Friday, April 30, 2010

Buying a Computer: The Curse of the Acronym

The phone rang.

"Hey Karl, your computer is dead."

"Charlie? Is that you? How in the.. How did you know my computer was broken?" replied Karl.

"Karl, you have been offline for several days. I can't skype you or chat with you which is very annoying. Please, please, please, get rid of your old klunker. Go to College and Spadina. I hear it's THE place to get a computer in the big city."

Karl thought through what his friend Charlie had to say and he was right. He was sick and tired of having to repair his slow and frustrating computer. Tomorrow, he will buy a new PC.

As Karl exited the Spadina streetcar all his happy thoughts for his new purchase were replaced quickly by FEAR. Big signs in front of what looked like a computer store had no mention of computers, but scary words like HDD or DDR and many other letter nonsense combinations.

"Oh, what a disaster!!!", Karl thought sadly.

Stores have made an effort to make it easier to buy computers. However, the dreaded acronyms are still everywhere. College and Spadina is a great place to get computers, but you need to know the computer jargon. Therefore, it may not be suitable for first time computer buyers.

Essentially, if all you want from your computer is to surf the web, check your email, and write documents then the most basic of computers is all you need. If you are not comfortable with the computer lingo, I would suggest going to big computer store chains for your purchase. You may also try getting someone you trust who is knowledgeable about computers to accompany you.

I have included some phrases that will be used to describe your computer. Good Luck!!!!!

Processor (CPU) - The brains of the computer. It's a set of chips probably made by Intel or AMD. This is measured with words like this: 2.3 GHz. The higher the number the faster the computer is. It is also measured by the number of "cores" which tells you how many things the computer can do at the same time. For your basic computer needs, you won't need to take the number of cores into consideration.

Hard Drive (HDD)- Hard Disk Drive space. This is the space the computer uses to save your photos, music, documents and videos. It is measured with words this: 640GB. The higher the number, the more content you can store. To put the size in perspective, 640GB can store roughly half a billion photos! On modern computers, you almost never have to worry about not having enough space on your hard drive.

RAM - Random Access Memory affects how software/program is run. This is measured with words like this: 6 GB. The higher the number the faster a program can run. For basic computer needs, as long as you have at least 2 GB, you'll be fine.

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