HOW TO: Prevent ESD & Protect Hardware

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Whenever you decide to build, upgrade or maintain your computer / laptop / workstations, it is important to observe basic steps and precaution when handling expensive hardware from Electro Static Discharge (ESD).

What is ESD…?

Short for ElectroStatic Discharge, ESD is one of the most lethal weapons that can inflict serious damage to the entire internal systems, or parts of it (a.k.a – hardware “CPU, MB, GPU, RAM, etc). If you don’t understand, it’s similar to the shock when rubbing your feet on carpets and touching something metal. Also, please be aware that ESD can occur without user feeling a shock. This will only occur while working on the inside of the computer or handling hardware without ESD protection.

How To Prevent ESD…?

Here are some basic procedures you can take to reduce the chance of causing ESD damage.

1.] Check the humidity of your work environment before touching / handling computer hardware. It should be around 40% and above. This should reduce any resistance that could generate a charge and makes it difficult to generate ESD.

2.] Always disconnect the power-cord and everything from the back / front (a.k.a – usb cables, peripherals, computer monitors) and stand when working inside computers / laptops. If you are sitting on a chair or the floor, it can generate more ESD. Also, if you regularly use your computer, you MUST power-down your system and leave it for 30 minutes before handling / upgrading computers. Immediate power-down and touching components directly, it could damage hardware.

3.] Make sure NOT to wear any clothing that conduct electrical charge. This could be wool sweater or sleeves and other materials that have lint substance.

4.] Keep ESD generative materials away from work areas, such as ‘CATS & DOGS’ HAIR! They are classified as ESD bombs! Sorry, if I accidentally offend your pets. It’s the truth…

5.] The biggest issues which I’ve seen EVERYWHERE on the net and face-to-face work environments, is the staff wearing wrist watches, bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. These accessories should be taken off before handling or working on computers. If you continue without consideration, you may scratch or damage your computer, or parts of it.

6.] To help reduce ESD and help prevent future accidents, it’s a good idea to invest your money on “Anti-Static Wrist Straps, Sole / Heel Grounders, Anti-Static Mat, Lint Free ESD Safety Gloves”. Also, for extra precaution, make sure that your workbench is built from steel / stainless steel (metal) so it can provide more contact while working or handling precious hardware.

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7.] If you have any exposed hardware lying around your workbench, but decide to take a break or continue with your project at another time. Then please put them inside a protective “ESD Bubble Bags or Ziploc Top ESD Bags”. Also as a reminder that ONLY the inside of an anti-static bag is protected. So don’t you place any hardware / parts on top as a cushion, because, the surface itself is conductive!

Notes: Anti-static bags are slightly conductive that acts like a FARADAY CAGE, but if you puncture, crease, or tear them like crazy, you’d break the conductivity of the material. So be extra careful!

8.] If you are working in a room that have carpets / rugs, please don’t touch your computer or hardware, just yet. Instead, you should invest on a proper scaled “Anti-Static Mat”. Size should be similar to HDTV screen 34 / 40 inches or bigger to accommodate important work areas.

Finally… that’s pretty much it!

Thank you for reading and supporting Lair360.co.uk!

Corsair Hydro H80i GT Review

Introduction
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When it comes to extreme performances, luxuries and demands from thousands and millions of gamers, Corsair knows pretty well that they have to push their limits and design something similar to the “H100i GTX” model for smaller enclosures like: “Mid-Towers, M-ATX and Mini-ATX”. So, to solve this dilemma, Corsair decided to resurrect their smaller sister: H80i (2013) to re-design and push performances beyond the term we called ‘overkill’ to provide diversity and accommodate their “H100i GTX” – a.k.a. big brother.
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Now, before you start reading this review, please do read my “H100i GTX” article, this is because, the “H80i GT” specs are relatively the same. The only difference it has is a thicker radiator that supports single fans from each side.

Contents & Accessories

Similar to the “H100i GTX” model, the packaging itself has the same layout which provides detailed information about the “H80i GT” model. Also, from the inside, you will find that everything is packed safely in an “egg carton” style packaging, while other accessories are stored in plastic pouches and cardboard sleeve.
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Inside the box, we have two 120mm fans (Static Pressure), required screws for installation, universal back-bracket, AMD front bracket (which can be swap with INTEL bracket), Corsair Link Cable and an instruction manual for emergency.
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Pretty much de-ja-vu… the only difference is the instruction manual!

Specifications & Aesthetic

When comparing the H80i GT against the H100i GTX and previous H80i models, the biggest differences is the thickness of the radiator with improved close-loop design. With a staggering depth of 49mm (9mm thicker than H100 GTX), you can expect greater cooling potential and faster, more efficient push and pull performances (if you prefer dual-fan configurations). Also, as an added bonus for H80i owners, the newest edition also sports a whopping “4.65 mm/H2O” static pressure. That is 16.25% increase in cooling performances! However, when it comes down to noise issues running at maximum load, it may cause irritations for some users. But, rest assured, because Corsair has included its “Link Technology”, which is designed to lower fan speed if desired.
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Please look at the table for more information:

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Likewise, when comparing the H80i GT against the H100i GTX, it looks pretty much the same in design and aesthetic – tubes are sleeved that run straight through the pump enclosure, radiators have silver like strips / badges, power cables are the same and CPU block supports RGB light system that can be controlled with Corsair Link.
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In conclusion, the H80i GT is one heck of a water cooling kit for “Mid-Size and Mini” towers that support the same aesthetic appeal as the big brother – H100i GTX. Not only that, you can also try modding or use it as cooling alternative for stock GPUs, like the original R9 290X (first release model) which has issues with temperature, stability and loud noise.

If you are visiting or living in Ho Chi Minh City, please do visit “Do Choi Tin Hoc” computer store!
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Corsair Hydro H100i GTX Review

Introduction
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Having looked at Corsair’s previous liquid “Hydro” series: H100i, H105, H80 and H75, the giant successor has pretty much blown the entire community away like featherless paper – no doubt! Even I got blown away like paper weight. Actually, a lot worse, but in a good way…

Now, if you really want to know, it’s pretty much a re-designed version of the H100i and H80i series with a brand-spankin name: Hydro H100i GTX (240mm) and H80i GT (120mm). Not only that, Corsair has completely remodelled their CPU block with sleeved tubing and thicker rads, so, it can withstand more stress while operating at peek performance.

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So, for this review, we are going to take a look at Corsair’s H100i GTX series.

Enjoy!

Contents & Accessories

As always, Corsair has a tendency to include lots of information on their packaging so you can make an informed decision, should you find their products in store.
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The front of the box displays a full picture of the products itself that includes two 120mm fans, 5 years warranty, and is compatible with both Intel and AMD processors. From the back and sides of the box, you will find plenty of information, features, graphs and product’s dimension.

Opening the box, you will find that everything is packed safely in an “egg carton” style packaging, while other accessories are stored in plastic pouches and cardboard sleeve.
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Inside the box, we have two 120mm fans (Static Pressure), required screws for installation, universal back-bracket, AMD front bracket (which can be swap with INTEL bracket), Corsair Link Cable and an instruction manual for emergency.
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Specifications & Aesthetic

By looking at both radiator models: H100i and H100i GTX, they are pretty much similar in lengths and supports 240mm spacing for PMW fans, however the GTX is 3mm thicker which allows more surface area for heat dissipation. But, odd enough, the PWM fans (SP120L) also looks similar but different to previous models with static pressure of “4.65 mm/H2O ~ 37 dBA”. This may cause irritation for some user when running at full load. So, to combat that annoying issues, Corsair has included its “Link Technology”, which is designed to lower fan speed if desired.
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Please look at the table for more information:

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If you look between the CPU block and radiator, you will notice that each tubing are sleeved to provide more strength, durability and not just for aesthetic appeal. However, unlike previous models, they actually run straight through the pump enclosure and will not rotate. This may cause problems for smaller enclosures, but, with a little ‘Modding / DIY’ the tube should be flexible enough to fit inside without issues.

Looking at Corsair’s universal bracket which is designed for various motherboards, it’s pretty much simplified and doesn’t require a lot of assembling like other cooling kits. All you have to do is move the notch outwards / inwards to fit specific AMD / INTEL motherboards.
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Moving to the side of the radiator and CPU block, you will notice that there are beautiful silver like strips / badges with Corsair branding to freshen up your build. As an extra bonus, the cooling block also sports RGB light system that can be controlled with Corsair Link.
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For personal taste, the extra flare does provide better aesthetic appeal than traditional coolers. If not, why don’t you try coating it with carbon fibre, gold or something else to match your theme? That would be awesome!

Finally, we come across the same cable set-up which is used to power the pump for the CPU block. Also by default, there is no need to find headers for your fans, because, “Corsair Link” will control everything. HOWEVER, yes… however… Corsair could have made it modular (optional) so we can use other options to connect fans or replace faulty cables.
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In conclusion, here are my thoughts regarding Corsair Hydro newest product lines:

1.] It has impressive cooling performance; thicker radiator with quality tubing that is “SLEEVED” to match your build.
2.] Installation process has been simplified even further for novice and professional who prefer quicker installation similar to “Plug & Play”.
3.] Improved fans for radiators with “Corsair Link” software.
4.] Aesthetically appealing with modding potential!
5.] It should be product of the year!

If you are visiting or living in Ho Chi Minh City, please do visit “Do Choi Tin Hoc” computer store!
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Classic XBOX360 Controller (Edition 2013) For Windows PC!

When I was in Scotland for education purposes, I decided to reward myself with an “XBOX360 PC Controller”, so, I could play my favourite games on STEAM & Big Picture mode easily. However, to acquire a genuine controller, I have to do some research and avoid buying fake ones. This is because, most fake controller cables, thumb-stick and PCB (inside the controller) are prone to become faulty and break apart instantly if you are not careful. So what really happened? Instead of buying on Amazon, I actually stumbled across this shop: Everest Technology (http://etstore.co.uk) where they sell not just PC peripherals but also PC hardware for gamers and enthusiast.

Now as a gamer / reviewer living in Vietnam, I need to buy another pair of controller for emergency backup if the other pair decides to kamikaze. Also, as another big problem between myself and Vietnam, where the hell do I buy it? Luckily to my utmost surprise, there is one shop owner that I know that sells the same type of controller I was looking for. If you want to know, the name of the shop is called: Vi Tính MI DOAN. It’s located in 7C, Tôn Thất Tùng, PPNL, District 1, HCM.

XBOX 360 Controllers PC, Hands On & Successors!
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Travelling way back, the first controller was exclusively designed for the original XBOX console. However, due to its huge size, cheap and bulky design, it was classified as an abomination by the gaming communities. Even worse, the thumb-sticks design was aligned horribly with buttons that is impossible to reach. Fortunately, Microsoft did manage to solve most of the errors with a quick redesign and release of the Controller-S series.

In 2005, Microsoft unveiled their Xbox360 console with a new game-pad controller. However, upon inspection the entire colour variation was plastered in White & Grey. So, a few years along the line, Microsoft managed to release a few more consoles like the XBOX360 Elite or Special Edition for gamers and consumers to match their TV, monitor and furniture.

In 2012-2013, Microsoft decided to support the PC platform by releasing a cordless / wireless PC version for gamers and developers. With STEAM and Ubisoft requirements screaming at everyone’s heels, native game-pads support is now a must if you want to play action packed titles or stay ahead of the game.
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First, both USB corded and wireless can be used with any XBOX360 and PC systems. The wireless version has a range of around 29-30 feet but requires an official wireless receiver for Windows system.

Second, moving beyond simple design and aesthetic, the XBOX360 PC version is easily one of, if not, most comfortable and unique controller around. The hand grip are subtly contoured and naturally wraps your entire hands with comfort like a leaf that falls gently to the ground. Regarding textures and feel, it was designed in an unobtrusive but sleek looking for enthusiast and casual gamers. Also as a hand’s down, weight distribution is superb and sits neutrally in one hand.
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Third, button and trigger placement is improved and feels better than any other controller! It even puts the Logitech controllers to shame! Not just that the whole button and thumb-stick feels smooth to the touch and provides a nice home for my BIG thumbs. Classic!

Finally, since Valve, STEAM is capitalising the gaming market with BIG Picture MODE, it would be a good idea to invest your money on Xbox360 PC controller if you decide to play your games with a monster 4K / UHD screen. If not, then where is the immersive gameplay if you decide to stick your head against a big monitor and strain your neck? Good luck with that…
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In conclusion, whether you are converting from consoles to PC gaming or a stubborn veteran who insists on playing FPS / Racing titles with Keyboard & Mouse, please remember this: PC gaming is all about choice and taste. That means, picking your own hardware, graphics card, processors, tweaking and playing games the way you want to play them. So, it’s wise to have a native XBOX360 PC controller ready for action. You never know when you need it!

For those who would like to purchase corded / wireless XBOX360 controller (PC) in Vietnam, please go to Vi Tính MI DOAN store and ask for special order. It may take a few days / weeks for them to get it for you.

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Screw Box Organiser & MB Paper Washer, Vietnam

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A few months ago I tried to find a few things for my computer build project and I thought it would be easy. However, due to difficulties living in Vietnam, looking for proper equipment and hardware is like a total jumble. So to combat this problem, I asked around HCM for 3 / 4 months for specialised computer store that offers simple products, such as: “screw box organiser” for storing various types of computer screws and motherboard insulating washer. Without these products, it will be hard to keep my collection of screws organise while I repair / fix / build computers for work or for my clients. So after my search for the holly grail, I managed to find a special store that sells them. To my surprise, they also stock “black oxidized PC screws” and quality silver MB standoffs! I couldn’t believe my eyes!

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Anyway, after gawking around the shop and checking product’s quality, I decided to buy god knows how many computer screws (including “oxidized” version) for modding or for emergency backup. Not just that, they also introduce two versions of “screw organiser storage” – small with 10 compartments and big with 15 compartments. So without hassle, I told them to bring forward 5 big and 2 small storage boxes so I could buy them. Then after my first massive purchase, I end-up buying two packs of 100 motherboard washers. Why ask? Motherboard washers are rare like torture machines and I would rather get them as bulk purchase just to be safe than sorry.

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Overall, as a satisfy reviewer from Vietnam, I am glad to find a decent store that helps me complete a few things for my project. If that is not enough to make your mouth water, then let me say that they also stock Corsair, Phantek and other cool products for everyone to buy. So please check out their store if you are in HCM city!

For more information about the “screw organiser storage” and “motherboard washers”, please consider watching the video.