A Computer Defined – inQuo’s Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter Volume 18

It seems like advertisers and stores like to inundate us with lots of technological sounding terms in order to entice us to purchase a new computer from them, but what do those terms actually mean in the human language?

Hard Drive

Think storage, like the closet in your kid’s room that is stuffed with coats, clothes, toys and whatever else they don’t want to put away.  All of your data is stored on the hard drive.  Documents, pictures, music and more.  The Operating System is also stored on the hard drive.

So, what do the numbers mean. and how about SATA and ATA?

  • Numbers – Storage space is now measured in Gigabytes (GB) and Terabytes (TB).  A Gigabyte is equal to 1024 Megabytes (MB).  For scale, most MP3 music files are about 3-4 MB.
  • SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) – SATA describes the connection of the hard drive to your motherboard.  Older computers used ATA (or IDE) connections.  That kind of connection is slower.  SATA offers faster transfer speeds, uses less energy, and allows for larger hard drive sizes.  SATA connections are also used for DVD drives and burners, and other devices.

Memory (RAM)

Think about a pie. Ok, maybe not, since we just spent a day stuffing ourselves full of pie. Think of a pizza. The more people you have to feed with one pizza, means everyone is getting a smaller slice. The Computer Defined - Pizza

Memory works in the same way.  Every program that runs on a computer uses some of the memory.  The Operating System, internet browsers, printers, word processing programs (like Microsoft Word) and games all need memory to run.  The more memory you have, the faster your programs will run.

Upgrading memory is the easiest way to increase the speed of a computer.

Processor (CPU)
Everyone has probably heard of Pentium and AMD processors.  What do they do, and why are there different speeds associated with processors?

The Computer Defined - Processor The processor is like the brain of the computer. And it is really good at math. All information on a computer is, in it’s simplest form, binary, or numbers. The processor translates all of those numbers into a language that humans can understand.

Faster speeds mean more calculations can be made in a shorter amount of time.  Processing more data will help make your computer run faster.

The motherboard is the part of the computer that ties everything in together.  The processor, memory, hard drive, and other devices are all connected together by the motherboard.  Through chips and circuits, all the functions of computer are completed.

The mouse, keyboard, speakers, power and internet als


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