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Dell's G Series laptops are priced for every gamer

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 09:14

Dell's launching its G Series of gaming laptops with every gamer in mind, from entry-level to more advanced users. Dell knows that not everyone can afford high-end models like, say, the Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 (sold by Dell's Alienware division), also announced Tuesday, which start around $1,500.

With prices starting at $749, Dell's G3, G5, and G7 product lines are far more affordable, yet they still carve out room for features including some of Intel's latest quad-core and hex-core mobile CPUs. All of the G series laptops start shipping Tuesday, with additional configurations following later in April. 

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HTC Vive Pro review: Virtual reality without the rough, blurry edges

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 09:00

If virtual reality is an early adopter market, then the HTC Vive Pro is for the earliest adopters. The first refresh we’ve seen to consumer VR headsets in two years, it’s destined be niche—not so much a Vive 2 as a Vive 1.5, with all the connotations that brings.

But maybe that’s fine. There’s a certain (small) subset of people who have been on this train since the earliest days of the first Oculus Developer Kit, the DK1. People who, a year later, put down more money on the DK2, then probably bought both a consumer Oculus Rift and an HTC Vive a few years later.

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Origin supercharges the sleek EVO15-S with a powerful 6-core CPU, 144Hz display

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 09:00

The Origin PC EVO15-S wowed us late last year as one of the first gaming laptops wielding Nvidia’s potent GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics. Now the slim, sleek, and supercharged notebook is getting a CPU upgrade to match. On Tuesday, Origin announced that the EVO15-S and its classy professional cousin, the Origin NT-15, can be ordered with the 6-core Core i7-8750H processor that Intel just revealed. Before today, Intel’s fastest mobile CPUs topped out at four cores.

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macOS: How to use Spotlight’s query language to create an All My Files-like feature

Mac World - Tue, 2018-04-03 08:00

Recently, I noted that the All My Files feature present in macOS for several releases until macOS 10.13 High Sierra, had disappeared, replaced by an inferior Recents display—and that it couldn’t be restored. A Macworld reader wrote in to note that with the use of Spotlight’s lightly documented underlying query language, you could restore the function.

I avoided this in this previous column for two reasons, but if you’re willing to go through some configuration and picky details, you could find it worthwhile. First, it requires learning some programming-like syntax to construct a query, and even the tiniest error in typing or construction will keep it from working without any errors that give you clues of how to fix it. That can be frustrating, but I can at least provide the recipe to paste in. Second, depending on the age of your Mac and how many files on yoru drive, the All My Files replacement could take a long time to run or update, or even slow the Finder down.

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Dell's updated XPS 15 could crush the MacBook Pro 15—again

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 08:00

Know why the MacBook Pro 15 is so thin? It’s because of all the times Dell’s powerhouse XPS 15 has stomped on it.

Yes, that’s a cheap shot, but it’s been mostly true—and Apple’s beatdown will only get worse as the newest XPS 15 (model 9570) ups the ante to a 6-core, 12-thread Core i7-8750H. Part of Intel's new enthusiast-class “Coffee Lake H” series of chips, the Core i7-8750H is essentially a mobile version of Intel’s powerful Core i7-8700K chip.

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The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 pack 6-core Intel overclockable goodness

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 08:00

The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 laptops are all about premium gaming, so not surprisingly they’re part of the big rollout of systems with Intel’s six-core Core i7 and Core i9 mobile CPUs, announced Tuesday.

To accommodate the new processors, Alienware is introducing a new cooling system, Alienware Cryo-Tech v2.0. The system features thinner fan blades and a vapor cooling chamber for the CPU. The company says the new cooling system allows the Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 to be 10 percent faster than before. 

There’s a lot more to like in these mobile powerhouses. We’ll go through the prices and specs first, then dive into some design tweaks and extras just for gamers.

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Twelve South HiRise Duet and Belkin Valet Charge Dock review: Which iPhone and Apple Watch charging dock is better?

Mac World - Tue, 2018-04-03 07:00

The more electronic devices you bring into your life, the more things you’ll have to charge to make sure that they’re ready when you need them—and that’s especially true with smartphones and smartwatches. For the average user, both the iPhone and Apple Watch need to be charged daily to ensure that they can last through another frame.

Adding an Apple Watch to your daily ensemble means another thing to manage, and another thing to make sure ends up on a charger at night. That was one of the big reasons why I fell out of an everyday routine with the Watch: I’d forget to charge it, find it sapped of battery life the next time I wanted to wear it, and then I’d stop using it for a while. If you have a bad habit of moving around your Apple Watch charger, or just don’t want to have a bunch of cables on your bedside table, there are a couple of docks that can elegantly handle both devices at once.

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No good deed: Punishing Apple’s Battery Health indicator

Mac World - Tue, 2018-04-03 06:00

After tables were flipped over Apple slowing down older phones with failing batteries instead of letting them shut down, Apple offered an apology and a fix. Well, we can’t have that, now, can we?

Writing for Mashable, Damon Beres says “The iPhone’s new ‘battery health’ feature is a little hit of anxiety.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Chris, Peter and Nick.)

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Intel's debut 6-core Core i9 CPUs could push gaming laptops past 5GHz speeds

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 03:01

For years, PC gamers have needed to pick a poison: Buy a desktop with the most powerful components available, or sacrifice some performance for a laptop they could take on the road. Intel’s new six-core mobile Core i9 chip, its fastest notebook CPU ever, paves the way for 5GHz gaming laptops, making that decision even tougher.

Using new “thermal velocity boost” technology to propel the new Core i9-8950HK from a base clock rate of 2.9GHz to a whopping 4.8GHz, the new unlocked 8th-generation Core i9 sits atop five new Core i5 and Core i7 high-performance mobile H-series chips, plus four more U-series Core chips aimed at lower-power systems. (All are “Coffee Lake” 14nm chips.) Intel also launched a new lineup of desktop Core processors, plus a new branding logo (Core i7+) to indicate the presence of hard drive-boosting Optane memory inside notebook PCs.

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Hands-on: The MSI GS65 is a gaming laptop that blends into business settings

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 03:01

The only thing better than a gaming laptop is the one you make your boss pay for.

That's the scenario MSI is apparently trying to tackle with its GS65, announced Tuesday. An update from the excellent GS63VR we reviewed, MSI said the GS65 is designed to be a little more sedate-looking, the better to blend into your business meeting. Although it still has MSI's dragon it, the word "gaming" has been removed, for instance. The keyboard sacrifices translucent key skirts for enclosed ones, to make the per-key lighting less obvious. 

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Gigabyte's Aero 15 gaming laptops boost the core count but keep the battery life

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 03:01

The new Gigabyte Aero 15 reminds us of that line from the Godfather: “Boost the core count, keep the battery life.”

OK, we made that up, but one of our favorite gaming laptops from last year just got a whole lot faster without giving up the one thing that mattered: Battery life. Gigabyte’s Aero 15 series now features Intel's new 8th-gen, Core i7 CPU inside. That means six cores of blistering Coffee Lake IPC in the same 45-watt footprint.

The Aero 15 remains mostly the same externally, but there are a few key differences:

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Intel's new 'Coffee Lake' Core desktop CPUs and chipsets swipe a trick from smart speakers

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 03:01

Lest desktop PC users think that they were being neglected, on Tuesday Intel launched a number of eighth-gen Core desktop processors, plus four new desktop chipsets that mimic the always-listening “modern standby” experience of a smart speaker.

While Intel’s powerful 6-core mobile Core i9 chip—and, to a lesser extent, the “Core i7+” and related brands that signal the presence of Optane within notebooks—were the major announcements, Intel also announced three new “standard power” Core desktop chips, as well as six low-power T-series chips. All of the new Coffee Lake 8th-gen chips are priced at $213 or less, save one.

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Intel ushers responsive Optane memory into laptops with Core i5+, i7+, and i9+ brands

PC World - Tue, 2018-04-03 03:01

As Intel migrates its Optane memory technology into the notebook space, a new “Core i7+” brand will answer the question: how will consumers know it’s there? 

For years, notebook and desktop buyers alike have instinctively been able to buy Intel’s “good, better, best” hierarchy of Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips. Last year, Intel added a premium brand, Core i9. With Optane, Intel has complicated its branding a bit more. New “Core i5+,” “Corei7+” and “Core i9+” stickers will adorn notebooks, and possibly desktops, that ship with Optane accelerator technology inside.

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The best Kindle: Reviews and buying advice

PC World - Mon, 2018-04-02 19:18

When someone says they want an e-reader, they most likely mean they want an Amazon Kindle. Knowing which Kindle to buy is the next question, and it depends on your budget and your reading preferences. With this guide and our in-depth reviews, we’ll help you find just the right Kindle for you or your lucky loved one.

In the decade since Amazon’s E-Ink slabs were first introduced to the world, the Kindles’ popularity has elevated its brand recognition to the same heights as Q-Tips and Kleenex—with good reason. Available in five models with varying feature sets, Amazon ensures there’s a Kindle to meet every bookworm’s needs and budget.

While Amazon’s competitors might offer more technologically advanced or less expensive hardware, not a one of them can hold a candle to the sheer volume of books, comics, and periodicals available to download and consume on a Kindle.

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April Fools' Day gags you may have missed

Mac World - Mon, 2018-04-02 14:51

Sunday was April 1, aka April Fools' Day. It was also Easter. And, Sunday tends to be a slow day on the internet, since people are doing other things. With all those factors in mind, there’s a chance you missed out on the April Fools' gags on the web this year.

But not to worry! We've scoured the web for some of the best April Fools' gags that made the rounds on last weekend. If you want to get your Monday started with a good laugh (or at least a feeling of slight amusement, considering the lameness of some of these gags), check out the list below.

Google Maps: Where’s Waldo

Waldo (known as Wally in the U.K.), the main character of the popular Where’s Waldo children’s books, found his way into Google Maps. You can try to find Waldo-as well as his buddies Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, Odlaw, and Woof (just his tail)-in the Google Maps iOS app or on the Google Maps website.

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April Fools' Day gags you may have missed

PC World - Mon, 2018-04-02 14:51
The joke’s on you online.

Report: Apple to use its own chips in Macs starting in 2020

Mac World - Mon, 2018-04-02 14:50

A (very brief) report from Ian King and Mark Gurman at Bloomberg states that Apple will begin using its own chips in Macs, replacing processors from Intel, beginning in 2020. The report only cites "people familiar with the plans," but Gurman has a very good track record for Apple rumors.

Of course, predicting the moves of any major tech company two years out is sketchy at best; even if you're accurate at the time, plans can and do change.

The report is very brief and developing, but it says the initiative is code-named Kalamata and is part of a larger effort to get iOS devices and macOS devices to work together better. The plan has been approved by company executives, and the transition away from Intel chips will probably happen in multiple steps.

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How well does the new 9.7-inch iPad handle games? Apple Arcade episode 4

Mac World - Mon, 2018-04-02 14:30

Apple’s cozy chats about the new 9.7-inch iPad making its way into classrooms focus heavily on affordability, privacy, and quizzing software. But let’s admit it: Many students are going to be spending a lot more time in class playing Fortnite than scribbling out notes with their fancy new Apple Pencils.

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iOS 11.4: First beta released to developers with Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2

Mac World - Mon, 2018-04-02 14:09

iOS 11.3 was released on March 29 after more than two months of beta testing. It added several new features, including battery health and performance settings, four new Animojis, Business Chat and Health Records betas, and a bit upgrade to ARKit.

Two big features we've been waiting on since the release of iOS 11 last year were notably absent: AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud. Both features were included in beta, but were cut from the final release. Those features are unlikely to get pushed back to iOS 12 (due for release this fall), which means iOS 11 will have yet another point release.

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Steam Machines disappear from Steam's hardware tab, but their legacy lives on

PC World - Mon, 2018-04-02 11:45

Steam Machines no longer grace Steam’s dedicated hardware tabe, as GamingOnLinux noticed. You probably didn’t. Steam Machines carried thrilling potential but wound up doomed from the start, a catastrophic flop with consumers. The best concepts from the failed endeavor continue onward, though. 

Valve envisioned Steam Machines and SteamOS—a proprietary Linux fork intertwined with Steam’s Big Picture mode—during the Windows 8 era, while Microsoft was trying to turn PCs into tablets and lock apps down in the Windows Store. Cue the heroic reveal. Tiny, powerful Steam Machines by a legion of PC hardware makers were supposed to counter the threat of Windows becoming a walled garden while simultaneously dragging PC gaming into the living room.

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