On a daily basis, we receive quite a lot of email here at FiringSquad. Subjects discussed include a wide variety of topics, with the most popular being CPUs, motherboards, and video cards, but we also receive quite a few questions on other system components. Quite a few of you want advice on what to purchase: “is manufacturer x better than manufacturer y?” or “who makes the best GeForce 6600 or RADEON X800 card?”.
It’s interesting to note that most of our readers seem to have made up their mind on which platform they prefer, whether it be AMD or Intel, and even more so at the chipset level, where you have Intel diehards who have been burned in the past with alternative chipsets, or on the Athlon platform, enthusiasts who turned to nForce2 after being burned by VIA’s 686B South Bridge.
This also translates over to the graphics segment, although not quite as much. There are definitely cases where readers have sworn off ATI or NVIDIA cards after having compatibility problems with their favorite games, but these cases aren’t quite as extreme. After all, many of these issues can be resolved with a quick driver update, which in the case of ATI occurs on a monthly basis.
Besides the bevy of upgrade advice emails we receive, we also receive the usual assortment of tech support emails, review requests from readers, and the occasional “what were you smoking” emails (particularly when a borderline product just misses Bull’s Eye or Editor’s Choice, owners of said product will voice the case in favor of it); fortunately emails of the latter category don’t pop up as often as you’d think. It all makes things quite interesting around here, especially when you factor in all the new products that are constantly arriving.
As you can probably imagine, with so many emails constantly pouring in, keeping up with everything can sometimes be an impossible task. That’s why it’s best to keep your emails short when sending them in, and keeping them to a yes/no answer is always best. Because of this, tech support emails are practically impossible to answer, diagnosing the problem and determining the solution can be difficult in even the most basic cases.
Say for instance you’re not getting a video signal to your monitor when you boot up your system. The answer could range from a dead processor/memory/motherboard/video card, to a system that’s overclocked too aggressively, or perhaps your motherboard isn’t seated properly in your case. You may even need to update your motherboard’s BIOS in order to support your new processor. See what we mean?
It’s because of this that the best place to get tech support advice (besides the manufacturer) is message boards like our own. The FiringSquad Forums
are filled with a range of users with considerable experience. The forums are also a great resource for seeking upgrade recommendations, as you can sometimes hear from other end users who have purchased the product(s) you’re curious about. Our Products
page would be another good resource for information. Inside you’ll find product specifications, user reviews, and pricing data for a wide range of system components.
In this article we’ve decided to post a few common questions we receive on a daily basis, as well as an interesting conversation we just had with one reader shopping for a feature-packed GeForce 6600 GT AGP card. You’ll also learn a little more on what products are coming in the near future…