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This is the most recent feed available as of 07/11/2020 at 06:57 PM

Best gaming laptops: Know what to look for and which models rate highest

The gaming laptop landscape is experiencing an earthquake-like shift. With the near-simultaneous launches of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 and Intel’s Comet Lake-H mobile CPUs, we have a real fight for the first time ever, focusing on Ryzen 4000’s cores vs. Comet Lake-H’s clock speeds. Meanwhile, Nvidia has unveiled a new generation of mobile graphics technologies. Check out our top picks immediately below, and keep reading to catch up on the latest news and reviews. 

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The best laptops: Premium laptops, budget laptops, 2-in-1s, and more

The best laptops of 2020 are experiencing a seismic shift. With the near-simultaneous launches of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 and Intel’s Comet Lake-H mobile CPUs, we have a real fight for the first time ever: Ryzen 4000’s cores vs. Intel’s clock speeds. 

On the gaming side (where the GPU matters more than the CPU), Nvidia has unveiled a new generation of mobile graphics technologies. Check out the latest news and reviews below. 

To read this article in full, please click here



Microsoft's Surface devices are now receiving the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (Update: not yet)

Microsoft says it has patched a bug that may have prevented some of its most recent Surface devices from receiving the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. And as of July 1, our Surface devices in our review stable are saying that they can receive the May 2020 Update as a result.

That may be an anomaly, however. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports on July 10 that even though Microsoft says that Surfaces can receive the update, they haven't been. The problem, we're told, is that there still may be a separate compatibility problem in place that Microsoft will maintain until it's sure it has a good update experience. Even with no other safeguards in place, it can still take 48 hours before the May 2020 Update is offered.

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Best wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords
We put popular Bluetooth wireless and true wireless earbud models through their paces to find the best in the bunch.

Everything we know—and don’t know—about Google’s new smart speaker
Google is being awfully coy about its latest smart speaker. We’ve teased out some facts and made some educated guesses.

PC market surges as coronavirus forces working from home

As consumers sheltered in place during the second quarter, they bought PCs by the ton. Both Gartner and IDC research firms reported big positive swings in PC and Chromebook sales for the second quarter. Gartner reported a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase, while IDC reported a whopping 11.2-percent boost for the same period.

The two firms have long differed in methodology: IDC includes Chromebook sales, and Gartner does not. That’s significant, as U.S. consumers bought PCs and Chromebooks as students and workers alike weathered the coronavirus. IDC reported unit sales of 21 million in United States, calling it a “double-digit” increase (the firm did not release the exact figure).

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The best PC games of 2020 (so far)

It’s been one hell of a year, eh? Or one hellish year, whichever you’d prefer. 2020 was already on track to be a weird one for video games, with new consoles just over the horizon. The transition is always awkward, as publishers rush out their last few efforts before the door closes and everyone stops caring about the “old” consoles forever.

But obviously a world in flames has made the release schedule even more volatile than expected. Most of the spring’s big games—Cyberpunk 2077, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, Wasteland 3, Watch Dogs Legion—were pushed to the end of the year, leaving us to celebrate…Halo 2?

To read this article in full, please click here



Adios, Wraith? Why AMD's XT chips signal doom for a key Ryzen selling point

With the launch of its slightly faster, slightly better, exactly-the-same-price Ryzen 3000 XT processors this week, AMD became just a bit more like Intel…and Nvidia. More importantly, I suspect these new CPUs may exist to set the stage for removing a key AMD value proposition from next-gen “Zen 3” Ryzen CPUs.

Whither goest thou, Wraith?

Most Ryzen XT reviews landed, well, not with a thud necessarily, but at least a loud “meh”—though Gamers Nexus did say, “we think the sand could have been better put to use elsewhere,” when promoting its Ryzen 7 3800XT review. But the general sentiment is that they’re fine. Ryzen XT processors offer mild 100MHz to 200MHz clock speed increases over their non-XT namesakes, and a higher overall level of silicon quality, meaning they can hold those faster clocks for longer and overclock better. Cool stuff! Yet not cool enough generally to recommend, given their steep $80ish price premium over the standard X-series chips, which remain on the market.

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Tribit XFree Go headphone review: Amazing sound, great price, and one glaring flaw
The Tribit XFree Go headphones punch far above their weight, sonically: sadly, the controls locked up after an hour or so of sustained use.

Harmony is offering a full refund to anyone who ever bought its $250 Alexa remote
Harmony is discontinuing its Alexa-powered Express remote this year, but it's offering a full refund or upgrader to anyone who ever bought one.

Nvidia bundles Death Stranding for PC with GeForce RTX graphics cards


Roku backtracks on combining over-the-air channel guide with streaming TV listings
Turns out some users didn’t like over-the-air TV listings mixed with dozens of streaming TV channels.

Cool it! We talk laptop thermals with an expert from Dell

That high-performance CPU or GPU you're eyeballing for your next laptop is nothing if it's not backed by an effective cooling system. Yet consumers tend to know very little about the cooling in a laptop.

We fortunately had time to catch up with Dell's Travis North, who works as a Thermal Engineering Technologist. North answers our burning questions on whether a heat pipe is better than a vapor chamber, whether you should re-paste a laptop, is 100 degrees too hot, and more.

In the first section, North talks about a Dell patent on laptop cooling. You can watch the interview below or on YouTube at this link.

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Nine great things that cord-cutting brought us
Still think cord-cutting is no better than cable? Here's a reality check.

Intel unveils the Thunderbolt 4 spec, which AMD believes it can use

Intel unveiled Thunderbolt 4 on Wednesday, tightening the existing I/O specification for docks, some displays, external storage and GPUs. Bandwidth remains unchanged from Thunderbolt 3, though executives said to expect new types of docks and longer cables. AMD, which has traditionally never associated Thunderbolt with its Ryzen platforms, pooh-poohed Thunderbolt demand but said it meets the spec’s security restrictions.

Thunderbolt 4 will debut later this year as part of Intel’s “Tiger Lake” CPU platform, as Intel originally announced during CES in January. We now know it will support 40Gbps throughput, but with tighter minimum specs. Thunderbolt 4 will guarantee that a pair of 4K displays will work with a Thunderbolt dock, and require Thunderbolt 4-equipped PCs to charge on at least one Thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt PCs will be able to connect to either “compact” or “full” docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports. Longer Thunderbolt cables will be possible, too.

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Microsoft Teams adds 'Together mode' in massive update

Microsoft today said that it’s shaking up online Teams video meetings with a new “Together mode” that places participants in a virtual auditorium. It’s all part of a redesigned Teams experience that capitalizes on some of the promises Microsoft has been making for years. There’s even a pair of Teams smart displays.

On Wednesday, Microsoft said the company has spent much of the last few months rethinking the way in which video meetings were conducted. About 60 percent of those Microsoft surveyed said they felt less connected to their colleagues due to the coronavirus, so Microsoft’s new Teams update tries to make nonverbal communication a priority.

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The Full Nerd ep. 144: Ryzen 3000 XT reviews, Gordon buys Windows 10 cheap, and a food fight

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray wade into new chips and cheap Windows before digging into a plate full of food questions.

We kick things off with a look at AMD’s new Ryzen 3000 XT processors—the first Ryzen CPUs we can think of that landed with a collective “meh” from most reviewers. Gordon explains why, while Brad bemoans the lack of bundled coolers with the highest-end models. After that, Gordon explains why our Windows 10 Pro for $40 deal convinced him to join the “cheap Windows” squad, and how this offer’s different from what you’ll normally find on software resale sites.

To read this article in full, please click here



Amazon Fire TV adds Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV to its live programming guide
Sling TV and YouTube TV will appear in Amazon Fire TV’s Live TV tab starting today, while Hulu + Live TV is coming soon.

Powerful new Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus headed for gaming phones

The rumors were true: Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G platform on Wednesday, offering faster CPU and GPU clock speeds, upgraded Wi-Fi, plus 5G modem support.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G platform (also referred to as the Snapdragon 865 Plus, when speaking about the chip itself) is essentially an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 865 chip the company unveiled last December for premium smartphones. The Snapdragon 865 introduced a host of new features, including camera upgrades, AI, security, and gaming. The Snapdragon 865 was designed around Qualcomm’s standalone X55 5G modem, and the Snapdragon 865 Plus is as well, though neither is integrated. Both the 865 and the 865 Plus are 7nm chips.

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10 truly helpful Windows 10 tools you might not know about

So you’ve mastered Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts and Snap open windows like a boss. Now what?

Windows 10 offers many other power tools for enthusiasts—if you know where to find them. Some are older, yet still obscure. Others are relatively new, added during the twice-annual major upgrades Microsoft’s been pushing out since Windows 10 launched over five long years ago (though most recent feature upgrades, like the May 2020 Update, tend to be minor). But all 10 of these little-used tricks and tools can help hardened PC users save time or eliminate headaches.

To read this article in full, please click here



Uninterruptible power supply buyers guide
A surge protector will save your equipment; a UPS will do that and save your work, too—or let you save your game during a blackout.

Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice


Roku adds premium and over-the-air channels to its live TV programming guide
Live programming from HBO, Showtime, Starz and more now appear in Roku’s linear programming grid, along with local over-the-air channel listings.

AMD Ryzen 3000 XT CPU review roundup: Slightly faster, slightly pricier, and a shoulder shrug

Reviews of AMD’s newest “XT” line of Ryzen desktop chips are in and while the CPUs offer improved performance and the best silicon batch, it’s overall a meh, hardware testers say.

ryzen xt models prices AMD

The lack of stock cooler and mostly competition with the “X” parts that will stick around has seemingly dented AMD’s latest “XT” chips in the eyes of reviewers.

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10 surprisingly practical Raspberry Pi projects anybody can do


VPNCity review: The basics at a good price

VPNCity in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes. 
  • Business location: Hong Kong
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Number of country locations: 34
  • Cost: $48 (billed annually)
  • VPN protocol: OpenVPN (default)
  • Data encryption: AES-256-CBC
  • Data authentication: SHA-512
  • Handshake encryption: TLSv1.2

Sometimes all you need from a VPN is a selection of countries and the ability to use a good selection of streaming services like Netflix. That’s the niche VPNCity fits into right now. This relatively new service based in Hong Kong doesn’t have the added features that other services do, but there are still some good reasons to recommend it.

To read this article in full, please click here



Eufy Security Indoor Cam 2K Pan and Tilt review: Full-room coverage with AI detection
This pan-and-tilt camera reduces blind spots and uses smart detection to deliver only the activity you want to know about.

Revealed: How home router manufacturers dropped the ball on security

Security vulnerabilities in your home router have been the story for years, with the responsibility being placed at the feet of users to keep their router firmware updated. But a damning report by Fraunhofer says that router manufacturers themselves have taken years to issue patches, with potentially dozens of critical vulnerabilities lurking within older routers.

The June report by Fraunhofer-Institut fur Kommunikation (FKIE) extracted firmware images from routers made by Asus, AVM, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link, and Zyxel—127 in all. The report (as noted by ZDNet) compared the firmware images to known vulnerabilities and exploit mitigation techniques, so that even if a vulnerability was exposed, the design of the router could mitigate it.

To read this article in full, please click here



PCWorld's July Digital Magazine: The $1,001 Question

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Magazine. Available as single copies or as a monthly subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Magazine for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.

In the July issue

In the July issue of PCWorld find out the 12 things we learned moving from the Galaxy S20 to the iPhone SE. We have details on the new Dell XPS lineup. Plus, 11 classic games that could use a Final Fantasy 7-style remake.

Other highlights include:

  • News: AMD vs. Intel: Should you buy an Intel laptop right now?
  • Google Pixel 4a preview: Single camera, fingerprint sensor, no 5G, and July launch
  • Intel 10th Gen review: The Core i9-10900K is indeed the world's fastest gaming CPU
  • Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD review: Good performance at a nice price
  • Razer Kraken X review: A no-frills take on a headset that had few frills to begin with
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath review: One of 2020's best action films (and a pretty good fighting game)
  • Here's How: 11 cheap or free ways to make your old PC run faster, how to turn on the Chrome ad bocker, and use a Nintendo Switch Pro controller with a PC

Video highlights

Watch: Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro is out, and of course we want to know what it's like. Watch the video review from our sister site Macworld.

To read this article in full, please click here



How to fix audio problems on your Windows PC

For all its positives, Windows sometimes acts in unexpected ways—like a sudden lack of audio. If your computer abruptly stops playing sound, try these easy steps to fix the issue:

No sound in one app

  1. First, reboot your computer.
  2. Confirm the program’s volume isn’t turned down or muted. In browsers like Chrome and Firefox, each tab can be muted individually—right-click a tab to see its status. (The option will say “Unmute tab” if currently silenced.)
  3. If you still can’t hear anything in this program, try uninstalling and reinstalling it. Before doing so, first back up any data and/or write down how your settings are currently configured, as applicable.
    Note: For paid software, your license for the program may be tied to a specific version—if that’s the case, you may need to do a little hunting to find its installation program on the vendor’s website. This same advice applies if you just prefer your version of the app over the current one.

No sound at all

  1. sound settings via speaker icon in system tray PCWorld

    First thing to check: The audio output device. Windows 10 can sometimes change it to a different source unbeknownst to you.

    To read this article in full, please click here





 
 

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