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High performance and less waiting time

first_imgMicrosoft’s Xbox Series X.Jordan Novet | CNBC Green is the characteristic color of the Xbox, and it appears around the vent holes of the Series X.Jordan Novet | CNBC I spent less time waiting for games to load, and switching between games was faster. The Series X contains a solid-state drive that reads data more quickly than the hard-disk drive in the One X.That faster storage enables a feature Microsoft calls Quick Resume, which is great for going back and forth between games. For example, when I paused car-racing game “Forza Horizon 4” and opened third-person shooter title “Gears 5,” which I had been playing a day earlier, a “Quick Resume” notification appeared in the upper right corner of the screen, and I was dropped right back to where I was in “Gears.” – Advertisement – Screenshot There are thousands of games to choose from, spanning four console generations all the way back to the original 2001 Xbox, Microsoft says.The wide selection is one advantage the Series X has over the PlayStation 5. While most PlayStation 4 games can be played on Sony’s new consoles, games built for older PlayStations won’t be available. Microsoft has a feature called Smart Delivery that lets you open games you own for older machines on the Series X in an optimized format and not have to buy them for a second time.You can also see Smart Delivery in action if you have Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription, which provides over 100 console games for $10 a month.A Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which costs $15 a month, turns on another perk: You can play games from Game Pass on Android devices. Microsoft wants to provide something similar on iOS.I don’t have a very fast home internet connection, and my phone can’t access 5G. As a result, streaming games from the cloud is choppy, if not downright unplayable. So I still prefer a console or PC. Things might look different in a couple of years. Microsoft has packed formidable power into the Xbox Series X, the $500 video game console it’s bringing to the market on Tuesday. Games perform better on this machine than on all previous Xboxes as well as on many PCs.The Series X has a sleek design — a black rectangular slab with a green-shaded concave vent on one end. It’s coming out at about the same time as Sony’s $500 PlayStation 5. For Xbox devotees, the Series X will likely be quite appealing, especially as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of letting up, leaving consumers with plenty of free time at home.Microsoft says the Series X improves gaming in a few ways. They were evident to me as I tested the console and compared it with the Xbox One X from 2017.- Advertisement –center_img The buttons on the shoulder of the Xbox Series X controller feature tiny tactile bumps that can give you a stronger grip.Jordan Novet | CNBC The Whitewater Falls scenic location in “Forza Horizon 4” looks more realistic on the Xbox Series X than on the Xbox One X.- Advertisement – The Series X also has four times the processing power of the One X, as well as double the graphics performance and 33% more memory. To take advantage of those resources, Microsoft software engineers have optimized “Forza Horizon 4,” “Gears 5” and other games, and developers at third-party studios are doing the same.I saw slight performance improvements in “Forza Horizon 4,” “Gears 5” and “The Touryst,” a puzzle game from Germany’s Shin’en Multimedia. In Forza, I parked my Lamborghini beside a waterfall, and the scene looked more realistic on the Series X than on the One X.The Series X can deliver 4K gaming at 60 frames per second, but I have a 1080p television. In “Gears 5,” I saw higher frames per second as my character ran around. The game looked more impressive.The Series X and the One X each include 1TB of storage onboard, but the Series X has a little more storage space you can actually use: 802GB vs. 781GB, according to one study. That means more space for games if you don’t want to spend more for detachable storage. Remote play, Microsoft’s term for streaming games from my console instead of a distant data center, is a different story.If I’m home and someone else is using the television, I can still play on my phone without losing much performance. I bought a $9 adjustable plastic clip that attaches to my Xbox controller and holds my phone in place directly above it. I’ve played that way for hours. This feature works through the Xbox app for Android and iOS, and it’s available on the Xbox One, not just the new Xbox consoles.Microsoft has refined the design of the Xbox controller. The new version includes welcome changes and still feels familiar. The left and right buttons and triggers now sport a matte finish that I prefer to the old glossy buttons, and they now have tiny tactile bumps. When the playing gets intense, it’s helpful to have the extra friction. Your fingers are less likely to accidentally slip and cause a wrong move.A new share button for capturing screenshots sits in the middle of the controller. The D-pad is now a full circle instead of a plus sign, making it easier to move diagonally. Pushing down on the D-pad feels a little more precise and makes a more high-pitched clicking sound. And the port on the front of the controller now connects over the reversible USB-C instead of the older micro-USB.Altogether, I like Xbox’s new gaming hardware. The Series X isn’t a huge advancement from the One X, but for more serious gamers the performance gains will probably be worth it. If you have an older Xbox One or an Xbox 360, it may make sense to upgrade to the Series X. You could opt for the $300 Series S, but it has no disk drive, and the performance won’t be as impressive.WATCH: Microsoft’s Xbox, cloud segments remain standouts: CFRA Research – Advertisement –last_img read more

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UK pensions industry cautiously welcomes charge-cap proposal

first_imgThe UK government has seen a mixed response from the pensions industry, as it remains divided on the impact of a proposed 75 basis point cap on the default fund charge in auto-enrolment schemes.Yesterday, Steve Webb, the pensions minister, confirmed the government would look to impose the cap by April next year.The government chose the strictest proposal of the ones announced to the industry last year, for consultation.In what Webb described as a “full-frontal assault” on high charges, he moved against lobbying by the insurance industry, and the recommendation of the Office of Fair Trading. Government opposition MPs were forced to welcome the cap in defined contribution (DC) schemes, while accusing the government of stealing Labour policies.Gregg McClymont, Labour spokesman for pensions, said the policy was Labour’s “lock, stock and barrel”, but the delay until 2015 was a huge concession.“Who has ever heard of a ‘full-frontal assault’ [on high charges] that comes with a 12-month notice period?” he asked.The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) welcomed the focus on value for money but warned against assumptions that a cap would do this.Joanne Segars, chief executive at the lobby group, said appropriate default funds, good governance and communications were also necessary.The government also announced transparency requirements on fees, and for non-trust DC schemes to implement independent governance committees.“[The committees requirement] does not go far enough and risks not being aligned with the long-term interests of scheme members,” Segars added.The state-sponsored DC provider, the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), said the cap was confirmation of a good value benchmark for employers.Tim Jones, chief executive at the fund, said: “These arrangements will provide welcome clarity for consumers and employers on what good value means.“We also welcome the moves to provide greater transparency on the other charges made by pension schemes, particularly in relation to investment.”However, the People’s Pension, a not-for-profit DC master trust, accused the government of creating additional confusion over cleaning up pensions.“The government’s proposals for accommodating front loading charging structures risks causing a mass upheaval in the pensions market,” said Darren Philp, head of policy and the scheme.“A contribution charge of 2.5%, combined with an AMC of 0.4%, is not in any member’s best interest.”Warnings also came from Towers Watson, which said the cap would improve the perception of DC schemes but not the reality.John Ball, head of pensions, said large employers would already be paying less than the cap.He also pointed out that the cap did not account for distribution costs, or where trustees chose a higher risk/return payoff.“If a charge cap makes any difference to these schemes, it may even increase charges very slightly – for example, because information will have to be collected in different ways or because pension providers must hold more capital,” he said.“0.75% is far too much to be paying for a basic product.”Further disapproval came from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Investment Management Association (IMA).Otto Thorensen, director general at the ABI, said that, with charges at their lowest levels ever, he did not agree with the cap.“In this context, the decision to phase in the implementation of these changes is helpful,” he said.The IMA, which represents providers of default funds, said a cap would not be the best way to achieve scheme quality.Jonathan Lipkin, director of public policy, said: “The main focus should be on improving governance structures and standards across the DC environment.”last_img read more

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Canadian Natural Resources reports $1.03B Q3 profit, tops expectations

first_imgThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ) The Canadian Press CALGARY — Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. says it earned $1.03 billion in its latest quarter, down from $1.80 billion in the same quarter last year.The company says the profit amounted to 87 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a profit of $1.47 per diluted share a year ago.Revenue totalled $6.16 billion, up from nearly $5.90 billion.- Advertisement -Canadian Natural says its adjusted profit from operations amounted to $1.04 per diluted share, down from $1.11 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 77 cents per share, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.Daily production in the quarter averaged almost 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from nearly 1.1 million boe per dayin the same quarter last year.Advertisementlast_img read more