National Computer Repair

Experienced in computer repair, data recovery, and a love for all things geek.

Tag: hardware

What to Look For in a Good Gaming PC

Are you in love with the world of PC gaming? Are you currently in the market for a good gaming PC or the parts to build your own custom rig? Then it’s an important step to understand what exactly you should look for in a PC for your enjoyment. Keep reading to discover some key factors to keep an eye out for in your next gaming PC.

*Note: If you’re looking to build your next PC and need a breakdown of the specific parts you’ll need, we’ve previously written about the main components to any good gaming PC here.

Professional gaming computer set up.
Professional gaming computer set up.

Hardware Compatibility

When you’re building a gaming PC, your number one priority should always be the compatibility of the parts. Everything from the processor and CPU to the motherboard should be compatible before you make that purchase and install them.

Memory Speed

No matter what type of memory you purchase for your rig, you should always check to ensure you’ll actually be using all of that memory speed. You can check this by entering the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)** and loading the memory profile. There are also plenty of third-party apps which will show you your computer’s current memory speed.

** BIOS: firmware used to perform hardware initialization during the booting process, and to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs.

An 80 PLUS Rating for the Power Supply

Your computer’s power supply should be able to stand up to the games and other tasks you’re planning on using your PC for. By choosing a power supply which has an 80 PLUS certification will guarantee your gaming PC can handle just about anything you plan to throw at it.

Cable Management

Once you have all the computer components and you’re ready to put it into the case, you want to make sure everything will fit and look clean. Cable management is key in achieving a nice, clean appearance for your rig. Fun fact: good cable management might also help improve the cooling system due to the improved air flow inside the case.

Overclocking: Worth it?

Gaming computer monitor and tower.
Gaming computer monitor and tower.

Overclocking and whether it’s worth it or not is completely subjective. Overclocking is the process of speeding up your computer beyond the manufacturers’ specifications for a faster runtime. If you feel it’s worth the possibility of burning out your rig’s components and voiding the parts’ warranties, then your performance goals can be met through overclocking. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making the final decision.

Conclusions If you’re ready to get started playing all of your favorite PC games on a system you’ve built yourself, following these tips for ensuring your PC survives will help a great deal. If you run into any problems or would simply like some help in building it, come into our computer shop at National Computer Repair and let our knowledgeable technicians help you with it all!

How to Keep Your Laptop Safe From Cold Weather

Believe it or not, your electronic devices are sensitive to the cold and are prone to both software and hardware malfunctions. For instance, your laptop might experience a dead battery, screen issues, internal component errors, or liquid condensation. There’s no worse feeling than losing accessibility to your laptop, especially when you put heavy investments in it. When dealing with the wintertime, you’re going to need a plan on how to keep your laptop safe. In this blog, we’ll detail ways in which you can protect your laptop from freezing up!

Minimize exposure to cold weather

Keep your laptop in a bag or case whenever you go out. If you live in an area where it snows, then you definitely want to avoid exposing your laptop to the cold. If snow ever falls on it directly, the liquid can slip into the crevices and damage your hardware. You can find a well-insulated and padded case to reduce the frigidity – think of it as putting a coat on your laptop!

Don’t leave it in your car

In general, you should not leave your laptop or any other electronic device in your car where it’s visible to passing eyes. In this case, you don’t want to leave it in your car with the engine off. It’s bound to feel like a brick of ice by the time you come back and pick it up. There will more than likely be internal and external damage.

Change the settings to power save mode

The power save mode is your best friend, someone who’s there to help you. Shutting down your laptop causes the hard drive to stop spinning. When you change it to power save mode, however, the disk will keep spinning and generate its own heat. Don’t worry about it overheating – the setting prevents that from happening!

Don’t use warmers that aren’t intended for electronic devices

Pocket warmers are not designed to keep your phone or laptop warm. If you use these, then the excess heat will cause internal components to melt. The only heat you really want for your laptop is the one that it generates on its own.

Conclusion

These are just a few tips to follow when carrying or using your laptop in the cold. Generally, electronic devices are expensive and, even if it’s just repairs, they can still make a dent in your wallet. That’s why we urge you to take cautionary measures with your laptop. If you encounter an issue, bring it to your local computer technician that offers affordable prices!

Scenarios Where You Need PC Adaptors

In today’s fast-paced, tech-filled world, many of our devices come with a wide array of ports to contend with. Every year, a new technology standard is introduced designed to make our lives easier, but sometimes, it creates new challenges with all the cables we must contend with.

As a result, it’s important to understand what you will need in to plug your devices into other peripherals. The same goes when you’re in the market for a new computer but don’t feel like replacing every device to make it compatible. Simple, inexpensive PC adaptors may do the trick at a fraction of the price. In this article, we’ll run down a few of the scenarios where you’ll need one!

Plug Your New Computer into an Older Monitor

If your monitor only has a DVI input (the white plug) or VGA input (the blue plug), this can be a bit of a problem. Most modern computers have video cards that only offer an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port which allows an output of up to 4K resolution. As a result, you’re left there scratching your head on what to do.

An HDMI-to-DVI or an HDMI-to-VGA adaptor is an inexpensive solution that allows you to use your current cables. If your computer has DVI output and your monitor has a VGA input, you can purchase an adaptor that can convert the signal. Finally, if your screen has a DisplayPort, you’re going to need an adaptor since an unpowered DisplayPort-to-HDMI cable won’t do the trick.

Plug Your Device into Your Computer

Say you want to have the ability to plug your tablet into your monitor. Whether you want to show someone a video you watched or need some extra real estate to play your favorite mobile games, it’s great to have a larger secondary display you can rely on.

A wide range of tablets have either HDMI or a mini variant, so invest in an HDMI-to-mini or micro HDMI adaptor. This same adaptor can be used to plug in a DSLR or a Raspberry Pi to a computer.

Perhaps you simply want to plug your smartphone into a computer normally in order to charge it or transfer files and your laptop only has a USB-C port (the newer Apple Macbooks feature this). For that, you’re going to either need a USB-C to micro USB or a USB-C to USB-A adaptor. This is also useful if you want to hook up a controller to the computer to play some games!

Conclusion

So there you have it! These are only a few examples of how PC adaptors will help you avoid having to spend more money than you have to upgrade your tech. Of course, we always recommend speaking to a specialist if you aren’t sure of the connector you will need for your particular setup.

Do you have any questions or thoughts regarding the use of adaptors? Be sure to leave them in the comments section below!

The Main Causes of Data Loss and How to Prevent It

Here at National Computer Repair, we offer data retrieval services for our customers. But what exactly causes data loss to happen in the first place? Despite popular theory, files don’t just magically disappear from our computers.

While data loss may seem unavoidable, there are proper precautions to prevent this from happening. A great first step is to understand exactly why it happens. After all, knowledge is a powerful tool, and by knowing the leading causes, you can understand the warning signs and take the right measures.

1)     Hardware Malfunctions or Failure

By and large, the most common reason for why data loss occurs is through hardware or system malfunctions. Hard drives fail for a variety of reasons through mechanical failure caused by overheating, external damage, power outages, and more. Hard drives contain so many moving parts that it’s no wonder they break down so easily from wear and tear.

The easiest way to prevent this is by keeping your data backed up to another hard drive or the cloud on a regular basis. Regardless of which you choose, hard drive failure doesn’t mean your data is lost forever if you have it stored in another location. You may also want to consider investing in an SSD (Solid-State Drive) as it contains no moving parts, so it doesn’t have the same risks your typical desktop hard drive has.

2)     Software Corruption

Now, we have all experienced this at some point. You’ve been spending hours working on that important document only to have the software shut down suddenly without reason. This is what’s called software corruption, and can be caused by either buggy programs or using software that uses up too much memory on your computer.

This may seem like a common-sense solution, but we always recommend practicing good working habits by saving your documents frequently. That way, even if the software does shut down unexpectedly, it won’t be nearly as bothersome.

3)     Damaging Computer Viruses and Malware

New viruses pop up every single day that put your data at different degrees of risk. Everyone who owns a computer has typically experienced some form of data loss through malware infections. This can invade your computer either through email scams or phishing.

Phishing is another word to describe tools used to steal sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. It impacts not only your computer but smartphones as well; basically, any device with internet access is vulnerable.

Not only can viruses and malware slow down your computer, but it can also spread like wildfire to the rest of your computer and destroy all your data. With that in mind, it is pivotal that you install good antivirus software on your computer and make sure to keep it updated with the latest security patches.

4)     Human Error

Lastly, one of the main risks is data loss is through someone accidentally deleting their own files without having a backup available. We tend to update or delete our files on a regular basis. That’s why it’s not shocking to hear we may slip up and delete the wrong files or format a device by mistake.

We’re all human – these things can happen to the best of us. For some, it’s become so common it barely even phases them until well after the fact. The best way to prevent this from happening is by having a proper backup of your files and take more caution when deleting or moving files.

By utilizing proper workflow strategies and backup procedures, you’ll be able to avoid the main risks of data loss. While there are plenty of ways for us to retrieve your lost data, you can make our jobs easier by following our recommended steps.

Do you have any questions or concerns regarding data loss and what you can do to prevent it from happening to begin with? Make sure to leave a post in our comments section below!

How to Speed Up Your Computer’s Boot Time

There are few things more aggravating than having to reboot your computer. While it may take only a minute or two, it can feel like an eternity, especially if you’re in the middle of something important.

Continue reading