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Your Computer is Like a Car

Not very tech savvy, and trying to understand why your computer isn't capable of doing what you want it to do? This analogy may help:

You've got a budget compact car - it may be brand new, or a year or two old, but still in good running condition. It'll get you to work and back, and maybe to the beach on weekends, and can fit a week's worth of groceries, maybe even some small furniture, but it's not really a strong car or meant for heavy-duty loads.

Now, you've decided you want to haul a load of bricks home, and you're going to use your trusty compact car. It may sort of work - the back end may drag on the ground, and you may not be able to go over 30 getting home, but you'll probably make it home with your bricks. You may even be able to do it again the next week, or a few more times occasionally over the span of a few months.

But if you try to start hauling bricks in it on a regular basis, bringing home a full load every day, you're going to wear out your trusty little compact car long before its time. The shocks will go, the axles will bend, and the engine will be over-stressed. Eventually, you'll need major repairs or worse.

While your car may be good for what it's made for - getting you from A to B and small loads - it's not meant for heavy loads. That's why they make sturdy trucks - they may cost more, but they're made for the job. You can keep hauling bricks in your car, but you're going to pay for it, and your car isn't going to last very long.


... now what does all of this mean for you and your computer?



The compact car is your computer. It's decent, competent, but nothing amazing. It may be brand new and cost you a decent amount of money, but it's still not a really amazing computer.

The small load of groceries or getting to work and back is what your computer is made for. These are tasks like browsing the internet, sending emails, word processing, spreadsheets, basic games, watching DVDs, etc. It can do that kind of stuff all day every day and it'll be fine.

The heavy load of bricks is what your computer is NOT suited for. These are tasks like high-strain games like Sims 2/3 as well as other heavy duty tasks (like 3D rendering, intricate graphics, etc.). Your computer may be able to do it, but it won't do it well - it'll be slow, choppy, and tend to run poorly and/or crash... and trying to do these things on a low-powered computer is going to wear it out a lot faster than normal, maybe even ruin it if you're not careful!

The sturdy truck is a computer made for gaming or other high-strain applications. It usually costs a lot more, and you have to specifically get one for what you want to do - just as a sports car [read: a Macbook] won't haul bricks even though it's expensive, you've got to get something designed for the task. Good gaming computers are often somewhat more expensive than your everyday computer, and gaming laptops are often several times more expensive than a normal laptop. If you want to play high-strain games on your computer, you have to buy one suited for the task.


Another way to explain this, Running a game on a computer that can't handle it is like hanging a heavy load from a thin rope - it'll probably be ok at first, but after a while the rope will start to fray, and eventually snap. The same is true for computers - your game probably ran ok for a while, though it probably looked terrible; now your computer is getting too damaged to keep up, so things are going wrong.

Adding EPs, installing patches, using a lot of poorly made CC (hairs with poly counts in the tens of thousands for example), and the general passage of time can all contribute to the eventual deterioration of a weak computer. Eventually, something's gotta give.

Lovingly copied from a reply by Whiterider

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