Tag Archives: computer-hardware

Top 10 Cases for Gaming

Geek!This is Frilio Rolthnor’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Top 5 Mid-Towers

5. Antec Three Hundred – The Antec Three Hundred is an amazing case for the price. It has really good cable management for a mid tower and very good airflow. With the addition of two 120mm fans in the front brackets, it provides optimal circulation to its 120mm rear, and 140mm exhaust. It has three external 5.25″ drive bays, and six internal 3.5″ hdd bays. On the right side of the hdd bays is a large cable management compartment that has room for all your excess power supply cables.

4. Raidmax Smilodon – The Smilodon is a great case, especially for those who are building their first computer. Both the left and right side panels fold down easily, and the motherboard tray folds out too. There is a lot of side intake, and with the rear exhaust, this case has good airflow. All 4 external 5.25″ bays, 2 external 3.5″ bays and the internal hdd bays have a tool-less design. Because of these features, the Raidmax Smilodon makes a great case for the first-time build.

3. NZXT Tempest – The Tempest is a great mid tower because it has excellent airflow and a lot of space. It has three external tool-less 5.25″ bays, and two removable hdd cages that hold 4 hard drives each. Each of the cages has a 120mm fan that provides great intake, and keeps the hard discs cool. At the top of the case are two 140mm fans which provide excellent exhaust next to the rear mounted 120mm fan. Underneath the motherboard tray is a large opening for cables to hide behind making cable management that much easier.

2. Thermaltake Armor+ MX – The Armor+MX is a great mid tower case. Looking at its left side panel, one finds a massive 230mm intake fan, huge for a mid tower. In addition to that there is also a 140mm intake at the front and a 120mm exhaust at the back. There are 6 tool-less 5.25″ bays and a removable hdd cage with 4 internal tool-less hdd bays. This case has plenty of room for large power supplies, and if you don’t need one too big you can mount some large fans or a liquid cooling system on the top, and there are tool-less expansion slots.

1. Antec Nine Hundred – The Antec Nine Hundred is amazing for a mid-tower case. It has a total of nine bays, which can be occupied either by 5.25″ devices or its two hdd cages. Each three disc cage easily slides in and out, can be mounted in any three consecutive 5.25″ bays, and has a 120mm 3 speed fan. It has a massive 200mm exhaust fan on the top, and a 120mm at the back. This case has lots of room, a bottom mounted power supply, and it provides some of the best airflow one can find in a mid tower case.

The Top 5 Full Towers

5. Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package – The Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package case features many features, such as a 140mm intake fan, two 120mm exhaust fans, and a mount for a right side panel (behind the motherboard). The case has 7 external 5.25″ drive bays; an external 3.5″ drive bay, and 6 hdd bays, all of which are tool-less. In addition to its cable management holes that lead through the motherboard tray, there are also panels that can be attached behind the motherboard tray to keep cables in to aid in fitting on the right side panel. There is also a large window with a large 230mm fan on the left side panel. The advanced package has a separation panel that can be used to block mixed airflow between the expansion cards and the rest of the motherboard. Channeling air in this way helps keep the overall case temperatures less.

4. Cooler Master Cosmos S – The Cosmos S features a heat sensitive power button that needs no force to activate. There is a 140mm intake fan, a 120mm rear exhaust fan, two 120mm top exhaust fans, and a large 230mm intake fan on the left side panel. There are 7 external 5.25″ drive bays, and a removable cage that holds 4 internal hdd bays. Two large handles on the top provide a rigid way to move the case, and the top fans can be removed to add a liquid cooling radiator. This case is very large, and has many cable management holes to route wires to the back side of the case.

3. Thermaltake Armor+ – The Thermaltake Armor+ is a massive case, both in size and weight. At the front, there are 7 5.25″ bays, and a removable hard drive cage that will take 5 3.5″ hard drives. There are also two 3.5″ drive bays on the bottom that can be replaced with 2 120mm or 140mm fans. There is a 140mm intake fan on the front, a 120mm rear exhaust fan, and either 2 120mm fans, 2 140mm fans, or a liquid cooling radiator can be mounted on the top. This case is very large, so even extended ATX motherboards can be installed with its 10 tool-less expansion slots. The motherboard tray is also removable, so it is very easy to install the motherboard and components outside the case.

2. Antec Twelve Hundred – The Antec Twelve Hundred is a beautiful case. It has 12 front 5.25″ drive bays, and nine of those can be converted to 3.5″ bays with its three, three disc hdd cages. Each of the cages can be repositioned in any of the drive bays, and are equipped with 120mm fans and a fan controller is on each cage on the outside of the case. This case also has two rear 120mm exhaust fans and a large 200mm top exhaust fan, and two more fans can be added, one on the interior side of a hdd cage and another on the large window on the left side panel. There are many cable management holes, and the whole interior of the case is painted black, which looks very nice compared to most cases.

1. LIAN LI PC-P80 – The LIAN LI PC-P80 Armorsuit case is one of the best cases currently on the market. This case has 12 5.25″ bays, which can be occupied with hdd cages that will support up to 6 3.5″ drives. This case has a door, which features three 140mm fans that provide optimal airflow for cooling, along with a top 140mm exhaust fan and a rear 120mm exhaust. There is a large mount for even the biggest of power supplies, a video card support bar, and the motherboard tray is removable.

Ten Steps to Building Your First Computer

Geek!This is Joel Parker’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Step 1

What user category do you fit in? Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What will I use my computer for?
  2. What is my budget?

After answering those questions it’ll make this next step really easy. You have three basic user categories to choose from, so it shouldn’t be too hard to choose.

  • Mainstream – Mostly anyone not wanting to game or do any kind of rendering. (budget: $250-$600)
  • Gamer – Those guys that go to LAN parties regularly and spend late nights on the computer. You guys know who you are. 😉 (budget: $600-$2000)
  • Enthusiast – They are crazy. They enjoy spending money on the top of the line products for benchmarks, gaming and high end rendering. (budget: $2000+)

Step 2

Which reseller should you choose for the parts? If you’re going by trust, reliability and fast shipping, here’s a few main choices:


  • http://ebuyer.com

My favorite reseller has to be Newegg.com. Newegg has been my favorite for a few years now just because of it’s awesome customer service, amount of products and cheap shipping cost.

Step 3

Choosing the parts – this is the hardest step for the entire build, no joke. You have to take in consideration your budget, your user category and the reviews of the product(s).

5 tips for choosing the parts for you:

  1. Choose name brands. (ASUS, HIS, XFX, crucial, etc)
  2. Make sure the products have 4-5 star ratings. (If they aren’t at least 4 stars, find out why and move on)
  3. Cheapest and/or most expensive isn’t always the best choice.
  4. Make sure all of your parts are compatible. The best way to find that out is to look at the motherboard specs.
  5. Make sure you are choosing the parts for you and your user category. If not, you will loose your budget.

The next 5 steps explain which components to look for depending on your user category.

Step 4

Search Google for “Power Supply Calculator”. This will determine your choice of correct wattage. This list will show how much wattage you will need for each user category:

  • Mainstream = 100w-500w
  • Gamer = 500w-800w
  • Enthusiast = 800w+

Step 5

Motherboard/CPU – These two components are the most important choices for the entire build. Make sure you read all 5 tips on the 3rd step! Here are the things to look for in a motherboard and CPU, depending on your user category:


  • 2+ SATA ports
  • 2-3 PCI slots
  • Onboard graphics and onboard audio
  • 1.6GHz-2.6GHz dual-core or single-core CPU

  • 2+ SATA ports
  • 2 PCI slots
  • 2-3 PCI-e 2.0 slots
  • Your choice of onboard audio or a high definition PCI slot audio card
  • 2.6GHz-3.2GHz dual-core or quad-core CPU

  • 6+ SATA ports
  • 1+ PCI slot(s)
  • 3 PCI-e 2.0 slots
  • 1+ PCI-e x4 slot(s)
  • High Definition PCI slot audio card
  • 3.2GHz quad-core CPU

Step 6

Graphics Card – Here we are, choosing the core to your powerhouse machine. What should you pick? Well it’s really up to you and it really depends on the year I will give you some choices based on the here and now: (this step doesn’t really apply to the user category “Mainstream”, so you guys can skip on along to step 7.)


  • ATI (CrossfireX) – 4870, 4850
  • NVIDIA (SLI) – 9800 GTX+, 9800 GTX, 9800 G92, 9800GT


  • ATI (CrossfireX) – 4870×2, 4850×2, 4870
  • NVIDIA (SLI) – 280, 260 core 216, 9800 GTX+

Step 7

The memory and the HDD is one of the easiest decisions out of the whole build. But really this is all totally up to you, just remember your budget.

  • Mainstream – RAM: 2GB-4GB, HDD: 80GB-160GB
  • Game – RAM: 4GB-8GB, HDD: 160GB-320GB
  • Enthusiast – RAM: 8GB+, HDD: 320GB-1.5TB

Step 8

Rom Drives/Case – These components are the shell of your computer.


  • Case sizes: MicroATX, Mid-Tower ATX
  • Rom Drives: CD/DVD burner combo drive (everyone should have one of these)


  • Case sizes: Mid-Tower ATX, Full-Tower ATX
  • Rom Drives: CD/DVD burner combo drive, Blueray Reader drive


  • Case sizes: Full-Tower ATX
  • Rom Drives: CD/DVD burner combo drive, Blueray burner/reader drive

Step 9

Building your computer – Once you’ve chosen all of your computer parts. You’re probably asking yourself, How do I put all of these parts together into a computer? Well, the only way to find that out is Google, YouTube and your motherboard manual. Believe me, it’s really simple. I’d go on to say it’s almost like building a complex Lego creation.

Search for “How to build a computer” in any major search engine and you will get tons of results on how to do it. Good luck and have fun!

Step 10

Should I overclock? Well, it totally depends on what parts you chose and if you want to take the risk. I recommend you checking out the overclocking community over at http://overclock.net for more info on the subject. And if you wish, join http://geeks.pirillo.com for a whole community with overclockers, gamers and computer builders!

HP Responds to a Computer Hardware Problem

So, “CamBlack” from my chat room tells me about this problem he’s been having with an HP laptop. I immediately pass his message along to my friends at HP (who were quite instrumental in getting HP to sponsor Gnomedex this year). The story has a happy ending:

My mom got this HP ZD7010us Laptop. It turns out, that the first mistake was during the ordering process. A BRAND NEW laptop was ordered and paid for but somewhere, someone at HP typed in ONE wrong number and she ended up getting a refurbished computer. She didn’t really know it at first but then the problems started. First, about a month after she got it, the screen started to flicker on and off. You had to get it in just the right spot to make it stop. Then, the next problem, a few weeks later, It would just turn off whenever it felt like it. My grandparents came up to where we live (Michigan) from Florida and my grandmother made the first call to HP, Who then told her to, yep, you guessed it, reformat. Of course that did no good.

Well, then the next problem, the CD/DVD Drive would not read or write. Then, she called HP again to get the same ‘solution.’ Reformat. Did not good. Then, the laptop started to overheat and die. Hp was called again. Mom was on the phone for 5 hours with them and then they FINALY said that they would come and get it and take it in for repair. The laptop was gone for a LONG time. It was gone such a long time that when it was returned, the warrantee was expired and absolutely nothing on the laptop was fixed. Even though when it came back, it came with a paper that showed everything that was ‘fixed.’ But the problems were even worse then before it went in, in the first place. So she gave up on it, because the laptop was still useable. But NOW, the darn thing wont even boot, it does the windows loading screen and then it does then it flashes the BSOD and dies.

Mom has a serious disability, many herniated disks in her back which means she cant work, and neither Social Security or workers comp will pay her anything. So thus, she cant afford to get it fixed. So I decided to email you about the whole thing to see if you could come up with something. Then, the next day, I get an email from Jeff Utigard from HP requesting my contact information. Thus, I responded and he replied back saying that it would be taken care of. Then, maybe 30 minutes later, Jeff Utigard calls and gets all of the information about the laptop, and then he tells us that someone will be calling very shortly. He then called someone else, who called us.

The woman who called has us tell her all of the info again, and then she said that we WOULD be getting a new laptop sent to us. She told mom that it would take about 2 weeks to build a computer with a 17 inch monitor, which we have currently on the computer that doesn’t work. So the woman on the phone said that there are a lot of problems with the 17inch monitors because they bend easier and could cause it to break. So she suggested a 15.1″ screen. I mean this computer is WAY better then the one we have.

The model is a HP dv6565 us. It is loaded with features, and she included a TON of extra features with it. Example: An HP Courier carrying case, an extra lithium ion battery, Microsoft Office 2007, and HPs best warrantee, a 3 year warrantee including accidental damage (a $400 warrantee.) Everything totaled up to be just shy of $2000 which is about $400 more valuable then the current laptop. The new laptop will be shipped on Monday. And it was all thanks to you Chris. I can not thank you enough. If there is anything that I can ever do for you PLEASE let me know! The link for the new laptop if you would like to look at it is here.

I’m glad I’m able to play ombudsman for people who otherwise feel lost in the shuffle. The only thing you can do for me, CamBlack, is stay active with our community and pay it forward. HP is certainly to be applauded for this resolution!