Why Are the PCI Express Ports on My Motherboard Different Sizes? x16, x8, x4, and x1 Explained

The PCI Express standard is one of the staples of modern computing, with a slot on more or less every desktop computer made in the last decade. But the nature of the connection is somewhat nebulous: on a new PC, you might see a half-dozen ports in three or four different sizes, all labelled “PCIE” or PCI-E.” So why the confusion, and which ones can you actually use?

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a New NVIDIA or AMD Graphics Card?

A few years ago, people were predicting the death of PC gaming as we know it. Those people are feasting on an abundance of humble pie, as PC games remain a cornerstone of the industry: digital delivery gives us more variety than ever before, and even the relatively niche market of performance gaming hardware has never been more healthy. But even the most humble of PC gamers needs a graphics card (well, sort of), and it’s one of the most frequent upgrades gamers make. But is now a good time to buy one?

How to Load DRM-Free eBooks Onto Your Kindle

The Kindle is a fantastic reading device, but it’s almost entirely reliant upon Amazon’s closed retail system for buying books. That’s by design, of course—it’s an Amazon gadget, they want you to spend money on their store. But if you have a collection of eBooks obtained somewhere else, designed for cross-platform reading in another format without the typical DRM, it’s possible to get them loaded onto your Kindle fairly easily.

The Best Comic Book Readers for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Comic books as a medium seem tailor-made for tablets, even if the timeline doesn’t precisely add up. But there are a surprising amount of comic reading applications meant for old-fashioned desktop machines, too. This stuff comes in handy for gadgets that blur the lines, like the Microsoft Surface, or for someone who’s amassed a large collection of DRM-free comic book files.

How to Use Windows 10’s Built-In Photos App

As a fairly versatile operating system, Windows has always had ways of browsing and viewing photos. But with Windows 10, Microsoft decided to try and mash browsing, organizing, and viewing all together in one application, with some basic editing to boot. The result, the innocuously-titles “Photos” app, can be less than intuitive.

Microtransactions in AAA Games Are Here to Stay (But They’re Still Terrible)

This weekend, while most of the technology and gaming press wasn’t working on anything particularly important, Warner Bros. Interactive tried to slip a small news item past their attention. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the highly-anticipated sequel to the Tolkien-themed adventure game Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, will include microtransactions. This $60 game—up to $100 USD if you spring for the special pre-order versions—will ask players to pay even more in bite-sized chunks to unlock some of its content faster.

How to Log In to Windows 10 With a Non-Microsoft Email Address

By default, Windows 10 asks you to create a Microsoft account when you log in to Windows for the first time. But if you’d prefer to use an email that you actually use for, you know, email, that’s an option too. Windows 10 accepts new non-Microsoft email accounts on setup, and you can create a new Windows user with any email account.

The 10 Best Free-to-Play Online Shooters

Games are expensive. Want to play the latest headline-grabbing entry from EA or Activision? Be prepared to shell out $60…or $100 for the real version with a name like “Ultimate Edition.” Maybe that’s why so many developers are extending their horizons into the free-to-play arena. Here are ten online multiplayer shooters you can play without spending a dime.

What Is the M.2 Expansion Slot, and How Can I Use It?

There’s a new open format sweeping the world of performance PCs, and it’s…well, complicated. The M.2 format is designed for manufacturers to replace a variety of specific devices, do it in a tiny space, and require very little power. But actually upgrading to an M.2 drive or accessory requires a little forethought.

How to Completely Remove a Book From Your Kindle Library

You’ve probably been happily reading ebooks on your Kindle (or the Kindle app) for years, accruing a nice digital library full of interesting titles. But what if, for some reason, someone else needs to see that library of yours…and there are some items within that you’d rather they didn’t? Say, perhaps, one of those steamy romance novels that makes up a massive 34% of fiction sales in US?

How to Catch Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Since the game went online over a year ago, players of Niantic’s massively popular (and often frustrating) AR monster-catcher have wondered where all the legendary creatures are hiding in Pokémon Go. The original Game Boy title had massively powerful, interesting, and unique legendary Pokémon way back in the 90s, but the smartphone game launched without access to Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Mewtwo, despite a heavy feature in the original trailer.

How to Make a Tabletop Studio for Perfect eBay or Craigslist Photos

So you’ve decided to flex your mercurial muscles and start selling products online. High-quality photos are a simple way to attract more buyers, and contrary to what you might think, they don’t require thousands of dollars in equipment. With a simple photo tent and some lights, even a decent smartphone camera can take great photos of small-to-medium objects.

How (and Why) to Disable 2.4GHz Wi-Fi on Your Network

Technology is an odd duck: in less than twenty years, Wi-Fi has gone from an amazing (and expensive) luxury to an assumed inclusion in every device you own. And yet, there’s plenty of room for improvement…which is why you should consider disabling the old 2.4GHz band on your home’s Wi-Fi network and using the newer, faster, less crowded 5GHz band exclusively.

How to Install the Beyond Skyrim: Bruma Mod

It’s been over five years since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim landed in gamers’ eager hands, and we don’t seem any closer to a true sequel than we were back then (no, The Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t count). Bethesda is content to port the old game to every new platform possible, but the modding community is picking up the slack, adding tons of new, professional-level content to the original version of the RPG.

How to Avoid Abusive Online Gamers

A wise man once said that a normal person, plus anonymity, plus an audience, equals…well, something we can’t reprint on a family-friendly website. But the tendency for anonymous crowds to be abusive is well-known, and adding in the competitive nature of online multiplayer games doesn’t help things.

What Is Intel Optane Memory?

In the quest for ever-faster computers, Intel is constantly introducing new upgrades to its products to try and get a bit of extra cash out of enthusiasts and corporate customers. One of the company’s most dramatic introductions as of late has been its branded Optane memory, launched alongside the seventh generation of Core-series processors.