Can’t wait for Far Cry 6? Far Cry 5 is free to play this weekend

There are still a couple of months left before we get our hands on Far Cry 6, but if you want a taste of Far Cry action before then, you’re in luck. 

Far Cry 5 is free to play this weekend, with Ubisoft letting those on Google Stadia, PS4, PC and Xbox One play the full game from August 5 through August 9. 

How to download the Windows 11 beta now

Windows 11 has gone from abstract concept to official announcement in a matter of weeks, and now you can try out the new operating system for yourself.

Just four days after Windows 11’s big reveal, Microsoft released the first public beta (or Insider Preview, as it calls it) to members of the Windows Insider Program. This testing period provides a crucial opportunity for the company to fine-tune the Windows 11 experience following user feedback, ahead of the expected full rollout in October.

The Windows Insider Program is open to everyone with a Windows PC and a Microsoft account, meaning you can try Windows 11 for yourself right now. However, this is an early build – some features may be missing, and bugs are likely. As such, we wouldn’t recommend installing it on your main PC.

However, if you have a spare device available, it’s a great chance to try out Windows 11 ahead of time. Without further ado, here’s how to download the Windows 11 beta now.

Check your PC meets the hardware requirements

There’s no point following all these steps if your PC won’t ultimately be eligible for the free Windows 11 upgrade. While the vast majority of current Windows 10 hardware will be supported, that’s not the case for all devices.

That’s because Microsoft has updated the hardware requirements for Windows 11. Notable changes include the need for a TPM 2.0-enabled processor (although there is a workaround), alongside at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-device storage. 

This counts a lot of older hardware out, including Surface PCs from 2018 or earlier. Learn more and see a full list of hardware requirements in our separate article: Will my PC run Windows 11?

Microsoft wasn’t enforcing hardware requirements when early builds were available in the Dev Channel, but that’s changed now it’s an official beta. 

How to get the Windows 11 beta: Join the Windows Insider Program

The Windows Insider Program (or Programme as it’s known in the UK) is the only way to get access to this early Windows 11 build. Provided you’ve got an active Microsoft account, signing up is a simple process:

  1. On your Windows 10 PC, open Settings
  2. Head to Update & Security and choose ‘Windows Insider Program’ from the left pane
  3. If you’re not already signed up, click the ‘Get Started’ button
    Windows 11 beta
  4. From the pop-up that appears, click ‘Link an account’
    Windows 11 beta
  5. Choose from an account that’s already signed in, or log in with new details
  6. On the next screen, choose either the ‘Dev Channel’ or ‘Beta Channel’, although we’d recommend the later if device stability or bugs are a concern. Windows 11 isn’t available in the ‘Release Preview Channel’ yet
    Windows 11 beta
  7. Hit ‘Confirm’ on this screen and the next, which indicates you agree to the terms and conditions
    Windows 11 beta
  8. To complete signup, you’ll need to restart your PC. Choose whether to do that now or later
    Windows 11 beta

That’s the hard bit done – now you’ll just need to install the beta like you would any other update.

How to install the Windows 11 beta: Download the update

Once you’re a member of the Insider Program, installing the Windows 11 beta couldn’t be easier:

  1. Head to Settings > Update & Security
  2. From the Windows Update tab, choose ‘Check for updates’
    Windows 11 beta
  3. After a few seconds, an update named ‘Windows 11 Insider Preview’ will automatically begin downloading
    Windows 11 beta
  4. Once it’s finished, you’ll be prompted to restart your PC. Click ‘Restart now’ to do it straight away

That’s it! Once your PC has installed the update, the Windows 11 beta will be ready to use. Don’t worry, all your apps and files will remain intact.

How to switch from the Dev Channel to the Beta Channel

Until 29 July, the Dev Channel was the only way to get access to preview builds of Windows 11. Microsoft acknowledges that these early versions can have “rough edges”, recommending them for “highly technical users”.

However, with the latest version now available in the more stable Beta Channel, many people will want to make the switch. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From any Windows 11 build, open Settings
  2. In the top-right of the window that appears, choose ‘Windows Update’
  3. Under ‘More options’, click ‘Windows Insider Program’
    Windows 11 switch Insider channel
  4. You should now see a ‘Choose your Insider settings’ option. Click it and then select ‘Beta Channel (Recommended)’
    Windows 11 switch Insider channel

Your Windows 11 PC will now be switched to the Beta Channel. This is a much simpler process than usual, but Microsoft has indicated that it won’t be around for long:

How to stop getting future Windows Insider builds

If you signed up to the Windows Insider Program just to get the Windows 11 beta, you probably won’t want every new release in the Dev Channel. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to turn them off straight away:

  1. From the new-look Windows 11 desktop, click the Settings cog icon in the middle of the taskbar
    Windows 11 beta
  2. This now automatically opens in System settings. From the left pane, choose ‘Windows Update’
  3. Click ‘Windows Insider Programme’ (or Program), one of the four main options on screen
    Windows 11 beta
  4. From the next screen, click ‘Stop getting preview builds’ and then ‘Unenroll this device immediately’.

For this option to work right now, you’ll need to clean install Windows 10 back on your PC. We’d recommend not doing this, so only download the Windows 11 beta if you know you’ll want to keep it.

Related articles for further reading


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The best pre-built PCs with AMD’s Ryzen 5300G, 5600G, or 5700G APUs

AMD is at last putting its latest generation of Ryzen 5000G APUs in the hands of DIY builders. These processors, with Vega-powered integrated graphics, let you play games without having a discrete GPU–a much-welcome alternative after months of waiting out sky-prices on graphics cards. Of course, they also provide the best performance you can get from a CPU.

But perhaps you don’t relish the idea of chasing after yet another component likely to be in high demand. Or maybe you don’t want to deal with building your own PC right now, period. You’re in luck—you don’t need to wait for the August 5th launch of the Ryzen 5 5600G or Ryzen 7 5700G. You can find those two chips, plus the even more affordable Ryzen 3 5300G, in pre-built machines right now.

Here’s the best of the bunch, plus what you need to know for upgrading them down the road.

HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2337c (Costco)

HP Pavilion Costco version HP
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200MHz RAM (1 x 8GB)
  • Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Wireless:11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Price: $650 (On sale for $600 until August 8, 2021)

This retailer variant of an HP Pavilion pre-built with the mid-tier Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best values we’ve seen. Reproducing it as a DIY build costs more, which is not typical.

That said, the configuration isn’t perfect. We strongly recommending adding a second stick of 8GB RAM for optimal performance (which, according to HP’s support pages, should be an easy addition to make).

The one catch? You’ll have to be a Costco member to purchase this system. A Costco Gold Star personal membership costs $60 per yearRemove non-product link.

HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2165z (HP)

HP Pavilion HP
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 8GB)
  • Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB 7200RPM SATA HDD
  • Wireless:11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Price: $650

Like its Costco alter ego, this HP Pavilion featuring the 5600G costs less to build than its DIY equivalent. We recommend the Costco model before this one, though, due to this version’s storage configuration: It has a smaller SSD, which means you’ll be storing most of your big game files on the HDD (or doing a lot of musical chairs with file storage). But otherwise, it provides good value.

HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2155m (HP)

HP Pavilion HP
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5300G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 4GB)
  • Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB 7200RPM SATA HDD
  • Wireless:11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Price: $600

You can only get the entry-level, budget-friendly Ryzen 3 5300G in a pre-built machine—and this HP model is one of the better configurations that features it. As you’ll be really only playing non-system intensive games on that chip (e.g. indie games), you’ll have more than ample storage to accommodate your Steam backlog.

If you can afford it, we recommend spending a little more and opting for the $650 5600G pre-builts on this list, since that’ll bump you up to a more powerful processor overall. But this 5300G PC would serve as a good PC for everyday tasks and lightweight gaming.

HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2066 (Office Depot)

HP Pavilion HP
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5700G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 4GB)
  • Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Wireless: 11 Wireless-AC (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5.0
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Price: $700

Pre-built PCs with a 5700G and no discrete graphics card are actually rare. If you want only the APU, you’ll have to go with this HP Pavilion, which is fairly bare-bones in what it offers. We strongly recommend adding more storage, as the lone 256GB SSD will fill up quickly during normal use of the PC.

We expect that most people considering this PC plan to pair the 5700G with a discrete GPU later, to make the most out of having a higher-end processor. If you fall into this group, be aware that like the other HP Pavilion models on this list, this PC uses a proprietary motherboard and power supply. To support a discrete GPU, you’ll have to make some part swaps—investing more money into the system—to accommodate a beefier graphics card.

Can you upgrade these pre-builts?

Yes and no. You can easily upgrade storage and the amount of RAM in your system (up to 32GB for all of these HP Pavilion models) and the storage.

But most people asking this question want to know if you can add in a discrete graphics card down the road and call it a day. Unfortunately, you can’t.

The motherboard also caps RAM speed at 3200MHz, so you won’t be able to coax more performance out of the APU’s graphics by switching to faster RAM, either.

corsair memory ram Thomas Ryan/IDG

You can easily upgrade memory capacity and storage in these HP Pavilion pre-builts, but that’s about it. For the addition of discrete GPU, it’ll take more work and money.

Instead, the majority of folks will need to replace the case, motherboard, and power supply for these HP Pavilions to accommodate a discrete graphics card. The included PSU is rated at only 180W, which won’t provide enough juice for a dedicated GPU, even one that can draw power through the PCIe slot alone. The motherboard and case are both proprietary, so you can’t use an off-the-shelf power supply or mobo.

A potential alternative is combing through HP’s forums and YouTube to find a compatible higher-wattage HP power supply that will work with these pre-builts. But that’s a gamble in more than one way: It’s not officially recommended by HP, and if you wait to buy the part, one that works may no longer exist by then.

In the end, expect to shell out about another $130 to $150 to support a discrete GPU. If that’s too much to stomach, you may be better off going the DIY route after all.

Alternatives

Of the big PC vendors like HP, Lenovo, and Dell, HP dominates the offerings. Whether it’s these basic Pavilion models or higher-end lines where the Ryzen APUs get paired with discrete GPUs from the get-go, HP seems to be the main company that’s gone all in on Cezanne.

The most choice you get is where to buy the pre-built. Buying through the direct website isn’t always the best—sometimes you can find better configurations and prices by looking at partner retailers like Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples. That’s how we came to our mix here.

You can find system integrators that offer these APUs, but at the time of this article’s publication, we couldn’t find any that sold the PC with only the APU. Stock seems to fluctuate too: iBuyPower offered the 5700G when I began my research, only for it to disappear when I went back to verify the configuration.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

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COVID has changed the way SMB works: Here are the new tools that get things done

It has always been a challenge to run a successful business, and with less resources, experience and cash than bigger organizations, keeping yours afloat gets even more daunting. And while this was true before the COVID-19 pandemic, this “Once in a lifetime” scourge on humanity has made this at least a few magnitudes more difficult with over 34.6 million cases and 610,000 deaths in the US according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center as of the end of July. Also realize that while larger businesses often garner the attention, 99% of businesses in the US are considered small.

Businesses, and particularly small businesses have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey released in July 2021 done by NEXT Insurance gives us an idea of the toll this virus has taken on business. It really has represented the largest threat to business over the last century. This has included that 44% of small businesses have experienced a “Major impact” from COVID-19, consisting of loss of revenue. The toll has been even greater on some subgroups, as among Millennial, and Baby Boomer business owners, the revenue loss is greater than 50%. In this survey, over half of respondents- more precisely 56%- indicate that they took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for revenue supplementation and to meet business expenses. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, a staggering 1 in 5 businesses had to close at some point during this pandemic, either fully, or partially, and approximately 80% of them had to make adaptations.

5 reasons why your business needs a POS system

Take it from us – the importance of the POS system in business cannot be understated. The development and evolution of point of sale systems (or ePOS) has increased rapidly over the past 20 years, benefiting the retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors by integrating cloud services, mobile and a multitude of other handy features designed to improve your bottom line.

Ultimately, POS systems are about maximizing sales – something that they do in a multitude of different ways. There are plenty of game-changing features we could mention, but we’ve stuck to the five main reasons why your business needs a POS system. 

Nvidia RTX 3090 restock: Scan UK has this epic GPU on sale now

The Nvidia RTX 3090 is the most powerful consumer graphics card in the world, and Scan UK has it in stock for £1,399.

For anyone who has been searching for where to buy the Nvidia RTX 3090, you’ll know how hard getting hold of this graphics card has been, despite its high price, so it’s exciting that it’s come back into stock.