Do You Know What Is The Most Overlooked Computer Component?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Dynasty

   In the late 80s and early 90s, the computer speed is usually is just determined by the processor (cpu), which usually comes from Intel or one of the x86 clones. Starting in the mid 1990s, memory became more affordable and usually adding more memory would speed the computer up to a certain point until it reach a point where adding more memory would provide lesser benefit know in economics as "diminishing returns".

                CPU or Processor                     Computer Memory

   In the late 1990s, the video card became the new hype to play all the new graphically intense video games. The previous $200 video card is no longer good enough. There are $400, $500, and even $600 video cards. And if that is not enough power, can combine two or even three of these video cards together to increase performance.

Video card

   Last week I upgraded one of my faster computer to play one of the newer games, StarCraft 2, without any slowdown. After upgrading the video card from 128MB to 1024MB, upgrading 1GB memory to 4GB, and even upgrading from an IDE hard drive to a newer SATA hard drive, there was barely any speed improvement.

   It didn't make sense that there is no speed improvement even if the cpu is a 64-bit processor running a 64-bit Windows 7 operating system until I notice that the 4GB of memory I put in is still recognized as only 3.15GB. It could be that the motherboard max out at 4GB or does not support true 64-bit.

Computer Motherboard

   I didn't put too much thought about the motherboard when I purchase it about 18 months ago and now realize that I could not put more than 1 of the newer video cards, the board only uses the slower 533Mhz memory, and very few options for an upgrade unless I buy a brand new motherboard. This is worst if the computer is from Dell, IBM (Leveno), or HP because the motherboard is propriatory. Lesson learned is to spend more thought and pay for a better motherboard.

Comments (7)

Todd & Devona Garrigus
Garrigus Real Estate - Beaumont, CA
Broker / REALTORS®

I must be completely honest with you, Song. I try not to mess with my computer's internals because I know just enough to really cause a lot of damage to my computer!

Nov 16, 2010 06:59 PM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

You would think that the mother board would be desgned for upgrades, guess it's built in obselesence eh.  Thanks for the heads up.  I see a new computer in my future, probably next year.

Nov 16, 2010 07:09 PM
Kathy Denworth
Century 21 Schwartz Realty - Islamorada, FL
Realtor in the Florida Keys, Islamorada, Key Largo

LOL, I remember when we bought our first computer. 386 was as fast as you could get, it used DOS and I had a state of the art 13" amber monitor. All for the low low price of $6300! It was a Northgate.

Nov 16, 2010 08:50 PM
Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

The issue with motherboards is that they are chip set specific so your options of updates are limited.  I think the best place to improve your computer speed that no one is talking about is hard drive read/write speed.  Most of the people want the biggest seized drives but those are usually slower.  

Nov 17, 2010 01:43 AM
Michael Delaware
North Sky Realty LLC - Battle Creek, MI

Good advice.  A little more than I want to get into as a computer user.

Nov 19, 2010 12:43 PM
Joseph Michalski
Precision Home Inspection - Lansdale, PA
PA Home Inspector

I have heard that some tablet PCs also run slower on batter power than when plugged in (something that can be set by the owner if you are savvy enough - sadly I'm not).  So, when I upgrade son, to a tablet with 4 MB/320 MB HDD, is there something specific I can check to make sure I am getting the maximum speed?

Nov 20, 2010 08:32 AM
Song San
Coldwell Banker Dynasty - Rosemead, CA
Broker, MBA

Garrigus: There are only a few computer parts that is very fragile like the memory and cpu. It is good to know at least a little bit about the working of it to save you from getting taken advantage of later.

Kate:  Motherboards like everything else is constantly changing. Only the really die-hard gamers and computer folks would know the name of every single motherboard. I used keep track of all of them but now only a few.

Andrzej: Hard drive does give some extra speed but most consumers will just go for the 7200RPM drives. If they are willing to pay the extra money for the 10,000RPM that is fine but I would pay the extra for the better cpu or memory.

Nov 22, 2010 10:28 AM