A Guide to PC Memory

When it comes to improving the performance of your PC, purchasing additional RAM is despite the least expensive yet most effective route a person can take. While the solution appears simple, the dizzying array of memory available for purchase today can make the actual decision process problematic for all but the tech-savvy individuals. A very wide selection of differenting RAM types are available for purchase today, SDRAM, EDO, RDRAM, and DRAM to name a few. Knowing how to determine what RAM types are compatible with your current PC setup and what RAM choice will give you the greatest performance are key to making the correct decision.

The purpose of this guide is to give the reader a general understanding of what RAM is, what types of RAM exist, and how to decide what RAM would make the best purchase choice.

What is RAM?

The acronym RAM stands for Random Access Memory. RAM is where data is stored within your PC so that said data can be accessed by your PC's processor, or CPU. RAM should be considered as temporary memory within your PC, in order for RAM to maintain its data storage it must receive a continuous pulse of electricity. Any data that exists solely within a PC's RAM will be deleted when the PC is shut off or loses power.

PC's utilize several common technologies to store data internally on a more permanent level than RAM. These storage mediums include ROM – Read Only Memory, Hard Drives – which store data magnetically in a permanent – or depending on your usage – semi-permanent fashion, CDRWs, DVDRWs, Floppy Disks and Tapes. All of these data storage methods can be considered more reliable than RAM data storage, although none of them offer the speed of data access that RAM does.

RAM stores data that is essential for a PCs immediate operation and does so in an extremely fast and reliable way. RAM allows for a PC to operate at speeds that would be unachievable if it were replaced by more permanent data storage mediums. Think of RAM as a "fast lane" on an expressway. RAM allows for a function or application's most important data to have the fastest possible access to the processor. RAM exists as a "fast lane" for data that needs immediate attention by your PCs CPU. As such, the more RAM your PC has accesses to, the more "fast lanes" that are available for your PC's functions and applications to access your PC's CPU, the faster your PC will perform.

Types of RAM

SDRAM, DDR-SDRAM and RAMBUS are the three major types of RAM, or PC memory, in use today.

Modern RAM

Before the introduction of SDRAM, PC memory is operated asynchronously from a PC's Clock Speed. This asynchronous operation would create data bottlenecks within a PC itself and slow overall performance. Clock speed is the speed at which a microprocessor executes instructions; Every computer contains an internal clock that regulates the rate at which data is processed and synchronizes a PC's individual components. As it stands to reason, the faster a PC's clock speed, the faster a PC's CPU can process data. Before RAM was synchronized to operate at the same speed as the rest of a PC's components, a PC's CPU would be would be forced into the occasional delay while waiting for the RAM to be available to accept data. In theory, as long as SDRAM operated at the same speed as the system clock, it would be available to the system on a regular and consistent basis – thus eliminating data bottlenecks. By regulating RAM and tying its performance to the system clock, memory manufacturers have been forced to increase memory performance to match PC clock speeds.

SDRAM:

SDRAM – Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory – was the natural result of the PC industries search for better RAM and PC performance.

SDRAM is available 66, 100 and 133MHz speeds, known as PC66, PC100 and PC133 respectively. 66MHz RAM, in theory, would perform 66.6 million cycles per second and would be compatible with a 66MHz clock speed. Generally memory is considered to be backward compatible, so a pc with a clock speed of 100MHz could accept a memory module with a clock speed of 100MHz. The drawback being that the memory will only operate at the 100MHz speed.

SDRAM is no longer the memory of choice for modern PC's, however, due to the many PCs still on the market that utilize SDRAM, it is certain that memory manufacturers will continue to produce this memory for some time. SDRAM has been in the marketplace for some time and as such is widely available for purchase as a used yet guaranteed product. This used availability offers the buyer the opportunity to save a great deal of money on its purchase, yet sacrifice a bare minimum with regard to reliability as RAM has no moving parts and is generally very durable and long lasting.

DDR-SDRAM:

DDR and DDR2 – Double Data Rate SDRAM – was again a natural result of the PC Industries search for better RAM and PC Performance. DDR memory has been available since the late 1990's and is a great leap forward in RAM performance. Essentially, DDR RAM achieves its improved performance by transferring data to the processor twice, instead of once in the case of SDRAM, per clock cycle. Theoretically, a RAM module that refreshes the processor twice per clock cycle should equate to twice the performance offered by SDRAM. In reality DDR does not really offer twice the performance of SDRAM, however it is a signaling improvement over the older standard.

Types of DDR and DDR2 memory that are available include PC1600 – 200MHz, PC2200 – 533MHz, PC4200 – 533MHz, PC4200 – 533MHz, PC3500 – 400MHz, PC3500 – The first number represents the maximum memory bandwidth, in megabytes, that a RAM module can provide per second. The second number, MHz, is the clock speed that the module is compatible with. As with SDRAM, the memory is backward compatible, a PC2100 chip with a 266MHz clock speed with work with a PC with a clock speed of both 266MHz and 200MHz.

DDR and DDR2 memory are the current standard in the PC industry and will continue to be manufactured for some time. As with SDRAM, DDR and DDR2 types have been in the market for some time and are available as used or refurbished. Both used and refurbished DDR memory can offer substantial savings when purchased while giving the user similar reliability to new product.

RAMBUS:

RAMBUS – RDRAM – was developed by the RAMBUS Corporation and can be considered to be a proprietary version of RAM as only the RAMBUS company manufacturers it. RAMBUS is a high-performance version of RAM generally found in high-end business class PCs. Today very few manufacturers use the RAMBUS standard as DDR and DDR2 memory offers similar, and in some cases better performance. RAMBUS memory can be found in speeds of PC800, PC1066 and PC1200. Usually you can purchase RAMBUS PC800- () the () will contain a number that references the chips speed in nano-seconds, ie PC800-45.

Memory and Performance:

While adding more memory does not ensure faster performance, not enough memory will guarantee slow downs. Having plenty of memory installed on your PC helps to ensure that your PC operates at its peak speeds and efficiency. Adding memory almost always results in a performance boost, especially if you run larger applications or multiple applications simultaniously. It is important to note that if you triple your current installed memory you will not see a three-fold boost in performance. You will almost always see some gain in performance, but you will go a long way in eliminating slow downs.

It will always be my contention and a good rule of thumb that you can never have too much memory. Maxing out you configuration with memory will help to guarantee the peak performance of your PC.

How to Choose Memory:

Choosing memory is dependent on several factors. First is the consideration of compatibility. Whether you are building a new PC or simply adding memory to an existing system, it is of key importance that the memory you purchase is compatible with your motherboard. Most motherboards accept a specific standard of memory, SDRAM, DDR, DDR2 or RAMBUS. To determine what type of memory that your PC will accept, you can either consult your motherboards owners' manual, or, if this is not available, inspecting the motherboard for brand and model number will allow you to go online and determine the compatible memory type .

Generally a motherboard that accepts SDRAM will accept memory modules that have a higher rated speed in MHz than what is specified by the board's manufacturer. For example, if your current motherboard has a clock speed of 66MHz and accepts PC66 SDRAM, you can install either PC100 or PC133 RAM chips. The board will only utilize the memory at its maximum speed however, so a PC133 SDRAM module will only operate at 66MHz speed. It is important to determine what RAM speeds – MHz – that your board is compatible with before making a purchase.

You should also consult either you owners manual or online documentation to determine the maximum memory that your board will support and physically inspect the board to determine how many available memory slots there are. Usually you will want to use the largest and fastest RAM chips that your board will support and fill all available slots with matching memory speeds. For example, your board has three available slots and currently one is in use by a DDR PC2100 266MHz RAM module. You discover that your board will accept DDR RAM up to PC2700 333MHz speeds. If you were to fill the remaining to slots with PC2700 memory, your memory would only function at the speed of the slowest RAM module, in this case 266 MHz.

New vs. Used:

Due to the sheer amount of memory manufactured within the last years, you will find an abundance of used memory for sale. When it comes to getting the most for your money, it should be noted that purchasing used memory is a great way to save money while getting similar reliability and performance as compared to new. RAM has no moving parts to speak of and as such is highly durable and reliable.

Spend some time researching prices between new and used memory modules. If you can purchase used or refurbished modules from sellers who will offer warranties, you may be making a major mistake spending that extra money on new RAM.

A little research on your part can help you to not only ensure that you see the maximum performance out of your PC set up, but also go a long way toward saving you money both in the short and long term.

Copyright 2006 www.hcditrading.com , Brad Calli

How the Internet Affects Traditional Media

Traditional Publishing, REST IN PEACE

This is the headline that greets you when you land on a web page identified as a memorial to commemorate the decline of Traditional Media. A photograph of a man who seems to be in distress and who's possibly just lost his job companies this headline. If this does not paint a bleak picture, go on to read the 548 headlines that all sing to the same tune as the following:

  • Bad Times: NYT Says Revenue Fell 13.9% Last Month – Forbes.com
  • Men's monthly magazine Arena to cease printing after 22 years – Guardian.co.uk
  • Cosmopolitan UK publisher to cut 100 jobs – Guardian.co.uk

There's even a website entitled Newspaper Death Watch that chronicles all the publishing and newspaper houses that close down. All rather morbid would not you say?

The Deadly Spell

Let's take a quick look at Traditional Media and how the Internet cast it's deadly spell.

Back in the old days, we're talking 500 years ago; Gutenberg revolutionized the printing industry by inventing the printing press. This meant bibles could be produced at a fraction the time it used to. This also mean more copies in a shorter time and the Word of God got further reach in a shorter time. Newspaper houses and Magazine publishers still use a printing press today (well thank you captain obvious) .

Much later, shortly after the advent of electricity, the world was blessed with another few media breakthroughs, rarely radio then a few years later, television. Marketers and Advertising agencies had it all figured out as they devised Integrated Marketing Campaigns with astronomical budgets. Ah, the good old days. Well, much to the dismay of many of these agencies, this media landscape started to change.

Behold! Enter The WWW

At first a website was seen as a cute way to put your company brochure online and on top of that the disastrous dot bomb era created skepticism that labeled the Internet as a bad media and business channel.

Fortunately, since then the Internet has matured. Now, in countries where broadband has achieved high levels of household penetration, the web has become the consumer medium of choice.

Why? Because people can do research, shop online, watch videos and connect with friends all in the comfort of their own homes. People can choose what media they want to consume, where and when they choose too, especially with mobile connectivity. Marketers can no longer dictate what advertising messages people get subjected too.

Social Media, The New Black

Then there is the phenomenon of Social Media. It changed the media landscape forever. Social Media websites have allowed consumers to connect with friends, family, colleges and peers in ways that were never imaginable a few decades ago.

Technology has empowered the consumer to become the prosumer. Prosumers are consumers who produce content like videos, photos and blogs that can be instantly distributed and shared among millions of people via social media platforms. This is also known as user-generated content or UCG.

Here is an interesting bit of trivia about the reach of Traditional Media vs. The Internet and Social Media.

Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 Million:

  • Radio – 38 Years
  • TV – 13 Years
  • The Internet – 4 Years
  • The iPod – 3 Years
  • Facebook – 2 Years

So How Does The Internet Affect Traditional Media?

The Internet has reduced the need for traditional media because it enabled consumers to join social communities within their neighbors, across their countries and internationally. It has empowered them to converse at their leisure, 24/7, with friends.

Considering all that's been said, the demise of Traditional Media can seriously be attributed to the following factors:

  1. Decline in readership: The distribution of free news and information on the web has led to the decline in readership for traditional publications.
  2. Decline in revenues: The decline in readership advertisers advertisers will spend their money elsewhere and this leads to a decline in ad revenue.
  3. Real-time updates: Traditional Media can not compete with immediately updated user-generated content that's immediately available for the world to see.
  4. The rise of UGC websites: People have the freedom of unlimited real time commentary on content while Traditional Media is static and is a one-way communication tool.
  5. Online Audio / Video channels: People can choose what they want to watch and listen, when they want to and where without advertising interrupting their experience.

Simply put. The Internet has revolutionized the way things get done today. It has revolutionized the way we do business, the way we communicate and has broken down the walls of Traditional Media.

A recent example is the decision by Unilever UK to fire Lowe , their Ad agency of 15 years, in favor of crowdsourcing – which means it has thrown the brand creative pitch open to agencies and basically any person who can think of an idea, worldwide. This is done on the Internet of course.

Traditional Media will still be around for a while, but the Internet is getting more and more integrated into our daily lives.

Think about this. You could do without the Mail & Guardian or the MensHealth Mag for quite some time, sometimes live quite happily without it? But you just dare cut that ADSL connection …

Characteristics of Leisure

In "Motivational Foundations of Leisure" by Seppo E. Iso-Ahola and "Pathways to Meaning-Making Through Leisure-Like Pursuits in Global Contexts" by Yoshitaka Iwasaki, both authors are grappling with distinguishing leisure from other aspects of human life. To this end, they are trying to describe the basic characteristics that identify something as leisure as opposed to something not being leisure. However, the big problem for both of them is the elusive definition of "what is leisure," since it is difficult to describe its characteristics if it hard to distinguish leisure from what is not leisure. This problem is made even more difficult in modern society, in that there is something of a continuum between leisure and non-leisure, with many activities seeming like a mix of the two.

For example, a part-time entrepreneur who sets up a party-plan business is engaging in an economic activity, but it is also fun for her (usually the entrepreneur is a woman), and she might see organizing sales parties as a side venture To something she considers work. So maybe this business starts out as a leisure activity, but as she makes more and more money, she may spend more and more time putting on parties to build a serious business. Thus, at some point, holding these fun parties may cease to be a leisure activity – but exactly when this occurs can be hard to tell.

This same problem of distinguishing leisure and not-leisure confronts both Iso-Ahola and Iwasaki in trying to discuss the characteristics of leisure, in that many of these characteristics are use to describe leisure can be true of non-leisure activities, commonly considered work. Iwasaki tries to get around this problem by calling things that he characterizes as aspects of leisure as "leisure-like" activities, and by the same token, one might character what people normally call work as "work-like" activities, but this is Really more of a semantic sleight of hand. Calling something "leisure-like" – or "work-like" for that matter – purely provides a nomenclature that is fuzzier to identify a part of human life that is hard to define. In other words, using a fuzzy term to define what is considered an elusive hard-to-define quality simply points up the fuzziness, but it does not help to clarify the basic characteristics of what is leisure as compared to other aspects of human life.

For example, in the "Motivational Foundations of Leisure", Iso-Ahola seeks to find an explanation for what is leisure in the "basic innate (psychological) needs that are the main energizers of human growth and potential." From his perspective, this need which everyone is born with both defines what people consider leisure and direct them to be involved under various conditions to satisfy those needs. Given this driving need for leisure, then, Iso-Ahola suggests that having a sense of freedom or autonomy is "the central defining characteristic of leisure". However, he distinguishes this feeling of freedom from the everyday characterization of leisure as "free time", which people use for describing the time when they are not working, since only some of this time time may truly be free from any obligations so someone can Do exactly what they want to do.

For instance, if someone performs chores during this time period, this time would not be really free, although Iso-Ahola suggests that the more a person thinks of his work as an obligation, the more free that person would feel when he is engaged In nonwork activities, and there before that activity might really be considered leisure.

From this perspective, then, if a person truly enjoys their work and participates in a variety of activities that contribute to success at work, though these activities might otherwise be considered leisure for someone who engages in these activities for reasons that have nothing to do with Their job, these activities may no longer be considered leisure. An example of this is the salesman or CEO for a company that plays golf with other potential customers. On the one hand, golf is normally regarded as a leisure-time recreational activity. But it has become part of the salesman's or CEO's work, even though the salesman or CEO may freely choose to play golf or not, or engage in an alternate form of entertainment with prospective clients, such as taking them to a show or ballgame. If that person plays golf, goes to a show, or is a spectator at a ball game with members of his family and no work buddies are present, that might be more properly characterized as leisure. But in many cases, the salesman / CEO may take the family along on a golfing, show, or ballgame excursion with his work buddies, thenby muddying the conception of leisure. Under the circumstances, using a continuum from non-leisure to leisure activities may be a good way to characterize different types of leisure, rather than trying to make a distinction between what is leisure and what is not-leisure.

In any event, building on this notice that freedom is a basic characteristic of leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that leisure activity is characterized by behavior that is self-determined, or which may start off as determined, but can become self-determined by the Process of "internalization" Therefore, to the extent that people perform everyday activities because they want to do so, they make them leisure-like. An example might be if I hate gardening (which I really do), but I start doing it because I can not afford to hire a gardener, and ever I start to feel joy in it, which would turn it into a leisure activity. (But since I can hire a gardener, I have no compelling reason to do this, so for now this is definitely not a leisure-time activity for me).

Then, too, according to Iso-Ahola, leisure might be characterized by escaping, which can contribute to internalizing an activity, which makes it even more a form of leisure.

Iso-Ahola brings together all of these ideas into a pyramid in which the greater one's intrinsic motivation and sense of self-determination, the more one is engaging in true leisure outside of the work context. On the bottom is obligatory nonwork activity participation, such as chores one has to perform in the house. On the next level above this, he diagnoses free-time activity participation in TV and exercise, which he feels are usually not true leisure, since people are not really autonomous in participating in either activity. He claims people lack autonomy in watching TV, because they do not really want to do this and it does not make them feel good about themselves (though this opinion of TV is questionable), and in the case of exercise, he claims that They feel they should do this because it's good for them, rather than because they want to. Finally, at the top of the pyramid is full leisure participation, where one feet complete autonomy and freedom, so one gains intrinsic rewards, a feeling of flow, and social interaction with others.

Finally, to briefly cite Iwasaki's approach to characterizing leisure, he seeks to describe leisure as a way of generating certain types of meanings, although the particular meanings may differ for people experiencing different life experiences or coming from different cultures. In Iwasaki's view, citing the World Leisure Association's description of leisure, meaningful leisure provides "opportunities for self-actualization and further contribution to the quality of community life." As such, leisure includes self-determined behavior, showing competence, engaging in social relationships, having an opportunity for self-reflection and self-affirmation, developing one's identity, and overcoming negative experiences in one's life. Iwasaki also goes on to describe the five key factors which are aspects of leisure (which he prefers to call "leisure-like" pursuits: 1) positive emotions and well-being, 2) positive identities, self-esteem, and spirituality; 3) social and cultural connections and harmony, 4) human strengths and resilience, and 5) learning and human development across the lifespan.

Pre Employment Screening: Applicant Tracking Solutions With This Feature

When hiring new employees, background checks are essential. More specifically, pre-employment background checks are used by many companies before they even consider hiring someone. The screening process for a potential employee will give you the appropriate information you need to see if they are the right fit for you and your company.

There are many bullet points under the pre-employment screening process that a recruiter professional might want to consider. The first is a credit report. Some employers, for one reason or another, decide to hire a candidate based on their credit report – but they can not just obtain one freely. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, before an employer obtains a credit report they must get written consent from the candidate. A copy of the credit report must be given to the applicant and they have the right to challenge the report. Bankruptcies, which can also apply to a pre-employment screening can appear on a candidate or employee's credit report. However, discriminating or hiring based on a person who has filed for bankruptcy is prohibited under the Federal Bankruptcy Act.

Education is often a factor when it comes to the hiring process. Even so, there are regulations when it comes to obtaining school records such as transcripts. Along with some state laws, the Family Educational Rights and Private Act are to remain confidential and require permission from the student.

Another facet of the pre-employment screening process are criminal records. A candidate's criminal past can also help inform a recruiting professional's decision. However, there are regulations that vary from state to state when it comes to hiring a candidate based on their criminal history so it would be wise to consult with a law professional so that everything is compliant.

The use of lie detector test in a pre-employment screening process is not allowed under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. There are some exceptions such as security guard services, alarm system professionals, businesses that utilize armored car services and many who are involved in the pharmaceutical business.

Medical records also play a role in pre-employment screening . Again, an employer can not discriminate against a potential employee based on a persons physical or mental disability. This is prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, an employer can ask about a candidate's ability to do the tasks of the job they are applying for. For example, if the applicant is applying for a job that requires heavy lifting, the employer can ask if they do have the ability to perform tasks that require heavy lifting.

There are many ins and outs when it comes to the pre-employment screening process. By knowing what to screen for and how to screen for it, a business can make their hiring process effortless.