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Internet speed or computer speed — which matters more?

By Jean-Claude Elias - Feb 15,2018 - Last updated at Feb 15,2018

What good is a very fast computer if most of what you do is to work online, and your Internet connection is not up to your computer’s specs? It reminds us of the old question: what is the point of driving a Ferrari or a Porsche car in the middle of a traffic jam, in Shmeisani at rush hour?

Take Dell’s newest Series XPS15 laptop. It features Intel’s 7th generation Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core processor, a fantastic engine that gets most tasks done faster than you can start working on them. As for graphics, they are taken care of by the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 processor that comes with its own, dedicated 4GB memory. The combination of Intel and Nvidia processors makes an exceptionally powerful machine.

Dell is only an example. Lenovo also makes laptops that are real powerhouses. This includes the company’s ThinkPad T470 model that, just like the Dell, sports Intel’s 7th generation i7 processor.

Whereas computers’ speed and performance are stable numbers, the Internet’s stability is yet to match them. Despite significant improvement over the last few years, with 4G and fast ADSL everywhere, only Fibre Optics (FO) Internet provides the quality of connection that you can rely on and that is on a par with what most laptops can do in terms of processing. Unfortunately, FO does not, yet, cover all the areas in a city like Amman, though the main service providers like Orange and Zain, certainly are working on it.

The number of applications that work online largely exceeds those that you run offline (i.e. that do not need the Internet at all), and the trend continues. Even heavy software, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, now works online. In short, a computer without fast, and more importantly reliable Internet, is not worth much these days. Soon there will not be any application or software programmes that does not depend on the web to work.

So should you pay more attention to your Internet subscription than to your computer’s processing speed? Where should you be spending more money, for in the end it is a matter of paying more on technology?

It is hard to dissociate the two aspects, and at this point in time, there is little doubt that we need the most powerful hardware we can buy, and to connect it to the fastest and most reliable Internet line. None is more important than the other, and they both constitute critical points.

FO does not only come with increased speed, starting typically at 100 Mbps, but the optical technology also ensures a very stable signal, much less subject to those annoying quick, unexpected disconnections and interruptions, when compared to ADSL.

The importance of powerful computers and excellent FO connectivity is critical if you are watching high definition Netflix movies, beIN sport events, if you have and use a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, or an Adobe online subscription to their celebrated Suite, to name only these four examples.

On the other hand, a certain number of application are more tolerant and will not really require you to spend a lot of money on FO or on superfast computers. This includes casual browsing of the web, social networking, paying your utility bills through online banking and or checking the weather forecast.

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