Features of Computers

There so many options available when you're shopping for a computer that it can be hard to know which matter most. The technical jargon used in many computer specifications adds to the confusion. Beneath all the hype, there are several basic features of a desktop computer that should guide any computer purchase. These determine what the computer can do and how fast it performs.

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Basic Features of Computers:

Computer Processor

The processor, which is often compared to both the heart and the brain of the computer, is the most important component in determining a computer's speed and capabilities. As its name implies, the processor performs data processing by carrying out instructions in computer code. This component may also be referred as the Central Processing Unit (CPU). All of the circuitry belonging to a personal computer's processor is contained on a single chip, which is most cases is manufactured by Intel. As of 2018, the 8th Gen Core is Intel's most advanced technology for personal computers.

Memory Features of a Computer

There are two types of memory features critical to computer operation: external storage and RAM. External storage, which is also referred to as persistent storage because it's preserved even when the computer is turned off, is provided by a hard drive. Flash drives also provide persistent storage. The size of the drive, usually measured in gigabytes (GBs), determines how much data can be placed in long-term storage. RAM, or Random Access Memory, provides internal storage. It's used by the processor for short-term, temporary storage related to program execution. The amount of RAM available on a computer plays an important role in its performance.

Computer Networking

Many personal computer owners want to connect to Wi-Fi LANs (Local Area Networks), so wireless network support is an important feature. The networking feature of a computer is provided by a wireless network adaptor that is included as standard hardware in many of today's personal computers. Older models must use a USB Wi-Fi adaptor, a Wi-Fi PCI card or some other external device for wireless connectivity.

Computer Operating System

The operating system (OS) is one of the most important features of a computer from a usability point of view. Besides making sure that all the hardware components work together, this important piece of software provides the windows that you interact with on the display to get things done. The two main operating systems for personal computers are Windows and Mac OS. Each has a unique look and feel. Not all software is available on both operating systems, so it's important to try each and find out whether any specific software you plan to use is supported before making a choice.

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