During the past year, a number of siginificant changes and technological evolutions happened that has changed the landscape of the PC world. These changes have created an environment wherein an upgrade on certain components or your whole PC system has become logical and, frankly, essential.
If you are the type who just use your computer for basic functions like word processing or spreadsheets and your PC is just a couple of years old then an upgrade can still be postponed to a later date. But if you use your PC for heavier tasks like home digital media applications or for PC gaming and your PC is two to three years old then the upgrade is inevitable.
The good thing about upgrading now is that prices are falling while capacities and performance are actually increasing, this means that you will be spending comparatively less for better performance.
But before you actually take the plunge and start upgrading your system it would be best if you know the key technological landmarks that have happened during the last 18 months so that you will have a better understanding of what is happening in the hardware wild.
Multicore processors – there has been an inevitable transition from single core to multi core processors (either dual core or quad core). Both Intel and AMD are implementing a rapid transition of both of their major product lines to multi core processors. In fact, the norm now is dual core processing and by next year the quad core lines are going to be introduced.
Dual core processors bring with it a number of benefits that even light PC users can appreciate. This is quite apparent in an multi tasking environment wherein many applications are launched and operated simultaneously. Admittedly, Windows XP is not yet that efficient in managing a multi core processor. Vista is touted to be much more efficient. But even Windows XP Service Pack 2 will benefit from multi core processing.
Memory – Last year, AMD finally launched its Socket AM2 processors that support DDR2. Nvidia, ATI and VIA are now manufacturing chipsets that support DDR2 a definite sign that the PC industry is fully supporting DDR2 and definitely leaving the old DDR memory.
This has now resulted in an increased demand for DDR2 memory. DDR2 used to cost as much as or near the price point of DDR but with the launch of AM2, DDR2 memory prices have started to climb. Despite the rising price though it is still a good idea to go DDR2 as it will definitely have a longer lifespan technologically compared to DDR.
But the intermediate future is also where we will see another possible technological jump as Intel and the partnership of Corsair and Nvidia are developing newer memory standards.
Corsair and Nvidia, for instance, is set to champion EEP or enhanced performance profiles. EPP memory is supposed to contain all of the available information that is needed to bring memory to its upper limits without the need to constantly experiment.
Intel, on the other hand, announced that it will be supporting system level DDR3 RAM. This is set to be released on the second half of 2007.