Crack the PC Jargon
Bring meaning to the terms that consumers are normally baffled with...
This guide aims to present an unbiased report on the hardware and software terms that computer vendors will frequently use when communicating their products to potential customers.
Terms & Parts
RAM:Ram means 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 only need 512mb MIN, however, when you get into games or DVD burning you should get a MIN 1GB.
Short for Hard Disk Drive, this is a device which stores all of your files. All computers come with a hard disk. The hard disk has many sizes, speeds, and connections to connect into your computer. Generally, you aim for a hard drive which has a large size, high RPM (7200RPM is a minimum), and a SATA or SATA2 connection.
When buying: The faster the hard drive the better. Get a big cache (allows quicker data transfer) and a HDD with fast RPM.
An abbreviation for Central Processing Unit. 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 CPU is in it and whether it will suit your needs.
For more information regarding CPUs, please read my other guide "AMD vs Intel: Which one is for you?".
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 and HDD) connect to. Make sure that 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 type to type. The motherboard is where you plug in your keyboard, mouse, USB, printer etc.....
In addition to connecting your devices, a motherboard (can) also control sound and video (the screen) on your computer. This is adequate for most users, however if you want to play intense games or listen to pristine quality sound, you will need to buy graphics or sound cards seperately. Onboard solutions are cheap to implement but give the very basic in performance. Make sure you don't pay for them if you don't need them hanging off your computer.
When buying: Check that the PC will support anything you want to plug into it: Joysticks, Speakers, Graphics card for gaming, etc...
Graphics Card / Sound Card:
Graphics cards and sound cards are installed as extras in all computers. They vary from average performance right up to 'high end'. If you are purchasing a graphics card or sound card, ensure it will plug into your motherboard, otherwise you can't use it!
When buying: Like all devices, do some research before you buy! There is some real junk out there! Forums are a great resource for advice on what to buy. Also read the system specifications for the games you will want to play.
The circular plug for your keyboard and mouse (green and purple). Simple as that.
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. USB2.0 is the latest ultr-fast USB.
Powers all of your components. Make sure it is big enough to power the computer. (Usually 300W< is adequate).
When buying: Ensure that your power supply can support any graphics cards you plan to use later.
Ensure that your case is high quality and is quiet. A noisy computer is a pain.
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, if you need assistance you can contact myself or one of the other friendly eBay Sellers out there! This is a marketplace!!!!
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