Computers

Why Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors matter

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Every year around September, Intel releases a new set of processors that are significantly improved over the previous generation. This year’s Kaby Lake marks the seventh generation since Intel began the Core series of CPUs, and it’s going to make your next computer a lot faster.

Without even having to explain anything, the one absolute about the newer generation is the noticeable performance improvement in both real-world usage and benchmarks. You can also expect lighter power drain, which has been the case since mobile devices began becoming the center of internet consumption. As for Kaby Lake, it’s considered an overhauled successor to 2015’s Skylake. This year’s product carries over the same 14nm microarchitecture of Skylake, meaning the physical design remains the same, but the feature set is a step above.

What Intel strongly emphasized in their announcement is how Kaby Lake processors are specifically geared towards 4K Ultra HD and 360-degree videos, as well as Virtual Reality to an extent. This is the first time Intel processors are natively able to support 4K content, so you’re not obliged to purchase a dedicated video card for Ultra HD videos anymore. On top of that, the company claims much improved battery life over older units, but that’s something we hear every year, and we’ll find out for sure once we have actual retail units in our hands.

The gaming side of things has been given a boost, too. While it may not sound impressive, Kaby Lake is capable of outputting games such as Overwatch at 30 frames per second on Medium settings with a 1080p resolution. This can be done on a thin notebook without any discrete graphics card, so casual gamers will have access to a larger database of recent games.

An interesting thing to note is the absence of the Core m7 and m5 series, which were introduced just last year as top-end CPUs for laptops and tablets. Intel decided to release only revamps of the Core i7, i5, i3, and m3 models this year, while Core m7 and m5 will now be part of the Core i7 and i5 families, respectively. This is simply in line with Intel’s yearly restructuring of lineups, so there’s no need to worry about a lack of choices.

So, let’s set aside the features to ask the most important question: How exactly are consumers affected by this release? In order to be properly future-proofed, it’s advisable to always choose Kaby Lake when shopping for a new laptop or building a desktop PC. The benefits over older processors won’t be clear at first, since previous generations are actually still good enough by today’s standards, but as new types of content are produced, it’s best to own the latest technology.

To ensure you’re buying the right one, watch out for the number seven after the hyphen in the number sequence of the model name. For example, the Intel Core i7-7500U, Core i5-7200U, and Core m3-7Y30, are all 7th-generation variants. It goes without saying that the Core i7-6500U was released last year.

Intel claims that computers sporting Kaby Lake will begin shipping in early September, with a lot more arriving by the time the holiday season trickles in.

[irp posts=”9179″ name=”5 key features of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor”]

Source: Intel

Computers

This is how Apple envisions the next iMac

Made out of a curved sheet of glass

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Image by GadgetMatch

We all know the Mac Pro has been transformed from a trash bin to a cheese grater, but Apple has been using the same design language for iMac for years. Even the latest iMac Pro isn’t excluded in that list.

If you’re too worried about Apple’s design conformity, the official patent gives us a preview of what the next iMac might look like. It was already filed last year, but was recently published last 23rd of January, 2020.

Opening the document will surprise you with a series of patent figures. It is said that they will use a curved sheet of glass instead of the usual aluminum closure. The figure below shows how you can place a Magic Keyboard on top of the glass. It will then have a dedicated place for the trackpad beside it.

Animated image by GadgetMatch | Sourced from USPTO

There’s another figure which shows how you can insert the Magic Keyboard through the opening between the display and the glass. Unlike the first one, the display doesn’t extend below the glass edge.

Another figure gives us a hint that the future iMac may become an extended display without the use of other accessories other than the MacBook’s physical keyboard and trackpad — all by sliding the MacBook into the opening.

Sourced from USPTO

The problem with old AIOs is putting up all that power in such a limited space. Apple has defied the limits with their powerful iMacs. To further solve the heavy (and bulging) rear panel, they might consolidate all the powerful parts inside its stand. There’s also an option where you can dock your MacBook just above it.

Image by GadgetMatch | Sourced from USPTO

Lastly, there’s a figure that shows how the iMac can be partially folded. It might be useful to keep the trackpad and keyboard area clean when not in use.

Animated image by GadgetMatch | Sourced from USPTO

Ever since the departure of Jony Ive, we’ve been unsure about the design of Apple’s upcoming devices. One thing we all know (and wanted to happen) other than the redesign of the iPhone and its aging notch is for Apple to focus on making their existing computers more innovative while still offering a powerful punch in such a space-saving form.

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Computers

Report: Avast is selling your browsing history

Be careful what you install

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If you use Avast antivirus software for your PC, then you might not like the recent discovery regarding its data collection. A joint investigation by Vice and PCMag discovered that Avast is collecting browsing history and selling them to various companies.

Avast’s subsidiary — Jumpshot — has been collecting browsing history without user consent. The collection happens in the background as part of the Avast’s Web Shield feature. The collection of data extends to Avast’s browser extension as well. The subsidiary collected users’ full webpage URL, page title, referer, as well as resulting links from search engines.

Worse, Avast even approved the selling of collected data to various third-party companies. These companies include Google, Microsoft, and others willing to get their hands on your data for profit.

In its defense, Avast stated that it anonymized the collected data. In theory, the data cannot be traced back to users. However, researchers found out that a third-party company can easily build a profile of you just by corroborating with other data.

Mozilla and Google already removed Avast’s browser extension last December after a security researcher found out about Avast’s illegal practices. Recently, Avast shattered Jumpshot and promised not to collect anymore data.

For the time being, you should avoid installing Avast antivirus software for your PC. There are many alternatives out there, but the main takeaway here is that you should read the fine print before installing any software on your PC.

After all, many “free” software today is too good to be true. Some freeware come with malware that harm your PC, while others — like Avast — violate privacy by selling your data in exchange for profit.

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Computers

3 tips for proper gadget care against volcanic ash

Better safe than sorry

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Yesterday, the potentially destructive Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted after almost 20 years of inactivity. The eruption belched out steam, rocks, and other volcanic materials. Most importantly, it belched out ash, which caused ashfalls as far as 100 kilometers from the volcano.

Volcanic ash impacts and disrupts society as a whole. It doesn’t only pose a threat to our health, but it also presents risks to our gadgets. Since they are less than 2-4 millimeters in diameter, they block openings, limit functionality, and even corrode our devices.

Needless to say, you need to look out for you and your family’s safety first. Afterwards, you can think about your other belongings like your gadgets and appliances.

To ensure the best proper care for your gadgets against volcanic ash, we came up with three tips that you can follow. Remember, an ounce of protection for your devices is better than a pound of expensive repairs.

1) Avoid direct exposure

Avoid exposing gadgets to volcanic ash as much as possible. Soon after a volcanic eruption, be cautious of any ashfall alert. If ash begins to fall in your area, relocate any gadgets indoors

When outdoors, place gadgets in the safety of a bag or cover them if necessary. Limit the use of phones or tablets, especially when it is raining ash hard.

2) Seal off any sensitive gadgets

Some of our gadgets are sensitive to dust particles. Since ash is comparable to these dust particles, they can enter our devices and cause problems if left unchecked. One of these problems is electronic short-circuit.

It is proven that ash can contaminate insulators in power lines, causing flashovers and triggering a short-circuit. Plus, ash can corrode equipment in the long term.

Sensitive gadgets are susceptible to these damages also. Seal them off during an ashfall to prevent ash from reaching critical components. Some sensitive gadgets that you need to seal off during an ashfall are generators, power supplies, servers, and the like.

If you can’t seal these sensitive gadgets, then it is recommended to shut down them.

3) Clean any opening in your gadgets

Last but not the least, you should clean any openings in your gadgets before, during, and after an ashfall. Ash accumulates around the openings of our gadgets, including laptops and smartphones. The tiny particles present in the ash can block the openings of some gadgets, preventing them from cooling down. As such, these particles limit the functionality of these gadgets.

Cleaning the openings is simple but goes a long way in ensuring proper care. A can of compressed air will do the trick, as do a soft brush.

However, do not excessively rub ash-covered surfaces as tiny particles present can scratch or cause static discharge, which is harmful to our gadgets.

These three tips will go on a long way to ensuring that our gadgets function properly, even in an ashfall event. As with any hazards, take necessary precautions when operating gadgets to avoid hazards. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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