Buying a new PC: What does all the jargon mean?

So it’s time to buy a new computer. You head to the local tech shop or look on the internet, only to be confronted with a baffling array of letters and numbers. Here’s a brief guide as to what they mean, and what you should be looking for in your new computer.

GMT Solutions: CPUCPU – this is the Central Processing Unit, or the “brain” of the computer. It will have a number followed by GHz (gigahertz) – this is the speed of the processor, so the bigger the number, the better. If it has dual or quad cores, this the equivalent of having 2x or 4x the processing power. Each brand has its own model numbers, but generally the bigger the model number (i3, i5, or A6, A8), the faster the processor.

RAM – this stands for Random Access Memory – or simply memory. Just like humans, this is what the PC uses to store information while it’s carrying out tasks. Again, the bigger the number (GB or gigabytes this time), the better – you really want a bare minimum of 2GB these days.

HD – the hard drive of the computer, or its storage. This is also measured in GB, and relates to how many files, songs, videos, photos etc you can store. The bigger the number, the more storage space it has – if you see numbers in TBs (terabytes), 1TB is equal to 1000GB. SSD hard drives are a new type of drive, solid state drives – they run faster than typical hard drives, increasing the overall speed your PC can do things.

Optical Drive – this refers to whether the PC has a CD or DVD drive – CD-RW or DVD-RW means it’s a CD/DVD writer as well as a player. Some laptops, especially small ones, don’t come with optical drives these days, so it’s worth checking for one if you use discs. Blu-Ray drives are also found on PCs more commonly now.GMT Solutions: RAM

Ports – as well as USB ports to connect your printer, camera etc, you may also want an Ethernet (network) port to connect to your broadband router – it’s faster and more reliable than using wireless.

Card Reader – Another handy feature of many new PCs, is a reader that can take digital camera cards. This means you can take the photos directly off your card, rather than connecting your camera and using the camera software.

This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to computer specifications, but hopefully gives you some idea what the numbers mean! If you need help choosing a new PC,with anything else IT related, please contact us on [email protected] or call on the number below for a free chat.