3 Things You May Not Know About Microchips


November 15, 2014

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For many of us, getting a fast, powerful computer is vital. Many of us play games or use advanced graphics or regularly stream music or video, and no matter whether we are at home on a desktop or on the road with a tablet or laptop, we still expect to have as much power and speed as we can afford so that all the things we want to do we can do as efficiently and seamlessly as possible.And because some of us have a hard time discerning differences between various computer chips other than looking at the specs of the computer we want to buy, we can easily be fooled by the quality of the microchips contained on silicon wafers that are installed in the machines, and thus could do a great injustice to ourselves if we want to buy a desktop at home and have a laptop away from home that we can use in much the same way.Did you know there are actually three distinct differences between microchips in desktops and those in laptops and tablets? These are things to pay attention to the next time you go shopping. Let’s just say that when you look at specs, these are not apples to apples.

  1. Desktop vs. laptop: Same specs are not the same. Even as microchips made on silicon wafers have gotten smaller and smaller to fit in every known electronic computer device, the relative limitations of space in a laptop or tablet compared to a desktop can be profound, and it shows in the specs. Even if you see specs on a laptop and desktop being similar, they actually are not because the devices themselves are different and have different requirements. What might work for a desktop to do its work will be relatively slow for a laptop. Specs are apples to oranges, no matter what the words and numbers say.
  2. Same chip name is not the same chip. Some companies love to try to name a whole generation of chips the same way, even if the chips have different specs or are for desktops or laptops or tablets. In reality, this actually misleads you. A desktop chip and a laptop chip with the same name are not the same. Same name does not mean made on the same silicon wafer. So you can’t get lazy and think that if you have a super-powerful chip in your desktop, that your can get a laptop with the chip of the same name and specs and you will be off and running. If it’s a laptop, you might be off, but you could be more walking than running.
  3. Laptop equal to desktop? Pay a huge premium. To say that the specs on a laptop and a desktop might look the same but are different is actually a bit of an understatement. Let us put it this way. You can get a very nice, powerful 1-terabyte hard drive desktop with decent (not even the best or most current) graphics and video-streaming capability for $500. However, to get a laptop that does all the same things at the same speed, power and efficiency levels plus the same amount of memory, you would easily have to pay three and four times as much – yes, $2,000 or more for a laptop to compete with even an “average” desktop! This is something for you to keep in mind as you go shopping for Christmas computers – consider specs as a comparison of similar types of computers, and do not try to compare specs among different machines. You will sell yourself short either way.
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