Tech myths that cost you money

(MoneyWatch) Tech is expensive enough without layering on an additional "myth tax." That's the money you pay because you buy into what amounts to folklore about why you need to spend more money on certain kinds of technology. Recently, Lifehacker rounded up a number of such myths, as follows. Once you're aware, you can save yourself some money.

Refurbs are inferior to new gadgets. Many people pass on refurbished devices because they don't trust them. But in most cases, refurbs aren't "used" and can perform just as well as factory-certified, brand new hardware -- at a fraction of the price.

Extended warranties can save you money. While there are exceptions to this rule, in general an extended warranty will never save you money. Indeed, quite the opposite: It's far cheaper to establish your own "warranty fund" to fix or replace something when it breaks. Extended warranties are promoted heavily in stores because they represent a huge profit margin for the vendor.

Premium cables work better. This has been thoroughly debunked for years. For all-digital cables, there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between a $10 discount cable and a $500 premium cable. None whatsoever. Even among analog cables, like speaker wire, you need a fairly long cable run for there to be any meaningful difference in cable quality that would result in a noticeable difference in sound or visuals. 

Faster computer processors improve PC performance. There is definitely some truth to this, but modern processors have gotten so high-performance that the distinction is subtle. Moreover, different processor architectures (like Intel versus ARM) perform the same task differently, with a different number of operations per clock cycle. So it's like comparing apples and oranges.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user 401(K) 2013


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