Reza Pahlevi

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

Intel's next CEO Pat Gelsinger promises a return to greatness

There were essentially two parts to Intel’s fourth-quarter 2020 earnings call on Thursday: the actual results, and the homecoming of former Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger as the company’s incoming chief executive.

Gelsinger, who doesn’t officially return until February 15, was invited to sit virtually alongside outgoing chief executive Bob Swan. Though Swan shepherded the call, Gelsinger contributed frequently, including outlining his vision for what he hoped to achieve at Intel. Gelsinger has his eyes fixed on 2023, when it sounds like Intel plans to reboot its manufacturing leadership on the next-gen 7nm process.

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Microsoft Edge will open your email from the new tab page

Microsoft’s latest version of its Edge browser, in conjunction with Microsoft Bing, are rolling out some intriguing new features as part of the latest Microsoft Edge version 88 update. The most unique: Edge will now show a few new emails when you open a new tab page.

Edge 88 offers some nifty new security features, such as the long-awaited password generator. The company has also added some useful personalization and productivity features, including what could be my favorite: the Edge sidebar search function, which is now generally available.

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The next MacBook Air could get even lighter and thinner and bring back MagSafe

Apple’s consumer-level laptop could see a redesign later this year or in early 2022.

Q Acoustics Q Active 200 review: This high-end powered bookshelf audio system delivers impeccable performance

Wired or wireless, this audio system can accommodate nearly any source: high-res streaming services, a local server, a TV, Bluetooth, even an old-school turntable.

Ryzen 5000 doubles AMD's gaming laptop share, but Nvidia still rules

AMD has said it would make impressive inroads into gaming laptops this year, and so far it’s trending well, according to an ongoing list of gaming laptops available to order or pre-order.

Youtuber GizmoSlipTech created the list of gaming laptops with GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs that are available to buy or pre-order. Our sample set below dates from January 15, when, by GizmoSlipTech’s count, there were 28 different RTX 30-series laptops with Intel CPUs and 13 RTX 30-series laptops with AMD CPUs.

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How much of my budget should I spend on a graphics card? | Ask an expert

Q: What percentage of my build budget should go toward the graphics card? While a lot of advice says to aim for an even balance between the CPU and the GPU, some people suggest choosing a mid-tier processor and then plowing as much of my remaining budget toward the video card as possible. This PC will be for gaming.

A: When giving general advice, we usually recommend letting your monitor dictate the limits of a graphics card purchase for a gaming PC. Its resolution and refresh rate will make it clear what you need in performance, and where the line sits between a bit of future proofing and extreme overkill.

For example, if you have a 1080p 75Hz monitor, you don’t need to spend a ton on a GPU. In normal times (when prices and availability of graphics cards are reasonable), shopping in the $200 to $300 range will max out your hardware’s capabilities and, at the higher end, leave room for the card to keep up with future AAA titles.

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PC market soars, driving Intel's revenue and profits unexpectedly higher

Outgoing Intel chief executive Bob Swan previously told PCWorld that he was worried that, when the pandemic hit, PC sales would drop off a cliff. As Intel’s fourth-quarter earnings revealed, the exact opposite occurred.

Intel reported $5.9 billion in profits and $20 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020, with profits down by 15 percent and revenue essentially flat. But those numbers far exceeded analyst expectations, and the PC was primarily the cause.

“Fourth-quarter revenue exceeded prior expectations by $2.6 billion driven by record PC-centric revenue, with PC unit volumes up 33 percent year-over-year led by record notebook sales,” Intel said in a statement in advance of a conference call with analysts on Thursday afternoon. In a related presentation for Wall Street analysts, Intel broke down the PC’s success further: While PC volumes grew by 33 percent, notebook revenue soared by 30 percent.

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Microsoft Edge can finally generate new passwords for you

Microsoft is poised to release several substantial security updates to version 88 of its Edge browser, including a long-awaited password generator and monitor.

Edge 88 is rolling out now, according to Microsoft, though the new Password Monitor feature may take a couple of weeks to demonstrate any real results, the company said in a blog post on Thursday morning. 

From a user’s perspective, Microsoft’s automated complex password generator is one of the biggest competive weaknesses the browser faced. Google’s Chrome has offered this feature for over a year. When you're using Chrome and you sign up for a new web service and enter a user name, the browser offers to generate a new, complex password and store it for future use. Now Edge does the same, generating the password according to the site’s rules, storing it and syncing it across your browsers. (According to Kyle Pflug, an Edge program manager, the password generator works only on the desktop version of Edge.)

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