With Black Friday right around the corner, the Christmas shopping craze is about to begin. At MDC Computers, we tend to get a lot of clients looking to purchase a new PC, but need some guidance when it comes to choosing the right one. we decided to put together a bit of a guide, so when you look at the specifictions of a computer you might purchase, you can do so with a bit more confidence.
The Processor is essentially the brain of your computer. What you will see advertised is going to be the speed of the processor (measured in GHz). The higher the number, the faster your computer’s brain can think.
-Number of Cores
Another important facet will be the amount of cores your processor has. I like to use a highway as a comparison here. The amount of cores a processor has is like the amount of lanes a road has. So if each program you have open is a car, the more cores you have, the more programs you can have running without getting a traffic jam. Multi-core processors are great for multitasking.
There is a lot more that goes into the efficiency of a processor, but this is a good starting point.
The amount of RAM a computer has will be important as well. RAM is basically the short term memory of your computer. Every program you open will be using a portion of the RAM, so the more you have, the better. There is always a catch with these things in that there is such a thing as too much, but that all depends on what you plan to do with the computer. In general, a standard user computer will average about 4 GB of RAM, a gaming machine will average about 8GB. Because some programs use more RAM than others do, such as video games and image/video editing software, buying a system that has 8 GB of RAM to surf the web can be overkill.
The Hard Drive
Simply put, your hard drive will be measured in generally one of two units. Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB). One TB is equal to just over 1000 GB. Most computers sold these days will range from 500 GB to 2 TB. How much space you need is dependent on how you plan to use the computer. If you plan to use the machine as a media center, storing movies, games, music and so forth, you will want a lot more space than if you just plan to use the computer to do homework, check your email or surf the web.
Video Card: Is it necessary?
The more basic computers out there will have what is called onboard graphics. These computers are optimized for very general use. They work great for watching movies, surfing the web and so forth, but If you plan to play higher end video games, or do any sort of 3D rendering this will not cut it. You will need a dedicated graphics card to handle all of these processes.
One more thing to consider when talking about video cards are the output that they offer. Some video cards can offer multiple display capability, so you can hook up 2 and even 3 monitors! Most are standard connections for monitors, but some offer HDMI, and it can be really sweet to have the option to connect your PC to a 42″ TV.
One thing we want to leave you with, is a general rule of thumb to help with the knowledge you have acquired. You get what you pay for. These are just basic guidelines and there is a lot more that goes into the quality of a computer. We suggest avoiding super cheap specials, they may boast the same specs as other computers, but quality of the hardware is almost always disappointing.