Computer Misconceptions

by techtiptom

Originally posted on wibc.com on 06/27/2011

Here are some computer misconceptions I hear often along with an explanation of why they are wrong. By knowing the truth about the 5 misconceptions in this article, you’ll become much more computer literate.

1. Your computer processor (CPU) is the most important part of your PC. The more powerful your processor is, the faster your PC will run.

FALSE- Other parts of a PC are just as important as the CPU, such as the RAM (memory) and if you play games, the video card. A system with an average processor and a lot of RAM (say 1 GB) will beat a system with a powerful processor and a small amount of RAM (say 256 MB) hands down. Some applications, such as Microsoft Office or Open Office, require little horsepower to run and their performance will not be improved by using a very fast processor versus an average processor.

2. Placing your PC on carpet will harm it.

UNKNOWN- This is a debate still raging with computer professionals today. Those against placing PCs on carpet argue that the static electricity can damage a computer and the carpet traps heat, thus making the PC hotter. On the other side of things, it is argued that as long as a PC is plugged in while on carpet, it is grounded, therefore static electricity cannot harm it. In addition, most of the heat released from a computer comes out the back where the fans are, not on the bottom. Carpet will also make a quieter PC because it absorbs more sound than tile.

3. The faster a processor’s clock speed, the faster it will perform.

FALSE- Many people assume that the faster the clock speed of a processor is (clock speed is measured in GHz and MHz). For example, an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ processor has a clock speed of 2 Ghz. But it performs faster than a Pentium 4 processor with a clock speed of 3 GHz! This is because some processors (particularly AMD and Pentium-M processors) are more efficient and get more work done in one clock cycle.

4. A surge protector is enough to protect my PC from power surges.

FALSE- While a surge protector is good to have, you should also have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). UPS’ have a battery that will give keep your computer running for a small amount of time (usually three to ten minutes) in the event of a power failure. If you have a UPS, your PC will no longer be subject to random reboots during brief power spikes and if the power ever goes out of an extended period of time, you’ll have time to save your work and safely shut down your PC.

5. Meeting the system requirements for a piece of software or a game is all I need to do to be able to use it.

FALSE- Just because your PC meets the system requirements for a piece of software or a game does not mean it will run well enough for you to be able to use it. Software and PC game makes usually stretch the truth when it comes to the minimum requirements in order to make more money. It is best to meet the recommended requirements if you want to have a good experience with a piece of software or a game.

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