Now that I have your attention, we are talking about computers. I wanted to break down some common terms, so the next time you go to Best Buy or online or wherever, the sales person is going to throw a bunch of terms at you. This little checklist should help you navigate the “sales speak” and have you more prepared to make a computer selection that best suits your needs.
- RAM – (short for Random Access Memory) Think of RAM as your wit. RAM lets your computer be quick-witted and have an answer for you immediately. A normal 32-bit computer can handle a maximum of 4 GB (Gigabytes) of RAM. Then there are 64-Bit operating systems which will allow MUCH more. But for a standard user a 32-bit operating system with 4 GB of RAM is more than enough.
- Processor – The processor is the “brains” of the computer. Modern processors are measured in GhZ (or Gigahertz) Any new computer you buy you would want at least a 2 GhZ processor. Many of the new processors are multi-core. Meaning that a single processor presents itself to the operating system as more than one processor. You will see Duel and Quad Core processors. The operating system will see them as either 2 or 4 processors systems. Processor speed isn’t as important as it was at one time. Right now the focus is on RAM and who much you can get in the device.
- Hard Drive – Thing of this as the part of your brain where you store your memories. Pictures videos, music and programs occupy your hard drive. Now this might get a little geeky. There are 2 types of hard drives. SSD (Solid State Drive) and the Spinning Hard drive. Right now SSD drives tend to be a much smaller and more expensive, However they are terribly swift and data speeds are very high. The standard spinning drive speeds are actually measured in RPM’s (Revolutions Per Minute). If buying a new device or replacing a spinning drive, you want to get the one with the highest RPM’s that you can afford. They will start out around 5400 RPM’s and go up to 10,000 RPM’s. Like anything else the faster the RPM;s the faster the drive.
These are just the basics you will need to know to make an informed BASIC computer purchase. This guide is not taking into account any sort of gaming you may want to do which may require a higher end video card, or if you are going to want to set up a Dolby 5.1 sound, these are specialized systems and would not be covered here. If you have any additional questions, feel free to write them in the comments and I can address as many as possible.