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Tech, GP

July 26, 2008

Tech, G.P.: Memory, power tops in picking PC

Is a new computer part of your future? Wondering what to get?

Maybe I can help. It's been more than two years since I last wrote about buying a personal computer, and things have changed some since then.

First off, keep in mind that different types of computer users will be suited by different types of machines. One size doesn't fit all. That's why there are so many different ways to configure a PC.

Second, let's clear up one of the most confusing things for a lot of people, the difference between RAM and storage space. Both these components are usually described using the same measurement units, bytes (actually, megabytes and gigabytes), and I suspect that's why people get them mixed up. They are, however, completely different ideas.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a person working in an office. The person has various tasks to do. Instructions for these tasks are written in booklets that are stored in a file cabinet in the office. Also stored in the file cabinet are papers on which the person records the result of the tasks that are completed.

Now, if we draw a parallel between this office scenario and a computer, we can compare the storage space of the computer with the file cabinet in the office. In a computer, this is usually what's known as a hard-disk drive. Sizes today typically range from 100 to 300 gigabytes.

Similarly, we can compare the memory in the person's mind, where the thoughts required to complete the tasks take place, with the RAM in the computer. After all, RAM stands for Random Access Memory, which is pretty much what you have in your mind. In today's PCs, the size ranges from one to eight gigabytes. In humans, it varies widely.

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