PC & Laptop Jargon Busting Buyers Guide
Dec 07, 2010
- Bluetooth Allows you to wirelessly connect accessories to your computer such as a keyboard, mouse or mobile phone.
- DVI Connection A digital display socket, perfect for connecting your monitor. There are different types of DVI including DVI-A (analog only), DVI-D (digital only), and DVI-DA (analog and digital). Avoid the analog only connection and try and get a computer with a DVI-D or DVI-DA port.
- Ethernet Port This is the socket used for a wired connection to a local network or modem/router. Wired connections are generally a lot faster than a wireless connection. This makes no difference if everything you do is via the internet but if you communicate a lot with other machines on a local network you may well notice the difference.
- Graphics Card Responsible for displaying the computer graphics, it is super important for gaming and designers who want a very high quality display but otherwise not something to worry about.
- Graphics Memory Again this is something for the gamers to worry about. It basically effects the graphic performance for intensive computer graphics.
- Hard Drive This is the computers storage where all those files, videos, photos and software applications are saved. If you like digital photography and/or digital video then its worth getting a good sized hard drive. (Although you can always buy an external USB drive to store stuff on too). If you’re heavy on multi media look for at least 500GB in a desktop or 250GB in a laptop.
- HDMI Connection HDMI is a socket for plugging in a High Definition (HD) display and transports both audio and video data. More monitors are coming with HDMI connection now. Try and get HDMI or DVI or your computer as these are both digital so much better quality than the outdated analog display technology, VGA.
- Mini Display Port Apple use display port connection to connect monitors so if you are in the market for a Mac Mini, MacBook or MacBook Pro your best bet is to get a mini display port to DVI adaptor. I would recommend this adaptor by Neet which is a whole lot cheaper than the official Apple adaptor and still great quality.
- Multi Card Reader This is for the memory card from your digital camera to put photos onto your computer. From here you can organise, manipulate and publish your photos with Google Picasa Software.
- Optical Drive This is the CD or DVD drive. Most computers come with a CD and DVD re-writer (DVD-RW) these days but if you don’t care about this you might be able to save a few pounds.
- Operating System This is the software on every computer that runs the basic functions of the computer and creates the environment for all the other software to run. Most well known is Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OSX and the slightly more techy open source operating system Linux which comes in several varieties and runs the vast majority of the servers out there on the internet including this one.
- Processor This is the component in your computer that runs the software so it can really affect the performance. You will see words like Core 2 duo, Intel, AMD, i3, i5, 3.08Ghz. These all refer to the processor. Currently I would recommend the Intel i3, i5 and i7 processors or the Core 2 Duo’s.
- RAM Along with the processor speed RAM is the other big factor that dictates your computers performance. RAM or Random Access Memory holds the state for running software applications and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have plenty of RAM in order to have several applications open without slowing your computer down. I recommend an absolute minimum of 2GB RAM but would strongly recommend 4GB. If you’ve already got a computer that’s running slow and you want more RAM then all the information you need to upgrade is available from the Crucial who know everything about memory.
- Resolution The higher the screen resolution the more detailed the display. The more detailed the display the more space you have on the screen for your various windows and the higher quality the visual.
- USB ports USB ports are very useful. Its becoming the standard way to connect almost everything to your computer from keyboards and mice to external hard drives, cameras, phones and even Christmas trees! Not crucial to have loads of ports as you can always get more with a USB Multi port hub.
- Wi-Fi Allows you to wirelessly connect to a local network. At home you’ll need a wireless modem/router to use this. Most PC’s and routers come with 802.11g or wireless G technology which is just fine. There is a new wireless N technology (802.11n) on the scene which offer much faster local network speeds. If you want to stay wireless and do lots of communicating between computers on the local network then you might want to pay that little bit more and get yourself a wireless N computer and router. Note that due to broadband speeds you are unlikely to notice any speed increases with general web surfing by upgrading to wireless N.
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