Build Small or Don’t Build

I’d like to touch on something I ranted about a bit in the April 19 Improbable Insights podcast. The full-tower case is a dinosaur. Look, I know some of you out there love your triple-GPU, overclocked, liquid-cooled monster PCs. I love htat you love building and using these lumbering beasts, and more power to you. However, most people don’t game on triple-4K displays, and the headaches of managing SLI and CrossFire to get a good gaming experience gives me heartburn…Continue reading Build Small or Don’t Build

The State of the PC in 2016

Eric and I discuss in detail the desktop PC in 2016. CPUs remain mostly in a status quo, while GPUs look to substantially evolve this year. I make some general recommendations: Abandon full-size ATX motherboards, unless you really dream of triple graphics cards Forget dual-core CPUs Build small SSDs all the way Efficiency is a win GPUs rule 1080p monitors are dead Skylake / DDR4 unless you’re on a tight budget; AMD quad-core+ if you’re on a tight budget On…Continue reading The State of the PC in 2016

Choosing Your PC Processor

Choosing the right PC processor lies at the intersection of what you need, what you can afford, what you want to accomplish, and your self image. The focus here is on desktop processors — in particular, desktop systems you plan on building youreself. Since laptop CPUs ship inside complete systems, that’s a topic for another day. Note also that these are my rules of thumb. You may see things differently. When I’ve written these articles for other publications, I try to be…Continue reading Choosing Your PC Processor

Planning Your PC Build

Building a PC is simple. Figuring out what you want to build is harder. I’ve written dozens of articles about building PCs. In many, I’ve included comforting aphorisms such as “set a budget and stick to it”. The most common one, though, is “understand your needs”. What does “understand your needs” really mean, though? Consider the idea of a PC for a moment: a general purpose computing device, suitable for a large array of compute tasks. These range from simple,…Continue reading Planning Your PC Build

The Itty Bitty Gaming PC

I’ve attempted to build small form factor gaming PCs over the years — anyone remember the tiny boxes Shuttle sold, complete with proprietary motherboards and power supplies? Those never lasted long, mostly because the anemic PSUs would eventually fail trying to deliver power to high end CPUs and graphics cards. Today, we’ve got a plethora of mini-ITX motherboards, making it easier to build tiny, but full-featured PCs. I’ve built several PCs using mini-ITX motherboards, but none have been particularly small…Continue reading The Itty Bitty Gaming PC