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How to update your PC's BIOS
Fri, 24 Sep 2021 09:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
A tiny BIOS chip lurks inside every computer, sitting on your motherboard to breathe life into your system when you press the power button. It not only powers your PC, but helps protect it, too.BIOS stands for basic input and output system, and the BIOS chip initializes all the other devices in your PC, like the CPU, GPU, and motherboard chipset. But a few years ago, motherboard manufacturers—in partnership with Microsoft and Intel—introduced a replacement for traditional BIOS chips dubbed UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).Almost every motherboard shipping today has a UEFI chip rather than a BIOS chip (UEFI is a Windows 11 system requirement, in fact), but they both share the same core purpose: preparing the system to boot into the operating system. That said, most people still call the UEFI the “BIOS” because of the familiarity of the term.To read this article in full, please click here
The Full Nerd ep. 191: 3rd annual PC Hardware Hall of Fame
Fri, 24 Sep 2021 08:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad Chacos, Alaina Yee, Keith May, and Adam Patrick Murray open up the books and admit worthy hardware into our officially unofficial PC Hall of Fame.In past years, the Intel 8086/8088 processors, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT graphics card, IBM Model M keyboard, 3DFX Voodoo graphics card, Raspberry Pi, and MLC NAND (as a stand-in for affordable SSDs) made the cut after a fierce debate. This year, each of us brought three more legendary picks to the table, prepared to plea and cajole as we whittled the original field of 15 nominees down. It starts out full of laughter and trips down memory lane, then the smiles gradually disappear as well-deserving components start getting the axe. Be sure to watch the entire process play out, but in the end, only three products manage to become our 2021 inductees in The Full Nerd’s PC Hardware Hall of Fame:To read this article in full, please click here
How to watch TV on your PC
Fri, 24 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
There’s thousands of options for watching shows and movies on your TV: Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max are just a few popular options. But what if you want to watch live TV, including local channels? You can watch live TV through your PC just as you would watch Netflix, or you can kick it old-school with a TV tuner and an antenna. Here’s how.Check your cable subscription first Do you have a cable subscription? If so, you may already have access to live TV on your PC. Many cable companies offer streaming live TV as part of their standard cable package. Comcast’s Xfinity and AT&T’s DirectTV Stream are examples of Internet-enabled cable packages that can stream to not only a PC, but also to mobile devices like an iPhone or Android device.To read this article in full, please click here
Should you buy a used mining GPU?
Fri, 24 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Should you buy a used mining GPU? Usually, you may want to avoid graphics cards that were used around the clock to mine cryptocurrency. But that's not necessarily the case during the Great GPU Shortage, when the best graphics cards are always out of stock even when they're going for exorbitant prices. Let's say you’ve done your research, stood in line for hours, and endlessly refreshed your browser at online retailers without any luck. When you’re finally about to give up, you find the perfect used GPU for sale—but the seller tells you it was used for mining cryptocurrency.To read this article in full, please click here
Hulu’s best movies for cord-cutters
Fri, 24 Sep 2021 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Films like these make a Hulu subscription worthwhile.
See the Surface Laptop Studio in action: Full 8 minute walkthrough
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 12:27:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
As the name suggests, Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Studio fuses together a number of different Surfaces, among them the Surface Laptop and Surface Studio. Inside the Surface Laptop Studio, however, new GeForce RTX hardware points to the power Microsoft has traditionally offered inside the Surface Book. Our full video above walks you through every inch of the laptop, which doubles as a physical avatar for Microsoft's Windows 11 ambitions.To read this article in full, please click here
How to overclock your PC's CPU
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 09:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
If you think that overclocking is solely for performance-obsessed geeks armed with bottles of liquid nitrogen, it’s time to reconsider! Even a small bump in PC performance can delay the need to upgrade your processor, keeping money in your pocket. Yes, overclocking can make the best gaming CPUs even better.Today I’ll walk you through simple overclocking steps that can usually boost processor speeds 10 percent or more. If you’re a gamer, video artist, or media streamer, that’s a useful, no-cost upgrade. Read on if you want your PC to go faster!What is overclocking, anyway? Overclocking is a technique for tweaking various types of PC hardware, so that it runs faster than the manufacturer’s intended specification. Many processors, RAM modules, and graphics cards can be overclocked, usually by adjusting their settings via your motherboard’s UEFI BIOS. Operate in safe margins and overclocking shouldn’t damage your PC. But, as we’ll discuss, it’s important to manage the additional heat that accelerated hardware can generate.To read this article in full, please click here
The best laptops: Premium laptops, budget laptops, 2-in-1s, and more
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 08:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
With Windows 11 on the horizon, PC makers have been busy announcing new laptops and tablets based on the next-gen operating system.Add to that heavy competition between Intel, AMD, and Nvidia and we're in an era of some of the best laptops in history right now. Our top picks from currently available laptops are below:Latest laptop news and reviews Here are the latest stories: HP announced three new Windows 11 devices that may throw you for a curve: the HP 11 inch Tablet, the 14 inch Laptop, and the Spectre x360 16. The Tablet's cool trick is a swiveling 13MP camera that lets you show off homework. The 14 inch Laptop is also quite different and will be powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon processor. Finally, the Spectre x360 features a 5GHz 11th-gen Tiger Lake H CPU, a GeForce RTX 3050, and a pixel-packed 5 megapixel camera. Framework wants you to take its laptop apart and repair it. Seriously. While most laptops are difficult to impossible to repair or upgrade, this debut product from Framework not only can be dismantled and upgraded, but the company actually encourages you to do it. Find out what we learned when we took an early-production Framework laptop for a whirl. Gordon Mah Ung The Framework laptop is designed to be taken apart for repairs or upgrades.To read this article in full, please click here
Meet Surface Laptop Studio, the RTX-powered PC that makes Windows 11 shine
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 07:16:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft’s latest premium notebook, the Surface Laptop Studio, borrows the best from Microsoft’s other products: the flexibility of the Surface Studio, the convenience of the Surface Laptop, and the power of the Surface Book. It might not be the Surface Book 4 we were expecting, but with a new pull-forward display, Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, Thunderbolt, Windows Hello 2.0, and a high-refresh-rate screen, it’s both an interesting fusion of other Surfaces as well as a physical avatar for many of the new capabilities within Windows 11.The Surface Laptop Studio won’t come cheaply, though. Microsoft has priced the notebook at $1,599.99 and above, with prices climbing to $3,099.99 for the most premium model. The Surface Studio Laptop is available for preorder beginning today, and will ship on Oct. 5.To read this article in full, please click here
HP Pavilion Aero 13: Light on price and weight, heavy on style and power
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
The trusty Pavilion has come a long way. With a magnesium aluminum chassis that looks elegant and feels durable and impossibly light, the HP Pavilion Aero 13 looks and feels more like a model from the company’s higher-end Envy or Spectre line than a mainstream Pavilion. And yet the Pavilion Aero 13 line starts at a reasonable $750.Despite its light price and weight, the Pavilion Aero 13 is roomy and powerful. The laptop is based on a 13.3-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio that makes the display feel more spacious than a standard 16:9 display of the same size. The keyboard runs from edge to edge and feels spacious along with the generously proportioned touchpad. Powering this perfectly sized laptop is an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 processor that’s no lightweight CPU. Our $999 test system is a great pick for students or anyone looking for tons of style and portability at a great price.To read this article in full, please click here
The Best USB-C cables for charging and transferring data
Thu, 23 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
It’s easy to see why people mistakenly believe that all USB-C cables are essentially the same, and that differences are mostly superficial and a way to mark up prices. After all, it’s just a cable, right?Wrong. We can tell you from testing more than a dozen USB-C cables that they are not all the same. You will see huge performance differences in transferring data and charging devices depending on the particular cable you buy.Unfortunately trying to find a quality USB-C cable among the multitude of options available can be daunting. So we bought 14 cables ranging from the biggest, most recognizable brand-names to the cheapest-looking cables around and put them through the wringer to test relative performance. In doing so we were able to identify some clear winners to make your purchasing decision easier.To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft's Surface Duo 2 phone tries to fix the original's problems
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 10:41:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft’s original Surface Duo folding phone designed in some serious flaws. The Surface Duo 2, to its credit, appears to have at least addressed them.When Microsoft launched the Surface Duo folding phone a year ago, Microsoft executives preceded it with a gauzy veil of hype that concealed the many flaws reviewers noted: a poor camera, a lack of NFC and 5G, a subsequently poor track record of patches and updates, and an interface whose bugs made the dual-screen interface painful to use.Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 arrives today, available for preorder for $1,499.99 on up, with shipments starting Octobr 21. That’s about the same price as Microsoft’s earlier Surface Duo. Can the new phone fix the flaws of the first? On paper, it takes a good first step.To read this article in full, please click here
Microsoft's redesigned Surface Pro 8 sets the new bar for Windows tablets
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 09:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft announced three new Surface tablets on Wednesday, including a larger, more powerful Surface Pro 8, a new Surface Go 3 that boasts options for a faster Intel Core i3 processor, and an updated Surface Pro X. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 boasts Thunderbolt ports for the first time, integrated LTE, Slim Pen integrated storage and charging, as well as a new display that can run at up to 120Hz.The new updates to Microsoft’s tablet lineup are on par with what we expected from this Surface launch, with Windows 11 looming on October 5, though Microsoft’s quick pace of recent tablet introductions means that there’s not as much of a performance gap as with prior generations.To read this article in full, please click here
Whoa, NZXT finally put a front mesh panel on the H510
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 08:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Glance at the NZXT H510 Flow, and it looks about as you’d expect given current sensibilities. Optimal airflow dominates the scene at the moment. Most new cases now feature mesh front panels, and the H510 Flow is no different.Yet the Flow represents a shift on NZXT’s part, as you’ll see in the video above. The standard H510 has long sported a solid front panel, as did the H500 and S340 before it. And despite its critics, the case has enjoyed wild popularity. PC builders love this compact ATX mid-tower’s smaller footprint, thoughtful and straightforward design, and minimalist vibe.But general trends have had their influence, with a result that should quiet most naysayers. NZXT put a steel mesh front panel on the body of the H510, complete with removable dust filter, and made minor additional tweaks. Namely, the two included 120mm fans come mounted at the front and rear, instead of the top and rear. (The standard H510’s smaller air intakes on the right side panel and the bottom front of the case are gone, too.) You’ll find no other changes to the chassis aside from airflow improvements; PC builders still get the same H510 otherwise. The removable hard drive cage, front fan/radiator bracket, and signature cable bar remain so for ease when building.To read this article in full, please click here
Nexar Pro review: Solid video, cloud storage make this dash cam a good deal
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
In a field dominated by square or rectangular design, the egg-shaped $160 Nexar Pro dash cam (with its equally egg-shaped discrete interior camera) stands out—in a good way. The Nexar Pro is also one of the cheaper options in a dash cam offering cloud storage, bested only in affordability by the previously reviewed Nexar Beam. This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for more reviews and buying advice. To read this article in full, please click here
RockPals 300W Portable Power Station review: Second verse isn't the same as the first
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Previously, I reviewed the RockPals 300W portable power station and rated it 4.5 stars. It had reliable performance, plenty of ports, and a large display that kept you up to speed on everything the power station was doing.Now I’m taking a look at a device that has the same exact name, but a completely different design. The updated power station lost the dual flashlights, has been shrunk down quite a bit, and the screen no longer details every aspect of the station’s performance.Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods. Features There are a total of nine ports, all on the front panel of the 300W power station. There are two DC-out barrel ports capable of 12V/60W. There’s a DC input, which you use with the included power adapter to charge the unit itself. And next to the DC ports is a 12V car charger.To read this article in full, please click here
Amazon's upgraded Kindle Paperwhite lineup makes the best e-reader even better
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 06:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Official news came much sooner than expected. On Tuesday, just a day after leaks surfaced on the company’s Canadian and Mexican sites about models with a bigger screen and dramatically more LEDs, Amazon confirmed the launch of three new Kindle Paperwhites. In addition to a successor for the existing Paperwhite—which was already the best Kindle you can buy—two fresh variants have gone up for pre-order: the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition and the Kindle Paperwhite Kids.A larger screen is the biggest and most notable upgrade on Amazon’s latest e-readers. While these keep the same flush-front design and 300ppi resolution as the current fourth-generation Paperwhite, the display has grown from 6-inches to a roomier 6.8-inches and sports a narrower bezel. It also comes with a new ability to shift the color temperature of the screen’s backlight from white to a warmer amber tone, with the swankier Signature Edition featuring an auto-adjusting light sensor.To read this article in full, please click here
HP welcomes Windows 11 with a new Spectre, an Arm laptop, and a tablet with a swiveling camera
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 05:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
HP will release three new Windows 11 devices to kick off the launch of Microsoft's next-gen operating system, including a fresh Spectre with a juicy OLED display and a webcam designed to blow your socks off, the first laptop with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chip, and an 11-inch tablet with a nifty swiveling camera that lets you show off your homework.The HP 11 inch Tablet—yes, that's it's name—is among several new laptops, all-in-ones, and monitors that HP dropped on the world today, but it's really the 11 inch Tablet that catches your eye thanks to that unique camera.To read this article in full, please click here
How to buy the perfect PC case
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
No matter whether you treat your computer as the centerpiece of your home office or just stuff it under your desk, buying the right PC case matters.At a minimum, you want to pick a PC case that’s the right size for your needs and has room for all your hardware and USB devices. But some PC cases offer much, much more. Spacious innards, lower temperatures, muffled sound, extensive water-cooling support, and fancy-schmancy tempered glass panels or RGB lighting are just the tip of the iceberg.Here’s a guide to buying a PC case that’s perfect for you. This is just the first step in your DIY journey; be sure to check out PCWorld’s guide to building a PC, too, as well as our guide on setting up your PC's fans for maximum system cooling.To read this article in full, please click here
The best air purifiers: Keep your home safe, comfortable, and odor-free
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
The world of air purifiers can be confusing, but the bottom line is that the best units can improve your quality of life.
These 7 core apps will change in Windows 11
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 10:38:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Windows 11 won’t just change the Windows operating system, it will change the way some Windows apps look and feel, too. Though Windows 11 will launch this fall, Microsoft has already been highlighting several Windows apps that are being updated for Windows 11.So far, Microsoft has shown off several Windows apps that it’s reworking for Windows 11, including what you might consider to be core Windows apps: Mail and Calendar, Paint, and even the lowly Clock app. Below, we’ll show you what to expect of these new apps within Windows 11. (Remember, Windows 11 is officially in beta. Things may change between now and the final release.)To read this article in full, please click here
What to expect from Microsoft's Surface event
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 10:19:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
With mere weeks left before Windows 11’s launch, Microsoft is deploying its vanguard. The company is expected to launch an arsenal of new Surface devices during its September 22 event, including a significantly redesigned Surface Book 4, the Surface Pro 8, and even a next-generation Surface Duo phone.Initial reports say we should expect to see: A new Surface tablet, the Surface Pro 8 An updated Surface Pro X, possibly referred to as just the Surface Pro X (2021) A slightly updated Surface Go 3 A drastically updated Surface Book 4 The new Surface Duo 2 There have been rumors of a new Surface Dock, as well. The Verge has reported early information about the new Surface hardware, and Windows Central published Surface details as well. Both sites have a great track record for Microsoft reporting. We’d expect all of these new devices to be powered by Windows 11, either at launch or immediately after. The timing of this event can’t be coincidental. Let’s dig in! To read this article in full, please click here
How to check your graphics card's GPU temperature
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 08:32:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
How hot is your PC’s graphics card temperature? During normal operations, your GPU temperature shouldn’t matter much—your graphics card should simply drive monitors and play games without overheating and shutting down. But if you have an older PC, or if you want to try your hand at graphics card overclocking, being able to monitor your GPU temperature is vital.The good news? Checking your PC’s graphics card temperature is dead simple, especially now that Windows finally includes a native way to keep tabs on temps. All sorts of free GPU monitoring tools are also available, and many of them can help you check your PC’s CPU temperature, too.To read this article in full, please click here
Best media streaming devices
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 06:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire Stick vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV, and more. Which streaming device is best for-cord cutters? Our buying guide will help you pick the right accessories for your TV.
Hotspot Shield review: Still the undisputed speed champ in VPNs
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Hotspot Shield in brief: P2P allowed: Yes Business location: United States Number of servers: 1,800+* Number of country locations: 85 Cost: $95.88 per yearVPN protocol: Standard TLS1.2 / DTLS1.2 tunnel using OpenSSL 1.1 libraryData encryption: AES-GCM (128- and 256-bit) and ChaCha-poly1305 supportedData authentication: All supported cipher suites perform authenticated encryption using an AEAD model.Handshake: Standard TLS1.2/DTLS1.2To read this article in full, please click here
Best power banks: The top portable chargers for your phone
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 12:26:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Anyone who uses a smartphone knows the importance of carrying a backup battery pack. But try searching for one on Amazon, say, and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by the vast number of options. Besides the various charging specs, ports, and even cables you have to consider, there are a ton of competing brands. How are you supposed to know which ones actually live up to their promise?  We’ve done the legwork for you, evaluating a wide range of power banks from different manufacturers, costing different prices, and some offering unique features. Our testing is extensive, too, subjecting the packs to real-world usage (read about our testing process in detail below). Our picks below reflect a range of needs. (You might also be interested in our our roundup of USB car chargers if you spend a lot of time in transit.)To read this article in full, please click here
RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House review: Perfect for a weekend camping trip
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 07:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
I’ve been quiet for the last few months, but I can explain. I was tasked with testing several power stations, ranging from affordable to almost too expensive. The goal? Find a range of portable power stations for all budgets and use cases.Admittedly, testing took far longer than I expected. But, alas, here I am, ready with the first review born out of months of testing, frustration, and more testing.First up is the RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House, a $179 powerhouse that looks more like a portable speaker than something you’d plug a 110v gadget into, or that could power a lamp for 37:26 minutes. But I’m getting ahead of myself.To read this article in full, please click here
Ultrawide vs. dual monitors: Which should you choose?
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Want to maximize your desktop’s real estate? You have two options: an ultrawide monitor, or a dual-monitor setup. Either choice will massively expand the screen space at your command. But ultrawide and dual-monitor setups are not the same. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Here’s how to decide whether an ultrawide monitor or dual monitors is right for you.How wide is it? Everyone looking to buy an ultrawide monitor or dual monitors wants more usable display space. But how much do you gain with each scenario?A 34-inch ultrawide monitor, the most common size, is not as large you might think. This size of ultrawide is nearly identical to a 27-inch widescreen monitor in height and about 8 inches wider.  To read this article in full, please click here
Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade SSD review: A worthy Samsung 980 Pro rival
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Adata’s XPG Gammix S70 Blade is the second fastest NVMe SSD we’ve tested, bettering Samsung’s excellent 980 Pro by a smidge—the drive it replaces in the number two spot. It’s also PlayStation 5 compatible and offers a large improvement in real world performance over its predecessor, the previously reviewed and fast-in-its-own-right XPG Gammix S70. This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best SSDs. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.To read this article in full, please click here
Brace yourselves: Windows 11 may have more popups
Thu, 16 Sep 2021 16:15:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Popups within Windows are one of the operating system’s more polarizing features. If you’re not a fan, you may want to brace yourself, because Microsoft is testing whether or not to add even more to Windows 11. It might not be bad news, though.As part of the review notes for the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22458, Microsoft says that it’s including an enhanced Tips app for Windows 11, with more hints about how to use the new upcoming operating system. But Microsoft also says that it’s going to be scattering more of these hints around the operating system itself.To read this article in full, please click here
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