Computer Wiring Makeover!

It’s been a while since we’ve posted something to the ol’ Puget Blog. Why the neglect? We’ve been crazy busy trying to roll out new website features and keep up with all the newest hardware launches! We’ve got a brand new layout on the site for each of our branded systems, and a bunch of slick new hardware, like the Nvidia ‘Fermi‘ Video cards.

I wanted to share some fun before-and-after pictures of a system we were working on recently. If you don’t live near us here in Seattle, you might not know that we do computer repair too. We offer free diagnostic, and very reasonable rates on the work. (To be honest with you, we see local computer repair as a good way to spread word-of-mouth, not really as a moneymaker).

Anyhow, we have a customer who had just picked up his brand new Puget Deluge gaming computer, and he was really impressed with the cable and wiring job that our production team did. He mentioned that he had an old system laying around that he had built a few years ago, and asked if we could give it a bit of a face-lift.

So I wanted to pass along a few of these shots. Our build staff does a great job, and I’m glad to have a chance to feature a bit of their work!

Common Problems: No Audio

One of the more common support calls is from a customer who is not getting audio when using their computer. While this can be indicative of a bad sound card, in the vast majority of cases it turns out to be a misconfiguration. We’ve put together this quick guide to walk through some of the more common issues one can run into when the audio goes out.

Core i3/i5/i7 Processors: Intel’s New CPU Line

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.

TV Tuner Update – 2010

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.

Features are not always selling points

We all seem to like our products with lots of features, especially when it comes to computers. After all, the personal computer is supposed to be the most versatile piece of electronics that you own, right? How can it be versatile without a long list of features? When it comes down to deciding what product to buy, one of the first things we do is put the features side by side, and see which gives us more capabilities for the dollar. What are we missing?

Signs of a turning economy?

If you’re connected with me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have noticed my recent posts about how great business has been, and how we’ve been more and more busy these past months. It has been a great feeling to once again focus my efforts on expanding our capacity to meet demand. But why have our sales picked up so heavily in the last quarter? Is this due to a gain in market share, or is this something bigger? I don’t claim to have the answers, but I would like to go over the data and our theories.

Adobe Flash 10.1 – Big News for Home Theater

When we began development of our Echo PC, we quickly saw how NIVIDA ION would bring a new life to home theater PCs. The small form factor, low power draw, and near-silent operation are the perfect makings for a computer in the living room. As more content is put online, the PC is fast becoming a cheap alternative for home entertainment. But the strength of NVIDIA ION lies in the GPU, and applications that take advantage of GPU acceleration are anything but mature. In our testing, we found that ION was extremely well suited for DVD/BLU-RAY playback, and for Netflix. But Hulu — the final piece in the trio of current online entertainment — was not ready. Fullscreen playback was not acceptable on ION. We knew that NVIDIA and Adobe were working together on the problem. We waited.

New Website Design

We’ve been hard at work over the past few months: designing, coding, testing, fixing. Although we’ve received lots of positive feedback on various functionality of the old site (configuration utility, order status updates, etc), we’ve also been less than pleased with the dated design and limited, navigational ability of the old design. What we’re unveiling today is the first step a vast improvement on top of what was already a great base.