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Best PC case 2018: top cases for your desktop computer

  • If you’re thinking about either buying or building one of the best gaming PCs, you might want to start thinking about picking up one of the best PC cases. Sure, a case isn’t as exciting as the best graphics cards, but all of those shiny and expensive components that you’re about to buy are of pristine quality, so why not match that with one of the best PC cases you can buy today?

    You might be thinking that there’s nothing more superfluous than a fancy PC chassis, but that’s really not the case. The best PC cases not only determine how much space you have for high end components and future expansion, but will also streamline your computer’s performance, thanks to the thermal benefits that cases designed for airflow allow for.

    We know it’s not controversial to claim that heat is bad for PC components, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep it in mind when you’re looking for the best PC case for you. You should consider a case that’s going to mitigate the amount of heat that your PC components are exposed to, and the best PC cases will focus a lot of their attention on this issue. That’s not to mention the aesthetic benefits from having a baller chassis.

    When you go to Newegg or Amazon, one of the first things you’ll notice is the market for the best PC cases is absolutely saturated. Making sense of all the cases on offer can genuinely be a hassle, plus there’s that annoying myth that higher prices mean better quality. You can combat this by looking for a case that strikes a balance between price, utility and cooling performance. Luckily, we’ve taken that approach when creating that list – every case here has been tested and ranked by the TechRadar editorial team and has earned our seal of approval. These are, without a doubt, the best – and most valuable – PC cases you can buy in 2018.

    The Cooler Master Cosmos C700P looks at portability and simply scoffs. This 22kg (or 48.5 lbs) behemoth isn’t exactly the most lightweight case on the block. Don’t take the lack of portability to mean that the Cosmos C700P isn’t a great case, it is, but it just means that, if you want to carry it around, you’ll have to take advantage of the upper rails. Still, despite its thickness, the C700P is flexible and beautiful, thanks to Cooler Master’s decision to implement full RGB lighting and support for six different system orientations. 

    There are very few PC cases that look anything like Fractal Design’s Meshify-C. It’s even rare to see a chassis that even vaguely resembles it.. Given that the entire front of the case is made of mesh material sectioned off into many polygonal shapes, the Meshify-C has a unique aesthetic, and it does so without compromising on function. With two fans pre-installed, interior cooling is (forgive us) a breeze, even if the Meshify-C is held back by a number of obstacles. 

    Nanoxia Deep Silence 4, as it’s name suggests, was crafted with the sole purpose of being quiet as a mouse. This silence-focused case is a well-balanced Micro ATX case that’s affordably priced and even accommodates some of the biggest, most powerful graphics cards with its spacious interior. The fact that you’ll rarely hear it go above 30 decibels is just icing on the very taciturn cake.   

    • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Phanteks Evolv Shift X. 

    Mini-ITX is ever so slowly getting closer and closer to finally toppling the now seemingly ancient Micro-ATX form factor, so, it only makes sense that this hot form factor has made its way into NZXT’s new H series case lineup. And unbelievably enough, NZXT has managed to incorporate a lot of the same features as its Micro ATX and mid-tower equivalents, with mesmerising, built-in and Smart Device-controlled RGB lighting and an adaptive noise sensor that sees improvement only by way of the Grid+ V3 fan controller. 

    • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Phanteks Evolv Shift X. 

    When you first look at it, the Phanteks Evolv Shift X appears more like a sound bar than a PC case, but this helps it vanish into any living area or studio setup. It’s flexible to the point that it looks natural placed under a TV just as it does atop a desk, next to an equally high-end monitor. It may only be compatible with Mini-ITX mobos, which seems crazy given its size but the Phanteks Evolv Shift X offers tons of space for components and liquid-cooled loops. If this case is a little too large for your preference, there’s also the more manageable and smaller Phanteks Evolv Shift.  

    Fractal Design has scored a second entry on this list, and they deserve it. The Define R5 is yet another mid-tower case exhibiting a beautiful style. The metallic and blue LED-lit face of the case is simple, yet elegant, and is accompanied by noise dampening materials throughout its interior. In spite of the detachable ModuVent panels and drive trays not being tool-lessly accessible, the Fractal Design Define R5 is otherwise painless to build a computer inside of. Not only that, but it’s not as expensive as you would expect from a PC case with such a pretentious name either. 

    Even if you’re trying to avoid spending a fortune on your build, it’s probably not a great idea to not settle for the absolute cheapest PC case you can find. For the most part, cheap cases don’t really incorporate proper ventilation and airflow, not to mention you’ll end up buying your own fans and cable management supplies. The Corsair Carbide Spec-04, on the other hand, shows up even some of the more expensive cases. It does so with rubberized feet, an included LED fan and tons of room to spare for additional fans and components.  

    This case is for the Razer fans out there. While the green snake-adorned company doesn’t manufacture its own PCs, it has partnered with several OEMs in the past to add its signature green-infused flare to a handful of desktop PC cases. This includes the Antec Cube, a small form factor chassis that supports Mini-ITX motherboards and is shaped like an italic font (but backwards). Complete with lots of space, either for an initial build or future expansion, the Antec Cube is also compact enough to travel with.

    9 hours 53 min ago

The 10 best NAS devices 2018

  • The best NAS (or network attached storage) will be a godsend if you’re looking for the best way to store all of your essential files for your office, or even a home media library. But what is the best NAS? Well, that’s precisely the question we aim to answer with this exhaustive list of the best NAS devices you can buy in 2018 – which includes our expert advice on what to look for when shopping for a NAS. 

    If you’re not entirely sure what a NAS actually is, well, unlike the best SSDs, they’re essentially hard drives that are integrated into your network through Ethernet. They act as shared storage devices between any and all devices on your network – some NAS devices will even let you access remotely via internet, essentially creating your own cloud storage. Cloud storage that you control.

    The best thing about NAS devices is that you don’t need all of your devices to use the same platform to access them. They will support basically any operating system you can think of. However, finding the one you need can be a challenge.

    And that’s why we’ve created this list of the best NAS devices that we have personally tested and/or reviewed in-house at TechRadar. You can be confident that every device listed here will not only be worth the money, but also perform in exactly the way you need them to.

    WD has achieved quite considerable success with its unashamedly consumer-friendly My Cloud products, which can stream to any DLNA-compliant device and can be accessed via mobile apps for iOS and Android.

    Labeled as a 'personal cloud,' it's a NAS box by any other measure and starts at 2TB of storage (you can also get it in 3 or 4TB). As it's a one-bay unit, it can't back itself up to a drive inside the unit, but it can back up to an external hard drive via a USB port on the back.

    Picking up on the 'personal cloud' theme, this unit from Seagate takes its lead from My Cloud, but it offers far larger capacities, along with dual bays for two hard drives. This allows the Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS device to mirror the files on one hard drive to a second one, giving you protection in case one of those drives fails.

    We also like the no-fuss appearance of this unit, meaning it can sit nicely under a router or on a shelf. It works with cloud accounts, including Dropbox and Google Drive, and you can also use an app to share content to streamers, including Chromecast and Roku.

    The QNAP TS-251A is an awesome NAS device that comes with more features than you can shake the included remote control at. You've got dual Ethernet ports, a HDMI out for connecting it up to a TV and beefy hardware including a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron CPU and 4GB of RAM (that can be expanded to 8GB) for hardware transcoding media files.

    The QTS operating system allows you to easily install a range of apps, from Plex Media Server, file sharing apps and even a karaoke app, as well as run Ubuntu Linux for even more flexibility.

    In short - this is a fantastic NAS device, though you'll need to buy the hard drives separately, so factor that in to the overall cost.

    This 2TB dual-bay NAS (it's also available in 4, 6, and 8TB capacities) comes from Buffalo, the company that also makes the TeraStation line of advanced NAS units.

    The key selling point of this model is that it can integrate directly with BitTorrent, meaning it can download stuff for you even when your PC is turned off. Like many of the other devices here, you can also stream to it via various devices, it's platform agnostic and you can use it as an iTunes server.

    Once in a while, a product comes around that challenges the conventions of their product category. The DS1817 is one such product. Most NAS devices that occupy the ‘value’ space tend to be underpowered and have little to no room for expansion. The DS1817 flies in the face of those conventions, and allows users to fill the included eight drive bays with whatever they choose, so that you can get as much (or as little) storage as you’d like. Plus, on top of this heaping expandability, the 10GbE LAN and Quad-Core CPU mean that you’ll never be left wanting for performance.

    Read the full review: Synology DiskStation DS181 

    This two-bay unit can create a mirrored backup of your stuff (duplicating your data on both drives), using RAID configuration. That's quite an advanced feature for a consumer box and you do pay quite a lot for that capability and WD's user-friendly presentation, including an easy-to-master, browser-based control screen.

    This is a 4TB unit (6, 8, and 16TB units are also available). For extra peace of mind, you can also back the contents up to Dropbox.

    This great NAS is a two-bay device with a DLNA media server on board. As with the QNAP enclosure, there's no storage included out of the box, and you'll need to buy your own drives.

    While this means it takes a little more time to set up, the flexibility of choosing your own drives means you'll get the capacity and speed you need, while sticking to your budget. The DiskStation software will also sync with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and others, as well as different DiskStations.

    As well as the RAID capabilities found in more expensive and complex NAS devices, this box is meant for small business use and supports Microsoft Active Directory. It can also act as a file server, FTP server, backup server and P2P download server.

    WD's EX series are also available in diskless variants, though this price is for the 4TB version. 8TB, 12TB and 16TB are also available. If you don't need any of this extra stuff, then get the My Cloud Mirror.

    If you're looking for a NAS device to help manage your backup needs, the DL4100 might be worth. taking a look at.

    One of the coolest features of this device is its web dashboard that offers users options for backing up to cloud services such as Dropbox and Box. Additionally, we really liked the ability to set up SMS and email alerts in case the system failed for whatever reason.

    As far as storage options are concerned, the DL4100 comes with four drive bays in your choice of four configurations. Aside from some annoying issues with wireless transfers, we found that the DL4100's 1.7GHz dual-core Atom processor and 2GB of RAM (configurable up to 6GB) performed admirably. Combine this with an easy setup and cloud connected web apps, and you have an interesting backup offering on your hands. 

    While the Time Capsule offers a seamless option for Mac users, its 2 and 3TB storage options are supremely expensive compared to other alternatives.

    It might be wireless itself, but the lack of wireless isn't an issue for any of the other devices here because you will almost always wire them into a router… a wireless router. You access content in exactly the same way.

    As with many of the other devices here, you can use the USB port on the rear to share a USB printer or external hard drive.

    What the Time Capsule does well is make it easy to setup and configure automatic backups for Mac and iOS users. If you're an Apple fan that doesn't like getting into the nitty gritty of technology, this is a good choice.

    9 hours 58 min ago

Android 8.1 update lets you check the speed of public Wi-Fi networks

  • One of the niftiest small features that Google announced it was stuffing into Android 8.1 Oreo is the ability to see the speed of a public Wi-Fi signal before you join it. Today, after a bit of a delay, that feature finally started rolling out to users.

    After updating, Android's Wi-Fi Assistant will tell you if a signal is Very Fast, Fast, OK or Slow the next time you try to join a public Wi-Fi channel.

    With "Very Fast," you should be able to watch high-definition video from the likes of HBO Now and Netflix; and with "OK," you should be able to do relatively simple internet tasks along the line of checking Facebook and Twitter. With "Slow," you might be better off sticking with your cellular data plan.

    Keep in mind that Wi-Fi Assistant only works for public, open Wi-Fi networks as Android needs to access the signal in order to check it out. If the network is password protected, there's a good chance you wouldn't have been able to use it anyway.

    If you're a business owner who doesn't like random Android users seeing this kind of information, Google has fortunately given administrators a couple of ways to opt out. On the user end, you can also disable the feature in the Settings app under Network & Internet.

    Staggered delivery

    Of course, being able to enjoy this feature means you need to be able to use Android 8.1 in the first place. 

    As we've seen, some Oreo-compatible phones such as the OnePlus 5T are resistant to Google's "Project Treble," which allows Android users to update their devices to the most current version of the popular operating system. 

    Complications such as this should cease to be as much of an issue in the near future, though, as Google is requiring all phones that ship with Oreo to support Project Treble.

    Roadblocks such as the one we see with the OnePlus 5T are among the clear drawbacks of a highly customizable operating system that's meant to run on all sorts of devices, but with features such as Project Treble, Google has fortunately been making great strides toward lessening the frustrations with the system.

    Now it just needs phone companies to play along.

    9 hours 59 min ago

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Google briefly broke Amazon’s workaround for YouTube on Fire TV

  • Google and Amazon aren’t getting any closer to ending their bitter feud. In fact, today the user-hostile fight between them is only getting worse. YouTube briefly appeared to have blocked the Silk web browser on Fire TV from displaying the TV-optimized interface normally shown on large screens. As a result, trying to navigate YouTube and watch videos became a usability nightmare on Amazon’s popular streaming products.

    We confirmed the TV interface wasn’t working around 5:00PM ET; by around 6PM, the TV interface had returned. Amazon declined to comment; Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    While the TV interface was unavailable, YouTube on the Fire TV was basically a desktop computer experience. To control it, you...

    Continue reading…

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