Pro does. Long-time Surface fans may know that Microsoft charges $129 to $159 more for that accessory, but does the average buyer get it? That’s where the confusion starts.

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Sony A1E 4K TV review: This could be the best OLED TV money can buy

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

What do you get when you put an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display in the hands of the Sony with their decades of experience enhancing TV images? A better OLED TV. Having only seen another company’s OLED TVs in the consumer space, we’d gotten the idea that the technology was simply challenged when it came to rendering fine details. Not so with the A1E, whose facility with picture minutiae, while not LCD-like, is a substantial improvement.

We recently had the pleasure of setting an A1E next to a brand new LCD-with-quantum-dots Samsung Q9F (we’ll post our review next week) and having at it for an amazing week of viewing and testing. Sadly, the experience left us somewhat torn between which we liked most.

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Watch us play Vanquish on PC

Thu, 25 May 2017 17:01:00 -0700

Vanquish, the cult classic from Platinum Games, has finally arrived on PC, thanks in part to a vocal fan base. The original released in 2010 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and presented fast-paced third-person shooting and stylized graphics from Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the Resident Evil series.

Vanquish is known for taking cover-based shooting, a la Gears Of War, and putting a uniquely Japanese spin on it by introducing mechanics like rocket sliding and slo-mo. The game is over-the top in ways that only Platinum can pull off, but it still rewards skillful gameplay.

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Get 63% off This 76-in-1 Precision Tool Set For Smartphones, Laptops and Electronics - Deal Alert

Thu, 25 May 2017 14:05:00 -0700

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Newegg is selling a pure sine wave UPS for just $125 right now

Thu, 25 May 2017 11:42:00 -0700

If you’re serious about protecting your PC—and any unsaved work or game you might have open on it—you need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS is a surge protector and emergency battery in one, meant to keep devices safe and humming along when the power goes out. Right now, Newegg has a particularly good model on sale: The retailer has dropped the CyberPower GX1325U to just $125. That's $65 cheaper than the going price at other retailers.

This UPS is an 1325 VA / 810 watt unit with pure sine wave output. That last bit isn’t a pop quiz from high school—a pure sine wave is supposed to offer a more reliable transition from your local electrical grid to battery power, especially for sensitive PC power supplies. It’s also the most expensive type of output to produce, which is part of the reason it’s nice to catch this UPS on sale.

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Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch

Thu, 25 May 2017 11:10:00 -0700

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Nvidia's new generation of powerful GeForce GTX Battlebox PCs finally embraces AMD

Thu, 25 May 2017 10:15:00 -0700

Nvidia’s taking another stab at its “GeForce GTX Battlebox” PC concept, and for the first time, AMD’s finally inside—though obviously not Radeon.

Boutique system builders craft Battlebox PCs to minimum specifications laid out by Nvidia. The idea’s similar to any other certification-style program: If you buy a GeForce GTX Battlebox, you’re guaranteed a baseline level of performance. It’s what the legion of failed Steam Machines should’ve offered, and Nvidia’s program launched around the same time as Valve's failed endeavor.

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9 supremely useful PC productivity programs

Thu, 25 May 2017 08:29:00 -0700

For all the popularity of mobile apps and cloud services, the venerable PC continues to be a mainstay of computing today. Indeed, the versatile desktop interface means that the bulk of a day’s work continues to be done on PCs for most users.

We’ve found some pretty cool productivity apps that will substantially improve your Windows desktop experience.

1. TidyTabs

If you ever got frustrated tabbing through multiple application windows, then you need to install TidyTabs from Nurgo Software. The lightweight utility lets you organize the desktop by stacking multiple windows together in a tabbed arrangement, even for unrelated applications. This opens the door to grouping applications based on projects worked on, decluttering the desktop and generally keeping things tidy.

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Acer's Nitro 5 is an affordable laptop that lets casual gamers get reckless

Thu, 25 May 2017 07:05:00 -0700

Acer’s Nitro 5 laptop is designed for the casual gamer who feels lucky. This person may not game often, and may never have tinkered with a PC’s cooling system (as many seasoned gamers have) to get maximum power without singeing precious CPUs or GPUs. But the Nitro 5 will let these casual gamers adjust the fan speed themselves, giving them an unprecedented amount of control over delicate thermals.

Acer offered some tantalizing details on the Nitro 5, which is due to ship in July. With prices starting at $800, the laptop targets the growing number of casual gamers. These users won’t shell out for the huge, expensive Predator 21 X, but they still want good gaming performance in a PC they can tote around. Acer says the Nitro 5 is carefully balanced to give them exactly what they need: “all of the really important, necessary features without going too far overboard,” said Acer.

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Amazon's 2-For-1 Dash Button Deal Actually Nets You Two Free Dash Buttons - Deal Alert

Thu, 25 May 2017 06:45:00 -0700

Right now if you buy a Dash Button, Amazon will give you one for free in honor of National Pet Week, this week. But they're still giving you the $4.99 credit after the first time you use it. So that's two Dash buttons for free, really (typically Dash buttons cost $4.99). Amazon Dash is a simple Wi-Fi connected gadget that lets you order your favorite things with just the push of a button. Keep it by your washing machine, your pet food, or in the bathroom closet. When you notice you're running low, just press the button and Amazon ships it right out. Each button gets tied to a specific product from Amazon's library of over 300 brands, in categories such as (click each category to see samples) household supplies, beverage & grocery, health & personal care, beauty products, pets, kids & baby, and more. Access this deal on Amazon. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here[...]

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10 Google Assistant features that save you time

Thu, 25 May 2017 04:00:00 -0700

It's time to get over it and just start talking to your phone, because certain tasks are much faster with Google's digital aide.

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7 Excel tips for huge spreadsheets: Split Screen, Freeze Panes, Format Painter and more

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:30:00 -0700

The bigger and uglier your Excel spreadsheet gets, the more you need to use certain features or tricks to keep a handle on the data. The seven features covered here will help you navigate, organize, and readjust your spreadsheet with as little hassle as possible. 

1. Split Screen

One of the most helpful features for large spreadsheets is the Split Screen command. The Split Screen allows you to view two, three, or four windows of your spreadsheet. Use this feature to work on one section of your spreadsheet while you view another section; or use it to compare (side by side) two sections of the spreadsheet. Once you try it, you'll find lots of reasons to use it.

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