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This week in games: Crusader Kings II is as cheap as it will ever get, Destiny 2: Shadowkeep delayed

Fri, 2019-08-02 11:50

I know, I know, "Take me to the Crusader Kings II deal." We'll get there.

You'll find details below, plus new spooky trailers for Control and Blair Witch, a short Destiny 2 delay, a longer Phoenix Point delay, and if you scroll down far enough? The announcement of a new Garfield Kart sequel, because the world's an irony-laden hellscape and we might as well accept it's never getting better.

This is gaming news for July 29 to August 2.

Buy Crusader Kings II

I usually kick these off with the week's free games, and Epic's giving away some good ones this week. Both Remedy's classic Alan Wake and Ubisoft's fairly recent fighter For Honor are up for grabs, which is quite a one-two punch.

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Intel's first discrete Xe graphics cards will cost $200, battling AMD and Nvidia for the mainstream crown

Fri, 2019-08-02 11:16

Intel’s discrete “Xe” graphics cards will be priced to move when they debut in 2020. In an interview with Russian YouTube channel Pro Hi-Tech, Intel’s chief architect and graphics head Raja Koduri said that the chip giant is targeting the mainstream $200 price point with its initial consumer offering. 

Koduri drops the information around the 6:15 mark in the video below. If you don’t speak Russian, you can turn on closed captioning and set the subtitles to English in the video settings, but they’re a bit garbled. Fortunately, Redditor u/taryakun provided a more legible translation of the exchange:  

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Amazon Dash buttons are going away for good, but there are alternatives

Fri, 2019-08-02 08:08
Physical Dash buttons are on the way out, but there are alternatives for quickly reordering items from Amazon, from “virtual” Dash buttons to the Dash Wand.

The most exciting PC games still to come in 2019

Fri, 2019-08-02 06:30

As Groundhog Day indicates six more weeks of winter, so does Madden release day indicate three months of video games ahead. We’ve officially passed that threshold for 2019, ending the annual summer drought. Rejoice!

So what does the fall have in store? Not that much actually. With a year until the new console launches, we seem to be in sort-of a mopping up phase—and most of the remaining titles of note are slated for next spring, if we’re honest. Looking at you, Dying Light II and Cyberpunk 2077.

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It's time: We need a unified RGB lighting standard

Fri, 2019-08-02 06:05

They told me RGB lighting would serve a purpose. All of them did—Logitech, Razer, Corsair. When I started reviewing RGB-equipped peripherals, five or six years ago now, it was more than mere fashion statement. Sure, your new keyboard would look flashy, but it would do so much more they said.

Your keyboard backlighting might change color to match your character choice in Overwatch, for instance. Or perhaps flash blue-and-red when the police were after you in Grand Theft Auto V. Maybe when you sent out a pulse in The Division 2, you’d see the same orange pulse spread across your keyboard as well. Cool, right?

Problem is, all three of those examples require different hardware. The Overwatch integration? That’s Razer. Grand Theft Auto V is Logitech, and Corsair has Ubisoft’s games on lock lately. There is still no unified standard for RGB lighting, and that needs to change. Hell, it never should’ve been this way to start, but it’s well past time to rectify the problem.

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Eyes on Sony’s CLED (Crystal LED) display technology: Samsung isn’t the only player in the Micro LED game

Fri, 2019-08-02 06:00
Sony's Crystal LED video-wall technology looks astounding, far better than any conventional commercial-cinema or home-based display I've ever seen.

Denon DP-450USB turntable review: An ideal tool for digitizing your vinyl collection

Fri, 2019-08-02 06:00
Denon’s DP-450USB delivers great sound and an easy way to digitize your vinyl—and you’ll want to find a better software solution than that comes bundled.

The Full Nerd ep. 101: Threadripper 3 rumors, Destiny 2 on Ryzen 3000, and Q&A galore

Thu, 2019-08-01 11:04

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Brad’s out! And you know what that means: Gordon Mah UngAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray dive deep into the rumor mill, discussing recent Threadripper 3 leaks before turning to AMD’s Destiny 2 fix on Ryzen 3000 CPUs, then finish things up with an extended Q&A session.  

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Nanoleaf’s Canvas smart light squares are poised to take charge of all your HomeKit devices

Thu, 2019-08-01 10:00
An update to the Nanoleaf app for iOS will add Touch Actions, a feature that lets you tap specific Canvas light squares on your wall to control your various HomeKit devices.

AMD CEO confirms high-end Radeon 'Navi' graphics cards are coming

Thu, 2019-08-01 09:54

AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT graphics cards deliver massive bang-for-buck, deploying the cutting-edge 7nm manufacturing process and an all-new RDNA graphics architecture so effectively that no less than six different GPUs were rendered obsolete practically overnight—but AMD isn’t stopping there. While many rumors about forthcoming “Navi” GPUs revolve around lower-cost replacements for venerable “Polaris” graphics cards such as the Radeon RX 580, AMD’s CEO recently confirmed that bigger, more badass Navi variants are coming, too. 

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Intel launches 10th-gen 'Ice Lake' chips, pushing hard on graphics for notebook PCs

Thu, 2019-08-01 09:00

Intel’s eleven new Ice Lake chips are betting big on graphics. Intel claims that its new 10th-gen Core family, launched Thursday, will offer the best integrated graphics experience of any thin-and-light notebook PC—about equaling what some discrete chips offer in PCWorld tests.

Intel began setting up Ice Lake expectations in May, positioning its first mass-market 10nm parts as improvements for the notebook PC as a whole, including AI, communications, and I/O. The overarching message is “new:” a new process technology, a new CPU core, and a new graphics engine, along with “new” advancements in communications and I/O. 

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Intel 10th gen Ice Lake Performance pre-review: Come for the new cores, stay for the graphics

Thu, 2019-08-01 09:00

To say there’s a lot riding on Intel’s upcoming 10th-gen Ice Lake CPU would be an understatement.

Seemingly stuck in the mud at 14nm for several generations, the chip giant as AMD pushing its left flank on desktops and servers, and Qualcomm coming over a hill on its right flank. So yeah, there’s a lot riding on how good Intel’s new 10nm Ice Lake CPU is.

The good news for Intel is that its 10th-gen Ice Lake CPU indeed looks like a win at last. Intel let a handful of hardware reviewers, PCWorld included, poke and prod Ice Lake CPUs ahead of today’s launch. Read my colleague Mark Hachman's companion piece on Intel Ice Lake specs and features for details on the entire family. 

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How to get a single channel guide for both over-the-air and streaming TV

Thu, 2019-08-01 06:00
Want to combine over-the-air and streaming video sources into one TV guide? Here are your options.

Reolink E1 Pro review: This indoor home security cam delivers a great picture at great price

Thu, 2019-08-01 06:00
This 4MP Super HD pan-and-tilt smart home security camera offers amazing image quality and premium features for less than $100.

Best smart plugs: These gadgets will turn any electrical outlet into a smart socket

Wed, 2019-07-31 13:33
With models from Lutron, Wemo, Leviton, iDevices, and others, it can be difficult to know which easy and inexpensive device is best for controlling the lamps and small appliances in your smart home. We’ll help you find the right one.

Samsung keeps the high-end Android tablet dream alive with the Galaxy Tab S6

Wed, 2019-07-31 11:59

Unpacked isn’t until next week, but Samsung can hardly wait to show us all of the new things it’s been working on. Ahead of the big show, Samsung has taken the wraps off the Galaxy Tab S6, a high-end Android tablet aimed at competing with Apple’s iPad Pro and featuring top-of-the-line specs, a Bluetooth S Pen, and the first in-display fingerprint sensor on a tablet.

After launching the affordable Galaxy Tab S5e earlier this year, Samsung has skipped right to version 6 for its new premium tablet. Design-wise, it looks a lot like the Galaxy S4 that it replaces, with slim, uniform bezels all around and a wide 16:10 aspect ratio. You’ll also notice that there isn’t a headphone jack this time around, helping Samsung trim 1.4mm from the thickness. Here’s how the Galaxy Tab S6 stacks up to its predecessor:

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5 ancient software programs we refuse to give up

Wed, 2019-07-31 06:30

Last week I received an email notice from Microsoft informing me that, as of January 14, 2020, they will no longer support Windows 7, which I still have on one of my desktop computers. Why? Because I have some legacy software that is incompatible with Windows 8 and 10: dBase III+, Paint Shop Pro 7, PageMaker, several graphics programs and plugins—one is the first version of Andromeda, which offers some amazing graphic effects—and a few other applications that were originally DOS-based.

We're not alone

I know I’m not alone in clinging to an ancient software program that’s exactly what I need. Allen Bonde, VP and research director at Forrester, told me that, “Where SaaS (Software as a Service) applications don’t have a foothold, we often still see customers sticking with older tools because they see a risk in switching to a newer system, or there just isn’t a compelling alternative.” It’s not just random individuals, either, but entire companies: “There are pockets of this behavior in smaller firms,” Bonde noted, “but also in sectors such as healthcare and government, where we see less digitally mature companies.”

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Galaxy Note 10 preview: A phone so stacked and expensive, Samsung is already pushing deals

Wed, 2019-07-31 06:01

There’s still another week or so until Samsung unveils the new Galaxy Note 10, but like every year, we pretty much know everything about it already. And because many people have likely already decided whether they want one, Samsung is offering trade-in deals if you reserve one before you officially see it.

That’s good, because the Note 10 is going to be superexpensive. The current Note 9 already starts at $1,000 and tops off at $1,250. All signs suggest the Note 10 will be even more loaded, with the launch of a second, higher-tiered model this year. So a high-end model that tops $1,500 isn’t out of the question. So, let’s take a look at what you’re going to get for all that money. 

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Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review: Bose has a brand-new flagship

Wed, 2019-07-31 06:00
The noise-nixing headphone pioneers are up to new tricks, adding return-path noise cancelling, digital assistant support, and audio AR to its latest cans.

Braumm P11 WiFi Smart Plug review: This generic smart-home product gets the job done

Wed, 2019-07-31 06:00
A bare bones smart plug, priced accordingly.