Hardware

It can be challenging keeping up to date with hardware and PC specs, as they change daily as new components become available. Not only will we share what’s new on the market, but we’ll keep you abreast of how to improve performance and resources.

Solid State Hard Drives

I'm really excited about this new technology that will make its way and replace those magnetic hard drives in the long run. Solid State hard drives are based on flash memory which you usually find in most mp3 players these days. They have several advantages in comparison to magnetic hard drives.

speccy

Bought a Computer? Check it's hardware!

The first thing that I'm doing after I bought a computer, be it used or retail, is to check if the components installed are indeed the components advertised. I personally think this is essentially because I witnessed more than once that a computer that was sold did not contain the components that the seller claimed it would.

Permanently Assign Drive Letters to USB Devices

Don't you hate it that it is not possible to assign a drive letter to an USB device in Windows using Microsoft tools ? Let me correct that, it is possible to assign drive letters to USB devices under some circumstances using Disk Management. This is however not working for all USB devices.

Create Game Profiles for your Nvidia Graphics Card

Not every game runs perfectly with the default settings. Some drop in performance more than others when increasing quality settings such as Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic-Filtering while others show no gain in quality when raising certain settings.

Lower the noise of your hard drives with SilentDrive

Hard Drives can be terribly noise makers in computers. This is especially true when you are one of those users who buys silent pc hardware and uses fan regulators to lower the noise of system fans. When the noise of those fans is lowered other noises can probably be heard that you did not recognize before.

Custom Paper Keyboards

Flippress is a German startup that is currently in the process of creating a website that will allow everyone to create their own customized paper keyboards which can be used as any normal keyboard on the market with the difference that it is completely made of paper.

New Trend? Hardware embedded Software

Does it make sense to embed a web browser like Firefox or a Voice over IP client like Skype into a motherboard ? It surely has some advantages like fast boot times and increased security because everything done using those softwares is stored inside the RAM and not on the hard drive.

Star Wars Home Theater

In a place far away from reality - which happens to be somewhere near Seattle - two Star Wars geeks decided to create the ultimate home theater: A Star Wars Death Star Home Theater. It took them 36 months to complete the project which in my opinion resembles the interior of an Imperial Star Destroyer and not the Death Star.

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USB Flash Drive with Capacity Meter

Many users think that usb flash drives are all the same. They look boring and can only be used to plug them into a usb port. The Lexar usb flash drive Jumpdrive Mercury adds one useful function to the usb drive.

Is that the future? Waiter free Restaurants

Companies try everything to reduce labor costs to a minimum by automating, which simply means replacing humans by computers, and outsourcing, which means producing in countries with lower labor costs, processes. The ideal world for them is a world without labor costs at all to maximize profits and please the shareholders.

Flash Memory with Iris identification

Everyone is able to access data on normal usb sticks unless the data on the stick is encrypted with softwares like True Crypt for instance. Software based encryptions however require that the software to decrypt the data is actually installed on the system. It would not be possible to decrypt the data. The user also needs to know the password to decrypt the data, if the password is lost the data is lost unless a weak password was chosen during the encryption process.

Declutter your desk

P5chin who is a regular reader of my blog send me a tip which I immediately had to write about. I don't know a single computer user who is not unhappy with all the cables, power sources and external devices cluttering the place on and beneath the desk.

Off-Topic: Antigravity engines becoming reality?

Yes, this article is a little out of the box but I'm pretty sure that most of tech geeks (and sci-fi fans ;) would be interested in this matter, that's why I wanted to share the info. Additionally, IF true, this project would in my honest opinion become a revolution easily comparable to the birth of the internet. Some time ago I've read about a brand new concept of a microwave engine designed especially for spacecraft propulsion. A bunch of smart heads from the UK lead by R.Shawyer invented a simply looking yet very complicated (from the view of mathematical and physical theories) prototype of a propeller that uses microwaves to generate thrust and by doing so compensate the power of gravity...

Why 2 is better than 1

In case you are wondering; I'm talking about computer RAM. I noticed a few days ago that one of the 512 Megabyte bars of RAM that I had installed on my computer was faulty and decided to order two 1 Gigabyte bars to replace both old bars. I had the hopes that the increase would also speed up some resource intensive applications.

How to test your RAM for errors

It you purchase new ram, a new or used computer or experience crashes and bluescreens you should definitely test the memory installed on your computer to make sure that it is running without errors. Faulty memory is one of the main reasons for instability. The first task should be to make sure that the memory is correctly inserted into the memory banks. Make sure you count the number of bars and check if you are running dual channel mode or not.

The definitive guide to Firmware updates

Did you know that it is possible to patch the firmware of many devices with an unofficial version that could increase the speed of a device or increase it's functionality ? Most firmwares are created for one of the following five device types: Motherboards. Dvd Recorders. Digital Cameras. Graphic Cards and Routers.

Free your mind hand

I'd like to share my experience with an uncommon navigation device I bought few weeks ago. There were two reasons why I started to consider buying a tablet. At first, I wanted to try something different than the old-style mouse. I also needed it to be more precise than the mouse so that I could use it for some web graphics and drawing (I assume you have tried to draw something with mouse and know what I mean).

So, who is winning the HD war ?

I'm not that interested in the HD format war because I do not have a television that is HD Ready and do not plan to buy one in the near future. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I feel a little bit lost about the success or failure of HD-DVD and Blue-Ray players and movies.

I thought that I'm going to discuss it with each of you. What are your thoughts about both formats ? Do you think that Blue-Ray is in the lead, maybe because of the boost after the release of the Playstation 3 by Sony ? Or is it the HD-DVD format that you think will win this war.

Random Time Wall Clock

If you are looking for a rather unique clock you should take a look at the so called Rnd_Time Infinite Wall Clock. The Rnd_Time stands of course for Random Time but it is not the time that is shown randomly but the placement of the hours on the walls. The hours can be placed randomly on the wall while the clock is still displaying the correct time. It could be hard to tell the time but it sure looks unique. You do get 12 blocks that display the hours from 1 to 12 and another block for the clock hands.

Top 10 Future Display Technologies

If you thought that you would be starring at those boring LCD or Plasma displays for the next ten years you will now be proven wrong. Some displays look incredible cool. I personally would love to lay my hands on the Samsung 12mm thick LCD display, the Toshiba Interactive 3D Display and the Touchless Touchscreen. I decided to only include my favorites from the ten future display technologies and suggest that you head out to the original website who posted the list to see the others.

dell linux

Dell to finally ship PCs with Linux

First Dell PCs with AMD chips and now Dell PCs with Linux preinstalled. It seems that Dell finally managed to see that giving its customers a choice is the way to go in this matter. Linux has some advantages over PCs that ship with Windows Vista or Microsoft Windows XP. The first and most prominent one is of course the price tag. Dell can reduce the costs that customers have to pay for a PC even further and advertise this properly.

Adobe Multi-touch Interface Presentation

If you thought that the last Multi-touch technology videos that I have been showing here at Ghacks have been cool then you should see this one. This one is a presentation by Jeff Han who is a research scientist for NYU's Media Research Lab during TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) 2006. Jeff Han describes his technique the following way: "Our technique is force-sensitive, and provides unprecedented resolution and scalability, allowing us to create sophisticated multi-point widgets for applications large enough to accommodate both hands and multiple users."

Sony DVD does not play on Sony DVD Player because of DRM

I knew that something like that was going to happen eventually and it did happen with the releases of "Stranger Than Fiction" and "The Holiday". Mick B posted the story on a new blog that he apparently created just for the purpose of bringing the news to the world. He rented the two DVD movies (from Sony Pictures) and tried to play them on his Sony DVP-CX995V DVD player. Both DVD movies did load until the splash screen was shown and stopped loading from that moment on. After 60 seconds the DVD player did turn itself off with no apparent reaso

Enable region free mode on your DVD player

DVD region codes, how I hate them. I never quite understood why every player and dvd created had to have a region code implemented to prevent playback of DVDs from other regions. If I was to move from the United States to Germany or Britain I would have to import all DVDs for my US DVD player because I would not be able to play DVDs sold in Germany or Britain on that player. The other possibility would be to buy a European DVD player which would not play my US DVDs that I purchased back in the States.

NEC Dew Camera Prototype

The world's largest computer expo Cebit which dated from 15. March to 21. March and held in Hannover, Germany saw some astonishingly creative gadget prototypes which were introduced to consumers and companies for the first time. One of the prototype gadgets caught my eye immediately. Nec called it the Dew Camera which is basically a wearable camera that constantly records moments in your daily experience.

Looking for a new Computer Monitor? Try this one..

I thought my dual computer monitor lineup would be something spectacular, how wrong I was. Everton from Connected Internet posted an article today that has an image of an incredible looking computer monitor lineup. The linup consists of one 30'' center flat screen monitor and five 20.1'' perimeter flat screens that surround the center lcd monitor. This computer monitor setup needs special multi-monitor software of course that makes it possible to choose what you display on all the single flat screen monitors. Take a look at the image first to get a better impression.

Photoshop MultiTouch Image Editing

I do like futuristic looking demonstrations of technologies that will play a big role in the coming years. One demonstration that I found absolutely fascinating is a Photoshop multitouch image editing one. Working with small screens and a mouse plus keyboard combination is the current state of the art when it comes to image editing. It becomes problematic in a number of way including working in a team. It is also not natural to use a mouse to draw and edit images. Multitouch image editing uses a natural flow and offers a bigger detailed view of the image at hand.

A Gaming Pc for $800?

Yesterday a story about building a gaming pc for $800 hit the digg frontpage and soon became popular throughout the world wide web. The system looks quite impressive if you consider the budget and makes a good impression at first glance. There are however some questions that arise which I would like to address. But lets do a quick view of the system in question first. They have chosen a Core 2 Duo E6300 cpu from Intel, 1 gigabyte of PC-6400 Ram, a Geforce 7600 GT, a 160 gigabyte hard drive from Seagate, Antec case with 400W power supply, mouse, keyboard, soundcard and Windows XP Home.

The most annoying pc noise makers (and what you can do about them)

Did you ever have the feeling that your computer is making to much noises when it is running ? A high noise level can be distracting to say the least reducing work effectiveness. The worst effect: it could make you ill. I'm going to identify the most annoying pc noise makers and suggest ways to reduce the overall noise level of your computer.

Find out your bios password

The bios can be protected with a password to prevent others from accessing its settings. You have to enter the password to be able to access it, if you can't provide the correct one the access gets denied. The following method describes a way to recover the password if you forgot it or bought a used computer with a bios password.

reduce fan speed

How to reduce the fan speed of the Nvidia Geforce 6600 GT

This trick might actually work with more cards than just my Nvidia Geforce 6600 GT card manufactured by MSI. The default fan noise is so irritating that I was looking for ways to either turn it down by software, bios upgrades or replacing the fan. I preferred the software method over flashing the bios over buying a new fan that could replace the old one. After consulting google with searchtearms like geforce 6600 fan speed, reduce fan speed geforce and similar strings I finally found a forum entry that was about the problem I faced.

Xbox 360 HD can be connected to your pc

Some scene guys apparently released a driver for Windows XP that makes it capable to connect and detect the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive that was released a few days ago in the United States. I do not own a Xbox 360 nor the HD-DVD add-on (of course) but this could be great news for some of you guys out there that do own both. All you need is to get hold of the driver which was released under the name XBOX360.HD-DVDRom.UDF.Reader.v2.5.WindowsXP-BluePrint.

How to Speed up CD and DVD burning

Many users just buy blank CDs and DVDs without thinking much about the manufacturer who created them - most want it cheap which has the result that their system has to cope with different media. They notice that their system burns some CDs and DVDs faster without knowing why. Your burner might have the specification to burn DVDs with 8x speed but your burning software offers you only 4x. This article explains why that is the case and what you can do to never make this happen again.

Combimouse now that's an evil keyboard

Combimouse, a crossbread of keyboard and mouse looks pretty strange to say the least. On the one hand we have a patented and award winning design and on the other hand we have the users who will surely think twice before they give this a try. Let us see how this works. You can type normally and once you need to use the mouse you use your right hand to touch a certain spot on the right unit to activate mouse mode. This means there is no way to hit the keys accidentally while using mouse mode or move the cursor while typing.

Ever wanted to have a keyless door? Here is one

You see keyless doors all the time on tv, in series like 24 and alias for instance and every movie in which the military plays a part. They never have normal doors, they use keyless doors that work either by using fingerprints to identify the person and grant / deny access or keycards to do the same. It still sounds a lot like science fiction and I bet you never seen something like this on your neighbors door - so, why not be the first one who has this kind of device ?

One Chip to track them down

What is wrong with those movie and music companies ? Why the heck are they increasing the pressure on people who are actually buying their overpriced items instead of those who copy them in large scale ? Their newest invention is apparently an embedded radio transmitter chip that can be remotely tracked by those companies making it possible to follow a DVD, Blue-Ray or HD-DVD from factory to consumer.

The perfect multimedia device

Do you like watching movies on your computer monitor or do you prefer to watch them on your television ? I think most people who answer this question prefer to watch the movies on tv which has many advantages: Bigger Screen, you can watch with more people without feeling crowded around a pc monitor and it has that certain tv feeling that watching on a pc monitor has not.

Transparent TV from Sony

It seems that Sony is still able to produce innovative products. I read that this one is not totally new but it is the first time I see something like that. They seem to be using a projector at the back of the transparent material (glass ?) to display the image. The speakers seem rather big for this television, you will need lots of free space to place the tv in a room.

Practical Tips to Decrease the Temperature of your Computer

One phenomenon can be observed every year when the summer begins. Many users report problems with their computers who behave strangely or even reboot unexpectedly. If you experienced this once you might already know what is causing this behaviour. Pc components become warmer than usual because the air is hotter which can lead to reboots and even damaged components.

automatic acoustic management

Silence or Speed up your Hard Drive

Automatic Acoustic Management is a feature of most modern hard drives which reduces the seek noice at the cost of perfomance. Most hard drives have this feature disabled but it is possible to enable it using a tool like silent drive which runs on Windows Xp and 2000 only. Please note that silent drive is only working with IDE drives at the moment and that the gui is in german.


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