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Buying a new PSU

Power Supply Unit – Buying a new PSU

Choosing the right PSUBekijk in het NederlandsWhen you are buying a new computer, or building your own from scratch you want it to be as good as possible for as little money as possible. Depending on your needs and budget, a new computer can range anywhere from €150,- to €1500,-. Most of that money is spent on the core components like the CPU, GPU and memory. This is fine as they are very important parts of your computer, but one important component is usually overlooked. The PSU, or power supply unit, is of vital importance to your computer and can greatly harm or even destroy your new computer rig when the wrong choices are made. Which PSU should you buy and which PSU should you avoid? I will try to answer those questions below.

Why Power Supply Units are important

PSU’s, or power supply units come in various shapes and sizes, but also in very different price ranges. Picking a good power supply unit can be a though one, since the speficications of a PSU are so different from any other specifications related to computers. If you know your way around Ghz, cores, clockspeed, gDDR5 and so it is very well possible that you still do not know a lot about Watt, volts, lanes and other power supply slang. You may also not be aware of how much power your computer actually needs. Most people, and manufacturers go for the lowest amount of power needed in the cheapest case. Although the first can’t really do any harm, the cheapest brand can destroy your computer in the long run.

The dangers of a bad PSU

Avoid Bad PSUPower supplies for computers advertise a certain range of power they are able to supply to your computer system. This amount should be more or equal to the amount of power your computer consumes at maximum workload. In general, all PSU’s provide the amount of power they advertise with in the beginning, but this is where it gets interesting. Cheap brands power supplies tend to lose power over time. This may not be noticed straigt away because your computer does not use all the power your PSU provides, or is not working at its maximum workload often, but as your PSU slips underneath the power threshold your computer needs, or your computer suddenly demands more power because of a heavy workload – playing games or crunching lots of numbers for example – you may experience a sudden loss of power resulting in an unexpected reboot of your computer. If this happens once, it is annoying. You usually have no idea why it happened and no error or bluescreen of death is presented. Your computer just powers down ands starts booting up again as if nothing had happened. As your PSU degrades further this tends to happen more often.

This happened to very often a few years back. Especially when I was playing a game, which requires my graphical unit to really crunch to the limit, thus requiring a lot power, my computer tended to lose power or shut down. At first I thought it was the graphics unit itself and replaced it. Luckilly for me it was time for a replacement anyway, but the problem stayed the same. After examining my computer for days, running all kinds of tests and looking at various error logs I was unable to find what was wrong with it. After a while i replaced my power unit after finding some leads to how crappy my PSU was supposed to be and voila, no more problems – ever!

Burn power supply unitIn addition to losing power over time, bad PSU’s can simply destroy your computer because of malfunctions. A power spike, short circuiting or random malfunctions can literally fry your valuable equipment by overloading them with power – something most high-tech components cannot handle very well. You can guard yourself from this by buying a PSU which has the proper protection in place for this. This will not guarantee that nothing can ever go wrong, but will greatly reduce the chance of this ever happening to your computer.

My power supply turned out to be from a very cheap brand and was known for loosing power over time. I did some research and found out there was much difference between different power supplies. Not only did I find several things to keep in mind when buying a new computer power supply, but I also find several brands to absolutely avoid and several PSU brands which tend to be way better than others.

Find out which PSU to buy and which brand of power supply to avoid…

Bad and good brands for your PSU

Power Supply Unit – Which brand to avoid when buying a PSU

Antec great PSU brandBekijk in het NederlandsWhen buying a new PSU you must consider several things, including the brand. Simply put, there are good PSU’s and bad power supplies. It just so happens that most of the good ones fall in the same group of brands, where most of the bad computer power supplies fall in a different group of brands. This results in a list of bad and good brands when it comes to your computer power supply. If you want to avoid destroying your computer due to a bad PSU, or want to buy something that will last longer than a year, you may want to spend the few extra bucks and get a AAA brand PSU instead of the cheapest one available.

PSU brands – which to avoid and which are great!

When you look at problems people tend to have with their power supply you see certain brands pop up a lot more than others. In addition, these brands tend to come up as well when you look at PSU’s failing after a year or something comparable.

Brands to avoid when buying your PSU:

Brands to avoid when buying a PSU  
A-TOP Technology Apevia
APEX Aspire
ATADC Athena Power
ATRIX Broadway Com Corp
Deer Diablotek
Dynapower USA Dynex
EagleTech FOXCONN
FSP Everest HEC Orion
Hiper Type-R Huntkey
I-Star Computer Co. Ltd In Win
JPAC COMPUTER Just PC
Kingwin Inc. Linkworld Electronics
Logisys Computer MGE
MSI NMEDIAPC
Norwood Micro/ CompUSA NorthQ
NZXT Okia
Powmax Q-Tec
Raidmax Rocketfish
Rosewill SFC
Shuttle Skyhawk
Spire Coolers Star Micro
STARTECH TOPOWER TOP
XION YoungYear
Zebronics

 

The same goes for positive reactions and long lasting power supplies. Several brands tend to be really reliable and their PSU’s seem to last much longer than cheaper brands.

Brands to look at when buying your computer power supply unit:

Top Notch Power Supply Unit brands  
Antec Corsair
Enermax Kingwin
PCP&C Sapphire
Seasonic Silverstone
Seventeam XFX
Zippy

 

Great PSU brands  
Akasa CoolMax
Cooler Master Cooltek
Cougar Enhance
EVGA Fortron
iStarUSA LEPA
OCZ PC P&C Silencer
Rosewill Sentey
SevenTeam Supermicro/AbleCom
Thermaltake Thortech
Topower Xclio StablePower
Xigmatek Zalman

Besides avoiding certain brands of PSU’s or looking at quality brands for computer power supply units there is more to it than that. Power supplies can get certificates which show you just how well they perform consumption wise. A power supply tens to lose some of its power to heat, thus resulting in more power consumed than put to good use. This is where the certificates come in.

Read more on picking a good computer power supply and PSU certificates

PSU certifications and efficiency

Power Supply Unit – Efficiency and certification

PSU 80 PLUS certificationBekijk in het NederlandsAs said before, power supply units tend to lose some of its power to heat production. This results in less power put to good use compared to the power that is drawn from your socket. PSU certifications show you just how well your PSU should perform.

Power Supply Unit efficiency

There are several different kinds of certifications for PSU’s. The normal 80 PLUS certification means that a certain PSU efficiently uses 80% of the power consumed at 20% load, 50% load and 100% load. Every PSU loses power to heat and 80% efficiency is actually pretty good. There are of course power supplies that go over the 80% and those gain other certificates. In all there are 6 kinds of 80 PLUS PSU certifications to be had, where each they all indicate a certain degree of efficiency of the power supply unit.

 

PSU 80 PLUS Certificates

PSU Certification standards

As you can see it goes up all the way to over 90% efficiency, which is pretty incredible, but is not that much of a necessity for the average consumer. Anything with an 80 PLUS certification or 80 PLUS bronze should do more than well for your computer and basically tells you that you are buying a decent PSU.

Besides efficiency there are of course more things to look at when buying a power supply unit. One of things is a modular design.

Read more on modular designs and getting the right PSU for your computer!

Modular power supply units

Power Supply Unit – Modular PSU’s

Modular PSUBekijk in het NederlandsSo we have discussed some brands to avoid and some brands to definitely consider when buying a power supply unit as well as some certifications modern PSU’s should have, but besides that is of course also something as usability. A very important factor for any PSU is that it should have all the connections your computer needs. Every basic PSU has connectors for your motherboard, a harddisk and an optical drive, but if you are using a lot of different expansion slots – like an advanced graphics card – you better make sure it has the connections needed for that card. Modular Power Supply Units can help you there.

What are Modular Power Supply Units?

With standard PSU’s all cables are attached to the unit at all times. If you are not using some of those cables they are just hanging there, cluttering your case and reducing your airflow. For basic users this is not a big problem, but for the more advanced users this can be very annoying. Another annoyance can be upgrading. When you buy new components and find out that your PSU does not have any free power cables for that specific component anymore, you can basically buy a new power supply unit. There is however a solution for these problems; Modular Power supply units.

Modular Power Supply UnitModular PSU’s only feature the basic elements permanently, like a cord for your motherboard. The rest of the wires are optional and can be freely switched in and out. This removes unnecessary cables in your computer case, and allows you to switch cables when your need for connections changes. These modular PSU’s usually are bit higher prices, but that small amount of extra cost can sure make a big difference.

Getting a modular PSU or a regular power supply unit is something to keep in mind when buying a new PSU for your computer.

To get an overview of what to consider when buying a new power supply unit I took the liberty of writing a quick summary on the different aspects of buying a PSU – read on to find out more.

Help buying a new power supply unit

Power Supply Unit – Buying a new PSU overview

What to look for in a PSUBekijk in het NederlandsWhen you are buying a new PSU we have seen several things you should keep in mind. Below is a quick overview of what to look for in a power supply unit.

Computer power consumption

The first thing you should look at is the amount of power your computer will be consuming, and attune your power supply unit to that number. To find out the power needed you can look at each individual component and find out how much power they consume, or use one of the several online tools to get a good estimate. Asking an expert is of course usually best, especially if you are pretty new at this. Although more power ensures your computer of the needed power, it is unwise to go too far above your needs, since this will cost you more money when  buying the PSU, as well as in the electric bill in the end. I have a pretty high end system with a hexa-core processor and a very decent graphics card, several hard disks and enough memory to make it all run smoothly and I am only using a 550 Watt power supply unit.

You can read more on PSU efficiency and minimizing power consumption here

PSU brands

The second thing to keep in mind when buying a new computer power supply unit is the brand you are buying. There are several brands you should avoid. On the flipside: there are a lot of brands known for their quality products and long lasting PSU’s. Here is an overview of quality power supply unit brands.

Modular Power Supply Unit

The third thing to keep in mind is wether you have or need all the connections on a PSU. Make sure you can connect all your components using the proper cables and connectors, and minimize the amount of cables not used. For an optimal effect you may consider buying a modular PSU.

Besides all this, you can also choose for a power supply unit with built in lights to create certain effects in your computer case, but this of course totally optional.

I hope this information was helpful for those about to buy a PSU and you will make the right choice for your computer’s power supply unit.

Any questions or comments? Drop them in the comments sections below and I will get back to you as soon as possible! Enjoy!

Increase website speed

Blog – 5 tips to increase website speed

Bekijk in het NederlandsSo you finally got a blog or website up and running and are filling it with content faster than you would have dared to dream. You are doing great, but all these additions are making your site load slower than ever. Viewers are clicking away before the main content has even loaded! Learn how to easily increase website speed with these 5 simple tips!

1: Caching is key!

increase website speedWebsite caching is a simple but very effective tool to reduce load on your webservers and to increase your website speed to get your content to the viewer quicker. What caching does is that it pre-renders a website in a simple HTML format, so that whenever a viewer enters your website it gets serverd this already rendered version of your website instead of your servers pumping out a fresh version. These cashes can be refreshed every few minutes, but it is still faster than making a new version for every visitor. This also greatly reduces the time needed for a visitor to download your site, as it just has to download a simple HTML instead of waiting for your servers to have a fresh version of your site ready.

There are several ways of increasing your website speed using this method, but especially for wordpress users this is really simple. You can just install certain plugins like w3 total cache or WP super cache. W3cache is more powerful but harder to set up and it had problems with other plugins I was using. WP super cache was extremely simple to set up and configure, but it lacks some of the more advanced options W3 total cache has. I would however advise to use the latter one for new users.

2: Load your Javascript libraries from google directly!

Javascript libraryAnother very easy and effective way to increase your website speed incredibly is loading everything you can from Google’s international servers instead of your own localized ones. Websites often use standardized sets of instructions that need to be loaded everytime someone accesses your website. Why not use someone else’s servers to load these instructions then? Google’s servers are set up all around the world and are blazingly fast! Google is nice enough to host those Javascript libraries so that we can load them straight from Google, increasing the speed of your site incredibly – depending of course on the base speed of your own server.

For WordPress users this is once again just installing a plugin. It couldn’t be easier. The plugin checks which libraries are used on your site and then redirects their location to the Javascript libraries on Google’s servers and within seconds your site has become much faster!

3: Combining code to speed up your website

The third way is a method that combines different sets of code into one, reducing the amount of times a user has to access your servers to load your website. For this example we combine your Javascript code with your CSS, making it far easier to load your page.

WordPress users can download the better WordPress minify plugin. It will automatically combine different sets of code into one, increasing the website speed within seconds!

4: Combining pictures to increase website speed

Another powerful tool is combining all static pictures on your website into one big sprite. This again reduces the amount of times someone has to access your servers to download pictures, and can greatly reduce the total size of the pictures since they are compressed into sprites. Don’t worry though, their alt text and title will stay intact if used correctly.

Some guy over at Google made a very nifty tool for just that in his spare time. Over at spriteme.org you can bookmark their tool. After that it is just simply going to the website site you want to optimize for speed and run their tool. It will suggest which pictures to combine and after you approve it will do just that for you. Afterwards it is simply adjusting the location of the pictures in your CSS and upload the sprite to your servers. This can reduce the loading time of your blog or website a lot and increase your overall website speed!

5: Compressing your site for website speed!

gzipThe fifth and final method of increasing your website’s speed is simply zipping it up like you would do any other file on your computer. You can compress the data you send to your user, reducing the time it takes to load your website. There are serveral standards of compressing online data, but gzip is probably accepted the most. Note that a browser needs support for the compression, since it will have to decompress or unzip the data it receives.

For WordPress users this is gain as simple as installing a plugin. Within seconds you are saving bandwith and increasing your website speed!

I personally use or have used most of these tactics on my own website, and the speed with which the site loads has increased tremendously. My site receives a score of 90 in Google’s page-speed test. It’s not a 100 yet, but we are well underway!

What do you think is the best method to increase your website speed? Let us know below!

overclocking for android

Android Supercharger – Supercharger Scripts Speed up Your Phone!

Supercharge AndroidBekijk in het NederlandsI have been using the Android platform for quite a while now, and while I love it I hate the fact that my 3-year old phone is not receiving updates anymore. I fixed this by installing custom roms, but those are sometimes a bit much for my old and slow phone. Overclocking works wonders for this, but to speed up Android even more, it is time to install a Android Supercharger Script!

What is an Android Supercharger Script

Speeding up a phone always sounds good, but running scripts? Android Supercharger? what in the world am I talking about and what are the downsides? I’ll explain it nice and simple. A supercharger script is a script that completely redo’s the way your Android phone handles it’s memory. It adjusts values for when to kill apps, and rearranges the priority and maximum load. I have to admit, I don’t know how it manages, but when running a supercharger script my Android phone become more stable and considerably snappier and faster!

The best part is that this android supercharger script will work for every Android based phone out there! And there are no downsides!

How to apply an Android supercharger script to speed up your phone

My phone becoming faster and snappier without any downsides? It must be immensely hard to install! False! It couldn’t be easier! When you have the proper files it just as simple as installing an app. Before we continue make sure you install the following apps and have root access:

busybox installer

Script manager

And you should download this android supercharger.txt file and place it on your SD-card preferably in the root folder.

Android SuperchargerAfter that you should run busybox installer and install version 1.8.2 of busybox. After it installed run script manager. Select run as root and load your supercharger.txt file. Of course you need to allow the root access. If needed reselect run as root, but NEVER select run on boot. Save the settings and select run. After that you will get a screen that reminds of the old DOS with its black background and white text. First it asks you what scroll speed you want to use. it doesn’t really matter which you choose, but I usually go for 0 because this sets everything to instant. You can enable your onscreen keyboard by tapping the screen. on the next screen you get 19 options on which kind of memory optimalization you want for your phone. It is pretty much a trial and error for which ones work best for your phone. The aggressive ones make your phone even faster but may cause slight instability. I usually choose option 9 – MegaRAM 2 which keeps your phone stable but speeds it up by quite a lot.

After selecting the option you want it is needed to reboot your phone. Keep the script running in the background and reboot the phone. After it is booted back up again redo the entire cycle from when you first used script manager and this time it should say that it is ‘bulletproof’. Basically it is saying that it is working this time around. Close the screen but select ‘run in background’. You have to run this script every time you reboot your phone. Therefore I would suggest installing the Script Manager widget to enable quick activation of the script. You can do this after you completely installed the script and have it up and running. The widget is available in the market.

Make sure you remember to give the supercharger script root access and rerun it every time you reboot your Android phone. Find the official XDA-Forum topic here!

Which option was the best for your model phone and how much faster did your phone become? Please let us know below in the comments!

 

Custom Rom HTX Zero 0.21

Android Custom Roms – Upgrade Your Phone

Android Custom RomBekijk in het NederlandsA while back we dedicated an article to overclocking android, and for that we had to use an android custom rom on my HTC Hero. The roms back then were not stable enough to be used on a daily basis, but lately my hands have been itching again. I decided to search the web for a new rom to try, and found one that should put Android 2.3.5 with HTC Sense 3.5 on my old HTC Hero. Besides Ice cream Sandwich this is the newest version of android and sense available, so I just had to give it a try!

Does the android custom rom work

I am going to start with my conclusion of this rom, the HTX Zero 0.21. You may want know if the rom is any good before you read through all the steps needed to install it. In short: it depends. As with all custom roms, it has its ups and downs. I must say, for the newest android and Sense, it runs rather smooth, plus you can properly boast about it since you are running this software on a three-year-old phone. It has never fully rebooted for me, but the Sense interface does perform a soft reboot every now and then. This can be annoying, but it is just that…minor annoyance.

The upside is that you are running the newest version of Android and Sense. This includes for example the new unlock screen, which is indeed a big improvement. Also the widgets look nicer, and when overclocked and supercharged, the phone also runs rather smooth. Keep in mind that my  HTC Hero only overclocks to just under 600mhz, where most HTC Heros are able to go to 700mhz. This should smoothen up the phone even more and should enable perfect use of this rom.

Custom roms have some downsides

HTC SenseThis all sounds great, but sadly, there are more downsides as well. This morning I was late for work because my alarm, which was properly set, did not go off. Annoying if you use the phone’s alarm as your only way to wake up in the morning, but probably not a major issue for most people.  Another thing, which I haven’t been able to verify properly, is that I have the feeling I am not receiving all my text messages. I know I didn’t  receive at least one, but I am unsure if this is due to my phone’s software, the other user or the major network usage in the area at that time.

When updating apps and using for example the internet browser at the same time, the phone is sometimes unable to handle the stress and becomes  unusable for a short period of time. This usually results in a soft reboot and that’s fine, but it also occurs whenever your just listening to music or something and this can be of a bigger annoyance.

It also has some other issues, like disabling auto-sync and 3g connection sometimes for no proper reason and connecting a Bluetooth headset sometimes just won’t work.

It’s rather random.

 

Android 2.3.5 and Sense 3.5 on your HTC Hero

In short, this rom works, and when overclocked and running a supercharger script it is pretty smooth, but still has too much flaws for me to keep using it as a daily rom. If you overclock your HTC Hero higher it may prove to be more stable, but I’m going to try another rom soon.

Check back for a review on my next rom!

Please leave any advice on which rom to try in the comments!

In the meantime, if you want to give this rom a go you will find some useful information and links below.

Getting the proper files

The most important thing to do when setting up a custom rom is to be prepared. You need the custom rom, a romloader of some sorts, backups if you want and possible an official rom to flash when all things go to hell. The hardest part was to find a proper romloader. I always used Clockworkmod for my roms, but they decided to stop supporting android 2.1 – the one which my HTC Hero was running on. Because of that, it was unfindable in the Android market. For some reason every other romloader was gone as well. Strange… I had to load Clockworkmod in a different way. Easy as pie, if you can find the proper APK file for that, but this proved to be harder than I thought. Luckily, I am going to save you the trouble of finding that file. It can be found right here!
http://www.4shared.com/file/bsSALCNd/ROM_Manager_2504.html?refurl=d1url

For the rest of the steps I’m going to redirect you to my previous post about loading custom roms and overclocking android. Everything should still work the same as back then, and if you are unable to find some apps in the market, just download their APKs manually and install them that way.

For the rom itself and more on the subject please check out XDA-Developers

http://forum.xdadevelopers.com/showthread.php?t=1283338

 

prevent viruses

Computer Virus – 5 basic tips to prevent them

computer virusBekijk in het NederlandsYou know that a computer virus can be a huge problem . It can affect your desktop’s performance. And sometimes, it eats up your important files. But as a user, do you know how you can prevent these viruses from disturbing you? I have collated some great tips from different experts. You better try those. That way, you won’t face future problems regarding viruses that your computer can get.

As always, “prevention is better than cure”. There are 5 prevention tactics that I have in mind.

1)      Scan the site first. As much as you want to check out different sites, you need to be very careful. A lot of websites contain different worms and viruses. Once you go there, your computer will automatically be affected by unwanted ‘elements’. If you are in doubt it may be a wise idea to enter the site into Google first. If Google says it is unsafe, it is probably right.

2)      Don’t open suspicious email messages. You received an email that says, “You won 1 Million Dollars”. I suggest that you put it in your spam folder. If you really want to know what is in it, you can scan it first with your virus scanner. These email messages usually contain a computer virus. You will be sending the same message without your consent. Don’t let that happen. It can be very embarrassing to your clients and colleagues.

3)      Be careful when downloading files. You want to watch your favorite sitcom and those controversial movies. But don’t get too excited. A lot of computer users became victims of viruses which can be obtained from downloaded files. It is recommended that you get your videos and other downloadable files from well known sources.

Apart from that, stay away from ‘free download sites’. Although sometimes the files are legit, there is a huge possibility that they carry viruses.

4)      Install programs that can block these viruses. This is very important if you want to stay away from those irritating viruses. It works like a ‘vaccine’. That means, it can prevent worms and other types of viruses from affecting your computer system. Get an anti – computer virus program that is widely used. Otherwise, it won’t be able to detect and cure all these viruses.

5)      Update your anti – virus application. Most people don’t update their anti – virus programs thinking that it doesn’t have any bearing. But that is a misconception. Just so you know, computer viruses evolve day by day. They form really fast. And if you will not update your application, it won’t have the capacity to fix the problem.

It’s fine if you pay a little amount for the updates. It will help you in the long run. If you really want to get a free computer virus scanner, you may want to check out AVG’s scanner.

Fighting computer viruses should be easy. You just need to be smart and cautious. Again, don’t think that updating your anti – virus programs is a waste of money. It will lessen your worries about these worms that might irritate the whole system of your device.