Computer Buying Guide

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


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.

A Core2Duo 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 i3 or 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.

  • Core2Duo: The cheapest CPUs from Intel. 2-cores but entry-level - ok for basic web and e-mails.
  • Core i3: 2 cores with hyperthreading. Good for Office.
  • 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 1st Gen, 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen etc...). As a rough guide, there is approximately a 10-15% difference in performance between generations.

RAM


Random Access Memory can 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 4GB, 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 gaming and power users. 16GB or more is currently only useful for people operating on a ton of data - large databases, video editing, multiple Virtual Machines etc.

Hard Drive


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 250GB Hard drive is sufficient for most users.

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 GT710 (1GB or 2GB) is low tier. Play old (pre-2008) games easily, and modern games on low or not at all.
  • The Nvidia GT730 (2GB) is mid tier. Play modern games at medium settings.