Central Storage for Home is a must

Yes, you read it right. Central storage, like in work networks, it is a must at home.

You might have bought a laptop with SSD. It is fast, but it has 128 or 256 GB of space.

Maybe your desktop is old, and you don’t trust it.

You have a smart phone, and or a tablet.

Most likely you take a ton of picture of your kids, some videos. Most phones come with settings where the default the video is FHD, or QHD (1080, 2K, and even 4k). Soon you will need space in that phone or tablet.

You need to backup that old desktop, and the laptop does not have enough space.

Even if it did, it is a good idea to have it available for all devices.

Enter the central storage for home.

There are many ways to do it. The easiest is the NAS route. You can also use a spare desktop, but it needs to be always on, and you might need drives.

Small Net Builder also ranks and reviews NAS, so that is a good source of information as well if you were reviewing wireless.

The other option is to convert, or add the function to a desktop that is always on. You can just add the drives, and share a folder

A NAS has an advantage that it consumes usually less electricity, and since it will be on 24/7 this is something to have in mind. Also, generally their interface is simpler as well, and they come with several functions that can be turn on with a switch in the setup page.

A computer has the advantage, that you already might have one, it might also be faster (a lot of NAS are mini computers already), but more complicated to setup. Another advantage is that it is possible you already have a computer that is always on. In the end however it will require more technical involvement and setup. It is not difficult though, and there are lots of guides. I personally have an OLD machine, that cannot be used to even browse the web, but has worked great running Linux to store files as a backup.

One thing that people forget, is that you will need 2 central storage.

Don’t think of your central storage as backup, think of it as storage for your photos, videos, documents. This way you can keep storage available in your device, and also access those files from any other device.

The second storage is to backup the first one.

The good news is that the second storage only needs to do backup, and sometimes the main NAS/Computer can work directly with the backup.

This second storage can then simply be a USB drive.

Most NAS devices (and all computers) have USB ports, so you can connect an external drive to run a backup job, and most NAS have a function for the back up. The important part, is that you want this function to be automatic. WD MyCloud drives for example require that you login to the web interface and run the backup manually. Not ideal, because you will forget, and when you need to recover something from backup, it could be several months old.

I haven’t worked with all NAS, so I don’t have a recommendation there.

With a computer this is a bit simpler, because there is ton of software for backup that can run incremental copies (and this saves the most space).

Lets say you get a Synology (which seems to support backup automatically) and you put 2 drives of 2 TB each. Because you will set the drives as RAID 1 most likely (where the content is copied to each drive), your USB drive should be at least 3 TB. You need more space so you can keep extra copies of files (to recover different versions of the same file).

Ideally you don’t fill the drive either, so 3TB will give 4 or 5 times copies of the same data in a USB drive (it depends on how much the NAS is used, and how the backup software works).

You could however setup the drives in RAID 0 and get 4TB (read on RAID function first before making a decision). If you get the external drive and setup the backup from the get go this would be fine, mainly if you are expecting to fill the drive. You just need to be aware that the backup might be needed with a lot more chance (complicated math of risk of failure in process here, the risk is exponential, and not just double). This is a valid deployment, mainly for people who have a lot to storage and plan to replace drives in 2 years or less (drive prices keep getting lower and lower). Just think as backups as an essential part. They are recommended with a RAID 1 (it can still fail, or the NAS could die), but are a necessity with RAID 0.

Bigger systems can get more complicated with 4 drives, and they all have tons of features, from SMB (Windows/Linux and Apple file sharing), AFP (Apple File Sharing), web server (to host photo albums and share with family members for example), streaming protocol (store videos in the central storage and watch them from any device in the network, like the PS4 or Xbox)and even more advanced features (depending on the NAS) like auto posting to Facebook, connect a camera directly to the NAS to import picture, and other things. Most people only use SMB and AFP.

Even if you only had 1 laptop and a phone, the central storage is a great addition, and for small-scale like that there are cheaper, and even 1 drive solutions.

Once you start using central storage you will be wondering why you haven’t used it before, and although it looks like it is more complex than what you require with a little research or help you can get it running in no time at all.

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What is the ideal hardware for home?

This will surprise most, but home and work lines are blurred. Most people do personal stuff at work, and some work at home.

Even if you did not work with computers, if you use computers at home, it will mimic a cheaper and simpler setup of a work network.

The reason is because a work network has to be efficient, reliable and keep costs manageable. Doesn’t that sound like something you want at home too?

I already posted about the laptop you would want. But what else do we need? Lets make a list

  • Reliable wireless router.
  • Good laptop
  • Maybe a desktop
  • Central storage device
  • Tablet
  • Phone

Tablet and Phone?. Well, yes!,  Most likely you already have them, and you use them. Bare minimum you already have a smartphone. So it should be part of your network.

Now, here is what people miss, and it is important. A reliable wireless router. Most of the routers provided by the ISP (Internet Service Provider, like Comcast, and Verizon) are plain simply trash. Even if the hardware itself is not trash, the software in the router (yes, it has a mini Operative System) is usually outdated and crippled. I have a long-standing fight with Comcast about their modems. Excellent hardware, bad software that crashes and you need to reboot the modem.

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/

It has tons of reviews and charts. It is more technical, but then again I always recommend to do research, and wireless is very complicated already. Honestly, people undermine wireless function in the network, and should be the heart of it.

If you use a wireless router, make sure it is at the center of the house and not hidden away. Do not put it in the basement, do not hide it behind other electronics. Everything that it needs to pass thru to serve you Wi-Fi will reduce the range and quality.

If you still would like to hide it, then use Access Points to provide Wi-Fi.

I personally use a Buffalo Router with Wireless for my home Wi-Fi, and Ubiquity for the work Wi-Fi (at home). The Ubiquity AP has stronger range and sometimes it drowns the Buffalo thought, but the Buffalo has stronger range than most cheap Linksys and Verizon routers, and I used to live in an apartment where all neighbors had Wi-Fi.

Lots of option, lots of products, but generally think of $150 for the router, and $100 for AP, and be aware of 2×2 or 3×3 (how many antennas per band, so 2×2 means 2 antennas for 2.4 GHz, and 2 for 5 GHz). Depending on how many devices and the location is how many antennas you will need (and that is the reason you want the Wi-Fi antenna in the middle, and not hidden).

Also, don’t just throw money in a 4×4 router if you will put it in a corner of the house. Since the antenna are semi directional the antennas pointing away will not be servicing Wi-Fi to the house. I am not going to expand on that. There are guides in small net builder, and other places on the web. But I want to re-iterate that location has an effect on Wi-Fi, as well as quantity of devices, and material (the common plastic tile in kitchens for example completely blocks Wi-Fi).

In the end your wireless and the router matter.

If you can, also use your own Modem (cable systems, you cannot with FIOS)

For a good laptop, I already posted, an article.

The Desktop should be similar.

So, now we are left with a central storage device. I will save this for a new article, because it is also something that most people think about, but most people need

 

How much RAM, how much CPU?

Ahh, these questions. I get a lot of these questions.

I like car analogies because most people drive.

How much hard drive is like asking how big the gas tank. It depends on how far you want to go, and how fast you burn it. For the RAM is a little more like horsepower (mixed with air intake, and a few other parts, but lets keep it simple). In Honestely, people want enough so the car can move out of its own way, but most don’t know how much that should be, and the reason is because it varies with the user/driver and the conditions (there is a lot of traffic, is the car heavy, etc)

Another measurement is the CPU. Quad core, how many GHz? Core ix?

It all depends on the package. Don’t get stuck on a single number or part. mainly with laptops.

CPUs on laptops are pretty close to each other. Core i3/i5/i7 are all too close to each other (with some exceptions) and most of the time you are comparing devices close in price range so there aren’t big performance leaps. Even the generation doesn’t matter as much (although it might change with 8th gen in 2018).

And how much RAM? Well that depends on what you will use and how many. I am no help at all, AM I?

Ok, let me give you some real number using a Intel ComputeStick with an Intel Atom Z3735F quad core @ 1.33 Ghz and 2 GB of RAM. Internet Explorer running with a website and 3 embedded videos in a loop uses 180 MB (nothing). Windows 10 is running with less than 1 GB, and this system already has all the programs I use for digital signage deployment. However I don’t recommend to use it for the video because after a while it will start skipping that video (it gets too hot, and starts using more memory), but visiting TechCrunch spiked to 350 MB. YouTube video uses 250MB but CPU spiked to 50% and then down to 12%. More if the video is 720. Switching to 1080 took forever to start playing, but RAM usage was in 280MB. Edge was better on RAM, and loads video before loading anything else, but CPU usage was 50% at 1080 while loading the rest of the page, and then setting down to 17%, but spiking when loading something else, and it would have to buffer sometimes.

This CPU is usually found on $200 systems, so obviously, unless you know what you are doing, don’t get those systems.

Sure, this is anemic system test, but my Surface Pro 3 laptop with 8GB of RAM is using 6.7GB at the moment, and I use it for work. Sure, I have a lot of tabs open (none are video or audio, and no facebook either). All are work related, Outlook, a few programs I use. I am a heavier user than most, but I do use the system fully.

What about storage? Hard Drive space? Well, this is more complicated because people don’t understand what it is.

You have 2 technologies, traditional spinning drives with large capacity, cheaper price, but slower access, or SSD with lower capacity, much faster access and high price.

The price difference is tremendous. A WD Blue drive with 500GB storage costs $40 (usually cost a little more), while a 500GB Samsung Evo 850 costs $150, which is 3 times more.

Sure, $100 doesn’t seem much, except that it might be more the difference when looking to buy a laptop.

And SSD are considerably faster. So you will have to sacrifice capacity

In the end my recommendation is to start at a Core i3 (Similar AMD is also fine), 4 GB of RAM minimum, 8GB if you plan of using the laptop to work most of the day, and at least 128 GB of SSD storage. 250 GB are ideal

So, to put it in simple example, the Surface Pro Core i5 with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB hard drive costs usually $999 ($799 at the moment)

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/d/surface-pro/8nkt9wttrbjk/LHL3?icid=en_us_homepage_hero_1_SurfacePro200_171217&activetab=pivot:overviewtab

But the next model up is a better investment most of the time, and it is recommended.

(and you will still need a keyboard).

From there you can go up and down, replace surface with HP envy, or Lenovo IdeaPad, remove touchscreen. Price will vary from $700 to $1200 depending on what you end up selecting. I just like Surface because they have high quality screens and case, it looks sleek and the price is right for the package. Other usually the case looks cheaper, or the screen is not as nice.

Microsoft stores (the retail store) usually has several different products on display from Dell, Asus, HP and Lenovo, as well as MS own Surface line. Best Buy as well, and your local shop should too.

Although I do mention Microsoft and posted a link, I don’t get referrals, and there is no tracking. It just happens that I like the product, and the MS store is much more convenient for me (it is close, and not crowded, and the people seem to know more about what they sell)

Will my new computer be old in a few months? PC keep getting faster

This is the fear of all people purchasing anything. Will my new purchase be obsolete soon after I purchase it?

The answer is a profound YES!!. No matter how you look at it. But it does not mean it is useless. Cars, computers, and other things work similar in the supply/demand chain. Once you purchase it, the price lowered already (most people want NEW things), and also there is a new model bound too come out soon.

But not all is lost. Here is a little tip. CPUs have marginally becoming faster. There is a 10~15% improvement from CPU gen to CPU gen, but it doesn’t mean always faster. Since most computer sales are laptops or portables, power plays a big role now. So, from Intel Core I-6th Gen, to the 7th Gen there was virtually no performance increase, but there was a 10 to 15% power reduction (or you can argue that the performance per power ratio has increased a 10~15%, Just Semantics). From 5th to 6th gen there was a 5~10% increase, because power also decreased.

The exception is the new Ryzen and Intel Core I 8th Gen. They lower speed, but increase Core count, which can give you from 25 to 50% increase performance. But these are in low quantity in the market, and very few computers had this chips. Of course the landscape will change in 2018.

So, if there is little change, how can we minimize the feeling that our purchase is depreciating fast? The answer is a lot simpler that you might realize, but can be more complex that you would like.

The truth is that with anything you need to know what you are purchasing, and make some concessions. Most people don’t go to a car dealer, and ask for a brand new car for $10000, that has the latest iCar, AndroidCar, etc, and all the other bells and whistles. And even if you wanted all the bells and whistles you already know next years model might have better version. Even at that point, your concession is that you are paying premium price for it.

Not realizing, most people settle in the middle and higher for their purchase. Often, the most sold cars, are medium priced range, with extra options, not the basic, and not the cheapest model. But here is the interesting part, even the cheapest car will take you from point A to point B, and pretty much in the same time. Why? because at the fundamentals, all car work similar, and we have speed limits on the road.

Computers however don’t have it. And people know that a Ford mustang GT can do a quarter mile a lot faster than a Honda Civic, but we have to pay a premium for something we won’t do. it is nice to have, and fun, but not a requirement. In computers we forget that. We want our computer to be the fastest, to download large files in a flash, to show web sites in an instant, and have tons of tabs open at the same time. We want all that, but we want to pay the price of a cheap bicycle. Yep, I said it. the problem is “US” the consumer. We want the best, but we want to pay next to nothing (TVs are suffering the same problem currently).

Lets do a little breakdown.

An average Intel Core i5 CPU is $220 and up. A decent touchscreen monitor running at 1080 is $120. Want a 4K? that would be $400 (non touch) for just 30″. Without adding anything else we are at $600. In a laptop you will need a custom case, a motherboard, power supply, Wireless, Bluetooth, keyboard and track pad, warranty, retail and distribution. Even if it is a desktop, you have the same problems, except it is easier to change components in the desktop because you have more space and a more standardized platform (ATX variations and BTX).

Most OEM computers have a part that is cheap. Sure, all have the same or similar CPU, same quantity of memory, etc. So how do the OEM make money? Honestly, it is difficult for them, CPU in bundles have small discount. Windows in quantity have huge discount, but still adds cost. So most of the time the savings come from the power supply (electric principle, which is too complex to explain, but the better the metal, the more stable the power. the more stable the power, the better the computer works), lower quality or speed memory, same with the hard drive. Besides the power supply, the other part is bloatware. Some companies pay OEM to include its software like Antivirus, backup utilities, and games. Some software “spies” on you to collect data which can then be sold (most OEMS have been found guilty of doing this at one time or another). Sometimes the computers have poor quality testing, and the support is subpar.

Everything has a cost. If you want the lowest cost, then you need to invest something else, or give up something else. So, what is the best way? There is no perfect answer, but it mainly goes like this:

Invest time before hand, and research what might be possible options, always start from the middle, and never from the bottom, and setup realistic expectations from your next purchase.

My main gaming desktop has an aging Intel Core i7-3770K. This is from 2010. Of course the video card has been updated once already, but I know that this system can only do so much gaming. my monitors are 2K, and for most games it can do it well. Very new games, I need to give up. However, I have a similar setup for work, and it works perfectly fine.

I put these 2 desktops together in 2010, the gaming setup was close to $2500 total, while the work setup is $1500. However both have 4 monitors, excellent quality parts. Sure, they both have 32GB of RAM and lots of hard drive space, but all parts are higher quality. If I had done a cheaper setup, I might have needed to upgrade already. Neither setup would work with a Celeron, Pentium or Core i3. They might have worked with a Core i5, but the Core i7 was just a little more and gave me more room. I have a Surface Pro 3, and it is the Core i5 version. Why? because there is little performance difference with the Core i7 for what I use it for (CPUs for laptop are different from desktop), but even then the Surface with keyboard and dock was about $1400, and that does not include the 2 monitors I use with the docking station (I repurposed my old gaming monitors).

Would I love to have upgraded to a Surface Pro 4 when I came out? Of Course, it is half the weight. Would I love to switch to a Surface Laptop 2? Ohhh YEAHH. Do I need to? Nop.

In the end, it is not if it is obsolete when the new version comes out, is picking the right product to make sure you get the most out of it. For most people look at laptops in $1000 and more. Unless you have a single purpose, then a cheaper one if OK. I like a lot the $600~900 range, if I can replace the hard drive with an SSD and add more RAM (which can add another $150 to the total, but give me a much faster laptop). If you are not comfortable doing that, then go higher range. And please, do not just look at RAM and hard drive to chose a computer. There are a lot more components that will affect the experience

Laptops and computers for the end of 2017

At the heels of the end of the year, we can surely appreciate that we had a lot of great sales. So many indeed, that when I checked right after Christmas most places have sold out, but mainly the cheap laptops, from $200 to $500.

There is a few things to consider here.

  1. The reason why there were so many great deals: This has 2 main reasons for the push
    1. Laptops and computer sale have been declining in the last few years
    2. Intel and AMD have both released new CPUs that are much faster than current model, and vendors need to clear inventory for the new product coming
  2. Most people don’t do much with the computer so anything basic will work.

Ok, so for the first point, I won’t go much into the first point. Tons of journalist have been prognosticating the doom of the computer, which is absolutely bonkers if you ask me, but what do I know? I just work with the things ;).

The NEW CPUs, AMD Ryzen and Intel Core ix 8th Generation. For the Intel part, it mainly adds more cores, so Core i3 will be quad core instead of dual core on most laptops. That alone will give a big boost to laptops performance. AMD Ryzen also packs a lot of cores, in a different way from Intel, and depending on the workload it can be better than Intel. For sure they are cheaper though.

The way Intel CPUs mainly work, is that Intel Core i7-8700 replaces Intel Core i7-7000 for almost the same price (the 8th gen are like $10 more), so for consumers, and OEM it makes more sense to use the new and faster CPU since it costs the same. however it will require new motherboard, which for laptops means working from the ground up pretty much. But the new laptops are coming nonetheless.

This is a bit technical, and I doubt we will see new CPUs in the $300 range in laptops for quite a while, but it did affect how OEM (Dell, Asus, Lenovo, HP) were trying hard to sell everything.

This will have a bigger impact on gaming laptops. They are forced to use the power hungry quad cores with HQ definition, it would stand to reason that now they could use lower power, and price CPU to power the same video card.

All of this is nice and good to know, but the most interesting part is the second point, which is mixed a little with 1.a.

Most people think basic needs requires a basic computer. And while this is generally speaking right, it is not accurate. It depends on what you define as basic.

For example, there is nothing basic about Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Pandora and other content streaming, or high updates. Even news websites are becoming increasingly complex and heavy. Because computers get faster, websites content has increased, and how we use the computer has also increased.

So, what is basic usage. Mainly it would be business like use, and only that. Remote Access to programs and computers (RDP, Citrix, etc), internal portals and webapps, some of the email usage (not all, some is also increasing with added chat, and other functions to it), an accounting program or Point of sale.

The problem is that most business use also Facebook, some people stream Pandora or Spotify, they might watch Netflix on a break or downtime.

I have seen Facebook use as much as 6GB of memory on Chrome on my desktop. Gmail also will use a few GB after a few days opened.

So, now how do we define basic? Well, I would say you can use a basic computer if you turn it on, work on it for an hour or two and then turn it off.

For example, you turn it on to check your email, or write an email response using a keyboard (instead of trying to reply from your phone), or do a web call (even with video), check a recipe, or just watch a movie. Basically, use the computer for a single task at a moment, and then turn it off.

At this point you might be puzzled on why would you need a computer for that. Well, you can use a tablet, and that is the point. Laptops are now at the same price as tablets, but after more versatile, and in some cases faster. IF YOU LIMIT HOW YOU USE IT!!

You can’t buy a $200 laptop thinking you will use it for Facebook here or there, or Netflix and then have a tab with Facebook, another with Netflix, and your Gmail running in the background, and have it all day running.

The Operative System (OS) in your tablet and phone, works with 1 task at a time, often putting the other task to sleep, or using minimal resources (Edge, Firefox 52+ and Chrome, now do something similar when possible). It is a simple concept, but one I see a lot of people that fail to comprehend and then get frustrated with their new cheap laptop rather quickly.

If the idea sounds confusing and complicated, then you are honestly better served if you have a tablet, and a more expensive computer. When I say more expensive I mean in the $1000+.

That is one of the reasons why people think MacBook are better. The cheapest MacBook Pro starts at $2000 (only Pro have quad core), and the cheapest MacBook Air starts at $999 (for dual core).

Quite honestly, there isn’t a lot of margin for Apple in the hardware sale, so to have the same computer in Windows it costs the same or more. So most people miss the point when they compare a Windows laptop with a MacBook because they compare a $600 Windows laptop to a $2000 MacBook.

If you insist in comparing, then you need to look at the Microsoft Surface line. It is aimed for that, with the Surface Laptop 2 competing against the MacBook Pro, and the Surface Pro compering against the MacBook (not the air).

If you think a Surface Pro is too much money, then a Apple is too much money too.

These expensive devices will do anything “basic” that you want to run (except for storage), so that is not the problem. It is only a problem when you go too basic with the computer, but not with your limitations.

I use a Surface Pro 3, with a Core i5 4th Gen. It is a bit older than 3 years, but it works excellent, but I also use a Dell Venue Pro tablet, and a Lenovo Lynx tablet (with the docking keyboard). Both were found to be unacceptable by the people that used them before me. However, that was because they were asking too much from the device. With the limitations in mind, they work perfectly for me. I use the Lynx to have my email always open. Instead of dedicating a monitor to email, I dedicate a whole Hybrid tablet. The Dell Venue Pro, I use to look up stuff online, or Facebook (I don’t like Facebook on my desktop because it is a black whole where I can waste hours).

It went a little longer than I originally intended, but the reason is that it is hard to go over concepts that are in the peoples mind, and it is not standardized. If I were writing only for IT people I can make it short, or if I was writing only for users I could remove other technical parts. But I intended both, and hopefully I get at least 1 person to re-think the next purchase.

2017 closed with a lot of deals, and they were awesome deals, none that I would personally recommend to anyone though, because most people don’t understand how they will use their computers and more powerful computers are coming soon. Buyers, buy with care, and be honest about what you want, otherwise you might be a computer that in less than a year will be gathering dust somewhere in your house.

From blogs to Vblogs

It has been quite a while since I updated the blog.

Well, it seems for a few years that the preferred media is Vblog, like YouTube more specifically.

This is a good progression, but not necessarily the best at all times. listening to information is faster and easier than reading. The only problem is that it is not retained as well. So, a video can inform you faster, but you will also forget faster.

Also, there is an un-denying learning quality from reading and writing that helps society. I get better at writing and the language the more I do it, and you also get better at it the more you read. Of course, the more I write also the more I research and read as well. A video takes a lot of that away for the viewer, and the content producer, VBlogger, has to invest more time authoriting (editing) the video than researching.

The other problem is the amount of content from people that just put content. I have found channels that basically just curses a lot, but adds little content, or it is very opinionated.

There is also a ton of template content, like 10 best, 10 worst, everything is wrong with, and something something in X minutes. Sure template works, but I can’t help to notice that they flood the UP Next and suggestions.

Why then so much content? easy. Thru Blogs there is no revenue almost. Revenue comes from ADs, so VBlog have a better change of being profitable, or at least generate enough that it can support the hobby for many, while Blogs are usually a lost cause.

There are still a lot of Blogs, and the reason is that usually they contain more information, are more descriptive, and it is still easier to work with.

So, if you have a blog that you like, follow it, click Subscribe, follow, and leave a comment (hopefully not a SPAM comment ). Showing that you care is the best way to keep that blog working 🙂

Game crashing when using AMD crossfire setups

I like to play video games in the computer. The famous Meme applies well to me.

you-merely-adopted-gaming-memeHowever, I must confess I have lately fallen to the confort of couch gaming, and just turning on the Xbox to play casual games.

In the last month or so I have been coming back to the PC little by little. I just enjoy keyboard and mouse so much better.

If is frustrating though, when you come back to the PC and some games do not work. I have moved my Steam library in the last 6 months so I though it was that, but something cough my eye, the Batman Arkham games were not working. Strange since I have completed them all.

Ok, lets see what is different…Windows 10 now, and anniversary update is installed. I think I had problems before, but I am not sure.

New drivers. This is very likely the reason. But there must be something more. The games are not exactly just released. Some had quite a few years.

Incompatibility with W10 1607? Not likely, but could be. A mix? maybe.

Then the remastered editions of Bioshock were released. They also had problems. So now I know something else is the problem.

Trying Batman Arkham Asylum again the light bulb on top of my head turned on. It has physics from Nvidia. Cool effects for ragdoll, and paper flying, plus the papers and leave flying around have a more natural feel (when it works right, other times the sit in the air).

So now I open the radeon settings and I start looking around, and I identified possible causes. What was the actual cause?

Crossfire. Disable Crossfire, then try again and the game work. Interesting.

I have a pair of HD 7870. Now they are starting to age, and I didn’t get them at the same time. So here it is possible that either a card is bad, the bridge is not working well (lose connection, or dust), that the card has a bad connection (this is not uncommon with large and heavy cards), or that the drivers do not work well for those specific games when Crossfire is enabled.

I can’t discard all other possibilities, but I think the last one is the most probable. A single HD7870 has plenty of power to play at highest setting using 2560×1080 monitors so I don’t care enough at the moment to take apart the computer, but if it was a bad connection I would see the problem in .

PC gaming is awesome because I can play old games like X-Wing using DOSBox, games from Windows XP, and new games. All without buying a new console.

At the same time, it has the challenge that you will have to troubleshoot problems sometimes.

When I played more often, I could pinpoint problems right away, this one took me a while.

I am hoping this will help a fellow gamer in need. Keep on playing!!