Cyanogen teams up with Oppo for the first dedicated CyanogenMod smartphone
CyanogenMod has come a long way from its roots as an alternate ROM for the HTC Dream. Its latest milestone is the impending launch of the first smartphone running CyanogenMod straight from the factory: the CyanogenMod OPPO N1.
Every power user has a set of go-to programs and utilities that he or she carries around on a USB thumb drive. One that should be included is GPU-Z, a lightweight utility that takes up all of 1.3MB or 1.4MB of space (depending on whether you want the standard version or the one with an Asus ROG skin). Even though it has a teeny-tiny footprint, it can tell an awful lot about your graphics card, which can come in handy when troubleshooting. The newest update -- version 0.7.5 -- released today adds support for 12 more discrete GPUs and an additional integrated GPU.
Don't turn out the lights, the party might not be over
If you've been crying crocodile tears over the impending demise of Winamp, you can put that box of tissues back in the bathroom, the popular media player form yesteryear may not be getting unplugged after all. AOL is reportedly close to finalizing a package deal involving both Winamp and Shoutcast, and if completed, both would continue to exist under new ownership.
It's starting to get a little bit easier to find AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards in stock, but before you pounce on one, you may want to hold off and see what XFX is cooking up. The enthusiast brand is supposedly working on a custom cooled Radeon R9 290X that's both quieter and much chillier than AMD's reference design, the latter of which means there's less chance of the card throttling down its clockspeed.
Microsoft has never hidden the fact that Windows 8 works best when you're able to touch, tap, swipe, and get hands-on with your display. The problem there is that most existing monitors lack touch support, so if you want that functionality on your desktop, you're looking at investing in a new panel. Acer's new 20-inch FT200HQL is one such option, and though the 19.5-inch screen is on the small side, it supports 10-point capacitive touch input.
BlackBerry can't seem to catch a break no matter what it does. This was a year of change for BlackBerry, from a shakeup in management to new devices and even a new name. However, the end result is still the same -- losses. The latest loss comes to $4.4 billion for the Canadian handset maker's three month period ended November 30, 2013. No company wants to be staring at $4.4 billion loss, though the majority of that red ink is due to charges.
Microsoft missed the boat by not bolstering Windows cross-platform capabilities
Let’s begin with the most amusing part of the widely derided launch of the Xbox One: At least some of the game demos for the new system were run on a PC using Windows 7 and an Nvidia graphics card. See! Even Microsoft doesn’t use Windows 8 for gaming!
Things you need to know to become a PC hardware expert
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to PCs that’s especially true, because only by knowing how your components’ specs actually affect performance can you get the maximum power you need for the type of computing you do—and avoid being seduced by features that sound impressive on the box but won’t do squat to improve your experience. Knowing your stuff has other benefits, too. An in-depth understanding of what makes all your parts tick enables you to better troubleshoot problems, upgrade in ways that make sense, and converse with other nerds in your own secret language. Turn the page to begin your crash course in PC spec-speak.
Note: This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Official support for AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series graphics cards
It's time to retire that beta driver you've been running your AMD Radeon R9 or R7 Series graphics card on and step up to AMD's newly minted Catalyst 13.12 WHQL-certified driver. The new Catalyst software is available now and in addition to official support for the Sunnyvale chip designer's latest graphics cards, it also resolves over a dozen issues, adds new Enduro Technology profiles, and more.
Don't forget to set aside a few dollars for food and other bills
Word to the wise -- don't go quitting that second job you got to pay for all the games you bought during Steam's Autumn Sale, you're going to need it to fund another round of discounts. The 2013 Steam Holiday Sale is now on and runs through the remainder of the holiday shopping season, all the way up until January 3, 2014. As always, big savings are to be had on popular titles, such as 50 percent off Batman: Arkham Origins ($24.99) and 75 percent off Bioshock Infinite ($9.99).