HP unveils a new Intel vPro Desktop; they vow to continue their PC Support

August 23, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 5 comments

As you have probably heard, HP evaluated alternatives for its Personal Systems Group; which includes the exploration of separating their PC business into a separate company through a spin-off or other transaction.

However, they recently unveiled a new all-in-one Elite business desktop which integrates the power of Intel’s second-generation Core vPro technology; delivering up to 40 percent better performance, 15 percent faster hard drive access, and reduced downtime via remote IT management.

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Computers and College Part II: Saving Money

August 15, 2011 by nhinkle. 3 comments
Now that you’ve decided what computer you want to take with you to college, how can you save some money? Here are some tricks for getting the best hardware and software for your money. more »

A Super User’s Complete Guide to Building an HTPC: The Hardware

July 29, 2011 by kronos. 3 comments

With more and more media turning digital, Home Theater PC’s (HTPC’s) are making a larger presence within the homes of PC enthusiasts. Whether your starting from scratch, or upgrading an older pc, this multi-part guide is meant to help you in building your new HTPC.

Missed part 1? Check it out here.

Once you’ve purchased your system, it’s time to build it. I’m going to go over the specific specs of the system that I built (as well as some other options), and the overall price of it, but this doesn’t meant that you have to build the exact system I did. There are plenty of other opinions out there, and the goal of this guide is for YOU to build YOUR system. As I go along, I’ll give you hardware specific tips that will hopefully help you in building your customs HTPC.

The Case

In my opinion the case is one of the most important things to select for your HTPC and its entirely because of show. This is the one thing that other people are going to see (or not see) of your HTPC and it needs to look good. What you need to look for is either something that you can hide away, or something that will look natural with all your other devices.

I had a very difficult time figuring out what I wanted to get and even looked into getting a touch screen case but decided against it due to lack of funds. (If you are looking for a touch screen, Tom’s Hardware has a great review of three.)

I finally ended up purchasing the SilverStone LC13-E Case:


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A Super User’s Complete Guide to Building an HTPC: Planning and Purchasing

July 22, 2011 by kronos. 6 comments

With more and more media turning digital, Home Theater PC’s (HTPC’s) are making a larger presence within the homes of PC enthusiasts. Whether your starting from scratch, or upgrading an older pc, this multi-part guide is meant to help you in building your new HTPC.

Determine What You Want:

HTPC’s can take care of ALL you media needs which can even ultimately either replace or add to your current media experiences:

  • Dvd/Blu-Ray Player
  • Central Audio Stations
    • Whether a PC, iPod, audio receiver, etc, you can replace all of these with a central HTPC (including streaming to those other devices)
  • Internet on TV devices
  • Internet Streaming Services (Pandora, Netflix, Hulu, etc,.)
  • DVR
  • Cable receivers
  • Photo Viewers/Servers

What makes a Computer overheat?

July 11, 2011 by Simon Sheehan. 2 comments

Every week, the Super User community nominated and votes on an interesting Question of the Week, which we write about on the blog. One nominee that interested me was:

What makes a laptop overheat?

Is there a correlation between CPU usage and heat? RAM usage? Other things? How can software affect overheating in a laptop?

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Best of both Worlds Part II: Installing the Optical Bay HDD Caddy

June 30, 2011 by nhinkle. 19 comments

It’s been a while since I wrote about my optical bay HDD caddy experiment, but the results are finally in. I’ve been running my laptop for over a month now with a Kingston V100 SSDnow in the primary storage bay and the original hard drive in a NewmodeUS optical bay caddy, and have been quite pleased with the results. My computer boots up quickly, applications launch instantly, and there’s plenty of space to store big files for when I need them. There are a few downsides though, which I’ll go into more detail about shortly. Is it worth your while to make this upgrade? Read on to find out!

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QoTW: How should I choose Hardware?

June 20, 2011 by darthandroid. 3 comments

Anyone active on Super User has encountered the infamous shopping requests before, and you can’t really blame them for trying: They don’t know what they need, and here’s a website about computers where people understand all the latest gadgetry, standards, and most importantly, the endless acronyms.

But we’re missing the most crucial part: We don’t understand their needs.

After spending an hour or two working with several others in the Super User chatroom to help a user make heads or tails of how to translate his needs into hardware, it became clear that for all the questions about how to understand and judge performance vs. needs for individual components of a computer, they were extremely spread out over the site, which made them as a whole hard to find, especially if you didn’t know what you were looking for.

Super User needed a new community wiki. This week, the community is collectively wondering and defining How do I know what hardware to buy to meet my needs?:

  • How do I find out if a given CPU will be enough for a certain game or application that I want to run?
  • How do I find out if a given graphics card is powerful enough for a certain game or application?
  • What is important when looking at motherboards?
  • How much memory do I need?
  • How do I know how much wattage I need for a power supply?
  • What size case do I need?
  • What relevant standards do I need to read up on and be aware of?
  • What “gotchas” do I need to be on the lookout for?

All of this information should still apply regardless of whether you are buying a pre-configured system or building your own from scratch. Configuring a system online at a retailer such as Dell, Apple, or HP still has a pretty wide range of systems and configurations, so making heads or tails of the options provided there is still necessary – you’re trading wide selection for the comfort of knowing that all the parts should work well together and letting someone else assemble and configure it.

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QoTW: How does a Computer restart itself?

June 13, 2011 by jcrawfordor. 2 comments

There are a lot of things computers do that, in usage, seem very simple. Under the hood, though, there are a lot of parts that work together to enable basic behavior. One example is rebooting a computer. Reboot is conceptually very simple, it turns off and then turns back on again. In today’s Question of the Week, Seth Carnegie wondered how this actually happens:

This may be a really stupid question, but how can a computer restart itself? After it’s off, how does it tell itself to come back on again? What kind of software is it that can do this?

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