Intel’s new Skylake-X CPUs have taken over our top two tiers, Extremist and Monstrous. They have effortlessly dethroned Intel’s previous line of high-end CPUs, Broadwell-E.
The new additions to our highest-end CPU recommendations are the i9-7900X (10 cores; $1,000) and i7-7820X (8 cores; $600). They replace last generation’s i7-6950X (10-cores; $1,700), i7-6900K (8 cores; $1,100), and i7-6850K (6 cores; $600).
Your keyboard is the part of your computer with which you have the most contact. But despite all the time many people spend with their keyboards, very few consider the variety of choices available.
So, what options are there for your keyboard, and how do you know when you’ve found the right keyboard for you? Are you looking for the best cheap mechanical keyboard or a gaming keyboard? And what are these “mechanical” keyboards you keep hearing about?
Read on to get an intro to mechanical keyboards, or just watch this video:
For a long time, the only way to store information on your PC in a long term, easily accessible manner, was to use a hard drive disk, which is a technology that dates all the way back to the 1950s. The refrigerator-sized IBM 305 computers shown below held 3.75 megabytes of data each, which is just about the amount of data used to store one photo taken by a modern mobile phone.
The average PC user spends several hours a day touching a computer mouse, making it one of the most critical computer peripherals. And yet, few PC users spend much time considering mice before purchasing one that they’ll end up using for years.
Today, PC users have an enormous variety of mice to choose from, as well as numerous factors to consider before choosing the best mouse for them. Everyone’s hand is a little different, so it makes sense that different hands may prefer different mice.
This guide should serve as a primer to help find your hand the best possible mouse companion. We’ve separated the guide into four sections based on the four main criteria to consider when selecting a mouse: comfort, precision, button layout, and extra features.
If you’re anything like us, then the graphics card is your favorite part of a computer. Graphics cards let your computer do awesome things like super complex computations, physics processing, and most importantly, producing shiny graphics in games.
So, what is a graphics card, and how do you figure out which one you should buy?
We recently posted a new video all about heatsink fans and how to pick out the right one for your PC. Check it out right here:
And here’s all the info from the video, in case you prefer reading over watching:
Something that every CPU shares in common is the fact that they get really hot when they’re working. That’s why we have these things, which are called heatsinks, to keep CPUs running cool rather than immediately cooking themselves.
But how do you figure out what kind of heatsink you want? That’s what we’re going to discuss.
Heatsinks, also known as heatsink fans (HSF) or coolers, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. All of the heatsinks featured in this video are air coolers, while some others are water-based.
The purpose of every heatsink is to draw heat away from the CPU and disperse that heat. A CPU needs to be cooled because if it got too hot, it would fry itself, although modern CPUs are smart enough to slow themselves down or even shut off entirely before they get too hot.
In air coolers like these, heatsinks make contact with the CPU with a thermally conductive metal and heat pipes that draw heat up and away from the CPU and disperse the heat over a wide area while blowing it away with a fan.
If you’ve ever wondered if heat pipes actually do anything (or are just marketing gimmicks), we can assure you that they do serve a purpose. They are hollow inside, and contain waiter in a partial vacuum, so that the water boils around the temperature of a warm CPU. The water boils into steam down here, and travels up here where it condenses back into water and drips back down. What this does is move thermal energy very efficiently from down by the CPU up and away into the rest of the heatsink.
But we don’t put a heatsink down on a CPU without a little thermal paste.
Thermal paste is a substance with a high heat conductivity and allows for better heat transfer between the heatsink and CPU. It fills in all the little microscopic gaps between the two and doesn’t allow for any air gaps that could hurt the heatsink’s performance.
There are a lot of different thermal pastes out there, but today the thermal pastes that come with aftermarket heatsinks are quite good.
In this video, we have four different heatsinks. The two little ones in the middle are what we call stock heatsinks, because they were packaged free with our CPUs.
Stock heatsinks are smaller and they can be a little noisier. They usually work just fine if you don’t plan to overclock your CPU, though they generally make more noise than a bigger heatsink when your CPU is working hard.
Let’s discuss our Intel stock heatsink. You can see it’s mostly aluminum, with a copper core that already has some thermal paste pre-applied to it.
This heatsink gets away with being so small because the CPU that it comes with is very thermally efficient, so it doesn’t need to disperse a lot of heat.
By contrast, our stock AMD heatsink is a little beefier. It has some heat pipes and a larger copper base to compensate for the fact that our AMD CPU generates more heat.
Lots of people assume that stock heatsinks are bad, and that’s not necessarily the case. They’re just not usually good enough if you want to overclock your CPU, and you might not like how noisy they get under pressure.
These are aftermarket heatsinks, and they’re the kind of heatsinks that you might buy to replace the stock heatsink that comes with you CPU.
These heatsinks can do a lot more cooling than the stock heatsinks, and they’ll generally be quieter while they do it.
At this point, you might be able to repeat back the two main reasons to replace a stock heatsink with a bigger one: 1) It will generally be quieter, and 2) If you want to experiment with overclocking your CPU, the aftermarket heatsinks will do a much better job of keeping your CPU cool for maximum performance and reliability.
Whether you need a cheaper heatsink or a more expensive one will mainly depend on how much you want to overclock and how hot your CPU runs. The best heatsinks are more expensive, but are only needed if you’re overclocking a lot or your PC is in a very hot place.
So, let’s say you’ve done your research and you decide to buy an aftermarket heatsink. There are two main things to keep in mind:
First, it needs to be compatible with your motherboard, so check the compatibility to make sure it will fit with your particular motherboard’s CPU socket.
Our Hyper 212, for example, says it’s compatible with CPU sockets 2011, 2011-3, 1366, and a lot more. It’s basically compatible with any modern CPU socket, but it’s always good to double check.
Second, your heatsink needs to fit in your case and not interfere with your RAM. Check the dimension measurements and make sure that everything is going to fit without causing any headaches. It’s usually easiest to just do a google search for your case name and the heatsink you want to use, and quickly find whether they are compatible.
That’s about it. If you want some more information about recommended heatsinks, check the links below:
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us over at logicalincrements.com, where we provide professional recommendations on the best PC hardware for the money.
We recently posted a new video on our YouTube channel about CPUs and how to find a good one. It’s the first video in a series explaining the various components of a PC. The goal is to give people a slightly deeper understanding of each component, and give some practical advice on how to pick out the right components for you.