Computer Hardware !

“The easiest way to describe Computer Hardware is the

stuff you can actually see and touch, and would likely break

if you threw it out a fifth story window.”

System Unit

The main part of a personal computer. The system unit includes the chassis, microprocessor, main memory, bus,ports, hard drive & ram, but does not include the keyboard or monitor, or any peripheral devices.

Common Computer Hardware Components.

Proccessor or CPU

This is the PC’s “brain.” It is found inside the system unit. Generally, the faster the processor, the faster the computer can work. Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz), and, generally, the greater the GHz, the faster the PC. It is also called the central processing unit (CPU). It interprets and executes instructions of computer programs
or the operating system. In terms of computing power, the CPU is the most important element of a computer system. The combination of processor clock speed, architecture, cache, and front side bus decides the performance of a processor.
L2 Cache helps store temporary data, thus increasing retrieval speed of frequently used data. A bigger L2 Cache usually will help speed some application operations. There are different Processor Manufacturers,Intel® and AMD are the most common. Celeron® by Intel® is designed to enhance performance of business applications and provides for speedy searching of the Internet, but isn’t ideal for multimedia-nor is it as good value as the Duron, the equivalent AMD chip. If you desire faster performance, consider at least a 2.8 GHz processor for these purposes.

Pentium® processors offer more power-enhancing features, allow for real-time video editing and streaming video and provide a realistic 3D and animation experience. Pentium® processors generally offer a faster range of speeds and more power than the Celeron® processors. If you prefer greater speed, consider at least a 3.0 GHz processor. AMD Athlon The first chip to reach a speed of one gigahertz, the Athlon was originally released to compete with the Pentium III. However, it can handle much higher speeds, and various new models, such as the Athlon Thunderbird with a better cache, have improved on the original, keeping it at the cutting edge. A good-value chip for high-end users. DURAN (AMD) This is a cheaper and only marginally less powerful version of the Athlon. It is a superbly good-value processor, excelling at everything other than the most demanding applications.

Ram (memory)

After processor speed, memory (ram) is one of the most important determinants of system performance. In fact, increasing the amount of memory in your PC is one of the most economical and easiest ways to increase its performance. As with processors, the higher the number, the faster the computer, generally speaking RAM also helps determine how many programs can effectively be open and running simultaneously(for example, writing a report, receiving e-mail, and listening to a CD at the same time). Average systems have 1GB of RAM, but increasingly, systems are now coming equipped with 2GB to 4GB. If you are planning on using your PC for digital video editing or downloading music, you should consider at least 2GB as a minimum amount of RAM. If your operating system is VISTA, i would recommend at least 2GB of ram just to run the system. Three types of RAM are available: SDRAM, DDR SDRAM, and RDRAM. SDRAM is the standard memory offering for PCs.
DDR SDRAM has an increased frequency bandwidth over SDRAM with up to double the memory output, leading to increased performance and speed. RDRAM features dual-channel processing for high-end multimedia tasks, and is able to load a new stream of data before the previous stream has completed, resulting in faster access speeds. A good website to purchase extra RAM to upgrade your PC or Laptop is Crucial Memory , the website has a system scanner to ensure the correct RAM is purchased.

Hard Disk Drive (Storage)

It is important to have a large HD drive to undertake some tasks like video and sound editing. The Hard Disk is also inside the system unit. Currently, HD drives have capacities over  1 TB and data transfer rates of 160Mbits per second. To calculate the capacity you’ll need, consider the size of your applications (Windows 7 needs approximately 2GB, for example) and estimate the quantity and size of the files you’ll be storing (a single, typical audio CD requires approximately 600 MB).  A a 15 minute video from an HD camcorders camcorder takes up 1 GB of memory.

500GB HD   On average, a 500 GB hard drive can store over 600 DivX, 100,000 songs or 200,000 photos. can create multiple drive partitions, plus lots of room to grow.

250GB HD The capacity to set up a large photo or music archive or library, work with many large graphics files, more advanced video projects, and/or create multiple drive partitions.

160GB HD Room to store digital photos and music, large graphics files, as well as entry-level video projects, or for space to divide your drive into discrete partitions (to run multiple operating systems on the same PC, for instance).
80GB HD Basic storage capacity adequate for document files, such as e-mail and basic word processing.

Optical Drives

The optical drive on your system can be used for loading software, playing audio CD’s, making home videos or backing up important data, so it is important you make the right selection of drives to give you the features you need now and for the future. TIP:  Netbooks do not come with Optical Drives
A CD-ROM provides a low cost way to play audio CDs and load software onto your computer.

A CD-RW will allow you to easily create your own custom music CDs and data CDs for data back-up or data transfer purposes. It will also allow you to store and share video files, large data files, digital photos, and other large files with other people that have access to a CD-ROM drive. This drive will also do anything your CD-ROM will do. It reads all your existing CD-ROMs, Audio CDs, and CDS that you create with your CD burner.

A DVD-ROM allows you to enjoy the crystal clear colour, picture and sound clarity of DVD video on your PC. It will also prepare you for future software and large data files that will be released on DVD-ROM. A DVD-ROM drive can also read CD-ROM discs, allowing you to play your favourite Audio CDs or install new software applications on CD-ROM media, effectively providing you with full optical read capability in a single drive.

A CD-RW/DVD This drive brings all the advantages of DVD-ROM, CD-RW, and CD-ROM to a single drive. You can read DVD-ROM and CD-ROM discs, and create your own custom data CDs on inexpensive discs that hold up to 700MB of data. Choosing a CD-RW/DVD can save valuable bay space for an additional optical drive.

A DVD+RW/CD Burner The DVD+/-RW Burner is a great all-in-one drive, allowing you to read or burn DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-R and CD-RW discs, as well as read CD-ROM and DVD-ROM. It can burn DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R or DVD-R discs, burn CDs, watch DVD movies, and read data from DVDs or CDs. Store lots of information. DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R or DVD-R discs hold up to 4.7GB of data – that’s about 7 times the capacity of a standard 650MB CD! Store up to 2 hours of MPEG2 digital video.


A Printer is needed if you have to print documents of course. Some printers can even print a decent photograph. Another option available now are the all in one printers. These are usefull if there’s a limited amount space, as they do printing as well as scanning. Don’t get stuck with the ones on offer with the PCs they are usually cheap, useless and expensive to run. I would recommend either Epson or Cannon printers, in my experience these are good printers and not too expensive to run either.

TIP check the price of the ink before purchasing a printer. But that’s up to you. What you should also look for though when buying a printer is
1. dpi(dots per inch): this tells you what quality it can print at, the higher the dpi the better the quality.
2. ppm (pages per minute): this tells you the speed of the printer, obviously the higher number ppm the less time it will take to print. It normally states mono ppm or colour ppm, this is the speed it prints in mono (black and white) and colour.

Touch Screen Monitors

Touch screen monitors offer many advantages over the regular, basic monitors and all in one computers. It can definitely be a challenge to decide which computer is best for you but at least after you become aware of the touch screen monitor benefits you can make a better decision in terms of which touch monitor or other computer would make the best investment for you.
Obviously convenience is one of the greatest advantages. It is much easier to use the touchscreens because you simply have to touch the screen rather than using a keyboard or other device. In today’s fast paced world people have less time than ever to spend on tasks. A touch screen LCD greatly speeds things up and helps you get things done faster.
A monitor with touchscreen also offers ease of use. For some people using a regular computer can be difficult. Touchscreens make it easier for these people to obtain the information they need and this is especially true when used alongside onscreen keyboards and other assist technology.
They also save desk space. You want as much free space on your desk as possible so you aren’t crowded and cluttered. The touchscreen is the perfect way to make this happen. You don’t need a keyboard, mouse or other devices and that saves a ton of room as a result.
They are easy to set up and even to the most novice computer user, they are simple to understand. There is no need for extra software and programs.
Whether you need to buy your first computer or just want an upgrade, it is definitely easy to see what a touchscreen monitor has to offer over the alternatives. Shop around to ensure you get the best price.

USB Memory Key

The USB Memory Key is a portable storage device that plugs directly into the USB port of your notebook or desktop. The size of a pen, the Memory Key can hold larger quantities of data than traditional floppies (ranging from 1GB to 32GB, and even bigger at time goes on ), and does not require drivers or a separate power source. An active device with its own central processing unit (CPU), the USB Memory Key is capable of directly supporting and running multiple applications.

Accidentally deleted an important file? Lost something important when your computer crashed? No problem! Recuva recovers files deleted from your Windows computer, Recycle Bin, digital camera card, USB stick, or MP3 player. And it’s free!

From the same makers of Recuva is another great software CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space.


6 thoughts on “Hardware

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