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July 19, 2017

8 Best CPU Benchmark Tools to Test Compute Performance

So you just purchased a new PC at Best Buy and the salesman assured you that it’s without a doubt the top of the line, fastest, best of the best PC money could buy. Naturally you buy it because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a top of the line best of the best PC? Now that you’ve taken the system home however, how do you actually know if it’s top of the line or not? The answer? Benchmarks.

While there are benchmarks that cover practically every since PC component along with the system as a whole, today we’ll be showing you the best CPU benchmarks we use here at Custom PC Review to specifically evaluate CPU [...]

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July 13, 2017

What’s the Difference Between a Modem vs a Router vs a Switch

In the computer networking world, the three most ubiquitous pieces of equipment are modems, routers, and switches. These are used everywhere from the datacenter hosting Google to the internet connection in your own home. However, despite how important these three pieces of equipment are, many people are completely oblivious as to what each piece of equipment does, so in this article, we’ll attempt to explain the difference between each piece of equipment and how it all fits in your home network.

 

What is a Modem?

A modem is the short way of saying “modulator, demodulator”. The primary purpose of a modem when used in a home [...]

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July 12, 2017

Five Best Free Encrypted Text Messaging Apps for Android and iOS

Back in 2013, privacy and encryption was thrust into the forefront of mainstream news when NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, leaked a huge repository of classified materials to the press, revealing a lot of very unnerving information about the NSA’s global surveillance programs. Among what was revealed included the NSA’s capability to monitor the online activities of US citizens which include everything from browsing activity to phone calls to e-mails to text messages and much, much more.

While government spying may be worrisome, what should be even more worrisome is the fact that unencrypted transmissions can literally be deciphered by anyone [...]

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July 6, 2017

Is Incognito or Private Browsing Mode Actually Private?

Chances are if you’ve used a modern internet browser in the past few years, you probably know that each browser has some sort of private mode. In Google Chrome, it’s called Incognito, in Microsoft Edge, it’s called InPrivate, and in Mozilla FireFox, it’s called  Private Browsing.

While many have used this type of private browsing functionality, one of the biggest questions that I get is, “Is private browsing actually private?” and the simple answer to this is no.

In fact, each of the browsers specifically warn you before surfing the internet in their respective private browsing modes that while private browsing will keep your [...]

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April 8, 2017

The Best Features of Windows 10 Creators Update

Microsoft Gets Creative

With the Windows 10 Creator Update finally here, we thought it would be helpful to sum up some of the coolest features in this massive patch.

As its name suggests, Windows 10 Creator Update aims to boost Windows 10’s ability to make imagination come to life. When we speak of creators, our minds naturally gravitate towards graphics designers, videographers, and the like, but Creators stands for more than that. As multimedia and entertainment continues to evolve, so have different forms of creativity. With the expansion of gaming, VR, and 3D, creative mediums are more diverse than ever.

Of course, along with many of the new features aimed at [...]

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July 7, 2017

How to Speed Up Your Slow PC

There’re no two ways about it: all PCs slow down without proper maintenance. Before you decide to recycle your machine, try following this simple guide to see if you can squeeze out an extra bit of performance.

 

1. Run Windows Update

Windows tries its best to let you know when new updates with crucial bug fixes and stability improvements get released. However, sometimes the updates don’t automatically apply. If you’re experiencing a slow system, it may be that you need to update your system. This is especially important for newly purchased machines.

 

2. Identify Rogue Programs With Task Manager

The Windows [...]

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March 10, 2017

Chrome vs Edge vs Firefox: Which is the Best Browser for Battery Life?

If you’ve used a PC lately, you’ve probably seen messages from both Microsoft and Google trying to coax you into using their respective web browsers. Google’s iconic “Get Chrome” banner on Google.com appears so often that many people just download Chrome simply to get rid of it. Microsoft on the other hand peppers your Windows 10 desktop with persistent notifications, constantly reminding you about the new Edge browser and how much safer, faster, or power efficient it is. Then you have Mozilla Firefox, the humble, open-source browser silently watching from the sidelines.

While all three browsers have their pros and cons, one thing they all claim [...]

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October 10, 2016

6 Reasons Why You Should Buy a SSD If You Don’t Own One Already

When we first started covering the world of SSDs back in 2012, the industry was still in its infancy. At the time, the performance benefits of SSD technology were clearly greater than HDDs, but due to high prices, low capacities, and incomplete OS support, it just simply wasn’t the time.

However, fast forward to 2016 and today the SSD landscape is a much different place than it was almost 5 years ago. Prices are much less expensive, capacities now reach up to 4TB in a single drive, and modern operating systems such as Windows 10 fully support SSDs right out of the box.

As such, here are 6 of the top reasons why you should buy a SSD [...]

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September 28, 2016

6 Reasons Why Your Next Upgrade Should Be a Second Monitor

If you’re deciding which new keyboard or mouse you should splurge on next, forget it. Your next investment should be a new monitor. What’s magical about a new monitor is that anyone – not just the power users, can benefit from a secondary display.

Screen estate is precious for the most of us. A single screen can quickly get cluttered with innumerable tabs, documents, videos, virtual machines, settings panes, development environments…you get the idea. You can mitigate the problem somewhat by creating virtual workspaces in Linux or Virtual Desktops in Windows 10, but it’s still frustrating to hop back and forth between screens when juggling [...]

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February 16, 2017

Five MySQL, MariaDB Settings to Tune for Best Performance

When I began my journey of running a website about 5 years ago, I had very little experience working with servers. Since then, I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and optimizing the Custom PC Review server which has spanned several types of web servers, several types of database servers, multiple caching softwares, firewalls, and probably a couple more pieces of software that I completely forgot about. Of all the different things that need to be tuned in a server however, I’ve learned that one of the biggest pieces is the database, which if configured incorrectly, can literally make even the most powerful server in the world crumble on the lightest [...]

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