Choosing your new laptop or desktop computer can be confusing. Differences between computers are not clear to everybody as you will see numbers and symbols that can be difficult to understand.
If you are planning to buy a new laptop or computer you should think about your intended use of the device. Is it for gaming, engineering design, graphic design, big data analysis or for simple everyday use?
The following article will help you understand different specifications to take into consideration when choosing a new laptop or desktop computer.
The processor is responsible for performing operations, logic, controlling and arithmetic according to the computer program instructions.
Processing speed is the most important criteria to consider in your new laptop. Processing speed is expressed in two terms: the clock speed and the number of cores.
The clock speed determines how fast the processor can work with the information and instructions from a certain task or program. Higher number of gigahertz (GHz) means faster information processing.
Increasing the clock speed was difficult and slow due to several limitations, including the high cost, power consumption and resulting heat. This motivated manufacturers to develop processors with multiple cores.
Instead of increasing the speed of processing information, they improved the processor’s ability to deal with multiple tasks simultaneously. Increasing the clock speed and the number of cores would result in faster processing of data.
Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) manufacture processors. The most recent generation of processors they provided is the i9 (indicating the presence of 9 cores) generation with clock speed that reaches around 20,000 GHz.
The graphics card is a subsidiary processing unit that specializes in generating the output image to the display. It consists of a processing unit, memory, cooling mechanism and ports or connection to the display.
When choosing a new laptop, one with a common graphics card would be sufficient for internet surfing, watching videos or word processing. If the computer is for gaming or graphic design you might need an advanced graphics card.
Graphics cards capabilities are well suited to be used in cryptocurrency mining. The spike of cryptocurrency values resulted in a consequent rise in the prices of graphics cards.
When buying a new laptop, check the hard drive specifications. The hard drive is for permanent storage of data.
There are two types of commercially available hard drives: hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SSD).
Hard disk drives are older but are still commonly used for their relatively higher capacity and lower cost. The largest capacity of commercially available HDD is 16 terabytes which is sufficient to store 10,000 hours of 720p HD videos.
HDD consists of a rotating rigid disk coated with a thin film of magnetic material. A magnetic head attached to a movable arm is used to read, write and remove data. The rotation of the disk produces the humming noise of computers.
HDDs are quite reliable and can be used for years. However, they can be easily damaged by physical shocks which results in the magnetic head scratching the disk surface.
SDD doesn’t have any moving parts. They use integrated circuits to store data in semiconductor cells. The use of such drives was commonly limited to movable secondary drives such as USB flash memories and memory cards.
Recently, more laptops were introduced with SSD as their main storage capacity. SSDs are more resistant to physical shocks. They are also faster to write or retrieve data and operate without producing any noise.
Previously, SDD had smaller storage capacity compared to HDD but they recently reached the same capacity available for HDD, or even more.
Random access memory (RAM) is used for short term storage of information that is actively used by the computer. When choosing a new laptop, keep in mind that bigger RAM means faster running computer.
If you tend to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, the computer might be getting slower. That means you need a larger RAM. The commonly available RAM is around 16 or 32 Gigabytes but it can theoretically reach 2 terabytes.
This article has already introduced the main specifications to be considered when buying a new laptop. However there are other features that can be as important and might affect the price of the computer.
For example, the size of the computer can vary from a large desktop or workstation with high computing capacity to ultrathin and light notebooks with limited computing capacity.
You might want to consider the input devices available as some computers come with a touchscreen or fingerprint reader. You should also think about the available ports, including USB, VGA, HDMI and Ethernet ports.