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Nvidia vs. AMD: Fierce Competition, But One Clear Winner

If you want the best graphics card for your gaming PC, there are only two options: Nvidia and AMD. Although their rivalry dates back decades — back before AMD bought ATI for its graphics division — they’re still battling it out in 2021. And the competition has never been more fierce.

We’re here to break down all of the differences between Nvidia and AMD, how each of their graphics cards perform, and what you can expect to pay. There are a lot of differences between Team Green and Team Red, and they both make excellent graphics cards. Based on our testing and experience, though, there’s one clear winner.

Nvidia vs. AMD in 2021

Before getting to the specifics, let’s set the stage. Nvidia and AMD released new GPU generations in 2020, and they’re expected to release new generations in 2022. Nvidia is currently selling its RTX 30-series graphics cards, and AMD is selling its RX 6000 graphics cards. Next year, we should see RTX 40-series and RX 7000 GPUs.

Here are the most recent desktop graphics cards Nvidia is selling, ranked by raw power with the RTX 3090 being the most powerful:

AMD has a similar lineup of desktop graphics cards available. Here are the most recent AMD graphics cards, also ranked by raw power:

Although we ranked the cards based on raw power, that doesn’t mean you should gun for the top card from each range. The RTX 3090, for example, is the most powerful card out of Nvidia’s lineup on paper. However, a lot of that power shows through in professional creative workloads, such as 3D modeling and rendering. Similarly, the RX 6900 XT is the fastest card from AMD’s lineup, but the RX 6800 XT is nearly as good when it comes to gaming.

These are the most recent cards from AMD and Nvidia, but you shouldn’t discount previous generations. Right now, we recommend sticking with either current-gen or last-gen parts. We’ll explain why throughout this comparison, but the short of it is that the last two generations of AMD cards have been much better than the generations before, and the last two generations of Nvidia cards have access to some critical gaming features.

Pricing and availability

Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, pictured holding an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card.
AMD

For years, AMD has been the best option for PC builders on a budget. In 2021, however, Nvidia and AMD are closely matched when it comes to pricing, and AMD is even a little more expensive in some cases.

Starting with Nvidia, the cheapest RTX 3060 has a list price of $329 and the most expensive RTX 3090 has a list price of $1,499. AMD’s cheapest card, the RX 6600, also has a list price of $329, but its most expensive RX 6900 XT only lists for $999. Across the range, you’re looking at a $50 difference at most for comparable cards outside of the RX 6900 XT. The RTX 3070, for example, is $20 more expensive than the RX 6700 XT.

Unfortunately, list prices mean nothing in 2021. The GPU shortage has skyrocketed the price of graphics cards on the secondhand market, and a slew of tariffs and supply chain issues have led to increased prices at retailers. Almost universally, cards are selling for twice their list price, even at retailers.

Cryptocurrency mining rig from computer graphic cards
A cryptocurrency miner attached to a laptop Getty Images

There are a few notable exceptions. The RX 6900 XT is only selling for $500 more than its list price, and it’s one of the most readily available cards at retailers. The RX 6600 and RX 6600 XT are near list price, too, though many third-party models released with a price of $100 or more than what AMD set.

Across the board, AMD cards are cheaper and have better availability. We’ve tracked the GPU market for over a year now, and AMD cards are the ones that come back in stock before Nvidia ones. AMD cards sell for about $100 less than their Nvidia counterparts on the secondhand market, though that largely comes down to what seller you can find.

In the overpriced GPU market of 2021, nobody wins. We recommend picking based on performance and features before seeking out the best deal on the card you want.

Performance

The RTX 3060 installed in a computer.

Nvidia has been the market leader in GPU performance for years, but AMD has made up a lot of ground. Although Nvidia graphics cards are better performers overall, the margins are much thinner than they used to be. And in some cases, AMD cards actually shoot ahead of the Nvidia competition.

The RX 6600, RTX 3060, and RX 6600 XT are the cheapest cards available, and they all target 1080p gaming. At 1080p with the graphics settings turned up, we found that the RX 6600 trails the RTX 3060 by about 7% across our suite of benchmarks. The RX 6600 only managed to outclass the RTX 3060 in one game — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

AMD RX 6600 AMD RX 6600 XT Nvidia RTX 3060
3DMark Time Spy (GPU score) 8,071 9,644 8,629
Red Dead Redemption 2 59 fps 68 fps 65 fps
Fortnite 98 fps 137 fps 132 fps
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 71 fps 83 fps 64 fps
Battlefield V 120 fps 139 fps 123 fps
Civilization VI 138 fps 161 fps 143 fps

For the RX 6600 XT, it managed to beat the RX 6600 and RTX 3060 by a wide margin, with up to a 16% gap between it and its non-XT counterpart. The RX 6600 XT encroaches on the territory of the RTX 3060 Ti in terms of price, though. In that comparison, the RTX 3060 Ti is the clear winner. It’s the best 1080p graphics card based on our testing.

At list price, the RTX 3060 Ti is surprisingly close to the RX 6700 XT for almost $100 less. It’s still behind, but not by much. The RX 6700 XT and RTX 3070 target 1440p, and they’re both capable cards at that resolution. Once again, our testing showed that AMD’s offering is about 10% behind, with some games, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, favoring the AMD GPU.

Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti Nvidia RTX 3080 AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
3DMark Time Spy 13893 16108 11726
3DMark Fire Strike 26516 28460 26830
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 50 52 42
Battlefield V 80 100 69
Fortnite 70 95 58
Civilization VI 139 158 115

Past these cards, we get into 4K territory, and things start to get strange. The RTX 3070 Ti just barely pushes over the 4K line, but the RTX 3080 beats it by a wide 14% margin overall. Based on our testing, the RTX 3080 is the best entry point to 4K gaming assuming you can find one at a reasonable price.

AMD’s competing RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT are close to the RTX 3080. Based on third-party testing, the RX 6800 XT is within a few frames of the RTX 3080 with ray tracing turned off. The RX 6800, meanwhile, delivers performance just ahead of the RTX 3070 Ti. Unlike the low-end cards, the RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 are evenly matched as long as you don’t factor in ray tracing.

You really shouldn’t go above either the RX 6800 XT or RTX 3080 for gaming. The RTX 3080 Ti shows about a 9% advantage over the RTX 3080, but at $500 more. The RX 6900 XT and RTX 3090, meanwhile, are the best of the best. But as is the case with all top-of-the-line parts, they show diminishing returns.

Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti Nvidia RTX 3080 AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
3DMark Time Spy 17634 16108 17340
3DMark Fire Strike 30951 28460 38911
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 56 52 69
Battlefield V 104 100 106
Fortnite 95 93 99
Civilization VI 177 158 184

Take the RX 6900 XT as an example. It’s $200 less than the RTX 3080 Ti, but it should perform on the level of the RTX 3090. Based on our testing, it offers a minor uplift over the RTX 3080 Ti across games, though not enough to make a difference.

That leaves the RTX 3090, which is pointless for gaming. The RTX 3080 Ti is almost identical in terms of specs, and the RTX 3090 only performs about 3% above in most games. The RTX 3090 is a creative workhorse, shining with its 24GB of video memory in 3D modeling and rendering applications.

Overall, AMD cards trail their Nvidia counterparts at each price point, with the gap shrinking from about 10% on the low-end cards to a few percentage points on the high-end ones. It’s important to keep in mind price, though. Performance is always relative, and you can’t separate price from that. AMD cards sell for less on the secondhand market, so don’t discount Team Red. RX 6000 cards are excellent performers.

Ray tracing and upscaling

Ray tracing showcase in devil may cry 5.

If you’re interested in ray tracing and upscaling, you can throw all of the performance numbers above out the window. Simply put, Nvidia is the only option when it comes to ray tracing and upscaling. AMD offers hardware-accelerated ray tracing and its own upscaling feature, but they don’t come close to the competition from Nvidia.

During our testing of ray tracing games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Control, we found the same results time and again. AMD cards can’t handle ray tracing like Nvidia cards can. That comes down to a fundamental difference in the two companies approach GPU design.

Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs include dedicated ray tracing cores. These cores handle ray tracing and they’re separate from the GPU cores. AMD, on the other hand, packs a ray accelerator into each compute unit. AMD cards still have hardware-accelerated ray tracing, but the cores that handle ray tracing don’t have nearly as much power behind them.

The big reason Nvidia has an advantage, though, is Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). Ray tracing is demanding, and although Nvidia cards are better set up for it, you can still expect your frame rate to tank with ray tracing turned on. Enter DLSS, which uses A.I. to upscale games and improve performance.

Based on our testing of DLSS, it can over a 100% improvement in supported games. DLSS takes advantage of Tensor cores on RTX 30-series and 20-series graphics cards. The Tensor cores basically run an A.I. model that has been trained on high-quality scans of a game, so it can reconstruct the image with shocking accuracy in real time.

Upscaling modes in Deathloop.

AMD has an upscaling feature, too: FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). Unlike DLSS, FSR works across all graphics cards — Nvidia and AMD alike. That’s because it doesn’t leverage any dedicated hardware and it doesn’t use A.I. to upscale the image. FSR is based on an older spatial upscaling algorithm that AMD tweaked.

DLSS and FSR aren’t the same thing, even if they drive toward the same goal. FSR offers a larger uplift in performance, as you can see in our FidelityFX Super Resolution review, but at a significant cost to image quality. DLSS still provides a large increase while looking much closer to native resolution.

In the context of ray tracing, upscaling is essential. It’s still too demanding for modern hardware to run, so you need to turn on either DLSS or FSR to get the best performance and image quality. DLSS is the better option out of the two, and it’s often included alongside ray tracing. It’s just a shame that DLSS is restricted to the last two generations of Nvidia graphics cards.

Software and drivers

There isn’t much of a comparison between AMD and Nvidia when it comes to driver support. We’ve seen issues with both when it comes to driver releases in the past, and both are quick to solve those issues when they come up. AMD and Nvidia also frequently release drivers alongside new games releases. Single out a single game or single driver release, and you’ll find a winner. Overall, AMD and Nvidia are evenly matched in driver quality and support.

They aren’t evenly matched in software, though. Nvidia offers GeForce Experience for its graphics cards, but it’s more of an overlay than anything else. The app allows you to apply optimized settings to supported games, which Nvidia dials in based on the graphics card you have. Otherwise, the app is just a way to turn on the in-game overlay.

The games page in Nvidia GeForce Experience.

The overlay allows you to do all sorts of things, including streaming to Twitch, capturing gameplay, and displaying performance numbers on your screen. You can also apply photo mode to any game with Nvidia Ansel, as well as dial in an overclock with the built-in performance tweaker.

For most, the instant replay and highlights features are the ones that stand out. Instant replay allows you to capture up to 20 minutes of past gameplay footage, and highlights automatically capture moments when you achieve certain conditions in supported games (say, a medal in Destiny 2). All of these capture methods use Nvidia Shadowplay, which supports screenshots and videos at up to 8K.

AMD has Radeon Software, which comes with a much more robust list of features. It has almost too many to list. Like GeForce Experience, you have access to instant replay, screenshot and video capture, performance monitoring, and graphical settings for supported games. You can also stream with Radeon Software, as well as apply an overclock to your GPU.

Home screen in AMD Radeon Software.

Radeon Software has a few extra goodies, though. Integer Scaling, for example, upscales retro games to work on modern displays, and AMD Link allows you or your friends to connect to your PC remotely on almost any device. All of AMD’s gaming features — FreeSync, Radeon Chill, and Radeon Anti-Lag, to name a few — are accessible through Radeon Software as well.

That’s the biggest difference between the two. Radeon Software gives you a window while GeForce Experience gives you an overlay. On its own, GeForce Experience does very little. You need to use the overlay, and that’s a problem when the overlay is prone to fail while playing games. On top of that, some Nvidia features are restricted to the Nvidia Control Panel, which is a separate piece of software that’s in desperate need of a facelift.

The two pieces of software are evenly matched on features, with a slight edge to GeForce Experience thanks to Ansel. Radeon Software is easier to use, however, and it includes more quality of life improvements.

Mobile GPUs

Along with desktop graphics cards, Nvidia and AMD have mobile GPUs. But you’ll find a lot more laptops with Nvidia graphics cards. Similar to Intel vs. AMD, Nvidia has a much larger stake in the mobile market, and you’ll generally find laptops with an Nvidia graphics card and Intel processor.

It’s difficult to draw any firm conclusions about how AMD and Nvidia mobile GPUs perform compared to each other. For example, the RX 6800M inside the Asus ROG Strix G15 outperforms the RTX 3080 inside the MSI GS66 Stealth. The MSI laptop doesn’t feature a fully powered RTX 3080, though, and it doesn’t have as robust of a cooling solution. So, is AMD better for mobile graphics cards? It’s a little more complicated than raw performance.

Asus ROG Strix G15 running Fortnite.

Mobile graphics cards don’t match their desktop counterparts, and laptop designers are free to choose how much power the cards get. The RTX 3080 inside the MSI GS66 Stealth, for example, tops out at 95W. The RTX 3080 inside the Razer Blade 15 can draw up to 105W of power, and it unsurprisingly performs better. Add on top of that different cooling solutions, and the comparison isn’t so straightforward.

When it comes to mobile GPUs, individual laptop reviews are a must. There are absolutely differences between graphics cards — the RX 6800M will perform better than the RX 6700M, and so on. But when it comes to two comparable graphics cards, the laptop design plays a much more significant role in performance than if you went with an AMD or Nvidia GPU.

Keep in mind DLSS and ray tracing, though. Nvidia mobile GPUs still have access to these features, and our conclusions on the desktop cards apply here.

Performance parity, feature leader (Nvidia wins)

RTX 3080 Ti in front of a window.

AMD has tried to reach performance parity with Nvidia for years. And RX 6000 graphics cards hit that mark, sometimes even exceeding it. That puts the focus on pricing and features. For pricing, AMD graphics cards are selling for less than their Nvidia counterparts. Factor in ray tracing and DLSS, though, and that extra price is justified.

That doesn’t mean AMD is a bad option. In 2021, AMD is a better option than it has been in years. That said, it’s hard to recommend AMD over Nvidia simply because cards from both brands are overpriced in 2021. Maybe that changes when prices settle down, but for now, Nvidia is the winner.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

The LG Gram 16 Versus the Dell XPS 15: Which is the Winner?

There are different reasons to buy a 15-inch-class laptop. Maybe you’re looking for extra power, which tends to be more available in this size of machine or larger. Or maybe you’re simply looking for more screen real estate than that provided by 13-inch laptops. Either way, great 15-inch choices are available, ranging from budget machines to portable workstations.

Dell has its XPS 15, which, when we reviewed it, was our pick for the best 15-inch laptop, and LG has its Gram 16. The latter has a 16-inch display that’s just a fraction of an inch larger than Dell’s 15.6-inch panel, but that’s not the only difference between the two. The question is: Does the Gram 16 have what it takes to dethrone the king?

Specs

  LG Gram 16 Dell XPS 15
Dimensions 14.01 x 9.58 x 0.66 inches 13.57 x 9.06 x 0.71 inches
Weight 2.62 pounds 4.5 pounds
Processor 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 10th-gen Intel Core i5-10300H
10th-gen Intel Core i7-10750H
10th-gen Intel Core i7-10875H
10th-gen Intel Core i9-10885H
RAM 16GB RAM 8GB to 64GB RAM
Display 16-inch 16:10 non-touch IPS 15.6-inch 16:10 touch or non-touch IPS
Resolution WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Full HD (1,920 x 2,160)
4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Storage 1TB SSD Up to 2TB SSD
Touch None 10-point touch optional
Ports 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB-C, full-size HDMI, micro SD card slot, 3.5mm headset 2x USB C with Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB-C, SD card slot, 3.5mm headset
Wireless Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1
Webcam 720p HD 720p HD
Operating system Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Home or Pro
Battery 80 watt-hours 97 watt-hours
Price $1,700 $1,049+
Review 4 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Design

The first major difference between the two laptops is in their physical designs. The XPS 15 is built with a combination of aluminum (on the lid and chassis bottom) and carbon fiber (on the palm rest and keyboard deck), and it’s solid as a rock. There’s no twisting, bending, or flexing anywhere. The Gram 16, on the other hand, is made of magnesium alloy throughout its chassis, and it’s not the thickest metal we’ve seen. That results in a lid that’s incredibly flexible and a keyboard deck that depresses with minimal force until you can feel the components beneath it. The Dell is the more robust-feeling machine, despite LG passing its laptop through military standards testing.

Why the difference? Simply put, LG was aiming for an incredibly light laptop, and it succeeded. The Gram 16 is a paltry 2.62 pounds while still housing 80 watt-hours of battery capacity. Compare that to the XPS 15 that weighs 4.5 pounds with its 95 watt-hour battery. The Gram 16 is also thinner at 0.66 inches versus the XPS 15’s 0.71 inches. Both are very similar in their other dimensions, thanks to enjoying displays with 16:10 aspect ratios and tiny bezels. The LG is just a bit deeper, thanks to the extra 0.4 inches of diagonal screen space. LG had to give up something to make such a thin laptop, and a perception of fragility is the result. Holding the XPS 15 in your hand gives an impression of durability that the Gram 16 lacks.

You can get the XPS 15 in two color schemes, a silver aluminum chassis with a black keyboard deck and a white exterior with a white interior. The Gram 16 offers a choice between white and black (we reviewed the white version). Dell’s machine is sleeker and more elegant, with more aggressive lines and angles that all work together to make for a very attractive laptop that still doesn’t attract attention to itself. LG went for a “minimalist straight-lined design” that’s meant to “reduce distractions,” which shows in the Gram 16’s simplicity. It’s not as attractive as the XPS 15, but it’s not a bad-looking laptop by any means. If you really don’t want your laptop to be the center of attention, then the Gram 16 is your choice.

When it comes to connectivity, the Gram 16 is the winner — surprisingly, given how much thinner and lighter it is. It offers up two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A 3.2 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Compare that to the XPS 15’s two USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, a single USB-C 3.1 port, a full-size SD card reader (which creative types will appreciate), and that’s it. You’ll be far less likely to grab for a dongle with the Gram 16. Both laptops offer Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 wireless connectivity.

Performance

Dell XPS 15 side view.

Another area of divergence is performance. The XPS 15 uses 10th-generation Intel 45-watt H-series CPUs (we tested the Core i7-10875H) and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics, compared to 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. While the Gram 16 can handle demanding productivity tasks with no problems, it struggles with handling apps that really tax the CPU and GPU. The XPS 15, on the other hand, can handle much more demanding apps and provides significantly more power on the go.

Consider our Handbrake test, which encodes a 420MB video as H.265. The XPS 15 required just over two minutes to complete the process, compared to the Gram 16 at over three and a half minutes. Handbrake is very CPU-intensive, and this is a significant difference in performance. We didn’t test the two laptops using all the same benchmarks, but we have no doubt that the XPS 15 would dominate in each.

If you use an app like Adobe Premiere Pro that can utilize the GPU to speed up certain processes, then the XPS 15 benefits again from its decent discrete GPU. The Gram 16’s integrated graphics can’t keep up, and you’ll find editing large photos and rendering video to be so much faster with the XPS 15.

Even gaming tips in the XPS 15’s favor. It can run modern titles at 1080p with decent (but not top-notch) graphical detail, making it a highly portable midrange gaming machine. The Gram 16, simply put, cannot run modern titles with any playability.

Display

Dell XPS 15 display view.

The XPS 15 offers a few 16:10 displays, including a non-touch full HD (1920 x 1080) panel, a touch-enabled full-HD screen, and a touch-enabled 4K (3840 x 2160) display. The Gram 16 comes with just one 16:10 option, a WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display. We tested the XPS 15 4K panel — that’s the best comparison given the Gram 16’s higher-than-FHD resolution.

The Gram 16’s display was colorful at 88% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, with color accuracy of DeltaE 2.67 (1.0 is considered excellent) — not the best result. The XPS 15 4K registered 100% of both color gamuts and demonstrated excellent accuracy at 0.65. The Dell will make creative pros a lot happier.

The Gram 16 was also quite a bit less bright at 313 nits, just beating out our 300-nit threshold. The XPS 15, on the other hand, was a very bright 443 nits. But it was in contrast where the Gram 16 fell the flattest, coming in at just 830:1, where a good premium display should exceed 1000:1. The XPS 15’s display offers up a 1480:1 contrast ratio, which is excellent for an IPS display.

Both laptops benefit from the taller 16:10 aspect ratio that’s great for productivity work. But the XPS 15’s display is top-notch and, like the laptop’s performance, meets the needs of creative types where the Gram 16 does not.

Keyboard and touchpad

LG Gram 16 keyboard view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Both the Gram 16 and the XPS 15 sport typical island keyboards with black keycaps and white lettering to go with consistent backlighting. They both enjoy good key spacing, comfortable key sizes, and plenty of travel with comfortable bottoming actions. The XPS 15, though, has a lighter, crisper switch mechanism that’s more comfortable to use over time than the Gram 16’s heavier feel. If you like more feedback from your keypresses, then you’ll prefer the Gram 16’s keyboard, but most likely, you’ll like the XPS 15’s lighter touch.

Both laptops also enjoy large touchpads, although the XPS 15’s touchpad makes more use of the available palm rest real estate. Neither is too small, but the Dell wins out on sheer size. Both use Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers, and so both respond well to Windows 10 multitouch gestures. The XPS 15 wins out in that it offers a couple of touch-enabled display options, where the Gram 16 is non-touch-only. That’s a bummer today when most laptops at least offer touch as an option.

Finally, the Gram 16 and the XPS 15 both embed fast and accurate fingerprint readers in the power buttons to support Windows 10 Hello password-less login. Both were quick and precise, and so there’s no difference there.

Portability

LG Gram 16 side view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We’ve already covered the differences between these two laptops in terms of their thicknesses and weight. The Gram 16 is by far the easier to carry around.

It also trumps the XPS 15 in battery life by a wide margin. You can get better battery life out of the XPS 15 if you opt for an FHD display, but it’s unlikely to match the Gram 16 even then. The LG is one of the longest-lasting laptops we’ve tested, doubling the Dell’s longevity in our web browsing test and tripling it in our video looping test. If working away from a plug is important to you, then the Gram 16 is the better choice.

The XPS 15’s power and build quality beats out the Gram 16’s thin and light chassis

LG kept things simple with the Gram 16, offering a $1,700 single configuration with a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and the 16-inch WQXGA 16:10 IPS display. That’s an expensive laptop.

Dell, on the other hand, offers far more options. You can spend as little as $1,050 for a Core i5-10300H, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a non-touch FHD display, or as much as $2,899 for a Core i9-10885H, 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a 4K touch display. That makes the XPS 15 both easier to get into and more expensive at the high end.

There’s really no contest. While the Gram 16 is an incredibly thin and light laptop given its screen size, and it provides good performance and excellent battery life, the XPS 15 is more durable, offers a better display, is vastly more powerful, and offers more configuration flexibility. Dell hasn’t lost its top spot.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Security

Reality Winner has been released from prison

Reality Winner, a former intelligence contractor jailed for leaking classified information, has been released from prison to serve her remaining sentence in a halfway house program. Winner’s attorney Alison Grinter tweeted the news this morning, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website lists Winner in custody of San Antonio’s Residential Reentry Management field office, which oversees community-based programs for incarcerated people.

“I am thrilled to announce that Reality Winner has been released from prison. She is still in custody in the residential reentry process, but we are relieved and hopeful,” Grinter tweeted in a statement. “Reality and her family have asked for privacy during the transition process as they work to heal the trauma of incarceration and build back the years lost. Her release is not a product of the pardon or compassionate release process, but rather the time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated.”

Grinter said Winner is still barred from public statements or appearances, and the BOP’s website still lists her release date as November 23rd, 2021.

In an email to The Verge, Grinter wrote that Winner would continue to seek a pardon. “The Residential Reentry center is in charge right now and will manage her transition, but we are definitely still seeking commutation and pardon,” she said. “The fight continues and I’ll still be taking meetings in Washington to press forward the case for commutation and pardon, but the family will be stepping back to concentrate on Reality and her health and healing. She became an aunt while she was behind bars, and she is going to spend as much time as she can bonding and tickling little feet as she adjusts to life in the world.”

Winner pleaded guilty to espionage in 2018, one year after being arrested for leaking a National Security Agency report on US election security. The report detailed Russian attempts to hack US voting systems before the 2016 election, an issue then-President Donald Trump had downplayed in the following months. (It did not indicate whether the cyberattack had any concrete effect on the election.)

Federal law enforcement determined that Winner had printed the report and mailed it to The Intercept, and her plea deal included a five-year prison sentence under the Espionage Act — a law that’s difficult to mount a defense against, since defendants effectively can’t argue that they disclosed information in the public interest. Both the Trump and Obama administrations have leveraged the Espionage Act against whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison before having her sentence commuted in 2017.

Winner unsuccessfully sought a release from prison during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, and she tested positive for COVID-19 in July 2020. A documentary about her case, United States vs. Reality Winner, premiered at the SXSW film festival this spring.



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Categories
Computing

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Ryzen 4000 makes this thin, light laptop a winner

We’ve tested the new ROG Zephyrus G14, which debuts with AMD’s stellar Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU, and we can safely say: Just give Asus your money. This laptop packs a stupid amount of performance into a stupidly small and stupidly light frame.

To give you an idea of just how impressive this 3.5-pound, Ryzen 4000-based laptop is, you’re talking about a weight class that typically gives you lower-power CPUs and GPUs. Yet the G14 can hang in CPU performance with laptops that weight 10 pounds. 

Obviously the star of the show is the Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU, which we review in detail separately. But the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 as a whole package is nearly as impressive, so keep reading to find out more.

asus rog zephyrus pcworld lid Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

Although our unit does not feature the Anime Matrix LED, it’s worth highlighting. Part of the lid essentially features embedded LEDs that let you scroll or flash messages on the laptop lid.

ROG Zephyrus G14 Specs and Features

The ROG Zephyrus G14 model we reviewed ($1,450 from Bestbuy.com) has the following configuration:

CPU: 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q

RAM: 16GB DDR4/3200 in dual-channel mode

SSD: 1TB Intel 660P NVMe SSD

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Categories
Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 vs iPhone 11 Pro: This $1,000 spec showdown has a clear winner

Whenever Samsung launches a new phone, Apple fans tend to notice. It’s not just that Samsung is one of the biggest Android phone makers or even that its designs tend to be among the closest to Apple’s, it’s that Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones are really, really good. They have the latest processors, displays, and cameras, and the innovative trends that we see in the latest Galaxy S or Note phone generally make their way to the iPhone.

So it is only natural to compare them. The Galaxy Note 20 that was revealed earlier this week costs the same as the iPhone 11 Pro (a dollar more, to be exact), so you’d think it would trounce it, right? Not so much. Samsung has cut corners and sacrificed features to keep the Note 20 “affordable” compared to the $1,299 Galaxy Note S20 Ultra, so even an 11-month-old iPhone can hold its own. But which one should an unbiased consumer buy?

Galaxy Note 20 vs iPhone 11 Pro: Design

The iPhone is one of the few phones that still has a notch, and it is definitely starting to show its age. Like the S20 and most other Android phones, the Note 20 has a small hole in the top of the display for the selfie camera, and it is much more appealing to the eye. Of course, Apple needs a notch for its FaceID camera system, but Samsung’s Infinity-O display is the clear winner.

galaxy note 20 ultra camera Alex Todd/IDG

The Note 20 (left) and Note 20 Ultra both come in shimmery “Mystic” bronze, but the Note 20 is made of plastic, not glass.

While most of Samsung’s Galaxy phones have curved “edge” displays that remove all visible side bezels from the front of the phone, the Note 20 is a “flat” phone, so there are bezels all around. They’re a little thinner than they are on the iPhone 11 Pro, but they’re also unbalanced, so the space at the top and bottom is thicker than the sides. It’s close, but I prefer Apple’s symmetry. 

Around the back, the two phones are very similar, with both the Note 20 and iPhone 11 featuring a giant camera array in the top left corner. Samsung’s is rectangular and more prominent than Apple’s square housing, but both are bulbous, bumpy, and somewhat unsightly. Aside from the color differences—bronze is the new color for the Note, while Apple’s signature iPhone 11 hue is midnight green—the Note 20 has a plastic finish versus Apple’s glass covering. The Note 20 is also much larger (161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3mm) and heavier (194 grams) compared to the iPhone 11 Pro (144 x 71.4 x 8.1mm, 188 grams)

Galaxy Note 20 vs iPhone 11 Pro: Display

The iPhone 11 Pro and Note 20 both have a lot of screen, but Samsung’s phone is significantly larger than any phone Apple sells and nearly an inch bigger than the 11 Pro.

Galaxy Note 20: 6.7-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED, 2400×1080, 393 ppi
iPhone 11 Pro: 5.8-inch Super Retina XDR, 2436 x 1125, 458 ppi

galaxy note 20 screen Alex Todd/IDG

The Note 20’a 6.7-inch display is bigger but has fewer pixels than the iPhone 11 Pro.

Even though it’s about an inch smaller, Apple display is clearly superior to the Note 20’s, especially since Samsung didn’t give it a 120Hz refresh rate like the Note 20 Ultra. The iPhone 11 Pro’s display is so good it can even take on the Note 20 Ultra, but against the Note 20 it is no contest.

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