Save Money by Knowing Your PC Needs
In practical terms, a PC you build for $600 might be just as useful to you as one that costs $1,000 or even $2,000 to build. And, an older system might work fine for you.
For example, I have many systems, but the one Im writing this book on right now is a 200 MHz Pentium. (You can probably find such a PC on eBay.com for $100 or less.) Yet, if I type as fast as I possibly can, the computer easily keeps up! For writing using a word processor, I dont really need a faster system.
I have a very old 286 PC, which runs at about 20 MHz. I almost never use it, of course. But, occasionally, Ill be nostalgic and turn it on. It can only run DOS. (The earliest versions of WindowsWindows 3.xare just too bloated for it.) Yet, the Chessmaster program on that PC can kick my butt just as easily as a much faster system. (Of course, that system cant browse the web or do things that are considered vital today. You wont be editing your home movies on it!)
The Chessmaster program brings up a good point about PC use in general. In particular, most CPU time is usually spent waiting for the slowest linkthe human linkto do something. You make a move; the PC makes a move; and you need to stop and think. The PC just sits there waiting for you. Its all ready to move. We humans just arent much of a challenge to it!
And, if youve only filled up 20 GB of drive space after a year of PC use, whats the big deal about having 30 GB remaining unused or 190 GB remaining unused? At the end of the year, if you desire, youll be able to upgrade to a faster, bigger hard drive that will probably be cheaper than what you would have been able to purchase a year ago.
Spend the extra money somewhere where it will have more impact on your life. See a few more movies. Get a bigger TV. Save the money and invest it for the future. Whatever. Or, if you must put the money into your computer hunt around for a fairly-priced DVD burner or something else that will add value to your system.
Finally, the newest components are still being tested. A little increase in performance usually isnt worth the likelihood of more crashes and incompatibility problems. For example, many companies that have huge technology budgets measured in the millions of dollars wont run the most current operating system on their machines. Theyd rather stick with whats worked in the past and what has been shown to be reliable. When the newer system is more debugged, then theyll adopt it. Its the software companies that want you to upgrade so they can earn more money.
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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005
Adapted with permission from a work created by Charlie Palmer.
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