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Extreme Gaming Video Cards – 2012

Looking for ridiculous graphical performance first and price second (or third, depending on how you feel about LED-bling)? Look no further. Let’s check out the latest, greatest and most financially-inadvisable CPUs available today. nVidia GeForce GTX 690 Price: $999-1499 You don’t need this much graphical power. No one does (at least for several years). That said, this thing is ridiculous! The 690 GTX needs up to 300 Watts under-load, sports dual-heatsinks flanking a central on-board fan (yet is reportedly surprisingly quiet), and could... Read more

Your First Custom-Built – Before You Begin

So, your old workhorse PC died and it’s time a new work machine, or you’re tired of hearing about your friend’s GTX 590 rocking Diablo 3 at Ultra settings and you finally want to build your own Game Machine 9000+ by hand. An admirable pursuit, building one’s own PC by hand, but you’ve never built your own PC from the chassis up. Where do you start? Right here! There’s plenty to learn before you start your spending spree at your... Read more

Water-Cooling Your PC

More than any other single danger, heat build-up is the biggest threat to the delicate electronics inside your PC. (Yes, even more dangerous than spilled coffee.) Heat is a by product of anything that uses electricity and the more electricity something uses, the more heat it puts off. Guess what uses a lot of power? You got it: almost everything inside your PC, your CPU, video card and ‘Northbridge’, especially. Most of the time, all this heat can be dissipated... Read more

Where to Spend your Upgrade Dollars – Hard Drive / CPU / Motherboard

Welcome to the second part of our Where to Spend your Upgrade Dollars series. As you can see from the title, we’re going over the basics of what to keep in mind when you’re ready to upgrade your gaming/work/home PC. Let’s get started: Hard Drives You probably need a new hard drive when: You think your current hard drive is on the way out. If you’re like most people, you’re not prepared to have all your pictures, movies, documents and your very operating... Read more

Where to Spend your Upgrade Dollars – Memory / Video Cards

When you finally decide that you’ve had enough of your gaming/home/work PC chugging along and your ready to spend a little time and money getting it back up to speed, make sure you’re spending those PC-dollars wisely. Here’s part-one of a quick primer in how to get the most bits-for-your-buck on your next computer upgrade. Memory You need more memory when: you’re looking for a simple, cheap bump in performance. Memory-hungry applications (like Photoshop, animation suites and higher-end games) will chug along,... Read more

Understanding Multi-Core Processing

Quad-core. Dual-core. Parallel processing. Multi-threading. If you know exactly what I’m talking about (and more), this article probably isn’t for you. If, however, you’d like the low-down on the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’ of basic multi-core PC processing, read on. Single Cores and the Trouble with Tiny Remember a time when sizing up a processor was easy? Until the mid-2000’s, all you had to do was look at how fast the chipset was and, maybe, read up on stability recommendations if you were... Read more

Power In / Heat Out – How to Keep your PC Cool

Your PC is a technological wonder. Within its metal chassis are scores of sensitive pieces of hardware that turn raw electricity into the digital pictures, words and programs that make our daily digital existence possible. But as your CPU whirs away and your harddrive hums, they create their own worst enemy: heat. The delicate inner workings of your video card, motherboard and processors are very sensitive to heat build-up and a PC that fails to handle high internal temperatures risks... Read more

Overclocking for Dummies

What is Overclocking? You’ve probably seen discussions on PC gaming forums or read little blurbs at the bottom of CPU or graphics card reviews talking about ‘overclocking’, often shortened to ‘OCing’. Overclocking is essentially running a processor (either your CPU or the smaller graphics processor on your video card, called a GPU) faster than the manufacturer intended it to go. Why bother? OCing can turn a modestly-priced processor into a beast of a component, if handled correctly. Many overclockers squeeze this extra performance... Read more

Nvidia vs. Radeon!

You know them, you love (at least one of) them; chances are you have one of their products installed right now: it’s everyone’s favorite graphics card rivals – Nvidia and AMD! The makers of today’s industry-leading video cards, via their GeForce and Radeon line-ups (respectively), struggle valiantly for your video card dollars with every new product launch. Let’s take a quick look at their histories and see if we can’t give you a few pointers as to which company deserves... Read more

Linked GPUs – SLI, Crossfire and Your PC

So you want better graphics. Everyone does, right? But it seems like you just bought this video card of yours a couple months ago. So it goes. Life in the PC fast-lane is short, right? Well, yes, but don’t resign that 6 month-old Geforce or Radeon card to waste bin of tech-history just yet. Did you know that (your motherboard willing) you can pick up a 2nd video card and link them together and getting an impressive boost in graphical... Read more