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February 21, 2017

PSA: How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac

Apple MacBook Pro (Touchbar, Late 2016)

As the designated IT person at the office, one of the most common things that happens to me is someone handing me their Mac and asking me to do stuff with it. Despite the fact that I’ve only used Windows for pretty much all my life. Case in point.

The other day, one of my colleagues needed to take a screenshot on his Mac and had no idea how to do it. As I scoffed at his pathetic computer skills telling him repeatedly to hit the Print Screen button to him not understanding a word I said, he handed me the laptop. To my realization that there was no Print Screen button on the computer… Crud. [...]

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February 19, 2017

Create a Bootable Windows USB Drive the Easy Way Using Rufus

Several days ago, we covered where to download a Windows 10, 8.1, or 7 ISO image file, but a common question is what do you do once the image is downloaded? The answer is make a bootable USB drive out of it!

Creating a Windows installation bootable USB drive is incredibly easy thanks to an application called Rufus. Assuming you have your Windows ISO (or Linux/other bootable ISO) ready, the whole process should take no more than 5 minutes.

Here’s how it’s done.

 

Rufus

1. Download Rufus.

2. Plug in a USB drive that’s at least larger than the Windows ISO (or other ISO) file you’re trying make bootable. Keep in mind [...]

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February 17, 2017

Download Windows 10, 8.1, and 7 ISO Using Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool

As computer hardware reviewers, we do a lot of OS installs and having a reliable place to download the Windows Operating System ISOs is critical. Unfortunately, for some reason Microsoft doesn’t offer a quick and easy way to do so.

While Microsoft’s does offer a method to download an installer which can help you create an ISO, it’s a hassle compared to getting a direct link to the ISO file then putting the ISO file onto a bootable USB drive. Another way of course is to go through some sort of Bittorrent site; however, with the questionable legality of doing so along with the risk of downloading a virus/trojan/some other malware along with the [...]

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February 13, 2017

IOPS, Throuhput, Latency: Understanding SSD, HDD Storage Performance Benchmarks

Several weeks ago, we published an article on some of what we consider the best benchmarking applications for testing HDD and SSD performance. After the article was published, we realized that while most of us familiar with storage benchmarking can easily discern what each of the results mean, those not familiar with storage testing have little to no idea what stuff like MB/s, IOPS, or ms actually means and more importantly what the numbers tell us in the grand scheme of storage performance.

As such, today we’ll be covering what most of the storage industry would consider as the trifecta of storage performance: IOPS, Throughput, and [...]

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February 11, 2017

8 Best Tools to Stress Test Your PC (CPU, RAM, GPU, and more)

So you just spent days on days researching, purchasing, and building your perfect new PC. You’ve gone the whole nine yards making sure the entire system is cable managed to a tee, your bright RGB LEDs are installed in just the right spots, and there’s plenty of airflow flowing through the entire system.

You power on your new PC and it seems to be working fine, but you want to make sure it’ll also be perfectly fine when the system has Battlefield loaded at the highest settings while streaming to Twitch for hours on hours.

In order to ensure that there’s no hidden defects, the most important thing to do after building a new PC is to stress [...]

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February 4, 2017

What is a Dual Wan Router, Why You Need One, and How to Set One Up

What is a Dual WAN Router?

As its name implies, a dual WAN router is a router which supports two WAN (Wide Area Network) connections rather than just one which is typical of most consumer routers. Some router manufacturers also make multi WAN routers which will support more than two WAN connections.

 

Why Do You Need One?

For many homeowners and businesses, having 100% internet uptime is more of a necessity than a luxury. As more and more services are running on the internet, everything from voice communications, credit card transactions, and security systems now require the internet to function, which means even a minute of downtime could cost thousands of [...]

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February 3, 2017

How to Use Iperf to Benchmark Network Performance

So you just got a new router and you want to know whether it’s actually faster than your old router or you just got a new wireless card and you want to know how much faster the new wireless card is over the old one. How do you test the performance?

The answer is Iperf. Iperf is a free multi-platform network performance testing application that works on a variety of platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. The way Iperf works is you would connect two systems on a network where one system acts as a client and one acts as a server. Using the client system, the user can initiate a TCP or UDP datastream to the server and the performance will be [...]

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January 26, 2017

5 Best Free Tools for Testing SSD, HDD Storage Performance

With the recent increase in popularity of SSDs, storage performance has returned to the spotlight as SSDs have highlighted the effects of having a slow storage sub-system. For those who own a SSD or have experienced what it’s like to use one, you’ll know that slow storage can easily drag down an entire system even if your system features the latest and greatest Intel Core i7 processor with hundreds of gigabytes of RAM.

As such, testing for storage performance has become more crucial than ever, so to help you test the performance of your drive, here’s five of the best free storage testing utilities.

 

1. ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk [...]

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January 18, 2017

Display Technologies Explained: LCD TN vs IPS vs VA, OLED, Quantum Dot, and More!

For most people, buying a new monitor is typically only about the resolution and size of the display. Ever heard of somebody say they just got a 24-inch 1080p monitor? Or someone who said they got a 4K 27-inch monitor? Sure. In fact, most of us have probably done that ourselves, but while the size and resolution of a display is important, what’s equally if not more important is the display technology behind it, which will tell us more about the color accuracy, latency, viewing angles, and more.

 

LCD

LCD, or Liquid Crystal Displays, first became popular when CRT, or Cathode Ray Tube, monitors became mostly obsolete in last decade. Unlike CRTs which [...]

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January 14, 2017

How We Built a DIY Home Office Server Using FreeNAS

Introduction

Being an Editor here at Custom PC Review, I’m constantly in need of lots of mass storage. At CES 2017, I took over 1,000 14-bit RAW images using a Nikon D800 camera which generated files somewhere between 40MB-45MB each. After exporting them, another set of images are then created which take less, but still require quite a significant amount of storage space. Tack that onto 50Mbps 1080p video along with the thought of possibly doing 4K video down the road and the need for lots of reliable storage quickly adds up.

Of course, the easy solution is to throw a couple hard drives into your PC because that’s cheap and easy, but I also wanted the data [...]

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