Teen spends over $8000 on EA's FIFA, highlights predatory game design

A distraught parent on U.K. parenting forum Mumsnet shines a spotlight on EA’s predatory game design.

Recently, I met a friend from school that I hadn’t seen for some time. Being the Xbox dude I am, I showed him Xbox Game Pass, Project xCloud game streaming, and a range of other features Xbox has that he was completely unaware of. As kids, we played Xbox games almost non-stop, skipping school to smash each other in Halo and forming blisters on our thumbs playing Street Fighter. Alas, my buddy has three kids of his own now, and his free time to game has certainly waned.

EA has been in the spotlight for predatory game design practices before, and most likely will be again.

Many “gamers” live in a bubble, where we remain a tad ignorant of how the vast majority of consumers engage with Xbox, PlayStation, and other gaming platforms. The average player only grabs a few games per year, and spends a lot of time jumping on and off a staple few, including Minecraft, Call of Duty, Fortnite, and EA’s FIFA.

Even the most technologically aware parents generally seem unaware of things like Xbox Game Pass and beyond. Perhaps more problematically, many parents often seem unaware of how modern AAA games revolve around destructive gameplay loops, particularly if they’re from EA.

EA has been in the spotlight for predatory game design practices before, and most likely will be again. Star Wars Battlefront II with its pay-to-win lite mechanics was met with a furious backlash from core gamers and shooter fans. However, EA’s sports franchises, most notoriously FIFA, effectively have pay-to-win mechanics baked in at a fundamental level in the “FIFA Ultimate Team” (FUT) game mode. FUT combines the most nefarious aspects of addictive game design, pay-to-win, and repeat spending, targeting individuals who may be particularly susceptible to these predatory design conventions. You can argue that adults should be responsible for themselves, but FIFA has a “E for Everyone” ESRB rating. Perhaps the ESRB needs to take another look at these gambling-lite mechanics.

When parental controls aren’t enough

The heartbreaking post on Mumsnet from anonymous user “NameChangedCosShame” describes a scenario where her teen son was caught spending £6,000 pounds (around $8,300 dollars) on FIFA on Xbox. I’ve already seen people respond with “well it’s the parent’s fault,” but honestly, setting up parental controls is fairly complicated and laborious even if you’re technologically advanced.

The post describes how her son has been particularly hard-hit by the U.K.’s lengthy pandemic lockdown period. From February to September 2020, and then from December 2020 to April 2021, the majority of UK schools were shut down, with kids pushed onto Zoom and Microsoft Teams calls to do their work. All socializing was canceled and the news feeds bleet 24/7 about how dangerous everything was. It wasn’t a fun time for anyone, least of all a kid, which was cited as a reason for his frivolous FIFA spending.

Even if the post is fabricated in some way (and there’s no reason to believe it is), there are countless other examples of this occurring across the years. Psychological studies have shown time and time again how gambling addiction can rise hand-in-hand with a decline in mental health. EA knowingly exploits this fact with its games.

You can argue that the parent should’ve put parental controls on the Xbox, and they do exist to block this scenario from happening. However, this excuses EA and others for intentionally designing a game system around exploitation. If you’re a stressed and busy parent who comes from an era where video game consoles didn’t have these parental control features you may not even understand why they’re necessary. There’s frankly not enough education about this stuff, and every time somebody’s kid slips through the cracks, we get a scenario like this.

FIFA Ultimate Team is mired in gambling

Many games have loot boxes these days, or at least something like them. In Overwatch, the game rewards you for repeatedly playing the game by giving you a shiny magical present filled with shiny skins and other items, mimicking those nostalgic Christmas hooks from your childhood. Fortnite does something similar, as do many others. I’d argue that FIFA Ultimate Team steps a little further into classical gambling, however, since the cards you get can actually be traded, and have some form of monetary value. FIFA also has the added clout of real-world football licenses, bringing celebrity adoration into the equation. It’s a perfect storm for exploitation.

Like real football, players have different value levels and skill. FIFA players who have better players in their team will, potentially, be more proficient in competitive play online. The game is supposed to match you with decks of similar value, but how is there any way to know if you’re losing because you don’t have that special player you want on your team?

It’s not just about the money. It’s about the erosion of mental health through predatory game design and marketing.

My friend from school went into some detail about FIFA Ultimate Team since he doesn’t have time to jump on World of Warcraft and some of the other games we used to play. Plus, like many kids, his adore football, so it’s a way for them to all bond. Even my friend who is well into his thirties lamented the addictive qualities of FUT, joking how he’d acquire new players and expect them to make his teams better, only to end up losing to a more “powerful” team.

He’s an adult though. There’s an argument to be made that adults should be able to do whatever they wish with their own money. I’ve betted on horse racing before for a laugh, and you know, if it’s fun, fine. The problem is when casual gambling becomes gambling addiction, and thus self-destructive.

EA and platform holders, quite honestly, have a responsibility to ensure the games they’re making billions of dollars on shouldn’t cause harm to individuals or families. It would be easy to make a FIFA game that was still fun and engaging, yet didn’t prey on the psychological vulnerabilities of individuals susceptible to self-destructive addictive behavior. These games would still make millions, and yeah, execs like Activision’s Bobby Kotick might have to forfeit a yacht upgrade or two. But allow me to play the world’s smallest violin.

Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, and the ESRB need to step up

EA’s cringe-worthy defense of its gambling mechanics being “ethical.”

I’m sorry lads, but “they should’ve turned on parental controls” isn’t enough in this scenario. This keeps happening time and time again. These games and these consoles are being sold to kids, with marketing aimed at kids. Platform holders need to do a better job to educate parents on what these so-called “E for Everyone” ESRB-rated games can actually do to a youngster susceptible to gambling addiction. They also need to work harder to push parental control restrictions onto consoles by default.

NameChangedCosShame explains that her son started buying things due to an EA “sale” on special packs, leading to a vicious purchasing cycle.

The ESRB and governments should consider taking the position that FIFA and other games with gambling-like structures should come with an 18-rating. Sell FIFA Ultimate Team separately with an 18-rating if you want. Casinos often carry 18 plus entry restrictions for this very reason.

I don’t buy this argument that “it’s the parents fault,” and neither should you. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the erosion of mental health through predatory, manipulative game design and marketing. EA actively pushes and partners with YouTubers with disposeable income, bragging about their card pulls too. EA knows what it’s doing, and doesn’t seem to give a shit about the potential consequences.

There’s always going to be situations where people slip through the cracks, whether they’re kids or not. Stop apologizing for billion-dollar corporations that only care about harvesting cash, responsibly or not. Addiction can happen to anyone, at any time, 18+ or not. And I know I’m by no means the first person to highlight this stuff, and hopefully won’t be the last. Either way, it’s about time that gaming companies took a long look at themselves and asked if they’re okay with exploiting susceptible individuals this way.

If you’re concerned about gambling addiction, resources like the NCPG in the U.S. and the NHS in the UK may be able to help.

Teen spends over 00 on EA's FIFA, highlights predatory game design

Microsoft To Do gets new shortcut for creating tasks on Android

Creating a task in Microsoft To Do for Android is now a target for sharing images.

What you need to know

Microsoft To Do on Android now lets you create a task by sharing an image.
When you create a task this way, the image remains attached to the task.
The latest update to the app also addresses some bugs that cause the app to crash.

Microsoft To Do is a straightforward app for managing tasks and to-do lists. It’s available on every major platform and the web, and it’s designed to make it easy to create new tasks. With the latest update to Microsoft To Do for Android, you can create a task by sharing an image.

The same update also has some bug fixes. Here’s everything new, as found on its changelog:

Now you can create a task by sharing an image in To Do.
In this version we have also fixed app crash bugs and bug for a smooth Widget experience.

Following the update, creating a task through Microsoft To Do becomes a share target. When you’re in an app that supports the sharing menu, such as your phone’s gallery or Google Photos, you can select “Add new task.” You’re then taken into Microsoft To Do to add any details, such as a due date or reminder.

Adding an image to a task is a simple way to make the task more memorable. The new shortcut option makes it easier to create rich to-do list items.

Microsoft To Do

Free at Google Play

Microsoft To Do allows you to sync tasks and to-do lists across all of your devices. It’s available on Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, and the web. With the latest update to the Android version of the app, you can create tasks by sharing an image.

Microsoft To Do gets new shortcut for creating tasks on Android

Xbox consoles don't make profit, Microsoft confirms

Xbox consoles aren’t profitable.

What you need to know

More Microsoft insider info came to light today thanks to the Epic Games v. Apple trial.
Microsoft has officially declared that it sells its Xbox consoles at a loss.
As is typical in the industry, the company makes its money via software.

More interesting Microsoft news has arrived thanks to the Epic Games v. Apple trial. As part of a line of questioning revolving around the differences between app stores on consoles versus mobile despite the fact that both take 30% revenue cuts (a contentious figure which is at the center of the entire Epic v. Apple trial), Microsoft’s revenue model for Xboxes was brought up.

Lori Wright, Microsoft’s head of Xbox business development, was asked how much margin Microsoft makes via Xbox console sales. Her reply was straightforward: “We don’t,” she said. “We sell the consoles at a loss.”

It was left unclear whether Microsoft ever profits off console sales, as later on in the lifecycle of hardware, then-outdated components typically become cheaper to produce. But even when a console becomes cheaper to produce, at that point in a device’s lifecycle, it’s also typically sold for less, so perhaps Microsoft means that under no circumstances does it ever truly make a noteworthy profit off its consoles.

It’s a well-established fact that console makers sell their machines at a loss, even in the case of the PS3 back when it was $600 at launch. Still, hearing Microsoft reaffirm this fact at the start of the Xbox Series X’s lifecycle tells us that not much has changed from a business model standpoint.

The end goal of console makers remains to sell software and, in Microsoft’s case, Game Pass subscriptions. After all, why go through all the effort to sell a consumer on a single piece of software that’s a one-time purchase when you can sell them on all software at once via a single subscription that brings in dependable recurring revenue?

Xbox consoles don't make profit, Microsoft confirms

Journey through the Dark Portal in WoW: Burning Crusade Classic on June 1

Choose which experience you want starting May 18.

What you need to know

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic is the first expansion to World of Warcraft: Classic.
The game takes players through the Dark Portal to fight the forces of the Burning Legion.
Players can opt to stay in a Classic Era realm if they don’t want to change their current experience.

After announcing that World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic would be released in 2021 during its February BlizzConline event, Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed that the first expansion to 2019’s World of Warcraft: Classic will release worldwide at 3 p.m. PDT on June 1.

The game will recreate the 2007 expansion, which allowed players to venture through the Dark Portal into the Outland, a realm devastated by the demonic Burning Legion. The pre-expansion patch will go live after scheduled maintenance on May 18. Each player will have the option of chooising to advance into Burning Crusade or having their character moved to a realm that will stay in the Classic Era. They can also pay a fee to clone their character so they can have a version on each type of realm.

If you’re excited to adventure into Outland, you might want to read up on the lore involving the zone and the forces there by picking up some of the World of Warcraft novels. Let us know in the comments section if you’ll be making the journey.

Fight death itself

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Defeat The Jailer.

World of Warcraft never ceases to amaze. Blizzard continues to get tons of mileage out of the legendary MMO, with a step up for live story-telling, stunning art direction, and one of the richest launch endgame experiences we’ve seen to date.

$40 at Blizzard

Journey through the Dark Portal in WoW: Burning Crusade Classic on June 1

Here's the state of the chipmaking war between the U.S. and China

Self-sufficiency in the tech sector is the key to future security, and China knows it.

What you need to know

In key computing areas such as CPU chip design, U.S. companies dominate the global market.
The U.S. also routinely puts sanctions on Chinese tech corporations, throttling access to key components.
China is making a determined effort to disconnect itself from dependency on U.S.-based tech.

A newly published, in-depth feature from Nikkei Asia gives a detailed overview of the current state of the conflict between China and the U.S. in the sectors of chipmaking, semiconductor manufacturing, and computing technology as a whole. One of the many key takeaways the article presents is the encroaching reality that if China has its way, it will no longer depend on the U.S. for many of its computing needs, which will have big consequences for both countries.

The feature highlights that U.S.-based corporations control many spaces in computing tech, such as central processing unit (CPU) design, wherein behemoths including AMD and Intel have control over 90% of the global market. In wafer inspection, ion implantation, etching, and many other areas, U.S. businesses handle 80% of the market’s business. These figures paint the picture that, when it comes to chipmaking, the United States maintains something of a monopoly in many important areas.

That fact has sat poorly with China, especially in recent years as the U.S. has continuously sanctioned the rival country’s tech companies, making it increasingly unsafe for China to rely on U.S.-based businesses for any of its computing needs. At any moment, a sanction could disrupt supply chains and leave all the power in the U.S.’s hands, which is an unsustainable position that China is trying to get out of.

As such, China is focused on creating competitors to all the foreign companies currently stopping it from being self-sufficient. For every integrated circuit design company around the world, including NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Arm, China is positioning its own Goodix, UNISOC, and Will Semiconductor Co. For chip manufacturing, China is attempting to match the rest of the world’s Intel, TSMC, Samsung, and Micron options with its own Yangtze Memory Technologies, Hua Hong, and SMIC.

No matter the sector, China is working to become self-sufficient, and as tensions rise between China and the U.S., localization efforts in the country will grow. However, the two nations are still tightly interlinked, so how far this decoupling effort can go remains to be seen.

Here's the state of the chipmaking war between the U.S. and China

Mass Effect Legendary Edition can run up to 120FPS on Xbox Series X

You get two modes, one favoring framerate and the other quality.

What you need to know

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a remaster of the original Mass Effect trilogy for current-gen consoles and PCs.
EA has released details on the Legendary Edition’s performance on each of the consoles.
The Legendary Edition will come with two gameplay modes: One favoring quality, and the other favoring framerate.

Electronic Arts released performance details of the upcoming Mass Effect Legendary Edition, including what kind of framerate and output resolution to expect from each console version of the game. There are two kinds of gameplay modes you can switch between at any time: Favor Quality and Favor Framerate.

These two modes appear to correspond roughly to the “Performance” and “Quality” modes we’ve seen in other games. Favor Quality gives you “the highest visual fidelity possible,” while Favor Framerate, as the name suggests, “prioritizes the highest framerate possible.” EA gives a table that shows how each of those plays on each of the consoles.

On PS4 Pro, for example, Favor Quality mode offers “up to 30FPS @ 4K UHD,” while Favor Framerate mode offers “up to 60FPS @ 1440p.”

The Xbox One X and the Xbox Series S will have a comparable level of performance. The most powerful version of the game on offer, going by this table, appears to be the Xbox Series X version, but only by a slim margin: Its numbers are almost the same as those for the PS5, but the Favor Framerate mode on Series X offers “up to 120FPS @ 1440p,” where the PS5 version of the mode only goes up to 60fps.

The list also mentions PC almost as an afterthought. PC gamers can play at up to 240fps and on monitors supporting refresh rates up to 240 Hz. EA adds, “Additionally, players can tweak several graphics options at any time to finetune the preferred balance of graphics and performance.”

EA has shown multiple screenshots and trailers that demonstrate how much more intricate and detailed the graphics in the updated games are compared with the original. So we know the games are going to be pretty regardless of what console you play them on. We can also already glean that the remastered trilogy is going to be a powerhouse on console. Leaked news about the game’s Day One patch shows that it’s allegedly bigger than any of the original games at 11.8 GB.

Galaxy at War

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

$60 at Amazon

$60 at Best Buy

$60 at Steam

Face the Reapers and save the galaxy all over again.

This remastering of the original Mass Effect trilogy brings all the heroism and tragedy of this iconic series forward to current-gen consoles and a new generation of gamers.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition can run up to 120FPS on Xbox Series X

Microsoft got Shadow temporarily kicked from Apple's App Store

Microsoft kerfuffles equal Shadow stumbles.

What you need to know

The Epic Games v. Apple trial is revealing loads of insider info about the tech industry.
One bit of information revealed was that Microsoft was struggling to get xCloud to iPads and iPhones.
In its efforts to get xCloud on the App Store, it accidentally got Shadow kicked off it.

Ever had a situation where you wanted to do something, and you weren’t allowed to, but a peer was, so you tattled and ended up not only remaining locked out but also getting your peer’s privileges revoked as well? Well, it looks like Microsoft did just that in 2020 by accidentally getting Shadow, the cloud computing service, booted from the App Store. This knowledge comes from the latest batch of secrets uncovered as a byproduct of the bonkers Epic Games v. Apple trial.

As spotted by The Verge, new revelations from the trial today reveal that in 2020, Microsoft was making efforts to get xCloud on the App Store but kept getting shut down. So, in response, it pointed to other streaming apps on the App Store, including Shadow’s, essentially saying, “they can do it, so why can’t we?”

Microsoft’s head of business development for Xbox, Lori Wright, commented on the fallout of Microsoft’s actions during the Epic v. Apple trial today. “I believe [Apple] ended up pulling Shadow out of the App Store based off this email we sent until they submitted changes. That was not our intention, of course, it was a byproduct.”

For those not in the know, Shadow’s app store hiccup is far from the biggest roadblock the cloud computing service has had to deal with in recent memory. Its parent company, Blade, recently underwent bankruptcy and now has a new owner in Octave Klaba’s Jezby Ventures.

Microsoft got Shadow temporarily kicked from Apple's App Store

Grab one of these graphics cards to up performance in your PC

The best graphics card available today will turn your PC into a bonafide gaming machine. Sure, you can run a PC with nothing but integrated graphics, but for real performance — the kind that nets you smooth frame rates in modern games — you need one of our picks for the best graphics card. Something like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 or the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is what we have in mind.

The graphics processing unit (GPU) plays an integral role in your gaming PC, helping out the CPU with a heavy load. The better the GPU you buy, the higher resolution and higher in-game settings you’ll be able to enjoy. If you’re wondering exactly where to start, with either a fresh build or an upgrade project, we’ve collected a number of the best graphics cards available now for several different performance thresholds and budget ranges.

Best Graphics Cards at a glance

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 — Best Overall: Next-gen Ampere, ray tracing, DLSS, power for quality 4K at a reasonable price
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT — Runner-Up: Next-gen RDNA 2, 16GB VRAM, 300W TDP, competitive price, and performance for 4K gaming
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 — Expensive Overkill: Next-gen Ampere, 24GB VRAM, great for designers and developers
AMD Radeon RX 6800 — Best Mid-Range AMD: Next-gen RDNA 2, 16GB VRAM, 250W TDP, performance for 4K and 1440p gaming
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 — Best Mid-Range NVIDIA: Next-gen Ampere, RTX 2080 Ti performance
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti — Best Value GPU: Outperforms the RTX 2080 Super
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT — Raw 1440p Power: Sits between the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070 for high-end 1440p gaming
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super — Best Budget: Affordable price, enough performance for modest 1080p gaming

What is the best graphics card for gaming?

The beauty of building your own PC is that there are plenty of best graphics card options available to you based on budget and required performance. You can mix and match hardware as you please and still end up with a powerful rig. For most people, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is going to hit a high-end performance tier and not cost an excessive amount of money like the more powerful overkill options. Cue the NVIDIA RTX 3090, the Ampere generation’s answer to the RTX Titan, ideal for design and development work but demanding a very high price.

If you’re looking to experience 4K PC gaming, the next-gen RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT will work well, delivering only about 10% less performance than the RTX 3090 for a whole lot less money. If you want to just dabble in 4K gaming but primarily focus on a high-end 1440p experience, the NVIDIA RTX 3070 will do good for those on Team Green while the AMD Radeon RX 6800 will be attractive for those on Team Red.

There are plenty more best graphics card options out there, whether you’re looking at one for gaming, 4K power, or happen to be on a budget. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for where to buy NVIDIA RTX 30-series GPUs and where to buy AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs, which haven’t been easy to come by so far. As it stands, here are the best graphics cards on the market today.

1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080: Best Graphics Card for Most Gamers

Bottom line: Thanks to powerful next-gen Ampere performance and a competitive price, the RTX 3080 is an excellent pick for most people. It affords you the ability to choose FHD, QHD, or UHD resolutions at a high frame rate, and it delivers the extra features exclusive to NVIDIA RTX cards like ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). It’s much faster than the RTX 2080 and even beats out the RTX 2080 Ti in raw performance.

Memory: 10GB GDDR6X | Memory speed: 19Gbps | Memory bus: 320-bit | Boost clock: 1,815MHz | CUDA cores: 8,704 | Process: 8nm | Power: 340W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

MSI
Ventus 3X OC
See at Amazon

NVIDIA
Founders Edition
See at Best Buy

EVGA
XC3 Ultra
See at Amazon

Zotac
Gaming Trinity
See at Newegg

If you can find an RTX 3080 in stock, chances are you’re going to buy it. We’ll hold off on individual recommendations for now.

Pros

Next-gen Ampere performance with 8,704 CUDA cores
AI-enhancements from DLSS 2.0
Compatible with G-Sync displays
Powerful enough for 4K gaming
Outperforms the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti

Cons

Overkill for some people

There’s no one true pick for everyone when it comes to the best graphics card, but if we’re choosing what should suit most people based on performance and price, we have to go with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080. While AMD has undoubtedly cut into NVIDIA’s claim to the GPU throne with its Radeon RX 6000 cards, a few of which are included in this roundup, the top-tier option still belongs to Team Green.

Not only does the RTX 3080 outperform last-generation GPUs, but it also delivers the extra benefits that make RTX cards so sought after. Ray tracing, the first main feature, isn’t as widespread as many people would like it, but it’s still available in popular games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Control, Minecraft, and more. And the RTX 3080 still includes dedicated cores for ray tracing.

DLSS is perhaps the more impressive feature that comes standard with this GPU. It employs dedicated Tensor cores to run AI rendering in real-time, effectively boosting frame rates while also making frames come out at a much higher resolution. Because ray tracing can be detrimental to performance, DLSS is the perfect pairing. AMD’s new RX 6000 cards features ray tracing, but so far the hit to performance is far more severe compared to NVIDIA RTX.

The RTX 3080 has some beefy specs, and it’s the right card if you’re looking to enjoy smooth 4K gaming at 60 FPS without having to turn down in-game settings. If you want the best PSU for the RTX 3080, NVIDIA recommends at least going with a 750W option. This card is compatible with G-Sync monitors, which have the adaptive sync technology to reduce screen tearing. It will also work with any FreeSync monitors that are “G-Sync compatible.” Whether you’re looking to game at 4K or 1440p, the RTX 3080 is the new best graphics card for many people.

Unfortunately, this GPU sold out almost immediately after the September 17 launch. Check back often for availability updates, and be sure to visit our guide on where to buy the NVIDIA RTX 3080 for more information on restock notifications. Also have a look at more GPU options in our best NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics cards roundup.

For the final word on this GPU, be sure to check out our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

With stellar 4K and 1440p performance that bests the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, the new RTX 3080 is our pick for the best overall GPU for your custom gaming PC. Just make sure it’s not overkill for your needs.

See at Amazon

See at Best Buy

See at Newegg

Best Graphics Cards in 2021

1. NVIDIA RTX 3080
2. AMD RX 6800 XT
3. NVIDIA RTX 3090
4. AMD RX 6800
5. NVIDIA RTX 3070
6. NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti
7. AMD RX 6700 XT
8. NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super

Want to turn your plain PC into a powerful gaming PC? You’ll want to look at investing in one of our picks for the best graphics card. It’s responsible for rendering everything you see on-screen and taking workloads off the CPU when powering through calculations. The last thing you want to do when purchasing a new GPU is to waste your money on an older model or one that’s not powerful enough to do what you need. You also don’t want to overspend.

You don’t want to overspend on your GPU. Be sure the rest of your PC’s components can keep up.

There are several questions you need to ask yourself. What kind of games are you playing? Love low-impact indie titles or well-optimized esport games? Or do you wish to take full advantage of current-gen AAA gaming and want to enjoy the best graphics at a 4K resolution? If the answer is the former, you’ll want to think about more affordable graphics cards that don’t require advanced components to get the most out of the GPU.

As for more demanding games, it’s generally down to your budget and what your current PC has in terms of a processor (CPU), RAM, and more. If your PC build is rocking anything less than a recent Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, it’s probably not worth forking out on top-of-the-line and most expensive GPU options. You’ll most likely experience what is known as a bottleneck, where a separate piece of hardware isn’t capable of keeping up with the GPU’s ability. Our roundup of the best processors for your custom PC can help you get the right CPU.

For which resolution and frame rate are you shooting? Entry-level budget GPUs are ideal for 1080p (FHD) gaming, mid-range is best for 1440p (QHD) gaming, and the top-tier options are cut out for 4K (UHD). Of course, you can always drop down to a lower resolution with a top-tier GPU just to get better frame rates, or if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a 4K gaming monitor.

How long would you like the GPU to last? Going with a budget option now will save you money, but it won’t be relevant as long as a mid- or upper-range GPU. If you don’t want to replace the GPU any time soon, you will want to spend a bit more now to ensure you can continue playing games as they’re released in the next few years.

With all these questions considered, those who need a graphics card now should consider the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. It’s our pick for the best graphics card because it hits a sweet spot in terms of performance and price. It’s nowhere near as costly as the aging RTX 2080 Ti, yet it bests it in performance across resolutions. If it’s not quite what you’re looking for, either in terms of price or performance, there are plenty of other great GPU options available.

2. AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT: More Affordable, Similar Performance

Bottom line: AMD’s “Big Navi” RX 6800 XT is a bit more affordable than the RTX 3080, yet it trades performance blows and doesn’t suck up as much power. Its 16GB of VRAM are great for future-proofing, and it has a number of included features gamers will love. Just remember its ray tracing abilities aren’t as developed and it’s lacking DLSS.

Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: Up to 512Gbps | Memory bus: 256-bit | Base clock: 2,015MHz | Boost clock: 2,250MHz | Stream processors: 4,608 | Process: 7nm | Power: 300W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

Many
Varies
See at Amazon

Many
Varies
See at Best Buy

Many
Varies
See at Newegg

For now, no solid recommendations on which version to buy. If you find one for sale, chances are you’re going to grab it.

Pros

16GB of VRAM
Power efficient
Performance comparable to RTX 3080
Rage Mode and Smart Access Memory
More affordable than RTX 3080

Cons

Ray tracing not as mature
No DLSS

AMD’s new “Big Navi” Radeon RX 6000 GPUs based on RDNA 2 technology bring a ton of power that puts them among the top options out there. In particular, the RX 6800 XT will generally perform as well as the RTX 3080 in 1440p and 4K games, with each card moving up and down based on other factors. The RX 6800 XT is more power efficient, sitting somewhere between the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080.

It has some impressive raw specs, including a whopping 16GB of VRAM that will set it up nicely for the future. If you’re buying a new GPU today and want it to last for the next five years, 8GB of RAM doesn’t look so impressive.

One big advancement with these GPUs is the addition of ray tracing, something NVIDIA previously could only offer. It seems that while the RX 6800 XT does have the option, it’s not quite as good as NVIDIA’s RTX cards. Your games are going to look prettier, but you’re going to see a more significant hit to performance on the AMD cards. Chalk it up to having more time to develop on NVIDIA’s part. It’ll be interesting to see what AMD can do. NVIDIA also has DLSS for compatible games, something AMD is still lacking.

However, AMD does have something called Smart Access Memory (SAM) that can boost performance in some games. The gains aren’t huge, but they are noticeable in plenty of titles. We benchmarked Smart Access Memory to see how much of a difference it really makes. Want to overclock and not void your warranty? AMD’s Rage Mode is another nice addition that will get the job done without harming your hardware.

If you’re on Team Red and want a GPU that can handle 1440p and 4K gaming, the RX 6800 XT is undeniably a great option that should cost less than the RTX 3080 once stock and prices settle.

If this is the card you’re aiming at, check out our collection of best motherboards for AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT and of best PSUs for AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT to get your rig ready.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Team Red should love what the RX 6800 XT has to offer, including performance to rival the RTX 3080 at a cheaper price and with less power draw.

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3. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090: Most Powerful, Most Expensive

Bottom line: The RTX 3090 is a physically large GPU, stacking 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM to help handle design and development work. Yes, it can technically game at 8K, but only in certain circumstances. It’ll deliver about 10% better performance than the RTX 3080 for 4K gaming, but it also costs more than double the price. This is a card best cut out for professionals or those with money to burn.

Memory: 24GB GDDR6X | Memory speed: 19.5Gbps | Memory bus: 384-bit | Boost clock: 1,785MHz | CUDA cores: 10,496 | Process: 8nm | Power: 370W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

MSI
Gaming X Trio
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NVIDIA
Founders Edition
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ASUS
TUF Gaming
See at Newegg

Gigabyte
Eagle OC
See at B&H

If you can find an RTX 3090 that’s not way overpriced, chances are you’re going to buy it. We’re holding off on individual recommendations until stock and prices settle.

Pros

Absolutely enormous specs
Can game at 8K in certain circumstances
Crushes 4K gaming
Excellent for professional design and dev work

Cons

Very expensive
Not a whole lot better than the RTX 3080 for gaming performance
Physically enormous

NVIDIA’s RTX 3090 is a huge card both physically and on paper. It has a whopping 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM and 10,496 CUDA cores, but don’t assume that translates to raw gaming power. If you’re interested in 4K gaming, you’ll likely see only about a 10% increase in performance over the RTX 3080. Our comparison of the NVIDIA RTX 3080 vs. RTX 3090 has more information on that front. And don’t even think about buying this GPU for 1440p or 1080p; it’s just not worth the money.

Considering it’s more than double the price of most RTX 3080 cards, this is going to be a piece of hardware reserved for professionals and those with big budgets. Yes, this is the card to kill the expensive RTX Titan, and developers and designers will be very interested.

If you are going all-out for one of these cards, be sure it fits into your case and be sure you have a big enough PSU to handle power demands. We’ve put together a collection with options for the best PSU for RTX 3090 to help you get started. And for further information, check out our guide on how to prepare your PC for NVIDIA RT 30-series system requirements.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090

This massive card is basically the new Titan card branded with a GeForce logo, and for most people, it’s going to be overkill. It will, however, be mighty tempting for professional design and development work.

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4. AMD Radeon RX 6800: Excellent Mid-Range Performance

Bottom line: The RX 6800 is a direct competitor to the RTX 3070, and in fact it will perform better with 4K and 1440p gaming. It costs a bit more and doesn’t offer DLSS or as-developed ray tracing abilities, but the price-to-performance ratio is excellent.

Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: Up to 512Gbps | Memory bus: 256-bit | Base clock: 1,815MHz | Boost clock: 2,105MHz | Stream processors: 3,840 | Process: 7nm | Power: 250W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

Many
Varies
See at Amazon

Many
Varies
See at Best Buy

Many
Varies
See at Newegg

For now, no solid recommendations on which version to buy. If you find one for sale, chances are you’re going to grab it.

Pros

Better raw performance than RTX 3070
16GB of VRAM for the future
Rage Mode and Smart Access Memory
Handles 4K and 1440p

Cons

Costs more than the RTX 3070
Less-developed ray tracing and no DLSS
Slightly higher power draw than RTX 3070

The Radeon RX 6800 (minus the XT) is another of AMD’s flagship RDNA 2 GPUs. It has many of the same features as the beefier RX 6800 XT — including ray tracing and Smart Access Memory — but it costs less and is more power efficient (250W compared to the RX 6800 XT’s 300W). It’s still going to handle 4K and 1440p gaming, and its 16GB of VRAM sets up better for the future than the comparable RTX 3070. There are plenty of third-party versions available, but the best AMD Radeon RX 6800 graphics cards will deliver a similar experience.

On that note, you can expect better overall performance from the RX 6800, though at a higher power draw than the RTX 3070. It also cost a bit more money in a world without crazy inflated prices and nonexistent stock. Ray tracing is available with the RX 6800, though it’s not going to compare to what NVIDIA’s RTX cards can do. And, of course, NVIDIA offers DLSS tech that is clearly becoming a huge boon. We’re still waiting on AMD’s rebuttal with FidelityFX Super Resolution.

If you want to go with more raw performance at 1440p and 4K and don’t mind paying a bit more compared to the RTX 3070, the RX 6800 should make a fine choice for your gaming PC. Our AMD Radeon RX 6800 review has much more information that can help you make a final decision.

And for those who do decided on the RX 6800 as their next GPU, get the right supporting components with our best PSU for AMD Radeon RX 6800 and best motherboard for AMD Radeon RX 6800 roundup.

AMD Radeon RX 6800

If you want slightly better performance than the RTX 3070 (and 16GB of VRAM) and don’t mind the lack of DLSS or as good of ray tracing, the RX 6800 should be a prime choice.

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5. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070: Excellent Mid-Range Performance

Bottom line: The NVIDIA RTX 3070 is the best mid-range GPU you can buy right now if you can find it for sale. It rivals the RTX 2080 Ti in terms of performance, yet it costs far, far less money.

Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory bus: 256-bit | Base clock: 1.50GHz | Boost clock: 1.73GHz | CUDA cores: 5,888 | Process: 8nm | Power: 220W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

MSI
Gaming X Trio
See at Newegg

PNY
Revel Epic-X
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PNY
Dual Fan
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Gigabyte
Gaming OC
See at B&H

If you can find any version of the RTX 3070 listed at a reasonable price, grab it. Stock is severely limited.

Pros

RTX 2080 Ti performance for far less
Easily handles 1440p
Will run 4K
Ray tracing and DLSS
Great for those on a budget

Cons

Just 8GB of VRAM
Less raw performance than RX 6800

With the GeForce RTX 3070, NVIDIA has managed to deliver performance nearly on par with the RTX 2080 Ti, except this time the card costs around $500 when not being scalped. That’s a huge achievement, and anyone who aims for the mid-range PC market should be happy. A year ago, before NVIDIA’s other 30-series GPUs and AMD’s RX 6000 cards, the RTX 3070 would have broken the internet. Have a look at our picks for best NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPUs for a bunch of great buying options.

There are 5,888 CUDA cores packed into the RTX 3070, more than double that of the RTX 2070 Super. It also benefits from RTX enhancements like ray tracing and DLSS AI, boosting frame rates significantly in compatible games. It is, however, still using 8GB of VRAM. If that’s an issue for you, check out AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 with 16GB of VRAM and a similar cost. We’ve even compared the two in a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 vs. AMD Radeon RX 6800 showdown.

In any case, if you can get your hands on this card, your 1440p gaming experience will take off. The RTX 3070 can handle 4K, but you’ll see much better results with a QHD monitor. Want to know more about this awesome GPU? Our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review has all the details you need. And be sure to pair the new hardware up with one of the best motherboards for NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

Want to send your 1440p gaming experience to the next level? The RTX 3070 is the card you want if you have around $500 to spend.

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6. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Super: Best Value

Bottom line: The RTX 3060 Ti includes all the benefits of RTX cards, and it costs the least money out of all the Ampere cards. It bests the RTX 2080 Super, making it capable of crushing 1440p and handling some 4K gaming. This is the best value in gaming today, if you can find one.

Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 448Gbps | Memory bus: 256-bit | Base clock: 1,410MHz | Boost clock: 1,670MHz | CUDA cores: 4,864 | Process: 8nm | Power: 200W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

ASUS
TUF Gaming
See at Amazon

Many
Varies
See at Best Buy

Many
Varies
See at Newegg

If you can find an RTX 3060 Ti, buy it. Availability is poor and we’re not really recommending one card.

Pros

Most affordable Ampere card
Beats the RTX 2080 Super
Capable of 1440p and some 4K
DLSS and ray tracing

Cons

Almost impossible to find
Not as future-proof as more expensive options

Budget PC builders are going to want to pay close attention to the RTX 3060 Ti, a GPU priced at about $400 under normal circumstances. Despite the bargain price, it bests the RTX 2080 Super in terms of raw performance for 1080p and 1440p gaming. That’s mighty impressive, and it’s likely going to be extremely popular for anyone who’s not too interested in 4K gaming. It also compares well to the more expensive RX 6700 XT. Our comparison of the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti vs. AMD RX 6700 XT has more information.

Despite it coming later than the other RTX 30-series cards, you’re still getting capable ray tracing and DLSS technology. All this at a 200W TDP that should be ideal for those who don’t want to upgrade the PSU in an older PC.

This card isn’t going to be as future-proof as the heavy hitters in this list, but if you can find one and want to keep your wallet from catching fire, it should make a great choice. It’s also our top pick for best mining GPU thanks to a strong hashrate and bargain price.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

The RTX 3060 Ti is an exceptional GPU option if you’re on a budget. It puts out better performance than the RTX 2080 Super, it’s efficient, and it has the features you expect from RTX cards.

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7. AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT: Performance on a budget

Bottom line: AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT is a price performer with a listing of about $480. It costs more than the RTX 3060 Ti, but it also delivers better raw power. This is especially important for those who want to push QHD frame rates and don’t care as much about ray tracing or DLSS.

Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 384Gbps | Memory bus: 192-bit | Base clock: 2,321MHz | Boost clock: 2,581MHz | Stream processors: 2,560 | Process: 7nm | Power: 230W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

Many
Varies
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Many
Varies
See at Best Buy

Many
Varies
See at Newegg

If this is the GPU you want and you can find one at a reasonable price, nab it up. No specific recommendations while most hardware is sold out.

Pros

Stellar 1440p (QHD) performance
16GB of VRAM
Capable of ray tracing
Costs less than other RDNA 2 cards

Cons

No DLSS alternative
Costs more than RTX 3060 Ti
Ray tracing support not as good

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT slots in somewhere between the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti and NVIDIA RTX 3070 in terms of raw performance. It also costs about $80 more than the list price of the 3060 Ti, so you have to be sure you’re looking for better power and not a better feature set. If you want to push high frame rates at 1440p and even want to dabble a bit at 4K, the RX 6700 XT will do a great job.

While the RX 6700 XT offers ray tracing, its support isn’t as good as NVIDIA’s and you will likely see a harder hit to performance. This is especially true due to the lack of DLSS in compatible games. Our NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti vs. AMD RX 6700 XT comparison has more information.

Bottom line? The 12GB of VRAM sets the RX 6700 XT up nicely for the future, and FidelityFX Super Resolution is expected at some point to rival NVIDIA’s DLSS technology. If you can find an RX 6700 XT close to retail price, it should make a great card for QHD gaming.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

Don’t care as much about DLSS or ray tracing? Just want high frame rates at 1440p? AMD’s RX 6700 XT should make a great choice.

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8. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super: Affordable 1080p Gaming

Bottom line: Any custom PC builders looking to create something budget-friendly should love the NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super. It delivers a smooth 1080p performance and doesn’t have an unreasonable price.

Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory bandwidth: 336Gbps | Memory bus: 192-bit | Boost clock: 1,830MHz | CUDA cores: 1,408 | Process: 12nm | Power: 125W

Manufacturer
Version
Vendor

Many
Varies
See at Newegg

Many
Varies
See at Amazon

Many
Varies
See at Best Buy

The GPU demand has even driven up the price of last-gen cards. If you can find one at a reasonable cost, chances are you’ll nab it up.

Pros

Attractive price
NVIDIA Turing architecture
G-Sync technology
Enough performance for smooth 1080p

Cons

Not intended for 1440p
No DLSS

Not everyone sees a need to game at a higher resolution than 1080p. Displays are more affordable, and fewer pixels generally allows for a much higher frame rate. If you’re not looking to overspend on a GPU, NVIDIA’s GTX 1660 Super should make a great pick. It’s not an RTX card, so it doesn’t offer dedicated ray-tracing cores, though a driver update does allow it to technically be compatible. DLSS 2.0 is not supported. It’s still based on Turing architecture that makes it relatively power efficient. This GPU also sits atop our list of best cheap graphics cards.

It has 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM (the base GTX 1660 uses GDDR5) and rather high memory bandwidth at 336GB/s, allowing it to edge out even the 8GB version of the AMD RX 5500 XT in terms of raw performance. You’re going to see elevated, smooth frame rates at 1080p with pretty much any game, even at high settings.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super

The NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super is a perfect card for anyone happy with smooth gaming at 1080p. It doesn’t offer RTX benefits like dedicated ray-tracing cores and DLSS, but it’s still a great GPU with reliable performance.

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What about all the other graphics cards?

There are a ton of other best graphics cards on the market, ranging from deep budget sub-$100 options, best graphics cards for VR, best graphics cards for 4K, and on up to professional-grade cards intended for specialized design and development work. But as far as GPUs cut out for gaming go, these are the cards that make the most sense in terms of performance-to-price ratio.

Graphics cards are generally available from several different manufacturers; performance and specs are generally the same with just slight differences, though the price, cooling, and overall design will differ. No matter your preferred resolution, preferred games, or preferred manufacturers, you’re going to find a GPU in this guide that will suit your next fresh PC build or upgrade.

Is it a good time to upgrade your graphics card?

With NVIDIA’s latest RTX 30-series GPUs and AMD’s RX 6000 GPUs seeing poor availability, it might be a tough time to buy a new card. Many people are undoubtedly looking to offload their old GPUs, meaning you might find one secondhand at a great price.

Watch out for good deals on NVIDIA’s RTX 20-series GPUs, which are still excellent cards that will handle a quality gaming experience. If you’re on Team Red, AMD’s RX 5000 GPUs are likewise still a great option. The RX 5700 XT still makes the cut in this list, and it’s even still far more readily available, even in a new condition. Unfortunately, even last-gen cards are becoming hard to find at a reasonable price.

Do you need to upgrade graphics cards?

Trying to figure out whether or not it’s time to upgrade your GPU can be challenging. Of course, if you’re seeing signs that your GPU is dying — screen artifacts, PC crashes, whining — it’s no doubt time to upgrade. But if your current GPU is working fine, do you really need something new?

That depends on what types of games you want to play and at what resolution. If you were satisfied with low-impact indie games and built a PC to handle them, you’ll no doubt find that your PC struggles to keep up with a hot new AAA title that snagged your eye. The same goes for resolution. If you’re upgrading your monitor from 1080p to 1440p or 4K, a new GPU is likely required to make the most of the higher-resolution display.

Whenever a new generation of GPUs is released, the previous generation seems to look disproportionately old. Say, for example, you have an NVIDIA GTX 980 in your PC. It’s a great GPU, but it’s four generations behind now that the RTX 30-series GPUs are released. Considering RTX 30-series cards are a huge leap forward over even 20-series cards, an upgrade is no doubt looking quite tempting.

Finally, you don’t want to upgrade your GPU if you can’t also afford to upgrade the rest of your PC components to keep up. Buying an AMD RX 5700 XT GPU and installing it alongside 8GB of RAM and a 4th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU is not going to allow the GPU to realize its full potential. Plus, you might not have a large enough PSU unit to provide enough power to your system, or the cooling system might not be beefy enough to keep the PC running optimally. Always be sure you can upgrade sufficiently to avoid bottlenecking the system.

How to check what PC hardware you already have

Whenever you invest in a new component for your PC, it’s good practice to run a piece of software to have a gander at what you have already. This will help determine just how recent other components are and whether or not they will become a bottleneck for your upcoming GPU purchase. To have a look at what makes everything tick inside the PC case, there are many software options available; CPU-Z, and Speccy are two we would recommend.

These apps will tell you what motherboard you have, as well as CPU, RAM, and other bits and pieces. We’ll mainly need to see what CPU you have, and a good measurement to use to determine how good your CPU will be with a new GPU purchase is 3DMark. The higher the 3DMark score, the better a CPU generally is in gaming and other intensive applications. It shouldn’t be used as a definitive value, but the 3DMark score of a specific chip will give you an idea as to how powerful it is.

As well as the score, one should also consider the age of the processor, the generation it’s part of, the manufacturing process used, the cooler installed, whether or not it’s overclocked, and how many cores you’re rocking. Intel has its ARK platform available for conveniently searching its portfolio of CPUs. If you’re on #TeamRed, AMD has a similar feature on its own website.

How to choose a display resolution for PC gaming

If you’re building a new PC from the ground up, you might be wondering for which resolution to aim. There are plenty of great gaming monitors in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, so it can be tough to choose. What you need to consider is price, fidelity, and the power of the PC hardware you’re interested in including.

A 1080p gaming monitor will generally cost the least but will still include a high refresh rate and low response time, both of which are features gamers search out. It’s not going to look as crisp as 1440p or 4K, but it will also take quite a bit less power to run games at a high frame rate. You’re going to be able to get away with a lower-tier GPU and CPU, saving you more money.

Bumping things up to 1440p is going to make everything look better. Once you’ve made the switch to QHD, dropping back down to 1080p is noticeable. The issue with 1440p, however, is that monitors generally cost more, plus you’re going to want beefier hardware to achieve high frame rates. The better the GPU and CPU, the better performance you will see at 1440p. Even the high-end RTX 3070 and RX 6800 that can dabble with 4K will do much better running with a 1440p display.

And finally, we have 4K. It’s a rather big jump, even from 1440p, and you should have top-tier hardware to get the most of it. 4K displays are expensive, so buying one and pairing it with a subpar PC is not advised. Even with a high-end GPU and CPU, don’t expect frame rates to get anywhere near what you can achieve at 1080p and 1440p.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

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

Grab one of these graphics cards to up performance in your PC

Data from Microsoft Lists can now be exported as a CSV file

It’s now easy to export data from Microsoft Lists as CSV files.

What you need to know

Microsoft Lists now lets you export data as CSV files.
The new feature was announced through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
You should be able to export Microsoft Lists data as CSV files within all environments.

Microsoft recently rolled out an update that allows you to export data from Microsoft Lists as comma-separated values (CSV) files. This should make it easier to compile and share data, especially with people using different apps. CSV files work well with Excel, Google Sheets, and many other programs, so being able to export Microsoft Lists data as them is a welcome change.

The update was announced through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center (via OnMSFT). On the Lists app for Windows, you’ll now see an export dropdown menu with options to export data as a CSV file or as an Excel workbook. At least for now, Lists on macOS only shows an option to export data as a CSV file.

Microsoft explains that the Export to CSV option is only supported within Lists, not within document libraries, “Unfortunately, when the feature was rolled out, the changes were visible in both document libraries and lists, and we are working to correct this issue by late May, and only show the new CSV option inside lists.”

Microsoft Lists can be used to track a wide range of data, including inventory, itinerary, assets, issues, and more. The ability to export data as a CSV file makes it much easier to handle.

Microsoft Lists

Free at App Store

Microsoft Lists lets you track and organize lists across a team. It has the ability to track inventory, itinerary, assets, issues, and more. With all of that information, it’s a handy addition to let you export data as CSV files.

Data from Microsoft Lists can now be exported as a CSV file

The latest Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot makes more changes to ore

A new snapshot to tease changes coming this year to Minecraft.

What you need to know

Minecraft: Java Edition tests upcoming updates, changes, and more through slices of pre-release software known as snapshots.
Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 21w18a is now available to testers, and includes new bug fixes on top of some changes.
The highlight of today’s snapshot is some further tweaks to ore distribution and cave generation from the ‘Caves and Cliffs Update.’
The ‘Caves and Cliffs Update’ was recently split into two parts and partially delayed, changing the way features are tested.

The Minecraft community may be focused primarily on the announcement that cross-save is now available for Minecraft Dungeons, but the PC-centric legacy version of Minecraft still has something up its sleeve with the release of Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 21w18a. The latest Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot continues work on the upcoming Caves and Cliffs Update, which was recently split into two parts and partially delayed.

Today’s Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot includes mostly minor fixes and tweaks. There are further changes to the ore distribution and cave generation expected to arrive in the second half of the Caves and Cliffs Update this Winter, with some other minor additions. This is definitely on the more modest side for Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots, but there are definitely still reasons to jump in and play, especially if you’re excited about the Caves and Cliffs Update.

We recently discussed why Mojang Studios often feels like an underfunded indie studio, but that hasn’t stopped Minecraft from being an irrefutable success by every metric. If you’re one of the millions who love Minecraft, consider picking something up from our list of best merch, toys, and gifts for Minecraft.

The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 21w18a includes:

Caves and Cliffs Update preview

Download the new datapack
Reduced Copper spawning a bit, to compensate for large ore veins
Large ore veins are slightly more rare and slightly smaller on average. But the size varies a lot so you can still find huge ones
Increased chance of finding raw ore blocks in ore veins
Cave carvers generate below y 0 in Ocean biomes (they didn’t before, it was an accident)
Increased the minimum size of noodle caves and carvers, to make them easier to traverse and less likely to break up into fragments
Noodle caves no longer generate above y 30, so the surface should be less riddled with holes
Removed Deepslate blobs above y 0
Extended the vertical range of the smaller blobs of iron ore, to make it possible to find iron in caves near the surface
Slightly reduced the amount of normal-sized iron blobs, to compensate for large ore veins and the increased range of smaller blobs

Bug fixes

Last use of an anvil causes player to drop their item
When closing the inventory while holding an item with the cursor in Creative mode, the item disappears
Old cave and ravine generation gets cut off unnaturally on chunk borders near water
NativeImage bounds checks are incorrect
Certain custom biome settings cause game to spam “Received invalid biome id: -1” in the console, causing major lag or freeze
Adventure mode players can extinguish candles
No “Burning” sound for items burning in lava cauldron
Zoglins attack Marker armor stands and Invisible armor stands
Pufferfish react to Marker armor stands and Invisible armor stands
Minecraft crashes when loading resource pack due to “tessellating block model”
Axolotl inconsistently doesn’t show its mouth in-game
Loading in a TrueTypeFont with an out-of-bounds size crashes the game
Small Dripleaf sometimes shrink into smaller (1 block tall) Big Dripleaf when using bone meal
Spore Blossoms can be used to breathe underwater / cannot be waterlogged
Some strips of chunks generate completely dark
World occasionally fails to load correctly
Some chunks in a line are lit up constantly
Extreme world generation lag
Crash: java.lang.IllegalStateException: Chunk not there when requested
Game fatally crashed while exploring chunks (IllegalStateException: Accessing PalettedContainer from multiple threads)
Some chunks occasionally don’t save properly, resetting progress
Goat Babies Don’t Follow Parents
Legs of goats move differently
Goat eye height is outside of its hitbox while airborne
Goats can still do high jumps normally when on honey blocks
Goat head animation is weird when it rides a boat
Eye position of the goat is too high in some cases, causing suffocation
UVs on the goat’s ears aren’t mirrored as they should be
Piglins aren’t attracted to a Block of Raw Gold
Piglins aren’t angered when mining a Block of Raw Gold
Goats ram Marker armor stands & Invisible armor stands
Deepslate Tile Stairs come before Deepslate Brick Stairs in the creative inventory
Deepslate ore map colors are inconsistent with deepslate
Ramming sound that comes from a baby goat does not change pitch
When removing water from base of Small Dripleaf, the block stands without water untill a block update
Mob death does not show death particles
Raw ore blocks can generate as floating blocks in ore veins

The latest Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot makes more changes to ore