Chrome is Chrome, right? You download Google’s browser—now the most popular in the world—and you’d think you have the same experience as everyone else. But like most large software vendors, Google releases Chrome in differing “channels,” testing out features in more unstable versions before they get to the release build that hundreds of millions of people use every day.
If you’ve been trained on Microsoft Word since you started using a computer, maybe you’ve never looked at those other writing options in Windows. Notepad and WordPad are both developed by Microsoft itself, and included in every copy of Windows. Don’t dismiss them out of hand—while neither are as powerful as paid software in the same niches, they might just do for you.
If you’re using a desktop PC, you might have heard odd noises coming from your speakers or headphones at times. It may sound like a buzzing or whining when doing basic tasks, sometimes escalating with more intense use like games or streaming movies. To solve the problem, you’ll need to figure out what’s causing it.
You don’t need a gaming mouse to play PC games—just about any mouse with two buttons and a wheel will play anything you want it to. But that’s no reason to deny yourself the wonderful variety of gaming mouse designs on the market. A gaming mouse won’t make you a pro, but it can give you a slight competitive advantage and make some games much more comfy and convenient to play.
Modern PCs are ridiculously powerful, so creature comforts like low noise levels have become more important. Most noise comes from your cooling fans, spinning drives, and optical drives (if you still have one), though there’s one other lesser-known noise source: a phenomenon called “coil whine.” It’s a high-pitched electronic squeaking or scratching noise, and it’s really annoying.
Moviegoers already know the bliss of a good surround sound setup, but PC gamers have an even better reason to invest in a little audio immersion: beating the snot out of their online opponents. A good surround sound system can make a surprising amount of difference in fast-paced competitive games, helping you hear where other players are on the map.
Laptops, especially gaming laptops, are a study in compromises. Smaller machines are lighter and easier to travel with, but bigger, heavier boxes offer the dedicated graphics cards necessary for high-end gaming. An external graphics card let you have your cake (no lie) and eat it too.