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Old 12-01-2009, 11:57 AM   #1
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Default Help understanding computers...

Hi, I'm new to computerforums and I have a somewhat weird question.

Can someone give me some illustrations or analogies that explains how computers work? (For instance, use car analogies, or sports analogies, be like, "increasing the RAM is like_____", or "Memory is like ____", ) More specifically:

Comparing different types of RAM
Comparing video cards
How much memory you would need for different types of work
Memory vs. storage
2 cores vs 4 cores...?

I'm trying to learn about computers, but I am a visual learner, and have trouble comprehending how fast computers are, or how much RAM you would need for X amount of work...nothing makes sense because I can't "see" how computers work, or differences between things, or compare proportions like in a chart. When I read something like: "4 processing cores; 4.8 GT/s QPI speed; 2.66GHz processor speed per core; 8MB Intel® Smart Cache", it makes my head spin. So basically I'm asking someone to explain something like that in plain english.

Thanks for reading...hopefully I will get helpful responses. I've read many articles I've found online, but nothing is making sense because I can't compare anything to something outside of the computer world.

P.S. If I am not posting in the correct forum, can someone tell me which one to post in?

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Old 12-01-2009, 12:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Help understanding computers...

RAM= Random Access Memory

More doesn't always equal better. This is what your computer stores your data in during bootup to retrieve later. Depending on what you're doing, 2GB is the sweet spot for everyday and 4GB for gamers. This is with Windows Vista and 7.

Storage is a place for data to be stored long term. Usually on a hard drive, flash drive, etc.

Programs have to be written by people. They are designed to take advantage of certain hardware. Some can only use 2 cores and others can use 4 cores. It all really depends on the program. Usually, editing programs/games use all 4 cores while basic software like word processing sometimes use two cores.

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Old 12-01-2009, 01:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Help understanding computers...

Well, the best way to understand what the difference in speed RAM and processors make, you should play around with slower computers and compare it to a faster computer. Or just take some of the RAM out of your computer and see if you can notice the difference.

You're learn by seeing approach isn't going to work because computers are very complex if you want to get down to the nitty-griddle of things.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help understanding computers...

RAM is like your octane rating in your fuel, the higher the rating (or speed in ram) the faster it will work, and give you better performance.

or seen also as a giant Rolodex used by your PC to instantly find programs that are used on a regular basis.

more ram means you can do more with your computer usually, its like having more towing torque in a truck. to little ram (to little torque) and it will bog down or not move.

faster processor speed is kinda like having more horsepower, the higher the better, usually.

having more cores is almost like having more carbs in an older engine, lets you get more fuel/air going (or to the processor) get more applications going at once.

and overclocking is like NOS to an engine, just getting more performance out of your set up.

Storage is kinda like the fuel tank were all the info is kept while not being used. Or it can be viewed as a big ol' filing cabinet.

get my drift?
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Help understanding computers...

RAM is measued in connection, speed and capacity. The connection will differ depending on the age of the RAM, (older being SD-RAM & DDR RAM, current standard is DDR2, the newest technology is DDR3) this connection needs to be same as the Motherboard for it to work. The speed which is measured in MHz will alter how fast the information will be retrieved. The speeds of RAM are found in set speeds and the higher the MHz, the faster they work. the speed capacity is also limited by the connection, for DDR-RAM speeds ranged from 266MHz to 400MHz. DDR2-RAM speeds ranged from 400MHz to around 1150MHz. New DDR3-RAM speeds range from 1333MHz to around 2000MHz (when overclocked).
The capacity of the memory will measure how much data can be stored at any one time. old DDR-RAM usually ranged from 128MB to 1GB, standard DDR2-RAM Ranges from 512MB to 2GB and the latest DDR3-RAM ranges from 1GB to 4GB. all these factors make up a piece of ram, most computers have 2 or 4 slots for RAM. If a computer had two pieces of RAM both rated at DDR2-800MHz-2GB the computer would have 4GB of 800MHz DDR2-RAM. The capacity is combined, the speed is not.

Hope some of that was helpful. i havent used any analogies sorry, i have explained it as it is.

however playing with hardware like a hobbiest is the best way to find out.

Some good sources for finding out what hardware is better/faster etc is by looking on comparison websites and pc sites that review hardware. Every hardware review will have a comparison chart someway through so you can see its performance.
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Help understanding computers...

I gonna to explain to you the same way my brother did when I was like 9

and GPU

Okay, think of a desktop or laptop aka pc as parking field

the box place where you park and normally they take your keys *Not always* is the CPU where they process everything, this central processing unit aka CPU. The HD or harddrive *actually HDD* is the capacity of the parking place. the bigger, the more cars it can store. The ram is like the guy running around taking the cars info and giving it to the place where they store you info. The PSU is the power supply or a generator or a converter to power the lights and equipment. the GPU is how well it looks overall.

EACH part has its own speeds, so the bigger the better.]

well, bigger and bigger speeds i mean LOL

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