Every Saturday, Mathieu from Hardware Revolution goes through his e-mail inbox and previous comments and answers the best 5 to 10 simple questions sent in by you, the readers, on computer hardware topics and many other things.

Got a question? Post it in the comments and make sure to subscribe to the comments to read other people questions and my answers!

In the previous edition of this series, ashwin said:
Q: Also it would be great if you could write what is meant by terms such as L2 cache, FSB, crossfireX etc, also tell about different parts of motherboard like north bridge, south bridge etc, whats their use.It would be really great to have them.

A: I’ve started to work on that, I’ve made a page called Glossary that you can visit. I’ll be adding more and more as I think of other terms and as you contact me with suggestions.

Also in the previous edition of this series, JohnDetroit asked:
Q: I would like to build my own laptop or maybe a unique mod. Do you know of any reputable places to shop for the parts?

A: The problem with laptops are that few manufacturers yet offer the possibility of building your own laptop from scratch. The reason for that is that you have to consider the heat dissipated and the different size of different parts.

What laptops need are standards, like the various ATX standards for desktop. However, until manufacturers get together and adopt a standard, things are not going to improve much unfortunately.

Your two main options usually are to go to the manufacturer website, choose your configuration with what they offer and have them build it for you. The other being to buy a barebone laptop, where you can choose your cpu, ram and hard drive. OCZ should offer you the possibility to choose your video card, but not before 2009.

Robert wrote:
Q: Could you possibily either have similier links to the computers using the
Canadian newegg, or have the Canadian version of the builds. Great site, helps
a lot.

A: You should be able to find the same parts on any canadian online retailers websites. Although I have plans for a canadian version of the website eventually, that won’t be before a long time.

I can recommend to you the following
www.tigerdirect.ca
www.ncix.com
www.newegg.ca (which only launched recently, so they don’t have a very diverse inventory yet)


JohnDetroit wrote:
I recently cleaned a couple of my family members computers that were very slow
due to trojan horses,spyware, and virus’. They both had antivirus and spyware
software installed and up to date. I used spydoctor on them so I could at least
get to a point where I could back up their files. I have never installed any of
these antivirus or spyware programs and have never encountered a single
problem. Are these companies just stealing consumers money?

A: Trojan houses, spyware, virus, malware are unfortunately part of the Internet as we know it now. Protection is essential. I use a physical router as a firewall myself, that seems to be the best solution. Also, using common sense by avoiding websites that look fake or simply bad(filled with ads and popups) helps.

Two of my favorite programs to get rid of all those annoyances are Spybot: Search & Destroy and Ad-aware. The first one is a freeware, while the latter can be used either as a free version or a full-version trial.

Another thing that helps is to use the Firefox browser, which is way more secure than Internet explorer. Not to mention that it’s faster and uses less ressources than IE.

To answer your question, yes those compagnies want to make money, in various ways. Some will try to steal personnal data to sell it back. The worse they tend to do is to infect your PC with their “virus” and then inform you through some kind of popup that your PC is infected and then proceed to recommend to you their “anti-virus” software to remove their “virus”. Of course, they charge you for the software, only to remove a fake virus…


Ayush wrote: Q: iam building a gaming rig mostly for playing fps,nba2k9/nfs series of games.i liked your article an amazing gaming pc for 1000$ and i have figured everything out just like you have said in that article but am very confused with single hd 4870 or hd 4850 in crossfire,also i have asus p5q deluxe motherboard.please tell me which is better cause i have to assemble the pc in nov only.waiting for your reply

A: Performance wise, the 4850 in Crossfire will be better in general. In a few games where Crossfire isn’t supported, the 4870 will outperform the 4850 in Crossfire.

My suggestion? Buy the 4870, which should be plenty enough for the games that you plan to play. In the future, say a year from now, the 4870 price will have dropped with the introduction of new cards. For example, the 3870 is only $100 now, compared to $300 at the beginning of 2008.

So in a year from now, if you feel the need, get another 4870 and run two 4870 in Crossfire then.

It is confusing indeed. Well, if you want the best performance possible in most games NOW, go for two Radeon 4850 in Crossfire. If you want good enough performance in every game and the possibility to upgrade in the future, go for a single 4870 now and another in the future if you feel the need.

A quick note to finish:
Joshua wrote to me to tell me that his team and himself just launched PCHardwareBlips, an
aggregator site that tracks hundreds of blogs including this one. If you like PC hardware and I suppose that you do if you’re reading this blog, it’s certainly worth a look.

Have a good one and I’ll see you tomorrow!