SanDisk Extreme 900 and Extreme 500 Portable SSDs Launched in India

SanDisk has entered the portable SSD market with two new offerings; the SanDisk Extreme 900 and Extreme 500 ranges. The Extreme 900 range is touted by SanDisk as the world’s fastest line of USB 3.1 Type-C based portable SSDs, while the Extreme 500 are pocket-sized rugged drives for outdoor and rough usage. SanDisk aims to reach out to photographers, videographers, tech enthusiasts, and other creative professionals who need to transfer and store large files at quick speeds regularly.

The SanDisk Extreme 900 series is available in capacities of 480GB (Rs. 35,990), 960GB (Rs. 53,990), and 1.92TB (Rs. 89,990), and is capable of transfer speeds of up to 850MB/s. The Extreme 500 series with USB 3.0 support (no USB Type-C) is available in capacities of 120GB (Rs. 8,490), 240GB (Rs. 12,990), and 480GB (Rs. 22,990), and can achieve transfer speeds of up to 415MB/s. Both lines feature a three-year warranty and feature SanDisk Secure Access – an application that offers 128-bit encryption to secure data.

sandisk_extreme900_main.jpg“As a recognised leader in developing solutions for professional photographers and videographers, we designed this game-changing family of offerings to provide our customers with even greater speeds and capacities to keep up with rapidly increasing demands for high-quality content,” said Rajesh Gupta, Country Manager – India & Saarc, SanDisk. “Whether a professional or amateur, this level of portability, speed and capacity is exceptional, and we believe it will transform the way people create and produce high quality video content – ultimately saving them time and money.”

SanDisk also announced a new entry-level 2.5-inch internal SSD drive, the SanDisk SSD Plus. The new drive promises to inject new life into old PCs by offering quicker boot-up times and considerable performance boosts. The SSD Plus will be available in 120GB and 240GB capacities, but SanDisk has yet to reveal India pricing.

Asus EeeBox E410 Fanless Mini PC Introduced

Asus EeeBox E410

Asus has this week added a new addition to their range of fanless mini PC systems, in the form of the newly launched Asus EeeBox E410.

The Asus E410 is capable of supporting 4K Ultra HD video playback and can be connected to two displays, as well as supporting up to 8GB of RAM and being powered by an Intel Celeron N3150 processor.

Together with up to 1TB of hard drive storage or up to 128GB of solid state disk (SSD) storage in a case that measures 8.6 x 6.8 x 1.1 inches in size and weighs 1.5 lbs. Other features of the Windows 10 mini PC include :

– Efficient ASUS Software Management Tools
– Budget friendly solution with enhanced productivity
– Sleek and clean 1L compact PC with rotatable VESA-mount
– Rich array of I/O ports for a myriad of business peripheral devices

Powered by the next generation Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core 1.6GHz SoC processor (2M Cache, up to 2.08GHz), significantly faster and more efficient than the previous Intel Celeron processors, E410 delivers easy multitasking and enhanced performance.

Share your pictures, music and movies with 100GB free space for 1 year, wirelessly share your files across multiple devices. With a keyword search, you can find the relevant files in no time. Record and upload the important meeting notes with snap shots, and then access them on any devices.

How to install an Intel or AMD CPU in your computer

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The beating heart of any PC is its central processing unit.

Since the dawn of the Internet era, having a fast CPU has been a point of pride for many enthusiasts—and a must have for anybody looking to get intensive work done. In recent years, upgrading to a bleeding-edge CPUs has become less important in light of ever-faster graphics cards and the experience-altering goodness of SSDs, mixed with slowing CPU performance gains generation-to-generation. But don’t let that fool you: The CPU remains one of the most important parts of your PC.

With so much on the line, you want to get it right. Here’s a quick overview to picking the right CPU for you, and instructions on how to actually install a processor in your PC.

Choosing a new CPU

Choosing the right CPU for your PC can be complex process, but if you start with a solid idea of what your budget is and what your goals are then you can make a decision pretty quickly. Let’s start at the high-end and work our way down.

Intel’s Core i7-5820K is a $390 six-core “Haswell-E” chip that’s based off of Intel’s Xeon server chips and uses the high-end LGA 2011-v3 socket. Spending more money will get you a CPU that’s only marginally faster; thus this chip represents our most expensive recommendation for people without very specific needs that require additional computing firepower.

Moving to the next step down, there’s Intel’s Core i7-4790K at $340. This chip has only four cores but it also has an extra 500MHz of clock speed over the i7-5820K and will occasionally outperform the more expensive chip in games and apps because of it. At $240, we have Intel’s Core i5-4690K which loses a bit of clock speed and hyper threading compared to the i7-4790K. The Core i5-4690K is the best compromise between price and performance on the market, and the chip gamers should pick up if they can afford it.

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From left to right we have a 2nd gen Core i7-2700K, a 4th Core i7-4790K, the 6th gen Skylake an the gigantic Haswell-E Core i7-5960X chip.

But if you can’t quite fit that chip into your budget you can step down to AMD’s FX-8320 which is a very capable chip at $140. Stepping all the way down to the bottom of the bin we have AMD’s $75 Athlon X4 860K, which is essentially one of AMD’s APUs, minus the graphics bits.

We recommend going with AMD’s chips if you have less than $200 to spend on a CPU because of the plethora of inexpensive but well-featured motherboards on designed for those chips. Additionally, AMD’s chips retain many of the features—like cryptographic acceleration and virtualization—that Intel disables on its cheaper Core i3 and Pentium chips.

An AMD APU. APUs combined the CPU with a GPU on a single chip.

There are many more processors available that what we’ve covered here; this was just an overview of some best picks at various price points. In general, Intel’s Core i7 chips are their most powerful, and best for multimedia editing; Core i5 chips lack hyperthreading and are thus less powerful than Core i7 chips, but should be plenty potent for gamers and most other users; and Core i3 chips are the weakest Core chips, but just fine for people who don’t push their systems too hard.

Other buying considerations

Don’t forget to buy a motherboard that’s compatible with your new CPU, as selecting mismatched parts is a common PC building mistake you’ll want to avoid.

While you’re considering the information above it’s important to remember that you probably want to spend more on some other components in modern PCs. If you’re presented with a choice between spending an extra $100 on your CPU or repurposing that money for a better graphics card or SSD, you should usually choose invest in a better GPU or SSD over a faster CPU if you’re buying anything beyond a bargain-basement chip. For builders on an even tighter budget remember to always prioritize purchasing an SSD over all else. (Yes, mechanical hard drives are that bad for your primary drive.)

Another wrinkle to consider is cooling. All of the CPUs on this list come with basic heatsinks that will provide absolutely adequate cooling for the life of your CPU; but many enthusiasts chose to spend money on bigger tower coolers or on water cooling. If you want a really quiet system, plan to overclock your processor, or you care about aesthetics, then investing in an aftermarket CPU cooler is probably the right decision for you. On the other hand, if a light humming noise and a boring looking heatsink don’t bother you than you can skip out on this purchase.

How to install an Intel CPU

With all of those purchasing considerations out of the way it time to install your new CPU. First we’ll look at installing Intel’s CPUs, and then AMD’s chips.

Start with your motherboard outside of your PC’s case, on a flat surface. Release the small metal lever holding the CPU retention bracket to Intel’s LGA socket in the motherboard.

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Now you can insert your chip. Make sure that you line up the two guiding notches on the socket with the notches along the edge of your chip. These notches are designed to prevent you from seating the CPU in the socket in an improper manner. With the chip seated in the socket, you can lower the retention bracket back into place. Make sure that you slip the notch at the end of the bracket around the single screw at the base of the socket before you use the metal lever to lock the CPU into place.

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When the CPU’s installed, it’s time to attach the cooler. If you’re using the stock Intel cooler there will already be thermal grease on the underside of the heatsink. If you’re using an aftermarket cooler, then you’ll need to apply a small rice-grain-sized dot of thermal grease—your cooler likely came with a small syringe of it—to the center of the CPU before you set the heatsink on top of it.

One of the nice things about Intel’s stock heatsink is that it uses push pins to attach itself to the motherboard. Simply place the cooler on top of your CPU and then press the push pins into the holes at each corner of the socket. Once the pins have been pushed through to the other side of the motherboard, press the black locking tab down into the mounting pin and twist it toward the center of the CPU, following the arrow engraved into the push pin, to lock the heatsink into place.

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The final step is to connect the fan header wire leading from your CPU to the CPU fan header on your motherboard.

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Don’t forget to connect the cooler’s fan to your motherboard!

For aftermarket coolers this process can be more complex and potentially involve custom heatsink retention brackets and mounting solutions. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and refer to the relevant YouTube videos for guidance with those products.

How to install an AMD CPU

AMD’s chips have both a different kind of socket and a different method of mounting heatsinks compared to Intel’s system.

Looking at a fresh socket FM2+ motherboard, you’ll see that there are no metal pins on AMD’s socket. Rather, the pins that connect the CPU to the motherboard are on the underside of the CPU with AMD’s chips.

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AMD’s FM2+ socket.

Start by flipping the CPU locking lever up from the socket. Then you can place your AMD CPU in the socket in such a way that the gold triangle on the corner of your chip matches up with the engraved triangle on the corner of the CPU socket. A light press should then seat your CPU firmly in the socket. Lower the retention lever on the side of the socket to lock your chip into place.

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As with Intel’s stock cooler, AMD’s cooler will also come with thermal material on its underside from the factory. The big difference between Intel’s and AMD’s stock cooling solutions is that while Intel’s mounts with push-pins, AMD’s mounts with a more traditional notch-and-lever combination.

Start by hooking the mounting bracket on the cooler on to the plastic notch at the top end of the CPU socket. Then hook the bracket onto the notch at the opposite end of the socket. From here you can toggle the locking lever to press the heatsink up against the CPU and hold the heatsink firmly to the motherboard. Hooking both of the plastic notches with the heatsink mounting bracket is the most difficult part of this installation process.

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You have to hook the cooler’s bracket over the plastic notches on the cooler mounts at either side of the processor’s socket on the motherboard.

Now you’ve successfully picked out the right CPU for your PC build and you’ve correctly installed it into your motherboard. Your computer’s not done yet, but you’ve taken a big step on the road to computing nirvana.

Microsoft to Stop Detailing Minor Windows 10 Updates

If you’re having trouble deciphering what exactly Microsoft is bundling in Windows 10 updates, it is not your fault. Moreover, it is about to get worse. Microsoft has confirmed that it might choose to not offer a detailed changelog with new Windows 10 updates.

Microsoft’s decision to move Windows from as-a-product to as-a-service model changes the way it delivers the Windows operating system to users. The company has announced that in lieu of releasing new versions of Windows, it would continue to offer updates to Windows 10. In other words, Windows 10 is the last version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system.

Since the release of Windows 10 on July 29, Microsoft has offered three cumulative updates. The changelog the company bundled with these updates offered information about security patches, with minimal details about other changes. And now the company says that it could choose to not offer any information at all, and will only do so for significant updates.

“As we have done in the past, we post KB articles relevant to most updates which we’ll deliver with Windows as a service. Depending on the significance of the update and if it is bringing new functionality to Windows customers, we may choose to do additional promotion of new features as we deploy them,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register.

The downside of this is that users wouldn’t know what new features or changes these new Windows 10 updates are bringing with them. All the cumulative updates have been found to have some bugs in them. One of the updates caused some PCs to enter reboot loops. It seems like a bad idea to not offer users with complete details of the changes the updates make to the operating system as users could have used the information to bypass or halt the automatic update as they see fit. On the other hand, users may choose to ignore an update that contains major security fixes.

By default, Windows 10 Home users don’t have a say on which updates they want. But a handful of methods let users stop select updates.

Intel 'Skylake' CPU, Graphics, Security, and Power Management Details Revealed

When Intel launched the first two processors based on the new Skylake architecture at Gamescom a few weeks ago, it didn’t share much information about what’s new and why they are faster or better than their predecessors. The enthusiast-oriented Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K are only the tip of the iceberg though; Intel will launch many more models across price tiers and device segments over the next year.

While details such as speeds and specifications of individual SKUs have not been made public, Intel did share a whole lot of information about the architecture as a whole at the annual Intel Developer Forum this week. Over the course of several technical briefings, we were able to build a high-level overview of what Skylake (formally known as the sixth-generation Core architecture) does differently and what users can expect.

This overview paints a picture of a hypothetical Skylake processor with a superset of all possible features. Diagrams shown do not represent any actual product. It is likely that there will be models that do implement a majority of these features, if not all, but we do not know at this point how Intel will differentiate products at different tiers in its hierarchy.

HP Revenue Falls on Weak PC Sales, Lower Demand for Services

Hewlett-Packard Co reported a drop in revenue for the fourth straight quarter, hurt by weak PC sales and lower demand from corporates for its services.

Shares of the world’s No. 2 PC maker, which also forecast full-year adjusted profit largely below estimates, fell as much as 4 percent in extended trading on Thursday.

Chief Executive Meg Whitman said the factors pressuring the PC market were expected to continue through the fourth quarter and well into the next fiscal year.

The 76-year-old company, which has struggled to adapt to mobiles and online computing, is splitting into two listed companies later this year, separating its computer and printer businesses from its faster-growing corporate hardware and services operations.

HP is nearing the end of a multi-year restructuring under Whitman, who has been cutting costs and focusing on higher-margin sales. The plan includes the elimination of about 55,000 jobs.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak said the company expects the number of job cuts to increase by up to 5 percent by the end of October.

A relentless decline in PC sales has hurt the company hard – HP has reported a drop in quarterly sales in 15 of the last 16 quarters.

The decline in global PC sales was exacerbated in the second quarter of 2015 as customers awaited the release of Windows 10 in July.

As a result, revenue at HP’s personal computer and printer businesses, its largest, fell 11.5 percent in the third quarter ended July 31.

Enterprise services division sales dropped 11 percent, while revenue at the enterprise group rose 2 percent.

For the full-year ending October, the company said it expected adjusted profit of $3.59-$3.65 per share, largely below the average analyst estimate of $3.64 per share.

Total revenue fell 8.1 percent to $25.35 billion (roughly Rs. 1,66,651 crores) in the third quarter, also hurt by a strong dollar.

The dollar had risen about 19.5 percent in the 12 months to the end of July against a basket of major currencies. HP gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from outside the United States.

Excluding items, the company earned 88 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 85 cents per share and revenue of $25.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Up to Thursday’s close, the stock had dropped nearly 32 percent this year, compared with a 1.1 percent fall in the S&P 500 index.

Intel Announces Optane SSDs and RAM Based on Non-Volatile 3D XPoint Tech

Intel announced the first commercial applications of its revolutionary 3D XPoint non-volatile memory technology, which was announced less than a month ago. 3D XPoint, developed in collaboration with Micron, is claimed to be the most significant breakthrough in computer architecture in 25 years.

3D XPoint is Intel’s name for a new type of non-volatile memory that is claimed to be as much as 1,000 times faster and 1,000 times longer lasting than current-day NAND flash, while also allowing for 10x denser storage capacities.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and SVP Rob Crooke announced a new brand for storage products, Intel Optane, at the end of the opening keynote at the company’s annual Intel Developer Forum event in San Francisco. Optane products will be available first in the form of SSDs and then also as traditional DIMMs starting in 2016.

Optane products will primarily be aimed at the enterprise, with data centres and applications that need to process massive data sets the most obvious customers. Krzanich did not specify details of the connection standards that the upcoming SSDs and DIMMs will use. Products suitable for the consumer market, as well as embedded solutions, are likely to follow later.

intel_nand_tech_ndtv_1.jpg3D XPoint could eventually do away with the need for separate high-speed RAM and high-capacity permanent storage devices, resulting in a massive change to the way all kinds of computers are designed and built. A demonstration on stage showed two comparable systems running live benchmarks – the one with an Optane device exhibited up to 5.47x faster IOPS performance than one with Intel’s current high-speed DC P3700 SSD.

Intel Skylake CPU details revealed

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After weeks of teasing us, Intel finally lifted the kilt to show us details of its 6th generation CPU. Besides being faster and using less power than its predecessors, Skylake chips can drive multiple 4K displays, feature new instructions to speed up security operations, and even hardened memory defenses.

But those expecting the full monty on how much the chips will cost, how many cores they’ll have, and when you can buy a laptop with them will continue to be disappointed.

“Today is not the launch of Skylake,” Julius Mandelblat, an Intel senior principle engineer said to a frustrated room of developers, hardware vendors and engineers who peppered him with specific product questions after his presentation about Skylake. That news, Intel officials said, won’t come for another “couple of weeks.”

Still, Intel’s disclosures point to a processor worthy of the wait. Let’s cover the highlights:

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Intel’s Skylake offers several nice improvements that should boost mobile performance

Power savings

New to Skylake is a feature called Speed Shift which is a power-saving technique that lets the CPU intelligently change its power state. Intel’s power clock savings technique is fairly rigid today, but Speed Shift in Skylake laptops should improve responsiveneswhen coming out of a low power mode (compared to a Broadwell or Haswell CPU) as well as more performance when in a low power state. Speed Shift is just one of the power saving modes Skylake implements, but it’s probably the coolest sounding.

Intel didn’t specifically say how much of an increase in battery life Skylake would offer over its 5th gen Broadwell chips. PC OEM’s I’ve spoken to said it’s a good improvement, but don’t expect that major leap we saw going from Ivy Bridge to Haswell.

Performance

The CPU core itself is more efficient and able to handle more instructions simultaneously than Haswell or Broadwell CPUs could.

Another secret weapon of Skylake will be the new memory subsystem. Intel has been embedding chunks of DRAM into the CPU package since the Haswell days to help improve memory bandwidth for gaming.

With Skylake CPUs it’s been upgraded to something Intel calls “eDRAM+.” It continues to act as a cache to store recently used data and instructions but it’s now fully coherent, which means it can be used to cache information for the CPU, not just the GPU. That should add up to increased performance in things other than just gaming.

That eDRAM on Skylake will also see far wider use. With Haswell and Skylake, eDRAM was limited to one or two chips with 128MB of eDRAM. With Skylake, the eDRAM can now be sized to either 64MB or 128MB and be made available in far more laptops.

On desktops, Skylake’s performance improvement was decent but didn’t match the hyped leaks. On laptops, there’s a good chance Skylake will surprise us more as the power savings can sometimes be turned into performance improvements.

Security

With security on everyone’s mind, Intel is introducing two new extensions aimed at locking down the PC. The first is Intel’s SGX or Software Guard eXtensions. SGX is aimed at reducing privileged attacks by malware in a system. SGX works hand in hand with Intel’s Memory Protection eXtensions which are also designed to build isolated sections of memory. Whether this would protect against “row-hammering attacks” but it’s possible this could help.

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Intel dedicates a lot more real estate or graphics today than it did when it first started integrating graphics.

Graphics

It’s no secret that Intel’s been putting a lot more emphasis on integrated graphics over these last few generations and one slide at IDF drives the point home. If you think of a CPU’s die as valuable real-estate in Manhattan, we’ve gone from it taking up a small sliver in the 2nd gen Sandy Bridge chip to accounting for almost half of the CPU area.
It’s here where Skylake gets the most improvements. While Haswell could drive a 4K monitor at only 30Hz, and Broadwell could drive a single 4K monitor at 60Hz, Skylake is capable of driving three panels at 4K resolution and 60Hz.

Intel has also integrated fixed-function support of 4K video processing in hardware. That means Intel has dedicated transistors directly to the job of decoding and encoding 4K. In one demonstration showing playback of a 4K RAW video stream from a Canon video camera, playback was smooth using the Skylake graphics chip, while using just the CPU, it would constantly drop frames.

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Graphics performance is where Intel is really making strides.

That same 2nd-gen Sandy Bridge chip had a peak shader GFLOPS performance of 130 GFLOPS, Intel said. Intel’s Skylake graphics can exceed, 1,100 GFLOPS. Skylake graphics improvement, in fact, impressed me on the desktop chip and I’m looking forward to seeing it in a laptop.

All told, Skylake looks like it will be solid improvement over Broadwell when it comes in laptops and mini NUC-style machines, but the question is when. With various engineers throwing out “two weeks” as a launch date, that puts it right around the start of the IFA trade show in Berlin.

IDF 2015: Intel Demos New Features for PC and Smartphone Security and Immersiveness

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich kicked off the company’s annual Intel Developer Forum with a keynote address that focused on the increased personalisation and intelligence of the hardware, software and services that will come to define technology in the near future. Krzanich framed his talk in terms of three basic assumptions that he said the company is now making when it comes to focusing its efforts.

The first assumption is that sensors are going to be increasingly important parts of products, allowing users to interact with them using natural sound, sight and touch for more immersive, human experiences. The second is that devices will be smarter and more connected, opening up possibilities for devices and experiences that haven’t till now been considered tech-related. The third is that users will treat technology as extensions of themselves, expecting more personalised experiences.

Krzanich ran through several demonstrations on stage:

  • Wake On Voice, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, allows users to wake their Windows 10 devices from sleep or standby with a simple voice command, building on Windows 10’s Cortana capabilities. The device is always listening, so it can be woken up just by saying “Hey Cortana, wake up”. The functionality will be available on devices featuring Intel’s Atom and Core processors thanks to dedicated digital sound processing logic.
  • Reduced audio latency on Android devices, which should allow professional-level responsiveness and more natural expression when creating music with apps.
  • Also in collaboration with Google, a Project Tango tablet with integrated Intel RealSense 3D cameras. The tablet was able to generate a 3D model of a room with distance and depth information, just by being waved around.
  • A custom-built 3D racing simulator which tracked head movements to change the perspective of the visuals shown on screen. A driver could see the road better when turning corners, just as if he or she was turning his head when driving a real car.
  • A camera developed by Razer especially for Twitch game streaming, which allows players to broadcast 3D avatars of themselves along with their streams so that viewers can see their reactions in real time.

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  • A digital mirror that lets shoppers try on clothes and not only change their colours digitally, but also compare two looks side by side and share them privately or socially.
  • A clip for children’s car seat belts that triggers an alarm when a parent’s phone goes out of range, to alert him or her in case the baby has been left in the car inadvertently and might therefore be in danger.

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  • Digital vending machines with gesture-based controls which sense customers approaching and customise ads or product menus based on their gender, age, and potentially other demographics.

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  • A sensor module developed by BMX that knows a bike’s range of motions and can identify and rate the quality of stunts performed in order to help riders improve.
  • Enterprise wearables, such as an identity token bracelet that can replace passwords on Windows 10 machines and automatically log users in when they are close enough and lock terminals when they step away. Access is denied if the wearable breaks contact with the wearer’s skin.
  • A futuristic 3D display that lets users interact with virtual “floating” elements such as horizontal piano keys. There is an optical illusion of floating controls, and RealSense cameras to detect users’ hand movements. Ultrasonic pulses disturb the air around the user’s fingertips to provide the sensation of feedback from the virtual surface.

New Windows 10 Preview Build Released With Memory Improvements, More

What’s new in Windows 10? Just ask any Windows Insider user. Microsoft has made available a new preview build of its latest desktop operating system to beta testers. Dubbed 10525, the new Windows 10 build comes with a number of interesting changes that users had requested from the company. The update is already available for Windows Insider users on the “Fast ring” lane.

The company says that it has received plenty of feedback over the colour options for Windows 10. In the new build, it said, it is giving users more flexibility in choosing the UI colour. You can be find the option in Settings > Personalisation > Colors, and by selecting Show color on Start, task bar, and action center. The colour now also reflects on the title bar of applications.

Microsoft says that it is also testing out memory improvements in Windows, which could reduce the amount of memory used by a process. This would allow the operating system to store more applications on physical memory (which significantly improves the speed) resulting in improved user experience. If this works, we might see fewer modern applications resuming after being left idle for a few minutes.

Readers should note there are some glitches in the new build. The built-in mobile hotspot feature, for instance, doesn’t work on this build, and the Movies & TV application requires an update to patch the video playback issue. Also if you use optional languages, those will need to be re-installed manually on your computer.

What to expect next? These features will eventually arrive for Windows Insider users in “Slow ring” lane. And if users like these changes, Microsoft will likely introduce it to regular Windows 10 users in an upcoming update. The company says that it plans to test support for extensions in its Edge browser, and a new Messaging application in a coming build.