The Game Awards sucked up most of the news this week. If you want to watch a dozen “World Premier” trailers, we’ve got ‘em. Or wait, maybe you want to see the next-gen Xbox Series X? We covered that too.
But there were some surprises outside Geoff Keighley’s trailer bonanza. 2K confirmed it’s working on a new BioShock for instance, plus Capcom officially unveiled a Resident Evil 3 remake, Henry Cavill read us a Witcher bedtime story, Forza Horizon 4 added a battle royale mode, GOG Galaxy 2.0 went into open beta, and more.
“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 Battlefieldand get right to playing.
Updated December 13, 2019 to include the Radeon RX 5500 XT as a budget gaming option.
Last night was the sixth annual Game Awards, and per usual that means a raft of trailers. Microsoft dropped a bomb on proceedings, announcing the name for its next-gen console—the Xbox Series X—and showing off the new look. Spoiler: It’s basically a PC.
But there were also over a dozen “World Premiers,” freshly announced games to look forward to in 2020. Hellblade II, a new PlayerUnknown project, a new Dark Alliance game from Wizards of the Coast, and more. You’ll find all the PC-relevant announcements below. (Though really, check out the new Ghosts of Tsushima footage if you get a chance. It’s looking very Sekiro-esque in its latest trailer.)
Should I buy a Chromebook or a Windows laptop? Whether you’re seeking out the best computer for your child or just weighing which inexpensive computer would make a great holiday gift, weighing a Chrome OS-powered Chromebook versus a PC can be a tough choice—and we can help you choose the right one.
Who should buy a Windows PC?
A notebook PC powered by Microsoft Windows offers several advantages: Windows offers the most flexibility to run just about any app, as well as the choice of any browser you choose. You can tweak and configure your PC as you choose.
That convenience demands more computing horsepower, and often a higher price compared to most Chromebooks. Prices can soar into the thousands of dollars, and if you need a powerful PC for gaming or video editing, Chromebooks really don’t offer that much competition. But you’ll find some great deals among our more affordably priced, top Windows picks.
Spend enough time with any niche hobby and you’ll start to intuit what’s likely to become mainstream in the future and what won’t. With mechanical gaming keyboards, there are a number of trends I expect to see popularized in the near future. The more resilient PBT plastic is an obvious one, and indeed we see Razer experimenting with that on its latest Huntsman Tournament Edition keyboard. Optical switches are another feature that Razer has toyed with. Low-profile keyboards are also gaining in popularity. Custom keycap designs? Telephone cables? Hell, Topre switches? Maybe, maybe, and maybe.
Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire Stick vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV, and more. Which streaming device is best for cord cutters? Our buying guide will help you pick the right accessories for your TV.
This is certainly proving to be a weird lead-up to the next generation of consoles. Sony's been low-key dribbling information every few months through a series of Wired exclusives. Now Microsoft's gone ahead and blown the lid off Project Scarlett at The Game Awards, of all places.
The Scarlett codename is no more. The official name is the Xbox Series X, which I assume refers to the fact there will be multiple hardware setups at launch next November, one low-powered (but cheap) and one high-powered (but expensive). Presumably they'll both use the same box regardless, the elongated black obelisk shown in the reveal trailer below—though there's also a chance the name indicates the Xbox One X will be the low-cost option for next-gen.
Antivirus software is nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. Even if you’re well aware of potential threats and practice extreme caution, some threats just can’t be prevented without the extra help of an AV program—or a full antivirus suite.
You could, for example, visit a website that unintentionally displays malicious ads. Or accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). Or get stung by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program gives hackers entry to your system.
We’re not suggesting that PC security software is fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits, like ransomware, on your machine. Anyone who actively uses email, clicks on links, and downloads programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.
Tonight Geoff Keighley will host the sixth annual Game Awards, and per usual it will be as much about hyping up forthcoming games as it is celebrating the old ones. You can catch it live tonight at 5:30 p.m. Pacific on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, and so forth—or save yourself three hours and check back here tomorrow for a recap of all the various trailers.
There’s a twist this year, though. In addition to the show itself, Keighley’s put together what he’s calling The Game Festival, “a first-of-its-kind digital consumer event that brings the magic of hands-on gameplay demos to fans around the world.”
Like the phone app, Google won’t automatically filter out suspected spam messages, but it will warn you when it suspects one has arrived. You’ll be able to let Google know whether it got it right and also report spam texts, all of which will be used to improve the detection engine.
In addition to flagging spam, Google will also verify whether you’re indeed chatting with the brand you think you’re chatting with. If so, Google will add a verification badge alongside the business name and logo in the conversation. Google says 1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback, and SoFi are among the first brands to send messages with Verified SMS, with more being added daily.
When it comes to graphics cards, AMD’s owned the sub-$200 price point for years. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 and 1660 series graphics cards couldn’t hold a candle to the value proposition of the Radeon RX 570 and 580, nor its predecessors, especially once AMD started bundling them with games galore. Those Polaris-powered GPUs are downright ancient, however, and suck down obscene amounts of power compared to modern graphics cards.
The Radeon RX 5500 XT brings AMD’s “Navi” GPU, built using the company’s next-gen RDNA graphics architecture, to the masses. Navi debuted in the Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT, which immediately became our go-to recommendations for 1440p gaming. Navi’s loaded with cutting-edge tech: The Radeon RX 5500 XT is one of the first consumer GPUs built using 7nm process technology, and to support the bleeding-edge PCIe 4.0 interface. It’s upgraded to ultra-fast GDDR6 memory. The card packs AMD’s latest and greatest media encoders, and fresh display technologies that enable 4K, 144Hz monitors without the need for messy chroma subsampling (though you won’t game at anywhere near those levels with this humble graphics card). It’s tremendously more power-efficient, too.
For years, the attitude towards Windows 10’s built-in security was that it’s a nice idea, but you really shouldn’t rely on it. That stared changing in 2019, with the major testing houses giving Windows Security top marks.
Could it be true? Can you really ditch your $100 annual antivirus subscription and rely on Microsoft’s native solution instead? Here’s our opinion.
Windows Security is a very basic utility. In a way, it doesn’t need to be fancy, since it’s part of Windows itself. If you need extras like backups or hard drive cleaning, you can find that in other parts of the OS.
Note: This review is part of our best antivirus roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
A new attack on Intel’s CPUs, called Plundervolt, may have an unforeseen consequence. The mitigation that fixes it appears to lock the CPU voltage to default settings, possibly preventing users from undervolting or overclocking them.
On Wednesday, however, Intel representatives said that it’s unlikely that SGX use and overclocking will overlap, meaning that the risk to consumers is probably low.
According to the researchers who authored the paper in question, every mobile and desktop Intel Core processor since the sixth-generation “Skylake” onward that supports Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) is vulnerable to the software attack, which injects faults into the processor package by very briefly decreasing the processor voltage. Injecting these faults can introduce errors into otherwise secure code, or reproduce cryptographic keys by what the researchers call negligible computational efforts.
We’re six months away from the release of Wasteland 3. To brush up I’ve been replaying its predecessor and our 2014 Game of the Year, Wasteland 2, and you know what? It’s still great. Sometimes clunky, sometimes unfair, but Wasteland 2 impressed me on the strength of its writing and its writing is still pretty damn good.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. As part of its Winter Sale kickoff, GOG.com is gifting copies of Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut – Digital Classic Edition. That’s a lot of words, but basically means it includes the improved 2015 version of Wasteland 2 (more voice acting, better graphics and performance) plus a copy of the original 1988 Wasteland.
Here we compare AncestryDNA and 23andMe’s respective ancestry tests, which both cost $99, but can be had for a significant discount during the holidays. (Both services also offer a test for health and ancestry insights: 23andMe Health + Ancestry and AncestryHealth Core—which will be added to this comparison in the future.)
The free and open source photo-editing program called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a nice alternative to the subscription-based or boxed versions of its competition (including PhotoShop). Whether you’re a beginner with GIMP or a seasoned pro, there’s lots to love.
Some of GIMP’s greatest assets are the plugins and scripts created by numerous independent programmers. At one time, there was a massive collection called the GIMP Plugin Registry, but that resource is no longer available. Consequently, you must search the Internet for GIMP plug-ins and scripts.
Google usually bundles more than a few new features with each iteration of its browser, and Chrome 79 should add some fairly substantial performance and security improvements, including alerts if your password has been stolen.
The additional features include phishing protections and tab freezing, which will try to mitigate Chrome’s voracious appetite for memory by limiting what actions a tab can take when not in use.
Monitoring passwords has typically been performed by sites like HaveIBeenPwned.com, which aggregates usernames and passwords from major data breaches and allows you to cross-check your own. Now Google will do this in real time, when you enter a password into a site within the browser. A popup will then recommend that you change them, wherever they’ve been used.
Well, you can’t argue that Microsoft isn’t giving anyone enough notice. Microsoft said Monday that it plans to shut down its Wunderlist to-do list service on May 6, 2020.
You’ll still be able to use Wunderlist until then, though Microsoft is cutting off new signups. You’ll have the option to remove your data from Wunderlist—or, as Microsoft hopes, export it to the company’s own To-Do app.
Microsoft originally bought the Wunderlist app in 2015, and then said in 2017 that it planned to phase out Wunderlist in favor of a similar, self-developed app called To-Do. Since then, To-Do has been developed and integrated within other apps, such as Outlook, to provide a more holistic note-taking service across multiple Microsoft apps.
It’s that time of year again: Snow’s falling, chestnuts are roasting, and AMD’s huge annual update for Radeon Software is rolling out.
While previous iterations focused on stuffing in new features—to such an extent that I wondered how AMD could further improve its already-outstanding graphics suite—AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition revolves around a gorgeous visual overhaul that puts everything you need in more obvious places. That said, it also comes with some helpful new additions that flesh out existing features, streamline your gaming experience even more, and in the case of the intriguing new Radeon Boost, can potentially supercharge your frame rates in fast-paced games.
At last long last, Microsoft’s mobile OS experiment has come to an end. Support for the last version of Windows 10 Mobile dies on December 10.
Windows phones will still work, but the last wave of Windows Mobile devices running the last official supported version of Windows 10 Mobile (version 1709, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update) won’t receive any more updates or patches for Windows 10 Mobile—features, security, or otherwise. Officially, it will cease to exist.
If you’re a Lumia 640 or 640XL owner, you’ve already felt the touch of death: Support for those devices ended in June. But for the last hurrah of Windows devices, which included the HP Elite x3, Microsoft Lumia 550, 650, and the Lumia 950/950 XL; Alcatel IDOL 4S and 4S Pro; and the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL—it’s time for you to retire those devices and move on.