Computer Buying Guide

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


 

Processor (CPU)












 

 

The processor 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.


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 video on YouTube or Netflix, an i5 processor is recommended. Modern games and applications require at least an i5 processor and an i7 processor is necessary for maximum performance. An i7 processor features 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 Core series of processors is refreshed every year (IE. 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.

Getting more RAM does not improve performance, unless the program you're using actually needs more.

Currently, to use more than 8GB, you have to have a lot of programs and browser tabs open, be editing video or large audio or image files, or be using some other specialized data processing app. 8GB is considered fairly standard these days for general day to day use. 16GB or more is currently only useful for people operating on a ton of data - Gaming, large databases, video editing, multiple Virtual Machines etc.

 

Hard Drives & Solid State Drives

 















A hard disk drive (HDD) is one of two options 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 files, such as videos, audio, and documents. HDD’s are slower than SSD’s, but you get larger amounts of storage for your money. SSD’s have no moving parts and as such are faster and less prone to failure than HDD’s. A 128-256GB 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.
We recommend using an SSD to store your 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


The graphics card (also known as the ‘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 a mid-tier/low-tier GPU’s may play modern games more easily at reduced resolutions.

  • The Nvidia GT1030 (2GB) is an entry-level video card for current games. It should play modern games at medium to low settings.
  • The Nvidia GTX1650Ti (4GB) is considered a current-generation gaming level video card. Plays modern games with ease.