Best Amazon TV deals: Top picks before the Prime Early Access Sale Wed, 28 Sep 2022 23:29:41 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Amazon is readying its second Prime Day sale for Oct. 11 and Oct 12. It’s called the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale, aka Prime Day 2, and the TV deals are already beginning. We’ve already started curating the best TV deals for in the lead-up to the event, from both Amazon and other retailers. You’ll need to sign up for Amazon Prime (for free) to take advantage of Amazon’s best Prime Day/Early Access Sale discounts. Other retailers have announced similar sales: Target will hold its Deal Days on Oct. 6-8, and Newegg plans its FantasTech Sale II between Oct. 10 to 13. We’d expect discounts throughout this entire period. Prime Day Early Access TV deals No surprise: We expect Amazon’s own Fire TV products to be on sale, along with third-party Fire TV hardware. We’re betting that Amazon will also begin promoting all the new products that connect to the Fire TV service: the $249.99 Echo Show 15 with a Fire TV interface, the $139.99 Fire TV Cube, and the $799.99 4K QLED Fire TV Omni. Look for deals on all of these on the Amazon Prime Early Access site. Retailers know that amid rampant inflation, consumers are feeling the pinch, so expect older hardware to once again go on sale. If you don’t need the latest HDR capabilities or voice integrations, you may find older premium TVs that are excellent deals. But in some cases, you won’t see big discounts, but that’s because price have already been marked down. For reference, you can consult our home technology site, TechHive, and TechHive’s best TVs for 2022 and how to shop for them. Several of the Prime Day 2 deals we’ve listed here are within 5 percent of the discounts we saw during the July Prime Day event, and the TCL deal at the top is definitely worth a look. TCL 65-inch 4K HDR Smart Roku TV, $429.99 (46% off)Vizio V-series 50-inch 4K HDR Smart TV: $299.99 (21% off)Amazon Fire TV 50-inch 4-series 4K Smart TV: $349.99 (26% off) TCL 32-inch 3-series 720p Roku Smart TV (32S335), $139.99 (39% off)Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K Smart TV, $399.99 (22% off) Hisense U6 Series 50-inch 4K Quantum Dot QLED Smart Fire TV with Dolby Vision, $349.99 (34% off)Hisense 65-inch ULED Android 4K 120Hz TV w/Alexa, $748.00 (32% off)Samsung 55-inch QLED 4K Smart TV (QN55Q80), $887.95 (26% off)LG OLED65B1PUA 65-inch Alexa B1 Series (2021), $1,499.99 (35% off)Sony OLED 65-in. Bravia XRa80K 4K TV: $1,298.00 ($701.99 or 35% off) 4k TVs Samsung’s slidable OLED is another radical Intel bet on the PC’s future Wed, 28 Sep 2022 19:22:49 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Do you own a foldable PC? A dual-screen PC? How about a laptop with two screens? All but a few of you will answer “no.” So why was Samsung’s demonstration of a slideable OLED display this week important? If you ask Intel executives, the answer is not always what you’d expect: Because it’s the other display technologies that benefit, and eventually you. Samsung Display chief executive JS Choi appeared on stage on the first day of Intel’s Innovation conference on San Jose to show off a 17-inch slidable display, which pulls out horizontally to expand the screen. Choi said that the prototype, which has yet to get a production date or price, was chosen over a foldable option. “As the leading provider of OLED technologies, this just convinces me that we have a lot more coming between us,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s chief executive. Gelsinger earlier introduced the 13th-generation Core processor, code-named Raptor Lake, though he later downplayed an imminent 6GHz chip. Samsung Display’s slidable OLED display.Betting on new technologies The problem, unfortunately, is that the PC OEM market has shrunk. Michelle Johnston Holthaus, the head of Intel’s Client Computing Group, acknowledged that there are five leading PC makers, all competing with Apple. And while the PC market expanded during the pandemic, it has shrunk dramatically during this year, as Microsoft and analyst groups like IDC and Gartner reported. “And they don’t have as much money to invest right now because their, their margins are a bit slimmer,” Holthaus said, during a small roundtable with press and analysts this week. A shrinking market typically means a more conservative investment strategy, given the risks of betting on the wrong technology. And Josh Newman, the interim head of Intel’s mobile processor business, acknowledged that a new technology like a sliding PC was indeed a bet, especially as “all of our research keeps coming back saying performance is the number one thing people want when they shop for a new PC,” he pointed out. Intel, however, can afford to make those bets. The company maintains an “Intel Inside” marketing fund, plus an innovation fund, partnering with companies like Samsung to bring innovative technologies to market, Holthaus said. Folding PCs may not have taken off — yet — but other bets have paid off: after Intel launched the ultrabook in 2011, it worked with partners to improve thermal solutions and panels and touchscreens, Newman said. “Five, six years later, you couldn’t find a $500 notebook that was greater than 18 millimeters thick,” Newman said. The challenges: making it, and selling it With a slidable PC — or foldables — Intel faces two big challenges. First, there’s the technical problem itself of simply designing a PC with the new display technology. But second, there’s a convincing users to buy it. A sliding PC may be the next big thing — or it may not. “If I look right now with the foldable, it’s a bet, and the slidable will be too, and it’s a bet we want to explore,” Newman said. “This user experience is going to be something want to value and it’s going to start out ultra premium, but it’s also founded on research that says, give me as much screen area as I can get.” One of the axioms in the scientific community goes something like this: the moon launches of the 1960s didn’t simply require learning how to fly men to the moon, but all of the corollary science that went along with it: survival in space, nutrition, and so on. Solving the problems of a slidable PC means improving the conventional OLED displays that consumers will buy. “They’re actually going to make their rigid OLED technology more accessible now because the problems they’re solving with power and timing controllers and all these things that make it so much harder in a large new foldable now make it cheaper to make a 14 inch OLED,” Newman said. “And that’s going to make its way through the mainstream market.” Samsung Display’s 17-inch 240Hz OLED display.Mark Hachman / IDG As proof, Samsung Display showed off a 17-inch 165Hz 1440p OLED display at the Innovation conference, combining the high contrast ratio of Samsung’s screens with the high refresh rate gamers prefer. Marketing a sliding PC, though, poses another problem: simply convincing users to buy it. Holthaus says that she sees the PC as the platform of choice, offering options that Apple simply has passed over. “I think we have to drive the OEMs to get there, and we have to offer the consumers choice,” Holthaus said. When a consumer drives to Best Buy, they might see a number of choices, and it might be very hard to decide. But on Amazon, there are hundreds of options, making the choice even more confusing. It seems like Intel’s plan is to try and find the best aspects of both. “I think part of part of spurring that innovation is getting it in the market plan in place, getting it in the hands of consumers and driving that flywheel of consumer demand, but it’s going to take Intel and our partners innovating and being willing to do that,” Holthaus said. Laptops, Monitors Best portable power stations: Top picks for ultimate preparedness Wed, 28 Sep 2022 16:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
It’s easy to view power stations as nothing more than really big portable battery packs, but they offer much more than just a way to recharge your devices. A portable power station can light a room by powering lamp, or in some cases keep a mini-fridge running during a power outage. It can be major convenience on camping trips, or a means to a backyard movie night, running a projector and speakers. The point is, a portable power station is as versatile as you need it to be. Below you’ll find our top picks for different use cases to help you find the best portable power station for your needs. And below our recommendations you can find helpful buying advice on what features matter most. If you’re in the market for a more modest power source—one you can use to charge a laptop or phone—see our roundup of best power banks for our top picks in that category. 1. RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House – Best overall Pros Small form factor Plenty of ports Comes with a case and built-in flashlight Cons Built for quick trips, not for extended use MSRP: 189.99 Best Prices Today: $189.99 at RavPower Whether you’re looking for a power station for weekends off the grid, or you want to be prepared for a power shortage at home, RAVPower’s 252.7Wh portable power station can meet the demand. It’s got a nice complement of ports, as well as a carrying handle and a case, and it’s affordably priced. Read our full RAVPower Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power Housereview 2. Aukey PowerTitan 300 – Best overall runner-up Pros Big bright display Plenty of ports Highly efficient Cons Solar panel accessory is a miss MSRP: 249.99 Best Prices Today: $249.99 at Aukey Aukey’s PowerTitan is in a close tie with RAVPower’s power station above. It also has high-efficiency, a nice array of ports, a fairly fast re-charge time, and an affordable price. Although, RAVPower’s option is the less expensive of the two, giving it a slight edge. Read our full Aukey PowerTitan 300review 3. Goal Zero Yeti 1000X – Best for preppers Pros Power for days, literally Plenty of connection options Cons Expensive MSRP: $1,399.95 Best Prices Today: $1,299.95 at Amazon | $1399.95 at Goal Zero It you want maximum preparedness, Goal Zero’s Yeti 1000X is the choice for you. This 983Wh power station can run multiple appliances in the even of a power shortage. What’s more, the Yeti system is expandable, offering such options as a Home Integration Kit for connecting the 1000X to your home’s electrical system, or a battery expansion for increasing your the power stations capacity. Granted, this kind of power costs a high price. Read our full Goal Zero Yeti 1000Xreview 4. Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station – Best for preppers runner-up Pros Plenty of power to go around More than enough ports Cons Expensive It’s heavy, in case you want to take it camping Best Prices Today: $1,099.00 at Amazon You can probably get the gist of Jackery’s Explorer 1000 from its name. Yep, it offers 1000Wh of power to keep household appliances or camping gear humming. It’s heavy, though, at 22 pounds, so it’s not a backup power source you’ll casually take on an outing to the park. It’s also expensive. But cost and weight are fair tradeoffs when you want the kind of coverage this power station offers. Read our full Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Stationreview 5. EcoFlow DELTA mini Portable Power Station – Best high-tech option Pros Robust set of features Companion app is handy Impressive recharge rate Cons OK-ish power efficiency Pricey MSRP: 849 Best Prices Today: $999 at EcoFlow This compact yet burly 882Wh power station covers all the bases by offering the capacity and ports for meeting your off-grid power needs. It also throws in a couple extra high-tech perks that make it stand out. The power station can connect to your Wi-Fi network, and then deliver status updates to an app on your phone. There’s also an “X-Boost” option that can be enabled or triggered automatically for loads that exceed 1400W. Read our full EcoFlow DELTA mini Portable Power Stationreview What to look for in a power station Not all power stations are created equal. For example, some stations have the ability to power a microwave, while others can maybe deal with the power requirements of a desktop gaming computer. When shopping for a power station, there are some important aspects to keep in mind. In the list below, I try not to get too technical.  Consider what you plan on using the power station for to decide the ideal capacity and physical size of the power station. The stations are filled with batteries to keep your devices powered, and batteries are heavy. When shopping for something you want to take camping, for example, it makes sense to prioritize a lighter weight. But if you want something to use as a backup power source in your home, size and weight may not matter all that much.Check the capacity of the power station. Often the capacity of the station is included in its name, but that’s not always the case. For example, the Anker 535 PowerHouse may lead you to believe that its capacity is 535Wh, but in reality it’s 512Wh. Always read the fine print or spec sheet to see the exact capacity. For reference, a capacity of 512Wh is roughly 7x more than our top pick for best portable battery pack, the Mophie PowerStation XXL.While it’s not realistic to know how you’ll use the power station in the future, try to guesstimate the number of ports and outlets you’ll need.Here’s the technical part. Some power stations list modified sine wave or pure sine wave on their spec sheet. If you plan on using the power station to charge your phone, laptop, or even power a lamp, a station that lists “sine wave” is perfectly fine. However, if you’re going to use the station for medical equipment (like a CPAP machine), a microwave, or anything with a motor, you’ll want to opt for a station that can output a pure sine wave signal.Lastly, it’s important to check the watt output of the device(s) you need to power and compare it to the power station’s rating. Usually a power station will list two different outputs: a standard output and a peak output. The standard output is what it’s built to run at for extended amounts of time, while the peak output is what it can handle for brief periods of time — such as when you first power on a device and it draws more power.How we test To start the test, I first charge the station to ensure the battery is full after it arrives. Next, I connect a PortaPow power monitor and DROK load tester to a standard USB port and let the battery completely empty. I record the results and compare it to the quoted capacity to get the efficiency of the power station. Once that’s done, I charge the station with the included power adapter. I then monitor the time it takes to reach 100 percent of a charge based on the information on the screen. Some stations leave the screen on while charging so I use a Wyze Camera to create a timelapse of the charging process. Other stations include an estimated time to charge on the display, which times out and turns off after a few minutes. In that case, I’ll check on the station’s progress roughly every hour, as well as near the original estimated time to ensure it’s accurate. Finally, I connect a 4W desk lamp to the 110V wall plug on each power station. I create another timelapse on a Wyze cam to see how long the lamp remains on.  FAQ 1. How long does a portable power station last? This depends on how you are using the power station. Factors such as the size of the power station, its age, battery efficiency, and the number of devices you’re charging with the power station can all significantly affect the duration of use. To give you a rough idea of how long our top picks last, when powering a desk lamp, the 252.7Wh RAVPower power station lasted a little over 37 hours while the much larger (and much more expensive) 1000Wh Goal Zero Yeti 1000X lasted 4 days and 15 hours. Of course, these times will decrease significantly if you have more devices plugged into the station, but it gives you a relative sense of their durations. It is best to factor in the expected number of devices you will need to power and the length of their use beforehand, then figure out what size power station to go with. 2. What can a portable power station run? There are too many devices to specifically name that you can run with a power station. Generally though, you can expect to be able to run smaller electronic devices and appliances such as phones, smaller fans, lights, and some smaller medical devices such as CPAP machines. While on larger power stations, it’s possible to run bigger devices such as some refrigerators, they may only last for a few short hours before the power station’s battery is fully depleted. It is best to stick to running smaller devices on your portable power station and leave larger devices to backup generators in case of emergency. 3. Can a portable power station run a refrigerator? Yes it’s possible to run a refrigerator, but not for very long. Assuming your portable power station is fully charged, you can expect to run a refrigerator for a few hours before the power station’s battery needs to be recharged. However, again this largely depends on the size, efficiency, and age of your power station. Mobile How to snag Prime Early Access Sale 2022 Lightning Deals Wed, 28 Sep 2022 15:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Amazon’s fall sales extravaganza, Prime Early Access Sale 2022, is about to begin. We will be curating the best deals in laptops, monitors, gaming PCs, PC storage and more as that information becomes available. But one of the best ways to find good prices during the sales fest is Amazon’s Lightning Deals. Lightning Deals feature limited stock available at a low price for a limited time, and there’s a purchase limit of one per customer per item. Lightning Deals generally offer some of the best sale prices during the Prime Early Access Sale 2022, which makes the demand for them that much higher. These ethereal deals expire in two ways: Either the time limit runs out, or customers claim all available stock. Because these bargains often sell out fast—and we mean fast—you’ll want to have an action plan. Strategy 1: Cart defense Once you claim a Lightning Deal, you have 15 minutes to check out. If you don’t check out in that time, the deal drops from your cart and is back up for grabs by the general public. Or, if all stock is claimed, the deal goes to the next person on the Lightning Deal waitlist (we’ll get to that in a moment). This being the case, One strategy is to claim something you really like by putting it in your cart, quickly jump over to a site like CamelCamelCamel or Keepa to check the item’s price history, and then come back to either dump it from your cart or buy it within the 15 minute window. Strategy 2: Plan ahead You can also try looking ahead, as Amazon often teases lightning deals in advance. If you visit the Prime Early Access Sale 2022 webpage, for example, you should see a carousel of Lightning Deals. Keep scrolling through those deals, and you’ll soon hit products that haven’t started selling yet. Upcoming Lightning Deals won’t show a sale price until they go live, but you can still use that time for research. If you find something you’d like to buy, do the historical price-checking right then. When the product goes on sale, you’ll know whether Amazon’s limited-time price is worth it or not. Strategy 3: Get alerts for specific Lightning Deals You don’t have to wait around or keep an eye on the clock to know when your favorite deals are going live. The Amazon app for Android and iOS lets you build a deals watch list, and then get notifications when your deals are active. Waitlist settings on Amazon Shopping for Android. Once you’ve installed the Amazon app and signed in, go to Settings > Notifications > Your Watched & Waitlisted Deals. Activate the slider in that section. You can now add an upcoming item to your watch list by going to the deals page in the app, find the upcoming deals you’re interested in, and tap Watch this deal. You can also build a watch list on Amazon.com from your desktop PC, but you won’t get any notifications. Instead, you have to check back with your watch list on Amazon’s website. Amazon says its browser add-on, Amazon Assistant, will deliver notifications when Lightning Deals on your watch list go live, but in our tests on Firefox for Windows that did not happen. Strategy 4: Waitlists We’ve all done it. You grab something from Amazon, leave it in your cart, and then forget about it. When that happens with a Lightning Deal the item drops from your cart after 15 minutes. That’s where waitlist comes in. If you find a Lightning Deal that is still valid, but out of stock, you may see a button that says Join waitlist. That probably means all the items are claimed but not all have been purchased. After joining a waitlist, if the item drops from someone’s cart, and you’re next in line on the waitlist, you have a chance to buy it. The Amazon mobile app for Android or iOS delivers a notification if the deal becomes available to you. On the website, you’ll see a notification in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Once your shot comes up, you’ve got a limited time to add it to your cart, and make your purchase. Editor’s note: This article was updated in September 2022 to include Prime Early Access Sale 2022 information. Amazon.com, Computers, Consumer Electronics, Smart Home Intel’s Arc A310 gets official, might be the cheapest graphics card around Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:43:49 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Intel’s Arc graphics cards are finally here, or at least they will be in a bit. The company announced that its flagship model, the $329 Arc A770, will be hitting the market next month, quite a while after the low-end A380 made it over here from China. But if even $140 for a GPU is beyond your budget, Intel has made an even cheaper one official: the Arc A310. With just six Xe cores running at 2000MHz and 4GB of GDDR6 memory, the Arc A310 will probably be outmatched by some of AMD Ryzen’s impressive integrated RDNA 2 graphics. For the sake of comparison the A770, which competes with the likes of the RTX 3060, has 32 Xe cores and 8-16GB of memory. The bottom-rung card is rocking a 64-bit memory bus and 124GB/s bandwidth, both considerably less than the already-low-end A380. The Intel Arc A310 does support up to four external displays with compatibility up to HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.0 (though the number of physical outputs on the card might be variable), which is fairly impressive for something in this tier. The card doesn’t have an official price or release date beyond “Q3” (which is almost over), but I’d guess it’s slated for somewhere in the $100-120 range. The new entry on Intel’s site was spotted and analyzed by VideoCardz.com. There isn’t even an official image of the specific A310 — just the generic “Arc 3 series” promo image above. But the A310 probably isn’t intended to show up on actual retail shelves, either physical or digital. You might see one or two of Intel’s partners make a variant for the home system builder on a shoestring budget. I’d guess you’ll see the A310 show up as an unbranded part in budget pre-built desktops, especially small form factor designs, to give their graphics some much-needed punch in comparison to Intel’s integrated Xe and UHD graphics systems. Sure, it won’t compete with even the cheapest cards from AMD or Nvidia, but it will have just enough juice for companies like Acer or Lenovo to put some 3D game screenshots on the marketing material without technically lying. GPUs Best wireless keyboards: Hand-tested reviews of Bluetooth and USB models Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
It’s time to free yourself from the cable and make the switch to a wireless keyboard. A wireless solution does away with unnecessary desk clutter, while still giving you options and flexibility in features—what better incentive for ditching that crummy keyboard that came with your computer? The wireless keyboards we’ve reviewed range from full-size desktop models to gaming-centric RGB showcases to ultra-portable options that work with multiple devices. Whatever your typing proclivities, there’s a wireless keyboard for you.  We’ve based our best picks on hours spent reviewing each model, banging away on work projects, surfing the web, and keeping up on social media. There’s truly no one size to fit all, but our recommendations aim to help you make a sound decision based on your personal needs. Also, check out our buying advice at the end to help you learn what to look for in a wireless keyboard. For more tetherless convenience, see our roundup of the best wireless mice. The best wireless keyboards Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard – Best overall wireless desktop keyboard  Pros Adjustable backlighting Quiet, responsive keys Universal receiver lets you connect multiple mice and keyboards to a single computer Cons Thin chassis is a little bendy MSRP: $99.99 Best Prices Today: 59.99 at Logitech Logitech’s K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is indispensable if you often type late into the evening or otherwise work in dark environments. This backlit keyboard not only provides the necessary light but also offers one of the most comfortable and pleasant typing experiences we’ve encountered, all at an affordable price. Read our full Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboardreview Logitech MK540 Advanced Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo – Best value proposition Pros Quiet yet tactile keys Programmable function keys and mouse gestures Roomy, comfy design Cons Too bulky for mobile use Limited MacOS support MSRP: $59.99 Best Prices Today: $49.99 at Best Buy | $59.99 at Logitech | Not Available at Adorama Logitech does it again with the MK540 Advanced combo. It might not have the convenience of backlighting that the K800 offers, but it hits all the other important features for productivity: a roomy layout, dedicated media buttons, a numpad, programmable keys, and tactile typing. In addition to all that, the keyboard comes with a decent wireless mouse, that is itself programmable, so you’re good to go. Read our full Logitech MK540 Advanced Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Comboreview Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro – Best wireless gaming keyboard Pros Super-smooth switches  Great media controls  Comfy wrist rest  Cons Expensive ABS  Keycaps are a little cheap MSRP: $229.99 Best Prices Today: $197.00 at Amazon | $229.99 at Razer For a long time, Corsair’s K63 has been our pick for best wireless gaming keyboard. We still like that keyboard a lot, but after recently reviewing the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro, we’ve found a new favorite. It’s got everything you’d want from a gaming keyboard: full-size layout, mechanical switches, RGB, a wrist rest, a volume wheel—and the convenience of a wireless connection. Yes, it’s also pretty pricey, as premium products often are. That leaves the K63 as a still-very-respectable lower-priced alternative. Read our full Razer BlackWidow V3 Proreview Corsair K63 – Best budget wireless gaming keyboard Pros Wireless Cherry MX keyboard Fully single-color backlit Reasonably priced, for a wireless device Cons Battery is very short with the backlight on No housing for the dongle Only one color of backlighting and one switch type, at the moment MSRP: $109.99 Best Prices Today: $109.99 at Amazon | $109.99 at Lenovo Corsair’s K63 wireless gaming keyboard is compact, durable, and reasonably comfortable to type on. It was one of the first wireless mechanical keyboard from a major manufacturer, and the first with backlighting, though its single, bright-blue color will either thrill or annoy you. Still, whether you’re in for casual couch gaming or just want a cleaner, wire-free desktop, the K63, featuring real Cherry MX switches, is a solid choice and it costs about half the price as our top pick for wireless gaming above. Read our full Corsair K63review Redragon K596 – Best ultra-budget wireless gaming keyboard Pros Low price Included wrist rest Long battery life Volume wheel Cons Ugly keycaps Can only program G keys No Bluetooth MSRP: $75 Best Prices Today: $74.99 at Amazon | £77 at Amazon UK | $80 at Gamestop The Redragon K596 is a fully wireless mechanical gaming keyboard packing many of the features you’d expect from a premium model. While the K596 isn’t amazing in any one particular area, at this price it doesn’t have to be. It covers all of the basics you would want from a wireless keyboard such as programmability, per-key RGB, volume wheel, macro keys, and a magnetic wrist rest. In contrast to the ballooning prices of modern gaming keyboards, the Redragon K596 represents a fantastic value. Read our full Redragon K596 Wireless Keyboardreview Logitech MX Keys Mini – Best wireless keyboard for travel Pros Tiny size Great typing experience Customizable controls Multi-device pairing Cons High price No riser feet MSRP: $99.99 Best Prices Today: $99.99 at Best Buy | $99.99 at Dell Home | $99.99 at Dell Small Business Don’t let the relatively high price scare you off. The MX Keys Mini is probably the best compact wireless keyboard around. It’s small but mighty—super comfortable to type on, offers a semi-customizable layout, supports multi-device switching, and more. If you want to work on the go, this board is not only an easy pack, it easily earns its keep by deftly standing out from others in its class. Read our full Logitech MX Keys Minireview K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard – Best full-size multi-device option Pros Works with all major platforms Can toggle between three paired devices Quiet keys with great travel Cons Not built for portability MSRP: $80 Best Prices Today: $64.40 at Amazon | $64.99 at Best Buy | $79.99 at Dell Home If you like the convenience of a Bluetooth keyboard that can switch among different devices, but don’t require the compact layout of the MX Keys Mini, Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard promises to be the one keyboard to rule all your computing gizmos. Indeed, it’s fully compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS for fast and effortless switching between your computer, smartphone, and tablet. It also costs a good deal less than the MX Keys Mini, and offers a roomy layout with a numpad. Read our full Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboardreview Logitech Ergo K860 – Best ergonomic wireless keyboard Pros Curved and split ergonomic design Comfortable wrist support Palm raise feature lets you adjust height for sitting or standing Cons Requires some time to get used to split design Expensive MSRP: $129.99 Best Prices Today: $129.99 at Amazon | $129.99 at Best Buy | $129.99 at Lenovo Logitech’s Ergo K860 has finally conquered our skepticism about awkward ergonomic keyboards. In the course of our review, there was a marked improvement in typing comfort and reduced muscle tension, all without sacrificing productivity to a steep learning curve. It’s a little expensive compared to a conventional wireless keyboard, but if you’re struggling with comfort, the K860 is the only ergonomic keyboard we’d heartily recommend.  Read our full Logitech Ergo K860review Retro Classic BT Elwood – Coolest-looking wireless keyboard Pros Beautiful vintage design LED-backlit keys Satisfying clickiness and travel Extra keycaps for Mac users Cons No programmable keys Loud switches may bother your neighbors MSRP: $219.99 Best Prices Today: $182.01 at Amazon | $194.99 at Best Buy The Azio Retro BT Classic is a vintage-style mechanical keyboard priced like a real antique, but if you have the cash, it’s certainly striking. From its deep, clicky keystrokes and wood or leather paneling to its LED-backlit keys and rechargeable battery, the Bluetooth-enabled Retro Classic will delight serious typists with old souls and money to burn.  Read our full Retro Classic BT Elwoodreview How we test wireless keyboards It was hands-on all the way with our keyboard testing. We spent at least one full workday typing exclusively on each model we tested, with follow-up time to allow for a learning curve. We assessed the primary typing experience: key design, typing feel, and even noisiness. We also tried the secondary features: hotkeys, switches and dials on multi-platform models, and even the ability to adjust the angle or other comfort characteristics. We considered the size, weight, and durability of each model against its purpose—whether it was designed to be portable or desk-bound, and compact or fully featured. For instance, we balance the versatility of multi-platform models like Logitech’s K780 against its performance as an actual keyboard you need to use every day (and in this case, it wins on all counts).  How to shop for a wireless keyboard You’re going to use this keyboard every day, so make sure it fits your typing habits and your needs. Here’s what to keep in mind as you shop.  Size: A model that will always sit on your desktop can be bigger and heavier, and usually some other advantages some with that. As more of us carry laptops or tablets, however, we’ll look for models that are compact or portable. These will sacrifice some features but be easier to take with you.  Keys: Look for keys that are sculpted and spaced for typing comfort. This is why we encourage trying before buying: We’ve had very different experiences with traditional keys vs. chiclet-style vs. flatter key designs, and it’s surprising how little things like the texture or the amount of dimple will make or break a choice. Most mainstream keyboards use membrane technology, which is adequate for most users, but heavy-duty users and gamers will likely prefer keyboards with mechanical switches (which are not reviewed here). Windows hotkeys, or even programmable keys, are great bonuses, especially for power users. Adjustability: Some keyboards offer no adjustment for angle or height. Look for models with adjustable legs or feet. We haven’t included ergonomic models in this round of reviews. Battery needs: All wireless keyboards use batteries. Check closely for the type and number of batteries you need, and whether a starter set is included. We note the vendors’ specified battery life in each review. FAQ 1. What’s the difference between a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless keyboard? Wireless keyboards connect to a PC in one of two ways: via Bluetooth or a USB receiver. Wireless keyboards that connect via a USB receiver or dongle can only connect to a computer or device if it has a USB port. Bluetooth connectivity on the other hand does not require any dongle or extra receiver and can therefore easily connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices without the need for any ports. Additionally, Bluetooth keyboards tend to cost a little more but also offer longer battery life. While shopping, you may find that older devices do not support Bluetooth. However, if you need a keyboard to work across different platforms on newer devices, a Bluetooth-enabled model is the way to go. 2. Can a laptop be used with a wireless keyboard? Yes, you can use a wireless keyboard with a laptop without issue. Depending on whether you are using a wireless USB dongle keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard, you just need to connect to the laptop and then you are good to go. This is true if you wish to connect a wireless keyboard to your tablet or 2-in-1, as well. 3. Do wireless keyboards need special batteries? Usually wireless keyboards are powered using either rechargeable or disposable batteries. Wireless keyboards with rechargeable batteries will just need to be plugged into an external power source such as a computer or wall outlet when the battery is low. Otherwise, wireless keyboards with disposable batteries will need those batteries to be replaced when they die. The most common types of batteries these keyboards use will be either AA or AAA alkaline batteries. Asus, Business, Computers, Holidays, Keyboards, Logitech, Microsoft Intel’s Unison app aims to intertwine Windows, iPhone, and Android Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Intel’s new Unison software is more than just an app to connect your phone, PC, and tablet together. By next year, it will be a platform for any developer to take advantage of, Intel executives said Tuesday. As it is, the Unison app that Intel launched this week at its Intel Innovation conference is useful. Though it largely duplicates the capabilities of what the Windows Your Phone app can accomplish, there’s a key difference: Unison connects to iPhones, which Windows has pretty much given up on to focus on Android integration. Unison will launch by the holiday on key members of the company’s premium Evo platform, with PCs from HP, Lenovo, and Acer. But Josh Newman, the interim general manager of Intel’s mobile division, says that the company has bigger plans, both to add additional PC makers in 2023 as well as to extend Unison into the developer space. Intel plans to release a software development kit (SDK) which will allow any software developers to create apps that will connect the three platforms together. David Birnbaum, principal engineer and chief technical officer of Intel’s connected experiences said that device manufacturers — PCs, tablets, and phones, as well as cameras, smartwatches, and more — have had to navigate multiple wireless connection technologies as well as multiple operating systems to interconnect and talk to one another. “We plan to transform this into an open device innovation,” Birnbaum said, taking the pain out of the development process. “Our vision is that you will get to expand your application with more than device experiences, without the need to go to the trouble of how to connect as well as how to maintain the links.” According to Birnbaum, schools could quickly add tablets to the curriculum, or a manufacturer would be able to develop a multi-device gaming solution. In any event, Newman said, the extensible SDK should come to market by early next year or perhaps sooner. Originally, Unison was pitched as a bonus of sorts for those who bought into its Evo platform. Now, it seems like substantially more. While consumers won’t feel the benefits right away, better connections between wireless devices could be a relative godsend for those who hate being stuck in a “walled garden” of specific devices — a bane of modern consumer hardware. CPUs and Processors, Utilities Best laptop deals: Top picks from budget to extreme Wed, 28 Sep 2022 13:46:54 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Finding the right laptop is hard work. Do you go with Intel or AMD? What about memory and storage type? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking for a powerful gaming rig for those late-night gaming sessions or a portable 2-in-1 laptop for work, we’ve got a bunch of options to pick from. The team at PCWorld has been scouring the web for the best laptop deals. Not all laptop deals are considered actual deals, though. That’s why we’ve been parsing out all of the bad ones. Right now, we’re seeing steep discounts on high-end gaming machines, Dell XPS laptops, and Chromebooks. As a way to better guide you, we’ve also included a shopping advice section at the end of the article. If you’re interested in perusing the top notebook options regardless of price, check out our roundup of the best laptops period. The best laptop deals in 2022 Dell XPS 13 From Dell Was: $999 Now: $849 ($150 off) Dell The Dell XPS 13 is a lovely laptop for productivity, and the latest in a long line of beloved ultraportables that have been earning our strong recommendation for years now. It has an Intel Core i5-1230U CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s enough juice for checking e-mail, watching Netflix, spreadsheet work, and so on. The 13.4-inch non-touch display has a resolution of 1920×1080. It’s also rather lightweight at two and a half pounds, which really ups the portability factor. If you’re looking for a great all-around laptop with plenty of class, the Dell XPS 13 is definitely worth considering—especially at this price. See the Dell XPS 13 at Dell HP Omen From: HP Was: $1,299.99 Now: $899.99 ($400 off) HP The HP Omen is a good option for budget-conscious gamers. It has an Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. That’s enough oomph to run most games on high graphics. However, when it comes to newer titles, you may want to scale things back to medium. The 16.1-inch display is rather spacious and has a resolution of 1920×1080. The refresh rate is 144Hz, which should provide you with smooth visuals. If you’re looking for solid gaming bang for your buck, the HP Omen is definitely worth considering. See the HP Omen at HP Lenovo Legion 5 From: eBay Was: $899.99 Now: $589.99 ($310 off) Lenovo The Lenovo Legion 5 is an excellent laptop for the gamer on a budget, 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. See the Lenovo Legion 5 at eBay Lenovo IdeaPad From: Best Buy Was: $779.99 Now: $549.99 ($230 off) Lenovo The Lenovo IdeaPad is a great pick for productivity use. It’s armed with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, AMD Radeon integrated graphics, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s plenty of power for spreadsheet work, checking e-mail, and so on. The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080, which is perfectly suitable for most tasks. For connectivity options, it has one HDMI, one USB 2.0 Type-A, one USB 3.0 Type-A, and one USB 3.0 Type-C. This is a good deal for anyone who needs a laptop with some decent processing chops. See the Lenovo IdeaPad at Best Buy Samsung Chromebook Plus From: Amazon Was: $500 Now: $357.95 ($142.05 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 Dell XPS 15 From: Dell Was: $1,899 Now: $1,499 ($400 off) Dell The Dell XPS 15 is both powerful and easy on the eyes. It’s rocking an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU (4GB GDDR6), 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. This laptop should be able to handle some gaming as well as productivity and content creation tasks thanks to its powerful internals and discrete GPU. The 15.6-inch display is roomy and has a resolution of 1920×1200. Dell even claims the screen measures up to 500 nits of brightness. The platinum silver exterior is also chic and sophisticated, nicely complimenting the black interior. Overall, this is a really nice laptop, going for an even nicer price. See the Dell XPS 15 at Dell Dell Inspiron 7506 From: Best Buy Was: $899.99 Now: $649.99 ($250 off) Dell The Dell Inspiron 7506 is a good laptop for productivity. It features an Intel Core i5 1135G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080, which is perfectly fine for working on spreadsheets and writing e-mail’s. This laptop also happens to be a 2-in-1. That means you can prop it up like a painter’s easel for sharing information or swing the screen all the way around for when you want to use it like a tablet. It’s a really nice, versatile device. It’s definitely a solid option for business professionals or students. See the Dell Inspiron 7506 at Best Buy 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 Lenovo Slim 7i From: Costco Was: $1,499.99 Now: $1,199.99 ($300 off) Lenovo The Lenovo Slim 7i is a fantastic machine for editing work. It features an Intel Core i7 12700H CPU, Intel Arc-A370M graphics (4GB), 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. The real highlight here is the whopping 32GB of memory, though. That’s a rare find, especially at this price point. The 16-inch touchscreen display is lovely, too. It should provide a vibrant picture thanks to the 2560×1600 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. When it comes to connectivity options, you’re getting one Thunderbolt 4, two USB Type-A, one HDMI, one headphone/microphone combo jack, and one SD media card reader. Overall, this is a real gem. You better jump on it before it’s gone. See the Lenovo Slim 7i at Costco Acer Aspire A5 (Intel) Acer From: Amazon Was: $389.99 Now: $332.98 ($58 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 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 Acer Aspire 5 A515 Acer From: Amazon Was: $399.99 Now: $299.99 ($100 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 HP Victus 15 From: Amazon Was: $979.99 Now: $800.94 ($179.04 off) HP If you’re in the market for a reasonably priced gaming laptop, then you’ve come to the right place. The HP Victus 15 is affordable and has decent specs. It’s rocking an Intel Core i5 12500H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. It should run most older games on high or very high, but you’ll want to scale back the graphics on AAA titles. The 15.6-inch display is a good size and the 1920×1080 resolution is fine for most games. This is a good deal, but it’s not going to last very long. It’s part of Amazon’s gaming week sale, which runs until September 9th. See the HP Victus 15 at Amazon Lenovo 5 Pro From: eBay Was: $1,969.99 Now: $1,399.99 ($570 off) Lenovo The Lenovo 5 Pro delivers some serious graphics power at a competitive price. This gaming machine features an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. The processor has eight cores and a maximum turbo speed of 4.70 GHz. In other words, it should be powerful enough to run most AAA titles on high or ultra graphics. The 16-inch display has a resolution of 2560×1600 and a refresh rate of 165Hz. You can expect buttery smooth visuals as well as a vibrant picture. For connectivity options, you’re getting one HDMI, three USB 3.2 Gen 1, three USB 3.2 Gen 2, and one 2.3m headphone/microphone combo jack. This is a hot ticket item, so we don’t expect it to last very long. See the Lenovo 5 Pro at eBay Gigabyte Aorus From: Best Buy Was: $1,499.99 Now: $1,099.99 ($400 off) Gigabyte The Gigabyte Aorus has a lot to offer. This gaming laptop is rocking an Intel i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. This machine should be able to handle most newer titles on high or ultra graphics. The display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and is rather large at 15.6-inches. That’s plenty sharp for most games. It also has a front-facing camera, a built-in microphone, and a backlit keyboard. This is a good deal, so you’ll want to nab it before it expires. See the Gigabyte Aorus at Best Buy Gigabyte Aero 5 XE4 From: Newegg Was: $2,199 Now: $1,399 ($800 off) Gigabyte If you’re looking for a high-end gaming laptop at a fantastic price, you’ve come to the right place. The Gigabyte Aero 5 XE4 is fast, chic, and $800 off. It features an Intel Core i7 12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. Basically, this rig should be able to whiz right through most AAA games on high or ultra graphics. The AMOLED display is stunning, too. It measures 15.6-inches and has a resolution of 3840×2160. In other words, you can expect beautifully vivid visuals. For connectivity options, you’re getting one Mini DisplayPort, one HDMI, one Thunderbolt 4, and three USB Type-A. This is an absolute gem of a deal, so don’t miss out. See the Gigabyte Aero 5 XE4 at Newegg Dell XPS 17 From: Dell Was: $3,049 Now: $2,449 ($600 off) Dell The Dell XPS 17 is definitely a content creator’s laptop. It boasts an Intel Core i9-12900HK CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU (6GB of GDDR6), 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. That’s a crap load out of power, that’s for sure. This laptop should be able to whiz right through photo and video editing tasks. The 17-inch display is enormous and has a resolution of 3840×2400. According to Dell, the laptop has a brightness level of up to 500 nits. This is good news for content creators, as you’ll need a vibrant screen for editing work. As for connectivity options, you’re getting one SD card slot, one wedge-shaped lock slot, four Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) with DisplayPort, one audio jack, and one eDP port. That’s a wide array right there. See the Dell XPS 17 at Dell 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 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 September 28 with new pricing and to remove expired deals. Laptops SK Hynix’s Platinum P41, one of our favorite SSDs, is $52 off Wed, 28 Sep 2022 13:05:32 +0000
Source: PCWorld
If you’re on the prowl for abundant storage for your colossal collection of games, then you’re in luck. Amazon’s selling the 2TB version of the SK Hynix Platinum P41 SSD for $207.99. That’s a savings of $52. The 500GB and 1TB versions are also on sale, for $84 and $120 respectively. In our review of the Platinum P41, we were impressed by the blistering everyday performance (thanks PCIe 4.0!) and the ways in which it sustained performance during long writes. That’s why we gave this SSD an editor’s choice badge and four and a half stars. The Platinum P41 features read speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s and write speeds of up to 6,500 MB/s. That’s pretty darn fast, which is good for folks who regularly work with large files. It’s also backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0 systems and comes with a five year warranty. This is an awesome price for a whopping 2TB of high-performance SSD storage. Don’t miss out. Get the SK Hynix Platinum P41 SSD for $207.99 at Amazon Solid-State Drives 6 essential things to know about AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors Wed, 28 Sep 2022 12:22:49 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Ryzen 7000 is more than just AMD’s latest batch of processors. The Ryzen 7950X, 7900X, 7700X, and 7600X are AMD’s first Zen 4 chips, first produced on 5nm, first to sport integrated graphics, and first to usher in the new AM5 socket with debut PCIe 5 and DDR5 support. As you’ll see in our Ryzen 9 7950X review, AMD has plenty to be proud of. Dig through the many benchmarks, and you’ll see the flagship CPU trounce the competition and post big improvements over last-gen Ryzen 5000. The chips down the list pull out some flashy numbers, too. It adds up to an outstanding accomplishment for Team Red—though one set against a backdrop of complicated nuances. Here are the 6 essential things you need to know about AMD’s outstanding Ryzen 7000 CPUs. The Ryzen 9 7950X is a multithreaded monster This benchmark result is but one example of how beastly the 7950X is. (Longer bars indicate better performance.)Gordon Mah Ung / PCWorld Got heavy rendering and/or encoding workloads? The Ryzen 9 7950X is the chip for you. It stomps Intel’s flagship Core i9-12900K in raw performance. In our multithreaded benchmarks, it won again and again, with its smallest victory a hefty 37 percent, and its largest a whopping 60 percent. The 7950X shows up its predecessor, too, with its lead over the 5950X as big as 48 percent. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X MSRP: $699 Best Prices Today: $699 at Antonline | $699 at B&H Photo | $699 at Newegg This chip’s weak spot (if you can call it that) is instead in single-core and lightly threaded tasks, and some specific areas like machine learning and encryption. The battle with Intel is fairly even here, with Team Blue’s flagship chip sometimes coming out on top. Add in software optimization, like Adobe Premiere Pro’s use of QuickSync to boost video editing tasks, and the 12900K can outperform the 7950X in certain workloads. We’ll have to see if Ryzen 7000’s integrated graphics result in similar support for Team Red and a more even playing field in the future. But that doesn’t mean Ryzen 7000 loses to 12th-gen Alder Lake outside of multithreaded tasks. Not at all. In fact, the least-powerful chip at launch, the Ryzen 5 7600X, can beat the 12900K in a number of games. What ultimately matters are the software and games you use most. More power, more power draw An example of Ryzen 7000 power draw during multithreaded work.Gordon Mah Ung / PCWorld Ryzen 7000’s stunning performance is in part a result of AMD upping electricity consumption. The new AM5 socket permits more juice to flow to the processor, and this first batch of compatible chips takes advantage of that. So you can anticipate a higher power bill when running one of these chips. The amount depends on how hard you push them in daily use, but looking at TDP gives general idea of the increase. The Ryzen 9 5950X is rated at 105 watts; the 7950X, 170 watts. That’s the expected power draw under load—and it can go up higher still during a performance boost. Ryzen 7000’s limit is 230W through its socket, while Ryzen 5000 caps out at 142W. Why the change? Intel. It already took this same route before AMD. By changing its approach (and design), AMD neutralizes that potential advantage. Yet better power efficiency Performance in this single-core benchmark barely budged even when power to the 7950X was limited by more than half. (Longer bars indicate better performance.) Gordon Mah Ung / PCWorld When chips start to use more power—as Ryzen 7000 does—the performance squeezed out of each watt becomes important, especially given rising energy costs worldwide. Fortunately, Zen 4 delivers on the company’s claims of greater power efficiency. At least, the Ryzen 9 7950X did so in multithreaded tasks. When compared to the Intel Core i9-12900K, it gets much more done in the same amount of time, or simply finishes faster. The 7950X uses less electricity while doing so, too. It doesn’t win as clearly in single-core and lightly threaded tasks—there, the 12900K often beat the 7950X on energy efficiency in our tests.  But AMD still has another trick up its sleeve, and it’s called Eco Mode. An easy change in AMD’s Ryzen Master software utility lets you limit the power running to Ryzen 7000 chips. For example, the 7950X and 7900X can drop down to from 170W to 105W or 65W. This settings tweak reduces electricity drawn, with surprisingly minimal impact on single-core and lightly threaded performance. This flexibility means that AMD can have its cake and eat it too—and so can you. Need every bit of juice to encode huge files fast? Or perhaps you need to set a lower power limit due to heat or power bill concerns? You’re covered. AM5 isn’t cheap Hello, AM5.Adam Patrick Murray / IDG The move from the long-standing AM4 platform to AM5 is a big shift that enables blistering speed across the board—not just for the processor, but for memory, discrete GPUs, and storage, both now and in the future. AM5 works in PCIe 5, DDR5, USB4, and other cutting-edge features that can push properly equipped PCs to wild new frontiers of performance. However, that upgrade comes with a literal cost—expect to pay a premium for an AM5 motherboard if building a PC at launch. Right now, only the more expensive X670 and X670 Extreme mobos are available, and they require quite an outlay. Take MSI for example: AM5 motherboard pricing from the Sep 26th, 2022 MSI Insider livestream.MSI / YouTube You’re seeing that right: A top-of-the-line MSI X670 Extreme motherboard is a cool $1,299 USD. The cheapest X670 option is $329. Other components will hit hard, too. DDR5 memory isn’t cheap—Ryzen 7000’s sweet spot for RAM speed is double that of Ryzen 5000’s. Currently you’ll pay about $230 for 32GB of DDR5-6000 memory, while 32GB of DDR4-3600 is around $115. And when PCIe 5 SSDs arrive in November, they’ll undoubtedly have extravagant price tags. To save at least some money, you have to wait until October—the more affordable B650 and B650 Extreme motherboards release then. Running at 95C is fine Comb through internet forums, and you’ll see post after post concerned about CPUs operating above a certain temperature. It’s true that if temps climb too high, you can see choked performance (known as thermal throttling). Some people also fear shortening their chip’s life span. But when checking on your processor’s temperature, don’t stress if you see your Ryzen 7000 launch chip sitting at 95 degrees Celsius under heavy load. These four X-class chips can hang out there with no repercussions, according to AMD. It may be higher than you might be used to seeing, and perhaps you have other reasons you’ll want to drop that temperature, but it’s within spec. Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake looms large Intel’s 13th-gen processors are right around the corner.Intel Previous Ryzen generations had plenty of breathing room to luxuriate in their dominance. (The 5950X had a whole year, for example.)  Not Ryzen 7000. On the very same day it launched, Intel officially announced its 13th-generation Core processors. In addition to revealing a 24-core, 32-thread flagship chip and screaming fast clock speeds (including a 6GHz processor coming early next year), Team Blue claimed an up to 24 percent improvement in gaming performance over 12th-gen chips. And the new Core i9-13900K will offer a bump of 15 percent in single-threaded performance and 41 percent for multithreaded compared to the Core i9-12900K. With those numbers, a 13900K will likely go evenly toe-to-toe with a 7950X in multithreaded tasks, and beat it by about 8 to 10 percent in single-threaded and lightly-threaded tasks (aka gaming). Intel is also talking about its power efficiency now, too—even despite its power ratings climbing higher than those of Ryzen 7000. At 65 watts, the 13900K will be able to match 12900K’s 241W turbo mode performance. That’s a big statement. How the chips fall (ahem) won’t be clear until Raptor Lake’s launch on October 20th, however. Until then, there’s plenty to love about Ryzen 7000. AMD Ryzen 9 7950X MSRP: $699 Best Prices Today: $699 at Antonline | $699 at B&H Photo | $699 at Newegg CPUs and Processors First 6GHz CPU helps establish ‘unquestioned leadership,’ Intel CEO says Wed, 28 Sep 2022 10:45:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
On Tuesday, Intel’s chief executive positioned a 6GHz chip as just another milestone — and also one his company has promised, but has yet to achieve. In a Q&A session following a keynote address at the company’s Intel Innovation conference in San Jose, chief executive Pat Gelsinger said that when its 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) achieves 6GHz, it won’t necessarily be anything to celebrate, though it helps set the tone for Intel’s ambitions. “It was like when we crossed the 1GHz boundary,” Gelsinger said in response to a question asked by PCWorld’s Gordon Mah Ung. “It was when we had a 950MHz [version] and we said, it was just another 50MHz, right?” That may have been true, if Intel was first to cross the 1GHz milestone. Unfortunately, rival AMD was first to break that mark, announcing an overclocked Athlon. (Intel, however, counterclaimed that it was the first to ship a 1GHz Pentium III, a dispute that roiled the 2000 launches of both chips.) In any event, Intel doesn’t have a 6GHz chip, yet, though it was playing it up just a few months ago. The unlocked Core i9-13900K tops out at a boost speed of 5.8GHz, and Intel promised Tuesday that a 6GHz chip would ship next year in “limited volumes.” Intel didn’t specify whether that chip would be part of the current Raptor Lake-K series, or a new, enthusiast-level part that the company has yet to announce. But for Gelsinger, achieving the 6GHz mark is simply one piece of the puzzle. “And for us, you know, as we rebuild the company, rebuild the product line, it’s unquestioned leadership,” Gelsinger said. “E cores and P cores,” Gelsinger said, referring to the architecture’s efficiency cores and performance cores. “Heterogeneity, processing at scale across our hybrid architecture. It’s being the leader in Wi-Fi performance, memory performance, being the leader in USB and Thunderbolt performance that we offer and being the leader in CPU — gigahertz is just one of those pieces going forward.” We’ll have to see if Intel takes the same stance if and when it can beat rival AMD to the punch. CPUs and Processors Intel’s futuristic Meteor Lake CPUs will focus on ‘core AI capabilities’ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 10:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Intel executives confirmed Tuesday that the company will make a concerted push to bring AI capabilities to PCs with its next next-generation CPU cores, code-named Meteor Lake. Both Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger and an Intel fellow, Rajshree Chabukswar, confirmed that there will be AI capabilities arriving with Meteor Lake, which will probably be named the 14th-gen Core chip. Intel formally revealed the desktop enthusiast version of its 13th-gen Core chip (Raptor Lake) this week at its Intel Innovation conference in San Jose. AI has proven to be a powerful business opportunity within the enterprise, with seemingly the majority of enterprise chip announcements emphasizing their inferencing ability. AI hardware can help train algorithms to assist with visual recognition, predictive capabilities, and more. And in smartphones, AI is used to filter out background audio and help distinguish a photo’s foreground while taking pictures. In PCs, however, its effects are more subtle. It can also filter out background noise when using Alexa or Windows’ own Cortana app — which, unfortunately, consumers apparently rarely do. Apps like Photoshop should be able to take advantage of AI capabilities in terms of photo editing. And Windows 11’s recent 2022 Update includes some intelligent effects to help distinguish you in video calls, as in Teams. Still, AI isn’t nearly as much of a priority as, say, performance, or battery life, or any other capabilities. That sounds like it might change, however. ‘Core AI capabilities’ are coming to Meteor Lake When asked what Intel was doing to make AI a selling point of PCs, Gelsinger jokingly replied, “I can’t tell you yet because we haven’t launched Meteor Lake.” Gelsinger, though, went on to describe what he believes Meteor Lake will be able to accomplish. “One of the things we will be bringing is what I would say is core AI capabilities,” he said. “I’m sitting on a Zoom or Teams [call]. Do I want to have simultaneous translation or contextualization of that call? Yes. Do I want to have cameras that are following the speaker and performing image enhancements? Yes.” Gelsinger likened it to the early days of X86 processors, when chips lacked a floating-point unit for math calculations — the distant, conceptual ancestor of today’s GPUs. “People would say, we really don’t need floating-point to do that,” he said. “And that it just became standard…Well, AI is is going to be like that, standard and delivered across every one of our platforms.” The difference, Gelsinger said, was that consumer AI would likely be optimized differently for consumer PCs than it would be in the data center. Intel’s Rajshree Chabukswar presented this slide discussing the AI improvements coming to Meteor Lake.Mark Hachman / IDG In a presentation Tuesday afternoon, Intel’s Chabukswar said that Intel planned a “new AI acceleration engine that’s coming soon.” “This engine will focus on delivering amazing AI-based experiences that will enable great system as well as app responsiveness,” she said. Chabukswar confirmed to PCWorld following her presentation that she was talking about Meteor Lake. Chabukswar also said that the new AI accelerator will be supported by Microsoft, though in what capacity she wouldn’t say. However, in a presentation Intel apparently made at its Tech Tour in Israel, Sweclockers photographed an endorsement from Microsoft’s Vivek Pradeep, who manages the computer vision team at Microsoft’s Applied Sciences. The AI block, however, will apparently be known as a VPU, with the code name “Movidus.” “Microsoft believes that neural processing units, like Intel’s VPU, represent an inflection point in computing and will be key to delivering a whole new range of delightful experiences to Windows users on their PCs,” Pradeep reportedly wrote, adding that Microsoft was “closely partnering” with Intel on the VPU. Rumors and leaks of various sorts surrounding an AI block on the next-gen Meteor Lake have swirled for the better part of a year, with a driver update seemingly confirming the AI engine, followed by a more detailed leak of the next-gen architecture itself. Interestingly, Intel would not be the first to try and popularize AI on the PC. Intel tried to popularize AI with its 10th-gen Core, Ice Lake, followed by Qualcomm’s efforts with its Snapdragon processors. Neither, however, was successful. CPUs and Processors How to get Amazon Prime for free for the Prime Early Access Sale 2022 Wed, 28 Sep 2022 00:00:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale 2022 is happening in the fall this year and as always, you’ll need to be a Prime member to partake of the deals. Prime is Amazon’s $139-per-year service that provides two-day shipping on all orders, as well as a ton of extras like the Kindle lending library and Prime Video. (See our rundown of the top 9 Amazon Prime benefits to learn more.) The good news is that you may not need to pay for membership at all if you just want it long enough to take advantage of Amazon’s annual shopping extravaganza. Here are a few ways to get a short-term Prime membership to cash in on the savings. Method One: The standard 30-day free trial If you’ve never tried Amazon Prime or haven’t tried it in a while, you may be eligible for a free, 30-day trial. After the 30 days, Amazon will charge you for the membership—either $15 per month or $139 per year—so don’t forget to cancel before the trial is up. Figuring out if you’re eligible is simple. Just sign in to your Amazon account and visit the Prime membership landing page. If you see a button that says Try Prime, click it to sign up. If the button says Get started, then you’ve been to the well one too many times recently, and you’ll have to wait to become eligible again. Method Two: Prime Student 6-month free trial Amazon has a student program that offers both a free trial that lasts for six months and 50 percent off the regular price for Prime membership. If you’re in college, the Prime Early Access Sale 2022 could be a great time to gear up. Amazon’s Prime Student signup option. To qualify for Prime Student, you need to be enrolled in at least one course in an institution in the United States or Puerto Rico, provide proof of enrollment if requested, and a valid .EDU email address. To get started, go to the Prime Student landing page and click Start your 6-month trial. After your trial is up, Prime Student costs $7.50 per month or $69 per year. Make sure you mark the end date on your calendar (or just cancel any time after the Prime Early Access Sale 2022), and your membership will continue to the end of the trial period. The Prime Student discounted rate is good for up to four years. Other avenues for free Amazon Prime There are other ways to get Prime for free as well, but they’re not as straightforward. You can, for example, open a new account with a different email address, and then try Prime on that new account. Keep in mind, however, that means you have to secure another account containing all your payment information. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. If someone in your house is already subscribed to Prime, they can share it with your account. Amazon allows you to share a Prime membership with other members of your household, including one other adult and up to four kids aged 13 to 17. Teen accounts don’t get to share Prime exclusive deals, but the second adult account does. This is only an option for family (or trusted friends), as both adult accounts must agree to share the same payment details.  You can also sign up for Prime and apply for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card, which gives you 5 percent cash-back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. If you’re already buying at least $2,400 per year from Amazon and Whole Foods combined, this is an easy way to have your credit card benefits pay for your Prime membership. How to cancel an Amazon Prime free trial Some of you might love Prime or Prime Student so much that you stick with it to get that free shipping and other perks. But if you’re a hardcore deal hunter who just wants to bail from Prime when the deals are gone, here’s what to do. The standard way to dump Prime is to hover over your account name in the upper-right corner of any Amazon page, and then select Your Prime Membership from the drop-down menu. You can then cancel on the next page. An easier way, however, is just to go straight to this Amazon help page and click End Membership. Regardless of how you begin the cancellation process, it’s straightforward—you’re free and clear once you’ve done it. Editor’s note: This article was updated in September 2022 to include Prime Early Access Sale 2022 information. Amazon.com, Internet Amazon Prime Early Access Sale 2022: Everything you need to know Tue, 27 Sep 2022 19:37:49 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Amazon has confirmed it will hold a second Prime-themed sales event from October 11 to October 12, 2022. Officially titled the Prime Early Access Sale 2022, it will feature “Black Friday-caliber deals” that aren’t to be missed. Exclusive to Prime members only, the two-day event will offer numerous deals on electronics relevant to PCWorld readers. Whether you’re in the market for a new GPU, TV, Chromebook, SSD, or smart home accessory, you’re likely to find what you need at a significant savings over the course of this sales event. To take advantage of Prime Day sales you must be a member of Amazon Prime, a $139-a-year subscription that offers free two-day shipping on orders, as well as a litany of frills and various promotional offers. Not already a Prime member? No problem, we’ve got you covered with a guide on how to get Amazon Prime for free. Also, be sure to check out our guide on how to snag Prime Early Access Sale 2022 Lightning Deals so you can potentially save even more money on your favorite products. For more information about how the Prime Early Access Sale 2022 works, take a look at our FAQ at the bottom of this article. See below for our guide to the top questions you might have around Prime Day. Prime Early Access Sale FAQ 1. What is the Prime Early Access Sale 2022? As shopping holidays go, the Prime Early Access Sale 2022 might not be able to match Black Friday’s scope, but bargain hunters are still likely to find a few sweet deals during this fall event. Just like the mid-year Prime Day, we expect Amazon devices to be a big part of the deals—look for sales on the Echo Show, Kindle Paperwhite, Ring alarm, and more, plus steep discounts on Fire TV-enabled smart TVs. But if the past predicts the future, you can safely expect solid price cuts on streaming devices, Bluetooth headsets, fitness trackers and smartwatches, mechanical keyboards, mice, and gaming headsets. Often there’s been at least a few nice buys for laptops, desktop PCs, and Chromebooks, too. 2. When is the Prime Early Access Sale 2022? The Prime Early Access Sale 2022 starts at midnight Pacific Time on October 11 and ends on October 12, end of day. 3. How do I know I’m getting a great deal? If you refer to PCWorld’s articles pointing to the best Prime Early Access Sale 2022 deals, you can be assured that our editors have vetted the deals based on price history and the quality of the product. But it’s also possible for you to do background research that will help you find the best deals. Like any retailer, Amazon mixes true deals with “sales” that are really just regular prices (or close to it) with a deal tag. To avoid that pitfall, look up historical prices before buying. We like Keepa.com for this—particularly price-history graphs that you can adjust on-the-fly. CamelCamelCamel.com is also a good alternative, though not quite as robust. Both services offer price watching for specific items, too. For example, let’s say you see a deal on the Elgato Stream Deck. You’d type “Elgato Stream Deck” into Keepa, and find the historic pricing of that product. Keepa says the best pricing on this macro board was $97 in January 2020, and that the highest was $190 about a year and a half ago. In the last three months, it’s hovered between $120 to $130. With that information, you have the tools to decide whether this streaming accessory is worth the current sale price. If the sale price were $100, for example, that would be a good deal—you’d be getting close to the lowest price ever. A $110 price tag would also still be a pretty good deal, since it’s cheaper than recent prices, which were already in a low range. The graph also shows that deals in the last year have been standard discounts, rather than anything special like a limited-time lightning deal. 4. What is a Lightning Deal? Lightning Deals are limited-time deals that can offer the steepest discounts. Accordingly, the more popular ones sell out fast—like hot-concert-tickets fast. For more information about Lightning Deals check out our guide on how to snag them during the Prime Early Access Sale 2022. 5. Can I see Lightning Deals in advance? Amazon often teases its lightning deals in advance. If you visit the Prime Early Access Sale 2022 webpage, for example, you may see a carousel of Lightning Deals. Keep scrolling through those deals, and you’ll soon hit products that are on deck but haven’t yet started as deals. If you find something in those upcoming Lightning Deals you’d like to buy, that’s the time to do historical price-checking. Then when the product goes on sale, you’ll know right away if Amazon’s limited-time price is worth it. 6. Can I get alerts for Lightning Deals? Speaking of which, you don’t have to wait around or keep an eye on the clock to know when your deals are going live. The Amazon app for Android and iOS lets you build a deals watch list and then get notifications when your deals are active. Once you’ve installed the Amazon app and signed in, go to Settings > Notifications > Your Watched & Waitlisted Deals. Activate the slider in that section. You can now add an upcoming item to your watch list—go to the deals page in the app, find the upcoming deals you’re interested in, and tap Watch this deal. 7. Can I trust the deals from Amazon’s third-party sellers? Remember that Amazon isn’t the only merchant offering sales during Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale 2022. Third-party Amazon marketplace sellers are also eligible to sell items at low prices. Many of these sellers are great, but sometimes there are less-than-honest brokers pushing fake or low-quality products, as The Guardian reported in April 2018. Before you buy—even with Lightning Deals—take a second to check that the seller and the product appear legitimate. We advise consumers to only buy products that come from, or are fulfilled by, Amazon. That won’t protect you from counterfeits, but if anything goes wrong, you’re 100-percent covered by Amazon’s excellent customer service. With independent third-party marketplace sellers, you have to deal with them directly and can appeal to Amazon only if that effort fails. 8. Do other retailers have Prime Early Access Sale 2022 deals? Be sure to check out the rest of the internet during the Prime Early Access Sale 2022. With Amazon building so much hype, other retailers are apt to offer their own sales to compete. It’s a long shot to find the exact same deals elsewhere, but it’s always worth checking online shops like Walmart, Newegg, Staples, and Best Buy for a close match. Or better yet, check out PCWorld’s curated Prime Early Access Sale 2022 articles for the best deals across all retailers. More Prime Early Access Sale 2022 deals PCWorld will scouring both Amazon and other online retailers for early Prime Early Access Sale 2022 deals. So, whether you’re interested in TVs, laptops, PC storage or other consumer tech items, chances are we’ll have a roundup highlighting the deals of interest. Please bookmark this article, as we’ll be linking to more detailed deal articles as the Early Access Sale nears. Amazon.com, Internet, Toshiba The best laptops: Premium laptops, budget laptops, 2-in-1s, and more Tue, 27 Sep 2022 19:37:36 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Looking to upgrade to a brand-new laptop? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the market looking for the top laptops and curated an even more select list of the very best available right now. All of the picks below have been personally tested and vetted by our experts here at PCWorld. From classic clamshells to versatile 2-in-1’s, we’ve got you covered. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t worry, we’ve also thrown in the best affordable options such as Chromebooks as well. Read on to learn more about our picks for the best laptops. And 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, with just a few weeks left before the new semester, be sure to check out our back-to-school deals page to help stretch that college budget even further. We will be updating it with the best deals on Chromebooks, MacBooks, iPads, and more. Without further ado, these are the best laptops we’ve tested. Updated 09/26/2022 Check out our latest review of the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1. Besides its ability to easily transition from a laptop to a tablet, it’s also set apart by its long battery life and attractive design. Also, be sure to take a look at our review of the Acer Predator Helios 300. What you may give up in portability with this gaming laptop, you more than make up for in performance where it beats out some of the more expensive competitors. 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 | $1,719.00 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 9review 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 Laptopreview 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: $914.90 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: $394.05 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 5review 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 | $872.00 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 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 Adorama | Not Available at Amazon 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 OLEDreview 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: $999.99 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 SF316-51review 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: $799.99 at Amazon | $799.99 at Best Buy | $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 8review 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 | $1,749.00 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 5Greview 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: $229.00 at Amazon | $479.99 at HP 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 11review 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 Intel’s Arc A770 graphics card is officially priced to move at $329 Tue, 27 Sep 2022 17:57:31 +0000
Source: PCWorld
It feels like Intel has been hyping up the debut of its discrete Arc graphics cards forever, but so far all we’ve been able to grab at retail is the low end of the series. That’ll change very shortly. At the company’s Innovation conference, the flagship GPU has finally been given an official price and date: $329, and October 12th. The top-of-the-line card will come in 8GB and 16GB varieties (presumably the price indicates the 8GB version), both marked as the “Limited Edition” first-party variant. Intel CEO Pat Gelisnger specifically highlighted the card’s affordable nature: though this is the most powerful version of Intel’s debut Alchemist GPU, it’ll be competing on the lower part of the mid-range compared to offerings from Nvidia and AMD. From what we’ve seen so far, the Arc A770 will compete with the GeForce RTX 3060 and Radeon RX 6600 XT, both of which have a retail price of around $350 to $400 in today’s market. Without offering much in the way of pure benchmarking comparisons, Intel’s presentation mentioned that the Arc A770 has “65% better peak performance, versus competition in ray tracing.” Specifically which card that competition represents, and in what game or benchmark the test was performed, was not mentioned, though in the past Intel has compared the Arc A770’s ray tracing performance against Nvidia’s RTX 3060. Intel confirmed that the Arc A770 is being sent to reviewers before the retail launch, so expect the usual detailed analysis. Intel has previously indicated that it will be aggressive on pricing, positioning its cards based on how games perform in its third tier of testing instead of ideal scenarios. The Arc A770 features 32 6nm Xe graphics cores running at 2100Mhz, with either 8GB or 16GB of GDDR6 video memory and a 256-bit memory bus. With the ultra-low-end covered and the mid-range being introduced, Intel still has yet to say when the Arc A750 will be introduced. With Nvidia’s ultra-expensive RTX 40-series already announced, and AMD poised to reveal new high-end GPUs in November, trying to claim a position as an affordable alternative could be a very smart move. GPUs Intel unleashes 13th-gen Core CPUs with more cores, face-melting speeds Tue, 27 Sep 2022 16:20:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Intel kicked off its 13th-gen Core (“Raptor Lake”) generation today with six new processors that executives claim offer the “world’s best gaming experience” for enthusiasts, with up to 24 percent performance improvement in gaming compared to Intel’s own 12th-gen Core chips. A large part of that increase derives from the fact that Intel is offering many more cores, more threads, and higher clock speeds than ever before. The Core i9-13900K,for example, offers eight more cores plus eight more threads than the corresponding 12th-gen Core model, with an additional 600MHz of “turbo” speed on top. The unlocked Core i9-13900K tops out at a boost speed of 5.8GHz, though the other processors operate at slower speeds. “To be clear, we are delivering the world’s fastest desktop processor out of the box,” said Mandy Mock, the vice president and general manager of desktop, workstation, and channel for Intel. You may have anticipated higher prices for the new chips, perhaps in the wake of the sticker shock surrounding Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs and recent shortage pricing. But aside from the Core i5-13600K and -KF (which received a $30 bump), the prices of Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake Core chips are identical to Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake. And now, AMD’s rival Ryzen CPUs aren’t always a cheaper option. AMD has said that its just-launched Ryzen 7000 series will handily beat the best of what Intel has to offer. AMD’s new Ryzen 7950X not only claims an enormous performance advantage over earlier Ryzens, but the high-end 7950X dropped $100 off the sticker price, to boot. Intel also promised that Raptor Lake would hit 6GHz — and these initial 13th-gen Core chips do not, yet, with CEO Pat Gelsinger saying to expect that chip “in limited volumes” next year. It’s going to be a tightly contested race for the best desktop processor of 2022. This is worthy of note: simply by tweaking the manufacturing process, Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake at 65W can deliver all of the performance the older 12900K (Alder Lake) can produce at 241W in turbo mode. That matters as power prices go up.Intel Meet Intel’s 13th-gen Core CPUs Intel will eventually fill out its processor lineup for the remainder of the desktop space, as well as mobile: U-, P-, H-, and HX-series chips for laptops and 35W and 65W S-series processors for desktops will accompany these new K-series processors in time, Mock said—the 13th-gen family will eventually offer no less than 50 CPUs. For now, though, the new K- and -KF series chips are taking center stage. Here’s a quick summary of what Intel is announcing: Core i5-13600K ($319): 14 cores (6 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores)/20 threads at up to 5.1GHz; P-Core: 3.5GHz (base) to 5.1GHz (turbo); E-core: 2.6GHz (base) to 3.9GHz (turbo)Core i7-13700K ($409): 16 cores (8 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores)/24 threads at up to 5.4GHz; P-Core: 3.4GHz (base) to 5.3GHz (turbo); E-core: 2.5GHz (base) to 4.2GHz (turbo)Core i9-13900K ($589): 24 cores (8 performance cores, 16 efficiency cores)/32 threads at up to 5.8GHz; P-Core: 3.0GHz (base) to 5.4GHz (turbo); E-Core: 2.2GHz (base) to 4.3GHz (turbo)Intel also has three “KF” variants that eliminate the integrated GPU to save cost: the $564 Core i9-13900KF, the $384 Core i7-13700KF, and the $294 Core i5-13600KF.By and large, Intel has left the prices of its 13th-gen Raptor Lake chips unchanged from Alder Lake.Intel Unfortunately, we’ve moved past the days where we can assign a processor a simple clock speed. Now, even the fastest speeds have to be qualified. While the performance core on the Core i9-13900K can “only” achieve a boost speed of 5.4GHz, one core may be able to achieve the chip’s overall boost speed of 5.8GHz. That’s thanks to the Intel Turbo Max Technology 3.0 Intel debuted in 2019. Power, too, isn’t as simple as it once was. What’s known as the PL2 value — the power needed to push the 13900K or KF series into its turbo mode — is 253W, Intel executives said, and 181W for a Core i5-13600K. Intel’s three new 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) processors.Intel All three chips integrate Intel’s UHD Graphics 770 graphics, with slight differences in clock speed: 1,550MHz, 1,600MHz, and 1,650MHz for the Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 parts. Intel’s new processors are built on the Intel 7 process, which Mock implied was producing better yields than the 12th-gen Alder Lake chip, also on Intel 7. Intel’s ramp of its Alder Lake-K chips was its fastest ever, Mock said, with 1 million units shipped by the end of 2021. “We are on track to go even faster with 13th-gen, so there will be ample supply in the market to meet our customers’ demand,” Mock said. Intel anticipates that 140 partners across 30 countries will ship 13th-gen “Raptor Lake” chips, with 70 different versions of the Z790 motherboards accompanying it, she said. And in case you were wondering, yes, Intel held an internal discussion about officially naming these chips the “13th”-generation Core chips. Qualcomm, for example, named a recent chip the Snapdragon 888 to capitalize on a number that’s seen in lucky in Asia. American buildings usually skip the thirteenth floor. But what it boiled down to was a certain smartphone company finding success with version 13 of its own operating system, and Intel deciding to follow suit. What’s inside 13th-gen Raptor Lake PCs What’s improved? First, the new 13th-gen Core “Raptor Lake” chips include an updated “Raptor Cove” processor core with improved speed paths , said Daniel Rogers, Intel’s senior director of mobile marketing. Inside Intel’s upgraded Intel 7 process is a 3rd-gen SuperFin transistor. Essentially, Intel is benefiting from an improved design alongside a performance boost from the “maturation” of process technology as well, according to Guy Therien, an Intel fellow. The number of efficiency cores has also doubled. In addition to the additional cores, Mock said that the cache attached to the efficiency cores had been increased. Intel’s hybrid architecture uses performance cores for foreground tasks that you’re actively working upon, as well as efficiency cores that handle background tasks that would normally steal CPU cycles from the active app. Intel’s thread scheduler, tightly integrated with Windows 11, can also assign priority tasks to the efficiency cores under extreme workloads. In the new Windows 11 2022 Update, not only has the Thread Director been optimized but the way that background tasks are handled by Windows has been improved, increasing the overall efficiency of a Raptor Lake PC running the latest version of Windows. (Incidentally, Intel has no plans to release a version of Thread Director software that will allow you to manually assign performance cores or efficiency cores, executives said.) Intel’s Z790 chipset will be paired with Intel’s 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) chips.Intel Intel’s debut Raptor Lake volley will be paired with Z790 motherboards, an upgraded chipset that now adds support for DDR5-5600 and -5200 memory, as well as DDR4-3200 memory. Board makers will be able to take advantage of 16 PCI Express 5.0 lanes off of the CPU, plus an additional four PCIe 4.0 lanes. The compute fabric bridging the two has been made 900MHz faster, increasing I/O performance. Finally, Thunderbolt 4 and Intel’s Killer WiFi 6E will continue to make appearances. Basically, all of Intel’s 600-series and 700-series boards will be backwards-compatible, provided that they have a manufacturer-supplied update that supports the 13th-gen Raptor Lake. There’s something else that’s rather interesting: additional support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 I/O. That’s a bunch of gobbledygook to most people, but the upshot is that USB ports on Z790 systems will be capable of 20Gbps, as opposed to the normal 10Gbps that most USB-A and USB-C ports enable. That will potentially add extra performance headroom for USB-C dongles, provided Intel brings this capability to the mobile space. Intel 13th-gen Core ‘Raptor Lake’ performance There are many metrics you can use to compare the performance of a processor, but here’s how Intel breaks it down: the new Core i9-13900K delivers 15 percent more performance in single-threaded applications and 41 percent multi-threaded performance over the Core i9-12900K. Raptor Lake’s single-threaded performance has improved decently over Alder Lake, but thanks to the significant increase in the number of cores and threads, overall performance should increase dramatically. Marcus Kennedy, general manager of Intel’s gaming and esports segment, also showed a suite of gaming tests that indicated that the 13th-gen Core chips were up to 24 percent faster in gaming. Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake shows some gains over its predecessor, Alder Lake.Intel Intel claims that its 13-gen Core, Raptor Lake, demonstrates significant gains in gaming performance over AMD’s previous Ryzen 5000 generation.Intel All this should mean fairly minor improvements in most graphics-heavy games, though more substantial performance improvements in more CPU-hungry games like League of Legends and DOTA. Creatives, though, should see some real benefits. Intel’s claiming that the 13th-gen Raptor Lake cores are 27 percent faster in a workload that involves Adobe Media Encoder and Adobe Photoshop, as well as 34 percent faster in a media creation workload involving Blender and the Unreal Engine for game development. In the demonstration, Intel ran Photoshop in the foreground and the encoder in the background, as it did for the Blender render. Intel’s 13th-gen Core shows significant improvements over its own 12th-gen processor in content creation.Intel Intel also claims hefty performance wins for its 13th-gen Core (Raptor Lake) over the older Ryzens as well.Intel But Intel, and Mock, may have to prove that its Raptor Lake is faster than the Ryzen 7000 in testing. On paper, it’s an interesting comparison: the Ryzen 7950X has “just” 16 cores and 32 threads, but runs at a 4.5GHz base clock and up to 5.7GHz while in turbo mode. They’re all “big” high-performance cores, however. Intel’s Core i9-13900K packs more cores (24) and 32 threads, but has a mixture of performance (8) and efficiency (16) cores that begin at 2.2-3.0GHz, but can boost up to 5.8GHz. AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X consumes 170W, versus the 165W the Core i9 requires. Since head-to-head tests aren’t yet officially possible, however, Intel compared its 13th-gen chip to AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series instead. Intel’s own tests showed a whopping 58 percent improvement over the Ryzen 5950X in games like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. In content creation, the difference was even more profound: 69 percent in Autodesk Revit’s model creation. Gamers that choose to water-cool their system should see higher overclocking frequencies with “headroom similar to 12th-gen,” Intel said, with overclocked DDR5 memory pushing up to 6,600 megatransfers per second. Though extreme overclocking is still a niche application, Intel believes that cooling the cores using liquid nitrogen will push performance core frequencies beyond a whopping 8GHz, with overclocked DDR5 memory pushing beyond 10,000 MT/s. Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility and Speed Optimizer have been updated to work with Intel’s 13th-gen Core, or Raptor Lake.Intel With Intel’s disclosure of Raptor Lake, we now know what AMD’s plans are for at least the majority of its Ryzen 7000 processor lineup, as well as where the performance of those chips falls. Now, we wait for the independent benchmarks that can tell us the same for Intel’s 13th-gen Core chips. The fall is typically one of the most exciting times of the year for enthusiasts hoping to build their own desktop systems. AMD, Nvidia, and now Intel have all outlined their offerings for the upcoming year. Now, we wait for official testing to confirm whether their claims will play out in the real world. CPUs and Processors Intel’s new Unison app links your phone to your Evo laptop Tue, 27 Sep 2022 16:20:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Intel said Tuesday that its Screenovate app, which clones many of the functions found inside the Windows “Your Phone” app, will now be called Unison and ship on its partners’ premium Evo laptops. The new Unison app allows you to place calls from your PC, transfer photos and files, and see notifications on both Android phone as well as iPhones. The latter capability has been largely omitted from the Your Phone app bundled in Windows, which revolves around Android support. Intel launched the overhauled Unison app alongside 13th-generation Core chips, code-named Raptor Lake, at its Intel Innovation conference. On December 6, 2021, Intel bought Israeli developer Screenovate, reportedly for $100 million. The company is now part of Intel’s Client Computing Group, though Unison has been designed for businesses and consumers alike, with support for both manageability as well as corporate VPNs, Daniel Rogers, senior director of Intel’s mobile product marketing, said in a recent press briefing. Unison has also been given a facelift, with both a new interface as well as benefiting from Intel’s knowledge of wireless networks, he said. Intel is hoping to use Unison as a tangible benefit for Evo PC buyers. At CES this year, Intel announced a significant expansion of Evo into peripherals and even desktop and commercial PCs. And if you’re an iPhone user, you’ll see some tangible benefits. Though Microsoft had hoped to expand into both Android and iPhones after its Windows Phone ambitions went belly-up, the company has largely abandoned the iPhone as a device that can be tightly integrated with Windows. (Instead, Microsoft has beefed up its app experiences, with Outlook and other apps.) Unison could help solve that shortcoming. The Messages view within Intel’s Unison app.Intel Other than that, a demonstration of the Unison technology looked, in concept, very similar to what Your Phone already does: make phone calls from a PC via a phone’s Bluetooth connection, send and respond to text messages, connect to the phone’s apps, show notifications, and transfer photos and files. Your Phone doesn’t focus that much on file transfer, though Windows’ Nearby Sharing feature helps mitigate that omission. Simply uploading and saving files to the cloud does, too. Microsoft’s Your Phone interface within Windows.Microsoft The Screenovate purchase was therefore a bit of a head-scratcher. But Intel seems like it recognizes that providing more benefits to Evo customers can help benefit the platform. Executives, too, might be thinking of building out a suite of apps for Evo buyers that could eventually turn into a service, and a subscription. As Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has said, that’s practically the purpose of Windows anyway. Laptops, Utilities Windows 11’s 2022 Update is crashing some Intel-based systems Tue, 27 Sep 2022 15:05:37 +0000
Source: PCWorld
Last week a swath of PC gamers complained that the latest major Windows 11 release, the 2022 Update, was hobbling their Nvidia graphics cards. It looks like they’re not alone: Microsoft is pausing the automatic updates for some users with the latest Intel audio drivers, because it’s reportedly causing the dreaded blue screen crash. A support page on Learn.Microsoft.com, spotted by BleepingComputer, details the issue. Some laptop and desktop users with integrated sound cards featuring Intel Smart Sound Technology, equipped on systems with 11th-gen Core and Atom processors, are seeing their systems crash after the update to either the 2022 Update or the last year’s big Windows release. The problem appears to be with an out-of-date driver for SST: Microsoft recommends updating to driver version 10.30.00.5714 or 10.29.00.5714, depending on the specific hardware implementation. After updating to the relevant driver, the 22H2 Windows 11 update should be available within 48 hours. Between this and the Nvidia issue, it might seem that this particular Windows update is fraught with problems…but that’s a bit of an oversimplification. It’s a massive upgrade, the biggest of the calendar year, and it’s going out to hundreds of millions of users at once. Even with a long testing period, the issues found thus far are fairly minor. Windows 11 Best wireless chargers: Ditch the headache of cables with our top picks Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:30:00 +0000
Source: PCWorld
As far as convenience goes, wireless charging can’t be beat. You simply place your phone onto the charging pad and walk away. Gone are the headaches caused by tangled cords and cable management. Wireless charging is continuing to improve as a technology, and it has been adopted by most major phone makers, including Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola, Google, Huawei, as well as Apple. If your phone supports it, a wireless charging pad or stand can be a great solution for hassle-free refueling. We’ve tested some of the most popular wireless chargers out there for both Android and iPhone, and picked our favorites from the bunch. Read on to see our recommendations, and check out our FAQ section at the bottom to help answer common questions about wireless charging. Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand – Best wireless charging stand overall Pros Fast charging Includes power adapter 7.5W and 10W support Cons Cooling fan is a little loud MSRP: $49.99 Best Prices Today: $19.49 at Anker | $23.99 at Amazon Anker’s PowerWave 7.5 Stand is our current top pick. It charges faster on Android than any other pad we tested, looks nice, and has a stand that makes checking notifications very easy. A cooling fan in the base can be loud in a quiet environment, but it’s not a deal breaker—just something to keep in mind. Read our full Anker PowerWave 7.5 Standreview Nimble Stand – Best wireless charging stand for iPhones Pros Super-fast charging QC 3.0 wall adapter included Made from recycled materials Cons The ledge that a phone sits on can be finicky MSRP: $59.95 Best Prices Today: $59.95 at Nimble From its attractive fabric finish—made from hemp and recycled water bottles, no less—to its flexible form factor that lets you charge your phone upright or prone, to its reasonable price, we already liked the Nimble Stand. Then we saw its performance! It was the fastest at charging an iPhone of any of the wireless chargers we’ve reviewed, and laudable at charging Android as well. Read our full Nimble Standreview iON Wireless Stand – Best stand for iPhones runner-up Pros Fast charging for Android and iOS alike Well designed Works in landscape or portrait orientation Cons Pricey MSRP: $50 Best Prices Today: $29.95 at Amazon | $49.95 at iOttie Like the Nimble Stand above, the iON Wireless Stand has the stylish looks you’d expect to see paired with an iPhone, it also works exceptionally well with that platform, achieving near-50 percent charge in 60 minutes on an iPhone. Read our full iOttie iON Wireless Standreview Logitech Powered Pad – Best single-device charging pad Pros Well designed Respectable charging speed Cons Doesn’t have a USB-C connector MSRP: $39.99 Best Prices Today: $39.99 at Logitech The Powered Pad features the quality looks and functionality you’d expect from Logitech. It also does a really good job charging Android phones, performing near the top of the pack. Read our full Logitech Powered Padreview Nomad Base Station Hub Edition with Magnetic Alignment – Best multi-device charging pad Pros Can charge up to four devices at once Magnetic coils help ensure proper alignment Well designed Cons It’s not an official MagSafe device, so charging speed is slower MSRP: $119 Best Prices Today: $119 at Nomad Goods Not only does Nomad’s charging pad offer a wireless charging surface that can accommodate two devices at once, it tosses in both a USB-C and USB-A port on its back side for wired charging of two additional devices, to boot. This is a great solution for cutting down on a charger clutter. While the Magnetic Alignment aspect of the charger devices remain stable on the pad, this is not an official MagSafe accessory. Read our full Nomad Base Station Hub Edition with Magnetic Alignmentreview iOttie iTap 2 Wireless – Best wireless charger/phone mount combo Pros Incredibly convenient Well designed Adds an extra USB port Cons Mounting plate required Not as fast as wired charging MSRP: $54.95 Best Prices Today: $34.99 at Best Buy | $49.99 at Amazon | 54.95 at iOttie The iOttie iTap 2 Wireless is a clever combination of phone mount and wireless charger. In addition to the vent-style mount that we reviewed, it’s also available as a mount that uses the CD slot in your car’s stereo, or as a dash mount. All three are priced at $55 and are capable of wirelessly charging your Qi-enabled smartphone. The included magnet in the iTap 2 Wireless was strong enough to hold an iPhone XS Max in place without fear of it falling while driving. Read our full iOttie iTap 2 Wirelessreview What to look for in a wireless charger Until recently, there were two different wireless charging standards you had to be aware of when purchasing a wireless charging pad: the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standard, and the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPC) Qi standard. PMA has since agreed to join the WPC and embrace the Qi standard. (We’ve noted in our individual wireless charger reviews if it supports the PMA standard, in case you have an older Android device that only supports PMA.) Now your only concern is whether it supports fast charging. If you have a newer iPhone, you also have the option of MagSafe, Apple’s proprietary magnetic connecting system that’s built into the iPhone 12 and later. As technology has evolved, so too has the speed at which a phone can wirelessly charge. You’ll need to know your own phone’s capability, typically expressed in terms of 7.5 watts (W), 9W, or even 15W. Make sure your charger takes advantage of that. The packaging for most wireless chargers will indicate its speed. Look for the wattage speed on the box or in the specification listing for both your phone and wireless charger. Do keep in mind that as fast as wireless chargers have become, the included charger for most phones will be your best bet when you’re in a hurry and need as fast a charge as possible. How we tested Android In order to properly test and measure how long a wireless charger takes to charge a smartphone from 0 to 100 percent, we followed the steps below each time we placed a phone on the charging pad. For the initial round of tests, we used an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9. We enabled airplane mode on the Galaxy S9 to prevent notifications or connections from impacting battery life throughout each test.To completely drain the battery on the Galaxy S9, we looped a movie in VLC with screen brightness set to 100 percent until the phone powered off.If a wireless charger included its own power supply, we used it. If not, we used Samsung’s standard wall adapter and an appropriate cable.The phone was placed on a wireless charging pad, and a timer was set for four minutes (the minimum time required to bring the phone back to life across all the pads we tested). After four minutes, the phone was powered on and unlocked.A time-lapse video was recorded of each charging session using a Wyze Cam, with a photo captured every 60 seconds.Charge time was calculated by looking at the video and noting the time when the always-on-display of the Galaxy S9 would register 100%.We repeated the test three times for each wireless charger, then averaged the results.iPhone Testing a wireless charging pad with an iPhone requires a different procedure than with an Android handset. The iPhone doesn’t have an always-on display feature that constantly shows the current battery percentage. Because of this we opted to charge our iPhone X for a period of 60 minutes and measure the achieved charged level following the steps below: We enabled airplane mode on the iPhone X in order to prevent any unnecessary notifications or connections from impacting battery life throughout the test.Using VLC and a display brightness set to 100%, we completely drained the battery until the iPhone X powered off.If a wireless charger included its own power supply, we used it. If not, we used Samsung’s standard wall adapter and appropriate cable.The phone was then placed on a wireless charging pad, and a timer was set for 7 minutes (the minimum time required to bring the phone back to life across all the pads we tested).At the 7 minute mark, the iPhone would be unlocked and then placed back on the charging pad. A new timer was set for 60 minutes.After the 60 minute timer expired, the phone was removed from the pad and the battery percentage was recorded.We repeated this process three times for each charging pad and averaged the results.For an approximate ballpark of how long it’ll take to reach full charge with an iPhone, you can divide 60 (the number of minutes used for this test) by the percentage result listed in each review. So if the result is an average charge of 36 percent in 60 minutes, the soonest that a full charge will take is roughly 167 minutes, or 2 hours and 47 minutes. Keep in mind that this is an imprecise estimate: We say “approximate” because it’s possible for charging to slow down during a full charge. FAQ 1. Are wireless chargers worth it? Since wireless chargers are much more expensive on average than just buying a new charging cable, you might wonder if they are really worth the investment.  In our belief, yes, they are definitely worth the extra money over just a standard cable. That mainly has to do with the unique advantages that wireless charging has over traditional wired charging. The first is a matter of convenience—wireless chargers don’t require you to plug in the phone nor do they have cables (at least cables that you frequently move around) that might get tangled or tied in knots. With wireless chargers you can just set your phone down on the charger, and later pick it up, without worrying about the hassle of cords. Second is that wireless charging is generally safer. Most wireless chargers come with smart charging technology that only uses power when your device actually needs to be charged. Once it’s fully charged, the charger turns off automatically. This not only saves energy, but it can also keep your electronics from potentially overheating and being damaged. Finally, wireless charges keep you from having to replace your cables or devices after repeated wear and tear. Cables have a tendency to fray or break after an extended period of use and your phone’s battery can also suffer from the constant higher current that wired chargers run through your phone. As mentioned, wireless charges save the hassle of cable issues and they use a lower current than traditional wired charging making them more stable and gentle on your device’s battery. 2. Is it safe to leave a phone on a wireless charger overnight? Yes, with most modern wireless chargers, they have smart charging technology that limits power output once a device is fully charged. So when you place your phone on a wireless charger at night it will continue to charge until the battery is full and then the wireless charger will automatically power-off to save energy and protect the device from overheating. So you can rest assured that leaving your phone on a wireless charger overnight is perfectly fine. 3. Which is better, wireless charging or wired? Both wired and wireless charging are great options, so this is largely down to personal needs and preferences. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of wired charging is that you get a more efficient and quicker charge and it is generally very cheap to buy new charging cables. The disadvantages are that your cables may not be compatible with all of your devices and therefore you will need more than one cable. Also, wires have a tendency to become tangled or break overtime with repeated use. The advantages of wireless charging include a more durable and resilient charging option and typically use less energy—especially if you tend to leave your device attached to the charger for a long time. Their disadvantages are that they are much more expensive than cable chargers. Also, even though wireless charging is becoming more efficient as time goes on, it still charges at a slower rate than traditional wired charging. With this in mind, if you are looking for something cheap and you can remember to plug and unplug your device from the charger, then the faster and more efficient option would be to go with a wired charger. However, if you don’t mind the expense and you want a smarter charger that potentially saves a little electricity and is easier on your battery without the hassle of tangled cords then you should go with a wireless charger. Belkin, Consumer Electronics, Holidays, Logitech, Mobile, Small and Medium Business