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With blistering speeds well in excess of SATA’s maximum, the M.2 interface theoretically lets SSDs stretch their legs and explore the technology’s full capabilities. It is said that 2015 will be the year of the M.2 SSD form factor and, by all indications, this assumption seems to be correct. Below are our list of what we consider the best M.2 solid state drives (SSD) on the market. Lightning-fast boot-up times, application launches, and system responsiveness for an unbeatable feeling of speed.
The M.2 form factor was created to provide multiple options for small form factor cards, including SSDs. Depending on wiring and implementation, storage attached to an M.2 port can either be accessed via standard SATA rev.
Note that the difference between the two connector types doesn’t really matter at this point. Microsoft has taken heat lately for pushing Windows 10 on users of older versions of Windows, and for allegedly using Windows 10 to collect personal information about its users. This discovery was detailed in an October posting by forensic examiner Ashish Singh in the Forensic Focus trade website.
This may be a result of Edge’s use of WebCache data to restore user browsing sessions in the case of a sudden crash, despite the fact that InPrivate browsing sessions should not be logged.
For now, if you really want to browse the Web without leaving tracks, you could use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, which have private modes that do not record browsing history. Sam is a former penguin trainer and archery instructor who dabbles in esports and has lived on three different continents.
ISRT works by monitoring which programs and files you access most frequently and storing them on the SSD.
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A great choice for business travelers, the ThinkPad X260 pairs a fantastic keyboard and lightweight body with over 17 hours of battery life. In their quest to build ever-thinner laptops, manufacturers sometimes put battery life or keyboard quality on the back burner.
A powerful business workhorse, the Dell Latitude E5570 pairs fast performance with strong build-quality and a comfortable keyboard. A business powerhouse, the 15.6-inch Dell Latitude E5570 offers a compelling combination of performance, security and usability. The E5570 dominated its competition in the GeekBench 3 benchmark test, which measures overall performance, notching a score of 12,148.
Windows 8 has changed the way we navigate the desktop, so ita€™s not surprising that Microsoft has a pair of new wireless mice designed specifically for Windows 8 (theya€™re also compatible with Windows 7 and the Mac OS X OS). Microsofta€™s Sculpt Mobile Mouse will fit into the tightest backpack or pocket while youa€™re on the go, and it will keep you from swearing at your notebooka€™s annoying trackpad or touchscreen when you reach your destination. MicrosoftThe Sculpt Mobile Mouse is compact enough to fit into the tightest pocket on the go.
The mouse uses Microsofta€™s BlueTrack laser technology, which enables it to track over any almost any surface (except for clear glass or mirrored surfaces). MicrosoftThe Sculpt Mobile Mouse can track over almost any surface except clear glass or mirrors. The only real standout functionality of the mouse is the single Windows logo button right behind the scroll wheel. The mouse has a four-way scroll wheel thata€™s useful for navigating screens (whether they be websites, documents, or the Windows 8 Start page) on mobile devices with small screens. MicrosoftThe four-way scroll wheel can spin to and fro or push left and right for navigation. The Sculpt Mobile connects to the host PC via a tiny wireless USB dongle, which you can stow in a socket on the bottom of the mouse while youa€™re traveling so it doesna€™t snag while sliding in and out of your bag. Microsofta€™s Sculpt Comfort Mouse is the desktop alternative to the Sculpt Mobile, and it makes a great companion to the Sculpt Comfort keyboard that Microsoft shipped last fall. MicrosoftThe Sculpt Comfort Mouse has a blue touch-sensitive button on the side for right-handed mousers (lefties are out of luck).
Pressing the touch tab calls up the Windows 8 Start screen (or the Windows 7 Start menu, as the case may be), and a second press takes you to the most recent application you used. MicrosoftThe rubber sides and indentation make the Sculpt Comfort Mouse more comfortable to grip. The Sculpt Comforta€™s smooth, glossy-black finish is comfortable for your two resting index and middle clicking fingers, and the rubber sides and indentation for your thumb provides a comfortable grip that wona€™t slip. This mouse is large enough for average-sized hands, but you could still throw into a laptop bag with your computer or tablet.
Mice are often overlooked as computer accessories, even though they're one of the primary ways we interact with our computers. PCWorld helps you navigate the PC ecosystem to find the products you want and the advice you need to get the job done. Competition is increasing, prices are lowering, and speeds are getting much faster—well they will be.
This has left M.2 drive manufacturers struggling to catch up, with many shipping products producing numbers only slightly faster than quality SATA SSDs.
This is a very big plus for the SSD industry, as well as a very clear demonstration of the progress made in flash technology within the last few years. The Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), aka m.2, provides not only a smaller envelope for storage devices to fit in, it defines new PCI-E based interfaces as well as the legacy SATA 6G interface. With power-efficient performance and the latest 16nm NAND technology, the Intel SSD 535 Series is designed for consumer and embedded platforms with demanding consumer client applications including Ultrabook, traditional desktops and laptops, mini computers, and digital signage as well as the latest tablets and small form factor mobile systems. Leveraging leading specs on all fronts, along with the Dynamic Write Acceleration technology, the Crucial MX200 is loaded with innovative features and immediately increases your system’s performance. As the needs for memory space have increased, the MTS800 model features an outstanding storage capacity of up to 512GB.
Perfect for ultra-thin notebooks and motherboards supporting 2280 sized form factors, gamers and high-power users will appreciate the responsiveness and ultra-fast loading times the powerful M6e M.2 delivers. Take the M6e to the limits with Plextor’s best quality components and extensive failure testing. Looking at this from the most rudimentary viewpoint, a laptop today is much lighter, smaller, cooler, quieter, and faster than that of only a year ago, the result of flash technology and SSDs. The answer for that is the increased power usage that the native M.2 will require in its high transfer speeds, reducing precious battery life. You typically find these types of connectors in laptops, but will also occasionally find them on specialized high-end desktop motherboards. Now, it appears that Edge, the default Web browser in Windows 10, may be storing browsing history even in its private mode. This provides the advantage of having a hard disk drive for maximum storage capacity with SSD-like overall system performance.
As a result, application launch speed and overall system responsiveness are significantly improved, while space on your large-capacity hard drive is freed up for other programs and files. Lenovo's 12.5-inch ThinkPad X260 isn't the slimmest system on the block, but this lightweight business workhorse provides a near-perfect balance between portability and productivity. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. Armed with a 6th Generation Intel Skylake processor and customizable to a high degree (starting at $779, tested at $2,096), the E5570 wowed us with its blazing speed, colorful full-HD touch screen and strong audio.


You can buy added security with an optional Smart Card reader ($7) or Smart Card reader with fingerprint reader ($21). You can save $140 by opting for a nontouch display, and $105 by moving down from the 256GB drive to its 128GB counterpart. As such, the mouse isna€™t the most comfortable to grip if you have large hands: Your palm will drag over the surface, but the high arc will keep your fingers resting happily. When youa€™re on the road, the only available mouse pad might be the fabric covering your leg, and the Sculpt Mobile works just fine in that scenario. Spinning the wheel to and fro scrolls the page up and down, while pushing it left or right pans the page back and forth across the display. This mouse is a good candidate for frequent travelers, but the single-function Windows button isna€™t a compelling reason to upgrade.
This model dispenses with the USB dongle in favor of Bluetooth wireless connectivity, making it the better choice for tablets such as Microsofta€™s Surface that lack USB ports to accommodate a wireless dongle. Each time you slide your thumb up the tab, Windows 8 will cycle through your open applications. A four-way scroll wheel performs the same functions as the one on the smaller Sculpt Mobile. These new mice from Microsoft take a big step up from ordinary with their comfortable designs and useful navigation features, tailor-made, of course, for Windows 8. M.2 accommodates both SATA and PCIe performance, while at the same time offering capacities as high as 1TB. The Intel SSD 535 Series M.2 form factor delivers outstanding performance for thin and light computing devices. First released to the market in August 2013, the XP941 is compatible as a boot device in a wide variety of desktop systems, and as additional storage in almost any desktop with a spare PCIe slot. The easy way to differentiate between the two is by the interface, SATA having two notches whereas native PCIe has one. In this configuration, only one drive letter is displayed; no additional drive letter is required for the SSD used as cache. Dell's workhorse handily beat its competitors in our OpenOffice Test, matching 20,000 names to their addresses in 3 minutes and 29 seconds. Some versions of the E5570 have a three-cell, 47-watt-hour battery, which you can upgrade to a four-cell, 62-watt-hour battery for $34.30.
Those with smaller paws will appreciate its ambidextrous design and the rubber sides that provide a good grip. And in place of the single-function button behind the scroll wheel, therea€™s a blue touch-sensitive button on the left side, dubbed the a€?Windows touch tab,a€? where your right thumb comes to rest (southpaws wona€™t cotton to this one).
Swipe your thumb down, and Windows 8 will display all your open apps so you can select the one you wish to use.
NGFF is actually a slang term that started the process rolling and means ‘next generation form factor’ and was a working name for the new generation of PCIe solid state drives, now affectionately known as M.2 SSDs. Grab a small-capacity model, run your operating system off of it, and flesh out your storage needs with mid-range SATA SSDs or hard drives.
A Half-Height, Half-Length (HHHL) adapter that works with many existing motherboards with at least a PCIe x4 slot open is available. The M.2 specification allows system manufacturers to standardise on a common small form factor that can be extended to high capacities where needed. This means they only allow for the M.2 SSD to transmit information over the PCIe bus or SATA bus. Other models start with that four-cell battery, and offer an upgrade to the six-cell, 84-watt-hour battery that our review unit came with, selling for $35.00. If youa€™re using Windows 7, you can use the touch-sensitive surface to open and then move up and down the Start menu. The HHHL adapter comes with both standard and low-profile brackets to fit in slim profile desktop builds. M.2, also known as Next Generation Form Factor or NGFF, is a port designed to move either storage or connection data over PCI Express. This can cause some issues for consumers when they buy the wrong type of M.2 drive for their computer and it isn’t recognized by the motherboard or adapter. Lenovo says that the laptop passed MIL-SPEC 810G durability tests for extreme temperatures, shocks and vibrations. Docking Options The Latitude E5570 has a proprietary docking connector on its bottom, which lets the notebook snap into Dell's E-Port docks. The button is particularly convenient for Windows 8 users who dona€™t have a touchscreen display or who just prefer to keep their hands on the mouse and keyboard. Specs Design A big, matte-black slab, the Latitude E5570 looks like it's ready to get things done. These tools should help your IT department secure sensitive information, no matter if it's stored locally, in the cloud or on external media. It took the Latitude 32 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed-media files, resulting in a transfer rate of 159 MBps. HyperX Predator SSD comes with a three-year warranty and free technical support to keep you winning.
This notebook is also built strong, with carbon fiber reinforcements, a spill-resistant keyboard and an optional scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass touch-screen display ($140).
Our configuration offered more power than we knew what to do with, along with an excellent keyboard, colorful full-HD display and high-quality audio.
Lenovo's laptop makes room for two batteries: one internal and a second removable unit that can have either three or six cells. The E5570's speakers are hidden underneath the notebook's front lip, and a 180-degree hinge allows you to bend the lid back until its flat on a table. The notebook's responsive keys have a comfortably deep 2 millimeters of travel and require 60 grams of force to actuate. Graphics Our configuration of the Latitude E5570 offers discrete graphics with its AMD Radeon R7 GPU, which gives it more 3D oomph than the typical business laptop has. Display The ThinkPad X260 comes with a choice of three different screen options: a plain 1366 x 768 display, a 1366 x 768 display with IPS for better brightness and color, or a 1920 x 1080 panel with IPS. Only the relatively heavyweight and warm-running bottom prevent this system from earning an Editors' Choice award. Our review unit had the entry-level screen, which displayed dull, washed-out images without a lot of detail or screen real estate. Heat The brawny performance of the E5570 comes at a price, but one that you'll only feel if you use the notebook on your lap.
If you want to save some money, you can spend $434 less by opting for 8GB of RAM rather than 16GB, and  choosing a dual-core Core i7-6600 CPU rather than the quad-core i7-6820. The touchpad was also quick to respond to my scroll, zoom and swipe multitouch gestures, without a hint of lag. After streaming 15 minutes of full-screen HD video, the notebook's underside spiked to a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, well above our 95-degree comfort threshold.
If battery life is your priority, we suggest you consider the Lenovo ThinkPad W550S, which lacks a quad-core CPU option but can provide twice as much juice with its optional six-cell, 72-watt-hour battery, and costs $1736 when similarly configured to the Dell. When I watched a trailer for Captain America: Civil War, Cap's blue suit and Iron Man's red armor both looked like they'd been soaked in bleach. Battery Life Road warriors should be able to get through most of a workday on a charge with the Latitude E5770. However, the matte panel seemed more than luminous enough while I was using it, and it provided wide viewing angles, with colors fading only slightly at 90 degrees to the left and right. In the video, fine details such as the wrinkles in Robert Downey Jr.'s forehead weren't as sharp as on higher-resolution laptops we've tested.
More importantly for productivity workers, having only 768 pixels of vertical screen real estate means you can see about 30 percent less content above the fold than on a 1080p screen.


As I watched the 1080p trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse on the Latitude E5570's 1920 x 1080 display, I was impressed by the preview's strong colors and sharp details. Our test unit of the Latitude E5570 came with a six-cell, 87-watt-hour battery, which is available as a customization option on the higher-end versions of the E5570.
Forget about stacking windows side-by-side, as this screen has only 1366 pixels of horizontal space. Mystique's blue skin looked rich and accurate on the display, and Psylocke's purple blade appeared bright and vibrant as it sliced through a car. Audio The ThinkPad X260's bottom-facing speakers provide audio output that's mostly accurate, if not overly rich.
The display also did a fine job showing the details of that bisected vehicle, as I noticed the glowing singe marks, tire treads and various pieces of flying debris.
Configurations Dell offers the Latitude E5570 in a variety of configurations, and some of them are customizable. When I played Deep Purple's guitar-heavy "Smoke on the Water" and Chic's bass-centric "Dance, Dance, Dance," the percussion was a little tinny but vocals and other instruments were clear, though a little flat.
According to our colorimeter, the E5570's display can produce 107.4 percent of the sRGB color spectrum. At maximum volume, sound was loud enough to fill a medium-size living room, but putting the system on my lap muffled the audio a bit.
The E5570 also earned high marks for color accuracy, earning a score of 0.72 in the Delta-E test (where best scores are closer to zero).
It costs $70 to upgrade to a nontouch 1080p display but a full $210 to get the same resolution with touch.
The program offers presets for music, movies, voice calls and games, but I found the Dynamic profile, which adjusts automatically, provided the best results. Keyboard, TrackPoint and Touchpad The ThinkPad X260's spill-resistant keyboard is comfortable, with snappy, well-spaced keys whose smile-shaped curves make them easy to target by feel.
Unfortunately, the E5570's display produced only 242 nits of brightness, which is dimmer than the category average (252 nits), as well as the ZBook 15u (307 nits), ThinkPad W550s (312 nits) and the Tecra Z40t-B (265 nits). Despite its modest brightness numbers, the screen offers wide viewing angles, with colors staying true even when we moved up to 70 degrees to the left or right. Audio With the MaxxSense audio software presets enabled, the full bass of Kanye West's "Gorgeous" reverberated with a strong warmth through the Latitude E5570's speakers.
Like other ThinkPads, the X260 offers two different navigation tools: a buttonless touchpad and a TrackPoint pointing stick. The myriad of drum cymbals in Future's "Xanny Family" hit crisply, and the track's high-pitched synths sounded sweet to my ears. In my tests, I found the pad quite precise and blissfully free of the jumpiness I sometimes experience on buttonless units. Webcam The Latitude E5570's 2.0-megapixel webcam captured a fairly attractive and accurate selfie in our office. It responded quickly and accurately to pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scroll gestures and three- and four-finger clicks to open Cortana or the Windows Action Center. While the images have some noise, you can clearly pick out details, such as the black-and-white flecks of my sweater.
Perhaps because the pad is a bit small, its driver application doesn't support three-finger or four-finger swipe (for minimizing apps).
Ports and Webcam The ThinkPad X260 packs in almost all the ports a productivity user needs today, but we wish it had USB Type-C to future-proof it for tomorrow's peripherals and docks. The E5570 did not lag as I edited a document in Microsoft OneNote, started a round of Candy Crush, used Weather to check the forecast and then started a race in Asphalt 8, all with a dozen tabs open and a video streaming. The left side houses HDMI out, a mini DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports and an optional SmartCard reader. The left side contains an Ethernet port, an SD card reader, an audio jack and a third USB 3.0 port. Under the overhead lights of our office, my features were clear but not particularly sharp. When I shot in my nearly pitch-black living room, the camera was able to capture a dark and noisy image, but at least my face was visible. Security Features The ThinkPad X260 has the all the security and manageability features that corporate IT departments require. It comes standard with TPM encryption and, if you configure it with a Core i5-6300U CPU or better, it has Intel vPro for remote management. An optional fingerprint reader ($20) allows for biometric logins, but unfortunately, it's the kind that requires you to swipe your digits rather than using a simple press. Lenovo's laptop handled everything we threw at it with aplomb, not slowing down at all even when I had more than a dozen active Chrome tabs open and a 1080p video playing in another window. On Geekbench 3, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the X260 scored a strong 6,424, which is comfortably ahead of the ultraportable notebook category average, the AMD A8-powered HP EliteBook G3 and Core i5-6200U-powered Toshiba A30t.
However, the Dell Latitude E7270, which we tested with a Core i7-6600U processor, scored an even-stronger 7,544. Lenovo's laptop had no problem crunching numbers, as it took just 4 minutes and 12 seconds to complete our spreadsheet macro test, in which we match 20,000 names with their addresses. While we wouldn't recommend gaming on the ThinkPad X260, Lenovo's laptop and its integrated Intel HD 520 GPU are more than adequate for mainstream productivity work or video viewing.
On 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, a synthetic graphics benchmark, the X260 (59,489) outpaced the Toshiba Portege A30t (53,939) and HP EliteBook 745 G3 (44,377) as well as the category average (46,031), while falling a little short of the Latitude E7270 (74,468). Battery Life The ThinkPad X260 offers truly epic battery life, provided you opt for the six-cell, 72-watt-hour extended battery. With a larger battery on board, Lenovo's laptop lasted a full 17 hours and 14 minutes on the Laptop Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness. Even Lenovo's own ThinkPad T460 (13:12), which uses the same batteries, lasted 4 hours less. Using a system the company calls PowerBridge, the X260 has an internal three-cell battery in addition to its removable unit, so the laptop can remain on (potentially for hours), even while its rear unit is out. Software and Warranty Lenovo ships the ThinkPad X260 with a handful of useful utilities and a minimal amount of bloatware. Lenovo Companion performs hardware and software scans to keep your laptop running smoothly, while Lenovo Settings gives you fine control over the camera, touchpad, wireless radio and other components. Unfortunately, like most Windows 10 laptops, it also comes with some unnecessary apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard and a tile that links to the Windows Store page for Adobe Photoshop Express. The X260 comes with a standard one-year "depot" warranty on parts and labor, which includes free shipping if you need to send your laptop in for service. You can also pay between $39 and $579 extra to extend the term up to five years or add on-site service and accidental-damage protection. For the best experience, we strongly recommend purchasing the X260 with the 1920 x 1080 display, a $150 option and the high-capacity battery, which adds only $15 to the price.
Bottom Line The ThinkPad X260 is a fantastic choice for people who need to be productive on the go, because it's an ideal size for small tables (or your lap), but provides epic battery life, a comfortable keyboard and strong mainstream performance. If you want a slightly better typing experience or larger display, consider the ThinkPad T460, which is a bit bulkier but offers similar features and more than 13 hours of endurance. However, if you need a laptop that provides the best mix between portability and usability, the X260 should be at the top of your list.



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