Desktop Computing

By December 21, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 2 – Processor

image19reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

Part two, we look at the processor. An AMD A6-7400K Black Edition, 2x 3.50GHz costing £50.53 incl. VAT. Certainly, there are better processors on the market, however not at this price for a budget build. The AMD features the following:

• Dual core: “Kaveri”
• Clock speed: 3.50 GHz, Turbo: 3.90 GHz
• TDP: 65 W
• Production: 28 nm
• Interface: UMI, 5 GT/s
• L2 cache: 1 MB shared
• L3 cache: N/A
• Stepping: KV-A1
• Graphics: AMD Radeon R5, 756 MHz, 256 shaders, 387GFLOPS
• Memory controller: Dual-channel PC3-14900U (DDR3-1866)
• Features: SSE4a, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES, AVX, CLMUL, XOP, FMA3, FMA4, CVT16, NX bit, AMD64, AMD-V, Cool’n’Quiet, Turbo Core 3.0, Eyefinity, unlocked multiplier

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the main board into which this processor slots.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 20, 2016 Read More →

Building a computer for £300 – Part 1 – Case

vlcsnap-023reichelt have sponsored a challenge to build a computer for £300. With a budget of only £300 I have to source the best bits of computer equipment for a main central processor unit (CPU) to build the most competent computer I can.

In part one, I select the case. An Inter-Tech K-11 midi-tower including SL-500 for £33.71 inc VAT. This case includes:

External: 1 x 5.25″, 1x 3.5″
Internal: 4 x 2.5″, 3x 2.5″
Front I/O: 2x USB 2.0, 1x headphones, 1x microphone
PCI slots: 6
Fan (front): N/A
Mainboard: up to ATX
Power supply unit: ATX, 500 W
Power supply location: top
Colour: black, inside black
Dimensions (WxHxD): 190 x 410 x 405 mm
Weight: 4.02 kg

Hit the subscribe button as tomorrow we will be looking at the processor to provide the heart of the system.

Check out reichelt.co.uk, an online electronics retailer…many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK!

By December 16, 2016 Read More →

Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual Slot Reader Unboxing

image18The Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual Slot Reader Compatible with SD and UDMA Flash Memory Card is a professional-level, portable USB reader that leverages SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology to deliver blazing-fast transfer speeds from card to computer, with a USB interface speed up to 500MB/s (reads up to 5 times faster than USB 2.0).

It lets you leverage the performance capabilities of the latest UDMA CompactFlash (CF) (including UDMA 7 CF 6.0) and SD, SDHC, SDXC, and SD UHS-I and UHS-II (SD 3.0) memory cards. The reader is also compatible with standard CF and SD cards and USB 2.0.

By December 5, 2016 Read More →

It’s a Deal! ViewSonic XG2401 24 inch Full HD 144Hz £189.99

52dd2f4c-a1e7-4f1c-9f72-da4a4a27e35d-jpg-_cb274443968_A super deal has popped up on Amazon.co.uk. whilst, this isn’t the first time this screen has been available at this price the ViewSonic XG2401 is considered by some as the best 1080p 144Hz Freesync monitor available right now. Currently priced £189.99 this Full HD monitor features fast pixel response time, especially at 144Hz and outstanding image quality for a TN panel.

 

The ViewSonic XG2401 is a 24″ (23.6″ viewable) Full HD monitor packed with all the speed and features that die-hard gaming enthusiasts need. Featuring an incredible 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync technology, this monitor’s variable refresh rate capabilities virtually eliminate screen tearing and stuttering for fluid gameplay during fast-paced action scenes. A blazing-fast 1ms response time and low input lag provide smooth screen performance even in the most graphic-intense sequences. For optimum speed and performance, SmartSync technology automatically selects the best refresh rate and response time, and lowest input lag needed in FPS games. For a game-winning competitive edge, ‘Game Mode’ optimises visuals for FPS, RTS and MOBA. On top of that, a black stabilisation function helps you target enemies lurking in the dark, while the monitor maintains brilliantly rich colour and contrast. With a gamer-inspired ergonomic stand that features an integrated headphone hook and cable management functionality, the XG2401 has all you need to conquer your gaming and entertainment quests.

ad484260-6c10-4827-bc06-34bad6904fb0-jpg-_cb274443280__sr970300_

By November 21, 2016 Read More →

Logitech M330 Silent Plus review

p1030315There is no shortage of good mice on the market at the moment. What we have is a plethora of almost perfectly accurate input devices adding and subtracting features to try to achieve the perfect balance of price, quality and accuracy. One of the most reliable names on the market is Logitech, having produced mice for a great many years, they know what they’re doing.

Enter the Logitech M330 Silent Plus. A budget/travel mouse that promises both high accuracy and the complete lack of “click.” The second of those features will be particularly enticing for anyone who travels or perhaps uses a laptop in bed with a partner sleeping beside them.

p1030316

The mouse itself is almost all plastic, making it light and easy to pack. There is a layer of rubber to add durability, comfort and, most importantly, grip. Between the two buttons is a scroll wheel,  with a push button function and sharing in its surrounding buttons ability to be almost silent. Behind this, jsut about the Logitech branding is a little LED indicator.

p1030313

On the bottom are two plastic pads, smooth to the touch and designed to glide across any flat surface. The mouse runs off one AA battery. Logitech have informed us this battery should last 18 months. Having had the mouse for one month I cannot comment on what the full range of the battery life is,  however, I have lost one-third of the battery thus far and I’m not using the mouse as my daily driver. Instead, it’s paired with a laptop and only used for a few hours, two to three times a week.

p1030304

However, anyone coming to this mouse is not coming for battery life or perhaps comfort, these are secondary bonuses.  Instead they’re coming for the lack of noise.  It’s almost surreal, it feels like there’s something missing when you click a button or roll the scroll wheel. There is the smallest, lightest thump a two bits of rubber inside the mouse collide and the scroll wheel has a tiny, plastic click emitting from it and is virtually silent when used for scrolling. You will not be disturbing anyone with this much, the Silent aspect is beautifully realised.

2016-11-20-3

As for accuracy, it’s difficult to measure on a common consumer computer, however, I did have a go. Facing off against a Logitech MX master, the M330 came in with a faster lag time, by 10ms. Whilst the M330 is a great deal lighter than the MX Master, it does appear to be highly accurate.

Where the M330 could be improved are the features. With only 3 buttons in operation, I only wish that there was a simple back button above the thumb grip two concrete this is one of the best mice on the market. Some will disagree the back button is not necessary, however,  it would be better to have the option even if there were to add another couple of pounds on the price tag.

p1030311

All in, the Logitech M330 Silent Plus is an almost perfect travel match. Robust enough to survive a few days at the bottom of your back. The battery is easily replaceable in the event you do run out of charge. Using it on a plane will not upset the person beside you. It’s comfortable enough that periods of use will not result in a sore wrist. And as the name suggests, Silent.

You can grab the Logitech Silent Plus For £29.99 here.

By November 16, 2016 Read More →

7 Essential Tips for First-Time PC Builders

asusmb_90mb0md0_01Building your own PC means creating a device tailored to your very own needs. It’s easy to upgrade, often cheaper and can perform much faster than traditional models. So, if you’re going down the DIY route and it’s your first time custom-building your own machine, here are 7 essential tips to consider, provided by German online electronics retailer, reichelt.

  1. Get clear on what you want from your PC. Make a list of all the programs, videos and applications you want to run on your PC. This will help you map out the components you’ll need – for example, if you’re a gamer, overclocking your Central Processing Unit (running it at a higher speed) may be important and requires a more effective cooling system.
  1. Plan before you build. Every build is unique, so take the time to visualize how each part will fit together, before buying and realising components aren’t compatible. Does your power supply prevent access to the motherboard? Is there enough space for your cabinet? Asking questions such as these will save you time in the long run!
  1. Test the connection. Always do a simple test-run before installing the components in your cabinet. This will save you the hassle of dismantling everything in case a component doesn’t work. Simply use your motherboard box as a framework and if all functions properly, you’re ready to build in.
  1. Keep thermal paste to a minimum. A small, pea-sized amount in the centre of your CPU (Central Processing Unit) is perfect. Too much and the thermal compound could behave as a conductor and stop your system from functioning properly.
  1. Don’t force anything. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. Most components attach together only one way, so simply try another method if it doesn’t work. Computer parts tend to be very fragile, so be careful not to damage your components in the process.
  1. Ensure good airflow.  Cooling your PC properly contributes to the overall performance and lifespan of your device. You can choose to cool your system with air or water. The air cooler is cheap and performs well, however, if you are planning to overclock (run your processor at a higher speed), a water cooler allows fans to run slower and quieter.
  1. A little maintenance goes a long way! Once you’ve built your computer, ensure that you open up the device and clean it regularly. Keep dust levels to a minimum and your machine will continue to operate at an optimum level.

For high-quality components to build your PC, reichelt can provide you with everything you need, with many products up to 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the UK.

For gamers, we recommend the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming 6 Motherboard, a high-value, feature-packed board which delivers outstanding performance. Processors, RAM and storage functions are also available; as is a great range of external hardware, such as the Denon HEOS 1 WS 2 Wireless Speakers with WiFi and optimised sound quality.

By November 2, 2016 Read More →

Enhance GX-C1 Laptop Cooling Stand review

boxThe enhance is something of an interesting product in that I can’t imagine how many people will actually need it, however, it’s position on the market is easy to justify. People need their laptops cooled down especially when gaming. The gaming laptop is on the rise so peripherals like this are becoming in demand.

There are a lot of options on the market and some of which are better value than others, however, the Enhance really has something a lot of the competitors cannot brag and that’s the number of fans. For £20 you’re getting one huge fan and four baby brothers. When working all together these fans produce a vast amount of airflow to cool your laptop down.

There are a couple of extra features added to this that some of its competitors do not have. There is USB passthrough, meaning this doesn’t really occupy a USB port on your laptop. The Enhance allows you to plug a device into the Enhance and it will work on the laptop. A rotary dial allowing you to control the speed of the fans and indeed the brightness of the LEDs, 2 rubber braces at the edge of the surface that prevent your laptop from sliding off in the event that your laptop’s rubber feet may not be enough.

On the underside are retractable legs, these legs have three different options the highest of which raises the unit around 3 inches from the desk, an entirely second pair that raises the unit an inch and a half and some pads for no height adjustment. The unit itself is almost 2 inches thick at the widest part so the raise is quite considerable when you have the longer legs in action.

However, this cooling comes at an expense when plugging this into your laptop as it will drain the battery quite quickly. I have noticed that after being plugged in for half an hour on my laptop the battery dropped by almost a quarter. I kept the fans at full speed the entire time just to get an idea of the (pun intended) blow to the battery. A better solution maybe to hook the fan up to are portable battery or power bank.

p1030164

One negative I will say is it’s a very difficult one for any company to try and work around is portability. Obviously, this works off your laptop’s battery, however, the unit itself has to be the size of a laptop to cover the area of the laptop. This makes the Enhance a little cumbersome to take with you as it will occupy the same amount of space on a laptop bag as a laptop.  

There are plenty of alternatives on the market some quite a bit cheaper however none of them offer as many fans as this in such a simple design. Being able to control the speed all five fans mean the battery won’t take at big a hit as all five fans give more coverage than two large fans running twice as fast. This certainly isn’t the highest quality but then again the price tag isn’t particularly high either. Overall, It does what it says on the tin and it keeps your laptop cool on the go whilst looking kinda badass.

You can find the blue variant on Amazon.

By October 25, 2016 Read More →

Benq GW2270 LED Monitor unboxing

image5The Benq GW2270 is a wallet friendly 22-inch monitor with a 1080p resolution and IPS LCD screen. Including popular features, such as, low-blue light mode for reduced eye-strain and a low-power backlight, this display looks to be a simple, cheap and reliable option.

 

Specs

  • Response Time: 5ms
  • Viewing Angle: 178°/178°
  • Panel Type: AMVA+
  • Contrast: 3000:1
  • Brightness: 250cd/m2
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • LCD Size: 21.5″
  • Back Light Unit: LED
  • VGADVI-D
  • Without Stand: HxWxD 400 x 506 x 178mm
  • Weight: 4.6kg
  • AMA
  • Flicker Free
  • HDCP
  • 100 x 100 VESA
  • Tilt: -5°/20°
  • Low Blue Light
  • Power Supply: 90-264AC
  • Power Consumption (Power saving mode): 0.5W
By October 4, 2016 Read More →

Griffin Elevator Unboxing

vlcsnap-00045Griffin has sent their Elevator for out appraisal. This is a simple stand that raises your laptop on the desk to make it more comfortable to use.

Elevator’s sturdy brushed aluminum and minimal design goes great with any desk decor.

 

Elevator conforms to health and safety standards, making your laptop safer and more comfortable to use all day long. Healthycomputing.com, the premier source for office ergonomics, recommends positioning the top of your screen level with your eyes and sitting at least an arm’s length from the screen. Both of these key ergonomic standards are made possible using Elevator with an external keyboard.

https://griffintechnology.com/us/elevator

By October 3, 2016 Read More →

BenQ EW2775ZH Eye-care monitor Review

1453360061This Benq EW2775 is a very standard looking full HD monitor, not 4k, a standard 1920 x 1080, a refresh rate of 60hz and a response time of 12ms. However, to separate if from the rest there is Brightness Intelligence Technology. This technology brightens certain areas of the screen to reduce strain on the user’s eyes when the areas are darkened.

In addition, there is Low Blue Light Plus. Some will have come to this review looking for this exclusively as it can be something of a Godsend. Working in the evenings in a darkened room, at the screen, blue-light causes can cause eye strain. There are various solutions out there, however, none are as effective as having the technology built into the hardware.

p1030122

Round the back are two HDMI inputs and a D-Sub connector (some might know this as a VGA connector.) There is a 3.5mm line-in audio jack so that you can connect audio to it when using the D-Sub connector, HDMI includes an audio line in the architecture. There are speakers on the back of the unit also, to make worse the weakest part of the screen.

p1030127

How does the AMVA panel square up against the more popular TN/IPS approach these days at 1080p/60Hz? IPS is generally recommended for better colour accuracy, etc, but with a 3000:1 contrast the picture looks great. One of the main concerns about VA or AMVA is that there can be a problem of direct viewing issues. On the one hand, this is a screen that you would have facing you so the likelihood of having problems with view angle are limited. In reality, I found it had to really notice any reports of weird colour shifting when changing positions. The picture and colours remained steady.

TUV Rheinland Certification for Flicker-free boasting on the packaging means Technischer Überwachungsverein or Technical Inspection Association is a German organisation who specialises in validating the safety of products.

So how does the Low Blue Light Plus work in reality? This isn’t entirely new technology, or particularly groundbreaking. Samsung has ‘Warm2’, Dell has ‘Paper’ mode and other manufacturer have ‘Warm’ or ‘Reading’ settings built into their settings. However, it’s predictable that Benq has their own variant. Then of course, if your monitor does not have it you could manually reduce the blue colour channel manually. Not the easiest thing to do and who could be bothered fiddling with setting when you want to achieve this. There are software options however in reality nothing beats a button on the front of the screen that does it.

In reality, it does put a lot less strain on the user’s eyes and can be combined with software efforts like f.lux to make your computer perfectly fine to use at night. When using it I realised just how much of a difference it makes. Sitting up late at night typing reviews or editing videos the screen I have always felt the screen cutting my eyes to pieces. The Benq simply eased the discomfort and I hardly noticed.

p1030130

The stand does not allow you to turn the screen to a portrait mode, a missed opportunity as this would make a great second screen at the price, and there is no mounting interface to make use of other solutions.p1030126

Another gripe is with the bezel. Certainly, it looks minimal when first out of the box. However, once up and running the screen does not reach all the way to the corner. Instead, there is a 3 mm black gap between the edge of the display and the bezel.img_20160925_123301

This Is a fine monitor in every sense of the word. Looking elegant on a desk, certain design flourishes extend a higher quality and the panel provides a crystal clear and acceptably bright picture. And that’s what counts at the end of the day.

Certainly the limitations of the mount will affect some, however, I wouldn’t imagine the vast majority would dismiss the quality of the panel and competitive price tag on this alone.

The Benq EW2775 opened my eyes to the world of blue light reduction and eye strain. From myths growing up about TVs turning your eyes square to the reality of eye strain disturbing sleep and headaches there this really is a perfect example of something that works better as a built-in feature. Certainly, you can download one of the software solutions and work that way, however, it when shopping for a screen it makes sense to just have it built in and this Benq is a decent screen, with some stand drawbacks, with an acceptable price tag.