F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find answers to some of our most frequently asked PC Gaming and PC setup questions. If you have a question or support issue which isn't covered please contact us either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01202068333.
No, the discs supplied are for use if you ever need to reinstall any of the basic software for your PC. You don’t need to install Windows or any of the driver discs as these things have already been done for you. All you need to do is connect your PC to the power, monitor, keyboard & mouse and you should be ready to use it!
Please note there are certain pieces of software that we sell which we can’t pre-install due to their licensing terms or registration requirements. These pieces of software will be supplied on disc and you should install them once you’ve finished setting up your new PC. The list includes;
- Norton Antivirus
- Sony Vegas products
- Ahead Nero
- Acronis True Image
- Adobe Photoshop products
- Adobe Lightroom
Note: On most Windows 10 systems, this is no longer required/applicable. The keys are registered to the motherboard and are activated/stored in the Microsoft Cloud.
When you first turn on your PC you'll be asked to fill in some basic information to help setup Windows. One of these setup screens asks for the Windows product key (sometimes referred to as license key). Assuming you ordered your computer with Windows included you will find a small sticker (examples shown below) on the computer tower itself, normally on the right hand side towards the very rear.
This sticker tells you which version of Windows you ordered and also includes the 25 character product key. You'll need to type this in exactly so that your Windows license can be verified.
The invalid product key message actually means that the product key has been entered incorrectly, not that your product key isn't valid. We see many people make mistakes with certain letters and numbers as the font used on the product key stickers is small and sometimes difficult to decipher. Common problems are the number 8 being entered as a letter B and vice versa, the letter Q being entered as a letter O, and the letter O and number 0 being mixed up, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you see the 'invalid' message then please double-check your product key and try changing round these more commonly mistaken characters. If you continue to experience a problem please contact us for more help.
Black coloured USB ports are USB 2.0 ports. These should be used for the majority of your USB devices. Your keyboard & mouse should be connected to black coloured ports. The blue ports are USB 3.0 ports, supporting a much higher data transfer speed. In order to benefit from these ports your devices also need to be designed for use with USB 3.0, the most common type of USB 3.0 device being external hard drives. You can still use USB 3.0 ports with older USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices, but you won’t get any speed improvement. Occasionally there can be compatibility problems while using older devices connected to USB 3.0 ports, so we recommend using up the black coloured USB 2.0 ports first.
The majority of our PC systems have a dedicated graphics card installed (usually called a Geforce or Radeon card) which means that it's quite important to know which monitor connection to use on the back of the PC tower. Looking at the back of the tower you'll normally see a large collection of different ports all quite close to each other, including the USB ports, headphone style audio connections and a network connection. In this collection of ports you'll typically see a white DVI connection and a blue VGA connection, but please do not connect your monitor to these as they are not enabled if you ordered your computer with a dedicated graphics card. Instead you must use one of the available monitor connections lower down on the back of the PC, where add-in cards are typically installed. Here you can usually find either one or two DVI connections. If there are two then you can use either one with a DVI cable - it won't matter which you use but you must be using these connections rather than the ones which are near to the USB ports. Please note that current generation graphics cards do not support the blue VGA connections used by older monitors, only DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort. If a VGA connection is necessary it is possible to purchase an active VGA adapter but please contact our support team to discuss your requirements first.
It sounds like you may have connected both monitor cables that came with your new monitor. You only need one cable to link the monitor to the PC so please disconnect one of them – connecting two cables simultaneously will cause intermittent display problems as the computer will think that you have two different monitors connected.
This message appears if the computer can't 'see' the hard disk or solid state disk which Windows is installed on. This doesn't normally mean there's any problem with the disk itself, but it may mean that one of the cables connected to the disk has come loose during the PC's journey to you. This is a problem that is easy to resolve but it does require you to open the PC case to check the connections inside. Doing this does NOT affect your warranty. Depending on the design of your computer case you may need to remove both the left and right side panels to gain access to the hard disk connections. The side panels are each secured by two screws at the rear of the computer; just look for where the side panels wrap around the back of the case and you should see a screw towards the top and towards the bottom. Unscrew these screws and then you'll be able to push the side away from the front of the case - it should slide back about 1 - 2 inches. Once you have slid it back you can pull the panel off completely. Doing this will give you access to everything inside the PC. Hard disks are normally installed in the lower half of the front of the case, so start by checking all the cable connections in this area. If you see anything obviously loose then reconnect it, but if not just try pushing on each connection to make sure everything is securely in place. If you have any questions about the connections please contact us. After checking the connections you should try turning the PC on again - this time you should see the 'Starting Windows' screen!
This could mean that the power cable normally plugged into the rear of the optical (CD/DVD/Blu-ray) drive has come loose or unplugged during the PC’s journey to you. While not a common problem it is something that can happen due to the design of the Serial ATA connections used for today’s various different kinds of drive. If you experience this problem please remove the side panels of your computer’s case so that you can have a look at the connections going into the rear of the optical drive. Your optical drive should have two different cables plugged into it; one is a thin cable, often coloured black, while the other is a wider connection with several coloured cables coming from it.
It’s this second cable (pictured above) which has the greater chance of coming loose, and if this cable is indeed loose then it will stop your optical drive from opening. Please make sure that both connections are firmly pushed into their sockets on the back of the drive (don’t worry, you can’t connect the wrong things to the wrong places as the sockets can only accept the right type of cable) and you shouldn’t have any further problems.
There are different things to check depending on which kind of WiFi connection your new PC has come with, and please remember that not all of our PCs come with WiFi built-in so check your invoice first, or call/email us.
If your PC has two small black aerials protruding from the rear then please check the following;
1. Please make sure that these aerials are firmly screwed on; they have screw-in connections and if either of those connections isn’t nice and tight then you may see reception problems.
2. Secondly for this type of WiFi connection it’s also wise to try changing the orientation of those two aerials; experiment a bit with their positions as the positioning can have a large effect on reception.
3. Lastly please remember that WiFi reception and range is affected by many different factors and for this reason we’re unable to guarantee WiFi performance. If you’re struggling to get a good signal then consider buying larger aerials to replace the ones that come attached to the back of the computer – these are standard screw type fittings and there are many different varieties of aerial available. If in doubt please speak to us first, we’re happy to help!
If your PC has no aerials protruding from the rear of the tower, but you’re sure you should have WiFi, then it’s most likely the kind of WiFi which is built into the motherboard. Certain of our high-end Asus motherboards feature integrated WiFi, but you still need to connect the aerial to make proper use of this. Have a look in the motherboard box for the small, white, circular aerial with a cable attached to it (like the one shown below, although the cable can be black or white) – this plugs into a connection on the back of the PC near to the top most USB ports.
You’ll see a small round plug there where this cable can connect (circled in red in the picture above). Push it in and position the circular white aerial somewhere convenient. You can experiment with different positions if your signal strength isn’t what you expect.
Some of our PCs may be supplied with USB WiFi dongles which means it may be necessary to plug the device into a USB port before you’re able to connect to your WiFi network. Please check your invoice as the USB WiFi dongle should be clearly listed if that’s what you ordered.
This is a common question due to the way Windows and other pieces of software report CPU speed. For example, you’ll find that the Windows 7 System Information screen (click on the Start Menu, right click on Computer and choose Properties) always shows the CPU’s standard speed, rather than the overclocked speed. If you have an Intel Core i5 3570K processor for instance, you’ll see that it says ‘Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3570K CPU @ 3.40GHz 3.40GHz’. The speeds reported here are not necessarily the same as the speed we have set the CPU to run at. You can check that the CPU is overclocked by loading CPU-Z (sometimes called CPUID), then look at the ‘Core Speed’ section (see image below).
The core speed is the actual speed in MHz that your CPU is running at, at that exact moment. The latter is important to note as the speed of the CPU varies depending on what you’re doing on the computer, so that if you’re just browsing the internet or working in a word processor for example you’ll see a very low speed, typically 1200 to 1600MHz (1.2 to 1.6GHz), but if you load something more taxing then you’ll find the speed increases to the maximum. This means that to check the maximum core speed you’ll need to run something on the computer to force the speed up to its maximum. Video editing and image editing applications are good examples of software which need the extra power, but you can also see the core speed jump up to the maximum just when loading a piece of software. It’s also worth remembering that the maximum core speed we set is dependent on the motherboard, case, cooling system, power supply and the CPU itself, so each overclocked system can have a slightly different top speed. We only set 100% stable overclocks which can be relied on for years to come.
There's no obvious information in Windows to show what specification of memory (RAM) is installed inside a PC. To check the memory speed you should load CPU-Z (as in the question above), then click the 'Memory' tab at the top of the window. The speed of the memory is shown in the 'DRAM Frequency' box (circled below).
You'll notice that the DRAM Frequency number is actually much lower than you're probably expecting. This is because modern computer memory runs at a 'double data rate', hence the acronym 'DDR'. The DRAM Frequency number is exactly half the actual data rate speed, so using the screenshot above as an example the DRAM Frequency of 666.7MHz actually indicates this memory is running at 1333.4MHz - spot on for DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) memory. If you ordered DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) memory then you should see a DRAM Frequency of roughly 800MHz.