M1 MacBook Air vs Pro: What to buy and why to spend extra on RAM and storage Sat, 27 Feb 2021 04:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
It's hard to tell the difference between the new M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, so we've broken them all down for you. How Framework plans to break the curse of upgradeable laptops Fri, 26 Feb 2021 10:45:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
An upgradeable laptop has long been the Holy Grail of laptop features. And much like the famed Grail, it's never been found.Many have tried and all have failed. The most recent attempt was Alienware's Area 51m R1, which launched with lofty goals but ultimately never offered meaningful upgrades.Enter Framework, which pledges to finally bring the Holy Grail home to Camelot with a modular, do-it-yourself and upgradeable laptop. Being a witness to all of the prior quest failures, well, we have our doubts. Many of them.To read this article in full, please click here The Full Nerd ep. 169: GeForce RTX 3060 reviews, new Radeon GPU teased Fri, 26 Feb 2021 08:43:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray talk about new graphics cards you probably can’t buy anytime soon.Not that you’d probably want to at today’s wildly inflated prices. We kick things off by talking about Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060, which launched this week. It ostensibly costs $330, and several custom models were revealed at that point, but most RTX 3060 graphics cards cost $470 or more at retail. Oof. We explain everything you need to know about this particular GPU and the bleak state of the graphics card market.To read this article in full, please click here The story of the Windows XP 'Bliss' desktop theme—and what it looks like today Fri, 26 Feb 2021 06:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Editor's Note: PCWorld originally published this story in 2014. This year, 2021, marks the 25th anniversary of Charles O'Rear's iconic photo in 1996, which became the basis of the Windows XP desktop wallpaper. The vineyards are still there today.It’s not too far-fetched to believe that a billion people have viewed the “Bliss” image that defines the desktop view of Windows XP, the seminal OS that Microsoft is retiring Tuesday. But you’d barely notice the real-world “Bliss” scene if you stepped out of your car and gazed at it today.Driving anywhere in California’s wine country can be treacherous. Roads curve back and forth, well, drunkenly. Bicyclists are common, and the next bend could hide an entrance to one of Napa’s finest wineries, a tour group jaywalking across the road, or even a couple on horseback, exploring the area.To read this article in full, please click here How does an RTX 3080 perform inside an eGPU? Fri, 26 Feb 2021 03:34:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Over the past couple of months I’ve been gaming with an eGPU enclosure that had Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3080 stuffed inside of it. While the limitations of Thunderbolt 3 are well documented, I was curious to see just how limited that monster card would be in such a setup. In the above video you can check out the results from over 10 of the hottest games of the past year, including Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020).Getting the whole system up and running required a bit of work due to the power requirements of the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra Gaming GPU and its trio of 8-pin power connections. I had to hook up a separate power supply to juice the card! Once it was up and running it worked great--it just looked silly.To read this article in full, please click here Technics Ottava review: This all-in-one home audio system is a great entertainer Fri, 26 Feb 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Impeccable sonic goodness in an itty-bitty box. A part of us died with Fry's Electronics Fri, 26 Feb 2021 02:59:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Watching Fry’s Electronics finally shut down this week was truly the end of an era for me.When I was younger, I’d cobble together a PC by combing through ads placed in the local computer weekly newspaper (yes, they had those) and driving to some non-descript industrial building in Silicon Valley.After getting the stink-eye from the person eating lunch in the lobby, I’d leave with some ISA sound card or motherboard. It felt more like I was buying illegal fireworks than building a PC. Fry’s in its glory days Fry’s Electronics was truly glorious by comparison. With its big-box approach, bright lights, and endless aisles of components, printers, monitors, and software, along with soldering irons, heat shrink tubing and power supplies, Fry’s made PC building a legit lifestyle worthy of being out in public.To read this article in full, please click here How to check your Intel and M1 Mac’s SSD health using Terminal Thu, 25 Feb 2021 07:56:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Learn how to set up the Terminal in macOS so you can install and run smartmontools, a utility that provides data on the health of your SSD. GeForce RTX 3060: 5 key things you need to know about Nvidia's new GPU Thu, 25 Feb 2021 07:19:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Nvidia’s next-gen “Ampere” GPU architecture finally goes mainstream today with the launch of the $329 GeForce RTX 3060. Normally, the release of Nvidia’s 60-class graphics cards spark a lot of excitement. They tend to be the best-selling cards of any GeForce generation.But this time around, graphics cards are mired in a months-long shortage driven by a mixture of sky-high demand, logistics woes caused by the pandemic, a cryptocurrency boom that’s driving miners to gobble up GPUs, and some component shortages. It’s a perfect storm, and things are so bad that Nvidia brought the ancient GTX 1050 Ti out of retirement.To read this article in full, please click here How Google could turn Android into just another subscription Thu, 25 Feb 2021 03:30:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
At a time when version updates are becoming less of an issue and major phone makers are finally beginning to guarantee years of updates, Google might have found a way to end Android fragmentation once and for all: by turning it into a service.The signs are there. On February 11, Google announced that several “Pixel-first” features in Google Photos—Portrait Blur, Portrait Light, and Color Pop—won’t actually be coming to all Android phones as expected. Instead, Google is offering them as a benefit to Google One subscribers, effectively putting them behind a paywall along with what Google calls “other new machine learning-powered effects.”To read this article in full, please click here How to install an SSD in a PC Thu, 25 Feb 2021 03:01:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Installing an M.2 or SATA SSD in your desktop is an essential part of every PC build, or an easy upgrade to make your PC feel faster. Luckily, installing an SSD is easier than finding the best one (we have a roundup for that!) or even understanding how they work. I’m not going to cover any of that here, but I’ll walk through installing both kinds. The steps below should apply to almost any model. I’ll start with the M.2 SSD because it’s a bit more tricky to install, and there are some things to research before you do it. Click this link to jump to the section on SATA SSDs.To read this article in full, please click here Streaming TV's invisible annoyance Thu, 25 Feb 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Does your streaming video get too loud or too quiet? Here's why, and what you can do about it. Drop + THX Panda wireless headphone review: Supremely clean sub-bass Thu, 25 Feb 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
These planar ribbon headphones sound fantastic, especially in the sub-bass region, but they could use more padding on the headband. The best laptops: Premium laptops, budget laptops, 2-in-1s, and more Wed, 24 Feb 2021 15:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
The dogpile of new laptop technologies—AMD’s Ryzen 5000 and Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs, plus Nvidia’s RTX 30-series mobile GPUs—are leading to a welcome rain of faster, better portable PCs, the latest of which we’ve just started reviewing. It’s still a tight market, as pandemic-fueled sales remain strong. But if you yearn for the latest and greatest, this is your time. Keep reading for the latest news and reviews. (Psst: We also have a list of the first laptops available with RTX 30-series.)To read this article in full, please click here Best gaming laptops: Know what to look for and which models rate highest Wed, 24 Feb 2021 14:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
There are great laptops available now (as pandemic-fueled sales remain strong), and you can see our tested favorites below. But if you yearn for the latest and greatest, check out our news and reviews of laptops with AMD’s Ryzen 5000 and Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs, and Nvidia RTX 30-series mobile GPUs. (Psst: We also have a list of the first laptops available with RTX 30-series.)Here are the latest news and reviews, along with our top picks below. To read this article in full, please click here AMD will introduce another new GPU you probably can't buy next week Wed, 24 Feb 2021 13:08:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Facing a headwind of short supply and customer frustration, AMD will debut its latest Radeon RX 6000 graphics card to dejected and beaten-down gamers next week.The company announced via Twitter to save the date for March 3 at 8 a.m. PST to see “Where gaming begins: EP. 3.” The company also included an image of a full-size dual-fan GPU, which many expect will be a lower-cost Radeon RX 6700 XT built on its Navi architecture.The card will likely go head-to-head with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060, which is expected to hit the streets soon as well.While AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce announcements were once met with excitement by gamers, more recently they have been punctuated with groans, face-palm memes, and pure exasperation.To read this article in full, please click here Intel fires a shot at AMD's storage performance. Here's what to believe Wed, 24 Feb 2021 10:33:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Intel’s 11th gen Rocket Lake-S is still sitting on the launch pad, but the company isn’t wasting any time in promoting it. On Tuesday, Intel teased storage performance results that show a Rocket Lake-S outperforming a Ryzen 9 5950X by 11 percent.The results were tweeted by Intel’s Ryan Shrout, who works as Intel’s Chief Performance Strategist. You can see the 11 percent delta below. Intel Intel says the upcoming 11th gen Core i9 will outperform AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X in PCMark 10’s storage test of PCIe 4.0 storage.To read this article in full, please click here HP buys HyperX to boost its gaming peripherals Wed, 24 Feb 2021 07:52:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
HP is already one of the top PC vendors in the world, but now it wants to become a big player in the devices you plug into your PC as well. On Wednesday, the company announced that it is buying the HyperX brand of gaming peripherals from Kingston for $425 million.HyperX crafts a wide array of PC accessories, including our favorite overall gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Alpha. The company also creates gaming-focused keyboards, mice, microphones, earbuds, and even Qi wireless chargers. We’ve reviewed many HyperX keyboards and headsets over the years and they’re ranged from good to great. They’ll be a good fit for HP, which has offered its own peripherals in the past (like the radical, ear-chilling Mindframe headset) but seemingly hasn’t struck gold with its in-house gear. HyperX’s peripherals will be a no-brainer upgrade to offer alongside prebuilt HP systems and gamer-grade Omen desktops.To read this article in full, please click here Fry's Electronics permanently closes all stores Wed, 24 Feb 2021 07:06:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Fry’s, one of the last dedicated electronics retailers in the U.S. and a once-beloved institution on the west coast, permanently closed its doors late Tuesday night. Its Twitter feed is set to private, its Facebook page is gone, and the Fry’s website itself has been replaced by an announcement of the closure, along with information on where past customers can find help going forward.“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc., has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the website now reads.To read this article in full, please click here Don’t worry, Spotify Free users: You can still cast to Google speakers Wed, 24 Feb 2021 06:38:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
The “Premium only” error that Spotify Free users saw while trying to cast music to Google Assistant-powered speakers was just a bug, Spotify says. Roon 1.8 review: An unparalleled service for critical listening and music exploration Wed, 24 Feb 2021 04:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
When I reviewed Roon at its launch, back in 2015, I called it “must-have software for hardcore music fans.” I stand by that characterization, although in retrospect, I shouldn’t have restricted its appeal to the hardcore. Anyone who derives deep enjoyment from music will reap tremendous benefits from this one-of-a-kind—albeit incredibly complex—software.That said, if you don’t consider music essential to life, you’ll probably have difficulty justifying the cost of a Roon license and the relatively steep hardware requirements you’ll need to run it. In addition to the client software that you’ll run on a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer, you’ll need to run server software (the Roon Core) on some other computer on your home network. Developer Roon Labs recommends the server have a least an Intel Core i3 (Ivy Bridge architecture or later) CPU, and it strongly recommends that the Roon database be installed on an SSD.To read this article in full, please click here How to use Zoom's Video Filters to spice up your next Zoom call Wed, 24 Feb 2021 03:30:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
If you ever wanted to change your appearance in a Zoom call without having to download plug-ins like a Zoom camera, you’re in luck. Zoom now has its own ways of changing your appearance into a pirate or a cat, right within the application, as part of its new Video Filters and Studio Effects.The new filters add the ability to surround yourself with a custom video frame using a Video Filter, or overlay the ‘Deal with It’ sunglasses on your eyes. The Studio Effects (Beta) tool is designed more to add to your appearance, with fake lipstick, mustaches, and a beard. Both are fun, and more than a little weird.Here’s how to launch both. (Note that if you’re accessing Zoom via a university, or via a call that someone else administers, these options may not be available to you.)To read this article in full, please click here Acer Swift 3X review: This lightweight laptop shows Intel's Xe Max magic Wed, 24 Feb 2021 03:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
The Acer Swift 3X builds upon an already-strong foundation by adding a dash of Intel’s special sauce.Our review of last year’s Intel-based Acer Swift 3 was torn. “How do you rate a laptop that you really enjoyed using, yet whose performance is otherwise disappointingly weak?” we mused at the beginning. The eminently portable Swift 3 ticked all the boxes that made for a great notebook but lagged far behind its rivals in raw horsepower.Enter the Acer Swift 3X. Moving from Intel’s 10th-gen Core processors to the latest 11th-gen Tiger Lake offerings alone provides a significant speed boost, but the ‘X’ in the name hints at the true star of this show. The Swift 3X is the first Acer laptop with Intel’s new Iris Xe Max discrete graphics chip inside, complete with “Deep Link” software tricks that lets it join forces—sometimes—with Tiger Lake’s integrated Xe graphics to boost performance in productivity tasks. It’s also the first Intel Iris Xe Max laptop to cross our test bench.To read this article in full, please click here Send texts on your own time with Android's new Schedule Send feature Tue, 23 Feb 2021 10:25:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Google said Tuesday that it’s beginning to roll out Schedule Send, a way for you to schedule texts in Android Messages in much the same way you might schedule an email.Schedule Send is one of several new features Google announced for Android, along with Password Checkup, an improved dark mode for Google Maps, and a few enhancements to Android Auto and Google Assistant.Google designed the new Schedule Send feature to be simple to use—it’s certainly simple to explain. To trigger it, all you’ll need to do is long-press the Send button in Messages. That will open up the scheduling menu, and you’ll be able to pick a date and time to send your message. You’ll need an updated version of Messages to enable this, as well as a phone running Android 9 and above.To read this article in full, please click here Google adds Password Checkup to Android Tue, 23 Feb 2021 09:46:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Google said Tuesday that it’s ensuring that password security straddles both your phone, your PC, and your Chromebook. The company is bringing Password Checkup, a feature it introduced to Chrome in 2019, to Android.Password Checkup simply ensures that a password you either pick or are currently using hasn’t been exposed in a password breach. Every year or so password files at major sites are breached and leaked to the web. Knowing if your password has been stolen and compromised is a significant part of maintaining your online security.To read this article in full, please click here Samsung just out-Googled the Pixel at guaranteeing Android updates Tue, 23 Feb 2021 07:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Android updates might be the butt of many a joke, but Samsung is working hard to make sure it’s no laughing matter for Galaxy owners. Just months after promising most new Galaxy phones would be receiving three generations of Android version updates, Samsung today vowed to deliver four years of security updates to nearly every Galaxy phone made since 2019.That’s an impressive promise for a phone company that, just a year ago, wasn’t guaranteeing anything in terms of updates. Most new phone purchases were good for a year or two of updates, but only the Pixel, which is made by Google, and Android One-based phones were on the record about how long you would be receiving updates.To read this article in full, please click here Fitbit teams with Deepak Chopra to bolster its Premium membership Tue, 23 Feb 2021 06:55:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Fitbit is launching a new Mindful Method series featuring sessions from Deepak Chopra as part of its Premium subscription. Lenovo's new ThinkPads offer better screens and Ryzen 5000 CPUs Tue, 23 Feb 2021 06:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Lenovo’s new ThinkPad lineup is downright trendy, offering both the latest in display technology as well as a choice between Intel’s 11th-gen Core or AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs. Announced Tuesday, the various laptops in the lineup will roll out at different times over the coming months, as detailed below.The most noticeable change will be in the display for the ThinkPad X13 clamshell and Yoga (360-degree convertible) models: Both variations will have screens with an aspect ratio of 16:10. Taller aspect ratios like 16:10, 4:3, and 3:2 are believed to be a better fit for productivity work than wider ratios like 16:9, which has been the dominant option for many years.To read this article in full, please click here Windows 10: Guides, tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about Microsoft’s OS Tue, 23 Feb 2021 06:00:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is constantly being updated, with major feature drops such as the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, plus smaller enhancements to new, built-in apps. Meanwhile, new builds are being tested as part of the Windows Insider updates.We’ve built this guide to present you with the most recent Windows 10 review, notify you about new Windows 10 Insider (beta) news, and list a number of new tips, tricks, and other hints to help you get the most out of Windows 10. Bookmark this guide and check back, as we’ll be updating it with new information as it comes in.In this update, we've added new information about Windows 10 21H1, the end of the old Edge browser, and updates to our best Windows antivirus solutions.To read this article in full, please click here Android 11: Getting started with gesture navigation Tue, 23 Feb 2021 03:36:00 -0800
Source: PCWorld
Android 11 makes numerous changes throughout the OS, including some tweaks to system navigation. Starting in Android 11, almost all devices will default to Google's new gesture navigation, which might take a little adjustment on your part. There are a few ways you can make navigation on Android 11 more to your liking in just a few taps.The quick-switch gesture Ryan Whitwam/IDG Android 11's quick-switch gesture lets you swipe quickly between apps without going to the overview screen.To read this article in full, please click here