According to Jim

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Building a Computer – Start With Selecting The CPU

Intel Core i7Here is a good way to think about the process of building a new desktop computer, or evaluating a pre-built computer if you are thinking of going that rout. This process helps in determining the cost of the computer vs performance of the computer. It’s a great way to compare apples to apples – though we are talking now just of the non Apple computers. If you want an Apple computer, then that is a totally different evaluation process to consider.

AMD FX-9000 5GHz

AMD FX 295WThe first place to begin in your analysis, is starting with the processor. At the start of the search for a CPU, I don’t really care if it is Intel or AMD at the moment. That evaluation will follow later. Actually, you can select one AMD CPU and one Intel CPU that would be potential candidates for the heart of the computer. The criteria I am looking at is; I am interested in finding the fastest, best value for the money CPU, without going to the extreme in pricing (unless price is no concern – then go for the fastest CPU). Keep in mind, the high end CPUs are all fast, it’s just some are light speed fast for having to spend way too much money for that highest speed in my opinion. To put this in perspective, I doubt your old CPU of just four of five years ago even shows up on the lowest numbered CPUs because of the age of obsolescence that naturally occurs on all PCs as newer, faster, and lower power chips become available for the consumer markets. You can search for your CPU in the past charts if you are interested to see where it would be located on the list of CPU speeds and CPU Benchmark website.

Take a look at the following High End CPUs list (this list is updated regularly):

CPUs High End

Begin first by looking from the top down. In my mind, the best way to do it, (and this is how I built a top of the line computer several years ago) is look at the high end CPUs. This list can be sorted with speed, or price to performance numbers.

Now keep in mind, I don’t recommend getting the most expensive one, but there is the price to performance number to consider. Click on the one that makes the most sense in the list to begin with. Then take a look at the other recommended price to performance recommendations.

For example, after looking at the list, and then sorting, I clicked on this Intel Core i7-4930K @ 3.40GHz at $579.99:

Intel Core i7 4930K @ 3.40GHz

Keep in mind, the CPU I clicked on was listed at number 9 as of this posting date for the fastest CPUs – from the first list sorted by CPU speed.

After I clicked on that one, it recommended better price to performance CPUs in one of the charts below:

CPU Value (CPU Mark / $Price )
As of 12th of November 2013 – Higher results represent better value
AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core
45.40
Intel Core i7-4770 @ 3.40GHz
32.97
Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.40GHz
32.49
Intel Core i7-3770K @ 3.50GHz
30.89
Intel Core i7-3820 @ 3.60GHz
30.65
Intel Core i7-4770K @ 3.50GHz
30.37
Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.40GHz
24.91
Intel Core i7-2600 @ 3.40GHz
23.78
Intel Core i7-2700K @ 3.50GHz
23.73
Intel Core i7-4930K @ 3.40GHz
22.24
Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz
21.22
PassMark Software © 2008-2013

If you click on each of them, you can see the specifics on the pricing and speeds. Notice also that the AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core has the best price to value number. If you click on that one, you will see that it has an overall rank of #59 in the list of CPUs. That pricing is about $199.00

Okay, so let’s for a moment consider that the price of the CPU will be somewhere between $200.00 to $580.00.

Now, we need to figure out if we want to go with AMD or Intel. That is another topic for discovery.

Also consider that while the speed of the CPU is certainly important; video speed and video memory size, memory speed and amount of memory, hard drive type, and MOB caching are important considerations too.

Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD

Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD

Finally got my smart phone. I decided to go with the Motorola RAZR MAXX HD for a number of reasons. Great camera, high quality construction, and long long battery life.

Long battery life was number one in my book. The DROID MAXX HD had the longest battery life of the phones I was looking at. The choice in the phone came down to the Samsung S3 and the RAZR MAXX HD. Both phones had great reviews, and most all the specs were very close, however there was the aspect of battery life that set it over the top. Read all the RAZR MAXX HD specs here. By the way, my wife and daughter got the DROID RAZR M models. They were looking for something a bit smaller but still with full performance features.

By the way, we got the phones at Costco, for the Verizon network. Costco had some great deals on two for one phones. Actually, it was too good to pass up. It ended up being the best price around, along with many accessories for free, and full rebates for all the Verizon startup fees for all the phones.

Now, I consider myself a Mac, PC, iPad, and Android person. I guess I am quite the button pusher. You know, the guy that just has to push all the buttons on everything he sees.

Another thought for anyone looking at getting one of these Android phones, remember the cord that comes in the phone box is actually the data cable, and not just a charging cable. I wanted to transfer some files to my phone directly using a USB data cable. I did not know at first that my other USB cables were charging cables only. Don’t make the mistake I made. If you try to use a charging cable and hook it up to your computer, the phone will never show up on the desktop or using one of the programs on the Mac to transfer files between the two. Costco provided an accessory pack, with a couple of cases, a mobile plug, and USB cords; but these were just charging cords inside the packs.

I also have DropBox on all my devices and can easily sync files between each of the devices. However, I wanted to make sure that I could simply upload directly with the USB cable. There are also some other WiFi programs available from the Google Play Store to transfer files using your private WiFi network and a browser. It looks like those could come in very handy.

MacBook Pro Battery Packs

A note about batteries for the MacBook Pros. It is possible that on older MacBooks and MacBook Pros that the battery pack is on its last legs. I use coconutBattery to occasionally monitor the status of my battery pack. coconutBattery is a free program that tells what the current charge, maximum charge, current capacity, design capacity, battery loadcycles, battery temperature, age of you Mac, and battery power usage.

When I am writing this, my current battery specs are as follows:

Current charge: 4303 mAh
Maximum charge: 4464 mMh
96%

Battery capacity: 4464 mAh
Design capacity: 5450 mAH
81%

Mac model: MacBookPro5,5
Age of your Mac: 36 Months
Battery loadcycles: 344
Battery temperature: 30.8 C
Battery power usage: 13.2 Watt

So, when do you call a battery bad? How many battery load cycles are left on my battery pack?

Update: August 30, 2013

Original Apple A1322 Battery for Macbook Pro 13# Mb990ll/a Mb991ll/a

I purchased my new battery from Amazon and have installed it. So far so good.

MacBook Battery Chart

Consult the table below to see the maximum cycle count for your computer’s battery before it is considered consumed:

MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2010)MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) 1000
MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008) 500
MacBook (Mid 2009)MacBook (Early 2009)

MacBook (Late 2008)

MacBook (Early 2008)

MacBook (Late 2007)

MacBook (Mid 2007)

MacBook (Late 2006)

MacBook (13-inch)

300
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2011)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2010)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)

MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)

MacBook pro (15-inch, Mid 2012)

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011)

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011)

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010)

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53 GHz, Mid 2009)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2009)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2011)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)

1000
MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008) 500
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2008)MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.4/2.2GHz)

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Core 2 Duo)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Glossy)

MacBook Pro (15-inch)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2008)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, 2.4GHz)

MacBook Pro (17-inch Core 2 Duo)

MacBook Pro (17-inch)

300
MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2012)MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2011)

MacBook Air (11-inch, Late 2010)

MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012)

MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2011)

MacBook Air (13-inch, Late 2010)

1000
MacBook Air (Mid 2009) 500
MacBook Air (Late 2008)MacBook Air 300
All PowerBook G4 12″ 15″ and 17″ computers 300
All iBook G4 12″ and 14″ computers 300

Obviously if you want to have a fresh battery to extend your usage regardless of how many battery cycles are left then go for it.

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