Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Computer efficiency and lifespan

Turns out the best way to make cars more efficient has nothing to do with fuel burning effectiveness or engine power: rather, eliminating all the extra weight components such as bumpers, air bags, reinforced frame, belts, power brakes, etc. would make it better if we could simply find the way to prevent cars from crashing.

In a similar fashion, computers carry a lot of extra “weight” we shouldn’t need in the first place: antivirus, firewalls, backup software, USB, VGA, Ethernet ports; anti-theft slots and frames, fans, etcetera.
For some of those physical components, there are chips, services and/or programs that need to work every time to make such mechanisms work.
The extra services, programs and packages that run all the time in order to “secure” our systems make them work harder, and therefore take up valuable resources that would make our tasks simpler, and computers work faster and last longer were they not so hugely utilized.

Although we are moving towards more efficient processors, more secure Operating Systems and applications, and better detection and prevention from malign physical threats and those from the Web, there is still a long way to go on these regards.

Then, what can we do then to make our systems last longer while making them perform better?
+ Acquire computers with the latest electronics technologies. Saving a couple hundred up front buying a discounted older or less capable system will only cause more expenditure through time (let alone the headaches).
+ The latest OSs are way more efficient than their older siblings, and newer packages are not only ‘faster’ but also better designed and protected against data loss and malware. Acquire/upgrade as soon as your budget allows.
+ Lightweight Internet Security Suites, online backup packages, hosted email and similar services make a huge difference in resources utilization. Choose the ones that perform better without over-bloating your systems.
+ Avoid installing programs that do nothing for you, whether they are “free” or paid for, if there is no real need to have them, do not even download them.

Basically, think about what you carry in your car on a daily basis. It is only the essentials for your day to day chores, right?
If what you really need is a van or a truck, then the same analogy applies to computers.

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