30 tech myths debunked

Even for a techie, it sometimes becomes difficult to tell fact from fiction -- so here is a collection of some popular misconceptions and our explanations to help clear the air.

The latest, fastest video card is required to enjoy PC gaming: The fastest video card is like a mirage for most people — can only been seen but not acquired. Thankfully, you don't always need the newest and more expensive video card to run games satisfactorily. A mid-range card that costs about 40 to 60 per cent less than the flagship model will often suffice for playing current generation games at medium to high quality settings at an acceptable 1024 x 768 resolution. There are exceptions, of course, like that of Crysis, a game that gave a tough time to even top of the line hardware when it was launched. But what we are saying here holds true in most, if not all cases. If you find that your card is unable to handle current generation games, you can always switch to slightly older titles which will still be playable. This is a compromise, no doubt. But there are enough and more game titles out there. Also bear in mind that even if you empty your bank balance for the newest and best video card that there is, it is very likely to be outclassed by another model in a few month's time.

Gaming is addictive, distractive and kills productivity: The above statement can be true. But then, the same can be said about any activity that people enjoy — watching TV for instance, or even reading. Gaming can get more involving as it is interactive. But that in itself is not a reason to deny yourself the gaming experience. Anything can get harmful if taken beyond moderation. Gaming can be de-stressing and relaxing as well! On a side note, some companies are trying a team building activity that involves people working together as teams in strategy games.

Games are too violent for children: This is a sweeping statement made by those who do not understand that gaming comes in several genres. While some games do contain explicit violence (mutilation, blood splatter, cries of pain, etc.), these are mostly First Person Shooter (FPS) games in which the player actually 'shoots' the enemy. There are other genres like RTS (Real Time Strategy) in which the player has to think and plan his approach to the game. Then there are racing games in which the player has to drive a car. These kinds of games generally have very less explicit violence, if any. If you are worried if a game is suitable for a child, look for its ESRB age rating. If you cannot find it on the cover, look it up on the Internet.

Mis(Infotainment)

Smart phones are slow, bulky: Two years ago, this was largely true. A smart phone runs a small operating system, much like your PC (but lighter and less featured) that gives it all the features that the device boasts of, and the ability to install applications to enhance usability. This, of course, requires higher computing power as well as electrical power from the battery. As a direct consequence, the devices were both slow and heavy. But now, paired with power efficient and faster processors, smart phones are lighter and almost as fast in response as a less featured phone.

A secret key combination unlocks reserve battery power: You really did not think this could be true, did you? After all, if at all such a feature did exist, the manufacturer would have specified it in the manual to help users in an emergency. E-mails are floating around claiming this to be true and even specify a key combination, which does, well, nothing. Remember to keep your phone charged — there is no reserve power to bail you out!

A 5.1 sound system enhances the listening experience: Again, this is one of those concepts that is actually true in theory but unless implemented properly, has next to no benefit. Configured properly, the surround set up can provide a directional feel. But for this, you will either need to place the speakers at specified distances from your seating area, or configure their individual levels to match your seating location. The latter is not such a simple task. Besides, the sound source must be encoded in a surround sound format — ordinary stereo will not give you surround experience. This excludes audio CDs, television (even satellite TV) and MP3s — a big chunk of what most people use their surround systems for. It is only with 5.1 channel DVDs or games that such speakers deliver true directional feel.

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Kailas Shastry

PC World India
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