Never lack RAM
One of the aspects that should not be overlooked today when buying a new laptop is the included RAM memory, as it may not be expandable and we may find in the not too distant future with an insufficient system to meet the needs of the most modern and increasingly consuming programs, Internet browsers and Operating Systems. Not so long ago 2GB was more than enough but the minimum limit for everything to work smoothly increased quickly to 4GB and it is not uncommon to see computers with 8GB. In general, the more RAM your computer has the better, especially if you use your computer to edit photos in Photoshop, professional design with AutoCAD or video editing with AVID. But… what is RAM?
The RAM memory or also called volatile memory, is the one used by programs to run and where they temporarily store all data, be it images, text or videos, before storing them on the hard disk and we should not confuse it. While in the disks we speak in sizes of terabytes , which is the same as “thousands of gigabytes”, the RAM memory is much scarcer but very important. If we run out of hard disk space we can always add a USB memory stick to save and share our documents but RAM memory is an internal component not so easy to expand if we run short.
How to recognize the processors?
The processor is the brain of the computer, in charge of executing programs and managing the rest of the computer’s systems such as memory and storage. There are currently two major processor manufacturers, Intel and AMD , who produce a range of processors specific to each. That’s why we’re going to try to help you select which model is best for you from each of them.
Intel® processors Core
Broadly speaking, we could differentiate four large families as follows: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9. The latter is the most recent to arrive and gradually more computers are appearing on the market, but what is the difference between the Intel® processors Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9?
- Core i3: the best for basic users, the cheapest of all, enough to surf the Internet with ease and handle programs like Microsoft Office, make video calls or use social networks.
- Core i5: ideal for intermediate users, has the best price/performance ratio, enough to play games if coupled with a good graphics card.
- Core i7: ideal for gaming where they get exceptional performance and can cope with everything thanks to their processing power, yet consume more energy.
- Core i9: designed for professionals, ideal for processes that take advantage of the number of processor cores, such as professional photo and video editing.
If we go into detail the first thing we need to know is that they are families of processors that differ internally by numbering. The first of the four numbers tells us the generation and in principle the bigger it is, the better because it will be more modern. The next three numbers are used to compare the performance in the same generation of a certain family. Finally we have to read the letter that accompanies it, which can be U for very low power processors ideal for laptops, Y for low power, T for desktop computers, Q for quad-core processors ( quad-core ), H for high-performance graphics and K to indicate that the operating speed can be changed ( overclocking ).
Here are some examples: the Intel® processor Core i3-4005U Dual-Core is a fourth generation, dual-core processor intended for use in basic laptops, the Intel® processor Core i7-6700HQ is a sixth generation quad-core, high performance graphics ready processor ideal for Gaming while the Intel® processor Core i7-6500U performance is slightly lower and its power consumption is much lower making it ideal for business laptops.
This manufacturer has a specific family of processors for laptops and others for desktops. In addition, it distinguishes between CPUs or main processors and APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit, which includes an integrated graphics chip).
- Notebooks: AMD APUs 7th Generation AMD FX, AMD A12, AMD A10, AMD A9, AMD A6 and AMD E2
- Desktop: AMD Ryzen, AMD FX 6th generation, AMD Athlon, AMD A-Series APUs, AMD Athlon APUs and AMD Sempron APUs.
If you want portability and performance you have to choose the AMD family FX , which all include a graphics chip Radeon R7 and video hardware decompression up to 4K. If you do not need so much performance and just want to work smoothly and comfortably you can choose any of the A-Pro family as the AMD A12, AMD A10, AMD A9 and AMD A6 ordered from higher to lower processing capacity and performance. Finally, the most modest of the range, the AMD E2, is also available, sufficient for education-oriented computers and for those who only need to surf the Internet and check their e-mail.
For desktop computers is available the family AMD Ryzen which has the highest process capabilities and performance of the brand with up to 16 cores in its most powerful version “Threadripper” , especially suitable for gaming computers. Just one step ahead is the AMD family FX with a version “Wraith cooler” prepared to be able to increase the operating frequency. Behind these is the AMD Athlon family with the “AMD Thermal Solutions” models with four cores and to be able to increase the operating speed, Athlon X4 and AMD Athlon X2 in Dual-Core format .
For equipment that does not require so much power AMD has the APUs being the most powerful those of the family Athlon A10 and Athlon A8 of 6th generation whose performance is similar to their version and these include the graphics chip Radeon R7 . After them are the more modest but no less capable AMD A6 and AMD A4 and finally the versions for those who do not require excessive power to perform their day-to-day tasks AMD E1 and AMD E2.
Finally AMD has the AMD family of APUs Sempron specially designed to be productive and efficient in our tasks with the computer but at the lowest possible cost, which does not mean that with these processors you can not play high definition video without any problems.
What is a USB, HDMI or USB-C port for?
A communication port allows you to connect accessories to your laptop, such as an external hard drive. Over time, these ports have improved their capacity to allow faster data transfer, so that you can, for example, copy a file to a spike or pendrive in less time. There are many different ports developed over the last 20 years, but the most common ones today are USB, HDMI or the latest USB-C.
The USB port is the most widely used port today. It allows you to connect any type of accessory to a computer. Over the years, although the connector is the same, it has improved its speed. Most new laptops are equipped with USB 3.0 ports , much faster than the previous one USB 2.0 . A new version of this port called USB-C, physically smaller and even faster, is starting to appear on many laptops today. An HDMI port is used to connect an external monitor or TV. For many years the VGA standard has been used, which offers much less quality as it is an analogue connection, and does not allow very high screen resolutions to be achieved.
What are gigahertz (Ghz)?
Gigahertz is a unit of measurement, namely a multiple of the unit hertz (Hz) that measures oscillations. A hertz is an oscillation of one nanosecond. One megahertz is one million hertz, and one gigahertz is one billion hertz . Although it has many applications, in a computer the gigahertz, abbreviated as Ghz, indicates the speed of the quartz crystal oscillator that allows a processor to process instructions sequentially. In general, the higher this number is, the better, since in the same time the processor has more cycles in executing instructions.
However, it is very important to note that a processor (CPU) running at more Ghz does not necessarily have to be faster than another processor running at less Ghz. There are processors that at lower Ghz manage to process more instructions and finish their tasks sooner than other processors operating at a higher Ghz rate. Processors running at a Ghz more common in computer equipment came into general use around the year 2000. Today any Smartphone or laptop comes equipped with processors that exceed the Ghz.