Microsoft officially introduced Windows 11 Thursday. The new operating system or OS is set to arrive as an update to Windows 10 PCs this holiday season. If you’re looking forward to the update to the new Windows OS, here are a few things you need to know. In this guide, we are going to explain the new features, system requirements for installation, and more about Windows 11.
Windows 11: What’s new?New Start Menu
The new windows start menu appears by default in the middle of the screen, though you can change a setting to make it appear on the left. Gone are the live tiles, replaced with simple, colorful icons.
Snap Layouts and Snap Groups
On Windows 11, hovering over the minimize/maximize button gives you a choice of different snap layouts, based on your screen size. So, for example, if you have three apps open and enough room, you’ll be offered the option to split evenly between all three or have one take up half the screen and the other two take up a quarter each.
If you have to interrupt your workflow by, for example, responding to an incoming email, you’ll be able to restore your snapped layout by clicking on an icon on the taskbar. Icons for these “snap groups” will appear next to app icons so you can easily switch back to a complete layout in one click.
Teams Integrated with Windows
The Teams icon will be on the taskbar and you’ll be able to use it to make calls to anyone else who uses Teams on any device, including Android and iOS devices. You’ll also be able to send and receive SMS messages from the taskbar.
The news feed adapts to you, trying to bring in feeds that you want, based on your preferences. There’s also a feature that lets you give some content creators a tip.
A slide-out pane on the left side of the screen shows you “Windows widgets” a set of curated news, weather, and stock information. This is a clear evolution of the weather and news bar we see in recent versions of Windows 10.
New Touch Experience
Say goodbye to “tablet mode.” When you go into tablet mode on a 2-in-1, you’ll see slightly more space between icons and larger touch targets, but the interface will remain largely the same. You’ll be able to use the same gestures — a three-finger swipe for example — that you use on a Windows Precision touchpad as well.
The pen experience has been updated to allow haptic feedback as you write. The touch keyboard is all-new and will let you customize its look and feel while also using emojis. Voice typing has also been improved and automatically adds punctuation while taking voice commands such as “delete that” to help you edit
Auto HDR for Gaming
If your monitor supports HDR but your game doesn’t, Windows 11 will convert the color and lighting. During a demo, Microsoft’s Sarah Bond showed how this feature made Skyrim look much more colorful and lifelike. This feature originated on the Xbox and is now coming to the PC.
Android Apps Coming to Windows 11
You will be able to launch Android apps directly within Windows and find them in the Microsoft store via Amazon’s app store. Windows will use Intel’s Bridge Technology, a run-time post compiler, to allow the Android apps to run natively and be treated like any other Windows app that you can snap, pin-to-start, etc.
The new Microsoft Store is your single trusted location for apps and content to watch, create, play, work, and learn. It’s been rebuilt for speed and with an all-new design that is beautiful and simple to use.
Windows 11: What are the system requirements?
Like Windows 10 before it, Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for anyone who has a recent prior version of Windows and the right hardware. According to Microsoft’s, the minimum system requirements are:
The TPM 2.0 requirement could shut out some users, particularly those with home-built PCs. Not every motherboard comes with a TPM module on-board, though some motherboards are upgradeable with a TPM module you can buy after the fact. Many systems have TPM on board but it comes disabled so you’ll need to turn it on your BIOS.
Intel formally unveils its 12th-Gen Alder Lake CPUs for desktops with six processors. The lineup consists of the Core i9-12900K, Core i7-12700K, Core i5-12600K, and KF versions of the said processors. The KF versions do not have an integrated GPU, while the K models come with a UHD Graphics 770 integrated GPU.
All Alder Lake chips are manufactured using a 10nm process, but Intel this time goes for a hybrid design, where you have a combination of performance and efficiency cores. Similar to how Apple’s M-series processors work, the Performance cores do the bulk of the work that requires maximum performance, while Efficiency cores take care of background apps and other low-level tasks.
Because of the design, only the Performance cores have multi-threading. That means that 16-Core i9-12900K has a total of 24 threads since it has 8 Performance cores, while the 10-Core i5-12600K has a total of 16 threads since it has 6 Performance cores.
Intel also has a different way of advertising clock speeds: with the Core i9-12900K, you have a 3.2Ghz base clock, up to 5.1Ghz boost clock, and up to 5.2Ghz max clock for the Performance cores. The Efficiency cores, on the other hand, have a 2.4Ghz base clock and a 3.9Ghz boost clock.
This is now available to Walter PC gaming!
by Duey Guison
There are a few post-manufacturing processes that might be taken on by some gaming enthusiasts or other PC users to improve performance, and one of these is known as overclocking. While the technical details of this method might be a bit too complex for this space, it involves the boosting of components over and above their factory defaults within a computer, and may have several benefits – but also could come with some downsides in some settings.
At Walter, we’re happy to offer a wide selection of gaming laptops, gaming desktops, workstations and other high-quality computing devices, plus assistance with many of the upgrades our clients often want to make to their machines. What is overclocking, which components within a given computer setup are generally eligible for it, and what are some of its benefits and drawbacks depending on your needs? Here’s an extensive primer, including how to determine whether or not overclocking is worth your time and effort.
Overclocking Basics and Uses As we noted above, overclocking is the boosting of a computer component so it performs at a higher level than its factory defaults. The primary boosted aspect here will be clock speed, which speaks to the precise speed of the component, but it won’t always be the only area that’s adjusted.
By boosting clock speed, the goal is to get greater performance out of them. There are a few different components you can consider overclocking for your computer, which we’ll go over next.
Eligible Components There are a few different computer components you can overclock:
For more on whether overclocking is the right choice for your gaming computer or any of our other products, or to learn about our custom laptops, desktops and workstations, speak to the staff at Walter today. Shop now @ https://www.waltercomputer.com/?store-page=search
For computer gamers who play games that involve large amounts of text or graphics, you may have experienced a common issue known as bottlenecking. Referring to a situation where your FPS (frames per second) rate drops due to an overload of graphics or text that cannot be processed properly, bottleneck is known to take place for both CPU and GPU situations – but there are things you can do about it.
At Walter, we’re proud to offer not only a wide selection of custom gaming computers, including limited edition options, but also assistance with graphics, FPS and any other issues your machine may be dealing with over time. What are CPU and GPU bottlenecks within a gaming computer, how are they caused, and how can you both monitor for them and reduce their likelihood? Here are some basics to keep in mind.
CPU and GPU Bottle neck In a broad sense, bottleneck within a CPU or GPU speaks to a situation where the data being sent for processing – or the data that can be processed in the processor simultaneously) – is limited. There is not enough capacity within the system to return processed data based on the amounts of data being sent out.
Within this realm, bottlenecks can take place both within the CPU (processor) and the GPU (graphics card). Here are some basics on each:
To get a bit more specific, computer games today are either CPU- or GPU-dependent:
Checking for Bottle necks For those who have experienced bottlenecks in the past, or are concerned about them moving forward, there are methods available for monitoring. Specifically, there are several forms of software, including those like MSI Afterburner, that will perform this monitoring for you. It will help you log both CPU and GPU usage while gaming – you can either do this manually or even keep the program monitoring window open while playing, seeing real-time updates on every load your CPU and GPU performs.
If you are reading your monitoring software and note high CPU usage and low GPU usage, this is often a sign of a CPU bottleneck – this often takes place for CPU-dependent games. On the flip side, if you see high GPU loads with low CPU usage, this is likely a GPU bottleneck based on a GPU-dependent game.
Methods for Remedying Bottleneck Concerns As we alluded to above, the solution for any CPU or GPU bottleneck is actually fairly simple: Balancing out the processing loads of both components so they are similar. When these two are in the same range and can handle the same capacities, neither will overload.
Now, the actual methods you use to remedy bottlenecks may vary. Here are some of your options:
Few elements of a gaming computer setup are more important than the graphics card, or GPU, and there are several specifics to be thinking about when choosing a new GPU. One of these that should never be overlooked by any serious gamer: The VRAM they choose.
At Walter PC Gaming, graphics cards are major considerations we take for all our clients as they build custom gaming desktops, laptops, workstations and more. What is VRAM within a GPU, how does it compare to traditional RAM, and how does it impact performance? Let’s go over these basic questions, plus how much VRAM you’re likely to need based on your setup.
VRAM Basics For those familiar with traditional RAM, or Random Access Memory, VRAM may seem similar. The two are both from the same family, known as memory storage units that temporarily hold data involved in processing or computing tasks. The main difference between RAM and VRAM is that traditional RAM is a volatile computer component, meaning it loses all stored information when a power source turns off.
In many ways, however, VRAM performs an identical task to RAM within your GPU. It allows the GPU to gain quick access to any data that’s stored within it, which in turn allows the GPU to perform its tasks more quickly and efficiently. The more VRAM your graphics card has, the better it can handle high-resolution textures and other demanding graphics tasks.
Another area where VRAM differs from traditional system memory is how you can upgrade it. Unlike RAM, which you can simply uninstall and then upgrade with double or even exponentially more memory, VRAM is built into the GPU itself, which means the only way to upgrade it is to buy a new card with more VRAM on board. Some manufacturers will offer options for improved performance through overclocking instead, but this usually results in more heat and noise produced by your GPU’s fan components.
How VRAM Impacts Computer Performance Another major difference here between VRAM and other forms of memory is that VRAM is only required when the computer is carrying out tasks that are demanding from a graphics standpoint. During all other tasks, including browsing the web, checking email and other common activities, your system’s traditional RAM will be more than adequate.
Now, that still leaves plenty of areas where VRAM impacts performance. Here are the primary ones:
That said, there are a couple areas where VRAM recommendations are pretty standard, at least in a broad sense. One of those areas is resolution — here are the common resolutions used by gamers, and a rough estimate of how much VRAM they typically require if all other factors are equal:
Bottom line: When it comes to VRAM for gaming computers, think about how demanding your games are and then aim to have a GPU that can handle that load while also leaving some room for other graphical adjustments. VRAM is one of the most important considerations when it comes to gaming graphics, so don’t neglect it!
For more on VRAM, or to learn about any of our gaming computer products or services, speak to the pros at Walter PC Gaming today.
There are numerous benefits that come with building your own gaming computer, and one of them is your regular ability to upgrade your setup. A great gaming computer is never technically a “finished” product, but rather one you can continuously tweak and upgrade as new programs or technology formats become available.
At Walter, we’re proud to offer build-your-own setups for our gaming desktops, laptops and custom workstations alike. We also love to keep in touch with our clients, helping them learn about new developments and potential upgrades they might consider making to their system based on their needs. What are some of the top specific components of your gaming computer that you might consider tweaking or upgrading, and when is the right time to consider this? Here’s a basic primer.
Hard DriveIf your gaming setup is working with an older or slower hard drive, it can be time to consider making a switch. SSD hard drives are becoming less expensive by the day, and their faster speeds make them an attractive upgrade in any computer system. From boot times to game load screens, you’ll notice the speed difference pretty quickly when upgrading your hard drive.
You have a huge range of options when it comes to the type of solid-state drive you go with, though. You can opt for an SSD that has enough memory to act as a primary hard drive (with the original operating system and software programs on it) or pick up two different SSDs, one for your OS and the other to use specifically for game data.
In addition, you should likely be focused on how an upgraded hard drive will impact other components in your machine. For example, if you’re looking to upgrade your GPU (graphics card), you might want to consider making sure its compatibility with the hard drive is somewhat flexible.
GPU Upgrade Speaking of the GPU, or graphics card, it’s another of the most popular upgrades for gamers to consider. In many cases, as a gamer’s system becomes dated and the games being played become more complex and demanding, this singular component may need replacing or updating before all other components in the system.
You should have a pretty good idea of what type of graphics card will be compatible with your machine before you make a purchase, but also consider the amount of power you’re looking to get out of it. Will you be able to improve your frame rate? Do you want better HD quality and definition, or just an improved load time for games?
Frankly, you might be shocked at just how effective this upgrade can be. Some of the newest graphics cards on the market, like NVIDIA’s GTX 1080, are beyond powerful and can make even some of the latest games act faster and look better than you’ve ever imagined.
Operating System Depending on how much you rely on your gaming computer for entertainment or even productivity, Windows 10 is a great upgrade to consider. It offers better security than previous versions, improved streaming capabilities and even integrates virtual reality into the OS itself.
There is also the even newer Windows 11 transition taking place in some circles, though how gamers feel about this program is a topic that needs more data before we can speak on it with authority.
RAMRAM, short for Random Access Memory, is one of the most important components in your gaming computer. Essentially acting as its short-term memory bank, this component makes it possible for the CPU to read data from various sources while you are playing a game or running other applications on your machine.
The higher quality of RAM you have, the more detailed and complex your games can be. When you are working with enhanced graphics or multiple sources of visual data simultaneously, modern RAM can help your computer stay on top of this information seamlessly.
You’ll also want to consider the type of RAM you’re getting for your machine. DDR1, DDR2 and DDR3 are still available today, but upgrading to DDR4 makes a big difference in your gaming experience.
CPU Upgrade The CPU is your computer’s central processing unit, and it acts as its brain, so to speak. It is responsible for handling all of the data coming into and out of your machine, basically acting as the conduit between other components like your motherboard, GPU and RAM.
If you want to upgrade this component in your system, it’s best to focus on newer processors that are compatible with your particular motherboard. For example, if you have an Intel Core i7 920 processor in your machine right now, try to find an upgraded version that is compatible with this chip before choosing a whole new motherboard.
If you’re really looking for the best possible performance, though, consider how much overclocking you’ll be doing. If the answer is a lot, look into buying an unlocked processor that allows you to do this, like the Intel Core i7 4790K.
Monitor You might not think of your monitor as an upgrade area for your gaming computer, but it can make a difference in how effective your machine is at handling resource-intensive games or applications. For instance, if you’re looking to buy a new monitor, you might want to consider getting a larger screen. This will not only increase your viewing area, but also allow you to see more of your game as it’s happening on-screen.
Another factor is resolution, which refers to the number of pixels available in the display area of an LCD monitor. More pixels per inch typically means better definition for game consoles and other graphic-heavy apps like YouTube or Netflix.
Cooling While all these bells and whistles are great, you have to be sure your machine has adequate cooling in order to effectively manage temperature. As your computer overheats, it not only becomes less effective at meeting your demands, but can also become unstable and result in crashes or slowdown over time.
You have a few options when it comes to cooling fans for your machine, including cooling fans, cooling liquids and even water cooling. If you like to upgrade frequently, it may be best to opt for fans rather than liquids, as they are easier to replace or even move around if necessary.
For more on the components you might consider upgrading in your gaming computer, or to learn about any of our gaming computers or other accessories, speak to the pros at Walter today.
If you’re looking to improve your CPU performance, whether for a gaming computer, workstation or any other device, there are two general methods available. The first involves improving the efficiency of your architecture; the second involves increasing TDP, or Thermal Design Power, which speaks to the power consumption your machine takes up and the maximum load it can bear during standard operations.
At Walter , we’re proud to offer a huge range of limited edition gaming computers, laptops, workstations and many other CPU elements. We’ve assisted clients with both of the above upgrade areas, and we’ll happily do the same for you.
One major factor that plays a role in the second approach, increasing TDP, is heat created, and therefore the cooling required to prevent overheating and maintain quality operations. Generally speaking, you have two options here: Liquid cooling and air cooling. What are each of these, what are their pros and cons, and which is better for your setup? Here’s a primer.
Liquid CPU Cooling Basics, Pros and Cons Liquid coolers rely on a pump connected to another component like an AIO or closed loop water-cooling system. The pump then circulates a set of coolant through the system, and after going back to the radiator through some copper cold plates, it’s pushed out into another tank where it’s then recirculated for reuse in the same process.
Liquid systems are generally the best option for high-end enthusiasts and gamers, as they can handle insane amounts of power. But if you’re planning on using a liquid cooling system, here’s a bit more info on its parts and various templates:
Radiator: The radiator is where your CPU’s heat is dissipated from the coolant into air. Radiators come in a variety of sizes, from 120mm to 480mm.
AIO: The All-in-One liquid cooler is your best bet if you’re looking for a quick and easy cooling solution. A good quality AIO will easily handle an overclocked CPU and provide optimal performance without much hassle (no DIY required). It’s also much easier to maintain and clean.
Closed Loop Water Cooling: This system is a bit more advanced than the AIO because it requires you to put together your own kit, but it also does a better job at cooling components in comparison to an AIO. The loop (which you build) runs coolant through copper tubing which connects to a water block that in turn cools the CPU. Another advantage is that you can add extra components like video cards and chipset blocks to be cooled effectively.
The following are benefits of using a liquid cooling system.
In addition, certain liquid coolers — those that use custom loops, specifically — will require some detailed maintenance, including annual refilling and regular monitoring for leaks.
Air CPU Cooling Basics, Pros and Cons Air CPU cooling relies on fans to circulate cooler air from the outside over your machine. There are two general formats for air CPU cooling: Direct fans and indirect fans.
A direct fan blows cooler air directly over your components. This, however, has its drawbacks, because it can cause overheating in certain parts of the machine due to unequal distribution or too much pressure being exerted on the components.
An indirect fan, on the other hand, circulates air by placing a fan at an angle away from your computer. The upside of this is that it can serve a more diverse purpose and cool various parts of your system without causing too much harm to any individual component. However, it has its drawbacks as well: namely, if you have it installed at a height higher than their target area, it can potentially push hot air into your case.
General benefits of air cooling systems include:
In addition, air coolers are known to be significantly louder than their liquid cooling counterparts. This is because they rely on heat sync fans to pull heat form the CPU, plus case fans to remove this heat from the area, both of which naturally lead to noisier operations.
For more on how to choose between liquid and air cooling format for your computer, or to learn about any of our gaming computers, laptops or other services, speak to the staff at Walter PC Gaming today.
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Do you know what your computer power supply is? Many people don’t. A power supply unit (PSU) converts AC to DC electricity for use in a PC, and its wattage is the measure of how much total electrical power it can continuously produce.
At Walter, we’re proud to offer a wide range of computing products, from desktops and laptops to custom gaming computers, workstations and many other options. Along with these services, we’re happy to assist our clients with all their power and PSU needs, ensuring their devices will be optimally-powered for all their potential needs.
There are three types of computer power – modular, semi-modular, and non-modular – and they each have their own benefits and downfalls. Let’s take a look at them now to help you understand how each of them works.
Non Modular Power Supply Non-modular power supplies do not have any cables that can be detached and swapped for other cables. This means that all cables are permanently attached, which is the most restrictive of all three options. One of the benefits to this is that it can be smaller than modular or semi-modular power supplies, which saves valuable space in your case or area.
The main downside to this type of PSU is how inflexible they are in terms of customizing your build. Non modular supplies are often used for those who have a limited budget for their power, but they’re not ideal for higher-value operations because their cables can gather dust and negatively impact airflow inside the unit.
Semi-Modular Power Supply Semi-modular power supplies are a step up from non-modular as they offer a more modular experience. However, they still requires you to purchase cables separately and can be expensive for people on a tight budget. They’re also not as compact as the non-modular option and are often slightly bulkier than they need to be.
The benefit of a semi-modular power source is that, as the name suggests, you can remove and replace cables on your own. This allows you to customize many aspects of your build more easily. You won’t be stuck with extra wires taking up space inside your computer case or other areas throughout it, and this in turn allows you to save money in certain cable and setup areas.
However, these power supplies are still restrictive in other areas. This is why they’re not the best option for high-performance builds. Since you can’t upgrade certain internal components like graphics cards and motherboards, you’ll need to buy new cables if your build changes at all throughout its lifespan.
Fully Modular Power Supply The final option in the list of computer power supply types is the fully modular power supply. These are a great option for new builders, as they allow you to optimize your build on an individual level. This includes adding or changing cables to fit your needs.
These power supplies also provide excellent performance, which means they’re a good option for high-performance builds that need some extra juice. They have the best airflow of any of the choices we’ve gone over here, largely due to improved cable management flexibility and extra sockets. Because of this, there will be less risk of dust buildup within the case, plus lower temperatures and components that work optimally.
With these options, you have the freedom to change many aspects of your build and customize it in many ways without worrying about whether it’ll be restricted by any limitations that come with non-modular or semi-modular options.
There are downsides to this type of PSU though: It’s expensive and can’t always be easily installed in smaller cases. This doesn’t mean that the semi-modular or non-modular options will fit in every case, but fully modular PSUs are often larger than they need to be, which means you can get into trouble when trying to install them in smaller cases.
Making Your Selection The key thing to keep in mind with your PSU selection is how much you’re willing to spend on it. While a fully modular power supply will offer you more in terms of customizing your build, it’ll cost you much more money than the other options.
Here are a couple of the other factors that should play a role here: