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5 Questions to ask yourself before giving yourself a hardware upgrade
The world of technology is a constantly evolving wave of change. In some seasons the swell of power will drive powerful computers with fast processors and lots of ram, and in the next season, ultra mobility is all the rage with tablets and smartphones. So when you are ready to buy your next piece of hardware, do you buy a desktop, a laptop or a tablet?
In this article we’re going to to ask 5 questions and explore how mobile is your life?
When did you last need to get online outside of your home?
I personally love having the ability to get online anywhere any time via a smartphone, but if I truly ask myself, when was the last time I NEEDED to be online, that’s a different answer.
When I’m out in public, many restaurants have wifi, which allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet to get online at places like Starbucks, McDonalds, or the local hotel.
What are your top 10 most frequently used programs?
Part of deciding what hardware to buy involves knowing what programs you use right now.
Some of my top programs include Google Chrome, Gimp, Google Drive, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Photoshop Elements, iMovie (mac), Final Cut Express (mac) and other programs.
By looking at the systems requirements for each of these programs, it’s easier to paint a picture for what hardware you will need tomorrow and for years to come.
In order to answer this question, make a list of the top 10 programs that you use on a regular basis, then do a little research online to see what the system requirements have done for the last 3 versions of the program. This will help you to know what the system requirements may be for future versions out there.
Where does all your power go?
When it comes to mobility of different machines, one factor is the amount of battery life or the amount of electricity your device consumes.
Desktops commonly come with power supplies that are 300, 400 or 500 watts, or more for gaming machines.
Laptops commonly come with external power supplies that provide a variety of power abilities, but generally laptops will consume less energy than desktop machines during normal usage.
Tablet PC’s have batteries that are lasting about 2x as long as laptops as of this writing, with many tablets getting 8-10 hours of average usage in a given period of time, depending on how much the wireless, 3G/4G service, screen brightness and a variety of other factors.
In order to understand what your needs are, try opening up the hood of your computer, and look at what programs are consuming the most processing power, and therefore the most electricity. In Windows, simple right click on the clock in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and choose task manager. Once that’s open go into the processes tab to see a detailed view of what is all happening inside of your computer. This is also a great way to learn about extra programs that are running in the background that you don’t need turned on, and if anything is taking up too much power on your given machine.
Who (if anyone) shares your hardware with you?
When I first got my feet wet in the world of technology, I was just a teenager in high school, sporting my beloved first Pentium 3 600 Mhz computer with 128MB of ram. I loved that machine, and it was MY machine, nobody touched it except me.
Fast forward 10 years, and I am a married man with two children, and it’s very rare to not have another pair of eyes on my screen all the time, and another set of fingers, trying to type as I type.
When considering the next computer for your life, then consider who will share this computer with you. Will you share this machine with a girlfriend, wife, or children? If your life involves children then I would lean towards a more mobile machine or a particular tablet.
For more information read the article iPad vs. Kindle Fire What is the Best Tablet for Kids?
What do you predict the next 3 years will look like?
The last question that I suggest you ask yourself is, what will the next three years of your life look like? Are you in school? Will you graduate soon? What will your requirements for a piece of hardware look like at that time? Do you see yourself in the same job three years from now? If not where do you want to work, and what kind of technologies will you need to learn about to get your food in the door at that location?
It’s impossible to predict the future, and with all of the technology choices out there, choosing the next machine for your personal use or for your family can be a challenging one, but if you take the time to do a little research and ask yourself these five questions, then you should be able to make a much more informed decision.