Friday, July 2, 2010

How to Buy the Perfect Computer

Need a computer but just don't know what to buy?  Too many choices confuse you? Let me help you understand the computer basics to ensure you buy the right system.

Did you know........?
·         The Abacus is the earliest known computing device.
·         Charles Babbage is known as the "father of computing" after he invented the Analytical Engine, a general purpose computer.
·         Laptop - often referred to as notebook.  A portable computer that you can go basically anywhere with.  Since its main purpose is to keep you mobile, it is battery operated and comes with an AC adapter that can be used to plug it on an electrical outlet or charge the battery.
·         Intel is the leading manufacturer of processors.  Intel produced the world’s first processor.
·         AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) is Intel’s main competitor.

Ok.  Now let's move on to understanding the basic computer hardware components:
·         Chassis - or case, this is like a cabinet that houses the computer’s hardware.  There are different sizes of desktop chassis.  There is the minitower (the biggest sized is called minitower), slim tower (basically has a thinner size than the minitower), small form factor (shorter and slim type chassis) and the ultra small form factor (often times about the size of a notebook).
·         Motherboard - is the heart of your computer.  It connects all the hardware components on your system.  Remember that every part of your system either sits on the motherboard or connects to it in some way.  Some people, especially those in the field of Information Technology may also refer to the motherboard as system board, mobo or planar.  So don’t be surprised, it all points to the same thing.
·         Processor - also known as the CPU (Central Processing Unit) executes the command that you input on your computer.    It runs the software and processes the data that you are working on.
·         RAM - Random Access Memory holds the data on the software that you are running.  RAM or memory is also known as the temporary storage on your system.  Once you turn your system off, all the data stored on RAM is lost.  There are different types of computer memory now available today like the DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 memory.
·         Power Supply (on desktops) - it supplies all the power needed by each component in your system to make it work as one machine.
·         Battery (on laptops) - this has the same purpose as the power supply on desktops.  Since a laptop is designed to keep you on the go, instead of a power supply it comes with a battery.
·         Optical Drive - uses a laser to read or write on your CDs, DVDs or Blu-Ray discs.

·         If you are the type of person or have a business that frequently need to upgrade your system/s, then your best choice would be the minitower.
·         If you have limited space but would need a mid-range computer to do your tasks and plan on minimal upgrades the best choice would be the slim type tower or desktop chassis.
·         For people who have very limited space and need a computer only for some basic tasks the best choice would be the small form factor or ultra small form factor.  There is also a new line of computers called the all-in-one.  Similar to a desktop but the all-in-one’s components are integrated on the monitor, you will not see a tower on this one.
·         If you’re on the go, a laptop would be best for you.
·         Think of your motherboard as the nervous system of your computer where every part of the body is connected.
·         If your motherboard is the nervous system, the processor is like the brain since it interprets the instructions or commands that you input on the computer.
·         Your system processor works hand in hand with the memory or RAM.
·         There are different types of processors now available in the market.  Some of which are Intel Celeron and AMD Sempron processor - these are single core processors, there are also the Intel Pentium Dual Core or AMD Athlon processor - these are processors with 2 cores.  New lines of processor from Intel are core i5 (2 cores) and core i7 (4 cores) which includes hyper threading technology.
·         Remember the more cores your processor has, the faster it will run.  The speed of the processor is measured by GHz, the FSB which is measured by MHz and the number of cache (the higher number you see on each category the better it is).
·         The more memory you have on your system the faster your system will be able to read and write data to be accessed by your processor.  More memory lets you multi-task and smoothly work on heavy or demanding applications.
·         Hard drive - also known as hard disk.  It holds the data stored on your computer.  Unlike RAM, hard drive is the permanent storage in your system.  When you turn the computer off, the data you have saved is not lost.
·         Video card - creates the images that appear on your monitor or screen.  The type of video card you have will determine the quality of images displayed on your monitor.