Microsoft Changes Course on Forced Windows 10 Feature Updates

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2019 - 08:45 PM |
Tagged: windows update, windows 10, updates, OS, microsoft, auto update

The era of forced Windows Update for Windows 10 users is coming to an end. In a surprise move by Microsoft today it was announced that - at least for feature updates - users will be given an "update available" notification, allowing some choice as to when such an update is actually installed.

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"In previous Windows 10 feature update rollouts, the update installation was automatically initiated on a device once our data gave us confidence that device would have a great update experience.  Beginning with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, users will be more in control of initiating the feature OS update.  We will provide notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs."

In a post entitled "Improving the Windows 10 update experience with control, quality and transparency" by Mike Fortin (Corporate VP, Windows), Microsoft's stance on the update process seems to have shifted at least partially back to the Windows 8.1 (and prior) era, wherein users actually had the option of when to download and install the updates of their choice. While not going quite that far the post does state that "all customers will now have the ability to explicitly choose if they want to update their device when they 'check for updates' or to pause updates for up to 35 days". The exception will be devices nearing end of service, at which point "Windows update will continue to automatically initiate a feature update".

The full post from Microsoft is available at the source link.

Source: Microsoft

Math with Maxwell and Turing

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2019 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, maxwell, rtx, gtx 960, gtx 1660, RTX 2060, turing

TechSpot decided to test out NVIDIA's claims that the GTX 1660 is 113% faster than the old GTX 960, which is still sitting in the top five for most used GPUs on the Steam charts.  They tested Apex Legends, The Division 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and many other games at 1080p as that is what these cards were designed for and then compiled the results.  Wolfenstein II:TNC showed the most improvement with 177% while Middle Earth Shadow of War sat at the bottom with a mere 54% jump with the overall average hitting 117%. 

Not a bad upgrade choice, though as they point out the RX 580 8GB is a strong contender for GTX 960 users as well.

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"When we recently tested the new GeForce GTX 1660 we noted that Nvidia was making a bold claim in the review guide saying that the 1660 was a whopping 113% faster than the GTX 960, making it a perfect upgrade option for owners of the old mid-range Maxwell GPU."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: TechSpot

Alphacool's Eisbaer Extreme 280mm, it's not called extreme for no reason

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 4, 2019 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: Alphacool, Eisbaer Extreme 280, AIO, watercooler

Experienced watercooling enthusiasts will know at a glance why there are thick parts on the tubing of the Alphacool Eisbaer Extreme CPU cooler; they are quick release fittings.  This allows you to expand your cooling loop to include a graphics card or a motherboard with integral watercooling or just about anything else you might want.  To ensure it can handle that extra heat the radiator is noticeably larger than your average 280mm rad, at 385.5x156x64mm. 

When testing KitGuru revealed this is a cooler for overclockers, at stock speeds their results show its performance to be in the middle of the pack but once the i7-7700K was overclocked to 5GHz it was unbeatable and still quiet.

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"These pre-built, pre-filled units share a lot in common with custom water-cooling loops, primarily in that they can be disassembled or expanded. With the Alphacool Eisbaer Extreme priced at just under £230, is it worth the money?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: Kitguru

The 2019 Hackaday Prize kicks off

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2019 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: hackaday prize, hack, DIY

The Hackaday Prize has been around for a few years now, and some of the winning projects have been very impressive.  This years process is a little different, instead of having different categories of projects such as Robotics or Power Harvesting the prizes are awarded for the most effective participant at each stage of their project.  Those stages are Concept, Design, Production, Benchmark, and Communication with a $10,000 prize for each, with the final winner taking home $125,000 as well as a residency at Supplyframe DesignLab, who are working with Hackaday this year.

Head over for more details, including seed money available for crowd favourites as well as rules and entry steps.

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"This is the 2019 Hackaday Prize, the worldwide hardware design contest focused on product development. We know you can build a working prototype, and we still want to see you do that. But a great idea should have reach beyond your own workshop. This year’s Hackaday Prize is about taking your product across the finish line, from concept to design for manufacture."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hackaday

Crowdfunding Campaign for Sentry 2.0 Console Size Enclosure Underway

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 3, 2019 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, sentry, enclosure, DR ZĄBER, crowdfunding, case

DR ZĄBER launched the crowdfunding campaign for the Sentry 2.0 on April 1, and the campaign on indigogo is well under way. Version 1.1 of the Sentry was successfully funded in 2017, and three days into this Sentry 2.0 campaign over a third of the $260,000 goal has already been reached.

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What exactly is this new case from the Małopolska, Poland-based company?

"Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, a 7L console-sized PC chassis that was crowdfunded in 2017, quickly reaching over 1000% of its campaign goal. Sentry 2.0 brings many improvements based on feedback from backers and sff enthusiasts community over original Sentry delivered in 2017.

Sentry 2.0 is a PC case highly anticipated by the small form factor PC enthusiasts, developed and improved upon original Sentry with community support, and was covered by leading PC hardware youtube channels such as LinusTechTips, Bitwit or Paul's Hardware.”

We are happy to report that a Sentry 2.0 has found its way to our secret enclosure testing facility, and a review is coming soon here at PC Perspective.

Source: DR ZĄBER

The Ultimate Force in audio ... perhaps

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: virtual 7.1, TUF Gaming H5, gaming headset, audio, asus

ASUS introduce the TUF series of components to compliment their ROG series, offering more affordable products while still maintaining quality.  The ASUS H5 TUF wired gaming headset keeps some of the aesthetics and from the description at Kitguru, also kept the 'military grade' design.  Joking aside, the H5 uses a pair of 50mm neodymium magnets and is capable of virtual 7.1 audio, has both a boom mic as well as an inline one and a decent response range of 20-20000Hz.

At $80 they are not a huge investment but there are some caveats covered in the video you might want to check out before chequing out. 

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"The TUF name originally appeared on a range of motherboards, and now with the start of the TUF Gaming Alliance there has been a shift to create an entire range of more affordable TUF components."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Kitguru

The Computer is Your Friend. Not trusting The Computer is treason. Treason is punishable by death.

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: paranioa, gaming, the computer is your friend, happiness is mandatory

Ah, the sweet memories of West End Games' Paranoia RPG, in which you, a perfectly normal non-mutant troubleshooter who definitely wasn't a member of a secret society, did your best to show your love of the computer by exposing the traitorous behaviour of your other party members.  It also featured one of the best weapons ever included in an RPG, the thermonuclear hand grenade, with a maximum thrown range of 20 metres and blast radius of about 2 miles.

This game is coming soon to your PC thanks to Black Shamrock and Cyanide who are releasing Paranoia: Happiness Is Mandatory later this year.  Some of the fun of exposing your fellow Troubleshooters as the unhappy mutant terrorists that they are will be missing as you control all four members of your party, even so this lack is unlikely to extend the lifespan of your characters by more than a few seconds. 

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN posted the trailer for your viewing enjoyment.

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"Contrary to Disney propaganda, Alpha Complex is the happiest place on Earth. You now this because the Computer says so, and disagreeing with Friend Computer is treason."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

The year is 2019A(M)D and great changes are afoot

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: amd, Zen 2, x570, rome, navi, 7nm

This promises to be an interesting year for Intel and AMD, perhaps more so for the latter according to the information DigiTimes have put together.  We still expect Zen 2 and the X570 chipset to be shown off at Computex 2019, for Rome to rise a few months later and Navi to pop up some time in Q3; all on a process Intel has yet to hit. 

Intel's chip shortages have led to HP and Lenovo placing large orders of mobile CPUs from AMD for the first time in quite a while and ASUS is now using them in some lines of gaming laptops. You will also find AMD powered Chromebooks from Acer and HP available for purchase.  In the server room, EPYC has taken AMD's market share from 1% Q4 2017 to 3.2% in Q4 2018, with more gains expected in the Q1 2019, which just wrapped up. 

The inclusion of PCIe 4.0 on the X570 chipset has attracted motherboard manufacturers and they have increased their orders from AMD, who developed the chipset in house.  DigiTimes expects ASMedia to start producing some of the lower cost PCIe 4.0 versions by the end of the year with a chance they will immediately release mainstream X570s with the current generation of PCIe. 

Dr. Lisa Su's pre-Computex press conference on May 27 is bound to be very interesting.

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"A ramp-up in CPU and GPU shipments for notebooks, motherboards and servers will buoy significantly AMD's sales performance in the second half of 2019, according to sources at PC makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Every single Freesync ... G-SYNC in a box

Subject: Displays | April 2, 2019 - 06:24 PM |
Tagged: freesync, adaptive sync, g-sync, 32GK850F, LG, 24GL600F, 27GK750F, 32GK650F, 34GK950Fand found to b

When TechSpot tested G-SYNC monitors for compatibility they had great success, indeed any issues they found they decided were more likely issues with the display as opposed to compatibility issues.  LG noticed that they didn't test any of their displays and so they sent over a few for review, which TechSpot happily accepted.  The 32GK850F, 24GL600F, 27GK750F, 32GK650F and 34GK950F were all tested and found to be fully compatible, if you happen to have one.

If you are not familiar with that third model, it is a rare 27" 1080p TN display with a top refresh rate of 240Hz, maybe not the prettiest but certainly one of the fastest 27 inchers around. 

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"Earlier this year we first put Nvidia's support for FreeSync monitors to the test, grabbed every FreeSync monitor we had in the office, and verified that in all cases adaptive sync worked as expected. LG recently sent us 5 of their latest FreeSync monitors, which we've used to revisit Nvidia's FreeSync support."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Source: TechSpot

Viva la Liva Q2, ECS puts a computer in your pocket

Subject: Systems | April 2, 2019 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: ECS, liva Q2, SFF, N4000

The ECS Liva series are well deserving of the moniker small form factor, as they are generally a bit larger than a deck of poker cards or two.  The newest Q2 is no exception, at 70x70x33.4mm (2.75x2.75x1.3") it could theoretically fit in your pocket, though like your phone, that is probably not the best place for it.  This new model upgrades the APU to a dual core Celeron N4000 with HD Graphics 600, 4GB of LPDDR4-2400 and 32 GB of eMMC flash for local storage. 

TechPowerUp put the wee box through a variety of tests, including streaming video from various sources as that is what the Liva Q2 is most likely to be used for and it performed admirably, though the 4GB is a bit of a problem when using Chrome.

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"ECS has upgraded the LIVA Q line with the new Q2. This ultra-tiny system really is a fully functional PC that will fit into your pocket. This latest release features not only a faster processor but also HDMI 2.0, which makes it the perfect HTPC that can also handle daily tasks and light workloads."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: TechPowerUp

Now that's truly flexible programming!

Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2019 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: flexible, soft robotics, nifty

Researchers from Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have shown off a very interesting bit of kit, a flexible logic gate for use in soft robotics.  That type of robotics uses rubbers and foams instead of metal gears and grippers, to allow robots to handle and interface with breakable things, up to and including yourself.  One hurdle has been that while many motors and materials can be replicated with soft materials, the circuitry has remained inflexible which can cause wear issues. 

These researchers have printed out basic NOT, AND and OR logic gates on membranous tissue, which bend with the rubber and foam the robot is built out of using an ingenious, if somewhat repurposed technique.  Check out their research over at PhysicsWorld.

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"The researchers liken the functionality of their membrane-tube system to a “Schmitt trigger”, a hysteretic circuit used in electronics for analog-to-digital conversion, level detection, and line reception."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: PhysicsWorld

Full sized mobile gaming from ASUS ROG, the SCAR II

Subject: Mobile | April 1, 2019 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: asus, rog scar II, gaming laptop, i7-8750h, RTX 2070, GL704G

ASUS's new ROG Strix SCAR II gaming laptop has a lot on offer, more than just the basic specs imply.  The model that eTeknix reviewed was the GL704G, with an i7-8750H, RTX 2070, an unspecified amount of DDR4-2666, and an NVMe PCI SSD paired with a 1TB SSHD all hidden under 17.3″ 144Hz IPS display.  That larger form factor allows better cooling to be included as well as giving enough real estate for some serious choice in peripherals.  On the side you will find a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, on a Type-C as well as two more Gen 1 ports, miniDP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b and an SD card reader in addition to audio and wired ethernet. 

If you can handle the almost 3kg of weight, check out the full review before shopping around as it will likely run you $1700 or more.

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"With this in mind, we look at the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II. Yes, admittedly a name that is a bit of a mouthful, but with an 8th-generation Intel Processor and Nvidia 2070 graphics card, it’s pretty clear that we can expect some performance from this."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: eTeknix

AMD or NVIDIA flavoured mineral oil*?

Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2019 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: seamicro, mineral oil, Boston, Asperitas

One of the more interesting exhibits at CloudFest in Rust, Germany, were four mineral oil cooled Seamicro based systems being displayed by Asperitas and Boston and described by The Register.  The improved thermal characteristics oils, synthetic or otherwise, offers over air cooling were used to create four very interesting servers.  The CLOUDzone242 houses numerous EPYC 7000 series processors for a total core count of 1,536, 48TB of memory and 960TB of storage while the CLOUDzone241 contains with 96 EPYC CPUs for 3,072 Zen cores, along with 96TB of memory and 768TB of storage. 

Intel fans might prefer the CLOUDzone244 with enough Xeons, to provide 1,056 cores, 48TB of memory and 960TB of storage on board while finally the CLOUDzone243 adds 331,776 CUDA cores across 72 NVIDIA HPC to the specs of the CLOUDzone244.

For more news stories you may or may not believe, read on below.

*Ken not included as it is technically a synthetic oil from condensed gasses.

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"Dutch liquid cooling specialist Asperitas and British systems integrator Boston have linked arms on a range of server systems based on "immersion cooling" – with the hardware submerged in giant tubs of mineral oil, a dielectric compound very similar to Vaseline or baby oil."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

ASUS WS C246M Pro Motherboard Reviewed at Serve the Home

Subject: Motherboards | March 29, 2019 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: Xeon E-Series, WS C246M Pro, workstation, STH, server, motherboard, micro-atx, asus

The ASUS WS C246M Pro is a micro-ATX option in the company's server/workstation lineup which supports 8th-gen LGA1151 Intel Core and Intel Xeon E-Series CPUs, as well as offering simultaneous triple display output (with DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA outputs onboard), dual Intel Gigabit NICs, and support for ECC memory and Intel Optane.

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"At the time of writing the ASUS WS C246M Pro motherboard is going for around $210 which is an affordable price point for small workstations. At the same time, it is significantly more costly than mITX consumer motherboards. One may argue that getting a consumer motherboard at a lower cost is worthwhile, but at the same time, we think that there is a segment of the market who may want the front to rear airflow design and ECC memory support. For VARs, the ability to support the Xeon E-2100 series helps to clearly segment their offerings and position them against corporate offerings from Dell, HP, and others."

You can read the full review from Serve the Home (STH) here.

Source: STH

Intel Extends Optane Support to Pentium and Celeron Processors

Subject: Storage | March 29, 2019 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, pentium, Optane, M.2, Intel, celeron

Intel has quietly expanded Optane support to include 8th-gen and above Pentium and Celeron processors. Aside from the 8th-gen requirement (the report at Tom's Hardware lists this as 7th-gen or above, but Intel's release notes specify 8th-gen) users must also be running Rapid Storage Technology (RST) drivers version 17.2 or later, and have a compatible BIOS.

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The direct quote from Intel's driver release description:

"Intel® Optane™ memory support extended to desktop Intel® Pentium™ and Intel® Celeron™ processors starting with Intel 8th generation systems and Intel® RST 17.2 driver or later. You must have the corresponding system BIOS for support. Consult your motherboard/system vendor for more information."

The latest driver (Intel Optane Memory User Interface and Driver for System Acceleration) was actually released back on February 20, and is currently version 17.2.0.1009.

PC Perspective Podcast #538 - Gaming Headsets, Ryzen Price Drops, and More!

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2019 - 06:55 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, podcast, Optane, microphone, hyperx, graphics drivers, corsair, Cinebench, asus, anthem

PC Perspective Podcast #538 - 3/27/2019

Join us this week as we review a new quiet case from Corsair, a high-end gaming headset from ASUS, the first standalone microphone from HyperX, and more!

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Show Topics
00:05 - Intro
02:04 - Review: Corsair Carbide 678C Case
08:43 - Review: ASUS ROG Delta Gaming Headset
16:25 - Review: HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone
22:51 - News: AMD Ryzen 2000 Price Drops
27:43 - News: Cinebench R20 Standalone Release
30:41 - News: Anthem DLSS & GeForce Highlights Update
33:58 - News: GeForce Game Ready Drivers 419.67
38:01 - News: Intel vs. Micron
43:10 - Picks of the Week
53:04 - Outro

Picks of the Week
Jim: SeaQuest DSV
Jeremy: Intel NUC 8 VR
Josh: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Sebastian: At Last the 1948 Show

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jeremy Hellstrom
Jim Tanous

Which is Cooler, Master? Would you prefer to Case out the petite or the full figured?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 28, 2019 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, nr series, NR600, MasterBox NR400, tempered glass

A few short weeks ago Sebastian posted a quick look at Cooler Master's new NR series of cases, starting with the NR600 and NR400TechPowerUp received these two cases for review and posted them both for you to peruse at your leisure.  The NR600 is a brobdingnagian 478x209x473mm (18.8x8.21x18.6") while the NR400 is a lilliputian  411x210x411mm (16.2x8.3x16.2"), relatively speaking at least.  They both carry the same heritage, indeed the picture below could be either case, the difference is in the carrying capacity and the price. 

Whether you choose the ~$60 NR400 or the ~$70 NR600 you still get a solid case with a tempered glass side panel as well as a nice clean looking system. 

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"The Cooler Master NR series aims to combine form and function in a streamlined look with a good material mix. It actually achieves this balance quite well considering its affordable price tag, sturdy build quality, and simple but useful feature set."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: TechPowerUp

Third time's the charm, a closer look at the son of the son of the WD Black NVMe SSD

Subject: Storage | March 28, 2019 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wd black nvme, WD, ssd, NVMe, M.2, 64-layer TLC

In January Jim took a quick look at the third generation of WD's Black NVMe drive, as well as the SSD Dashboard software for Windows included with the drive.  Today you can get a bit more detail on the drive from KitGuru, who benchmarked the 1TB model.  Their benchmarks include Optane drives to offer real competition to a series of drives which have been at the top of the charts for a while now.  

Drop by to see how it performs across a series of tests, with and without Gaming Mode enabled.

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"Targeted at gamers, the SN750 is WD’s third generation Black NVMe drive. The SN750 uses the same NAND/controller combination as the previous generation Black NVMe drive, but with updated firmware to push up the performance. is it a good SSD to be considering for a new system build in 2019?"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: Kitguru

A back room brawl, AMD is starting something in the server room

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2019 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, Intel, server

The Inquirer linked to a paper AMD just posted, which details what they call the "Intel Tax".  It highlights a variety reasons not to chose an Intel based server, including the dozens of SKUs to chose from, spanning four different metal codes, and five different series. They also point out that if you want more that 28 cores you will need to buy additional processors, as well as needing to spend a large amount on upgrades to Gold or Platinum branded CPUs if you want to use the latest memory technology. 

No wonder DigiTimes is predicting Intel's market share in the server room may fall below 90% in the coming years.

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"As such, AMD's attack on Intel comes across as a bit petty. But then we don't feel too sorry for Intel as one of its top execs launched a big attack on Nvidia a day or so earlier; goodness knows what's in the water over in the US."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

WarCraft 1 and 2 Available Digitally for First Time on GOG

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2019 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: warcraft, orcs & humans, tides of darkness, battle.net, GOG, blizzard

It has finally happened: the original WarCraft and WarCraft II are legitimately available digitally for the first time in a new WarCraft bundle on GOG, coming on the heels of GOG's understanding with Blizzard that saw the release of the original Diablo on March 7th. GOG seems to have seen the value in offering versions of the classic games which were foolishly dismissed as "just not that fun anymore" by none other than Blizzard a couple of years ago.

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Thankfully there are people who do think they are fun, and while WarCraft: Orcs & Humans does look quite a bit more dated than WarCraft II (this author's favorite of the series), they are most certainly worth replaying on modern systems - and for $15 you can do it legally (and without the hassle of configuring DOSBox, etc.). The included version of WarCraft II is the Battle.net Edition, and GOG's says it has been updated "with a number of fixes to provide full compatibility with modern machines as well as hi-resolution support and upscaling".

From GOG.com:

"In anticipation of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Warcraft, we brought you the real-time strategy classics that started it all Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Warcraft II Battle.net Edition, including both the original Tides of Darkness and the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion. Starting today, players can once again explore these universe-defining games as they become available digitally and DRM-free for the first time ever! 

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans takes players back to the original battle for Azeroth, challenging players to pick a side and raise an army of human or orcs capable of bringing ruin to their enemies. Warcraft IIand its expansion take the battle to the high seas with a host of naval units, and introduces more of the races that make up the Alliance and the Horde, bolstering the human and orc forces with elves, trolls, dwarves, and more. 

The first part of the legendary series plays and feels just like the original from 1994, it’s just updated to run flawlessly on modern operating systems. Warcraft II Battle.net Edition, similarly to the release of first Diablo on GOG.COM, comes in two versions, which players will choose from the launcher. The classic one allows for the authentic experience and a fully functional multiplayer with Blizzard’s Battle.net online gaming service. The updated version comes with a number of fixes to provide full compatibility with modern machines as well as hi-resolution support and upscaling."

Source: GOG