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40 years of mobile phones

There have been quite a few posts on T3KD lately talking about the mobile industry. Where is it going, what new hardware is out, better battery life, etc. So I thought with all this talk about better battery life among other features we’d love to see. Why not take a look back since it’s now been 40 years since the first mobile phone call was made. A look back that might bring perspective on how far we’ve come and why we don’t have it so bad after all.

So Gizmodo did a post on the 40th Anniversary of the first mobile call with a Yahoo post expanding even further on the information. They are both definitely worth a read and could possibly bring back some nostalgic feelings, if you were alive back then or older than 10 years old. I wont re-hash everything in the posts but instead highlight the important thing that struck me about how far we have come in the 40 years of mobile phones. I’ll also include a Motorola video that pretty much predicted the mobile phone trajectory in the future which is now our present!

The first call was made by Martin Cooper, April 3rd 1973 with a Motorola DynaTAC. The DynaTAC was nicknamed the “Brick” because it was 9 inches tall and weighed 28 ounces or 1.75 lbs! It had 30 circuit boards inside and 10 hours of charging gave you about 35 minutes of talk time! Can anyone even imagine that, in comparison the very first iPad weighed 1.6 lbs while most smartphones these days will last at the very least 4 hours on a single charge. It is just mind-blowing to look at the difference. Well enjoy a few pictures and video of mobile phones that had their moment in the spotlight.

Did you own one of these?

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Source – Engadget

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custom computer

Custom computer: Installing a motherboard in case

The next step of building a custom computer is here. In the last article, we covered how to install RAM and the CPU and heatsink. From here we will cover how to do everything in your case and do it in the way that is easiest. Obviously, the case makes for moving around a little more difficult, so we will begin by hooking up on the outside first.

Installing the power supply of your custom computer

Today, there are three common ways to mount a power supply: on the top, on the bottom and on the smallest cases, in the front of the computer so the power supply rest vertically and extension cord is used to plug into the back of the case. Obviously, the latter is very unusual in building a custom computer.

In the case of installing all the top and the bottom, there is usually only one way to install power supply of your custom computer. On the back of the case there will be four screw holes, one for each corner, and yet one of the screw holes will be a little more towards the center of the power supply. Some power supply mounts allow you to do it either one way or the other.

However, it is advisable that you orient the power supply in such a way where the fan is able to suck in air without obstruction. For the case of mounting on the bottom, many would suggest that the power supply has his own airflow, that is that it pulls air from underneath the case and expels it without it being circulated throughout the case. This allows the power supply to not drive in hot air in your custom computer.

The motherboard will have to connectors from the power supply that needs to be installed. One is either a 20 or 24 pin connector. Refer to the manual that came with your motherboard to see where it is, and then connect the eight pin connector that powers your CPU. Then secure the motherboard into the case and use the screws to secure it to the stand offs. Start in the middle and move out and make sure to not hiking the screws to tightly, as this can warp or even crack the motherboard.

custom computer

Before going further on building a custom computer, is a good idea to see whether or not your motherboard actually turns on. While the rate of failure is not too terribly high, it can be a pain to install everything, just to find out you have a defective motherboard. Some motherboards have a power on button present, so you’ll have to hook up the front connectors.

Some motherboards include an adapter that you can plug all the wires to the front connectors in the plug it into the motherboard itself. Refer to the manual I can with your motherboard to see where you need to plug in your front connectors. Some connectors are positive and negative, so they need to be oriented in a certain way, while with others, it doesn’t matter. Some, like the LED lights, only have one pin they need to be plugged into.

After securing the front pin connectors, hit the button on the front of your machine. Obviously, without a hard drive with the operating system, you will not be able to do all the way and, but you see the screen that shows your motherboard or hear a beep, then you are good to go. In the next part, we will move on to installing your hard drives of your custom computer.

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Custom Computer

Custom computer: Installing CPU, Heatsink, and Ram

In the latest series, we’ve been expanding on building a custom computer. At last we are here, the building of your new and custom computer. This is actually one of the easiest steps, you follow some very simple guidelines. Remember that computer components are very sensitive to electrostatic discharge and you should take care to not expose your components, especially the motherboard, to this electrostatic discharge. The most common way is to simply types any exposed metal, so as to get rid of any lingering charge. If you want to be even more safe, you can use a special strap which affixes your wrist and gets rid of it.

Building a custom computer:

Begin by opening up your case and locating the standoffs, which are little bronze pieces that you screw into the case and were the motherboard screws into. This creates a barrier between the case and actual motherboard. Be careful to only put the standoffs where there is a corresponding hole on the motherboard. The I/O shield snaps into the case itself and forms a barrier between the outside and inside of the case.

But before actually installing the motherboard, it may be a good idea to put all the components in place on the motherboard itself. We will begin with a processor. The processor rest in the socket on the motherboard and you may have to remove a little cover where the socket is.

Custom Computer

The CPU will only go in one way and it will require no force to push it down. Be very careful to not bend or break any of the pens either on the motherboard or on the CPU itself. Even one broken pin will render the component useless. On the board and CPU you should notice a small arrow. Simply match up the arrows, or the notches on the CPU itself. There will be a small lever or even to that you will need to secure down in order to properly seat the CPU.

Installing the heat sink

If you have a stock heatsink, the instructions for putting this on will be provided. An aftermarket heatsink be able to dissipate heat more effectively. Begin by installing the back plate onto the motherboard and then applying a very small dot of thermal paste. Then, choose the bracket and install the heatsink onto your motherboard. Make sure to apply even pressure and not move it around. You do not want any air bubbles to form, as this will affect the dissipation.


RAM is very easy to install, although it may require a little force to get in place. Many motherboards use dual channel, that is to say the memory works more effectively when paired in groups. Make sure you pair them correctly or you will lock in the performance you need. On either side of the DIMM socket, you will notice a little tab that you will need to push down, although only one may need to be pushed down on some types of motherboards. The RAM will only go in one way and you will notice on the RAM that there is a little notch. Simply line up the notches and apply firm pressure until the little tab is secured onto the RAM.

In the next parts, we will continue on building your custom computer.

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Building a Custom Computer: Cooling

Cooling your computer

Cooling is important, as the enemy of any electronics is heat. By effectively dispersing heat, you can prolong the life of your components.  A CPU heatsink will disburse heat away from the processor, which will reach 300°F if left without a heatsink. CPUs run best when they’re cool, so it is important to choose one that is able disburse heat effectively. Case fans are mounted on the inside of computer cases and based on how they are oriented they either push or pull the air.


CPU Heatsinks and liquid coolers

Currently, a liquid cooler uses some form of liquid to circulate through tubes and cool the CPU. This form of cooling is much quieter, as there are no heatsinks and fans to be concerned with, unless you count the radiator fan that is mounted on the case itself. Liquid cooling is also much more expensive than using a CPU heatsink and fan.

Fan cooling can be just as effective as liquid cooling without the cost he sinks are basically sheets of metal stacked with space in between, so that air may blow between them. Heat pipes are run through the sheets of metal and rest on top of the CPU itself, so that it may draw heat away from it. Depending on the fans you get, it can be quite loud.

Case fans

Case fans are mounted on the inside the case and they come in many different sizes, the standard size is 140 mm, 200mm and 120 mm. Fans, both those used on a CPU and case fans, are measured basically on one of three scales. The first is how the fan connects to the motherboard itself. There is both a three pin and a four pin connector, with the latter allowing you to control the fan directly. They are also measured based on the noise level at how much air they moved. It is possible to move a lot of air without making much noise, so do your research.

Memory and chipset cooling

There is also cooling that can be mounted on the motherboard in the RAM itself. However, for the most part it is unneeded, unless you are an extreme user. Memory often times comes with its own heatsink, which disperses heat really effectively in memory does not reach the same temperatures that CPU does.


Cooling can also come in the form of the case that you choose. There is an air flow that needs to be maintained, as most cases are designed around it. Some configurations optimize a negative air flow, while other cases choose a positive airflow. These will be covered in the next section when we take a look at the different types of cases that are available.



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power supplies

Building a Custom Computer: Power Supplies

Power Supplies

It is important to choose any type of power supplies, as an improper power supply can run the risk of damage to your components. There are several things to consider, but for the most part, choosing a power supply is pretty easy. Follow the guidelines below and you will be sure to find one that suits all of your needs.


Wattage refers to the amount of power that a power supply can handle. For the most part, a power supplies optimum range is around 60 to 70%. Power supplies can range from as low as 300 W to as high as 1500. 1500 W is for the most part, overkill and very expensive. For the average user who doesn’t need very much, 300 to 500 W is more than enough. If you are planning to add a graphics card, then you should add a 500 to 750 W power supply. If you want to add more than one graphics card, anything over 750 W should be sufficient.

Modular versus non-modular:

Non-modular power supplies have all the connectors you can ever use attach the power supply. These types of power supplies are much less expensive than modular power supplies, but their cables can make for quite a mess. Modular power supplies allow users to connect or the cables are they require. This makes for an easier arrangement, but they are more expensive than nonmodular.

power supplies


Power supplies are judged based on an efficiency scale the 80+ range. The more efficient the power supply, the more efficiently it delivers power to components and the less electricity it draws. Based on the 80+ scale, power supplies are judged from bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

Ability to protect components:

Electricity, while healthful, can be damaging to your components. Uncontrollable surges can fry these computer components, so it is very important to find a power supply that is capable of stopping these charges from flowing through its wires. It is preferable for the power supply to be sacrificed in order to save components, rather than to have it destroy anything. After all, one of these very good power supplies can be bought for just under $100, while the other components can be greater than $200 and oftentimes so much more.

There are many great power supply companies in these parameters are great to narrowing it down to a few. However, it is always a good idea to check reviews and see which companies are ranked in terms of reliability, durability and are generally well thought of.

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hard drive

Building a Custom Computer: Choosing the Right Hard Drive

Hard Drives: What To Choose

The hard drive, the main storage device for the computer, is the next component that someone needs to consider when building their computer. You want to make sure that you choose a hard drives that is stable, fast enough for your needs, and holds enough. There are many different options that you can choose, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we will be looking at solid-state drives and hard disk drives.

hard drivehar

 Solid-state drives:

Solid-state drives, or SSD’s, are the new players on the block. Anyone who has ever used a flash drive has used the technology behind SSD’s. This allows solid-state drives access data much faster than traditional hard drives, it is argued that a last much longer as well. On the other hand, since this technology is so new, it is still much more expensive per gigabyte for SSD and for traditional hard drive. However, many users choose to use an SSD as a ‘boot drive’, or they choose to install the operating system on that drive and a larger HDD as their primary source device. While looking for solid-state drive, look for both reading and writing speeds. If you choose to install your operating system on it, choose at least 64 GB, if not more.

 Hard disk drive:

These drives have been around for decades. They use metal platters that are selectively magnetized and read/ write head to access the data. Currently, some of the largest hard disk drives can hold 3 TB, or 3000 GB. However, they are much slower than solid-state drives, but they make up for both further larger capacity and lower price per gigabyte. When looking for a hard disk drive, look for RPM, which determines how fast the hard disk drive rotates. The faster it rotates, the faster data can be accessed. Cache is used as a faster means to access information. That is, information is routinely access is stored there in order for faster access speed. Of course, the last thing you want to look at is the size of the HDD.

When deciding what to choose, look to your needs and what the computer will be used for. For light needs, an HDD of around 250 GBs is more than enough. However, if you do a lot of gaming or you want faster access speeds, then you will need something more. Judge the cost per benefit ratio to decide what is best for you. Only then will we be able to make a decision.

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Building a Custom Computer: The Motherboard

The motherboard is the next part someone needs to consider. The motherboard is one of the most important and one of the most forgotten parts in the computer. Be careful to not bottleneck, in other words, don’t spend so much on one component that other components go neglected. After all, a computer is only as fast as the slowest part.


Form factor

Form factor may sound complicated, but simply put, it is a configuration of the motherboard and how many expansion slots are available on the motherboard. It is the size. Smaller motherboards will be able to fit in smaller cases, thereby reducing the weight of the or moral system. However, this also means that their ability to expand is more limited. The standard size or form factor is ATX. There is also XL ATX and micro-ATX.


This is the next most important consideration. The socket refers to the point that the processor plugs into the motherboard. After you’ve chosen your processor, make sure you choose a motherboard that will fit your socket. Some sockets will only fit a handful of processors, while other sockets serve many more. Make sure you research and make sure that the socket you choose isn’t about to be discontinued. Otherwise, if your mother board ever goes out or your processor is fried, then it’ll be much harder to find a replacement.


The chipset is responsible for directing information and controlling where everything goes. It is typically broken apart into two, the Northbridge and the south bridge. The Northbridge is responsible for the high performance components, while the south bridge deals with the less sensitive ones. The major chipsets are Intel,AMD, and Nvidia.

RAM sockets

This really isn’t a consideration, but more of something that you need to keep in mind. Different types of motherboards will only support a certain type of RAM. So if you have RAM that you wish to reuse from an old computer, make sure that you purchase a motherboard that will support your RAM.


BIOS, or basic input output system, is the most fundamental and most basic programming that every motherboard comes with. Make sure to check reviews to make sure that the Bios is solid.

Peripheral options:

Motherboards will come with different options for peripherals built into the motherboard itself. Make sure that your mother board has all the peripherals that you desire. More expensive motherboards will have many more different features and will be able to handle much more and less expensive motherboards.


A lot of motherboards will only have a limited number of sockets for you to plug-in to, which include FireWire, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and other types of connectors. If you have devices that need to plug into a certain type of one of these connectors, the need to choose a motherboard that will allow you to do it.

Hard drive connectors

Currently, the most advanced options for hard drives is SATA 3, or 6 Gb/s. A lot of motherboards will only have a limited number of SATA 3 connectors on the motherboard. The rest will oftentimes be SATA 2, or 3 GB/s. T

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Choosing a Processor

Building a Custom Computer: choosing a processor

Choosing a processor that works for you

Choosing a ProcessorWhile you can start anywhere you wish, is always easier to start with a processor, or central processing unit. There are several reasons for this. The kind of processor you choose, will determine your mother board, the memory you can use and the kind of hard drive you must get. The two processor companies, AMD and Intel, both have fantastic options. However, there are several factors that go into choosing a processor.


The socket refers to how your processor connects to your mother board. Choosing the right socket to fit your processor is extremely important. Intel and AMD both have unique socket types and even within their own range of processors, the sockets will be different. AMD uses pins, while Intel has pins on the board itself. When choosing a processor, this is the most important factor to consider.


Cores refer to divisions within the processor itself, so choosing a processor isn’t just about speed alone. That is, there are smaller processors within the main processor. That means that the processor can handle more than one task at a time. Hyperthreading is a process that allows a computer to see each core as two. Most programs, as of today, don’t really use more than four cores.

Clock rate:

Clock rate refers to the speed the process runs. However, it is very important to consider more than just the clock rate. Having more than one core will have a greater effect than having just more than one core. For processors that of an overclocked, this can be change dramatically. It can have a dramatic effect when choosing a processor.


Cache refers to the memory that is on the CPU itself. Whenever the CPU access information, it will automatically learn which codes are used more often. This means that it won’t have to request information from the mother board itself. This will save time and a vastly improves the performance of the CPU. Cache should be one of the most important considerations when choosing a processor.


The bandwidth is how much information the processor can process in just one instruction. It is comparable to how many lanes are on a highway. While 32-bit was common in the past, today 64-bit is the new norm. The reason is that 64-bit handles information a lot more efficiently.
Front Side Bus Speed:

The front side bus speed determines how fast information can get into the processor from the system memory. While clock speed is largely determined by the processor itself, the front side bus speed is influenced by a number of factors, including ram the motherboard and the system clock speed. So it is very important to select components that allow for optimum performance.

While there are other factors involved in choosing a processor, these are the most common. Today, processors are changing so dramatically that more and more features are being released with each coming generation. Choosing a processor is the single most important decision when building a new computer as it influences what components you will need to buy. Lower end processors are perfect for the occasional user, while heavy users will need more. As discussed in part one, your needs will determine what you should get.

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