Tuesday, February 2, 2010

PC Pipeline- Remaining 2 of the 4 major (hardware) parts of a PC

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

Today, we’ll discuss the remaining 2 of the 4 major (hardware) parts of a PC which affect its performance: hard drives and video cards.

The hard drive is where all of your software is installed and typically where your data is stored. Capacities generally range from 120 GBs to 2 TBs (Tera-Bytes) and they spin at speeds of 5,400, 7,200 and 10,000 RPMs. Data transfer speed is important as well. In both cases, faster is better. Like the CPU, hard drives also have a cache. The larger the cache, the better. I can never say this enough – back up your data from the hard drive to another media or storage device! Hard drives can and DO fail! If your data is not backed up, it’s most likely lost forever. So much for that great digital picture collection or music library…

The video card’s impact on system performance is most noticeable when playing games, and watching or editing videos. State of the art video cards have their own Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which takes care of 3D graphics rendering so the system CPU doesn’t have to tackle this chore. Video cards have their own RAM, too. Some desktop systems are designed for upgrading the video card, but not all; make sure you check this out on the system you’re considering buying.

Next time we’ll discuss the different types of new PCs that are currently available on the market. Stay tuned!

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