There are several practices that distinguish true power users from common folk.System building is one. Component benchmarking certainly applies. As does religious parts swapping. And then, of course, there’s hardware hacking. Hacking, more than anything else, exemplifies our ongoing quest for more—more performance, more functionality, more power—because we’re wringing this extra goodness from gear we already own, using crafty methods and occasionally pushing the bounds of practicality in the process; sometimes just for the heck (or should we say hack?) of it.
We know that GPUs and CPUs often have features disabled or dialed back in order to fit a price point. We’ll show you some nifty ways to access their hidden capabilities, as well as some fixes for inherent flaws. We also know that our gear can be made to do more than it was intended to with the help of third-party software, as you’ll discover in our webcam and Roku projects. And if you want to make your smartphone smarter, increase your Wi-Fi router’s range, or RAID your SSDs, we’ll turn you on to those tricks, too.
As much as we would love for our computers to work perfectly, the fact is that PCs and gadgets are complex devices that often fall short of exactly what we want. When confronted with this fact, we’re reminded of the old saw that says if you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself. And who are we to doubt that kind of wisdom? As power users, we’re not content with hardware the way it comes out of the box; we have an insatiable need to hack our electronics in ways that will improve performance, functionality, and ease of use. And there’s no doubt about it, modifying your hardware will increase your productivity and make your life that much simpler.