Tagged With hardware installation

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Hard drives fail, and they do it much more often than we'd like to think. Even if you've set up automated hard drive backups, you're not necessarily getting the best backup bang for your buck—especially if your operating system's main hard drive fails. Even if you've been backing up your important files, you'll still need to reinstall your OS and go through the pain of copying your files back to your new hard drive, installing new applications, and setting up your system to how you had it. There's a better way, my friends. With a RAID 1 array, you'll always have a perfect backup of your hard drive so that—in the event that one drive fails—the other will seamlessly pick up where it left off. That means no reinstalling your operating system, no reinstalling applications, and no time lost in the event of a hard drive failure.

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We've covered a lot of DIY PC projects—most notably the $US800 Hackintosh Mac—and we've walked you through every step of the DIY build process, but the fact remains that a lot of people just aren't comfortable with the innards of their PC. So to get a better feel for your willingness to open up your PC, I'm curious:

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When expenses are a big deal, curbing spending is a wise option. If you're in the market for a new computer (or even just a home theatre system), blogger Paul Stamatiou suggests hardware that can comprise of one of the cheapest and smallest DIY computers I've seen to date. Your motherboard will cost a low $US65. The RAM is about $20, and the 250GB hard drive is also $US65. However, if you scout for good deals online, you may get them for cheaper than the recommended prices. The design doesn't require a case, according to Paul (but you can buy a decent mini-ITX case which will fit this motherboard for an extra $US65), and some may argue that it's not as good as an HTPC as it is a spare PC, but as a cheap alternative, you really can't go wrong.
DIY: 200 Dollar PC

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No laptop lasts forever, but many live long lives through upgrades or replacements. Those life-extenders can easily fall apart, however, if there's a stuck or jammed screw that will make hardware replacement a tricky, or even damaging, proposition. CNET blogger Michael Horowitz recommends pulling out a tiny screwdriver and testing out the screws on any new laptop, especially on the oft-upgraded memory trays, hard drive holders and other devices. While obviously not a tip for those uncomfortable with DIY hardware replacement, experienced laptop owners might be within their rights to request a replacement or repair on a new unit if they find jammed screws, as the useful life of their new system would be effectively shortened. Got any new laptop maintenance routines you've discovered (or discovered too late)? Share your tips in the comments. Photo by Daquella manera.
Got a new laptop? Get out your screwdriver

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With all the buying that goes on this time of year, our aging gadgets seem older, more out-of-date, and just plain obsolete in the face of all the shiny new toys glimmering on the display rack—which, of course, is part of what motivates us to pry open our wallets for newer and better stuff. But this year, instead of forking over more cash to the likes of Jobs and Gates for their newest toys, we're taking a look at several ways to make your old gadgets new again. From the iPod and Xbox to a run-of-the-mill PC, chances are you've got something lying around the house that could use a free or cheap upgrade.

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If the high price tag for Apple hardware has kept you from buying a Mac but you're willing to roll up your sleeves and get adventurous, you can build your own "Hackintosh"—a PC that runs a patched version of OS X Leopard. What?!, you say. Apple's move to Intel processors in 2006 meant that running OS X on non-Apple hardware is possible, and a community hacking project called OSx86 launched with that goal in mind. Since then, OSx86 has covered major ground, making it possible for civilians—like you and me!—to put together their own Hackintosh running Mac OS 10.5. Today, I'll show you how to build your own high end computer running Leopard from start to finish for under $800.