What’s the difference in computers?
Let me first say that computer companies don’t make computers. They assemble them from parts that other companies make; companies like Intel, AMD, Western Digital, Seagate, ATI, NVIDIA etc.
So it is a computer company’s choice, configuration and matching of these parts that determines whether their computer is stable, fast or long lasting. You get what you pay for but in some cases you’re paying extra for the label as with Apple or for everyone else it’s the trendy stylized enclosure. A computer will work without a case. You could build one into any piece of furniture.
The average customer relies on what TV computer ads tell them. The ads talk about the size of hard drives but not the drive’s ram cache or spin rate. They talk about CPU speed but not cache. And of course they never talk about the power supply or upgradeability issues.
Stay away from Intel Celeron or AMD Duron processors. They are gutless. They don’t have enough cache and they are cheap. A typical low-end PC has only two slots for ram. The video is onboard with no slot to upgrade and the hard drive has a one year warranty verses the three year standard. Don’t plan on adding any additional hardware to these computers, the power supply can’t take the hit for long. And don’t purposely replace your desktop PC with a laptop. Laptops were designed for what they were designed for… mobility, not speed, not power and certainly not 3D gaming.
Compared to the past, in today’s world most all computer hardware is plenty fast. So in the general sense it is not the speed – potentially, you have speed – its stability; matching the right hardware with the right operating system and applications that makes the difference. A brand new year 2000 computer ran fast but not with today’s software.
For instance, Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 require a very fast desktop PC to run fast. Installing this software onto an older PC is a bad idea. But I use Vista on my desktop with only 1 GB ram and it runs fast. The difference is that my PC was made by me with a proper video card, hard drive and CPU. A typical laptop would require twice as much ram and still not be fast enough because laptops don’t have adequate cooling. Laptops are not built for speed. Speed produces heat.
Think of a laptop as an old PC with slow hard drive, throttled down CPU and basic video. It will do what it was designed for but that might not be what you want it to do. My desktop video card alone is half the size of a Netbook.
Also remember that not all applications are created equal. You can significantly slow down your computer with the wrong programs or combination thereof.