How Computer Forums Can Help You
Building a custom PC that suits your needs can be a daunting task, especially if you're on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are many active computer hardware forums on the net where you can get useful advice on buying computer parts as well as getting support and solving any problems with your existing rig.
Whether you're looking for an affordable upgrade to give your work computer a boost, or want to build a high-end gaming PC that would run the newest games at the highest settings and 60+ FPS, various computer tech forums can help you with that. You will find a best-of list of such discussion boards below. Please also share for your own favorite tech forums in the comments.
A List of the Best Computer Forums
The following are some of the biggest online communities where you can get free computer advice and support, whether software- or hardware-related:
Overclock.net, also known as OCN, is a popular computer hardware forum with over 250,000 members. This website is focused on maximizing the performance of graphics cards, CPUs, and other components via overclocking. OCN members will help you choose the best computer parts and peripherals that you can get with your budget. The forums also have an active marketplace. A great place for a computer enthusiast, although not very suited for basic support.
#2. Tom's Hardware
Tom's Hardware is a huge website known for their computer hardware reviews. They also have a large online community with over 700,000 members where people discuss PC hardware, software, networking, mobile devices, various other electronics, and miscellaneous topics. This is a good place if you want to build your own computer and are looking for parts which would give you the most performance for the price.
#3. Bleeping Computer
Like the name suggests, these forums are focused on PC troubleshooting and solving any software, hardware, and networking problems you might have. There's also a wealth of information on computer security and performance tweaks. Simply put, if you need computer software or hardware help, BleepingComputer forums is the place to go to.
#4. AnandTech Forums
AnandTech is a popular and reliable computer hardware review site. Unsurprisingly, their forums mostly have computer hardware information, with separate subforums for CPUs, graphics motherboards, memory, power supplies, cases & cooling, storage, and so on. However, there also are PC software discussions, and a place for offtopic talk. AnandTech is considered one of the top computer hardware forums on the web.
#5. Ars Technica OpenForum
Ars Technica is a good tech news and guide website that also has a forum. Most popular sections include discussions on computer hardware, networking, various operating systems, and gaming. There's also a place for confirmed members to buy, sell, or trade various hardware.
HardForum belongs to the HardOCP hardware review website. It is one of the best hardware forums where people discuss PC parts and their benchmark results. HardForum has separate sections for all computer components, and even separates Intel, AMD, and other CPUs (perhaps to avoid fanboy wars)? Overall, it's a good place for a computer enthusiast or a gamer to find relevant information on new products.
#7. HardwareHeaven Forums
Hardware Heaven is a website that reviews and benchmarks graphics cards, processors, and other hardware. This is the place to go to find out about the newest products from Intel, AMD, nVidia, and other companies. This community can help you build a great gaming PC, and also provide computer support.
#8. Tech Support Forum
Like the name suggests, Tech Support Forum helps you find solutions for various computer problems. They have separate sections for Microsoft, security, Linux, networking, gaming, smart device, and computer hardware support. Each subforum has dedicated experts working to provide accurate answers. This online message board boasts over 800,000 members.
#9. OverclockersClub Forums
OverclockersClub is a website focused on getting the most performance out of computer parts. They review and benchmark the newest gaming hardware, and the forum is also dedicated to computer enthusiast topics. They have about 70,000 members at this moment.
#10. CNET Forums
CNET forums offer information on a wide variety of technical topics. These discussion boards are largely about software and OS's, but they also have a large HW section. More importantly, there are separate forums for computer hardware manufactures (Sony, Samsung, Acer, and others) which should be particularly helpful for laptop owners. However, these forums aren't particularly easy to navigate, and those looking for help in building a custom gaming PC are probably better off elsewhere.
#11. bit-tech.net Forums
PC hardware forums at bit-tech.net are dedicated to PC case mods, overclocking, and gaming. You can also discuss the Custom PC magazine at the Custom PC forum section, and look at project logs of some truly impressive case modding examples.
#12. MajorGeeks Support Forums
MajorGeeks computer support forum has about quarter of a million members. While their site is more about PC software, utilities, and drivers, they have a pretty good and active PC hardware forum as well. It's mostly dedicated to solving various problems rather than discussions about the newest tech.
#13. Maximum PC Forums
As you probably guessed, these forums are run by the Maximum PC magazine which is known for their hardware reviews and tutorials. There's a subforum for people looking to build their own PC, as well as hardware, software, and other sections like Folding@home.
Unlike most discussion boards listed above, Head-Fi is highly specialized: it is dedicated to computer audio, sound cards, speakers, and headphones in particular, whether gaming headsets or in-ear buds. If you're looking to buy a pair of expensive headphones and an amp / DAC combo to achieve the ultimate audio quality at your PC, these guys and gals will definitely have some useful advice in that regard.
To many people, a regular $10 Logitech keyboard from the nearest retailer is quite enough, thank you very much. But if you're a professional coder, typist, translator, or gamer, you might want to invest in a mechanical keyboard, which will be more pleasant to use, and last longer than a regular membrane-switch one. This is a forum where you can get expert advice on that, and also delve deeper into how keyboards actually work, and what are the best ergonomic designs for these ubiquitous input devices.
Yet another popular discussion board to talk about anything related to mechanical keyboards, deskthority topics also extend to computer mice and other input devices. While not as large as the aforementioned geekhack, it is still a good place to go to if you're looking to purchase a new keyboard or a mouse. Their wiki is also a good source of knowledge for, say, finding out about the different keyboard switches, and which keyboards use them. The integrated Marketplace allows members to find and share good deals on computer input devices.
#17. ESR Hardware Forum
The ESReality discussion boards are very much focused on all aspects of online gaming and esports. This isn't the place to go to for basic computer support, but if you're looking for a perfect gaming mouse with a flawless sensor to ensure reliable tracking in your FPS, RTS, or other competitive games, ESR will definitely help you out. The discussions on gaming hardware get really detailed, investigating features of a computer mouse like shape, weight, acceleration, precision, compatibility with different surfaces, and so on.
OCN is My Favorite Forum
I prefer OCN (overclock.net) out of all computer forums listed above, at least when it comes to discussions about computer hardware. It is a great place to learn more about overclocking, share your own OC experience, and ask for advice on which components to buy. You can also talk about various gaming peripherals, and find out about the newest in PC hardware. A few years ago, this forum helped me unlock the extra cores on my Phenom II CPU, and these days it's a great resource for fine-tuning the overclock on my 3570k for stable 24/7 operation.
Computer Buyer Poll
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