Posts in Category: guides

Motherboard VRMs: What are Power Phases, and How Many Should I Have?

Motherboard VRM Power Phases Explanation

Often, motherboard product pages and online forum users mention a motherboard’s VRM and how many power phases it has. Being a somewhat technical topic, VRMs aren’t an easy topic to get into. So today, we will introduce the concept of the VRM and these so-called power phases as simple and straightforward as possible, so that you can easily discern what a motherboard product page is telling you (and when it matters).

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Buying Used PC Hardware: A Beginner’s Guide

Beginner's Guide to Used Hardware

If you’re close to the ‘Destitute’ level on our main chart—or even within spitting distance—new hardware prices can seem insurmountable. But what if you didn’t have to pinch pennies waiting for a sale? What if you could have a powerful—if slightly dated—system for a fraction of the cost?

Thankfully for you, there’s a surprisingly huge market for used hardware online! eBay is obvious, but forums like /r/hardwareswap are tight-knit, self-policing communities of enthusiasts eager to swap silicon. It’s also quite safe: PayPal is the most popular payment method, with their Goods and Services option offering buyer protection in the event of fraud.

That being said, not all used components age as gracefully as others. We’ve created this guide so you can shop wisely.

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The Newbie’s Guide to PC Cooling Fans

beginner's guide to PC case fans

So, you’re building a PC; with modern components running faster (and hotter) than ever, you’ll need at least one fan. Searches reveal thousands of models bragging about their CFM or noise levels or bearing type. How do you cut through the marketing jargon? This guide for beginners should demystify computer cooling!

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Choosing the Right Monitor: Size, Resolution, Price – and Sitting Distance!

monitor-size-resolution-sitting-distance

If you peruse sites like this, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the monitor discussion. “I’m buying a monitor, what size/resolution/refresh rate should I get?” Choosing the right monitor can be as important as (or, in some situations, even more important than) anything else in your build.

After all, your monitor is how you experience your build. The best graphics card and CPU don’t mean much if the monitor you’re using can’t show you the benefits of those parts.

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4 Troubleshooting Tips for Overclocking Your PC

Alex

Often, PC enthusiasts will speak of overclocking the way car enthusiasts discuss high-performance engines, with megahertz and voltage taking the place of horsepower and torque. Overclocking is often a relatively simple way to squeeze out extra performance from computer components; however, problems sometimes do arise. Luckily, most problems faced with overclocking are easily fixed with some basic troubleshooting techniques.

For our purposes, we’ll look at issues affecting the components that are overclocked the most: the CPU and GPU.

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The Best 4K Monitors, and How to Choose a 4K Monitor

fore1gn

(Note: If you want to skip to our recommended 4K monitors below, scroll down to “Our favorite 4K monitors.”)

For desktop PC users, 1080p (1920×1080) monitors are ubiquitous today, but that was not always the case. A little more than ten years ago, they were just starting to hit the market. Monitors with an aspect ratio of 16:10 (for instance, 1920×1200) first started appearing back in 2004, with 16:9 (1080p) monitors coming a year or two after.

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Building a PC with the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1400

This week, AMD released its exciting new Ryzen 5 series of CPUs, which includes two 6-core models (the 1600X and 1600) and two 4-core models (the 1500X and 1400). These new CPUs are giving Intel’s offerings some serious competition in the mid-range CPU space.

Yesterday, we put together some builds for the 6-core 1600X and 1600, and today we’ll be doing the same for the 4-core 1500X and 1400.

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Building a PC with the Ryzen 5 1600X and 1600

The 6-core Ryzen 5 1600X and 1600 are an interesting pair for PC builders.

For both gaming and content creation, having a 6-core/12-thread CPU for the $220-250 price point is excellent. As such, we’re going to create two powerful example builds to give you an idea for what you can make yourself.

The 1600X and 1600 can be used interchangeably with the two builds, so feel free to swap as you see fit!

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