Do you ever wonder what all those terms really mean? RAM, HD, CPU, Motherboard?
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. For those of you who aren’t computer gurus, this is the memory available when your computer is in the “on” position. This is what helps you open (access) many (random) windows at one time and run several programs at once with items minimized on your task bar. RAM is easily upgraded. RAM is sold in increments of 64MB (Megabyte) up to 512MB, then in increments of 1 Gig (equivalent of two 512 MB sticks) sticks. Every computer has a different type and speed of RAM so you have to know what you need when you ask for more memory. To find out what type and speed of RAM you need, you can “Google (www.google.com)” your computers model number and read up on the type of RAM your computer takes.
HD stands for Hard Drive. A hard drive is a physical item in your computer that stores data. The size of a hard drive is referred to in megabytes so many people think of it as memory but it’s really not considered memory. It is considered “storage”. Hard Drives can range from 1 Gigabyte up to many hundred Gigabytes. It is hard to know how much hard drive storage a user will need but an average person who doesn't save games or movies may use less than 40 GB (gigabyte) of storage. With the storage of movies and games, some people need larger hard drives. A larger hard drive will not necessarily speed up the processing on your computer.
CPU: Stands for Central Processing Unit and this is a tiny brain in your computer which sits on your Motherboard along with a little fan which keeps it cool. CPU’s usually last the length of your computer and unless you have a very high end computer, they are not always worth replacing. Many times a computer user keeps their computer so long, that is it just not cost effective to replace a CPU. It’s more cost effective to buy a new computer. CPU’s come in two major brands, Intel and AMD. It’s like Buick and Chevy, some people like one brand or the other. The confusing thing about CPU’s is the way they are measured when trying to compare apples to apples. Be sure to have a good sales person fully explain how they compare before purchasing your next computer. CPU’s are usually the most expensive component in your computer and also one of the smallest components.
Motherboard: This is the board inside your computer that everything else in your computer connects to. Your CPU must be compatible with this board. Different boards go with different CPU’s. Your RAM is plugged into your Motherboard. Your hard drive and other peripheral devices (like CD Rom Drive, DVD Drive and USB Ports) are plugged into the motherboard. If your Motherboard goes bad, it can be replaced but sometimes other things which are connected to it may be affected by the bad motherboard. Sometimes your operating system will need to be reloaded as it is licensed to the Motherboard.
To increase the speed of your computer, the most efficient thing to do is increase the RAM in your computer. If you need more storage space, adding a Hard Drive to your computer is not a bad investment if your computer is working fine otherwise. Replacing your CPU or Motherboard is often not cost effective unless your computer is very new, and in that case, they probably are still under warranty.
To check out your own computer, right click on My Computer, and then left click on Properties. Here you will see the following:
System: the version of Windows operating system that is loaded on your computer
Registered: who the operating system is registered to
Computer: The size and type of CPU you have in your computer as well as the amount of RAM in your computer. To check the size of your Hard Drive, left click on My Computer, then right click on the drive you want to know the size of (usually your C drive), left click on properties of that drive.