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Computing

Apple has a patent for a dual Pro Display XDR stand

What monitor could be more expensive than Apple’s Pro Display XDR? How about two of them? According to an Apple patent watchdog, Apple has invented a dual display stand with the ability to perfectly balance two Pro Display XDR screens without getting in the way.

Patently Apple discovered patent 11371644 had been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent reveals a stand with two legs, a rotating shaft across the top from where two Pro Display XDR monitors can hang, and a rack-and-pinion rotating shaft to keep both monitors perfectly aligned to each other.

Most people use individual stands for their dual-monitor setup, and these stands can get in the way. Then there’s the issue of getting the monitors aligned just right, a frustrating task for professionals. Apple’s new patent purports to solve these problems with the dual-display stand.

“Computer device designers often desire to control positioning of a computer monitor or similar display at whatever height and orientation are best suited for the needs of the user,” Apple wrote in the patent background. “While various existing display stands provide tilt, rotation, and vertical height adjustment of monitors, these features often come at the expense of being convenient and natural to use.”

The dual display keeps its two legs tucked away behind the screens, while the connecting shaft keeps both monitors at the same height and tilt. There are rollers riding on rails inside the shaft to maintain perfect spacing between the monitors.

Another interesting addition to the stand is a universal joint that synchronizes the rotation of both segments of the main shaft. This allows the user to invert the stand into a V shape without disturbing the alignment of the monitors on either end of the shaft.

Finally, the stand includes a friction engine, suggesting the entire device is motorized and could potentially be controlled directly from a Mac.

Apple’s current Pro Display XDR stand costs over $1,000. Although it perfectly balances the big display, most of the cost is aesthetic. We don’t know what Apple will charge for a dual-display XDR stand but we’re confident it will be prohibitive.

Of course, the XDR line isn’t made for regular consumers. Professionals, studios, and design agencies are the users of an XDR dual-display stand. With powerful new MacBook Pros about to hit the market later this year, it seems Apple has professionals on its mind.

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Game

Both of Valve’s classic Portal games arrive on the Switch today

A few months ago, Valve announced that both of its excellent Portal games were coming to the Nintendo Switch, but we didn’t know when. Today’s Nintendo Direct presentation cleared that up. Portal Companion Collection will arrive on the Switch later today for $19.99. The collection includes both the original Portal from 2007 as well as the more expansive, story-driven Portal 2 from 2011. Whether you missed these games the first time out or just want to replay a pair of classics, this collection sounds like a good way to return to one of the most intriguing worlds Valve ever created.

While the original Portal was strictly a single-player experience, Portal 2 has a split-screen co-op experience; you can also pay this mode with a friend online as well. And while these games originated on the PC, Valve also released Portal 2 for the PlayStation 3 — and if I recall, the game’s controls mapped to a controller very well. Given that the Portal series is more puzzle-based than traditional first-person games, you shouldn’t have any problems navigating the world with a pair of Joy-Con controllers. 

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Computing

The M2 MacBook Pro’s performance is worse than expected

Additional benchmarks have shown the entry-level model of Apple’s MacBook Pro with an M2 chip is performing far worse than anyone expected. This comes after initial tests revealed that the device had a slower SSD when compared to last year’s MacBook Pro with an M1 chip.

Spotted by MacRumors, the M2 MacBook Pro reportedly lags behind in day-to-day multitasking performance in apps like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Final Cut Pro. Even file transfers to an external SSD suffer on Apple’s latest flagship laptop. This is all because the M2 MacBook Pro appears to be using space on the 256GB SSD as virtual memory when the in-built 8GB of Apple Unified memory is used up by the system and other apps.

Just like the issue with SSD speeds, this is believed to be due to the fact that Apple is only using a single NAND chip on the 2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch M2 models. That’s compared to the M1 MacBook Pro, which has two NAND chips for faster speeds.

Apple

A lot of the tests in question have been done by the YouTuber, Max Tech. In his 12-minute video, he showcases that when his tests are down on their own without background activity, the M2 MacBook Pro defeats the M1 MacBook Air. It’s only when multitasking and background activity on both machines comes into play that things go bad for Apple’s latest 13-inch flagship laptop.

For basic multitasking in Google Chrome, the M2 MacBook Pro loads several tabs and pages like Google Drive slower than the M1 MacBook Pro. Having that open on top of exporting 50 RAW images in Adobe Lightroom Classic, meanwhile, takes longer on the M2 MacBook Pro at a time of 4 minutes and 12 seconds versus just 3 minutes and 36 seconds on the M1 MacBook Pro.

In other tests done by Max Tech, the Apple M2 MacBook Pro falls even further behind the M1 MacBook Pro with so-called “pro app” background activity going in Final Cut Pro. A 5-minute 4K HVEC export on the M2 MacBook Pro took a total of 4 minutes and 49 seconds. The M1 MacBook Pro did that same test in 3 minutes and 36 seconds with similar background activity.

Even SSD File Transfers appear to suffer on the M2 MacBook Pro. Max Tech finds that in his video transfer tests, the M1 MacBook Pro writes a 35GB video file to an external SSD in 34 seconds, but the M2 MacBook Pro does it in 1 minute and 25 seconds.  As for read speeds, the results are closer, with the M2 MacBook Pro doing it in 58 seconds, and the M1 MacBook Pro doing it in 45 seconds.

With all this in mind, if you’re considering buying a new MacBook Pro model with an M2 chip, you should definitely pay for the $200 upgrade and buy the higher-end model with 512GB of storage. Or, hold off and buy an older M1 model.

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Computing

Google is officially killing yet another chat app

Google Hangouts is finally, really going away for everyone in November of 2022, and Google Chat is ready to step in as a full-featured replacement. Once reserved for Google Workspace subscribers, Chat generally offers more capabilities, so it’s a good trade.

Every change involves learning how the new system works, and the fine details can sometimes be frustrating. Getting an early start is the best way to take control of the situation and manage the transition on your own schedule.

Google began phasing out Hangouts for Workspace customers in February 2022 and is now encouraging all Hangouts users to make the switch to Google Chat by November. In most cases, Hangouts’ messages and contacts should appear within Chat automatically, making it easy to continue current conversations and reference past information.

When opening Hangouts in a web browser, a message will appear near the top of the page with a link to open Google Chat and another that provides additional information. A similar transition is being recommended when using the Hangouts Chrome extension, with the Google Chat progressive web app being offered as an alternative to simply loading Chat in a tab. The Hangouts mobile app is also being shut down in November, and a Google Chat app is available for iPhone and Android phones.

The Google Chat transition warning in the Hangouts window.

Chat offers more features, including easy access to Google Meet — its video conferencing solution — and Google Spaces — an environment that allows Google Drive files and Google Tasks’ lists to be shared among multiple people and integrated with text, photo, and video messaging. In Gmail settings, Chat can be enabled on a sidebar so that it’s accessible without loading a separate webpage.

As far as forced changes go, moving to Chat is really not that bad. One of the few drawbacks is that video call ringing only works in the Gmail mobile app; however, a Google Meet invitation can be sent from Chat to get a similar result.

Google has been notoriously unclear about which messaging app to use for any situation, often launching several competing solutions at once. A single well-considered answer to the common need to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers probably would have been much more popular and perhaps cutting Google Talk, Duo, and Hangouts will help to solve the confusion once and for all.

Google Chat and Meet are the future and integrate more fully with other Google apps and services, so you should start the transition now.

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Game

Riot Games will monitor ‘Valorant’ voice chat to combat disruptive players

Abusive Valorant players could soon have their verbal tirades come back to haunt them. In a published on Friday, Riot Games outlined a plan to begin monitoring in-game voice chat as part of a broader effort to combat disruptive behavior within its games.

On July 13th, the studio will begin collecting voice data from Valorant games played in North America. According to Riot, it will use the data to get its AI model “in a good enough place for a beta launch later this year.” During this initial stage, Riot says it won’t use voice evaluation for disruptive behavior reports.

“We know that before we can even think of expanding this tool, we’ll have to be confident it’s effective, and if mistakes happen, we have systems in place to make sure we can correct any false positives (or negatives for that matter),” the studio said.

Some players will likely bristle at the thought of Riot listening in on their voice comms, much like they did when the company introduced , its kernel-level anti-cheat software. But Riot says it sees voice evaluation as a way for it to “collect clear evidence” against players who take to comms to abuse and harass their teammates. The tool will also give the studio something it can point to when it provides sanctioned players with feedback.

“This is brand new tech and there will for sure be growing pains,” Riot said. “But the promise of a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone who chooses to play is worth it.”

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Computing

Dell’s MacBook Pro rival (the Dell XPS 13) is $200 off today

If you’re looking for a discount on a great new laptop and the MacBook Pro is beyond your budget, Dell has some great discounts taking place right now. One of the best Dell laptop deals is on the Dell XPS 13 Touch laptop, the most portable of its popular XPS laptop lineup. While it typically costs $1,049, today you can get the Dell XPS 13 for just $850, a savings of $200. Free next-day shipping is included, so click over to Dell now to grab a discount and get up and running with your new Dell laptop as soon as tomorrow.

Why you should buy the Dell XPS 13

A person using the Dell XPS 13 Touch laptop.

The Dell XPS laptop lineup spans several different screen sizes, making it an extremely popular laptop option. The Dell XPS 13 is the most compact and portable model of the XPS lineup, as it has a 13-inch display. The display on this model also has touchscreen capabilities, making it a unique laptop option for creatives or anyone else who seeks the power of a laptop combined with the functionality of a tablet. The display is also a high-definition display and clocks in with a 60Hz refresh rate, making it a great laptop for binge watchers, and something for gamers to consider as well. Bezels are smaller than ever on any model of XPS laptop, allowing the 13.3-inch screen to fit into an 11-inch form factor. This allows for even more portability and convenience for computer users who like to do their work on the go.

Like all of the best laptops, the Dell XPS 13 Touch brings plenty of performance to the table, especially for a laptop that’s on the smaller side. As spec’d for this deal, it has a quad-core Intel i5 processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of system RAM, and a speedy 256 GB solid-state drive. If you like to have the portability of a laptop but still like to work at your desk, the Dell XPS 13 can push two external 4K displays, so you can easily expand your screen real estate. A fingerprint reader, great battery life, and a modern design round out the top features of the Dell XPS 13 laptop.

More laptop deals you can shop today

A 2021 MacBook Air sits partially open with its colorful screen illuminating in darkness.

While the Dell XPS 13 Touch is a bit of a steal at its current price point, there are a lot of great laptop deals taking place right now. These great laptop deals include:

  • Microsoft Surface Laptop Go —
  • Dell G15 Gaming Laptop — $686, was $1,019
  • Apple MacBook Air — $899, was $999

And if perhaps you like the touchscreen features of the Dell XPS 13 Touch but want an even smaller form factor, there are a lot of great tablet deals going on that are worth exploring.

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Game

Samsung’s 1TB 980 Pro SSD returns to an all-time low of $140

Maybe you were finally able to get your hands on a PS5 not too long ago, but now you find yourself quickly running out of space on it. Now’s a good time to invest in an SSD that can expand your console’s storage because one of our favorites from Samsung is back on sale for an all-time-low price. The Samsung 980 Pro drive in 1TB is 33 percent off and down to $140. A few other drive we recommend from brands like PNY, Patriot and Crucial are also on sale right now, too.

Buy Samsung 980 Pro (1TB) at Amazon – $140
Buy Samsung 980 Pro (1TB with heatsink) at Amazon – $170

Normally priced at $210, Samsung’s drive comes in a compact, M.2 form factor and supports read speeds up to 7,000 MB/s. It uses a special thermal control algorithm and a nickel coating to manage heat levels, plus a heat spreader label to help manage the temperature of the NAND chip. It’s also compatible with Samsung Magician, which is management software that lets you monitor its overall health and keep it up to date.

The biggest issue for PS5 owners is that the drive’s standard configuration doesn’t come with a heatsink, which you’ll need to install it in the console. However, you can get the SSD with said heatsink for only $170 right now, which is 26 percent off its normal rate.

Also on sale is our favorite PS5 SSD, the Patriot Viper VP4300: the 1TB version is down to $130 and the 2TB model is on sale for $255. This drive supports sequential read speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s, plus it comes with a heatsink preinstalled so it’s ready to use with the PS5. If you’ve got a tighter budget, a couple of Crucial and PNY drives might be better fits. Crucial’s P5 Plus SSD in 1TB is 20 percent off and down to $128, while PNY’s XLR8 CS3040 SSD in 1TB is a whopping 42 percent off and down to $105.

Buy Patriot Viper VP4300 (1TB) at Amazon – $130
Buy Crucial P5 Plus (1TB) at Amazon – $128
Buy PNY XLR8 CS3040 (1TB) at Amazon – $105

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Computing

Get this QHD gaming monitor with 1ms response time for $290

The HP X32 QHD gaming monitor is a better choice than most of the monitor deals that retailers are offering if you’re planning to use it for gaming, as it comes with features that will help you maximize your investment in gaming PC deals. You can buy it from HP for an affordable $290, after a $100 reduction from the gaming monitor’s original price of $390.

While it’s not as advanced as the top-of-the-line options in Digital Trends’ best gaming monitors, you can’t go wrong with the HP X32 QHD gaming monitor if you’re on a tight budget. Your powerful gaming desktop will be wasted if you’ll be playing video games on an old display, so even if it’s a relatively cheap alternative, this display will still provide a better gaming experience. For this reason, we’re not sure how long HP’s stock of the product will last, so you have to finalize your purchase as soon as possible to make sure that you get your own HP X32 QHD gaming monitor for even cheaper than usual.

Why you should buy this 32-inch gaming monitor

The HP X32 QHD Gaming Monitor with a serene landscape on the display.

Why Buy

  • 1ms response time ensures clear images during fast motion sequences
  • 165 Hz refresh rate prevents tearing
  • Eye Ease technology blocks harmful blue light

The HP X32 QHD gaming monitor comes with a 32-inch display that supports up to Quad HD resolution, which will let you better appreciate the graphics of modern video games with lifelike colors and sharp details. In terms of response time, which is how long it takes for a pixel to shift from one color to another, according to our guide on what to look for in a gaming monitor, you’re looking at 1ms. This means that the monitor displays clear images during sequences with fast motion, and in multiplayer games where a fraction of a second may spell the difference between victory and defeat, such a fast response time could be the advantage that you need.

The monitor features a 165Hz refresh rate, which refers to how often the display refreshes the image per second. The higher the number, the better. To further prevent tearing, which is what happens when a monitor doesn’t refresh as fast at the frame rate of the gaming that you’re playing, the monitor supports AMD’s FreeSync Premium. If playing for long hours is your deal, HP’s Eye Ease technology will make sure that blue light, which is harmful to your eyes, is filtered out, without sacrificing the color quality of the other images that are shown on the screen.

Whether you’re upgrading from an old display or buying one alongside a new gaming PC, it will be hard to ignore HP’s $100 discount for the HP X32 QHD gaming monitor, which pulls its price down to $290 from its sticker price of $390. The deal may disappear at any minute, so you shouldn’t be wasting time if you think this monitor is the right one for you.

More gaming monitor deals you can shop today

Alienware 38 Curved Gaming Monitor showing video game scene, on a white background.

HP’s discount for the HP X32 QHD gaming monitor makes it one of the cheapest gaming monitor deals, similar to Dell’s price for the Dell 25 gaming monitor. You can also go with Lenovo’s price cut for the Lenovo 34-inch WLED curved gaming monitor, but if you want the best quality while you’re playing video games, consider shelling out for Dell’s offer for the Alienware 38 curved gaming monitor.

  • Dell 25 Gaming Monitor —
  • Lenovo 34-inch WLED Curved Gaming Monitor —
  • Alienware 38 Curved Gaming Monitor —

If you’re planning to buy a gaming monitor, and you have lots of extra cash, you might as well think about buying from gaming PC deals. If you want the best gaming experience, you need to make sure that your gaming desktop and gaming monitor go hand in hand in running today’s video games.

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Game

Nintendo Direct on June 28th is all about third-party Switch games

Nintendo has announced when its next games showcase will take place. A Nintendo Direct Mini is scheduled for June 28th at 9AM ET. It most likely won’t feature news on Mario, Zelda, Pokémon or any of Nintendo’s other franchises, though. The company said the stream will focus on third-party titles that are on the way to Switch.

Right now, it’s unclear what to expect from Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase (to give the broadcast its full title). However, it could a be fairly meaty affair, since it clocks in at 25 minutes and Nintendo usually zips through announcements during Directs.

This isn’t pegged as an Indie World Showcase, so it may center more around titles from major publishers and larger studios. One of the more notable third-party games slated for a Switch debut, No Man’s Sky, already has a release date of October 7th, so that may not get a heavy focus. There’s always the chance of more details on Hollow Knight: Silksong, which is slated to arrive sometime within the next year.

The Nintendo Direct Mini will air a week after a Direct focused on Xenoblade Chronicles 3, though it’s not the full-on first-party showcase fans have been waiting for and expecting. You’ll be able to watch Tuesday’s event on Nintendo’s YouTube channel.

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Computing

AMD Ryzen 7000 mobile specs revealed, may rival Intel’s best

A new leak gives us more insight into the specifications of the upcoming AMD Dragon Range and AMD Phoenix CPUs. Both of these lineups are the next-generation Zen 4 processors made for laptops, although each will have its own niche.

With the specifications of Dragon Range and Phoenix now coming into play, it seems that AMD will be well-positioned to compete against its rivals, Intel and Nvidia, in future gaming laptops.

Red Gaming Tech (RGT) on YouTube talked about the capabilities and specifications of some of the Ryzen 7000 processors for the mobile sector. AMD Dragon Range and Phoenix will each power laptops for gamers, but while Dragon Range will focus on delivering the best possible CPU performance, Phoenix will be competitive thanks to its built-in RDNA 3 iGPU.

Let’s start with Dragon Range. According to Red Gaming Tech, AMD is approaching the lineup much the same way Intel did with Alder Lake-HX. This means that the manufacturer is downsizing its desktop Raphael CPUs to fit inside laptops without needing to compromise on the specifications too much. As a result, the top processor of the four leaked today will have the most cores of any AMD mobile CPU so far.

As per the rumor, the Ryzen 9 7980HX will come with 16 cores, followed by the Ryzen 9 7900HX with 12 cores. There’s also a Ryzen 7 entry, the Ryzen 7 7800HX with eight cores, as well as the Ryzen 5 7600HX with just six cores. Clock speeds will vary and may reach as high as 5GHz and above in boost mode while ranging between 3.6GHz to 4GHz+ at base frequencies.

AMD Dragon Range will be powerful in terms of CPU performance, but it will fall behind when it comes to the integrated graphics card. The idea here is that AMD wants to offer these CPUs in enthusiast gaming laptops, which will typically have one of the best GPUs installed anyway. As such, Dragon Range will only come with two RDNA 2 compute units, which won’t be enough to power any serious gaming. However, it doesn’t really need to — CPUs of this caliber are going to be paired with a discrete graphics card.

Red Gaming Tech

Moving on to AMD Phoenix (also known as Phoenix Point), the CPU clearly takes a much different approach. While it’s still a Zen 4 processor, the focus here has shifted to providing a good gaming experience even with thin and light laptops. Seeing as it was made to power lightweight notebooks, Phoenix will run on 35 to 45 watts, keeping power requirements low and battery life higher. This oftentimes translates to poor gaming performance — but AMD has an ace up its sleeve in the form of RDNA 3 graphics.

Compared to Dragon Range, Phoenix is said to serve up to six times more GPU cores, which means up to 12 compute units. As noted by RGT, this means up to 1536 shaders and an iGPU clock frequency of up to 3GHz. AMD may be hoping to rival the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 mobile with the top variant of Phoenix.

In this lineup, RGT also expects four different processors, the AMD Ryzen 9 7980HS, the Ryzen 9 7900HS, the Ryzen 7 7800HS, and, lastly, the Ryzen 5 7600HS. These processors would provide better graphics at the cost of significantly lowered core counts, ranging from eight to six cores.

If the rumors prove to be true, next-gen gaming laptops based on AMD CPUs and APUs will have a lot to offer. However, before they ever hit the market, we have the Ryzen 7000 for desktops and the Intel Raptor Lake launch to look forward to later this year.

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