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Posted on Feb 7, 2019 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 68 – CES 2019 and 1 year to go for Windows 7

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 68
Hi, welcome to the January 2019 TWT Newsletter

January brings us to CES again, the Consumer Electronics Show. As always we have our round up of the best PC related material from the show. Of course, we also have our regular tip and free utility of the month too. Plus if you’re still using Windows 7, start planning your upgrade now!

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In this months issue:-

CES 2019 – Exciting new tech for 2019
Tip of the Month – Manage your default programs
Free Utility of the Month – Winmerge
Microsoft Store App of the Month – EarTrumpet
Windows 7 users – You have one year to go

CES 2019 – Exciting new tech for 2019

January rolls around again and that means yet another Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While there are plenty of reports of what has been going on, like every year we try to distill down the news and bring you what’s relevant to the world of PCs. This year, just like last year, the PC was well represented, putting to bed any notion of us being in a so-called “post PC world”.

New processors from both Intel and AMD – Both Intel and their long time rivals AMD had new CPU technology to show off. Intel’s new “Ice Lake” architecture promised to produce small, power efficient CPUs, improving battery life and performance in portable PCs and laptops. Intel also talked about more 9th gen CPU products for both desktops and laptops. 9th gen Intel chips are already on the market at the high end, but now those of us with less demanding workloads (or not so deep pockets) will be able to get in on the action too.

Meanwhile, AMD announced improvements to its Ryzen line of CPUs, including a second generation Ryzen Mobile chip and an even faster “threadripper” top of the line CPU.

AMD also announced that they would be launching the first 7nm CPUs and GPUs (graphics chips) in 2019. These chips promise to be the most power efficient CPUs on the market and will be great for laptops and tablets.

Both AMD and Intel were in fine fettle this year, it all means that, while CPU technology may not be moving as quickly as it once did, there’s still plenty of development going on in this field.

PCs of all shapes and sizes – There was no shortage of Windows PCs on the show floor, from the mundane to the mad. For folks looking for a laptop or a tablet, the choice was as rich as ever. Particularly noteworthy machines included the super thin, bezel-less screened Asus ZenBook S13. This laptop not only looked stunning but packs a long battery life and decent performance. Techradar has the full lowdown.

For those looking for something more affordable, the Samsung Notebook Flash clocks in at an affordable $349 and boasts an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, Full HD screen, 64gb of storage and 4gb of RAM. Tech radar has the scoop on this one too.

Lenovo, a brand associated with sensible PCs, was branching out into gaming laptops this year with its new “Legion” line-up. These exciting little beasties sport an 8th gen intel CPU, GeForce RTX graphics chip, 32gb of memory and a “100% anti-ghosting CORSAIR iCue RGB back-lit keyboard with system lighting”. Great for getting some work done, in-between bouts of gaming of course. Ars Technica has more.

While gadgets keep getting smaller, high end ‘tower’ PCs simply refuse to die. The extra space afforded by a full tower case means more room to cram in the latest, top performing components. One of the most decadent gaming PCs at the show was the colossal Acer Predator Orion 9000. With space for up to 4 graphics cards, the latest and greatest Intel CPUs, liquid cooling, masses of USB ports and the latest M.2 hard drive interface, this is one beastly PC that will put a dent in your desk as well as your bank balance. PC World has more on this behemoth.

Corsair, a manufacturer most famous for their high performance memory modules, were also at the show with their Corsair One high end compact gaming PC. Also liquid cooled, the machine boasts a Intel Core i9-9920X 12-core processor with a top clock speed of 4.5GHz and a Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics chip. The whole package is wrapped in a “2mm-thick aircraft-grade bead-blasted aluminium gunmetal” case. With a custom cooling solution, the Corsair One packs in the power without needing all of your desk space. Gadgets 360 has more information.

It wouldn’t be CES without some crazy concept PCs and this year was no exception. Straight out of a sci-fi movie is the Cemtrex SmartDesk, a desk with triple monitors and a PC built in. The desk has a gesture recognition system, so you can manipulate windows or web pages by simply waving your hands around like a madman. It’s the future, we tell you! The Verge/Circuit Breaker has the low down on this terrific toy.

Monitoring monitors – Even if you normally use a laptop, you might want to plug it into a monitor from time to time to get a bigger, more comfortable work space, or of course to play your favourite games. There were no shortage of monitors this year, and three in particular caught our eye. The first is the crazy curvy 49 inch Samsung CRG9 super ultra-wide. This massive monitor has a 32:9 aspect ratio and, according to Digital Foundry, is the equivalent of having 2 27 inch monitors side by side. Ideal for those of us who like to have a LOT of windows open at once! News Shooter has more details on this particular panel.

Secondly, the long awaited Big Format Gaming Displays from Nvidia are finally due to arrive on the market this year. HP’s Omen X 65 Emperium is a colossal 65 inch monitor that boasts 144hz refresh rate, GSync and a built in Nvidia Shield. For around $5000, we would also have expected at least HDMI 2.1 and probably OLED, rather than LCD display technology, but if you’re willing to live without those features and you have a spare $5k then the HP Omen X 65 Emperium will give dazzling results with your PC games.

For more sober PC gamers wanting a bigger size monitor that’s not quite so crazy, the ASUS ROG Strix XG438Q clocks in at a decent 43 inches and boasts a 120hz refresh rate. It also supports HDR, Freesync 2 and has accurate colour reproduction. Currently there’s no price or release date information.

Digital Foundry has more information on these and several other great monitors from the show .

Elsewhere at the show – Digital assistants and AI were huge at this years show, with Alexa and Google vying to be the top digital assistant. Smartphones and smart watches were also everywhere. The most interesting gadget of the show for us was Hyundai’s ‘walking car’. A prototype vehicle that, when faced with particularly difficult terrain, could transform itself into a walking machine and simply walk over whatever was in the way.

There were some new products in the Virtual Reality sector too. Despite uptake of VR headsets not being as great as many people hoped, there’s still a market there. HTC announced two new headsets, their Vive Cosmos headset, which aims to be comfortable, convenient and affordable and their Vive Pro Eye, for the high end market. The Pro Eye has built-in eye tracking, so that a users’ eye direction and movement can be measured for the sake of better VR performance. Prices for both headsets are to be confirmed.

While it’s still some way away, there was some talk about the new 5G mobile internet standard. While this predictably brings more speed to mobile broadband, it also aims to make the connection more robust and with less latency, allowing for more reliable and fault tolerant communications with less drop-outs. Roll out of 5G is expected to start toward the end of the year/start of 2020.

Tip of the Month – Manage your default programs

Another tip mainly for Windows 10 users, but this one also works on Windows 7 and 8 too. If you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8, you may have noticed that Windows offers to change some default program settings. For example, web pages will default to opening in the new Microsoft Edge browser. If you don’t like this behaviour, it’s easy to switch it back.

You can manage your default programs in Windows 7 and 8 by using the “Default Programs” desktop app. In Windows 10, this has been renamed to “default app settings”. Simply search for “default programs” (Windows 7/8) or “default app settings” (Windows 10) on the Start menu, start screen or on the search bar and click the icon that appears. A window listing the programs installed and configured on your PC will then appear. You can then use this app to manage how various files are opened on your PC, simply click on any app to modify the default. You could change your default music player from Groove Music to Windows Media Player, for example.

Free Utility of the Month – Winmerge

If you ever need to compare the contents of two directories, two pictures or two text files then Winmerge is the tool you need. Simply download this great little tool and point it to the two files/directories and let it do the rest. The differences will be shown side by side, and changes can be merged between files with a simple press of a key.

Beloved of programmers, web developers and techies the world over, the software is fast, powerful and of course free. Add Winmerge to your Windows toolbox today, by visiting the page here.

Microsoft Store App of the Month – EarTrumpet

With some apps, you can figure out what their intended purpose is pretty much as soon as you see their names, then there are apps like EarTrumpet. What on earth could this do? Some sort of Elephant simulator?

Actually EarTrumpet is a volume control app that allows you to set the volume of apps individually. If you have a game that’s too loud, or won’t mute when minimised, you can use EarTrumpet to set its volume low, or mute it entirely, without muting all the sounds on your PC. The app works with both Modern/Windows store apps and traditional desktop apps.

If this sounds like something useful to you, then head on over to the Microsoft store and download the app now, it’s entirely free! You can get EarTrumpet here.

Windows 7 users – You have one year to go

Windows 10 has been with us now for around three and a half years. In that time it’s fair to say Microsoft has pushed it aggressively. For the first time in history, Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users. As long as the offer was accepted within the first year, you could upgrade any Windows 7 or 8 machine to Windows 10 for free.

Despite this generous offer, there were many who stuck stubbornly with Windows 7. In fact, market share of the two operating systems has remained similar for the past year or so. Most of the web based tracking services who snoop on this kind of information now agree that Windows 10 is the market leader, but there are still around 35% to 40% of PC users who are sticking with Windows 7.

Just like with Windows XP, another OS that stuck around way past its expiry date, there are a lot of reasons users stick with Windows 7. It’s compatible, it runs quickly on PC hardware and it arguably even looks more pretty than Windows 10, with it’s famous Areo glass theme and transparencies. many users feel it’s a better fit for traditional PCs and doesn’t try to reinvent itself for touch screen and ultra portable PCs.

None of this will matter after January 2020 however, as Windows 7 will simply stop getting any security updates. At this point, any vulnerabilities in the OS will not be patched, leaving them wide open to exploitation by hackers. You may think that, by now, all the problems have been found in Windows 7. Regrettably this is unlikely to be the case, even after Windows XP was discontinued, security researchers continued to find issues with the ageing OS, issues that, for the most part, never got fixed.

We understand if you love Windows 7, we loved Windows 7 too and the OS was around at a golden time for Our Windows 7 guides sold more than any other and we even sell the odd one now too. However, you should make plans to transition to Windows 10 before the deadline, especially if you use your PC on the internet. Don’t be caught out in 2020 with a vulnerable, unpatched PC, start planning your upgrade now.

That rounds off our first newsletter for 2019. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support and of course, to wish you a happy and prosperous 2019. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th February 2019 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10. We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy. Until next month, keep checking, and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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