This guide aims is to assist you in a Basic Understanding of what's in you Computer & it's Basic Function, This should assist you in a more clear understand & Guide to what you may find as a better idea to what may enhance your computers performance or when communicating with vendors that frequently use these hardware and software terms to potential customers when selling their products.
Terms & Parts
RAM:"Random Access Memory". This is the memory used to hold things you are running. For example, when you have just started your PC up, Windows and your desktop icons are in the RAM. If your computer does not have enough RAM, it puts this on the hard disk which is very slow. This is why you hear your hard disk churning heaps when you have lots of programs open (or low amounts of ram).
When buying: If your new PC is for web browsing and documents you need at least 512mb MIN, However in your Bios Boot Menu you may notice or see Dual or Single Chanel this is nothing to do with the Processor it actually refers to the data flow across the motherboard & the matching or your Ram Basically 512Mb at Dual Channel is Quieter & equal to about 786Mb of single Channel. As a foot note some of the current Generation Computer can support up 32Gigabytes of Ram. But here is the catch 22 think of the internet as a highway & the Servers at the other end being traffic lights, Picture that your in a Lamborghini and Mr Been is in front of you doing 40 Now you get the True idea of what's going, If you no anyone who may need a Tune up or there Doors Blown off send them to the other Guide, we need to hunt them Down Fix them.
Hard Disk Drive, this is a device which stores all of your files. All computers come with a hard drive. Hard drive are available in many sizes, speeds & connections to connect to your computer. Generally aim for a hard drive that suits your needs a large Drive such as a Terabyte is slower to boot because the computer will ready from start to finish as it boots. high RPM like 7200 or 10,000 means little today Speed is in the Hard Drive Catch or on board Buffer this can vary a lot 4-Meg to 64-Meg. Speeds Vary IDE 100-ATA SATA 1.5 Gigabytes per second, SATA II 3.0 Gigabytes per second, SATA III 6.0 Gigabytes per second (Note SATA III is only supported by i3 i5 i7 onwards)
Central Processing Unit or Processor . The CPU does all of the work in your computer. Ultimately, the CPU controls how fast a computer goes, as it churns through all the information from the memory. When purchasing a computer, it is a good idea to know what type of socket the CPU is & if the motherboard can allow a different speed CPU, as some manufacturers have boards fixed to suit one speed this can cause some limitation on upgrades.
For more information regarding the CPU, refer to your Computer Motherboard Manufacturer.
Motherboard/Mainboard (inc. Onboard Graphics/Sound):
The motherboard is the big circuit board that takes up the largest area in your computer. It is what all the devices (such as a modem, RAM, CPU & HDD) connect to. If you want to expand your computer or use up-to-date technology you purchase a compatible motherboard. Not all motherboards support all technologies. It varies from Date of Manufacture to type. The motherboard is where you plug in your keyboard, mouse, USB, printer etc.....In addition to connecting your devices, a motherboard has on board sound & video (the Display) on your computer. This is adequate for most users, however if you want to play games, edit Video & Photos you will need to buy an expansion graphics Graphic's card separately. On board Graphics are fine for web blousing & basic performance. Also Note that the on board Graphics usually shares the on board Ram and a basic Graphic card can enhance the System Performance by being less reliant on the Motherboard Ram.
Graphics cards as extras in most computers. They vary from average performance right up to 'high end'. If you are purchasing a graphics card ensure it will plug into your motherboard, as expansion slots can Vary & some Business Class Machines Have no support for expansion. When buying: Like all devices, do some research before you buy! There is some real junk out there! along with some real thieves asking Gold Values for Garbage, Forums are a great resource for advice on what to buy.
The circular plug for your keyboard and mouse (green and purple). Simple as that.USB Port:
Lets you plug in cameras, printers, lights, mini-vacuums, printers. The main standard for external devices.
When buying: Get a computer with at least 6 USB ports running on USB2.0. USB3.0 is the latest ultra-fast USB.
Powers all of your components. Make sure it is big enough to power the computer. (Usually 350W is adequate & a recommended Wattage) the only time you would need more is if you have more than one Video Card. More info on that is available at Aerocool.com were there is an online Calculator. There is no need to be adding to your Power Bill Having a 1200 watt Power supply that was never able to fully function in a machine that can never use any more than 450 watts is about as smart as having a 500 horsepower V8 when you can only go as fast as the car in front of you.
80Plus is the New Generation of efficient Power Supplies for Desktop PC these do reduce you power usage quite a bit on my own I worked out it technically paid for itself in 8 months.now that these have dropped in price & power costs have risen they are one thing you really will like along with the quieter operational aspects. particularly if you pay the Power Bill.
Ensure that your case is of quality, quiet, (A noisy computer is a pain) but most importantly attractive and functional to your needs because one day you are going to want to upgrade again & Like the computer you are currently using its worth something to someone, & will probably end up on ebay if you are reading this guide to subsidize your upgrade & lesson the overall cost..Oh & if you are worried about someone getting personal info out of your computer, Then I can only say Wake up the first thing I do with a second hand PC is Format the Hard Drive as I do not want someone else's garbage, Its a bit Like a Car, Also keep in mind if you sell your old Computer not to remove the Hard Drive just remove your info, you wouldn't buy a Car with no Engine, So Sell it Going as you bought it.
Basically, you must do research to confirm that what is in your next computer is what you want. As a guide, I hope this has added to the wealth of information needed to nail getting the perfect computer.
Remember,Feel free if you need assistance you can contact myself
and let me know if you have any further Questions.