What’s inside a PC? What do all those components do?

12th January 2021
guide to computer components

When I first started working at Hardsoft Computers, I barely knew a thing about computers in terms of what parts of the machines did what, so I thought I would explain the basics of computers in layman’s terms for anyone out there who just turns them on and expects them to do anything!

Whether you’re interested in an Apple or Windows device, the components in it are what really helps your business thrive. We offer various solutions so that you can pick the right one for you!

Processor

Essentially the brain of the computer. The processor is what sends out all of the instructions to the rest of the machine to do everything from loading up your spreadsheets and emails to procrastinating on LinkedIn looking at everyone talking about their 5K runs.

The clock speed (measured in GHz) determines the limit of an action the machine can do, this is important to take into account when purchasing a computer as if you’re a graphic designer, you need to make sure that the clock speed of your processor matches/surpasses the requirement of the software you are using. 

Last thing is the amount of core’s within the processor. Easiest way to explain this is by picturing multiple lanes on a motorway. If you have 1000 cars travelling down a motorway, if you only have two lanes (cores) then the motorway (processor) is working harder to get all of the cars to their destination. If you have 6 lanes, the traffic flows much easier!

RAM

RAM, or “random access memory” (which I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as in a normal conversation) determines how much a machine can do at once. Ever noticed your machine starting to run really sluggish? That’s because you’ve got 40 tabs left open on google chrome whilst you’re trying to edit things in Photoshop!

RAM is sold in increments of 8GB’s. for day to day use, we don’t recommend anything less than 8GB, but for a seamless experience on your machine, I’d personally recommend 16GB.

Storage

This comes in 2-3 forms nowadays, but I’m just going to cover the most popular one at the moment: SSD. SSD storage, or “solid state drive” (again, thank God for acronyms) is in charge of storing all of your files. This is usually sold starting at 128GB, then doubling from then onwards. The minimum we recommend for business use is 256GB SSD, however a lot of people tend to need more. Always try and leave some space free on your SSD, the more that is stored means your machine could slow down as its working harder to have all those files available for you at a click of a button!

Graphics

For the generic office worker, this isn’t overly relevant. But if you work with any weird and wonderful pieces of software, they often require a graphics card of a certain strength to support it. These can get confusing as they go on, if you need a machine with a graphics card to support it and you’re not sure what you’re looking for, please contact me on 0203 9978 764 or alfie@hardsoft.co.uk. Let me know you read my blog and ill add a bit of a discount on for you!

Operating System

Nearly done boys and girls, the operating system is what makes everything you’ve read above come together to let you see everything on your screen. Most popular two that you’ll come across are Windows 10, and MacOS.