Reza Pahlevi

News, tips and reviews from the experts on PCs, Windows, and more

An early review of Intel 11th-gen Rocket Lake gives the chip mixed marks

Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake chip won’t hit shelves until the end of March, but an unexpectedly early “review” of a retail Core i7-11700K labels the chip as power-hungry and unable to surpass AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X in many tests.

The review, written by respected CPU expert Dr. Ian Cutress of Anandtech.com, was based on a Core i7-11700K that is presumably one of the hundreds of CPUs that were accidentally sold a month before launch by a German retailer.

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GPU sales spike by 20 percent, fueled by cryptocurrency miners and laptop sales

GPU sales grew an astounding 20 percent at the end of 2020, spurred by pandemic-induced gaming, a new mining craze, and huge demand for laptops, according to a new report from Jon Peddie Research. 

But there’s a light at the end the tunnel—for gamers, at least. The GPU-based cryptocurrency craze, which has consumed the already limited supplies of cards with the speed and mercilessness of locusts, just might go bust.

Jon Peddie of JPR, who has followed the graphics market for more than three decades, said the new variant of Ethereum is likely to kill the cost-effectiveness of using GPUs. “Ethereum, the best-suited coin for GPUs, will fork into version 2.0 very soon, making GPUs obsolete,” he explained. “A person would be very foolish to invest in a high-end, power-consuming AIB [add-in-board, in this case a discrete graphics card] for crypto-mining today.”

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How to see how much memory is in your computer

How much memory is in your computer, and how fast is it? It’s an important thing to know. Having too little memory in your PC can result in performance issues if you have a lot of programs or browser tabs open, and can keep your games from running their fastest. If you’re suffering from performance problems and aren’t sure how much memory is in your computer, it’s a worthwhile thing to check.

Most memory modules include all their relevant specs on a sticker slapped on their side, including capacity, speed, and even latency timings. You don’t need to go through the hassle of ripping apart your system to find that information, though. Windows 10’s Task Manager provides the most relevant details with just a few clicks, on laptops and desktops alike.

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AceVPN.com Ultimate review: No desktop app, but that's not its biggest problem

AceVPN.com in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes (Ultimate plan only)
  • Business location: United States (unconfirmed)
  • Number of servers: Unknown
  • Number of country locations: 23
  • Cost: $165 per year
  • VPN protocol: OpenVPN (IKEv2, IPSec, and PPTP also supported)
  • Data encryption: AES-256-GCM
  • Data authentication: HMAC with SHA-384
  • Handshake: TLS v1.2

We’re breaking one of our standard rules for reviewing VPNs by looking at a service—namely, AceVPN.com Ultimate—that has no desktop app to speak of. Most of the time we choose VPN services that have a one-click desktop app that offers full access to a company’s services. AceVPN.com, however, doesn’t develop a desktop app. Instead, it leaves it up to the user to make manual connections via the built-in VPN client for Windows 10, or by downloading the generic OpenVPN desktop app from OpenVPN.net. 

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How do I get a PC for cheap? | Ask an expert

Q: How can I get a PC for cheap?

A: The best times to buy a new PC for cheap are during major sale events like Black Friday, Prime Day, and back-to-school sales in the U.S. (Despite the exchange of gift cards and cash during Christmas, discounts on Christmas Day and the week following generally disappoint.) Keep an eye out for “doorbuster” or lightning deals during Black Friday in particular, as those limited-time offers can drop prices very low.

To get truly dirt-cheap, though, you’ll have to buy used. Strategies for buying used vary, but almost universally, the best payoffs come locally. I prefer to start by looking up the resale practices of local universities and school districts, as some sell surplus gear to the public and the buying process can be less nerve-wracking than interacting with private sellers. Depending on your area, you may be able to score an incredible deal. Last fall, I found a batch of Ivy Bridge-era laptops starting in the mid-$100s on a K-12 school auction site, which would have worked out well as DIY Chromebooks.

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Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell review: Posh design, privacy, and no subscription fees

You’ll also get partial HomeKit support, but some other features are missing from this premium-priced smart home device.


How to avoid going over your broadband data cap

Managing broadband data caps can be aggravating, frustrating, and—if you go over and incur a penalty—expensive. But there's hope: You can learn to avoid going over your data cap, with a little knowledge and a bit of patience. Here’s how.

Two of the largest broadband ISPs, Comcast Xfinity and Cox Communications, still impose data caps—though they’re being phased out by many other service providers. If you exceed the limits (1.2TB/month for Xfinity, 1.25TB/month for Cox) you’ll pay $10 for every additional 50GB. AT&T still charges a data cap, too, though only for its legacy DSL service, according to Highspeedinternet’s data-cap registry. All of these providers allow you to pay extra for unlimited data, but who wants to do that?

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Tronsmart Mega Pro Bluetooth speaker review: Big bass, small price tag

This powerful Bluetooth speaker isn't much to look at it, but it delivers a knock-out performance.