Computer Buying Guide

Are you confused by all the terminology surrounding computers?
Here at Australian Computer Traders, we like to break down the “techno-speak” to make it easier for you when buying a refurbished computer.
If you have any more questions, please give call our dedicated support team on 1300 727 516 or send us an enquiry.


 

Processor (CPU)












 


The processor (CPU) is the brain of the computer. This is what runs your software, calculations and operations.
A processor is made up of multiple cores - think of these as additional brains working together to perform several tasks at once.

An Intel Core i3 processor would be enough for someone browsing the web with 1-2 tabs open and checking e-mails.
For someone opening up several tabs at once, using Office, streaming videos on YouTube or Netflix, an Intel Core i5 processor is recommended.

Modern games and applications require at least an Intel Core i5 processor, and an Intel Core i7 processor is necessary for maximum performance.
An Intel Core i7 processor features a minimum of 4 cores, making it the best processor for multitasking and professional work.

  • Core i3: 2 cores with hyperthreading. The cheapest CPUs from Intel
  • Core i5: 4 cores. Generally considered the best value CPUs.
  • Core i7: 4, 6, and 8 core CPUs with hyperthreading. These are useful for the sort of professional work requiring maximum CPU power.
  • Xeon: Meant for servers, and thus come without an integrated GPU.

The Intel Core series of processors are refreshed every year (ie. Intel Core i5 4th Gen, 5th Gen, 6th Gen etc.).
As a rough guide, there is approximately a 10-15% difference in performance between generations.
 

RAM


RAM stands for Random Access Memory.
RAM is able to store a small amount of data, but with extremely high speeds.
RAM is volatile, meaning it loses all the data stored in it when the power goes off.

Installing more RAM into your computer does not always improve performance, unless the program you're using actually needs more.

Currently, to use more than 8 GB of RAM, you have to have quite a few programs running or internet browser tabs open at the same time.

8 GB of RAM is considered fairly standard these days for general day-to-day use. 

16 GB of RAM or more can be useful for users operating with a fair amount of data and larger workloads.

Applications where larger amounts of RAM could be beneficial include: gaming, video editing, audio engineering, multiple Virtual Machines, as well as having many web browser tabs open at once.

For example, the popular web browser Google Chrome is known to be a 'resource hog', as having many browser tabs open at one time can fill your system's RAM quite quickly. 
 

Hard Drives & Solid State Drives

 















A hard disk drive (HDD) is one of two types of drives available for storing your data, along with solid-state drives (SSD).
Both options can be used to install your operating system and applications, as well as any data files, such as videos, audio, documents and photos.

HDD’s are slower than SSD’s, but can offer great value for money as you get larger amounts of storage at cheaper prices.

SSD’s have no moving parts and as such are faster and less prone to failure than HDD’s

A 128 - 256 GB Solid-State Drive is recommended for the average user.

For the best of both worlds, we recommend installing an SSD for your main boot drive. 
This is where your operating system is installed (such as Microsoft Windows).

We recommend using a SSD to store your commonly used day-to-day programs, as well as any files you frequently access or are of a more demanding nature. 

You can use a HDD as a secondary storage drive for photos, videos, files and less intensive programs.
 

Graphics Card (GPU)


The Graphics Card (also known as a ‘video card’) is a piece of hardware containing the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which builds pictures and then displays them on your screen.

Your resolution typically has the greatest impact on your GPU's performance.
1920x1080, also known as 1080p, is the standard resolution for modern gaming, but mid-tier/low-tier GPU’s may play modern games more easily at reduced resolutions.

  • The Nvidia GT1030 (2 GB) is an entry-level video card for current games. This GPU should be able to play some modern games at low to medium settings.
  • The Nvidia GTX1650Ti (4 GB) is considered a current-generation gaming level video card. This GPU should play most modern games with ease at 1080p resolution.

For those users who require multiple monitors, having a dedicated Graphics Card installed into your PC can enable support for up to 4 monitors to be connected at one time.