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Mark Kyrnin

Mark's PC Hardware / Reviews Blog


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Best Mainstream Desktop PCs

Wednesday April 23, 2014

It used to be that a high performance desktop computer system would cost over $1000. Now systems priced between $700 and $1000 can often do these tasks quite well and the more expensive systems are becoming niche computers primarily for gaming. While the processors have not changed much of the past six months, the graphics card market has seen some big changes such that more now feature dedicated cards. Find out which of these desktop systems I think are the best for a variety of uses and price ranges.

Computer Recycling

Tuesday April 22, 2014
Old Computer Gear For Recycling
Image courtesy Kim Westerskov / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

Computer equipment contains a variety of hazardous materials that have traditionally ended up in landfills. These materials can leech out into the environment and cause damage. Because of the volume of electronics being produced and the potential to cause damage from improper disposal, governments are now requiring proper recycling and disposal for all computer gear. How your gear must be disposed varies based on where you live. Learn how to properly dispose of your electronics and what options are open from the manufacturers to assist you. You may even be able to get some cash or credit for recycling your old computers, tablets and smartphones.

The information on this page is primarily regarding recycling PCs within the United States. If you happen to be in Canada, the About Small Business Canada site has information about recycling within various parts of the country.

Small and Quiet Desktop PC From Velocity Micro

Monday April 21, 2014
Velocity Micro Edge Z30 SmallBlock
Image Courtesy Velocity Micro

One of the big issues about performance desktop systems is the heat they generate. The easiest way to deal with this is to just more fans. The problem is that the more fans you put in a system, the more noise that system typically generates. Large tower systems can deal with the heat a bit better thanks to greater airflow. Shrink down that desktop system to a smaller size, and generally you have to deal with higher fans speeds to properly cool them which make them loud. Velocity Micro has put together a compact tower design that can fit more readily on a desktop but still offers a very quiet experience. Does it sacrifice performance or features in order to get its compact size and low noise levels? Find out in my review of the Velocity Micro Edge Z30 SmallBlock desktop.

Zt Systems Support Profile

Sunday April 20, 2014

Zt Systems previously sold desktop and laptop computers to consumers but they have since refocused their efforts solely into the computer server and storage business. So what if you happen to have an older desktop PC and need to get some support for the products? Find out what they offer in my profile of their support offerings.

Included in the profile I list the various avenues that users have for support, tips and advice. In addition, I'm posting a survey below and in the profile asking users for their opinion of Zt Systems. If you have used their support and would like to let others know of their experiences for better or worse, please feel free to share your experience.

How would you rate Zt Systems' support?

View Results

Desktop Video Card Buyer's Guide

Saturday April 19, 2014

Desktop Video Cards

Image Courtesy eVGA

One of the key items to consider when purchasing a desktop computer system is what type of video card it uses. After all, you want to make sure that the system is able to properly handle the video demands placed on it. PC gaming requires a certain set of features compared to that used for graphic design. In fact, more and more programs can now benefit from a dedicated graphics card in addition to the CPU. So, what kind of graphics processor should you get? Find out more in my guide to selecting a desktop PC video card.

A Gaming Desktop PC With Six Core Processor For Under $1000

Friday April 18, 2014
Maingear Vybe
Image Courtesy Maingear

Multiple processor cores have been around for some time in computers. While dual core processors have had great benefits, generally having four or more did not tend to improve performance all that much. This is gradually changing as games and programs become written to take advantage of more cores. Intel's processors that have more than four cores are extremely expensive, but AMD has some decently priced models that feature six and eight. But is an AMD processor with six cores going to be a better option for PC gaming than a quad core Intel CPU? Find out in my review of the Maingear Vybe (Good) desktop that is priced under $1000.

An Affordable Desktop PC With Solid State Drive

Wednesday April 16, 2014
iBUYPOWER A10-7700K-2
Image Courtesy iBUYPOWER

One of the easiest ways to boost the performance of a PC these days is to add a solid state drive. This simple addition provides a system that boots up and loads programs faster. They are becoming increasingly common for laptop computers yet many desktops still do not use them. iBUYPOWER has surprisingly added one to a relatively low cost desktop system that is priced around $800. Does this addition make a tangible difference or does the cost of using it reduce other features that may deter buyers? Find out in my review of the iBUYPOWER A10-7700K-2 retail desktop PC.

HP's Affordable Quad Core Desktop With Gesture Controls

Monday April 14, 2014
Image Courtesy HP Inc.

HP's ENVY desktops used to be their very high end performance systems. The brand has slowly slid down in price and become of more general performance rather than a gaming focused computer. Now the company is trying to extend its reach for computing possibilities by integrating the Leap Motion controllers into the product lineup. This certainly gives it a distinct feature from other desktop systems but is it necessarily something that the average user is going to want or need in their PC? Find out more in my review of the HP ENVY 700-230 desktop computer that can be found for under $800.

Velocity Micro Support Profile

Sunday April 13, 2014

Velocity Micro is a fairly well known systems integrator that custom builds personal computer systems, laptops and servers from parts according to the consumer. They have a reputation for well built systems based on high quality components. Even with this, there are times that buyers might need some help. So, what exactly does Velocity Micro offer in terms of support? Find out in my support profile.

Included in the profile I list the various avenues that users have for support, tips and advice. In addition, I'm posting a survey below and in the profile asking users for their opinion of Velocity Micro. If you have used their support and would like to let others know of their experiences for better or worse, please feel free to share your experience.

How would you rate Velocity Micro's support?

View Results

Guide To Laptop Size And Weight

Saturday April 12, 2014

Laptops come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. They can range as small as a thin ultrabook that weighs around two pounds all the way up to the behemoth that should be a desktop computer often referred to as a luggable because it is so big you won't be carrying it frequently. Each of these portable computers has a specific role and offer very different experiences to the users that buy them. Because of this, it is important to understand how the size and weight of a laptop computer will play in your selection of the right type of laptop for you.

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