Phone (910) 794-8580

Frequently Asked Questions and Tips

Operating systems and general tips

  • Daily backup of even stand alone machines is even more important today than ever before.  Users are storing more data than ever especially digital pictures which are irreplaceable.  We can assist you in setting up your backup.  Remember that hard drives can always go out even if they are brand new.  It is not a question of will they go out but when.
  • Do to increased viruses on a large scale we do not recommend using XP with so called free anti virus products.  We also have numerous customers who have used free products that turn out to be malware or fail to adequately protect their system.  When in doubt you get what you pay for is a good axiom in virus protection.  Upgrade your anti virus software yearly to prevent expensive repairs.
  • Run your Microsoft updates often, they are free.  Many hackers exploit users who do not run their updates. 
  • We fully recommend that parents use a separate computer from their children especially teenagers.  The ultimate test against any hacker are teenagers.  If you value your financial data do not let them use your computer.  If you do not know how to keep them out we will be happy to assist you.
  • Due to our local area we recommend buying a battery backup.  On laptops we recommend an APC surge protector just for laptops.  Surges can ruin your system components even though you do not see or hear them.  Especially ram and memory controllers.  45% of all hardware damage is caused by power surges according to American Power Conversion.  Call us and we can assist you in making sure you have the right size UPS for your system.
  • Many users confuse ram with disk space and start deleting files from windows explorer creating a service call.  Never delete programs from explorer.  Removing programs does not increase your ram.  Adding physical ram sticks is the only way to do that.  We can help you purchase the right parts for your specific make and model computer.  Ram is the cheapest upgrade on any PC.  Most vendors who sell cheap computers always shortcut the ram and processor speed.  Vista and Windows 7 need 2Gb and Windows XP needs 1GB in most cases.  If you are a power user double the amount.  If you want more than 4gb ram you must use a 64bit operating system.  XP, Vista, and Windows 7 all have 64bit versions.  If you have new hardware Windows 7 is your best investment long term.  If your hardware is over 1 year old you might be better off with Vista 64.  We are experts at helping you work around the unfriendly UAC center and other areas of Windows Vista.
  • If you have a network server you must purchase a system with the business version of Microsoft's OS such as XP Professional, Vista Business, or Windows 7 Professional.  If you don't you will not be able to log into a network domain.  Any technician saying otherwise is unknowledgeable about active directory and using a server in workgroup mode meaning no central user accounts or security groups defeating the entire purpose of buying a server in the first place.  Call us and we will be happy to help you get a system that meets your needs, budget and works with your server correctly.

Gamer Tips

  •   Gamers often buy video cards which do not meet the specs of their current power supply.  You can blow your power supply unit by inserting these cards if you have some of the newer more powerful cards.  Some name brands cases will not let you change the power supply either.  This is one of the reasons we resell custom gaming systems to residential users.  We are experts on matching the system to the game you intend to play. 
  •   Your video ram needs to match your game.  A good example of this is GTAIV which caused blue screens of death on ATI 4870X2 cards.  The cards are not defective it is the lack of video memory that was the concern.  There are many 1.5-2gb video cards on the market from both NVidia and ATI.  You need to make sure that the game software and cards match.  Give us a call when in doubt.  We will be happy to help.
  •   Many users get sucked into buying CPUs that are overkill for games.  Most games do not use 4 cores.  Unless you know for a fact that yours does save your money and get a current dual core CPU.  Intel Wolfdales and AMD Phenom II Calistos are very cheap and in many cases faster than quad cores running slower clock speeds.  The money you save here you can put into your video card.
  •   Overclocking in games in most cases does not help your FPS or frames per second.  You also violate the warranty of your computer by doing this.  The biggest frame rate increases come from pairing up the right video card solution, not overclocking the CPU.
  •   Your operating system drive needs to be at least 7,200 rpm for games.  We recommend the Western Digital Caviar Black as an example of a good drive for gaming.  The most expensive being the Velociraptor and SSD drives.  We consider SSD drives to be to expensive for the disk real estate you are getting.  Especially if you are loading Vista or Windows 7 which can use quite a bit of space by themselves.  Call us so we can help get the best value for your dollar.
  •   Cases are a huge factor in hardware failure for gamers.  A quality case like a HAF 932 or full tower Antec are worth the investment.  Video cards and fast CPUs get very hot and without sufficient airspace you can guarantee temperatures of 67 celcius or higher with an low end case.  Most CPUs shutdown at 70 celcius.  Let us help you get the right fit for your gaming system.
  •   In order to get the best visual HD experience you need to have an LCD with good response time.  We recommend 5ms or faster.  Many LCDs are offered with 2ms time and are still inexpensive.  The new resolution standard coming is 1920X1080. 
  • When choosing operating systems we recommend 64 bit windows Vista or Windows 7.  These operating systems allow more than 4gb on your computer and many games such as Crysis use a ton of ram.  Additionally you cannot use DX10 or higher without going this route.  XP stops at DX9.

Laptop User tips

  •   If you do most of your work on a desk and do not travel you are a candidate for a desktop.  CPU speeds are always more powerful and cheaper in desktops.  You can increase productivity and cut IT costs as a business owner by conserving how many laptops are used in your business.  Laptop CPUs are slower due to the increased heat they generate and no place for that heat to go.  If the employee is not needing mobility they do not need a laptop.
  • We resell HP business laptops through our B2B program with HP.  These laptops have 3 year warranties and business grade operating systems.  Most laptops in retail stores only have home edition operating systems and cannot connect to a windows active directory network.  Furthermore they have only 1 year warranties.  HP has as a n option on these laptops an accidental damage protection.   If you do a lot of air travel this is one of the best warranties to have.  Inspectors are known for manhandling laptops and cracking screens.  We have many small business customers that take advantage of this optional warranty. 
  •   With the advent of USB flash drives and hard drives backup of a laptop is critical.  Data recovery is very expensive without a backup and can cost over $1,000 to send a drive to a lab depot repair facility.  Being that laptops are prone to theft ensure you always have a full backup of all data.  Also ensure private data is not on a laptop unsecured.  Many lawsuits have occurred over private information of patients being lost by laptops users whose laptops were stolen.  Lock your laptop inside your trunk not inside your passenger compartment.
  •   Laptops are known for venting heat out the bottom make sure there is nothing flammable it is setting on top of.  Many fires have been caused by unattended laptops. 
  •   Laptops are very prone to theft.  Ensure you have a secure log in screen versus the standard unsecured Microsoft desktop.  We will be happy to set this up for you to help keep people out of your data such as room mates in dorms.