I frequently get asked which processor is best.
There is no quick and easy answer to that question. Factors such as budget, what you plan to use the computer for, overall performance, existing system, all play a part. If you only browse the web and check email, you would be ill advised to purchase a $1600 Quad core Extreme edition i7 processor. If you are a serious gamer, you would be very disappointed with any laptop as your main computer. I will attempt to give some suggestions for various scenarios here.
Average user – you spend less than two hours a day on your computer, you check email, you browse the web. You play card games. You probably already have a system that is adequate for your basic needs. You may be best off to upgrade your existing system with more RAM. For Windows XP Home or Pro, 2 gigabytes of RAM is the “sweet spot”. If you have to get a new system, a standard laptop or desktop with an AMD or Intel processor and 2 gigabytes of RAM with Windows XP or Windows Vista may be totally adequate.
Gamer – you know who you are. If you know the difference between card games and DirectX, you’re in this category. A gaming laptop is an oxymoron. You need a desktop system with 4 gigabytes+. If DirectX 10 is something you care about Vista is your only choice. I suggest an Intel Core 2 Duo processor such as the E8400 or E8500. Take the money you saved on the processor and spend it on better Video cards.
Hardcore Gamer – You play DirectX games 2 hours or more a day. Budget becomes the primary factor. Spend more on your Video cards than on your processor. Intel Core 2 Duo is still a very viable solution. E8500 is king of the hill. Why not go Quad? Quad processors are not fully utilized in any gaming scenario. Real world performance metrics indicate a 5-10% gain for a 50-75% increase in processor cost. An E8500 processor outperforms EVERY AMD processor and most of Intel’s Quad core processors. Exceptions are the Extreme Quads and the i7 processors.
CAD/CAM – If AutoCad is your thing, then a Quad core processor actually makes sense economically and from a time perspective. AutoCad and programs of this genre typically take full advantage of Quad Core processing. I suggest the Intel i7 series, that fit within your budget.
If you are experiencing really slow web browsing but downloads seem to be at normal speed, you may be a victim of a DNS (domain name service) cache poisoning attack. This can affect any operating system connected to the Internet. Many of my professional clients have been impacted by this recently. It is becoming a common issue. The simple test to see if you are being impacted is to download a file from a known source such as Microsoft or Apple. If the download proceeds normal speed, but web browsing is slow and sluggish, you may be affected.
On windows based systems:
Open a command prompt and type in “ipconfig /flushdns” without the quotes. Press enter. To prevent future issues you can disable the DNS client service in the Admin Tools–> Services section.
On Mac systems:
Leopard and newer
Open a bsh shell prompt and type in “dnscacheutil -flushdns” without the quotes.
Earlier than 10.5.2
Open a bsh shell prompt and type in “lookupd -flushcache” without the quotes.
On Nix systems:
From a console with root priveledges “/etc/init.d/nscd.restart” without the quotes. G/K/Ubuntu users “su /etc/init.d/nscd.restart” without the quotes.
Most security programs have no mechanism to prevent this from occurring. I do recommend ESET’s Smart Security Suite for Windows. It will prevent this issue.
Now that you have a wireless local area network (WLAN) it needs to be secured to prevent everyone from logging into your network. You will need the manual that came with your wireless router for this. It may be on the CD. Download the manual from the router manufacturer’s web site if necessary. All of the following is performed primarily at the router. Log into your router as admin to do the following per the manual.
Want to put a wireless printer in the closet?
Like to watch YouTube video on your TV?
Would you like to carry your laptop to any room of your home and browse the Internet?
Wireless networking may be your solution!
Computer with Network Interface Card (NIC)
Wireless adapter for each system you want to connect via wireless.
Internet connection ( Cable or DSL preferably) with existing Cable or DSL network bridge.
I recommend you put the CD that comes with the wireless router back in the box. The companies that manufacture wireless routers typically do a great job with hardware. The software on the other hand, leaves more than a bit to be desired.
Connect the wireless router to the Cable or DSL network bridge, often mistakenly called a MODEM. Use a CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet patch cable. One is typically supplied with the router. Connect one end of the patch cable to the only connector on the Cable or DSL network bridge. Connect the other end of that same patch cable to the WAN or Internet port of the wireless router. Now if you have an existing patch cable connected to the NIC in your computer, plug that into one of the numbered ports on the wireless router. Now make the sure power is on for everything. Next disconnect the power cord to the Cable or DSL network bridge for 5 seconds. Reconnect it. Reboot your computer(s). Everything should be connected to the Internet now. You are now the newest WLAN Admin on earth! Next you’ll need to secure your WLAN. I’ll cover that topic in another post.