Monday, December 14, 2009

PC Pipeline Artical #2- Hardware Compents

Welcome back to PC Pipeline – bringing computer technology home to you!

Today, we’ll discuss 2 of the 4 major (hardware) parts of a PC which affect its performance.

The Central Processing Unit or CPU, is the brain or control center of a PC; it’s where the magic happens. CPU speed is measured in Giga-Hertz, or GHz. The faster the CPU, (3 GHz is faster than 2 GHz), the better. You’ll typically find CPUs in the 2.0 – 3.0 GHz range. The CPU’s speedy helper is its cache, an area where frequently used instructions are stored for faster access. The larger the cache (typically 2 – 8 Mega-bytes, or MB), the better.

The second performance part to become familiar with is Random Access Memory or RAM; capacity is measured and marketed in Giga-Bytes (GB). New lower end PCs typically contain 1 to 2 GB of RAM. Higher end systems, i.e., gaming, multimedia centers or video editing systems, may contain 4 to 8 or more GBs of RAM. The more RAM you can afford (even for web surfing) the better; in most cases you’ll see a noticeable difference with each 1 GB increase of RAM in your system. Most new systems are designed for upgrading, or increasing the amount of RAM, but not all; make sure you check this out on the system you’re considering buying.

The CPU and RAM really are the cornerstones of system performance. Next time we’ll discuss hard drives and video cards, the other 2 major performance parts.

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