Understanding All The Specs Before Choosing Your PC

Posted on May 5, 2012 by James Wang

Getting a new PC is an exciting time. If you work using your computer, or if you just check your e-mail and Facebook as much as most of us do, then no doubt this is something that you are going to use a lot and that will have a big impact on your day to day life and productivity. Depending on your choice you might also benefit from being able to play better games or being able to watch high quality DVDs on a better screen.

Whatever your reason for getting a computer, it’s an exciting time, but also a complicated process that can be more than a little intimidating for those who don’t know their RAM from their ROM – and it seems that unless you have a degree in computer science it can be hard to find your way through jargon and choose the right computer. Here then we will look at how to go about picking your PC and what some of the specs you need to consider are as well as the other things you should take into account.


Type and Size: Before you consider anything else you first need to first think about whether you would rather have a laptop, netbook or full grown PC. There are many different strengths and weaknesses of each, but of course the main benefit of a laptop or netbook is the relative portability as well as how easily you can fit it on your desk and start using it. You will however also find yourself paying more for a device with lower specs in compromise – so decide whether you are more interest in performance or in practicality, and note also that you won’t be able to update as many aspects of a laptop as you will be able to with a PC (you can normally increase your RAM but that’s all) which means it’s likely to go out of date sooner.

RAM: RAM stands for ‘Random Access Memory’ and the easiest way to describe this is as the ‘working memory’ of your computer. This is the memory it uses to store information about what you’re doing currently – things you’ve copied and pasted for instance, and what line your cursor is one when you’re typing. The more RAM you have the more your computer will be able to handle multiple tasks at once and the faster it will be at doing so. Useful for people who can’t focus on just one thing, but also if you want to run high end games and programs. RAM fortunately is something that can usually be upgraded fairly easily if you want to increase the performance of your computer.

Processor: Your processor is the main ‘hub’ or central brain of your computer. This is what will handle most of the tasks and do most of the maths required to run your various software , and it will be the main factor in whether your computer can run the latest games and most high end software. This is also the hardest part to upgrade, so it’s worth investing in a powerful processor (research them though, as power alone doesn’t always equal performance and things like overheating can prove a real issue).

Graphics Card: Your graphics card handles the graphical information for your PC and puts it on the screen for you. This is most important for games, but it will also allow you to increase your resolution (and so fit more on the screen) and watch higher definition videos (a good CD drive alone is not enough).

Brand: The brand you choose is also very important, and if you don’t take this into consideration then you might end up with poor customer support and a device that doesn’t stand the test of time. Go with a company that’s recognized, but also read around to find out whether they, and specifically the models you are looking at, are particularly reliable.

About James Wang

James Wang is a technology advisor and provides IT support in Melbourne. His blog will help you learn some amazing new things in the world of technology.

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