Thursday, July 7, 2011

“GeekBusters” - Tech Myths Debunked!

In this tech tip, we expose the myth and reality surrounding some of the biggest trends in our technology-oriented world. Hopefully, this will shed some light which can help you better understand how these crazy gadgets work!


1. Why a cable Internet service provider's (ISP) advertised speeds are not actually reality

While it's attractive to see that ISPs advertise 10-15 megabits per second download speed, the reality is that you share the same network node as your neighbor (and neighborhood) when it comes to network logistics. So if you and 15 of your neighbors who have the same cable Internet provider are all online, that 10-15 mbps is split between each of you. What's worse is that if one of your neighbors is downloading 24/7, then you'll see reduced speed all the time. The highest chance of your network's peak performance is late in the evening when everyone else is asleep.


2. True or False - Your CD burner's 52X speed is
truly 52X speed

False-ish - The fine print here is that first, in order to achieve 52X speed, you would need a 52X compact disc. Second, when the cd burner starts, it begins at the inside of the disc and works its way out. That's why some burning programs that show real-time speed will say it's burning at 2.5X speed after 1-2 minutes. The 52X speed is achieved as the burner gets closer and closer to the outer edge of the disc. This is the same for burning DVDs.


3. True or False - Megabits and Megabytes are
the same thing

False - Keep in mind that MEGABITS (Mb) is a unit of measurement for network transfer speed. Megabytes (MB) is a unit of storage such as hard drives. That's why when Internet service providers pitch their fast speeds, they always reference megabits. Therefore, a 1 megabit transfer speed does not mean being able to move 1 megabyte across a network. 1 megabit is about .125 megabytes.


4. Why your 500GB hard drive only shows 465GB of space when you look under MY COMPUTER

Your computer reads information in different ways.

So for example:
BASE 2
1 Megabyte (MB) = 1024 Kilobytes (KB) - BASE 2 (2 ^ 20 = 1,048,576 bytes)
1 Gigabyte (GB) - 1024 Megabytes (MB) - BASe 2 (2 ^ 30 = 1,073,741,824 bytes)
BASE 10
1 Megabyte (MB) = 1024 Kilobytes (KB) - BASE 10 (10 ^ 6 = 1,000,000 bytes)
1 Gigabyte (GB) = 1024 Megabytes (MB) - Base 10 (10 ^ 9 = 1,000,000,000 bytes)
Because we know that 1024 Megabytes (MB) => 1 Gigabyte (GB) => BASE 2 (2 ^ 30 = 1,073,741,824), 500 GB equals 500 x 1,073,741,824 bytes or 536,870,912,000 bytes.
We also know that in BASE 10, 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes
So let's look at what we have:
536,870,912,000 (500GB IN BASE 2)
--------------------- = 1.073741824
(500 x 1,000,000,000) (500GB IN BASE 10)
And if we multiply 1.073741824 x 465, we get 499.28994816, which, if rounded up equals 500 GB
Hard Drive Manufacturers use the binary method when manufacturing their drives but Windows reads the information in the decimal format to show the size. However, which would be more attractive? Buying a hard drive advertised as a 536,870,912,200 byte drive or having it say a simple 500 GB?


5. True or False - The 750 watt power supply you
just purchased for $22 is really putting out 750 watts

False-ish - Similar to how a car with 236 lb-ft of torque provides 100% of it at a certain engine rpm speed, PSU manufacturers know that power supplies hit their max wattage at certain points in time.
For example, 750 watts might be attained with 1 hard drive and 1 optical drive while the computer is idling. Also, it's a dead give-away if you paid only $22 for a high-powered PSU. Look for a PSU that certifies their wattage. So if you see an Antec TRUE 550W power supply, it's Antec's way of saying that the PSU provides 550 watts of power at any given time. Another way to tell that a PSU is reliable is if it’s heavy. Quality-made PSUs are engineered with heavy-duty and longer-lasting capacitors.


6. True or False - Buying a larger-screen size
notebook automatically equals more viewing space

False - Between 15.5" and 16" screen sizes, most entry-level notebooks have a resolution of 1366 x 768 which is fine but doesn't offer more space. Most 17" notebooks have 1440 x 900 resolution.
If you're looking for more viewing space, opt for a higher resolution.
In other words:
15" - 1680 x 1050 or 1920 x 1080
17" - 1600 x 900, 1680 x 1050 or 1920 x 1080
The images, icons and text appear crisper and you can fit browsers side-by-side along with being able to simultaneously view all folders without having to press Alt-Tab to switch windows/folders.


7. Buying a computer with more cores (more
than dual-core) equals much faster performance

False - Mathematically-speaking, more cores would theoretically yield better performance but the issue is that many simple, everyday programs like Microsoft Word, FireFox and Excel won't know to use the extra cores to run the program faster. However, gamers and graphic designers whose programs will see (and utilize) the additional cores will benefit from it. If you want more performance, focus on optimizing the hard drive such as defragmentation, reducing programs that run on start-up (which slow the system down), adding more RAM and cleaning the Windows registry. So ultimately, you really won't see much of a speed difference between a dual-core cpu computer and a hexacore (6-core) computer both running FireFox and Microsoft Word simultaneously.


In Conclusion

The common denominator for these tech myths is that their “validity” is usually exaggerated marketing hype and manufacturer/retailer buzz words in order to entice customers to buy their products, thus adding confusion to the reality. So the next time you’re in the market for a new cheap laptop, digital camera, phone, discount mp3 player, etc., don’t automatically digest the excessive marketing that salespeople throw to close the sale."

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