Useless Tech You Shouldn't Buy

Useless Tech You Shouldn't Buy
5 min read
15 February 2022

 There are plenty of products out there that promise to make your tech experience more reliable, more powerful, or more just high quality, and much better in general. And while many of them do exactly that, there's still plenty of snake oil out there that's about as effective as those supplements they sell on late night television. So let's go through three kinds of straight-up useless tech, you really should be avoiding.

Fake audiophile gear

To be clear, we're not trying to pick on folks who are serious about sound. Higher quality headphones, amplifiers, and DAX, do make a real difference in audio quality. But unfortunately, there are many products that sound cool, without actually sounding cool. That's a pun. Two particularly egregious examples made the news in late 2021, an audiophile network switch and an audiophile SSD.Useless Tech You Shouldn't Buy The switch, manufactured by Synergistic Research, costs $2600 and claims to improve your audio quality by smoothing out electrical noise. Unfortunately, because switches only handle digital bits, ones, and zeros, there's no benefit to spending all that money to reduce interference, as the signal either goes through perfectly or it doesn't at all. In the event of a failed transmission, the switch would just try again and fetch the correct data, which has no impact on audio quality.Useless Tech You Shouldn't Buy It's a similar story with the SSD, which you can immediately tell, looks quite different from your normal M.2 storage device. It comes with a Realtek controller, possibly to imply improved sound quality, along with a couple of chunky capacitors that look like they belong inside an amplifier, and even an expensive oscillator meant for higher-end scientific equipment. Very fancy, but again, nothing is going to improve the inherent quality of a song stored on discreet bits, or give it a special natural feeling as the developer claims.

The only thing this SSD will improve is the manufacturer's bank account whenever it goes on sale.

SSD water cooling

You might have noticed that many motherboards these days include small passive heat sinks for M.2 SSDs, and some SSDs even come with their own. Useless Tech You Shouldn't BuyYou know, fair enough, SSDs do get hot and it's a positive for them to receive adequate cooling. But the key word here, is "adequate."

You see SSDs only suffer performance and endurance problems when they're facing temperature extremes, either hot or cold. Fortunately, you can usually keep your SSD in an acceptable temperature range, simply by ensuring your case has good airflow and isn't being choked by dust or a scorned lover. And yeah, you might wanna a little heat sink on there if you're dealing with warm ambient temperatures, but this hasn't stopped some manufacturers from creating water blocks specifically for SSDs. And while there's nothing wrong with putting one on your drive for some extra glam, it's almost certainly going to do nothing to improve the speed or lifespan of your SSD over a passive cooler or just a fan that's pointing at it.

So don't bother spending the money and the hassle to water cool your SSD. There are plenty of other components in your rig that could benefit from water cooling instead.

Low-end graphics cards

You know, the ones like the Nvidia GT 730 that take up one slot, might have one dinky little fan, and don't even have an X anywhere in the name.Useless Tech You Shouldn't Buy Seriously, though, the only real reason to get one of these guys, is if you need an extra video out. And even then it's cheaper just to get a USB to HDMI dongle. But what's really egregious, is that you often see these cards marketed as a way to run graphically intensive modern games.

Not only is the actual performance you get, incredibly weak, but in some ways it's even worse than integrated graphics. And they're typically not much cheaper than buying something a tier higher that can actually give you a respectable gameplay experience. The kicker is that Nvidia has sometimes re-badged, very old, low-end GPU's to make them seem newer. The GT 430 and the GT 730 are actually the same chip. Yet you can still buy the GT 730 now, despite the fact the GPU is 11 years old! It should be going into fifth grade! Have you seen a piece of tech that would function better as a paperweight? Let us know down in the comments, and you might see it in a follow-up episode. 

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Alex 9.6K
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