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Mussels

Freshwater Moderator
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
51,776 (8.27/day)
Location
Oystralia
System Name Rainbow Sparkles
Processor Ryzen R7 5800X (PBO tweaked, 4.4-5.05GHz)
Motherboard Asus x570 Gaming-F
Cooling EK Quantum Velocity AM4 + EK Quantum ARGB 3090 w/ active backplate. Dual rad.
Memory 2x32GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB @3800 C18 TRFC704 (1.4V, SoC 1.15V Hynix MJR)
Video Card(s) Galax RTX 3090 SG 24GB: Often underclocked to 1500Mhz 0.737v
Storage 2TB WD SN850 NVME + 1TB Sasmsung 970 Pro NVME + 1TB Intel 6000P NVME USB 3.2
Display(s) Gigabyte G32QC (4k80Hz, 1440p 165Hz) + Phillips 328m6fjrmb (4K 60Hz, 1440p 144Hz)
Case Fractal Design R6
Audio Device(s) Logitech G560 |Razer Leviathan | Corsair Void pro RGB |Blue Yeti mic
Power Supply Corsair HX 750i (Platinum, fan off til 300W)
Mouse Logitech G Pro wireless + Steelseries Prisma XL
Keyboard Razer Huntsman TE (custom white and steel keycaps)
VR HMD Oculus Rift S
Software Windows 11 pro x64 (Yes, it's genuinely a good OS)
Benchmark Scores I don't quite know how i managed to get such a top tier PC, I am not rich.
(Work in progress, constantly updated)
First, Hello! Don't worry about how big this page is, you can probably skip most of it!
Most of this is focused on Windows based PC gaming hardware and software problems because that's what i do, and this forum is loosely centered on.

Don't make assumptions: The worst beginners mistake is to think you know the problem and ask for help fixing the wrong thing. Tell us the symptoms and what you think it is - so we can investigate both!

Don't make it worse by rushing fixes
Seriously, do the least destructive things first. Don't go deleting files, flashing BIOS files or sticking forks into power sockets - you could do a lot more damage and make a simple problem, a big one.

Before you even ask for help, have a quick look at the real world around the problem device.
People often overlook the most obvious things in the physical world.
Check the stuff no one else can see from afar: Power cables, inspect them, replug them. Check every USB port on a laptop/desktop and unplug things you don't need
Look for damage, things you plugged in and forgot, something another person might have bumped, moved or changed (or got chewed by a pet)
We cant see a loose PSU power cable, a fan that's stopped spinning or a buildup of dust in a CPU cooler or laptop exhaust vent.


Isolation testing:
This will vary based on what type of problem you have, the basic idea is the same: Get rid of everything you can, to see if it fixes the issue.
Even a faulty mouse or keyboard can cause problems, no reason you cant unplug one at a time in-game and see if a stutter goes away.

Unplug things you don't need, run a power cable straight from the wall socket and not a power board, disconnect your network cable - skip to the software section about task manager and MSconfig for the software version of this.


First step: List your system specs!
Techpowerup makes some of this really easy by letting you enter your hardware specs, which are visible on every single post you make. This REALLY helps when threads go multiple pages long, or if you post in another persons thread saying you have the same issue.
After you've made your forum account, click this link
Fill out your system specs, in DETAIL. Don't say "16GB corsair" - tell us the MHz, timings, model numbers. Same goes for PSU's, hard drives and so on. Give us actual DETAIL - look at other users for examples of what may be relevant.
Make sure to tick the "Yes" drop down so we can see what you've entered
RAM is especially important if you're having stability problems

Heres what mine looks like at the time of posting, to see what kind of details we might find relevant (and some pretty obvious stuff that isn't important)
You can see that while I skipped model numbers for some things, i put in info for the things I've *changed* from stock settings

1633587875580.png



Now for the content of your post...

1. Give us *detailed* information
2. Gather info on the problem (Software and/or Hardware)
3. Tell us what you've tried to fix the problem

4. Make sure what you've written is easy to understand




Before creating a thread: Where does it belong?
Sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes it's in a grey area where you can't be sure, and that's where experience helps a lot.
If you aren't 100% sure, don't feel bad about taking your best guess.
Look at my other thread here where my smart TV being in sleep mode, caused my RTX 3090 to lag - meaning it was a NETWORK issue all along.
Had that game not been online only, i could have found that out by removing my LAN cable.
I could have blamed that on a faulty network cable, faulty driver, faulty... anything.
I could also have resolved that by unplugging the TV, changing my firewall settings, using a VPN or many other solutions without even knowing what the cause was!
A network issue was causing software in windows to make my hardware stutter. Some problems are just confusing.

Start your own thread! Yay!

TechPowerUp Forums

We have a lot of forum sections, and sub sections. General Hardware and General software would be good places to post if you're not sure what's going on, forum staff can move it if we feel the need.
Pick a section you think is relevant, and when logged in this little button appears in the top right:
1634017954243.png


Thread Title:
Keep it simple, Focus on the symptom. "RTX 3090 stutter" "PC frozen on black screen" "Phone turns off at 30%"

The rest is all you. Read some posts by other users in that section, get an idea from how others post.
Lower down is a huge list of free, very easy to use programs that might make describing your problem and finding information a lot easier.

Windows Snipping tool is your new best friend
(Win key + shift + S) In windows 10 and 11 is AMAZING for screenshots, as you can then hit Ctrl-V and paste the image directly into forum posts.
You don't need to have it open in advance, and it will save you so much time and effort showing results from the tools below.
1634013700180.png




Step One - Describing the problem:
Assuming it's a PC problem, you should have your system specs already filled out by now and won't need to repeat them over and over in the forum. Yay!

Don't be vague, tell us what you saw and heard, in what order. If there was a BSOD (Blue screen of death) tell us the error code!
If the PC goes to a black screen and then the fans ramp up like a jet engine, tell us all that!
"PC doesnt turn on!" could be stuck on a POST screen with an Asus logo, frozen on the windows logo, or have no electricity at all - tell us!

Was the PC screen black? Grey? Frozen with a game image? What game? What software was running at the same time? Discord? Youtube on your second screen? etc
Was the audio crackling or popping, did you hear weird noises from the PSU
Did you smell the horrible nose burning stench of a burned capacitor?
For the really rare, annoying issues even minor details help.

The order of events is massively important too:
Did your issue occur straight away or hours into a game? What's different to the times it did work?
What were you doing right before your problem occurred, then tell us what happened in the order it happened. Anything else happen unusual recently, even a day or two earlier? New hardware, new software, new software tweaks or tricks you followed?





Step Two: Do your own testing, give us more info to work with
You can wait til we advise you where to begin, or start on your own with the relevant programs below - You may end up solving your own problem.
Googling for similar problems and solutions is a great idea, but be aware that many of those solutions could be for another problem, outright wrong, or ads for paid programs.
Read them, see if there's a common theme - try the safe simple fixes, but anything that waves red flags at you slam on the brakes and wait for advise.




Software issues:
Just tell us the software, and describe the problem. Screenshot/photos of error messages are usually critical.
These are usually easy fixes... unless the software is pointing at a hardware problem (Like BSOD's with IRQL errors are are often RAM related).
You can use task manager and resource manager to spot a lot of performance problems.


For software issues, some of the best tools are already in windows.


Built in windows tools
Task manager: (Ctrl-Shift-Esc, or a bunch of other methods)
This ones pretty easy. Systems lagging? check if any major components are at 100%, and see what's using them. One great example given below was windows defender scanning something... simply leave it alone to finish scanning, there was no problem.
(Windows defender, One drive and things like the windows indexer focus on a users desktop a lot - don't store unimportant junk there. You don't need, or want the indexer and your AV smashing away at memes and pirated videos)

1633589143029.png1633589152434.png

MSConfig
An often forgotten tool is MSCONFIG (type that in the start menu, hit enter)
In previous versions of windows you controlled startup items here, but that's in task manager in 10 and 11.
1634013036927.png

MSconfig lets you stop services booting with windows and has an amazing "hide microsoft services" button - it's FANTASTIC for simply turning everything off, rebooting, and seeing if the problem persists

Resource Monitor: If you see the bottom of the second picture there, you can see resource monitor - it's an expanded task manager that lets you see things in a bit more detail.
Simply google what is maxing out whatever hardware it is, and see if its normal or not. Indexer, windows updates, Dot.net cleanup, antivirus... leave the PC on for a few hours, and let it do its thing.
If google says its bad or it simply never stops? THEN you ask for help!

1633589346780.png

Chkdsk, SCF scannow and DISM: (Storage/Hard drive issues)
These are more complicated, but are simply tools for windows to repair its own errors. It's not perfect, but they're safe (they may take a while!)
They do require to be ran as admin to work, the DISM tools require internet access for the final step.

These are a good idea to run if you've had a lot of crashes, as they can find and fix corrupted windows files
You can right click the start menu in windows 10 and 11 and click 'command prompt (admin)' or 'Windows Terminal (admin)' (just type CMD in the run box and hit enter in XP/7/8)

Code:
Chkdsk C: /f
^ Scan drive C: (will require a reboot), repair any errors found.
The /f flag tells it to fix any found errors
You can use /f /r for mechanical drives to also search for bad sectors, on SSD's it may reduce their lifespan for no reason.

Code:
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
(basic scan)
Code:
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
(advanced scan - slower)
Code:
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth[/CODE (the actual repair)
^ This goes online, and checks your local windows component store - kind of like the local 'repair' files, and downloads new copies from the windows update servers if they're missing or corrupt.

[CODE]sfc /scannow
Uses the internal files mentioned above to search for corruption in windows, and repair them from the hidden away backups.

Network Issues:
Wireshark

Look i do not know how to use wireshark at all, but when it gives you big bright red error messages you can definitely get helpful clues.
1633597477000.png

I don't have a clue what that even means, but seeing big red errors between my desktops IP address and my TV's IP address was enough to find out the actual problem, eventually.



Hardware issues:
First of all: Post a picture of the PC. We aren't here to judge what you own, but sometimes we can spot a simple physical mistake right from the start, or get clues for more questions to ask.

Following is some free third party software, these all have top tier reputations and are really good at what they do, none install bloatware or show ads of any kind. Most have portable versions you don't even need to install.


CPU and RAM

CPU-Z | Softwares | CPUID
CPU-Z is actually most useful for memory information, via screenshots of your SPD and memory tabs, instead of CPU information. (Use HWinfo for that)
With these three screenshots you can tell my motherboard, BIOS version, what my memory is meant to run at, and what it's REALLY running at (CPU-Z MHz values are halved, it's just how DDR works)
CPU clocks vary second by second, so having a single real time reading on the first page isn't super useful - Hwinfo64 is far better for that information since it records min and max values.
1633587893020.png
1633587939715.png
1633587912447.png
1633587920251.png

Ignoring the rounding errors you can see i have DDR4 3600, and it's currently running at 3666 C18 - overclocked.

Graphics cards and Monitors

GPU-Z Graphics Card GPU Information Utility
GPU-Z was written by the owner of this very website, it gives insanely detailed information about GPU's in real time - and some details about the connection to your monitor
These values change second by second, so timing of screenshots is important for GPU issues: Take the screenshots right after a crash, you can click the little down arrows to show the maximum value GPU-Z saw, such a temperature spike right before a crash.

The monitor information could be used to find a faulty cable, or even solve image quality problems (Color format should be RGB, etc)

1633587953574.png
1633587965125.png
1634117520055.png


Storage
CrystalDiskInfo and Crystaldiskmark and AS-SSD for hard drives and SSDs.
These give raw information from the drives, and the two benchmark program gives speed results that may show us something out of the ordinary
They disagree a bit, which is why i suggest trying both for storage issues.

1633766141887.png

1634014617561.png
1634014608174.png



Everything else:
Hwinfo64 - This is one of my favourite all time programs, because it records data from almost everything with Min, Max and Average values.
If you were diagnosing a game crashing to the desktop randomly, you'd do the following:
run HWinfo64 in 'sensors only'
Start your game
Alt-tab and click the 'reset' button that looks like a clock in HWinfo64
When the problem appears/game crashes, take a screenshot of HWinfo64 with the snipping tool to save all the info in a screenshot
1633588007644.png


I mean just look at this wall of info: It's overwhelming to beginners, but good lordy if you had issues with your RAM you'd want to have access to all this

1633588025507.png
You can go through and focus on the hardware thats relevant to you for specific information:
1633588043168.png

Or you can use the sensors tab, and focus on the min/max/average values - compare this to CPU-Z that gave one solid clock reading, while suddenly we now have info for the max clock speed each core of my CPU can reach - (Idle, max, and average are SUPER helpful in cases of say, thermal throttling.)

You can use these little arrows to make the info go "side by side" to fit it all on screen at once
1634020024755.png

1633588073741.png


The temperatures they reached while doing it:
1633588122609.png


And because Ryzen (my CPU) Ampere (my GPU) and my UPS all work with HWinfo64, the power they all used:
1633588151059.png
1633587723727.png


Look at this crazy level of detail, we even see the voltage from the two PCI-E power cables to the GPU separately!
1633588198448.png

Finally, look at what you've posted and check it makes sense, and away you go.[/Spoiler]
 

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eidairaman1

The Exiled Airman
Joined
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Noobs should be directed to this thread automatically upon log in for 1 month so it gets instilled in their skulls and they must sit here for 5 minutes and read through it, like a TOS.

Also it needs to be re-iterated the page is written in English and their questions need to be written in English.
 
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FireFox

The Power Of Intel
Joined
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Processor Intel i7 10700K
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Memory 32GB G.SKILL Trident Z RGB 3600Hz
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Benchmark Scores My PC runs FiFA
they must sit here for 5 minutes and read through it, like a TOS.
That's the problem.
Many new users don't like to read or just ignore what they need to read.
 
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Joined
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Memory Corsair DDR4 3600 32gb //G.SKILL Trident Z Royal Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 3600
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Maybe helpful as a quick link for them when they first time post their panic question with no info
 

Mussels

Freshwater Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
51,776 (8.27/day)
Location
Oystralia
System Name Rainbow Sparkles
Processor Ryzen R7 5800X (PBO tweaked, 4.4-5.05GHz)
Motherboard Asus x570 Gaming-F
Cooling EK Quantum Velocity AM4 + EK Quantum ARGB 3090 w/ active backplate. Dual rad.
Memory 2x32GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB @3800 C18 TRFC704 (1.4V, SoC 1.15V Hynix MJR)
Video Card(s) Galax RTX 3090 SG 24GB: Often underclocked to 1500Mhz 0.737v
Storage 2TB WD SN850 NVME + 1TB Sasmsung 970 Pro NVME + 1TB Intel 6000P NVME USB 3.2
Display(s) Gigabyte G32QC (4k80Hz, 1440p 165Hz) + Phillips 328m6fjrmb (4K 60Hz, 1440p 144Hz)
Case Fractal Design R6
Audio Device(s) Logitech G560 |Razer Leviathan | Corsair Void pro RGB |Blue Yeti mic
Power Supply Corsair HX 750i (Platinum, fan off til 300W)
Mouse Logitech G Pro wireless + Steelseries Prisma XL
Keyboard Razer Huntsman TE (custom white and steel keycaps)
VR HMD Oculus Rift S
Software Windows 11 pro x64 (Yes, it's genuinely a good OS)
Benchmark Scores I don't quite know how i managed to get such a top tier PC, I am not rich.
why read when you have kb in the hands.

@Mussels pictures are missing
I'm working on that, they show as attachment but dont work (fixed)

I plan to work on this and have it as link in my sig, so it ends up everywhere.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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System Name Alienware M15 R3
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Motherboard Alienware
Cooling Laptop + "coolpad"
Memory 32 GB
Video Card(s) RTX 2070 Super Mobile ....Memmory and core "unlocked"
Storage BC711 NVMe Hynix 512 x2 Intel Raid 0 Volume
Display(s) Alienware 25" 240Hz gamer + Dell P2217H 60Hz + Laptop 300Hz HDR
Case Back pack
Audio Device(s) Altec-Lansing
Mouse Alienware 610m
Keyboard Laptop
Software Windows 11 Pro
Benchmark Scores TimeSpy 9554 stock
I have been away from computer education for 20 years. Now that I am retired and bought my dream laptop, I have so much catching up to do. The forums, in particular this one, are like a graduate education if, and I mean if, I take the time to read, which I do. The problem is, most folks it seems are not sure where to start..... example: My laptop CPU pegs at 90' for considerable periods of time ..... in particular when I installed Windows 11 ..... after reading some threads on this forum, I found the solution..... it was windows Defender constantly scanning its own folder....LOL ! Having said that, I think a lot of folks do not really understand how much you guys and girls really know ..... because THEY know so little ........ I do agree there are people who are too lazy to wipe their butt after they, well, you know, but not as many as one might ascertain ...... your folks patience is what "hooked" me ....... and I hope that the lot of you will retain that patience that has taught me so much ....... and to all you folks out there asking for help ?, well, make sure you respond with gratitude ........ two ears, one mouth ..... listen twice as much as you talk ...... words have meaning, be precise and for the love of G#d be teachable ...... if my knuckle-dragging former USMC Grunt butt can learn, so can you ...... :)
 

Mussels

Freshwater Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
51,776 (8.27/day)
Location
Oystralia
System Name Rainbow Sparkles
Processor Ryzen R7 5800X (PBO tweaked, 4.4-5.05GHz)
Motherboard Asus x570 Gaming-F
Cooling EK Quantum Velocity AM4 + EK Quantum ARGB 3090 w/ active backplate. Dual rad.
Memory 2x32GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB @3800 C18 TRFC704 (1.4V, SoC 1.15V Hynix MJR)
Video Card(s) Galax RTX 3090 SG 24GB: Often underclocked to 1500Mhz 0.737v
Storage 2TB WD SN850 NVME + 1TB Sasmsung 970 Pro NVME + 1TB Intel 6000P NVME USB 3.2
Display(s) Gigabyte G32QC (4k80Hz, 1440p 165Hz) + Phillips 328m6fjrmb (4K 60Hz, 1440p 144Hz)
Case Fractal Design R6
Audio Device(s) Logitech G560 |Razer Leviathan | Corsair Void pro RGB |Blue Yeti mic
Power Supply Corsair HX 750i (Platinum, fan off til 300W)
Mouse Logitech G Pro wireless + Steelseries Prisma XL
Keyboard Razer Huntsman TE (custom white and steel keycaps)
VR HMD Oculus Rift S
Software Windows 11 pro x64 (Yes, it's genuinely a good OS)
Benchmark Scores I don't quite know how i managed to get such a top tier PC, I am not rich.
I have been away from computer education for 20 years. Now that I am retired and bought my dream laptop, I have so much catching up to do. The forums, in particular this one, are like a graduate education if, and I mean if, I take the time to read, which I do. The problem is, most folks it seems are not sure where to start..... example: My laptop CPU pegs at 90' for considerable periods of time ..... in particular when I installed Windows 11 ..... after reading some threads on this forum, I found the solution..... it was windows Defender constantly scanning its own folder....LOL ! Having said that, I think a lot of folks do not really understand how much you guys and girls really know ..... because THEY know so little ........ I do agree there are people who are too lazy to wipe their butt after they, well, you know, but not as many as one might ascertain ...... your folks patience is what "hooked" me ....... and I hope that the lot of you will retain that patience that has taught me so much ....... and to all you folks out there asking for help ?, well, make sure you respond with gratitude ........ two ears, one mouth ..... listen twice as much as you talk ...... words have meaning, be precise and for the love of G#d be teachable ...... if my knuckle-dragging former USMC Grunt butt can learn, so can you ...... :)
Good reminder, i'll include task manager and resource manager in there

The worst problm is that people genuinely do badly with logic, make assumptions and make things worse.
I just had to deal with a PC that was "frozen, nothing works"
They tried getting into the BIOS, couldnt.
Windows tried to fix things and failed, so i got called in for a dead SSD.

What really happend? a 7 year old smashed the keyboard while playing minecraft, so they couldnt login or enter the BIOS.
The rest was entirely their fault, the PC failed at booting so often with them hard powering off and on the system so rapidly the BIOS reset, which changed their SATA ports from AHCI mode to the old IDE mode - making windows no longer boot.
If they'd just wiggled the mouse at the login screen...

Edit: Also reaslised if i hadnt fixed all that, and someone just formatted the C: drive TRIM would have been disabled and they WOULD have killed that SSD.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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System Name Alienware M15 R3
Processor Intel Core I7 10875H "locked"
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Cooling Laptop + "coolpad"
Memory 32 GB
Video Card(s) RTX 2070 Super Mobile ....Memmory and core "unlocked"
Storage BC711 NVMe Hynix 512 x2 Intel Raid 0 Volume
Display(s) Alienware 25" 240Hz gamer + Dell P2217H 60Hz + Laptop 300Hz HDR
Case Back pack
Audio Device(s) Altec-Lansing
Mouse Alienware 610m
Keyboard Laptop
Software Windows 11 Pro
Benchmark Scores TimeSpy 9554 stock
Good reminder, i'll include task manager and resource manager in there

The worst problm is that people genuinely do badly with logic, make assumptions and make things worse.
I just had to deal with a PC that was "frozen, nothing works"
They tried getting into the BIOS, couldnt.
Windows tried to fix things and failed, so i got called in for a dead SSD.

What really happend? a 7 year old smashed the keyboard while playing minecraft, so they couldnt login or enter the BIOS.
The rest was entirely their fault, the PC failed at booting so often with them hard powering off and on the system so rapidly the BIOS reset, which changed their SATA ports from AHCI mode to the old IDE mode - making windows no longer boot.
If they'd just wiggled the mouse at the login screen...
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >>facepalm<<
 

Mussels

Freshwater Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
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Location
Oystralia
System Name Rainbow Sparkles
Processor Ryzen R7 5800X (PBO tweaked, 4.4-5.05GHz)
Motherboard Asus x570 Gaming-F
Cooling EK Quantum Velocity AM4 + EK Quantum ARGB 3090 w/ active backplate. Dual rad.
Memory 2x32GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB @3800 C18 TRFC704 (1.4V, SoC 1.15V Hynix MJR)
Video Card(s) Galax RTX 3090 SG 24GB: Often underclocked to 1500Mhz 0.737v
Storage 2TB WD SN850 NVME + 1TB Sasmsung 970 Pro NVME + 1TB Intel 6000P NVME USB 3.2
Display(s) Gigabyte G32QC (4k80Hz, 1440p 165Hz) + Phillips 328m6fjrmb (4K 60Hz, 1440p 144Hz)
Case Fractal Design R6
Audio Device(s) Logitech G560 |Razer Leviathan | Corsair Void pro RGB |Blue Yeti mic
Power Supply Corsair HX 750i (Platinum, fan off til 300W)
Mouse Logitech G Pro wireless + Steelseries Prisma XL
Keyboard Razer Huntsman TE (custom white and steel keycaps)
VR HMD Oculus Rift S
Software Windows 11 pro x64 (Yes, it's genuinely a good OS)
Benchmark Scores I don't quite know how i managed to get such a top tier PC, I am not rich.
Oh goody, thumbnails look way better than spoiler tags. Fixing that up now.

Right, it's in my sig to get attention so i can spam it out to people every help thread i run into... anything i'm missing or made mistakes with?

I wanted to make a "how to get better" help guide and ended up with "by the way, you can fix it yourself with..."
 
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I am curious. Why is this thread in Hardware?

Part of the problem is users, experienced and newbies, often have yet to isolate the problem to software or hardware. And if software, is it the OS or an installed app? And if hardware, is it the physical hardware device, or a driver (which is really software).

If you have found an existing thread with an issue you are confident is exactly the same, feel free to post in that old thread. However if it's only somewhat similar, make a new thread.
I don't believe this is a good idea. Why? Because it is suggesting it is okay to "hijack" another's thread. It is relying on the new poster understanding and ensuring that existing thread is truly "old" - as in dormant AND resolved for the OP.

"Necroing" old threads is typically frowned upon in forums. And "hijacking" another's thread is a definite no-no. Referencing an old thread is fine, but posters should always start their own new threads for their own problem, IMO.

Also, too often "the problem" is NOT exactly the same. The "symptoms" may be the same, but the cause? Nope. Do they have the exact same motherboard? Same CPU? Same cooler? Same graphics card? Same antimalware software? Same drivers? Same default browser? Are both using Ethernet or is one using wifi? So many variables.

*Work in progress*
And what a work! It's HUGE, complex, and most likely totally overwhelming for anyone who is already struggling to understand what is happening with their computer - or else they would not be here seeking help.

Don't get me wrong! It is a great piece and I appreciate all the hard work, time and effort that went into this! But asking people seeking help to "Start here" is way too much in my opinion, and experience.

I think you realized this too when you and (and I am guessing added),

Because this got longer than planned, i figured a summary would help:

1. Give us *detailed* information
2. Diagnose the problem fully
3. Tell us what you've tried to fix the problem

4. Make sure what you've written is easy to understand

But still, you are asking noobs to "diagnose the problem fully". When it comes to electronics repair, "diagnosing the problem", AKA "troubleshooting" is 99% of the job. This is exactly why most repair shops don't give free estimates. It might take 1 hour or more to troubleshoot and discover, for example, the RAM is bad. But it takes less than 5 minutes to actually "fix" the problem by replacing the bad stick.

And speaking of RAM, how many noobs (and even most experienced people) know the "timings" of their RAM? Especially with factory built computers?

I personally think your article makes a great tutorial for those users who want to try to troubleshoot the problem for themselves. But for those seeking help, I believe it is very overwhelming and way TL;DR.

I believe for those seeking our help, sticking with your summary is best, but perhaps changing Item 2 to "Describe the problem fully".

And there is no mention anywhere advising the user to ensure they have a current backup of their important data and files.

***

As a side note, I'm a formally trained and certified electronics technician. I have worked with dozens and dozens formally trained and certified electronics technicians in major/formal/professional electronics repair facilities for over 45 years. These included repair facilities for air traffic control communications equipment, TV and audio repair, and computer and network equipment. The technicians in these repair facilities were all formally trained and educated through the USAF, USN, DeVry, ITT Tech, Thomas Edison, and various other community colleges, technical training schools, and universities. And we all had two things in common pounded into our heads when training to troubleshoot electronics.

1. Safety. Anything that plugs into the wall can kill! :eek: Do not assume the equipment is properly grounded, that there are no exposed deadly or damaging voltages, and take the necessary precautions to prevent ESD damage.​
and​
2. Start at the wall. Is the equipment plugged in (or connected to battery)? Is it turned on? Are the components receiving good, clean, stable power from the power supply? Everything inside the computer case depends on good, clean stable power. While PSUs do tend to be very reliable, verifying good power should always be a first step in troubleshooting electronics.​
Once again, I think that is a great article/tutorial - for the user who wants to get his or her hands dirty, who is not intimidated or fears making the problem worse. Who wants to learn how to troubleshoot their own computers.

I do not think the intended audience should be new or inexperienced users who come here seeking advice. For the vast majority of users who just want their computers to work as simply and reliably as their kitchen toaster. For the vast majority of users who come seeking help because they want to avoid the expensive horror stories they have heard with repair shops.
 

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1. Cause i moderate this section, and i repeat this information constantly in this section.
We can go 3 pages into a thread literally asking the OP to state their hardware specs, let alone get useful information on the problem.

2. That discussion came up in another thread, w1zzards view is that its ok to post in old threads if it's relevant.

3. Dude. we cant diagnose shit for anyone magically. We always have to ask them to do the actual work, feed us the results and we go from there. Why not get a head start on that, letting them know relevant tools and how to show us the results? The help we give is interpreting those results.

4. It's called reading the label on the RAM, or i dunno - use CPU-Z like the post says?

5. No, i want them to DIAGNOSE the problem. We need to be told *what is actually happening* before we can give any help.
The amount of posts i see here and online (especially facebook, oh my god) where we get incredibly vague things like "it wont turn on" and then you have 10 different people guessing what that means and giving bad advice (Zero power at all? Frozen at POST? Froze during OS load? error messages, or not? boot looping?)

As for the rest: why on earth should a beginner do it the hard way, blindly? Why not give them a starting point with a list of well known, reputable safe programs to gather information and possibly solve the problem themselves for they even need to post?

Best case, someone learns something.
 
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We can go 3 pages into a thread literally asking the OP to state their hardware specs, let alone get useful information on the problem.
I hear you on this. I hear you on EVERYTHING you said. So PLEASE! Do not take anything I said above personally! I said more than once, I think it is a great article/tutorial and I appreciate all the hard work that went into it. And I mean that sincerely!

I have been "working the forums" since the last century! And getting some folks to list their system specs, accurately define their problem, or even answer our simple questions can be like pulling teeth - at best. On this site I have asked folks many times to fill out their System Specs. Some do. Some don't. Others only partially. And some may still list them, usually only in part, in the post. And that is not counting the cases where the OP has multiple computers - and is not working on the listed one, yet they fail to mention that. :(

I have seen dozens of attempts like yours, including one or two of my own on sites where I am on the staff. They just don't pan out. :(

Why not give them a starting point with a list of well known, reputable safe programs to gather information and possibly solve the problem themselves for they even need to post?

It should be that easy. But it just does not work that way. These posters are already frustrated - often panicky. Many are even intimidated by the technologies, in fear they will only make matters worse. They want it fixed and they want it fixed now and they don't want to jump through any hoops to get it fixed. And you are not going to change that. I wish you could, it would save all of us helpers a lot of grief. But that grief is just part of the process, when the broken computer is not sitting in front of us, on our own work benches - and the poster does not even know how to use a #2 Phillips screwdriver.

I mean if you look at the Forum Guidelines post by W1zzard, in the section "Starting a thread", it includes much of what you said. But does it work? Do people read it? Do they heed that advice? Will people read and heed yours? Sadly, no to all. :(

It recently took me working with a poster having network connectivity problems, asking 3 times how he was connecting? Ethernet or wifi? He finally said, "Ethernet". Then when I said to try a different cable, try a different port on the router, and to reboot the router, his reply was, "I already tried most of those things." :( How does "most of those things" help me help him? It is extremely frustrating! But if I let it get to me, my receding hairline would extend to the back of neck - if my exploding blood pressure didn't stop me first.

So I totally understand where you are coming from. But "you can lead a camel to water... ."

I am sad to say I can tell you exactly what will happen. A few posters will see your guide and follow it. But many, if not most, won't see it or won't follow it and that will result in you getting even more frustrated. :( This is why,
Once again, I think that is a great article/tutorial - for the user who wants to get his or her hands dirty, who is not intimidated or fears making the problem worse. Who wants to learn how to troubleshoot their own computers.
Sadly, that is not why most new posters come here.
 

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Good reminder, i'll include task manager and resource manager in there

The worst problm is that people genuinely do badly with logic, make assumptions and make things worse.
I just had to deal with a PC that was "frozen, nothing works"
They tried getting into the BIOS, couldnt.
Windows tried to fix things and failed, so i got called in for a dead SSD.

What really happend? a 7 year old smashed the keyboard while playing minecraft, so they couldnt login or enter the BIOS.
The rest was entirely their fault, the PC failed at booting so often with them hard powering off and on the system so rapidly the BIOS reset, which changed their SATA ports from AHCI mode to the old IDE mode - making windows no longer boot.
If they'd just wiggled the mouse at the login screen...

Edit: Also reaslised if i hadnt fixed all that, and someone just formatted the C: drive TRIM would have been disabled and they WOULD have killed that SSD.
That 7 yo needs their ass spanked and the pc taken away from them

Spoiled brat
 

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That 7 yo needs their ass spanked and the pc taken away from them

Spoiled brat
Dude, it's an autistic boy. He cant help it, but in this case he served as a perfect example of why fixing the wrong problem does more harm than good.

I hear you on this. I hear you on EVERYTHING you said. So PLEASE! Do not take anything I said above personally! I said more than once, I think it is a great article/tutorial and I appreciate all the hard work that went into it. And I mean that sincerely!

I have been "working the forums" since the last century! And getting some folks to list their system specs, accurately define their problem, or even answer our simple questions can be like pulling teeth - at best. On this site I have asked folks many times to fill out their System Specs. Some do. Some don't. Others only partially. And some may still list them, usually only in part, in the post. And that is not counting the cases where the OP has multiple computers - and is not working on the listed one, yet they fail to mention that. :(

I have seen dozens of attempts like yours, including one or two of my own on sites where I am on the staff. They just don't pan out. :(



It should be that easy. But it just does not work that way. These posters are already frustrated - often panicky. Many are even intimidated by the technologies, in fear they will only make matters worse. They want it fixed and they want it fixed now and they don't want to jump through any hoops to get it fixed. And you are not going to change that. I wish you could, it would save all of us helpers a lot of grief. But that grief is just part of the process, when the broken computer is not sitting in front of us, on our own work benches - and the poster does not even know how to use a #2 Phillips screwdriver.

I mean if you look at the Forum Guidelines post by W1zzard, in the section "Starting a thread", it includes much of what you said. But does it work? Do people read it? Do they heed that advice? Will people read and heed yours? Sadly, no to all. :(

It recently took me working with a poster having network connectivity problems, asking 3 times how he was connecting? Ethernet or wifi? He finally said, "Ethernet". Then when I said to try a different cable, try a different port on the router, and to reboot the router, his reply was, "I already tried most of those things." :( How does "most of those things" help me help him? It is extremely frustrating! But if I let it get to me, my receding hairline would extend to the back of neck - if my exploding blood pressure didn't stop me first.

So I totally understand where you are coming from. But "you can lead a camel to water... ."

I am sad to say I can tell you exactly what will happen. A few posters will see your guide and follow it. But many, if not most, won't see it or won't follow it and that will result in you getting even more frustrated. :( This is why,

Sadly, that is not why most new posters come here.

I'm passionate about this. Any time i have to google for guides on programs (like cloning UEFI OS's) you end up with garbage ads, quality ads, or things that look great until the last step when the 'free' program asks for a credit card

I might end up making a lot of how-to threads, and if the quality gets up there ask w1zz to post them as articles
(how to install windows/linux etc, how to multi boot, how to make a good recovery USB, etc)

Or should i just use the existing method with moving the .wim/.esd file from W11 to a W10 ISO/USB?
 
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I'm passionate about this. Any time i have to google for guides on programs (like cloning UEFI OS's) you end up with garbage ads, quality ads, or things that look great until the last step when the 'free' program asks for a credit card
Sorry - while I absolutely understand what you mean by, and agree with your "free" and "credit card" number reference, I don't understand how this applies to my previous comment that you quoted.

I do absolutely understand your passion. Anyone who has been "working the forums" helping others by volunteering their spare time for over 15 years must be passionate. Forums like TPU would not exist without such passionate people like you.
 
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*Work in progress*
Had to post this before i completely finished, so the browser didnt eat it while i was AFK (it ate the pics, damnit)
There will be many edits and cleanups

We get a lot of people here who are new to forums, new to tech, or both that ask for help and don't give us enough information to actually help - so here we are.
Many, MANY people think they know the problem already when they actually don't - and that leads to wasted time for everyone, chasing our own tails.

If you have found an existing thread with an issue you are confident is exactly the same, feel free to post in that old thread. However if it's only somewhat similar, make a new thread.
You can always link to the old one and say it's similar.

Obviously if you're asking for issues with software, you can skip a lot of this. If you have any doubt at all that hardware issues may be involved give us the hardware details.

Because this got longer than planned, i figured a summary would help:

1. Give us *detailed* information
2. Diagnose the problem fully
3. Tell us what you've tried to fix the problem

4. Make sure what you've written is easy to understand

Techpowerup makes some of this really easy by letting you enter your hardware specs, which are visible on every single post you make. This REALLY helps when threads go multiple pages long.
After you've made your forum account, click this link

Fill out your system specs, in DETAIL. Don't say "16GB corsair" - tell us the MHz, timings, model numbers. Same goes for PSU's, hard drives and so on. Give us actual DETAIL - look at other users for examples of what may be relevant.
Make sure to tick the "Yes" drop down so we can see what you've entered
RAM is especially important if you're having stability problems

Heres what mine looks like at the time of posting, to see what kind of details we might find relevant (and some pretty obvious stuff that isn't important)
You can see that while I skipped model numbers for some things, i put in info for the things I've *changed* from stock settings

View attachment 219835


Then, onto the problem solving

DETAILED symptoms: Sight, sound, etc: in order of events
When and how it started
Is it constant? sometimes? Rare? Random?
What you've tried to fix it

Step One - Describing the problem:

Don't make vague statements about "its broken" "it stops working" "it crashes"
We need to know what you saw, heard, felt, smelt and in what order

Was the PC screen black? Grey? Frozen with a game image? What game? What software was running at the same time? Discord? Youtube on your second screen? etc
Was the audio crackling or popping, did you hear weird noises from the PSU
Did you smell the horrible nose burning stench of a burned capacitor?
For the really rare, annoying issues even something like time of day could help.

The order of events is massively important too: Did your issue occur before or after the BIOS POST screens? Only after windows login, or hours in a game? What were you doing right before your problem occurred, then tell us what happened in the order it happened. Anything else happen unusual recently, even a day or two earlier? New hardware, new software, new software tweaks or tricks you followed?

To give a great example, i don't reboot my PC often - One day when i did to change the coolant in my water setup, it came up to a solid black screen and nothing happened.
3 Days earlier i connected a micro SD card reader to my PC and ran a scan on a fake 512GB SD card, left it scanning and FORGOT IT WAS CONNECTED.
After many hours of figuring out WTF happened (mostly looking for leaks in my custom water setup), i checked closely and found the tiny card reader still connected, removed it and bam the system worked again.


Step one: Figure out if it's hardware or software issue. Sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes it's in a grey area where you can't be sure, and that's where experience helps a lot. If you aren't 100% sure, don't assume you know the problem! Look at my other thread here where my smart TV being in sleep mode, caused my RTX 3090 to lag - meaning it was a NETWORK issue all along. Had that game not been online only, i could have found that out by removing my LAN cable.
I could also have resolved that by unplugging the TV, changing my firewall settings, using a VPN or many other solutions without even knowing what the cause was! LOTS of people fix things by accident and make assumptions about WHY it fixed things, be careful not to fall into that trap.




Step Two: Do your own testing, give us more info to work with

Document what you do, in what order.
Use third party apps to help give us information

Windows Snipping tool (Win + shift + S) is AMAZING for screenshots, as you can then Ctrl-V and paste the image directly into forum posts.


Software issues:
Just tell us the software, and describe the problem. These are usually easy fixes... unless the software is pointing at a hardware problem (Like BSOD's with IRQL errors are a software saying somethings wrong, but are often RAM related). You can use screenshots of task manager and resource manager to solve a lot of performance problems.

Use logic here, not feeling. Not everything you see will be relevant to your problem, so don't go ripping parts out of your PC (software or hardware) because a program gave a .dll error
Always start with least destructive methods first - it's very easy to disconnect all USB devices except mouse and keyboard as your first test, then trying the same with internal hardware - but if you've gone full ham on the system and randomly ripped parts out and deleted files you'll have no idea what the actual fix was.

Good example: Most systems will reset your BIOS if you fail to boot a few times in a row or it hardware changes (like removing RAM sticks), so you can do all sorts of weird things thinking its a 'fix' when in fact you just triggered the BIOS to boot once with safe settings, and then on your next reboot you're back to the saved faulty settings again.
The same can happen in reverse, where the default BIOS settings now fail to boot because you removed a stick of RAM and now the BIOS reset your boot order - and you might focus on the fact you removed the RAM and think the RAM was the issue.

For software issues, the best tools are already in windows.

Task manager: (Ctrl-Shift-Esc, or a bunch of other methods)
This ones pretty easy. Systems lagging? check if any major components are at 100%, and see what's using them. One great example given below was windows defender scanning something... simply leave it alone to finish scanning, there was no problem.
(Windows defender, One drive and things like the windows indexer focus on a users desktop a lot - don't store unimportant junk there. You don't need, or want the indexer and your AV smashing away at memes and pirated videos)

View attachment 219850View attachment 219851

Resource Monitor: If you see the bottom of the second picture there, you can see resource monitor - it's an expanded task manager that lets you see things in a bit more detail.
Simply google what is maxing out whatever hardware it is, and see if its normal or not. Indexer, windows updates, Dot.net cleanup, antivirus... leave the PC on for a few hours, and let it do its thing.
If google says its bad or it simply never stops? THEN you ask for help!

View attachment 219852

Network Issues:
Wireshark

Look i do not know how to use wireshark at all, but when i ran it i got some bright red error things that gave me the IP address of the sony TV causing my RTX 3090 issues, so consider this an option... but it's tricky to use.

View attachment 219862
I don't have a clue what that means, but seeing big red errors between my desktops IP and my TV's IP was enough to find out the actual problem, eventually.

Hardware issues:
Following is some recommended third party software, these all have top tier reputations and are really good at what they do.

CPU-Z is actually most useful for memory, screenshots of your SPD and memory tabs

CPU-Z | Softwares | CPUID
With these three screenshots you can tell my motherboard, BIOS version, what my memory is meant to run at, and what it's REALLY running at (CPU-Z MHz values are halved, it's just how DDR works)
CPU clocks vary second by second, so having a single real time reading on the first page isn't super useful - Hwinfo64 is far better for that information since it records min and max values.
View attachment 219836View attachment 219840View attachment 219838View attachment 219839
Ignoring the rounding errors you can see i have DDR4 3600, and it's currently running at 3666 C18 - overclocked.


GPU-Z was written by the owner of this very website, it gives insanely good information about GPU's in real time

GPU-Z Graphics Card GPU Information Utility
These values change second by second, so timing of screenshots (and those cute little red bar graphs) can be critical:
Here we can tell my 3090 is running underclocked and drawing 300W of power - because i'm mining etherium. Someone seeing these values if they werent mining, could indicate malware.
Seeing the temp graph spike up before a game crashes for example, is great info to have
View attachment 219841View attachment 219842

CrystalDiskInfo is a good program for HDD and SSD information
It wont always give useful information since it gives you the RAW data without explaining it, but it's worth a shot if you have problems
View attachment 220104


Hwinfo64 - This is one of my favourite all time programs, because it records data from everything with Min, Max and Average values. This means that alt tabbing, and values changing very fast still get recorded. You can get readings for almost every type of hardware here, including SSD's, hard drives, network cards, UPS... hell even my Xbox controller shows up.

Hwinfo has a 'sensors only' page which is what i usually run, as well as info pages that do similar to CPU-Z and GPU-Z - you can undo that selection in the tray icon
View attachment 219843

I mean just look at this wall of info: It's overwhelming to beginners, but good lordy if you had issues with your RAM you'd want to have access to all this

View attachment 219844
You can go through and focus on the hardware thats relevant to you for specific information:
View attachment 219845

Or you can use the sensors tab, and focus on the min/max/average values - compare this to CPU-Z that gave one solid clock reading, while suddenly we now have info for the max clock speed each core of my CPU can reach - (Idle, max, and average are SUPER helpful in cases of say, thermal throttling.)
View attachment 219846

The temperatures they reached while doing it:
View attachment 219847

And because Ryzen (my CPU) Ampere (my GPU) and my UPS all work with HWinfo64, the power they all used:
View attachment 219848View attachment 219834

Look at this crazy level of detail, we even see the voltage from the two PCI-E power cables to the GPU seperately!
View attachment 219849







The often overlooked:
Physical world. Check the stuff no one else can see from afar: unplug cables, inspect them, replug them. We cant see a loose PSU power cable, or a fan stuck on a wire.

Isolation testing:
Disconnect external peripherals. USB devices, monitors, headsets, go down to the bare minimum. I forgot this step and missed that stupid SD card reader, and wasted hours of my time.

You can also do this for internal hardware, what you can safely remove varies so much you should probably ask for advice first... but going to a single stick of RAM and disconnecting extra hard drives is a common, easy to do troubleshooting step.



3.
Look at the pile of mess you've typed up, clean it up with commas and paragraphs. Rushing wont get your problem fixed any faster, attention to detail will.

While I like your style of writing, I think this whole ordeal should and could be condensed massively. This is quickly going into TL DR "I'll make my own topic anyway"

Too Much Effort is a lifestyle these days, its not just not knowing, its not going out to find out proper. I think a solution could be to get a form people should complete when they start a help topic. Some required fields, and many many optional. Just to get the questions flying by and get them thinking. This is also a quick way for us to assess what sort of mind we have in front of us.

The How-To part can still be linked at the top of that form. And you can actively refer to it during it.
 
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I think a solution could be to get a form people should complete when they start a help topic.
I think this is a good idea. But I think it should be a form that is saved to the poster's profile, so they don't have to start all over again with a blank form, every time they seek help. If it is linked to their System Specs (so they don't have to enter that info twice) that would be good too. However, it needs to be flexible, in case they are not talking about the same computer as listed there, since a lot of people have more than one computer in their household. Or they may be helping a friend or relative.
 

Mussels

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While I like your style of writing, I think this whole ordeal should and could be condensed massively. This is quickly going into TL DR "I'll make my own topic anyway"

Too Much Effort is a lifestyle these days, its not just not knowing, its not going out to find out proper. I think a solution could be to get a form people should complete when they start a help topic. Some required fields, and many many optional. Just to get the questions flying by and get them thinking. This is also a quick way for us to assess what sort of mind we have in front of us.

The How-To part can still be linked at the top of that form. And you can actively refer to it during it.
Yes. condensing is deeefinitely part of it going forward - hence the big warning at the start. I've already had feedback letting me add and tweak things (and yes bill, i do listen to your feedback - i feel like you may not get some of my slang and methods of speech at times)

I kinda want a support tree, with spoiler tags. Start small and let people shift to the part that matters for them, with ideas of where to go next (the useful apps)
What i want to avoid, is having half a dozen threads that could be one post.
 

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More updates.

Halfway between "how to post a forum thread" and "how to fix almost anything wrong with your PC"
 

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Memory 2x32GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB @3800 C18 TRFC704 (1.4V, SoC 1.15V Hynix MJR)
Video Card(s) Galax RTX 3090 SG 24GB: Often underclocked to 1500Mhz 0.737v
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Display(s) Gigabyte G32QC (4k80Hz, 1440p 165Hz) + Phillips 328m6fjrmb (4K 60Hz, 1440p 144Hz)
Case Fractal Design R6
Audio Device(s) Logitech G560 |Razer Leviathan | Corsair Void pro RGB |Blue Yeti mic
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Mouse Logitech G Pro wireless + Steelseries Prisma XL
Keyboard Razer Huntsman TE (custom white and steel keycaps)
VR HMD Oculus Rift S
Software Windows 11 pro x64 (Yes, it's genuinely a good OS)
Benchmark Scores I don't quite know how i managed to get such a top tier PC, I am not rich.
More updates again. Spoiler tags as well as thumbnails, and parts seperated into categories.
 
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