So you've read our Complete Beginner's Guide to Linux and have decided to adopt an open-source operating system--congratulations! But diving right into a new OS is daunting, even if it is as polished and stable as Ubuntu. That's OK though, because we're here to help. We've compiled a list of the 20 most important skills that every Ubuntu user should have. These tips, ranging from basic GUI manipulation to advanced system recovery, are essential to your Windows-free computing experience. Whether you've just installed Ubuntu for the first time or have been a Linux acolyte for years, you'll want to read our refresher. And if you have any tips you can't live without, we'd love to hear about them in the comments section!
AMD’s recent release of its RV870 GPU line makes the company the undisputed graphics performance leader. The Radeon HD 5870 is the fastest single-GPU graphics card on the market currently. But at roughly $380, it’s not inexpensive, so AMD has also rolled out the Radeon HD 5850, 5770, and 5750 cards. All are DirectX 11–capable, at lower price points than the flagship HD 5870.
The HD 5850 uses the same RV870 GPU as the 5870, but with a couple of functional units disabled. Priced at around $260, the 5850 occupies the lower tier of the high-end cards. The recently released 5770/5750 cards use a different chip. Based on the same DirectX 11 architecture as their big brothers, the 5770/5750 are built with 1.04 billion transistors—just slightly more than the 956 million used in the previous-generation Radeon HD 4870/4890 products. Contrast these numbers with the 2.15 billion transistors in the Radeon HD 5870. Current prices for 5770s are roughly the same as older 4870s, around $150–$160. So the 5770 is firmly positioned as a midrange graphics card.
We put eight cards to the test, from six companies: three Radeon HD 5870s, three HD 5850s, one HD 5770, and a factory-overclocked Nvidia GTX 260 from Gigabyte, our token Nvidia card in the mix. Read on to see which one is the best for your budget!
It's that time again! This month, we've priced out an amazing $1500 gaming PC. If you recall from our Dream Machine feature, the $1500 "Budget Surplus" of mid-2009 was powered by a Core i7-920 and Radeon 4870 X2. Today -- a few months later -- we're able to make a few adjustments to upgrade to a Radeon 5870-based machine. The introduction of Intel's Lynnfield processor, increasing RAM prices, and the final retail release of Windows 7 also forced us to reevaluate our spending priorities, but we're very pleased with the outcome. As gamers, this is a system we'd be proud to build ourselves, and will play any game released in the foreseeable future.
Read on for our parts picks, and let us know what you think!
Mozilla just launched the official gallery for this new framework last week. As you might expect, there aren't a ton of browser add-ons to play with. However, I'm going to take a look at five of the more innovative, interesting, and downright install-worthy of the Jetpack add-ons that are currently available in this week's freeware roundup. And remember--you can install and uninstall these add-ons without mucking up your browser session whatsoever, so feel free to be a Firefox Rocketeer and grab as many as you want to try out!
BitTorrent, as you're probably already aware, is a decentralized peer-to-peer file sharing protocol ideal for transferring large files (and if you didn't know that, don't worry, we also include some lightweight tips to get you started). In a nutshell, the way it works is when you're downloading a massive file -- like a Linux distribution, for example --bits and pieces of the file will be uploaded at the same time. Typically BitTorrent allows for a more efficient and faster transfer method than traditional, Direct Connect P2P software.
To get started, you need a desktop client. We recommend using uTorrent, or uT for short. We prefer uTorrent based on its combination of advanced features, performance, and small footprint -- in other words, it has all the makings of a power user program.
On the following pages, we'll not only show you how to get the most out of uTorrent, but out of BitTorrent in general. We'll cover both basic and advanced tips, and then toss in some of our favorite third-party add-ons for good measure. Whether you're new to BitTorrent or a seasoned vet, there's something in this guide for you.
Even though it would be great if we all could afford 30" LCD monitors, the state of the economy is no fantasy, and you probably need to make more realistic component choices when shopping for a new monitor. The good news on the display front is that manufacturers haven’t been sitting on their mushrooms smoking hookahs; they’ve been innovating and driving down costs to the point where 23- and 24-inch widescreen LCDs are the new sweet spot.
Before you set out on your next monitor-shopping adventure, however, make sure you have a firm understanding of the most important specifications, features, and quality and performance criteria, lest you fall prey to the industry’s Jabberwocky. Rest assured, we’ll guide you through the thicket. We’ve also dug up a number of specifications that manufacturers have taken to omitting from their published data sheets.
Even the most thorough checklist can’t reveal how a monitor will perform in the real world, so we gathered eight of the top manufacturer’s latest models and put them through a benchmark wringer.
Firefox may be your default browser, but that doesn’t mean you really use it to its full potential. Mozilla’s browser is a big threat to Microsoft not because it’s fast and full of unique features, but because it’s also extremely customizable. Add-ons, style scripts, and hidden preferences let you personalize your Firefox experience to meet your tastes and needs. Sure, you may know about hidden easter eggs like the about:robots page, but we’re going show you the 20 most essential tips, tricks, and tweaks to this super browser.
There's nothing wrong with the Windows 7 desktop per se. But for freeware developers, that's no excuse not to tweak, hack, and otherwise modify every possible piece of your screen. And it's not that difficult to add new functionality to your desktop that doesn't otherwise exist in the operating system. The hardest part is finding software that makes a substantive change to what you already have. After all, the last thing you want to do is install a ton of different freeware apps and find your desktop in even worse shape than it was before (if you do, take a quick trip to Revo Uninstaller).
Generalities aside, what exactly can you do with all these desktop add-ons? The choices are near-limitless. I won't spoil all of what's in store, but here are a few tidbits. With the apps featured in this week's freeware roundup, you can re-skin your entire Windows 7 desktop with a brand-new UI, transform normal desktop links into start menu-like item browsers, and build new functionality like middle-click focusing to standard taskbar icons.
It's time to take your desktop to the next level--join me after the jump!
Windows Desktop Gadgets was a feature first introduced in Windows Vista. They are widget engine gadgets calmly docked on either side of the screen for easy access and can performs tasks like displaying the time, updating you on the current weather conditions and showing you CPU usage. Windows already comes equipped with default gadgets and includes an online widget library for additional downloads.
However, the standard Windows sidebar can seem limiting at times. And even though Windows 7 hides the Sidebar in the background, it's still a resource hog and not very customizable. Why not free yourself from Microsoft’s shackles and venture forth to discover other sidebar alternatives that work just as well and enable you to do some really awesome customization.
You’ve probably seen the headlines. They’re pretty hard to miss. After all, when two of mainstream media’s favorite buzzwords – “violent videogames” and “terrorism” – cross streams, things get messy. If you’ve somehow managed to position yourself smack in the eye of the media storm, however, here’s the story: Last week, someone leaked a scene from Modern Warfare 2 in which you, the player, take up arms and gun down some people. As a terrorist. And those people? Innocent civilians who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And I’m perfectly ok with that. Why? We’ll get to that in a bit.
What I do take issue with, though, is Infinity Ward’s treatment of the whole fiasco. Moments after every videogame blog on the planet’s normal programming was interrupted to bring you this special report, Infinity Ward issued a statement. “Players have the option of skipping over the scene,” it read. “At the beginning of the game, there are two ‘checkpoints’ where the player is advised that some people may find an upcoming segment disturbing. These checkpoints can’t be disabled.”
Which is PR-speak for: “We’re afraid that the mainstream media’s going to tear us to shreds for this one, but we’ve handily built in this failsafe. You’ll never take us alive! Mwahahahaha! *Rockets into the sky using a concealed jetpack*.”
See, while stirring terrorists, innocent slaughter, and videogames into the same stew may initially leave a bad taste in people’s mouths, I think Infinity Ward’s taking a big step in the right direction. It’s a shame, then, that they’re so quickly scrambling to cover their tracks.