PC Hardware Articles
One of the core values of Puget Systems is transparencyWe detest hype in the midst of an industry that is full of it. Our mission is to provide the highest quality hardware and consultation services to our customers, and to back up our decisions by freely sharing what we've learned along the way. To earn a place in our product line, a computer component undergoes rigorous testing. We apply the results of our testing, along with our years of experience in learning reliability trends and manufacturer characteristics, to make prudent decisions about what we can put our name behind, whether that's an individual part or an entire computer. With the following articles, we are writing up the results of these internal processes and discussions, and taking them public. We feel we can take this on with a unique perspective as we evaluate each topic with the experience, resources, and objectivity of a system builder. If there is a topic you'd like us to write about, email us at !
Premiere Pro is often touted as greatly benefiting from high core count CPUs. In this article we will be benchmarking the multi-threading capabilities of Premiere Pro CC to determine it actually is at using high core count CPUs.
The Samsung SM951 is the successor to what was at one time the fastest consumer M.2 drive - the Samsung XP941. This drive has incredible sequential read and write performance, but suffers from extremely high temperatures under load.
Skylake-S introduces a number of changes compared to Haswell that makes it fairly attractive as a platform including the move to DDR4 RAM. It also uses less power, runs cooler, and has some very significant performance improvements in some applications.
With the release of the first Skylake-S CPUs, Intel has also launched the new Z170 chipset. Unlike previous launches where Intel releases all the new chipsets and CPUs at the same time, this time only the top chipset and unlocked (K-series) CPUs will be available at launch.
As we move more and more of our workstation systems to Xeon CPUs, we sometimes get asked why we are using server CPUs instead of the "faster" Core i7 CPUs. In this article we will be going over what makes Xeon E5 and Core i7 CPUs different and whether one is actually faster than the other.
With hundreds of CPU models available, it can be a daunting task to determine which CPU will give you the best performance in Lightroom. In this article we will be examining the multi-threading capabilities of Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6 to determine whether a CPU with a high frequency or a CPU with a high core count will give you the best possible performance.
Choosing the right CPU for your system can be a daunting - yet incredibly important - task. The shear number of different models available makes it difficult to determine which CPU will give you the best possible performance while staying within your budget. In this article we will be looking at a way to estimate CPU performance based on a mathematical equation called Amdahl's Law.
With hundreds of CPU models available, it can be a daunting task to determine which CPU will give you the best performance in Photoshop. In this article we will be examining the multi-threading capabilities of Photoshop CC to determine whether a CPU with a high frequency or a CPU with a high core count will give you the best possible performance.
If you are in the market for a new PC, you have likely had a taste of the huge variety of different Intel CPU models available. In addition to the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 brands it turns out that there are actual two or three different product lines within each of those brands - including "K", "S", and "T". In this article, we want to take a look at the S-series product line to determine how it differs from the standard line.
At Puget Systems, we track a lot of data but one of the most important things we track is the failure rates of individual components. Reliability is of our primary values, so this data is invaluable for tracking both individual component, product line, and overall brand failure rates. With 2014 coming to a close, we thought we make public a bit of this data to let you know what hardware we found to be the most reliable in 2014.
Workstation-class hardware like NVIDIA Quadro video cards tend to receive a really bad rap in the gaming community because the cost-to-performance ratio is not anywhere near as good as the GeForce cards that are designed and optimized specifically for gaming. Some have even gone to the point of claiming that you cannot play games on NVIDIA Quadro video cards at all! In this article we will examine the gaming performance of Quadro cards to see how they perform in a number of games.
While we all know that modern processors need active cooling, there is actually very little official information on how temperature affects a CPU's performance. Do you really need a high-end liquid cooled setup to get peak performance, or is the little stock cooler that comes with most CPUs enough? In this article we will examine exactly how temperature affects CPU performance.
WD Green drives have a long been a staple in our quiet systems. However, the NAS and RAID oriented Red drives have a few features that make them much more attractive while being just as quiet. In this article, we will go over the differences between Green and Red drives to show why we consider Red drives to be the better choice than Green drives in most quiet systems.
Here at Puget Systems, almost half of the traditional hard drives we sell are Western Digital Black drives. However, the enterprise-class RE drives have many features that make them much more attractive, but are also more expensive. In this article, we will go over the differences between Black and RE drives to show why we consider RE drives to be the better choice than Black drives in most systems.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB is a very interesting card in that it really isn't that much faster than the cards already available, but it has a dramatically lower power draw - 80W less than the GTX 780 or GTX 780Ti.
The X99 chipset is a major improvement over X79 adding native USB 3.0 support, more SATA 6Gb/s ports, DDR4 support, and plenty of other little updates. Haswell-E also adds a lot of improvements, but has an overall drop in core frequency that makes it not as clearly better than Ivy Bridge-E.
Typically, a new CPUs is faster than it's predecessor - it is just a question of whether is it by a little or a lot. The new Intel 5960X, however, is not typical because it sacrifices clock speed in order to add more cores. In this article we want to run a wide variety of benchmarks to find out what applications benefit from the additional cores and which suffer from the drop in clock speed.
DDR3 is almost seven years old, but is finally starting to be replaced with the new DDR4 memory. Featuring lower operating voltages, higher frequencies, and increased storage densities DDR4 is shaping up to be a very capable successor to the aging DDR3.
M.2 is a new form of connectivity that allows a SSD to connect directly to the PCI-E bus allowing for theoretical speeds as high as 2GB/s. However, M.2 drives are complicated in that they allow for a variety of physical dimensions, connectors, and even multiple logical interfaces. To help our customers understand the nuances of M.2 drives, we decided to publish this overview of M.2 SSDs.
We've been hearing from a regular stream of customers who are making the move from Mac OS X to Windows, and they often have questions about how to perform basic tasks on their new Puget Systems PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. So we created this Start Guide to help them around their new desktop.
We recently published the article Multi-headed VMWare Gaming Setup where we used VMWare ESXI to run four virtual gaming machines from a single PC. The setup worked great and the article was very popular, but one limitation we found was that NVIDIA GeForce cards cannot be used as passthough devices in VMWare ESXI. We received feedback from some readers that GeForce cards should work in Linux with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) so we set out to make a GeForce-based multiheaded gaming PC using Ubuntu 14.04 and KVM.
M.2 is a new form of connectivity for SSD drives that allows them to connect directly to the PCI-E bus rather than going through a SATA controller. By bypassing the SATA controller a M.2 drive can have a theoretical maximum throughput as high as 2GB/s which is over three times faster than the 600MB/s SATA is limited to! Unfortunately, temperature and motherboard compatibility is a major issue with these M.2 drives.
As powerful as modern PCs are, sometimes it feels like a waste having just a single person using a PC at a time. By using various server virtualization technologies including virtual machines and PCI passthrough, we created a multi-headed gaming PC that allows up to four users to game on one physical PC at the same time.
Virtual desktops with NVIDIA GRID offer a great way to provide users with tons of computing performance without the need for each user to have their own individual PC. We took the time to setup and use a virtual desktop for a variety of applications to see if we think virtual desktops will be the future of computing or if they will simply be another niche technology.