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Central Processing Unit. The most powerful microprocessor chip in your computer is the CPU. For example the Intel Pentium chip handles the central management functions of a highpowered PC. Intel's newest Hyper-Threading (technology that allows the CPU to process two separate threads of data simultaneously) CPU supports a 1 megabyte on-board L2 cache (the on-board cache functions as a buffer to feed data to the CPU at a faster rate). The speed of the CPU is measured in GigaHertz (billions of cycles per second). Good: Intel Pentium Celeron D - 2.6 GigaHertz or higher. Power User: Intel Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading Technology 3.0 GigaHertz or higher, or Intel Pentium D - Dual Core - 3.0 GigaHerz or higher.
Random-Access Memory. Hardware inside your computer that stores information while you work. RAM is one of the things that makes your computer run faster. RAM is not permanent storage of data. When you turn your computer off, all data in RAM is lost. RAM is available in different types, sizes, and speeds. Currently, depending on the Motherboard, the Intel Celeron D CPU uses PC-2700 ram with 533 MHz FSB (Front Side Bus). The Intel Pentuim 4 HT CPU uses PC-3200 DDR (double data rate) ram with 800 MHz Front Side Bus. Good: 256 to 512 MegaBytes Power User: 1 to 2 GigaBytes
A Data Storage medium that houses all of the information in your computer. This would include your operating system (Windows), device drivers, programs, and data you have created using your programs (word documents, spread sheets, etc.). Unlike RAM the Hard Drive retains data when the computer is turned off. Hard Drives sizes are in GigaBytes or billions of characters. EIDE hard drives spin at a speed of 7200 RPM. Older EIDE hard drives spin at 5400 RPM. New technology hard drives are now on the market, and these are SATA (Serial ATA) hard drives. Currently, these SATA hard drives have speeds approximately the same as EIDE. Looking ahead, the SATA hard drives will be faster and the prices will drop. The SATA hard drives require different MotherBoard technology to support them. Good: 40/80 GigaBytes (minimum) Western Digital Caviar Ultra DMA 7200 RPM Hard Drive Power User: 80/250 GigaBytes Western Digital SATA Hard Drive
With fans. Case: Recommendation: Often called the "computer".MotherBo ard: The main circuit board of the computer. The LCD Flat Panel monitors are more expensive.looks like a TV set). The speed at which information travels across the MotherBoard is referred to as the BUS speed. CPU. Hard Drive. It is important to have a large enough power supply to handle your current and future needs. If you get a LCD with a slow refresh rate. Those components not housed in the computer case are usually referred to as "peripherals". Recently a new technology has been introduced called PCI Express. Also important is that the case be large enough and have enough ball bearing fans so the internal components do not overheat and cause damage to themselves. With LCD Monitors we must watch closely the "response time". such as the CPU.pictured on the left. especially for video graphics. The CRT (cathode ray tube . Miniature cases are to be avoided. called "flat" or "perfect flat" and the LCD (liquid crystal display) called "flat panel". The better LCD monitors can support digital (better) or analog input from the video card. some video or games may be jerky to watch.rebuilt or refurbished monitors may be called "new" and have a one year warranty. . the case houses and provides power to the major computer components. Recommendation: Good: Asus or Intel MotherBoard with the Intel 865 Chipset (minimum) supporting 800 MHz System Bus speed and USB 2. RAM. Recommendation: Good: 17" CRT Flat or Perfect Flat model Power User: 17" or 19" LCD with Digital and Analog inputs and 8 ms or less response time. All key internal and external components of your computer plug into the MotherBoard. Sound Card. You want a "brand new" monitor with a three year warranty. Good: Mid or Full Tower Case with 300 Watt Power Supply Power User: Mid or Full Tower Case with 420 Watt Power Supply and at least two internal ball bearing fans. etc. Be careful when you buy . Monitor: The video display unit that sits on your desktop and serves as your computer screen. This is how fast the monitor redraws the picture. This allows a faster data transfer speed across the MotherBoard. Video Card. Hard Drive. RAM. Never put your computer in a desk compartment or other small space where it can't breathe. including the MotherBoard. but have a smaller footprint on your desktop. Monitors are available in two basic types.0 Power User: Asus or Intel Motherboard supporting P4 HyperThreading and Dual Core technology with with PCI Express support and SATA and EIDE Hard Drive support. Heat is the enemy of all computers. The case also houses the power supply. more is better. etc.
Good and Power User: Any high quality unit with a speed or 52x. Power User: Altec Lansing 2. or the equivalent of 450 floppies. computer speakers have become very high quality and many include a sub-woofer for good bass. Video Cards that are built onto the MotherBoard and cannot be upgraded are to be avoided. The speed of a CD-ROM refers to how fast the disk spins in the device. "Read Only" means the information can be displayed and used or copied.) based on data created and sent by the sound card. One CD-ROM can hold around 650 megabytes of data. usually an AGP (accelerated graphics port) slot or PCI Express slot (newer/faster/more bandwidth) and handles multimedia applications and graphics-intensive web sites freeing up the CPU (thereby increasing your computers speed). Top of the line games need very high performance video cards. Sound Card: A circuit board that plugs into your MotherBoard that adds audio capability to your computer. 1 sub-woofer) or better. etc. The better the graphics chip on the video card. Recommendation: Good: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live or Integrated Sound Card (built on MotherBoard) Power User: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy II or better. The monitor plugs into the video card which is accessed thru a slot in the back of your computer. voice.Video Card: A circuit board that plugs into a MotherBoard slot. Better Video Cards have both Digital (better) and Analog outputs. Example: LiteOn 52x CD-ROM. CD-ROM: Recommendation: Compact Disk .Read Only Memory. Power User: ATI Radeon PCI Express with at least 128 Megs of DDR (double data rate) RAM and Digital and Analog outputs. the faster the display on the monitor.1 (2 stereo speakers. An optical storage technology that stores and plays back data. and the more ram built on the video card. providing high quality stereo output to the speakers. . Today. Recommendation: Good: AGP or PCI Express Video Card with good graphics chip (ATI) and at least 32 MegaBytes of RAM on board. but cannot be deleted or changed (on the disk). Speakers: Produce sound (music. Recommendation: Good: Altec Lansing stereo speakers.
V. Special Note: For today's Internet User the old telephone modems are all but obsolete . Phone lines are "analog" and computers are "digital" so the modem has the job to MOdulate and DEModulate between analog and digital. DVD-ROM . Ethernet cards come in different speeds. then a separate CD-ROM is not necessary. Example Ethernet Card: . a device that can record data to a compact disc. the 32x means the rewrite speed (CD-RW) and the 52a (a = average) means the read speed. In the CD-RW process the disk must first be formatted (burned) and then data is copied to or erased from the CD-RW media. If you use a cable modem. A circuit board that plugs into your MotherBoard and provides the capability to connect or "Network" your computer to other computers and/or the Internet. and re-write to DVD. write. DVD-RW. The best way to determine this is from the specs.also supports +R. The DVD Burners read. Recommendation: Good: LiteON 52x32x52a CD-R. Modem: A circuit board that plugs into your MotherBoard that enables your computer to communicate with other computers and the Internet. the data is actually etched into the disc (burned) with a laser. If you have a DVD Burner. "52x32x52a" would be a spec for a current burner.92 refers to error correction.CDBurner or DVD/CD Burner A CD Burner is the informal name for a CD recorder.s and read. +RW.record (CD-R) and rewrite (CD-RW). The 56K refers to speed and the V. and re-write to CD's. and +R Double Layer. CD-Recordable (CD-R) and CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) are the two most common types of drives that can write CD's. A 10 Mbps card can transmit/receive at 10 million bits (8 bits to a byte) per second. The 52x means the record speed (CD-R). Recommendation: Good and Power User: A 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Card. The error correction is very important as phone lines get older and lose their quality.92 internal modem. write. CD-RW. In the CD-R recording process. either once (in the case of the CD-R) or repeatedly (in the case of the CD-RW). Almost all burners can do both tasks . your computer will need an Ethernet card. CD-ROM Power User: LiteOn 16x DVD-R. A 10/100/1000 Mbps card can transmit/receive at up to 1000 million bits per second. then a separate CD-Burner is not necessary.try to obtain Cable or DSL Internet service. If you have a CD-Burner. thus the name MODEM. Recommendation: Good and Power User: A 56K .
either corded or cordless. etc. A mouse can be corded or wireless. Examples: Logitech or Microsoft. No ball. When a character is pressed. It schedules tasks. There is no need for a mousepad with an optical mouse. which then displays the character on the Monitor.either corded or wireless. Some mice have a ball on the bottom that rolls as you push the mouse. A peripheral device connected to your computer. with at least 2 buttons. launch programs. open menu items. Recommendation: Good and Power User: 104 key (minimum) Keyboard with a wrist rest . Keyboards are available in corded and wireless models. It provides a set of alphabetic. and some mice have optical function. handles the interface to peripheral hardware and presents a "default" interface to the user when no application program is running. so you can store data on more than one disk. it sends a coded input to the computer. the mouse senses the movement by an optical beam it emits. Responsible for controlling and launching the installed applications and computer peripherals. Data can be written to or read from a floppy disk in a floppy drive. Operating System: . Each floppy disk can be removed. Floppy Drive: Recommendation: Good and Power User: A high quality floppy drive that accepts 3. allocates storage. Keyboards should come with a wrist rest. symbol and control keys. numeric.Keyboard : The peripheral device used to input information into a computer. punctuation. Examples: Microsoft or Logitech A device in your computer that allows removable (a floppy disk) storage. you can use to highlight text. The foundation software of a computer system. used to reposition the cursor or move the pointer on your screen. Each floppy disk should hold a minimum of 1.5 inch floppy disks.44 megabytes of data. Mouse: Recommendation: Good and Power User: A high quality "optical" mouse. A mouse usually has at least two buttons.
while Home can only operate in a Peer to Peer networking environment (recommended 5 computers or less).Recommendation: Good and Power User: Microsoft WindowsXP Home Edition with SP2 (Service Pack 2) or Microsoft WindowsXP Professional Edition with SP2. The main difference between Home and Professional is that Professional can network with a "domain" or 10.Small Office Home Office).000 other computers (Client/Server Environment). Home is perfect for the home or small office (called SOHO . WindowsXP Media Center Edition is recommended for those users who want to include full media capabilities to their computer . WindowsXP Professional is more expensive than WindowsXP Home. Professional is needed for larger businesses and for software applications that require Client/Server environments.
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