The Computer Buzz
||February 11th, 2010|
Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Factory
We’re often asked “how do you keep up with all the changes in the computer business?”
It’s true that PC components and software are constantly changing, but few of these changes have any significant effect on users. Since we design and build PCs, we must stay current with changes on a daily basis but an accounting of “what’s new” would bore a sloth to death.
For example there are two manufactures of CPUs, AMD and Intel, and there are over 200 different CPUs in current distribution. The average manufacturing lifespan of a CPU is less than two years. That means these companies introduce several new CPUs each month.
RAM (random access memory) comes in four basic families S-DRAM, DDR I, DDR II and DDR III. While we stock all the families to repair and upgrade older PCs, for new PCs we need only to concern ourselves with DDR II and DDR III.
DDR II comes in 5 sizes from 256Mb to 4.0Gb. Each size comes in two flavors (ECC and non-ECC), each size also comes in 4 clock speeds (400, 533, 667, 800). Do the math. We come up with 40 different types. DDR III has 6 clock speeds (1066 to 2200) and they’re still adding more.
The motherboards that support the current RAM and CPU products come with a half dozen different CPU socket designs and a dizzying array of features. We use ASUS. It is the biggest motherboard manufacturer in the world with the best quality and warranties and well over 100 motherboard designs from which to choose.
We also use Western Digital hard drives for the same reasons. Desktop hard drive speeds range from 5400 to 10,000 RPM and from 160Gb (gigabytes) to 2Tb (terabytes) in size. Western Digital has over 70 models.
Between XP, Vista and Win 7 there are 16 separate and distinct operating systems. Picking the right one can be critical. After we determine the right combination of motherboard features, RAM, CPU, operating system and hard drive size we select a case, power supply and optical drive to complete the match-up of each PC to the customer’s individual needs.
Most of the time it takes only a few minutes of conversation with a customer to arrive at an optimized configuration. We know what questions to ask and the pieces usually fall into place fairly quickly. Since we stock most components, it typically takes only a day or two day to get one ready. Special configurations like “hyper-gamers” and “day-traders” may take an extra day.
It’s not so difficult to keep up with new technology; keeping up with “old technology” is where we really shine. We repair and upgrade over 150 PCs each month including all major brands ranging from brand new to over 10 years old. If it’s worth fixing we have the know-how and usually the parts to do it. When it comes to building, upgrading and repairing PCs, the “newbies” at Fry’s and “Geek Squad” couldn’t even carry our pocket protectors. Hooorah.