Unlike desktop PCs, you can't just open up your laptop and insert an audio card for discrete audio processing. However, there are USB-based solutions, including Asus' new Xonar U3 Plus, a pocket-sized USB sound solution with a built-in 150-Ohm headphone amp, DSP (digital signal processor), and other features. According to Asus, the Xonar U3 Plus is essentially a smaller version of its existing Xonar U5 and gaming-oriented U7 Echelon Edition with Sonic Radar.
A new mid-range GTX 900 Series card may be imminent
We expect to see quite a few product announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, which runs from January 6-9. However, rumor has it one part that won't make the trip is Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960 graphics card. Instead, a Chinese-language website thinks it's privy to Nvidia's plan to launch the GeForce GTX 960 on January 22, 2015.
PC vendors are not sure what to expect from Windows 10
Trying to predict the PC market is like to trying to forecast the weather a month in advance -- it's a crapshoot, basically. So, we're taking it with several grains of salt that PC vendors are reportedly doubtful that the Windows 10 launch next year will stimulate demand for replacement systems. One reason they feel that way is because of the lingering rumor that Microsoft may make Windows 10 a free update.
Looking for a power supply that can handle your monster build with juice to spare? Well, EVGA's new SuperNova 1600 T2 PSU is a good start. Rated at 1600W, EVGA's new PSU also boasts 80 Plus Titanium certification for 94 percent efficiency. It's also the highest 80 Plus certification available, the others being Platinum (92 percent), Gold (90 percent), Silver (88 percent), Bronze (85 percent), and simply Plus (80 percent), all of which represent efficiency at 50 percent load levels.
New site helps MacBook users make the switch to Surface
Microsoft wasn't so brazen as to post a website trying to lure MacBook users to its original Surface products, including the Surface RT, a particularly forgettable product. But with the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has hit a groove and come out with a product that, for some, is a tablet that can truly replace their laptop. With its new-found confidence, Microsoft has gone gunning for MacBook users with a new website to help them make the switch to Surface Pro 3.
Microsoft's deal with the National Football League to showcase Surface Pro 2 hardware during games got off to a rocky start when TV commentators and players alike repeatedly referred to the devices as iPads. That amounted to free advertising for the competition, for which Microsoft paid good money ($400 million), but that's all in the past. Furthermore, Microsoft's Surface deal with the NFL is winning over players, including Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who revealed a dark secret.
Kudos to you if you can make it to the end of the year without anything but a bare wallet and depleted PayPal account. Anything else is a tall order with all the holiday sales -- it started with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, both of which were extended by most retailers, and continued with things like Microsoft's 12 Days of Deals, GOG Autumn sale, Steam Holiday sale, and so forth. And just when you thought the madness was over, Amazon has come out swinging with some tantalizing daily deals of its own -- today Amazon is offering is flagship Fire HDX 8.9 tablet starting at $299, a 30 percent savings over its regular selling price.
One reason to get into the hardcore overclocking scene is because you get to play with the latest gear. If you're particularly good at your craft, companies will stumble over themselves trying to hook you up with high-end hardware as you chase world overclocking and benchmark records, as they all want their brands associated with such feats. So, it's not surprising that Asus has sent out a handful of external power card prototypes to the overclocking community.
Here's the thing, folks -- if you want to protect your PC from lightning strikes and other electrical surges, plug it into a UPS backup power supply with built-in surge protection. For added caution, shut down and unplug your PC during lightning storms. And if you're super paranoid about your LAN port giving up the ghost, well, you'll be happy to know that Biostar has your back and will begin integrating a chip into its motherboards to strengthen electrical stability.
Free app puts your Android device to work crunching data when it would otherwise be idle
Scientists are hard at work looking for a definitive cure to Ebola, and you can help. More precisely, if you're willing to donate idle time power from your PC and/or Android device, you can help the cause. How? The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has partnered up with IBM and its World Community Grid to form a volunteer computing project called "Outsmart Ebola Together," and all you need to do is install a free app.