Dissecting the computer’s anatomy and understanding the lingo
by Keris Lahiff
Computers are no longer the domain of those literate in geek. In fact, if you don’t understand technology jargon for a PC’s bits and pieces, you are at a disadvantage when sourcing, purchasing and using technology in your business.
However, learning the slang needn’t be needlessly complicated. Here are some of the main terms that will come in handy when determining the PC for your business’ needs.
“If you only have time to look into one aspect of buying a PC, make sure you look for the processor,” says Kate Burleigh, marketing manager for Intel Australia and New Zealand.
As the ‘brain’ of the computer, the processor, otherwise known as the chip or central processing unit (CPU), dictates the capabilities of your computer. This means that if you have a low-grade processor, business operations on your computer will be limited.
“Look for the highest spec Intel processor you can afford,” advises Burleigh. “To make this investment really work for your business, opt for a processor that suits your needs today and in a few years’ time. Remember, upgrading your processor is not something you can do yourself so choose wisely.”
To decide which processor suits your needs, look for the following processors as a guide:
- Intel Core i3 Processor: this chip, the most basic model, is ideal for those businesses with mainstream office software, such as Windows 7.
- Intel Core i5 Processor: this chip is ideal for those business owners who require additional power for more demanding office applications, such as VoIP, security and back-up software.
- Intel Core i7 Processor: this chip is top of the range and is best for more energy-intensive programs, such as design, engineering or multimedia applications.
Clock speed refers to the rate at which a process carries out the task, as measured in gigahertz (GHz). More GHz doesn’t necessarily mean greater processing capabilities, warns Burleigh.
“Processors come in lots of different shapes and sizes. You can get as many as two, four or even six cores in some processors which means you really need to look at the GHz within the class of the processor you’re looking at,” she says.
For example, an Intel Core i5 Processor running at 3.46 GHz is not faster than an Intel Core i7 Processor running at 3.06 GHz. Look for the highest GHz available within the Intel Core processor range to ensure your computer doesn’t lag in executing business tasks.
Computers make use of two types of graphics – integrated graphics or discrete – and the overall graphic performance depends on which of these your computer has.
“Intel HD graphics come standard in most Core i3 and Core i5 processor-based systems and are ideal for most business users,” explains Burleigh.
For those businesses that require high-end graphics performance, such as high-end gamers, professional designers and video editors, an additional discrete graphics card is required.
“But remember, graphics performance also depends on the overall processor performance within your PC so if you require high-end graphics performance, you’ll also require the best processor you can afford,” advises Burleigh.
The junk in the trunk
RAM (random access memory) refers to the computer’s short-term memory and is used to process tasks, such as email, browsing the web or editing spreadsheets. For everyday business use, a PC with 2GB of RAM is suitable for most businesses.
Long-term memory is stored in the computer’s hard drive and is akin to a filing cabinet – it’s where all the documents, photos, music, videos and files are stored on your computer.
“The size of the hard drive is measured in gigabytes (GB). A 160GB hard drive should be enough for everyday business. If you find you need more space later, an easy and affordable solution is to add a USB 2.0 drive and you can also use it for backup,” says Burleigh.
If your business needs extra storage, invest in an external hard drive.
Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Monday, November 29, 2010