Things you need to know to become a PC hardware expert
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to PCs that’s especially true, because only by knowing how your components’ specs actually affect performance can you get the maximum power you need for the type of computing you do—and avoid being seduced by features that sound impressive on the box but won’t do squat to improve your experience. Knowing your stuff has other benefits, too. An in-depth understanding of what makes all your parts tick enables you to better troubleshoot problems, upgrade in ways that make sense, and converse with other nerds in your own secret language. Turn the page to begin your crash course in PC spec-speak.
Note: This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Over a dozen years of litigation finally comes to end
There's been no love lost between Rambus and Micron over the years. The two have been mired in litigation since 1990, which is when Rambus first sought license fees and threatened infringement lawsuits against memory makers who turned to the popular SDRAM standard over its own proprietary RDRAM spec. Rambus contended that its patents and inventions also applied to SDRAM, but as far as things are concerned with Micron, it's now a moot point.
We tackle the five most pressing problems in each major component category!
It’s happened to us all. You get home from a long day at work and you want to blow off some steam with an hour of gaming or maybe browsing the web, but when you tap your mouse button or punch the power switch, the unthinkable happens. You’re SOL.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Twice the speed, two times the density, and 20 percent less voltage
It’s been six years since DDR3 memory was adopted and it’s just about time to start moving over to DDR4. A Crucialpromo page for the company’s DDR4memory lists “late 2013” as a release date which means that we should be seeing the new modules by December.
G.Skill has quite the collection of world records to boast, the latest being the first quad-channel DDR3 memory kit to race past 4GHz. Intel's Ivy Bridge-E platform has only been on the market a week and G.Skill wasted no time testing the limits of the new silicon, along with its own brand memory kits. This time around it was again a G.Skill TridentX memory kit that achieved the record breaking frequency, which now sits at DDR3-4072MHz.
G.Skill went a little nuts today (not necessarily a bad thing, mind you) and expanded its RipjawsZ line with a whopping 15 new DDR3 quad-channel memory kits, all of which the company claims have been optimized for Intel's Core i7 processor line for socket LGA2011 and X79 motherboards (Ivy Bridge-E, in other words). The new kits range in frequency from 1866MHz (10-11-10-30 timings) to a blistering fast 2933MHz (12-14-14-35 timings).
G.Skill is once again touting a world memory frequency record after an overclocker pushed the company's TridentX RAM to an astonishing 4400MHz. The TridentX Series is recognized as some of the fastest RAM available, culminating in a 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-3000 kit rated at CL12-14-14-35 at 1.65V. To achieve the world record in memory frequency, overclocker James "YoungPro" Trevaskis from TeamAU used a single stick from the aforementioned kit, which of course required exotic cooling.
It's easy to take for granted the parts that we put inside our PCs, but have you ever stopped to wonder about what's involved to build each piece? The manufacturing process of different components is rather fascinating, though for one reason or another, we rarely catch a glimpse of how it's done. Many of the factories are overseas, which presents a logistics problem for inside looks, and some companies are super secretive with their operations. However, Kingston allowed the folks at GamerNexus to take a look at how RAM and SSDs are made, and if you're a fan of technology, it's a must-read article with accompanying video.
If the PC market is insistent on moving towards smaller form factors and mobile devices, then kudos to Crucial for following along. The memory maker announced new Ballistix Sport SODIMMs designed to boost performance of gaming laptops, all-in-one systems, and mini ITX setups that require the smaller size memory modules. The new memory kits feature low latencies and are optimized for Haswell, Crucial says.
Adata is clearly making a fashion statement with the redesigned heatspreaders it slapped onto its new XPG V2 series of DRAM products designed for 3rd Generation Intel Core processors and the Z87 platform. Exactly which statement is up for debate. Some might view them as funky fresh, others might consider them fugly, but Adata says they were designed with a "futuristic form."