Home Blog Page 3

Asus ZenBook Review – What Does This Unique Model Offer?

ASUS ZenBook

Asus laptops are popular for a reason. The company has a popular name in the tech industry. From individual components like chipsets to a variety of computers, the company’s inventory is versatile.

It’s a testament to how well Asus understands the way technology comes together. For example, their willingness to adapt to Intel’s industry-leading CPUs helped achieve a high-end interface that dominates the current market – a great long-term decision.

But they also understand the value in equipment trends. Their work with chipsets could be capitalizing on partnerships with other market leaders – but many of their leading laptops focus on combining features users look for.

This trend is present with other laptops on the market from competing brands. One popular formula for success goes like this – make it slimmer without making it slower.

Slimmer, More Successful, Increasingly Useful

zenbooks

When we think of laptops, the entire purpose behind it as opposed to a PC is the size. It’s much easier to cart it around whether you’re taking it to the next room or to a work meeting tomorrow.

We all remember the dorm roommate who carried his PC tower inside and out all day – hey, you need some help with that?

But the options for space-efficient devices keep coming. And the trend now is they’re no longer expected to be hampered by their tight quarters. Smaller laptops are now faster and cooler – both in temperature and looks.

The sleek design has stopped being a limiting factor on the device’s potential output. Now it’s a stylistic opportunity and a pallet from which a great machine can be created. The ZenBook represents Asus’s attempt at it. And with a variety of models that offer good value with a little consideration to competition, it’s a line worth learning about.

In this review, we’ll take a look at the Asus ZenBook line of computers. We’ll examine the concept behind the line as a whole, discuss individual models, and finally make a comparison – including alongside other brands’ products.

The Concept Behind the Asus ZenBook

ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” FHD Nano-Edge Bezel, 8th-Gen...

ZenBooks are advertised on Asus’s official website as a product targeted toward creators, connectors, builders, and disruptors.

This immediately catches the attention of users from numerous market demographics. The musicians or video editors of the world – who work diligently to put content on SoundCloud or YouTube. The streamers, graphic artists, gamers, or entrepreneurs who need varying levels of components to work and play respectively.

Sometimes the laptop should lean more toward intensive tasks – you need something that you can push with when you’re working on a project at the office or finishing up something at school.  But there are times when the need for an even slimmer and lighter design is necessary. The frequent traveler or floating worker may even prefer this model to the others.

Then there are those who love the way a laptop functions – but really love the way it looks. For them, style is more of a determining factor than anything else. And if they can get a solid build in addition to the sleek looks, it’s an added bonus.

intel

We can’t forget that there are new trends emerging in the laptop game constantly. This is why we see the debate about laptops vs. tablets vs. tent devices finally cooling. With 2-1 and 3-1 devices, you can get the best of multiple worlds. Improve your workflow in laptop mode, flip the keyboard back for tablet-style viewing, or even use the keyboard itself as a makeshift stand, similar to tent cases for tablets.

Whatever a person is looking for, Asus attempts to offer them something in the ZenBook line. Think about how computers like the Chromebook or the Acer Convertible series – or even certain brands of Mac books. These are all computers that balance various degrees of style, workflow, and portability into their design. But how do the individual ZenBook offerings compare?

For the sake of versatility, we’ll examine each different category here then talk about how the products hold up to the competition – finally, we’ll delve into the product’s reputation for each category, and deliver a final verdict on whether the ZenBook line from Asus is worth checking out.

Making Waves: What Does the ZenBook Line Offer You?

The ZenBook line is promoted as one that helps you amplify your impact. That seems like a salesy way of saying you can do more with less. This means the line fits well among that target market that does a little of everything. Let’s take a look at each product category.

Sale
ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 Thin & Light Ultrabook Laptop, 15.6” Full HD...
  • 15.6-Inch 178 degree wide angle view Full-HD Nano Edge touch display with Windows 10
  • Latest 7th generation Intel i7-7700HQ Quad Core 2.8 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.8 GHz)
  • Fast storage and memory featuring PCIE NVMe 512GB SSD with 16GB DDR4 RAM with NVidia GTX 1050Ti 4GB

Even the title brings to mind Apple’s crowning line in the portable computer category. But what may look like a nod to the standard Mac-style laptop (which even companies like Acer and HP have tried to emulate) is actually a unique offering in its own way.

For starters, this line of computer is built around being light. That’s good, especially since many competitors have also been capitalizing on this trend. If we look at the UX550 in the ZenBook Pro category, we see it is a workhorse laptop from the beginning. And i7 processor means more cores and more perseverance during long hours of work and multitasking.

But what about on the video side? Graphics matter too, whether the user is playing a video game or playing a 3D animation they just created for their next project. This model comes with a GTX 1050 Ti, and that’s enough to make any computer soar into the mid-to-high-end range for productivity machines.

ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 Thin & Light Ultrabook Laptop, 15.6” Full HD...

Whether it’s a gamer who needs to stream, an artist who needs to create, or an entrepreneur who needs to do everything, the UX550 is built for a productive workflow.

There are also other conveniences you would expect, like 16GB of memory and a 15.6” touchscreen display. It’s a machine built for speedy work in a slim frame. It even has USB ports from new and last gen, as well as a 512GB SSD.

You can expect to pay around $1,500 for this laptop – it’s creeping up into the upper-mid-range to high-end buying zone, but this model, in particular, has the specs to justify it. And while there are some slight variants among the other ZenBook pro models, most are value-based like this one.

ASUS UX490UA-XS74-BL 14-Inch Zenbook 3 Deluxe Notebook Core i7, 16GB...
  • Crafted from premium aerospace-grade aluminum to create a body that is less than half an inch thin weighs only 2.4 lbs
  • Latest 7th-Generation Kaby lake Intel Core i7-7500U Processor 2.7 GHz (Turbo to 3.5 GHz) cooled by copper-alloy heat pipe and liquid-crystal-polymer fan
  • 14-Inch Full HD display with 178° viewing angles encased in Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Ultra-slim bezel at only 7.46mm

This line has some overlap with some of the others – there are some models you’d find in both areas. But on Asus’s official website, this computer is listed in the flash category. No, not flash memory – it’s one of the laptops listed under the main ZenBook profile when it comes to style.

The model chosen for this category was the UX490. That means a great deal of care is given to both aspects – including the specifications that affect performance and the design that affects the style. The latter is due to careful crafting on a single sheet of aluminum material. The aerospace-grade metal goes through a 40-step process before it is ready.

This style is complemented by a solid array of components, many of the same you’d find in the UX550. The i7 is there, and this one adds an extra perk: it is the eighth-generation model, meaning you get superior architecture optimized to today’s tasks. There is also a great combination of memory and storage, 16GB and 512 (SSD) respectively.

ASUS UX490UA-XS74-BL 14-Inch Zenbook 3 Deluxe Notebook Core i7, 16GB...

If you’re the type of person who has their laptop out in class, at a work conference, at your local meeting with your project team, or any other group setting, this can be a great model to show off. There’s no shame in liking the good-looking variety of laptops just for yourself, either.

It’s like the old adage about a tree falling in the woods – even if there’s no one else around to see it, getting a looks-based laptop is always welcomed. And as we mentioned earlier, when it also brings real power in terms of specs, that’s a huge bonus.

Asus ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UN-DS74T Notebook 14-in i7-8550U 16GB 512GB...
  • 14-Inch wide-view Full-HD nano-edge bezel touch display in 13.3" chassis with Stylus pen and Windows 10 Pre-installed
  • Latest 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U Quad Core Processor 8M Cache, up to 4.00 GHz
  • Fast storage and memory featuring NVMe PCIe 512GB SSD with 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz RAM and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 discrete graphics

This line is Asus’s answer to Acer’s Convertible line and various other manufacturers’ hybrid laptops. When it comes to this line, the question isn’t just what specs or look does the computer have – it is whether or not these design choices are helpful in all of the product configurations.

For this line, the site lists the UX461. It’s a great mid-range model to get you started if you’ve never bought a laptop like this before. But it will also satisfy the design needs of buyers who like the convertible style and swear by it.

Let’s look at the UX461, one of the most popular flip-style ASUS ZenBook choices on the market.  Not only does it come with an eight-generation quad-core processor, but it has the familiar 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM combination. This balance allows for more performance even in tough situations.

Asus ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UN-DS74T Notebook 14-in i7-8550U 16GB 512GB...

Whether you have the computer in tablet mode to watch a video, or in a standard laptop configuration for some gaming, the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 is up to the task. No matter how small or big your need is, this laptop has the right balance of specs to handle almost any mid-range need while still resulting in an athletic design.

As with most model lines in the ZenBook series, you can upgrade or downgrade specs to affect the price. For example, on the UX461, you’ll get the choice of an 8250U or an 8550U for your processor. For the storage, you can enjoy a choice between a 256GB or 512GB model – or, if you don’t mind settling for an HDD over an SSD, you can go down to a standard 1TB model. If you don’t plan on doing much editing and feel 16GB of RAM is excessive, you can go with half of that.

Sale
ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch LCD Ultra-Slim Laptop (Core i5...
  • Built-in fingerprint reader with one-touch login via Windows Hello feature
  • 13.3-Inch wide-view Full-HD LCD Display with Windows 10 Pre-installed
  • Latest 7th generation Intel i5-7200U 2.5 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.1 GHz)

With its basic title when compared to some of the others, this category could be misconstrued as being the “low cost” line. While it does feature some of the lower prices on the ZenBook catalog, this is because of the products’ design – they’re built to be slimmer and lighter than standard laptops.

This goes for models both in and out of Asus’s lineup. The UX330 is the lower-level model advertised in this category on Asus’s website.

It comes it at around $750, which puts it solidly in the mid-range territory as far as price goes. Yet that’s not the most curious figure associated with it – this would be the weight. At 2.6-pounds, the computer is one of the more lightweight models in Asus’s entire inventory.

ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch LCD Ultra-Slim Laptop (Core i5...

The ZenBook line is targeted at creators, who are often also travelers, entrepreneurs, and workhorses in their own right. Having a lighter laptop can sometimes be helpful in these cases. With an i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD, the specs are solid throughout for the ZenBook UX330.

These are most of the prevalent categories in the ZenBook line. But how do they hold up to the competition?

Product

Details

Price

Asus ZenBook Pro

Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-8750H

Graphics
NVIDIA® GeForce® 1050Ti

Display
15.6" NanoEdge 4K UHD 16:9 touchscreen

Memory
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 onboard

Storage
512GB PCIe® SSD

ZenBook Deluxe

Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-8550U


Graphics
Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620

Display
14” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 by 1080)

Memory
16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard

Storage
512GB PCIe® 3.0 x 4 SSD

256GB SATA3 SSD

Asus ZenBook Flip 2

Processor
Up to Intel® Core™ i7-8550U


Graphics
NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150

Display
14.0" LED-backlit FHD Touchscreen with WideView Technology

Memory
16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM onboard

Storage
512GB PCIe® SSD

Asus Zenbook UX330

Processor
Up to Intel® Core™ i5-7200U


Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 520

Display
13.3" LED-Lit FHD

Memory
8GB DDR3 RAM

Storage
256GB SSD

What Does the ASUS ZenBook Offer That Competitors Don’t?

For many people, they have a preferred brand of laptop. This could be the result of a good experience, a product that lasted a long time and provided plenty of return on investment, or in some cases both.

This is why many laptop manufacturers are moving more toward a holistic approach to their inventory. Offering different types of laptops within the same line can attract new buyers, and even help encourage retention among existing buyers who like the brand but want a different type of computer altogether.

There’s no denying that anyone who is looking at a ZenBook Flip would likely compare to an Acer Convertible, a Chromebook 2-1 or 3-1, and so on. The same can be said about the Pro series, which could be compared to Mac laptops or some of the sleeker more high-end HPs. Asus offers the comfort of brand loyalty, meaning those who have had good experiences with the company before will likely prefer their products over the competition.

Does this mean they’re worth it? If you’re in the market for a creativity-focused machine, ZenBook offers some great options no matter your preference. And if your preference is for ASUS, the ZenBook can help you meet any tech need while going with a brand you feel comfortable with.

Parts Express Review: Buying Experience, Selection, Sales, and More

Parts Express

For some people, spare parts are only something they reach for when something goes wrong. This category of people could be known as the prebuilt crowd.

When they buy a product, they want it fully assembled and set up, ready to go as soon as they get it out of the box. If individual parts need replacing or installed, they’ll likely hire someone to do it – or even change their overall product selection beforehand if they know that installations will be needed.

There are others who could be known as the tinkerers. They love creating setups, swapping parts, and building their own configurations of components. This could be true whether they’re choosing a central processing unit/graphics processing unit pair for a computer build, or a speaker set/subwoofer set for a sound system.

But whether you’re buying a part for a product or looking for a full setup, going to a specialty organization is important. For those seeking something like audio equipment, finding an industry expert can lead to a better experience.

An Audio-Focused Organization: Who Are They?

Parts Express logo

Parts Express is a company that brings to mind high-quality parts just from the name. They seem like an all-purpose tech location perhaps akin to a company like Newegg. But the key difference here is they have a specialty: audio equipment.

From sound systems to theater equipment to custom products, there are plenty of industries Parts Express appeals to. But how does this company rate in terms of their customer feedback, inventory, and overall status as a reliable vendor?

In this review, we’ll examine the company’s history and consider how they hold up. Are they a company that you could consider doing business with and feel comfortable spending your money on? Or are they a specialty company that really has nothing special to speak of?

Who is Parts Express? Key Facts, History, and More

parts express

Parts Express has been in business since 1986. The Ohio-based audio equipment company has a 120,000 square-foot facility, and over 18,000 audio components with hundreds of brands represented.

They have several specialty areas within their audio equipment focus. There’s home audio, for those people who enjoy having a nice speaker system, a soundbar, or some surround setups in their living/dining/entry rooms. Then there’s a selection of commercial audio for companies who know a good workplace is one where instructions and feedback can be clearly transmitted and received.

There’s also professional audio and lighting equipment for live presentations, whether for business or pleasure, and of course, tech for mobile devices. This makes them a great company from a perspective of inventory selection – at least categorically. More on individual products later.

But what about how the company rates in terms of the buying experience they offer customers? It is important to remember that this experience can be just as important as the products themselves. Good companies know that repeat business is key for consistent revenue and growth. The company boasts a customer-focused culture, which they say helps them maintain an excellent reputation among customers.

studio microphone and speaker

It is worth noting the company has come a long way. In their humble origins decades ago, it was just a small team located on the floor above an old automotive plant. That’s a small beginning, and the team has been around for long since – which, in itself is a testament to their longevity.

But the company’s status as a local company may cause some to wonder why they didn’t expand as a chain if they were successful enough in their unique industry. Technically, Parts Express has expanded. But rather than going to new locations, they’ve worked with various other industries and groups to help increase their business’s presence.

They work with multiple private companies and work in unique areas like the gaming industry and amusement parts. These types of customers can sometimes have trouble finding audio equipment for their unusual needs. Big box retailers and electronics stores sometimes carry audio equipment – even good equipment – but they simply don’t stay geared for customers who don’t come around that often.

Rather than working with these options yearly or monthly to fulfill their needs, these kinds of customers are sometimes better off finding a local specialty company to work with. Parts Express also works with various public organizations like schools. They’re involved with churches, charities, and plenty of other groups that appreciate good audio equipment. But in terms of you, their potential customer, what can they offer?

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a newcomer who goes to the company’s site to browse their product line – what will they find?

Products and Product Categories from Parts Express

We can see Parts Express focuses on a certain type of buying experience. The lavish showroom full of equipment, the trained staff who have specialized knowledge to match the company focus, and of course, a number of ongoing partnerships that mean repeat business.

But what about their product line? Let’s go by the main categories listed on the organizations’ website, breaking down what you can expect to find in each category.

Home Audiovisual

turntable

This category immediately presents us with plenty of options for fixing up a place of residence. Home audio amps, stereo receivers, and digital audio/video converters are some of the first options listed. This is followed by a speaker selection consisting of subwoofers, floor/standing selections, and bookshelf speakers. They even carry in-wall speakers, ceiling speakers, and the kits you need to install said devices, including brackets and grills.

You can also find a lot of the other components you need to fix your system that don’t even factor into audio. This includes TV stands and mounts, including shelves, brackets, and mounts. Combined with their wide selection of connectors and adapters, this makes them a great source of audio accessories. Cable and connector options include HDMI, DVI, VGA, RCA, and 3.5mm audio.

They also carry headphone and headphone amplifiers for private sound quality. As for the cable/satellite section in this category, includes splitters and connectors of various types. There’s also similar accessories for mobile/tablet, as well as multi-room audio distribution systems to spread the sound around. And finally, there are power connectors and surge protectors to help you manage your setup safely.

Speaker Components

speaker components

Parts Express wouldn’t be a true audio company if they didn’t have a specialty area dedicated to speakers. Sure, you’ll find some in the previous category, but this one goes a bit more in depth.

You can find woofers for all types of frequency ranges and even full-range drivers. There are speakers for guitars, basses, and many other types of equipment. You can turn your sound setup into an audio research lab with the selection of audio measurement tools – or you can build your own setup with speaker wires and cabinets. It’s like we mentioned at the start – parts companies know some people like to build their own setup, so they offer everything you may need.

There are cleaning and maintenance products for your speakers, including dust caps, grill clothes, re-foam kits, and more. It’s a smart product selection – after all, anyone who spends money on a good sound system deserves the equipment to maintain it and protect their investment.

Pro Audio

mixer

The Pro Audio section has some overlap. You’ll notice the speakers for musical instruments here, as well as woofers, speakers, plus more. But there’s also a selection of other equipment you’ll almost always find used in the context of a live show.

PA systems, power amps, live sound mixers, mics, and more – it’s all offered in this section. There’s a variety of other parts you can use to help line out the stage. From fog machines to laser lights, there’s everything a customer could need when they’re setting up a stage show or throwing a party.

Car Audio

car audio

Last but certainly not least is car audio. This is a smart category pick. If the most common place to find a sound system isn’t a living room or a party, it’s an automobile. There’s something about being able to feel like you’re in a concert hall when you’re driving down the road.

This section offers car speakers for dashes, doors, and decks, as well as subs complete with a variety of boxes. There’s also a wide selection of installation accessories including harnesses, mounting adapters, baffles, sound dampening foam, AM/FM receivers, mobile receivers and LCD monitors, review cameras, power cable terminals, and car audio capacitors.

As we can see, Parts Express has the inventory selection on lock – despite being a specialty company, they’ve been able to split their inventory up into even more distinct sub-categories, effectively increasing their reach and making it easier for customers to find the things they want.

But there’s also an important factor we haven’t talked about yet. While Parts Express has a great history, a business plan centered around a great buying experience, and a wide selection of products, it is also important to take into account customer feedback.

How Does Parts Express Do in the Review Category?

It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time when people didn’t think customer reviews would be a model to go off of. While it seems intuitive, feedback systems weren’t always what they are now. But various sites now exist to rate an organization’s performance, so let’s look at a few of them.

If we go to Yelp, we can see there aren’t a lot of reviews. But the catch is, the customers have deemed the company worthy of visiting, resulting in an overall rating of 4/5. But we also find Site Jabber, we see more reviews. In this case, there are eleven in total. But the overall rating is lower, falling to a 2.5/5.  

Yelp

Site Jabber

Google

But the biggest telling audience in terms of review is usually those who weigh in on their experience on the company’s Google page. Despite being known primarily for their search engine, Google has done a lot of good with all the things that come with their engine, namely local listings for companies like Parts Express, which list direction, hours, and a place for customers to leave feedback.

Here we see the company has over 180 reviews – and their overall rating is a 4.3/5.

That’s a telling number, and it shows the organization has mastered their field to the point of giving customers the right experience from beginning to end. It is one thing to be involved in a specialty field in terms of just having the inventory. Having the right team matters, too – but even that isn’t the whole story.

Companies who are able to put everything together usually do the best in terms of customer service. Their professed buying experience wasn’t just a clever marketing statement. Parts Express has a lock on their industry in their area, and they have the positive customer feedback to back it up.

Final Verdict: What Can Parts Express Offer?

For some people, their quest to buy audio equipment ends as soon as they see the first decent speaker set at their local retail chain. Even the additional adapters they need, or the spare parts they require for their newest project, are often ordered from various vendors through online shopping sites. How is it possible for a specialty company in a limited location to expand?

Parts Express knows their industry, and their continued focus on a broad and diversified product line within the confines of their field has given them many opportunities. But it is their focus on providing a good customer experience that has truly helped them expand. Their broad market is an evidence of this. With customers in the private and public sector, ranging from ongoing to ad hoc, they’re a company that keeps multiple revenue streams.

Audio equipment is an important part of everyday life. Our vehicles, our favorite stores, our local organizations – all of them depend on transmitting sound to listeners in the right way. With a company like Parts Express, anyone in or around the Ohio area can find great audio equipment.

GTX 1060 Review – Is It One of the Best GPUs Available Today?

gtx 1060

For non-PC gamers, graphics are usually a pretty simple subject to understand. You go with what your console gives you, and enjoy the ride.

The only real type of decision making or debate that goes on in the console community usually involves which console is superior in terms of graphical capabilities. While Xbox and PlayStation fans may be in a debate that seems unending, it pales in comparison to the complexities of PC gaming.

But for those who do choose to game on their computers, the process of deciding between graphics cards isn’t a task or even a matter of bragging rights, contrary to popular opinion. It’s fun, and it ties right into what makes custom PC building such an exciting process.

The idea of discovering what graphics card is best for your preferred games, which component works best within your setup, and which option offers the most value involves a lot of calculations – it’s right up the ally of most PC fans.

Even those who are buying PCs that are prebuilt know the value of researching graphics cards beforehand. And today we’ll be taking a look at one of the most impressive offerings on the market – the GTX 1060.

Introducing the GTX 1060: Nvidia’s Graphical Juggernaut

PNY NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Graphics Card...

There are plenty of great graphics card on the market. Top developers like Radeon, Nvidia, and others push themselves every year to deliver the latest and greatest devices for making pixels pop right off monitors.

This just isn’t about making sure you can see every shadow on the game you’re playing. It’s about enjoying these little extras that really make you feel immersed in the game. Think about things like cloth physics – whereas console gamers may see a character’s clothing look like a cutout taped to their body, PC gamers with the right cards will see a beautiful, realistic array of wrinkles and waves corresponding with the wearer’s movement.

Think about Bayek’s cloak in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, or Batman’s cape in Arkham Knight. You just can’t get those effects on console.

Great graphics cards help you enjoy things like improved water physics, where you can see ripples with the wind, suds dissipating after a splash, and the sun reflecting off the water’s surface. It’s how we expect to see things in real life, and graphics cards are getting closer and closer.

The GTX 1060 is built to offer gamers all these possibilities and more. It was originally built as a direct competitor (or seemingly so) to AMD’s RX 480 – a powerful card built for 1080p gaming and VR games. This is where the 1060 excels as well. But what exact specs does it use to achieve these settings?

A Closer Look at the GTX 1060’s Specifications

Cuda Cores

1280

Texture Units

80

Rops

48

Core Clock

1506MHz

Boost Clock

1708MHz

Memory Bus Width

192-bit

Memory Bandwidth

192GB/s

Memory Size

6GB or 3GB GDDR5

Outputs

DisplayPort x3, HDMI, Dual-Link DVI

As we can see, this card has the specs where it counts. Not only can gamers utilize a multi-monitor setup, but they can expect to enjoy smooth framerates on even the most graphically demanding games out there.

The GTX 1060 has the distinction of being one of those “safety cards” PC gamers flock to. What does this mean, exactly? With a card like say, the GTX 760, gamers will get a solid product. They’ll be able to enjoy HD games and even turn the settings to high on most older games.

But when you upgrade to the 1060, you open yourself up to more possibilities. There will be few games you can’t run on 1080p on high-to-max settings with a smooth framerate. Yes, there are those notorious system melting games that are hard to run on a 1060. But those games are often designed to be hard to run – that’s the idea behind them, even if their graphical load to bear doesn’t always add much to their overall look and performance.

The 1060 has seen a lot of positive performance reviews, but let’s look more in depth about how it actually performs – not in terms of benchmarks just yet, but how the hardware inside Nvidia’s juggernaut contributes to the card’s overall performance.

What Are the Hardware Features?

tomb raider

When it comes to a great graphics card, it isn’t just about how many frames you can get on Grand Theft Auto: V – but, FYI, this one could push it to 60 on high settings.

Graphics cards are more about architecture and hardware design at their core, as they’re not just an individual component of a bigger system. They’re also systems in themselves, compromised of a number of different parts, each having its own distinct function. What are these functions? Let’s start with one of the most basic: power.

Your card can have so many cores you can’t count them, and a clock speed that just keeps climbing – but if it doesn’t have power, you won’t be gaming at all. You won’t be editing videos, surfing the web, or doing anything with your monitor unless you revert back to the onboard graphics.

But the GTX 1060 has a single six-pin PCIe power connector – a standard offering for many modern cards in the mid-to-high end range. But what’s not so standard is the 1060’s 120W TDP. This makes it massively more efficient than most cards in terms of power consumption, a trend that was also present in the GTX 980 (165W) and the 1060’s primary competitor, the RX 480.

PNY NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Graphics Card...

It’s a trend that is a testament to the PC industry’s commitment to energy efficiency. Not only do video cards with lower rates of power consumption help conserve energy, but they last longer. And they take less of a toll on the power supply, making it a bit easier for the rest of the system’s components to get the resources they need. Synergy demonstrated once again as the core idea behind PC builds.

But beyond the power connector lies the Pascal chip. The GP106 is the heart of the card and offers comparable power rating to the 1070 and 1080 – if half meant cut in half. Still, though, if you got half a cut of a lotto or casino jackpot, there wouldn’t be a need to count your losses, right?

While this card only has about half the power of those cards, it has 80 texture units which means it can still work for those higher-end games. There’s also 192GB of memory bandwidth, which itself constitutes a huge improvement from the GTX 960.

PNY NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Graphics Card...

The bottom line? The 1060 is way above the next model below it, but not far behind the ones above it. It’s a value card, with those beyond sometimes accused of diminishing returns – but those beneath sometimes being just shy of an industry standard for 1080p graphics on high-to-max settings.

But let’s not forget – the graphics card is not just popular for gaming. While we can all realize that graphics processing units are an integral part of a gamer’s vocabulary, there are those who use GPUs for other practices that aren’t always gaming.

Some of them may be using it solely for gaming – and nothing more. But that means they’re likely professionals or at least highly passionate hobbyists, as this card constitutes a powerful tool for graphical editing arts.

But, even then, for a card that retails between $200-$300, it is easy for it to be used by beginners in these areas as well.

What Other Applications Can the GTX 1060 Be Used For?

video editing

One of the most obvious reasons a person will need a high-end graphics card with plenty of processing power and shading units is for graphic design.

Those artists who use their computer as a canvas make beautiful 3D models, complex animations, and extremely detailed photography/videography projects. As you may imagine, this can be rough on video cards not built for the task.

Even if we do enjoy HD streaming and thus the industry has been optimized for this, not everyone needs to engage with demanding animation programs or complex editing suites. When it comes time to upgrade your hardware for the task, the 1060 is a great option to consider.

Again, it comes back to value – someone may consider buying a lower-level card to keep themselves comfortably under the $200 range for a new card. But should they? Again, even the 960 is around that range. You’d have to go down to the 760 for that, which, while not a pushover card by any means, is a clear step down in performance.

On the other hand, you’d have to be handling some truly complex animations for the 1060 not to operate well enough. In that case, even the 1070 or 1080 may struggle. For some cases, graphic artists will even use dual cards to help them share the load evenly.

computer work

The crossfire or SLI method can be very helpful for those who have higher needs. In this case, it may actually be overkill to run multiple 1070 or 1080 cards. Therefore, a case could be made that, in rigs that warrant it, the 1060 is the best value card.

Think about how professionals would consider the task – imagine a company that handles graphic designs and animations. They know their ability to make good work and retain clients depends on getting the right card. It is customers like these who are also important when NVIDIA is refining their cards each year.

While gamers make up a big part of the audience, it is also video editors and digital artists who need powerful graphics cards.  Even hobbyists need the right equipment for the job, and a 1060 is a high-quality value option.

But for the sake of understanding how the card looks when compared to those in the same class from other manufacturers, let’s give AMD’s RX 480 some time to shine.

GTX 1060 vs. RX 480: Who Wins This Close Race?

Sale
MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDRR5 192-bit HDCP Support DirectX 12...
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Video Memory: 6GB GDDR5
  • Max. Resolution: 7680 x 4320, support 4x Display monitors

When it comes to value, GTX lovers will automatically look to the 1060 if they want something on the high end of the scale. Let’s be clear, though – AMD is still a powerful name in the gaming industry. The RX 480 proves this.

Not only is it highly rated, scoring in the 4-5 range on most standard five-star scales, but it is used in many popular prebuilt PCs. A great example is the GXiVR8020 series, a partnership with fellow tech partner CyberPower PC. While the modern version has the 580, the 480 was the card of 2017 on the AMD side.

MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 4GB CrossFire VR Ready FinFET DirectX...
  • Chipset: AMD Radeon rx 480
  • Video Memory: 4GB GDDR5
  • Max. Resolution: supports 4x Display monitors

But not only is the 1060 a bit ahead in terms of memory speed, but it also has higher clock speeds – both base and boost. The RX 480 blows it out in the bandwidth category with a 10-percent-plus advantage and a 256-bit memory base to the 1060’s 192-bit.

Yet the point that could put the 1060 over the edge is the 120W TDP – about 20 percent better than that of the 480.

AMD’s offering may be a great card, but there’s no denying the 1060 could easily be called as good of an option or better in this category.

Product

Details

Price

MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDRR5 192-bit HDCP Support DirectX 12...

Cuda Cores
1280

Texture Units
80

Rops
48

Core Clock
1506MHz

Boost Clock
1708MHz

Memory Bus Width
192-bit

Memory Bandwidth
192GB/s

Memory Size
6GB or 3GB GDDR5

Outputs
DisplayPort x3, HDMI, Dual-Link DVI

MSI GAMING Radeon RX 480 GDDR5 4GB CrossFire VR Ready FinFET DirectX...

Cuda Cores
2304

Texture Units
144

Rops
32

Core Clock
1120MHz

Boost Clock
1266MHz

Memory Bus Width
256-bit

Memory Bandwidth
224 GB/s

Memory Size
7GB or 4GB GDDR5

Outputs
DisplayPort, HDMI 4K60

Final Verdict: Is the GTX 1060 Worth It?

The GTX 1060 is unquestionably a great card. It could be called one of the best value-based options on the market. When a person is thinking about how to choose a card, a few things come to mind. Does it have the specs necessary for the tasks you want to complete? And just as important, does it offer great value for the money?

The best way to handle the decision-making process is to list out your preferred applications and look up individual benchmarks. But, in a general sense, the GTX 1060 is easily one of NVIDIA’s best cards for the mid-to-high range rig. If you’re not running a company bringing in thousands a week but you still find integrated graphics far too limiting, the 1060 is a great spot in between to land.

Arris Modems – The Top Seven Reliable Models in the Market Today

the best arris modems

In the digital age, connectivity is everything.

What’s the most precious material possession you have in your life? We’re not talking about the most expensive items, or the most sentimental heirlooms – in terms of physical devices that impact your daily life, what ranks high on the list?

Since so many people depend on internet connectivity at a skyrocketing rate, their networking equipment is of the utmost importance. We use the internet to communicate, to check the news, to order food, to go to school, and even to work – and even for those who only use it for YouTube and Facebook, it’s a big change to go through when the connection goes down!

While you can’t control how reliable your internet service provider (ISP) is, you can choose better connection equipment.

Technically, a modem is about modulation and demodulation, computing information from cable, analog, and digital signals in a complex manner – but if done right, it results in a better connection.

Who is Arris? What Do They Offer?

arris logo

We all know that the modem is one of the core components when it comes to maintaining a stable internet connection. Good cables, secure ports, and reliable infrastructure are all very important as well – but for the home or business internet connection, a good modem is the centerpiece.

It could even be called your gateway to the internet – and much of the outside world. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of modem companies out there trying to offer customers the best possible product and get the most sales revenue in return.

One such giant of the industry is Arris. Touting themselves as a company that refines connectivity, they’ve set a high bar to reach from the start – and they’ve reached the said bar in many ways. Their products have emerged in various circles, with multiple types of users ranging from casuals to families to professionals all using Arris modems with great success.

But which one is the best? Today we’ll rank the modems – the top seven, to be exact. We’ll go over exactly what each one offers, and how they measure up compared to the competition.

How Do We Choose Our Ratings? Explaining Our System

Rating a modem seems like a straight-forward process, right? We all know what the device is supposed to do – provide us with a stable internet connection that stays stable. Even minimal downtime is worth knowing about, and of course, the performance-to-price comparison is crucial in the decision-making process.

For this list, we’ll be looking at how the different models in Arris’s modem inventory compare to one another. We’ll take a look at which one offers the best features conducive to a better performance. When we consider performance, we’ll factor in:

Reliability

How many problems have been reported in comparison to the number of success stories? This ratio can help customers decide if they feel comfortable buying a certain modem.

Durability

How long does a modem last? No one wants to buy hardware they have to replace every few months – especially when that replacement process leaves them with no internet access temporarily!

Consistency

Does the modem keep a connection? Does it go in and out? This matters, no matter what price you’re paying for the equipment.

Factoring in all these criteria, we’ll base our overall rating system on value and reviews. Not only should a device offer these characteristics, but they will need to have proven it through great sales numbers and overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Let’s get started – here are the top seven Arris Modems!

Top-Ranking Arris Modems: Which Models Made the Cut?

ARRIS Surfboard SB6183-RB 16x4 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem, (Renewed)-White
  • APPROVED with Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner, Brighthouse), Cox and more. If not sure call your cable provider to find out if approved to use. REQUIRES Cable Internet Service. Not compatible with: Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink
  • Cable Modem only (no WiFi router). NO support for Cable TELCO options
  • Internet speeds up to 686 Mbps on 16 Download Channels and 131 Mbps on 4 Upload Channels, based on your cable ISP subscription. Approved for plans up to 300Mbps. Gigabit Ethernet port to connect to computer or router

It’s got it all – sleek looks, a great list of features, and a design that saves you space. Combine that with a reasonable price tag of approximately $70, and you’ve got an easy frontrunner.

With a max download speed of 686Mbps and a max upload speed of 131 Mbps, this unit is fast. It’s also compatible with most major service providers, making it great for almost anyone with cable internet. Approved by Comcast Xfinity, Cox, Time Warner, Charter, Brighthouse, and many others, this unit is versatile.

Whether you want to game, stream in HD, connect multiple devices, or all of the above, this unit supports IPv4 and IPv6 internet connections at blazing speeds.

Have you ever needed a cost-efficient modem that is small enough to stick on a small end table? Something that will help fit the space and budget requirements of a young college student in a dorm, or an upstart company with multiple small offices? This can be the right choice.

Coming in at well below the $100 mark on most all sites, this unit is a great buy. The reviews don’t lie – the SURFboard is one of Arris’s most popular modems for good reason.

Arris Touchstone TM822G DOCSIS 3.0 8x4 Ultra-High Speed Telephony...
  • Backwards compatible with DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0
  • Flexible 8x4 downstream/upstream channel-bonding with superior throughput
  • IPv4 or IPv6 addressing modes for DOCSIS CM layer

This model is typically priced a little higher, though you can get a used version for around the same price as the number one entry.

While this one may not have the fanfare and features to make for the top spot, it isn’t close behind. Like the SURFboard, the Touchstone TM822G offers IPv4 and IPv6 addressing modes for more connection variety and stability. The Base-T 10/100/1000 ethernet interface is something that can be useful in homes, businesses, dorms, apartments, and a variety of other locations.

The unit is backwards compatible with DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0. In addition to that, it is also compliant with PacketCable 1.0 and 1.5.

But the factor that puts it over the top is the high sales numbers and overwhelmingly positive customer feedback – this unit has helped thousands of customers enjoy a better connection.

It’s another example of Arris being a company that balances cost-efficiency with connectivity masterwork. It’s a great fit for a variety of settings and is built to last.

Sale
ARRIS CM820A Cable Modem DOCSIS 3.0 (Latest Version - 1 Step...
  • 8x4 bonded downstream/upstream channel for superior throughput
  • Built in MoCA immunity filter
  • Two independent 96MHz wide RF tuners to receive downstream channels up to 1GHz

This unit is designed for simplicity – touting a one-step activation process, it takes a lot of those complexities out of networking.

But don’t take its simplicity for simple design. While easy to operate, it offers an 8x4 bonded channel with built-in MoCA immunity filter and two independent 96MHz wide RF tuners to receive downstream channels up to 16GHz.

This allows it to exceed expectations and deliver smooth performance in a variety of applications. Arris suggests users reach out to their ISP to check for compatibility before buying.

The only downside with this unit compared to the ones above is the price. Sure, you get a unit that could be called more simplistic, but you have to pay around $100. It isn’t a ridiculous sum to ask for a high-end modem, though, so this model easily makes our top three.

It’s a sleek, space-efficient, well-built machine that gets the job done. Like the entry above, it is known for versatility and even more for simplicity. The modem at work slowing down your productivity due to cumbersome configuration needs? The modem at mom’s house making her connection a little unstable? Try out the CM820A, and embrace a simplistic approach to good connectivity.

Sale
ARRIS Surfboard SBG6580-2 8x4 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem/Wi-Fi N600 (N300...
  • Compatible with Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, and more. Requires Cable Internet Service
  • Not compatible with: Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink. 802.11n Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi speeds up to 300 Mbps per band. DOCSIS speeds up to 343 Mbps
  • Two-in-one DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem + N600 WiFi Router

The second SURFboard on our list is the SBG65820. One look at its max download speed will show why it ranked below the other. But 343Mbps max is not bad, by any means, especially not for a unit in the neighborhood of $80.

Like the other, it is compatible with more ISPs than not – with only Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink users left out. But it’s easy to switch, and some may consider it given this device is a two-in-one unit that doubles as an N600 Wi-Fi router.

There’s also eight download and four upload channels – meaning this unit can be great for a house full or an office full of users.

Finally, it is built with 4 separate gigabit ethernet ports and is perfect for locations around 2,500 square feet. A great unit that easily earns a spot in the top five.

Not as robust as the other SURFboard but offering a bit more in the way of total connection options this unit is one of the best Arris modems on the market.

Arris TM722G Telephony Cable Modem - DOCSIS 3.0
  • Compatible with Comcast Internet & Phone Service (and Major US Cable Providers)
  • Download speeds up to 343 Mbps
  • Flexible 4x4 upstream / downstream channel-bonding with superior throughput

Designed for compatibility with major US cable provider Comcast’s internet and phone service, this unit also boasts download speeds of 343Mbps like the model above.

It offers 4x4 channel bonding and meets DOCSIS 3.0 specifications. It is also backwards compatible with DOCSIS 2.0, 1.1, and 1.0. With unlimited long distance calling nationwide plus standard local calling options, this unit is one that can pay for itself depending on what features a buyer is looking to save on.

With high speeds capable of competing with popular competitors, the TM722G excels in most areas, all for a price that can stay below $50 if you’re a smart shopper.

The idea of telephone and internet connectivity options is important to remember – because the two are inseparable, or at least close enough related that there is some technological overlap. Arris shows here how the technologies can be bundled with value in mind.

It’s a very cost-efficient model that excels in the unique area of telephonic connectivity. And with solid internet speeds all around coupled with great backwards compatibility options, it’s a cheap all-purpose solution.

ARRIS Surfboard (24x8) DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Plus AC1750 Dual Band...
  • 3 products in 1: 8x4 DOCSIS 3. 0 cable Modem + AC1750 Wi-Fi router + Xfinity telephony
  • Approved for use with Comcast Affinity internet & voice service with rdk-b technology to support next-gen products and services
  • Does not support Xfinity home security or home control service without also having an Xfinity home router from Comcast that only Comcast can provide; not approved on any other cable internet Providers

By far the priciest model on our list, this unit retails for over $200. But its features are better than anything mentioned thus far, too.

It’s a great unit if you’re looking to spend a little extra to get a more capable piece of hardware for faster connection speeds. With a whopping 1Gbps download speed cap, this unit is built for the fastest services offered by modern ISPs.

Built for Comcast Xfinity Internet & Voice Service, it is perfect for businesses or work-from-home professionals who need top speeds because time is always a factor. It features 24 download and 8 upload channels for more connectivity options, plus two telephone ports for Xfinity Voice devices, and RDK-B technology to support budding devices.

It’s built for speed, versatility, and the future – you can feel comfortable investing in this equipment.

The only reason this model doesn’t rank a bit higher is that of the price. It’s made for big needs, but it is still robust enough on its own merits to land on our list.

Arris WBM760A Touchstone DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
  • WBM760A DOCSIS 3.0 compliant
  • IPv4 or IPv6 addressing modes for DOCSIS CM layer
  • Two-way high speed IP services that enable higher bandwidth for interactive services

This touchstone model is DOCSIS 3.0 compliant and offers IPv4 and IPv6 addressing modes. That includes two-way speedy internet service capabilities.

At only around $50 new and sometimes available for half as much used, it is easy to see the biggest perk of this unit is the price. When you’re looking to save money on an Arris modem, you may find this unit at the top of most suggestion lists.

We put it closer to the bottom because it doesn’t have the features of the others. But it does stack up to other low-cost modems from other brands, making it a great choice to round out our top seven.

The unit is great for what it offers – solid connection capabilities, a simple and attractive design, but best of all, value for your dollar.

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Modem

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Arris SURFboard SB6183

Max. Download Speed
686 Mbps

Max. Upload Speed
131 Mbps

Compatibility
Comcast Xfinity
Cox
Time Warner
Charter
Brighthouse

Connectivity
Gigabit Ethernet
IPv4, IPv6

Warranty
2 Years

Arris Touchstone TM822G

Connectivity
IPv4, IPv6
Base-T 10/100/1000 ethernet

Compatibility
DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, 2.9
PacketCable 1.0, 1.5

Arris CM820A

Build
MoCA® immunity filter

Tuners
2 x 96MHz wide RF

Downstream Channels
Up to 16GHz

Arris SURFboard SBG6580-2 8x4

Max. Download Speed
343 Mbps

Compatibility
Comcast Xfinity
Time Warner Cable
Charter
Cox
Cablevision

Channels
4x8 upstream/downstream

Connectivity
4 Gigabit Ethernet ports

Arris TM722G Telephony Modem

Compatibility
Comcast
DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0

Max. Download Speed
343 Mbps

Channels
4x4 upstream/downstream

Arris SURFboard SVG2482AC 24x8

Max. Download Speed
1 Gbps

Compatibility
Comcast Xfinity Internet & Voice Service

Channels
8x24 upstream/downstream

Connectivity
2 telephone ports for Xfinity Voice devices
RDK-B technology

Arris WBM760A

Connectivity
IPv4, IPv6
DOCSIS CM 3.0

Capability
Two-way high-speed internet service

Channels
4x4 upstream/downstream

When you’re browsing Arris modems, how do you decide which is the best fit for your money? To be sure, you need to know exactly what you’re looking to find.

Do you need something that takes up less space or costs less money? Or are you focused on finding a device that offers higher connection speeds and more connectivity options? Arris modems run the spectrum, offering combinations of features and value for buyers of all budgets.

Any unit on this list is a good option, as are many others in the Arris product line. No matter what type of modem you need or what you’re looking to spend, Arris modems are a popular choice for good reason.

Can I Run It? – How Accurate is This Tester and is It Reliable

can i run it

Isn’t that the newest game in your favorite series? Look at those graphics – you’d love to be staring at that on your own monitor, huh?

But there’s just one question you have to ask yourself before you click the buy button or hand your money over to the cashier at GameStop – can you run the game on your rig?

Can I run it? That’s a question countless gamers have asked themselves over the years. The PC elite has gone to great lengths to differentiate their experience from that of console gamers. And while some say an extra pixel here or an added shadow there doesn’t make much of a difference, PC gamers often think differently.

They know their rigs have the capacity to be more capable than consoles – but we also know that not all PCs are equal. There is a thriving hardware market out there because some parts are simply better than others. And there’s also debate about whether some combinations work better than others.

Knowing whether or not you can run a game is very important before you commit to a purchase. But how can you tell?

Determining Your Rig’s Capabilities with Specialized Tools

a boy playing computer game

As the PC community has grown, benchmarking tools have become just as popular as games themselves to a degree. There’s a badge of honor associated with knowing that your rig can play the newest and hottest titles – even if you haven’t bought them yet.

There’s also something to be said for looking ahead and being a smart shopper. Sure, snagging a game that’s available for a great deal can be irresistible if you’re thinking about buying a rig soon. But for most shoppers who buy games at regular prices, it is imperative they know they can play the game with ease upon completing their purchase.

The question of “can I run it?” has become an ongoing, echoed sentiment within the PC community, so much so it has spawned numerous tools created to answer that question. The prevailing one is Game Debate’s offering, though there are also others that work just as well.

game debate

These systems work through a simple database – they have all (or most) major hardware selections inputted into drop-down style options menus. You select your rig’s central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU), then select a game, and the program will tell you whether or not you have the specs to run it.

But we’re talking about spending $40, $50, or $60 on a game – does it really bode well for you to trust a service like this? Or, for the sake of argument, let’s put the stakes even higher. What if you’re considering building a rig based off the games you want to play for it. Should you base your buying choices on results you get from one of these sites?

Let’s go over how these sites make their determinations and how accurate those determinations are. To be fully accurate ourselves in this guide, we’ll also discuss any possible exceptions to our findings.

How Do Popular Benchmark Sites Make Their Determinations?

minecraft

Contrary to what some people believe, benchmarking sites don’t use complex self-created algorithms to measure gaming performance. Can I Run It and other platforms like it usually go off one source of information – the performance requirements as listed by the game developers themselves.

This is done for multiple reasons – first, it is done to avoid liability on the part of the sites themselves. Going back to the question about how game buyers or PC builders could trust a site and be misled of their money, this ensures the site isn’t to blame.

But it’s also simply because no one knows better about what a game needs to run than the people who made it. Why? They understand the engine, the rendering distance, the character models, and all the other complexities going on within the game’s design.

This “under the hood” perspective makes it easy for them to know which components are best to run it. As game programmers, they’re also required to report to testers in some cases. Said testers need to have the right hardware as well, so there is a chance most of their determinations are accurate.

So, in that regard, sites like Can I Run It are fairly accurate, at least according to the game developers’ recommendations. But the word recommendations may sound familiar to some people, and for good reason.

Minimum vs. Recommended Settings: Are They Really Accurate?

If you’re a gamer who plays on PC, chances are you’ve probably checked out a site like Can I Run It or at least looked at the specs section on gaming platforms like Steam. How many times have you seen something like this:

Minimum Specs

Recommended Specs

Decent dual-core processor, 2010-2015 era graphics card, 2GB of RAM.

Hexacore processor, 2018-2023 era graphics card, 16GB of RAM

That’s a big leap – and while our example may be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no doubt that sometimes the recommended specs can make people scratch their head. For example, games are only now getting to the point that they make use of more than two cores.

Yet for years and years, games have had quad-core displayed proudly in their recommend-settings section. Why is that? For some people, it’s a conspiracy – it’s a matter of the company trying to boost sales of other tech giants in hopes they’ll do the same. For others, it’s a matter of gaming developers considering other game-related activities.

What could these other activities include? They involve things like streaming or recording gameplay segments, taking screenshots, voice chat during multiplayer, and multi-tabbing to look up cheats or guides. But for accuracy’s sake, does this really matter?

In terms of knowing how much you need to run a game, much of the time you need to look for something that’s comfortably above the minimum requirements – though you may not always need what is listed under the recommended section to get full value for your dollar.

Are Some Effects More Fluff Than Flare?

tomb raider

For some gamers, the logic behind choosing their settings is simple – if they can turn a setting on and still get a smooth frame rate, their mind is already made up.

But some settings are known as performance killers. For example, microscopic anti-aliasing (MSAA) is a performance anchor that can only provide real benefits in select games and on certain types of monitors. Likewise, some shader effects don’t add much to the visuals despite making your system use every available resource.

It is possible to have an HD resolution (720p or above) with 60 frames per second on high settings – without turning on all shading and texture effects. If you go by Can I Run It, you’ll find that most of your results will be accurate. And if you tweak a setting here or there, you can still get a great looking result on most games your rig is built for.

There are a few games out there that simply melt PCs – that’s their purpose in many regards, and they’re sometimes viewed more as a symbol of bragging rights rather than a work of art to be marveled over.

But aside from these rare exceptions, are there any other issues you should know about before trusting a benchmarking site?

Beware of the Bottleneck: A Silent Performance Killer

When you talk about things that kill performance, a few culprits come to mind. Background tasks, outdated drivers, and faulty hardware all come to mind.


But sometimes your hardware is fine – it just isn’t built to work with other parts in your system. If either your CPU or GPU is notably more powerful than the other, the stronger of the two could be bogged down and held back. This limiting of potential output is known as bottlenecking.


The easiest way to avoid this is to try to keep your components around the same range, according to features and to a lesser extent cost. Sometimes you can find a killer deal on one part, meaning the cheaper one may not always be much weaker than the hardware it’d be installed alongside.


However, keeping your parts close in terms of performance can help you avoid bottlenecking, which in turn gives you the most performance for your money.

Conclusions: Should You Trust Gaming Benchmark Sites?

Games are just like any other application – they take up a specific level of resources, a lack of which makes them impossible to run properly.

You’ll get the same answers from most benchmark sites as you would from reaching out to the gaming companies themselves. And so long as you don’t feel the need to meet every max requirement, and so long as you’re aware of common exceptions to the rules of PC gaming, you should be fine trusting Can I Run It or any platform like it.

Gaming benchmark sites are a nice convenience to have. Not only can you tell if you can run a game, but you can even get an idea of how much better it could be run if you upgraded to other components. For gamers, this part is sometimes as fun as the gaming itself!