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TechSpot

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.

The Cornerplay: Microsoft overpaid for Minecraft by $700 million

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Microsoft is acquiring Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion. I’ve got mixed feelings about the transaction.  The press is speculating that Microsoft is acquiring Minecraft so it can “tap into a cultural phenomenon” and entice players to Microsoft’s platforms. I don’t buy either explanation.

History of the Personal Computer: Leading up to Intel's 4004, the first commercial microprocessor

The personal computing business as we know it owes itself to an environment of enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and happenstance. The invention of the microprocessor, DRAM, and EPROM integrated circuits would help bring computing to the mainstream. This is the first in a five-part series exploring the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the invention of the transistor to modern day chips powering our connected devices.

The Sims 4 Review: Now with emotions and multitasking ...and some missing features

The Sims 4 is a big game. But like any so-called life simulator, it only seems that way when you add up its countless tiny bits and pieces into one giant mosaic. Actually playing the game feels like you're both telling and watching a series of private, intimate stories. It is a beautiful new act in EA's popular franchise. Even with its controversial changes and missing features, I've never had this much fun playing with my Sims.

Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E Review: No expense spared performance

Intel's Extreme Edition processor line is over a decade old now, starting way back in 2003 with the single-core Pentium 4 EE 3.4GHz. Fast forward to today, the chip we'll be looking at boasts eight cores, a massive 20MB smart cache, support for the latest DDR4 memory, and is accompanied by the new X99 chipset for more SATA 6Gb/s ports (10 rather than just two) and finally brings native USB 3.0 to Intel's flagship platform.

Lumia 930 Review: Nokia's best smartphone yet

The Lumia 930 is Nokia’s new flagship and successor to the Lumia 925. You might notice that this handset looks very similar to the Lumia Icon the company released earlier this year exclusively on Verizon, and that’s because it's essentially the international version of the Icon, packing Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box. Hardware-wise you get a large, 5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, and Nokia’s signature 20-megapixel PureView camera.

Five Free Worthy Replacements for Paid Image Editors

Adobe Photoshop has long been the gold standard for image editing among professionals and photo enthusiasts. But for the average user who just wants to touch up the occasional photo, it can be hard to justify the cost and it probably does more way than you really need or care to do. There are plenty of free alternatives and we've rounded out our picks.

MSI GS70 Stealth Pro Laptop Review: Gaming without the extra weight and bulk

Most gaming notebooks have a certain stigma attached to them. While some of the better systems available are more than capable of running the latest graphically demanding PC games out there, they're often hulking beasts that can easily tip the scales at over 12 pounds. That's been changing, however, and the MSI GS70 Stealth Pro on our hands today is another example of powerful gaming laptops steering towards slimmer form factors.

Motorola Moto E Review: Entry-level that doesn't suck

Having just three phones on the market has allowed Motorola to give each the time and polish needed for success. The Moto X's innovative contextual processing features made it a compelling flagship option, while the Moto G is arguably the best sub-$200 device you can buy. Motorola's budget model, the Moto E, aims to be the best option for $130, unlocked and off-contract. Better yet, you get stock Android, which means no bloatware and timely updates.

Introduction and Guide to Managing Self-Encrypting Drives

A SED, or self-encrypting drive, is a type of hard drive that automatically and continuously encrypts the data in it without any user interaction. What may surprise many is that a decent potion of the drives currently in the market are in fact SEDs. The method involves a Data Encryption Key that encrypts and decrypts data whenever data is written to the drive or read from it. But the process is so transparent to user that it is unlikely they would ever realize they have such a feature.

The Cornerplay: Price is the only weapon Chromebooks have against Windows

On an absolute basis, one device is clearly better than the other; but the expectations for what a Chromebook is supposed to do is so much lower that, relatively, Acer's C720 Chromebook feels like a better device than it really is. Asus' popular T100 budget hybrid, on the other hand, gets compared to other Windows laptops (or the iPad Air) and doesn't look as good in the comparison.

price chromebooks windows chrome os chromebook

The Linux Desktop: 6 popular Linux desktop environments

Unlike Windows and OS X, Linux allows you to fully customize not only the look and feel of your desktop, but also its functionality as well as settings, through different "desktop environments". Today we'll do a brief overview of the most popular Linux desktop environments to give you an idea about what each has to offer and what suits you the best.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD Review: Trading blows with the best

Released in early June, SanDisk's Extreme Pro is the successor to the venerable Extreme II, which was among the best SSDs of its generation in terms of performance and reliability. The drive is aimed at gamers, enthusiasts and professionals who demand the highest real-world performance, and will trade blows with Samsung's excellent SSD 850 Pro.

OCZ Arc 100 SSD Review: Aiming for the Value Sweet Spot

With Crucial's MX100 series recently arriving for as low as $0.42 per GB, becoming the new value king, the competition has been forced to respond. The OCZ Arc 100 SSD Series utilizes the tried and true Barefoot 3 M10 controller along with the latest 19nm Toshiba MLC flash memory and is priced at $0.50 per gig for its 480GB and 240GB models.

Ahead Of Its Time: Deus Ex's Eerily Current Narrative, 14 Years On

Leaving aside its wackier conspiracy theories, it's the quality – the prescience – of Deus Ex's story that makes it such a great game to play in 2014. Somehow, it seems timely: moment after moment of sneering, political philosophising about money, health, corporations and the poor, punctuated by regular, 400-volt jolts of "wait, when was this written?"

TechSpot PC Buying Guide: Mid-2014 Update

The TechSpot PC Buying Guide offers an in-depth list of today's best desktop PC hardware, spanning four unique yet typical budgets. Whether you're a first time builder seeking guidance or a seasoned enthusiast, we have you covered.

• Decent performance • Good for everyday computing • Gaming with add-on GPU
• Good performance • Fast for everyday computing • Casual gaming
• Excellent performance • Great Multitasker • Perfect for gaming
• Workstation-like performance • Heavy multitasking • Extreme gaming

The Cornerplay: Xiaomi and OnePlus Strategy Analysis, A Blueprint for Success

Small Chinese companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus were able to create markets even while competitors like Apple and Samsung spend billions in advertising their smartphones. Their success is a blueprint for others to follow, whether they're running an established smartphone company or starting one, even with comparatively little resources.

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