What are those computer specs??

Aight sorry I didn’t blog yesterday. I got an offer from Epic in Madison, Wisconsin so I was really happy (by happy I mean going out and celebrating and stuff). Senior year has been really stressful while I’m trying to figure out the next step in my life. But I did so it definitely feels great. I’m looking forward to work life cause after all, campus environment is awesome yet artificial. The reason I’m saying so is that you’re living with people of the same levels of education, similar backgrounds with specific rules on how to proceed (graduate). Real life is definitely not like that so it’s gonna be interesting (and tough).

But anyway, every time a new year comes a lot of kids ask me for advice on how to choose computers. I guess the specs are really confusing and technical. I personally goes 1 way or the other, a.k.a Dell or Macbook. Why would I do that? It’s the extremes of computers. Dell is always the cheapest and frankly, not so good. On the other hand Macbook is the most expensive but very reliable. The OS might take a while to get used to and softwares is somewhat limited compared to Windows. So I mean either get the bad but cheap one or the good but expensive one. Well that’s just me.

Dell

Well that’s not the point of this post though. I’m gonna break those specs down, with the example of a Toshiba Satellite:

CPU Type AMD Athlon II M300(2.0GHz)
Screen 15.6″
Memory Size 4GB DDR2
Hard Disk 250GB
Optical Drive DVD Super Multi
Graphics Card ATI Radeon 4100
Video Memory Shared memory
Communication LAN and WLAN

Now the most important thing is the CPU. Right now for consumer products there’re Intel and AMD. Intel is more expensive and I believe better in many ways. AMD cores are always cheaper and I’ve read numerous complaints about it being too hot on a laptop. Well it’s a price – quality tradeoff here.

Intel vs. AMD

The next important thing is RAM. RAM is used when you run programs. Think of it as your memory. You can only remember so much and when you solve a problem, say 1 + 1, you need to know what is 1 and what is +. Those are from memory. DDR2 is just the technology and bigger is better (DDR3 > DDR2). Well you don’t have to worry about latency and all that stuff.

The next one is hard drive, which also stores stuff. Hard drive is much cheaper than RAM and also much slower in terms of data transferring. Think of it as a book. If you don’t remember what + is, you look it up in a book and it’s much slower than your memory. RAM and hard drive function the exact same way (computer mimics nature, right??? Have you read this?).

The 5400rpm is 5400 Rounds Per Minute. That’s how fast the hard drive spins. For laptop it’s typically 5400rpm. Desktop hard drive spins faster (7200rpm) and some hard drives can spin at 10000rpm, well at a higher cost. If you’re buying a netbook you’re likely to get a SSD (Solid State Drive) which doesn’t have that number. So what is SSD? Normal hard drive stores information on a disk with different layers so when you’re accessing a piece of info on a different location, the laser reader has to go the location and the drive needs to spin also. SSD is not based on disk. It’s a Solid State Drive that allows you to access information really quickly (really!!). That’s also why it’s super expensive.

The next thing is the graphics card. Graphics card is important when you’re trying to watch HD movies or play games. It determines the resolution of the screen (along with the screen’s native resolution also). If you’re not doing fancy graphics stuff, a normal graphics card would do. Both ATI and Nvidia name their graphics cards similarly. It doesn’t matter how much memory the graphics card has, the technology is what counts. So GeForce 8800 would be better than 7800 (the number is bigger) but not as good as 9800, or GTX 260 (X stands for 10 so it’s actually 10260). Same with ATI.

The next one is the optical drive (or DVD drive if you wanna call it that way). This doesn’t matter that much since DVDs has lost its prime time. There’re a couple of DVD types now: normal DVDs (4.7Gb), Dual-Layer DVDs (double that) and Blu-Ray (they haven’t put that on a laptop yet cause its mad expensive).

The communication stuff is very standard. Every computer has Ethernet plug now, along with VGA/DVI output and stuff so no big deal.

Aight so if you have trouble choosing a computer, read this. I myself like to custom build mine (almost burnt my processor last time) cause you learn from doing it and that’s the fun part. I’m trying to go back home asap for vacation cause once I start working, every year I get 2 weeks of vacation (12 days to be exact). Ok guys have fun and keep on rolling!!!

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One thought on “What are those computer specs??

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