May 17, 2010

Serial ATA 6Gb/s – The Third Generation

Serial ATA 6Gb/s - The Third GenerationSerial ATA 6Gb/s - The Third Generation

Serial ATA 6Gb/s – The Third Generation

by Ryan Morse – May 16, 2010

The third revision to the Serial ATA storage standard, known as Serial ATA 6Gb/s, was ratified a year ago and an increasing number of devices are coming to market that make use of the new technology.

In this Tech Tip I'll go over what you need to know to decide when the right time is for you to upgrade.

What's In A Name?

It turns out that what's in a name is understanding. A rose by any other name could be just as sweet, but how would you know how fast it is compared to other roses? There was some confusion regarding how to officially refer to the previous two standards. You would see SATA I and SATA II as well as Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s and Serial ATS 3Gb/s used interchangeably. Naturally, with this third revision to the specification coming out, it was important for the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA IO) to get the correct terms out there. First and foremost, the Roman numeral representations of the standards are incorrect, especially SATA II, as this is the old name for the organization that created the standard. Additionally, using that nomenclature the new standard would be called SATA III and would be spoken as, "S-A-T-A Three," which can easily be confused as SATA 3Gb/s. So, while it is a mouthful, the Serial ATA IO prefers you say the entire transfer rate of the standard to avoid any confusion.

What's New?

The biggest and most obvious improvement in the third generation of the interface is the 6.0 Gb/s transfer rate, which translates to 768 megabytes per second, about as much data on a CD-ROM. With protocol overhead, you're likely to see real-world transfer speeds of roughly 600 megabytes per second. The new standard calls for twice the throughput as the second generation and is geared toward streaming high-definition content and high-capacity flash memory devices like solid state drives. To aid in this task a streaming command was added to the Native Command Queuing technology already utilized in existing Serial ATA drives. Native Command Queuing, simply known as NCQ, is the method Serial ATA drives use to organize read and write requests efficiently. Now, with the streaming command as well as NCQ Management for optimized performance, the third generation stands to provide noticeable improvements in operation, with the biggest improvements seen in SSDs (Solid State Drives). Serial ATA 6Gb/s is also compatible with the previous generation, Serial ATA 3Gb/s, unfortunately, it's not compatible with the first generation standard, Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s.

How Do I Get It?

The two ways to get this new technology remain the same as with most I/O technologies, you can install an add-on card or buy a motherboard with it already integrated. There are a number of affordable PCI Express add-on cards, even some with SuperSpeed USB 3.0, too, but you'll need to be PCI Express 2.0 compliant to enjoy the best performance on existing hardware. Buying a motherboard with integrated Serial ATA 6Gb/s is the other option available, but there are only a handful of boards and devices in the market right now. It is likely to remain this way until Intel releases it as an integrated solution in their desktop boards in Q1 of 2011. Until then, widespread adoption is unlikely and you will see the slow trickle of SATA 6Gb/s devices, add-on cards, and motherboards continue. Soon after you'll be able to purchase it in fully-built systems from OEM manufacturers like HP, Gateway, Dell, and the like. Who knows? Maybe the next generation of Macbooks will have it, too!


How Do I Use It?

As of now, the only people that are going to see instant performance increases are going to be Solid State Drive usa viagra users. This will change as Serial ATA hard disks are released with the new interface, but will only see a slight gain in performance. However, Solid State Drive prices are dropping all the time, so if it's within your budget, the next time you buy a notebook or system, look for SSDs and Serial ATA 6Gb/s, as well as SuperSpeed USB 3.0. With new these technologies, you'll be on the cutting edge leaving behind the simpler days when you were staring at progress and loading bars.

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May 9, 2010

Laptop Buyer’s Guide Summer 2010 Edition!

Laptop Buyer’s Guide Summer 2010 Edition!

Laptop Buyer’s Guide Summer 2010 Edition!

by Mark Tiongco – May 9, 2010

Are you in the market for a new laptop but don’t know where to start? Well check out our laptop buyer’s guide and let us help you decide! First, you’ll want to figure out what you’ll use your new laptop for. This will help you in deciding how big or small the laptop itself should be.For on-the-go web-browsing, quick blogging and simple email, you should check out a smaller, lighter, 10-13" cheap netbook.Netbooks are designed to pack enough power to get the quick essentials done and also have a tiny tablet viagra footprint so you’ll have no trouble carrying them to a coffee shop, school or on a plane trip.Some extras you’ll want to look out for an enhanced netbook experience:

  • Intel Atom CPU (N280 or N450 have Hyper-Threading = better multitasking)
  • HDMI port so you can turn your netbook into a home-TV media player
  • LED-backlit monitor = brighter & crisp LCD screen
  • 8-9-cell battery means 6-7 hours continuous run time
  • Built-in webcam and memory card reader

Unless you’re planning on carrying your entire iTunes collection on your netbook, 120-160 GB-size hard drives are plenty for netbooks. If you need something more for writing school papers, doing research and multi-tasking, a notebook computer between 13-15” should be what you’re looking for.

  • At least 4GB computer memory for heavy multi-tasking such as running MS Word, Excel, iTunes, Firefox and Outlook simultaneously
  • 250-500 GB hard drive
  • Core i3-i5-i7 CPU – These new Intel processors are blazing fast!
  • 64-Bit Operating System (i.e. Windows 7 64-bit)  + at least 4GB RAM as it handles memory management more efficiently than its 32-bit counterpart

Now if you’re a gamer, graphic designer or just need the absolute raw power, you should opt for a 15-18” desktop replacement notebook.These monsters have the power of a desktop computer but are relatively more portable than lugging around a tower and computer monitor.In addition to the 13-15” notebook specs, you should also add the following:

  • (SXGA+ 1680 x 1050) or (WUXGA – 1920 x 1080) – Higher resolution allows more screen space so you can fit more windows for easier viewing
  • Core 2 Duo CPU P-series (i.e. P8450) – Previous generation processor that is still very powerful at a reduced price
  • Core i3-i5-i7 – The newest Intel CPUs, they have Hyper-Threading which tells Windows there are twice as many processors that can tackle demanding applications
  • 802.11n built-in Wi-Fi network card allows for faster communication for quicker streaming videos, file copying and downloads
  • Dedicated Video Card – 512 MB to 1GB discrete video card handles all the video processing (i.e. 1 GB nVidia Geforce GTX 260m or 512 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 4570)
  • 500 GB or SSD (Solid-State Drive) hard drives – SSDs have zero moving parts and help with faster boot times and quicker program launches
  • Dedicated Numpad – For number-intensive tasks, these are becoming more popular on 15” now as opposed to just 17” notebooks

For all you Mac fans out there, Apple has refreshed its notebook lineup with many goodies. First and foremost is the long-awaited iPAD .Make no mistake, Apple has declared the iPAD IS NOT designed to replace your current notebook which is why you won’t find amenities such as a card reader, webcam and multi-tasking features. According to Apple, the iPAD works great for quick email checking, reading ebooks, viewing photos and casual movies and music. Considering its operating system is taken from the iPhone, this notebook would be ideal if you’re commuters, students, mobile professionals and any job that requires you to be able to send out an email or chat without the formality of finding an empty seat/table at a busy coffee shop and waiting 1-2 minutes to boot up a traditional laptop. In addition, Apple’s Macbook family now has Intel’s new Core lineup (i3-i5-i7). These processors do a fantastic job with multi-tasking thanks to its Hyper-Threading technology. Video muscle is improved with nVidia’s current Geforce 3xx- series video cards which help with intensive multimedia applications such as Final Cut Studio and Adobe Photoshop. Apple has also increased battery runtime for the 13.3” Macbook Pro to approximately 10 hours while the 15-17-inch versions have a still-impressive 8-9 hours of battery life.Regardless of which brand or platform you choose, keep in mind the reason(s) for your notebook purchase so you can avoid unnecessarily paying extra for those unimportant bells and whistles.

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Laptop Buyer’s Guide Summer 2010 Edition!

Laptop Buyer’s Guide Summer 2010 Edition!

Laptop Buyer’s Guide Summer 2010 Edition!

by Mark Tiongco – May 9, 2010

Are you in the market for a new laptop but don’t know where to start? Well check out our laptop buyer’s guide and let us help you decide! First, you’ll want to figure out what you’ll use your new laptop for. This will help you in deciding how big or small the laptop itself should be.For on-the-go web-browsing, quick blogging and simple email, you should check out a smaller, lighter, 10-13" cheap netbook.Netbooks are designed to pack enough power to get the quick essentials done and also have a tiny footprint so you’ll have no trouble carrying them to a coffee shop, school or on a plane trip.Some extras you’ll want to look out for an enhanced netbook experience:

  • Intel Atom CPU (N280 or N450 have Hyper-Threading = better multitasking)
  • HDMI port so you can turn your netbook into a home-TV media player
  • LED-backlit monitor = brighter & crisp LCD screen
  • 8-9-cell battery means 6-7 hours continuous run time
  • Built-in webcam and memory card reader

Unless you’re planning on carrying your entire iTunes collection on your netbook, 120-160 GB-size hard drives are plenty for netbooks. If you need something more for writing school papers, doing research and multi-tasking, a notebook computer between 13-15” should be what you’re looking for.

  • At least 4GB computer memory for heavy multi-tasking such as running MS Word, Excel, iTunes, Firefox and Outlook simultaneously
  • 250-500 GB hard drive
  • Core i3-i5-i7 CPU – These new Intel processors are blazing fast!
  • 64-Bit Operating System (i.e. Windows 7 64-bit)  + at least 4GB RAM as it handles memory management more efficiently than its 32-bit counterpart

Now if you’re a gamer, graphic designer or just need the absolute raw power, you should opt for a 15-18” desktop replacement notebook.These monsters have the power of a desktop computer but are relatively more portable than lugging around a tower and computer monitor.In addition to the 13-15” notebook specs, you should also add the following:

  • (SXGA+ 1680 x 1050) or (WUXGA – 1920 x 1080) – Higher resolution allows more screen space so you can fit more windows for easier viewing
  • Core 2 Duo CPU P-series (i.e. P8450) – Previous generation processor that is still very powerful at a reduced price
  • Core i3-i5-i7 – The newest Intel CPUs, they have Hyper-Threading which tells Windows there are twice as many processors that can tackle demanding applications
  • 802.11n built-in Wi-Fi network card allows for faster communication for quicker streaming videos, file copying and downloads
  • Dedicated Video Card – 512 MB to 1GB discrete video card handles all the video processing (i.e. 1 GB nVidia Geforce GTX 260m or 512 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 4570)
  • 500 GB or SSD (Solid-State Drive) hard drives – SSDs have zero moving parts and help with faster boot times and quicker program launches
  • Dedicated Numpad – For number-intensive tasks, these are becoming more popular on 15” now as opposed to just 17” notebooks

For all you Mac fans out there, Apple has refreshed its notebook lineup with many goodies. First and foremost is the long-awaited iPAD .Make no mistake, Apple has declared the iPAD IS NOT designed to replace your current notebook which is why you won’t find amenities such as a card reader, webcam and multi-tasking features. According to Apple, the iPAD works great for quick email checking, reading ebooks, viewing photos and casual movies and music. Considering its operating system is taken from the iPhone, this notebook would be ideal if you’re commuters, students, mobile professionals and any job that requires you to be able to send out an email or chat without the formality of finding an empty seat/table at a busy coffee shop and waiting 1-2 minutes to boot up a traditional laptop. In addition, Apple’s Macbook family now has Intel’s new Core lineup (i3-i5-i7). These processors do a fantastic job with multi-tasking thanks to its Hyper-Threading technology. Video muscle is improved with nVidia’s current Geforce 3xx- series video cards which help with intensive multimedia applications such as Final Cut Studio and Adobe Photoshop. Apple has also increased battery runtime for the 13.3” Macbook Pro to approximately 10 hours while the 15-17-inch versions have a still-impressive romania viagra 8-9 hours of battery life.Regardless of which brand or platform you choose, keep in mind the reason(s) for your notebook purchase so you can avoid unnecessarily paying extra for those unimportant bells and whistles.

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May 1, 2010

How to Hide and Remove HomeGroup Folders by Disable and Turn Off Home Group Services

  1. Go to Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> HomeGroup, and click on Leave the homegroup link to unjoin from any existing home group.

    Change HomeGroup Settings

    Leave Homegroup

    Note: If the home group are shared and hosted from the PC, all HomeGroup connections will be disconnected.

  2. Click on Leave the homegroup to confirm leaving from the home group.
  3. Click on Finish when done.
  4. Go to Control Panel -> System and prescription viagra color=”#0000ff”>Security -> Administrative Tools, and double click on Services. Alternatively, type services.msc in Start Search.
  5. For each of the following two services:

    HomeGroup Listener
    HomeGroup Provider

    Do the following:

    Stop the service, and then double click on the service to open Properties dialog, and set its Startup type to Disabled. Click OK when done.

    Turn Off HomeGroup Listener and Provider

  6. The HomeGroup icon and group will no longer be shown in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer in Windows 7, as shown in illustration below.

    no-homegroup-navigation-pane

    No HomeGroup in Windows 7 Explorer Navigation Pane

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How to use the System Keys of your Gateway Laptop

Probably this is the first time that you have ever heard of System keys. Well, these are the keyboard keys which are designed to have an alternate use aside from their normal use of representing digital letters and numbers or performing a programmed function.

Their normal use is represented on the key by the white marking and their alternate use is represented by the blue marking on the key. You need to press the Fn key and then press the system key on your keyboard to make use of the system key's alternate function. The Fn key is located on the leftmost part of the first line of keys of the keyboard of your Gateway laptop.

The system keys include the function keys 1 to 12 except function keys 5 and 7, a few page navigation keys, the up and down arrow keys, and the numeric pad keys. I don't know why F5 and F7 are not used but if you really need to know, you have to ask Gateway about it.

The page navigation keys used for alternate function include the End, Page Up and Page Down keys. The Home page navigation key is not used. The normal keys used alternatively as numeric pad keys include the numbers 7 up to 0, the letters U, I, O, P, J, K, L and M, and the characters semi-colon, period and forward slash.

You normally would not use the numeric pad of your laptop's keyboard. It just might interest you to know that your Gateway laptop offers this facility. To make use of this feature, you need to turn the numeric lock on your keyboard on by pressing Fn and then pressing the Scroll key on the right topmost line of keys on your Gateway laptop's keyboard. You can turn the numeric lock off by pressing the two keys one after another one more time.

Use the F1 system key to toggle the status indicators on your Gateway laptop to on or off position. The status indicators are located below the left and right buttons of your keyboard's touchpad. The indicators tell you if your wireless adapter is on, if you have pressed the Caps Lock key, if you have turned on the numeric lock, if your disc drive is reading or writing, and if your hard disk is in use.

Press the Fn key and then press the F2 key to turn your wireless adapter on or off. Check with the status indicators to find out whether your wireless adapter is turned on or off. Use the F3 key in conjunction with the Fn key to bring your Gateway laptop to Sleep of Hybrid Sleep mode. You can then press the Power button to leave make your laptop leave the Sleep mode.

The F4 key together with the Fn key is used to toggle your display to your laptop's LCD, an external monitor or projector, or both the LCD and the external monitor. The Fn key and the F6 keys are used to turn the optional prescription viagra without internal Bluetooth device of your Gateway laptop on or off.

You can press the Fn and the F8 keys once to increase the intensity of your LCD's display. If you press the two keys again, the display will dim and if you press the keys a third time, your LCD's display intensity will return to normal.

The Fn key in conjunction with the F9 to F12 keys are used to control the playing of your CD or DVD disc. The Fn and F9 keys are used to play or pause the CD or DVD. Fn and F10 keys are used to stop the playing of the CD or DVD. Fn and F11 are used to skip back the CD or DVD one track or chapter respectively while the Fn and F12 keys are used to skip them ahead one track or chapter.

Use the Fn and the Up Arrow key to increase the brightness of your laptop's display. Press the Fn and the Down Arrow keys to dim your laptop's display. Use the Fn and PageUp keys to increase the volume of your laptop's speakers. Use the Fn and the PageDown keys to decrease the speakers' volume. To mute the sound on your laptop's speakers, press the Fn key and then the End key.

System keys provide additional functionalities that you might find useful someday. You don't really have to memorize their alternate functions. Just know that they are there and ready to be used whenever they are needed. The information I have presented here are based on the Reference Guide of my Gateway laptop computer.

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