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PC/Windows

03/05/2021   PC World Latest News

Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake chip won’t hit shelves until the end of March, but an unexpectedly early “review” of a retail Core i7-11700K labels the chip as power-hungry and unable to surpass AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X in many tests.

The review, written by respected CPU expert Dr. Ian Cutress of Anandtech.com, was based on a Core i7-11700K that is presumably one of the hundreds of CPUs that were accidentally sold a month before launch by a German retailer.

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03/05/2021   PC World Latest News

GPU sales grew an astounding 20 percent at the end of 2020, spurred by pandemic-induced gaming, a new mining craze, and huge demand for laptops, according to a new report from Jon Peddie Research. 

But there’s a light at the end the tunnel—for gamers, at least. The GPU-based cryptocurrency craze, which has consumed the already limited supplies of cards with the speed and mercilessness of locusts, just might go bust.

Jon Peddie of JPR, who has followed the graphics market for more than three decades, said the new variant of Ethereum is likely to kill the cost-effectiveness of using GPUs. “Ethereum, the best-suited coin for GPUs, will fork into version 2.0 very soon, making GPUs obsolete,” he explained. “A person would be very foolish to invest in a high-end, power-consuming AIB [add-in-board, in this case a discrete graphics card] for crypto-mining today.”

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03/05/2021   PC World Latest News

How much memory is in your computer, and how fast is it? It’s an important thing to know. Having too little memory in your PC can result in performance issues if you have a lot of programs or browser tabs open, and can keep your games from running their fastest. If you’re suffering from performance problems and aren’t sure how much memory is in your computer, it’s a worthwhile thing to check.

Most memory modules include all their relevant specs on a sticker slapped on their side, including capacity, speed, and even latency timings. You don’t need to go through the hassle of ripping apart your system to find that information, though. Windows 10’s Task Manager provides the most relevant details with just a few clicks, on laptops and desktops alike.

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03/05/2021   PC World Latest News

AceVPN.com in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes (Ultimate plan only)
  • Business location: United States (unconfirmed)
  • Number of servers: Unknown
  • Number of country locations: 23
  • Cost: $165 per year
  • VPN protocol: OpenVPN (IKEv2, IPSec, and PPTP also supported)
  • Data encryption: AES-256-GCM
  • Data authentication: HMAC with SHA-384
  • Handshake: TLS v1.2

We’re breaking one of our standard rules for reviewing VPNs by looking at a service—namely, AceVPN.com Ultimate—that has no desktop app to speak of. Most of the time we choose VPN services that have a one-click desktop app that offers full access to a company’s services. AceVPN.com, however, doesn’t develop a desktop app. Instead, it leaves it up to the user to make manual connections via the built-in VPN client for Windows 10, or by downloading the generic OpenVPN desktop app from OpenVPN.net. 

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03/05/2021   PC World Latest News

Q: How can I get a PC for cheap?

A: The best times to buy a new PC for cheap are during major sale events like Black Friday, Prime Day, and back-to-school sales in the U.S. (Despite the exchange of gift cards and cash during Christmas, discounts on Christmas Day and the week following generally disappoint.) Keep an eye out for “doorbuster” or lightning deals during Black Friday in particular, as those limited-time offers can drop prices very low.

To get truly dirt-cheap, though, you’ll have to buy used. Strategies for buying used vary, but almost universally, the best payoffs come locally. I prefer to start by looking up the resale practices of local universities and school districts, as some sell surplus gear to the public and the buying process can be less nerve-wracking than interacting with private sellers. Depending on your area, you may be able to score an incredible deal. Last fall, I found a batch of Ivy Bridge-era laptops starting in the mid-$100s on a K-12 school auction site, which would have worked out well as DIY Chromebooks.

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03/05/2021   PC World Latest News
You’ll also get partial HomeKit support, but some other features are missing from this premium-priced smart home device.
03/05/2021   PC World Latest News

Managing broadband data caps can be aggravating, frustrating, and—if you go over and incur a penalty—expensive. But there's hope: You can learn to avoid going over your data cap, with a little knowledge and a bit of patience. Here’s how.

Two of the largest broadband ISPs, Comcast Xfinity and Cox Communications, still impose data caps—though they’re being phased out by many other service providers. If you exceed the limits (1.2TB/month for Xfinity, 1.25TB/month for Cox) you’ll pay $10 for every additional 50GB. AT&T still charges a data cap, too, though only for its legacy DSL service, according to Highspeedinternet’s data-cap registry. All of these providers allow you to pay extra for unlimited data, but who wants to do that?

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03/05/2021   PC World Latest News
This powerful Bluetooth speaker isn't much to look at it, but it delivers a knock-out performance.
03/04/2021   PC World Latest News
A new, smaller Move speaker could become a reality at an upcoming Sonos product event.
03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

Microsoft Edge is finally getting vertical tabs, a feature that was promised a year ago. Announced Thursday, the rollout also includes a History feature that’s a cut-down version of a function available in older versions of the Edge browser.

The vertical tabs feature isn’t exclusive to Edge, but it’s not widespread yet either. Opera added them to its Neon browser in 2017, and they’ve been a feature of the Vivaldi browser since about that time as well. Chrome plug-ins also allow you to arrange your tabs vertically. Still, it’s a fairly profound revamp for Microsoft’s venerable browser, and it’s now generally available, Microsoft said

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03/04/2021   PC World Latest News
Microsoft and Amazon have posted a "Coming Soon" sign for an official Amazon Alexa app for your Xbox.
03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

Switching to a solid-state drive is the best upgrade you can make for your PC. These wondrous devices obliterate long boot times, speed up how fast your programs and games load, and generally makes your computer feel fast. But not all solid-state drives are created equal. The best SSDs offer solid performance at affordable prices—or, if price is no object, face-meltingly fast read and write speeds.

Many SSDs come in a 2.5-inch form factor and communicate with PCs via the same SATA ports used by traditional hard drives. But out on the bleeding-edge of NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) drives, you’ll find tiny “gumstick” SSDs that fit in M.2 connections on modern motherboards, SSDs that sit on a PCIe adapter and slot into your motherboard like a graphics card or sound card, futuristic 3D Xpoint drives, and more. Picking the perfect SSD isn’t as simple as it used to be.

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03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

The Razer Book 13 is a classic example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

This is a gorgeous laptop to behold—a sharp-edged slab of aluminum with a 16:10 display, slim bezels, and a generously-sized trackpad. It has Intel’s latest 11th-generation Core processor, face recognition, and not a trace of pre-installed bloatware. At a glance, you might think it commands every penny of its asking price.

And then you start writing on it, and the whole experience comes squishing down—on its mushy, imprecise, low-travel keyboard. The Razer Book 13 could be a pretty good high-end laptop, but it’s hard to recommend for anyone who spends a lot of time typing.

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03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad Chacos, Alaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray analyze the newly revealed Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card, which targets silky smooth 1440p gaming.

AMD unveiled the $479 Radeon RX 6700 XT just minutes before we recorded this episode, so we break down what you’ll find inside the graphics card, from its ample memory and sky-high clock speeds to its reduced Infinity Cache size. At $479, it’s priced between Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070, hinting at what to expect from performance. But will you be able to actually buy it? That’s the question on everyone’s lips. We analyze the current incredibly bleak state of the graphics card market.

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03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

Should I buy a Chromebook or a Windows laptop? Whether you’re seeking out the best computer for your child or just weighing which inexpensive computer would make a great gift, we can help you choose the right one for the school year or a gift, too.

Our latest update includes a new gaming option for Chromebooks: Google Stadia. (Gaming on a Chromebook? Who knew?) We’ve also explained some of the options available to you to personalize your PC or Chromebook. Finally, we've adjusted our best Windows laptop recommendations to account for recent reviews. Read on for our up-to-date buying guide and more.

Who should buy a Windows PC?

A notebook PC powered by Microsoft Windows offers several advantages. Windows offers the most flexibility to run just about any app, your choice of any browser, and configure antivirus options, utilities, and more. You can tweak and configure your PC as you choose.

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03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

Solid-state drives have clear advantages over old-school hard-disk drives: SSDs are faster, quieter, and consume less power. Problem is, they also come with an array of acronyms listed in their specs, which can make it hard to figure out what you need. 

Cutting through the clutter is really quite simple—you just pick a form factor and a speed. Our guide explains how.

Need the super fast version? Read our summary below.

SSD form factors: M.2 drives vs 2.5-inch drives

We’ll start with form factor. SSDs come in multiple shapes and sizes, but the two most common types are M.2 drives and 2.5-inch drives. Each type has its advantages: gumstick-shaped M.2 drives connect directly to your motherboard (thus reducing cable clutter in desktop PCs), and some types are faster than 2.5-inch drives. For their part, rectangular 2.5-inch drives, which slot into a PC like a conventional storage drive, are often cheaper.

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03/04/2021   PC World Latest News
Live sports streaming without cable could get less expensive thanks to gambling.
03/04/2021   PC World Latest News

Everybody wants to know how well their laptop performs, but usually for different reasons. Was that high-end processor you optioned worth the extra money? Can your inexpensive clamshell run the latest, hottest PC games? Is it time to give up on that old laptop for something with a little more capability? A good way to find out is to run a few benchmarks.

Benchmarks put your machine through a set of fixed, predetermined tasks, and then provide scores that can be compared to the results of other PCs. Comparison is the key here, as a benchmark lacking context tells you very little. Indeed, no matter how high the score, if it can’t be contextualized against other PCs (or to a minimum performance requirement), then the benchmark won’t tell you much. 

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03/03/2021   PC World Latest News

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 March issue

This month it's the Galaxy S21 vs. the iPhone 12. Which premium phone should you buy? We have the facts about the Apple M1’s speed, plus how it compares to the Ryzen 5000. Plus, 5 easy things you can do to supercharge your digital security.

Other highlights include:

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03/03/2021   PC World Latest News

The $479 Radeon RX 6700 XT obviously stole the spotlight at AMD’s “Where Gaming Begins: Ep. 3” event on Wednesday, but before Radeon chief Scott Herkelman showed off his shiny new graphics card, he delivered another very welcome announcement. AMD’s Smart Access Memory feature is coming to Ryzen 3000 processors to make your games run faster.

AMD debuted Smart Access Memory alongside its fantastic Ryzen 5000 processors. Smart Access Memory is built atop the PCIe specification’s optional Resizable BAR feature and allows your CPU to fully access your graphic card’s memory buffer, an upgrade from the usual 256MB chunks. The tweak can provide a performance uplift ranging from negligible to notable, as our Smart Access Memory testing with the Radeon RX 6900 XT revealed. Depending on the game and resolution, we saw frame rates soar by up to 8 percent, and AMD says Smart Access Memory can boost performance by up to 16 percent in best-case scenarios.

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03/02/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is providing a list of features coming in its next Windows Server LTSC release, due out later this calendar year.
03/02/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's updated set of Azure mixed-reality services will work with virtual reality, and later, holoportation, scenarios across devices.
03/02/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has a bunch of new Teams features coming and is introducing a new category of Teams Intelligent Speaker devices at Ignite this week.
03/02/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's goal with Azure Percept: To build up aa IoT device ecosystem around Azure services the same way Windows helped create the PC market.
02/25/2021   InfoWorld Insider
The coronavirus crisis has shaken up business as usual, with some IT strategies and tools rising to the occasion and others in line for a rethink or tough recovery post-pandemic.(Insider Story)
02/24/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is continuing the vertical cloud push it started with healthcare and retail and is rolling out new cloud packages for three more industries.
02/23/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is expected to step up its integration of Microsoft 365 productivity services and Dynamics 365 CRM/ERP ones with some new integrations between the two product families.
02/23/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Mixed reality will be a big focus for Microsoft at its Ignite Part 2 virtual event for IT pros and developers from March 2 to 4.
02/19/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is looking to further simplify access to its Power Platform low-code/no-code platform with a new language called Power Fx.
02/18/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making it tougher for users who've looked to Long Term Servicing Updates as a way to avoid feature updates for Windows 10.
02/18/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is readying Office LTSC and Office 2021 clients for release in the latter half of 2021 for customers who can't or don't want to purchase Office via a cloud subscription service with regular feature updates.
02/17/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's next Windows 10 feature update includes very few new features and is coming later in the first half of 2021.
02/16/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
The rumors look to be true. There is a Windows 10 21H1 feature update and it will be a minor one.
02/16/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is rolling out a new 'Kids Mode' feature to testers that is designed to make 'child friendly' content more easily accessible.
02/16/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Office app with Word, Excel and PowerPoint functionality combined is available for free for iPad users in the Apple App Store.
02/11/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft may have been looking to acquire social-media company Pinterest, according to a new report. But why?
02/11/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft and HPE are partnering to bring together Azure and the Spaceborne Computer-2 supercomputer, making it the ultimate edge-computing device.
02/10/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is planning to add a new 'Teams Pro' plan to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 business accounts which will bring webinar and more meeting intelligence capabilities to Teams.
02/05/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft will remove the legacy Edge browser from Windows 10 users' machines as of April's Patch Tuesday, a month after ceasing security updates for the old Edge.
02/04/2021   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is assembling a collection of various Office 365 technologies, new and existing, and morphing them into a suite of apps focused on employee engagement.