How to Buy a Netbook Computer – Part One

A netbook like all computers is made up of a variety of components that combine to complete all the computing jobs that you rely on. This combination of components, often known as the Technical Specification, is what determines how your netbook will run and what sort of applications and software it will support. So why you don’t need to be a technical guru to buy a netbook, it helps to understand a little about the bits and pieces under-the-hood so you can make an informed buying choice.

Netbook Processor
This little chip, commonly known as the CPU does all the calculations required to run software or browse the web. The processor acts as the brains of your netbook rig, telling the other components when to fire up and what order they work in. The better the processor, the quicker your netbook will run – but unlike laptops and desktop machines which can run high-end dual core processors – most netbooks on the market come with a single core processor due to their small size and the requirement to keep heat levels down.,.

Hard Drive
A hard drive is what is used to store your computers data whether it be software programmes or your media library. Every time you open a photo or start-up a piece of software the netbook is accessing the information from the hard drive. As with RAM (see below) a hard drive’s capacity is measured in Gigabytes (often abbreviated to GB) – the more GB you have the more files you can store on your netbook.

Solid State Drive
Some netbooks come with a solid state drive as an alternative to a hard drive. Solid state drives perform the same job as a hard drive (storing data) but have no moving parts – making them smaller and lighter than a hard drive – making them ideal for netbooks. Solid state netbooks also have the advantage of being very quick to startup when you turn them on offering almost instantaneous access to your files and software. As a rule of thumb solid state netbooks tend to be more expensive than their hard drive cousins and have less storage capacity.

Memory
Commonly known as RAM (which stands for Random Access Memory) deals with everything that you are doing on your netbook when it is switched on. The memory accesses data from the hard drive and then stores it so it can be accessed by the processor – because memory uses circuits to store the info rather than the mechanical components of the hard disk – it makes accessing and using information much quicker. Memory is measured in both GB and MB (megabytes). Often you will see netbooks advertised as having 1024MB – which is the same as 1GB. As with most things in life the more RAM you have the better your machine will run.

Graphics Card
Previously the preserve of hardcore gamers with souped up desktop PCs designed for playing the latest first-person-shooters – the graphics card creates and outputs the images you see on your netbooks screen. Graphics card come in two varieties – the onboard or “chipset” integrated variety and the more high end dedicated graphics card. The later option is what you need if you want to play 3D games on you netbook – and while previously most netbooks were limited to integrated graphics cards – the market has moved on and we are now starting to see netbooks with dedicated graphics cards like the Samsung n510

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