Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Components in a Computer

What are the Most Important Component in a Computer?

Buying a computer is an exciting thing, and today they are a necessity for most people. The process of buying a computer, though, is often not as exciting for people who are just casual users and are not quite sure what they are looking for with all the different components and terminology. Unless you’re a computer expert, the process of figuring out computer parts can be confusing and frustrating. Here are a few of the most important components of your computer and why you need them.

The Motherboard

Think of this as the central control area, building the foundation for everything that you can put into your computer and how it will all work together. The wrong motherboard may limit how much memory your computer can have, what kind of processor you get, and the other peripherals that you can connect to the machine. Most people aren’t really familiar with how to choose the best motherboard, so talk to the experts at Computer Fix to learn more.

The Hard Drive (also called HDD)

This is where you keep and store all of your data, and it is not unlimited. The bigger your hard drive, the more information you can put on your computer. Since all your software and all your files will require some amount of memory—measured in kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), and even terabytes (TB)—it’s always best to have more than you think you might need. To determine whether you need a 256 GB or 1 TB hard drive, think about what you plan to use the machine for. If you’re going to play games, or store large files such as photos and video, you need a bigger hard drive. Larger HDDs are pretty inexpensive, so it’s best to overestimate your needs and buy big. If you do run out of hard drive space, you can talk to someone at Computer Fix to help with computer repair and get an external drive to store more data.


The most popular central processing units are Intel (you’ve probably heard of the brand), and they allow your computer to multi-task. These are sort of like the “brain” of the computer, running all the processes on the machine. More advanced CPUs can process programs more quickly, and today the lowest end CPU is a dual-core, which can run two programs at the same time before the computer slows down. On the high end you can find CPUs that run eight or more programs simultaneously.

The Graphics Card

A graphics card, also called a video card or GPU, is what the machine uses to process and display textures and images, generally in gaming or videos. Better graphics cards will render 3D images and textures in games and videos more quickly, but if you’re not planning to do a lot of gaming, you can probably get away with just using the factory-installed card. 

The Memory

Memory is measured in RAM (random accessory memory), and determines where things are stored on the machine. More memory allows you to run more programs simultaneously without affecting performance.

If you’re looking for a new machine, all these components are important. Before you buy just any computer, talk to the experts at Computer Fix to find exactly the machine you need that fits in your budget and will give you the computing power and speed that you require. If any of these parts are malfunctioning, you can always visit Computer Fix to get computer repair and keep your machine running smoothly.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Laptop vs Desktop

Laptop vs Desktop
So you have made the decision to purchase a new computer, but now you have to decide whether you want to buy a desktop or a laptop computer. This can be one of the most difficult decisions you make, and there is no right or wrong answer to whether you should get a desktop or laptop. It’s really all about which one is best for you, but there are a few key decisions factors you should use to determine which one you need.

Decision Factor: Where Will You Use It?

One of the biggest differences between a desktop computer and a laptop computer is the ability to travel with it (or not). If you are purchasing a computer that will have a permanent home on a desk or table somewhere in your house, you may not need the ability to take it out and about and you can go with a desktop computer. If you plan to use your computer anywhere and everywhere, lugging around the components of a desktop computer is just not feasible and you will need a laptop. Be sure to consider carefully how and where you want to use it before you buy.

Decision Factor: Speed

Desktop and laptop computers used to be worlds apart in terms of performance and speed—if you wanted a speedy processor, you had to get a desktop. Today’s laptops, though, are a vast improvement. Places like Computer Fix SLC have the ability to get you a laptop that can perform just like a desktop. However, if you plan to use your computer for a lot of graphics-intensive video games and having the highest quality graphics is important to you, desktop computers still outperform laptops for gaming.

Decision Factor: Storage

Most laptops have smaller RAM and hard drive storage capacity, although in recent years they have caught up with desktops in some cases. Laptops now offer the ability to get larger amounts of RAM and bigger hard drives that are just about equal to what you can find in a desktop PC. However, if you do plan to use your computer for a lot of large files, including photos, music, and videos, you may prefer the larger storage capacity of the desktop. You can also add more memory to a desktop fairly easily if you need more down the road, which you cannot do as easily with a laptop.

Decision Factor: Size

Size does matter, especially for your computer. When you are shopping for a new machine at a place like Computer Fix SLC, consider the different sizes and the advantages and disadvantages of each. A desktop computer often means a very large screen (sometimes as big or bigger than flat screen televisions today), while a laptop will usually limit you to a screen that is somewhere between 10 and 18 inches. Desktops are also available in a range of sizes and shapes, so you can find one that will fit perfectly on or under your desk, or even as part of an all-in-one screen and computer combo. Finally, you can find laptops with different weights, ranging from just a few ounces to a few pounds. How you plan to use it, and especially whether you’ll be carrying it around a lot, should be part of your decision of which to purchase.



Friday, May 17, 2013

What is the Best Computer Processor?

If you own a PC, you have probably heard the term “processor” (short for Central Processing Unit, or CPU), and perhaps you have also heard of brands that make the processors such as Intel or AMD. Even if you are familiar with the term, many consumers are not quite sure exactly what that little processor is doing, and why one might be better than another when you’re shopping for a computer. The key to getting the best machine from a place like Computer Fix Salt Lake City is knowing which kind of computer processors are going to perform the tasks you need the best. Here’s a quick overview and comparison of some of the most common.

What’s a Processor?

The processor of your computer is like a tiny brain for your machine, taking instructions from the software programs and executing those programs as efficiently as possible. There are some single-core processors, which can only do one task at a time, but today there are also dual-core and quad-core processors that allow you to do much more with your machine, without slowing down (there are even six-core and higher processors available for desktop computers, custom computers, and rarely for laptops as well). Depending on the size of your computer, and how much you want to spend, you can get a wide variety of different options.

What’s the “Core”?

The “core” is the engine in the processor, where all the data crunching happens. If you have only a single core, the computer can run only one process at a time before it begins to slow down significantly. With dual-core, quad-core, or higher, the CPU has more than one processing unit, so it can handle more than one program without slowing down. This is particularly helpful for people who need to be able to run several large programs at once.

Benefits of Intel
Intel has long been the dominant processor on the market, supplying a significant number of processors each year. Today there are a wide variety of different Intel processors to choose from, ranging from very basic with the Intel Core i3 to much more advanced with CPUs like the Intel Core i7. Generally when comparing one unit to another within the Intel line, a higher number is better, giving you more power and more functionality than the lower end of the line. These processors are known for being reliable and powerful in both off-the-shelf and custom computers, which is why they have long dominated the market.

AMD: The New Kid on the Block

While AMD is not necessarily really new to the market, they have been slowly creeping up on Intel as a contender for the CPU market, especially when it comes to graphics. Many buyers choose AMD for graphics-heavy use because AMD bought out famed graphics-specialized CPU maker ATI in 2006. The CPU maker did a little research and discovered that users really care about having a good graphics experience, which is why they focus their efforts on delivering quality graphics, including 7.1 surround sound and other special features. They also have a line of different levels, starting with Vision, then moving up to Vision Premium and Vision Ultimate. For most users, a Vision or Vision Premium will suffice.

When it comes to your processor, the “brain” of your computer, most people want that brain to function as well as possible, allowing for maximum usability no matter what programs you’re running. Choosing the right CPU with help from experts at a place like Computer Fix Salt Lake City can get you the right PC for all your needs.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Know When to Repair or Replace Your PC

How do you know when to repair or replace your PC?

Computers, along with refrigerators and lawn mowers, are some of the most common household gadgets that people get repaired every year. According to a recent Consumer Reports Repair or Replace survey, these items are not necessarily failing more often than they did previously, but because they are becoming more and more complex, it’s more difficult than ever to repair them on your own. In some cases, things can also go horribly wrong and you need to replace it altogether. But how do you know when you should bring your machine to Computer Fix for computer repairs, and when you should just replace your PC? Here are some ways to decide.

Check Your Timeline

There are some appliances that you purchase and will likely not replace for several decades, but computers usually do not fall into that category. If you have had your machine for several years (more than about 3-4 years), you may be experiencing enough headaches and the machine may be old enough that the cost of a new one would be similar, or even less, than the cost to repair the damage done to your existing computer. If you’re not sure what it would take to fix the PC, take it to the shop for some computer help, including a quick scan and estimate of the damage.

Assess the Damage

The most common reason computers break is because of malicious viruses, malware, and spyware that has infected the machine. Another common problem is a hard drive failure.

Before you start experiencing delays, difficulty opening programs, frequent crashing, or other symptoms of viruses, it’s good to install a reputable and reliable antivirus, antimalware, and antispyware program on your computer. You can talk to the experts at Computer Fix to find out which programs work best for your budget. Be sure to keep the virus protection updated with the latest patches and security fixes, so you stay protected from the latest viruses and malware.

If you have had hard drive failure, the cost to repair your computer can get pretty high. Often the biggest cost is recovering the data—if you have to send it out to a data recovery firm, that cost can reach into the thousands (especially for high-volume data storage machines such as ones you use at work), or just a few hundred bucks in less severe cases.

Since hard drive failure can be caused by a variety of different things, ranging from mechanical failure to electronic or firmware failure, the real costs of repair and the ability to return your machine to “normal” following the failure can vary widely. You can find out whether you are able to get your machine fixed, or if it would be better to just replace it with a new machine, by taking it to Computer Fix. 

Look at Your Bottom Line

In most cases, there is about a 50 percent rule: if the cost of the repairs is more than half the cost of a new product, then go ahead and buy the new one. Of course, this also depends on your personal budget; if you cannot afford the cost of a new product, you can often get good computer repairs at Computer Fix that can keep your machine going until you can save enough to buy a new one.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How do I Protect Myself Against Hackers?

How do you Protect Yourself Against Hackers?

No system is completely safe from hackers, and even the most secure data can be at risk. However, with the volume of information that we put online today and the amount of transactions people complete on a daily basis over the internet, taking extra steps to protect yourself from being a victim of computer hackers is critical.

Understand the Risks

The only way to completely protect yourself from online hackers would be to disconnect from the internet entirely. For most people, this is unrealistic, given the volume of information that we exchange online every single day. From online banking and bill pay to email accounts, social media, and shopping, we spend a lot of time online. The next best thing is to understand the risks so you can minimize your exposure without cutting yourself off from the cyber world completely.

Keep AntiVirus Software Updated

One of the best steps you can take to protect from needing excessive credit repair or computer repair after a hacking incident is to have current antivirus software, and keep it updated. You can often go into your software and set it to automatically update, or at least to alert you when there are updates available if you prefer to do it manually.

Change Your Passwords

With so many different sites that we use today, it can seem convenient to use the same password for all your accounts. While this does make it easy to remember, it also makes it really easy for a hacker to get into several different accounts and do extensive damage. Most hackers will not be able to hack every account you have, or find every password that you create, but if they can find one password and it translates to several different sites, they can quickly drain your accounts, install viruses, and generally wreak havoc on your cyber life.

If you would like to make your passwords easy to remember, have one phrase or idea that you base your passwords on, then create several variations of that idea to make different passwords. Use numbers, symbols, and capitol/lowercase letters to mix it up and make it harder to guess. You can also create a spreadsheet or other log of all your passwords, but you need to protect that sheet with a separate password and ensure that you have adequate security to protect it, otherwise all your efforts will be in vain.

Don’t Share Everything

People often come to Computer Fix Salt Lake City after experiencing devastating effects from hackers and viruses on their computer, despite efforts to keep passwords and website safe. They may not even realize that they are making it easy for computer hackers to find their information through over-sharing on social media sites. People often use names of children, pets, maiden names, and other similar information for passwords because it’s easy to remember. If you have that information readily available on your social media sites, it can be easy for a hacker to guess your passwords just by surfing your sites. If you’re going to include that info on your profile, just make sure it’s adequately protected with privacy controls.

Shop Smart

If you plan to shop online (and many people do, because it’s convenient and easy), be careful about what information you leave behind. The more retailers you store information with, the more chances you have to be hacked. Instead, find sites that let you store your information in just one place and use it at several retailers online, or work with your bank to get a special “online debit card” that can be reloaded easily and quickly when you want to make a purchase, but that is not connected to the rest of your finances. That way if it does get hacked, all your cash is not vulnerable.

The online world is a great place to share and find information, and has many benefits. It also has many pitfalls for someone who is not careful about when and how they spend time online. Use these tips to protect yourself from computer hackers online.