Archive for March, 2008

Computer Memory Requirements: A view from the trenches

Posted on March 27, 2008. Filed under: Hardware | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

One of the common themes I am experiencing on service calls is computers without enough system memory or RAM. If you have an “entry” level PC with the following you may be experiencing slow performance:

  • Less than 512 MB RAM,
  • Shared or on-board Video which uses system RAM to render graphics.
  • Bloatware such as that which comes “free” with a new PC. Often the configuration out of the box has several, if not many, applets and programs running, by default, on start up that you never access or use.
  • Configuration utilities for video, sound and the like. In my experience most PC users simply set up those particular setting once and leave them alone. If so, why have a utility running at all?
  • Computer maintenance and driver download utilities. Sure, on a new PC run them (esp. if you have lots of RAM) but once the computer gets older than 2 years old consider deleting them. If the drivers are available it is often easier to simply download them at the manufacturer’s site or they are distributed in Windows XP and Vista updates (note: though in specific cases getting the driver from the mfg’s site is much preferred).
  • Anti Virus Programs: You need one. But their protection comes at a price. Usually in the use of system resources. Review not only its effectiveness but the cost in processing power you may incur if it is a resource hog.

The impact to the computer user is slower performance and on service calls this can translate into increased costs.

Personally the Kingston memory recommendationsfor XP and Vista are too low. From experience I am recommending a minimum of 1 GB for Windows XP for general computing and up to 4 GB (if supported) for gaming. With Vista 2 GB for general/laptop computing is a bare minimum and I recommend 4 GB for general computer use and as much as you can afford for gaming.

The main issue is to buy a computer with a memory upgrade path. Try to get one that has memory slots free so you can easily insert a memory SIMM later if your computer needs change.

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Welcome to Reliant PC Consulting

Posted on March 27, 2008. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , |

I started this venture as a response to the needs of the average PC user. Specifically there is a series of skill sets a computer user needs to operate, upgrade, add software, new devices and manage their computers that the operating systems in the Wintel world are not meeting. After supporting computers and computing in a home and corporate environment for 15 years I see every day the challenges people face.

┬áSo I started my little company…

It is my goal to give affordable, efficient, and professional service to my clients. I am not the cheapest PC tech out there. Nor am I the most expensive. But I am not a PC tech. I am a consultant.

What is the difference? Well, first a technician has a focus on the device, not the person. There are many good, if not great break and fix computer people out in the market place but they lack a focus on the user. What are the nagging issues they face? How come they get shown how to do something and cannot replicate it? Why, after owning a computer for years, do some users still not use even 15% of the power of the computer hardware and software they own?

My job, my passion, is to address that. Find the problem…train the user…fix, adjust, optimize and simplify their computer usage by education and a tenacious interest in their needs, beyond that of fact a piece of hardware or software does not work. I do fix computers…don’t get me wrong. But if I have not found out something about your computing needs and helped or educated you on that then I am not doing my job.

This blog is a journey into a business that started March 6th, 2008. I will write about issues regarding human interaction with computers, share software and hardware tips and comment on computer and other issues that matter to me, but more importantly, my clients.

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