PC & Tech Authority April 2018

PC & Tech Authority is Australia's premier computer magazine and the ultimate monthly technology buyer’s guide. Every issue is packed with the latest products, reviewed by an expert team of technical writers and guarantees more Aussie exclusives and first looks than any other Australian PC magazine. Delivering expert reviews, group tests and in-depth features we cut through the hype so you know that you’re getting the best tech for your money.

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in this issue

3 min

We all love PCs, right? In between hating them, that is… If you are a child of an earlier time, like me, then you likely got into computers around the time of the great technological transformation. That period when magical things appeared in short order, transforming the world. Things like mobile phones and the internet. The perspective that comes with straddling a period before, during, and after these things arriving is something precious that I value. I think we all remember the excitement of getting our first PC. The sense of wonder and the keenness to get stuck in immediately and have a play with it all. But what was it? And what technology surrounded it? Did you plug yours into an analogue modem to connect to a BBS? Did you…

4 min

EVERY DAY IS A NAS DAY I was reading your article in the January mag regarding NAS usage and I’d like to share how I use mine, it might be different as the general public. I am using my NAS almost every day and love it. I have backed up five laptops and one business PC. All prior (dead PCs) are on it as well. I created a docs library over the years where store all manual, receipts, tax, warranties, important docs etc. Basally everything on paper is scanned in and stored on the NAS. As well as, I converted all old video tapes, music CDs, DVDs, which de-cluttered greatly our house. Only downloaded videos are not on it, due to space issues. I need to upgrade to a 4-bay soon. However, I…

3 min
response to chip security crisis “chaotic”

Chip makers, system builders and software companies are still trying to come to terms with the wide-ranging consequences of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities – with the industry’s response to the major threat described as both “a mess” and “garbage”. First discovered in June 2017, the two critical weaknesses could allow attackers to sniff data as it’s processed and they affect almost every mobile and desktop processor. But, to date, fixes have been randomly applied, glitch-ridden and confusing. Patches for the problems – which affect Intel, AMD and ARM processors to varying extents – started being rolled out days after they were publicised in early January, but many of these had a significant impact on performance. One Windows patch effectively bricked PCs running on AMD processors. The response has been less than ideal,…

1 min
10 crowns   is a new epic strategy game

M ohawk Games’ first game was the excellent Offworld Trading Company, a kind of strategic resource management sim with plenty of sci-fishinies to distract you from all the number crunching. But the people at Mohawk are best known for their work on the Civilization series, including company founder Soren Johnson, who was the lead designer on Civ IV, and Dorian Newcomb, who was the art director on Civ V and thus chiefly responsible for that game’s stately optimism. Mohawk has just announced its next game and it definitely looks like it’s building on that Civ pedigree, while possibly adding in a dash of Crusader Kings - or rather that’s how we interpret the scant details in the press release. 10 Crowns is “an epic-scale turn-based strategy game that lets players create the…

1 min
five close combat games take cover on gog

Close Combat is a mostly highly regarded realtime strategy series that began in the 1990s. They were pretty hardcore, taking into account cover and suppression, fatigue and morale, among a range of systems that went deeper than other popular RTSs of the era. Three of those games from the original series are now available on GOG: Close Combat 2: A Bridge Too Far, Close Combat 3: The Russian Front and Close Combat 4: Battle of the Bulge. Curiously, there’s no sign of the first game. But to be honest, A Bridge Too Far is by far the best in the series, so I wouldn’t worry too much. GOG has also nabbed two more recent Close Combat games, 2012’s Panthers in the Fog and 2014’s Gateway to Caen. They’re okay and, unlike the…

3 min
chip news

CPU THE PINNACLE OF SOLDERING Intel has copped some flak recently for using less effective thermal paste under the integrated heater spreaders (IHS) on its high-end processors. Removing the IHS (“de-lidding”) to put better performing paste under the IHS has come into fashion of late with super-enthusiasts, due to this, resulting in temperatures some 20°C cooler. Using solder to directly connect the IHS to the CPU die is the much-preferred attachment method when it’s done at the factory, and it turns out that Pinnacle Ridge, aka Ryzen 2 processors will get this treatment. Being produced on a newer 12nm node (compared to the current 14nm) AMD should be looking to push Ryzen 2 clock speeds as hard as possible to close the gap to Intel’s superior single thread performance numbers. Having 10°C to 20°C of…