“A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy”

Wednesday, December 9

10. Picking the Right One: Hardware is Ephemeral

Now that we've got the stickiness that is the OS market out of the way, let's talk about the shiny stuff.

Hardware is something your going to buy and feel bad about in 6 months.


Hardware changes so fast that it's basically impossible to keep up unless you've got a really large bank account and a lot of time on your hands. Buy the best you can afford at the time and use it until it stops working or you can't run new programs on it. I used to try keeping up with just the news about what new hardware was available on the market, but it comes so quickly even that much effort isn't worth the time.

Let's talk about the gibberish on the outside of those boxes or ads that no one without a firm grounding in computer lingo understands.

  • What it says:What it means
  • HDD:Hard drive – Long term memory
  • Gb, Gigabytes, Gigs, TB, Terabyte:A unit of measurement for memory. Basically, the bigger the better. This is used to measure the amount of memory a hard drive can hold, RAM can contain, etc. A Terabyte (TB) is 1000 Gigabytes (Gb) which is 1000 Megabytes (Mb). So, that song you just got from iTunes is 3.5Mb, just to give you a comparison size.
  • GHz, Gigahertz:This is a measurement of speed. It tells you how fast a processor or chip is running. Again, bigger is usually better, but don't be fooled by this. There are different processors and not all are created equally.
  • DDR#:If you don't know what this is, you can basically ignore it. It only matters to gamers and high end enthusiasts/professionals who need to know. It designates the type of RAM installed.
  • DVD+RW/CD-RW:This one tells you that it has a DVD drive that can read DVD's, write new DVD's, handle the two types (basically any type of DVD-R media you buy will work), as well as working the same way with CD's. You'll see a lot of DVD/CD-RW, which means it can read DVD's, but not create new ones, but can do both for CD's. This is sort of important, so keep an eye out for it.
  • 32-Bit, 64-Bit:This is an OS thing, read earlier on OS's
  • RPM:Literally Revolutions Per Minute – this is how the speed on hard drives is measured. Usually it will be something like 5400rpm, or 7200rpm or higher. Told you these things were like record players!