Just a quick look at what you should be looking for when considering buying new or used Laptops or Computers
Laptop and PC buying guide
Ok, so it can be a bit of a minefield when looking for a new Laptop or PC - what do you look for? What is Ram? What is a processor? What is a hard drive and a VGA card? We hope to answer all the basic questions for you to make an informed choice on the kind of Laptop or PC that you will need to look for.
Main component parts of a Laptop or Computer:
The motherboard (or mainboard) is the large board that everything else plugs into.
(Random Access Memory) is a short term storage area of information storage that the Laptop or computer uses while you are using it. The larger the RAM, the better! As a general rule, go for the most RAM you can afford, this will speed the machine up and will help with multitasking. Do you need to simply browse the net, go on Ebay, Facebook or Google + etc?. If you know you will only require something to do these things, then pretty much anything will be ok! But still, look for something with a min of 2Gb ram (second hand), or 4Gb new. New machines can have 16Gb ram or more but will tend to be expensive. My first Computer had 4mb of Ram which was considered normal at the time (there are 1,000 Mb to a Gb), so in time 2Gb will seem miniscule, as will 16Gb!
This is the main brain which does the "thinking" and processing of information, and again, the faster the processor you can afford the better as things will get done quicker! Speeds are measured in GHz, but processors now have multiple layers or "cores", so in effect have 2, 4, 8 "cores" in 1 processor multiplying its speed by the number of "cores". The more "cores" the better. Top processors at the moment are the Intel i range - i3, i5 and i7.
This is where data is stored on a long term basis - unlike RAM when you turn your machine off, the data stored in RAM goes, but a hard drives data will still be there. Things like your Operating system (Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7, 8 and 10), pictures, movies, games, music and so on are stored on here. The difference in sizes are huge. If your Laptop / Computer is purely going to be used for surfing the net and nothing else, then it really isn't too important what size you have as you probably will struggle to fill an 80 Gb hard drive, so this shouldnt really be a problem. If however you intend to download many films and lots of music, then 500gb should be a minimum and high-end downloaders will fill up a 500gb hard drive in a couple of months. In either case, external hard drives are cheap enough now to buy which can be connected via a USB port for additional storage space. People who download the odd bit of music should look at 250Gb drives (for a second-hand machine) as a minimum, people who will download films too (say 2 per month) should be looking at a bit larger, although 250Gb will still last a fair while at 2 films per month (films tend to be 0.7gb up to 5Gb each for HD, although 0.7Gb films can still be good enough quality). So 3 films for every 2.1 Gb approx. An MP3 album will be about 60-80mb (although this can vary depending on the quantity of songs on the album), so you can get about 12-16 albums stored for every Gb you have spare on your hard drive. These figures may help you to decide what sort of size disk you need to be looking at. Drives are now measured in 1,000 Gigs - Terrabytes, or TB, so new machines will probably come with 1 or 2 TB as standard, and again, this will be regarded as small probably by the time I have written this.
Need to get your data from an old machine to a new one? Try this All in 1 HDD Docking station. Simply take your old drive out of the machine and connect it to the All in 1 HDD Docking station ...plug the USB cable into the new one and start transferring your documents.
The optical drive will usually be a DVDRW (DVD ReWriter). On older machines they may just be a CDRW (CD rewriter), which means you can transfer data to a CD disc and not a DVD disc. Data such as music, photographs and other documents can be saved to this type of disc. DVDRW discs are mostly used for large amounts of data such as films (discs are usually 4.7Gb or 9.4Gb for dual layer...ie, they have 2 layers). CD's can hold 720mb of data - or 80 mins of music. You can also watch DVD films directly from a DVDRW drive, but NOT a CDRW drive. So again, you will need to decide what you want to do as to which drive is suitable. There are also DVD drives only, in which case you cannot copy anything onto any disc as they are purely for watching DVD discs and extracting data from a DVD disc. Many new Laptops and Computers are now shipped with a "Blu ray" disc. This is a higher quality disc drive which can read discs with much more information on them. The laser light which reads the disc is blue and not red as with the other drives. The beam is much thinner allowing the data that is being read to be much thinner, thus allowing more information to be put on the disc. These discs tend to be very high quality movies.
Graphics (VGA) is only really important if you want to play graphically intense games. Things like cards and most games you can play on the net - like Facebook games, will be fine with most standard machines. If however you go to a shop and purchase an off the shelf game, then there is a good chance your Laptop or Computer will not be able to play it unless it has a dedicated Graphics card. You can find out if it has one by simply asking an assistant at the shop, or by looking at the machine itself, as usually there will be a sticker on it with either "ATI" or "Nvidia" on the front. This usually indicates that there will be a separate, dedicated graphics card built into the machine. But if you are unsure, ask! Before buying a new game, its a good idea to check on the box the minimum requirements of the machine you want to play the game on, to see if your machine is fast enough to play it. Many Computers and some Laptops can be upgraded to meet the minimum required spec, but not all. If you want know more about upgrading you Laptop or Pc, then contact us for a quote.
There you have just a quick guide to what you need to look for when buying your next machine, although very basic. If you need to know any more, ask us a question.