Several months ago I set a challenge for myself, build a small form factor system with a low wattage power supply to play modern titles at decent video settings. The goal was to use a low profile video card, modern components, and keep things as quiet as possible.
There are many types of small business out there. Some are working to grow their brand with the goal of being acquired. Others are on a conquest to grow to be one of the next Fortune 500 companies. Puget Systems is neither of these types.
I recently moved my family from Washington State to the southern Utah. I made the nearly 1200 mile journey in a rented moving truck. When I stopped to fill up the truck with diesel fuel, I often had to speak with someone at the station to either unlock the pump or approve a debit card transaction over a certain dollar amount.
Back in December, Brett brought some interesting information about the sales of Windows 8 vs. Windows 7. Yesterday some not so good news dropped about the state of PC shipments in the last quarter. So I thought I would do a follow-up because the last quarter here at Puget has been great, contrary to the market at large.
As one of the sales reps here at Puget Systems, I often get questions from clients who ask “Why should I buy from Puget when Company XYZ can build me the same system for less?” It’s a fair question and one that should be asked. After all, it’s your money and it’s a lot of money, so you have to do what is best.
What if I told you that you could get a car, brand new, for free? You would say it was probably junk...or a joke. But, this thing is real, people have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours building it and it's absolutely free. BUT there is a catch. Ahhh, now the hoax is uncovered.
This is going to be an unusual blog post, because I'm going to try and talk you out of one of our most impressive (and expensive) products. This isn't the sort of thing you'd normally see on a commercial website, but I guess we're not your normal commercial blog either. Today I'm going to try and convince you that you don't need a fully liquid cooled system.
We field A LOT of calls here from people wanting to spec out a custom PC. Their needs range from a list of specific parts to “give me a great computer”. Here to help at Puget Systems our consultants can work with any level of experience (or maybe not-so-experienced) to come up with a great Puget System. In the marketplace of custom computers you literally have thousands of choices. I know…it makes my head hurt thinking about it too. So, to start, we have done some narrowing down of the selection to a list of the very best parts available. See, it’s going to get better. Now, you can help us spec out a great custom system for you by considering three things...
Posted on February 1, 2013 by Brett Nordquist
When it comes to building a custom PC, one of the most important selections is the graphics card. What used to be viewed as a distinction, often limited to gaming systems is now a vital part of many computers ranging from post-production workstations to trading PCs requiring support for 8+ monitors.
Since the number of choices for graphics cards can be overwhelming, we cull through many brands and models until we find those which meet our performance and reliability standards. Only then do we offer specific brands and models for placement in a computer crafted by Puget Systems.
It wasn’t long ago that Solid State Drives (SSD) were considered a luxury item, reserved for those who demanded drive speeds only SSDs can deliver. The first generation of SSDs were not only limited in capacity (40 and 60 GB models were popular) but were very expensive, often costing more than $500. That makes for a difficult sell when a mechanical drive could be had for about half the the price and nearly 10x the capacity.
Starting in the first quarter of 2011, companies such as Intel, Corsair, Samsung and other began dropping prices on their SSDs. At Puget Systems we’ve found Intel to build a reliable and fast SSD at a reasonable price and have consolidated our offerings around their main lines.
If you want to work at Puget Systems you have to be ready for things to work a bit differently than your last job. You see, here, we are obsessed about a few things and one of them is failure. Everything and everyone has every failure, ever, tracked in our database. Want to know what the failure rate is for a particular stick of RAM? We know it. Want to know how many times your favorite employee has forgotten to add the required build notes to an order? We document their every transgression. We fail things for even the most seemingly inconsequential reason, right down to the smallest scratch you might not have even noticed. Perfection matters. Every week, during our staff meetings, all of the logged failures from the previous week are listed for everyone to see and you get to share with everyone your epic fail.
Tough stuff for the Puget staff, huh?
Not really. Nobody is running around, ducking for cover, while avoiding the axe from Jon. Although that might make for an interesting game it’s not what we do all of this for…it’s for you.
“For what? My entertainment?” you might ask. Nope, for your future sanity.
For many years my computing universe orbited around my Windows PC. For instance, the first time I searched Google, updated my status on Facebook or replied to an email I was using a PC.
But that’s not the case for many kids today where their first interaction with a computer is an iPod Touch, tablet or smartphone. Their computing universe resides on a small touch screen, and is dominated by apps. My world recently clashed with that of my 11-year old daughter when I asked for her email address and she replied that nobody emails anymore.
Some recent news from Apple is creating a lot of talk about manufacturing technology products right here in the US. This is reflecting a move many manufacturers are making by insourcing many aspects of their production.
These companies are learning what we have known here for a long time: we are better off building and supporting the things we sell.
Most of these companies are making the decision to bring manufacturing lines back to the USA for financial reasons. Although every company has to make a profit to plow ahead I think there are some other reasons, besides the financial, that drive our decision to keep virtually all of our operations in-house. Here at Puget Systems those other reasons are also the two big drivers in our decision making process: customer experience and quality of product. No place in our business do those two values show more than in the production department. Here, the craftsmanship of PC building is taken on by a dedicated staff of technicians that leave their personal touch on every system they build.
Last week Microsoft announced sales of Windows 8 licenses have reached 40 million. They provided few details other than adding that most of those were upgrades and that Windows 8 was selling at a faster clip than Windows 7 did three years ago. Of course, this comes several weeks after Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, told a French newspaper that sales of their new Surface tablet, running Windows 8 RT, have gotten off to a “modest” start.
As a sales representative at Puget Systems, I’m often asked by customers considering a new PC if they should have us install Windows 7 or the new Windows 8 operating system. When I began running Windows 8 a few months ago, I kept a running list of features I enjoyed along with a few I found perplexing. Over time, my list has grown and contracted, but a few items on each side of the coin have remained.
One of my coworkers has already put together a helpful list of new features while another helps you decide if Windows 8 is right for you. I’m going to take a different approach by sharing my Windows 8 experience with those of you whom I don’t get to speak or email with each day.
Windows 8 launches this fall, on October 26th to be precise, and it is shaping up to be the most controversial Windows edition ever. Past versions like Vista and Millennium Edition were underwhelming, certainly, and others like Windows 95 and XP changed the face of Windows dramatically - but each new version has generally been an attempt to improve the user experience. Some focused on better performance, others on a newer and sleeker interface... and while there were both successes and failures Microsoft has managed to maintain dominance in the PC operating system market.
The latest version of Windows, however, has a lot more to it than just a shiny new taskbar or updated applications: it represents a shift in the whole interface from a traditionally mouse-centered approach to a touch-centric design. The last time that Microsoft tried to add an interface option to Windows was Media Center, which was introduced part-way through the life-cycle of Windows XP and brought a ‘ten foot’ interface designed for use in a living room. That was simply an added interface option on top of the normal Windows UI, though, while Windows 8 has completely removed large parts of the traditional interface that PC users have become accustomed to.
MechWarrior Online (often shortened to MWO) is an upcoming "free to play" action simulator, the latest game in the well known MechWarrior series which is in turn based on the BattleTech tabletop game and novels. For those familiar with the franchise the setting is going to put you right at home: you are a MechWarrior, piloting a 20-100 ton bipedal war machine called a BattleMech. The graphics and controls are greatly updated from previous games, the last of which was published more than a decade ago, but the core game-play is very similar.
The main difference from past games is that they tended to be single player, story-driven games - which had small, tacked-on multi-player game modes. MechWarrior Online lives up to its name in that it is all about online multi-player battles - there is no single player option, and no specific story line. Instead, the game is set within the BattleTech universe at a specific point in the established history. Time in the game's setting is progressing in a 1:1 fashion with the real world: each day there are news announcements pertaining to events going on in the fictional future time period, and eventually this will be integrated into a meta-game where territory is actively fought over by players. That all has yet to be implemented, but should be a huge draw for both competitive gamers / groups and long-time BattleTech fans when it arrives.
Posted on August 17, 2012 by Daniel Brown
With each new generation of Intel processors, the answer to this question gets more complex. There are currently three distinct product lines including processors named ‘Core i5’, three product lines including processors named ‘Core i3’, and a whopping five distinct lines including processors with the ‘Core i7’ name.
It's relatively common for power users and those in the IT industry to have two PCs at their desk. One may be a laptop or maybe just an older machine that runs some necessary legacy software or has a lot of data on it that may be difficult and/or time-consuming to migrate to the newer system. Some use a hardware KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch to change their screen and input device connection from system to system, while others just have a seperate set of peripherals for each machine. Each of those methods has it's own set of advantages and drawbacks, but both methods are conducive to a cluttered desktop and a nonsensically-segregated style of work.
One of my favorite scenes from the film, The Shawshank Redemption, is when Andy and Red share stories of the places each would visit if set free. The scene ends with Andy stating, mostly to himself, “Get busy living or get busy clicking”.
So I might be off by a word, but I have no doubt that’s what Andy would have said if he had spent the last three weeks playing Farmville. If you enjoy clicking around the screen to do everything from plowing a field to milking a cow to harvesting eggs from a chicken this is your game.
Continuing with our series of “favorite” games here at Puget Systems, I decided to jot down a few of the experiences I’ve had while perfecting my farming skills.
Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is a free-to-play Action Real-Time Strategy (ARTS)-style game loosely modeled after the classic Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, and it's currently one of my favorite games. ARTS games have a top-down view similar to an RTS (eg. Age of Empires, Warcraft, Starcraft) but emphasize single-unit development and de-emphasize base building. Each person starts with control of a single unit or 'hero', and often controls only that unit for the entirety of the game. Teams compete in 3v3 or 5v5 games usually lasting 30-60 minutes depending on game mode.
After driving a number of older, less reliable and unquestionably ugly cars during my years in college, I was proud to show my grandfather my nearly new burgundy Acura Integra. I began by pointing out the plush interior, sunroof, and, of course, the stereo system.
I explained how I’d spent the afternoon polishing the body, cleaning the windows and scrubbing the wheels to make them especially shiny.
My grandfather took it all in as he walked around the card. Finally, he stepped back and said, “It will get you from point A to point B just like any other car.”
Welcome to the first in a short series of blog posts we will be doing here at Puget Systems. The theme of this series is our favorite games, and it will include posts about current and upcoming games which our employees are excited about. Hopefully our readers can learn about new games through these posts, and get a feel for the sort of system specs that run them well. First up: World of Tanks!
Antivirus software quality is a controversial subject - if I were to ask 10 different PC technicians which antivirus program to use, I wouldn't be surprised to get 10 different answers. One factor is that the options are changing so quickly - if you don't look at all the alternatives often, it can be easy to lose track of which products are most competitive. Additionally, there are many subjective considerations that people may weigh differently - just a few of the questions that might be important for a given user are: How many current viruses does the software detect? How much will it slow down my system? How much does it cost? Is it going to annoy me with irrelevant pop-ups, or will it keep out of my way? How well does it guess about new virus threats that aren't documented in it's virus definitions database?
The next generation of Windows operating systems is nearly upon us, and lots of folks are downloading the recent Windows 8 Release Preview. The months leading up to a new OS are always a bit tricky for Microsoft: they have to release info publicly to build excitment, satisfy investors, and garner media attention - but at the same time that can lead to customers putting computer purchases on hold until the new software is available. If a substantial portion of the consumer base does that it would lead to poor revenue not only for Microsoft but also the companies building and selling computers.