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The Advantages of Custom-Built Gaming Computers

Designing your own custom-built gaming computer can be a rewarding experience. It comes with a sense of pride and feels more personal. Plus, your custom-made computer holds many advantages over the generic boxed computers from a manufacturer. The quality, value, and ability to customize make for a better computer that will perform the way you want it to. Some of the advantages of a custom-built gaming computer include: 

Performance and Reliability

The demands modern video games place on a PC continue to rise. Having the right equipment can allow you to get the performance you need. 

When you choose the parts for a custom-built gaming computer, you have a better idea of how everything will work together. This can help you avoid the poor performance and unreliability that often come with an out-of-the-box PC where the manufacturer used one or more cheap parts.

Save Money

Getting the most value for your money is important when building your gaming computer. 

A custom-built computer can create opportunities to save money on different fronts. For example, you can focus more on your desired specifications when building your own PC, so you’re not locked into a costly, pre-made build like you are with many manufacturers. That way, you can focus your dollar on what’s most important to you. Buying parts individually also allows you to take advantage of sales so you can build your gaming computer at the lowest possible cost.

Choose Your Own Specs

If you’re a person who wants a custom-built PC, you likely know what specs will best fit your requirements. Whether you’re a programmer, gamer, or anything in between, a custom-built computer allows you to get exactly what you need without extra cost or hassle.

Upgradeability

When you custom-build a gaming computer, it’s much easier to upgrade in the future. If you want to add a new component, you don’t have to worry about voiding your warranty. You are also able to add parts that have the capability of more upgrade options. Computer manufacturers often use planned obsolescence to get you to buy a new computer if you want to maintain top performance. This won’t be a problem when you have a custom-built PC.

Warranties for Individual Parts

Buying a computer from a manufacturer doesn’t have the same protection as a custom-built PC, which allows you to secure warranties for individual parts. 

Most individual parts come with a longer warranty and won’t be voided as easily as a warranty on the entire machine. Warranties on individual parts can also prevent you from having to send the full machine in if a part needs to be repaired or replaced. This means you can swap out a part and continue to use your computer instead of waiting weeks or months for the manufacturer to do the job.

No Pre-installed Bloatware

These days, it’s impossible to find a computer from a manufacturer that isn’t loaded with bloatware. These programs are rarely useful and can negatively affect the performance of your PC. When you have a custom-built gaming computer, you will be able to choose which software to add from the start. This allows you to keep your computer performing at the highest level.

Impress Your Friends

While we may not like to admit it, one of the best parts of having a high-powered gaming rig is the bragging rights. When your computer is custom-built, it comes with more pride. You know every part in it, and you can explain why you got them and how powerful they are to your friends. 

And, while that might not be reason enough to custom-design your computer, at least not on its own, it’s definitely a nice incentive when considered among all the other benefits presented here.

Contact us to enjoy these benefits and start your custom-build today. You won’t regret it!



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6 Android Hacks You Never Knew Existed

Having an Android phone is the closest thing to owning a small, pocket-sized PC. Thanks to it being a free platform, phones that run the Android operating system come with a wide variety of options to widen the user experience and make it more powerful. So, let’s get to it and go through 6 of […]
Man leaping, holding smart phone in front of his face

Having an Android phone is the closest thing to owning a small, pocket-sized PC. Thanks to it being a free platform, phones that run the Android operating system come with a wide variety of options to widen the user experience and make it more powerful. So, let’s get to it and go through 6 of the coolest Android hacks you never knew existed. 

#1 – Cast Your Phone Screen To A TV

While this will only work if you own a Chromecast TV or one that is set up to be used with Android devices, such as a smart TV, this awesome Android hack will allow you to watch Youtube videos or even play online games on the big screen. 

All you need to do to activate it is go to the Quick Settings menu on the top of your screen and choose the Cast option. Your device should then recognize the TV of your choice and start casting. Yes, it’s that easy!

#2 – Lock Certain Apps From Being Used

This can be particularly useful when someone else is borrowing your phone and you don’t want them to go through any apps other than the one they’re using. Activating this easy Android smartphone hack will keep them locked into one area of the phone until you insert your password. 

The steps are: First, open Settings, then Security where you’ll see the option to Screen Pinning. Once this option is turned on, open the app that needs to be used; open Overview using the square button at the bottom of your screen and you’ll see a Pin icon in the lower right corner of your screen, tap it, and the app you opened will remain pinned to the front until you insert your screen-lock password again. 

#3 – Priority Mode

This Android hack allows you to set your phone on “Do Not Disturb Mode” while still being able to receive sound notifications from the apps that you choose as a priority.

First, go to your Settings and select Sound & Notification, then Do Not Disturb. Now you can change the settings of each one of the apps that you wish to receive notifications from. This way, you can choose to receive only a certain important call or message. 

#4 – Activate Smart Lock

While keeping your phone secure is a necessity, there are moments in which you don’t need it to be constantly locking on its own, like when you’re at home. For this, the Smart Lock option allows you to eliminate the need to enter your keyboard password whenever you choose to. Instead, it will use a certain wireless network, face recognition, or a particular GPS location to keep it unlocked. 

To activate this Android hack, choose Settings, then the Security option and Smart Lock. Now you can define which trusted zones your phone can remain unlocked in. 

#5 – Encrypt Your Data

If you’re like most people who own a smartphone, you certainly have a lot of confidential data on it that shouldn’t be left unattended to be accessed by anyone else, such as credit card info, important accounts’ passwords and more. The best way to protect all of this from falling into the wrong hands is to simply encrypt all of your data and make it unreadable for anyone who doesn’t have your PIN password. 

To do so, you don’t even need to download any extra apps.Simply go to your Settings, tap on Security and choose the Encrypt Phone option. Once you activate it for the first time, it may take a while for it to encrypt all of your data, and if you happen to be running an older Android version, you may experience some lag time. However, none of this matters with the fact that your data is now fully protected from any external, unsolicited access. 

#6 – Swipe Through Chrome Tabs

When you want to go through a series of Chrome tabs, you usually tap on the square at the top that shows the number of tabs you have open. However, there’s a much easier way to do this that simply requires you to swipe left or right across the address bar. 

Now that you’re aware of these Android hacks, you’ll enjoy your phone in a wider variety of ways that you weren’t aware you could!

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Everything You Should Consider When Buying A Refurbished Phone

When buying a brand new smartphone could cost you as much as $1,000, it’s easy to understand why someone would consider buying a refurbished phone instead. Although some people may be wary of this idea, the truth is that there are plenty of reasons why purchasing a refurbished handset should be considered, especially if you […]

When buying a brand new smartphone could cost you as much as $1,000, it’s easy to understand why someone would consider buying a refurbished phone instead. Although some people may be wary of this idea, the truth is that there are plenty of reasons why purchasing a refurbished handset should be considered, especially if you take into consideration some common-sense tips before you buy. 

Why You Should Consider Buying A Refurbished Phone

A refurbished phone simply means that it is a pre-owned handset that has been sent back by its previous owner due to failure, dissatisfaction, or in exchange for a newer model and has since been repaired.  

The main difference between a refurbished phone and a phone that classifies as “used” is that a used handset is bought straight from the previous owner, whereas a refurbished one is provided by a trustworthy dealer or sometimes even the original manufacturer. Before selling, many refurbished phones are thoroughly checked and tested, and some may even come with new parts, such as the battery or accessories. And best of all, the cost is usually significantly less than a new phone. 

Most of those looking for a refurbished phone look at price tags when choosing them. For example, you could get a refurbished iPhone 7 Plus directly on Apple’s website for $470, while a new one costs $570.  

Furthermore, considering that most cell phones end up in landfills when owners upgrade, leading to environmental consequences, buying a refurbished phone means that one less phone winds up in a landfill.

What To Consider When Buying A Refurbished Phone

In order to make sure you get some actual savings, buying a refurbished phone involves some additional homework. Here are all the things to consider before making your purchase:

Who refurbished it?

Make sure that the company you’re buying your refurbished phone from is a reputable one. This means going through the company’s reviews and customer comments. Unless you’re purchasing it straight from Apple, Samsung, or AT&T, make sure to ask the vendor what the refurbishing process implies? If they refuse to disclose their process for professionally restoring the phone then it’s best to look elsewhere. 

Look for products that are certified pre-owned and do your research regarding the replacement parts used. Apple affirms to use the same replacement parts used in new models, meaning their refurbished phones come with a new battery, outer shell, cables, and accessories.

Amazon, Consumer Cellular and eBay are other retailers with a good reputation when it comes to selling refurbished smartphones. 

Read the small print

You should definitely avoid buying a refurbished phone that doesn’t offer a warranty and always make sure you’re clear about return policies. If something is wrong with your phone, it may take a while to show up, so you should demand at least a 30-day return policy to stay protected. 

No warranty offered is a red flag, since it means the vendor does not trust the quality of their repairs. This probably means that you shouldn’t trust it either. 

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4 Major Advantages Of Using A Virtual Private Network

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) uses encryption to protect online activities and maintain the user’s confidentiality as they browse the internet, as well as helping them access content that is restricted by location. If you’ve never heard of a VPN, but you’re interested in protecting your information and internet browsing, this article is a good […]

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) uses encryption to protect online activities and maintain the user’s confidentiality as they browse the internet, as well as helping them access content that is restricted by location.

If you’ve never heard of a VPN, but you’re interested in protecting your information and internet browsing, this article is a good place to start. 

Enhanced Security

One of the main advantages of using a VPN is that it uses encryption and changes your IP address to let you browse the web more anonymously, helping to keep your identity, activity, and geographical location private. 

VPNs can be especially helpful if you sometimes use unsecured networks and you want to keep your activities and important data private. If you log into to your VPN at the beginning of every online session, you are in effect creating an encrypted “tunnel” between you and the remote server of your VPN provider. This “tunnel” protects your privacy from other network users. 

Even when you use your home network, you need to take your privacy into account. Otherwise your internet service provider (ISP) can still collect data on your online activity and share that data with other companies for profit. Unfortunately, private browsing modes offered by internet browsers such as Chrome’s Incognito are not enough to protect your data from ISPs. 

Unblock Websites And Bypass Filters

Sometimes VPNs are used for reasons other than privacy. They can also help you access content that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see because it is restricted by country, such as a Youtube video.

Additionally, VPNs are regularly used in countries that try to block access to certain websites. For example, certain countries may have blanket bans on Facebook and Youtube. In these cases, having VPN might allow you to bypass these restrictions, because you are logging into a foreign server and effectively browsing the internet from a different country than the one that you are physically in.

Increased Bandwidth And Efficiency Of A Network

Once a VPN is installed, users can enjoy increased bandwidth and efficiency of the network they’re using, especially if they are trying to access content that is far away from their physical location. For example, if you are in Europe and want to access content from the United States Library of Congress or even if you are on the opposite side of the country, it would be more efficient to use a VPN located closer to Washington D.C. or at least in the Eastern United States. A VPN in closer proximity to the Library of Congress will allow for a more direct connection and will require less “hops” onto other networks to reach the Library of Congress website server.

More Secure and Efficient Remote Access

Using a VPN for companies also has several advantages. One of them being that the internet browsing data of a company’s employees such as their locations and work activities can be kept private from ISPs and other network users. 

Secondly, employees having to work on-the-go sometimes rely on unsecured networks to access the internet. In these situations having a VPN will protect their data from other users of that network. Moreover, if employers require their employees to use a VPN at all times, the fact that some of their employees might not always follow the best network security standards will be less of a worry, because the use of a VPN automatically adds additional layers of security.

As mentioned above in the Library of Congress example, VPNs can allow more direct and efficient access to materials whose server location is far away. This makes file and data sharing between employees in different locations much more efficient.

Finally, there may be reasons why a company might want to use a VPN to mask the physical location of its office or its employees, especially if it wants to remain anonymous while conducting surveillance on competitor websites.

In today’s world, public networks can pose a real threat to your private data, while private networks still allow your internet service provider to keep tabs on everything you do online. Therefore, if you value your privacy, installing and using a proper VPN is very important. 

Now that you know all of the advantages of using a VPN, you can start researching which one to use. Make sure to choose one that offers you a free trial period, so that you can test its speed, capacity for simultaneous connections (so you can use it on more than one device at a time in your household), quality of customer support, and compatibility with various operating systems. 

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A Quick Guide To Speed Up Your Internet Connection

We all wish our internet connection could be faster, and while calling your Internet Service Provider to upgrade your plan may prove to be the easiest option, it is also the most expensive one. So, before you do that, try these tips to see if you can speed up your internet connection on your own.  […]

We all wish our internet connection could be faster, and while calling your Internet Service Provider to upgrade your plan may prove to be the easiest option, it is also the most expensive one. So, before you do that, try these tips to see if you can speed up your internet connection on your own. 

Test your speed:

In order to prove that your strategies to speed up your internet connection are working, it’s important that you first run a speed test. You’ll be able to find several tools that can help you do this for free online. We personally recommend Speedtest.net, Fast.com, and even Google

Make sure that you’re testing before and after at the same hours of the day and using the same service, so that you can be certain you’re getting the most accurate results. You also need to remember to turn off data-intensive activities, such as downloads, music or video streaming, and online games before you run any tests. Otherwise you will get a much lower speed.

Once you have the speed results, compare them with the speed you should be getting as advertised by your service provider. Although real world internet speeds don’t usually match perfectly to the one’s your ISP says you’re paying for, it shouldn’t be too big of a difference, especially during off-peak hours. 

 Turn off unused or extra internet-connected devices:

The more devices you have connected to your router, the slower your connection will be. Therefore, if you have multiple phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs or home devices and video game consoles sharing your home network, you can be certain they’re all sucking up bandwidth even if they’re idle. This is because many devices can be set to automatically download and install updates, which can significantly reduce your internet connection without you even noticing it. 

In order to stop unused devices from sucking up your bandwidth, shut them down entirely or at least turn off their Wi-Fi connection when you’re not using them. 

Find a better placement for your wireless router:

Routers work by sending radio signals outward in every direction, however, these signals come with a high frequency and a relatively short range, meaning they’re most likely not covering every part of your home or can even be slowed down and get blocked by objects that are in the way, therefore reducing your internet speed. 

In order to solve this, relocating your router to a place that’s closer to where you mainly use your internet and keeping it away from corners and objects such as doors, TVs, etc., can help speed up your internet connection. 

If this isn’t possible, purchasing equipment, such as a Wi-Fi repeater or range extender, can help extend your router’s range, helping you maintain your internet speed when you are farther away from your router.

Check for unwanted guests:

Keeping a tight router password is important as it helps you avoid unwanted guests who may be latching on to your internet connection without you even noticing it, and therefore, significantly reducing your speed. 

If your connection is unsecured, immediately add a password and then browse your router’s connection logs to determine who is currently or has been connected to your home’s wifi. It can be useful to then add names to your devices so you can be certain who’s logged in, and if there’s ever unrecognizable devices connected you can either block them – if your router gives you that option – or simply change the password for a stronger one. 

Reboot your router:

Your wireless router catches information and holds memory and background processes just as a computer does, so resetting it from time to time can be an easy way to get it back to a fresh start and speed up your internet connection. 

In order to do so, you’ll simply have to remove your router’s power cord, wait 15 to 30 seconds, and then turn it back on.

Pick a different Wi-Fi channel

If you’re seeing a lot of other networks on your devices when connecting to your home Wi-Fi, picking a Wi-Fi channel that offers less interference will help you easily speed up your internet connection.

Most routers will simply pick an available channel automatically, which may not be the most efficient or least crowded. As a solution, check your routers’ settings because it should allow you to manually change the channel it’s broadcasting on, and run speed tests after each try to see which one makes the most difference.

Use a wired connection:

If your devices are placed close to your wireless router, a quick fix to speed up your internet connection can be using a wired ethernet connection whenever possible, as this will speed things up significantly while also saving bandwidth in your Wi-Fi network for other devices. 

You can also try connecting directly to your modem instead of your wireless router, as this usually shows better results. 

Be mindful of your software

Check your computer’s task manager to see if there’s anything that’s using up more internet speed than it should be while running in the background. If you’re a Windows user, launching the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) can help you view a list of all running processes, while the Network column will show you which of them are using your network connection so you can eliminate anything that’s not needed. On a Mac, the Activity Monitor serves the same purpose.

If there are any process names you don’t recognize, conducting an internet search will quickly let you know whether you need that app or not. 

Keep an eye out for malware and viruses as they can be the source of unwanted network activity, especially on Windows. Remember to run a virus scan regularly to keep yourself protected.

Also, if your computer tends to be slow, limiting the number of tabs you keep open on your browser can help speed up your internet connection. On mobile devices, especially on older ones, Opera Mini can deliver faster speeds. 

If all the above fail, update your equipment!

If you’re still dealing with super slow internet connections or simply haven’t seen a significant change after implementing all of these tips, then it may be time to upgrade and get a new computer, modem, or router, as old devices can be the cause of slow speeds. 

If your router is more than 5 years old, there’s a great chance that it’s not up to the newest Wi-Fi standards, hence why you’re getting slower speeds than you should be. The same can happen for an old computer, smartphone, or gaming system. While new devices can usually support older wireless standards, old equipment will never work with a standard that didn’t exist before its manufacturing. 

When to call your service provider

If, after trying all of these tips, you’re still experiencing slow connections, then there’s a great chance it’s not your fault. In this scenario, contacting your service provider and letting them know about your findings will be necessary, especially if the internet speeds you’re getting are significantly lower than what you’re supposedly paying for. 

Letting your ISP know you’re unhappy with the service and threatening to leave if they’re not being receptive should do the trick. However, always consider the option of going to another provider if you’re still not getting a good enough speed. 

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Put An End To The Apps That Are Draining Your Phone’s Battery

There are several reasons why your battery may run out faster than it should. Possible culprits could be your screen brightness settings, the GPS, and Bluetooth being turned on when you’re not using it, or even having a faulty charger. However, it is also possible that applications running in the background could be the cause […]

There are several reasons why your battery may run out faster than it should. Possible culprits could be your screen brightness settings, the GPS, and Bluetooth being turned on when you’re not using it, or even having a faulty charger. However, it is also possible that applications running in the background could be the cause of the problem, so how can you find out exactly which apps are draining your phone’s battery life? 

Discover The Apps That Are Draining Your Phone’s Battery

According to a report published by Avast, common apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Google Maps and WhatsApp carry a lot of the guilt for draining your battery life. While some of these can seem essential to most users, there are ways to reduce their effects. For example you  can view the social networks in your web browser instead of using their apps.

However, even for the apps that can’t be deleted, there are still ways to limit their energy use, such as turning off notifications and reducing background features, and limited their use of location tracking.

Up next, we detail the findings of this Avast report, before going through the specifics of how you can find out for yourself the particular apps that are draining your phone’s battery, whether you’re an Android or iPhone user.

10 Apps That Automatically Run And Are Draining Your Battery Life:

  1. Samsung AllShare
  2. Samsung Security Policy Updates
  3. Beaming Service for Samsung 
  4. ChatON Voice & Video Chat
  5. Google Maps
  6. WhatsApp Messenger
  7. Facebook
  8. WeChat
  9. AppLock
  10. DU Battery Saver

10 Apps That Users Run Themselves And Are Draining Your Phone Battery:

  1. Samsung WatchON
  2. Samsung Video Editor
  3. Netflix
  4. Spotify Music
  5. Snapchat
  6. Clean Master
  7. LINE: Free Calls & Messages
  8. Microsoft Outlook
  9. BBC News
  10. ES File Explorer File Manager

How To Check For The Apps That Are Draining Your Phone Battery:

World connections, business and multimedia infographic design.

So you’ve gone through the lists, but as it turns out you don’t actually use some of these apps. If  you want to see for yourself which specific apps on your phone are draining the battery life, here are the instructions for both Android and iPhone users:

  • Android Users:

For most Android versions, you can go to Settings > Device > Battery or Settings > Power > Battery Use. If you’re using an Android 9 simply go to Settings > Battery > More > Battery Usage. 

Here you’ll find a detailed list of all the apps that are draining your phone’s battery and at what rate. If one of these takes up a disproportionate amount of power then consider the possibility of uninstalling it. For Android 9 users, you’ll be able to turn on “Background restriction” and “Battery optimization” options for some, if not all, apps. 

  • iPhone Users:

For iPhone users, the process is as simple as going to Settings > Battery, where you’ll immediately find a list of all the apps draining your phone’s battery. You can even tap on the “Battery Health” option to check how well your phone’s battery is performing. If your battery’s capacity is well below 90% it might be time to replace your battery. 

Bonus Tips: How To Prevent Your Phone’s Battery From Dying Too Early

Even if you’ve already deleted and replaced the most battery draining apps, here are a few bonus tips that can help your phone’s battery life last longer:

  • Turn off or limit notifications:

Although instant notifications may be useful for certain social media and mailing apps, some of them require you to allow notifications which contributes to draining your battery’s life faster. 

Go to your Apps window in your phone to uncheck the “Show notifications” box for the apps in which notifications are unnecessary. If you’re an Android user, you can go further by checking Settings > Device > Notifications to manually adjust the notification levels for each app, either choosing for them to never show notifications or do so silently without vibrating, pinging or waking up the screen. 

  • Go on Airplane Mode:

Going on Airplane Mode at night when you’re not using your phone, or in instances when there’s very low signal, can save a lot of battery life, especially since smartphones lose a lot of power when trying to connect in low signal areas. 

If the low signal area is a home or office, you can use Wi-Fi when Airplane Mode is enabled as a way to stay connected, since your phone uses less energy to connect to wireless rather than cellular networks. 

  • Get a certified original charger:

While there are plenty of cheap chargers out there, using them or a cable that’s not coming from the original manufacturer or a certified third-party could actually degrade your battery life. 

  • Stop vibrations:

If your phone is ringing you might not need it to vibrate as well, so turning this option off in your notifications along with haptic feedback and “touch vibration” can save power.  

  • Remove unnecessary widgets off your home screen:

While having widgets on your home screen can be useful for real-time updates, they can also be major battery drainers as they’re constantly syncing. So, if you don’t need a permanent window into today’s News or regular weather updates, remove the widget from your home screen to save power. 

  • Turn off GPS:

GPS can be a major drain on battery life. You may have noticed this when using Google Maps, one of the main apps that drain your phone’s battery. So, when you’re not in need of active navigation, switch it off!

  • Use your screen features appropriately:

While they may look cute, there’s probably no need for a live wallpaper. Enabling an option, such as automatic or adaptive brightness, in order for your phone to adapt the display based on your current lighting conditions can work wonders in saving your battery life. 

Also, make sure to decrease the length of time your phone remains idle before the display goes dark automatically. Adjusting screen timeout to 15 seconds instead of a 20 minute interval can make a big difference. 

  • Keep your apps updated:

Updates usually include bug fixes and little tweaks that improve performance, which can sometimes also mean a more efficient use of battery life, for both apps and your OS.

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