It's been far too long since we've run a Parts and Price Guide on the website, but we're now ready to get back into the groove of monthly component recommendations for your next PC build. This month, we're starting off with a $1000 PC. You'll be surprised at how much power and storage you can get for a grand -- even we're hesitant to call it a mere budget rig. In the following weeks, we'll also be running guides for $1500, $2000 systems, and will even try assembling and benchmarking a $500 configuration for the really budget-conscious (the troubled economy pretty much mandates it!). But for now, take a dive into our choices for a respectable system, and sound off on how you would build your PC differently!
Today, hard drive manufacturer Seagate and chip manufacturer AMD unveil the first tech demo of Serial ATA Revision 3.0, which boasts transfer rates of up to six gigabits per second, twice the speed of the current SATA spec. The specification, which was announced by the Serial ATA International Organization last August, will appear in hardware starting later this year.
SATA 6Gb/s comes several years before Seagate estimates it will be needed for standard hard drives, but, as we reported last year, several current-gen SSDs are already bumping against the 3Gb/s limit of the current spec.
It's hard to find good freeware games that are original, but not overly wacky. A lot of the more unique titles can tend to be a little esoteric--they don't offer your traditional platform gaming or simulated RPG, instead opting for a crazy mix of minimalist design and weird gameplay. It sometimes works, but more often than not, these games fall to freeware's version of the bargain bin.
That's not the case today, however! We've scoured the Web to find some awesome free hits that represent a good mix of zany and traditional gameplay elements. In this roundup, you'll become a historian, play a card game, recreate your favorite Steam experiences in 2D, and shoot down enemy planes. It's a tall order, but we think that you're up for the task. Click the jump and check out the unique titles we're showcasing in this five-game freeware roundup!
Microsoft released the release candidate for Windows Vista SP2 (Vista SP2 RC) to the public yesterday. You can now download it from the Microsoft TechNet website. However, before you install Vista SP2 RC, here are ten essential facts about the latest update to Windows Vista:
SP2 RC doesn't include a lot of visible razzle-dazzle, but....
.. it's designed to make your system work better with the latest hardware...
...and to clean up after itself.
It includes over 600 hotfixes to help your system work more reliably, but there are a few glitches to watch out for.
You're not ready for Vista SP2 RC if you don't have Vista SP1 installed.
vLite-streamlined Vista SP1 won't work with SP2 RC
Vista SP2 RC is available in a bunch of installation flavors, but if you want to get it via Windows Update right now, you have some extra work to do.
You can help Microsoft make the SP2 installation process better, but nobody's forcing you to do so.
Yeah, your desktop will remind you you're running a pre-release program
Anyone who may have thought the death of Netscape would signal the end of the browser wars, boy were they mistaken. In fact, it could be argued that it was at that point it all began. It didn't take long for Mozilla's Firefox to emerge from Netscape Navigator's ashes, and over time, Firefox would win over enthusiasts with a potent combination of speed, security, and an unprecedented level of customization.
But what started as a two-man battle is quickly growing into all-out warfare. Prepare to be overwhelmed by an onslaught of new browser releases in the coming months as Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera Software, and Google all vie to provide your vehicle for navigating the web. Each one brings something new to the table, whether it be blazing fast performance or a unique feature-set. Don't worry if you haven't been paying attention - we jump in the trenches with whole lot of them and get to know each one on a personal basis.
Hit the jump to find out everything there is to know about the browsers of today and tomorrow!
If you’ve tried to research the differences between Intel’s top-end Core i7-965 Extreme Edition and the midrange 940 and budget 920 parts, you’re probably as confused as us. And we even have direct access to Intel. But the technical differences between these parts are enormously important for system builders when you consider the price disparity -- $1000 for a Core i7-965 compared to under $300 for a Core i7-920.
What we do know is that the Core i7-965 has unlocked multipliers going up and down (although we have to point out that we have not seen any motherboards with multipliers that let you actually set it higher. You can only do that by increasing the Turbo Mode ratio.)
One other known fact is that you cannot set the Turbo Mode ratios on the 940 and 920. OK fine. But what else is different? Intel told us as recently as two months ago that the QPI was locked at 4.8GT/s to prevent you from running it at the Extreme’s 6.4GT/s speed. Memory ratios, however, are supposed to be unlocked.
In part one of our guide, we walked you through the process of finding a distro that is right for you. By now, you hopefully have become more familiar with the distros that are out there and have at least one that you would like to try. This chapter is going to walk you through downloading and burning a CD image of your chosen distro(s), the traditional way of partitioning and setting up a dual-boot system, and another way to dual-boot without repartitioning. Instead of providing a step-by-step tutorial for a specific installation process, our goal is to educate you on the underlying concepts in a more generalized way that you will be able to apply towards many different Linux distros. You should also read our previous guide to installing Ubuntu for further instructions.
How do we usually receive our data? In boring textual updates, be it the current time, the contents of an RSS feed, or a ton of 140-character Twitter updates. And when this information turns graphical, like an icon of a folder on our desktop to signify a grouping or combined storage location, there's no way to edit this representation with any kind of updated contextual information. How do you assign relevance or urgency to a desktop icon? You can rename it, or drag it to a different, "I remember that this corner of my Desktop is urgent" part of your screen, but that's it.
In short, there are limitations on the news feeds and data organization that we encounter on a daily basis. And that's why we turn to third-party developers to help us visualize this data and add context to our actions. More than that, data visualizations are just downright cool -- why scan an RSS feed for CNN, for example, when you can have the news drop down onto a map based on its source? Why use Google calendar when you can pretty up your desktop with a slick, visualized clock/scheduling utility?
While finding downloadable data visualizations can be tough, we've scrounged up a batch of five freeware tools to help you add more relevance, functionality, and beauty to your desktop environment. Click the link to get started!
Comic-book conventions are wonderful spectacles of geekery, and major Cons are the only place to get exclusive access to behind-the-scenes previews and sneak peeks at your favorite comic book or upcoming film. But for us, the biggest attraction at these sweaty gatherings is the Cosplay: fearless nerds showing off their love for genre characters with marvelous homemade costumes. This past weekend, we roamed the halls of San Francisco's Wondercon to play Cosplay paparazzi. The cosplay harvest wasn't as bountiful as last year's San Diego Comic-Con (where we snapped up four hundred photos), but we still found some delightful gems (and familiar faces) at this local event. Keep an eye out for no fewer than four Rorschachs from the upcoming Watchmen movie, sexy slave Leia, and the most amazing Transformers costume we've ever seen!
Your next build may very well come configured with dual-SSD drives in a RAID 0 array for the OS, a gluttonous 2TB SATA HDD for storage duties, and a Blu-ray optical drive for movie watching and HD backups. And for quick transfers from one rig to another, does it get any sweeter than a 64GB USB thumb drive loaded with all of your favorite apps? Such a storage scheme is certainly worthy of dream machine status, but our storage options weren't always as fanciful, fast, and fat as they are today. Some of you may remember toting a 3.5-inch floppy to and from school, while others hearken all the way back to cassette tapes. And if you've lived long enough to remember the IBM Punch Card first hand, just ask and we'll SPEAK LOUDER.
Fasten your seatbelt and take a trip back in time with us as we follow the evolution of computer storage through the ages.