Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

What is Windows ReadyBoost? Does it Help Speed up My PC?

Posted by Rich On September - 2 - 2010

Windows Forums member, shoby, asked the following question in our suggestion box:

I would like to see a review about Ready Boost in Windows 7.
Does it really help you out when you need some extra performance or does it just look like it helps you out ?

It surely can’t be like you actually went out and bought some RAM, but how good is Ready Boost actually.
Is it gonna help me out with the my daily tasks/multitasking.

This guide answers these questions and offer suggestions to help you get the most out or ReadyBoost or the most out of the money you’d spend on a flash drive with which to use ReadyBoost. Specifically, we’ll cover the following:

  • What is ReadyBoost?
  • Does ReadyBoost really work?
  • What are the requirements for ReadyBoost?
  • What security risks does ReadyBoost pose?
  • What alternatives are there to ReadyBoost?

If you want to learn how to use ReadyBoost, see this guide: Speed up Windows with ReadyBoost.

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Xbox 360 Slim Review

Posted by Stu On August - 22 - 2010

Xbox360 030

It’s been a while since the new Xbox 360 Slim was released.  I’ve been keenly reading reviews and watching screencasts on Microsoft’s new games console.  In particular I’ve been watching out for RROD issues and comparisons to the Xbox 360 Classic

I came across Paul Thurrott’s review last month, it’s one of the best on the web I’ve read and I’d like to share it with mintywhite readers.

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Windows Forums member, walt1019, made the following suggestion in our suggestion box:

Tips on securing home wireless networks could be useful. So many are still using the default settings which are wide open while some just use WEP, MAC filtering or not broadcasting the SSID which offers little to no protection.

This guide will show you how to do the following:

  • Access your router’s administration panel.
  • Secure your wireless network.
  • Secure your router.
  • Disable SSID broadcasting.
  • Connect to a non-broadcasting network.

Why do You Need to Secure Your Home Network?

With an unsecured network, I can get access to your router, PC, private documents, printer, peripheral devices, and can even monitor your instant messaging activity, emails, bank passwords etc. I can also use the internet you pay your hard earned cash for, without paying for it myself. It’s important to protect your home network and this guide will show you how. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: More information on RAID can be found here.

And who wouldn’t put their hands up for RAID? The Redundant Array of Independent disks can improve your disk performance, or give you data integrity, or both.

Windows Media Center provides an excellent home for your digital entertainment — and like any excellent home you want to pack more and more into it. Take a look at your physical collections — photos, albums, CD’s, DVDs, video tapes, etc. If you are into home entertainment then you’ve probably collected plenty of good stuff. The same thing will happen to your digital collection. Before long you will outgrow a single drive, then two. Around the time you get your third drive and file searches need three separate operations you’ll start looking around for a better storage system.

Adding a RAID Controller card and an array of 3 or more hard drives will combine those separate drives (minus a bit of space for safe data storage) into a single virtual drive that is easier to manage and provides protection against a single disk failure. It may improve your disk performance, depending on how you configure it.

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HighDefinition: Which is best – 720p, 1080i or 1080p?

Posted by Thomas On August - 5 - 2010

When I set out to write this article I discovered that there was much to learn about this subject. And some stuff weren’t all that easy to understand either. I am going to do my best to simplify the topic as best I can.

Now days with the introduction of Plasma, LCD and LED monitors and TV’s have become easier to handle, even if you should buy a 50″ screen. However; new technology also bring new standards. New equipment means new cables, new standards, like HDMI, and DV-I. Meaning you really have to know if your “old” equipment is compatible with your new. To really add to the confusion, you see tags like HD-Ready, Real HD, 1080p and so on.

Have you wondered what these tags mean, or if it’s something you really need to pay attention to ?

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Windows Media Center – TV Tuner

Posted by Deck Hazen On August - 4 - 2010

The addition of a TV Tuner card turns your PC into a full “DVR” – a Digital Video Recorder. For those familiar with it, your PC becomes just like a “TiVo” box providing high quality record and play-back options from broadcast TV.
This tuner card also brings in all the available FM Stations.
In the US there are a wealth of stations to tune into and each of them has an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) transmitted along with the picture and sound and picked up by Windows Media Center for presentation in WMC on-line TV Guide.
The EPG is an essential part of a recording system because it provides a schedule of up-coming programs and allows you to schedule the recording not just of the show itself, but every show in the series (like all the episodes of “Family Guy” ) – you can even instruct the guide to record episodes of the show even if they are seen on different channels and at different times.

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