Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Game settings. (aka running out of ideas.)

Now this is only targeted for people who play fullscreen games like oblivion, fallout, world of warcraft, and such. When you have situations in the game where during intense action the game slows down but otherwise it runs fine there are some settings that are very very minor but just buildup when the main action builds up.

One of the first settings that can take up a lot of energy is Shadow Quality. Shadow quality is just as it sounds, it's how realistic the shadows are according to light sources. I don't know about you but I only care about the quality of a shadow when I am not being killed by multiple enemies.

The next that i usually turn down is Foliage Density. Foliage is how much grass, weeds, flowers, etc. shows up when you are playing. Yet again this is something your only going to notice when you character is face down in it after you die due to lag.

Though this next one is somewhat nice to have but if you are still having problems with lag then this is the next to go. Texture quality is how detailed the environment is, so this does take up a lot of processing power to keep this up while many other things are happening. This is the first one that I would say turning down would effect game play experience but sometimes you have to take the hit so you can properly play the game.

Now there are some setting that are more important to some games then others. For example in World of Warcraft particle density is a very important setting due to it being the thing that shows where spells are in effect and tell you where you should or should not be. In Fallout 3 it would be Model LOD which tells the game how far away it should first show the other NPCs or enemies and if you want to be able to snipe well this is something you want way up. Now I can't be listing every important game specific setting, but I suggest you keep an eye out and switch the settings you don't need down, and put these settings up. When it comes to game makers they mainly concern themselves with the people having problems when they have the highest setting on since most problems with other people are just hardware problems, so make sure you adjust the settings to your liking.

Please if you have any request on stuff like what I have been posting leave a comment and I will make a post about it (if I am confident enough in the subject).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How to convert movie format (hints for self protection)

Well I don't know too much on how the specifics work. I know that the usual dvd is in MPEG-2 format so that is the most acceptable form. But the big question is how i get my .avi or other format to a form that you can burn on a dvd. To be able to do this you will need a program that converts it for you. The ones that you can download online will most likely (for me so far all cases) make a watermark (slightly transparent logo) onto the file that you are converting. So if you want to legitimately be able to convert these movies you will have to buy, a preferably, well known dvd converter (Nero, ConvertXtoDVD, etc). Also fall back to torrenting, it is illegal to torrent things that are marketed with copyrights and anyone caught by these huge companies, that are distributing hundred or thousands of the same product daily and dealing more with employees then individuals using a hard to track way to steal their product, you will be fined and or jailed for it. Torrents can transfer almost any program, movie, or game so make sure you only torrent when you are allowed to (cough). Look back to previous post for more info on torrenting.

Feel free to ask more questions and I will get to them and answer them to the best of my abilities.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to install parts

I would not generally advise people to install their own parts, but with places charging 20+ dollars I am almost obligated to tell how to do it by yourself.

Before you do anything when installing something into a computer you have to make sure that you are not wearing anything that can cause you to build up static electricity since that can fry part. The casing on most computers are made to prevent static shocks so as long as you first touch the inside of the case before any parts you should be safe. Also in any stock computer every thing that is currently plugged into something will not end up unplugged (never leave an unplugged plug unplugged).

First I will start with something any person should be able to do themselves, RAM. You will be putting this on the motherboard and there will already be similar parts plugged in that looks like the RAM you have bought. The main problem with RAM is compatibility, if you do not have the RAM made for your motherboard it will not work. You can generally figure this out by looking up your computer at the manufacturing site.Following is a picture showing what the slot where the RAM goes looks like
Next is something that will only be a tad bit more difficult which will be the video card. The video card will be installed in a slot that is positioned at the back of the tower. First you will have to remove the metal plate that is covering a hole in the back of the computer. DO NOT USE A MAGNETIC SCREWDRIVER!!! This is one of the only times you will put a screwdriver inside of you computer. Once the plate is removed then you should be able to put the video card into the slot without much force. There are few problems concerning compatibility but it is always good to double check for good measure. Following is a picture of where the video card is installed.
Now the most difficult part I have personally installed, the power supply. Now when you buy a power supply they are usually made with all the cords so it can be installed in any tower. The problem is that you will only use ~1/5 of the cords and will have to find space to cram it in. When installing a power supply you will have to first remove the current power supply. I suggest that you mark every thing that you unplug with a piece of sticky paper so you do not forget to replug it. As long as you have replaced every plug, it should be easy to install. The thing that you should make sure of is that none of the cords are near or touching any fans when the tower is standing upright.

For now this will be the end of my update and if you have any request just put it in a comment and I will help if i can.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Important parts for performance (usually gaming) computers

I am going to put in order of most important to least important parts for a computer that performs well with high intensity projects (aka gaming).

1.(completely optional but most important for those that want the best machine) A new Tower Case is the most important part. So you ask how is this THE most important part, well if you want your computers case to be able to hold all your new parts this is the most likely a important and cheap piece. Also when we get to other parts you will most likely run into generic parts that have ALL the cables so it can work in any computer making it take two times more room then it should...

2. A new Power Supply is essential, if you don't want your computer burning out from not having enough power to run your new parts then you should get a power supply that is about 500+ watts. Better performance usually means greater power usage, as time goes on parts will become more power efficient so once you upgrade this it will probably be good to use all the way until it breaks.

3. A better Video Card the first part that actually directly deals with enhancing performance. The only reason why it is third is because without 2 this won't run right and 1 (though not required) the video card will be a completely new part and is not replacing a part so room is needed. The reason why it does not need to be bought to run a computer is because every computer has a Onboard Video Card that is efficient enough to support a default monitor that is attached to it and is rarely able to handle new games that are being put out.

4. A better Processor for the most simple reason is to be able to process more information. With the first three parts you will be able to see pretty and detailed pictures to be displayed on screen, but without a good processor you will not be able to see fluid movement on games or movies. Most computers have a good processor since these are generally a cheap part that drastically improves performance which is why its the forth most important part.

5. More RAM is another good thing to get. RAM is a part that assist the processor so it can more easily access information from the Hard Drive (the part that holds the information). RAM transfers information from the hard drive and attaches it to itself so it can access the information more quickly. When the processor has to get information from the hard drive it has to go through a set sequence to be able to access the information it wants. But RAM holds the information that it needed to access so it can more quickly get to it. I might do a post to better describe RAM but this is the just of what it is.

6. For now the last I can think of is a new Motherboard. The motherboard is the part that holds and connects all the parts of the computer. If you think you need a new one, the motherboard is what determines what type of part you need to be compatible. When installing new parts the motherboard is the part that tells you the capacity of parts that you can put into your computer. Even though this is last on the list the motherboard is the first part that you would want to buy if you are building a computer from scratch.

This will be it for now and I will probably do a post on how to install parts next. Keep on requesting so I can deliver.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Processors (aka. CPU)

So I have done a lot of research on Processors and I will skim over the main difference at the end between Intel and AMD. From what I read the most simple way to explain what the processor does is most easily explained by imagining your own brain, there is the area where you hold information ( remembers what 1, 2, and 3 are) and the part that processes information (figures out that 1 plus 2 equals 3) this is the part that the Processor does. Now how they measure how much information is measured in Hertz (These days in Gigahertz). Every Processor goes through to the computers memory and processes the information by using the predetermined formulas that are installed on the processor (you could consider this the computers instincts). There is some information that is kept on the processor which most of all computer users know not to mess with and those files are called registry files. They are kept on the processor so it can access them much faster.

Now I may edit and update this because when I first got the request I didn't even know much about the processors. But the two of the biggest companies that make processors is AMD and Intel. From what I see there is no huge difference between the two. Intel is known to make the fastest processors designed to do big projects. AMD is know for making the "best for your buck" processors, not saying they are bad processors but they are the best for people who are on a budget when looking for parts.
If you have any request just leave them in the comments.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another post asking for request, also boot time

Against my better judgment I am making another post asking you to request information of the same topic that is on the blog right now. My main concern is that anyone who is on the internet long enough to find this blog already knows most of all the information that I have put up so far. So please comment with information that you would like to know about computers or anything else in that matter (I find it easy to research online, actually learned some stuff when I did the screen cleaning post). But there was a question that I noticed in my previous post.
Though stopping programs from starting when you log on will make your computer respond faster when first accessing the main interface, it will have no effect on the speed it takes to get to the point where you log in. When you notice that it takes forever to get the point where you log on then there is only one thing (within my knowledge) that can cause this, which is minor corruption of system files. All other files are not accessed until you actually log on so the only way that I know how to fix this is Defragment the windows section in your (most commonly) C: drive, which is explained in a previous post. But if this does not seem to work and you don't have vital information on the computer (or a external drive that can hold all this information) it may be worthwhile to do a completely fresh reboot. Most computers come with a disk that you can use to safely reboot the computer and once it is done the information on the computer should be as clean as when the tower came out of the manufacturer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Removing programs that start on log in

Have you had a program that starts whenever you log in to your account and you can't get it to stop? Well there is a somewhat painless way to make sure it does not pop up unless you activate it. All that needs to be done to do this is to first open up your "Run" window (windows xp is in the start menu, Vista+ is accessed by holding the windows button and pressing r, or you can search for it.) and then you type in "msconfig" without the quotes. This will open up the System Configuration and there will be a tab called Startup that will list all of the programs that start when you log in to your account. Make sure you only uncheck the programs that you know that is not related with how the computer runs. After you uncheck the programs you do not want to start on log in it will prompt you to restart or to continue without restarting and that's your choice if you want to check it right away or not.

I decided that if I think of something that could be useful I will just update it soon after the idea comes up. Updates will come faster if I have question in the comments.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Just a small update about routers.
If you have multiple computers or game consoles that need to be hooked up to the internet at the same time then you should already have or should get a router. It's a simple device that has a slot for the ethernet cord with the internet service going in and splits the power between all the wire for the normally 4 output (can be more) ethernet ports that can go into any device that requires network connection.

If you have things that require wireless connection and you do not have wi-fi service then you will have to purchase a wireless router. It still contains the output ethernet ports so you can still split between the wired and wireless devices. But with wireless output there is danger of other people stealing your service so you have to put some security on the router. Every router has a way to access the settings on it through a computer that is hooked up to it. The best option is usually one where you have to input a password to be able to access the service given by the router, so that anyone that tries to connect to it first has to put in the password you assign.

Given the choice between having a wireless connection or having a wired connection, the wired is the best way to go. Since you have a solid (literally) connection you do not have to worry about randomly losing connection or how far it is from the router to the computer. Also it takes less time for information to travel through  the wire then to travel through the air. The only downside is that the wires are hard to get from one room to another without being obvious and also damage to the wire is always a risk.

So hope you still have some questions for me and just leave them in the comments. Have a good day

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cleaning the monitor

Now this will probably be a short update. First I'll mention the easiest to clean, but now is mostly obsolete with all companies. Glass screen monitors are quite easy as you can clean them the same way you clean a window. The only concern is that you do not get liquids into the monitor (spraying into the container of the monitor).

LCD monitors are a lot more difficult to clean since they are very sensitive to getting scratched and or getting damaged by there being to much pressure applied when cleaning. It is best when cleaning to turn off the monitor just so it is easier to see where it is dirty. The first thing you want to do is get a specialized cloth which I believe is called a microfiber cloth (the same cloth used to clean sight corrective glasses) these cloths are designed specifically not to scratch sensitive surfaces. When using the cloth DO NOT put too much pressure on the screen because this can damage the pixels on the monitor. If you are unable to get a good clean it is okay to put purified water onto the cloth. But DO NOT spray or put water directly onto the screen as it can damage the interior of the screen.

Now as a side note, laptops... they are difficult to work with since they are designed to not be changed in the interior due to the fact that they are made to be small. Most problems like overheating or anything having to do with the computers parts are not very fixable. In most cases you will have to go to where you bought it or contact the laptops manufacturer to get parts fixed. They are just designed to be small and efficient and in that they made them nearly impossible to work on personally.

Yet again if there are any other questions just leave a comment.

somewhat stuck

I am not sure of many more common problems that people would have so if anyone has something they need help with just leave a comment and I'll work with that. Thanks for reading

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Proper computer maitinance

Now if you ever find yourself noticing that your computer is starting to run slower ,or things of that sort, there are actual thing that are suppose to be normally done to keep your computer running as fast as it should. Now am I saying that doing these things will make your computer run as good as new with all updates freshly attached? No sadly there are just some things that are difficult to find and then fix once a computer starts to age and it is nearly unavoidable that your computer will start slowly diminishing until you need to buy a new one. But I will put up some info that will help you slow down that process.

1. Drive defragment is something that any computer owner should do once in a while; Especially defragmenting after installing many new programs or uninstalling them. If you are asking what this means then more then likely you need to do this as soon as possible. The way you do it is to go to your Computer window (meaning click start and click the option that says "Computer" not referring to the monitor...) and going to the "Properties" of the drive that you keep all of your programs on. The most common drive that this is on is the "C:" drive, unless you have installed addition memory space in which you would probably know the drive letter for that. What you want to find is most commonly in the Tools tab and will refer you a button option that mentions defragmentation. What your computer is going to do is scan all the files inside that drive and find the files that are placed within that are put in an inefficient location from where other folders that are related to it are. After that, it will organize and make it so that the computer will not have to travel as far as a distance to find info that is related to what it is trying to do, therefore making it run faster. Warning, this will take a few hours to do so you might want to start the process when you either do not need the computer for a while or before you go to sleep.

2. Cleaning your computer is very important. In most towers (the part of the computer that isn't the monitor.) there is one fan in-taking air to keep the parts cool. But through this process it also pulls in dust which can gather then slow, and or make it harder, to move the fan. Also gathered dust can cause static electricity that can fry parts (this is highly unlikely unless left unintended for a LONG time.). But many parts in a computer can be a little loose and or fragile so using a vacuum is usually not your best option, also using other things such as dusters can cause static shocks which can in turn fry information and or parts. The best way is to used canned pressurized air to blow out the dust that has collected inside the computer. Blowing air into the computer causes no static and if it knocks a cord loose just make sure to put it back to where it was. If you are still not sure then just find a computer shop or electronics store that offers cleaning service for computers. Often the services are a bit expensive (about 20 dollars) but that is because they are responsible for any damage done to the computer and are required to replace any broken parts.

3. Video card upkeep and requirements. This is only for people that have bought and had installed a new video card for their computer. Video cards increase the ability of a computer to show more vivid and fluid motions on screen which is necessary for most any games that are being made now. But what most people do not know is that most power supplies (the part inside the computer that the power plug is connected to.) can not handle running your video card at full capacity while powering the rest of your computer. It is necessary to purchase a new power supply that exceeds the wattage needed to run the video card that is inside your computer. Most stores will warn you of this and tell you that you will need it. But if you purchase one online and have it installed afterward, you will have no warning that you are exceeding the limitations of your power supply. What the computer will do is give the minimum power to the parts necessary to run the computer and give the remaining supply to the video card, making it run at partial capacity while giving the risk of parts overheating and destroying parts inside of the computer.

4. Video card heat problems. Many video cards now have fans attached to itself to keep it cool while running. But many video cards still have trouble over heating due to high activity. What you can do to make sure it is at a good temperature is to put an additional intake fan into your computer, or to make sure that the fan on the video card is running properly. Signs of overheating is sudden stops of activity on screen and or sudden color change of colors in video games. There is usually no standard way to check the temperature of your video card, but there are many programs online that can show you the temperature of most of your computer parts. If you do confirm overheating or breaking of fans on your video card, it is best to contact the manufacturer since most have warranties that cover it for a year. But if your video card is old and or there is no fan connected to your video card the best option is to buy a new one.

5. Updating your computer. Most system parts are automatically updated and are self handled, but it never hurts to make sure your computer is updating properly and that your operating system is at its latest package. Any part that you add on to your computer will have to be manually updated. If you search the brand of any part that you install they should have a section that is dedicated to updating and fixing bugs of said parts. Big ones that are missed are video cards (yes again) that are later found to be incompatible with certain games and programs and should be updated on a regular basis to avoid any problems.

I did not intend on updating this much info but oh well. Good stuff to know and to remember if forgotten. If you have any issues with the info giving or need info that is not addressed here then leave a comment.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some basics that should be well known to all who go online

I'm just going to put some information that can solve many problems for those newer to the internet.

1. Regardless to what sites you visit there is always a chance to get viruses through tricky link redirection to rogue ads on trustworthy sites. If you want a good free virus scanner I recommend AVG it is good to scan your computer regularly due to it being easy to get cookies that track which sites you go to. If you still think your computer may be infected or you would rather be protected from more then what AVG covers I also recommend using Malwarebytes which is more effective for picking out malware which can log the key input into your computer making your credit card numbers and passwords in danger.

2. If you are having problems with working with files called torrents then you probably need to know this information. When working with torrents you will always need a medium to be able to connect with other people which you download your information from, which I commonly use Utorrent. Utorrent is a self manageable program where all you need is a small file (usually just a few kilobytes) that lets it locate the computers that contain the information you seek. If what you download has 0 seeders (computers that are sharing the info) then you will not be able to download from that source (also if there is information that the other seeders do not have then the download will not complete). Once you have successfully have a torrent to 100% complete you will have the information stored in your downloads folder which is usually located in C:Users/(insert user name of which has the utorrent)/downloads.

3. If you are trying to find a torrent I would suggest that you would use Google... the only reason why I can not delve into this subject is the semi legal issues that most torrent sites are a part of. But if you need to use this process I would advise to be cautious of the sites that are found. A good way to tell if a site is authentic or not is by putting in enough info for the torrent you are finding but leave out enough so that when you look in the description that it fills in the parts you have left out. For example, if you are looking for music put in the album title then leave out the artist name the descriptions that have the artist name included are more likely to be valid then the ones that only contain the information that you have put in.

 4. If you have a file that you cant access that usual programs suggest that you have to burn it to a disc to access the information, there is another way to access it without wasting a disc. A program I use called Daemon tools (lite version is all that is necessary). With this you can access many files that you would normally have to burn. Basically what it does is make a drive in the computer called a Virtual Disc Drive that makes your computer process the information as if a CD/DVD is inserted into the computer. All you have to do is select the Mount option and locate the file that you are trying to access.

I'll leave it at this for now but if I see more request then I will make another update.