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When buying a computer it can be a very difficult experience unless you have a degree in AstroPhysics. Even in retail outlets like PC World, you are bombarded with numbers and abreviations....WHAT DOES IT MEAN THOUGH!? all you want to do is to be able to buy a nice cheap computer thats going to last you and that is going to run all the things that you wish to use, be that digital cameras or desktop publishing software. First off lets go through all of the technical jargon and I will explain it to you: Processor - This is the brain of the computer, it lets the computer think problems out and decided how to do things. Motherboard - This is the large circuit board that everything connects to. Memory - This is the short term storage for data, the faster and larger capacity it is, the more efficiant the computer will be. Heatsink - This is a block of metal that sits ontop of the processor and has a fan mounted on the top, this keeps the processor cool without it the processor would get up to a whopping 95 degrees IN SECONDS, before the computer shut off as a safety feature. Fan - Its a fan!? I cant beleive your actually reading what a fan is, a fan in a computer is no differant from a desk fan, it cools things. Hard Drive -or- Hard Disk - This is the long term storage of the computer it is where everything is saved when you turn it off so that its there when you turn the computer back on again, they are very very sensitive to being thrashed around, if I where to drop a hard drive down the stairs, it would not work again, but if I was to drop say, a processor down the stairs it would work again. CD/DVD Drive - We all know about compact disks and DVD's however in a computer terms to describe the drives are very confusing for example some drives are capable of reading dvds, and reading and burning cd's....others can just read cds, or just dvd's. So let me explain how this works: CD-R/RW DVD-R From the above we can see that this drive can read cds(CD-R), it can write data to blank cds (RW), and it can read DVDs (DVD-R) In a drive description it will tell you the type of disk it can read, eg CD, then ther will be a dash or a space, and it will have 'R' in it somewhere if it can read that type of disk, and it will have 'RW' in it if it is capable of writing to a blank one of those disks. To move on slightly in terms of drive description speeds are also important, for example if a drive can only read cds, and do nothing else it will be called something like this: 52x CD-R the number before the 'x' tells us how fast it spins and reads the data confusing stuff i know but if I could learn this stuff when i was 7 i think that you can learn it now... MOVING ON!!.... Floppy Drive - Possibly one of the oldest and well known components of a computer, is the faithfull floppy drive, not really capable of storing much but still its there for the fact taht it makes you look more intelligent ;D PSU - (Power Supply Unit), no computer could handle all 230 of our european volts pulsing through its precious components, the job of the PSU is to convert mains power into 19volts, and to share the power out too all of the components. Monitor, VDU, Display - This is the screen... Keyboard - Who doesnt love to press buttons? I mean really...this is the buttons that you use to control the computer Mouse - You use this to control the computer aswell, you move the little pointer around the screen by moving the mouse in the correct direction and then you click on things that you want to load. Speakers - ...........NOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE Printer - Usually representing a breeze block, and requiring 20 minutes written notice to actually do something... this things print out documents and pictures off your computer, inkjet printers are the most common and also one of the slowest... so you can wait 15 minutes for a document ONLY TO REALISE THAT THERE WAS A MISTAKE HALF WAY DOWN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH....sorry, I have bad memories of printers........ Scanner - This thing scans pictures and documents and some can even scan a letter for example and convert the image into a text document so that you can just edit the letter right there and then. Digital Camera - Its a camera...but without film! I know its brilliant isnt it, you will never have to leave your throne of despare to take a damn little plastic tube to a shop where you have to waste money getting peoples ugly mugs slapped onto a piece of slightly stiffer then usual paper...... I/O (Input + Output): On the back of a computer it is common to find these ports: Power In - Plugs into the mains 2 PS/2 Ports - This is for the mouse and keyboard, the green port is for the mouse, and the purple one is for the keyboard USB Ports - USB replaced Serial ports along time ago, they are faster and usually plug and play which means that you dont have to install drivers that often for USB devices, you can just plug them in and have them work straight away. Serial Ports - Obsolete technology, replaced with USB Parallel Ports - Older printers require this port, this is the port that is longer than any of the others. Most printers now however are USB. Video Out - Your monitor will plug into this so that the computer can tell the screen what to show. Speakers Out - Your speakers plug into this so that they can get information from the computer on what noises to make. Mic In - This is where you plug your microphone in. Line In - Line in isnt use commonly unless you have something like a TV Card that requires it. Network Card, or Wireless Network Card - If you have more than one computer in the house it makes sense to have a network, becuase if all the computers in a house are networked they can talk to each other and then they can all connect to the internet at the same time through the network connection, you can either have a wired network or you can have a wireless one, if you have a wireless network card then there will be a little black antenna sticking out of the back of the computer and usually pointing upwards. Now that the hardware is over with... lets talk about speeds and sizes. Speeds are measured in MegaHertz(MHz), and GigaHertz(GHz) Size is measured in Bytes(B), KiloBytes(KB), MegaBytes(MB), and GigaBytes(GB)... there are 1024 MegaBytes in 1 GigaByte, and its the same for speeds aswell there are 1024 MegaHertz in 1 GigaHertz, the best way to think of this is like if you were measureing how long a road was for example there are 1000 Metres in 1 Kilometre. as technology moves on things get faster and larger in terms of speed and size, so for example if you were buying a computer and there was information on the processor you would see something like: Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz This would mean that the processor is madef by intel, its a pentium 4, and its speed is 3 GigaHertz, this means that it is 3072 MegaHertz fast. a hard drive will be measured in size, such as 120GB which is 120 GigaBytes memory is measured in either GB or MB, but its more common to have sticks of memory of about 512MB When buying a computer it is important to look for brand names, keep your eye out for these words: -Intel -AMD -Crucial -Western Digital -ASUS -Sony -Panasonic -Microsoft Good Luck and with any of it you might have learned something from this stupidly long block of text.... Thanks for reading ^_^ _____________ ---By Hawk---
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