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Microsoft streamlines 19H2 builds as Windows 10's fall update nears

Thu, 2019-09-05 19:20

With a month or so to go before Microsoft drops the scheduled Windows 10 “19H2” update, the company may be signaling that work is winding down.

Recall that Microsoft began setting the stage for 19H2 in July, positioning the fall update not as a “feature release” of major changes, but instead a group of “select performance improvements, enterprise features and quality enhancements.” It might not be entirely fair to call 19H2 a “service pack,” but that’s probably a close analogy.

Microsoft has been testing 19H2 in what’s known as the conservative “Slow Ring” of the Windows 10 Insider program. Meanwhile, the more adventurous “Fast Ring” has been reserved for the feature-rich update coming next year, known as “20H1.”

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Microsoft will patch Windows 10 CPU-spike bug, and says it's tied to disabling web search

Thu, 2019-09-05 15:18

Users who have disabled web searching under Windows Search and have suffered CPU spikes as a result will have to wait at least until mid-September for a patch.

A “small number of users” have seen a spike in CPU consumption after installing the latest update to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, or  KB4512941, Microsoft reported. Fortunately, the CPU spikes only occur under a limited set of conditions.

Actually, users may see two things that are out of the norm. Specifically, they “may not receive results when using Windows Desktop Search and may see high CPU usage from SearchUI.exe when searching after installing KB4512941,” Microsoft said. “This   issue is only encountered on devices in which searching the web from Windows Desktop Search has been disabled.”

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Lenovo's Yoga C740 and C940 laptops feature both Ice Lake and Comet Lake CPUs

Thu, 2019-09-05 14:30

The Fall harvest has brought us new crop of Lenovo Yoga laptops. This season, the password is "10th gen." PCWorld walks you through a stack of 10th gen laptops and tells you which one is the most 10th-gen of the 10th gens.

At the more affordable end of the pool you get the Yoga C740 14 and Yoga C740 15.6. Both feature 10th-gen Comet Lake CPUs, the last of the 14nm chips, officially "14nm++." For this lineup, Lenovo skips discrete graphics for the integrated Intel UHD graphics.

For those who want more power, Lenovo's Yoga C940 15.6 keeps the 15.6-inch screen of the C740, but can handle up to the more powerful 9th-gen Core i9 CPU. Rather than rely on Intel's UHD graphics alone, Lenovo also integrates an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. Because it's a convertible laptop that you might want to take with you and use as a tablet or mini-movie theater, Lenovo drops in a screen capable of hitting 500 nits of brightness for use outdoors.

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Lenovo's Marvel Dimension of Heroes lets you play Marvel superheroes in AR

Thu, 2019-09-05 14:30

Two years ago, Lenovo teamed up with Disney to launch an augmented-reality version of Star Wars, known as Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. Today, Disney’s offering its other blockbuster franchise, Marvel, a chance at AR with Marvel Dimension of Heroes.

What’s new in Dimension of Heroes is that the game uses not one, but two controllers. Instead of wielding a single lightsaber, you’ll have the chance to use a pair of new dual Universal Controllers to “command” the reality-altering spells of Doctor Strange, for example, using both hands.

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Dynabook launches 15-inch thin-and-light Tecra X50 notebook with some big conveniences

Thu, 2019-09-05 11:00

Larger laptops are typically big, weighty machines, pushing into the territory of mobile workstations. Dynabook, however, is announcing the Tecra X50, a “thin and light” 15.6-inch notebook that delivers big-screen convenience without the weight.

Dyanbook, which carries on the legacy of Toshiba’s PC division, already offers X-series laptops in 12-, 13-, and 14-inch models. But Dynabook’s ToughBody magnesium alloy chassis weighs in at just 3.13 pounds, far less than, say, the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Book 2 (4.2 pounds) or the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 (3.75 pounds). 

To be fair, both of the latter machines aspire to powerful mobile computing platforms, if not outright workstations. The Dynabook X50’s aspirations are more modest: Rather than lead the way into Intel’s 10th-gen Core generation, the X50 uses an 8th-gen Whiskey Lake chip with vPro, and no discrete GPU.

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The redesigned Samsung Galaxy Fold’s best feature might be the service, not the design

Thu, 2019-09-05 09:49

At long last, the Galaxy Fold is finally almost ready to ship to consumers. Again.

Following a false-start in April that derailed the Galaxy Fold’s launch just days before its launch, Samsung has announced that its next-generation handset will begin shipping in Korea on Friday, Sept. 6, and the U.S. on Sept. 26.

As previously detailed, Samsung has preformed a number of changes to the device following several issues with the initial design. Several early reviewers experienced issues ranging from flickering to debris getting stuck under the screen, and in response, Samsung has implemented improvements which it says will “ensure consumers have the best possible experience.” The fixes include:

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Ears-on with the Sonos Move Bluetooth speaker: Portable Sonos sound with Alexa and Google Assistant onboard

Thu, 2019-09-05 09:00
The audio gurus at Sonos have finally jumped into the portable Bluetooth speaker arena, and from what we’ve seen—and heard—the Move should be worth the wait.

How to save money and scan your photos digitally using your phone and Google PhotoScan

Thu, 2019-09-05 06:46

Scanning photos into digital copies isn’t just for old photo albums. These days, you’ll often have to decide whether to buy an expensive digital version of school photos, not to mention weddings. But why spend extra money when you have a photo scanner in your pocket?

Google PhotoScan is an app both for Android and iOS, and works by using your phone’s camera to take several photos of a print photograph, using intelligence to stitch them together and mark the edges of the photograph. The photo stitching also works to eliminate glare from your phone’s flash, though a well-lit photo using natural light delivers the best results.

To be fair, a native digital image will present the clearest, sharpest results. And if you have a dedicated scanner, or a multifunction printer with a scanner attached to it, that option should definitely be explored. But scanners cost money, as do the rights to digital images—the local photography service charged me $17! Instead, explore what your phone’s own camera can do before ponying up for that Instagram post.

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Adobe Acrobat Standard DC vs. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Thu, 2019-09-05 06:30

Adobe Acrobat remains the gold standard for PDF editors—as well as the most expensive. Given the cost of upgrading from Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the differences between the company’s two paid products for individuals: Adobe Acrobat Standard DCRemove non-product link and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (which cost $12.99 per month and $14.99 per month, respectively, with an annual commitment). While both versions will get you the desktop software, access to Adobe Document Cloud services for storing and sharing files, and an Adobe Sign subscription to sign and collect legal electronic and digital signatures on any device, there are some differences in features and capabilities that may make one or the other better suited to your needs.

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Roku and Amazon have different ideas about over-the-air DVR

Thu, 2019-09-05 06:00
Over-the-air DVR might always be a niche, even as antennas make a comeback.

Intel: Core i9-9900KS, Cascade Lake-X chips will ship in October

Wed, 2019-09-04 15:37

Intel said Wednesday that it plans to ship two high-end desktop processors next month: both its monstrous Core i9-9900KS processor and its upcoming Cascade Lake-X gaming processor will go on sale.

In a presentation from the IFA show in Berlin, Ryan Shrout, chief performance strategist at Intel, said that Intel is aware of the competition, specifically AMD and Qualcomm, and was “adjusting” to deliver market-leading products. AMD has already delivered a cost-competitive Ryzen processor, and there’s reason to believe a next-gen Threadripper is coming soon. As Intel did at Computex, the chipmaker announced furture products in hopes of taking some wind out of its competitor’s sales.

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Watch The Full Nerd talk about breaking Intel and AMD news live!

Wed, 2019-09-04 14:36

Join The Full Nerd gang as they talk about the latest PC hardware topics. Today's show goes in-depth into Intel's breaking Cascade Lake-X news, AMD's problems with Ryzen 3000 boost mode, and the best GPU's to buy right now for every resolution. As always we will be answering your live questions so speak up in the chat.

If YouTube is not your thing you can also watch us on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Logitech unveils next-gen MX Master 3 smart mouse, MX Keys keyboard

Wed, 2019-09-04 14:14

On Wednesday, Logitech announced the Logitech MX Master 3, its next-generation intelligent mouse, and the MX Keys wireless keyboard. Both are expected to ship in September and will cost $100 apiece. 

The 4,000dpi MX Master 3 mouse features a new MagSpeed mouse wheel, which the company claims is 90 percent faster. Unfortunately, like before, the MX Master 3 is optimized for right-handers. 

The MX Master 3 costs the same as its excellent predecessor, the Logitech MX Master 2, and it's visually nearly identical as well. The two-tier mouse features a traditional two-button layout on the right, with the clickable Magspeed wheel. On the left, there’s a “shelf” to rest your right thumb, complete with a gesture button, two more buttons to navigate front and back, and a clickable horizontal scroll wheel. Some mice are designed for your fingers to perch upon, but the MX Master series is designed to cup your palm and to take more of the weight of your hand.

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Steam's long-awaited Library overhaul launches Sept. 17: Salvation for your massive game collection

Wed, 2019-09-04 13:00

Steam’s library overhaul has taken longer than I think anyone would’ve guessed, which is about par for the course with Valve. It’s almost done though. On September 17, less than two weeks from now, you’ll be able to enter the open beta for the new library interface.

And I think you’re going to want to, because it’s fantastic. This past week Valve gave us a live demo, a deep dive into the myriad changes to expect. The short version though? If you’ve accrued a vast Steam library in the last decade-plus, this update is going to be your salvation.

Coming home

The heart of the update is the Library Home Page. Clicking on the Library tab now brings you to a landing page with a familiar tiled layout, and sections at the top for “What’s New,” “Recent Games,” and “Recent Friend Activity.”

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Acer unveils a hulking $14,000 gaming cockpit, a 300Hz Predator laptop, and more at IFA

Wed, 2019-09-04 11:27

Acer rolled into the annual IFA tradeshow in Berlin with plenty in store for PC gaming enthusiasts, showing off a hulking $14,000 multi-monitor gaming cockpit, a laptop with a blazingly fast 300Hz display, an affordable new gaming notebook, and more.

Believe it or not, the $14,000 Predator Thronos Air is actually $6,000 cheaper than the original Predator Thronos gaming chair revealed last year. The monitor arm that holds up to three displays isn’t motorized anymore, but the Thronos picked up massage capabilities, so that’s a net win in my book. It’s still a gigantic steel beast of a cockpit, complete with Acer-blue LED lights, a foot rest, and a camera mount above the middle monitor for any budding Twitch stars. Look for it in the fourth quarter, but be warned: That sky-high sticker price doesn’t include an actual gaming rig or any displays.

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Roku adds a soundbar and subwoofer to its audio lineup

Wed, 2019-09-04 09:00
Roku has announced the October availability of a soundbar that doubles as a streaming device, as well as a subwoofer that pairs with it and the company's existing wireless speakers.

Asus debuts 300Hz displays for gaming laptops

Wed, 2019-09-04 08:00

If you thought you were cooler than school with your gaming laptop's 144Hz or 240Hz screen refresh rate, Asus just dropped Zephryrus and ROG Strix laptops with 300Hz refresh rates.

Nope, you didn't read that wrong: The new Asus Zephyrus and ROG Strix laptops will feature 300Hz refresh-rate panels.

Although Asus is unlikely to be the only laptop maker with a 300Hz panel at IFA Berlin, it's the first to announce (though pricing and availability remain unknown). Higher-refresh panels typically help make gaming and even scrolling of 2D content appear far smoother. A similar fast pan of a game, for example, would appear blurrier at 60Hz than on a 144Hz panel.

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Asus and Nvidia's ProArt StudioBook One wields Quadro RTX 6000 graphics power

Wed, 2019-09-04 08:00

Asus and Nvidia’s new ProArt StudioBook One might be the answer to contrent creators’ infinite need for graphics speed. Announced Wednesday afternoon at IFA in Berlin. and claiming the modest title of “world’s most powerful laptop,” the Asus and Nvidia collaboration will be the first to boast Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 6000 GPU. 

Nvidia offered few hard details but did say the ProArt StudioBook One will include a Core i9 CPU, 64GB of DDR4, a 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5, a 90-watt-hour battery, and three Thunderbolt 3 ports. Pricing wasn’t available either, but if a Quadro RTX desktop GPU itself is $3,600 today, this laptop won’t be cheap.

Desktop-like performance

The mobile version of the desktop Quadro RTX 6000  will feature “desktop-like” performance, according to Nvidia. Mobile GPUs had crept close to desktop performance in previous years, but both the GTX 10-series and the RTX 20-series generation saw desktop jump far ahead again. For example, laptop GPUs have topped out at the GeForce RTX 2080, with no mobile version of the wickedly fast GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The same happened with the GeForce GTX 1080, which offered no GeForce GTX 1080 Ti equivalent.

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Hands-on: Stadia's cloud gaming feels impressive, but Google's showing off the wrong games

Wed, 2019-09-04 06:45

We finally got a chance to play some games over Google Stadia, and it’s clear that cloud-based gaming has come a long way since the days of OnLive—though the games that Google is using to showcase its upcoming service leave a lot to be desired.

Let me be clear: We won’t pass judgment on Google Stadia until we’re able to test it on real-world networks, preferably a number of them in a bunch of different locations. Having written about how PlayStation Now works great in the San Francisco area, I’m nevertheless very conscious of the fact that it’s terrible in large swathes of the United States and the world, and while I expect Stadia will be better than PlayStation Now, it’s still impossible to know how much better until we’ve spent a lot of time with it.

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Android 10: Getting started with the best new features

Wed, 2019-09-04 06:15

When you first start using Android 10, it won’t look all that different from version 9. In fact, the biggest change you’re going to encounter is that it doesn’t have a tasty dessert moniker attached to it. But even without any radical new features, Android “Don’t Call It Q” charts a whole new path for the OS, with new ways to navigate, customize, and secure your phone. So if you can’t find anything new, you’re just looking in the wrong places. Here are all the best new features in Android 10 and how to start using them.

Dark theme

Possibly the most highly anticipated new feature in Android 10 is a simple one: dark mode. Called Dark theme, it flips many of the elements in stock Google apps from blinding white to black or dark gray. However, it’s a little scattered, with some apps turning automatically, while others have their own internal switches. Here’s how it breaks down:

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