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Author Topic: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread  (Read 199282 times)

Eternal_Newbie

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #500 on: 02 Mar 2012, 11:54 »

Thanks for the replies,

I tried both RAM sticks singly in different slots, the PSU has the right connectors for motherboard and I unplugged and reinserted them all.

Unfortunately I don't have any alternative parts to swap in. My old Motherboard is a Core 2 Dou with DDR2 ram, and the only spare PSU i have is a dodgy old  400 Watt one which I still don't know why I didn't throw out. (But I've got a dead Nvidia 9800 and an old IBM keyboard full of coffee lying about as well (I'd have even more computer crap like an AMD i386 sx40, a working EMMS card fully populated with 2 Mb RAM and IBM OS/2 Warp on 60 floppy diskettes, if I hadn't moved ) .

I've RMA'ed the motherboard and RAM as the (IMHO slightly clueless) people at EBuyer think it could be either of them. But I spent 3 days trying to get the damn thing to show a BIOS screen and that is as good a clue as any I have.

I've still got a nasty feeling it may be the PSU. I've got a new one on order.

« Last Edit: 02 Mar 2012, 12:10 by Eternal_Newbie »
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #501 on: 02 Mar 2012, 14:54 »

That sounds as good a way to proceed as any.  And if it wasn't the PSU, you'll have a spare - all I can say to that is that I have never ended up with an unused PS!
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #502 on: 22 Mar 2012, 09:04 »

Turned out the PSU was starting to die - and it's just out of warranty, of course.

The GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 motherboard is probably not the best Z68 out there - it basically seems to be one of Gigabytes older LGA 1155 motherboard designs with a Z68 chipset droppped in, so it doesn't use all the features, but it does the job.
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #503 on: 25 Mar 2012, 14:43 »

I'm going to plunge into the deep end: Buy a second-hand video card. There's an MSI-manufactured GTX 560Ti that's advertised for €150; the same one is €210 on the hardware site I usually frequent. It's a reasonable price to pay and I think the amount I save on getting it second-hand will offset the risk of the possible drop in reliability.

The card is 2,2cm longer than my current one, plus the power supply cables connect at the long end as well, but I think I still have 3 cm to spare in my case. The other issue is the power consumption. NVidia lists a 500W PSU (which I have) as adequate for its GTX 560Ti range, but I know it's usually recommended to put an extra 50-100W on top of what you'll actually need when you build a computer, so that might pose a problem...

I think I'll ask the advertiser whether or not he's willing to take it back if it turns out to be nonfunctional. If he says no, I might yet consider buying one new...
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #504 on: 26 Mar 2012, 18:11 »

Check the number of amps on your 12-volt rail(s). Many lower-end power supplies (OEM, the ones that come with cases, etc) pad their wattage rating by pushing tons of amperage on the 5 volt rail, where it doesn't do your video card any good.

If your power supply has two rails, keep them balanced, or move a couple devices from one to the other to give the video card enough headroom.

LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #505 on: 05 Apr 2012, 09:47 »

An update on that video card: It arrived in a box that contained the original box that contained the video card and a guide, software CD, VGA-to-DVI adapter, and a HDMI-to-mini-HDMI adapter. That is rather excellent. In addition, it fits in my case like a hand in a glove, and it's really quiet while not under load. That turned out pretty well!

Now, anyone want my GTS 450 for half the money I bought it for?
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #506 on: 09 Apr 2012, 06:16 »

Just bought a new case :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352013

Was on sale for $80 with free shipping.
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #507 on: 04 May 2012, 12:32 »

My sister is looking for a small-ish laptop for college use. She thinks a numpad makes it too big. Any recommendations?

Say Apple and you'll get bludgeoned with my own two-kilo laptop.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #508 on: 04 May 2012, 14:28 »

My sister is looking for a small-ish laptop for college use. She thinks a numpad makes it too big. Any recommendations?

Say Apple and you'll get bludgeoned with my own two-kilo laptop.

I would suggest sticking to the 13,3" form factor, and as long of a battery time as you can get as she'll probably be using it a lot on the go. If I could afford it I'd go for one of the Ultrabooks, or if it's not too urgent  wait a little while for the Ivy Bridge ones to release. And as for the Apple comment: she's gonna have an easier time borrowing chargers from people with a Macbook Air [putting my helmet on].
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #509 on: 04 May 2012, 15:23 »

Judging by the prices on the most popular national e-tailer, any Macbook that fits the criteria is priced 2 to 2.5 times what my sister is willing to spend.

Also, *whack*
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #510 on: 04 May 2012, 15:29 »

Has she checked if there are any college-specific deals?
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #511 on: 04 May 2012, 16:15 »

Apple only gives discounts for students in vocational, not higher, education, and only up to 10%. The other offers include a Toshiba and Asus laptop and are only barely below retail price. She has already made up her mind about which university to enroll in, so window-shopping for institution-specific discounts is not really an option.

We also mustn't forget that there's a second-hand market to consider. There's some money-saving potential.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #512 on: 04 May 2012, 20:45 »

ThinkPad x130e. I've got its ancestor (x100e), and the size is great without making it too difficult to touch-type on. (It's basically a 12" laptop, but it has a nearly full size keyboard and the screen has a 1366x768 resolution, same as you find in most budget 15" creaktops.)

Check the Lenovo Outlet for one. They sell everything from customer returns to brand new ones out of canceled orders for a nice discount. Dell and a few other OEMs do something similar.

LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #513 on: 05 May 2012, 16:55 »

I don't think that whatever savings they may provide are going to make up for the added tax and shipping costs. There was one excellent second-hand Toshiba laptop offered by someone right in my city but it was gone the day it was posted. The rest is all crap.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #514 on: 06 Jul 2012, 06:27 »

Did I mention? The final choice was for a new Acer Aspire that fit all of the requirements. It's a pretty cool thing.

Myself, I just bought a new hard drive because the ones I have (2x Western Digital 150GB) are noisy and sluggish. I planned on getting a Samsung Spinpoint hard drive, but the usual PC-components shop I go to only sells them in capacities as low as 650GB, which cost €75, while the 1TB ones are €100 and they get proportionally cheaper as the capacity goes up. That's too expensive, so I found someone who removed the hard drive from his media center and put it up for sale, a 500GB Spinpoint for €50. I jumped at that opportunity, so right now it's in my computer and moving all of my data off of the old hard drive. When it's done, I'm just going to disconnect the other one so that noise won't bother me again, and keep it as a backup drive.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #515 on: 28 Aug 2012, 07:20 »

Oh hey,  it's me again. So it turns out that installing Windows on two different hard drives does not create a boot sector on the second hard drive.  I found that out after formatting the first hard drive and discovered that it refused to start. This is inconvenient.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #516 on: 11 Dec 2012, 07:21 »

My HD's are officially dying and now I'm in the process of trying to decide on replacements. I'm going to be getting 2 of them, one SSD for the OS and one plate drive for everything else. Probably looking at a 2tb plate since it's just so much more economical (possibly a 3tb) and then I've got to decide between the Samsung 840 and 840 Pro.

The 840 Pro comes with Assassin's Creed 3 which by itself makes the Pro the same cost as the 840, but I'm trying really really hard to not let that influence my decision too much. Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: 11 Dec 2012, 09:47 by ackblom12 »
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #517 on: 11 Dec 2012, 15:15 »

If you were planning on buying the game for $46 or more anyway, and you were also planning to buy an SSD for $98 or more, then I suppose you can safely take advantage of that offer. Though if you want to play AC3 in the near future, you're guaranteed to find it for less than than in the Steam Christmas sale. $30, I wager, maybe $25. So unless there is another online retailer that offers the same SSD or less, you just have to ask yourself if you want to pay $15-20 more for whatever the 840 Pro offers.

Personally? I'd just buy the 840. According to this, the 840 Pro is absolute top-of-the-line for SSDs, but do you really need that if the 840 is almost as good? Don't spend more money on something that's better in a way you're not going to be able to notice.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #518 on: 30 Dec 2012, 09:51 »

For anyone looking for a keyboard, I just got the Razer Anansi for Christmas.  The thumb modifier keys are definitely a huge help gaming and it is backlit in many different colours! It's very good for typing and I would say it is totally worth its price.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #519 on: 08 Apr 2013, 09:32 »

I've been looking to put together a gaming rig at ~$1000 the past few weeks, and I never thought I'd ask this, but how do you guys feel about the Alienware X51?
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #520 on: 08 Apr 2013, 13:20 »

Depends. Are you planning on making a custom rig with this as its pre-built base, planning on modifying this as you need to, or leaving what you buy as is? Because my opinions will change based on that.
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snalin

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #521 on: 08 Apr 2013, 15:57 »

From what I've seen, you can usually get computers that's as good as the alienware rigs for slightly less if you build them yourself. Not sure if that holds wherever you are at. When I got my last computer, even with the crazy weak dollar, the transport costs of a laptop from AW still pushed their prices higher than just buying the exact same computer locally. In Norway, the home of high prices. So you pay a bit much for the brand name and slick looks.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #522 on: 08 Apr 2013, 16:13 »

Here's the thing - for a modder/tweaker/DIYer/someone who's going to be upgrading components on a regular basis, Alienware is quite overrated. You can build your own - better - PC for cheaper, and it'll be more you .

However, I've learned that (shocker) not everyone can, or is interested in the modding/DIY/specwars game. They want something that just works when you plug it in, and its powerful enough to play some games or simply last them 10 Years. Perhaps they don't want to HAVE TO mod it, but want something that can be modded if they ever want to.
For these type of people, Alienware is actually quite good. It's not the best, and not necessarily the best bang for their buck, but the shopping experience is simple, is good stuff, and the chassis look badass.

That said I cannot recommend an Alienware laptop to anyone. They're shit.


What you're looking at, I see, it's a slim-tower Alienware desktop. This is not a chassis type that's not very common in gaming PCs or workstations. The case size also lets it work as a console replacement really easily.
Since there's not much else if this category, I have no problem with you getting this one, if you are in fact buying it because if it's slim-tower design. 

Course, it all depends on you, and your use scenarios.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #523 on: 10 Apr 2013, 19:19 »

I'm aware that I could probably put together an equivalent DIY desktop for a little bit cheaper, but I have only the most basic knowledge of how to actually put one together and get it working. It would definitely be a Project with a capital P for me.

I'm really thinking that $1100 for an X51 with an i7 and GTX660 that works out of the box is looking pretty attractive to me. I'm definitely not dead-set on an Alienware, though. Are there any suggestions out there for another equivalent ~$1000 gaming desktop? A sound card would be a biiig plus.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #524 on: 10 Apr 2013, 20:35 »

My recommendations for semi-custom pre-built gaming/superpowerful PCs are maingear and origin. I've also had some good experiences with iBuypower.

Source: I've custom ordered many workstations for my uncle's business.

Also, I want to point out something many people don't realize - Alienware is a subsidiary of dell. If you aren't a fan of Dell, well, you should probably think twice before buying a Dell computer.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #525 on: 12 Apr 2013, 06:32 »

I bought this a while back and it seems to be holding up fine. The warranty is good too - provided it isn't deemed your fault I think you get 2 years parts, lifetime labour. Whether you'll be able to get it wherever you are in the world (I'm in the UK and they're based about an hour away from me), I don't know.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #526 on: 30 Apr 2013, 03:48 »

Current Build:

24" AOC, it's ok
i7 2600k @ 3.5Ghz
16GB 1666 Mhz RAM
nVidia GeForce 560Ti
120GB Samsung 840 SSD Primary Drive
2TB Samsung Secondary
And a couple externals as well

I just got the SSD and I am finding it hard to decide what to upgrade next, it plays everything with very little lag on most games (even with full AA on some games).

Can anyone here suggest a good mouse to buy, old one is screwing up.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #527 on: 01 Nov 2013, 10:00 »

Don't know if anyone would know about this, but it sorta goes with hardware knowledge, so I guess I'll ask it here... I've got two CPU-intensive 32-bit processes running on a quad-core 64-bit processor (running 64-bit Windows 7). The behavior I would expect from them would be one would use one core and the other would use another core, leaving the two remaining cores for everything else running on the computer (and leaving System Idle with at most 50% CPU). Instead they seem to be sharing one core. In fact, I rarely see the System Idle go below 75% (and only when a 64-bit process is using the CPU). Are 32-bit processes restricted to all using the same core on 64-bit Windows or something?  :psyduck:
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #528 on: 01 Nov 2013, 12:49 »

the 32 bit processes can only 'see' the primary (Core A) processor.
so yes, they're going to use the same processor.
And Windows isn't set up to forcibly split the workload.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #529 on: 01 Nov 2013, 12:57 »

Ah, okay. I'm currently updating my copy of gfortran to the 64-bit version. Apparently I hadn't updated Cygwin in a long time and since the last time I updated they came out with a 64-bit binary version of gfortran. Hopefully that should get rid of this issue by making the processes 64-bit.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #530 on: 06 Nov 2013, 11:22 »

I did some freelance last week recovering data from a beeping/clicking hard drive.  Normally you would have to send it to a clean room to be done but I found a video on how to do it outside of the clean room if the data isn't worth the $800 data recover.  I only charged the lady $40 as it felt like the amount of work I did on it. I was able to recover everything but recommended that because I didnt have a clean room that she replace the hard drive when I am done.
Figure I'd share this with the community.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #531 on: 06 Nov 2013, 21:43 »

good job.
now stop undervaluing your skillset.
some of us have to make a living being computer geeks.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #532 on: 07 Nov 2013, 12:56 »

haha.  I used to work for Geek Squad before I got this cushy government contract job.  :-P
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #533 on: 07 Nov 2013, 13:22 »

90% of my career has been these 'cushy government contract jobs' in which I bust my ass whilst Gov civilians sleep on their duffs.
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #534 on: 11 Nov 2013, 06:40 »

What's that USB connector he uses to access the hard drive and where can I get one?
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #535 on: 11 Nov 2013, 11:14 »

What, the USB to SATA circuit board? I thought those were fairly commonplace. I have like 3.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #536 on: 11 Nov 2013, 11:23 »

What's that USB connector he uses to access the hard drive and where can I get one?
Newegg sells them. Make sure you know which internal interface to get, though (IDE or SATA).
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #537 on: 11 Nov 2013, 11:55 »

I have one hard drive stashed away somewhere at my parents' house with an IDE interface that won't fit in my current computer. I still wanna see what's on it, and one of those connectors would be handy, but the only one I can find already costs as much as the hard drive itself.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #538 on: 11 Nov 2013, 11:59 »

I was going to point out some cheap ones on Newegg, but then I realized you're in the Netherlands, and Newegg probably doesn't ship there.
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LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #539 on: 11 Nov 2013, 12:29 »

Correct. I did find a cheaper one on an amateurish webshop for assorted luxury goods, so I think I'll get it from there.

Also, it has the a hilarious anti-spam measure: a random code that you have to copy from one textbox into another.  :lol:
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #540 on: 18 Nov 2013, 18:15 »

I got word from the girl I helped that her external hard drive that had all the data I saved for her went kablooey.  She's bummed that now all the stuff I backed up is gone...I then told her that I prepared for this and havn't deleted what I recovered that I saved on my computer as I was waiting to hear that everything transferred to her computer fine before I'd get rid of it. I felt the external she gave me initially was working wonky as it was.  Good think I had the foresight to keep it just in case.  :-D
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #541 on: 03 Dec 2013, 08:45 »

It says something about my priorities that I've already spent more time researching which laptop to buy than I have on which room to rent.

Anyway, I'm undecided between a Lenovo Y510P and a BTO 15CL54 (based on the Clevo W650SR). They're almost identical, except the BTO can include a 120GB SSD in addition to the HDD, and it has a non-glare IPS screen, but the Lenovo has really good reviews, a really good sound system, a backlit keyboard, a GT755 instead of a GT740/750 and €50 off the RRP. I know that doesn't sound like much, but the BTO doesn't have any reviews at all, so I feel like I'm jumping into the deep end with that one. On the other hand, those specs...
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Quote from: snalin
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snalin

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #542 on: 03 Dec 2013, 09:30 »

I'm not sure if it matters for you - but the Lenovo only has 3 USB ports - meaning that if you're setting up a workstation with an external mouse and keyboard, you'll need a hub of some kind. The BTO has 4 ports.

The extra SSD and the non-glare are two really, really great features - IF you're planning on doing the heavy-duty stuff (gaming, etc.) on plain laptop mode. If you have a desk with an external screen and an external hard-drive, well, it's not that big of a deal anymore.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #543 on: 03 Dec 2013, 09:38 »

I think I want to build a new PC.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #544 on: 03 Dec 2013, 09:44 »

I'll be moving to Sweden for eight months so unless the people who are renting me my room there have extra screens and keyboards, I'm not going to use it with a workstation. My wireless mouse is the only thing that's going to be always plugged in, and that leaves the other two for the SATA adapter and for maybe occasionally plugging in my phone.

I read that GDDR5 is supposed to make a big difference in graphical performance compared to DDR3 (Lenovo has GDDR5) but I'm not sure it's worth sacrificing an internal SSD for that.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

LTK

Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #545 on: 10 Dec 2013, 10:58 »

Now that I've got the Lenovo laptop I must say I'm impressed how well Windows is handling being ferried between different systems. The Lenovo-supplied Windows 8 drivers for Intel graphics, NVidia graphics, LAN and WLAN are all functioning without problems even though I installed them on Windows 7. I can even start programs that have been installed to Windows 8 without any problems! There don't seem to be any compatibility issues at all.

Well, that feeling didn't last long. Windows wants me to buy another copy to activate it on this laptop. Assholes.
« Last Edit: 11 Dec 2013, 05:19 by LTK »
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

Pilchard123

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #546 on: 11 Dec 2013, 10:47 »

Can you get it from Dreamspark?
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #547 on: 11 Dec 2013, 13:04 »

I don't know, I usually get Microsoft products from my dad on the cheap because he gets a massive teacher discount. I thought Windows was telling me that a new computer requires a new product key but I might have misunderstood, I'll try to enter the original key on this laptop once I can find it...
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #548 on: 11 Dec 2013, 14:21 »

I think you can often get around activation oddities by going to phone activation.  If you're using a copy of 8 that has previously been used on another machine, there are a number of official tips here.
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Re: The PC-building/hardware knowledge thread
« Reply #549 on: 11 Dec 2013, 14:23 »

So a Windows activation is only valid for a single computer at a time, as far as I'm aware. As in you're allowed to move it between computers, but how you do that, I've got no idea about.

Warning - while you were typing half-assed guesses, Hodges actually knows stuff.
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