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Basic Hardware Specifications

The hardware specifications of a computer will vary depending on what an individual user will be doing with it. A person that wants to use their computer for graphically intense games or video editing will need a totally different configuration than somebody that just wants to browse the Internet and type word documents. Take a look at this advertisement that was copied from an online store.

12th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Intel® Core™ i9-12900HX Processor 30M Cache, up to 5.00 GHz.  1TB - 7200RPM SATA hard drive with 256 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD, 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM, NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3090 (24 GB GDDR6X dedicated), Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Realtek Wi-Fi 5 (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5 Combo and a Blu-ray player & DVD burner, Microsoft Windows 11

To the average user this computer ad probably seems a little nightmarish. Let's try to analyze some of this.

12th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 Intel® Core™ i9-12900HX Processor 30M Cache, up to 5.00 GHz - The two major players in the processor arena are Intel and AMD. Intel makes the Core i series" class of processors up to the 12th Generation. AMD makes the "Ryzen" and "Athlon" class of processors. The Pentium and Athlon processors are Intel and AMD's low end and cheaper processors and would be the ones to choose if you wanted a computer for nothing more than Web browsing and word documents. You would want to choose the higher end Ryzen or Intel Core i processor for gaming, graphic intense, or business oriented software tasks. You need not choose between AMD or Intel on any grounds but the price.

8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM - RAM stands for Random Access Memory and it is the place in your computer where the software and data that is in current use are kept for quicker access by the processor. It is much faster to keep the processes in RAM than to read and write the data to the Hard Disk or other types of storage. RAM is the least expensive way to increase your systems performance The more that you have the better off you are when it comes to increasing system performance. RAM can also be confusing because there are so many different types. There is DDR4, DDR2, SDRAM, RDRAM, the list goes on and on. Your best bet would be to buy as much as you can afford when you are buying the computer to insure that you are getting the right type. It is recommended that you have at least 8 Gigabytes of the type of RAM your motherboard calls for.

1TB - 7200RPM SATA hard drive with 512GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD - The Hard Drive is where the data and applications are stored. The average size hard drive that most companies sell right now is 1 Terabyte (TB). The 512GB SD is optional, THe Solid State Drive will be the boot drive on because of the speed and reliability of SSD's compared to the SATA hard drive. This should be plenty for the average user. A larger Hard Drive becomes important if you are into digital music or video editing so keep that in mind when purchasing. If you are looking for a way to manage your hard drive, you can check out some of the best drive management programs we could find here.

NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3090 24 GB GDDR6X - The graphics accelerator or graphics card is the part of the computer that sends the information that you see on the monitor. Many new personal computers are now sold with a graphics accelerator built into the motherboard. It may be referred to as "onboard video" or "integrated video". Onboard video is fine for basic functions like Web browsing and typing documents but it will not be suitable for gaming or high end graphics applications. If you want to play games, especially the fast-paced kind, the most important thing is having a good graphics card, like the one advertised, do not buy a machine with "integrated video" for gaming or video processing. The integrated video solution shares your systems RAM which will degrade performance when it is used heavily. Your best bet would be to get a separate video card with at least 8GB of dedicated memory.

Blu-ray player & DVD burner - The Blue-ray allows you to watch movies on your PC and the DVD Burner allows you to burn and access DVD's. They do hold a lot more information than a regular CD, 4.7 Gigabytes compared to 700 Megabytes, but they are a little more expensive. If you are into digital video then the DVD-RW is the way to go but everybody should at least have a CD-RW (Compact Disk Reader Writer) to keep his or her important data backed up.

Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Realtek Wi-Fi 5 (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5 Combo - These are communication components that are fairly standard in most new computers. The Ethernet card is used for networking and/or "Broadband" Internet access. The Realtek Wi-Fi 5 is mainly for what is called "Wireless" Internet access. If there is an option, get them both. Bluetooth is a short range wireless connection.

Microsoft Windows 11 - This is an Operating System. The Operating System is the software that tells the hardware what to do. Windows 11 is loaded on most of the new computers sold today. If you have a choice, get the Windows 11 version. It has all the bells and whistles that an Operating System will ever need.

That pretty much covers that particular advertisement. There are some other components to consider. Consider the computers expansion potential so it can grow with your needs. A PCI Express, and PCI slot inside the computer's case will let you add to its capabilities, you may want to add a decent sound card or TV tuner someday. You should try to get USB 4.0 and FireWire ports on the outside of the case, the more of them the better, especially if any are on the front of the computer.

Here are some examples of computers ranging from the most basic computer specifications to the most extreme specifications.  If you only need to use the computer for basic operations like word processing and browsing the web, the cheapest computer would work for you.  If you need a computer that will play all of the newest computer games, you may want to look at the more expensive gaming models below or browse some of the great deals at:

Find some great deals on some of these computers at:

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