Every Saturday, Mathieu from Hardware Revolution goes through his e-mail inbox 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!

orangederange from Twitter wrote:
Hi Mathieu, what are your thoughts on the Asus Netbook Celeron 353… I want to get one for my mom. bestbuy link: http://tinyurl.com/5ahjld

Answer: I would avoid that model. It features the Celeron processor, which is slow and consumes more energy (read shorter battery life) compared to the usual Atom processor featured in netbooks.

Wyatt wrote:
What do you think of the new AMD Radeon HD 4550?

Answer: I wouldn’t recommend it. For its price ($62 on NewEgg), I don’t think that it’s a good deal. You would be better off with a 4650 at $70 or even better, a 4670 at$80.

I also would recommend that you take a look at Best video card for your money: October 2008 if you need further help choosing your video card.

Ravi wrote:
Thanks for great site! Is it possible for you to put DIY laptop section as well.. would love under $1000 mobile workstation (if possible 🙂

Answer: Thanks for the kind words Ravi. A DIY laptop section? That would require some work but it’s definitely a possibility. What about you, the person reading this, would you be interested by such a section?

Justin wrote:
I was wondering where you work out of? I’ve been building custom computers for a
few years now and had wondered how you go about building your systems, is it
from a specific building or do you farm out your labor? Just wondering. I’ve
built many water-cooled and specialized gaming rigs and currently work as a
Server technician and builder, we specialize in Intel Modular Servers.  I
currently reside in Southern California. I noticed this article through Digg
and was interested in your work. Custom rigs are much more enjoyable to build
than your everyday computers. Any info you might have would be great. Thanks.

Answer: I earn my living through a few streams of incomes. One thing that I’ve been doing recently is working for DTPR Events in Montreal. What I do there is that I go to the event location with the company, setup many computers, so that they are all connected to a server (or a few) and make them ready to be used by the people who will be doing registration for an event. We’re talking about 5 to over 30 computers per event which all need to be wired and connected. I do that once or twice a month usually, depending on upcoming events.

I help my friendly webmaster here and there, with database entry mainly.

I also get some income from this blog, which I reinvest into it, in various forms, such as hosting, paying my webmaster for various implanted and future improvements and finally to pay for computer parts which I want to review.

How do I build a system? Well, that depends on who it’s for.
In all cases, I will talk/write to the person who wants the system, ask them various questions about their requirements (read specs and software), their budget, if they could consider upgrading in a close future and a few other things. When I have the information, I do research, to find the best computer parts, which fit in the budget and answer the person’s requirements. If it’s only for a recommendation of what parts to buy, like on this blog, I will stop at this step and publish the results of my researches.

For people for whom I’m actually building a system: When I’m ready to order the parts and build the system, I will contact the person to confirm what the system will compose of and arrange payment.

I will then order the parts, assemble the system at home, in a part of the room that is dedicated to computers and install the necessary software. When that is done, I deliver the system, either by shipping it or by going in person if that’s possible, to setup it up at home for the person.


Salanos wrote:
I have a question – can you partition RAID0 setups?

Answer: Yes you can. A RAID0 setup will appear as a single hard drive with the combined space of all physical hard drive and it can be partitioned just like any hard drive.

MrCafeine wrote:
Q: Instead of using Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit on builds with more than 4 gigs of memory, I was wondering what you think of using Windows XP 64-bit instead. Thanks in advance.

A: From what I hear, Windows XP 64-bit is crippled with bugs, lack of drivers, support and have major problems. It’s worth a try for fun, to see if it’s worth it on your system. However, if you need a stable and reliable OS, with as little downtime as possible, I would avoid it and recommend Windows Vista instead. Sure, it uses more ressources than XP, but with modern(read new) hardware, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Do you have any questions? Ask them in the comments!