PC Reference Sources

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Ah for the days when you just read PC Magazine and that was it to find the best computer hardware and software, now its all about the web. Since I’ve been buying a bunch of PCs this month, here are the sources I’m using in stackranked order of quality IMHO. Its sad, but I basically find pcmag.com, pcworld.com and cnet.com essentially useless now that I’m in the world of do it yourself:
# “Anandtech”:http://anandtech.com. I used to use Tom’s Hardware pretty much exclusively, but with Anand now focused on monthly buying guides of hi, mid, low and overclocked systems, its a great resource. They do lots of testing as well. A great example are the Doom 3 performance guides and the memory analysis has been super helpful.
# “CDRinfo”:http://cdrinfo.com. Another good resource now that optical storage is changing so quickly. The firmware changes about every day and since everyone is using the same drive hardware, one of two chipsets, its the firmware that makes the difference in speed, compatibility and features.
# “Storage Review”:http://storagereview.com. Still the best source for hard drive performance. They have a searchable database and make it very easy to look. Main thing now is that most hard drives are about the same speed, so it is more about the warranty. These vary from five to one year and hard drives definitely break.
# “[H]ard|OCP”:http://hardocp.com. Been using this site as the second Anandtech. Like them a good focus on overclocking and getting more out of your machine.
# “SilentPC Review”:http://silentpcreview.com. I’ve been using this more and more when I’m off the high performance curve that Anandtech or [H]ard|OPC uses and onto the just an average machine for the average human. They do great reviews of silent machines that are really ideal for business and non-gamer and non-video-editing home use.
# “Tom’s Hardware”:http://tomshardware.com. They do great in depth reviews, but the surface area they cover is so large now that you don’t get many reviews in a particular area. When you do, I compare them with Anandtech and take the average of their points of view.
# “Xbitlabs”:http://xbitlabs.com. Another review source, can be good, but not as comprehensive usually across lots of the products I look at.

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