Ask any PC tech person how to make your computer faster, and almost every one of them will tell you to defrag your PC. But do you really need to manually trigger a defrag these days? The quick answer: You don’t need to manually defragment a modern operating system. The longer answer: let’s go through a couple scenarios and explain so you can understand why you probably don’t need to defrag. If You’re Using Windows with an SSD Drive If you’re using an SSD (Solid State Drive) in your computer, you should not be defragmenting the drive to avoid excessive wear and tear—in fact, Windows 7 or 8 is smart enough to disable defrag for SSD drives. Here’s what Microsoft’s engineering team has to say on the subject: Windows 7 will disable disk defragmentation on SSD system drives. Because SSDs perform extremely well on random read operations, defragmenting files isn’t helpful enough to warrant the added disk writing defragmentation … [Read more...] about Do I Really Need to Defrag My PC?
A solid-state drive, or “SSD”, is much faster than a traditional hard disk drive (or “HDD”). SSDs have been around for awhile, but a new breed of SSD, called PCIe SSDs, are slowly starting to rise. But how are they different than normal SSDs? SSDs use internal flash chips to house your files, while HDDs use a physical, spinning disk to keep everything contained. The benefits of SSDs over their older HDD counterparts are numerous, including a more compact size, lower power requirements, and much faster speeds across the board–which means your computer will boot and launch programs faster. But PCIe SSDs take it a step further, by using one of the highest bandwidth channels in your PC for blindingly fast speeds. The Numbers RELATED: How to Make Your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One Faster (By Adding an SSD) To start, it helps to know the difference between the channels that SSDs use to communicate with the rest of your PC. Almost all SSDs … [Read more...] about What Is a PCIe SSD, and Do You Need One in Your PC?
Building your own desktop isn’t as difficult as it looks—it’s often called “LEGO for adults.” And while that phrase might be a bit condescending (adults can enjoy LEGOs too, ya jerks), it’s not wrong. Even so, the sheer breadth of choices, options, and compatibility issues can be intimidating, especially for a first-time builder. Here’s a collection of online tools to help you make sure that process goes as smoothly as possible. PCPartPicker PCPartPicker is probably the quintessential “pick my parts” service. Start using the tool with a single part, like a processor or motherboard, and you can search its massive database of PC hardware for components that are compatible with the other parts in your build. It’s perfect for someone who’s afraid that their $300 graphics card won’t fit into their $100 enclosure. You can start from any point, too: if there’s a particular case or a weirdly specific Blu-ray drive … [Read more...] about The Best Online Tools to Help You Build Your Next PC
Computer processors have a massive design flaw, and everyone is scrambling to fix it. Only one of the two security holes can be patched, and the patches will make PCs (and Macs) with Intel chips slower. Update: An earlier version of this article stated that this flaw was specific to Intel chips, but that isn’t the whole story. There are in fact two major vulnerabilities here, now dubbed “Meltdown” and “Spectre”. Meltdown is largely specific to Intel processors, and affects all CPU models from the past few decades. We’ve added more information about these two bugs, and the difference between them, to the article below. What Are Meltdown and Spectre? Spectre is a “fundamental design flaw” that exists in every CPU on the market—including those from AMD and ARM as well as Intel. There is currently no software fix, and it will likely require a complete hardware redesign for CPUs across the board—though thankfully it is fairly … [Read more...] about How Will the Meltdown and Spectre Flaws Affect My PC?
Keyboards aren’t designed to play games…but most PC games are designed to be played on keyboards. It’s an interesting bit of evolutionary dissonance in the world of PC gaming, from back when people actually worked on computers and games were a secondary consideration. But there’s an alternative to this. Not controllers; that’s an import from the console world, and controllers are still a poor choice for games like shooters, strategy titles, online RPGs, and MOBAs. No, instead, I recommend a left-handed “gamepad.” (Yeah, they’re really poorly named.) These part-keyboard, part-controller things have been around for over a decade, quietly thrilling a small group of dedicated PC gamers, but never gaining the panache of the full dedicated keyboard and other gadgets. But accessory manufacturers have been refining them, in both software and hardware terms, and they’re worth a try for any dedicated PC gamer. These niche little gadgets have … [Read more...] about PC Gamers, Give Left-Handed “Gamepads” a Try