Laptops

Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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Are you using a machine made after 1995? Chances are, your computer is vulnerable to two newly discovered security exploits that can steal all your information.

On the bright side, you’re just as vulnerable as every single user on the planet. Plus, every major hardware and software company is scrambling to patch the exploits before they get out of hand.

Just as the fireworks from the new year died down, researchers from Google Project Zero announced the discovery of these two exploits — named Meltdown and Spectre. The vulnerabilities can cause attacks on the device’s physical memory, rather than just its kernel memory. This indicates that practically all the microprocessors manufactured by Intel from 1995 onwards are vulnerable.

The first one, Meltdown, allows malignant applications to access a system’s entire library of sensitive files. The second one, Spectre, tricks secure programs to leak their sensitive information to an end user. Both exploits affect offline hardware and cloud computers.

Despite its universality among devices, security measures can’t detect or block any Meltdown or Spectre exploits. They don’t leave any traces of their execution. Antivirus software, likewise, can’t distinguish the exploit from safe programs.

Tech giants like Windows, Google, and Intel are already issuing statements and patches to combat Meltdown. Cloud computing companies are also upgrading their servers to plug the exploit from being abused.

Spectre, however, is a harder nut to crack. While the exploit is harder to abuse for hackers, it’s also harder to patch. Concrete patches have not been released for Spectre yet. In fact, the exploit is so-named because researchers believe that Spectre will haunt them long after its discovery.

As consumers, the only thing we can do is implement the respective patches when they come out.

SEE ALSO: Your foolproof password isn’t good enough

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 Review: Real gaming buddy

Bask in the ROG Experience

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I like to play video games for many reasons, and for all occasions. Whether as a stress reliever or as a weekend plan with friends, I always find time to game. Naturally, I would want a device that can keep up with my gaming demands, and that also includes great visuals while playing. Even if it’s overwhelmingly expensive, I’d still look for the “cream of the crop.”

Then I heard about this ROG Experience concept from ASUS, and I figured that I should definitely give it a shot. The company’s dedicated gaming brand introduced the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 back in April. The main selling point: a device that offers both high-quality performance for work and gaming. To me, it promises to be one monster package altogether.

But does it fully live up to its selling point? Let’s find out.

It comes in a slim form factor, unlike previous Zephyrus models

It has a 240Hz FHD display with a 3ms response rate

It comes with an NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti graphics card inside

It has an RGB-backlit keyboard with ASUS’ Aura Sync technology

All that power, all the productivity in the world

This device comes in a powerful yet visibly thinner package. It has a 9th-generation Intel Core i7-9750H processor inside, which delivers top tier productive performance. I ran several light and heavy applications all at once, and I felt like a god just multitasking through all of them.

It also helped that the device runs on 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive. All that memory, disk space, and disk read speed meant that applications quickly booted up. I found myself speeding through most of my day-to-day tasks because of how quick this device is.

It’s like I could watch YouTube videos, work on Excel spreadsheets, browse social media and Spotify all in one sitting. You can even add more windows for video editing, graphic design, and light gaming. This is one heavy-duty device for someone like me.

Playing harder at any rate without missing a moment

This device rocks an NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti, which to me feels like a tiny downgrade from the RTX 2070 option. Nonetheless, gaming performance on the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M was splendid. Heavy-duty, popular titles such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends all reached a 60 FPS threshold at their highest possible settings.

Gameplay just feels smooth, with no visible lag spikes in between high-pressure moments. The 6GB of VRAM that comes with the graphics card just provides all the power you need to play harder. Just make sure your internet doesn’t occasionally disconnect when you’re about to win.

To achieve higher frame rates, you do need to keep the charger plugged. Keeping the device unplugged while gaming still allows you to reach 60 FPS. It’s just that you could go as low as 25 FPS on average, which makes these games barely playable.

The wonderful, colorful, and fast display

To supplement the raw processing and gaming power, you need the ideal display for the job. At least, that’s how I would describe the FHD near bezel-less display this device came with. It’s one of those Pantone certified displays so naturally, I expected great color accuracy for images and videos.

And true enough, that’s exactly what I got. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a display with vibrant and accurate color grading that makes images much clearer. This is ideal for those who wish to use this device for creative pursuits, as well. Or, if you just want to watch Feel Special or Fake & True over and over, and bask in the glorious visuals.

Also, it comes with a whopping 240Hz refresh rate at a 3ms response time, ideal for gamers. I could literally play non-stop, and not miss a single frame to react to. Also, with these refresh rate elements on the screen just feels and looks extra smoother.

It tries to keep cool, but blasts a lot of heat out

With most gaming machines, you need proper cooling systems to keep the device running. ASUS takes no exception to this, as they decide to put two cooling fans underneath this bad boy. Of course, the goal is to blast heat out of the device while you’re doing heavy-duty workload.

In my experience, the laptop still feels relatively warm even if I turn the fans to its recommended performance setting. The fans do get noisy when they’re on full blast, but that’s something I already expected. It can be bothersome for some people, especially when you’re playing games and you want quiet surroundings.

You can do all of these for a fairly good amount of time

Naturally, I’d like to assume that battery life is a touchy subject for gaming laptops. Most gaming laptops typically boast short battery lives, ranging from two to three hours when strictly gaming. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M is no different, as I was only able to use the device for strictly gaming purposes for three and a half hours.

However, when you’re not fully gaming, its battery life is pretty decent. I got about six and a half to seven hours on one full charge doing mostly work-related tasks, light gaming, and video streaming. Windows’ Battery Saver gave me an extra hour and a half, which is still pretty decent considering the workload.

Charging the device doesn’t take too long, either. I got the battery level to 60 percent within 45 minutes, with one full charge taking two and a half hours. Of course, when I was using the device while charging, it took close to three hours.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 109,995, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M is one supreme machine. You get unrivaled performance for almost any way you want to use this device. Be it just for playing video games, video editing, or even simple productive workload, it covers all of those.

Of course, there are things you have to worry about with a device like this. From battery life to its intricate cooling system, some things will have to give way for you to experience nothing but the best. 

All that power compressed into one thin package, making this the ideal on-the-go gaming device. And quite honestly, the ROG Experience truly was worth having thanks to this device.

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Gaming

Alienware m15 arrives in the Philippines

Leaner and stronger

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Here’s an alien that’s more than welcome in this part of the world. Dell is bringing a new breed of Alienware to the Philippines — the Alienware m15.

This Alienware is leaner, more advanced and more powerful than its predecessor. Weighing under 4.7lbs, this is the brand’s slimmest and latest gaming rig. This is for gamers who prioritize mobility without compromise to performance.

You’ll get the best of Intel processors and NVIDA GeForce GPUs along with either a 144Hz or 240Hz refresh panel.

It also has the latest Alienware Cyro-Tech 3.0 that brings optimized thermal module design to improve cooling performance, increasing airflow by 20% over the previous generation of the m15.

Additional design features include an all-magnesium chassis, smooth-edge, narrow-bezel design, re-engineered keyboard, precision-point glass touchpad, SSD-only storage, and per key RGB LED AlienFX lighting.

There’s also a hyper-efficient voltage regulation or VRM feature. The VRM allows the system to hold GPU and CPU performance high for a longer sustained time than typical gaming notebooks.

The Alienware m15 will also come with the Alienware Command Center. It’s the central hub that allows gamers to customize all aspects of their experience including system and peripheral lighting, power management, thermal control, audio, and content organization.

This lean, mean gaming machine starts at PhP 149,990, and will be available on the week of October 2019.

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Gaming

Dell’s G series gaming laptops are now sleeker

Looks subdued but has plenty of power

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Oversized gaming laptops are slowly starting to fade away. In its place are slimmer versions with slightly less gaming cues. The same is true for Dell’s G series. Introduced in the Philippines today are the new Dell G3, G5, and G7.

The Dell G7 15 (7590) is slim and powerful

Nothing personifies Dell’s new approach better than the G7 15. At 19.9mm, it’s one of the thinnest gaming laptops in the market.

It’s made with a three-piece metal construction making sure it stays strong despite its thin profile. Completing the look is a palm rest with brushed metal finish.

It’s also equipped with a quick-charging 60 or 90WHr battery to make sure you can continue gaming on-the-go.

The G7 15 will be available in Abyss Grey.

The Dell G5 15 & G5 15 SE (5590) won’t leave you wanting for ports

Next on the line are the Dell G5 15 and G5 15 SE. They follow the same sleek design without sacrificing performance.

Despite the slimmer profile, it’s not lacking in ports. The Dell G5 has a full-size HDMI 2.0 port that can plug into external monitors and supports up to 4K. There’s also Single-cable docking for video, data, and power with the laptop’s SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. This laptop comes with a 60Whr integrated battery.

It is available in Deep Space Black color with blue accents. A special edition in Alpine White is also available.

The Dell G3 15 (3590) is a great value for getting started

Dell’s G3 15 delivers plenty of power and performance at a competitive price point. It has the new Game Shift feature enables maximum fan speed for optimal processor performance.

It has an S-curve thin-and-sleek design and narrow borders to accommodate larger component ports near the back. At 21.6mm thin, the G3 comes with a 51Whi integrated battery.

It is available in Eclipse Black.

No compromises

As far as specs go, here’s what you’re getting with the redesigned G series laptops.

All three models will have the 9th Gen Intel Core mobile CPUs, up to i7. That’s desktop-caliber performance delivering up to 5.0 GHz Turbo, 8 cores, and 16 threads to play demanding AAA games or complete taxing, creative workloads.

They also have NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX graphic cards up to 1660Ti. Graphics card options are GeForce GTX 1660Ti and RTX 2060 and 2070 graphics options.

All three sport a15-inch FHD anti-glare display screen with three-sided narrow borders, and wide-viewing angles with up to 240Hz refresh.

These gaming laptops also offer up to 512 GB NVMe PCIe SSD and can be expanded to dual storage as needed. The G Series are embedded with complete ports options, including HDMI 2.0 port, Superspeed USB 3.1 ports, Standard SD/MicroMedia card slot, wedge lock slot and headphone/mic port.

Dell G5 desktop also announced

If gaming on-the-go isn’t your thing, there’s the new Dell G5 Desktop.

It’s designed to offer game-ready power, graphics and features in a compact, upgradeable form. Up to i7K-Series CPUs and VR-capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX® and RTX graphics, high-fidelity visuals and split-second responsiveness for superior 1440p gaming experience.

Pricing and availability

All the G series laptops are already available right now. Pricing are as follows.

  • Dell G3 15 (3590) price starts at PhP 46,990
  • Dell G5 15 (5590) price starts at PhP 68,990
  • Dell G7 15 (7590) price starts at PhP 113,990

The Dell G5 desktop starts at PhP 57,990, and will be available end of November 2019.

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