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Old computers cause stress, cost more: Intel

OLD computers not only cost companies more for maintenance and power bills, they also contribute to high levels of stress for users, officials of Intel Philippines said Thursday.

Intel partnered with Harris Interactive to conduct a survey on technology and stress and found that many users feel frustrated “waiting for technology to catch up with them,” said Randy Kanapi, marketing manager of Intel Philippines.

Kanapi said Intel coined the phrase “Hourglass Syndrome,” after that animated icon of a rotating hourglass that denotes a Windows computer is still processing a task, to describe the stress and frustration people have on technology.


JASON TY (right), Intel Philippines channel platform manager, demonstrates how two computers with different processor architecture but the same clock speed and running the same set of applications can have different utilization levels and power consumption. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

According to the survey, 41 percent of adults in the US said “waiting for their computer to catch up with them stresses them out.” Of the respondents, 66 percent said they are “somewhat stressed” waiting for their computer to keep up with what they intended to do while 23 percent said they were “stressed, very stressed or extremely stressed.”

Intel also said that the average computer user spends 13 minutes a day waiting for their systems to catch up with them. That adds up to three days in a year, the company said.

Kanapi said that although the study only looked into the levels of stress caused by the inability of computers to catch up with users, it also provides a peek on how older and slower systems can affect productivity.

He also said that aging computers are already “unfit for today’s usage” that includes heavy multi-tasking and watching high-definition movies.

Jason Ty, Intel Philippine channel platform manager, said that apart from stress and productivity loss that they cause, older units eat up more power and are more expensive to maintain.

Kanapi said the new family of Intel processors is “tackling Hourglass Syndrome head-on to help eliminate the wait.”

Kanapi and Ty were in Cebu on Thursday to brief local bloggers on how to choose the correct computer for a specific set of needs. They presented the Intel core i3, i5 and i7 processor families during the event.

Kanapi said the processor families are considered “smart” because they adapt to usage, conserving resources when a only few are needed for the task and going turbo when needed.

Ty, meanwhile, demonstrated how two computers of different processor architecture but with the same clock speed and running the same set of applications showed different utilization levels as well as power consumption.

He said that although the newer line of Intel processors are more powerful, they consume less electricity and other resources. He said it was like defying physics.

“The rules we have today are the faster your vehicle’s speed, the more you spend for gas. The more horse-power your aircon has, the bigger your energy bill will be,” he said. But with the latest Intel processors, “the faster the PC the less energy is consumed.”

Ty also demonstrated how an enty-level i3 processor can play a game like Starcraft II with only its built-in graphics. He said that it was a misconception to think that “you can’t play decent games with only built-in graphics.”

Ty said that the 2010 Intel HD graphics delivers the same performance as an entry-level add-on graphic video card.

Kanapi said the key to buying a good computer for your needs is to invest on the processor. He said it is a mistake to scrimp on the processor thinking one can compensate by buying a graphics card and more RAM. He said, “buy the best Intel processor you can afford – it’s difficult and expensive to upgrade later on.”

He said “2GB of RAM is ideal for everyday use. You can always add more memory simply and cheaply later on.”

“Integrated or built-in graphics are ideal for everyday users. Only serious 3D gamers, designers and video editors need discrete graphics and even they need to couple it with a high-performing central processing unit,” he said.

Kanapi said it was also a misconception to think that you’d need an add-on graphics card if you edit raw files of photographs. He said the built-in graphics of Intel systems can more than meet the needs of photo editors.

Ty said that in picking the correct computer system, the buyer should always take into account the usage pattern so as “to pick the right tool.”

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.