Questions about our DVDs
Are all the videos on the website also on the DVD? All of the up to date videos are on the DVD. We do have older videos that are just on the website. Specifically the old hard drive and DVD installation lessons are only on the website. These covered IDE drives, which needed a lot of explaination about jumpers and IDE data cables. These old videos are on the website for free. Anyone can watch them.
What about shipping costs and times? Where do you ship to and from? Shipping is free to anywhere in the world. We ship from Round Rock TX. Shipping times to the continental US are 2 to 3 business days. International shipping times are between 1 to 2 weeks.
What format are your DVDs in and will they work on my player? They are in NTSC 4:3 aspect ratio with no region coding. They work on all US (NTSC) home DVD players and computers. They also work on all European (PAL) players and computers. There is a mode switch on PAL DVD players to allow them to play NTSC video. This is usually on the player’s remote control. Check your players manual to find this option. The same mode switching ability is found on SECAM format DVD players used in Asia.
Choosing parts for your computer
Do I really need a sound card? Most people do not need a separate sound card in their computer. All but the lowest end motherboards have on-board sound. If you are going to be doing serious audio recording for music or video applications or if you are an avid gamer who wants the best in 3D game sound then you should consider adding a sound card to your computer.
Should I buy an Intel or AMD CPU? Buy Intel if you can afford it. Intel's latest Core i7 CPUs are much faster than any AMD CPU. That being said, the motherboard and RAM for the Core i7 is more expensive than motherboards and RAM for AMD CPUs. Core i7 motherboards and RAM are twice the price of ones for AMD.
Is it worth it to overclock the CPU? If you do a lot of CPU intensive things it is worth it to try. These are things like gaming, audio or video encoding, 3D design, etc. The most popular hardware to overclock is the CPU and video card. The video card is the easiest since both Nvidia and ATI have the functionality built into their video drivers. You just move a bar on screen to increase speed. CPU's can often also be overclocked and this is usually done in the computers BIOS. For both you should upgrade your cooling. There are 3rd party coolers for both video cards and CPU's that replace the coolers provided by the video card or CPU's maker. These coolers usually aren't more than $50 and with the speed benefits of overclocking it is worth a try. We have videos that show overclocking on both Intel and AMD CPUs.
What about water cooling my computer? Now we're talking! Water cooling your computer is the next step if you want to overclock your computer or make is almost silent. Regular cooling just uses air to keep things from overheating. Water cooling uses hoses filled with a saline (salt water) solution and a pump to move the water. The hoses connect to all the heat producing components (CPU, Video card, Hard drive, etc.) much like the water cooling in a car’s engine to move the heat away and allow it to dissipate. These water coolers are expensive but worth it if you are serious about cooling your PC or keeping it quiet. It's quieter because there are no fans in the computer. Fans make most of the noise in a PC.
You don't show using an anti-static pad or a grounding strap in the videos. Do you recommend using them? It's a good idea if you are in a high static environment. Like if you have all carpet, walking around in socks on a cold day with the heater on high. This is worst case of course but seriously if you're constantly shocking people when you touch them absolutely use a strap and/or anti static pad. For most situations just touching the metal PC case now and then is enough.
The BIOS on my computer looks different than the one shown in the video lesson. Why? The BIOS shown in the video is an AMI BIOS. There are also Phoenix BIOS's and other Award BIOS that look very different but it is only the layout. All the major options are still there. If you need help with your BIOS settings go to the support page and email us with your motherboard model number and questions. We'll download your manual from the maker and take a look to help you set up everything correctly.
The wires for the front audio jacks on my case are confusing. Where do they go? They either go to the ports on the motherboard or your sound card depending on if you're using the motherboards on-board sound or if you have installed an add-on sound card. On most cases these ports are very standard and they just plug in. The motherboard installation lesson shows how to connect these to both a motherboard or add-on sound card. On some cases, however, these ports are separated out by individual wires and you have to match them up. Compare the wire labels from the case to the port pin out on the motherboard with the motherboard's manual. For audio ports you don't have to worry about shorting anything out so it usually comes down to trial and error to get the front audio ports to work.
Is it really necessary to put all screws in to hold the hard drives and DVD/Blu-ray drives? Yes. The drives spin at speeds that most car engines would burn up trying to reach. This makes vibration and therefore noise and wear. The more you can reduce the vibration, the less noise your computer will make and the longer the components will last. So, yes, absolutely put all the screws in.