Archive for the 'Hardware' Category

Great Value in a Phenom II X4 All-In-One Computer System

The Most PC for Your Money with the AMD Phenom II

Times have been rough lately. Let’s face it. You turn on the news and all you hear about are layoffs, bankruptcy, and foreclosures.

But at the same time there are still things you need around the house. Appliances need to work, you need to be able to cook dinner every night, and the kids still need to be able to do their homework.

I think in our modern day society the computer has become a household appliance. Not only does it provide relaxation and entertainment, it also provides a valuable need for many of the things we do in our everyday lives.

I know many families out there that rely on a computer in the home for things like news, communications, research, and learning. Whether you are reading the latest headlines, emailing your relatives or doing homework, a computer provides an invaluable resource for the entire family.

With this in mind I have been looking for the best value in a PC for the money. After some research I narrowed this down to the new Phenom II All-In-One Computer Package from CPU Solutions.

This system offers an amazing value and includes everything you need in a computer to satisfy the entire family. Whether you are using the system for entertainment purposes, or work and communications, the Phenom II All-In-Package provides you with everything you need right out of the box.

The hardware specs on the system are great for the price, but what really impressed me was all the additional hardware included in the package that truly provided everything you need with a home computer.

Included with the computer is a 22” widescreen LCD monitor that is great for entertainment and studying. There is also the Microsoft Communications Package which includes a multimedia keyboard, optical mouse, and webcam that is perfect for making your own family movies or keeping in touch with relatives.

Also included is a Canon Inkjet printer which is perfect for printing off work documents, homework, pictures, and even family photos. Stop spending money having photos printed when you can do it professionally in your own home.

There is also a Logitech S-150 Speaker set which is perfect for enjoying movies and all your favorite music right on your PC.

As you can see, this is the complete computer package at a great price that offers value and savings on your next home computer. Don’t be fooled by retail chains that offer “Big Savings” on computers only to nickel and dime you for the additional hardware you need.

If you’re a on a budget but still need that perfect system that meets the entire families needs you should checkout the Phenom II All-In-One Computer Package from CPU Solutions. Get the most for your money in a custom computer system with the Phenom II CPU from AMD.



High End PC Hardware for a Performance Video Editing PC

Powerful Specs for a Professional Video Editing System

If you are like many of the video professionals I have worked with in the last few months you have one main thing in common. You need a Professional quality Video Editing System that will deliver power, and performance.

But with all the PC Hardware choices available what is the best custom configuration for a Video Editing PC?

Here we will take a look at the hardware options available along with the best configuration possible to create a professional Video Editing Workstation.

Best Hardware for a High Power Video Editing PC

To create a High End Video Editing Computer you need to make sure you have the best parts for the heart of the system. I highly recommend the Intel Core i7 to make the most of your PC.

This is because it out performs the Intel Core 2 Duo and Dual Core CPUs as well as the AMD AM2 and Phenom II processors. In fact it blows away pretty much every CPU on the market. The Core i7 also excels at multimedia applications, which means you can Edit Video faster with a chip that designed to do just that.

The memory in your Video Editing PC should be DDR3 because it is designed to run with the Intel Core i7 CPUs, and because it offers the fastest Bus speeds available for RAM. It also allows you to take advantage of the triple-channel memory controller function on the Core i7 processors.

For the motherboard you should look into a full size ATX board that will offer you plenty of features and configuration options to create your professional Video Editing workstation. Recommended brands include Intel, ASUS, and Gigabyte because of the reliability and performance they offer to users.

You should also look for boards that offer plenty of expandability through the use of PCI expansion slots and rear I/O slots. This will allow you to customize a very robust Video Editing PC.

Video & Capture Cards for a Video Editing Computer

The two other most important considerations in designing a Video Editing System are the video card, and capture card because these handle all the primary video functions in your system and work in conjunction with your software to provide maximum performance.

Because of this I would recommend going with the GeForce GTX295 video card which comes equipped with 1792mb of video memory. This means any Video Editing software you use that works in tandem with your video card will operate at peak performance.

There are many good capture cards out there but my preference is for the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center because of its ability to capture dual ATSC video input. This is great for Video Editing and also doubles as a DVR.

Aside from the main PC hardware considerations we have listed above there are a few other things to consider when custom building a Professional Video Editing PC. Let’s recap below and list any additional hardware that is ideal for high end video performance in a video editing system.

Main considerations for a Proessional Video Editing System:

  • A Powerful Multimedia / Video Editing CPU like the Intel Core i7 Processor
  • Fast DDR3 Memory that takes advantage of the Triple-Channel Memory Controller.
  • A Full Size ATX Motherboard that offers plenty of Expandability & Upgrade Options.
  • A High End GPU like the nVidia GeForce GTX-295 with lots of Video Memory.
  • A Performance Capture Card / TV Tuner that is capable of working with HD Video.

Addition considerations for a High Performance Video Editing PC are as follows:

  • Plenty of hard disk storage space, ideally 1-2 Terabytes.
  • Blu-Ray support for High Definition Video projects.
  • Dual DVD-RW drives for Disc to Disc copy operations and Data Backup.
  • A High Speed 10K (10,000) RPM SATA hard drive.
  • A Case or PC Enclosure that provides good air flow and cooling.

Following these considerations will help you design a Professional High End Video Editing PC that is capable of any project you can imagine.

With high performance hardware that offers power and speed you can Custom Build the perfect system for Video Editing, Video Capture, Post Processing and Video Encoding. If you follow the considerations I have mentioned and work with good brand name PC hardware you will have a Professional Video Editing System that helps you maximize your workflow and creativity.

Thanks for checking out the blog!



The ASUS Eee PC 900HA Netbook is a Mini Notebook for $320

Hands on Impressions of the ASUS Eee PC 900HA Netbook

ASUS Eee PC 900HA Netbook - Small Notebook ComputerIf you have been looking for a good laptop, that is lightweight and travels well look no further than the ASUS Eee PC 900HA Netbook. These miniature laptops offer power and performance in a tiny package at a fraction of the cost of standard notebooks.

I recently had the chance to get my hands on the Eee PC 900HA and I am extremely impressed with what ASUS has done. The netbook itself is a little larger than a paper back book measuring approximately 6” by 8” inches, and about 1.5” inches deep. The system weighs about 2 or 3 pounds and is very compact and easy to travel with. For my review I have been taking it to and from work each day, and it is easier to carry than my bag lunch.

The system comes with a nice little carrying case, but can also easily fit into a bag, most purses, and even some cargo pockets. But don’t let the size fool you. ASUS has included enough power in this little system to do everything a standard laptop can do and then some.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Intel Atom processor which runs at 1.6ghz, along with the 1gb of DDR2 memory and the 160gb hard drive. With all that storage and an 8.9” WSVGA widescreen display it makes the Eee PC 900HA the perfect portable movie player for travel.

With a beautiful display and quality speakers in a portable system the 900HA offers a great multimedia experience. But in addition to that the system is also capable of 3D gaming through the use of the onboard Intel graphics controller.

Other features you would expect to find on a notebook are the wireless 802.3u adapter along with a standard wired network connection. The system also has numerous USB connections, a mic and head phone jack, a SD Smart Media card reader and VGA out making it great for presentations. It even comes with a built in web cam so you can keep in touch with loved ones when you are on the road, or just having a long day at the office.

ASUS Eee PC 900HA Netbook PC - Mini NotebookTo keep the system portable and compact ASUS opted not to install a standard disk drive into the netbook. To install programs you simply use a removable ROM drive that connects to the system via USB. (Not included). This also gives users plenty of options for additional peripherals that can expand the use of the system for almost unlimited applications.

The system also comes preloaded with lots of great software so that users can be up and running immediately, right out of the box. All the systems come preinstalled with Windows XP Home so simply choose a user name and you are good to go. In addition to Windows XP the system also comes preinstalled with Microsoft Works, Norton Internet Security, Skype and many other great productivity tools.

One of the most impressive features on the Eee PC 900HA is the 5 hours of battery life the system gets out of each charge. Because of the power efficiency of the Intel Atom processor the system is able to run almost twice as long as standard notebooks without the need for a charge.

Overall I think the ASUS Eee 900HA is one of the best notebooks out there for the money. In fact when I first saw the system and read the specs I bought one immediately because of the sheer convenience I knew it would offer me. The laptop is built with quality hardware, solid system specs and Windows preloaded along with all your productivity software to offer the complete package.

With amazing performance and a price point that blows away anything available, the Eee 900HA offers the most value for your money. If you have been looking for a new laptop, I would highly recommend one!



AMD Phenom II X4 45nm CPU Release – Why Buy a New Phenom II PC

Phenom II X4 45nm Processors for Gaming, Performance, and Business.

AMD Phenom II X4 920 & 940 Processors

The new AMD Phenom II Processors are now starting to hit online retailers. While there has been talk online about the release of the Phenom II for awhile now it has been near impossible to find a store that had one in stock.

This week I started noticing several online vendors that were now carrying the AMD Phenom II X4 CPUs. Since I am always trying to stay on top of current trends in technology I wanted to cover some of the information about the Phenom II and why I think it is a great alternative to the Intel Core i7 Processor.

It really comes down to three main things.

  • Price
  • Availability
  • Performance

AMD Phenom II X4 Pricing

Because of some of the struggles that AMD has run into in the past few years they have really taken on a philosophy of being very competitive with Intel in price. AMD manages to create CPUs that offer great performance at a fraction of the cost of Intel Processors.

While these chips may not rank as well as Intel’s latest offerings in the benchmarks many of us cannot afford to break the bank while constantly upgrading our PCs. Another important reason is for resellers that need to offer the most competitive price to their customers. AMD has always kept this in mind and has offered a very competitive price on their CPUs.

Phenom II X4 Availability

As I mentioned above the Phenom II has generated a lot of excitement in the past few months but users have been hard pressed to actually find one to buy. This week I have started seeing more online retailers carrying the product. I stumble across two Phenom II’s yesterday at the link below:

Buy the New AMD Phenom II X4 CPUs

Because of the competitive pricing and ready availability of the Phenom II the chips stand to be a great alternative for builders, and resellers who need an inexpensive, high performance solution to offer to their customers.

They are also a great option for end users, performance enthusiasts and gamers who are ready to build their new PC “NOW”. It’s not often that you can pickup the latest hardware without waiting in line somewhere at 6:00am in the morning. It’s refreshing to have access to a hot new product where this is not the case.

AMD Phenom II X4 CPU Performance Benchmarks

AMD has once again done a great job of creating a very competitive CPU that offers outstanding performance at a low cost.

AMD Phenom II X4 Benchmarks and Performance

In some of the latest benchmarks online the AMD Phenom II 940 scores better than the Intel Extreme QX6700. This means instead of spending around $1,000+ on the QX6700 you can spend around $250 on the Phenom II 940 and use the other $800 dollars to build the rest of your PC.

When compared to the Intel Core i7 920 the AMD Phenom II X4 holds it’s own against the competition. Under PC Mark and 3D Mark Tomshardware has the Phenom II 940 almost neck in neck with the Core i7 920. This means you can get the same great performance found in Intel’s newest line of processors for about $50+ dollars less.

Once again AMD has proven that its focus is to provide high performance CPU solutions to users at an affordable price.

AMD Phenom II X4 Technical Specs

According to AMD’s product brief the Phenom II is a CPU that is designed to offer a high-end media experience to users for high definition entertainment, gaming and media applications.

It is a high performance CPU featuring a Quad Core design that makes the most of energy efficiency to offer quality and performance to users.

AMD Phenom II X4 Technical Specs

Phenom II Key Architecture & Design

  • Offers a true Quad Core x86 Processor
  • Improves efficiency by connecting the Processor and Memory controller
  • Allows simultaneous 32 bit and 64 bit computing.
  • Integrated DDR2 memory controller.
  • Up to 33.1GB/s processor-to-system bandwidth.
  • Shared L3 Cache
  • And much more…

There are almost too many new features to list them all in one article. For the full technical specs and details I recommend you check out the AMD website which goes into detail on all the improvements in the Phenom II processors.

AMD Phenom™ II X4 Processors for Home

AMD Phenom II X4 Key Architectural Features

AMD Phenom II Final Thoughts and Review

With all the benefits we have discussed above and a price point that offers an affordable high performance CPU, that is easy to source the AMD Phenom II really offers the total package.

Whether you are a gamer, performance enthusiast, and just want a great PC to check your email with you don’t need to spend a fortune to stay up on the cutting edge.

Looking at the benchmarks the Phenom II has received along with the technical specs listed in AMD’s homepage it is easy to see why this CPU has generated so much buzz in the past few months.

If you are looking for a great processor that offers Core i7 performance at a fraction of the cost the new AMD Phenom II X4 CPU might be just the solution you are looking for.



My New Core i7 Performance Gaming PC

Extreme Performance from Intel’s Latest Core i7 CPU

Custom Intel Core i7 Performance and Gaming PCsI have finally found my new computer! I have been waiting for the past year or so to upgrade and I have decided I will be going with Intel’s new Core i7 processor. I have already been fortunate enough to see several of these systems in action and they are blazing fast!

The thing really caught my eye with the Core i7 is the amount of features that are supported by the CPU. All Core i7 processors are quad core CPUs, but this time Intel included hyper threading in the chip which means you will get blazing fast performance from a CPU that is seen by the operating system as having 8 cores!

In addition to the speed and performance that is gained from a quad core hyper-threading processor the Core i7 has an onboard 3 channel memory control, with direct access to system RAM to eliminate any bottle necks in read / write time to the system memory.

I could go on and on about all the improvements to the Core i7 but the most convincing thing is actually seeing these chips in action. I have seen several of these systems built for customers during diagnostics and benchmark tests and the speed completely blows away the Intel Core 2, dual core, and quad core processors.

I have found a really great deal on a Custom Intel Core i7 Performance PC at CPU Solutions that I already have in the works. Not only was the price great, all the parts were in stock and ready to go! I went with the base configuration offered on the website and upgraded the video card to the Xfx Geforce Gtx 280.

If you are looking for a great deal on a performance or gaming system you should check out the selection they have on Core i7 systems. Don’t settle for anything else as this is the direction the hardware will be going from here on out. I can’t wait to set this beast up and get some of the latest demos installed to test it out!



Intel Core i7 Release Date and Information

Nehalem Core i7 from Intel Q4 2008

Intel Nehalem Core i7 CPU Release Date and Pricing InformationFor those of you that have been following the news on Intel’s latest Core i7 CPU codenamed Nehalem your patience is about to be rewarded.

Intel has announced the date for the new Core i7 processor, and says it will be available for purchase as of November 17th. There has been a lot of excitement building around the release of the CPU in the computer industry.

Users who are always working to stay on top of the latest and greatest trends in computer hardware got their first taste of the Nehalem on November 3rd when Intel released official pricing information and some early benchmarks on the performance of the CPU started to appear online.

I have already had customers calling and asking about designing a custom Intel Core i7 Gaming PC. With all the power and potential of the i7 CPU for gaming systems, multimedia workstations, and servers it’s no wonder people are so excited about the latest Intel CPU.

There was an article on Tom’s Hardware a couple months back that gave some very early incite into the Nehalem i7 and impressions of overall performance that can be found at the link below.

Nehalem’ 2.93 GHz Benches Revealed – Tom’s Hardware

Keep checking back for more updates and information on the Intel i7 CPU. We are hoping to get our hands on one soon, and will be following up with a review on the cpu with our initial thoughts on the latest quad core processor from Intel.



How to Check the Make & Model of a Motherboard

Identify the Model and Brand of a Motherboard

I have had a couple people asking me for a brief follow-up on our “How to POST Test a Motherboard” article. One of the main questions I have been receiving is from people asking how to tell what type of motherboard they have.

It is actually really easy to determine the make and model of your motherboard if you do not have the motherboard box, or you are trying to identify the model of a motherboard that is already inside a system.

Most manufacturers now label the motherboard model with a sticker located near the motherboard serial number. On newer boards this is usually located directly between the memory slots and the CPU socket on the motherboard.

On older boards you might need to look a little harder to find this information as it is usually silk screened between the PCI slots on the board or somewhere below the CPU socket. This was especially common on older 478 and Socket-A motherboards.

(If your computer is working you can always download a software program such as CPUZ from cupid.com which will identify all the parts in your system including your motherboard model number.)

Below are some pictures that will give you reference examples of where to find this information on newer boards from some of the most popular motherboard manufacturers including Intel, ASUS, Gigabyte.

Intel Motherboard Box Model Number Intel Motherboard Model Number Sticker on Board

 

Intel Motherboard Model Numbers

In the first images we are looking at an Intel Motherboard Box and the board itself. You can see in the first picture where the model number is located in the box indicated by the red arrow in the image. In the next picture you can see this information is located on the motherboard near the memory slots indicated by the arrow.

ASUS Motherboard Box Model Number ASUS Motherboard Model Number Sticker on Board

 

ASUS Motherboard Model Numbers

In the next images we are looking at an ASUS motherboard. You can see that on the motherboard box the model number for the board is located below the serial number. On the board itself this information is located near the memory slots again, between the CPU socket and the north-bridge chipset cooler.

Gigabyte Motherboard Box Model Number Gigabyte Motherboard Model Number Sticker on Board

 

Gigabyte Motherboard Model Numbers

In the next images we are looking at a Gigabyte motherboard. On the Gigabyte motherboard box you will notice the model is posted in big letters near the standard box sticker. The information on the sticker is located at the top in big letters. On the board itself this information is once again located near the memory slots, between the memory and north-bridge chipset cooler.

Socket 478 Motherboard Model Number Silk Screened Socket A Motherboard Model Number Silk Screened

 

Socket 478 and Socket-A Motherboard Model Numbers

In our last two images we are looking at two older motherboards.

The first image on the left is an Intel Socket 478 Motherboard from ASUS. You can see the brand designation in the upper portion of the picture and the model between the two bottom PCI slots. This information has been silk screened onto the motherboard. (The revision number of this motherboard can be located in small print to the right of the model number)

In the picture on the right we are looking at an old ECS Socket-A Motherboard. As you can see in the image the model number of this motherboard has also been silk screened onto the board, and this time it is located right below the north-bridge chipset cooler.

Conclusion

Overall this guide should give you a good idea of where to look to find the information you are looking for to help you identify the make and model of your motherboard.

These locations seem to be pretty standard on most new motherboard but are subject to change at a moments notice depending on what manufacturers decide to do. When in doubt check different labels on your motherboard and type them into Google to confirm if they are a model number. If you type in a model number it should return many relevant results that will help you identify that you have correctly located the model number.




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