Categories
geek tech

2016: get you pc overdose by learning about BIOS, UEFI, M.2, SATA, SAS, CPU vs GPU, extreme gaming rigs

2015 was full of IT/computer stuff and 2016 awaits the ZEN CPU architecture from AMD. Although Intel won’t reduce the prices for its processors even if AMD catches up, maybe we’ll finally see AMD CPUs being on par with Intel ones. Long history between those two, you know.

First, let’s start by learning with TechQuickie about the tech in our computers. You don’t need to remember everything said in the videos, but it will help you in the future. Nothing worse than listening to guys talking pc stuff and you being a complete noob about pretty much everything.

What is BIOS? Why was UEFI invented? BIOS is the Basic Input Output System, a software built into the motherboard itself (on a ROM chip aka flash chip) which is able to detect the components of the computer and let you run some diagnostics. It does basic stuff and can handle drives up to 2TB. This is why UEFI, Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, was created.

UEFI can use an actual graphical interface, inclusing mouse usage, will recognize drives way bigger than 2TB and is faster. Linus explains more in the video from below:

Now, what about video editing? In the era of the film you would need to physically cut and then paste a part of the film into another part. A tedious process prone to human error. After video casettes became a thing machines that could stop a video and then record a part of it onto another casette were created. Learn more about video editing and about the difference between film and video:

But what is film really? Let’s learn more about film in the video from below:

But how are CPUs made? Well, it is pretty much like 3D printing with etching combined. The factory creates a layer of silicon, then uses lasers to cut into it and create transistors this way and then another layer is setup to insulate from the next layer of silicon based transistors. A process that is impossible to do without robots and a very clean environment:

In order to make the computer faster the M.2 connector has been invented. This allows you to have flash drives installed in your computer and increase the write/read speeds up to 4 GBps, which is a huge increase. Also, M.2 drives are significantly smaller than hard drvies or SSDs.

Usually the M.2 drives use the PCI E 3.0 X4 port in order to connect to the computer. There are many types of devices that can use the M.2 port, like WiFi or Bluettoth, so you need to be careful at dimensions, usage and drive sizes.

Now, whats the difference between SATA and SAS. SATA ports allow you to transfer data from your drive in speeds up to 600MB/s, but SAS can reach up to 12 Gbps. SAS is Serial Attched SCSI and can deal with incoming and outgoing data at full speed at the same time as SATA can deal with only one type of data at a time.

SAS also uses drives that have up to 15000 RPM, but cost more and are usually used for servers, not for home usage. SAS is tipically used when you need a lot of people to access you hard drive at the same time. So, the general advice is to stick with SATA or M.2 or PCI E or with RAM drives for home usage.

Now, let go into the pc gaming realm once we’ve feasted on tech knowledge in regards to all these shiny ports. Lets see what Newegg has to say about Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming graphics cards like this 629 GBP video card:GeForce GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming.

If you ask me, in terms of performance Intel beats AMD in the processor world and Nvidia beats ATI in the GPU world. If you have the cash, then Intel + Nvidia is a good choice, if not, then AMD + ATI will bring you almost the same performance, but with at least 10-30% in price reduction.

When I look for a new computer, be it laptop or gaming rig, I usually look at the newest generation of i7, which is Skylake now. But each generation of CPUs has its own i3, i5 and i7 version with each having different subversions. It is crazy. Learn about these difference from PC Advisor.

Also, did you ever wanted to know the difference between a CPU and GPU? GPU is more prone to graphics and triangle calculation whereas the CPU is more prone for general works, like video processing, browsing. GPU is a specialist CPU which handles the way pixels are displayed based on the 3D model. When fewer calculations are needed a CPU can be faster, but when millions of floating point calculations need to be done, then a GPU will use parallel calculations to solve the issue much faster than a regular CPU:

Also, what is the big fuss about DirectX 12 which runs only on Win 10? Well, DirectX 12 will let you use all the cores in the CPU while in-game so this will increase the life of your processor. This is the biggest change, but will also allow you to save on power usage and offer better effects. When gaming you need to be able to use any extra performance to have a better experience.

Now that you use a DX 12 compatible video card, would gaming laptops with GTX 980 video cards worth the money? It seems like yes, they are worth the money:

Finally, I like what Jay has done with his extreme rig and with all that liquid cooling in there. I won’t go overkill like that, but it is a good to know what you can do with your gaming rig:

Learn more about liquid cooling from Maximum PC.

Bonus: what can you go with a 30 000 USD gaming rig? Well. you can allow 7 people to play with this single machine. Linus explains:

In the mega gaming rig they use two Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2697 v3 processors with a cost of 2700USD each. Other parts:
– motherboard Asus Z10PE-D8 WS, allows 7 video cards on it and two Intel Xeon processors
– 256 GB or RAM from Kingston, 32GB each
– seven AMD R9 Nano video cards
– 1600W power supply

Happy 2016 😀

Categories
geek tech

Factory overcloked video cards: not really worth it


The guys as LinusTechTips have tested a row of video cards and compared the factory overcloked ones with the base referenced. Although there were some improvements, it didn’t really matter incredibly much.

If you can spare the money, then try to buy the next tier video card, but don’t just jump on to the flag ship 4K capable video cards if all you will do is 1080p video gaming. Seriously, try to make sure that you obtain the most bang for the buck while looking at the resolution your monitor currently uses. Try to obtain the best quality video gaming for THAT resolution.

Most of the flagship video cards are overkill if you will not use them for 2K or 4K gaming.

Learn from Jay how to match the video card you need to the display/monitor you use at home.

Categories
geek tech

IT: what is virtualization


Virtualization is the ability to create a virtual environment in which you can install several OSs in your machine. Basically you can use Windows and, using a virtual machine (ie such a program) you can also install MAC or Linux. Learn more about virtualization from Linus from TechQuickie.

Categories
geek

Crash Chrome with this link: http://a/%%30%30


Tom Scott, a master wiz in all thing tech and programming explains why the Chrome browser crashes when you insert http://a/%%30%30 in the browser’s address bar. It all boils down to what can the browser “understand”, ie decode, from the sequence of characters in that URL.

For example, %30 is translated to number 0 because the % sign means that the characters are encoded. Then you will see that the browser interprets the URL as being this:
http://a/%00

Since we still have a % sign in the URL the browser decodes %00 to NULL.

So, initially Chrome marks the http://a/%00 URL as being safe to use and good to go, then it will send the URL to a function which decodes the URL again resulting http://a/NULL. Now the function sees that the URL is invalid and then sends it back to the browser which knows the URL is fine. It’s like and infinite loops which will finally crash the browser.

Categories
geek learn on the web

Hacking websites: SQL injection and Cross Site Scripting


Maintaining the security of your websites is not easy. You need to take care that SQL injection or cross site scripting does not take place. Many young programmers make such mistakes and bad hackers can hack your website in no time.

SQL Injection relies on malicious SQL statements being inserted in the database. Something along the lines of DROP_TABLE which would delete the info in the database.

But where and how can you insert such SQL statements? Tom Scott (YouTube) explains that if you were to put: SELECT * FROM USERS WHERE USERNAME Tom”; DROP ALL DATABASES; , and if your website is not able to put the quote marks right, then it will insert those extra commands in the database and it will delete it.

That above is just an example. It means that if you insert the following string into a search field then it may do damage if the site is not well protected: Tom”; DROP ALL DATABASES;

The main way to protect your site around it is escaping, a method that asks the programmer to insert a slash ( a backslash actually – \\ ) before dangerous characters like semicolon ( \;) or quote mark (\”) and this way the database will be safe. All programmers should use prepared statements, a way to tell the database that any info send via the forms should be treated as simple data and not as a command.

Now, about cross site scripting. Tom Scott explains that cross site scripting is the number one vulnerability on the web today.

The solution is to convert dangerous characters like < into a text like \&lt\; in order to NOT send over instructions to the server this way. Everything you insert in the search boxes will be seen as plain text. If you do not do that and then insert a javascript code int he search box, then the browser will execute that code. Since javascript can control everything in a webpage and since the browser does what this code asks, many mallitious programs can be run this way. More info below:

Categories
learn science tech

How does the future of computer science look like? [infographic]

The future of computer science looks pretty much amazing with things like carbon nanotube computers or phoneblocks, phones made of easy replaceable blocks.

The future will bring us also devices that can be controlled with our mind by using EEG tech or things like paper tab, a flexible tablet that won’t break when bent.

Read more about the future of computer science here and be ready to embrace the future that will be even more awesome than this.
Future-of-Computer-Science-infographic-nov-2013

Categories
geek learn

Best video about RSA encryption there is

We use RSA encryption to communicate via https channels all day, but we do not know the complex algorithm behind it and how much work was put into this to work. A 2048 bit key can be broken in tens of years so we can say our messages are pretty much protected.

Witht he video above I actually could understand how the process works and they even give out the math behind all this. Impressive and elegant!

Categories
ebooks

Think Like a Hacker for Better Security Awareness

Today I introduce a weekly series of free ebooks and publications from TradePub that help mostly the B2B companies, but are also useful for everyone who wants to learn more about a wide variety of domains.

Although you can select from dozens of fields in my dedicated page (yes, I am partner), I will publish a few words weekly about the papers that I like.

In the short white paper named “Takes One to Know One: Think Like a Hacker for Better Security Awareness” you can read about the importance of a security culture in your company and that accessing social media websites at work can be potentially dangerous.

I work in a tech company too, and we offer tech support and webdesign for ecommerce platforms, and security if one of the top priorities. If you leave your desk for any reason you have to start the protection screen and only if someone inserts the pass can see what you have on your desktop. Yes, even if we go to toilet for a minute, the log-off screen will be used.

What I saw interesting in this paper (very short one, be warned) is that almost half of the enterprises have seen an increase in malware infections due to social media sites accessed at work. One of the main reason: click on links that send them to bad places.

I found it also hilarious that the most used password is “password1”. Really?! Come on man, people can do better than that. Also, more than a quarter of the IT companies have high level professionals that have fallen victims to malware in one way or the other.

As a side note, please check this password tool to create the best password EVER. Read this white paper created by Trust Wave, the leading provider of compliance, Web, application, network and data security solutions delivered through the cloud, managed security services, software and appliances.

Simply click on the image from below, fill in your details, download the free white paper and be awesome!
trustwave-it-security-white-paper