Buying a computer for your business can be a complicated process. While many people use a computer daily, we often don’t consider what it is that is powering all the programs and processes that appear on our screens.
To help you, we have listed a number of things that you should consider when you’re buying a computer.
CPU or Computer Processor
Think of this like the Brain of your computer. The role of the CPU is to process tasks. CPU performance is measured in Gigahertz (or GHz) which basically translates to 1,000,000,000,000 processes per second. Based on this, the higher the GHz the faster the processor and your computer will perform.
Faster is Better, so get the fastest you can within your budget. Don’t buy the latest model, wait a couple months at least before buying – latest model means high prices.
The motherboard effectively joins and connects all the components of the computer together. Everything from the CPU, RAM, HDD, Graphics card etc. are all attached to the Motherboard, so that they can interact.
Motherboard selection can be difficult. Because the Motherboard connects everything together, this has to be compatible with all of the other components of your system. For this reason, it makes sense to decide on your CPU, find a Motherboard compatible with this, then research your other features, such as HDD, Soundcard, etc.
Of course, if you are buying a complete system, then this decision has already been made for you.
This is the Hard Disk Drive, or where you store data on your computer. HDD are measured in Gigabits (GB) or Terabits (TB) with a standard HDD being anywhere from 250 HDD, up to 2 Terabits. Just keep in mind that laptops will generally have less disk space than a PC, and it can be harder (if not impossible) to expand the hard drive space on a Laptop.
Beware Laptops with small amounts of disk space. There are low cost laptops that are a measly 32GB – once you add Windows 10 and System files to this HDD you are lucky to have 5GB left for other programs (I.e. Microsoft Office) and files.
A Solid State Drive (SSD) is a like a HDD, except that unlike a HDD that has a spinning metal platter inside the casing, a SSD is made up of multiple flash memory chips that are physically connected. SSD’s are superior to HDD in that they are faster, but this comes with an increased price.
If you’re looking to balance price and performance, it is possible to purchase both a HDD & an SSD and install certain programs on your SSD, and leave less intensive drive functions on the HDD.
Think of RAM as being short term memory and the HDD/SSD as being long term memory. RAM is basically the resource used by programs (I.e. operating system/word processor) while the program is in use. Unlike the HDD/SSD, RAM requires power to hold data. Once you remove power, the stored data is lost. RAM is important as it can have an impact on the speed of your computer – if you have to many programs running and insufficient RAM, your computer may appear sluggish.
These days, the average work computer that is running an operating system, Microsoft Office and maybe a few emails etc. will run fine on 4-8 GB RAM. Problems arise when complex software or gaming software is used, as these programs require more RAM. If you are using complex Software, specific to your industry, you can usually check the Software requirements, that suggest the necessary hardware requirements (i.e RAM, CPU, Disk Space) for optimal function.
A soundcard is not vital for a computer to function, but almost all computers have one. Generally, the soundcard will either be on-board (i.e built into the motherboard) or be added as an extension to the motherboard via an expansion slot.
For most business functions, such as voice recording, Skype, even music and YouTube videos, an on-board soundcard will be sufficient. An expanded soundcard is probably best suited to those who are in the creative industries or those seeking a high quality audio experience.
Much like a soundcard, video cards can be built into the Motherboard, but for improved performance for videos and games an expandable video card is generally needed.
Unless you’re watching high quality video at work or you work in graphic design or video editing, you can probably get away with an on-board video card. Besides, if you find you need to upgrade, it is usually a relatively easy job to install a new video card.
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