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This is the most recent feed available as of 01/24/2020 at 02:16 PM

The Full Nerd ep. 122: AMD's confusing Radeon RX 5600 XT launch

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Brad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray review the confusing launch of the Radeon RX 5600 XT, and all the Nvidia-AMD counterpunching around it.

AMD announced the $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT at CES, positioning it against the older, similarly priced GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. But rather than cutting the GTX 1660 Ti’s price to counter AMD’s move, Nvidia instead cut the GeForce RTX 2060 from $350 to $300 instead, prompting AMD to push on a very last-second BIOS upgrade that unleashed significantly more performance for its new GPU. The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT we reviewed kicks butt as a lower-cost RTX 2060 rival, but thanks to AMD’s 11th-hour upgrade, the first wave of Radeon RX 5600 XT cards on store shelves probably won’t include the new BIOS, no matter who you buy it from.

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Intel's Ghost Canyon NUC and Compute Element: 10 questions and intriguing facts

Intel’s Ghost Canyon NUC and its Compute Element card were two of the most intriguing pieces of hardware shown by the company at CES 2020. They may be tiny, but they represent some big changes to small-form-factor PCs. Here are the key questions and facts about this new generation.

Intel Compute Element Gordon Mah Ung

The back of the Compute Element card features two Gigabit ethernet ports, four USB Type-A ports at 10Gbps, and an HDMI 2.0a port, along with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a combo analog and optical SPDIF port.

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The best gaming headsets: Reviews and buying advice

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.

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.

We’ll keep updating our recommendations as we look at new products and find stronger contenders. 

Updated 1/23/20 to include our review of the Sennheiser GSP 370, a wireless headset that lasts for weeks on a single charge. See the bottom of this article for links to all of our headset reviews.

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Intel reports record fourth quarter as it ramps up 10nm chips and tamps down supply issues

Intel reported unexpectedly stellar fourth-quarter results on Thursday, while it continues to chart a path toward increasing wafer supply and transitioning into the first iteration of its 10nm process technology. 

The numbers were outstanding: Intel reported a record fourth-quarter revenue of $20.2 billion, up 8 percent from a year ago. Intel also posted fourth-quarter profits of $6.9 billion, up 9 percent. Intel’s revenue outlook for the first quarter is $19 billion, slightly higher than a year ago.

Intel’s Client Computing Group reported $10 billion in revenue, up 2 percent from a year ago. Intel’s Data Center Group was the real star, however, as revenue grew 19 percent to $7.2 billion.

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Sonos changes tack on “legacy” hardware
Older hardware still won’t get new software features after May, but operating them won’t prevent firmware updates for new hardware.

Best password managers: Reviews of the top products

Here's what Android running on the dual-screen Surface Duo might look like

On Wednesday, Microsoft released an emulator showing how Android apps would run on the dual-screen Surface Duo Android phone. We now have a better idea of how it will all work.

Microsoft is simultaneously developing apps for the dual-screen Surface Duo Android platform, as well as the Surface Neo, a dual-screen Windows PC that will run Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10X. Microsoft will release a Windows emulator for Windows 10X on February 11, but it has allowed developers to begin testing the Android emulator as well.

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Cord-cutting and sports: 5 ways to squeeze out more savings
Cord-cutting might not save as much money for sports fans, but these tips can help.

Garadget review: Open your garage door with open-source technology
If you have the patience for delving into user forums if you need help, Garadget is worth a look.

HP Elite Dragonfly review: The corporate laptop that's too good for your boss

The HP Elite Dragonfly is a corporate laptop made to please your manager—and isn’t that the best way to get ahead in the working world? With a fingerprint-resistant finish, a beautiful cerulean magnesium body, and shoulder-friendly weight, the Elite Dragonfly is sure to earn you permission to leave 15 minutes early on Friday (thanks, boss!).

Just remember, the Elite Dragonfly is designed for the boardroom, not the racetrack, so don't expect blazing speed. What you will get is a solid configuration with some premium options; good performance, amazing battery life; and let's not forget the truly classy design. Hmmm, maybe this is laptop is too good for your boss? 

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Microsoft begins bringing in developers to build its dual-screen future, including Windows 10X

Over the next few weeks, Microsoft will begin asking developers to start building apps for the dual-screen future, including the Surface Duo Android phone and the Surface Neo PC that will run Windows 10X, the company's next-generation operating system.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it will begin providing access to a pre-release version of the Windows SDK through its normal Windows Insider builds. Specifically, on February 11, Microsoft will drop the Microsoft Emulator, a HyperV development platform that will allow app developers to begin porting their UWP and Win32 apps to Windows 10X.

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Microsoft's Office 365 for enterprises will switch Chrome search to Bing, unless you do this

In what seems like a broad case of overreaching, an upcoming version of Microsoft’s Office 365 for enterprises will automatically switch Google Chrome’s search engine to Bing. And Firefox is next on the list.

Yes, Google Chrome. Yes, Bing. Microsoft says it’s doing so to enable Microsoft Search, which essentially evolves the Bing search engine into a way to delve through your corporate files and other information. But still, altering another company’s search engine to do so? (We’ve reached out to Google for comment, but the company hadn’t responded by press time. )

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Shop carefully: Some Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards are much faster than others

AMD’s $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT launched this week, and it goes toe-to-toe with Nvidia’s powerful $350 GeForce RTX 2060, nearly matching even AMD’s own $350 Radeon RX 5700 in several games. Sometimes. Other times, it’s merely an okay alternative to the $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which itself was effectively rendered obsolete by the launch of the $230 GeForce GTX 1660 Super last fall. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. It all depends on which custom model you buy, and whether that card has the correct software preinstalled.

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Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT review: Punching above its class

With the launch of the $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT, AMD’s finishing off the mainstream push for its cutting-edge “Navi” architecture by aiming for PC gaming’s sweet spot, the no-compromises 1080p arena currently dominated by Nvidia’s trio of GeForce GTX 1660 graphics cards. It more than gets the job done—especially if you get the right overclocked model, equipped with a supercharged BIOS.

Yes, the Radeon RX 5600 XT can be much faster than AMD originally claimed, but you need to jump through some hoops to achieve those speeds if you’re an early buyer, adding a regrettable layer of confusion.

In the default configuration announced at CES 2020, the card does a solid job of matching up with Nvidia’s identically priced $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It’s good! But mere days before the card’s launch, AMD sent us a new BIOS for the custom $289 Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT on our test bench. This BIOS pushed the power limits to new levels, which allowed Sapphire to crank up the overclock on the GPU and the already blazing-fast GDDR6 memory. 

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How to use, modify, and create templates in Word

In Microsoft Word, templates are pre-designed documents that you or someone else (such as Microsoft) creates to use as a pattern for a project. The template could be for a business card, brochure, resume, presentation...the list goes on. Regardless of the purpose, templates provide the design consistency that any organization (or individual) needs to look professional. (You can also find templates for Excel, PowerPoint, and other applications, but in this article we’re focusing on Microsoft Word.) 

The template contains a specific layout, style, design and, sometimes, fields and text that are common to every use of that template. Some templates are so complete (such as business cards), you only have to change the individual’s name, phone number, and email address. Others, such as business reports or brochures, could require that everything is changed except the layout and design. 

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RCA Ultra-Thin Multi-Directional Amplified Indoor Antenna review: Good performance for the price
This inexpensive TV antenna does a good job pulling in strong signals, but you might be happier paying a little more for higher performance.

Samsung Galaxy S20 preview: This one goes past 11 with more screen, more cameras, more everything

In just about a month, Samsung will take the wraps off the new Galaxy S phone, the first premium Android phone of 2020. It’s shaping up to be a great one. Not only will it bring the latest processor, oodles of RAM, and tons of storage, but it’s also expected to make a major leap where it counts: the camera and display.

It’s so big, in fact, it’ll likely get a new name. A whole bunch of recent rumors and leaks (including the image at the top of this article) are claiming that Samsung is going to switch to whole numbers for the next Galaxy S phone and jump all the way to the Galaxy S20 (so for the sake of simplicity, that’s what we’ll call it here). This is all likely more marketing than magnitude, but Samsung’s new phone may still be worthy of a ten-fold jump in numbering. Here’s everything we know so far:

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The best indoor air-quality monitors: Identify the pollutants that can compromise your health and comfort
Whether you suffer from allergies or asthma or just want to optimize your indoor environment, these devices will give you insight into the air you're breathing.

Best TV antennas for cord cutters 2020: Tested for real-world signal strength
Ready to cut the cord? You’ll need a quality antenna to pick up digital broadcasts. Here are our recommendations for best indoor and outdoor TV antennas.

Sonos will stop issuing software updates for 'legacy' speakers and devices in May
You’ll still be able to keep using older Sonos devices, but they’ll gradually lose functionality once the software updates stop.

Watch The Full Nerd talk about the RX 5600 XT review live!

Join The Full Nerd gang as they talk about the latest PC hardware topics. In today's show we go over the recent price drops of Nvidia RTX 2060 GPUs and Brad's review of AMD's Radeon RTX 5600 XT. As always we will be answering your live questions so speak up in the chat.

If YouTube is not your thing you can also watch us on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter.

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PC sales expected to fall after Windows 10 sales bump ends

Although analyst firms recently predicted that PC sales for 2019 would show the first signs of growth in nearly a decade, Gartner threw cold water on those findings on Tuesday: After the Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration ends, PC sales will decline once again.

On the other hand, global device sales—PCs, tablets, and smartphones—should continue to grow slightly by 0.9 percent in 2020, the firm said. Of note, too, is what Gartner predicts about 5G smartphone penetration: an estimated 12 percent of smartphone shipments in 2020, growing to 43 percent in 2022.

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Noon Lighting System review: It’s the very best smart switch for your home, and it’s priced accordingly
The ability to create scenes using your room’s lighting is positively magical.

Puma Smartwatch review: A smartwatch that’s best when the smart stuff is turned off

As soon as I took the Puma Smartwatch out of the box, I wanted to like it. Unlike the sea of bulky, all-black Wear OS entries of late, the Puma Smartwatch is lightweight and sporty, with a slimming aesthetic and minimal single-button design. Add to that Puma's fitness pedigree, Qualcomm’s newest Wear 3100 processor, and built-in GPS, and I had high hopes that I was strapping a rare Wear OS winner to my wrist.

puma smartwatch button Michael Simon/IDG

The single-button design eliminates some of the confusion from the Fossil Sport's trio of buttons.

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Kwikset Halo smart deadbolt review: Wi-Fi in, attractive design out
Kwikset’s smart lock gains in connectivity, but loses out in the looks department.

Will virtual reality finally break out in 2020?

Maybe this will be the year virtual reality goes mainstream. If we say it enough times we’ll be right eventually, yeah?

But it really does feel like 2020 might be the year. Four years into consumer virtual reality, I finally feel excited again. The hardware is great, and cheaper than ever before. The games are promising, albeit few. And there’s a sense that maybe the “We need software to sell hardware to make developing software worthwhile” vicious cycle has finally been overcome. Maybe.

I could be wrong. I certainly hate to get excited about virtual reality’s prospects in 2020, in a “Fool me twice” sort-of way. I’ve had my heart broken by VR before. And yet…

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Amarey A980 robot vacuum review: Pet hair is no match for this super sucker
This inexpensive mapping robot vacuum is a fantastic option for animal owners.

Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

Microsoft didn't win the PC turf war. Sony never showed up.

This week, Kotaku reported that PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn may come to the PC in the near future. And let me first say, it’s interesting this became big news because when Quantic Dream announced that Detroit: Become Human was coming to PC last year—another Sony-published game—it didn’t inspire nearly the same levels of pontificating about Sony’s intentions for the PC.

Of course, people generally praised Horizon: Zero Dawn and disliked Detroit. Maybe that’s the only difference, that Horizon is seen as one of Sony’s “prestige” games. 

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Best antivirus: Keep your Windows PC safe from spyware, Trojans, malware, and more

Antivirus software is nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. Even if you’re well aware of potential threats and practice extreme caution, some threats just can’t be prevented without the extra help of an AV program—or a full antivirus suite. 

You could, for example, visit a website that unintentionally displays malicious ads. Or accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). Or get stung by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program gives hackers entry to your system.

We’re not suggesting that PC security software is fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits, like ransomware, on your machine. Anyone who actively uses email, clicks on links, and downloads programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.

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