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.

epson software resetter

Epson Software Resetter

One way to save lots of money is to refill printer cartridges instead of buying new ones. The process itself was rather messy in the past but it has become easier now and there are even shops that refill the ink for you. Some printer cartridges however have a chip build in that prevents that the printer is recognizing the refilled cartridges effectively preventing users from using this low cost method.

Building a PC March Progress

We are coming closer to the finish line. I'm thinking of making the purchase of the new PC components in the next month or the month thereafter. I would like to thank everyone for their great and valuable comments which pointed me into the right directions concerning some components.

clickzap

Configure function for double right-click

I have always asked myself why there is no way to configure a function for double right-clicking. You can configure the left mouse button double-click but not the right mouse button one. Click Zap is a small application that lets the user configure a function for a double-click on the right mouse button.

Building a PC February Progress

Another month has passed quickly and I'm almost ready to buy the components for the new computer that I want to build. This article explains the changes that I made to the setup during the last month and all the components that I intend to purchase. I hope that this pc build could be inspiration for some of my readers who would like to build a PC as well but are not that sure about the right choice of pc components.

calibrate monitor

Monitor Calibration Wizard

Calibrating a monitor, be it LCD or CRT monitor, can be a tedious task. I for one have always doubts about the settings that I have chosen when setting up the monitor for the first time. Questions about the monitor's brightness, the colors, contrast are not that easy to answer if you only have to rely on your eyes and have no test patterns that help you determine the correct settings.

eye-fi card

Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card

My first thought when I heard about the Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card was that no one would be going to need this SD card with build in WiFi but when I read a little bit further my opinion changed from No-one-needs-that to Wow-what-a-great-idea. The Eye-Fi SD cards come in sizes of 1 and 2 Gigabytes, the 2 Gigabyte version sells currently at Amazon for $99.99 which is way more than a SD card without WiFi would cost.

Goodbye BIOS Here Comes UEFI

UEFI which is an acronym for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface which will eventually replace the 20+ year old Bios. The new standard is backed by everyone so to speak including Intel, AMD, Microsoft, IBM, American Megatrends, Phoenix Technologies and Apple.

samsung syncmaster 2263dx

Samsung Syncmaster 2263DX

Most flat screen monitors these days come in sizes of 19'', 22'' and 24'' with a 16:9 ratio. The Samsung Syncmaster 2263DX LCD monitor is different. It does look like a normal 22" flat screen monitor if it were not for the little 7-inch monitor that could be added on top or at a side of it. It's a rather bold experiment in times where dual monitor setups become affordable to almost anyone.

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low level format

Hard Disk Low Level Format

There are two types of hard disk formatting possibilities, low and high level formating. High level formatting is the widely known formatting that erases data on the disks while low level formatting nowadays refers to the reinitialization to the factory settings. One of the major differences between both types is that data can successfully be restored after performing a high level formatting of a hard drive.

monitor calibration

Easy Monitor Calibration

A lot of things can be wrong if you setup a new monitor or never bothered to calibrate an old one. The screen could be to bright or dark for instance. I always hated calibrating monitors because it meant that I had to press all those tiny buttons on the monitor to access the functions but it is necessary for the best viewing experience.

Use a Magnet to protect your PC

A wonderful tip about a hack was send to me yesterday by Joe. It describes how to change the way a PC, or most other devices that use a power source, can be protected by by a simple magnet and some stuff that does not cost more than $5. All you need is a reed switch, a magnet and some duct tape. It does secure your pc as well from someone that wants to turn it on without your permission.

medio code edit

Hack your DVD Writer

Companies release new DVD writers all the time that have new functions and work better with certain type of media. They neglect DVD writers that they have produced before and it is quite common that those DVD writers will have problems with certain blank DVDs that have been newly produced.

ridata solid state drive ssd

Ridata introduces new Solid State Drives

Finally we are seeing the long awaited progress in the Solid State Drives market. Ridata was the first company to announce three new 2.5" SATA Solid State Drives in 32-, 64-, and 128GB capacities that have read speeds of up to 170 MB / per second and write speeds of up to 105 MB / per second.

Building a PC January Progress

It's only a few more months until I will make the final decision about the PC components that I will place in my new computer. I think I will finalize everything in the second quarter of 2008. But before I do that I list once again the components that I want to use in the new PC and hope to receive feedback if you think anything is missing or misplaced.

riva tuner

Lower Video Card noise by reducing the device's fan speed

Modern video cards come in two flavors. The noisy ones that have lots of horsepower and the silent ones that trade some of the horsepower for a reduced noise level. This is currently changing with the release of the Nvidia Geforce 8600GT but most users have an older video card in their computer.

dvd drive

Make your DVD Drive play all DVDs

Today I had a problem playing a Region 2 DVD on my Region 1 DVD drive connected to a PC running Windows. I was asked to change the Region of my DVD […]

What you should do before bringing the PC in for repair

Have you ever brought in a computer for repair to the friendly computer store next door or send your notebook to that big company that sold you it so that they could check what's wrong with it ? Did it ever occur to you that the technicians that would check the computer could do more than just checking ?

Upgrading to a bigger computer monitor

I do work with a Samsung SyncMaster 19" LCD monitor which is an awesome monitor. I used to work with two Samsung monitors of the same size but the second monitor had to replace the defect one at my mothers computer. Monitors with higher resolutions become more and more affordable and I thought it would be nice to purchase a monitor that is capable of displaying images in a higher resolution.

router passwords

Where's that darn router password?

Every router and even many modems are secured by a password, and while it is often very easy to find out what it is, for instance when the admin password is listed […]

g.skill memory

Buying a new PC December

I started to collect components for a new computer that I wanted to build last month and decided that it would be nice and helpful if I would post a monthly update on the components, prices and my decision. This is not only helpful for readers of this article but also for me because I know that some of you have way more knowledge of computer hardware than I have.

PC Upgrade Ideas for Christmas

advantage of adding RAM is the fact that you it is relatively easy to add to your system. Takes less than a minute to replace.

The second choice really depends on what you do with your computer. If you are a gamer you might consider getting one of those new Geforce 8800 GT which start at $270 and make it possible to play Crysis and other high end games in high details. Again, check your computer to see if it supports AGP or PCI Express Video Cards before going out and buying one that does not fit.

change wlan channel

Change the default Wlan Channel to improve wireless connectivity

Are you living in a neighborhood with lots of Wlan activity ? You can check this if you do search for Wlans on your computer and find lots of them listed. It does not really matter if they use an encryption like WPA, WPA2 or WEP, as long as they are listed there they might interfere with your own Wlan channel which can be the cause for bad download rates and sudden disconnects.

pc wizard hardware information

Get System Information with PC Wizard

It sometimes is a good idea to check on the components that are installed on your computer. This is extremely important in my opinion if someone else repaired it or if it is a brand new computer to see if all the components are still inside and did not get replaced by other cheaper ones.

Buying a new PC November Progress

I let it slip once or twice in the comments that I'm going to buy and build a new computer in the first quarter of the next year. I just once bought a pre-assembled computer and since then decided to select the hardware components and build it by myself. This has some advantages but also several disadvantages which I would like to shortly address.

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.

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.


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