Thursday, November 17, 2011

Part 2 of PC Buyers Guide - Selecting the Right Hardware

Part 2 of our computer guide covers the internal hardware components and what you should look for when buying a new computer. Quality components play a key role in the performance and life span of a computer, so knowing what to look for will help you avoid problems with your computer in the future.

Throughout this guide I’ll be referring to computer users in two groups:

Average user: Surfs the internet, sends & receives email, downloads & prints photos, creates, views and edits documents, occasionally watches video online.

Advanced user: Works with multiple programs open simultaneously, frequently watches online video, uses video and photo editing software, occasionally plays video games.

Now let's look at the internal components and some minimum requirements

1) Processor
Often called CPU (central processing unit), is the “brains” of the computer and processes information. Performance is determined primarily by the number of cores it has and its clock speed.
Minimum requirements
Average user:
  • Any dual core
  • 2 GHz clock speed

Advanced user:
  • High end dual core or better
  • 3GHz clock speed or higher

2) Memory (RAM)
RAM temporarily stores data while the computer is running. The more memory a computer has the faster it can access files and programs... up to a point.
Minimum requirements
Average user:
  • 4GB (gigabytes)

Advanced user:
  • 6GB or more

3) Operating system
You have several versions Windows 7 to choose from and each has its own hardware requirements. Whether you’re an average or advanced user, we generally recommend the Home Premium version of Windows 7. If your computer will be used for business we recommend Windows 7 Professional.

4) Video outputs
VGA (analog) is fine for most users, but if you watch a lot of video or have a large monitor, a DVI or HDMI will give you better quality and much crisper images. You may need to purchase the DVI or HDMI cable separately.

5) Hard drive
The hard drive stores your programs, documents, music, photos, and videos. Hard drive’s measure in gigabytes(GB) and commonly range from 250GB to 2TB (terabyte).
Minimum Requirements
We recommend no less than 500GB. If you download a lot of music, photos or videos, opt for 1TB hard drive

6) Monitor/Display
Purely a personal choice. Go with a larger screen if you plan on watching movies.
Allow you to connect external devices and cable to your computer.
Minimum number of ports
Average user:
  • 1 Ethernet port
  • 3 Front USB ports
  • 2 Rear USB ports
  • 1 S-Video or HDMI port

Advanced user:
  • 1 Ethernet port
  • 3 Front USB ports
  • 2 Rear USB ports
  • 2 or more HDMI ports
  • 1 eSATA port

The hardware requirements listed above and your requirements may vary, so remember to carefully evaluate your needs before choosing your hardware options.

Next up in part 3 we’ll discuss the best options for programs/software to install on your computer!

No comments:

Post a Comment