Remember the days of floppy discs in your big ol’ desktop computer? Children these days will never know the joy of putting one into the little slot and waiting for it to load, hoping that you haven't switched it across to write-protected. When floppy discs disappeared from our lives, they were replaced by CDs and DVDs. We would spend hours downloading tunes (sometimes illegally!) off the internet while hoping your parents didn’t use the phone line because that would cut off the often temperamental dial-up connection. We would then ‘burn’ them onto CD’s, with titles such as ‘Carl’s Tunez 2002’. If you weren't into the downloading music thing, you might have spent hours loading your holiday photos on a DVD for a slideshow for your grandparents.


Well, sadly, youngsters these days are going to be missing out on that joy. Who even uses discs for anything anymore? With Netflix and Amazon Prime giving us all the movies we could want, we barely buy DVD’s anymore, and most music is bought and listened to digitally, through apps such as iTunes or Spotify. Ask around - does anyone ever stick a CD on anymore?

The death of the disc has also brought about the death of something else - the optical drive on your standard laptop. These, if you didn’t know, are the little drawers that pop out of the side (well, used to pop out of the side!) of your computer ready to hold a DVD or CD. However, in recent years, the majority of computer manufacturers have stopped putting them on. There just isn't the demand for them anymore and they add extra, and in some people’s eyes, unwanted bulk to the machine.

This does lead to a few problems though. What do we do if we want to access older material saved to these types of discs, or if we receive a CD as a gift and want to convert it to MP3?  There is still software floating around that requires them for an emergency reboot. There is definitely still a market out there for optical drives in computers.
Thankfully, pc-tablet.com has compiled a list of laptop computers that still have a CD or DVD drive.

If you already have purchased your laptop and it isn’t one of the ones on the list, fear not as there are still ways to access the media. You can buy external optical drives for a relatively low price. Okay, so they aren’t as convenient as having them built into your laptop and might be unwieldy to transport, but at least you can still get at the material, hey?

One other thing to consider if you purchase one of the many laptops without an optical drive is that, unless you use an external hard drive or store stuff on a cloud system such as Dropbox, you are forcing all of your data to be stored on your hard drive. This takes up a lot of memory and can affect the speed of your computer.

We would love to know your thoughts on this? Would you prefer to have an optical drive included in your build or do you prefer to keep it simple?

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We both grew up around gaming and it has always been something we have been interested in throughout our lives. So we thought why not share out first gaming memories with our readers!

Dan

I remember my uncles always having a games machine/console when I visited them. One side of the family always had the likes of C64 and ZX Spectrums, whilst the other side albeit a bit later down the line had Sega Master Systems. You would have thought I would have followed in one of these footsteps with my first console. However, my first console was an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

I can't remember the year I got it I just remember being ridiculously excited about it! The version I had was the NES Action Set, it came with the multi-game cart Mario Bros./Duck hunt, 2 controllers and the NES Zapper. I only had a few games to start out with but in those days it was more than enough. I remember my parents getting quite a few games, not just for me but for the family to use. They bought The Legend of Zelda, Rad Gravity, TMNT and Super Off Road. Looking back I am glad I never clocked up the number of houses I spent on these games!

I was quite lucky because around the same time my uncle bought an NES for my cousin, they only bought games that we didn't have and vice versa. Every time we visited each others house we would come away with a different game that we would borrow for a few weeks. This meant I had access to quite a few games.

I sometimes wish I was a bit older so I could have experienced the gaming machines that shaped the gaming world, however, I am proud that my first console was the iconic NES. The memories I have playing this growing up are epic!



Carl


My first memories of gaming were a little bit before Dan, well that's only because I'm a little older than him. Like he mentioned above his uncle had a C64 and A Spectrum ZX, well I had them and I thought I was the king of my street, I was the only one who had a computer and I also had a chipped Cable box, so you can imagine how popular my household was. 

After the C64 I upgraded to an Amiga and also the Sega Master System. On the Amiga, I used to love games like Lemmings, Bubble Bobble but my favourite game had to be SWOS... I once scored a header from the halfway line with Ryan Giggs. and on the Master System, the list of games is endless, I played all of the Alex the Kid series and loved all of them, games like Streets Of Rage, Golden Dragon, like I say the list is far too long for me to write about but one of my best memories is one day messing around pressing the buttons on the control pad playing Mortal Combat and suddenly enabling blood mode... it to the game to another level when FINISH HIM! sounded and you pulled the finishing move out of the bag and the screen became covered in blood!

Then I moved on to the Mega Drive and Entered the world of Sonic, Wonder Boy and all of the other popular games. Then when I started work, when I was around 16 I bought my very first PC from Tiny Computers and started playing games like Settlers, and Civ and of course this is when I started playing Champ Manager and that was my life ruined for the next few years. 

Then my gaming life stopped for a good few years because I found beer and nightclubs. the next gaming system I got was the Xbox 360 and then the Xbox One and the only games I ever played were Fifa And COD... until we had our second child and I decided I needed a hobby... Which brings me to know... and about £2.500 later with a beast gaming PC playing PUBG!


What was your first gaming memory/console? Comment below to let us know!


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If there’s one thing we love it’s a new game but spoilt for choice as we are, where we play and what we play on is fast becoming the question of tech lovers everywhere. If you play on your PC, you might have been savvy enough to get your geforce rtx 2070, if not you need to know the answer to the age-old debate: who will win the fight between the versatile Xbox One and the mighty PlayStation 4 (PS4).
We could, of course, say that it all boils down to personal preference but that’s a bit of a cop out, so instead let’s take a look at the cold, hard facts.
Image courtesy of Pexels

In the red corner…the PS4
For a start, it just looks superb. It’s sleek and stylish and has that design that marks it out as a Sony product from the off. But we all know looks aren’t everything right, so what else can this gaming giant offer?
The main draw of the PS4 is that it was simply made to showcase games in the best possible way. Its speed and capabilities are breathtaking. The controller alone offers the player instant and responsive play, coupled with the capability to plug in a headset into the controller itself for online interaction. It’s simply a smart option.
When it comes to the actual games, the PS4 has nailed the range of exclusive titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and God of War.
If there are any downsides to the PS4 it’s that it doesn’t have the ability to play games from the PS3 or older versions, which is seriously annoying if you’ve built up quite a collection.
And in the blue corner…the Xbox One
This powerful gaming console knows from the off that it can’t match the PS4 for exclusivity when it comes to games, so instead it relies on the old favourites such as Halo, to keep its fan base loyal.
It also has the advantage of allowing its collection of games to be back compatible so, unlike the PS4, you’ll be able to play older games on newer models.
One big draw is the number of Apps you can download to make your Xbox One so much more than just a game console. You can stream music and video through Netflix and Spotify and have access to news and entertainment as well. As a versatile piece of technology and not just a console, it certainly has the edge.
So, who wins? In terms of sheer gameplay, it has to be the PS4 but for a family console that comes with so much more, the Xbox One comes a very close second.
But watch this space because as early as next year, we’re likely to see the new and improved PS5 battling it out with the newest Xbox, codenamed Scarlett and who knows what new improvements these two giants will bring in to pit against each other. It’s an exciting time to be a gamer, that’s for sure.


We’re lucky to live in an era where there are so many brilliant games released all the time. Right now, there are a plethora of Xbox games that can keep you entertained for hours on end every single day. They have a playability factor that can’t be beaten, and you need to add them to your collection.

Here are my top picks if you’re keen to find a new game to smash out:

Assassins Creed Odyssey

I got this game for Christmas, and I’ve already racked up a worrying 30 hours worth of playing time. The unbelievable thing is, I don’t think I’m even halfway through the main story. With this game, you can basically explore the entirety of Ancient Greece. I’m level 33 and have still got half the map to discover. It’s one of those games where you start doing a mission, then get sidetracked by about five hundred other things and spend hours just doing mini side quests. The combat is brilliantly balanced, the graphics are stunning, and there is so much to do. Honestly, if you want a game that keeps you coming back for more, then this is well worth picking up.






FIFA 19

If you’re a football fan, then this is the only game for you. Yes, there’s also PES, but it can’t compete with FIFA 19 in the sheer variety of game modes and features. There’s Ultimate Team, where you can put together a team full of superstars by purchasing their cards with coins. You earn these by playing games, or you can give yourself a leg up and buy FIFA 19 coins to purchase your favourite players. Then, you have Career Mode where you play offline and choose any team to manage. It’s such a great challenge trying to take lower-ranked teams all the way to the top level of domestic football. With so many different ways to play the game, it’s something that will satisfy you for hours on end.




Red Dead Redemption 2

I can’t put together a list of games you can play for hours on end without mentioned Red Dead. It’s the sequel to one of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, and it pretty much stretches the capabilities of the current Xbox system. The gaming world is vast and open, taking you on a journey across America in varying climates. You can rob trains, complete hunting missions, or just go a little bit crazy and destroy everything in your path. There’s an online part of the game as well, which means you can get together with friends to create absolute mayhem. Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a very immersive experience that keeps you hooked whenever you fire it up. Plus, as with all games developed by Rockstar, it has one of the best storylines you’re likely to see.

Some games are great if you want to play for half an hour when you’re in a rush. But, these games are absolutely ideal if you’re keen to have a massive gaming sesh. They’re what I like to call ‘weekend games’ in that you can and will spend all weekend playing them.

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