Building a computer for gaming can be a daunting task especially for those new to the field. With all the different parts of a computer to understand and the wide variety of individual components to choose from, this can make the task of building your ultimate gaming machine challenging to say the least. In this article, I take a look at the central component of any computer, the motherboard, which links all the other parts together. With an eye to what is available on the market right now, I then explain, in layman's terms as much as possible, what you should know about the different elements of a motherboard in order to choose the best one for you.  

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Inateck 2-bay Hard Drive Docking Station FD2002

In this age of digital data proliferation, digital storage is almost always in short supply. To accommodate this thirst for digital storage space, many of us resort to buying multiple external hard disk drives (HDDs) each with its own USB or similar connection hardware, and each with its own power adapter. In addition, as we upgrade computers over the years, many of us are left with a trail of old laptop and desktop computers that are too slow to deal with today's fast moving digital pace but still have usable hard drives inside if only they were more accessible. To address these problems, electronics manufacturers have come up with the hard drive docking station that effectively turns all your spare hard drives and solid state drives (SSDs) into hot-swappable storage units not unlike the old magnetic tape cassettes of yesteryear. Hard drive docking stations come in several flavours from those that handle a single HDD or SSD to other more professional HDD docks that can handle an array of drives. Since here at DeskTopVibes.com we are focused on consumer computing hardware, we favour the 2-bay or dual hard drive docking station for its balance between technical flexibility and yet still reasonable price. To find the best dual HDD docking station, one needs to first know what technical specifications to look for before then choosing a reputable manufacturer.

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Gravity Sketch is an excellent virtual reality 3D sketching and modelling application that continues to be developed apace with new updates to its interface regularly. As a result of this heady momentum, new tools and features are appearing all the time and sometimes it can be a little unclear initially as to how they should be used. One such tool is the first tool in the Gravity Sketch Tool Belt as its layout currently stands: the Normals tool

The Normals tool in the Gravity Sketch Tool Belt

What is this tool in the Gravity Sketch Tool Belt?

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One of the awesome productivity tools to use in Virtual Reality is the 3D modelling app, Gravity Sketch, which can be used to design all sorts of things right within VR. The user interface on Gravity Sketch is excellent but the app is still very much a 'work-in-progress' so controls and settings are often updated, moved around or adjusted in an effort to optimise usability.

The Gravity Sketch Tool Belt

The Gravity Sketch Tool Belt

One such control interface, the 'Tool Belt', houses specialist tools such as the tape measure and the precise movement tools which are critical when designing objects that are destined for becoming real products. Although Gravity Sketch is not (yet) an app that is ideal for working in CAD or for creating models for 3D printing, the potential is there for the VR interface to be an excellent environment for such designing in the future. And Gravity Sketch's Tool Belt will likely be a critical element as Gravity Sketch moves closer to helping CAD and 3D printer users.

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laptop docking station

​​If you have found yourself on this page and you are obviously reading this, then you must be thinking of ways to make your digital life more efficient. And the universal laptop USB docking station could be just the thing. In today’s digital lifestyle, almost everything and everyone has gone mobile crazy with most of us working and playing on laptops and other mobile devices. However, there are often times in one’s digital day when the small screens and limited connectivity of those mobile devices are just not adequate or efficient for the task at hand. Enter the universal laptop docking station. This relatively small device can convert just about any small-screened laptop into a powerhouse of a computer, running multiple displays and connecting to multiple devices. ​It allows us to move our digital workspace on to a far larger setup without having to do any sort of transferring of files or computer synchronisation.

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Image of an aeroplane cockpit throttle

​In the flight simulator and newly-emerging space simulation gaming genres, using a Hands-On Throttle-And-Stick (H.O.T.A.S), or HOTAS as it is commonly known, is a must have for any serious gamer, as it brings much more realism to flight simulation and also provides a better more intuitive control of the simulated aircraft or spacecraft being commanded. In recent times, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have also increasingly entered the gaming ecosystem bringing even more realism to flight simulation but with the unwelcome consequence of obstructing the view of the computer’s keyboard where so many of the controls are often located. As a consequence, VR gamers have become even more dependent on the controls in their hands and having strategically-placed buttons and other control hardware on ​a HOTAS is now often essential in order to interact sensibly with the game (although with the advent of voice controls, such as VoiceAttack software, this can be mitigated to some extent).

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Sharkoon 8-bay hard drive enclosure

In today's world of exponential data growth, digital storage space always seems to be in short supply. This is most often true in the home where technical resources are usually more limited. Add to that the rise in prevalence of the Solid State Drive (SSD), a more expensive technology than the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) meaning smaller storage drives for the same price, and the amount of free digital storage space available to the home user is at constant risk of being overwhelmed.

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Image of a Playstation 4 and its controller

The PlayStation 4 (PS4) games console comes installed with an integrated 2.5-inch hard drive on which the system software, the games and the game data are all stored. The size of the hard drive included with the PS4 varies between different PlayStation 4 models, with the basic PS4 having either a 500GB or a 1TB hard drive, while the PS4 pro comes with a 1TB hard drive as standard. Avid gamers often find that they fall short of hard drive space as they accumulate games over time often necessitating a PS4 storage space upgrade. Other more pro-level gamers find that they would like to upgrade the PS4 hard drive to one with superior read and write speeds in order to improve the game load times as well as the start up time of the gaming console itself. The included hard drive in the PS4 is not unlike the hard drives found on many laptop computers and, although it is housed within the body of the game console, it is not difficult to access, making it relatively easy to replace.

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Until now, many assignments have left college students with a pile of books stacked upon their desks; sticky notes popping out to mark places of importance. In the twenty-first century this really shouldn’t be an issue. And now for Mac it isn’t thanks to Reference Tracker by Maklinware.

Getting Started

Image of a pile of books

To start using Reference Tracker you simply open it and click on the bright green “New Reference” button. From there you get a drop down menu which allows you to select the appropriate text that you are going to reference. There are a whole host of options to choose from varying from a chapter in a book to a article in a newspaper. Of course there is a generic “Book” option if you can’t find the exact template for your needs.

Bookmarks

Below all of the information that you enter is the cited text field. So if you have some quotes that you think you will use in the essay or paper that you are writing, you can drop them in such that they are easily accessible at a moment’s notice. Sticky notes are an added bonus as well. If you have something that you need to remember but have no special place to put it, just open up a sticky and place it wherever you want it in the window.

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ThinkGeek has always been a reliable source for your dose of geek. I ordered these speakers from them, and 3 days later they arrived on my door step. I was unsure of what to expect, as I had never heard of the company (Sonicum).  However, I had heard of the designer (Art Lebedev) who is well known for his work on the  Optimus Maximus Keyboard. After about 3 weeks of using these speakers, I am amazed.

Appeal

These are some of the best designed 2.1 speakers out there. They have their own look and feel unlike the majority of other speakers on the market. Their shape is meant to mimic the standard audio-volume symbol icons, hence the “Iconic” name. The two satellites and subwoofer are made of plastic, but they have a nice soft black rubber coating to them. The speakers are very small at 10.5 x 10 x 8 cm and the subwoofer is average sized at 24 x 21.5 x 12cm.

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