PCWorld January 2019

We review the Google Pixel 4a, plus what to expect if you’re switching from an iPhone SE. Find out if your Chromebook is expiring. Reviews of Note 20 Ultra, Norton 360 Deluxe, Mullvad vs. NordVPN, and much more!

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
IDG
Frequency:
Monthly
₹520.47
₹1,486.94
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
exclusive first look: creative labs’ high-end sound blasterx ae-9 breaks cover

High-end audio lovers finally got the attention they craved when Creative Labs showed off its upcoming $300 Sound BlasterX AE-9 sound card. Aimed at a more discriminating class of audio listeners, the AE-9 features such audiophile features as replaceable operational amplifiers, or opamps, to tune the flavor of sound from the card. Following the introduction of the gaming-focused Sound BlasterX AE-5 and Sound BlasterX AE-5 Pure last year, the AE-9 kicks it up a notch or two. Although still based on the same Sound Core 3D chip as the AE-5 and AE-5 Pure, the AE-9 jettisons the on-chip digital analog converter, or DAC, in favor of an external DAC. The premise being that a high-end DAC will make the sound even more pristine. Creative officials said the card is rated at a 129dB…

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3 min
hands-on: qualcomm’s snapdragon 8cx reference laptop is a fresh attempt to be faster

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx is the chip the company hopes will scale the performance mountain, reaching the heights that competing Intel Core chips have already surmounted. After trying it at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, we can say it seems promising. As we learned, the Snapdragon 8cx was designed as a ground-up, optimized design specifically for laptops. Its mission is to achieve performance comparable to that of an Intel U-series Core i5 chip. Qualcomm supplied a limited number of Snapdragon 8cx reference notebooks at the event, all running Windows 10 Pro. We tried to navigate to one of the web-based benchmarks we’ve used to test previous Snapdragon PCs, but we were told that benchmarking wasn’t allowed. In part, that’s because the clock speeds of the chip haven’t been formally determined. We were…

8cx
10 min
meet qualcomm’s snapdragon 855: ai boosts, a smarter camera, and mobile gaming

One year ago, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 845, the brains behind flagship smartphones like the Google Pixel 3, the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S9, OnePlus phones, and others. Now, Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon 855 promises those platforms even more enhancements: dedicated logic blocks for digital assistants, revamped camera logic for computer vision, specific gaming boosts. It also gives the traditional JPEG file format the boot. According to Qualcomm executives, the goal for the Snapdragon 855 is to “unlock” AI and XR (mixed reality), with the new 5G capabilities leading the way. The company claims that it’s offering the first commercial mobile platform to support this trifecta. Qualcomm’s next-generation 855 is due to ship during the first half of 2019, meaning that phone makers will be able to design and announce their…

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3 min
meet t-rex: nvidia’s titan rtx is the new graphics card mega-monster

When the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti launched with a sky-high $1,000 theoretical price tag and $1,200-plus actual price tag, some people speculated that it simply took the place of the Titan at the top of Nvidia’s graphics card lineup. Nope. Recently, Nvidia revealed the Titan RTX, a $2,499 behemoth that the company also calls “T-Rex.” It’s certainly monstrous enough. Like its Titan V predecessor, the Titan RTX returns to the Titan’s roots as a prosumer card, with a focus on AI, data science, and content creation tasks. Nvidia’s flagship TU102 GPU packs 72 dedicated RT cores for real-time ray tracing and 576 tensor cores so beloved by machine learning tasks. That’s identical to the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti’s loadout. While Nvidia’s announcement didn’t specify the Titan RTX’s CUDA core count, an Nvidia…

rtx
3 min
how fast is 5g? this speed demo gives us an idea

So how fast is 5G, anyway? About as fast as a premium-tier cable modem, according to a live test performed by Qualcomm, Motorola, and Verizon. All three companies showed off the technology at the Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, demoing a prototype 5G device on a prototype 5G network. (The entire first day of the summit was devoted to 5G.) According to the test, the modem transferred a gigabyte’s worth of data in 17 seconds. That’s 0.0588 GBps, or about 470 Mbps. That’s pretty damn fast. Want to see it for yourself? Watch the demo. Unfortunately, you have to take this demo with a fairly large grain of salt. And you have to ask some important questions: Who owns the network? What device are you using for downloads? How far is that…

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3 min
intel publishes its first modern windows driver for pcs, and there’s no going back

Intel has published its first Modern Windows Driver for several of its modern integrated GPUs, representing a new way for graphics drivers to be pushed to your PC—and something to keep an eye on until the new driver infrastructure settles in. Modern Windows Drivers, also known as Universal Windows Drivers, are a new feature of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update that takes advantage of the UWP infrastructure within Windows 10. As Microsoft explains it, a Modern Windows Driver is a “single driver package that runs across multiple different device types, from embedded systems to tablets and desktop PCs.” The first Intel driver to take advantage of this is labeled UWD 25.20.100.6444. Microsoft doesn’t intend for you to do anything different to obtain the new Modern drivers. If you own a prebuilt…

intel