Saturday, August 25, 2007

For Better PC

1: Underrated Power SupplyYou are in the middle of an intense gaming session and the computer suddenly restarts. Now, how pissing off is that! You blame it on a bad copy of the game but then it happens with another game too. You then point a finger at your graphics card. So you swap it for a new replacement and it crashes once again! After blaming every single component in the computer you finally narrow it down to the power supply—one of the most important yet most neglected part of a computer system. Lets explain the above problem. While running general applications like the internet or Winamp or Microsoft Word there is hardly any load on the processor and the graphics card. But when gaming, the processor and the graphic card are working much harder and pull more power, which the power supply is unable to provide, causing the system to restart. In fact an underrated power supply can also lead to the failure of other components, with the graphic card being the victim most of the times.If you are running normal computing applications like Microsoft Word or watching a movie, then generic power supplies would suit just fine. But these generic power supplies bundled with budget cases (they cost around Rs. 1200-1400) are not capable of running power hungry graphic cards. If you have a mid-level graphic card like the Nvidia 6600GT or the 7600GT, you can start off with a 400 Watts Powersafe PSU costing around Rs. 1500. If you have a more powerful system you can opt for PSUs with higher Wattage from Antec and CoolerMaster. You may be confused as to what wattage would be right for your system considering the fact that 500 to 600 Watts power supplies from Antec and CoolerMaster cost nothing less than Rs. 5000. Head over here for the power supply calculator. The Calculator covers all computer equipments including provisions for water cooling set-ups and overclocking.You also have to remember that power supplies are not 100% efficient. i.e. a 400 watt rated PSU is not capable of giving out 400 watts of continuous power, rather it would be capable to give out 280 Watts, that’s 70% efficiency. With good brands efficiency can go up to as high as 90% but with generic supplies don’t count it more than 60%. Not to worry, the power supply calculator has the provision to choose the power supply efficiency2: Bad or IncompatibleRAMMost of the times when you see the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), its due to two reasons— bad or incompatible RAM. By bad RAM we mean that the RAM stick has gone bad and needs to be replaced. Incompatibility happens when, even after you have bought DDR RAM intended to run on motherboard that accepts DDR RAM, you get BSODs.Buy branded memory like Corsair or Kingston. The are much more reliable, are less susceptible to errors and come with a life-time warranty. For tackling incompatibility, go to the motherboard manufacturer’s site and look for the list of compatible RAM modules. If you intend on running memory sticks in dual channel, opt for the dual channel kits sold by the vendors instead of buying individual sticks. The kits will also turn out to be cheaper than buying individual sticks3: Overheating, Dust and MoistureThese are the biggest enemies of any computer component. Accumulation of dust and bad case ventilation leads to over heating and in turn spoils the components or greatly reduces its life. You can take care of overheating by good cable management. Unused power cables and fat IDE cables can come in the way of smooth flow of air. Again, its very simple and doesn't require to rack your brains. We will explain it to you diagrammatically.4: Corrupt Operating SystemWhen we use the Operating System (with respect to Windows XP) after its first installation, it's subjected to a lot of changes. One activity which we quite regularly perform and has a direct consequence to the well being of the operating system is 'Installing and Un-installing' programs. First thing first, never delete a program. If you don’t want it any longer on your system, un-install it. You can do it by going to, Start > Control Panel > Add remove programs. Many a times while un-installing you may get a prompt saying "Certain shared files may no longer be used, do u want to completely remove them?" Always say no!, these files may be used by other programs and removing them may render the program defunct. If the computer is being used by children, create a separate user login for them of the type 'Limited' . Such an account will have limited access and will safeguard the system to a certain extent. If the damage is done and your Windows is acting weird, you can use a very handy feature called 'System Restore'. This is how you reach there: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore. System restore is best described by Microsoft themselves and is as follows:"You can use System Restore to undo harmful changes to your computer and restore its settings and performance. System Restore returns your computer to an earlier time (called a restore point) without causing you to lord recent work such as saved documents, e-mail, or history and favorite lists. Any changes that System restore makes to computer are completely reversible."Yes! an important point. Even if you have saved a file today and you restore the computer to 5 days back, you will not lose the file you saved today. Continuing with the description from above ' …Your computer automatically creates restore points , but you can also create your own restore points. This is useful if your are about to make a major change to your system, such as installing a new program or changing your registry." This is a very useful tool and solves the problem most of the times. We suggest you use it as the first resort before trying anything elseNo.5: Virus and Spy-WareVirusOne of the most wide-spread problem computer users face today, is the threat of viruses. A virus is like any other program and can be written to perform any action, most of the times messing up your operating system. As with other programs viruses come with an executable file which launches or starts the program. As a rule of the thumb never accept 'exe' files from unknown sources. Your best bet here would be to run a good anti-virus program and update it regularly. Most of them have an auto-update feature where in it automatically downloads (or gives you a prompt) updates as soon as you connect to the internet. Remember your never 100% secure from a virus. You can choose from the best available options below:Best paid anti-virus software1) NOD322) F-Secure3) Full version of Kaspersky AVBest free anti-virus software1) AVG Antivirus 7 Free Edition2) Avast! ScannerSpy-WareThere are many websites on the internet which install spyware on your computer without your consent. It all happens in the background and you can't even see it happening. Spyware is a software which collects information about the user’s computer through the internet without the consent of the user. Spyware uses different methods to infiltrate your personal information stored on the computer. It includes recording your keystrokes known as 'key logging' . Every time you hit a key on the keyboard it's recorded, even backspace! It’s then used to get your personal information like bank login and passwords. Other methods include browsing through your browsers history and scanning your hard drive. Like anti-virus software’s there are anti-spyware software’s too. Avoid using a single solution for virus and spyware since not one company has top products in both categories. Rather use top individual products. With regards to anti-spyware products most of us swear by Ad-Aware but times have changed and there are new players which are better. Here’s the list:Best Paid anti-spyware software1) Spy Sweeper2) CounterSpyBest Free anti-spyware software1) Windows Defender2) Spyware Terminator

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