Give PC a Monitor Makeover

Monitors are one segment where you are truly spoilt for choice.

Be it a 15-inch, 17-inch or 19-inch CRT monitor* or a sleeker range of LCD screens*, there is a wide range to fit your budget. Hardware Software Articles: http://www.hardwaresoftwarearticles.com/archive/index.php/

Size and resolution

There are two aspects you must consider when selecting a monitor: physical size and resolution.

Screen size is the diagonal screen measurement, usually in inches. For instance, a computer monitor display might be 14 inches wide and 11 inches tall. This same screen has a diagonal measurement of 19 inches, which is the screen size.

Monitors also have an aspect ratio.

This is the ratio between the horizontal dimension and the vertical dimension (horizontal dimension divided by vertical dimension). Common monitor aspect ratios are 4:3 (1.3333) and 5:4 (1.25). Basics: http://www.hardwaresoftwarearticles.com/archive/index.php/f-2.html

A 4:3 aspect ratio means the picture is 4 units wide for every three units of height.

Wide screen monitors are easier on the eye (and much more expensive).

The higher the resolution, the greater the ability to render more detail. If you work with graphics or enjoy graphic-intensive games, you will need a monitor with higher resolution.

With most currently available models being flat screened, the difference is in the size and picture quality. A resolution of 1024 x 768 is a good one for most users.

CRT monitors

If you’ve decided to get a new CRT, make sure it has a sufficiently high refresh rate. This refers to how often the screen is redrawn per second. With low refresh rates you can get screen flicker and eyestrain. Virus: http://www.hardwaresoftwarearticles.com/archive/index.php/f-14.html

Aim for a rate of 75 Hz for a monitor up to 17 inches in size and 85 Hz for any larger monitor.

Another consideration for CRTs is dot pitch. The smaller the dot pitch, the sharper the image. Opt for a dot pitch of 0.26 mm or smaller.

CRTs function very well at multiple resolutions, can display detailed graphics and can be viewed comfortably from wider angles.

LCD screens

One of the primary disadvantages of LCDs when compared to CRTs is their limited viewing angle. When viewing a LCD straight on, it looks great. But the screen will appear washed-out if you move your head over to the side and look at it from a wider angle.

Also, LCDs are optimised to perform at a single resolution. Low-end LCDs have viewing angles of only 100 degrees, which won’t give everyone crowded round your desk a clear view.

For a standard 15-inch LCD, try to get a 140 degree viewing angle. Increase that by 20-40 degrees when shopping for an 18-inch LCD.

The brightness of LCD monitors is an important factor. LCD monitors have several backlights that provide illumination. The backlights in a LCD are good for 10,000 to 50,000 hours of operation. Ensure that the backlights come with at least a one-year warranty. Messenger: http://www.hardwaresoftwarearticles.com/archive/index.php/f-7.html

Making a choice

LCD screens generally cause lesser strain to eyes than CRT monitors.

CRTs have better graphics, but they tend to occupy five times as much space.

If you are a gaming freak, then a CRT is a better option as it is best for any graphic interface.

About Computer Memory Options

You can upgrade your computer memory by purchasing additional memory and then having it installed into your computer tower. You will need to know who manufactured your computer, the precise product line and the model so that you get the correct memory for your computer. There are system scanners available online that can advise you about what kind of model computer you have, who manufactured it and the product line so that you can order the correct memory from a dealer online. Moreover, such scanners can advise of the memory configuration of your computer so that you can easily purchase the correct amount of memory you need.

Once you have determined the type of memory you require you can order a small chip-like device that, once installed, will add more memory to your computer. For example, if you currently have 256 Megabytes of RAM (Random Access Memory) and you want your home computer to run more efficiently, you may want to purchase an additional 256 Megabytes of RAM, which will bring your computer up to 512 Megabytes of RAM. With that amount your computer will work a lot faster, you will be able to manipulate graphics quicker and all of your software applications will work with increased speed.

With an online computer scanner, you can receive recommendations pertaining to the best upgrade for your computer. You may not require the amount of memory you think you need and a scanner can advise you about what is on your system now, and what can be on your system in the future. Further, if you purchase your memory online, you will get a guide that advises you about the proper installation of your new memory.

So, if you can’t immediately afford the computer with the amount of memory you may want in the future, there is no need to worry. You can purchase additional memory when you have the funds to do so and install it when you receive your new memory in the mail. Or, if you prefer, you can bring your computer to a knowledgeable professional and have them install the newly ordered memory for you. Computer technicians are skilled at performing computer upgrades, and if your computer doesn’t have any existing problems and you have purchased the right type of memory, you should have your computer out of the shop in no time whatsoever.

Multi Monitor Solutions

Technology for the Everyman

With plummeting monitor and multi-port video card prices, the possibility of having multiple monitors for your computer is no longer a rich man’s fantasy. There are any number of affordable solutions and possibilities for those looking to reap the benefits afforded by increased desktop space.

Two Ports are Better Than One

Your first option is to purchase a multi-port video card that supports multiple monitors. Most new mid-to high end cards will have at least two out ports and will support two or three monitors, while some specialty cards will support up to four. Video cards come in a couple of flavors (DVI and VGA), so you can either scratch the high-def itch or use your old VGA monitor. Some may even have both types on the same card.

Two Cards, Better Than One?

Another possibility is to run two separate video cards off of your motherboard. There are some limitations to this option. First, both cards must have chips from the same manufacturer. That means that you can only pair up two ATi or two NVidia cards. Also, the two cards have to use a different type of slot (AGP and PCI, for example). The only exceptions to this are cards that feature special technology allowing dual video cards to be paired up, like NVidia’s SLI technology, for example.

Add an Extra Port to Your Laptop

Laptop users have a different set of solutions. Most newer laptops come with some sort of video out option, so you can pair up your laptop screen with an external monitor to get an instant dual-monitor setup. If you’re looking for more, however, the VTBook DVI PCMCIA card is a great option. This expensive, yet impressive solution creates an additional DVI-D port using your laptop’s PCMCIA cardslot. This port can be split using special dual head cables, allowing you to gain up to 3 additional monitor outputs.

Split the Signal with the Matrox DualHead2Go

For those looking to go with something a little bit more economical, there’s the Matrox DualHead2Go, a unique product that splits your signal externally, enabling multiple monitors with a completely external, hardware-based approach. This solution has been geared heavily towards business travelers who are looking for a way to experience the benefits of a multi-monitor desktop while on the road. One of the best features about this Matrox adapter is that it requires no hardware installation on the laptop itself, and the split video signal experiences absolutely no degradation or signal loss. Matrox has also included an online compatibility guide, so you can make sure it’ll work with your setup before you buy.

Drop On Demand Printers

HP DeskJets and BubbleJets are popular examples of printers that use this technology.

Epson printers work on the same principal with the exception of a minor twist – they use a transducer to produce the droplets in what is referred to as piezoelectric DOD.

So what about the ink – does it matter what kind you buy as a replacement?

The answer is yes, it does matter.

The ingredients that go into ink play a huge role in the quality of your printouts. All ink manufactures work to strike the delicate balance between print quality, time it takes to dry, and nozzle performance. As you might have guessed, as the print quality improves, the dry time increases.

Manufacturers have to be careful that the ink does not dry too quickly – there is the danger that it will actually dry on the nozzle. This can ruin your print head, definitely clogging up your nozzle, and reducing the print quality.

When you buy remanufactured ink cartridges be sure to pay close attention to the kind of ink that was used to refill the cartridge. There are cheap substitutes on the market which have a shorter life span and print poorly.

Proper Scanning Resolution

Before scanning it is important to know these five vital information: size of the original image, size of the printed image, LPI at which your image will be printed, resolution multiplier and the process of editing the scanned image. The hint is – the higher the resolution, the larger the file size.

To calculate the final image resolution, these are the solutions:

  1. If the size of the image is absolute, multiply LPI by your resolution multiplier. Ex. LPI x 2 for brochures.
  2. if the size of the image is not absolute, multiply LPI by your resolution multiplier and then the size of the final image as a percentage to the original. Ex. LPI x 2 x %.

In cases of commercial printing, ask your print shop if you do not know the required LPI as well as other specifications.

Scanning at a slightly higher resolution is most of the time advantageous. By that, it is easier to dump unneeded resolution after scanning. Moreover, reduce your image to the final resolution before placing it in your document for printing.

In most of the print works, 300 dpi is the standard print resolution. The standard resolution for web is 72 dpi. This works best in computer screens. If you you’re scanning in an image and only going to use it for web you could maintain it at 72 dpi. Film print’s standard resolution on the other hand is 720 dpi. That way you can make enlargements. The general rule with resolution is that never go up but you can always go down. If you have a 720 dpi image, you can at any rate bring it down to 300 dpi and still look sound.

If you are using photographs for your web, scan them at 72 or 100 dpi.72 dpi is screen resolution and the preferred format for saving the image is jpeg though you can also use .psd. Remember that when you Save As, you are creating a copy of your current document and you are decreasing its file size. You can also save your file within Photoshop. This will allow you to preview your work to adjust the quality of the same. If the image is really huge, simply go to Image > Image Size and bring down the resolution to 300 for print or 72 for web or change the image dimensions if it is indispensable.

Logitech Computer Speakers

Logitech X620 6.1 Computer Speakers

Manufacturers Description: More speakers means more sound, more detail, and more intensity. That’s what the Logitech X-620 6.1-channel speaker system is all about. Thanks to its 6 satellites, including a dedicated rear center speaker, you can hook it up to your PC or video game console and enjoy your games, music, and movies with sound that truly surrounds you.

Are you looking for powerful bass? Crisp highs and mid-range? The X-620 delivers. Its patented, powerful pressure-driver subwoofer provides twice the bass of conventional designs for smooth, powerful lows, and the satellite speakers provide rich midrange and crisp high-end tones. Even if you don’t have a 6.1 sound card, you can still enjoy the benefits of all seven speakers by using the source selector switch.

Got a Sony PlayStation2, Microsoft Xbox, or Nintendo GameCube? Just plug in the X-620 using the convenient video game console adapter and immerse yourself in the explosions, music, and dialogue of your favorite games.

Comes with 6 satellite speakers and a powered 8-inch subwoofer; 70 watts total system power (140 watts peak).

Price: $85

Value Rating: 9.0 / 10 – Another hit from Logitech. This one is much like more expensive home theater systems. Truely one of the best speaker systems in the growing 6.1 class. An important note: prepare to buy a pricey
Sound Blaster 6.1 Audigy sound card in order to take full advantage of this speaker system.

Logitech Z-5300e 5.1 2-Piece Surround Sound PC and Gaming Speaker System

Manufacturers Description: Demanding gamers require high power, THX performance, and true surround sound. The Logitech Z-5300e delivers on all counts, with a sleek appearance featuring silver speaker accents and removable black cloth grilles. The system includes a patented dual chamber subwoofer that pounds out twice the bass of conventional designs to deliver deep, loud, and powerful bass. The Z-5300e also features polished aluminum phase-plug satellite drivers that project superb high-end and rich mid-range tones for balanced sound, along with a full-featured SoundTouch wired remote that provides convenient controls for quick adjustments. The satellite speakers’ rotating pedestals allow for easy installation on the wall or desktop.

Features:

  • 280 watts system power (35.25 watts x 4, plus 39-watt center and 100-watt subwoofer)
  • PlayStation2, Xbox, and GameCube owners can plug in the Z-5300e using a console adapter
  • Silver speaker accents and removable black cloth grilles
  • Conveniently control volume and power with the wired remote, which also features a headphone jack
  • Enjoy twice the bass of conventional designs with patented subwoofer design
  • Satellites fit on a shelf or mounted on the wall
  • Use Matrix mode and source selector switch to create breathtaking 5.1 surround sound from stereo, 4-channel, or 5.1 sound sources

Price: $150

Value Rating: 8.0 / 10 – This system is almost too much for your average computer user – but it’s great for gamers who demand perfection in their sound system. Even though it will work with game consoles, remember that it is a computer speaker system, and works best with a pc.

Read CRT Tube Part Numbers

Part 1: Application

Computer monitor tubes start with the letter “M” while for a TV picture tube, it start with “A”.

Part 2: Screen diagonal measure in centimeters (cm)

The “34” means the diagonal viewing measure is a minimum of 34cm which refers to 14″ tube, 36cm is 15″, 41cm is 17″ and so on.

Part 3: Family code

The three letters “AFA” designate a family of tubes that have similar physical and electrical characteristic. These letters are assigned alphabetically beginning with “AAA”, followed by “AAB”, “AAC” etc.

Part 4: Family number

The number 63 shows a specific tube within the family code. A different number is assigned to tubes within the same family that have different neck diameters, for example a single digit would be a monochrome tube, but this two-digit number shows it is colour.

Part 5: Phosphor Type

The fifth symbol gives the phosphor designation. The letter X here corresponds to P22 for colour picture tubes. Colour monitor tubes can have any other single letter (excluding I, O, or W) to designate other phosphor type for various applications. For monochrome pictures, the phosphor symbol is WW, corresponding to P4. Monochrome monitor tubes also can use WW or some other two-letter combination (excluding I and O).

Part 6: Integral neck components

The sixth symbol is assigned only for tubes having integral neck components, such as the deflection yoke. The specs are only apply to a particular tube manufacturer. The primary consideration here is winding inductance. The yoke coils have different sensitivity i.e. deflection per Amp in both horizontal and vertical.

CPU Cache Work

Without the cache memory every time the CPU requested data it would send a request to the main memory which would then be sent back across the memory bus to the CPU. This is a slow process in computing terms. The idea of the cache is that this extremely fast memory would store and data that is frequently accessed and also if possible the data that is around it. This is to achieve the quickest possible response time to the CPU. Its based on playing the percentages. If a certain piece of data has been requested 5 times before, its likely that this specific piece of data will be required again and so is stored in the cache memory.

Lets take a library as an example o how caching works. Imagine a large library but with only one librarian (the standard one CPU setup). The first person comes into the library and asks for Lord of the Rings. The librarian goes off follows the path to the bookshelves (Memory Bus) retrieves the book and gives it to the person. The book is returned to the library once its finished with. Now without cache the book would be returned to the shelf. When the next person arrives and asks for Lord of the Rings, the same process happens and takes the same amount of time.

If this library had a cache system then once the book was returned it would have been put on a shelf at the librarians desk. This way once the second person comes in and asks for Lord of the Rings, the librarian only has to reach down to the shelf and retrieve the book. This significantly reduces the time it takes to retrieve the book. Back to computing this is the same idea, the data in the cache is retrieved much quicker. The computer uses its logic to determine which data is the most frequently accessed and keeps them books on the shelf so to speak.

That is a one level cache system which is used in most hard drives and other components. CPU’s however use a 2 level cache system. The principles are the same. The level 1 cache is the fastest and smallest memory, level 2 cache is larger and slightly slower but still smaller and faster than the main memory. Going back to the library, when Lord of the Rings is returned this time it will be stored on the shelf. This time the library gets busy and lots of other books are returned and the shelf soon fills up. Lord of the Rings hasn’t been taken out for a while and so gets taken off the shelf and put into a bookcase behind the desk. The bookcase is still closer than the rest of the library and still quick to get to. Now when the next person come in asking for Lord of the Rings, the librarian will firstly look on the shelf and see that the book isn’t there. They will then proceed to the bookcase to see if the book is in there. This is the same for CPU’s. They check the L1 cache first and then check the L2 cache for the data they require.

The answer is mostly yes but certainly not always. The main problem with having too much cache memory is that the CPU will always check the cache memory before the main system memory. Looking at our library again as an example. If 20 different people come into the library all after different books that haven’t been taken out in quite a while but the library has been busy before and so the shelf and the bookcase are both full we have a problem. Each time a person asks for a book the librarian will check the shelf and then check the bookcase before realising that the book has to be in the main library. The librarian each time then trots off to get the book from the library. If this library had a non cache system it would actually be quicker in this instance because the librarian would go straight to the book in the main library instead of checking the shelf and the bookcase.

As the fact that non cache systems only work in certain circumstances and so in certain applications CPU’s are definitely better with a decent amount of cache. Applications such as MPEG encoders are not good cache users because they have a constant stream of completely different data.

If the cache memory has space it will store data that is close to that of the frequently accessed data. Looking back again to our library. If the first person of the day comes into the library and takes out Lord of the Rings, the intelligent librarian may well place Lord of the Rings part II on the shelf. In this case when the person brings back the book, there is a good chance that they will ask for Lord of the Rings part II. As this will happen more times than not. It was well worth the Librarian going to fetch the second part of the book in case it was required.

Cache hit and cache miss are just simple terms for the accuracy of what goes into the CPU’s cache. If the CPU accesses its cache looking for data it will either find it or it wont. If the CPU finds what’s its after that’s called a cache hit. If it has to go to main memory to find it then that is called a cache miss. The percentage of hits from the overall cache requests is called the hit rate. You will be wanting to get this as high as possible for best performance.

Select Proper Hard drive

The digital revolution has brought with it the need to store vast amounts of data. The new Hard disks are ready to take the challenge. The good news is, these Hard disks with higher capacity are affordable. Thanks to a very competitive market and demanding consumers.

Hard disk technology is suitable for the bandwidth demands of today’s applications. The 7200 rpm hard disk drives with a minimum storage space of 40 GB and above are now more common than ever before.

The demand for storage in PCs has boomed. With a lot of multimedia files being used today, including MP3, Flash files and movies–even today’s entry level 40 GB hard disks aren’t enough for users. On the other hand, 80 – 400 GB, 7200 rpm drives are also available and are preferred by professionals.

Depending on your need, you should select the proper hard drive. Ask yourself few questions, before going for the selection of new hard drive. This strategy will be useful in long run.

Think of the following points.

Hard drive storage capacity, speed, brand and price.

First select the Hard drive storage capacity.

  1. Also what software, you will loading in your computer.
  2. What type of files, you will be loading.

If you are a basic computer user, go for the 40 GB hard drive which is sufficient for OS and file storage. The text files require very less storage space however multimedia files require large storage space.

If you are a gamer or a graphic designer, go for minimum 80 / 120 GB hard drive.

If you are movie or song lover who would be storing lot of movies then go for higher capacity of 240 GB depending on your budget.

Let us select the proper speed. The most common speeds which are available in the market are 5400 and 7200 RPM. The 5400 RPM means hard disk will be rotating at a speed of 5400 revolutions per minute.

Now there is not much price difference between 5400 and 7200 rpm. It is better to go for 7200 RPM hard drive.

It is better to go for standard brand. Seagate, Maxtor, Western Digital, Samsung & Hitachi are the standard brands available in the market.

The above suggestions are for your internal hard drives.
If you have to carry data frequently, you can go for external hard drive. These drives can be connected to computer through USB port. There is absolutely no difference between external hard drive and internal hard drive if you consider the operation or drive mechanics. USB interface has made external hard drive installation very user friendly.

External hard drives give lot of portability. However these external hard drives have higher access time compared to desktop drive because of USB interface. But because of USB interface, CPU utilization is less in the range of 8.4 to 10. This means less load on CPU.

Iomega, Freecom, Transcend are some of the manufacturers of external hard drives. These drives require external power supply and are most suitable for desktop use. When you are selecting external hard drive, check whether the manufacturer is offering a carry bag, data cable and power supply if it is externally powered.

Getting Acquainted with Notebook Computers

  • Processors and RAM – A 20 gigabyte hard drive and an Intel Pentium Mobile processor with 2.8 gigahertz of speed will handle the needs of most computer users quite well. Gamers will need at least 526 megabytes of RAM. If you will be opening large files or having several files open at once you might want to consider a full gig of RAM.
  • Screen size – A 13 inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768 should do the trick for most notebook computer users. Notebook users who are mainly interested in gaming or movie watching or professionals using graphics programs will probably want as large a screen as possible and may want to add a graphics card.
  • Weight – If you are on the go, constantly in and out of your vehicle or on and off a plane and always carrying your computer an ultra light notebook computer may be best for you. Ultra lights can be pricey and you may have to give up a few features or settle for a smaller screen. Standard laptops weighing in at four to five pounds are more moderately priced and can have larger screens and more options.
  • Ports, drives and bays – Portability and storage will all be enhanced by choosing a notebook computer with at least two ports. USB and Ethernet are pretty much essential. Expansion bays for CD-ROMS, DVDs and an extra battery should also be considered.
  • Keyboard – The keyboard on a notebook computer can be confusing, even downright annoying, for someone used to any of the standard desktop computer configurations. Most laptop keyboards will be smaller and have the mouse integrated into the center. Learning to operate a mouse with your index finger can be exasperating. Look into buying an external mouse as well.
  • Battery – Finding out your battery is dead when you’re in your seat on the airplane renders the most expensive notebook computer worthless. Investing in a good Lithium Ion battery is worth the extra cost. Don’t forget the more hardware and software you have up and running the shorter your battery’s life will be.

Finally, while online notebook computer shopping certainly takes some of the hassle out of buying, nothing beats a hands-on demonstration. Comparison shop a few models via the internet then test drive them at your local computer dealer. Rest the notebook computer on your lap after it has been running for at least twenty minutes. Is it comfortable or does it run hot? Type in the old standby “quick brown fox” sentence to see how the keyboard feels to your fingers. Look at the screen from a variety of angles. Open the software programs you use the most. Do they openly quickly and smoothly?