Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quality Systems Versus Black and Gold Brand

Being a professional system builder I sometimes get the ‘quality cheap’ system request, whereby a customer request’s a high performance, high quality system at a budget price.

Of course there is no such thing. There are cheap computer systems which are generally built with generic ‘cheap' computer components and then there are ‘custom’ quality systems which are built with handpicked quality components.

So the terms High Performance and Cheap, really are mutually exclusive.

So in this post I am going to outline what makes a Cheap Black and Gold Generic system and what makes up a High Quality, High Performance system.

Computer Enclosure:

High quality computer enclosures come with a high quality power supply of a high power rating. The high power rating will ensure you have plenty of power for future add-ons like extra hard drives, add in cards, USB devices and Memory and CPU upgrades.

Also such power supplies that come with good quality cases usually come with hardware to better protect your motherboard, ram and CPU from power surges and spikes. Or little rug rats that turn the system off the wrong way, such power surges can damage or at least shorten the life of your computer components.

Good quality enclosures have large high quality fans which keep components cool once again extending their life and prevent the system from overheating.

Vibration insulation grommets, these grommets insulate your hardrive from the rest of your enclosure and prevent vibration and reverberation which can shorten the life of your hard drive and sometimes make your computer excessively loud.

High quality system box, huge rear fan for excellent cooling and extremely quiet.
Comes with a high quality 500watt power supply, also features transverse mounted hard drive cradle with hard drive vibration grommets and it even looks good!


Quality motherboards really are the foundation for any quality system and it really pays not to skimp here. Among many other things quality motherboards have extremely high data throughput (data flow) to support the latest processors.

Some systems I have seen simply cannot cater for the data flow requirements of the processor they are built with, and sometimes the motherboard itself ‘throttles’ the CPU speed down by as much as 30%. In effect you are buying a CPU and not using 30% of its full power.

Also quality motherboards are built with high quality components which last much longer than black and gold specials. Quality motherboard also have additional circuitry to protect components against power spikes and surges as well as having dual crash proof bios systems and as a bonus have many innovative features.


Quality memory as a general rule has very short latency, which is the space of time between one write process in memory and the next as well has having much higher operating frequencies while generating much less heat. This results in a much more responsive and reliable system.

Here you have cheap memory and here you have quality G Skill ram.

Video Card,

Much like motherboards top video cards are made with quality components and are made from superior design specs than the standard design template supplied from ATI or Nvidia. As such a quality video cards perform better and are more reliable and generally have much better cooling solutions than Black and Gold Brands.

Hard drive,

There is only one hard drive make that you should be concerned with and that is Western Digital. But always ask for the Green model as they represent very good performance and reliability and reasonable price. Also look for capacity anomalies which have a higher amount of cache.

Overall when you you purchase a quality system, you can be pretty sure that all the components in your system are 'performance matched'. What I mean by this is that each component is specifically selected to match and complement the rest of your computer components.

Many off the shelf systems today have very powerful Processors but not the quality or quantity of ram or motherboard to properly support the full performance potential of the processor.

It's kind of like putting a Porsche engine in a old Morris Minor.

Well I hoped I have cleared things up, you really cannot compare off the shelf computer systems to custom built systems on point of price.

Your either after Quality or you want a Cheap Computer.

Blue Fox Computers

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

'Backing Up' DVD Movies

Although backing up your collection of DVD movies is a somewhat contentious issue. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for creating backup copies of your DVD Movie collection.

There is a number of programs out there, but in this post I am going to focus on one of the simplest to use programs, DVD Shrink.

The trick to copying DVD movies successfully is to reduce all data to be burnt to the 'bare essentials' only.

This is because most 'original' DVD movie disks are dual layer, where bought blank DVD disks are only single layer.

Now each layer can hold up to 4.7 Gigabytes of data, so where an original disk can hold 9.4 Gigabytes being a dual layer, we only have 4.7 Gigabytes to work with.

This is where DVD Shrink comes into play, DVD Shrink gives you the ability to remove all the non-essentials when copying your beloved original DVD movie.

Items like:

  • Bonus Extras
  • Two speaker stereo audio streams
  • Annoying start and selection menus
  • Trailers
  • Subtitles
  • Foreign language audio streams

Also DVD Shrink has the ability to cut out the credits at the beginning and end of the DVD movie.

For a detailed video guide on how to backup your DVD movie disks just watch the video below.

Blue Fox Computers

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Computer Cases

Contrary to popular belief, not all computer enclosures are created equal! That doesn’t mean to say you have to load up your credit card and spend five hundred dollars on a descent computer case. But as with most things it pays to shop around.

Whether you are thinking of building yourself a new system or if you are just in the market for a new computer and am not sure what to look out for, here’s an essential checklist to ensure that your next system comes with a quality case.

Rule of thumb is that the best computer cases are made by the most prominent computer hardware manufacturers and these manufacturers more often than not build products with innovative features while manufacturing a quality product.

Ventilation fan: good quality fans, the larger the better as large fans spin slower while transfer the same volume of air and produce a lot less noise. Nothing is more annoying than wondering if your computer is about to take off like an F-18 off of a super carrier.

  • Dust grilles: good computer enclosures have removable dust grilles at the front of the case which keeps the inside of your computer dust free and reduces heat build up in your system.
  • Hard drive orientation: the latest good quality computer cases have the hard drives mounted perpendicular to the case making it easy to add and remove hard drives without taking your whole computer apart. Many cases also have shock absorbing grommets to reduce hard drive noise transferring to the case and reducing vibration shock to the hard drive which potentially increases the hard drives life.
  • Power supply: a good quality power supply is essential, and one that will cater for the power demands of your system today and years from now when you may end up having four hard drives, video capture card, wireless network card, scanner, webcam and anything else that you care to attach to your computer and force your computer’s power supply to cope with.
You can see there’s a little more to computer cases than you would think.
Popular quality computer enclosures include Antec, Lian Li and Antec.