Hardware Guides

This installment of Ask GN – our eighth episode – sees the rise of questions relating to PC build choices, hard drive orientation (vertical vs. horizontal), long-life GPUs, and motherboard impact on overclocking.

As with the previous episodes, we feel as if the questions improve in their discussion points and level of interest each time – please keep posting them in the YouTube comments and through Twitter!

The latest episode is below:

The purpose of this content is to quickly, with as little intricacy as possible, guide new system builders through common build problems. We may explore longer, issue-dependent pieces in the future, but this guide is meant to remain as simple as possible.

Common PC build mistakes and boot problems will be resolved by the below step-by-step troubleshooting guide. Common problems we're looking at include:

Well, maybe not everything – but certainly the most useful information to a system builder. We've written about how both thermalpaste and CPU coolers work in the past, but figured the topic was worth a revisit now that the site has grown substantially.

In this video and article accompaniment, we walk through thermal conductivity, contact efficiency between the coldplate and IHS, curing & aging, copper vs. aluminum cooling, and more.

Moving to Episode 7 of Ask GN, we're starting to hit a level of consistency – targeting every Monday – and the viewer questions have continued to impress us. This week's questions are among the best we've gotten so far, and that seems to be true week after week.

This show discusses more PCI-e laning topics, dust management, test methodology, CPU bottlenecking, and more. You can find the latest episode of Ask GN below. As always, post comments to the video, in the comments below, or tweet at us (@GamersNexus) for next episode's consideration!

The recent banishment from US markets of Cooler Master's closed-loop liquid coolers has inspired us to research and document major CLC suppliers. In most industries – automotive, technology & computing, bike components – suppliers build a base product, receive input from a manufacturer, and then produce a slightly modified version of their core offering. Liquid coolers are the easiest example and the one about which we are talking today. This topic came about following some readers stating that they'd never seen an “Asetek” or “CoolIT” cooler on sale before.

Corsair, NZXT, SilverStone, Enermax, Fractal, and others sell liquid cooling products. These companies buy the pump, radiator, tubing, and liquid in an AIO (all-in-one) package from suppliers who specialize in the making of such items; the brands we know then provide varying degrees of product input to differentiate amongst themselves. NZXT, for instance, sells the NZXT X41 liquid cooler, a product sourced from Asetek but customized by NZXT. In this case, that customization includes software integration and variable pump speed control, alongside an RGB LED in the pump's faceplate. Even the CLC OEMs will source some of their components from the outside, like radiators.

First, a simple table to reveal suppliers of known liquid coolers in the industry, then we'll talk about how companies differentiate themselves. At the surface, all of this can look like a “sticker operation,” by which I mean it may look as if manufacturers put their “sticker” (logo) on a cooler and then sell it – but most folks do more than that when designing their variant of a product.

We've recently encountered a number of questions pertaining to the maximum display frequency supported by HDMI, primarily with readers wondering if 1080p / 120Hz will work through HDMI. This has been in pursuit of some of our monitor content, including our monitor overclocking guide (which advises against HDMI).

The market's domineering display interfaces are DisplayPort, HDMI, and (still) DVI; for high-frequency output, DVI dual-link and DisplayPort are almost always used and recommended.

We've been enjoying the production of our “Ask GN” episodes thus far, and we're rolling cleanly into episode 5 of the series. For this episode, we addressed questions pertaining to DirectX 12, Vulkan, ESD prevention, GPU fan speed vs. temperature correlation, and AMD's GVR.

As always, comments from the YouTube channel were gathered for this video. If you've got questions for the next episode, which airs next week, send us a comment via twitter, YouTube, or post one below. Our thanks to the viewers who've come up with some of the thought-provoking questions we've addressed in previous episodes:

How to Make a Grounding Cable to Prevent ESD

By Published September 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the only true danger present when building a PC; that is, other than the danger posed to hands by copper heatsinks. We've previously written about ESD and how it works, but now we're revisiting the topic with a solution to eliminate ESD concerns.

This how-to guide explains how to prevent ESD by grounding yourself when building a computer, specifically by making an ESD grounding wire. We've loosely recommend anti-static wrist straps in the past, but whether or not they actually work depends on how they're utilized by the builder. Simply strapping the band to your wrist and clipping it to the case isn't going to be enough to prevent ESD, though it's better than nothing. The approach we take in this guide is the very same that we use in our lab. It's a little bit of extra work, but anyone demanding certainty (or working with components more than once per build) should follow our example.

A chipset acts as the computer's brainstem; it connects everything, serving as a central hub for communications and I/O management across the motherboard and its attached devices. Intel chipset selection for gaming machines is often simplified into a just selecting the newest Z-series chipset (Z170, in this case), which isn't always necessary. Rather than buying features that go unused, we suggest reading through our below specs comparison of Z170, H170, H110, and B150, then picking the best chipset for the job.

This chipset comparison looks at the differences between Intel's new 100-series chipsets for Skylake (Z170, H170, H110, B150, Q170, and Q150). We'll talk about the best Intel chipset for a new motherboard or CPU, looking at different use cases for each.

Starting with the specs to clear everything up, we'll initiate with consumer-focused Z- and H-series chipsets.

Let’s be real: Power supplies are sometimes seen as a dry subject; after all, there aren’t watercooling blocks for them... Well, at least the crickets like my humor. Regardless, power supplies are full of nuances which can intimidate new users and those unversed with the intricacies of a good PSU. In order to remedy this, we’ve previously provided our PSU dictionary and various articles to inform those interested. For those less than ecstatic about learning about voltage ripple and similar terms, we’ve assembled today’s list of power supplies at various price points and wattage levels so that picking out a PSU is easier.

This guide aims to provide a reference point for selecting the best gaming power supply at various budget and wattage levels, spanning 500W to 650W to 1600W.

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