Top 4 Myths About Buying PC Hardware

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Nov 21st 2012 - by Fix My PC FREE in: Blog Hardware Fixes | 0 Comment

Top 4 Myths About Buying PC Hardware

If you’re buying a new laptop or desktop PC, then you may be overwhelmed by the technical specs that you need to research. From CPUs to GPUs and everything in between, buying a new PC can be a confusing process even for the most experienced tech expert.

Today, we’re going to highlight some of the myths that new PC buyers might believe. By understanding these myths today, you can save money when purchasing your next new PC:

Myth 4) GHz aren’t everything on the CPU

It’s easy to get confused when you’re choosing between different CPUs. Today, the CPU market is dominated by the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7, all of which offer good performance at affordable prices. But budget PC users might look at a CPU like the Intel Pentium 965 and realize that it is significantly cheaper than an Intel Core i3 while packing a higher clock speed (3.73GHz).

So why is the Pentium 965 worse than the Intel Core i3? It comes down to architecture. The i3 uses 32nm architecture, while the Pentium uses 65nm architecture. This allows electricity to move across the CPU at a significantly faster rate. So, while the 3.4GHz power of the Core i3 might seem paltry in comparison to the Pentium’s 3.74GHz, the i3 can do so much more with those 3.4GHz than the Pentium can with its 3.74 GHz.

Lesson learned: When shopping for CPUs, compare chips based on benchmarks, not GHz

Myth 3) The more GB of RAM, the better

Got a slow computer? Throw some RAM into it. Having computer problems? Add another stick of RAM. Dead pixel on your monitor? RAM should clear that right up.

RAM plays an important role in your computer’s performance, to say the least. But it’s not a magical piece of hardware that will instantly fix all your computer problems. And one of the biggest myths about
RAM is that the more GB you have, the better off you’ll be.

In some cases, 4GB of RAM will be faster than 6GB of RAM. Instead of just looking at the number of GB of RAM on your computer, you have to take clock speed into account. RAM comes in clock speeds of 1333MHz and up. Bumping up to another speed level – like 1600MHz – is a good way to increase PC performance while spending only a few extra dollars.

Lesson learned: Pay an extra $20 for fast RAM to unlock faster PC performance

Myth 2) The more GB of VRAM, the better

Clever readers will notice that this myth is the same as Myth #4 except for one slight difference: the letter ‘V’ in front of RAM. VRAM is the memory used by your graphics card to power PC games and other graphics-intensive tasks. Most of today’s video cards feature between 1GB to 2GB of VRAM, although some cards can be found with 3GB, 4GB, and more.

But not all 3GB video cards are better than 2GB video cards. Once again, it comes down to clock speed and other architecture-related specifications. As with CPUs, it’s easier to look at the benchmarks for various video cards as opposed to directly comparing the GB of VRAM available.

Lesson learned: Always use benchmarks to determine the power of a video card, not the number of GBs of VRAM.

Myth 1) Hard drive size is the only thing you should care about

When you’re shopping for a new computer, companies like Best Buy often only advertise the size of the computer’s hard drive. They might say ‘500GB storage’ or ‘1TB hard drive’ while not mentioning anything else about the drive.

This has led many people to assume that hard drive space is the only thing you should care about when buying a new computer. This is simply not true. Today, an SSD storage unit is several times faster than a traditional hard drive but it offers less space. If you want your computer to boot up in seconds, but don’t necessarily need to store hundreds of big files and programs on your computer, then an SSD is a perfect solution.

But even if you don’t opt for an SSD, it’s important to look at the speed of the hard drive in question. Hard drive speeds range from 5400 rpm (commonly seen in laptops) to 10,000 rpm or more. The average hard drive includes 7200 rotations per minute. The higher the rpm rating is, the faster your computer will run.

Since you’re constantly accessing the hard drive when using your computer, hard drive speed can have an enormous impact on the speed and performance of any system. Spend  bit of time finding computers with faster hard drives in order to unlock significant performance benefits.

Lesson learned: Faster, smaller hard drives offer better performance than larger, slower hard drives.

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