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Xbox Series X And Series S Pre-Order Guide: Where To Get Microsoft’s Next-Gen Consoles

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We’ve had two pretty messed up video game pre-order snafus in the last week or so, with both the PlayStation 5 and RTX 3080 selling out in minutes, leaving many gamers upset and empty-handed—while resellers chortled about how many units they were able to scoop up.

Hopefully tomorrow’s Xbox Series X|S pre-orders will go better. In an effort to help you, dear readers, get your hands on a new next-gen system tomorrow morning when pre-orders go live tomorrow, I’ve written out this buying guide.

It includes links to various retailers’ pages for the Xbox Series X and Series S, though some retailers don’t have links available yet, and others appear to be placeholders. Some have pages for the Series X but not the Series S.

I’ll update the links section of this post as more become available, so stay tuned.

Below the list of retailers I’ve also written out some helpful tips for anyone looking to pre-order. Since you’ll be competing against bots—and potentially overwhelmed servers—being prepared is essential. That means getting up early if you’re out on the West Coast.

Here’s where to find an Xbox Series X|S tomorrow morning when pre-orders go live:

Here are the retailers in various regions offering the All Access program (see below for details):

  • United States (8AM PT): Best Buy, GameStop, Microsoft Store, and Walmart
  • Australia (8AM AEST): Telstra
  • New Zealand (8AM NZST): Spark
  • UK (8AM BST): GAME and Smyths Toys
  • Denmark (9AM CEST): Elgiganten
  • Finland (9AM CEST): Gigantti
  • Norway (9AM CEST): Elkjøp
  • Sweden (9AM CEST): Elgiganten

Pre-Order Tips

There is no guarantee these days that you’ll be able to get your hands on any shiny new piece of tech when it comes out, let alone snap up a pre-order. This was proved in no uncertain terms by the disastrous pre-order opening salvos for both the RTX 3080 graphics card from Nvidia and Sony’s PlayStation 5. But there are a few ways you can better prepare yourself so that you’re ready to go, especially since we know that pre-orders will go live at 8 am PDT / 11 am EDT on September 22nd.

There is, of course, the chance that a retailer will break embargo (though Microsoft has warned of retribution if they do) so if you want to be extra sure to get an Xbox Series X|S console, make sure to login earlier and start scouring the internet. One Twitter account you should follow for gaming deals is Wario64. If and when pre-orders go live any earlier than advertised, this account will almost certainly let you know. Tuning back into this post can also be helpful, as I’ll be updating it Tuesday morning with any new information, links and so forth.

If you have an account with any of these retailers, make sure you’re already logged into it before pre-orders go live. Have your payment info saved and/or make sure you’re logged into PayPal if that’s your preferred method of payment. Some people say that you should use store pickup if it’s available at brick-and-mortar stores also, as this is potentially more reliable. The only downside to that option is having to go to an actual store, something many people are trying to avoid these days thanks to COVID-19.

Make sure you’re on the fastest machine you own also. I generally think online shops are more reliable on computers than on phones (and it’s often easier and faster to type with a keyboard than a touch-screen) but if your phone is your most reliable device, use that. Sites will almost certainly be crashing or slowed down and you want every advantage you can get (including a fast internet connection).

After that, it’s all luck. The PS5 was selling out within minutes (or faster) at some retailers. This is largely thanks to resellers who use bots to snag up as many consoles as possible and then sell them at outrageous prices on eBay and elsewhere. Purchasing via Microsoft’s All Access program could be one work-around here. It’s also an excellent deal. Through All Access you can get the Series X for $34.99/month and the Series S for $24.99/month with 0% APR financing. This price includes an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (bundling Game Pass and Xbox Live With Gold) for two years, and is normally $14.99/month.

Still, there are no guarantees you’ll be able to pre-order an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X Tuesday or prior to their November 10th launch. If that’s the case, you’ll simply need to buy later—and frankly, the best advice I can give to most gamers who don’t absolutely need the shiniest, newest gear is to wait. Certainly don’t buy from price-gougers. There simply won’t be that many launch titles that justify a next-gen console in 2020. Waiting until 2021 (or later) is a totally reasonable option.

See my case for buying the Xbox Series S instead of an Xbox Series X right here.

Source: – Forbes

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Apple ramps up efforts to build own search engine to rival Google, says report – CNET

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Apple and Google

Apple is ramping up efforts to develop its own search engine, according to a Financial Times report published Wednesday, as US antitrust authorities threaten a lucrative deal that sets Google’s search engine as the default option on iPhones and Samsung phones. 

The iPhone’s latest operating system version, iOS 14, has started to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type in search queries directly from the home screen, according to industry sources cited in the report.

This move adds to mounting evidence, according to the report, that Apple is working to build a rival to Google search, including Apple’s poaching of John Giannandrea, Google’s head of search, more than two years ago.

Earlier this month, the US Justice Department filed a long-expected antitrust lawsuit against Google over its search dominance, alleging that Google “unlawfully maintained monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.” 

At the heart of the Justice Department’s case are Google’s contracts with other companies, which allow the tech giant’s search engine to be used as the default option. Google pays billions of dollars each year to maintain that default spot. 

Google has been the iPhone’s default search engine for more than a decade. It’s been widely reported that Google pays Apple between $8-12 billion each year for its search engine deal, which is a boon for both tech giants. If it turns out the deal is blocked by the DOJ, Apple will need to supply an alternative for its iPhones. 

 Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 

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Apple seems pretty interested in search

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Apple might be building a Google competitor, Audible adds more podcasts and an ad measurement company raises $350 million. This is your Daily Crunch for October 28, 2020.

The big story: Apple seems pretty interested in search

Apple has a growing interest in search technology and might even be working on a product to compete with Google, according to The Financial Times.

The most visible change is the fact that in iOS 14, Apple is now showing its own results when you type queries in the home screen. In addition, there seems to be an increase in activity from Apple’s web crawler.

There may be more of an opportunity here as the U.S. Justice Department has sued Google over what it claims are anticompetitive behaviors around search. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Apple and Google will soon be going head-to-head in search — it could just be a sign that Apple’s Siri voice assistant is getting more search queries.

The tech giants

Joe Rogan, Alex Jones and Spotify’s illusion of neutrality — Spotify is facing criticism after Joe Rogan brought Alex Jones of InfoWars onto his show.

Audible further expands into podcasts — Audible is adding approximately 100,000 podcasts.

Apple eyes the TikTok generation with an updated version of Clips — The update brings much-needed support for vertical videos, allowing for sharing to TikTok and the “Stories” feature in other social apps.

Startups, funding and venture capital

DoubleVerify, a specialist in brand safety, ad fraud and ad quality, raises $350M — DoubleVerify’s technology can detect fraud, viewability and brand safety.

Outrider raises $65M to bring its autonomous tech to distribution yards — The startup has built a three-part system that includes an autonomous electric yard truck, software to manage the operations and site infrastructure.

Lunchbox raises $20M to help restaurants build their own ordering experiences — CEO Nabeel Alamgir said that if restaurants can handle more online orders themselves (rather than just relying on delivery apps), they’ll make more money while also maintaining a direct relationship with their most loyal customers.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

As venture capital rebounds, what’s going on with venture debt? — While venture capital is back setting new records, it appears that its lesser-known sibling won’t be able to match the past few years’ results.

Current and upcoming trends in Latin America’s mobile growth — Latin America is home to one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world.

Dear Sophie: Any upgrade options for E-2 visa holders interested in changing jobs? — Another edition of Sophie Alcorn’s column answering immigration questions about working at technology companies.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith is buying majority stake in the Utah Jazz for $1.6B — Smith sold Qualtrics to SAP for $8 billion in 2018.

US online holiday sales to reach $189B this year, up 33% from 2019 — That’s according to a new forecast from Adobe Analytics.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:- TechCrunch

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AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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AMD today announced the Radeon RX RX 6000 series of gaming graphics cards. Built on the new 7nm RDNA 2 architecture, these cards provide up to 2x improvement in performance over the previous generation AMD flagship while also including support for the new Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate API and will be available starting November.

The most important card in this series will likely be the $649 Radeon RX 6800 XT. It features 72 compute units and 16GB of 16Gbps GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit wide memory bus. The 6800 XT can clock up to 2015MHz under load (or Game Clock as AMD likes to call it) and can occasionally hit peaks of 2250MHz for short durations under ideal conditions (Boost Clock). AMD claims a total board power of 300W for this card.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

The 6800 XT also has 128MB of what AMD calls the Infinity Cache. This is high-density, high-speed cache based on the Zen L3 cache. It is designed to minimize DRAM bottlenecks, latency, and power consumption and is especially effective at 4K and 1440p resolutions. Combined with the VRAM, AMD claims the Infinity Cache offers 2.17x the effective bandwidth of a 384-bit wide GDDR6 memory.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

AMD also had some charts to show comparing the performance of the 6800 XT to the $699 RTX 3080. We usually take these with a grain of salt but in the absence of any reliable third-party reviews, these can be taken as a rough guidance.

Next is the $579 Radeon RX 6800. Despite being cheaper, the 6800 doesn’t lose out on much compared to the 6800 XT. The major difference is to the number of compute units, which has dropped from 72 to 60 due to one of the shader engines being disabled. The “Game Clock” has also been dropped down to 1815MHz with the Boost Clock down to 2105MHz.

Despite that, the Radeon RX 6800 will still have the full 16GB 16Gbps GDDR6 memory and 128MB Infinity Cache. And because it’s a bit slower, the board power has also dropped down to 250W instead.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

The 6800 will mostly compete with the $499 RTX 3070, even though it’s more expensive. AMD claims in its charts that the 6800 is faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, which has similar levels of performance as the RTX 3070. However, we would take this chart with an even bigger pinch of salt as it makes use of a feature called Smart Access Memory, which we will discuss shortly.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

Lastly, there is the flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT. This $999 graphics card comes with the full complement of 80 compute units along with the same game and boost clock speeds as the 6800 XT. The rest of the specifications are similar as well.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

AMD decided to take a swipe at the lofty $1499 RTX 3090 with the 6900 XT in its comparison charts. This time, however, we would suggest a small teaspoon of salt as these results are taken with Smart Access Memory and something called “Rage Mode” enabled.

So what is this comically named Rage Mode? AMD calls it a one click overclocking solution. According to Gamers Nexus, Rage Mode unlocks the power targets on these cards so they can clock higher. It doesn’t actually overclock the card itself, just removes some of the power restrictions that could prevent it from clocking higher in some instances. For manual overclockers, this is nothing new but those who are either new or uncomfortable with overclocking can just click this one button and hope it does something.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

As for the aforementioned Smart Access Memory, this one’s a bit more interesting. For this to work, you need a Radeon RX 6000 series GPU, a Ryzen RX 5000 series desktop CPU and a 500-series chipset motherboard. Once you have this trifecta and enable an option in BIOS, it allows the CPU access to the full 16GB VRAM on the graphics card, which supposedly reduces memory fragmentation on the VRAM and improves performance.

Within AMD’s test samples, they say anywhere from single digit to low double digit gains in performance with Rage Mode and Smart Access Memory enabled on the 6800 XT.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

RDNA 2 also includes support for Microsoft’s DirectX 12 Ultimate API. This enables support for features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing, variable rate shading, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback, features that were previously only available on select NVIDIA GPU.

Ray tracing will likely be the one most were looking forward to. AMD announced a handful of titles that will be available soon that support ray tracing on AMD cards, although technically nothing really stops the existing titles such as Control, Metro Exodus, Battlefield V, etc. from working on RDNA 2 hardware since they are all based on Microsoft’s DXR implementation. It will be up to AMD to enable support for them in its drivers. Eventually, all DXR based titles should work on all RTX, Radeon RX 6000, and Xbox Series X|S hardware.

AMD announces Radeon RX 6000 series gaming graphics cards

AMD is also supporting the Microsoft DirectStorage API, which aims to improve load times and improve texture quality. Along with that, the company will continue to support its own technologies, such as AMD FidelityFX, Radeon Anti-Lag, and Radeon Boost.

What’s missing from AMD’s arsenal for now is an alternative to NVIDIA’s DLSS or deep learning super sampling. This enabled AI-assisted upsampling of game assets using scans of high resolution assets, which results in close to native resolution image quality but with a lower rendering budget.

AMD has promised a technology called Super Resolution, which seems similar to DLSS but provided no further details that would let us know how well it would work. The feature is also still in development and won’t be available for some time after the launch of these cards. That should put a severe dent in AMD’s ray tracing performance compared to NVIDIA’s DLSS, which is likely why AMD hasn’t announced support for existing DXR titles as most of them have some form of DLSS.

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Now for availability. The RX 6800 and 6800 XT will be available starting November 18 for the aforementioned prices of $579 and $649 on AMD.com. The RX 6900 XT will be available starting December 8 for $999. Cards will also be available from the usual board partners, such as ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, SAPPHIRE, and XFX in November.

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