Hardware Failure Rates 2019-2021


GPUs you can actually purchase right now

Microcenter in Dallas and Houston are the last bastion of hope to get a graphics card, they have consistently had GPUs in stock. If you are trying to build a gaming PC, but don’t want shitty pre-built build quality, it’s the best option to get a new GPU that doesn’t involve paying a scalper on eBay.

Another reason to avoid paying scalper prices on eBay or other third-party sellers, is that you have absolutely no warranty coverage without the original proof of purchase. So chances are if it has a problem down the road you’ll be shopping for a new GPU.

With Microcenter you get the full 3 year warranty that you deserve with your GPU purchase.

Only trouble is, they will only sell them in store, so while you can confirm they are in stock online and even see the quantity available, you must go to the store to purchase it.

Check out the links below to see stock availability.

RTX 3000 Series and RX 6000 Series Graphics Cards : Micro Center Dallas

RTX 3000 Series and RX 6000 Series Graphics Cards : Micro Center Houston





To get a new gaming build started, open a ticket and specify your parts budget, and I will make component choices that are appropriate for your needs and intended usage.


Choosing the right PSU

When purchasing a power supply, it’s important to target the considered wattage about double what your load will be.

To determine your load wattage, just use PC Part Picker

By doing this, and properly installing it in the correct orientation so that it can breathe, you can help ensure your power supply purchase will last through several builds.

If you are planning a big graphics card upgrade down the road, check how much wattage it will use–it’s always cheaper to futureproof compared to buying a second power supply down the road.

I have seen many PC Power and Cooling, eVGA, and Corsair PSUs from 10 years or older going strong because they are:

►Used with an appropriate load.
►Operated at low ambient temperatures.
►Cleaned at least 2-3 times per year.

The life of a capacitor DOUBLES for every 10-degree Celcius DECREASE in temperature.

Arrhenius’ Law of Chemical Activity



  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090: $1,499
  • AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT: $999
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti: $1,199
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080: $699
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT: $649
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti: $599
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800: $579
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070: $499
  • AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT: $479
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti: $399
  • AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT: $329
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060: $329
  • AMD Radeon RX 6600: $299


How to get a graphics card at a reasonable price

Diligently participate in the Newegg Shuffle! Subscribe to Shuffle Alerts.

If you need consulting for the best parts to buy for your particular budget and gaming needs, contact Mr. Robot for recommendations.


Microsoft has a hidden anti-ransomware feature in Windows 10 that you can enable

It’s as simple as searching up ‘ransomware protection’ in the start menu, and ticking the box for ‘controlled folder access’, which doesn’t seem to be enabled by default as you’d expect. It’s described as a feature that stops ‘unfriendly applications’ from making changes to your files, folders, and memory.

Customer Self-Help

Helpful apps for gamers

  • Beware of using monitoring apps such as HwInfo listed below and others such as SideBar when using NZXT CAM or Corsair iCue water cooling software as it can occupy or interfere with the sensors and prevent your system from being cooled properly. NZXT and Corsair have their own app monitoring features and you should stick to them.
  • HWInfo Download
  • FrameView Download
  • CPU-Z Download
  • GPU-Z Download


How to wipe and load windows 10

CAUTION: Following these steps will guide you to erase the data on the drive you are reinstalling windows on, do not use this guide if you wish to keep the data on the computer.

This guide also assumes you only have one drive installed.

Stage One: Prepare Windows 10 Installer USB Drive

  1. Plug in a 8GB or larger USB thumb drive with nothing important saved on it as it will be erased.
  2. On a working windows computer, download the Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool
  3. Open the tool and accept the license agreement.
  4. What do you want to do?”

    Select Create installation media (usb flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and click next
  5. Select language, architecture, and edition”

    Just leave the checkbox ticked and click next
  6. Choose which media to use

    Just leave USB ticked and click next
  7. Select the USB drive you inserted in step 1 and click next
  8. When the tool finishes, click finish, eject the USB drive, then remove it.

Stage Two: Boot Windows 10 Installer USB Drive

  1. Insert USB drive in computer you wish to load/reload windows on.
  2. Enter the BIOS and change your boot mode from LEGACY/CSM to UEFI if it is not already set to UEFI, enable secure boot, set your first boot device to the USB drive, then save and exit.

    ASRock: F2 or DEL
    ASUS: F2 for all PCs, F2 or DEL for Motherboards
    Acer: F2 or DEL
    Dell: F2 or F12
    ECS: DEL
    Gigabyte / Aorus: F2 or DEL
    HP: F10
    Lenovo (Consumer Laptops): F2 or Fn + F2
    Lenovo (Desktops): F1
    Lenovo (ThinkPads): Enter then F1.
    MSI: DEL for motherboards and PCs
    Microsoft Surface Tablets: Press and hold volume up button.
    Origin PC: F2
    Samsung: F2
    Toshiba: F2
    Zotac: DEL
  3. Your system should be booted up to the windows 10 installer. You can now reload windows.
  4. Be sure to delete any partitions on the drive you are reinstalling windows on at the partition screen by selecting each partition and clicking delete and yes to each confirmation until the only thing left is:

    Drive 0 unallocated space

    Then click Next and windows will automatically create the system, reserved, and primary partitions.
  5. Once the installer says it will reboot your computer in 15 seconds, remove the USB drive and click reboot now.
  6. Enter the BIOS again and set your boot device to
    Windows Boot Manager
    then save and exit
  7. To avoid having to use a microsoft account to login to the computer, do not connect to the internet yet and select I don’t have internet when prompted, and continue to not connect to the internet until you have completed the user creation process.

    You may be prompted to provide a password, if you leave it blank, you won’t have to use one.

Customer Self-Help

Top 5 Build Mistakes

  1. Thermally Constrained Case
    • Beware: Most cases are bad, cook your components to a crisp and will cause crashing.
    • Don’t consider cases that don’t have an open mesh front panel.
    • If it looks thermally constrained, it is.
    • If you’re stuck with a thermally constrained case like almost any NZXT, I can modify your front panel and get your thermals in check, just submit a ticket or text.
    • The Phanteks P300A is an excellent choice for around $50
    • The Corsair 4000D High Airflow is an excellent choice for around $70
  2. Inadequate CPU Cooler
    • Gone are the days that the included heatsink is adequate. Don’t even plan to use it.
    • Don’t consider CPU air coolers. Due to increasingly hot neighboring components, even the best ones struggle and heat soak the rest of your components.
    • Budget $100-$150 for a good AIO.
    • An excellent value is the Arctic Liquid Freezer series.
    • An excellent value with RGB is the Corsair Capellix series.
  3. Inadequate Case Fans
    • Included case fan(s) are not sufficient for gaming rigs.
    • Beware: RGB fans average about 50% or less airflow than their non-RGB versions, and should be avoided entirely.
      • The only high performance RGB fans on the market are the ones that come included on the Corsair RGB AIOs and NZXT AER RGB 2 fans.
        • The NZXT are black-bladed and the RGB effect is a little dull whereas corsair are frosted so the RGB effect looks a lot cooler when the fan is lit up. I would only get NZXT if you have a Kraken AIO.
    • Budget $80-100 for intake and exhaust fans, or $40-50 for exhaust fans if buying an AIO, as that will serve for your intake fans, reducing your fan budget.
    • The Corsair ML Pro series are an excellent choice, with 75CFM on the 120MM version and nearly 100CFM on the 140MM version, and magnetic levitation bearing tech.
      • Avoid the ML PRO RGB variants as they have only half the airflow.
  4. Improperly Wired GPU
    • Your power supply includes at least two PCIE power cables.
    • Use one entire cable for each power connector on your GPU.
    • Do not use the pigtail connector on each PCIE power cable.
  5. Improperly Installed M.2 SSD
    • Your motherboard includes the standoffs and screws needed to fasten your M.2 style SSD(s) to the board in the original box. The standoffs and/or screws usually do not come affixed to the board.
    • Don’t remove the SSD stand-off and use it as a way to fasten it to the board. This is the #1 mistake I’ve seen this past year and can cause the board, SSD, or both to short out.
    • The SSD must also have a heatsink attached! If your board didn’t include one then buy one.
Customer Self-Help

How to reset the icon cache database on Windows 10

On Windows 10, those icons you see on files and apps are stored in the icon cache database to allow the operating system to display them quickly on the screen. The process of caching icons, instead of retrieving them from the source, helps to prevent your system from getting bogged down by the mere task of “showing icons”.

However, as the database grows, the odds of icon cache database getting corrupted also grows. When this happens, icons on your desktop and throughout the operating system may not render correctly or even appear broken.

Although Windows 10 doesn’t include an option to reset the database, you can still fix the problem using a few commands in Command Prompt.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to rebuild the icon cache database on your computer when they appear blank or broken.

How to rebuild the icon cache database

To rebuild the icon cache database on Windows 10, close any application that you may be running, and then do the following:

  1. Open Start and do a search for Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click the result and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to navigate to the icon cache database location and press Enter:
    cd %homepath%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
  4. Type the following command to verify the icon cache database files are at the location and press Enter:
    dir iconcache*

    The output of the dir command should list these database files:
    • iconcache_1280.db
    • iconcache_16.db
    • iconcache_1920.db
    • iconcache_256.db
    • iconcache_2560.db
    • iconcache_32.db
    • iconcache_48.db
    • iconcache_768.db
    • iconcache_96.db
    • iconcache_custom_stream.db
    • iconcache_exif.db
    • iconcache_idx.db
    • iconcache_sr.db
    • iconcache_wide.db
    • iconcache_wide_alternate.db
  5. Type the following command to stop File Explorer and press Enter:
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

    Important: Once you terminate File Explorer, your desktop background and taskbar will disappear, leaving a black screen — but it’s OK, it’s only temporarily. You need to close File Explorer to be able to delete the icon cache files. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do it.
  6. Type the following command to delete the iconcache files and press Enter:
    del iconcache*

    Quick Tip: If you get access denied trying to remove the files, you’re probably not running Command Prompt with as an administrator. Repeat these steps, but making sure Command Prompt starts with administrative privileges.
  7. Type the following command to verify that you successfully deleted the icon cache files and press Enter:
    dir iconcache*

    If you still see some iconcache files, then it’s likely that some apps are still running, which will prevent you from deleting the database files. Make sure to close them all, and repeat the steps.
  8. Type the following command to start File Explorer and press Enter:
  9. Close Command Prompt to complete the task.
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