49-port USB hub… Sweet

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware

 I didn't know one of these things existed. So, this should count up for all your loose USB sticks hanging around, bluetooth dongle, cup warmer, fan, external hard disk, webcam … the list could go on. Though its still unpratical for its size, I reckon you could come up a with a nice RAID solid state hard array using USB sticks. What would you do with it? 

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Gold nanotubes boost DVD storage

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware


Australia researchers have unveiled a new type of disc that stores 10,000 times more data than current DVDs and could be on the market within a decade.

The discs store 1.6 terabytes of data, eclipsing the capacity of current DVD and Blu-ray discs which hold up to 50 gigabytes.

The researchers, from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, have published their breakthrough in the journal Nature.

A standard DVD recorder uses light of a single wavelength to 'burn' data onto the surface of the disc.

The team at Swinburne found that by adding gold nanorods to the disc they were able to increase its capacity.

The nanorods react to light according to their shape. This allowed the researchers to record information using light of different wavelengths, or colours, on the same location on the disc.

The researchers also used polarisation – the angle of the light's electric field – to record data.

"The polarisation can be rotated 360 degrees," says paper co-author Dr James Chon.

"So for example, we were able to record at zero degree polarisation. Then on top of that, we were able to record another layer of information at 90 degrees polarisation, without them interfering with each other."

Multiple layers

Professor Min Gu, director of the Centre for Micro-Photonics at Swinburne, who was also involved in the research, says current DVD and CD technology only uses a small fraction of the disc, essentially recording in 2D.

He believes the use of multiple wavelengths and polarisation will allow future DVD recorders to use a greater volume of the disc.

"We have created a new recording device that can respond to different colour and different polarisation," says Professor Gu. "By using these properties we can use more of the disc."

In their paper, the researchers were able to record three layers of information, using three different wavelengths and two polarisations.

Since publication, the authors have recorded 10 layers, and they believe it is possible to record 100 layers onto a single disc.

Beyond home entertainment, the discs could be used to store large medical files such as MRI scans, as well as financial, military and security records.

[via <a xhref="http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/21/2577021.htm">ABC News</a>

Well if this becomes available on a retail level, it'll destroy blu-ray for sure. Excellent :D !

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Benq E2200HD Good?

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware

The other day I purchased a Benq E2200HD monitor to replace my aging Benq 17" FP71E+. It actually died on me for no reason, hence me not posting any new content. I opened it up and found two power resistors on invertor board loose. I attempted to resolder the resistors but even after the repair, no joy. It will probably go on ebay for someone to use as parts.

As for the new Benq E200HD, is it any good? From my viewpoint, i quite like it. The screen is vibrant (had to turn the brightness down to 65) and running at 1920×1080, the detail is awesome. It also has a HDMI port, which at the moment, have my XBOX 360 attached to. 

Reading about the monitor, there were many people rating this as a great monitor while others did not like it so much. Part of the reason people didn't like it was because of the aspect ratio. The Benq E2200HD monitor has an aspect ratio of 16:9. This is perfect for movies and console gaming because you won't have any black bars on the display. However, most PC monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:10, which means the screen is slightly taller rather than longer. My opinion? I believe it has plenty of height, but that's because I orginated from a 17" LCD. And because most other 22" panels are 1650×1050, the 1080P resoultion of the Benq E2200HD makes up for this. 

If you are in the market for a 22" LCD monitor, I suggest if you can, go see this monitor in person. Your eyes won't lie. 

E2200HD Left, Fp71E+ Right


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Fix Your Scratched LCD Screen

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware, Tips

Broken LCD

If you’re like the many people that own a portable device such as a mobile phone, Mp3 player, or even a laptop, you’ll know how exposed your LCD screen is to being scratched. If by misfortune you have scratched your LCD screen, you just might be able to fix it. After reading various articles, people have said that they’ve had great success fixing their LCD screens by using an eraser.

How can using an eraser possibly fix an LCD Screen? Well, the logic is that by rubbing gently over the scratch with the eraser, the surrending area of the screen becomes level with scratch. Simple isn’t it?

My brother had great success using this method on his Sandisk 2GB Mp3 player; got rid of the minor scratches quite well. I would suggest to anyone who owns a portable device with an LCD screen get a LCD screen protector. DealExtreme offer great prices on their LCD screen protectors. So far I’ve purchased three from them and they work quite well on my Nokia phone. They ship internationally too.

Just note that if you have a major scratch or have done critical damage to your screen, this method may not be for you. Consider getting a professional to repair it or if possible, claim warranty.

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Stop Buzzing Noise From PC

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware, Quiet PC, Uncategorized

Ever wondered why your PC started making an annoying buzzing noise? Chances are it is probably because of a fan clogged up with dust. I turned on my PC recently to be welcomed by these symptoms above. The good news is that it is an easy thing to fix. If you’re not computer literate, or are not comfortable opening up your PC case, I suggest you get help from someone who does.

The first thing is to identify which fan is causing the noise. This can be a little bit tricky when you have five or so fans running. To identify the noise, I place my finger on the fan hub lightly to slow it down for a second and see if the noise lessens. If it does, you’ve found your problematic fan. The next thing to do is remove the fan from the chassis/PC. In my case it was the GPU. After pulling the gfx card out, here’s what it looked like:

Dusty GPU

Nasty isn’t it?

I’ll also point out here that dust causes airflow blockage causing more heat to be captured rather than dispersed. I used a small paint brush to clean out the HSF (Heat Sink Fan) and the heat sink itself. The paint brush does a pretty good job. Never user a vacuum cleaner to clean pc components, the static created by the vacuum cleaner will fry the chipset, leaving you with nothing but paper-weight.While it maybe possible that the dust is causing the buzzing noise, most fans today use sleeve bearings, which are quieter than ball bearings, but do not last as long. So the buzzing noise could be that the bearings are worn out.

A good way to fix it is to apply some light machine oil to the fan. If you fan is in a heat sink, remove the fan by unscrewing the three screws and turn it over so that you can see the back sticker. Gently lift up the sticker so that you can see the fan motor (See picture 2). Apply a couple of drops of oil and replace the sticker. Spin the fan a couple of times with your fingers to lubricate the fan evenly.

Put everything back together and give your PC a whirl. You should now have successfully hushed your PC and improved cooling.

Fan sticker lifted

A couple of drops should do the trick!

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Should You Buy Cheap Ink?

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware, Tips

Many of us are confronted with buying expensive genuine ink from the big companies. There a lots and lots of 3rd party companies that make ink for leading manufactures at a fraction of the cost. Being so cheap, we are inclined to buy the cheaper ink. But what it leaves us with is the consequences of cheap ink.

In my experience, cheap ink can have a good short term, but a very bad long term effect. In the short term, we save money on ink cartridges but due the ink quality, print heads get clogged and damaged, thus leaving us to buy a new print head. On the other hand, you could buy genuine ink, which would give you lasting picture quality and better maintained print head but you cop the price of the ink cartridges.

The best solution to this is to buy a continuous ink supply system. Granted the supplier provides quality ink, it’s much cheaper than buying genuine ink and you don’t have the problem of broken and clogged print heads. So what is a CISS? The CISS is a self contained unit with its own cartridges fed by silicone tubing from a large ink reservoir which sits beside your printer. The system acts like a giant cartridge by feeding ink to the printer when required. Using a CISS system is an extremely cost effective way of printing and can save you upto 95% of printing costs.

RIHAC Digital Solutions provide CISS for most inkjet printers. If you tend use your printer a lot, I highly suggest you check them out. They ship internationally and offer fairly completive pricing. But what is most important is the ink quality. RIHAC don’t use cheap generic ink, they use Premium grade UV Micro filtered ink imported from USA, Germany and Japan.

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Green I.T How to Cut Your Power Bill

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware, How To

A lot of people today face the ever increasing power bill cost. Computers tend to add a considerable amount to the bill. But recently, computer hardware manufactures are coming around to the fact that more and more people are becoming environmental conscious. So this is a win/win situation for the end user; the power bill is reduced and in turn, less pollution is made for the environment.
If you’re building a new PC and want to reduce your power bill, consider the following points:

  • Buy a power supply unit that is 80 plus certified. This means maximum efficiency is obtained when your pc is running with minimum power wastage. PSU manufacture Seasonic produces such excellent power supplies.
  • Consider purchasing a case that has excellent natural airflow. The more freely air can be moved, the less need for more case fans. Antec have advanced chassis that are aimed for low airflow situations.
  • Think about buying an energy efficient motherboard. Gigabyte have a lot to offer with their motherboards consisting of dynamic energy saving technologies, your PC will run much cooler and be more reliable.
  • The processor you purchase will make a big difference on power usage. Both Intel and AMD have technologies to keep power down to a minimum but Intel has a better performance to price ratio and when you start moving up the line, AMD processors currently run hotter than Intel. You should also decide whether to buy either a dual core or a quad core. See Dual Or Quad? Which is Better?
  • Consider buy a Western Digital hard disk, as Western Digital has produced a “Green Drive” which is a technology that reduces hard disk power consumption.

If you’re not planning on building a PC anytime soon and would like to reduce power consumption, try these ideas:

  • If you’re running an AMD processor, enable Cool “n” Quiet in the BIOS as this will throttle the CPU.
  • If you’re running an Intel processor, enable Intel SpeedStep Technology in the BIOS as this will throttle the CPU.
  • Lower your monitor’s brightness setting.
  • Shut off your monitor in between breaks.
  • Don’t leave your computer on overnight.

By following the above points, you will see a reduction in power usage from your PC. What this means is the air will be cleaner and you’ll save money from your power bill. Nice.

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Boot Faliure Flow Chart

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware, Troubleshooting

When you’re dealing with repairing PC’s at a hardware level, you must think logically to find the problem. This flow chart by Morris Rosenthat is very helpful when dealing with such problems. It lists all the main parts of a computer and gives suggestions to fix the problem. It’s worth having. Enjoy.

Download Boot Faliure Flow Chart

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