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TechSpot

Our latest original content and features. TechSpot offers comprehensive product reviews, practical and in-depth how-to guides, PC enthusiast must-reads, as well as buying recommendations round up our daily tech coverage.

Windows 10, the TechSpot Review

Windows 10 is the best Windows you can run today. This alone should make it a big win, not to mention the fact that it's "free." However I don't think Windows 10 is there yet. Can Windows 10 bring seamless updates that one or two years from now will make it the best, most polished desktop OS available, and still be called Windows 10? Microsoft must prove itself under this new direction.

Synology DS414slim & QNAP TS-453mini NAS Review: Convenient storage with a tiny footprint

NAS servers provide a quick, easy and secure means of backing up important data. Compared to a dedicated server, a desktop NAS is considerably more compact, especially two-bay and four-bay models like the QNAP TS-453mini and Synology DS414slim on hand today. The two aren't really direct competitors, so this isn't a straight up Synology vs. QNAP battle, but rather a look at each company's approach to developing compact NAS solutions.

Balancing life and video games as an adult: Some time management tips

One of the worst things about growing up is that you never seem to have any time left over for yourself. Sure, you may still watch a bunch of television shows and go to concerts, but video games? Video games could be kicked to the curb. In an attempt to convince more people to at least try to make gaming more a part of their life, here are some tips for time management that will help them do so.

LG G4 Review: A worthy high-end contender

Every year, LG manages to impress me in one way or another with their new flagship Android smartphone. Whereas past models brought a near bezel-free design, great battery life, a crisp 1440p display and a laser-assisted autofocus system, this year with the LG G4, the focus is mostly on improving various aspects of the hardware, like the camera and display. It's an incremental update for sure but the results might prove impressive once again.

Intel Core i7-5775C Review: Broadwell is off to a rough start on the desktop

Broadwell is the 14nm die shrink of Haswell, bringing a smaller die and lower power consumption. As is often the case with Intel’s ‘Tick’ updates, a few minor tweaks have also been applied, while remaining on the existing LGA1150 platform. Today we have the flagship model on hand, the Core i7-5775C, and its BGA version, the Core i7-5775R. Both are nearly identical save for the price and a slightly higher Turbo frequency on the BGA model.

Choosing the Best Wireless Gaming Headset: From Logitech, to Astro, Steelseries and beyond

The magnitude of gaming headsets out there is bewildering. If you're in the market for a wireless headset though, the dizzying array of options dwindles to fewer than a dozen choices. I decided to chronicle my hunt for the perfect wireless gaming headset. We review the Logitech G930, Corsair H2100, Astro A50 Gen2, SteelSeries H, Turtle Beach i60 and Z300.

Avoid the frustration: Stop preordering video games

There once was a time 10-15 years ago when the concept of pre-ordering made sense. Publishers would have a better idea of how many boxes they’d need to ship, and customers could guarantee they’d get hold of the latest game as soon as it was released. It was a good arrangement! It didn’t take long for publishers and retailers to realise, though, that once a customer put their money down for a game that wasn’t finished, that customer was on the hook.

Asrock Beebox N3000 Review: A great fanless mini PC

The Asrock Beebox N3000 measures 0.6L and boasts a mere 4 watt TDP. This incredibly low power rating has allowed Asrock to create a tiny HTPC that is completely fanless draws less than 10 watts under typical usage. The company is heavily promoting the fact that its latest mini PC can support triple-monitors using three video outputs simultaneously.

Massive Chalice Review: A smart, fun exploration of turn-based tactics

If you want to understand Massive Chalice, you need to understand XCOM. Double Fine’s Massive Chalice has been hugely influenced by Julian Gallop’s seminal 1994 strategy game. Massive Chalice focuses on up-close tactical gameplay and big-picture strategy. It handles the former exceptionally well, far better than it handles the latter.

Batman: Arkham Knight Benchmarked, Performance Review

Batman: Arkham Knight, the fourth entry in Warner Brother's Batman: Arkham series, is based on the same Unreal Engine 3 as its predecessor and an Nvidia-sponsored title. Favoring one camp of GPUs is hardly the least contentious way to launch a new game, however it seems this release would have rattled cages regardless. Countless Nvidia and AMD users have expressed anger about Arkham Knight's performance and stuttering issues. Here's what we found in our tests.

Batman: Arkham Knight Review: Open-world superhero brawler with a car

Batman: Arkham Knight is the fourth major title in the Warner Bros. series of video games that began with 2009’s Arkham Asylum. Tonally, Arkham Knight is very much an Arkham game, but the decision to revolve so much of the game around the new Batmobile is an alienating move that robs Arkham Knight at the outset of the fantasy of becoming the Dark Knight. Once we’re past that silliness, however, it unfurls a plot that is by far the strongest of the series.

Network Help: A list of common default router IP addresses

Here's the scenario: you are helping a relative with network issues and need to access their router's browser interface. You can typically find the information by entering 'ipconfig' into the Windows command prompt, but if for some reason you can't retrieve the router's IP address using that method, we've compiled a brief list of popular router brands and their common default addresses. The list includes most router manufacturers with more than a dozen or so models.

Here we go again: Is Windows 10 Free? Yes, and No. An Explainer

Microsoft is set to release Windows 10 on July 29th and users of current versions of the operating system will get an upgrade free of charge. So where's the confusion? Microsoft has sent mixed signals (more than once) and speculation has built on top of that about who gets the free upgrade and who doesn't, if Insiders get a free pass or not. Here's an overview of the different upgrade paths to Windows 10 that explains it all.

Best CPU for a budget gaming PC: Athlon X4 860K vs. Pentium G3258

The most affordable build in our recent PC buying guide update caught the attention of many. At around $500, it's ideal for everyday computing with some lightweight gaming. If you're adding a dedicated GPU, however, it makes sense to swap our APU pick for a cheaper CPU, with the saving going towards graphics. We paired two $70 CPUs with the GTX 960 and R9 285 in 20 of the most popular AAA titles, to find out which one is best for gamers on a budget.

Heroes of the Storm Review: Easy to get into and fun to play

Blizzard defines Heroes of the Storm as a “hero brawler.” But really, it’s a MOBA—an idiosyncratic and sparsely populated genre that mixes together bits and pieces of real-time strategy and fighting games in fiercely competitive matches. The game pits two teams of fantastical creatures against each other to see who can destroy the other’s base first.

Radeon R9 390X, R9 390 & R9 380 Review: One last rebadge before unleashing the Fury

It's been three and a half years since AMD made great strides with its first GCN-based GPU. While there have been some notable releases in between, they're essentially rebadges with little to no performance edge over the original. We've been wondering what AMD's next move would be and it looks like the answer is yet another round of rebadged Radeons ahead of the real next-gen release. On hand today is the HIS IceQ X² OC R9 390X, R9 390 & R9 380.

Steam Refunds: Friend or Foe? An indie developer's perspective

On Tuesday Steam added a refund procedure that allows you to get a full refund on any Steam game you’ve purchased in the last 14 days and played for less than 2 hours.The sudden manner in which the refund program was announced and implemented has many developers asking: “Is this good for me?” Let’s go through the new refund flow together.

Intel Celeron N3050 & Pentium N3700 Review: Entry-level "Braswell" SoCs for small desktops

Intel's new Braswell SoCs promise to be faster across the board while also consuming less power than Bay Trail. The new chips are manufactured using Intel's 14nm process and include the mobile Celeron N3000, N3050, N3150, and Pentium N3700. The last three are meant for desktop systems and today we have the N3050 and N3700 in hand for testing.

Windows 10 Mobile Wish List: It's time to catch up or die

I was a big fan of Windows Phone 8 when it was released, but with Microsoft neglecting their smartphone platform in the last year, the OS has slipped far behind Android 5.0 and iOS 8. What follows in this article is a list of changes, improvements and new features we hope Microsoft includes when Windows 10 Mobile lands later this year.

Hatred Review: A controversial game that isn't really worth hating

Hatred is a twin-stick shooter that displays its dreary world from an overhead perspective. The player is cast as a nameless antagonist who's decided to go on a mass killing spree. Literally the only things he can do are move and kill. It's unveiling created ripples of outrage months ago and now that the game's here it's one of the top-selling on Steam. If only the people at Destructive Creations were as good at making video games as they are at marketing them.

This is the fastest laptop we've ever tested: Origin EON15-X Laptop Review

Ultrabooks, shmultrabooks. Mobile or otherwise, gamers know there is no substitute for a massive slab of expensive and power-hungry hardware. As a result, Origin PC has implemented a straightforward tactic to grant laptops hairier chests: cram in an honest to goodness desktop CPU. Yep, Origin’s EON15-X packs a full-fledged “Devil’s Canyon” Intel Core i7 along a GeForce GTX 980M GPU into a relatively modest 15-inch laptop.

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