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Learn ethical hacking fundamentals with this $40 course bundle
Wed, 17 Aug 2022 08:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Data breaches. They occur so often that we’ve become numb to them. And yet, closing your eyes won’t make those pesky hackers go away. But do you know what will? Fighting fire with fire, and fighting on the front lines as an ethical hacker allows you to give cybercriminals a taste of their medicine.  The 2022 Masters in Cyber Security Certification Bundle delivers over 60 hours of high-quality educational content on the tools ethical hackers utilize every day. The classes are led by expert cybersecurity professionals such as Atul Tiwari, a penetration tester who’s trained over 3,000 students in information security.  These courses teach you how hackers exploit networks in a controlled environment to prepare you for the real deal. Some skills you’ll learn include how to hack an OS with Kali Linux, perform threat analysis, scan networks with Nmap, and more.  There’s even a course on how to ace technical interviews to score your first cybersecurity job! Learn your way around PenTesting and ethical hacking with the 2022 Masters in Cyber Security Certification Bundle, on sale now for $39.99  The 2022 Masters in Cyber Security Certification Bundle – $39.99 Get Over 60 Hours of Cybersecurity Training Prices subject to change. Browser Security, Cybercrime
The best laptops: Premium laptops, budget laptops, 2-in-1s, and more
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 20:31:39 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Looking to treat yourself to a brand-new laptop? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve curated a list of the best laptops available on the market today. From traditional clamshells to trendy 2-in-1’s, we’ve got you covered. If you’re working with a tight budget, don’t sweat it, we’ve included some affordable options such as Chromebooks, too. All of these laptops have been tested and personally vetted by the experts here at PCWorld. Read on to learn about our picks for the best laptops right now. If you’re looking to save some cash on your purchase, be sure to take a look at our roundup of the best laptop deals, updated every weekday. Also, be sure to check out our back-to-school deals page to help stretch that college budget even further as you gear up for another semester. We will be updating it daily with the best deals on Chromebooks, MacBooks, iPads, and more. Without further ado, these are the best laptops we’ve tested. Updated 08/15/2022 Check out our latest review of the HP Pavilion Plus 14. HP adds to its mainstream laptop line with a sleek, all-metal 14-inch design and gorgeous OLED display. A great option for students and laptop buyers on a budget. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 – Best productivity laptop Pros Roomy 16:10 display Thin and light yet rugged Stellar keyboard Quiet operation Booming audio Two Thunderbolt 4 ports Cons Webcam limited to 720p Display color is a bit cool MSRP: $1,799.60 Best Prices Today: $1308 at Lenovo | $1,825.00 at Amazon ThinkPads are generally hailed as being awesome business laptops because of their comfortable keyboards and silent operation. With its quiet keyboard, security features, and booming audio, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is one such laptop. It’s packing a quad-core Core i7-1185G7, 16GB of RAM, and integrated Iris Xe graphics. That means it’s well-equipped to handle “Office and other productivity apps” and “a variety of multitasking scenarios.” The real star of the show is the 16:10 display, though, as it gives you plenty of room to work with. If you consider yourself a business professional, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 review Razer Blade 17 (2022) – Best gaming laptop Pros Excellent gaming performance Great selection of ports including 2 x Thunderbolt 4 Sturdy robust design Cons Poor battery life unplugged Keyboard lacks a numpad MSRP: $3,999 Best Prices Today: $3999 at Micro Center | $3999 at Razer | $3,999.99 at Amazon The Razer Blade 17 (2022) is a gamer’s ultimate dream. It’s a robust laptop with a stunning 240Hz display and a wide array of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4. Plus, you can expect awesome gaming performance thanks to the Intel 12-gen i7 CPU and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU. That’s some serious power. However, you’re going to pay out the nose for it, as it costs thousands of dollars. If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks, then the Blade 17 is phenomenal option. If your budget is more limited, check out the ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED below, which is our best budget gaming laptop pick. Read our full Razer Blade 17 (2022) review ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED Ultra Slim Laptop – Best budget gaming laptop Pros Good productivity performance Superb display Rugged design Great battery life Cons Boring aesthetics Unimpressive 720p webcam Unreliable fingerprint scanner Poor port selection Best Prices Today: Not Available at Amazon Looking for a reliable budget gaming laptop? The ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED is a fantastic option. According to our tester, this laptop is great for “gaming, streaming, and day-to-day productivity.” Thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 (4GB GDDR6) GPU, we were able to hit 60 frames-per-second at 1080p on high graphics during the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark. Plus, the OLED display is absolutely beautiful and battery life is surprisingly good. There are a few minor shortcomings, however. The overall design is a little plain and the port selection is limited, and you’ll need to drop down to Medium or High graphics in strenuous modern AAA games on the RTX 3050. Nitpicks aside, if you’re looking for reliable performance on a gorgeous OLED screen, the VivoBook Pro 15 is where the party’s at. If you don’t mind giving up those luscious OLED visuals for a bit more graphics firepower, you should take a look at the Acer Swift X, which is our next entry. Read our full ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED Ultra Slim Laptop review Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) – Best affordable ultraportable Pros Stellar ultraportable performance. Sneaky gaming laptop with RTX 3050 Ti graphics. Impressive battery life considering high-end parts. Cons Display feels cramped for creative work. Fan gets loud during heavy workloads. Poorly placed Pg-Up and -Down buttons. Best Prices Today: $889.99 at Amazon Don’t judge a laptop by its chassis. The Swift X may not look all that threatening at first glance, but under the hood you’ll find some seriously powerful components. This ultraportable is packing an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. In our review, the Swift managed “48 frames per second at the Highest preset” when running Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p. There are a few downsides, though. The fans get loud under heavy loads and the keyboard runs a little warm. But if you can live with those shortcomings and you’re looking for strong CPU and GPU performance, the Swift X will definitely deliver. Read our full Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) review Acer Aspire 5 – Best budget laptop Pros Affordable price Rugged build Great keyboard Good selection of ports Cons Subpar webcam Annoying bloatware comes pre-installed Touchpad is a little hard to use MSRP: $369 (base model) $499 (as reviewed) Best Prices Today: $363.06 at Amazon | $499 at Walmart With its affordable price point, decent performance, and robust build, the Acer Aspire 5 is a good budget option for most people. While the color scheme is a little boring to look at, the build is surprisingly rugged. Our tester was surprised by its “solid, durable feel.” The keyboard is nice, too. It has a spacious layout, which is perfect for longer typing sessions. Performance is fast enough for general use tasks like writing emails and browsing the web, but that’s about it. If you’re shopping around for a solid everyday laptop that won’t break the bank, the Aspire 5 is definitely worth a look. Alternatively, you can check out our review of the Acer Aspire 5 (2022 edition) for the latest updated version of this laptop. However, we didn’t feel that the upgrades—as well as the price hike—warranted replacing our original best budget pick. Read our full Acer Aspire 5 review Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Best Chromebook Pros Strong performance Good build quality Nice selection of ports Beautiful display Solid battery life Cons No privacy shutter on the webcam Boring design Fan noise is a bit loud MSRP: From $629.99 Best Prices Today: $629.99 at Acer | Not Available at Amazon If you’re looking for a great convertible laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 will surely fit the bill. You can either prop it up like a tent or fold the screen all the way back and use it like a tablet. We were also impressed with its vibrant display, all-day battery life, and diverse selection of ports. The design is a little utilitarian, but this is the kind of machine that favors function over aesthetics. The build is robust and there was hardly any flex in the keyboard tray. There are a couple of downsides like the loud fan noise and the lack of a physical privacy shutter on the webcam, but these issues are relatively minor. Overall, the Spin 713 is a solid convertible laptop that performs well. Dell XPS 17 (2022) – Best content creation laptop Pros Solid performance for the price Massive, bright, colorful display  Offers four Thunderbolt 4 ports  Long battery life Cons Heavy and thick  Mediocre keyboard Lacks USB-A, HDMI, or Ethernet RTX 3060 is the quickest available GPU MSRP: $2,799 Best Prices Today: $2949.99 at Best Buy | $2999 at Micro Center | $3109.00 at Dell Home Dell’s updated XPS 17 boasts a huge 17-inch screen, 11th-gen Intel CPU, and GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. By packing its 4K, 10-bit color screen into such a compact laptop, and loading the notebook itself with every feature professionals ask for (hello, SD card reader and abundant Thunderbolt 4 ports), the XPS 17 is the poster child for what a content creation workhorse laptop should be. If you’re looking for something different, the Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED is a great alternative, thanks to its gorgeous OLED display and unique dial controls. It also happens to be our runner-up pick for the best content creation laptop. Check out the entry below. Read our full Dell XPS 17 (2022) review Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED – Best content creation laptop (runner up) Pros Beautiful 4K OLED display Long battery life Useful DialPad tool Cons Design lacks flair Lackluster webcam MSRP: $1,599.99 Best Prices Today: Not Available at Amazon | Not Available at Adorama The Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED is another great option for content creators. It has a use DialPad feature, a 4K OLED display, and a micro SD card slot—all coveted specifications for image and video editing. Compared to the Dell XPS 17 9710 (our top pick for content creators), this laptop has a weaker 3050 Ti GPU. That said, the Ryzen 5900HX CPU has more cores. Therefore, the Asus may be a better option for those with CPU-intensive workloads. It’s also lightweight and compact, and it’s packing a whopping 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. Overall, this is another great choice for creators. Read our full Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED review Acer Swift 3 – Best for students Pros Solid chassis and build quality Large, attractive 16-inch 1080p screen Enjoyable keyboard and touchpad USB-C with charging and DisplayPort Cons Webcam, microphone, and speakers don’t impress Intel processor falls behind AMD alternatives  Disappointing battery life Lots of bloatware MSRP: $999 Best Prices Today: $950.08 at Amazon If you’re looking for a big screen on a modest budget, the Acer Swift 3 is a fantastic option. It features an attractive 16-inch 1080p display, a solid chassis, and an enjoyable keyboard and touchpad. However, battery life is subpar, so you’ll want to keep the charger on hand. This is unfortunate, as the Swift 3’s slim profile makes it a good laptop for travel. If you don’t mind the battery life, this is a great laptop for watching movies and streaming shows. Read our full Acer Swift 3 SF316-51 review Microsoft Surface Pro 8 – Best tablet Pros Superior screen: larger, higher-res, higher refresh rate Inking is a pleasure Good audio, with louder speakers New optional Type Cover integrates pen well Cons Webcam might need some tweaking Pen and keyboard still cost extra Still pricey MSRP: $1,599.99 Best Prices Today: $999.99 at Best Buy | $1,299.99 at Amazon | $1599.99 at Microsoft Microsoft’s Surface tablets were already atop our list of best 2-in-1 laptops, but Microsoft reworked the Surface Pro 8 in numerous ways by adding a larger, higher-resolution, faster screen, a pair of Thunderbolt ports that replace the legacy Surface Connector, and a new inking experience, among other features. While this generation of the Surface Pro tablet forgoes an always-connected LTE option as well as the choice of a cheap Core i3, performance still soared to the top of the heap. Benefits like how the increased display refresh rate improves inking are subtle improvements that matter, too. It’s the most dramatic revamp of a Surface in years and it’s all for the better. Read our full Surface Pro 8 review Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) – Best mid-range gaming laptop Pros Powerful CPU and GPU performance in a very compact design AniMe Matrix screams unique It has a webcam Cons Half permanent RAM Keyboard backlighting is subpar MSRP: $1650 (base price) | $2500 (Radeon RX 6800S, 1TB SSD, 32GB RAM) Best Prices Today: $1649.99 at Best Buy | $1,859.00 at Amazon The ROG Zephyrus G14 is both lightweight and powerful—a very rare combination. It weighs just a little over three pounds, which makes it a capable traveling laptop. Between the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and AMD Radeon RX6800S GPU, you can expect strong performance as well. The only weakness is the keyboard. It feels a little mushy and the backlighting is rather unimpressive. That said, if you’re in the market for a portable laptop that delivers zippy performance, the Zephyrus G14 is a great pick. Read our full ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) review Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G – Best coffee shop laptop Pros Fantastic 16-hour battery life Ultra thin, light and svelte Excellent 1080p OLED display and Dolby audio Solid value, though a premium price Cons Shallow keyboard A ton of preloaded apps, many from Samsung No 4K display option MSRP: $1,399.99 Best Prices Today: $1249.99 at Samsung | $1399.99 at Samsung The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G offers a gorgeous OLED screen, superb battery life, and an excellent inking experience. It also has a 360-degree hinge, which means you can fold it up like a tent or swing the display around and use it like a tablet. It’s very versatile, which may appeal to students or business professionals. In our review, our tester described it as “an excellent coffee shop PC.” The only drawback is the slow SSD. Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G review HP Chromebook x2 11 da0023dx – Best folio-style Chromebook Pros Gorgeous 2K touchscreen Solid performance Excellent battery life Robust design Cons Trackpad is too sensitive at times Light on ports MSRP: $599 Best Prices Today: $479.99 at HP | Not Available at Best Buy Ah, folio-style laptops. While some may find them cumbersome to deal with, our reviewer really liked this one. The HP Chromebook x2 11 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. The tablet’s aluminum chassis feels rugged and like it’ll last quite a while. The detachable keyboard took some getting used to, but ended up being fine for long typing sessions. The rear plate, which transforms into a kickstand that holds up the tablet, connects to the back of the tablet via magnets. The reviewer found the connection to be both clean and strong. As for the performance, it’s about what you’d expect out of a Chromebook. It’s zippy enough for everyday tasks like browsing the web and so on. Read our full HP Chromebook x2 11 review Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) – Best convertible Pros Sturdy and sleek all-metal chassis Long battery life Impressive audio output Comfortable keyboard Cons 16:9 screen feels cramped  Included stylus is too skinny Undersized touchpad Limited ports all on left side MSRP: $1,230 (entry level) | $1,449 (as reviewed) Best Prices Today: $1230 at Lenovo | Not Available at Best Buy The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a fantastic convertible. It has an attractive design, a dazzling OLED display, and great sound quality. Plus, the 12th-gen Intel processor really boosts performance. According to our tester, the processor “packs four performance cores and eight efficiency cores.” That’s quite a bit of power. The 74 watt-hour battery is quite large for a compact 2-in-1 as well. When we put the laptop through our battery test, it died in about 12 hours. You can expect this laptop to last through the work day. There’s a couple of minor nitpicks to be aware of, though. The 19:9 aspect ratio makes the screen feel a bit squished and the touchpad is smaller than we like. If you can live with those small drawbacks, the Yoga 9i is well worth considering. Read our full Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) review How we tested The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be fair or possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them. Windows laptops PCMark 10: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on.HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file. Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time.3DMark: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips. Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies.Chromebooks CrXPRT 2: The CrXPRT 2 benchmark tests a Chromebook’s battery life. Speedometer 2.0: This test determines a Chromebook’s web browser performance. It simulates this by adding, completing, and removing a to-do list.Basemark Web 3.0: This benchmark gauges how well a Chromebook can handle web-based applications. Kraken 1.1: Kraken 1.1 is a JavaScript performance benchmark. Jetstream 2: Jetstream 2 is a combination of WebAssembly and JavaScript benchmarks. This is a way to gauge how well a Chromebook runs advanced workloads.Laptop FAQ Ah, here we are at the billion dollar question. Do you spring for a basic Chromebook or go for a Windows laptop with more features? Well, it really depends on your personal lifestyle and what you plan on using your laptop for. For example, Chromebooks are a great low cost option for those who just want the basics. I use a Chromebook as my primary work laptop, as it has everything I need for both editing and writing. If you travel a bunch for work, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a laptop with solid battery life. If you’re still unsure, don’t sweat it. I’ve put together a list of quick tips below. What type of laptop should I get? The first question you should ask yourself is what kind of laptop you’re looking for. There’s traditional clamshells, 2-in-1’s, Chromebooks, and much more. The displays on convertible laptops (aka 2-in-1’s), for example, can swing around 360 degrees. This allows you to use the laptop like a tablet. They can also be propped up like a tent for viewing movies or participating in video calls. Chromebooks, on the other hand, exclusively run Google’s web-focused Chrome OS and are generally used for everyday tasks. All you need is a Gmail account and boom, you’re in. There are pros and cons to each of them. Chromebooks are affordable and generally have good battery life whereas convertibles are normally lightweight and portable. How much processing power will I need? If it’s CPU power you’re looking for, look for processors with higher numerical names. A Core i7 is more suited to gaming and more intense work than everyday tasks. Intel processors are available in Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9. The higher the number, the more powerful the CPU. If you don’t need a ton of power, Intel Core i5 processors are your best bet, as they offer good performance at a decent price. Basic office and web work gets along just fine on a Core i3. As for AMD options, the Ryzen 3 is good for basic productivity and web browsing, while Ryzen 5 chips rival Intel’s Core i5 as solid all-arounders. If you need more power, the Ryzen 7 chip is well suited for content creation like video editing. Finally, if you’re dealing with 4K video, spring for a Ryzen 9. What’s the difference between discrete graphics and integrated graphics? You’ll want a discrete graphics card for hardcore gaming or editing videos. It’s separate from the processor, so you can expect higher performance out of it. Integrated graphics, on the other hand, are attached to the CPU and uses less power as a result. This is perfectly fine for everyday tasks, especially if you’re not doing anything that’s graphics-intensive. What about memory? 8GB of RAM is zippy enough for general use. If you’ve got a gaming laptop, 16GB of RAM is the way to go, and content creators will want even more. How big should my display be? If you’re a video editor or someone who does a lot of multimedia work, you’ll want a display that’s anywhere from 15- to 17-inches. The sweet spot is really anywhere from 13- to 14-inches, though. The bigger the display, the heavier your laptop is going to be. A 13- or 14-inch display is the best in terms of portability and value. How long should my laptop last on a single charge? If you plan on taking your laptop anywhere with you, aim for something that can last 10 to 12 hours on a single charge. That’s more than a full work day, so it should theoretically get you through long flights or a day of classes. Obviously, more is always better. Just know that the bigger the battery, the heavier the laptop. How much should I spend? The price really depends on your budget. If you’re strapped for cash (been there, trust me), go for a Chromebook or an entry-level business laptop. These laptops are good choices for students or young professionals. If you can afford to spend more, the versatility of a 2-in-1 laptop is really worth it. What about connectivity? A wide array of ports is always a plus in my book, as it eliminates the need for an adapter. I’d recommend a laptop that has both USB-C and USB-A. An HDMI port is good, too. This is especially useful for when you want to hook up to an external monitor. Laptops
Keychron’s new Q9 is a tiny keyboard with full-sized features
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 14:46:49 +0000
Source: PCWorld
It looks like Keychron is determined to cover every single niche in the high-end mechanical keyboard market. In addition to the somewhat niche “1800” layout of the Q5 and the ergonomic “Alice” build of the Q8, the company just announced a new Q9 model. Don’t let the larger number fool you. This is an absolutely tiny “40%” keyboard with just four rows of keys. It also preserves all the premium features of Keychron’s other Q-model offerings. It’s up for sale today, starting at $139. Keychron Keychron’s modified version of the 40% layout is just a little bigger for the sake of users who like less frequent use of the Fn layer key. It is, in a word, adorable — possibly even adowable. The design has a full arrow key cluster plus a home and delete key, with the latter replaced by the now-ubiquitous radial dial on the upgraded version. Beyond that, it’s the familiar Q feature set: a super thick and heavy milled aluminum case, hot-swap switches with full RGB lighting, gasket mounting, and lots of interior foam for a super-premium feel and easy programming via QMK or VIA. 40% is something of an extreme layout, the lack of a number row forcing the user to become familiar with their Function layers far more than on even a 60% board. That said, it’s proven popular with enthusiasts who demand the maximum amount of free space on their desk or in their travel bag. (The fully-assembled board weighs just over a kilogram, more than twice as heavy as a standard iPad thanks to that thicc case). Keychron has made some considerations for more general users with the arrow cluster and its usual hard-wired Mac/Windows switch. Note the semi-standard layout — a shortened right Shift key is the only oddball on the board, making it easy to customize with aftermarket keycaps. Keychron Keychron’s attractive doubleshot PBT OSA keycaps are an available add-on as well as premium pre-lubed Gateron Pro switches. The “barebones” board (with no switches or caps) starts at $139, with the add-on knob version going for $149. Switches and keycaps will cost you an extra $30 for either configuration, which is actually a bit of a bargain. You can order the keyboard in black, silver, or a bright navy blue with matching caps, and it comes in ANSI or ISO layouts. For an in-depth look at Keychron’s Q series, be sure to check out our review of the Q5. Keyboards
How to pair AirPods or AirPods Pro with Windows
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 14:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Pairing AirPods or AirPods Pro with a PC may not be as utterly simple as with an iOS device, but it’s only marginally harder. You just connect the earbuds via Bluetooth—a straightforward, fast process in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 (though Windows 11 added steps to connect Bluetooth devices). Just follow our steps below and you’ll be off and running. Do note, however, that as an Apple product, AirPods and AirPod Pros lose some functionality in Windows. They work well for listening to audio, but fall quite short of microphone quality you’d get on iOS or macOS. So while Apple’s earbuds can handle Zoom calls in a pinch, we’d steer clear of them as your main Windows headset. Hopefully the hotly anticipated AirPods Pro 2 don’t suffer from the same limitations when they (presumably) come out later this year. How to pair AirPods or AirPods Pro with Windows 10 First, make sure your AirPods are fully charged with both earbuds in the case, and the lid is shut. Also confirm your Windows 10 PC is capable of running Bluetooth devices. (The overwhelming majority of modern laptops have Bluetooth built in, as do prebuilt desktop PCs from vendors like Dell and HP.) If your system lacks support, you can buy an inexpensive dongle like this TP-Link oneRemove non-product link to add that feature. Open the Settings app in Windows 10. You can find it by typing settings in the Windows 10 search bar and selecting the app once it appears. Its icon looks like a cog. Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + I at the same time.In the Settings menu, choose Devices.The Bluetooth & other devices page will pop up. First, make sure that Bluetooth is turned on by checking the toggle near the top of the page. If it isn’t, flip it on.Select Add Bluetooth or other device.The Add a device menu will pop up, asking you which kind of device you’d like to pair with. Select Bluetooth.Grab your AirPods or AirPods Pro and open the lid.Hold down the circular button on the back of your AirPods for around three to eight seconds. The charging light on your AirPods will eventually start pulsing white. When this happens, lift your finger and look back at the Add a device menu.Be patient. It might take a couple of seconds for the AirPods to appear. When they do, they’ll likely appear as “Headphones” at first and then Windows 10 will load them as “AirPods Pro” (or whatever name you gave them on iOS, if you have an iPhone or iPad you previously used them with). Select them.You’ll get a notification saying, “Your device is ready to go!”Your AirPods should immediately become your default listening device. When you put them back into your case, Windows 10 will automatically revert to the last audio device you used. Hold the button on the back of your AirPods or AirPods Pro to put them into pairing mode. How to pair AirPods or AirPods Pro with Windows 11 Before pairing, your AirPods should be fully charged, with both earbuds in the case and the lid shut. Also verify that your Windows 11 computer supports Bluetooth connections. Most laptops have Bluetooth built in, as do desktop PCs purchased through companies like Dell or HP. If your PC can’t run Bluetooth devices, you can buy an inexpensive dongle (like this TP-Link model) to add the feature. Open the Settings app in Windows 11. You access it by clicking on the Start menu, then clicking on the grey cog icon labled Settings. You can also bring it up by typing settings into the search bar, or pressing Windows + I on your keyboard. In the Settings menu, choose Bluetooth & devices.Confirm that the toggle for Bluetooth is turned on. If it’s not, click on it.At the top of the screen, click on the big button that says Add device.When the Add a device menu appears, choose Bluetooth from among the options.Now open the lid on your AirPods or AirPods Pro. If this is your first time ever pairing the device, you can skip to Step 8.Otherwise, hold down the circular button on the back of your AirPods. The charging light on your AirPods will eventually start pulsing white after several seconds. (It can take as long as 10 seconds, though.) When this happens, lift your finger and look at the Add a device menu.Be patient, as it can take a few seconds for the AirPods to appear. They’ll likely appear as “Headphones” at first and then Windows 11 will load them as “AirPods” or “AirPods Pro” (or whatever you’ve renamed them to, if you’ve previously used them with an iPhone or iPad). Select them.A new window will appear that says “Your device is ready to go!”Your AirPods should now be your active listening device. You’ll see it as a new button at the top of the Bluetooth & devices screen; its status should be marked with a green dot and listed as Connected voice, music. You can put them back into the case to automatically disconnect them. Windows 11 will then automatically switch to the last audio device you used. How to reconnect or disconnect AirPods with your PC (Windows 10) Your AirPods should automatically start working with your PC once you put them back in your ears. If they don’t, you can connect them manually. Open the Settings app in Windows 10.Select Devices.Scroll down to the Audio section and select your AirPods.In the prompt that pops up, press Connect. Your AirPods should now work.You can also use these same steps to disconnect your AirPods from your PC if you want to use them with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac you’ve previously paired them with. Just keep in mind that you’ll now need to manually connect your AirPods through the Bluetooth menus on those devices while your AirPods are still paired with your Windows PC. Keep in mind that you might have to scroll down a bit in order to see the Audio section. How to reconnect or disconnect AirPods with your PC (Windows 11) Your AirPods should automatically reconnect to your Windows 11 PC after you pull them from your case. If they don’t, you can connect them manually. Open the Settings app in Windows 11.Choose Bluetooth & devices.At the top of the screen, you should see a large button for your AirPods (e.g., “AirPods Pro”).Click the Connect button.If you don’t see your AirPods among the buttons on this screen, click on View more devices just underneath them. Then scroll down to Audio.On the AirPods entry, click on the vertical set of three dots.In the pop-up window that appears, choose Connect.Your AirPods should now work. To disconnect them from your PC, use these same steps. If you want to use your AirPods with a previously paired device, you may need to connect to it manually through its Bluetooth menu if automatic connection fails. Paired devices appear as large buttons at the top of the Bluetooth & devices settings. If you have many paired devices, you can find all of them by clicking on View more devices.PCWorld How to unpair your AirPods from your Windows 10 PC Permanently unpairing your AirPods involves a similar series of steps as reconnecting them, but with a single difference. Open the Settings app.Press Devices.Scroll down to the Audio section and select your AirPods.In the prompt that pops up, press Remove device.How to unpair your AirPods from your Windows 11 PC To remove your AirPods as a device, you’ll take similar steps as when reconnecting them. Open the Settings app.Select Bluetooth & devices.Locate the big button for your AirPods (e.g., “AirPods Pro”).Click on the vertical line of three dots at the upper-right corner of the button.In the small pop-up window that appears, choose Remove device.If you can’t find your AirPods among the buttons on this screen, click View more devices just underneath them. Then scroll down to Audio.On the AirPods entry, click on the vertical set of three dots.Choose Remove device. Consumer Electronics
The first Intel Arc desktop graphics card is now on sale in the US
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 13:51:02 +0000
Source: PCWorld
It’s been a long road, getting from there to here. But it’s finally time for Intel to make a glorious entrance into the desktop graphics card market in the west…if a bottom-tier GPU can be described as “glorious.” Asrock, one of Intel’s first partners to make Arc graphics cards in the Chinese market, has now expanded its offering to the US. You can buy an Arc A380 card running on pure Intel power at Newegg right now — it’s going for just $140 at the time of this writing. The A380 is the cheapest and least-powerful Arc card Intel has revealed thus far, competing at a level well below even the bottom-rung Radeon RX 6400 in initial benchmarks. It’s packed with eight of Intel’s custom Xe cores running at a clock speed of 2GHz with 6GB of GDDR6 memory at a bandwidth of 186 GB/s with a 96-bit interface. Asrock’s version of the GPU has a slightly boosted core clock of 2.25GHz and features three DisplayPort 2.0 ports with one HDMI port on top. The maximum resolution is 8K at 60Hz over DisplayPort and you’ll need a single 8-pin power rail from your power supply to run the dual-slot card. At $140 with no current discounts, the Arc 380 slots in just below the Radeon RX 6400 and just above the GeForce GT 1030 in price, which is roughly in line with its initial performance benchmarks. If you happen to pick one up, you can expect some surprisingly good output in newer games that support the open API features of DirectX 12 and Vulkan and some, uh, “budget” performance in just about everything else. Intel, as its own representatives have admitted, is still far behind Nvidia and AMD in terms of driver and software support for games running on older APIs. We’re expecting a more general launch from Intel later this year, though the debut of more powerful models like the Arc A750 seems to be troubled at the very least. Intel has invested a lot of money into its nascent discrete GPU business and it’s hard to see any area in which it’s competing evenly with the competition (though it is excelling at video encoding). The company has indicated that it intends to compete aggressively on price with its three-tier game approach, but just how that translates to retail pricing remains to be seen. GPUs
Best laptop deals: Top picks from budget to extreme
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 13:14:31 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Whether you’re looking for a laptop for gaming, school, or just something budget-friendly, you’ve come to the right place. We’re perusing the web on a daily basis to find the top laptop deals available right now. However, not all laptop “deals” are truly deals. Laptop heavily discount undesirable machines to try to get them to move all the time. So, we’re only including the deals we consider total bargains—and we’ll explain why. Right now, we’re seeing steep discounts on gaming rigs, Dell XPS laptops, Lenovo IdeaPads, and more. We’ve also got some helpful shopping advice at the end of this article and separate roundups of the best daily desktop computer deals and the best back to school deals on monitors, tablets, MacBooks, and more. Read on to learn more, and if you order one of these laptop deals, here’s how to to get ready for that new PC before it arrives. The best laptop deals in 2022 Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 From: Best Buy Was: $1,399.99 Now: $999.99 ($400 off) Asus The Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 is a fantastic pick for the budget-conscious gamer. It’s beautiful, powerful, and $400 off. The moonlight white color scheme is super chic and a nice departure from the harsh red accents we’re used to seeing on gaming laptops. Let’s get into the specs and features. This laptop features an AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. You should be able to play most older games on the high or very high presets, but we’d recommend scaling back the graphics to medium on newer titles. The 14-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a refresh rate of 144Hz. For connectivity options, it has one HDMI, two USB Type-A, and two USB Type-C. This is quite a steal, so you better grab it before it’s gone. See the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 at Best Buy Gigabyte Aero From: Best Buy Was: $2,349.99 Now: $1,899.99 ($450 off) Gigabyte If you’re looking for an awesome gaming laptop, you’re in luck. The Gigabyte Aero is powerful, beautiful, and $950 off. It features an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. The internal components should deliver fast graphics performance. You can likely play most newer games on high or very high graphics. The 16-inch AMOLED display also has a resolution of 3840×2400, which should produce a vivid picture. This is a phenomenal gaming laptop at an awesome price. Don’t miss out on the opportunity. See the Gigabyte Aero at Best Buy HP Spectre x360 From: HP Was: $1,799.99 Now: $1,399.99 ($400 off) HP Need a productivity laptop for work or school? If so, the HP Spectre x360 is a good option. It features an Intel Core i7-11390H CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics (integrated), 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCie NVMe SSD storage. The 16-inch touch-enabled display has a resolution of 3072×1920 and is covered in protective Corning Gorilla glass. According to HP, it also has a maximum brightness of 400 nits. In other words, you can expect a picture that’s sharp and vibrant. It’s suited for tasks like watching videos, working on spreadsheets, doodling, and so on. We’d recommend getting on this deal ASAP, as it’s part of HP’s back-to-school sale, so it won’t last long. See the HP Spectre x360 at HP Lenovo Chromebook 3 Lenovo From: Best Buy Was: $139 Now: $99 ($40 off) Sometimes deal hunting means making compromises to take advantage of those incredible prices. This is one of those. The Lenovo Chromebook 3 features an 11.6-inch display with a 1366-by-768 resolution. We try not to recommend anything below 1080p, but given the screen size and the fact that it’s under $100, this is fair value for that resolution. It also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. That’s plenty for a Chromebook. The processor is Intel’s Celeron N4020, another good choice for the minimal requirements of a Chromebook. This laptop will also run Linux apps as well as Android apps from Google Play. This Chromebook will also continue to get updates until June 2027. See the Lenovo Chromebook 3 11 at Best Buy Gateway FHD Creator Notebook From: Walmart Was: $1,399 Now: $949 ($450 off) Gateway The Gateway FHD Creator Notebook is a solid machine for both gaming and content creation. It has an Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of PCIe SSD storage. The 1920×1080 display measures 17.3-inches (that’s quite a bit of screen real estate!) and it has a refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s the perfect size for playing games or editing videos. It’s not the most travel-friendly laptop, as it tips the scales at over five pounds. However, that’s par for the course when it comes to gaming laptops. If you don’t mind the extra weight, this machine is well worth considering. See the Gateway FHD Creator Notebook at Walmart Alienware x14 From: Dell Was: $1,798.98 Now: $1,499.99 ($298.99 off) Dell The Alienware x14 is a solid mid-range gaming laptop. It has an Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, an RTX 3050 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. You should be able to run most lightweight games on high or ultra, but we’d recommend scaling the graphics back on newer titles. The 1920×1080 non-touch display has a refresh rate of 144Hz and it supports Nvidia G-Sync, which should help reduce any screen tearing. The port selection is nice, too. You’re getting three USB Type-C, one USB Type-A, one HDMI, and and one micro SD card slot. This Alienware x14 configuration is a bit pricier than comparable RTX 3050 laptops even at this deal price, but Alienware gear always commands a premium—even on sale. See the Alienware x14 at Dell HP Victus From: HP Was: $1,249.99 Now: $1,049.99 ($200 off) HP HP is currently having a back-to-school sale. So, if you’ve been looking for a laptop that can handle schoolwork and late night gaming sessions, then you’re in luck. The HP Victus is powerful, easy on the eyes, and $200 off. It has an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. The non-touch display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a refresh rate of 144Hz. It weighs a little over five pounds, which is par for the course for a gaming laptop. However, if you don’t mind the extra heft, then this laptop is well worth considering. You better act now, as this back-to-school sale won’t last much longer. See the HP Victus at HP Lenovo Legion 5 From: eBay Was: $899.99 Now: $544 ($355.99 off) Lenovo The Lenovo Legion 5 is an excellent laptop for the budget-conscious gamer, and you almost never see gaming laptops going this cheap. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. The display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Given the entry-level GPU, you may want to scale the graphics back to medium or high on newer titles. That said, this laptop shouldn’t have any trouble running older games. For ports, it has one HDMI, one USB Type-C, one DisplayPort, and one headphone/microphone combo. This laptop will likely sell out fast, as it’s a killer deal. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity and buy now. See the Lenovo Legion 5 at eBay Acer Chromebook 315 From: Best Buy Was: $249 Now: $129 ($120 off) Acer The Acer Chromebook 315 should be a decent laptop for everyday tasks like browsing the web, listening to music, and so on. It has an Intel Celeron N4000 CPU, Intel UHD graphics, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC storage. The display is 15.6-inches and has a resolution of 1366×768. It’s not the most powerful laptop around, but that’s totally fine, so long as you use it as intended. This machine is really only designed for lightweight tasks. If you just need the basics, then the Acer Chromebook 315 is fantastic choice. You really can’t beat the $129 price tag, either. See the Acer Chromebook 315 at Best Buy Lenovo Ideapad 3 2022 From: Amazon Was: $959 Now: $387.50 ($571 off) Lenovo If you’re in the market for a zippy little productivity laptop, then you’re in luck. The Lenovo Ideapad 3 is an excellent choice for a college freshman or someone who just needs the basics. It has an Intel Core i3-1115G4 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 256GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. The display has a resolution of 1366×768 and is touch-enabled. For ports, it has two USB 3.2 Type-A, one USB 2.0 Type-A, one HDMI, one combination audio jack, and one SD card reader. The laptop itself weighs just a little over four pounds. It’s a little heavy for an ultraportable, but it’s still light enough to take with you. See the Lenovo Ideapad 3 at Amazon MSI GP66 Leopard From: Newegg Was: $2,299 Now: $1,799 (after $100 rebate) MSI The MSI GP66 Leopard is a solid gaming laptop that promises strong graphics performance. It has an Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, an RTX 3080 GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz. For ports, it has one Mini DisplayPort, one HDMI, and three USB Type-A. Newegg even bundled a free MSI gaming headset with this purchase. If you want to shave off another $100, you can turn in the mail-in rebate. Overall, this laptop is a steal and the free headset really sweetens the honey pot. See the MSI GP66 Leopard at Newegg Samsung Chromebook Plus From: Amazon Was: $500 Now: $289 ($264.99 off) Samsung The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a good option for someone who needs a lightweight convertible. It has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, and 32GB of eMMC storage. It’s a little light on storage and memory, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you store most of your stuff in the cloud. The 11-inch touchscreen display has a resolution of 1900×1200, and the Chromebook has two USB-C ports. It’s powerful enough for everyday browser tasks like checking e-mail, writing papers, listening to music, and so on. The 2-in-1 also weighs a little under three pounds, making it a capable travel companion. Plus, it comes with a stylus for doodling or note taking. See the Samsung Chromebook Plus at Amazon Acer Aspire A5 (Intel) Acer From: Amazon Was: $389.99 Now: $334.99 ($61 off) We already have a similar model from the same series available in this roundup, but this one is a little cheaper and swaps a Ryzen 3 APU for an Intel Core i3 processor. This version of the Acer Aspire A5 still has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard NVMe storage. It’s also rocking Windows 11 Home in S Mode. You can do a one-way switch to regular Windows 11 Home if you prefer, but you may not want to given the CPU. The big difference is the processor. This model has the Intel “Tiger Lake” Core i3-1115G4, which has two cores, four threads, and a boost to 4.1GHz. That’s good enough for casual uses like web browsing, video streaming, and so on. It would likely struggle as a productivity laptop, but for someone with light computing requirements, it offers a nice size screen at a solid price. See the Acer Aspire A5-515-56-36UT at Amazon Lenovo Legion 5i Lenovo From: Walmart Was: $1,029.99 Now: $749 ($280.99 off) This is a nice gaming laptop at a solid price. It’s packing the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, a 1080p graphics card. With this you should be able to play most games on medium to high with a jump to ultra on older games. The processor is the Intel “Comet Lake” Core i5-10500H, which has six cores, twelve threads, and a boost to 4.5GHz. It’s an older processor, but still fast enough for gaming. As for RAM, it’s 8GB and onboard storage is 256GB. This is still considered a budget gaming rig, but for $100 extra you get an upgraded GPU. See the LG Lenovo Legion 5i at Walmart Acer Aspire 3 Acer From: Walmart Was: $549 Now: $479 ($70 off) You don’t often find a laptop deal with an Intel Alder Lake CPU, which is why we decided to highlight this specific sale. The Acer Aspire 3 features Intel’s Core i5-1235U with eight efficiency cores and two performance cores with HyperThreading for a total of 12 threads and a maximum boost to 4.4GHz. It also has 8GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch display with 1080p resolution, 256GB of onboard storage, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and it’s running Windows 11 Home. See the Acer Aspire 3 at Walmart Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Lenovo From: Walmart Was: $699 Now: $436.49 ($266 off) We’ve already got an IdeaPad 3i in the round-up, but this model is different enough that it’s worth a look on its own. The somewhat older Core i5-10210U has four cores, eight threads, and a boost to 4.2GHz. Still, it’s a solid processor for an everyday work machine. It’s also packing 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. That’s a big difference compared to the other 3i, which has a hard drive. This model has a slightly smaller screen at 14-inches, but the resolution is 1080p, which is all well and good. It’s also running Windows 11 Home. See the Lenovo IdeaPad 3i at Walmart Acer Aspire 5 A515 Acer From: Amazon Was: $399.99 Now: $339.99 ($60 off) If you’re looking for a solid everyday laptop, you’ve come to the right place. The Acer Aspire 5 features a 15.6-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard SSD storage. The processor is a Ryzen 3 3350U, which has four cores, four threads, and a maximum boost to 3.5GHz. It’s packed with modern features like Wi-Fi 6, a backlit keyboard, and a fingerprint reader for biometric logins. Acer starts this laptop off with Windows 11 in S mode, but there’s no reason not to do a one-way upgrade to full Windows 11. This is being sold by a third-party retailer, but Amazon is handling shipping, which means it falls under the company’s return policy. See the Acer Aspire 5 A515 at Amazon Asus Vivobook Pro 14 K3400 Asus From: Walmart Was: $749 Now: $599 ($150 off) If you’re into creative work, the Asus Vivobook Pro 14 is a fantastic option. This laptop has a 14-inch 2880-by-1800 OLED display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. OLED screens are great, so you can expect a sharper, more vibrant image. The Vivobook is also packing a Core i5-1330H, a Tiger Lake CPU with four cores, eight threads, and a boost to 4.4GHz. There’s even 8GB of RAM, which is a good amount for some video editing. Onboard storage is a 256GB NVMe SSD, and you’re getting Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0. This is a nice laptop with a very good display, but for storage you’ll likely have to rely mostly on the cloud. Speaking of which, you also get a free, three month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud as part of the package. See the Asus Vivobook Pro 14 K3400 at Walmart Laptop deal buying tips If you’ve shopped online before for laptop deals you’re probably aware that there’s a vast range of laptop configurations available. A good place to start is with the processor. Buy laptops with Intel 10-series Core chips or higher, such as the Core i5-10510U, or the Core i7-11800H (for even more details see our Intel 10th-gen mobile CPU buying guide); or go with an AMD Ryzen processor (but not an AMD Athlon or A-series chip). Avoid laptops with Pentium or Celeron processors unless it’s a Chromebook (running Chrome OS). You’re going to need to pay attention with gaming laptops, too, as some GPUs, like the RTX 3050 Ti, don’t offer much boost over their RTX 2xxx-series cousins, and Nvidia has dropped the Max-Q designation on certain low-power options. Our laptop CPU and GPU cheat sheet can help you shop smart. Display resolution is a gotcha. If you see a laptop labeled as “HD” resolution that means 1366-by-768 and often isn’t worth your time for a laptop under 13 inches unless the deal is absolutely standout. What you want is “Full HD” or “FHD,” which means 1080p. Don’t buy laptops with under 4GB of RAM or 128GB of SSD storage—though on a Chromebook, this configuration is acceptable. We have more explanation in our laptops versus Chromebooks buying guide, as well as in our primer on how to buy a budget laptop without getting screwed. Also watch out for eMMC storage, which is something we don’t recommend for a Windows laptop but works fine for a Chromebook. Reviews can be helpful. Even if you can’t find a review of a specific configuration, try related models. They’ll often give you a good idea of the build quality and performance. Also buy from brands you trust. Amazon’s daily laptop deals right now are full of brands we’ve never tested or talked to (Broage, Teclast, DaySky, Jumper) and it’s just a good idea to be wary. Most older laptops will run Windows 10, and that’s fine—there’s no rush to upgrade. Windows 10 in S Mode, though annoying, can be switched out of easily if you find it on a budget laptop. If you want to buy a Windows 10 PC with the intent of upgrading it to Windows 11, we recommend you start here with a list of older laptops that are Windows 11-eligible. Updated on August 16 with new pricing and to remove expired deals. Laptops
This Asus gaming laptop is gorgeous, powerful, and $400 off
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 12:59:12 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Are you looking for a swanky-looking gaming laptop? Well, we’ve got a phenomenal deal for you today. Best Buy is selling the Asus Zephyrus 14 for $999.99. That’s a savings of $400. When it comes to first impressions, this laptop really knows how to make a statement. The moonlight white color scheme is stunning and a welcome departure from the usual gaming aesthetic (aka red accents, three-headed serpent logo, etc). Fortunately, it’s more than just a pretty face. Let’s get into the specs and features, yeah? The Asus Zephyrus 14 is rocking an AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. You should be able to play most older games on the high or very high presets, but we’d recommend scaling back the graphics to medium on newer titles. The 14-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a refresh rate of 144Hz. For connectivity options, it has one HDMI, two USB Type-A, and two USB Type-C. Overall, this is a solid deal, so you better grab it before it’s gone. Get the Asus ROG Zephyrus 14 for $999.99 at Best Buy Laptops
Graphics card prices are plummeting. Should you buy now, or wait?
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 10:45:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
A $2,150 premium RTX 3090 Ti slashed in price by 60 percent. Almost 40 percent off lopped off the cost of a blingy RX 6900 XT. After months of painful, sky-high prices, graphics card prices are abruptly plunging, and most dramatically on the highest-end models. Stock is suddenly in favor of consumers, now that miners are no longer buying up all the graphics chips Nvidia and AMD produced. And looking at the final totals after these discounts, you may find yourself asking if stretching your budget could be worth it—especially if you have extra cash on hand after waiting for a reasonable price on a GPU. It’s a question worth asking, and one we’ve discussed on The Full Nerd, our weekly show on YouTube where we discuss PC hardware. If you find yourself considering this decision, here are the other hard questions you should next ask yourself. How you answer will determine if you should keep to your original budget, stretch to buy one of these insane deals, or wait for the next generation of cards. How long will you keep the graphics card? It’s a bit of a running joke among the PCWorld staff at this point, but the GTX 1080 Ti has held up incredibly well over the years. Typically, enthusiasts who buy a flagship card upgrade sooner than many actually have.Nvidia If you replace your graphics card more often, your strategy will be different than someone who tends to buy and hold for as long as possible. For example, if you’re someone who likes to replaces your card every couple of years, and you’re now four or five years into ownership of your current GPU, you may be feeling long past due for an upgrade now that prices are normal. Since you’ll replace the card within a couple of years, waiting longer may not sit right, even given the age of the current generation of GPUs. the best 1080p gaming value Radeon RX 6600 Swft 210 Read our review MSRP: $329.99 Best Prices Today: $259.99 at Amazon | $260 at B&H Photo Video On the flip side, if you tend to hold onto your graphics cards until death do you part, waiting another half year for the rumored launches of Nvidia’s RTX 40-series and AMD’s RDNA3 Radeon cards Radeon cards is the more fitting decision. Holding out for the latest tech will help extend the life of your purchase. Find yourself on the fence? How you answer the other questions will help you better clarify where you fall. How important are next-gen features? A shot from Chernobylite comparing DLSS, FSR, and native resolution. If you’re someone who stans FSR but wants performance closer to that of Nvidia’s DLSS 2.0, you may be better off waiting to see what next-gen cards bring.Keith May/IDG In the current generation of cards, AMD is a step behind Nvidia in support for ray-tracing. FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), its upscaling tech for improving frame rates, also still trails Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) tech. Depending on the games you play and monitor you have, having these features may be key to your enjoyment of the card. The answers to the other questions in this article can better shape the path to take. Maybe a current-gen higher-end card is ideal—the graphics card you have is on its last legs or is performing too weakly for your taste, and the feature set of the RTX 30-series or RX 6000-series is more than adequate for your timeline.  the best 4k gpu GeForce RTX 3080 Read our review MSRP: $699 Best Prices Today: $774.72 at Amazon | $800 at Newegg Or perhaps waiting to see what comes out next is the right choice. You want to make the most of a fancy new monitor you just got, or you’re gambling despite the trend of ever-increasing MSRPs, you can buy a cheaper class of next-gen GPU and still get improved performance and features. Even if you don’t plan to play games on this card, features like NVENC, Nvidia’s encoder, does advance as newer architecture generations release. The newer cards can also support unexpected and extremely helpful new features, like when Nvidia released RTX Voice and its background-noise eliminating tech at the start of the pandemic. At its launch, that feature was limited to then-current-gen 20-series cards and the tensor chips only found in those RTX cards. GTX cards didn’t get support until a year later. What games do you like to play? If you’ve always been a “But can it run Crysis?” type, you’ll want a card that can easily handle the punishment of graphically demanding games. (Pictured: Cyberpunk 2077.)Thiago Trevisan/IDG Play nothing but AAA titles the second they drop? Or do you focus on less taxing indie games?  The kind of games you play also should factor into your purchase decision, even if your titles of choice are the freebies you’ve collected through the Epic Games Store. Whether they punish the hardware, go easy, or somewhere in between, your usual taste will influence how much hardware you’ll reasonably need. No point in a cutting-edge version of ray-tracing or the ability to pump out high frame rates in today’s AAA titles if your games don’t require much firepower. So figure out the napkin math on the kind of hardware best suited for your habits. After, you’ll be able to make calls like, “I wouldn’t normally go for a 6900 XT, but if a good model dips below $600, I’d rather scoop that up now and hang onto it for a few years instead of waiting for prices to come down on the next-gen cards. Otherwise, I’ll hold out.” What’s your monitor capable of? Will you play the latest AAA games on a high-resolution screen like the Samsung Odyssey G9? After all, you could also own an Odyssey G9 and only play games like Stray on it instead.Samsung As fun as it is to own hardware that puts the pedal to the metal, sometimes you can’t justify owning it. For example: You own a 1080p monitor with a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz, aren’t planning to upgrade it, and will only ever game on the PC. Sure, casually mentioning you picked up a 3090 Ti for just a bit over $1,000 is a great bomb to drop in a conversation, but it shouldn’t be the main win of such a deal. So put another way: What are the resolution and refresh rate you normally play at? And if you’re pushing a lot of pixels or playing at high frame rates, how important is it you maintain that level of performance? Those answers plus the kind of games you normally play will determine how powerful your graphics card should be and how long you’ll be able to hang onto it. If you play a game with relatively chill system requirements, but load it on a super ultrawide monitor (i.e., Samsung Odyssey G9) while cranking up its graphics settings to max, you may end up needing a brawnier graphics card than you might first think. Similarly, if you always need to hit at least 144 fps in the latest AAA games, you’ll be replacing your card more often. What’s your budget? This question is the harshest bit of reality.Pixabay This one’s the final reality check. If you only planned to spend $250 on a new graphics card, a reasonable stretch is more like $350 for everything except the Radeon RX 6600. (Good news is, we’ve been seeing discounts on the RTX 3060 Ti and RX 6600 XT, too—just not as steep as on the flagship cards.) But if you were already targeting RX 3070 Ti or RX 6800, stepping up to an 6900 XT at $670 is far more logical. And it can actually be a tempting proposition, given those cards aren’t straying far from MSRP at the moment. Even if you were more in 6700 XT territory, the answers you give to the other questions in this article could actually identify you as a good candidate for shelling out extra for an upgrade to the 6900 XT. Bonus question: Used or new? The tides have turned on pricing because Nvidia and AMD committed to big foundry orders for their graphics chips, but miners are no longer buying GPUs with as much fervor. In fact, they’re trying to get rid of their own cards. Which sparks another interesting question: If you’re looking to really get the most bang for your buck, do you opt for a used graphics card, or do you wait in hope these fire-sale prices continue? The odds are good on the latter. The last time we really saw intense stock liquidation was after the launch of the GTX 10-series. Toward the end of the 9-series’ lifespan, you could snag GTX 970 cards for around $150, if memory serves correctly. Truly insane prices—I remember commenting on it to PCWorld’s resident GPU guru Brad Chacos at the time. The AMD Radeon RX 580 also dropped to a comfortably low price before the pandemic, due to high stock. The card was a great budget pick for years.Brad Chacos / IDG Neither AMD or Nvidia want to hang onto their remaining stock of RX 6000-series or 30-series cards, respectively, before the rumored launches of their next-gen cards this fall. So the odds are good that current-gen GPUs will continue to get hefty discounts, and across the stack. (Incidentally, budget buyers: You might want to avoid the RX 6500 XT, even if it gets crazy cuts.) But no matter the cost of a new card, you can be sure a used card will always undercut it. And with miners looking to offload much of their card inventory, that means plenty potentially cheap (if riskier) options for upgrading your PC. So which way you should go? That one’s a long running debate among our staff, with each of us holding very spicy personal takes. To help you decide the question for yourself, have a look at our list of 6 things to consider before buying a used GPU right now. Dig into our overview of who should buy a used GPU, too. But remember—a new card comes backed with a warranty. Depending on your circumstances, that can be worth the cost differential. (Can you guess what part of my take on this question is?) Computer Components, Graphics Cards
Paragon Backup & Recovery Community Edition review: Fantastic file-level backup for free
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 10:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
At a glanceExpert’s Rating ProsFree and easy-to-use file backupFull/incremental/differential backup rotation schemesBacks up to virtual hard drives, including Microsoft VHD/VHDxConsNo drive or partition imagingDisaster recovery was unreliableOur VerdictParagon’s Backup & Recovery Community Edition is free and offers all the backup options most users need. It also leverages widely supported ZIP compression and Microsoft VHDs as container files to facilitate universal browse and restore operations. Best Prices Today: Paragon Backup & Recovery Community Edition Retailer Price Delivery Paragon Software $0 View Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide Paragon’s Backup & Recovery 17 Community Edition (CE) is the free version (and teaser) of the company’s masterful, but somewhat misleadingly monikered Hard Disk Manager software. (The latter is, of course, a hard drive manager with the imaging capabilities CE lacks, but the name doesn’t really hint at its prodigious backup capabilities.) But while Backup & Recovery CE is free, it’s also extremely capable at file-level backup. It leverages common ZIP compression (optional) and Microsoft virtual hard disks (optional) for storage so you don’t necessarily need the program to browse and restore your data. Even better, as far as I could tell, you’re nagged to spend money only if you click on a feature that’s exclusive to Hard Disk Manager. And to be honest, it’s more of a hint than a nag. Nicely low-key, Paragon. Now if only the disaster recovery had worked as advertised. This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best backup software. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them. Paragon Backup & Recovery CE: Features and design Backup & Recovery CE features one of my favorite interfaces. When you’re creating a backup job, it steps you nicely through the process. That’s hardly unique; however, once you’re through creating a backup, there are links to various settings in the backup summary shown the main page. Sweet. That said, while I described Backup & Recovery CE as easy, it doesn’t hold your hand through the file selection process. It’s either back up your entire computer (all internal drives), or select files manually. In other words, there’s no automated selection of music, video, business files, etc. as with other programs such as Genie Timeline 10 Home. After you’ve defined your backup, a handy summary with quick links to settings is displayed. While the imaging and whole drive/partitions functions that are present in Hard Disk Manager are disabled, all the options the average user will need for file backups are active: compression, post-backup notification and verification, logging, backup retention policies (days, # of backups, out of room), as well as full, incremental (all data since last backup), and differential (all data since last full backup) backups. You may also back up to network locations, which is not always a given in the free backup-software realm. Uniquely, you can also set combinations of full and incremental/differential backups. This mimics the standard IT strategy of periodic full backups as well as smaller incremental and differential backups. Usually, one full backup a week with incremental or differential backups the other six days. The logic stems from full backups restoring faster, with incremental (really fast) and differential (fast) backups saving time during the backup phase, which occurs far more often than restoration (hopefully!), where they slow the process. While Backup & Recovery CE doesn’t do raw file backup (simply copying files to a new location), you can back up to a non-proprietary container format. In this case, the VHD/VHDX virtual hard drives that you can mount using Windows and a host of virtual machine programs running on just about any operating system. This assures that you’ll be able to restore your data far into the future—even if Backup & Recovery no longer exists. Info about your drives is all you see. All imaging options are available only in Paragon’s Hard Drive Manager software. Paragon also offers its own proprietary PVHD format, which adds features such as backup splitting, password protection, and the previously mentioned compression. Of course, you’ll then need a Paragon program for restore operations. Which format you choose, all boils down to whether you want efficiency/security or fool-proof compatibility. Your choice, or use both. (VMWare virtual hard disks are supported as well, for fans/users of that format.) Backup & Recovery CE uses the Windows Scheduler to run backups. I heartily approve. Many programs install their own scheduler, which to me simply means another unnecessary program running in the background sucking up CPU cycles. Yes, we have processing power to spare these days, but using less of it is more. The minimum interval is daily, but you can also back up each time you log on or run the computer. Paragon also provides a recovery disk, though you’ll need to surf to Microsoft’s site to download the Windows ADK and its Win PE add-on to create the boot disk. It’s hardly rocket science, but it’s not dead-easy for newcomers. The recovery disc booted fine (unlike with Genie Timeline 10 Home) but not everything proved hunky-dory. Read on. Paragon Backup & Recovery CE: Performance I had no complaints about the performance of Backup & Recovery CE for plain file backup or restore. It was quick and didn’t slow down the host appreciably. I did not, however, appreciate it letting me actually close the program while a backup was in progress without so much as a peep. Oddly, you can close the program while a backup is in progress. The backup will continue, but there’s no clue to that until you launch the program again. Happily, the backup didn’t stop, and the process was visible in Task Manager. But there was no warning, no minimized program window, and no system tray icon to show that the process was still active. Tech support labeled this a bug. Bottom line, the backup completed, and that’s the important thing, so I’m not sweating it. What I am sweating is the failure of the disaster recovery restore. The recovery disc, which uses the same GUI and the aforementioned Windows PE, booted fine, and the restore process proceeded apace for the first couple of partitions, but then seemingly had issues creating the actual Windows partition, noting some sort of Windows error. I’m particularly harsh on backup software because it’s mission critical. Most users never use disaster recovery until they actually need it. That’s a hell of a time to find out it doesn’t work. The data is still contained in the backup, and easily accessible by other means, but if you experience a similar glitch, you’ll have to reinstall Windows before recovering your data. It also means reinstalling programs. Final thoughts Paragon Backup & Recovery Community Edition is free, works exceptionally well for file backup, and supports a standard, widely implemented container format. It’s also not continually bugging you to upgrade. Had the disaster recovery functioned properly, the program would’ve have garnered an editor’s choice. As it stands, however, I’m forced (happily) to recommend our actual Editor’s Choice, R-Drive Image, as the best choice for disaster recovery. It’s fast and extremely reliable, though not free. If you’re interested only in file backup and intend to reinstall Windows in case of system failure (I quite often make this choice), the Backup & Recovery Community Edition is a great choice. Backup and Recovery
UENI will make a custom website for your business for just $99
Tue, 16 Aug 2022 08:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Whether you’re selling physical products online or trying to showcase your portfolio or services to a wider audience, social media accounts just won’t cut it. Creating a website can legitimize your online business, and a well-made one will make loyal customers come back for more. But if you don’t have the time or skills to make a website on your own, check out UENI. This done-for-you website builder combines the customizability of a DIY platform and the convenience of a digital agency, and lifetime subscriptions are on sale for $99. Need a website to take bookings or set up an online store? Once you subscribe, simply fill out a quick questionnaire about your business, and UENI will build a personalized website based on your answers within 14 days. You can add images, links to your social channels, and anything you want visitors to know about your brand for UENI to integrate into your site. UENI writes the content to rank your website on Google, and it’ll even host your site for you, although you can connect your existing domain if you already have one. Additionally, the team will create a Google business profile so customers can leave reviews. Once everything’s ready, you can edit your content and design to keep the experience fresh for visitors. It’s no wonder UENI earned 4.6 out of 5 on Trustpilot. Right now, PCWorld readers can score a lifetime subscription to UENI for $99, down from $599.  UENI Done-For-You Website: Lifetime Subscription – $99 Get a Custom Website in 2 Weeks Prices subject to change. Web Development
Get a lifetime Offcloud subscription for $40 during our Back to Education event
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 20:34:39 +0000
Source: PCWorld
We often take the internet for granted, but how will you access e-learning course videos or project documents your college professor is hosting when the web goes down? Offcloud allows you to download files from file-hosting and streaming sites to back them up for later use, making it a great tool to add to your education arsenal.  With Offcloud, you can pull files from your favorite sites such as YouTube, Soundcloud, and Pocket and save them on your computer. Alternatively, you could use Offcloud’s Zaapier integration to automatically upload them to your Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon Cloud, and Mega.NZ accounts. This makes it easy to refer back to meaningful content if your internet goes down or the author removes the files from the web. Offcloud even lets you convert documents to PDF for easy viewing and sharing. Keep a copy of every piece of content you find valuable with Offcloud. Rated 4.5 out of 5 on Trustpilot, this tool is a must-have for anyone learning a new skill and investing in their education. Lifetime Offcloud subscriptions are for just $39.99 during our Back to Education event, which ends August 24.  Offcloud Lifetime Subscription – $39.99 Back-Up the Entire Intenet Prices subject to change. Cloud Storage
Best Back to School deals: laptops, Chromebooks, monitors, and more
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 17:54:18 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Back to school deals on laptops, Chromebooks, MacBooks, and more are moving into their second phase, as students go back to class and learn what they need for school. We’re still seeing some great back-to-school sales, however. We’ve examined and selected the best back-to-school deals at online retailers, with the best available deals on Chromebooks, laptops, MacBooks, iPads and tablets, plus monitors and displays. We’ve taken our extensive laptop reviews coverage and applied that to help you make the best decision on what to buy. Back to school laptop deals Some great deals are on right now! Our back-to-school laptop deals focus mainly on productivity, generally emphasizing 1080p displays and long battery life. Students can add an external hard drive or SSD as well as cloud storage to add storage, too. Some of our recommended laptops aren’t new, but they’re all recent, with either Windows 10 or Windows 11. Consult our list of the best laptops for more ideas. HP 15 Laptop, Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $471.00 at Amazon (29% off)Acer Swift 3, Core i7-1165G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $578.00 at Amazon (32% off)Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3: Core i5-11300H / RTX 3050, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $579.99 at Best Buy (38% off)Gateway Creator Notebook, Core i7-11800H / RTX 3050 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, 17.3-inch 1080p 120Hz, $949.00 at Walmart (32% off)Dell Inspiron 7000, Ryzen 5500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $599.99 at Best Buy (25% off)Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey, Core i7-11600H / RTX 3050Ti, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p display, $1,159.99 at Microsoft (23% off)HP Pavilion 15t-eg100, Core i7-1195G7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p, $639.99 at (34% off)We had some issues with Acer’s earlier Swift 3, but the 11th-gen Swift 3 improves. HP’s laptop looks pretty solid, though average. There are a couple of gaming laptops that might double as productivity machines, too. Other laptop back-to-school deals that feature Intel Celeron processors and 4GB of RAM are too underpowered for us to recommend. If you buy the (-15t-dw300) deal, double-check that it has the 1080p display option checked! Back to school Chromebook deals These back-to-school Chromebook deals are just as good or better than Prime Day deals. We’ve picked the best Chromebook deals for you, not shying away from some older models. The latest gear doesn’t matter as much, compared to laptops. Want more ideas? Start with PCWorld’s list of the best Chromebooks. HP Chromebook 14 2-in-1, Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 14-inch 1080p, $399.00 at Best Buy (42% off)Lenovo Flex 5i 13, Intel Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 13.3-inch 1080p, $349.00 on Amazon (37% off)Asus 17.3-inch Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4500, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 17.3-inch 1080p, $119.99 at Best Buy (68% off)HP Chromebook 14, Intel Celeron N4120, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 14-inch 768p, $204.00 on Amazon (28% off)HP Chromebook 11, MediaTek MT8183, 4GB RAM, 32 GB SSD, 11.6-inch 768p, $137.00 on Amazon (49% off)Lenovo 14-inch Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 14-inch 768p, $149.99 at Target (55% off)Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 11.6-inch 768p, $115.98 at Amazon (46% off)Samsung Chromebook 4, Celeron N3450, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, $126.99 at Amazon (48% off)College life generally runs on laptops, and not Chromebooks, but Chromebooks are still useful for elementary and even middle-school students, especially as secondary machines. If you can, prioritize a 1080p screen and 8GB of RAM when you buy a Chromebook. (Don’t worry about MediaTek’s Arm chip; it’s about as powerful as an Intel Celeron N4020.) We’ve factored in the dates at which these Chromebooks will fall out of Google’s support window, too. Back to school MacBook deals Apple is reluctant to discount MacBooks that much, but there are still back-to-school MacBook discounts out there. The MacBook back-to-school sales just aren’t as appealing as in Windows laptops. 2021 MacBook Pro 14-inch, M1 Pro, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, $2,199 at Amazon (12% off)2021 MacBook Pro 16-inch, M1 Pro, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, $2,199 at Amazon (12% off)MacBook Air 13.3-inch, M1, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, $899.99 at Best Buy (10% off)MacBooks rarely carry heavy discounts, unfortunately. Back to school iPad and tablet deals If students need a tablet for when they go back to school, we think that these suggestions offer the best deals. Retailers discounted tablets and iPads a bit more earlier in the back-to-school season, but not so much now. Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, 8.7-in., 32GB storage, $148.00 at Amazon (7% off)Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE, 12.4-in., 64GB, Wi-Fi, $429.00 at Amazon (16% off)Apple iPad (2021), 10.2-inch, 64GB, $299.00 at Amazon (9% off)Apple iPad Air (2021), 10.9-inch, 256GB, Wi-Fi, $679.00 at Amazon (9% off)Amazon has some small discounts available for back-to-school tablets. We’ve shied away from Amazon’s own Fire tablets only because students will need flexibility to add apps that they may use in school. Back to school monitor deals College dorm rooms and lecture halls don’t offer an enormous amount of space for additional monitors, so there aren’t as many back-to-school monitor deals as you otherwise might expect. Samsung, though, appears to be having a sale. Samsung 24-inch LS24R35AFHNXZA, 1080p 60Hz, $99.99 at Best Buy (33% off)Sceptre 24-inch E248W-19203R, 1080p 75Hz, $103.65 at Amazon (20% off)Samsung 27-inch LC27F396FHNXZA (curved), 1080p 60Hz, $159.00 at Walmart (16% off)HP 27-inch QHD Gaming, 1440p 165Hz, $259.00 at Amazon (17% off)Samsung 32-inch LU32J590UQNXZA, 4K 60Hz, $299.99 on Amazon (12% off)VIVO Dual Monitor Desk Mount, $19.99 on Amazon (43% off)VIVO Dual Montor Desk Mount (with full articulation), $34.99 on Amazon (30% off)We’re going to assume that you’re not going to college to game, so we’ve (mostly) emphasized 60Hz displays, with a mix of 1080p and 4K. (The Sceptre at the top offers 75Hz, which should be slightly more relaxing to work with over long periods of time.) Why do we add a monitor mount or two at the end of the list? Well, since dorm rooms don’t often have a lot of desk space, a mount allows you to add an extra display by mounting it on an adjustable arm, via a desk clamp. Just pay attention to the weight of the monitor you’re attaching. FAQ 1. When do back to school sales begin? Back-to-school sales have already begun, in part because retailers cater to those parents who prep early. You can shop back-to-school sales at Amazon’s back-to-school page, Best Buy’s back-to-school page (catering to college students), Newegg’s back to school page, Target’s back-to-school page for kids’ electronics, and Walmart’s back-to-school page, too. 2. When will back-to-school sales end? Retailers often won’t tell you when these sales end, though it’s likely they’ll be available throughout most of August. Students may go back to school and find they have the wrong equipment. Prices may change as retailer stock fluctuates. Remember, the pandemic is still affecting the supply chain, especially electronics from Asia. It may make sense to figure out what you want and buy early, if possible. The laptop, Chromebook, or MacBook you want may not be available later in the month. Our deals reflect what’s still being sold. 3. When are tax free weekends scheduled? Tax-free weekends are run by some U.S. states to encourage shopping, especially for items like back-to-school purchases. Five states—Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon—never charge sales tax. We’ve listed the states that are scheduling tax-free weekends, as well as a link to the fine print, as compiled by RetailMeNot. For example, if you live in Arkansas and buy a laptop from Amazon on August 7, you won’t pay sales tax. There are some exceptions that vary by state: In New Mexico, retailers aren’t required to participate. Each state has different exemptions that apply to different products at different price ranges, and these discounts (generally) apply to national retailers. Check the details! Alabama: July 15-July 17, at midnight. Details. Arkansas: Aug. 6-Aug. 7, at midnight. Details. Connecticut: Aug. 21- Aug. 27. Details. Florida: July 25-Aug. 7. Details. Iowa: Aug. 5- Aug. 6, at midnight. Details. Maryland: Aug. 14- Aug. 20, at midnight. Details. Massachusetts: Aug. 13- Aug. 14. Details. Mississippi: July 29-July 30, at midnight. Details. Missouri: Aug. 5 – Aug. 7 at midnight. Details. New Jersey: Aug. 27-Sept. 5. Details. New Mexico: Aug. 5-Aug. 7, at midnight. Details. Ohio: Aug. 5- Aug. 7, at midnight. Details. Oklahoma: Aug. 6-Aug. 8. Details. South Carolina: Aug. 5-Aug. 7, at midnight. Details. Tennessee: Back-to-school tax-free weekend runs July 29-31 at midnight. Details. Texas: Aug. 5-Aug. 7. Details. Virginia: Aug. 5- Aug. 7, at midnight. Details. 4. Will schools go back to virtual classrooms in 2022? No, it certainly doesn’t seem so. At this point, schools aren’t in session, and school districts are still preparing for the fall 2022 school term. But we haven’t seen any mention about a return to virtual classrooms as a result of the pandemic or monkeypox. 5. PCs vs Chromebooks: Which is better for school? We have a lengthy overview of the advantages of Chromebooks versus laptops, but the simple answer to this question is: whatever your school district tells you. A Chromebook is better for school if your child will be working “online,” meaning in the classroom but on a Web site that’s authorized by the teacher. A PC is more useful if your child will be using apps, such as Minecraft for Education, or transitioning from elementary school to middle school, or from middle school to high school. The extra flexibility to run apps (and, yes, games) will be appreciated by your child. Colleges and universities almost always ask their students to bring PCs or Macs with them, so a laptop is most appropriate. 6. What should I look for in a monitor for dorm rooms? Dorm rooms typically prioritize the efficient use of space, so laptops will be the most typical. Any way that you can use the extra space, though, is useful. A high-resolution display may mean that you can more effectively “fit” more information into the space with smaller fonts. But a monitor mount, like we’ve included in our list of monitors, can clamp on to a desk and allow for a second display, which vastly increases productivity and can also be used to stream video for friends, too. Our back-to-school list of monitors and displays includes both cheap 1080p options as well as 4K displays and even gaming displays for after hours. Updated at 10:52 AM PT on August 15 to remove expired deals and add new ones. Laptops
The best graphics cards for PC gaming: Great deals before next-gen GPUs arrive
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 16:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Most people who are in the market for a new graphics card have one primary question in mind: Which card will give me the most bang for my buck? Obviously, the answer will vary depending on your budget. Beyond that, there are a number of factors to consider: Raw performance is important, but so are things like noise, the driver experience, and supplemental software. And do you want to pay a premium to get in on the bleeding edge of real-time ray tracing? Let us make it easy for you. We’ve tested nearly every major GPU that’s hit the streets over the past couple of years, from $100 budget cards to $1,800 luxury models. Our knowledge has been distilled into this article—a buying guide with recommendations on which graphics card to buy, no matter what sort of experience you’re looking for. And yes, you can finally buy a GPU again. After over two years of an insane graphics card crunch spurred by chip shortages and an insane cryptocurrency surge, the dam has finally burst. End result? GPU prices are finally plummeting across the board, with higher-end graphics cards seeing especially steep sales. While you can buy a used GPU for less cash, picking up a new model with a full warranty and no risk is a lot more enticing with prices finally approaching sanity. Rumors of next-gen Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000-series graphics cards abound, and AMD has publicly said that its new RDNA 3-based Radeon GPUs will launch later this year. A new contender, Intel, also appears ready to release its debut Arc GPUs later this summer, gunning for the RTX 3060 (at least in newer games) with the world’s first game-changing AV1 GPU encoder for streaming in tow. But if you need a new graphics card today, here are your best options. Street pricing for these cards still fluctuates wildly, and these rankings take real-world costs into account—which currently give AMD’s Radeon GPUs an edge. Note: There are customized versions of every graphics card from a host of vendors. For example, you can buy different GeForce GTX 3080 models from EVGA, Asus, MSI, and Zotac, among others.We’ve linked to our complete review for each recommendation, but the buying links lead to models that hew closely to each graphics card’s MSRP. Spending extra can get you hefty out-of-the-box overclocks, beefier cooling systems, and more. Check out our “What to look for in a custom card” section below for tips on how to choose a customized card that’s right for you. The best graphics cards for PC gaming AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT – Best budget graphics card MSRP: $199 Best Prices Today: $179.99 at Amazon | $200 at Newegg Prices may be relaxing, but currently, the much-maligned Radeon RX 6500 XT is still the only semi-reasonable sub-$250 option around. If you can find it for a good price, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 is a much more capable modern graphics card, but its pricing is typically inflated at around $300. The Radeon RX 6500 XT is less appealing thanks to its nerfed memory, PCIe lanes, and limited ports, not to mention lower performance, but you can often find them going for around $200 on the streets these days. Those hardware limitations mean you’ll need to stick to Medium or High graphics settings at 1080p resolution in modern games in order to achieve playable frame rates, but if you do that, you’ll enjoy the experience. Read our full Radeon RX 6500 XT review AMD Radeon RX 6600 – Best 1080p graphics card MSRP: $329.99 Best Prices Today: $259.99 at Amazon | $260 at B&H Photo Video AMD’s Radeon RX 6600 and Nvidia’s rival GeForce RTX 3060 both ostensibly carry the same $329 MSRP, but on the streets, there’s a much wider gap. You can find the 6600 going for prices starting around $300, while the cheapest RTX 3060 begins at $400. Those are both steep entry costs for 1080p gaming—at least compared to the GPUs of yesteryear—but with 8GB of fast GDDR6 memory, insanely good power efficiency, and AMD’s Radeon Super Resolution in tow, the Radeon RX 6600 is a great graphics card for people looking to game at 1080p resolution at 60fps or higher without compromising on visual fidelity. (Or breaking the bank.) Read our full Radeon RX 6600 Swft 210 review Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 – Best 1080p graphics card for ray tracing MSRP: $250 Best Prices Today: $250 at EVGA | $329.99 at Amazon | $330 at Newegg Nvidia is on its second-generation of dedicated ray tracing hardware, and its killer DLSS upsampling feature is in hundreds of games to claw back the performance lost to turning on ray tracing (which carries a steep performance penalty). At $330-plus, it ain’t cheap, but if enabling those cutting-edge lighting effects is a priority, you’ll want to go with GeForce. The RTX 3060 is another solid option, but it’s $400 on the streets and delivers performance on par with the $300 Radeon RX 6600 in games that don’t use ray tracing. Read our full GeForce RTX 3050 review AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT – Best 1440p graphics card MSRP: $479 Best Prices Today: $459.99 at Amazon | $500 at Newegg In a sane world, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti would dominate 1440p gaming at its $400 MSRP. It’s that good, and it offers superior ray tracing performance to AMD’s Radeon rivals. But we still aren’t living in a sane world, and the RTX 3060 Ti is going for $500+ on the streets, and often $550 to $600. Nvidia’s RTX 3070, ostensibly $500, goes for $650 to $700 online. Get AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT instead. It’s plenty fast for 1440p gaming at 60fps+ without compromise, while its beefy 12GB of GDDR6 memory provides plenty of headroom for flipping on all the most intense graphical features. The one downside? AMD’s card is only capable of playing ray-traced games at 1080p resolution unless you activate Radeon Super Resolution, or FSR 1 or 2 in games that support it. One the flip side, the Radeon RX 6700 XT can take advantage of AMD’s awesome performance-boosting Smart Access Memory feature if you’re running a modern Ryzen system that supports it. Read our full Radeon RX 6700 XT review Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti – Best 1440p graphics card for ray tracing MSRP: $400 Best Prices Today: $500 at Newegg Yes, the RTX 3060 Ti remains overpriced compared to its MSRP, going for $500+ rather than the expected $400—but that’s because it’s that good. If you want a killer 1440p gaming experience with top-notch ray tracing as the cherry on top, this is the card to buy even at an inflated price. The step-down GeForce RTX 3060 is also worth considering, though you may need to turn down some graphics settings when you enable ray tracing, while the step-up RTX 3070 doesn’t deliver enough of a performance boost to justify spending yet more. Read our full GeForce RTX 3060 Ti review Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition – Best 4K graphics card MSRP: $699 Best Prices Today: $774.72 at Amazon | $800 at Newegg If you’ve got a 4K monitor and want to put all those pixels to work, the RTX 3070, 3070 Ti and AMD’s Radeon RX 6750 XT and RX 6800 are all decent cheaper options. But if you want the best possible experience without any visual compromises, spend $800 and pick up the 10GB version of the RTX 3080. (The $1,000 12GB model isn’t worth the upcharge despite being slightly more future-proof.) The GeForce RTX 3080 packs enough power to blow through games even at 4K resolution with eye candy cranked, including ray traced games thanks to Nvidia’s killer combo of second-gen ray tracing hardware and DLSS. The one problem? This is an insanely popular GPU, and it can still be difficult to find models around the 3080’s $800 MSRP (though they’re definitely popping up). AMD’s rival Radeon RX 6800 XT is easier to find, just as fast, and packs a whopping 16GB of GDDR6 memory, but Nvidia’s superior ray tracing and DLSS chops earn it the nod for this price point if you’re able to find one around MSRP. All that said, new GPU generations from both Nvidia and AMD are expected before the end of the year, and when those launch, paying MSRP price for the two-year-old RTX 3080 or any of its rivals may sting, since new graphics families usually demolish the performance of last-gen’s high-end GPUs for a similar price. Consider whether you want to hop on board now, or risk waiting a few months to see what’s brewing. Read our full GeForce RTX 3080 review AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT – Best high-end 4K graphics card MSRP: $1249 Best Prices Today: $1249 at Newegg Graphics cards that cost $1,000 didn’t used to exist, but now they’re commonplace, with the $1,000 12GB RTX 3080, $1,000 Radeon RX 6900 XT, $1,100 Radeon RX 6950 XT, $1,200 GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090, and $2,000 RTX 3090 Ti all available in this price range. Their steep price increases don’t translate into a lot of extra performance over the more affordable RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6800 XT, so we recommend most people stick with those instead. But prices are being slashed rapidly at the high-end, and if you’re looking to splurge, we recommend the Radeon RX 6950 XT for most people. The Radeon RX 6950 XT is faster than the RTX 3090 for $400 less, and comes with an ample 16GB of memory. Heck, it even surpasses the $2,000 RTX 3090 Ti in performance in some games. If you simply want to play some games with face-melting speed and fidelity, the 6950 XT is a killer value option, and it will deliver a killer experience—especially if you use AMD features like Radeon Super Resolution, Smart Access Memory, and FSR. (The same holds true for the Radeon RX 6900 XT, which we’ve seen on sale for less than $900 now that the GPU crunch is letting up.) It isn’t as good as Nvidia’s GPUs at ray tracing, however, so opt for the RTX 3080 Ti instead if you’re a gamer looking to flip on all those cutting-edge lighting effects. Note that the Sapphire Nitro+ Pure model we reviewed is an ultra-luxe enthusiast-class version that costs more, and deservedly so, though you can find other RX 6950 XTs for MSRP. Read our full Nitro+ Pure Radeon RX 6950 XT review Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 – Best high-end 4K graphics card for content creation and ray tracing MSRP: $1499 Best Prices Today: $1299 at Newegg If you want some of the best gaming performance on the planet, including ray tracing, and also want to do some work on the side, the $1,500 RTX 3090 is the graphics card to buy. This card works hard and plays hard thanks to a massive 24GB of ultra-fast GDDR6 memory that makes it excel at content creation and machine learning tasks, especially high-res video rendering. And it slings gaming frames with the best of them. The newer RTX 3090 Ti offers slightly faster GPU and memory performance, but costs $500 more, making the non-Ti 3090 a much more (somewhat) practical choice. You pay for the privilege, however, with the Radeon RX 6950 XT and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti delivering similar gaming performance for significantly less. Read our full Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 review How we test graphics cards We test graphics cards on a dedicated test system used only for this purpose, with minimal extra software involved. That ensures that any performance changes we see are generated solely by the graphics card being tested and new GPU drivers, without the variability of other hardware or software changes. Here is the configuration of our current testbed: AMD Ryzen 5900X, stock settingsAMD Wraith Max coolerMSI Godlike X570 motherboard32GB G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4 3800 memoryEVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply 2x 1TB SK Hynix Gold S31 SSDAs far as games go, we use a fixed set of games to test every graphics card that comes out in a given generation, and update the suite when a new generation of GPUs is introduced. We test a variety of games spanning most major game types (tactics, racing, FPS, etc.), engines (Unreal Engine, Unity, Anvil, etc.) and underlying graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, Vulkan). We use the built-in benchmarks for each game, but only after validating the accuracy of the results by running the benchmarks and comparing the results to performance witnessed by third-party GPU measurement tools like OCAT. Each game is tested at least three times per resolution, generating an average from those runs, with additional tests run if we encounter any hiccups. We may also perform additional testing with tools like OCAT if any performance oddities are noticed. Power draw is measured on a whole-system basis, listing both idle and fully stressed states as measured via a Watts Up meter that the system is plugged into. What to look for in a custom graphics card If you want to shop beyond the scope of our picks, know that finding the right graphics card can be tricky. Various vendors offer customized versions of every GPU. For example, you can buy different Radeon RX 6700 XT models from Sapphire, XFX, Asus, MSI, and PowerColor. To help narrow down the options and find the right card for you, you should consider the following things when doing your research: Overclocks: Higher-priced custom models are often overclocked out-of-the-box to varying degrees, which can lead to higher performance. Most modern custom cards offer the same essential level of performance,however. Cooling solutions: Many graphics cards are available with custom coolers that lower temperatures and fan noise. The vast majority perform well. Liquid-cooled graphics cards run even cooler, but require extra room inside your case for the tubing and radiator. Avoid graphics cards with single-fan, blower-style cooling systems if you can help it, unless you have a small-form-factor PC or plan on using custom water-cooling blocks. Size: Many graphics cards are of a similar size, but longer and shorter models of many GPUs exist. High-end graphics cards are starting to sport especially massive custom cooling solutions to tame their enthusiast-class GPUs. Double-check that your chosen graphics card will fit in your case before you buy. Compatibility: Not all hardware supports a wide range of connectivity options. Higher-end graphics cards may lack DVI ports, while lower-end monitors may lack DisplayPorts. Only the most modern Radeon and GeForce graphics cards support HDMI 2.1 outputs. Ensure your graphics card and monitor can connect to each other. Likewise, make sure your power supply meets the recommended wattage for the graphics card you choose. Real-time ray tracing, FSR, and DLSS: AMD’s Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards and all of Nvidia’s RTX offerings can play games with real-time ray tracing effects active. Nvidia’s RTX 30-series GPUs hold a massive advantage over everything else though, propelled even further by dedicated tensor cores for processing machine learning tasks such as Deep Learning Super Sampling, which uses AI to speed up the performance of your games with minimal hit to visual fidelity. GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs also support DLSS, while AMD’s rival FSR 2.0 and Radeon Super Resolution technologies are gaining traction by the day. AMD, Computers, Gaming, Graphics Cards, Holidays, Nvidia, Video Games
Samsung is closing out DDR3 and DDR4 memory to focus on DDR5
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 14:52:28 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away. It’s unlikely that dual-channel memory was on the mind of the poet when those words were written, but they remain true nonetheless. As the industry shifts towards newer technologies, prolific memory supplier, Samsung, is reportedly finding fewer and fewer buyers for the older DDR3 standard. So, it’s cutting production dramatically, according to industry paper DigiTimes. With DDR3 on the way out and demand for next-gen DDR5 memory ramping up, the paper reports (via WCCFTech) that Samsung is cutting prices on DDR3 dramatically while also cutting prices for the popular 4GB DDR4 modules. This comes amidst a general market shift towards cheaper memory as demand falls from pandemic highs. The Wall Street Journal reported that in the second quarter of 2022 alone, prices for DRAM fell almost 11% across the board, a dramatic shift even in such a volatile industry. That being the case, it makes sense for Samsung and other memory suppliers to de-emphasize older, lower-margin DDR3 chips and even scale back production of DDR4 chips as demand evens out. DDR5, while certainly higher in profit margin, has yet to become the industry standard. Using this lull in the market to seek a dominant position as DDR5 becomes more prevalent certainly makes sense, especially if you’re a megacorp with billions of dollars to throw around. What does this mean for PC enthusiasts? In the short term, rock-bottom prices for current-gen DDR4 memory and DDR5 memory that’s perhaps more affordable than you might think for cutting-edge tech. We can see similar trends in other parts of the PC hardware market, as prices for solid state drives and graphics cards continue to fall after a period of high demand and supply chain woes. Desktop PCs
Logitech G203 LightSync review: A dependable low-cost gaming mouse
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 14:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
At a glanceExpert’s Rating ProsA comfortable design that resembles more expensive esports miceSturdy and well-built The RGB lighting really popsConsSome sensor lag was experienced with large, fast movementsThe sensor’s lift-off distance is higher than some miceThe RGB logo on the top isn’t customizable Our VerdictThe Logitech G203 LightSync performs well in games and is both comfortable and affordable. Its RGB lighting adds a welcome splash of color to your gaming den. Best Prices Today: Logitech G203 LightSync Retailer Price Delivery $29.10 Free View $29.99 View Logitech $39.99 View Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide The G203 LightSync is the epitome of good value, delivering comfort, style, and performance without a hefty price tag. Its small size and ambidextrous design make it comfortable for all three main gamer grip styles. And while its 8,000 DPI proprietary gaming sensor won’t match the pointer performance you’ll get from more premium gaming mice, it’s still more than capable in just about every casual gaming scenario. Note: This review is part of our roundup of best gaming mice. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them. Logitech G203 LightSync: Design and build Measuring just 4.59 x 2.45 x 1.5 inches, the G203 is a small, wired, and well-built mouse, with a sturdiness you’re more likely to find in expensive gaming mice. Design-wise it oozes familiarity, featuring the kind of symmetrical, right-handed profile and six-button layout we see in esports mice like the HyperX Pulsefire Haste. But while the G203’s design aesthetic is familiar, it feels anything but vanilla. Its main point of difference is its rounded back end that pushes up into the base of your palm providing palm grippers a snugger fit than you’ll get with some gaming mice. This equates to more precise pointer control, allowing your wrist to accomplish more on screen, but with smaller movements. If you’re a fingertip or claw-style gripper, the G203’s small-sized body also works to your advantage, allowing you to easily curl your hand over the mouse’s body, or poise your fingertips right on the trigger without stretching or dragging your palm upwards. mentioned in this article HyperX Pulsefire Haste Wireless Read our review MSRP: 59.99 Best Prices Today: $59.99 at HyperX | $60.99 at Amazon | $60.99 at Best Buy There’s plenty to like about the G203’s right-handed button configuration too. It consists of two main clicks, two macros on the left-hand side, a plastic scroll wheel in the middle, and a DPI preset button just behind it. The central positioning of the buttons makes them somewhat easier to reach than in longer mice. The Logitech G203 LightSync features an ambidextrous profile with a rounded back end.  Logitech The button quality is superb too, all six being programmable and feeling quick and responsive when triggered. There’s also a good amount of travel beneath the two main buttons, and they feel clicky – ideal for jitter clicking. Logitech has thoughtfully incorporated a few other small touches that, given the G203’s budget status, could have been left out, but we’re glad they weren’t since they ultimately make the G203 more enjoyable to use. One is a well-represented contingent of glide skates on the underside, which includes a bonus sensor ring as well as the obligatory top and bottom skates. These do a great job keeping movement smooth and frictionless, whether you’re using a mouse pad or not. The other nice addition is a lengthy cord, which allows you to sit up to two arms’ lengths away from your PC or laptop without hitting the end of your leash. All these design pluses add up to make the G203 very ergonomic. One small peeve, however, is the G203’s weight: at 85 grams it’s a little heavy for its size. Does this make a huge difference? If you plan on using it as an esports mouse, it could—otherwise, it’s unlikely you’ll notice a difference. Logitech G203 LightSync: Software The G203 uses Logitech’s G Hub software, which is one of the most comprehensive apps available for personalizing gaming mice. On downloading it, my review unit was quickly recognized, and I could simply click through on a visual image of the device to change the mouse’s DPI setting, polling rate, RGB lighting, and also to assign commands and macros to buttons. Assigning buttons is a little better in G Hub than in some mouse apps since the Assignments menu splits off into helpful submenus that allow you to differentiate between profiles for games or programs. You also get examples of commands you may wish to assign, which takes a lot of the guess work out of thinking them up yourself. The ‘Actions’ submenu proved especially useful. It suggests key actions to assign for go-to programs like Overwolf, Discord, and OBS. Here you can configure buttons to, among other things, capture replays and video or take screenshots—three indispensable commands for streamers and game developers. You can also assign commands to the G203’s onboard memory, so you can use it without needing the G Hub software. For control of the RGB lighting, G Hub lets you personalize three zones in the band at the G203’s back end. Having three zones to play with means you can light up your mouse like a firecracker with dazzling multicolored displays. The LightSync RGB system is a worthy upgrade over the G203’s predecessor, the G203 Prodigy, and left a good impression on me. In fact, if I hadn’t known the G203 cost just $40, I’d have been none the wiser. The Logitech G203 LightSync’s three RGB ligting zones can be personalized in the G Hub app.Dominic Bayley / IDG You can also change the brightness and set various lighting effects and animations. Regrettably, though, Logitech hasn’t made the RGB logo on the mouse’s top one of configurable zones, so it just displays a fusion of colors from your other color selections. While it would have been nice to have independent control of the logo, there’s still plenty of customization available to keep you busy for a long while. Logitech G203 LightSync: Performance Budget gaming mice can vary considerably when it comes to their sensors, with resolutions ranging anywhere from 1,200 up to 24,000 DPI. Categorizing the G203’s 8,000 DPI sensor on this scale, it sits up from the bottom but still towards the lower end. This puts it just below near rivals the Razer Viper Mini and SteelSeries Rival 3. That’s about where performance lies too, which is to say, it’s decent, but not perfect. On the whole, though, the G203’s sensor proved responsive and dependable. It tracked well in a range of games, from first-person shooters to RPGs. However, in some games where large, fast movements were necessary, it must be said that the G203’s sensor struggled slightly, showing up visible ghosting that would undoubtedly be a disadvantage in esports matches or serious competitive matches. mentioned in this article Razer Viper Mini Read our review MSRP: $39.99 Best Prices Today: $21.75 at Amazon | 39.99 at Razer Additionally, if you’re prone to lifting your mouse, the G203 isn’t your best option, since it tends to have a higher lift-off distance than some other budget gaming mice. These drawbacks aren’t unexpected for the G203’s price, or things that you should necessarily worry about for causal gaming, but they may turn off some gamers who require a more flawless gaming experience. What did impress, however, was the G203’s click latency, which is arguably the fastest I’ve seen in a budget gaming mouse. What’s more, the buttons fired off with a satisfying audible click. Being able to change the DPI settings in smaller increments than competitors like the Rival 3 also proved really useful for targeting in first-person shooters, since I could more precisely find a DPI setting (and hence a targeting sensitivity) for different weapons classes—this being necessary since different weapons/character classes can be subject to different game physics. The Logitech G203’s DPI settings can be personalized in the G Hub app. Dominic Bayley / IDG The mouse’s small design also proved an asset, keeping my hand comfortable and relaxed even after long gaming stints. Ambidextrous mice tend to feel wand-like, allowing you to point them precisely at targets as if you’re pointing a straight stick. This was the case with the G203, its miniature size allowing me to frame up targets a mere few millimeters wide in my field of view, thereby improving my precision. Conclusion The Logitech G203 LightSync may be a budget buy but it dishes up plenty of comfort and precision control in games thanks its small body and ambidextrous design that resembles mice in the esports category. While its 8,000-DPI sensor isn’t outstanding, it’s a capable performer in most causal games. Plus, the G203’s RGB lighting adds a welcome touch of color to your gaming den. Gaming Accessories, Mice
This 165Hz Dell gaming monitor is just $300
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 12:37:17 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Looking for a high refresh gaming monitor? You’re in luck. Dell is selling the Dell S2721DGF monitor for $299.99. That’s a savings of $150. It measures 27-inches with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a viewing angle of 178-degrees, which is the perfect size for a home office. Let’s get into the specs and features, yeah? This Dell monitor has a refresh rate of 165Hz, a one millisecond response time, and a resolution of 2560×1440. For ports, it has two HDMI, one DIsplayPort, four USB Type-A, and one USB Type-B. That’s a wide range of connectivity options right there. It’s also G-Sync and FreeSync compatible, which should help reduce any screen tearing. This is a fantastic screen for first-person-shooter games, where every second counts. It’s a phenomenal deal, so you better swoop in now before it’s gone. Get the Dell S2721DGF monitor for $299.99 at Best Buy Monitors
Best computer deals: Top picks from desktops to all-in-ones
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 12:29:09 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Looking for a gaming PC to max out frame rates in your favorite games? Or perhaps a new workstation PC for the home office? We’ve got the latest deals on desktop computers, each one hand-picked based on performance, features, and ultimately value. Don’t miss out on the final weeks of back-to-school discounts where you can score killer deals on all-in-ones, home office towers, and gaming computers from the likes of HP and Dell. Amazon is also having sales on some good affordable gaming PC options and Acer all-in-ones. If these computer deals aren’t what you’re looking for, make sure to keep checking back as the remaining back-to-school deals show up. Check out the latest curated deals below. Note: Tech deals come and go quickly, so it’s possible some of these computer discounts will have expired before this article’s next update. HP Omen 25L 1 From: HP Was: $1,399.99 Now: $999.99 (29% off) View Deal Coming in with a slick all-white design, this entry level HP Omen 25L has a Core i5-12400, GeForce RTX 3050, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD. At the original price, the small SSD and low RAM can’t really be justified. But at this discount, it makes for a decent deal. Just know that you will probably need to invest in external storage in the future. iBuyPower SlateMono 230a 2 From: Amazon Was: $1,349.99 Now: $999.99 (26%) View Deal This is a great deal for the iBuyPower SlateMono 230a. It comes with a Ryzen 5 5600X, Radeon RX 6600XT, 8GB RAM, a 480GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD. For an entry level price you are getting hardware that should run most current AAA titles at 1440p and 60fps. Ideally, you would want more RAM than 8GB, but thankfully that is fairly cheap and easy to upgrade if you choose to do so in the future. Dell XPS Desktop 3 From: Dell Was: $1,780.98 Now: $1,349.99 (24% off) View Deal The Dell XPS is the tried-and-true workhorse home computer. It has seemingly been around forever and still holds its own as one of the best budget friendly desktop computers. This model comes with a Core i7-12700, GeForce RTX 3060, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD. This not only has the specs for a great productivity machine, but it can also play most titles at 1080p with 60 FPS. Oh, and the RAM is a lightning fast 4400MHz, too. Acer Aspire C27 4 From: Amazon Was: $899.99 Now: $749.99 (17% off) View Deal The already affordable Acer Aspire C27 is now an even better value for your money with this deal. It comes with a Core i5-1135G7, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 12GB RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. The 27-inch display has a 1080p resolution and you also get a webcam and speakers built-in. The specs on this make it one of the better AiO we’ve seen at this price range, so grab it at a discount while you can. HP All-in-One 27 5 From: HP Was: $999.99 Now: $829.99 (17% off) View Deal All-in-ones can save you precious desktop space and come with all of the peripherals you need in one neat package. This 27-inch HP AiO comes with a Core i5-11235U, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. It’s about the minimum amount of RAM we would suggest in a modern computer, but it packs a lot of storage and a large 27-inch screen capable of 1080p resolution. It also comes with a webcam and dual speakers making this a solid deal for a larger all-in-one. Skytech Blaze II 6 From: Newegg Was: $1,149.99 Now: $849.99 (26% off) View Deal Skytech doesn’t disappoint with giant RGB fans in this Skytech Blaze II deal. It comes with a Core i5-10400F, GeForce RTX 3050, 8GB RAM, and a 500GB PCIe SSD. Since this is a budget machine, we can understand the 3050, but fair warning that you will most likely need to upgrade the GPU in the future if you want this system to continue playing the latest AAA games with ray tracing. Everything else should be good enough to tie budget gamers over for a while. Inspiron 24 5000 Touch 7 From: Dell Was: $1,029.99 Now: $889.99 (14% off) View Deal Dell’s Inspiron line of all-in-ones represent good value for the money and this deal is no exception. The Inspiron 24 5000 Touch is a 24-inch touch screen AiO with a Ryzen 7 5825U, AMD Radeon integrated graphics, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. It also has a display resolution of 1920×1080, a built-in webcam, and speakers. The touch screen is a nice added feature that will make this a good all-around option for a family computer. HP Pavilion 8 From: Newegg Was: $1,379.00 Now: $899.99 (34% off) View Deal While HP is having some killer deals of its own right now, it’s actually this HP deal from Newegg that caught our eye. Inside you get a Core i7-11700, Intel UHD 750 integrated graphics, 16GB RAM, a 1 TB PCIe SSD, and a 2TB HDD. With the solid Intel 11th-gen CPU and the massive amount of onboard storage, this is a home office productivity dream. Plus they even throw in a DVD-writer—if you can still find a use for it. Dell Inspiron 27 7000 Touch 9 From: Dell Was: $1,199.99 Now: $999.99 (17% off) View Deal Dell has upgraded their new line of Inspiron all-in-ones to include touchscreens. This 27-inch model comes with a Core i7-1255U, Intel UHD integrated graphics, 8GB RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and a 1TB 5400RPM HDD. The older version of Intel’s integrated graphics and the slow HDD are a bit underwhelming. But the price isn’t bad for a large touchscreen AiO. If you’re looking for an solid AiO and don’t need it for demanding tasks, this is a good option. Velztorm Aciex 10 From: Amazon Was: $5,199.99 Now: $3,699.00 (29% off) View Deal This is a completely stacked gaming desktop with top of the line everything. The Velztorm Aciex comes with a Core i9-12900K, GeForce RTX 3090, 64GB 4800Mhz RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, and a 2TB HDD. It also has a 360mm liquid cooling system and of course, RGB. The obscene amount of screaming fast RAM seems like overkill if you’re not dabbling in content creator or machine learning on the side, but those who can afford it probably won’t care. Deals like this on boutique gaming machines are rare, so if you have the money to drop on this tricked out system, why not go all in? Desktop PCs, Gaming PCs
New AMD Processors Deliver Productivity-Enhancing Performance
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 11:54:36 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Businesses have long demanded the best performance possible in PCs. Now they need performance and mobility to support a hybrid workforce. That’s because work machines have to perform like their desktop progenitors while going the distance unplugged for workers moving between office, home, and shared workspaces. New business processors from AMD are here to deliver. Fast and mobile for ultimate performance AMD Ryzen™ PRO 6000 Series processors meet the needs of today’s hybrid workforce in providing industry-leading performance. With up to eight high-performance cores based on new architecture, the new chips deliver unmatched productivity for accelerated professional workflows in thin and light laptops. That means professionals don’t have to sacrifice portability for performance. That’s especially important in the era of videoconferencing, where participants often run productivity or collaboration software in the background. Meeting the challenge, PRO 6000 Series processors deliver best-in-class productivity and virtual collaboration, with up to 18% faster performance using MS Office apps while running Microsoft Teams conferences.[1] In terms of video performance, laptops built with the PRO 6000 Series chips also come equipped with AMD RDNA™ 2 graphics architecture, the world’s most powerful integrated graphics.[2] These processors enable accelerated content creation for graphic design and other demanding applications. They also deliver high-resolution, multi-display support for extending workspaces for detail work and multitasking. Going the distance Laptops and devices driven by the new chips aren’t tied to the desk. Innovations in processor power efficiency deliver all-day battery life for working from anywhere and on the go. In fact, the new processors provide up to 26 hours of battery life on a premium business laptop.[3] Further aiding battery life, intelligent power management works with the Windows operating system to optimize the power and performance curve and deliver the longest possible battery life without penalties to responsiveness. Such optimization can make the difference between getting through a meeting unplugged and dropping out when a battery dies. Whether at home, the airport, a coworking space, or the office, AMD Ryzen™ PRO 6000 Series-powered laptops go virtually anywhere at any time, whether in reach of a power outlet or not. In short, new business processors from AMD give laptops uncompromising performance and battery life in a package that won’t break anyone’s back – or have them worried about getting somewhere they can plug in before or even during a meeting. Finally, uncompromising performance and mobility are here to provide relief for the hybrid workforce. Click here to learn more. [1] Based on testing by AMD as of 02/02/2022. Productivity performance evaluated with simultaneous operation of a nine-participant Microsoft Teams video conference and the UL Procyon Office Productivity benchmark. System configuration for Ryzen™ 7 5850U (15W): HP ProBook 635 Aero G8 configured with 2x8GB DDR4-3200, Windows 11 Pro, 1TB SSD, AMD Radeon™ Graphics, GPU driver 27.20.21026, BIOS T83. System configuration for Ryzen™ 7 PRO 6850U (28W): AMD reference motherboard with 4x4GB LPDDR5-6400, Windows 11 Pro, 1TB SSD, AMD RadeonTM 680M graphics, GPU driver 30.0, BIOS TRM0081D. Performance may vary.  RMP-13 [2] Based on testing by AMD as of 12/14/2021.  CPU performance evaluated with an average of seven multi-threaded content creation and CPU tests. GPU performance evaluated with an average of six 3DMark® GPU tests. System configuration for Ryzen™ 7 5850U CPU/GPU performance: HP ProBook 635 Aero G8 configured with 2x8GB DDR4-3200 (22-22-22), Windows® 11 Professional build 22000.282, Samsung 980 Pro 1TB SSD, 15W nominal processor TDP, GPU driver 27.20.21026, BIOS T83. System configuration for Ryzen™ 7 PRO 6850U CPU/GPU performance: AMD reference motherboard configured with 4x4GB LPDDR5-6400 (40-39-45-90), Windows® 11 Professional v22000.282, Samsung 980 Pro 1TB SSD, 28W nominal processor TDP, AMD RadeonTM 680M graphics, GPU driver 30.0, BIOS TRM0081D. Performance may vary.  RMP-11 [3] All battery life claims are approximate. Battery life tested by HP as of 4.7.22, using the Bapco MobileMark 18 benchmark test on an HP Elitebook 865 G9 laptop configured with a 76WHr battery, Ryzen PRO 6850U processor with Radeon graphics, 256GB HDD, 8GB memory, Win 10 Pro, video resolution of 1920 x 1200 x 60 Hz and the power slider set to “better battery.” Actual battery life will vary based on several factors, including, but not limited to: product configuration and usage, software, operating conditions, wireless functionality, power management settings, screen brightness and other factors. The maximum capacity of the battery will naturally decrease with time and use. AMD has not independently tested or verified the battery life claim. For more information about HP’s published battery life testing and the MobileMark 18 benchmark test, see RMP-33 CPUs and Processors
AMD Technology Helps IT Departments Manage Hybrid Work
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 11:53:56 +0000
Source: PCWorld
As today’s businesses employ an ever-more mobile workforce, they are facing the reality of a sea of new cybersecurity threats. At the same time, many of today’s mobile devices must now run demanding video conferencing and collaboration software in parallel with productivity suites, business analytics software, and more — and operate on the go, potentially hours from power outlets. IT teams, with their hands already full, must manage it all remotely without missing a step. Many laptops and the tools for administering them are built for another era and simply can’t keep up. Fortunately, new CPUs from AMD —the AMD Ryzen™ PRO 6000 Series processors — are designed to meet the challenges of hybrid work head-on. Here’s how they do it. New processors for new challenges AMD PRO technologies deliver a complete set of features to help businesses defend against cybersecurity threats, keep tabs on multiple devices, and provide enterprise-grade stability and reliability. To business users, it adds up to what they care about most: PCs performing quickly and reliably, with security and management features running unobtrusively in the background. Take, for example, AMD PRO security, which includes multilayered security features at the hardware, operating system (OS), and system level. For the first time in business notebooks, AMD Ryzen™ PRO 6000 Series processors come integrated with the Microsoft Pluton Security Processor, which helps provide continuous protection for user identity, data, and apps on new Windows 11 PCs without slowing down performance. The new processors are aided by power management features, letting users run demanding applications all day long so they don’t need to worry about straying far from an outlet. Easing PC fleet management AMD simplifies the management of PC fleets with AMD PRO manageability, reducing the workload of IT teams. Whether devices are managed in-network or through the cloud with endpoint management tools, at any point in the lifecycle from deployment to retirement, this technology offers IT administrators a unified set of tools to manage systems across the organization. AMD PRO manageability includes these new features: Wireless support for more than two dozen widely used, open standards-based DASH management profiles.AMD Manageability Processor, a dedicated processor integrated into the CPU for enhanced manageability.AMD keeps business leaders happy too, with its AMD PRO business ready. With this feature, managers can make long-term plans without worrying about losing vital capabilities or leaving capital investments behind. That’s because AMD PRO business ready offers enterprise-grade quality assurance, reliability, and software stability to ensure platform longevity. The work world has changed, and laptops and other devices that business users depend on must step up to keep data safe and applications running smoothly, whether plugged in or not. New AMD Ryzen™ PRO 6000 Series processors help laptop manufacturers deliver the goods so businesses can handle what’s next. Click here to learn more. CPUs and Processors
Windows 11 22H2 review: Subtle upgrades, but in weird places
Mon, 15 Aug 2022 10:45:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
At a glanceExpert’s Rating ProsFree upgradeSolid accessibility improvementsClipchamp video editor is excellentConsTabbed File Explorer isn’t here yetVoice Access doesn’t workDrag-and-drop Taskbar functions appear absentOur VerdictMicrosoft steps boldly forward in improving Windows 11 for accessibility, but more tentatively when it comes to the features Windows users use most frequently. Best Prices Today: Windows 11 22H2 Retailer Price Delivery – View PCWorld Software Store $79.99 View Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide Rating Windows 11’s latest feature update, dubbed “Windows 11 22H2,” means acknowledging that many of its most useful features are somewhat hidden, and require some effort to unearth. Dig in and you’ll be rewarded, but most of 22H2’s more obvious new features won’t blow you away when the update starts rolling out worldwide sometime in the coming months. Windows 11 22H2 is not a return to the glory days of Windows 10. Then, splashy product launches heralded new, important additions to the operating system, like Disney teasing new Marvel characters into its cinematic universe. Windows 11 22H2 takes a subtler approach, updating the File Explorer, and adding a new Snap Layouts bar, Start menu folders, Live Captions, Voice Access, and more. Part of this has to do with how Microsoft is rolling out updates to Windows. Remember, there was really no Windows 11 22H1, which Microsoft debuted alongside a pledge to provide “continuous innovation” — new features now aren’t necessarily tied to any one release now. One of 22H2’s friendliest additions, Windows Spotlight, actually launched as an 22H2 preview feature in December 2021, then was added to the Windows 11 stable channel earlier this year. (Yes, you should have it.) Microsoft’s new video editor, Clipchamp, is moving from a Store app to a native Windows app, and it’s excellent. Microsoft also left out other key features that we’ve expected: a tabbed File Explorer, for one, and the ability to launch apps by dropping related files on the Taskbar. At least so far. We crafted this review using Windows 11 Release Preview build 22621.317 — a version of the “final” build that’s been released for testing, but one which Microsoft can add to or tweak in terms of fixing bugs. It took about 39 minutes to install from a “clean” ISO file on one of our test PCs. We’ll also update this review if there are material changes, such as Microsoft adding back features that it excluded. Windows 11 22H2 is expected to finish testing and roll out to PCs worldwide starting in September or October. Basic everyday “improvements” to Start, File Explorer, and Snap Microsoft has made two small changes to your basic Windows experience: the ability to add small folders to the Start menu, and some visual and functional tweaks to File Explorer. Adding folders to Start essentially allows you to group related apps, along with a name — useful, true, but on a very minor scale. You’ll still likely prefer the various options to resize and arrange folders as Live Tiles in Windows 10 instead, and the grouped icons within the new folders are just plain tiny (as they are in Windows 10, to be fair.) No, you still can’t resize the Start menu, drag it around the screen, or open it in an entirely full-screen mode. Maybe this will happen in 23H1 instead? Windows 11’s new Start Menu folders, in an expanded view. Mark Hachman / IDG The changes to File Explorer are more nuanced. In Windows 11 22H2, the left navigation pane organizes your files so that they open to “Home,” instead of the collection of “Quick Access” files that Windows 11 currently chooses. (You also have the option to open File Explorer directly into OneDrive, a first.) Individual files can now be pinned to Quick Access. A small dropdown also allows you to see how much of your OneDrive cloud storage is being used. In short, it feels a bit friendlier and more organized — although the tabbed functionality that was added to File Explorer in earlier previews has been removed. C’mon, Microsoft! The changes to File Explorer are there within Windows 11 22H2, but they’re subtle. On the right side, there is better visibility on how much of OneDrive is being used. The other notable change to the Windows shell was supposed to be the ability to drag a file on to a corresponding taskbar icon (such as an image file to the Photos icon) and open it. So far, however, basic correlations (dragging image files on to Paint and Photos, or an MP3 file onto Media Player) refuses to work, even with an app window open. This drag-and-drop taskbar functionality will likely be added later, but for now it’s been excluded in the Release Preview build. Boo! Snap Bar and Snap Groups: doubling down on a winner Fortunately, there’s a small change in Windows 11 that you’ll appreciate: the Snap Bar. Remember, you can maximize a window by either clicking the “maximize window” icon or simply dragging the whole window to the top of the screen. In Windows 11, doing the former opened up a variety of Snap options to organize windows on your screen. Now, the same options will appear when you drag the window to the top of the screen, where a small Snap Bar now resides. Drag a window to the top of the screen, and 22H2’s Snap Bar appears. Here, the window is being snapped into the lower right-hand corner.Mark Hachman / IDG When you snap an app to a portion of the screen, you can fill the remaining screen space with one or more windows. In 22H2, these “Snap Groups” will now persist as a unified grouping when you use the Alt+TAB shortcut to move between applications. It’s a bit ironic, of course, since Snap Groups are not that much different than the virtual desktops that appeared in Windows 10, and were then de-emphasized in Windows 11. There are now many ways to configure persistent apps across multiple windows and displays, from FancyZones, Snap Groups, virtual desktops, and the Windows 11 feature that keeps windows aligned on multiple monitors when you undock your laptop. And that’s perfectly okay, as they’re all useful in their own way. Live Captions: Closed-captioning for everything In June 2022, Preply surveyed 1,200 Americans and found that more than 50 percent choose to watch prerecorded content with subtitles on. Microsoft’s Live Captions seems tailor-made to suit that audience. Live Captions simply applies AI to generate captions for whatever it “hears” from your PC, whether it be footage from a wedding you captured with your smartphone, streamed video from services that lack captions (or include them!), recorded meetings that weren’t transcribed, and so on. You can turn Live Captions on in Windows 11’s Settings app (Accessibility > Captions). Once enabled, your PC will download a small library file. To turn Live Captions on, you can either enable them via the Settings toggle switch or else use the Win + CTRL + L shortcut. While you can configure the options in a variety of styles and colors, the one thing Live Captions won’t do is float the captions over your video, as the Settings preview option implies. You can manually position the caption window as you prefer, though. Live Captions within Windows 11 22H2. Note that while Windows doesn’t automatically superimpose captions over video, you can ask it to create a window to approximate the effect.Mark Hachman / IDG Live Captions isn’t perfect. There’s no differentiation by speaker, for example. Live Captions also quickly reminds you that it’s a rare video that features speakers who enunciate, don’t talk over one another, and lacks background noises that can obscure what’s being said. With that said, it still has potential, and for everyone. New and revised Windows 11 apps There are three applications of note that have been added to or revised in Windows 11 22H2: Clipchamp, Microsoft Family, and the Task Manager. Clipchamp and Microsoft Family are being added to Windows 11 as pre-installed apps, while Task Manager receives an aesthetic and functional overhaul. While we haven’t formally reviewed Clipchamp, Microsoft’s “free” video editor is a pleasure to use, but with some annoying bugs that are due to its roots as a Web app. Let’s put it this way: I was able to build my own Clipchamp how-to video all by myself, with absolutely no guidance from our video team. (Sure, the resulting Clipchamp video demonstrates this to my disadvantage, but as they say — if I can do it, anyone can.) DaVinci’s Resolve’s free version certainly offers much more in terms of overall features, but there’s something to be said for a quick, efficient, and fun video editor right inside Windows. I really like Clipchamp. It’s simple, fun, and you owe it to yourself to try it out. Clipchamp is both simple and powerful to use, and worth your time.Mark Hachman / IDG As we explained earlier, Microsoft Family is expected to be just a respin of the Family Safety mobile app, and the existing (poorly reviewed) Microsoft Family Safety app already in the Microsoft Store. Family / Family Safety simply reorganizes some of the features that have been available in your Microsoft Account management tools for some time, specifically a parent’s ability to manage screen time and (if they consent) track where other family members are. I’ve used the app’s ability to manage screen time for ages, though I don’t specifically track my family’s location. My kids are also young enough that they don’t really take advantage of shared resources; as parents, my wife and I generally set the schedule for the family. But for a motivated, online family, I can see where Family would be useful. Task Manager hasn’t materially changed, though the look is now more consistent with Windows 11, and with a functional right-hand sidebar than can be used to quickly step through various elements of the app. Windows 11’s Task Manager certainly feels more polished as well as useful as part of 22H2.Mark Hachman / IDG Voice Access: Unfinished? Voice Access is another Windows 11 feature that was designed for those with issues navigating Windows’ interface, but can be used by anyone. Essentially, this is hands-free Windows navigation, telling Windows what you’d like it to do. It sounds great in concept: “Click next” to click a button on your screen marked “Next,” for example. Sure, it’s not something that you might use — why touch the screen to navigate when the mouse is right there? — but it’s another modality to interact with Windows. Mark Hachman / IDG What sounds like a positive on paper, though, didn’t really work on my screen. Windows was smart enough to recognize my voice and move the cursor to the correct region of the screen. But it never actually performed the correct “click” action, and I’m not sure why. So far, it’s a simple failure to deliver on a promised feature. Some handy tweaks Microsoft has added several tweaks to Windows 11, some somewhat hidden away from the average user. You still can’t add appointments to the calendar that floats above the Notifications Center, for example, but there’s a little button to enter into Focus mode, where notifications will be turned off and you can listen to music, if you choose. Windows Spotlight was actually released to the public as both a test and a finished feature during the Windows 22H2 development cycle, as part of Microsoft’s new deployment scheme. It’s a great way to humanize Windows 11, by swapping out your background with a new nature scene culled from Microsoft’s archives. Windows Spotlight certainly adds some life to Windows 11. Mark Hachman / IDG The Settings menu now shows more of the information you care about in the Account section of the Windows 11 Settings menu, specifically which subscriptions are active at any one time. Managing a Microsoft 365 subscription may not be something you need to do frequently, but being able to stack extra time on to your subscription if a good deal crops up makes it worth knowing about. Microsoft has also fine-tuned some of Windows 11’s UI controls: adjusting the volume control on a laptop now brings up a more polished flyout control, which is also adjustable via your mousewheel if you hover the control over it. You can also access Bluetooth controls much easier, via the Action Center in the lower right-hand corner. The print menu looks a bit nicer, as well. Will you notice all of these little quirks and tweaks? You’ll be forgiven if you don’t. Some might even argue that the less Microsoft touches Windows, the better. In all, there are some interesting steps forward…alongside parts of Windows 11 where you might have expected Microsoft to make more progress. Microsoft’s accessibility team continues to charge ahead, but in some of the core, sadly lacking areas in which users frequently interact with Windows — the Taskbar, Start menu, and File Explorer — Microsoft is still reluctant to budge. Windows, Windows 11
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