Handy links for staying up-to-date on hardware developments

In this Daily Feature, James McPherson gives you the specs on several of his favorite hardware-oriented Web sites.

It isn’t easy for IT workers to maintain the level of omniscience their clients and bosses expect of them. Fortunately for us, we can reserve our mental powers for real emergencies by hitting a few of the best hardware- and industry-focused sites on the Internet (after TechProGuild’s, of course). The ever-expanding nature of the Net prevents us from posting a comprehensive list of useful sites, so feel free to list any of your favorites in the discussion section below.

Ace’s Hardware

Ace focuses on the cutting edge of technology and does an excellent job of providing a heads-up on the future. Most comparisons are of prerelease or beta technology rather than current products. Its high-level articles are surprisingly easy to read and are recommended references for anyone delving into the inner workings of computers.


Anand Lal Shimpi is the 17-year-old undisputed “boy genius” of the hardware realm. His site is an eclectic mixture of equipment reviews covering all types of products. While not focused on the underlying technology like Tom’s Hardware (see below), Anand is known for coming up with amazingly in-depth analyses of new technology when the mood strikes him.

Ars Technica

Ars Technica is a general-purpose site with a steady stream of news and articles. Ars Technica offers IT professionals a mixture of hardware evaluations, software and OS guides and tips, and industry news.

The Register

This British IT site, whose motto is “Biting the hand that feeds IT,” is unrelenting in exposing problems in the industry. The Register is invaluable for keeping tabs on what products are delayed or proving troublesome.

Sharky Extreme

This site, operated by Alex “Sharky” Ross, is targeted toward high-end consumers. Head-to-head comparisons of processors, motherboards, and system components make up the majority of articles, providing an excellent place to research new PC and workstation equipment. Of particular interest are the processor and memory price guides, updated weekly with notes on the current price/performance leaders.

The Tech Report

The Tech Report is part portal, part hardware comparison. While the hardware reviews are typically focused on gaming-related components, the daily links to news articles across the Net make the Tech Report a convenient “one-stop shop” for the IT professional who needs to keep an eye open for problems but doesn’t have all day to sift through Web sites.

Tom’s Hardware Guide

Run by the venerable Dr. Tom Pabst, author of “Tom’s Hardware Guide,” this site specializes in in-depth technology analysis and constant monitoring of the industry as a whole. Product evaluations are not uncommon, but the focus is on the quality of the underlying technology. The technical level of this site is high, and the content can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the inner workings of PC components. However, the site can be invaluable for technicians performing in-depth troubleshooting.
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