PC Magazine August 2019

PC Magazine provides lab-tested reviews, detailed tips and how-tos, insightful feature stories, expert commentary, and the latest tech trends to help you at work, at home, and on the road. And for a limited time, we're offering a copy of Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation with new subscriptions. This brand-new book is all about what made Atari's computers great: excellent graphics and sound, flexible programming environment, and wide support.

United States
Ziff Davis
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the best tech for your favorite students

It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced those back-to-school feelings (or had an entire summer free, for that matter!). I remember the excitement and nerves about taking on harder subjects, encountering new teachers and classmates, and shopping for clothes and supplies. Way back then, the latter were mostly notebooks, pens and pencils, and (paper) books. But the world is a very different place now. From elementary school to high school and through college, students need technology products to get their work done. As an example, in 2017, Deloitte estimated 18 percent of US parents would buy their child an electronic gadget, the average amount spent at $254. Computers and hardware had an even higher average spend per child, at $307. College students will probably need to spend even more for their…

2 min
global chip sales took a dive

You need only a basic PC with an Intel Core i3 for Netflix and cloud gaming. The market for $1,000-plus gaming PCs and expensive dedicated GPUs is shrinking rapidly. PC gaming got way too expensive. —Gondino Not really. We’re just in kind of a holding pattern right now… Most users with Sky Lake or better have no reason to upgrade their CPUs (and mobos), and Turing GPUs probably aren’t going to suddenly skyrocket.—Daniel Glass What I see is more and more people who are no longer upgrading their PCs. They use cloud gaming, they use Netflix, they browse the internet, and they have zero need for a 16-core CPU or a $600 GPU. They need a $100 i3 with iGPU and they’re set; they don’t upgrade their PC until it breaks.—Gondino The PC gaming…

readers input opener (ipad)
7 min
restoring vision with bionic eyes is no longer science fiction

Bionic vision might sound like science fiction, but Dr. Michael Beyeler is working on just that. Originally from Switzerland, Dr. Beyeler is wrapping up his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington before moving to the University of California Santa Barbara this fall to head up the newly formed Bionic Vision Lab in the Departments of Computer Science and Psychological & Brain Sciences. We spoke with him about this “deep fascination with the brain” and how he hopes his work will eventually be able to restore vision to the blind. Here are edited and condensed excerpts from our conversation. PCMag: Dr. Beyeler, give us an overview of the ‘neural engineering’ field that will lead to bionic sight in the future. Dr. Michael Beyeler: Neuroengineering is an emerging interdisciplinary field aiming to engineer devices…

3 min
intel demos ambient pc that observes you and adapts to your needs

For a long while, you’d rarely find a computer without an Intel CPU. But with the recent rise of GPU-centric processing in blockchain and AI as well as ARM’s dominance in mobile computing, Intel has struggled to keep up. To compete and remain innovative, the company has announced myriad strange ideas over the past few years. The latest addition—an ambient PC prototype—lands somewhere between cool and creepy. At this year’s Computex event in Taipei, Intel showed off a handful of prototypes to demonstrate its efforts in artificial intelligence, modular hardware, and ambient computing. But what is ambient computing, exactly? The term refers to a responsive breed of electronics that observe and react to the presence of people. These devices remain on at all times, always watching, to adapt to and serve…

3 min
e3 2019: everything you missed

After days of booths and press conferences, gameplay reveals and story trailers, E3 2019 wrapped up in June. Some of the most prominent video games companies attended this year and brought a slew of announcements. Here are the biggest stories. MICROSOFT The next Xbox system is definitely coming, and it’ll be powerful, with a custom CPU featuring AMD’s Zen-2 architecture that can output 8K graphics at 120 frames per second. Beyond its beefy specs, all we know about “Project Scarlett” is that it will be released in the 2020 holiday season. Until then, Xbox One is Microsoft’s console of the day. The company also announced a PC-only version of the Xbox Game Pass service, along with a $15 monthly Xbox Game Pass Ultimate that wraps up the Xbox One and PC Xbox Game…

4 min
never give ransomware scammers your money

Ransomware is a pernicious plague that shows no sign of letting up. In fact, if Riviera Beach, Florida, is any indication, it might be getting worse. After being crippled by ransomware, that city voted to pay $600,000 to the perpetrators in the hope of regaining control of its systems. I applaud the city leaders who put the issue to a vote—even if it wasn’t a public vote—and handled the issue with the seriousness it deserves. That said, I believe no one should ever pay the ransom. It’s not just because “we don’t negotiate with terrorists.” It’s far simpler: there’s no guarantee paying the ransom will work. RANSOM WHAT? For those who may have forgotten, ransomware is malware that takes the files of an infected computer hostage. The malware encrypts any and all files…