12 days of tech tips: How to optimize Windows 10 for PC gaming performance

Windows 10 is the best OS for PC gaming. Here’s how to optimize your experience.

There really is no greater place for intense gaming than a PC, and Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest OS for interactive entertainment. Out of the box, it’s a great OS for playing games, but there are a few things you can do to improve the experience. Whether you’re getting a new PC for Christmas or ordering a few parts to improve your game, we’ve got a few handy tips that can improve things.

From disabling updates to installing the latest GPU drivers, our guide will help optimize your PC for gaming. Spend less time lagging and more time fragging this holiday season!


Control your devices anywhere with a $40 two-pack of TP-Link Smart Plugs

Buy smart accessories smartly.

The TP-Link HS110 Smart Plug two-pack is now on sale at Amazon for just $39.99. Other than when it was $35 at B&H Photo on Black Friday, this looks to be the lowest price ever for these smart plugs. At just $5 above the Black Friday pricing, it’s nothing to scoff at. A single one of these plugs is currently selling for $35 on its own, so this is a really smart way to save some cash.

These smart plugs come with energy monitoring, allowing you to track real-time and historical energy use.

Features include:


Surprise! Leading media center solution Kodi has arrived on Xbox One

Kodi is a popular media center solution for PCs and other devices, and it’s finally available on Xbox One.

Kodi began life as Xbox Media Center (XBMC), owing its roots to the original Xbox console. It has evolved a great deal since then, becoming a favorite for cord-cutters and media enthusiasts everywhere.

Update December 29, 2017: Kodi appears to be rolling out on a region-by-region basis as of writing, with availability starting in Europe. Hopefully it’ll hit more markets soon!

Kodi appeared on Xbox One today as part of what appears to be a soft-launch or alpha phase (thanks for the tip, Ross!), supporting what appears to be, a full raft of features from the Windows 10 Store version, including all those pesky add-ons everybody except the entertainment industry loves. It also means that Xbox potentially now has TV DVR finally, after being promised and then cancelled by Microsoft previously. A number of services can hook into Kodi for live TV and DVR features.


Enter the Danger Zone with a free VR screening of Top Gun in Windows Mixed Reality

Strap in and get ready to hit the highway to the danger zone: Top Gun is coming to Windows Mixed Reality with VR screenings on December 29.

Bigscreen and Paramount have teamed up for a series of special VR screenings of 80s classic Top Gun.


10 games you won't want to miss during the Steam Winter Sale

As 2017 draws to a close, Steam has launched its annual end-of-year sale, offering a huge number of titles at low prices. Here’s ten of the best games you can pick up during the event.

‘Twas the big Winter Steam Sale, and all ‘cross the net,
gamers held tight their gift cards and searched for titles to get.
From RPGs to Shooters, there were games aplenty,
most at a price that was well under twenty.

People rejoiced as the store pages quickly loaded,
while their Steam wallets’ contents were quickly eroded.
They dashed to their libraries, one by one with their haul,
and merrily cheered as they clicked on “install.”

They anxiously waited for their games to be ready,
with cursors poised over the play button, steady.
And as their installs were finally completed,
all real life priorities took a backseat, defeated.

Friends, these are the stories of Winter Sales past,
but be of good cheer, for they’re sure not the last.
One is live right now, as if on cue,
so here are ten games that are just right for you.


Plantronics RIG 400HX review: A great-sounding budget Xbox headset

A solid, very affordable Xbox One headset that might have passed you by.

Plantronics makes some great headsets, like the impressive RIG 800LX. But not everyone wants or can afford to spent a lot on an expensive, high-end headset. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a lousy experience, though.

That’s where the RIG 400HX comes in. It only costs $50, and while you don’t get anything particularly fancy, you get quality where it matters most. It’s definitely the wheat that stands out amongst the chaff.


Xbox in 2018: Thoughts, predictions, hopes, and dreams

2017 was a fun year for Xbox One fans, but many questions still remain, both for current owners, and potential future owners.

Microsoft continues to lose arguments revolving around its games library, that not only lacks quality “AAA” exclusives when compared to the competition, but it’s generally missing developer support vs. PC and PlayStation. Despite not having exclusivity deals in place, certain games like Nier Automata and Final Fantasy XIV haven’t arrived on Xbox due to the console’s abysmal performance in Japan, and issues arising from its platform policies. Xbox gamers have needlesslly missed out on heavy-hitting, headline-dominating titles, save for some bright spots like Cuphead and the runaway success story PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

When it comes to visuals, the Xbox One X is dominating the console scene, defying expectations across the board. The Xbox One X delivers the best visuals available outside of expensive high-end PCs, and it’s the smallest Xbox yet. The Xbox platform also received a pretty hefty dashboard revamp, bringing in some Microsoft Fluent Design elements and adding in many hotly requested features.


WaterField Designs Cargo Laptop Bag review: A classic gets updated

For those who prefer a more conservative cargo bag for work the WaterField Designs Cargo Laptop Bag fits the bill. With premium leather and ballistic nylon this bag wil certainly look good on any occasion.

WaterField is a manufacturer of quality bags based out of San Francisco. Hand-made with only the finest tanned leather and ballistic nylon, WaterField bags are not cheap, but they are meant to last a lifetime versus lower-cost mass produced ones.

The Cargo Laptop Bag was the company’s very first bag, going back 18 years. For 2017 it has been redesigned with improved materials and functionality.


12 days of tech tips: How to customize your Windows cursor settings

Did you know your mouse cursor has a bunch of hidden features that may not be enabled? Here are some great ones that many users never change, and the holidays are a great time to experiment with them.

Windows 10 is still technically “new,” but there’s also a lot of older legacy support and options buried in the OS. One feature that I’m always surprised people never use is the ability to tweak the mouse cursor. People just blindly accept the default size and look and go on with lives. Savages!