For over a decade, USB has been the most common standard on computers for connecting peripherals. It has grown from a port found in small numbers on brand-new systems in the late 1990s to the near-universal standard for everything from input devices to data storage, and is even in widespread use for charging mobile phones. Our modern desktops feature between six and twelve USB ports, a testament to their widespread usage. This article is an introduction to the latest version of USB, with information on performance, availability and backward-compatibility.
In the course of my work as a sales consultant here at Puget Systems, I am often asked how I recommend setting up a computer. After all, providing advice like that on hardware configurations is my job! However, there are some deeper insights into how a computer can be set up which go beyond just selecting the right hardware. There are things I don’t often have the opportunity to discuss, and which aren’t really within the purview of a system builder. I wanted to take some time to write about the ideas and practices I use in my own computer setups, in the hope that some of this advice will help others to get the most out of their computers.
A few years back, Ageia Technologies launched a product designed to help handle the increasingly complex physics calculations which were becoming popular in modern games. They named this product “PhysX”, and it was the worlds first dedicated physics card. Enthusiasts were excited, and many thought that this technology was set to be the next piece of essential hardware for enthusiast systems. We decided to independently test the Nvidia PhysX platform, and share our results.
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the new Antec P183 is truly an improvement over the old Antec P182. The P182 has long been one of our favorite cases at Puget Systems, so there is some resistance to the P183 taking over the role as the flagship case in our lineup. The question is: is the P183 truly superior to the P182, or is the latest revision of the P180 series a step in the wrong direction?
At Puget Systems, we test hundreds of different computer components a year, and through this testing we constantly shape and improve our product line. In the past, we have kept the testing data internal to our company, but recently we have realized that we’re missing out on a large opportunity to help the public (and our customers) by publishing our findings. Why keep something internal if the data is useful to others? That being said, the Cooler Master V8 is the first of hopefully many product reviews by Puget Systems. We were looking for a CPU cooler to add to our line to provide a quieter cooler option for Core i7 CPUs. Does the Cooler Master V8 fit the bill?
As a custom computer builder, we get a lot of people asking for help designing high-end computers. Many times they are for media editing, stock trading, or research – but one of the most common uses of such powerful systems is video games. Given how much interest there is in gaming computers, I wanted to provide a guide for how to select what components to use in a modern gaming computer. There are lots of review sites that talk about specific hardware recommendations, but those are outdated quickly – so this article will attempt to focus more on the ideas behind the various parts of a custom gaming computer and what you need to take into consideration when building or purchasing one.
The latest powerhouse CPU offering from Intel is here. The Intel Core i7 — a quad-core processor available in three different speed configurations that is really taking the computing world by storm. Several new features have been added to this processor, such as on-chip DDR3 memory controller, smart cache, and HD boost. Of course, with all the extra features and power comes the issue of how to keep it cool. The Core i7 may be powerful, but it is also very hot running. From the stock heat sinks and fans, to liquid cooled solutions, the cooling possibilities are many. Unfortunately we can’t test them all, so in this article we’ll take a look at 4 popular cooling solutions and how they fared.
When purchasing a new computer, audio is often a peripheral concern or overlooked entirely. Though most audio products are reviewed in great detail by the audiophile community (audiophiles: people who love and make a hobby of audio technology), those outside of it often can’t answer some basic questions – how much difference does a sound card make? Can an average listener tell the difference between an expensive sound card and a basic one? Which should you put your money into, sound cards or speakers? With these questions in mind, we set out to get answers.
One of the things we get asked about a lot here at Puget is 64-bit Windows, and more specifically these days 64-bit Vista. The 32-bit version is still generally considered the norm, but because picking an operating system is an important aspect of configuring a computer, and because of the general confusion about the differences between these versions, it was apparent that an article on the subject might be helpful to both our existing and prospective customers.
Peltier cooling has been around for over a hundred years, but have only recently been available to the masses for use in computers. CoolIT is one of the few CPU cooler manufacturer to sell CPU cooling solutions featuring peltier technology. With all the theoretical benefits of using peltiers, we wanted to test CoolIT coolers against our two most popular CPU coolers. We ordered in three of CoolIT’s closed-loop liquid coolers; Pure (does not feature peltiers), Eliminator (three peltiers), and Freezone (six peltiers) to determine if peltier cooling is useful in today’s computers.