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PROCESSING POWER - The simplest place to start in comparing the general speed of a computer.
Clock speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz) the bigger the number the quicker the data is processed and the faster the computer is.
As well as the clock speed processors can have multiple cores, each core can process data at the same time so the more cores the better they are at multi-tasking.
As a simple comparison:
Single Core - Basic computer use such as writing documents, browsing the internet, emails
Dual Core - Multiple applications at once such as watching videos and playing music. Some gaming
Quad Core & Higher - Higher End Gaming, Video Editing and Music Editing
MEMORY - Used as temporary storage of data whilst in use, not to be confused with Hard Drive Storage. Also measured in gigabytes (GB).
When a program such as your Internet browser is open, it is loaded from your hard drive and placed into the computer memory (RAM) which allows that program to communicate with the processor at higher speeds.
For Gaming - Rarely uses any more then 8GB
Video & Music Editing - No amount is too much with editing and 8GB or more is common with some even 16 or 32GB.
HARD DRIVE - Permanent storage of files and programs, can either be mechanical (HDD) or Solid State (SSD)
Measured in gigabytes (GB)
A hard disk drive uses a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read information from the right location on a storage platter. There are no moving parts to an SSD as information is stored in microchips. This difference is what makes SSD so much faster.
500GB Hard drive holds approx 100,000 photos, 38 hours of video or 125,000 songs
When people talk about a computer they generally mean the Computer Tower that holds all of the important components.
Addition items you may need include:
Operating System (OS) - This is the software needed to use the computer. Options incude Microsoft Windows or free OS like Linux, Ubuntu and Steam
Peripherals - Keyboard, Mouse and Speakers
Monitor - Unless connecting to a TV through HDMI you can choose a screen from 15" up to 32" (measured diagonally)
Internal Extras - Wireless Card (to connect to the internet if your Router is not located in the same room)
Graphics Cards - Either integrated or upgradeable the more expensive the card generally the better output you'll get for gaming or video editing