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   PastimesAll Things Technology - Media and Know HOW

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From: Don Green9/21/2022 9:45:52 AM
   of 1120
Does It Matter Which Graphics Card Manufacturer You Choose?

Arthito/Shutterstock.comWhen you shop for a graphics card, you’ll usually settle on a specific model you want, then look for the best price—but you’ll find that multiple manufacturers make the same model. Do the differences between them matter?

Update, 8/25/22: Verified content for accuracy. Ensured links still work. Updated images.Why Are There Different Manufacturers, Anyway?It’s an odd situation—almost like if you went shopping for an F-150 pickup truck, and the salesperson asked if you wanted the Ford, Chevy, or Dodge version. For example, a quick search for an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 card on Newegg reveals models made by EVGA, MSI, Zotac, ASUS, and Gigabyte—all on the first page! AMD Radeon graphics cards have a similar variety of suppliers. But within the same specific card design, almost all of them have the same capabilities. What gives?

The reason is the somewhat unique business-to-business relationships in the GPU market. NVIDIA and AMD sell their chips directly to electronics manufacturers for inclusion in all sorts of stuff, from laptop and desktop computers to game consoles, mobile phones, and even cars. They also sell to third-party graphics card manufacturers like EVGA or Sapphire.

These third-party companies take the GPU chips and boards, package them with the necessary extra parts like video ports, coolers, and plastic cases, and then sell them to consumers at retailers like Amazon and Newegg.

There doesn’t necessarily need to be a middleman seller. NVIDIA manufactures Founder’s Edition cards itself and sells direct. But the GPU designer/manufacturer/retailer relationship has been going strong since the 1990s, and it looks like it will be the status quo for the foreseeable future.

What’s The Difference Between Manufacturers’ Cards?All the different card manufacturers get the GPUs from the same place: NVIDIA and AMD. But when selling to consumers, you need to differentiate your product based on price or features. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in the retail prices. Suppose one company goes significantly lower than the others. In that case, everyone tends to follow suit, and with costs like manufacturing and distribution essentially set, there’s only so much they can do to remain profitable.

So consumer-focused brands will differentiate in other areas. Some might offer blower coolers or open-air coolers. Some will make their cards shorter to fit in more compact cases. Some will try to make their cards stand out with flashy-looking fans and lights. A common technique is making minor changes to the card’s design, like a small “factory” (pre-installed) overclock on the card’s GPU or V-RAM. These variations get a lot of ink on the boxes that the GPUs come in, with marketing phrases like “Overclocked Edition,” “FTW,” or “AMP.”

NvidiaBut except for a few significant tweaks, like a pre-installed water cooling setup or the installation of extra memory modules, these changes usually don’t result in more than a percent or two of performance versus the baseline. If two cards from the same NVIDIA or AMD product line are of the same model, and they can fit inside your computer’s case and plug into your motherboard, there’s not going to be a massive difference in how they make your games look. Company-supplied overclocking, in particular, isn’t anything you need to worry about: you’ll get more dramatic results by doing it yourself.

Which Changes Really Matter?So, which of these changes actually do matter? Well, the card’s length is important, especially if you’re looking for something high-end. If your case is too small to hold the card, it doesn’t matter how fast it is. Designs with more elaborate double- or triple-fan coolers will be longer, while those made specifically for compact Mini-ITX builds will be shorter.

GPU clearance lengths are generally included in the specifications page for your PC’s case—if you can’t find it, you can always open up the case yourself and measure the space from the back to the front near the PCI-E slot on the motherboard. The specifications page of the card itself will also list its length, but be sure to take into account where the power input is. If your card fits, on paper, within a fraction of an inch but the power cables sticking out the back adds more than that fraction of an inch, then, in reality, your card won’t fit.

ZotacThe difference between a blower and an open-air cooler design is minor, but it’s crucial if you have a case with low airflow. Check out this guide to see the different design approaches between the two cooling types. Of course, if you prefer a quieter machine, you can get a more expensive card with a pre-installed water cooler. If you’re going to install your own water cooling system with aftermarket hardware, you’ll need a pricey custom cooling block, which replaces the stock air cooler and comes from boutique suppliers.

EVGAAnother change that can significantly alter performance is extra RAM. Some cards can accommodate additional GDDR RAM modules, and secondary manufacturers will install them directly onto the PCB. With more video RAM, a card can hold much more information in local memory, like high-resolution textures and game engine files. That can result in a considerable boost to performance and load times. Extra RAM isn’t possible on every card. Still, if a manufacturer includes it, they’ll usually highlight it in the card’s advertising and packaging and ask for a small premium over the going rate for that model. Since video memory is something you can’t upgrade yourself, it’s a significant point of differentiation.

The Real Difference: Price, Trust, And WarrantyIf there’s only a small overclock or a slightly altered cooler separating the two cards you’re looking at, then the most significant differentiation is the price. Obviously, the cheaper, the better—especially if you’re dropping $300 or more to play the latest games.

But it might be worth paying a little more for a new graphics card to get a little extra peace of mind. A card from a more reliable manufacturer is desirable. And because “reliable” is a nebulous concept when dealing with complex electronics that are so interconnected, a good warranty and a reputation for honoring it are even better.

EVGAMost manufacturers offer a two-year or three-year warranty with their cards, and some offer an extension if you register your card with a customer account. (You’ll want to keep your proof of purchase either way.) Some, like EVGA, XFX, and Zotac, even have “lifetime” warranties with registration. And sometimes, the warranty can be transferred to a new owner if you sell the card, or the warranty will be honored even if you overclock it yourself.

You can usually find the warranty terms for the card directly on the sale page. If that doesn’t work, Google the manufacturer’s name and “warranty” to quickly find the company’s official information.

So, when shopping for a new graphics card and choosing between two very similar models, go through the following checklist to see the significant points of differentiation. It should help you make a more confident decision.

Will both cards fit in my PC case?Is one card significantly cheaper than the other?Does one card have more RAM than the other?Do these cards have different cooler designs, and do that matter for my case?Does one manufacturer offer significantly better warranty terms?

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    From: Don Green9/21/2022 1:42:48 PM
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    From: Don Green9/26/2022 1:13:16 PM
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    The Unicycle has come a long way baby!

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    From: Don Green9/26/2022 8:19:02 PM
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    Off Topic But memories galore….

    Abbey Road track-by-track - Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick: "For the first time, John and Paul knew that George had risen to their level"

    published about 16 hours ago

    (Image credit: Apple)
    Abbey Road was released today, 26 September, in 1969. In 2014, we were lucky enough to speak to engineer Geoff Emerick about the making of this bonafide classic.

    It's one of the most iconic album covers of all time: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr strolling across a zebra-striped street called Abbey Road in St John's Wood, north London.

    It is an image as memorable as the moon landing - and one copied by tourists on a daily basis. (Even a few bands have paid homage, most notably Booker T & The MGs.)

    Ironically, the shot was a last-minute decision.

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    To: Don Green who wrote (949)9/28/2022 6:24:17 PM
    From: Don Green
       of 1120
    Apple's iPhone overshoot

    Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
    Apple shares were sent tumbling today on a Bloomberg report that suggested demand for new iPhone 14 products was weaker than the company previously expected, Hope writes.

    Yes, but: Apple analysts were largely unsurprised and unfazed.

      Gene Munster at Loup Funds noted on Twitter that production cuts happen "every iPhone cycle" because "Apple always overshoots production goals to its suppliers in the summer and 'cuts' in the fall."
    The big picture: Sales growth of the iPhone (which alone makes up more than 50% of the company's overall sales) have cooled over the past few years — and it's partly why the company has pushed so deeply into higher margin services, including news, gaming, music and media.

    Of note: Apple shares closed down 1.3% today, after falling nearly 4% earlier in the day

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    From: S. maltophilia9/28/2022 11:35:36 PM
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    Is This the Beginning of the End of the Internet?

    How a single Texas ruling could change the web forever
    By Charlie Warzel

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    From: Don Green10/2/2022 1:11:24 PM
    1 Recommendation   of 1120
    Avoid the Trash Heap: 15 Creative Uses for an Old ComputerDon't junk that ancient laptop or desktop. Reuse it! Turn an old gaming PC into a NAS, experiment with a new OS, build your own security cam, plus a dozen more creative recycling ideas. Demand for PCs surged during the pandemic, as people shifted to work-from-home setups amid quarantines. That left a lot of older computers sitting alone, unused.

    You may be tempted to just junk your old PC. But if that laptop or desktop was created any time in the last decade, you'd be surprised by how much life you (or others) can get out of it. I'm not talking about limping along, but of ways to bring an old PC back to useful life.

    You may need to do some light upgrades here and there; more RAM and a big new storage drive may benefit some (okay, probably all) of these projects. In many cases, the PC will require access to the internet and/or the ability to access software written to a USB flash drive for installing it on that old junker. Take a gander at the options. You'll be glad you kept that old PC around.

    1. Experiment With New, Lighter OSDo you like to try new things? Nothing will seem newer than a freshly installed operating system on your old PC—even a downright elderly computer will feel brand new.

    Most alternative operating systems (translation: not Windows or macOS) are based on Linux, which comes in a variety of options called "distros." Popular examples include Ubuntu, Mint, elementary OS, and Manjaro. You'll find interfaces similar to Windows, and they come with software packages, like LibreOffice (a free, open-source equivalent to Microsoft Office). Most work pretty great on PCs with 4GB of RAM or more, but check the specifications needed.

    You might also want to try creating your own version of a Chromebook. That's usually a laptop you'd buy that runs Google Chrome OS; it makes the Chrome browser and Google cloud services/storage the center of the OS. You can now download and install Chrome OS Flex, on old PC or even old Mac systems; it will even run from a portable flash drive.

    2. Serve Up Some MediaEven if you're a video-streaming service addict, you probably have hours of music, podcasts, movies, or TV shows stored locally, which you want to access on PCs, game consoles, tablets, or phones. For that, you need a media server.

    "Theater software" like Kodi will take care of that. Install the server software on any device running Linux, Windows, macOS, jailbroken iOS devices, rooted Android devices, or even a Raspberry Pi; there are "remote control" apps for iOS or Android users not willing to go for broke(n).

    Plex (above) has most of the same features. The server can install on PCs running Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, and even on NAS devices. The playback software is available for about every device you can imagine. Plex even offers some live TV options.

    To get the best performance, put the server software on your old PC with a clean OS install and dedicate the system to playing media, and nothing else.

    3. Turn Your Old PC Into a NAS Home ServerA network-attached storage device is a server for your home or small business network used for storing files you share with all the PCs on the network (or externally via the internet). Prices vary from a pittance to the hundreds. But if you've got an old PC with lots of storage drive space, you don't need to buy a NAS: Make one. Free, usually open-source software for doing just that is easily available. TrueNAS Core, Rockstor, FileCloud, XigmaNAS, and more can put your old PC into the center of its own version of the cloud.

    4. Hack Together an Anonymous PC

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    From: Don Green10/2/2022 4:53:04 PM
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    NASA, SpaceX weigh invoking Dragon to take Hubble higherTelescope hasn't been superseded by JWST, so why not try to keep it going?
    Richard CurrieFri 30 Sep 2022 // 14:29 UTC
    Though it may have been eclipsed by the launch of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, long-lived Hubble continues to gaze deep into the universe.

    JWST specializes in infrared, versus optical and ultraviolet wavelengths, so the telescope functions complement each other rather than overlap. To that end, NASA has tapped SpaceX for a feasibility study on how the private space company could service Hubble and boost it to a higher orbit at no cost to the US government.

    Hubble launched in 1990 with an anticipated lifespan of 15 years and, thanks to the Space Shuttle servicing missions, continues to be scientifically productive. "All indications are that the telescope will continue operating into the late 2020s and possibly beyond," NASA reckons.

    This year alone it spotted the most distant star in the universe, imaged the largest comet ever identified, and helped document the DART probe's rendezvous with an asteroid.

    So why not try to keep it up there? Hubble originally orbited at 600km but over the decades has fallen to around 540km. NASA would like to get it higher, perhaps extending its life by some 20-30 years before it meets a fiery death in the atmosphere.

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    To: S. maltophilia who wrote (960)10/2/2022 5:27:56 PM
    From: S. maltophilia
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    Tech companies are gaming out responses to the Texas social media law
    Experts said the measure, which bars companies from moderating content, could prove challenging for platforms to deal with...

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    From: S. maltophilia10/3/2022 8:02:47 PM
    1 Recommendation   of 1120
    How Bots Corrupted Advertising
    Botmasters have created a Kafkaesque system where companies are paying huge sums to show their ads to bots. And everyone is fine with this.
    An illustration of robots holding up a sign that reads buy more new stuff

    Bots Run the Internet
    They’re a scourge! They’re a boon. They’re the automated worker bees of cyberspace—and they influence everything you do online.

    When Aleksandr Zhukov went on trial last year, he stood accused of defrauding US companies, including The New York Times and pet care brand Purina, out of millions of dollars. According to the court, the then 41-year-old set up a company that promised to show online adverts to humans, but he instead placed those adverts on an elaborate network of fake websites where they were seen only by bots. Yet Zhukov’s defense did not center around his innocence or his remorse. Rather, he said he was giving the online economy exactly what it wanted: cheap traffic, whatever the source.

    “There was nothing to conceal,” he said on the stand in May 2021. “We were making business. We are not making scam or fraud.”

    The federal courthouse in Brooklyn disagreed and, in November 2021, Zhukov was sentenced to 10 years in prison. By extraditing the Russian cybercriminal from Bulgaria,.........

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