Dual or Quad? Which is better?

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Hardware, Tips

There have been many heated debates amongst many PC enthusiasts about which CPU in cores is better. Some say a dual core is better because the cores are clocked higher than a similar price quad. Others say quad is better because it has twice the amount of cores as a dual core. So which one is the better product?

Back when single core CPU’s dominated the market, they key to processing information quicker was determined by the FSB and maxing out the clock speed. Eventually, both Intel and AMD hit the limitation of single threaded processing. To make logical sense of why we have more than one core nowadays is because programs are making use of pipelining, a way of processing instructions faster. Instead of waiting for one thread to finish, pipelining allows the next thread to start once the first step in the machine cycles has been completed. See Diagram 1 for a visual understanding.


Diagram 1

 

Taking that diagram into account, imagine a dual core processing the above four instructions; it would need to complete the first two threads before it could start the next two. But if we use a quad core to process it, it could start all four threads at the same time.
Quad core is better then, right? In theory, yes, but only if programs are optimized for multi-threading, which at the moment there aren’t a lot. This is where a dual core tends to have an edge over a quad. It processes a thread at a faster rate just like the single core CPU’s did.
So if your gamer and need the best value/ performance ratio, the dual core is your winner because there aren’t many games that utilize four cores. However, if you’re a video editor, or use CAD or any other design/editing tool, chances are they have been optimized for pipelining, which Quad cores process well. But what if your some one that surfs the net, plays the occasional game and edits photos? This is where most people are at, and generally speaking, if you’re not a power user, a dual core should suffice. But if you’re running Adobe Photoshop, MSN messenger, have a web browser open and are maybe encoding a video file all at the same time, a quad core would be the best choice. Why? Because running four different programs at once would allow each core on the CPU to be utilized and not bring the computer speed to a crawl.

 

As a result, to say which one is better is a hard call for it to be universal, rather the best one is dependent on your own needs.

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Lockdown your PC

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security, Tips, Top Software, Windows

No one needs to be told that when your connected to internet, you’re at risk of been attacked or infected. What’s the best way to tackle the problem? What are my choices and how do I go about it? Fortunately, there are many products around to help prevent such an occurrence. Let’s break these products down:

  • Anti-VirusA software program which helps protect a computer against being infected by a virus. A virus is capable of corrupting data and is able to spread to other victims with out the user knowing.
  • Anti-Spyware A software program that is designed to stop spyware from entering the users computer. Spyware is software that is installed by stealth and tracks the users computers activities and private information. It then secretly relays the information back to the publisher.
  • Firewall A firewall can either be hardware or software based and is used to prevent unauthorized access to the users computer. In the physical security analogy, a firewall is equivalent to a door lock on a perimeter door or on a door to a room inside of the building – it permits only authorized users such as those with a key or access card to enter.

There are a lot of companies to choose from, some offering their products as freeware, and others as paid software. One standout in the freeware section is Zone Alarm’s Free Firewall. It covers the basics and works a treat. Windows Defender does an ok job for cleaning out spyware for free and is already installed on Vista machines. And for antivirus software, Bitdefender have their free antivrus software up for grabs.

Whilst all the above software is good, paid software offer more advanced features and support making them much more appealing. Also, you can get packages from vendors which have Anti-virus, Anti-Spyware , and Firewall all in one. Zonealarm Security Suite is an excellence choice and it covers the three primary areas of a Anti-virus, Anti-spyware, and Firewall. And I can say that it does work: ZoneAlarm Security Suite

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Automatic Logon

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Tips, Windows

You can make Windows automatically log on a user, bypassing the Welcome screen, which means a faster boot-up time.

  1. Log on on as an Administrator.
  2. Click Start-> Run and type control userpasswords2 and press Enter.
  3. On the Users tab, select the user you want to automatically log on, untick ‘ Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer’ and click OK. This brings up the ‘Automatically Log On’ dialog with the name of the account you selected.
  4. Enter the existing password for that account and click OK. Don’t try to use this box to change a password. If you do, chances are the computer will hang the next time you reboot.

To override the automatic logon, press the Shift key when the Windows logo screen appears at startup and keep the key depressed until the classic Log On screen displays.

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Sharpen Text on your Screen

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Tips, Windows

The quality of text on your screen is very important to you as it affects your eyesight. The clearer the text, the less eye strain. There’s a simple tweak to improve the appearance of text and best of all, its free. Cleartype, a technology Microsoft invented back in January 2000, was aimed to improve the appearance of text on computer displays. Despite when it was made, it wasn’t made default in Windows Xp. Here’s how you enable it:

  1. Right click on the desktop and select Properties.
  2. Select the Appearance tab and click Effects.
  3. Tick “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts” and select from the drop-down box “ClearType”
  4. Click OK and Apply.

The text on your screen should now be a lot clearer and sharper.

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Fix That Side Hole

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Case Mods

Many PC’s today have clear plexiglass side windows to allow the internals of your PC to be seen by the rest of the world. And more often then not, have a fan hole on them. This is great for people that are overclocking or who want extra airflow, but what about those who are after a quiet PC? You could argue that if silence was the primary objective, they should have purchased a case without a side fan hole. But for some us, we entered the quiet PC realm to late and thus have ended up with not so quiet gear. I’m going to show you how you can solve this problem with the following items: One clear CD/DVD protector, (the ones that can be found in a bundle of 50 CD-R’s) One silicon gasket, (Can be found in a black Canon inkjet cartridge protector) General purpose glue (or anything that will hold plastic/silicon together).

Items for the job: One silicon gasket, One CD-R Protector, Tarzan Grip (clear adhesive)

How it’s Done

First off, glue the silicon gasket to the center of the CD protector. You’ll need to apply only a small amount of glue around the edges of the gasket, and then apply pressure for about a minute to let it set.

It looks like they were made for each other.

 

Once the glue has set, sit the complete “plug” over the pc fan hole and center it so you’ll have a rough idea where you want it placed. Got a rough idea? Ok. Apply four small dots of glue approximately the size of a fan screw next to the screw holes. Place the plug in the center of the hole and apply pressure for a minute.

Glue applied and ready to go back on the case.

Once it’s been affixed, put the side panel back on your case and voilà, you’re done.

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