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DIY Series

December 6th, 2008

“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.” – Frank Herbert

I was on a day-off yesterday. I usually spend my free time sleeping, watching TV, going to the mall or visiting my relatives and friends in Novaliches. I spend my free time as much as possible away from the computer. But this time it’s different. A friend asked me to visit his computer shop and see what went wrong. His shop has been closed for almost two months now, and he wants to sell all the 22 units.

So I went with him to his place. Upon seeing the site I was amazed at how good the place is. It’s right in the middle of a fast growing community. The place is well ventilated and maybe at par with the design of leading net cafes in our area. The place should be earning instead of incurring loses. I wondered what went wrong. I asked him about his computer specs, and according to him his units run in 512 MB of RAM and 128 MB of video card, 12 of these powered by Intel Pentium 4 and the remaining 10 by AMD Sempron. Upon hearing it I asked about his Internet connection, and he replied he has two broadband connections — one is Globe; the other one is a PLDT MyDSL Biz. Just by his reply I knew it should be running smoothly, but he says most customers complain is about lagging and slow Internet connection. After inspecting some of his computers, I found out why. The machine is running on 256 MB and the video card is 64MB, half of the specs that he told me. The culprit is his technician.

It’s December now, and as a present for my readers I intend to write a DIY or Do-It-Yourself series for computer, ranging from troubleshooting, formatting and configuring you PC. For some it may be, basic but for the others like the one I stated above it maybe helpful so watch out for it.

DIY: Knowing what’s on your machine.

It’s now common to hear a story about computer owner who fall victim to an abusive computer technician who replaces some parts of their machine to a substandard or cheaper one. In fact almost all of the customers I’ve rendered my service are aware of this, and I also intentionally let them know.

There are two ways to know what’s inside your CPU. One is to know thru software and the other is thru physical inspection.

1. Software: This is perhaps the easiest way of knowing what’s inside your CPU. You can use different software ranging from diagnostic tools to benchmarking.

Diagnostic Tools: If you’re using Windows based program, you can used diagnostic command to know your system. START–>RUN–>type dxdiag–>press ENTER.

3DMark: Software under the Futuremark company, a World leader in 3D, PC and mobile performance benchmarks. 3DMark software estimate hardware performance in current and future games and applications. It’s not a free program but you can download a trial version.

Other Programs: There are lots of benchmarking programs for CPUs, most are free but I will not take the risk of recommending it to you especially if I don’t have a personal knowledge about it. But here is a site about free benchmarking tools by Major Geeks.

2. Physical Inspection: This might not be the most accurate way of knowing your hardware, but it gives you the advantage of knowing what’s inside your CPU without the operating system. But if you’re not comfortable dissecting your CPU, it’s better to leave everything to a professional because one wrong move in your CPU can blow your entire motherboard

REMEMBER:

Know what the specs of your computer are before you leave it in the hands of a computer technician. It’s not that I’m teaching you not to trust a technician; I’m a computer technician myself. But it’s your right to know what you have in your machine and you deserve to have exactly the same specs once he’s done with it.

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