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Date: May 12th, 2008
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)



Although some enthusiasts/power users will need fast hardware, the rest of us don't need what is available as our choices. To put the situation in context, we can compare the computer hardware situation to the car choices we have today. Even though we have speed limits of 100km/hr(60mph), why do we need to spend huge amounts of money for something that can easily double that? But other than a few recent examples, nothing other than an over-priced example of what you don't really need is available. You don't need it, but you want it, and you only want it because the industry convinces you that you need it by giving you no choices other than what they bring to the table. The consumer is along for the ride, and nothing more.

To help me convince you that this is also true for the computer hardware industry, tell me if you have heard of anyone saying, “Man I just bought this computer 6 months ago and it is now obsolete!”. But who dictates that a computer is obsolete? Just because Rev.B of your motherboard came out, or the latest processor is 200Mhz faster than yours doesn't mean your computer is obsolete. If it accomplishes the tasks you need, it is only obsolete when it won't do a specific task for you, and nothing less. The computer industry will try to convince you that yours is obsolete by releasing a new product every six months in order to keep their sales figures high and put pressure on the layman to upgrade.

A perfect example of this orchestrated crock of bullcrap is the latest operating system release from everyone's favorite mega software company. Hardware companies were all happy that the overpriced piece of bloatware was going to have people upgrading their memory, processor or even their whole computer just to get it to run at the same performance as the stable version that has been out for the past five or more years. In the end, people got an expensive computer than ran slower than the one they replaced it with.

But wait, there's more. With the new operating system release can release of DirectX 10 which is not compatible with any previous generation of OS. So out march the videocard manufacturers with two generations of DX10 capable videocards that most will not need seeing they don't run the new OS. It is almost laughable, but everyday another sucker is buying a new component because of the new OS when they could have stuck with what they had bought two years ago and still would have had a faster computer. Oh, and now you need double the memory for the computer to still run reasonable well. What a deal!

Today everyone is fooled to believe that their trusty computer is getting slow because it is outdated when actually, all that is needed is a format, and complete reinstall, and the computer will be squeaky clean and performing like the snappy work rig it once was when it was purchased. But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone that seeing it is because their computer is “obsolete” and they need to buy a new one so they can keep the hardware companies making money.

But, there are some upgrades that will be money well spent.

The first thing, instead of buying a new computer, wipe it and reinstall the OS and buy the following:

•  LCD Monitor: If you have an old CRT tube monitor, throw it out immediately and go buy an LCD monitor. Your eyes and energy bill will thank me. You can get a 20” or even a 22” monitor for peanuts in today's market.

•  External Hard Drive: Running out of space? Invest a hundred bucks in a large external USB hard drive for extra space. Don't upgrade your whole computer so you can store more MP3s.

•  Memory: Instead of upgrading the whole machine, throw and extra gig of the existing memory you have in there. Memory is getting cheaper and cheaper and one of the best bang for the buck additions on the market.

•  Solid State Hard Drive – although expensive at the moment, with falling prices and the insane transfer speeds, even the slowest older computer will scream with this faster hard drive technology.

Now I understand there will be a few irritated people on the side tapping their toes intently wanting to say that they do like the latest hardware seeing they can game faster and need the speed. For people needing the speed and will actually use it, go right ahead. This editorial is focused on the mainstream masses and not the enthusiast minority.

Sure modern computers do process more data quickly, but in most cases, you will need a benchmarking tool with some sort of scoring system to show you the difference seeing in day to day tasks, you will never see the 3ms difference with the naked eye when opening or running any standard day to day computing applications. But realistically, does the standard soccer mom need a dual core to send an email or listen to some MP3 or heavens ta goodness, download their pictures from their digital camera? Not a chance, and that old computer sitting in the den will accomplish that task with ease.

Keep this in mind before you shell out for your next computer. Your fresh new computer can nothing more than a OEM recovery disc away on your three year old tower and you can use the extra money to buy a nice flat panel TV.

Don't be brainwashed, realize the potential in the hardware you already own.

I am sure that this is going to bring up some good discussion so you can post your thoughts on this issue in our forums HERE.





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