Maker’s Mark is of course the name of a fine Kentucky bourbon whiskey, but the phrase also applies to the stamp that skilled artisans apply to their creations. When you’ve finished building your custom PC, we’d encourage you to stamp it with your own maker’s mark; after all, the one-of-a-kind creation you’ll have wrought will have nothing in common with the mass-produced rigs that mainstream manufacturers churn out by the millions.
That’s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it’s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place.
Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. We do hit a wall every now and again. Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is a good example. Because the new processor features an onboard memory controller—a first for Intel, although AMD’s procs have had the technology for years—the company had to design a new socket architecture to accommodate the additional pins. That blocks the upgrade path for anyone using an LGA775 motherboard.
Intel has AMD on the run in the CPU front, but AMD is poking Nvidia in the behind in the graphics processor market. The result: ever more powerful, ever less expensive videocards. The two companies have shipped so many new parts that we expect things will stabilize over the next quarter or so, so now’s the time to find a great deal whether you’re building a new rig or retrofitting an old one. And if you’ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide.
I fought the law and the law won. Moore’s Law that is. As proof, Intel on Tuesday demonstrated both desktop and mobile CPUs running an OS using a new 32nm process some of which are due as early as this year. Intel’s updated roadmap for performance desktop, mainstream desktop and mobile features a few new twists and turns from the company’s accelerated 32nm process.
Intel updated its public roadmap of the 32nm “Westmere” family. Like the switch from Conroe to Penryn, Westmere is a smaller “tick” that offers some upgrades from the current 45nm Nehalem CPUs.
Find out how this affects power users and Intel's desktop mainstream lineup. Plus, a first look at LGA 1156 details!
So your computer is taking too long to boot, after being bogged down by dozens of startup applications you’ve downloaded over the years. You might want to just format, but that’s the coward’s way out. If you spend a little time tuning up your boot applications you may avoid the time it takes to wipe and restore your system altogether. Don’t give in to clutterware -- follow our guide to the essential methods of troubleshooting your PC’s start up sequence and freeing Windows of unnecessary resource hogs.
Two things are certain in every life: Death and taxes. While we have yet to find any good freeware tools to help with the former, we've been on a kick to find alternatives to pricy software like Quicken or Microsoft Money. The good news? We were able to find five separate programs that can help you track the money coming in and flowing out. The bad news? It's slim pickings beyond this. We came across plenty of paid-for applications and a proverbial bucket full of online applications that help you track your finances. But when it comes to freeware financing applications, there just isn't a huge market for this kind of stuff.
But while we're blabbering, your fortune is surely ticking away! So what are you waiting for? Stop reading! Start downloading! Put on your accounting hat!
Who says AMD moves too slowly? Just a month after releasing its well regarded Phenom II mid-range CPUs, the company is back with no fewer than five new P-II chips and its new AM3 socket that support DDR3.
War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Well, except when it’s a CPU war. In that case, it’s good for consumers. Really good for us. With the unveiling of five new AMD’s latest Phenom II CPUs supporting DDR3, it’s pretty clear that the CPU war that started with the unveiling of the Phenom II in January is escalating.
AMD’s new lineup includes the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 for $175, the 2.8GHz Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition at $145, and the 2.6GHz Phenom II X3 710 for $125. AMD’s two other new chips: the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 910 and the 2.5GHz Phenom II X4 805. The 910 and 805 are OEM only CPUs and pricing was not released but you can expect that gray-markets will carry them and that the prices will follow the numbers. The 805, for example, should be slightly cheaper than the $175 810 and the 910 should be cheaper than the $195 Phenom II X4 920.
Lost in the numbers? So where we. AMD’s lineup is so bewildering to us today that we had build a spread sheet just to sort it out! We give you the skinny on AMD’s latest quad and tri-cores and help you sort through AMD’s bewildering array of CPU choices.
Today, we live in a world of rapidly diminishing privacy. If you use your employer's email system, it is possible that every message you send or receive is logged and intercepted without your knowledge. This may have unintended or even disastrous consequences if an intercepted email message contains sensitive personal information. Unless your email goes through Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protected connections, your email is vulnerable to what is known in the IT security field as man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker can intercept your message as it flies to its intended recipient.
Email is sent in a format that is easily readable if an attacker can grab and reconstruct enough pieces (packets) from the data transmission with packet sniffing software. Technologies like deep packet inspection make it theoretically possible that any given message that goes over the internet can be sniffed and read by third parties who have the right software and know-how. (the feds, your ISP, etc.) While no one may have a real reason to spy on you, relying solely on security through obscurity has always been a poor policy to live by. Because of this, encryption is the only real option you can trust. We teach you how to put your emails in a lockbox before sending them off to their destinations.
Microsoft's Windows platforms need to be more like Linux if the software giant ever hopes to compete against open-source software, including operating systems. That's the claim being made by InformationWeek's Charles Babcock, who's taken a look at Microsoft's declining revenues for Windows clients and concluded that it's time to toss the operating system--which allegedly nets Microsoft $34 per Windows XP installation--to the open-source wolves.
According to Babcock, sales and licenses for applications like Microsoft Office are the real cash cow for Microsoft. But how might a free Microsoft Windows operating system ease the bloodletting--defections of customers to open-source solutions for all their computer interactions? Read on to find out!
Overclocking can kill your CPU. It can corrupt your OS, melt your motherboard, and cause you to lose a month’s work or more. Despite those dire orange-alert warnings, however, overclocking has moved on from the Nerd’s Only Club to become practically a mainstream hobby in the last few years.
So why overclock if the risks are so great? For some folks, it’s about bragging rights. Like drag-strip racers who burn up an engine just to set a quarter-mile record, there’s a small community who will overclock a CPU to the brink of destruction just to run a benchmark and take a screen shot of the result.
The bulk of overclockers, however, are more concerned with the cost dividends. If you can take a $300 CPU and make it as fast or faster than one that costs $1,000, the money you save can go toward other components in your system. For these folks, it’s like getting a free high-end videocard.
Whether you’re a cheapskate or a drag racer, you’ll find that Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is unlike any previous Intel CPU, and overclocking this beast requires more tinkering than you might expect. Follow along as we explore what it takes to push this chip hard.
We’re sure that many of you have been away from our home computers at a time when we needed access to a certain file or desktop program. Many companies have proprietary solutions (like GoToMyPC) that allow you to remotely access files on your home computer while you are away from it. While this service has a $19.95/month licensing fee (per computer, no less), there are alternatives that provide similar functionality on the Linux platform for free. Many of these free solutions are very versatile and are useful in a wide variety of situations. We show you how to master remote system access on your open-source machine.
Cloud computing has become quite the buzzword over the last year or so. It seems like every major company wants a piece of the “cloud,” from IBM to AMD to Microsoft. Definitions for the phrase vary, but the most common aspect of any cloud computing service is the notion that you can use the internet to run applications on remote computers, making you less dependent on any one physical machine.
And while the idea of software as a service is hardly new, the number of online “cloud” apps has reached a sort of critical mass lately, making it possible to do the vast majority of your computing online. In this article we’ll show you some of our favorite cloud applications, and explain how they can help make the move to cloud city.