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Computer Features - Choosing The Best System For Your Needs

Apr 13, 2008
Choosing the correct features for your computer will prevent much frustration, need for upgrades, and loss of time and money. I have outlined the most important features to think about when choosing your computer and made some suggestions!


The processor is the single most important determinant of system performance. The capability of the processor dictates the performance of the entire system. The other devices only allow the processor to reach its full potential.

Processors are distinguished by clock speed measured in GHz (gigahertz) and bandwidth measured in bits.

They are also divided into two groups - single core processors and dual core processors. Dual core processors boost performance by allowing you to run graphic intensive games or run programs simultaneously for example downloading music while running a security program.

Multi media production requires the fastest available option of 2.6 GHz. 1.8 to 2.2 GHz is ideal for digital media files, spreadsheets and presentation software. 1.6 to 1.9 GHz would be suitable for web browsing, email, watching movies, listening to music and organizing photos.


The amount of random access memory (RAM) also affects your computers performance.

Greater amounts of RAM allow you to run more programs at once and run them faster. 3 to 4GB RAM is ideal for memory intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing and producing DVDs. 2GB RAM is ideal for working with larger digital media files such as movie and video files, graphic design software files, intensive spreadsheets and running multiple applications simultaneously. 1GB is recommended for a limited amount of activity such as word processing, emailing, web browsing, watching movies, listen to music and organizing photos.

Hard drive:

This is where all the data is stored - programs, drivers, digital photos, music, etc... What is on your current hard drive and what you envision being on your hard drive in the future should be considered. A low to mid sized hard drive which is ideal for documents, spreadsheets and data related to home finances would be approximately 80 to 100GB. If you have a growing media library or plan on installing computer games you should consider a maximum size hard drive. I would recommend buying a hard drive with as much space as you can afford.

Wireless Network Interface:

With this feature you can access the wireless network where ever it is available for example, your office, school campus, coffee shop, etc. Even if you do not see an immediate need for this feature it is highly recommended for future use.

Disc Drive:

DVD/CD-RW combo drive allows you to view DVDs and burn CDs.

Super Multi 8x DVDR/RW with double-layer support allows you view and burn both DVDs and CDs. You can also fit almost twice the amount of data on a DVD.

HD DVD ROM provides high-def playback.

Below is a reference guide used by Ohio University in 2007 as a suggestion for Minimum Personal Computer Features for its students;

Intel Pentium 4 Processor or equivalent, 2 GHz

512 MB Memory

40 GB Hard Drive

64 MB OpenGL - capable graphics video card

Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC)

Wireless Networking Adapter (if applicable)

I hope this information is helpful. I have outlined what I feel to be the most important features to think about when choosing your computer which are the processor, memory, hard drive, wireless network interface and disc drive. Making smart choices now and staying ahead of the curve will prevent much frustration in the future!
About the Author
I have an extensive background in Finance and Fiscal Procedure. I also have a web business where I offer Educational Computer Software and Games . I am very interested in the product itself as well as the subject matter that it involves. Please use the link above to visit us at The Software Spot! Thank you, Allison Merlino
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