Friday 30 December 2011

The Big Debate

Since Apple and Microsoft's beginnings, there has always been that big debate: Which is better?  Did Steve Jobs have the real insight to make his machines work better, or did Bill Gates have the edge?

I will admit up front, that I've always been a big fan of PC.  Maybe it's because as a kid I was tinkering about with them, they were easy reach of our family's budget and components were cheap to replace and source should they go wrong. But just because I've always used them, doesn't mean that they are the best.

One thing to consider here, before we get too deep, is the fact that we are comparing a company that manufactured the machines in which their operating system would run on, against a company that really was just designing the Operating system to run on IBM and compatible machines.

And here is an important point.  Windows operating system has to be compatible with a huge variety of devices which are plugged into the computer system. Different Memory, Graphics Cards, USB Devices, Hard Drives, CPU's, Monitors, Keyboards, Mice, Game Controllers, Cameras, Printers all have to have a driver written for them and inevitably you can get conflicts between them which often causes systems to crash.  Windows also has to cope with various computer programs from a variety of vendors, each often wanting to tap into those devices.

Mac's on the other hand have had their devices precisely controlled from the factory and therefore the operating system runs smoother and with less glitches. 

The comment "You don't get viruses on a Mac" is actually incorrect. But admittedly the quantity of viruses currently around that affects Mac's is a minute percentage when compared to the PC. Why? Because currently the PC holds a greater footprint on the world.  However, as more and more people purchase Mac's, you'll find the balance will be met.

After spending time in front of a Mac, in a busy Apple store, I found that everything that I had on my PC was available on the Mac.  Email, Internet, Photo's, Music all presented in a very nice Interface.  It didn't make me want to spend out over a £1000 to buy one, but it didn't scare me away either.

It drew me to this conclusion:

If you want a computer to work well, rarely crash, do the job efficiently, smoothly and look smart in the process then get a Mac.

If you like to tinker with a machine, open it up, play with the insides, enjoy the challenge and satisfaction from getting your computer to do something you didn't think it was designed to do. Get a PC.

Which is better? I'll let you decide.

Friday 2 December 2011

What does it do? (4 of 4) Part 4 - Graphics Card

So we've covered the CPU, The RAM & the Hard Drive.  So now it's time to discuss the roll of the Graphics Card.

The Graphics Card is often a bit of an unsung hero, and most people will opt to buy a PC with a built in Graphics Card.  While this might seem a cheaper option at the outset, you can buy some really good base level graphics cards for relatively low amounts of cash.

The Graphics Card is the interface between your computer and your Monitor. It's job is to calculate exactly what you see.  While that might not seem to be too difficult, the quality of the graphics card and the speed and memory of the card can make a huge difference to what you see and the quality in which you see it.

More evident in graphics intensive game and applications, the Graphics Card will also TAKE AWAY a big workload from your CPU.  This means that with a relatively cheap installation of a Graphics Card, you could find yourself improving the overall performance of the computer.

High End Graphics Card support higher quality resolutions, faster frame rates (how fast the screen refreshes and reloads - the faster it is, the smoother it looks), and additional monitor ports or HDMI ports. (HDMI is a port in which you can plug your High Definition Television into)

With the rise in high quality films and blue ray players being available to play on your computer, a good quality Graphics Card becomes apparent.

We hope you've enjoyed the 4 articles written on the basic components in a PC.  However we appreciate that these articles haven't delved too deeply into the subject. If you have any questions, or problems that you'd like answered, please submit them on the facebook page.

Thank you!