Hardware recommendation posts should discuss how to make hardware decisions for oneself. Direct shopping recommendations are off-topic and will be closed, so be very careful posting hardware recommendations.

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62
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5answers
7k views

What do I need to consider when buying hardware to meet my needs?

I'm looking to build a new computer from the ground up. I'm not sure what to look out for and need guidance and help on how to pick the hardware needed to construct my new rig. How do I know what to ...
35
votes
4answers
5k views

When to stop using a hard drive? What rules/software apply?

When having a old hard disk - when should you stop using it ? I recently got a new 1 TB hard disk, and am left with 3 old hard drives (320 GB, 250GB, 160 GB). I am now wondering which of them to ...
26
votes
2answers
811 views

Computer and Internet use on a boat?

Let's assume that I seriously would like to be able to use my computer as easily and as carefreely while on a boat as I do while at home. In short, if I were on a boat for extended periods, such as ...
23
votes
6answers
18k views

Recommended gigabit 802.11n routers that work with DD-WRT [closed]

I've read this question, and checked out the supported devices list, but am looking specifically for a gigabit 802.11n router that is easy to find and fully supported by DD-WRT. It seems like some of ...
17
votes
13answers
738 views

Do “Natural” keyboards make it harder to use standard keyboards?

I am considering purchasing this style keyboard with the split keys. I found it a bit awkward to use at first but I'm sure I will get used to it. That's the problem. If you use this style ...
11
votes
12answers
1k views

RAM, Processor, L2Cache, Etc. - What gives you the most “Bang for your buck”?

I am not a hardware person when it comes to computers so when I buy a new one I just pick the one with the biggest numbers, but I know I am most likely wasting money. If you're going to purchase a ...
10
votes
6answers
27k views

Maximum number of monitors Win 7 Supports?

I want to set up a system with (9) monitors arranged in a 3x3 grid. Is this configuration possible with Windows 7? Does it max out at a set number of monitors? Any suggestions about known working ...
9
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3answers
418 views

Buying a laptop, specs are confusing me

So, the FSB and cache specs are what confuse me. Intel® Pentium™ Dual Core T4300 (2.1GHz/800Mhz FSB/1MB cache) as opposed to paying $200 more for: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz/1066Mhz ...
8
votes
8answers
542 views

Making an old computer quieter

I have an old Athlon XP computer that I've been using as a Smoothie Router for about 3 years now, after my first Smoothie router (a Pentium 2 266Mhz) died. One of the most aggravating things about ...
7
votes
7answers
828 views

Htpc aka “Media Center”: cheap and *silent*?

It may be me, or the place I live (Italy), but it seems pretty hard to get a build or a prebuilt nettop or a laptop that fits the need. I need something silent able to playback all h.264 fullhd ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Number of sectors per track in hard drive?

Is the number of sectors fixed for each track in a hard drive? I am wondering about this because most hard drive specifications give an accurate value for sectors/track rate. I am confused because I ...
6
votes
5answers
16k views

Why aren’t there any USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet adapters out there?

I’m looking for an adapter that will let me use a USB 3.0 port as a Gigabit Ethernet port. This is proving surprisingly hard to find! Is there some reason why this product is either unavailable or ...
6
votes
2answers
314 views

How can a harddrive be “optimized for surveillance storage”?

Some internal harddrives are advertised as "optimized for surveillance storage" (and similarly, "optimized for gaming"). What makes these types of drives special or different from "standard" ...
6
votes
3answers
14k views

How can I take a single hotel Wifi connection and share it out amongst devices via Wifi?

Many hotels these days still have pretty dreadful Wifi. Often the worst offender is the "you still only have one Wifi device, right?" assumption; you get a username/password combo, and using it on ...
6
votes
3answers
355 views

What kind of chip to use for underwater robotics? [closed]

I have no experience with embedded systems hardware and am looking to build a micro-budget underwater robot for exploring the bottom of a lake on the family homestead. I don't have much money to spend ...
6
votes
5answers
12k views

IDE/PATA high-speed hard drive dock

I frequently need to access bare drives for backups and need a quick, high-speed way to deal with them. There are a multitude of SATA hard drive docks (for example), but I have a lot of IDE/PATA ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Laptop screen resolution advice - how dense is too dense? [closed]

I'm currently in the process of deciding what kind of laptop I want to buy. I pretty much have it narrowed down to particular model that has a 15.6" screen. I have a little bit of a dilemma with ...
5
votes
7answers
315 views

Are there solutions for watching television on a computer?

I'd like to be able to watch TV in a window while working on other projects... Is the current state of tuner hardware to the point where this would be possible? What are the most popular cards out ...
5
votes
4answers
406 views

Best Floppy Drive for reading old floppies

I have a stack of about 30 floppy disks (3.5" type) that have some old childhood memories on them. However, I'm putting them into my random "cheapo" USB floppy drive and every single one is coming ...
5
votes
1answer
69 views

When buying a new PC, should I stick to known brands or configure myself? [closed]

Six years ago configuring a PC was so simple. Nowadays everything has become very hard – and for most users, it's too hard to understand the technical terms. At the moment I am trying to configure a ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

What is push-pull cooling?

I was reading review site that said the best option to setup a liquid cooling system (Corsair h100) would be to use a push-pull configuration. What does this mean? My guess was air pulled from ...
5
votes
1answer
414 views

Any major performance difference between 1066MHz and 1150MHz RAM?

I'm currently thinking of upgrading my current gaming machine from it's original 2GB configuration. It's currently using a pair of Kingston HyperX PC2-9200 DDR2 1150MHz RAM (KHX9200D2K2/2G - kit of 2 ...
5
votes
3answers
917 views

Are there any alternatives to the Apple Mighty Mouse that have the small trackball for scrolling?

Other than the Mighty Mouse itself, that is, as I don't like their tactile "feel". Preferably with: USB interface OSX/Windows support 3+ buttons
5
votes
5answers
380 views

What PCI video card should I get for my third display? [closed]

I got a new display, but my PC vid card only has two heads. Looking for recommendation that satisfies this: PCI (not express, my motherboard only has one express slot) Fanless Powerful enough to ...
4
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7answers
3k views

How does FaceBook build servers with 12+ hard drives

From The FB Blog: ... is deployed on top of commodity storage blades. The typical hardware configuration of a 2U storage blade is – 2 x quad-core CPUs 16GB – 32GB memory hardware raid ...
4
votes
6answers
4k views

ReadyBoost in Windows 7

I've bought an SD card today for my phot frame, but when I inserted it into my notebook I saw I could use it for ReadyBoost. Some background I'm a .net developer, using VMs and developing web ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Gaming: HDD vs Hybrid vs SSD

The question is: Can I make an estimate with a game's system requirements to decide which type of disk is "better" for it? Background: I bought a SSD drive. I wanted speed, but, as usual there's ...
4
votes
8answers
719 views

Non-portable MP3 player (hw)

I would like to get a cheap device that could be plugged into wall electricity socket and play MP3s from a flash card or internal flash memory or hard drive. It does not need have speakers, I would ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

What limits my laptop on upgrading RAM at 8GB?

I have a Toshiba Portege M780-S7240. It's an i7, 64-bit and currently has 4GB RAM. I'd like to upgrade to 16GB. (If it matters, I'm running 64-bit Ubuntu.) I checked with a RAM vendor who said it ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Buying replacement Macbook Pro Battery - Genuine vs. eBay

I'm looking to replace my Macbook Pro's battery (15", last model before the Unibody). It's currently at 55% capacity (as reported in System Information and Battery Health Monitor). I've reset the ...
4
votes
5answers
17k views

Recommend a wireless PCI card for Windows 7

I have a crummy RT2500-based 11g card which does work in Windows 7 with the Vista driver (3.2.0.0) but it dies about every two hours or so. Googling around has led me to conclude that Ralink drivers ...
3
votes
2answers
36k views

What are PCI and PCI Express slots used for?

I'm comparing different Micro-ATX motherboards for a home server build and I was wondering what I would use PCI and PCI Express slots for? Are these used for hard-drives, GPUs, RAID controllers, RAM ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the best ways to duplicate DVDs in bulk?

I have some instructional videos I am getting ready to release on DVD and I want to know what is the quickest and most cost effective way to produce these in bulk? I am open to both customized PC ...
3
votes
3answers
668 views

WiFi N Gigabit Router

I'm looking for a WiFi N Gigabit router. I'll be using an iPod Touch 2G and a 2009 17" MacBook Pro over WiFi, and I need at least 4 gigabit ethernet ports plus a WAN port. What do people recommend? ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Notebook CPU that supports 16GB of memory? [closed]

I am planning to buy a new notebook, and among the requirements I thought that I want 8GB of memory now, and the possibility to upgrade to 16 later. I have done some searching and I have learned that ...
3
votes
4answers
832 views

How can I obtain/build a wireless volume knob for Windows?

I use my computer as a media center and simply love it. It's an older box running XP and it works better than everything else I've tried turning into a media center (Windows 7, Vista, several Linux ...
3
votes
1answer
7k views

Will you be able to change the SSD in the Google Chromebook Pixel?

The new Google Chromebook Pixel really looks interesting. However, it comes with a small SSD of 32 or 64GB. Even with cloud storage, that's small. So will you be able to easily change the SSD?
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Is Thermaltake BlacX eSATA Docking Station compatible with 3TB hard drives? [closed]

Is hard drive toaster such as Thermaltake BlacX eSATA Docking Station compatible with 3TB hard drives such as Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB SATA III 64 MB Cache Bare/OEM Desktop Hard Drive?
3
votes
3answers
7k views

Recommendation for USB based 802.11n network adapter with native driver support in Linux? [closed]

Can you recommend a USB based 802.11n network adapter that has native driver support for Linux? In particular, I don't want to use ndiswrapper. The card must support WPA (preferably through WPA ...
3
votes
2answers
644 views

What is the most Linux friendly video card chipset/manufacturer on the market?

I've wasted an absurd amount of time trying to get my nVidia card to function properly in Linux (Ubuntu & Fedora). I've decided to purchase a new video card that will "just work" with any Linux I ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Suggestions for small, power efficient, media center PC? [closed]

I need a Windows Media Center PC. It should have: HDMI output small form factor Be able to handle a TV tuner that can decode clear QAM (i get basic cable w/o a decoder box and i get all the local ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

RAM. What is interleaved memory?

I want to mix some RAM sticks: Actually I have 2 DDR3 sticks x2 GB (on slots 1,3 to work in Dual Channel - an they are working, if believe to CPU-Z tool). I want to put in other 2 slots (2nd and 4th) ...
3
votes
1answer
433 views

what is the difference between ASIC and FPGA

Recently I started to experiment with FPGAs and while doing this I found out about ASICs. Can anyone explain me the main differences between them. From what I have read so far, I understand the ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Can a laptop hard drive be used in a desktop computer? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can I install a laptop 2.5" SATA drive on a desktop without any adapters? The drive is: Kingston SSDNow V+200 SVP200S3 / 240G 2.5" 240GB SATA III Internal Solid ...
3
votes
2answers
991 views

Is there a meaningful SINGLE UNIT measure of computing power?

A discussion has arisen on the English Language SE site about the term computing cycles, where I personally think normal usage is clock or processor cycles. Obviously different processor & ...
3
votes
4answers
878 views

Wet hard drive recovery - copper oxidation

I'm a stack overflow user and I hope it's ok to ask this question here. I have the age old problem of having spilled beer on my laptop. Luckily there's not much that isn't backed up and i'm on a live ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Are there any good soft keyboards?

My office is right next to my daughter's room and my typing sometimes wakes her up. Are there any soft keyboards that anyone recommends that would not make as much sound as a regular keyboard when ...
3
votes
1answer
723 views

Best home electric automation kit available right now? [closed]

Been looking to automate my home electricity usage. Would love to... Walk into my house with my iPhone (+ Bluetooth))... ... and a server that controls lighting + air-conditioning + appliances (e.g ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

Systematic criteria for selecting a new hard drive for servers

I'm required to come up with a specification for a new HDD to be purchased for a server I admin. The current disk (purchased pre-installed in the system) already shows I/O errors (as evidenced by ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

What to look for in a good UPS?

I just asked this question where my PC may have been fried due to a power surge. Now I'm browsing around and I'm curious what characteristics make a quality UPS? What should I be looking at? Should I ...