What’s Under the Bonnet!

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What’s Under the Bonnet!

With Christmas almost upon us there  will be the usual scramble to buy presents for family and friends.  Over  the years I have had many experiences of customers and friends frantically  buying computers at the last moment and not really understanding what they are  actually getting for their money.  In quite a lot of cases it’s like buying  a car and not knowing the power of the engine.

Whether you are buying for  your business or home there are certain principles that are important  to be aware of.  Irrespective of who you purchase from, whether it’s  online with Dell or from any of the usual computer retailers such as PC World,  Harvey Norman etc they will always have cheap offers that appear to be the  answer to your problems (the bottom line is they will market their cheapest  deals to get you to buy but unless you know what you want then you may not get  what you need).  The big question you have to ask yourself is will the new  computer be “fit for purpose” and what ultimately will it’s life span  be?

Taking this into account you then need to  look at the key components of a computer and understand their importance. As  technology changes by the day it is not possible to give specific examples but  what I would like to do is go through the key areas that make up the computer.

To help you get the most out of your  purchase, you first need to be clear on what the computer will be used for and  then what choices you have within the specification.  Some examples of how  you might view what type of specification you might require would be as  follows:

CPU / Processor

This is the heart of the system. While it  is a single physical device, it has multiple ‘brains’ within, all working at  the GHz (Gigahertz) value. Generally the larger the Ghz value the  better, though this is by no means all that affects the overall performance.


The GB or Gigabyte value affects the amount  of files that can be open at the sametime and the size of the files that can be  open. The MHz or Megahertz value affects the speed at which this works.  Broadly speaking the more GB and the higher the MHz the system has, the better  the performance.  For a PC running Windows 7 a minimum of 2GB is  required.

Hard Drive Disk Speed

There can be different  hard  drive speeds so it goes without saying that the faster the hard drive the  better the performance relative to a slower hard drive.  Low end computers  and laptops generally have speeds of 5400rpm whilst the better machines go from  7200rpm and greater.


The quality and screen resolution in most  laptops tend to be good enough for most users however if you use your laptop  for viewing drawings, movies, photos etc then you may want a higher quality  image.  If the option exists for a higher quality graphics card and you  can stretch the budget then it may be worth the investment.

Windows Version

If you are a home user then  the current version of Windows 7 Home Premium will be fine, however if you  are a business user this will not suffice as a home version operating system cannot be securly connected to a business network.  In that case you will  need to purchase the Windows 7 Professional edition or higher.  Apple  Mac’s have their own operating systems and have different requirements.


Overall the better the specification the  better the performace and ultimately the longer lifespan that with proper usage  you will get from your purchase.  In general there are  three things that you should take into account as a “Buying  Guide”:

1. Decide on a budget.

2. Identify primary use (Work / Travel / Home / School).

3. Compatibility – Identify exisiting applications  that will continue to be used.

If you are unsure of any issues mentioned  or wish further clarification, contact our office on 01 – 2930363 and  speak to one of our Engineers.



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