It is a common misconception that computers are evolving and getting increasingly faster. In reality, modern systems are akin to a Ferrari with an RV trailer stuck to the rear fender. And bicycle tires. And the engineering equivalent of Alzheimer.
While from a merely mechanical point of view incredible progress is indeed constantly being made, real-world applications of the technology are haphazard and mired in incomprehension.
For one thing, modern computers are weighed down by modern operating systems. Once upon a time, the OS could be installed from a single floppy disk, 1.44MB of data. Nowadays we are in the order of several Gigabytes, that is, thousands of times heavier code.
Moreover, in a trend common within the misinformed (see the escalation of Megapixel turgidity among digital camera manufacturers), special buzzwords are promoted through advertising to snare unwary buyers in a net of bombastic mine-is-bigger-than-yours excesses. Hence the disorganized race to “higher clock speeds” (goody, if my clock runs faster, the working day will be over sooner); more RAM, for a wool new experience in computing; a bigger and meaner HD, to satisfy the inner biker within us.
In its most basic form, the performance of a computer can be said to depend on 4 factors:
- Operating system, henceforth referred to as OS
- Processor speed. This is the CPU, or Central Processing Unit, speed (frequency), and is measured in Gigahertz or GHz
- Amount of memory. RAM, Random Access Memory, size should be measured in GB (Gigabytes)
- Hard Drive (HD) size, speed and content. Once again the size should be measured in GB and the speed in RPM (Revolutions Per Minute)
In reality there are a myriad of other considerations, but they are outside the scope of this particular blog, so we’ll just proceed with a simplistic view of the aforementioned subjects.
Stay tuned for more detailed blogs in this series covering OS, CPU, RAM and Hard Drive!
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