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Windows 10 Home vs Pro for Gaming: What's the Difference?

With the esteemed Windows 7 going off life support as of 2020, it, therefore, comes as no surprise that a myriad of users is looking to migrate to Windows 10. Just like its predecessors, the 10 edition is available in different versions. But, there are only two editions that should concern home users; Home and Pro.

To many, the finer differences between the two are not readily apparent. Therefore, whether you’re a casual user, PC gamer, or power user, we’ll delve into the differences between the Pro and Home versions, to permit an informed decision.

Compatibility: 32-bit or 64-bit Machines?

Before we dive into the Pro and Home designation, the first thing to factor in is the CPU architecture. The 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 10 are readily available. So, the one you opt for is solely based on your CPU. Keep in mind, a Home version for a 32-bit system isn’t compatible with a 64-bit machine, and vice versa. Moreover, the 32-bit version 10 exists for older CPUs, whereas the 64-bit option is the default version designed for modern hardware.

Windows 10 Versions

Unbeknownst to most of us, there are less than twelve Windows 10 counterparts, though we’re only familiar with the two or three found in retail stores. Some of the more obscure counterparts include Enterprise, which is an upgraded version of Pro, which has some special features that are only beneficial to IT firms.

There are two versions built with educational institutions in mind and are strikingly similar to the Enterprise edition but have fewer features. For mere mortals, the ones we can purchase in a retail store are the 10 Pro, Home, and Pro for Workstations. The latter is built for use with top of the range hardware and is suited to high-end computers that have up to 6 TB of RAM and four processors.

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Windows 10 Home vs Pro

Before we explore how both versions match up in the gaming world, we’ll start by looking into how they differ at a basic level for normal PC users. For starters, all the fundamental features and layout are nearly identical. Therefore, you’ll find Microsoft Edge, virtual desktops, and Cortana on both.

However, regarding specifications, the Pro has the edge over the Home version, which is the highest RAM it can handle. Home Edition has a maximum RAM of 128GB, which is no match for the Pro that can accommodate up to 2 TB of data at a go.

Other Perks of the Pro Edition

It’s targeted at PC ‘power users’ or SMEs. Furthermore, the Pro edition comes with a free service known as ‘Windows Update for Business.’ It entails multi-layered protection and security for the applications, computer, identity, and regular updates to provide unmatched security.

Furthermore, the 10 Pro has extra security apps known as Device Guard coupled with Secure Boot to curb malicious code hijacking a user’s PC. It also includes business-oriented features such as remote desktop (RDP) for accessing your computer from other locations via an android mobile device. And, there’s an assigned access feature that grants employees or co-workers access to certain apps on your computer.

Windows 10 and Gaming

Now you know a couple of Windows 10 features that are suited to gaming. So, let’s discuss how beneficial these features are and if others can enhance your PC gaming experience.

For starters, let it be it known that in its predecessors, Microsoft hasn’t done a decent job of integrating gaming systems. Nonetheless, they made an effort by introducing a feature called ‘Games for Windows’ which, unfortunately, got off to a rocky start. Instead of making the Operating System more gaming-friendly, Microsoft chose to shift its focus to Xbox, which is unarguably their best-selling console.

Luckily, all that has changed with Windows 10, which Microsoft has meshed well with Xbox. So, gamers can use the Xbox app on their computers to stream games or delight in significantly enhanced graphics. This is due to Windows 10 fully welcoming DirectX 12 with open arms, which boosts the visual enjoyment of games.

Windows 10 Gaming Features

Below are the main gaming features that users can expect from this Microsoft variation.

1. Xbox Gaming App

Users can connect their computers to the same interface that the X-Box console uses to stream videos, communicate with other gamers in real-time, and purchase games. Most importantly, they can delight in multiuser game streaming.

2. Cross-Platform Gaming

Users can compete with other players with no competitive disadvantage. So, gameplay using a computer mouse or keyboard has equal responsiveness as those using game controllers. And, the good news is, there’s a spike in the number of cross-platform games.

3. Streaming Games

As fate would have it, your TV is fully-booked, leaving you with no screen to play your favorite game. When this happens, fret not because the 10 edition is your holy grail. It’ll allow you to stream a barrage of games from your X-Box console to your PC. Given that the console still controls the game, there’s no loss in action or speed, and you get to use the controller as normal.

4. Recording and Screenshots

For some of us, relying on third-party software to take snap screenshots and record is the norm. If you fall into this category, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can capture as many screenshots of your gaming sessions as you wish. Moreover, you can record a game as you play it.

Pricing

For a multitude of users, choosing Windows 10 Home vs Pro for gaming boils down to the pricing. Typically, you can expect to pay roughly $130 to $139 for Windows 10 Home if you order from Amazon or buy it directly from the Microsoft website. Nonetheless, you have free rein to buy a hard copy that’s usually cheaper than the digital version.

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If you opt for the Pro edition, you’ll have to shell out extra bucks. Buying it from Microsoft directly will cost you approximately $200, whereas ordering from Amazon will cost roughly $189. But again, hard copies are usually cheaper, so you can catch it at a discount and save a few bucks.

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Lastly, if you wish to upgrade from the Home to the Pro edition, you can order a license from the Microsoft website for $100.

The Verdict

When it comes down to Windows 10 Home vs Pro for gaming, there’s no objectively right or wrong choice. This is because it depends on your intended use of the Operating System.

If you’re a no-frills or casual gamer who has no interest in premium features, then the cheaper Home edition is right up your alley. You’ll save a solid amount of cash and won’t find anything missing from your gaming experience. Contrarily, if you’re a ‘power user’ or computer enthusiast, then the Pro version is well worth the extra bucks.

You don’t have to be an IT guru or business owner to value the Pro’s more sophisticated features. Furthermore, it’ll continue accruing more intriguing features over time, thus ushering in enhanced flexibility.

Verdict: Home edition will suffice for most gamers, so don’t feel the need to come out of pocket for the Pro version if its extra features are of no use to you.


3 Best Looking Mechanical Keyboards for PC Gamers

3 Best Looking Mechanical Keyboards for PC Gamers

3 Best Looking Mechanical Keyboards for PC Gamers

As a PC gamer, you don’t want any old keyboard. You’re not spending your day typing. You need a keyboard that lets you conquer kingdoms and defeat ogres with style.

There are must-have features for your gaming keyboard. Some of the features tailored to your preferences.

But you don’t need to throw style at the bottom of the list of keyboard needs. A keyboard with flair is important too if it’s important to you.

And there are tons of pretty cool keyboards to choose from.

We built a list of the best looking mechanical keyboards for PC gamers that we know you’re going to go crazy over.

These three gaming keyboards are the best of the best for their awesome designs.

1. Dell Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard AW768 

Dell Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard AW768

People tend to forget about Alienware when it comes to gaming peripherals. But they shouldn’t because Alienware knows gamers and design.

They always have the coolest designs and coolest gaming equipment, with a healthy markup.

 What is it made from?

This Alienware keyboard is made of plastic.

Despite the plastic, it’s sturdy and durable -it’s not cheap plastic.

It’s still a bummer that they don’t use any strong materials like they do with a lot of their other products. 

What makes the design stand out?

The keyboard has a zone-based AlienFX RGB backlight for an “unearthly” glow to all the keys. You have six zones you can customize.

AlienFX has dynamic lighting effects that tie to your gameplay.

It has a sleek and modern look with Alienware’s signature alien logo. 

Other Cool Features

Six dedicated macro keys make repetitive tasks simple. And the keys create shortcuts which also make your life so much simpler.

They’re positioned on the left side of the Alienware keyboard.

The volume dial is a favorite feature on this mechanical keyboard. Instead of hitting the volume buttons over and over again, you roll the dial up or down.

Our Rating for Design: 3 and a half stars out of 5

2. SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 

SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

SteelSeries always makes superior gaming products, from their headsets to their keyboards. They haven't been around long but they know what they’re doing.

This SteelSeries Apex Pro keyboard is a top contender against other gaming keyboards.

What is it made from? 

The keyboard is made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. This is a heavy-duty keyboard. No amount of hard gaming will destroy such a hardcore keyboard.

It’s made to last you a lifetime.

What makes the design stand out? 

The RGB illumination is awesome. There’s unmatched customization with 16.8 million colors per key.

Another great design feature is to help with your comfort while gaming. It has a magnetic wrist rest. The wrist rest has full palm support.

Plus, it’s ergonomic and has a soft-touch finish.

Other Cool Features

It has omnipoint adjustable switches for the keys. The switches let you customize the actuation point, ranging from 0.4 millimeters to 3.6 millimeters.

The keys’ magnetic sensors can give you a response time of eight times faster.

Since there’s no direct contact when you press the keys, they don’t wear down from constant use. SteelSeries promises consistency for 100 million key presses.

It has a clickable roller and media keys. You can adjust volume, brightness, skip, and pause with ease while you’re gaming.

There’s an OLED smart display. The display is a command center for adjusting the settings. You can also track on-the-fly info straight from the game you’re playing to Discord.

To set the keyboard up to your computer, all you need is a flash drive, a USB device, or a wireless transmitter.

Our Rating for Design: 4 and a half stars out of 5

3. Corsair K95 Platinum XT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 

Corsair K95 Platinum XT Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Corsair’s Platinum XT mechanical gaming keyboard is one of the best out there and has a fun design that sticks out. The customizable lights are fun to mess with and lights up the keys for visibility.

You’ll impress all your gamer friends when they see this keyboard sitting on your desk.

What is it made from? 

The frame of the keyboard is anodized brushed aluminum. This heavy-duty aluminum metal makes sure it’s sturdy and super durable.

It’s not going to break under the pressure of angry gaming. You’ll have this gaming keyboard forever.

What makes the design stand out? 

It has a per-key RGB back-lighting for its vibrant colors. The top of the gaming keyboard has a 19-zone LightEdge so those vibrant colors flow all over the keyboard. You can customize it as you like.

Our favorite feature on this keyboard is the detachable palm rest. It’s a soft-textured leatherette rest. It’s plush against your wrists and palms for comfort while you're gaming.

Did we mention it’s freaking detachable?

It has that flat and sleek look that fits in with almost any gamer’s PC setup.

Other Cool Features

All the keys on this keyboard give you a super-fast 1.2-millimeter actuation point. There’s reliability for up to 100 million keystrokes.

There are six dedicated macro keys. They can are customizable and programmable to make your gaming easier.

Corsair tuned this keyboard for low noise operation even at full load. It’s always a plus when you don’t have to hear yourself clacking and clicking on keys while playing. It’s less distraction for you and less annoyance for everyone around you.

Our rating for Design: 5 stars out of 5

Final Thoughts 

Your gaming keyboard doesn’t have to be boring looking if you want high-quality. You can find cool designs while looking for keyboards that make gaming easier.


How to Use a Capture Card for PC

How to Use a Capture Card for PC

How to Use a Capture Card for PC

Every serious gaming streamer needs a capture card. You need it to stream from your PlayStation, Xbox, or gaming PC to your streaming computer. You need it to stream from one computer to another without lagging.

So, if you’re ready to step your streaming game on Twitch or YouTube, go buy a capture card. Now!

If you’re new to capture cards, they are somewhat confusing. We’ve all been there. You have to set them up and that can be a headache.

To make your life easier so you can get to your gameplay, we’ve created a guide on how to use a capture card for a PC.

How to Set Up a Capture Card for PC

These steps to setting up a capture card are for internal cards. An external capture card is generally easier to hook up, they often just plug into an HDMI input or a USB port.

For an external capture card you hook an HDMI cable to your gaming PC and lead it to the capture device. Plug the HDMI cable into the capture device. Hook the capture card into your other PC or console through a USB device.

Now it’s time to set up your internal capture card.

1. First, turn the power off on your PC before you start. You don’t want to end up shocking yourself.

2. Disconnect every single cord from the back of your PC, including the power cord. They’ll only get in your way while you’re working.

3. You need a screwdriver for this next step. You have to remove the cover of your PC so you can get to a PCI slot. A PCI slot is where you’re going to put your capture card.

4. Now, you have to lay your computer down on its’ side so the motherboard is facing up.

5. Find a free PCI slot inside of the motherboard. Behind the slot, there’s a small bracket. Use your screwdriver to unscrew this bracket and take it out.

6. It’s time to install the capture card. You have to carefully slide the capture card into the PCI slot. Make sure it’s locked in before you head to the next step.

7. Once you lock the capture card in, you have to screw it into the PC case.

8. It’s time to put everything back together. First, screw the cover back onto the PC. Plug all the cords back in and turn it on.

9. Your computer should detect the hardware once it’s running. It’s going to lead you through installing the drivers needed for the capture card.

10. You’re going to need the software that comes with most capture cards. You’ll have to put the disc in and follow the prompts to set it up.

11. Once you’ve finished all this, all you have to do is restart your PC. 

How to Use a Capture Card for PC

Use a Capture Card for PC

Source: canva.com

If you have your capture card set up, we bet you’re ready to stream. But there are a few more steps you have to take to get there.

Here are the steps it takes so you can start streaming.

1. We’re going to start at your gaming PC. Start on your desktop. Right-click and select “Display Settings”. If no “Display Settings” option comes up, search for it.

2. While in “Display Settings”, hook up a second screen. You’ll have to choose the “Duplicated Display” option.

3. Start a video on the computer or something with movement. This way when you’re on the streaming PC, you can check that it’s working right. You can make sure it’s not lagging and it’s projecting correctly. You also should make sure the sound works.

4. Now you’re going to work on your streaming PC. Some capture cards have streaming software. But most of these programs are junk. There are tons of options out there including StreamLab or you can download OBS for free. Whatever software you’re using, make sure the capture card is set up as the video source.

5. A preview should start on the software. It’ll show you what’s happening on the screen of your gaming computer. This is when you making sure everything is running right.

6. You’re almost ready to stream. Stay at your streaming computer and keep your software open. Open up your browser and go to the website you want to stream at. You should have an account ready and sign in. Twitch is the most popular choice but there are other platforms too.

7. Whatever platform you choose, you need to find the stream key in your account settings. Once you find the numbers, right-click and copy it.

8. Go back to your streaming software. There should be stream settings that let you pick out what platform you’re streaming on. It’s going to ask for that stream key. So, paste the numbers to activate it. You need to also select the “Auto” option in the settings. Make sure you save your new settings.

9. In the software you use, make sure you have the game capture setting added. It’ll prompt and ask you a few questions, including the name of the game.

10. Make sure your microphone is set up on your streaming software. There should be a “Mic/Aux” setting. Select your microphone.

11. Are you going to stream your webcam too? You should be able to add your webcam to stream. Most software lets you adjust where the window is on the streaming screen.

12. You’re finally ready to stream. You’ve done all the hard work of setting up your capture card and hooking it up to your computer. It’s time to hit the software’s “Start Streaming” option. 

Final Thoughts

It takes a lot of work to become a streaming gamer. To make sure everything is right, you must have a capture card.

Source of Featured Image: canva.com


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Benefits and Disadvantages of Dual Graphics Cards - Is It Worth It?

In many instances, two is better than one, and that’s no different for PCs. Some techies believe that having dual graphics cards is just as essential as several core processors. While reputable brands like NVIDIA and AMD provide options for running multiple cards, is it something you should factor into your gaming experience? Can a single card get the job done? Read on to find the answer to these valid questions, and more.

What Are the Requirements?

To use dual graphics cards, your PC requires NVIDIA or AMD technology that ties the cards to generate a single output. The graphics solution for NVIDIA is SLI, whereas that of AMD is CrossFire. For each, your PC must have a compatible motherboard with the required PCI Express graphics slots.

As a tip to discover whether or not a given motherboard supports more than one card, head over to its official product page and keenly go through the specs. Alternatively, you can keep an eye out for the SLI or crossfire symbol that the motherboard was packaged in.

These graphics cards also need a PC case that’s big enough to accommodate the additional hardware and a power supply. Moreover, they must be connected via a bridge connector that may be included with the motherboard or GPU. Lastly, the Crossfire or SLI feature must be activated in the GPU driver control panel.

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What Are the Benefits?

We’ve rounded up some of the perks that stem from using dual graphics cards.

  • Increased gaming performance: When at least two cards render the same 3D visuals, computer games run at higher resolutions with extra filters and greater frame rates. It’s this superior capacity that boosts the graphics quality in most games.
  • Higher resolutions: It’s no secret that single graphics cards of excellent quality can effortlessly handle games with up to 1080p resolutions. But, what you’re getting with more than one card is a higher resolution, thereby ushering in the possibility of utilizing newer technology. For instance, 4K displays that offer four times the resolution.
  • Facilitates upgrades: Using a CrossFire or SLI-compatible motherboard ushers in PC upgrades down the line without replacing the existing graphics card. You have free rein to throw a second card in the mix for enhanced performance without getting rid of the first one. Given that manufacturers typically upgrade these cards every 18 months, finding a compatible card after a two-year window can be an uphill battle.
  • Multiple monitor support: Dual graphics cards allow you to connect to multiple monitors concurrently. While this is not a necessity, it can enhance the gaming experience for some players.

What Is the Flipside?

While dual graphics cards have their perks, it’s a double-edged sword because there’s a flipside to them, as discussed below.

  • High running cost: Top of the range graphics dual cards cost at least $500. But, reputable brands like NVIDIA offer lower-priced options with dual capability. So, techies can spend the same amount of cash for a single card with superior performance to the lower-priced GPUs.
  • Compatibility issues: Not all games are compatible with more than one card. And, some graphics engines don’t mesh well with dual cards. Consequently, some games may exhibit decreased performance. In other instances, shuttering occurs, which makes the game look choppy.
  • Significant power consumption: Dual graphics cards are power-hungry to the point that they can double the amount of energy needed to run them in tandem. For instance, one high-end card may need a 600-watt power supply for proper functioning, whereas two of these cards may need 1000 watts. Furthermore, most PCs for home use aren’t equipped to deal with high-wattage. So, it’s essential to check your system’s power supply wattage to determine whether or not it’s compatible with multiple cards.
  • Performance: The efficacy of a dual-card environment varies based on a computer’s other components. Even with two of the most powerful cards, a low-end processor can throttle the amount of data that a PC supplies to the graphics cards. Therefore, they’re only suitable for top of the range computers.

So What are the Best Graphics Cards to Buy?

You can take your pick from any of the reviewed products below.

1. ASUS GeForce RTX 2070

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It’s powered by NVIDIA Turing that packs 1845 MHz Boost Clock, 8GB GDDR6 memory, and 2560 CUDA Cores. Supporting up to four monitors with one 2.0 HDMI port and three display outputs, the GeForce RTX 2070 is a killer card for the money. It offers IP5X dust-resistance and boosts airflow through the heat-sink courtesy of the three Axial-Tech fans. The backplate designed from sturdy aluminum keeps trace damage and PCB flex at bay.

2. EVGA GeForce GTX 1060

evga geforce gtx 1060 image

Packed with innovative technologies, the GTX 1060 is the perfect option for the latest high-end games. Courtesy of NVIDIA Pascal, this product provides unmatched performance that paves the way for virtual reality (VR) and more. It also features the state-of-the-art ACX cooling technology that constitutes double ball bearings, swept fan blades, and a low power motor. Collectively, they provide increased airflow with reduced power, thus channeling more power to the GPU.

The GTX 1060 is compatible with systems that have a minimum power supply of 400 watts and operate on Windows 7, 8, and 10 (64/32-bit). Armed with a three-year warranty, Real Base Clock of 1607 MHz, and GDDR5 6144 MB memory, users get value for their money.

3. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660

gigabyte geforce gtx 1660 image

With an array of cool features, the GTX 1660 stands out from the rest. For instance, it has a powerful photo mode feature that allows users to capture top-grade photos (HDR, Stereo, and 360-degree) of their games and share their excellent gaming experiences.

Courtesy of the dedicated hardware encoder, you’re assured of 15% better efficiency over older graphics card models. The GTX 1660 also optimized for Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which ushers in topnotch live streaming on various platforms such as YouTube.

Armed with multiple outputs, the silent and efficient Wind-force 2X cooling system, 6GB memory, and an AORUS engine, you’ll be blown away by the overall performance. While the GTX 1660 shoots up to 144 FPS on games such as Destiny 2, it may not be compatible with games that need a stronger card.

To Wrap Up

For average computer users, dual graphics cards are not necessary. They only come in handy for those that stand to gain from an optimized 3D performance. But, if you decide to go down this route, then you must also be ready to shell out extra bucks for the appropriate motherboard. Ultimately, the ball is in your court. So, weigh the pros and cons and check out our reviewed products to permit an informed decision.


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Best Vertical Gaming Mouse - Top 9 Vertical Mouse Reviews

While it is true that many traditional mice can and are used when gaming, the reality is that they simply don't deliver the kind of experience you could get when using a vertical gaming mouse. If you are serious about your gaming and are looking for the kind of gear that will really immerse you into that world fully, then a vertical gaming mouse simply must be part of your arsenal.

This is true whether you are into gaming as a hobby or are into it to earn a part of this billion-dollar industry. Having an ergonomic gaming mouse will not only improve your gaming prowess, but it will also enhance your experience greatly. This is because vertical gaming mice are designed to provide your hand with a comfortable position that can be maintained through hours of continuous gaming.

The trick is in finding the right vertical gaming mouse for your particular needs. Here are 9 of the best options available today:

J-Tech Digital Vertical Ergonomic Mouse

j tech digital vertical ergonomic mouse image

The first thing you will notice about this J-Tech Digital Vertical Ergonomic Mouse is how cool it looks. It has that beautiful vertical design that makes it quite ergonomic, as well as nice blue, LED, which kind of lights up the edges and the outlining, making it look a bit like a futuristic mouse. Apart from the looks, it has a removable palm rest that offers you an option as far as your comfortability is concerned.

Other than that, the mouse is extremely practical. It has a couple of thumb buttons which are not only conveniently placed but can also be customized and reassigned different functionalities to your liking. The adjustable DPI levels ranging between 800, 1200, and 1600 help you adjust the mouse responsiveness according to your preference as well as offer you precise tracking.

Pros:

  • It is beautifully and ergonomically shaped
  • Offers adjustable DPI
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux

Cons:

  • The scroll isn't the best in the world

Verdict: This is a gorgeous looking mouse that offers you multiple levels of sensitivity and responsiveness. It's ideal for serious gamers.

Jelly Comb Wireless Vertical Mouse

jelly comb wireless vertical mouse image

Although the Jelly Comb Wireless Vertical Mouse isn't specifically designed for hardcore gaming, it can still come in good handy and quite useful for hobby gamers. The design helps to reduce the tension in your hands as well as improve your grip, thus giving you an all-around better experience as well as allowing you to play for hours.

Featuring 800 / 1200 / 1600 DPI, this mouse plays well on a variety of surfaces and offers you excellent responsiveness. Additionally, it has high functionality thanks to the number of buttons. Despite being quite affordable, this is a very durable mouse that is compatible with Windows and Linux.

Pros:

  • It is very affordable
  • It has a nice shape which helps to reduce the tension in your hands
  • It offers high responsiveness and can play over a wide range of surfaces

Cons:

  • It's not fully compatible with macOS

Verdict: If you are looking for something that has a nice shape, is highly sensitive, and offers excellent responsiveness, then this is the mouse for you.

AUTLEY Wireless Vertical Mouse

autley wireless vertical mouse image

This AUTLEY Wireless Vertical Mouse is a plug and play mouse that caters for people with big hands. While it's a bit large, it offers you an excellent grip. The one thing stands out the most about this mouse is that it has a silent click feature, which makes it one of the smoothest and quietest gaming mice in the market.

With a powerful built-in battery, this mouse can give you reliable gameplay for about two weeks. You can, however, still use it while it's charging, so you don't lose out on your game time. Equipped with three different DPI levels (800, 1200, and 1600), this mouse is sensitive and highly responsive. It's designed to last long. The buttons have the capability of taking about 5 million clicks before needing a replacement.

Pros:

  • It offers you silent clicks, which makes it a joy to use
  • It has a 90-day money-back guarantee
  • It is quite affordable
  • It has 3 DPI levels and a powerful rechargeable battery

Cons:

  • It works best with big hands

Verdict: If you have big hands and want a silent mouse, then this is the best option for you.

Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

anker 2.4g wireless vertical ergonomic optical mouse image

The Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse is a lightweight and excellently designed gaming mouse that offers you prolonged battery life at an affordable price. While it does offer you a host of wonderful features, one of the most outstanding ones is the fact that it has a power-saving mode into which the mouse will automatically go if left idle for more than 8 minutes.

With a very cool design, this mouse has three DPI levels (800, 1200 and 1600) which makes it very sensitive and gives it precise tracking over various surfaces. Fully equipped with five buttons, this is a vertical gaming mouse that goes to great lengths to ensure that you have a wonderful gaming experience while using it.

Pros:

  • Has 3 DPI settings giving it excellent tracking
  • It is very light (weighs only 3.4 oz.)
  • It has an 18-month warranty despite being very durable

Cons:

  • The battery will need to be replaced at least once every three months or so

Verdict: This is one of the lightest and best designed vertical gaming mice in the market today. It's affordable, durable, and has plenty of buttons.

Delux Ergonomic Vertical Mouse

delux ergonomic vertical mouse image

The first thing that you will notice about the Delux Ergonomic Vertical Mouse is that it has five adjustable DPI levels (800, 1200, 1600, 400, and 4000). Which makes it one of the most sensitive and easily customizable gaming mice around.

Apart from that, it has a very cool look with RGB chasing lights that can be turned off. It also has a removable wrist rest for your comfort, fully programmable keys, and full compatibility with Windows, Linux, and macOS, although the side buttons don't pair well with Mac.

Pros:

  • The buttons are very durable and have been tested for 3 million clicks
  • It has RGB lighting
  • It has a removable wrist rest for your comfort

Cons:

  • It's a bit bulky and might take some getting used to

Verdict: This is a nice, futuristic-looking vertical gaming mouse for people who value customizability.

TRELC Vertical Gaming Mouse with 5 D Rocker

trelc vertical gaming mouse image

With a total of 11 programmable buttons, this TRELC Vertical Gaming Mouse with 5 D Rocker is a gaming mouse that offers you impressive functionality. It's designed is based on ergonomics, which means it greatly reduces the amount of strain placed on your wrist while you play.

What makes this mouse stand out, however, isn't the typical 5 DPI levels or the numerous programmable buttons. It's the fact that it has a five direction rocker, which gives you unparalleled control over your gaming experience. This rocker is the equivalent of five programmable keys. Fully equipped with RGB lighting, this mouse is a flashy as it is functional.

Pros:

  • It has a five direction rocker which gives you a wonderful gaming experience
  • It has a total of 11 programmable buttons
  • Has a removable wrist rest for your comfort
  • Has 5 DPI levels

Cons:

  • The wire is kind of short

Verdict: If ever there was a mouse designed specifically for gaming, it would be this one. It offers you an excellent grip, 11 programmable buttons, and a rocker that is equivalent to 5 buttons.

Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse

logitech mx vertical wireless mouse image

The Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse features advanced ergonomics to bring you a mouse that is geared towards reducing your wrist muscle strain and offering you more control over your gaming. With 4000 DPI, it has a high precision sensor that gives you incredible tracking.

As a wireless as well as rechargeable gaming mouse, this option has a host of functions that allows for seamless navigation across various surfaces. It has Bluetooth smart technology and a wireless USB unifying receiver, which can connect it to up to three different devices at a go.

Pros:

  • It offers 4000 DPI
  • Supports three different operating modes
  • Fully customizable cursor speed switch
  • Powerful rechargeable battery

Cons:

  • Not a whole lot of buttons

Verdict: Have you been looking for a gaming mouse that has different operating modes and a rechargeable battery that can last for up to 4 months on just one charge? You found it.

TeckNet 2.4G Ergonomic Vertical Optical Mouse

tecknet 2.4g ergonomic vertical optical mouse image

The TeckNet 2.4G Ergonomic Vertical Optical Mouse is powerful enough to work from an impressive 45 feet away. With a plug and play design, this gaming mouse offers you three different cursor speeds for your convenience.

With three adjustable DPI settings (800, 1200, and 2000), it has smart tracking and is designed with ergonomics as well as aesthetics in mind. It's as kind to your wrists as it is to your eyes. With 18 months of battery life, it has an auto power-off function that switches it off any time the mouse is too far from the receiver or the computer is switched off.

Pros:

  • It has three adjustable DPI levels
  • Powerful wireless functionality
  • Ergonomic design

Cons:

  • The cursor wheel is a little cumbersome to control

Verdict: This is a powerfully durable gaming mouse that gives you amazing wireless freedom.

Delux M618 Plus Ergonomic Vertical Mouse Wireless

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The Delux M618 Plus Ergonomic Vertical Mouse Wireless is a fifth-generation mouse that has a cool, snap-shaped bionic look and feel. That bionic design ensures that you can play your PC games for long hours without your hands cramping out or wrists hurting.

With an adjustable DPI, you can easily change the sensitivity levels and customize this mouse to suit your particular needs. It has powerful wireless connectivity and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.

Pros:

  • Features a bionic design that keeps your hand from cramping
  • Has adjustable DPI
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS

Cons:

  • The DPI is only adjustable from 800 - 1600, which is lower than many gaming mice of its caliber

Verdict: If you are looking for a vertical gaming mouse designed to keep your hands from tiring too soon, this is it!

The tools you have in your gaming arsenal go a long way in determining your gaming experience. With the right vertical gaming mouse, that experience will be greatly enhanced.


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What Is a Good Upload Internet Speed for Streaming on Twitch - A Simple Guide

Are you aware that Twitch has nearly more than two million live viewers at an instance? This shows that the streaming platform has surged in popularity among gamers and creatives throughout the years. So, it’s only a matter of time before the figure hits the three million mark.

Keeping that in mind, are you itching to get in on the fun but wondering how or where to begin? Well, understandably so, because streaming your game son Twitch is not only a slice of heaven but an excellent opportunity to earn some extra bucks. And, the exact setup process is based on the device you’re streaming such as a Play Station 4, Xbox, or PC. Luckily, in this guide, we’ll walk you through the requirements to start streaming Twitch, a good upload internet speed, and more.

What Is Upload Speed?

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In today’s digital era, it’s no secret that you consume content online. You’re on the quest for it, identify it, then watch, read, or listen to it. This stems from your devices ingesting data in the form of bits. Your internet connection’s download rate paints a clear and accurate picture of the number of bits your device can take in from the Internet using the given connection. Typically, it’s computed in megabits (millions of bits) per second.

Nonetheless, it’s your connection’s upload rate that’s most important. Upon creating content and are ready to share with an online audience, it’s your connection’s upload rate that’s the make or break. It’s strikingly similar to the download rate but works the other way around. Therefore, it depicts the number of bits of data you can share every second. It’s also computed in megabits per second (Mbps). Statistics show that upload rates are lower than download rates.

What Is A Good Upload Speed For Streaming?

Live video streaming can occupy a significant amount of bandwidth. And, the bandwidth quantity is based on an array of factors. For instance, the type of content you’d like to stream and all things encoding. Just like your stream’s frame rate, resolution, and platforms play a key role.

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But, let’s start by discussing the numbers. Assume you’d like to stream a video of you conducting an interview. You’re stuck between YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch. Given that all three platforms support 720p live video streaming, let’s break it down into the bitrate (internet speed) recommendations from each option.

  • Facebook Live: It demands 4000kbps as the highest bit rate and 128kbps as the greatest audio bit.
  • YouTube Live: 1500kbps to 4000kbps is required for video coupled with 128kbps for audio.
  • Twitch Live: A range of 2500kbps to a maximum of 4000kbps (kilobits of data per second) is suitable for video along with 160kbps for audio.

Therefore, for live video streaming at a resolution of 720p, at 30 FPS (frames per second), you’ll upload as much as 4160 kbps. Therefore, after doing the math (4160 divided by 1000), it only makes sense that approximately 4Mbps should suffice, right? Well, not exactly.

You’ll require uploading constantly uploading 4160kbps of data without fail. However, this is not practical because these speeds are always changing. So, having a 35% to 40% buffer is a great idea. Doing so increases the upload speed to approximately 5700 kbps, which is equivalent to 5.7Mbps.

Nonetheless, that’s not an indication of the bandwidth provided by your ISP. For different reasons, the possible upload speed and the declared upload bandwidth of your connection can vary. For this reason, it’s advisable to test your upload speed to get a clearer perspective. The number you get from these tests shoots up to 5.7Mbps if you’re looking to stream 720p footage.

What Variables Impact Upload Rate Requirements?

The 5.7Mps upload rate for 720p footage at 30 FPS is the greater limit. Therefore, you can still stream live 720p videos at a lower speed. If the entire video is a single shot of you discussing a given subject, then 4000kbps may be on the higher side, and you can consider cutting it by half.

On the other hand, if you wish to stream video games that have an abundance of visuals, the 4000kbps comes in handy. Remember, the quicker the pace of the visuals, the greater the Internet speed for streaming Twitch. That’s how the kind of content dictates the appropriate upload speed for you. On the realm of video gaming, if you’re streaming titles with blazing-fast action, then ensure you’re audience can see what’s unfolding as clearly as possible. You may want to stream at over 30FPS.

Increased FPS translates to greater Internet speed. For Twitch, it pushes the range of 720p video from 3500kbps to 5000kbps, whereas YouTube Live suggests 2250kbps to 6000kbps. That translates to upload speeds of 6.2Mbps and 7.4Mbps for Twitch and YouTube, respectively, if you’d like to stream 720p videos at 60FPS.

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Lastly, your rivals may impact the requirements of your upload speed. Platforms like Twitch are littered with people using them in an attempt to rake in some extra bucks. So, if that’s your goal, then slackening when it comes to video quality isn’t an option. Enhanced quality demands superior upload speeds. This means your rivals will eventually compel you to elevate your upload rate.

The Upload Speeds to Aim For

Keeping the above variables in mind, one thing is clear; you should veer off from asking what a great Internet speed is for streaming Twitch, among other platforms. Instead, what should pique your interest is the speed you should aim for in your circumstances.

Keeping that in mind, let’s explore the different upload speeds you should aim for with Twitch.

  • 480p videos: 400 kbps to 1200kbps is advisable. With 160kbps of audio, and 20FPS to 25FPS, users should aim for a bit that exceeds 1.6Mbps and an upload speed of 672 kbps.
  • Use a bitrate that ranges from 1500kbps to 3000 kbps for 480p footage at 60FPS. This translates to an upload speed of 2Mbps to 3.8Mbps.
  • A bitrate of 2500 - 4000 kbps for 720p videos at 30FPS should suffice. It’s equivalent to an upload rate of 3.2 – 5 Mbps.
  • When streaming 720p footage at 60FPS, the bitrate should fall between 3500 and 5000 kbps. This means from 4.4Mbps to 6.2Mbps.
  • A bitrate of 3500 – 5000 kbps for 1080p videos at 30FPS is sufficient, which means an upload rate that starts from 4.4Mbps and stretches up to 6.2Mbps.

Tips To Boost Your Internet Speed for Streaming Twitch

  • Invest in a wired instead of a wireless connection
  • Close excess apps and programs that are running in the background
  • Disconnect unnecessary devices from your PC
  • Use the hardware and software that’s up to date
  • Use ad-blockers and privacy tools
  • Remove malware (if any) from your computer
  • Use cloud-based multi-streaming that allows content creators to stream their captured footage to various video platforms

Closing Remarks

As a live video streamer, your content quality revolves around your broadcast. That’s a no-brainer because you can have a great skill set in renowned video games or an unmatched sense of humor.

However, if your audience can’t hear or see you as clearly as they should, then you’re just a person sitting in front of a camera. That’s why it’s crucial to use a connection that has sufficient upload speed for the type of content you wish to broadcast. And remember, an excellent upload rate is one that tallies with your goals.


The 6 Best 4K Gaming Monitors - Winter 2020

Both PC and console gamers have come to expect an elevated level of gaming experience thanks to gear like 4k gaming monitors. While it is true that some of the best 4k gaming monitors might be a little pricey, the fact of the matter is that they are well worth the price. Frankly, with the entrance of more and more brands into this arena, that price is quickly becoming a non-issue as the market starts to see a great number of reasonably priced 4k gaming monitors of excellent quality.

If, however, the decision to buy a 4k gaming monitor is still up in the air for you, here are some reasons that might help sway it in a positive direction:

  • 4k monitors come in bigger screens: Before 4k came about, a Full HD screen could go up to 24-inches, which was the sweet spot. Any bigger than that, and you could see the individual pixels which kind of ruined the experience for gamers who liked to view their monitor's up close. 4k produces much sharper images on bigger screens.
  • 4k monitors offer better in-game visuals: The simple truth is that 4k monitors offer you incredible picture depth. These images are so good they are almost in 3D.
  • 4k is the way of the future: Since 4k came into the scene just a few years ago, it is very unlikely that it will be replaced by something better in the next few years. It's more likely the 4k technology will get some kind of improvement. Either way, if you have a 4k monitor, you are pretty much future-proof for now.

Unfortunately, like almost everything good, 4k gaming monitors come with a few disadvantages as well. Namely:

  • They are quite expensive
  • There are a lot of compatibility issues as not all games are created to support 4k gaming, which means that all the advantages that come with owning a 4k gaming monitor will be lost
  • They need powerful hardware such as GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 graphics cards which kind of drive up the pricing even higher

Now that you know the advantages that come with 4k gaming monitors, here is a list of some of the best 4k gaming monitors in the market for you to consider buying:

Acer Nitro XV273K

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The Acer Nitro XV273K is the kind of 4k monitor that would suit any typical gamer looking to improve their gaming experience. With a 144Hz refresh rate, this monitor performs better than most in its price range.

Since it benefits from added color by using the DCI-P3 color gamut, combined with the panel's high pixel density that stands at an impressive 163 pixels per inch, the image quality you will get from this 4k monitor is simply striking.

Being much cheaper than other 4k monitors in its space, some trade-offs come with that price reduction. The most notable of which is the fact that its display doesn't feature a full-array local dimming backlight meaning that the HDR won't have a huge impact, if any, at all.

It comes with two speakers (4W each), 2 DisplayPorts, HDMI, and 4 USB 3.0 ports. The DisplayPort and USB cables are included in the package.

Pros:

  • It is extremely bright at over 500 nits
  • It has a 144Hz refresh rate
  • Very accurate DCI-P3 color gamut
  • It is well constructed

Cons:

  • It doesn't feature dynamic contrast, which means that HDR doesn't make that much of a difference

Verdict: If you are looking for an affordable, well-constructed 27-inch 4k monitor that will offer you sharp images without bankrupting you, then this is the one.

Acer Predator X27

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The Acer Predator X27 is pretty much royalty in this 4k gaming monitor space. When you think of premium quality 4k gaming monitors, think of the Acer Predator X27. Unlike many other 4k gaming monitors that choose to trade-off between technology and giving you can truly excellent piece of equipment, this monitor has a found a way to marry the two worlds without needing to trade off anything. It is an HDR-enabled, 4k-resolution monitor that offers you extremely high refresh rates of 144Hz (overlocked) as well as G-Sync.

With 10bit color supported by Quantum Dot Technology and a 99% Adobe RGB color gamut, you get vividly bright images. Still, you are fully protected by the VisionCare technology that keeps your eyes safe even after long hours of gameplay.

If you are worried about ghosting, this monitor syncs the high refresh rate to your game's framerate, which means there will be no stuttering or even tearing when you are playing. That, however, isn't all this monitor has to offer. You get a wide range of connectivity options with 4 USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 on the back as well as the left side of the monitor.

Pros:

  • It offers amazing HDR graphics
  • Gives you wonderfully brilliant images
  • Has a high refresh rate

Cons:

  • As high as the response time is, it isn't the best in the world

Verdict: It is often best to go with a brand as well as a product model that has been trusted and touted by thousands of gamers before you. The Acer Predator X27 is still one of the favorite 4k gaming monitors on the planet. There are very good reasons for that fact.

Acer Predator XB273K

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It seems as though Acer, as a brand, is looking to dominate the 4k gaming monitor space. In yet another excellent addition to the market, this Acer Predator XB273K is one of the brand's best offering at a reasonable price. Closely related to Acer's iconic X27, this particular model is not only cheaper but is also in a better shell.

You might be wondering why it's cheaper than its predecessor; what did it trade-off? To be honest, the only real difference you will feel will be that this version has a lower quality HDR...very slightly.

Other than that, you still get excellently vivid pictures, impossibly good color quality, depth, contrast, and a wonderful all-around monitor that greatly improves your gaming experience.

It features G-Sync, which means that you get to enjoy the best adaptive sync technology, which makes this monitor a good choice for both online gamers as well as fast shooters. It also has a wide range of connectivity ports including DisplayPort, HDMI as well as USB 3.0. This monitor will give you mesmerizing brightness at 300 nits.

Pros:

  • It offers you brilliantly detailed images
  • Excellent value for money
  • The refresh and response times are fast enough
  • It is well-constructed

Cons:

  • The HDR isn't the most impressive in the world

Verdict: If you loved the Acer Predator X27, then you will absolutely adore this one at a much more affordable price.

BenQ EL2870U

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At 28 inches and 1ms response time, the BenQ EL2870U is a truly marvelous 4k gaming monitor. Apart from being an outstanding piece of gaming equipment, it's one of those 4k monitors that won't cost you your life saving all the while delivering excellent value for money just as well as the most expensive monitors.

The picture quality you get on this TN monitor is brilliant. It is crisp, well contrasted, and with a 60Hz refresh rate, the images you get will be just stunning even though 60Hz isn't the highest rate in the world.

Even though this monitor doesn't feature G-Sync, it makes up for it by having FreeSync, which goes a long way in smoothing your gaming experience. Thanks to the 1ms response time, this monitor is not just beautiful, it's speedy too.

Furthermore, it features BenQ's eye care technology that allows you to play for long hours without putting your eyesight at risk thanks to the Low Blue Light Technology. This technology also has Brightness Intelligence plus, which automatically changes the brightness and color on your screen depending on your surroundings. As far as connectivity is concerned, you get 2 HDMI ports as well as a DisplayPort.

Pros:

  • It features HDR technology
  • It gives you an impressive 4k resolution
  • It is very affordable
  • Features Brightness Intelligence + and BenQ's eye-care technology for your protection
  • It's FreeSync compatible

Cons:

  • It doesn't feature G-Sync

Verdict: Despite having a refresh rate of only 60Hz, this 4k monitor delivers pretty impressive images and performance for avid gaming.

Acer Predator CG437K

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As mentioned earlier, Acer is very big in this niche. This Acer Predator CG437K is yet another stellar entry from the brand. Just like the previous entries from Acer, this 4K gaming monitor can hold its own under any kind of scrutiny. At 43 inches, it's considerably bigger than most monitors, but it still fits well on your desk and delivers excellent picture quality without you being able to see the individual pixels. Additionally, the fact that it's so big means that it fills out the peripheral space, thus keeping you from getting distracted when gaming.

It features G-Sync compatibility and offers a 144Hz (overclocked) refresh rate. The huge screen operates VA panel and offers 4000:1 contrast, meaning that you will be receiving images that are as lifelike as they come. This is, by far, one of the best 4k gaming monitors to choose if you want to improve your gaming experience.

Pros:

  • Huge but still the perfect size for your desktop
  • It offers wonderful contrast
  • Features HDR at brightness of 1000 nits
  • Has wonderful speakers

Cons:

  • To get that 144Hz refresh rate you need to connect two DisplayPort cables thus sacrificing your HDR support and G-Sync compatibility

Verdict: Have you been looking for a 43-inch 4k gaming monitor that offers you excellent picture quality, G-Sync, and HDR? This is it!

Acer ConceptD CP7271K

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As technology advances, people are quickly finding ways to multipurpose their gadgets. The Acer ConceptD CP7271K is one of those 4k gaming monitors that are not only designed for an extremely enjoyable gaming experience as well as work. Now gamers have something that they can use on their day to day jobs and put in a wicked session of gaming while on break.

This 4k gaming monitor comes to you with some impressive features. For starters, it's very well entrenched in the DCI-P3 color space. That is a lot of color by any standard. Although, if that proves to be too much, you can simply reduce the color through a software look-up table.

It's fully equipped with FALD backlighting and an HDR output that gives you 1000 nits of brightness. Couple that with 96.3% sRGB coverage, 144Hz refresh rate, and you have yourself a gaming monitor that will completely change your gaming experience for the better.

Pros:

  • It has an awesome color gamut
  • Features 144Hz refresh rate
  • Offers you tremendous contrast
  • It has both HDR and FALD with 1000 nits of brightness

Cons:

  • It doesn't have portrait mode

Verdict: This is one of those 4k gaming monitors that go above and beyond to deliver the best gaming experience for the money. It is definitely worth a second look.

Granted, there are just too many options out there when it comes to the best 4k gaming monitors from which to choose. For the most part, you should be guided by the specs as well as the kind of gaming you do.

Other than that, a huge chunk of your decision will come from how much money you have to spend. What you should know, however, is that buying a 4k gaming monitor is by far one of the best decisions you will make as a gamer. Whether you play professionally or not, a 4k gaming monitor will bring worlds of difference to your gaming experience. They are worth the money you spend on them.


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Choosing the Best Power Supply Brand 2020 - The Best PSUs You Can Buy Today

When setting up a workstation, a power supply unit (PSU) should be one of the first things you consider installing. That's mostly because this component has to supply your computer's internal circuitry with the exact or almost exact voltage at the right wattage for everything to work properly. Computer processors and memories are sensitive that way. So choosing the best power supply brand is not a luxury but more of a necessity.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Power Supply Brand

For a long time, the common notion has been that buying a PSU with a higher total wattage is the best way to get better performance. The truth is that huge PSUs with something like 1800W are very useful when it comes to running computers that have multiple drives and that perform the graphics-intensive application. The problem is that they are often quite expensive.

Most computers don't need that much power because they don't often run at full capacity anyway. For the most part, if you are running a PC that has mid-level processors, graphics cards and RAM, you probably won't need a PSU that has more than 600W. You can find out just how much you need by using online PSU power calculators.

That being said, here are some tips on what to look out for when shopping for the best power supply brand:

  • Look at the efficiency ratings: As a rule of thumb, highly efficient PSUs often have more effective components, thus making them consume less energy while producing less heat. This makes them much cheaper to operate. Look for PSUs that have an "80 Plus" certification signifying that they are at least 80% efficient.
  • Go for larger models: While they might be a little bulky, large PSUs have better cooling management and often run on advanced internal components making them more reliable.
  • Buy from a trusted brand: This should be a rule of thumb with every piece of machinery you buy. While this statement isn't a condemnation on lesser-known brands, the simple fact is that trusted brands tend to take their "household name status" more seriously. This means that they will go above and beyond to stand up to the test, and even when their components fail, as some inevitably will, these brands have better warranty terms and more robust customer service systems in place. This will greatly reduce your level of frustration and even save you from cutting your losses and running.

Now that you know what to pay close attention to, let's take a quick look at some of the best power supply units in the market today:

EVGA SuperNOVA P2: The Best Fully Modular PSU

evga supernova p2

The EVGA SuperNOVA P2 has 1000W, is fully modular, and has an 80 Plus certification, which puts it up there with the best of them. Being a fully modular PSU, this unit allows you to route only the cables that you need to use, thus creating less clutter by offering you better cable management opportunities.

Coming to you with a 10-year warranty, this machine is not only efficient but is also quite reliable. With that kind of wattage, it can power most PCs and even some heavy-duty gaming systems.

Pros:

  • It is very quiet
  • It can power most PCs
  • It is fully modular
  • It has a 10-year warranty

Cons:

  • While quiet and efficient, it does have a strange fan profile

Verdict: If you want something powerful enough to power a gaming system as well as most PCs, then this is the PSU for you. With the 10-year warranty and a reasonable enough price, the EVGA SuperNOVA P2 is an excellent buy.

Corsair RM750: The Best Low-Profile PSU

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As a brand, Corsair has a long history of making wonderful PSUs. The Corsair RM750, in particular, stands out because it has that highly welcome combination of having high-end features while remaining quite affordable. This PSU has 750W and is 80 Plus Gold Certified. It can deliver up to 92% energy efficiency, which makes it one of the cheapest PSUs to operate.

Equipped with fully modular cabling, a very quiet fan, high-quality capacitors, and a highly efficient "standby support" (can have the unit up and running in under five seconds from standby). Even when fully loaded, this unit is highly energy efficient.

Pros:

  • It has a low-profile, which saves space
  • Has high levels of energy efficiency
  • Has advanced standby support

Cons:

  • Only has a 5-year warranty which is half of what most competitors offer

Verdict: The beauty of buying this PSU is that it comes from a highly respected brand name that offers some legendary technical support should you need it. Once you buy this PSU, not only will you have an excellent machine, but you will also have lifetime access to that support.

Seasonic Prime Ultra 1300w: The Best High-End PSU

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The Seasonic Prime Ultra 1300w is truly a high-end PSU by any standard. For starters, it's a 1300W machine, which makes it powerful enough to power pretty much any PC and gaming unit that you may have. It also has an 80 Plus Gold Certification and the capability to run at up to 87% efficiency at full load (it runs at 90% efficiency when at 50% of the load).

The company has also handed over some of the fan control to you the user with their Premium Hybrid Fan Control system. This allows you to lower the overall fan noise to almost negligible levels. This is the right choice for high-performance systems thanks to its stability. It has full modular cabling and comes with a 12-year warranty, which shows you just how much faith the brand has in this product.

Pros:

  • It offers full modular cabling
  • It has an 80 Plus Gold Certification and can run at 87% efficiency when on 100% load and 97% efficiency when at 50% load
  • Comes with a 12-year warranty
  • It offers state-of-the-art fan control which makes it very quiet

Cons:

  • It might be too much for regular PCs

Verdict: If you are looking for a PSU that can run high-performance systems, then this is the right choice. Not only is it efficient, but it's also highly stable and even has a 12-year warranty.

FSP Dagger 550w: The Best Mini PSU

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With 550W, the FSP Dagger 550w isn't as powerful as the other PSUs on this list, but as mentioned earlier, that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you don't need all that power, then buying a PSU of lower wattage might be the smart move to make financially.

This PSU has an 80 Plus Gold Certification and typically runs at 90% efficiency on almost all load levels. It has excellent modular cabling, is not very loud, and costs considerably less than the other options on this list.

Pros:

  • It is affordable
  • It is quite efficient with up to 90% efficiency on most load levels
  • It's small enough to save you a lot of space

Cons:

  • Only has a 3-year warranty

Verdict: If you are looking for something that works well, is efficient, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, this is it.

These are some of the best power supply units in the market today. They all offer modular cabling, which is perfect for those who don't like clutter; they are all very efficient machines which save you money, and some of them offer decade long (even more) warranties, which shows you how much faith the brands have in their product. The best part is that they are mostly within reasonable price points.


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Upgrading Graphics Card – The Idiot's Guide to Buying a Graphics Card

There’s always a newer version of powerful apps and software, as well as exciting games, coming out almost yearly. But if your PC’s frame rate is slow, you'll have a less-than-pleasant experience using these high-resolution apps and games. If your screen stutters or if you experience screen lag and sometimes switch to using medium or low graphic settings to keep your PC running, then it is time to upgrade your graphics card.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy a smooth screen experience. And if your PC is giving you a “slideshow” instead of a smooth experience, you don’t have to be a tech wiz to upgrade your graphics card. This guide is written for you if you need to buy or upgrade a graphics card for your PC, but you don’t know a thing about graphic cards.

By the way, many people don’t know a great deal about graphic cards, so you are not alone. By the end of this guide, you will be able to determine precisely what graphics card is best for your PC and also learn the process of actually upgrading graphics card all in three simple steps. Spoiler alert: the process of upgrading a graphics card is not as daunting as it seems!

First things first; let’s go over the very basics of your PC. Don’t worry; we’re not delving into any details that are unnecessary for upgrading graphic cards. When you are familiar with the basic structure of your PC, you’ll discover that you can easily upgrade many components yourself.

Step 1: PC Basics

  • PC Case: This is the aluminum or steel frame that houses the various hardware components of your computer. Depending on the design of your PC case, you can open the case from one or both sides and slide off the side panel or even remove the entire case. You need to open the case to access the different hardware components inside. But before doing so, make sure to shut down your computer and disconnect every cable attached to it.

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  • Components: The components of your computer may not be exactly like the ones you've seen elsewhere, but certain essential components are common to all computers. These are:
      1. Motherboard
      2. RAM modules – Random Access Memory modules
      3. CPU – Central Processing Unit
      4. Graphics Card
      5. Storage Devices – SSD (Solid State Drives) or HDD (Hard Disk Drives)
      6. Cables
      7. Power Supply Unit

Compatibility

Now that you are familiar with the inside of your PC, it is time to know what graphics card is compatible with your system.

Every component inside the PC case is directly or indirectly connected to the motherboard. In most cases, graphics cards are plugged into the motherboard through a PCI-Express slot (you’ll see this mostly written as PCI-e). You should look out for the longest PCI-e slot on the motherboard with connectors popping out at the rear of the PC case. It is an x16 slot. In many cases, that’s where the graphics card goes.

Now go ahead and take a look inside your PC case. Remember to power off before opening the case. Can you locate the PCI-e slot? Check to see if it is a smaller slot meant for an x4 or lesser card. Unless you have a very old PC, it should come with a motherboard equipped with at least one PCI-e slot. Anything less might not give you the smooth gaming experience or higher performance you are looking for.

If you have determined that your motherboard has a compatible slot for a modern graphics card, then go ahead to the next step.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Graphics Card

Choosing a good card now means that you don’t have to upgrade your graphics card for a couple more years to come. But what is the right graphics card for your PC? There’s a bunch of graphics cards out there, and getting into the argument of which is better will do you no good.

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To save you the stress of debating which product is best, simply go through some online reviews of the primary graphics card (AMD and Nvidia). Doing this should help you decide which card to buy. The most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the card you are choosing can run your games or programs smoothly. You can also test a card’s performance (benchmark) on many tech websites before making a purchase.

Budget Considerations

Perhaps one of the most important deciding factors in upgrading graphics card is your budget. How much you are willing to spend will determine the type of card you can buy and install. Generally, the higher the cost of the card, the more powerful it is. However, before buying a high-end graphics card, make sure that your processor can handle it. You shouldn’t buy a graphics card simply because you can afford it. For example, if you are looking to buy a graphics card in the range of $500 and above, your PC should have at least an overclocked Core i5 processor or a Core i7 processor.

Keep in mind also that it doesn’t make economic sense for the cost of upgrading your graphics card to be more than the worth of your entire PC. If you run a really old PC, perhaps a full system upgrade would be a better option.

Best Time to Buy

You don’t want to buy a card just before a new GPU launches. That’s about the worst time to purchase a new graphic card. Your best bet would be to make your purchase a short while (usually a few months) after a new GPU launches. This gives enough time for relative stability in stock and availability of the product.

Step 3: Installing

The most challenging part of upgrading your graphics card is deciding which card to buy and how much to spend on it. Now that you've gone past that, here comes the easiest part – the physical installation of the card. But before you plug your new graphics card into the PCI-e slot, get the following handy.

Tools

  • A set of screwdrivers. You’re going to need them for screwing and unscrewing – nothing complex, though. A Philips screwdriver is a great choice, but there’s no reason to split hairs if you don’t have it. Just use any good screwdriver.
  • A brush or vacuum cleaner. You will need them to get rid of dust from inside your PC. Of course, this is optional, but you might as well clean inside your PC since it is likely that you have been using it for several months or years now without cleaning inside.

Dust will certainly accumulate inside your PC after a long time, and not cleaning it can lead to performance issues and other problems. However, be careful not to hit or cause any damage to the components while cleaning and don’t clean it just yet. Simply get a brush or vacuum cleaner handy.

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Uninstall Drivers

It is now time to uninstall the programs (drivers) for your old graphics card. I would recommend using the free version of the Display Driver Uninstaller. Regardless of whether your old card was AMD or Nvidia, the Display Driver Uninstaller will remove the drivers completely. In some cases, using the AMD or Nvidia driver can leave behind some registry settings and files after uninstalling the drivers. But you can go ahead and use any uninstaller of your choice.

Once you are done uninstalling the drivers, shut down your computer and unplug the power cord. If your PC has a manual power switch (usually located at the back of the case), flip that off too. Now place your PC on a large-enough table and remove the case using a screwdriver if necessary. If there’s dust in there, it is time to clean it up.

Old Card Out… New Card In

Besides being plugged into the motherboard, in most cases, your graphics card is also secured with screws at the back of your PC case. Locate and unscrew the screws holding the card in place. Now disconnect the power connectors from the old graphics card.

Can you guess where your new card should go? In the slot where you just removed the old card, of course! Slide the new card into the empty PCI-e slot friendly and easy. Gently press it into the slot until it you hear it click into place. Now secure it with the screw from the old graphics card and then reconnect the 6-pin or 8-pin power connector from the power unit.

Always remember that when you are physically upgrading graphics card (or any other hardware component for that matter), excessive force is not necessary. The components are designed to fit in only one way, so there is no reason to force a piece of computer hardware into place. If it doesn't fit in easily, even when you apply slight pressure, you are probably plugging it the wrong way.

Booting Up

Piece back your PC so you can test your new card. Remember to reconnect all the cables you disconnected earlier and connect your monitor to the new graphics card. It is okay to hold off replacing the side panel of your PC case the first time you piece everything back together. This will save you the stress of having to start all over again to take apart your PC in case something doesn’t go right.

It will also let you see whether or not the fans of the graphics card spin as you power up your PC. Plug in all the peripherals and start your PC. It should start normally and load your operating system. If it doesn't start as it normally would, turn off your PC and make sure all connections are correctly in place.

Install Drivers

Finally, you need to download the latest drivers for your new graphics card. This is not a hard thing to do. Simply visit the website of your card's manufacturer, and you will find a download link for the latest drivers. Usually, the correct drivers for your card will be detected automatically. All you need to do is click install and wait for a few minutes while the drivers do their thing.

There you have it. Upgrading a graphics card is as simple as following these three steps. Now go ahead and load your favorite programs or games and enjoy a smooth experience!


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The Best 500 Dollar Gaming PC for 2020 - Good and Cheap Build

The term ‘gaming PC’ has never been for the faint-hearted because it’s regarded as too costly to get into. Granted, high-end gaming PCs, cost an arm and a leg, but allow you to do more than you can ever imagine with a console. Well, the good news is, you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars. You’re probably scratching your head in confusion, wondering what I’m talking about.

What if I told you that you could get a console-killing under 500 dollar gaming PC? Yes, that’s right! The reality is you can get one that’s superior to a PS4 or Xbox One. However, with the barrage of options that have littered the market and each claiming to better than the next, making a decision can be an uphill battle.

Luckily, we’ve rounded up a few of the best products you can buy that fill the gap between functionality and cost-effectiveness. So, buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a ride!

1. HP Pavilion 590-p0020: Speedy Performance and Affordability Rolled into One

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What sets this little guy apart from the pack is its practicality and great-smelling price. The build is everything you could ask for and then some, given the cheap price when it comes to a prebuilt PC. Speed, compactness, and power, you name it! The 590-p0020 is armed with an AMD Ryzen 3 2200GG processor with a maximum clock speed of 3.50GHz.

It also has an AMD Vegas 8 integrated graphic coprocessor that is more than enough for daily usage. This includes racking up those tabs when surfing the internet with no lagging, working with different software simultaneously, and more, while proving topnotch experience.

When it comes to gaming, this minivan has the uncanny ability to handle most modern titles. So, when it comes to GSCO or League of Legends or even GSCO, the HP 590-p0020 is your go-to.

2. The iBUYPOWER Enthusiast: Swallows up High-Grade Games like A Piece of Cake

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When it comes to aesthetics, the smooth, elegant design with tempered glass on the side, remarkable lighting effects, and eye-catching keyboard, the iBUYPOWER has it all. But there’s more to this gaming PC that just its extraordinary looks. It’s powered by AMD’s Ryzen 3 3200G CPU and is stacked with GT 710 NVIDIA GeForce 1GB coupled with 8GB of RAM that’s the cherry on top.

Collectively, these aspects make the iBUYPOWER superior in gaming with the uncanny ability to seamlessly handle modern and demanding titles. They include Dark Souls, Fortnite, Far Cry 3 and 4, and Assassin’s Creed. Compared to the Pavilion 590-p0020, this device delivers superior overall performance without having to invest more than the power it may consume.

3. CUK Stratos Micro: A Top Choice for Present and Future Investments

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While the Stratos Micro exceeds our destined price ($500) by $60, it has nearly all users grinning from ear-to-ear, which makes it worth the investment. Integrating the Ryzen 3 3200G with the Vega 8 graphic coprocessor and 16 GB of DDR4, this beast is in for some sports. The 16 GB RAM means users can work and play concurrently irrespective of how resource-consuming their tasks can be.

The Stratos Micro packs a large Power Source Unit (PSU), which means it’s receptive to any upgrade no matter how big or small. With metal blade vent front panels, tempered glass side door, solid steel design, and interior case lighting, this gaming PC looks as good as it functions. It also has USB 3.0 and audio ports.

Optimum cooling and airflow can be attributed to six pre-installed, remote controllable RGB fans (600-1800 rpm) that have a unique triple metal fin design. So, overheating is the least of your worries when you push this rig to the limit.

4. Apevia Desktop: Built For the Sole Purpose of High-end Gaming

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With more focus on graphic processing power, the Apevia has 1GB of dedicated video RAM and preinstalled GeForce NVIDIA GTX 650. Its unmatched performance at an affordable price makes this PC a top pick for a multitude of users worldwide. Coupled with 8GB of RAM, the Apevia still catches up in 2020 and can handle anything you send its way.

The i5-2400 processor with an excellent clock speed of 3.10 GHz is sufficient for the power the PC possesses. It does precisely what it was designed for; to deliver a sky-high PC gaming experience. The Apevia comes with three ports; Ethernet, WiFi, three USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0.

5. Alarco: The Go-To Gaming PC for Aesthetics and Seamless Functionality

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Just like the Apevia, Alarco has an i5 2400 3.10GHz processor with a GTX 650 1GB coupled with 8GB RAM, which is more than you’ll bargain for at a friendly price. This makes it a beast in handling most modern games such as CSGCO and Fortnite.

The Alarco has sleek outlines, well-mixed and vibrant LED lighting, and a grass cover on the side that makes it the most beautiful under 500 dollar gaming PC. In low and medium settings, the handy device runs on a Fortnite average of 100 FPS and 60 FPS, respectively. Furthermore, it has VGA, HDMI, and DVI outputs.

6. Dell Power Edge T30 Premium: Delivers All-round Performance at a Fair Price

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While it looks like a server, the Dell T30 Premium is the most powerful under 500 dollar gaming PC when it comes to data processing and multitasking. Nonetheless, installing the graphics card is highly recommended for users that want to enjoy high-end gaming. Besides that, the compact design of the tower would occupy minimal space for your setup.

Unlike other brands that have littered the market, the T30 Premium is powered by the Quad-core Xeon E3-1225 v5 processor that provides more than 3.3 GHz of power. Furthermore, the gaming device is armed with 16 GB DDR4 RAM, which means no lagging as you delight in a barrage of games.

With 2 TB of storage, you can comfortably fit tons of games without worrying about running out of space. The T30 Premium has more than ten ports on the rear and front panels. They include HDMI, audio, Display, PS2 connectivity, and microphone outputs.

7. CUK AsRock Mini: A Powerful Compact Gaming Rig

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It runs on Windows 10 and comes with a Vega 8 AMD Radeon RX graphics card that has the power to provide superior frame rates on some high-end game titles like GTA V and PUBG. Nonetheless, the AsRock Mini can handle low-end games and has an AMD Ryzen 3 2200G pre-installed inside the rig. This gives it a high 3.5GHz processing power. Aside from the 4MB cache memory, the PC is armed with 8GB RAM that’s ideal for seamlessly handling a myriad of programs, concurrently.

While the 256GB NVMe storage comes in handy at first, it may prove insufficient over time. Therefore, investing in an additional hard drive would be a brilliant idea. The AsRock Mini is packed with an array of ports that allow the rig to connect to nearly any device.

8. HYSTOU Intel Core i5-4200U: Provides the Ability to Multitask and Game at the Highest Level

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If you’re on the quest for a compact PC that has the uncanny ability to deliver ultimate gaming, then your search ends here with the Intel Core i5-4200U. However, you’ll need to install an appropriate graphics card (HD 520). With a processing speed that ranges from 2.5GHz to 10GHz, the PC is a perfect choice for high-end games like Fortnite, PUBG, and GTA V. And, the 1TB storage gives you free rein to store as many games as you wish without frequently running out of space.

You can link the HYSTOU Intel Core to two monitors simultaneously via the VGA and HDMI ports. Doing so translates to reduced wait times, increased efficiency, and double the gaming fun. With an intelligent fanless cooling system that’s stable, delivers optimum functionality, and is as quiet as a mouse, thermal issues are the least of your worries. The system also uses a brushed metal case for unrivaled heat dissipation.

The PC is powered by the DC12V 5A (15Watts-20Watts). That’s the epitome of energy-efficiency, which means no spike in your power bill. Furthermore, it’s environmentally-friendly.

Buying Guide: Tips for Choosing the Best 500 Dollar Gaming PC

We’ve rounded up some of the essential factors to consider before buying a gaming PC that costs $500 or less.

1. Upgradability

Consider how easy you can upgrade your PC years down the road. With the advent of technology, games are quickly increasing in size and computational demand. Therefore, you want a PC that’s designed to accommodate upgrades like additional RAM, increased storage drives, more powerful CPU’s and GPUs, right off the bat.

2. Games

Before hastily purchasing the first affordable PC that catches your eye, it’s important to ponder on the games that tickle your fancy. Some require a fast processor, high-end graphics, and a lot of RAM, whereas other games have fewer demands. While you may not be into hardcore 3D games, you may be in the future. Therefore, consider a PC that can handle all future gaming needs.

3. Graphics Card

For crisp, clear visuals coupled with fluid movements, it only makes sense to purchase a high-end graphics card, right? Well, not quite. The graphics card is only as functional as its supporting components. This means if you’re using an older CPU model, the graphics card can only do so much. Moreover, some players make the mistake of buying a topnotch graphics card without adjusting their game settings. Therefore, it’s advisable to buy a mid-range card and alter your game settings accordingly.

4. Memory

Most motherboards in today’s digital era are dual-channel and provide large memory for gameplay. Given the affordability of memory, it’s worth going for at least 8GB, as seen in some of the above-reviewed products.

5. Storage

When it comes to storage, you have two options; solid-state and hard drive. Solid-state storage (SSD) is perfect for those that use their PCs solely for gaming. SSD prices are plummeting and deliver increased boot times, power efficiency, fast loading of games, and low noise. A hard drive could be a better option if you plan to store a barrage of photos and footage on your computer.

6. Communications

Today’s games rely on audio to deliver a more realistic gaming experience. And, luckily, nearly all modern gaming computers have multichannel audio codecs. If you plan on delighting in online multiuser games, then a quality headset with a microphone is par for the course.

7. Processor Core Count

A PC’s processor is the make-or-break when it comes to performance. And, when it comes to core count, you have free rein to choose between 2 and 16 cores in the mainstream space. Unless you’re on a tight budget, a quad-core processor should be the lowest you go, lest performance issues crop up with some games and software.

When choosing between AMD and Intel processors, the former delivers superior value throughout the pricing spectrum. It offers more cores and improved multithread performance courtesy of every chip that delivers support for concurrent multithreading.

8. Don’t Waste Money on RAM

While there are computers that have as much as 64 GB of RAM and are more expensive, it’s completely redundant for gaming. 16GB is a great baseline for modern gaming computers, given the plummeting of prices over the last few months. Nonetheless, you can get away with 8GB if you play older games or don’t mind compromising on detail to save a few extra bucks.

Closing Remarks

A 500 dollar gaming PC delivers more than you think. Each of the products we reviewed in this guide can play any game on high-resolution monitors like 1080p. Moreover, with a few different upgrades, it can transform from a simple entry-level computer into a high-end beast.