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PCWorld's March Digital Magazine: Samsung's Galaxy S21 vs. Apple's iPhone 12
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 16:05:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Magazine. Available as single copies or as a monthly subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Magazine for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.In the March issue This month it's the Galaxy S21 vs. the iPhone 12. Which premium phone should you buy? We have the facts about the Apple M1’s speed, plus how it compares to the Ryzen 5000. Plus, 5 easy things you can do to supercharge your digital security.Other highlights include:To read this article in full, please click here
AMD's game-boosting Smart Access Memory is coming to Ryzen 3000
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 13:03:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
The $479 Radeon RX 6700 XT obviously stole the spotlight at AMD’s “Where Gaming Begins: Ep. 3” event on Wednesday, but before Radeon chief Scott Herkelman showed off his shiny new graphics card, he delivered another very welcome announcement. AMD’s Smart Access Memory feature is coming to Ryzen 3000 processors to make your games run faster.AMD debuted Smart Access Memory alongside its fantastic Ryzen 5000 processors. Smart Access Memory is built atop the PCIe specification’s optional Resizable BAR feature and allows your CPU to fully access your graphic card’s memory buffer, an upgrade from the usual 256MB chunks. The tweak can provide a performance uplift ranging from negligible to notable, as our Smart Access Memory testing with the Radeon RX 6900 XT revealed. Depending on the game and resolution, we saw frame rates soar by up to 8 percent, and AMD says Smart Access Memory can boost performance by up to 16 percent in best-case scenarios.To read this article in full, please click here
Google Chrome will replace third-party cookies with tracking that's less intrusive
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 11:39:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Google has pledged to crack down on third-party cookies in its Chrome browser for over a year now, taking progressive steps to weed out the code that collects data about you and shares it with the site you’re visiting. Cookies can be helpful in storing your user name and password, or saving your shopping cart; but they can also be used to serve up ads as you browse, making it feel creepily like someone knows what you’re looking for now—or what you looked for last week.On Wednesday the company made a further commitment to privacy by saying it won’t replace cookies with alternative methods of tracking users in Chrome. “We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment,” Google’s David Temkin, the director of product management for ads, privacy and trust, wrote in a blog post. “Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”To read this article in full, please click here
Brave Search is a privacy-first search engine
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 10:34:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Browser privacy is a big deal, as Google and other companies use your search data to serve you ads while you surf the web. While most users accept that tradeoff, others who believe strongly in maintaining their own data privacy. If you’re one of these, Brave Software can help. On Wednesday the company said it’s launching a search engine to compete with Google and Bing, with privacy as its first priority.Brave is buying Tailcat, an open search engine, and will add it to what it’s calling Brave Search, a forthcoming search engine. The difference between Google, Bing, and Brave Search is twofold: Brave won’t collect IP addresses or use personally identifiable information to improve search result; and it will collect its own, independent search index.To read this article in full, please click here
AMD's $479 Radeon RX 6700 XT targets silky-smooth 1440p gaming
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 08:18:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
AMD’s new $479 Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card will target gamers who want to play at 1440p with max settings but its best feature may be that it’ll be available in “significantly” higher volumes than Radeon RX 6800 GPUs were at launch, the company said Wednesday morning. AMD also announced that its performance-boosting Smart Access Memory technology will be coming to Ryzen 3000 processors.But the star of the show was the Radeon RX 6700 XT, which features 40 compute units, a game clock of 2,424MHz, 96MB of AMD's radical Infinity Cache, a 230 watt power rating, and an ample 12GB of GDDR6 memory. AMD is especially touting that massive memory buffer to differentiate the Radeon RX 5700 XT from its rivals when they go on sale on March 18.To read this article in full, please click here
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review: A little bit of everything
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 03:30:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Priced at just $199.99, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are worthy options for Samsung-focused Android users who want a little bit of everything packed into their wireless earbuds, whether it’s attractive audio performance, excellent waterproofing, a comfortable fit, or active noise cancellation. With their unique voice detection feature and impressive waterproofing, they even manage to come out ahead of other earbuds aimed at a similarly wide market. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be fully committed to the Samsung ecosystem if you want to get the most out of them, but their versatility makes them a solid choice for anyone with an Android device.The right look They certainly look good. Elements of both the Galaxy Buds Plus and the Galaxy Buds Live reveal themselves in the design, and I consistently found myself admiring the glossy exterior. But I most appreciate them for the many times when I barely noticed them at all. They don’t protrude from my ears as much as Samsung’s previous efforts, and I was able to find a perfect fit among the three silicone tips that come in the box.To read this article in full, please click here
Hands on: Samsung Galaxy SmartTags shine most within the SmartThings ecosystem
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 03:30:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Samsung Galaxy SmartTags have entered a market already dominated by the third-party Tile tracker, and possibly about to be disrupted by the rumored circular AirTags from Apple. Can Samsung use the strength of its own Smart Things ecosystem to become a player? We tried them with a Samsung Galaxy S21 to find out.Similar to Tile Bluetooth trackers, Samsung Galaxy SmartTags work by attaching to a keychain and using Bluetooth and the larger Galaxy Find Network to locate lost items, whether they fell under the couch or were left in your last Lyft driver’s car.The $30 tag itself is very Tile-like, with a somewhat thick, black “squircle” design, and a small hole in the corner for a keychain or clip. It almost seems like Samsung went out of its way to make it unremarkable.To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft Mesh: Why you should be skeptical about this new VR platform
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 03:13:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
I am very skeptical about Microsoft Mesh, the company’s new virtual-reality platform, and you should be, too. Microsoft's last attempt at virtual reality, the HoloLens headset,  was introduced with a flourish before largely melting away. The signs so far for Mesh suggest a similarly concerning pattern. Beyond that, we have to ask, do meeting participants event want to mingle in virtual spaces?Microsoft Mesh was announced Tuesday morning at the company’s Ignite conference—an event taking place via Microsoft Teams and YouTube because of the pandemic. Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman, the person most closely tied to Microsoft’s HoloLens efforts, announced that the entire Ignite conference is being hosted on Mesh. If you’d like, you can view it in virtual reality. There’s even a Mesh videoconferencing app in preview.To read this article in full, please click here
Q Acoustics 3030i review: These bookshelf speakers will have you wondering “Where’s the subwoofer, Waldo?”
Wed, 03 Mar 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Blessed with golden ears and champagne taste, but cursed with a beer budget? You need to give these puppies a listen.
Intel's 11th-gen Rocket Lake will launch at the end of March, report says
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 09:13:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S chip, which touts faster gaming performance than AMD’s Ryzen 5000 chips, will hit the shelves on March 30, a new report says.The new chip will lift off at 6 a.m. PT on March 30, according to a report from editor Andreas Schilling of Hardwareluxx.de. Hardwareluxx broke the news this morning after a disastrous situation in Germany where retailer Mindfactory apparently began selling the 11th-gen CPUs a month before their official release.Schilling also received comment from Intel about the sales, and the company doesn’t sound happy.To read this article in full, please click here
Samsung’s 76-inch MicroLED TV will be its smallest yet
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 07:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Samsung’s pricey MicroLED line is about to get more affordable, but it certainly won't be cheap.
Overclock at your own risk: Intel axes its overclocking warranty
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 06:56:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
The days when you could overclock your Intel “K” or “KF” chip with impunity, while liquid nitrogen vapor wafted through the long tresses of your hair, are over. On Monday, Intel abruptly ended its optional overclocking warranty plan.The end of life for the Performance Tuning Protection Plan was initially covered by Zhiye Lui of Tom’s Hardware. Intel said existing plans—which usually ran about three years—would be honored through their durations but as of Monday, March 1, you could not purchase a new plan.To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft Teams hardware will join new presenter modes later this year
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 06:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft’s determined march to make Microsoft Teams the dominant platform for online videoconferencing and collaboration continued on Tuesday with new presentation modes for Teams, certifications for new Teams monitors, and even a formal announcement of intelligent speakers that can be used to supplement Microsoft Teams.Predictably, the limited consumer focus at the virtual Microsoft Ignite conference this week will be on what Microsoft can add to the work-at-home experience, either on the PC itself or via a cloud service. This conference supplements the virtual Ignite conference Microsoft held in September, and the company provided some updated timelines to features it announced then.To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft still loves smart devices, rolling out Azure Percept camera, mic and services
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 06:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft may have given up on smart speakers for the consumer, but the company hasn’t given up on letting others build intelligent devices based on its own technologies and hardware.On Tuesday Microsoft launched Azure Percept, a platform of hardware and services that’s built around Microsoft-designed hardware and Microsoft’s Azure AI platform. They're part of what's known as “edge computing,” intelligent devices that can process data on their own but are best when combined with the cloud. To get started, Microsoft unveiled Azure Percept Vision, a smart camera; plus Azure Percept Audio, an intelligent audio system at its virtual Microsoft Ignite confernece. They can connect to the Azure IoT Hub.To read this article in full, please click here
Google beefs up Workspace with new apps, and Google Assistant
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides have traditionally been the cornerstone of Google Workspace Essentials. Now you can add Chat, Jamboard, and Calendar, too.Google made a number of additions and changes to its Google Workspace on the eve of Microsoft Ignite this week. Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is being beefed up with the addition of a number of notable features, including the ability to use a Nest Hub Max as a second screen for a Google Meet meeting, even in the home. Google is adding its Google Assistant to Workspace, and it’s generally available to respond to questions like “When’s my next meeting?”To read this article in full, please click here
Best online tax-filing software 2021: TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxAct compared
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 03:30:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
It’s tax time again, not that you needed reminding. It shows up at the same time every year, ready, willing, and able to escort you down a financial memory lane.When it comes to filing income taxes, this year, more than any other, is likely to throw some curveballs. There were stimulus payments, and employment payments; you may have made more or less income than you did in the previous year. Sad to say, but bankruptcy, the death of a loved one, or the loss of job may factor into your financial situation more this year than at any other time in your personal history. Your tax software needs to be up to the task of getting every tax break possible.To read this article in full, please click here
Tailwind iQ3 smart automatic garage controller review: Cool features, but rocky operation
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
This affordable opener can detect your car’s presence and automatically open your garage door, but it’s too rough around the edges to recommend.
Asus ROG Flow X13 Review: This laptop breaks all the rules
Tue, 02 Mar 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
The Asus ROG Flow X13 is a laptop that breaks all the conventions. It looks like a typical ultraportable, but its CPU performance rivals or surpasses that of many laptops twice its weight. And while most thin-and-light laptops make serious sacrifices in performance, the ROG Flow X13 is actually one of the fastest gaming laptops in town.If all this sounds great, we have two caveats. First, this unique take on a thin and powerful laptop does come with a few compromises, which some will gladly accept in exchange for its impressive performance and versatility. Keep reading before you decide whether the ROG Flow X13 laptop is the one for you. But second, even if you do accept the compromises, good luck: The bundle we tested, which is $2,800 from Asus, is currently sold out, as is the laptop alone (without the eGPU), which would be$1,500 from AsusRemove non-product linkif you could actually buy it. Sigh.To read this article in full, please click here
Blower-style RTX 3090 cards are disappearing, and that's bad for prosumers
Mon, 01 Mar 2021 09:06:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Both Nvidia and AMD switched from blower-style to axial-fan coolers for their in-house reference cards in recent years, and it was a good decision. Axial designs offer better cooling performance and lower noise levels in the single GPU setup used by much gamers. But blower-style coolers remain popular in workstations that use GeForce graphics cards for getting things done, leading Nvidia partners like Asus and MSI to release blower-style GeForce RTX 3090 editions to satisfy those professional needs. There’s just one problem: All those RTX 3090 blower cards are disappearing.Videocardz found that not one, not two, but five different custom RTX 3090 blower cards have been scrubbed from their vendors’ respective websites: the Emtek GeForce RTX 3090 24GB Blower Edition, the Asus GeForce RTX 3090 24GB Turbo, the Galax GeForce RTX 3090 24GB Classic, the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 24GB Turbo, and the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 24GB Aero.To read this article in full, please click here
Intel 670p SSD review: Faster where it matters
Mon, 01 Mar 2021 09:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
It’s glad tidings that the Intel 670p SSD finally makes 4-bit QLC NAND perform well enough to compete with TLC NVMe drives. The drive had no issues with synthetic benchmarks and even managed a livable pace when it ran out of secondary cache—about three times what its predecessor, the 660p, managed. Now if the company could just explain the unusually low TBW ratings, we’d be all good. This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best SSDs. Go there for information on competing drives and how we tested them. To read this article in full, please click here
Intel's new 670p SSD is tuned for the 'real world'
Mon, 01 Mar 2021 09:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Intel’s newly released 670p M.2 NVMe SSD will offer better performance for “real world” usage loads that regular nerds care about, the company said on Monday. If that promise holds true, this new drive could wind up on our list of the best SSDs.The Intel 670p is built on 4th-gen, 144-layer quad-level cell (QLC) NAND that increases the density over the previous 96-layer QLC by 50 percent. Besides the enhanced density, the drive features an updated controller and firmware, along with an improved Dynamic SLC caching algorithm that writes data using faster single-bit storage as much as possible. Together, the advancements should give the Intel 670p an advantage over competing QLC drives on low queue depth workloads.To read this article in full, please click here
How to create strong, secure passwords by learning how to crack them
Mon, 01 Mar 2021 02:54:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Create stronger, more secure passwords: We are nagged to do it all the time, but few of us actually make the effort. Meanwhile, passwords continue to be stolen, leaked, and cracked on a regular basis. So this time we’re hoping to get your attention by looking at it from the attacker’s side! We'll show you how passwords are cracked and even how to do it yourself, so you can see exactly why a strong password matters.As our brief foray with a cracking tool will show you, your only protection against a determined password-cracker is—you guessed it—a long, complex string of 10 or more characters. Anything shorter, let alone simpler, is too easy to crack. Know that, and suddenly using a password manager looks a lot easier than trying to create passwords all by yourself.To read this article in full, please click here
M1 MacBook Air vs Pro: What to buy and why to spend extra on RAM and storage
Sat, 27 Feb 2021 04:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
It's hard to tell the difference between the new M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, so we've broken them all down for you.
How Framework plans to break the curse of upgradeable laptops
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 10:45:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
An upgradeable laptop has long been the Holy Grail of laptop features. And much like the famed Grail, it's never been found.Many have tried and all have failed. The most recent attempt was Alienware's Area 51m R1, which launched with lofty goals but ultimately never offered meaningful upgrades.Enter Framework, which pledges to finally bring the Holy Grail home to Camelot with a modular, do-it-yourself and upgradeable laptop. Being a witness to all of the prior quest failures, well, we have our doubts. Many of them.To read this article in full, please click here
The Full Nerd ep. 169: GeForce RTX 3060 reviews, new Radeon GPU teased
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 08:43:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray talk about new graphics cards you probably can’t buy anytime soon.Not that you’d probably want to at today’s wildly inflated prices. We kick things off by talking about Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060, which launched this week. It ostensibly costs $330, and several custom models were revealed at that point, but most RTX 3060 graphics cards cost $470 or more at retail. Oof. We explain everything you need to know about this particular GPU and the bleak state of the graphics card market.To read this article in full, please click here
The story of the Windows XP 'Bliss' desktop theme—and what it looks like today
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 06:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Editor's Note: PCWorld originally published this story in 2014. This year, 2021, marks the 25th anniversary of Charles O'Rear's iconic photo in 1996, which became the basis of the Windows XP desktop wallpaper. The vineyards are still there today.It’s not too far-fetched to believe that a billion people have viewed the “Bliss” image that defines the desktop view of Windows XP, the seminal OS that Microsoft is retiring Tuesday. But you’d barely notice the real-world “Bliss” scene if you stepped out of your car and gazed at it today.Driving anywhere in California’s wine country can be treacherous. Roads curve back and forth, well, drunkenly. Bicyclists are common, and the next bend could hide an entrance to one of Napa’s finest wineries, a tour group jaywalking across the road, or even a couple on horseback, exploring the area.To read this article in full, please click here
How does an RTX 3080 perform inside an eGPU?
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 03:34:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Over the past couple of months I’ve been gaming with an eGPU enclosure that had Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3080 stuffed inside of it. While the limitations of Thunderbolt 3 are well documented, I was curious to see just how limited that monster card would be in such a setup. In the above video you can check out the results from over 10 of the hottest games of the past year, including Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020).Getting the whole system up and running required a bit of work due to the power requirements of the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra Gaming GPU and its trio of 8-pin power connections. I had to hook up a separate power supply to juice the card! Once it was up and running it worked great--it just looked silly.To read this article in full, please click here
Technics Ottava review: This all-in-one home audio system is a great entertainer
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Impeccable sonic goodness in an itty-bitty box.
A part of us died with Fry's Electronics
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 02:59:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Watching Fry’s Electronics finally shut down this week was truly the end of an era for me.When I was younger, I’d cobble together a PC by combing through ads placed in the local computer weekly newspaper (yes, they had those) and driving to some non-descript industrial building in Silicon Valley.After getting the stink-eye from the person eating lunch in the lobby, I’d leave with some ISA sound card or motherboard. It felt more like I was buying illegal fireworks than building a PC. Fry’s in its glory days Fry’s Electronics was truly glorious by comparison. With its big-box approach, bright lights, and endless aisles of components, printers, monitors, and software, along with soldering irons, heat shrink tubing and power supplies, Fry’s made PC building a legit lifestyle worthy of being out in public.To read this article in full, please click here
How to check your Intel and M1 Mac’s SSD health using Terminal
Thu, 25 Feb 2021 07:56:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Learn how to set up the Terminal in macOS so you can install and run smartmontools, a utility that provides data on the health of your SSD.
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