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Last weekend I was feeling a bit nostalgic and fired up Windows 2000 on my home computer. Win2k has a special place in my heart. Sadly, due to planned obsolescence it's no longer possible to use this fantastic operating system with the latest software available.
Be that as it may, what annoys me even more are the "improvements" made to Windows search through the years. The search box in Windows 2000 is very powerful, there are no cute animations and there are no exclusions. It's just no-nonsense search, as you would expect it to be. I'm afraid to say, Windows search has got worse, and not better over the years, 8 included.
People, especially gamers, seem to be afraid of change. That's understandable when it comes to the Halo franchise. Halo is a legacy. When Bungie introduced the sci-fi, FPS franchise over a decade ago, it wowed fans with a perfect formula of alien creatures and versatile weapons. It became a household name, and for good reason.
So change seems like it would be scary. Like it might ruin the integrity of something that's formed such an impressive community. Fortunately hardcore Halo fans can rest assured that 343 has stayed true to the core of Halo, and I urge them to keep an open mind when confronted by its new skin. Because that skin is beautiful.
When Microsoft launched Windows 8 last week, it was the culmination of a long wait. For most folks, it was a rather jarring thrust into the future. For better or worse, the operating system that introduces the touch-oriented Metro UI to the Windows environment had arrived.
No one is more excited about the launch than Microsoft. The company has launched pop-up holiday stores at malls across America to promote the new OS and the Surface RT. I had a chance to check in with one at Aventura Mall in Miami, Florida.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter calls for no less than a 3GHz quad-core processor paired with a GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950. Given those upper-end requirements, we expect the title to be fairly demanding with its visuals maxed out, and we'll be putting a ton of past and present-gen cards through their paces.
We'll be testing 29 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia across all price ranges with their respective latest beta drivers that claim to improve performance.
Warfighter is a first-person military shooter developed by Danger Close and published by EA. The Medal of Honor series has become, in most every respect, a flagrant imitation of Activision's much ballyhooed Call of Duty series. You play the game from the first-person perspective. You hold a machine gun and shoot bad guys, almost exclusively foreigners. That's about all there is to it.
The game has the dubious distinction of being the Ultimate Brown Military Shooter Of All Time. It's so brazenly unremarkable, its storytelling so amateurish, its action so rote, that it feels like a master class in middling modern warfare.
WoW Mists of Pandaria expansion is huge. One one end, it starts at level one, with a new starting area for the new Pandaren race. On the other end, it raises the level cap from 85 to 90 and adds an enormous amount of end-game zones.
Mists of Pandaria is best looked at from two different perspectives. One: how is it for the new player? And two: how is it for the experienced player? If someone's been in a holding pattern at level 85 for years, what does Mists of Pandaria offer to that player, and how do its many changes improve or diminish the World of Warcraft experience?
Microsoft sits on the edge of a product launch that is plainly among the most important in the company’s history. It comes at a time when the company’s traditional hardware partners are facing ferocious market pressure from the commoditization of their products, and of course, the juggernaut known as the iPad.
As can be expected, the company’s many cheerleaders and haters are out in full force. Pundits can and will pontificate on Windows 8’s chances. However, what might be more useful is looking at Microsoft’s other make or break moments. The upcoming launch is far from the first time that Redmond has fought with its back against a wall. A backward glance at these moments, and careful evaluation of them, may provide a better, ahem, window into the company’s chances this Winter.
First, let's get something out of the way. Most of what's really new in Windows 8 relates to the Metro touch interface, which is Microsoft's biggest bet on this OS generation -- a bet that's risky but necessary given the company's lack of presence in the growing tablet market. This is also how the folks at Redmond have figured could give a needed boost to its smartphone business (“Windows everywhere”), which is well behind market leaders, iOS and Android.
This review is based on my experience with Windows 8 using a desktop, so I've been treating Windows 8 like most computer enthusiasts will: as a direct upgrade from Windows 7 on my custom-built machine, just like I did with Vista, XP, 2k, and other previous Windows releases.
About this time last year, AMD's new Bulldozer-based FX series launched to bright-eyed system builders who expected the new architecture to challenge Intel's increasingly comfortable position in the upper-end processor market. Unfortunately, Bulldozer wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Now, the company is refreshing its desktop processors with Piledriver, an enhanced version of Bulldozer that focuses on improving instructions per clock and frequency. In other words, instead of a major overhaul, Piledriver picks up where Bulldozer left off, which may disappoint those who wanted AMD to abandon the architecture.
Unveiled at the 2009 Intel Developer Forum, Thunderbolt wouldn't make its debut into an actual product until two years later with Apple's MacBook Pro 2011 refresh, and then another one until it finally started to find its way into PCs.
With most Thunderbolt-enabled products available today being storage-related, we wanted to see what the new Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard and its dual Thunderbolt ports had to offer in terms of performance. The best way to accomplish that, in our opinion, is to test the new ultra-fast Western Digital My Book Velociraptor Duo, which has a pair of 10,000RPM Velociraptor hard drives.
Malwarebytes started its life as a company in 2004 as a one-man operation, but it wasn’t until four years later that its star product was released, simply called 'Anti-Malware'. Since then the company has rapidly grown to establish itself as a serious player in the computer security industry.
We recently had the chance to chat with founder and CEO Marcin Kleczynski about the firm’s early days, the evolution of malware, his views on the industry, and more.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown should have been a disaster. It's a turn-based strategy title, a style of game its publisher said only last year was "just not contemporary". It's also a remake of a cult classic 1990's PC game, beloved by an audience so fickle that a modern version should be the most offensive entertainment product of the year. Yet it is not. XCOM is, against the odds, a little bit special.
XCOM is about as perfect a remake of an old game as I could have hoped for, in that while changes have inevitably been made, they're mostly for the better, and anything genuinely new introduced is only there to improve things.
It's been over six months since Nvidia launched its Kepler architecture and we've finally seen the GTX 600 series enter more affordable price brackets, delivering a greater value every step of the way.
Having attacked the mid-range and upper-end markets, Nvidia has its sights set on the sub-$200 range, unleashing its GTX 650 Ti. At $150, the new arrival is roughly 34% cheaper than last month's GTX 660 and about 7% pricier than the Radeon HD 7770, which fetches around $140 depending on features and rebates. Here comes our full review.
With a mix of familiar MMORPG tropes and new, modern approaches to delivering them, Guild Wars 2 is an excellent, welcoming take on the genre.
During a full month playing Guild Wars 2, I recorded impressions in a series of logs. The first was where I discovered an insatiable need to explore. In the second, I marveled at how easy it was to get off the beaten path, how unnecessary it seemed to be to form a party, and how generally amiable the community was. Part three was where I discovered crafting, and in log four I hopped into world vs world PvP and fell off rather a lot of cliffs.
AMD has continued refining its Fusion offerings since launching the first APUs early last year. Just four months ago the company launched Trinity for mobile platforms -- arguably where its APUs provide the most value.
Now AMD is finally prepared to offer a desktop version, which brings a new socket and a new high-end chipset. Given that Piledriver improved Bulldozer's power consumption, we expect Trinity to be more efficient than Llano, while Cayman's VLIW4 architecture should boost the GPU's speed -- or so we hope.
Could a few hundred bucks tacked on the top end make a difference between a vanilla ultrabook and something truly special? That's something Acer is willing to gamble on with its latest flagship ultrabook.
The Aspire S5 comes with a beefy Core i7-3517U clocked at 1.9GHz, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage -- no hybrid caching system here. In most instances, an SSD is the best component upgrade for any modern system, but Acer took things one step further as the S5 is equipped with two 128GB SSDs in a RAID0 configuration. It goes without saying that the storage subsystem should be blazing fast.
The iPhone 5 has finally landed following months of rumors and speculation, with plenty of changes internally and aesthetically. Apple has almost completely redesigned the iPhone's exterior, and even gave it a bump in screen size for the first time, yet it still looks very much like the iconic handset everyone is familiar with.
The update addresses a number of concerns that critics have raised over the past year, but as with any high-profile Apple launch, new complaints have already surfaced. We'll investigate these and more as we put the iPhone 5 under the microscope.
While the Samsung 830 Series and many of its year-old peers may still be attractive, Samsung is ready to move on to bigger and better things. Their new flagship offering, the SSD 840 Pro, is said to refine the 830 Series' firmware with faster random and sustained performance as well as improved reliability.
Since most SSD competitors use the same rehashed components, Samsung has been in a unique position to shake things up over the last few years, and it's done a fine job. We had nearly no expectations for 2010's 470 Series, but we were pleasantly surprised when it dominated our performance charts. Last year's 830 Series gave a repeat performance, so we can only hope the same of the 840 Pro.
Borderlands 2 succeeds at building on the foundation laid three years ago, delivering an improved menu system, revamped skill trees, new characters, more weapons, smarter foes, and the same addictive loot-driven co-op first-person shooter action. As exciting as all of that may be, we're more interested in seeing how the game runs on the finest PC hardware from Intel, AMD and Nvidia.
Built on a highly modified version of Unreal Engine 3, the game only uses DirectX 9, opting to exclude the engine's DirectX 11 support. It's worth mentioning that Borderlands 2 is a "The Way It's Meant to be Played" title, supporting many Nvidia features such as PhysX and 3D Vision Surround. Let's get down to business...
Not only are SSDs faster than HDDs, but they also consume less power and generate less heat. They're quieter, more reliable and more compact than their spinning counterparts. Talking about compact...
We recently took notice when Crucial announced its m4 mSATA SSD in a 256GB capacity at under $1/GB. The mSATA drive is tiny compared to Crucial's standard 2.5" m4, and despite the size difference, both 256GB models feature the same read and write speeds of 500MB/s and 260MB/s -- an exciting prospect, indeed. Assuming there are no catches, Crucial's new mSATA offering could become the go-to solution for ultraportable upgrades...
Torchlight II is much more of a beast than its predecessor; in terms of scale and ambition, it's right up there with the biggest names in loot-collection and click-based combat. And so of course, Blizzard's Diablo III looms large over the entirety of Torchlight II. How could it not?
As I've been playing, it's been very difficult to evaluate Torchlight II on its own terms, rather than constantly thinking "Oh, so X is different from Diablo III in Y way." But let's get this out of the way: If you liked Diablo III, you will almost surely like Torchlight II.
Nvidia shook up the enthusiast GPU market last month when it launched its most affordable Kepler offering yet. At $299, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti was $100 cheaper than the GTX 670, while being just 13% slower. Likewise, the GTX 660 Ti was faster and more power efficient than the competing Radeon HD 7870, despite matching it on price.
Ever eager to keep AMD on its toes, Nvidia continues its push into the mid-range market with a Kepler-based card that is expected to retail for about $230 -- right in-between AMD's Radeon HD 7850 and 7870. The GTX 660 is based on the new 28nm GK106 that nonetheless keeps all the key innovations introduced by the GTX 680.
LG first unveiled the Optimus 4X HD back at Mobile World Congress in February. It's been a long time coming, but the Optimus 4X HD is now available in much of the world - even if it's only available outside of a plan (unlocked) here in the U.S. The Optimus 4X HD is the first quad-core LG smartphone, and it boasts a very high end spec sheet.
The question is, does the phone manage to outshine its Bruce Banner exterior to show off what it's Hulk-scale guts are capable of? In short: yes. It turns out that what the Optimus 4X HD lacks in external appeal is more than made up for by its good nature and brainy innards.
As tablets become more popular and continue to chip away at the mobile computing market, the idea of leaving the notebook behind in favor of a slate certainly seems attractive. On the pros side you have portability, instant-on capabilities, longer battery life, a touchscreen, and in the case of most modern tablets like the iPad 3, an HD video camera.
A recent Caribbean cruise vacation provided the perfect opportunity to test whether or not my iPad would make a suitable travel replacement. I decided to put several products spanning multiple categories to the test to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses based on my hands-on experience.
Currently in beta, Ravaged is the brainchild of Boris Ustaev and his crew at 2Dawn Games, who have spent the last few years toiling away on a fast-paced post-apocalyptic multiplayer shooter with a strong focus on skills, teamwork, vehicular combat and most importantly, fun. In other words, it's everything the folks at 2Dawn have wanted in a modern PC shooter, but have been unable to find.
We recently had a chance to chat with 2Dawn about its upcoming title, its experience with Kickstarter and what it's like developing a PC game as an independent studio.
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