pc or mac

PC Or Mac Purchasing Basics

Buying a new pc or mac can be a daunting task for the non-technical individual especially when standards and options for computing devices change constantly.

Most people shopping for a new pc or mac have a general understanding of what they want however when they get to the store and they read the technical specifications on the various computing devices it's easy to get lost and confused about what you want. Below is a list of things that every person should look for when purchasing a new pc or mac. To make things simple I'm going to go over just 3 major things to look for.

Hard Drive

Hard drive space is measured in gigabytes depending on the type of activity that you plan to engage in on your pc or mac will determine how many gigabytes in storage capacity you should be looking for. Generally hard drive space can be as low as 250gb all the way up to 1 terabyte. If you are planning to save lots of photos, documents or spreadsheets 250 -500 gb is adequate amount of storage, however if you plan on saving lots of video and applications then 500gb and up is what you would be in the market for.

Hard drives search times are all measured in revolutions per min. The higher the rpm the faster the hard drive retrieves information. Rpm speeds range from 5400 all the way up to the 15000's. For general use purposes 7200 rpm should be adequate.


Random access memory allows you to view things on your pc or mac on a temporary basis without it, everything would be stored on the hard drive quickly overwhelming it. The more ram you have in conjunction with a fast spinning hard drive equals faster search times and a speeder computer.

Ram is measured in megabytes (mb) and gigabytes (gb). Mega meaning a million and giga meaning a billion, generally when you are searching for a mac or pc strive for at least 4gb, which at this time is the industry standard. The reason being is because most computer applications today use up a lot of ram. The more applications you have the more RAM you will need.


The CPU or central processing unit is the brains of the computer it takes all the input and output from the RAM, Hard drive, keyboard, monitor etc and processes that information so that the user can interpret it. This by far is the most cryptic part of the pc or mac buying process. Below I've broken down some of the terminology so that you can make a more informed decision on what processor you are want.

The main thing to look for in a processor is the Clock Speed, System Bus Speed, L2 Cache, and Processor Core. Don't freak out I'll explain more in detail one at at time.

Clock Speed

Processor speeds are measured in hertz (hz). Clock speed determines how fast or slow a processor performs a function like adding two numbers together. The higher the clock speed the faster your processor performs functions.

System Bus Speed.

Bus speeds are the speed limit on the highway of processing the faster the bus speed the quicker the processing. Sometimes you'll hear a term called front side bus when you buy a pc or mac, the front side bus is literally located in the front of the processor and the bus is the main road into it. The larger the front side bus the more data can flow into the processor, which improves overall system performance.

L2 Cache

L2 cache is a secondary type of processor memory that increases the responsiveness of the processor. Think of it like a turbo button for your processor when it gets bogged down. Generally a 2mb L2 cache is more than enough.

Processor Core

Processors use to be created with one core attached to cache memory. A core is simply the processor that performs the reading and writing instructions. Due to high processing demands you'll hear terms such as dual core or quad core or hyper threading. Basically dual and quad cores mean that there is more than one processing unit and hyper threading is a term used when you have two cores that are actual pieces of hardware and the other two cores are virtual meaning they are running in software like a program. The main thing to remember is the more cores in conjunction with L2 cache equals faster processing power