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Hier — 18 juin 2021Flux principal

Microsoft leaves Linux repositories in disrepair for almost an entire day

Tux is tired of issues.

What you need to know

  • Linux loyalists had a nasty surprise waiting for them on June 16.
  • packages.microsoft.com died for the bulk of the day.
  • Even when it returned, users reported painfully slow downloads.

Linux fans suffered a not-so-minor inconvenience when packages.microsoft.com went down on June 16. Everything from Visual Studio Code to Microsoft Edge and Teams package links were affected as repositories suffered a serious outage that lasted almost the entirety of a day.

Though a day isn't a long time relative to most things, it's a virtual eternity for those whose entire ecosystem is crippled by such an outage. As reported by Ars Technica, Microsoft took five hours to acknowledge the issue, then another thirteen hours to claim said issue had been resolved. Commenters on the report cited that even though repositories were back online and functioning, the download speeds were brutally slow.

According to Microsoft's log of the issues, it seems the tech giant clocked problems for around 20 hours, though 18 versus 20 is splitting hairs — the point is that the headaches persisted for far longer than they should have.

In short, it's not an easy life Linux lovers live, and it's moments like these that expose that sad reality. On the flip side, if you're interested in seeing an operating system family that's a top priority for Microsoft, take a peek at Windows 11. It's not official yet, but the leaks surrounding it have revealed a boatload of OS content that we've taken for a hands-on spin.

Here's everything we know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox and PC

Forza Horizon 5 is already making its case as game of the year.

Forza Horizon is the open-world counterpart to the legendary Xbox Forza racing franchise. Forza Horizon 5 follows the hugely successful and brilliant Forza Horizon 4, and will almost certainly set the bar for the best Xbox racing games and best PC racing games. Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios know how to deliver a premium open-world racing experience, and Forza Horizon 5 is sure not to disappoint.

Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 for Xbox and PC.

Jump to:

A catalog of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft $15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

All your gaming needs, in one subscription

Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It's possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on-the-go. Forza Horizon 5 is included in Xbox Game Pass day one for Xbox and PC, and will be available on Xbox Cloud Gaming.

What is Forza Horizon 5?

Forza Horizon 5 is the follow-up game to Playground Games' Forza Horizon 4 from 2018. Like all the other Forza Horizon games, Forza Horizon 5 is an open-world racing game with gorgeous visuals, accessible driving mechanics, and a massive roster of high-quality, licensed vehicles from dozens of manufacturers, all centered around the fabled Forza Horizon festival. Like every other Forza Horizon that has come before it, Forza Horizon 5 will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.

Forza Horizon 5 is the more arcade-like open-world counterpart to the highly anticipated eighth Forza Motorsport. While Forza Horizon 5 is now official and coming later this year, not a ton is known about the mysterious Forza Motorsport reboot. There's a lot we can talk about when it comes to Forza Horizon 5, though, which is now official and more than a series of rumors and leaks.

Forza Horizon 5 is akin to a "car-lovers sandbox," and mostly lets you play however you want. There are gentle campaign sections in Forza Horizon 5 called "Horizon Stories," which highlight smaller adventures that players can undertake with a variety of in-game characters and jobs. All in all, the focus of Forza Horizon 5 is the vast arsenal of cars, the wide variety of races and events, the sheer level of creative freedom available, and the deeply integrated online multiplayer gameplay.

When is the release date for Forza Horizon 5?

The release date for Forza Horizon 5 has been wildly discussed prior to its release, but we finally have a definitive answer. Forza Horizon 5 releases on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox Cloud Gaming on Nov. 9, 2021.

That's right, Forza Horizon 5 is the latest Xbox Game Studios title to launch simultaneously on Xbox, PC, and Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Cloud Gaming players on mobile devices will also be able to hop behind the wheel on day one. Forza Horizon 5 looks to be a technical and visual showcase on every one of those platforms, with all the stunning graphics and effects expected from a Forza game.

Preorders

Not only does it now have an official release date, Forza Horizon 5 is also available for preorder. If you're as excited for Forza Horizon 5 as I am, you may want to consider committing to the game early so you can play the moment it releases. Forza Horizon 5 has three separate editions to choose from, with each edition including various perks and bundles. Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition also includes four days of early access, letting you play on Nov. 5 instead.

If you're planning on playing Forza Horizon 5 through Xbox Game Pass, you may consider the Forza Horizon 5 Premium Add-Ons Bundle, which includes all the awesome perks from the Premium Edition and a nice 10% discount for Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

Here are all of the Forza Horizon 5 preorder options:

  • Forza Horizon 5 Standard Edition. The Standard Edition of Forza Horizon 5 only includes the base game, with no additional bonuses for preordering. This is the edition that is included in Xbox Game Pass
  • Forza Horizon 5 Deluxe Edition. The Deluxe Edition of Forza Horizon 5 includes the base game and one additional add-on:
    • Forza Horizon 5 Car Pass, which includes 50 additional cars. Eight Formula Drift cars are available immediately, and one additional car is added every week after that
  • Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition. The Premium Edition of Forza Horizon 5 includes the base game and six additional add-ons, including:
    • Forza Horizon 5 Car Pass, which includes 50 additional cars. Eight Formula Drift cars are available immediately, and one additional car is added every week after that
    • Forza Horizon 5 VIP Membership, which includes in-game perks and bonuses, as well as exclusive rewards for the Horizon Festival
    • Forza Horizon 5 Expansion One, which includes a new world location, vehicles, and gameplay
    • Forza Horizon 5 Expansion Two, which also includes a new world location, vehicles, and gameplay
    • Forza Horizon 5 Welcome Pack, which includes five pre-tuned cars, a Player House, and vouchers for one car and three items of clothing
    • Forza Horizon 5 early access, which gives you four days of early access to Forza Horizon 5, allowing you to play before release
  • Forza Horizon 5 Premium Add-Ons Bundle. Includes all of the additional perks and bonuses from Forza Horizon 5 Premium Edition. Does not include the base game.

If you're interested in preordering Forza Horizon 5, you can find all the links below.

The Festival returns

Forza Horizon 5 (preorder)

$60 at Microsoft (Standard) $80 at Microsoft (Deluxe) $100 at Microsoft (Premium) $50 at Microsoft (Add-Ons) From $60 at Best Buy See at Steam

An epic adventure.

Forza Horizon 5 is the latest project from Playground Games and continues the epic Forza Horizon adventure with a new roster of amazing cars and a brand-new location to explore: Mexico. Forza Horizon 5 launches on Xbox and PC later this year, and it's already available to preorder.

Demo

We have reason to believe that a Forza Horizon 5 demo is planned at some point, but we, unfortunately, lack any details. Previous Forza Horizon games offered free demos for players who wanted to experience the game before buying. Some of these demos even offered in-game perks if you played the demo then purchased the full game. Hopefully, Forza Horizon 5 will offer a free demo closer to launch.

Right now, we don't know how long the Forza Horizon 5 demo will be, what it will play like, whether or not it will provide any rewards for the main game like the title car or in-game currency, or even if it's coming at all. We'll continuously scour the web for further information and update this section as we find it.

How can I watch the trailers for Forza Horizon 5?

Official announcement

Gameplay overview

Let's Go! stream

When was the reveal and announcement for Forza Horizon 5?

We knew Forza Horizon 5 was coming long before it was announced, and even had a hefty pile of leaks and rumors fueling speculation. Forza Horizon 5 was officially revealed by Xbox and Playground Games, however, at E3 2021. More specifically, Forza Horizon 5 was announced during the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase at E3 2021 alongside other truly gargantuan franchises and announcements.

Forza Horizon 5 was right near the end of the show and deservedly garnered a huge amount of hype and excitement for its release. It arrived alongside heavy hitters like Halo Infinite, Starfield, and Redfall. There was no way Microsoft could've made the announcement of Forza Horizon 5 a bigger deal.

From now on, expect more news and information to trickle out as we head towards the official release of Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox and PC.

Where is the location for Forza Horizon 5?

While Forza Horizon games are, at their core, open-world racing games, it's arguably the location they're set in that is the most important. The location is decided extremely early on in development and ripples through every other aspect of the game, including the cars, music, gameplay, and much more. That's why it was amazing to have earlier Forza Horizon 5 rumors confirmed when Playground Games and Xbox Game Studios took the wraps off their latest car-centric masterpiece: Forza Horizon 5 is heading back to North America and takes place in Mexico.

When leaks first began to spread that Forza Horizon 5 would take place in Mexico, many fans lamented the "lack of variety" that would stem from the game being set in the middle of a desert, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Mexico is a massive country, with a wildly diverse set of ecosystems and regions, leading to Forza Horizon 5 being the largest and most varied Forza Horizon game of all time.

This is in stark contrast to Forza Horizon 4, which was set in the United Kingdom. While absolutely gorgeous, with a myriad of British hamlets, countrysides, and natural landmarks to explore and discover, the game slightly lacked in variety over its predecessor. Playground Games ensures no one becomes bored of driving through Forza Horizon 5, with more to see than ever before (and a couple of evolved features to add even more variety).

Other players were hoping that Forza Horizon 5 would finally take the series to Japan, which has a long and rich car culture revolving around hyper-customization and drifting. While Japan may still be the location for a future Forza Horizon game, I can't say I'm disappointed by this choice. Mexico is a beautiful country filled with numerous locations and a myriad of infamous locations to drive through.

For reference, here are where all the previous Forza Horizon games were set:

  • Forza Horizon: Colorado
  • Forza Horizon 2: Southern Europe
  • Forza Horizon 3: Australia
  • Forza Horizon 4: United Kingdom

Forza Horizon 5 won't depict a one-to-one scale version of Mexico, of course, but Playground Games has always excelled at accuracy and location representation. They have dedicated teams of photographers who travel around potential locations, so that Forza Horizon 5 can be as close as possible to the real thing. This means real places from Mexico will make an appearance in Forza Horizon 5. Here are the locations that have been confirmed in Forza Horizon 5:

Guanajuato

Guanajuato is one of the most breathtaking cities in all of Mexico, and really in the entire world. A vast landscape of alternating colors, twisting streets, and an atmosphere that lives and breathes Mexican culture all contribute to a city that looks as incredible in real life as it does in Forza Horizon 5, and vice versa.

It has been confirmed that Guanajuato will be one of the most prominent single locations in Forza Horizon 5, and will be a wonderful playground for a plethora of races, events, and sheer car-based fun. Guanajuato was built long before cars existed, and therefore is paradoxically extremely fun to race around. Guanajuato's roads twist and turn in wild ways, and a complex set of tunnels means there are several intricate layers to roadways in Guanajuato.

Playground Games has attempted to capture everything that makes Guanajuato special, and it should be one of the most memorable locations to drive through in Forza Horizon 5.

What are all the cars and vehicles in Forza Horizon 5?

While the location is undeniably important in Forza Horizon games, it's ultimately the absurd number of cars that draws car fanatics to the game. Forza Horizon 5 hasn't revealed its full car list yet (Playground Games has actually confirmed it's not finalized yet), but the list will inevitably include several hundred vehicles immediately at launch, with more to come in the form of free content drops and paid DLC post-launch.

The Forza Horizon 4 car list includes over 600 vehicles now, and we expect Forza Horizon 5 to match or even surpass this number eventually. For now, however, we have to spot cars when we can add slowly build on our knowledge of all the cars in Forza Horizon 5.

If you want to know it all, we have a complete list on every car in Forza Horizon 5 we've been able to confirm so far. Don't forget to check back in to see if your favorite car has been added, as we'll continuously update that list as we get more information.

Of course, there's more to the cars and vehicles in Forza Horizon 5 than the full list. There are also special Forza Edition cars, which offer unique in-game perks and bonuses, exclusive vehicles, and new cars included in premium DLC.

Here's everything you need to know about the extra and unique cars in Forza Horizon 5:

Forza Edition

Forza Edition cars are special versions of preexisting cars. They're often very hard to obtain, are pre-tuned to offer superior performance or specialize at a certain task, and sport a unique in-game bonus like an XP boost or additional credits after winning races. Forza Edition cars are the ultimate possession for Forza car collectors, and only a select few cars have a Forza Edition.

Here are the Forza Edition cars we know of in Forza Horizon 5 so far:

  • Mercedes-AMG Project One Forza Edition — The headlining car for Forza Horizon 5's reveal, we don't know how to obtain this Forza Edition or what bonus it offers

Car Pass DLC

The Forza Horizon 5 Car Pass is an optional DLC that is included in Forza Horizon 5 Deluxe Edition, Premium Edition, and the Premium Add-Ons Bundle. The Car Pass will add 50 new cars to Forza Horizon 5 post-launch, with each car being added to every Car Pass owner's car garage with no additional in-game cost. With the exception of the first eight-car pack, the Car Pass will add one car every week.

The Forza Horizon 5 Car Pass is not available for purchase separately.

Here are all the cars in the Forza Horizon 5 Car Pass so far:

Formula Drift Pack

Immediately at launch, the Forza Horizon 5 will add eight Formula Drift cars to players' car garages. We don't know what those cars are at this time, but we'll update this section as soon as we learn more.

What are the features and gameplay in Forza Horizon 5?

A new Forza Horizon game always comes with at least a handful of new features and improvements over its predecessor, but Forza Horizon 5 seems set on delivering even greater amounts of content to players when it launches later this year. The extra year of development Forza Horizon 5 got over previous entries in the series clearly helped things along, because there is a lot to talk about when it comes to Forza Horizon 5.

You mean there's more to Forza Horizon 5 than even more stunning visuals and a new location? Not only has Playground Games baked in significantly more content into Forza Horizon 5's base game, but it's also given the community a way to add essentially infinite new events and races to Forza Horizon 5 over time. We'll constantly add to this section as we learn more about all the additions in Forza Horizon 5, so be sure to check in regularly.

From the addition of convertibles to major updates for creators, Forza Horizon 5 is a big upgrade for Forza.

Here's everything we know about the features and gameplay in Forza Horizon 5:

Game features and visuals

Before we dive into the core pillars of a Forza Horizon 5 game (the world, customization, and online play), let's dive deep into the center of Forza Horizon 5. Playground Games wants this to be the biggest Forza Horizon in more ways than one, which means players have more ways to play and more reasons to keep returning. This is also by far one of the most gorgeous games we've ever seen, and Playground Games has achieved this feat with several methods.

Here are some of the best features about Forza Horizon 5 and its visuals:

  • Horizon Festival. Forza Horizon has always revolved around the "Horizon Festival," a fictional event that fits in every car lover's dreams. Pro racers from all over the world converge in one location for one purpose: to race. The Horizon Festival returns in Forza Horizon 5, and players are once again put in charge. Like Forza Horizon 4, multiple Festival sites can be opened, which unlocks new races and event types.
  • Horizon Stories. Forza Horizon 4 introduced the closest the series had ever seen to a single-player campaign with Horizon Stories. With Forza Horizon 5, they're bigger than ever. Playground Games describes Forza Horizon 5's Stories as a "deep and rewarding campaign," where players can meet dozens of new characters, decide the outcome of their individual stories, and embark on expeditions that span the entirety of Forza Horizon 5's map.
  • Visuals and graphics. One of the most impressive parts about Forza Horizon 5 has indubitably been its eye-catching and mind-boggling visuals, which rank among some of the most impressive graphics we've ever seen in a video game. Several things factor into this achievement, including:
    • The use of photogrammetry, which has Playground Games send dedicated teams of photographers all over Mexico to take thousands of pictures of locations and objects, to accurately capture everything from the individual needles on a cactus to the unique texture of volcanic boulders. Almost everything in Forza Horizon 5 is based on photogrammetry
    • A 12K resolution recording of the real Mexican sky, meaning the sky you see in Forza Horizon 5 literally couldn't look more authentic if it tried. This also makes the sky feel more dynamic as time passes and the weather changes
    • The addition of more 3D effects, like in new dynamic weather events, which evolve from pure textures to actual 3D occurrences that can affect the world and player perspective
    • The addition of ray tracing when in Forzavista, showcasing Forza Horizon 5's cars in the most realistic light possible

Open world, biomes, and seasons

We already know Forza Horizon 5 is set in Mexico, but it turns out there's a lot more going on behind the scenes that Playground Games has shared about their latest game. Forza Horizon 5, of course, has a broad open world to explore, and marks the return of seasons that were introduced in Forza Horizon 4. However, Forza Horizon 5's map is the largest and most diverse world we've ever seen in a Forza Horizon game, with major changes even for existing features like seasons and weather.

Here are some of the best features about Forza Horizon 5's world:

  • 1.5 times larger than Forza Horizon 4. True to their word, Playground Games has made Forza Horizon 5 the biggest Forza Horizon game yet, with a map approximately 1.5 times the size of Forza Horizon 4's Britain. That's a lot of ground to cover, and it features a huge variety of different locations, including:
    • 11 separate biomes, which cover a wide range of different ecosystems like rain forests, mountains, coasts, multiple kinds of desert, hidden ruins, canyons, and even an active volcano
    • The largest highway in a Forza Horizon game yet, which stretches nearly corner to corner in Forza Horizon 5
    • Several towns and cities, all of which capture Mexican culture in beautiful and colorful ways
    • The return of multiple Horizon Festival sites, with the first Festival site being located on top of an old race track and airstrip (that's right, drag racing!)
  • The return of seasons. Forza Horizon 4's innovative seasons system is returning in Forza Horizon 5, but things are a little different this time around. While seasons in Britain have very clear dividers between them, making for immediately obvious differences, Mexico's wide variety of ecosystems and environments means all four seasons affect all 11 biomes in different ways. This means:
    • Every season will behave and look different depending on where you are on the map
    • You can be in a blizzard on the mountain top and then drive down to the sweltering coast
    • Biomes will completely change for different seasons, including some areas only being accessible during a specific season
    • Seasons affect gameplay in new and exciting ways, and is even more deeply integrated into the world. There are new events, challenges, and rewards for every season
  • Dynamic and localized weather. One of the most exciting additions to Forza Horizon 5 is dynamic and localized weather. Yes, the weather in Forza Horizon 4 looked amazing, but when it was raining in one area, it was raining everywhere. In Forza Horizon 5, weather exists in specific areas, can be seen in the distance, and can be tracked down by players. Forza Horizon 5's weather system includes:
    • Storm chasing, which means players can keep an eye out for major storms and literally track them across Forza Horizon 5's world. While it hasn't been confirmed yet, this could make for an excellent Horizon Story in the game
    • Tropical and dust storms, which have huge and dramatic effects on the world. Dust storms are 3D, encapsulating everything and obstructing your view. Tropical storms shred trees and everything else in the area with high levels of wind, causing a buildup of debris
  • New and updated world features. There's obviously more to Forza Horizon 5's improvements on top of these major changes as well, including (but not limited to):
    • Foliage, including cactus, is smashable in Forza Horizon 5, so you don't have to worry about them getting in your way
    • Animals are making a return, including flamingos, wild dogs, donkeys, goats, parrots and other birds, and more. Animals are more intelligent than in Forza Horizon 4, and can even have unique behaviors

Car, character, and event customization

If there's one thing that brings Forza Horizon players together like nothing else, it's the sheer level of creative freedom afforded by the games. Forza Horizon 5 wants to be the most customizable and inclusive Forza Horizon yet, and it also gears for infinite replayability with new player tools and features. Players have control over their cars, in-game characters, races, and even full-blown unique events you can't find anywhere else.

Here are the best features about Forza Horizon 5's car, character, and event customization:

  • Updated user interface (UI). The UI in Forza Horizon 5 is finally getting a long-overdue redesign, which aims to make activities like car customization and more in Forza Horizon 5 more accessible and efficient. We haven't been able to see the updated UI yet, but I'm excited solely by the prospect of any improvement in this area.
  • Improved accessibility. Accessibility in games is extremely important, and Playground Games seems to recognize this. While details haven't been shared yet, Playground Games promises Forza Horizon 5 is by far and away the most accessible Forza Horizon game so far, with new accessibility settings and options.
  • New car customizations. Cars are in everything you do in Forza Horizon 5, so it makes sense that you'd have a lot of control over your vehicles. Forza Horizon has always given players a lot of freedom to make their cars look and drive the way they want, but new additions have been lacking lately. Forza Horizon 5 finally adds a ton of new options, including:
    • Major improvements to the interface for designing and painting cars, to make it closer to modern image editing software
    • Hundreds of new visual upgrade parts for cars
    • Over 100 new rim options
    • Thousands of new performance upgrades for cars
    • The addition of convertible cars, and a way to open or close the top on a convertible car with a single button press wherever you are in Forza Horizon 5
    • The ability to paint brake calipers, which has been a requested feature for years now
  • New character customizations. In-game characters have taken the spotlight more in recent Forza Horizon games, giving players another way to express themselves and personalize their game experience. Forza Horizon 5 characters are getting a similar treatment to cars, with all-new ways to customize them, including:
    • Major improvements to inclusivity, including options for pronouns, a more diverse selection of base characters, and prosthetic limbs
    • Hundreds of new clothing options
    • New choices for voices and hairstyles
  • EventLab. Likely one of the most exciting additions to Forza Horizon 5 for many players, EventLab is a full-blown level editor. This isn't like the race editor feature from Forza Horizon 4, which let you design custom tours and events from preexisting tracks. EventLab adds near-infinite possibilities to Forza Horizon 5, and includes a ton of features like:
    • Tools and options similar to the ones used by Forza Horizon developers
    • The ability to individually place objects, tracks, items, and more, to custom design your track or world
    • The ability to choose game objectives and rules, to create something truly unique

Online play and social features

Online and social features have long been a huge part of Forza Horizon, connecting players across the open world and making it easier to play together. Forza Horizon 5 is making big changes to make online play more accessible and seamless than ever before, with a host of new features to incentivize players to participate in online events and play. This means new tools, events, and more in Forza Horizon 5.

Here are some of the best features about Forza Horizon 5's online play:

  • Horizon Open. Forza Horizon 5 is condensing its classic Forza Horizon PvP modes under one barrier, with players able to seamlessly leap into races, challenges, and events while driving around in the massive open world.
  • Horizon Tour. Related to Horizon Open, Tour lets players meet up together and travel to new race locations, either to race against each other or Drivatars. You can see players jump into races all over Forza Horizon 5 and join them in their Tour.
  • Horizon Arcade. Forza Horizon 5 is packed with over 130 new mini-games, spread across 11 different themes, all of which fit under the Horizon Arcade banner. These aren't game modes you need to search for. Instead, they happen dynamically all over the Forza Horizon 5 map as public events while you're driving around with other players. Participate in these spontaneous events to earn new rewards and more.
  • Forza LINC. Forza Horizon's classic AI is getting revamped in Forza Horizon 5, and is now called LINC. LINC intelligently keeps track of all the players' progression and status, and helps players meet up for races or find common interests.
  • Kudos. A new social currency in Forza Horizon 5, Kudos, is gifted for participating in online events or generally being friendly to other players. Collecting Kudos can help you unlock new flairs, which can be attached to your player label.
  • Gift Drops. Gift Drops are similar to Barn Finds, except players can tune and design their own cars, and then hide them in the world for a specific group of Forza Horizon players. Anyone in Forza Horizon 5 under that group has a chance to find the Gift Drop, and then they get to keep the car. This is a great way of encouraging charitable play in Forza Horizon 5.

What platforms will get Forza Horizon 5?

Forza Horizon 5 is heading to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. It'll be available on day one on Xbox Game Pass. Forza Horizon 5 is not coming to other platforms like PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, or Amazon Luna.

Here's everything you need to know about every platform Forza Horizon 5 is launching on.

Xbox Series X|S

Forza Horizon 5 has been designed from the ground up to show off what the Xbox Series X|S current-gen consoles are capable of, and it delivers. Playground Games has already revealed the Forza Horizon 5 performance targets for Xbox Series X|S, and we like what we see. It's been made clear from the very beginning that Forza Horizon 5 is going to look fantastic on Xbox Series X|S, with a wide range of supported features.

Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X|S

  • Performance targets. To get the most technical (and arguably least important) information out of the way first, here's how Forza Horizon 5 runs on Xbox Series X|S:
    • 4K resolution and 30 FPS on Xbox Series X in Quality Mode
    • 1080p resolution and 30 FPS on Xbox Series S in Quality Mode
    • 4K resolution and 60 FPS on Xbox Series X in Performance Mode
    • 1080p resolution and 60 FPS on Xbox Series X in Performance Mode
  • Ray tracing. Forza Horizon 5 is the first Forza Horizon game to embrace ray tracing, which enables accurate and true-to-life tracking for lights, shadows, reflections, and much more. Forza Horizon 5 will support ray tracing on Xbox Series X|S at launch, although it's limited to the Forzavista mode, where players can admire their cars in their full ray-traced glory.
  • Smart Delivery. Like many other Xbox games that span generations, Forza Horizon 5 supports Xbox Smart Delivery. This means you have to buy Forza Horizon 5 only once for Xbox consoles, and Xbox will automatically download the best possible version of the game for the console you're playing on, at no additional cost. This also includes Xbox cloud saves, meaning there's full cross-progression between generations.
  • Cross-platform play. Forza Horizon 5 embraces every platform it's available on, which means it supports cross-play between Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Cross-save is also supported across all of these platforms, with the exception of Forza Horizon 5 on Steam.
  • Improved world and visuals. The power of Xbox Series X|S allows for improvements across the board for both gameplay and visuals. This includes features like:
    • Full HDR10 support for improved contrast and colors
    • Improved draw distances, so players can see farther and with more detail
    • Improved load speeds, so players can start racing faster
    • Improved details and textures for both cars and the world

Xbox One

Xbox One may be the "last-gen" of gaming consoles, but they still have a lot of life left in them. Forza Horizon 5 is heading to Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X when it launches on Nov. 9, and it should offer a fantastic experience when it does. We don't know how well Forza Horizon 5 will run or look on Xbox One consoles when it launches, but we're expecting it to be similar to how previous Forza Horizon games did.

Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox One

  • Smart Delivery. If you buy Forza Horizon 5 while on Xbox One, know that you'll always have the best experience possible wherever you play. Forza Horizon 5 will scale across all Xbox consoles using Smart Delivery, meaning you can buy and fall in love with the game while on Xbox One, and then immediately experience an upgraded version of Forza Horizon 5 when you move to an Xbox Series X or S.
  • Cross-platform play. Forza Horizon 5 embraces every platform it's available on, which means it supports cross-play between Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Cross-save is also supported across all of these platforms, with the exception of Forza Horizon 5 on Steam.
  • Improvements over Forza Horizon 4. Forza Horizon 4 already pushed the Xbox One generation of consoles to its limits when it came to graphics, so don't expect Forza Horizon 5 to be a big visual jump when playing on Xbox One. That doesn't mean there isn't a ton to look forward to, including:
    • A bigger and more diverse world than ever before
    • Brand-new ways to play with new races, events, challenges, and more
    • Improved online multiplayer with in-world public events, more ways to find new friends, and more
    • EventLab event editor, which allows full creative freedom to build new events, maps, and more
    • Tons of other improvements to customization, accessibility, cars, the world, and more

PC

Microsoft's newfound and growing support of PC gaming means Forza Horizon 5 (and practically every other Xbox Game Studios title) launches on PC at the same time as Xbox platforms. Playground Games hasn't divulged all the details for how Forza Horizon 5 will behave on PC, but you can rest assured knowing PC gamers will be able to experience the best Forza Horizon 5 has to offer (with the right hardware, of course).

Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on PC:

  • Minimum PC requirements. If you want to play Forza Horizon 5 on your PC, you need to make sure you at least achieve the minimum requirements to run Forza Horizon 5 on PC. Ideally, you'll want to have much better hardware than the minimum requirements ask for, as Forza Horizon 5 will look and run worse with this hardware.
    • OS: Windows 10 version 15063.0 or higher
    • Processor: Intel i3-4170 @ 3.7Ghz, Intel i5 750 @ 2.67Ghz, or equivalent
    • Memory: 8GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti, AMD R7 250x, or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 12
    • Network: Broadband internet connection
    • Storage: 80GB available space
  • Recommended PC requirements. Unfortunately, we currently don't know the recommended PC requirements. If you're looking to upgrade your PC to ensure it passes the test, be sure to check out our list of best graphics cards (GPUs) for PC gaming. Alternatively, you can invest in one of the best gaming desktops or best gaming laptops for an all-inclusive PC gaming experience.
  • Xbox Play Anywhere. We've been able to confirm that Forza Horizon 5 is an Xbox Play Anywhere title. This means you can buy any edition of Forza Horizon 5 directly from the Microsoft Store and instantly own the game on PC and Xbox, with cross-progression between the two versions. This is a fantastic pro-consumer feature and is awesome if you own both an Xbox and PC, or plan to in the future.
  • Cross-platform play. On top of being an Xbox Play Anywhere title, Forza Horizon 5 also blends the lines between platforms and generations. No matter where you're playing, Forza Horizon 5 supports full cross-play and cross-saves. The only exception is the Steam version of Forza Horizon 5, which still supports cross-play with all other versions but unfortunately does not support cross-save.
  • The best of Forza. Just like how Forza Horizon 5 expertly scales from the near-ancient Xbox One to the new-and-glorious Xbox Series X, Forza Horizon 5 also scales on PC. If you have the hardware to run it, you can play Forza Horizon 5 at its very best (even better than Xbox Series X|S!) with higher resolutions and framerates than anywhere else. It's all about the computer you're using.
  • No mod support. Forza Horizon 5, unfortunately, does not support any kind of mods on PC. This is likely to protect the online-centric nature of the game, but may be a disappointment for players who were hoping for full-fledged mod support in a Forza Horizon game. Instead, players are being given the EventLab editor, which features powerful developer-level tools for creating maps and events.

Xbox Cloud Gaming

Forza Horizon 5 has been confirmed to be heading to Xbox Cloud Gaming, previously known as Project xCloud, on day one. If you're not familiar with Xbox Cloud Gaming, it's included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (which also includes Xbox Game Pass for consoles and PC), and lets you play a wide variety of full-blown Xbox games on your phone, tablet, or laptop. This means you'll not only be able to tear through the Mexican deserts on your Xbox console or PC while at home, but also while you're on the go.

Here's everything you need to know about Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Cloud Gaming:

  • Smart Delivery. Right now, Xbox Cloud Gaming is built on top of Xbox One-era hardware, meaning games look and feel a lot like they do on the older console. However, Microsoft is reportedly working on upgrading Xbox Cloud Gaming to newer Xbox Series-esque hardware to massively upgrade visuals and performance, and Smart Delivery means Forza Horizon 5 will instantly benefit from this upgrade when it goes live.
  • Cross-platform play. Playing Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Cloud Gaming doesn't mean giving up on online multiplayer with your friends or managing a separate save. Forza Horizon 5 still supports full cross-play and cross-save on Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like it does on Xbox consoles. Play on PC or Xbox, then take your phone on the go and never lose a moment.
  • Xbox One upgrade. This hasn't been implemented yet, but it's possible that Xbox Cloud Gaming will one day be used to bring current-gen-only games like Microsoft Flight Simulator or the upgraded version of Forza Horizon 5 to older Xbox One consoles. Using the power of the cloud, you'll someday be able to play games far beyond the capabilities of the aging Xbox One consoles.
  • Mobile gaming. It should go without saying, but Forza Horizon 5 and Xbox Cloud Gaming means you can play one of the best racing games ever literally anywhere you have an internet connection. Be it your phone, a tablet, or even a non-gaming computer, Xbox Cloud Gaming aims to "just work."

Forza Horizon 4 isn't just one of the best Xbox racing games, it's also one of the best Xbox games in general. There's every reason to believe that Forza Horizon 5 will continue the trend and deliver an excellent racing experience to Xbox and PC.

The Festival returns

Forza Horizon 5 (preorder)

$60 at Microsoft (Standard) From $60 at Best Buy See at Steam

An epic adventure

Forza Horizon 5 is the latest project from Playground Games and continues the epic Forza Horizon adventure with a new roster of amazing cars and a brand-new location to explore: Mexico. Forza Horizon 5 launches on Xbox and PC later this year, and it's already available to preorder.

A catalog of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft $45 at Amazon (3-month subscription) $15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

All your gaming needs, in one subscription

Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It's possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on-the-go. That means access to hundreds of games, with more added all the time, for a single monthly subscription cost.

Visual Studio 2022 Preview 1 is now available

64 > 32.

What you need to know

  • Visual Studio has been a 32-bit platform in the past.
  • Visual Studio 2022's first preview build offers 64-bit support.
  • The new preview build is now available.

Microsoft's released its first preview build of Visual Studio 2022 and it doesn't just want you to try it out for yourself; it wants your feedback. Here's what Microsoft had to say about the Visual Studio preview in its blog post announcing the release.

"Our key goal with this preview is to test and tune the scalability of the new 64-bit platform! With the new 64-bit platform Visual Studio is now capable of scaling to make use of all the system resources you have to improve the reliability of Visual Studio especially when working with complex solutions or using Visual Studio over long periods of time. The 64-bit conversion effort affects every part of Visual Studio, so the scope is much bigger than our usual previews."

And here's the brief 20-second video Microsoft released to celebrate the preview's release.

According to Microsoft, customers were able to run solutions with over 700 projects in this new iteration of Visual Studio's early testing phase. For a full look at what's cooking under the hood, check out the preview's release notes.

But that's not all: Visual Studio 2022 has a roadmap that outlines what the plan is for it beyond preview one. Everything from container tool improvements to C++20 language feature support will hit the platform.

For all the latest developments on Microsoft's products, be they Visual Studio 2022 or Windows 11, keep checking Windows Central.

Windows 11 performance beats Windows 10 by a mile

Time to analyze some benchmarks.

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 leaked ahead of its official announcement on June 24.
  • Since then, users have been poking around to see how it differs from Windows 10.
  • A person claiming to have an official copy of Windows 11 (not the leak) has shared performance benchmarks.

In case you didn't want to wait for Microsoft to unveil it on June 24, here's the scoop: Windows 11 is out in the wild via a leaked build. However, one Youtuber is claiming to have an official copy of the operating system from Microsoft. His video breaks down the interesting performance differences between Windows 10 and its new successor.

If the information in Ben Anonymous' video is accurate, Windows 11 isn't just a visual shakeup of the Windows we all know and (at least some of us) love — it also sports better performance than W10.

It's a rather long video that goes into the nitty-gritty on a whole bunch of items, ranging from 3DMark and Geekbench 5 results to basic boot speed comparisons. Luckily, Ben Anonymous was kind enough to include timestamps in his video, so you can cut right to the end if you just want the juicy faceoff content. Here are the highlights.

Windows 11 Pro Build 21996.1 booted 18.75% faster than Windows 10 Pro Build 19043 (13 seconds versus 16 seconds).

Windows 10 got a 3DMark score of 6,872 at 4.8GHz, hitting 92 degrees celsius on the CPU while reaching 76 degrees celsius on the GPU. Windows 11 got a score of 7,613 at 4.9 GHz. It hit 99 degrees celsius on the CPU, 78 degrees celsius on the GPU. That tallies out to a 9.74% better 3DMark score and 2.05% better clock speed, albeit at the cost of a 7.08% hotter CPU.

CrystalDiskMark, which measures SSD speed, gave these results:

  • Windows 10: Read speed of 2,930 MB/s, write speed of 3,189 MB/s
  • Windows 11: Read speed of 3,448 MB/s, write speed of 3,336 MB/s

Those results illustrate a 15.03% faster read speed and 4.41% faster write speed on Windows 11.

And here's what BenAnonymous got during his Geekbench 5 testing:

  • Windows 10 managed a single-core score of 1,138, a multi-core score of 6,284, at 4.8GHz at 97 degrees celsius on its CPU
  • Windows 11 boasts a single-core score of 1,251, a multi-core score of 7,444, at 4.9GHz at 93 degrees celsius on its CPU

That equals 9.04% better single-core performance and 15.59% better multi-core performance at a 2.05% faster CPU clock speed while running at a 4.13% cooler CPU temperature.

All math comes courtesy of BenAnonymous' video. If you want more details and insights with regards to Windows 10 and 11 comparisons, be sure to check out his full video. How Windows 11 is pulling off numbers this much better than Windows 10 is anyone's guess at the moment, but if said numbers are accurate, a lot of people are in for a nice little performance bump.

For more Windows 11 coverage, check out our roundup of all its new content, from its startup sound to wallpapers, and be sure to give our hands-on examination of the OS a look.

E3 2021: Why some publishers should have skipped a showcase

Everything clearly wasn't "back to normal."

After a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020, E3 made its big return this year. With the ESA currently battling to maintain the relevance of this annual event and counter the extremely negative PR surrounding a data leak that compromised the personal information of over 2,000 journalists, the company was aggressively invested in proving why E3 matters in the year 2021.

Unfortunately for the ESA, this event is only as big and successful as its partners. While on paper it certainly seemed like E3 2021 would have its usual cast of big publishing players, it quickly became very clear that not everyone needed to attend the year's biggest gaming showcase.

Kudos to the hard work and successes of E3 2021

Before we dive into the missteps, blunders, and baffling decisions made by some of the ESA's biggest publishing partners, I do want to take a moment to recognize the hard work and energy the members of these teams surely committed to producing a digital showcase in time for E3 2021. My goal here isn't to belittle or write off the efforts of these individuals, but rather to question the leadership decisions that led to some of these less-than-stellar presentations.

It's also worth noting that not every showcase from E3 2021 landed with a thud. In fact, companies like Xbox, Nintendo, and Devolver Digital delivered in big ways. The impressive demonstrations from a few of these publishers almost took me back to the good ol' days when E3 was unquestionably the most important moment of the year for video games. Unfortunately, for every Xbox-level presentation, several others failed to justify their attendance in a meaningful way. Let's talk about some of the worst offenders.

Capcom fails to impress at E3 2021

The first showcase that comes to mind was from the folks at Capcom. I absolutely love Capcom and many of its franchises so it was especially disappointing for me to see its showcase underwhelm in such a spectacular way. The company did try to set expectations ahead of this presentation by saying games like "The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Monster Hunter Rise, and Resident Evil Village" would be present, but I don't think any of us truly expected that these games would literally be the only ones shown. Boy, were we wrong.

I understand the desire of wanting to make an appearance during a week where the world has its eyes on gaming, but I can't imagine this did much to move the needle for Capcom fans.

Not only did Capcom exclusively discuss these four previously announced or released titles, but they also didn't do much to provide compelling new information about any of them. Resident Evil Village, which was anticipated to be a standout from this showcase, simply got a launch window (not even a hard release date) for the delayed RE: Verse and a splash screen stating that it just started production on DLC for the main game. Monster Hunter Stories 2, which we saw several times throughout E3 2021, merely got an additional gameplay trailer. Monster Hunter Rise only mentioned some crossover content with Monster Hunter Stories 2, and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles got a gameplay breakdown that felt like it lasted an eternity.

I genuinely believe that standalone blog posts breaking down each of these pieces of news would have landed in a more impactful way. While I do give Capcom some credit for keeping this showcase fairly brief, with its biggest upcoming release in Monster Hunter Stories 2 making appearances during other conferences, this particular digital presentation truly felt unnecessary. Other fumbles like the half-news regarding Resident Evil Village didn't do much to satiate fans' desires for more Resident Evil information and honestly just left many with more questions than answers.

I understand the desire of wanting to make an appearance during a week where the world has its eyes on gaming, but I can't imagine this did much to move the needle for Capcom fans.

Other notable E3 2021 blunders

Capcom certainly wasn't the only publisher that failed to deliver a compelling or meaningful presentation at E3 2021. Other companies like Gearbox managed to deliver far more offensive and shockingly memorable showcases. Fans expecting details on Borderlands 4 or even teases for further Borderlands 3 DLC were instead treated to Randy Pitchford roaming around the set of the upcoming Borderlands movie.

What about a deep dive into the recently revealed Tiny Tina's Wonderlands game? It seemed like a no-brainer, but instead, viewers were treated to a repeat of the reveal trailer and then a painful reminder that Godfall still exists. You know it's bad when over the course of a 30-minute showcase, the biggest news is that Godfall is getting DLC.

Some might argue that Gearbox had the worst presentation of E3 2021 and they'd have some strong evidence to point to, but others believe that the two-hour Koch Primetime showcase takes the cake. With a combination of gameplay trailers and incredibly extended interviews, the pacing for Koch Media's E3 showing was all over the place. With some legitimately exciting game reveals like a Painkiller sequel and a new Gungrave, a much shorter runtime could have made this a legitimately great show. Unfortunately, even the most hardcore fans found themselves sitting through this media gauntlet. Because of the gruelingly slow pacing, it almost seems like breakout reveals and trailers for their biggest games would have gotten more attention.

The impacts of the pandemic are still apparent

In the U.S., it finally seems like we are legitimately on the other side of the worst of this global pandemic. I understand the overwhelming desire for things to go back to normal and E3 embodied those wishes in a major way for the gaming industry. E3 2021 was incredibly important for many reasons and it's impossible to deny how special it was seeing these teams, as well as fans, come together to share in their love of gaming.

Despite all the chaos and noise of the past year though, it did feel like some teams were trying to ignore or downplay the severity of COVID-19 by scraping together whatever they had to show, putting on a big smile, and making an appearance at E3. As exciting as it was to see companies like Xbox, Capcom, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, Square Enix, Gearbox, Koch Media, and many others all listed on the same bill, with everything going on in the world around us, I wish some of these publishers would have been ok with simply skipping E3 2021.

Share your thoughts!

What were your highlights from E3 2021? Let us know in the comment section below! Be sure to check out our roundup of the best games of E3 2021 and if you're looking for something to play while you wait for those incredible games, feel free to browse our list of the best games on Xbox Game Pass.

Need a new printer? Got $100? Read this.

Laser printers have their pluses, but inkjet printers still reign supreme when it comes to low initial costs, smaller sizes, and exceptional color reproduction that stands out in photos and documents. No matter what your needs, we have an inkjet printer under $100 that can fit the bill.

Best all-in-one

HP DeskJet 3755

Staff pick

The HP DeskJet 3755 is one of the best all-in-one printers available today. It prints, copies, and scans, and does it all brilliantly. It's small enough to fit on the edge of your desk or a bookshelf without taking up valuable space but is big on features. You use the HP Smart app to set up the printer, and you're ready to go. Print, scan, or make copies of anything from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Best of all, it's Alexa-compatible.

$90 at Amazon $90 at Target $90 at Best Buy

Easy to set up

Canon PIXMA TS3320

Setting up a printer can be a hassle. That's not the case with the Canon PIXMA TS3320. It connects over Wi-Fi in minutes, works with your smartphone, and it's compatible with all PCs, Macs, and tablets. Connect the PIXMA to Alexa, and you can also reorder ink without leaving your chair. Hybrid, affordable print cartridges deliver accurate colors, and you can print from any device anywhere in your house.

$80 at Amazon $80 at B&H $80 at Canon

Works with Alexa

HP DeskJet 2755

The all-in-one HP DeskJet 2755 is made from recycled plastic. It prints, scans, and copies. Through the HP Smart App, you can connect the printer to Wi-Fi and share it across all your devices. This HP model also includes USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Best of all, it's Alexa-compatible and super affordable.

$70 at Amazon

Perfect for home or office

HP DeskJet 3772

Superb color photo printing, crisp document text, and the ability to scan are our favorite features on the HP DeskJet 3772. Toss in a sleek design, a free app, and wireless, Bluetooth, and USB printing, and this unit shines. The HP DeskJet 3772 is an all-in-one printer that's perfect for your home or office.

$120 at Amazon

Basic bargain printer

Canon PIXMA TS202

The Canon PIXMA TS202 is a minuscule printer that's overflowing with features. The hybrid ink system outputs detailed photos and color documents and uses less ink than other models, so you save money all the way around. If you need a compact printer that won't put a dent in your wallet, toss this in your shopping cart now.

$69 at Amazon $69 at B&H

Best control panel

Canon PIXMA TS3520

The newly released Canon PIXMA TS3520 is an affordable, hassle-free inkjet printer. You'll get a 1.5-inch LCD screen, onboard buttons to complete printing tasks, and two hybrid ink cartridges to get you started. This compact printer sets up in minutes with your smartphone and is a perfect fit for everyone in the family.

$80 at Amazon $80 at Canon

Inkjet printers are still worth the investment

Factoring in your budget is essential when buying a printer, but it's not the only thing you should consider. Quality workmanship, the availability of ink cartridges, and the size of the unit should also weigh on your mind. Unlike laser printers, which use powdered toner, inkjet printers use actual ink. Ink is still better for many tasks, like printing photos and color documents. Unlike bulky laser printers, which are better suited for large office spaces, inkjet printers are usually shelf and desktop-friendly, in addition to being the easier choice on the wallet.

When your printing needs are big, and your budget and office are small, we stand behind the HP DeskJet 3755 for its crisp printing of text, brightly colored inks that complement color documents and photos, its smooth scanner, and for a slew of modern features that will withstand the test of time.

If you want a printer that sets up quickly with your smartphone, go with the Canon PIXMA TS3320. It connects over Wi-Fi in minutes and is compatible with PCs, Macs, and tablets.

And if you prefer an onboard control panel, we recommend the Canon PIXMA TS3520. It has an LCD, buttons to control print functions, and is easy enough for anyone in the family to use.

Pro tip: Check out these ways save money on printer ink.

Join us LIVE for the Windows Central Video Podcast today at 2:30PM ET

Join Daniel Rubino and Zac Bowden for a LIVE recording of the Windows Central Video Podcast!

Make sure you join us for the broadcast of this week's Windows Central Video Podcast, LIVE today at 2:30pm ET. For those in different time zones, here's when we'll be live: Convert your time zone here.

Head to our YouTube page to see the podcast or watch the embed above.

We'll be talking about this week's biggest Microsoft news. Make sure you're there! Be sure to be following us on Twitter as we'll be tweeting out when the show begins. Alternatively, bookmark this page and come back later, as the player embedded in this post will be where we stream to.

Destiny 2: Where is Xur today? Xur location and Exotics for June 18-22

Gather 'round for Exotics galore, Guardians.

If you're looking for some of the best Destiny 2 Exotic weapons and armor, one of the best ways to get your hands on it is to buy Exotics from Xur, the mysterious vendor from the Nine that comes to the world of Destiny 2 every Friday at 1 PM ET and leaves the following Tuesday at the same time. Every weekend, Xur sells an Exotic weapon, an Exotic armor piece for each class, and a special Fated Engram that's guaranteed to give you an Exotic you don't currently own (Exotics tied to quests or raids can't drop from these). The weapons and armors generally cost 23-29 Legendary Shards, while the Fated Engram costs 97 Legendary Shards. You can only buy one Fated Engram each week and the Fated Engram gives armor based on the class you're playing when you buy it, so think carefully about which character you're using to buy from Xur.

If you want to open more than one Fated Engram with Xur, you'll need to take the Exotic Cipher quest he offers and complete its objective. This will reward you with an Exotic Cipher that can be used to get another Exotic from Xur. Notably, you can also use the Exotic Cipher as a currency at the Monument to Lost Lights kiosk in The Tower that allows you to obtain Exotics from content that has been put into the Destiny Content Vault. This is how I recommend using the Cipher, though if you're a new player and don't have many Exotics yet, using it on a second Fated Engram is also a good idea so you can fill out your collection faster.

Xur's location changes every weekend, so players will need to find him in order to browse his Exotic wares. This week, Xur is on Nessus in the Watcher's Grave area. You'll find him on top of a large tree branch covered in crimson red vegetation. Refer to the green marker on the map below:

Xur's inventory also rotates weekly, allowing players to obtain several Exotics they may not have already. These Exotics also come with high stat rolls that are useful when crafting some of the best Destiny 2 builds. Check out the list below to see what he's selling:

  • Exotic Weapon: The Jade Rabbit (29 Legendary Shards)
  • Titan Exotic: Synthoceps (23 Legendary Shards)
  • Hunter Exotic: Mechaneer's Tricksleeves (23 Legendary Shards)
  • Warlock Exotic: Transversive Steps (23 Legendary Shards)

Are you excited to pick up some Exotics from Xur this weekend? Let me know. The latest Destiny 2 expansion, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, is available now for $40 on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. The base game is free, so if you're looking to try Destiny 2 out before paying for expansions or season passes, you can do so. If you do decide to try the game, don't miss my beginner's guide on how to get into Destiny 2 in 2021. Don't miss my roundup of the 10 best Destiny 2 weapons you need to farm in Season of the Splicer either, as these weapons will pair well with Xur's Exotics and help you become unstoppable in battle.

Wield the Darkness

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

$40 at Microsoft $40 at GMG (Steam) Also on Xbox Game Pass

Europa awaits

Beyond Light is the next big expansion for Destiny 2, introducing a new element for Guardians to wield, a new area on the Jupiter moon Europa, a new story, and plenty of loot to go around.

Destiny 2 Trials of Osiris map and rewards for June 18-22

Think you can make it to the Lighthouse?

The ultra-competitive Crucible PvP mode Trials of Osiris is live in Destiny 2 from June 18 until June 22, and if you want to participate, you'll need to select its playlist in the Crucible area of the Director menu. In this weekend-exclusive mode, two teams of three players duke it out over multiple rounds. The team that fully defeats the other wins the round (there are no objectives on the map to worry about), and the team that wins the most rounds wins the match. The members of the winning team then have a win added to their Trials card. Getting three, five, and seven wins on your card will net you pieces of special Trials gear that are exclusive to the gamemode and aren't obtainable anywhere else, and if you win seven games in a row on one Trials card, you'll achieve the coveted flawless status.

Going flawless allows you and your team to head to the Lighthouse, which is where you'll receive an Adept variant of a Trials weapon (notably, perk rolls are still randomized). Players can apply powerful Adept mods on these weapons, making them more valuable than non-Adept counterparts. However, getting three losses on your Trials card will reset it. Therefore, it's crucial to play smart and communicate with your teammates efficiently if you want to getall of the rewards that are on offer during each week of Trials. Saint-14 in The Tower can also be given Trials of Osiris tokens that you earn while playing in exchange for some additional armor pieces or weapons. This is a great way to get even more loot each week alongside your standard winnings, so don't forget to turn in your tokens; they disappear when Trials ends at weekly reset every Tuesday.

The map that Trials matches take place on changes every week. This week, Trials takes place on Altars of Flame, which is a relatively open map with some tight spaces by the team spawns and the middle area. Snipers, scout rifles, and pulse rifles are great here, but hand cannons, auto rifles, and fusion rifles can also work. In the tight areas, SMGs and shotguns reign supreme.

The gear that you get from playing well in Trials of Osiris is typically some of the best in the game. This week, you can earn Trials leg armor, the Exile's Curse fusion rifle, Trials chest armor, and an Adept Eye of Sol sniper rifle.

  • 3 Wins: Trials Legs (Armor)
  • 5 Wins: Exile's Curse (Fusion Rifle)
  • 7 Wins: Trials Chest (Armor)
  • Flawless: Eye of Sol (Adept) (Sniper Rifle)

Are you a big Trials of Osiris fan, or are you new to the mode? Are you interested in trying it out, or do you think it's not the right type of PvP experience? Let me know. The latest Destiny 2 expansion, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, is available now for $40 on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. The base game is free, so if you're looking to try Destiny 2 out before investing any money, you can do so. If you do decide to try the game, don't miss my beginner's guide on how to get into Destiny 2 in 2021. Also, for some builds that will improve your effectiveness in Trials, check out my guide to the best Destiny 2 builds, and how to make your own. Don't miss my roundup of the 10 best Destiny 2 weapons you need to farm in Season of the Splicer either, as several of them are very effective in PvP.

Wield the Darkness

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

$40 at Microsoft $40 at GMG (Steam) Also on Xbox Game Pass

Europa awaits

Beyond Light is the next big expansion for Destiny 2, introducing a new element for Guardians to wield, a new area on the Jupiter moon Europa, a new story, and plenty of loot to go around.

Two of our favorite SSDs are already on sale ahead of Prime Day

SK hynix broke into the consumer SSD market just a couple years ago, but its Gold P31 and Gold S31 internal PC SSDs are already extremely popular for enthusiasts who want high performance without a steep price. If you've been waiting for the best Prime Day SSD deals to upgrade your storage, wait no longer; these SSDs are already discounted ahead of the big sales event. This is also a great opportunity to get the storage you want in a device from our roundup of the best Prime Day laptop deals.

First is the high-performance 500GB SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 PCIe SSD. Its list price of $122 has been cut down to $75 as a new regular price, but you can save a further 15% off by "clipping" the coupon on the Amazon product page. That brings the total price down to $63.74.

SK hynix Gold P31 500GB M.2 SSD | 15% off at Amazon

This 500GB M.2 NVMe SSD from SK hynix delivers top-tier PCIe 3.0 performance for your laptop or desktop PC.

$63.74 at Amazon

In my SK hynix Gold P31 review I awarded the drive with a Windows Central Recommended badge, noting the (already) value pricing, superb performance, strong warranty, and power efficiency. This is a great SSD whether you need something for gaming, work, or general purpose use, and it will work in desktop and laptops PCs.

In testing, it even beat out the Samsung 970 EVO Plus in terms of read and write speeds, another drive that is incredibly popular. I've been using the SK hynix Gold P31 in my gaming PC ever since, and it's been rock solid in terms of reliability and performance. If you want to upgrade storage on a budget, this is one of the best ways to go.

If you'd rather upgrade with a 2.5-inch SATA SSD, there is also the SK hynix Gold S31. This 1TB drive has tons of space for bulk storage (great for games that don't necessarily need M.2 read and write speeds), it has a long five-year warranty, good endurance, and excellent performance. Read speeds generally hit up to about 560MB/s, while write speeds hit up to about 530MB/s.

The Gold S31 has already seen a rather severe and permanent price drop from its $160 list price, now coming in regularly at $105. But for Prime Day you can save an additional 15% by clipping the coupon on the Amazon page. That brings the price down to $89.24 when everything is considered. That's a great price for 1TB of storage, making it a deal you don't want to miss if you're upgrading your PC's storage.

SK hynix Gold S31 1TB SATA SSD | 15% off at Amazon

With 1TB of space, excellent read and write speeds, long-lasting durability, and a five-year warranty, the Gold S31 is a top option for a 2.5-inch SSD upgrade.

$89.24 at Amazon

Microsoft to open four new data centers in China, says report

Microsoft will reportedly increase its cloud capabilities in China with four new data centers.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will open four new data centers in China, according to a report.
  • The additional data centers will improve the company's service capacity in Asia.
  • Microsoft already has six data centers in China, which are operated by 2IVianet.

Microsoft will open four new data centers in China, according to a Bloomberg report. The tech giant already has six data centers in the country and will greatly increase its service capacity in Asia with the opening of four additional data centers.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would "effectively double the capacity of Microsoft's intelligent cloud portfolio in China in the coming years." That announcement clarified that the company would open a new Azure Region in North China in 2022 through local operating partner 21Vianet, which already operates six Microsoft data centers in China.

A white paper cited by Microsoft in March states that the cloud market in China is expected to reach 300 billion RMB (about $46 billion) in 2023.

Microsoft has not shared a comment on the potential data centers at this time. While the company has not issued a statement about these new potential data centers, its comments from March illustrate the opportunity for expansion in China:

"Our intelligent, trustworthy, and neutral cloud platform has been empowering hundreds of thousands of developers, partners, and customers from both China and the world to achieve more with technical innovation and business transformation," said Alain Crozier, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft Greater China Region. "The upcoming region will reinforce the capabilities to help further nurture local talents, stimulate local innovation, grow local technology ecosystems, and empower businesses in a wide range of industries to achieve more."

New data centers in China will allow Microsoft to deliver a better experience for Azure, Microsoft 365, and other services that rely on the cloud.

DMCA complaint by Microsoft seemingly confirms Windows 11 name, ISO leak

The legitimacy of the Windows 11 leak seems to be verified as Microsoft goes after sites hosting the stolen ISO.

What you need to know

  • An alleged copy of Microsoft's next-gen OS leaked to a public forum earlier this week.
  • The unapproved release confirmed the name 'Windows 11,' which is all over the OS.
  • Some conspiracy theorists doubted the leak's legitimacy, thinking it is a diversion or was done on purpose.
  • Microsoft is now issuing DMCA complaints to sites "distributing Windows 11 ISO (copyrighted to Microsoft)", appearing to confirm its authenticity and the name of the OS.

Microsoft has had one heck of a ride this week with an alleged Windows 11 ISO leaking to a public forum. That build of Windows had Windows 11 throughout the WinVer, setup screens, out-of-box-experience, and more along with a completely new UI and some hidden features too.

Windows 11 is all over the ISO leak including the installation setup.

While we never doubted the authenticity of the leak or the OS being labeled Windows 11 (something we strongly hinted at a month ago), some people still thought this was some diabolic ruse by Microsoft. In other words, the leak was purposeful, the Windows 11 logos were a red herring, and later this month the company is going to reveal the real OS and new name.

Yeah, we know. Look, the internet is a weird and fun place.

Throwing water on that inane theory is the news Microsoft issued an official Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint against Google over an article by Beebom.com, based out of India. The protest was first spotted by Fossbytes this morning, and the DMCA complaint is viewable online. The complaint is against Google for listing the article in its search results and filed on June 17. From the complaint's description:

Beebom.com's article is distributing Windows 11 ISO (copyrighted to Microsoft). Please remove their article from the search. It is a leaked copy of the unreleased Windows 11.

It is unclear if other sites directly distributing the leaked ISO are also getting take-down notices, but it would seem likely once they are discovered.

A copy of the DMCA complaint issued by Microsoft on June 17, 2021.

However, the more important news is Microsoft demolishing the idea that this ISO was purposedly leaked by it, or the name of the new OS is not Windows 11.

Of course, as we noted, the leaked ISO is an early build of Windows 11 from May and is not the completed OS that will ship later in October as a free update.

Microsoft's next-gen OS has many revisions to the current Windows 10, primarily based around a new UI layer. Some of the changes include a new Start menu, new animations, improved touch experience, refreshed icons, novel system sounds, new OOBE, improved Ink Workspace, more Windows Snap options, and a Widget Panel.

Microsoft should fill in the gaps for features, further UI changes, developer news, monetization of apps, and any architectural changes on June 24 giving us the complete picture of Windows 11. Stay tuned.

Minecraft: Java Edition has a patch update on the horizon with 1.17.1

The "Pre" before the release.

What you need to know

  • 1.17 'Caves and Cliffs Update' Part One just released for Minecraft, with a whole bunch of new features and mobs.
  • Mojang Studios is already moving along with a planned patch update, which will include bug fixes and other improvements.
  • Minecraft: Java Edition 1.17.1 Pre-Release 1 is now available to testers, and doesn't include anything too exciting.
  • Seeing as we're already in the "pre-release" stage, the 1.17.1 update likely isn't more than a few weeks away.

Minecraft is still reeling from the fateful release of 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One, which delivered a shipment of new features to the game with a ton of fanfare. Now, Mojang Studios is working on further post-release polish and tweaks now that the update is public, culminating in Minecraft: Java Edition 1.17.1 Pre-Release 1. Don't expect any new features here (Minecraft: Bedrock Edition is getting candles in this update, which are already in the Java Edition), just a lot of changes to existing features and the usual batch of bug fixes.

The fact that we're already at the "pre-release" level indicates that the 1.17.1 update likely isn't more than a few weeks away, so players won't have to wait long to see these improvements in the official Caves and Cliffs Update. If you're waiting alongside the rest of us, be sure to check out our list of best Minecraft merch, toys, and gifts to pass the time.

The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition Pre-Release 1 includes:

Changes

  • Blue axolotls can now only be obtained through breeding
  • Non-screaming goats now have a rare chance to produce a screaming goat when bred
  • Status effects on goats now also apply when the goat is jumping or ramming
  • Raised the drop rate for copper ingots from Drowned to 11% + 2% per level of looting
  • Powder snow now fills cauldrons two times faster than before (still pretty slowly, though!)
  • Zombies, Zombie Villagers, Husks and Drowned will no longer pick up glow ink sacs

Caves and Cliffs Update preview

Technical changes

  • In case of DNS-based redirection, the client will send the hostname actually used to connect (this restores the pre-1.17 behavior)

Bug fixes

  • Sun, moon, and / or clouds are not showing if render distance is below 4
  • Enchantments are saved as shorts, but are loaded as and function with integer values
  • Turkish lira sign () appears as in the game
  • Duplicate text mapping for U+00B7
  • U+1FEC is wrong in Minecraft's font
  • Pistons and dispensers can be used to create ghost blocks using powder snow
  • Ghost items can be created using /item (server doesn't update client inventory correctly)
  • Loaded chunks sometimes don't render until the player moves their head slightly
  • Hanging Roots appear large when an item entity
  • Logs can be replaced with stone near lava pools
  • Withers are now affected by potion effects
  • World gen datapacks will likely crash or softlock the game
  • Lag when placing heads of non-existent players when on servers
  • root_system feature config's codec uses a wrong field
  • Overworld Fossils always generate at bedrock level
  • End portal texture appears stretched after world conversion
  • Small dripleaf is consumed without being placed when used on tall seagrass
  • Group for lapis lazuli ore smelting and blasting recipes is misspelled
  • Client crash when trying to create/edit realm immediately after deleting previous one
  • Ender pearls despawn when player logs out of a server
  • Thrown ender pearls disappear upon entering the exit end portal
  • java.lang.NullPointerException when random_selector default feature isn't found
  • Very long loading pause while booting the game ("Failed to add PDH Counter", caused by oshi)
  • Specifying the --server parameter when starting the game, causes the game to crash
  • Blue axolotls can spawn naturally

Microsoft to stop publication of drivers for Windows 7

Organizations running Windows 7 and other older operating systems will have to use tools other than Windows Update for drivers.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft stopped publishing drivers through Windows Update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Organizations using the Extended Security Updates program will still be able to manage drivers through Windows Server Updates Servers.
  • The switch is due to SHA-1 Trusted Root Certificate Authority expiring for the operating systems.

If your PC still runs Windows 7, you may have to find a new way to manage your drivers. On June 17, Microsoft discontinued the publication of drivers to Windows Update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2. Organizations that still use systems running these operating systems will have to use other options, including Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Microsoft explains in a Tech Community post (via Bleeping Computer) that this change is being implemented to prevent degraded functionality of systems (emphasis added):

Due to the discontinuation and expiration of SHA-1 certificates, partners utilizing the Microsoft Trusted Root Program could publish incompatible SHA-2 signed drivers to unpatched Windows client and Windows Server devices. This, in turn, had the potential to cause degraded functionality or to cause devices to longer boot. This occurs because unpatched systems will have code integrity failures when presented with a SHA-2 signed driver.

The SHA-1 Trusted Root Certificate Authority expired for the affected operating systems on May 9, 2021.

To minimize any impact that could be caused by incompatibilities, Microsoft decided to stop publishing SHA-2 signed drivers to Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

This change won't affect many personal PC users, but there are still organizations that rely on Windows 7 with extended support.

Windows 7 support officially ended on January 14, 2020.

These are the best PC motherboards for AMD and Intel

Choosing the best motherboard for your PC is a critical part of the process. The CPU, GPU, RAM, and other components are essential, but it's the motherboard that holds them all together. It's easy to make the wrong choice with a motherboard, which is why we rounded up some of the best motherboards right here to help you make the right choice.


What are the best motherboards for AMD and Intel?

Deciding on AMD or Intel for your processor (or already having one inside a rig you plan to upgrade) narrows the search for a new motherboard considerably. Intel motherboards come with Intel chipsets that work only with processors from the company, likewise with AMD. You cannot physically install an Intel CPU on an AMD motherboard and vice versa. For most people, the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming for AMD or ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming for Intel will provide high stability and performance, allowing the rest of your PC to perform at their advertised potential. The ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS or ASUS TUF Gaming H570-PRO will help you save some money, while the Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Master or ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z590 are for those with deep pockets and high expectations.

Best motherboards in 2021

Then you have specific chipsets from Intel and AMD that work only with particular processors. The X570 is best used for AMD Ryzen 3000 series processors. Intel's Z590 is good for 10th and 11th Gen processors. Take a gander at our full list of best motherboards to see which one best suits your PC build plan.

1. ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming: Best overall motherboard for AMD PCs

Bottom line: Thanks to high-quality components, some serious heatsinks for the VRMs, and the best chipset from AMD make the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming one of the best motherboards available for AMD PCs in terms of value. It doesn't deliver all the features you'd find in enthusiast-grade boards, but this is about as good as you can get for a desktop motherboard.

Socket: AM4 | Maximum RAM: 4x 32GB (128GB) | Chipset: AMD X570 | Size: ATX | Features: 2.5Gb LAN, PCIe 4.0, ASUS AURA, M.2 heatsinks, 14+2 phases VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming $327 at Amazon
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming $330 at Newegg
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming $340 at Best Buy

Pros:

  • Quality components
  • Works with Ryzen 5000 CPUs
  • Gorgeous PCB design
  • Cool Aura RGB effects
  • Stable overclocking capability

Cons:

  • Aura RGB can be glitchy
  • High temperatures under load

The motherboard is super-important, but it's also challenging to get it wrong, so long as you buy one that matches the CPU you intend to install. If we're choosing one that strikes a delicate balance between performance and price for AMD fans, it would be the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming. AMD's Ryzen generation of processors is dominating Intel, and the best motherboard for us from ASUS is a perfect match.

This isn't the most capable AMD motherboard, but you likely won't require all the additional features that come with splashing out on the most premium motherboards around. AMD has used the AM4 platform since Ryzen launched in 2017, and the X570 is the latest high-end chipset from the company. This platform will support not only Ryzen 3000 processors but also the new 5000 series too.

It's possible to install up to a maximum of 128GB RAM, using the four DIMM slots provided, though the likelihood of you requiring any more than 32GB is a stretch since only intensive workstations that handle huge files (video editing, for instance) need such large amounts.

The best part about the ROG Strix X570-E is the high-quality components used throughout. This is one of the more critical factors of choosing a motherboard and a solid power delivery setup. Capacitors and other performance components should be part of a premium batch for enhanced reliability and better support for overclocking.

The rear port selection is pretty good for 2021 too. ASUS included DisplayPort and HDMI (for Ryzen CPUs with integrated graphics), Optical S/PDIF out, 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi, seven USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, as well as an additional USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-C port. You can easily hook up all your favorite gaming accessories and then some.

You've also got RGB connectors, pump headers for water-cooling, two M.2 slots, plenty of SATA, and enough PCI slots to install all your favorite sound cards. It's not a budget motherboard, but you do get a lot for the money here. And because it's using AMD's latest chipset, you'll be able to take advantage of PCIe 4.0.

ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming

Rocking a fantastic chipset, the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E is a fantastic motherboard for any Ryzen 5000 series CPU. You can install plenty of RAM and take advantage of the excellent stability and build quality.

$327 at Amazon

$330 at Newegg

$340 at Best Buy


When looking at a motherboard to purchase, you'll want to consider a few factors. The first is which platform do you intend to use: Intel or AMD? Next is the chipset. These determine the features (and pricing) the motherboard can have, with the X570 and Z590 being the best choice for AMD and Intel, respectively. More budget-friendly chipsets like the B550 offer incredible value.

Speaking of value, price is a consideration worth making. It's recommended you spend a fair amount on a motherboard. You want to make sure you're getting high-quality components and decent cooling for the voltage regulator modules (VRM), which can get incredibly hot during operation, especially if you plan to push the system further through overclocking. Components like the VRMs come in all shapes and sizes, and it's down to the vendor to pick high-quality electronics for a more stable motherboard.

The processor you plan on using can also be of importance. Our enthusiast pick will be overkill for an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, for instance. On the flip side, you wouldn't want to install an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on a B550 budget-friendly motherboard since this would prevent you from overclocking the CPU, and the system may encounter stability issues with other components, like activating an XMP profile for RAM.

Motherboards can remain relevant for as long as your processor can keep up with what you require it to do. So long as you do not need to upgrade the CPU, it's usually safe to stick with your motherboard, install some faster, higher-capacity RAM, upgrade the storage, and get one of the best graphics cards. If you tend to only buy motherboards once in a blue moon and would prefer not to buy another for a good number of years, going with our best or enthusiast recommendations provide ample headroom for expansion in the future.


2. ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming: Best overall motherboard for Intel PCs

Bottom line: Like the AMD best pick, this ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming is the Intel counterpart that works with the latest 10th and 11th Gen processors from team blue. It also has high-quality components and all the base features you'd expect from a mid-tier motherboard, including support for up to 128GB RAM, ASUS RGB lighting, support for pumps, and overclocking, and much more.

Socket: LGA1200 | Maximum RAM: 4x 32GB (128GB) | Chipset: Z590 | Size: ATX | Features: 2.5Gb LAN, ASUS AURA, M.2 heatsinks, 14+2 phases VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming $360 at Amazon
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming $360 at Newegg
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming $380 at Best Buy

Pros:

  • Good PCB design
  • Reliable, high-quality components
  • Supports up to 11th Gen CPUs
  • Dual M.2 slots with heatsinks
  • Good passive VRM cooling

Cons:

  • Can get hot when overclocking
  • RAM is a little tight with an AIO pump

Likewise, with our top ASUS AMD pick, the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming motherboard is equally as good. You'll be receiving a PCB with the same high-end, premium components, as well as pretty much all the expansion you'll need for a capable PC setup. There's also pretty good 14+2 phase power delivery, which essentially means you can comfortably push this motherboard to its limit and beyond.

Supporting 10th and 11th Gen Intel processors, you can take advantage of Intel's latest high-performance CPUs, throwing in super-fast M.2 NVMe storage drives and enough RAM (up to 128GB) to run Minecraft without issue. It's possible to use the Z590-E Gaming in a premium PC build with an Intel Core i9-11900K, making this one good value platform choice.

Ports-wise, we're looking at dual 2.5Gb LAN, DisplayPort, HDMI, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 (three USB-A and one USB-C), two USB 3.2 Gen 1, and four USB 2.0. There's also Optical S/PDIF, Wi-Fi, and all the audio jacks you could require. Internally, ASUS made sure you have enough headers for additional components that need a USB interface.

There are also water pump headers for water-cooling setups, making the ROG Strix Z490-E one capable motherboard. Throw in a solid BIOS and remarkable overclocking potential, and you've got an Intel winner with one of the best motherboards for team blue.

ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming

The Z590 is an excellent chipset for new Intel-powered PC builds, and this motherboard from ASUS has it all at a solid price.

$360 at Amazon

$360 at Newegg

$380 at Best Buy


3. ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS: Best budget AMD motherboard

Bottom line: For those who are budget conscious, the ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS is an excellent value motherboard with a focus on saving money. You've got a slightly less capable chipset in the B550M, but it is more than good enough for most AMD PC builds.

Socket: AM4 | Maximum RAM: 4x 32GB (128GB) | Chipset: B550 | Size: ATX | Features: 2.5Gb LAN, ATX, AMD Quad CrossFireX, 8+2 phase VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS $156 at Amazon
ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS $156 at Newegg

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Works with Ryzen 5000 CPUs
  • PCIe 4.0 slot for GPU and M.2
  • 2.5Gb LAN
  • Cooled VRMs

Cons:

  • Limited overclocking capabilities

The B550 chipset is what AMD launched to replace the aging B450 chipset. The highlight improvements are support for Ryzen 3000 series processors, PCIe 4.0 for GPUs and SSDs, and dual-GPU configurations. The ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS is an excellent example with a B550 chipset, rocking some awesome features.

You could easily install a Ryzen 9 3900X without issue, and it would run just fine. There's no room for overclocking since it's simply not designed for enthusiast liquid nitrogen cooled rigs. Still, you can run an enthusiast-grade system on such a small, budget-friendly foundation.

As well as supporting Ryzen 3000 processors, ASUS added in 2.5Gb LAN for rapid data transfers across your network, and the VRMs do have adequate cooling. This may be a more affordable motherboard, but you're still getting an 8+2 power phase design, meaning it can handle more power-hungry CPUs and some overclocking.

For ports, we're looking at HDMI, DisplayPort, Optical S/PDIF, two USB 2.0, two USD 3.1 Gen 2 (one is Type-C), and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. For networking, you have a single 2.5Gb LAN connection. Overall, a great way to move from Intel to AMD without spending too much.

ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS

Don't allow the price tag to make you think this motherboard isn't worth considering for budget-orientated builds. It's powered by the AMD B550 chipset and has plenty going for it.

$156 at Amazon

$156 at Newegg


4. ASUS TUF GAMING H570-PRO: Best budget Intel motherboard

Bottom line: the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Plus is an interesting budget-friendly motherboard since it comes with the Z490 chipset, unlocking plenty of features to utilize in your PC build. It's not the most affordable board for Intel CPUs, but you get plenty for the price tag here.

Socket: LGA1200 | Maximum RAM: 4x 32GB (128GB) | Chipset: H570 | Size: ATX | Features: 2.5Gb LAN, 2x M.2 slots, 8+1 phase VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
ASUS TUF GAMING H570-PRO $190 at Amazon
ASUS TUF GAMING H570-PRO $190 at Newegg

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Supports up to 11th Gen CPUs
  • Passively cooled VRMs
  • Overclocking support
  • Good power delivery

Cons:

  • Fewer features than Z590

We're moving just below the Intel range-topping Z590 chipset with the ASUS TUF GAMING H570-PRO. The H570 chipset cuts a few more advanced features like Intel Optane support, has fewer PCIe lanes, and a couple of other omissions that result in a more affordable platform. This opens up support for 10th and 11th Gen Intel processors but without the high price tag found with our top Intel motherboard recommendation.

Since this is yet again another ASUS motherboard (H570 boards are hard to come by for some reason), we're still looking at an excellent BIOS, allowing you to change a whole host of settings without booting into Windows. There's plenty going for the board on the rear too, including 2.5Gb LAN, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2x2, Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and four USB-A 2.0 ports.

ASUS TUF GAMING H570-PRO

Motherboards come in all shapes and sizes, but more affordable ones can be just as good without sacrificing essential features. This H570-powered board has plenty to offer at a reasonable price.

$190 at Amazon

$190 at Newegg


5. Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Master: Best AMD motherboard for enthusiasts

Bottom line: This is where you can seriously blow through your budget quickly. This motherboard has a price tag that matches that of an entire PC build. This board unlocks support the latest Threadripper processors from AMD, which can sport up to 24 physical cores. There are also eight DIMM slots for ultimate RAM capacity and plenty of other useful features.

Socket: AM4 | Maximum RAM: 8x 32GB (256GB) | Chipset: TRX40 | Size: ATX | Features: 8x DIMM slots, unbuffered RAM support, huge heatsinks, 16+3 phase VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Master $500 at Amazon
Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Master $500 at Newegg

Pros:

  • Eight DIMM slots
  • Threadripper performance
  • Stable overclocking support
  • High-end onboard audio
  • High-quality components

Cons:

  • Doesn't work with Ryzen 3, 5, 7, and 9
  • Expensive

We heard you have some money to splash on your PC build. Well, this is the motherboard you should go for if you're considering AMD Threadripper. Unfortunately, due to these advanced processors' physical size, you can't throw one into a mainstream motherboard, so enter the TRX40 platform.

The Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Master has literally everything you need to build an incredibly powerful rig. You've got full support for up to a 64-core Threadripper CPU (with 128 threads), 8 DDR DIMM slots for quad-channel RAM, server-class power distribution for stable overclocking, and even an audio ESS 9118 Sabre DAC.

But that's not all; this thing can even support up to four GPUs, because why not? When planning out an enthusiast machine, the "why" doesn't play a part in the decision-making. It's choosing the very best you can afford, and this motherboard will facilitate an insanely powerful AMD PC build.

The only drawback is the price, but if you're planning to buy a Threadripper CPU, this shouldn't be an issue. And with today's obscene pricing for PC components, this TRX40 AORUS Master from Gigabyte can be found as more affordable than top AMD and Intel picks. Go figure.

Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Master

The TRX40 is reserved for those who require incredible computing performance. You can install up to 256GB of RAM, as well as up to an AMD Threadripper 3990X with 64 cores.

$500 at Amazon

$500 at Newegg


6. ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590: Best Intel motherboard for enthusiasts

Bottom line: If you want to do some serious overclocking, the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590 is an excellent platform with plenty going for it. It's not quite as advanced as the AMD offering for Threadripper, but you do save a little here and still get super-fast 2.5Gb LAN, numerous ports, and a rock-solid BIOS.

Socket: LGA1200 | Maximum RAM: 4x 32GB (128GB) | Chipset: Z590 | Size: ATX | Features: Wi-Fi 6, 2.5Gb LAN, ASUS AURA, 14+2 phase VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590 $481 at Amazon
ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590 $481 at Newegg
ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590 $500 at Best Buy

Pros:

  • Great build quality
  • Fat VRM heatsinks
  • Good overclocking support
  • Up to 10th Gen Intel CPUs
  • 5Gb LAN

Cons:

  • Pricey

Like GIGABYTE, ASUS makes some enthusiast-grade motherboards for those with deep products. A motherboard like the ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590 is perfect for building the PC of your dreams, rocking a Z590 chipset. Fancy trying out the latest Intel Core i9-11900K? Go for it; this motherboard will be more than happy to come along for the ride.

This board is a serious piece of kit, reflected in the price. You've got large heatsinks across all the VRMs to keep everything cool, and these are high-quality, premium components. All this allows one to overclock their processor and system to get even more performance from their PC without sacrificing system stability.

For ports on the rear, ASUS decided to go for 2.5Gb LAN, HDMI, six USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two USB-A 2.0 ports, Optical S/PDIF, Wi-Fi, and all the audio jacks you'll ever need. It's a little pricey, though. Be sure to check the specifications and decide if you really require such a platform for your PC.

ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590

If you have money to spare, motherboards like this ASUS option will perform admirably with high-end Intel CPUs. This motherboard has a whole host of useful features, including 5Gb LAN.

$481 at Amazon

$481 at Newegg

$500 at Best Buy


7. Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WIFI: Best compact AMD motherboard

Bottom line: You don't need a full-sized ATX motherboard to build a PC. If you'd rather put together a more compact build, a motherboard like the GIGABYTE X570 I AORUS Pro WIFI would make a suitable foundation.

Socket: AM4 | Maximum RAM: 2x 32GB (64GB) | Chipset: X570 | Size: Mini-ITX | Features: 1Gb LAN, 2x DIMM slots, Intel Wi-Fi, M.2 slots, 8 phase VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WIFI $227 at Amazon
Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WIFI $230 at Newegg

Pros:

  • Supports Ryzen 5000 CPUs
  • Small form factor
  • M.2 slots
  • Intel Wi-Fi
  • Decent power phase design

Cons:

  • Not very capable of overclocking
  • Single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot

You don't need the most massive motherboard you come across to build a great PC. Smaller form factor cases are handy when you want to keep the PC's overall dimensions low, and a Mini-ITX motherboard will help with this. By using a super-compact Mini-ITX case, it's possible to build a PC that takes up a little more space than your favorite video game console.

As well as being physically smaller than ATX or micro-ATX motherboards, you retain a full PCIe slot with the Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WIFI, can install two M.2 SSDs, throw in up to 64GB of RAM, and the latest Ryzen 5000 CPUs. That all sounds good enough already, but the price will also help as it's not too expensive.

And I said Ryzen 5000 series processors. That's right; you could install the Ryzen 9 5950X into this motherboard and have a small PC powered by 16 cores and 32 threads, because why not? With built-in Intel Wi-Fi, you can place a PC with this motherboard pretty much anywhere in the home.

For ports, it has the aforementioned Wi-Fi, HDMI, DisplayPort, Optical S/PDIF, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one is USB-C), four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and 1Gb LAN. What you may not like about this motherboard is the single PCIe x16 slot and the lack of any functional heatsinks for the VRM. It can get hot, and you won't want to push your processor much further than factory settings.

Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WIFI

The X570 chipset and Mini-ITX form factor allow you to install this board inside a toaster. It'll handle even the more powerful processors, including the AMD Ryzen 9.

$227 at Amazon

$230 at Newegg


8. ASUS ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming: Best compact Intel motherboard

Bottom line: If you want to build a compact PC, you'll want to use a Mini-ITX case and motherboard. This excellent example from ASUS has a lot of potential without all the excess baggage. Feel free to throw this board into a small case with a beefy CPU for a sleeper performance PC. RAM may be a little restrictive, but at 64GB, you shouldn't run into issues.

Socket: AM4 | Maximum RAM: 2x 32GB (64GB) | Chipset: Z490-I | Size: Mini-ITX | Features: 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi 6, 2x M.2 slots, 2x DIMM slots, 8+2 phase VRM

Manufacturer Version Vendor
ASUS ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming $350 at Amazon
ASUS ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming $350 at Newegg

Pros:

  • Small form factor
  • Dual M.2 slots
  • 2.5Gb LAN
  • Up to 11th Gen Intel CPUs
  • Wi-Fi 6

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not great for overclocking

Small form factor cases usually take Mini-ITX motherboards, which, when compared against ATX boards, are tiny. ASUS managed to pack many features onto the ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming, including plenty of RGB and even two M.2 slots. This small board comes with support for up to 11th Gen processors from Intel.

But don't let the small size fool you into assuming you're unable to build a capable PC with it as the foundation. The full-sized PCIe x16 3.0 slot lets you install your favorite GPU, and with up to 32GB of RAM, it'll be ready to handle most games. Just expect to pay out a fair chunk for the liberty of using a smaller platform.

ASUS made available 2.5Gb LAN, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports, USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, four USB-A 2.0 ports, and the Wi-Fi 6 module. That's quite the array of expansion, especially the rapid 2.5Gb LAN that will facilitate faster LAN traffic on supported networks.

ASUS ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming

Intel processor owners can also create some excellent compact PC builds, and a motherboard like this fine example from ASUS would allow exactly that.

$350 at Amazon

$350 at Newegg


What about all other motherboards?

There are literally hundreds of motherboards out there that could be considered for your next PC build. We've looked at motherboards for specific processors like the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and Intel Core i7-11700K, as well as platforms like Intel-only motherboards.

Motherboards are available from different vendors, regardless of whether you go with Intel or AMD. For each of our picks, you could choose an alternative from another vendor and enjoy a similar experience. Usually speaking, motherboards tend to be more similar, though various factors like power delivery, component type, and features are switched up to differentiate them.


Best motherboards FAQ

How to choose the best motherboard

Choosing the best motherboard for your PC build largely depends on which processor you wish to use. Intel processors require motherboards with Intel sockets and chipsets, while AMD CPUs only work with respective AMD socket and chipset-touting boards. From there, you can look at price and chipset features, though so long as you spend a fair amount, you'll be buying an excellent motherboard.

The two best motherboards for either platform also allow for you to get much more from the processor than what's available from the factory, mostly with the included software handling everything for you. Our collection's other recommendations include solutions for enthusiasts, Mini-ITX builds, and those on a tighter budget. There really is a motherboard for almost everyone.

Usually, the more expensive the motherboard, the better the support for stable overclocking and the chance of high-quality components used.

What you should look for in a new motherboard

There are a few essential factors that should sway your decision-making for a new motherboard. So long as you're not buying the lowest-priced boards, you'll generally be okay with the latest Intel and AMD processors. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Voltage regulator module (VRM) cooling.
  • Power delivery if you plan to overclock.
  • The rear port selection.
  • Form factor (ITX, microATX, ATX).
  • Choosing the right chipsets for AMD and Intel.
  • Matching said chipsets with the correct, supported CPU generation.
  • RAM support.
  • Features like M.2 slots.

The VRMs and cooling them are both equally important. You want the power being delivered to the CPU to be clean and stable, especially if you plan on overclocking, which requires beefy VRMs for additional headroom. The power delivery with many phases is also ideal, usually reserved for more expensive motherboards.

The rear port selection simply determines what ports will be available to you and your accessories. It's the least important factor in choosing a motherboard since most of the choices come with similar ports. The form factor determines the motherboard's physical size, while chipsets from Intel and AMD are what help provide additional functionality.

It's important to match these to processors that are supported; the same goes for RAM. An Intel CPU won't work with an AMD motherboard and vice-versa. Some processors won't play well with slower or faster RAM, so be sure to double-check with Intel or AMD's website for additional details. Other features, like M.2 slots, are optional.

Our recommendations are a great place to start. We rounded up the very best for Intel and AMD processors and options for Mini-ITX, budget, and enthusiast builds.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

Richard Devine is a Reviews Editor at Windows Central. You'll usually find him deep in hardware, gaming, both, or drinking root beer for which he openly has a mild addiction.

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user. When he has some free time, you can usually find him practicing the guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say, "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.

Save $400 on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 without waiting for Prime Day

You could wait until next week. Amazon's Prime Day is going to be huge. We know that. You know that. We'll be tracking every great laptop deal on Prime Day worth talking about. But Best Buy's not waiting. They kicked off the 'Bigger Deal' sales event earlier this week and the deals are still rolling in.

If you've been looking for a chance to save on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, for example, you can get the 13.5-inch touchscreen laptop for just $1,599.99 at Best Buy. That's $400 off its normal price and a great low being matched by Amazon currently.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13.5-inch laptop

This version of the Surface Laptop 3 includes an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB solid state drive. You'll also get a full touchscreen with 2256 x 1504 pixel resolution. It has an 11.5-hour battery life, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and support for Dolby Audio.

$1,599.99 at Best Buy

Read all about the Surface Laptop 3 in our glowing review that gave it 4.5 stars out of 5 and a The Best badge.

Need an upgrade in size? You can still save! The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 is also on sale at Best Buy, and it's available for just $100 more at $1,699.99. This deal is also $400 off its regular price, and no one else is matching this price. You're saving big and chances are you won't see it anywhere else even after Prime Day has come and gone.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15-inch laptop

You'll get an AMD Ryzen 7 Surface Edition processor with 16GB RAM and a 512GB solid state drive. It also has discrete graphics with an AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics card. There's a backlit keyboard, a built-in 720p webcam, and support for Windows Ink among many other features.

$1,699.99 at Best Buy

It doesn't matter which version you buy, there are some things that are universal. For example, both laptops have full touchscreen support. They come with Windows 10, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. They have batteries that last for up to 11.5 hours, and the Fast Charging feature means you can get that battery back up to 80% in under an hour.

You also get a fingerprint reader for added security, Windows Hello for safe and easy logins, and more. The omnisonic speakers support Dolby audio and have upgraded bass as well. Plus each laptop has two USB ports and a one-year warranty from Microsoft.

Keep tabs on even more great laptop deals for Prime Day as we uncover them.

Be the envy of everyone with $1,300 off Samsung's 8K 65-inch smart TV

You know how all TVs used to be 1080p and 4K felt like an unachievable upgrade? But now manufacturers don't even bother making 1080p most of the time? Well, give it a few years and everything's going to be 8K. Get a head start on the trend with Samsung's Q900TS 65-inch smart TV. It already has 8K resolution, and today it's on sale at Best Buy for $2,699.99. We've seen this TV go for as much as $5,500 in the past, and today's price drop is $1,300 lower than what it was a week ago.

This sale is part of Best Buy's 'Bigger Deal' savings event, which is meant to compete with Amazon's Prime Day. But Prime Day doesn't even kick off until next week so Best Buy is just beating them to the punch essentially.

Samsung's Q900TS 65-inch 8K smart TV

So 8K resolution means 16 times the resolution of a 1080p TV. Add precisely controlled LED backlighting, AI upscaling, and advanced speakers that can actually direct the sound, and you've got a crazy good TV that will look wonderful in your living room.

$2,699.99 at Best Buy

Let's start with the part that matters. Samsung's nearly borderless Infinity Screen gives you 8K pixel resolution. That is 7,680 x 4,320 pixels. That's a lot of pixels. The TV also has a super advanced AI processor that can intelligently detect the resolution of the content you're watching and upscale it as close as possible to 8K, so everything you watch benefits. With direct full array backlighting, you also have precisely controlled LEDs that can reveal the best details even in the darkest of scenes.

Each side of the TV actually has a speaker built into it, too, so you get really advanced sound. The audio puts you in the middle of the action with objective tracking that can direct everything. You get Quantum HDR support for even more detail in the imagery as well.

Samsung's smart TV platform gives you access to all the best streaming services. You can use the built-in Wi-Fi or the integrated apps to stream your favorite movies and episodes.

Keep on top of all the best deals we're seeing with Best Buy's sales event and Amazon Prime Day.

Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Book 3 receive June firmware update

If you have a Surface Book 3 or Surface Laptop 3, you have a new firmware update to grab.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft released firmware updates for the Surface Book 3 and Surface Laptop 3 this week.
  • The updates include the usual round of bug fixes and general improvements.

Microsoft's Surface Book 3 and Surface Laptop 3 each received firmware updates this week. As is the case with most firmware updates for Surface devices, there aren't any new features on the way. Instead, each update includes a list of fixes and improvements.

If you have a Surface Book 3, you'll receive the following improvements and fixes:

Device Manager Name Version and Update
Surface ME - Firmware 13.0.1763.5
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Intel Management Engine Interface – System 2102.100.0.1044
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Intel ICLS Client - Software devices 1.62.321.1
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 160MHz - Network adapters 22.40.0.7
- Improves Wi-Fi connection reliability.
Intel Wireless Bluetooth - Bluetooth 22.40.0.2
- Improves BT connection reliability.
Surface Integration Service Device – System devices 6.119.139.0
- Improves integration between system services and improves system stability.
Surface UEFI – Firmware 10.104.140.0
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.

The Surface Laptop 3 only has a firmware update available for the Intel model. Here's the change log:

Device Manager Name Version and Update
Intel WiFi 6 AX201 160MHz 22.40.0.7
- Improves WiFi connection reliability.
Intel Wireless Bluetooth 22.40.0.2
- Improves BT connection reliability.
Intel iCLS Client 1.62.321.1
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Intel Management Engine Interface 2102.100.0.1044
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Surface ME 13.0.1763.5
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Surface RETIMER 0.42.0.0
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.
Surface Touch Pen Processor 3.208.137.0
- Resolves bugcheck when using OneNote within the Teams app.
Surface UEFI 9.106.140.0
- Addresses critical security vulnerability and improves system stability.

You can grab the updates through Windows Update now.

Eddy Cue nous raconte la genèse et l’avenir de l’audio spatial dans Apple Music

18 juin 2021 à 15:23

Dans un entretien exclusif à Numerama, le boss d'Apple Music Eddy Cue s'est confié sur la genèse, l'adoption et le futur du projet imaginé par Apple. [Lire la suite]

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L'article Eddy Cue nous raconte la genèse et l’avenir de l’audio spatial dans Apple Music est apparu en premier sur Numerama.

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