What’s The Best 4K Computer Monitor?

What's The Best 4K Computer Monitor?

You don’t have to have a high-powered PC to make the most of a high-resolution 4K monitor, but it certainly helps. If you’ve picked up a 4K display, either for some seriously beautiful gaming or just for the real estate, we want to hear about the one you chose, and why.

Whether it’s a 4K display made for computers or a 4K TV you had imported or bought on discount and plugged in to your PC, this week we want to hear which one you chose, why you love it, and why it’s the one you would recommend to others. Sound off in the discussions below!

Let’s hear your vote in the discussions below! To cast your vote, follow these guidelines:

  1. Follow this format for your vote, including the bold print. If you don’t, it won’t be counted:

    A PHOTO OF THE BEST 4K COMPUTER MONITOR
    Vote: [BEST 4K COMPUTER MONITOR]
    Why: Explain why this 4K display is the one you think is the best! Maybe you own it, and you know it’s a solid performer. Maybe it’s a solid, cheap option that gives you tons of room to work. Maybe it’s a 60Hz 4K display and looks fabulous whether you’re working or gaming on it. Maybe it’s just affordable. What makes it the one you’d recommend to others, and why? Make your case!

  2. Don’t duplicate nominations! Instead, if someone’s nominated your pick, star (recommend) it to give it a boost, and reply with your story instead.
  3. Please don’t leave non-entry, direct comments on this post. They’ll just get pushed down. Save your stories for others’ submissions!

If you’re not sure what we mean, just check out the nominations by our writers below. We’ll give you a head start, and they should all be in the proper format, so you can just follow our lead.

The Hive Five is our weekly series where you vote on your favorite apps and tools for any given job. Have a suggestion for a topic? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Computer visa glitch leaves migrant workers stranded at US-Mexico border

A farm worker harvests lettuce near the border town of Calexico, California.

A US government computer glitch has left hundreds of migrant farm workers stranded at the Mexican border, as their would-be employers now search for replacements to harvest their summer crops and combat further economic losses on both sides of the border.

Farms across the US rely on the H-2A visa program to hire temporary workers for each harvesting season. But the computer failure has prevented the government from issuing these visas to the predominantly Mexican workforce since last Wednesday.

“The longer it goes on, the more it is going to back up and cascade and be a bigger problem for more and more people,” said Kerry Scott, program manager at Mas Labor, a Virginia-based agency that acts as a middleman between would-be workers in Mexico and farms in the US.

On Tuesday, the agency had 357 Mexican workers trapped at various points along the border. Scott said that the level of damage it could cause for harvesting varied “farm by farm” – as some crops ripen more quickly, depending on the time of year.

“This process is always slow and cumbersome, and by the time the workers are arriving, on a normal basis, they are usually already late or about to be late so this just exacerbates the problem,” said Scott.

The majority of seasonal workers come from poor rural villages in states as far flung as Chiapas, Yucatan and Guerrero, which can mean bus journeys of up to two days just to reach the border. Some US employers reimburse basic transport and accommodation costs, others only pay for the work visa. None will cover the unforeseen costs resulting from the visa crisis.

While US farmers are concerned about the rotting orchards and the potential for prices to rise as a result, Mexicans are losing money as they won’t be paid for the days missed stuck at the border waiting for the visa system to be repaired.

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Temporary legal workers are paid an hourly rate, set by the department of agriculture, which currently varies from $10 in Alabama to just over $13 an hour in South Dakota. Farm workers typically toil 10 hours a day during the harvest, earning at least $100 a day – ten times what many can earn in Mexico. Most will wire home the vast majority of their salaries to support their families.

Zazyl Moreira runs an agency based in Monterrey, Mexico’s third largest city in the border state of Nuevo Leon, which helps seasonal workers sort out their temporary visas.

On Tuesday, a group of 13 men from Michoacan contracted for six months to harvest vegetables by one farm in Indiana arrived at the agency after a 16-hour journey.

When they arrived at the consulate in Monterrey for the scheduled interview, they discovered that the office was closed, with no one available to speak to them. These men had given up their farm jobs at home to travel to Indiana, where they’d been contracted for six months for the third year in a row.

Francisco Javier Sanchez, 26, told the Guardian: “We cannot afford to stay in Monterrey, so we’re probably going to have to return home as it’s too dangerous to cross the border with a coyote. No one will help us pay for this wasted journey. I have a wife and seven-year old daughter at home, I need to start working.”

A worker labors at farm outside San Luis, Arizona. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
A worker labors at farm outside San Luis, Arizona. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters
The dangerous, expensive wait for a visa
The visa glitch is affecting all seasonal workers, not just farm hands.

Activists believe this glitch is showcasing the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Rosalinda Guillen, executive director of Community to Community Development, said that there are enough workers in the US that farmers should not have to rely on the H-2A program. “It’s been extremely easy for the agriculture industry to bring in guest workers to the work that US-based farmworkers can do,” she said.

She said that the H-2A program leaves immigrant workers at the mercy of the farmers who sponsor them to come over. “Worker rights and civil rights are very difficult to enforce because they are basically tied to the employer and they can be easily deported,” she said.

Because the visa system is down, Guillen said she hopes farmers will turn to skilled workers who are already in the US, but are passed over because they demand higher wages and better protections. “For us, it means some of the local domestic workers may actually get jobs – at least that’s what I’m hoping,” she said.

Adrienne DerVartanian, director of immigration and labor tights at Farmworker Justice, echoed Guillen’s concerns that the H-2A program only offers modest worker protections to a vulnerable workforce. “Ironically, there wouldn’t be a problem here if Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform,” she said.

Her group believes such reforms would offer protections for farmers and workers who are suffering from the delay.

“The debt that H-2A workers carry to the United States – from illegal recruitment fees and travel costs – increases their desperation to work,” DerVartanian said. “Because of their dependence on their employer for their continued ability to work in the United States, it also increases their vulnerability in the workplace.”

José Mario Saldaña, 25, also from Michoacan, was due to start a six-month contract with a landscape gardening company in Maryland last week. He travelled 12 hours from his home to Monterrey last Wednesday. He completed the biometric test but his visa interview was cancelled. He returned back home two days later, having spent $200 on travel, accommodation and food.

Saldaña told The Guardian from his home in Michoacan: “Here, I can only find two or three days farm work a week which pays $10 a day, I cannot support my family on that, but in Maryland the company is going to pay me $10 an hour. I’ve been told to wait here until they call me with a new appointment, I hope it is soon, I have four children to support, so I need to get to Maryland as soon as possible.”

Moreira said: “We’ve just been told by the consulate that interviews will not be rescheduled until at least June 25, so lots of workers will lose almost a month’s work in the US. This means their kids will have to go without tennis shoes or they won’t be able to afford a birthday party, it’s a big deal, they really need these jobs.”

Professor Rodolfo Casillas, a migration specialist at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Mexico City, said that the current crisis reveals a much wider conflict within US migration policies.

“The technical problem will be resolved in a few weeks, but the immediate aftermath for the US agricultural economy, the search by agricultural companies to find enough labor illegally and the need for workers to work, will without doubt encourage the smuggling of migrants, and increase the costs and the risks of crossing the border undocumented,” Casillas said.

“All this means more tension, more conflict and more profits for those operating outside of the migration scheme.”

E3’s first dedicated PC event basks in everything that makes PC gaming special

pc gaming show primary
PC gaming finally gets a time to shine at E3
Oh hey, PC gamers. We’re finally important enough to merit our own E3 press conference—thanks to our fellow enthusiasts at PC Gamer and the deep pockets of AMD. The PC Gaming Show rounded out a busy first day of E3, and with it we got to see some devs on stage we typically don’t see at E3! Paradox, Tripwire, Fullbright—this was PC gaming’s day in the sun. And oh, what a beautiful, 4K/60fps day in the sun it was, hosted by the personable Sean ‘Day9’ Plott.

Read on for more from the first-ever PC-centric E3 press conference, and be sure to check out our guide to the 33 must-see PC games announced during E3’s “Day Zero” press events.

How one bad keystroke can lead you to SpeedUpKit ‘scareware’

speedupkit 2

Dozens of misspelled domain names that spoof major brands are leading unsuspecting PC users to a questionable tune-up application called SpeedUpKit.

Since people are unlikely to seek out the application, its promoters rely partly on people misspelling the domain name for prominent brands to lead them to it. If you try to access the obituary website legacy.com from a Windows PC in the U.S., for instance, but type “legady” by accident, you’re likely to end up on a page promoting SpeedUpKit.

The practice, known as typosquatting, can sometimes violate consumer protection laws or constitute trademark infringement. Big brands police the web for such misspellings, and domain name registrars often try to stop the practice, but it still happens.

SpeedUpKit, which costs $30, claims to clean registry entries and junk files from a user’s PC. But a test of the application showed that it finds hundreds of problems even on a brand new computer.

On a fresh installation of Windows 7, the trial version of SpeedUpKit found 645 issues with the computer’s registry. And it flagged the computer’s “system registry health status” as “danger” in red capital letters.

speedupkit 1

Security experts often classify such programs as scareware. They’re applications that may have some legitimate functionality, but are really intended to scare non-savvy computer users into buying security products they probably don’t need.

Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Wikipedia and the New York Daily News are among the companies that have been targeted by SpeedUpKit for typosquatting, according toDomainTools, a company that provides investigative tools for domain name research.

The domain names were registered by Paul Cozzolino of Boynton Beach, Florida, records show. For example, Cozzolino registered ewwgoogle[dot]com, a variation of google.com.

If browsed in the U.S. on a Windows computer, the site redirects from ewwgoogle[dot]com to systemloginfo[dot]com, which was registered by Cozzolino last month, according to DomainTools. A warning that displays there says the computer’s antivirus software may be out of date. Another pop-up says “Please repair MSIE security updates.”

speedupkit 3

If users continue to click through the prompts, SpeedUpKit is downloaded. It offers to fix 10 issues for free, but pushes people to buy the full program.

Cozzolino couldn’t be reached for comment despite several attempts by email and phone.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Cozzolino moved from Florida to Portland, Oregon, around October last year. He started a company called CallTactics, which specializes in online advertising and managing inbound calls.

CallTactics worked in part with EZ Tech Support, a Portland-based inbound call center that shut down last week, according to a former EZ Tech employee who requested anonymity.

EZ Tech Support fielded calls from a variety of online advertising campaigns that primarily used adware. In some cases, adware baits people by offering a free utility, such as media player or a security scan, but often pushes paid-for software.

People who called EZ Tech were pushed to buy Defender Pro Antivirus for $300 and a one-time computer servicing for $250.

The FTC has taken a dim view of such schemes. Last November, it filed two federal lawsuits alleging a handful of mostly Florida-based telemarketing and software companies conned people out of $120 million.

The lawsuits alleged the companies falsely convinced people their computers had problems in order to sell them ineffective and overpriced software.

Raspberry Pi Foundation produces first official case for the micro PC

raspberrypicase

When the Raspberry Pi Foundation combined design, love, attention to detail, accuracy, iteration, and “damn hard work,” it came up with the first official Raspberry Pi case. The organization behind the popular micro PC recently announced a new enclosure designed for the Pi 2.

The popular micro-PC, which sells for $35, famously comes with little else other than a circuit board and the components. Sourcing everything else from the case to the monitor, keyboard, power supply, and operating system is left up to the user.

The official case is available now in the U.S. for $8.59 from MCM Electronics, with other retailers soon to follow. While it might sound mundane, this is actually a neat little home for your Pi board. The enclosure is white on the outside and a raspberry red color on the inside. The external white sides and top are removable to give you access to your Pi without having to remove it from the case.

After removing the white top, you get an opening to access the GPIO pins, as well as openings on each side for access to other components. The inner enclosure features pins that allow you to place the board securely on its mounting holes. MCM Electronics calls it the highest quality enclosure its seen for the Raspberry Pi 2.

The case doesn’t feature a fancy acrylic top to view the Pi while it’s computing all those 1s and 0s–a popular choice for many users. But if you want easy access to your Pi for various projects then this case looks like a great choice.

The story behind the story: This appears to the first, or at least one of the few, products that is actually produced by the Raspberry Pi Foundation itself. The group usually concerns itself with designing the hardware and then licensing manufacturing rights to a third party. For the case, however, the Foundation decided to design it in collaboration with product development firm Kinneir Dufort and then work intensely to get the tooling and plastic molding just right. You can read the entire story of the case’s 2.5-year journey from idea to finished product on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s blog.

Pushbullet launches Portal, an app to transfer files between Android and your PC

pushbullet portal

 

Pushbullet wants to make it a snap to send a file from the desktop to your phone.

Portal is the company’s newest app, designed just for this purpose. Once you’ve installed it you just need to head to the Portal site to start a transfer.

Pushbullet also touts that Portal serves as an easy repository for finding any of your transferred files. No need to dig through Android’s file manager—just open up the Portal app and you’ll find everything you’ve sent over.

While Pushbullet has a similar capability for sharing files to your phone, it’s much faster to go the Portal route, which sends them directly over your local network.

Additionally, if your device has an SD card and Android Lollipop, you can specify the transfer go directly to your external storage.

The impact on you: Pushbullet is a hugely popular Android app because of how tightly it integrates your phone and computer. Portal is a nice add-on to have if you want a simple way to send a picture, video, or document directly to your device. No need to use the old-school method of emailing it to yourself or waiting for it to sync through a cloud service.

AMD reveals HBM-powered Radeon Fury graphics cards, new R300-series GPUs

radeon r9 fury x

The wait is finally over. A year and a half after the launch of the R200-series, months after Nvidia refreshed its entire GeForce lineup, AMD has lifted the veil off its new Radeon graphics card lineup: the Fury series, powered by revolutionary high-bandwidth memory(HBM), and the company’s brand new Fiji GPU.

Leading the charge is the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X, which is capable of driving Tomb Raider to 45 frames per second at 5K resolution and Ultra settings, and offers 1.5 times the performance per watt of AMD’s previous R9 290X flagship. The graphics card boasts 4,096 stream processors—an incredible jump over the R9 290X’s 2816. The Radeon R9 Fury X packs 8.9 billion transistors, compared to the R9 290X’s 6.3 billion transistors. Given that AMD—like Nvidia—is still using the 28nm manufacturing process, the Fiji GPU itself must be massive.

amd radeon fiji gpu
AMD’s Fiji GPU, with nothing next to it for scale reference. Sniff.

AMD never overtly said how much capacity the Fury’s HBM actually has—presumably because Nvidia’s been loading its Titan X and GeForce GTX 980 Ti with RAM—but apress release from Hynix, which actually creates said memory, puts the total at 4GB. HBM’s memory clock speed tops out at a mere 1Gbps—traditional GDDR5 RAM can hit 7Gbps—but utilizes a ridonkulously wide 4096-bit interface to deliver 512GBps of pure memory bandwidth.

By comparison, Nvidia’s GTX 980 Ti uses a 384-bit interface and gets 336.8GBps of bandwidth.

The Radeon R9 Fury X comes with integrated closed-loop water cooling, much like AMD’s dual-GPU Radeon R9 295×2. “You’ll be able to overclock this thing like no tomorrow,” AMD CTO Joe Macri says. “This is an overclocker’s dream.”

Simply put, this thing sounds like a beast. And yes, it’ll come with an illuminated Radeon logo when it launches on June 24 for $649.

The Fury X isn’t the only Fiji-powered Radeon, however. An air-cooled version dubbed the Radeon R9 Fury will be available July 14 for $549, while an unnamed mega-model with a pair of Fiji GPUs is also in the works.

radeon r9 nano
The AMD Radeon R9 Nano.

AMD also took advantage of Fiji’s power savings and HBM’s space savings to introduce the Radeon R9 Nano, which measures a mere six inches in length but offers “significantly more performance than the Radeon R9 290X,” according to AMD CEO Lisa Su. It’s half the size and uses half the power of the 290X, but it offers twice the performance per watt. Cool! Look for it to land sometime this summer.

amd project quantum
AMD’s Project Quantum computer, with two Fiji processors inside.

Finally, AMD marketing manager Chris Hook also took the stage to introduce “Project Quantum,” a tiny, new box-like PC that’s powered by not one, but two of AMD’s new Fiji GPUs. The computer slaps all the processing technologies in the bottom of the box, and all the cooling up top, narrowing to a filter-like pole in the center. Hook says AMD’s working with its “most elite partners” to bring the PC to market in the near future.

Radeon R7 300-series

AMD also refreshed the rest of its graphics card line, bumping its more mainstream GPUs up to the R7 300 and R9 300 series, all of which are compatible with the forthcoming DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs—though few other technical details were revealed.

Kicking things off were the lower-end R7 offerings, which AMD says are tailor-made for playing e-sports games like Dota 2 and League of Legends at 1080p resolution.

These graphics cards support the Virtual Super Resolution technology—which lets GPUs render games at a higher resolution, then downsample it to your display’s output for better clarity—that first appeared in AMD’s Catalyst Omega driver last January. To ease the load on these modestly powered GPUs, they include a technology AMD calls “Frame rate target control,” which caps the GPU’s frame rate output in games where you get extremely high frame rates, in order to reduce power and noise needs. It sounds an awful lot like the “Dynamic frame rate control feature” AMD teased late last year.

radeon r300
The new Radeon R300 series graphics cards, minus the R9 390X.

There are two cards in the R7 300-series lineup. The Radeon R7 360 will start at $109 and include up to 2GB of traditional GDDR5 RAM, while the more potent Radeon R7 370 will start at $149 and pack up to 4GB of memory.

Radeon R9 300-series

AMD also introduced a trio of more powerful Radeon R9 300-series graphics cards.

The $199 Radeon R9 380 was designed for 1440p gaming, AMD says, and packs up to 4GB of memory. Meanwhile, the $329 Radeon R9 390 and $429 Radeon R9 390X each pack 8GB of RAM, presumably for a better gaming experience at 4K resolution.

All of these new R7 and R9 300-series graphics cards will available to buy Thursday. That imminent launch is actually a bit worrisome. For the past few months, the rumor mill’s been adamant that the new 300-series Radeon GPUs are actually built around barely-tweaked GCN silicon that first made an appearance in the Rx 200-series and even the older Radeon 7000-series graphics cards. In other words, these may not actually be “new” graphics cards.

Even though the new cards are launching a mere two days from now, PCWorld hasn’t received review samples for any of the R300-series cards (or the Fury X, for that matter). Considering that, the rumors, and the lack of technical details provided for these new 300-series graphics cards, you’ll definitely want to wait for reviews to hit before you pick up one of these, even if you could buy one Thursday.

How to create an insane multiple monitor setup with three, four, or more displays

Studies have shown that dual monitors can increase productivity, but the jury’s still out on whether adding even more monitors means even more productivity. That aside, having multiple monitors (and I’m talking three, four, five, or even six) is just…awesome, and something you totally need in your life.

Right now, my main PC has a triple-monitor setup: my main 27-inch central monitor and my two 24-inch side monitors. I use my extra monitors for a number of things, such as comparing spreadsheets side-by-side, writing articles while also doing research, keeping tabs on my social media feeds, and, of course, watching Netflix.

A vertically-oriented monitor can save you a lot of scrolling trouble in long documents. If you’re a gamer, well, I don’t need to sell you on three-plus monitors can be for games that support multi-monitor setups. You just need to plan ahead. Here’s our full guide on setting up multiple multiple monitors—and all the factors you’ll need to take into account before you do so.

ROBERT CARDIN

Check your graphics card(s)

Before you run out and buy a bunch of extra monitors, check to see whether your computer is physically capable of handling all that graphics prowess. The easiest way to do this is to look at the back of your PC: How many graphics ports (DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA) do you see?

If you do not have a discrete graphics card, you may only see video two ports—most motherboards come with integrated graphics that can only run dual-monitor setups. If you do have a discrete graphics card, you’ll probably see at least three ports, not including the ports on your motherboard.

Tip: While it is possible to set up multiple monitors using ports on both your motherboard and your discrete graphics card, you’ll see a performance drop and some lag when you move windows between monitors. If you want to do this, you will also need to enter your PC’s BIOS and go toConfiguration > Video > Integrated graphics device and set it to “Always enable.”

Just because you see three or more ports on your discrete graphics card, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you can use all of them at the same time. For example, many older Nvidia cards are unable to run more than two monitors on a single card, even if they have more than two ports. The best way to find out whether your graphics card supports multiple monitors is to find the name of your card (Control Panel > Device Manager > Display Adapters) and Google it with the monitor setup you’re looking to run (e.g. “Nvidia GTX 770 four monitors”).

geforce gtx 650 ti ports
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which can drive four displays, packs dual DVI ports as well as solitary DisplayPort and HDMI connections.

If your graphics card supports—and has enough ports for—the number of monitors you want to set up, excellent. If not, you may need to purchase an additional graphics card to get the multi-monitor support you’re looking for.

Alternatively, newer monitors with DisplayPort multi-streaming support can be daisy-chained together from a single DisplayPort 1.2 connection on your graphics card, using additional DisplayPort cables to connect the additional monitors to one another. The various displays don’t even need to be the same size or resolution.

Before you buy extra graphics cards, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough space in your tower (and open PCIe slots), as well as a power supply unit that can handle the extra strain.

If you buy a graphics card solely for the purpose of having multiple monitors, it’s best to get one that’s the same as (or, at least in the same product family as) your current graphics card, so you can connect them using SLI (Nvidia) or CrossFire (AMD). SLI and CrossFire setups will help your graphics cards run smoothly, and they’ll also boost your PC’s overall graphics performance so you can do fun things like play games in multi-monitor mode without framerates plummeting. You’ll get much better performance with multiple connected graphics cards than you will with multiple non-connected graphics cards. And, while you technically can run Nvidia and AMD cards side-by-side…it’s more trouble than it’s worth and I don’t recommend it.

ROBERT CARDIN

Monitors, ports, and cables

Once you figure out your graphics card situation, it’s time for the fun part: obtaining extra monitors. Extra monitors can be had for fairly cheap these days. Assuming you can’t finagle a hand-me-down, a 24-inch monitor will run you around $170, while a decent 27-inch goes for about $250.

Of course, the perfect monitor for you depends on multiple factors, including the monitors you already have, the size of your desk, and what you’re planning on using your extra monitor for.

In my case, I already had two 24-inch monitors, and I wanted a larger monitor as the centerpiece of my setup, so I picked up a 27-inch monitor and placed it between my two 24-inch displays. I’m not using my multi-monitor setup to play multi-monitor games, so the difference in sizes (and the difference in heights—my 27-inch monitor’s stand holds my 27-incher about one inch higher than my 24-inchers) isn’t an issue for me. However, if you’re planning on doing a lot of gaming or watching videos that span multiple monitors, this height difference will make for a not-so-seamless experience.


A DisplayPort connector (left) and an HDMI cable (right).

Before you buy your monitors, you’ll also want to make sure they have input ports that correspond with your PC’s output ports. While you could use conversion cables, such as DVI-to-HDMI or DisplayPort-to-DVI, they can be a hassle. If you have a VGA port on your PC or your monitor, I suggest staying away from it: VGA is an analog connector, which means your picture will be noticeably fuzzier and colors will be less vivid.

Set up your PC

Set up your monitors, plug them in, and turn on your PC. Voila! A perfectly-formed multi-monitor setup! Well, it’s pretty easy, just not that easy.

The first thing you’ll want to do is configure Windows to play nicely with your multiple monitors. If you’re running Windows 7, right-click on the desktop and click Screen resolution. This will take you to the Screen resolution menu, where you’ll be able to configure what limited options you have for multiple monitors in Windows 7.

multiple monitors windows screen resolution

Here, you can see your setup, identify your monitors (click this and you’ll see large numbers appear on your screens, so you can identify which screen is which), and choose your main display. You can also choose whether to duplicate your desktop or extend your desktop between the screens. In most multi-monitor setups, you’ll want to extend your desktop across all three (or four, or whatever) of your displays.

If you’re running Windows 8, you have more options for your multi-monitor setup: You can extend the taskbar across displays and assign different wallpapers to each screen without using third-party software. Windows 7 users will need to use third-party software such as DisplayFusion or MultiWall to accomplish this. In Windows 8, you’ll also notice more intuitive mouse movement across your monitors, and all corners and edges will be active so you can access your Charms bar and other apps from any screen.

nvidia sarah multiple displays

In addition to Windows’ multi-monitor configurations, there’s also Nvidia’s and AMD’s control panels (depending on which type of graphics card you have). To access Nvidia’s control panel, right-click the Nvidia icon in your System Tray and click Nvidia Control Panel. Under Display, click Set up multiple displays. Here, you’ll be able to fiddle around with your monitor setup as well as set up Nvidia Surround.

To access AMD’s control panel, open the Catalyst Control Center in your System Tray and go to Graphics > Desktops & Displays to configure your multi-monitor setup. Here, you can create an Eyefinity group, which lets you set up a desktop to span multiple displays in any configuration.

Gaming

It’s one thing to use multiple monitors to do work and watch Netflix. It’s another thing entirely to use multiple monitors to play video games. If you want to use your snazzy new multi-monitor setup to do some three- or four-panel gaming, there are a few extra things you’ll have to take into consideration.

Gaming on several displays at once requires far more graphical firepower than gaming on a single screen alone, because the GPU has so many more pixels to push—so if you’re not running multiple graphics cards in a SLI or Crossfire setup, you’ll almost certainly see lag and artifacting in your multi-monitor games. Quite simply, a single graphics card usually doesn’t have the power to run multiple high-resolution, high-intensity displays at once (although some do—check out our graphics card showdown).

multiple monitor bioshock game
GLORIOUS.

Before you can start playing your games across multiple panels, you’ll need to set up your graphics card and your game. Nvidia users will need to set up Nvidia Surround, while AMD users will need to create an Eyefinity group for their monitors.

You’ll also need to go into your game—not all games are multi-monitor compatible—and configure the video or display settings to the correct resolution so that the game spans across all of your monitors instead of staying squished on just one. You’ll also want to play around with other settings as the game allows, including field of view (too low, and there will be too much going on around you; too high and everything on your left and right screens will be hugely distorted).

For gaming, it’s easier if you have multiple identical displays, because otherwise you’ll run into issues with resolution, distortion (if your displays aren’t at the same height), and color calibration, all of which can be difficult to work with if you’re trying to play in a “seamless” environment.

Computex 2015: The powerful, wacky, and important PC gear you need to know about

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One of the last major tech expos of the year just took place in Taiwan, and with it came a flood of major PC news as manufacturers rush to prepare for Windows 10 and the crucial holiday shopping season.

Intel provided more Skylake details and introduced Broadwell-H chips, Microsoft dropped a Windows 10 release date, AMD revealed a new processor of its own, and crazy peripherals and gaming gear were everywhere. (How does a 128GB flash drive the size of a dime and Decepticon-like laser-projected mice sound?) Here’s all the most interesting and momentous news from Computex, compiled in one handy-dandy spot in no particular order.

How to take control of Dropbox sync

pcw dropbox primary

As a Dropbox user, you surely love having all your files available in the cloud—that is, until they end up on your computer. As convenient and comforting as it is to have your files automatically synced to your PC, it can cause problems with your storage space and internet connection speed if your Dropbox is stuffed like a junk drawer. Fortunately, there are a few ways to manage the cloud service’s syncing feature and keep things running smoothly.

elective sync
To save on hard drive space, uncheck the folders you want to exclude from syncing.

Use selective sync

Dropbox syncs all your files to your computer. That’s no big deal if you only have a couple gigabytes’ worth in Dropbox, but things can get hairy if you have a hundred or more. Dropbox syncing does consider storage limitations—it automatically it syncs your smallest files first and continues until you run out of space. But that may still leave you without the presentation you need for your afternoon meeting.

The best way to save space and make sure you absolutely have the files you need is to use Selective Sync. This feature lets you designate per computer which folders to exclude from syncing. Not only does it help you manage your storage space, it’s also a great way to make sure only appropriate files are synced to your home and work computers, respectively.

dropbox windows system tray pause syncing
The Dropbox icon changes when you pause syncing.

To enable Selective Sync from Windows (Vista, 7, or 8), click the Dropbox icon in the system tray. Next, click the gear icon and choose Preferences. Then select Account > Selective Sync. A window will appear showing all your top-level folders with a checkbox next to each. Uncheck the box of each folder you want to exclude from syncing and click OK. Those folders will be removed from the hard drive of that computer, but will still be available on your other Dropbox-connected devices and through the website.

Pause syncing

Sometimes it’s not your storage but your bandwidth that’s at a premium. In those cases, syncing a lot of files, no matter what the size, can cause a bottleneck in your data flow. The easiest way to clear it is to temporarily pause syncing.

To do this, click the Dropbox icon from the Windows system tray. Click the gear icon and select Pause syncing. You’ll see a pause icon over the Dropbox menu to show syncing has stopped. To start it again, follow the same steps and select Resume syncing.

dropbox settings preferences bandwidth limit
You can control bandwidth usage manually in Dropbox’s Preferences.

Manage bandwidth

Even if you won’t want to completely put the brakes on syncing, you can still slow it down. By default, Dropbox throttles itself to 75 percent of your maximum upload speed and downloads at the fastest speed available. But if you’re still browsing at a snail’s pace, you can customize these settings to improve performance.

Click the Dropbox icon from the Windows system tray and click the gear icon. Select Preferences > Bandwidth. A window will open with fields for your upload and download rates. Click the Limit to radio button next to each and enter your preferred rates in each field and click apply. You may have to experiment with different rates to find the ones that work best for you.