Polywell B250G-i7 Reviewed – A Tiny Desktop Computer That Packs A Large Punch

Measuring only 2 inches by 8 inches this tiny small form factor desktop computer offers great performance.  Amazingly enough, as small as it is, this computer features four usb 3.0 slots, 2 usb 2.0 slots, and one usb 2.1 slot.  It also features two 3.5mm inputs, three outputs (including dedicated ones for a subwoofer and rear and center channels), and an SPDIF jack for digital audio signals which makes it also an excellent choice for a home theater system.  With a SSD Hard drive and plenty of RAM this system really has it all.  I agree with these guys on the negative factors that come along with this computer.  First of all, the power supply is external and also you have to take several screws out to open it up to add memory, etc.   Last, but not least, this computer comes installed with Windows 10.  We will not hold that against them though, lolView All 7 Photos in Gallery

The Polywell B250G-i7 (starts at $600; $799 as tested) is an eminently customizable anPolywell B250G-i7d affordable small form factor (SFF) desktop PC , which makes it an excellent choice for small businesses and consumers who don’t need enterprise IT features but want a lot of power in a small package.

There are a few disadvantages, such as an external power brick and a case that requires a screwdriver to open, but overall, the B250G is a capable machine and our new Editors’ Choice for SFF desktops.

No Nonsense The B250G features a no-nonsense design. It’s simply a square black box that measures 2.25 by 8 by 8 inches (HWD). It comes with four rubber feet mounted on the bottom of the chassis, so it’s designed to be installed horizontally.

As with other small systems, including the Dell Optiplex 5050 Micro , you can chose from an expanded range of installation configurations if you buy mounting accessories.

For example, the B250G is compatible with VESA mounts, and it can also be bolted to the wall or slipped into a 1U server rack using optional third-party hardware. The chassis itself is made of the same aluminum that Polywell has used for previous desktop designs, which means additional peace of mind when you’re installing it in a public location where the risk of damage is higher.

Unfortunately, there’s no built-in Kensington lock slot or any other form of physical anti-theft protection. The front of the case includes a power button and two USB 2.0 ports, an eyebrow-raising anachronism in 2017, when virtually all PCs have transitioned to USB 3.0. You will find four USB 3.0 ports on the robust I/O panel on the PC’s rear, along with a single USB 3.1 port and a USB-C port. Polywell has also placed two more USB 2.0 ports on the rear panel, likely for plugging in a keyboard and mouse, which don’t need the faster data transfer speeds that USB 3.0 offers.

In case you’re not counting, that adds up to a total of 10 USB ports, an impressive complement for such a small PC, even if four of them are USB 2.0 and only one is USB-C. Other ports include a single PS/2 port, in case you still have a keyboard or mouse that needs one, as well as Ethernet, DisplayPort, and HDMI connectors.

Polywell B250G-i7

Finally, you’ll find a connector for the included 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna as well as extensive audio connectivity options: two 3.5mm inputs, three outputs (including dedicated ones for a subwoofer and rear and center channels), and an SPDIF jack for digital audio signals. These extensive audio options make the B250G a good home theater PC, or perhaps the brains of a multimedia installation in a museum. Because it has two display outputs, it’s also a decent choice to power a dual-monitor setup, with support for resolutions up to 4K from both the HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.

Two significant drawbacks of Polywell’s case design could give some IT departments pause, however, especially when deploying many of them in a large organization: You must use a screwdriver to access the case’s internal components, and the B250G requires an external AC power adapter, much the same as you’d expect to plug into a laptop.

That means component upgrades will take an extra minute or so for each unit, and you’ll have to find a place for the adapter if you’re installing the PC anywhere other than a flat surface. The Asus VivoMini VC65-G042Z and the Dell Optiplex 5050 Micro both have internal power supplies, and the Dell also includes […]

 

Worst CPU/GPUs of 2017

This article discusses the various CPUs and GPUs that you want to stay away from. This is a type of computer hardware that you don’t see written about as much. Lately SSD is the latest craze. They are by far a superior hard drive. Sometimes the best computer tips are bits of advice of which products to stay away from. Windows 10 and Dell computers still top my list of items to stay away from.

If you want to learn about what graphics card you should buy (despite the horrible pricing), what’s the best CPU or are building a new system, then check out our Best Of series and PC Buying Guide for all the info you need. Today we’re discussing something else. What we feel were the worst CPU and GPU purchases of 2017. Some were just bad from the get go while others started life as viable options that sadly proved poor choices before year’s end. Kick starting 2017, Intel released the new ‘Kaby Lake’ series which actually didn’t turn out to be all that new. Apart from a small factory overclock these were basically Skylake parts and when matched clock-for-clock we found zero IPC gain. So if you owned 2015’s 6700K there was no need to buy the 7700K . A shame because the same could be said if you owned either a Haswell or Broadwell Core i7 CPU, and even arguably a Sandy or Ivy Bridge i7 as well. Still if you were coming from an AMD FX series or maybe a Core i5, something along those lines, then the 7700K offered noteworthy gains for those rocking a fast graphics card and was therefore a viable option. Unfortunately those that invested $340 in a 7700K (or heaven forbid the 7740X) ended up getting completely hosed by Intel. Roughly 9 months later for about the same price, Intel’s brand new 8700K is essentially the same CPU but with 50% more cores and threads. The 7700K is still a very capable gamer but the 8700K will no doubt prove to be a significantly better investment down the road. I should note that while I’m focusing on the 7700K, the same really applies for all Kaby Lake Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3 CPUs. They’ve all been heavily upgraded with the arrival of Coffee Lake. The only CPU that still remains a worthwhile investment is the G4560 as there is nothing better for less than $100, that said stretching the budget to the Core i3-8100 would be a smarter choice now. If you bought a 7700K in Q1 2017 you’re probably not as upset, otherwise not only has the 7700K’s resale value plummeted after the release of the 8700K, but you can’t even upgrade without a motherboard change and that brings me to part 2 of the Intel roll job. Z270 Motherboards, Intel’s lack of backwards compatibility… This is a continuation of the Kaby Lake CPUs, but it has to be said compounding the issue is Intel’s decision to remove backwards compatibility for the new Coffee Lake CPUs. Despite using the same LGA 1151 socket, Intel has changed the configuration in a way that they say the 8th gen CPUs can’t work on 100-series or 200-series motherboards while Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs also won’t work on the new 300-series motherboards. Whether or not it was necessary for Intel to eliminate compatibility, I honestly don’t know. I can just tell you this is a massive inconvenience for consumers. If I had to guess I’d say there is no legitimate reason for Intel to drop support for 200-series motherboards, I said this before even reviewing the Coffee Lake CPUs and Intel fans shot me down. However bit-tech interviewed the product manager for ROG motherboards at Asus, Andrew Wu and he said a few interesting things. When asked, if Intel let them could they make Z270 motherboards compatible with 8th Gen Core processors Andrew said ‘yes’, it would only require a BIOS update but Intel somehow has locked the compatibility. In the end it […]

Latest Windows 10 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks 2018

I have compiled a list of the latest computer tips, tricks, and tweaks for Windows 10.  I really hope you enjoy them.

1.  Game Mode Windows 10’s new Game Mode lets you boost performance by reallocating system resources toward whatever you’re playing. In fact, there’s a whole new Gaming panel in Settings that gives you quick control of the Game DVR and the Game Bar (triggered with Windows key-G). You can also broadcast games to your audience with sub-second latency using Beam.  This Tip brought to you by www.extremetech.com

2. Configure Privacy SettingsMicrosoft has finally come clean with privacy settings in the Creators Update. When you’re first setting up Windows 10, make sure to select a Custom install so you can modify the privacy settings, instead of going with the Express install. (If you already installed it, no worries; you can fix it all in Settings using the above link as a guide). While Windows 10 was free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, it’s not a free product in and of itself — so there’s no reason to share your personal information when it’s not required.  This Tip brought to you by www.extremetech.com

3. Set up God ModeThe awesomely named GodMode brings up a special menu that puts lots of settings together in one place. To enable it, create a new folder anywhere on your root drive and rename it GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}. It will create a special icon that when you click on it shows you a beautiful advanced control panel.

4. Windows ActivationFor the first time, you can tie your Windows key to your Microsoft account, instead of the hardware in your machine. This way you can upgrade your PC components whenever you want, without having to call Microsoft or otherwise figure out how to reactivate your PC using the same code online. To do so, head to Settings | Update & Security | Activation.

5. Clean install of Windows 10Head to Settings | Updates & Security | Recovery and you’ll see a new option under More recovery options: “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows.” This link takes you to an online Microsoft help page that lets you download a tool to aid in clean installs.

6. Virtual Desktops / Task ViewOne of the best things about Windows 10 is how it handles virtual desktops. The fact that it finally handles them at all, out of the box, is a great step, since Mac OS X and Linux users have had that capability for a long time. It lets you set up a series of tasks and windows on your desktop, your email and Twitter window on another, and a third for general Web browsing and research. To get started, click the Task View icon on the taskbar (immediately to the right of the Search box), or hold down the Windows key (abbreviated throughout as Win) and Tab. You can also drag an app to a new virtual desktop by bringing it over to the +New Desktop option at the lower right. 

7. Battery Saver Settings If you’re on a laptop and your battery is running low, Windows 10 is smart enough to begin throttling back background services and other threads so that you can squeeze the last bit of battery life out of your machine. To enable Battery Saver, click the Start menu, and head to Settings | System | Battery Saver.

8. Windows 10 Keyboard ShortcutsHere are some keyboard shortcuts you may want to be aware of — ones that will really help your daily workflow:

  • Windows Key-Tab (Task View)
  • Windows Key-Right-Up (Moves app to top right quadrant)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-Left or Right (virtual desktop)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-D (new virtual desktop)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-C (Cortana listening)
  • Windows Key-S (Daily Glance for weather, news, sports)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-F4 (closes virtual desktop)
  • Windows Key-Up and Down (snap apps to top or bottom of screen or maximizes)

9. Find the control Panel and other GoodiesThe new Settings panel is easy to navigate and makes more sense than the crufty old Control Panel, but you’ll still need the latter to access some deeper options in the system. It’s easy to call up, even though it’s hidden; just right click on the Start button on the bottom left of the screen and choose it from the pop-up menu, or type Control Panel in the Search bar at the bottom left in the taskbar. When you right-click the Start button, you’ll see all kinds of useful things there, such as Computer Management and Disk Management; for what it’s worth, those options bring you right back to the familiar Windows 7-style apps in each case.

10. Adjust NotificationsNotifications are a giant pain in Windows 10; there’s just too many of them, and some are unnecessary. Turn ’em off by heading to Start > Settings > System > Notifications and actions, and turn off Windows tips and specific app notifications (you’ll need to scroll down for the latter).  Top 10 tips from this article at This Tip brought to you by www.extremetech.com.

11. How to Find internet explorer for Windows 10 -In the Windows 10 taskbar search, type Internet Explorer and you will see it appear in the results. Clicking on it will open Microsoft Internet Explorer.  To pin internet explorer to the task bar right-click on the Start search result and select Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar, according to your preference. The IE icon will get pinned. If you use it frequently, you can set it as your default browser via Internet Options > Programs tab > Internet programs > Set programs. Control Panel will open. You can set Internet Explorer as the default browser under Set your Default Programs applet.This is how you can open Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10, and how you can pin it to your Start Menu or Taskbar for quick frequent access and set IE as your default browser.

12.Create Desktop shortcuts or Context Menu items to open various Settings in Windows 10 – If there are some Windows 10 settings that you access frequently, you would like an option to open them directly by clicking on a desktop shortcut or a right-click context menu item, right? Well in this post, we will see the URI for Settings apps, that open the particular Settings page directly.

A URI or Uniform Resource Identifier is a string of characters used to identify a name of a resource. So if you know the URI for each of the settings, you can create its desktop shortcut, or edit the Windows Registry and add it to the context menu.

URI for specific Windows 10 settings

MSDN has listed the URIs that target specific settings apps in Windows 10. This table lists the URIs that you can use to display built-in settings pages in Windows 10.

Category Settings page URI
Home Landing page for Settings ms-settings:
System Display ms-settings:displayms-settings:screenrotation
Notifications ms-settings:notifications
Storage ms-settings:storagesense
Battery Saver ms-settings:batterysaver
Battery Saver ms-settings:batterysaver-settings
Battery Saver ms-settings:batterysaver-usagedetails
Offline Maps ms-settings:maps
Devices Bluetooth ms-settings:bluetooth
Connected Devices ms-settings:connecteddevices
Mouse & Touchpad ms-settings:mousetouchpad
Network and Wi-fi  Power & Sleep  ms-settings:powersleep
Airplane mode ms-settings:network-airplanemode
Cellular ms-settings:network-cellular
Dial-up ms-settings:network-dialup
Ethernet ms-settings:network-ethernet
Proxy ms-settings:network-proxy
Data Sense ms-settings:datausage
 Wi-Fi  ms-settings:network-wifi
 Mobile Hotspot  ms-settings:network-mobilehotspot
 Start  ms-settings:personalization-start
Personalization Lock screen ms-settings:lockscreen
Personalization ms-settings:personalization
Accounts Your account ms-settings:emailandaccounts
Your workplace  ms-settings:workplace
Time and language Date & time ms-settings:dateandtime
Region & language ms-settings:regionlanguage
Speech ms-settings:speech
Privacy Calendar ms-settings:privacy-calendar
Contacts ms-settings:privacy-contacts
Feedback & diagnostics ms-settings:privacy-feedback
Location ms-settings:privacy-location
Messaging ms-settings:privacy-messaging
Microphone ms-settings:privacy-microphone
Other ms-settings:privacy-customdevices
Radio ms-settings:privacy-radios
Speech ms-settings:privacy-speechtyping
Webcam ms-settings:privacy-webcam
Update & Security Windows update ms-settings:windowsupdate

previous tip brought to us by www.windowsclub.com

13. Set Google search as Default Search in Windows 10 taskbar search – The latest build of Windows 10 comes with a lot of improvements and enhancements. For instance, you find in Windows 10 a new Search Bar that is very much similar in function to the Windows 8 Search bar in the charms bar but resides on the taskbar. It even allows you to search in Windows, Web and new Cortana interface. But the problem that lies with it, is that this search option uses Bing Search as the default option, and does not allow you change it if you wish. There is no option in Windows 10 to use Yahoo, Yandex, Google or any other search as your default search to  search the web instead of Bing. In this post, we will see how to make Google the default search for your Taskbar Search box in Windows 10. The trick would be to set Chrome as your default web browser and use an extension to direct Bing queries to Google Search.

UPDATE: Microsoft changed something and it does not seem to work now.

Set Google as Default Search in Windows 10 taskbar search

If you are a Google Search user and would love to search the web right from the taskbar or Start using Google instead of Bing as your web search engine, follow the steps below to make Windows 10’s taskbar or start search box show web results using the Google search.

The first requirement here is to download and install Google Chrome browser on your version of Windows 10. Once done, set Chrome as the default web browser. To do this, open Settings app in Windows 10 and navigate to System.

14. How to enable dark theme in Windows 10This tutorial will show you how to enable the hidden Windows 10 Dark Theme by editing the Windows Registry. We all love the way with which Microsoft designed Windows 10. They have given preference to users and implement all those features which users are fond of. Windows 10 comes with lots of personalization options and by some small tweaks you can make it more familiar to yourself.

UPDATE: You can now turn on Dark Theme in Windows 10 via Settings easily.

Microsoft has used very appealing and decent colors in the apps provided by default in this operating system. In case of native apps like Settings, Microsoft Edge etc., there is light-grey colored theme in these apps. Here is the theme preview:

As you can see in the above screenshot, the dark theme looks cool and is easy on the eyes, so you should give it a try once. Here is how you enable this theme:

Enable Windows 10 Dark Theme

It is always a good idea to create a system restore point first, before making any changes to the Windows Registry.

1. Press Windows Key + R combination, type put regedit in Run dialog box and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.

2. Navigate here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes

3. At this registry location, right click over Themes key and select New -> Key. Name the newly created key as Personalize. Highlight Personalize and come to its right pane.

Right click in blank space and select New -> DWORD Value. Name the newly created DWORD as AppsUseLightTheme if you’re on Windows 10 final build.

Since you’ve created the registry DWORD, obviously it will have its Value data set to 0. In case if the DWORD exists by default, no need to create anything. Just make sure that its Data is set to 0:

4. Repeat step 3 for the user key as well at following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\Personalize

Once you’re done with the registry manipulation, close Registry Editor and reboot the machine.

After restarting the system, open Settings app and you’ll find the dark theme is activated now.

We hope that Microsoft will make available a settings in the Personalization app, that will let users do this easily – just the way it lets you enable the dark theme in Edge.

15. How to use Game DVR Screen Recorder in Windows 10 – The Game DVR feature allows you to record your gameplay in the background. It is located on the Game Bar – which offers buttons to record gameplay & take screenshots using the Game DVR feature.

To use this screen recording tool, you will have to open the Xbox app and press Win+G. The action upon confirmation launches the Game Bar and displays a brand new record option that offers the ability to record video.

It’s particularly noteworthy to mention here that if you are launching the Game Bar for the first time, a message will flash on your computer screen reading, “Do you want to open Game Bar?”—simply click ‘Yes, this is a game’. After that, it’s pretty straightforward to use.

To begin recording video inside the app, just hit the red button.

To adjust Settings, hit the settings icon on the recording toolbar and configure things like the length of recording automatically. Here, you can also enable background recording that simply allows you to record in the background. If required, you can set the max length for recording and disable the notification balloons.

Finally, when you click the Stop button, the video file is built. All the videos recorded are stored in MP4 format inside the Game DVR section of the Xbox app.

Alternatively, a user can navigate to the location manually under User folder > Videos > Captures. If you ever forget this location, just use the ‘Open folder’ button from inside the Xbox app. Accessing the captures is easy using the Xbox app in the Game DVR section.

For now, the video recording feature is only available inside the apps.

Game Bar not opening in full-screen mode

If you find that your Game Bar does not open in full-screen mode, then it is possible that the game does not recognize the Win+G hotkey to open the Games Bar, which works in the window mode.

Try using the Win+Alt+R hotkey to record visuals or Win+Alt+Prt to take a screenshot and see if that works.

Let us know how you like using it.

The Game DVR feature on Windows 10 is enabled by default so that you can easily share the captured screen on a popular social media network or store them locally to a PC. But if you do not have any need for it or if you face any performance issues while playing games, you can disable Game DVR in Xbox and see if it helps.

Tips 11-15 brought to us from http://www.thewindowsclub.com/windows-10-tips-and-tricks

 

Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop

I used to be a big fan of dell but after bad experiences my customers have had with there support I no longer recommend any Dell products. I have had at least five customers buy Dell Computers this year and have there hard drive go out in the first couple of months and two of them were SSD drives. If your looking for computer tips, I would say stay away from Dell and stay away from Windows 10 still.

What is the Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop? Think of gaming PCs and the Dell Inspiron brand probably isn’t the first to spring to mind. Associated more with standard desktops, Dell is expanding its Inspiron range to include entry-level gaming systems for people who don’t want to pay the high prices for an Alienware system. With a choice of AMD Ryzen processors, a neatly designed case, and a choice of mid-level graphics cards, the Inspiron Gaming Desktop is certainly far more interesting than its name might suggest. I was sent the top-of-the range model for testing, kitted out with a Ryzen 7 1700X. In truth, a lower-spec model is a bit better value, but it’s interesting nonetheless to see what the top-spec model is capable of. Related: Best desktop PC Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop – Design and build Call a machine a gaming desktop, and you need a design to match. Keeping the Inspiron’s target audience in mind, the Gaming Desktop is built into a case that offers a slight edge without going over the top. It’s set at a jaunty angle, with the front sloping up and away. I like the way that the front grille swoops up the front and wraps around the side of the case. Blue lights shine out through the grille and illuminate the inside, although you can turn them off – but not change colour – using the bundled Dell Light Bar Controller software. The case’s metallic finish gives this PC a fun look without it being in-your-face. Dell has made the PC practical, too, with a front panel that’s home to two USB 3.1 Gen 1 and one USB-C ports, plus an additional two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card slot. A 3.5mm headset jack is useful too. The Dell also has a built-in slimline DVD drive. The company could have opted for a full-size optical drive in the spare 5.25-inch bay, but that would have spoiled the overall look of the PC somewhat. Around the back you’ll find everything else you’d expect: four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and five 3.5mm audio outputs. And, if you have an ancient keyboard and mouse that you desperately want to use with this PC, there are two PS/2 ports as well. These ports hint at the Inspiron’s slightly more budget origins. Take the side off to expose the interior, and the plain metal chassis within looks fairly basic. As with any mass-produced system, cable management has been attempted but it’s fairly hideous nonetheless; it’s best to pretend the innards don’t exist unless you really need to get in and add your own components. As I reviewed the top-of-the-range AMD Ryzen 7 1700X version, my Inspiron Gaming Desktop review sample shipped with liquid cooling, with heat exhausted out of the rear of the system. Cheaper models get regular air cooling, which will doubtless be louder if previous Dell systems are anything to go by. There’s a spare 3.5-inch drive bay for those who want to add more mechanical storage outside of the 1TB hard disk. Better still, with one free M.2 slot, you can add fast additional storage to complement the existing SATA-speed 256GB M.2 SSD. The graphics card – a 6GB GDDR5 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – is supported at the rear by a plastic mount fitted into a metal cage. There’s a spare PCI E x16 slot, although since the GTX 1060 doesn’t support SLI, you’re unlikely to need it unless you fancy adding some extra outputs or inputs, such as a sound card or extra ports. […]

What Makes the Eurocom Q5 Max-Q Gaming Laptop a Top Pick for 2018?

Gaming Laptops are a lot of fun.  This new gaming laptop by Eurocom combines speed, efficiency, and elegance.  Its got a super fast SSD for hard drive and plenty of memory to carry the load.   Combined with an ultra HD display, this Max-Q gaming laptop featuring Windows 10 is definitely a contender for top pick of early 2018.

Eurocom Q5 Max-Q Gaming Laptop Review

Nvidia first revealed Max-Q back in May, teasing 85-90% GPU efficiency in thinner and lighter laptops. The first such laptop we reviewed was the Asus ROG Zephyrus, which featured an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q design, and it delivered on all fronts. We’ve been itching to test another Max-Q laptop ever since.

 

Today we’ll be looking at the Eurocom Q5, a 0.74” gaming laptop featuring a GTX 1070 with Max-Q design.

 

Specifications

Packaging

The Eurocom Q5 is based off the Clevo P957HP6, so you can expect Clevo’s generic brown “Notebook Computer” packaging.

 

There’s a white plastic handle at the top of the

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo.

 

At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface. The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center.

 

When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

 

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo.

 

At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface. The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center.

 

When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

 

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo.

 

At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface.

 

The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center. When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

 

There are perforations dotted in and around the two red accents surrounding the power button; these perforations act as the Q5’s speakers, and are placed in the best possible position for audio clarity.

 

The speakers can reach maximum volume without experiencing much distortion. Hopefully, laptop manufacturers will notice this and implement top-facing speakers in future models.

 

The Q5’s 15.6” display has a relatively standard bezel as far as gaming laptops go. Unlike the rest of the chassis, the bezels are constructed out of plastic, but this area isn’t as critical.

 

The side bezels are 0.6875”, while the top bezel measures 0.875”. The bottom bezel is the longest, measuring 0.9375”.

 

There are two small rubber feet on the side bezels and three long rubber feet on the top and bottom bezels.

 

These separate the display from the interior surface when the lid is closed. The top bezel houses the 2.0 megapixel Full HD (1920×1080) webcam.

 

Finally, Eurocom’s logo is printed on the bottom bezel in white.

 

The Q5’s entire chassis is almost entirely constructed out of titanium-aluminum alloy, so the edges are merely continuations of the lid and interior surface, wrapped around into shape.

 

The front edge is plain, and only contains LED indicators for power/connectivity, charging, disk usage, and airplane mode.

 

The Q5 is 0.74” thin, so the RJ-45 LAN port on the right edge has a small clamp that only opens when you plug in an Ethernet cable.

 

Meanwhile, the left edge features ventilation for the Q5’s CPU. Finally, the rear edge is where things get interesting. You’ll find a red accent layer spanning nearly the entire length of the rear exhaust, giving some life to the mostly black color scheme.

 

The exhausts vents aren’t perfectly symmetrical; right side vents feature fewer cutouts, because they only have to accommodate the CPU, whereas the left side vents are fully exposed for the Max-Q GPU.

 

The bottom panel looks by far the most aggressive. It’s littered with air intake cutouts, which occupy nearly half of the panel’s surface area.

 

In between the intake cutouts, there is an angled accent spanning the length of the panel. Despite all of the cutouts, the metal construction remains robust and doesn’t fall victim to flexing.

 

The bottom panel has three rubber feet to keep the Q5 stable; there are two small feet near the front corners and one large foot near the rear edge. The rear foot is basically one large strip of rubber, and only the far left and right sides of the foot make contact with your desk.

 

Still, the large rubber foot is impressive to look at, and even more pleasing to feel.

 

Inside, you’ll find the Q5 wrapped in plastic and three blocks of protective closed-cell foam. Adjacent to the foam blocks, you’ll find a box containing the Q5’s 180W adapter and an AC power cord.

 

That’s it. No extra booklets or manuals. Just the laptop and its power accessories. The Q5’s manual can be found on Eurocom’s website.

 

The Q5’s packaging is as generic as you can get. This isn’t a negative, per se. However, competing Clevo resellers like Origin PC trek the extra mile by using their own branded packaging and extras (like posters). Our review of the Origin PC EON17-SLX illustrates the impressive unboxing experience.

 

Exterior

Luckily, the monotony ends with the packaging. When we finally got our hands on the Q5, we couldn’t help but feel astonished. The Q5 features an elegant black titanium-aluminum alloy construction that’s light yet sturdy.

 

The lid has tastefully placed angular accents running from the hinge to the top of the lid. There’s a decorative plastic strip spanning between where the lid accents meet the top edge of the lid, complementing the Q5’s aggressive aesthetic. Perhaps most impressive is the lid’s lighting effects.

 

In the very middle, there’s a translucent red plastic insignia, and there are two perforated strips located next to the angled accents. When the system is powered, the insignia and perforations emit a red light.

 

The interior area surrounding the input devices is also constructed out of titanium-aluminum alloy, which is pleasant to the touch but attracts fingerprints and smudges rather easily.

 

‘Fortunately, the surface is easy to clean, at least compared to brushed-aluminum and rubberized plastic, which competing manufacturers tend to implement.

[…]

Find out about all of the other great features in this gaming laptop below.

MSI Infinite Review: Could It Be The Best Gaming Pc of 2018?

A gaming computer is a huge investment so its always important to do good research before you make a purchase.  I have been very impressed with the other gaming computers by MSI in the past and there is a lot of buzz about this one already.  For well under $2,000 this bad boy packs a punch with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD hard drive.  On top of that look at it.  It looks sweet!

MSI Infinite Review: A Truly ‘Lit’ Gaming PCMSI Infinite Review: A Truly ‘Lit’ Gaming PC

Even in an age when gaming PCs with massive, alien-inspired chassis and tons of flashy lights are commonplace, the MSI Infinite (starting at $1,599; $1,799 as tested) manages to stand out.

 

This gaming monster is loaded with smart design touches, from its stunning, customizable LED strip to a plethora of front-facing ports that make connecting VR headsets and USB Type-C gadgets easy.

It doesn’t skimp on performance, either, with an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card that can handle VR and high-end games without breaking a sweat.

 

While you can find more compact and easier-to-upgrade PCs for the price, the MSI Infinite is a great premium PC for folks who care about looks above all else.

A Glowing Artifact

It’s been a long time since I’ve been genuinely excited over a gaming desktop’s design, but the MSI Infinite changed all of that.

 

With sharp, jarring angles and no shortage of glowing lights, the Infinite looks like an artifact you’d find in an enemy base in Destiny rather than something meant to sit in an office.

I was immediately captivated by the Infinite’s front-facing LED strip, which features a slick sci-fi pattern that can glow in all kinds of cool ways.

 

While most gaming PCs settle for static or breathing lighting effects, the Infinite can send light bouncing up and down, mimic a kaleidoscope or sync its lighting with your PC audio, just to name a few.

Couple that with the customizable lighting on the GPU and motherboard, and the MSI Infinite can quickly turn into a dizzying display of LED action that should please folks who like loud color combinations.

Speaking of loud designs, the Infinite measures 19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, so it will eat up a good chunk of your desk area.

 

It’s notably bigger than similar PCs such as the Alienware Aurora (18.6 x 14.1 x 8.3 inches), though not quite as towering as high-end monsters such as the Origin Millennium (21.4 x 24.8 x 9.75 inches) and the Maingear Rush (24 x 21.5 x 8.6 inches).

 

While the Infinite weighs a hefty 28 pounds, it’s fairly easy to lug around thanks to a convenient handle near the top of the machine.

 

Key Specs

MSI Infinite
Starting Configuration
Our Configuration
Price
$1,599 $1,799
CPU
Intel Core i7-7700 Intel Core i7-7700
RAM
16GB 16GB
Storage
256GB SSD + 2TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive 512GB SSD
GPU
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
Size and Weight
19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, 28 pounds 19.2 x 17.7 x 8.3 inches, 28 pounds

Future-Ready Ports

Between its handy port selection and easy upgradability, the Infinite is a pretty future-proof gaming machine. The PC features the usual headphone/mic jacks and two USB ports (one 2.0, one 3.0) right up front, in addition to a USB Type-C port for newer gadgets as well as a very useful front-facing HDMI port for VR headsets.

The rear ports should cover the rest of your needs. In the back, there are two USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port and line-in, line-out and mic jacks for audio. There are even two PS/2 ports in the rear, in case you’re clinging to an older mouse or keyboard. The Infinite’s Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU sports three DisplayPorts, an HDMI port and a VGA port for easy multimonitor connectivity.

To get inside the Infinite, all I had to do was remove three screws and slide off the side panel. From there, you can easily swap in more RAM, though you’ll have to keep your screwdriver handy if you want to replace any other components.

Gaming Performance

The MSI Infinite is a bonafide gaming beast, tearing through most of our benchmarks with ease, thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card.

MSI’s desktop ran the stylish stealth action of Hitman (1080p, max settings) at a supersmooth 123 frames per second, barely trailing the Corsair One (129 fps, GTX 1080) and topping our 86-fps desktop average. When we cranked things up to 4K, the Infinite turned in a very impressive 65.8 fps.

On the more graphically intense Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p, max settings), the Infinite rendered Lara Croft and her snowy surroundings at 64.7 fps. Again, that trails the Corsair One (72 fps) by just a bit while topping our 29-fps average.

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How To Pick The Best All-in-One PC in 2018

After years of using my laptop, I switched to an All-in-One PC and I absolutely love it.  It has a nice big display, touch scree, and is very easy to take with me.  I like these computer tips from tomshardware.com.  Everything they say is very accurate in my opinion.  They do a nice job of explaining SSD drives vs. HDD hard drives as well as doing a great job at breaking down the comparisons of Windows vs. mac computers.  After the Windows 10 fail, I have seen a lot of consumers switching to Mac and I can’t say that I blame them.

 

Choosing the Right All-in-One PCChoosing the Right All-in-One PC

With all of the considerations of a regular PC plus the unique aspects of all-in-one designs, there’s a lot to keep in mind when hunting for the right all-in-one. Use our advice to make sure you get the one that’s right for you, whether you need powerful components or a big, beautiful display.

Quick Tips

  1. Hardware: Look for a system that has an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU and at least 8GB of RAM.
  2. Storage: A dual-drive combination of 256GB solid-state drive and 1TB hard drive delivers performance without sacrificing capacity or costing an arm and a leg.
  3. Display: If you can get 4K resolution, go for it, but 27- and 28-inch displays offer the best balance of panel size and affordable price.
  4. Touch Screen: You’ll pay more for a touch-enabled display, so only get it if touch is on your must-have list.
  5. Design: If ergonomics are a concern, pay attention to what sort of stand a model has, since most of them don’t offer any sort of height adjustment.
  6. Operating System: Windows or Mac are both good choices, but stick to Windows if you want touch.
  7. Ports: You don’t just want lots of ports, you want them to be easy to reach, so pay attention to port placement.
  8. Sound: If audio quality is important, look for speakers – and lots of them.
  9. Price: All-in-One PCs run more expensive than regular desktops, but you can still get premium features without breaking the bank. You just need to be clear about what features are most important to you.

Components: Which Specs Matter?

An all-in-one PC is, first and foremost, a computer, and the components inside determine what sort of performance the system will give you.

Marketing materials may lavish praise on any number of features, but there are four main specifications to pay attention to when buying any computer — all-in-one or otherwise.

 

  • Processor: While you can find all-in-one systems that use Intel Core i3 or Pentium CPUs, these are much less capable processors, and you’ll feel the limits of that performance much sooner. For most people, we recommend a current Intel Core i5 processor, which will offer plenty of performance for all your everyday uses and will continue to offer good support over the life of the computer. If you want more horsepower, stepping up to a Core i7 will offer plenty of power.
  • RAM: Also called memory, RAM serves as the computer’s short-term storage for applications that are currently in use. A smaller allotment of RAM will limit your ability to multitask, even with a powerful processor. We recommend getting as much RAM as you can, but 8GB of RAM is enough to support most users in all of their computing needs. The good news is that RAM is relatively inexpensive, and it’s often one of the only parts of an all-in-one that can be upgraded by the user.
  • Graphics: All the pretty visuals you see in games and videos require graphics processing. Most users can get by with integrated graphics, the graphics processing hardware that comes with your computer’s processor. It’s sufficient for the web browsing, office work and media streaming that make up the bulk of general computer use. However, if you want to play games or do more demanding, graphics-intensive work, you’ll want a system with a discrete graphics card.
  • Storage: Finally, you’ll want something with a good size storage drive for all of your programs, files and family photos. The two big concerns with storage are capacity and speed. A 500GB hard drive will offer plenty of room for documents and photos, but a 1TB drive offers more room to accommodate video files and larger programs. A solid-state drive (SSD) will be faster than any hard drive, and you’ll feel the difference in your day to day use of the machine, but SSDs are more expensive for the same sort of capacity.

Many PC manufacturers offer dual-drive configurations that give you the performance benefits of an SSD with the affordable capacity of a spindle-based hard drive. But if not, more storage is better.

 

It’s also worth remembering that, unlike a traditional desktop PC, there are very few upgrade options available for all-in-one systems after purchase.

 

The compact design that fits all the computing hardware in with the display generally doesn’t allow user access to the internals, and no room to accommodate additional hardware.

 

As a result, even simple upgrades like adding a discrete graphics card or switching out a storage drive aren’t viable options on an all-in-one.

 

The one exception is that an all-in-one’s RAM often is accessible, and adding memory is a relatively inexpensive way to get a 2- or 3-year-old PC feeling new again.

 

Display: Size and Resolution

Most all-in-one systems have displays ranging in size from 20 inches on the small end to 32-inch displays on premium systems.

 

We’d avoid anything smaller than 23 inches, unless you’re trying to fit the all-in-one into a cramped cubicle or tiny apartment.

 

High-end 30- to 32-inch systems are nice if you can afford them, but are often cost-prohibitive. For our money, the sweet spot between spacious displays and reasonable pricing sits right at 27 or 28 inches.

 

While most displays come in only two resolutions, full HD (1920 x 1080) or 4K (3840 x 2160), a few all-in-one systems offer displays that exceed 4K resolution.

 

The Apple iMac 27-inch with 5k Retina display, for example, boasts a 5K (5120 x 2880) display, and the Microsoft Surface Studio has an impressive 28-inch, 4500 x 3000 display.

 

If you want to use the PC to view and edit 4K media, then a monitor with 4K (or better) resolution is a must-have.

 

In general, 4K resolution is what we recommend; as 4K streaming through services like Netflix and YouTube becomes more common, you’ll definitely want a display that can handle the best picture available.

 

However, if you’re looking for an opportunity to get an all-in-one PC for less, opting for a lower resolution display is one of the easiest ways to save money without sacrificing overall performance.

 

If you’ve grown accustomed to the tapping and swiping you do on your phone or tablet, and want that same intuitive interaction with your PC, an all-in-one with touch support is a great way to go.

 

On the other hand, if you know you don’t want a touch screen or are unlikely to use it, then there’s no sense paying for a feature you won’t benefit from.

 

But there’s more to the equation than touch or no touch. While most touch-enabled PCs support simultaneous input from all 10 fingers, some budget models may offer multitouch, but only support two points of contact. Others may rely on different touch-input technologies.

 

While capacitive touch is most common, and the technology we recommend, you may still find AIO desktops on the market that use other methods of touch sensing, from infrared light or sound to resistive touch sensors.

 

If you’re considering an option other than capacitive touch, take the time to find the system in a local store to try it yourself before purchase.

 

Finally, some all-in-one systems go beyond fingertip input and offer a stylus or pen. If you want to use your all-in-one for digital sketching and other media creation, then pen support might be a feature to look for.

 […]

Learn more about picking the right design for form and function. As well as Mac Vs. PC, and more below.

The Biggest Tech Fails of the Last Decade

Any organization, be it a multi-billion-dollar corporate behemoth or lowly startup, can launch a hyped product that turns out to be total dud. We’ve seen our fair share of tech flops (this is the second time we round up products for a similar list), and while some very quickly

In no particular order of uselessness, here are our top ten biggest tech fails of the last ten years.

 

What’s more dangerous than an exploding phone? How about a toy aimed at kids that spontaneously catches fire? Not content with the risk of breaking limbs and maneuvering into traffic, several hoverboards came with an extra element of danger that could turn users into a non-superhero version of the Human Torch.

 

Not all the hoverboards were prone to bursting into flames; it was mainly the cheaply made knockoffs—of which there were a lot. But even some of the bigger name brands found themselves banned from retailers such as Target and Amazon over safety concerns.

 

Not all the hoverboards were prone to bursting into flames; it was mainly the cheaply made knockoffs—of which there were a lot. But even some of the bigger name brands found themselves banned from retailers such as Target and Amazon over safety concerns.

The final straw came when the United States Postal Service followed the lead of a number of airlines, including Delta, United, and American Airlines, by banning the devices from air transportation. Remember: if a toy has the potential to bring down a plane, it should only be given as a Xmas gift to people you really don’t like.

 

Like a shambling zombie from the Walking Dead, Microsoft’s Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile initiative managed to hang around for years before 2017 saw it take the figurative bullet to the head.

 

Not everyone disliked Windows Phones, and some of the Lumia handsets weren’t all that bad, but even though the concept of the Windows Mobile platform sounded good, it struggled to drag users away from Android and iOS. Little support from app developers and a lack of features you would expect to see in a smartphone ensured that the mobile market was one industry Microsoft wasn’t going to dominate.

 

In July, three years after version 8.1 shipped to users, Microsoft dropped support for the Windows phone. But at least Windows 10 Mobile was still alive—up until the start of October, that is, when a Microsoft exec said it was no longer a focus for the company.

 

In July, three years after version 8.1 shipped to users, Microsoft dropped support for the Windows phone. But at least Windows 10 Mobile was still alive—up until the start of October, that is, when a Microsoft exec said it was no longer a focus for the company.

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Drevo Ares NVMe SSD Review

This SSD Hard Drive is another one that I highly recommend if you are looking for performance. I have tried there portable SSD before and was very happy with the performance, especially considering it was around $40. Drevo is a solid brand and I am excited to try this one out. The best computer tips that I give daily are two things: upgrade to an SSD and quit calling those 1-800 Number pop ups that say they are Microsoft!

Drevo Ares NVMe SSD Review

Drevo’s SSDs are becoming more popular on Amazon. The company sells quite a few low-cost SSDs and keyboards, but it hasn’t submitted products for reviewer scrutiny until recently. At the time of writing, the company lists six internal and two portable SSDs. With prices starting at just $38.99 for a 60GB internal SSD, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the company. The low-cost sub-$40 SSD even has over 200 positive user reviews.

 

The Drevo Ares is the company’s first NVMe SSD, but it uses a familiar design that we’ve tested before with the Tigo G5 PCIe SSD from Hong Kong. There is one significant difference between the two products. Tigo sells the G5 PCIe SSD in several capacities that range from 256GB to 2TB, but the Drevo Ares only comes in 256GB.

 

We don’t expect too much in the performance department from the Drevo Ares. The company built the drive around the SMI SM2260 dual-core controller paired with Intel/Micron Flash Technology (IMFT) 256Gbit 3D MLC NAND. For the most part, all the SM2260 controllers paired with any flavor of Micron’s first-generation 3D NAND have been a disappointment. Micron, under the Ballistix brand, planned to release an M.2 2280 consumer product with the same components as the Ares, but the company canceled it two weeks before the official launch.

 

Intel’s 600p NVMe SSD took the poor controller and NAND performance in stride. Intel simply positioned the 600p as the first entry-level NVMe SSD and sold them by the handful. The Drevo Ares sells for only a few dollars more than the 600p 256GB. The performance is nearly the same even though the Ares features 2-bit per cell (MLC) rather than 3-bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash. The extra $20 spent gains you a hefty endurance increase, a good looking heatsink, and a few blue LEDs to light up your computer case

Specifications

Drevo currently only plans to release a 256GB Ares model, but it hasn’t closed the door on other capacities. The company says it might develop other models if there is a market demand for larger entry-level NVMe drives.

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