April 19th, 2013

Computers are incredibly useful, however they are also complex beyond belief. This is made even more so because of the large number of confusing acronyms, words and terms. If you read tech blogs, or have friends/colleagues who are in-the-know, you have likely heard them mention overclocking and may have wondered what it is, and if you should be looking into it.

Here's a brief overview of overclocking.

Definition: Overclocking When it comes to most tech based devices, the processor (or CPU) is the integral component that functions as the brain of the device; it runs the show. The job of the CPU is to take instructions and input from all the other devices and components and execute them. For example, double-click on a program on your desktop and the CPU computes what to do with the mouse click (open the program), and runs the related code, which is shown as the program opening.

One thing many computer sales people talk about is processor or CPU speed. This is the number of instructions it can run in one second. These instructions are grouped together into one cycle, and one cycle per second equates to a Hertz. You may see computers that have 2Ghz processors, this means 2 Gigahertz or 2,000,000,000 cycles in one second.

Now, when manufacturers release a new CPU they design it to run at a standard, or optimal speed, and will generally limit it. This is done to preserve the life of the components, however there are often ways to break this speed limiter. When you raise the maximum clock speed, beyond the intended clock speed, you are overclocking it.

Why overclock? The main reason users overclock a processor is to make their computer or device run faster. By overclocking, programs will often run or open faster and the general operation will seem smoother. In other words, you can get more out of existing technology without paying to upgrade.

Are there any drawbacks? While overclocking will give you more power and speed, there are some serious drawbacks that make this option risky. The biggest being heat. As you probably have noticed, when you use some devices (say a laptop on your lap) for an extended period of time, they get warm. That's because the components of computers create heat, lots of heat. When you overclock, the processor works harder, thereby generating more heat.

Computers are designed to operate at certain temperatures and if this level is surpassed, the components can wear out more quickly or in extreme cases melt. This means that overclocking will cause your computer's parts to wear out quicker and will decrease the life of the device.

Should we overclock our devices? Did you know that you can overclock nearly anything with a processor? The most common are computers and new smartphones, especially Android devices. When you hear people talking about overclocking their device, they are almost always talking about personal devices.

While it's true, you will get a speed boost in the short run, overclocking will increase your IT budget in the future, because you will have to replace parts more often than is usual. Because most businesses tend to use their technology longer than personal users, any action that causes tech to wear out more quickly is not a good idea.

That being said, you can also do the opposite of overclocking. Underclocking is telling a computer's processor to run slower than it's designed speed. This will increase component life but decrease processing power, and could be beneficial for companies that have new computers and don't need intensive computing resources.

Before you take any actions however, it is best to talk to us, as we may have a better solution for you and one that will cost less.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
March 23rd, 2013

Hardware_March20_BThe computer is one of the most important inventions of the past century. While it is a magnificent machine, most users treat their computers like a black box. We know how to use it, but little do we know about what is inside. It's these components that allow us to communicate, run businesses and yes, even surf Facebook. As such, it could be beneficial to know a little bit about the internal workings of the modern computer.

Here's a basic overview of the seven essential hardware components of the modern computer that businesses rely on. These components are found in nearly every computer, and now many tablets and smartphones too.

1. Motherboard Think of the motherboard as the backbone of nearly any technological device. It holds all the major components of the computer, including the hard drive, processor, memory and peripheral ports like the USB. Most motherboards in computers, and to some extent laptops, are called expandable. This means that you can replace components as long as they are compatible. For example, you can take out a hard drive and replace it with another that has more storage capacity.

If you can't take parts out, you may see the term mainboard used. This term is usually applied to devices like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, and so on.

2. Networking cards Networking cards, or network interfacing cards, may be separate cards or integrated into the motherboard. Their purpose is to provide a way for your computer to connect to the network and Internet.

Many new computers will have the network card integrated into the motherboard, along with other components. If you own a laptop, you can connect to Wi-Fi networks through a Wi-Fi card which is usually close to the outer edges of the device. Most desktops don't have this card, but you can purchase them if you want to be able to connect to Wi-Fi.

3. Graphics card A graphics or video card can come in two varieties - integrated or expansion. An integrated video card is connected directly to the motherboard and is usually found as a part of the processor. An expansion video card is a separate card that is connected to another part of the motherboard called an expansion port. The job of the video card is to create the graphics and images that can be shown on a monitor. Without one of these, we would not be able to visualize the data, and computers would be useless.

4. Processor The processor - also known as a Central Processing Unit or CPU - is the brain of the computer. Its job is to carry out the instructions of computer programs that are stored in the computer's memory.

The speed of a processor is measured in MHz or Megahertz. This measurement indicates how fast a processor can read electrical pulses. For example, a 100MHz processor can read 100,000,000 pulses of light in one second. As a reference, most mid to high-range computers have processors with speeds around 3.0GHz.

5. Hard drive The hard drive is where programs and files are stored. More traditional drives are called Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and are comprised of a series of magnetized disks which store the data. These disks spin under a magnetic arm which can read and write data.

Newer hard drives are called Solid-state Drives (SSD) and use electrical circuits to store data. These are much faster than traditional HDDs and are starting to be found in more and more computers.

6. USB ports The Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a standard that covers a certain type of cable, connectors and communication. It is a standard way for computer components like mice, keyboards, phones, etc. to be connected to the computer. Nearly everything that is not a physical part of the motherboard or internal computer is connected using a USB connection.

The cool thing about the USB is not only does it allow you to use your computer as a communication device, but it also allows the connected device to draw electrical power from the computer, essentially transforming your computer into an electrical outlet. That's why you can charge your phone, or run an external hard drive simply by plugging it into your computer's USB port. This standard has become so popular that many computers now come with multiple ports - some with as many as eight!

7. Monitor ports Computers are great, but without monitors, they would be largely useless for everyday use. Monitors come in many sizes and varieties. Newer monitors can connect to your computer through HDMI or VGA ports. HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface - is a newer format that can display high-definition images, while VGA - Video Graphics Array - is typically found in older monitors.

As technology advances, you will see fewer VGA monitors and connections in use, with many manufacturers offering monitors that only use HDMI.

This was just a basic overview of the essential components of a computer, if you would like to learn more about the machine you use on a daily basis, please contact us. We would be happy to sit down with you and give you a more detailed tour of the inside of your computer.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
February 21st, 2013

Hardware_Feb20_BPrinters are among the more important pieces of equipment businesses have. They are one of, if not the only, way to create hard copies of data stored on your computer. There are a nearly limitless number of printing jobs that can be done. As such, manufacturers have introduced a number of different types of printers, making it slightly confusing as to the difference between all the models available.

Here is a brief overview of the five main types of printers most often used in businesses.

Impact Impact printers work by physically striking an inked ribbon onto paper, one dot at a time, to make up the printed image or word. Most users refer to this printer as a dot matrix which is the name of the physical printing mechanism.

Impact printers are the simplest and oldest form of printer used by businesses. They are most often used for documents or forms that require multiple impressions, like paychecks and older style invoices. While you can still find companies using these printers, and can still buy them, most businesses are opting for more efficient, and quieter units.

Laser Laser printers use create a static charge on a drum which attracts and melts toner, which is then passed over a piece of paper to produce the printed image or text. They are fast, efficient, print high-quality text and are generally economical.

These printers are similar to large photocopy machines, (they use the same technology), and can often offer the same capabilities, just in a smaller package. They are best suited for offices that print large amounts of text, like business reports and simple graphics.

Inkjet Inkjets physically spray ink from a nozzle onto the page to make the graphic or text. These printers are generally slower than laser printers, but tend to produce higher quality printed images, and are usually cheaper to purchase.

If you have a business that needs to print high-quality graphic-heavy documents e.g. brochures, the inkjet is likely your best bet. On the downside, ink is absorbed by standard paper causing some smudging, so for the best quality you will have to use more expensive printer paper.

Multifunction An increasingly popular printer is the multifunction or all-in-one. Part copier, fax machine, scanner and printer, these machines bring a number of important office tools together into one package. These printers often come in both laser and inkjet versions and many can even connect to Wi-Fi.

If you are looking to replace existing components, like the scanner and copier, these types of printers are an ideal solution. If you are looking for a new printer then they are perfect, as you won't have to buy other peripherals.

Thermal Thermal printers use heat and specially treated paper to print. You see them most often in receipt and cash machines. If you own a restaurant, store, etc. one of these printers can be a valuable investment.

There are a wide variety of printers out there, and we can guarantee that there will be one that meets your needs. If you are looking for a new system, or to replace existing components, why not call us today. We may have a printing solution that fits your needs.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
January 24th, 2013

One of the quintessential tools of the mobile warrior (the new-age road warrior) is the laptop. They are great for the mobile crowd and many businesses are even starting to use them in the office because they take up less space. Despite their comparatively high portability, they do have a bit of a rough side. Most laptops get hotter more quickly than a desktop, which can make them hard to use for extended periods. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can minimize the heat your laptop kicks out.

Here's five tips on how to reduce the heat your laptop generates

Keep it out of the heat and sun - Laptops are designed to operate within a set heat range (usually between 30 and 55 Celsius or 86 to 131 Fahrenheit). If the ambient temperature is high, the laptop's operating temperature will be higher, which will greatly increase component wear and the chances of your device overheating. It's best to keep your laptop in a cooler room and out of the sun. If that's not possible, turn off your computer when it's not in use.

Put your laptop on your desk, not the couch - Those pieces of rubber on the corners of the underside of your laptop are like tiny feet, they are meant to provide enough space for air to circulate under the device and cool it. You'll notice that if you keep your laptop on a fabric surface like a couch or table with a tablecloth, the bottom gets really hot. To avoid this, it's best to keep your laptop on a solid, flat surface.

Don't use your laptop on your lap - Despite the name, laptops don't the best thing to use on your lap. There have been incidents in the past of laptops overheating and burning users. This happens because air can't circulate under the laptop and pull heat away. So best to keep your laptop on a flat surface rather than on your lap.

Invest in a cooling pad or lapdesk - If you find that the bottom of your laptop gets hot even on a desk, you could look for a cooling pad. Your laptop sits on this device, which plugs into your USB port, while fans cool down your machine by circulating air. If you feel comfortable with your laptop on your lap then look for a lapdesk which has a flat surface for it to sit on.

Clear dust out of the machine - Dust is one of your laptop's worst enemies. It often collects in nooks and crannies and over time can cause components to stop working. One place you'll often find a lot of dust is on the cooling fan's blades. If it builds up, your fans will not be able to spin and cool your laptop. To tell if your fans are affected by dust: Put your hand near the fan vents and run a power intensive program, or watch an HD movie. If you can feel a steady stream of hot air coming out, you are ok. If you don't feel anything, it might be time to clean your fan.

With many laptops, you won't be able to access the fan without opening the case. It's important to remember that many manufacturers have a clause that if you open the case, the warranty is voided. If your machine is still under warranty, take it into a vendor to be cleaned. Also, if you're unsure about what you're doing when you open the case, it's best to let professionals clean your computer instead.

It's good to remember that laptops will always be warm to hot when you use them, and more power intensive programs will cause them to heat up even more. If you don't take steps to manage the heat though you could see the life of components and your battery decreasing, and an increase in random shutdowns. If your laptop shuts down, or starts to beep, this is a good indication the components are overheating. You should give your computer at least half an hour to cool down before starting up again.

In general, not taking care of your laptop will mean you will have to replace it earlier, which is an added expense many businesses can't afford in this current economic climate. If you find that your laptop isn't running the way it used to, and seems increasingly hot, don't go out and buy a new one. Instead, give us a call, as we may have a cool solution for you.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
December 27th, 2012

Business owners are usually most successful when they are moving forward. As such, it's always a good idea to look into the future and see what coming trends your business should be aware of. When it comes to tech you might want to take a look at what hardware trends we expect for the coming year.

Here's our prediction of the top three hardware trends small to medium businesses can expect in the coming year.

Phones and tablets that fly The processing power and capabilities of both smartphones and tablets are advancing at a rapid pace. From the looks of it there should be an octo-core mobile processor (8 cores) introduced along with increasingly powerful quad-core processors. If an 8 core phone surfaces in 2013 it will give many modern computers a run for their money.

Four-core processors will also increase in power. For example: Samsung is rumored to be working with a new processor that could very well see speeds of up to 2Ghz (on par with entry to mid level computers). Sound like overkill for a phone? Perhaps, but put that processor in a tablet and you could see a mobile device that can handle almost anything.

Regardless of if these rumored processors make it into devices or not, small business owners should expect to see a wealth of phones and tablets that are not only affordable, but are powerful enough to either implement as an extension of the modern desktop, or even replace it.

Increasing demands for BYOD People have gone gadget happy. Take a look around the office. How many employees have a smartphone or tablet? Chances are high it's nearly 100%. With the sheer number of devices available at affordable rates you can bet that tech gadgets were a top gift unwrapped on Christmas morning. Come New Year, employees will be itching to bring their brand new devices into the office.

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device - is a growing demand and trend of employees. Who doesn't want to work on the system they are comfortable with? You can expect an increase in the number of requests for employees to bring in their own device. We're not here to discuss the pros and cons, but it may be time to look into developing a BYOD policy and ensuring your systems are secure enough to support this.

NFC NFC - Near Field Communication - isn't a new idea, but it is just now starting to make its way onto phones. Google and Android device manufacturers are leading the way on the mobile front and companies like Square are pushing the mobile wallet.

The goal of NFC technology is to allow your phone to be a wallet, and handle transactions wirelessly without the need for credit/debit cards or cash. Google is pushing NFC, and it's rumored that Apple will integrate it into new versions of their iPhone. If they do this you can bet that there will be a legion of smartphone users suddenly demanding to pay for things on their phone. This could become a major trend of 2013 that all small to medium businesses could capitalize off of.

These are just three trends that we could well see in 2013. Time will tell how these three ideas pan out. What do you think will be the the top tech trends for 2013? Let us know.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
November 29th, 2012

The hard disk drive (HDD) has been an essential part of computers more or less since their inception. While they have gotten smaller and increased in capacity, they are quickly reaching a point where they won't be able to go any faster, hold any more or last any longer. There is a replacement already making a splash with some great advantages, the solid-state drive (SSD).

You've likely heard of SSDs - drives that have no moving parts - and you may have even looked at the price of them. Yes, they are more expensive when compared with the aging HDD platform, SSDs however have a number of benefits over their cheaper cousins.

Here's five benefits of using SSDs in your company:

  • They're speedy - Put an SSD into a computer or laptop and you'll notice it screams. On some laptops, like the Google Chromebook, startup time can be as quick as eight seconds. This gets you into your desktop and to your work faster. While it's only seconds at each startup, it can add up to extra hours across the whole company. Access speed is also important, as traditional HDDs can access data at a rate of about 140 MB/s, while SSDs can access data at over 600 MB/s. This means your computer runs faster.
  • They're tough - There are no moving parts to most SSDs, so they are less likely to break. That's why they have been used by militaries, the aeronautical industry and the medical industry for years. Another advantage of not having moving parts is that the SSD will function in a greater temperature range, which is good news for businesses operating extreme climates, or even in the confines of hot server rooms.
  • They can help increase battery life - The power draw of the SSD is considerably lower than HDDs, which means battery life is extended. Some laptops with SSD-only drives can last 8-10 hours, compare this to six hours, (if you're lucky), on laptops with HDD. When installed in computers, there is a cost savings in energy bills too and while this might not amount to huge savings these can add up over time.
  • They last longer - HDD's moving parts mean that they eventually wear out, or crash. If this happens, the information stored on the drive will likely be inaccessible. SSDs are predicted to last far longer, which means your data is safer on these drives in the long-run.
  • They can be safer - Some SSDs utilize a memory system similar to flash drives. With an OS that can be configured to this type of memory, users can install these onto the drive, lock it and then use the cloud for media storage. Because the SSD can be locked, each time the OS is booted, it's booted into the original installed state, so malware that attacks the OS is rendered useless as all you have to do is revert the OS to it's original installed state i.e., restart your computer.
While SSDs have been around for nearly three decades, they are just now starting to make inroads with personal computers, and even business solutions for that matter. The biggest reason for the slow adoption is the price. On average, SSDs cost USD$0.65 for 1 GB while HDDs cost USD$0.05 to USD$0.10 per GB. This may seem like a big cost difference but the price in SSDs is dropping rapidly, while the price for HDDs is largely staying the same. If you're interested in learning more about SSDs and how they can fit into your company's IT, please contact us.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
November 7th, 2012

Computers are wonderful machines, they have made our lives infinitely easier and it seems that nearly everything has a computer of some varying degree running it. Most company bosses expect their business computers to run at a speed that meets their needs. Over time, however, the speed at which they operate will decrease, meaning computers run slower. Why does this happen?

Here’s five reasons why your computer may run slow:

It’s all in the mind Well, mostly all in the mind. Technology, especially laptops and mobile devices, is advancing at such a fast pace that new devices constantly push speed boundaries. Use a laptop from last year and it just feels slow, when in truth the difference between last year;s and this year’s model is normally not noticeable performance wise.

Another reason is because of the other devices we use. Think of any new flagship mobile device, it's really fast; most of us have and use these devices on a daily basis. While they may not look it on paper, many mobile apps are simply faster than their desktop counterparts.

Think of accessing email on your computer.You have to find the program, click on it, wait for it to load and then wait for the program to fetch new emails. Compare this to your mobile device where you tap the Email icon, and have nearly instant access. While both programs offer the same service, they do work differently with the mobile apps, constantly looking for emails while computer counterparts usually look for emails only when the program is open. This usually means the mobile app is perceived to be quicker.

It’s partly because of experiences like this, that everything is available instantly on the mobile device and less so on computers, that some users perceive their system is running slowly due to being used to using a mobile device.

It's what you've downloaded Another reason why your computer might be running slowly is because of the programs you’ve downloaded. If you torrent, visit explicit websites or simply click on and agree to everything, your computer will run slowly because many of those seemingly helpful programs are actually malware or viruses that when installed will slow your computer down, or worse steal confidential information and files.

The same goes for explicit websites and torrents. Many of the ads and pop-ups contain viruses that can install themselves, or be installed without you knowing. For torrents, files may contain viruses disguised as movies or other popular file types. If you torrent, or visit explicit websites you should have malware and virus scanners operational and up-to-date. That new movie just out in theaters and already a torrent? It’s likely a virus, steer clear of them. It's probably better if you don’t download illegal torrents at all.

It’s how you run it There’s a common belief out there that computers are meant to be left on and that turning a computer off will somehow harm the internal components. This is a myth, there are only three times a computer should be constantly on:

  1. It’s acting as a server;
  2. It's connected to a network where administrators install updates overnight, and;
  3. You’re working with programs that take a long time to run like CAD or other 3D/video rendering.
If you computer doesn't fall into these criteria, then it’s perfectly safe to turn it off. What does this have to do with a slow computer? Computers left constantly running have proven to have increased degradation of both kinds of memory, especially RAM; and the processor. Both RAM and the processor are integral components related to running programs. A degraded stick of RAM or a stressed processor will slow computers down. Turning a computer off when not in use will extend the life of the components while also reducing electrical draw, meaning cheaper electric bills.

It’s the Wi-Fi Most offices, stores and homes now have Wi-Fi. The only issue is, current Wi-Fi routers are limited in the connection speeds they can offer. Have a 300Mb connection, and a 85 Mbps Wi-Fi router? The Wi-Fi connection speed will be a maximum of 85 Mbps, which will decrease depending on how far you are from the router and how many users or devices there are connected.

If you’ve had the router for more than a couple of years, and noticed that your computer is really slow when surfing the Internet or running Internet related programs like Office 365 or online games, it may be time to upgrade to a faster router. If your business connection is slow, then it’s best to contact a vendor to help upgrade all your systems. This could also indicate a virus or other form of malware infecting your system. Running a Virus and malware scan could help as well.

It’s old Finally, your computer may be running slow because it’s old. A PC or Mac from 5-7 years ago has close to the same processing power of the modern smartphone. Combine this with constant use - especially for laptops - a full hard drive, and any of the above reasons, and your computer will be slow compared to when it was brand new. You can try wiping the hard drive and starting again, but computers older than about seven years will likely not be able to run the most modern programs efficiently.

For example: Still on a computer running Windows XP and want to upgrade your current copy of Microsoft Office to 2013 when it’s released? Not going to work. Using a Macbook from 5 years ago, and want to upgrade to OS X 10.8 to take advantage of the supposed speed gains? Most MacBooks won’t be able to run it efficiently enough to notice a gain in speed, resulting in a slower operating experience.

There are many reasons as to why your computer is running slowly. If you’re unsure, you can always contact us, we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
September 27th, 2012

As children, many kids had the wonderful chore of washing mom and dad’s car in the summer. If your parents had a white car, you know that it was near impossible for it to look clean. White is a bad color for dirt, something many computer manufacturers don’t seem clued up on. The plus side to this is that it’s often obvious when it’s time to clean your computer, if you don’t do so on a regular basis already.

Here’s the main external parts of your computer you should clean on a regular basis and how to go about doing so. We recommend that you exercise caution when opening the case to your computer and not to just go in and clean willy-nilly. Some internal components are incredibly fragile and you could render your computer useless.

Keyboard Most people naturally rest one hand on the keyboard, this near constant contact means oil and dirt from your fingers will be transferred to the keys, causing a buildup of grime overtime. You may also find other nasties like crumbs get under the keys and can potentially hinder the operation of the keys.

The best way to clean a keyboard is by using compressed air, which can be found at any store that sells computers or computer parts. When cleaning, hold your keyboard upside down and blow the air into the spaces inbetween the keys. Sir Isaac Newton’s good friend gravity will take care of the rest.

If you have grime on the keys, you can use a number of methods to remove it. The most popular is to use distilled, denatured isopropyl alcohol - commonly called electronics cleaner - and a lint-free cloth. Dip the cloth in the alcohol and gently rub it over the keys, you’ll be amazed at how much gunk will come off. For spaces in between the keys, use a cotton swab/Q-tip.

Before you attempt to clean the keyboard, be sure to unplug it from your computer. If you use a laptop, turn it off and disconnect the power cord. Whatever you do, don’t spray or splash liquid on the keyboard this will likely cause it to stop working. You should take care not to use bleach, acetone, ethyl alcohol, acid or pure water. While these liquids will clean the keyboard, some tend to eat through plastic, or just straight up ruin anything electrical; best to avoid them.

Mouse Once your keyboard is spic-and-span, it’s time to look at your mouse. As with the keyboard, unplug it before you clean it. For mice with trackballs, flip them over and undo the cover that keeps the ball in place - usually achieved by turning the cover clockwise - take the ball out and gently scrape any lint or gunk off the rollers on the side of the area where the ball is housed.

For optical mice, using a Q-tip/cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to gently wipe down the mouse will work wonders.

Monitor Monitors, regardless of style, are dust and fingerprint magnets. To clean your monitor: turn it off unplug it, and run a lint-free cloth over the glass in a circular motion. If it’s really dirty, glass cleaner can be used. However, be warned that industrial glass cleaner will remove the anti-glare coating on the monitor, so look for a glass cleaner that’s safe to use on monitors instead - it should say so on the bottle.

Connector cables Cables are often the most neglected part of a computer, normally because they are black and it’s near impossible to see the dirt. Any Mac user who has had a laptop for a number of years can attest that the once white charging cord isn’t as white as it was when brand new. To clean any cable, first disconnect it from the power source. Use a cloth or Q-tip/cotton swab dampened in your, by now, good cleaning friend, denatured isopropyl alcohol, to clean the cable.

If the connector ports of the cable are dirty, don’t go dipping them in any liquid, this will likely ruin them. Instead, look for isopropyl rubbing pads, which have been dipped in a 99% isopropyl alcohol solution. If the isopropyl alcohol you have used for cleaning the other components is 99%, you can also use a cotton swab dipped in this solution. Just be careful not to apply any force and ensure the connector dries quickly.

Inside the case If you have a desktop, with a tower, chances are there’s a fair amount of dust inside the computer. This dust can slow components down, decrease the computers cooling ability and has, if left unabated, been known to be the cause of electrical fires.

Companies that have rented their computers from a vendor, or have machines still on warranty should not open the case, as they will void the warranty. If you feel the internal components need to be cleaned, contact your vendor and ask if they can come and clean your systems.

If you’re more of a do-it-yourself person, you can open the case to clean inside. Be sure to unplug ALL cords and when you lift the case off keep your hand on the metal frame. Be careful to touch NO COMPONENTS as a static shock could ruin them. Touching the metal part of the case should ground you. After that, you can use compressed air to blow the dust out of the case. You may want to do this away from the area where your computer is, as there can be a lot of dust.

After you have your computer case back on, plug in everything and start your showroom clean computer up. You may even notice it runs faster, or at the very least looks good. If you feel it’s time for a computer clean-up and have any questions then please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
July 26th, 2012

The hard drive is one of the components IT professionals look at when they’re buying a new computer, often worrying about things like read speed and storage space. Until a couple of years ago, there was only one type of internal hard drive available to computers, Hard Disk Drives (HDD). Now, manufacturers are starting to use a second kind, Solid-state Drives (SSD) and many customers are wondering which is better.

Here is a brief comparison of Hard Disk Drives and Solid-state Drives.

HDD Hard Disk Drives are the most common type of storage drive in modern computers, and have been since they were first introduced in the 1960’s. HDDs are comprised of a series of disks that are coated in a magnetic material. Sitting just above these disks are a series of magnetic devices that can both read and write content on the disks using magnetism generated by electrical impulses.

HDDs are relatively cheap to purchase, with an average price of $0.07 USD per Gigabyte of storage space, and can rewrite data a near infinite amount of times. There are two major weaknesses of HDDs, the first being that they are made of moving parts, and any bump or shock can ruin the drive. The second weakness is their read and write speed, which hasn’t really increased in the past few years, compared to processors or other components.

SSD Solid-state Drives are a newer form of hard drive, around in one form or another since the 1970’s but not gaining popularity until the mid 1990’s. As the name implies, SSDs have no moving parts, data is stored in integrated circuits and can be accessed quickly. Chances are high that you use USB storage drives in your company. USB storage drives are a close cousin to SSDs, using the same form of storage - integrated circuits.

The biggest advantage to SSDs is that they’re extremely fast when compared with HDDs, feature moving parts, use less power to operate and are more resistant to shocks and damage. There are two major disadvantages to SSDs, the first being cost, on average, $1.50 USD a Gigabyte, an expensive investment for many SMEs. The second disadvantage is you can only write the data a limited number of times before the device becomes unusable, most SSDs last around 5 years.

While SSDs may seem expensive upfront, they do help computers run faster, which means you can buy a processor with a lower speed and have an SSD compensate. While they may only last 5 years, most computers don’t last that long, so normal users should be ok.

SSD or HDD There’s a hot debate going on on the Internet, should users go with SSDs or HDDs? The best suggestion is to go with both. Use SSDs to store essential programs like the OS, and HDDs to store data. That way you can experience fast booting and loading of essential programs, while not having to invest in a high capacity SSD.

While SSDs will most likely replace HDDs in the future as their cost per gigabyte is rapidly dropping, making them even more popular. At this time however, both drives will remain in production and you will probably see more and more computer manufacturers using both drives. What type of hard drive do you use? Do you think SSDs will help your business? Comment below, or contact us for more information.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
June 28th, 2012

A few months ago Intel released the Ivy Bridge processor. Subsequently, computer manufacturers have been releasing computers with the processor and have been extolling the benefits of upgrading, along with some new features like Turbo Boost. These terms can be confusing and could trick you into unnecessary upgrades.

Here’s an overview of what exactly Ivy Bridge processors are, what Turbo Boost is, and what this means for your business.

What is Ivy Bridge? Ivy Bridge is a code name used by Intel to describe the 2012 version of its Core processors - Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. With the release of Ivy Bridge, the actual Core processors have not changed names, just internal components that make them more efficient and faster. If you’re unsure whether a computer has an Ivy Bridge processor in it, the first number after the core type will start with a three i.e., Core i3-3XXX. What is this Turbo Boost that’s advertised? One of the new features introduced is something called Turbo Boost. If you’ve looked at the new laptops released by Apple a few weeks ago, you have undoubtedly heard of it. Turbo Boost is kind of similar to a turbo boost in a car; the processor runs at a certain speed, and when more power is needed, the processor goes into overdrive and delivers it. In tech speak, this is called, “overclocking”.

Overclocking isn’t a new concept, users have been able to do it for years, although, in older processors it was a complex task only experts would dare attempt. Intel’s new processors now do this automatically. There is an advantage to this: traditional overclocking causes processors to use more power and generate a lot more heat, Turbo Boost gives the benefits of overclocking when you need it, while saving energy when you don’t.

Should my business upgrade to Ivy Bridge? While the new processors do offer some, on paper at least, tempting benefits, it really depends on what you and your employees use your computers for. If you do work that requires a lot of processor power, like 3D rendering or running multiple virtual environments, then yes, you should consider upgrading. If your systems meet your needs now and for the foreseeable future, you won’t really gain anything from upgrading.

Upgrading your systems can be a time consuming and a large investment, it’s important to get the systems that match your needs. If you’re thinking about upgrading, or would like to learn more about Ivy Bridge, please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware