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Date: Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 13:29

The Shield Tablet is basically a portable gaming console crammed into an 8" slate. It has a Kepler-infused Tegra K1 processor, a high-res IPS panel, a proper gamepad, and even a stylus. The system can stream games from a home PC or a remote server, too, and the whole package costs the same as an entry-level iPad. So when I got the opportunity to spend some time with one, I couldn't say no. This thing is a lot more exciting than a lot of the stuff that passes through my lab. And it's a good excuse to play some games.

The trouble is, the Shield Tablet arrived on my doorstep late last week, so I've only had a few days with it. I haven't yet run it through the full gauntlet of tests we typically use on ...

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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 05:09
The Tech Report Podcast

Date: July 28, 2014
Duration: 0:56:37

Hosted by: Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, and Cyril Kowaliski

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Jordan is ...

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Date: Friday, 25 Jul 2014 15:24

Remember when people dismissed the iPad as a fad? It's just a big iPod Touch, they said. Who would want one of those?

Quite a lot of folks, actually. The iPad touched off a revolution that has grown to truly epic proportions. 207 million tablets shipped last year, according to market research firm Gartner ...

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Date: Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 00:06

Our first attempt at overclocking one of Intel's new "Devil's Canyon" processors was, frankly, a little bit underwhelming. Intel had pitched these new processors as especially good for high clock speeds, thanks to some changes to the heat-transfer and power-delivery bits in the CPU package, but we couldn't get our Core i7-4790K review sample to run any faster than a regular Haswell-based 4770K. Many others in the press saw similar results. We liked other things about Devil's Canyon, such as the 4790K's higher stock clock speeds at the same price as the 4770K, but its overclocking prowess just didn't impress.

Then, frustratingly, we heard whispers from one vocal Intel employee who suggested that final, production versions of Devil's Canyon might perform better. I've gotta say, as a reviewer, ...

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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 04:14

Biostar isn't the first name that comes to mind when thinking about motherboards. For most PC enthusiasts, it's probably not the second, the third, or even the fourth. The company has been cranking out mobos for almost three decades, though, and its offerings are consistently among the most affordable.

Take the new Hi-Fi Z97WE, for example. Despite its $124.99 asking price , this Haswell board employs Intel's high-end Z97 Express chipset. Overclocking is fully endorsed for K-series CPUs and ...

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Date: Monday, 14 Jul 2014 04:54
The Tech Report Podcast

Date: April 22, 2014
Duration: 1:32:20

Hosted by: Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski, and special guest Just Brew It

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We are once again hostless this episode (no, Jordan didn’t take a nap this time) but our team soldiers on regardless. We kick open the episode talking to Mike, a.k.a. Just Brew It, the head TR Forum moderator. Scott and Mike discuss the much-anticipated TR BBQ in Holland, Michigan, including whether or not camping on the beach is a wise BBQ strategy.

Moving on ...

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Date: Monday, 14 Jul 2014 02:17
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Here we are, not quite two weeks from the end of this year's Steam Summer Sale. We were all ambushed by a veritable cornucopia of bargains, ...

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Date: Friday, 11 Jul 2014 20:38

Things were desperate for the lowly desktop keyboard just a few years ago. The hated rubber-dome key switch ruled the roost. Keepers of the faith hoarded surplus IBM Model Ms, then the best-known clicky keyboards, out of fear that the mechanical key switch was dead for good.

That grim future didn't come to pass, of course. Modern mechanical keyboards are abundant. A new crop of enthusiasts can describe their favorite mechanical key switches at length. This ...

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Date: Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 21:44

Oh man. Oh man oh man. So, yes, the desktop processor market has been kind of a sleepy place of late. The story has been Intel's consistent dominance, AMD's repeated struggles, and not much in the way of performance progress. Worse still, prices have stagnated for way, way too long. There's been precious little reason to consider an upgrade. Happily, Intel has decided to inject a little excitement into things by releasing a really cheap CPU that's completely unlocked, the Pentium G3258. I'd say they've nailed it: excitement achieved.

This new Pentium is an unlocked dual-core CPU based on the latest 22-nm Haswell silicon. The list price is only 72 bucks , but Micro Center had them on sale for $60. In other words, you can get a processor that will quite possibly run at clock speeds north of 4GHz—with all the ...

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Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 16:00

The folks at ARM have a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem that any creator of a new CPU instruction set is likely to face. How exactly do they enable the creation of ARMv8-compatible chips, devices, drivers, and software without any functioning hardware available for testing? More acutely, how do they make sure the transition to the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set happens quickly enough to keep up with the crazy-short design cycles of today's tech gear?

The answer, it turns out, is for ARM to build its very own reference platform, complete with a six-core custom SoC. That platform is dubbed Juno, and ARM says it's just now becoming ...

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Date: Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 02:00

Here we go again. Another Serial ATA SSD is ready for prime time. Like all the others that have been cropping up recently, it combines a familiar controller with next-gen flash memory.

But Samsung's 850 Pro ...

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Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 04:22

Over the past couple of years, Rosewill has made a name for itself as a purveyor of affordable mechanical keyboards. Members of the company's RK-9000 series are among the most inexpensive vessels for Cherry's MX mechanical key switches, with prices ranging as low as $70. They're quite solid, and we've been recommending them time and time again in our System Guides.

These days, Rosewill is also establishing a presence in the realm of premium mechanical keyboards. The company may not have the cachet of, say, Corsair or Razer, but some of its ...

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Date: Friday, 27 Jun 2014 04:14

Like lots of things in personal computing, overclocking has progressed mightily since its early days. Back when we first started experimenting on Celerons, CPU performance was a scarce and precious resource, doled out in small increments for hundreds of dollars each. Those of us who dared to violate the specs on our processors were viewed with suspicion by our peers and those in the PC industry alike. Sure, what we were doing wasn't technically illegal, but you'd think it might have been, given how some folks reacted. CPU makers talked about the voiding of warranties and, worse, warned ominously of the dangers of electromigration ending your chip's life early.

None of it slowed us down, of course, because PC enthusiasts saw a chance to grab more of that sweet, sweet computing power essentially for free. Raising the clock speed from 300 to 450 MHz meant 50% ...

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Date: Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 01:34

Corsair's original Vengeance K60 keyboard is one of the most frustrating products I've ever encountered. On one hand, it's brilliant. The K60 combines Cherry MX mechanical switches with sensible extras, sturdy build quality, and a stunning industrial design. But it doesn't use MX switches throughout. The function row and paging block are backed by the sort of rubber-dome switches most folks are trying to avoid when purchasing, you know, mechanical keyboards.

The semi-mechanical approach might have worked in an accountant's spreadsheet—rubber domes are much cheaper than premium Cherry switches—but it completely ruined the K60 for me. Every so often while using the thing, I'd have to hit one of those cheaper switches. Their vague, mushy feedback paled in comparison to the smooth, precise response of the Cherry MX units, serving as a painful reminder that the K60 just wasn't as good as it should have been.

Fortunately, the Vengeance K70 is much better. This second effort has Cherry MX switches throughout, rectifying its predecessor's fatal flaw. All the highlights of the original remain, and Corsair has added programmable backlighting and a blacked-out color scheme. Those changes transform the K70 into more than just a fully mechanical version of the K60. Simply put, I think the K70 is the best keyboard around.

Mechanical keyboards are everywhere these days, but the K70 easily stands out in the crowd. I mean, just look at the thing. They keys are laid out on a ...

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Date: Friday, 20 Jun 2014 06:28
The Tech Report Podcast

Date: June 20, 2014
Duration: 1:30:00

Hosted by: Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski, and Jeffrey Kampman

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  ...

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Date: Friday, 20 Jun 2014 03:06

When shopping online, what you see isn't always what you get. That seems to hold especially true for budget solid-state drives. Over the past week or so, we've seen an uproar over what some folks perceive as bait-and-switch tactics by SSD vendors Kingston and PNY. That uproar has led to a boycott organized by Reddit's /r/buildapc subreddit. The folks leading the boycott are vowing not to purchase or recommend Kingston or PNY products "until an apology or admission of guilt is made by either company."

So, what's ...

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Date: Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 03:12
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Once upon a time , our TR System Guide covered not just PC components, but also peripherals and what we called "mobile sidekicks": the notebooks, tablets, ...

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Date: Monday, 16 Jun 2014 14:25

I feel for the subjects of our SSD Endurance Experiment. They didn't volunteer for this life. These consumer-grade drives could have ended up in a corporate desktop or grandma's laptop or even an enthusiast's PC. They could have spent their days saving spreadsheets and caching Internet files and occasionally making space for new Steam downloads. Instead, they ended up in our labs, on the receiving end of a torturous torrent of writes designed to kill them.

Talk about ...

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Date: Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 14:22

We haven't said much about TR subscriptions for a little while, after the rush of the launch, but this little experiment is so far off to an excellent start. You all proved that reader-supported content can work, and you saved our bacon after weak sales in early 2014. We learned some lessons from the initial introductory period, and now we're making additions and changes to the subscription service in response.

One thing that we've wanted to do is add more value for subscribers, so that more of you who are regular readers will find it worth your time to sign up. To that ...

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Date: Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 04:01

Five months ago, AMD pulled the curtain back on Kaveri, its latest full-fat processor for desktops and laptops. The first variants of this CPU were targeted at desktop systems, but today, AMD is unleashing some new Kaveri flavors aimed squarely at notebooks.

Like their desktop brethren, these chips combine AMD's Steamroller CPU cores with the same Graphics Core Next architecture featured in the newest Radeons. Mobile Kaveri chips also fully implement AMD's Heterogeneous Systems Architecture, which aims to simplify the development of applications that share work across the CPU and ...

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