Tech Injection

I got a new computer.  That’s not really news — I’ve had several in my lifetime.  What makes it worth mentioning is it is the first computer that I have purchased that wasn’t from the bottom of the barrel, or used, or customer returned, or hand-me-down.  Granted this is a factory refurbished computer, but it looks and runs like it is brand new.  Let me give you a little rundown of my computer history.

Leading Edge Model D

Leading Edge Model D

The first computer I ever owned was a Leading Edge (Jokingly referred to as Trailing Edge) Model D.  Check out these specs:  256KB of RAM (1/4 of a megabyte), NO hard drive, a single 5 1/4″ floppy disk drive, and a 10″ screen-burned amber monochrome screen.  It was pretty much incapable of running software.  I did manage to get it to sort of run “Avoid the Noid,” a promo game offered by Domino’s Pizza.

I stepped up to a 386 computer that was handed down from my brother.  This thing was special too.  The keyboard was soldered to the motherboard because the connector was broken.  Beyond that, I liken starting it up to hot-wiring a car.  I had to unplug the power cord and hold it just close enough for a spark to jump when pressing the power button.  It usually took a few tries to get it to work.

After this computer, I moved up in the world again to another Leading Edge computer.  This time a 486 processor and it was almost new.  It had been a customer return and I managed to get it for $20.  I brought it home, hooked it up and it worked just fine.  To this day, I’m not sure why it was returned.

So far, my investments in computers has been that twenty dollars.  Time to spend some real money.My next computer was a Packard-Bell (remember them?) Pentium and it cost about $400.  I had this computer for 3 or 4 years and it worked well, generally.  One day it just died.  It turned out to be a fried power supply.  Apparently, when you add hardware that regularly draws more power than the power supply can handle, it hastens the date of death.  I got it replaced and was good to go again.

I then moved to an Emachines computer that did everything I needed it to.  It lasted about 2 years before it just died.  I bought a replacement of the same model off of Ebay and had that for a couple more years.  When that died, just like the first one, I bought my first laptop.  I told the salesman that I wanted the cheapest laptop they have that has WIFI.  This laptop brings me to today.  I still have that laptop after about 3 years and it still works.  It is currently set up as a print and media server on our home network.  Our printer isn’t network capable, so this works out well for us.

The reason I bought this new computer is because I’ve been really taxing the processor of my old laptop when making videos.  I had no clue I’d be making videos when I bought my old laptop, so it wasn’t much of a concern.  The main problem was it took way too long to work with file sizes that large.

I bought this new computer with an eye for processing video.  It has 8GB of RAM (32,000 times more RAM than my first computer, for those keeping score at home), a 750GB Hard Drive, a multi core processor with Turbo Boost to over-clock when necessary, a widescreen display, HDMI hookups, USB 2.0 and 3.0, and on and on…

I realized how great this new computer was when processing videos like the ones here.  It took about an hour and a half to process a 5 minute video on my old computer.  On this one, it takes about 10 minutes.  Talk about saving time!

I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes it is worth the extra money up front to save time later.  While this computer hasn’t paid for itself yet, I’m sure it will in saved time going forward.  What have you paid extra for that ended up being totally worth the investment?

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • Dustin

    Raun- Hotwiring a computer is about the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!  I’m glad I’ve never had a computer that was that much trouble.

  • Raun Lauterbach

    It was pretty funny, when it wasn’t irritating. I think that computer also had an externally mounted (meaning the cables were hanging out of the case) internal CD-ROM drive. I can’t remember if it was a 2x or 4x speed drive, not that it matters. That was the height of technological evolution. :)