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Computer Buying Guide

Here at Compu-Zone, we understand that choosing the right PC for you can be tricky - especially when you're not sure what all the jargon means! What's the difference between memory and hard drive? Which numbers should I be looking at? We are here to provide the ultimate guide on choosing your PC, and set straight all of the common mistakes and mix-ups people have when looking into the technical side of things.

The diagram of the "Office Scenario" below is a very good visual representation of the 3 main core components in any computer - The Processor, RAM and Hard Drive. The Processor is the "brain" of the computer. It does all of the number crunching, and controls all other components in the PC. The RAM is the "desk" or "workspace". It determines how many things you can do at the same time without having to slow down. The Hard Drive is the "filing cabinet". It stores all of your files, programs, and even your Operating System.

Processor (CPU)

 

A computers processor, or Central Processing Unit (CPU), is it's brain. Faster processors offer better performance – vital if you use your PC a lot, especially for gaming or video editing. Most processors these days are at least a dual core, meaning that the computer has two CPUs which take turns working with data, so enable your desktop to run more efficiently. Processor speed is measured in Gigahertz (Ghz), and a common example of a processor speed would be 2.8Ghz. However, do not be blinded by the processor speed alone! Clock speed is not a very impotant factor in CPUs anymore, it is the architecture which truly gives it's performance. For example, an early Dual Core CPU such as the Pentium D running at 3.4Ghz would be over-shadowed by the much more superior Core 2 Duo only running at 1.8Ghz.

  

Memory (RAM)

 

RAM, or sometimes called Memory, is often confused with the Hard Drive - probably because they are both measured in the same units: Megabyte (MB) and Gigabyte (GB). Do not fall into this trap, as knowing the difference between the two can ultimately mean choosing the right PC for your needs. Refer again to the "Office Scenario" diagram above, and picture your RAM as your "workspace "or "desk". There is only so much paperwork and stationary you can have on your desk at one time before you need to start putting things away in your filing cabinet. Some programs that you use will require more RAM, or will take up more space on your "desk". With this in mind, having more RAM does not always necessarily mean a faster computer, it just means that your multitasking will be more efficient, and that you will be able to have more programs and files open at one time without slowing down.

 

Hard drive

 

Again, referring to the "Office Scenario" diagram, picture your Hard Drive (HDD) as the "filing cabinet" in your office. It stores all of your information including your programs, files that you have saved including pictures and video, and also contains your Operating System.

 

Complete Systems + TFT Screen

 

This is a computer package that includes the PC base/desktop, a monitor, keyboard & mouse and all necessary cables for connecting it. If you are buying a PC for the first time and starting from nothing, you will want to shop through our Complete Systems.

 

USB – Universal Serial Bus

 

Fast and popular means of connecting USB peripherals like digital cameras, external hard drives and printers.

 

Optical drives

 

Optical drives are the CD/DVD drives of a computer, similar to those found on your stereo or DVD player. These drives allow you to load and install software and write (or "burn") data to a disc. Optical drives come in many formats:

 

CD-ROM - only reads CDs

CD-RW – Burn and read CDs

DVD-ROM - reads CDs and DVDs

DVD-CDRW Combo Drive – Burn and read CDs – read DVDs

DVD RW - Burn and read CDs and DVDs

 

Internet Access

 

All of our computers and laptops come internet ready and allow you to connect your broadband router/hub directly to the Ethernet port using a network Ethernet cable.

 

WIFI/Wireless Adapter/WiFi Ready

 

A PC that has a wireless adapter or is "WiFi Ready" means it can access the Internet via a wireless router. Most homes have a wireless router these days provided by their service provider such as Sky or Virgin. Not all of our PCs come with WiFi as standard, and if they don't, you will be able to add WiFi to it by using the upgrade options on the product page.

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Monitors

 

Flat screen, or TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) displays have all but replaced older CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) displays. The biggest advantage is that flat screens look more attractive, save space and energy. A monitor is always measured diagonally, from corner to corner.

 

Operating systems

 

An operating system is what allows you to use applications and generally access all of the information you have on your computer. By far the most popular operating system is Microsoft Windows.

 

Security & Safety

 

It's vital that you take steps to ensure your computer is protected from viruses and other attacks from the Internet. Every computer comes with the Windows standard firewall and we recommend you use an anti-virus package along side it. Our prime choice of AntiVirus has always been Bullguard, and is available to add to your purchase using the upgrade options.

 

 

Below is an example of a Product Specification Table which can be found on the listing page of each and every one of our PCs for sale on our website. If you are unsure of the specifications of the PC you are looking at, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find this table.

Product Specifications

Processor
Processor Intel Core i5 3320M 2.6 Ghz
 
Memory
Memory 4GB DDR3
 
Storage
Hard drive 250 GB
 
Display
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000
Screen Size 14.” Widescreen  (1366x768) Resolution
Other specification
Optical Drive DVDRW Drive
Sound Integrated
Wireless Yes
Networking Ethernet Port
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64bit
Battery Included Yes
Condition Refurbished Grade B (Some cosmetic blemishes on the Lid)
Webcam Yes
Ports
USB 2.0 ports quantity 1
USB 3.0 ports quantity 2
eSATA/USB 2.0 ports quantity 1
VGA (D-Sub) ports quantity 1
DisplayPorts quantity 1
DVI port No
Ethernet LAN (RJ-45) ports 1
Firewire (IEEE 1394) ports 1
Headphone outputs 1
Microphone in Yes
S/PDIF out port No
Combo headphone/mic port No
Docking connector Yes
DC-in jack Yes
ExpressCard slot Yes
 Size/Weight
Width 33.8 cm
Depth 23.1 cm
Height 3.18 cm
Weight 2.07 kg
Warranty
Warranty Summary 6 Months RTB
 

 

Don't forget - LiveChat is a brilliant feature on our website which allows you to connect with a member of our team and get help with any of our products. You can find it at the bottom right hand corner of your screen (the yellow button), and chat agents are available 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday.

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