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Five burning Pixel 4 questions following Google's official 'leak'

PC World - Thu, 2019-06-13 10:57

Google might have pulled the greatest trick with the Pixel 4. On Wednesday afternoon, the Made by Google Twitter account confirmed a leak that was just starting to make the rounds: the Pixel 4 will finally have a second camera on the back, along with a new design that looks an awful lot like the presumed iPhone 11. And in doing so, it made the Pixel 4 a whole lot more interesting.

That's because there’s a lot more to be excited about than a square camera bump and a new sensor. Google may have squashed a few months of rumors and leaks with the first Pixel 4 image, but it also completely changed my expectations for the upcoming handset. By revealing what should be one of the phone’s biggest features months ahead of the game, Google actually created more hype of the phone.

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Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is more than just another remaster

PC World - Thu, 2019-06-13 09:47

I've been confused about Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. Sure, it's one of my favorite real-time strategy games, but we got a remaster just six years ago, Age of Empires II: HD Edition—and three brand-new expansions since. It made sense for Microsoft to re-release the original Age of Empires last year, as it hadn't ever been modernized. But Age of Empires II? Again?

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is much more than a remaster though—which may or may not prove controversial. The HD Edition was for purists. It played better on modern machines, with widescreen support and improved sprites, but otherwise it was pretty much the same game as the original, with all its rough edges.

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How to get Windows 10 cheap (or even for free)

PC World - Thu, 2019-06-13 06:30

Windows 10 licenses are expensive—almost painfully so. Shelling out $139 for Windows 10 Home or $200 for Windows 10 Pro feels rough when Linux is free and Windows 7 still hasn’t been completely put down. That amount of cash can easily be a third of a budget PC build.

But with less developer support for Linux and the end-of-life deadline rapidly approaching for Windows 7, Windows 10 is an inescapable necessity for most of us. What’s not a given is paying full retail.

Cheap Windows 10: Fast summary

The list below outlines our suggested methods, with links to the explanations of each.

Yes, it’s possible to snag a discount on Windows 10. The amount you’ll save depends on how much hassle you can tolerate—as well as your circumstances. If you’re lucky, you could technically get Windows 10 for free. (Legitimately for free, because installing Windows 10 without ever activating it doesn’t quite count as getting a full, sanctioned copy of Windows.)

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Do you need an antenna to cut the cord?

Mac World - Thu, 2019-06-13 06:00
If you're cutting the cord to save money, this guide will help cord-cutters decide if they can save even more by not buying a TV antenna for local channels.

Fledging Shell Thunderbolt 3 review: Roll your own X5 with this fast, portable NVMe enclosure

Mac World - Thu, 2019-06-13 06:00

There’s nothing like generic when it comes to saving money, be it prescription medicines or the Shell Thunderbolt 3. The Shell, a svelte $151 unpopulated (no drive) enclosure from Fledging offers about the same performance as Samsung’s X5, but for quite a bit less, depending on which M.2 NVMe SSD you install in it.

Design and features

The Shell Thunderbolt is considerably smaller than the Samsung X5: 3.75 inches long, by 1.85 inches wide, by a mere 0.4 inches thick. It’s rendered in solid metal which is better for shedding heat, a good thing. At least until you pick the Shell up after heavy use. It can run startlingly hot under heavy load.

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Malwarebytes Premium review: A fast, efficient security program with an unusual approach

Mac World - Thu, 2019-06-13 06:00

Malwarebytes began life as a complement to antivirus suites. It was a backstop to catch and remove particularly troublesome malware that your primary security program couldn't. That all changed in December 2016 when the company announced its paid version, Malwarebytes Premium, was capable enough to be your primary security program. “With the launch of Malwarebytes 3.0, we are confident that you can finally replace your traditional antivirus,” the company said in a blog post.

Malwarebytes comes in two flavors. The first is the free version that is only capable of removing malware infections during a scan. Upgrade to Malwarebytes Premium at an annual cost of $40 for a single device or $60 for 10 devices, and it adds real-time protection, adware and unwanted program blocking, automatic updates, and scan scheduling.

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Do you need an antenna to cut the cord?

PC World - Thu, 2019-06-13 06:00
If you're cutting the cord to save money, this guide will help cord-cutters decide if they can save even more by not buying a TV antenna for local channels.

PCIe 4.0: Everything you need to know, from specs to compatibility to caveats

PC World - Thu, 2019-06-13 05:57

Come July, AMD gets to hoist the trophy in the race to the next-generation PCIe 4.0 interface for desktop PCs. By combining its upcoming Ryzen 3000 CPUs, Radeon RX 5700 graphics, X570 chipset, and a new spate of PCIe 4.0 SSDs, consumers will be able to build or buy the first PCIe 4.0-based PC.

PCIe 4.0 sounds exciting—it’s the first big change to the interface since 2010. But as always, the questions of who can get it (and who can’t), and who really needs it, are more nuanced than you’d think. Keep reading to get the all the details. 

What is PCIe 4.0?

PCIe 4.0 is the next iteration of the PCIe interface. It’s used for connecting add-in cards and M.2 drives, as well as interconnecting various chips inside a PC. Compared to its predecessor PCIe 3.0, PCIe 4.0 essentially doubles the overall throughput. The chart below from PCI-SIG lays it all out nicely: 

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Best cheap laptops: We rate the best-sellers on Amazon and Best Buy

PC World - Thu, 2019-06-13 03:52

When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.

Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.

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WWDC announcements with the widest impact, E3, iPhone USB-C rumor, and your hot takes

Mac World - Wed, 2019-06-12 16:43

Now that the dust has settled in the wake of WWDC, we spent today’s show talking about which announcements from last week will end up the most impact on ordinary users. We also chat a bit about E3, iMovie’s latest update, the Windows 10 iCloud app, and a dubious rumor about the Lightning port on the next iPhone. This is episode 655, featuring Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, and Michael Simon.

Listen to the podcast

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Google shows off the Pixel 4's dual camera after leaks surface

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 16:25

Well, that’s one way to deal with the leaks. Google on Wednesday revealed a key feature of the Pixel 4 months ahead of its presumed release following a leak by YouTube creator Unbox Therapy just 24 hours earlier. In the tweet from its Made by Google account, the company showed off the back of the Pixel 4, featuring a dual camera array and no fingerprint sensor.

That’s a shocking reveal from a company that generally likes to copy Apple’s hype game with its press conferences. Leading up to the release of the Pixel 3a at Google I/O, for example, Google teased the arrival of “a new hero” along with the date of the keynote. However, in true Google fashion, the company downplayed the announcement as a mere appetizer with the tagline: “Wait ‘til you see what it can do.”

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The best graphics cards for PC gaming

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 15:44

“What graphics card within my budget gives me the best bang for my buck?”

That simple question cuts to the core of what people hunting for a new graphics card look for: the most oomph they can afford. Sure, the technological leaps behind each new GPU can be interesting on their own, but most everyone just wants to crank up the detail settings on Battlefield and get right to playing.

Gaming GPU cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

  • Best budget GPU: Radeon RX 570 [amazon.com]
  • Best 1080p GPU: GeForce GTX 1660 [amazon.com]
  • Best 1440p GPU: GeForce RTX 2060 [amazon.com]
  • Best $500 GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 [newegg.com]
  • Best 4K/60Hz GPU: GeForce RTX 2080 [amazon.com]
  • Best 4K/144Hz GPU: GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders EditionRemove non-product link [BestBuy.com]

Updated 5/12/2019 to add the Radeon RX 5700 announcement to the news section.

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Dying Light 2 preview: Your choices can change the entire fabric of this zombie-filled city

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 13:34

There were two standout demos at last year’s E3. One was obvious, Cyberpunk 2077. The other took me by surprise at the time though. I liked Dying Light, but Dying Light 2 arrived so much more ambitious than I expected, with Techland touting its divergent storytelling paths and evolving world.

That narrative continued at E3 2019. “It’s not about which ending you get, but how the city looks when you finish the game,” said Techland as we wrapped up this year’s hands-off demo—and for good reason, an entire district emerging from underwater as simultaneously a key storyline came to a premature end.

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Get a certified refurbished Roomba 860 for $270 instead of $600 new, today only

Mac World - Wed, 2019-06-12 12:02

Robot vacuums take some of the headache out of every day life, cleaning your floor for you while making you feel like you’re living in the future. But they can also be pretty expensive. Today, though, you can get a certified refurbished iRobot Roomba 860 robotic vacuum for $270 on Amazon, down from a list price of $450. A new Roomba 860 will set you back $600.

This robot vacuum uses a three-stage cleaning system to clean up any floor type without needing a lot of maintenance. It also features Dirt Detect Series II to identify problem areas and give them a more concentrated clean. In addition, the Roomba comes with plenty of features to help you control when and where it cleans, including scheduling abilities, a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier to keep the vacuum within certain boundaries, and Halo Mode, which keeps it away from specific items on the floor.

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Get a certified refurbished Roomba 860 for $270 instead of $600 new, today only

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 12:02

Robot vacuums take some of the headache out of every day life, cleaning your floor for you while making you feel like you’re living in the future. But they can also be pretty expensive. Today, though, you can get a certified refurbished iRobot Roomba 860 robotic vacuum for $270 on Amazon, down from a list price of $450. A new Roomba 860 will set you back $600.

This robot vacuum uses a three-stage cleaning system to clean up any floor type without needing a lot of maintenance. It also features Dirt Detect Series II to identify problem areas and give them a more concentrated clean. In addition, the Roomba comes with plenty of features to help you control when and where it cleans, including scheduling abilities, a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier to keep the vacuum within certain boundaries, and Halo Mode, which keeps it away from specific items on the floor.

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Watch 20 minutes of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 gameplay on the PC

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 10:51

Back at GDC I needed to describe my impressions of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. Paradox was willing to confirm the game’s existence to the public at the time, but all the demo footage we saw was strictly behind-closed-doors.

Give thanks to E3 then, as that’s finally changed. Brian Mitsoda talked me through an early Bloodlines 2 quest Tuesday, and we were able to capture the ensuing footage. Note that this was a hands-off demo, with a member of the dev team controlling, but I was asked for input at pivotal moments—which faction to side with, how to approach a building full of enemies, and whether we kill or spare our target.

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AMD's new Ryzen 3000 APUs give budget gamers an affordable taste of Radeon Vega

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 10:14

If you're on a Top Ramen-diet, the last thing you're probably jazzed for is AMD's new $750 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X or its $450 Radeon 5700 XT graphics card. But AMD buried some good news for budget gamers among its massive CPU, GPU, motherboard PCIe 4.0 announcement blitz this week: A pair of affordable new Ryzen 3000-series APUs.

AMD's APUs blend the company's Ryzen processing cores with Radeon Vega graphics on a single ready-to-game chip. 

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The Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition gaming mouse is down to an all-time-low of $40 today

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 09:59

If you missed the great deal on a Razer DeathAdder Chroma last week, you’ve got another chance on Wednesday with another Razer gaming mouse deal. Best Buy is selling the Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition ambidextrous mouse for $40Remove non-product link, half off its $80 MSRP and the lowest price we've ever seen.

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Apple's iCloud app finally comes to the Windows Store, with OneDrive's syncing prowess

Mac World - Wed, 2019-06-12 09:20
Apple's new app uses the Microsoft technology behind OneDrive's Files On-Demand.

Apple's iCloud app finally comes to the Windows Store, with OneDrive's syncing prowess

PC World - Wed, 2019-06-12 09:20

Apple has had an iCloud app for Windows 10 for a while now, but the link to download it was always buried deep in Apple’s support pages. Thanks to a rare joint-effort from Apple and Microsoft, though, now you can find a free and improved official Apple iCloud app in the Windows Store itself.

It largely looks and works like the old app, but this version shares the same technology behind Files On-Demand for Microsoft’s own OneDrive service. As a result, you can open and work on your iCloud files through the app without having to download them to the PC, as iCloud Drive will keep the changes in sync. In most scenarios, that should save both your time and disk space.

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