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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 Plus might make the Galaxy Note 10 and Google Pixel 4 even faster

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 11:11

If there’s one constant in the world of Android phones, it’s that the top phones all use Qualcomm’s best Snapdragon processor. This year, that’s the Snapdragon 855, a powerful system-on-chip that we’ve already seen in the Galaxy S10, One Plus 7 Pro, LG G8 ThinQ, and a few others.

Naturally, we assumed that the premium handsets coming in the second half of the year, namely the Galaxy Note 10 and Pixel 4, would use the same processor. But that might not be the case. Qualcomm has announced a mid-year refresh to the Snapdragon 855 that it’s calling the 855 Plus. Because, you know, everything that’s better has a plus in its name these days.

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Warning: Watch out for Prime Day graphics card 'deals' that aren't worth your money

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 10:35

Be wary if you’re browsing Amazon Prime Day or Newegg’s Fantastech sale with an eye toward upgrading your gaming PC. Many of the “sales” we’re seeing on graphics cards and desktops aren’t really deals at all, and if you’re not careful, you could wind up spending much more money than you should to get the performance you want.

That’s because the new Radeon RX 5700 series and GeForce RTX Super graphics cards released last week drastically realigned the value proposition for all high-end graphics cards. You can get a lot more for your money with high-end GPUs than you could a scant few days ago. The $400 GeForce RTX 2060 Super delivers performance on par with the original $500 RTX 2070, while the $500 RTX 2070 Super is almost as fast as the original $700 RTX 2080. The Radeon GPUs, meanwhile, outpunch Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 duo at the same price point.

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Best external drives for backup, storage, and portability

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 09:51

During Amazon's Prime Day sale you can find savings on a number of external drives. We've compiled picks of the most attractive deals.

Anyone who uses a PC should have an external drive. It’s not only a useful means of data backup and storage, it also allows you to transport files from your desktop or laptop to another device.

Xbox One X users, as well, would be wise to invest in an external drive as a way of augmenting the console’s measly 1TB hard drive (the external drive needs to be USB 3.0-compatible and will be formatted when you insert the drive). 

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Acer Aspire E15 E5-576-392H review: A bargain-priced laptop with plenty of productivity power

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 09:41

During Amazon's Prime Day sale even more on this already affordably priced laptop—it's now a low $280, a whopping $90 off its list price.

The Acer Aspire E15 (E5-576-392H) is a bargain laptop that delivers solid productivity performance. Given its low price, mainstream users may be willing to overlook the laptop’s extra weight, so-so display and lack of keyboard backlighting. But if you have any high-demand applications (or a bit of a gaming bug), it would be better to consider one of its pricier cousins. 

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Intel connects 64 Loihi 'brain chips' together and hands them off to researchers

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 09:30

Intel said Monday that its “Pohoiki Beach” neuromorphic system, consisting of 64 of its Loihi chips connected together to simulate 8 million neurons, is being made available to the broader research community. A 100 million-neuron system, known as Pohoiki Springs, is on track to debut later this year, as originally planned

In 2017, Intel began defining Loihi, the first of its neuromorphic “brain chips” that simulate how the human brain works, in terms of the synapses that connected them. Now, the company has returned to just talking about simulated neurons.

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Best gaming keyboards: Our picks for the top budget, mid-tier, and RGB boards

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 09:21

Note: During Amazon's Prime Day sale you can find deals on many of the top mechanical gaming keyboards, including the Corsair K95 RGB—our pick for best ultra premium keyboard—which is now $110, a $90 savings off the list price.

Choosing a gaming keyboard is a matter of personal taste. To that point, there are a plethora of options, with a dizzying mix of features. One person could be into Cherry Browns and white backlighting. Another might favor Razer Greens and a rippling RGB glow. Gigantic wrist pads, compact shapes, numeric keypads, macro keys, volume controls.... You get the picture

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How to install the macOS Catalina beta in its own APFS container

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 08:00

With the public beta out for macOS 10.15 Catalina, you might be a thrill seeker and want to test out the in-progress version. But maybe you’d like to hedge your bets. In the past, you’d need to partition your startup drive, which could turn into a lot of effort, or get an external drive—preferably SSD—and install and boot from that.

However, there’s a better way to have your Catalina and boot it, too. It’s even a path Apple documents and recommends.

With Apple’s not-quite-so-new APFS filesystem that replaces the long-running HFS+, drives are no longer organized into partitions, but volumes and containers. A container gets a pool of a fixed amount of storage on a drive when it’s configured, but containers can have multiple volumes. Volumes share all available free space within the container without requiring any other rejiggering—they grow and shrink automatically.

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Go64 review: Free utility preps Mac users for 64-bit Catalina app-ocalypse

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 07:00

As you’ve probably heard, Apple is finally eliminating support for 32-bit Mac applications this fall. That means older software which hasn’t moved to 64-bit code won’t work on the latest macOS Catalina and although Cupertino has provided guidance on the impending “app-ocalypse,” identifying and taking action on affected apps is a hassle.

A free (donations accepted) Mac utility called Go64 aims to ease the 64-bit transition by performing a quick scan of your applications and creating an inventory of those where 32-bit code is still present. It’s fast and painless—Go64 took less than 45 seconds to scan 1,586 apps (?!) on my iMac Retina 5K startup disk.

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Google Keep Notes: 10 tips and tricks to become a master

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:12

Google Keep Notes might be the most underrated of Google’s services. It’s more than just a place to jot down your thoughts—it’s also the missing link to bring Docs, Calendar, Photos, and the rest of Google’s services together. Here are 10 tips and tricks to unlock the full potential of Google Keep Notes:

Take a voice memo

While most people use Google Keep Notes to type quick notes to themselves, you can actually get your thoughts down even quicker by using your voice. In the bottom menu on the main screen, you can tap the microphone icon to speak your note to Google Keep. It’ll both record and transcribe everything you say, so even if Google’s dictation engine misses a word, you’ll still have a record of it.

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Google Keep Notes: 10 tips and tricks to become a master

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:12
Google Keep Notes isn't as basic as it seems. Here are 10 tips and tricks so you can unlock its full potential.

Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:00
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

Roborock S6 review: This premium robot vac/mop combo features Increased suction, carpet recognition, and more

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:00
It also improves the navigation and mopping function of its predecessor.

Roborock S6 review: This premium robot vac/mop combo features Increased suction, carpet recognition, and more

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:00
It also improves the navigation and mopping function of its predecessor.

Apple Arcade won’t save us from the scourge of freemium gaming, but it’s a start

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:00

Games have been the top app category since the App Store’s inception. They’re so popular that, in iOS 11, Apple actually split Games off into its own tab, separate from other apps.

But, with few exceptions, the top games today are of a single type: freemium, or free-to-play (F2P) titles that cost nothing to start, but will suck your money away a few dollars at a time, seemingly forever.

We don’t know exactly what games will be included in the Apple Arcade subscription service when it launches this fall, nor what it will cost. But with the weight of Apple behind it, its own tab in iOS 13’s App Store, and plenty of top-tier developers on board, it may finally save us from freemium gaming hell.

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Acer Swift 7 (July 2019) review: The ultimate thin-and-light laptop's flaw is still performance

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 05:59

Acer’s Swift 7 (July 2019) 14-inch laptop still represents the pinnacle of the thin-and-light PC movement. Amazingly, this breathtakingly slim notebook PC is significantly lighter than its predecessor, while solving many of the usability issues which detracted from Acer’s previous Swift 7.

That laptop was frankly unpleasant to work on, with an average keyboard, a touchpad without click capabilities, and an absence of Thunderbolt ports—though the latter is admittedly still more of a spec we expect rather than one many peripherals take advantage of. Our updated Swift 7 (July 2019) review reflects how Acer solved those problems, though others remain: a poor webcam, mediocre performance, and a somewhat worrying amount of heat. That won’t altogether dull the sheer gasp of amazement that occurs when you first lift this sliver of a laptop out of its box.

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Amazon Prime Day 2019: The best tech, electronics, PC, and mobile deals

PC World - Mon, 2019-07-15 03:08

For Amazon Prime Day 2019, the number of deals have increased dramatically. Amazon's competition has grown, too—but still, this annual summer sale has a long way to go before it rivals Black Friday.

Still, during our hours of poring over deals, we found respectable deals in multiple categories—you’ll find everything from chargers to TVs on the cheap. Tech enthusiasts can find a few diamonds in the rough, too. Overall, it'll pay off to check out both Amazon and rivals like Dell, Walmart, and Newegg, especially if you're shopping for a laptop.

Deals will roll out continually over the course of Prime Day (between July 15 12 a.m. PT and July 16 11:59 p.m. PT), so be sure to check this page regularly for updates. We'll update this article as new deals and new pricing information become available.

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Amazon Prime Day 2019: The best tech, electronics, PC, and mobile deals

Mac World - Mon, 2019-07-15 03:08

For Amazon Prime Day 2019, the number of deals have increased dramatically. Amazon's competition has grown, too—but still, this annual summer sale has a long way to go before it rivals Black Friday.

Still, during our hours of poring over deals, we found respectable deals in multiple categories—you’ll find everything from chargers to TVs on the cheap. Tech enthusiasts can find a few diamonds in the rough, too. Overall, it'll pay off to check out both Amazon and rivals like Dell, Walmart, and Newegg, especially if you're shopping for a laptop.

Deals will roll out continually over the course of Prime Day (between July 15 12 a.m. PT and July 16 11:59 p.m. PT), so be sure to check this page regularly for updates. We'll update this article as new deals and new pricing information become available.

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Microsoft is shutting down its online versions of Hearts, Spades, Checkers and more

PC World - Sun, 2019-07-14 20:04

Chances are that you’re either obsessed with Microsoft’s Internet versions of Hearts, Backgammon, Checkers and more—or completely oblivious that such games exist. Unfortunately for the fans, Microsoft's online card games are going away entirely.

In a Community post, Microsoft has announced that its versions of Internet Backgammon, Checkers, Spades, Hearts, Reversi and MSN Go are indeed going away—if you’re still running Windows XP, they’ll vanish at the end of July. Support for the games on Windows 7 will end on January 22, 2020, the same day that support for Windows 7 officially ends.

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Best Amazon Kindle and Fire tablet deals for Prime Day 2019

PC World - Sun, 2019-07-14 15:01

Amazon Prime Day isn’t just a day—it’s essentially a 60-hour event that starts right now with deals on Amazon’s own devices, including Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Bottom line: If you’ve been considering one of these devices, now is the time to buy, as we’re seeing discounts of up to 50 percent. (You’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member to score these deals, and if you aren’t already, you can sign up here.)

Of all the deals listed below, we're partial to the all-new Kindle, which is the best budget Amazon e-reader you can buy, and now $10 less than its all-time low price. Compared to the previous model, it upgrades from E Ink Pearl to E Ink Carta for sharper text. It also adds a capacitive touchscreen to minimize errant swipes. 

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Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers review: Lighting the way for other MMORPGs

PC World - Sat, 2019-07-13 08:00

“Shadowbringers” is such a goth name, to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if you entered Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion expecting to see, oh, broody anime antiheroes running a delivery service for vampires. But it’s so much more than that.

It’s a tale that reminds us that the world’s beauty depends on a balance of light and dark rather than a surfeit of one or the other, and that starry nights boast as much majesty as sunny afternoons. It’s an oddly timely tale that riffs off contemporary concerns about ignorant politics in the context of a sickened world, and its cutscenes command more interest than many series on television. It’s not only the best Final Fantasy XIV expansion so far (at least in terms of its launch state), but its story hits with such a force that there’s no longer any question that Square Enix’s MMORPG warrants inclusion in discussions of the best Final Fantasy games of all time.

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