Is Your Internet Service Provider Giving You Enough Bandwidth?

Is your internet service provider (ISP) giving you the bandwidth you’re paying for?  How much bandwidth does the average household need?  The use of internet for downloading music and video and other uses has exploded during recent years.  More devices, such as smart TVs,  game consoles and some household appliances are now making use of […]

Continue reading


Windows Operating Systems Life Cycle – End of Extended Support Coming for Another Windows Product

Microsoft Windows

End of Support for Microsoft Windows Products – What does it mean? Windows Operating Systems life cycle report, which Microsoft maintains, provides end-of-support dates for each of Microsoft’s Windows products. Based on the report, support for Windows Vista happens in April of 2017. Source: Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet  – Dec 2016 The life cycle report […]

Continue reading


Cloud Based File Synchronization Software – What are you Waiting for?

Cloud Storage

What is Cloud Based File Synchronization? Cloud based file synchronization represents the storage and access of electronic data or media files via the “Cloud”.  In simpler terms, it just means saving and maintaining your PC files use cloud storage.  Cloud storage is just another way of saying a hard drive found on an internet server.  […]

Continue reading


Solid-State Drives (SSD) Continue to Gain Popularity

The rotating platter hard disk drives (HDD) have been around since the early days of PCs.  Technology improvements are allowing for the improvement of speeds and capacity.  Basically the HDD technology involves a armature that moves across the surface of the platter.  Using magnetism, the drive head reads and writes information to the disk.  SSD […]

Continue reading


The Browser Wars – The Search for the Best Browser

It seems that browser wars have been around forever.  During the early 1990’s, the browser of choice was Netscape’s Navigator.   Netscape’s massive successful IPO in 1995 got the attention of Microsoft.  Microsoft began delivering their Internet Explorer bundled with their operating systems.  The browser wars were underway.   Some readers may recall the 1995 battle […]

Continue reading


CD ROM, DVD and Blu-Ray Drives – Has Streaming Doomed Optical Drives into Obsolescence?

Back in the mid-1990, the optical drive was introduced for use in PCs. One of its primary purposes for the CD-ROM player was to replace diskettes for distributing software. It also allowed users to play their audio CDs on their computers. The optical drive quickly caught on quickly. The technology evolved to include CD-ROM writers […]

Continue reading


Top Loved Commercial Desktops

Loved Desktops

It appears Dell is doing something right when it comes to providing users with desktop computers. It was quite interesting and I was more than a little surprised to see Dell sweep the top ten positions in the PC Pitstop Satisfaction Rankings for Commercial Desktop PCs as of July 2009. The rankings are based solely on user feedback describing their experience with their systems.

Continue reading


Top Loved Custom Desktops

Custom Desktops

As PC Pitstop began collating the user satisfaction feedback for desktop systems, it became evident that there was a significant number of custom built Desktop systems. Based on system information we were able to segregate these custom built systems into a separate satisfaction report. From this we were able to tabulate what motherboards were in the most loved systems. It is interesting to note that 4 out of the top 10 best loved motherboards are AMD boards.

Continue reading


Top Loved Notebooks

tln2

These are exciting times in the world of computing, and portables are seeing all the action. One thing that is becoming obvious is that the line between netbook and notebook is starting to blur. Netbooks are becoming more powerful and Notebooks are becoming lighter, and longer lasting. Shown below are your picks for Most Loved Notebooks. Keep in mind that Netbooks have been filtered out of these results and were the category we used to kick off the Most Loved series. You can find those results in the previous July Newsletter or by looking for previous articles in TechTalk.

Continue reading


Top Loved Netbooks

Netbooks

Welcome everyone to a new and very exciting part of PC Pitstop. Roughly a year ago, as part of the incredibly popular OverDrive test, we began collecting user input about PC satisfaction. We began asking the following three questions:

  • * How satisfied are you with this PC?
  • * Is this PC running slow?
  • * Is this PC hanging or requiring frequent reboots?

Continue reading


Netbooks – Who’s Using Them?

asus-eee-pc

Netbooks – those ultra small portable PCs – are they a niche product, a passing fad or an up and coming product just in its infancy? PC Pitstop analyzed the prevalence of netbooks that ran our on-line diagnostic scans during Q4 2008 and Q1 2009. For the purpose of our analysis, we looked at processor descriptions as well as the display size for portables. For the most part, we found that the netbooks usually contained the Intel® Atomâ„¢ processor. We also set a filter for portable display size of less than 11 inches for the purpose of our analysis.

Continue reading


XP Service Pack 3 – Adoption Rates Could be Worse

search.gif

Since its release in early May 2008, there has been plenty of press concerning the issues with Microsoft’s XP Service Pack 3. Common sense would tell us that such negative press would drastically slow the rate that folks would update to the release. PC Pitstop analyzed the percentage of XP users that have updated their systems to SP3 during the first three months since its release and compared them to the adoption rates of SP2 during its roll out.

Continue reading


Average Installed Memory – Vista vs. XP

Vista vs XP: Average Installed RAM

Back in May 2006, when Microsoft announced Vista system memory requirements of 512 MB for “Vista Capable” and 1 GB for “Vista Premium Ready” classifications, the average XP system had 833 MB and 659 MB of installed memory for Desktop and Portable systems respectively. Once Vista was released in early 2007, most users determined that “more memory was better” as the average installed desktop memory rose relatively quickly to over 2 GB on Vista systems. In recent months, it is not uncommon for PC manufacturers to market Vista systems with 3 GB of RAM. The emergence of 64-bit architecture has also likely played a role in the increase of average RAM.

Continue reading


Single and Multi-processors Trends

*

Systems with multi-processors, once found only on servers and other extreme high end performance systems, have found there way into the general consumer arena. The percentage of systems running PC Pitstop’s on-line diagnostics and having multiprocessors grew from just over 1% in January 2006 to almost 30% in January 2008. The percentage of portables that have multi-processors has reached almost 40% in January 2008. A comparison of Intel to AMD shows AMD with a slight edge in both desktops and portable platforms as a percentage of their respective number of system with multi-processors.

Continue reading


Firewire Ready PCs

*

FireWire origins date back to the mid-1980’s when Apple Computer devised a high-speed data transfer technology for Macintosh internal hard drives. In 1995, the IEEE announced the IEEE 1394 spec which is sometimes called the FireWire400. In 2002, the IEEE came out with a updated standard called IEEE 1394b which allowed for a theoretical maximum transfer rate of 3.2 Gbps. Apple soon released a subset of the new standard under the title of FireWire 800. In December 2007, the 1394 Trade Association announced the FireWire S3200 that will soon be available and that will support the full 3.2 Gbps transfer rate.

Continue reading


Printer Survey Results December 2007

The initial analysis of our December 2007 Printer Survey results.

Novice Users

54.8%…All in One Inkjet
29.7%…Inkjet
5.2%…Laser
4.3%…All in One Laser

Intermediate Users

47.5%…All in One Inkjet
36.4%…Inkjet
9.9%…Laser
3.9%…All in One Laser

The typical inkjet printer owner spends about $80 annually in the $30 billion dollar a year ink-jet cartridge market. (Lyra Research)

Continue reading


Display, Media and Network Drivers

*

PC Pitstop Research took a look at the display, media (sound card) and network drivers for the PCs that ran our on line tests during the month of October 2007. Based on our observations, these hardware classes include devices that are likely to have the most frequent driver updates. When we compared a PC’s installed driver date to the newest driver date for a given device in our database, we were able to determine the percentage of PCs that were not using the newest driver for their hardware component.

Continue reading


PC Pitstop PC Information Results

Our September 2007 survey polled the folks visiting the PC Pitstop web site to determine just how intimate people are with their PCs. Nine out of ten people surveyed indicated that they knew the manufacturer of their PC, the size of their hard drives and how much RAM is installed. Almost as many indicated that they remember the model number of their PC and who manufactured the CPU. No surprises there. These are the common attributes that PC marketers highlight in their ads and that most people look for when buying a PC.

Continue reading


US State Technology Metrics – Quartile Rankings


How does your state rank in general PC technology? We analyzed several technology metrics for folks running the PC Pitstop online tests and ranked the states based on our findings. Surprisingly, no one state or region clearly dominated all the metrics we reviewed. Delaware appears to have surfaced towards the top of the rankings while the states of Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas and Ohio generally ranked lowest.

Continue reading


Vista Trends

Microsoft launched Vista Business in late 2006 and Vista Home in early 2007. Our research shows that in July 2007, Vista was found on 12% of the PCs running the PC Pitstop online tests. Our research also shows that Vista is significantly lagging the historical XP launch ramp by almost 57%. In the six months following the XP launch in 2001, the operating system had grown to be found on over 28% of all PCs. Vista’s prevalence, after six months from its consumer Vista Home launch, sits at 12%.

Continue reading


DVD Copying Tools Software Trends

The PC has provided the ability for users to make, edit and copy of all types of digital information. PC Pitstop Research took a look at the prevalence of DVD decryption and ripping software found on the PCs running the analytical tests on our website. This type of software makes it possible for a PC user to decrypt and rip a DVD movie onto their hard drive or other digital media. A search of the Internet for DVD coping software reveals a variety of both freeware and commercial applications that a user can use to create backups of their DVD movies. Approximately 15% of the PCs visiting our web site have at least one of the DVD decryption and ripping applications installed.

Continue reading


World of Processors

Over the past 20+ years, the PC industry has revolved around key innovations in processor technology. Recent years have been marked by the emergence of multi-core processor technology. Today, there are essentially three types of processors currently available for the desktop PC user: single core, dual core, and quad core. The ‘core’ is the part of the microprocessor that does the work. This is different from computers with multiple processors.

Continue reading


PC Pitstop Online Video Survey Results

The PC Pitstop June 2007 survey took a look at how people are adapting to and using online video. Improvements in technologies and bandwidth have opened up a whole new way for how information is being shared and accessed on the internet. 40% of the folks that answered our survey indicate that they are frequently watching online news videos. Web sites such as YouTube.com and MySpace.come are basically allowing anyone, with a PC and the desire, to make and share their online videos with the world.

Continue reading


PC Pitstop PC Obsolescence Survey Results

The results of our May 2007 PC Gaming Survey have been analyzed. How many people use the various shortcuts or media features on their computer?

The significant highlights:

  • Over 70% of people under twenty reported not having a fax modem.
  • Almost 70% of people never use that menu button by the spacebar. Right-click does the same thing. It takes more energy to take your hand off the mouse than it does to right-click, however.
  • Not even 2% of people who responded use the SysRq key. Maybe it’s time to take that off the keyboard.

Continue reading


PC Bloatware Trends

PC manufacturers have been loading “trial application” on the PCs they sell for years. We took a look at three of the more common bloatware titles to get a view of the historical trends. The titles identified for our analysis included the WildTangent Game Console, URL Assistant by Google (aka Browser Address Error Redirector) and Microsoft’s own Activation Assistant for the 2007 Office Suites. Our research shows that the prevalence of these applications have more than doubled in the past year. Vista systems especially seem to a target for this software. Over 35% of Vista systems running PC Pitstop’s on-line tests in May 2007 had a least one of these bloatware application installed.

Continue reading


Unutilized D Drive Partitions

Our research shows that, overall, approximately 3.1% of PCs that have one physical hard drive also have an unutilized partition with drive letter D:. Our research indicates that 4.8% of portables and 2.4% of desktops have a D: drive partition that has 99% or more free space. It appears that it is common for some vendors to split the primary hard drive into two partitions. Often a drive is split into two equal partitions. If you think your hard drive capacity isn’t what you paid for, you might want to check to see if you have an unutilized drive partition.

Continue reading


PC Pitstop PC Gaming Survey Results

The results of our April 2007 PC Gaming Survey have been analyzed. Below are some of our findings.

Almost everyone has a favorite PC game. Almost 96% of the responders to our survey indicate that they play one or more PC games on a regular basis. While the games that are loaded with the Windows operating systems are not as addictive as other types, almost 70% indicated that they occasionally or regularly play these free games.

Continue reading


PC Pitstop Vista Survey Results

The results of our February and March 2007 Vista Survey are in. Our initial analysis of the survey data is found below.

In summary, the results of our survey are generally not good news for Microsoft. While Microsoft’s ‘The “Wow” starts now’ tag line for Vista marketing focuses attention to its visual and graphic capabilities, the software giant appears to have under-estimated the importance of marketing the more tangible benefits that PC users want or expect. Our survey results indicate a significant amount of uncertainty or confusion by PC users as to the benefits of upgrading to Vista.

Continue reading


PC Pitstop Storage and Backup Survey Results

The results of our December 2006 Storage and Backup Survey are in. Our initial analysis of the survey data is found below.

An astounding 27.5% of people never backup their hard drive, and 13% do it once a year. Personally, I backup once a month, and I really should do it more often. I am the owner of about 5 PC’s, and due to the law of averages, I experience about 1 hard drive crash a year. If you think of all the important information one stores on their PC’s, pictures, emails, work, videos, it would be a crime to lose all of this due to procrastinating a backup.

Continue reading


Small Hard Drive Partitions

Some PC vendors are making a practice of creating a small partition on a system’s primary hard drive in which to store the systems’ original restoration information. Generally these partitions are 5 – 12 Gigabytes in size and are preformatted during the manufacturing process. The practice appears to have replaced the inclusion of a restoration CD for some PC vendors. While it may be considered a convenience by some to have the operating system and driver backups loaded on the local hard drive, the practice should not be considered a safe backup practice for these system files.

Continue reading


Prevalence of Canadian Digital Media Sharing & Copying Sftwr

A January 2007 Canada.com news story reported that according to a Twentieth Century Fox investigation, as much as fifty percent of the world’s pirated movies come from Canada. The article cites that the Canadian Copyright Act, as well as the internal policies of police forces, make it extremely difficult for them to crack down on movie piracy. The focus of the article was on the practice of “camcording” of movies in Montreal movie houses.

Continue reading


Microsoft Zune

In mid November 2006, Microsoft released Zune, their brand of portable media player in the US markets. The product was targeted to compete with the popular Apple iPod. The launch model of Zune, included a 30 GB hard drive, built in FM tuner and a 3 inch screen. Microsoft attempted to differentiate their product from the competition by adding a built in Wi-Fi that allows Zune users to wirelessly share songs, playlists and pictures with other Zunes.

Continue reading