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Tech

  • A video capture card is a computer component which facilitates the capture of video and audio for playback/editing and saves it to a hard drive or SD card. These cards are frequently used to stream and record data while PC gaming, or from a console game through a computer, but they can also be used for digitizing analog video. There are also external video capture devices that can be used to input and record video and audio either from a secondary source or from the computer itself, but this list focuses on internal components.These best video capture cards were chosen because they give you the best picture quality thanks to support for up to 1080i HD video, so you can easily control the resolution and size of your video. They support at least HDMI and DVI connections, though included adapters may be necessary for certain video types with these cards. All of these models also include pass through performance that lets you play a game or use other software in real time while also recording what you are doing without creating any delay or lag.
    April 01, 2016
  • Water cooling kits are all-in-one setups you can use to easily install a water or liquid-cooling system into your computer. These typically have enough hardware to connect to your CPU heatsink, tubing for additional cooling needs (like your video card) and other hardware. You may need to have some equipment already compatible with a water cooling system (like a video card with connections for tubing) though kits typically work with a wide range of CPUs. It's helpful to find kits that provide all the hardware you need and are known for reliable and trustworthy equipment. Introducing liquid to the inside of your computer can be a bit risky, so you want to make sure you have a setup that you trust and know won't leak onto your other hardware.We've chosen these as the best water cooling kits for your computer because they provide the hardware you need, including the radiator, tubes, and a number of different connectors and fasteners to securely setup your new cooling system. All of these models include at least two fans, though most of them have three, which helps move heat out of your system and keeps the coolant working properly. These cooling kits can work with a wide range of different CPUs though keep in mind some are limited to only Intel processors but still offer you support for different Intel chipsets.
    March 07, 2016
  • While a lot of motherboards have some RAID controls built into them, if you're looking to set up a more complex RAID (or use a level not supported by your motherboard) then a controller card is a very important piece of hardware. The basic purpose of a RAID controller card is to let you connect multiple hard drives together in one of several different configurations, and use them as part of a larger total unit. Since a RAID is usually set up for data backup and speed, a good card is important to ensure your information is properly distributed and saved for either the fastest performance possible or for accurate backup in case of corruption or hardware loss. Although the prices on these cards can vary quite a lot, you'll typically find that overall value (in terms of what you're trying to set up) is really more important than just cost.With that in mind, we've chosen these best RAID controller cards because they give you the most options for RAID setups, since they all support at least RAID 0 and 1 types as well as other types like 10 and JBOD. You get at least two SATA or SAS ports on each of these cards, so not only do they offer RAID control, but also give you connections for additional hard drives in your system. Additionally, these cards come with software utilities you can install along with the included drivers to manage your RAID setup more efficiently.
    March 07, 2016
  • Tablets were initially marketed as the "missing link" between smartphones and traditional computers, combining the instant access of the former with the more usable size of the latter. Since then, tablets have evolved to become the poster child for multi-tasking. Each of these tablets is extremely well-suited for general use, and offers plenty of support in terms of apps and content for just about any purpose.
    February 03, 2016
Wireless routers are an essential component of any network, no matter how big or small. These days, it seems that just about everything is network-connected, and requires a Wi-Fi signal to function properly. A wireless router can make or break a network; the difference between a good wireless router and a mediocre one comes down to how much unwanted attention your network draws to itself. That said, there's a vast array of wireless routers available today, covering a wide price and performance spectrum. Feature lists are getting longer every year, and there's a never-ending stream of new technologies to keep track of. If you've gone shopping for a wireless router recently, you'll undoubtedly have experienced first-hand how confusing this market can be. Rather than simply choosing the most expensive or cheapest option on the shelf, we recommend narrowing down your picks to the higher-performing options currently available. After all, this single piece of hardware serves as the backbone of your entire network, and you need to count on it to provide years of reliable service. To acquaint yourself with the terminology and technology involved, have a look at our wireless router buyer's guide below.
August 15, 2019
Modems are one of the most important computer devices when it comes to setting up a network connected to the Internet. The modem connects directly to an incoming Internet signal, provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and then relays that signal to other devices. There are quite a few different types of modems out there, based on the type of Internet signal you receive and the setting for your network. Cable and DSL modems are used for high-speed internet, replacing older dial-up modems that established an Internet connection through a phone line. Satellite modems work in a similar way, communicating with a satellite relay to receive and send signals. With so many options and devices available, take a look at the modem buyer’s guide below for more information on picking the right model for your setup.
October 13, 2015
A secure digital (SD) card is a type of memory card used in a wide range of products, from digital cameras and home surveillance systems to mobile phones. These cards are small and offer non-volatile memory that remains stored even if there's no power being supplied to the card from an external device. As technology has evolved, and more and more data can be stored at a smaller size, these cards have also developed into various sizes, speeds, and memory amounts. With the right reader or small adapter devices, you can read from just about any SD card on any type of computer. This lets you store impressive amounts of images and data on a tiny card, and transfer it all to another device for viewing or other use. There are quite a few different manufacturers of SD cards, and they offer a wide range of products, so take a look at the SD card buyer’s guide below before making a choice.
February 02, 2016
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  • Mice, despite how they might commonly be imagined, come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. If you just want a standard mouse without a lot of bells and whistles, you'll find quite a few here that offer comfortable forms and extra buttons for simple and fast computer use. But you might also consider an ergonomic model, designed to keep your wrist and forearm healthy and free from repetitive strain injuries. Gaming mice provide more programmable buttons, for your most important macros and abilities, and incredible precision to ensure accurate head shots. With so many options available, take a look at the computer mouse buyer’s guide below for more information to help you choose the right mouse for your needs.
    October 08, 2015
  • When mice primarily used the physical rotation of a ball to track movement, mouse pads were necessary to ensure a secure grip and accurate motion. However, as optical and laser mice have replaced the older designs, these pads have become much less necessary. Many people still prefer to use them though since they can provide a more comfortable workspace and improve performance under certain conditions. For example, gamers often use high-performance mouse pads to gain an edge over other players and even non-gamers can still benefit from mouse pads, since they can provide wrist support and a smooth surface. Be sure to check out the mouse pad buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick the best pad available.
    October 08, 2015
  • Choosing the right monitor is an extremely important step in any PC setup. Your high-end graphics card and processor won't mean anything if your monitor doesn't have the ability to display accurate color and contrast at the appropriate resolution, and different rigs require different specifications. For example, a gaming rig works best with fast response times and high resolution, but doesn't necessarily require the perfect color accuracy and display tweaking options that a professional photographer or graphic designer's monitor should. To help you navigate these waters of technical specifications and screen types, check out the computer monitor buyer’s guide below for all the information you need before making a purchase.
    October 07, 2015
  • Computer speakers play the largest role in determining the quality of the audio from your system. Most basic computer speakers have two "satellites" which are often placed on either side of a computer monitor. This setup provides left and right channels for stereo sound, which is suitable for everyday use. Beyond that, 2.1 and 5.1 speaker systems are growing in popularity. These setups have multiple satellites and a dedicated subwoofer, and offer much higher performance than basic speaker systems. They have substantially better bass response, making them an ideal choice for PC gaming and watching movies. While a simple pair of speakers can be inexpensive and easy to choose, take a look at the PC speakers buyer’s guide below for more information to help you pick exactly the right speakers for your setup.
    October 07, 2015
  • Gaming headsets differ from standard headsets by the needs they must fulfill. While sound quality is an important consideration, the best gaming headsets must also be comfortable enough for prolonged wear; thankfully there are wired and wireless headsets that meet these requirements so gamers have plenty of options to choose from. Since gaming headsets can cost you quite a lot of money, it’s important to choose a model that works well for your needs while providing adequate value for the money you’re. Check out the gaming headset buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick just the right headset for your needs.
    October 05, 2015
  • Intel motherboards have been popular for many years and will likely remain favorable long into the future. Many of these models are made by other manufacturers, like ASUS, Gigabyte, and ASRock, but the chipsets used on them are made by Intel and designed to work with Intel CPUs. Your motherboard connects all other pieces of hardware within your computer, and houses the BIOS firmware used to boot up your system. Since the board acts as the central nervous system of a computer, it’s a vital component with a tremendous impact on overall performance.As you look at different Intel motherboard models, you should consider older chipsets, such as the Z87, as well as newer ones like the Z97 and X99. There are a lot of technical specifications involved in evaluating and comparing motherboards, so check out the Intel motherboard buyer’s guide below for more information to help you pick out the best model for your system.
    September 25, 2015
  • A Home Theater Personal Computer, or HTPC, is a system built to stream media to a large television or projector as part of a home theater setup. While you can use a wide range of different motherboards for this type of rig, in general you want a board that is ideal for handling a lot of media and keeping your system running cool and quiet. Look for a motherboard with at least one good video card slot, to keep your video media playing fast and smooth. You’ll also want a ton of storage, so that you can keep as many media files as you want on your system, and options for enough RAM to keep your system running smoothly.These HTPC motherboards can run a maximum of at least 32GB of RAM, which is more than enough for a home theater setup, though some can handle even more. They have at least one really good slot for a video card, which is sufficient for a serious media player, but if you plan on using your HTPC for gaming, then you may want to look for a board that can handle more than one video card. These boards give you at least six slots for SATA connections, which lets you have a ton of storage in your computer. Both Intel and AMD motherboards can work great for an HTPC, and these boards use chips with relatively low power requirements, which help keep your system cool without creating a lot of noise.
    September 08, 2015
  • There are a wide range of AMD motherboards available, depending on your particular needs and goals for your computer. Along with Intel, AMD is the leading manufacturer for CPUs and motherboard chipsets, which determine many of the basic functions and operation speeds of your computer. Your choice in motherboard is extremely important, since many other component decisions are often based on it.Everything, from the type of RAM you can use to the number of video cards you can install, all depend on the motherboard you choose and its specifications. AMD has a number of solid chipsets and CPU sockets to choose from, including the older FM2 board, as well as newer models like the FM2+ and AM3+. Check out the AMD motherboard buyer’s guide below for more information and tips to help you pick the best model for your computer.
    August 20, 2015
  • Flash drives come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging in capacity from just 1GB to more than 256GB, your flash drive can be just enough to carry the files you need to a meeting, your entire music and movie collection and more. Depending on your needs and your lifestyle, flash drives can be suited for the USB 2.0 standard at lower prices, or the new, blazing fast USB 3.0 standard to move your files faster than ever. They can also be designed for those who need top notch security for peace of mind with their files, or developed with the most rugged designs to survive wherever you and your flash drive may trek. All in all, there are all flavors of flash drives, and depending on your needs, you may need a bare-bones one for a few dollars, or the most secure and rugged ones that cost hundreds of dollars. It all depends on your mobile storage needs.
    July 29, 2015
  • CompactFlash cards are frequently used with digital cameras and can store a wide range of different types of data. As you look at different cards, consider the speeds of each one which will give you faster data transfer rates while making it easier to take large HD photos with a camera. It’s also important to consider the maximum size of a card as well as the options available for other storage sizes.These are CompactFlash cards which provide the best speed and performance thanks to the fastest transfer rates available. You get a minimum of 85MB/s as the fastest rate on these cards, though some of them can get up to as fast as 160MB/s for incredible read/write speeds. The maximum data size on these CompactFlash cards is excellent, with maximum storage sizes of at least 64GB although some of them are as large as 256GB. You also get a wide selection of data amounts to choose from and most of these cards are available in at least four different storage sizes. Lastly, all of these cards are made to be very durable and come with lifetime warranties from the manufacturers.
    July 06, 2015
  • PC gaming has become increasingly popular in recent years, and graphics software is more available for a wide range of computer users. As a result, graphics/video cards are now more important than ever before. To keep up with such demands, manufacturers offer an array of different models to fit just about any need. Gamers looking for incredible detail and blistering frame-rates can find a wide range of gaming-oriented video cards. "Budget" video cards cater to casual users and amateur multimedia editors looking for a more affordable price point. For power users who want more performance than a single card can achieve, we even looked at the best video cards for SLI and Crossfire setups. Regardless of your needs, there's some essential product information everyone should know which is covered below in our graphics card buyer's guide.
    June 24, 2015
  • As computer component miniaturization has improved, small hardware has become increasingly powerful, allowing for faster and more impressive laptops than ever before. If you’re not on a strict budget and want a powerhouse laptop, then consider a system designed for gaming, high performance, or an ultrabook that combines excellent components with a remarkably slim design.There are also more wallet-friendly options including laptops under $1,000 and budget models for gaming and general use that give you portability and good performance at very reasonable prices. For Apple fans, there are a number of different MacBooks to choose from, with varying levels of speed and power found within them.If you want a laptop for professional use, then consider business models or mobile workstations that can offer the performance of a desktop system with remarkable portability. You can even find laptops that are perfect for multimedia editing, while rugged laptops give you a portable computer designed to survive a fall and handle adverse weather. There’s a lot you should know about laptop computers and the components inside them, so check out the laptop buyer’s guide below for important information on picking the best system for your needs.
    June 24, 2015
  • The processor, or Central Processing Unit, is effectively the heart of a computer. The clock speed, indicated by frequency, basically sets the rate for how fast all functions within a computer can be performed. If the heart beats faster, then programs and tasks run faster. With the addition of multi-core processors and hyperthreading, a single CPU is able to run as though it consists of multiple chips all working together in unison. This means that computers can run faster than ever before, offering a wide range of options in terms of overall speed and performance. You should think carefully before picking your CPU, since other decisions like your motherboard, RAM, and even the power supply in your computer are all directly tied into the processor you choose. The processor and CPU buyer’s guide below has great information and advice for picking the right chip for your computer.
    June 24, 2015
  • Power supply units may not be the most exciting PC component, but they are of course very important and can have a tremendous overall impact on your system. While your personal power requirements will depend entirely on the specific components in your computer, the average PC requires a bare minimum of about 400W. The best practice is to multiply your needs by one-and-a-half, to keep from running your PSU at full capacity, which can cause it to be less efficient, heat up more, and fail faster.In addition to pure wattage, make sure you're getting the right types of connectors, especially with video cards requiring their own dedicated power source. If you're concerned about efficiency, look for 80 PLUS ratings, with an eye toward bronze, silver, gold, and platinum tiers. Power supply specifications include a lot of important technical information, so take a look at the power supply buyer’s guide below for more details and suggestions on finding the right model for your system.
    June 24, 2015
  • Memory is memory, right? Nothing to get TOO excited about. Well, considering that RAM is the component that fundamentally determines how fast and agile your apps and games 'feel', I'd say that your choice of memory is pretty seriously important. If the performance of your laptop or desktop computer is bogged down by slower, lower-capacity, generic memory sticks -- or if you're building a new PC and want the best possible DDR3 to put you at the cutting-edge -- these memory cards and multi-channel kits on the following lists are your best bet.
    June 19, 2015
  • Smartwatches are yet another way technology is becoming further integrated into our daily lives. While most current smartwatches are designed to work in tandem with your smartphone, others can function as standalone devices with their own data and calling capabilities. This market is still emerging, but competition is already heating up with new technologies and innovations constantly being released.Although these early devices aren’t fully polished yet, we've compiled a list of some of the best options currently available to consumers. While the Apple Watch has created big change in the market, there still remain only a select few options for iPhone users, with the majority of smartwatches being for Android devices only.When choosing the best smartwatches for this list, we looked at their design, both in terms of appearance and in terms of comfort. Since a watch is to be worn, it's important it fits the image you want to portray while being comfortable enough to keep on for many hours at a time.We looked at their battery life as well, an area where smartwatches are still lacking, with just about every single mainstream model requiring charging every one to two days. Fortunately, all of the following watches should last a minimum of one day of typical use before needing a recharge.We also chose to include smartwatches with full user functionality, as opposed to more fitness-oriented models; this means the ability to run a variety of apps and perform a range of functions beyond just fitness tracking. As features are currently fairly standard across most of the leading models, we've placed less emphasis on features than overall performance and user experience.
    May 29, 2015
  • The iPhone is currently one of the most popular mobile devices available thanks to its versatile, user friendly nature. For those frequently on the move, having an in-car charger for the iPhone is essential. These devices connect to your car’s cigarette lighter and will ensure that your phone is constantly functional regardless of how long you are on the road. Of course, with the range of models available in stores, the quality level can vary from item to item.Whether you travel regularly for your job or simply enjoy heading out on the occasional road trip, these best iPhone car chargers come highly recommended. Keep in mind that Apple now uses two types of cabling for charging: the Lightening Connector for iPhone 5 series, iPod Touch 7th generation as well as the 4th generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini w/Retina Display and then of course the 30 Pin Connector for older devices. These chargers were chosen for their reliability, broad compatibility with iPhones and whenever possible, MFi certification, or Apple's iPhone certification for third party hardware.
    January 23, 2015
  • There are so few reasons not to invest in a solid-state drive anymore. What's better about SSDs compared to traditional hard drives? No moving parts -- which means SSDs are smaller, cooler, more power-efficient, more stable and reliable, and generally just longer-lasting. They're also (nearly always) faster at most things -- boot times and launch times, especially. What's not better? Well, capacity (and especially cost per byte) is still not even close to satisfying most real-world needs, and you'll find cutting-edge HDD speeds to be more than enough for most users. While it makes perfect sense to install an SSD for your 'primary drive', it's still virtually necessary to stick with HDDs for media storage and backup.
    November 21, 2014
  • Like most technology, what's initially exclusive becomes commonplace and the same applies to mobile phones. With the explosion of smartphones, it was only a matter of time before they became an everyday device. If you're looking for a new phone, now is the time to consider upgrading to a smartphone as the selection of models and features each can offer are excellent. We've chosen the following best budget Verizon smartphone because of their extended battery lives which can realistically last through a full day of voice, texting, and data usage, they feature durable designs allowing each to survive the rigors of every wear and tear complete with fumbles and drops, enhanced photo/video capabilities, and equipped with excellent camera technology for capturing crisp photo stills and video.
    October 29, 2014
  • Printers have evolved quite a bit in a short period of time. Inkjet printers used to be the low cost and quality solution to the more sophisticated laser printer option, but that's not the case anymore. Both types of printers can print quality pages, it just depends on what kind of printing you want to do. The difference between inkjet and laser is how the ink is applied and adheres to your page. Inkjets spray millions of tiny picoliter size dots onto the page, creating a vast color palette in the image. But there’s the risk the finished product might show slight bleed or a subtle pixelated effect if the printer is a low quality machine. Laser printers use toner, a powdered ink that heats ink to the page to produce an image. Unlike ink, toner doesn't have the risk of wet smudging, but you lose some of the color palette as toner lays down one color at a time and toner ink isn't as deep or thick as regular ink. Text documents and monochrome graphics look great with laser, but if you're looking to print lab-quality photos, ink presents a better color palette and deeper, richer photographic images. There’s a wide spectrum of printers suitable for every budget. Some have limited paper capacities for smaller jobs, making them better for home or personal use. Larger paper capacities are better for office environments, so you're not constantly replacing paper. Extra features like auto document feeders and duplex printing make large and complicated jobs easier to do as the machine does much of the work for you. One of the more resourceful and popular options at the moment is the "all-in-one" printer. These printers are capable of not only printing, but scanning, faxing and copying. These machines are one of the best options because they can do so many things in one easy-to-use unit. Plus, many of them offer the highest quality printed, scanned, and copied pages, with resolution of up to 9600 x 2400 dpi (dots per inch) for color prints. Wireless printers is a hot commodity now too. Printers can now print documents and photos directly from mobile devices and web-based cloud services. Many of them can also accept USB drives and memory cards to download your material directly to the printer's hard drive, eliminating the need for a PC or laptop altogether. Office environments may want a printer that multiple employees can use along a shared network and there are quite a few that offer this type of connectivity. Lastly, when choosing a printer, consider print speeds. Print speeds not only refers to the time it takes for a printer to finish printing a document (rated at pages per minute or ppm), but also to something called "first print out". This clocks the amount of time it takes for a printer to receive and process data from a printing source to when it starts the print job. Beware of the advertised print speeds from many manufacturers, however, they're not all accurate. Some manufacturers claim faster speeds but neglect to mention those are only attained at lower quality output, when the speed for high resolution prints is considerably slower.
    October 28, 2014
  • When it comes to Bluetooth headsets, fans of hands-free mobile or VOIP (voice over internet protocol) have a lot of choices. They range from headsets priced at well over $100 to much more affordable choices for $20 or $30. But like many things in life, a $130 headset doesn't always mean it's better than a cheaper headset and a cheap headset may cause more problems than its worth. Whether your needs are a headset that can be used by your laptop and your mobile device, or a headset that allows you to carry on a clear conversation, there's a Bluetooth headset for you.
    October 28, 2014
  • From working professionals to college students, laptops have become an essential item for many people. Due to our increasing reliance on being “connected” at any given time, many people carry their laptop around with them almost everywhere they go. Since this technology can be expensive to replace, it’s important to have adequate protection for your laptop and other electronic devices.No matter how careful you are, at some point the bag with your computer inside will end up banging too hard against a surface, fall to the ground, or otherwise risk damage to the contents inside. Because of this, the design of the laptop bag you choose is very important. Although the very best bags often tend to be expensive, there are budget-friendly options out there that will generally do a good enough job (but usually sacrificing somewhat on durability).Regardless of style, certain selection criteria must apply to any reliable laptop bag. The best laptop bags will have thick padding designed to protect your computer at all angles while keeping it snugly in place. There must also be plenty of space for additional items such as power cords, computer accessories, files and paperwork, as well as personal items such as a phone and/or wallet. A good laptop bag will also be durable and comfortable to wear, with adjustable straps and strong (preferably water-resistant) materials.
    August 15, 2014
  • Just 20 years ago it was a wonder to have a storage device capable of just a gigabyte. Today, drives have exploded in size to 4TB - 4,000 times larger since - and in all sorts of shapes and sizes. While Solid State Drives (SSD) are beginning to gain momentum in the market, Hard Drives continue to be the gold standard of storage because of their cost effectiveness, capacity, reliability, and longevity in the market. From usage in your notebooks and laptops to storage in your workstations to even mass storage for your NAS or Server, hard drives have and continue to be the very foundation of storage medium for millions of devices across the world. Here are some of the best picks out there from a variety of factors including capacity, usage, and more.
    August 04, 2014
  • With the purchase of a smartphone, the next accessory for most new owners is a new case. Samsung Galaxy S3 owners are no exception; with the popularity of the device, there's no lack of companies and manufacturers looking to protect the smartphone in various degrees of plastic, silicone, and other layers of protection. Cases range from those that can protect against many of the elements and those with the worst case of butterfingers, to cases that provide a minimal amount of protection. Owners should evaluate what their needs in a case are, or they'll find themselves with too much or too little of a case.
    June 17, 2014
  • For most iPhone owners, a case isn't just an accessory — it's a must-have item. For all the time and effort Apple puts into the design and engineering of its phones, the fact is that real life, with all of its scrapes, bumps, and accidents, is enough to turn a once-pristine iPhone into a dented, gouged, and scarred piece of technology very quickly. It may continue to function, but additional protection is something most owners equate with peace of mind. iPhone cases come in a variety of styles, from multiple layers of security that isolate the phone from the outside world to thin shells that provides only minor protection. Others not only provide a shell against the environment, but address the Achilles' heel of all modern electronics - battery life.
    June 17, 2014
  • External hard drives are a convenient solution for instantly adding more storage space without taking your computer apart. They can also be useful when larger files must be transferred between computers, or if you need your data on the go.
    June 11, 2014
  • The external hard drive dock is a match made in heaven for those who want dirt-cheap hardware and hot-swap capabilities. For years PC owners have struggled with drive bays, external enclosures, and a generally problematic process of swapping drives quickly, but in recent years the dock has offered a quick and dirty way of quickly changing drives for connectivity to the PC by eSATA or USB. While you lack any protection for the drive, using docks is easier than ever, and the latest ones offer the most powerful hardware, and new software capabilities such as drive cloning, making a variety of great options available for your needs.
    April 22, 2013