At Puget Systems, we build extremely high end PCs each and every day. Some of our PCs are used as high powered workstations, where they are pushed to their limits every hour of every day. Others might be the expensive play-things for those of whom price is no object. Is there a such thing as a PC that is TOO high end?
The time has come. The time is now. And with apologies to Marvin K. Mooney, it’s time to consider running Windows 8 on your desktop or laptop computer. Although there’s no shortage of opinion surrounding Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8 remains somewhat of an enigma. I’ve spoken to people who have told me the following: 1. Windows 8 is for touchscreens only. 2. Windows 8 is worthless for desktop users. 3. Microsoft is forcing a tablet OS on us. 4. Windows 8 is nothing more than Windows 7 with spiffy skin.
A few months ago, I packed up my family and left the lush, green, and often damp area of Seattle for the warmth and sun of southern Utah. I still work for Puget Systems, but have moved into a different role where I spend my days gathering insight from customers on how we can continue to improve our products and service.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Intel is nearing the release of their third-generation Core Processor platform, and in preparation they have launched several new motherboard chipsets this week. For desktops, there are four variants: Z77, Z75, H77, and B75 - with a couple more coming later in the year. What's the difference? We'll tell you!
Over the next few months I plan to share with you specific products and services that help me be more productive. I prefer simple, elegant solutions to complex products bogged down by every feature imaginable.
It wasn’t long ago that the task of moving files from one computer to another required a CD burner, flash drive, or emailing them to yourself. If you were savvy, maybe you shared files over a network. Today that scenario is made more complicated with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets that often do not share the same file structure or network protocols.
I have a PC at home and another at work along with a smartphone and tablet. There are times when I want to access a spreadsheet from my tablet that I created on my work PC. Or maybe I have pictures on my home PC that I’d like to show a friend from my smartphone.
Dropbox is the product that makes it happen.
One of the services we offer here at Puget Systems, aimed at high-end gamers and enthusiasts, is overclocking. It is a practice that has been around for quite some time which involves pushing the processor in a computer beyond its rated clock speed. This can provide an additional performance boost without the need to spend more money on a faster processor, though there are some trade-offs involved: additional heat and stress above and beyond what the CPU may have been designed to handle.
Puget Systems has been in the business of building computers for 11 years now, and we know what we are doing when it comes to assembling top-notch custom computers. It is a bit insulting, then, when a parts manufacturer puts out a warning which appears - on the surface - to indicate something we do is resulting in anything other than the highest performance possible. Yet here I am, to let you know about just such a notice that nVidia's latest driver software is giving when using their graphics cards in certain configurations.
Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor architecture is turning 6 months old in July, and has been a major seller in the PC market in these few short months. There was a slight hiccup a month after it was released, when it was found that there was a defect in the SATA controller of the chipsets designed to work with these processors, but that has long since been resolved and no further problems have arisen.
As a custom computer manufacturer, we’ve sold liquid-cooled systems from well before I joined the company. A water-based coolant is able to transfer heat away from hot components like the processor (CPU) and video card (GPU) more quickly than air alone would. That added cooling is appealing for folks who want to push their systems beyond design specifications. Overclocking ability is perhaps the most the most tangible benefit of liquid-cooling, but there are other reasons some folks are interested in it: liquid-cooling can make a computer look very stylish, for example, or allow operation of more hot-running components than a chassis could normally keep cool.
Windows 7 has taken root in the PC community over the last year, a great improvement from the little-liked Windows Vista, and we've made the 64-bit version the de facto standard on the computers we sell - to the point where we no longer even list the 32-bit version on our website. We can special-order it still, though, and I find that I am often asked by customers if they would be better off with that because they need to run older programs. This makes me think there may be some misunderstandings about 64-bit Windows out there, so let me set the record straight.
This is the first in a series of blog posts about Home Theater Computers (aka HTPCs). It's really neat to see how people approach their home theater experience differently, so several of us were asked to write about our setup, what we chose, and why we chose it.
Traditionally, over at least the past 15 years, the main role of a video card in a computer has been to accelerate 3D graphics. That is a large part of what has made modern computer games possible, and it has also contributed heavily to CAD / CAM work and digital animation. Video cards have also helped with 2D graphics and video playback, but the main focus has been on 3D speed.
When Intel first debuted the Core i7 processor line, code-named Nehalem, in late 2008 it made perfect sense. This line of quad-cores brought several new technologies: Turbo Mode, integrated memory controllers, triple-channel RAM, and Hyperthreading (making a comeback from the Pentium 4 era). There were three processors at launch, a 920, 940 and 965 - each slightly faster than the one before it, with the '5' at the end of the last denoting that it was an Extreme Edition chip with some unlocked settings to help with overclocking. Over time the 940 was replaced with a 950, and then 960; the 965 also got an upgrade in the form of a 975. The naming scheme now isn't so simple -- let's take a look.
It has been almost two years since I last wrote on the subject of TV tuners in computers, and a lot has changed since then. Over-the-air TV signals have finally gone all-digital, and many cable providers have reduced or dropped their analog cable lineups as well. These transitions, coupled with the release of Windows 7, mean that this year should be an exciting one for those of us with home-theater PCs.
Posted on March 22, 2009 by Jon Bach
This weekend, Puget Systems updated many of our preconfigured systems to default to Windows Vista 64-bit. This is in direct response to a dramatic increase in popularity of 64-bit over the last few months. As part of my research in making this call, I took a look at our operating system sales over the last few years. I found the data interesting, so I thought I'd share that data, as well as my thoughts!
On Monday, Jason Perlow at Tech Broiler wrote about a $16,000 PC we had built, which has recently been making its way around blog headlines. He commented that “Extreme PCs” are no longer relevant, and asked his readers whether these types of PCs, along with build-your-own homebrew PCs were going extinct. It's been interesting to read through the reader comments, and I wanted to add some perspective of my own.
Posted on March 4, 2009 by Perry Azevedo
We've been receiving a lot of media, blog and Twitter attention regarding the "$16,000+ PC" we built late last year. While most of the reviews have been favorable, the comment fields have been their usual mix of reactions and name-calling. LOL! The extra attention has definitely been fun, although I think our web servers would disagree!!!
At Puget Systems, we're seeing more demand these days for extreme high end computers. Triple-SLI, dual CPU, large amounts of memory – people are pushing the limits looking for more performance. We're building more overclocked computers today than ever before, pushing the CPU and video cards to new and higher limits. One area that has been frustrating to me recently has been memory.<< Older Posts