Best Configuration for a Gaming Computer

Your heartbeat is racing, fingers ready for action on the mouse, your every sense is alert and focused on the mission… these are just a few thoughts that race through a gamer’s head. Whatever game you play, be it, high speed racing or strategy or good old-fashioned shoot-em-ups, your gaming experience is majorly dependent on your computer’s ability to handle the game. So what is the best gaming computer configuration that your machine should have or at least, try to match up to? Whether you are building a gaming PC from scratch or buying a pre-assembled piece, below are some lineaments or qualities that you should consider, for the ultimate gaming computer.

Think of your gaming computer, as a human. To function, it needs a brain or think-tank and a body o r parts to work properly. Let’s start with the ‘brain parts’ first.

The Brain – Processor & RAM

Speed is the name of the game, when it comes to choosing a processor for your gaming machine. No one likes a lagging or slow system to game on, wherein you execute a mouse click and 20 secs later, it shows up on screen. Twenty secs can mean dead or alive in a fast-paced first-person shooter game. Another problem is a frozen frame, where the game seems to take place in slow motion.

To avoid such complications, choose powerful and speedy processors, quad-core at a minimum, capable of handling your game and multi-tasking as well. In the processor market, 2 players dominate: Intel and AMD. It’s no use arguing about which is better, they function differently and each has its plus and negative points. Intel’s top 2 processors are the i7 and the i5. Actually for top-notch gaming, especially with today’s taxing games, an i5 processor is a minimal requirement. From AMD, the best processor for gaming is from the AMD Phenom II series.

RAM or memory is another key point. Most PC games require a minimum of 2GB RAM for functioning. But with 2GB, you can expect a mediocre performance. Start with 4GB RAM and opt for an expandable memory system, so you can customize as per your needs. Otherwise go for 8GB or 12GB RAM in your machine. The higher the RAM, the better the gaming experience, there’s no question about that. Upcoming game titles require a lot of RAM, so take no chances.

The Brain – Graphics/Video Card

Speed is one point, what about quality? Crisp clean graphics, picture quality, the game design and characters, all should seem as realistic as possible. Take the latest iteration of the World of Warcraft series, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm for example. The lush and vivid landscapes, rich in-game details of the various character classes like the Orcs or the Night Elves, such features require quality depiction. Top gaming titles by default, require a high-end graphics or video card for delivering quality performance. High pixel resolution and dedicated or integrated graphics memory are 2 key factors in choosing the graphics card for your gaming machine. While choosing a graphics card, the top options to consider are the Nvidia GeForce GTX series or the AMD Radeon HD series.

Thinking parts of the gaming PC are over, now let’s move on to the ‘body’ or physical parts that make up the best gaming computer configuration.
The Body – Storage

A rule of thumb, when it comes to hard disk space, no matter how much you have, it’s never enough. This hard fact is especially true for video games, which require a lot of hard disk space for storing installation and configuration files. Battlefield 3 requires at least 20 GB as system space for installation and that’s a small amount. A gaming computer’s storage can be composed of a primary and secondary storage.

The primary storage should be a Solid State Drive (SSD) which can store essential OS and system information and load at a fast rate. Secondary storage is meant for storing game data and files as well as other media. Its capacity should be 500 GB at a minimum.

For comfortable storing, opt for 1 TB, especially if you keep a lot of other files like movies and images. Optical drives, both CD and DVD are a must. Without a DVD drive, how would you install a game? 90% of all game installations come on a DVD drive. A Blu-ray drive is an added perk. USB ports are also needed for connecting external drives or USB gaming peripherals like a gaming mouse.

The Body – External Peripherals

The monitor or display unit is easily the most important gaming peripheral. Ultimately your whole gaming experience depends on its output. What makes a good gaming monitor? For starters, a quick response rate to prevent lagging or ghosting. When the previous image or scene remains on the monitor as a blur, even as the next image comes up, ghosting is said to occur, a noted event with monitor quality, while playing high graphics games. Look for a response rate value of less than 8ms. This ensures minimal ghosting. Also check out the viewing angle, resolution and color quality. The size of the monitor also plays a key role. Avoid squinting at your screen, during a game with a tiny screen size. 17 inches and above is the recommended screen size for a gaming machine.

A gaming mouse and keyboard are optional add-ons. But they do help enhance your performance in a game. With programmable buttons and function mapping as well as backlit and LED light controls, mice and keyboards designed exclusively for gaming, will give you a definite edge in any gaming arena. Most models also have an ergonomic design to allow for long gaming spells without aches or hand sprains. For gaming mice and keyboards, Razer, Logitech and SteelSeries are the brands that offer the best models. In addition to the above configuration points, a powerful sound system is an extra feature to consider. Surround sound with sub-woofers and enhanced bass helps add to the immersive experience of a computer game. A neon lighting CPU tower or casing with a smart or funky design, is a physical add-on that increases the coolness factor of your machine.

If you want a pre-assembled or manufactured gaming computer, then be realistic in your expectations as good hardware comes with a price tag. So far, the best brand for a gaming machine is Alienware, with the best specs for the money. Whether hand-built or shopware, a dedicated gaming computer is an amazing piece of computing machinery to own.

Tips to Download Music On to an MP3 Player

So, you are intending to buy a new MP3 player. You have a wide variety of options to choose from. Sony, Microsoft, SanDisk, Phillips, Creative, Coby, Samsung or RCA MP3 player are just a few of brands. It may even be a cell phone that doubles as an MP3 player, or a handheld game console such as Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable). The next important step is knowing, how to store music on your MP3 player, so that you can listen to it while you’re commuting to and from work. This article will tell you how to download music onto a MP3 device.

Ways to Download Music onto an MP3 Player

The first step is to download music from the Internet. You can do so by using your MP3 player itself, if it can connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi connection. You can download songs from websites, which allow you to do it for free, or you may choose to pay for the downloads (per song or on monthly basis). One of the options is to go to the Apple iTunes music store and pay 99 cents for every song you want to download.

Note that these songs are protected by Apple’s FairPlay DRM (Digital Rights Management), so you can play the songs only on the Apple iPod, MP3 players. Other online stores encrypt the songs using the Windows Media Digital Rights Management (WMDRM) for security purposes. In order to decrypt and playback these files, you need the license key. If your license has expired, you will not be able to play the files. Your MP3 player has to support WMDRM, in order to play these audio files.

You can also use music subscription services such as eMusic. For $11.99 per month, you can download up to 24 songs a month. Other online music stores are Napster, MusicNow, URGE, and Yahoo! Music, which also allow music download for a certain charge that you have to pay. The other way is to simply search for the song title and artist name on Google, and download the song from some website which allows you to do so for free. You can also download entire albums using BitTorrent.

Using Computer

Another way to get MP3 files is by ripping your music CDs. In this way, you can convert your music to MP3 or WMA (Windows Media Audio) format. To do this, first insert the music CD into the computer’s CD drive. Then you can rip your CD using Windows Media Player, to encode your music to the WMA format. Note that you should deselect the “Copy Protect Music” option so that your music files are compatible with most MP3 players.

The next step is to download music onto MP3 player. This means to copy or sync the songs you want, to your MP3 player. You have to connect the device to the computer using a USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable. If your player has USB-MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) support, then even better. The Windows operating system will automatically detect the device, which will be shown as a USB flash drive.

You can find the device by going to “My Computer.” Then you can copy and paste the files from your computer to the MP3 player. Otherwise, you can go to “Windows Explorer” and drag and drop the files to your MP3 player. Note that you need to drop the songs into the right directory, or the device will not be able to play the files. This approach is most useful for music players that do not incorporate Bluetooth and can only be loaded with music after they are connected to a PC. Storing songs on a Bluetooth equipped MP3 player is easy and you do not have to use a data cable to establish the connection.

You can also use the media management functions of Windows Media Player to transfer the files. Most MP3 players have special software available from the manufacturer to sync the files. For example, the Creative Zen MP3 player has the “Creative Media Explorer” to allow you to import the audio. Note that you may also have to install specific drivers for the MP3 player.

Most MP3 players can handle audio files in three formats: MP3, WMA, and WAV. There are also other file formats such as OGG and Apple’s AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). MP3 players can also work as FM radio, so you can listen to radio stations that are available in your city. They can also record voice. You have to simply press the Record button, and speak to the device, and then playback what you have just said.

MP3 players also have other functions such as the ability to view photos and playback videos.Now, that you know how to copy music to your MP3, you can enjoy listening to music whenever and wherever you want to.

Best Wearable Gadgets

With so many gadgets at our disposal that keep us connected and entertained all the time, there is no doubt that our love for gadgets is unconditional. With an effort to make our lives simpler, gadget creators have come up with a few gadgets you can actually wear and carry them along with you wherever you go. They are cool and definitely will make you stand out in a crowd. These elegant gadgets not only satisfy their objective with their unique features, but also turn into fashion accessories and make a style statement. So, without much ado let’s get an insight of the top 10 wearable gadgets.

Wearable Gadgets to Buy

Wi-Fi Detecting shirt

The Wi-Fi detector shirt, as the name suggests, detects Wi-Fi signals and allows you to share data too. The glowing bars on the front of the shirt, glow to let you know the signal strength. It is powered by a trio of AAA batteries. Once you are done with sharing data, just slip the batteries out of the pouch and unhook the animated decal. While washing the shirt, peel the decal, unplug the battery pack, remove the ribbon connector behind the decal and gently wash it. Replace all of it after the wash. It will not damage your shirt.

Nike + iPod Sport Kit

Sometimes, we buy gadgets because they are unique and refreshingly novel. However, this gadget is definitely a rational purchase. The Nike iPod sport kit consists of a sensor, which you have to simply slip under the sock liner and connect it to your iPod. The sensor measures your pace, distance covered, time and calories burned, while you are walking or jogging. It is not necessary to own a pair of Nike shoes only, you could attach the sensor to any pair of shoes by securing a piece of Velcro to the device. So, now you get real-time feedback while you train!

Fingernail Watch

You might have come across various types of watches; different styles, weird shapes, sizes and different technology, but nothing can beat this unique, innovative technology. Forget wearing a watch on the wrist, Timex has come up with this unique watch that snugly fits on your nail. Thanks to its translucent body and design that allows the watch to smoothly fit on the nail. The text color and glow feature is activated on your command. Since, it is tiny with minimalist design and disposable too, doesn’t cost you much. So, are you ready to wear the time on your nail?

Interactive Tattoos

It is amazing to know how technology can be infused in our blood, well, literally! Interactive tattoos are implanted beneath the skin, through a small incision. Two tubes of the device are attached to an artery and a vein to allow blood to flow through them. The blood fuel cell in the device converts glucose and oxygen in the blood to electricity. The display of this device is somewhat similar to an inked tattoo (as shown in the picture), however in reality tiny microscopic spheres in the device give it such a glowing effect. It can be turned off and on by pushing a small glowing button on the device. Although it is only a concept till date, but we will soon see its execution. And if you are wondering whether these interactive tattoos could have harmful biological effects. Well, actually they are supposed to alert a person of any health problem (if any), as it continually monitors for blood disorders. Therefore, they probably will be the coolest and safest tattoo ever!
Solar-powered Jacket

Ermenegildo Zegna’s solar-powered jacket is a brilliant example of fashion fused with technology and above all is environment-friendly. This solar-powered jacket has solar panels attached to the upper sleeves, which harnesses power from the sun and convert it into electrical energy, just enough to charge your cell phone or iPod. The solar battery gets fully charged with 5 hours of direct sunlight. If you think Zegna’s jacket are costly, go in for local manufacturers, who design such jackets, they are cheap and just as effective as the Zenga.

Lightweight Wrist Phone

Having established a reputation as mobile phone manufactures who dare to explore newer technology, Samsung yet again exhibits its technical prowess by coming out with a wrist phone. It is described as the world’s thinnest touchscreen phone! This wrist phone has Bluetooth, mp3 player, speaker phone, touchscreen and most importantly its ability to sync with your Outlook email! Samsung is not the only company to introduce this technology; the other competitors in this domain include Sony Ericson, LG and Philips. So, now you don’t really have to worry about misplacing or forgetting your phone, because the device is wrapped around your wrist and goes with you wherever you go!

Universal Gadget Wrist Charger

Portable devices have an uncanny tendency to indicate low-battery when you need them the most, right? But, not any more. Thanks to this universal gadget wrist charger, which sits comfortably on your wrist. You can just plug into any compatible electronic device, be it your iPod or your laptop. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and a universal port. However, you would have to purchase pins compatible to each of your gadgets (cell phones, mp3 players, gaming systems or laptop), so that your gadgets can be connected with ease into the port. Now, you don’t have to worry about charging your devices, even while traveling for long durations.

iLogic Sound Hat

Don an iLogic Sound Hat, plug it into your iPod or mp3 player and you will be amazed to experience the sound quality of the integral speakers that fit in correctly just over your ears. These Sound hat do away with the blues of headphone cables and at the same time prevents the cold breeze from entering your ears. Of course there is a cord that enables one to plug it into a standard mp3 player or iPod. However, in case you are not using it, one can tuck it into the lining of the hat. Plug-in and chill out, without being affected by the chill.

USB Sunglasses

Calvin Klein crafts new sunglasses. What’s new about that? Well, the frame of these specialized sunglasses give way to a 4GB USB drive. Since, the USB drive is nestled into the metallic frame of the glasses, they are not detectable by anyone, except the user and 4 gigs is a lot of space. We must say it indeed is a cool way of fusing fashion and gadgetry. Thumbs up for this piece of innovation.

USB Heating Gloves

Another unusual wearable gadget is the USB heating gloves. The first impression of these gloves are like any normal gloves, but you will soon realize they have a USB cable which can be fixed into a vacant port in your laptop. These gloves will extract power from the computer’s USB port. After a few minutes the internal heating pads of the gloves warm up and prevent your hands and fingers from freezing. Since, they have an in-built warmth controller, you don’t have to worry about the gloves overheating. Now you don’t have to worry about working in an air-conditioned room or during those chill winters.

From the list of top 10 wearable gadgets, it is clear that man’s endless thirst for technology is not just confined to hand-held gadgets, but have become an integral part of what he wears everyday. Credit must be given to the creators and designers of such wearable gadgets, for combining technology, originality, fashion and portability, all in one device!

to Copy Xbox 360 Games for Free

One of the best things about the Xbox 360 is the fact that you have one of the widest collection of games available for this platform. The controls, the graphics, and the performance of this console give the competition a serious run for its money. All the games for the Xbox available in the market are on DVDs. It’s a well-known fact that these DVDs are real scratch magnets, and aren’t really built to endure the constant use and abuse that they are subjected to almost on a daily basis. For any gamer, nothing is as heartbreaking as the ‘Disk Error’ sign that flashes on the screen, when you are all geared up for some serious gaming action! Never fear, backup DVDs are here to the rescue. You would need to lay your hands on the freeware Xbox Backup Creator and ImgBurn to get started.

As long as you do not intend to walk around town with a black eye patch, selling or distributing these copies, you can make backup copies of your original Xbox 360 games. You can proudly show off your original DVDs as collector’s items, while you enjoy playing the games using the backup. Creating a backup of your games is child’s play, and the best part is that you won’t have the cops knocking your door down for doing this. Also, you do not need to modify your console in any way, so the warranty doesn’t get void. Here’s how you can go about it.

You Will Need

  • An Original Xbox 360 game DVD
  • A Computer with a dual-layer DVD Burner
  • A blank dual layer DVD (DVD+R DL)
  • Xbox Backup Creator
  • ImgBurn Software

Creating the Backup File

  • Install both the software on the computer. Run Xbox Backup Creator.
  • Insert the original game DVD into the DVD drive.
  • On the screen that pops up, you should be able to see details about the DVD. Check to make sure that the additional information mentions the KREON firmware (only DVDs with this firmware can be copied). Select ‘Complete Backup’ (if not already selected).
  • Click on ‘Start’, name the file (ideally the name of the game), and allocate a folder path on your computer with adequate free space (up to 8.5 GB) for the backup. It should ideally take about 15-20 minutes for the backup to be created. You can check to see if the backup has been created by going into the folder that you had saved it in. You should see two files with the name you had given the backup; one would be .dvd file and the other an .iso file.
  • Right-click on the .dvd file and select ‘Open With…’. Choose ‘Notepad’ from the list of programs and click on OK.
  • You should be able to see a value against ‘Layerbreak’; copy this numeric value and save it separately in another notepad file. Close the files.

Burning the Backup Game DVD

  • Once the backup has been created, run ImgBurn. Replace the original game DVD with a blank dual-layered DVD (which should ideally have DVD+R DL written on it).
  • Select ‘Write image file to disc’.
  • In the window that comes on the screen, under ‘Source’, click on the ‘browse for a file’ icon (an open folder with a magnifying glass). Navigate to the backup files folder that you created earlier and select the .dvd file.
  • From the top menu, select Tools › Settings › Write › Options (the one to the right).
  • Select ‘User Specified’ and enter the value you had saved earlier from the notepad into the box by its side. Click on OK.
  • Set the ‘Write Speed’ at 2x and click on ‘Write’ at the bottom. Let it ‘burn’ for about 30-45 minutes.