Beginner Guide Reading Computer Specifications, and to be honest, when I first started getting interested in laptops, I didn’t understand how they were put together or how they worked.
Actually, when I first began to learn about computers I felt completely lost as well. To tell you the truth, I only knew what a processor was and that’s because it made my computer go faster.
My goal with this article is to help others who are going through the same learning process that I did when transitioning from a novice computer user to one that knows how to find the best processors for the price.
I used to know very little about computers, which was made apparent to me when I wrote my first post on the subject.
A lot of people who read it were confused because they had no idea what I was talking about. One reader noticed this, and she reminded me that I may need to do more research before writing blog posts that are supposed to help other people understand how technology stuff works.
This small guide is meant to be read by beginners, it may not be very technologically-specific, but it will help you make the right purchase decisions and know exactly what you’re buying.
Cause #1. Slow Hardware: When you are shopping for a new laptop, it’s important that you look out for laptops with fast processors.
When I started out, all I knew about processors was that the faster the clock speed, the quicker my apps would run. So for example 2.4GHz vs 3.5GHz would mean having a slightly faster processor and so on.
Today’s laptops offer more than enough power for basic tasks. In fact, many laptops are powerful enough to run some of the most demanding applications nowadays: editing programs, games, 3D modeling and simulation software which require a lot of memory and speed.
Core i3 vs Core i5 vs Core i7
Core i3: It’s suitable for light work and everyday computer use, anything that doesn’t ask a lot of the processor like video playback or internet surfing will definitely benefit.
Remember it only has “two cores” meaning it won’t be useful for heavy-duty applications so if there are games you want to play, you might want something with more power.
Core i5 processor: This processor can perform faster than a core i3 processor, although the speed increase is only marginal.
Generally, it has two cores, like the i3 processor. It can be used for your heavy or light applications such as gaming, 3D rendering, and certain multimedia editing programs.
Core i7: This processor offers the best performance out of Intel’s line-up. It has 2 or 4 cores, depending on the model number.
This is good for intensive multitasking, like running intense applications (like 3D modeling and design software) while keeping other applications open at the same time (like games, image editing/app creation software, etc.)
However, if you’re going to be focusing your use on just a single application at a given time, then it might not be that beneficial over a Core i5 model depending on its serial number.
When you buy a laptop, it generally has the brand, model number and then the CPU present. Here are some examples:
Intel Core i7-6500U Intel Core i7-6700HQ Intel Core i5-3437U
Generally, the higher the number “6500” vs “6700”, the better the processor in terms of speed and efficiency. You can find a great deal of difference however between an “U” and “HQ” at the end of any given processor you look at.
An HQ processor will have four cores and a U processor will have only two cores, the former is your best choice for more intensive applications such as gaming or heavy software editing especially in 3D dimensions.
Core i5 U vs core i7 U
This is usually not known by most people and experts out there but there is very little advantage of going for a core i7U processor over a core i5U processor, since both of them have two cores and about the same speed.
You shouldn’t be afraid to invest in a core i5 U if you are on a budget as both of these options perform about the same when it comes down to your daily usage, although some things do indeed accelerate better with a core i7 meaning that some extra research might turn out fruitful in case you believe you will use this technology intensively.
Although there are other brands and models out there, for now we will take a look at these specific processors.
RAM is the random-access memory, where the applications you are using are stored. The more RAM you have, the more applications you’ll be able to run at once without experiencing a slow computer performance.
If you open multiple resources and large programs in max., your RAM starts to run out, so it will leave less free memory for other programs and for your operating system’s background operations – failure which may result slowdown of work and lower response times.
If a program needs a lot of temporary storage space, it’ll also need more RAM as well so if you download all sorts of different files or play graphics-intensive games online, for example, for smooth gaming or picture quality you need to check the size of your RAM regularly.
2GB RAM: For most people with a low budget, this is enough to run the essential programs they need. It’s perfect for basic applications like web browsing, email clients and office suites so it’s perfect for students and for those entering the workforce for the first time.
If you can afford something higher then 4GB should be considered as this will allow more applications to be open at once which will be especially important for students who might want to download lecture materials on their laptops.
4GB RAM: This is enough to easily browse the net and book basic applications such as Microsoft Office without any problems.
8GB RAM: I found this size to be ideal for most heavy applications such as gaming and editing software including 3D modeling.
16GB RAM: This is only recommended for when running the most graphic-intensive applications like games and 3D modeling software or editing software. You can do much multitasking with this size. I run a lot of heavy applications at once in mine.
When it comes to storage, the capacity is one of the most important factors, but that’s not always the case. Today’s technology means you can get a lot more out of a smaller drive.
Most computers today offer way too much storage capacity for all of your files: photos, programs, games and movies. Beginner Guide Reading Computer Specifications that is, if you are on a budget.
To give you a clearer picture of what to expect, here’s an overview of how many emails each size can store:
- 128GB: 16,000 MP3 songs & 13 107 RAW Photos
- 256GB: x2 MP3 songs & x2 RAW Photos
Of course, most consumers don’t actually need that much storage space. That being said, even hardcore gamers are going to have a hard time filling up 256GB (and if they do it’s probably because they’re compulsive hoarders).
Similarly, if you use up a ton of space shooting 3D photos and editing projects with your 3D software, you might want to think about investing in a bit more room knowing that you’ll likely fill it up pretty quick. The 512GB is designed so spent enthusiasts won’t be unpleasantly surprised with how quickly they fill up their drive space.
Long story short, there are two types of storage devices that we use today. These are Solid State Drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Disks (HDDs). Each storage device has its own pros and cons and is uniquely suited to different uses.
SSD (Solid State Driver)
Solid state drives are useful for users of high-performance computers, typically those running 3D renderings applications.
They will speed up the launch times and load files faster than a regular hard drive. Beginner Guide Reading Computer Specifications This can help create more efficient workflows where users don’t have to wait on tedious processes and can get things done quickly.
The problem with SSDs is their low capacity; they often max out at 512GB which is enough space for most users but some do require more so you may need to consider how your storage needs will evolve over time when considering this type of hardware (New Storage).
HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
This particular hard drive is the traditional computer storage media that we’re all used to. It doesn’t offer much of an advantage in speed or performance compared with an SSD, but they do offer high storage capacities at a more economical price: 1 TB or 1000 GB.
This kind of hard drive is just fine if you need on-board storage capacity on your laptop and don’t plan to perform any intensive applications or tasks like video editing.
Graphics Card (GPU)
This component is what displays everything displayed on your screen.
In reality, one shouldn’t bother about what kind of graphics card their computer has unless it is used for 3D applications or games, or if one is creating their own videos.
Integrated graphics cards are found in most consumer laptops and are fine for basic tasks, videos, image editing and most computer games that are not in 3D. You’ll observe cards labeled as Intel HD with a number next to them:
These cards are designed with complex 3D applications in mind such as games and editing software. Generally, higher numbers mean better performance, though more memory also plays a part. You’ll see these cards from two brands: NVIDIA an AMD.
- AMD Radeon R9, AMD Radeon R 3
- NVIDIA GeForce 960TX, NVIDIA GeForce 1060 Ti
There are also graphics cards meant for specific purposes that generally do not benefit most students or general consumers, Beginner Guide Reading Computer Specifications and they may even be overkill especially for home entertainment set-ups.
These are more industry level and professional level graphics cards that are made for things like engineering and scientific research, animation, 3D gaming and movie editing; they’re not made for people who just want to play the latest FPS while they’re on vacation.
Cody is a passionate gamer, writer, and computer programmer who’s always looking for ways to optimize and automate everyday tasks. When he’s not immersed in prose and code, he’s busy tinkering with computers, automating his home, and spending time with his wife and kids.